Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 4, Issue
by Rod Keller
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review summarizes the most significant postings from the Usenet group Alt.religion.scientology for the preceding week for the benefit of those who can't follow the group as closely as they'd like. Out of thousands of postings, I attempt to include news of significant events, new affidavits, court rulings, new contributors, whatever. I hope you find it useful. Like many readers of a.r.s, I have a kill file. So please take into consideration that I may not have seen some of the most significant postings.
The articles in A.r.s Week in Review are brief summaries of articles posted to the newsgroup. They include message IDs for the original articles, and many have a URL to get more information. You may be able to find the original article, depending on how long your site stores articles in the newsgroup before expiring them.
Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available, just email me at
About.com specialist on Attention Deficit Disorder Bob Seay reported on
CNN using 'experts' from Scientology.
"The segment was on CNN several times - three times in one day, on June 1, 1999 as part of the 'Headline News' segments and again on all of the 'For Your Health' programs of June 5 and 6. The lady interviewed on CNN turns out to be Dr. Mary Ann Block of The Block Center. Dr. Block is the author of the book 'No More Ritalin - Treating ADHD Without Drugs'.
"She does serve as a medical consultant for the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights. Founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology, the CCHR defines itself as 'a non-profit, public benefit organization dedicated to exposing and eradicating criminal acts and human rights abuses by psychiatry.' Vice President Marla Filidei told me that it is the CCHR's job to see to it that the information - the 'truth' - about the psychiatric profession and the ADD/ADHD diagnosis in general be made public. Basically, Dr. Block and the CCHR feel that the American Psychiatric Association has failed to inform people that there are side effects of ritalin and other psychotropic medications.
"Marla Filidei talked with me about her involvement in the CNN interview and about the 'study on violence' as well. This 'study' turns out to not be a study after all, but a report titled 'The Interim Report on Psychiatric Drugs and Children Who Kill'. Ms. Filidei put the report together the day after the Columbine Shootings in response to media interest in the fact that Eric Harris - one of the killers - had been taking Luvox. The killers killed only after they had started taking the medications. In other words, for Ms. Filidei, it was a simple logical deduction: These children killed other students. These children had been prescribed psychotropic drugs. Therefore, the drug is the connection. The report costs $3.00 and is available through CCHR.
"So there we have it - an interview with an author who wants to sell a book, a study which is actually a compilation of stories taken from newspapers and whatever research could be found to provide some footnotes, and somebody in the Office of the Governor of Colorado who can't tell propaganda from research."
Super Power Building
Jeff Jacobsen reported that Scientology has not yet completed funding the
new Super Power building in Clearwater.
"I got a letter dated June 1, 1999 and signed by Adrien Gaal, Director of Income for the Super Power Building project in Clearwater. 'With groundbreaking, the first phase of funding our building was completed- to put the shell and the core of the building up. The next phase is to complete the rest of the funding this year so we can open the doors of the new Flag Mecca and deliver Super Power in the early part of the new millennium.' Now doesn't that mean that they've only got enough money for the *shell* of the building? They started a $40 million project with only enough money to put up the shell?"
The highest court in France has upheld the acquittal of nine
Scientologists. From the Associated Press:
"France's highest court has upheld the acquittal of nine members of the Church of Scientology accused of corruption and theft, ruling it lacks the authority to decide whether Scientology is a religion. In 1997, the nine church members were acquitted by an appeals court in the southeastern city of Lyon which ruled that they had been convicted without sufficient evidence.
"Prosecutors had argued the church was a sect that defrauded people of their money. The defense had argued it was a legitimate religion with the right to ask members for money. France's Court of Cassation said Wednesday it could not rule on that matter of the status of the church."
>From the Los Angles Times:
"France's top court has upheld a lower court ruling that said Scientologists are free to proselytize and practice their religion. However, the Court of Cassation emphasized that it was not recognizing Scientology as a religion. The case stemmed from the suicide of a church member, who prosecutors said killed himself after being pressured by the church to raise additional funds for Scientology courses. The lower court had said the Church of Scientology--currently classified as a 'sect' in France--should be referred to as a 'religion,' but the Court of Cassation stressed Wednesday that it lacked the authority to decide whether Scientology is a legitimate religion."
Hamburger Morgenpost reported on June 25th that Scientology favors
demolition of its headquarters in Hamburg, Germany.
"The Scientologists have given up and will leave their company headquarters at 63 Steindamm: the psycho-sect explained that they had filled in the rental contract which was supposed to have run to the year 2013 in St. Georg 'because of a gigantic shortage of space.' Scientology spokesman Frank Busch said that the owner's application for demolition was 'the best thing that anyone could have done with this condemned ruin of a building.' Ursula Caberta, Interior agency commissioner, warns: 'They'll make an effort to find a suitable substitute quarters. If wealthy Scientology members should want to put a new building at their disposal, we'll have to start a new round.' How could lessors or sellers protect themselves? 'They should include a written statement that the technology of L. Ron Hubbard will not be used in the building. We will gladly give advice.'"
