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Thursday, June 21, 2018
Revenge Of The Nerds: The War Between 4chan & Scientology
If you’re a real nerd, and not someone who just sits in Mount Street Bar and constantly refreshes the Salient website to get the latest gossip, then you will be familiar with the storm that is sweeping the internet. I’m talking about Project Chanology - the internet’s united vigilante attack on the Church of Scientology.
It’s slightly hard to explain exactly what it is, but your author will try his best. Why, you might ask? Well, it’s a brilliant piece of grass roots activism, transposed into the 21st-century communication driven world — with an urbanised post-modern twist. Also I think it’s fucking interesting; if you don’t, go read a film review or something.There are places on the internet where one should never go. These are the dark internet alleys with content of questionable legality, where one would not browse without the combined protection of Nod32 Antivirus, Norton and Zone alarm firewalls, a padlocked router, the shield of Achilles and the spear of destiny.
One such place is know as 4chan. Based on its earlier Japanese equivalent 2chan, its an image board full of pictures of weapons, gore and badly drawn cartoon pornography. A famed section of the site is the random channel, known bizarrely as /b. The allure of the board is that contributors post anonymously, allowing for extreme examples of absurdism. Over time prominent posters suggested that like-minded users band together to “raid” other websites — an act of frivolous and harmless internet terrorism. Calling themselves “Anonymous” they attacked popular sites such as Gaia-Online, and even enacted a racist raid on the popular game Habbo Hotel — citing as their main motivation the chance to exact “epic lulz” (layman’s translation: a bit of fun).
Anonymous kept their fun to the internet, being perceived as an annoying menace, comprised of immature fools and shut at home geeks. Their main public interaction was being dissed by internet cultural repository www.somethingawful.com. However, at the end of 2007 all of that was about to change. An in-house video from the Church of Scientology was leaked onto YouTube. It depicted Tom Cruise ranting to fellow members about the direction of Scientology, the inspiration behind his belief, and his vision for a scientologist utopia. Cruise’s fervour was palatable. The first memes described poor Mr Cruise as “bat shit crazy.”
That in itself is never a justification for religious persecution. However, the Church of Scientology has always struggled with its image as a group worthy of its religious title. Every RELI student knows that there is a difference between a religion and a cult. It is unclear if Scientology is the former or the latter. The American Government thinks the former - it granted the Church tax exempt status, allowing it to rack up a fortune of biblical proportions. The German Government was not so easily convinced, as an application to grant the CoS tax exemptions failed.
The Germans were wary of the Church’s strong focus on commercial payment for services rendered. Like a Tony Robbins mail order tape, followers were encouraged to buy, buy, buy.
Except, this time there was no money back guarantee.
If the Church of Scientology can be deemed a religion, it seems strange that the most active part of the CoS is not its PR department, but its legal team. Oddly named “The Office of Special Affairs,” it has been responsible for countless lawsuits and legal actions — against detractors, former members, and the media. This led to the creation of a media doctrine espoused by the Church named the “Fair Game” tactic. If anyone criticises the church and its actions, they are to be hounded relentlessly. Don’t just take my word for it: the Founder of Scientology (the science fiction writer) L. Ron Hubbard writes in The Scientologist, a Manual on the Dissemination of Material:
The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly.
The above quote hardly epitomises the more alluring facets of the Scientologist movement.
So what the fuck does this have to do with the internet? Surely the Church of Scientology doesn’t care about YouTube?Well evidently they do. At the end of 2007, Tom Cruise’s crazy rant got pulled from YouTube — due to a copyright claim by Church. This incensed the lurkers of 4chan and even the goons from www.somethingawful.com. There’s one thing you never do on the internet - and that’s get in between a g33k and freedom of expression. Prepare to be spammed with hidden www.2girl1cup.com links.
