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“Anonymous” releases statements outlining “War on Scientology”

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Internet-based group “Anonymous” has released statements on YouTube and via a press release, outlining what they call a “War on Scientology”. Church of Scientology related websites, such as religiousfreedomwatch.org have been removed due to a suspected distributed denial-of-service-attack (DDoS) by a group calling themselves “Anonymous”. On Friday, the same group allegedly brought down Scientology‘s main website, scientology.org, which was available sporadically throughout the weekend.

Several websites relating to the Church of Scientology have been slowed down, brought to a complete halt or seemingly removed from the Internet completely in an attack which seems to be continuous. The scientology.org site was back online briefly on Monday, and is currently loading slowly.

On Monday, the group released a video titled: “Message to Scientology” on YouTube concerning their intentions to attack the Church of Scientology. A robotic voice on the video begins with “Hello leaders of Scientology. We are Anonymous,” and continues by explaining their motivations: “Over the years we have been watching you, your campaigns of misinformation, your suppression of dissent and your litigious nature. All of these things have caught our eye. With the leakage of your latest propaganda video into mainstream circulation the extent of your malign influence over those who have come to trust you as leaders has been made clear to us. Anonymous has therefore decided that your organisation should be destroyed.” The message goes on to state that the group intends to “expel Scientology from the Internet”. As of Wednesday, the video had been viewed 370,347 times, favorited 2,473 times, and is currently YouTube’s top third video of the day.

if this video is any indication, it seems like the assailants mean business.

The “Message to Scientology” video was highlighted as the “YouTube Video of the Week” by The Michigan Daily. Commenting on the video, the piece states “if this video is any indication, it seems like the assailants mean business”. In a blog post on USA Today‘s website, Jess Zielinski wrote that it was “not a shock that hackers hold a grudge against Scientology,” and in a followup post on another USA Today blog, Angela Gunn wrote that “those of us who remember … the adventures of Operation Clambake are fascinated to see this kind of thing flare up again”. Blogging for Wired magazine, Ryan Singel wrote about the incident in a piece on Wednesay titled “War Breaks Out Between Hackers and Scientology — There Can Be Only One”. Singel wrote that the Project Chanology wiki page “directs Anonymous members to download and use denial of service software, make prank calls, host Scientology documents the Church considers proprietary, and fax endless loops of black pages to the Church’s fax machines to waste ink”. According to Wired, “The Church of Scientology did not immediately respond to a call for comment”.

The viewpoints expressed in the video are echoed on the “Project Chanology” website, an open source of information and direction for those within Anonymous, which talks of tactics such as blackfaxing and prank calling alongside other “real-life” methods of attack. The satirical website Encyclopedia Dramatica also has a similar page devoted to “Project Chanology”.

The so-called Church of Scientology actively misused copyright and trademark law in pursuit of its own agenda … They attempted not only to subvert free speech, but to recklessly pervert justice to silence those who spoke out against them.

“Anonymous” released a statement on Monday in the form of a press release, “Internet Group Anonymous Declares “War on Scientology”: “Anonymous” are fighting the Church of Scientology and the Religious Technology Center”. In the statement, the group explained their goal as safeguarding the right to freedom of speech “A spokesperson said that the group’s goals include bringing an end to the financial exploitation of Church members and protecting the right to free speech, a right which they claim was consistently violated by the Church of Scientology in pursuit of its opponents.” The press release also claimed that the Church of Scientology misused copyright and trademark law in order to remove criticism from websites including Digg and YouTube. The statement goes on to assert that the attacks from the group “will continue until the Church of Scientology reacts, at which point they will change strategy”.

The attack was reportedly motivated by the Church of Scientology’s attempts to remove a promotional video featuring Scientologist Tom Cruise from YouTube. After the Church of Scientology lodged a copyright infringement complaint with YouTube, the site took down the video. The Tom Cruise video is still available on Gawker.com, which has stated it will not remove the video “It’s newsworthy, and we will not be removing it.”

… a whole range of sites has turned the Church into a mockery by doing what mainstream celebrity-coverage outlets wouldn’t dare.

Gawker.com discussed the actions of the “Anonymous” group, in a post on Monday titled “Scientology vs. the Internet: Why Kids On The Internet Are Scientology’s Most Powerful Enemy”. Gawker.com briefly outlined actions of other anonymous users critical of Scientology, including actions taken in the past by users of YouTube, Digg, and YTMND “This isn’t the only group of Internet users unafraid of the intimidating cult; a whole range of sites has turned the Church into a mockery by doing what mainstream celebrity-coverage outlets wouldn’t dare.”

