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In MySpace Suicide Case, Judge May Exclude Suicide from Trial November 11, 2008

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Wall Street Journal – Law Blog, 11 Nov 2008

n the case we’ve come to call the ‘MySpace suicide’ case, how important is the ’suicide’ part? It appears that U.S. District Judge George Wu believes it’s not critical, and is leaning toward excluding the evidence of how 13 year-old Megan Meier hanged herself.

“I don’t necessarily think the suicide is relevant to the crime charged,” Wu said, according to the AP, adding he thought details of Meier’s death would unfairly prejudice the jury. He said he planned to announce his final decision Friday. The trial is set to kick off next Tuesday.

(For past LB coverage of the case, click here.)

Exclusion of the suicide would, of course, be a setback to the government. It would also highlight the divergence between the facts and the law. As Dean Steward, the lawyer for defendant Lori Drew, told us last week, the trial will be in two parts: the legal side, such as what the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act means and whether it can be triggered by violating the MySpace terms of service; and the factual side, the tragic death of a 13 year-old girl and the question of who caused it.

In what strikes us as another interesting twist to the upcoming trial, Steward attempted to waive Drew’s right to a jury trial, but prosecutors refused to assent to the waiver, resulting automatically, according to the AP report, in a jury trial. The prosecutors’ refusal to accept the jury waiver likely came as a surprise to Steward. Last week, he told the Law Blog he suspected the prosecutors would not oppose the jury waiver for fear of offending Judge Wu.

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Los Angeles Court: Restraining Order For Member Of Anonymous October 27, 2008

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Best Syndication, 27 October 2008

LOS ANGELES: A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Friday issued a restraining order against Donald Myers, a member of a cyber-terrorist group known as Anonymous. The order requires Myers to stay at least 50 yards away from a female Scientologist he stalked and harassed. The order also requires Myers to stay away from the L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition at the Church of Scientology International building in Hollywood where the victim works, and stay 50 yards away from the woman’s home. The restraining order lasts for 3 years unless renewed.

Myers was found to have engaged in acts of harassment against the young woman, after video evidence was submitted to the court showing Myers stalking her, taunting her with sexual slurs, and refusing repeated requests to leave her alone. Myers was also ordered by the court to turn over any firearms in his possession to the police.

This is the second restraining order issued against a member of Anonymous this week. On October 21, a Boston Court ordered self-styled Anonymous leader Gregg Housh to stay 100 yards away from the Boston Church of Scientology. Housh was placed on probation for one year with the threat from the Court that if he violates the restraining order or any other law, he faces a year in prison.

Anonymous has been implicated in numerous criminal acts, including bomb threats, death threats, vandalism and computer crimes which are being investigated by law enforcement.

On October 17, The U.S. Department of Justice filed federal criminal charges against New Jersey Anonymous member Dmitriy Guzner related to the January 2008 attempted destruction of websites owned by the Church of Scientology. Guzner has agreed to plead guilty to felony charges that could send him to prison for ten years.

In November 2007, Anonymous member Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot and killed seven students, a nurse and a teacher at Jokela High School in Finland before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life. Prior to these acts Auvinen stated on a website used by Anonymous that he would do this all “in the name of Anonymous.” He was immediately encouraged to carry out his threats by other members of the group, who afterwards called him a “hero.”

“Law enforcement and the courts are seeing through the false image that the cyber-terrorist group Anonymous tries to portray to the media and are sending a clear message to everyone – if Anonymous breaks the law, Anonymous will suffer the legal consequences” said Karin Pouw of the Church of Scientology International. She also said that “the Church will never be intimidated by the criminal acts committed by Anonymous members and will continue to work with law enforcement to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice for the protection of the Church and all groups targeted by these terrorists.”

“Battling Scientology” Follow-Up October 25, 2008

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The Phoenix, 24 October 2008

Depending on whom you ask, Massachusetts-based protest organizer Gregg Housh had a major victory – or a significant loss – in Boston Municipal Court this Wednesday. As reported in The Phoenix this past week in the feature “Battling Scientology,” Housh faced charges of harassment, disturbing the peace, and disturbing religious worship for his involvement with the picket group Anonymous and his actions against the Boston Church of Scientology.

According to an Anonymous press statement that circulated earlier this afternoon: “On October 22nd Boston Municipal Court dismissed the charge of criminal harassment against ‘Anonymous’ anti-Scientology activist Gregg Housh, pending an order for the two parties to not approach each other.”

