Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 1, Issue 45 03/16/97 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://user1.i1.net/~mallen/scn/arswr/ars-summary.html http://users.aimnet.com/~jdiver/scieno.htm http://www.thur.de/religio/publik/arsfaq.html #####
Note: this issue of Week in Review covers postings to alt.religion.scientology for the past two weeks.
Lisa McPherson Memorial Protest
Critics of Scientology descended on Clearwater to protest Scientology, and
the death of Lisa McPherson. The Tampa Tribune published plans for the
"Some 25 to 30 critics from around the country will gather at the courthouse downtown about 11 a.m. Saturday. They plan to protest peacefully during the late morning and early afternoon. Protest organizer Jeff Jacobsen said the night vigil will begin at 7.
"They plan to march around the Fort Harrison Hotel, Scientology's world spiritual headquarters and the place where McPherson spent her final days. She arrived dead at a Pasco County hospital on Dec. 5, 1995. She was 36."
Protesters were mobbed by Scientologists carrying counter-protest signs at the protest. Scientologists at the vigil crowded the sidewalk and blew out vigil candles. From UPI:
"Tension appears to be mounting in Clearwater, evidenced by a weekend protest against the Church of Scientology. Saturday, some 30 placard- carrying protesters were outnumbered 10 to one by Scientologists outside their Fort Harrison Hotel headquarters. The protesters were there on behalf of Lisa McPherson, who died in the care of church members. Her death is being investigated by Clearwater police. Family members claim there are suspicious circumstances surrounding her death, while Scientologists allege the police are on a witch hunt."
The Tampa Tribune also reported Jeff Jacobsen's open letter, thanking the Clearwater Police.
"The organizer of a vigil whose participants were 'bumped, taunted [and] ridiculed' Saturday as they memorialized a Church of Scientology member who died sent an open letter thanking the Clearwater Police for keeping everyone safe.
"'As we attempted to silently walk ... with our candles [which represented Lisa's life that would also burn out too quickly] we were individually surrounded by the crowd and bumped, taunted, ridiculed and, more symbolically, people would blow out our candles,' Jacobsen wrote in the letter to police.
"'If the police had not been present, we are convinced that we would also have been physically assaulted,' Jacobsen wrote. 'This callous abuse by the Church of Scientology against a peaceful commemoration of one of their own members is another indication of the cruelty and lack of decency found in the Church of Scientology. Our heartfelt thanks goes to the Clearwater Police for their diligence in protecting concerned citizens.'"
A description from Leslie (aka Tashback):
"Picket report: It's fun to make the Scns do fan dances with their signs by waving yours in a grand sweep -- but other than that, being surrounded and isolated by five or six hostile clams intent on silencing you and driving you away is harrowing and exhausting. I didn't hold up very well. Many others did -- my hat's off to everybody who went to Clearwater.
"Candlelight vigil: I broke off early -- when they started blowing out candles, that was too much for me -- and went to stand under a tree with Doug Johnson, near some police, who can be an extremely comforting presence when you're surrounded by the seething hostility of Scientologists on a mission. From that distance, the scene was this: A wave of Scns, then one critic holding a candle, being harangued by Scns, then another wave of Scns, then another critic holding a candle, being harangued, and the same thing over and over and over."
>From a report by Ray Randolph:
"We went to the meeting that night to make the signs, meet with the Detective Miller and Ken Dandar, the attorney for Lisa's family. The CW police showed up and told us what could and could not be done. They informed us that as Jeff and I had discovered earlier, they were planning an 'event' across from the Fort Harrison. They called this an 'Anti-drug awareness program' (think about that) and claimed that there were going to be 150 of the 'drug free marshals' (a CoS front) and boy scouts.
"In addition to their 'event' across the street from the Fort Harrison, which was obviously designed to make us *look* like we were protesting a drug awareness event, they church also decided, rather spontaneously, that they needed to wash the front of the building that day. So we had our choice: picket across from the Fort Harrison and look like we're picketing a children's drug awareness program, or picket in front of the Fort Harrison and get hosed down from their 'washing of the building.'
"Then Ken Dandar, the attorney for Lisa McPherson's Family showed up. He updated us on the Lisa story. Told us he was committed to bringing justice. He passed on a 'thank you' from the family of Lisa McPherson. The only real new information that came out of this meeting was the information that Lisa McPherson had a scientologist boyfriend who continued to spend her money after her death, and that the medical officer at FLAG who had taken care of Lisa has now gone missing.
"I slept great right up until around 4-4:30am... Then the screaming in the parking lot woke me up. I was rooming with Wollersheim, who woke up with me moving around in the room. Outside, laying face down in the parking lot, with his pants down to his knees...a man was screaming for us to come out of our rooms so that he could kick our asses. Wollersheim, being somewhat used to being op'd just said, 'yeah..call the front desk, I'm going back to bed.' I called the front desk and the man was arrested. The next morning, he returned to pick up a backpack he'd stored in the bushes the night before. When he saw me on the balcony watching him, he wished me good luck in picketing and he left via Taxi.
