im in ur chan watching ur war on scientology

I’m fascinated by the war that Anonymous has proclaimed against the Church of Scientology. I don’t condone their actions, which are immature and illegal, but I don’t have much sympathy for the Church of Scientology either. More than anything, I’m impressed by the extent to which technology is being used to take down Scientology. Anonymous is coordinating its attacks online through Wiki pages, Facebook, IRC, and 4chan, and is spreading word of their crusade through Digg, YouTube, Reddit, etc. Yesterday I spent some time reading up on Anonymous and lurking in the IRC channel where they’ve been coordinating their attacks.

How the war started
It all started with a leaked video of Tom Cruise being crazy and talking about Scientology. After the Church of Scientology got it pulled from YouTube on a copyright claim, Anonymous uploaded a video proclaiming a full-on war on the Church of Scientology. Anonymous refers to their war as “Project Chanology”, which comes from the fact that they are using IRC channels to communicate and are against Scientology. They published a wiki page that documents their goals and plan of attack.

Who is Anonymous?
At first I thought “Anonymous” was a reference to the nameless crowds on 4chan, the image board where most of the Internet’s crazy memes (e.g. LOLcats) are born. 4chan doesn’t require you to log in or sign your posts, so the majority of posts on 4chan are from “Anonymous”. However, according to a recent interview with TorrentFreak, Anonymous is actually a loosely organized group of hackers.

Goals of Project Chanology
According to their wiki, there are 3 goals:
1) Save people from Scientology by reversing the brainwashing.
2) Cause current Scientologists to doubt their “religion” (CULT).
3) Obtain epic and memorable lulz. Some believe that strong action could result in more media coverage, which, of course, means epic win.
The third goal makes it clear that they’re doing this not only to take down Scientology but also to have some fun.

Methods for annoying the Church of Scientology
The wiki outlines Anonymous’ strategy. There are lots of ways that people can participate, including…

1) Denial of Service attacks
Someone posted a fun bar graph showing off their success. I have no idea if this data is real or not. It says takes 20 seconds to load, but when I try it, it loads almost instantaneously.

Anonymous also wants people to complain to Prolexic Technologies, which provides DoS attack protection services for Scientology websites.

2) Clog Scientology phone lines
Anonymous has published a list of Scientology phone numbers, including hotlines and local center numbers. They encourage people to make prank calls, record them, and upload them to YouTube. Suggested pranks include rickrolling and sending all-black faxes to waste ink.

3) Disseminate anti-Scientology materials
This includes sharing secret documents published by the Church of Scientology, using Digg and Reddit to draw attention to the crusade, and getting media outlets interested in the story. The Scientology documents are available here and on BitTorrent.

4) Spam them
Anonymous created a single email address that forwards to all known Scientology email addresses — They suggest adding attachments of at least 1GB, preferably converted into binary format to ensure maximum uselessness.

5) Organize IRL raids, or protests, at Scientology Centers
On February 10th at 12 noon, there will be mass protests at Scientology Centers worldwide. The wiki recommends that protesters make sure to get their facts straight before engaging in arguments with Scientologists. They also ask that you check your local laws before donning disguises such as Guy Fawkes masks. There are several Facebook groups, such as this one in Vancouver and this one in Berkeley, that are trying to coordinate protests.

6) Get food delivered to the Scientology Centers
David Miscavigework’s (leader of Scientology) home phone number and address were being posted at regular intervals as well, so that people could get pizza delivered to his house. Some people were posting screenshots of order confirmations on food delivery websites.

IRC chit chat
Out of curiosity, I logged onto the IRC channel that’s being used to coordinate the attacks — #xenu and #xenuchat on Much of the conversation is very immature, with lots of profanity and 1337speak, just like most other IRC channels I’ve ever been in (I often use IRC to download manga). But there’s also a lot of interesting stuff going on. Here are some tidbits of conversation from the chat logs.

IRL raid coordination
I was surprised to see that raids are being coordinated outside of the US as well.

GERMANS (also Austrians, Swiss) are invited to #german for information and planning, etc…

———>>>> ALL SYDNEY ANONS JOIN #SydneyRaid FOR INFO AND PLANNING <<<<----------

IRL Indianapolis was a bust….the 2 Co$ locations were fakes, one was a vacant lot, the other a nursing home!! SCOUT YOUR LOCATIONS (like we did) before setting up actual RAIDS

DoS attack discussion
There was a bunch of shop talk about whether or not to attack Prolexic, the DoS attack protection service used by the Scientology websites.

