Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 3, Issue 18
by Rod Keller firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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Tiroler Tageszeitung reported this week that Scientologists demonstrated in Innsbruck, Austria against the decision to prohibit a concert there.
"A concert by Scientologist Elvis imitator, Marc Janicello, was supposed to have taken place yesterday in front of the Golden Dachl in the course of the several week long 'European Run for Religious Freedom.' The city, however, had denied the event, and had referred to an advertising ban for Scientology from 1995. A ceremony had taken place that morning as the 'torch of religious freedom' was passed from an Italian to an Austrian relay team. In the afternoon, a group of activists greeted the runners in front of the Golden Dachl. The demonstrators used blackboards and addresses to recall the 50th anniversary of the 'general Proclamation of Human Rights.' Another board reading 'The fundamental right to the freedom of thought, conscience and religious freedom is suppressed' was an unmistakable reference to the called off concert in Innsbruck.
"Waving banners, and with Mark Janicello in the first row - singing 'Freedom, freedom', the group first moved to city hall, where they were somewhat drowned out by the beating drums which accompanied the Aztec dancers who were performing there. Scientology speaker Angelika Thonauer presumed out loud that Mayor Herwig van Staa must have formed his opinion about Scientology on the basis of reports out of Germany. She beseeched him to 'make up his own mind' from the material presented there."
Celebrity Center, International held its 29th anniversary celebration this week.
"At a Hollywood gala celebration television and film stars Kirstie Alley, Jenna Elfman, Giovanni Ribisi, Catherine Bell, Anne Archer, Isaac Hayes, Leah Remini, Jennifer Aspen and Danny Masterson, along with community leaders and thousands more, joined together at the 29th Anniversary of the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre to celebrate and acknowledge the hundreds of thousands who have been helped through the civic accomplishments this past year, and the continued growth, of the Scientology religion internationally.
"Elfman, who is about to start filming her second season of 'Dharma and Greg,' expressed how happy she was to hear about all the positive results being achieved by her Church in the community."
Sonntagszeitung Zurich reported on the controversy over the German intelligence agent arrested in Switzerland for gathering information about Scientology.
"Odette Jaccard, 64, is a retired theater cashier from Zurich. She is also a hard and fast critic of the Scientology psycho-sect, and she no longer knows what to make of what is happening to her. She has been accused of political intelligence service by a Basel criminal court because she saw to it that the German intelligence agent Peter Goller, alias Peter Gobel, received documents about Scientology in Switzerland.
"Jaccard is convinced that her unpleasant predicament is due solely to the efforts of Susanne Haller, an SP greater council member from Basel - who, until fairly recently, had been her loyal comrade-in-arms against the psycho-sect. That is, until Haller had informed the Basel state attorney of the meeting between Jaccard and the German intelligence agent. 'I had no idea of what was going on,' said Jaccard, 'I sat there like a bump on a log.'
"Since then the battle of the two women against Scientology is no longer top priority. They are fighting each other instead. Suddenly they are accusing each other of using the methods with which one would only credit an opponent. 'Odette, that's enough,' Haller wrote in a fax to Jaccard - she says that Jaccard is now using the 'foulest of Scientology methods' to clear herself of charges.
"It is striking that mainly women fight Scientology. Jaccard has fought her battle since she was confronted with activities of the psycho-sect in her Zurich city quarter. On the other hand, Haller, the Basel native, has always defended herself against authoritarian systems.
"The embattled women are unanimous in one thing: the fight amongst themselves can only serve the Scientology opposition. 'This is a problem with Scientology as a smirking onlooker,' said Caberta."
News from Germany this week, where Kreisnachrichten Calw reported that a German bank wants its employees to have no connection to Scientology.
"Kreis Bank staff must not be aligned with Scientology. The 700 employees declared that they have nothing to do with the controversial organization. 'There is no actual reason for the declaration,' said speaker Jurgen Sautter. At the recommendation of the Savings and Deposit Bank Association, Calw, apparently with the agreement of the Personnel Board, took part in the action along with 23 other savings banks. It was a precautionary measure, according to Sautter.
"The declaration covers six points. In it, staff affirm that they do not apply the technology of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard at work, nor do they belong to either Scientology or one of its subordinate organizations. This also means 'other totalitarian organizations.' Furthermore, the Kreis Bank employees commit themselves to supporting Scientology neither financially nor in ideals, and to not buying or having bought their books. Besides that, they state that they have not taken part in any course or seminars in which the so-called 'technology' of Hubbard is taught. The last point states, 'I am aware that professional consequences could arise (from warning to dismissal) if I make a statement which is untrue, or which in the future turns out to be untrue.'"
