The Church of Scientology has acknowledged that Wikileaks is offering the world quick and easy access to the church's top-secret "bibles".
Or should that be formerly top-secret?
On March 24, the swashbuckling truth-seekers at Wikileaks.org published what they referred to as "the collected secret 'bibles' of Scientology," and three days later, church-friendly lawyers threatened the site with legal action if the documents weren't taken down. Calling them "Advanced Technology of the Scientology religion," the lawyers pointed out that the documents are copyrighted works registered to the Religious Technology Center (RTC), a church-related holding company.
Wikileaks did not remove the documents. But it did tell the world their veracity has been verified.
Written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, these "Operating Thetan" (OT) documents show Scientologists how they can reach the eight different "levels" Scientologists are interested in reaching. That's OT1 to OT8. "A great many phenomena (strange things) can happen while doing these drills, if they are done honestly," reads a handwritten note from Hubbard, as he describes the path to OT1. These drills include:
1) Walk around and count bodies until you have a cognition. Make a report saying how many you counted and your cognition.
2) Note several large and small female bodies until you have a cognition. Note it down.
3) Note several large and several small male bodies until you have a cognition. Note it down.
4) Find a tight packed crowd of people. Write it as a crowd and then as individuals until you have a cognition. Note it down. Do step over until you do.
With an email dated March 27, the Los Angeles-based law firm Moxon & Kobrin said that in publishing such Advanced Technology, Wikileaks has violated US copyright law. "It is unlawful to reproduce or distribute someone else's copyrighted work without that person's authorization," the letter reads. "Indeed, courts have entered numerous permanent injunctions and awarded statutory damages and attorneys' fees regarding infringement of these and similar works."
In an apparent effort to find out who leaked the Advanced Technology in the first place, the lawyers also urged Wikileaks to "preserve any and all documents pertaining to this matter...including, but not limited to, logs, data entry sheets, applications - electronic or otherwise, registrations forms, billings statements or invoices, computer print-outs, disks, hard drives, etc."
Clearly, the Church of Scientology is unaware that Wikileaks preserves almost nothing - and that it isn't frightened of the law. Wikileaks realizes that the Church has often used lawyers and copyrights to prevent public access to its materials, but it sees this as little more than an indictment of the Western media.
"After reviewing documentation on Scientology's endless attacks, legal and illegal, on critics ranging from Time Magazine and CNN, which spent over $3 million defending against just one of their suits, to investigative freelancers who have had publishers pulp their books rather than facing litigation costs, we have come to the conclusion that Scientology is not only an abusive cult, but that it aids and abets a general climate of Western media self-censorship, due to the fear of litigation costs," a representative of the site told us.
"If the West cannot defend its cultural values of free speech and press freedoms against a money making cult like Scientology, it can hardly lecture China and other state abusers of these same values. Such states are quick to proclaim their censorship regime is no mere matter of protecting a cult's profits, but rather of national security."
In February, after Wikileaks released confidential information about its customers, Swiss-based bank Julius Baer asked a US court to shut the site down. But the bank eventually dropped its case, after Judge Jeffrey S. White said that a shutdown was barred by the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
Originally, White did order a shutdown. But this was less than successful. After all, Wikileaks is "bulletproof". ®