Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

List Of Ex-Scientologists Who Have Spoken Out

8 July 2009

This is what happens when the Real World prevents me from devoting enough time to maintaining this blog on a regular basis.

The latest number of ex-Scientologists who have come out and spoken-out against the church of Scientology has grown to 801 names. Given the sheer size of the list, I will not keep updating the list.

Instead, I will direct you to Why We Protest’s wiki page.

http://wiki.whyweprotest.net/List_of_ex-Scientologists_who_have_spoken_out

They will update the list as information becomes available to them.

Thanks to Anonymous for all their hard work.

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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ArmofAllah: the Fake Muslim on YouTube

2 June 2009

YouTube user coughlan666 was recently accused of filing a DMCA against YT user fakesagan, resulting in his channel closure. Coughlan666 denies this and I believe him, since that is not the practise of coughlan666 to attempt to silence his critics through the DMCA. He will simply respond with a video of his own.

He was also accused by YT user ArmofAllah of DMCAing a video of his, which coughlan666 also denies and ArmofAllah appears to have accepted his denial.

This is just the latest bit of drama on YouTube, along with the votebotting, false-flagging and DMCAs flying-around the place as people lash-out against each other and try to get videos deleted or just make their lives difficult.

However, I became interested in YT user ArmofAllah for several reasons. On the surface, he claims to be a Muslim. His video that was DMCAd included his attacking coughlan666 from an apparently Muslim point of view and calling for coughlan666 to become a Muslim. While YouTube does have Muslim users, I don’t think that ArmofAllah is one of them. In fact, I think that ArmofAllah is a troll, more likely a sockpuppet account, of some one with a cursory knowledge of Islam and this account is being used to stir-up drama on YouTube and make Muslims look bad.

This is not an unusual occurance. Former YT user VenomFangX blamed Muslims for shutting-down his account by sending death threats to him and his family at their home. There is no proof, of any kind, that such threats were ever made.

Back to ArmofAllah.

I am going to lay-out my case as to why I think that this YT user is not really a Muslim and the account was only created for the purposes of stirring-up drama and making Muslims look bad on YouTube. Since the original video is gone, you can see clips of it on this video

  • Normally, when a Muslim mentions the Name of Allah, they include the acronym “swt”, which stands for “subhana wa ta’ala”, which means “his Name be praised” or “glory be to Him”;
  • the traditional Arabic rendering of the Prophet’s name is not “Mohammed”. this is an English rendering. the Arabic fashion is closer to the Arabic pronounciation and is “Muhummad”;
  • when the name of the Prophet is written or spoken, the words “peace be upon him” are supposed to immediately follow, or the acronym “pbuh” or the Arabic “salalahu alayhi wa salaam” or the acronym “saws” or (saws);
  • a rather minor point is that nowhere in the video does ArmofAllah quote the Qur’an (aka Quran) or any of the Hadith (oral sayings of Muhummad). I would think a Muslim would, at least, quote either of them once to bolster his point.

Without these terms following the Name of Allah or the Prophet, it seems more lilely that the ArmofAllah is really some one pretending to be a Muslim. Granted this job seems convincing to some one who has little real exposure to Muslims, but to some one who knows a lot of Muslims (like I do), it seems like either ArmofAllah is either a rather careless Muslim or is some one doing their best to pretend to be Muslim.

I will grant that none of this is definitive. But, in my mind casts serious doubt as to the identity of the ArmofAllah and his real religion

After looking at ArmofAllah’s channel, I became absolutely certain that he is not a Muslim. My points:

  • in a reply to a comment on his video “All back of the bus”, he makes quotes from the Qur’an.
  • [19:68] By your Lord, we will certainly summon them, together with the devils, and will gather them around Hell, humiliated.

    [19:69] Then we will pick out from each group the most ardent opponent of the Most Gracious.

    [19:70] We know full well those who are most deserving of burning therein. “

    I thought something was wrong when it appeared that the verses appeared to be copypasta’d from an online version and I found it here
    http://www.submission.org/suras/sura19.htm

    This translation was done by a Dr Rashad Khalifa, who claims to have found a numerical miracle in the Qur’an with the number 19. Rashad Khalifa also claimed to be a Messenger of Allah, a title normally exclusively reserved to those people that Islam says were actually Allah’s chosen Prophets. Furthermore, the translation is called “Authorized English translation of the Quran”. There is no “authorized version” and most Muslims are aware of this. there are good translations -such as Yusuf Ali or Pickthall – and bad ones, but no “authorized version” since there is no body that can “authorize” one. A non-Muslim might be impressed with the title claiming to be authorized, but not a Muslim. A Muslim knows better, or they should know better.

