Hackers declare war on Scientologists amid claims of heavy-handed Cruise control

  • Actor’s video clip forced off YouTube, say activists
  • Church hit by sabotage of website and day of protest

On one side is the Church of Scientology, freshly boosted by a $10m donation from the actor Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson.On the other is what the self-styled church has dismissed as a “pathetic” collection of “computer geeks”: a maverick band of hackers who have launched an online war against the organisation.The hackers were infuriated by the removal from YouTube last month of a Scientologists’ video clip featuring Tom Cruise. They have alleged that Scientologists forced YouTube to remove the embarrassing footage, in which the actor hailed the religion as “a blast”.Cruise claimed: “We are the authorities on getting people off drugs, we are the authorities on the mind, we are the authorities on improving conditions … we can rehabilitate criminals … we can bring peace and unite communities.”Yet the church has appeared powerless to stop the online sabotage. Guerrilla action has so far included the temporary disabling of its international website and “Google bombing”, a manipulation of the search engine which has resulted in the website being the first result returned by Google when users type “dangerous cult”. Scientology’s UK website has been unavailable and in the US the FBI were investigating what they said was the hoax dispatch of white powder in envelopes to 19 churches in the Los Angeles area.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/feb/04/newsScientology feud with its critics takes to Internet
A long-simmering dispute over digital copyrights between the Church of Scientology and its critics has boiled over in recent weeks after video clips turned up on the Internet from a 2004 interview by the church’s most famous member, actor Tom Cruise.When Scientology officials complained the clips were copyrighted and requested their removal from YouTube and other websites, a shadowy organization of online troublemakers sprang into action.

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