As a result, Hubbard lived like a pasha, hopped up on drugs, cruising the high seas as the commodore of his own private navy, his every whim seen to by a crew of hotpants-clad teenage girls who followed him around and caught the ashes flicked from his cigarettes.

Granted, Scientology's done some evil shit. Enemies of Scientology have been declared Fair Game, meaning, according to a Hubbard directive, they "may be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. [They] may be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed."

In general, Scientology is authoritarian, mercantile, and a cult. But compare it to the Roman Catholic Church and its protection of pedophile priests, or to Protestants, who burned witches once upon a time. Don't even get this dodo started on the freakin' Spanish Inquisition.

That's why The Bird regards with jaundiced peepers the activities of an international group of young Internet vigilantes who refer to themselves as Anonymous. Though Anonymous has been around for a few years, pulling pranks like revealing the ending of the latest Harry Potter book, and hoaxing Fox News into reporting that the amorphous Web entity was some sort of terrorist outfit, what's really gotten Anonymous rolling is Scientology's January attempt to have that famous Tom Cruise video about Scientology yanked off the Net.

Anyone can be a member of Anonymous, but the majority of Anons are very, very tech-savvy. Pissed off at Scientology's attempts at Internet censorship, they instituted Project Chanology, its intent being to crush the commodore's religion by pulling down its Web sites, sending Scientology "black faxes" of totally black pages, which can sabotage a fax machine, and by protesting at Scientology churches.

On February 10, thousands of people protested in dozens of cities worldwide, including Phoenix, where, according to this pigeon's police sources, about 60 demonstrators gathered at the Scientology Church near Seventh Street and Indian School Road. It was a peaceful demo, with some Anons covering their faces to protect their identities from vindictive Scientologists — they wore surgical masks or, in some cases, Guy Fawkes masks, like those in the flick V for Vendetta.

Cynical this sandpiper may be, but he's impressed that Anonymous was able to round up 60 souls on a Sunday for the February event. So The Bird flew down to ASU's Coor Hall to meet with a five-person clique of Anons. They were fliering the campus with info concerning the next Scientology protest on March 15, two days after Hubbard's birthday.

The quintet at Coor Hall consisted mostly of young people, the most enthusiastic being Evan Bryner, a 23-year-old Philly native in a beard and a suit. (Anonymous' logo is a headless dood in a black suit.)

Bryner, who described himself as a "hyper-conservative libertarian," explained that it was the way the Scientology church acted online regarding the Cruise video that ticked off Internet-obsessed Gen Y-ers.

"[The church] threw rocks at the hornets' nest," said Bryner. "And eventually, when you throw enough rocks, the hornets are going to swarm you."

Tiffany Johnson, an unemployed chick who says she spends about 16 hours a day online, agreed.

"You can't piss off the Internet," declared Johnson. "[Scientology] pissed off the Internet, and the Internet is going to bite them in the ass."

All this for a Tom Cruise video? Still, to a generation weaned on the Web, Internet freedom is serious stuff. This woodpecker just wonders when Anonymous plans to take on all the Web censors in the People's Republic of China.

Johnson was hoping Scientology would lose its tax-exempt status. A fellow Anon who declined to give his full name or the college he was attending, said he was motivated after reading about Scientology's "crimes." But the Anons admitted that there was an element of "lulz" involved — lulz being computer geek slang for the shits and giggles you get from punking a bitch like the Scientology church.

Hey, The Bird wouldn't want to deny anybody lulz. Plus, the shenanigans that Anons are promising when they gather at Scientology's PHX headquarters on the Ides of March sound seriously lulz-ish. This jaybird just wishes the Anons would aim their prankish ire at AZ assholes like Sheriff Joe Arpaio or state Representative Russell Pearce.

Meanwhile, those interested in Anonymous can check out the Project Chanology wiki at www.partyvan.info/index.php/Project_Chanology#March_15th_Protest.

LOVE SHAQ

This beaker may finally be off the fence regarding the Phoenix Suns' acquisition of Shaquille O'Neal, who recently took up residence on our home court as the Big Cactus. That is, as long as Shaq keeps playing like he did against the San Antonio Spurs in that hard-fought 94-87 Suns win.

Did you see the way Shaq-Fu clotheslined the Spurs' Fabricio Oberto like the 6-foot-10, 245-pound Argentinean was a rag doll? The way the Desert Diesel refused Tim Duncan's help up at one point, opting for the assistance of his Planet Orange-clad teammates? And the way he dived three-rows deep into the crowd following an errant ball?

The Spurs' Manu Ginobli confessed at halftime that it was tough getting a rebound with Shaq playing D. O'Neal's 14 points and 16 rebounds helped the Suns garner that fourth win out of 10, hopefully turning the corner in the team's attempt to retool itself following its trade of Marcus Banks and ET-look-alike Shawn Marion for the 7-foot-1 36-year-old.

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4 comments
Jim Williams
Jim Williams

I can rest a lot easier now after having read this last piece of garbage that Lemons wrote. I now understand why he writes at all. Calling himself the bird he naturally needs something to catch all the crap he drops around so he lines his own cage.What helps me rest though is the fact that he can side with Sal Reza and the illegal aliens,calling anyone who is for law enforcement obscene names and praising L.Ron Hubbard.No one can actutally take him seriously.He is comic relief on slow news days. Now that I understand that I can rest easy knowing that no one with half a brain takes him seriosly and that those who do have to be very few because I don't think there are that many stupid people in the valley.I still trust my fellow man more than that.

Luis
Luis

Bird,

I hope Shaq reads your message and stays away from Sheriff Joe. I really like the guy and it would be bad, really bad if he endorses veiny-nosed Arpaio in the upcoming elections. Keep the squawking bird, you are the best!

Liberty Goodyear
Liberty Goodyear

Kudos to Anonymous for your efforts to expose and debunk Scientology. It is a scam, a hoax, and a fraud of the highest order. There is nothing that Scientology adds to society or culture. Where are the Scientology charities, like food banks, health agencies, or homeless shelters? Where are the Scientology fundraisers for such endeavors? That's right. There aren't any and there never will be. Scientology is all about self, not others. And that, in a nutshell, is its Achilles heel and will be its downfall.But do not take that to mean that Scientology should be ignored like some harmless little passing fancy. It is dangerous, pernicious and evil. The greater the exposure of the truth about Scientology and its adherents, the sooner society will see that it is not a churh, does not deserve tax exempt status and should be banned in this country.

maggie
maggie

I beg to differ about the avian perception of why Anonymous is taking on Scientology, Inc. While the removal of Tom Cruise video in January was an attention-getter, the attention is sustained by the 'church's' written policy of intimidating those who would speak out against its abuses and "shuddering into silence" anyone who disagrees. In other words, Anonymous came for the TC vid and stayed for the unimaginable abuses of people and the law deployed by this TAX-EXEMPT organization. Most recently, Scientology, Inc. has tried to file a restraining order against Anonymous with trumped-up charges, as if people who sell sooperhuman powerz should be afraid of people with words on signs. Anonymous has helped to remove the fear, and now more people are speaking out. Scientology is worse than you think. Hopefully the forensic accountants can get in there soon.

 
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