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back to article Anonymous hacks Westboro Baptists over Sandy Hook protests

Anonymous has posted personal data of many members of the Westboro Baptist Church and is promising to shut down the religious sect after it announced plans to protest the funerals of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week. "We have unanimously deemed your organization to be harmful to the population of the USA, …

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Probably...

...one of the first Anonymous actions that I actively approve of.

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Re: Probably...

ditto, and the way they seem to act, and choose targets it will probably will be the only one

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Meh

Re: Probably...

And likely as not their attention will be drawn away by the next shiny thing to capture their eye as soon as this one stops producing the requisite number of lulz they need...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Probably...

Oh, the scientology thing was the right action at the right time too, in my humble opinion.

These days, I wouldn't go picketing a Scilon bunker because it probably would be verging on harrassment. However, back in 2008, when the RTC was sending out DMCA takedowns willy-nilly, steaming about in an asbestos-filled failboat, and their shadier practices were less well-known, making them look like utter fools was absolutely the right thing to do. Plus it was kind of fun to be sat outside the bunker with a radio transmitter and some boom boxes and amps, turning the whole street and any radios in range into a distributed Party Enhancement System.

Now, and I think some people might be saying "finally", it's the turn of the God Hates Fags loonies. After their actions over the last.. several years.. they really do have it coming to them. Internet Karma: It's a real bitch.

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Re: Probably...

I don't even really agree with the DOXing — like when The News of the World publishes lists of paedophiles there's too much of a risk that an error will have identified the wrong person or the message will get confused somewhere and someone not even identified by Anonymous will suffer. In general I don't support any similarly one sided attempt to render justice; any system created by people is just too fallible.

What I am thoroughly in support of is the online petition mentioned in the article to get the WBC legally recognised as a hate group. Let's have any measures against this sort of disgusting activity administered by people that are accountable and subject to appeal.

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Megaphone

Re: Probably...

I don't know about first, but I would say one of a small but increasing number. Attacking a hate group with the Internet Hate Machine seems logical to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Probably...

Third one for me. I'm right behind them attacking the Scientology Cult and did snigger when they went after the race-hate DJ.

As much as I like to see this on one level, there is something rather disconcerting about a vigilante group deciding what yo can say and do.

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Re: Probably...

Normally I don't think I would agree with this but under these circumstances wbc are just dealing with the responsibility of exercising their right to free speach in such a hateful way. If I walk down the street and insult your wife, I should expect to get punched, I would have deserved it. A right to free speach does not absolve you of the responsibility not to be a lawsuit hunting cunt. I hope these sad money grabbing little shits boil in a vat of cat vomit. These kids couldn't have voted for anything, why picket ther funerals if it isn't to provoke an attack so you can sue? wbc don't believe in god, they believe in inciting hatred to make money.

Way to go anonymous! No god as I know them would ever support what wbc do. When somebody blows them the hell up for being sick, twisted little hypocrites there will be fucking cake all round. They are going straight to hell.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Probably...

Had to downvote you.

As abhorrent as the WBC and its actions are, this bunch of skiddies do not have the right to determine who can and cannot protest or who can and cannot form a group. Those decisions are for the democratically elected government and the judicial system.

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Unhappy

Re: Probably...

I'm with AC @ 08:55.

The right to free speech has to be universal.

While I don't condone the WBC in any way, if you believe a particular group is abusing their right in order to preach hate, there should be proper channels to correct/punish this behaviour; Anon's kind of vigilantism (while funny) does breed a "we're louder so we know best" skew on what free speech is.

Or in this case, "we're more technically competent, so we control your interwebs".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Probably...

> calls Anonymous "skiddies"

> thinks democracy works for anything except the interest of its corporate masters

14 year old wannabe detected.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Probably...

> protects anonymous skiddies

> thinks evil corporations in secret lairs control everything.

anonymous skiddie detected.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Probably...

Except that your right of free speech is broken when this sort of thing can go on.

NO body else is stopping them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Probably...

A right must be tempered with responsibility. If this group was in the UK they wold have been arrested by now for the shit they say. because its illegal to be racist or homophobic etc here.

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Re: Probably...

"A right must be tempered with responsibility. If this group was in the UK they wold have been arrested by now for the shit they say. because its illegal to be racist or homophobic etc here"

And that's exactly my point: "there should be proper channels to correct/punish this behaviour". Although, I'm personally not a fan of how far the UK laws go, due to the ease with which they can and have been abused.