The Associated Press reported that for the second year, a resolution criticizing Germany for it's treatment of religions including Scientology has been introduced in the U.S. House.
"More than 50 members of Congress are sponsoring a resolution criticizing the German government for religious discrimination. A spokeswoman for Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., said Friday that 53 members of the House had signed the resolution, which urges President Clinton to demand that German officials respect religious freedom. The spokeswoman, Heather Mirjahangir, said the resolution has bipartisan support.
"The new resolution quotes from State Department human rights reports expressing concern over the German government's position and cites discrimination against Scientologists. It also notes that a German government inquiry commission has sought information on Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Charismatic Christians and others that could lead to discrimination against them."
ZVW-Online reported that Christian churches are raising questions over a booklet distributed to them by the German branch of Scientology's Citizen's Commission for Human Rights
"'Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits...' This is a Bible quotation from the Scientology glossy booklet 'Psychiatry destroys Religion' which could best be used to describe the authors of the booklet itself, who call themselves 'In the Name of Salvation.' Evangelical and Catholic deacons and ministers were blessed with this booklet by the 'Commission for Offenses of Psychiatry against Human Rights' To anybody who did not immediately recognize who was behind this booklet: Scientology.
"'Brainwashing destroys Clergy and Faith,' is one of the sub-titles of the glossy booklet, which, as determined by the KSA, 'consists of a confused combination of Biblical quotations and attacks on psychiatry.' More of the booklet's content is described by the KSA, 'pictures of Radovan Karadzic, visions of hell from the Middle Ages, and cremation ovens in German concentration camps are supposed to illustrate the Scientology message: 'Genocide by Psychiatry'.' Naturally, the [booklet's] authors themselves state in a two page insert that their request is essentially harmless, that there is an increase of violence, a decline of moral values and an increase in the number of people leaving churches, and then they ask the question of what is stopping the church from being able to reverse these 'devastating social trends.' Their simple answer: psychiatry. The authors continue their debate into the popular realm of sexual criminality and state that psychiatry justifies the 'most gruesome crimes with diagnoses incapable of guilt.'
"'With this cost-intensive broadcast operation, the Scientologists make a misfired attempt to stand shoulder to shoulder with Christians who make up one of their classic enemies,' assesses the Catholic Social ethical Work Group, which was commissioned by the German Bishop's Conference, and presumes that this could be 'an example of the zombie-like obedience shown by the German Scientologists for their American squadron leaders.' The Evangelical Center for sect questions finds that the booklet, which appeared in America in 1997 and has now been translated into German, is 'in view of recently recognized information about Scientology and their hierarchical group structure, outright grotesque.'"
Scientology has won a settlement from the American branch of a German bank. The complaint was based on alleged discrimination against a Scientologist employee.
"The New York Branch of Deutsche Bank has paid out more than $125,000 in compensation and damages and apologized in writing to settle a religious discrimination suit brought in federal court by an American Scientologist last September. A spokesman for the Church of Scientology said that the Church was not a party to the settlement, but that a reporter from its human rights magazine, 'Freedom' had now learned the details from an informed source.
"The Scientologist who worked at Deutsche Bank in New York for approximately four months, had been harassed by a vice-president of the bank's DB Trader division, who, on learning that she was a member of the Church of Scientology, made highly derogatory and offensive remarks about her religion. Eventually, the bank fired her without justifiable cause."
The St. Petersburg Times reports that some members of Scientology from Clearwater will be attending the rally in Frankfurt, Germany.
"Clearwater Scientologists are celebrating 10 members' departure to Frankfurt, Germany, where the delegates will attend a rally to protest religious discrimination in Germany. The Clearwater event is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. today at the Scientology building at 500 Cleveland St. German Scientologists who live in Clearwater and claim they faced discrimination in Germany will be featured speakers. The Germany rally will be the culmination of a 2,000-mile, six-week run across Europe called the 'Journey for Truth.'"
Recently departed former RTC executive Jesse Prince described some of his experiences in Scientology this week.
"It was the summer of 1992 and I was desperately trying to leave the Int base any way I could. I was living with others who were also trying to leave. We were all kept in an old house known as the Old Gilman House, or OGH, which also served as the 'isolation house' for physically ill Sea Org members.
