Long Well Informed Chanology Article

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Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby Joeldi » Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:25 am UTC

http://www.citypaper.com/columns/story.asp?id=15543

I'm sure the content of this article is well known to all of us, but it was so good that I wanted to make a thread about it anyway.

Excellent work, Mr Landers.
I already have a hate thread. Necromancy > redundancy here, so post there.

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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby The Taped Crusader » Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:07 am UTC

Woah, awesome. This gives me hope for the future of journalism.

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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby MikeBabaguh » Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:26 am UTC

This article beats the crap out of anything I've read recently on CNN.com, Time.com, or HuffingtonPost.com.
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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby nyeguy » Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:03 pm UTC

Anonymous is legion. Anonymous does not forgive. Anonymous does not forget. Anonymous only undertakes Serious Business. Anonymous: because none of us is as cruel as all of us. Anonymous has seen Fight Club too many times. Anonymous is not your personal army. Anonymous delivers. Anonymous' real name is David. Anonymous hates dogs. Anonymous likes Mudkips. Anonymous is in it for the lulz.


That made my day, as well as the other mentions of memes. This is the first decently researched article I have seen in a while about anything on the internet.

However, this guy strikes me as a /b/tard, whether he is or not.

EDIT: Fixed a typo I saw.
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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby Blubb3r3ng3l » Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:14 am UTC

/b/tard here. Loved this bit.

As of this writing, the video has been viewed more than 2.5 million times. For some viewers, it was their introduction to Anonymous. Others, like Doc, knew just what it meant.
. And agreed.

This is a wonderful article, and this man should be hired by someone who could use him.
*edit* I think I'll just start quoting the things that really struck me well. It explains the state of /b/ better than I could
In the high school of the internet, /b/ is the kid with a collection of butterfly knives and a locker full of porn.

If you don't find anything remotely amusing about posting and reposting versions of the phrase "I think Halo is a pretty cool guy. Eh kills aleins and doesnt afraid of anything," then either /b/ isn't the place for you or you need to lurk moar.


best not mess with football
In addition to messing with football, Fox accused the group of posting threats on MySpace pages and giving away the end to the new Harry Potter book.


this guy's language just tells me he's really, really a /b/tard
The response was far from unanimous: "Yeah good luck with this fail," wrote one user.


BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHA
He would probably say something like `Hey Maralyn, its not gonna blow itself.' But he would probably also want us to do this."


nuther edit. Yup, I'm sure he's a /b/tard.
Anonymous became the latest in-joke to escape the site and run through the internet, taking with it 4chan in-jokes like longcat (who is long), Guy Fawkes masks (from the movie V for Vendetta but also representing a 4chan character called "Epic Fail Guy" because, well, he fails), and rickrolling (tricking someone into watching the video for Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up," quite possibly the worst song ever recorded).


I'll let you read the rest of it, because this article is simply written too well for me to ruin all the things I think are hilarious. If you were all sitting next to me, I would be reading this in a dramatic basso-profundo, in dim lighting.

This is a wonderful article.
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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby LE4dGOLEM » Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:15 pm UTC

He sides too much with anonymous to be truly neutral, but at least it balances out some of the other stuff out there.
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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby Masuri » Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:05 pm UTC

This actually was very informative. I haven't been following this terribly closely so it was nice to get an in-depth look at the issue.

Huh, I read an article and I feel... informed. That was unexpected.

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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby zenten » Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:49 pm UTC

LE4dGOLEM wrote:He sides too much with anonymous to be truly neutral, but at least it balances out some of the other stuff out there.


It seemed like good journalism to me. Sometimes the facts support one side more than the other, and that should show through in an article.

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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby LE4dGOLEM » Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:04 pm UTC

zenten wrote:It seemed like good journalism to me. Sometimes the facts support one side more than the other, and that should show through in an article.


Touché, sir.
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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby Joeldi » Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:09 am UTC

I was almost siding with the scientologists towards the end when he spoke to them. I'd say it's balanced enough --Although, I was lolling at the fact that they are postive Anonymous have a leader.

The fact that he did get the interview...I thought that most of them were forbidden to give statements other than that official one that called Anon racists or Nazis or something
I already have a hate thread. Necromancy > redundancy here, so post there.

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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby EsotericWombat » Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:47 pm UTC

The statement comes with a video--the same one posted by the church on YouTube. It focuses on one threat in particular--posted on Feb. 13--threatening to blow up "Churches of Scientology across the United States and land under the power of the Commonwealth government." Anonymous members have denied any involvement with the threat and asked YouTube to take it down when it was posted. Whether or not it was an official Anonymous action, it illustrated the problems of an amorphous, leaderless group--it could have been anyone.


That was actually a hoax planted by the Church of Scientology. The smoking gun is here

http://www.vimeo.com/855548

WARNING: it doesn't get to the bit about the hoax until 12:50. But it's a good vid.

The church produced a dvd essentially smearing Anonymous, and cited that very youtube video, and in fact included it-- at native quality. The only place it can be found at that quality is the DVD

It's hilarious. Annonymous has the chessboard out and the CO$ is playing whac-a-mole
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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby Arancaytar » Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:00 am UTC

I realized this earlier, but this paragraph really drove the point home:

a battle that pits an anarchic, leaderless group of mostly young and tech-savvy activists organized through online forums and chat rooms against a religion formed in the 1950s whose adherents believe a science-fiction writer laid down the course to world salvation.


The novelists can pack in now. We're living in a fiction.
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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby LE4dGOLEM » Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:06 pm UTC

On the upside, it's a fairly cool fiction.
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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby Arancaytar » Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:11 pm UTC

That goes without saying. It could have been written by Neal Stephenson.
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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby BoomFrog » Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:01 am UTC

Server went down or some other problem, but I retrived the article from googles catch:

Spoiler:
"The Internet is Serious Business"

--Anonymous

The telephone rings, and a voice on the other end says that Anonymous is in crisis mode.

It's March 13, two days before Anonymous' second protest against the Church of Scientology, and things are starting to get serious. Rumors abound that Scientologists are flying in investigators from church headquarters in Clearwater, Fla., to Washington. Reports have come in that people involved in Anonymous--"anons"--have been followed, and a series of videos have been posted on YouTube purporting to show anons without their masks and listing their real names.

The videos appear alongside a video released by the church, titled "Anonymous Hate Crimes," which calls the group terrorists. Down in Clearwater, the church has applied for a restraining order against planned Anonymous anti-Scientology protests on the Ides of March, but the D.C. permit is secure.

Things seem to be going down pretty much the way ex-Scientologist Arnie Lerma said they would, and paranoia is running high. It's a woman's voice on the phone, but she won't reveal her name, only that the recipient of the call has met her before--she wishes to remain Anonymous.

Welcome to Project Chanology--a battle that pits an anarchic, leaderless group of mostly young and tech-savvy activists organized through online forums and chat rooms against a religion formed in the 1950s whose adherents believe a science-fiction writer laid down the course to world salvation.

Doc says he goes back and forth on whether he considers himself Anonymous. He's taken part in the protests, but he also considers himself an outsider. Like others involved with Anonymous, Doc asks that his real name not be used in this article--partly because of Scientology's reputation for dealing harshly with critics, and partly because, well, if you're going to have an organization based on the principle of anonymity, it wouldn't do to have your real name in print. Anons interviewed for this story say that for the most part they don't even know each other's names. There are no leaders and no spokespeople.