"I can't forget to mention Xenu. Xenu walked up and down the sidewalk blasting people with his raygun. They surrounded him with people, so that passing cars couldn't see him and whenever someone tried to take a picture of him, they would entirely block Xenu from view with their picket signs. Although apparently, the lower level scn's were being told that the 'Xenu' stuff wasn't really in OT3...that that was 'A lie made up on the internet.'
"We all left the picket, went to dinner did various funstuffs and then met back at the courthouse for the Candlelight vigil. The scientologists came across the street out of the fort Harrison and 'milled' on the sidewalk. We were walking through a huge crowd of scientologists. They had apparently heard about my broken rib and two large men on either side of me coordinated rather obviously to bump into me, driving my own arms into my ribs. They were making no secret of what they were doing, either.
"I spent most of the time walking behind Gabe Cazares, the ex-mayor of Clearwater who had his share of run-ins with the church. They yelled at me, called me names, 'bumped' me, stepped on my toes, blew out my candle, and did *everything* that they thought they could get away with in light of the police presence. However, one thing was very clear... had the police not been there, we'd have been seriously hurt. One man who blew out my candle three times was finally taken aside by a police officer who told him that if he saw him do it again, he'd be arrested."
"When we arrived there were already at least 100 Co$ counter- picketers lining both sides of Ft.Harrison Avenue, carrying signs that said negative things about drugs and crime, and also things like 'Keith Henson Child Molester' and 'Arnie Lerma Deadbeat Dad' and other untrue DA comments of equal originality.
"Their favorite trick was to try to get between you and the curb, one in front and one in back, and match your pace exactly. If you speeded up, they'd speed up. If you slowed down, they'd slow down too."
"I couldn't believe the level of disrespect for Lisa's memory that was demonstrated by the Scientologists. Especially nauseating was that I was being accused of not respecting her memory by people who were performing incredibly disrespectful acts while I was trying to show my respect for her. Ravening wolves accusing a lamb of being a wolf. Talk about a double-curved reply.
"Almost immediately after we got our candles lit and started walking, one of the Scieno's blew out a demonstrator's candle with an exaggerated fake sneeze. Amid cat-calls of 'Hey! Good one! hyuk-hyuk-hyuk,' the holder of the candle (I think it was Ray Randolph or maybe Mark Dallara) said loudly and pointedly, 'Just like you did to Lisa's life.'"
>From Steve Fishman:
"During the day, I had a surprise visit from a friend who shall remain anonymous. My friend gave me a present: a white shirt with OT III embossed on it. So I quickly took off my 'On Control and Lying' shirt (by LRH) and put on the OT III shirt. That is when the shit really started to hit the fan. I became SURROUNDED by clams who tried to prevent the other Scienos, especially the kids, from reading my shirt. I started shouting, 'Read my OT III shirt and go free for free!'"
"One bit of news that did not seem to make a.r.s. about the Clearwater Protest occurred when Lawrence Wollersheim, Bob Minton, Garry Scarff and I went to the Fort Homicide at 8:00 A.M. (3 hours before we were expected) to check out the scene and protest for a short time. When we left the scene and returned to Lawrence's rental car, someone had left a dead pigeon one foot next to the driver's side door on the floor. The pigeon's neck had obviously been snapped. We reported it to the police, and Garry took a picture of it."
Pickets in other cities were organized to coincide with the protest in
Clearwater. Tony McClelland described a picket this week in Sydney.
"The street corner where the protest was held is very busy and I handed out approximately 340 leaflets. One person who was walking past decided that I was getting an unnecessarily hard time and decided to help. I have not seen this person before and his behaviour was unacceptable to me. Soon after, I heard a scuffle behind me and when I turned I saw running, head locks, wrestling and punches being thrown. I phoned the Police and after a very lengthy delay 2 plain clothes Police arrived. The 'offender' then departed.
"One of the Police then questioned me about why I was protesting and I advised him that I was not prepared to be questioned by a member of the Police as to why I was protesting against the CofS. He then proceeded to lecture me for causing a blockage at the intersection. I advised that I had a Police permit to protest and the approximately 15 Scientologists surrounding me at the time did not have a permit. I advised him to go and talk to the Scientologists because they were causing the pedestrian blockage. The Policeman then claimed that he did not understand my Permit because it came from a different Police department.
"After my 2 arrests last year and the lengthy correspondence I had with the Minister of Police and the negotiations with the Police in the Traffic department, I thought I had placed Police problems behind me.
