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The Church of Scientology is the largest organization devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system.
A leaderless Internet-based group that defines itself as ubiquitous.
The Church of Scientology International is the Church of Scientology's parent organization, and is responsible for the overall ecclesiastical management, dissemination and propagation of Scientology. Every Church of Scientology is separately incorporated and has its own local board of directors and executives responsible for its own activities and well-being, both corporate and ecclesiastical
Project Chanology, also called Operation Chanology, is an ongoing protest against the practices of the Church of Scientology by members of Anonymous1
Sometime before January 16, 2008, Anonymous realized it had nothing better to do than get their collective panties in a twist because there is a cult masquerading as a church. The resulting actions have snowballed into PROJECT CHANOLOGY, which is a covert LOL overt plan to subjugate Co$ and all its affiliates.
... the plan goes on to include tactics closely mirroring the Church's own "Fair Game" policies which it uses to justify IRL trolling of anyone who crosses them including its own members. PROJECT CHANOLOGY (aka Operation Chanology and Operation CoSplay) and its phases are currently in various stages of completion and will end only in the utter ruination of Scientology.2
Previous Anonymous projects have resulted in the closing of the white-supremacist radio show produced by Hal Turner, and the criminal prosecution of Canadian pedophile Chris Forcand.3
It is neither my or the Anonymous group's intention to either dispute or deny anyone the freedom to the belief in, and/or the practice of, any religious or spiritual path they chose to embrace or pursue.
Scientology is officially recognized as a religion in the United States
This debate, and the Anonymous battle against CoS, is about the nature of the CoS institution and the way it treats its own members, ex members, and critics. It is about corruption, abuse of power, intimidation, retribution, hypocrisy, vengeance, misrepresentation, arrogance, and criminal behavior pervasive throughout the powers structure of the Church of Scientology.
PROJECT CHANOLOGY (aka Operation Chanology and Operation CoSplay) and its phases are currently in various stages of completion and will end only in the utter ruination of Scientology.
On 14 January 2008, a video produced by the Church of Scientology featuring an interview with Tom Cruise was leaked to the Internet and uploaded to YouTube.The Church of Scientology issued a copyright violation claim against YouTube requesting the removal of the video
Today, Scientology is practiced in more than 125 countries. Its churches comprise a hierarchy which ministers services from the most basic to the most spiritually advanced, raising man out of his day-to-day problems and carrying him to never-before envisioned spiritual vistas.
SQ1: Who are Anonymous, if they indeed do exist?
Much of my first post will be dedicated to answering the first part of this question. For now suffice it to say that they are are a leaderless, worldwide internet based community of people who enjoy good lulz, and occasionally take on the odd evildoer or two.
Anonymous is a cultural phenomenon which began on internet image boards. Many such boards require no registration for posting, and every poster remains anonymous. This format of communication is inherently noisy and chaotic.
Anonymous has been called a "Cyber Vigilante Group" by The Toronto Sun and Global News, though in reality we are much more than that.
[SQ4: How can conflict exist between two groups, if only one is interested?
Much of the power of the Anonymous group has wielded against the CoS has been effective precisely because of its loose organizational nature and lack of official leadership.
Socratic Question 1:
Is the Church of Scientology (not the belief), in your opinion, operated as a religion or a cult?
A Cult may refer to a cohesive social group devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding population considers to be outside the mainstream
System of religious worship; devotion to homage to person or thing
SQ2: What is so terrible about someone worshipping their own beliefs and religion?
Absolutely nothing. As stated above, Anonymous has no beef with either scientology believers or wish to deny them the right to practice their religious freedom.
Oz: How can conflict exist between two groups, if only one is interested?
SD: Much of the power of the Anonymous group has wielded against the CoS has been effective precisely because of its loose organizational nature and lack of official leadership.
Oz: I strongly disagree with this. Imagine if Germany had gone to war with several people ruling it, instead of just Hitler. The chaos and conflicts within their government would have been catastrophic, and meant a very short war. Having no structure is a terrible way to get your message across. Scientology for example has a very strong organizational structure, which has resulted in a boom, in the growth of numbers due to this.
Reactions from the Church of Scientology regarding the protesters' actions have varied. Initially one spokesperson stated that members of the group "have got some wrong information" about Scientology. Another referred to the group as a group of "computer geeks". Later, the Church of Scientology started referring to Anonymous as "cyberterrorists" perpetrating "religious hate crimes" against the church.1a
Anonymous (used as a mass noun) is a label and Internet meme adopted within Internet culture to represent the actions of many online community users acting anonymously, usually toward a loosely agreed-upon goal.
