Scientology in the Media [Internet]

A Documentary History of the Church of Scientology and the Net
Deana M. Holmes

[Part 2 of 10]

Usenet: alt.religion.scientology
April 1995

Main Index A.R.S. Web Summary Media

==========================================================================
A Documentary History of the Church of Scientology and the Net
VERSION 1.0 / April 17, 1995
Compiled by Deana M. Holmes (mirele@xmission.com)
==========================================================================

Compilation (c) 1995 by Deana M. Holmes.


Another disquieting event was the apparent frame-up of Dennis Erlich's sysop, Tom Klemesrud, by a woman referred to by some as "Miss Bloodyrump." The following is a repost of an anonymous post which set off a real firestorm about who was telling the truth in this incident.

It's still not clear what happened in the Miss Bloodyrump episode.


From: deeny3@aol.com (Deeny3)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Pulling Strings (repost)
Date: 20 Feb 1995 07:43:39 -0500
Message-ID: <3ia2pr$hgp@newsbf02.news.aol.com>

I'm reposting this because everything else I sent got through and this one
seems to never have made it.

Some folks are going to be mad at me, not only for dredging up old
business and accounts I don't believe, but also because one person might
believe I'm violating a confidence. All the information here comes from
stuff posted publically; I'm just piecing stuff together that was
available to anyone who looked.

First off, the compromise at anon.penet.fi via Interpol and the Finnish
authorities apparently relates to the attack on Tom Klemesrud, sysop of
support.com, the internet site where Dennis Erlich has his account.

Before we go any further, I want to apologize profusely to -AB- for not
believing that the CofS was after him (gender assumed). He apparently
tells the truth about that at least, as information below will reveal.

The key piece of information I use for this is in fact Pekka Aakko's post
of the translation from the Helsingin Sanomat article, 18 - Feb - 1995:

> The police acted upon a request of investigation made by the
> international church of scientology. The HQ of CoS claims that an
> unknown person has penetrated into the computer system of the
> church itself in the United States and has stolen a rapport that is
> classified as "business security" (*).

> According to the announcement made by the scientologists the illegal
> data has been spread on the internet 23rd of January. Helsinki server
> has been used to distribute the data.

[snip]

> Police got a sample of so called loginformation, which was delivered
> to the police in Los Angeles via Interpol.

> The investigator assigned to this case, mr Kaj Malmberg, says that
> the information gathered from the anon.penet.fi logs doesn't
> necessarily lead to real sender. "You can only see the infromation
> that the sender has given to himself. I suspect that the information
> gained from the server won't lead us anywhere" says Malmberg.

> Also the maintainer of the Anon server thinks that tracing
> the real sender is hard. "A technically skilled person can
> registrate with false name" says Helsingius.

In other words, one can send FROM a forgery and create a unique ONE-WAY
access.

The date is the key here. On January 23, -AB- posted (and I wish to state
publically that I do not believe this account is factual for reasons I
will outline later) a message which arrived at my site on the 24th (AOL's
brain-dead software shows the time it was RECEIVED):

Subj:   Set-up of sysop - DATA
Date:   Tue, Jan 24, 1995 8:33 AM EDT
From:  an144108@anon.penet.fi
X-From: an144108@anon.penet.fi (-AB-)
Sender: owner-LRH-L@cornell.edu
Reply-to: an144108@anon.penet.fi
To: LRH-L@cornell.edu (LRH-L)


Dear Readers,

 This is a serious matter and I do not make the below post lightly.

 I have the name and phone number of the victim in the matter with
Tom Klemesrud.  I will not post these, as I feel that would be violation
of
her privacy before the matter has come out properly on police channels.
But due to the relevance and implications to this newsgroup I am posting
the
below, and without ANY of my own comments.  <biting my tounge - HARD>

 However, just to show I am not faking, I will e-mail the specific
name and phone number privately to Vega, who has proven him/herself to be
one of the most trustworthy and fair members of this newsgroup.

 Rod, I am going to need more time on the FAQ answers -- I've been
a little busy recently!

 Below are the victim's statements:

