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So I decided to talk and drive again…

July 8, 2010, 2:19 PM

So on Wednesday evening, I decided to talk and drive again. I set the cell phone in the GPS holder once again, and started talking. I started at approximately 16th and T Streets NW, heading north on 16th Street:

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“We’ve got a store that I explore when the customers aren’t here anymore…”

June 27, 2010, 12:14 AM

Tonight I learned some very disturbing news. G20 protesters in Toronto broke windows at The Bay’s Queen Street store on Saturday. Fans of Today’s Special will know this place best as simply “the store”. I was shocked, and it actually briefly brought tears to my eyes. But they did:

Broken windows at the store  Broken windows at the store
Photos: Karen Liu/Toronto Life

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Now I understand why Randi Rhodes says that the news has been cancelled…

June 15, 2010, 9:25 PM

I recently had a request for an interview by Kathryn Blaze Carlson of the National Post. It’s a Toronto-based newspaper, and according to its Wikipedia article, has a conservative-leaning editorial section. I was asked for an interview about black blocs due to my having participated in more than a dozen black blocs. I figured that since this was a news article and not an opinion piece, that some journalistic integrity would be in effect here, and my comments would be quoted truthfully. Not so, I’m afraid. As political pundit Randi Rhodes has so eloquently put it many times in the past, “The news has been cancelled.”

Now I’ve definitely done interviews with the media before. I was interviewed on WHSV back in 1996 about Virginia’s Standards of Learning, I had an interview in 2001 about Schumin Web in Turf (a short-lived supplement to JMU’s The Breeze newspaper), and then I was interviewed in 2006 by The News Virginian about the Skyline Parkway Motel at Rockfish Gap. This was my first interview about political issues.

What I found out after reading the final story, called “Black Bloc & Blue“, is that I could have said anything, and the story would have come out the same. Seriously, I could have said that when a black bloc forms at a demonstration, the sky turns yellow and people all start singing “La Marseillaise”, and it wouldn’t have made a difference. Carlson seemed to have it already set in her mind that “black bloc” was a movement and a defined group, and despite my best efforts at talking her down from it, it seemed that my assertions that the whole thing was a tactic and not a movement fell on deaf ears.

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Categories: Black bloc

We may have only had three people, but those three were something…

May 11, 2010, 2:34 PM

Yes, on Saturday, May 8, Anonymous DC held its monthly raid from 3-8 PM, protesting the abusive practices of the Church of Scientology. This was also our smallest monthly raid yet, with all of three people in attendance. Those three people were MaidofWin, Sparrow, and myself. Sparrow wore a Guy Fawkes mask. MaidofWin had a stars-and-stripes bandanna and big movie-star sunglasses. I wore my zentai for the first time this season.

It’s funny about the zentai, though. I was actually late to the raid on account of not being sure what I wanted to wear with it. As you know, when I raid, I’ve always used the zentai as a base layer under other clothes. Remember that in 2008, the zentai look was tie dye and funny hat. Then in 2009, I went with black-on-black-on-black as the zentai look. This time, I wanted to do something different, but at the same time, make it fun. I tried a number of different combinations, and nothing seemed to work. I eventually resigned myself to the fact that I was unable to properly accessorize things, and ended up packing the 2008 “look” to change into once I got down there.

However, once I got down there and started putting on the zentai, I got the suit on, and then decided to go out with only the suit. I’d always been a little concerned about doing that in the past, specifically about whether I’d look too “lumpy” under there (“lumpy” in this case referring to the love handles and what have you that I sport). As it turned out, though, I looked fine, as the zentai smoothed out all the lines. After getting up the nerve to actually go out wearing the zentai by itself (never did that in public before), it seemed to work. And then when I got to the raid site, I put the hood up and the “windshield goggles” on (they fit over my glasses), which completed my anonymity, and I got out a stack of You Found The Card cards. I’d say I was ready to raid.

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Categories: Project Chanology

The FCDC furniture sale was quite revealing in more ways than one…

May 4, 2010, 8:30 PM

While Anonymous raided a yellow tent on the Mall, I took part in a different operation. I went to the Founding Church of Scientology (FCDC) furniture sale at their old Org, the Fraser Mansion, where we had raided many times in the past. I brought my checkbook along, just in case there really was furniture that I was interested in, though I considered that to be highly unlikely.

So I drove down, and parked in the parking lot behind the building:

The Sable is parked on the FCDC property

I considered that a bit ballsy on my part, but then again, this wasn’t a raid, and additionally, if I really did buy furniture, I would have had to bring the car back around regardless. So whatever. If they didn’t like it, whatever.

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Categories: Project Chanology

Epic wind!