Anon's biggest "win" here is in highlighting the WBC to the world (again) for being the twisted individuals they are. While we'd probably normally try to starve them of publicity, what needs to happen is more people in the USA get riled up and actually raise complaints against them.

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Re: Probably...

Who it is applied to is universal, what you can say is not. False statements, sexist \ racist etc statements, terroristic threats, inciting hatred and a few more are all illegal to some degree in many contexts.

I'm not saying it's wrong or right, but we do not have truly free speech, we generally all have the same restrictions \ responsibility for our speech, but we do not have the right to say anything we want without any comeback.

So having established there is a line, we need to consider where it is drawn and by whom. If I was a police officer and I saw a parent attack one of those protesters at a funeral I would have a hard time seeing the justice in prosecuting the parent. If you spend your life provoking people to attack you, you shouldn't have any legal recourse when they do.

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Stop

Re: Probably...

"...one of the first Anonymous actions that I actively approve of."

Meh. Not really feeling it, myself.

WBC are scum and trolls of the highest order, but they still have a right to Free Speech and Protest, no matter how dickish it is. If I only supported the Rights of speech and protest when I agreed what was being said, I'd be a hypocrite.

Plus Anon are just being popularist again and jumping on an easy target. If you want kudos from me boys, how about taking on the NRA?

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Re: Probably...

You are right, and this is one of the strongest tests of those convictions. Granting people free speech (which we don't actually have anyway) so they can criticise government without fear of free midnight trips to Cuba is how it should be. A side effect of that is scum like wbc hide behind that. They have no religious or political motive, they are simply trying to get people to attack them so they can sue and it is a failing of our courts that they do win. Now. if we view that as a 'cost' of free speech then are we not telling our kids it's ok to be grossly offensive money grabbing scum? I think this is a situation where we are left choosing between the lesser of two evils right? further restrictions on free speech vs a bunch of hunts making a mockery of our judicial system.

If pushed I would have to admit that I would favour free speech winning out, with no legal recourse against them, however, if they happen to get the crap beaten out of them I can't see it being right to charge anyone. Not because it's ok to attack people you don't agree with but specifically because they are choosing to protest in the most provocative way.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Probably...

anonymous skiddie detected.

Nah, I've never used a downloaded script (although I have written a few, mostly SQL for admins).

Also, I don't think corporations have secret lairs. I think they have VERY public lairs and I think they buy politicians of all stripes in order to maintain effective control.

But hey, you want to call people "skiddies" which is short for script kiddies - I suggest the script is yours, you 1st-line support drone. "Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

Have fun with that.

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Bronze badge

Re: Probably...(@Ian Yates)

I am inclined to agree with you in regards to WBC, but if their hate-filled, provocative speech in search of assault an d the subsequent lawsuits counts as free speech, so should Anonymous's hate-filled provocative speech in search of lulz.

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@swarthy

given freedom of speech is commonly extended to cover acts such as flag burning \ bible burning \ standing on flags as expressions of free speech, you may be onto something :-)

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Headmaster

Re: Probably...

fixed it for you

WBC are inbreed [1] scum and trolls of the highest order

[1] All members of the extended Fred Phelps[2] family.

[2] They call me _Mr_ Phelps.... They do like fuck.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Probably...

"because its illegal to be racist or homophobic etc here."

50% true. Racist is racial discrimination. Homophobia is an irrational fear of homosexuality. It is illegal to discriminate, not to suffer an irrational fear.

People keep getting the phobia bit wrong: It's been used as an excuse to discriminate and that undermines the effect of a phobia and the understanding and acceptance that phobias exist.

WBC are not homophobic. They are aggressively anti-homosexual. They are hate mongers. They are attention seekers and opportunists.

I am homophobic. It is the result of years of harassment and abuse during my childhood. It is something I have learned to manage, and I would rather avoid situations where it might become a problem than to cause others upset as a result of it. I also happen to support equal rights for homosexuals: I truly believe in treating people as people as far as is practicable. I am most certainly not a hate monger, nor do I agree with discrimination.

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FAIL

Re: Probably...

@AC 08:55:

"Those decisions are for the democratically elected government and the judicial system."

As I understand the US legal system, it is the exact opposite. The right to free speech is the right to NOT have the government make that decision.

Their right to free speech does not mean they can demand or expect that having pissed others off, those others are not allowed to drown out their speech.

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Boffin

Re: Probably...

If the WBC has the right to form a group to attack funerals, anyone else has a right to form a group to permanently defend those funerals. Sauce for the goose, eh?

