Friday, May 30, 2008

Phone Tag

I am now playing phone tag with the police station after leaving my name and number. They had someone named Sergeant Washington call me today, but I had to let it go to voicemail because management frowns upon whipping out the CrackBerry in front of customers. I called him back after my shift but then got his voicemail, so I left a message asking him to call me back later. I'm now waiting on that call, and I'll try him again if it seems he forgot.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

More Update

Just spoke to the Commander's clerk at the South Side precinct. I gave her the basics on what happened last time: we were at the edge of the sidewalk near the road, the off-duty officer outside the Scientology store said we were fine, but then when the store owners called the police the officer who responded told us that we were blocking the sidewalk and had to leave.

I gave her my name and number, and she said she'd talk to the Commander about all of this and call me back then.

I didn't get a chance yet to bring up the threats from the shop owner, but when they call back I definitely will.

At this point, I'm not entirely sure when or if we'll need to actually go down there and meet with them. They seem inclined to handle most of this via phone calls. Also, the Commander I'm referring to seems to be on-duty before two in the afternoon, not weeknight evenings like we had been planning to go down there (they keep telling me I should call before two).

I'm hoping if I speak to their highest-up person (which seems to be this Commander I left the information for) then we can at least clarify things enough for the next protest, although if anything's left unresolved I'm going to ask them to schedule a meeting for us.

Additionally, one thing I can think of for June 14th, since this was going to be an issue anyway. Instead of meeting across the street from the Scientology store (even if that's where we end up protesting and we're okay being there), let's meet outside the police station (It's on Sarah Street, which isn't that far from the Scientology bookstore), drop in and let them know who we are and what we're doing, and then walk over to the protest site together (thus avoiding having a few Anons alone out there to be threatened by the store owner). Any thoughts?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Update on Police

Okay, I just spoke to the South Side's desk sergeant. He said our best bet would be to call back tomorrow sometime before two when the Commander or his clerk would be on duty and ask them about this, so I'll try and do that.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Arranging a Meeting

Okay, since this is a holiday weekend for them and a hellish working weekend of departments store sales for me, I don't want to badger the higher-ups just now, but I think on Tuesday (after Memorial Day weekend), I'm going to call them and ask when a good time to speak with someone would be. Now, evenings Monday-Thursday seem to be okay for everyone right now, but if you have any specific blackout dates when you CANNOT come down and you very much would like to be able to, please comment with them here before I make arrangements on Tuesday so that I can try and avoid them.

And if they just give me a general range of times/dates it would be okay to stop by, I'll post back and we'll figure out together when we want to go.

Also, it would be totally cool if anyone can start putting together some basic information to bring to them -- specifically, simple, brief stuff about why we're protesting and evidence refuting any "terrorist" accusations Scientology has made against Anonymous thus far, since I think that's the kind of thing they'd be most interested in seeing. I don't think we're presumed terrorists by the local police, since the off-duty guy last time had no idea we were so evil until he saw their video that morning, but just in case, we should have something prepared. If you find stuff, post links please.

Happy Memorial Day everybody.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Police Meeting?

Okay, reading over the comments from the last post, I'm going to tentatively say a weeknight evening (monday-thursday?) would probably work, sometime in the next couple weeks. Comment with more specific date/time suggestions.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On The Police and Our Legal Right to Protest

A few comments on my last post:

Blogger ManySigns said...

Would it be possible to get some sort of legal notice or documentation of our right to protest there, of which we can give a copy to any store owner who causes us problems? We have the right to be there, and we're not disrupting their business every day of the week, or even once every week. One or two days out of the entire month is not something to get that irate over, especially when there's only a handful of people showing up. We have the right to be there, unless I'm gravely mistaken (and all the police officers who haven't given us trouble are gravely mistaken), and while I don't want to cause problems with the locals, I don't want to be pushed out by some irate asshole who gets upset because his 'special imports' store doesn't do quite as well on the day or two out of each month we protest as it usually does.

