The Anonymous hacktivist collective likes to say they are Not Your Personal Army (NYPA), meaning they do not care about your petty dramas and issues and will not respond to attempted incitement. Politically, Anons tend to fall into the libertarian-progressive space on issues such as internet freedom and equality, but Anons’ causes are mostly not political. A substantial affinity group of anti-pedophile Anons has been carrying out social media action with detached efficiency for years. Having first come to public attention with its awareness and protest campaign against Scientology, “The Hive” is clearly not afraid to make enemies, but it is choosy about them.
Unite Blue is Zach Green’s personal Twitter army, born in a state of hashtag war with uber-conservative #TGDN. For a founding mythology, the Unite Blue website presents a curious permutation of right wing Twitter conspiracy memes about Twitter’s spamblocking algorithm. Unite Blue uses operant conditioning to encourage reactionary behavior; for example, Unite Blue can tell you if your tweets are 97, 98, or 99% “progressive” according to Zach Green’s formula. Team Followback with all of your sock puppet accounts is actively encouraged. From the very beginning, Unite Blue has been built for “Twitter war.”
Perhaps that need for conflict explains why the Unite Blue “community” has landed in a Twitter flame war with Anonymous over a pedophile named William Talley. As a result of misplaced solidarity among a small group of highly-motivated, if not ably-guided Unite Blue members, Zach Green’s personal army has sparked conflict with Anonymous for weeks. The matter reached critical mass last Sunday when a prominent Unite Blue troll named Steven Hatlestad published a YouTube video that foolishly tried to tell Anons their business, violating the NYPA principle and prompting escalation by the collective.
A clique of Unite Blue enthusiasts — dubbed “#CauldronOfStupid” by one witty observer — rallied in solidarity over Mr. Talley, who plead guilty to possession of child pornography in February and then accepted a position on the board of Unite Blue. He was later outed by an Anon and Unite Blue critic named Trina Cuppett. Zach Green removed Talley from the board, but the very next day the “Cauldron” doxed Cuppett in retaliation.
Steven Hadlestad has become something of an enforcer for Unite Blue. He used fake “Anon” accounts to spread an attack blog containing fabrications, libel, and information about Cuppett’s family members. While some observers tried to stop the angry mob, the Cauldron of Stupid used Hatlestad’s attack blog to avenge themselves on Cuppett. Many of the same people who gleefully took part then are now wailing at the unfairness of Anons naming and shaming them in like manner for their support of William Talley.
Hatlestad’s video is included below in a slideshow detailing how this Twitter conflict began:
The next day, this account @ibub2 began tweeting a link to crackingnutz.blogspot.com, now a private blog. Posts there contained identifying information about Trina and her family. The account, which presents itself as an Anon, belongs to Steven Hatlestad, who is also @PapiTerra and @ziletrezo of Unite Blue
Absurdly, Hadlestad’s video flashes the Twitter avatar of @Shoq over the word “puppets” as well as “bullying and intimidation.” Talley was broadcasting this theme weeks ago, and his Twitter circle gladly repeats it. But @Shoq is not the commander of Anonymous. This gambit has succeeded in getting many obsessive @Shoq-trolls to become pedophilia apologists, but of course Anonymous saw right through the chaff.
Nor was the collective swayed when Janeal Eller @SDzzz tweeted Anon accounts to try and convince them that @OpTrollBill was Trina Cuppett, or that they were lying, “fake” Anons. In fact, @OpTrollBill is an experienced social media activist with years of law enforcement contacts from finding and stinging sexual predators. He is a dedicated volunteer. So is Trina, who canvassed Twitter last year to help Anne Onymous publicize his video of Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks.
For the last few weeks, the Anons have been speaking out on Twitter to convince Talley’s Unite Blue “family” to disown him. Some did so belatedly, but the Cauldron has developed a grudge about it. They insist the Anons are covertly attacking Unite Blue, and that it is somehow a Twitter cat’s doing, and that I am somehow involved. The Cauldron maintained friendly relations with Talley, insisting for weeks that the public documents about William Talley are fake. They reject your reality and substitute their own.
This collision of activists was entirely unnecessary, and in fact a war of choice by the Cauldron and Unite Blue leadership. Zach Green not only failed to steer his community away from the conflict, he consistently managed to worsen matters.
Shortly after Cuppett was doxed, blogger Michael Galvin gave Unite Blue founder Zach Green a long, softball interview in exchange for a promise that Hadlestad’s attack blog about Trina would be deleted. When the blog was merely reset to private, allowing Unite Blue members to see it with a password, Galvin objected to what he saw as a broken promise. With his concerns about Unite Blue already mounting, Galvin confronted Green, who responded with private messages from his @ColbertBusch13 account. (The account was deleted after that candidate’s loss last Tuesday). This slideshow displays Green’s messages to Galvin:
The record indicates that Unite Blue partisans close to Zach Green reacted to the discovery of William Talley by shunning Trina Cuppett instead of Talley. The Cauldron-clique reacted to the arrival of anti-pedo Anons with denialism and mendacity, then attempted to pressure critics into silence and worked to shift responsibility. At every stage, they have ensured harsher action by larger numbers of Anons. Now the Cauldron vows courtroom vengeance on an ever-growing and ever-more absurd list of enemies, most of them unconnected to Anonymous…because it’s all somehow our fault.
Reacting to the video last week, Anons doxed Zach Green, published a blog about Hadlestad, and tweeted up a storm of derision in the reply streams of Talley’s defenders. @OmegleWarden, a late-coming Anon, was too kinetic and mistook the creator of #LibCrib for a defender of Talley. After publishing an apology, Omegle left Twitter for a two-week timeout.
Unite Blue partisans have mistaken that as a victory for their narrative of unjustified persecution — and now seek to pin the blame for their butthurt on every liberal Twitter user who ever denied the greatness of Unite Blue. They aren’t in the mood to apologize to Trina, who has actually accomplished things with Twitter. They say she is jealous of their success. See how that works?
Over the weekend, the Cauldron published a bizarre Pastebin document that threatens a class-action lawsuit for cyber terrorism and defamation against nearly a hundred people, including myself. Unable to enact vengeance on random Anons, their focus is on liberals. Tweet or blog about them and you, too can be added to their shit-list. The best part? They will accuse you of dividing the left while they do it.
Anonymous does not currently seem inclined to respond with further escalation. Rumors of a “Tango Down” threat for Unite Blue’s website are entirely exaggerated, for the Anons are not particularly concerned about Zach or his Twitter “community.” The worst damage appears to have been done already anyway, because the progressive Twitter crowd has now seen enough of Unite Blue at their worst. The brand has been severely damaged by the tweets of its most fanatical adherents. Followbacks, the essential element of Unite Blue’s apparently-phenomenal growth, have slowed to a trickle. The crowd is backing away from the Cauldron.
That clique is scribbling revisionist history in a book of grudges now. Many have gone back to delete their tweets, but the attack dogs are still barking as loudly as ever. For example, ask @EdieVP why Unite Blue is important to her, and she will angrily answer that she does not owe you an explanation. (In fact, she is related to Zach Green and was also a beta-tester for Unite Blue.) Ask her about William Talley, and Edie will probably cuss you out. Ask her about the Anons, and Edie will tell you they are dupes in a sinister right wing conspiracy to make Unite Blue look bad. A right wing conspiracy that is somehow run by liberals using Anonymous as their personal army.
If this madness is “progressive activism,” then I want no part of it:
CORRECTION: Omegle Warden does not consider himself an Anon. He describes himself as a network security professional with a passion for pursuing pedophiles.