"A member of OSA advised that my leaflet with information including that Lisa's family was suing the CofS was a lie. I guess that I was called liar approximately 200 times. I was also accused of having a preference for young girls. I find this behaviour unacceptable and will conduct another 'special' to recognise this unsubstantiated assertion."
Neil Muspratt described the picket this week in Brisbane.
"They had prepared a big welcome for us. Up to 12 $cientologists were out there at one time. We didn't get as many leaflets out this time around, probably just over 100. People walking past just didn't seem interested, probably because of the large Co$ contingent.
"Stuart and I stood at the periphery of the crowd, one concentrating on each end, so we didn't get to speak to each other much. I attracted the attention of two women I've not seen before, who seemed to take it upon themselves to find out why I was doing what I was doing. It was the usual stuff. Psychs, drugs (she claimed not to take any, even aspirin), Dianetics, ECT, more drugs, conspiracy theories, the Purif, copyright, the Internet.
"The highlight of the picket for me was the response of one particular female pedestrian. She just stopped in her tracks a few metres away as she approached me and my shadow, stunned that there was actually someone *picketing* $cientology. The praise for what we were doing just flowed spontaneously from her and was totally unexpected. She refused to speak to the $cientologist beside me, saying to her repeatedly that she 'would not engage in dialogue' with her."
Zenon Panoussis and another person picketed the Stockholm, Sweden org as
part of the international protest.
"The other guy had a big sandwich about Lisa McPherson and Patrice Vic and I had a stack of OT8s with added ridiculing remarks, that I handed out to passers-by.
"Some sea org guy tried to handle us (WHO ARE YOU?! WHY ARE YOU HERE?!), with not much of a success. They called in a photographer who made use of his right to take pictures in a public place, but he seemed very disturbed when we tried to avoid having our pictures taken by standing and walking right behind him, no matter which way he went.
"The most interesting part is that most people refused to take the papers I was handing out. It didn't help pointing out that the papers were free and that they didn't bite; most people would say 'no thanks anyway' and walk on. At the end I found the solution: if I said 'I am not a scientologist' in a loud clear voice while offering the papers, most people would take them."
The Colorado Daily reported this week that a picket of Scientology is
planned for the Boulder Mission.
"Critics want the Church of Scientology to answer to claims of alleged human-rights abuses and attacks on Internet free speech. They are planning what they want to be a peaceful protest Saturday in front of the Boulder Scientology Mission at 1021 Pearl St. Their message: 'Stop Hurting People, Scientology.'
"Organizer Ray Randolph of Fort Collins said he expects at least 20 people to protest the church and that other protests are planned across the country and abroad. 'The church has a long history of attacking critics and past members,' Randolph said.
"Karin Pouw, public affairs director for the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles, called the protesters 'rejects from society.' 'They are professional haters, convicted felons and people with a history of violence,' Pouw said."
The Cult Awareness Network has court dates set for the malicious
prosecution case against Scientology and Cynthia Kisser's own suit.
"March 18: The Illinois Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in Springfield, Illinois on March 18 in the case of Cult Awareness Network, v. 'church' of scientology et al. CAN is seeking to have its case against scientology International, The 'church' of scientology of Illinois, and the law firm of Bowles & Moxon reinstated. The malicious prosecution case, which alleges that the defendants supported multiple lawsuits for the purpose of destroying CAN, was dismissed by a state trial court for technical reasons that did not address the merits of the facts of the case. The Supreme Court begins hearing arguments at 9:30 A.M., and the CAN v. CSI case is the third case scheduled to be heard that day. Attorney Helena Kobrin, who does work for the 'church' of scientology, has sent an offer to purchase the CAN v.CSI case to Philip Martino, the trustee managing CAN's estate in federal bankruptcy court. At this point Martino has not sold the case to Kobrin, so the hearing is still scheduled. CAN will be represented pro bono by the Chicago law firm of Mayer, Brown & Platt.
"June 16: The federal lawsuit Kisser v. Coalition has been set for trial starting June 16 in Chicago, Defendants in the case are individuals and entities associated with the 'church' of scientology International and the Lyndon LaRouche movement. The Unification Church was dismissed out of the case. CSI filed four summary judgments and was able to get certain counts against the 'church', its 'president' Heber Jentzsch, and other defendants dismissed, but libel counts remain against the scientology and LaRouche defendants."
Scientology continues to harass CAN. A report was posted this week that an attempt was made on their mailbox.
"On Wed.or Thurs. Mar. 5 or 6, scientology agents in Chicago made a brazen attempt to seize the original CAN. mailbox. For years CAN (Cult Awareness Network) had a diversionary address as a security measure because of destructive cults like the Church of Scientology. This address, 2421 West Pratt Blvd. Suite 1173, Chicago, IL 60645 is a privately owned mail drop licensed by the Post Office. Suite 1173 is a mail box and CAN mail coming to it was forwarded to the CAN office. The mail drop operators were instructed to return mail coming into CAN, to the senders. A lot of it junk but many people don't know what has happened to CAN and are still writing for info, sending in contributions etc. A Chicago area covert scientology agent showed up at this mail drop and confronted the operators with some papers and claiming that they now had possession of the CAN mail box and they would take the mail coming into it. The operators (God Bless them) sensed a mail fraud in progress and rebuffed this agent who finally left. A bit later this couple that operate this mail drop received a call from Mary Anne Ahmad. Ahmad is an OSA agent with the Chicago Org. She tried to con this couple with the same line. Ahmad was rebuffed and then a call was received from a woman in California whose name is something like Omera. At some point, I believe that the Postal Inspectors office was called and also the FBI."
The St. Petersburg Times reported that a Scientologist-owned multi-level
marketing company may purchase a building in downtown Dunedin, Florida, a
city near the Clearwater headquarters.
"Will Dunedin wind up looking like downtown Clearwater, filled with church staff members in blue uniforms? The people who run the business that has moved into the first floor, TradeNet Marketing, say they have an option to buy the building. An owner of the building, who is from New York, confirms that. And those who run TradeNet are Scientologists, as are some of the 70 or so employees, said Steve Wydro, vice president of administration for the company.
"But if TradeNet decides to exercise its option to buy before it runs out this summer, Wydro said the building will be used for the business, not given to the church. That means it would stay on the tax rolls, and no uniformed church members would be stationed there, Wydro said.
"At the TradeNet offices, a sign on the door reads 'Authorized Personnel
Only.' Inside is a room filled with people busy on computers and
telephones. Kemp said the company is a 'network marketer,' set up like
Amway, selling environmentally safe products through distributors, with no
retail outlets. Its best seller is a plastic ball, about 3 inches in
diameter, that is filled with blue liquid. It is meant to be put in
washing machines and replace detergent. Kemp said the ball, called the
Laundry Solution, sells for $75. She said it lasts for 1,500 loads and
'emits a negative charge, causing the water to clean your clothes. It's a
confidential process,' Wydro said."
html Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reuters reported the unlikely-sounding story of a bomb disposal at a
French Scientology org this week.
"A member of the Church of Scientology found and defused a powerful bomb Friday in a church in the western town of Angers, police sources said. They said the device, concealed in a sports bag, was found in the entry hall shortly after the Scientology church, near the town railway station, opened in the morning.
"The Church member who found it carried it to a nearby park and defused it himself. Eyewitnesses said it had been primed to explode minutes later. 'The explosive device was made to kill and was very powerful,' one investigator said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility and no indication of the motives behind the attack."
U.S. Department of State spokesman Nicholas Burns again answered questions
about Germany and Scientology in a press briefing this week.
"QUESTION: Nick, since relations with Germany are now so incredibly good, would you still criticize the German Government for discriminating against Scientologists after yesterday's report in the New York Times on the unusual circumstances under which Scientology has gone to tax exempt status by the IRS?
"MR. BURNS: That was an interesting report in the New York Times. I read it with great interest. It revealed a lot about the Church of Scientology. I believe that the Church of Scientology's tax exempt status is secure and there's not going to be an attempt by the Treasury Department to turn it around. So that's a reality that is a factor in our view of the treatment of Scientologists, but particularly American Scientologists who find themselves in Germany.
"The good news is that in her visit to Bonn, Secretary Albright had a very constructive, cooperative discussion of this issue with Foreign Minister Kinkel. You saw at the press conference in Bonn that he dealt with the issue in a very clear way, as did she. We've not changed our policy and our views on the situation of Scientologists in Germany. We certainly have a very respectful, cooperative dialogue with the German Government and, together, we have condemned those newspaper advertisements of the Church of Scientology and their Hollywood mogul supporters which have tried to compare the current situation of Scientologists to the situation of the Jews in the early part of the Nazi regime -- the Adolph Hitler regime.
"We will continue to watch the situation of Scientologists because we have been concerned about it. But we're dealing with it in a way that I think is satisfactory to both the German and American Governments."
"QUESTION: Do you find it easier now to understand the German Government's position that Scientology is not a church but rather a business enterprise? And so the abuses of religious rights is not really the matter?
"MR. BURNS: The difference here is that the United States Government does accord tax exempt status on the par with other religions. Therefore, we treat Scientology as a religion for the purposes of these human rights reports.
"We do have a difference of opinion on the issue of the Scientologists. We remain concerned. But I do think we found a way to work with the Germans, which is very important because we do have an excellent relationship with Germany."
Grady Ward posted updates in the Scamizdat case. Among other developments,
Scientology deposed Arnie Lerma in the case, attempting to implicate Grady
in posting trade secrets and Grady filed for Judge Whyte to recuse himself
from the case.
"Well I did my part and sent a sworn complaint to the US Attorney about the admitted criminal cult bank fraud in obtaining my wife's bank balance. The Honorable Ronald M. Whyte, however, did not think that or the other admitted criminal cult lawbreaking worth mentioning at the February 21st hearing, but rather, chided me for not communicating the speculation on the Internet that Steve Fishman may have authored the juno.com e-mails. He did not seem very interested that the cult's *own* subpoena turned up the name 'David Miscavige' as a sworn reply from juno.com.
"The Judge seems to agree with an interesting theory of the criminal cult, that regardless of the specific factual circumstances surrounding the solicitation of an alleged trade secret -- by such a designation although a bare assertion without burdened by evidence -- the designation makes it unlawful to solicit. In other words, in the face of a 'trade secret' allegation, the individual's must curb their speech soliciting it, even if concurrently demanding reasonable, specific, proof that the 'trade secret' allegation is bogus."
"As I type this we are in a lunch break in the deposition of Arnie Lerma in the RTC v. Ward litigation. Since the signing of the gag order by Magistrate Judge Infante and approved by District Judge Ronald M. Whyte, I cannot reveal the contents of this deposition to you yet. However, I can say that Eric Lieberman, the cult inquisitor, seems unhappy. Very unhappy."
"Arnie was composed and polite at all times, even when Mr. Lieberman raised his voice and started peppering follow up questions one after another. I probably made twenty or thirty objections, most of which were to the form of questions of assuming facts not in evidence. The so-called 'have you stopped beating your wife?' kind of questions."
"In a one page order filed on March 10, 1997, Magistrate Judge Edward A. Infante ordered defendant Grady Ward in case no. C 96-20207 Northern District of California into a fourth day of deposition at the insistence of the criminal cult of scientology. The criminal cult has so far not permitted Grady Ward to depose any of themselves. Fact discovery ends on April 11, 1997, trial is scheduled for June 16, 1997."
>From the motion to recuse:
"The accompanying Declaration of Grady Ward in Support of Motion to Recuse, Exhibit A. is the District Judge's ORDER RE: ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE filed on March 3, 1997. The last sentence of the order characterizes the defendant's alleged postings to the Internet as 'disgusting.'
"This explicit expression of hatred toward the defendant's fully protected speech outside of court on the Internet, especially when not in the least relevant to the issue at hand, reveals the Judge's condition of mind and his disposition toward the defendant.
"The second example of bias against the defendant is continuing to occur. On February 9, 1997, the defendant served his motion for summary judgment on all plaintiff's claims on the plaintiff. The motion was filed with the District Court on February 14, 1997. Pursuant to FRCivP Rule 56(c) and Local Rule 56-1 and commentary, hearing was set for February 21, 1997. The plaintiff has not responded to the defendant's motion nor filed opposing affidavits prior or subsequent to the scheduled hearing date. The court did not and has not sua sponte nor in response to an ex parte request by plaintiff or defendant rescheduled the hearing. Under F.R.C.P. Rule 56(c) defendant believes that without any contesting by the plaintiff that judgment for the defendant on all claims should be rendered forthwith. However, no action whatsoever has been taken with respect to the defendant's motion for summary judgment."
Judge Whyte also struck Grady's filing of NOTS materials from Sweden.
"Plaintiff Religious Technology Center's motion to strike declaration and exhibits regarding 'NOTS Series 1-54 (TXu 257 326) PUBLICLY AVAILABLE IN SWEDEN' filed by the defendant Grady Ward on October 25, 1996 was submitted on February 21, 1997. Plaintiff's motion is granted on the grounds that the declaration and exhibits were not filed in support of any motion. The declaration and exhibits will remain filed but will not be considered for any purpose."
The Mail & Guardian reported that Scientology has links to a high ranking
member of South Africa's Inkatha Freedom Party. The party has since
distanced itself from Scientology and its management consultants.
"The controversial Church of Scientology has bestowed a 'freedom medal' on Lawrence Anthony, KwaZulu-Natal businessman and confidant of Mangosuthu Buthelezi, shedding new light on the close links between the church and the Inkatha Freedom Party.
"The Mail & Guardian reported in November 1994 that Anthony and Businesswise Management Consultants, a management consultancy then run by church member Alan Murray, helped the IFP reorganise its administration before the 1994 elections. Murray downplayed the role of the Church of Scientology in reorganising the management of the IFP, but the M&G showed that Businesswise was licenced by the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (WISE) to 'disseminate administrative technology' developed by L. Ron Hubbard. And in October 1994 the IFP called for an inquiry into mental institutions - a pet cause of Scientologists, who oppose traditional psychological and psychiatric practices. Anthony and Murray both denied the initiative originated with them, saying it had come from IFP branches."
"The Inkatha Freedom Party says it has no links with the controversial Church of Scientology. The party was responding to an article in the Mail & Guardian last week which noted the receipt of a Scientology medal by Lawrence Anthony, who is a confidant of Mangosuthu Buthelezi and an associate of Scientology church member, Alan Murray.
"IFP MP Inka Mars said the party had broken all ties with Murray after it had 'verified the facts' of a November 1994 Mail & Guardian article which claimed that Murray had designed a new administrative structure for the IFP that was Scientology inspired."
Boulder Weekly published an article about Stephen Keller, a father who was
forced to turn over his daughter to the Scientology mission by police.
"Cuffed and sitting in the front seat of a police car, but not under arrest, Keller explained to the cops his fears about the Church of Scientology and his belief that he would never see his daughter again. Amanda is the 15-year-old pawn in a brewing custody battle between Keller and his ex-wife Suzanne, a high-ranking Scientologist. Keller says he has already lost his son Ben to the church. And he says the thought of losing his only daughter is too much to bear. Currently Suzanne Keller, who lives in a Scientology compound in Clearwater, Fla., has custody. A court hearing in Boulder County District Court in early April will determine sole custody.
"Officers contend that Keller violated a custody order by keeping his daughter in Colorado two days later than the court order mandated, and that they were only doing their job. And, they say, Suzanne Keller gave her permission to the sheriff's department to turn her daughter over to Boulder Dianetics Foundation executive secretary Susan Anderson - the same woman Keller had run off his property earlier that day. Before being turned over to Anderson, Amanda and Steve Keller had spent three weeks together trying to dance around a Church of Scientology plan to marry Amanda off to a 23-year-old Chilean man to thwart her father's bid for custody. It was not, Keller says, a merry Christmas.
"Boulder attorney Michael Morphew, who is representing Keller in the custody action, says he has seen the effects of Scientology on teenagers. 'The types of developmental issues (teens) face and how they learn to go about becoming an adult. And the challenges and the things you need to be faced with as a teenager isn't going to happen in a Scientology commune.'"
The St. Petersburg Times reported perhaps the first beneficiary of the
publicity on the Lisa McPherson case.
"A barefoot woman ran between two Church of Scientology buildings early Saturday before jumping into Clearwater Harbor, where police took her into protective custody for a psychiatric evaluation. As the incident unfolded over more than three city blocks downtown, a patrol officer tried twice to ask the woman if she needed help, police said. They said she and a Church of Scientology security guard behind her kept running and eventually she was found by police in shallow Clearwater Harbor.
"The woman, a 36-year-old Scientologist visiting from New Jersey, told Clearwater police she was not trying to get away from the church or church officials during her pre-dawn sprint through downtown. Police said the woman appeared distraught and was admitted to Morton Plant Hospital under the Baker Act, which empowers officers to seek mental evaluations for people who appear likely to harm themselves or others.
"The woman's two children, estimated to be ages 2 and 7, were found sleeping in her room on the seventh floor of Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel, said police spokesman Wayne Shelor, who refused to release the woman's name. He said the children were fine and were in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families."
The St. Petersburg Times submitted Lisa McPherson's lab results to five
other expert Medical Examiners, and reported their conclusions this week.
The experts concurred with Dr. Joan Wood's opinion that extreme
dehydration was one of the root causes of Lisa's death.
"Lab results clearly show Lisa McPherson was severely dehydrated when she died after a 17-day stay at a Church of Scientology retreat, five pathologists have told a newspaper. The St. Petersburg Times gave five pathologists outside of Florida the lab results Wood used as the cornerstone for Wood's conclusions. All five were asked to advance their own conclusions before being told what Wood had told reporters about the case -- or that the case involved the church.
"'In my opinion, it is highly probable that this death is, indeed, due to dehydration,' said Dr. Ed Friedlander, chairman of the pathology department at the University of Health Sciences in Kansas City, Mo. 'If my scenario is correct, then anyone, even a lay person who was caring for her, has a lot of explaining to do,' Friedlander said after reviewing McPherson's full autopsy report.
"Abelson countered that the doctors based their comments only on partial information about the case, including facts from Wood's autopsy report, which the church alleges is seriously flawed. 'This sounds pretty outrageous, because these people don't have all the facts,' he responded.
"Friedlander and another doctor expressed serious doubt about the church's version of McPherson's death. They point to a blood sample from the hospital where she was taken, which tested positive for a staph infection. 'That's really hard to buy,' Dr. Edward Wilson said of the sudden illness and staph infection scenario. Wilson is deputy medical examiner for the state of Oregon and sits on the board of directors for the National Association of Medical Examiners."
The Tampa Tribune reported that Scientology has denied all allegations in the suit brought by Lisa's family.
"The Church of Scientology has denied in court documents virtually every allegation contained in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the family of church member Lisa McPherson. The lawsuit alleges that McPherson, a 36-year-old Clearwater resident, was held against her will in isolation at Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel in downtown Clearwater.
"In papers filed Wednesday, the church's attorneys responded to virtually every paragraph in the lawsuit filed by Tampa attorney Ken Dandar with one word: 'denied.'"
More details of the financial crisis at Luckman Interactive were posted to
a.r.s this week. Michael Reuss posted comments from a former employee.
"I quit Luckman because I hadn't been paid in 8 weeks. Since late December, we've only received one paycheck and one check for 'emergency funds.' The day before our holiday break in December/January, employees received a company memo stating that our break had been extended.' When we returned from our 'vacation,' however, we were told that the company didn't have our paychecks. We finally got Brent [Luckman] to explain the situation himself. He was wearing a large leg brace--why? Because he'd been skiing in Vail!'
"Brent [Luckman] did try to get us to go to a 'management skills' meeting at the Church of Scientology, even though he swore to us--in person--that he was not investing company funds in Scientology.' Most Luckman employees are NOT Scientologists, and none of us wanted to support--directly or indirectly--this brainwashing cult.'"
Other Luckman observations from Ron Newman:
"Following the chaos at MicroHelp, layoffs have finally come to Luckman Interactive's Los Angeles headquarters. Numerous staffers were given the boot on Wednesday, March 5.
"Despite at least one recent ARS message by Bryan Eggers, Luckman's public relations executive, there is no public response on the Web site to the accusations of financial mismanagement at the company--or to the fact that employees have received only one full paycheck since Dec. 20, 1996.
"Luckman Interactive has never publicly announced the installation of Mark Greene and Fred Rego, two new executives who came aboard immediately after the management from MicroHelp bailed out. Luckman employees were told that Fuentes was not fired; that he quit, though the accusations in the Yorkton lawsuit make that distinction essentially irrelevant. Greene was installed as a kind of quasi-president (not sure of his official title) though to employees his duties appear nebulous. Brent Luckman is still by appearances firmly in charge of the company and its day-to-day operation. When the hiring of Greene and Rego was announced, Luckman employees were assured that the two men were not Scientologists, though it was conceded that Greene had never worked for a computer or Internet firm."
PA News reported that the residents of Burton Leonard bought a home in
North Yorkshire to prevent it being used by Scientology as a drug rehab
"Residents of a tiny rural village are celebrating after they successfully scuppered plans to open a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in their midst by raising more than 175,000 in three days. Villagers in peaceful Burton Leonard, North Yorkshire, set about raising the cash after hearing that the charity Addiction Recovery Training Service was about to buy Crown House nursing home on the village green.
"The home's owner, Rosemary Swann, accepted their offer and contracts were exchanged yesterday - just five days after fund raising started. Denis Muldoon, chairman of Burton Leonard Management Company, which was set up by the villagers to buy the property, said: 'We are all so relieved. 'We had to focus our minds to do it, but our village was threatened by these people.
"The villagers fight began after they heard that the charity, which is run by Kenneth Eckersley, a member of the American Scientology church congregation, planned to turn the whitewashed property into a centre for 16 ex-addicts."
All Things Considered
National Public Radio show All Things Considered ran a story this week on
Scientology, the IRS, secret materials, etc.
"Lisa McPherson was mentioned, as was the NYTimes + IRS + plenty of other
good stuff. The OTiii story + Xenu was quoted as well, Heber Jentzsch
didn't know what to say when the NPR reporter read OTiii to him.
"A RealAudio file of the program should be available from the above URL."
New York Times
The New York Times ran a front page story, continuing on two full inside
pages, on Scientology and the IRS. Some excerpts:
"Scientology's lawyers hired private investigators to dig into the private lives of IRS officials and to conduct surveillance operations to uncover potential vulnerabilities, according to interviews and documents. One investigator said he had interviewed tenants in buildings owned by three IRS officials, looking for housing code violations. He also said he had taken documents from an IRS conference and sent them to church officials and created a phony news bureau in Washington to gather information on church critics. The church also financed an organization of IRS whistle-blowers that attacked the agency publicly.
"The decision to negotiate with the church came after Fred T. Goldberg Jr., the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service at the time, had an unusual meeting with Miscavige in 1991. Scientology's own version of what occurred offers a remarkable account of how the church leader walked into IRS headquarters without an appointment and got in to see Goldberg, the nation's top tax official. Miscavige offered to call a halt to Scientology's suits against the IRS in exchange for tax exemptions.
"After that meeting, Goldberg created a special committee to negotiate a settlement with Scientology outside normal agency procedures. When the committee determined that all Scientology entities should be exempt from taxes, IRS tax analysts were ordered to ignore the substantive issues in reviewing the decision, according to IRS memorandums and court files.
"The IRS refused to disclose any terms of the agreement, including whether the church was required to pay back taxes, contending that it was confidential taxpayer information."
Reuters reported that a Swiss anti-cult activist has won a victory in
court over Scientology.
"A Swiss anti-sect campaigner claimed victory in her fight against the Church of Scientology on Thursday after a cantonal court said an insulted Scientologist could not use anti-racism laws to punish her outspoken views. A Scientology lawyer blasted the verdict as 'absolutely political' and the plaintiff -- an architect who took umbrage at the activist's railing against the sect at a local school -- said he was considering an appeal to the highest Swiss court.
"In a verdict published this week, the court ruled Scientology could not be considered a religion under the anti-racism law and so the plaintiff, Donat Roth, could not use it to silence Bates. 'The application of this penal law against racial discrimination would be stretched too far if adherents of ideological groups that describe themselves as subscribing to a religious philosophy -- or even better: ideology -- can invoke it,' the court ruled.
"'In describing itself, the reverent relation of people to God is lacking,' the court found, adding it was also not generally recognised as a religion by the Swiss population. The case began after Bates, co-founder of an organisation called Swiss Working Group Against Destructive Cults, criticised Scientology in front of a secondary school class and handed out stickers bearing skulls and words criticising the organisation."
Paul Grosswald reported on the status of Tilden, Nebraska, where
Scientology is trying to build a park in L. Ron Hubbard's honor.
"Tilden is Hubbard's birthplace, and the cult donated lots of money to the city's Park Foundation to build a park in Hubbard's honor, which would include a 'Way To Happiness' Trail. The people of Tilden have been fighting back to prevent this. Over the last few months, Scientologists have been seen all over Tilden. It is a small town where everyone knows everybody else, so it is very difficult for cult members to move in without anybody noticing.
"The cult managed to win over three of the city's six council members. The other three council members have been strongly opposed to the Scientology-sponsored park. The deciding vote is cast by the mayor, who had been waffling back and forth. I have heard from my sources out there that the mayor's family is expecting to get the construction contract for the park, which gives the mayor a financial interest in supporting the park, but he has been torn because so many voters whom he depends on to get re-elected are opposed to it. All this has been building up to a climactic town meeting which was held last night (March 11, 1997). One of my sources says that the city council voted to approve the park, but ONLY on the condition that there is no reference made to Hubbard, Way to Happiness or anything else that is Scientology related."
Swedish Scientology defendant Zenon Panoussis continued to post updates on
his case this week.
"[T]he preliminary injunction that was issued against me in September is connected to a monetary penalty. The CoS claims that I have infringed their copyright after September and that I thus have violated the injunction. On this ground they have motioned that I be fined with the monetary penalty stipulated in the injunction.
"This penalty case will be heard in the primary court of Stockholm on March 5 at 09.30 h in what is meant to be a preliminary (preparatory) hearing. Audience is welcome. However, due to the fact that the CoS just today withdrew the greatest part of the grounds for its motion, there is a good possibility that this hearing will be enough to decide the case. In withdrawing a number of grounds two days before the hearing, the CoS admits indirectly that it was pressing a hopeless case and abusing the courts and the institute of litigation."
"The Swedish fair use statute differs a bit from the American doctrine. It makes a distinction between publicized and published works. A work is published when is is delivered for distribution to the public, but it is publicized as soon as it is made available outside the circle of close relatives and friends of the author with the author's permission. This has legal consequences for third parties: an unpublicized work is not open to fair use, but a publicized one is, irrespective of whether it is published or not.
"I have argued in my case, that the OTs and NOTs left Hubbard's circle of family and friends when they were passed to the CST, and from there to the RTC, and from there to the orgs around the world, and from there to their members, and there's no ending to it, and that it all has happened with the copyright owner's consent. I have argued that there is no way in the world it can be claimed that the OTs and NOTs have never been publicized and that they consequently are open to fair use."
Fundamentalist minister Pat Robertson's TV show, the 700 Club, broadcast a
story on Scientology and the Cult Awareness Network. Paul Grosswald
provided a review.
"They talked about how the Cult Awareness Network was taken over by its enemies, they included interviews with Cynthia Kisser (former Executive Director of CAN), as well as interviews with the leader of Chicago's Scientology org and the Pentecostal guy who was just named as the executive director of the new CAN. The clams denied they run CAN or that they had anything to do with its takeover; Kisser argued otherwise, pointing to the 50 lawsuits filed against her and CAN by Scientologists, and she (Kisser) came out looking like the good guy. They also mentioned the NY Times tax-exemption story from last Sunday."