Frankfurter Neue Presse reported on Scientology's new ad campaign on June 30th.
"The man in the poster - he looks like an artist - makes a sympathetic impression. 'Scientology has helped me to develop my creative abilities,' is what he wants to get across. Thousands of Frankfurt residents recognize the poster; it is one of a series which can be seen in the city in recent weeks. Another portrays what looks to be a woman doctor who alleges to have advanced her professional career faster with Scientology. Already citizens are asking if they have to put up with this kind of advertisement. Private poster companies have put up the Scientology advertising posters on construction fences and lane underpasses.
"And they cannot be prevented from doing business with Scientology. 'Scientology is not illegal and therefore may advertise,' said the Director of the Ordinance Office, Rolf Menzer. Dieter Becker, business manager of the Beba Advertising poster company, does not have a bad conscience for having put up 50 Scientology posters in Frankfurt. 'We are a business and do not receive subsidies like Cities Advertising. After all, Scientology is not illegal. I think alcohol and cigarette advertisement is much worse.' Cities Advertising had declined the Scientologist's proposal, but still runs a risk of being sued for that."
German television ZDF announced that a program on Scientology will air on July 28th, 1999.
"'Scientology is broke - dwindling membership and empty cash tills,' was only one of the many headlines from the past month which describe the alleged demise of Scientology. Research done by ZDF writer Jens Monath comes to a completely different conclusion: Scientologists are in high positions of power in German business and have constructed a network of reciprocal agreement which, to outsiders, is only vaguely discernible. On top of that are the statements by insiders which lead one to believe that the Scientologists have possibly been able to infiltrate whole market segments.
"In his documentation, Jens Monath, the ZDF writer, manages to get an insight into the strategy of the Scientologists who proceed with utmost ruthlessness against their opponents. He uncovers Scientologists, and not just in the real estate market. He describes the network which has already been in place for a long time."
Grady Ward reported developments in his disputed settlement agreement with
"In an order filed June 29, 1999, Judge Jeremy Fogel denied without prejudice my motion to rescind and vacate the settlement agreement and judgment entered on September 15, 1998 giving as the reasons judicial economy and that he did not yet have jurisdiction over FRCivP 60(b) motions. Except for time, this decision has no negative effect over any relief I might eventually obtain for the bad things that RTC and CSI are doing to me as described in the affidavits on my web page.
"So, now I wait for the appeals court decision. I expect it to be rendered with just a couple of months. If it is unfavorable to me then I will renew this motion to vacate in the district court. If it is favorable, then as far as vacating the judgment and order this this motion would be moot. My next court hearing is scheduled for July 12, 1999 in court of Chief Magistrate Judge Edward Infante in San Jose. The matter is my motion for a protective order re Robert S. Minton."
Keith Henson posted a filing in his suit against the IRS for granting a
tax exemption to Scientology contrary to a ruling by the Supreme Court.
"Plaintiff is in general agreement with defendants' brief statement of facts on the long and bitter fight between the IRS and Scientology as they are publicly known. There is more to the story however. The IRS, after more than 25 years and many supporting rulings from appeals courts and from the Supreme Court, abruptly caved in to Scientology demands for tax exempt status after a visit in October 1991 by top Scientology officials David Miscavige and Marty Rathbun to then IRS Commissioner Fred T. Goldberg, Jr. The Scientology account of this meeting and some of the abusive activities against IRS personnel which led up to it may be found on Exhibit 1. Mr. Goldberg left the Commissioner's post shortly thereafter and was replaced for a year by Shirley D. Peterson. Mrs. Peterson had been extensively involved with Scientology appeals prior to becoming Commissioner.
"The nearly instant turnaround of the IRS at the highest levels following this meeting has never been explained. It was forced, with many irregularities, on the unhappy lower levels of the IRS. It is unknown if the departure of Mr. Goldberg from Commissioner was related (he moved within a few months to another post in the Treasury before leaving government service). At the time there was extensive investigation of IRS officials by private investigators working for Scientology. Possibly the turnaround was only due to the overwhelming number of lawsuits filed against the IRS by Scientologists acting for Scientology and the exhaustion of the IRS's litigation budget. The prospects of Scientologists' filing large numbers of commercial liens against the property of IRS agents may also have been an inducement.
"Defendants quote Sections 7121 and 7122 of the Internal Revenue Code that closing agreements 'may not be reopened unless there is fraud, malfeasance or misrepresentation of material fact.' Given Scientology's well known history and tactics, all three could be involved."
The Palo Alto Daily News published an article on Keith on June 26th.
