Volume 0, Issue 35 vom 25. 12. 1995

Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 0, Issue 35
by Rod Keller [rkeller@netaxs.com]
copyright 1995


  1. Settlement
  2. Rogue Agent
  3. FACTNet Appeal
  4. Altered Fishman
  5. David Gerard
  6. Homer and the PI
  7. Chamber of Commerce
  8. Electric Toothbrush Acid Test
  9. Netcom Defense
  10. HQ Windows
  11. I Knew Hubbard
  12. Church Life

Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review summarizes the most significant
postings from the Usenet group Alt.religion.scientology for the preceding
week for the benefit of those who can't follow the group as closely as
they'd like. Out of thousands of postings, I attempt to include news of
significant events, new affidavits, court rulings, new contributors,
whatever. I hope you find it useful. Like many readers of a.r.s, I have a
kill file. So please take into consideration that I may not have seen some
of the most significant postings. 

The articles in A.r.s Week in Review are brief summaries of the articles. 
Many include an excerpt, and all include message IDs for the articles I
cover. This may or may not be useful to you, depending on how long your
site stores articles in the newsgroup before expiring them. 

Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available, just email me at 
It is archived at:



Shelley Thompson, in her Biased Journalism newsletter, this week reported that the cult is negotiating with the FACTnet defendants to reach a settlement in the case. "We were informed by a reliable source that secret negotiations are under way between RTC (Religious Technology Corporation, an arm of the Church of Scientology) and the FACTNet Three (Arnie Lerma, Lawrence Wollersheim and Bob Penny). The church initiated the settlement talks. While our source cautioned us that a settlement is not certain, and the talks are currently stalled, our impression is that both sides are seriously interested in a settlement. The pace of negotiation is likely to pick up closer to trial date, now set for late January. The terms of a settlement are unclear and likely to prove controversial. "Lerma, Penny and Wollersheim may be asked to sign agreements not to join in any lawsuits evolving from actions of the church or its agencies. The consequences here range all the way from agreeing not to countersue (a common provision, affecting only the defendants) to refusing to assist in potential class action suits for harassment and invasion of privacy (a much more controversial measure involving other people). "We wonder how the privacy issues will fare. A large quantity of private email was seized on Lerma's computer and read in spite of Judge Brinkema's instructions. Invasion of privacy is an issue not merely for Lerma but for all of his correspondents. We believe the church does not wish this matter litigated. If Lerma, Wollersheim and Penny sign away their rights to pursue this action, we wonder where it will leave the other correspondents. Message-ID: <sthomsonDJqr2M.Mz0@netcom.com> #####

Rogue Agent

Also from Biased Journalism, more details on the efforts of the cult to remove the account of anonymous poster Rogue Agent. "The church of scientology tracked [him] down and launched a campaign of faxes, letters and telephone calls to try to extract Rogue's True Name from the university. Rogue's posts were proffered in evidence; university personnel read them, and found nothing objectionable. The church had hired private investigators to surveil and photograph computer center personnel. A photograph was offered with the sheaf of posts, but it was not Rogue's. "Alas, the church had raised a technicality. Under University rules a True Name must be attached to every account. Rogue had been able to avoid this because he had a guest account through the computer center. His debugging skills were prized at the center, and he was given the account to induce him to keep helping out. "The University decided to insist that The Rules be enforced. Rogue had hoped to be allowed to explain why he needed to keep his identity secret, but he was not given an opportunity." Rogue described the complaint filed with the University. "It starts out with a set of characterizations about me, saying I've been harassing local Scientologists for 6 months or so (I have engaged several Scientologists in conversation, but they've never once complained to me that I was harassing them, nor looked any more than mildly annoyed at me), that I was instrumental in planning the local picket, a suggestion that my account is hacked (untrue), stuff like that. They say they've filed a complaint with the Mass. Attorney General, as what I've done could be considered a hate crime. "They also have a go at identifying me. Unfortunately they botch the job completely. They give three possible names for me, 'David Blank-Edelman', 'Mark Huber' and 'Mark Herrill'. The first name is a member of the Systems group, the people who administer the computers for the College. He's also not me. Last I heard CoS was still trying to decide if he's me or not; they called his house and extracted some information on where he could be found from his wife. They haven't started to actually harass him yet. "They claim that I sent a message saying 'rich is a butthead' to a local Org printer. At least I think that's the accusation; the language is very confusing. I also possibly infected the computer with a virus that sent the message 'the disk is full, butthead' to the screen. No evidence for any of this is provided. I can only scratch my head and wonder. I have no idea how this could have happened, but I was certainly not involved. "The third part is a claim that I've been harassing their top executives in email, and 6 posts to a.r.s that (I guess) are intended to document this." Message-ID: <sthomsonDJqr2M.Mz0@netcom.com> #####