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Boffin

Re: Probably...

There shouldn't be "proper channels" as regards the Interwebs, Ian - that's what that ITU thing was all about LAST week.

As for the posting of personal information, there is a proper way at least in the US: post it. It was approved by the US Federal Courts previously in posting the names and addresses of physicians who perform abortions, on a site called "The Nuremberg Files." See http://www.stanford.edu/class/cs181/handouts/14-NurembergFiles.pdf . Anonymous has no less rights than the WBC.

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Silver badge

Re: Probably...

Perhaps, but then again there would be no reason for Anonymous to do anything if the press just decided to shut up completely about mad people like these. Give them no "space" at all, and they do not exist. Better than a bullet in the head.

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Re: Probably...

The Patriot Guard Riders is one of many groups who participate in anti-WBC activities. Primarily composed of motorcycle enthusiasts, they freely offer their services of riding around a funeral, gunning their engines to drown out the megaphones of the WBC, and waving large American flags to block their signage. The American rock group Foo Fighters showed up at one rally and staged an impromptu performance on the back of a flat bed truck to drown out a WBC protest in Kansas City. Many groups have turned to outright mockery, such as zombie crawls or clown conventions.

Very curiously enough, if the WBC follows through with this protesting at the Newtown funerals, they're going to have an interesting counter-protest... from the Ku Klux Klan. While the group also opposes gays (as well as minorities and other groups), WBC upset them by protesting military funerals and at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day.

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Re: Probably...

"There shouldn't be "proper channels" as regards the Interwebs, Ian"

That wasn't what I was talking about. I meant proper channels with regards to free speech in the state; in this case, the USA.

It should be pretty clear that the WBC are purely abusing their right to free speech and there should be sensible ways of curbing that. IANAL, but I would think banning their right to protest in public, initially for a short time, would be a fair and just response.

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Puzzled

Though they seem to be a bunch of nutters they have a god-given (or constitution-given) right to protest. Fair enough, but I would have thought that a funeral would be considered to be a private occasion hence only those approved of by the families would have a right to attend. Or does the right to protest override even this?

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Re: Puzzled

The churches or other venues themselves are private and the WBC cunts don't enter. However, the streets outside the churches or cemeteries are public and the US Supreme Court ruled they have the right to spew their bile from those streets.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Puzzled

Right to protest throughout the world is a limited right. Protest can and should be prohibited on public order grounds when deemed necessary. There are well defined democratic means of doing so as well as a system of well defined checks to ensure that the system is not abused.

Ditto for gun control, etc. We do not live next to a wild frontier any more. The world is a very crowded place.

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Re: Puzzled

So, they get away with it by keeping to the public right of way. It's a shame that the police don't have the will or the wit to apply public order laws (if they exist) to keep them away. I hope such grossly uncivilised behaviour would, in the UK, be classed as conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace and lead to them being moved on.

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JDX
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Re: Puzzled

The UK does not have the same laws as the US... the whole constitution thing simply doesn't exist here.

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Re: Puzzled (@JDX)

Since Factortame there's been official recognition that certain statutes are of a constitutional nature with the effect that they're not subject to implicit repeal — the normal rule is that if one act says one thing and another says another then the later one wins because the earlier Parliament can't bind the later; however if the earlier is recognised as a constitutional statute by the court then it'll override the later unless the later explicitly says that the former doesn't apply.

Amongst those acts recognised as constitutional is the Human RIghts Act. Since the ECHR which the HRA incorporates protects freedom of speech in Article 10 technically, even in the UK, there are constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression. Though they're explicitly subject to concerns about national security, public safety, etc, etc, so a WBC-style organisation wouldn't be safe.

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Re: Puzzled

They certainly have legal rights to act like raging jackholes in public, but everyone else also has the legal right to counter protest, and hopefully this will teach them that the proper use of "free will" is often "free won't".

It's one of the rare situations where I wish their god wasn't make-believe, because these asshats would get front-row treatment in their own hell.

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Stop

Re: Puzzled

"everyone else also has the legal right to counter protest"

Someone's funeral is not the time or place for it, though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Puzzled

AC with the radio transmitter from above here.

After looking through the Anonset channel last night, inbetween the discussions of hacking and loldongs, a promiment idea was one of a silent counter-protest. Following them around with V masks, not saying anything, just being classically Anon-creepy.

