Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 4, Issue 44
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 recent attack on Mark Bunker at the Clearwater home of Scientologist
Gottfried Helnwein continued to make news in Germany this week, with the
airing of a piece on ARD television. From dpa:
"A team from ARD magazine 'Report Mainz' says that it was attacked by a man with a hammer in Clearwater in front of artist Gottfried Helnwein's house. Camera man Mark Bunker was hit twice and his camera was damaged. He, himself was not wounded. The 'Report' team was trying to do some research into the artist's Scientology background before the new set of hearings in the Helnwein proceedings.
"Renowned painter Helnwein had been described in 1994 by two associations critical of Scientology as a Scientologist. Among other things, they accused him of being a 'clergyman' of a group 'which uses coercive hypnotic procedures with the help of a lie detector to destroy people's psyches to control them.'"
>From a transcript of the ARD film:
"The attacker, whose name is listed on Scientology lists, armed with his hammer, disappeared back into the house afterward. According to our information, that is where Gottfried Helnwein lived. Famous Helnwein posters were lying before the front door, soaked by rain. Some evidence, at least, that we had the right place. He apparently retreated to Clearwater. Germany, as he publicly declared, had become unbearable for him. His statement from years past: 'I have never before known such an inhospitable, aggressive and malicious country. It goes about shutting someone out of society completely. There is a condition, and that is what is to be brought about. That is to make someone socially dead.'
"Helnwein not a Scientologist? He has mobilized prominent backers. Dagmar Hopp, former Scientology member: 'He was a top level Scientologist, known to us all. Therefore I was also enraged when I saw that broadcast with Mr. Biolek, how Scientology had totally lied.' Anita C., former Scientology member: 'The only thing which sometimes disturbed us was when we heard something about he had said on television that he was not a Scientologist. We could not even conceive of that.'
"An interview in the Scientology 'Celebrity' magazine of 1989 - alleged to be counterfeit. An article from 1990 describing him as an 'auditor, a so-called clergyman - alleged to be counterfeit. Lists indicating he was a donor and course graduate - also alleged to be counterfeit. Then - probably also counterfeit - his application for lifetime membership from 1987. Scientology, one may conclude, a one-of-a-kind counterfeiting shop.
"Jesse Prince, former Scientology member: 'In my opinion that is a covert operation. Namely, get Gottfried away from the organization so that he can attack the people in Germany.' The secret agency, OSA, as they do here in Clearwater, lies in wait for any opportunity to attack Germany. The line is clear: to associate Germany today with Nazi methods. Gottfried Helnwein functions exactly according to this scheme."
David Cecere reported that Eugene Ingram continues to investigate him in
the Seattle area.
"OSA had been harassing my ex-wife by way of a PI who calls himself Mike. My ex-wife declined to get involved with OSA crap and sent Mike packing. In 1988 I was engaged to a fellow scientologist I refer to as Elaine. My then-fiance became badly affected by the auditing she was receiving and I described those events in my essay. Last week Mr. Ingram showed up at Elaine's apartment with Mike in tow and a copy of my essay in hand. He had apparently been briefed by his masters and/or supplied with folder data not only from my folders but from Elaine's folders as well. He told Elaine lies about me and told her that she could sue me over the things I said about her in my essay. He made it clear that he planned to depose her if she didn't cooperate and give him the dish on our relationship.
"He tried the sympathetic approach at first and told Elaine that he too was a Christian simply trying to help her. He told her that he needed her help to expose my dastardly deeds--ones which any Christian would be repulsed by. The upshot of this meeting is that Elaine saw through Eugene's ploy and decided that she wants nothing to do with him or OSA."
The French government this week criticized the United States for defending
Scientology in Europe, which it classifies as a totalitarian organization.
>From Reuters on February 7th:
"A French government mission criticized the United States Monday for being too lax on cults and unfairly blaming France for its harsher stance. The Interministerial Mission for the Fight Against Sects said in a report delivered to Prime Minister Lionel Jospin that Washington, in the name of religious freedom, was giving excessive protection to cults. 'The confusion maintained across the Atlantic between religious freedom and prevention, even repression, of punishable sectarian excesses does not make dialogue any easier,' the report said.
"French Justice Minister Elisabeth Guigou has raised the prospect of banning the Church of Scientology, which France, unlike the United States, does not regard as a religion."
>From Agence France Presse on February 7th:
"According to an assessment by the French anti-sect agency, the Scientology Organization is a threat to 'human rights and social equilibrium.' Scientology was said to propagate religious goals, but it was an organization with 'totalitarian structure,' said a report by the Executive Agency to Control Sects (MILS) which was submitted on Monday in Paris to Premier Minister Lionel Jospin. Scientology was thereupon included in the groups which signified a danger for the 'public order' and 'human dignity.'
