Archive for the ‘freedom of the press’ Category

My Ultimatum to the Animal Liberation Front (ALF)

29 July 2009

If you go to the website of the Animal Liberation Front Press Office, you’ll find posts reporting and glorifying various “visits” by ALF activists to targeted institutions. Most of these include arson, graffiti, spray-painting homes, vandalizing vehicles, etc.

To be completely fair, no human or animal has ever been physically harmed in an ALF attack. All the damage done has been to inanimate objects (i.e. cars, homes, businesses) and this is in keeping with ALF’s stated goal to avoid harm to all living beings.

While many of us are squeamish about laboratory testing on animals, the simple Truth is that animal testing has yielded many benefits for humans. Medications for all types of diseases and numerous medical procedures (e.g. blood transfusions, organ transplants) were first tested on animals before any human patient ever underwent such a procedure. The simple fact that many people are alive today, who might otherwise have died, shows the value of these procedures validates the animal testing that was undergone during the research stages.

Animal testing is still needed, though there are some out there who make the claim that it is an unreliable or outdated science. The total number of animals currently being used in labs across the USA is dwarfed by the sheer number of ducks we eat in this country, for example. That’s ducks by themselves and we could make a similar comparison to the total number of lab animals versus the number of cows, pigs, chickens, etc that are killed for meat everyday in America. Yet, groups like the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) continue their campaign of terror against research labs and the people who work in them. Researchers have been threatened, their homes vandalized, false rumors have been circulated about them and so on. It takes a lot of courage to work in an animal testing lab these days.

In light of recent attacks at UC Berkely and UC Irvine, I have decided to issue an ultimatum to the Animal Liberation Front and its supporters. Here goes:

Dear ALF & Friends,

I see that you have been busy vandalizing homes and businesses, leaf-letting buildings, sending threatening letters, etc to people that are involved, even in the most peripheral way, in animal testing. I am certain that you do this because you think animal testing is bad and you want it to stop. I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise, because people who carryout these “visits” are usually True Believers who couldn’t have their minds changed by me or anyone else.

I understand that you don’t want animals to die by human hands for any reason and you would never allow yourselves to be the cause of an animal’s death.

Since the passage of laws and the threats of prison time has not deterred some of you from bombings, arson and vandalism, I have decided to try another method of convincing you to Cease & Desist your attacks on animal testing labs.

See this rabbit?

bunnyCute, isn’t he?

Well, guys and gals of ALF, I have decided that every time you people go out to bomb something, burn something down or send threatening letters/phone calls, I am going to travel to a local farm and pay for a nice, fat, juicy rabbit. This rabbit will then be killed, skinned, gutted, hacked into pieces and wrapped. I will then take this rabbit home, cook it and then eat it.

But, maybe I couldn’t find a rabbit one day. What to do?

No problem.

See this calf?

BabyCalfYou know, it’s been a long time since I had a nice serving of tender veal. Oh, yeah! Makes my mouth water, just thinking about it. I’m think that, if I can’t get a rabbit one day that I might head over to the supermarket and get myself some calf’s liver. My mom used to make the best veal for dinner and I am sure I could figure-out the recipe from memory.

Naturally, if you guys keep bombing, burning and otherwise terrorizing people, somebody is going to notice that somebody (i.e. me) has suddenly taken liking to rabbit meat or veal or goose liver pate, etc and start stocking it regularly at my local supermarket. If I can get enough people to follow-along, then more rabbits will be killed for their meat and more calves slaughtered for their livers. Heck, even goose liver could go down to a reasonable price with the increase in demand.

Now,  I normally don’t eat a lot of rabbit, veal or goose liver. Not out of any moral objections, just because I got tired of eating rabbit all the time at my grandfather’s house when I was a kid. He took me out hunting and that’s how I learned to butcher rabbits myself. I got tired of rabbit meat after eating so much of it. Veal was something we only ate on special occasions and goose liver was too high-falootin’ for our dinner table.