Boston Church of Scientology attorney Marc LaCasse was quick to comment that Housh did not get off so easily. “Gregg Housh – under oath – admitted that the [evidence presented against him] was true. The document he signed is called ‘admission to sufficient facts.’ If it doesn’t get any clearer than that…”

Legally speaking, charges against Housh were not technically dismissed. Instead he agreed to a Continuance without a Finding (CWOF), which the Massachusetts Criminal Defense Resource Page explains as: “Under Massachusetts Criminal Laws, agreeing to a Continuance without a Finding is not the same as pleading guilty. Technically, it is an admission that “there are sufficient facts to find you guilty” of the charges. Pleading to a CWOF will happen at a pre-trial conference as part of a plea agreement, if your attorney can get the prosecutor to agree.” (For more about the legal side see this article from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly).

The good news is that all parties seem to be happy with the outcome. At least for now, it appears that Housh – who was placed on one year probation and who faces one year in prison if he enters within 100 yards of the Boston Church of Scientology on Beacon Street – avoided what promised to be a lengthy trial. On the other side, LaCasse says the outcome works for him: “My client simply wanted to be left alone.”

SCIENTOLOGY PROTESTER’S CASE CONTINUED WITHOUT FINDING October 23, 2008

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Suffolk District Attorney, 22 Oct 2008

A Boston Municipal Court judge today continued for one year the case against a Woburn man alleged to have disturbed proceedings at the Back Bay Church of Scientology earlier this year, and will dismiss the case if the defendant abides by certain conditions during that time.

Judge Thomas C. Horgan imposed a one-year continuance without a finding in the case against GREGG HOUSH (D.O.B. 10/17/76), who had been charged with disturbing an assembly of worship and disturbing the peace. If Housh stays away from the Back Bay headquarters of the Church of Scientology and its expected new headquarters in Boston’s South End, and if he does not re-offend in any other manner, those charges will be dismissed. If he does not abide by those terms, Housh’s case could be put back on track for trial.

Also in today’s proceedings, Suffolk prosecutors affirmatively moved to dismiss an additional charge of criminal harassment against Housh. After a review of the evidence, prosecutors determined they could not meet their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt on this charge and could not in good faith move forward with it. Had the case gone to trial, prosecutors would have introduced evidence and testimony to show that Housh and others entered the Church of Scientology’s Beacon Street building in a boisterous manner during a March 1 protest, disturbing the proceedings and alarming those inside. Attorney Michael Dlott represented Housh.

Teen admits to Scientology attack October 23, 2008

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Legalbrief Today, 22 Oct 2008

A teenager hacker has admitted carrying out a cyber attack that crashed Church of Scientology Web sites as part of a campaign by a mysterious underground group.

According to a report on the News24 site, Dmitriy Guzner, of New Jersey, will plead guilty to computer hacking for his role in launching a distributed denial of service attack against Scientology sites earlier this year, the Justice Department said. According to information filed in Federal Court in Los Angeles, Guzner described himself as a member of a shadowy Internet-based group known as ‘Anonymous’ that has carried out a series of protests against Scientology.

Lori Drew’s lawyers seek to toss cyber-bully case October 22, 2008

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TradingMarkets.com, 21 Oct 2008

Lawyers representing Lori Drew, the mother who is accused of using the social networking site MySpace to help cyber-bully a teen who then killed herself, filed a motion Monday seeking to throw out the indictment against her.

Prosecutors said Drew and others schemed in 2006 to humiliate Megan Meier, 13, a neighbor in Dardenne Prairie, using a fake teenage boy’s identity on MySpace.

Megan was first a friend, then a “rival” of Drew’s daughter, prosecutors have said.

Federal and state prosecutors in the St. Louis area said they found no charge to apply against Drew, but the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, where MySpace is based, obtained indictments accusing her of one count of conspiracy and three counts of illegally accessing protected computers.

Prosecutors say Drew violated MySpace’s terms of service, which prohibit lying when registering, soliciting information from someone under 18 and harassing other users.

In the motion filed Monday, her attorneys argue that the government must do more than simply allege that the terms of service were violated.

“The fatal flaw in the government’s case is that MySpace knew perfectly well at all time exactly what it was doing,” the motion says. “MySpace knew that it was providing an account to users who might or might not comply with the Terms of Service. Most users violate Terms of Service frequently, as MySpace is surely aware.”

Drew’s attorneys also argue that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which Drew is accused of violating, should not be used to punish “everything bad that happens on the Internet.” They also contend the indictment should be tossed because no theft was committed and the law Drew is being charged under requires a theft, as well as that recent legislation implies the law does not apply when the defendant and victim are in the same state.

