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Scientology Uses DMCA to Delist Critic's Website 648

touretzky writes: "Scientology has used a DMCA threat to force removal of a large number of pages from xenu.net from the Google search engine. Some of the pages Scientology is objecting to contain no material owned by the cult; other pages are clearly covered under "fair use". Scientology's ongoing abuse of Google is documented here. Of course, the Norwegian owner of xenu.net could write a counternotification letter, but that would require him to agree to the jurisdiction of a US court in a district of Scientology's choosing." The posting by Heldal-Lund agrees with what we can observe at Google - the pages listed in the posting aren't in Google's database, though many others are. Update: 03/21 14:16 GMT by M : Paul Wouters of xtdnet.nl (which hosts xenu.net) submits this page documenting Scientology's attacks against the ISP for continuing to host xenu.net.
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Scientology Uses DMCA to Delist Critic's Website

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  • Are they convinced the way to expand their membership is to make enemies with... everyone?
    • by SweenyTod ( 47651 ) <sweenytod@nOSPam.sweenytod.com> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:13AM (#3199755) Homepage
      It's not really all that surprising. They have a long history of threatening anybody who critises them. They drove one critic out of America [slashdot.org], sued the creator of this site [lermanet.com], to name two of the more well known actions.

      They have no choice. Their creater, L Ron Hubbard, said that they were to never defend, always attack. They can't help themselves. I run a small web site, with some critical information on it, and I've had legal threats.
      • by ab762 ( 138582 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:56AM (#3199983) Homepage

        In Canada, they've lost all the way to the Supreme Court [scc-csc.gc.ca] - One case is Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto, 1995. It was a libel case, and the details will look pretty familiar. Holysmoke [holysmoke.org]has an extract [holysmoke.org] and this [umontreal.ca] is the full thing. Umontreal's archive is linked from the official Supreme Court of Canada page.

        Great quote: "Every aspect of this case demonstrates the very real and persistent malice of Scientology." - from the Court itself.

        I know that there have been many other rulings in Canada against Scientology, but only this one is easily available on-line.

        Henry Troup - hwt@igs.net

      • by arkanes ( 521690 ) <arkanes@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:56AM (#3199985) Homepage
        I worked for a bookstore once, and they called us to ask if we'd be interested in carrying thier books. We told them no. They weoman on the line then got very aggressive and argumentative, insisting to know why we wouldn't carry them (hatred of stupid cult + no money), wanting our names and addresses (home address, not just the store one) and lots of other ridiculous stuff before we hung up on her. Was kinda scary, really.
      • Thanks for the pointer Sweenytodd,

        Well, right now the Keith Henson page mentioned in article at operatingthetan.com is unavailable.. due to load from slashdot hits, we need to spread the load out for folks that are motivated to find out more about the KING of CONs.. L Ron Hubbard,

        It doesnt matter which of the many critical pages one hits...we are all hooked to the resources on each other's pages. An index of the critical sites is here: http://www.lermanet.com/links/index.html, [lermanet.com]

        All folks have to do to defeat scientology and send it to the scarp yard of history is to keep on getting the word out,

        Ferengi + Borg = Scientology I'd prefer to die speaking my mind than live fearing to speak.
        The only thing that always works in scientology are its lawyers
        The internet is the liberty tree of the new millennium
        Secrets are the mortar binding lies as bricks together into prisons for the mind
        http://www.lermanet.com [lermanet.com]mentioned 4 January 2000 in
        The Washington Post's - 'Reliable Source' column re "Scientologist with no HEAD"
        You want Bigots? http://members.cox.net/bwarr2/Movie2.html [cox.net]
    • by Hanno ( 11981 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:37AM (#3199854) Homepage
      Are they convinced the way to expand their membership is to make enemies with... everyone?

      Yes, in a way that is a good summary of their world view from _out_ perspective. They, of course, think that it's the other way round...

      Scientology is, in a way, similar to a doomsday cult, although they don't believe in a soon-to-come end of the world. They believe that humanity is on a path to immediate self-destruction and that Scientology is the only way to "save" and "free" the world. They believe that they are superiour beings (members claim to have gained superhuman powers by their Sc.-training). We, the non-members, are just stupid "wogs", who can be cheated, lied to, even killed at will. Hubbard actually promised his members the superhuman power of killing such enemies by mere thought.

      They also believe to be in a constant state of siege by the outside world, surrounded by enemies trying to enslave them. The outside world is seen as hostile, non-members are a grey goo of stupids and critics are evil enemies who can be attacked with every means possible. Sc.'s favourite weapon is lawyers...

      Of course, Sc. sees this as pure self-defense against the hostile outside world. However, someone who dares to say something remotely critical of the cult is instantly labeled an enemy and handled as such, making the small critic an even fiercer critic...