"One of the four candidates for Palo Alto's Utilities Advisory Commission has told City Council members they might not want to appoint him because he's being Sued by the Church of Scientology. Challenger Keith Henson warned council he might bring controversy to the commission because he the Church of Scientology is suing him for printing information about the religious group on a Web site. Henson said he wants to protect the city's emergency back-up water wells, which he said have suffered from age."
Protest / Revenge Summary
"Wynot" reported on a protest at the Atlanta org this week.
"We had the usual picket signs; scam, banned in Greece, UFO cult and harasses critics. 'Scam' and 'UFO cult' seemed to get the most honks and waves from the traffic, with 'banned in Greece' a close third. About half an hour in, Bubbles came out to take our pictures with her little camera. She went back in immediately, without even saying hello. One might expect more from someone who had visited us at our home."
Mark Bunker posted descriptions of his attempts to film a Scientology event on L. Ron Hubbard Way this week.
"As you know, it's a big weekend on Hubbard Way in L.A. as they have the street blocked off for a carnival. I tried to attend tonight but was blocked the moment I arrived. The rented cop lied to me saying it was a private street. The local precinct has no idea who Officer Leonard is as this 'cop' does not work in that jurisdiction. I was then surrounded by my old friend, Dan Murnan who had picketed my home, plus Mark Perkins and another whose name I didn't know. They tried to be at cause over me by yelling at me and accusing me of crimes. I was greatly amused. I believe you will be too when you see the video."
"Scientology Rent-a-Cop: 'The street's closed off. You're not welcome here.' Scientologist: 'Put the camera down; you don't have permission to shoot me.' Another Scientologist: 'We're for total freedom here!'"
"I once again tried to attend the Fourth of July carnival on L. Ron Hubbard Way. This time I brought along fellow suppressives, Zinjifar and Barb. Once more we were stopped from taking our rightful place on the ferris wheel of fun. The OTs present attempted to thwart our plans with their super powers but they just fizzled so they had to rely on that old standby, the L.A. Police force. Two cops, both of whom were mere wogs, succeeded where Dan Murnan and his ilk failed. They removed us by improperly enforcing the law.
"I had stopped by their precinct earlier and was told that I was to be allowed to film anything and anyone and no one could stop me. The law was on my side. Woo-hoo, I thought! Unfortunately these beat cops weren't aware of the laws as written and decided that I had to leave."
"Realpeach" described a protest at the San Francisco org this week.
"We had six picketers! Kristie, myself, Keith Henson, Elvis, Phr and Administrati. Aside from the obligatory picture-taking by the Org, there really wasn't much in the way of "handling". The Scientologists maintained a polite and disinterested demeanor. I carry two picket signs, and so does Keith Henson. These came in handy, as two of our members arrived sans signs. Mine are pretty lightweight, but Keith's are hefty and pack a punch. I believe one of them mentions space cooties. To Mr. Henson's credit, he carries those signs as if they were no burden whatsoever. As usual, the response from the people in the cars driving by was positive in the extreme. A great picket and everyone behaved well.
"Realpch" also described recent revenge actions at her home in the Bay area.
"There have been three more incidents of Scientologists picketing/flyering my house since I last posted a report here on ars. There was a 'Religious Bigot' flyer stuck into the chain link fence on Tuesday, June 15th. I found this when I got home at 8pm. On Saturday June 19th, I heard the mailbox rattling and popped out to get my mail, and saw two Scientologist, who have both picketed here before walking down the street, heading for my house. One was the older short woman with the visor and sunglasses. The other was the tall black man, who shall hereafter be known as 'The Loudmouth'. I did catch this gem of his: 'You know, this can go on for years.' The last incident was another flyer, found in the yard at 10:20 pm on Tuesday June 29th."
Mark Dallara reported Clearwater Count Commissioner Karin Seel spoke at a
recent Scientology event.
"According to the June 22 edition of Scientology's stealth-newspaper in Clearwater, the Communication Line, Pinellas County Commissioner (and formerly Clearwater City Commissioner) Karen Seel spoke at the 'Clearwater Businessman's Association' luncheon on June 12. Since I can't find any reference to a 'Clearwater Businessman's Association' in any of the records databases, I must assume that this is an error, and that the group in question is the Clearwater Business Association (CBA), which is a Scientology-connected front group with John Lindman as I/C.
"One might think that Ms. Seel was duped into speaking at what she thought was a garden-variety business association meeting, except for the fact that the luncheon in question was held at the Sandcastle, home of the 'Advanced Technology' documents at the Flag Land Base."
Scientology lost an appeal in Switzerland this week to resume recruiting
efforts on the streets. From the Associated Press:
"Switzerland's supreme court threw out an appeal by the Church of Scientology on Wednesday, upholding a law aimed at keeping people from being 'dishonestly' accosted on the street. The Federal Tribunal ruled that the law, introduced last November in Switzerland's second-largest city, Basel, involved an intervention in religious freedom but did not infringe it. But the judges questioned whether the law, which was prompted by efforts to curb Scientology, could be enforced and said a blanket ban on recruitment in public places would be inadmissible."