> LINDA W. interview :
>
>         She first met Klemesrud at the Cinnamon Cinder on Saturday,
>    the night of the incident.  She took a taxi there as she doesn't
>    drive.  She was wearing levis and a bulky sweater.
>
>         When she arrived at the bar, Klemesrud was already there.  He
>    struck up a conversation with her.  They started talking and were
>    like "psychic friends." She was drinking vodka and he was drinking
>    heavily as well.
>
>         He said let's go to the lounge where my friends are.  The
>    bar was a country & western bar.  She had a puppy puppet which she
>    left at the bar.
>
>         After spending about 3 1/4 hours at the bar they got into a
>    taxi (the bartender, Jack, called a cab).
>
>         They went to another bar in the corner strip mall, a clean
>    and classy bar.
>
>         Klemesrud seemed to know the bartender there really well, he
>    was about 50.
>
>         When Klemesrud was ready to go, he said "Let's go, ride with
>    me in a taxi to my place so I get home okay." The bartender asked
>    her to help him get home (she was planning to take the same taxi
>    home).
>
>         The taxi driver arrived.  Klemesrud got into a verbal fight
>    with the driver.
>
>         When they arrived at Klemesrud's home, he asked her to come
>    up to make sure he got in okay.  It was a nice place.
>
>         They went up to his apartment.
>
>         There were a lot of computers there.  He said, "look at this,
>    this is the Internet."
>
>         She has a guitar and Klemesrud had a guitar at home.  He
>    asked if she played the guitar.
>
>         She'd had a rectal bleeding problem bad for about a year, but
>    had never seen a doctor for this.  She hemmoraged when she was
>    under stress and drank a lot.  She had to go to the bathroom every
>    10 minutes when she drank beer, a lot of alcohol.
>
>         When they got inside, she was bleeding badly.  She told him
>    about her problem.  Her pants were soaked.  She went into the
>    bathroom and took her pants and panties off, they were soaked, and
>    put a towel around her.  She was walking around.
>
>         Klemesrud talked about the Internet and said he worked with
>    kids on the Internet.  He asked her if she believed he worked with
>    kids.  She was fond of kids and thought he must be okay.
>
>         Klemesrud said, "I want to show you something." He got a 10
>    gauge shotgun.  He had already seen the blood at this point.
>
>         Klemesrud starts saying, "I know you're from the CIA." She
>    said, "I'm from the CIA???"
>
>         Klemesrud said, "You cannot go to the bathroom, you're from
>    the CIA.  You'll cut your wrists, I know it."
>
>         Klemesrud told her that if she didn't fuck him, she would
>    never leave the place alive.
>
>         She said that Klemesrud scared the hell out of her and held a
>    gun to her head.  He said, "I can kill you right now but maybe I
>    won't bother - I can kill myself."
>
>         She said she was so scared she couldn't see straight, she was
>    terrified.   She talked him down a lot [[calmed?]].
>
>         Klemesrud said, "I know the Church of Scientology and I know
>    they send people out."  She didn't know what he was talking about.
>    She had heard of the C of S but had never been in such a Church.
>
>         Klemesrud said, "Look at this, I can do anything that I want.
>    I can call the Church and say you're from the CIA.  Do you think I
>    should kill you?  Watch this, maybe I'll kill myself."
>
>         He threatened to hit her and did shoved her around.  He wouldn't
>    let her go to the bathroom unless he watched her.
>
>         Klemesrud kept calling the C of S on the phone and saying, "I
>    have someone here who is "in condition" [[sic]] and I don't want
anymore
>    of these people coming here."   He repeatedly did this.  She
>    thought he was nuts.
>
>         She got to the phone and dialed 911.  Klemesrud hung up and
>    she called 911 again.  This time she got through and told the 911
>    operator, "I've got a guy here has a shotgun.  You'd better send
>    someone over here.  He may kill himself."
>
>         When the police came, they said she could put her pants on,
>    although they were full of blood.
>
>         Klemesrud told the officers, "I cut myself."  She said no way,
>    he was lying.
>
>         When asked how the blood got all over the apartment, she said
>    that he pushed her all around the place.  He never tried to rape
>    her.

Now, since Tom has stated that HE made the call to 911, this immediately
casts the story into the suspect category.

However, this is what is more damning: how would the CofS know the story
was taken from their files *if it matched* the statement the police got?
Furthermore, how does the CofS know it was taken via computer and not via
a more ordinary leak of information?

Now, for the big question: why would Interpol care if someone allegedly
hacked into the CofS computers and took a report THAT WAS FAVORABLE TO
SCIENTOLOGY? Why would the CofS even care?

Imho, there's something MUCH bigger here -- that maybe the CofS has found
that other, similar security leaks occurred and those other security leaks
contain information much more damning. Or that this DOES relate, at least,
to a criminal investigation of Scn (see below) and tax status.?

I considered -AB-'s account too ridiculous, so I didn't save his later
message about OSA looking for him. Here is Dennis Erlich's reply to that
message (sans headers since I excerpted it from yet another post still on
my site):

dennis.l.erlich@support.com wrote:
> an144108@anon.penet.fi (-AB-), steps forward and (anonymously)
> proclaims:
> 
> >I am not OSA.  In fact OSA is looking for me ...
> 
>     To pay you?
> 
> >... since I "scooped" them on this and got to the bottom of it
> >before they did.
> 

[big snip]

> >Peace,
> >AB
> 
>     Yea right.
> 
>          Rev. Dennis L Erlich     * * the inFormer * *
>                  <dennis.l.erlich@support.com>
> 

Folks, it does seem that the CofS's OSA (Office of Special Affairs) WAS
looking for -AB- and was willing to go to, imho, extreme lengths to find
him.

