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back to article John Sweeney: Why Church of Scientology's gravest threat is the 'net

Back in 1995, when the net was still young, the late Robert Vaughn Young, an ex-scientologist, said the internet would be to Scientology what Vietnam was to the US: an unwinnable war. Vaughn Young, a former spokesman for the controversial organisation, believed that the internet would create the first place where Scientology …

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Anonymous Coward

Scientology vs the Internet and Anonymous?

Sounds like a plot of a new film starring Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Mission Impossible 5?

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Hmmm

A scandal in the Impossible Misions Force (IMF) causes a number of high ranking members to leave, creating their own Open Impossible Missions force who leak all sorts of information on IMF policies, proceedures, and actions.

The IMF starts to attack and inflitrate the OIMF... Meanwhile a few geeks on the internet who have watched V for vandetta a few too many times take up the mantle and try a few childish pranks against the IMF, their attacks growing in size and scope as they get more notorious....

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jai
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Re: Hmmm

and then a spaceship lands and John Travolta and a bunch of Psychlos run out and kill everyone?

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Re: Hmmm

@ Jai: To be honest, I find the Mission impossible movies to be so crap by this point I'm well asleep and have no idea what happens next.

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Headmaster

Re: Hmmm

Psychlos - nutters on bicycles?

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Re: Psychlos

Battlefield Earth baddies (Hubbard book)

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Trollface

Re: Psychlos

>Hubbard book

One of which is also basically their bible and the copyright on it is enforced with zeal. Who copyrights their Bible? Even the wacky Mormons are more than happy to give theirs away and put them in virtually every hotel room in America. Edit: wow after googling it looks like a lot of shady Christians come out with their own translation of the bible with a few words different and then copyright it as well. Greed even before God these days in America.

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Silver badge

Re: Psychlos

Their 'bible' is 'Dianetics' which isn't nearly as good read as 'Battlefield Earth' (which is itself a shockingly bad book). You have been warned.

In case you're curious Xenu doesn't pop up in either book. You have to part with the big money to get treated to that story. Or just watch 'South Park'.

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Re: Hmmm

is there any other kind of bicyclist?

(i reckon about 15 down for that)

(sanctimonious wheezy retards)

(okay mebbe 25 down now)

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FAIL

Re: Psychlos

The problem with the Psychlos is that they can be defeated by cavemen flying 10000 year old fighter planes.

Kinda makes ya wonder what sort of whuppin' a pair of Koala bears in a new autogyro could give 'em...

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Joke

@Eurypides Pants

Drop-bears would have no need of an autogyro to clean out Psychlos. Or anything else for that matter, since I'm sure they could depopulate the galaxy with just their claws and teeth...

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Joke

Re: Hmmm

Nah, they be cyclepaths...

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Re: Psychlos

The Bible is copyrighted so that people can't publish their own New International Version that changes important bits from the widely accepted New International Version. Handily, for an organisation like Biblica (owner of the NIV copyright), there are changes in standard English and improvements in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic scholarship so they can publish an updated version every few years, effectively extending the copyright. Copyright is not evil. All the open source licenses uses copyright. Bibles are relatively cheap in the UK and the Gideons and others will even give you one for free. But who uses books? Just read it all for free on BibleGateway.com! Google will even take you to the reference you want in seconds.

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Boffin

Bible and copyright

wow after googling it looks like a lot of shady Christians come out with their own translation of the bible with a few words different and then copyright it as well. Greed even before God these days in America."

As you say, there's plenty of copies being given away and most major translations available gratis on the Net. As to 'a few words different' new translations are needed all the time as the languages used by those who might want to read it evolve. The Bibles most likely to be read by everyone except a few highly specialist scholars are translations, of the ancient books which were written in Hebrew and Greek, with arguably some Aramaic thrown in. Copyright law isn't something done as an act of the publisher, law makes it inherent in the publication, and as it's difficult to make money when competing against free, and for other reasons also, money and greed are unlikely to be the motivation for many new translations and editions.

Scientology also isn't a new phenomena. There were con men making money out of claimed 'hidden knowledge' since at least AD300 . The so called 'Gospel of Thomas' was very likely to have been created by a Gnostic sect, probably very similar in pyramid-selling business model to the Scientologists.

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Alien

Re: Hmmm

while Travolta is getting a "massage" and falling out of his towel? Yep.

CREDITS.

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Anonymous Coward

I call bollocks

From their response that Anonymous have been "campaigning for freedom of porn sites"

I thought I'd read that Anonymous had outed quite a number of [child] porn sites, particularly those using tor and .onion suffixes

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Drop bears (was Re: @Eurypides Pants)

And their rampant chlamydia.

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FAIL

I still laugh when I see them in D.C.

Young men and women in flight uniforms toting around their bag in tiny wheels but they are not flying at all but just using the metro to go from work to their cult HQ.

It looks very very funny indeed!

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WTF?

