All of a sudden, the seemingly endless battle between Scientology and the Internet has become more turbulent and confusing than ever before. A new pack of Scientology "sacred scripture" has been posted to the Internet: the NOTs pack. Scientology wants this information off of the Internet...but it may already be too late to prevent the escape of NOTs.
What is NOTs, and why does Scientology want to keep it a secret? This page is a brief synopsis of the Operating Thetan materials their appearance on the Internet, and the early appearances of the NOTs documents. Excerpts from NOTs were posted to alt.religion.scientology several times in 1995, well before the appearance of the NOTs pack in 1996. It is important for the reader to understand that the OT levels and the NOTs levels are not the same. They are two different sets of documents.
News Flash! Startling revelations concerning the actual ownership of the NOTs documents have been brought to light. This "History of NOTs" page tries to explain the confusing legal maze surrounding the legality of the documents.
The trouble with NOTs began in March of 1996, when Grady Ward posted a message to alt.religion.scientology asking specifically for a copy of NOTs. Grady had repeatedly posted requests for "cult secrets" in the past, but apparently his asking specifically for NOTs touched a nerve. It prompted the Church of Scientology to finally file a lawsuit against him. According to Scientology, Grady had violated the law by "soliciting unpublished trade secrets."
Information about Grady Ward can be found at this page: The Church of Scientology vs. Grady Ward.
Shortly after the lawsuit was filed against Grady, alt.religion.scientology participant Keith Henson posted an excerpt from the NOTs documents to the newsgroup. He posted NOTs 34: The Sequence for Handling a Physical Condition because he felt that this particular document was, in fact, a violation of a 1971 court order stating that Scientology can no longer claim to be a medical procedure or method for the physical healing of illness, injury, and other ailments. Scientology promptly sued Keith Henson.
(The title of the 1971 ruling in question is: United States of America, Libelant, v. An Article or Device... "Hubbard Electrometer" or "Hubbard E-Meter" etc., Founding Church of Scientology et al., Claimants, No. D.C. 1-63, United States District Court, District of Columbia, July 30, 1971 (333 F. Supp. 357) Here is a link to the details of the ruling, on Maureen Garde's page.)
For a detailed history of Scientology's actions against Keith Henson, see: The Church of Scientology vs. Keith Henson.
On May 5, 1996, someone posted the entire contents of the NOTs pack to alt.religion.scientology through the Hacktic anonymous remailer. This person used the handle "Vorlon," and no one knows where this person was posting from.For the first time, NOTs was freely available on the Internet.
Dr. Dave Touretzky of Carnegie-Mellon University has created a Web page that offers a summary and synopsis of the NOTs documents. This Web page does contain quotes from NOTs; however, all of these quotes are used under the Fair Use provisions of the copyright laws of the United States.
Meanwhile, on August 19, "Vorlon" suddenly reappeared...but this may not have been the same Vorlon who initially posted the NOTs material. This Vorlon posted a message to alt.religion.scientology , stating that NOTs would be re-posted to the Internet. The next day, he did just that. In addition, the NOTs documents were reposted to alt.religion.scientology and nl.scientology (the Dutch newsgroup for discussion of Scientology) several times through anonymous remailers.
While the affair in the Netherlands was heating up, a new wild card was suddenly added to make things even more confusing. Apparently from out of nowhere, Zenon Panoussis re-posted the NOTs documents to alt.religion.scientology yet again, on August 20. It looked as though Zenon was doing everything possible to force Scientology to sue him....and on September 4, they did. But this case quickly blossomed into something far more than an open-and-shut dispute over copyright violations. Before long, the Internet was reading accounts of mysterious disappearances of the Scientology documents from the offices of the Swedish parliament, and letters from the Congress of the United States.
Another Netizen appeared literally from out of nowhere on alt.religion.scientology to announce that he had made the NOTs documents publically available on his Web page. In the space of only a few days, he created yet another stir on the newsgroup and attracted the attention of Scientology.
A new wild card was added the the battle over NOTs in April of 1997, when new evidence was unleashed that put the entire legal status of NOTs and its ownership in jeapordy. David Gerard, a resident of Australia, put the new information to the test by posting a portion of NOTs to alt.religion.scientology. Tjhe response was quick...but not quite what anyone expected.
Immediately following in David Gerard's wake, California resident Keith Bennett announced that he had placed NOTs on his Web page, making it the first Web site hosting the documents within the United States. He then posted the documents to alt.religion.scientology several times, stating his belief that the rights to NOTs were not owned by Religious Technology Center.
In addition to the legal battles erupting over the NOTs documents, other Netizens have taken to posting portions or all of the materials. Their reasons for thumbing their noses at Scientology's claims of copyright and alleged "trade secrets" are sometimes obscure, but one thing seems certain: people seem more interested in keeping NOTs available, so that the world can see with its own eyes what Scientology teaches its members.
For lots of additional information on Scientology and its war against the Internet, you can go to:
Ron Newman's famous Web page contains the most detailed research archive in existence on Scientology and its attacks against the Internet.
Dave Tourtetzky's page contains an extensive analysis of Scientology's New Era Dianetics for OTs -- the NOTs materials. An exceptional reference for those who want to learn more about the actual teachings of Scientology.
This is my page for newcomers to this whole alt.religion.scientology mess. If you are curious about what Scientology is all about and why it has the Internet in such an uproar, give this page a look.
For a look at the official point of view of the Church of Scientology, you can go to this link.
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