A "loose coalition of Internet denizens", the group is banded together by the internet, through sites such as 4chan, 711chan, 420chan, Something Awful, Fark, Encyclopedia Dramatica, Slashdot, IRC channels, and YouTube.3a
[Anonymous is] the first internet-based superconsciousness. Anonymous is a group, in the sense that a flock of birds is a group. How do you know they're a group? Because they're traveling in the same direction. At any given moment, more birds could join, leave, peel off in another direction entirely.
Anyone who wants to can be Anonymous and work toward a set of goals…We have this agenda that we all agree on and we all coordinate and act, but all act independently toward it, without any want for recognition. We just want to get something that we feel is important done…3b
"Anonymous is no one. Anonymous is everyone. Anonymous is you. Anonymous is me. Anonymous is the mailman, or someone you see across the street. The whole point of Anonymous is that we are Anonymous, even amongst each other."
The project was started in response to the Church of Scientology's attempts to remove material from an exclusive promotional interview with Scientologist Tom Cruise from the Internet in January 2008.1b
It is no coincidence that when he refers to the conflict between Anonymous and the CoS, that he continues to substitute the term "CoS" with the term "Scientology." That is because he believes that by disingenuously framing the debate in this context, and by making these two vastly different terms interchangeable, it will win him the debate.
Unfortunately for him, and despite the title of this debate, Anonymous has no quarrel with Scientologists. Nor do they wish them to stop worshipping who and how they please. Anonymous itself has participants from all over the world who themselves worship in every conceivable way.
The Internet-based group "Anonymous" has released statements on YouTube and via a press release, outlining what they call a "War on Scientology"
Anonymous has therefore decided that your organisation should be destroyed." The message goes on to state that the group intends to "expel Scientology from the Internet".
First of all, Germany lost the war and yes, it too enjoyed a brief spike in popularity.
So whereas this is a terrible analogy for the point you are trying to make, it works perfectly to highlight mine
Second allow me to thank you for your common sense in already conceding a couple of points raised in your opening post.
1. The existence of Anonymous
2. That they have been successful in their past advocacy campaigns.
Here's an interesting link to help you and our audience out: He’s the son of the founder of the controversial church he now calls a dangerous cult.(2)
DeWolf sued for control of his father's estate, saying that his father was either dead or incompetent. His father was proved to still be alive.
In 1984, Mary Sue Hubbard filed a $5 million suit for fraud against DeWolf for his 1982 suit to gain control of L. Ron Hubbard's estate
The statement goes on to assert that the attacks from the group "will continue until the Church of Scientology reacts, at which point they will change strategy
In late June 2008, users who identified themselves as Anonymous claimed responsibility for a series of attacks against the SOHH (Support Online Hip Hop) website
On June 30, 2008 SOHH placed an official statement regarding the attack on its main page. The statement alleged that the attackers were "specifically targeting Black, Hispanic, Asian and Jewish youth who ascribe to hip-hop culture," and listed several hip hop oriented websites which it claimed were also attacked by the hackers. It concluded with a notice that it would be cooperating with the FBI.
My opponent is trying to undermine me.
...my opponent is trying to make me look unintelligent...
For something to work effectively, there has to be a system put into place for things to work. Rules and regulations put together by the leaders of a group, give stability to that particular group.
Post 2: In this post I will delve into the various tactics Anonymous use in their fight against the CoS. I will also show how they have revolutionized internet activism and the considerable support they have earned. Furthermore I will expose CoS tactics against those who have dared to "subvert" them without the veil of anonymity.
In 1965 Hubbard formulated the "Fair Game Law", which states how to deal with people who interfere with Scientology's activities. These problematic people, called suppressive persons, could be considered "fair game" for retaliation.1a
Despite the ostensible cancellation of "Fair Game," the policy itself continues to present day.1b
Operation Freakout, also known as Operation PC Freakout, was a Church of Scientology covert plan intended to have the US author and journalist Paulette Cooper imprisoned or committed to a mental institution. The plan, undertaken in 1976 following years of Church-initiated lawsuits and covert harassment, was meant to eliminate the perceived threat that Cooper posed to the Church and obtain revenge for her publication in 1971 of a highly critical book, The Scandal of Scientology.2a
They revealed the extent to which the Church had committed "criminal campaigns of vilification, burglaries and thefts ... against private and public individuals and organizations," as the U.S. Government prosecutor put it.2b
The "Snow White Program" was written by L. Ron Hubbard  as an attempt to reduce or eliminate unfavorable reports on Scientology, the Church of Scientology, and Hubbard himself, especially those held by government agencies such as the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and organizations such as Interpol.
