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Censorship Your Rights Online

Anti-Scientology Site Shut Down 305

Posted by jamie
from the clambake-closed-until-further-notice dept.
Mirele writes "The owner of www.xenu.net, the most comprehensive anti-Scientology website on the Net, reported on alt.religion.scientology that the site was shut down after the ISP received a letter from Scientology's Religious Technology Center alleging trademark infringement. The heart of RTC's complaint is that xenu.net uses their trademarks, the words 'Scientology,' 'Dianetics,' and 'Hubbard,' in the metatags." A look at the legal history shows that all the cases that were won involved trademarked terms in meta tags that did not appear on the webpage; that does not appear to be the case here. When Playboy unsuccessfully sued a Playmate for metatagging the term "Playmate," she countersued; does anyone know what the result was? Update: 11/19 03:00: The site's back up.
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Anti-Scientology Site Shut Down

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  • The big difference is that people where using the terms "Playboy" and "Playmate" to try and atract customers to their web sites. Imaging starting a new Newspaper and calling it "The New York Times" the real New York Times would have a good reason to say no you can't do that. Whereas it would be perfectly OK for another newspaper to publish an article critical of the New York Times.

    Trademark law is desinged so that if you have a product noneone else will start a compeating product with a similar name. It does not provent similar products. Or other people from using your name in the press (online or otherwise)
  • by rde (17364) on Friday November 19, 1999 @04:00AM (#1519643)
    There could be thousands of cases thrown out of court in the past, and that wouldn't stop the scientologists. They're greedy, amoral people whose only hope for maintaining their hold on their victims is through lawsuits; they's sue anyone, anywhere, anyhow. If they lose, they take it to a higher court.
    I realise that in America this is nothing unusual, but the scientologists have it down to a fine art.

    As a matter of interest: if I have a page on nursery rhymes and I have the word 'Hubbard' in my metatags (as well as 'Humpty' and 'Nantucket'), will I be sued?
  • by dattaway (3088)
    That was a good site. Anybody got a mirror of it?
  • by Signal 11 (7608)
    I'm not suprised. Scientology is not a religion - it's a huge political grab for power. It's also a complete joke. God is allegedly their leader, and in order to reach higher levels of "enlightenment" you're required to pay absolutely huge sums of money to the perveyors of this "religion". There isn't another religion on the planet that protects it's holy books from outsiders and requires huge fees to purchase them. Infact, I have people banging down my door to give me free copies of their holy books!. Bleh. Just another example of what happens when you fuse politics, idiots, and religion together...

    Am I being alittle insensitive here? Flamebait? Yeah, probably. But these people are more annoying than Rush Limbaugh when quoting statistics...


    --
  • ... I'm should have been more clear on that third sentence. Their leader believes he's god, and at the "highest" level of enlightenment, this is supposedly revealed to you.
    --
  • What this really amounts to is the Scientology crowd is trying to use the legal system to shut out controvertial talk against it. You can bet that if there were a site singing the praises of dianetics, etc, using the exact same words, that there would never be a suit.


    Mike Eckardt [geocities.com] meckardt@yahoo.nospam.com
  • Looks like it is already mirrored, so it appears that the Co$ is not getting their way in silencing their critics. Actually, what will most likely happen, given what I've seen lately, is that this information will end up being hosted on more sites after being shut down than it was before. The Co$ is shooting themselves in the foot, again.

    Poor little clams. Snap snap snap.

  • I guess we'll be seeing terms like Sc*entlogy and H*bbard, now.

    seriously, though, I wonder how hard it is to fight the Sc*entologists in court. Celebrities generally have pretty deep pockets.
  • The Playboy case would be more analagous to a journalist putting up a web site and advertising themselves as "a New York Times journalist", which, if it were true, would be valid (well, I don't think the court has ruled in the Playboy case, aside denying Playboy's attempt at a preliminary injunction)

    Terri Welles /was/ a Playboy Playmate, and as such, is allowed to call herself that wherever she chooses.

  • I checked out this site a couple weeks ago (I think I found the link here in a /. post) After a brief reading of the emails he'd received, it was clear they were out to get him as much as he was out to expose them. I'm angered that his ISP would shut it down. There have been other examples of this on /., but it proves once again that there is no justice in the legal system: those with money call the shots. Because he could probably never afford to fight Scientology in court he will never get the chance to prove them wrong. Any belief that everyday people have "rights online" is just a delusion.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 19, 1999 @04:08AM (#1519653)
    The Scientologists have a length history of literally destoying those who publicly try to discredit them and their ideas. They have a lot of money and alot of members in high places.

    I used to be involved with the "Church" of Scientology, and my opinion that it is all bull shit and all they want is your money.

    Some people might say the same is true of Christian churches, but you can goto a Christian church for 20 years and not give 1 cent. Not so with Scientology. They are far more predatory than other group I have been involved with, or heard about.

    I am not familiar with the Trademark laws that the Sceintologists are using in this case, but as long as you do not claim them as your own, whats illegal about it? Sounds like censorship to me for sure.

    For those who are thinking about getting involved with Scientology (or Dianetics, which is Phase I - brainwashing) please do not. Once they get their claws in you, leaving will be difficult.

  • Since when do religions have trademarks? I'm sure it's possible. It just makes me laugh that they are sueing someone who is against them. They were probably just waiting for a reason to pounce on these people. What is Scientology anyway? It just seems that actors and rich people on in this religion, I guess that means they have enough to afford court costs.
  • But I believe that the main difference in this case is that www.xenu.net was just using the terms in Meta tags. Now I know there has been a lot of arguements about what goes in these tags, but I always thought the purpose of these tags were to state the topic of the web page. Now if people constantly sue over what goes in these tags, then we will still have to rely on the actual content. And thus go back in progress.

    They are not using the term Scientology to compete with them. But to actually talk about them. A better analogy would be to say that another paper started writing articles about the New York Times. Can the New York Times sue because they are using their name? Its not to be confusing but actually the opposite. They are using the Scientology name to show EXACTLY who they are talking about.

    Steven Rostedt
  • by seizer (16950)
    This group make m fantastically angry on a painfully regular basis. I've seen a friend's life messed up by their mind-fucking "religious philosophy", although he's through it [geocities.com] now; I've seen them close down anon.penet.fi (anyone remember that?); I've seen them try to cancel the newsgroup... the list of their attempts to censor all commentary is a long one.

    And yet nothing seems to happen! What can we do!

    I think a good long "aaargh" is in order

    I have no money, sue me if you want


    --Remove SPAM from my address to mail me
  • by Sorklin (88002) on Friday November 19, 1999 @04:16AM (#1519658)
    Remember the anon.petit.fi (or whatever it was) the anonymous remailer was shut down by scientology. The scientologist have been harrasing and trying to shut down websites left and right so that the only time someone can mention scientology at all is when they are part of the church. Xenu.com had a tremendous amount of information on this cult. And that's what threatened them. Xenu and those that ran it are considered the scientologist equivalent of heretic, and just like the old days of christianity, the doctrine is to do anything to harrass the heretics. This is just one form they have chosen to use.

    This cult is just another force that wants to take away your rights. Learn more about it online by reading the scientology newsgroups. But remember that those groups are being harrassed as well.

  • Has anyone read Stranger in a strange land? The scientologists remind me of one of the religeons in this book.

    The best part is, L. Ron made the whole thing up!

    L. Ron was a science fiction writer making a penny a word. He was known for his writing style of attaching his typewriter to a roll of paper on the wall and producing a SCI-FI novel in an evening.

    It is said that Dianetics was written in a weekend in this style and (over drinks with his peers) he announced that he was going to start a religeon.

    Well he did just that, and he did a pretty damn good job of it to. Personally the thought that humans evolved form clams makes me giggle but hay, if thats what you wanna believe more power too ya.

    I've heard of some pretty sinister things these folks can do. Hopefully this positng won't get me a dead cat in the mail.

  • Well I gues that shows how close to the truth
    that guy from www.xenu.net actually was...
    Scientologist do have brains the size of dried
    grapes. (that's a free interpretation)

    To the XENU-guy:
    You scared the hell out of those nutcakes, keep
    up the good work.

    P.S. Hey Scientology-guys,
    I called a few of my scientist-friends, and
    as soon as the university lawyer can be reached
    we'll sue you for abusing the term "science"

    Mooohahhhahhaha

    P.P.S. stupidity is no excuse, screw 'em I say...
  • by Outland Traveller (12138) on Friday November 19, 1999 @04:17AM (#1519661)
    Why is this marked as "Funny"? (And where are those moderator points when you need them?) If you do even the smallest bit of research into scientology you will find that these accusations are true, and only scratch the surface of criticism one can give against the Scientologists.

    Some of their beliefs would in fact be funny if they were not destroying people's lives and abusing our (US) public institutions.

    -OT
  • The Church of Scientology should be legally forced to declare whether they are a religion or a corporation.