Now, Tom said:

> Subj:   Re: SET-UP OF SYSOP - DATA
> Date:   Thu, Jan 26, 1995 11:14 AM EDT
> From:  tom.klemesrud@support.com
> Sender: owner-LRH-L@cornell.edu
> Reply-to: tom.klemesrud@support.com
> To: LRH-L@cornell.edu (LRH-L)


> "Miss Blood" got access to the internet site by claiming to be an
> IRS CID agent, re-investigating the tax status of the CoS.

CID = Criminal Investigations Division

_Deirdre (who will now be *keeping* the headers on posts!)


>> Dead Agent Club Charter Member <<

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Jon Noring, a well-known Net activist coming off a successful petition drive to Intel to get them to replace flawed Pentium chips, wrote and began soliciting names for his Scientology petition, which was an attempt to try and get the Scientologists to be reasonable when it came to the Net. While it was a valiant effort, it didn't get as much attention as it should have, and the CoS certainly ignored it.


**************** Beginning of Petition Statement ********************

TO: The Church of Scientology, The Religious Technology Center, Bridge
    Publications, Inc., Office of Special Affairs, and all other
    affiliated organizations, divisions and corporations of the Church
    of Scientology

We, the undersigned, are disturbed by your recent legal attempts to
stifle the free flow of information on the Internet and Usenet.
Specifically, you have 1) threatened legal action against several
automated anonymous remailers unless they filter out *all* e-mail
targeted to the legitimate Usenet newsgroups alt.religion.scientology
(a.r.s.), and alt.clearing.technology (a.c.t.), open forums where all
points of view about Scientology, both pro and con, are welcome, and
2) demanded and actually attempted the removal of a.r.s. in gross
defiance of accepted Usenet practice and netiquette.

Concerning 1), since nearly all (if not all) of the e-mail sent to
a.r.s. and a.c.t. via the remailers is legitimate and originates from
individuals who sincerely believe they need to post anonymously because
of the nature of discussion, your demand, if implemented, would prevent
these individuals from freely expressing their views in the proper
forum.  Freedom of expression is internationally recognized as one of
the most important and sacred of basic human rights, and your demands
fly in the face of this recognition.  Your second demand, removing
a.r.s., would go even further in inhibiting freedom of expression on
all electronic networks.  It is a *very* serious matter to attempt to
remove forums of free expression.

Your primary argument for issuing these legal threats, according to
your statements, are that some people (the "perpetrators") have
knowingly posted *alleged* (meaning not yet demonstrated in a court of
law) Church of Scientology copyrighted and trade secret material to
a.r.s. and a.c.t., sometimes using the anonymous remailers as the
carrier (because of the common carrier-like nature of anonymous
remailers, the administrators of the remailers have no knowledge of such
activity taking place).  Though we do not condone making copyrighted
material available on any electronic network without the permission of
the copyright holder, your specific legal threats are short-sighted,
perceived to be mean-spirited, ineffective, and are on tenuous legal
grounds because

1) It won't stop those who are determined to make available alleged
   copyrighted materials on electronic networks.  They will find other
   avenues on the electronic networks to do so.  Only prosecuting the
   actual perpetrators will deter this alleged illegal activity.
2) Your demands, if met, will have the effect of leading to significant
   stifling of free speech and the exchange of information on all
   electronic networks which, if not illegal in some jurisdictions, goes
   against all accepted conventions of a free and open society,
3) You have not stated, nor is there any indication, that you intend to
   work in a cooperative manner with legitimate law-enforcement
   agencies, the courts, and/or the Internet to locate and prosecute
   the perpetrators of the *alleged* copyright violations in the
   countries they originated.

Thus, your threats are being construed, rightly or wrongly, by most on
the electronic networks as an attempt to stifle free discussion on
Scientology rather than trying to locate and prosecute the perpetrators
of the *alleged* copyright and trade secret violations.

With respect to the attempted removal of the newsgroup a.r.s., you also
stated that the word 'scientology' is trademarked and thus the name
a.r.s. infringes on such trademark.  This is appallingly ludicrous based
on past case law of similar situations, as well as your implicit
acknowledgement of the legitimacy of a.r.s. by allowing Church of
Scientology approved information to be posted to it by your supporters,
and possibly with your knowledge and/or approval, ever since it was
created July 1991, almost 3.5 years ago.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, make the following demands.

