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      Operation Foot Bullet, a joke at Scientology's expense; the Scientologists who's job it is to "contribute" to ARS (through Google Groups) often seem to be doing so poorly, it's as if they're shooting themselves in the foot. Humourously named after the seriously criminal Operation Freakout and Operation Snow White. There's been some call to update this to Operation Foot Bazooka, given the incredible stunts the cult has pulled recently like suing the German government. The origination of the phrase is probably this posting to ARS (thanks to Martin Hunt).

      OSA, Office of Special Affairs - the "dirty work" department, the cult's KGB - took over from the GO, Guardian's Office, when the GO's leaders went to jail for infiltrating government offices, stealing and altering official files that put the cult in a bad light. (from ARS Acronym/Terminology FAQ)

CASE ID: BBC Panorama / PLACE: UK / DATE: May 2007
BBC Panorama investigates Scientology As an example of a Scientology footbullet, their attempt at discrediting the BBC's reporter John Sweeney has backfired big time. When they tried to derail the Panorama expose "Scientology and Me" by putting a clip of Sweeney shouting on YouTube, the BBC put their own clip up in defense. That clip is now one of the most viewed and discussed clips on YouTube.

Read all the details and the video on XenuTV.

CASE ID: Google incident / PLACE: America / DATE: 8.3.2002
The Cult of Scientology had tried threatening the author, the ISP's, the upline providers, but they just didn't manage to close down the critical site Operation Clambake.

In March 2002 they filed a DMCA complaint against alleging several incidents of copyright and trademark violations on the critical site. Google wrongfully removed all the pages in the complaint from their search engine, without informing the site owner. Other critics found out and pressure was building against Google. Many wrote letters and the media attention was unprecedented in the history of Operation Clambake.

The site was feeding over 520Kb each second, almost crumbling the webserver. Hundred of thousand of new people learned about the Cult of Scientology the following weeks.

Google did the smart move of making available the DMCA complaint from the cult, including all the links in the complaint of course. Before the cult fired Operation Clambake was the only critical sites among the first 10 hits when you searched for "scientology", but after all the hubbub Operation Clambake had moved from forth to second place and 3 other critical sites was also among the 10 first.

Same old story: Thanks to the cult lawyers more people than ever know about the dangers of this cult. The rest is history.

CASE ID: Talk America Radio / PLACE: USA / DATE: April 8 1998
11 Pm Eastern time Wednesday night Arnie Lerma had the pleasure to do 2 hours on The Talk America Radio Network with Roger Fredinburg.

Well, he apparantly was pestered so much by OSA Portland office that he ran the show again, on in Sunday night where he airs right after Art Bell...

Thank You! OSA! Well done!

CASE ID: Zenon / PLACE: Sweden / DATE: Aug 1996
Zenon      Zenon Panoussis posted the "secret" NOTs to the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology on August 20th 1996. One can only suspect that the Cult of Scientology (CoS) erroneous assumed that American law applies in Sweden, like Europe just was some kind of banana republic probably belonging to them. Hey, they were the first ones on the moon, some fly droppings on the map up in the north would be no match for Helana K. Kobrin and her OT powers!

     Standard prosedure; raid, sue and destroy! The plan was good, Hubbard would have been proud of his flock of sheep. On September 4, representatives of Scientology entered Zenon's apartment and seized his hard drives and disks. A lawsuit was filed against him, claiming about $8,000 (US) in damages. Zenon was not home at the time of the raid. Apparently, Scientology considered this case to be so important that they flew Warren McShane all the way from the United States to be present at this raid.

Parliament      To everyone's surprise, it turned out that Zenon is in fact very proficient with the legal system in his country. Zenon filed 224 pages of OT and NOTs in court and CoS immediately demanded that the court case be placed under "secrecy" -- but that motion was turned down by the court. First bullet; both OT and NOTs are public available documents in Sweden, anybody in the world can order them from the Swedish Parliament (picture). Only cost is postage. Even more incredible is that it most probably will stay publicly available there for ever.

     Later CoS tried to block access to the reading room in the Parliament where the documents were available for public display, NOTs were stolen from the Parliament, CoS tried to lobby the Parliament to change the Swedish constitution, they staked out Zenon's apartment, made strange phonecalls to his friends and family -- but all efforts only resulted in CoS becoming the laughing stock of the Swedish media.

