Presenting Rod Keller's
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review

Volume 3, Issue 3 - April 26 1998

  Grady Ward

Grady Ward filed for dismissal of his copyright violation case this week, as a sanction against Scientology for concealing the existence of a database of Internet postings.

"This week during the court-ordered deposition of Rhea Smith and the deposition of Jean Carnahan - both surprise witnesses of the plaintiff RTC - the plaintiff finally admitted the disclosure and discovery fraud that for the last two years it has been perpetrating on this defendant and the court. The plaintiff has willfully concealed a huge data compilation - allegedly containing hundreds of megabytes of text, more than 1,000 diskettes and 300,000 entries -- that composes a vast database of alleged Usenet and Internet documents underlying all issues in this litigation.

"The plaintiff has under penalty of perjury repeatedly made false statements to actively conceal evidence and witnesses around which this entire litigation revolves. Because of the prejudice and harm to the defendant in the plaintiff's concealing probable exculpatory evidence and the plaintiff's deprivation of the means for the defendant to make subsequent informed Rule 34 and deposition requests during discovery, the inherent power of the court to control its own calendar, the bad faith, willfulness and multiple false statements made by both the plaintiff and the counsel for plaintiff under penalty of perjury for the past two years of litigation, the defendant asks for the most extreme sanction, that of dismissal of the plaintiff's complaint with prejudice"



America Online is moving against "Honnicut", who has created a web site on AOL asking for reform of Scientology.

"I am a Scientologist seeking REFORM of the CoS. I most often post on AOL's Church Of Scientology board and recently also created a web site. Not long ago, I began including my URL on my AOL .sig. As you might imagine, this web site has caused a fair amount of enturbulation among the orthodox Scientologists on AOL. I was recently notified by another AOLer that my posts were being deleted from the Church Of Scientology board on AOL.

"(begin quote) 'I receive daily, a massive amount of complaints on your daily promotion of your web page. It is the intention of this forum to allow a safe space for fellowship without disruption to like minded folk of a certain religion. You have links to commercial sites. New Era and are for profit, selling books, tapes, etc. If you wish to promote sales of anything, this is the forum guideline. Secondly you are using this board to harvest screen names and start your own mailing list, for your own sect and you make it clear that you are doing so, but you are using this folder, a fellowship folder to do so. You have derogatory words stating such things as 'Most of Dianetics is bullshit' and yet Dianetics is a core belief of the Scientologists.'

"Nowhere do I write 'Most of Dianetics is bullshit.' NOWHERE. I do write, at one point, 'Learn to pick the worthwhile stuff out of the nonsense and you'll do fine.' That is a sentiment I stand by and, regardless of what you may think, it does not mean I'm not a Scientologist. I further disagree that Reform Scientology is somehow 'not' Scientology. I find your position most objectionable and certainly not in keeping with the atmosphere of religious tolerance which AOL claims to support. I will remove the URL from my .sig for the time being, not because I think you are right about any of this but because you asked me to. If you had asked me to do so in the first place instead of going on a canceling rampage much unpleasantness could have been avoided."

  Cult Awareness Network

Attorney Herb Rosedale recently provided an update on the status of the Cult Awareness Network. Notes from his talk at the Cult Information Services meeting:

"The Scott judgment against CAN was upheld. CAN is now out of bankruptcy, and maintains the same corporate existence. The downside to this is that the bankruptcy shield no longer exists, and new lawsuits are possible. Illinois has reversed the dismissal of the malicious prosecution suit against Scientology. They are also appealing the transfer of the CAN name in the 7th Circuit, the results of which could reverse the outcome of the bankruptcy."

Message-ID: 6homej$

  Sea Org

"ElleEtist" reports that Sea Org on the streets of Clearwater, Florida have been wearing a new style of uniform.

"Along with the new khaki slacks, which tend to accentuate the over-sized derrieres, they now sport a jaunty straw hat with black band to compliment the new pastel shirts and tasteless flower patterned scarves. Yes, folks, polyester is alive and well in Clearwater!"


