Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 2, Issue 14 07/13/97 by Rod Keller [firstname.lastname@example.org] copyright 1997
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review summarizes the most significant postings from the Usenet group Alt.religion.scientology for the preceding week for the benefit of those who can't follow the group as closely as they'd like. Out of thousands of postings, I attempt to include news of significant events, new affidavits, court rulings, new contributors, whatever. I hope you find it useful. Like many readers of a.r.s, I have a kill file. So please take into consideration that I may not have seen some of the most significant postings. The articles in A.r.s Week in Review are brief summaries of articles posted to the newsgroup. They include message IDs for the original articles, and many have a URL to get more informtion. You may be able to find the original article, depending on how long your site stores articles in the newsgroup before expiring them. Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available, just email me at email@example.com It is archived at: http://wpxx02.toxi.uni-wuerzburg.de/~krasel/CoS/ars-summary.html http://www.thur.de/religio/publik/arsfaq.html http://home.sol.no/heldal/CoS/archive/WIR/ http://www.i1.net/~mallen/scn/arswr/ars-summary.html #####
A Tampa judge released records of Lisa McPherson's treatment in the Fort
Harrison Hotel in the weeks prior to her death. The Tampa Tribune and St.
Petersburg Times carried these stories:
"In the last weeks of her life, Lisa McPherson changed. The agitated, combative woman housed at the old Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater became weak and pale. She had difficulty getting out of bed and often refused to eat. The 36-year-old woman, who died in December 1995, was watched round the clock by fellow Scientologists during the last 17 days of her life, according to documents released Wednesday after a judge ruled they were not confidential.
"The documents, which include handwritten notes tracking McPherson's treatment in the days leading up to her death and a synopsis of those events, describe a disturbed woman. She threatened to attack them, was often incoherent and chattered incessantly, the records show. One night she spent a lot of time in the bathroom, 'turning the water on and off and banging the shower hose around.'
"But McPherson's family believes she was trying to escape a virtual imprisonment. McPherson attacked one woman, Joan Stevens, with a potted plant. 'She then started to hit at things in the room and broke a lamp hanging from the ceiling. There was then glass all over the floor. She then became more and more violent and broke more glass in the bathroom. She then went and got back on her bed and then jumped off, landed on the wet floor and then hit her head on the floor.' On the day she died, 'her skin color changed to ivory color.'
"Throughout those weeks, the documents show, she was given food. Her caretakers also gave her mineral injections and chloral hydrate, a sedative. The night she died, Dec. 5, 1995, Janis Johnson, a doctor not licensed in Florida, took her to an emergency room in New Port Richey, where another Scientologist worked as an emergency room physician."
"Fourteen days after entering a Church of Scientology retreat in good physical health, Lisa McPherson was so weak she couldn't stand, according to church records released Wednesday. Yet for three days after that, church staff members continued to care for her in a room at the Fort Harrison Hotel. As members of an organization that reviles traditional psychiatric care, their hope was that McPherson, who was 36, would somehow pull out of her psychotic tailspin.
"For two weeks, the records show, church staffers had tried with limited success to give McPherson protein shakes and other fluids, bits of solid food, vitamins, sedatives and herbal remedies. Often, she resisted by slapping them, punching them, screaming at them, tripping them, kicking them, poking at their eyes, breaking things and spitting out food.
"This week, the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office threatened to take legal action against the church for failing to provide what it sees as key records of McPherson's final hours at the hotel. Although McPherson stayed at the Fort Harrison until Dec. 5, 1995, the day-by-day, sometimes hour-by-hour, records released Wednesday end on Dec. 2.
"Kennan Dandar, the Tampa lawyer representing McPherson's family, said the records submitted so far are damaging enough to the church's legal defense. 'How much more damaging are the ones they're holding back?' Dandar asked."
Jeff Jacobsen posted a lawsuit by the family of John Barrow against
Scientology in Arizona.
"The Church failed to perform the services, or, in the alternative, breached the contracts by failing to properly perform the services which were promised.