The battle lines had been drawn: Scientology was to suffer the revenge of the nerds. On 16 January Anonymous attacked. First the main Scientology websites were hit by Distributed Denial of Service attacks (nerd translation: so many requests for information from the website in such a short period that the site crashes, or becomes inoperable). They supplemented the website attacks with physical annoyances, such as continuously faxing Scientology offices black pages of paper, and ordering them large amounts of unwanted fast food. These attacks continued until 21 January, when Anonymous released a video on YouTube, announcing their manifesto with a scary computer voice and officially declaring e-war on the Church. The next day the Church was forced to switch their web hosting to ProLexic technologies, a company specialising in ultra-secure website hosting. Yet still the attacks continued.
Up to this point one could dismiss all of the above as just the crazed actions of a bored sub-culture. All they had done was raise awareness of an issue among the internet community and gain a few epic lulz along the way. Joe Bloggs didn’t know about it, and therefore didn’t care. The war could have ended; the hackers could have got bored and given up, leaving the Church of Scientology shaken but unscathed. Rightly or wrongly, Anonymous didn’t retreat. They took their fight from darkened basement LANs to the streets. A brave step: it’s not often Anonymous are brazen enough to make the transfer from hentai image boards to RL (translation: Real Life).
The results were dramatic. On 10th February protests were scheduled around the world in over seventy cities. The largest of these was London, where a rumoured one thousand people came out to protest. Garbed in masks to protect their physical identities and wielding placards, they picketed Scientology buildings with a vengeance.
Let’s put this into perspective. These protests were not directed at a government building or a construction site. They were not barricading an APEC conference. They were specifically targeting a local HQ of the Church of Scientology, which (in London at least) has a street presence slightly larger than a storefront. Imagine one thousand costumed, loud and obnoxious protesters outside the Cuba Street CD and DVD Store. That would be pretty fucking intimidating/sweet.
This extra step by Anonymous certainly had an impact. The London protests alone gained media mentions in both The Guardian and The Sun. The BBC World Service ran with a feature about the pickets, and local media from Cleveland to Dublin reported on their local raids. An active leaflet distribution campaign, both before and during the scheduled events helped spread Anonymous’ anti-Scientology message.
It’s far too early to tell if there has been any positive impact. At the time of writing the e-war was still in full swing. The more interesting question is whether such an attack is positive at all. On the one hand, the active admonishment of a group who have had obvious and documented harmful effects on people should be supported. Critics have likened the Church of Scientology’s Dianetics courses to the Catholic indulgences of the 16th Century. Aware of this, the Anonymous movement has made it explicitly clear that their ire lies not with the Church’s members, but with the money-making and litigious structure of the Church itself. But isn’t that poking your nose in where it might not belong? If the Church is providing a quality service to help those in need, regardless of how irrational it might sound to outsiders — it should be afforded some degree of respect, and its money making would be justified. If its operations are more in place to brainwash and extort, then a public awareness campaign is healthy. But a group of vocal vigilantes should not be judging the distinction. The depravity of the CoS may be evident to you or me, but it’s an observation one forms personally. If you let others form that opinion for you, then you are doing yourself an intellectual disservice.
That being said, if you wish to believe in a universe where every person is infested with Thetans — ghost-like remnants of the souls of humans who were exploded into oblivion when an intergalactic race of aliens led by the overlord Xenu dropped hydrogen bombs into active volcanoes — then feel free. I’d rather stick to Battlestar Galactica. It’s much more gripping.
There is something positive to come from this epic internet conflict. The ability of Anonymous to mobilize and co-ordinate signals the coming of age for internet activism. In a globalized world of shrinking democratic borders, grassroots activism has suffered. The enthusiasm of these armchair warriors is heartening. We can only expect more of this form of truly global political action in the future. In the grand scheme of things the methods of Anonymous in their opposition to Scientology may be dubious, controversial and draconian, but no-one can fault them for trying.
1. THE TROLL PARADISE
5. An Internet subculture evolves from a web annoyance to a global movement.
7. Through virtual raids on other websites, the online forum 4chan became known as the shithole of the Internet. Now the anonymous horde picked itself a new target: The sect Scientology. Worldwide protest marches introduce a new audience to that site.
9. It's Friday evening, February 15th 2008, and nothing is going on in the Hello-Kitty-Online (HKO) forums. HKO is an online roleplaying game in a candy-look for children and teenagers which is still in its beta phase. The forums are supposed to be a place to discuss the game as an effective way for advertisement.