FACTNet Appeal

Arnie Lerma posted appeals for donations to the FACTNet legal defense fund this week. It said in part: "The details, of course, are better off left unsaid, but in the current confrontation between Myself, FACTNet, Larry Wollersheim, Bob Penny, Jan Merril and RTC / (Scientology), there is an urgent need to raise money immediately to ensure that all that could be done to ensure the success of the current actions do occur. "To past contributors - If we have yet to acknowledge you I personally apologize, please understand the stress we are under facing down the mad dogs at hand. "FACTNet is dedicated to doing the right thing for cult victims everywhere, and we need an infusion of funds immediately. "F.A.C.T.Net 601 Sixteenth Street #C-217 Golden, CO 80401 USA" A message from Larry Wollersheim stated: "FACTNet has spent almost 1 million dollars in legal fees fighting for all of our Internet free speech freedoms since Scientology's August raid on our organization. There are now many urgent legal actions that our insurance company does not cover. We are almost out of money. Our ability to go to trial in Virginia and continue preparation for our Denver trial is at grave risk. "Scientology's 'scorched earth' tactics are taking their toll on our team. Scientology's obvious direction is force us into a bad settlement or to drive FACTNet and the FACTNet 3 into bankruptcy so FACTNet and its directors cannot make it to trial." Message-ID: <4bbsab$ke@news.dgsys.com> Message-ID: <henriDJy1vI.2ty@netcom.com> #####

Altered Fishman

A message purportedly from Steve Fishman was posted this week through an anonymous remailer. "I returned to Florida only to find that my service provider had been infiltrated by the Church. I discovered that several of my postings to ars had been altered so that later on when I made postings, the Church could refer back to my earlier postings and show how I had contradicted myself. "The specific alterations that were made in my earlier postings concern what statements I have made about my past. For example, I have freely admitted that I am a convicted felon. The Church makes it appear that I am somehow denying this. For the record, I never denied that I paid those individuals to fake calls to my house and send me the packages to induce me to commit suicide. When the FBI investigated these incidents, I provided them evidence in order to get arrested and convicted on the obstruction of justice charge. This was part of an operation, 'Operation J. Edgar' whereby agents such as myself would make it look like someone was trying to set up the Church. The true instigators would be uncovered, thereby making it look like the Church was the good guys. "Another operation I participated in while I was working for the GO was 'Operation Fat Butt'. In this operation, I would pick out a physical attribute or some personality trait about which the target was found to be sensitive. I would then have people meet the target and start making fun of the person's negative attributes, lightly at first. This would be built up to the point where the person could no longer stand it and would be willing to do anything in order to have the invalidation stopped." A second message disavowed the first, and was posted from Steven's Netcom account. "I have been told by agent@redbox.newhackcity.net that someone has posted something anonymously in my name, claiming some strange pretext that 'my internet provider has been infiltrated.' I have not seen the post, but I want to assure everyone reading this that I do not post anonymously. "I have no idea what the anonymous post said, but obviously my Dead Agent Club, with its corporate directors Andy Milne, Vera Wallace, Glind, et. al., have obviously tried to do one of the following: "(1) Make me look crazy in order to conform with Scientology's wish list (2) Said things to contradict testimony I have given in any one of the four legal battles I am currently involved in (3) In some way tried to discredit me on the Internet Message-ID: <4atsa9$9eb@utopia.hacktic.nl> Message-ID: <4bfibc$j3b@ixnews7.ix.netcom.com> #####

