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JW USA: Jehovah’s Witnesses and legal warfare: What it looks like in the trenches

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Yesterday we listened in on Lloyd Evans, Mark O’Donnell and the Electronic Frontier Foundation talking about Watch Tower’s attempt to “dox” Darkspilver, who has posted critical information about the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization at Reddit.

We’ve seen Witnesses say in our comments that Watch Tower should have the right to defend its copyrights, and that ex-JWs who violate those copyrights deserve to be taken to court.

But taking a look at the actual documents filed in Darkspilver’s case reveals how much Watch Tower is on a mission to intimidate critics rather than defend its proprietary material.

We’re going to show you the full page from that motion which shows what Darkspilver is accused by Watch Tower of posting at Reddit. (Please note, Watch Tower lawyers, this is a full page, in context, of a privileged court document.)

As you can see, Darkspilver is accused of posting a short amount of text under the headline “What Gift Can We Give to Jehovah?” on the back of one of Watch Tower’s publications eliciting donations. He believed it represented a sudden shift in the way JW.org asked for money, and, as EFF explained, it generated considerable debate online.

Now, if Watch Tower believed their copyright on this small amount of text was being violated, they could make a takedown request with Reddit. Instead, the organization believes that this is such a violation of its rights, it has subpoenaed Darkspilver and Reddit in order to get his identifying information.

“This case is not about suppressing Darkspilver’s public criticism. He can say whatever he desires. However, he cannot infringe Watch Tower’s intellectual property in the process,” the Watch Tower’s attorneys wrote in a response to the EFF’s motion to quash.

Really? Watch Tower is going to this effort and expense because it’s so damaged by that small amount of text on the back of a magazine being put online, or is it what the text said that really matters, that Watch Tower was stung by the revelation that it was more openly soliciting donations online.