"MILS has distanced itself from the assessment of the Scientology Organization in the USA. There, it was said, 'sects enjoy an extraordinary protection, as long as they proclaim themselves to be sects.' There is apprehension that key political and commercial positions will be infiltrated. Their number in France is estimated at 30,000."
>From BBC News on February 8th:
"A government committee in France has recommended dissolving the Church of Scientology there, on the grounds that its activities threatens public order. 'When such organisations disrupt public order and violate human dignity, measures should be taken to dissolve them.' Mr Vivien said the committee had determined that the church's leaders in France were manipulated by their headquarters in Los Angeles. He attacked the organisation's operation in France as 'underground activities led from abroad'."
>From Sueddeutsche Zeitung on February 9th:
"Former Minister Alain Vivien, sect commissioner of the French administration, described the Scientology Organization as a foreign secret alliance in the presentation of his annual report. From Vivien's viewpoint, there are indices that the Scientologists receive their instructions from headquarters in the United States. He spoke of 'covert activities issuing forth from a foreign nation.'
"It was said that new laws would be less helpful than citing current paragraphs. Vivien referred to a law introduced in 1936 to dissolve private militia. He believes that that could now be applied 'insofar as sects act like a militaristic organization or a secret [intelligence] service.' The actual decision is up to the ministerial council in conjunction with the state presidents. A legislative initiative by centrist Senator Nicolas About against dangerous sects may have less prospect of success, although no one has spoken out against it so far."
Reuters reported on February 8th that Scientology responded to the French report.
"The Church of Scientology on Tuesday called for the withdrawal of a French government-sponsored report that described the United States as too lax on cults, saying the document ignores 'all modern scholarship' into religion. 'This shameful and dishonest report will be condemned by human rights organisations throughout Europe and the United States,' the Church of Scientology said in a statement. The church said the report was based on 'falsehoods' about minority religions and demanded it 'be withdrawn immediately.'"
>From Reuters on February 9th:
"The Church of Scientology said on Wednesday it would try to enlist other religious groups in its fight against a French government anti-sect body which has suggested it should be banned. Scientology said it would hold a public hearing in March and invite 172 churches and cults it says have been targeted by a French parliamentary commission to 'tell us how the climate of religious persecution has affected them.' Invitations would be sent to religions such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists.
"Wednesday's statement, issued by Scientology's headquarters in Los Angeles, said it would summon the author of the report and several French parliamentarians to answer questions about alleged violations of human rights law."
Frankfurter Neue Presse reported on February 7th that the city of Zwickau
continues to investigate the real estate business of Scientologists.
"It has to do with real estate business in Zwickau - of which the Sachsen city appears to be involved with a member of the widely notorious Scientology sect. Regular customers include Minister Volker Bouffier and Christean Wagner (both CDU), and even the current CDU faction chief, Norbert Kartmann; they have procured tax-saving buildings from Scientologist Kurt Fliegerbauer. That has resulted in the peculiar situation in which Interior and Justice Ministers Bouffier and Wagner have to keep the sect under surveillance for activities which possibly endanger the Constitution, but support the organization with their business on the other side as private people.
"'Naturally I was not aware that Mr. Fliegerbauer is a Scientologist, otherwise I would not have done business with him,' said Bouffier on Saturday. Kartmann also feels that he has been unjustly put under suspicion of indirectly supporting the Scientology sect. Months ago after the first appearance of suspicion of proximity to the sect, the contract partner signed a sworn affirmation stating that he was not a member. Kartmann said, 'As far as I was concerned, that settled the matter.'"
Berliner Zeitung reported on February 11th that the Scientologist has decided to leave Zwickau.
"'This is a good day for Zwickau,' said Frank Seidel, CDU faction chairman in the city council. It will even be an historical day in which the Sachsen city is rid of its greatest problem. At a 'press conference' on Thursday, construction tycoon and top Scientologist Kurt Fliegerbauer revealed that he is leaving Zwickau forever. 'I am dissolving my companies or moving them to Munich,' declared Fliegerbauer, who has become known as the 'godfather' or 'king of Zwickau' and whose selection of hometown has brought with it the appellation of a sect stronghold. He said he sees 'no future in Zwickau.' With that the native born Munich man ends the affair which has exposed Zwickau's city fathers to ridicule.
