Westboro Baptist Church

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In a strange turn of events, news outlets are reporting Anonymous, the same ‘group’ (or loose association depending on who you listen to) responsible for the HB Gary fiasco is now threatening the Westboro Baptist Church. Or is it? Suspicions are surfacing the threat was posted by Westboro Baptist Church itself. I have an interesting observation regarding the & symbol.

First, this is the press release by ‘anonymous’ which contains some peculiar uses of the & as illustrated below.

  1. Free Speech & the Advocate of the People
  2. chauvinists & religious zealots
  3. attention & in the name of religion
  4. Freedom of Speech & Freedom of Information
  5. intimidation and mental & emotional abuse
  6. Cease & desist your protest campaign
  7. Kansas, & close your public Web sites.
  8. propaganda & detestable doctrine
  9. conduction & promotion
  10. bigoted operations & doctrines

Note the significant use of & – Westboro Baptist Church is a fascinating group to me. I feel they represent a test of our dedication to free speech, the first amendment’s Gethsemane so to speak. Something about the post sounds like the WBC. For as long as it remains up, look at WBC’s reply. Very curious. Anonymous posted a reply to the WBC reply, note the difference in word usage.

Now look at this sentence:

You have condemned the men and women who serve, fight, and perish in the armed forces of your nation; you have prayed for and celebrated the deaths of young children, who are without fault; you have stood outside the United States National Holocaust Museum, condemning the men, women, and children who, despite their innocence, were annihilated by a tyrannical embodiment of fascism and unsubstantiated repugnance.

Note the super-run-on-super-comma sentence structure with two semi-colons. This is the same type of sentence structure used by WBC. There has been some research in the past to identify unique aspects of an individual’s writing style for author identification. I’m not overly impressed by its application in general because anyone who is aware of it can alter their writing style to suit. However, if you are not aware of it you can be betrayed by your own writing style. It is contended in the anonymous second reply that WBC has left their ports open to collect IPs for legal action.  That would be an interesting outcome.

Personally, I think the “Operation Westboro” call to arms sounds remarkably like Westboro Baptist Church themselves, and any evidence of a WBC honey pot only strengthens that view.

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