Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 2, Issue 13 07/06/97 by Rod Keller [firstname.lastname@example.org] copyright 1997
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 email@example.com It is archived at: http://wpxx02.toxi.uni-wuerzburg.de/~krasel/CoS/ars-summary.html http://www.thur.de/religio/publik/arsfaq.html http://home.sol.no/heldal/CoS/archive/WIR/ http://www.i1.net/~mallen/scn/arswr/ars-summary.html #####
Tom Klemesrud was deposed by Scientology lawyers, in a transcript posted
this week. Tom was Dennis Erlich's system operator at the time of the
alleged copyright violations. Some excerpts:
"BY Ms. KOBRIN: Q. Did Mr. Erlich ever tell you that he was interested in seeing the Church of Scientology destroyed? A. No. Q. Did he ever tell you that he would like to see it shut down? A. No.
"Q. Have you ever attended a meeting of the Cult Awareness Network? MR. SZUMIAK: I'm not going to let Mr. Klemesrud answer any questions regarding that kind of activity, Counsel, unless you can show me how it's relevant to the remaining copyright issues in the case that brings us together today. MS. KOBRIN: It is relevant to the issues. There are issues in the case regarding copyright infringement. There are factors under copyright infringement and statutory damages to which Mr. Erlich's reasons for his postings and his state of mind with respect to them and his willfulness are relevant, and these points are relevant to those issues. MR. SZUMIAK: I think you have asked him if he has ever told you why he was posting what he is posting. And the other points that you have raised, he said no, Mr. Erlich didn't tell him that. MS. KOBRIN: I understand, but I'm entitled to get to activities and so forth that will reflect those, whether there is a direct yes or no answer on something or not. MR. SZUMIAK: I don't agree and to the extent that it's even marginally relevant, at some point Mr. Klemesrud's privacy rights and rights of association are more important than whatever relevance the question may have. So that's my basis for instructing the witness not to answer those kinds of questions. MR. SZUMIAK: I'm going to instruct Mr. Klemesrud not to answer questions regarding his associations, affiliations, discussions, or any other of his personal activities except as they may relate to Mr. Erlich or Mr. Erlich's defenses against the claims brought by RTC against him or as they relate to the RTC's claim against Mr. Erlich.
"Did you have the belief that Dennis Erlich had the right to infringe copyrights as a matter of his 3 personal conscience? A. No. Q. Did you believe that Dennis Erlich had some status as an ordained minister that allowed him to use Scientology materials without authorization? A. Did I believe that? Yes. I had no reason to disbelieve it.
"Q. Did you agree with Mr. Erlich's statement that governments and courts did not have the power to tell him what he could and could not do? MR. SZUMIAK: Just so that we are clear, I'm instructing him not to answer until you can tell me or explain how it's relevant. THE WITNESS: I wouldn't touch that with a 10-foot pole.
"Q. Did Dennis Erlich ever tell you that he wanted to be sued? A. No. Q. Did he ever tell you that he didn't care if he was sued? A. Not that I recall. Q. Did he ever tell you he thought he might be sued? A. No.
"Q. Other than the media that you called during this -- during the time the seizure was going on, you said you called various people. Who else did you call? A. A friend of mine at the FBI. Q. Why did you call that person? A. Because it was my belief there was a criminal investigation concerning the subject matter. Q. What did the call to the friend at the FBI have to do with the seizure? A. I wanted to inform him that there were people at Dennis Erlich's house with a federal warrant without a federal marshal with a writ of seizure that had scratched off, that marshals were required, and might that be a breach of federal law.
"Q. Mr. Klemesrud, have you ever heard the term Scamizdat? A. Yes. Q. Do you know the identity of a person who makes postings under that name? A. No. Q. Have you ever heard the name Vorlon? A. I have seen that, but I'm not an expert on that so I don't understand what you are getting at. BY MS. KOBRIN: Q. Vorlon, V-o-r-l-o-n. In what context have you seen it? A. It's someone in the Netherlands. Q. Mr. Klemesrud, do you communicate with Grady Ward? A. Sometimes. Q. Do you communicate by e-mail? A. Well, I hope that doesn't have anything to do with Dennis's suit, does it? MR. SZUMIAK: You can answer the questions with respect to the RTC Erlich allegation. MS. KOBRIN: So Mr. Szumiak, are you saying that you are instructing him not to answer if it relates to any other lawsuit? MR. SZUMIAK: Yes. MS. KOBRIN: And your basis for that is a relevance objection? MR. SZUMIAK: Yes. It also invades his right of privacy of association. What he discusses with other people unrelated to this lawsuit is really not discoverable in my opinion. MS. KOBRIN: I disagree. MR. SZUMIAK: I knew you would.