1) Regarding your charges of copyright violation over electronic
   networks:  You will cease all legal action, now and in the future,
   against any person, company, organization, etc., associated or
   affiliated in any way with all electronic networks, including the
   Internet, except that action which is necessary to locate and
   prosecute the perpetrators (as previously defined) of alleged
   copyright and trade secret violations, and other activity in
   violation of law, and *only* in full cooperation with legitimate
   law-enforcement agencies and/or the courts.

2) Regarding your trademark challenge of the Usenet newsgroup
   alt.religion.scientology:  You will cease all legal action, now and
   in the future, to remove any Usenet newsgroup, BBS forum, mailing
   list or other similar forum of public exchange of information over
   any electronic network, or to inhibit in any way the flow of
   information to and from these forums.  This includes, for example,
   ceasing all legal action demanding a) the removal of the Usenet
   newsgroup alt.religion.scientology and b) that anonymous remailers
   add filters as previously described.

3) You will publicly and officially state

   a) That you support the existence of free and open forums on all
      electronic networks to discuss Scientology from all perspectives
      and points of view (which includes yours), and

   b) That you do not support nor condone attempts by any entity to
      electronically censor, remove, obstruct, or tamper with any
      electronic communication except when allowed by a valid court
      order.

If you outright reject or refuse to even discuss these demands in a good
faith manner on Usenet, we have no other option but to consider such
rejection or refusal to even discuss to be an act of hostility by the
Church of Scientology towards the users of all electronic networks and
forums, including the Internet.  We are certain you do not want this,
and we do not want it either, so we offer to work with you any way we
can with regard to any legitimate demands you may have concerning
alleged copyright violation(s) and other illegal activity.

However, any attempts by you of any kind to tamper or in any manner
restrict the free flow of information (other than that *specifically*
restricted by law -- and *only* that) on any electronic network is
totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated for the reasons stated
above.

Signed,


[petition closed Monday, Feb. 6, with 606 signatures]

[petition signing instructions have been deleted--ed.]

==========================================================================
At about this time, the Electronic Frontier Foundation issued a statement and a couple of journalists wrote articles for the print media which noted the fractious atmosphere between the Scientologists and the Net. On a.r.s itself, the charges and countercharges were flying back and forth with a fury. In mid-February, KoreenB was leading the Scienos with her posts that dead-agented CAN.

Unbeknownst to us, things were happening behind the scene. The CoS, seeing that they were losing, and losing badly in the court of Net public opinion, decided to shut up one of their prominent critics. On February 10, a judge in Northern California approved a writ of seizure submitted by CoS lawyers. The writ was executed on February 13th.

**************************************************************************
PART II--THE RAID ON DENNIS ERLICH AND ITS AFTERMATH
**************************************************************************

On Monday, February 13, 1995, I returned home from work, logged on to my server, and read the following startling post:


Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
From: p.d.coates@support.com
Subject: WELCOME TO ALT.RELIGI
Message-ID: <9502130938.0DJEP00@support.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 95 09:38:15 -0800

       Dear Everyone,

       About an hour ago, Dennis Erlich called me.

       This morning, about 8:00 A.M. PST, Dennis was served with
       a civil search warrant by Thomas Small and the Glendale, CA
       police.  There are about 12 people at his house.

       The warrant, allegedly signed by a San Francisco judge,
       authorizes a search of Dennis's hard drive and disks for
       materials which contain alleged violations.
       
       The details are sketchy.
       
Priscilla Coates

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Later that day, Dennis logged in and gave his account of the disaster.


Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
From: dennis.l.erlich@support.com
Subject: ILLEGAL SEARCH AND SIEZE
Message-ID: <9502132253.0W5IV04@support.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 95 22:53:16 -0800

A Curious Reader asks:

Was Dennis arrested?  Was anything confiscated (I assume so)?  Is he still
on the net? Do we need to start a defense fund?

Hello, Dennis, still with us?

Another suggests:

Please tell your story to Shari Steele <ssteele@eff.org> at the
Electronic Frontier Foundation.  They may be willing to take this
case on.

               +--------------------------------+

This morning at 7:30 am my doorbell was repeatedly rung by an man
in a suit with papers.  I didn't open and when he didn't go away
I called 911.  I was told by the 911 operator of the Glendale
Police that I had to let these people (there was a crowd of about
12) into my house because of a search warrant.

I went out on the front porch and talked to and on-duty Gelendale
police officer, Steve Eggett (badge# 12126).  He informed me that
I was required to permit these people to enter my house and
search for copyrighted material.

Two armed off-duty officers from the Inglewood police department
were working as rent-a-cops (Sgt. Ed Eccles and Officer Mark
Fronterotta) for the private invest. firm of Robert Shovlin (PI
lic P116086) of RJS Consultants.  His firm was in the employ of
Thomas Small, atty for Religious Technology Center.  Small also
entered my house.  Warren McShane (an officer of RTC, the
plaintiff) and Paul Wilmshurst (a scieno computer expert) also
entered.

