Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 3, Issue 40
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
Scientology opponent and lawyer Graham Berry announced that his
partnership has dissolved because of pressure from Scientology.
"Today, with 5 scieno lawyers against me, the judge not only gave me an opportunity to respond in an orderly manner to the barrage of 'overwhelming' discovery that caused the partnership dissolution but commented that although the law may have required him to keep them in, that it made more sense to let them out. In the same spirit it gave me the time to meet the mountain of scientology discovery demands. Next week scientology takes days 7-12 of my deposition.
"After the Reveillere (OSA) v Pattinson document inspection tomorrow it is then on to deal with Moxon's opposition to Michael Pattinson's motion for leave to file a third amended complaint in Pattinson v. CSI. In those papers Moxon denies that clearing the planet means scientology technology ruling the world!"
Graham also reported increased investigations from Scientology PI Eugene Ingram.
"Right now the scientology litigation blitzkrieg is all over me and harassing witnesses with PI's. Ingram even called the DA's office which then called me. 'Some PI by the name of Gene Ingram is trying to obtain information on you but he is not going to get it unless we speak with you first. I also expect to be taking the depositions of Miscavige, Moxon, Rinder and Ingram within the next 8 weeks in two different cases, in the Berry cases and in Pattinson."
The Boston org was the site of a protest this wee. Jim Byrd, Martin
O'Brien and Stacy Brooks posted reports on the event.
"Half a dozen of us picketed the Boston org from 2pm until 3:30. In the group were Marty O'Brien, Ladyada, Jim Byrd (me), D.W. Pierce, Ron Newman, and Stacy Brooks. The temperature was freezing (in the 25-30 range), but the weather was sunny, and there was no wind in front of the org. I think we took them by surprise. One person came out very quickly, and seemed to try to 'handle' Stacy. He was asking her lots of questions, very quickly, and I didn't hear much of that. Shortly afterwards, others arrived to handle us, and they started setting up their cameras. They made a big point of setting up a video camera beside the steps. So we all posed for them, smiled, and said 'Xenu' instead of 'cheese' (Maureen didn't like that very much). After Maureen arrived, she told Stacy's original handler not to talk to her."
"They threatened several times to picket Ron Newman's company every day, and several times mentioned the address. They kept asking me where I lived, and said they were going to find out anyway." They brought out there sign comparing Ron Newman to Alfred E Neuman (from MAD magazine) and kept asking passersby who they thought was more attractive....or announcing to the passersby that they were in the presence of a celebrity! They brought out their religious bigot sign for Ada. They also kept repeating Ada's and Ron's addresses and talking about flyers and pickets."
"Maureen, Maria and Kevin all shouted at me that I was an SP and that my only terminal is the International Justice Chief, that I need to stop committing continuous present time overts, and that I need to do my A to E. A to E refers to the steps one must take after being declared an SP (suppressive person) if one wants to get back in good standing as a scientologist. I told them I've never seen a declare order on me and that if they have a copy, I'd love to get one. One of them also repeated the line Marty Rathbun used last spring when Bob and I met with him and Rinder at Celebrity Centre, that I am unflat on my RPF program and I should go back to the RPF and finish it.
"Maureen took Lady Ada aside and spoke to her for probably fifteen minutes alone. Even from a distance I could see that Maureen was doing her usual 'heartfelt appeal' performance. Lady Ada later said Maureen was pleading with her not to hand out fliers with any OT materials in them. This is the same thing Maureen has done when she has pulled Bob aside and spoken to him privately. This seems to be one of Maureen's particular orders -- to get everyone to stop passing out OT literature."
Ron Newman was the target of revenge actions from Scientology following
the Boston protest. A Scientologist invaded his workplace to distribute
fliers, and he received two threatening emails.
"Around 4 pm EST Monday afternoon, a man suddenly barged into a business meeting at my place of work and began handing out the following flyer to everyone in the meeting. I was not at this meeting.
"'Ron Newman Unmasking a Religious Bigot [Picture of me] [Picture of Alfred E. Neuman] Ron Newman / Alfred E. Neuman Separated at Birth?