A poster on the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology (a.r.s.) was critical of the actions by the “Anonymous” group. In a post titled “Open Letter to Anonymous” Jeff Jacobsen, webmaster of lisamcpherson.org, posting as “cultxpt” wrote that “It’s understandable that people get upset over the things the Church of Scientology has done online and off”, pointing out that the Church of Scientology had “tried to shut down a.r.s.”, and “spam our newsgroup to this day”. In 1999 “sporgery“, a form of nonsensical spam tactic, was used as an attempt to disrupt discussion on the newsgroup. Previously in 1995 Helena Kobrin, an attorney for the Church of Scientology, attempted to remove the a.r.s. group from Usenet. Kobrin sent a rmgroup message which stated: “We have requested that the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup be removed from all sites”. This later led to a declaration of war by the hacker group Cult of the Dead Cow, and an increase in popularity of the a.r.s site. This initial conflict came to be known as “Scientology versus the Internet“.

The post from Jacobsen went on to criticize the actions of the “Anonymous” group, stating: “We’re supposed to be the good people,” and stated that contrary to the Anonymous group’s tactics, “Our weapons as critics are reason, evidence, argument, and free speech”.

Freedom of speech means we need to allow all to speak – including those we strongly disagree with.

On Tuesday, the founder of Operation Clambake, a non-profit organization and website critical of Scientology based in Stavanger, Norway, released a statement about the attacks by “Anonymous”. Andreas Heldal-Lund was critical of the “Anonymous” groups actions, stating: “The author of Operation Clambake does not condone such activity. Attacking Scientology like that will just make them play the religious persecution card. They will use it to defend their own counter actions when they try to shatter criticism and crush critics without mercy.” Heldal-Lund went on to emphasize the right of all people and organizations to freedom of speech – including the Church of Scientology: “Freedom of speech means we need to allow all to speak – including those we strongly disagree with. I am of the opinion that the Church of Scientology is a criminal organisation and a cult which is designed by its delusional founder to abuse people. I am still committed to fight for their right to speak their opinion.”

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SpaceX launches first Falcon 9 rocket

Friday, June 4, 2010

Space Exploration Technologies, also known as SpaceX, successfully launched their Falcon 9 rocket for the first time at 1845 UTC ( 2:45 pm EDT) from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, United States.

The Falcon 9, second in the Falcon series of rockets, has a first stage that is powered by nine Merlin 1C engines, and a second stage powered by one Merlin vacuum engine. Today’s inaugural launch carried the Dragon Spacecraft Qualification Unit (DSQU), a boilerplate version of the Dragon capsule. The Dragon is intended to take cargo — and possibly people — to the International Space Station through NASA’s COTS program. The program is intended to help develop commercial space transportation, a goal that fits with President Obama’s recent change of direction for NASA. Under President Obama’s new plan, NASA would hand over the mundane task of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) launches to private companies, and instead concentrate on new technology development.

However, no private firms yet have the capability to independently launch humans into space, without NASA assistance. SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk hopes that the Falcon 9 will eventually fill the void in human rated commercial rockets, but he also recognizes the inherent risk and danger of rocket launches. “There’s nothing more fear and anxiety-inducing than a rocket launch,” said Musk.

Not everyone agrees with President Obama and Elon Musk. Republican Senator Richard Shelby doesn’t think private firms are ready for the challenge of taking humans into space, preferring that government funding be directed to NASA instead. “Today the commercial providers that NASA has contracted with cannot even carry the trash back from the space station, much less carry humans to or from space safely,” the Senator said.

Although today’s launch succeeded, Musk had said earlier neither the success nor failure of the Falcon 9 would be the ultimate arbitrator of the fate of NASA’s new commercial-friendly direction. “They sort of focus everything on us and try to create a situation where our first launch of Falcon 9 is somehow a verdict on the president’s policy, which is not right,” he said.

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Falcon 9 1 minute prior to the first, failed, launch attempt

The rocket shortly after the failed launch attempt

1 minute prior to the successful second launch attempt

The rocket during takeoff

The view from the rocket 1 minute after takeoff

The rocket shortly after the separation of the first stage

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New method of displaying time patented

Saturday, October 14, 2006

An American inventor has patented a pair of new time formats with a footprint less than 50% of that of conventional four-digit time. The more unusual of the two new formats, called “TWELV”, dispenses with numerals altogether. In place of clock hands or digits, the new clock uses color to convey the hour and a moon image to convey the minute, which moon slowly grows throughout the course of an hour from a narrow crescent to a full-fledged circle.

The second and more approachable of the new formats retains numerical digits to indicate the minute but uses colors to convey the hour.

Early critics question whether the aesthetic benefits of the moon-clock will be sufficient to encourage users to learn the color-based time-telling system. However, the size advantages of the new system may make it particularly suitable for mobile applications, particularly cell phones, wearable computers, and head-mounted displays.

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Canadian jazz star Diana Krall gives birth to twin boys

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Canadian jazz star Diana Krall has given birth Wednesday to twin boys named Dexter Henry Lorcan and Frank Harlan James in New York City, where the couple live.

“We are ecstatic!” and the “mother and sons are doing splendidly,” reads a statement released by Krall and her husband, English musician Elvis Costello, best known for songs such as Pump It Up and Alison.