I objected but was told that they would use force if I resisted.

The presented me with 6" of legal documents, one of which was a
writ of sezure from a Northern Calif. Federal Judge - Ron Whyte.
It is case # C-9s-20091 RMW.

They were in my house going through my drawers and every computer
disk and file from 7:30am to 3pm.

They confuscated over 300 floppy disks.  Two 120 meg colorado
tape back-ups of my hard disk and deleted any files on my hard
disk that they wanted.

Potentially they copied all my personal correspondence, mailing
lists, financial records and personal notes.  Any one who has
sent me anything in confidence must assume that it has been
compromised.

The LA Times will run a story in the 14 Feb issue.  Fox had a
camera crew who videoed me begging the Glendale Police not to let
them confuscate my material without me examining the disks and
copies to see specifically what they were taking.  I was refused
the right to even look at what they had copied from my disk.

Criminals being arrested have more rights that these officers of
my home town and of the court provided me.

I hope this at least shows what type of fascist organization I am
attempting to expose.

Later,

         Rev. Dennis L Erlich     * * the inFormer * *
                 <dennis.l.erlich@support.com>

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Dennis further commented on his situation after the raid:



Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
From: dennis.l.erlich@support.com
Subject: Brief add'l note:
Message-ID: <9502140112.01OQ405@support.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 95 01:12:02 -0800


               * Tiennemenn Square - Cyberspace *

              +---------------------------------+

Faithful Reader,

Two points:

1)  I will not be posting anything questionable due to a
    restraining order from Judge Whyte.

2)  If any such posting occurs until I say otherwise, you may
    assume it is forged and a set up to make it appear I am
    violating the Judge's order.  This is not out of the question
    as there have been documented forgeries and break-ins of my
    account.

I have no lawyer and cannot afford to avail myself of the quality
of legal counsel required to prevent my civil rights from being
further violated by these scieno-thugs: witness today's events. 
BTW - Homer may be right about using force to prevent violations 
of civil rights.  I should have physically prevented them from 
entering my abode.

Otherwise they can claim that by not objecting, I, by default, 
concented.

Today's events should serve as a warning to anyone who downloaded
(as I did) these materials from the anonymous poster (not me - Mr.
Nobody of replay fame) and reposted them with comments or stored 
them on their hardisk.

You are now subject to the same oppression and gestapo tactics
used on me today.  

Be better prepared than I was.

Don't let them in.  Whatever it takes.

         Rev. Dennis L Erlich     * * the inFormer * *
                 <dennis.l.erlich@support.com>


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He also noted who had raided his house.


Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
From: dennis.l.erlich@support.com
Subject: ILLEGAL SEARCH AN
Message-ID: <9502140604.08JFW00@support.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 95 06:04:44 -0800

Ron Newman asks:

>Was Helena Kobrin one of the people who entered your
>house during this search and seizure?
 
No.  They were:

Off. Steve Eggett - Glendale PD (badge 12126)
Thomas Small - scieno atty.
Sgt. Ed Eccles - Inglewood PD (off-duty cop with gun rented 
    by Small)
Off. Mark Fronterotta - Inglewood PD (off-duty cop with gun 
    rented by Small)
Robert Shovlin (Private Investigator hired by Small)
Warren McShane - Officer of Religious Technology Center and 
    one of the litigants.
Paul Wilmshurst - scieno computer expert.
Photographer unidentified - hired by Shovlin.  Took pictures of 
    every room in my house and in closets.

There were half a dozen other people outside

Thanks for asking.

         Rev. Dennis L Erlich     * * the inFormer * *
                 <dennis.l.erlich@support.com>

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Dennis summed up his feelings about his bad day this way:


Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
From: dennis.l.erlich@support.com
Subject: SCIENOPHOBIA STRIKES
Message-ID: <9502140643.09GBV00@support.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 95 06:43:45 -0800

6:26 AM, Tuesday.
     
Missed a full day of work.

I never want to leave my home and go outside again.

         Rev. Dennis L Erlich     * * the inFormer * *
                 <dennis.l.erlich@support.com>


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The following documents were released by the Scientologists after the raid in an attempt to justify their brutal act.

The first comes from leeh@rain.org, another Scientologist who put in a brief appearance as a front guy for the Church. S/he then disappeared. This item is a press release.


From: leeh@rain.org ()
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology,alt.current-events.net-abuse,misc.legal.computing,misc.legal,comp.org.eff.talk,news.admin.misc
Subject: Church sues infringer
Date: 14 Feb 1995 00:36:35 GMT
Message-ID: <3hotuk$1cq@news.rain.org>

                 CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY ORGANIZATIONS
                  SUE COMPUTER COPYRIGHT INFRINGER

    -- Law Enforcement Officers seize evidence of infringement --

     Law Enforcement Officers, enforcing a federal court order obtained
by the Church of Scientology, raided the Glendale, California residence
of Dennis Erlich today, seizing computer software and other materials
Erlich used in what the court order condemned as copyright infringement
on the Internet computer network.