  Junk Mail

A mailing from Flag Land Base recently urged distribution of Scientology materials to certain professions.

The latest from Flag commands that 3 of the 'RON The Humanitarian' publications be put into the hands of politicians, police, and educators to introduce them to LRH Tech. These propaganda pieces promote the Co$ front groups CRIMINON, NARCONON, APPLIED SCHOLASTICS, WORLD LITERACY CRUSADE, and THE WAY TO HAPPINESS FOUNDATION. An included flyer begins: 'In particular, LRH spoke of a means to replace intolerance with kindness, criminality with decency, degradation with dignity and honor.' Quoted is a letter of praise to Criminon from one JUDGE PATRICK B. MURPHY, Municipal Court, Citrus Judicial District, California. This judge is obviously unaware of $cientology's long criminal history."

Message-ID: 6hsaf1$

  Peter Reichelt

German TV producer Peter Reichelt posted details on his arrest by Scientologists outside Gold Base near Hemet, California.

"On March 9, 1998 the journalist Ina Brockmann and I rented at around 11 am a helicopter to seek for the highly secret Scientology children/adult prisoner camp called 'HAPPY VALLEY'. Near the entrance on the right side is a large watch-tower. The entrance gate looked very similar to the entrance gate of the NAZI concentration camp AUSCHWITZ. Dogs secured the place. Around the compound is a big fence. There is current traffic along the fence by motor cycles and jeeps, like the area in front of the former East German wall.

"We drove in the mountains by car to get to 'Happy Valley' on the road. Four cars followed us on our way to the prison camp. One mile before we reached the camp in the mountain desert, short after a curve, the public street was blocked by a yellow bulldozer, with a man in dark blue Scientology uniform sitting on. We tried to turn around to go back, but our way out was blocked by a white van and other cars. Several men, altogether around 8, left their cars walking and running to us and screaming 'put your cameras down, you are arrested'. It was Ken HODEN, who arrested us, the General Manager of 'Golden Era Productions'. They have been armed, one man had the whole time his hand on a gun. We knew, he would use it if we try to escape. I taped a lot with my Digital camera from inside our car and my cameraman from outside with his Betacam camera. The Sheriff and his deputy arrived with two cars to free us. After viewing the taped material the Sheriff arrested Ken Hoden and 3 other Scientologists for 'false imprisonment' charges.

"Right now we are right in the middle of the production stage of our 60 to 90 minutes TV documentation about 'Scientology under the leadership of David Miscavige' for German TV. We are interested in a co-production with an US Network like ABC, NBC or others for the US."

Message-ID: 01bd6afb$cfeb93e0$294c19c2@default


A summary of news articles from Germany this week, including news of a Scientologist requesting asylum in The Netherlands. From dpa:

"A German drove with his Porsche into the Netherlands and asked for asylum there. 'That is the first case of this sort which we have experienced,' said police speaker Joke Shaap on Thursday in Groningen. The 47 year old man based his request to the police in the village of Nieuw Scheemda on that fact that he says he is a Scientology member and is being persecuted in Germany. After a short deliberation, the authorities sent him to the central collection point for those seeking asylum in Zevenaar by Arnheim. The man preferred to travel there by train, and left his car keys with the guard.

"Later he lodged another complaint there and demanded his keys back. 'That was the last that we heard of him,' said the [police] speaker. According to a statement of the Ministry of Justice in the Hague, the man has no chance of being recognized as a political refugee."

From Stuttgarter Nachrichten:

"A 37 year old German man from Rhauderfehn in East Friesland has applied, in vain, for asylum in the Netherlands. As the Amsterdam daily newspaper, 'De Telegraaf' reported, the German drove his Porsche to the authorities in the province of Groningen. He stated that he had been discriminated against because he was a member of Scientology sekt. Because of this, he said, the German government had stopped his welfare benefits. The Dutch Justice Ministry turned down the application, since Germany is considered a safe country of origin, wrote the paper."

Several court cases were decided this week, the first one reported by "taz".

"The year-long legal proceedings against a criminal investigations commissioner, who was accused of passing on police data to the Scientology sect, has ended with an acquittal. The court granted the appeal of Volker K., and decided that a transgression of the privacy law could not be ascertained. Nevertheless, Interior Department officials are further investigating as to whether the police official, presently suspended from service, will receive disciplinary action for possible violation of duty, it was revealed yesterday.

"The chief commissioner had, in four cases, entered personal police data into a Scientology computer, using the sect's own software. Besides that K. had admitted to passing out Scientology surveys at recruitment meetings. In spite of the acquittal, the case is not yet legally over for K. The Interior attorney is still investigating as to whether the interrupted disciplinary process would be again taken up during the course of the proceedings, stated the speaker for the administration, Isabell Kalbitzer. It has still not been determined, for the police, whether the dealing with sensitive data on a Scientology computer would constitute a 'violation of duty.'"

From Agence France Presse:

"The CDU may exclude members of the Scientology organization. On Tuesday the State Superior Court of Cologne rejected the appeal of three of the Scientologists excluded from the CDU by the Bonn State Court, which had upheld the party exclusion. In the basis of the judgment the Cologne judge emphasized, among other things, that the CDU does not have to tolerate party members with convictions which contradict the fundamentals of the democracy in the inner party. The CDU welcomed the decision and announced that it would continue to exclude anyone 'who is involved in totalitarian organizations which have no regard for human rights.'"

From Reuters:

"A report by a German anti-extremist agency on Friday accused members of the U.S.-based Church of Scientology of snooping on their opponents in Germany to get information about them. 'The private lives of the people affected are being systematically explored,' said Helmut Rannacher, head of the Office for Protection of the Constitution in the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg."

TAZ-BERLIN: Freispruch für Scientology-Polizisten
Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.980419031004.226A-100000@darkstar.zippy
Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.980424064717.162A-100000@darkstar.zippy
Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.980424100120.305A-100000@darkstar.zippy
Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.980425064314.203C-100000@darkstar.zippy

  Keith Henson

"Ex Mudder" posted a description of Keith Henson's hearing this week to determine if his case should be consolidated with Grady Ward's copyright violation case.

"There will be no consolidation. All 3 parties were opposed. Henson is scheduled for May 5-7, Ward for the month of June. Henson was going to start of the 4th, but Rosen had another commitment. Ward was going to be right after Henson (May 11), but McShane is going to be in Sweden for that time so it was postponed. Whyte wants written Voir Dire questions for the Jury, to avoid the 'strong emotions.' Whyte volunteered Fogel, a recently appointed Federal Judge, to run a settlement conference for Ward and RTC. Wonder if he'll have any better luck than the last time. There was an odd part about the 'last settlement conference' where Infante seemed to be 'infuriated' according to Whyte. Several comments along the lines of 'I can't breach confidentiality, but' - something about an (allegedly) non-monetary condition on the settlement that McShane had to call in to the board to check with."

Keith Henson posted this addition:

"Judge Whyte wanted us to see if we could cut a deal. Without going into details, what I was offered was much worse than the worst they could get in a trial, so it was not much of an offer. The court's seldom indenture you for life."


  Tom Cruise

Arnie Lerma reported that an anonymous correspondent posted materials critical of Scientology in the area where Scientology celebrities were holding a private party.

"A spiritwalker left Arnie Lerma info packs provided all over every public bulletin board, phone booth and every other public gathering place. Church of Scientology's Sea Organization ship the 'Defiance' lay quietly in Friday Harbor, Washington State, recovering from their tireless job of protecting Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman from Arnie Lerma's Citizen Against Corruption Info Packs. Apparently called the local radio station and requested the song 'Money' be dedicated to L. Ron Hubbard. Unfortunately, the station did not have that song, but in reverence to our dearly departed, they dedicated 'Wish You Were Here'. This apparently did not sit well, as they appeared in force at the radio station within minutes after the song played to banging on the doors and trying to get at the Disk Jockey."