I say we consult with local law enforcement, and local legal counsel, if possible, to confirm our rights in the matter, and then if we are in the right, continue to protest in front of the Scientology building, while staying as much out of in front of the problem stores as possible, and simply ignore the store owners if they continue to be threatening and hostile and irate, beyond making further (reasonable) effort to stay out from in front of their stores.

May 13, 2008 4:11 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes. I agree. We do have a legal right to be there. I don't know what to do do appease the store owner but if we get some sort of legal documentation to show the store owner, he can be mad all he wants but there will be nothing he can do about it.


We definitely need to establish a more solid connection with the South Side police department prior to June 14th, and to get written confirmation of what exactly our legal rights are while protesting. At this point, I think the best way might be to have a couple of us go to the police department in person sometime in the next few weeks and speak with someone there and try to establish some kind of contact person within that precinct who will be willing to work with us.

A few issues to bring up during such a consultation (please comment with more!)

-What, precisely, does "blocking the sidewalk" mean? Does it mean completely barring passersby from using it, or can it also mean taking up about half the width of it for prolonged periods of time, as we do in a standing protest?

-How should we react if, provided a standing protest IS indisputably legal, the import store owner confronts us and threatens us again? Do they advise that we escalate the situation to a 911 call, as the desk sergeant instructed when we called them on 5/10, or is there a better way to resolve the situation? Would it be possible for the police department to contact the store owner in question to warn him about crossing the line when we're there?

-Would it be possible for the officers we speak with to send out an email or memo (we can provide the text, they would only have to facilitate its delivery to other officers) about the protest and what we'll be allowed to do, to prevent misinformed officers from ordering us to leave?

-We may want to offer some information about WHY we protest in the first place, to make our cause a bit more sympathetic and understandable, rather than us just being the weird kids in masks who freak out the neighborhood once a month. The off-duty officer outside the Scientology store last time was very friendly, but he had absolutely no idea why we were protesting Scientology. They had already shown him the Anonymous Exposed video, and he was confused because we didn't seem like such huge bad guys, but he also had no idea why we'd stage a protest, either.

Now, one thing -- talking to the police in person about this and establishing a contact within the department will require going down there without masks, willing to give our names and some basic contact info for them to keep in touch. Is there anyone still in the city who would be willing to do this sometime soon? I may have a bit of trouble scheduling a visit to the station given my new full-time summer work schedule, but I'm willing to try and work it out if anyone would like to accompany me. Xenu has already left town for the summer, as have several of the other Anons I've worked with to organize previous protests.

I don't think we need to be TOO worried at this point -- it all seems like logistical problems to me. They don't think we're hardened criminals -- we're just weird and we picked an inconvenient place to stand, in their eyes. I don't think the black PR has gotten to them much yet. Yes, apparently that one officer told the Anons wearing shirts over their heads and carrying no signs on their way to the protest that they "looked like terrorists," but at this point, I don't think there's a correlation between that and the allegations Scientology has made about Anonymous engaging in terrorist activity -- those guys weren't really associated with us yet, in the officer's mind.

So, let's do some preventative/restorative work on our image with the local law enforcement and see how it turns out. If a standing protest as we have done in the past is considered blocking the sidewalk under the city code, then we'll adapt. Before we write it off though, let's try and talk to the police.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Photos from Today

I'm told they're up at

Ideas for increasing turnout?

So, like I mentioned before, it seems like turnout was a bit down today, which is understandable because I think we've had a lot of college students in the past, and most local schools are finishing up finals at this point. I myself will actually be out of town for the next protest as well (though I'll be reppin' the 'burgh at the Austin, TX protest), but I'll still try to help some with the coordination. You'll also still have Miss Anon, who's more conscientious than me about updating the blog/has more free time/nothing better to do anyway.