"A Sea Org member of ten years plus, Diane Morrison, who was approximately 30 years old, had been diagnosed with cancer. Scientology is paranoid about X-rays and gamma rays, and they refused to let Diane get chemotherapy. The two Scientology doctors, one was LRH's personal physician, prescribed a course of vitamin therapy and auditing to cure Diane's cancer.
"Finally, one of the doctors told her to let go so she could just die. Diane stopped eating and drinking after that, and she turned into a walking skeleton. She was in constant pain and would moan and scream day and night. Her husband, Shawn Morrison, drove her, screaming and moaning, to his mother's house where she was laid under an air conditioner. Diane died within two days. She did not die of cancer. She died of starvation. Shawn was upset because he had to miss post time to drive Diane to his mother's house."
"This story is about Marty Rathbun. The year is circa 1978. I was forcefully incarcerated in the PAC RPF, and I had been since one week before my 22nd birthday in March 1977. We were 125 strong in the RPF. We lived in a slave labor camp environment and for weeks on end were on a schedule of working 30 hours on and three hours off for sleep, so that we could 'meet deadlines.' People were literally dropping like flies, which resulted in many unnecessary injuries. I remember one person, Bobby Schaffner, who cut off part of a finger during this time. He was so numb that it meant nothing to him, but he was happy to be off, since he could at least sleep for a while.
"John Coletto was routed to the RPF forcefully. His wife Diane Coletto was the Commanding Officer, or CO, of the Pubs Org, and she had been instructed to divorce her husband John because he was a 'criminal.' After some weeks, he managed to escape the PAC RPF and shortly afterwards called Scientology officials to let them know that they had turned his wife against him (a common practice in Scientology), and he was going to kill her. Marty was in a car with Diane driving down what is now known as L. Ron Hubbard Way, when out of nowhere here comes John, her husband, and he has a gun in his hand. He then took the gun and emptied it into her body. Blood and guts were everywhere. He then took the gun and pointed it at Marty and started to shoot - click, click, click - no more bullets. John ran off and was found dead himself a few days later for self-inflicted wounds from the same gun he used to kill his wife."
Scientology is appealing the judge's decision in the civil case for Lisa McPherson's PC folder to be given to attorney Ken Dandar. From the St. Petersburg Times:
"For 13 years, Lisa McPherson took courses and counseling from the Church of Scientology, and all the while the church kept records of what she said. Scientology's strong belief that those records should remain private was at issue Wednesday in a hearing concerning the wrongful death lawsuit filed against the church by McPherson's family.
"Tampa lawyer Ken Dandar, hired by the family to represent McPherson's estate, says he needs to see the notes to prepare his case. 'I need to be on equal footing with the Church of Scientology,' Dandar said Wednesday after a Tampa judge agreed to consider the issue. 'As it stands now, they know more about my client than I do.'
"Attorneys for the church argue Scientology counseling or 'auditing' sessions often contain sensitive information about people other than the parishioner. They say Dandar has access to plenty of other evidence and that McPherson's files are irrelevant to how she died. They also say they have a new Florida law on their side -- the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1998. The act became law in June. It mandates that governments, including the courts, should not 'substantially burden the free exercise of religion' without a compelling governmental interest.
"Dandar alleged after Wednesday's hearing that Scientology has destroyed the files of other parishioners to avoid their release in other legal cases. He also said that Scientology has used sensitive information in parishioner files to further its own ends, such as threatening members. The church denies those allegations. Dandar also argued that Scientology is too late in its attempt to use the the new Florida law.
"In March, Hillsborough County Circuit Judge James S. Moody Jr. ruled that McPherson's estate had the right to see her files. The church then appealed to the Second District Court of Appeal, which declined to review Moody's decision. The church is asking Moody to reconsider his March ruling. On Wednesday, Moody agreed to take the issue under advisement.
In other news, Judge Moody set aside some of the minor charges in the case, but refused to set aside some of the most serious charges. From Keith Henson:
"The most important part of the judge's ruling is that he denied the cult's motion to dismiss the common law tort counts of false imprisonment, battery and negligence, which permits the plaintiffs to obtain huge money verdicts for her pain and suffering. The counts dismissed were minor and dismissed for new technical reasons not previously raised by the cult. Ken Dandar emphasized to the court that the plaintiffs are not abandoning the CLAIM THAT SCIENTOLOGY IS NOT A RELIGION."