  • in the video title “You almost made a Muslim swear, but Allah forgives you.” points-out a serious breach of Islamic practise. While a Christian might tell some one that God forgives them or God has forgiven them, a Muslim would never say such a thing. Muslims believe that Allah forgives who He will and no person, besides the Prophets, can claim to speak for Him. To tell some one that Allah forgives them is blasphemy, when no person really knows if Allah forgives some one or not,
  • in his channel comments section, ArmofAllah makes this statement in reply to another comment where it removes all doubt from my mind

“Because Allah spoke to me and told me my path is true.

Peace “

    Christians claim that God spoke to them all the time. A Muslim cannot make any such claim and still be a Muslim. To claim that Allah spoke to him, ArmofAllah is claiming to be a Prophet and Muslims believe that Muhummad was the last of all prophets sent to humanity. Therefore, ArmofAllah is claiming to be the equal of Muhummad, Jesus, Moses and all other Prophets that Islam says that Allah sent to humanity.In Islam, ArmofAllah would be considered a heretic, deserving of death for such claims.

So, there it is, my case against YT user ArmofAllah.

I left out the fact that the very name of the channel “Arm of Allah” might be considered presumptuous by Muslims. It might be acceptable for a Muslim to claim to be the “sword of Allah” (sayfullah) or something similar. It might be considered quite blasphemous to actually be considered an actual part or appendage of Allah, such as calling yourself the Eye of Allah. Muslims just don’t do that sort of thing.

As pointed-out by YT user Vogter2100, ArmofAllah also has video channels where he uses the name PalmsofAllah. Which shows how decidedly unIslamic the channel is and how little the channel owner really knows about Islam.

Muslims have a bad reputation, on YouTube and in the media. I think that sockpuppet accounts like ArmofAllah just make the situation worse than it already is and I would hope that real Muslims would stand-up to people like this.

People like VenomFangX and ArmofAllah (who I truely believe is YT user Brett Keane) seem to like using Muslims to take the heat for them when they screw-up or as a way to divert attention away from themselves. Using Muslims as a whipping-boy, rather than standing-up for yourself, is cowardly in the extreme.

Update for 3 June 2009: the YouTube channels of ArmofAllah and PalmsofAllah. have been closed. Since the channels were not suspended, it appears that ArmofAlllah/PalmsofAllah closed the channels himself.

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My Thoughts on YouTube User VenomFangX

27 May 2009

If you ever wanted to make a list of the most contoversial YouTube users, you would have to include a young man from Canada who called himself VenomFangX,

Shawn (his real first name, which he openly admitted) is a devout Christian and Creationist. He made numerous videos expounding Creationism, borrowing much of his source material from convicted criminal and former minister Kent Hovind. While Hovind and Shawn may convince those without a scientific backbround, people with scientific educations find such “information” laughable and several YouTube users, posted videos of their own debunking the claims of Shawn, as well as ridiculing him. The most famous groups of video series posted in response to Shawn and other Creationists on YouTube include:

There are, of course, other videos posted by these and other users, but these are the most well-known. Shawn’s initial response to these videos was to attempt to get into “debates” with these posters. However, Shawn’s near-total lack of a scientific education made any sort of debate with him to be a waste of time for the people he challenged and VenomFangX even admitted in one of his videos to Thunderf00t that he simply wanted to try to get Thunderf00t to “get out of his scientific bubble” and get him to try to see the world and universe from Shawn’s perspective. In other words, he wanted to preach Christianity to Thunderf00t in some sort of attempt to convert him. He even asked his subscribers to send messages to Thunderf00t to pressure him into agreeing to watch Shawn’s videos and debate him. However, Thunderf00t rejected the offer.  Shawn’s attempts to contact Thunderf00t and earn his respect seemed to border on the level of an obsessed fanboy, which Thunderf00t found to be rather disturbing and insulting.

While Thunderf00t and the other YouTube users allowed comments and ratings on their videos by anyone, Shawn did not. VenomFangX closed his comments to “approval only”, which meant that only the comments he allowed would be posted and it gave the appearance that everyone who commented on his videos agreed with him. When this point was brought-up, he did not change his practise and he also disabled ratings, so that no one could rate his videos either and neither could anyone post video responses. As such, Thunderf00t nicknamed Shawn “Posterboy from Creationist Stupidity” (PCS) and Shanw has been called PCS by numerous non-Creationists on YouTube ever since.