But, I am willing to break my habits if it means ending your reign of terror on animal research labs and their employees. Rabbit meat is pretty cheap and easily found around here, so I’ll stick with rabbit for awhile, especially since I learned so many ways to prepare it.

For every attack on an animal research lab or an employee of same, a rabbit, calf or goose will pay for your actions with its life.

So, if you don’t set fire to a lab, spray graffiti on a wall, set-off a bomb or whatever, the bunnies will live.

If you decide to go ahead with your terrorism campaign, cute little bunnies will die and it will be your fault!

These are my demands. Ignore them and bunnies will pay the consequences.

Their lives are in your hands.

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Creationist Dirty Tricks: Censorship on YouTube

20 June 2009

For the past year or so, various YouTube channels have been the target of a campaign of censorship by Creationists. THis campaign has consisted of the following:

  • filing false DMCA claims. Filing a false DMCA -wherein an person oo organization claims ownership of a video that they do not really own – is considered perjury and is illegal and the filer can face civil and criminal charges in a court of law;
  • False flagging. YouTube has a flagging feature which allows users to mark a video as potentially unsuitable for minors to watch or could be a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service. In theory, a YT moderator is supposed to actually look at the video to confirm this, but due to the large number of videos on the site, it appears that YT simply takes the flaggers’ word for it and marks the video without confirming its content. This has become common knowledge and is an often-used tactic;
  • Down-rating comments. ThHis involves marking a videos comments with a “thumbs-down”. This used to involve marking only the comments that supported the video, but it is far easier to simply mark them all, so the person doing this doesn’t have to read the hundreds or thousands of comments that are posted;
  • Marking comments as Spam. If comment rating is disabled, in order to protect them from the previous tactic, then a user can mark a comment as Spam. With enough marks, the comment is hidden from view, unless some one clicks on Reply. Due to the amount of time it takes to do this, many people might not take that step;
  • Votebotting. This involves using a computer program to rate a video with One Star ratings, in order to prevent the video from appearing in search engines on YouTube. You simply run the program and it goes to each video several times, each time giving it a One Star rating. Supposedly, only registered users can rate a video, but there seems to be a glitch in YT’s system that does allow such programs to function without hinderance. As a result, even though a video may have only a few hundred views, it could still have thousands of One Star ratings. This has become the favored tactic of creationists in their fight against the pro-science (i.e. the side that explains the Theory of Evolution and debunks creationists’ claims) due to the total lack of legal consequences and YouTube’s lack of self-policing, as well as YouTube’s apparent lack of concern that this is even happening.

When YT users, such as Thunderf00t, posted videos calling for viewers to directyl contact YT to complain about the above tactics being used against their channels, YouTube would either ignore the complaints or would retaliate against the channel by suspending them or even closing their account permanently.

As such, the pro-science and atheist channels on YouTube have been censored and harassed with little or nothing they could do in response.

Few Christians have publicly condemned the above tactics being used, as it seeems to make their propagandizing on YT easier by eliminating the opposing side.

As pointed-out by YouTube user cdk007, this camapign of censorship only proves that creationists have no argument against evolution that can stand-up to scientific scrutiny and they must resort to dirty tricks in order to try to win the argument.

However, instead of “winning”, the usage of the above tactics and the failure of the general Christian community on YouTube to condemn them only shows that they have lost the debate and have nothing to bring to the table.

Here is a list of some of the hardest-hit channels on YouTube. feel free to watch their videos and subscribe, if you like:

Thunderf00t
AronRa
Potholer54

DonExodus2
ExtantDodo
AndromedasWake

dprjones
FFreeThinker
djarm67
ThetaOmega
JaguarJ0nes
ZOMGitsCriss
C0ct0pusPrime

These are just a few of the many channels hit by the censorship campaign. You will find links to other channels through them. You can also find a more complete list at the League of Reason webforum.

It seems that creationists have realized that they have no argument against science. So, they have decided to try to silence the opposing side through a cowardly censorship campaign.

