Monday, June 9, 2008

An open letter to Scientology protesters

I was driving through Downtown Boston with my mother and grandparents this afternoon. while driving up Boylston Street, alongside the Boston Public Gardens, I caught site of something that gave me pause: The statue of Wendell Phillips, one of America's leading abolitionist leaders and arguably one of its greatest trailblazers for tolerance, adorned in a plastic V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes mask.

This incident led me to truly understand the miseducation and shortsightedness of this ridiculous anti-Scientology campaign.

I am no fan of Scientology. It appears to me that they're little more than a crazy cult propagated by overfunded zealots. Their belief system to me is no more stable than those who look at Star Trek or Lord of the Rings for spiritual guidance. They, like most religions, are deeply flawed self-congratulatory propagandists. But it is, quite simply, their right to be that misled.

The foundation of freedom of speech, and ultimately that of free thinking, is that basis that bad ideas will be weeded out under proper intellectual scrutiny. Questions, more than any banners or demonstrations, are the enemies of junk-thoughts. It is proper inquiry that so greatly discredits Holocaust deniers and religious zealots, while it is open hostility, violence, and mindless opposition that lends it the credibility it so obviously does not deserve.

It is the last of these, mindless opposition, that is the root of the anti-Scientology movement's problem. Invoking the symbol of Guy Fawkes is the initial folly. Guy Fawkes, for those who aren't familiar (who apparently include those who wear his face), was a pro-Catholic activist that, with a cabal of like-minded citizens, plotted to blow up England's Houses of Parliament in 1605 to protest the Anglican government's oppression of those who practiced an unpopular religion. To invoke the face of a man who died defending his faith (he was publicly hanged by the Empire) is an absolutely unforgivable oversight that quite frankly discredits the entire attempt to criticize your opponents.

Add to that oversight your defacement of Wendell Phillips in the park, and you produce an image of futile and childlike hostility that does nothing more than a school boy's protest that he shouldn't have to eat his greens simply because they don't taste good.

I am also no opponent of protest. I have been a part of protests against a wide range of subjects, from the war to various economic policies to the misbehavior of priests. Protesting is a healthy part of an open society. It, like questioning, should be fostered within a society as a necessary part of citizenship. But like questioning, it should be done in an educated way. Blindly lashing out against something, or using symbols for which you don't know the meaning, never leads to anything but oppression and can end in tyranny - by either a minority or a majority. The destruction of any and all ideological enemies comes not from hollow slogans or empty actions, but by informed opposition and expository inquiry. Anything less, and you're just as bad as them.


Paula said...
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Jason said...

You are correct. It is entirely ludicrous to say something is wrong without understanding it.

Which is why your entry is so ludicrous.

Look into matters - we are not simply protesting a religious minority. We are protesting a business masquerading as a religion, which seeks to do nothing but abuse peoples faith and hope into handing over their money, their freedom, and even their very lives.

It seems to me that you are the ignorant one. You wrote a well written entry, but with little substance. Visit our websites, we have proof that we arent making up our claims. Most people I have met at the protest are more than aware of the organization they are protesting.

Visit,, or

If you have further questions, feel free to e-mail me.

I strongly recommend you look into the matter. Your post shows great ignorance.

Paula said...

Deleted comment so I can receive any follow ups by email...anyway:

"Whilst I agree with your view that educated criticism is a cornerstone of successful opposition, I disagree that the current protests against the Scientology organisation don't fall into this category.

I also take issue with the idea, that they're coming from a position of childlike, "us and them" style hate.

Can I ask you why you think that this is in fact the case?"

Chris said...

What Jason Said.

anon902503 said...

Your analysis of the situation is really quite naïve. The protests have nothing to do with the (albeit ridiculous) beliefs of the Scientology doctrine.

