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“Battling Scientology” Follow-Up October 25, 2008

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The Phoenix, 24 October 2008

Depending on whom you ask, Massachusetts-based protest organizer Gregg Housh had a major victory – or a significant loss – in Boston Municipal Court this Wednesday. As reported in The Phoenix this past week in the feature “Battling Scientology,” Housh faced charges of harassment, disturbing the peace, and disturbing religious worship for his involvement with the picket group Anonymous and his actions against the Boston Church of Scientology.

According to an Anonymous press statement that circulated earlier this afternoon: “On October 22nd Boston Municipal Court dismissed the charge of criminal harassment against ‘Anonymous’ anti-Scientology activist Gregg Housh, pending an order for the two parties to not approach each other.”

Boston Church of Scientology attorney Marc LaCasse was quick to comment that Housh did not get off so easily. “Gregg Housh – under oath – admitted that the [evidence presented against him] was true. The document he signed is called ‘admission to sufficient facts.’ If it doesn’t get any clearer than that…”

Legally speaking, charges against Housh were not technically dismissed. Instead he agreed to a Continuance without a Finding (CWOF), which the Massachusetts Criminal Defense Resource Page explains as: “Under Massachusetts Criminal Laws, agreeing to a Continuance without a Finding is not the same as pleading guilty. Technically, it is an admission that “there are sufficient facts to find you guilty” of the charges. Pleading to a CWOF will happen at a pre-trial conference as part of a plea agreement, if your attorney can get the prosecutor to agree.” (For more about the legal side see this article from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly).

The good news is that all parties seem to be happy with the outcome. At least for now, it appears that Housh – who was placed on one year probation and who faces one year in prison if he enters within 100 yards of the Boston Church of Scientology on Beacon Street – avoided what promised to be a lengthy trial. On the other side, LaCasse says the outcome works for him: “My client simply wanted to be left alone.”

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SCIENTOLOGY PROTESTER’S CASE CONTINUED WITHOUT FINDING October 23, 2008

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Suffolk District Attorney, 22 Oct 2008

A Boston Municipal Court judge today continued for one year the case against a Woburn man alleged to have disturbed proceedings at the Back Bay Church of Scientology earlier this year, and will dismiss the case if the defendant abides by certain conditions during that time.

Judge Thomas C. Horgan imposed a one-year continuance without a finding in the case against GREGG HOUSH (D.O.B. 10/17/76), who had been charged with disturbing an assembly of worship and disturbing the peace. If Housh stays away from the Back Bay headquarters of the Church of Scientology and its expected new headquarters in Boston’s South End, and if he does not re-offend in any other manner, those charges will be dismissed. If he does not abide by those terms, Housh’s case could be put back on track for trial.

Also in today’s proceedings, Suffolk prosecutors affirmatively moved to dismiss an additional charge of criminal harassment against Housh. After a review of the evidence, prosecutors determined they could not meet their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt on this charge and could not in good faith move forward with it. Had the case gone to trial, prosecutors would have introduced evidence and testimony to show that Housh and others entered the Church of Scientology’s Beacon Street building in a boisterous manner during a March 1 protest, disturbing the proceedings and alarming those inside. Attorney Michael Dlott represented Housh.

NEW JERSEY MAN CHARGED WITH ATTACKING CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY WEBSITES IN THE NAME OF ‘ANONYMOUS’ October 18, 2008

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United States Attorney’s Office
Central District of California

Thom Mrozek
Public Affairs Officer

October 17, 2008

NEW JERSEY MAN CHARGED WITH ATTACKING CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY WEBSITES IN THE NAME OF ‘ANONYMOUS’

LOS ANGELES – A New Jersey man was charged today for his role in an attack on Church of Scientology websites in January 2008 that rendered the websites unavailable.

Dmitriy Guzner, 18, of Verona, New Jersey, has agreed to plead guilty to computer hacking for his role in the distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack against the Scientology websites. A DDOS attack occurs where a large amount of malicious Internet traffic is directed at a website or a set of websites. The target websites are unable to handle the high volume of Internet traffic and therefore become unavailable to legitimate users trying to reach the sites.

According to the criminal information filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Guzner participated in the attack because he considered himself a member of an underground group called “Anonymous.”  “Anonymous” has led protests against the Church of Scientology at various locations across the country, and in January 2008 posted a video on YouTube which announced a new offensive against Scientology.

Once he pleads guilty, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks in federal court in New Jersey, Guzner faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force in Los Angeles. The agencies involved in the investigation were the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation.

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Release No. 08-140 – original here: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/pressroom/pr2008/140.html

‘Anonymous’ Member Unmasked, Charged With Web Attack on Scientology October 18, 2008

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Wired Blog, 17 Oct 2008

An 18-year-old New Jersey man agreed to plead guilty to federal computer hacking charges Friday for participating in a denial-of-service attack against Church of Scientology websites, as part of collective of online troublemakers known as “Anonymous.”