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Scientology: Nearly 18 Months Into Project Chanology

26 May 2009

I remember when Project Chanology got started on YouTube in January 2008. An online group of hackers decided to have some fun at the expense of the Church of Scientology. In the beginning, it consisted of DDOS attacks against their assorted websites, prank phone calls, prank faxes and other things.

At first, I thought that these kids were in way over their heads. After all, the Church of Scientology had made a science out of destroying their enemies and had most of the media cowed. You couldn’t say a negative word about the Church in any form of media without receiving what the Church used to refer to as “Fair Game“, which included harassment, legal threats, lawsuits, picketing your home or place of business, etc. Peoples’ lives and careers have been ruined after they decided to take-on the Church of Scientology and the Church seemed very smug with itself.

I believed that a couple of things would happen:

  1. the Church would find and Fair Game a bunch of these kids, which would result in their lives being ruined and the whole group getting scared-off; and/or
  2. the group, called “Anonymous” would get bored, declare victory and stop.

At first, the Church tried to Fair Game their way out of it by claiming persecution and making unfounded accusations of terrorism and threats. Most of the media is well-aware of Scientology’s history of bullying tactics and few tears were shed for them, if any. A few of Anonymous were located and some faced legal action for their actions or the actions they were accused of by the Church. Some, in fact, did get scared-off. But, the majority stayed with it and more joined their ranks as Anonymous dropped the DDOS and other illegal actions in favor of street protesting. Fair Game worked, but not as well as the Church had hoped. For the most part, they seem to have abandoned Fair Game, as it only made them look worse than they already did.

In fact, Anonymous won the Public Relations war early on, as few people felt sympathy for Scientology, especially when they learned of the history of Fair Game, as well as other abuses committed either by the Church or its members. While people were quick to condemn DDOSing, they developed a respect for the sheer gutsiness of Anonymous for taking-on such a powerful corporation. Every action taken by the Church against Anonymous was quickly publicized on the Internet and public sympathy for the Church seemed to be nonexistant.

In fact, the media seemed to find its testicles and media personalities in broadcast media and print began to badmouth the Church, either criticizing it or simply making fun of it. It was as if the media had awakened to find itself suddenly aware of the sheer nuttiness of Scientology and how abusive much of its behavior had been in the past. Even counter-move the Church took against Anonymous only seemed to make their situation worse, while people cheered Anonymous as they picketed outside of Scientology establishments.

Another series of events began to take place. People who had either left the Church in the past or had been victimized in some way began to organize themselves via the Internet. Prior to Anonymous, this did not occur with much frequency. However, after Project Chanology got started, it began slowly and picked-up speed. Famous people like Jason Beghe left the Church and made public statements, past critics of the Church – called “The Old Guard” by Anonymous – became more visible and there was nothing the Church could do to stop them, aside from attempting to silence them. However, the Church learned that any action they took would quickly be reported on the Internet, as was the case in the recent arrest of Mark Bunker, whose charges were dropped and the judge publicly stated that no arrest should have taken place to begin with.

As I predicted in February 2008, many of Anonymous who started in Project Chanology dropped-out due to sheer boredom. The first few pickets drew hundreds, even thousands, of people around the world. But, when pickets became regular monthly events, they got bored with it and left. However, there is a hardcore membership that has stayed with it until the present day, even though many of the original hackers deride them as having polluted Chanology and turned it into a shadow of its former self. I do have to admit that I really enjoyed the protests that took place in June 2008 Operation Sea Arrrgh, where Anonymous dressed-up in pirate costumes. For the first few protests, Anonymous developed themes for each protest and the Sea Arrrgh motife was pirates, as a dig against the Freewinds, which is the Church’s flagship.

So, who won?

Well, Anonymous stated in their original video on YouTube that their intent was to drive the Church off the Internet. That failed. They also stated that they would destroy the Church in its current form. That failed, too.

