History of Scientology on the Internet

A gentlemen named Tom Klemesrud, ran an ISP called Netcom, in Burbank California. Mr. Klemesrud’s ISP hosted the FIRST anti-cult BBS (dial-up Bulletin Board Service) in 1989. Meanwhile on America Online there was a busy anti-scn discussion area. Boxes of materials from Klemesrud’s BBS as well as from Cynthia Kisser’s anti-cult group went to Rich Behar the writer at Time Magazine to help create that huge cover story in TIME magazine.

 

The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power

Ruined lives. Lost fortunes. Federal crimes. Scientology poses as a religion but really is a ruthless global scam — and aiming for the mainstream.

timecover
Read the article
“Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen. No cult extracts more money from its members.”

In 1991 after the time magazine article above, a guy started the newsgroup alt religion scientology on USENET.  The big breakthrough happened in the fall of 1993, when AOL and other Internet Service Providers,  opened their gateways to the internet in August. It was described as “The fall that never ended”

Documents from court cases involving scientology started appearing on the net. The archives of an anti-cult group called FACTNet were made available on the net. New documents were being scanned,  and turned into text, and uploaded from cases all over the world, as were newspaper articles. Ex-members started posting their stories to this newsgroup. Recovering members and those harmed by scientology began to realize that what happened to them was not unique, that they were not alone!

In 1993 Scientology sued a an ex-member I knew when I was one of them, named Enid Vein for copyright.  During that litigation her cat was shot. She told me that scientology, in their settlement proposal demanded she never mention the murder of her cat.
She was forced to settle with them.
This infuriated me.

lerma-1994-article-image-small
Index on A2 lists at top of C/OUTLOOK

ENFORCING “TRUTH”
How the Scientologists try to
impose their version of the truth
on members, defectors—and on
journalists. Page C1

Then on Christmas days of 1993 the Washington Post ran this article on the front page of Outlook section, after Scientology sent two goons to my front door of my home in Alrington Virginia. I mailed out several letters, explaining the circumstances and closed my letter with “This is America, isn’t it?”

Then all hell broke loose.

Im the guy holding the Scientology hates Free Speech sign.. 1995, before my hair turned white:

In 1995 Scientology raided four activists. Tom Klemesrud, Arnie Lerma, Dennis Erlich, and Lawrence Wollersheim and Bob Penny’s FACTNet.org in Colorado claiming  copyright infringement, and trade secret misappropriation.  Scientologist Lawyer Earle Cooley called it copyright terrorism.

Centerfold of December 1995 WIRED Magazine,
alt.scientology.war was the cover story!

altscientologywar

An activist in Holland, Karin Spainke posted the secret materials and was also sued.

Another named Zenon Parnusis, who was another sued, literally wall-papered the bridge between the Swedish Parliament and Swedish High Court with the once secret materials.

In December 1995, I got a call from Detective Thomas Miller CWPD, he told me to look at a web page on the Clearwater Police Department web page. I did, seems the police wanted information about a suspicious death of a scientologist named Lisa McPherson. Being on IRC relay chat at the time,  and  having my hands full with my own court case, ex-member consultations, and fighting back...so I messaged Jeff Jacobsen, who ran with the ball and started Lisamcpherson.org, and became the site for Lisa McPherson’s horrific tale.  He did an outstanding job, organized pickets and protests against scientology.

This is image is from one of those, which I turned into a postcard.
picket2

In 1996 a retired investment banker named Robert Minton, who told me he had been confined in a closet as a child, and was touched by the story of Lisa McPherson, read a story I had posted to the newsgroup about a strange encounter I had two decades prior, and decided to pick up his checkbook and made a donation of $10,000 to FACTnet.org

At this time Scientology was harassing activists all over the world in its quest for silence.

offmanhitsbob

Mr Minton went on to fund litigation,  help activists, started a corporation, The Lisa McPherson Trust and against my advice, opened an office in Clearwater across the street from their headquarters. He helped hundreds escape scientology.   Won several awards both here and overseas.  After a valiant effort, spending millions, having his children followed to school, and being litigated into a state of shell shock, he retired from the war, exhausted. But only after scientology admitted spending 30 million dollars trying to get rid of him. He passed away in 2009 from a heart attack, and is buried in Ireland.

bobsign
15 sec clip from NBC Dateline, Bob and Arnie:
http://www.lermanet.com/audio/bob-arnie2.wmv from 1997

 

Anonymous arrived on the scene in 2008, and this writer, with serious stenosis of several areas of my spine, had to try to walk away, at least for a while, meanwhile, Mr Ortega moved into high gear with his blog pages and current scientology news.

