Legal threats from the cult in Russia today
03 Apr 2001
Andreas Heldal-Lund - http://www.xenu.net firstname.lastname@example.org
The auther has allowed me to forward this to ARS:
From: [e-mail address removed on request]
Subject: A piece of news you might find interesting to a degree.
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 17:59:17 +0400
I'm bothering you with a piece of news which, I believe, might be of some concern to Operaion Clambake. To start slow, I'm a sociology major, working to get my PhD in Moscow State University, of Moscow, Russia. On the side, I'm also a wrtier, to be specific, with my companion, Vyacheslav Makarov, a physics major, I co-wrote "Age of Aquarius" ("Era Vodoleya") which is currently considered by the public the first true roleplaying game book in Russian language. (Well, it's the only Russian TRPG on the market here and now, that is.)
Now, for a tabletop roleplaying game this book's nothing too original, except for these important facts:
1) It is set in modern day Russia.
2) It's genre is defined as "mystical detective" and it details the exploits of Practical Ekzophysics Institute, an ex-government agency which is officially disbanded, but had in fact turned rogue, determined to continue it's mission of protecting Russia from paranormal crime and supernatural threats. Players are expected to play agents of this organisation, recruited from all walks of life, which work undercover to protect common people, while the work to bring magic and psionics into common scientific paradigms is going on - it's expected to end by 2020.
3) Among other paranormal threats, sects and cults are a major concern for the Institute, as detailed in the book - since a good number of cults are magical in nature. Scientology is the first and foremost among them, and is depicted as a cult which liberally uses mind-control techniques as it sees fit. 4) Despite it's rather humorous nature, the book is quite believable as far as conspiracy theories go.
The book was out in September 2000 and sells very well for a book so unusual for the Russian market. Our research shows that at least 60% of our readers are teenagers, and we did write the book with at least some education in mind. Anti-cult education included. (It's also a part of my PhD thesis in sociology of culture. ^_^ Not to mention I have my own personal bone to pick with cults in general, but that's another story entirely.)
I'm writing all that to come to that final point:
Today, the "Humanitarian Hubbard Center", our local Church of the Copyrighted Word branch has picked up the glove. They called me, claiming "Any information in this book about CoS is false" (very little is, to be honest) "it is hurting the CoS" (darn well it should) "we do not wish to bother with suing you yet" (drat) and tried to persuade me not to publish any such words in the future. All that ignoring the "All the contents of this book is fiction" disclaimer boldly displayed. They also tried to annoy our publisher, but so far, achieved nothing there.
Of course you understand that further escalation of hostilities is in order. We've been expecting this for a long time. :)
From Russia, with love. Keep running your site - we need it here, too.
Evgenie Medvedev, Project 7
Andreas Heldal-Lund, Nunsteinvegen 9, N-4056 Tananger, Norway
Pho: +47 90 04 32 99 Fax: 90 32 35 46 E-mail: email@example.com
home.sol.no/~spirous www.xenu.net www.hedning.no/hedning
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never yet hurt anybody. It is only persistence in self-delusion
and ignorance which does harm." -- Marcus Aurelius
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