My photographs of the May 2008 protest by Anonymous against the Church of Scientology. It was a fascinating protest to photograph, particularly considering the differences in behaviour between the two police forces. The protest began at the ‘Church’s headquarters at Blackfriars, where the City of London Police declared that any use of the word ‘cult’ which suggested that the ‘Church’ was a cult was illegal under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006. This despite the organisation’s not being acknowledged as a religion in the United Kingdom, and having repeatedly been denied charitable status. A 15 year old boy chose to defy them by refusing to take down a banner saying the ‘Church’ was a cult, and received an immediate court summons. The Metropolitan Police later in the day had no such qualms, which made for an interesting comparison – why would the City Police be so determined to protect the ‘Church’ when the Metropolitan Police was not?
The answer was unnerving. It turned out the City of London Police has a deep and friendly organisational relationship with the Church of Scientology. This post isn’t about the inner workings of Scientology – the practice of dianetics, the ‘Fair Game’ policy, the cases of harassment, intimidation and governmental subversion practised by the ‘Church’ – that’s best left to others. This is to express deep concern that an organisation which is acknowledged by the German government as a cult, should be so successful in slowly subverting a public police force. I don’t actually begrudge Scientology trying to forge strong links with any organisation which might serve its best interests – it’s part of the nature of things. That a police force should allow it to succeed to any extent though smacks of corruption. Considering how successfully that works out for the Metropolitan Police though, maybe their colleagues are just trying to catch up, although it’s hardly an uncommon occurrence in the ongoing battle between Anonymous and Scientology.