This week I interviewed Shane Rybacki. He is a former Scientologist who had a short stint on the EPF, worked for the Office of Special Affairs in Orange County and was eventually kicked out of the Church and disconnected from his family because he dared to disparage Scientology in a public forum. He reached out to Tony and me to start telling his story and he had a lot to say.
This interview is a bit more "raw" than my usual interviews; we just get right into it and we don't follow a chronological order or even get his whole story. Instead, we focused mainly on his experience in the OSA office, including how he had to cover up a sexual crime involving his own minor girlfriend and an adult staff member; and how he was sent around to spy on people, destroy property and other nonsense to try to maintain a good public image for Scientology. For legal reasons, I bleeped out the name of the offending staff member but listeners will definitely get the idea of what went on.
— Chris Shelton
2020-11-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I happened to pull up this posting from April 2015 and in re-reading it I thought it important enough to repost here today.
With The Aftermath on Netflix, many new people are being exposed to the horrifying truth about scientology for the first time. And many have the same question as those who have been in the know for some time. How is it that scientology can be tax exempt?
This is a pretty good essay that explains in some detail why it should NOT. And it addresses a bit why it hasn't changed. Unfortunately, with a conservative majority now firmly entrenched in the US Supreme Court, it is unlikely the third branch of government will do anything other than bolster the arguments that scientology has so successfully used to shield itself from scrutiny and having to answer for its abuses. Change is more likely going to come from the legislative branch — contacting elected officials is the most effective avenue to bring scientology to justice.
2019-11-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
In the US today it is Thanksgiving. A time to reflect on and appreciate the good in your life.
For many who read this blog it is also a time of sadness as they are reminded of the family and friends they are not sharing this Thanksgiving with due to scientology's inhumane practice of disconnection.
But if you are one of those people, don't lose sight of the fact that you have been shut out of people's lives because you woke up and they have not. You found the freedom to think for yourself. To make the friends you choose. To enjoy time doing nothing without feeling guilty or being labeled a dilettante.
In 2013, the Church of Scientology slaughtered a couple of innocent live oak trees that had been standing in the way of a party the church wanted to throw itself.
Our longtime readers no doubt remember it. It was a classic example of Scientology's disregard for local laws when they get in the way of what the church wants. In this case Scientology wanted to put up a giant tent for the grand opening of their "Flag Building" (also known as the Super Power Building) in downtown Clearwater, Florida, where healthy old live oak trees are a rare and precious commodity. The city told Scientology not to cut down the trees and were working on a plan to relocate them, but the church defied that recommendation and cut the trees down anyway, and paid a $2,000 fine.
It was so characteristic of this smug, superior organization and it struck a chord with us. We decided that those two majestic trees should not be forgotten, and an idea came to us. We asked Observer, with her wonderful skills, if she would help us put together a scene we had in mind.
The third season premiere of A&E's Emmy-winning docuseries Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath has faced a barrage of legal threats from the Church of Scientology—so much so that a screener of the episode was only made available to press mere hours before its airing Tuesday night.
And as notoriously litigious as the church is, they had reason to be nervous, as the episode featured the exclusive testimony of Valerie Haney, a woman who was born into Scientology and not only served 22 years in the church's fraternal religious order Sea Org, whose members are required to sign billion-year contracts, but was also the personal aide to Scientology leader David Miscavige's wife Shelly, who hasn't been seen publicly since 2007. Haney says that she last saw Shelly in 2006, crying and entering a car that then departed Scientology's International Headquarters, or "Gold Base"—a compound on the outskirts of Riverside County, California.
"What [Miscavige] is doing with his wife, hiding her and not having her anywhere around, I don't get it. That is heartless to me," claims Haney.
Jenny Odell is an artist and critic whose Bureau of Suspended Objects report on dropshipping (previously) was a fascinating dive into the weird, scammy world of crapgadgets and farcically poorly made fashion items sold through a network of "influencers" and turnkey ecommerce tool.
Now, Odell has stumbled into a much weirder, much scammier, much murkier world, when she started investigating the parents of one of her Stanford students were receiving a steady stream of mysterious packages addressed to "Returns Department, Valley Fountain LLC."
