Thursday, December 4, 2008

Stifling Myths

The UK Newspaper The Guardian has an article on "How Scientologists Pressurise Publishers", based initially on The Complex pulled out of Amazon U.K. stock.

The article in fact is not that bad but contains a few inaccuracies and omissions.

"Several times they've taken legal action to try and stop websites revealing their teachings"
It would be more exact to write "Several times they've taken legal action to try and stop websites posting their copyrighted material"

"The Church of Scientology set up a campaign called Operation Freakout to discredit her."
Makes it sound as if the operation was actually carried out. It wasn't. It was only a project that remained on paper.

"the Church falsely told the FBI she had sent them two bomb threats"
"Falsely" seems to be here the author's opinion, because there never was any definite proof one way or the other. See my page about the Cooper Bomb Threat myth at

"The court cases went on for some years and eventually the Church won. Armstrong filed for bankruptcy and fled to Canada. The Church filed further lawsuits against him in the 1990s and into the new century. There have been numerous other examples of Scientology trying to suppress criticism."
This is incorrect and I am surprised that a journalist who supposedly has researched the CoS comes up with such a myth. Armstrong settled his case and received $800,000 as part of the settlement. He fled out to Canada with the money and joyfully breached the agreement 131 times. He can't go back in the US where he is now wanted by the law.

"numerous other examples of Scientology trying to suppress criticism"
That may be, but the examples provided on the article do not really support that claim. The complain being made against The Complex is for libel, not criticism. The examples given about "legal actions against web sites" were for copyright, not "revealing their teachings". Operation Freakout was never enacted, and there is no proof that the bomb threat accusation against Cooper was false. As for Armstrong, he is wanted in the US for what amounts to stealing $800,000 from the CoS, not because he is a critic.

There is hope, however, that David V. Barrett, author of this article, eventually corrects these innacuracies. Indeed, he writes:
"Because of the unbiased descriptive stance of my books on new religious movements, anti-cultists have accused me of being a "cult apologist"."
This always is an honor, because "cult apologist" is the term anti-cultists use for moderate onlookers who don't share their frantic and paranoid views on cults and actually check facts.

So how about it, David? Search the issue a bit deeper, and you may find that things are not just as simple as what is presented on the many so-called critical web sites that mostly repeat from each other the same myths until they become "true".

The Money Trail

Mark Bunker is relaying the call for donations of the WhyWeProtest forum.

Really, I am surprised that WhyWeProtest will try to pull that one again after the fiasco, where it seems that LE, the site admin, ran away with the donation money after he completely shut down the forum.

I am also surprised suckers would fall for it again when Anonymous obviously cannot provide upon request (as most reputable charities do) reports outlining amount of donations and expenses.

At the time, I already blogged about the fact that I found strange Anonymous was demanding money at all, supposedly for maintaining a web site, something that millions of people around the world do for free. Apparently I was not the only one having my doubts about it, as can be seen on an August YouTube video entitled " donation scandals".

OGs do not have a brilliant record on this topic either.

Money issues was at the core of the conflict between critics that eventually led (with the CoS' help) to the demise of Bob Minton. One of the criticism that was being made at the time was that Patricia Greenway used Minton's money to buy for herself a luxury sport car rather than investing it in that turd called "The Profit" as she should have.

In another notorious case, the same OG that now complains about LE above had the guts to ask people for donations after he lied about the treatening post he made against the CoS and which he falsely claimed for two years they faked. To my knowledge, these donations have not been reimbursed either.

Not speaking about the case of Jerry Armstrong, who accepted a $800,000 settlement from the CoS then ran away from the US (where he is now wanted by the law) and breached the terms of his settlement 131 times.

Even has of now, money issues continue to create problems. There is a critic in ARS who is regularly blamed by his own fellows for having tried to cash in on his activism through sale of anti-Scientology items. This sounds strange, knowing that Andreas Heldal-Lund himself is selling anti-Scientology artifacts for profit too. The only difference is that he makes it sound as if the profit from sales goes to some charity, whereas it merely goes to another anti-cultist, who probably returns him the favor in another form.

So, if you feel like donating, please do if it's spontaneous movement from the hearth. It's good for your karma, even if later on you will finally realize it is all bunk. But don't be naive. Due to Anonymous' anonymous nature, what you donate will be lost forever, with no control as to what is exactly being done with the money.

At least, after the Magoo fiasco, I doubt it will be used again to finance free oversea trips for "non-leaders" of Anonymous, and I am sure Mark has now grown enough hair on his wise beard to beware of geeks bearing gifts. It might even be that the reason he now promotes the WhyWeProtest donation campaign is because he feels guilty the money has been previously spent for such futile purposes.

However, I am not against Mark continuing to sign autographs on boobs. Lots of boobs, and please film them all and put them on YouTube!