Dmitriy Guzner is charged with a single felony count of unauthorized impairment of a protected computer for the January distributed denial-of-service attack. He faces a likely sentence of 12 to 18 months in prison based on stipulations in his plea agreement, which also obliges him to pay $37,500 in restitution. (more)

What is Anonymous? September 5, 2008

Posted by cyberpatrol in 4chan.org, Anonymous, cyberbullying, cybercrime, Cybercrime groups, cyberterrorism, Hacking.
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Anonymous traces back to 2004 as a group of computer gamers and aspiring hackers, harassing other computer users. Message and image boards [Internet forums that permit users to post images and messages together] such as “enturbulation.org,” “4chan,” “7chan,” “420chan,” “711chan” and other *chans continue to form the core online haunts for the group. The London Guardian described 4chan as “lunatic, juvenile …” Anonymous derives its inspiration from forbidden fascist literature, such as their reference to Mein Kampf and liberally uses symbols of hate to instill fear into people.


Anonymous traces back to 2004 as a group of computer gamers and aspiring hackers, harassing other computer users. Message and image boards [Internet forums that permit users to post images and messages together] such as “enturbulation.org,” “4chan,” “7chan,” “420chan,” “711chan” and other *chans continue to form the core online haunts for the group. The London Guardian described 4chan as “lunatic, juvenile …” Anonymous derives its inspiration from forbidden fascist literature, such as their reference to Mein Kampf and liberally uses symbols of hate to instill fear into people.

One of Anonymous’s resources is Encyclopedia Dramatic (ED), a sick parody of Wikipedia written in an abusive style. Its “humor” is thin veneer covering deeply-rooted hate speech. There is no justification for pages such as the pages “Ni***r Manual” that advocates regular beatings of African Americans, or their page describing the Holocaust as “good times” with graphic images of the death and destruction perpetrated during the Holocaust.

Coordinating their actions through these forums and image boards, particularly 4chan and enturbulation.org, Anonymous has flooded computers of MySpace users with viruses and pornographic pictures and has raided online gaming sites. Their actions are anti-Semitic or racist or some other manifestation of bigotry; when people object, members respond with telephone threats uttered by computer-generated voices or with malicious computer attacks.

Anonymous is a convenient facade for criminal activity on the Internet and in the real world. Behind that facade are people, some of whom literally, not just figuratively, hide behind masks as they vent their basest impulses while rationalizing that their anonymity frees them from responsibility for their acts.

In July 2007, Fox News aired a special report exposing the actions of Anonymous. The report covered an attack on a MySpace user, whose account had been “hacked” into by Anonymous, and plastered with images of gay pornography. The MySpace user also claimed a virus written by Anonymous hackers was sent to him and to ninety friends on his MySpace contact list, crashing thirty-two of his friends’ computers. The report also included “raids” on other Internet communities.

In response, Fox News computers were assaulted with massive attacks from multiple computer systems designed to overload Fox’s computers (i.e a DDoS attack – Distributed Denial of Service attack) and Anonymous issued an even bolder statement of their purpose than it had previously ever articulated.

“We are the face of chaos and the harborings [sic] of judgment. We’ll laugh in the face of tragedy. We’ll mock those who are in pain. We ruin the lives of other people simply because we can. A man takes out his aggression on the cat. We laugh. Hundreds die in a plane crash. We laugh. The nation mourns over a school shooting, we laugh. We’re the embodiment of humanity with no remorse, no caring, no love, or no sense of morality.”

In keeping with this “mission statement,” the Anonymous hit list has included MySpace, Fox News, the Epilepsy Foundation website, prominent hip-hop websites and many others. Their attack against the Church of Scientology is for the same purpose.

On January 17, 2008, “Anonymous” declared its intention to destroy the Church of Scientology.

Immediately following that declaration, Scientology churches, leaders, staff members, and parishioners were deluged by bomb threats, death threats, vandalism, harassment, attempts at intimidation, and systematic interference with their telephones, fax machines, and websites. Individual Scientologists were harassed and prevented from attending services at their churches. Hate speech and hate crimes became a coordinated activity, and the perpetrators hid their identities behind masks like common criminals and terrorists.

Anonymous has fueled religious hatred and intolerance by denigrating the Scientology religion and its founder.

Hate crimes of Anonymous against the Church of Scientology per the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles:

– Death threats against Scientologists and its ecclesiastical leaders

– Threats to destroy churches of Scientology by detonating bombs in churches in the United States

– Mailing of envelopes containing fake anthrax to 25 churches

– 41 death threats

– 56 bomb and arson threats

– 103 threats of other violence

– 40 incidents of vandalism, including an attempt to set fire to one of our churches in Los Angeles

– 3.6 million harassing emails and 141 million malicious hits against Church websites, in an attempt to bring down those sites.

Anonymous attacks against the Church of Scientology have resulted in multiple local law enforcement investigations and two federal investigations into the individuals behind the crimes, putting the matter rightfully in the hands of law enforcement for prosecution of their hate crimes.

Posted with approval of the author.