Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 4, Issue 32
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
Die Presse reported on November 3rd that anti-Scientology protesters
disrupted a concert by Mark Janicello in Vienna.
"American singer Mark Janicello received a birthday surprise of the other kind on Tuesday evening at the Vienna Akzent Theater. After the intermission, opponents of the Scientology sect suddenly stood up from their seats in the first row, took pictures of main actor Janicello and distributed leaflets against Scientology. The singer, who is said to be a member of Scientology, interrupted his performance and apologized to the public. 'The theater is really no place for that,' he said. 'Some people just don't have any manners.' The audience, most of whom had no idea what the disturbance was all about, apparently agreed with Janicello and loudly booed the sect opponents."
Letters to the editor in the St. Petersburg Times this week discussed the
"As a resident of Clearwater for more than 30 years, I am constantly amazed at the confusion in city government over the downtown redevelopment problem. Citing other cities' successes is useless because those cities do not have a cult of thousands disguised as a religion that controls a vast portion of their downtown area. Clearwater city officials, go out and ask your constituents why they don't go downtown and don't want to go downtown. The answer from most will invariably be: 'because of the Scientologists.' Also, listen to many of the visitors' comments after they have driven through downtown. 'Who are all those people in uniforms? They're positively scary.' Most people in Clearwater do not trust the Scientologists and are not going to. Sure, their new $45-million building will draw their members from around the world to downtown Clearwater. But it won't get the people downtown that the city officials would like to see there: the people this city belongs to, the residents of Clearwater. - Harold McGee, Clearwater
"Downtown Clearwater's redevelopment will go unrealized as long as Scientology dominates the area, and that isn't about to change any in the near future. A member of the cult admits as much in a recent letter. He said that the Church of Scientology is not dependent on visitors to downtown Clearwater. He said their 'parishioners' come from all over the world to buy their expensive programs, and it doesn't matter one bit what goes on in downtown Clearwater. As long as there are cult-owned businesses that provide the church's needs, Scientologists will ignore businesses that aren't cult-owned. - David Rodman, Dunedin"
The Times also reported this week that the Clearwater Police Department will no longer have an officer assigned to gather intelligence about Scientology.
"Police Chief Sid Klein disclosed the change in an interview Friday, saying, 'It's time to move on.' But he emphasized his department will continue to investigate, when appropriate. 'Let me make it clear,' Klein said. 'We have and will continue to investigate aggressively any allegations of criminal conduct perpetrated by the church, any of its members or against the church.'
"Church officials said Friday they are pleased with Klein's decision. 'We're happy to hear that that past chapter is closed,' said Marty Rathbun, a high-ranking Scientologist based in Los Angeles. 'Our goals are to move forward in a cooperative manner with the city and take our share of responsibility by clearing away any misconceptions that may have been created. Our only desire from the Police Department is that the church and its parishioners are treated like any other citizens in the community.'
"Klein's decision quietly took effect months ago, after the city settled a four-year court battle with Scientology over whether the department's intelligence records could be released. But the change was made, Klein said, independent of the court settlement. He said a major factor in his decision was the possibility of litigation against the city by the church. He said he felt an obligation to protect the city from that threat. 'The church is here, it's not going away and we need to treat them like any other citizens of the community,' Klein said. But, alluding to years of animosity that preceded his decision, Klein added: 'I do have a memory like an elephant and I won't forget. I won't forget or forgive the personal attacks on me.'
"Critics of the church have alleged that Klein's decision was ordered by City Manager Mike Roberto, whom the critics view with contempt for breaking with past practice and including Scientology in discussions about civic affairs. But Klein said the decision was his alone. He said he did not consult Roberto.
"Police began gathering intelligence on the church in 1979, the beginning of a turbulent time that saw 11 high-ranking Scientologists jailed for breaking into federal offices in Washington. As a result of their investigation, federal authorities found Scientology internal memos outlining plans by church officials to control public opinion in Clearwater, concoct a sex smear campaign against then-mayor Gabe Cazares and infiltrate local institutions."
Message-ID: <199911061414.PAA09978@sofuku.monster.org> http://www.sptimes.com/News/110699/NorthPinellas/Police_no_longer_moni.shtml
"taz" reported on October 29th that a police director who had been
reinstated after reports that he was a Scientologist were rejected in
court has now found little work with the police.
"The accusation that Police Director Otto Dreksler was a member of the Scientology sect fell to the side long ago. But one year later much is still unexplained. The truth is that the police director, who was unjustly accused of being a Scientologist by Constitutional Security and later reinstated, has been pushed away from the center of power of the police presidium to the pie-in-the-sky on the city's fringes. Three gold stars on his shoulder board and a CDU party book in his pocket, he was on his way to the high point in his career.
