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Project Chanology in the Nation's Capital

Part 1 – Part 2

Part 1

ANONYMOUS: Because none of us are as cruel as all of us.In 2008, I was very active with the DC chapter of Project Chanology, an offshoot of the Internet collective known as Anonymous.  “Chanology” is a portmanteau of “4chan” and “Scientology“, which is quite fitting for describing the function of the group – we protest the cult known as the Church of Scientology, and our group takes a bit of its own culture from the Internet image board 4chan.  However, no one normally referred to Project Chanology as such.  Most referred to it as simply “Anonymous”.

I first became interested in Anonymous in February 2008, when photos of their first global raid (“raid” is Anonymous’s term for protests) surfaced on Wikipedia.  I did some research into the movement, and found them to be a very worthwhile cause.  I became involved with Anonymous in March 2008, when I attended the AnonyCon raid and convention in Washington DC and Crystal City, Virginia.  I have been very active since, attending countless raids and flash raids.

I originally intended for this set to be part of the Year of Many Cameras photo set.  However, in preparing that set, I discovered that there were too many great photos of Anonymous raids over the course of the year to make that work.  To compress it to make it fit inside a larger set would not do the photos justice, as it would require me to cut too many worthwhile photos to keep the set at a reasonable size.  Additionally, I came to realize that to put Anonymous in the year-end set would still cause Anonymous to dominate the set, even if I did compress the heck out of it.

You’d think I’d have learned by now.  Anonymous is everyone.  Anonymous is everywhere.  Anonymous is legion.  Anonymous does not forgive.  Anonymous does not forget.  Anonymous does not combine with other photos.  So with that in mind, let’s head down to the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington DC’s Dupont Circle neighborhood and enturbulate.  So turn on the lulz, and cue the Rickroll!


March 22, 2008
AnonyCon

AnonyCon was a raid and convention, timed to conicide with a Scientology event being held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington.  The original plan was to simply have AnonyCon at the Wardman Park – the same hotel as the Scientology event, and be, in the words of Heidi, “distantly creepy”.  However, things didn’t quite go as planned, as Marriott tore up Anonymous’s contract, and fired the poor worker who booked the event.  But Anonymous was resourceful, and replanned.  The new plan was a simple raid outside the Wardman Park at the entrance to Woodley Park-Zoo station, followed by AnonyCon, held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia.

This was my first raid, and I was nervous and excited.  I’d been to many protests, but never something like this.  I also had no camera, since Big Mavica had been fatally damaged the Wednesday before at Funk the War 3, and Duckie had not yet arrived.  Thus I only had my cell phone, but thankfully, other Anons took up the slack, and got lots of photos and movies.  I did a Journal entry about the event, and to put it simply, this was a LOT of fun, and I knew I’d found a place I could fit in.


Raiding at the entrance to Woodley Park-Zoo station.

Raiding at the entrance to Woodley Park-Zoo station.


Boogeying to the music at AnonyRave.  Boogeying to the music at AnonyRave.

Boogeying to the music at AnonyRave.


“Message to Scientology” stating Chanology’s mission, played at AnonyCon.



Movie by EnturbulatedCapitol

Overview of AnonyCon – the raid and the convention.



Movie by marcabbob

Another view of AnonyCon, with a considerable section showing the reading of Dianetics on Rohr 1100.



Movie by camivette

The Epic Fail Brigade dances to Dragostea din tei, more commonly known as “Numa Numa“.


April 12, 2008
Operation Reconnect

Operation Reconnect was the third global raid overall, and my first with Anonymous.  Like most Anonymous raids, this one was held on the triangle in front of the Founding Church of Scientology, otherwise referred to as “the Org”.  The purpose of Operation Reconnect was to bring attention to the Church of Scientology’s policy of “disconnection“, whereby Scientologists must sever ties between themselves and anyone who the church believes to be antagonistic towards Scientology.  This includes friends, as well as family members, ending marriages and separating parents and children.  In bringing light to the disconnection policy, signage encouraged Scientologists to reconnect with their families, and rekindle the bonds of family.


Various signs displaying the "reconnect" theme.  Various signs displaying the "reconnect" theme.

