Vince Gill vs Westboro: He Wins

Westboro Baptist Church, aka the Frothin’ Phelpses, decided to protest a Vince Gill concert in Kansas City because he’s (OMG!) divorced and remarried. But the Grammy-award winning singer took matters into his own hands by going up to the protestors because he wanted

to see what hate looked like.

Gill is married to Christian/pop singer Amy Grant. He told the WBC protestors that they were lucky their signs didn’t say anything about his wife, and pointed out that they were pretty far from Jesus’ teachings before asking if they were Phelpses or

like the C team.

Foo Fighters Serenade Westboro Baptist Church

 

Before their concert at Spring Center in Kansas City, Missouri this weekend, the Foo Fighters donned costumes and jumped aboard a flatbed truck to show the Westboro Baptist Church some love–punk rock style.

 

Anonymous Hits Syrian Govt Site: “World Stands with You Against Brutal Regime”

Anonymous computer hacktivists  landed on the Syrian government’s website (Monday morning 8/8/11 in Syria) http://mod.gov.sy/ leaving their logo and a message to the Syrian people in English and Arabic:

To the Syrian people: The world stands with you against the brutal regime of Bashar Al-Assad. Know that time and history are on your side – tyrants use violence because they have nothing else, and the more violent they are, the more fragile they become. We salute your determination to be non-violent in the face of the regime’s brutality, and admire your willingness to pursue justice, not mere revenge. All tyrants will fall, and thanks to your bravery Bashar Al-Assad is next.
To the Syrian military: You are responsible for protecting the Syrian people, and anyone who orders you to kill women, children, and the elderly deserves to be tried for treason. No outside enemy could do as much damage to Syria as Bashar Al-Assad has done. Defend your country – rise up against the regime! – Anonymous
The hack falls in the middle of Ramadan. It was up from at least 9:30 pm west coast time and is still up at press time. UPDATE: By 12:30 am west coast time, the Syrian government’s site was not responding, either because of high traffic or because the government had pulled it down.

The logo of a torso with a question mark instead of head explicates the idea that Anonymous is a headless (dis)organization; there is no leader, as well as reference the Sixties motto “Question Authority.” Anonymous came out of the 4Chan pages, a NSFW image sharing site, and began their activism staging global masked protests against  Scientology and that organization’s abuses of civil rights. Since the success of that campaign, the WhyWeProtest.net aspect of Anonymous has expanded to embrace the uprisings in Iran and fight against censorship and for free exchange of information. Many also take issue with what they see as oppressive copyright restrictions.

 

Anonymous hacks in support of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange included taking over the non-transactional pages of MasterCard, Visa and PayPal to protest the institutions’ refusal to process payments designated for Assange’s defense. The Swedish government website was defaced this year by Anonymous in support of Assange. Other government sites including those of Maylasia, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, and Egypt have also been attacked. And the Westboro Baptist Church was hacked.  Basically a bunch of people in an IRC chat room will discover they have an affinity on certain issues, recruit some other like-minded folks and go do something.  The internet–with the right tools–allows anyone to be anonymous/Anonymous.
Recently LulzSec/AntiSec, which emerged from Anonymous, have hacked into government and law enforcement websites, as well websites of security companies such as HB Gary, as well as Sony. A Portuguese man was arrested then released in the LulzSec investigation, while a member of the anti-Scientology branch of Anonymous in Sweden was mistakenly named by internet vigilantes as  Topiary, the alleged the head of LulzSec/AntiSec, after the arrest of a teenager in the Shetland Islands.  The English teen has been charged, resulting in a retaliatory hack of 70 law enforcement websites, compromising 10 gigabytes of information:

We are doing this in solidarity with Topiary and the Anonymous PayPal LOIC defendants as well as all other political prisoners who are facing the gun of the crooked court system.

The Syrian hack–which follows the hacks of other repressive states in the Middle East–is a major move for a  branch/few people/many (?) Anonymous, showing they mean srs bsns when it comes to freedom and democracy, and that for this bunch, their hacktivies are focused on more that just teh lulz. Other Anonymous activities include supporting the current large scale demonstrations in Israel and Chile, and  encouraging voting in Argentina’s elections last week.

(for a good, in depth look at Anonymous, check out this edition of The Stream from late June of this year. The Anonymous segment begins at 22:48 and includes a live interview with an Anon who explains the Anonymous philosophy and the hows and whys of Anonymous political involvement, as a well as discussion about new forms of democracy evolving out of social media and cyberspace.)


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