There are many reasons for the protest. But I like to think that the primary reason for the protest is the blatant violence and intimidation carried out by Scientologists against public critics. Scientology has, as a matter of its core doctrine, a policy of destroying anyone who questions their cult. (Which also explains the need for anonymity among the protesters)

I also think its quite laughable that you looked for some symbolism in the use of the Guy Fawkes mask. Sometimes a mask is just means to conceal an identity. Not some deep attempt at historical parallel.


Plups said...

This incident led me to truly misunderstand the purpose of the anti-Scientology campaign.

Matthew, with respect, you have actually highlighted for me the aptness of the use both of the mask of Guy Fawkes' face and the statue of abolitionist Wendell Phillips.

Anonymous does not oppose the rights of Scientologists to believe whatever they want to believe. In fact, I would march to protect their right to do so. Many have died to grant us all that right and I have observed discussions between Anonymous acknowledging that very fact.

We protest certain of the actions of Scientology which suppress both free speech and freedom itself.

I believe Wendell Phillips, were he alive today, would have protested against Scientology's Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), which former leading Scientologist Hana Eltringham Whitfield in an affidavit described as "a type of slave labor camp whose members lived, ate and worked in squalid, degrading conditions and who were utterly forbidden to talk to anyone but their own kind".

I believe Guy Fawkes, were he alive today, would have acted to stop Scientology's oppressive and coercive treatment of members, including its "fair game" activities, found by the Supreme Court of California's Appeals Court NOT to be religious practices (Wollersheim v. Church of Scientology (1989) 212 Cal.App.3d 872 , 260 Cal.Rptr. 331 )

The court held:
"Finally, when Wollersheim was able to leave the Church, it subjected him to financial ruin through its policy of "fair game."

Any one of these acts exceeds the "bounds usually tolerated by a decent society," so as to constitute outrageous conduct. In aggregate, there can be no question this conduct warrants liability unless it is privileged as constitutionally protected religious activity."

"The policy of fair game, by its nature, was intended to punish the person who dared to leave the Church."

Religious freedom is infringed when a "church" coerces, or attempts to coerce, people into remaining.

Guy Fawkes and Wendell Phillips are heroes to Anonymous and we dare to follow in their footsteps.

Anonymous said...

What an exceptionally well writen and insightful piece.

It is true that most Anonymous members are simply spoiled brats acting out their video-game/ action movie vicariousness on the streets.

But more to the point: they have accomplished nothing but harassment (see the infamous "Rogues Gallery" on and the 'Cyber-Squad Death and Destroy" List on .)

Hopefully the members ditch this farce as quickly as possible before it explodes into outright violent persecution. And it will, judging by Tommy Gorman ( and his attempts to instigate violence against Scientologists.

Oh well. You can't argue with some idiots. Let the police HANDLE them.


Support Paul Fetch 2012

Minorage said...

Tom, why the bold letter face? I am a member of Anonymous. I've got a decent job for some while now and I consider myself to be a kind-hearted person.

Anonymous has no interest in physically harming Scientologists and do not deny them their rights to hold the beliefs they choose.

In fact, claims hold much more water the other way around. Anonymous-members regularly get assaulted by $cientologists, which is why we exercise 'Gandhi tech' during protests. To a degree I can understand, because the bait-'n' switch scam this cult operates is one of a super-race ideology which aims to take over the world, and they are very serious in this mission (Google KSW wikileaks for your reading pleasure). However, like Tom, I do fear that worse things will happen in the months to come. However it will not be $cientologists who will be the victims.

I, and many thousands of others, protest the human rights abuses of the church, which the writer of the article could have easily found himself.

I would kindly like to ask you to reread Tom's post and ask yourself whether this could be the cult's 'fair game' policy in action. For this very reason, I changed the name of my e-mail adress so that I can make this post safely without fear for harressment.

The Odd Emperor said...

This is a pretty interesting take on the Anonymus movement. You understand of course the decision to utilize Guy Fawkes as a sort of mascot was arrived, not because of the historical aspects of the figure but from the popular graphic novel and subsequent film, "V For Vendetta." I think of it more as an attempt to put a face on an otherwise faceless movement, and the motif in the "V" comic and film was that of a rebel attempting to put down a repressive government, I can well understand why they would choose such a symbol.