April 20, 2010, 9:23 PM

On April 17, Anonymous DC raided the Founding Church of Scientology’s “Ideal Org”. This was to be a fun raid, once we figured out how to deal with the weather conditions. It was windy. Really windy. If it gives you any idea about how windy it was, the wind was blowing so hard that we couldn’t wear our Guy Fawkes masks. Anyman tried to wear his Guy Fawkes mask, but actually lost it to the wind. Seriously. It blew right off his face, and blew down the street and out of sight before anyone could recover it. And it was a pretty cool take on the Guy Fawkes mask, too, with half of it colored black, seen here in this June 2009 file photo:

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We hijacked the march!

March 20, 2010, 10:02 PM

And another demonstration in the bag. Today, I attended ANSWER Coalition’s anti-war march in DC, and it was very much typical of ANSWER’s marches. ANSWER’s demonstrations usually consist of an initial rally (at the White House in this case), hours of speeches, and then a stop-and-go march, usually following one of two patterns. One pattern takes a circuitous route around DC, ending back at the origin site. The other pattern takes marchers from Point A to Point B, usually going from one key location to another key location in a fairly direct manner. Of course, there are variations in each, with some circuitous marches ending in a different location, and some Point-A-to-Point-B marches taking a somewhat circuitous route. The September 24, 2005 march followed this former pattern, and then the March on Crystal City followed the latter pattern. Note, however, in both of these cases, I participated in a radical feeder march before joining the mainstream march, and so in observing ANSWER’s patterns in those demonstrations, I want you to disregard the initial black bloc activity. This march followed the first pattern, where the march left from Lafayette Park, took a circuitous route around DC and then returned to its origin point.

Also realize that many in the anti-war community hold ANSWER in somewhat low regard, yet they still come out to their marches. I think I put it best today when I described ANSWER as “the Wal-Mart of protest movements”. And it makes sense. ANSWER, like Wal-Mart with their stores, has this amazing way of getting people to come to their events. But at the same time, both are held in somewhat low regard, even by those who attend. ANSWER demonstrations usually draw groups that have a heavy socialist lean to them, and there are too many people handing out literature. One may remember that I used to collect the various literature that was handed to me and scan it all in as part of the photo set. I stopped doing that in 2006 because it gave unbalanced coverage to various groups, not all of which I supported and believed deserved coverage in my photo sets (I am considering dropping these literature pages in the ongoing redesign, but haven’t decided yet). Additionally, ANSWER itself is closely aligned with the Workers World Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation, which I’m not too keen about.

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Categories: Anti-war

Funk the War 9…

March 19, 2010, 10:33 PM

First of all, let me just say that Funk the War 9 was absolutely awesome. It had a lot of energy, though based on my experiences attending three past Funk the War events, things didn’t go completely as planned.

This one started at Farragut Square, and marched in the street through DC past the Project for a New American Century at 17th and M Streets NW, and then to the Armed Forces Recruitment Center at approximately 14th and L Streets NW. There, a paint bomb got thrown at the building, and a demonstrator was arrested for it. MPDC Captain Jeff Herold declared the march an unlawful assembly, and the crowd was removed from the street under threat of arrest, and had to march on the sidewalk from there on. Take a look:

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Categories: Anti-war

Would you buy a used E-meter from this man?

March 15, 2010, 12:17 AM

Anonymous had its March raid on Saturday. Appropriately, it was Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard‘s 99th birthday on the day we raided. Our theme was over-the-top rainbow.

I, however, had a different look in mind for myself. Working next door to the monstrosity known as the Founding Church of Scientology, I see them around quite a bit. And the uniform for the Org staff at the Ideal Org location is a black suit and gold pocket square. The shirt varies between black turtleneck and white collared shirt. I have a black suit. I also have a black turtleneck. And with this kind of spoofing in mind, I ordered a gold pocket square. And I dressed up in their uniform, in order to possibly de-legitimize the Scientologists in the eyes of the public. So the question becomes, would you buy a used E-meter from this man?

Would you buy a used E-meter from this man?

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Categories: Project Chanology

Go stand in a walk-in freezer for about three hours and then report back to me.

January 10, 2010, 11:24 PM

Yeah. Go stand in a walk-in freezer for about three hours and then report back to me about how it was. That’s pretty much what it felt like out there while we raided Scientology on Saturday, January 9. But add some wind. It was pretty bloody cold, if I do say so myself (and I do).

But we raided. We had a small but dedicated group out there for this one. You had HT, Sparrow, MaidofWin, Purple Hair Anon, and myself out there giving Scientology hell. MaidofWin and Purple worked the corner, and HT and I took the entrance to the Ideal Org. And Sparrow did his usual thing, confronting the Scientologists on camera. And it was cold. Very cold. Everyone was wrapped up for the cold, and I wore the setup that I wore last year at the January flash raid. It may look like I came straight out of the hazmat unit, but it’s warm, and I had every square inch of skin covered.