Re: Psychlos

@ asdf:

Ahhh... You may be confusing the Mormons with the Gideons, who donate (usually New International Version or New King James) the now-ubiquitous desk bibles in every motel desk and night stand in the U.S.; in years of travel I've never run across a Book of Mormon in a motel room. A shame, as it would open a whole new world for my one-man illustration project in motel-room bibles --- I usually provide a picture of Moses battling Gigantor.

The obvious exception to this is the (Mormon-owned) Marriott chain... But you can't watch pay-per-view porn in your room at a Marriott either, go figure.

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Re: Psychlos

You may be confusing the Mormons with the Gideons, who donate (usually New International Version or New King James) the now-ubiquitous desk bibles in every motel desk and night stand in the U.S.; in years of travel I've never run across a Book of Mormon in a motel room.

Agreed, except that I quite often find the Book of Mormon in hotel rooms, along with the Gideon-supplied bible. But that may be only in Marriotts and other properties in the Marriott International portfolio (Residence Inn, etc). I admit I haven't paid much attention to which hotels supply which books - mostly I just shove them into a different drawer so I have room for my own reading material (which frequently includes its own narratives of improbable situations and fantastic creatures, so no harm done, eh?).

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Anonymous Coward

East Grinstead

Having a pop at the Gate of Mordor...

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Re: East Grinstead

'One does not simply talk in East Grinstead'?

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JDX
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in a civilised society ... able to speak freely of things you criticise...using my own name

I think that's a very important point.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: in a civilised society ... able to speak freely of things you criticise...using my own name

Yes. In a civilised society ;-)

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Thumb Up

Re: Yes. In a civilised society ;-)

As opposed to a politically correct one...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: in a civilised society ... able to speak freely of things you criticise...using my own name

and increasingly hard to find. The harper regime here in Canada is doing everything it can to limit Internet privacy and this is not just a Canadian phenomenon. Hey, speaking of phenomenon, I believe that was a Travolta movie.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: in a civilised society ... able to speak freely of things you criticise...using my own name

I believe - based on first hand accounts from escapees, well organised and verified published accounts and recorded testimony that the Church of Scientology are dangerous con men responsible for unimaginable cruelty, torture, psychological manipulation on a grand scale and murder. What they have do – to individuals and to groups that oppose them – is not merely inconvenient or alarming but borders on war crimes.

I cannot voice my derision eloquently enough, nor my sorrow for their victims. I can not express my distaste and horror with the techniques employed by this organisation. They are evil. Wholly, unrepentantly, blatantly and calculatingly evil. You would have to look to individuals like Dick Cheney, Thein Sein or the now deceased Soe Win to find modern examples of individuals as bereft of compassion, humanity and basic decency as those in charge of the CoS.

"Civilised society" is only possible where all parties are willing to agree to the basic tenets of the social contract that allows us to interact in a safe and relatively secure manner without risking violence or life-altering psychological trauma by voicing your opinion. The CoS does not operate within civilised society. They do not take part in debate. They attack those who chasten them for their misdeed psychologically, economically and physically. They attack their friends, family, coworkers and are relentless in their efforts over the course of decades.

They are not a religion. They are not even a cult. The Church of Scientology are charlatans and shysters of the highest order; criminals who not only aspire to – but have achieved – a level of organised and systematic terror often depicted in fictional works about the Mafia but which the Mafia never truly attained.

The above is explicitly not an attack against the beliefs of Scientologists. I believe that people are free to believe – or delude – themselves however they should choose. There are in face many Scientology believers who are not affiliated with the Church of Scientology – known as Freezoners – whom I have no more quarrel with than I would your run-of-the mill Christian, Muslim or so forth.

My tirade is specifically and wholly directed at the actions, ongoing efforts, official policies and in-practice exercise of the Church of Scientology itself. Until such a time as the organisation itself is made illegal – and those responsible for its ongoing operation brought to justice – "Civilised Society" can have nothing to with Scientology.

You do not discuss, argue, consult, compromise with or engage a metastasising pathogenic cancer. You excise the tumour, bombard the area with radiation and flood the patient with cytotoxic antineoplastic compounds in the (sometimes futile) hope of preventing the spread and recurrence of the disease. Much as it may be anathema to our American compatriots – who think nothing, naturally of granting the Church of Scientology status as an official religion in their backwards nation – there are some actions which can not be met simply with speech. There are some organisations that are so unrelentingly, overwhelming evil that you cannot prevent atrocity through eloquent prose alone.

Nations such as Germany which have denied them succour – indeed which have actively set out to warn their citizens about this group – are taking the correct first steps. Until they are denied refuge in all nations there can be no interaction between them and Civilised Society. Until they are forced from the last of their shelters and made to reveal the truth of their actions then the power of mere words will never be enough.

Every now and again humanity encounters an evil so all encompassing, so organised and ruthlessly efficient that the only way to ensure victory is to deny it battle in the first place. The only way to ensure that we still have a "civilised society" to be snooty about is to deny the evil – in this case the Church of Scientology – purchase. Make no mistake, civilised society is at ware with the Church of Scientology. They just haven't been so civilised as to announce it to the rest of us publicly.