Regarding the objectives of Anonymus, I agree with *some* of their stance.

I don't (and never have) felt that Scientology should not exist or should be destroyed. However, there are two potions of Scientology belief which I object to. (Paraphrased) That Scientology is the only hope for humanity, it must be applied to *all* of humanity. And that normal ethical concerns can be waved to achieve this goal. This is the formula for a repressive, tyrannical organization which not only abuses its own members but seeks to export its brand of "ethics" far and wide.

I think some kind of breaking point has been reached, where people of many different persuasions have recognized the danger of allowing such a group to thrive. Scientology may have reached a cusp, a crossroads in its existence where each member can direct their much lauded powers of examination on their own group, understand why people find fault in them and make amends or they can struggle against a tide of popular opinion from which they may not be able to recover.

voyd said...

The adoption of the masks has nothing to do with Guy Fawkes, or his place in history - it has more to do with presenting a unified anonymous face towards the group who is the main target of our protests (as well as an easy way of identifying ourselves to others)

We could have easily adopted another mask-du-raid, but what is good for Epic Fail Guy is good for Anonymous

You just fail to understand and need to LURK MOAR

Evil said...

"The destruction of any and all ideological enemies comes not from hollow slogans or empty actions, but by informed opposition and expository inquiry. Anything less, and you're just as bad as them."

Absolutely. The Anonymous movement is assembling huge swathes of information about the abusive practices of this so-called "Church" and is obviously far more informed on the subject than yourself. What you describe as "hollow slogans" and "empty actions" are the tip of the iceberg for this group.

A combination of awareness-raising media manipulation and protest, serious research and investigation, and a growing amount of pressure on relevant authorities is only a part of this movement. There are support groups flourishing for those who have been hurt by this cult, there are letter-writing campaigns to those imprisoned in their remote (razor-wired) compound.

Anonymous are not just kids and pranksters - they are people from all over the world, from all walks of life, who have seen an abusive organisation in their midst and have the courage to stand up and say "stop this".

If only those who complain at the protests had the same courage and energy...

Anon Hero of Boston said...

Your entire last paragraph is quite unfair, as you yourself are blindly lashing out against Anonymous with only a minute knowledge about who we are and what we're doing. You saw a statue with an EFG on it and decided to rage against the machine. Cool. But do read up a little about who we really are, as others before me have noted.

If you're so mad about us using the symbol of Guy Fawkes, maybe it would put you at ease to know we're using it on the same basis of "V for Vendetta." Hundreds of people, under oppression, don masks to speak their voice without fear of reprisal. Scientology has a well-known and oft-denied practice known as Fair Game, which they've been putting to heavy use against Anonymous protesters who had the misfortune of being outed. Long story short, some of our members are facing harassment and even court dates for essentially nothing.

I could go on for a while, but do yourself a favor and read's Northeast forum, Boston Anonymous has an active thread with updates from our front. And you could always read and to discover more about what we're doing and why. See also: google Lisa McPherson, Operation Snow White, Operation Freakout, Shawn Lonsdale, Patty Pienadz, Lawrence Brennan, Lawrence Brennan affidavit, etc. etc.

If you gotta nerdrage against something, please hit the books and learn the context. Perhaps you wouldn't mind swinging by SeaArghhh and asking some questions? Really, we're not the big bad internet haet machine the media portrays us to be.

Most of the time, anyways.

The Leif said...

Clearly you entirely misunderstand what we're doing.

Firstly, the use of the Guy Fawkes mask does not really originate from V For Vendetta at all. The origin of it is from a meme known as Epic Fail Guy, which is absolutely unrelated but happens to work because it's one of the few memes with masks involved, and we do have the necessity to remain anonymous for our own safety. Regardless, however, I do feel that if Guy Fawkes were our actual inspiration, he would absolutely support our actions.