11. But apparently Kittenmewmew and Shiningstarsarah are not alone in there. Kitten expectantly clicks on a new thread. The first two replies are cryptic nonsense. Mudkips? That's one of those creatures from Pokemon. She scrolls a bit further down. A nice little boy smiles at her... he's not wearing a shirt... and no pants either...
13. In the next few hours the HKO community is buried in a whole avalanche of pictures: An unknown person repeatedly posts the same high-resolution book cover - which is a few screen pages long. Someone else creates a mosaic from pornographic GIF-animations and pictures of scat-fetishists. One of the raiders stays at least a bit on topic: He fills his posts with a brown-clothed Hitler-Kitty lifting its paw in a Nazi salute.
>> 03/03/08(Mon)16:36:47 No.56657254
15. Shiningstarsarah sounds the alarm: Some people are uploading completely inappropriate pictures! But there is no one else. Who would do something like that? Kittenmewmew quickly finds something in common in the names of the posters. "I just googled. Anon is Anonymous, isn't it? You are the good guys fighting Scientology. Why do you stain your name with stuff like that????" The classification is correct, the assumed motives are not. The uncomprehending outcry provokes the vandals to continue with their posting flood.
17. On Saturday an Admin probably took a closer look at the forum, as it got taken offline for a week. This is exactly what the initiators of this mischief call "Epic Win", a legendary victory. But in the heat of the battle one of these anonymous people broke rules 1 and 2. His subject line reveals who started all this: "WWW.4CHAN.ORG". Those unofficial rules originate from the movie "Fight Club": First rule, do not talk about 4chan. Second rule, do not talk about 4chan. 4chan does not hold the status of an Internet secret anymore, though. The site is the biggest English imageboard. Imageboards are web-forums the primary focus of which is the posting of pictures.
>> 03/03/08(Mon)16:36:58 No.56657278
POST IT ON ED IT WILL JUST GET PRUNED AND DELETED HERE
>> 03/03/08(Mon)16:38:33 No.56657456
20. REGISTRAION UNNECESSARY
22. The structure and software is modeled on the Japanese image board "Futaba Channel". Everything that moves is discussed in over 100 forums by young people (juvenile or teens could also be correct): Music, movies, animals, cars, pornography. The often bizarre pictures early awakened the interest of many Americans. An active contribution is hindered by two big hurdles: the language-barrier and an IP-filter.
24. A forum-member of the humor website "Something Awful" got an idea to create an English-speaking counterpart in 2003. Just like in the Japanene original, everyone can contribute on 4chan: Anonymous contribution is not just possible, it's the standard.
26. Altogether, 4chan provides over 40 imageboards in 6 categories. Like the Futaba-Channel, 9 boards concentrate on Japanese popular culture, including Anime and Manga, Cosplay and giant robots. 18 forums deal with miscellaneous hobbies and special interests ranging from Origami and photographing to cars, weapons and sports. The adult boards contain the usual topics, including lots of Japanese pornography.
>> 03/03/08(Mon)16:39:07 No.56657513
28. In every area, mods watch over compliance with the rules: Relevance to the topic, more or less articulate postings, no posts against the law. If someone breaks the basic rules, the mods do not hesitate. If someone spams the topic with nonsense or posts illegal content, he will be kicked out, or "b&" (banned). His IP will get on a blacklist, so that he cannot access the board except for a page where both the length of his ban and the reason for it are displayed.
30. The forum itself features the message "USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST" in bold red letters below the relevant posting - a warning for potential imitators. Small transgressions are punished with a ban lasting three to five days, in serious cases the user gets locked out from the server for good. Some comply with the punishment, others sneak back onto the forum having changed their IP, cruising towards their next ban.
32. Most forums feature ten pages with ten threads each. Threads with new postings get pushed onto the main page, while those without any response go back until they disappear from the server. 4chan does not provide an archive - gone means gone.