     When the story about Zenon reached Norway it resulted in this project, Operation Clambake. Making OT, NOTs and other "secret" scriptures of Scientology publicly available on the net for over 6 months (and counting). A good source for more information on Zenon's case is Modemac

CASE ID: Money-laundering / PLACE: Germany / DATE: 1996
OVG Münster, Az: 5 B 993/95, decided 31.5.1996

Scientology had sued the federal labor minister, trying to forbid him to make six statements, among them calling scientology a "criminal money-laundering organisation". They already lost the case on 5 of 6 statements of the minister, partly by having them confirmed in scientology documents. But the minister's position about the "money-laundering" allegation was not so good, as money-laundering is a crime exactly defined, and in the newspaper interview on which the lawsuit was based on, the minister had used the term without more explanation.

Scientology's foot-bullet helped him: scientology had filed another as evidence another newspaper interview with the minister, in which he clarified what he meant with "money-laundering": that scientology profits from the crimes of its members and invests this money.

On January 11, 1995, a cancel message with unprecedented consequences was sent from Netcom: Helena Kobrin (one of the top Scientology lawyers) posted a rmgroup message for alt.religion.scientology. A rmgroup message is a message that results in removing the whole newsgroup. In the message she explained her motives for doing so:
"We request that you remove the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup from your site. The reasons for requesting its removal are: (1) It was started with a forged message; (2) not discussed on alt.config; it has the name 'scientology' in its title which is a trademark and is misleading, as a.r.s. is mainly used for flamers to attack the Scientology religion; it has been and continues to be heavily abused with copyright and trade secret violations and serves no purpose other than condoning these illegal practices."
Several system-operators saw the message and beat the alarm. A number of them immediately sent a newgroup message to restore the group, and venomously commented Kobrin's attempt to remove the newsgroup:
"Sorry, kids; please carry out your harassment campaign against the a.r.s newsgroup by other means. Cancellation is bad enough; rmgrouping out of spite is Not A Good Idea, thanks. And while you're there, hkk, tell us please who the person at Netcom that's cancelling other people's messages in a.r.s is, why don't ya? (...) One doesn't rmgroup active thriving groups simply because they were "not discussed on alt.config", especially not several years after they were newgrouped. You've got the wrong alt.* hierarchy here, methinks. (...) So what's your point? Are you maintaining that nobody can use a trademarked word? Are you maintaining that nobody can attack the Scientology religion? (...) "Trade secret violations"? For a religion? I think you have the wrong United States of America here..."
The newsgroup, to which by then more than 27,000 articles had been posted, was thus rescued. Kobrin's action had a twofold effect: alt.religion.scientology suddenly drew a lot of attention on the Net, because all sorts of defenders of freedom of speech investigated what was going on, and Scientology had officially acquired itself a very dirty name on Internet. [from Karin Spaink Summary proceedings, The Hague, 14 december 1995]

CASE ID: The Emmons Files / PLACE: Clearwater, FL / DATE: January 23 1994
After the St. Petersburg Times broke the story about a massive Clearwater Police Department file on the investigation into $cientology, the cult immediately flew its top figures and attorneys to Clearwater to "handle" the situation. They demanded that the files be sealed and/or destroyed in the interests of privacy rights, and ended up in court and in arbitration with the city of Clearwater to determine the fate of the records. Nearly five years later, the two sides were hammering out a settlement agreement when netizens noticed news of the fight in the SP Times, and promptly began filing public records requests for the more interesting documents. Today, several scathing investigative summaries are available online, with more documents poised to enter cyberspace. Information that $cientology had hoped to seal from the citizens of Clearwater is now freely available to all the citizens of Teegeeack.

CASE ID: Labor court / PLACE: Germany / DATE: Aug 1993
A scientology ex staff member had sued scientology in labor court to get paid. The district labor court declined juristiction on 12.8.1993 and submitted the matter to the ordinary state court. The plaintiff immediately filed a complaint and the state labor court admitted jurisdiction. The pre-trial dispute at that point was whether scientology is an employer or a religious community.