This project included a series of infiltrations and thefts from 136 government agencies, foreign embassies and consulates, as well as private organizations critical of Scientology, carried out by Church members, in more than 30 countries; the single largest infiltration of the United States government in history with up to 5,000 covert agents.3a
He keeps referring to random acts and quotes that he attributes to Anonymous. And to be sure the words and acts seem on the surface to be contradictory to its mission. But what my opponents has yet to grasp is that he cannot assign responsibility for the words and acts of anyone who calls themselves Anonymous to Anonymous as a whole.
Anyone can call themselves Anonymous and can do and say whatever they want
You really have to look at it as a consciousness more than as a group of people. And you can bring all the outside quotes from "Anonymous" sources and point to some questionable acts, and it wont make a bit a difference in the context of this debate or the reality of the situation.
In 2006, Australia's national census recorded 2,507 Scientologists nationwide, up from 1,488 in 1996, and 2,032 in 2001
Earlier census figures were 207 in the 1991 census, 219 in 1996, and 282 in 2001
This will become clearer as the debate unfolds and will be nailed down in my conclusion but for all intents and purposes Anonymous cannot by definition "lose" it's conflict with Scientology.
Because there is no "they" for the CoS to fight back in the other direction. That in fact is the genius of the whole thing. Anonymous is by definition a one way force. "They" are either active when "they" push or non-existent when "they" don't. Push back in the other direction and there's nothing there to push back against.
Church of Scientology attorneys acted quickly to have the videos removed from YouTube and other top video-sharing sites, claiming that the files had been acquired illegally and that sharing them was tantamount to distributing stolen property.
They revealed the extent to which the Church had committed "criminal campaigns of vilification, burglaries and thefts ... against private and public individuals and organizations," as the U.S. Government prosecutor put it
My opponent forgets that when one speaks for Anonymous, they are speaking for all of Anonymous.
Anonymous is not as much a group as it is the “manifestation of Neuromancer,” William Gibson’s vision come to life. When I ask who they speak for, they reply almost in unison: “For ourselves.” 1a
The fact is Anonymous has not yet made the slightest impact on the CoS.
Last month (Jan 2009) the No. 4, No. 6, and No. 8 trends on Google were Anonymous-related memes.
They have power, actual IRL “meat-space” power, as evidenced by the high attendance at Anonymous protests from Clearwater, Florida, to Sydney, Australia. 1b
In my opinion, and what I have been debating is, that how can one lose a conflict when one is becoming stronger year by year, regardless of wether the increase in strength is a minimal change.
“It’s not a matter of their beliefs, it’s a matter of their actions,” ... “It’s because their actions interfered with the freedom of the Internet.” 1c
I know that if the FBI cant bring down the CoS, then how can a group of unbalanced, chaotic pranksters, even think they have a hope, in achieving what a strong government organisation could not.
Yet since they made youtube pull the Tom Cruise video, millions of people have since seen it, and most of those as a result of the notoriety that Anonymous brought to bear with their response video, which as of today has 3,497,275 views.
I repeat, just the one Anonymous video has 3,497,275 views
Our mission is to make the teachings of Scientology accessible
"Legal experts say the church may be facing its biggest challenge yet - trying to protect its image, in a loosely-policed medium seen by millions of people.1
What is the scoreboard one year later? It is definitely advantage Anonymous and organized Scientology is definitely imploding.
Scientology's ... dictator David Miscavige now appears to be in hiding. He failed to attend the I.A.S. ball which was not held at the Shrine in Los Angeles. Neither he nor any of the senior executive strata attended the recent New Years event. He has not been seen in public with mutual best friend Tom Cruise. This is unprecedented. While Scientology is in a total melt down David Miscavige and the entire senior management team is constantly concealed and allegedly confined.
Anonymous now has more active cells than the Church of Scientology has active Orgs.
Anonymous is rapidly growing and winning. Corporate Scientology is rapidly losing and shrinking.2
Anonymous v. Scientology
Winner - Schrodinger's Dog
Post One: Oz fails to define Scientology clearly, relying only on Wikipedia and the statement that the US Government recognizes Scientology as a 'religion'.
His attempt to classify Anonymous as a cult inadvertently applies to Scientology as well.
Post Two: Oz contradicts himself by first agreeing that two Anonymous campaigns were successful, then stating they have never been successful.
Second Rebuttal: SD's logic almost fails here as Anonymous is defined as leaderless and structure-less. It's almost not logical to say that something is successful unless we define specifically what that something is.
It was a fascinating debate and now I will have to go and read all the links and watch the videos.
It's a very difficult contest to judge. I give it to SD because the first part of the premise, that Anonymous has 'not failed' seems to have been proven and agreed upon by both sides, IE Anonymous seems to have experienced success, supporting the premise.