34. The most popular board, however, is the board "Random", known among the users as "/b/". The motto here is: anything goes, or at least almost anything. Moderators react only to very serious offenses. For fist-timers, the things that can be seen going on here could be too much to take: hardcore pornography appears tame in comparison. It is not without a reason the regular users call themselves "/b/tards" - "retard" meaning "retard" in English.
37. THE MEME MACHINE
39. [below LOLcat images] The two cats that started everything. Now the cat memes have spread into the Internet mainstream.
41. In /b/, Anonymity is not an option, it is forced. The obligation to give up your identity establishes an unusual system of social dynamics: One who cannot stand out among his peers through his name, must do so through his deeds.
43. Most of these deeds happen inside of /b/. Image boards provide the unique possibility to not only respond to each other in words, but in pictures as well. Someone introduces a topic, others follow. In this way, Random has developed many own traditions, such as "Caturday" - a day on which threads are filled with cat photos with text macros on them. The recipe for this is simple: You take a cute picture of a cat and add some text in broken English. The results are for example a chubby cat with saucer eyes asking for a Cheeseburger, or a ginger-colored pile of misery with hanging ears that confesses: "I made you a cookie... but I eated it." The genre of these images is called "Lolcats"; "LOL" being the Chat-Acronym for "Laughing Out Loud".
45. "Cat Macros", however, are only one of the countless memes on /b/. The artificial word Meme was coined by evolution biologist Richard Dawkins; he used the term to describe basic cultural units. These are building blocks such as religious ideas as well as clothing styles and figures of speech. On 4chan, memes appear in the form of pictures that are posted repeatedly, often with small variations.
47. Photos with a black frame and two lines of text are called "Motivationals". They mimic the cheesy motivational posters found in so many US offices. The originals praise hope and perseverance, the imitations mock religion or show Darth Vader pouring water from one container to another: "Sense - this picture makes none."
49. Nowadays, motivationals can also be found outside of 4chan. Lolcats and similar memes have been adopted by the Internet mainstream as well. Several sites are able to exist only because of cute animals with anthropomorphizing slogans.
51. Other 4chan memes require more creativity, like the continuing stories around "Epic Fail Guy", a masked stickman. The plot of the episodes develops over the course of a thread, often with spontaneous reactions from the other users. This manner of storytelling consciously plays with the way image boards work and would be impossible in any other medium.
53. [below picture of an EFG thread] Only possible in an image board: Together the pictures form a comic that runs in a circle.
56. CONFESSIONS, FIZZLING OUT
58. Most of the time, however, the users of the random board try to impress others by using shock strategies. A /b/tard confesses to having killed his little sister with a television set. Another user brags about his girlfriend's expertise in oral sex - including a picture of the girl in question.
60. For a reality talk show, this would be ideal material to attract high ratings. The 4chan community reacts to such confessions with self-indulged boredom. Most of these texts already have been around for months and get re-used over and over again. The name for this is "Copypasta", a portmanteau of "Copy & Paste". The pictures that accompany these texts often come from user profiles of unsuspecting MySpace users.
62. Since new users come to 4chan every day, there always is someone who starts raging at the old slogans. This, in turn, amuses the old users, who rifle through their mounts of Copypasta to re-post even more of these old stories, like the one with the manager of a video game store, who hilariously fumes about a series of prank calls. After all, who needs to know that the actual event took place two years ago and it never became known if the text was indeed written by a store manager or rather by a /b/tard. It does not matter, as long as the bait looks new and the result leads to "lulz" (a corruption of the plural of LOL)
64. [below longcat pictures] One long-serving meme is "Longcat". Pictures of the long-stretched white cat appear in ever-new variations.
66. Much funnier than virtual rage on the own forum, however, is taking the confusion outside of it. These attacks on other websites and forums, during which the /b/tards present themselves as "Anonymous" to stir things up are called "raids". And Hello Kitty Online got off lightly.
68. The "Habbo Hotel" of the Finnish Sulake Coporation already had to endure two successful attacks by Anonymous. The hotel is a multinational chat environment for teenagers. The principle can be compared to Second Life, only with pixelated graphics. Every room is a chatroom; there is a swimming pool in front of the hotel.