     According to the complaint filed by Bridge Publications Inc.  (BPI)
-- the Church of Scientology's publishing company -- and Religious
Technology Center (RTC) -- holder of the Dianetics and Scientology
trademarks -- seizure of the items was necessary to halt rampant
unlawful conduct after Erlich refused to cease illegal posting of
copyrighted religious materials on the Internet.  Apart from seizure and
a restraining order against further unlawful conduct by Erlich, the suit
seeks $100,000 for each of several infringements.

     The complaint recounts numerous attempts made by the Church's
lawyers to persuade Erlich to halt his unlawful infringements of
copyrights through repeated unauthorized postings of the Church's
religious scriptures.  Erlich not only refused, but boasted on the
Internet that he would continue his infringements and that "[n]o local
government or court in the US has the power to tell me otherwise."

     The complaint also chronicles Erlich's history of legal scuffles
with the Church but, according to statements from former associates, he
has also exhibited violent behavior which has included wife-beating and
execution style killing of his child's pets.

     The infringement complaint also charges that some of the materials
Erlich has posted on the Internet could only have been obtained through
theft.  The federal judge in San Jose, where the suit was filed,
recognized the gravity of the situation, the extent of the unlawful
conduct, and authorized the raid.

     "Internet is an invaluable and open forum of free discussion and
information exchange," said long-time copyright attorney Tom Small, "But
with freedom comes responsibility.  The vast majority of those who use
the Internet abide by the law and respect the rights of others."

     Also named as parties in the suit are Erlich's gateways onto the
Internet: Tom Klemesrud, the systems operator of Erlich's bulletin board
service, and Netcom On-Line Communication Services, which provides
Internet access for that BBS.

     The issue of copyright infringement on the Internet has become
increasingly explosive and courts have come out strongly against abusers
of copyrights and trademarks.  Maintaining a free flow of communication
along the information highway has also become a controversial topic in
the media.

     In April 1994, a San Francisco federal court issued a preliminary
injunction against Internet user Chad Scherman and the "Maphia" bulletin
board service after evidence showed that unauthorized copies of Sega
video games had been uploaded onto the BBS, encouraged by Scherman who
profited financially from the illegal postings.  Scherman's "fair use"
defense was rejected by the Court.

     "Erlich has attempted to misdirect and misinform the media about
actions taken by the Church to protect its copyrights, and so divert
attention from his wrongdoing.  Fortunately, only a few reporters have
fallen for his deception," said Church counsel Helena Kobrin, "but those
who have done so not out of any particular support for Erlich, but
rather as an expression of their own bias and prejudice."

     Kobrin added that, "If individuals like Erlich are allowed to
continue violating the law, then the greater the likelihood that
Internet freedoms will be abridged by government regulations, thus
curtailing everyone's rights."

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The above post was roundly attacked by others on a.r.s:


Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology,alt.current-events.net-abuse,misc.legal.computing,misc.legal,comp.org.eff.talk,news.admin.misc
From: modemac@netcom.com (Modemac)
Subject: Call the Church of Scientology
Message-ID: <modemacD408pK.8MJ@netcom.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 1995 19:27:20 GMT

If you wish, you can call the Church of Scientology's 1-800 number and 
tell the folks there how you feel about their actions in this 
search-and-seizure case regarding Dennis Erlich.

The number to call is 1-800-367-8788.  That's 1-800-FOR-TRUT(H).  How
clever. 

There are other phone numbers to be had, for the Church of Scientology 
Internationalk and the Church of Scientology of California (which is 
currently involved in a lawsuit involving Larry Wollersheim and the 
United States Supreme Court), that the folks in Calfornia can find just 
by opening the phone book.
 
I am not advising a phone harassment campaign against the Church of 
Scientology; such actions are, of course, illegal.  They probably have 
call-tracking on their phones, too, so people calling the CoS to voice 
their opinion should take precautions.

The 1-800 number seems appropriate, because the effect of this case 
reaches far beyond California.  People living in other areas of the 
country should also be able to speak their mind in this matter.

-- 
               +---------------------------------------+
               | Reverend Modemac (modemac@netcom.com) |
+--------------+     "There is no black and white."    +-------------+
|  First Online Church of "Bob," A Subfaction of the Excremeditated  |
|      Congregation of the Overinflated Head of L. Ron Hubbard       |
+--------------------------------------------------------------------+
 FINGER modemac@cambridge.village.com for a FREE SubGenius Pamphlet!!

