Anti-Scientology Group On Attack

Source: New York Daily News
Date: June 30, 2008

Critics of Scientology say they plan another theatrical protest against the church - this time targeting its intelligence division.

The anti-Scientology group known as Anonymous says its July 12 "Spy vs. Sci" demonstration will be held in "cities all around the world," according to a press release.

Anonymous members - who include former Scientologists - are focusing on alleged "abuses" of the church's intelligence agency, known as the Office of Special Affairs (OSA), says the release. It asks, "Why does something that describes itself as a religion need an intelligence agency that aggressively persecutes critics?"

According to the group, the OSA is charged with administering "justice and punishment" for the controversial faith, whose members include Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley. The group charges that critics are "targeted, harassed, threatened and intimidated in an attempt to silence or punish them."

"Most Scientologists are unaware of the functions of the OSA and accept what their leaders tell them about it," says the release. "However, there is a growing body of evidence that OSA agents operate to attack perceived enemies by using infiltration, bribery, burglary and blackmail, in addition to threats, intimidation, assaults and worse."

Due to fear of reprisals, Anonymous members are reluctant to give their names. One organizer, who goes by the nom de guerre of "93," tells us the church has sent warning letters to "our more public members" calling them "'terrorists.' They're attempting to stamp out our constitutional right to free speech."

Scientology critic Mark Ebner charges that "armed private detectives hired by Scientology have invaded peaceful rallies." A spokeswoman for the church didn't return an e-mail seeking comment.

Last month in London, Sydney, Toronto and New York, Anonymous sponsored a pirate-theme protest that parodied Scientology's private navy, the Sea Org. Or, as the demonstrators, called it, "Sea Aaargh."

According to 93, protesters at the "Spy vs. Sci" rally will don costumes of characters like Austin Powers, James Bond and Modesty Blaise. What about that actor who starred in the "Mission: Impossible" movies?

"Nobody wants to be Tom Cruise," she says.