    If they are a religion, then they can't trademark 'their' words, phrases, and ideas.

    If they are a corporation, then they don't get tax sheltered.

    The CoS is the Amway of the religious world.

    Its all about the dollar signs, kids.

    (Scientology, Hubbard, Dianetics. Sue me.)
  • by jd (1658) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <kapimi>> on Friday November 19, 1999 @04:21AM (#1519663) Homepage Journal
    Beware all nursary rhyme web sites! Thou art prohibited to mention any old mothers going to cupboards, to get their poor dog a bone, for doing so will bring down the righteous wrath of the *deleted to avoid trademark infringement*'s!

    Seriously, neither trademark law, nor copyright law, permits the respective holder absolute right. Fair use (such as for reviews, commentary, satire, etc) are ALWAYS lawful. Copyright and trademarks also automatically expire when something becomes common usage.

    IMHO, a person's name is about as "common usage" as you can get! The other words might be pushing it a bit, but probably fall into that category as well. It's not like anyone owns the suffix "-ology". (If they did, it would piss off the biologists a bit. Generally, irking the guys who play around with gene splicing and deadly viruses is not considered the healthiest sport in the world.)

    Frankly, I'd tell the guys to counter with a slander & defamation of character suit (though I'd find a lawyer who worked on a no win/no fee basis). It is arguable that their good names and characters have been besmirched by the arguably false accusation that they willingly violated trademark laws.

    Even if they lost (quite likely, given America's fondness for lawsuits & free speech, regardless of consequence), it might make trigger-happy power-players stop and think, for a moment. Being seen as going after the "Bad Guys" is Good Publicity. Being seen as a rival for the "Sherrif of Nottingham" is not.

    The sooner the worm turns, the better. Because it will, sooner or later, if it keeps getting trodden on. It's just better for everyone if it's sooner.

  • It's really the ISP that's cowering here. Anyone out there with the gonads (or ovum) to host this site?
  • by mbauser2 (75424) on Friday November 19, 1999 @04:22AM (#1519666) Homepage

    The NY Times story on the Playboy suit [nytimes.com] explains it nicely, but the summary is: She really had been a Playboy playmate, so it was legal for her to say so on her web site. (Imagine if she lost. People could get sued for posting résumés that contained copyrighted words.)

    I've never looked at xenu.net, but I suspect the Playboy v. Terri Welles case is at least partially relevant: If Playboy can't prevent ex-playmates from saying they were Playboy, Scientology shouldn't be able to prevent ex-Scientologists from saying they were in the Church of Scientology, and so forth.

    The real problem here is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA encourages the yanking of web sites based on accusations, not legal findings of fact. The Act's authors put far too much faith in corporations' ability to act responsibly.

  • Slightly off-topic, but as we are talking about scientology, I have a good news.

    In France, a menber of a scientology organisation has been sentenced to jail ... Some proof were misteriously distroyed before the judgement, but he was still sent to jail :-) And there is a pending request to ban the scientology organisation ...

    Let's hope scientology will be banned here.
  • I'm guessing the moderator was referring to the final sentence of that comment as "funny". Although if I had any points it would have seen a +1 for Insightful rather than funny, oh well.
  • by substrate (2628) on Friday November 19, 1999 @04:23AM (#1519669)
    I've happened on this site before, it may have been posted to memepool [memepool.com] or something similar. There was a lot of information on Scientology that Scientologists wouldn't find too flattering. A lot of it seemed so paranoid to me that I hoped it wasn't true, such as a list of ex-scientologists who later turned detractors and also later met an untimely demise. Given the rabid nature of a lot of the scientologists defending their cult I wouldn't be so sure however.

    I don't see this as anything different than a review or expose however. This is no different than if George Lucas went after any bad Star Wars: The Phantom Menace reviews and had them yanked because they referred to LucasFilms or ILM's trademarks. For that matter its no different than if restraunts threatened legal action over poor restraunt reviews (or poor health department ratings).

    What's so amazing to me is how incredibly stupid the scientologists and their lawyers are. There's a page that says all kinds of unfavourable things about them, the least of which is that they bully people who don't agree with scientology, and they bully them into being shut down. Nothing like providing proof of peoples opinions of you.

    For a 20/20 expose on Scientology go here [holysmoke.org], here [xenutv.com], here [demon.nl] or just click this for a Google search [google.com]

    The dangerous thing about this as far as rights go is that while many think of the internet as the last bastion of freedom its really not even close. ISP's routinely take the easy way out when faced with any legal action or even public pressure.
  • News.com [cnet.com] reported earlier this year that Welles not only successfully won her right to use the term "Playmate of the Year" to describe herself, but she also was countersuing Playboy for unfair business practices, defamation, etc.

    So it appears that if someone is writing about the Scientologists, they have the right to use the correct terminology to describe them, even if those terms are trademarked. It seems to me it would be no different than writing a product review of Coca-Cola, and actually using the word "Coca-Cola."







    This is my opinion and my opinion only. Incidentally, IANAL.

  • by Bartmoss (16109) on Friday November 19, 1999 @04:24AM (#1519672) Homepage Journal
    It has long ago been found in court here in Germany that scientology is NOT a religion, but a commercial enterprise aimed to make a profit. In addition, Scientology is under observation by a branch of the German secret service, as there is evidence that Scientology is determined to undermine, erode, and abolish the democratic principles upon which modern Germany was founded.

    The majority of European countries has since passed similar court rulings... Scientology is not a religion in Europe, and if they start to act up too much, we'll smash them.

    One of the most idiotic things I've ever seen was a bunch of Scientologists in downtown Hamburg demonstrating for religious freedom. They dressed up in white robes, kinda made them look like KKK wannabees.

    I also take great offense at the US Scientology's campaign of propaganda against Germany. Maybe some of you remember it. Basically what they did was say that Germans are Nazis. Over HERE, we have laws against such kinds of insult, I guess America doesn't. In fact, US politicans have even urged our German government to be nicer to Scientology.

    It's always nice to see how our friends and allies, the moral and great leader of the free world is trying to mess with us.

    Anyway, back to my first point (I seem to have wandered a bit), scientology is just a bunch of psychopatic fools trying to make a buck. Just say no.
  • Is their any organization which provides free legal defense for gratuitous suites against internet content (such as this case and the DeCSS issue). Sort of like an ACLU for freedom of expresion on the internet. It seems like something the EFF should really be involved in as the greatest danger to free speech on the internet seems to be abuse of copyright law, trademarks and especially patents.

    Yes, mirroring is useful but it also allows a dangerous precedent to be set. If the sites are mirrored but not legally defended it gives legitamacy to the companies/religions claims.
  • by Masem (1171) on Friday November 19, 1999 @04:24AM (#1519674)
    First, let's get over the facts: Scientology is overactively pursuing any anti-Sci site, and in most cases they won because copyrighted materials were used on the anti-Sci site. I don't know if the site here in question was the same (given that they have been around for this long suggests that is it not the case).

    Now, why must this case fail? Look at want it boils down to: Party A does not want Party B to provide negative information to the public. Thus, Party A gets Party's B site shut down. In full violation of free speech.

    If the Sci's win their case, this means that I can put any appropriate pairings in the above statement. How many of those would have Microsoft as Party A?

    I find it hard to believe that there is legal precidence that a site that talks about the negative aspects of something cannot use trademark words for that purpose (especially if they are not trying to claim that trademark as their own).

  • by Nichen (34123)
    So now all a group has to do to prevent criticism is trademark their name and shut down anyone that uses it? Microsoft(TM) is a trademark, does that mean we have to stop criticizing them? Scientologists know they're full of shit, and are hiding behind trademark law to try to squeeze a little more money out of its members. I honestly hope that www.xenu.net wins in the end, because I see this starting a dangerous precedent of deep-pocketed groups controlling what information we are exposed to.

  • Since when does the existence of worse make the merely bad unworthy of comment?
    --
    Advertisers: If you attach cookies to your banner ads,
  • Except scientology is even more bizarre than what you described - many "religions" have leaders who claim to be god or whatnot, but from what I remember their beliefs include stuff like
    o The earth was seeded thousands of years ago for life by some alien warlord
    o Said warlord will someday return to earth for some reason or another.
    o There is an intergalactic war that's been going on for a few thousand years and the earth is somehow involved.
    It's sad that scientology is as popular as it is.
  • I recall reading his sons Biography of him "messiah or Madman". Madman is more like it. his "religion" is nothing more than Computer Programming and a little psychology.

    What is really sad is that there are people who can't see this fact, can't see that all this religion wants is your money, and fall for it. In florida they've already gotten away with a literal murder.
  • The Scientologists have done very well using the legal system to stop anti-Scientology groups from operating. They sued and won a case against CAN (Cult Awareness Network - one of the strongest opponents of Scientology), which bankrupted CAN, then they promptly bought CAN.
  • There is a story (of Urban Legend quality) that Robert A. Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard made a bet about who could come up with s wierd religion and get people to follow it. Heinlein wrote Stranger in a Strange Land, Hubbard wrote Dianetics. And the rest, as they say, is history.
  • Hmm,

    I must admit to being only passingly familiar with the cult of Scientology. I do know that it's the brain child of recently deceased Sci-fi author L. Ron Hubbard. However, actions like this certainly make them seem like that have a hidden adgenda. IIRC, Dianetics bears more than a passing resemblance to Eugenics.

