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We saw a threat purportedly made by hacker group Anonymous against Westboro Baptist Church, and a quick, taunting response from WBC. However, a new “press release” by Anonymous, posted Sunday, Feb. 20, states that the whole thing was a hoax, perpetrated by WBC for publicity and IP harvesting reasons.
The initial “open letter” said that if WBC did not stop their demonstrations and pickets against the funerals of soldiers and other such controversial acts, Anonymous would take down their sites with DDoS attacks. WBC says soldiers are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan because of the “leniency” shown toward the LGBT community by the U.S. The church has gone so far as to threaten to picket funerals such as nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green’s, one of the Tucson shooting victims, as well as applauding the acts of the Tucson shooter.
These acts have led many on the right to distance themselves from the group.
However, on Sunday, the group denied that the original post was from them, with another post at the AnonNews website. They said that the original open letter to WBC was a fraud, and that WBC was baiting Anonymous, to harvest IP addresses in order to sue, and also to harvest publicity, as well.
What’s interesting is that anyone can post to AnonNews, even as a “press release.” Those entries are all moderated for relevancy, however, before being made public. So was the first open letter truly WBC baiting Anonymous, or simply some offshoot of the group who really wanted to take down the church?
Due to the loose nature of the group, it’s hard to say. The new “press release” said to the Media:
Just because it was posted on AnonNews doesn’t mean every single Anon is in agreement, in fact in this case it doesn’t even mean a single Anon is in agreement. Next time, if you could give us a few minutes to put all our paperwork in order, we’ll be sure to let you know what we’re up to.
This particular “release” was reportedly written by 20 members at once, so that would, if it is correct, lend a little more validity to the post.
It makes sense, when you think about it, that Anonymous wouldn’t target WBC, as the group typically defends free speech and open government. One example is the incidents when the group targeted some organizations and companies who targeted Wikileaks.
In fact, the new letter said:
When Anonymous says we support free speech, we mean it. We count Beatrice Hall among our Anonymous forebears: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
The letter did say that Anonymous would be back “to play (with WBC) another day.” They “promised.”