However, comparing media coverage of Scientology post-Chanology, as opposed to pre-Chanology, the fear of the Church of Scientology had evaporated, for the most part. When Steven Colbert can publicly mock Scientology and suffer no retaliation from the Church of any kind, you know that things are different now. Decades of building fear have been undone by a bunch of kids wearing Guy Fawkes masks. Now, that’s pretty sad, when you think about it.

According to what I have heard, people have left the Church post-Chanology, now being aware of a support structure awaiting them when they leave High-ranking members have defected and more people are now aware of the history of the Church and its abusive practises. While the Church still has its celebrity members, it has taken a severe blow from which it is unlikely to recover anytime soon.

People have asked me if there was anything the Church could have done to prevent the negative effects of Chanology and Anonymous. To that, I say: Yes, there was.

What the Church could have done to prevent Chanology’s damage was the one thing they never though about doing. They could have done nothing.

Yeah, they could have done nothing. Their whole history consists of striking back at their critics. Hit hard, hit fast and keep hitting them until you destroy them completely. That worked in the past, so they tried it with Chanology. However, it didn’t work this time and only made their situation worse.

Instead of having security guards follow protesters with cameras, they could have ignored them.

Instead of hiring private detectives to track these people to their homes, they could have done nothing.

Instead of releasing Anonymous members personal information onto the Internet, they could have done nothing.

Instead of having Church members harass and attempt to intimidate Anonymous in the streets, they could have done nothing.

Every action the Church took against Anonymous only resulted in negative publicity for themselves and created more public support for Anonymous. While the Church claimed “persecution”, the public openly expressed support for the supposed “persecutors” and little for the Church. Nothing the Church did resulted in anything positive for themselves, aside from scaring a few kids with Cease & Desist orders or threatening lawsuits. A few scared teenagers doesn’t make a victory.

If they had simply ignored Anonymous from the beginning, they would not have been seen as bullies themselves. Instead of shuttering their establishments, they should have kept them open. Pictures of Scientology security officers phoyographing or videotaping Anonymous simply made the Church look creepy. While this may have worked in the past against the “Old Guard”, it was a foolish move against Chanology.

Even if I could build a time machine and travel back to January 2008 to show the Church what the end result of their actions would be, it wouldn’t change their minds. That’s because the way they reacted to Anonymous is the only way they know how to react to criticism. They cannot be any other way because they don’t know how, as compared to Anonymous who showed great adaptability in the face of changing circumstances.

As with biological evolution, the life form that can adapt to a chaning environment is more likely to survive that the one which cannot adapt. Anonymous evolved while Scientology did not.

Now, the Church of Scientology faces a French court and the future of the Church in France hangs in the balance. Other nations regard them as a cult and the Church is not recognized as a religion in some countries.

Decades of creating a public face, reinforced by celebrity members and having a private force of detectives and lawyers to silence opposition could not defeat a group of kids and it will not halt the rising opposition to the Church in Europe and the growing opposition to the Church in the USA, where it is seen as a cult of loonies by many Americans. On top of all this, previously unpublicized Church of Scientology documents have been released on to the Internet, via Wikileaks. These documents include Church courses for which Church members who wish to take these course are allegedly charged thousands of dollars before they are allowed to have these materials. Now, anyone can read them, for free, in the privacy of their homes and there is nothing the Church can do about it, aside from threatening Wikileaks with lawsuits of which Wikileaks has little fear.

While Project Chanology is still on-going, I will venture my opinion on who has come out on top:

  • Anonymous: mostly win
  • Scientology: epic fail.

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Creationist Superfraud: Harun Yahya

15 January 2009

Okay, let me start by mentioning that Harun Yahya’s real name is Adnan Oktar a.k.a Adnan Hoca. He was born in Ankara, Turkey in 1956 and is the leading Muslim creationist in the world.

His most well-known book is Evolution Deceit, a copy of which I own and it is mostly a rehashing of old creationist arguments with an Islamic tone added to them. Copies of his latest work, The Atlas of Creation were distributed to teachers and scientists in Europe and the United States.