    1> Are they a "religion" under US law? If so, are they exempt from taxes? Do they enjoy all the other side benefits that other organized religions do in the USA?

    The statement that:

    "Since when do religions have trademarks?" really strikes an interesting note. If a religion can have a trademark, they are behaving awfully business like. If they do win a case like this, and manage to sue for damages, do they get to keep the money _tax-free_? I sure as hell hope not. Of course that'd be just the thing those crack-smokers are looking for.

    - Porter
  • Or that if someone did file a suit against it, the "Church" would countersue. This "Church" is the most disturbing display of man's inhumanity that I've seen...of course if you believe you're an alien being just trapped here on Earth, I guess it's not inhumanity, is it? :-)

    I wish getting hackers to do anything coherent were not like herding cats---there are more of us than them, and we're smarter! (Justified by our belief in ourselves rather than a figment of a socially immature man's imagination.) Maybe if we just ignore them, they'll go away.

  • ...and don't forget the celebrity appeal. IIRC, the Scientology folks have a habit of recruiting 'ollywood folks as members and spokespeople, although who's to say that they're being bilked as much as everybody else...

    It might amuse y'all to know that there was, and probably still is, a Scientology office within walking distance of MS main campus in Bellevue, WA... both would appear to be profit-motivated, but only one admits it.

    [Is Germany still cracking down on them? They once started treating it basically as a cult, but I seem to remember that some politcos over on this side of the pond got involved.]

    That's 'bout the only physical presence of theirs I've personally seen; AFAIK, they've never recruited hear at Carnegie Mellon.
  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Friday November 19, 1999 @04:35AM (#1519687) Homepage Journal
    The guys from Xenu have a distributed.net team that is doing fairly well.

    Does anyone remember the movie Primary Colors?
    John Travolta is a Scientlogist and apparantly he and some others in the production staff went to president clinton and asked him to pressure Germany to recognize Scientology as a valid religion. The carrot was this, if he did get them to they'd portray him in a more positive light in the movie.

    Read the book, watch the movie, you'll see that there are BIG differences between the way that the main character is portrayed.

    LK
  • This is nothing new. Just as the NAZI and all sort of werid and deranged people have done before these people are after control and power. I can't understand why people fall in with this kind of cults or such but as a history and psychology have shown time and time again.... People are not much better then lemmings. We are in one simple word stupid.
  • Let's hope scientology will be banned here.
    Let's hope not. No matter how much I disagree with someone (in the case of these crackpots, a whole lot), I would not wish to ban them.
    • It would make them more popular. Free publicity, they can claim oppression by the man, scream that their freedom of religion is being taken away, the whole nine yards. Anything that is banned gains a certain mystique. Then, they could tie up most any country in court for decades, and would.
    • I would not want _anyone_ to be banned from expressing their religious views. Just make them declare as either a religion or a business, similar to what was done to the Christian Coalition here in the US (well, that was political, but same idea), and force them to stick to it.

    Banning is not the solution.

  • So CO$ got 2 sites for the price of one this time.

    Anybody remember www.scientology-kills.net [scientology-kills.net] ?

    It had descriptions of incidents where people had lost theire lives directly (Remember Lisa ?) or indirectly thru this cults actions.

    I have been watching CO$ on the net for years and this is definetly something that we must fight back. I hereby offer to mirror the site if anybody wants to send me the tarball.. ftp://195.115.63.44/Incoming/

    --
    Why pay for drugs when you can get Linux for free ?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Now that you have all been reminded of how badly scientologists behave will the tedious christian baiting stop?

    No - Just because the Nazis were bad doesn't mean no one should have fought the Stalinists.

    All proselytizing religions are evil by their nature (no matter what the intentions of their members). The others may or may not be, but that has nothing to do with the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religion and the damage it causes every day, which dwarfs the crap perpetrated by the Co$.

    I have seen this first hand, a friend of mine was killed by christians because he was the wrong sort of christian!

    TWW

  • It's a shite state of affairs when a small group of misguided, yet rich, people have the ability and the desire to silence all those who disagree with them. Such is the sad story of Scientology, and, unless some kind soul starts sniping them all off one by one, so shall it remain.

    That could just be my evil body thetans talking, though. Maybe if I paid L. Ron a few hundred grand I could have that taken care of...

    - A.P.
    --


    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • If you'd like some more info on Scientology's actions in the past you can look at http://www.thecia.net/users /rnewman/scientology/home.html [thecia.net]. I find them to be a rather disgusting group of people actually. If a Scientologist reads this I'd be interested in whatever reasoning they can provide for their behaviour.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 19, 1999 @04:41AM (#1519696)
    Heck, in this case, you don't have to worry about the "our == U.S." bit - the Scientologists abuse public institutions all over the world. Weren't they the ones that got that Finnish anonymous e-mailer/news poster shut down a few years ago?

    I'd advise anyone criticizing them to post AC, like me.
  • If memory serves, US trademark law explicitly forbids trademarking a term which is a "personal name", specifically to avoid issues like who was using "Smith" first. But, typically (like crappy patents) the trademarks get registered and then have to be overturned.

    Taking this a step further than the "old mother" from the nursery rhyme, I recall a Hubbard Road in rural Idaho that presumably predates L. Ron (and was probably named for SOMEONE), and it occurs to me that there's a reasonably famous (!?) Glenn Hubbard running around these days (baseball pitcher?).







    This is my opinion and my opinion only. Incidentally, IANAL.

  • by FreeUser (11483) on Friday November 19, 1999 @04:47AM (#1519701)
    While we were all distracted, arguing over whether or not Bill Clinton should be impeached and admiring the off-color stain on Monica's dress, congress quietly, and with no opportunity for public debate or comment, passed the Digital Millenium Copyright act into Law. They did this on a voice vote, so that no individual congress person had to go on record as having supported this legislation.

    The result? Broad, sweeping, and hitherto unprecedented powers and rights were granted to so-called intellectual property holders, at the expense of individual rights of expression.

    In this context, the first amendment to the US Constition (the right of Free Speach) has been effectively made null and void on the internet. This serves both the interests of government and large corporations, as it effectively silences undesirable speach in the one mass medium which they, prior to enacting this law, could not control.

    Now, if anyone speaks out against any entity (government, corporate, or private) with money, the mere threat of litigation against them and their ISP is enough to silence them. With the new, broad rights this law grants, the litigation has much greater potential to succeed (though one would hope juries and judges would be smart enough to overturn the law were it to ever go so far). No individual, with house payments to make, children to feed, and a job to attend to, can afford this kind of risk, either monetarilly or in terms of time lost and possible effects on their career. The result: any entity with money now has an easy, well-defined, institutionalized method for denying the "average" (read: not wealthy) person of their constitutional right to freedom of speach, with any recourse and appeal denied to that individual through financial leverage.

    Mirroring is a nice, feel-good short term solution to this (and it does do good, don't stop!), but realize this: there is similar, pending legislation in many countries we currently think of as "friendly". What will the net be like when there is no longer any place to run and mirror?

    Our top priortiy should be the repeal of the Digital Millenium act in the US, the even more draconian legislation in the UK, and the prevention of such bills becoming law elsewhere in the world. This attack of speach is more subtle, more dangerous, and much more effective than the CDA ever was, and has effectively made the right to free speach on-line a farce of the worst kind.
  • by gorilla (36491) on Friday November 19, 1999 @04:47AM (#1519702)
    Actually, in most cases they loose, cause they're making totally groundless complaints. For an example, try this site [priment.com]. Same subject. Same law. Scientology lost.

    Most ISP's have caught onto the complaints being groundless, and for many years now they've been ignoring RTC's letters, however with the new law, the ISP has to shut it down regardless.

  • by taniwha (70410) on Friday November 19, 1999 @04:48AM (#1519704) Homepage Journal
    Xenu.net has been THE best resource of documentation about Scientology on the net period. And that's including the Scientology site.

    A large part of this site is a collection of court and govermental enquiry transcripts combined with personal accounts of their experience

    Behaviour like this by Scientology is par for the course their lawyers have atacked free speech at every turn in their war against the net - remember this started with one of their lawyers forging an rmgroup to remove a newsgroup - and was quickly followed with a police raid on one of the poster's houses where they hauled away all his computers - then searched them for evidence for a subsequent civil court case against him.

