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Anonymous gets Front Page News Story New Haven Register.

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Patty Pieniadz

Feb 11, 2008, 7:37:24 AM2/11/08

Monday, February 11, 2008

Posted on Mon, Feb 11, 2008 Zoom + | Zoom -
Activists decry attempt to quash Cruise video
By Abbe Smith, Register Staff

NEW HAVEN - Twenty-five activists gathered across Whalley Avenue from
the Church of Scientology Sunday to protest the religion's recent
attempts to keep a promotional video featuring actor Tom Cruise under

Most of the protesters - their faces obscured by masks, scarves and dark
sunglasses - are part of a group of loosely affiliated Internet users
called Anonymous. They say they keep their identities hidden to protect
against retaliation by the church.

The group is behind more than a hundred demonstrations staged across the
world Sunday to protest what they see as a suppression of free speech by
the notoriously secretive religion.

At the center of the firestorm is a demand by Scientology officials that
the video of Cruise gushing about the religion be removed from Web sites
for copyright purposes. Scientology officials said the video was meant
to be used within the church.

Anonymous protestors cried foul at the move and even went so far as to
temporarily disable the church's Web site.

Some, but not all, of the protesters Sunday have histories with the
religion and want to warn other people against joining.

"We want to let people know that Scientology is a destructive, harmful
cult," former Scientologist-turned-protester Patty Pieniadz of New
London said Sunday.

A member of the Church of Scientology for 27 years, Pieniadz said she
joined the religion when she was 18 years old to battle a drug
addiction. After working for many years in the organization's Office of
Special Affairs, which she claims investigated so-called enemies of the
church, Pieniadz became disillusioned and left. For her defection,
Pieniadz said the church put her name and picture up on a Web site and
posted embarrassing financial information about her past. Sure enough,
Pieniadz's picture and story are posted on a Web site called, along with about 50 other people it
labels "anti-religious extremists."

On Sunday, the line of protesters along the sidewalk in the city's
Westville section elicited honks of support from passing drivers.

A man with a scraggily white beard and wearing a dark hood and
sunglasses held a sign that read, "One son, two girls." Unwilling to
give his name, the man said his three children are members of
Scientology and cut off relations with him when he left the organization
many years ago.

"It cost me my business, my family and my career. I worked 20 years to
get my life back together," he said.

The man said he ended up losing $50,000 to the experience. The Church of
Scientology, founded by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard,
has come under fire in the past for allegedly requiring its supporters
to pay for expensive therapies and trainings. It is popular among
Hollywood actors including John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and Jason Lee.

Carol Yingling, a spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology in New
Haven, released a written statement Sunday defending the organization,
attacking "Anonymous" as a group of "cyber terrorists."

"'Anonymous' is perpetrating religious hate crimes against the Church of
Scientology and individual Scientologists for no reason other than
religious bigotry."

The statement goes on to condemn the group for attacks on the church's
Web site, claiming the group itself is responsible for suppression of
free speech and for other instances of alleged harassment.

Protesters Sunday said they are not against the religion of Scientology,
but rather the "corporate structure" of the organization.

"They charge money for religion," said one young man obscured by a white
T-shirt wrapped around his head.

Abbe Smith can be reached at or 789-5615.


Feb 11, 2008, 8:40:22 AM2/11/08
On Feb 11, 7:37 am, "Patty Pieniadz" <> wrote:
> Pieniadz's picture and story are posted on a Web site, along with about 50 other people it

Good article!


Chip Gallo

Feb 11, 2008, 9:24:03 AM2/11/08

Thanks, P!



Feb 11, 2008, 11:15:21 AM2/11/08

"Patty Pieniadz" <> wrote in message

Front page! Jolly good show.

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