Monday, October 20, 2008
Wikinews has learned that the Church of Scientology has begun to falsely accuse the internet protest group Anonymous of a 2007 school shooting in Finland.
The Church, on October 18, 2008 accused Anonymous of being involved in the November 2007 shooting at Jokela High School, in which a man named Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot and killed nine people, including himself.
"Anonymous member Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot and killed seven students, a nurse and a teacher at Jokela High School in Finland before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life," said the Church in the October 18 press release. On October 17, the President of the Church of Scientology in New York City, John Carmichael, also accused Anonymous of being behind the shooting.
One month ago, an article on CNN's citizen journalism wing, iReport, also accused Anonymous of being behind the shooting, and several other alleged terrorist plots. The article also went on to accuse Anonymous of being behind the suicide of 14-year-old Megan Meier who killed herself after being 'cyber-bullied'. Scientology says the initial attack was done by a member of Anonymous named Josh Evans, who later turned out to be a false alias created by Lori Drew, the mother of one of Meier's friends. Meier's mother had previously had a falling out with Drew.
Wikinews contacted the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Finland by e-mail, seeking evidence or a statement to confirm or deny any connection to Anonymous and verify or debunk the claim made by the Church. Wikinews was able to confirm that there was no connection between Anonymous and the 2007 shooting.
"According to the leader of the criminal investigation of the Jokela High School Shooting in 2007, there was no link between the group called 'Anonymous' and the offender [Auvinen]," said Tapio Ahola, Detective Chief Inspector of the NBI to Wikinews.
The Church also accuses Anonymous of plotting terrorist attacks against other schools, stadiums and even plotting a mall massacre which would allegedly have taken place in Los Angeles, California.
The Church says that Jarrad Willis, who was arrested and questioned after posting the hoax massacre threat on 4chan.org, committed suicide while awaiting charges of internet crimes. Wikinews found that his suicide happened just one day before he was to be charged for a crime unrelated to the threat and that authorities had dropped all other charges against him, in relation to the hoax.
The accusations appear to be part of a Scientology tactic developed by the organization's founder, L. Ron Hubbard called "fair-game". The Church uses this tactic to harass people, often fabricating lies and defamation against those who protest or criticize their beliefs. Wikinews contacted the Church several times by e-mail for a statement, but the Church has yet to reply.
== Related news ==
"Deadly shooting at high school in Finland" — Wikinews, November 7, 2007
== Sources ==
Church of Scientology International. "Statement about charges against Anonymous" — drugpolicycentral.com, October 18, 2008
"Wild Scene Outside Katie's Broadway Premiere" — OK! Magazine, October 17, 2008
luana1980. "Anonymous vs. Scientology: Anonymous - a threat to society and peace" — iReport, September 2008
Shaun Davies. "Mall massacre hoax accused dies" — ninemsm, July 31, 2008
Fiona Hudson & Liam Houlihan. "Student faces jail over online joke" — Herald Sun, December 9, 2007