Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Translation of a Spanish article posted on March 5, 2012 on the BBC World website and quoted in various Latin American media:
¿Qué tiene Anonymous contra la Cienciología?
What does Anonymous have against Scientology?

by Damian Pachter
BBC World, Argentina
March 5, 2012

Caption: Anonymous Argentina has intensified its actions against the Church of Scientology.

A group of activists who are part of the Anonymous network, which is mostly made up of computer hackers, is waging a "religious war" in Argentina.

In recent weeks, Anonymous Argentina has intensified its street demonstrations against the local Church of Scientology, organizing masked protests outside its location.

One of the founders of Anonymous Argentina, known as "Petete", told BBC World that the group has information alleging the illegal practice of medicine, psychological abuse, and pedophilia within the church.

However, the president of the Church of Scientology of Argentina, Gustavo Libardi, speaking with BBC World, denied the accusations leveled by Anonymous, especially the allegations of pedophilia.

The Church of Scientology in Argentina has between 7,000 and 8,000 members.

Scientology was officially recognized as a religion by the Argentine government in 2008, and Libardi says its goal is "the betterment of humanity."

"We are a civilizing project and, unlike in other religions, everyone is welcome to join," he explained to BBC World.

The year Scientology received recognition from the Argentine state was also the year of the first outcry from Anonymous, at a global level. In a video entitled "Message to Scientology", Anonymous expressed its intention to destroy the religious organization, questioning Scientology's methods and its nature.


According to the leader of Anonymous Argentina, the operation that began nearly four years ago aims to generate protests against the Church of Scientology around the world "to raise awareness in society about the systematic violations of human rights perpetrated by Scientology."

Caption: Libardi denies the accusations leveled by
Anonymous and says that the church is a "civilizing project".

However, the hacker group's representative also has a personal interest. His current partner in life and in his activism, "EEvey" (her name inside the group), was a member of the church in the United States, and she left the cult after getting to know "Petete".

"They are surrounded by people who know the truth, by people who worked there, by people who are still inside, and do you know what they do? They are giving us information. We have infiltrators, but there are also informers who are not part of us (Anonymous). They are church members who are very unhappy and angry about what is happening, and they are afraid. Because there is a reign of fear inside Scientology," said the leader of Anonymous Argentina to BBC World.

Libardi says he is aware of "infiltrators" in the church he runs and that their goal "is to misrepresent the activity" of his organization.

In addition, the president of the Church of Scientology says that a former member of his organization – who lives in Mexico – is "manipulating" Anonymous Argentina with distorted information.

"There are people who latch onto the message of Anonymous to do things that stem from religious hatred. There is no other purpose than to destroy the Scientology religion, this is clearly stated. That person, who lives in Mexico, is the one who gives strength, information, and direction to the group that is here," says Libardi.

The leader of Anonymous Argentina admits that one of his informants is the former member mentioned by Libardi.

"Being in contact with him does not mean that he is directing us. We hear what Rafael Gómez, a Mexican who worked here (in Argentina) for 10 years, has to say. He knows Libardi, he knows the financial maneuvers that the cult performs in Argentina, and he has published this information on the Internet," said "Petete" to BBC World.


Like Argentina, there are other countries where Scientology is officially recognized as a religion.

Caption: Anonymous Argentina seeks global protests.

One of the most important countries is the United States, where there are even well-known show business figures who promote Scientology – for example, actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

But in other places, the cult has been associated with controversy.

In France, the two principal entities of the Church of Scientology were convicted in court on charges of "organized fraud".

In Russia, Scientology's written material was ruled extremist and its distribution was banned in Russian territory.

Adrian Salbuchi, a political analyst who specializes in issues of power and religion, told BBC World that a particularity of Scientology is a secretiveness which, he says, has been increasing over the past half-century.

According to Salbuchi, the church of Scientology is a private institution, and it possesses a wealth of information that is privileged and private.

"Since Scientology isn't required to be as transparent as is the case for public institutions, it is difficult to find proof of illegal activities inside the organization," he said.

Nevertheless, he does say that the religious group uses "psychological methods to facilitate massive control over its followers and this may be the basis for the reports of abuse and wrongdoing issued by Anonymous in Argentina."

The president of the Church of Scientology in Argentina states that there have been no legal complaints of alleged abuse or possible illegal activity, and he in fact invited Anonymous Argentina to formally file its complaints with judicial authorities.

The campaign by the group of hackers does not, however, seem to be far from ending. "The next steps will be stronger, the Church of the Scientology will be trembling," said "Petete".

Original article here:

Interesting comments here, and which I might add had not escaped my attention.

With many Thanks to mnql1.

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