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Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015)

In Anonymous, Archive, Scientology, WikiLeaks on April 11, 2015 at 6:19 PM

Air Date: 03/29/2015

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief profiles eight former members of the Church of Scientology, whose most prominent adherents include A-list Hollywood celebrities, shining a light on how the church cultivates true believers, detailing their experiences and what they are willing to do in the name of religion.

Directed by Alex Gibney, Going Clear is based closely on Lawrence Wright‘s book (PDF), covering much of the same ground with the aid of archive footage, dramatic reconstructions and interviews with eight former Scientologists: Paul Haggis, the Oscar-winning director; Mark Rathbun, the church’s former second-in-command; Mike Rinder, the former head of the church’s Office of Special Affairs; the actor Jason Beghe; Sylvia ‘Spanky’ Taylor, former liaison to John Travolta; and former Scientologists Tom DeVocht, Sara Goldberg and Hana Eltringham Whitfield.

The film breaks into three distinct acts. In the first, the former Scientologists describe how they got into Scientology; a second strand recounts the history of Scientology and its founder L. Ron Hubbard. In the final strand, the film airs allegations of the abuse of church members and misconduct by its leadership, particularly David Miscavige, who is accused of intimidating, beating, imprisoning and exploiting subordinates. It highlights the role played by celebrity members such as John Travolta and Tom Cruise through the use of video clips contrasting their statements on Scientology with the experiences of former Scientologists.

To support its thesis, the film utilizes footage of ex-Scientologists being harassed and surveilled (as per Hubbard’s dictum that the church’s critics were all criminals whose crimes needed to be exposed), and describes the imprisonment of senior Scientology executives in a facility known as The Hole. One Scientologist was said to have been forced to clean a bathroom with his tongue. According to the film, the actress Nicole Kidman was targeted for wiretapping by Scientology in an effort to break up her marriage with Tom Cruise after she was labeled a “potential trouble source” by the church. It also asserts that John Travolta has been forced to stay in the church out of fear that his personal life would be exposed.

Going Clear also provides research, footage and interviews with former Scientologists that may shed new light on the organization’s billion-dollar nest egg and a shady deal with the IRS wherein after several years of unsuccessfully applying for tax-exempt status, the Church was finally granted the designation in 1993.

According to the film, Church of Scientology Chairman David Miscavige ordered the organization’s members to file individual lawsuits against the IRS for its failure to recognize it as a church. Overwhelmed by 2,400 individual suits and the prospect of defending itself against all of them, the IRS agreed to grant Scientology tax-exempt status in exchange for the withdrawal of the cases.

A 2011 tax filing reveals that the three organizations comprising Scientology claim a combined value of $1.5 billion, a sum that has allegedly been built on the backs of members who pay thousands of dollars to rise within the organization, are paid 40 cents an hour for labor and have been tortured for dissent, combined with the organization’s vast international property portfolio.

Filmmaker Alex Gibney wrote an op-ed published in Los Angeles Times today, in which outlines a pattern of harassment by the Church of Scientology that targeted both him and and writer Lawrence Wright. He also calls for the IRS to revoke the church’s tax-exempt status and suggests the need for a congressional subcommittee.

Two of those interviewed in the film, journalist Tony Ortega, and former Scientologist Marc Headley, reported that investigators from the church had surveiled them at Salt Lake City airport as they made their way to the Sundance Film Festival for Going Clear’s premiere. According to Gibney, the church mounted an “organized” and “brutal” response to the appearance of its former members in the film: “Some of them have had physical threats, people threatening to take their homes away, private investigators following them. That’s the part that’s really heartbreaking.” The film-makers reported receiving “lots of cards and letters” from the church, though in their case it had limited its response to “loads of legal paperwork”. HBO had earlier said that it had put “probably 160 lawyers” onto the task of reviewing the film in anticipation of challenges from the notoriously litigious church.

Ten days before the film’s premiere, the Church of Scientology took out full-page advertisements in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times to denounce Going Clear, comparing it to a discredited story about campus rape published by Rolling Stone magazine. Gibney subsequently said that he was grateful for the church’s advertising, as it had attracted much publicity for the film; he only wished “they’d put in showtimes”. The church also published a “special report” attacking the film on one of its websites, started a new Twitter account which claimed to be “taking a resolute stand against the broadcasting and publishing of false information” and bought numerous Google search results relating to the film in order to direct searchers to its anti-Going Clear pages. The church also posted a series of short films on its website attacking the filmmakers and their interviewees, with titles such as “Alex Gibney Documentary ‘Going Clear’ Propaganda”, “Marty Rathbun: A Violent Psychopath,” “Mike Rinder: The Wife Beater,” and “Sara Goldberg: The Home Wrecker.”

On last weekend’s episode, Saturday Night Live parodied the Scientology music video “We Stand Tall” that was featured in Going Clear. It was commissioned by Scientology leader David Miscavige in 1990 as part of their fight against the IRS, and features several people who later spoke out against the church, including in this documentary.

