Orlando police take message from Anonymous as threat against mayor

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, July 7, 2011 13:45 EDT
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An apparent message from a hacker with protest group “Anonymous” was taken by police as a direct threat against the mayor of Orlando and an investigation has been launched, according to published reports.

Police made the announcement after a photo of the mayor’s home was found hanging from a street sign, along with a Guy Fawkes mask — the signature symbol of Anonymous, popularized by the movie “V for Vendetta.”

The Orlando Sentinel reported that police were stepping up patrols in the neighborhood in search of “anybody who looks like they don’t belong there.”

“It was just proving a point,” an Anonymous Twitter account explained. “Anon will always be non-violent… we are however watching. Expect us.”

Anonymous has been on a hacking campaign against websites hosted by the City of Orlando and other groups promoting the city, in response to the arrests of more than 20 activists who merely sought to feed the city’s homeless population in a public park.

So far they’ve toppled the websites of the Orlando Chamber of Commerce, the Orlando International Airport, Orlando’s fraternal Order of Police, the mayor’s reelection site and two popular tourist and events websites featuring the city’s attractions.

They have also sent an image (pictured) of Walt Disney mascot Mickey Mouse, face covered by a Guy Fawkes mask, to tens of thousands of fax machines and Orlando-based email addresses, in an effort to drum up support for feeding the homeless.

A spokesman with Food Not Bombs in Orlando told Raw Story earlier this week that they see the hackers’ campaign as a “distraction” to the real work at hand: feeding the city’s homeless population, estimated to be near 10,000.

Anonymous says its campaign, formally titled “Operation Orlando,” is meant to drum up political and media support for Food Not Bombs and encourage city officials to rethink policies that push poor people out of downtown.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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