"I'm probably not your typical anon," Doc says, over Mexican food in Hampden. Doc has long, almost white blond hair, and he wears coke-bottle glasses. "I'm an IT professional, I'm a family man--I have four kids, a wife, a house, pets. There's not a lot to my professional life that's particularly interesting, so I spend a lot of time surfing the internet, reading Digg, you know, probably like anybody else. I have a little too much time on my hands [just] to be an intellectual, read a lot of books, that sort of thing. So . . . when Anon put out that announcement on YouTube, I was pretty fascinated by it."

The YouTube announcement came on Jan. 21. Visually, it was just sped-up stock footage of clouds flying past buildings, but it was the computerized voice that made it compelling. It said this:

Hello, Leaders of Scientology. We are Anonymous.

Over the years, we have been watching you. Your campaigns of misinformation; your suppression of dissent; your litigious nature, all of these things have caught our eye. With the leakage of your latest propaganda video into mainstream circulation, the extent of your malign influence over those who have come to trust you as their leaders, has been made clear to us. Anonymous has therefore decided that your organization should be destroyed. For the good of your followers, for the good of mankind, and for our own enjoyment, we shall proceed to expel you from the Internet and systematically dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form. We recognize you as serious opponents, and do not expect our campaign to be completed in a short time. However, you will not prevail forever against the angry masses of the body politic. Your choice of methods, your hypocrisy, and the general artlessness of your organization have sounded its death knell.

We are Anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.

As of this writing, the video has been viewed more than 2.5 million times. For some viewers, it was their introduction to Anonymous. Others, like Doc, knew just what it meant.

Anonymous was born on an online image board, devoted mainly to pictures and discussions having to do with anime--Japanese animation. The site, 4chan.org, created in 2003 by an administrator who goes by the name "moot," was based on a Japanese forum whose founder believed that by making users anonymous their arguments would be judged on their own merits. While it is possible to use internet nicknames on 4chan, it is generally frowned upon, so posts listing the author as "Anonymous" are the norm, especially in the site's chaotic "random" forum. Anonymous became the name for the users of the site as a whole--a sort of hive mind of popular opinion.

There are other "chans" and related web sites added and taken down all the time. A humor wiki, Encyclopedia Dramatica, chronicles various internet pranks, raids, and drama, but 4chan remains the most popular. As of this writing, Alexa, a company that tracks web site popularity for advertisers, lists 4chan.org as the 56th most popular web site in the United States. The random forum, or "/b/," is 4chan's most popular area.

/b/ has its own language, much of it complicated and intentionally absurd. Users calling themselves, each other, and pretty much everything else "fag" is one of the less offensive conventions. There are rules set down by the moderators--for /b/ it basically boils down to "no child pornography"--but even this is the subject of jokes. The real guiding principle of the board is that nothing is sacred or off limits, and /b/ will quickly offend anyone capable of being offended. Often, the true meaning of a message is contained in the picture that accompanies it. Lolcats, the inexplicably popular pictures of cats with cutely misspelled captions, started with the weekly 4chan tradition of Caturday. Users recommend hanging out for months before posting anything, or risk ridicule, although they usually put it less delicately than that ("LURK MOAR toddler"). If you don't find anything remotely amusing about posting and reposting versions of the phrase "I think Halo is a pretty cool guy. Eh kills aleins and doesnt afraid of anything," then either /b/ isn't the place for you or you need to lurk moar. In the high school of the internet, /b/ is the kid with a collection of butterfly knives and a locker full of porn.

Sometimes the joke goes too far, as was the case in 2006, when a 22-year-old in Wisconsin posted plans to bomb football stadiums around the United States. The FBI took notice, and the man eventually pleaded guilty to charges of "conveying a terrorist hoax," according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which quoted an FBI official saying that the "credibility of this was beyond ridiculous." /b/ added another rule, later removed: "Don't mess with football."

But Anonymous is capricious. Last year, when a user in Texas threatened a school bombing the following day, other 4channers used data from the picture he posted to notify the FBI of his whereabouts. The Austin American-Statesman newspaper reported that when officers searched his home, "all the items found appeared to be toys."

A 2006 news special on Fox's Los Angeles affiliate gave Anonymous some notoriety by using staged footage of a van exploding to illustrate the threat posed by the group and calling them "hackers on steroids" and an "internet hate machine," both of which entered Anon's lexicon of in-jokes. In addition to messing with football, Fox accused the group of posting threats on MySpace pages and giving away the end to the new Harry Potter book. A blogger for Wired magazine wrote that "This `news report' is the funniest prank anyone on the board has ever pulled off."

Last year, the Bergen County, N.J., Record reported that Hal Turner, a white supremacist talk radio host, had filed suit against 4chan and other sites after "an anonymous cadre of pranksters"--guess who--raided his show and web site, knocking him offline. A "raid" is the 21st-century version of the prank phone call, but with dozens or even hundreds of pranksters kicking in--tying up the phone lines, faxing black pieces of paper to use up ink, and, above all, flooding web sites with requests until they crash.

A mythology built up around Anonymous--mock-serious slogans and "facts" about the mysterious group of hackers on steroids and their pursuit of "lulz" (see also "kicks").

Anonymous is legion. Anonymous does not forgive. Anonymous does not forget. Anonymous only undertakes Serious Business. Anonymous: because none of us is as cruel as all of us. Anonymous has seen Fight Club too many times. Anonymous is not your personal army. Anonymous delivers. Anonymous' real name is David. Anonymous hates dogs. Anonymous likes Mudkips. Anonymous is in it for the lulz.

Scientology, on the other hand, takes itself very seriously. Faced with the chaos and unfettered discussion of the internet, the church has sought to maintain control over the uncontrollable. From eBay, where sales of E-meters (a primitive lie-detector machine used in Scientology counseling sessions, called "audits") have been canceled, to Google, which receives notices from church lawyers to take down links to offending sites and newsgroups, no infraction escapes notice. A snarky comment in US Weekly magazine earlier this year, about a shiny suit worn by former a Mrs. Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman ("Bonus: This specially designed suit repels Scientologists"), drew a letter from lawyers for fellow celebrity Scientologist Kirstie Alley demanding that the writer be fired, and that the publication "apologize and commit to a thorough examination of why you have chosen to foster animosity and bias against Scientologists."

The incident that sparked the latest Anonymous protests was just as silly--an internal church video posted on the celeb gossip site Gawker that featured Tom Cruise discussing his religion. Cruise comes off as a wide-eyed true believer, and the incident probably would have been dismissed as quickly as his trampoline act on Oprah Winfrey's couch--mildly amusing but not worth starting a revolution over--if Scientology lawyers hadn't tried to get Gawker to remove the video on the grounds that it violated copyright law, and was meant to be shown by authorized churches "for religious purposes only." Gawker refused to take it down, on the grounds that the video was newsworthy, and posted the church's letter. Somehow, that was the last straw for Anonymous.

On Jan. 15, a 4chan user posted this message:

I think it's time for /b/ to do something big.

People need to understand not to fuck with /b/, and talk about nothing for ten minutes, and expect people to give their money to an organization that makes absolutely no fucking sense.

I'm talking about "hacking" or "taking down" the official Scientology website.

It's time to use our resources to do something we believe is right.

It's time to do something big again, /b/.

Talk amongst one another, find a better place to plan it, and then carry out what can and must be done.

It's time, /b/.

The response was far from unanimous: "Yeah good luck with this fail," wrote one user.

Another: "I disagree, we can do this. We are Anon, and we are interwebs superheroes. Who if not us will take on this abomanation of faith and capitolism? What would JFK say? He would probably say something like `Hey Maralyn, its not gonna blow itself.' But he would probably also want us to do this."