"The Church breached its duties, including the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
"As a result of the Church's breach, Barrow suffered the following damages, including, but not limited to: Barrow developed psychosomatic congestive heart failure symptoms. Barrow became paranoid about his personal safety, following rumors about Scientology being a cult, from which he might be kidnapped and 'deprogrammed'. Barrow was given the company's Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Index (MMPI) test, for nuclear plant security, which he failed. He was then put on psychological probation and his clearance to enter site security areas was revoked, pending participation in the company's psychological counseling program.
"The Church's policy, as set forth in its literature, is that persons seeking a return of 'donations' is expressly prohibited from seeking the assistance of an attorney. The Church actively sought to induce Plaintiff to forego litigation by leading Plaintiff to believe that settlement of her claim would be effected without the necessity of bringing suit, and in fact the Church expressly discouraged Plaintiff from seeking legal assistance by telling her that there would be no settlement if she sought such assistance.
"In the course of his relationship with the Church, Barrow purchased, and received certain 'courses' from the Church, including, but not limited to the following: 'New OT Preps'; 'New OT Audited NOTs'; 'Single Intensive Full Rate'; 'Hubbard SOLO course'; 'Level II'; 'Level III'; 'Class IV INT'; 'Ministerial Crs'."
The St. Petersburg Times carried an article this week on TradeNet, a
Scientologist-run multilevel marketing company setting up headquarters in
Dunedin, Florida, near Clearwater.
"The property, assessed for tax purposes at $909,000, is located at 380 Main St. has been purchased by TradeNet, an 18 month old company that is a network marketer (sort of like Amway), selling environmentally safe products. It's biggest seller is a 3" plastic ball filled with a blue liquid that is supposed to replace soap in washing machines by emitting a 'Negative charge,' causing the water to clean your clothes. It is good for about 1,000 loads and sells for about $75.00. TradeNet employs about 150 people. The company also leases the former Yakie Lumber Yard on Alt. US 19 in Palm Harbor where 40 others work.
"This situation has put the squeeze on downtown parking which is of concern to other businesses in the area although the city has recently started enforcing the three hour parking limit. 'Just so the blue shirts stay in Clearwater,' said a local restaurant owner, 'That's all I care about because it scares people.' 'They're going to take over the whole town,' said another business owner. And yet another said, 'I'm still afraid that Dunedin's going to end up looking like downtown Clearwater.'"
Ken Eastman translated an article published this week by Helsingin
Sanomat, a Finnish daily newspaper.
"The phone rings immediately as I open the hotel room door in Los Angeles. The caller is the leader of the Scientology special branch, Pam King, who is responsible for the operation in the western part of the United States. They were already waiting for me. Pam King tells me, that the vice chief Janet Weiland would be pleased to meet me at the headquarters of the international scientology church near Hollywood.
"The scientology international headquarters is a 12 story palace in Los Angeles. On the walls of the entrance, John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Chick Corea and other scientology celebrities attest their faith. The sound produced by a fountain creates a sentimental mood. In the hallways are women and men in tight uniforms, who'll quickly turn away any trespassers. The scientologists employed by the mother church have entered into a five year work contract. Some of them will go on to the sea organization, where they'll sign a billion year contract.
"I'm telling her about Wayne Whitwey (sic) I met in San Francisco, and his 700 000 mark (US$140 000) investment in scientology. I'm assured that anyone who is not satisfied has the right to get his money back within three months after the course or service has been completed.
"I tell Weiland about the enterprising Finnish scientologists, who have founded consulting companies. They sell similar employment tests that the scientologists use to entice people to their courses. The advertising of these consulting companies don't tell about the connection to scientology. According to Weiland, the consulting companies should absolutely tell that the creator of the courses and tests is L. Ron Hubbard. But, 'The courses in this case are not a part of the scientology religion, for they have been separated into secular technology'."
Former professed OSA agent Garry Scarff reported that he signed some
agreements with Scientology following meetings with attorney Elliott
Abelson and OSA Chief Mike Rinder.
"I signed several declarations relevant to facts of events which could be corroborated. Did I sign any declarations against anybody? No! One non-negotiable condition I set was that there would be no evasive maneuvers, that our discussion would be totally open and that our sessions be videotaped & audio-taped and that I be provided copies of all tapings and documents signed.