Oktar is the head of the Foundation for Scientific Research (Bilim Arastirma Vakfi, or BAV) which originally adopted its arguments from young-earth creationist organizations in the United States, but discarded claims about a young Earth and a global flood which are not vouched for by the Qur’an or in Islamic tradition (the Sunnah). As such, BAV showed a degree of sympathy for “intelligent design” creationism instead, employing catchphrases like “irreducible complexity” and using the phrase “intelligent design” as equivalent with “creation.” Later, however, Oktar denounced “intelligent design” as not being Islamic enough.

Oktar got his start as an author in 1986 by publishing  Judaism and Freemasonry. After this, he was arrested and imprisoned, eventually being transferred to a mental hospital (I wonder why?) and was released after 19 months. Naturally, Oktar claims that the Freemasons were behind the whole thing.

Later, in 1996, his organization published The Holocaust Lie, crediting the deaths of “a few Jews” to a typhoid epidemic that occurred near the end of the war, which is one of the lies that Holocaust deniers like to use. A strongly-worded criticism of this book by a Turkish painter and intellectual, Bedri Baykam, published in the Turkish paper, Black and White, was responded by Oktar to with a lawsuit alleging that Mr Baykam had committed slander. The suit was withdrawn a few months after Oktar was revealed as the author by Mr Baykam.

Since then, Oktar has backed-off his anti-semitic tirades and has embraced, at least publicly, inter-religious dialogue, except in the case of Buddhists, which I will explain later.

In 1998, Oktar began his campaign against “Darwinism” by attacking Turkish academics who taught evolution. Teachers were harassed, threatened and slandered in fliers that branded them as communists. Six of the professors eventually sued and won a large settlement.

Oktar also doesn’t like Buddhism, asserting that Buddhism is  a false religion built upon idolatry and falsehood. He calls Buddhist rituals “meaningless” and “empty”. Interesting that he picks on a religion that has a long history of not trying to forcibly convert everyone around them at either the point of a sword or the barrel of a gun, blowup school buses, take hostages or similar acts of religiously-inspired violence.

Oktar has become well-known for using bullying tactics in order to silence anyone who speaks-out against him.

In September 2008, a Turkish court banned Internet users in Turkey from viewing the official Richard Dawkins Web site after Oktar claimed its contents were defamatory, blasphemous and insulting religion, arguing that his personality was violated by this site. In response, Dawkins posted a Turkish translation of his “Venomous Snakes, Slippery Eels and Harun Yahya” article  on his website. Then one week later a complaint by Oktar led to the banning of the internet site of the Union of Education and Scientific Workers as a reaction to the Union’s uncomplimentary press release about Adnan Oktar’s Creation Atlas.This was followed in October by a block of the country’s third-biggest newspaper site, Vatan.

Furthermore, no one in Turkey will be able to read this blog without using a proxy, as Oktar had successfully petitioned a Turkish court to block access to WordPress after a blog critical of him was posted there and WordPress refused to take it down. You can read WordPress’ blog post on the topic.

Oktar’s lawyer made this demand of WordPress, which I reproduce here in the original typefont”WE DEMAND YOU TO REMOVE AND PROHIBIT ANY BLOGS IN YOUR SITE THAT CONTAIN MY CLIENT’S NAME ADNAN OKTAR OR HIS PEN NAME HARUN YAHYA OR VARIOUS COMBINATION OF THESE 4 NAMES.”

Well, I have this to say to you and your client, Mr Kerim Kalkan and Atty. Ceyhun Gökdoğan: screw you and screw the ugly horse you rode in on! You might be satisfied living in a country that’s a dictatorship where free speech exists in name only. But, here in the USA, we actually have free speech. As such, I am free to tell you, your law partners, your client, your clients’ friends, your friends, your pets and everyone else associated with you and them to go straight to Hell!