The raid gained popularity--first with the announcement video, then with an "Internet Call to Arms," also released on YouTube. At first, the Anonymous raid against the Church of Scientology followed the usual pattern. According to a statement from Scientology, its churches around the United States have received more than 6,000 "threatening and harassing calls" since Jan 17.

This time, however, Anonymous started to gain members, as people who had nothing to do with 4chan got on board. Anonymous became the latest in-joke to escape the site and run through the internet, taking with it 4chan in-jokes like longcat (who is long), Guy Fawkes masks (from the movie V for Vendetta but also representing a 4chan character called "Epic Fail Guy" because, well, he fails), and rickrolling (tricking someone into watching the video for Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up," quite possibly the worst song ever recorded).

Judging from the postings to 4chan's /b/ and other chans, a significant number of users were unhappy with the raid and the attention it brought. Some of the other chans have been calling for raids against the protesters and their supporters to sabotage the project. Basically, their internet hate machine has been hijacked, and they want it back. 4chan owner moot, asked to comment for this article, sent an e-mail saying, "That's really something I have no interest in discussing. It's not something I'm involved with or really in a position to comment on."

On Jan. 27, Anonymous changed course. In its campaign against Scientology, Anonymous ran headlong into a group of longtime church critics and ex-members. Basically, Mark Bunker asked them to knock it off.

Bunker, a filmmaker and longtime critic of Scientology, runs the web site XenuTV.com, a clearinghouse for information critical of the church. In a video posted to YouTube, Bunker, bearded and soft-spoken, earnestly addressed the camera in a "Message to Anonymous." He said the group's actions--the phone calls, faxes, and web site attacks--were hurting critics of the church, who have been working for years to document what they see as the abuses of the organization. He urged them to follow a different course--to work peacefully, within the law. To the surprise of everyone concerned, Anonymous listened. The response was posted and reposted around the internet until it became another slogan: "Wise Beard Man is Wise. His words are wise, his face is beard."

Anonymous' first real-life protest, on Feb. 10, drew, by the group's own count, about 8,300 people worldwide. They wore masks to preserve their anonymity, favoring Guy Fawkes masks, but also bandannas, gas masks, and, in D.C., at least one fully costumed Burger King. The videos and raid drew much media attention, from the Los Angeles Times to The Economist. Washington hosted one of the larger groups, around 200 protesters. Local forums, such as AnonymousDC.com, ("Friends of Anonymous, Baltimore"), were set up; Enturbulation.org (the name is a reference to a Scientology term for disorder) acted as as a worldwide coordinating site.

Anonymous is a paranoid group. One of the first anons contacted for this story offered to do a telephone interview but said she would have to get a disposable cell phone first. A week before the March 15 protest, a group of anons agreed to be interviewed after a planning meeting at a coffee shop across from the Washington Church of Scientology, on the condition that they remain anonymous, and with the understanding that they weren't speaking for Anonymous as a whole, only for themselves.

Even if one hadn't been invited, the meeting wouldn't have been hard to find. Like most of what Anonymous does, it was available on web sites for anyone to see, and scanning the half-full coffee shop, it wasn't hard to pick them out. They were young, most seemingly in their early 20s, dressed in different styles, from button-down shirts to a studded leather jacket. After a moment of awkward silence, one of them offers a reporter the closest thing to a password anyone can think of: "Do you like Mudkips?" And then everyone involved agrees to knock off the 4chan memes.

They all give slightly different reasons for becoming involved but all are committed to the cause.

"Anonymous is not an organization," a man from Northern Virginia explains. "If you use the internet, and you use it in a way that free speech is paramount, and you want to use it as a way to see and experience things without being guided by big media, by Madison Avenue, or by special interests, then you could potentially be a member of Anonymous."

A young woman with a pink mohawk interrupts: "I think it's a group of people whose eyes have been opened to how wrong [Scientology] is, and they don't want to sit back and let it continue. They want to do something."

Another anon--a math and physics student--continues: "Also, when you really look at Anonymous, there's Anonymous on every single board, every blog you go to, everywhere. It's for someone who doesn't want to give their name, or their nationality or whatever. It's multinational, multicultural, multidenominational. You have Jewish people, atheists, Mormons, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, wiccans, Unitarians, whatever, who are all coming together, who are basically the collective mass . . . the collective mass mind of the internet."

Northern Virginia: "Anyone who wants to can be Anonymous and work toward a set of goals. . . . We have this agenda that we all agree on and we all coordinate and act, but all act independently toward it, without any want for recognition. We just want to get something that we feel is important done . . . what Anonymous is doing now--it might dominate your free time, but it's not something that you're changing your life by being a part of it. But you are. If you feel like you can't effect your local election--that maybe you're in one party, and the other party is dominant in your district, so you don't feel like you have a political voice. You're taking your frustration and you're focusing it on this one thing that you feel you can effect. That you can be a part of. That's independent of all that."

Mohawk: "A lot of people will take up causes, and be like, `Look at me! I'm a part of this cause!' But for this it's, `This is wrong, we want to do something. Don't even pay attention to who we are.'"

A woman in a fur hat sitting next to Pink Mohawk joins in: "For me, it's social action. I've been looking for something that I thought would actually make a difference, and this seems like it's already making a difference. We've been getting a lot of feedback from the ex-Scientologist community, and a lot of people who've left the church and been afraid to speak out now see Anonymous as a way to speak out--as a way to tell their story without having to say who they are. So they actually get to talk about their experiences and the abuses they have personally seen and been through." She brings up the web site ExScientologyKids.com ("I was born. I grew up. I escaped."), recently formed by young relatives of high-ranking church members.

Northern Virginia: "Anonymous existed way before the Scientology thing. Anonymous existed before it was called Anonymous. Anonymous is a phenomena. You've got web sites--Wikipedia, 4chan--places where anyone can post and contribute, and everyone has an equal voice."

Mohawk: "It's even on web sites like MSNBC, anywhere you have responding comments to news articles."

Northern Virginia: "This freedom in the internet allowed people to have social conscience that was rapidly evolving."

Another anon interjects: "And it was removed from the fears and the normal social peers that you had, because you were allowed to voice what you really thought."

When it comes to Scientology, Northern Virginia says, "when this whole thing with the leaked videos blew up on YouTube, that was the last straw. Anonymous decided to say `OK, we're going to do this'--and then someone puts out this statement, and a bunch of people say, `Oh--I guess I agree with that.' And then one guy's like, `I'm going to take my money and buy a web site where we can start a wiki.' And then another says, `I'm going to use some money and start a board to organize protests.' Pretty soon, everyone's invested, because everyone has made these sacrifices. And now we're here, and now this is the cause, and it's growing, because people see that there's this entity doing this thing, and they're presenting their case. And people keep getting drawn in."

In an e-mail, Doc describes Anonymous as "the first internet-based superconsciousness." Anonymous is a group, in the sense that a flock of birds is a group. How do you know they're a group? Because they're travelling in the same direction. At any given moment, more birds could join, leave, peel off in another direction entirely. A popular picture of sign-waving Anonymous protesters in their trademark Guy Fawkes masks is captioned: "Oh Fuck, The Internet is here."

At the March 15 protest, an anon in his 30s who says he works in homeland security, compares Anonymous to the War on Terror--you can fight terrorists, but you can't fight an idea. Anonymous, he says, is an idea.

As he says this, he's wearing a suit and surgical mask, standing on a street corner outside the Washington Church of Scientology, while someone reads L. Ron Hubbard's military record over the PA system.