70. One of the /b/tards noticed the simplicity of this design. The virtual avatars of the users could in fact block each other's way. The popular swimming pool had only one ladder. If somebody placed himself before it, he blocked the access.
73. RAID ON THE PIXEL HOTEL
75. On July the 12th, 2006 Anonymous uniformly attacked the hotel. Choosing an avatar, everybody had picked a grey suit, dark skin color and a haircut like Shock-headed Peter. Quickly, the pool deck was filled with "Nigras", who positioned themselves around the entrance to the pool. Whoever tried to pass was confronted with the simple explanation: "Pool's closed".
77. [below Habbo screenshot] The chat-world of Habbo Hotel was attacked two times by the anonymous hordes. They blocked the entrances to several areas, including the pool.
79. It did not help the administrators of Habbo Hotel to kick one Nigra after the other from the server. At some point, they simply gave up: Anonymous were too many, for every banned user there came five more. A year later the amusement seekers repeated their game. They filled the pool in hundreds until the server went offline - another Epic Win for the attackers.
81. But /b/ does not stop there, targeting radio and television as well. In 2006, TV comic Tom Green started a late-night show on the Internet. The show was broadcast live and featured a phone-in. For three months, the talk show was literally bombarded with prank calls. A YouTube video shows a snippet from the show, in which a visibly upset Tom Green screams "FOUR-CHAN"; again a "Win".
83. Hal Turner, a fairly right-wing US radio moderator, suffered even worse. Due to lack of sponsorship, he planned to end his talk show with a three-hour long special broadcast. Over 150 anonymous callers turned around what was supposed to be a nice end of the show. Turner, who is known for his rough tone, decided to counter the attack by publishing the phone numbers of the callers on his website. Anonymous hackers found his private address and number. After several hundreds of calls, the tough guy gave up and withdrew.
85. The main motivation for these excursions of Anonymous is the quest for "lulz", or fun. But not every potential target actually gets shot at. Every day, an unknown user will post contact information for new victims: call there, write emails to this girl, deface this website. The common reaction is a shrug of the shoulders: "/b/ is not your personal army."
88. RULES FOR THE RULE-LESS
90. As a matter of fact, /b/ does have rules of conduct; however, they are outsourced. Two independent wikis serve to instruct the newly arrived: Wikichan and Enyclopedia Dramatica - the latter self-ironically features a fused ae in its logo.
92. Rules 1 and 2 were mentioned before: One is not supposed to tell outsiders about /b/. During raids, the anonymous intruders usually claim to come from Ebaum's World. This is the name of a website notorious for its theft of ideas.
94. One time a victim of Anonymous contacted a local branch of the US TV channel "Fox News." The resulting report presented the anonymous mobbing as cyber-terrorism - the name 4chan, however, was not mentioned. Users of the forum regarded the tabloid expose as a legendary failure - "Epic Fail". At the time of the writing of this article, the video can still be found on YouTube, flagged as "Fox exposes Ebaums".
>> 03/03/08(Mon)16:43:21 No.56658047
96. The rules that follow sound more like a manifesto than rules for a web forum: "3. We are Anonymous. 4. Anonymous is legion. 5. Anonymous never forgives. 6. Anonymous can be a horrible, senseless, uncaring monster." To summarize: God help us if they are let loose.
98. The targets that are deemed to provide most fun are those over which the anonymous army feels morally superior. Granted, one can be a teenager who prefers his Friday night parties to take place on the Internet rather than with friends in real life, but one still has a certain pride. To really get the rest of the /b/tards interested in a raid, one therefore has to explain why the potential target is "Fail" (to fail can also mean "to fail" as in "fail a class").
100. Projects like "Hello Kitty Online" and "Habbo Hotel" are deemed to be Fail, since /b/tards regard them to be the mere exploiting of naive children. The condescending Hal Turner had effectively disqualified himself through his racist remarks. TV comic Tom Green made it just too easy for the 4channers; pretty MySpace-girlies can expect no mercy, either. At school, the good-looking laugh at the defenseless nerds; at home, the victims strike back with their digital fist.