Message-ID: 6hh3it$

  Cult Information Service

Bob Minton posted the text of his address to the Cult Information Service this week.

"I am involved in a controversy with the Church of Scientology over the most fundamental right in a democracy--the freedom to speak. Scientology hypocritically cries that theirs is a persecuted religion attacked by bigoted and intolerant critics. Further, Scientology's mantra, repeated ad-nauseum throughout their paranoid and delusional history, continues to be that those individuals and governments who dare criticize their anti-social goals, tactics and civil rights abuses of their own members are engaged in some grand conspiracy to destroy Scientology. Nothing could be further from the truth.

"I am just one of many persons working actively to force much needed reform on Scientology. These reforms must acknowledge that all of us, Scientologists especially, have an inalienable right to criticize, oppose or scrutinize practices and tactics used by their organization which we view as contrary to the respect and dignity required towards our fellow man. Without these most basic rights, there certainly cannot be religious freedom, or in fact any freedom, in our democracy.

"This is an organization that literally cowers at the truth. Scientology claims to be able to create supernatural powers and enable people to confront any situation except one --- the truth about their organization. Perhaps Jesus has an explanation for this anomaly that can be found in (John 3:20-21) when he warned: 'For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved [exposed and rebuked]. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.'

"Standing up to the Church of Scientology has been an incredibly enlightening and enriching personal experience -- a test of my character at every step of the way. I've gotten to know many former scientologists, and clearly they are some of the nicest people I've ever known. While in scientology, these very same people were taught to lie and betray and acquiesce to having their own rights taken away from them. This proves to me that even an organization as totalitarian as scientology cannot strip away innate human goodness, and gives me hope that we will get to know many more former scientologists as our actions continue in the coming weeks and months."



Can Narconon cure addictions to gambling? The Santa Cruz Guide lists them that way.

"Narconon of Northern California
8699 Empire Grade
Santa Cruz, CA 95060-9426

"Specialty Outpatient Facilities
Gambling Addiction Treatment Centers"

Santa Cruz Guide: Narconon of Northern California
Narconon of Northern California

  Tom Padgett

Tom Padgett was arrested this week on charges of non-payment of child support. Tom is working to see his children, taken to Kentucky by his ex-wife, a Scientologist.

"Tom was picked up by the state police last evening. Police had judge reduce Bail from $25,000 to $250."

The warrant reads:

"TO ALL PEACE OFFICERS IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY You are hereby Commanded to arrest the Above-named defendant and bring him forthwith before the Circuit Court of HOPKINS county, Kentucky, to answer an indictment charging him with the offenses(s) of: KRS 530050 FLAGRANT NON SUPPORT. If the court is tot in session, you will deliver him to the Jailer of HOPKINS County, March 17 1998." Use of Children in "FAIR GAME" of Enemies of Scientology
Message-ID: 6hauso$

  Picket Summary

Pickets were held in Arizona, San Jose, San Francisco, Toronto, and Minneapolis this week. From Bruce Pettycrew in Arizona:

"Kathy and I picketed from about 11:30 to 12:30 today. There were 8 cars in the lot to start, 6 when we left. I handed out pamphlets that were left over from the LA pickets. 'The Church of $cientology's Alien $pace $cam - Dead Aliens in our Bodies?' After I handed out three to pedestrians, an emissary came out from the org and requested one. I made sure that he was at least an OT3, since I do not want to give pneumonia to someone."

From Gregg Hagglund in Toronto:

"Today we were at total cause again over the dwindling Toronto Org. Despite Co$ attempts to either manipulate the situation or provoke an incident on camera they failed miserably to stop a highly successful and peacefully conducted information demonstration. We ran out of flyers, hawking most of them under my constant cry of: 'Criminal Conviction of Scientology in Canada! Banned In Greece! Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Galactic Overlord Hidden by Scientology!' etc.