David Gerard

David Gerard posted an update on the attempt to remove his Internet account. "After playing memo-pattycake for a while, Ian Rae (the deputy vice-chancellor who locked my account) has issued the order to unlock my other account (gerdw@cougar.vut.edu.au) -- so an email to fun@suburbia.net says. "The account itself is still locked, however. The order would have gone from Ian Rae's office at about 3:30pm yesterday, arriving at Info Tech this morning. Message-ID: <4b7tgt$9u2@cougar.vut.edu.au> #####

Homer and the PI

Homer Smith posted a report of a call from a cult private investigator. "Two weeks ago I got a call from one Barry Silvers, Private Investigator working for the Church of Scientology. He called at 7pm at night and wanted to come visit me at my home, I decline, but did talk to him on the phone for a while. "He said some people down in Washington were saying bad things about me, and he had come from Long Island to Ithaca (400 miles) to set the record straight. Turns out 'the people down in Washington' was Arnie Lerma, who alleged during a deposition that I had called him and told him that I had given him the Fishman Affidavits. "Mr. Silvers apparently wished to debunk this story in order to discredit Lerma as a witness in the upcoming trial. Barry said that since 'I had promised to stay away from copyright violations' he suspected that I would like to deny Lerma's deposition. "Anyhow I gave Mr. Silvers a piece of my mind, and asked him if he knew exactly who he was working for and the kind of people they were, and he responded with surprise saying he didn't realize my separation from the Church had been with any bitterness." Message-ID: <4b4859$8bu@light.lightlink.com> #####

Chamber of Commerce

Dick Cleek posted a letter to his local Chamber of Commerce from Fred Harris, L. Ron Hubbard Personal Public Relations Office International. "Recent events have made it only too clear that our communities still beg for an answer to the devastating effects of crime, substance abuse, domestic violence and illiteracy. As you may or may not know, L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, developed workable solutions that have broad application to the problems of society at large. His discoveries in the fields of literacy, drug rehabilitation and ethics are successfully used to handle the underlying causes of violence and criminality from South Central Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., from Russia to South Africa. Currently his technology is in use in 107 nations. "To provide you with information on these programs being used daily by millions around the world, I am sending you a copy of the publication L.Ron Hubbard: A Profile. It gives a defining statement about Mr.Hubbard's discoveries and their successful applications. "You may want to take this publication home to read in more detail. It may give you renewed conviction that something can be done about the problems which face us all. If I can assist you in any way to implement the materials and programs developed by Mr. Hubbard, do not hesitate to contact me directly." Message-ID: <4bf0dn$1ta@uwm.edu> #####

Electric Toothbrush Acid Test

Arnie Lerma this week revealed that the cult placed LSD on his toothbrush during the raid on his home. "During the raid, a massive dose of LSD was placed on a toothbrush. An electric one. "Enough, IMHO, that had I used it Saturday night, I likely would have been tripping my brains out, up for days...then after going quietly mad - as if the stress of the raid, the searching of my HOME, the vision of my evil antagonists, the $cientologists crawling like roaches over my personal belongings. "What went wrong ... I'm too frugal, I don't spend much on myself, having been battling corruption for many years...I should have replaced that toothbrush head, a long time ago. The gears inside are badly worn, and I HAVE to run it, under HOT water for some time, perhaps 30 seconds, then turn the motor on, for it to loosen up and not jam." Message-ID: <4bc7gg$5qk@news.dgsys.com> #####