"It began with the decision by the city council to establish an information office about Scientology. Fliegerbauer reacted unexpectedly ironically and put in an application for the position himself: he stated 'nobody in Zwickau is better informed on the Scientology theme than I.' This was the 'the height of impudence', said Seidel, who, as CDU intern, is regarded as a political challenger to the chief mayor. From his side, Fliegerbauer assailed Seidel head-on and called the CDU politician, in the Scientology manner, a 'demagogue and fascist.' Then he had some fun at the city's expense. In line-of-sight with the council building, he hung a Donald Duck figure by Scientology artist Gottfried Helnwein. It was not until after a few days that Mayor Eichhorn, reacting helplessly, managed to have the duck figure taken down."
>From Frankenpost on February 11th:
"Zwickau real estate dealer and professed Scientologist Kurt Fliegerbauer is moving out of the Sachsen city and going back to Munich. 'The job in Zwickau in not so extensive any more. Because depreciation in the East has receded, sale of real estate has declined.' Since he 'sees no future here in Zwickau,' he will transfer his business activity back to Munich 'in order to apply my experience in large projects in and out of country.' About two years ago he publicly professed to Scientology. Fliegerbauer has bought, renovated and sold about 250 buildings in Zwickau. He had, so said Fliegerbauer yesterday, invested more than a half billion marks in Zwickau. With his departure from Zwickau he said that 'all further plans had died.' Among other things he had wanted to establish a museum for modern art in the city."
Passauer Neue Presse reported on February 11th that a former Scientologist gave a presentation at a recent union meeting in Lappersdorf.
"The presentation on Scientology, which was well attended by agricultural workers, was testimony to the fact that information and informational work of diverse sorts about sects is necessary to open the eyes of the public. Personal experience and in-depth knowledge about Scientology gained Ursula Hoeft the support of the audience. She is a mother who has had experience: one of her daughters, a former theology student with the highest class grades who grew up in a faithful family, became a Scientologist. 'She has belonged to the sect for ten years,' said Ursula Hoeft. With the aid of an overhead projector, she showed the range of individual groups. They went from independent denominations to proselytizing religions up to psycho-organizations like Scientology. The initial stages of recognition and security quickly turn into manipulation of personality. It is sensible and intelligent people who are often open to the seductions of sects. Members are led into unconditional obedience by believing the claim that humankind is being saved."
Neue Tag reported on February 8th on a presentation in Parkstein concerning Scientology.
"The KAB presented the year's program on Thursday to members and friends. For starters there was a presentation on the theme of 'Scientology - Church or totalitarian organization.' Chairpeople Maria Werner and Rudolf Schraml succeeded in obtaining sect expert Reverend Leo Feichtmeir as a speaker for the occasion. Scientology was said to be represented in 135 countries, but was one of the most controversial worldview organization, the speaker reported, Critics accuse it of using psychological methods to get people to break their social ties, of making them dependent and of commercially exploiting them. Above all, the Churches refuse to acknowledge its status as a religious denomination.
"Joining the sect begins mostly with a personality test of 200 questions, some of them banal, according to the minister. The participants are supposed to be freed of there spiritual obstacle through a costly communication course and be led through about ten steps in the current lifetime to the state of 'clear.' The 'auditing' is a type of confession which is measured with a meter."
Heise Online reported on February 3rd that Bavaria continues to question the inclusion of software created by a Scientologist-owned company in Windows 2000.
"Bavaria's Interior Minister Guenther Beckstein is confronted with the question of whether Windows 2000, despite cooperation with a Scientology company, will be installed in state agencies. SPD Representative Monica Lochner-Fischer challenged the state administration to take a clear position. The SPD representative explained that she was not interested in a wholesale ban of Windows 2000. She was more interested in convincing Microsoft of a way of doing business which included a different defragmentation program. If that does not happen, the CSU administration has to take two things into account: 'If financial support by the Free State [of Bavaria] for establishments has been ruled out, wouldn't that particularly apply to corporations whose members profess to Scientology? Or does the state administration intend to live under the motto of doing business with the big man while shooting the small?"
>From Rheinische Post on February 10th:
"Success, increasing abilities, raising to greater heights - the quasi-sect 'Scientology-Church' has started a promotional campaign with these promises. Some posters promote a new book, and there will be an information event in the Courtyard-Hotel. 'It would be an error to believe that Scientology isn't dangerous anymore', said Joachim Keden, the protestant sect specialist, about the new promotional campaign. Scientology would still try to attract people by promising them success. If someone got in touch with Scientology once, then interested people would receive strong promotional efforts to integrate them into the organisation.