    Anyway - the answer to censorship (or speech you don't like) is more speech - so tell your friends the things about Scientology that were (are) on xenu.net that Scientology doesn't want you to know:

    • It's a mind-control cult that attenpts to squeeze as much money out of its members as possible
    • It costs at least $360,000 to 'receive salvation'
    • The basic tenent of their faith which they wont tell you untill you have paid at least $100k is that 7 million years ago intergallactic tyrant Xenu shipped billions of people to earth, tied them to the top of volcanos and nuked them. All the worlds troubles are caused by us being haunted by the tourtured souls of these murdered space aliens - for large amounts of money Scientology will teach you how to exorcise yourself
    • abuse and occasional deaths of members have been reported - they run their own prison labor camps called 'RPF' at several places within the US (xenu.net contains a number accounts by people forced into RPF who had to do things like run around a pole in the desert each day)
    • They have their own paramilitary wing called the 'sea-org'
    Xenu.net will be back - it's censored, not gone - in the mean time help do the work it was doing - tell all your friends and family about Scientology - make sure they know what it's about so they won't get sucked in
  • The cases have come up have had some rather distressing results, and I agree that it is important to be aware of what is going on.

    Unfortunately, to actually participate in significant ways runs people into the risk of arousing the ire of the Scientologists, and with the size of their army of private investigators and lawyers, this represents a significant risk, and one that not everyone will be willing to risk.

    It might appear attractive to try to "twit" them; that is only acceptable if:

    • One feels extremely strongly about them, and is willing to risk suffering the consequences, or
    • The risks of consequences are low.

    Of course, providing formally anonymous support ( e.g. - help with legal fees) to those that are "fighting fights and risking loss" might be a decent method...

  • by Myddrin (54596) on Friday November 19, 1999 @04:52AM (#1519709) Homepage
    And there is a pending request to ban the scientology organisation ... Let's hope scientology will be banned here.

    Is this really what we want? The people who joing this cults tend to be 1) more intelligent than average, 2) very idealistic, 3) want to help solve the world's problems. [I'm going to have to a blanket reference here to The Margaret Singer Foundation [singer.org] hopefully still there, this has been found in several studies of former cult members.]

    The individuals in a cult are not nescessarily evil or bad. Some of the things they do are evil because they are in essense brainwashed. In other words, the members aren't evil individually, collectively they can do a great deal of harm to other individuals and to communities, governments and so on.

    But do we want to ban them? Do we want to cross the line that Hitler crossed?

    If so, how do we prevent non-Cult religions from being banned because they practice "strange and bizarre rituals"? (mediation, chanting, ritualistic canabalism...{ahem}...and so on, an important question to myself, a Buddhist).
    We need to reach a balance between preventing harm and religious tolerance.

    Disclaimer: My brother started trancenet.org [trancenet.org], a cult tracking website. He is the one who first raised these concerns to me.
    Also, according to discussions I had with an anon scientologist in '95 I was declared an SP (suppressive person) sometime in '94-'95 due to my participation in alt.religion.scientology... but I have no confirming evidence...

    (So if you are a scientologist, you are currently out-tech just by reading this post that is trying to be tolerant!)
  • http://www.google.com/search?q=c ache:www.xenu.net/ [google.com] use google!
    And the best thing is, is that the sub-pages are still there, so all the links work!
  • Scientology is definetly not something to laugh. My ISP has been in court with them since 1995 and the battle continues...
    See this page [xs4all.nl] for a list of what happened until now.

    They still continue to call themselves a religion. Critics say the reason for that is only tax. The Scientology movement is considered a criminal organisation in several Europe countries, and in Germany members are not allowed to do any work for the state...
  • > If they lose, they take it to a higher court.

    Actually, they do not. The entire cult of scientology could be destroyed by a single hostile ruling from a high court. The Ku Klux Klan, for instance, is more or less defunct as an organization in some areas, because of a court ruling (and some really screwy technicalities). Whether or not you agree with the logic, scientology knows the risk of losing in a federal court, or, L.Ron forbid, the supreme court.

    What they do is get around the law. After a court kept public documents in place when they were challenged by the scientologists, they now have cult members dedicated to doing nothing but keeping the materials checked out and in circulation all the time so the public can never see it.

    Futile, really... The Cult of Scientology is already the object of ridicule in the USA, outright hostility in Germany (having been relegated to the same political realm as Nazis), ineffectiveness in the area of information control, and one of the biggest makers of martyrs since McCarthy.

    I know the cult reads slashdot. You're going down.
  • by taniwha (70410)
    anon.penet.fi - a Scientologist in the US posted about his own 'church' anonymously - they sued to get his name (and did!) - the anon-remailer was shut down because the person who ran it felt he could no longer maintain his promise of confidentiality
  • I agree it's irritatingly spineless for these ISPs to roll over at the slightest hint of legal action, but really, you have to see it from their point of view. Most are shoestring operations that couldn't even dream of putting up the needed legal costs. The big ones just look at the bottom line, and see nothing much added for defending freedom of expression. More's the pity.

    Lets put the blame where it belongs and blackhole any site associated with anyone using these legal tactics as a form of censorship. This wouldn't be censoring the scientologists, more a widespread agreement not to listen to them as long as they persist in trying to suppress other's speech.
  • THey should just rename any references from Scientology to mindhead :) I'm still amazed at how much of a slap in the face that movie was to scientologists.
  • Actually the Digital Millenium Act is even more draconian then the UK new Copyright Act. As you may have noticed from the recent DVD discussions, publishing information on copy-protection systems is tantamount to direct copyright infringement under the UK law, i.e. a civil offence. However under the DMA it will be a criminal offence.

    Nick

  • by SweenyTod (47651) <.sweenytod. .at. .sweenytod.com.> on Friday November 19, 1999 @05:20AM (#1519740) Homepage
    I've been a critic of Scientology for about two years now. I'm lucky that I'm in Perth, Western Australia. The scientology popluation here is small enough that I can say what I want on my web site and not be subjected to the abuses that critics in other parts of the world are. And that is my main complaint about the organisation. You could stand in front of Billy Grahem or the Pope and critise them to their face, but speak out against Scientology, and they'll try their damnest to crusify you. Check out the story of Paulette Cooper [uni-wuerzburg.de]. She wrote a book about them, and according to the web page, the Church of Scientology tried to forge a bomb threat against Henry Kissinger in Cooper's name. This plan has become known as "Operation Freakout". It's real, and it's happening to people all around the world right now. Andea is a very public example of what's happening to a lot of people all around the world.

  • Let's hope scientology will be banned here.

    Is this really what we want?

    It's an idea that won't work anyway. Australia tried banning Scientology in the '60s, and it just didn't work to get rid of them. You can read some press articles from the '60s on the subject here [suburbia.net].

    My main critics' page is here [suburbia.net].

    Also: going up against $cientology is entertaining and invigorating. They make out that they are the toughest bullies around, but stand up to them and they shrink away.

  • Try and keep in mind that this is an organisation that brought the IRS down. The mighty government department caved in, and made all sorts of secret deals, just to keep them away. Judges have asked to be removed from cases, rather than suffer the harrasement that comes from being involved with them. Their war chest is in the millions, and they have around a 100 lawyers on their staff. No normal organisation can compete with that, and the individual is completly destroyed by them. Has the drug taking Hubbard said, "Never defend - always attack." And they do.
  • I accidently moderated you down when I meant to mod you up. I think it's that wheel on the MS mouse that screwed it up.
    Yes, it's a glitch (feature?) in the way most browsers handle selection boxes. Until you click on something outside the box, cursor up/down movements change selections within the box instead of moving the cursor/screen. "Losing" my arrow up/down keys (and having my selection changed in ways I very much did not intend!) drove me nuts until I found that I could click on some random text outside the box and get back to normal. Clicking on text outside the box after making a selection is now reflex with me.

    This works with meta-moderation, too.
    --
    Advertisers: If you attach cookies to your banner ads,

  • ... copyright infringement under the UK law, i.e. a civil offence. However under the DMA it will be a criminal offence.

    I wasn't aware of this disparity. I agree, the US law is much more draconian in making such expanded definitions of copyright violation a criminal rather than civil violation. The UK law appears to me to be marginally more broad in what it defines as a copyright violation than the US law (hence my earlier allusion to "more draconian"), but in light of the potential punishment you are right -- the US law is much worse.
  • by spirous2 (87220) on Friday November 19, 1999 @06:03AM (#1519770) Homepage
    My ISP just sent me an e-mail telling me that Operation Clambake will be opened again asap. My thanks goes to all the people all over the 'Net that have been working hard the last two days to make this happen. You truly are showing the cult and others where the power lies! There is no way to stop free speech on the 'Net!

    PS: No, I do not have to change my metatags, seems like they bought the argument. :)))

    Best wishes,
    Andreas Heldal-Lund
    heldal@online.no
    http://www.xenu.net/ [xenu.net]

  • It seems that the Curch of Scientology could be invesitaged under RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act].

    Whatever good intentions L. Ron Hubbard had have been twisted and perverted, although from a recent Investigative Reports on A&E, he started a lot of that himself.