Odell's investigation revealed a bizarre network of shitty, overpriced off-brand gadgets sold through thousands of Amazon stores, as well as through a mostly empty "department store" right in the middle of Manhattan, as well as through a network of "book stores" that mostly sold crappy gadgets, whose proprietor kept on changing his name.
While last night's season premiere of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath was airing on A&E, Scientology quietly posted a 12-minute smear video that may be the apotheosis of the genre.
As Mike Rinder pointed out in the episode last night, Scientology never disappoints — David Miscavige can't help but confirm everything the show is saying about him and his organization by following the dictates of L. Ron Hubbard with more vicious attacks on former members.
Attack. Attack. ATTACK.
2018-11-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
As always, interested to hear your views on season 3's first episode.
Of course, before it even aired, scientology put out their attempted "Dead Agent" smear of Valerie.
This consists entirely of claims made by her deadbeat brother and his wife — neither of whom know ANYTHING about Valerie's experiences in the Sea Org and with David Miscavige, and yet assert that Valerie is "selling her soul by telling lies for the attempted creation of 'reality TV'" ...
This video is what I expect to be my final word on the subject of conspiracy theory and theorists. Having been not just a former Scientologist but also a former conspiracy theorist myself, I've been on both sides of this equation and understand the thinking and mindset. Now that I have read the actual sociology and psychological studies on this matter, here is my summary and conclusions.
#ConspiracyTheory #Conspiracies #AlexJones
Conspiracy Theory Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGrPM1Pg2h72vf1K-G1TrURcpDAWtJ1wr
The Scientology Money Project did an article recently on the US Bankruptcy Court's denial of Matt and Kathy Feshbach's attempt to discharge $3.8 million in back taxes via bankruptcy. This led me to do further research on Matt Feshbach's Bahamian stem cell medical company called Okyanos Heart Institute. The result an article on Matt Feshbach and Okyanos at the Scientology Money Project. In the course of my research I found Feshbach and his business partner and fellow Scientology OT Manuel Vianna listed in the Paradise Papers:
Curious as I am about Scientology and its sources of money, I checked into Okyanos and discovered its $14.2 million dollars in capitalization largely came from a Scientologist named Ali Shawkat, a man whose father is Mudhar Shawkat, a former member of the Iraqi parliament. The ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database page on Mudhar Shawkat states that Appleby Global — an offshore law firm that some have compared to the notorious Panamanian firm of Mossack Fonseca — set up the "Passion Group S.A." for the Shawkat family. "S.A." is a business term meaning "Society Anonymous." A person who owns shares in an S.A. corporation can have those shares held by an offshore law firm. An S.A. grants a certain degree of anonymity.
There were concerns at Appleby about the Shawkat money and its Passion Group S.A., this according to an internal Appleby e-mail leaked by the Paradise Papers:
2017-11-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Today is "Giving Tuesday" — the idea is to stimulate online charitable giving to help those in need. When I got the email from the IAS I had to google this to see if it was a "thing" or just the latest invention of scientology to get people to part with their money.
Here is the first thing that showed up on my google search — and it is a typical example of the orrganizations that participate in this:
But here is what is even more important about this organization and others who participate in this program:
Conservative activist (and convicted criminal) James O'Keefe and his tax-exempt Project Veritas group are under fire again, following a botched "sting" operation in which an employee falsely told the Washington Post that she was raped by Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) as a teenager. The Post did not fall for her trick and instead exposed her for the blatant attempt to discredit the many women who have come forward with their stories of sexual assault.
Last October, ThinkProgress reported that Project Veritas had received a $10,000 donation in 2015 from Donald Trump's controversial Donald J. Trump Foundation, a theoretically charitable 501(c)(3) organization. This reporting was based on a list of charitable payments provided by the foundation to the Washington Post.
But a ThinkProgress review of the Trump Foundation's 2015 tax filing finds that it reported making not one but two $10,000 donations to Project Veritas in tax-year 2015.
You have to understand something, dear reader. L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, used to give lectures on practically a daily basis — and sometimes more than one a day — for decades. This character could talk and talk about anything for hours and hours, and his followers giggled and applauded their way through whatever he threw at them.
The sheer volume of Hubbard's output is staggering. So forgive us if we're only now running into a very troubling set of statements that Hubbard gave which were buried inside a lecture that was itself buried in an obscure series of talks he gave during a brief trip to London in September 1952.