      So, yeah, Scientology is making itself is making enemies from people who just expressed doubt. And this helps Scientology, because *having* enemies is proof of their worldview and is what keeps the cult together.
      • by dgroskind ( 198819 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:07AM (#3200059)

        They believe that humanity is on a path to immediate self-destruction ...

        Using the word "believe" gives Scientology too much credit. It's like saying that McDonalds believes you deserve a break today. Their so-called beliefs are nothing more than marketing techniques.

        In any case, if they wanted to foster a sense of persecution, you'd think they'd leave the pages up as evidence rather than trying to suppress them. They're behaving like any other business that faces criticism, which is further evidence that they are a business, not a religion.

        • Depends on what definition of the word "believe" you give precedence: 1) to blindly accept as true, or 2) to hold an opinion. McDonalds doesn't religiously _believe_ you need a break, but the Scientology freaks really _believe_ that we evolved from clams (or something).

          Taking the middle ground definition, to "believe" would be to take a hardline stance on some issue. Like how atheists "believe" that there is zero possibility of any higher power (which is why I'm agnostic--sitt'n on a very comfortable fence).

          --

      • by thesolo ( 131008 ) <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:36AM (#3200225) Homepage
        They believe that they are superiour beings (members claim to have gained superhuman powers by their Sc.-training). We, the non-members, are just stupid "wogs", who can be cheated, lied to, even killed at will. Hubbard actually promised his members the superhuman power of killing such enemies by mere thought.

        Exactly. Want to see how L. Ron Hubbard would deal with non-CoS members? Check out Scientology's plan for extermination [xs4all.nl]. The CoS has a "tone scale", which they think everyone falls onto, and that you can predict someone's exact behavior based on where they fall on that scale. If you are a 2.0 or less on that scale, they believe you should have no civil rights at all. (Hubbard actually wrote that in one of his books, isn't that lovely?). You can read more on that scale here [xs4all.nl].

        Also, you can see a copy of Scientology Related Deaths here [google.com] (thanks google cache! ha!)
    • Well, if you are trying to peddle the kind of bulls**t they do, you don't have much of a choise.
      If people heard the whole story about evil space empires and such before they were sucked into the cult, few would join...
      ..and that would disrupt their cashflow.

      As we all know that the DMCAs purpose is to protect the revenues of businesses. At everyone elses expense.
    • by The Qube ( 749 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:00AM (#3200016)
      A great book to read on the subject and their philosophy is "A Piece of Blue Sky [cmu.edu]" by Jon Atack.

      You can read it here [cmu.edu].

    • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:12AM (#3200087)
      Scientology expands it's membership via various "charities" and frontgroups who's sole purpose is to raise money for the "church" and recruit new members.


      One example is Narconon [xenu.net] which is little more than a scientology front designed to seperate addicts and their families from their cash while simultaneously indoctrinating them into the Co$. There have been numerous testimonials that the last thing Narconon is interested in is seeing people get better.


      And of course they also hawk their ridiculous "self help" Dianetics book in informercials and flyers (never mentioning the Co$ of course) as well as the usual "personality tests" and other sleazy means they con people into visiting their premises. They'll do anything to get vulnerable, troubled and most importantly solvent people caught up into believing their lies. They even stooped so low as to do a recruitment drive for WTC victims, under the guise of offering counselling of course.


      Whatever the means, the "raw meat" (the mark) gets a few "free" intensive audits, after which their reasoning faculties are sufficiently suppressed that the Co$ can start milking them for cash by selling self-improvement courses and so on. The higher up this "bridge" they get, the more money the courses cost. The Co$ doesn't like people knowing about their courses because it deprives them of money and exposes them to ridicule.


      It is actually worth reading Dianetics (don't buy it though) to see how ludicrous it all is. The author L Ron Hubbard and Co$ was a nut, a criminal, a pathological liar, a sadist, a control freak and a conman. Diananetics and his other works (e.g. A History of Man) are like an attractive lure on the end of a fishing line. Promise the reader the answer to all their problems can be found in the Co$ and then reel 'em in. It's quite tragic to think how many lives this man has ruined.

  • Wow, that's the second /. story concerning scientology in a few weeks. They seem very present on the Internet going to some lengths [operatingthetan.com] being even more present. I don't have the impression that other 'religions' are as technologically orientated as this. Thoughts?
    • I agree that scientology is more present on the web than other religious communities.
      Unfortunately, it is completely in sync with their overall strategy.:-(
      One major leg of their operations is to get the managers of companies. Through them, they then infiltrate the rest of the company. For that, they offer "management seminars" and the like, which are not visibly scientology-seminars, if my memory of the news doesn't fault me here...
      This top-down approach is, as far as I know, unique to them. No other religious grouping that I am aware of does that.
      Of course, their seminars are so hideously expensive that they need financially potent customers, so it is understandable.