There. I am now assured that I will never be allowed to travel to Turkey. But, that’s okay. After all, I have the pleasure of knowing that Oktar is going to be grabbing his ankles for the next few years in a Turkish prison after being recently sentenced to prison by a Turkish court for running an illegal organization for the purposes of personal gain. Sucks to be him, am I right?

In September 1999 Adnan Oktar was arrested following multiple scandals and further allegations. In that court case, Oktar was charged with using threats for personal benefit and creating an organization with the intent to commit a crime. One complainant, a fashion model named Ebru Simsek claimed she was blackmailed and then slandered as a “prostitute” in fax messages sent to hundreds of different newspapers, TV channels, major business companies, foreign consulates and government offices for refusing to have sex with Adnan Oktar. Having seen a picture of Ebru and a picture of Oktar, I cannot fathom why Oktar would even think that a woman that looks her that would ever even think about having sex with somebody that looks like him. A woman has to have some standards, right? Besides, since Oktar claims to be such a devout Muslim, doesn’t the Qur’an forbid having sex with a woman that you’re not married to? And how the hell does this pious servant of Allah manage to live in an opulent mansion? Didn’t theprophet Muhummad himself willingly live in poverty and eschewed personal extravagance of any kind?

Hey, what’s the Turkish word for “hypocrite”?

So, the judicial process lasted over two years, during which most of the complainants’ retracted their claims, repportedly because of threats or bribes from SRF members. As a result most of the cases against Oktar and SRF members were dismissed, with only two members receiving jail sentences for a year each.

According to the indictment of the prosecutor’s office, cited by the daily Cumhuriyet, Oktar’s organisation used its female members to attract young scholars from rich families, with the promise of sex in exchange for attending events. Should one of these female members attempt to leave the group, they were threatened with the release of the tapes.

Oh, my FRAKKING G-d!

Okay, what’s the Turkish words for “sexual slavery” and “blackmail”?

Amidst ambiguous circumstances all charges were dropped by that court only to be picked by another court eight years later. In 2008 Oktar was finally convicted for a variety of crimes including engaging in criminal threats. On May 2008 Oktar and seventeen other members of his organisation were sentenced to three years in prison. Oktar intends to appeal these charges.

Yeah. Harun Yahya would like to have some sex, just not the kind availble in a Turkish prison.

harunyahya

Kent Hovind, Ted Haggard and, now, Harun Yahya. Is there something about creationism in-general, that attracts people like these total scumbags?

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The Church of Scientology vs Books

4 January 2009

“Well, in all my years I ain’t never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about. Hell yeah! I’m for debating anything. Rhode Island says yea!”

Stephen Hopkins, as portrayed by Roy Poole, in the motion picture 1776

In my whole life, I’ve never read or even heard about a book so that was so dangerous that it shouldn’t be read, not only read by myself, but read by anyone.

Throughout history, there have been books published that the powers in-force at that time deemed that the book in-question should not be read by anyone, ever, and that all copies of the book should be destroyed. Occasionally, the authors themselves were often imprisoned or even put to death.

One of the most famous incidents of book banning was The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. His book was condemned by the Ayatollah Khomeinei of Iran and Rushdie himself was sentenced to death. The banning and death sentence did little harm to Rushdie’s career, as his book became a best seller in the West and Rushdie himself experienced a vitalized career in the Western nations and he became a cause celebre for years after the event. To this day, whenever he publishes a book or appears at an event, it makes the news.

When the book was banned, I actually went out, bought a copy,  took it home and read it. To be completely honest, I hated the book. I found its plot disjointed and the use of profanity and insults aimed at the main character to be so over the top, that I gave the book away to the first person I could find that wanted it. Hunter S. Thompson wouldn’t have written a book like that and he had little in the way of inhibitions about writing anything.

So, the banning of the book had the exact opposite effect that the Ayatollah had wanted. Instead of destroying his career and silencing him forever, one way or another, it turned Rushdie into a celebrity in the West.