It was not clear late Monday when a judge could rule on the motion.

NEW JERSEY MAN CHARGED WITH ATTACKING CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY WEBSITES IN THE NAME OF ‘ANONYMOUS’ October 18, 2008

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United States Attorney’s Office
Central District of California

Thom Mrozek
Public Affairs Officer

October 17, 2008

NEW JERSEY MAN CHARGED WITH ATTACKING CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY WEBSITES IN THE NAME OF ‘ANONYMOUS’

LOS ANGELES – A New Jersey man was charged today for his role in an attack on Church of Scientology websites in January 2008 that rendered the websites unavailable.

Dmitriy Guzner, 18, of Verona, New Jersey, has agreed to plead guilty to computer hacking for his role in the distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack against the Scientology websites. A DDOS attack occurs where a large amount of malicious Internet traffic is directed at a website or a set of websites. The target websites are unable to handle the high volume of Internet traffic and therefore become unavailable to legitimate users trying to reach the sites.

According to the criminal information filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Guzner participated in the attack because he considered himself a member of an underground group called “Anonymous.”  “Anonymous” has led protests against the Church of Scientology at various locations across the country, and in January 2008 posted a video on YouTube which announced a new offensive against Scientology.

Once he pleads guilty, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks in federal court in New Jersey, Guzner faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force in Los Angeles. The agencies involved in the investigation were the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation.

#####

Release No. 08-140 – original here: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/pressroom/pr2008/140.html

‘Anonymous’ Member Unmasked, Charged With Web Attack on Scientology October 18, 2008

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Wired Blog, 17 Oct 2008

An 18-year-old New Jersey man agreed to plead guilty to federal computer hacking charges Friday for participating in a denial-of-service attack against Church of Scientology websites, as part of collective of online troublemakers known as “Anonymous.”

Dmitriy Guzner is charged with a single felony count of unauthorized impairment of a protected computer for the January distributed denial-of-service attack. He faces a likely sentence of 12 to 18 months in prison based on stipulations in his plea agreement, which also obliges him to pay $37,500 in restitution. (more)

Wikipedia (watch for accuracy…) on Stevenson High School Terrorist Threat October 18, 2008

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adlai_E._Stevenson_High_School_District_125

Bombing threat

On October 30, 2007, two students, Jeremie Dalin, 17 and Dennis Oh, 17, posted a threat against Stevenson High School on the 4chan website.[7][8][9][10] Oh made a screenshot or photograph of the threat and then created a web page dedicated to the threat.[11][12] The FBI traced the message, Dalin’s home address, when contacted by the authorities he claimed it was a bad joke and did not intend on harming anyone.[13] The threat caused approximately 500 students to miss a school day, which happened to be Halloween. Dalin was due back in court in February.[14]

In an article published in the Daily Herald on June 12, 2008, Jeremie Dalin was convicted “for falsely making a terrorist threat” and faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced in mid-July.[15]

Oregon Shield Law Protects Anonymous Commenter October 8, 2008

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Citizen Media Law Project, 8 Oct 2008

Last week, an Oregon state judge ruled that Oregon’s media shield law, found at Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 44.510 to 44.540, protected the identity of an anonymous commenter who posted allegedly defamatory statements on the Portland Mercury and Willamette Week websites.

According to the Portland Mercury, staff writer Amy Ruiz wrote a post in January 2008 about Portland mayoral candidate Sho Dozono. In the comments section, a site user going by “Ronald” posted negative comments about Dozono’s ties to a local businessman, Terry Beard. The same commenter allegedly posted similar statements on the Willamette Week site. Beard filed a motion to compel the two online newspapers to give up “Ronald’s” IP address before an Oregon state court. The two competitors teamed up to oppose the discovery request and won.

Interestingly, Judge James E. Redman of Clackamas County Court did not treat “Ronald” as a confidential source. Section 44.520(a) of the Oregon Revised Statutes protects from disclosure “[t]he source of any published or unpublished information obtained by the person in the course of gathering, receiving or processing information for any medium of communication to the public.” Instead, the court relied on section 44.520(b), which protects “[a]ny unpublished information obtained or prepared by the person in the course of gathering, receiving or processing information for any medium of communication to the public.” Section 44.510(1) defines “information” as including “any written, oral, pictorial or electronically recorded news or other data.” The court characterized “Ronald’s” IP address as data.

