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Scientology & Freedom of Information


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Presentation designed & delivered by at Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law in Tempe, AZ in May 2008.

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Scientology & Freedom of Information

  1. 2. <ul><ul><li>INTRODUCTION </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Scientology religion is based exclusively upon the research, writings and recorded lectures of L. Ron Hubbard — all of which constitute the Scriptures of the religion. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These encompass more than 500,000 pages of writings, nearly 3,000 recorded lectures and more than 100 films. He is the only source of the religion, and he has no successor in that regard. LRH is the Mohammed/Jesus/Buddha of COS. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A fundamental doctrine of the Scientology religion is that spiritual freedom can be attained ONLY if the path outlined in these works is followed without deviation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WHAT IS SCIENTOLOGY? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scientology is a pseudo-psychiatry based philosophy at first step. It’s stated aim is to “make the able more able” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One is audited/audits others in order to find the route of one’s problems that are keeping oen from moving to a point that is self-defined as important in the Scientologist’s life. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scientology offers expensive courses and auditing services to “clear” someone of these blocks, called engrams, to personal satisfaction/fulfillment. </li></ul></ul>
  2. 3. <ul><ul><li>WHAT IS SCIENTOLOGY? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At a certain point, after one has invested enough time and importantly money into these courses – they progress to the level of “clear.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A clear is someone who has gotten rid of all the engrams blocking them from achieving their goals and has destroyed their “reactive mind.” They now have “cause over their mental energy” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Now the Scientologist can continue their auditing so as to become an Operating Thetan; who can have cause over matter, energy space and time [MEST] or in essence, to become a master of the physical universe. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As they continue to move forward in the faith, they progress to levels that Hubbard calls OT or Operating Thetan where the details of the faith are begun to be revealed to the convert. There are 8 levels of OT. These levels require very expensive auditing starting at over $1000.00 an hour and can take anywhere from 3 to 5 weeks to 3 to 5 years to complete individually. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Once one has reached the level of OT III, they reach the level which is referred to as the “Wall Of Fire;” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is ONLY at this point which a Scientologist is allowed to know the creation origin or “Genesis” of Scientology called “INCIDENT II” or, to use the Judeo/Christian paradigm, to know the TRUE cause of the blocks in their personal fulfillment which auditing was/is meant to clear: </li></ul></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><ul><li>WHAT IS SCIENTOLOGY? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ INCIDENT II / WALL OF FIRE” </li></ul></ul>“ Imagine the Roman Catholic church withholding the contents of the Book of Genesis from 90 percent of its 900 million worldwide adherents. That's 810 million Catholics kept in the dark about &quot;Let there be light,&quot; Adam and Eve, and the rest of the Christian origin saga. And imagine that the Catholic church called Genesis a &quot;trade secret&quot; that could only be revealed to Catholics who had spent years, and hundreds of thousands of dollars, obtaining the correct level of experience to be allowed to read their own religion's version of how the universe started and where people came from.” – Tony Ortega
  4. 5. <ul><ul><li>“ INCIDENT II / WALL OF FIRE” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Wall of Fire story, as well as Incident I, which details the entry of thetans from the Theta universe to the MEST universe, are the essential cosmology of Scientology; which one can only know after being in the organization long enough and been indoctrinated to not reject the story outright. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Once one has knowledge of this, they are told that OT IV to VII is an equally painstaking psychic procedure to rid oneself of these thetans, but as an OT, the Scientologist will gain the ability to have “cause over MEST;” essentially super powers of prowess and empathy/telepathy as long as one abides by COS doctrine. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ What other “religion” want[s] $100,000 and several years of dedication before a member learned its most basic beliefs? And Scientology can’t afford to be more forthcoming: Who would join if they knew they were going to spend that kind of money (and shun other family members and completely build their lives around Scientology) in order to rid their bodies of invisible space-alien parasites? No wonder such details aren’t mentioned during the most basic Scientology come-on, the free “personality test” you get in the subway.