Daily Planet 
Wednesday 6 September 1995 edition: 1.57

  1. Cult seizes computers XS4ALL

   As ordered by the American Scientology cult, Amsterdam bailiff 
   S. Braan seized the computers of XS4ALL, one of the most important
   Internet Providers in the Netherlands. The legal action was aimed 
   at a document implicating Scientology, which is present at the home
   page of one of XS4ALLs users.

   The seizure was attended by two representers of the cult flying in
   from the United States for the occassion, a police inspector, two
   hired computer experts, a lawyer from the law office Nauta Dutilh
   representing the cult and a lock smith in case XS4ALLs door needed to
   be forced.

   XS4ALL refused to honor the cults request to delete the document
   because it sees itself as an electronic transport provider which is not 
   responsible for the actions of its individual users. Yesterday, the 
   specific user who offers an extensive information pack about the cult, 
   also known as the FACTNET kit, deleted the document on his own accord.
   The cult stated this will close the case.

   The raid is unique in the Netherlands but one of many in a series of
   actions by the cult, aimed at silencing critics that spread
   information through the Internet. The last couple of months five
   actions aimed at Internet services, took place. Also, the cult has
   their own computer system, connected to the Internet, which they use
   to delete newsgroups articles criticizing the cult, without the
   authors permission. Many of the reaction on the seizure in, for
   instance the newsgroups alt.religion.scientology, are today quickly
   deleted. Retrieving these articles results in a message stating that
   the specific article is "cancelled". These -illegal- actions of
   cancelling others articles is one of the reasons why the cult is
   detested by the users of the Internet.

   Furthermore, there are lawsuits against the Washington Post and Time
   Magazine who published articles criticizing the cult. One of 
   Scientology's tactics is wearing down their adversaries with
   extremely expensive legal actions. Their aim is not to win these
   lawsuits but to silence their critics. For instance, sometimes an
   adversary is simultaneously sued in multiple American states, forcing
   him to hire as many lawyers.

   Another obvious aspect is that the legal documents state the
   existance of an anonymous remailer at XS4ALL, as the reason for the
   seizure. This remailer which can be used to anonymously send messages
   on the net, has been put out of commission two monts ago. On the
   spot, in the providers office, this reason was changed to the
   existance of said document.

   The document, also know as the Fishman Affidavit, contains the
   revealing testimony of a former cult member in which he explains
   which illegal actions the cult forced him to take. For instance,
   Fishman was made to bomb the cults adversaries with commercial
   advertising, by sending in reply coupons from documents found in
   public libraries. The witness was convicted to 5 years imprisonment
   for postal fraud. Scientology denies the accussation.
   The extensive testimony also reveals the cults rituals. For instane,
   it contains the text of some documents that the cult condiserd to be
   secret. On August 15, the, previously public, affidavit was taken
   from the public legal archives, on court order after Scientologies
   succes in stating that the affidavit is an infringement of its

   The extremely wealthy Scientology cult, that has a couple of
   thousand members in the Netherlands, get their income by selling
   these texts. Cult members can follow expensive courses to get the
   required "religious" knowledge. Expenses can accumulate to over
   100,000 thousand dollars per person. Some of these texts can only be
   accessed under supervision at the cults library that wants to prevent
   others to obtain the document.

   Said Fishman document is still available on the net. Currently it is
   passed on like a hot potatoe by storing it temporarily on different
   sites, making it impossible for the cult to retrieve it. A press
   release by XS4ALL about the seizure can be found in nlnet.announce.
   Further discussion about the cults activities can be found in groups
   like alt.censorship and alt.religion.scientology.

 The document (with a size of 150 K) can be retrieved through:
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 Jole. Email: fvjole@pi.net

(publication used with permission by Francisco van Jole)

[translated from Dutch by Mike Schenk, September 7, 1995]