Why did we stumble on this lecture now? Thanks to Leah Remini's second season of Scientology and the Aftermath, there's a much greater awareness and public interest in Scientology's treatment — and mistreatment — of children. For some time now, we've been telling you how shocking it was to find what appears to be an outright statement endorsing pedophilia in Scientology's most important book, Hubbard's 1950 breakout bestseller, Dianetics. And so we've been on the lookout for other material about children and sex that we might have overlooked before.
2017-11-28, Alex Kotch, International Business Times
Conservative campus group Turning Point USA is opposed to "safe spaces" — except when it comes to the generosity of its donors. Charlie Kirk, the group's 24-year-old founder, has claimed his organization has campus chapters at 1,000 colleges and universities and raised more than $5 million in 2016. Earlier this year, leaked records revealed TPUSA efforts to secretly funnel thousands of dollars into multiple college student government elections to elect conservatives.
The sources of much of that money have been a mystery, and how much some known sources give is still unknown. "To answer your question, no I will not disclose private giving amounts," Kirk told International Business Times in an email. "Some people like the amount of their charitable giving to remain anonymous so we wish to honor that request."
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, TPUSA is not required to disclose its donors. But based on public tax records and some reporting by other outlets, IBT has identified the sources of over $900,000 in funding for TPUSA. Republican mega-donor families, GOP politicians and other wealthy individuals have provided large amounts of money so the organization can spread free-market principles — from which the donors benefit — among young people, the majority of whom, overall, lean liberal.
"Today I cut ties with my mother, the most dedicated Scientologist I know."
That's how Liz Gale opened an essay published last month at former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder's website.
We found it startling for a couple of reasons. Not only for the circumstances of an ex-Scientologist disconnecting from her Scientologist mother rather than the other way around, but also because we had met Liz Gale and knew something of her family's complicated and tragic background.
Actress Leah Remini, a former member of the Church of Scientology, is now out with a new documentary that makes dramatic accusations about the church's alleged conduct. She tells TODAY's Savannah Guthrie that she's "not going to get a dime" for her efforts: "It's for the victims… it's for people who just maybe don't have the strength to fight."
Original source: http://www.today.com/news/leah-remini-her-battle-against-scientology-i-m-doing-victims-t105367
2016-11-28, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Leah Remini has produced a new television series called Scientology and the Aftermath which will be premiering tomorrow, November 29, on A&E. I was given an opportunity to see the first episode in advance and I wanted to give you my thoughts and feelings about it as someone who not only grew up in Scientology but who worked at its highest levels as part of the Sea Org for 17 years.
There have been a lot of shows, books, videos and interviews done about Scientology over the years, many of them mediocre or sensationalized but some completely spot-on and really nailing the subject from an insider's perspective which communicates just how insidious and horrible Scientology truly is for its members and anyone unlucky enough to fall within its area of influence. Probably the best of these was the documentary Going Clear, directed by Emmy-award winner Alex Gibney and written by Pulitzer prize winning author Lawrence Wright. This two-hour film was shown in selected movie theaters before premiering on HBO last year. Up until seeing that, I didn't think it was possible for anyone to truly communicate the culture, attitude and reality of what it was like to be a Scientologist, but Gibney and Wright pulled it off. Now, Leah Remini has taken a swing at this and based on the first episode, she has produced what is perhaps the best TV show I've ever seen on the subject of Scientology.
I respect Leah immensely but honestly, I did not have high expectations for this show. It's way too easy to sensationalize Scientology, to turn it into entertainment news fodder about its main celebrity members like Tom Cruise or John Travolta. Personally I'm sick and tired of hearing this subject trivialized into celebrity gossip about how often Tom Cruise doesn't visit his daughter or how John Travolta is trapped because of some blackmail Scientology may have about his secret gay lifestyle.
2016-11-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
PART 4 - MY LIFE WITH LRH - 1977
1977 Started off really great with my marriage to Gary.
Gary Reisdorf and I started going together from the time we arrived in La Quinta in 1976 and planned to get married as soon as we could, but due to my age I needed parental approval. We had to wait for quite a few months for that approval from my parents due to the slow lines between the US and South Africa. In the letters to my Mom I constantly asked for them to send the approval papers. I was also describing the wedding, my dress etc. I even drew pictures of what the dress was going to look like. I sewed my own dress on the sewing machine LRH had bought for us messengers. It was quite beautiful and was pretty good sewing for a 16 year old! I still have it.