Until threats like this are vanquished, I'll wear the mask and revel in my anonymity. It may ultimately be the only defence individuals have against evil like that.

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Mushroom

CoS

<-- When I rule the world via a tyranical dictatorship, I will be Fedex-ing CoS one of these.

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WTF?

Re: CoS

>"<-- When I rule the world via a tyranical dictatorship, I will be Fedex-ing CoS one of these."

And millions of people would die, indiscriminately. You should be put in jail, if you aren't already.

What the hell is wrong with you that you would say something like that, in a world where innocents are killed in terrorist bombings and by military drone strikes on a daily basis? Do you have no connection to the world around you whatsoever? What a sad little person...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: CoS

He was only talking about sending them the icon :)

FFS, relax. Take some valium. I don't think we have any wannabee terrorists here, nor is anyone serious when they suggest that. If you really, seriously think anyone would suggest this for real it's you who needs help, not the person stating it for effect. Trust me, you'll never survive a sysadmin job if you cannot tune in to this sort of black (or glowing) humour.

Besides, it would look crap on the resume.

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Joke

Re: CoS

A teeny .png?

I'm sure the CoS is quaking in fear!

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Coat

Re: CoS

Yeah, fuck em, I'm gonna send them a PDF

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JDX
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Re: CoS

>>FFS, relax. Take some valium. I don't think we have any wannabee terrorists here

Yes but this kind of "I hope he dies" or "she deserves it for being so stupid" is exactly the kind of stupidity you get when everything is anonymous. You have to wonder if killing the people was somehow as easy and consequence-free as spouting about it on the web, what would happen. Just look how silly indiscriminate hatred turns into real violence at football games.

Maybe the OP was deliberately making that point but I doubt it.

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Happy

Re: CoS

Links to Kitten videos on Youtube could be another option.

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Trollface

Re: CoS

A teeny .PNG with a dead pixel! THAT will teach them!

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Mushroom

Re: CoS

Send 'em a .bmp

<--- what happens to the file size

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Bronze badge

Re: CoS

You may laugh, but the .PNG is mightier than the sword....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: CoS

> When I rule the world via a tyranical dictatorship, I will be Fedex-ing CoS one of these.

But what good will it do for the CoS to receive a post card saying: "Sorry, we were unable to deliver your package..."?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: CoS

A thumbs down - wow a Fedex employee in the house.

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Re: CoS

I'm sure that's just an obscure quote from a filum or sommingk

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Happy

Re: CoS

Wow...surprised at the level of downvoting on this one. Are humour bypasses free on the NHS now?

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Happy

Re: CoS @ AC 23:55

But what good will it do for the CoS to receive a post card saying: "Sorry, we were unable to deliver your package..."?

Ah yes, that might backfire a bit if they choose to return to sender. I might have to rethink that one.

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Thumb Down

Re: CoS

Cue the music from TV burp.

"Unprovoked mad weird ranting of the weeeeekkkkk"

It was a joke... Though I agree with the sentiment.

I like Sweeney for standing up and trying to show the other side of the creepy cult.

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Anonymous Coward

Sweeney

Just the problem with people like Sweeney is that he felt he was losing his mind when he was forced to confront the truth. Not the truth in the imaginary people following him, but the truth in his own mind.

Or imagine how a christian feels when he has to face up to evolution. Maybe a muslim when forced to confront there is no god.

Knowledge and truth are hard things to accept when they dismantle your preconceptions. No wonder he felt disoriented.

Evidently he has decided to revert back to his "safe place". His constructed reality rather than accept the Chruch.

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Facepalm

Re: Sweeney

Or the disorientation felt by a Scientologist when he realises his entire mythology was written whole cloth by a _really_ bad science fiction writer...

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Trollface

Re: Sweeney

You are L Ron Hubbard's sweaty bedsock and I claim my £5

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sweeney

So bad fiction automatically equals an absence of Truth ?

Understanding complex matters, sometimes merits placing them in a language that people find a little easier to understand. Call if science fiction if it makes it easier for you.

Christians aren't questioned because the stories contained withing the parables are trite and simplistic.

Koran teachings aren't cast aside because Mohammed couldn't spin a good yarn.

Education can take many forms. Sometimes a detailed explanation is helpful, sometimes a more simple story facilitates understanding a higher truth.

Recognising that the higher truth takes great effort and many years of study before understanding. Then, and only then - the truth within the "stories" is evident.

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jai
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Re: Sweeney

So bad fiction automatically equals an absence of Truth

the clue is in the word "fiction"

or do you lot have your own bloody dictionary too now?

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WTF?

Re: Sweeney

I'll take the bait.

I question and I dismiss all of the above *because* they don't adequately describe what I can see with my own eyes.

I don't look for an emergent 'Truth'. Facts are perfectly good for me.

Consequently I just happen to believe in one fewer god than most people.

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