"'Ron Newman, of 18 Day St., Somerville, MA, who is employed at Banta Integrated Media, 222 Third St. Cambridge, has the Constitutional Right to practice whatever faith he wishes. However, it appears Newman does not respect our religious rights. He has been viciously attacking our religion in a cowardly fashion [through the internet]. Scientology has improved our lives and those of millions of people directly and through many social betterment programs. We feel this is a slap in our face and to the many of our professional working friends. We feel Newman's religious bigotry against our Church, which he has never been associated with, is Un-American. The United States was founded on religious tolerance and abhors religious persecution. Isn't it time for Ron Newman to put an end to his bigotry?'
"Everyone in the meeting was too startled to get a description of the trespasser, who apparently fled before anyone could detain him. They got a good laugh from it, but are concerned about whether he will make a repeat appearance. When I got home Monday night, I found the same leaflet on the windshields of cars parked in front of my apartment building. A neighbor put a copy under my door, along with a note informing me that he had found a pile of them in the lobby of my building, which he had picked up and thrown away. A leaflet had also been taped to the building's front door."
The threatening emails:
"Date: 13 Jan 1999 21:40:02 -0000
From: lcs Mixmaster Remailer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: just wait and see
"You haven't seen anything yet. We are tired of your harassment. Some things are more important than an individuals life, and religious liberty is one of those things.
"Date: 15 Jan 1999 04:30:19 -0000
From: Secret Squirrel <email@example.com>
Subject: back off or else!
"I hope you liked our little demonstration from the other day! It was to show you how close we can get to you and those around you anytime we want. Keep it up Alfred, and we will make things much, much worse for you. After you lose your job and your friends and your neighbors won't talk to you anymore, all we'll have left to take is, well you figure it out."
News from Denmark where lawsuits by former Scientologists are being filed
to obtain refunds. From Kristeligt Dagblad:
"Three former Scientologists have sued Scientology. They demand to receive altogether 650,000 DKR [about $100,000] in repayments. They spent the money during a number of years on psychotherapy courses, that they claim are useless. The first one of these three people to leave the movement, was 49 year old Ditte Hjort, who got out in December of 1997. She has since been joined by 56 year old Aase Joergensen and 48 year old Inge Thomsen. Ditte Hjort received 92,000 DKR [$14,300] when she left Scientology. That money she had paid for courses that she had not yet started. On top of this, she now demands another 147,000 DKR [$22,800] for courses that she has completed - but claim were worthless. 56 year old Aase Joergensen also received money from Scientology when she left the cult - altogether 75,000 DKR [$11,600]. Her present demand is for 220,000 DKR [$34,200], while Inge Thomsen asks for 300,000 DKR [$46,600].
"All three women have brought their cases through lawyer Jens Asbjoern Knudsen of Aarhus. He explains that the cases are so similar, that they probably can be run by the same paragraphs in contract law. The three women knew each other already before leaving Scientology. And Aase Joergensen tells that they have supported each other along the way."
>From Berlingske Tidende:
"The organization [Scientology] has mediated a contact to the financing company Boisen Finans Aps in at least one of the three members' cases, when the woman did not have any more money. According to the woman's own statements, she had been told that it was necessary for her to continue taking the courses, in order to reach the desired results, even though the courses up until then had failed. Boisen Finans, situated in Ringsted, is owned by Scientologist Grethe Boisen, who exclusively finances projects for other Scientologists.
"Scientology rejects the demands for repayments. The organization's director of information, Anette Refstrup, says that Scientology already has paid money back to the women, since they were not satisfied with the results. The amount is smaller though, than what the three of them demand today."
'Frihed', the Danish edition of Freedom magazine published a special edition with an article on critic Karsten Lorenzen.
"The article on Karsten says he is spreading sensational rumours about what he experienced in Scientology, only because he wants to become famous, and justify his own prejudice against his former religion. It says he claims to have participated in force-feeding an unconscious woman, but that [unnamed] medical experts say this is impossible, and that others who were present have made written statements, that the woman never was unconscious. It also says that the woman in question has written a letter to the church, where she says that for two years she has not really thought much about this episode, and that she clearly denounces any kind of court cases against the Church of Scientology.
"The article then goes on to say Karsten is trying to follow in the footsteps of people like Jesse Prince, described as having a criminal background, left Scientology under a condition of mutual understanding, and only started to complain about Scientology 5 years later, when he had fallen into a desperate financial situation, and was offered money by a person who is financing a group of 'mercenaries', who attack the church."