In an obvious attempt to eliminate the counter-arguments of Thunderf00t and others, Shawn began to file DMCA complaints against over 150 individual videos posted on YouTube. For a time, these videos were removed and a shitstorm of controversy was the result. Shawn tried to claim that “a friend” had filed the DMCAs on his behalf, but this was soon proven to be untrue and Shawn was revealed as the filer of those complaints. This resulted in Thunderf00t calling for Shawn to either shutdown his account for six months or face criminal and/or civil prosecution for his abuse of the DMCA system. At first, Shawn tried to bluff his way out of it, along with encouragement from other Creationists, but eventually was forced to admit his guilt for filing the false DMCAs and lying in an attempt to cover it up.

After receiving this smackdown, Shawn was a bit quieter than he had been before. However, he soon began to find new ways to offend people.

For a few days, Shawn closed his account after claiming that people had obtained his personal information and had threatened his family. Shawn posted a video announcing this, saying goodbye to everyone. However, he did log-into his account over the next few days and eventually returned with a video consisting of clips from his supporters’ videos asking for his return. This bit of drama was derided by his opponents as nothing more than appealing for sympathy.

In one of Shawn’s earliest videos, he appealed for a video camera and soon received one from a supporter. However, in clips of many of his videos, Shawn revealed that he lives in a palacial home with expensive decor, which made such appeals to seem selfish. He was obviously not from a poor family, so was seen as having no business asking for donations of any kind. In my view, even if some one knew that Shawn is from a wealthy family, but still wanted to give him a donation, that was certainly the donor’s choice.

Later, after Shawn claimed to have lost his job at a video store – after having used the store’s equpiment to copy DVDs from Kent Hovind’s organization and playing the DVD “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” on the store’s television and giving-away copies of Hovind DVDs to store customers as a way of prostelytizing to store customers – Shawn posted a video asking for people to financially support him so that he could Preach the Gospel as a full-time preacher. Specifically, he asked for at least 500 people to donated $1 each. He said that he would keep $500 for his own use and give anything over the $500 to Sick Kids Hospital. Shawn began to receive donations of more that $5 from several people, including donations of $500 from a couple of individuals, which was far in excess of the $500 he had initially asked for. A YouTube user, ImSoCritical, posted a comment that Shawn should simply put the excess into a savings account to carryover into the next month, rather than giveaway the excess. This account is seen by some, including myself, to be a sockpuppet account that Shawn used to post supportive cooments to himself. Whatever the case may be, Shawn soon abandoned the idea of giving away the money he received in excess of the $500 and began to spend it on other things, whether related to his ministry or not. These expenses included paying for parking at the college he preached at, car expenses and video recording equipment.

When pressure was brought on by people asking why he didn’t donate to the hospital, Shawn’s reply was that he had asked for 500 people to donate $1 each, but he said that, since he had wanted 500 donors, he still had not reached his goal. This flew in direct contradiction of his initially stating that he wanted only $500 per month and instead counted only the number of donors. So, if he received, say, $1000 from 499 people, he did not feel obligated to give any money to charity until he had gotten money from the 500th donor. While he did end-up making donations to various charitable organizations, he did not donate any money to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, but instead to other Christian groups.

In response to apparently fraudulent use of the name of Sick Kids Hospital to raise moeny for himself, YT user UNFFwildcard posted this video.

UNFFwildcard’s video was posted both a response to VenomFangX and as a way to raise money for Malaria No More, whose goal; is to supply bed netting for people in Sub-Saharan Africa in an effort to combat the spead of malaria.

This same YT user published further criticism of Shawn here

as well as a Thank You to all YouTube users who have helped in the fundraising drive

Unlike VenomFangX’s donation drive, UNFFwildcard’s effort was fully transparent and you always knew how much money had been raised and exactly where it was going.

Not to let Shawn off-the-hook for what was apparently an an attempt by Shawn to get money from people without having to work for it, another YouTube user lordhathor began his own campaign to interrupt the flow of money into Shawn’s pockets and you can view his playlist here

When Shawn began his donation drive, he stated that he wanted to be a full-time preacher and the donations were simply to financially support him while he did that. He posted videos on his channel showing him witnessing to several students at a local college. This was obviously an attempt by shawn to justify his money-raising and show that he wasn’t simply freeloading on the goodwill of others. Howvever, lordhathor uncovered evidence through an interview with a Christian minister who lives close to Shawn that

  • Shawn was offered an actual job as a missionary with a local church, but turned it down;
  • Shawn’s response to the church that offered him the job that he wasn’t interested in it because he didn’t want to answer to the church’s authorities;
  • Shawn also was not satisfied with the salary offer from the church, since he was making more money than that through his donation drive on YouTube;
  • the videos that showed Shawn converting people to Christianity were actually faked and the people he was preaching to were already Christians and, in some cases, had been so for years;
  • despite Shawn’s claims that he wanted to be a minister, none of the college courses he was taking were related to that occupation.

You can hear the interview on this video

We’ll never know how much money Shawn raised or what he did with it. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter.