The second half of the premise is up in the air but the preponderence of evidence seems to indicate that Anonymous will continue to have successes.
OZ comes right out of the cage fighting by pointing out a crucial fact: While Scientology is a structured, official organization, Anon appears to be nothing more than Internet Hooligans engaged in a disruptive, immature campaign. He immediately sets up the situation by using 'Big Dog vs. the Gnat' imagery. This was a very powerful way to introduce his position.
SD also sets up some descriptive foundations of his own by portraying Anon as 'truth fighters' of a sort not merely bent on petty harassment or trying to infringe upon anyone's religious freedoms but instead mainly attempting to target the gross misdeeds the COS is responsible for and to expose them and even consists of ex COS members. Although SD acknowledges and agrees with Anon's less than organized fashion, he does well in pointing out their ultimate goal of focusing on abuse, not beliefs. SD does a terrific job in answering OZ's SQ's, especially by pointing out an example of Anon's past success in dealing with people like Hal Turner.
Brilliant openings by both debaters. I give +1 point to each fighter and a +.5 bonus point to SD for his excellent answers . This is going to be an incredible fight.
Great job to OZ by pointing out the fact pretty much all religions, even atheistic beliefs, have had their share of detractors yet they remain alive and well. This is an excellent question as it makes the reader and judge wonder if attacks by Anon would be successful against the COS. Nobody denies the fact Anon is targeting COS but the question is will they fail or succeed? OZ uses history and comparisons to show that just because a movement has its detractors (that have even been successful in other arenas) doesn't necessarily mean it is enough to do serious damage. He throws another successful punch by stating:
Bad news Anonymous, Scientology is still going strong and is not anywhere near ruins. In fact, scientology members have exploded exponentially in numbers
Then proceeds to show evidence of the growth of the COS in spite of detractors like Anon. He then continues to portray Anon as a chaotic vigilante group. Great points again for OZ.
+1 OZ (For comparisons to other religious detractors)
+1 OZ (for pointing out the anonymous, chaotic, and questionable nature of Anon).
I wish SD had emphasized this a bit more but I was still able to pick up on it. His external site on COS' view of Anon was very telling. They basically initially viewed it as some pesky rascals only to eventually refer to the group as cyberterrorists. The reason that is very telling because it appears that even COS is acknowledging Anon's increase in impact towards their religion.
+.5 SD. It would have been a full point had he emphasized the underlying message that cite reveals.
And now SD engages in a smart clever strategy. He turns around OZ's point about the unstructured nature of Anon and uses it to his own advantage by stating:
Whereas the CoS is an autocratic, top/down, heavy handed, controlling organization, Anonymous are a group of free willed individuals who choose to occasionally come together to fight what they believe is a worthy cause.
So on one hand we have the few controlling the many and on the other we have the many choosing to come together as one.
Again, I really would have liked to have seen him expand on this idea. It would have been a great advantage to his case by mentioning the power of people coming together which would provide strength in numbers. Instead, he only leaves the pieces to be put together by the reader.
Although I understand characters are limited (and I won't deduct any judgment points), I strongly feel both debaters missed out on an advantage by not rebutting some of their opponent's key points. For SD, I feel he really should have refuted OZ's very strong argument about how all religions have had their detractors. For OZ, I feel he really should have addressed SD's example of Anon's previous successes and instead only (briefly) focused on the failure for it to be tied into COS.
I must admit I initially found the disagreement about the interchangeability of the terms 'Scientology' and 'COS' to be unnecessary nitpicking. But OZ changed my mind on the matter when he revealed that Anon was not only going after the corrupt leaders but the followers as well. So ultimately, Scientologists as a whole. Even the debate topic focuses on the term Scientology. I do not believe this is extremely pertinent to the discussion and it does come across as somewhat of a distraction to the actual topic, OZ did well to point this out. I'll award OZ half a point for this. Mainly because it is not terribly crucial but on the other hand I also like to judge on points addressed. Oz then brings up a very important point by stating:
I asked an you proved your point, but remember, its a loosely based group where members are Anonymous, which means credibility is highly speculative.
Because of the anonymity, this would lead any reasonable person to wonder about the credibility of their claims, accusations, and the weight of their cause. He also does well to point out a success against two individuals does not necessarily reflect on a war against a religion. This gives OZ +1.
OZ utilizes the websites to his advantage and point out how the tactics currently is use are not working now and makes the link that this means they most likely will not work in the future and offers a citation showing how the current strategy is not working but will not be changed until it garners a reaction. I have to agree that is a strange and seemingly ineffective course of action. +1 OZ.