Various signs displaying the “reconnect” theme.

Various signs displaying the "reconnect" theme.


For this raid, we had two banners. One, at the head of the triangle, read, "BOOOO SCIENTOLOGY", while the other, in the Connecticut Avenue median, read, "Scientology destroys lives."

For this raid, we had two banners.  One, at the head of the triangle, read, “BOOOO SCIENTOLOGY”, while the other, in the Connecticut Avenue median, read, “Scientology destroys lives.”

For this raid, we had two banners. One, at the head of the triangle, read, "BOOOO SCIENTOLOGY", while the other, in the Connecticut Avenue median, read, "Scientology destroys lives."


Various other anti-Scientology messages.  Various other anti-Scientology messages.

Various other anti-Scientology messages.


The Epic Fail Brigade takes up station on the Connecticut Avenue median.

The Epic Fail Brigade takes up station on the Connecticut Avenue median.


Pinstripe makes her first appearance at an Anon raid.

Pinstripe makes her first appearance at an Anon raid.


One Anon attached red LEDs to his Guy Fawkes mask, creating a certain effect with the eyes...

One Anon attached red LEDs to his Guy Fawkes mask, creating a certain effect with the eyes…


In the early raids, a full-size sound system was used for music and announcements and such.

In the early raids, a full-size sound system was used for music and announcements and such.


Anonymous cake! One of Anonymous' trademarks is the bringing and serving of cake at the raids.

Anonymous cake!  One of Anonymous’ trademarks is the bringing and serving of cake at the raids.


May 10, 2008
Operation Fail Game

Operation Fail Game was Anonymous’s fourth global raid, held on May 10, 2008.  DC’s raid was again held on the triangle outside the Founding Org.  Fail Game’s theme was to shed light on the Scientology practice known as Fair Game.  Fair Game is the practice whereby Scientologists have carte blanche to take revenge against people whom the church considers to be its enemies.  According to “HCOPL 18 Oct 67 Issue IV, Penalties for Lower Conditions”, enemies of the church “May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist.  May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.”


Longcat is loooooooooooooong!

Longcat is loooooooooooooong!


Longcat makes the rounds around the triangle.


Breakdancing outside the Org.


Single-hole miniature golf course. This course was short-lived, however, as we soon learned that we were not allowed to have it on the sidewalk.

Single-hole miniature golf course.  This course was short-lived, however, as we soon learned that we were not allowed to have it on the sidewalk.


   

 


The message, “Don’t R2-45 me, bro!” a play on the famous 2007 line, “Don’t tase me, bro!” refers to the Scientology auditing practice R2-45.  R2-45 specifically pertains to shooting the intended target with a Colt .45 pistol, which causes the individual’s thetan to leave the body, a process known as “exteriorization”.  Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard demonstrated the process by firing a shot at the floor in a 1952 meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.  In 1958, discussing R2-45, Hubbard said, “Death is not the same as clearing but there is, remember, R2-45.  It’s a very valid technique.  A lot of people have used it before now.”

(For those of you who still don’t think that Scientology is a dangerous organization, are you now convinced?)


This amazingly detailed sign makes references to Xenu, thetans, Anonymous, and Scientology in general, with a humorous, though slightly off-color, twist.

This amazingly detailed sign makes references to Xenu, thetans, Anonymous, and Scientology in general, with a humorous, though slightly off-color, twist.


Handing out flyers on the Connecticut Avenue median.

Handing out flyers on the Connecticut Avenue median.


A woman wearing fishnet tights, short shorts, a tank top, and with badges saying "Hottie police", encourage motorists on Connecticut Avenue to honk their horns.

A woman wearing fishnet tights, short shorts, a tank top, and with badges saying “Hottie police”, encourage motorists on Connecticut Avenue to honk their horns.


During the Fail Game raid, there was a broken water main under R Street.  This break caused some very minor flooding in the street, and allegedly led to low water pressure at the Founding Org.  Is it a sign?


This man came as the embodiment of Anonymous. When the Anonymous insignia is shown with a visible body, the body is generally green with no features.

This man came as the embodiment of Anonymous.  When the Anonymous insignia is shown with a visible body, the body is generally green with no features.