      What I find dangerous about that presence is not that they're "here" but that they are allowed to bully people into believing that their claims hold some validity...
      After all, google did remove the links, so there must be some valid claim behind it.
      Of course, there isn't... but the impression is created... and impressions are mightier than fact on the web (and most other places in the world).
      The fact that scientology has never filed any infringement suit should make it obvious that there is no validity in their claim.
      That is not the case though...
      After all, this is a possible way to look at things:
      The google lawyers looked at the allegation, found it valid, acted accordingly.
      And thus, it was not neccessary to file a suit.
      This is the classic "I can turn my weakness into a strength" trick... and again, perception is mightier than the fact.

      • And at a recent "Body, Mind and Spirit" conference in Dublin Ireland there was a very clean looking stand with no indication as to who it was but they were obviously nice people offering "Free Stress Tests". A slightly closer inspection revelead that in fact this was the scienmoroligists and they justed wanted to plug people into the machine. I laughed and laughed and laughed and described my memories of scientoligists to my friends while standing at the edge of their stand. They liked that especially as all I could really remember was the outline of the OT III!
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2002 @11:06AM (#3200446)
        The Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (MHMR [state.tx.us]) is almost completely made up of Scientologists in the upper levels of management.

        It regularly hires or promotes Scientologists into positions of management, and in most cases pays them well above normal salary for such positions.

        In fact, the head of MHMR is either the first or second highest paid state employee in Texas (I forget.)

        As a condition of employment at or above a certain level of management, employees are required to take one or more "ropes courses", which is promoted as a confidence/team-building class, but is in fact one of these screening/indoctrination courses operated by CoS.

        This of course is illegal, and since it's being paid for by the state, it is redirecting state taxpayer money to CoS.

        So Texas taxpayers have been unwittingly been funding the CoS for several years. Despite volumes of very concrete and damning evidence, the State Attorney General won't even discuss taking up a case.

        I wonder how many other states or state agencies are in the same situation?

        It's too bad I have to post this anonymously.

      • Top-down was used by Christianity for a long time. When it became the official religion of the Roman empire, it was not the most practiced religion or even close - rich, powerful people had been converted (like Constantine and many of the emperors up to whoever actually made it official). When the Christians went to convert the barbarians, they'd target the leaders of the tribe (mostly because it was the leader's beliefs that dictated the beliefs of the tribe).

        But it is pretty effective.
  • by it0 ( 567968 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:07AM (#3199719)
    1 scientology discovers googlewhacking 2 scientology discovers dmca to scare people 3 PROFIT!!!
  • Censored image (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mattygfunk ( 517948 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:08AM (#3199725) Homepage
    xenu.net is now posting a "censored by google" image on their front page. It can be seen here [xenu.net]
  • On any Scientology-related sites, just put XENU.NET at the very top of the webpage and say "For very in-depth studies of Scientology, go here."

    Then those non-xenu.net sites that people will find when they search Google will point them to xenu.net :)
    • If you read this [dailyrotten.com] article at rotten.com, you'll see that a lot of people did that, and google ranked xenu [xenu.net] from 18th to 4th or 5th. Apparently this is a technique known as "google bombing" and is frowned upon, at least according to the article.
  • Rotten covered this (Score:3, Informative)

    by Satai ( 111172 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:09AM (#3199735)
    Rotten [rotten.com] covered this, touching on the Open Directory aspect a bit. Check it out here [dailyrotten.com].
  • MPAA vs Google (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vodak ( 119225 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:09AM (#3199737)
    So now that someone is bringing google to court saying that their caching of pages violates the DMCA how long before the MPAA goes after google about all the links to the DeCSS code?
    • Seriously, do they even care anymore? Have they been still going after DeCSS hosts?
    • I have noticed that a search of "xenu" will still turn up results. Not exactly "censored" in my opinion. I think Google just did some blocks to appease the scientologists and not completely break their credo. Cut them some slack. In this world were politicians and lawyers have more influence over the 'net than programmers and the technology-literate, they have to tread carefully.

      nahtanoj

  • by EvilAlien ( 133134 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:10AM (#3199738) Journal
    The DMCA is a law that circumvents the justice system and allow rights holders to intimidate at a whim. All they need is a moderately clever lawyer in their pocket to draft a nasty letter and free speech gets thrown out the window.

    Thankfully, we don't have a DMCA equivalent (yet) in Canada, and American law doesn't hold sway outside the borders of the land-of-the-not-so-free. I wonder if this recent Scientology idiocy is in force for Google.ca [google.ca]?

    Unfortunately, for those of you thinking it may be time to move to Canada, our Justice Department is tabling bills that will make the DMCA look fair. The Canadian Government is using Australia as a role-model rather than the European community or even the US. Both sets of legal code are too lax, according to Canadian law makers. Be afraid, be VERY afraid.

