Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 3, Issue 47
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
The St. Petersburg Times reported this week that the Tampa, Florida police
department declined Scientology's offer of a stress test outside police
"The Church of Scientology set up shop across from police headquarters Tuesday offering 'stress tests' and a lunchtime swing music concert. A letter faxed to the police department said they would 'like to line up someone from the Police Chief's office, or the Police Chief himself,' to come on down and get an autographed CD by Jive Aces, a Scientology band. Mayor Dick Greco got an invite, too, and was later paid a visit by Scientologists, they said. The offer wasn't much of a dilemma for police Chief Bennie Holder, said spokesman Steve Cole. 'I know you have a busy schedule,' Cole told Holder when he showed him the invitation. The chief's response, Cole said, was simply 'Thank you very much.'"
Karin Spaink posted an update in Scientology's case against Dutch Internet
providers concerning the webbed version of the secret OT materials.
"In 1996 Scientology sued 16 or so ISP's in the Netherlands plus me, and we won. On the day of the preliminary court case Scientology filed a subpoena for a more elaborate court case. Charges are the same as original. We mustn't have anything from the Fishman Affidavit on our sites, we may not quote, and providers should close such pages immediately.
"Next Monday, March 8 1999, 9:30 Juliana van Stolwijklaan 2, The Hague. The court session is open to the public. There are three judges in this type of court. Verdict won't be due before the end of the year, perhaps even later."
Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger published an article this week on the
charges against Scientology in Spain.
"The indictment described Scientology as extremely dangerous. The members are said to be financially exploited and subjected to brainwashing. The twelve charges range from tax evasion to the formation of an illegal organization. The Scientologists promise cures without possessing the proper education or permits. The District Attorney even rates using the personality test for the recruitment of new customers as criminal. The person being tested is then told that he has (fictitious) psychic problems, which can be corrected with expensive courses and therapies, stated the District Attorney. The reality is that many people tested become psychically ill only after having taken the 'therapy.' The charges state that a diabetic was talked into believing that his illness was caused by psychic illness, and that it could be healed with Scientology courses. The patient later fell into a diabetic coma.
"The charges also include the Scientology co-organization of Narconon, which offers controversial therapy for drug addicts. This therapy includes daily sessions of up to five hours in the sauna and mega-doses of medications. The Scientology therapy center lacks any professional medical or psychological care, said the District Attorney. In addition, disobedient Scientologists were said to be locked up for days at a time."
News from Germany on the continuing controversy over Scientology. First,
from Berlin Online on the findings of the U.S. State Department report on
"Not thirty-six hours after the execution of German national Karl LaGrand in Florence, Arizona, the US State Department criticized alleged human rights violations in the Federal Republic of Germany. It mentioned more than twenty cases of what it alleged to be transgressions against freedom of belief. Of course, the criticism hinges in the dealings with the controversial Scientology sect. The report is openly colored by the massive and generously financed Scientology lobby, which takes a particularly sharp tone towards Bonn every year. From the perspective of sect management, the German administration does not only hinder their business on the lucrative European market. The negative mood also washes over into other EU countries, particularly France. The State Department mentions, as an example, the problems Scientology adherents have of getting a job. However, the administration's study goes further than that, it also states that other religious minorities, such as Moslems, are intentionally disadvantaged."
>From an article in TAZ on the Constitutional Protection agency by Horst Meier, an attorney and author:
"The obscure church is surrounded by a nimbus of an internationally operating secret society whose opponents work almost as diligently as do the Scientologists themselves. When one tries to take a sober position, one thing becomes perfectly clear. In many regards, Scientology is a dubious religious congregation which also appears as a commercial provider of therapy. A horrid mixture of self-salvation and pure capitalism, of missionary zeal and business sense.
"Since the decision of the Interior Ministers Conference of June 1997, German Constitutional Security agents have been spying on the Scientology Church; only Schleswig-Holstein has excluded itself. This use of the secret intelligence service proves the endemic inability to approach a problem through public dispute and information; it signals the way of bureaucratic control and restriction. The Enquete Commissions 'so-called sects and psycho-groups' committee welcomed this action; only the Greens spoke against the use of the intelligence service.
"The issue in question which the Nordrhein-Westphalian Interior Minister gave to political scientist Hans-Gerd Jaschke, ran: 'What effects does the application of Scientology's concepts have upon a pluralistic society or parts thereof in a liberal, democratic, constitutional state? That sounds rather roundabout, but runs, simply worded, into a judgment over a steep hypothesis: what would happen if the Scientology Church set the tone in this society and was able to transform its goals one day into reality? Would that lead to the removal of German democracy? Just the text of the question alone reveals the unreality of this method of thought: as sure as it is that a thoroughly Scientology state would be a very uncosy formative dictatorship, so unsure, not to say impossible, it would be that Scientology would ever be in the position to take over power here at home or anyplace else.