If we attack the Prolexic NS we will bring more than just Scientology down – a lot more. They’re not going to come down easily either…

I don’t think we have the numbers to take down the prolexic dns

Concerns about backlash from the Church of Scientology
Some people were worried. Most were not.

my concern, as it has been since the inception of this glorious war, is that they will get IPs and seek out the anons responsible to harass, sue, lie to or destroy. if I could be assured that they wont do shit to me Id be DOSing 24/7

Fuckit if they get my IP and try to destroy me. Anon will still go strong.

every anon that falls will be replaced by more

Posts of related YouTube videos, Digg articles, petitions, and other information etc.
There were requests to Digg certain stories up, as well as requests to bury stories. Here are 3 of the YouTube videos that were posted in the channel.

2 guys outside a Toronto Scientology center wearing masks from V for Vendetta

Prank call that connects 3 Scientology centers to each other.

Message to Anonymous from a guy who has been lobbying against the Church of Scientology for a long time. He urges Anonymous to refrain from illegal actions — “It’s not right. It’s the type of stuff that they [Scientologists] do to us, as critics.”

Scientology Orientation Part 1 of 4. You can find the rest of YouTube.

Here’s my take on all this — The Church of Scientology is a powerful organization with deep pockets, so a bunch of prank calls and spam are not going to have a long-term effect on them. Anonymous is also damaging its own credibility by encouraging activities that are illegal (DoS attacks) and immature (pizza deliveries). However, that said, I do think Anonymous’s attack has been effective in raising awareness about Scientology’s strange practices. They’ve released Scientology’s secret videos and documents, and have gotten people who generally don’t care (like me) to look at them. Thanks to Anonymous’ smear campaign, people who have never heard of Scientology before and might have been susceptible to joining it probably have a negative impression of Scientology now and may be wary of joining it in the future.


#1 jessblog » Blog Archive » Anonymous vs Scientology update - Feb 10 protests on 02.10.08 at 10:43 pm

[…] held protests outside of Scientologist churches worldwide. These were the February 10th IRL raids promised by Anonymous a few weeks ago. As far as I can tell from the news coverage and YouTube videos, all the protests […]

#2 mitchell henderson on 02.11.08 at 9:51 pm

Excellent research and writing! I hope you’re applying to all of the major news organizations.

I find this entire situation to be, quite frankly, a little frightening. Who is this inner circle of Anonymous? They sound like psychopaths, little better than the CoS itself.

#3 Anonymous on 02.17.08 at 7:32 pm

We are legion, we do not forgive.

#4 Anonymous on 02.20.08 at 11:31 am

An article about Anonymous vs. Scientology:

#5 Tim Giangiobbe on 04.12.10 at 1:46 pm

You are interesting yourself.I worked for a scientologist who used me for years.I did get a contractors licenses with his help only to work for him again under my own license just to regret it.I will never forget his overt and covert ways to disseminate THE WORD of THE ORG and the ones who capitulated were paid better and got more jobs that had a better margin on the Percentage.He was a calculating person who chose who worked with him real well and always fed them dogma.I never miss an opportunity to NATTER and I feel their BELOVED ORG is going to be discredited and lose their status with the IRS.L Ron Hubbard is dead and still deep in the pockets of thousands.TTheir tactics of taking money directly out of accounts is not exactly a non profit tactic.The practice of not disclosing the exacty amount a level is going to cost is also a way they apply sliding scales to the more wealthy and really soak the ones with self esteem issues.TThey take substantial amounts from the middle class also.I can always tell a contrived dogma strewn conversation being struck up by a Brainwashie.They are so programmed and COACHED it’s sickening.They really have difficulties thinking for themselves.

#6 Tim Giangiobbe on 04.12.10 at 2:03 pm

I caught your blog on Pi Day and wonder what you think about how America has made sports heros into examples and mentors instead of people like Steve Perry of Hartford Prep.THe Priorities are amazing.You just mentioned PI Day and I picture a more serious approach to getting kids serious about math and science.There are so many wasted human resources out there.There are so many Humans caught in ruts.Take SSI and VA recipients becoming dependent.Assisting people out of a rut is what we want to do with Laughway House. THe Scientologists would be critical of everyone we want to help.

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