‘We’re not attacking Westboro Baptist Church’ - Anonymous
Anonymous has claimed the Westboro Baptist Church, the extremist group known for picketing funerals, posted an open letter against their church under Anonymous' banner as a publicity stunt.
On Sunday, the loose online hacktivist group behind the pro-WikiLeaks DDoS attacks on Amazon and PayPal allegedly sent an open letter to the Westboro Baptist Church.
The letter said that if it did not stop its 2011 protest campaign, it would attack their websites.
The church sent out its own open letter, telling the online hacktivist group to “bring it.”
“A puddle of pimple-faced nerds organised under the cowardly banner of ‘Anonymous’ claim they plan to hack Westboro's websites … Bad miscalculation, girls!” said the letter.
“Let us tell you how this will go: rebels will build a full head of steam based on false hope; the media will predictably do much breathless anticipating while giving another tsunami of coverage to Westboro's message; God will defeat your council; your efforts will fail.”
Anonymous denies letter
However, Anonymous claimed the Westboro Baptist Church sent the letter in its name in an attempt to gain publicity.
“You thought you could play with Anonymous. You observed our rising notoriety and thought you would exploit our paradigm for your own gain,” said the group in a press release.
“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 hacktivist group said that, along with looking for more attention, the Westboro Baptist Church wanted to lure DDoS attackers into a “honeypot.”
“They've got their ports wide open to harvest IPs to sue. Don't DDoS, and boycott Operation Westboro,” warned Anonymous.
Anonymous also noted that, due to the nature of the loose group, just because something is posted on the site AnonNews doesn’t mean they are all in agreement. Of course, this puts a question mark on this press release, though it claims 20 members wrote the release.
The hacktivist group said it had "more pressing matters" to deal with and is focusing on operations in support of protests in Libya.
Westboro Baptist Church
The Westboro Baptist Church is an independent group, which has protested the Jewish community, homosexuality and US soldiers.
They’ve gained a notorious reputation thanks to their protests at funerals, including those of soldiers who died while fighting in Iraq and the funeral of a man who was beaten to death because he was gay.
They also attempted to picket at the funeral of nine-year-old Christina Green, who died during the 2011 Tucson shooting when US Representative Gabrielle Giffords was attacked. As a result, the state of Arizona introduced an emergency bill to ban protests within 300 feet of a funeral.