On the question of whether the newspapers obtained this data in the course of newsgathering, Judge Redman drew a line based on the relevance of the blog comment to the post it’s attached to:

If the comment had been totally unrelated to the blog post, then the argument could be made that the Portland Mercury did not receive it in the “course of gathering, receiving, or processing information for any medium of communication to the public.” (source)

Concluding that the IP address fit within the shield law’s “broad statutory language,” the court denied Beard’s motion to compel.

Perhaps we’re seeing an emerging trend. In September, a Montana judge ruled that his state’s shield law protected the identity of an anonymous commenter to the Billings Gazette. (See my post for details.) Previously, anonymous commenters and service providers had relied almost exclusively on First Amendment protection for anonymous speech to block these kinds of discovery requests.

Gov. Palin’s Alleged Hacker Indicted October 8, 2008

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Washington Post, 8 October 2008

A 20-year-old student at the University of Tennessee has been indicted for breaking into one of the email accounts of Gov. Sarah Palin and then posting screenshots of personal information obtained there to a public Web-site.

David Kernell, the son of a Democratic state lawmaker, was led into a Knoxville federal court wearing handcuffs and shackles on his ankles today and was released without posting bond, according to the Associated Press.

According to the indictment, Kernell broke into the account, gov.palin@yahoo.com, by using Yahoo’s password recovery tool. After researching and correctly answering a series of personal questions from Yahoo, Kernell was allowed to reset the password. He chose ‘popcorn,’ according to the indictment.

The personal information he discovered there included the email addresses of family members, pictures of family members and Gov. Palin’s address book for her Yahoo email account. It was posted on http://www.4CHAN.org.

Learning of an investigation, Kernell “removed, altered, concealed and covered up files on his laptop computer,” the indictment says.

Trial is set for Dec. 16. He faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Cyber crime fighters September 26, 2008

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Concordia Journal, 25 September 2008

In the spring of 2007, the government of Estonia, a small independent Baltic state and former Soviet republic, made the decision to remove a Soviet war memorial from the city of Tallinn. The Russian government expressed its disapproval of the action.

Shortly thereafter, Estonia’s national IT network was subject to a cyber attack so intense and prolonged that it impacted the government’s ability to function. Web sites and servers of banks, broadcasters, newspapers and telecoms were also assaulted. The situation was so dire, that – after three weeks – NATO experts were called in to help.

While this type of cyber warfare is the extreme of cyber crime, there is no doubt that as people, business and the public sector have increased their online presence, so have criminals.

Over a year ago, Mourad Debbabi (Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering and Concordia University Research Chair Tier I in Information Systems Security) was invited to a meeting that included Canadian law enforcement officials, as well representatives of the banking, telecommunications, financial and public sectors.

“I was the only academic present,” he said.

The purpose of the meeting was to develop a national organisation to fight cyber crime. One of the speakers, an agent from the FBI, described a relatively new organization in the US called the National Cyber Forensics Training Alliance (NCFTA).

The NCFTA is neutral collaborative venue where critical confidential information about cyber incidents can be shared discreetly among industry, academia and law enforcement. The Alliance facilitates advanced training, promotes security awareness to reduce cyber-vulnerability, and conducts research in cyber forensics.

At the end of the meeting, participants asked themselves if such an organization was required in Canada.

“The answer was a resounding, unanimous yes,” said Debbabi.

NCFTA Canada was formally launched in July 2008 with Concordia as its primary host. While the legalities of the collaborative effort are still in negotiation among the partners – which include Bell Canada, the Competition Bureau of Canada, Rogers Communications, and Microsoft Canada – technical operations are starting this fall.

Debbabi, whose research focuses on cyber forensics, explained that the mandate of the organization is quite broad.

“Cyber crime includes any criminal activity where computers or computer systems are either the tool or the target – child porn and exploitation, identity theft, hacking, fraud, and any kind illegal digital transaction.”

Partners will target reductions in and improved defense against activities such as SPAMming, phishing and denial of service attacks like those launched against organizations such as the Church of Scientology earlier this year.

Debbabi underlined that these types of attacks account for billions of lost dollars and uncountable hours of lost productivity each year.

He is currently serving as NCFTA Canada’s Vice-President and a member of the Board of Directors, where his role is to, “ oversee establishment of the organization, its operation and management, and student and research project supervision.”

He is pleased Concordia was chosen as the host institution because, “we have the largest concentration of researchers focused on IT Security and cyber forensics in Canada.”

CIISE offers a master’s degree in the area, which currently has more than 150 students.