Longtime Scientology critic Arnie Lerma gives a speech, as does Jeanne-Marie Boucher, who was raised in the church. Boucher, 25, blames the church for driving her father to suicide in 2001. Her father, a church staff member in Washington, hanged himself after being denied auditing, the counseling sessions necessary to rise within the church and its belief system. Boucher says her father was despondent after church officials questioned his loyalty--accusing him of having been brainwashed by outside forces. "He killed himself," she says. "He thought that if he died, he could come back in another body, in another life, and receive more Scientology auditing, and continue up the `Bridge to Total Freedom.'"

Boucher attended the Feb. 10 protest as well, just to check it out, and has since joined the Ex Scientology Kids forum. In her March 15 speech, Boucher is nervous and tearful, but defiant, shouting at the church across the street, "What do you have to worry about? What are you afraid of?" At the end of her speech, she turns to the church and says, "I want to thank you very much for breaking my heart."

Across the street, a man in a green eyeless mask says his name is "David." He traveled "many hours" to be here and is staying in a hotel. He puts it this way: "Am I here for the lulz? Oh, fuck yeah. Without /b/, you don't get the spectacle, and without the spectacle, nobody cares. These poor guys, Arnie [Lerma] and Mark Bunker and those guys, they've been doing it for years, but without the spectacle, nobody pays attention. You wouldn't have any fun. That's what /b/'s brought--it's brought some youth, it's brought some energy."

The closest thing "David" will give to personal information is that he's a goon--a member of the forums at the humor site SomethingAwful.com. That's where he first saw information about the raid, and decided to get involved. "The internet has had a problem with Scientology since ARS," David says, referencing alt.religion.scientology, a Usenet bulletin board at the center of the first scuffle between Scientology and 'net users back in the 1990s. "It's sort of the nature of the beast. That's what the internet is--it's free information for anyone who wants it. The two are diametrically opposed."

He waves his arm at the protesters crowding the street corner: "There's just no doubt that this is going to happen."

When David talks about "since ARS," one of the people he's talking about is Arnie Lerma, a former Scientologist who runs the web site Lermanet.com from his home in Arlington, Va. In 1995, Lerma posted church documents to the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology. At the time, the documents were available from a court in California, but they were later sealed. Wired magazine, then only a few years old, called the ensuing lawsuits over copyright infringement "a flame war with real bullets," as the church's "Religious Technology Center" sued Lerma and The Washington Post (to whom he had also given the documents) in a Virginia court.

The documents, containing religious teachings of the church, included the now widely publicized story of Xenu, a galactic emperor who rounded up other aliens, sent them to Earth, and killed them, causing them to inhabit the bodies of humankind. The Xenu story was the basis for a controversial episode of South Park that made fun of the church and celebrity Scientologists Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Scientologists say the story is taken out of context by critics of the religion, and that it forms the merest fraction of the writings of L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology's founder.

The suit against the Post was dismissed--the judge ruled that its use of the documents fell under the "fair use" exemption to copyright law. Lerma was fined $2,500 and ordered not to disseminate the documents again. But Lerma's criticism of Scientology became something of a crusade for the freelance audio engineer. Religious Freedom Watch, a Scientology-linked group, describes Lerma this way on its web site:

Arnaldo (Arnie) Lerma attacks minority religions on the internet, harasses and intimidates parishioners with hate mail, and plans and participates in demonstrations that have been known to become violent. He also runs a private underground channel on the internet where anti-religious extremists gather to spread hatred and plan acts of aggression against the Church of Scientology and its parishioners.

Lerma has a sense of humor about it all, even if it's tough sometimes to know when he's joking. When he returns a reporter's phone call, he apologizes for not doing it sooner, but he had a neo-Nazi rally to attend. He's kidding about that part, but he takes Scientology seriously. "They do say some bad things about me," he says.

Lerma was a Scientologist from 1967, when he was a 17-year-old hippie attracted by the scientific trappings of the religion, until 1976, when he says he was forced to leave. His battle with the church began in earnest in 1994, when the list of web sites on the internet was still short enough to be contained in a guidebook, which is where Lerma came across a newsgroup called alt.religion.scientology.

"I logged onto the newsgroup," Lerma remembers, "and posted a message--`Hi, I'm Arnie Lerma. Anybody remember me?'" He got a response from someone he hadn't seen in 25 years, who introduced him to a group of renegade Scientologists. The newsgroup consisted of about 12 people. "We were just sharing stories," he remembers.

He began posting to the newsgroup, which became a clearinghouse for documents the church didn't want made public. The church contacted internet service providers to have the newsgroup removed from their servers. The more the church sought to tightly control information, the more the online activists believed that information should be disseminated.

Lerma planned to retire from his activism at the end of last year. A bad back and a constantly ringing phone were growing tiresome. He has long believed that Scientology would fall suddenly, "like the Berlin wall." When Anonymous came on the scene, he changed his mind about retirement. This, he thought, could be it: "All of us old-timers were ecstatic. We're just holding on with white knuckles."

Three weeks after Mark Bunker's plea to Anonymous, the first real-life protest was held outside Scientology churches worldwide. The date, Feb. 10, was chosen to coincide with the birthday of Lisa McPherson, a Scientologist whose 1995 death was the subject of a Florida lawsuit; her family and a foundation set up in her name said that the church was responsible for her death by denying her appropriate medical care. Criminal charges against the church were dropped in 2000, according to the St. Petersburg Times, and the lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2004.

As one of the anons put it at the D.C. coffee shop, "Scientology is seen at the moment, as far as the internet is concerned, the most egregious infection that's keeping it from being as smoothly operating as it needs to be, so we sort of turn our attention to it. But what's started to happen is that then you see the real effect it's had on real people, beyond the free speech angle. And this is what draws people in and makes them physically appear at a protest on the birthday of a woman who died because of this cult, or organization, or whatever you want to call it."

An Anonymous protest is a surprisingly organized affair. On the morning of March 15, it began at Dupont Circle before a march to the protest site across the street from the church (to the sounds of a rickroll played through boom-box speakers). The rumored private investigators from Florida never materialized--the only evidence that anyone was inside the church were an unsmiling man on the second-floor balcony videotaping the proceedings, and a few Scientologists who occasionally left the church building and made circles through the crowd, cameras in hand, to snap close-up pictures of protesters.

A protester wearing a burlap bag over his head to complement a suit and tie identifies himself as "Question Mark Guy" and echoed a lot of anons when he says their "ultimate goal is the dismantling of the current incarnation of the Church of Scientology, and the church to get their tax-exempt status revoked. The Scientologists can keep practicing their religion in any way, shape, or form they want, as long as they don't break the law when they do it."

Scientology organizations gained their tax exemption in 1993, in an unusual sealed settlement that was later published by The Wall Street Journal. The settlement was the result of a battle between the church and the IRS that lasted almost 30 years, and according to the Journal, the church agreed to pay $12.5 million, drop thousands of harassing lawsuits against the IRS, and set up a "church tax-compliance committee." The IRS canceled taxes it had levied on church leaders and organizations and granted tax-exempt status to all Scientology entities in the United States.

The New York Times reported at the time that private investigators had been hired by the church to dig into the lives of IRS officials, financed IRS whistle-blowers and critics, and set up front groups including a fake news organization to gather information on church critics. As part of "Operation Snow White," as the church dubbed its campaign against the federal government, it found and destroyed government files around the world concerning scientology. After the FBI raided Church offices in 1977, 11 people went to prison for their part in Operation Snow White, including Mary Sue Hubbard, the wife of church founder L. Ron Hubbard, who was himself an unindicted co-conspirator. The church had declared its enemies "fair game," a term used by Hubbard in a 1965 policy letter. The policy is still cited by critics, although Scientologists say it has long been discontinued.