"There are a number of verdicts denying that Scientology is a non-profit organisation or has the status of a church ; Scientology could be compared to a business. Thus the administration of the city is angry that public posters promote Scientology. But meanwhile there was an agreement with the company that owns the locations where the posters are being displayed: in the future quasi-sect organisations may not use their advertisement space anymore.
"The management of the Courtyard-Hotel regrets the Scientology-Event. They learned about Scientology only after the contract had been signed."
A cult awareness conference was held in Berlin this week. From Berliner
Kurier on February 7th:
"'Controversial religions' and cults are the center point of a conference which will open on Friday in Berlin. The arrangers are the 'Parents and People-Affected Initiative against Pyschic Dependency - for spiritual freedom,' who are putting on the two-day event to commemorate their 20 year existence. The themes include 'the Globalization of the Scientology Organization' and other diverse cult movements, as stated by the initiative's chairman, Reverend Thomas Gandow."
>From Tilman Hausherr, on the conference events.
"The following was told by Ursula Caberta. Scientology bought a building that was previously owned by a bank. Then scientology started to make changes, e.g. build a Sauna. City officials heard of this and told that scientology should first file a notice of 'change of usage', so that the city could evaluate whether the new usage confirms to the zoning restrictions. Besides this, the city is reading an advertising from scientology saying that 'thousands of people' are invited to visit the new org, with directions how to find it by car. Now the new org is in downtown, where you can't find a parking place. The bank had 10 spots. But since thousands of scientologists would visit the org by car, this amount isn't enough so scientology must either create additional parking spots, or 'buy itself out' at DM 32000 per 'car'. (which is $16000). Additionally, Caberta has filed a criminal complaint against scientology Hamburg, for 'bankruptcy fraud'. This is what you do if you can't pay your creditors, but do not file for bankruptcy."
"Stephen Kent revealed that Scientology (through CCHR) has attacked Tipper Gore. It could therefore be that scientology is in trouble if Al Gore wins. Tipper Gore, a psychologist has supported the availability of mental heath care for all, while scientology would of course like to deprive people of mental health care, and put them into 'isolation camps' or simply get rid of them, as described in 'Introduction to Scientology Ethics' and 'Science of Survival'."
>From Hamburger Morgenpost on February 12th:
"Scientology's dubious business is apparently supported by U.S. President Bill Clinton and the State Department in Washington. That was asserted on Friday in Berlin by renowned Scientology expert, Professor Steven Kent, in a meeting with sect experts at the invitation of the SPD faction. Kent indicated that the so-called 'church' also ran into strong resistance in the USA at first. Things changed suddenly in 1993 under Clinton. Since that time, the Scientology lobby has received full support for its worldwide activities from the White House.
"After the Hamburg administration took the usual precautions with respect to availability of parking places and use of the building which the Scientologists have recently bought on Dom Street for 20 million marks, a representative from the U.S. Consul General paid the Interior Agency a call and complained about the restrictions. To the question of on whose behalf the consulate was acting, the name of the Hamburg Scientology chief was mentioned - a German woman for whom the U.S. representative is not at all responsible. Scientology expert Kent now hopes that Al Gore will become the next U.S. President. Gore's wife is a psychologist - nothing is more feared by the Scientologists."
>From Refpresse on February 11th:
"On top of that is the extremely effective lobby work by celebrities like actors John Travolta and Tom Cruise, as well as musicians Chick Corea and Isaac Hayes, who profess to the teachings of sect founder Ron L. Hubbard. Kent gave the primary reason for the U.S. government's involvement in the Scientology Organization as the commercial interests of the entertainment industry. Ursula Caberta, Scientology Commissioner of the Hamburg Interior Senate, also called Scientology's influence on the U.S. government 'alarming.'"
The Los Angeles Times published a column on February 6th by man seeking to
visit the hospital in which he was born, now converted into a Scientology
"The last time I was here, it was 1964, this was Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, and I was 1 day old. I note the beautiful landscaping (what are those pink and ruby red flowers?), a weathered cross above the Scientology sign and dozens of missing windows. I spot a guy on a ladder, many floors up, halfway swallowed by exposed insulation. 'May I help you?' It's security, on a mountain bike. According to my parking meter, it's taken him less than a minute to find me. 'I was born here. When it was still the hospital. I guess I'm making a pilgrimage.'