Debbabi believes the partnership created through NCTFA will expand students’ access to real world training opportunities and industry’s access to emerging means of dealing with threats.

“As a researcher, I know when I give a forensic toolkit to cyber investigators for testing and evaluation, I will receive significant feedback which will help in the development of better tools. NCFTA Canada is really all about increasing our efficiency at fighting cyber crime. Alone, none of us can achieve much, together we are very much better.”

Finland school shooting: Police questioned and released suspect over YouTube video September 23, 2008

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Telegraph, 23 September 2008

A gunman who shot dead ten people at a school in Finland before killing himself had been questioned by police earlier this week over YouTube videos showing him at a shooting range, the country’s interior minister said.

Police were alerted to a clip posted on the video sharing website showing a young man wielding a handgun at a shooting range, Anne Holmlund said.

“Police reached him on Monday, Sept 22, and asked him to be interviewed regarding the shooting video,” Ms Holmlund said. He was later released.

She said the man arrested, identified by the school’s headmaster as Matti Juhani Saari, had a temporary permit for a .22 calibre pistol and that the permit had not been withdrawn.

Link: Video report on massacre

At 11am (800 GMT) today, a man stormed the vocational school in the town of Kauhajoki, 120 miles from Helsinki, in northwest Finland, firing “many shots” that left ten people dead. He died later in hospital after turning the gun on himself.

“Within a short space of time I heard several dozen rounds of shots, in other words it was an automatic pistol,” school janitor Jukka Forsberg told Finnish broadcaster YLE.

“I saw some female students who were wailing and moaning and one managed to escape out of the back door.”

“He also shot towards me, did not say anything and once the bullets started to whizz by I started running for my life.”

Finnish media said YouTube clips of a man firing a gun appeared to be linked to the shooting. In one of them, a young man wearing a leather jacket fires several shots in rapid succession with a handgun at what appears to be a shooting range.

Link: Shooting Range video by suspect Matti Saari

The posting was made five days before the shooting and the location was given as Kauhajoki. The posting included a message saying: “Whole life is war and whole life is pain. And you will fight alone in your personal war.”

Link: “You will die next” video by suspect Matti Saari

The shooting raised the spectre of the massacre at a Finnish high school in Jokela, north of Helsinki, less than a year ago.

On November 7, 2007, 18-year-old student Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot six students, the school’s headmistress and a nurse before turning his gun on himself.

Auvinen, who had posted footage foreshadowing the November 2007 massacre on YouTube, was a student at the school.

In the video, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, 18, described himself as a “social Darwinist” who would “eliminate all who I see unfit”.

Link: Report about Pekka-Eric Auvinen

The 2007 attack triggered a fierce debate about gun laws in the Nordic nation with deep-rooted traditions of hunting in the sub-Arctic wilderness.

With 1.6 million firearms in private hands, Finland is an anomaly in Europe, lagging behind only the US and Yemen in civilian gun ownership.

Oprah Winfrey Found Dead: Another Week, Another Hoax September 21, 2008

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The Post Chronical, 20 September 2008

Oprah Winfrey is not dead. There is yet again another rumor floating out in the gossipsphere that Oprah Winfrey has died.

“Oprah Winfrey, age 54, was found dead in her home residing in Chicago, Illinois at 8:21 AM on September 20, 2008. Local Police and the FBI are trying to keep it on the down low for now until further notice. From what has been reported thus far, she appears to have a bloody area around her eye, a bullet wound in her stomach and some cuts and bruises”

The fake article goes on to explain that Oprah was targeted because she criticized a certain website.Once again we have a rumor spreading like wildfire without one single confirmation be a credible source.

A similar death report hoax about Miley Cyrus happened on Sep, 6.

I think it’s a safe bet to file this under the category of ‘4chan shenanigans.’

Today, according to this blogger, this message appeared on 4chan.

“Many may not realize this, but we just may be the strongest, yet most unorganized group of people in the world. Impossible to track us. Our positions in the world vary person to person, but together, we are legion.

Let us take control, create “Joker-Like” chaos, this week has been a cute start, but I believe we can do more, much more. We are the new world order. The Illuminati are like children compared to our stature.

To put it simply, my point is.

Kill the Oprah.”

Without making any calls, our collective guess would be that Oprah is safe and sound. She is probably on the phone with Gail somewhere in Chicago, alive and well and still refusing to interview Sarah Palin.

We’ll keep you updated if this hoax turns out to be anything more.