Both documents, EFF’s motion to quash, and Watch Tower’s response, are really interesting documents. Give them a look yourself and let us know what you think about the arguments in each of them.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      I made a donation on line at JW.ORG. Why are they using a Switzerland banking address?
    • By Witness
      Someone posted a question about the longevity of Watchtower given the events of the past few years. The following is just my opinion, and my observations from the past year:
      Two years ago, Watchtower implemented a 5-year cost reduction program in which they asked all branches to cut costs by a minimum of 10%, up to 25% as a preferred number.
      In the spring of 2015, Stephen Lett asked for donations after stating that WT had more money going out than coming in. 6 months later in a private seminar which I have watched, Watchtower officials announced that Lett's plea resulted in 30 million extra dollars in donations, but this would not stem their financial issues and they would continue with the layoffs and cutbacks.
      As you know, the cutbacks were significant. Aside from the Bethel layoffs, all non-essential branch projects were either cancelled or put on hold. Watchtower asked branches to sell as much equipment as the could liquidate - including heavy equipment, printers, etc. All monies were directed at finishing Warwick, then selling off their cranes and millions of dollars worth of vehicles and other high priced tools, right down to 5 dollar screwdrivers.
      Meanwhile, Watchtower purchased four $8,000.00 scanners and scanned all documents located in Brooklyn, only keeping the hard copies they were required to keep by law.
      Watchtower was spending tens of thousands per year to New York City just to maintain their tunnel and airbridge spaces between buildings. This was not a tax, it was a fee paid because New York owns the underground and the airspace. Moving to Warwick eliminated these costly payments.
      Branches around the world are struggling to keep up with their own accounting procedures. In South Africa, over 1400 congregations struggle to file their government mandated tax returns required of each congregation. Most congregations have not filed returns for 2-4 years, primarily because local elders do not understand how to file returns, and are quite frankly not interested in the business aspect of this religion. These elders are being retrained, and have been called disobedient by the branch.
      Watchtower has been spinning the cutbacks as simplification, and have coerced dozens of those who lost their full-time jobs to give testimonials about how happy they were to accept their new assignment in the field. (Translation - they are on their own. no health care, no jobs, no training. They are told to just go and pioneer.)
      In Namibia, the government has denied Watchtower's plea to remove itself from employer status, since this forces Watchtower to pay social security benefits to all full-time workers - such as Bethelites. This has happened in outer countries as well. Watchtower must pay these benefits. This raises the issue of whether any benefits will ever be paid to other full-time JWs across the globe, who deserve them equally.
      Watchtower is watching its assets in Russia vanish while paying settlements in the US and elsewhere for child abuse mishandling and other legal cases. Watchtower has taken over responsibility for all kingdom halls worldwide, but many sit in disrepair awaiting renovations in excess of what congregations can afford.
      There is dissent in South Africa right now because of the fixed per capita amount assigned to each publisher who attends a circuit assembly. Many elders have questioned this vocally, and have described the amount of money charged to each circuit as an invoice. This does not sit well with many elders, particularly those in less than affluent areas. Watchtower has dispatched a team of elders to correct their thinking and their accounting procedures.
      Watchtower is now implementing a new records management program along with a destruction of documents procedure which is designed to ensure that no documents exist which would tie watchtower to any legal responsibility or repercussions. The records management overseer related an experience where one hand-written note cost watchtower over $200,000 - simply because a JW elder at headquarters was honest and produced a written document which tied watchtower to a major litigation case with a prior vendor. Watchtower has made it clear these records are to be destroyed according to their new records management and destruction procedures.
      Beginning in 2018, Watchtower will implement a program by which every single JW will be assigned a database number and their information will be in Watchtower's global database. Currently, in the US, Watchtower only has 40% of their publishers registered in the JW database system. All Jehovah's Witnesses will be given a number and tracked unless we can stop this invasion of privacy here in the US and around the world.
      Watchtower is very upset and concerned about all the leaks coming from their headquarters. They use Office 365 now and embed data into PDF files in an attempt to track where the leaks are coming from. They have been issuing subpoenas from the Southern District of New York to various internet providers in the US, along with Google, inc. in an attempt to track down the source of the leaks and identify the individuals involved in leaking their literature and videos. Watchtower demands their freedom of speech but attempts to deny it to those sharing their publicly available materials, which by the way are not being distributed for monetary gain.
      Watchtower continues to try to plug these leaks like the proverbial dam in Holland, but they are running out of fingers - and attorneys - to plug these leaks. We have far more than they realize we have, and there is nothing they can do to stop the flow of information outside of headquarters.
      The cart-witnessing program is finally beginning to backfire. Witnesses are being approached and asked hard-hitting questions about child abuse, shunning, and other matters. When you stand in the public square and represent a religion, it's just a matter of time before the public connects the dots, and the carts are sent to the junkyard, one at a time.
      In Canada, The US, Ireland, Australia, the Netherlands and multiple other countries, the government and media are taking notice of the public outcry for justice - justice for abuse victims to victims of imposed and mandated shunning. The Supreme Court of Canada will rule this year in a case involving shunning and discrimination, and if Watchtower loses this case the repercussions will be felt worldwide.
      Yes, money is a problem for Watchtower. Yet Governing Body members like Samuel Herd have publicly stated how beautiful their new surroundings are at Bethel - how they hear the birds chirping as they observe the serene landscape of upstate New York.