"Q. Have you ever provided Grady Ward assistance in his lawsuit? MR. SZUMIAK: You don't have to answer that question MS. KOBRIN: This is your same objection, Counsel? MR. SZUMIAK: Yes, it is. MS. KOBRIN: So it extends not only to conversation but to actions as well. MR. SZUMIAK: Yes, Counsel."
Reuters reported that a donor to Scientology was refused a tax exemption
in Australia recently.
"As Australia entered its annual fiscal silly season on Tuesday, when millions of workers fiddle their figures to try to claw back tax payments, the association of tax accountants published a list of enthusiastic claims destined for failure. [...] Another worker tried unsuccessfully to recover the costs of donations to the Church of Scientology, saying attaining inner peace helped him at work."
Dick Cleek reported that Cynthia Kisser has lost a libel suit against
"A jury reached a verdict in favor of the Church of Scientology International and its president, Heber Jentzsch, today in a libel suit brought in 1992 by Cynthia Kisser, the former executive director of the non-profit which once operated under the name Cult Awareness Network. Kisser filed the civil suit against Scientology and Jentzsch in United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois over statements in an October, 1991 issue of Scientology's Freedom Magazine which she felt labeled her as a criminal. Kisser had an especially difficult hurdle to overcome in bringing the libel suit because Judge James Zagel declared Kisser a public figure, requiring her to prove not only that the statements in the Freedom Magazine about Kisser were untrue, but that they were printed with reckless disregard for the truth."
>From Scientology's press release:
"CAN's former executive director, Cynthia Kisser, had sued the Church for labeling her a 'long time advocate of forcible restraint and assault conducted under the guise of 'deprogramming' in the Church's FREEDOM magazine several years ago.
"The jury decision came after a trial that lasted 11 days in Chicago Federal Court. The Church presented extensive testimony and evidence of Kisser's affiliation with notorious 'deprogrammers' -- those who engage in the often unlawful and mostly unsuccessful practice of forcibly extracting an individual from a religion."
The St. Petersburg Times published two articles on Scientology's plans for
the new Super Power building, and the reaction of Clearwater residents to
"Anyone who thought the Church of Scientology had no further designs on downtown Clearwater got a wake-up call last week. Scientology has shown it is capable of altering the Clearwater skyline. So what is to stop Scientology from co-opting downtown altogether?"
"A major downtown expansion project by the Church of Scientology is expected to develop quickly, and there are new indications the church is trying to buy more land downtown. Several downtown landowners disclosed Friday that they have been approached recently by a businessman wanting to buy properties along Court and Franklin streets."
Excerpts from the remainder of Dr. Robert Davis' deposition, posted to
a.r.s this week. Dr. Davis performed the autopsy of Lisa McPherson, who
died following care at Scientology's Ft. Harrison Hotel.
"Q Based upon what you know now, are you able to say or not say that the embolus was the cause of death for Lisa McPherson? A Well, first of all, I didn't say that, okay? This was signed by somebody else -- okay? Secondly -- so to me, I think I would ask that person that. Q Okay. A But, no, I don't think I can.
"Q Doctor, if -- can an emboli or embolus develop if someone is in bed and is just physically unable to get out of bed? A Sure. Q And over a period of -- what? -- several days? A Yes, and/or it can be spontaneous as we were describing before.
