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October 20, 2008

Church of Scientology falsely accuses internet group \’Anonymous\’ of 2007 school shooting

Church of Scientology falsely accuses internet group ‘Anonymous’ of 2007 school shooting

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Monday, October 20, 2008

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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.

Cquote1.svg 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]. Cquote2.svg

—Tapio Ahola, Detective Chief Inspector of the NBI

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.

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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.

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  • “Deadly shooting at high school in Finland” — Wikinews, November 7, 2007

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April 18, 2008

Public disclosure made of final report on deaths of nine in Finnish school shooting

Public disclosure made of final report on deaths of nine in Finnish school shooting

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Friday, April 18, 2008

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Jokela School, the scene of the shooting

The Finnish National Bureau of Investigation yesterday released 600 pages of the 2,000 page final report into the Jokela school shooting. 18-year-old Pekka-Eric Auvinen opened fire at Jokela High School, killing eight before turning his gun on himself, receiving fatal wounds.

The remaining 1,400 pages of the report are to remain confidential. The public section reveals a number of problems that may have impacted on Auvinen’s decision to conduct the attack, but says that police failed to find any conclusive motive. Also released was an animation depicting events at the school.

The report says Auvinen had been bullied since the age of ten and concludes the extent of this problem was greater than previously thought. Auvinen suffered from anxiety and blushing, especially in lessons, and had been diagnosed with a panic disorder, for which he had been prescribed medication. Auvinen also suffered from sleep disorders and loneliness, and had few friends, although one former bully did go on to become a good friend of Auvinen’s. His mother said inability to settle on a suitable ideology contributed to Auvinen’s depression.

His parents had noticed and reacted to the bullying problem, but their intervention only served to worsen the situation. According to entries in Auvinen’s diary, he first began planning the shooting – which he gave the English name “Operation Main Strike” – about eight months prior to actually conducting the shooting.

Auvinen had told his mother that under certain circumstances he could approve of violence. He had often viewed web sites promoting violence and had a number of online contacts whom he discussed his ideas with. One of these was a United States teen arrested for planning a similar attack, and two others discussed the Columbine High School Massacre with him and traded videos they found online. However, there is no evidence he informed anyone of his plans until immediately prior to the attack.

An interior window shot through by the killer

The report called Auvinen a moderately good student, but noted his mental problems had impacted his performance at school. He had been interested in politics from an early age, being involved with the Centre Party, the Social Democratic Party, the Left Alliance, and the Finnish Communist Party.

“In the best case, this (attack) would create massive destruction and chaos, or even a revolution,” read one diary entry. “In any case, I want this to be remembered forever. Maybe I’ll even have a follower; after all, I am a super-person, almost God.” Another revealed he intended to “kill as many of you bastards as possible”. His diary also reveals he was aware he would be dead by the end of the attack.

He obtained a .22 calliber handgun which he named Catherine, having been denied a license for a 9mm gun, and submitted his plans online – including to YouTube – just 14 minutes prior to firing his first shots, having cycled to school. It was determined that, given the time-frame, there was little that could have been done by anyone who saw the material to prevent the attack. He fired 75 shots, 50 of which struck his eight fatally wounded victims, who were apparently chosen at random. Thirteen others were injured in the event.

The deceased were six students, the school headmistress and the school nurse. Auvinen shot at each several times in the region of the head and upper torso. He ultimately shot himself in the school toilet, and died in hospital from head wounds ten hours later, having never regained consciousness.

Police could not determine why he chose the date he did, although it was noted his online relationship with a foreign girl had ended just days before. It was also determined little could be done to predict and prevent future incidents, although one measure being sought is to require medical checks for gun licences and parental consent for prospective owners under 18.

The confidential section of the report discusses causes of death and police operations.



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November 23, 2007

Finnish PM: Media to be investigated over conduct at Jokela shooting

Finnish PM: Media to be investigated over conduct at Jokela shooting

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.

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Prime Minister of Finland Matti Vanhanen told reporters at a Wednesday press conference that a board of inquiry formed to investigate the Jokela school shooting will now also look into how the media conducted itself reporting the incident. The move is understood to be a response to a petition initiated by young local residents.

Over 2,000 people have signed the petition both in the area and on the internet. The petition alleges that survivors and victims relatives were ‘harassed’ by reporters in the aftermath of the shooting, which saw nine people shot dead at Jokela High School, including the gunman. The youths demand a public apology.