In the end, Shawn posted another video on his channel to say goodbye. In this video he stated, once again, that people – Muslims, in this case – had obtained his personal information and sent threats against his life and the lives of his family members. As such , he was shutting-down his channel and deleting all his videos.

He did this…for a few days.

Shawn then reopened his channel, sans videos, and stated that he was giving his channel and its 26,000+ plus subscribers to another YouTube user, known as GEERUP. GEERUP is known as a rather off-the-wall character on YouTube and had less than 2500 subscribers. Now, with Shawn’s subscribers, he has a wider audience. GEERUP believes in the New World Order conspiracy and posted rather strange videos on his own channel. To his credit, CEERUp does allow comments to be posted on his video and allows comments on the VenomFangX channel, which is something Shawn did not. Time will tell if Shawn’s subscribers remain with GEERUP or will tire of his rantings and strange behavior.

Did Shawn really receive threats agaisnt his life and the lives of his family from Muslims, as he claimed? Personally, I don’t think so.

What I do think happened is this:

  • people reported Shawn’s use of the name of Sick Kids Hospital for the purposes of his money-raising;
  • it became obvious that Shawn had given none of the money he collected to that same hospital and had no real intentions of doing so;
  • copies of the video were sent to the Hospital’s legal division, as well as Canada’s Revenue Service and the Toronto police and an investigation of possible fraud was launched;
  • since Shawn lives with his parents, they became aware of what was happening under their roof when they were contacted by law enforcement and/or Sick Kids Hospital as part of this investigation;
  • Shawn’s parents, whom he lives with, were unaware of what he was doing until this contact was made. Since Shawn is over 18, they are not responsible for him or his actions previous to contact. However, now that they became aware, they are now responsible to prevent any further misuses of the name of Sick Kids Hospital by their son while he lives in their home;
  • rather than face criminal and/or civil repurcussions for the actions of their son, as well as damage to their reputations in the community, Shawn’s parents forced him to shutdown his YouTube channel and close his website.

Shawn made one last appeal for people who still wanted to send him money via his Paypal account. It’s anyone’s guess as to how successful this will be for him. For most of us,”Out of sight, out of mind” is how we are and while some of his subscribers will want to help him out, I think that when enough time passes, Shawn will be forgotten by most of his former followers and the money will stop coming in, if it does at all.

Ultimately, here is my assessment of Shawn:

  1. Shawn grew-up in a well-to-do family and his parents indulged him with gifts of expensive items;
  2. Shawn became a Christian recently and became a follower/admirer of Kent Hovind;
  3. Since Shawn was doted-on by his family, he has a strong need for attention and admiration from people around him;
  4. Shawn does not like being criticized by anyone for any reason and reacts badly to it;
  5. Shawn also has a vindictive nature, looking for ways that he can strike back at his detractors with little risk to himself for his actions;
  6. Shawn is a coward and when caught doing illegal or immoral things, will try to bluff or threaten his way out of them;
  7. When Shawn does not receive admiration, he will try to gain sympathy from others. He will settle for people feeling sorry for him, if they cannot admire him;
  8. When Shawn’s parents told him that he had to earn his own money, Shawn attempted to use the job as a platform to garner followers for himself and converts for his religion;
  9. Shawn was always allowed to do whatever he wanted to by his parents and was upset that his employers would not do the same;
  10. Shawn does not like having to work for a living and wanted to find a way to receive money without having worked for it;
  11. Shawn will try to use either people’s admiration or sympathy for him to get money for himself;
  12. He views whatever money he gets as his own money and will be loathe to give it up to anyone for any reason that does not benefit him in some fashion;

Basically, Shawn is just a selfish little punk kid who never had to earn his own money and he discovered that some people would give him money if he asked for it. He’s a lazy piece of shit who doesn’t want to break a sweat on a job and would rather spend his days playing on a computer and living the same carefree life he did when he was a child. Because his parents indulged him, he expects the rest of the world to do the same and he just can’t stand it that we all don’t line-up to kiss his ass.

Finally, it seems that his parents may have realized what a selfish little shit they raised and have taken some belated action to rein him in before he ends-up in prison or the family gets sued. I hope that they sat him down and gave him a good talking-to about how he risked their family’s reputation for his schemes.

Now, I would view this all differently if Shawn lived on his own and appealed for donations from people without mentioning Sick Kids Hospital or any other legitimate charity as a form of leverage to get people to send him money. If he wanted to ask for money on his own and people gave it to him, then I really don’t care. People give money to fake preachers all the time.

But, his use of a legitimate charity’s name to raise money for himself so that he could continue a life of leisure without doing a bit of real work for it just burned me up.

