It was in 2008, during their inappropriately celebrated “War on Scientology,” that the hacker collective known as Anonymous first began using the phrase “We are Legion” in their communiques. Not being a Christian myself, it is usually hard for me to get too worked up over this sort of ham-fisted, pop-culture pseudo-Satanism. In most cases it is window dressing designed to distract people from the vapid and lazy “thought” that too many young people think is provocative. With Anonymous however, it’s different. Anonymous, often heralded as heroic defenders of freedom and transparency, have a history of activities that go beyond the realms of subversive or even revolutionary and are quite simply evil.
I first became aware of Anonymous in 2008 when I read about a case in which the group posted the address and phone number of a middle-aged couple they mistakenly believed were “pro-Scientology” hackers. The couple was inundated with death threats and feared for their lives:
John Lawson, who lives in Stockton, California with his wife Julia, began receiving threatening phone calls around 2 a.m. Saturday morning. He didn’t know why until THREAT LEVEL explained that a hacking group calling itself the g00ns (goons spelled with zeros, not goons with the letter o) posted his home address, phone number and cell numbers, as well as Julia’s Social Security number, online. The obscene and threatening calls have continued through Tuesday, according to Lawson.
The calls are just one small offshoot of an ongoing, larger attack on the Church of Scientology by a ragtag group of internet troublemakers who call themselves Anonymous. The group says it is targeting Scientology in part for its use of litigation to suppress unflattering documents on the internet.
Over the weekend, the g00ns thought they had caught a hacker who had busted into a server being used to help coordinate the online attacks and real world protests against Scientology. But Lawson says the callers have the wrong guy.
“I don’t even really know how to use a computer,” Lawson said.
His phone just keeps ringing, Lawson said, and when he answers, callers spout vulgarities and threats and then hang up. On Monday, he got a call that seemed to originate from the Virgin Islands. The caller threatened to kill him.
“They have got the wife really scared because they have my address,” Lawson said. “I think I am going to buy me a gun today just in case.”
But that was mild compared to their next stunt.