Oct 252014

PCG, as headed by psycho Gerald R. Flurry, is one of the most dangerous and damaging COG cults in existence. So it’s satisfying to watch them struggle in spite of their arrogant hubris.

Long has PCG, despite its meager membership, aspired toward lofty ambitions in a mad quest to futilely reclaim WCG’s lost glory as it worships at the grave of Herbert W. Armstrong. One of those goals was to reacquire and reopen the old Ambassador College Bricket Wood campus in England, which we found out completely failed despite wildfire online rumors to the contrary.

Money seemed to be a huge problem in its attempts to acquire Bricket Wood, which isn’t surprising considering how deeply in the red PCG’s is financially. This has not stopped them from trying to open a college in England in anyway, since these fanatics refuse to admit failure, as that would suggest they aren’t God’s chosen people.

New reports have surfaced that PCG wants to buy different property in England to open Flurry’s new college. PCG is therefore attempting to purchase Edstone Hall in the English Midlands for about $4.5 million, a cheaper price tag than Bricket Wood’s Hanstead House. Yet, it should be noted that while Flurry’s bid has been accepted, the purchase is not even close to finalized and there’s a strong chance this attempt will also fail.  That $4.5 million is still a hefty burden on a dwindling flock that’s already heavily indebted after major construction projects, which doesn’t even take into account how very expensive it is to live in England, especially around Edstone Hall where the upkeep costs and taxes will be horrendous.

And that transitions into other problems with a COG cult trying to establish a significant presence in England. There’s a reason why most COG organizations have even weaker influence and membership in the United Kingdom. Aside from the cost of living and doing business there, England is much more secular and more progressive, both within the government and the culture, than the United States.

England is much more weary of cults and religious extremism in a country that doesn’t have the same tax-exempt benefits for churches. That’s likely why a recent Internet campaign to oust Flurry’s “The Key of David” program from England’s CBS Reality channel was a resounding success. Expect also that the British government, should Flurry be successful in his bid to purchase Edstone Hall, will put PCG’s curriculum under the microscope and perhaps even enforce various edicts on what the college teaches and who they accept as students. England is not a bastion for kooky religions to bunker down in quiet seclusion like America is. Just ask the Church of Scientology about their struggles to function in British society.

Of course, it’s deeply important to COG members, including those in PCG, to have a connection with the United Kingdom, as a fundamental Armstrongist belief is the incorrect assertion that the U.S. and U.K. are Manasseh and Ephraim, respectively, of the so-called Lost Ten Tribes of Israel and are therefore key to the prophetic unfolding of the world’s end. PCG loonies are hoping to dig up England and Ireland looking for “Israelite” artifacts.

Yet, PCG may quickly find that that “Ephraim” is not so welcoming of their particular brand of dangerous insanity.

Oct 162014

For roughly 30 hours until yesterday afternoon, Silenced was down.

As many visitors may already know, the site was throwing a 509 Bandwidth Limit Exceeded error. Since then, our host has restored service and our bandwidth cap has been altered.

We are still investigating the possible cause of this outage, but considering what we know, it looks like a cyber-attack of some sort, likely something in the form of a Direct Denial-of-Service attack. At the same time, other Silenced resources were also compromised.

Here are the facts:

  • Across this site’s 3+ year history, we have been on the same server, receiving about the same traffic numbers consistently for most of this blog’s existence. Yet, we have never received that error before, nor have experienced another period of significant downtime.
  • Stranger still is that this site has 1TB of monthly bandwidth, which is a limit a niche, mostly-text blog like this should struggle to reach in a matter of years much less midway through October.
  • Our website control panels are still down and service to them has yet to be restored. Their crash appears to be unrelated to the bandwidth usage spike. A normal bandwidth tap-out shouldn’t include the crashing of our back-end administrative tools.
  • About a third of the way through the outage, we received alerts from Google that the Gmail account associated with this website may have been compromised and we had to jump through a bunch of security hoops and reset the password in order to regain access.

In short, our site was knocked offline due to implausibly high traffic numbers, our back-end resources crashed and someone tried to break into our email at the same time.

DDoS attacks can be difficult to prove and tracing them to their source is even more difficult, since the point is to have several different systems flooding a website with artificial traffic. Plus, the most effective ones make use of botnets, and those are in control of a small number of elite hackers and groups. Without being able to look at statistics for our IP and domain, analyzing the spike in traffic isn’t possible for us at this time.

The first thought someone might have is that some COG-related force is behind this. While that could be the case, the hypothesis does strain credulity.

It is very true that the COG hates dissent, despises the free flow of information both online and IRL, has a long history of censoring web comments, banning people and suspending members for saying the wrong things on the Internet.

So while COG leaders certainly have the will to carry out such a cyber attack, they definitely lack the know-how. Even UCG, which is the most digitally savvy of the COG cults, is a monumental failure when it comes to the web. RCG, which purchases tech resources to plant malware and tracking cookies, would likely not have the money to buy the services of someone controlling a botnet.

Occam’s Razor and the Sherlock Principle dictate that the simplest explanations is the best.  Unfortunately, there are several simple explanations:

  • This is a website critical of corrupt organizations that would rather not be criticized, so the natural source of such an attack would be the COG.
  • Alternatively, something messed up horribly on our webhost’s end, which hasn’t been admitted to us yet.
  • The attack was randomly carried out by hackers for fun or as part of a larger campaign against several websites.
  • The email hacking attempt was made by opportunists who saw the site was down and the outage and security compromise were carried out separately.
  • We were shared on reddit, the world’s friendliest DDoS. However, we have yet to find evidence of this.

Anyway, that’s all we really know at this point. If we find out more, we’ll share what we learn. This was the first ever major outage we’ve ever had though and the circumstances are too suspicious to ignore.

Oct 062014

This old WCG faux newspaper clipping was sent to us recently, and as the Feast of Tabernacles is gets set to begin it’s fairly fitting. There are numerous hallmarks of COG culture on display here:

“NOBODY BEEFS ABOUT INDIA’S RECORD BEEF” – Mocking other religious beliefs
“AN AWESOME DEMONSTRATION” – Delusions of grandeur
“TOTAL DISARMAMENT ACHIEVED!” – Historic doomsday predictions based on World War II and Cold War fears

Unfortunately we only received this photo and haven’t received shots of the whole issue. Does anyone have it? We’ve looked online and haven’t found any traces of this relic from a bygone era.

Edit 10.13.2014

Thanks to Mike_DDTFA for the PDF link!

Oct 042014

An estimated 700+ WCG splinter groups are scattered across the globe, so it’s very difficult to keep track of them all. However, few in the COG realize or acknowledge that WCG was itself a splinter from the Church of God, Seventh Day, which in turn split from larger bodies.

We’ve launched a project to allow people to interactively explore the COG family tree with a zoomable, sortable, draggable chart.

Most of the data represents schisms, but an obvious handful are organizational name changes, major shifts in leadership or otherwise transformed identities of these cults.

This obviously isn’t everything, but it includes information housed in our own knowledge banks and GCI’s original splinter chart. We’re putting the call out for anyone with any further information on splinter groups and from whence they descended to let us know in the comments, social media or via email. It’s our goal to make this as comprehensive as possible.

Zoom In/Out: scroll wheel | Zoom and Center: double-click | Expand/Collapse Node: left click | Reorganize Node: drag and drop