    • by Eimi Metamorphoumai ( 18738 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:00AM (#3200010) Homepage
      Yes and no. Before the DMCA, the process would be more like "Get a laywer to file a lawsuit against Google." Now it's "Get a lawyer to draft a letter." IIRC, the letter Google received would have contained a sworn statement (under penalty of purjury) that each of the urls listed contained material copyrighted by the CoS. Technically (probably not in reality, but I can dream, can't I?) xenu.net can file their counterstatement affirming they're not in violation, and if they win go on to file a countersuit for felony purjury charge. I, personally, would love to see someone end up with jailtime over this sort of thing.
  • Effectiveness? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheGreenLantern ( 537864 ) <thegreenlntrn@yahoo.com> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:10AM (#3199740) Homepage Journal
    As I understand it, Google is only required to remove refrences to certain pages on the site, not the whole site entirely?

    How effective is this going to be? Even if the pages to "Operation Clambake" or whatever are removed from Google, xenu.net is probably still going to show up (depending on the search criteria used, I suppose). Once you're at the xenu.net home page, it's a trivial matter to find the other pages in question that Scientology has a problem with.
  • Come on, if people would just _not_ accept this law (especially if they're in another country!) it won't be affective. Take a lesson from Thoraeu, Gandhi, and King people! It's called nonviolent protest, it's called civil disobedience! It's called a chance against this! Damn....
    • Individuals can participate in civil disobedience, companies cannot. If they'd try, it would be called "failure to comply" and the company would be fined, or perhaps even dissolved should they take it that far.
  • (C)2002 Google - Searching 2,073,418,204 web pages and skipping 4,475,243,576 pages under the DMCA

    • Who is bigger, Scientology or Google?

      Google should take a stand and let Scientology sue away. Who would still like Scientology if it was responsible for Google's downfall?
  • I hate scientology. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doctor Fishboy ( 120462 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:16AM (#3199767)
    A friend's sister converted to Scientology and she promptly dated a 50 year old bloke - she was 22 at the time. Even ignoring the age difference, the sudden and radical change in her whole personality (from friendly and a good laugh to extremely insular and compulsive neurotic) scared me *a lot*.

    She left the cult (whoops, I meant "religion") two years ago and with the support of her family is on the road to recovery. I don't know if her family persuaded her to leave or they did a rescue mission for her.

    I don't know what she thinks of Scientology nowadays.

    Definitely very creepy fuckers. Best avoided, or failing that, best viewed in a strong critical light. Are they working for your spiritual development, or are they fleecing you for all your money?
  • by zapfie ( 560589 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:21AM (#3199787)
    In an unprecedented move, RAMBUS, Inc. announced a planned merger with the Scientologist movement. "We invest a lot of money in protecting our ideas, and noticed a similar trend with the Scientologists. It only made sense to pool our resources." noted Tom Quinn, VP of Marketing at RAMBUS. As part of the merger, RAMBUS will drop its chip-making division, leaving them only to focus on their legal persuits. The Scientologists will continue their legal efforts to use the DMCA to erase all traces of their existance. Analysts were uncertain what to think of the merger. "What are they going to do? Make holy chips?" was one response heard.
  • Andreas, xenu.net's owner announced all this on the usenet group alt.religion.scientology. You can read his posting here [google.com] on google (hah!), where he talks about it, and what URLs were de-listed.
  • by Oink.NET ( 551861 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:28AM (#3199817) Homepage
    Check out Google's removal policy [google.com] for a little more perspective (bold text is their doing, not mine):

    "Google views the quality of its search results as an extremely important priority. Therefore, Google stops indexing the pages on your site only at the request of the webmaster who is responsible for those pages. This policy is necessary to ensure that pages are not inappropriately removed from our index.

    "Since Google is committed to providing thorough and unbiased search results for our users, we cannot participate in the practice of censoring information on the world wide web."

    Wow... I'm very surprised. Google is usually very good at practicing what they preach.

    • by Oink.NET ( 551861 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:20AM (#3200129) Homepage
      On further reading of Google's removal policy [google.com], it looks like this case is being handled similarly to requests for removal of images from servers you don't have access to. Note the DMCA in the email address, dmca-images@google.com.

      Option 2: If you do not have any access to the server that hosts your image

      To have an image removed from our image search service, you must provide a written communication (email or regular mail) that sets forth the items specified below. Please note that you may be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees) if you materially misrepresent that you own an image when you in fact do not. Accordingly, if you are not sure whether you have the right to request removal from our image search service, we suggest that you first contact an attorney.

      To expedite our ability to process your request, please use the following format (including section numbers):

      1. For each image you wish to have removed from our image search service, (a) provide the exact URL for the image, and (2) indicate whether that URL is owned or operated by you.
        For example:
        http://www.google.com/press/art.gif, yes
        http://www.google.com/images/toolbar_about.gi f, no
      2. Provide information reasonably sufficient for Google to contact you (email address is preferred).