This isn't about suppressing the religion. We have no problem with Scientologists. It's the organization of The Church of Scientology and its' crimes against free speech and even its own members. Please, go to and learn some more.

What you find out about this organization may startle you.

Also, see the press release for Operation Masquerade:

Os Wilkes said...
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Os Wilkes said...

Well, this is another example of how members of anonymous are babysitting the blogosphere to do damage control on their image. Which image, including the Guy Fawkes masks, is CAREFULLY DESIGNED TO INTIMIDATE.

Jason wrote:

"I strongly recommend you look into the matter. Your post shows great ignorance."

Sure, look into the self-serving self-generated links they post. Ignore what has been written elsewhere and in the major media. Watch how a horde of anons whose job it is to babysit the blogosphere spam your voice with a barrage of flak so thick nobody would care to attempt to cut through it.

The above is a post they do not want anybody to see because it contains links to "inconvenient truths" about their movement and activities. IN fact, they don't want you to see ANY post made by myself, because I disagree with the way they have hijacked and co opted what they refer to as the "Old Guard" critic movement into behaviours which are arguably against the law and for which Scientology has a track record of successful CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS. I have asked them to change their tactics away from risky bigoted picketing in favour of letter writing to Congress and the signing of petitions, and discovered that such discussions immediately get quashed. I have elaborated upon this in the link I posted above. It's best to go to the beginning of that thread and continue reading, but it's night unto impossible to wade through the SPAM members of anonymous have laid over the thread. Spam which includes tactics such as posting multiple large files of asian lingeree models etc. which make the page take forever to load.

No, the anon movement is not about "free speech". It's about CONTROL of the BLOGOSPHERE, and in this manner they are completely imitating Scientology. It resembles nothing MORE THAN cultlike "milieu control" as illustrated by this link:

But Jason said:

"I strongly recommend you look into the matter. Your post shows great ignorance."

You don't want to be "Ignorant" do you? So, you had best look into all sources regarding anonymous and it's activities, including these:,0,5172691.story,0,2136420.story,_USA

OH look at what anons did to somebody they erroneously labeled as "OSA" like they are Smitty and myself:

OH, look at what anons did to the Epilepsy Forum:

OH MY. Here is a link to a file given to me by the admin of the Epilepsy Forum showing people identifying with the anonymous movement, using their logo. This attack happened before they started attacking Scientology. WARNING: IF YOU VISIT THE NEXT LINK, DON'T CLICK ON THE EMBEDDED LINKS! YOU MAY GET MAL WARE AND PORNO POPUPS:

Links to OCMB posts which are relevant:

Links to the CA and US Codes anonymous is arguably violating, and which Scientology is building it's harassment case upon:

"TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 13 > § 241 Conspiracy against rights

If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or

If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—

They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death."

Have a nice day!



Anon said...

Dear Mr. Wilding,

You wrote:

>I have been a part of protests >against a wide range of subjects, >from the war to various economic >policies to the misbehavior of >priests.

I'm going to guess you went to protest the abuse of children by Catholic priests. Were you protesting against Catholic beliefs by doing so? Were you there to disprove the New Testament, or to keep people from believing in Jesus?

No. You were there to stop HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS. That is exactly what Anonymous is doing in protesting the Church of Scientology. We are protesting things like the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF) which someone described excellently above. We are protesting the "Fair Game" policy and "Disconnection", a practice the Church uses to break families in order to punish those who leave the Church or speak out against it.

Perhaps, since you care about human rights issues, you would like to take a minute to visit, a site started by three courageous young women who fled the cult. If you were concerned about child abuse in the Catholic Church, perhaps you might want to pay particular attention to the story of Astra Woodcraft.

K. said...

To intimidate? Really? I contend, Wilkes, that your cult exists solely to make money and has a eugenic basis fueled by L Ron's paranoia. Only I can back that up. You cannot back up your accusations.