Shawn isn’t even 25 years old yet. I hope the little shit grows-up before his actions land him in criminal or civil court facing real consequences for his nonsense.

He’ll be back, I think. When he’s not getting anymore donations and he feels a need for attention-whoring, he’ll come back to YouTube or some other forum and try to pickup where he left off.

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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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Tea Party, Part 2

16 April 2009

These are just my own predictions for life in America after the Tea Party Tax Day Protests. Bear in-mind that these are assumptions, based upon my observations of past events and movements like this, so I could be wrong.

Or I could be absolutely right and I think I am.

For one thing, this is not about taxes and never has been. That’s just a cover. Everybody hates paying taxes and Americans are no exception, especially since we created an entire mythology around our own Revolution on “no taxation without representation”.

This whole thing is about the elections across the USA in 2010, 2012 and 2014. That’s it and nothing else. It’s not about creating a popular movement or reforming the tax code.

It’s about creating the next crop of Republican candidates for the next three elections to unseat the Democrats in the White House, Congress, State and local government bodies over the next six years.

The Republican realized after the last election that they had alienated their base of “small government, low taxes, pro-business and pro-family” and they are trying to build some kind of movement of people with that mindset in order to gather enough potential voters to take them into office over the next six years. Plus, the emerging leadership of the anti-tax movement will be looked-over as potential candidates to run in those elections. The ones with the best popular support wil be vetted for future runs for political office, the ones who don’t make the cut may be seen as poptential helpers along the way, but that is doubtful. Remember, there is an entire machine out there for the Republican Party to tap into. All they need are candidates and that’s where this current movement comes in.

In the near future, we’ll be seeing more from the pro-gun lobby, creating a stir about supposed infringements of their right to carry or own firearms. Second Amendment advocacy groups are going to be coming out of the woodwork in the next few months.

Creationism is going to be making the news again soon, as Evangelican Christians use this as a means to further thier own agenda. It won’t take much to stir-up a base of people afraid of their kids learning about Evolution. Certain groups of people don’t want their kids being told that Life got started here on Earth as a natural process, without the need for Divine Intervention or a Divine Plan. Never mind that Creationism, Creation Science and Intelligent Design are laughed-at by real scientists. Most people don’t really know that much about Science and it will be that ignorance – and in many cases, fear – which will be exploited for the purposes of political gain.

Let’s not forget about the Family Values Issue. With four states no legalizing same-sex marriage, anti-gay rights forces will be on the march to reverse those. Yes, they will be trying to have gay marriage made illegal again there and rallying the voters, along with serious cash to try to undo them. Likewise, there will be other movements to undo any legal recognition of civil unions in any of the States that recognize it and will be mobolizing against it in any States where the movement appears to be strongest. Any State that looks like it might even consider recognizing gay marriage or civil unions will be getting some serious attention in the next six years. Forces will be aligned with the anti-abortion movement which has always attracted a strong based of Conservative Christians.

The rise of the “Drill Here, Drill Now” movement during the last election, I anticipate some sort of backlash against the environmental movement and laws that have been passed to curtail the increase of greenhouse gases and pollution. Painting such movements and advocates as “charletans and panickmongers” will be seen in the future, especially in such media as FOX News, which remains one of the most-watched television networks in the USA and whose word is often taken at face value.

Over the next four years, the Right will be atempting to recreate what they accomplish during the Clinton Administration by trying to paint President Obama as a socialist, pro-gay, anti-gun, tax-and-spend Democrat. Any sort of attack on his personal life will be exploited to its fullest extent. As far as his personal life, he certainly has given much less for them to work with than did Clinton, but that will not stop certain groups from looking for such material or making it up out of thin air if it becomes neccessary to do so.

However, it is a point of history that the eight years of the Clinto Administration were far better for the US economy than were the eight years of the Bush Administration. Under Clinton, we had economic growth and budget supluses, while Bush resulted in the exact opposite.

Any positive economic news will be spun to either give credit for it to President Bush and/or attempt to downplay any role that the  Obama Administration policies had in enabling it to happen.

So, we have the potential rank-and-file lined-up to form a base for the Six Year Plan:

  • anti-tax;
  • anti-gay rights;
  • anti-science;
  • anti-environmentalist;
  • pro-gun; and
  • anti-abortion.

Along with a machine to denigrate the Obama Administration at every turn, these people are looking to take back the White House and Congress beginning in 2010.

The sad part of this is that I don’t think the Democrats will even see it coming until they are fighting for their political lives in 2012.

You don’t hear much about Ron Paul anymore. If he doesn’t come out more visibly in the next few months, I think he will become irrelevent. The luster has worn-off, for now, and it will take some sort of action on his behalf to get back into the limelight. I believe that Ron Paul will make an attempt to attach himself to the movement I am describing, but they will not be enthused about his assuming any kind of leadership position. He will be kept at arm’s length, though his supporters’ votes and money will be appreciated and solicited.