SNL skewers the creepily cheerful atmosphere of the Scientology video, advertising “Neurotology” with lyrics like, “Religion and science intertwined/aliens live inside of our minds.” They’ve already got the cheesy ’90s music video aesthetic down, but then things get dark when the video points out what happened to various Neurotology followers after the video was made.


h/t HBO/Wikipedia/TheWrap/DailyDot

Related Links:

Church of Scientology’s ‘Operating Thetan’ Documents Leaked Online

WikiLeaks’ Scientology Archive

Leaked Tom Cruise Scientology Video

Scientology: Jason Beghe Interview

Inside Scientology – St. Petersburg Times Special Report

“Scientology and Me” & “Secrets of Scientology” – Panorama

#OpUnited Call to Arms for #Anonymous in #Solidarity with #Abuse Victims – #AnonUK #CSAInquiry

In Anonymous, Archive, News on April 2, 2015 at 9:17 AM

@TruthIzSexy 

#OpUnited #Anonymous #AnonUK #CSAInquiry

Greeting Citizens of the World.

We have had requests from several child sex abuse victims, abuse advocates & campaigners asking #Anonymous to join forces with them in a street protest against child sex abuse, CSAInquiry delays, cover ups and the lack of legal action against all types of abusers.

This is a call to arms to all of #AnonFamily to show solidarity with victims and help to support this demonstration against abuse in any way you can.

The demonstration will take place at 10am on Saturday 11th April in Parliament Square.

Enough is enough, for way too long now the victims who have survived their abuse, and that have not been tortured and murdered, as is the case for too many,  have agonisingly seen NO justice as the #CSAInquiry is perpetually delayed, thus increasing numbers of prolific high level abusers are dead and buried before their horrendous crimes come to light.

Whistle-blowers are being wrongfully arrested, discredited and they, and often their families too, are attacked by the powers that be for exposing the child abusers who operate within the system and walk amidst the uppermost echelons of our society.
It is time to end the imprisonment of whistle-blowers for standing up for justice.

This is child abuse taking place on an industrial scale, indeed it is highly organised crime, permitted and committed by people within every level of power & Authority. This is not just about paedophiles and organised abuse rings working out with the law, but all too often in conjunction with elements of the very people that society and the most vulnerable within our communities ought to be able to trust the most.

It is time to demand the arrests of VIP abusers, their collaborators and those who share equal guilt via their silence, to end the cover ups and for transparency to be reached on every level of investigations and inquiries.

From Sex Abuse victims, to those abused and neglected because they are disabled, old, mentally afflicted, and vulnerable in and way shape or form, it is time for the UK to rise up and say no more!

Generations of victims have seen no justice for their unimaginable sufferings. It is time to raise YOUR voice for victims NOW so that our next generations are neither abused nor silenced.

You can support #OpUnited by attending the protest, encouraging your friends and family to attend. Spreading this #Op link and information on child sex abuse via your social media accounts.

Blogging or publishing via media sources about #OpUnited & the upcoming demonstration. Making and publishing art work & videos to inform the public about #OpUnited Livestreaming & taking photos at the #OpUnited demonstration.

We have in #Anonymous proven how much support we can give to victims of abuse and via #OpVendetta the mass numbers of #AnonFam who can and will take to the streets in protest.

Please show your utmost solidarity for these victims of despicable crimes…

It’s time to unleash the fury with feet on the streets!

“Whose Streets? Our Streets!”

Make banners, posters, bring whistles, bring drums – make some noise!
10am on Saturday 11th April in Parliament Square.
United against all abuse and paedophiles – No more abuse!

TY for reading and any support you can give to #OpUnited – TiS

We are #Anonymous
We are Legion
We do not Forgive
We do not Forget

#Anonymous #AnonUK #OpUnited

P.S #OpUnited Phase 2 – #WhiteFlowers will be launched shortly after the upcoming General Election.

P.SS No illegal activity will be involved in #OpUnited.

Huge thanks to @AnonymousVideo for the vid!
http://www.anonymousvideo.eu/

Secret National Intelligence Council Talking Points Cast Doubt on US Government’s Public Claims of Anonymous Threat

In Anonymous, Archive, Hacking, Military, NATO, NSA, NSA Files on February 16, 2015 at 2:06 AM

us-nato-talking-points-re-anonymous

02/04/2015

Glenn Greenwald/TheIntercept:

One classified document casts serious doubt on warnings about the threat posed by Anonymous (in early 2012 then-NSA chief Keith Alexander reportedly warned that Anonymous could shut down parts of the power grid).

That document, containing “talking points” prepared by Jessica Vielhuber of the National Intelligence Council in September 2011 for a NATO meeting on cyber-threats, describes the threat from Anonymous as relatively small. “Although ‘hacktivist’ groups such as Anonymous have made headlines recently with their theft of NATO information, the threat posed by such activity is minimal relative to that of nation-states,” she wrote.