Anyway, I'm trying to figure out ways to increase turnout for the summer protests. I guess one easy-ish way would just be for the people that are staying around (or even the people that are leaving) to get friends that are going to be in town to come. I'm not really sure what we can do beyond that, except for some sort of flier campaign with info specific to the Pittsburgh protest. I might try to create such a flier, but won't be around to distribute it, unfortunately.

Does anyone else have any ideas?

Today's protest (crosspost from Enturb)

I know Miss Anon wanted to update the blog, but I figured I'd post something since I went to all the trouble of putting together an enturb post. Also, she's not online yet. She can fill in any details I may have missed.

Enturb post at:


I just got back from the Pittsburgh protest (still wearing part of my suit). This one went a little less smoothly than previous ones, though through no fault of any Anon's.

Basically, this one local business owner had decided somehow that Anon was losing him a whole ton of money (for one day a month every month...), and so took it upon himself to oust us from our position across from the Scientology building. At first, he actually came up to us, and asked (not very politely, even at first), that we leave. When we declined and explained to him that we were allowed to be where we were, as long as we didn't block foot traffic, he said, and I think I'm directly quoting here, that if we didn't leave "shit was going to get fucking ugly". At this point, we actually called the police, since that sounded like a threat, but they directed us to the emergency number, and we didn't really feel like it was urgent enough to warrant calling 911. I should also note here that we were being exceedingly careful to only stand in front of unoccupied buildings - we were not in front of this guy's store, just near it.

About this time, an officer (off-duty, I believe) showed up at the Scientology building, as has been usual here. One of our anons went and talked to him for a while, both about Scientology (they showed him the "Anonymous Exposed video, he was confused"), and about the guy who'd been threatening us. He was pretty understanding, and I think when the storeowner tried to talk to him, he basically told him that we were completely in our rights to be there.

The problem was the second officer that showed up, a few hours later, almost definitely called in by the storeowner. I don't want to get into a "fuck the police" type rant, because the vast majority of the police we've had involved in the Pittsburgh protests have been good people and understood what we were doing and what our rights were, but this guy was a bit of an ass, and seemed pretty misinformed as to what we were actually allowed to do. He claimed that we were blocking the sidewalk, and that we were affecting the local businesses, so we had to leave. The first claim would have been legitimate if it were true, but we had left a very wide lane for pedestrians, and were very careful about not blocking foot traffic after a few previous instances (where the cops had been a lot more understanding). The second claim was ridiculous, and had no legal basis. The sidewalk's city property, we had every right to be there, and they can't kick us out just because the businesses claim we're losing them money. The officer made it sound like we basically weren't allowed to protest anywhere because no matter where we went, it would affect some business.

Since we didn't want any legal trouble, we did start moving, and some of us ended up calling the police department again to make sure of our rights. They told us that yes, we were allowed to protest, but apparently we had to keep moving (something that we had never been told before, the past 3 protests had been stationary across from the Scientology building). So, it turned into a walking protest. While this was a little more tiring, it did let us distribute more fliers, and may not have been that bad in the end. After we started moving, we had no more trouble from the police, excepting one group being stopped for apparently looking like terrorists or something (yeah, I'm not really sure what was up with that). As an extra bonus, some anons got the plate number of the jerk cop's car, and apparently some storeowner may have got a video of some anons being harrassed by him, which may pop up on YouTube at some point.

Other than that whole legal mess, I think it was generally a successful protest. Numbers were a bit down from last time, but that's to be expected with colleges letting out and such. Chuck Beatty did stop by and give us some signs, which was pretty awesome. It seemed like we had a good deal of interest from passersby, too, and we got a lot of fliers out there. I'm still hoping that we'll be able to clear up this business with the police, and return to stationary protests across from the Scientology building in the future, but this time around, all the anons handled the problems with the police in a very mature fashion, and I'm proud that we didn't actually get cited for anything despite all the issues we had.

Pictures sometime when I offload them from my camera.

tl;dr: Jerk storeowner, questionable cop, and legal confusion forced us to become a moving protest, but it was still overall good

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

When You Get To The Protest on Saturday..