One of the camera-toting Scientologists at the protests, a man with curly white hair and a bemused smile, declined to comment for this article, pausing long enough to say, "The person you want to talk to is Sue Taylor, inside."

Taylor, the president of the Washington Church of Scientology, is busy but later agrees to a meeting. She suggests a visit to the nearby L. Ron Hubbard house--the first Church of Scientology.

A tour of the L. Ron Hubbard house, on 19th Street near the Dupont Circle Metro station, begins in the front room, where a collection of effects tell the early story of the founder of Scientology. According to the materials, he was born in Tilden, Neb., was made a "blood brother" by a nearby tribe of Blackfoot Indians before he was 6, and became the nation's youngest Eagle Scout at the age of 13, before setting out to wander the earth. According to the book What Is Scientology?, his travels took him from Guam to China before returning to the States to finish high school. During the next three years, according to his official biography, he studied physics at George Washington University, conducted his "first experiment concerning the structure and function of the mind," joined the Marines, became "one of the country's most outstanding pilots," organized a 5,000-mile voyage aboard a four-masted schooner, and performed and wrote for the local radio station. He also found time to edit his college newspaper, write his first published fiction, set flying records, and file reports on unsafe airport conditions. Almost every aspect of Hubbard's official biography is disputed by Scientology critics.

In 1934, he began writing fiction in earnest--pulps, mostly, with occasional breaks during the next 15 years to conduct experiments, according to What Is Scientology? "dealing with the endocrine system. He discovers that, contrary to longstanding beliefs, function monitors structure. With this revolutionary advance, he begins to apply his theories to the field of the mind and thereby improve the conditions of others." After studying criminals as a "Special Police Officer with the Los Angeles Police department," and hospital and mental ward patients in Savannah, Ga., Hubbard settled down to write the book Dianetics, expounding on his theories of mental health. A New York Times review at the time called Dianetics a "a set of fantastic theories without proof," but despite such criticism, it became a best seller. In 1955, Hubbard founded a church based on his beliefs in Washington, which today has branches all over the world.

Later, back in the renovated mansion that now serves as D.C. church headquarters, Taylor and Sylvia Stanard, the D.C. church's director of external affairs, sit down for an interview. Taylor asks that the conversation not be tape recorded. She says she is afraid of misquoting Hubbard, and would prefer that information come straight from his writings and official church statements. Here is what the church has to say about Anonymous:

There is no question that, taken as a whole, the actions over the past few weeks constitute hate crimes and hate speech. Churches of Scientology have been the targets of bomb threats through phone calls; bomb threats have been made in internet chat rooms; 22 Churches of Scientology were targets of phony anthrax mailings; emails sent to Church servers contained hate messages, bomb threats, death threats, threats to burn down the Church and vague threats to destroy the Church; death threats, other threats and communications denigrating the religion and its followers have also been received from Anonymous by fax. In one fax, Anonymous noted that it intended to "desecrate" Scientology's "religious artifacts" as "befits them."

The statement comes with a video--the same one posted by the church on YouTube. It focuses on one threat in particular--posted on Feb. 13--threatening to blow up "Churches of Scientology across the United States and land under the power of the Commonwealth government." Anonymous members have denied any involvement with the threat and asked YouTube to take it down when it was posted. Whether or not it was an official Anonymous action, it illustrated the problems of an amorphous, leaderless group--it could have been anyone.

Stanard has been researching the group, checking out 4chan. Her verdict: "Anti-Semitic, racist, just weird."

Both women say the D.C. church has received phone calls ranging from threatening to just weird. Stanard says she got a phone call the day before from someone who said "he had a puma waiting for me." She isn't sure what to make of that.

"When I was growing up that was a prank," Taylor says. "Things have changed. After 9/11, those things aren't pranks anymore."

"There had to be one person who decided to get pissed off and write this manifesto," Stanard says. But the protests are "mostly kids, blindly following." They get their information from "two or three old-timers like Arnie Lerma," but "the rest are just in it for the game--they're bored."

"Look at the first manifesto," Stanard says. "They say they're going to drive us off the internet. How do you justify that based on taking one video down? Whoever is doing this is inciting hatred. They may not themselves be committing acts of terrorism, but they are inciting others."

"Ninety-nine percent of these guys are just out for a good time," Taylor chimes in. "But what about that one guy who actually does something?"

"That's really important," Stanard agrees. "It's all fun and games, but how are they going to feel if someone actually does something? I think they're all duped, and it's all just fun."

Both Taylor and Stanard say they knew John Boucher, whose daughter Jeanne Marie spoke at the protest.

"I understand her pain," Stanard says. "She lost her father. But it's more complicated than that . . . he had a lot going on. I don't want to get into specifics because it's counseling stuff. We tried to help him, and he didn't make it. It's not one thing--this happened or that happened. He was told he couldn't get counseling because he was physically ill. I completely understand--she's heartbroken. She's elected us the target."

"We're the wrong target," Taylor adds.

Taylor often defers to the book What Is Scientology? and provides a copy. The book characterizes the controversies in the history of Scientology as a battle between "two diametrically opposed forces"--the Scientologists on one side, and on the other a "small clique of medical and psychiatric practitioners, who knew nothing of the human mind, and had not even read Dianetics." Psychiatry is behind other attacks on the church, according to the book, as well as the Food and Drug Administration, the IRS, and the media.

On page 542, which Taylor marks with a blue Post-it, the book notes:

Scientology and Dianetics are technologies that work if applied exactly. If they are altered, the results will not be uniform. For this reason, the writings of the Church are protected by copyright and the words and symbols which represent the technology are protected by trademarks. . . . Some unscrupulous persons have tried, through dishonest conduct, to profit from the technologies of Dianetics and Scientology. . . . By owning the trademarks and copyrights of the religion and enforcing their proper use, the Church can ensure such ill-intentioned acts will never occur.

In other words, no unauthorized Tom Cruise videos.

Taylor says the church has changed since the days of Operation Snow White. The old ways have been abandoned, and she says that change in church policy is something that Lerma has never accepted. Stanard agrees: "He hasn't been in the church for 35 years. When he's talking about the church, it's not the church today."

Likewise the Xenu story, which does not rate a mention in What Is Scientology? "That's straight out of South Park," Taylor says. "It's not part of our beliefs. You can only see it from people like Arnie Lerma."

The Anonymous convention on March 22 didn't go quite the way it had been planned. Originally scheduled to happen in the same Washington hotel where Scientologists were celebrating the birth of L. Ron Hubbard, Anon was banned and its deposit refunded after the hotel got wind of its plans. Exiled to a cavernous building in Crystal City--a weekend ghost town of office buildings across the river in Arlington--more than 100 anons, mostly masked, showed up after a stop to protest outside the Scientology event. Name tags at the registration desk outside the conference room all read hello, my name is david.

A call for suggestions for the next protest (scheduled for April 12) drew a few shouted suggestions--the most popular was "ball pit." A few brave anons took to the microphone to kill time, some eventually succumbing to shouts from the audience to put their shoe on their head. They repaired upstairs to the hotel restaurant for cake, then listened quietly as a Freezoner--a member of a group that practices Scientology outside the official church--spoke about his beliefs and answered questions, and a live internet feed drew around 80 people, who posted comments that scrolled across a large screen in front of the room.

An anon in the corner of the conference room started spinning tunes, beginning with Rick Astley before segueing into Andrew W.K.'s "Party Hard." More anons took the dance floor under the watchful eye of the video camera (one commenter on the scroll: "Holy <censored>! She's having a seizure!!"). The next song was by Enturbulator 009, a Church of the Subgenius band that recorded an album of anti-Scientology hip-hop songs in 2002. It begins,

Scientology is trying to make me silent

By telling other people that I'm violent

They say that I'm a terrorist

I'm really just a satirist

A lyricist enjoying this particular mess.