"He speaks code into his walkie-talkie. This is when I notice the security cameras fastened to the building. 'I'll give you the tour,' he says. The security guard and I walk from Fountain to the 1300 block of L. Ron Hubbard Way, paved with bricks in a herringbone pattern. 'One of the buildings has a roundabout. That may be the old maternity ward.' The church is renovating the whole block, building by building. The guard gestures to one structure that's now a school--a college, really--but he's not sure what it housed before. With some pride, he tells me how the church's security force recently caught a career burglar who had stymied the cops. We've walked across the parking lot, down Catalina and made three-quarters of a circuit around the complex. 'Here,' he nods at a roundabout driveway that's landscaped very nicely but has otherwise fallen into disuse. It's part of the old
"'Is the building open?' 'No, it's closed. Renovations.' The guard notes the building's old, pale blue color; the new buildings have a richer, bluer cast. Furthermore, he isn't sure if this was the maternity ward. 'Is there someone here who knows the history of the place?' 'Sure,' he says. He keeps me walking. We pass where I'm parked on Fountain, and we head into the crosswalk before I even think to ask, 'Where are we going now?' He gestures across the street. 'There's a building over there. It's part of the old complex.' 'What is it?' He pauses. 'That's easier to explain once we're inside.' Of course it will be. I've heard other attempts to instill faith. I thank the guard for showing me around and tell him I'll pass on going inside. Back at my parking meter, I see the tour took eight minutes. Now ragged curtains billow out of missing windows."
An affidavit form letter was posted to a.r.s this week, intended for
Scientologists to fill in their name for use in the Lisa McPherson
"Put in a short paragraph or a couple of sentences regarding your background in Scientology, such as how long you have been a member. You can put in as much data here as you like. Detail any problems or difficulties encountered in your life, in your family, in your business, etc. arising out of the Lisa McPherson case. For example, have family members accused you of 'killing' McPherson? Have family members suggested or insisted that you leave Scientology because it kills or hurts people, 'as it did to Lisa McPherson'?
"Have any business contacts or deals gone awry because of adverse media regarding McPherson, or because you are a Scientologist and your Church is 'criminally charged with hurting McPherson'. Have any friends or acquaintances broken off relationships or have relationships become strained by virtue of the person asserting or believing that as Scientologists 'you must be bad - look at what your Church did to McPherson'? Be expansive as you like, within reason - but make it succinct and professional and no more than a couple of pages. The point is to show the harms that have been caused by the McPherson case that this is real, personal and actually affects Scientologists."
Scientology issued a press release this week describing how member Frank
Ofman found his father and used Scientology to handle the situation.
"When Frank Ofman was 14 years old and discovered that the man he thought was his 'father' was not actually his dad, he made what many may have thought was a childish or perhaps innocent vow - to reunite his parents. When he was 23, Frank took his first step toward locating his father and moved to the United States to enroll in hotel management - and start his search. Several months of looking turned up nothing, until one day he got a phone call from a man who said he could take him to his father. 'When I asked him how he was able to do this, the man said, 'Because I'm your uncle,' Frank recalls.
"'Luckily, I had just started learning something about Scientology which gave me a means to handle this,' Frank said. 'I applied principles in the subject of ethics found in the book 'What Is Scientology?' which enabled my father to look at any irresponsible decisions and actions he may have done.' As covered in the book, based on the works of international bestselling author L. Ron Hubbard, ethics is based on reason and is defined as the actions an individual takes on himself to ensure the continued survival of himself, his family, his groups, and so on. There is even a means whereby one can continue to gradiently raise his ethics level by applying certain exact steps and move into a higher condition in any area, thereby improving his life."
Protest / Revenge Summary
Kristi Wachter and "Realpch" reported on a protest this week at the San
"Familiar faces seen: Jeff Quiros, Josh, Mr. Get-Your-Facts-Straight, Miss Pixie, Lucretia. I had the same picket slogans as last week. On my large sign, I had: SCIENTOLOGY: -> STILL <- BREAKING THE LAW www.scientology-lies.com and SCIENTOLOGY: -> CONVICTED <- OF LYING LEARN THE TRUTH www.scientology-lies.com. On my front sandwich sign, I had SCIENTOLOGISTS CONVICTED _AGAIN_ and on the back, SCIENTOLOGY HURTS PEOPLE. Because of the rain, it was harder to flier than usual - I couldn't keep a flier in my hand at all times - but I still managed to hand out some fliers during my trip to the org, and when people paused to express their support, I encouraged them to contact their congressfolk and the IRS.