"Q You mentioned that there are -- quote, Mixed contusions and insect-appearing bites vary in greatest dimension from zero point two to zero point six centimeters are present over the dorsal aspect of the right hand. Could you show us the photograph and point to that area? A (Witness complies) 'Dorsal' means 'back.' Q Now are those -- what you described in -- or what the Protocol describes as 'mixed contusions and insect-appearing bites', can you point to the insect-appearing bites? A Okay. There is no vital reaction -- okay? -- around these small little areas here. Vital reaction is a reaction in which you get a reaction like you've got here; a little circumference of say, for instance, a blood-like area surrounding this little ulcerated area -- Now these -- this is consistent with an ante -- with an ante-mortem or -- consistent with. Okay, consistent with an ante-mortem type of injury in which there's a sufficient circulation to be able to have a reaction to this. In contrast, this is consistent -- these are consistent -- okay -- the little brown crusted area with nothing around them and very small are consistent with -- okay? -- animal activity 'slash' -- you know, if you want tot say insect bites; I guess you could. If you want to say roach activity, to me they're a little bit small, but, again, that's subjective. Q Okay. What about the area above in the wrist area? A It means that there's no -- that there's no hyperemia, if you will, which means sort of like a little blood reaction, because of the blood circulating to whatever could have hit this, if it were a hit, when the patient was alive. Since there's none of that and since this looks a little bit bigger, this could be associate with either a -- you know, it could be consistent with an abrasion, in which it's old, or it could be consistent with insect 'slash' roach activity; it could be consistent with it.
"Q Could it be consistent with Lisa trying to fight against any type of restraint? A Okay. Your question was could it be consistent with a restraint and what I'm saying is if the restraint were on several days previously -- okay? -- and perhaps there was a vital reaction, which now is not there -- okay? -- then that could be consistent.
"Q I notice that there's a huge, what I'll just say, a purplish area. Can you put that out -- on the camera and tell us what that is? A Well, there's more than one area -- Right here is a purple area and -- okay. Okay. A section through here, if we stain it for iron, is going to show some hemosiderin, okay? And that suggests or is consistent with an older bruise, and I think I told you before that aging of bruises can be difficult, particularly recent versus old.
"For instance, on this thing right here, if I were pressed by someone, I might have a hard time being dogmatic -- well, first of all, I think you have a hard time being dogmatic about the aging of these things, anyway -- but, this could have been -- this could have been an old bruise with a superimposed recent one, because it's reddish-purple in the center, but on the other hand, the margins are irregular and you do see some irregular areas of yellow-green, so it could be a combination."
Another German TV show is being prepared on Scientology. The crew have
been the subject of intense private investigator attention this week.
"A German TV crew has been in the US preparing a program on the scientology cult. They were followed and harassed all the way from Florida to Chicago by 5 cars of scientology agents. A number of top scientology criminals have been in Chicago having to testify in the Cynthia Kisser trial and the German group wanted to catch some of that.
"This TV crew has been followed everywhere day and night. One incident brought the police and the subsequent police report yielded two names of two of these agents in one of the cars. They are: Angel Adrian Casillas Jr. and William Thierry Dechanac (not sure of this spelling). They claim to be employed by Talon Executive Services of 1981 Brookhurst, Suite D-429, Huntington Beach, Calif. 714-434-7476"
Gerry Armstrong provided some background on the investigators.
"I believe that Angel Casillas was a guy who was staking out/stalking Jerry and Hana Whitfield in LA a few years back. They called the LAPD and Casillas was detained. He brought a bogus lawsuit for false imprisonment against the Whitfields who were represented by LA attorney Toby Plevin. I believe the lawsuit went nowhere and was dismissed."
Grady Ward reported that Judge Whyte has denied partial summary judgment
against him, and a date for the trial has been set.
"As anticipated after the June 6, 1997 hearing, Judge Ronald M. Whyte filed on June 30, 1997 an order denying the cult's motion for partial summary judgment in the RTC v. Ward case (C 96-20207 N.D. Cal.) '...the court finds that a genuine issue of material fact remains as to whether Ward posted to the Internet any of the messages allegedly sent by Ward, Scamizdat, and Vorlon. Thus, summary judgment is denied.'
"The Judge did, however, strip all affirmative defenses from the case, preventing Grady from alleging unclean hands, lack of standing re relevant copyrights and other peripheral issues. Trial is scheduled for January 12, 1998."
Dick Cleek reported a tip on Scientology activities in Guatemala.
"Quetzaltenango, Guatemala the church open a mission, masquerade in a 'Laboratorio de Suelos Control'; phone number +502.7612263 in charge is a senior scientology Victor Manuel Marroquin Guerra and and all his family practicing it; a soil laboratory and start to promote Scientology in a local cable channel program 'Concepto 10, nueva era' email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and start to selling to everybody a book called 'Dianetica' and get an interview in a cable news program 'Cable noticias'."
The family of Odrhan Fortune organized a massive demonstration in Gorey
this week. Odrhan is the Irish Scientologist whose family is attempting
to get him released from Scientology.