"I admit there were some communication problems with the local Police. Problems exacerbated by Co$ misinformation and mischief. Once the misinformation and mischievous conduct was understood by the local on site Constabulary the Co$ lost all sympathy from them and alienated them. Our communications problem was dealt with, on-site, in short order and never really disrupted the Picket to any extent.

"The auditing table was brought out again, it's first appearance since last summer, but there was a marked difference. Last year it had a Mark VII Quantum, today it had a Mark V, last year it was occupied for a large percentage of the time, today there was about 4 or 5 groups of people trying it, at least one group was actually Co$ staff or people already on courses, and at least 2 of the others were people who were not going to go inside in a million years.

"Today the Co$ instructions seem to be 'get in their way'. I was trying to hand out leaflets to people, and one female Co$ person would step between me and the person who was reaching out for the leaflet. However this procedure backfired. I was talking to one person who was very reasonable, we were agreeing that everyone should make up their own mind, when he turned to walk away, the Co$ were getting in his way, refusing to move, and he ended up going away very angry."

From Keith Henson in San Jose:

"39 cars, maybe 20 min of picketing, about 2:30. Found out where one of the body routers hangs out, over on First Ave, trolling for kids getting on the light rail."

From "taniwha" in San Francisco:

"Three of us - Peaches, Jour and myself picketed the SF org again this lunch time for about 1 1/2 hours. They had the 'stress test' table out again - and 2 body routers handing out 'orientation' invites - I guess business is getting slow when we're there This time around there were lots of people taking 'stress tests' - but it was pretty obvious that most were shills, people would come out of the org, wander around for a bit then sit down to take a 'test' as if they were off of the street.

From "Xenubat" in Minneapolis:

"My sign said 'Scientology: Space Alien Scam' on one side, and 'Does the Bridge really cost $360,000?' Rev.'s sign said 'Did 100% Standard Tech kill Lisa McPherson?' on one side and '$cientology hates freedom of speech' on the other. Rev. had Xeroxed a bunch of copies of the Xemu flyer. I had the Xemu flyer, the Lisa flyer, the Scam flyer and a Minneapolis version of the Poole flyer.

"About 1 minute after we started walking up and down Nicollet Mall with our signs, a man and a lady Scieno come up to us and start asking us questions. The lady Scieno had a clipboard with her and was writing down all of our answers. They wanted to know where we got our information about Scn, and do we believe everything we read on the Internet. They wanted to know why we were opposed to Scn. Rev. told about how he got pulled in after hearing about the spam attacks and the rm-group attempt on ARS and their attacks on freedom of speech.

"Two people walking by across the street even started applauding when they saw my 'Space Alien Scam' sign! There were a number of other people who would make comments like, 'Yeah, it's a scam, all right!' or 'I agree!' One guy on his bike stopped and told about he'd read the 'Time' magazine article and was saying, 'Yeah, it sure is a scam! They're really a nasty group!' One guy told us about a friend of his who almost got sucked into the cult; he'd taken the personality test and seen one of their orientation films, and they did such a number on him with their sales pitch afterward that he was ready to whip out his checkbook and sign up for one of their courses, but fortunately he didn't."

Message-ID: 6hbeeo$

  Clearwater Summit

The St. Petersburg Times reported that the Clearwater City Manager, Mike Roberto has had recent meetings with David Miscavige.

"[They had] A four-hour meeting Monday in which the two men discussed the church's downtown expansion plans and the recent flare-ups that led to tensions between the city and Scientology. Monday's meeting took place at Scientology's Clearwater Building, 500 Cleveland St. The previous meeting took place the first week of April at the Fort Harrison Hotel, the church's landmark retreat.

"According to Roberto, he and Miscavige discussed: The church's planned 300,000-square-foot office and counseling building, which would be one of the larger office buildings in Pinellas County. Some of the history of Scientology in Clearwater - from the church's controversial arrival in 1975 to the hostility that flared up in December when church officials demanded an investigation into the city Police Department, threatened legal action and orchestrated a protest march around police headquarters by an estimated 3,000 Scientologists. Details about Scientology's teachings and organizational structure.