The twins are Krall’s first children. Costello already has a child from an earlier marriage.

Costello, 52, and Krall, 42, shared the birth of their two sons on their third wedding anniversary.

“I have twins on my mother’s side,” Krall told People magazine in September.

Krall, born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, who is a Grammy award winner, and was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2005, released her latest album titled From This Moment On in September.

The couple married three years ago in a ceremony held at Elton John’s mansion in Surrey, England in December 2003. Paul McCartney and Pamela Wallin, Canada’s consul general to New York were invited among the 150 guests.

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Ukraine opposition candidate Yushchenko is suffering from a Dioxin intoxication, doctors say

Saturday, December 11, 2004

VIENNA –Doctors from the Rudolfinerhaus clinic in Vienna say “there is no doubt” Ukrainian opposition leader Victor Yushchenko was poisoned with Dioxin.

Yushchenko’s body had about 1,000 times more than the normal concentration of the toxin. It is unknown if there were any other poisons in his system.

Although it has not yet been proven that the poisoning was deliberate, doctors suspect it was. “We suspect a cause triggered by a third party,” said Michael Zimpfer, head doctor at the Rudolfinerhaus clinic. He suggested the poison may have been administered orally, through food or drink.

Today’s announcements are a follow-up of an earlier press conference, where Dr. Korpan that there were three hypotheses under consideration, one of them involving dioxin. He did not reveal what the other two hypotheses were. Dr. Michael Zimpfer, director of the Rudolfinerhaus clinic emphasized that time there was no proof yet to specify the substance causing the illness.

Yushchenko left Kiev on Friday (2004-10-12) for further examination in Vienna. When Yushchenko fell ill on October 6th, Ukrainian doctors had initially diagnosed food poisoning, leading to speculation that he had been poisoned deliberately. The illness has disfigured Yushchenko’s body and face which doctors say could take up to two years to heal.

He fell seriously ill on the September 6th, during his presidential campaign. Yushchenko was taken to the Rudolfinerhaus clinic of Vienna, where he stayed for four days under Dr. Korpan’s care. He was diagnosed with “acute pancreatitis, accompanied by interstitial edematous changes.” These symptoms were said to be due to “a serious viral infection and chemical substances which are not normally found in food products” as his campaign officials put it. In laymans terms, he developed an infection in the pancreas and got a bad skin condition that disfigured his face with cysts and lesions. The skin condition has similarities with the chloracne associated with dioxin posioning according to a British toxicologist John Henry.

Earlier, doctor Nikolai Korpan of Rudolfinerhaus clinic confirmed today that the illness of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko was caused by an attempt to kill him.

  • Ukraine political crisis – Wikinews’ special coverage portal

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US automakers GM and Chrysler seek more government aid

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The United States auto manufacturer Chrysler, which has been badly affected by the ongoing recession, has asked the US government for an additional US$5 billion in aid on top of the four billion it has already received, saying that it plans to fire three thousand employees. At the end of last year, the auto maker had just over 54,000 employees, meaning that the layoffs will equal about six percent of its total workforce.

In addition, Chrysler will cut the Chrysler Aspen, PT Cruiser, and Durango from production.

Another automaker, General Motors (GM), announced that it seeks $16.6 billion in loans from the government, in addition to the $13.4 billion that it has already received. GM plans to lay off 47,000 employees and close five factories. GM says that it might need as much as $30 billion from the US Treasury Department, an increase over their previous estimate of $18 billion. The company has warned that it might run out of money by March if more aid was not given.

Rick Wagoner, GM’s chief executive, described the firm’s plan as “comprehensive, responsive, achievable, and flexible”. “We have a lot of work in front of us, but I am confident it will result in a profitable General Motors,” he said, adding that “today’s plan is significantly more aggressive because it has to be.” GM says that it could be profitable in two years’ time, and might be able to repay all its loans by 2017.

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A third US car manufacturer, Ford Motor Company, has said that it can make it through this year without any government aid.

The US Treasury Department will review the car makers’ survival plans for several weeks before a decision is made on whether or not to extend the loans. That decision is due by the end of next month.

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News briefs:August 6, 2010

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Wikinews’ overview of the year 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Also try the 2008 World News Quiz of the year.

What would you tell your grandchildren about 2008 if they asked you about it in, let’s say, 20 years’ time? If the answer to a quiz question was 2008, what would the question be? The year that markets collapsed, or perhaps the year that Obama became US president? Or the year Heath Ledger died?

Let’s take a look at some of the important stories of 2008. Links to the original Wikinews articles are in all the titles.

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Australian refugee contractor accused of breaching its duty of care

Friday, December 30, 2005

Contents

  • 1 Richard Niyonsaba
  • 2 Denial of food
  • 3 Background and Criticisms
  • 4 Sources

The Australian Centre for Languages, a company which has a multi-million dollar contract with the Australian government to provide refugee services, has been accused of breaching its duty of care following the death of a chronically ill child and allegations of failing to provide three women in their care with food.

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