Anonymous Returns, Scientology Responds

Source: InfoWorld
Date: August 6, 2008

Robert Cringely responds to a Scientology official's claim that Scientology questioning Cringely's assertion

Let's start with the Pulitzer Prize-winning series on Scientology published by the St. Petersburg Times in 1980. The St. Pete Times is located in Clearwater, which has been the worldwide HQ of the CoS since 1975. The paper's reporters watched them move in and have been chronicling them - and fighting legal battles - ever since. According to the paper, CoS attempted to smear the husband of one its reporters and stole correspondence between the paper and its attorneys. The massive special report [an 18MB PDF] also quotes a 1966 memo from group founder L. Ron Hubbard advising members to "spot who is attacking us.... start investigating them promptly for felonies or worse.... start feeding lurid, blood, sex, crime actual evidence on attackers to the press.... make it rough, rough on attackers all the way."

CoS later renounced these “fair game” principles outlined by L-Ron. Critics say nothing has changed.

The LA Times did a lengthy series on CoS in June 1990. Here's part of what they had to say about how the group responds to critics:

Scientology seems committed not only to fighting back, but to chilling potential opposition. ....The church has spent millions to investigate and sue writers, government officials, disaffected ex-members and others loosely defined as "enemies." Teams of private detectives have been dispatched to the far corners of the world to spy on critics and rummage through their personal lives--and trash cans--for information to discredit them. During one investigation, headed by a former Los Angeles police sergeant, the church paid tens of thousands of dollars to reputed organized crime figures and con men for information linking a leading church opponent to a crime that it turned out he did not commit.

In 1991 Time magazine followed up with its own blistering cover story on the group, focusing primarily on how much money it generates. But it noted this historical fact:

Eleven top Scientologists, including Hubbard's wife, were sent to prison in the early 1980s for infiltrating, burglarizing and wiretapping more than 100 private and government agencies in attempts to block their investigations.

In 1998 Salon noted that the CoS was urging its members to flood the Web with positive information about the group and distributed kits for building their own Web sites. Installed along with the kits was software that would filter out anti-Scientology content. Here's what Salon had to say:

The Church of Scientology has raided the homes of critics who published portions of their "secret documents" online, and brought lawsuits against people it charges are violating its many trademarks.

The Economist wrote about the battle between Anonymous and the CoS in January of this year.

Scientology's lawyers are vigorous litigants. ...They react sharply to any perceived libel. As a result, public critics of what they derisively term “$cientology” risk expensive legal battles. ....Though Scientology representatives vehemently deny breaking any laws, critics have claimed that they experience intensive harassment and intimidation.

That's just a small sampling of mainstream press coverage over the years.


There's much more. Go read the whole article.