A new website that accuses nearly 200 college professors of advancing "leftist propaganda in the classroom" and discriminating against conservative students has been criticized as a threat to academic freedom.
The site, Professor Watchlist, which first appeared Nov. 21, says it names those instructors who "advance a radical agenda in lecture halls."
"We aim to post professors who have records of targeting students for their viewpoints, forcing students to adopt a certain perspective, and/or abuse or harm students in any way for standing up for their beliefs," wrote Matt Lamb, an organizer of the site.
The Professor Watchlist is a project of Turning Point USA, a nonprofit organization that says its mission is to educate students about "true free market values." Charlie Kirk, its founder and executive director, wrote in a blog post that "it's no secret that some of America's college professors are totally out of line" and that it was time to expose them.
A number of our readers noticed that Scientology has been putting out gushing news about its unstoppable "expansion" in press releases that show up in the oddest places, like in a piece masquerading as a story that showed up in Digital Journal and in Jim Cramer's news website The Street. We have to wonder at the people who might take such claims of Scientology's growth seriously.
Yes, David Miscavige has convinced some of his followers to fork over huge amounts to pay for some new buildings, but these "Ideal Orgs" have replaced perfectly serviceable facilities and didn't actually represent any growth in the movement. Meanwhile, the orgs and missions that haven't gone Ideal are suffering as fewer and fewer people visit them.
We want to thank the tipster who has given us a glimpse of what's going on in Brighton, England, for example. He sent us the photo above, explaining that a few years ago, the Brighton org was housed in the top floor of the building you can see on the left. And, at one time, it was a thriving concern on a busy street.
The new issue of Impact magazine is out, and the publication - from the International Association of Scientologists - includes this great photograph of Bob and Trish Duggan with their newest piece of hardware from Scientology leader David Miscavige, given to them at the October IAS gala in England. They've reached yet another new donation status (which had to be invented for them) - Patron Invictus! And look at that trophy shine!
For our newer readers, we'll try to explain what's going on in this picture. You see, Scientology has always been about money. Sure, in the old days, the amounts were more modest, but from the beginning L. Ron Hubbard held out the tantalizing prospect that if you followed his highly regimented and detailed counseling procedures, step by increasingly pricey step you'd get closer and closer to some kind of space opera godhood. In more recent years, the prices for those steps have become hugely expensive, and it can take half a million dollars just in course fees to reach the top of the "Bridge to Total Freedom." But at least you were working toward that goal.
In the last ten years or so, current church leader David Miscavige has made a big shift when it comes to Scientology and money. He has asked members to give even more cash than ever - but rather than for their spiritual advancement, members are being asked to fork over this money simply for the sake of donating money itself.
2014-11-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
John Mappin is at it again...
Now THIS is a true OT 7 success. The sign on his building is rusting and a letter fell off. How "OT" — now it spells "CAME OT". Amazing cause over MEST. And 580 people "like" it.
Just Plain Weird
2013-11-28, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. A day to be relieved that you are no longer giving to the organization that doesnt thank you for what you have given, but simply looks upon you with little vulture eyes "we got this much out of him/her, there has to be more where that came from."
The only thing true about this email is that this IS "bombastic." I guess the author is unfamiliar with the words she uses as bombastic means: high-sounding but with little meaning; inflated.
The nerve of these people. "In 3 days we are going to announce the biggest/best/over-the-top/bombastic/largest/highest-ever..." Now give us your money by Thursday at 2 so we can fund it!!!
Programming note: Today is the beginning of the US Thanksgiving Day holiday, a celebration of all things truly American: hours of epic gluttony followed by sitting in front of the television watching people in colorful armored uniforms colliding vigorously with each other, playing a slightly different version of "football" than that practiced in most other countries.
The next day is an even bigger holiday, and it is even more uniquely American. Called "Black Friday," people flock to shopping malls at improbably early hours to run up the balance on their credit cards, spending money they don't actually have to buy the latest soon-to-be-obsolete consumer electronics gadgets and tons of clothes to overload their already bulging closets.
