Andreas Heldal-Lund

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Andreas Heldal-Lund
Heldal-Lund in 2005
Born(1964-12-10)10 December 1964
Oslo, Norway
Died2 January 2024(2024-01-02) (aged 59)
Known forInternet activism against the Church of Scientology

Andreas Heldal-Lund (10 December 1964 – 2 January 2024) was a Norwegian anti-Scientology activist best known for operating the website Operation Clambake.

Personal life[edit]

Andreas Heldal-Lund was born in Oslo, Norway on 10 December 1964.[1] He moved to Stavanger, Norway in 1985.[1]

In August 2022, Heldal-Lund announced he had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.[2] He died on 2 January 2024 at the age of 59.[3]


Heldal-Lund served on multiple boards for the national secular humanist organization Human-Etisk Forbund.[4][5][6] He was also a member of the Norwegian Society of Heathens.[7]

Heldal-Lund first became interested in the Church of Scientology in 1996 when he read about Magne Berge, an ex-member in Norway, who sued the organization in court and won.[2][8] Heldal-Lund started gathering information about Scientology and eventually began hosting the materials himself as part of a project he called Operation Clambake.[2]

Heldal-Lund was also a contributor to the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup. On 14 July 2000, he sent an email to a user calling themselves "Magoo" with advice for making their posts more readable.[9][10][11] This started a conversation between the two.[9][11] Of the experience, Magoo would later say to Heldal-Lund, "I honestly thought you were the devil...I was amazed at how kind you were. I thought for sure you would be the meanest and worst of all the critics. So when you were you, it really cracked the shell."[9] Magoo made an announcement on 20 July 2000 on alt.religion.scientology that she was Tory Bezazian and she was no longer a Scientologist.[9]

In 2003, Heldal-Lund received the Leipzig Human Rights Award from the European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the US, an organization which states it is composed of "Scientology opponents from all over the world."[12][13]

He received an honorary award in 2022 from Human-Etisk Forbund.[14]

Operation Clambake[edit]

Actor Jason Beghe, Tory Christman, Mark Bunker, and Andreas Heldal-Lund (2008)

Andreas Heldal-Lund originally created a website that was a list of links to articles and information about Scientology and the Church of Scientology. When he noticed that the links kept disappearing because of legal maneuvering by the church,[15][2][16][17] he decided to host the information himself.[18][19][20][16]

Most of the information presented by Operation Clambake is critical of the Church of Scientology and its leadership, although dissenters are given prominent space to air their differences.[21]

Even though the Church of Scientology had threatened legal action, Heldal-Lund said he'd never been sued.[15][16] Norway has more liberal copyright laws which provide more freedom of speech protections.[15][2][17] However, Mike Rinder, a former executive director of the Office of Special Affairs for the Church of Scientology[22], and Leah Remini, a former Scientologist, put forth another theory in a conversation with Heldal-Lund in their Fair Game Podcast.[16] It as Heldal-Lund's chosen domain name of that may be responsible.[16] Xenu is a central character in Scientology's creation myth[23] which can only be accessed in higher levels of the church.[24][25] Scientologists are required to sign a confidentiality agreement that contains a clause stating they understand they will be fined each time they speak about the materials with anyone else.[24][25] According to Remini, this fine can go as high as $100,000 for each infraction.[26] Filing a lawsuit and referencing the name in court documents could breach this agreement.[16]

Instead Heldal-Lund said the Church sent harassing letters to his job and investigated his friends and former partners.[27][16] Every time he'd think about stepping away, the church would do something else to keep him invested.[27][15] In an interview with Dawn Olsen, Heldal-Lund said, "They created me; if they had left me alone and ignored me, I probably would have been doing this for [only] a couple of months."[15]

The church also targeted his ISP, network service providers[15] and filed Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices with both Google and the Wayback Machine to remove links to[17][28]. Under the law, if the site owner feels the removed links are fair use, they can file a counter notice under the DMCA to have the links restored.[29] Heldal-Lund declined to take this step because he felt that filing the counter notice would subject him to US copyright law.[28] Public outcry from free speech advocates made Google restore some of the links to[30] For a time, this also resulted in Operation Clambake rising to the number two position on Google search results for "Scientology;" just under the church's official website.[30][17]

When actor Jason Beghe decided to leave Scientology in 2008, he contacted Heldal-Lund, who convinced him to meet with Mark Bunker, a critic of Scientology known to the Anonymous group as "Wise Beard Man".[31] Heldal-Lund and Bunker went to Beghe's house, where Beghe participated in an interview about his experiences as a Scientologist.[31] Bunker published a two-hour portion of the three-hour interview to YouTube on 4 June 2008.[32]

In the aftermath of online acts taken against Scientology by the group Anonymous as part of the protest movement Project Chanology, Heldal-Lund released a statement criticizing the digital assault against Scientology.[33][34] "People should be able to have easy access to both sides and make up their own opinions. Freedom of speech means we need to allow all to speak – including those we strongly disagree with."[35]