102. A favorite past-time of /b/tards is also the hunt for pedophiles. First, they present themselves as young girls in chatrooms. If an adult bites the hook, the fake girls pretend to be FBI-agents and relish in the resulting reactions. In October of 2007, the anonymous fakers met Chris F., a Canadian father and church-goes. F. assumed he talked to a 13-year old Jessica and was so naive as to go on a date with her. There he was arrested by the police - Anonymous had played him directly into their hands.
104. [below motivationals] Motivationals mock the motivational posters often found in US offices, which are supposed to brighten the mood at the workplace.
107. BACK TO REALITY
109. From time to time, the anything goes mentality of 4chan comes back to bite them. In mid-September 2006, 20 year old blogger Jake Brahm posted a bomb threat on /b/: Supposedly, on the 22nd of October, there would be synchronized attacks on seven US sports stadiums. Though Brahm had only planned it in his head, the Department of Homeland Security did not find it so funny. A police inquiry lead quickly to the author of the threats. Brahms turned himself in for arrest.
111. In this context, the meme "4-chan Party Van" often pops up on /b/, an allusion to a supposed impending FBI raid. The juvenile envelope-pushers keep uploading illegal content, mostly sex pictures with children or animals. For most uploaders, it is a test of courage to break taboo. Many /b/tards cling desperately to puberty.
113. Illegal pornographic pictures quickly bring moderators to the scene, but they are not always fast enough. Until then, the other users tease the unknown idiot, saying that he can soon expect a visit from the Party Van. In this regard, 4chan is not as anonymous as many users think: the log files with the IPs of the users are swapped out every day, but they are stored for a month before being deleted.
116. THE TOM CRUISE VIDEO
118. The big turning point came in the middle of January of this year when someone uploaded to YouTube a video of Tom Cruise in which the actor rants for nine minutes about how cool it is to be a member of Scientology. The video was a clip of a private ceremony of the cult's from about three years ago. The video was quickly taken offline.
120. Once something is put on the Internet, it is not so easy to get it off. Scientology tried to block further postings of the video to YouTube and other video sites, but the cat was out of the bag. One day later, the tirade found a permanent home on the gossip site Gawker. When lawyers demanded the site take down the video, Gawker refused, pointing to its newsworthiness [relevance, public interest].
122. On the Internet, Scientology had had a bad name since the days of Usenet. In 1995, the cult had tried to get the discussion forum alt.religion.scientology closed. At that time, there were posted many documents penned by cult founder L. Ron Hubbard, which Scientology considered copyright-protected religious documents. Whoever dared even quote these documents would be routinely silenced with copyright claims.
124. With one blow, /b/ had a new picture of the enemy: There exists such a cult that it can rip this source of fun out from under our collective nose? Most 4chan users made themselves useful for the first time in their lives against the cult. They recognized it through the isolation of dissenters, the legal proceedings, the forced separation of families, religious knowledge only for money, and systematic Internet censorship: Scientology was a first-class lulzkiller. Finally, a worthy opponent.
>> 03/03/08(Mon)16:45:14 No.56658243
126. Within a day, there arose "Project Chanology", complete with a wiki, logo, slogans, and all the trimmings. A YouTube video enumerated with a synthesized voice the cult's list of transgressions. They would not just sit and watch this happen; Anonymous would expose the hypocrisy of the organization. Scientology should be destroyed. The text was deliberately worded and ended with a typical /b/ saying: "We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget." And then, "Expect Us."
129. A SUBCULTURE AGAINST SCIENTOLOGY
131. [below cam screenshot] Women who undress on the Internet for money are common targets for /b/tards. The usual goal is to get the unsuspecting "Camwhore" to place the keyboard on her head.
132. [below picture from protest] On February the 10th, Anonymous hit the street. Coordinated over the Internet, over 7000 people world-wide assembled before Scientology offices.
134. Anonymous emerged from the shadows and declared war on Scientology. At first, no one took the threat seriously – YouTube is full of such pretentious messages with dubious content. This attitude was to change rapidly when organized attacks took a toll on Scientology.com and Scientology.org that same weekend.