Thanksgiving is a little different for us in Global Capitalism HQ, however: the supermodels are not so big on the gluttony aspect and have no understanding of American football. But they sure know how to shop for clothes on Black Friday. So they spend Thursday stretching, practicing their martial arts moves, and checking the traction of their running shoes to make sure they can corner nimbly in the aisles at Barneys and all those trendy little boutiques in the Village to beat out all the other supermodels racing for the best deals. When it comes to bone-crunching collisions, American football players have nothing on the supermodels going for a half-off Vera Wang number on the "better dresses" floor at Bergdorf's. They won't have me to supervise them; the jet has already jetted off to the ancestral homeland, where I'll be communing with the waves of coniferous trees at the Capitalist Parents' waterfront estate and eating healthy.
Have you ever seen an SP, Tom? Jefferson Hawkins was once the top marketing executive for the Church of Scientology and helped it reach its greatest extent with the famous "volcano" TV ads in the 1980s. He's told his tale of getting into and out of the church with his excellent books Counterfeit Dreams and Leaving Scientology, and he's helping us understand the upside-down world of Scientology "ethics."
Where are you taking us next, Jeff?
JEFFERSON: This week, we're taking up Chapter 7 of the Ethics book, "The Basics of Suppression." We'll actually split this chapter into two articles, one on Suppressive Persons, and another, next week, on Potential Trouble Sources. Both concepts are so integral to the Scientology control system that they each deserve their own analysis. So this week, we'll take up Suppressives.
2013-11-28, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
What is it that makes Thanksgiving such a powerful notion and valued celebration? In studying all manner of philosophy and contemplative practice of late, I have noticed a widespread, repeating thread that might begin to answer the question. That is, the power of the practice of gratitude. To get an idea of how popular the idea is, try googling 'practice of gratitude' and explore the results. One high-rated result is a short spot by Brene Brown (who was featured earlier on this blog) that serves as a great introduction to the subject:
"Hey, I was just in the neighborhood and thought I'd stop by..."
Ken Dandar continues on his quest to convince federal Judge Virginia Covington that he was the victim of a conspiracy by the Church of Scientology to corrupt Florida's state court system.
On Sunday, Dandar filed an affidavit by Sue Rudd, the former clerk of the late Susan Schaeffer, a Florida state judge who presided for two years over the contentious Lisa McPherson wrongful death civil lawsuit, from 2001 to 2003. (The case was settled in 2004.)
2012-11-28, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Reference: 30 Million Dollar Cover Up
According to the judicial assistant of the late Judge Susan Schaeffer, David Miscavige's advances toward the judge were rejected during the McPherson case:
Declaration of Sue Rudd
New revelations in the 17-year Lisa McPherson saga keep coming as evidence mounts that the Church of Scientology spent tens of millions of dollars in an attempt to corrupt the investigative and judicial systems in the state of Florida.
Now, we have found more evidence from inside Scientology that tends to corroborate testimony given by Marty Rathbun, formerly the second-highest ranking official in the church.
Could Scientology be a game?
While reading the fabulous article in the New Yorker about Paul Haggis on his experience and ultimate departure from scientology.. I was also reading a book on gaming theory at the same time....
Check out the connection!
2011-11-28, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
NEW: See our lengthy interview with Valeska Paris, with much more information about her background, her time aboard the Freewinds, and her memories of Tom Cruise's infamous 2004 birthday aboard the ship.
Australian journalist Steve Cannane of the ABC program Lateline e-mailed us early this morning with this stunning new report which aired only a few hours ago in that country.
Valeska Paris tells Cannane that she joined Scientology's hardcore Sea Organization -- signing its standard billion-year contract -- at only 14 years of age. Three years later, after her stepfather committed suicide and her mother denounced Scientology on French television, Paris was ordered to "disconnect" from her family. She says that church leader David Miscavige then enforced that disconnection by having her put on the cruise ship, the Freewinds, that sails the Caribbean and caters to high-level church members.
2011-11-28, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Valeska Paris Guider has added her testimony to the growing body of evidence that David Miscavige runs an elaborate, worldwide Human Trafficking operation in violation of International law.
Valeska Paris Guider on ABC Lateline.