By the time the song gets to the chorus, Anonymous is singing along: "Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke/ and you can't take a joke so fuck you."

A few days after the convention, one of the anons interviewed for this story e-mailed to say he and others had received a letter, and provided a copy.

It is similar to letters that have reportedly been received all over the country, delivered to the homes of outed anons, and it comes from a Los Angeles law firm retained by the Church of Scientology International. "We are sending you this letter," it reads, "because the Church has reason to believe that you may be directing or leading some or all of the actions of `Anonymous,' and have assisted in its campaign of violence or inciting violence against the Church. . . . Should your organization continue inciting and/or engaging in violent acts against the Church or its members, we are prepared to take any and all steps necessary to protect our client, including referring any individual, including you, to Local, State and Federal authorities."

The recipient, a college freshman, says he isn't changing his plans, but he has retained a lawyer, "just in case." He says he is taking the letter seriously but hasn't committed any illegal acts.

"I'm not worried," he says, "and I'm definitely not stopping."

Correction: Last week's feature story on Anonymous and its campaign against the Church of Scientology reported that 11 people, including Sue Hubbard, went to prison in 1977 for their part in Operation Snow White, the church's anti-federal-agency initiative. In fact, the prison terms resulted from an FBI raid on the church in 1977, but those convicted as a result of subsequent charges did not go to prison until several years later, and Sue Hubbard is more properly known as Mary Sue Hubbard.

Email Chris Landers
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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby BoomFrog » Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:22 am UTC

And just for fun the comments. It was too long to make into one post.

Spoiler:
Even the comments:

[spoiler]User Comments

Please read our posting policy before adding comments. Report offensive comments using the + link.

If you think what you have to say deserves a letter to the editor, why not send us one now?

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 12:41:33 AM, IhadanunclenamedStewie said:

As a DCfag, this article is pretty win.

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 12:50:26 AM, Anonymoo said:

This is the best article written since this thing began. Over 9,000 internets to you, Chris Landers. This is fantastic and amazing, epic win all around!!

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 1:05:09 AM, JaneyZ said:

Good job. Probably the best article on this movement that I've seen yet. I would only emphasize again that very little of Lol Ron Hubbard's official biography is actually true. Scientology is a vicious corporation/cult that harms thousands of people and it needs to be brought down.

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 1:20:26 AM, Sir Guy said:

Great Raptor Jesus! What a great article!!! Kudos to Chris Landers for getting it right!!!

Mr. Landers, where would you like to receive this delivery of >9000 internets?

Suggestion for next article, interview with Dr. Stephen Kent of the University of Alberta: http://lermanet.com/kent.htm

Do it for the delicious Caek!!!

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 1:43:37 AM, DavidSeanHubbard said:

This article is relevant to my interests.

May the internet win this battle! The cruel reign of Scientology has gone on for far too long. Stop Scientology's abuse of human rights - http://truthtopplestyranny.blogspot.com

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 4:33:10 AM, anonimuss said:

in chango - epic win

in english extremely well written article....those scienos show just how delusional they are

pass the kool aid.

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 4:37:38 AM, Bakebehe said:

Wow. Finally a reporter who actually researched the topic and dug into both sides. You did what MSNBC and Fox haven't bothered to do. Kudos Mr Landers.

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 5:14:02 AM, running said:

ITA, author really know what he is talking about (how often does he visit /b/?), but is not afraid to ask both sides (both anons and scientologists). really good work.

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 5:47:04 AM, EastAnon said:

Very well written, very well

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 6:08:07 AM, EastAnon said:

For people who want more information:

http://rapidshare.com/files/103822534/I ... D.zip.html

One note on the article. It does not really show how dangerous Scientology is.

At first it seems easy and fun, and for just $25, it's almost free.

But once in, this changes quite rapidly. Clearing "the Bridge" will set you back at least $300,000.-

If you are disabled or poor, you don't have to worry. Scientology will not accept you.

And then there's the crimes Scientology tries to hide. Child abuse and slavery, murder, forced abortions, tearing apart families (disconnection), fraud. You name it, they have it. They are declared illegal in many countries. They work through 100's of front groups (ABLE, WISE, CCHR) to lure more people into their pyramid scheme.

Why are so many celebrities attracted to Scientology? Because they get a fast-pass to all courses. They can have tax advantages through the church, and for that the church has a new face to show. And there are celebrities who donate without getting their name added to the list of public celebrities. Will Smith is one of them.

And maybe the worst of all; once you have done all courses, and paid $500,000 or maybe more, and grow old, will the church be there for you? No.

They will put you in a elderly home (?) without any care or money. No more auditing or church. After all, there is nothing more to gain from you. Effectively you are told to 'End Cycle', or in normal language: Drop Dead.

That's your 'church' for you.

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 6:56:51 AM, fortytwo said:

Seriously, Fuck this Channery

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 7:04:08 AM, UKanon said:

Nice to see a tl;dr that was written by a proper hack that looks at both sides and puts it together for the public to make their own mind up. Free from a corporate angle or political spin. The world needs more Landers and less Fox!

Come to the next demo Mr Landers... you earned a hundred internts and some delicious caek!

Fom an anon here in the UK...Thanks you very much sir!

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 8:08:27 AM, anondc said:

"Wow. Finally a reporter who actually researched the topic and dug into both sides. You did what MSNBC and Fox haven't bothered to do. Kudos Mr Landers."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Congratulations on being the only print journalist in recent memory that actually knows how to do his god damned job. Over 9000 internets to you, sir.

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 8:26:14 AM, Anonymeep said:

We're in ur internet hate machine, using it for the luv

Excellent article. My only regret is that you didn't ask further into this:

"He was told he couldn't get counseling because he was physically ill"

So basically he was ill, and they refused him the help he wanted? And didn't found him qualified outside help? What kind of ill do they say he was? Scientology is opposed to psychiatry, so if they claim he was depressed or what have you, THEY should have been helping him. After all, they are the only ones who can help, remember?

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 9:57:52 AM, DominaAoife said:

The Hubbardite trolls have to grow up and realize that dissent is part of our Constitutional rights. I may think they are a bunch of lard-brained, lily livered, screwballs, but they have the right to spread their tripe, just as others have the right to refute it. Their accusations of terrorism against Anonymous are laughable and petulant in the extreme.

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 10:18:30 AM, Rareanon said:

What! The OT 3 Story is from Arnie??? The South Park show was pretty close to the OT 3 stuff I read in Hubbards own handwriting when I did OT 3. Sue Taylor and Sylva Stanard have either not done OT 3 or they are telling a 'shore story' a SCN term for an acceptable lie. OTOH they have both been in since the mid 1970s and haven't done OT3, how sad for them. All that time on staff and your own organization doesn't take care of you? So sad. So Fail.

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 10:24:03 AM, aerochocolate said:

Thanks, Mr. Landers, for this wonderful article.

It's very cute that "church" members' prevailing opinion of Anonymous is still "mostly kids, blindly following." I have no doubt that some of them are, but as a person in her mid-twenties who has tried to look at all sides of this argument and sees nothing of redeeming value in the "Church" of Scientology, I find the opinion poorly informed.

Also, Sue Taylor? Prank phone calls are still pranks, even "after 9/11." Quit comparing mass murder to someone telling you that they've "got a puma waiting for you."