"I did send a letter demanding that ARD not re-run the German documentary of which I am, regretfully, one of it's more well-known 'stars'."
"No attempts were made to intimidate & browbeat me into signing false declarations nor was I threatened. I asked for Mike Rinder to be present for one of our discussions, as Elliot had not planned on him being there & Mike Rinder complied. Our conversations were straight-forward & professional. I respect him for that as I surely have caused a lot of strife & anger in the Church.
"Am I again a member of the Church of Scientology? No. Because I was never a member of the Church of Scientology, never on staff of the Church of Scientology, and took only 2 introductory courses at the Mission of Davis in Portland, Oregon. Much of what is in my 17-day deposition in the Fishman-Geertz case are lies."
Garry's former attorney, Graham Berry commented on the change of heart.
"Clearly, Abelson and Rinder are running you on a mission to get me. You will have to do it without my assistance. In the meantime I will pray for your soul. 'Father forgive him, for he knows not what he does.' I do not blame Garry. I blame the Scientology attorneys."
Newswires carried several stories about Scientology in Germany this week.
AP reported that an official considers it unlikely that Scientology will
"Federal Interior Minister Manfred Kanther told a German newsmagazine he sees no legal possibility to ban Scientology in Germany. At the urging of officials in Bavaria, who have been in the forefront of trying to restrict Scientology in Germany, Kanther said his office examined whether Scientology could be banned under the same law used against neo-Nazi groups or terrorists like the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group. It would be very difficult to win a legal proceeding to ban Scientology, Kanther said, because the state would have to prove that the organization is pursuing activities that go directly against the law. Officials have been unable 'to produce sound evidence as far as that goes,' he said."
The governing CDU party won a victory in court, with a ruling that they may exclude Scientologists from membership. From Reuters: "A German court ruled on Wednesday that Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democrats (CDU) were within their rights to exclude members of the Church of Scientology from the party. The Bonn court rejected a claim by three Scientologists that the CDU had violated their right to freedom of religion by shutting them out of the party.
"Scientology spokeswoman Sabine Weber, who was in court to hear the verdict, expressed disappointment at the decision. 'We would advise our members to take further legal steps,' she told reporters, predicting the case could go all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.
"The Bonn court said the decisive factor was not whether or not Scientology was a religion. 'Parties are permitted to exclude those from their organisation who do not identify with their main aims, regardless of whether this is religiously motivated or not,' the court said in a statement."
Reuters also reported that a special commission urged Germany to study Scientology and other cults more closely.
"The enquiry commission into 'so-called sects and pyscho-groups,' presenting an interim report after a year of research, also criticised the controversial Church of Scientology for not cooperating with its investigations.'It's obviously a lot less dangerous to portray yourself as a martyr than to give information about your true intentions,' said Ronald Pofalla, the head of deputies from Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democrats (CDU) on the panel.
"The commission, which is looking into the activities of around 600 groups in Germany, called for a public debate into why sects were proving so popular, particularly with the young. 'We need a discussion in society about the sociological causes as to why this whole area is enjoying such an incredible boom,' said Roland Kohn, a member of the liberal Free Democrats. A large majority of commission members also welcomed last month's decision by German state interior ministers to put Scientology under intelligence agency surveillance.
"Scientologists protested outside Kohl's chancellery before the commission presented its report. Demonstrators placed mock bonfires and a placard with the words 'From state of law to inquisition' in front of a statue of West Germany's first postwar chancellor, Konrad Adenauer. 'Entire religious communities outside the two official churches are now the target of state reprisals and harassment,' the group said in a statement.
Ted Mayett was hit with a drink this week while picketing Scientology's
Las Vegas org.
"A woman, 35?? years old is going into the org from around the parking. She comes close to me, which is confusing, then throws a drink on me. Some syrup type drink. My shirt is ruined. I think she was trying for my face and missed. I'm completely stunned and shocked, she laughs and goes up the steps, at that moment Larry Perma (new name), who is or has been the ED of the org, comes out the door."
