With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds
Scientology is today paying the price for its aggressive campaign launched in the mid-1990s to shut down its earliest online critics.
Its use of law suits and court-authorised raids on critics’ homes only succeeded in creating fresh waves of opposition.
These new activists pooled the existing information on Scientology and generated new material through original research, all the while subjecting the movement to a barrage of derision.
It is this rolling campaign that has, in part, encouraged defectors from the movement to come forward and relate their experiences.
When in January 2008 Andrew Morton published his unauthorized biography of Tom Cruise, more former members stepped forward to denounce Scientology.
The same month, the niece of the Scientology’s leader David Miscavige, Jenna Miscavige Hill, went public on how the leadership tried to cut her off from her parents when they quit the movement: a practice known as disconnection.
Hill helped set up Ex-Scientology Kids, a website for people who grew up in Scientology, which has proved to be a fresh source of damaging stories about the movement.
Other former members also started to speak out, alleging that they had been victims of Miscavige’s violence.
Also in January 2008, “Anonymous” -- a new wave of critics whose numbers included a group of young hackers -- emerged.
They attacked Scientology’s websites, organised worldwide protests against the movement and leaked embarrassing material: from a promotional video featuring Tom Cruise to compromising internal documents.
Scientology denounced Anonymous as a "cyber-terrorist group" perpetrating "religious hate crimes" (in its response to a March 2008 article in Radar Magazine).
It regularly dismisses statements made by former members turned critics as self-seeking claims from people who were unable to live up to the movement's high ethical standards.
But the deluge of information from former members broadcast across the Internet shows no sign of weakening.
Now a former Scientologist Marc Headley has filed suit against the Church of Scientology International, a case that could have implications not just for the movement as a whole but for its leader, David Miscavige.
Next: 1 Marc Headley's lawsuit.