The St. Petersburg Times reported that no charges will be filed from the incident in which Bob Minton drove off trespassing Scientologists with his shotgun.
"Police in Sandown, N.H., have concluded that millionaire Robert S. Minton was not firing at four Scientologists who picketed his house July 25, and will not file charges against him. The police also decided not to press criminal trespassing charges against the Scientologists."
Picket reports this week. First from "Jour" in San Francisco:
"Peaches, phr, phr's friend Lady Jane, and I put in excellent 1 1/2 hour picket at the San Francisco org on McAllister. When I arrived at the org, I only saw a couple of smokers standing out front - no stress test table and no body router. Peaches arrived about five minutes after I did. Next came Lady Jane, phr's friend, and phr joined us a little closer to 1 pm.
"I've noticed before that people seemed reluctant to take my fliers at first, until I clarified that I was PROTESTING $cn, not proselytizing for $cn. One gentleman said he had gone in and taken a personality test, and the evaluator had come back and started yelling at him, loud enough for everyone to hear, calling him names and I guess accusing him of not filling out the test accurately. He wasn't terribly enthusiastic about getting involved with $cn after that. Another gentleman said he had taken a personality test a long time ago in Cambridge. He started filling out the test and realized it was taking a really long time, so he decided he wasn't that interested and started to leave. He said the Scientologists physically blocked the door and tried to get him to finish the test. He managed to get past them, but was unfavorably impressed, to say the least."
From Keith Henson in San Jose:
"Picketed from 5:15-6:00. I had another case where a couple stopped their car, took the time to read *both* sides of the sign (I turned it around) then executed a U-turn and split."
"They sent out an OT 5 to walk the sidewalk with me. Big, relatively friendly guy, someone who has a web site (and the scienositter). First name is John, been in scn 27 years, currently (from dress) public, perhaps never on staff. Seemed to me John is a real life counterpart to the pubic scns who have been showing up in ars. I suspect he volunteered for this task, though he must have had permission since everyone except those assigned who has stopped to talk has been ordered back inside the building. He made a point that with so many other evils in the world, why bother with scientology?"
From Sue Mullaney in Minneapolis:
"I was armed with my usual sign ('Scientology: Space Alien Scam' and 'Does the Bridge Really Cost $360,000) and about 100 copies of the Xemu flyer. There was a young Scieno woman, probably in her late teens/early 20's, out handing out mini-flyers/colored index cards offering the Personality Test; she approached me, and I offered her a Xemu flyer but she declined.
"As I went past the org a second time, the young woman Scieno comes up to me and starts asking me questions. She wanted to know where I got my information about Scn and if I believed everything I read on the Internet. I said that ex-members have confirmed the things on the Internet and pointed out that the Xemu flyer contains a portion of OT-3 in Hubbard's own writing, and that people have been sued by Scn for posting this material to the Internet so obviously the Scn lawyers think it's authentic! She wanted to know why I was against Scn and I mentioned the Fair Game policy and about Scn's history of harassing critics--I told her about Vaughn and Stacy Young's cat shelter and how Scn tried to shut it down by having Scn members make a bunch of complaints to city officials about the shelter, saying the Youngs' house was filthy and the cats were diseased; she asked if the complaints were true and I said no they weren't.
"Xemu must be becoming a semi-celebrity or something, because a few times when I handed flyers to people, as they were walking away, they'd exclaim, 'Oh, Xemu!'"
From Android Cat in Toronto:
"In attendance were Gregg, Artemis, Wulfen, Deep Wog, and myself. There was another rented police officer there today to guard the org from us. Scientology's $400. There was a hand-done sign in the org window 'Now Recruiting!' At one point one passerby told his story of a relative who'd gotten caught up in CoS, and how much it had cost him, thanked us for picketing, crossed across the street, and loudly continued the conversation with our sort-of-groupie in front of the 'House of Lords' hair cutting place.
"Then we informally learned from a source that 'Reverend' Al Buttnor was informally putting an offer on the table, to bribe us not to picket. A lousy $15,000 CDN split five ways? It would be almost amusing to take the money, then pass the word out that Scientology was offering money not to picket. The odd thing is that Rev Al has $15,000 on hand. Basically, the Toronto org is bust, and won't make its mortgage payment (in US$) to the mother church this year.
"Their North point body router seemed to jump a little when I took North co-point with Artemis, and did the barker routine: 'Scientology, criminally convicted in Canada for breach of the public trust!' 'Find out the secret of Xenu, the galactic overlord! The secret Scientology doesn't want you to know!'."