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 10:32:57 AM, everfree said:

>Likewise the Xenu story, which does not rate a mention in What Is Scientology? "That's straight out of South Park," Taylor says. "It's not part of our beliefs. You can only see it from people like Arnie Lerma."

Yes, it IS part of Scn beliefs, as Mses Taylor and Stannard both well know. The Xenu story is outlined in a secret Scn doctrine called OT III; members will often have paid upwards of $80,000 by the time they reach that level.

Sadly, Scn spokespeople will lie about anything they think might reflect poorly on the church, such as child labor in the "Sea Org" or the practice of disconnection (both the subjects of recent lies by CofS spokesperson Karin Pouw).

But imo, it's not because they want to deceive people to harm them (though involvement in CofS can indeed often be harmful), it's because they don't want any negativity to stop people from partaking in Scientology, which they believe is the only hope for salvation of the entire universe. Keep in mind that to Scnists the truth takes a back seat to PR for "dissemination" purposes and you'll do ok.

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 10:34:53 AM, skykipz said:

This is a superb article, Chris! My only critique would be in your failing to plug in the truth about L. Ron Hubbard's life, to compare it with the hype spewed by the "church." However, that would've made this article at least two feet longer.

I've been involved in the fight against Scientology abuses for ten years now. We were barely holding the line. By joining us, Anonymous has stripped away the fear formerly imposed on the media and the public by Scientology. Without them, ExScientologyKids would probably not exist at this point in time. Many ex-members would not be speaking out in the numbers they are now.

One thing I've noticed; an Anonymous raid is a multimedia affair. Part of the fun is going online afterwards to view the pictures and video productions put up by individuals. XenuTV and AnonymousTV are part of our media empire.

While we Old Guard had our lulz (google Clearwater, blue busses) Anonymous brings a whole new brand of intelligence and humor to the fray. Part of the fun over the years has been watching the cult fire footbullet after footbullet into its own pods.

On April 12, we will again join on the streets of the world's cities to address the Disconnection Policy, a horribly coercive tactic wielded by the "church" to isolate and control members whose families disapprove of their connection to this destructive cult. While members may parrot the line fed them that they voluntarily have cut off contact with loved ones, the fact is if they refuse, they will be subjected to humiliating, disrespectful punishment until they comply.

Together, we are unanimous. Expect us.

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 10:41:10 AM, chipgallo said:

Corporate Scientology wastes lives as John Boucher's death illustrates. Hubbard distrusted the medical professional and inculcated that distrust in policies which org staff must follow to this day. Taylor & Stanard demonstrate a Scientology-style "rickroll" by blaming the victim and not answering the real question: "why do people have to die for Scientology to be right?"

See http://www.whyaretheydead.net for more unnecessary deaths.

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 2:36:47 PM, rodent said:

Making money is a dead serious business.

The income of a person & the money they can have or lack of it is very serious to anyone.

People protect their money in safe places showing how serious they take what money they have earned or obtained in whatever legal or illegal means.

The late Ron Hubbard was dead right when he stated that Scientology is a very serious business.

Jesus on the other hand was of the opinion that an obsessive need for possessions was a road to losing the soul.

It requires a balance in any religion of requiring money for the needs of a religion with the compassion & charity that a religion is supposed to have for those requiring spiritual & material solutions.

I don't think that Scientology fits into such category being too serious requiring making money & gaining property around the world.

The ordinary people cannot afford the supposed spiritual freedom sold by Scientology.

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 3:38:37 PM, terryeo said:

by jove, I think he's got it....thx Chris!

Scientology is vengeful, authoritarian, ruthless, and fascistic (from Andrew Morton, Glosslip interview).

I am Anonymous, I am NOT young or very computer savvy, we ALL can be Anonymous...please join us for Operation Reconnect 12 April 2008

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 4:34:03 PM, JaneyZ said:

Also, Dianetics became a best seller only because Scientologists buy it like crazy and hand it in to the "org," whiich then arranges for it to be shipped out to bookstores again, where Scientologists buy it like crazy and hand it in to the "org," whiich then ... etc. etc. etc.

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 10:05:21 PM, Empyrean said:

Greetings from New Jersey, and congratulations on the well-researched and informative article, sir.

No mention of Anon's role in getting a Canadian sexual predator nailed by the FBI, but if you tried to touch on everything Anon (or Scientology, for that matter) had ever done, this article would have been very, very tl;dr.

And to everyone lolling at the lady being complaining about Great Cats = International Terrorism, be a bit more understanding of her plight; She obviously thought the threat was real puma. (Do you see what I did there?)

And to top it off, the fact that this paper's site's tabbed thumbnail is "CP" amuses us to no end.

Report this comment On 4/2/2008 11:24:37 PM, C_VANonymous said:

Finally! A well-written, comprehensive article. It is a sad state of affairs when we actually have to thank journalists for doing proper research. If only the major news outlets were as thorough as this reporter!

Report this comment On 4/3/2008 1:53:02 AM, SanAnon said:

There's a guy writing for the Phoenix New Times, last name Lemons.

You should talk to him about what it is to be a real journalist. You actually did your research.

Great article.

Large wall of text, and I read every single bit of it.

I like how those ladies in Scientology comment how a bunch of us are just kids following along mindlessly when that's basically what Scientology wants out of it's members. :D

Report this comment On 4/3/2008 3:46:52 AM, anonamaton said:

Easily one of the best articles I've read on the issue. It's about time somebody got it right.

Please keep up the excellent work, and expect more action from anon.

Report this comment On 4/3/2008 7:10:17 AM, Jazradel said:

A brilliant article. Kudos to you, for being probably the only person in the media who seems to have even the vaguest understanding of anon.

The only thing you've missed out on is the results of the raid and resulting publicity on 4chan. For those non-anon, it means the entire culture of /b/ has been raped by the huge influx of new people.

Also, lol CP.

Report this comment On 4/3/2008 12:34:48 PM, bgodly said:

As a Scientologist, I once considered these protests to be the hubris of youth, misdirected by the seedy side of an internet culture. But now I know better.

After reading the information gathered some anti-Scientology sites I now understand why they consider the Church to be an evil tyrannical organization that fleeces it's parishoners. If it weren't for what this little campaign has turned me onto, I would just be another sad commentator on the, I am sorry to say, gullibility of the people of my Church. However, this organization has taken on a much brighter side no matter what is professed by some of those in my Church. I was interested in finding out where some of these kids got their info so I visited the sites including the partyvan site where their "organization" started from.

I must say I was impressed at the profound and thoughtful overtones of the discussion boards. Most were actively calling for peaceful, law abiding behavior at the protests, and they swiftly rejected any ridiculous calls for burning things, overturning cars, etc. In this age where we as Americans are being constantly reminded of how insecure our way of life is in the world. Where we seem to have lost some of the sanctity of personal freedom and the joy of pursuit of our way of life as we see fit, this campaign seems to be exactly what Scientology and our country needs, right now! These individuals know the Church is involved in some nefarious activity, and they have been very active in gathering any evidence of it, which they have promptly given to authorities.

I have seen proof that the Church is fleecing people for profit and run as a pyramid scheme type of business, and I encourage everyone to contact the IRS, your representatives in Congress, and all other authorities and bring them your claims.

Now I clearly understand that what the spokespeople of the Church of Scientology are doing is inciting malice and prejudice. Make no mistake not all in Scientology are the same and some probably just don't know what they are doing. However, they are some pretty nasty characters in there, I have seen it.

It is unfortunate that the leaders of Scientology feed off of our youth to pursue their personal agendas of acquiring wealth and power. Quite despicable really.