"That is how 'endeavors against the liberal democratic basic order' were derived: somehow Scientology is striving for world domination, which, logically, would include their total domination of Germany. Therefore they have an anti-governmental goal which they want to bring about one day; consequently they need to be put under intelligence surveillance today by the Constitutional Security agency.
"It is no small thing for a governmental intelligence agency to systematically investigate an organization solely because of 'constitutionally hostile thought,' that means using undercover agents, secretly photographing and planting bugs, under conditions eavesdropping on the telephone or opening mail. In democratic states that is not usual, but according to German federal law, it is legal. However, the Interior Ministers have taken measures against Hubbard's community which are not covered by even the German non-liberal legal situation. The Scientologists can be generally accused, just no 'endeavors against the liberal democratic basic order.'
"Do the Constitutional Security agents have nothing better to do than to spy on an obscure, insignificant group? The answer is simple, but hard to believe: no they have not. They have wasted much hard work and effort all year long on observing bizarre, objectively harmless groups and parties."
Stuttgarter Nachrichten reports that the government considers Scientology to still be a danger to the German Constitution.
"The evidence that Scientology's efforts are directed against democratic basic order have been, since the beginning of 1997 when the Constitutional Security agencies started surveillance of the organization, 'confirmed and even strengthened,'. Scientology is seeking to bring about a social system which is not compatible with the basic values of the German Constitution. Even if the Scientology organization, with its 5,000 to 6,000 members nationwide (of which about 1,000 are in Baden-Wuerttemberg), has substantially fewer members than previously assumed, that does not mean 'that it is not dangerous and should not continue to be observed,' said the state experts.
"Surveillance by the Constitutional Security agency has revealed that the organization has been steering its activities inside the country from overseas. It has not yet been possible to revoke common usage of the organization which is set up as a 'church.' This is reflected in a legal dispute in Stuttgart which is still going on and which is supposed to clear up the legal situation.
"According to the report the Constitutional Security agency concludes that about 150 companies nationwide are under Scientology control, 60 of those alone in Baden-Wuerttemberg. In order to prevent the state from doing business with such (disguised) companies, a security clause is planned: public contracts for education and counseling of staff (a field which Scientologists like to dabble in) are now only supposed to go to companies which have signed a statement. These are supposed to verify that they have nothing to do with Scientology. It looks like the State Commerce Minister may decide upon such a clause this spring."
Renate Hartwig issued a press release this week, detailing Scientology's efforts in the German media.
"The book which appeared today, 'Public Enemy Scientology?' by Thomas Kruchem is being celebrated by Scientology as the most important PR victory of the 1990's. The book is being put on the market today by the Koehler & Amelang publishing company - and the Scientology OSA secret intelligence department has already been advertising it for weeks from Hamburg to Munich.
"Scientology has succeeding in having its assistant, Kruchem, spread important image-polishing disinformation. So that the statements of the people who pull the strings in Scientology have the necessary publicity, however, a special trick has been applied. One interviews not only the cadre Scientologists of the secret service, but also their opponents. Presented to the public as harmless, a Scientology operation has succeeded with perfidious PR strategy. The same 'experts' from the realms of state, church and ex-Scientologists who like to present themselves in the media as 'super-informed' are left with egg on their faces. It is a double scandal that such people are being paid with tax money for their jobs as 'informed experts'. They have not followed up and found out that even an Interior Minister like Dr. Beckstein can be led on. These 'experts' are more interested in getting their names mentioned than in the work for which they are paid.
"Thomas Kruchem also proves without question in his own broadcaster, SWR, that he is available, as an independent journalist to perform other services for Scientology. He wanted to personally intervene on February 25 to prevent the important, the outstanding documentary by Peter Reichelt and Ina Brockman about the Scientology prison camp entitled 'Missing in Happy Valley - Scientology's rehabilitation.' Kruchem was sent straight from Scientology's secret service headquarters in Los Angeles with the material he needed to use against his writer colleagues in order to make them untrustworthy within the same broadcasting studio.
"If Kruchem would have succeeded with his show stopper at SWR, a very important information segment about the Scientology prison camps would have been prevented. And now he has also been successful in harnessing certain 'experts,' to help Scientology in their efforts to introduce American relations in Germany. As the Scientology leader said, 'we'll bring them all to their knees.' The example here shows that they do not have to force every one."
