Members of the community responsible for recent attacks on government websites are now discussing a violent uprising, trading bomb recipes and calling for the assassination of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.
Senator Conroy’s appearance on the 7pm Project last night to defend his internet filtering policy has galvanised online miscreants who are planning new attacks.
Posts on the anonymous 4chan messageboard, the same community thought to be responsible for bringing down government websites in February, reveal a serious escalation in their rhetoric.
The government plans to introduce legislation within weeks forcing ISPs to block a blacklist of “refused classification” websites for all Australians on a mandatory basis. In submissions to the government made public this week, Australia’s biggest technology companies, communications academics and many lobby groups warned the filters would do little to protect children online and would stifle free speech.
“Our government is corrupt, they are taking advantage of they’re [sic] power and won’t even allow the public to view the blacklist under the idea that ‘the list would highlight where to find illegal material’… this is no longer just about the censor, this is about our government trying to force us and cage us into submission like in many other corrupt countries,” one post read.
“It would be near impossible for us to take down the entire government, but we must in some way make it clear that they do not control our f—ing lives to this degree. We must do something.”
Referring to their February websites attacks, known as “Operation Titstorm”, several members said that taking down websites was not enough to convince the government to back down on the internet filtering policy.
“I propose assassination or at least scare the f— out of them,” one poster wrote.
“I’m going to stick Conroy in the throat. Who’s with me?” wrote another.
Another poster suggested taking some tips out of the notorious “Anarchist Cookbook” and starting to vandalise buildings, power boxes, telephone boxes and other targets.
“Telephone wires are safe to pull down with a rope, not powerlines. Make some f—ing thermite and melt through some government vehicles. Find a way to shut down a freeway. Be smart about this shit.”
Several others said violence and riots were not advisable and suggested launching attacks on a popular government website such as MySchool.edu.au.
Opponents to the internet filter policy staged a peaceful nationwide anti-censorship protest outside government buildings last month but it was considered by the community to be a dismal failure, as few people showed up.
One poster on 4chan referred to the recent 2000-strong riot outside a Melbourne Bob Jane T-mart store, which quickly turned violent and caused $50,000 worth of damage. They noted how police stood by as people smashed windows with baseball bats, saying “we need to do that”.
“What people need to do is start a violent riot of massive proportions, storm parliament house and kill f—ing everybody.”
Another listed a detailed recipe, with step-by-step instructions, showing how to make a bomb out of acetone, hydrogren peroxide and hydrochloric acid. It was followed by instructions on how to destroy cars with thermite and how to make black powder bombs and napalm.
“Physical protests that threaten the running of the economy (ie cabbie style) seem to put those bitch politicians in their places,” a poster wrote.
One suggested members to “man up” and go out the front of Parliament, “preferably when crowded and be an hero as gruesomely as possible, a pipe bomb to the head or something”.
Colin Jacobs, spokesman for the online users’ lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia, said he believed the violent talk was most likely “just idiots mouthing off” with no real intention or capacity to follow through with their threats.
“We certainly hope this is the case. In any case, it’s a serious matter,” he said.
“It would be a tragedy for Australia if anybody decided to try and decide political disagreements using any form of violence whatsoever. The only punishment we would wish on a government minister is on the pages of our newspapers or at the ballot box.”
Comment is being sought from Conroy and the Australian Federal Police.