Sometimes perspective is everything.
Google search results for:

“Leah Remini” + scientology 557,000
“David Miscavige” + scientology 280,000
“Robert Minton” + scientology 112,000
“Tony Ortega” +scientology 91,300 results (0.51 seconds)
“Mike Rinder” + scientology 74,000
“Marty Rathbun” + scientology 66,900
“Gerry Armstrong” + scientology 36,700 results
“Nancy Many” + scientology 26,200 results
“Arnie Lerma” + scientology 25,500
“Karen de la Carriere” scientology 23,300
“Pete Griffiths” + scientology 9850
“Gabe Cazares” + scientology 3280
“Karen Pressley” + scientology 2,150 results
“Tom Padgett” + scientology 1080

“asthmatic dwarf” + scientology 900

End notes: From the department of forensic history at Lermanet, Tom Padgett wrote:
THE SCIENTOLOGY WARS! When did they begin? Paulette Cooper’s original “The Scandal Of Scientology” book. David Mayo’s public defection. L Ron’s death. Richard Behar‘s poignant 1991 Time Magazine cover story The Cult Of Greed. The IRS victory in 1993. Long before social media and the current crop of bloggers, there were a few around with some letters after their names leading the charge. In addition to Dr. Singer, Dr. Lifton, etc., and there was Dr. Jolly West. He addressed the nature of the warfare environment from a forensic science approach.

3 comments on “History of Scientology on the Internet

  1. There are a few insignificant factual errors at the start, but I don’t want to point them out. I want the Tony Ortega We’s to point out the errors of this big-picture story, that they refused to recognize, or write about. The safe harbor provisions of the Internet was codified into law, based on one of the lawsuits from this era – the one in which the defendant was attacked by a blood wielding woman right there next to the server. Have not this defendant had the courage to fight the Scientology cult, YouTube, Facebook, or any other mega-Internet service provider that accepts user input – giving us voices – could not have come into existence. Without these safe harbor provisions established in this unmentioned lawsuit, Tony Ortega’s blog hosts could not have given Tony Ortega a public voice to criticize Scientology. These safe harbors gave this journalist his voice; as well as, provided him defense for the sex-trafficking ads he provided for pimps, as editor of the Village Voice and it’s Backpage prostitution ads that Congress vehemently campaigned against.

    Ortega’s attorney is a self-professed expert in Internet law as it pertains to free speech – besides being an expert in her cults, he tells. Yet Ortega’s group of followers don’t have a clue. For instance, they don’t know the big picture, or why100 Scientology Sea-Org members were imprisoned for four months on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles on Valentine’s Day 1995; the raid on Caltech University; and the invoking of the power of the US Treasury Department’s Interpol to bring forth summons to raid and ISP in Finland.

    The role of the press flak is to handle the press in such a way that the flax clients get their narrative out, showing them in a good light; while keeping the damaging criminal activities unnoticed. Having only one gateway for all information that’s Scientology, guarantees that this vicious, criminal cult will never see justice. That’s the goal of the press flak.

  2. Arnie Lerma says:

    Thanks Tom, I believed after two decades that you deserved the first word. This perspective makes the Erlich raid look like a shore story. Readers should review the one document siezed from scientology in the 1977 FBI raids that Ms Ida Camburn, a member of the first anti-cult group in America, said every activist MUST read: (see Ops Planning section)

    http://www.lermanet.com/idacamburn/ops.htm.

  3. Arnie Lerma says:

    Spanish case includes : “Inducement to suicide” (There is an untold story of the first guy sued for copyright – a kid named John Bostrum, a man I knew when i was one of them, he hung himself (Not directly related to spanish case)) Read bottom of file for what happened in Spanish case. The Asthmatic Dwarf does NOT want you to know about this or share it with anyone)

    The Spanish Criminal Indictment 1993
    READ http://www.lermanet.com/cos/spain.html

    ” To decree the commencement of the oral trial and to consider this criminal lawsuit to be founded on the felonies of illicit association, threats, coercion, usurpation of functions, false accusation, simulation of a felony, illegal arrest, crimes against the Tax Administration, crimes against freedom and safety in the workplace, intrusion, crimes against the public
    health, injuries, damages, abuse, slander and inducement to suicide, against HEBER JENTSZCH, ARTURO REGUERA ARDANZA, HAROLD CLAUDE ROUSSART. more

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