Online war launched against Scientology

2008-02-08 00:00

A day of free speech protests has been planned outside Scientology centres around the world tomorrow, with campaigners mobilising on Facebook and YouTube.

A band of hackers have launched an online war against the organisation, 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".

Actor Tom 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 …"

The church has been powerless to stop online sabotage. Guerrilla action has included temporary disabling of its international website and "Google bombing", a manipulation of the search engine resulting 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 U.S. the FBI were investigating what they said was the hoax dispatch of white powder in envelopes to 19 churches in the Los Angeles area.

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