      Meanwhile, Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia have been imprisoned for following Governing Body directives. Young Korean Witnesses languish in prison for no reason. JWs in Eritrea have been rotting away in prison cells - some for decades, while the coalition of overweight, business class flying governing body members feign tears for the men and women who are effectively their slaves.
      Like Stockholm Syndrome victims, Jehovah's Witnesses continue to support the only organization they think has the answers, identifying with and revering their captors - men who have little sympathy for the victims of child abuse, shunning, or death by blood policy.
      Governing Body member Geoffrey Jackson callously stated in 2015 before the Royal Commission in Australia that he had not even read the details of the victims who had testified before the Commission. He focused on his defense, like a narcissist who believes they are the center of the universe, unable to empathize with real people with real problems.
      Tony Morris declared on multiple occasions that he was incensed with European trousers for men, designed by the homosexuals he hates so passionately - and followed this tirade by producing a side by side photo of what proper trousers look like versus "tight pants". In a recent private video for Bethel members only, this war against questionable pants, socks, and tights was restated, with Watchtower doubling down on matters which would baffle Jesus himself, were he to walk the earth today.
      The lawsuits are piling up, the fines are compounding, the public awareness of Watchtower's dangerous and controlling cult influence on followers will become a spectacle in 2018. With multiple documentaries being filmed, protests being organized, and lawsuits being filed, Jehovah's Witnesses can choose to buckle up and attempt to survive the crash - or they can release that belt and get the hell out of the vehicle which is about to catch fire.
      How long will all of this take? It's hard to say. But I will say this - each one of us can play a part in sharing what we know with the public. Find some websites which you believe are honest and accurate - and share them. Find some books which are truthful and sincere - and share them. Tell your story. Show your compassion for those still trapped.
      There are millions trapped inside a mental prison, but we can help them. Let's make it happen.
      John Redwood
       “Then I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming from the dragon’s mouth, from the beast’s mouth,”
      ….a spirit-“breathed” image requiring one’s devotion – “Jehovah’s spirit-directed organization”
      “And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads. On its horns were ten crowns, and on its heads were blasphemous names.                                                          They worshiped the dragon because he gave authority to the beast. And they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to wage war against it?”                                       And it was permitted to wage war against the saints and to conquer them. It was also given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation.                                                                        It (Rev 13:11) was permitted to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could both speak and cause whoever would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. (symbolic killing through disfellowshipping)  And it makes everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead Rev 13:1,4,7
      The MARK:
      “Recall that on your baptism day, before eyewitnesses, you were asked whether you had dedicated yourself to Jehovah and understood that “your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization.”  Wt 17/4 pp. 3-8
       ”and from the mouth of the false prophet.” 
      “Do the other sheep need to know the names of all anointed ones still on earth today? No. Why not? Because it is not possible for anyone to know for sure that these ones will get their reward.”  Wt 16/1 pp.20-26
      “Therefore, one way you can “remember those who are taking the lead” is by mentioning the Governing Body in your prayers. 
      Of course, remembering the Governing  Body involves not just words but also cooperation with its direction.
      Circuit overseers and elders remember the Governing Body by sticking closely to guidelines given to them. All of us show respect for our Leader, Jesus, by being obedient and submissive to the men he is using to direct us.
      Another way that we remember the Governing Body is by exerting ourselves in the preaching work.”  Wt 17/2 pp. 23-28
      “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf and compels the earth and those who live on it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.  It also performs great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in front of people.”  Rev 13:11-13
      “Just like a servant who attentively observes his master’s hand in order to discern the indication of his will, Jehovah’s people today carefully fix their eyes on the progressive Bible-based instructions that Jehovah gives through his earthly organization.     Yes, they act on his direction, being alert to whatever Jehovah indicates through “the faithful and discreet slave.”   w03 2/15 p. 31
      “For they are demonic spirits performing signs, who travel to the kings (Rev1:5;5:10; 10:11;1 Tim 6:15) of the whole world to assemble them for the battle on the great day of God, the Almighty. 
       ‘Look, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who is alert and remains clothed so that he may not go around naked and people see his shame.’  So they assembled the kings at the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.”  Rev 16:13-16
      …in the valley of “decision” Joel 3:14
      He also said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute (beast with horns like a lamb – Rev 13:11)  was seated, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages.  The ten horns you saw, and the beast,(Rev 13:1, organization) will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, devour her flesh, and burn her up with fire.  For God has put it into their hearts to carry out his plan by having one purpose and to give their kingdom to the beast until the words of God are fulfilled.  And the woman you saw is the great city that has royal power over the kings of the earth.”  Rev 17:15-18
      Rev 18:4-8 - Then I heard another voice from heaven:
      “Come out of her, my people, Isa 44:8; 43:10; Hos 1:10; 1 Pet 2:5,9,10
      so that you will not share in her sins
      or receive any of her plagues.
       For her sins are piled up to heaven,
      and God has remembered her crimes.
       Pay her back the way she also paid,
      and double it according to her works.
      In the cup in which she mixed,
      mix a double portion for her.
       As much as she glorified herself and indulged her sensual and excessive ways,
      give her that much torment and grief.
      For she says in her heart,
      “I sit as a queen;
      I am not a widow,
      and I will never see grief.”
       For this reason her plagues will come in just one day—
      death and grief and famine.
      She will be burned up with fire,
      because the Lord God who judges her is mighty.”
    • By Srecko Sostar
      What should a member of the JW community do?