“Tuija Brax, the justice minister, will set up a board of inquiry to investigate the Jokela tragedy and the role of the media will be included in this inquiry,” Vanhanen told reporters. He went on to express that he valued the document and felt it warranted summoning several other ministers. However, he stressed the view that his government should not attempt to control the press.

Representatives of the media had earlier responded to the allegations by saying that although they deny the allegations, they are not surprised by them. However, both the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, and the Ombudsman for Children in Finland, Maria Kaisa Aula, have expressed their support for the Jokela youth, although Aula has commented that she believes most of the reporters did act ‘ethically’.



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November 17, 2007

Jokela High School reopens after deadly multiple shooting

Jokela High School reopens after deadly multiple shooting

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Jokela School, the scene of the shooting

Jokela High School in Tuusula, Finland, scene of the Jokela school shooting, has recommenced classes. Earlier this month, student Pekka-Eric Auvinen, 18, fatally wounded eight people with his handgun before turning the weapon on himself in the country’s worst ever school shooting. He died later in hospital, having never regained consciousness.

All last week repair teams have been working to eradicate all traces of the event, with large numbers of bullet holes in walls and doors being filled in, broken windows and torn blinds being replaced, and total renovation of one corridor which Auvinen had attempted to set fire to.

Students had previously been permitted into the school last week, in order to collect belongings left behind as they rushed to evacuate the school. On Monday, the school’s 450 pupils began to attend temporary facilities set up at nearby Tuusula Primary School as well as the local church.

An interior window shot through by the killer

Tuusula spokeswoman Heidi Hagman told reporters yesterday that at first school days would be considerably shortened, adding “Today the students will spend time getting used to the renovated and repaired school area.

“Students and teachers are getting support from Red Cross crisis workers and psychologists during the first days of school.”

Esa Ukkola, head of education in Tuusula, spoke to reporters about the fact that students had been shown around the renovated school. “We need to show there is nobody lurking in the cupboards any more. We’re trying to have as normal a school day as possible. There are dozens of extra people to ensure we can do everything in small enough groups.”

The shooting has prompted public anger in Finland at the media attention directed to it, with a feeling that it undermines the placid reputation of the country. People have questioned the decision of a survey last month to designate Finland as the world’s “most livable country”. Psycho-social service manager Anna Cantell-Forsbom from nearby Vantaa has spoken out about her view that the shooting was mainly caused by a lack of psychiatric care available to the Finnish youth and therefore did not reflect on Finnish society. The shooting has also prompted a move by the Finnish government to raise the legal age for gun ownership from 15 years to 18 years.

Finland is expected to set up a commission of inquiry this week to investigate the murders. The government will set aside resources for the ministry of social affairs, health and education as well as the local municipality for the investigation. Meanwhile, local authorities have shown a four-year response plan to the government, asking for five million Euro to fund it. Half will go towards therapy and occupational guidance for affected residents, while the other half would go to school guidance counsellors, psychologists, school healthcare personnel and other experts. The ultimate goal of the plan is the complete recovery of those adversely affected by the shooting.



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November 9, 2007

Finland considers tougher gun laws

Finland considers tougher gun laws – Wikinews, the free news source

Finland considers tougher gun laws

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Friday, November 9, 2007

Finland
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Jokela School, the scene of the shooting

Finland is considering toughening gun legislation in light of this week’s Jokela school shooting. Nine people, including the gunman, were killed when Pekka-Eric Auvinen, 18, went on a shooting spree at his local school.

Until now, Finland has actively resisted plans for all European Union member states to limit gun ownership to persons aged 18 and over. Currently, the law stipulates that Finns may apply for a gun permit at age 15.

However, Anne Holmlund, Finnish interior minister, told reporters today that “Finland has changed its position to the EU firearms directive.” Holmlund told the press that the intention is now to raise the age for ownership to 18, and require those aged 15-18 to be under parental supervision when carrying or using a firearm.

Prime minister of Finland Matti Vanhanen had earlier commented that the shooting would likely cause a change in Finnish gun control policy, but Holmlund denied a direct connection. “There is no direct link (to the school shooting). … It is important that our new position is clear,” Holmlund said.

“We were the only EU member country that was willing to keep its regulations untouched and it was obvious we would be left alone.” She added.

“As all other EU countries are ready to accept the age limit of 18 years for the acquisition of firearms … Finland does not want to oppose the said amendment to the directive under the circumstances.”

“The cabinet is ready to agree on a proposal which says that those under 18 years old can use a gun only under parental or adult guidance,” commented cabinet spokeswoman Sanna Kangasharju.

Ministry spokesman Ilkka Salmi agreed that a potential change in legislation was being considered months beforehand, but added that, “It’s obvious that this kind of tragic incident has probably sped up the decision.”