This girl wore a blond wig, a sleeve designed to resemble tattoos, a fedora, and a pair of sunglasses. She later used a respirator mask to make her anonymity complete.

This girl wore a blond wig, a sleeve designed to resemble tattoos, a fedora, and a pair of sunglasses.  She later used a respirator mask to make her anonymity complete.

This girl wore a blond wig, a sleeve designed to resemble tattoos, a fedora, and a pair of sunglasses. She later used a respirator mask to make her anonymity complete.


Free hugs!

Free hugs!


June 14, 2008
Operation Sea Arrrgh

Operation Sea Arrrgh focused on Scientology’s Sea Org: the Church of Scientology’s private navy.  Sea Org members sign a billion-year contract upon joining, and are expected to return to the Sea Org when reborn.  While Scientology contends that the billion-year contract is merely symbolic of the dedication members are expected to hold and that members are free to leave if they wish former Sea Org members have alleged that members are restricted from leaving, and that those who do leave are retroactively billed for any auditing or training they have received, and not permitted to receive former Scientology services until the bill is paid.

Additionally, this was the first global raid that included a strong “dress up” element to the theme.  With the “Sea Org” topic, a pirate theme the logical choice for costuming.  This had to be the most fun of the early raids, as the pirate theme led the already lighthearted mood of the raids to be even lighter.

I later put together a Photography set called “Operation Sea Arrrgh” based on this raid.  This was also the raid that Scientology’s lawyers, in sending me a cease-and-desist letter, claimed to have identified me as having participated in.


Various pirate-themed costumes and anti-Scientology signs.  Various pirate-themed costumes and anti-Scientology signs.  Various pirate-themed costumes and anti-Scientology signs.

Various pirate-themed costumes and anti-Scientology signs.


John McNonymous, dressed in a manner resembling a naval dress uniform, holds a sign saying, "Dear Scientology, stop being evil, KTHX. Sincerely, ANONYMOUS."

John McNonymous, dressed in a manner resembling a naval dress uniform, holds a sign saying, “Dear Scientology, stop being evil, KTHX.  Sincerely, ANONYMOUS.”


This time around, the Rickroll was done live, on guitar.  It went quite well, until the Anon singing it flubbed a line, leading him to comment, “I know you all know it.”


Three women hold three signs. "Ask me why I'm wearing a mask" is a common sign since Anonymous wears masks to their protests (since Scientology is known to retaliate against their critics), "Google Jeremy Perkins" refers to a person who ultimately flipped after his mother used Scientology treatments to help his mental illness, and "Google Fair Game Policy" refers to Scientology's practice of "Fair Game" as described above. Unlike many other protest groups I've demonstrated with, rather than simply displaying URLs, many Anon signs encourage people to do their own research, inviting them to use Google to search for the terms that get mentioned.

Three women hold three signs.  “Ask me why I’m wearing a mask” is a common sign since Anonymous wears masks to their protests (since Scientology is known to retaliate against their critics), “Google Jeremy Perkins” refers to a person who ultimately flipped after his mother used Scientology treatments to help his mental illness, and “Google Fair Game Policy” refers to Scientology’s practice of “Fair Game” as described above.  Unlike many other protest groups I’ve demonstrated with, rather than simply displaying URLs, many Anon signs encourage people to do their own research, inviting them to use Google to search for the terms that get mentioned.


Wutman holds up a flag that Anonymous DC created specifically for this raid. It combines elements of the Sea Org emblem with elements of the flag of the District of Columbia.

Wutman holds up a flag that Anonymous DC created specifically for this raid.  It combines elements of the Sea Org emblem with elements of the flag of the District of Columbia.


Play swordfighting on the triangle.


A member of the Epic Fail Brigade lays on an inflatable sea creature in the median of Connecticut Avenue.

A member of the Epic Fail Brigade lays on an inflatable sea creature in the median of Connecticut Avenue.


Crossing the street in order to enturbulate on the west side of Connecticut Avenue.

Crossing the street in order to enturbulate on the west side of Connecticut Avenue.


Operation Sea Arrrgh was also the last raid where Scientology hired a rent-a-cop on a Segway to keep demonstrators away from the front of the Org.