Mirabella magazine published an interview with Scientology celebrity Jenna
"Bodhi [Elfman, her husband] also introduced her to the Church of Scientology. 'He didn't push it on me or anything. I started becoming curious, from hearing him talk about it. I took a course where you get the basic concepts. It was everything I felt I already knew, but I was missing pieces, so I couldn't apply it to life.' She doesn't proselytize--'our founder, L. Ron Hubbard, says if it's true for you, it's true for you, and if it's not, it's not. There are all these misconceptions about someone pushing it on you'--but says that Scientology restored her confidence and helped her focus on career goals. 'I went, This is for me--I like this! It just kind of cleared everything out.'
"'Psychiatrists believe man is an animal, which means there's no soul, which I think is a lie.' The statement suggests acceptance of Scientology's virulent antipsychiatry stance, and a lack of experience with therapy, a fact she readily cops to. She favors a Scientology process involving a machine called an E-meter. The subject holds two canlike objects hooked up to the E-meter. 'You know how your head feels heavy when you're having a problem?' Elfman says. 'It's actually mass that you can weigh. It's compressed mental energy. And the E-meter sees changes in that.' A counselor asks questions about what might be bothering you, Elfman explains, and if your response jolts the needle on the E-meter, you know you've found the root of your problem. 'The counselor helps you pinpoint exactly, so there's no maybe-it's-this, maybe-it's-that. There's lightning-fast progress, because you're handling only the charged areas. You don't dilly-dally. What you can do in literally about a half hour will take people a year or two to do in therapy.'"
Kristi Wachter posted a protest report from Campbell, California
"Date: Thursday, February 25, 1999. Start and End Times: 12:45 - 2:20 pm. Location: Campbell, CA. Picketers: Kristi Wachter, Brent Stone, Don NOTs, Keith Henson.
"Just in time for Thursday 2 pm stats, we put in a picket at the new location of the 'Los Gatos' org. (Note that this is an org, not a mission. The large, busy San Jose location on Rosemary is a mere mission.) The 'Los Gatos' org moved out of Los Gatos and is now in Campbell, CA. As usual, they have not changed the name of the org, even though it's now well outside of Los Gatos. The org occupies a good chunk of the first floor of a two-story office building.
"I arrived first, so I spent a few minutes by myself, waving at all the cars and busses and people across the street waiting for the bus. Nice Mark came out and took a picture, and I got a hurried one of him. I noted that he, too, has an Olympus digital camera.
"We saw two police vehicles drive past our picket and turn into the org's parking lot. As it turns out, Keith was apparently driving a bit too fast in their parking lot, or something. The police went inside the org and talked with the Scientologists (most notably Nice Mark) for AGES. We picketed and watched the police talking with Mark and picketed and chatted and picketed some more. After many, many minutes, the police came out to talk with us. At one point, one of the policemen asked me whether I had a car parked in the org's lot (I said I didn't), and asked me to ask Brent and Keith whether they had parked in the org's lot. I went over and asked them, and both said no. I reported this to the officers, who then came over and talked to Keith."
Bruce Pettycrew protested the Mesa, Arizona org.
"I hit the street from 4:00 to 5:00 PM today. Rush hour traffic was heavy. There were 6 cars at the org, and during the picket 2 arrived and one left. Two pedestrians and one wheelie gave me encouragement as they passed, and I got a large number of honks and thumbs-up from drivers."
Star magazine reports that Lisa Marie Presley is urging singer Janet
Jackson to try Scientology courses following a break-up with her
"Janet Jackson's estranged boyfriend Rene Elizondo is insisting he get a hefty settlement and be allowed to keep working with her or he'll seriously consider writing a book about her and her dysfunctional family. Janet's not happy and their lawyers are trying to work it out. Meanwhile, Janet's pal (and former sister-in-law) Lisa Marie Presley is urging her to try some Scientology auditing to help her deal with the breakup."
The Moscow Times reports that the raid on Scientology last week lasted
into a second day.
"Police and secret service agents raided the Moscow offices of the Scientology movement for a second day Friday, seizing files and trying to confiscate reporters' tapes of interviews with the Scientologists. Tax police and other security services spent 16 hours collecting boxes of documents and sealing rooms at the group's headquarters Thursday and returned Friday morning to look for more materials and question members of the Scientologists, a controversial international spiritual organization."
Agence France Presse described the raids and possible charges facing Scientology.