As always, unless you hear differently, you can just assume we're meeting at 11 am across the street from the Scientology store. However, due to the issues we've had with the shop owners immediately across the street, I'm going to suggest that until we get enough of a crowd to get things started, stay on an intersection or in front of the abandoned office building (if you haven't been there before and don't know which one that is, just stay with an intersection until someone who does know gets there). The last thing I want is for some early-bird Anon to get harassed all by his or her lonesome because they stood in the wrong spot. Once we get a dozen or so there, we can start splitting up and standing at two intersections on that block and in front of the abandoned building, being careful to avoid the troublesome storefronts and to keep moving around the area if needed.

Attention Valiant Anons

Due to the fact that I actually plan to prepare for my finals this week while Xenu slacks, I have bequeathed him my usual duty of calling to alert the South Side police of our protest date and informing the media via phone/email. Since I fear that he will forget to do these things and I might be too busy to remind him constantly, everyone send him a nice reminder note at his xenupgh AT email address. Feel free to include your most obnoxious memes in the messages.

I wonder if he'll even notice this post....

Friday, May 2, 2008

Law and Order (Sort of) Takes on Scientology

This new episode that aired last night supposedly portrays a fictional cult called "Systemotics" that is basically Scientology with a name change. I haven't had a chance to watch the episode yet (and I'm trying to refrain from linking to blatantly pirated torrents on this blog, I trust you guys to find that crap yourselves) but I guess the cult got portrayed as vaguely creepy and toeing the line between weirdness and actual law-breaking harassment. And the critics got portrayed as paranoid tinfoil-hatters. So, based on enturb's analysis, neither side is going to be particularly pleased about their portrayal, but at least someone mainstream is taking them on.

Also, apparently it aired on Davey Miscavige's birthday. Win.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Obligatory Media Info Repost

We haven't been getting much in the way of local media for the last couple protests, but I say its still worth a shot to contact them now. One thing I'd like to do differently for this time around is to collect up some photos RIGHT AFTER the protest and compile an email to send out after-the-fact, in addition to a tipoff prior to the protest, so that they can possibly choose to publish something even if they don't show up themselves. If anyone would be interested in being a photographer for that purpose and thinks they'll be able to upload their shots immediately after the protest and email them to me, I'd be quite grateful. Feel free to send in your own in your own email, too -- more can't hurt.

Pittsburgh Media Contact Info

WPXI (telephone): 412-237-1100
WPXI (email):

WTAE (telephone): 412-244-4444
WTAE (email):

KDKA (telephone): 412-575-2245
KDKA (email): Submit via form on this page

Post-Gazette (telephone): 412-263-1100
Post-Gazette (email):
Post-Gazette reporter who covered 2/10, Jerome Sherman:

Edit: called PPG before last protest, they directed me to -

Tribune Review (telephone): 412-321-6460
Tribune Review (email): (for letters to the editor and giving your opinion -- they don't really have a more appropriate avenue for directing emails listed on their site).

Edit: when I called the Trib prior to the last address, they suggested I send info to this address -

Local University Press

CMU, The Tartan (telephone): 412-268-2111
CMU, The Tartan (email):
CMU TV (email):
CMU, WRCT Radio (email):

The Pitt News (telephone): 412-648-7980
The Pitt News (email):
Pitt TV (telephone): 717-475-2848
Pitt TV (email):

The Duquesne Duke (telephone): 412-396-6629
The Duquesne Duke (email, editor):

Point Park, The Globe (telephone): 412-392-4740
Point Park, The Globe (email):

CCAC Student Newspapers:
Allegheny Campus (telephone): 412-237-4632
Boyce Campus (telephone): 724-325-6730
North Campus (telephone): 412-369-3698
South Campus (telephone): 412-469-6352

Katie Holmes Placed in Scientology Boot Camp by Tom

So much for the possible celeb blow..