    They're incredibly secretive about their teachings, they harass anyone that voices opinions, and have a long history or dirty dealings. It does sound like a cult to me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 19, 1999 @06:12AM (#1519773)
    This is Operating Thetan VIII, the highest "scripture" in the $cieno canon. This is what $300,000.00 buys you. Bad science fiction.

    OT VIII: THE CONFIDENTIAL STUDENT BRIEFING DOCUMENT

    HUBBARD COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE

    Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, Sussex

    HCO BULLETIN OF 5 MAY 1980

    ISSUE I

    LIMITED DISTRIBUTION
    OT VIII Course Students
    OT VIII Auditors
    OT VIII C/Sea AO
    Review Auditors AO C/Sea

    OT VIII Series 1

    C O N F I D E N T I A L
    STUDENT BRIEFING


    By the time you read this I will no longer be occupying the body
    and identity that you have known as Ron. That identity continues
    to live in the hearts and minds of many as well as in on-Source
    tech and admin centers around the planet, and will inspire for
    years to come Scientologists and lovers of truth everywhere.

    What follows is a story that has been withheld, for reasons which
    will soon be obvious, until such time as there were enough OTs that
    something could be done about it. That time is now. It is not a
    nice or a pretty story, but I trust that having arrived on the OT
    VIII Course you are ready to hear it. You have undoubtedly heard
    pieces of data over the years that hinted at the greater untold
    reality of my mission here on Earth, but the story was never
    written, nor spoken, in its entirety due to security problems that
    have unfortunately always plagued the organization. It is only now
    that I feel it safe to release the information, although the time
    is rapidly approaching when I will have no choice in the matter,
    the hour draws that near.

    I am not going to delve too deeply into specifics as people have
    a tendency to bog themselves down in significance, which would
    only serve to delay the immediacy of the task at hand. Therefore
    I will be brief. Some eighty-odd million years ago Earth time (it
    actually dates at 78,395,042 but dates are a bit superfluous with
    this material) plans were drawn by a group outside the MEST
    universe for the eventual takeover of a good portion of this
    universe. Not a particularly large nor imaginative crew, their
    exterior perspective, however, gives them considerable advantage
    over the time-bound beings of the MEST universe. Borrowing from
    earlier operations such as Helatrobus, they conceived an ongoing
    implant, some portions of which have been fairly faithfully ren-
    dered in parts of the Bible. This implant, laid in by carefully
    controlled genetic mutation at Incident Two of OT III and period-
    ically reinforced by controlled historic events since then, makes
    it effectively impossible for beings on the more heavily affected
    planets such as Earth to become free. It causes progressive genetic
    "evolution" that gives the subject population greater and greater
    susceptibility to the telepathic impingement and direction of the
    controllers. In its final stage the progression becomes almost
    geometric, and it is this final stage that we are rapidly
    approaching.

    Another aspect of this GE-line implant is that the body becomes in
    effect a sort of theta trap that kicks in heavily on the being
    should he attempt to expand his horizons beyond that of pure
    physical universe reality. There can be temporary key-outs which
    we have all experienced in varying degrees, but until this area is
    handled it can honestly be said that there is no hope for continued
    expansion. The good news is that once this is run out, expansion
    becomes rather effortless and almost automatic.

    No doubt you are familiar with the Revelations section of the Bible
    where various events are predicted. Also mentioned is a brief period
    of time in which an archenemy of Christ, referred to as the Anti-
    christ, will reign and his opinions will have sway. All this makes
    for very fantastic, entertaining reading but there is truth in it.
    This Antichrist represents the forces of Lucifer (literally, the
    "light bearer" or "light bring"), Lucifer being a mythical repre-
    sentation of the forces of enlightenment, the Galactic Confederacy.
    My mission could be said to fulfill the Biblical promise represented
    by this brief Antichrist period. During this period there is a
    fleeting opportunity for the whole scenario to be effectively
    derailed, which would make it impossible for the mass Markabian
    landing (Second Coming) to take place. The Second Coming is
    designed, among other things, to trigger a rapid series of
    destructive events.

    With the exception of the original Buddhism, virtually all
    religions of any consequence on this planet, monotheistic and
    pantheistic alike, have been instruments to speed the progress of
    this "evolution of consciousness" and bring about the eventual
    enslavement of mankind. As you know, Siddhartha Gautama never
    claimed to be anything more than a man. Having caught on to this
    operation, he postulated his own return as Meteyya, part of which
    prophecy will have been fulfilled upon the passing of L. Ron
    Hubbard.

    For those of you whose Christian toes I may have stepped on, let
    me take the opportunity to disabuse you of some lovely myths. For
    instance, the historic Jesus was not nearly the sainted figure has
    been made out to be. In addition to being a lover of young boys
    and men, he was given to uncontrollable bursts of temper and hatred
    that belied the general message of love, understanding and other
    typical Marcab PR. You have only to look at the history his teach-
    ings inspired to see where it all inevitably leads. It is historic
    fact and yet man still clings to the ideal, so deep and insidious
    is the biologic implanting.

    It is a good joke that the Galactic Confederacy is associated with
    the Serpent in the Garden, the Beast and other emissaries of the
    "Prince of Darkness". Yet in certain passages and esoteric
    interpretations of the Bible (much of which has been taken out and
    effectively suppressed for centuries) as well as the Kabbalah, the
    truth reveals itself quite nicely for the clever and the ungullible.

    So it really is a race against time and one that we happen to be
    losing at the moment, as the Implant drama inexorably plays itself
    out in spite of the breakneck pace I've managed to keep up these
    last thirty-five years.

    I had an inkling, but only that, of the insidiousness of this
    material as far back as 1945. Later, in characteristic over
    optimism, I thought that R6 would be the end of it. But that was
    followed by NOTs and the Purification Rundown and still the string
    continued to unwind with the ball at the end of it just out of
    sight. It makes one wonder about such things as fate and destiny,
    such was the resolve with which I managed to cling to that string,
    not often knowing how close I was to falling into the abyss myself.
    But destiny is merely the rationalization of feeble minds. Things
    don't just happen, they are caused. And causative beings can undo
    the plans of madmen and would-be enslavers, no matter how long
    those plans may have been in the making.

    I will soon leave this world only to return and complete my mission
    with another identity. Although I long to stretch my arms back in
    repose on some distant star in some distant galaxy, it appears that,
    that is one dream that will have to wait. But my return depends on
    people like you doing these materials thoroughly and completely so
    that there will be a genetically uncontaminated body for me to pick
    up and resume where I left off. A body free of religious mania,
    right/wrong dichotomy and synthetic karma. The job ahead is far
    too tough to even contemplate doing with your standard -- courtesy
    of certain other-dimensional players and their Marcab pieces, many
    of whom are right here in the general populace -- genetically
    altered body.

    Without the biogeneric meddling of those who stand outside time
    (who cannot yet directly influence our world and must work through
    others) the dwindling spiral is not nearly as automatic and self-
    perpetuating as it appears. There are regions even in isolated
    parts of the Milky Way where poets are free to poet and magicians
    can paint reality with their magic wands and exteriorize without
    body kickback. But these areas unfortunately are fewer and fewer.
    I will return not as a religious leader but a political one. That
    happens to be the requisite beingness for the task at hand. I will
    not be known to most of you, my activities misunderstood by many,
    yet along with your constant effort in the theta band I will
    effectively postpone and then halt a series of events designed to
    make happy slaves of us all.

    So there you have it ... The secret that I have kept close to my
    chest all these years. Now you too are part of this secret and I
    no longer have to shoulder the burden alone or live with the
    possibility of body death before all the data could be released.
    And with this briefing I entrust to each of you the responsibility
    for this material until such time as I am able to return. For we
    have no help from any other quarter in this matter. The handful of
    secret societies throughout history that have caught on to this
    game have long since fallen by the wayside or been taken over and
    become instruments of the very menace they were set up to combat.

    The rundown is long and can be arduous, but it must be done
    thoroughly if there is to be any effect not only on the body of
    the pre-OT but the body of his or her progeny as well. There is
    some danger, but with OT VII thoroughly complete it is not nearly
    so great as the danger witnessed by assorted unfortunates who
    happened to stumble into this area in their sleep or in moments of
    reverie or snatch, experiencing an hitherto mysterious phenomenon
    known as "spontaneous combustion".

    CAUTION: DO NOT BE PTS WHILE TRAVERSING THIS THIRD AND FINAL WALL
    OF FIRE. But the area is well charted, the rundown many years
    in secret development, and by the time you read this undoubtedly
    completed on myself. The wins waiting you are like none that you
    have ever experienced, not just for you, but for your children,
    your children's children and the whole of mankind, if we succeed.
    And we will. If we had time we would pity the many poor souls,
    from 1950 to PT, who chose such an exactly inopportune moment to
    drop off the road to truth and disconnect from reality, the full
    burst and glory of OT practically within their grasp. But we
    haven't the time to "wax philosophic" or ponder might-have-beens.
    The rundown follows. Again I say, do it thoroughly add completely,
    for it is your ticket to the stars. And beyond!