>From Aargauer Zeitung on July 1st:
"The judgment from Lausanne also makes it clear, though, that the Scientology Church may continue to proselytize on public ground as long as pedestrians are not annoyed in an unacceptable fashion. The often importunate methods of the Scientology Church street missionaries are a sore point in many locations not only for the pedestrians, but also for the business people in the city centers and along the pedestrian zones.
"According to this decision, a fine of up to 10,000 franks, and, in repeat cases, even imprisonment of up to three months can result if one 'advertises or tries to advertise using deceptive or unfair methods to pedestrians on public land.' In addition police are empowered by this statute 'to direct advertisers away in general or from individual locations if evidence exists that illicit, especially deceptive or unfair, methods are being applied in advertising or pedestrians are being annoyed in an unacceptable manner.'
"The question of the practicality of the statute was also raised in Lausanne. However one trusts that the Basel City police (without wanting to get too close to them) are able to judge whether pedestrians are being annoyed in an unacceptable way. Whether the keepers of the law are in the position to make it clear to a proselytizing Scientologist that there is evidence of deceptive or otherwise unfair methods and then to order him to be on his way is doubted in Lausanne."
Scientology's efforts to spike a story in Variety appear to have
succeeded. From Peter Bart, Daily Variety Editor-in-Chief:
"he most mail Daily Variety has received this year about a single article has come in response to a story that the newspaper will never run. The subject was Scientology and its influence on Hollywood. The story was in the process of being researched by our film editor, Dan Cox. In approaching his story, Cox was impressed by the fact that the Scientologists, who've been around since the 1950s, were getting more 'public' about their faith: Witness the fact that John Travolta, a stalwart member, had agreed to star in a $70 million production of 'Battlefield Earth,' based on the book by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
"To be sure, Scientologists also run a drug rehabilitation program, a literacy campaign and other activities aimed at rehabilitating prison inmates. Despite all their constructive causes, however, there's always been a certain acrimony between the media and Scientologists, stemming perhaps from their fervent proselytizing as well as from their obsession with their enemies. And then came the letters, pouring forth from a variety of law firms. John Travolta did not decide to star in 'Battlefield Earth' to advance the cause of Scientology, said one document. Scientology had no role whatsoever in Tom Cruise's courtship of Nicole Kidman, said another. The financing of 'Battleship Earth' is in no way related to the Church of Scientology, said a third.
"And then, of course, came the predictable dispatch from that ubiquitous attorney, Bert Fields, who decided to take time off from the Eisner-Katzenberg wars to issue a warning of his own. 'I have just heard that you intend to publish something to the effect that the Church of Scientology has used Nicole Kidman for promotional purposes without her approval,' he wrote. 'This is utterly false. Nicole has the greatest respect and admiration for the teachings of Scientology.'"
"DAN COX, a reporter with Variety for six years, spent six months researching and writing an in-depth look at Scientology's use of celebrities in promoting the religion. Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Lisa Marie Presley and Jenna Elfman are among the high-profile members of the unconventional church, which has a Celebrity Center in Los Angeles and even publishes a magazine called Celebrity.
"Cox says he came up with startling new information, including, for example, an early document from the church, listing the specific celebrities that it was going to try to recruit. When Cox handed in the piece, he says, Bart told him it was too tough. 'It wasn't too tough at all,' says Cox. 'It was accurate and very well documented. There's nothing remotely libelous in it.' "Bart, for his part, is insisting that the article was never completed. Without addressing exactly why the piece would not run, Bart concluded: 'Relax guys. No pernicious article will be sprung on you. Tell your lawyers to take the rest of the week off.' 'He's lying,' says Cox. 'I like Peter Bart. He's still a friend. But he's lying, and I'm pissed. I finished the piece. It's six thousand words. I'm trying to sell it. I want this story out.'"
>From The Reliable Source, Washington Post:
"Hollywood is buzzing about a Daily Variety column by editor Peter Bart, boasting about a story he never ran. Seems that Dan Cox, one of Bart's reporters, was looking into the relationship between the Church of Scientology and such stars as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, as well as a church-owned movie studio. But recently Cox left the newspaper without the 6,000-word story being published. Cox, now a literary agent, told us he still hopes to publish his article somewhere, adding that Bart said privately it was too tough on the church.
"But if Bart killed the piece, why write the column? 'Their posture toward the media is worth paying attention to,' he told The Post's Howard Kurtz. 'Their paranoia became so extreme that doors began to close.' Bart added that 'to a degree, they did block the story. It's one of those unfortunate conundrums.'"