As the Anonymous protesters prepare for their fourth epic picket on May 10th that focuses on the long standing fair game practices that the Church of Scientology hides behind, it's only fitting we take a step back and reflect on a true hero of the cause - Shawn Lonsdale.
Shawn was a videographer and prominent critic of the Co$ who is now hailed as the undeniable poster child representing the true meaning of a 'one man crusade'. He took a bold and relentless stand, albeit a short-lived one, in the scilon mecca of Clearwater, FL beginning in mid 2006. Lonsdale had originally set out to film a documentary on homeless people, but in my own personal opinion, a divine fate stepped in and changed the course of his life. After a chance encounter at a City Council meeting, Shawn began researching the vast amount of online material made available by other critics and ex-members who had been persecuted by the cult's fair game policy for decades. Just like with the hordes of new-anons who are becoming aware of the facts, the crimes, and the suppression of human rights - Shawn became both outraged and inspired to do something about it. He began filming footage of Scientologists going about activities in Clearwater, established a web site, and aired edited footage on a local public access cable TV station.
As to be expected, the cult began trying to silence Shawn with their fair game practices, their terroristic attack methods, and the usual criminal acts their so widely known for. But Shawn didn't give up until the last months of his life. For more than a year he persevered the typical onslaught of private investigators stalking him, bogus litigation and the neighborhood flyer brigades spreading the usual hateful and malicious libel that distorted some questionable aspects of his past. He did indeed have a questionable past, but unlike the organization he was fighting that has an even more despicable past - he never lied about it, denied it, nor tried to hide his past. However, in the bigger scheme of all things wrong in this world; many rebelious rich kids get into a whole lot more trouble than Shawn ever did from the usual college campus shenanigans, yet still go on to lead long productive lives. Therefore, this was just another tragic example in the endless string of evil acts now spanning decades that proves the Co$ spares no expense when it comes to harming people who pose a threat to their revenue stream.
Needless to say, Shawn Lonsdale's fearless in-your-face campaign made him public enemy number one for the church. He was featured in an investigative report by John Sweeney of the BBC Panorama series in what is now known as the most infamous failure of the C0$ to hide their no-holds barred fair game policy. A policy that aims to destroy all who stand in the way of their scam to "clear the planet" and take control of the world by any means possible. Shawn was found dead in his home at the age of 39 in what was officially ruled as a suicide on May 8th, 2008. The date of his death was determined to have been three days prior to when he was found, February 16th, 2008. A mere six days after the first Anonymous protest. He had seemingly abandoned his quest to make the truth about this dangerous cult become widely known in his final days. The fair game campaign to destroy his life for speaking out against the many wrongs of the Co$ can be presumed (by the uninformed) to have possibly gotten the best of him. It is unknown by this humble Archivist whether or not he had even heard of the Anon uprising, but nonetheless we embrace his memory and recognize him as the one who initially laid down the path the chanology chapter of anons now follow.
Yes, the Tom Cruise leaked video ignited the fire that sparked the war. However, the death of Shawn Lonsdale and the history of the relentless fair game attacks against him and all the other outspoken critics such as Gerry Armstrong, Arnie Lerma, and many more now serves as an unending source of fuel that keeps that fire not only burning but growing larger and stronger every day. Meanwhile, the cult faithfully stays true to form with seeking the usual malignant vengence against the thousands of people stepping forward to take Shawn's place to continue on in his enlightened footsteps and in an ongoing testament to his most honorable actions. Except that this time around, there is too many of us to stop and too many ex-scientologists willing to speak out about how they've been fair gamed in the past, to ever let this new found global awareness fade into the past.
We know all too well that there is no deed or action being too low, too vile, or too evil when it comes to this so-called church enforcing it's fair game policy to silence the anti-scientology advocates. However, unlike Shawn - we do not stand alone. Our voices are not being silenced. Our message is not being isolated and eliminated. And even though we have no one single leader guiding our efforts, we do have our own psuedo-messiah that keeps our faith strong and keeps those seeking more than the glory of lulz on the path to rightousness. A messiah in name alone who leads us in spirit and remembrance known as Shawn Lonsdale and the undeniable truth of our real intentions lies in this unfailing source of inspiration left behind in the wake of his tragic death. We Will Nevar Forget! And many of us (not all) do not believe his death was suicide, but rather that it was murder plain and simple. Whether done in by the actual hands of the scientology goon squad as many believe, or otherwise, doesn't really matter... the cause of death is clear and simple: Fair Game Policy at its absolute worst.
When evil prevails good men pay the price to stop it.
Shawn may no longer be around in a physical sense and his website at scienotimes.com is gone. But his death was not in vain. His decency and morals led him to research the facts and investigate the issues, which in turned inspired him to act despite having no direct personal issue at stake. Anonymous inadvertently did likewise for a completely different reason, but found the same inspiration he did and continues to encourage others to do the same. Shawn brandished a camera and the internet as his weapons of choice. As of this date, a simple YouTube search for anonymous + scientology yields 14,300 videos publicly available and the growing list of websites indexed on the sidebar of this blog extends that small sliver of digital reality even further.
Shawn's most notorious technique was to stand across from the Clearwater center every day, weapons in hand, and a sandwich sign at his side that read "Cult Watch * Now Filming *". Random acts of anon now occur everyday around the world in the form of cult watches, flash raids, mini raids, and chalk raids in this same spirit utilized by the Legendary Master Mr. Lonsdale sir himself.
Lonsdale also assisted in the effort started by others before him to bring forth the secret documents of the church in order to expose their corrupt policies for all to see. Meanwhile, the Project Chanology Leaked Dox effort championed by Anonymous has a page count in the thousands.
So yes, the anons were deprived of embracing Shawn's past deeds of greatness IRL. We were denied the opportunity to shake his hand and congratulate him on his few but well placed solo wins. But we have absorbed the wisdom of his past acts into the hivemind, and we will continue on with his fight even though he was disallowed to see the big difference he truly made. So let there be no doubt Shawn is still with us in spirit and will forever hold an esteemed place in our ranks.
Where there once stood a lone warrior in a single place, now stands over 9,000 people encompassing the globe. A legion of activists who have all sworn to never forgive and never forget. You live on with us Shawn, and we will finish what you started so help us God.
KINDRED BACK MATTER
- St. Peterburg Times: Scientology's scourge - A Clearwater man isn't about to let a dubious past stop him from spreading his views about the church
- Lermanet.com: Shawn Lonsdale deposition by Scientology
- BBC Panorama: Scientology and Me by John Sweeney
- BBC YouTube Channel: Panorama - Scientology and Me - Editor's View - BBC One
- St. Peterburg Times: Scourge of Scientology dies in apparent suicide
- Xenu.net Forums: Shawn Lonsdale Found dead
- Scientomogy.com: The full story of Shawn Lonsdale and why his death is widely believed to be something other than suicide
- Shawn Lonsdale tribute and memorial page
- ShawnLonsdale.org: In memory of Shawn Lonsdale1969-2008