+2.5 OZ for his post.
I was confused reading the following from SD:
First, I once again welcome my opponent's latest concession that the terms Scientology and CoS are not one and the same and cannot be used interchangeably.
Because in my opinion OZ didn't necessarily concede the point (in face he argued against it) but only agreed to use the term so this would no longer be an issue.
Then the following only appeared to harm his position:
But what my opponents has yet to grasp is that he cannot assign responsibility for the words and acts of anyone who calls themselves Anonymous to Anonymous as a whole. Whereas the CoS and any other rigid organization can be held liable for the acts of its members, Anonymous, because of its unique format and composition can simply not be viewed in that manner. No one persons or group of persons words or acts, especially on the internet, can be directly attributed to Anonymous as an organization.
Why? Because it simply isn't one and does not operate in this fashion.
Anyone can call themselves Anonymous and can do and say whatever they want.
To me, this basically sounds like a concession of what OZ said in his opening statement by implying the disorganization of Anon is to their detriment, not their benefit. Although I understand what SD was trying to get at by saying statements here and there from anon cannot be used definitely, the conclusion I reached from reading that was a subconscious admission that because we can't even reach a conclusion due to such disorder, how can Anon possibly be successful in their attempts?
There simply isn't a voice out there that speaks for all.
The same difficulty which my opponent is having in assigning responsibility, identifying leaders, and pinpointing accountability, is precisely the reason that Anonymous is so successful.
What is that advantage? SD explains:
Because there is no "they" for the CoS to fight back in the other direction. That in fact is the genius of the whole thing.
Brilliant point for SD as he explains the difficulty of fighting back at 'ghosts,' so to speak. Although it is a sneaky topic, it's hard to argue that, at least in this one respect, it's a good one. He goes on to submit various examples of COS fighting back against its attackers and shows how these methods are futile against Anon. Fantastic job. This very important fact earns SD +2 points.
Things begin to get a bit difficult for this judge. Both debaters are acknowledging the same facts (which is good) and are being extremely creative and innovated to structure those agreements to support their won position. They're both using the chaotic nature of Anon to their advantage in different ways. For Oz, it's a 'united we stand, divided we fall' route while for SD it's a 'you can't catch the gingerbread man' route.
Fantastic! You guys are going at it full force. Definitely one of the best debates I've ever judged. Fascinating. I award both fighters 2 points each for this round. You're both doing incredible jobs!
It was refreshing to see the closing statement used as intended: to offer a brief summary of each position. No points will be awarded to either side as it appeared to only consist of reiterations of previous points.
However, a couple of things that must be noted:
OZ again points out the very important heart of the matter:
In summary however, there is no evidence to suggest that the CoS has taken a beating due to the pranks pulled by a number of Anonymous individuals.
Scientology is still considered a religion (and a growing religion at that), is still acquiring new members year after year (albeit few, lol) and hasn't started to crumble like the Anonymous group claims.
Basically, regardless of strength in numbers, the anonymity, the 'ghost' advantage, the fact remains COS has been attacked pretty much since its inception yet is still going strong.
As good of a job SD has been doing, I still cannot ignore the fact:
As long as the church keeps growing, then the CoS will be winning this war.
This is the clincher. The nipping at the heels by anon simply isn't enough to bring the corruption to its knees.
SD doesn't go silently, though, and also reemphasizes his major point as well:
All this and the movement is barely one year old.
I also believe that I have demonstrated beyond dispute that due to the very nature of Anonymous, the CoS is impotent and all but powerless to do a single thing to stop them.
A valiant attempt but I'm not sure it is enough. They might be young, the might be hard to catch, but at the same time, they still seem to only be the 'annoying gnat.
In light of the point tallies and my opinion that OZ's main point outweighs SD's main point, my judgment goes to OZ.
Round 1: OzWeatherman vs schrodingers dog: Anonymous vs Scientology
schrodingers dog’s opening was much more complete and gave him the early lead.
OzWeatherman needed to have a more comprehensive opening.
Beginning in the first reply it was obvious that schrodingers dog had a better grasp on the subject matter. OzWeatherman rebounded somewhat in the second and third reply, it was still schrodingers dog running the show and leading the debate.
All through all 3 replies it was apparent that schrodingers dog never lost any of the momentum he acquired in the opening salvo.
Also goes to schrodingers dog
All in all this was an informative debate as I possess almost no knowledge of either organization. Which in a case like this is a blessing as we can then judge the debate purely on the merits of each debater.
In this case, schrodingers dog controlled the debate, made the more comprehensive argument and clearly won the day.
Winner: schrodingers dog