Once, long ago, the Church of Scientology had a policy, called the “Fair Game” policy. This policy said that “enemies” of the church could be “SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.”
Later, this policy’s name was revoked. Note: The policy was not revoked, but the name was revoked, in an order claiming:
The practice of declaring people FAIR GAME will cease.But SPs (“Suppressive Persons”, those who oppose the church in any way) are, in fact, still subject to the exact same treatment.
FAIR GAME may not appear on any Ethics Order. It causes bad public relations.
This P/L does not cancel any policy on the treatment or handling of an SP.
This is not a vague abstraction of hypothetical retaliation. Look at what happened to Paulette Cooper when she wrote a book critical of the church. My personal favorite was when they had people steal her typing paper to submit fake bomb threats to their own churches and claim she wrote them, but you may find other parts of the story just as engaging. Note that harassment of Paulette Cooper is ongoing.
Over the years, it’s gradually become easier to find accurate information about the Church of Scientology. A lot of people are focused on mocking their beliefs (and to be fair, I do find the spaceships that look just like DC-8s, only with rocket motors, to be a bit questionable), but I really don’t care. People believing crazy stuff are not a problem for me.
The problem for me is the systematic and brutal attacks that the church has repeatedly launched against their critics.
Enter Anonymous. A bunch of people who normally content themselves to hang around on bulletin boards and post badly-drawn furry porn got annoyed at the CoS attempts to suppress a recent (and hilarious) video showing Tom Cruise demonstrating just how crazy their beliefs can get… And they started trying to undermine the CoS. The thing is, even though very few people have thought highly of Anonymous, well, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. The Church of Scientology has killed people. It has put people in gulags. Their dogged insistence on refusing even minimal treatment for mental disorders has done irreperable harm to thousands of people. And, perhaps most significantly, their heinous abuses of the US legal system have done immense damage.
So tomorrow, February 10th of 2008, people are protesting at their churches. There’s a protest scheduled for the Minneapolis branch. The temperature outside will be under zero degrees, with windchill to below -20. Scientologists often react to protest with specially-trained staff who harass and intimidate protesters, and it’s not unusual at all for them to make fake claims. The only difference? Lots of people who know this and are bringing cameras.
A great deal of operational security is going into this; people are covering their faces, arriving through public transit, and so on. And the CoS has issued a preemptive press release announcing that these “cyberterrorists” are devotees of both Mein Kampf and The Communist Manifesto – a feat of intellectual acrobatics I doubt many people could manage. But you know what? It ain’t so. Many of the people going to these protests (I know half a dozen, easily) have never read either of them. I certainly haven’t, sad though that is in someone usually interested in politics.
The Church of Scientology claims that this is about suppressing free speech. It’s not; it’s about suppressing systematic abuses of the legal system, and it’s about suppressing organized and premeditated criminal acts. They claim that it’s about their religion, but it’s not. No one’s protesting the freezone people, who believe the same things, but don’t, as a matter of policy, try to destroy people who criticize them.
To a certain extent, it’s great for everyone to be anonymous; it’s impossible to take action against a whole bunch of nobody in particular that you can’t even identify. But what about the people who can’t hide their identities? What about the thousands of people who would oppose needless deaths caused by Scientology, but dare not be the first to come out and say so, lest they be harassed for twenty or thirty years by a multi-billion dollar organization? What can they do?
You there, reading this? You can be Anonymous too. You do not have to fear these people; they don’t have enough hired goons to get all of us. You do not have to hide your face when you walk past their buildings. You do not have to be afraid of them anymore. Courts around the world have, on many occasions, indicted and even convicted Scientologists for their criminal behaviors. Many countries are no longer extending them unwarranted protection as a “religion”, but treating them rather more like a protection racket or a pyramid scheme – which is, in the end, how they do business. If the Church of Scientology really wants to be treated as a legitimate organization, a great way to start on that would be not to go proving us all right by harassing us.
Hi. My name is Peter Seebach. My contact info is not hard to find. And today, I am Anonymous.
Date: 2008-02-09 21:26:05 -0600
Goog on ya!
Date: 2008-02-09 22:20:43 -0600
Date: 2008-02-10 02:35:42 -0600
From: Marc Abian
Date: 2008-02-10 08:20:07 -0600
We are northern.
We are freezing.
We will bring snax and signs.