History of the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology

Scientology vs. the Internet (1995)

Timeline of Harassment, 1995

alt.scientology.war 1995 Wired Magazine

Some 1995 posts to ars

Collection of 1995 posts

Tory reveals her role in early OSA actions against a.r.s.

1998-99 history

a.r.s. Week in Review

Bob Minton related posts


Subject: Press Release re:a.r.s.
From: cultxpt@primenet.com (Jeff Jacobsen)
Date: 23 Jan 1995 05:56:33 GMT

Here's a Press Release I wrote up that anybody can use if they want.

***** PRESS RELEASE JANUARY 15 1995 *****

A small portion of the Internet has become a hotbed of discussion on freedom of speech as some anonymous person has been cancelling articles posted to the newsgroup called alt.religion.scientology. And now church attorneys have been demanding that Internet administrators shut down the newsgroup entirely.

The ruckus began just before Christmas when someone in the Nether- lands anonymously posted some of the church's upper level secret teachings. About the same time a regular on the newsgroup posted information about a criminal trial in Spain involving the President of Scientology, Heber Jentzsch. An anonymous person working out of a California Internet service provider, Netcom.com, cancelled all of these posts. At the same time, church attorneys contacted the service provider in the Netherlands and demanded that he close the account of whoever posted their "trade secrets."

The week after Christmas several other regular posters on alt.religion.scientology began to notice that their posts were also being cancelled. This anonymous canceller, dubbed the CancelPoodle, was targetting only certain critics of the church, and only certain of their posts. He is still continuing his campaign.

Church attorneys visited Dennis Erlich, one of the cancelled posters, and threatened a lawsuit against him for posting church copyrighted materials. A church attorney also contacted Erlich's Internet provider in an effort to have Erlich's account closed.

On January 11, church attorneys began an attempt to close down the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology altogether. They sent out a software command to cancel the newsgroup (also from Netcom.com), and contacted Internet administrators demanding that the newsgroup be closed.

This attempt by the Church of Scientology to close down a newsgroup has stirred up dialogue throughout the Internet, as it sets a dangerous precedent against the open and free speech tradition of the Internet. Several have pointed out that the recent bad publicity of Intel's Pentium chip began on the Internet, yet Intel never attempted to close down the newsgroup where the Pentium was discussed.

According to Time magazine (Jan. 9, 1995 p. 57) issue, the church denies any knowledge of the CancelPoodle's activities.

**** END ****