      JW TV and publications does not provide balanced news regarding events related to the WT organization and the legal aspects involved, such as court cases concerning pedophilia and failure to report such events to secular institutions.

      It also forbids JW members to contact the former JW, even to say simple "hello" on street or wherever. Even when they (GB of WTJWORG) allowing a JW member to talk to their excluded family member who living in the same family (house, under same roof - literally, because if exJW not live in same family place, instructions are that JW have to cut all possible contacts), WT prohibits them from discussing so-called "spiritual things." Because they consider that the former JW could be repulsive and "fool", spoil the true JW witness with "inaccurate proofs" and "apostate teachings".

      What does the magazine "Awake" say about whether to listen and to be familiar with the opposing views? Here is what WT consider as "positive". It is in context of "evolution issue" but we can see "the principle", don't we? Would you, do you use the same principle and be careful and wary about WT claims how "all is apostates lies"?! Quotes are as following;
      Examine the Evidence
      IF YOU were on trial in a court of law, would it be fair if only your opponent was allowed to present evidence? No, you would surely want the court to hear your side of the matter.
      Reasonable persons agree that the only fair method is to examine the evidence on both sides, both for and against a disputed theory. That is how one arrives at the truth.
      But, as physicist L. Dolphin wrote to the San Francisco Chronicle: “It is intellectually dishonest to fail to answer some of these problem areas in textbooks, and to exclude other scientifically based models on the grounds that they are merely fundamentalistic religious beliefs.”
      Truly it is “intellectually dishonest” not to want any opposing views heard on such a disputed matter. It has to make reasonable persons ask, Why?
      Reasonable persons also consider it unworthy of serious scholarship to try to stamp out criticism of evolution by dictatorial methods, by intimidation, or by attitudes such as that of prominent American scientist Isaac Asimov, who said that questioning the theory of evolution is like “attacking the theory of gravity.” He added: “It’s a fact, not speculation.” But gravity can be demonstrated, tested, and proved in the laboratory and elsewhere. Evolution cannot, which is why so many are challenging it. No one is challenging the idea of gravity.
      Trying to insult the intelligence of critics of evolution to silence them is especially “intellectually dishonest” when many evolutionists themselves admit that the theory has not been proved.
      No, it will no longer do to try to browbeat or insult persons who challenge evolution, or to imply that they are intellectually deficient. To get to the heart of the matter, we have to put the “guessing” aside and honestly analyze the facts that are available.
      What happens when we do examine the facts, without the “guessing”?
      end of quotes from  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.     Awake 22 10 1973, page 7.
      How do you feel about this? "Old truth" but truth :))))
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      On Friday, May 25, 20/20 will do "something special" for longtime co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas.
      You can call it a going-away party (10/9c, ABC). After 22 years at ABC (14 with the newsmagazine), the Emmy and Peabody Award–winning veteran journalist heads to A&E, where she’ll work under their new primetime banner, A&E Investigates.
      Tell us about your first two A&E shows.
      They’re the first in a nine-part series called Cults and Extreme Beliefs(premieres Monday, May 28, 10/9c). Each episode centers on a person who recently left the group we focus on.
      Our premiere looks at the [so-called “self-help”] NXIVM ring that made headlines when leader Keith Raniere and actress Allison Mack, a high-ranking member, were indicted for sex trafficking. We talk to Sarah Edmondson, who feels enormous regret that she recruited so many people into NXIVM and we follow her as she reaches out to some of them.
      And the second episode?
      It’s about an apocalyptic cult called Twelve Tribes. Our contact is a woman born into the group, cut off from the outside world. She now helps people to escape.