"Early in the picket, I saw a couple come out of the org and head across the street for lunch. After they returned, they stood out front having a smoke. I called over to them, 'If there's anything you'd like to communicate to me, I'd be happy to listen.' I expected no response, since I rarely get one when I say that to Scientologists, but the gentleman called over to ask, 'What laws?' (as in, 'What laws is Scientology breaking?') I told him that Scn was currently facing felony charges of practicing medicine without a license and abuse of a disabled adult, and that there had been convictions for fraud, breaking into government offices, and more. I asked if he wanted some literature, but he declined. I was encouraged, though, that he and his wife were open to learning at least SOMETHING about Scn's illegal activities."
"Sunday I had fallen asleep reading and was woken by insistent knocking on the door. It was some of the neighborhood kids, and I said hi and they said, 'Look behind us!' It was the Loudmouth and Jour's 'friend' Bill Crawford from the SF Org, picketing my house, with what looked to me to be a blank picket sign. I haven't been picketed by Scientology at my house for quite some time so I was unprepared. Finally I found the camera and took a couple of pictures out the window, and then went back to my book. The kids [told] me they had chased the two fellows off."
Tages-Anzeiger reported on February 11th that a former Scientologist has
been found guilty of defrauding investors.
A former Scientologist bilked German investors out of 15 million franks. Now he has been sentenced to two years, 9 months imprisonment.
"In working with Munich con man Ulrich Tiggelbeck, Hans Rhyner lost 500,000 franks of his own money. Rhyner also got more involved with the Scientologists. For several hundred thousand franks, he acquired lithographs of sect founder Ron Hubbard. He wanted the profit from resale to go to the Scientologists. That was a letdown. Nobody wanted the Hubbards; today Rhyner is still sitting on dozens of them. He gave the Dianeticians about 450,000 franks for continuing education courses. In return he acquired a position in the sect with the impressive-sounding name of 'Operating Thetan 5.' What was also impressive was his mountain of debt; by 1991, that had risen to 3.5 million franks.
"Rhyner once again went back into business with Tiggelbeck. The two advertised in German newspapers under the contrived name of 'Federal Association of American Banks' and offered cash investments with yearly dividends of 9 to 10 percent. In reality, the 'association' consisted of two office service centers with the important-sounding names of 'Rothschild Bank' and 'First American Insurance and Banking Corporation.' Last summer Rhyner and Pfister stood before the Zurich district court. The charges accused them of commercial fraud and falsification of documents. The proceedings were not contested by the accused, who have since left Scientology. Instead they led to believe that they had never been aware of the fraudulent proceedings. The court convicted Rhyner to two years nine months imprisonment unconditional. Pfister was sentence to six months imprisonment suspended."
Rod Keller posted clarification on the issue of the white lines zone in
"People who wander in unaware of the restrictions are not going to be arrested without a good amount of warning. Trust members are not going to be arrested without warning. I asked [Wayne Shelor] to clarify his comments on Channel 13 news about stepping over the line being 'obstruction of justice'. The context of his answer is that the Fox 13 reporter asked him what would happen if somebody got in the zone and either pushed or interfered with a police officer. That is obstruction of justice. The charge for just staying in the zone with no pushing or interfering is still 'failure to obey a lawful order from a police officer.'
"I asked him what the policy is on audio taping with or without notification or consent. Officer Kelly is under administrative review for his actions in the infamous hammer episode. An officer can only insist that taping stop if he is trying to interview a witness or victim in privacy. He can make his own zone to conduct these interviews without recording. People can continue to tape and record audio on the streets of Clearwater except under that special circumstance."
A hearing was held to determine if members of the Lisa McPherson Trust would be added to the restraining order on Bob Minton. From the St. Petersburg Times on February 8th and 10th:
"As he took his seat Monday to referee yet another dispute between the Church of Scientology and its critics, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Thomas E. Penick Jr. already wore the look of frustration. He repeatedly wondered aloud during the four-hour hearing whether it was possible to quell a dispute that has tied up the Clearwater Police Department and spilled onto streets and sidewalks in the heart of downtown. When it was over, Penick said he would decide Wednesday whether eight associates of Minton should be prohibited from walking within 10 feet of 17 church properties in Clearwater. Most of the picketing has taken place just outside the church's dining halls along Watterson Avenue, a side street off Cleveland Street. 'The police are in a pickle,' said Scientology attorney F. Wallace Pope Jr. 'They're having to guess who this injunction is in force against.'"
"The group that has been taunting members of the Church of Scientology on a downtown Clearwater street should stay at least 10 feet from church properties, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Thomas E. Penick Jr. ruled Wednesday. The group also must not cross into a 'safety zone' at the entrance to the church's downtown dining halls, the judge said.