"After his reinstatement, Dreksler again became director of the operations center. But relations between him and his colleague had been strained from the scandal and were marked by distrust. Dreksler accepted the consequences: recently he asked for transfer to a vacant position of lecture director at the state police school. But that does not take care of the matter for Dreksler. He sued the State of Berlin in civil court for 70,000 DM damages. The senior police official also intends to fight politically until Constitutional Security has put all its cards on the table: 'I'm not going to let up. It doesn't happen that the state office operates in a vacuum and can be controlled by neither the courts nor the Parliament because the Interior Administration has decided what documents can be presented and which cannot.'
Dreksler did not have the advantage of solidarity from his colleagues. He was hated by his 500 subordinates in radio operations central because he had wanted to do away with 12 hour shifts in favor of a need-oriented work schedule, and transferred 110 officers out of the Interior agency to the police beat. He got many bad reactions from that, including an anonymous letter which had a bomb with a burning fuse which was, fortunately, only painted on it. Colleagues of his own rank did not have much good to say about Dreksler. He was said to be overbearing, polarizing and unapproachable.
"After his reinstatement, Dreksler had gotten himself completely into the role of an outsider. One essential reason for that was that he was not ready to talk about a mysterious list of personnel which had been found in his residence in spring 1998 during the search. In that list, Dreksler had noted the names of senior police officials, their functions and party membership. State Secretary Boese brought that up on July 20, 1998, one day before Dreksler's reinstatement, to the state attorney general of the state court. He was to check into whether an investigation should be made into whether Dreksler had violated the date security law. The state attorney's office did not press charges."
Greta Van Susteren
CNN newsreader Greta Van Susteren is the subject of a story in this
month's issue of George magazine, including her relationship to
"Raised as a Catholic, Van Susteren apparently left the church after marrying Coale, who was already a Scientologist, and she converted to his faith. Both Van Susteren and Coale have reached senior levels in the Church of Scientology, having passed a stage called 'The Bridge to Total Freedom' some time ago. But for Coale, Scientology is not just a church; it is a business. He has represented fellow adherent Lisa Marie Presley in her divorce from Michael Jackson. His firm, Coale, Cooley, McInerney & Broadus, has employed Loretta Miscavige, the mother of David Miscavige, who is currently the head of the church.
"Scientology's 'spiritual headquarters' are located in Clearwater, Florida, where Van Susteren and Coale keep a vacation home. Friends of Van Susteren's are at a loss to explain what appeal the church holds for her. Several surmise that her relationship with Coale is the determining factor. In any case, her colleagues at CNN consider her religious affiliation to be immaterial. 'We've all looked for it,' says CNN veep Gail Evans. 'I'm a Jew. If people went at me about my religion they way they do Greta, there would be defamation groups all over the country.'
"In 1994, Van Susteren and Coale used WISE to arrive at a settlement for their ex-partner Phil Allen. Also a Scientologist, Allen said he had been introduced to the church by Van Susteren after he joined her law firm, and relied on the church for help in overcoming marital problems. GEORGE obtained documents relating to the Allen separation that show Van Susteren can slip easily into the strange jargon of WISE arbitration. Participants file 'knowledge reports,' counterfile 'false reports,' and disclose information about each other in 'Things That Shouldn't Be' reports. The detail in these documents is remarkable: In one of them, Van Susteren reports that a colleague at the firm, a man only tangentially related to the arbitration but a new adherent to Scientology, indulged in pornography and that she had found women's lingerie under his desk. True or not, neither claim appears to have much relevance to the dispute with Allen.
"According to Van Susteren and Coale's version of events, Allen had a problem with 'honesty and candor.' As a result, Allen was 'in liability' to them, which made it necessary for him to be 'handled' by a Scientology counselor. For Scientologists, being in liability is a result of committing 'overts', the church equivalent of a legal tort. The only way to get out of 'liability' is to write a 'liability formula', a written plan on how to make up for the offense to the church and the injured party. In a September 1994 letter to Allen, Van Susteren alleged that he had confessed to committing overts against her, Coale, and the law firm - acts that created 'enormous enturbulation,' a phrase apparently unique to Scientology."
An appeal being filed by Keith Henson was posted to a.r.s this week. Keith
is appealing the contempt of court that resulted from accidental release
of a sealed portion of a hearing held in his copyright infringement case.