    1980 by L. RON HUBBARD, FOUNDER


  • As I was reading some of the information mentioned in another /. post, I ended up moving to the pages listed at the following site which apparently won [primenet.com]in their fight against the Co$ and had their pages restored to the web.

    Kudos to the Xenubat web site author for fighting back.

  • by Xenu (21845) on Friday November 19, 1999 @06:13AM (#1519775)
    The basic tenent of their faith which they wont tell you untill you have paid at least $100k is that 7 million years ago intergallactic tyrant Xenu shipped billions of people to earth, tied them to the top of volcanos and nuked them.

    Sorry, but I was really in a bad mood back then.

  • We really don't have sufficient facts to judge what happened here. It is odd that a single letter would suffice to make an ISP pull out for reasons of a threat of trademark infringement:

    1) The DMCA, which addresses only third-party liability for Copyright claims, doesn't provide either the safe-harbour for pulling, or the defense against the customer's contract claim unless the letter also alleged copyright claims.

    2) The domain name "xemu.com" doesn't appear to be a trademark of RTI or related entities. How was the site using the words? Mere denominative use of a designation isn't trademark infringement, any more than our use of Microsoft in discussions about Microsoft would be infringement. If that is the alpha and omega of their claims, and the defendant can show this was merely an attempt to gag criticism, they are risking serious downsides if they lose -- in particular an award of attorney fees for an exceptional case.

    It is true that some xxxsucks sites went over the line. (See the jews-for-jesus.com case) But those were cases where the mark was clearly used in a non-denominative fashion.

    Accordingly, this just doesn't add up. I can't see the ISP risking a contract claim by just pulling the site (since unprotected by DMCA), and it would be odd for RTC to step out on this very feeble legal limb. (Their copyright claims in previous cases, however distasteful, had real, legal teeth -- these seem toothless in comparison).

    I'd like to know more facts.
  • A&E had a pretty informative documentary on $cientology a little bit ago, which is pretty amusing to watch because they did try to make it objective but there's just so little good anyone wants to say about the CoS. Their spokespeople really convinced me more than anything they're a bunch of asses with their neurotic defensive attitudes and half-assed arguments. One of the guys totalaly reminded me of Martin Short's SNL skit about the chain-smoking ultra-defensive nutty lawyer.

    Everyone is posting the problem is this or the problem is that, but no one's mentioned that there are millions upon millions of depressed, dejected, and hopeless people out there just dying to find something to cheer them up. Usually its in the form of the 'ultimate' truth that's always available from someone or another.

    Religions of concilation like Christianity are big for these kinds of people, think of the born-agains, but their religious zeal is nothing compared to the capitalist zeal of the CoS. What these people need isn't some religious BS, but mental healthcare. Historicaly overly religious people suffer from neurosis or some other ailment.
    They are very very easy pickings (note to potential messiahs.) Go to any major city and in 45 minutes you'll find about 100 people who are on the verge of losing it in some way. Chat for a bit, push your product and if they have any money you've just scored a point for old L.Ron. These people don't care how much anti-$cientology crap there is out there, they just want some answers and a couple of friends.

    Amerika, founded on the concept of 'lets put our nutty religions here'(which includes anti-science agendas, the media, and all sorts of protections for irrational cults) combined with a complete lack of health care will continously churn out Branch Davidians, Heaven's Gaters, and $cientologists.

    If this kind of thing really gets your goat, then do a couple of simple things that will probably go a long way.

    Actively boycott $cientologists, after all its your $7 movie ticket that funds most of this crap. When people ask you why you won't see the new Travolta or Cruise flick tell em, don't go nuts about it just tell them its your little way of helping the world.

    Give a shit about the people you know who are a bit screwed up, don't let them become suicide statistics, or worse $cientologists.

    It ain't much, but most of us don't have the resources to give legal help to their victims. You can also keep yourself busy with providing webspace and posting anti-CoS messages but they'll usually, not always, fall on the deaf ears of people who really really want to believe. It might make someone go towards a born-again group instead of the CoS but that's only a slight improvement.

    Could be worse, BGates could join...


  • ``Imaging starting a new Newspaper and calling it "The New York Times" the real New York Times would have a good reason to say no you can't do that.''

    Imagine you own a company called Infocom and you are known for selling a popular computer game called ``Zork''. Imagine that because of the popularity of your flagship product you decide to name your customer newsletter ``The New Zork Times''. Would you ever imagine that the New York Times' legal department would threaten you with legal action? Because it thought that people might mistake your newsletter for their newspaper? It happened. There is little in the way of logic passing through the minds of some lawyers.

    I guess that the following publications would also run into trouble:

    • ``The New Pork Times'' -- the monthly newsletter put out by the producers of the other beef.
    • ``The New Cork Times'' -- the journal of trends in wine stopper technology.
    • ``The New Bork Times'' -- former conservative judge comments on the major news events affecting you.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Actually, it's even screwier than that. A race of aliens known as the Thetans died on Earth billions of years ago. Their spirits have been haunting the planet ever since; it is their influence that causes all the bad things that humanity has done (Hitler, etc...).

    Part of Scientology is how to get rid of the Thetans influence in your life.

    Me, I blame Heinlein for the Scientologists. He and Hubbard had a bet over which one of them could start a major religion first. Guess who won?

    -- Posting as an AC for reasons of safety and paranoia

  • There is also a rumor (FWIW!) I've heard that L. Ron had decided to 'fess up to the con before he died ... but made the mistake of telling the wrong people that he was going to do so, and got ... um ... hurried along.
  • by taniwha (70410) on Friday November 19, 1999 @06:45AM (#1519795) Homepage Journal
    They can't read this slashdot page, or the main one at the moment ..... really .... when they try and access this page their TCP stack shuts down because their 'church' has had them install (mostly without their knowledge) software that blanks out certain words [like my nick 'taniwha' for example] or when they see words like 'xenu' shuts down a socket connection altogether

    This software, described in http://www.xenu.net/archive/events/c ensorship/ [xenu.net] (www.xenu.net is back on the air BTW), has been variously dubbed 'clamnanny' or 'scienositter'. It only works on Windows systems and is believed to be a purloined copy of CyberSitter (who's owners denied any knowledge of it). Co$ members had it slipped into their systems under the guise of a tool to help them create personalised web pages - as part of a larger attempt to create so many 'scientology' web sites that the critical sites like xenu.net would be drowned out in the search engines.

    I was one of the scientology critics that cracked the encryption on the work lists (with help from some of the other anti-censorware people) and produced the list of words and names [xenu.net] that are banned. Who knows maybe slashdot will be on the next list :-)

  • I remember anon.petet.fi pretty fondly. That was the first example I remember on the net of somebody doing something that had integrity on the net, he wouldn't give up his lists of users for anything for a long time until the CoS bullied him into it.
    I love seeing all these celebrities talking about how great Scientology has been for them and how they can't imagine why people don't like it, then there's something like this. The CoS is like the NRA for me, the leadership is full of such asses and extremist jerks that it gives the few members I know a bad name. I'm sure not all CoS members are as against free speech as the leadership but I never see them standing up against it. If your religion is so great, why does it need lawyers to defend itself against speech? Speech should be defend against by more speech, not by using dirty tricks to shut up the other person.
  • by llywrch (9023) on Friday November 19, 1999 @06:58AM (#1519800) Homepage Journal
    >> If they lose, they take it to a higher court.
    >
    >Actually, they do not. The entire cult of scientology could be destroyed by a single hostile ruling from a high court.

    Were that possible.

    Several high-ranking members of the CoS (including Hubbard's own wife) were arrested, tried & convicted of staging their own espionage against US government agencies in the late seventies. (The CoS has been investigated time & again by the FDA & the IRS.) It was an activity worthy of the KGB, & is why one spokesperson has stated that the CoS has an intelligence agency that is second only to the FBI.

    And if you ask a devoted Scientologist about this, if you get any sort of answer, he or she will mutter that they don't do that sort of thing anymore, you shouldn't hold them responsible for prior acts, & that all they did was misuse a few photocopiers.

    And what about the IRS? For about 20 years the IRS & the CoS were engaged in a life-or-death battle over the CoS' tax status, which was settled with much secrecy in 1992. Six years later, the Wall Street Journal finally uncovered the terms of this settlement which can be summarized in four words: the IRS caved in. I guess filing over 2000 suits aginst the IRS & every known employee will do that.

    Imagine organizing several thousand people to dig a hole from Kansas to China -- & actually having dug several miles into the ground, despite cave-ins, privation, exposure to open weather & being unable to solve the problem of where to put the soil & rock moved. That is the kind of fanaticism & stupidity that the CoS demonstrates on a daily basis -- & with similar results. Except a hole to China would have some value as a tourist attraction: only the most twisted would visit Clearwater, Florida to see what the CoS have done to that once sleepy town.

