Archive Message - 1995

From!!!swrinde!!!!!news Thu Aug 31 10:50:30 1995 Path:!!!swrinde!!!!!news From: (Michael Reuss) Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology Subject: Rocky Mountain News CoS Articles Date: 28 Aug 1995 19:13:01 GMT Organization: Hewlett-Packard Lines: 159 Message-ID: <41t4fu$> NNTP-Posting-Host: Mime-Version: 1.0 X-Newsreader: WinVN 0.93.11 Here are three articles from the Sunday Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO, USA) Denver's largest daily paper. (typos mine, used without permission). -- Michael Reuss Honorary Kid ******************************************************************************* From page 4 (article continued on page 29) ******************************************************************************* Page 4 headline reads "Church of Scientology plays hardball with Boulder critic" The section beginning on page 29 carries the headline "Scientology beliefs called 'trade secrets'" by Greg Lopez (people beat) Bouder - Lawrence Wollersheim came into his apartment Friday afternoon pulling off his tie, 24 phone messages waiting, trying to get to the Rocky Flats Lounge to watch the Green Bay Packers play. The apartment is one bedroom, $600 a month, with posters of famous paintings thumbtacked to the walls. The bed is in the living room, because the bedroom is where he did his work. The lock on the bedroom door lies on the carpet, where it fell Wednesday morning when U.S. marshals broke in and gave the Scientologists what they wanted. "They won," Wollersheim said. "This battle at least." He had spent the morning in U.S. District Court in Denver and the afternoon with his lawyer trying to get back what the Scientologists took. Some of the hard feelings might come from the fact the Scientologists haven't paid him the $2.5 million he won in a lawsuit in 1989 in Los Angeles, alleging "severe emotional injury" while he was a member. He says he made $21,000 last year as a computer consultant. The Scientologists say he is putting copyrighted information on the Internet "to make some easy money," according to a news release. "I drive a 1985 Dodge Omni with a cracked windshield and no grille," Wollersheim said. "People who have already given all of their money to a cult aren't the best people to make money off of." The lawyers for Scientology say this is a copyright-infringement cast. Wollersheim says his Fight Against Coercive Tactics Network is a library and archive on the Internet, and this is a First Amendment case. Apparently, at least one Scientologist believes that anonymous phone calls are an acceptable tactic. I got a call from someone who told me, "You should be aware that people higher up than you are sympathetic to our way of thinking and can make life unhappy for you." Wollersheim is 46, grew up in Milwaukee, and the second half of his life has been taken up by Scientology. The first eight years, he was a member. the last 15, he has fought it. Scientology was founded in 1954 by L. Ron Hubbard and teaches that every person is an immortal being who has been born over and over again. Previous negative experiences have producedengrams, which block the soul from realizing its potential. Auditors work the eliminate the engrams until a person becomes "clear." After that, what Scientologists believe is either a "trade secret" or copyrighted. Some of that information is public record contained in a court transcript from an unrelated case in Los Angeles, but the Scientologist have a person check out the transcript every morning and sit with all day so nobody else can read it, according to Helena Kobrin of Chicago, one of the lawyers for the Scientologists. "Most religions want their beliefs dissseminated as widely as possible," Wollersheim said. "Don't they?" The church used to have a "Fair Game Policy," which said enemies of the church "may be tricked, sued, lied to, or destroyed," but repealed it in 1968. When the U.S. marshals broke into Wollersheim's bedroom, the Scientologists got what they wanted - about 15,000 pages in boxes and about seven gigabytes on 1000 floppy disks. They got his three computers. "They got a list of their enemies," Wollersheim said. In a lawyer's office, computer experts are searching Wollersheim's computer files 24 hours a day, looking for key words that include the names of Wollersheim's lawyers and the phrase "rogue agent." On the Internet, more than 4,000 messages are waiting for Wollersheim. When he gets a computer, he'll be able to read them. ******************************************************************************* Second article also found on page 4 ******************************************************************************* Science-fiction writer Hubbard founded Scientology by Jean Torkelson It took L. Ron Hubbard a good amount of faith - in himself - to form the Church of Scientology. In 1950, Hubbard, a nuclear science physicist, explorer, and science fiction writer, published his solution to the problems that afflict human behavior. "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health," was immediately excoriated by the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association. Hubbard and his followers formed the first churches in Wichita, Kan. and Washington, D.C. in the 1950s. The movement evolved a system for solving painful life experiences, called engrams, which Scientologists believe may extend back before birth and into past lives. In 1993 the Internal Revenue Service granted the church tax-exepmt status, which has caused a boom in membership, according to spokeswoman Deborah Danos. There are now 1,039 churches around the world and 8 million followers, 2000 of them in Colorado. The main Denver church of Scientology is at 375 S. Navajo St. There are smaller "mission" churches in Englewood, Boulder and Alamosa. The national headquarters are split between Clearwater, Fla. and Los Angeles. Some of the church's more well-known adherants include John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, Lisa Marie Presley, Pricilla Presley and Chick Corea. ******************************************************************************* Third article from page 24 ******************************************************************************* "Computer rules in Scientology case stumps wizards of the law - for now" By Karen Abbott (RMN staff writer) Judges and attorneys in Denver confronted law in cyberspace last week. And they weren't ready. "The courts generally are adrift in trying to figure out this fairly new problem," said U.S. District Judge John Kane Jr. He is presiding over the trial of the Church of Scientology's suit against two Boulder County men, claiming that church information they're sending over the Internet is copyrighted. The church won a court order Tuesday to seize up to 10 million pages of data from Lawrence Wollersheim and Robert Penny. Independent computer experts are working around the clock to separate legally transmitted data from the material the church claims violates its copyrights. But the way Kane see it, computer information is like a Mulligan stew: It's hard to take out the potatoes without also looking at the peas, carrots and onions. And the law, as often happens when technology advances quickly, isn't ready. "This happens periodically, where technology outstirps our political and legal proces in terms of our capacity to make social policy." said University of Denver law dean Dennis Lynch. "We wind up confronted with cutting-edge issues." The technology also tends to take battles to a new level, said Peter Tippett, president of the Pennsylvania-based National Computer Security Association. "It's just that the new technologies allow people to fight in new ways," he said. "It's sort of a new class warfare." Tippett divides "information warfare" into three categories: * In traditional warfare, or terrorism, computers can be used to plant a computer virus that destroys air defenses or jams telephone systems. * Computers can be used in industrial espionage to steal secret formulas or designs or to spread misinformation. * Computers lie at the heart of the controversy over personal privacy. For instance, Tippett said, anyone with the access to a drugstore's computerized prescription records can find who's taking anti-depressant medication. "Here's just one more example: On our network, systems people write notes to each other all the time and they think of it just like they're in a private conversation. "And yet the technology has all kinds of forms of backup, so that conversation is there for any time period you can think of." Face-toface and telephone conversations are is[sic] protected by law from eavesdropping. But what if a computer-network conversation is about, say, where to park the truck to blow up the building or how to make consumers crave a product? What if it's mixed into a stew of millions of conversations? What if somebody kept an illegal copy of it? We haven't come to grips withe what we're going to do with these massive backup systems that may have bits of relevant information in them, and we might have to through a lot of it to pluck three or four things out," Lynch said.


Return to The Skeptic Tank Alt.Religion.Scientology Archives Master List
Go to The Skeptic Tank's main Index page.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank