Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 3, Issue 35
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
Note: this issue contains postings to alt.religion.scientology made over the past two weeks.
Pickets were held in Clearwater, Florida this week to mark the 3rd
anniversary of Lisa McPherson's death at the Fort Harrison Hotel. Pickets
were to be accompanied by bus ads. From the St. Petersburg Times:
"Pinellas County's transit chief pulled 10 buses off the road Sunday after the Church of Scientology complained that the vehicles' side panels contained anti-Scientology advertising. The ads were purchased by church critics and were to be on buses Saturday through Monday as part of a weekend-long protest against Scientology.
"Each of the 11 ads carried a different message. Among them: 'Think for Yourself. Quit Scientology,' 'Find out why so many people oppose Dianetics and Scientology' and 'Why does Scientology lie to its members?' Scientology representatives began phoning the homes of transit and Clearwater city officials after the buses began rolling Saturday morning. The church argued that the ads violated a state law regarding published material that 'tends to expose any individual or any religious group to hatred, contempt, ridicule or (abusive language).'
"Rathbun said ads were part of 'an unprecedented level of taunting' against Scientologists. 'I think they went out of bounds in terms of inciting hatred toward Scientologists and inciting Scientologists to react in some fashion,' he said. Had the church engaged in the same activity, it would have been skewered by the media, Rathbun said. 'You might as well have no rights as far as we're concerned.'
"They were purchased by a group called Former Scientologists Speaking Out, which had its three-day advertising contract cut short, said Frank Oliver, a former Scientologist and a Scientology critic who heads the Miami graphics company that designed the ads. 'None of those statements are inflammatory in any way,' he said. 'They don't have a leg to stand on.' Oliver said the group that placed the ads had not decided how to proceed. 'Obviously the contract was violated, but I think our point was made,' he said."
An evening candlelight vigil was held near the Fort Harrison, led by Gregg Hagglund.
"As planned in advance I presided over the brief but moving Memorial Ceremony for Lisa. This was on Saturday night at 7 pm. Members of Lisa's family were present as well as about 50 to 70 mourners and a dozen Television and Print Media reps recording the moment. Family Members, Mourners and Media gathered in front of the adjacent Christian Church for this moving tribute to Lisa.
"First our Piper, this year a sweet and serious 12 year old golden haired girlchild, played Amazing Grace for Lisa McPherson. I spoke then and said: 'Dear Family, Friends, and Well-wishers: Welcome to this Memorial Ceremony for Lisa McPherson who suffered a tragic personal trial and death at the hands of those she unfortunately trusted there in the Fort Harrison three years ago this day. While Lisa was not of my Faith, she gave Faith. In life she thought, at least for awhile, she had found a place dedicated to Integrity, Honesty, and Compassion. In the end her Faith was bitterly betrayed by the true hidden nature of the path she had followed and its ultimate lack of Compassion and Charity. We mourn and Remember Lisa here tonight with the reading of a special poem written by a former Scientologist, Charlotte Kates. Charlotte has only recently left Scientology and greatly troubled by the nature of Lisa's passing she has composed this fitting tribute to Lisa:' I then read Charlottes touching poem and all present, especially Dell, were visibly moved.
"Our young Angelic Piper then played two very difficult but beautiful Highland Remembrances. Following this I took the wreath and gave it to Nukewaster. She placed it in her lap and began the long trek of wheeling herself down the sidewalk beside the Church and opposite FLAG towards the back cabanas. Lisa's family and the mourners solemnly trailed behind. Nuke slowly wheeled herself down and around behind the Fort Harrison to where Grady Ward had set the Wreath Stand against the wall behind Room 174. (Where Lisa Passed.) The stand had a beautiful colour shot of Lisa smiling hung on its lower cross bar and Grady had lit a prayer candle bearing Lisa's visage and dates and placed this on the ground before the wreath.
"At the Stand I took the Wreath from Nuke and put it in place and then stepped just beyond. Nuke was the first to pass and graced Lisa's photo with a kissed hand. I extinguished my Candle. Dell and the McPherson family came next, extinguishing there candles and thanking me. Then the rest of the Friends and Mourners of Lisa passed, one by one. Many lay a flower or bouquet below the wreath.
"When the last mourner had passed I took Lisa's candle from its place and extinguished it as well. Then I addressed the throng one last time: 'It is important, I think and I believe Lisa would too, for all here to remember we must Forgive those who took part in Lisa's Trial. Forgive but do not Forget. This is not about Hate or Retribution, but about Change. Retribution is hardly our place, but Change is and with Change we may try to prevent this type of needless tragedy from happening again. Hatred consumes. Forgiveness heals. In Lisa's name I ask you all to try to Forgive. Thank you all for coming this Evening.' And it was over, so then I cried."
>From the St. Petersburg Times:
"Relatives of Lisa McPherson made a tear-filled trip Saturday night to the Scientology hotel where she spent her final days under guard and in the grips of a mental breakdown. Her aunt and uncle, Dell and Art Liebreich, and her cousin Kim Krenek led a group of about 60 anti-Scientology protesters who held candles and laid a wreath outside a privacy wall at Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel. A few feet away, just beyond the wall, was Room 174, where McPherson is said to have spent 17 days under the care of fellow Scientologists.
"As Dell Liebreich and Krenek wept, a Scientology staffer wrote down license plate numbers of protesters who had parked nearby. Dell Liebreich and Krenek are among McPherson's closest surviving relatives. Her mother, Fannie McPherson of Dallas, died shortly after the lawsuit was filed in 1997. Saturday marked the first time McPherson's family had been to the Fort Harrison. They traveled from Texas for the ceremony, which also was attended by many of Scientology's most determined critics. Liebreich thanked them and others around the world who have expressed support for the family. Krenek wore a locket with McPherson's picture."
Also from the St. Petersburg Times on the picket events:
"Hundreds of Scientologists stayed off the streets of downtown Saturday, an effort, their leaders said, to avoid contact with about 45 anti-Scientology protesters. Visiting parishioners and uniformed church staffers were ferried between Scientology's building in rented vans. Dark tinted windows and holiday decorations prevented outsiders from seeing in and passengers from seeing out.
At times, staffers were seen scurrying into church buildings, which were fortified in several ways. A 5-foot-high masonry wall surrounding much of Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel was made 3 feet higher with temporary lattice and cardboard. A row of Christmas trees blocked views at another Scientology hotel. Many entrances were blocked from view. 'The church and its members have made an active effort during this week to avoid any sort of confrontation with protesters, despite having been taunted and baited continuously', Scientology said in a written statement."
>From the Washington Post, on the death of Lisa McPherson and the pickets:
"'I am L. Ron Hubbard,' the woman on the hotel room bed announced in a robotic voice. 'I created time 3 billion years ago.' She rambled on and on, every outburst dutifully scribbled down by those assigned to watch her. 'I can't confront force . . . I need my auditor . . . I want to take a toothbrush and brush the floor until I have a cognition.' The jargon of Scientology was instantly familiar to anyone who entered that room in the Fort Harrison Hotel, part of an elite training center and retreat established here by Hubbard, the science fiction writer and self-styled religious leader. It was also obvious to her fellow Scientologists that Lisa McPherson had cracked up. 'Out of control,' one wrote.
"Within 17 days, McPherson -- who'd spent most of her adult life and tens of thousands of dollars as a devotee of Hubbard's teachings -- would be dead. The once-voluptuous 36-year-old -- she stood 5 feet 9 and wore a size 12 dress -- lost an estimated 40 to 50 pounds during the ordeal, dropping to 108, her bruised body pocked by insect bites and scabs.
"This weekend, to mark the anniversary of McPherson's death, Scientology defectors and other activists picketed near the Fort Harrison Hotel. Since its founding 45 years ago, the Church of Scientology has endured more than its share of bad publicity, but the McPherson case puts on stark display a side of the religion far removed from the glowing testimonials it receives from Hollywood adherents like John Travolta, Tom Cruise and Isaac Hayes. If, as Hubbard decreed, the ultimate aim of Scientology is its adherents' 'total freedom' and 'survival,' then what went wrong in the case of Lisa McPherson?"
Scientology released a press statement on the McPherson case.
"Earlier allegations had been made about the Church insinuating that they intended harm to Lisa McPherson. Indeed, allegations were even made that the Church intended her harm because of her alleged desire to 'leave the church.' The recent action by the State of Florida, once and for all, puts an end to those allegations. No claim is made that the Church, or any of its members, ever intended Lisa any harm. The evidence also showed that there was never an attempt by Lisa McPherson to 'leave the Church.'
"As regards the thirty protesters, everybody knows that these are 'critics' of the Church and as with any religion they are prone to have a very biased and slanted view. Their numbers are few, they come from out of town, they aren't part of this community and they don't represent the views of this community. Their press statements are manifestly hateful such as they have 'occupied' Clearwater and pickets to honk if one 'hates' Scientology. Such statements have no place in America or Clearwater."
Jesse Prince described some of the pickets held at the Fort Harrison throughout the week.
"I joined Bob and Stacy in a picket of the Fort Harrison and as soon as the scientology security guards saw us they quickly herded the super Human person wanna be's away. Dark paper had been put in the windows of the hotel to prevent any ability to see in or out. The next day Arnie Lerma joined the picket. Arnie went along the side of the Ft. Harrison where the swimming pool is with his picket sign. He then started to peek into the cracks of the 'no see' barriers newly constructed that day. Each time Arnie was able to see anyone on the other side he would say 'No OT's here!' It was this basic simple truth that I found almost endlessly humorous. Arnie never said it in a malicious or mocking manner. I saw Arnie say it to one of the security guards and he also added 'If there was one OT in this building (FT. Harrison) none of this would be happening.' When he said it, time stood still for the Scientologist. They were utterly speechless with very blank faces.
"As the week went on more and more ARSCC members arrived and it started to feel like a big family reunion. I met some of the most amazing people that I had previously only heard of but never had a face to face with. Well there was Jerry Armstrong who's pre-clear folders I ordered destroyed on orders myself from David Miscavige because a California judge had ordered the folders to be turned over to Armstrong. I met Frank Oliver face to face for the first time and he is a pretty incredible person. I met Sandra and Diane (forgive me for leaving out last names) Patricia and Peter from TFC, Greg H and many other Canadian people. Duncan (Mr. Cool) from the Boston area, CiCi from Texas, April, Frank's girlfriend, Karsten, Rod K, Jeff, Mr. Tilman, Dr. Lottick, Dell and Art, Mr. Dandar and family, Gary S and about fifty other great people. My cup ran over again and again.
"As the days went by the only thing the Scientologist could do was to find more effective ways to hide. So sad."
Jeff Lee also described the pickets.
"Response from the non-Scientologist public was extremely heartening; there was an almost continuous barrage of cheers, honks, thumbs-ups, and other signs of support. Notable things I heard shouted from the cars that passed: 'You're doing the right thing!' 'We want them out!' 'They're a murdering cult!' One of the beautiful sights I saw that day: several city buses driving around bearing huge advertisements for www.xenu.net on their sides, accompanied by various anti-Scientology slogans. These buses, I'm told, had routes all over Clearwater, spreading entheta to the entire city, like giant mobile picket signs.
"They had several plain white vans painted with 'Happy Holidays' and several non-religious holiday symbols (wreaths, bows, candy canes, and so forth) which were driven around by OSA personnel. When stopped at traffic lights, they sat completely immobile, staring straight ahead. When they had to turn onto a street with picketers, they turned *without looking at where they had to go*!
"They were trying to fill up Flag buses with people -- presumably to take them to lunch -- and it was obvious that they were trying to maneuver the streets in such a manner that they would avoid seeing any picketers. So some of us went up to one of the streets behind the Fort Harrison, and sure enough, along came a Flag bus. We could see at least two hundred Sea Orgers packed in like dorm students stuffing a phone booth -- truly less than standing room only.
"The police presence was strong; I counted at least 15 uniformed officers, and more who drove by in cars and vans (and one K-9 unit). The media was out in force; television cameras, newspaper and magazine reporters galore. Naturally, there were Scientology officials giving their point of view. >From out of the garage wafted the strains of Christmas Carols. Most of them were secular in nature -- Deck the Halls, White Christmas, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, I think even piano music from 'It's a Charlie Brown Christmas' -- but there was an occasional song where the name 'Christ' was actually mentioned."
Picket report by "Shy David":
"Wherever I went with my SCIENTOLOGY KILLS tee-shirt, people stopped me and expressed their unhappiness at the crime syndicate. Waiters and waitresses at restaurants; a teller at a bank; people at the airport. The support for the critics of the crime syndicate from the Clearwater citizens was and is MASSIVE. While picketing the crime syndicate's 'Sandcastle' franchise, one car stopped beside me, blocking traffic, just so the driver could run out, shake my hand emphatically, and tell me 'God bless you! It's about time! God bless you!' over and over again, before rushing back into her car and driving away."
"Met00" reported a vigil held at the Fort Harrison in the week following the main pickets.
"On Tuesday December 8th, I went to the Clearwater PD ad advised them that I was going to have a vigil of about 2 hours in length in front of the Ft. Harrison. I drove over to the courthouse, parked in the pay lot, put on my Scientology Kills T-shirt and a head covering (a black bandana) and took my flowers and candle to the front of the hotel, where the vans were dropping off members were. The security guards started to swarm. They were talking on radios. Within 10 minutes the vans were no longer stopping there. They tried to engage me, I ignored them. They called the police (and a really nice officer came out and we talked. From 11:30-1:30 I stood there. My head hung. Remembering Lisa. Then I left and walked around the downtown area. I figured I would get a 'Clearwater' T-shirt for my kid. I saw a sundries store and attempted to enter. They advised me I couldn't because of the T-shirt I was wearing."
"CiCiAychar" described the RPF working on decorations for the facade of the Fort Harrison.
"The RPF/EPF was the saddest sight I saw in CW. Did you notice how none of the people had smiles on their faces? None of them looked happy, either. Usually when a group of people are together working on holiday items there's much laughing, joking, talking, singing, you know, camaraderie. That was conspicuous by its very absence. The look in their eyes and indeed the entire atmosphere was one of 'driven-ness' with an underlying uneasiness; I kept expecting each of them to look over his shoulder to try to find out if some spectre's cold finger were poised above it. " The safety of the workers was, as Tilman pointed out, ignored. Those children should never have been using spray paint in that breeze, light as it was, without filter masks, and it is only pure chance that someone wasn't badly injured by using an acetylene torch without gloves and face shield. You can bet that none of them said a word about denied basic safety requirements as set forth by OSHA."
Dennis Erlich reported on the status of his legal defense team, and
efforts to restore his driver's license.
"Former federal prosecutor, Steve Freccero, has joined MoFo's superb team defending me against the cult's crumbling copyright case. Steve began his practice of law at MoFo, and went on to serve in the US Attorney General's office, capping a highly successful career as lead prosecutor of Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber."
>From a letter addressed to the San Diego District Attorney:
"I need my driver's license in order to exercise my right under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to have employment. I am an on-call employee of the City of Los Angeles as a live event producer, and as a registered minister with the State of California. Without my license I cannot perform the duties required of me. I do not qualify as a candidate for license suspension according to Welfare & Institutions Code Section 11350, in that neither my ex wife, nor my child have ever received public assistance of any kind.
"My wages are already garnished to the full extent that they can be, in accordance with the stipulation into which I entered with Plaintiff's attorney. I have kept your office appraised of my employment to facilitate garnishment. So, in fact, I am in compliance with the court's orders. The child support arrearage accrued while my ex wife and her new husband, a San Diego County Deputy Sheriff (an officer of the court), knowingly violated an order from the San Diego Family Court, and took my daughter out of California, denying me any contact or ordered visitation. For nearly 10 years they did not inform me of the child's whereabouts or let me know to what address I could send my child support payments or serve them with an OSC for contempt."
A filing by Factnet this week asks to re-open discovery, and take new
evidence in their copyright violations case.
"In light of newly-obtained evidence pointing to a pattern of fraud by Church of Scientology entities in the registration of fabricated copyrights, Defendants F.A.C.T.Net, Inc. and Lawrence Wollersheim move this Court for permission to reopen discovery.
"Defendants have received -- from previously unknown sources and witnesses -- crucial information and documents pointing unequivocally to an astonishing layer of fraud that, if Defendants are permitted to further substantiate it, will almost certainly lay waste to a great number -- perhaps even all -- of BPI's copyright claims. Defendants have uncovered proof that some of the purportedly copyrighted documents BPI cites are, in fact, in the public domain. This is true because, although pre-1978 'originals' filed with the Copyright Office contain the requisite copyright notice, the actual originals do not. The evidence thus discloses that the copyright notice was belatedly placed on these documents after their original publication -- an impotent effort to salvage copyrights for documents that were, by then, squarely in the public domain.
"This extraordinary new evidence is reinforced by the testimony of Jesse Prince, a former high-ranking Scientology official who came forward in July of 1998, and whose testimony Judge Kane has now ruled admissible."
Schweriner Volkszeitung reported this week that Scientology is threatening
a lawsuit over continued surveillance in Germany.
"Interior Secretary Timm (SPD) rejected an ultimatum from the Scientology organization to end the observation of its members. 'We won't let ourselves be extorted,' stated the Minister in Schwerin yesterday. If there were to be Scientology activity in the Northeast, 'of course it would be under observation' by the Constitutional Security Agency.
"Timm mentioned that the state Interior Ministers assessed the surveillance of Scientology as 'permissible and appropriate' at their meeting in Bonn the middle of last November. In the past, the organization has, on numerous occasion, given reason to suspect that they do not respect the constitutional right to freedom of speech or the protection of human dignity. Surveillance of Scientology by the Constitutional Security Agency was decided upon in June 1997."
>From Freie Presse Online:
"The Scientology organization has threatened the Saxon Interior Minister with a lawsuit if the undercover surveillance of the organization does not cease. The attorneys gave the Minister a deadline of December 11. In case the state administration should not declare that the surveillance has not been ceased before then, lawsuits will be filed in the Administration Court. A speaker of the 'Scientology Church Germany' referred to an opinion that the association is not even organizationally represented in German Saxony. Therefore it is an absurdity for Hardraht to have agreed to further surveillance at the latest session of the Interior Ministers' Conference."
>From Giessener Anzeiger Online:
"The Scientology organization wants to take legal steps against surveillance by the Constitutional Security Agency in seven German states in which the organization is not represented. In a letter to the Interior Ministers of the east German states as well as of Rheinland-Pfalz and Saarland, the sect demanded, according to information released on Monday in Munich, a letter of non-interference. The alternative was that Scientology would sue in the Administrative Court. The states have unanimously rejected the demand.
"Scientology would have to be asked why they would want to stop surveillance in Brandenburg although they say they are not present there, stated Manfred Fueger, speaker for the Potsdam Interior Ministry. At the Constitutional Security Agency's federal office in Cologne, a speaker stated that there had been no order to stop the surveillance."
TAZ reported this week on the controversy in Berlin over apartments operated by a Scientology real estate company.
"The building at 251 Spener St., at the corner of Melanchton St., is one of the typical Berlin rental complexes only at first glance. Then the numerous banners against the business sect of Scientology and against apartment speculators become visible. With their high, decorated ceilings, their spaciousness and balconies, TCGC staff member Krebs thought a year and a half ago that the condos would sell like hotcakes, especially to Bonn officials.
"Today Marion Caspar, renter, must admit that the sect business' calculations have paid off: the Scientology connected company has been able to sell numerous dwellings to Bonn officials at a profit. What the lawyer does not want to see happen is the renters being put at a disadvantage to the new owners.
"One of the buyers is Ulrich Steding, a man with a Swabian accent and a doctorate, who works as a high ministerial official in Joschka Fisher's Foreign Affairs Office. 'Meanwhile,' Marion Caspar has found out, 'Steding already has bought two dwellings, one of which he leases out.' However, Steding operates primarily as clean-up man. 'He tore down the information leaflets in the stairwell and threatened us because of the banners.' Although the renters want to warn off potential buyers from making a deal with TCGC, this presents, Steding told the press, a 'misuse of communal property.'
"One year ago the renters had thought that the buyers from the national capitol would support their protest against the machinations of the TCGC. Scientology connected companies also speculated in Kreuzberg and Neukoelln in converting about 40 buildings from apartments to condominiums, and tried to unfairly drive out the renters. This resulted in the federal administration leading a publicity campaign against the business sect.
"In the meantime, almost all residences on Spener St. have been sold, not only to Bonn officials, but also to a staff worker of the Goethe Institute, as well as completely normal residence buyers. So that the buyers of the remaining residences do not behave themselves as does Ulrich Steding, the building's renters association has begun to take action. They are writing letters to Bonn asking that the 'Berlin rooms' of the ministries, as well as informing staff workers about life in the capitol city, also report on the machinations of Scientology-connected real estate companies. Because the problem is caused less by Scientologists and more by the Bonn residents themselves, their odds are not unconditionally guaranteed."
Karsten Lorenzen attended the Clearwater picket and gave testimony in the
Lisa McPherson civil case concerning another isolation watch. From the St.
"A former Scientologist from Denmark said Friday that he helped force bread, fruit and liquids into the throat of an unconscious woman as part of an effort help her recover from a mental breakdown. Karsten Lorenzen's detailed account at a news conference held by a group of Scientology critics resembles the experience of Lisa McPherson, as documented by state investigators and Clearwater police.
"Church officials said Friday they had not fully investigated the Denmark man's story but called it another in a series of unsupported and fantastic allegations by critics who, they contend, have serious credibility problems. They said force-feeding is not a prescribed procedure in Scientology.
"Lorenzen, 23, also told his story this week in several hours of sworn depositions in the wrongful death lawsuit that McPherson's family filed in Tampa against the church. Lorenzen said the woman was a Scientology staffer who became mentally unstable in May 1996 while training in Clearwater. He said she cut her wrists and was escorted back to Denmark by one of the same church staffers -- Valerie Demange -- who participated in McPherson's care six months earlier. The woman was taken to a Scientologist's apartment north of Copenhagen, Lorenzen said. One morning during the four-day episode, he said, the woman would not wake up. Demange called a supervisor, who advised them to feed the woman, he said. Lorenzen said he propped up the woman, sat behind her and reached forward to move her jaw in chewing motions while Demange placed food in the woman's mouth. He said he also massaged her throat to get her to swallow. He said the woman remained unconscious but was coughing and spitting. The meal consisted of two pieces of bread, a banana, orange juice and a glass of 'Cal-Mag,' a drink of calcium gluconate, magnesium carbonate, cider vinegar and water that Scientologists believe is healthful.
"Lorenzen said he has nightmares about the incident and thinks of it when he sees pictures of McPherson. Lorenzen appeared overcome at Friday's news conference, sobbing on the shoulder of another Scientology critic, Jesse Prince. 'I consider this guy another one of the stable who make outrageous allegations without any documentation to support it,' said Mike Rinder, a top Scientology official. 'I think these people literally sit around, drink and think up what the next outrageous thing is that they're going to say to get them on the news.'"
A Dead Agent pack was distributed to the media in Denmark.
"Karsten Lorenzen says to the medias, that a person was forcefed, while unconscious. This can not happen, as a person would be strangled. Karsten Lorenzen has put forth a danish matter regarding a person he knew, when he was in scientology. This specific person has in a letter to Karsten rejected any exposition of what has happened in her life, in his try to bring the $cientology church in bad credit, to his own gains.
"In march this year Karsten Lorenzen begged to come back to the $cientology church. In his letter he amongst other things writes that he after leaving a church, has lived a life without meaning, and he begs for good weather and to return to the church. Two weeks after he showed at an exhibition as an ex-$cino and told a negative story about the church. Whom is it that Karsten Lorenzen has united with in his attacks against the church of $cientology? Judge yourself about their credibility and motives Look at the Bob Minton and Jesse Prince informations."
Karsten was also the subject of newspaper reports in Denmark following his return.
"Today the largest newspaper here in dk. had a homecoming article about me coming back from clearwater. Today I was interviewed for the second largest newspaper (Jyllands Posten). The interview was for two hours. And they promised to look further into it. Rumors here says that $cientology will not be recognized as a religion but let's see. The hubbardian group has sended the church ministry over one and a half ton paper. When we arrived to copenhagen airport one nationalwide tv station broadcasted live. I guess the OSA people really hates me."
Television reports from WFLA-TV Newschannel 8 in Tampa:
"Karsten lorenzen left the church of scientology in Denmark in July of 1996 after caring for a woman named Gitte Mogensen. Lorenzen didn't wish to be interviewed after his long flight this evening. But lawyer ken dander says Lorenzen will describe how the case of gitte mogensen is very similar to the case of lisa mcpherson.
"'She was almost like described as a catatonic state, where her eyes were open and she was barely breathing. No one was calling for an ambulance just like in lisa's case. But fortunately for this one particular female, she was able to get to her parents and they took her to the hospital and she's alive.' Dandar says Mogensen was at the fort Harrison hotel in Clearwater five months after mcpherson spent her final days here, sick and dehydrated. He plans to prove scientology's doctrine calls for members to be held in isolation. Dandar is prepared to depose 35 former church members like karsten Lorenzen who say they either witnessed or were victims of such isolation. 'These depositions will show a pattern of conduct, of criminal conduct that is sponsored by the church of scientology.' 'But the church of scientology argues the people dandar is trying to depose have nothing to do with lisa mcpherson's case. Dandar found Karsten Lorenzen on the Internet where many former scientologists post their experiences in the church.'"
Scientology pled not guilty to the criminal charges brought by the State
of Florida in the Lisa McPherson case. From Reuters:
"The Church of Scientology entered a 'not guilty' plea Monday to two criminal charges in the 1995 death of a woman member who was being cared for at the church's regional headquarters in Clearwater. Attorneys for the group filed a written plea of not guilty to the charges in the 1995 death of Lisa McPherson with Pinellas County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Peters, his clerk said. The felony charges of abuse or neglect of a disabled adult and practicing medicine without a license in connection with McPherson's death had been filed Nov. 13 by State Attorney Bernie McCabe. The criminal charges do not name any individuals, so if the church were found guilty it could only be fined. A pretrial conference on the charges is expected to be held next month, the clerk said.
>From the St. Petersburg Times:
"Absent from the otherwise standard plea form was the usual defense motion to see evidence that prosecutors used in making the charges. In legal parlance, it's known as a 'motion to participate in discovery.' When the defense asks to see the prosecutor's evidence, it also obligates itself to share its own evidence or testimony with the prosecutor. As part of the exchange, the public gets to seethe information too. The church's decision to forgo the discovery process was cause Monday for speculation about its legal strategy.
"'That's a very unusual situation,' said Public Defender Bob Dillinger, adding that the discovery motion is standard at this juncture in 99 percent of his cases. 'It's a rare case where I do not engage in discovery,' said veteran St. Petersburg defense lawyer Mike Schwartzberg. Dillinger, Schwartzberg and others said the omission could be insignificant. Scientology can always start the discovery process later, they said. But if the church intends to see the strategy through, the lack of 'discovery' could set the stage for the kind of trial often seen in TV dramas but rarely in real life -- where neither side knows in advance what witnesses or evidence the other will bring forth."
Picket / Revenge Picket Report
Pickets and Revenge Pickets held in the last two weeks. First, from Kady
O'Malley, returning to Ottawa from Los Angeles:
"We had just made it to the Air Canada ticket booth and were headed upstairs to wait for the boarding call when we heard someone call Snefru's name. Turning, we saw Craig - in his trademark jeans and trench coat garb, striding purposefully through the terminal with that irreplaceable menacing grin that we'd come to know and love. He gestured towards a man leaning against the wall of the terminal, staring blankfaced, a sign around his neck broadcasting 'THIS PASSENGER IS A RUMOR MONGER'. I snapped a picture, but noticed that my picketer had, incredibly, hid his face behind his sign when I raised the camera to my face. 'Hey, I want you in the shot!' I exclaimed, only to be told by Craig that 'we don't want that.'
"I noted how touched I was that he would come to the airport to see me off, and wondered, how had he known what flight I'd be on? 'We just staked out the Air Canada terminal for the last few days,' he explained. 'I don't think so, Craig,' I said. 'I think you got one of your little scientologist travel agents to look up my flight info. And that's illegal.' 'It must be public information,' he argued. 'The church would never do anything illegal.'
"I wandered up to talk to 'my' picketer, and explain to the curious bystanders who were looking at his sign just exactly who he was, and what he was doing in an airport with a sandwich board bearing an obscure slogan. 'Yes, that's me,' I explained. 'Have you ever heard of the Church of Scientology? Well, this is a scientologist, and he's angry because I gave out flyers talking about a woman that the church killed in Clearwater, Florida.' I explained the basics of the Lisa story to a bemused cluster of travelers, and then turned to my picketer, who, it transpired, was named 'Jeff' and asked him to explain why he was there. He gave a garbled, mumblish response that had something to do with threatening his religious freedom. I explained to him that he was wrong, I had no desire to stop him from believing whatever he wants. 'She's interfering with my constitutional rights,' he whined quietly. 'No I'm not,' I said. 'I gave out flyers about the death of the woman your church starved to death, and left for cockroaches to nibble.'"
>From Gregg Hagglund in Toronto:
"Today, as expected the Scientology controlled and operated hate group known as the 'FRIENDS OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY', staged a stupid and useless Picket at my home. The time was about 7 pm and they left at 8:30 pm. Two men obstructed my driveway and strayed onto my property. The police were called and responded immediately with two squad cars. The Scntist were admonished to stay off my property as the issued No Trespassing Notice stated. The Police recorded the names of the two Picketers."
>From Rod Keller in Philadelphia:
"I was the target of a revenge picket last night. Scientology brought 7 or 8 young people out, who held signs calling me bad names. The police came and forced them to leave the parking lot. They picketed from about 7:30 to 8:30. I'm told the residents here didn't understand what they were upset about. The fliers they put on windshields in the parking lot were discarded, and I don't have a copy. The manager described them as 'young people, very cold, very hateful. their eyes were dark and cold'. They were also here at 2:30 am the night before, driving around the parking lot holding a sign with my name on it. The police came that night also, and forced them to leave."
>From Bruce Pettycrew in Mesa, Arizona:
"I stopped at the Mesa culthouse and picketed from 11:10 to 11:45. It threatened to rain the whole time, but I finished before the downpour. There were 3 cars in the lot, 2 belonging to staff. Scientology is dying. The driving public hates the Co$."
>From "Wynot" in Atlanta:
"After about half an hour of uneventful picketing, Susan arrived, looking very upset as though she had been called away from something else. About 5 minutes after entering the org, she came out with the same digital camera the other lady had used yesterday, and 2 male companions. She attempted to take the anonymous picketer's picture, but could only get the sign - Scientology Killed Lisa McPherson! One of her bodyguards pretended to recognize the new picketer, and asked her if she had been a Scientologist. No, he was answered - 'I've never been that stupid!'"
>From Sue Mullaney in Minneapolis:
"I had a 22 x 28 inch (55 x 70 cm) sign. On one side I had two pictures of Lisa McPherson (no autopsy photos, just two pictures of Lisa I printed from http://www.lisamcpherson.org [Stand: 13.12.98] ; one picture was of Lisa holding her Clear Certificate, the other picture was the one on the main page of the web site). I used 240 point black lettering. So these were the messages on my sign: YOUNG. PRETTY. DEAD. DID 100% STANDARD TECH KILL LISA McPHERSON?
"I had about 150 copies of Roland's Lisa flyer, plus about 100 copies of a Lisa flyer which consisted of the New York Times article from 11/14/98 about criminal charges being brought against Scn in Lisa's death. I also brought copies of the 'Insane Cult' and 'Scam' flyers. At about 1:30-2:00 pm a young Scieno guy came out with his camera and started taking pictures; he asked if I could turn my sign around so he could get pictures of both sides of my sign and I obliged.
"Then a Scieno woman named Gail came up and started grilling Chris. She apparently was asking Chris the usual about where did he get his information, what Scn books had he read, etc., and asked him if he also went around picketing Catholic churches because he objected to Catholics; I think she said something about how he had no reason to attack her church by picketing outside it and that he should quit doing it.
"The response from the public, as usual, was very positive. Quite a few people already knew about Lisa McPherson, either from reading about it in the paper, from TV or from the Internet. We got a number of thumbs-up from people and people saying, 'I agree with you'. One couple told us they thought it was great what we were doing and to keep it up; and several other people also expressed that sentiment.
>From "Vernon" in Buffalo, New York:
"We arrived at the old square brick building at 10:00. We went inside and and were greeted by a strong pungent old building smell. In the outer area just before the inner outside door there were racks of free literature, where somehow a Lisa Flier found it's way among them. We went inside the second outer door and tripped the 7-11 style door alert. We stood about for nearly 3 minutes when a wonderful younger healthy gentleman, John, came out to greet us with a smile and welcome. We took group pictures in the bookstore holding the sacred Clam Manual, History of Man, and the the infamous book containing the famous R2-45 Procedures, the Creation of Human Ability. Smiles and flashes. John is the Public Secretary has been on staff for two months.
"We thanked John for his hospitality and bid him a good day. At the car around the corner we assembled our picket signs '$CIENTOLOGY UFO CULT' and 'HUBBARD DOESN'T WANT YOU TO THINK FOR YOURSELF' and began our picket. John took immediate notice and instantly got on the phone. Through the window we could see he was very urgently giving the blow by blow to someone. In similar fashion to the cameras with eternal film John brought the phone outside to the street and continued to make calls and urgently report our suppressing activities.
"We received continuous thumbs up, high signs, horn toots to rally us on, approving nods, smiles and an occasional friendly holler out the window from passing traffic. We passed out about a dozen Lisa Fliers to grateful pedestrians and discussed our social commitments for being here on the anniversary of Lisa's being Killed by her criminally convicted church. The 'wave tech' works wonders. John during one of his brief pokes of his head out the door to see if we had left he waved back and smiled to our friendly waves and smiles. I realized that maybe I got a little carried away when a driver of a public utility repair truck took both hands off the wheel and waved frantically back to me."
>From "AndroidCat" in Toronto:
"In attendance were Wulfen, Shawnster, and myself, later joined by Slippery Jim, and a first time appearance by The Bearded Guy. Once again, Scientology paid for our police protection. And once again the officer mainly told them not to do things. In the morning it was the *friendly* handle. One lady seemed to have her button stuck on Christmas. 'You don't believe in Christmas do you?' Hmm, nice pagan ritual, but it was L. Ron Hubbard who said 'The man on the cross, there was no Christ.' She didn't seem to have cognition when I told her it was 'just a piece of R6'. Humbug!"
>From "Realpch" in San Francisco:
"We had a pretty big turnout. Jour had announced that she would be there from 10 until 5, so folks had a good opportunity to fit picketing into their busy schedules. 12 showed up in all. There were Jour, Tani, myself, CIA1, phr, Podkayne, Meklar, MadWog and friend, BobWog, Kirsten, and Mike de Wolfe. Jour brought day-glo sandwich boards, and I had an extra sign (having finally made a new one), so everyone was well equipped to inform the general public. The stress test table was out when I got there at one, manned by a young fellow, who seemed relatively unenthusiastic about the task. Who could blame him? It was cold.
"I got aggressively handled this time, perhaps because when the handler presented himself to me, I told him I didn't want to talk to him and I didn't want a handler. He went into full tape mode, repeating over and over any taunting, annoying thing he could think of."
>From Deana Holmes in Salt Lake City:
"I got out there just after 11:00 am. The temperature at that point was a chilly 23F/-5C. I got out there, got my sign out and did a few turns on the sidewalk. I didn't notice anyone in the lobby, so I walked around on the Ramona St. side with my sign and flashed it into the course rooms, whose windows are at waist level. I got one woman to look up at me, and in a moment or two, she came out to 'handle' me. God, but she was shrill. It was 'Deana, Deana, Deana' over and over. She was trying to say that people die all the time. She has a hot button about psychs. I told her bluntly that I have a relative who is a schizophrenic and by damn, psychs have helped her to live a normal life.
"We had one guy stop for a chat. <sigh> The guy kept going on about how Scn was a cult, and then he wanted to know my religion. I said, 'Inactive Mormon.' 'Oh, they're a cult too.' I tried to explain that my objections to Scn were not based on the religious content of their beliefs, but on their actions, but I'm not sure that got to him. Our visitor insisted on pushing his church, the Antiochene Orthodox Church."
>From "Bloody Viking" in Chicago:
"Today, there was a picket of the Chicago org. We started with 4 people total, and it went from 1300 to 1500 Central Standard Time. The following equipment was used: 3 signs, 1 throwaway camera, and 2 cell phones. There were no altercations of any kind. The clams were non-combative and even a bit friendly. They dispatched a camera person to take pics of us. At one point, a car blasted off from a parking space in front of the org, so they dispatched someone to stand in the parking space while maneuvering a large van to the parking space. The movement of the van was obviously strategic in nature, as you had to hold the sign real high to foil the attempt to silence the picketers."
>From Ake Wiman in Copenhagen:
"About ten people from Denmark (and one from Sweden) with flyers. Weather snowing and temperature about 0 (C). We started at 17.00 just around the corner from scio-HQ. It took some time before they were aware of us. Distributed about 500 flyers with the story about how Lisa died in scientology care. After having dinner we picketed just outside the 'church'. Scio-people were mostly friendly. About 15 of them had to 'handle' us. And sadly they even used a group of children (age ca 10-13) to get our flyers. The children were obviously instructed to ask for as many flyers as possible (and to their friends !) and then hand them over to OSA for destruction (I guess). Makes me sick to see these children used by OSA."
Catarina Pamnell summarized an article in Goteborgs-Posten about a woman
who was directed by the state employment agency to a receptionist job at
the local Church of Scientology.
"'I was completely surprised, and then angry, when I received the letter from AF in Gothenburg', Karin Lindell says. The letter contained an offer of steady employment as a receptionist and administrator at the Church of Scientology. The column where pay was to be specified was completely blank. And further down in the letter it said 'some commission pay'. It was not clear whether the commission was per call taken. Then the Scientologists promised education.
"Jan Sammels, a local executive at the AF for Commerce and Administration, expresses his regrets and says the whole thing is unfortunate. 'Unfortunately, we may not decline job offers like this one, he says. As long as they fulfill the stated requirements, we cannot refuse to publicize these jobs. Even if I personally dislike it, as a civil servant I have to obey the rules.'"
Badische Zeitung reported this week that a law against street recruiting
has taken effect.
"Rolf Fuhrer will not talk about the Scientologists at all. The president of an area business association would prefer that the Scientologists disappear from the street. 'Many customers stay away because they don't want to be continually accosted,' he complains. For the most part, they stand in the middle of Basel's sales and entertainment mile and address passers-by. There are one or two men there everyday; at peak Saturday times up to five are out on the hunt for new members. It is the same thing, over and over again: passers-by are to accompany them to a nearby room in order to take a 'personality test.' This is their first contact with the sect which is known for its stubborn-headed measures.
"According to the new law anybody who feels annoyed can press charges. Rolf Fuhrer and his association members wanted to take care of that for their customers: on Thursday morning, when the law went into effect, a letter from Fuhrer lay on the desk at the police station with the request to 'clear the Scientologists away daily, so that we can conduct our business in peace.' The letter was signed by 35 shop owners of the district.
"However, things will not be that simple. Herbert Maritz, acting Police Commandant, states that the 'hunting season on Scientology' is not open. Police will not take action on their own. 'How are we supposed to judge whether somebody feels annoyed or not?' The sect recruiters have apparently not been frightened off by the law. They were at their customary places as usual. On Thursday, moreover, they were standing right in front of the police, who were warning people several steps away to beware of pickpockets."
Teletxt Schweiz reported that a Scientologist has been sentenced for exploiting a depressed person.
"The Criminal Court of Lausanne has sentenced a member of the Scientology association to six months prison suspended. The court found the man guilty of exploiting the dependency of a depressed person. Charges against two other people were dropped. The court accused the the sentenced man of having exploited the psychological instability and depression of a 38 year old PTT employee who had met up with the Scientologists. The man was wangled out of 20,000 franks for courses. Charges of fraud were dismissed against the Scientology member."
>From a transcript of the Oprah Winfrey show on Nov. 30th, 1998 with guest
"TRAVOLTA: Well, the only thing definitely I'm doing is the sci-fi picture 'Battlefield Earth', which is a very popular book. It's been on the bestseller list for 10 years. And-- I'm doing that for sure. And before that I'm not sure; it's the first time in the four years that I've taken a break to just adjust and see what I want to do next.
"OPRAH: Does that have--the sci-fi film, does it have anything to do with Scientology? I know they're--
"TRAVOLTA: Separate issues. They're--Scientology, it's the same writer. But one's--its creator is a science fiction writer and the other is a philosophy. Well, I'll tell you what; um, I get inundated with fan letters asking me, 'What is Scientology?'. And finally there's a book out called 'What Is Scientology?' And it asks--answers every and any question you possibly could have. Because trying to explain it is like trying to explain the Encyclopedia Britannica; it's nearly impossible to explain all the areas it covers. But anyway, this book is out now, and it will answer all your questions. So I--I mean, I'll still write everyone to tell them what I think, but, I mean, it's--it's really easier if they just read it.
"OPRAH: So it doesn't bother you that people are confused about this practice, this religion, this Scientology. Because it obviously works for you. Scientology has worked for you.
"TRAVOLTA: Oh, for years. I mean, in the '70s, I would have never escaped the, uh--I never, uh, got into the drug scene because I had it to lean on -- You know, it was a tough time, whereas one could have easily leaned on that."
>From Premiere Magazine:
"John Travolta, one of the most famous Hollywood followers of the late founder of Scientology, has just rearranged his movie-project dance card to put the film version of of Hubbard's 1982 sci-fi novel, 'Battlefield Earth', front and center. Travolta has long wanted to play Terl, one of the ruthless aliens who rule over an Earth on which human slaves toil in underground mines; in the story's climax, Terl faces off against the rebel human Johnny Goodboy Tyler for control of the planet."
The A&E cable network will be airing a documentary on Scientology this
month. The Extra television program aired a promotion for the show.
"They are Hollywood's biggest names--Travolta, Cruise, Kidman, Presley, Alley. Not only are they rich and powerful, but they claim they know the true secrets to success. And for them, it's the controversial Church of Scientology.
"ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (caption--Robert Vaughn Young, former Scientologist): I would rather die on the open seas and die a free man than die inside that organization.
"MARK EBNER (caption--Mark Ebner, freelance journalist): I'm not gonna lie and say I had a completely open mind; I mean, I thought, you know, because I noticed the scam working, you know, as soon as I walked in the door.
"LYLE STEWART (caption--Lyle Stewart, book publisher): I was in a writing group with him in Greenwich Village and he kept saying that, you know, 'I'm not gonna make any money, you can't do it with pulp writing. You've gotta start a religion.' And nobody took him very seriously."
>From a review by the Dallas Morning News:
"'Talk about body snatchers,' says former Church of Scientology spokesman Robert Vaughn Young. 'That's how they operate,' says journalist Mark Ebner, who infiltrated the church for a 1996 Spy magazine article. 'It doesn't get any darker than that.' The two church critics are among a gaggle interviewed in A&E's Investigative Reports: Inside Scientology, a sometimes chilling look at the history, methods and latest mutations of the almost half-century-old religion."
Kleine Online reported on Scientology's presence in Graz, Austria.
"Christmas 'gifts & handicrafts' at the Graz Fair International: cribs, Christmas tree decorations, Teddy bears, beeswax candles - and right in the middle of it is booth Nr. 410: 'New Era Commerce, GmbH' offers stacks of devotional literature. The author of them is L. Ron Hubbard, Founder of Scientology. 'New Era' is the publishing company which manages Scientology literature.
"Gerd Novak, fair director, did not know it, and is 'anything but happy' about the Scientologists settling in at the Christmas fair. He does not see any chance of getting rid of the cuckoo. 'The situation is certainly problematic. As far as I'm concerned, Scientology plays a pyramid game with the soul. But 'New Era' was an officially licensed company.
"The Sect Counseling Center of the Dioceses of Graz-Seckau and the 'Network - Association against Destructive Cults' have notified the Federal Center for Sect Issues in Vienna. For the 'Network', booth 410 is clearly an 'advertisement stand for Scientology. They intentionally cast their net out especially during the Christmas season. Those who are lonely or searching for people are potentially easy customers to snag.' Enrico Hosak said, 'Abstruse sects and movements always manage to sell their philosophy under innocent sounding names.'"
Stacy Young posted a report on Scientology's alleged poisonings at the cat
sanctuary she runs in Seattle, Washington.
"I won't know conclusively why Allison died until the autopsy results come back, which will be in a few days. The two kittens, Rio and Otis, who died several days before Allison, also became acutely ill very suddenly, as Allison did. My assistant found them lying on the floor, very lethargic. By the time she raced them to the vet they were nearly dead. To keep them from suffering the vet put them to sleep. They were cremated without having autopsies done so I will never know for sure why they died.
"With regard to the security of the sanctuary, Bob is having a six foot fence built around the entire property, with two feet of 'cat fencing' on top, to make sure the cats will be safe. Cat fencing is three-quarter-inch wire mesh built at an angle with a lip which makes it impossible for a cat to jump out. It will have an alarm system so that anyone trying to get in will trip an alarm in the house. There will be video cameras at intervals which will be motion-activated. There will also be motion-activated flood lights."