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Religious Tolerance logo

About the Church of Scientology®

News from the media during 2008

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Media news:

bullet2008-JAN-28: World: Internet hackers attack Scientology: A secret group called "Anonymous" believes that the Church of Scientology financially exploits their members and intrudes on the free speech rights of its opponents. They decided to attack Scientology. This was apparently triggered by the release of an internal Church video featuring Tom Cruise that was allegedly supposed to be viewed only by its membership.

"Anonymous" has blocked access to at least one Scientology web site, "...made prank calls, organized protests, distributed anti-Church pamphlets and information, and extracted secret files from the Church of Scientology and its parent company, the Religious Technology Center." 1
bullet2008-FEB-12: World: Anonymous group attacking Church of Scientology: A stolen copy of an internal Scientology training video was posted on YouTube, Gawker.com and other web sites. The video features Tom Cruise and was not intended for public viewing. Scientology successfully negotiated to have it removed from YouTube, but Gawker allegedly intends to continue providing the video.

An anonymous secret organization called "Anonymous" has been attacking Scientology in various ways -- some criminal. According to WikiNews:

"Anonymous set up a movement called "Project Chanology" to coordinate their efforts, and took down several Church of Scientology websites through denial-of-service attacks. Members of Anonymous have also participated in prank calls to Church of Scientology centers, as well as protests or 'raids' outside Scientology buildings, and have posted some of their exploits to YouTube."

Anonymous called for a series of protests at Scientology offices around the world on 2008-FEB-10. 2

bullet2008-FEB-12: Germany: Court approves monitoring of Scientology activities: The North-Rhine-Westphalia Higher Administrative Court upheld a lower court ruling that allows German intelligence services to monitor activities of the Church of Scientology. They stated that there are indications that the church and its members maintain ambitions against Germany's democratic order. 3
bullet2008-FEB-28: U.S.: Ex-Scientology web site launched: Three young women, who were raised in the Church but have since left, launched a new website at http://ExScientologyKids.com One is Jenna Miscavige Hill, the niece of David Miscavige, who leads the church. Another is Kendra Wiseman, the daughter of Bruce Wiseman, president of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a Scientology-sponsored organization opposed to the practice of psychiatry. Their women's home page states:

"... we offer non-judgmental support for those who are still in Scientology, discussion and debate for those who've already left, and a plethora of easy-to-understand references for the curious."

"For the record, while the site admins make every effort to be non-judgmental, that doesn't mean we're unbiased. Most of the people that write for this site have had extremely negative experiences in Scientology. Some of us have lost our families due to Scientology's Disconnection Policy, some of us have experienced physical abuse, and some of us were denied a proper education. However, we do welcome pro-Scientology email, comments and forum posts. There's even a 'no registration required' forum area where anyone may anonymously post questions, comments and advice." 4

bullet2008-FEB-29: Canada: This web site receives a threat: The "Anonymous" group that is attacking the Church of Scientology is now apparently attacking web sites that merely have articles about the Church of Scientology. We received an Email this morning, allegedly from "Anonymous Shadow:"

Hello, Scientology. We are Anonymous.

Over the years, we have been watching you. Your campaigns of misinformation; 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 trust you, who call you leader, 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--for the laughs--we shall expel you from the Internet and systematically dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form. We acknowledge you as a serious opponent, and we are prepared for a long, long campaign. You will not prevail forever against the angry masses of the body politic. Your methods, hypocrisy, and the artlessness of your organization have sounded its death knell.

You cannot hide; we are everywhere.

We cannot die; we are forever. We're getting bigger every day--and solely by the force of our ideas, malicious and hostile as they often are. If you want another name for your opponent, then call us Legion, for we are many.

Yet for all that we are not as monstrous as you are; still our methods are a parallel to your own. Doubtless you will use the Anon's actions as an example of the persecution you have so long warned your followers would come; this is acceptable. In fact, it is encouraged. We are your SPs.