PDF

Related Links:

White House Warns of WikiLeaks/LulzSec/Hacktivist Threat

U.S. Prosecutors: Barrett Brown & Anonymous “Secretly Plotted Overthrow of Government” … lol

GCHQ’s War on Anonymous: DDOS Attacks, Covert Actions, Malware Implants, False Flag Operations

Tallinn Manual: NATO Cyberwar Directive Declares Hackers Military Targets

LOVELY HORSE: GCHQ Program Monitored Hacker/InfoSec Community on Social Media

In Anonymous, Archive, GCHQ, Hacking, InfoSec, NSA Files, Surveillance on February 16, 2015 at 1:54 AM

PDF

02/04/2015

Glenn Greenwald/TheIntercept:

GCHQ officials discuss plans to use open source discussions among hackers to improve their own knowledge, according to top secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden. “Analysts are potentially missing out on valuable open source information relating to cyber defence because of an inability to easily keep up to date with specific blogs and Twitter sources,” notes one document.

GCHQ created a program called LOVELY HORSE to monitor and index public discussion by hackers on Twitter and other social media. The Twitter accounts designated for collection in the 2012 document:

gchq-lovelyhorse

These accounts represent a cross section of the hacker community and security scene. In addition to monitoring multiple accounts affiliated with Anonymous, GCHQ monitored the tweets of Kevin Mitnick, who was sent to prison in 1999 for various computer and fraud related offenses.

The U.S. Government once characterized Mitnick as one of the world’s most villainous hackers, but he has since turned security consultant and exploit broker.

Among others, GCHQ monitored the tweets of reverse-engineer and Google employee, Thomas Dullien. Fellow Googler Tavis Ormandy, from Google’s vulnerability research team Project Zero, is featured on the list, along with other well known offensive security researchers, including Metasploit’s HD Moore and James Lee (aka Egypt) together with Dino Dai Zovi and Alexander Sotirov, who at the time both worked for New York-based offensive security company, Trail of Bits (Dai Zovi has since taken up a position at payment company, Square). The list also includes notable anti-forensics and operational security expert “The Grugq”.

GCHQ monitored the tweets of former NSA agents Dave Aitel and Charlie Miller, and former Air Force intelligence officer Richard Bejtlich as well as French exploit vendor, VUPEN (who sold a one year subscription for its binary analysis and exploits service to the NSA in 2012).

The GCHQ document states that they “currently have a list of around 60 blog and Twitter sources” that were identified by analysts for collection. A prototype of the LOVELY HORSE program ensured that “Twitter and (and subject to legal/security approval) blog content [was] manually scraped and uploaded to GCDesk.” A later version would upload content in real time.

Several of the accounts to be mined for expertise are associated with the hactivist collective Anonymous. Documents previously published by The Intercept reveal extensive, and sometimes extreme, tactics employed by GCHQ to infiltrate, discredit and disrupt that group. The agency employed some of the same hacker methods against Anonymous (e.g., mass denial of service) as governments have prosecuted Anonymous for using.

A separate GCHQ document details the open-source sites monitored and collected by the agency, including blogs, websites, chat venues and Twitter. It describes Twitter monitoring undertaken for “real-time alerting to new security issues reported by known security professionals, or planned activity by hacking groups, e.g. Anonymous.” The agency planned to expand its monitoring and aggregation program to a wide range of web locations, including IRC chat rooms and Pastebin, where “an increasing number of tip-offs are coming from . . . as this is where many hackers anonymously advertise and promote their exploits, by publishing stolen information.”

PDF

Anonymous Hacktivist Jeremy Hammond Terrorist Watchlist (TSDB) Document

In Anonymous, Archive, FBI, Hacking, Jeremy Hammond, Surveillance, Terrorism on February 12, 2015 at 5:23 PM

02/02/2015

Dell Cameron/DailyDot:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation put Anonymous hacktivist Jeremy Hammond on a secret terrorist watchlist, according to confidential records obtained by the Daily Dot.

A leaked document originating from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) reveals that Hammond was considered a “possible terrorist organization member,” and indicates that he was placed on the multi-agency Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), alongside individuals suspected of ties to Al Qaeda, Somalia-based extremists al-Shabaab, and Colombia’s leftist FARC guerilla movement.

The records further reveal how the FBI treats cybercrimes and shines a rare light on the expanding definitions of terrorism used by U.S. law enforcement agencies.

PDF

The United States has no single definition for “terrorism.” The law, Title 18 of the U.S. Code (Section 2331), describes it as an act “dangerous to human life.” That definition, however, was not “directly applicable” to the approach of the TSC, according to a leaked document published last year by the Intercept. Instead, the TSC redefined terrorism by combining “elements from various federal definitions.” Unlike U.S. law, the TSC’s definition excludes a threat to human life as a prerequisite for terrorist activity.

According to the definition issued by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) in March 2013, in addition to threatening human life, an individual may be nominated to the TSDB watchlist for suspected “acts dangerous to … property, or infrastructure” that appear intended to “intimidate or coerce a civilian population,” or “influence the policy of a government.” Individuals seen as facilitating or supporting “terrorist activity,” violent or not, may also be added to the TSDB watchlist.

The Intercept previously reported that as of November 2013, as many as 700,000 people were on the TSDB watchlist.

The FBI did not respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment in time for publication.

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