Anonymous begins anti-brutality campaign after Anaheim shootings
July 25, 2012
Only days after officers with the Anaheim Police Department opened fire killing two men in just two days, members of the hacktivism collective Anonymous are asking people across the globe to ring in and condemn the cops.
Self-proclaimed members of the loose-knit Anonymous collective have started a campaign to address the amounting allegations of police brutality coming out of Anaheim, California. In a YouTube video and bulletin circulated on the Web on Wednesday this week, some Anons say that the rest of America need to let their opposition to these ongoing policies known.
“We want to inform the citizens of the world that the United States is setting the flames of revolution,” the message begins. “In Anaheim, police shot protesters and bystanders including kids who did nothing wrong. We, Anonymous, are calling yet again to the citizens of the United States, to rise up in unison, and defeat this government which values no lives nor freedom.”
Anonymous has called for support before for a number of causes, including other allegations of police brutality that have occurred in other cities across California. The 2009 death of Oscar Grant at the hands of an officer with the Bay Area Rapid Transit police generated country-wide protests, and the city’s attempts to seize service for cell phones users during a demonstration in remembrance of Grant last year spawned a separate campaign against law enforcement in the San Francisco area. . Now Anonymous is setting their sights down the state, though, insisting that others join them to speak out against the Anaheim PD.
“Do it for the safety of your families, your homes and your future generations,” the group asks. “The fate of America is in your hands. Do you wish to be oppressed further, or do you wish to obtain freedom and peace?”
“The choice is yours. Let beat the drums of war. Operation Anaheim, engaged.”
When the video and bulletin were posted to the Web on Wednesday, Anaheim had already experienced four consecutive days of massive protests, with several more expected throughout the week.
Only days earlier, several online accounts associated with Anonymous circulated another bulletin that they hope will help raise awareness of another group: the Westboro Baptist Church. Under the banner of #OpFuckWBC, some members of Anonymous are asking for help in eradicating the Topeka, Kansas-based religious group that has become world renowned for picketing the funeral services of iconic American figures.
Led by Pastor Fred Phelps, the WBC has made headlines for their anti-homosexual, anti-American slogans and picket signs that they’ve used during memorial services for Michael Jackson, Steve Jobs and Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old gay man whose 1998 murder kick started a massive campaign for LGBT rights. This time around a WBC-led campaign to protest outside a memorial service for the victims of the recent Aurora, Colorado theater shooting has prompted hacktivists to ask for the help of others in ending the church once and for all.
“I think it’s obvious why most people dislike, even DESPISE Westboro Baptist Church,” begins a statement posted on Pastebin.com this week. From there, the anonymous author asks other opponents of the WBC to put an end to the organization.
“They have hurt too many people, and letting this go on without any action being taken is not okay,” the message continues. “While, yes, Freedom of Speech is the First Amendment — there are ways to violate it. Which WBC partakes in by: slander; defamation; libel; harassment; verbal abuse; threats.”
“They are destroying lives.”
Members of the Anonymous collective orchestrated a counter protest earlier this week to keep WBC members from demonstrating against the memorial services for victims of the Aurora massacre. According to the latest communiqué, though, those actions should be taken to the Web. Although the author encourages critics of the church to continue protesting them in real life situations, methods of making their mark over the Web are outlined as well.
“If you can hack, hack their website,” the post asks. “If you can DOS, take down their website,” referring to a denial-of-service attack — an online protest of sorts that can temporarily cripple a webpage.
“Show Westboro Baptist Church that we will ultimate end their reign of hatred.”
The Anaheim Police Department website is vulnerable to SQL injection (arguable the easiest way to hack a website) and the admin page is vulnerable to brute force attacks. It’s safe to say the site has already been hacked.