Auvinen had obtained a license for his .22 caliber handgun via a local shooting club just weeks prior to the attack, on October 19. He opened fire on students and staff shortly before lunch break was due to start, killing five students and two staff members with the gun, which he called ‘Catherine’ in internet discussions, before turning it on himself. He later died in hospital. There is also evidence he attempted to set the building on fire.

Police have commented that he had apparently acted with intent to kill as many as possible, but selected his victims at random. The day prior to the incident, he posted a video on YouTube announcing his intentions. Police have also recovered a suicide note that said that he hated society.

In related news, police are investigating after an internet posting claimed Kirkkoharju middle school in Kirkkonummi was going to be the subject of another attack. Police say they are treating the incident as a “bad joke”.

Finnish gun ownership per capita is the third highest in the world, due largely to a long tradition of hunting sports in the country, but fatal attacks are exceedingly rare. Around 13% of the 5.2 million inhabitants own a gun, with only the United States and Yemen having higher levels of gun ownership.



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November 8, 2007

Perpetrator of Finnish school shooting dies in hospital

Perpetrator of Finnish school shooting dies in hospital

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

An interior window shot through by the killer

Pekka-Eric Auvinen, the gunman who killed eight people in the Jokela school shooting in Finland yesterday, has died in hospital from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

“He died at 22h14 of a one-bullet injury in the head,” said traumatology physician Eero Hirvensalo, chief of the Helsinki University Hospital.

Auvinen, 18, murdered his headmistress, school nurse and six students, as well as wounding one other victim, before turning his gun on himself.

When police special units arrived on-scene and entered the school they were initially shot at, but when they reached Auvinen he was already unconscious, and no rounds were fired by the police.

Auvinen had no previous criminal convictions, and had received his gun license several weeks previously. He purchased his gun on October 19.

In a text describing himself on the video sharing site YouTube, where he had posted a total of 89 videos, including some showing him firing his gun and others directly referring to the killing, he said that he was “a cynical existentialist, anti-human humanist, anti-social social-Darwinist, realistic idealist and god-like atheist.”

“I am prepared to fight and die for my cause,” he continued. “I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection.”



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November 7, 2007

Deadly shooting at high school in Finland

Deadly shooting at high school in Finland

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Finland
Other stories from Finland
  • 28 November 2014: Finland passes law allowing same-sex marriage
  • 29 June 2014: Medal-seeking Spanish men arrive at 2014 Goalball World Championships
  • 26 June 2014: Belgian men’s goalball team departs for Finland for World Championships
  • 10 March 2014: Wheelchair curling enters third day at 2014 Winter Paralympics
  • 9 October 2013: Japanese adults rank high in literacy and numeracy in OECD survey
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Location of Tuusula in Finland

Eight people have been killed in a school shooting in Jokela, Finland according to an official police briefing. The victims are five male students and two female students and the principal of the Jokela High School. At least 12 people were injured from glass and other injuries during evacuation, but are not in serious danger. Besides the eight that perished, only one other person has been reported to have received a gunshot wound, but is also reported to be out of serious danger.

At a news conference at 18:00 EET (UTC+2), police said that they arrested the shooter after a siege situation at the Jokela School Centre. The shooter is said to be an 18-year-old male student, named as Pekka-Eric Auvinen, who attended the school.

The police say that the shooter had probably shot himself at some point in an apparent suicide attempt. He died at nearby Töölö Hospital at 22:14 EET. The police confirmed that they had not used weapons during the incident.

Apparently, the killer had uploaded a home-made movie to YouTube announcing the “massacre” one day prior to the shooting. His profile featured several movies regarding an ongoing depression and unsuccessful treatment with SSRIs. Additionally, some movies of him shooting his new gun had been uploaded weeks prior to the shooting. Several hours after the event, YouTube decided to suspend his account due to terms of use violation.

Auvinen also had a personal website which featured images, music and documents, including a manifesto. The site has since been removed by the service provider. In the manifesto, he called for a war on the “weak-minded masses” and said he was willing to die for his cause. “I cannot say that I am of the same race as this miserable, arrogant and selfish human race. No! I have evolved a step higher,” he wrote.

Prayer vigils are being held at churches around Finland. The Ministry of the Interior has said that flags should be flown at half-mast from 8 o’clock in the morning until sundown on Thursday.

The Jokela School Centre has 460 students between the ages 12 and 18. Jokela is in the Tuusula municipality and is located just north of Helsinki.



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Jokela school shooting

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