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tony Ortega </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>,celebrity%20denounces%20scientology,411801,2.html/3 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><ul><li>SCIENTOLOGY IS A CULT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As Ortega’s comments note; most recruits are offered free tests on busy intersections or subways by established Scientologists who do not reveal their background. Not how most super-humans would spend their day. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>COS has the basic structure of a cult as noted by Sanger: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Inverse T structure; the leader stands alone at the top. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>COS offers all the answers to any problem by not offering any answers at all; the follower defines his goal and COS sets an arbitrary path to that goal by repurposing their personal info against them. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Followers are subject to the whims of the leader who is all-knowing and infallible. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Possessions and finances are ceded to the leader and his group. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Followers “disconnect” from their family and friends to further entrench themselves in the cult. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>To subsidize expensive auditing; the auditors and recruiters work for Scientology for free an for long hours at expense of work. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If a follower leaves, they are subject to shunning as a means of keeping them in the group. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><ul><li>CONTROL OF INFORMATION </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Morover, details of the origin story and the OT levels; as well as the higher level New Era Dianetics for OTs are kept strictly confidential by Scientology. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The internal rationale is that if the story were revealed too early, one would not be able to handle it and would/could die given its mindblowing nature. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The truth however is that The Church of Scientology is structured so that its income flows from the license of the OT materials to its Class IV churches. Despite its claims and recognition of tax exempt status; CoS is really a for-profit cult. Initially for the benefit of L. Ron Hubbard, Today, for David Miscavige and members of COS’ inner cabal, The Sea Organization. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No one can be a top level holder of any important position within Scientology without being a member of Sea Org. Sea Org is almost exclusively made up of former members of Hubbard’s Commodore’s Messenger Organization who seized control of COS after Hubbard died in 1986. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On Hubbard’s death, he made several testamentary gifts to disburse his 650 million estate to COS which relied on the byzantine financial re-organization of COS primarily into 3 orgs; Religious Technology Center; Church of Spiritual Technology and Church of Scientology International. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><ul><li>CONTROL OF INFORMATION </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Religious Technology Center </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RTC stands hierarchically at the top of the Church of Scientology network. It has regulatory, corporate and &quot;ecclesiastical&quot; power over the policy and activities of all other Scientology management units, corporations, churches, missions and other organizations - with being the only exception the Church of Spiritual Technology. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RTC and its chairman David Miscavige maintain de-facto control of the entire Scientology network, including the Church of Scientology International. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RTC has a dominant role over the &quot;mother church,&quot; CSI and its subordinate organizations, the relationship to the &quot;Church of Spiritual Technology&quot; (CST) is unclear. While the above-mentioned &quot;assignment agreement&quot; with L. Ron Hubbard on May 10th, 1982 granted CST corporative authority over RTC with respect to Scientology's trademarks and service marks, there is no sign that CST ever executed any internal, &quot;ecclesiastical&quot; authority over RTC. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Since its inception in 1982, RTC has been involved in various state and federal lawsuits. The majority of the court cases, which RTC initiated, have centered around the alleged misuse of Scientology's copyrights and/or trademarks by unauthorized third parties. Some critics of Scientology nevertheless contend, that a great number of these lawsuits have been launched in order &quot;to silence critics&quot;. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><ul><li>SCIENTOLOGY & THE LAW </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Beware of attorneys who tell you not to sue …the purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly.&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>L. Ron Hubbard (Founder of Scientology) </li></ul></ul></ul>Hana Eltringham - L. Ron Hubbard’s Deputy at Sea