The release was made by copying a diskette version of the hearing
"Due to a conversation with the court reporter who said the sealed material would be segregated out, I did not expect I would be provided with it. During the entire pendency of this litigation, sealed material, such as depositions, were kept by RTC's attorney's and I was provided only the most limited access to it and no copies. I had no reason to believe this had changed. It is my understanding that diskettes containing sealed material are now marked by court personnel to indicate their contents.
"There is widespread interest in this case. People following the case were asking for the last installment of the trial and I felt a reporter-like obligation to get the material posted. The court reporter felt the same obligation. She asked me to wait and stayed after court had adjourned to complete corrections on the transcript and provide it for publication. She knew the material she was providing would be posted to a worldwide audience because this was discussed in the trial.
"To this day I consider what I did which caused the underlying case to be a public service of drawing public attention to criminal activity and to an attempt to suppress exposure of criminal activity through misuse of the courts. Such criminal activity by Scientology has, as this court may be aware, resulted in a number of deaths from the unlicensed practice of medicine and indictments in a number of countries. For example, in mid October, Belgium raided every Scientology organization and front in the country on various charges of fraud, money laundering and keeping illegal files of personal information."
Lisa McPherson Trust
Bob Minton announced the formation of the Lisa McPherson Trust this week.
"The Lisa McPherson Trust is a direct outgrowth of several very significant events relating to Lisa's death: A) the fateful call by Fanny McPherson to an attorney by the name of Ken Dandar who was and is both courageous enough and pure enough to withstand the assaults of scientology; B) the internet awareness campaign started by Jeff Jacobsen which helped bring the tragic death of Lisa McPherson to national attention; C) the death-bed request by Fanny McPherson to Ken Dandar that she wanted Ken to let the world know what scientology did to Lisa; and D) the continued courage of Lisa's remaining family led by Dell Liebreich to make scientology accountable for Lisa's tragic death.
"The Lisa McPherson Trust has been charged by the memory and suffering of Lisa McPherson and her family to be like the Surgeon General's report on cigarette packages and we will stick to the side of scientology as a WARNING to consumers that 'scientology and all other destructive mind control cults are dangerous to your health, your emotional well-being, your bank account and your very life.'
"I would like to add my enormous thanks to following people who have agreed to serve in various capacities for The Lisa McPherson Trust:
"Board Members: Peter Alexander, Stacy Brooks, Gabe Cazares, Patricia Greenway, Brian Haney, Jeff Jacobsen, Rod Keller, Kim Krenek, Dell Liebreich, Ed Lottick, Bob Minton, Duncan Pierce, Jesse Prince.
"Several Board members will be active in staff positions but the real workhorses will be: David Cecere, Executive Director; Kim Baker, Deputy Executive Director; Mark Bunker, Multimedia Coordinator; Grady Ward, Webmaster and Security Coordinator.
"An Advisory Committee is being put together which so far consists of the following individuals: Gerry Armstrong, Ida Camburn, Ken Dandar, Ray Emmons, Steve Hassan, Keith Henson, Dan Leipold, Arnie Lerma, Margaret Singer, Lawrence Wollersheim."
Protest / Revenge Summary
Bob Minton was arrested this week during a protest at Scientology's Fort
Harrison Hotel. From the St. Petersburg Times:
"A New England millionaire leading a campaign against the Church of Scientology was arrested late Sunday and accused of striking a Scientologist who he said had followed him most of the day with a video camera. The incident took place shortly after 10:30 p.m. in front of the Fort Harrison Hotel, the downtown headquarters of Scientology's 'mecca' in Clearwater. Robert S. Minton, 53, was charged with misdemeanor battery and taken to Pinellas County Jail where he was released early Monday on $250 bail. A videotape provided to police by Scientology officials shows Minton and another Scientology critic, Stacy Brooks, in front of the Fort Harrison. Brooks is training a video camera on Scientology staffer Richard W. Howd, just a few feet away. Howd, in turn, is pointing a video camera at Minton and Brooks.
"The tape shows Minton turning to walk away from the hotel and then turning back toward Howd. It shows Howd's head and shoulders snapping back before he spins to the pavement and lies there while fellow Scientologists come to his aid. An ambulance took Howd to Morton Plant Hospital. Police said he had a small cut above his left eye and a slight abrasion below it.
"Minton is visiting Clearwater to picket the church and find office space for a new organization that will seek to educate the public about what he calls the abuses of Scientology and to help people who want to leave the church. Shortly before noon, Minton met accountant Scott Brauer at Brauer's downtown office to discuss buying the property as headquarters for his new anti-Scientology group. The building at 33 N Fort Harrison Ave. is adjacent to the old Clearwater Bank building on Cleveland Street, one of Scientology's prime properties in Clearwater. Brauer said a group of about five Scientologists walked into the building and interrupted his talk with Minton. 'They were saying Mr. Minton is a terrible fellow and wanted to make sure I knew all about him,' Brauer said. He said the Scientologists took pictures of one of his clients, and he asked them to leave twice before calling police. When officers arrived, they found the church members picketing against Minton on the sidewalk and violating no laws, police said.