      3. Include the following statement: "I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that, for each of the images identified above, I am (or am authorized to act on behalf of) the copyright owner or an exclusive licensee."

      4. Sign the written communication (digitally or in ink).

      5. Send the written communication to either of the following addresses:

        dmca-images@google.com [mailto]

        Google, Inc.
        Attn: Customer Support, Image Search Service complaints
        2400 Bayshore Pkwy
        Mountain View, CA 94043

    • by Squirrel Killer ( 23450 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:24AM (#3200150)
      I feel sorry for Google, now that they've opened the door to de-list pages. I can see all sorts of targets of criticism claiming the DMCA to cow Google into removing results. Think of all the added work Google will have to do to comply with all those requests.

      FORD EXEC: This site is critical of our new Ford Excessive SUV, DMCA it out of you're listings!
      GOOGLE: Oh...O-OK...sure... (Butter's voice)

      BLIZZARD LAWYER: This site has a program to allow our games to be used on a LAN! DMCA it out of your database!
      GOOGLE: Oh...O-OK...sure...

      BILL G.: This review says bad things about our SQL server. Fire the DMCA at it Google!
      GOOGLE: Oh...O-OK...sure...

      DUBYA: Our military plans are protected by the DMCA. Google, nuke this site that criticizes them!
      GOOGLE: Oh...O-OK...sure...

      Maybe if they had stood up for their own free speech rights they wouldn't have opened the barn door like this. As much as I like Google, part of me wants to see the floodgates open and the de-listers come swarming in. Maybe someone will realize that occasionally, you do have to stand up for your rights.

      -sk

    • by CoreDump ( 1715 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:53AM (#3200347) Homepage Journal
      I think the subject speaks for itself.

      If Google's policy is in conflict with Federal Law ( IE, the DMCA ), guess which one will be upheld?

  • by 1stflight ( 48795 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:28AM (#3199819)
    I'm at a loss to understand how the US law has any sway in another country. Why didn't Xenu (sp?) just tell them to fsck off?
    • by Misch ( 158807 )
      I'm at a loss to understand how the US law has any sway in another country.

      In this case, it doesn't. It's being used against a company in the United States (Google).

      I don't think it's affecting Google in Italy, for example [google.it]

  • Scientology (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Am I the only one who finds it funny that the Scientologist cult denies to the general public that they dont believe the Galactic Emperor Xenu and the body thetans (ie dead spirits of other aliens) are responsible for all the wrongs in the world. Yet if you post the relevant documentation they will sue the hell out of you for trade secret violation.

    They dont even care if they have a valid claim for their suits, they just want to intimidate. Ask keith henson, he is currently in exile in canada. He did the horrible crime of posting the gps coordinates of the LA headquarters and hinting someone shoot a T"om Cruise" missle at it. He was convicted of electronic terrorism even though the posting was clearly in jest.

    And dont forget poor Bob Mintons cat! Someone left the dead bugger on Bobs doorstep after they tortured it to death. Why is it that the euros see right through the scientologists, but in america most people do not?

  • by Ender Ryan ( 79406 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:31AM (#3199826) Journal
    This could be a huge step, now we have a case of the DMCA being used as a weapon against your average citizen. Xecu.net is an informative site that helps people, average people, who come into contact with the CoS.

    If the EFF would get involved in this, maybe the DMCA can be ruled unconstitutional. If there's any case so far that has a chance of going that far, it's this one.

    Maybe at the same time, the CoS can be exposed for what it is, a cult, and have their religion status removed by the IRS...

    Am I just being too optimistic?

    • I've said it before and I'll say it again. If it weren't for religion, the world would be a much better place. You're right though, its definately a cult. How desperate must people be to fall for this shit?
  • Scientolgy has so much money that they'll just keep going after you, keep you tied up in court, even if they lost they'll keep trying and doing more and more to either suck up all your money for layers to protect yourself, or to just drive you so crazy that you give up.

    Even if the DMCA doesn't hold up in this case, they'll find some other way to drive google nuts and remove the links. They'll blame it on copyright, slander, ANYTHING just so Google has to spend money on protecting their interests..

  • by lermanet ( 567993 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:36AM (#3199849) Homepage

    If you were to breed the Ferengi with the Borg you would end up with Scientology.


    I am an ex member now considered an 'enemy' of scientology because my activities and statements interfere with the continued extraction of money from the targets of this scam.

    The Scientology program is optimized to extract money. One of the scientology program's subroutines tells the adherents to demonize their enemies, this is a pattern of conduct for fanatic extremist groups.

    Scientology maintains control of Tom Cruise, Jenna Elfman, John Travolta and the rest of their pretty faced minons by controlling the information they see. By surrounding them with scientology drones.

    Scientology's history of seeking gag agreements through burdensome litigation is just a means to an end. it is no more than another effort to control the information available.