136. In dozens of threads on 4chan, the same simple tips to overload the Scientology servers were posted repeatedly. All links pointed far away from 4chan. Technically, the DDoS attack proved to be effective only at the very start: for one or two days, the main Scientology sites were not available. Now, however, the cult protects itself with a traffic filter from the security company Prolexic. But the primary goal was met: Project Chanology proved that the announcement was to be taken seriously.
138. The response of the online media was considerable, and the majority of the reports positive. With its aggressive legal attacks on critics, Scientology had not won itself many friends on the Internet. The most poignant criticism of the DDoS attack interestingly enough came from the camp of the long-time critics of Scientology. One particularly clear message came from the man behind "Xenu TV", Mark Bunker: Anonymous should not face Scientology at their level. He also warned them about the possible judicial consequences of illegal actions.
140. The message was heard. Bunker's bearded face instantly became a meme of its own: "Wise Beard Man". Project Chanology's mission statements were revised, passages with calls to sabotage removed. The declaration of war, they said, was not aimed at individuals, but at the corrupt organization that used their members and cheated them out of their money.
142. One week after the DDoS attacks, the next video by Anonymous appeared: "A Call To Action" appealed for a world-wide demonstration on the 10th of February, at 11 o'clock of each local time. This is a meaningful date for critics of the sect: it is the birthday of the Scientologist Lisa McPherson, who in 1995, at the age of 35, died of undernourishment and thirst in a Scientology Center.
144. On 4chan, this appeal was met with mixed feelings: some were against appearing in the public and thus compromising their anonymity. Others finally saw a worthy cause in the actions against Scientology. Many expressed doubt about the usefulness of it all, but were ready to take part – for the lulz.
147. ANONYMOUS ON THE STREETS
149. [next to march 15 flier] The call for the demonstration against Scientology in March, ironically mimicking a birthday invitation.
151. In spite of all prophecies of doom, February 10th was a considerable success. First of all, the Australians assembled before the Scientology headquarters, followed by the Europeans and Americans. Every demonstration caused a whole wave of new threads on 4chan, in which the participants published pictured of the "raid". In Australia, the USA and Canada many of the protesters wore masks, others confidently grinned into the camera - so much for anonymity.
153. The biggest groups assembled in London and Los Angeles. In each city, over 500 people held up picket signs and shouted slogans. It has been estimated that altogether 7000 people protested against Scientology on that Sunday. All protests remained peaceful.
155. The press, having been made aware of the existence of Anonymous during the DDoS attacks, attended, too. With their masks, sometimes weird costumes and slogans ("Honk if you drive a car"), Anonymous provided good footage for the media.
157. On the following day, the Random board was overflowing with people. The users that stayed at home wanted to know how it went and ridiculed the pictures of the raid. The users that had taken part in the protests mocked the cowards for staying at home.
159. By now, /b/ has gone back to the usual routine: pictures of breasts and cats, meme repetitions ad nauseam. The matter with the sect brings new people to the boards. And in keeping with the tradition, they are being baited with Copypasta and laughed at.
161. Now and then, threads about Scientology still appear. Most of the time anonymous posters claim to be members of the sect and pretend to be ready for a discussion – this troll trap proves to be effective even with old users. Sometimes, serious discussions about the usefulness of the official declaration of war develop. Some even go as far as to insist that the push against Scientology is controlled from elsewhere, and that /b/ is merely being used by unknown forces.
163. As a matter of fact the organizers behind Project Chanology are still unknown. The website for its coordination is a wiki that can be edited by anyone who feels connected with the cause. The warning on the main page asserts: "The target is reading this, too"
165. The next world wide demonstration is set to take place on March the 15th. Again, the call is to appear at 11 o'clock at the local Scientology office. This time with party hats and cake – in view of the occasion: Completely coincidentally, Scientology celebrates the birthday of its founder exactly that same day.
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1. THE TROLL PARADISE 2. ==================== 3. 4. 5. An Internet subculture evolves from a web annoyance to a global move...
Revenge Of The Nerds: The War Between 4chan & Scientology If you’re a real nerd, and not someone who just sits in Mount Str...