Oh, and maybe stroking strap-on banana-penises in simulated gay sex acts, but yes. Generally not being loud.

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Thumb Up

I'm very much looking forward to these two "organizations" (for lack of a better word) beating the living hell out of each other, legally, technologically, and in any other way possible.

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I noted that Anonymous said they would spare no enjoyment... the WBC's hate videos are a hoot and look they they had a lot of fun making them, using the pastiches of the same popular culture that they claim to attack.

Loius Theroux and Keith Allen have both visited them... Theroux did better, since they couldn't quite work them out.

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Pint

Beer and pretzels all 'round. This should be much better than the Apple/Samsung shenanigans.

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Holmes

My money's on the techies...

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Anonymous Coward

What I wish would happen to WBC

What I wish would happen to WBC is both consistent with Free Speech, and with the Bible which they ever-so-love to thump.

Shunning.

Every business should say "Sorry, we reserve the right to refuse to serve anybody, and we refuse to serve you. You are not welcome on our property, you are trespassing, you have been formally notified of the same, if you remain I will call the cops and have you arrested for trespass on private property, if you want to sue here's my lawyer, and I'll file counter-charges of barratry and request the Bar association disbar your attorney. BEGONE."

Perfectly legal. Doesn't violate their rights of freedom of speech. Has precedent in the Bible. Let's see how long they can go without any support from society - no groceries, no health care, no service on their vehicles or homes, nothing.

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Thumb Up

Re: What I wish would happen to WBC

One slight amendment there, medical ethics mean it shouldn't apply to health care - you can't demand that a doctor refuse to treat a patient. Otherwise, definitely yes.

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Re: What I wish would happen to WBC

I wish that their prophecy comes true, and they move to Israel. As Loius Threoux (who when meeting the WBC had not long come back from meeting Ultra-Zionist Settlers in Israel- total nutters) noted with sublime understatement: "Oh, that will be interesting..."

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JDX
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Re: What I wish would happen to WBC

Although finding out someone is in the WBC without breaking any laws would have to be followed.

Anyway, surely the WBC ARE widely shunned?

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Re: What I wish would happen to WBC....Shunning

Is fine for this life, but for the afterlife:

First off, I expect to get a shitload of downvotes for this, so go ahead, vote me down.

It is judgment day, the "Day of Reckoning" (aka the day "you meet your maker"), and a WBC member approached the "Pearly Gates"[1] and expects entrance to Heaven.

Instead, the voice of God bellows out: "Who the hell is that?"

St. Peter replies: "It is a member of Westboro Baptist Church".

God replies: "Westboro Baptist Church, aren't those the meshugge that hates gays?"

St. Peter replies that they are.

"Hmmmm!" God says, "I have considered exactly what their eternal reward will be."

"What is their eternal reward" asks St. Peter.

"Send them straight to HELL!!!!" bellows God. "Lucifer will make sure that they truly get what they

deserve."

The Westboro Baptist Church member sees a flash of light, and suddenly it is hotter than hell.

"OOPS!" The Westboro Baptist Church member says to themself, "I think this IS hell!!!!!"

Lucifer notes the newest arrival, and says: "Guess what all, I have a new BITCH!!!!! Bring it to me!!!"

A group of demons grab the Westboro Baptist Church member by the arms and legs, and drags it toward the Devil himself. Lucifer looks down at the Westboro Baptist Church member, and spits in its face.

"We may be evil", he says, "but there is a line we do not cross. When it comes to spouting your brand of lies, and to claim that the deaths of innocent children, are the result of 'failing to heed the word of God', and not the work of a sick individual; you PISS ME OFF!!!!!"

Suddenly the demons in hell burst in hysterical laughter. One demon says: "Show it how pissed off you really are!"

With that, Lucifer pisses in the face of the Westboro Baptist Church member, to the rancorous laughter of the assembled demons. One demon says to Lucifer, "in the modern vernacular, would you say that those people SUCK!"

"You just gave me a good idea." Looking down at the Westboro Baptist Church member, he continues "Get down on your knees and smd[2] for the rest of eternity."

To the demons he says: "Feel free to join in any time you want."

It should be clear to anyone, that I consider these peoplepieces of shit, the most despicable humans walking the earth, and nearly as evil as Hitler and the Third Reich. While, I don't approve of the tactics of Anonymous, here, I can be persuaded to make an exception, these people deserve it.

[1] Not to be confused with Billy Gates. (The IT angle here.)

[2] 'smd' - Politely expressed as "perform oral sex on me".

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