  9. 10. <ul><ul><li>TRADE SECRETS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Religious Technology Center </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>RTC vigorously attacks its critics online and in print through the filing of actions seeking injunctive relief and/or redress for copyright infringement and trade secrets as a means to keep its critics from attacking/discussing the basic tenets of the religion </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TRADE SECRETS </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>UTSA § 1(4) defines a TS as information that is both “not generally known” AND the subject of reasonable efforts to maintain secrecy. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Information in public domain cannot be turned into a secret by treating it like one; Info on Scientology’s Creation myth is available in public court records yet COS seeks this relief often as a means of chilling criticism through threats of legal action critics usually cannot afford </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ When the RTC first approached the Court with its ex parte request for the seizure warrant and Temporary Restraining Order, the dispute was presented as a straight-forward one under copyright and trade secret law. However, the Court is now convinced that the primary motivation of RTC in suing Lerma, DGS and The Post is to stifle criticism of Scientology in general and to harass its critics. As the increasingly vitriolic rhetoric of its briefs and oral argument now demonstrate, the RTC appears far more concerned about criticism of Scientology than vindication of its secrets” – 908 F.Supp 1353 </li></ul></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><ul><li>TRADE SECRETS & COPYRIGHT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RTC vs Lerma, F. Supp 1383 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We recognize that the RTC has installed extraordinary measures to maintain the secrecy of its AT (Advanced Technology – these are the OT levels) documents and that they have zealously pursued any reported leaks of information. However, it is a quantum leap to claim that Scientology's endeavors to enforce the secrecy of these documents thereby prohibits secular organizations from undertaking legally permissible criticism of Scientology including quotes from these documents as long as possession of the documents was achieved lawfully. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As the Court notes there is a FAIR USE doctrine exemption to claims of copyright infringement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1) purpose and character of use </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2) Nature of copyrighted work </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>3) substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>4) the effect on potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most criticism of COS online do fall into the Fair Use distinction; with smll portions used by detractors and/or critics ro voice issue with COS’ practices. This does not have a massive effect on the commercial market for COS; yet it is the tenets of COS itself that make one enforce ETHICS on its perceived enemies; usually through dubious legal maneuvering: </li></ul></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><ul><li>GAWKER MEDIA & CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY </li></ul></ul><ul><li>- Gawker Media has repeatedly been served with Copyright </li></ul><ul><li>Infringement notices by COS; most notably for the infamous </li></ul><ul><li>Tom Cruise Medal of Freedom Ceremony video. </li></ul><ul><li>Gawker has maintained the video is newsworthy and meets </li></ul><ul><li>the definition of Fair Use and has refused to take the video </li></ul><ul><li>Down with almost 3 million views. </li></ul><ul><li>On the other side, YouTube tends to immediately cave to </li></ul><ul><li>COS Copyright notices. COS typically tends to target accounts </li></ul><ul><li>Of COS critics. In the past week (4/11 to 4/18) COS has had </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube shut down the accounts of COS critics Tory </li></ul><ul><li>Christman & Mark Bunker for posting an interview from ex- </li></ul><ul><li>Scientologist Jason Beghe on COS. </li></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><ul><li>GAWKER MEDIA & CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gawker Media reposted the Beghe video on its own servers </li></ul><ul><li>using the same rationale as the Cruise video; no copyrights are </li></ul><ul><li>violated, its free speech since no COS imagery is used and any </li></ul><ul><li>Reference to COS “tech” is minimal and to open a discourse on </li></ul><ul><li>COS’ strategy in seeking to silence its critics through abuse of </li></ul><ul><li>Intellectual Property litigation: </li></ul><ul><li>“ The effect of the [YouTube] suspension is to break embedded </li></ul><ul><li>copies of the video on sites like Gawker and to help muffle </li></ul><ul><li>Beghe's criticism of the cult as financially and emotionally </li></ul><ul><li>exploitive”. – Nick Denton, Managing Editor, Gawker Media </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  13. 14. <ul><ul><li>CONCLUSION </li></ul></ul><ul><li>While Property Rights are important and should be respected; the rights of free expression and speech are a fundamental right that needs the utmost protection in its exercise. To chill the right to free speech and association at the bequest of an organization that is dedicated to a rigid uniformity amongst its members that nullifies their critical thinking ability is not what IP rights were meant to protect and enforce. They can frustrate people into compliance based on bullying vs. legal fact, playing on ignorance or fear to get the results they want. </li></ul>
  14. 15. <ul><ul><li>CONCLUSION </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solutions? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Judges specializing in COS related IP cases. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethics violations for COS lawyers </li></ul></ul>