Let’s see what happens in the months ahead. Look for activity in the fight to prevent a national health care system in the USA. Michael Moore has gone quiet on this issue and the void will be filled by some one who opposes any step in that direction.

See if I am right.

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So What If the Pope Gets Jews Mad At Him?

25 January 2009

I read that the Pope has ended the excommunications of some bishops who belong to a breakaway portion of the Catholic Church, including one who is a Holocaust denier. The group, known as the Society of Pius the Tenth, used to have a radio show in my city and I heard all the usual stuff about the “Evil Talmud” and Holocaust revisionism, etc etc etc.

Now, the Pope is allowing one of them back into the Church he runs and people are worried about how the Jews will react.

Okay, Reality Check Time: if I were Pope, I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about what Jews, Muslims, Lutherans, Buddhists or anyone else who was not a member of my Church thought. I mean, the Catholic Church has a pretty bad history in how it treated the Jews and, even though they apologized for it, it’s still his Church to run and since he’s the Pope, he can run it however he wants to.

The Catholic Church, despite being the largest Christian denomination, has its share of problems. There has been a longstanding resistance on the part of more conservative elements within the Church who oppose the changes made at Vatican Two and in recent years. These are your vehement opponents of Mass said in any language but Latin, ordination of women, gay rights, abortion, etc and this is just within his own Church. Then, you have the more Liberal side of the Church who want women priests, loosening of the rules regarding abortion, tolerance for gays, and so on. And then, there is the problem of people who feel the Church should do more work in the realm of social justice, labor unions, international debt relief, liberation theology and more.

Seriously, the guy in the white hat has a lot on his plate without worrying about what people outside his Church thinks.

Besides, why should he care? If we’re not going to convert to his religion and vice versa, let’s all just agree to let the other side run their religion the way they want.

What’s next, not having wine at Mass because it might offend Muslims? Maybe encourage vegetarianism to keep the Buddhists happy.

Honestly, there are some things about the Catholic Church that I would change if I could. But, I’m not Catholic, so it’s really none of my g-d damned business, is it?

If we’re all supposed to be so nice to each other, why not make the Jews say something nice about Jesus on Shabbos? Hey, if we’re all supposed to care about what the Other Guy thinks, maybe we Jews ought to be a bit nicer to the Christians #1 guy, right? There are some rabbis out there that I’ve heard call Jesus a false prophet and you know the Catholics wouldn’t like that.

So, in the end, the Pope is the Big Boss of the Catholic Church and if he wants to let some Holocaust denier back in, be my guest. Hey, it’s his Church, right?

I’ll just make a note to say some rude things about Jesus once in awhile, just to be fair.

  • Question: do you know what Jesus said when they first put him on the cross?
  • Answer: “Hey, I can see my house from here.”

Huh, I feel better already.

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Why Not Legalize Same-Sex Marriage?

25 January 2009

Okay, I keep hearing about the fights that erupt in every State when local legislators or courts even talk about making it legal for people of the same gender to marry one another and have that marriage legally recognized by that State.

Opponents of same-sex marriage talk about “activist judges” who, somehow, reinterpet the Constitution to allow gay or lebians couples to marry one another. There is always a big hue and cry whenever the subject comes up, primarily for religious reasons.

Homosexuality is almost universally condemned in every religious faith in the world and anti-homosexual feelings have been expressed by people of various ethnic backgrounds and by people of either gender. It seems that, to find a positive comment being made about homosexuals or homosexuality, you pretty much have to talk only to homosexuals themselves. It is no wonder that the rights of gays and lesbians have een strongly curtailed in countries around the world.

Yet, certain countries have legalized same-sex marriage or civil unions, though these nations tend to be of European descent – Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden – and you won’t find something similar occurring in an African or Asian country, with the sole exception of Nepal. In the United States, only the States of Massachusetts and Connecticut give recognition to it.

Civil Unions are recognized in the nations of Andorra, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary,  Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Uruguay. In the USA, civil unions are recognized in California, Connecticut, Washington DC, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

So, what’s the big deal? In the USA, we often tout ourselves as the freedom-lovingest country in the world. But, when it comes to recognizing same-sex marriage or even its watered-down version of civil unions, we seem to hark back to our history as one of the most religiously devout countries in the world and giving gays and lesbians any rights at all is almost like asking some one to cut-off their own right arm. The Religious Right, of course, is leading the fight against gay marriage in America. This is expected, since atheists and agnostics have no religious grounds upon which to oppose gay marriage in the first place.