"Roberto, who became city manager in June, said he knew little about the church. He said the meeting was an occasion 'to get to know them more.' He added: 'I think it was important for them to explain and articulate what some of their concerns were. . . . There has to be a resolution somewhere and it has to come from both sides.' Roberto said he told Miscavige it was 'completely unacceptable' for Scientologists 'to be out there protesting against the city of Clearwater' in December.

"As for the church's demands for an investigation into the Police Department, Roberto said he told Miscavige: 'Until someone produces some piece of information ... of us doing something illegal, I have nothing to go on.' He said Miscavige made the point that no Scientologist had ever been arrested in Clearwater despite two decades of investigative effort by the police. According to Roberto, Miscavige did not discuss the case of Lisa McPherson, the 36-year-old Scientologist who died in 1995 after spending 17 days at the Fort Harrison. He said he learned in the meeting with Miscavige that the Fort Harrison Hotel, after years of being partly tax-exempt because of the church's non-profit status, will be 100 percent taxable after the new building opens. That's because offices in the hotel now used for church counseling will be moved to the new building."

Message-ID: 353F4DFB.685B@where.when


Despite concerns that he might be linked to Scientology, Sergey Kiriyenko was confirmed as Prime Minister of Russia this week. From Interfax:

"The State Duma's Committee on Security and Committee on Public Associations and Religious Organizations have not established whether there were direct contacts between acting Prime Minister Sergey Kiriyenko and the sect of scientologists. The chairmen of the two Duma committees, Viktor Ilyukhin and Viktor Zorkaltsev, have told parliament deputies about the results of a probe on the media report about Kiriyenko's contacts with Hubbard College and the Church of Scientology.

"They said in a written report circulated in the Duma on Wednesday [22nd April] that when Kiriyenko was the head of the Garantiya bank in Nizhniy Novgorod, two contracts were concluded with the Nizhniy Novgorod branch of Hubbard College on training for bank personnel in 1995 and 1996. The costs of the training included the cost of textbooks and tests, the two Duma deputies said. 'It was impossible because of the limited time we had to establish whether Kiriyenko himself was trained [by Hubbard College] or whether he maintained any contacts with this sect,' Ilyukhin and Zorkaltsev said."

Message-ID: 353FBC27.7ED2@where.when


Tilman Hausherr provided a summary of the SAT1 television program on Scientology.

"Joerg Schoenbohm, former army general, now interior senator and Berlin's tough guy in the city government; Sabine Weber, OSA; Tanya Neujahr, the Saint Hill escapee child; Liane von Billerbeck, journalist / book author; Gabriele Yonan, cult apologist and UnaBomber penpal.

"Sabine Weber started the show the 'ethical' way: with a lie, and was caught within seconds by Liane von Billerbeck. She misrepresented a recent court decision, and was corrected immediately. Critics later mentioned the declarations of Aznaran, Andre and Mary Taboyoyan. Liane mentioned the forced abortions. Sabine's answer was that this couldn't be, because scientology is tax exempt. Liane then mentioned Lisa McPherson - and Sabine Weber was suddenly speechless. There was clearly a pause.

"Yonan then had her turn. Yes, all scholars agree that scientology is a religion. Liane von Billerbeck then pointed out that Yonan is actually not independent at all from scientology, but that she is a lobbyist for them. Yonan went uncool, asked for help, asked the moderator to stop Billerbeck. Liane pointed out that Yonan had appeared on a scientology conference as 'professor of the FU Berlin', which she is not. Yonan said 'not my problem'.

"Tanya mentioned that she had herself committed crimes while in the sea org, that she had helped to lock up people. She talked about children who get in school one day a week. She said that Sabine Weber doesn't know about it, because she isn't able to get into the sea org, isn't qualified, never will, is stuck, etc. (That really made Sabine mad!) Tanya also 'wondered' why people had told similar stories, even before she was born.