Thank you Valeska for having the courage to speak out, in spite of the reported legal threat. Corporate Scientology's response that Valeska breached an alleged contract to remain silent about Miscavige's serial violations of law is an effective admission to the facts she shares. Virtually everyone who has witnessed corporate Scientology's criminality and spoken out have signed their worthless, unenforceable, against-public-policy muzzle contracts. Dozens in the past two years have been heard. Corporate Scientology's response has been to slime the witness with character assassination with no reference to the muzzle agreements. Now, apparently out of desperation, Miscavige directs the response: "well, they are legally barred from disclosing my crimes." Brilliant. A regular Edward Bernays (nephew of Sigmund Freud and father of the subject of Public Relations).
2011-11-28, Steve Cannane, Lateline, ABC News (Australia)
Her mother had denounced Scientology on French TV after her ex-husband, Albert Jaquier, had committed suicide. A self-made millionaire, his last days were spent in poverty. In a diary he kept, he blamed the Church of Scientology for fleecing him of his fortune.
Valeska Paris says the Church was so worried her mother would take her away that Scientology's leader David Miscavige intervened, ordering she be taken to the Church's cruise ship, The Freewinds.
An Australian woman claims she was held against her will on a Church of Scientology cruise ship for 12 years.
The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Valeska Paris said the church's leader, David Miscavige, sent her to the cruise ship The Freewinds when she was 17 to stop her mother from taking her away from Scientology.
The broadcaster said she was born into a Scientology family in Switzerland and at age 6, moved to the church's headquarters in the United Kingdom, where she was placed in its youth wing, then joined its Sea Organization at 14, ABC said.
THE Brumby Government has banned a group linked to the Church of Scientology from Victoria's public schools after it sponsored an art prize.
The Government acted after learning from the Herald Sun that thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money was used to back a school art prize run by the Scientology-sponsored Youth for Human Rights. It follows a similar move by the NSW Government last week.
A group linked to the Church of Scientology is mounting an emergency campaign to "flood Mumbai" with hundreds of thousands of booklets by L Ron Hubbard in order to spread its message to residents traumatised by the terror attacks.
As Counterknowledge.com reports, Scientologists have sent out an email which says: "Flood Mumbai with TWTH [Hubbard's The Way to Happiness] booklets! This will help calm down the area! … 100,000 booklets can be printed in India. We need to raise £21,000 on an immediate basis to make up the full amount." The operation is being mounted by ABLE, the Association for Better Living and Education, which is officially described as "Scientology-related".
CLEARWATER — Once upon a time, downtown was a place where you could get your hair cut, buy a suit, catch a movie, try on shoes, shop for toys, replace your tools, and even kick the tires on a new car.
"Everything you could think of was downtown. No matter what you were looking for, you could find it," said Lillian Trickel, owner of Trickels Jewelers.
Trickel, 91, has stayed in business downtown for an astounding 63 years, through thick and thin, prompting Clearwater officials to recently award her the key to the city.
Among the religions on the rise are Buddhism, up 79 per cent since 1996, Islam, up 40 per cent, Hinduism up 42 per cent, and Penatacostalism, up 11 per cent.
Nature religions, including Wicca and witchcraft had grown by 130 per cent and Scientology had 37 per cent more followers.
Something otherworldly is happening inside Hangar 12, something they're trying to keep secret. But we can tell you this much: John Travolta is involved, and so are space aliens.
Soldiers have secured the perimeter. "Warning: This establishment is under permanent surveillance by the military police," a sign says. Absolutely no trespassing, by order of Canada's minister of national defense.
But through the 10-foot-high chain-link fence topped with triple strands of barbed wire, you can spy pieces of weird aircraft. They look like menacing insects. Occasionally a large, hairy creature will amble into view.
According to court records, Erlich, who is now a church critic, began his postings to a Usenet news group through Netcom in 1994. He posted a 17-page transcript of Hubbard's confidential lectures. That was followed later with the postings of other church documents. Usenet is a popular area on the Internet in which users can read or post messages that others with Internet access can read.
Last February, Scientology attorneys secured a court order to raid Erlich's home in Glendale, California. Erlich says they seized 400 computer diskettes, copied them, then deleted his hard drive.
Netcom also claimed a victory of sorts from the ruling. The judge denied a preliminary injunction request from the Church of Scientology to prevent Netcom from posting the documents. The judge said the church had not sufficiently proved its copyright infringement claim.