"The Fortune family have asked us to express their sincere thanks to the people who picketed on Odhran's behalf in Brighton, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and San Jose. Thanks also to the ghost picketers in Toronto. It had an effect. In Ireland we had two protests on Saturday. The main protest was held in Odhran's home town of Gorey, Co. Wexford. A smaller protest was held in the centre of Dublin City.
"The Gorey protest was a huge success with more than 1,500 people on the streets supporting the Fortune family. The protest included a march up and down the main street of Gorey (1 mile), which lasted an hour. The protest was attended by a number of senior politicians, including one Government Minister, and a number of trade union officials.
"The Xemu leaflet was handed out, and led to much hilarity among the crowds. We are told that a local DJ made quite a laugh of the whole concept at a disco that night. The Scientologists did not show an overt presence in Gorey, but plain clothes policemen did keep one or two suspicious individuals under surveillance during the protest.
"The Dublin protest only involved a dozen protesters and passed off peacefully. It generated a lot of support from members of the public who are very curious about the issue. A small number of Scientologists turned up for a while but did not have much of an effect. Again, their activities were monitored by plain clothes policemen.
"Copies of the petition have been distributed in almost every town and village, factory and office in Ireland. This petition calls on the Government to investigate the activities of the Cult. So far nearly 60,000 signatures have been collected and returned."
>From The Examiner
"An international day of protest against the Church of Scientology provoked a march in Gorey which brought the Co. Wexford town to a standstill at the weekend. Up to 1,500 marchers paraded through Gorey in a massive display of community solidarity with the Wexford family, the Fortunes, who believe their son, Odhran, has been brainwashed by the Scientologists.
"A delegation from the town marched through Dublin city centre on Saturday morning but could not protest outside the organisation's offices in Abbey Street because of a court injunction. Anti-Church of Scientology supporters joined in similar marches in England, Australia, Switzerland, and various cities in the United States."
>From The Gorey Guardian
"Minister for Agriculture Ivan Yates has rallied his colleagues in the outgoing government in an effort to launch a full and wide ranging probe into the affairs of the Church of Scientology in Ireland. The Fortune family of Main Street, Gorey, met with Minister Yates last week and outlined their position to him regarding the disappearance of Odhran from Courtown Harbour on June 1 last.
"In a written statement last week, Minister Yates indicated that a number of government departments have now been briefed on the plight of the Fortune family and an investigation, on a number of fronts, into the activities of the Church of Scientology could get under way soon once the new government forms and the matter is raised in the Dail. Mr. Yates wrote to the family telling them that he had liaised with Brendan Howlin and had discussed their case. He also stated that he had made written representations to Nora Owen, Minister for Justice, and has asked Mary Benotti M.E.P. to try to get any information she can on the Church of Scientology at European level. Furthermore, Mr. Yates informed the family that he has asked Minister Owen, in conjunction with the Garda authorities, to look at the question of an investigation into the Church of Scientology and its activities in Ireland.
"In a display of Mr. Yates determination to assist the Fortune family in any way he can, he revealed that he has also taken the step of writing to the Minister of Finance to clarify the charity status of the Church to see if their tax affairs are in order. Mr. Yates concludes his letter by saying he will be in touch with the family as soon as he has further word. The Minister's letter is the most clear indication to date that Odhran Fortune's case looks likely to be taken up in the Dail when it reconvenes shortly."
A New Slant on Life
Scientology announced a new media campaign aimed at selling copies of
Hubbard's book A New Slant on Life. From a Scientology press release:
"A stellar Hollywood gala -- headlined by John Travolta, Kelly Preston and Anne Archer and TV stars Jenna Elfman and Jason Beghe -- has formally launched an unprecedented, $3.2 million, 18-month campaign for Scientology books. The event, held at the film capital's Celebrity Centre International, Saturday, June 28, also marked the nationwide release by Bridge Publications of a paperback edition of international bestselling author L. Ron Hubbard's landmark 'Scientology: A New Slant on Life.' The first of eight Hubbard titles that will be released during a massive campaign -- believed to be the biggest of its kind in publishing history -- 'Scientology: A New Slant on Life' provides techniques for effectively dealing with a broad range of today's critical problems, from marital difficulties, raising children and improving relationships to the actual cause of argument and conflict."