Report this comment On 4/3/2008 3:56:37 PM, Spartacus said:

*snickers* Inb4bgodly, huh?

Chris Landers: Over 9000 internets to you x2! By far the best article so far. You, sir, deserve caek.

Report this comment On 4/3/2008 5:09:26 PM, Schmev said:

I caught most of Ms. Boucher's speech at the first protest, it was pretty powerful stuff.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=CnQtiLz8ubI

Report this comment On 4/3/2008 5:09:28 PM, Schmev said:

I caught most of Ms. Boucher's speech at the first protest, it was pretty powerful stuff.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=CnQtiLz8ubI

Report this comment On 4/4/2008 12:03:05 AM, AnonymousB said:

I want to be in Anonymous!

Report this comment On 4/4/2008 3:59:45 AM, an4chtymous said:

Chris Landers... I would like to shake your hand. Come out on 4/12 so I can! This article is fucking WIN.

Report this comment On 4/4/2008 12:47:25 PM, blockhead said:

Maybe I'm a BLOCKHEAD, but what kind of religion turns someone away because they are physicaly ill? Isn't that when you need your religion and church community the most? but hey, it's complicated!

Report this comment On 4/4/2008 7:25:35 PM, MayTam said:

So it's a fun way for these kids to flex their internet muscles and feel like they are a part of something larger than themselves. I think that's one reason people take part in religion and maybe this "anonymous" movement is sort of their religion.

I don't think all of them know yet that they have been hoodwinked into a religious hate movement that has failed for years because accusations against the church like Lerma's are false. Even if Scientology is weird they still have a right to exist. Report crimes and otherwise, leave people alone to be weird if they want.

I hope that eventually it leads to a greater understanding of the need for religious tolerance, and how important it is not to listen to unsubstantiated rumors against a Church or anyone else.

Just beacause a thousand people say it on the internets (sic) doesn't mean it's true.

Report this comment On 4/4/2008 8:23:12 PM, AnonymousB said:

Maytam,

It's not about how "weird" this religion is. People have turned up dead, children are working for Co$ 15 hour days. If $cientology has nothing to hide, then they should not be threatening and harrassing those who criticize them.

Why is it that they go after people and try to ruin their reputations? If one or two people were telling similar stories, then I could see the dismissive attitude being logical, but there are common threads in all of these stories.

I have joined Anonymous, I will protest outside Co$ on April 12 and so will my husband.

Report this comment On 4/4/2008 10:56:13 PM, blockhead said:

Reply to MayTam "So it's a fun way for these kids to flex their internet muscles and feel like they are a part of something larger than themselves"- isn't that one of the main draws of Scientology? saving man kind, something bigger than themselves....? you say that like there is something wrong with wanting to be apart of something important. Tool.

Report this comment On 4/4/2008 10:56:25 PM, anonincognitus said:

The spokesperson you spoke to for this article is outright regarding Xenu.

http://www.spaink.net/fishman/ot3.html

This is a link to details of the Operating Thetan Level 3 documents where you can read more about it and other OT levels there.

--Marcabian Recon Force 9004, Currently operating in from orbit near lagrange point 4 over planet Teegeeack.

(And if you believe that... the local church of scientology would love you to come by and buy some books. (They will even sell you a bridge.))

Report this comment On 4/7/2008 10:38:30 PM, formerlyfooled said:

This is a well researched and informative article! The photos are terrific, too.

Thanks for getting the facts out and putting a human face on the issues that bring Anonymous to take a stand against Scientology. The real motives behind Anonymous and ex-scientology critics vs Scientology are to expose the injustices which scientology has been getting away with your over 50 years. Like so many others, I am a former victim of this cult's tactics. To protect my family and friends inside and out of scientology, I must remain anonymous if I dare to speak out. Thanks to Anonymous, many are speaking up. Thanks for bringing attention to the facts and good things Anonymous is doing, despite the lies and propaganda Scientology continues to try and spread.

Report this comment On 4/8/2008 2:44:54 AM, chuckbeatty77 said:

Nice history lesson about anonymous, thanks! I kow the Scientology side of the story, was a staffer from 1975-2003, and I was happy to read the history of how anonymous got going! thanks!

Chuck Beatty

ex Scientology staffer (1975-2003)

412-260-1170 Pittsburgh, USA (anyone call me anytime!)

http://www.freewebs.com/chuckbeatty77/

http://tinyurl.com/295khy

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05205/542899.stm

http://tinyurl.com/38ptz8 buffalo video

http://tinyurl.com/ywhgaf buffalo poster

Report this comment On 4/9/2008 9:13:31 PM, AnPortlandAnon said:

Gratz, citypaper, you have won the trust of Anon.

Should anyone bother to read this comment, heed my word and spread the link to this article like smooth creamy frosting on delicious cake!

Report this comment On 4/10/2008 2:39:16 AM, Tim said:

I think it's great that facts are coming to light. Kudos to Anonymous for demanding free speech. CAVEAT though: this whole thing bringers out sensationalist publicity seekers and stalkers -- including the lot of "EX Scientologists" Every time you see the EX-Scientologist whining, remember, do you really trust the judgments of people who can polarize so violently? Any time that much clever slander against

"isms" or "ologies" is going on by people who once rabidly *promoted* the same, something is not right upstairs. Looking over these names, I see some, such as Chip Gallo, who fits that category. No doubt his Scientology files from when he was on staff have reems of him singing the praises of Scientology as much as he is all over the net for years angrily knocking it. These people polarize quickly, and the psych books have diagnosis for them.

While "Anonymous" is good -- don't let the "EX Scio" creeps knocking all their past friends and making life careers out of smear campaigns ruin the real spirit of improvement and justice.

Seriously the EX Scios seem crazier.

Report this comment On 4/10/2008 2:51:06 AM, Tim said:

This is an awesome article and a great start on getting some fresh into the stinking air surrounding obvious creepy budness! I had another thought juts wanted to share it because I really DO want to think things through for myself.

Like I said some of the EX$cios give me thewillies too, and so I don't want to go just on mass or mob rule. So as I'm reading another quesiton popped up...

Reading above about Anonymous:

'an anarchic, leaderless group of mostly young and tech-savvy activists organized through online forums and chat rooms "

AND then, read their message:

"Hello, Leaders of Scientology. We are Anonymous.

Over the years, we have been watching you."

So, thnking, it says Anon is Mostly young, tech savvy" So how many years can they have been anonymously watching honestly first hand?

So I hope everyone really does check things out and doesn't polarize because I would like to see the creeps (on "both" "sides") get outed.

Thanks.

Report this comment On 4/13/2008 9:21:24 AM, AnbaHero said:

Hello sirs. Excellent article. But I couldn't help but notice that you .ico says "CP".

Report this comment On 4/14/2008 3:51:00 PM, poolsclosed said:

definitely win article

those who don't like should GET A DOG
[/spoiler]
"Everything I need to know about parenting I learned from cooking. Don't be afraid to experiment, and eat your mistakes." - Cronos

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Malice
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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby Malice » Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:11 am UTC

Thanks for the article. Not only did it inform me about the situation (which I wasn't entirely before), but it inspired me to knock up a trailer-script for an adaptation of the message board, titled, "The Fourth Chan". Set in a futuristic dystopia in which Scientology rules over all, naturally.
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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby ascendingPig » Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:51 pm UTC

Quite good. Certainly beats this article I found in, I believe, the Daily News.
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Re: Long Well Informed Chanology Article

Postby 4=5 » Tue Apr 22, 2008 5:41 am UTC

lol it's like someone saw the truth walking by on the street once and was trying to imagine what it's like.


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