From Bruce Pettycrew in Mesa, Arizona:
"Kathy and I picketed today, a mild 100 degrees at 10:00 AM. The $cienos were doing their usual lo-tech worst in trying to set up a banner on 'support Religious Freedom in Germany' and not succeeding during the hour we picketed. Afterwards, we went to visit my father at his care home and got a page from my son informing us that the 'CHURCH' had been distributing a leaflet about me at a Circle K market a few blocks from my home.
"THE FACE OF RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY. YOUR NEIGHBOR BRUCE PETTYCREW IS NOT ALL THAT HE SEEMS. WHEN HE'S NOT STIRRING UP HATRED IN THE STREETS, PETTYCREW IS POISONING THE INTERNET BY FILLING IT FULL OF RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY AND INTOLERANCE. PETTYCREW'S HATRED PUTS FAMILIES AT RISK. NEXT TIME YOU SEE THIS MAN RECOGNIZE THE FACE OF RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY.
"I am so glad to know that my picketing is hitting them were it hurts, and I will now step up my efforts several fold. I will be sending this handout and a summary of our legal history to the local papers with the hopes of getting some great publicity out of this."
Geri Halliwell, recently departed from the Spice Girls, has taken up Scientology. From the Daily Mail:
"Geri Halliwell has turned to Scientology - the cult branded 'corrupt, sinister and dangerous' - as she continues to reinvent herself. Miss Halliwell, who as Ginger Spice was famed for her skimpy Union Jack dresses, warpaint and platform heels, hopes to find 'spiritual enlightenment' in the teachings of American science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, who founded the Church of Scientology nearly 50 years ago. The cult has powerful and influential disciples in the world of showbiz, including Tom Cruise and his wife Nicole Kidman, John Travolta and Lisa Marie Presley. Now Miss Halliwell, 25, has been spotted in the smart cafes and restaurants of Beverley Hills studying the cult's 'bible'. The Scientology Handbook costs UKP125 and contains chapters on how to improve 'every aspect of your life'. One source close to Miss Halliwell said: 'Geri began to get interested in spirituality, eastern religion and philosophy and the search for the meaning of life during the final months of her time with the Spice Girls."
From World Entertainment News Network:
"Elders in Britain's Jehovah's Witness movement are urging GERI HALLIWELL to think twice before turning her back on them to become a Scientologist. The former SPICE GIRL, who was raised a Jehovah's Witness by her mum ANNA MARIE, has been spotted recently reading up on Scientology - the religion which includes TOM CRUISE and JOHN TRAVOLTA amongst its flock - during a break in Beverly Hills.
"But Jehovah's Witness spokesman ROBIN WILLIAMS hopes Halliwell knows what she's doing. The London-based elder says, 'Everyone has a right to make their own mind up but we are anxious that people who make these big decisions do so after serious consideration.' And leading British Scientologists are also urging Geri to think twice. Press officer GRAEME WILSON says, 'There is a rule that you have to find out about Scientology for yourself. We need to know that people have discovered Scientology works for them.
'Geri's religious background is irrelevant - in fact she can maintain her original faith if she becomes a Scientologist, but she must have carried out her studies.'"
Birgitta Dagnell reported that a Swedish radio station has begun publicizing the secret NOTS levels.
"Every day this week the National Radio Channel P3 (Sweden) is reading a little bit of OT3 and NOT's. The programmes name is 'Pippirull' and starts 5.00 pm."
Scientology defendant Zenon Panoussis reported on developments in his case.
"First came the TRO against me, stating among other things that OTs and NOTs in my possession were to be taken into custody pending the court's final decision in the copyright infringement issue. Then the bailiff (with McShane and Hart & Co leading the crusade) raided me and fetched practically nil. Then I handed in the OTs and NOTs to the parliament. Then the CoS said 'those NOTs at the parliament are really in Zenon Panoussis' possession and we want them confiscated by the bailiff as well'. Or, in other words, 'we want the bailiff to raid the parliament, and we want that done without even having sued the parliament' Somehow this got too heavy even for the stomach of the bailiff. The motion was denied. And the CoS appealed.
"The primary court of Stockholm decided the case yesterday. Scientology lost. Of course, anything else would have been a scandal. The CoS has to pay my legal costs, SEK 9,250 (ca USD 1,150)."