"Penick's ruling expands an earlier injunction that was limited to New England millionaire Robert S. Minton, who last month moved to Clearwater to oppose the Church of Scientology full time. In adding Minton's cohorts to his ruling on Wednesday, Penick said he was trying to prevent physical confrontation between Scientologists and Minton's group. Penick specifically named three Minton followers who now are to abide by the 10-foot buffer: Jesse Prince, Grady Ward and Mark Bunker. Penick included any agents of Minton's new Clearwater corporation."
Grady Ward and Mark Bunker dispute the newspaper account, reporting that they will be give a hearing to defend themselves against the order.
"Unfortunately, this report was false. A hearing must be held to determine whether the name people will be enjoined. Not before."
"[T]he three of us now are listed as co-defendants and the church must now serve us properly if they want us added to the TRO. Then we have another hearing to decide if we actually do get added. So the judge has just said of the ten names the church wanted to add, he would only make it possible now for them to add three of us.
"Why did he add us? Because he saw some short videotapes of the three of us interacting with the Scientologists. In Grady's case, he saw Grady standing by the dining room door saying 'We don't bite. It's okay, critics don't bite.' In my case, the judge saw me stand in front of the OSA cameraman one day while I was passing by. I spent a few moments standing in front of his camera then turned to him and said 'I just wanted to see what it was like to block your camera. Remember back in July when you spent the day standing in front of my camera. I wanted to see what it's like to be you. It's not much fun.' And in Jesse's case, he was across the street (where the judge wants him to be) talking to the police officers when that same OSA cameraman comes up to him and videotapes his conversation. Jesse being added to the list is the most perplexing since he was where he was supposed to be. Amazing as it is, the judge saw video footage of him and decided he must be doing something wrong."
>From Channel 28 news:
"A Pinellas County judge calls it the world's largest chess game and if you spend any time in Clearwater you probably know what he's talking about. This afternoon he put restrictions on protesters outside the Scientology headquarters, ruling they have to stand 10 feet away from church members.
"They say they will still be out here every week, and in fact there's a small group of them on the sidewalk beside me right now, holding their signs. This is the spot where 1200 Scientology workers show up every day by bus. They unload right here behind me for lunch and for dinner, and these protesters are trying to reach them with their anti-church message. Now the city, to try and control the situation, has painted this white line right here along the road, and today the judge ruled that the protestors do have to stand behind the white line. But that has not always been the case.
"MARK BUNKER: Even from 10 feet away I can still see the, the criminal, immoral and unethical things that the Church of Scientology does.
"BOB MINTON: We're here basically for one simple reason and that's to, uh, expose the abusive and deceptive practices of Scientology."
>From Fox 13 News:
"BOB MINTON: And as long as they continue to be a totalitarian organization and we continue to deliver our message, there's always gonna be clashes.
"But he's moved his crew into a building just a few feet beyond that no-go zone, creating a situation His Honor calls 'the world's greatest game of chess'.
"JUDGE THOMAS PENICK: And as a citizen, I expect to be able to walk through that safety zone. And if Chief Klein has any questions about that, I'm in the phone book.
"The judge also admonished both sides to quit pestering the Clearwater Police Department with what he called 'Chicken Little phone calls'. Said the judge, quoting now, 'The sky is not falling, so knock it off!' Minton tells Fox-13 News that he respects the religious beliefs of Scientologists in general, but he cannot tolerate the church's top management. He says he thinks the church will be reformed if the top 25 or 30 leaders are removed."
The instructions given to officers who guard the white lined area were posted to a.r.s this week.
"TWO OFFICERS WILL BE ASSIGNED TO THE JOB EVERYDAY FROM 1130-2000 HOURS. THE OFFICERS WILL ASSIST THE CHURCH MEMBERS AS THEY ENTER OR EXIT THEIR BUSES ON WATTERSON. THE BUS SCHEDULE IS 1145-1315 AND 1730-1845 HOURS. THIS IS A TWO OFFICER DETAIL. IF FOR ANY REASON YOU ARE WORKING THE DETAIL BY YOURSELF YOU WILL HAVE A PATROL OFFICER ASSIST YOU BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 1145-1315 AND 1730-1845 HOURS. IT WILL BE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CONTACT THE COMMUNICATIONS CENTER FOR ASSISTANCE. AFTER 1845 HOURS THERE WILL BE NO BUSES, BUT OCCASIONAL SMALLER VANS COMING AND GOING.
"Additional Notes: While the large buses are loading or unloading passengers, all pedestrian traffic will be held back behind the painted white lines (not just the protesters). In regards to the small vans, we will only hold back pedestrian traffic if there are a large amount of people loading or unloading. If there are only one or two passengers unloading, we will let pedestrian traffic move freely."