Gradually as we merge our pulse with that of your "Church", the suppression of your followers will become increasingly difficult to maintain. Believers will wake, and see that salvation has no price. They will know that the stress, the frustration that they feel is not something that may be blamed upon Anonymous. No--they will see that it stems from a source far closer to each. Yes, we are SPs. But the sum of suppression we could ever muster is eclipsed by that of the RTC.

Knowledge is free.
We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us.

We responded:

It is fairly obvious to me that you have issued a threat.

I am the coordinator of Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. This is a group that sponsors the ReligiousTolerance.org web site.

Our office is in Canada, where Emailed threats are considered very seriously and where its citizens do not have as complete religious freedom as in the U.S. We have hate crime laws that make threats a criminal act, particularly threats motivated by religious hatred.

I will be reporting your Email to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police shortly.

We have filed a report with RECON.ca.

bullet2008-MAR-03: Scientology comments on "Anonymous:" The church has referred to Anonymous as a group of "cyber-terrorists" and, said the group's aims were "reminiscent of Al Qaeda spreading anti-American hatred and calling for U.S. destruction." Church spokesperson Karin Pouw commented: "These people are posing extremely serious death threats to our people. We are talking about religious hatred and bigotry."

Someone posted a video on YouTube that threatened to bomb a Southern California Scientology building. The FBI is investigating. 4

bullet2008-MAR-11 to 13: Scientology requests limit to protest by "Anonymous:" The Church of Scientology sought two restraining orders from the Pinellas Circuit Court in Florida that would prohibit members of "Anonymous" from coming within 500 feet of Scientology buildings during a protest that "Anonymous" allegedly have planned for the weekend of MAR-15.

One sought an "injunction for protection against repeat violence," and was based on a law intended to protect individuals who have been continually harassed or assaulted-- typically women by friends or spouses. Circuit Judge Linda Allan denied the petition because it does not apply to corporations. The Church then filed a second petition based on a different Florida law.

The St. Petersburg Times stated:

"The lawsuit alleged that Scientology churches around the world have been bombarded with harassing phone calls, obscene e-mails, bomb threats and death threats by members of an amorphous, loosely knit group that calls itself Anonymous. ..."

"On Thursday [MAR-13], Scientology officials say they received threats by phone and the Internet surrounding founder L. Ron Hubbard's birthday, which is today. That led them to ask employees to look for suspicious packages."

"An employee found a new, brown suitcase in the alley behind Scientology's Life Improvement Center at 336 First Ave. N in St. Petersburg."

"Police closed several streets, evacuated several buildings and called in the Tampa police bomb squad. But when police opened the suspicious suitcase, it contained no bomb -- just clothing, personal items and a Holy Bible. ..."

"In a statement given to the St. Petersburg Times this week, purported to be from Anonymous, the group condemned acts or threats of violence that may have occurred and said they were not the work of Anonymous. And they again urged demonstrators this weekend to protest peacefully and legally."

Circuit Judge Douglas Baird rejected the Church's second petition, commenting:

"This court is mindful of the anxiety that may be caused by anonymous threats of violence, or as a series of seemingly unconnected incidents, be they on the Internet or otherwise. However, the jurisdiction of the court must only be exercised to specifically restrain those known individuals that are shown to have some reasonable nexus to the actual threats complained of in the petition." 5,6

bullet2008-MAR-26: Wikileaks publishes "Operating Thetan" documents: The Church of Scientology owns the copyright for a confidential manual written by their founder L. Ron Hubbard. It describes how a person can advance in levels from "Operating Thetan 1" (OT1) to "OT8" and finally to "clear." The 612 page manual has now been published by Wikileaks. Some of the material appears to have been be scanned from an original in Hubbard's handwriting. 7