To the blogger: Please do your research. We are not fighting a poor oppressed widdle religion. We are fighting a criminal cult that has violated just about every human right there is and charged the victim for the privilige. No one is asking you to take our word for it, just go look it up yourself. Knowledge is free, and that's what started this in the first place.

Os Wilkes said...

It has been stated that "Knowledge is Free". That is exactly what convicted software pirate and anonymous spokesperson Gregg Housh believed until he got caught making proprietary knowledge free to those who could profit off it- not the owners. Which is the original beef anonymous had with Scientology- anons wanted to watch a "funny" Tom Cruise video which just happened to BELONG to the CoS. When the CoS yanked it from YouTube, anonymous declared war.

Such is the history of anonymous. This is the current history of spokesperson Gregg Housh:

He was arrested and will be tried on the charge of "harassment" against the CoS for his participation at one of these exercises in "free speech" anonymous engages in. The charge was originally "tresspassing" but it was bumped up to the higher charge of harassment based on the history of the actions people identifying themselves with the image of anonymous committed against the CoS (as I have elaborated on in my previous post).

Housh was on probation for the software piracy felony when he was arrested. Anons are collecting for his legal defense on OCMB, claiming that he is a martyr to the cause of liberating people from the threat of Scientology.

I am a critic of Scientology. I did not choose this person to be a spokesperson for ME. Here he is with a friend being interviewed by WGBH. It is very clear that he has little handle on the real problems with Scientology, and his associate comes off as a smirking prankster:

Please inform yourselves about Scientology and it's real abuses. Please be advised that anonymous is a legend in the blogosphere, but they appear very much as the OP states to the world.

Look at the hype anons are creating in the blogosphere compared to the effect they are having on the real world.

If you agree with me that Scientology is a conjob disguised as a religion, write to Congress. Join with activists who wish to operate within the law for the right reasons. Engage in protests that don't invoke the spectre of the KKK and are legal in all ways. This link shows that anons are attempting to interfere with Scientologists in the practice of what they believe is a valid religion:

Here is what anons attempt:

"In 2 minutes fifty seconds the org was completely closed. Every curtain drawn so that the peaceful protesters could not see in, but (presumably) more importantly so that the few handfuls of Scientologists inside could not see out. Actually, I reckon that the most important function that this fetal position defense serves is to coincide with the cult administration’s propaganda campaign to present themselves to their members, the media, authorities and the uninformed members of the general population as a beleaguered religious minority that is being targeted by vicious bigots.

How fast can you (legally, peacefully and ethically) inspire the closing of your local Scientology org?"

Here is another incident where anons and critics "shut down" the legal practice of Scientology:

Yes, you too can don a "Guy Fawkes" mask and join the anonymous protests, run Scientologists off the street, pat yourselves on the back, write about your accomplishments in numerous blogs, and eat "CAEK".

And you can make it appear to be legitimate by claiming to be doing it to help Scientologists.

But you're not. You are only scaring them, and incriminating yourselves. While doing a damn good job to distract people from engaging in effective, legal options, and running the discussion of effective legal options off any board they are being discussed on.



Os Wilkes said...
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The Odd Emperor said...

Ah yes, the Office of Special Affairs. You have been hatted with this weblog and OCMB. You people all sound exactly alike, there, here or wherever you spam this stuff.

Os Wilkes; you guys have been doing this since about 1995 and what has it gotten you? Thousands of new protesters outside your offices. Bigger flaps than ever, empty orgs and crashing stats.

It is over and done with, your loyalty to the cause is commendable, but the cause is broken and cannot be put back together.



K. said...

Ah yes, Never Defend Always Attack.

So, Os Wilkes, are you afraid of tiny girls in bandanas? Is that what you're saying?

Anonymous protests are 100% legal. Operation Snow White was 100% not. Fair Game activities are not. Your cult is illegal, shady, and has been described by judges as schizophrenic. For a cult that doesn't even believe in schizophrenia, that's really something.

cabby said...