There are numerous statements made by same-sex marriage opponents that I have heard repeatedly over the years. I’m going to explore each of them in-turn and give my responses. I’d like anyone who is opposed to same-sex marriage to tell me if/how I may be mistaken.

CLAIM: “Allowing gay marriage would take away from the sanctity of heterosexual marriage.”

RESPONSE: How? Men and women have been marrying each other for thousands of years, with mixed results. How would heterosexual marriage be less important or less likely if we allowed gays to marry? Unless you were going to legalize gay marriage and ban straight marriage at the same time, this claim is irrelevent.

CLAIM:  “Most of the major religions consider homosexuality an aberrant behavior.”

RESPONSE:  So what? Religions around the world condemn all sorts of things, like: eating certain kinds of foods, making statues, not attending religious services on certain days and converting to another religion. Will we rewrite our laws in order to accommodate the religious precepts of all the major world religions? I should also point-out that the USA has no state religion and no religious test is allowed as a condition to hold either elective or appointed positions within the government, so there is no reason to care what a particular religion or group of religions likes or dislikes. 

CLAIM: “Allowing gay marriage would open the door to practitioners of all kinds of aberrant behavior to seek legitimacy.”

RESPONSE:  An interesting argument, perhaps with some justification. But, to claim that it would force the legalization of bestiality, pedophilia and incest is something of a stretch and ignores the fact that there is a compelling state interest to prohibit such behaviors.

CLAIM:  “Allowing gay marriage would cause thousands of confused young people to accept homosexual inclinations as normal, and they would begin to actively practice homosexuality.”

RESPONSE:  If you don’t have homosexual desires in the first place, you’re not going to act on them. Most people, male and female, who experience homosexual desires in their lifetime never act on them, and I don’t see how legalizing gay marriage would cause that to change.

CLAIM: “Homosexuality is not an immutable characteristic. Homosexuals can change to heterosexuals, with proper counseling, and thousands have. Legalizing gay marriage would dramatically curtail efforts to save people from being homosexual.”

RESPONSE:  Even with gay marriage prohibited by law, anti-gay ministries have had dismal results trying to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals. The actual numbers of people who have been changed is very low, with frequent relapses into homosexual behavior. I don’t see how the prospects for such programs could get any worse.

I await the response from the anti-gay lobby.

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Messianic Judaism is a Fraud

24 January 2009

You may have heard about Messianic Jews by now. I think most people have heard about the Jews for Jesus, although there are other groups of “messianic Jews” or “Hebrew Christians” out there. You may have even wondered if there have always been congregations of Jewish Christians, who prayed in Hebrew, kept Kosher and observed the various Jewish High Holy Days. Have there even been Mesianic Jewish Rabbis out there, you wonder?

Actually, no. None of that is even remotely true.

The general lack of success in converting Jews to Christianity stems from several sources:

There is a long history of Christian persecution of the Jews, from the Roman Empire when Christianity became the state religion, to the Crusades and Middle Ages, pograms in Russia and culminating in the Holocaust of World War 2. Christians seemed to be hell-bent on either expelling the Jews from where they lived, converting them on pain of death or just plain killing them. Needless to say, most Jews, even the most secular ones, didn’t really look at Christianity as a source of goodwill for the Jewish people.

Next was the religious incompatibility between Judaism and Christianity. For every scriptural quote a minister or priest had to convince Jews that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, rabbis have a ready response. From a stricly Jewish standpoint, using only the Bible (what Christians call the “Old Testament) it isn’t very hard to refute any claims of Jesus being the promised Messiah.

Third, even secular Jews have grown-up in a household where, at least, the cultural aspects of being a Jew were evident. We always have a devout grandparent or uncle or even a prent that observes at least some aspect of the Jewish faith. Embracing Christianity, for a Jew is like stepping out of this comfortable spot and into a foreign country. Historically, Jewish culture has found little welcome in Christian churches. In fact, Judaism was often looked at as passe and as a religion whose time had come and gone, being replaced by the “New Covenant” of Jesus.

So, how to get past al this and get Jews to convert to Christianity? Furthermore, why do most Messianic Jews believe many of the same things that evangelical Protestants believe and not as the Catholic or Orthodox do, considering that those branches of the Christian church are far older and have much larger followings?

A few decades ago, some of the evangelical Christians hatched a plan to launch a movement tht could evangelize to the Jews on a large scale and in a more organized fashion. They understood the problems I have outlined above and sought a way they could share the Gospel with the Jews in a way that Jews would feel more comfortable.

