A group of vigilantes--calling themselves Anonymous, or Anon--are escalating their attacks against the Church of Scientology in what they consider to be Internet censorship by issuing new video challenges. In one video posted to YouTube, Anonymous addresses the many news organizations covering the war, stating that the group has been watching. While the individuals behind the effort generally support the coverage, they also severely fault the media.
"We find it interesting that you did not mention the other objections in your news reporting. The stifling and punishment of dissent within the totalitarian organization of Scientology. The numerous, alleged human rights violations. Such as the treatment and events that led to the deaths of victims of the cult such as Lisa McPherson.
This Cult is Nothing but a psychotically driven pyramid scheme.
Why are you, the news media, afraid of discussing these matters? It is your duty to report on these matters.You are failing in your duty."
Lisa McPherson was a member of the Flag Service Organization, a branch of the Church of Scientology, whose death in 1995 remains controversial. Although the Church of Scientology was initially held responsible, felony charges against it were dropped when the medical examiner ruled her death was an accident. A civil suit against the church by McPherson's parents was settled in 2004.
At one point in the video, Anonymous says, perhaps in response to its growing numbers of critics, "this is not religious persecution, but the suppression of a powerful, criminal fascist regime."
A request for comment from the Church of Scientology has not yet been answered.
On Friday, Anonymous also posted on YouTube a second YouTube video to the Church of Scientology, this time addressed to its many followers.
"Your religious beliefs are not wrong, like any other religion, and they are yours to keep. However beliefs should not come at a price. Not from your wallet or compromising your thoughts.
Those who have left feel a new life, a rebirth into true freedom. You can join them if you wish. You may not believe us. We ask of you one thing: Make up your own mind. That is a sentence of more profound meaning for you now than at any other time in your life."
Both videos continue a trend in using a computer-generated voice over stylized video. A Web site called Project Chanology continues to detail present and future actions by Anonymous and others.