"I'm really disappointed in Larry Perma, he allowed that woman into the course room area, there was a time he would not have allowed her into the building at all for doing something stupid and mean like that. The Battery charge was filed as event # (go find out yourself). They tell me I cannot get the services of a Detective for about one week, but I will try to push this through tomorrow, because perhaps if A Detective comes out there I will not have to petition for police protection while picketing."
Gregg Hagglund reported on another picket at the Toronto org this week.
"Three Cops afford Five Picketers Protection. Picket consists of Two Regulars and Three new faces. WE video tape THEM. Buttnor unhappy and 'secretly' tape records me haranguing the crowds. Two different body routers put up lame 10 minute competition. I get second car window warning of R2 - 45 and my vans back tires flattened. Only air let out, no damage and doesn't matter, as I have 5 spares. PERPETRATOR CAUGHT ON VIDEO SECURITY CAMERA AND IS NOW KNOWN.
"Buttnor vastly put out at my tone forties about the RXspecial, 'Find out what they DON'T want you to know'. Whines to Police about 'bigotry', doesn't like my interjection that I am prejudiced against deceptive business practices and just why doesn't he tell people, up front, that Hubbard taught there is no god or christ? Runs and hides in Org."
The Tampa Tribune published a column on Scientology activities in Ybor
City, near Tampa, Florida.
"Some say street vendors of all types have the right to peddle their wares in Ybor. But others worry the center, sponsored by the Church of Scientology, will chase wary patrons away from Seventh Avenue. That wasn't the case with Berrios. She and her friends followed the man to a bare room off 16th Street, just a few steps south of the pedestrian-filled Seventh Avenue strip. There, Berrios clutched metal cans hooked with wires to a pink machine with a meter. As she talked to a center volunteer about her problems, the needle on the meter waved wildly.
"'It showed I was completely stressed, almost over-stressed,' Berrios says. She has an appointment to return this weekend to begin a self- paced study course on Dianetics. 'I'll be paired up with someone who has problems like me,' she says. She hopes to learn to solve her problems through the study of Dianetics. The philosophy of Dianetics was developed by the late, prolific author L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. The testing center is sponsored by the Clearwater-based organization.
"Critics say the organization takes too much control over the lives of members, who study Hubbard's teachings. However, members, including celebrities Michael Jackson and John Travolta, credit much of their success to their involvement with the group. Berrios says no one at the center mentioned Scientology. Nothing on the bare walls or in the basic literature she carried home mentions the church.
"That makes the center even more of a concern, says Marian Lasher, who owns the nearby Joffrey's Coffee Co. franchise. Recently, Lasher found two new Dianetics manuals on a counter in her store. She threw them away. 'I'm not fond of what they believe and I don't want them in my store,' she says. 'It's like they're preying on young people. They're coming down here where people are under the influence of alcohol. They're taking advantage of that.'"
Zenon Panoussis reported being interviewed by German television, including
a tour of Swedish government buildings.
"A German TV team spent Wednesday interviewing me. The Xenu story will be laughed at yet again in Germany. I will post the channel and programme here shortly broadcasting is due. Among other places we visited the primary court and the parliament. The scieno that had guard duty at the court arrived late again, at 9.25, and found me 'guarding' the NOTs. All she could think of doing was to throw herself on the phone.
"The parliament is not in session, so it's quite deserted, but its offices are open as usual. There was a surprise for me: the scieno siege of the NOTs is over there, has been for many months. It seems that the parliament got tired of it and closed the reading room that the scienos had used all winter. As the NOTs are supposed to be borrowed for reading, not for sitting on, the parliament chained them on the wall of the lobby, in such a manner that it was only possible to read them standing up.
"On Friday there was a little picket of different scieno companies in Stockholm. Three of us handed out leaflets outside and around Vitaminshopen, which shares shop with Faksimilen Media and Marketek Reklam on Strindbergsgatan 32. When we called by phone to check before picketing, they denied having any connection to scientology. We knew better though. After an hour or so there we also paid a visit to U-man, the scieno headhunting agency, that shares locals with Narconon and a few CoS-internal organizations.