Operation Sea Arrrgh was also the last raid where Scientology hired a rent-a-cop on a Segway to keep demonstrators away from the front of the Org.


July 12, 2008
Spy vs. Sci

Spy vs. Sci was almost an afterthought.  Anonymous DC was planning the “Over 9000 Anon March” at the Lincoln Memorial for the following Saturday, and so many people were spending their time and energy on that raid, where Anonymous chapters from all over the country would be coming to Washington to raid with us.  Thus the sixth global raid, which one DC Anon described as a “glorified flashraid”, drew a much smaller crowd than previous DC raids.  But for those in attendance, it was a fun little raid.  I tried out my then-new zentai costume, and we handed out lots of literature, mostly promoting the then-upcoming Over 9000 Anon March.  The name was a play on Mad Magazine’s Spy vs. Spy feature, and the theme brought light to the Church of Scientology’s controversial Office of Special Affairs (OSA).  While the Church of Scientology views the organization as a way promote its “social betterment works,” and to “oversee social reform programs”, those outside the organization have viewed it as more of an intelligence agency, and that is the view that we adopted for this raid.


I made my first appearance in zentai at the Spy vs. Sci raid. Considering that it was a very hot July day in Washington, many questioned how I could possibly be comfortable in the zentai. Turns out that the zentai kind of wicked the heat away, and as a result, I did better than most of them.

I made my first appearance in zentai at the Spy vs. Sci raid.  Considering that it was a very hot July day in Washington, many questioned how I could possibly be comfortable in the zentai.  Turns out that the zentai kind of wicked the heat away, and as a result, I did better than most of them.


In a twist on the "ask me why I'm wearing a mask" theme, this person encourages people to search for Operation Freakout, which was a plan to have journalist Paulette Cooper committed to a mental institution or incarcerated, or "at least to hit her so hard that she drops her attacks," according to a Scientology document. Thus we wear masks - to protect ourselves from these kinds of behaviors by Scientology.

In a twist on the “ask me why I’m wearing a mask” theme, this person encourages people to search for Operation Freakout, which was a plan to have journalist Paulette Cooper committed to a mental institution or incarcerated, or “at least to hit her so hard that she drops her attacks,” according to a Scientology document.  Thus we wear masks – to protect ourselves from these kinds of behaviors by Scientology.


MaidofWin makes her first appearance at an Anon raid.

MaidofWin makes her first appearance at an Anon raid.


The Epic Fail Brigade makes its final appearance at a global raid.

The Epic Fail Brigade makes its final appearance at a global raid.


A woman wearing a necktie and a surgical mask holds a sign saying "STOP FAIR GAME".

A woman wearing a necktie and a surgical mask holds a sign saying “STOP FAIR GAME”.


Another Anon holds the "SPYLON: U FAIL" sign.

Another Anon holds the “SPYLON: U FAIL” sign.


"Religion is free" banner held on the Connecticut Avenue median. The image of Will Smith is included because he and his wife had recently announced that they were going to open a new school that used L. Ron Hubbard's educational methods known as "Study Tech".

“Religion is free” banner held on the Connecticut Avenue median.  The image of Will Smith is included because he and his wife had recently announced that they were going to open a new school that used L. Ron Hubbard’s educational methods known as “Study Tech“.


This woman holds a sign with an arrow pointed directly at the Org.

This woman holds a sign with an arrow pointed directly at the Org.


Epic win for Arnie Lerma! Lerma got a choice spot to park his truck with "BAN SCIENTOLOGY" on the sides - right in front of the Org. Boris Korczak then came over to congratulate him on his great placement.

Epic win for Arnie Lerma!  Lerma got a choice spot to park his truck with “BAN SCIENTOLOGY” on the sides – right in front of the Org.  Boris Korczak then came over to congratulate him on his great placement.


With a flipped mask, this Anon indicates that Scientology is also backwards.

With a flipped mask, this Anon indicates that Scientology is also backwards.


The cake at this raid also followed the Spy vs. Sci theme.

The cake at this raid also followed the Spy vs. Sci theme.


