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Scientology Crime Syndicate

Greetings!

I thought you might be interested in this since it contains items of privacy, the Internet, Scientology, and its critics.

This December 4'th and 5'th marked the anniversary of the death of Lisa McPherson in Clearwater, Florida, at the hands of the Church of Scientology. As is becoming something of a tradition, the many critics of the Church of Scientology who are able to attend come to Clearwater to protest and picket Scientology's abuses of both its followers and the law, and to hold a candle-light vigil in memory of Lisa McPherson.

Every year it's a game of cat-and-mouse with the critics gaining the upper hand, and the Church of Scientology gaining yet more public exposure as a bunch of incompetent, badly programmed robots. This year, for instance, whenever one protester -- Mr. Arnie Lerma -- picked up a megaphone to talk to Scientologists about the evil galactic ruler Xenu, the Church of Scientology turned the volume up on the Christmas music coming from the speakers they had arranged along the sidewalk in an effort to drown him out.

Due to the volume of the noise, whenever Mr. Lerma lowered his megaphone, the volume of the music had to be turned down. (One newspaper reporter asked protesters rhetorically whether the City of Clearwater had any noise regulations.) Naturally it became a game for Mr. Lerma -- and endless amusement for the protesters. The fact that the reporters noticed what the cult was doing was discussed in the light of the fact that it seems everything the cult does to try to silence its critics results in additional adverse public exposures.

Every year the Church of Scientology is aware of the fact that the protesters monitor their radio transmissions. That, too, has been a source of entertainment for the protesters and, if the transmissions are an accurate indication of how the Church feels about it, is rather more than a little annoying to the Church. Since they broadcast in the clear for many of their transmissions, it's certainly within the legal rights of any citizen or visitor to listen in.

This year, an enterprising individual not only monitored the Church of Scientology's security agent's radio transmissions but placed it as real-time audio on the Internet for anybody with WinAMP or the equivalent software to listen to.

The URL was http://216.32.166.75:9120 and was widely disseminated around the Internet. There's no telling how many people all over the world tuned in to listen to the not-so-secret transmissions. While the cult reported on the movements of protesters, they also reported on pizza deliveries and such mundane things as having signed for the delivery of 700 plastic baggies. So nothing very exciting was broadcast around the world for all to sneak a listen to.

It's suspected that the cult's designated Internet watcher, Rhea Smith, saw the URL being reported, soiled herself, and placed an emergency telephone call to the Ft. Harrison Hotel in Clearwater which houses the Church of Scientology's "Mecca." Whoever reported it and whatever the condition of the individual's underwear, the bad guys immediately radioed to all of the people on the frequency to use cell phones and, if they had to use the radio, to use only 10 codes.

Was this an invasion of privacy? I doubt it. The bad guys were in fact trailing and reporting on the movements and activities of the good guys. The good guys weren't listening to the transmissions of private individuals or a company doing honest business within the City of Clearwater.

Was it a bit much having the cult's radio transmissions broadcast all over the Internet? Probably, but you have to admit, it was most amusing while it lasted.

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