"He was arrested and will be tried on the charge of "harassment" against the CoS for his participation at one of these exercises in "free speech" anonymous engages in. The charge was originally "tresspassing" but it was bumped up to the higher charge of harassment based on the history of the actions people identifying themselves with the image of anonymous committed against the CoS (as I have elaborated on in my previous post).

Housh was on probation for the software piracy felony when he was arrested. Anons are collecting for his legal defense on OCMB, claiming that he is a martyr to the cause of liberating people from the threat of Scientology."

Oh, hello there. "Smirking prankster" here. Now, I understand that you may not know the issues at hand with Gregg's court trial, what with you not being in the state or attending the court dates and all that jazz.

I have. Gregg was not arrested for these charges. Originally, he was charged with harassment and trespassing, not one or the other. At the initial hearing, the magistrate threw out the charge of trespassing because he saw the video I took of the event, showing that 1) Gregg never entered the property and 2) everybody involved, including the scientologists that met us at the door, was being jovial. No intimidation there.

So while Gregg's last day of probation was the day these charges were filed, he was not arrested. No charges were "bumped up", and a martyr is a person who is no longer able to participate in their cause.

I'm not here to defend Gregg, as I can assist with that in court where it matters. I'd just like you to get your facts straight before you frivolously post.

Fredric said...

Too bad. Deal with it. I mean what we have here is a group of individuals world wide who are doing the jobs that law enforcement and politicians are supposed to be doing: protecting the populace from organized crime. What Anonymous and the ARSCC are doing is nothing short of heroic, and masking symbols of freedom, right, and all that's good is entirely appropriate since what Anonymous does is is fully in accord with America's greatest heros.

Make no mistake: Scientology is organized crime, not religion. It committed the single most largest and widespread acts of domestic ecpionage in our nation's history in an operation that the crime syndicate calls "Operation Snow White."

What's worse is that the Scientology crime syndicate did not end their Operation Snow White. It continues virtually unabaited today despite the fact that 11 Scientology crime bosses went to prison.

Also look at what the crime syndicate did in the aftermath of the September 11'th terrorist attacks against New York.

These Scientology criminals actually deliberately attempted to assist the terrorists by intercepting and diverting relief efforts in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. They worked hard to assist the terrorists to the point where the American Red Cross was forced to issue a statement about looking out for frauds and scams perped not only by Scientology but by anyone else who engages in Scientology-like racketeering.

The local police and fire crews were constantly having to escort the Scientology criminals out of "ground zero," at times "detaining" the criminals who kept sneaking under police lines to try to get their photographs taken for public relations lies.

So take your crybaby complaints, fold them into a nice small package, and cram them because what Anonymous does is nothing short of what every citizen's duty to their fellow humanity is supposed to be.

Anonymous said...

If Anonymous is legitamite, why are they being handed restraining orders?

Most Anonymous members are hateful, disrespectful, slanderous, and mean.

But that's just my experience.

The Odd Emperor said...

No Tom; you have it all wrong, doing bogus legal actions against Anonymus *makes* them legit. What part of this do you not get?

And mean? Hell yes! Some of them are mean as snakes. Just your type?

Plups said...

Tom Newton wrote: "Most Anonymous members are hateful, disrespectful, slanderous, and mean.

But that's just my experience."

Tom, L. Ron Hubbard wrote that one of the key qualities of the anti-social personality is that they talk in generalities.

"Most Anonymous members"? Well, we're talking about 10,000 or more people, in about 20 countries, Tom. Yet, you make this claim about most (say 5001 or more) of them, based on your experience? How have you garnered experience with that many Anonymous individuals to enable you to assess their character traits? Which of the 10,000 or so Anons are NOT hateful, disrespectful, slanderous, and mean "in your experience?"

You'll excuse us if we take what you say with a pinch of salt.