    I have had trouble writing this post because I find I keep writing things about the Cos that can be summarized by ``They are **weird**, man. They are so weird that you have to see what they do to believe it. And they get away with all of this weird stuff because no one believes they do it!" And I have seen what they have done, read the accounts, & it leaves me speechless.

    >I know the cult reads slashdot. You're going down.

    Eventually they will go down. This group grinds thru people at an appalling rate, & the pool of people they can recruit from is growing smaller. However, they will destroy countless families, lives, & companies before then.


    Geoff
  • --quotie
    On December 5, 1995, long time Scientologist Lisa McPherson, 36, was pronounced dead at New Port Richey Hospital, near Clearwater, Florida. McPherson's death followed two and a half weeks of forcible confinement in a room at Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida.
    --/quotie

    http://www.xenu.net/archive/events/lisa_mcpherso n/
  • If copyright infringement becomes a crime, then isn't the infringer considered a 'criminal' and thus entitled to free representation?

    IIRC you are not entitled to representation in civil disputes..

    Your Working Boy,
  • by Doctor Pepper (116456) on Friday November 19, 1999 @07:43AM (#1519825)
    Let's get this out of the way: I am a Scientologist.

    OK, the interesting thing here is that not a SINGLE ONE of these posts has had a kind thing to say about the Church. I understand that people have problems with the way the CoS has their equivalent of thithing set up. But has no one ever had a positive experience when it comes to the CoS?

    I'm a college student, and I have always considered myself a Scientologist. (My parents became involved with the Church before I was born.) And while I have not paid for any services in many years, I still find that there are basic Scientology principles that help me out on a daily basis. Things like the ARC triangle [scientology.org]. The definition of an engram [scientology.org]. The book Dianetics clearly spells out how the mind works in a practical way. And it makes sense! I can't hope to explain everything contained in the entire body of LRH's work in this post, but I can point you to the Church's website [scientology.org], and specifically the What is Scientology [scientology.org] portion of it.

    There are portions of LRH's writings that are not accessible to someone who walks in off the street. And, as people have pointed out, there is a fee required for those services. However, I have it on good authority (my parents', as well as many Scientologists I know who have taken these courses) that you do get a tremendous amount out of the training or auditing for the money that is invested. I myself have had many hours of auditing [scientology.org], all of which have been beneficial to me at a very personal level. It's difficult to explain how good it feels to examine experiences in one's life that are non-optimal to say the least and figure out exactly what's wrong with the situation and what needs to be done to handle it.

    I alluded to this earlier, but I didn't explicitly state it: there are plenty of books that you can get which will allow you to learn about and apply Scientology principles. There are even some (such as the Way to Happiness [lronhubbard.org] pamphlet) that are routinely handed out for free. Scientology is NOT "all about the dollar signs". At least I have not experienced it to be so.

    All this is completely off-topic with regards to the closing down of the website. I am personally of the belief that information posted on the Internet should not be censored in ANY way. I believe that the Church of Scientology has been and, in this case, continues to be guilty of free speech violations. In short, I have a problem with the Church's actions in this regard. This story should never have happened.

    This is not to say that I agree with anything posted on Xandu.com. The resposibilty of the reader is implied by the very libertarian stance I articulated above: people need to be responsible for the accuracy of anything they read online.

    My advice to you is this: check it out. Pick up a copy of Dianetics at a library and read it. There are many more books to read from there, including
    Science of Survival [lronhubbard.org], Scientology: A New Slant on Life [lronhubbard.org] and more than a hundred others. Read what LRH has to say. Then make a judgement call FOR YOURSELF.

    LRH has said that only what is true for you is true. While this logic may be cyclic, it makes sense: if something doesn't make sense to you, or if you don't believe it, you will operate under the assumption that it is not, in fact, true. Once you have emperical proof that it is true -- *then* it will become true for you. As with anything else, Scientology is this way. Scientology's underlying doctrines [scientology.org] (also see here [scientology.org]) make sense. Period.

    This post is not being placed here as flamebait, although I may be attacked by someone. I am merely trying to balance the extremely one-sided view of the Church that the readers of the comments would have received without this note.

    ---Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?---

  • Sorry I pushed your buttons, buddy.... I think you need to calm down just a little.

    Now, The Cult of $cientology is NOT a legitimate religion,...

    No duh, I didn't say that they weren't criminal. I was questioning if banning them was a good idea or not.

    My feeling is that it isn't. That banning religions or orgs. that call themselves a religion is a very, very, very bad idea. You are starting down a real slippery slope when one religion may be considered a "real" religion and others may not.

    How do you termine what a religion is? What's the difference between a religion and a philosophy?

    ...it does NOT do any good to anybody, it is an evil organization, a criminal organization that NEEDS be shut down.

    I vehemently disagree!
  • I sincerely hope they'll be banned, just as the mafia is banned, the NSDAP is banned, the KKK is banned, and the fundamentalist muslims are banned. There is no room for misuderstanding what the Co$ is doing with religion. It has NOTHING to do with religion and EVERYTHING to do with robbery and crime.
    I presume, given your other comments, that you were speaking of France. I was not, and I thought I made it clear that I was speaking about the US.
    As a counterexample, none of those groups are banned in the US. Except maybe the NSDAP, that name isn't ringing any bells for me, for all I know it could be banned. Even the mafia is not technically an outlawed organization: any group can call themselves 'mafia', and get away with it (why you might want to do that is another question). What is outlawed is _organized crime_. Use this group to commit crimes, and the law enforcement types slam down hard on you, and for good reason; this no matter what you call your group. So the solution would seem to me to be to stop their harrassment of others, make them abide strictly by the laws of whatever country you happen to be in regarding religions or corps, and ignore them.
  • by taniwha (70410) on Friday November 19, 1999 @08:39AM (#1519845) Homepage Journal
    Or rather my kids - they picketted my kids (7 and 5) as they arrived home from school - because I'd had the temerity to stand up pubicly and protest their actions.

    Before the whole scientology vs. the Net thing blew up in their faces co$ could force their critics (mostly ex-members) into silence by harrassing and sueing. But once they tried to rmgroup alt.religion.scientology and raided Dennis Erlich and took away his computer it roused the ire of a lot of net free-speech people (like me - I was never a member of co$) - there's safety in numbers, and semi-anononymity - you CAN speak out - and if you feel the heat's got a little too high just step back and let someone else take it for a while.

    But the most important thing is that whole "the internet routes around censorship like a fault" thing - the best thing to do when you are being censored is to tell as many people as you can about it - not just on line - but everywhere, friends, family, at work, neighbors, a bumper sticker on your car, etc

    I think that healthy democracies work the same way - secrets find a way out eventually - the net's just helping it happen faster!

  • We're getting two different things mixed up here, and Dr. P is encouraging it. Dianetic theory may be 99% bull, but it could help people through placebo affect like TIR (tir.org) seems to. As Doctor Pepper says, judge for yourself if you want to believe in engrams and space cooties.

    That isn't what this thread is about. It's about the 'Church' of Scientology's actions as an organization. They sue, harass and censor as an organization. No one will, in any country with any sort of freedom, deny anyone else the right to use principles such as these. The issue here is that the organization that promotes this material and offers the overpriced courses is evil.
  • From my reading of the law, one of the things the ISP has to do is TAKE DOWN the offending material. If they fail to do this they themselves are liable. In this way, the law has abridged their status as "common carriers." While additional clauses are there to limit their liability should someone, unbeknownst to them, violate copyright using their facilities, once they have been informed they are compelled to remove the objectionable material. In this way the DMCA has facilitated the abridgement of individual rights to free speach by codifying into law an avenue for wealthy entities to coerce providors to remove content without any due process.

    The problem is that the mere allegation of wrongdoing, even when completely unfounded (such as in the Co$ case), is enough to scare ISPs into removing the material and essentially silencing a voice of criticism. The new law lends new weight to this, by clarifying that ISPs do NOT enjoy common carrier status. This is unfortunate as, if I recall correctly, the courts had begun finding just the opposite.
  • So what exactly happened in this instance?

  • The Digital Millennium Copyright Act says that ISPs must shutdown websites that have been accused of copyright offenses. After shutdown, the owner of the site (xenu) has ten days to declare their intent to defend themselves in court. The owner of the copyrighted materials (CoS) then has ten days to pursue litigation. If the copyright owner (CoS) does not pursue litigation, then the ISP puts the site back up. If litigation is pursued, then the site stays down until the matter is resolved.

    If this is really the case, then its bass ackwards.

    This is an assumption of guilt beginning with the accusation. Bass Ackwards. I know this is not a criminal case, but still.

    This is very interesting. I never knew I had the power to shut down any web site hosted by an ISP. All I have to do is claim infringement and poof - its gone.