"In an interview Monday, Minton said his arrest followed an eventful week. He said all 4,000 people in the town of Sandown, N.H., where he lives, were mailed packets criticizing his use of profanity on the Internet. The same fliers were sent anonymously to some of his associates in Boston and to the school his two daughters attend. He said two Scientologists greeted him and Brooks on Sunday afternoon at Tampa International Airport, saying: 'Bob Minton, what are you doing in our town?' Minton said he responded: 'Maybe this used to be your town, but we're taking it back.'
"Minton said he 'got fed up' with Howd following him too closely and 'I turned around and I pushed the sign at him.' Minton called Howd's fall 'very theatrical.'"
>From The Tampa Tribune:
"A self-made millionaire, known for his costly and widely reported war with the Church of Scientology, took his crusade to the streets Sunday night and was arrested after a skirmish with a church staff member. Retired investment banker Robert S. Minton, 53, was charged with misdemeanor battery after a Clearwater police officer said he saw Minton hit a staff researcher with a protest sign about 10:40 p.m. Sunday, according to jail records and police.
"The researcher, Richard Howd, 33, of Clearwater, had been following and videotaping Minton, as often happens to protesters outside its headquarters and hotel at 210 S. Fort Harrison Ave. According to a jail affidavit, Minton turned and shouted at Howd to stop following him. Then Minton shoved the sign into Howd's face, slightly cutting him above the left eye and leaving an abrasion below it, the affidavit states. Howd was treated at Morton Plant Hospital and released. The sign was 20 by 30 inches, said Clearwater police spokesman Wayne Shelor. On one side was written, 'Lisa's Blood On Scientology Hands,' and on the other, 'Scientology ... Spiritual Death,' with the words surrounded by pictures of skeletons."
Bob posted an apology for the incident to a.r.s.
"I made yet another mistake last night and allowed a group of scientologists who had been harassing and confronting me from the moment I walked off the plane yesterday to bait me into a stupid response around 11:00 pm on Halloween in front of the Fort Harrison. While attempting to call the police and in the process of crossing the street to do so in private a certain scieno decided I was to have no privacy and I responded in a way that the police considered inappropriate on the video replay (my video). That response landed me in the Pinellas County Jail for a couple of hours in the wee hours of the morning on a misdemeanor battery charge.
"I would like to apologize for any untowards grief that may befall anyone here as a result of their friendship towards me or implicit association with me by virtue of being opposed to scientology's harassive and abusive tactics as well as their utter hypocrisy and violation of people's civil and human rights. I am not the first person to go to jail by being willing to stand up to a bigoted organization who stomps on the civil and human rights of its members and the public at large. I am also not the stupidest to do that. However, once again, I regret having let down the side of the good guys."
A temporary restraining order was posted to a.r.s, which would not allow Bob to approach Scientology properties in Clearwater.
"An immediate Injunction is entered against the Respondent, enjoining him from committing any acts of harassment or violence against the Petitioner, any staff member or parishioner of the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization or its facilities in Pinellas County. Respondent is ordered to stay away from the Petitioner, staff members. Respondent shall stay at least 150 yards away from the following locations which are owned or leased by the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization:
"Fort Harrison Hotel, 210 South Ft. Harrison Avenue, Clearwater, Florida; Sandcastle Building, 200 North Osceola Avenue, Clearwater, Florida; West Coast Building, 118 North Ft. Harrison Avenue, Clearwater Florida; Coachman Building, 500 Cleveland Street, Clearwater, Florida; Clearwater Bank Building, 503 Cleveland Street, Clearwater, Florida; Hacienda Gardens, 551 Saturn Avenue, Clearwater, Florida; Yachtsman, 1024 Cleveland Street, Clearwater, Florida; Quality Inn, 16432 U.S. Highway 19 North, Clearwater, Florida; Mariner Hotel, 711 Cleveland Street, Clearwater, Florida; Bayside Student Motels, 1840 North Ft. Harrison Avenue, Clearwater, Florida; Clipper Student Motel, 1850 North Ft. Harrison Avenue, Clearwater, Florida; Tradewinds Student Motel, 1824 North Ft. Harrison Avenue, Clearwater, Florida; Osceola Inn, 211 N. Osceola, Clearwater, Florida; Burnside Building 309 Garden Street, Clearwater, Florida; Auxiliary Building, 109 North Ft. Harrison, Clearwater, Florida; Student College, 531 Franklin Street, Clearwater, Florida; Site of the former Graymoss Hotel in downtown Clearwater, Ft. Harrison to the West, Pierce Street to the North, Garden Street to the East and Franklin Street to the South.