===

From: S.Meric@ix.netcom.com (S.Meric)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology,alt.current-events.net-abuse,misc.legal.computing,misc.legal,comp.org.eff.talk,news.admin.misc
Subject: Re: Church sues infringer
Date: 14 Feb 1995 17:54:22 GMT
Message-ID: <3hqqoe$806@ixnews3.ix.netcom.com>

In <3hq37s$16nr@sat.ipp-garching.mpg.de> bds@ipp-garching.mpg.de (Bruce 
D. Scott) writes: 

>
>Pete Hartman (pwh@bradley.bradley.edu) wrote:
>: leeh@rain.org () writes:
>: >     The complaint also chronicles Erlich's history of legal scuffles
>: >with the Church but, according to statements from former associates, he
>: >has also exhibited violent behavior which has included wife-beating and
>: >execution style killing of his child's pets.
>
>: Am I the only one who thinks this smacks of ridiculous extremes of
>: character assasination, bordering on libel?
>
>No, you are not.  This part of the text stuck out for me, too, as I read
>it.  Is it true that the Government can take free license on anyone once an
>allegation of domestic abuse is merely voiced?  Don't forget, this is very
>remniscent of the whisper/rumor campaign used to obtain the original search
>warrant against David Koresh.  Whether or not the target is actually
>guilty, the mere fact that this is possible exposes the unaccountability of
>the authorities.  State unsavoury accusations, and then raid the target's
>home, often if not always destroying much of it in the process.  How can a
>"little man" fight it?
>
>I'm glad I live in Europe when I see things like this.
>
>--
>Gruss,
>Dr Bruce Scott                             The deadliest bullshit is
>Max-Planck-Institut fuer Plasmaphysik       odorless and transparent
>bds@ipp-garching.mpg.de                               -- W Gibson
>
Good heavens, no, you're not alone!  This is the hoary old tactic of 
launching an "ad hominem" (personal) attack to discredit your opponent. 
(It's the same crap that goes down daily now in the marble halls of 
Washington.  The reason why no sane & sensible person would run for 
office or seek appointment.  Hell with the *issues*, just attack the 
person.) 
This assault on the Fourth Amendment is horrifying.  It could be you or 
me next!  
I didn't even know about this stuff till I saw an article in the LA 
Times about the raid.  I hope somebody is coming to Erlich's aid with 
pro bono legal representation!!

===

Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology,alt.current-events.net-abuse,
misc.legal.computing,misc.legal,comp.org.eff.talk,news.admin.misc
From: strnlght@netcom.com (David Sternlight)
Subject: Re: Church sues infringer
Message-ID: <strnlghtD404Bz.KFs@netcom.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 1995 17:52:47 GMT

In article <3hp3us$3v3@bradley.bradley.edu>,
Pete Hartman <pwh@bradley.bradley.edu> wrote:
>leeh@rain.org () writes:
>>     The complaint also chronicles Erlich's history of legal scuffles
>>with the Church but, according to statements from former associates, he
>>has also exhibited violent behavior which has included wife-beating and
>>execution style killing of his child's pets.
>
>
>
>
>
>Am I the only one who thinks this smacks of ridiculous extremes of
>character assasination, bordering on libel?

Is my memory failing or is the what I've read to be routine character
assasination by the CoS when under attack? It's certainly consistent with
the standard practices alleged in published reports here. Let's see--when
asked about any illegal behavior with respect to Ehrlich their answer will
be "We welcome an investigation of Dennis Ehrlich" if reports of their
tactics here are accurate.

:-)

David


[and so on--ed.]

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Helena Kobrin attempted to justify her actions in the following post. It is one of the few times she has appeared online.


Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
From: hkk@netcom.com (Helena Kobrin)
Subject: Dennis Erlich Rumors
Message-ID: <hkkD40BA6.44C@netcom.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 1995 20:22:54 GMT

     I represent two Scientology entities which have filed suit
against Dennis Erlich for violating their copyrights.  To quell
any rumors started by people who do not have the true facts about
this suit, I am providing the correct information here.  

     Erlich has repeatedly posted published and unpublished
materials on the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup which are 
subject to copyrights registered with the United States Copyright
Office.  Attempts by my clients to engage Mr. Erlich in any
meaningful dialogue have met with an absolute refusal to
communicate -- he would not even speak with my clients'
representatives.  Written communications to Mr. Erlich requesting
that he cease his infringements have been met with defiant
insistence that he will do what he wants to do, proven by his
renewed postings of copyrighted materials.  In one message he
went so far as to claim that not even the courts or other arms of
the government have the right to stop him.