The actual founding father of the Messianic Jewish movement is Moishe Rosen (born Martin Meyer Rosen) who founded the group Jews for Jesus, the largest and most successful of the Messianic Jewish organizations, with his wife in 1969. Apparently coming from a Jewish family himself, though they were not devout.  According to Rosen, his father attended an Orthodox synagogue, but wasn’t very religious. Rosen and his wife converted to the Baptist Church and Rosen was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1957.

Wanting to find a way to bring more Jews into the Church, in 1973 Rosen left the employment of the American Board of Missions to the Jews (now called “Chosen People Ministries”) to incorporate a separate mission which later became known as Jews for Jesus Ministries.

However, Rosen never broke with the Baptists. In 1986 he received a Doctor of Divinity Degree from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary in Portland, Oregon and in 1997, the Conservative Baptist Association named him a “Hero of the Faith.”. Rosen has referred to himself both as a Messianic Jew and as a Christian.

Jews for Jesus is far from the first attempt by Christians to convert Jews. As I said, there have been numerous attempts over the centuries to convert Jews to the Church. Even Martin Luther gave it a try, though he was unsuccessful and, in his anger, published the notorious book On the Jews and Their Lies, which called for Jews to be expelled or killed, their synagogues and homes burned and their books destroyed.

Learning from past mistakes, Christians have taken a more subtle aproach. By offering an environment where they would see a rabbi, see Hebrew symbols and hear Hebrew or Yiddish spoken, they create Messianic synagogues where these things are readily apparent. At two conferences – one in Switzerland and the second in Thailand – it was realized that most Jews simply didn’t want to stop being Jews, even if they weren’t particularly observant to begin with. Once a Jew converts to another religion, he stops being a Jew and most of us simply don’t want to do that. It’s simply one step too far for many of us Jews.

So, the messianic movement was born.

Prior to the 1960s, there were no Messianic Jewish synagogues. There were no Messianic rabbis. It’s all a fraud.

Messianic Judaism is a modern, invented religion, born of a plot hatched out of the frustration of evangelical Protestants from their previous lack of missionizing success.

Messianics claim that Orthodox rabbis have converted from Orthodox Judaism to Messianic Judaism. Michael Esses once claimed to have been an Orthodox rabbi who converted to Christianity and became one of the leading missionaries to the Jewish people. He even presented a diploma from the non-existant rabbinical college The Sephardic Yeshiva of New York. This fraud was exposed by his wife, when the couple divorced and she published a book which contained a copy of instructions Michael had given to the printer who created his fraudulent diploma in the first place.

Tuvya Zaretsky was the director of the Los Angeles office of Jews for Jesus. It was publicly revealed during a television interview of Zaretsky in Philadelphia, when the host asked him if that was his real name. Zaretsky, reluctantly admitted that his real birth name was, in fact, Lloyd Carson. But, he was simply following the example of Martin (later Moishe) Rosen.

The chief supporters of this great fraud being committed against the Jewish people includes several powerful Protestant denominations:

  • Southern Baptists, chief underwriters of Jews for Jesus;
  • Seventh Day Adventists, they publish Shabbat Shalom magazine;
  • Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church; and, of course,
  • Assemblies of God;

Jews for Jesus’ budget surpasses $11 million and they have missions around the world, including in the USA, Moscow, South Africa, Argentina and even Israel.

Jews for Jesus has an insideous method for converting elderly Jews to the Messianic movement. They will find elderly Jews who are living in nursing homes whose families seldom visit them. Once they have this information,they will send young missionaries to visit them in the homes and try to convert them. Jews for Jesus also published Modern Maturity magazine. this despicable tactic targets elderly people who are lonely and desperate to have the attention of anyone younger than themselves, especially people of the age that their children and grandchildren would be.

Jews for Jesus even offers its expertise to Protestant churches and instruct them of how to prostelytize to Jews.

I get a real laugh at some of these Protestant preachers who try to pretend to be Jewish or try to use Jewish symbols to somehow justify their message. I see ministers wearing tallis during their sermons, often incorrectly. One guy I saw yesterday was wearing it around his neck like a gym towel. I posted a comment and let him know about his mistake. His response was to delete my comment. Sadly, I think that they get enough credibility from their viewers to continue to do it, otherwise they would not do it in the first place or would stop doing it.

The chief strength that the messianic  movement has it its outreach. They actually reach out to the lonely people in the Jewish community, university students far from home for the first time, the elderly, the deaf and for many others. They enthusiastically welcome new faces into their “synagogues”, while most Jews tend to remain at arms length from an unfamiliar person who comes to their shul for the first time.

My grandparents weren’t particularly religious, neither were my parents. So, I grew-up not being devout. I’m still not religious. But, even though I haven’t gone to shul myself in years and the state of the Jewish religion plays little part in my own life, I find the history of the Messianic Judaism movement, its tactics and its goals to be despicable.

 

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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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