The following briefing involves information of critical importance to all those interested in or affected by Scientology. Although you may not agree with all positions and actions taken by FACTNet, we believe you will find that the FACTNet vs. Scientology copyright litigation poses the real probability that Scientology, as it operates today, will be drastically altered. These changes may then ripple out and affect numerous groups connected to Scientology issues. We ask that you carefully consider the information in this briefing -- even if you disagree with FACTNet's position -- and enter into public debate on the possible outcomes discussed here.
The Cult Awareness Network worked successfully for years to expose Scientology's human rights abuses. After relentless harassment from Scientology, the Cult Awareness Network was finally driven into bankruptcy. With the Cult Awareness Network gone, Scientology has now turned its attention and resources into destroying FACTNet.
Scientology began its attack by filing a frivolous copyright and trade secret infringement lawsuit against FACTNet. The FACTNet library was then illegally entered and raided by Scientology (For complete details on the raid and ensuing lawsuit and repercussions, see the Emergency Briefing on our web page at www.factnet.org). Because of raid damage, the FACTNet library was off-line and unable to assist the public for months.
Finally, FACTNet won a court order demanding Scientology return all our computers and library materials. After ten months of costly, labor-intensive reconstruction, we have reassembled many, but not all of our records.
FACTNet has retained a team of the most successful Scientology-experienced lawyers and experts ever assembled for one Scientology lawsuit. This new legal team quickly has turned Scientology's ill-conceived raid and copyright lawsuit into a legal disaster that could permanently change Scientology's infamous dissident crack-down operations.
Because of the legal research done for this lawsuit, large amounts of Scientology's secret or "proprietary" materials will now likely be acknowledged as in the public domain. Furthermore, the remaining proprietary materials may lose all or part of their trade secret or copyright protections because of Scientology's misuse of those protections and their massive fraud on the Colorado court (For the legal arguments and facts on this potential mega-disaster developing for Scientology, you and/or your lawyer might like to read Vaughn Young's declaration, FACTNet's Opposition to Summary Judgment, and FACTNet's new First Amended Answer to Scientology's Complaint -- all at www.factnet.org/battle.htm). The evidence reveals that Scientology's great copyright and trade secret con machine is crumbling.
In an act of massive ethical defiance against Scientology's raid, FACTNet has not only reconstructed its original FACTNet electronic library covering several hundred coercive organizations, but is also preparing to open a free, searchable, web-accessible database with 30 times the amount of information previously disclosed on Scientology. This 1.6-gig database is near final testing now.
We have also greatly expanded the psychological coercion section of our web page (www.factnet.org/coercion.html), which provides invaluable recovery information and global help resources for former Scientology members and their families. To help keep our visitors informed, we created a free monthly electronic newsletter covering international events affecting free thought, free speech, and privacy (For a free subscription, see www.factnet.org). Scientology's raid has initiated the dissemination of more information on Scientology than ever before. Since FACTNet's electronic library went back on-line January 1, 1997, we have had about 30,000 hits and 7,500 new people visit our web site -- over ten times the number we had before the raid. If you have not been to our web page, please come, see our work, and visit some of the links to hundreds of thousands of pages of material all over the Internet exposing Scientology's abuses.
When Scientology raided FACTNet, we were accumulating reports from all over the world detailing abuse, psychosis, and suicides associated with the group, in preparation for a grand jury investigation. We have now reconstructed enough of our files to begin transferring this information (70+ megabytes) to numerous attorneys, police, and governments to carry on investigations. Scientology has failed in its heavy-handed attempt to stop us.
At the time of the raid, FACTNet was also working on a review of Scientology's 14,000-page application to the IRS for non-profit status for all their U.S. organizations. The raid was certainly designed to crush this work, along with our other endeavors. Enough of our systems are now reconstructed to jump-start this work. We are assembling organizations and teams of researchers to help us present to the IRS page-by-page documentation of all the false information Scientology included in this lengthy application.
No outside experts familiar with Scientology's tactics or history were called on to review the application before it was approved by the IRS. In the face of Scientology's intimidation schemes (see New York Times cover article,3/9/97), it appears the IRS simply rubber-stamped the application's claims. Once the scrutiny of Scientology's application has been completed and we have submitted our findings to the IRS, the IRS may be forced to reconsider Scientology's tax-exempt status and eventually remove it.
FACTNet is also doing all that it can to assist under-financed individuals recently sued by Scientology on similar frivolous charges. We share with all those sued by Scientology our expert legal research, legal briefs, and resources. Thus the insurance policies funding our litigation benefit not only FACTNet, but everyone Scientology sues. This results in the exponential multiplication of the power of every FACTNet insurance dollar and library resource for the ultimate good of every Scientology victim.
Based on 16 years' experience winning more court cases against Scientology than anyone else, I believe FACTNet will win this case and deliver real punishment though law to Scientology. Because of Scientology's own abuse, misuse, and fraud of its copyrights and trade secrets, the possible results of FACTNet's court victory include:
Due to costs incurred by the lawsuit, the raid, and the library's reconstruction, FACTNet has gone into emergency debt. Without immediate financial assistance, FACTNet is a short time away from a devastating financial deadlock.
Right now all that is needed to win this legal war in a catastrophic defeat for Scientology is the money to keep the organization running. Daily operations and critical old bills will cost about $15,000 over the next 90 days. After meeting these operation costs, FACTNet will have the breathing room to begin building the additional litigation funding necessary to continue the suit with Scientology even after our legal insurance runs out in the near future.
For all the years I have been involved with successful lawsuits against Scientology, Scientology has tried to run the litigations out of money. They have not succeeded, but still persist. At the recent anti-Scientology demonstrations in Clearwater, Florida, Elliot Abelson and Mike Rinder (Scientology's top attorney and top intelligence person) approached me. I asked them, "What are you going to tell your members when they find out Scientology fraudulently filed public domain materials for copyright?" Mike Rinder answered, "You're not going to have enough money to prove that," and they both grinned. It appears Scientology's strategy in this case is to once again try to deplete their adversary's resources in order to win the litigation by default. This won't happen with your help.
Everyone who believes in free thought and free speech -- who believes human rights abusers like Scientology should be stopped with law, education, and courage -- has a part in FACTNet's legal battle. If you value what FACTNet has done to stand up to Scientology, and if you value what we will continue to do to bring Scientology to justice, please help us make it happen with your financial support. Everyone can do something!
I thank you in advance for supporting FACTNet in this financial emergency. I promise we will use your gift effectively (To see how we put our past donations to work, see our tax returns and budget on our web page at www.factnet.org/budget.htm. In addition to these postings, we will also soon electronically publish the amount of donations received the previous month and how that funding was used, something you will never see Scientology do for any of its "non-profit" organizations or affiliates).
Please don't let FACTNet become the next Cult Awareness Network. Don't let our reconstruction, improvement, and legal projects be jeopardized. Don't let all of us lose this painstakingly hard-won legal opportunity to finally deliver Scientology a most devastating legal defeat.
FACTNet's board, volunteers, and supporters are determined to persevere, but we cannot do it without your help -- especially if you are among those who understand that there must be a force opposing Scientology and other similar ruthless organizations. Please make your donation today (see www.factnet.org/donations.html) and forward this appeal to anyone else you think can help.
Lawrence Wollersheim, Director
Arnie Lerma, Director