    I posted the Fishman affidavit to alt.religion.scientology in 1995, and endured almost 2 million in scientology litigation and refused 3 cash offers to settle - because I refused to take the gag agreement that would prevent me from explaining to YOU how dangerous these crazy bastards are.

    To Scientology gag agreements are just the cost of doing business. Part of their effort to control the flow of information.

    Scientology's massive efforts to create zillions of domains pointing at their website is just another example of Information Control.

    The scientology spam and sporge on alt.religion.scientology is just informtion control.

    Totalitarian systems, like Stalinist communism or Scientology cannot survive when information is free.

    Scientology has been waging information warfare upon the web so that they might have a better chance to capture a few children's lives with their lies.

    Don't let Scientolgoy win the google war, help get the word out, cause Scientology is worse than you think

    Arnaldo Lerma [lermanet.com][ an ex - member ] http://www.lermanet.com [lermanet.com]
  • ...before Operation Clambake [clambake.org] is censored into oblivion?
    • (Accidently hit the Submit button before I was through!)

      My thought continues:

      Isn't this the reason why distributed networks like Freenet and the like exist? Wouldn't this material be better "hosted" on a distributed network that isn't subject to legal threats?

      I'm sure there are mirrors of the offending pages that have been censored by Google...maybe these need to be archived for posterity on Freenet!
      • Re:So how long... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Placido ( 209939 )
        Yeah but the problem is that Scientology is INDIRECTLY targeting the content. By taking the search engine (the middle man) out of the loop they can seriously slow and damage the spread of anti-scientology information.

        As much as I hate what they have done, it is very sound battle tactics. The best response is twofold.
        1. Defend - submit a counter-claim, get xenu listed again.
        2. Protect - Spread the information over a wider base so that it's harder for similar tactics to work again. (Also if possible challenge the DMCA to prevent it from happening again)

        There is the third option Attack but that requires lots of money and effort for a sustained campaign.
  • by Archie Steel ( 539670 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:38AM (#3199858)
    Note to Scientology Lawyers: I did not explicitly specify which bastards I advocate nuking of. For all you know, the nukification I am endorsing could be the one of three-legged peruvian llamas (oh, how I hate these) and not at all the leaders of the IMO controversial and IMO dangerous cult full of IMO manipulative IMO crooks who IMO abuse the weak-minded by syphoning out their cash (IMHO) and producing god-awful films with stars who manage to IMO ruin their career twice. By assuming that the bastards I am referring to are representatives from the Church of Violentology...er...Scientology (great, now Steve Jackson Games' lawyers will be going after me, too!), you are setting up yourselves to be sued by your own employers for libel.

    Seriously, someone should firebomb the Celebrity Center (and by that I could mean Kelly Preston's navel, or John Travolta's ego - hey, you can't physically harm an ego!

    IMHO, of course.
  • Great! (Score:5, Informative)

    by BlackGriffen ( 521856 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:38AM (#3199864)
    Now the DMCA is being abused by a bunch of religious wackos! The worst part is, assuming that xenu.net is violating copyright (which I doubt), what the wackos have done is legal. Check out this paragraph from the DMCA:
    (From section 512)

    `(d) INFORMATION LOCATION TOOLS- A service provider shall not be liable for monetary relief, or, except as provided in subsection (j), for injunctive or other equitable relief, for infringement of copyright by reason of the provider referring or linking users to an online location containing infringing material or infringing activity, by using information location tools, including a directory, index, reference, pointer, or hypertext link, if the service provider--

    `(1)(A) does not have actual knowledge that the material or activity is infringing;

    `(B) in the absence of such actual knowledge, is not aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent; or

    `(C) upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness, acts expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material;

    `(2) does not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity, in a case in which the service provider has the right and ability to control such activity; and

    `(3) upon notification of claimed infringement as described in subsection (c)(3), responds expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity, except that, for purposes of this paragraph, the information described in subsection (c)(3)(A)(iii) shall be identification of the reference or link, to material or activity claimed to be infringing, that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate that reference or link.

    Pay special attention to subsection `(3). So even linking to copyright infringing material is illegal?!? wtf were those wackos who wrote this bill thinking? This is a serious freedom of speech violation (since software is, after all, speech, and links are just software written in a scripting language). The sooner that abomination of a law gets repealed, the better.

    In this instance, here's what xenu.net should do: register a new, and temporary, domain name. The scientologists will have conniptions hunting down his new domain names, he'll have to pay less than lawyer fees.

    I wonder if I should become a sci fi author and start my own relition?

    BlackGriffen

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Does Google realize that by censoring one site
    on the basis of content, they must now monitor
    every site they index/cache for compliance with
    all local laws in every nation that Google is
    accessible from?

    If Google does contend that they delisted Xenu.net
    for "google-bombing", then I expect Scientology.com
    and its sibling sites delisted for the same practice.