    If what is said above about the act is true, it reveals a fundamental struggle occuring which has nothing to do with Scientology fruitcakes. The business/capitalist/media empire is quaking in its boots over the prospect of the true ultimate possibility of the internet - free information at everybodies fingertips. Extremely low-barrier-to-entry publishing available to virtually anybody. A way for the angry consumer to spout off about the abuses of the greedy money machine and reach millions. A way for the common citizen to escape mass-media control of ideas and information. Instead of the television-like marketing bazaar under their total control they are determined to make it. Thats what is going on in this country.

    Excuse me while I puke.

    ======
    "Rex unto my cleeb, and thou shalt have everlasting blort." - Zorp 3:16

  • If you actually could
    stand up pubicly and protest their actions
    then you're a vastly stronger man than anyone I know...

    And I think that the quote actually is:

    "Bureaucracies interpret communication as damage and route around it" -- Jamie Zawinski
    :-)

    But seriously, it's encouraging to hear that if dissent is sufficiently widespread that this "safety in numbers" does protect from things getting too bad.

  • Also, that volcano is what the volcano on the cover of "Dianetics" is supposed to represent.
  • Anybody remember Zappa'a Joe's Garage?

    Go listen to it again. Worshipping appliances?

    No sillier than worshipping Wheatstone bridges (I remember doing an search on them during a workterm and wondering why all the $cientology links came up).

    Zappa was very vocal about $cientology and it was pretty much what Joe's Garage was all about. Music was banned and people like Elron (hehheh) got confused young people to join the "Church of Applientology."

    Plus the music rocks: "We would jam in Joe's Garage.. woooeeee..."
  • >Me, I blame Heinlein for the Scientologists. He and Hubbard had a bet over which one of them could start a major religion first. Guess who won?
    >
    You're being too harsh on Heinlein. I figure Heinlein thought they were making a joke, & besides he had better things to do with his time. Like write, visit with fans, & live his life.

    Hubbard seemed enamored with the idea of starting a religion. First thing he did after leaving the service was connecting up with a Black Magic group in Pasadena that was affiliated with Alester Croweley. Then he convinced a number of people (including John Campbell the editor & A.E. van Vogt the writer) to help him start Dianetics. (Campbell & Vogt later left Dianetics when Hubbard demonstrated his inability to tell the difference between his own wallet & the Dianetic Foundation funds, a handicap that contributed to the downfall of that organization.) Then, about 9 years after that, he finally incorporated the Church of Scientology (as well as three other self-described churches). Never mind that any time Hubbard writes about God, it sounds much like what an atheist who did all of his research playing D & D (or watching old ``In Search of..." reruns) would write.

    By that point, almost every science-fiction writer who had known Hubbard before the Second World War had disassociated himself from Hubbard. In a subculture that most Americans considered a little nutty (at best), he was considered a whole 'nother fruitcake.


    Geoff
  • I have followed some appearences of this organisation for several years. Funny but you know that Mr. Luzhkov, Moscow's Mayor may have some relation with these guys? At least, his well-known lawyer is known to be a scientologist...

    Anyway I hardly believe that Mr. Luzhkov will suddenly run over the street and start shooting people because someone "comanded" him. The problem is that what scientology pretends to attain can crash with a few logical blows.

    There is a problem with the human mind. Our brain seems to create patterns with some inconsistency. That means, many reasonings and behaviours are not "complete". If we take the care to analyse them we may note a lot of paradoxes and logical inconsistencies. However humans tend to overcome these "imperfections" by delivering their "solutions" to third persons. Usually this is covered by the social relations a human creates.

    There is nothing new on this. Our society exploits these situations since its creation. However destroying society is not a solution. No matter you make revolutions or build communism, these inconsistencies remain.

    In this century we met a inner nature of the human mind that was not known before. That by creating some sort of "short-circuit" in the logical building of the human brain, you may reprogram it for specific tasks. However this can be done only at lower levels of the human brain. Meanwhile he rational section still demands a straight logical structure for most of its toughts.

    This is the problem why Scientology is so acid on fighting its opposition. Hubbard is known to have participated in experiments with humans in some american institutes in the 50's. There were amazing findings. I saw some films of that time and they showed how an average american could be easily turned into a typical SS of of a nazi camp.

    These experiments were probably what turned Hubbard's mind to make the "perfect" ideology/religion. However he should have taken care to dig a little bit on Stalin's or Hitler's rule. You may create a temporary blackout in society. But it cannot last for long. In any case it breaks out for many reasons.

    The main problem is external information that may show the internal inconsistencies of the theory. In such case he idea may fly away quite soon. A turn around is to create an Iron Curtain. However it is shown in several societies that such element can break in 2-5 generations and create a complete social chaos. This happens if you hold up certain material values. However if you degrade the material basis of the society, then wait for a few centuries to overcome it. Somehow this is what happen with Europe in the Middle Ages.

    In any case the idea will degrade. There is a use problem with it. By being inconsistent with reality,in many aspects, Hubbard's religion will have to face either a chance to more real conditions or to break much like communism broke in USSR. This religion is doomed in one way or the other.

    The only thing positive I see on it is to have shown on how fragile can be human thinking. And how this thing can be so flagrant in the less privileged groups of our society.
  • Michael Keaton's birth name was Michael Douglas
    --
  • Well, I'm the one who said they were ``Black Magick", so blame me. Although Hubbard claimed to have broken up a ring of Satanists, & this is as close as he got to any such group.

    What he didn't say is that he fully assisted in the rite of Babalon Rising, & the manner he broke up the group was just as AC said: ``Ron made off with the lodge's treasury, the leader's boat, and the leader's wife."


    Geoff
  • I have an ancient anti-Scientology site at http://www.amazing.com/scientology/ . It's interesting to note that a couple of days ago, I got an email from publicrelations@scientology.org . The chap had a friendly enough written voice and basically asked if there was any way he could get me to change my mind about the group. I think that means he wanted me to remove my page. Since I haven't changed it in eons and haven't done anything to publicise it in ages, I had no idea why he bothered to contact me.

    Now I know - it looks like they are trying to start another aggressive phase, now that people like me have since gone to other causes. If they push this much further, I'm going to start reading the Scientology newsgroups again, and I don't think they want that.

    Incidentally, the reason I stopped maintaining my page was that it was taking about four hours a day to read everything on ARS, HTMLitize it, answer emails, etc. It was tremendously satisfying work while I was doing it, but it was interfering way too much with what I really wanted to do with my life. Eventually, I figured out that being part of the "anti-cult" was every bit as all-consuming as being a Scientologist - and I say that as someone who's still extremely sympathetic to their views.

    D

    ----
  • PLEASE learn some more about Co$ and how they operate. They go out of their way to harass anyone who criticizes them.

    With all due respect, as a denizen of the Tampa Bay arena, I have been following the matter closely for years. Disagreement with your point of view does not equate to innorance.

    RTC has taken some strong positions, to be sure, and has unrelentingly exploited the legal process to abuse those who has stepped in the way of its actual rights. However, you will note, they have also won a great number of these cases on the merits.

    I took substantial heat, indeed derision, for noting in alt.religion.scientology that the copyright case against Lerma was not only strong, but likely to prevail on summary judgment. Even after that was exactly what happened, there was still overwhelming denial of the merits of the case. Such is the difficulty of religious disputes.

    I agree they go out of their way to attack their critics, and I agree its unconcionable. This doesn't mean that everything a critic does, particularly beyond the bounds, is legal and justified, or that every lawsuit brought by the church is meritless, even if it was brought for the purpose of harassment as critics allege.

    Which brings me back to the points raised in my original posting.
  • Actually, what he says seems to track pretty well with what I have observed of COS adherents, both in media interviews and in person. Hell, one way that they get people in the door is by appealing for their need to feel intelligent (free IQ tests) or in control of their lives (Dianetics (TM) -- don't want to get sued now, do I?)

    Sometimes stereotypes exist because, overall, they are pretty accurate. Generalizing isn't always bad. Sometimes it gets called inductive reasoning.
  • Do you even know what an SP (Suppressive Person) is?

    Dude, by responding to me you are violating the rules of scientology. If you are on staff you could be RPF'd, if your not you could have to go to costly additional auditing to prove you are not a PTS (potential trouble source, I believe that's right anyway).

    Since you are already in so much shit, I would recomend going to Xemu.Net [xemu.net] the place this article is about or trancenet.org [trancenet.org] which has some material about the Co$.

    There is a lot more to the church of scientology than you think. And it ain't pretty at all.

    While I don't think that the Co$ is should be banned, they have routinely done illegal things. They have defrauded you and every scientologist.
    They are a pack of petty thieves and liars.

    I highly recomend that you take a look at Xemu.net, since they have documents showing some of the horrible things that religion has done.

    I seriously hope that you decide to leave as soon as possible.
    RobK
  • "Thou shalt not subject thy God to Market Forces" -- The Book of Om, Terry Pratchett, Small Gods.
    "This is Religion, not Comparison Shopping!" -- The Book of Om, Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

    dave

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

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