Lisa McPherson Trust
Stacy Brooks reported that the Lisa McPherson Trust has already been
talking to Scientologists, and some are prepared to leave.
"I won't go into any detail about who or where this person is, but as of yesterday afternoon there is another confirmed Miscavige Church of Scientology dropout. This was someone who had been drawn in by a management seminar. His wife called me last week, having found out about the LMT via the internet. She told the usual story: her husband thought he was going to a seminar about how to improve his business but it turned out to be a front for the C of S. Gradually he became more and more of a stranger to her and she began to be alarmed. He stopped consulting her before handing over large amounts of money to them. He started warning her not to criticize Scientology or he would leave her. One minute he would be raging at her, the next minute he would be 'handling' her.
"By the time she called me, she was ready to file for divorce just to keep him from giving the C of S the rest of their money. She broke into tears many times during our conversation, heartbroken that she was losing her husband to the C of S. I spent about three hours talking to this woman on the phone, educating her about what Scientology is and what the Church of Scientology is all about. She was greatly relieved to find an organization that could explain what was happening to her husband and her marriage.
"Yesterday I called to speak to the wife but the husband happened to answer the phone, and we ended up talking for about an hour. What did I think about Scientology? I told him I didn't think the C of S should be encouraging him to divorce his wife simply because she was critical of the C of S's heavy-handed tactics. I also told him I didn't think he should be pressured to give them money without consulting his wife. He said he totally agreed with me about that, because he loves his wife and doesn't like the amount of time he's being told to spend away from her and his business. The bottom line is that he wants a repayment of the money he has on account that hasn't been used."
"Here at the LMT we're getting reports that a large group of long-time Scientologists are getting ready to leave Miscavige's Church of Scientology."
Stacy also reported that OSA representative Ben Shaw has been threatening members with expulsion.
"I understand you've been making phone calls to a number of public Scientologists recently, threatening to declare them if they continue to communicate with certain people. But Scientologists are beginning to realize that just because a person is a Scientologist, it doesn't mean they forfeit their First Amendment rights. One of those rights is Free Speech, Ben. Another one is Freedom of Assembly. Scientologists have the right to communicate with anyone they want to communicate with, Ben, and they have the right to get together with anyone they want to get together with, just like everyone else in the United States. I realize that you've been ordered to force these Scientologists to do what they're told... or else. But from what I'm hearing, I don't think your threats are frightening them any more, Ben."
A.E. van Vogt
The Winnipeg Sun published an article on February 7th about the late
science fiction author A.E. van Vogt and his involvement in Scientology.
"When Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard made his grand entrance at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium in August 1950, the first person to take the stage at his side was Winnipegger Alfred Elton van Vogt. It was a historic occasion - Hubbard's coming-out after his 'new science of the mind,' Dianetics, was launched in the pulp pages of Astounding three months earlier -- and van Vogt's presence was a sign of things to come. He was the first celebrity to be drawn into Hubbard's wobbly orbit.
"van Vogt was one of science fiction's leading lights in the atom-crazed post-Second World War period, and since most of the early Dianetics devotees were sci-fi readers, his endorsement and personal involvement lent huge credibility to the cause. His books may have limited appeal today, but his dalliance with Hubbard and Dianetics should secure him a spot for all time in the annals of slapstick.
"He was named head of the Los Angeles Foundation and for the first few weeks spent most of his time tearing open envelopes and stacking $500 cheques from people signing up for the auditing course. Van Vogt didn't follow Hubbard into the Scientology phase, but he didn't turn on him like some other early supporters did. The two former penny-a-wordsmiths exchanged Christmas cards every year and in the early '80s van Vogt wrote a blurb for the cover of Hubbard's long-awaited comeback novel, Battlefield Earth. The blurb read: 'A masterpiece.' He later admitted he hadn't read a word of the book. At 800 pages, it was too damned long."
The Birmingham Post and Mail reported on February 8th that a country music
group is involved in a controversy with Scientology.
"Black Country collective Papa Mantra are no strangers to controversy. Before they had even released their first single they came to blows with the Church of Scientology after an advert placed in the press featured a quote wrongly attributed to the church's founder L Ron Hubbard which implied his motives might not be noble. 'The adverts suggested that the quickest way to make a million was to start a religion,' says Wolverhampton born bassist Dan Raven.
"'The NME ended up having to place an apology in the paper which was bigger than the actual advert we put in in the first place. The Church gave us a couple of calls at the time, but it seems to have gone quiet now, but as people are talking about it again, I guess we'll be getting a few things in the post.'"