What is Anonymous? September 5, 2008

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Anonymous traces back to 2004 as a group of computer gamers and aspiring hackers, harassing other computer users. Message and image boards [Internet forums that permit users to post images and messages together] such as “enturbulation.org,” “4chan,” “7chan,” “420chan,” “711chan” and other *chans continue to form the core online haunts for the group. The London Guardian described 4chan as “lunatic, juvenile …” Anonymous derives its inspiration from forbidden fascist literature, such as their reference to Mein Kampf and liberally uses symbols of hate to instill fear into people.


Anonymous traces back to 2004 as a group of computer gamers and aspiring hackers, harassing other computer users. Message and image boards [Internet forums that permit users to post images and messages together] such as “enturbulation.org,” “4chan,” “7chan,” “420chan,” “711chan” and other *chans continue to form the core online haunts for the group. The London Guardian described 4chan as “lunatic, juvenile …” Anonymous derives its inspiration from forbidden fascist literature, such as their reference to Mein Kampf and liberally uses symbols of hate to instill fear into people.

One of Anonymous’s resources is Encyclopedia Dramatic (ED), a sick parody of Wikipedia written in an abusive style. Its “humor” is thin veneer covering deeply-rooted hate speech. There is no justification for pages such as the pages “Ni***r Manual” that advocates regular beatings of African Americans, or their page describing the Holocaust as “good times” with graphic images of the death and destruction perpetrated during the Holocaust.

Coordinating their actions through these forums and image boards, particularly 4chan and enturbulation.org, Anonymous has flooded computers of MySpace users with viruses and pornographic pictures and has raided online gaming sites. Their actions are anti-Semitic or racist or some other manifestation of bigotry; when people object, members respond with telephone threats uttered by computer-generated voices or with malicious computer attacks.

Anonymous is a convenient facade for criminal activity on the Internet and in the real world. Behind that facade are people, some of whom literally, not just figuratively, hide behind masks as they vent their basest impulses while rationalizing that their anonymity frees them from responsibility for their acts.

In July 2007, Fox News aired a special report exposing the actions of Anonymous. The report covered an attack on a MySpace user, whose account had been “hacked” into by Anonymous, and plastered with images of gay pornography. The MySpace user also claimed a virus written by Anonymous hackers was sent to him and to ninety friends on his MySpace contact list, crashing thirty-two of his friends’ computers. The report also included “raids” on other Internet communities.

In response, Fox News computers were assaulted with massive attacks from multiple computer systems designed to overload Fox’s computers (i.e a DDoS attack – Distributed Denial of Service attack) and Anonymous issued an even bolder statement of their purpose than it had previously ever articulated.

“We are the face of chaos and the harborings [sic] of judgment. We’ll laugh in the face of tragedy. We’ll mock those who are in pain. We ruin the lives of other people simply because we can. A man takes out his aggression on the cat. We laugh. Hundreds die in a plane crash. We laugh. The nation mourns over a school shooting, we laugh. We’re the embodiment of humanity with no remorse, no caring, no love, or no sense of morality.”

In keeping with this “mission statement,” the Anonymous hit list has included MySpace, Fox News, the Epilepsy Foundation website, prominent hip-hop websites and many others. Their attack against the Church of Scientology is for the same purpose.

On January 17, 2008, “Anonymous” declared its intention to destroy the Church of Scientology.

Immediately following that declaration, Scientology churches, leaders, staff members, and parishioners were deluged by bomb threats, death threats, vandalism, harassment, attempts at intimidation, and systematic interference with their telephones, fax machines, and websites. Individual Scientologists were harassed and prevented from attending services at their churches. Hate speech and hate crimes became a coordinated activity, and the perpetrators hid their identities behind masks like common criminals and terrorists.

Anonymous has fueled religious hatred and intolerance by denigrating the Scientology religion and its founder.

Hate crimes of Anonymous against the Church of Scientology per the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles:

– Death threats against Scientologists and its ecclesiastical leaders

– Threats to destroy churches of Scientology by detonating bombs in churches in the United States

– Mailing of envelopes containing fake anthrax to 25 churches

– 41 death threats

– 56 bomb and arson threats

– 103 threats of other violence

– 40 incidents of vandalism, including an attempt to set fire to one of our churches in Los Angeles

– 3.6 million harassing emails and 141 million malicious hits against Church websites, in an attempt to bring down those sites.

Anonymous attacks against the Church of Scientology have resulted in multiple local law enforcement investigations and two federal investigations into the individuals behind the crimes, putting the matter rightfully in the hands of law enforcement for prosecution of their hate crimes.

Posted with approval of the author.