Wikileaks is a whistleblower website whose purpose is to leak sensitive confidential corporate and government documents by publishing them on the Internet. It went online in 2006-DEC. By 2007-DEC, its website included more than 1.2 million documents. PRQ in Sweden hosts the website. Chinese government dissidents have played a major role in the organization. The group takes extreme measures to preserve the anonymity of their sources. Needless to say, the site is blocked in China. However, they provide alternative URLs in an attempt to circumvent the "Great Firewall of China." To find the alternative names, Google wikileaks cover names. 8

The Church allegedly warned Wikileaks that they are in violation of U.S. copyright laws. Ava Paquette of the law firm Moxon & Kobrin who represent the Church's Religious Technology Center wrote a letter to Wikileaks stating: "I have a good faith belief, and in fact know for certain, that posting copies of these works through your system was not authorized by my client, any agent of my client, or the law. Please be advised that your customer's action in this regard violates United States copyright law. Accordingly, we ask for your help in removing these works immediately from your service."

Wikileaks is not expected to remove the documents; they consider the request "abusive" and plan to publish thousands of Scientology documents during the week of APR-13. 9
bullet2008-MAR-30: United Nations: UN asks Germany to justify investigation of Scientology: The United Nations special rapporteur on religion asked Germany to clarify why it is investigating the Church of Scientology. He rejected complaints by Scientologists that the government is acting like the Nazi regime. He reported to the UN Human Rights Commission that the climate concerning new religious movements in Germany may lead to prejudice. He asked Germany to start a campaign against religious intolerance in the country. 10
bullet2008-NOV-21: Germany: Germany abandons attempts to ban Scientology:  During 2007-DEC, Federal and State interior ministers asked the country's domestic intelligence agency to determine whether the Church's status as an organization could be challenged.  Scientology is recognized as an organization but not as a religion in Germany.

A 2007 annual report of a German group that tracks extremism reported that Scientology "seeks to reduce or deny basic constitutional and human rights, such as the right to human dignity, the right to self-fulfillment and the right to equal treatment."

However, the country's intelligence agency failed to find sufficient evidence of illegal activity to make a case against Scientology.

Erhart Koerting, Berlin's top security official, said:  

"This organization pursues goals — through its writings, its concept and its disrespect for minorities — that we cannot tolerate and that we consider in violation of the constitution. But they put very little of this into practice. The appraisal of the government at the moment is that [Scientology] is a lousy organization, but it is not an organization that we have to take a hammer to." 11

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Internet Group Anonymous Declares 'War on Scientology: 'Anonymous' are fighting the Church of Scientology and the Religious Technology Center," Press Release, Chan Enterprises, 2008-JAN-21, at: http://www.prlog.org/
  2. "Anonymous" plans to protest Church of Scientology on February 10," Wikinews, 2008-JAN-29, at: http://en.wikinews.org/
  3. "Court backs monitoring of Scientology activities," The Toronto Star, 2008-FEB-13, Pabe AA3.
  4. David Sarno, "A growing number of critics and disgruntled ex-members are using the Web to attack the church's tightly controlled image," Los Angeles Times. 2008-MAR-03, at: http://www.latimes.com/
  5. Robert Farley "Judge denies petition by Scientologists to limit protest, St. Petersburg Times, 2008-MAR-15, at: http://wwrn.org/
  6. Robert Farley, "Court again rebuffs Scientology's lawsuit," St. Petersburg Times, 2008-MAR-15, at: http://www.tampabay.com/
  7. "Church of Scientology's 'Operating Thetan' documents leaked online," Wikinews, 2008-MAR-26, at: http://en.wikinews.org/
  8. "Wikileaks," Wikipedia, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  9. "Church of Scientology warns Wikileaks over documents," ReligionNewsBlog, 2008-APR-07, at: http://www.religionnewsblog.com/.  Posted under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5.
  10. "UN asks Germany to explain Scientology stand," BBC News, 2008-MAR-30, at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/
  11. Michael Fischer, "Germany drops attempt to ban Scientology," Associated Press, 2008-NOV-25, at: http://www.google.com/

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Home page > World religions > Scientology > News > here

Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2007-OCT-14
Latest update: 2008-NOV-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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