"The Moscow public prosecutor has initiated proceedings against the Scientologists, citing legislation covering commercial activities and religious and social organisations. Persons found guilty of breaking these laws face from two to three imprisonment and fines. Media reports say Russian Scientologists might even face the far more serious charge of spying for a foreign country. However the press bureau of the FSB - the successor to the Soviet KGB - declined to comment on the last charge. The FSB which searched the Scientologists' offices in collaboration with tax officials last week, found some 15,000 files of members, some of which were confiscated.
"A former Church of Scientology member who spoke to AFP on condition he not be identified, said that on the orders of the movement's leaders, he had for several months collected 'information on those who criticise Scientology, journalists and priests particularly'. He said 'the Church of Scientology is not a religious movement and is organised on a military model'. Activities of members are limited strictly to learning as much as possible about the doctrine propagated by Ron Hubbard, the movement's founder. 'Denunciations of members by other members are routine practice,' he said.
"'The Orthodox Church has nothing to do with these police raids,' said Alexander Dvorkin, the director of a centre for information about sects, which is close to the Orthodox Church. 'Every day, I get phone calls from people accusing the Scientologists of destroying their families,' he said."
Gregg Hagglund reported an incident in Toronto between a Scientology
staffer and an unknown pedestrian.
"Detective White of 52 Division read me the report of an incident at the Org, 696 Yonge on Feb 27. An Edmund Yee, on staff, approached an individual who was 'loitering' on the sidewalk outside. Yee wanted the man's name and tried to photograph the man close-up with a [disposable?] camera. Yee claimed this was a Church 'policy'. The man slapped the camera away and knocked Yee's glasses off. Yee sustained a small cut below the right eye. No arrests was made. No description was available in the Occurrence Report."
Swedish newspaper Laenstidningen Soedertaelje published articles on U-man,
a Scientology business consultant company. The series began on February
"In a luxurious mansion on Bergsviksgatan, the personnel hiring company U-man Test and Business has its Swedish base. But U-man is no ordinary hiring company. The link to the Church of Scientology is strong. Maarten Runow, president and owner, is himself a scientologist, and the so-called U-test used for hiring purposes is practically identical to the personality test of the scientologists. The owner and president, Maarten Runow who is a dedicated scientologist, has recently moved with his family into the top floor of the house. Runow also owns the daughter companies in Norway and Finland.
"In the last twelve years, hundreds of companies and public agencies have bought the U-test, not knowing or caring about that the company has strong links to the scientology movement. The test has 200 multiple-choice questions. It's sold for about 4000 SEK ($500) each to companies who want assistance in choosing new employees. The job applicant makes the test which is sent to U-man, and 24 hours later U-man sends a computer-based analysis and recommendation to their client.
"What clients are not informed about, is that the test is nearly identical to the test used by the Church of Scientology when recruiting new members. The purpose is to look for personality weaknesses, which then according to the scientologists can be improved by attending their expensive courses.
"It's a way to bring people in through the back door. Everyone who works for a longer period of time at, or long-time customers of, U-man risks becoming scientologists, says Ake Wiman, one of the strongest critics of scientology in Sweden."
"Carina Persson thought she had found her dream job. But the work as sales representative at the hiring company U-man was turning into a nightmare. 'Afterwards, I realized how I was manipulated and brainwashed. If my friends had not acted I would probably still be trapped', she says. Today she runs a fashion store and makes her own designs, but the ambitious 30-year old small business owner carries painful memories from her time as salesperson at U-man three years ago. During the four months she worked there, she came very close to devoting her life to the scientology cult.
"About 30 people worked at U-man, and all but 5 were dedicated scientologists. Soon she got to do a communication course that was sold to key staff of companies, but is also very similar to the course offered by the Church of Scientology. It was a one-week intensive course of mental yoga-like exerciseses. 'I noticed the change in myself. I looked as if no sorrows existed, like a robot who only wanted to keep walking forward. And I guess that's why business executives were so positive to the course, that's the kind of sales people they want'.
"The 'Life Repair' auditing that she was offered normally costs 25,000 SEK ($3000) but as a U-man employee she would get it for free by a well-known scientologist in Stockholm. He got her to talk about the pain she had felt when a friend committed suicide. Afterwards she felt relief. Then one of Carina's bosses asked if she wanted to go to a scientology convent in Denmark, and she got her trip paid. It was a very strong experience, and she was talked into devoting her life to scientology. The turning point came when she returned home. Her boyfriend locked the door and got her to promise to stay home from work one day and talk to a deprogrammer, somebody who could tell her facts about scientology."