And here we are:

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Categories: Project Chanology

I handed a “You Found The Card” card to Ralph Nader! EPIC WIN!

December 12, 2009, 11:08 PM

The December raid was particularly epic for DC Anons, as we had a good time, and got the word out to many passers-by. The crowd was small, however, as a few Anons were feeling under the weather, and I believe the cold scared a few people off. Cold has that way of doing that to people. But the crowd that was there was dedicated.

Early on, we just had 3rdman, Purple Hair Anon, and me. But that was sufficient to get the epic win of the year. We’re raiding, doing what Anons do outside the Ideal Org, and here comes Ralph Nader down P Street. I greeted him, explained that we were protesting the abuses of the Church of Scientology, and gave him a You Found The Card card. Nader questioned why we were at 16th and P Streets, and not at the Fraser Mansion, not realizing that Scientology moved from the Fraser Mansion to the Embassy Building a month or so prior. I explained that they had moved, and this was their new location. That’s when he noticed that Scientology was over there. In departing (as Nader had places to go), he told us to “Keep up the good work.” Awesome! The only regret is that we never got a photo with the Nader, since he left too fast for us to get a photo.

Otherwise, today seemed to be bring-your-children-into-the-cult day, since we saw a zillion children going in and out of the Ideal Org with their parents. School-aged children, toddlers, kids in strollers, you name it. Like this:

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Categories: Project Chanology

We got the cops called on us twice this time…

November 15, 2009, 8:36 PM

Anonymous DC’s November raid, protesting the abusive practices of the Church of Scientology, was a small one over at the Ideal Org. I think we had around ten people in attendance. It’s understandable, though – we crashed their Ideal Org opening party only two weeks prior, and so a lot of folks probably needed time to recharge their batteries and such. But it’s okay – the place was absolutely dead, with only a few staff around, and I think we still managed to outnumber them, even with our small numbers. This raid also returned us to the four-hour raid length (we did eight-hour raids in October), and we also returned to our cooler-weather timeframe of 1-5 PM (we push the timeframe back a few hours in the peak of summer to avoid the worst of the heat in our masks).

This was pretty much standard fare for us, but we did have a few highlights. First of all, we had the cops called on us twice. First time was not long after I arrived:

The police's first arrival

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Categories: Project Chanology

And Anonymous did its best to make the Ideal Org opening anything but ideal…

November 7, 2009, 5:37 PM

On October 31 (halloween!), the Church of Scientology opened their new Washington DC “Ideal Org” at the corner of 16th and P Streets NW – coincidentally, right next door to the building where I work. And as is the case with any big Scientology event these days, Anonymous was there. Particularly so when Scientology CEO David Miscavige was expected to be present. For this occasion, Anons from Boston and New York also came and joined our raid.

The raid was planned to last eight hours. We started at the Ideal Org, and planned to raid there from 12 noon to 5:00. Then the plan was to move to the Founding Org until 8 PM.

I arrived on scene around 12:30. Nothing, however, prepared me for the scene that would greet me when I arrived. The entire 1600 block of P Street was swarming with activity, and large white tarps blocked the view of 16th Street from the public. The cops were out in force, too, to attempt to maintain order throughout the whole affair.

I met the Anons right in front of the entrance to my office building, 1616 P Street NW. I also met up with MPDC Commander James Crane, whom I’ve encountered at other non-Anon protests. Now it was time to size up the situation and determine what was going on. In speaking with Crane, we soon learned that we would not be allowed in the closed section of 16th Street at all, including on the sidewalk in front of the Carnegie Institution. Additionally, we were not permitted to demonstrate on the same side of P Street as the tarps. We also had to be quiet, so as not to disturb the “religious service”, and if we made a lot of noise, we would be pushed back a block. However, when one questions whether the target of the demonstration is even a religion at all (and more aptly described as a for-profit enterprise), that last part came off as almost amusing. Lastly, Crane offered to assist us across the street, momentarily stopping traffic so that we could cross.

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Categories: Project Chanology

Once again, my coworkers showed how festive halloween can be…

October 30, 2009, 10:04 PM

We definitely had some interesting costumes this time around at our office halloween party. Check it out:

Halloween costumes at work in 2009

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One has to wonder how many trees had to die for all of this…

October 23, 2009, 10:11 PM

Scientology is certainly gearing up for their Ideal Org opening in a week. This afternoon, one of my coworkers, cognizant of my interest in Scientology’s work on the building next door to our office, alerted me to pallets upon pallets of printed material out on the sidewalk. So I took a minute and checked it out. Take a look…

Pallet of Scientology printed materials along P Street.
Pallet of Scientology printed materials along P Street.

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Categories: Project Chanology