"Weber whined about persecution. She was so enturbulated that she was suddenly unable to name a single name of a German (not even names mentioned in 'Freedom'!). Schoenbohm mentioned that they can't get rid of teachers who are scientologists, even if the patents sue - this proves that Germany is a state of law, where you don't lose your job just because you are a scientologist.

Real Audio file #1
Real Audio file #2
Message-ID: 353c83f1.9626444@

  Robin Scott

Tilman Hausherr received a letter from Robin Scott, a former Scientologist now in jail in the U.K. on charges of growing marijuana.

"He says that the case of the prosecution is very weak and may collapse, and that public opinion is moving in favour of Cannabis legislation. He considers his prison time a 'rewarding experience', and he practices yoga to keep in shape, and he is down to ideal weight. The media name him 'The Cannabis Guru', a status he is proud of."


  Web Spam

The Orange County Weekly carried an article this week on Scientology's efforts to flood the web with the personal pages of Scientologists.

"The Los Angeles New Times reported that at L. Ron Hubbard's March 13 birthday bash at the Universal Amphitheatre in LA, Scientology officials announced their latest online operation: a plan to blanket the Internet with 116,000 personal Web sites, each designed with a template provided by the church. Posters on a.r.s. have found about 50 of the sites so far, all stamped from a very strict mold. A typical site features a picture of the Scientologist, a brief biography, a Success Story, a quotation from Hubbard, and links to official Scientology sites. All of the sites I've looked at contain essentially identical information, right down to the banners urging visitors to 'support religious tolerance.'

"According to the New Times article, church officials hope that by producing thousands of pro-Scientology Web pages, they can jam search engines so that anyone searching for 'scientology' will never find the critics' pages buried in the flood of virtually identical Scientology sites. Scientology spokeswoman Linda Peters would neither confirm nor deny that the information in the New Times article was correct, although she said the 116,000 sites is a purely theoretical figure.

"'There is plenty of room for everyone on the Internet, which grows by many millions every year,' Peters said in a written statement. 'Those saying now that Scientologists should not go on or that they would clog or slow down the Internet are trying to restrict and censor the Net. If they practice what they preach regarding free speech, there will be no problem with many Scientologists, Christians, Catholics or Jewish people going online.'

"Whether you view the tactic as techno censorship or an exercise in free speech, most people I talked to seemed convinced it simply won't work. 'One of the nice things about the Web is that it's very hard to drown out information,' said Jonathan Wallace, an attorney and Internet free-speech expert who has written about Scientology's activities online. 'Even if a search result of hundreds of thousands of sites makes it harder to find opposing opinions, people will still find them. I'm not concerned about it.' Henson agreed. 'What [the church of Scientology] is trying to do is saturate the search engines, but once the search-engine people understand [the sites are] a bunch of duplicates, they will modify the engines to only throw up one,' he said. 'The Net adjusts.' 'They will not survive this brush with the Net,' Henson predicted. 'Scientology is going to be the first religion laughed out of existence.'"

The Pilot posted some of the procedures that take place when the web sites are set-up.

"They have a computer set up (I wouldn't say which org I was asking at) where you can enter your data for customizing your webpage and then THEY SEND IT UPLINES FOR ISSUE AUTHORITY. I'm sorry I didn't find out more. When I heard this I wanted to start rolling around on the floor with laughter.

"This program is officially known as 'Scientologist On Line'. And it is appropriate that it is 'Scientologist' instead of 'Scientologists' online because it is one single imaginary Scientology cloned endlessly rather than a group of individuals. And its interesting to note that most of the cloned sites don't even have e-mail addresses. And some of the FSM PR that has been mailed about this talks about how the FSM will be able to enlighten new people via e-mail, but apparently they are already backing off from that."

OC WEEKLY: Can Scientologists censor the Web?

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A.r.s. Week in Review is put together by Rod Keller © This collection is organised for WWW by Andreas Heldal-Lund. Only edits done by me is replacing word encapsuled in * or _ with bold and underscore, and made links into HTML.

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