"Because this Temporary Injunction Prohibiting Harassment and Violence has been issued without notice to the Respondent, the Respondent is hereby advised that he may appear and testify at a hearing to be held on the 15th day of November 1999 at 12:00 o'clock pm in the chambers of Judge Thomas E. Penick, Jr. Circuit Court Judge, at the Pinellas county Courthouse, 545 1st Ave. St. Petersburg, Florida at which time the Court will consider whether this Temporary Injunction Prohibiting Harassment and Violence shall continue for a longer period and whether further relief should be granted."
Mark Bunker reported a protest at Scientology properties in Los Angeles.
"Our first stop was a berthing building five or six blocks west of Big Blue on Fountain. Off duty Sea Org members were taking their bags off laundry two doors down to a coin laundromat and we at first saw this as an opportunity to hand out many leaflets and get into some interesting comm cycles but as we left our cars we had second thoughts and decided not to do it. We next went to Big Blue where we spent 15 minutes or so at cause over L. Ron Hubbard Way. One bike cop came up to me and told me he did not give me permission to put him on the web.
"We then went to Hollywood Blvd for a five minute stop at the Life Exhibition. One guard was watching over us. His at first glib demeanor disappeared when I told him the fairy tale called OTIII. He went scampering into the building immediately, leaving us to our own devices."
"Don NOTs" reported a revenge picket in response to recent protests in Los Angeles.
"My girlfriend's house was picketed by the Criminal Cult today. The cult was none too happy about my participation at the IAS Botfest at the LA Shrine. The clam left after 15 minutes or so. He was informed by the cops that he needed a permit."
"Nuke" protested on Washington, DC this week.
"Protest began at the Founding Church of Scientology, Washington. D.C. at 8:00 A.M. I wanted to greet the Saturday students and PreClears as they arrived. I had prepared a simple new hand-out: A nice copy of the infamous pic of LRH auditing a tomato in the greenhouse at St. Hill, England, with credit given. Caption 'Scientology inventor L. Ron Hubbard applied auditing technology to a tomato.' Flip side, large letters, 'Scientology turns your mind to tomato paste.' www.xenu.net, lerma.net, entheta.net, and selected critical book URLs from DST's Carnegie-Mellon library site.
"I had 250 printed, gave away 25-30 commuting to D.C via public transport. Distributed a few at the coffee shop. Gave away perhaps 75 on the streets of DuPont Circle."
Kristi Wachter and "Realpch" reported a protest in San Francisco this week.
"Start and End Times: 12:05 - 2:00 pm. Picketers: Kristi Wachter, Peaches, phr, Administrati. Flier stats: 79 Lisa/hurts people, 52 Costs a Mint/Breaking the Law, 9 Xenu fliers, 12 Lisa fliers, 11 attorney general postcards. "I had brought a few inflatable aliens for anyone who wanted one, so I blew up some aliens for Peaches and Phr. They greatly enhanced the festivities. A friendly local SP sympathizer had offered to lend me a camcorder, so we had a lot of fun taking mini-movies. Phr didn't bring a sign, so he became the designated cameraman once he arrived. Josh came out to take pictures again, but he never actually took any. I learned later that it was because Phr had immediately trained the camcorder on him. Guess he doesn't want to actually be recorded doing that.
"Several people today asked me what they could do about Scn, and were happy to take attorney general postcards. I also reiterated, as usual, that they should contact their congresspeople and the IRS - as well as telling their friends and families. It was refreshing to hear so many people express an interest in taking action."
"By the time that I arrived, Jour had been flyering for about an hour. She wore her traditional red picketing jammies, and had a number of picketing accessories attached to herself. Sandwich boards, picket sign with voice activated tape recorder, flyer holder, backpack, digital camera, video camera, and a little friend, who bore a strong family resemblance to my late-lamented Xenu chair. She had more little friends in her pack and she gave me one! She even blew him up for me. I tucked my arm in his, and he made a pleasant picketing partner.
"I had my usual two picket signs, which came in handy as both Phr and Administrati turned up sans signs. As usual, Jour handed out numerous flyers, and I handed out a few. At about 2pm we adjourned to the cafe up the block to catch up with each other. It was a pleasant day, and a pleasant picket."
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