Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hoax white powder sent to Scientology

Police are investigating mailings of suspicious white powder, which proved to be a hoax (apparently cornstarch and wheat germ), to nineteen Church of Scientology addresses today, which led to evacuations and closures. The LAPD and FBI are both investigating.

The LA Times says that "there was no evidence that Wednesday's mailings were connected to the hacking" ("a cyber attack last week"), though I suspect the mailings were from somebody participating in the "Anonymous" "war" on Scientology.

If they happen to catch the people behind the hoax, I won't have sympathy for them.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a married couple in Stockton were incorrectly targeted for harrassment on the belief they were pro-Scientology hackers.

The Scientology main website has been moved to Prolexic Technologies, a company that sells a service to filter denial of service traffic.

"Google bombing" has been used to make the Church of Scientology's website the top Google search result for "dangerous cult" and Xenu.net the third result for "Scientology."

The Economist has now reported on the battle, under the title "Fair game."

The Wikipedia page on "Project Chanology" is a good place to keep up-to-date on the events of the latest Internet battles involving Scientology.

7 comments:

Hume's Ghost said...

There are few things that make me angrier when someone, in the name of countering something heinous (such as the old Fair Game policy of Hubbard), turns around and engages in that very behavior.

It's sickening. Where is Asimov when you need him? (see here for that to make sense)

Jack said...

Scientology is just about the only organization twisted enough to pull this to discredit their opponents. Not that I have any kind of evidence or anything. Not even saying this makes sense.

SmaDo said...

Quick denials where ever you look, ain't that interesting. And I thought you "Anonymous" are just a disorganized group of script kiddies who do not even know each other? What's next, 711chans? Murder? I hope they'll get you and I won't have a grain of sympathy when you end up in jail for stirring up hate crimes.

Jim Lippard said...

Jack:

That is actually a good point.

Here's a quote from my "Scientology v. the Internet: An Update and Response to Leisa Goodman":

"Andrew Milne, for example, regularly posts the same press releases again and again, including one attacking Larry Wollersheim which accuses him of being a drug abusing con man and draft evader. Ironically, in this piece Milne suggests that Wollersheim engaged in dirty tricks to win his major lawsuit against the Church, such as drowning the judge's collie, Duke. When a quote from Judge Swearinger regarding the dog's drowning was published in The American Lawyer (Horne 1992), Scientologists denied any involvement, and Milne had previously maintained that the dog had simply had a heart attack and then fallen into the pool. Apparently Milne feels that it is legitimate to change stories when convenient for an attack on a Scientology critic--he has never explained his contradictory accounts."

The judge thought Scientology had killed his dog and slashed his tires. So Scientology filed an appeal which included allegations that the judge was biased against Scientology, claiming that he had communicated to the jury that Scientology had killed his dog and slashed his tires, even though the jury foreman testified that no such communication had occurred.

Steven Fishman testified that he had been told by a Scientologist that he drowned the judge's dog, and that Fishman had himself been ordered to call up jurors in the middle of the night and hang up on them.

Wollersheim won in the end.

Jim Lippard said...

I think the "they sent it to themselves" hypothesis is somewhat less likely than the "some idiot sent it to them as part of this 'war'" hypothesis. But their sending it to themselves isn't beyond the realm of possibility, by any means.

smado, if I had to guess, I'd say you're a Scientologist... do you happen to know Andy Milne?

marcab_invasion said...

One remembers that Scientology's OSA sent bomb threats to themselves, as part of their campaign against Paulette Cooper.
They sent them to other people too, of course ...

Jim Lippard said...

It was the Guardian Office back then rather than OSA, but yes, they stole some of her stationery and sent themselves (Church of Scientology of New York) two bomb threats on that paper. They planned to go even further with something called "Operation Freakout," with the intent of getting her imprisoned or confined to a mental institution, but the exposure of "Operation Snow White" put a stop to that.