Netcom Defense

Tom Klemesrud posted Netcom's response to the complaints against it, arising from Dennis Erlich's case. "FIRST DEFENSE Plaintiffs' Complaint, and each and every count therein, fails to allege facts sufficient to state a claim for relief. "SECOND DEFENSE The materials that plaintiffs claim have been infringed are not entitled to copyright protection because they are within the public domain and/or do not constitute copyrightable subject matter. "THIRD DEFENSE The copyrights referred to in Plaintiffs' Complaint were not registered for copyright as alleged. "FOURTH DEFENSE Plaintiffs have abandoned any copyright ownership they may have had. "FIFTH DEFENSE Each of NETCOM's activities alleged to have infringed or contributorily infringed plaintiffs' copyrights constituted fair use of the subject copyrights. "SIXTH DEFENSE Each of Erlich's activities alleged to have infringed plaintiffs' copyrights constituted fair use of the subject copyrights. "SEVENTH DEFENSE Each of NETCOM's activities alleged to have infringed or contributorily infringed plaintiffs' copyrights was privileged was reasonable and done in a good faith belief that copyright infringement was not occurring. "EIGHTH DEFENSE Plaintiffs claims are barred on the equitable grounds of unclean hands. "NINTH DEFENSE Plaintiff's claims against NETCOM are barred by the secondary transmission exemption to the Copyright Act 17 U.S.C.A. 111(a)(3)." Message-ID: <9512160307.04DNH00@support.com> #####

HQ Windows

Karin Spaink posted to report and denounce the breaking of windows at an Org building. "In this post, he also stated that some of the windows of CoS headquarters had later this week been thrown in. Somebody just corroborated that. "Violence of any kind was never our intention. I am most sorry that somebody was foolish enough to do such a thing." Message-ID: <4av45s$76e@news.xs4all.nl> #####

I Knew Hubbard

A first person account was posted to a.r.s this week by Stanley Richards. He claims to have known Hubbard in 1952. "To tell the truth, though, I always knew that his genius contained an element of the charlatan or magician - perhaps shaman’ would be a better word, because the shaman recognises the necessary element of illusion or fiction required by his work. "For example, there were theories in scientology about our progress toward a near perfect emotional and mental state called clear’ which I always knew to be a fiction, but which I supported because I thought it was a way of keeping people going in the process (therapy) - giving them hope and a future: hope as a necessary fantasy. Then there was the time, too, when he got everybody worked up about the threat of communism to scientology: that the big boys in the Kremlin were out to destroy scientology because it was a danger to them. Hubbard was the instigator of this scare. Every student was put through a lie detector test to ensure that there were no communist agents amongst us. Again, I knew that this was a fiction and that the Kremlin had never heard of scientology, let alone thought it a danger to them. I went along with this, too, because I thought it was a political move which would boost the prestige of scientology, making it more important in high places as well as giving scientology students a greater sense of their importance in the world. I am sure this was Hubbards motive, at least in part, so I forgave Hubbard all these deceptions because of what I thought were his overall good intentions. And that’s the thing you see: Hubbard was so sure that his intentions and his subject were for the good of mankind that he convinced everyone else - but that is what a good magician does: makes everyone believe in his illusions." Message-ID: <4b0e01$p3@sirius.intxpress.co.nz> #####

Church Life

Tilman Hausherr reposted a message from an AOL Scientologist this week. It shows the effect a.r.s is having on the lives of cult members. "A fellow scientologist (not on AOL) did tell his affiliation. Since then, his life at work has been rather difficult. Very anti-social co-workers with access to the internet confront him with jokes about clams (?), about our counsel Helena Kobrin or about a guy named Milme (??), or speak openly about the upper levels. They claim absolutely silly stuff about a guy named 'Zenu' (???) or something like that. His environment has become very entheta. The worst was friday, when they forced him to look at a 'page' on the internet that showed data looking like official state files, giving the impression that many Orgs had closed, i.e. that the Church was shrinking! (Of course we know that was all lies, since it is well known that we are expanding.) "His cried while arriving home; his wife called me. I gave him a touch assist, after which he felt better. Yes, that works ! Saturday he got some VERY GOOD auditing, and he has decided to enroll on the PTS/SP course to help him handle his PTP." Message-ID: <30d743c0.19268184@news.snafu.de>