      What have you learned about these insular communities?
      That many of those involved are bright, well-meaning and incredibly altruistic. Some of these groups exist alongside modern society, with no one noticing. For instance, we profile the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which has a history of protecting alleged child molesters because they don’t believe in going to the police.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      It isn’t easy these days being Mike Pence’s namesake. Mistaken identities are not unusual for people with common first and last names, but if you’ve got the same name as a lawmaker who has earned a lot of controversy for his beliefs and background, things can get quite difficult indeed. Just ask the “other” Mike Pence, who shares a name with the U.S. Vice President-elect, but is a completely different person in every known way.
      A report from the Telegraph looked at the story of software developer Pence, whose Twitter account, @mikepence, has supposedly received a barrage of tweets meant for Donald Trump’s controversial running mate. Ironically, this Mike Pence doesn’t appear to be very fond of his more famous namesake, recently quoting one of the more memorable lines from the 1999 comedy Office Space. That line was delivered by a character named Michael Bolton, who shared a name with the much-maligned real-life singer.
      Apart from tweeting that Office Space meme last night, software engineer Mike Pence poked more fun at his namesake by listing himself on his Twitter profile as “not a Christo-fascist politician.”
      The Telegraph didn’t go into depth into the nature of the tweets unintentionally sent to the 49-year-old software developer but meant for the vice president-elect, but he did speak to NYMag‘s Brian Feldman in July, well before the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, and soon after Donald Trump named Indiana governor Mike Pence as his running mate.
      At that time, he used an American flag as his Twitter avatar, possibly confusing users, and he did get some cringe-worthy “hate-tweets from the left,” but he nonetheless decided to add some levity to the situation.
      “I can’t begin to catch up with the mentions of @mikepence on Twitter. On the one hand, it has been hugely entertaining, since I get to troll conservatives a bit by pretending to be in a love affair with @realDonaldTrump using my account. On the other hand, any hope I had of actually using Twitter to have conversations with the many amazing software engineers that I know is pretty much on hold until the governor is (hopefully) no longer the talk of the moment.”
      While Mike Pence the Vice President-elect is a hardcore conservative Christian with a history of anti-LGBT-related controversies, Mike Pence the software developer appears to be the exact opposite. He described himself to NYMag as a “liberal, atheist, ex-Jehovah’s Witness computer programmer,” and “not a bigoted shill for the Republican party.”
      He did, however, admit to growing up homophobic and conservative due to his Jehovah’s Witnesses upbringing, which he has since renounced.
      “I deeply regret how I behaved toward gay people and how I shunned those who grew to believe differently than me. That is not love, and that is not the kind of person I want to be, nor is it the kind of thinking I want to see in elected officials.”
      Meanwhile, the unintentionally-notorious Twitter user @mikepence has gotten his share of support from people who would rather have him in power than the Indiana Governor/Vice President-elect. Users have tweeted calls for the “other” Mike Pence to be Vice President instead, while he’s also gotten sympathetic tweets from other people with far more popular namesakes, such as a user named Chris Brown (like the R&B singer), and even one who is apparently named Michael Bolton.
      Still, the confusion is quite understandable, due to the timing of the creation of both Mike Pences’ respective Twitter accounts. According to Mashable, the “not-famous” Pence from Florida opened his account in April, 2007, while the Vice President-elect had opened his two accounts in August, 2008, and February, 2009.
      For many people, it wouldn’t be fun to be mistaken with someone who’s very much in the public eye. But for Florida resident Mike Pence, the whole namesake thing doesn’t appear to have affected him too much, even if he did admit to facing some challenges.

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