Before we Westerners get too comfortable viewing ourselves as advocates for Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech, let’s remember that we have something of a history of banning books here too. The American Library Association maintains a list of books that have been frequently challenged and subjected to banning by local and state governments. Among the top challenged books, you’ll find the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou; and Mark Twain’s Advetures of Huckleberry Finn. There are other books on the list, written by authors I do not recognize. But, they are on the list because they have been so frequently challenged as to make such occurances noticable at the national level. One book for which being challenged is not a surprise is Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman, as it is seen as advocating that homosexual couples can raise children just as well as heterosexuals and it has frequently been singled-out for condemnation by the Religious Right.

Some books are just plain awful, while others are written simply by authors who don’t know how to write without interjecting a lot of sex or profanity. But, whatever the nature of the book, banning it simply draws more attention to it and makes people want it more, regardless of whether the book is good or bad.

But, it is not only governments that can try to ban books. Churches and corporations can try the same thing, usually by filing lawsuits against the author, publisher or retailers who offer the book for sale. One example of this is the Church of Scientology.

The Scandal of Scientology by Paulette Cooper
was one of their most famous attempts to silence a book critical of their organization. The book earned Ms Cooper the attention and wrath of members of the church. The book earned Cooper negative attention from members of the Church, and she was subsequently the target not only of litigation but a harassment campaign known as Operation Freakout, the goal of which was to deter Cooper from criticism of Scientology by having her incarcerated in a mental institution, imprisoned or silence her completely. Members of the church sent itself forged bomb threats, purportedly from Cooper, using her typewriter and paper with her fingerprints on it; further plans included bomb threats to be sent to Henry Kissinger. The Church’s campaign was discovered when the FBI raided Scientology offices in 1977, as part of the investigation into the Church’s attempts to illegally infiltrate the United States government in what was called “Operation Snow White“, and recovered documents relating to the operation. Libraries in Canada were even sued for stocking the book on the shelves.

Ms Cooper wrote about her experiences with the Church of Scientology’s attacks on her and you can read her account online. Even though the book itself is no longer being sold online, you can sometimes find a copy of it on eBay or you can read the book online at Operation Clambake.

Due to the ultimate failure of silencing Cooper, you might think that Scientologists wouldn’t repeat their mistake. After all, they made Cooper’s life a living hell, bu the book is still around and – with the on-going Project Chanology campaign launched by the group known only as “Anonymous” – it is being read now more than ever.

However, being bitten by the same dog twice doesn’t seem to phase them. A recently-released book “The Complex: An Insider Exposes the Covert World of the Church of Scientology” by John Duignan, with Nicola Tallant. Prior to the book’s publication Scientology spokesman Gerard Ryan told the newspaper Irish Mail on Sunday that the Church wouldn’t take any legal action against the book. However, claiming that the book libels a Scientology member, the Church sent a legal letter to Amazon’s offices in the United Kingdom, customers who had pre-ordered the book were informed that the book was unavailable “for legal reasons” and the book’s listing was removed from their website. Book retailers Waterstone’s and W H Smith were also sent the legal letters.

However, here in the USA, the only apparent delay in Amazon selling the book was simply waiting for the book shipment to arrive and it is currently available for sale.

The Church of Scientology has lots of money and they have used some of it to attempt to silence critics. Lawsuits, even when they have no legal merit, are a good way to shut some one up when you have more disposable income than they do. However, such acts do nothing to enhance the public image of any organization, the Church’s image gets hurt every time they do this and it gives fresh motivations to their critics to continue their campaigns.

The harder the Church of Scientology tries to suppress this book or any work critical of them, the harder their opponents will work to bring such materials into the public eye.

Remember during the Reformation, when the Catholic Church decided to attempt to silence Martin Luther, rather than to address the issues he had brought up in his 99 Theses, the harder Luther worked to expose the Catholic Church and Luther found willing allies to work to break the power of the Roman Church. Even longer before that, the Roman Empire put thousands of Christians to death, yet Christianity flourished and, eventually, took over the Empire.

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

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