     Consequently, in the early morning hours of February 13,
1995, law enforcement representatives executed an order issued by
the Federal District Court in San Francisco and raided Erlich's
home, seizing several boxes of infringing materials and computer
disks.  The Court considered Erlich's defiant attitude and his
disdain for the Court when it issued the seizure order to prevent
Erlich from continuing his flagrant violations.  Erlich confirmed
that the seizure was necessary when he did the very thing which
the order was designed to prevent -- he attempted to conceal the
main repository of the infringing copies which he posted rather
than comply with the Federal Court order.

     Many net users encouraged us to bring suit against Erlich
and now we have done so.  Faced with Erlich's refusal to cease
his infringements voluntarily, my clients had no choice but to
take action.  Erlich could have stopped this at any time by
communicating.  He chose to continue his unlawful conduct and has
only himself to blame.

     The lawsuit against Erlich is about protecting intellectual
property rights.  It is not about freedom of speech, or about
religious disputes.  My clients are ardent supporters of the
First Amendment, and are extremely active in defending it. 
Erlich tries to hide behind it and use it to excuse his unlawful
conduct.  People can express their opinions and have as many
discussions as they want.  However, the law does not permit the
flagrant violation of intellectual property rights and free
speech is not the freedom to steal.

Helena K. Kobrin
HKK@netcom.com

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Mark S. Bilk noted that the raid was getting airplay on CNN (also note the crossposted newsgroups:

Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology,alt.censorship,alt.conspiracy,alt.cyberpunk,
alt.law-enforcement,alt.mindcontrol,alt.recovery.religion,alt.society.civil-liberty,
alt.society.mental-health,alt.support.ex-cult,comp.org.eff.talk,misc.legal,misc.legal.comp
uting,news.admin.misc,news.admin.policy,sci.psychology,soc.rights.human,talk.religion.misc
From: msb@netcom.com (Mark S. Bilk)
Subject: Dennis Erlich and Scientology Thugs on CNN (was: --> Church of Scientology Takes 
Action Against BBS and Netcom
Message-ID: <msbD41MA8.8pz@netcom.com>
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 1995 13:18:08 GMT

CNN is running a story on the recent Church of Scientology attack
against Net journalist Dennis Erlich, publisher of _the inFormer_.  
He is briefly interviewed, along with Scientology lawyer Tom
Small and a woman, possibly Scientology lawyer Helena Kobrin
(hkk@netcom.com) who threatened Erlich's sysadmin and others
last month, and tried to rmgroup alt.religion.scientology.

According to Erlich, Scientology personnel spent most of a day
destroying many files on his hard disk and seizing hundreds of
diskettes and his backup tapes, under cover of a court order.
The order may have been obtained without informing the judge that
Erlich is a journalist, thus violating a Federal law against such
seizures.  Correspondence from many refugees from the "Church"
were also taken, leaving them vulnerable to legalistic and
physical attack by the cult.

For information on this vicious and sometimes deadly organization, 
see alt.religion.scientology, and the Web page:

   http://falcon.cc.ukans.edu/~sloth/sci/sci_index.html

   [note:  Sloth's home page has changed to:
    http://www.sky.net/~sloth/  --ed]

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Reaction was swift in coming to the Erlich raid.

Martin Hunt wrote the following; it is this post that CoS supporters are referring to when they talk about "Hunt threatening to kill people." Under the circumstances, Hunt's hyperbole, while extreme, was understandable.


Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
From: av282@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Martin G. V. Hunt)
Subject: Cult Lawlessness and Dennis
Message-ID: <D42o7M.3uH@freenet.carleton.ca>
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 1995 02:57:21 GMT

I'm so angry at the cult, I could kill. ;-(

What kind of country is America?  One where any cult with a bit of
cash can break into someone's house with a dozen henchmen and
steal private and personal computer files?

Hard drives are as personal as diaries; indeed, many people keep their
diary on their hard drive.  Does this mean the cult can knock down
our doors whenever they want, and read through our diaries just in case
they contain "copyrighted trade secret materials"?

What a load of bullshit; the cult does not have any copyrights or
trade secrets.  None.  RTC does not hold anything other than
Miscavige's cock...they have no rights at all; they certainly do not
have the right to enter people's homes, and steal whatever they
want.

Do you hear me, OSA?  When you come for me, you can meet my fucking
shotgun; I intend to shoot first, and ask questions later.  ;-(
I am not going off to OSA's version of Auschwitz peacefully; I
fully intend to kill them when they come for me.  Fuck them.

--
Cogito, ergo sum.  Martin Hunt, av282@freenet.carleton.ca  &
uo880@freenet.victoria.bc.ca  &  uu314@fim.uni-erlangen.de


^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*
====================Deana M. Holmes================================
mirele@xmission.com================ Compiler of History of a.r.s ==
========You can get anything you want at Xenu's Restaurant=========
================Practicing encheferation since 1995================