    On another note: Anybody else notice that Google
    hasn't released a press statement yet?

    http://www.whitehatresearch.net -- Its what's for dinner.
  • I don't get it.

    Here's a whois from xenu.net
    Administrative Contact, Billing Contact: Operation Clambake Aardalsgata 5 N-4014 Stavanger Norway

    We all know that the DMCA does NOT apply in Norway. Therefore, xenu.net cannot be shut down. I guess the stupid Scientology church knows this, so they went after the search-engines.

    Now, if google wants to remove this page from their database, they should remove ALL pages that contain anything that breaks the DMCA.

    A search on "DeCSS" on google gives several hundred results, here are the first ones:

    Gallery of CSS Descramblers

    DeCSS for Linux and DVD

    Pigdog Journal - DeCSS Distribution Center

    Basically, my point is that this is completly and utterly rediciolous. Google know's that DeCSS is illegal in the US, yet they have hundreds of pages with DeCSS in their database?? Either they religiously remove all pages that contains something that breaks the DMCA (wouldn't be much left), or they leave them ALL in there. Alternatively, they fight because it is not up to them to stop pages from having illegal material. I used to like google, even installed their toolbar. However, after seeing that they give in to threats without even trying to fight, the google toolbar is gone from my browser. I think I'm gonna see how good Yahoo [yahoo.com] is nowadays.

  • by Xentax ( 201517 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:47AM (#3199916)
    Isn't Barratry a crime, at least in some districts?

    What we need is a properly-motivated DA in such a district -- they can track down people harassed by Scientology's sharks^H^H^H^H^H^Hlawyers, and bring barratry charges against them.

    It might not do much more than "send a message", but I would think if done properly, and with accompanying civil suits (again, the trick is to find sufficient funding to take the Scientology teams on), people could start to put the hurt back on this cult.

    Xentax
  • I think... (Score:2, Funny)

    by eaeolian ( 560708 )
    Dubya forgot to mention one member of his "Axis of Evil".
  • Because of the /. effect xenu.net is now effectively unreachable. Way to go.
  • by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:51AM (#3199944) Homepage Journal
    Scientology is not a religion. Scientology is a mind control cult with the purpose of conning people out of large sums of money, enslaving them if possible, and of course world domination.

    I was a scientologist for almost eight years and worked out in LA at "Big Blue." This complex used to be the Cedars of Sinai hospital but was purchased by Hubbard and company back in the 1970's. It is where ASHO, AOLA, and the LA orgs are, as well as a good portion of OSA. They've remodeled most everything there so some things might have changed since then.

    In any case I am here to tell anyone who will listen that Scientology is evil. I don't make that kind of a claim lightly. Scientology is a cult made up of people who have ceased to think for themselves and are no longer acting in their own best interest but are instead being manipulated and coerced into living for the cult, to their own detriment. There are so many things that Scientology does that are wrong that it is difficult to know where to begin in detailing them all. Scientology is to me a weird conglomeration of Nazi-esque nonsense, corporate abuse of the public trust, and organized crime.

    Others whose words are far better than mine have already detailed the nature of Scintology's evil far better than I can at 7 am. The link below points to a website that has just about every significant book written that exposes the evil nature of scientology:

    http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Library/ [cmu.edu]

    I applaud the owner of this site for having the courage to make a stand against one of the most evil organizations of our time.

    Lee Reynolds

  • pro-scientology? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by arakis ( 315989 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @09:53AM (#3199966)
    I have seen many horror stories over the years regarding $cientology and I am a complete opponent of their organization. The thing that I haven't really seen come up in all this is any real fact-based (with references) pro-$cientoloy position. Is this because nothing pro-scientology exists? Are the people at the "church" only capable of threats and not responding to some of these criticisms? If so, why? I'm not saying that every religion must justify itself, but when it gets to the point of threats and other manipulations of people... the whole thing seems to just beg the question.

    If you need a cult, check out subgenius (I'm not a memeber, just an observer). At least they have a guarantee on your money!
  • Add a link like this one to your home page!

    <A HREF="http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/03/21/ 0453200">The Truth About Scientology</A&gt

  • by Arcturax ( 454188 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:00AM (#3200008)
    Really, take a look at Xenu.net and all the other pages out there which detail the stuff they do.

    Just like Al Qaida they:

    - Go after young impressionable people and turn them into zealots.
    - Have armed camps and compounds (See Gold Base)
    - Abuse the law and system as much as they can
    - Attack and threaten anyone who speaks out against them or tries to leave the organization
    - Meddle and infiltrate the government of their hosting countries. The Taliban in Afghanistan were also Al Qaida people to a large extent. The same is happening here, just look at the DA in California who went after Henson. Look at Clearwater Florida.