  1. ^ a b "About Me". Archived from the original on 20 September 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e Tony Ortega (26 August 2022). "Andreas Heldal-Lund, who stared down Scientology, now faces his own mortality". The Underground Bunker. Archived from the original on 30 September 2022.
  3. ^ Augustine, Jeffrey (2 January 2024). "Andreas Heldal-Lund, 1964-2024". The Scientology Money Project. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  4. ^ "Åse Kleveland gjenvalgt". Finnmarken (in Norwegian). ANB-NTB. 14 June 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  5. ^ "Tom Cruise er et dårlig valg". 21 October 2004. Archived from the original on 30 September 2022.
  6. ^ "About Heldal-Lund". Archived from the original on 16 April 2007.
  7. ^ Andreas Heldal-Lund. "Press Release". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  8. ^ Rosh Usher (27 January 1997). "Cult Control". Vol. 149, no. 4. Time Magazine.
  9. ^ a b c d Ortega, Tony (9 September 2001). "Sympathy for the Devil: Tory Bezazian was a veteran Scientologist who loved going after church critics. Until she met the darkest detractor of all". Los Angeles New Times.
  10. ^ Jesse Hicks (21 July 2021). "How the Church of Scientology fought the Internet -- and why it lost". Medium. Archived from the original on 16 October 2022.
  11. ^ a b Leah Remini; Mike Rinder (1 November 2022). "Tory "Magoo" Christman". (Podcast). Scientology: Fair Game Podcast. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  12. ^ a b Bowman, Lisa M. (1 May 2003). "Anti-Scientology site spurs award". Archived from the original on 2 October 2022.
  13. ^ "Frenchman honored with 2002 Leipzig Human Rights Award for his work against cults". Associated Press. 5 November 2002. Archived from the original on 5 September 2022.
  14. ^ a b "Hederspris til Andreas Heldal-Lund" [Honorary Award to Andreas Heldal-Lund]. Norwegian Humanist Association (in Norwegian). 24 October 2022. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Dawn Olsen (24 April 2008). "Interview with Andreas Heldal Lund" (Podcast). Glosslip Radio. Retrieved 19 September 2022.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Leah Remini; Mike Rinder (17 June 2022). "Episode 73: Operation Clambake Founder Andreas Heldal-Lund". (Podcast). Scientology: Fair Game Podcast. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  17. ^ a b c d Dave Lee (17 July 2013). "How Scientology changed the Internet". BBC. Archived from the original on 19 October 2022.
  18. ^ Andreas Heldal-Lund. "Operation Clambake, Undressing the Church of Scientology since 1996".
  19. ^ Ryan, Nick (23 March 2003). "The gospel of the web". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 11 October 2022.
  20. ^ Andreas Heldal-Lund. "Award Winner's Speech". Archived from the original on 5 September 2022.
  21. ^ Andreas Heldal-Lund. "Comments from Scientologists". Retrieved 10 October 2022.
  22. ^ "Mike Rinder Biography". Church of Scientology International. Archived from the original on 28 January 2008.
  23. ^ Michael Shermer (1 November 2011). "The Real Science behind Scientology". Scientific American. Archived from the original on 19 October 2022.
  24. ^ a b Alison Frankel (March 1996). "Making Law, Making Enemies". The American Lawyer.
  25. ^ a b Chris Jancelewicz (6 September 2017). "Leah Remini reveals what happens when you reach the top of Scientology". Global News. Archived from the original on 16 October 2022.
  26. ^ Ahsan, Sadaf. "What we learned from the seventh episode of Leah Remini's Scientology series". The National Post. Retrieved 1 January 2024.
  27. ^ a b Bunker, Mark (30 December 2006). "Scientology: Andreas in Hollywood - Part 1" (video). Mark Bunker.
  28. ^ a b Lisa M. Bowman (25 September 2002). "Net archive silences Scientology critic". CNET. Archived from the original on 19 October 2022.
  29. ^ "DMCA Counter-Notice Process". Copyright Alliance. 2022. Archived from the original on 19 October 2022.
  30. ^ a b David. F. Gallagher (22 April 2002). "New Economy; A copyright dispute with the Church of Scientology is forcing Google to do some creative linking". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 13 April 2022.
  31. ^ a b Ortega, Tony (8 April 2008). "Scientology's First Celebrity Defector Reveals Church Secrets: 'I was Miscavige's favorite boy,' says veteran TV actor Jason Beghe". Village Voice. Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. Retrieved 16 April 2008.
  32. ^ Bunker, Mark (4 June 2008). "Scientology: Jason Beghe interview" (video). Mark Bunker.
  33. ^ George-Cosh, David (25 January 2008). "Online group declares war on Scientology". National Post. Canwest Publishing Inc. Archived from the original on 28 January 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2008.
  34. ^ McMillan, Robert; IDG News Service (25 January 2008). "Hackers Hit Scientology With Online Attack: Hacker group claims to have knocked the Church of Scientology's Web site offline with a distributed denial-of-service attack". PC World. IDG. Archived from the original on 29 January 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2008.
  35. ^ Heldal-Lund, Andreas (22 January 2008). "OC Press Release 22 January 2008: DDoS attacks on Scientology". Press Release. Operation Clambake. Retrieved 25 January 2008.

External links[edit]