Sunday, January 04, 2009

Scientology vs. the Internet history lesson

Jeff Jacobsen and Mark Bunker are hosting a 90-minute Internet radio show on the battle between Scientology and the Internet that took place before Anonymous, and it's about to start now (4 p.m. Arizona time, 3 p.m. PST, 6 p.m. EST). A number of old-timers from alt.religion.scientology will likely be calling in.

It's on blogtalkradio, show title is "Old-Timers give a history lesson."

First guest: Modemac, skeptic, SubGenius, and author of an Introduction to Scientology website, on the early history of alt.religion.scientology.

Second guest: Paulette Cooper, author of The Scandal of Scientology, an early major book-length criticism of Scientology, who was the victim of dirty tricks including framing her for a bomb threat and filing 19 lawsuits against her.

Third guest: Ron Newman, author of the Church of Scientology vs. the Net web pages and alt.religion.scientology regular.

Fourth guest: Yours truly.

UPDATE (January 5, 2009): A few clarifications and additional links:

The "Miss Bloodybutt" story Modemac referred to is described in the article Jeff and I wrote in Skeptic magazine, which includes dates. The -AB- posting didn't predate the event and included information from the police report. I interviewed Tom Klemesrud and Linda Woolard as part of my research for that story.

I was taken out to lunch by Scientology's Mesa Org OSA Director, Ginny Leeson, who asked what they could do to stop the criticism and pickets. My reply was that if they stopped suing people and trying to stop criticism, the pickets would probably stop. Ginny Leeson was soon replaced by a new OSA Director, Leslie Duhrman, who was a lot more hostile and aggressive--she went after picketer Bruce Pettycrew with legal action. I have received legal threats from Scientology and a DMCA notice, but nothing ever came of them; I periodically see Church of Scientology IP addresses visiting my web sites (also here).

My Scientology private investigators page is still online, though woefully out-of-date.

I wasn't the one who first called for coordinated international pickets, that was Jeff Jacobsen. I did issue (on behalf of the "Ad Hoc Committee Against Internet Censorship") the first coordinated press release about why the picketing was occurring, in response to Scientology's "Cancelbunny" that was issuing cancellations of Usenet posts containing their secrets.

There was a article in 1999 about Susan Mullaney ("xenubat")'s posted audio files of L. Ron Hubbard saying embarrassing things, which Scientology used the DMCA to shut down. She issued a counter-notice and the material came back online. Some of those clips were used in very funny Scientology-critical songs by "Enturbulator 009" or the "El Queso All-Stars."

I've previously posted a "Scientology sampler" of my history of Scientology criticism and some posts about the "Anonymous" protests. This blog has a "Scientology" label you can click to find all my Scientology-related posts.

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