    If we were really running a fully serious war on terrorism, we would have a couple of B1-B's level Gold base and the Navy would blow the Free Winds out of the fucking water. The FBI and CIA would fall upon Clearwater and put the town under martial law until they had rooted out the Scientologists there.

    I think countries like Germany, Canada, France, and especially any Islamic countries should turn around and point a finger at the US and say, "Look, before you go waging war in other countries, why don't you take care of your own criminal organizations similar to Al Qaida?"

    Really? Why aren't we looking as much into them as we are into Al Qaida? Especially after the stunt they pulled at Ground Zero after the attacks, trying to recruit by posing as medical workers.

    I think its time that Bush and Co. took a look at home as much as they are abroad.
  • Just like with DeCSS, it is the Constitutional duty for each reader with the ability to do so to post the contents of those pages referenced in the complaint on his or her website and register them with Google. I wonder how many letters those Hubbard freaks can write.
  • by crath ( 80215 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:28AM (#3200169) Homepage

    There are two issues at hand:

    1. Is xenu.net posting copyrighted documents without permission of the copyright holder?
    2. Cults need to obscure the truth in order to deceive their prey.

    The first issue is a serious one, and in the past this has been the method which the C. of S. used to shut down critics: those critics were breaking the law by reproducing copyrighted works. The law allows for critics to quote limited amounts source material within the context of written criticism. The law does not, and should not, allow wholesale copying of other poeple's material; regardless of whether that material contains lies.

    The second issue is the real issue; however, as I've already noted, cults use the misbehaviour of their critics against them. Yes, let's put cults out of business; but let us also remember that "the end doesn't justify the means." Remember McCarthy and the mess he made while operating under and end justifies the means assumption.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:33AM (#3200207)
    Scientology has been very aggressive lately in trying to run critics off the 'Net. In fact a musician I met online has been threatened by Scientology lawyers for putting up some songs critical of them on MP3.com. He goes by the name of "El Queso" and has had a site on MP3.com for nearly a year. A cease and desist was sent to MP3.com and they immediately folded, pulling the site and sending all of his personal info to the Scientologists! Now he is just waiting for the inevitable "Fair game" tactics to start. He expects them to pull some shit, because he acutally insulted Scientology's mighty leader, David Miscavige. You can read all about it here [tripod.com] and listen to the music here [stationmp3.com]
  • by danny ( 2658 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @10:36AM (#3200227) Homepage
    The legal threats may be too bad for Google to defy Scientology. But there's something they could do that would reduce the chances of this happening to them again (or all the time). Google could ALSO remove every official Scientology web site from their index. That would send a clear signal that trying to win an online PR battle by deploying lawyers against Google is not a good idea.

    If you want to write to Google about this, comments@google.com is the address to use.

    Danny.

  • by Jade E. 2 ( 313290 ) <slashdot&perlstorm,net> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @11:04AM (#3200432) Homepage
    I haven't seen anybody asking the first question that came up when I read all this:

    Why remove those specific pages?

    The answer I've come up with is simple. Removing the pages listed got rid of all the xenu.net links on the first 3 pages of google results for a search for scientology [google.com]. Even if they reinstate the links, it will probably take a while for them to resume their former place in the index. This is just like the tons of domain names all run by the Scientologists, it's a ploy to make it harder to find info about them. They know they can't stop it completely, but that's OK, as long as they can make it so that the average person won't see anything bad about them without specifically looking.

  • by Puk ( 80503 ) on Thursday March 21, 2002 @11:26AM (#3200633)
    Given the history of scientology manipulating [slashdot.org] google's ranking system, why not just wipe them out with an equally questionable claim of your own? Send them a DMCA notification saying that every one of their pages (including the ones just used for rank boosting) individually violates a copyright you own. Watch them disappear off google. Suddenly the truly informative Scientology sites are on top. Seems like proper counter-use of a broken law -- the biggest problem being that the COS has some of the deepest pockets around.

    Note that everything I say here is quite possibly illegal should not be done under any circumstances, by anyone. Really. :)

    -Puk
  • by dmarti ( 6587 ) <dmarti@zgp.org> on Thursday March 21, 2002 @02:15PM (#3202165) Homepage
    We will be visiting Google's headquarters IN PERSON to search for Xenu information -- with cameras rolling.

    Who: The Mountain View, California Xenu Study Group
    (This means you)

    What: First meeting: "Finding Facts about Xenu on the Net with Google"

    Where: Meet at Dana St. Roasting Company, 744 Dana Street,
    Mountain View.
    Then, travel to Google HQ.

    When: 3:45 PM, Thursday, March 21, 2002

    Why: To make sure that accurate information about Xenu is available through Internet search engines.

    What to bring: 1. another video camera (we already have at least one, but could use some more shots)

    2. Your pen and paper for taking notes about how to find good Xenu (and Scientology) sites.

    Contact: Don Marti -- dmarti@zgp.org

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