The litigation had not yet been mentioned in the media: scientology had no negative PR from it.

Instead of silently handling the matter, scientology filed complaint in federal labor court to get the matter back to ordinary courts. The defendant opposed this, IMO for the reason that labor courts are known to make mostly decisions favorable to employees. This meant that the court, for the first time in Germany, had to decide on the federal level whether scientology is a religion or not.

On 22.5.1995 the federal labor court made the now legendary decision that made headlines not only in Germany, but also in the US: scientology is not a religion.

CASE ID: Booklist / PLACE: Germany / DATE: Dec 1991
OVG Hamburg, Az: OVG Bf VI 12/91

In the long running litigation against the Hamburg city, scientology had alleged that only 10 book titles were sold to non-members. On 16.3.1993 the scientology vice-president had to correct himself after the judge told him that he had himself made a secret visit at the org, and had been presented a leaflet with a long list of books.

CASE ID: Time Mag / PLACE: The Press / DATE: 6.5.1991
On 6.5.1991, a long article appeared in TIME magazine. One less important segment, only 1% of this article dealt with the criminal activities of one Steve Fishman, who accused scientology for it. The article made clear that scientology denied any involvement.

Scientology sued Fishman and his psychiatrist. As a result of the lawsuit, the following was made possible:

  • They had to dismiss their own lawsuit against themselves
  • OT levels permanently on the internet
  • Hundreds of articles negative on scientology
  • A lost lawsuit in The Netherlands
  • A lost lawsuit in the US against the WP
  • A lawsuit won in the US but at a cost of over a million
  • A lawsuit lost against TIME, another one settled for almost nothing, at a cost for several millions for scientology
  • A lost lawsuit in Sweden
  • Practices like forced abortions exposed all over the world, on the internet, in a book, on television
  • Spending millions against FACTNet and Dennis Erlich, without any success so far
  • David Miscavige scared like a chicken
  • Helena Kobrin ridiculed daily, and involontary "hero" of XXX stories
  • and more I forgot

If they had simply ignored Fishman, all this wouldn't have been possible. Thanks!

CASE ID: Flynn / PLACE: USA / DATE: 15.4.1985
CSC vs. Flynn

Judge Manuel Real threw out a $2 million libel suit against Boston attorney Michael Flynn because Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard didn't turn up for a March 20 deposition. His lawyers said he didn't appear because he's in seclusion, and they don't know how to contact him. But Real turned up in court brandishing a Scientology ad in the Los Angeles Times that stated, "You can always write to L. Ron Hubbard." The judge thought that showed Hubbard could be reached after all.

It wasn't the only "experience" with him that scientology got. Exactly one month later, Judge Real threw one a scientology lawyer (Donald C. Randolph) in jail, and ejected another (Earle Cooley), in the case CSC vs Laurel Sullivan. He also arranged that all scientology lawsuits be assigned only to his court, which scientology didn't like at all.

CASE ID: Munich incident / PLACE: Germany / DATE: 21.7.1984
Az: 115 Js 4298/84

On 21.7.1984 scientology filed a criminal complaints against Friedrich-Wilhelm Haack, Klaus-Dieter Karbe, John Clark, Ingo Heinemann, Ralf Mucha and Karl-Hermann Schneider. In the complaint, scientology claimed that these people were trying to destroy the scientology religion, were spreading lies, were libelling scientology, etc, etc.

As usual, the state attorney also investigated if it could be that the accused were innocent. It also used some documents collected in a raid in Munich. On 24.4.1986 the charges against all critics were dismissed. The document of dismissal by the Munich state attorney is 90 pages long, and contained the first "official" critical description of scientology by a german state authority.


Thanks to the contributors:

Dave Bird---St Hippo of Augustine strikes again with one of his amazing ASCII drawings:

             LRon Hubbub public relations teknology
             (1)              (2)               (3)
                 .-~~-.            .-~~-.             .-~~-.   ;
                <  ..@  .-        <  ..@  .          <  ..@  .-
                 `-..-|            `-..-|  :          `-..-|
                      |____             |____              |__ _
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~        ~~~~~~~~~~~        ~~~~~~~~-~~
               [ clam,               BLAM,           thank you ma'm!  ]

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