Tom's Church Counterattacks

New York Post/March 15, 2008

The Church of Scientology is striking back at a group that's been harassing it.

The wacky religion - which claims Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Juliette Lewis and Leah Remini as members - has been the target of a group calling itself "Anonymous," whose members take credit for bombarding Scientology churches across the country with prank calls, bomb threats and cyber attacks since January.

But now the church has counterattacked by posting YouTube videos under the title, "Anonymous Facts," detailing the death threats from Anonymous and identifying its members, who are labeled "terrorists" although they look more like frat boys.

The main four-minute-long video, titled "Anonymous - Hate Crimes and Terrorism Directed at Scientology" - is described as the "Scientology Official Report on Anonymous Hate Crimes."

It features a menacing voice-over that describes the group's attacks in detail. "January 2008. A message from 'Anonymous' is sent to the Church of Scientology."

The voice-over continues: "Their attacks start on Jan. 17th. They illegally bring down the Church of Scientology Public Information Web site. Jan. 18th. Two hundred and forty one harassing phone calls. Obscene faxes. Death threats. E-mail threats. Bomb threat. Envelopes containing an unknown white powder resembling anthrax are delivered to 24 churches."

The narrator goes on and on, then names men they claim are members of the group.

"Any Anonymous member may be an accessory to these criminal acts. Many of their identities are known," the videos say.

Ryan Benno from Valencia, Calif., is shown, as well as Jonathan Brown from Tarzana, Calif., who is making a goofy face in his photo, and Sean Carasov from Los Angeles. None of the men in the videos could be reached for comment.

A spokesperson for the Church of Scientology said, "We absolutely made the videos."

"We have researchers that have found these men. When you get death threats and bomb threats directly going after the church, we don't take it lightly."

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