July 19, 2008
Over 9000 Anon March

The Over 9000 Anon March was Anonymous’s first national raid.  While the monthly raids are generally referred to as “global” raids, each Anonymous chapter conducts its global raid separately, at its local Scientology Org.  For the Over 9000 Anon March, all of the Anonymous chapters were invited to Washington DC to for a raid in front of the Lincoln Memorial.  The name is a play on a few things.  First of all, the general theme of the name is a take on the title “Million Man March“.  Then “Over 9000” is a play on an anime scene from Dragon Ball Z, where a character announces regarding a power level, “It’s over 9000!” which became a popular Internet meme.

The day was divided into three parts.  The first was the raid at the Lincoln Memorial.  Then everyone headed to Ballston to go to Bailey’s for dinner.  Following Bailey’s, everyone headed down to the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (same hotel as where AnonyCon was held) for an afterparty.

All in all, the day went well.  The raid was an astounding success, though it was a shade too hot outside for a masked protest.  Additionally, rather than go to Bailey’s, a group of DC Anons flash-raided the Org for extra enturbulation points before heading to the Hyatt.


Longcat makes another appearance.

Longcat makes another appearance.


The cake eating contest. The goal in this contest was to completely consume your cake in the fastest time, using only your face.

The cake eating contest.  The goal in this contest was to completely consume your cake in the fastest time, using only your face.

The cake eating contest. The goal in this contest was to completely consume your cake in the fastest time, using only your face.


Photographing the cake eaters and lending encouragement.

Photographing the cake eaters and lending encouragement.


One person painted their Guy Fawkes mask brown, and wore an afro wig.

One person painted their Guy Fawkes mask brown, and wore an afro wig.


Well, I'll be - it's Jesus! "Jesus" was from San Francisco.

Well, I’ll be – it’s Jesus!  “Jesus” was from San Francisco.


The Epic Fail Brigade makes its final appearance at the Over 9000 Anon March.

The Epic Fail Brigade makes its final appearance at the Over 9000 Anon March.


Two Anons, I believe from Boston, showed up wearing green zentai suits.

Two Anons, I believe from Boston, showed up wearing green zentai suits.


Announcing the "trap contest" on the sound system. The trap contest was essentially an Anonymous spin on a womanless beauty pageant.

Announcing the “trap contest” on the sound system.  The trap contest was essentially an Anonymous spin on a womanless beauty pageant.


Conducting the trap contest.


The winner of the trap contest!

The winner of the trap contest!


AnonGurl sings a song about Scientology’s practices.


A young Anon sings “Where Is Love?” from the musical Oliver!  This was completely off-message, but she was adorable, and put on a good performance.


Arnie Lerma speaks to the assembled crowd.

Arnie Lerma speaks to the assembled crowd.


 

 


An Anon hugs an inflatable Xenu.

An Anon hugs an inflatable Xenu.


Rather than wear a Guy Fawkes mask in this heat, one female Anon painted the features of the mask directly onto her face. Creative...

Rather than wear a Guy Fawkes mask in this heat, one female Anon painted the features of the mask directly onto her face.  Creative…


Now this was an interesting combination. This female Anon wore the black and white business suit of Anonymous, but then also wore a Pink Ranger helmet from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. It was something of a mixed message, but it worked. The helmet is a life-size, detailed replica of the helmets that were used on Power Rangers and Zyuranger, though this one was made with the intention of using it for cosplay.

Now this was an interesting combination.  This female Anon wore the black and white business suit of Anonymous, but then also wore a Pink Ranger helmet from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  It was something of a mixed message, but it worked.  The helmet is a life-size, detailed replica of the helmets that were used on Power Rangers and Zyuranger, though this one was made with the intention of using it for cosplay.


At the flash raid back at the Org, one Anon wears the cruise ship Freewinds while holding a sign questioning why a church would need to own a cruise ship.

At the flash raid back at the Org, one Anon wears the cruise ship Freewinds while holding a sign questioning why a church would need to own a cruise ship.


Meanwhile, John McNonymous holds a sign towards the Org.

Meanwhile, John McNonymous holds a sign towards the Org.


Bubbles!

Bubbles!

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Part 1 – Part 2

Part 1