An article in Aktuelt this week describes Scientology's efforts to become a recognized religion.
"In the early 1980's, Scientology were turned down on their application for recognition as a religion. Now their application is reviewed again, and it occurs at the same time as the movement has been put in the spotlight for some very un-churchlike situations. The media attention in recent months about the McPherson case, and about the large refund demands from three former Scientologists, prompted the Parliamentary church committee [kirkeudvalg] to ask the church minister Marianne Jelved to report on the status of Scientology's application for religion status, and whether her department is aware of the McPherson case in the US, which she could not answer.
"A four-member expert committee has been working on the application since last spring, with more than 1,000 pages of documentation submitted by Scientology. They have no time limit to their work. Some of the benefits that an approval would bring include a possibility for tax deduction for members on some of their donations, and exemption from property taxes for the CoS, which in one out of their nine buildings alone, Jernbanegade 6 [the AOSH EU] would amount to over 800,000 DKR [$120,000] per year."
Roger Gonnet reported that a French Minister dealing with cults has
arranged for protection from Scientology.
"On a TV show on national FR3, M. Alain Vivien, who was named some months ago to struggle against cults by the french government, appeared on the TV. He has gotten some body guards to defend him against cult's threatening him. He receives threats against him, people call him anonymously to say 'We know where your children are at school', he meets people he does not know in the street, who threaten him. Therefore, the french government handles the problem of his security, by giving him body guards acting visibly."
Main Post published an article on a Scientology mailing featuring Albert
Einstein this week.
"'We use only ten percent of our mental potential.' This is the message which residents of Schonungen are receiving these days. That is, mass mailings are put in their mailboxes, on which this quote by Albert Einstein is stamped next to a portrait of the physicist. Underneath that is the slogan 'Mentally fit + physically fit -- Enjoyment in Life'. The name 'Scientology' does not appear anywhere - but integrated with the page is an ordering form. Using that, you can buy the book 'Dianetics' by Scientology founder, Ron Hubbard, or a video of similar content.
"Scientology is not an illegal organization, even if Bavaria has already been urging for some years that it be prohibited. The federal administration would have to be the one responsible for the ban, as Michael Ziegler, press speaker of the Bavarian Interior Ministry, states. The obvious fact that Scientology that Scientology offers products for sale 'to disguise its true intentions,' the press speaker believes, is a sign of weakness. Members are leaving the organization and sales are declining. Ziegler says: 'They have a need to rally their resources.'"
Zenon Panoussis received an award this week for his work exposing
"Zenon Panoussis has received the award of 'Arets folkbildare 1998', something like 'Illuminator of the year', from Foreningen Vetenskap och Folkbildning. He received the 10,000 SEK (about $1,200) award for 'his self-sacrificing courage to publish Scientology writings on the internet. He has very effectively contributed to fighting a destructive cult by exposing its secrets'"
Plans were announced this week for John Travolta's film project
Battlefield Earth, based on the book by L. Ron Hubbard. From the Toronto
"'There are so many things I wish, but I really believe in the joy of life. We are here to enjoy life. And I wish that on people. I want to encourage it and inspire it.' Earning $20-million-per-movie paycheques assists in his quest to inspire and encourage. So does, he maintains, Scientology. He's been an often-publicized member of the organization since the '70s. So, talk about coincidence. Another wish might come true. He might be able do what he's wanted to do since he became a Scientologist. That is make a movie version of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's 1982 novel, Battlefield Earth. Travolta has yearned to play the alien ruler of Battlefield Earth. "The project could cost more than $60 million. And some insiders say that studios are anxious about the Scientology connection, and the prospect of having their very recognizable star dressed as an unrecognizable alien."
"Based on the L. Ron Hubbard novel which takes place in the year 3000, after an alien species has enslaved the planet Earth. The story follows a human survivor named Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, who unites mankind and leads a revolution to overcome the alien overlords. John Travolta will play the alien leader.
"Roger Christian, second unit director for Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace, has signed on to direct John Travolta in Battlefield Earth for Franchise Entertainment, according to Variety. Based on L. Ron Hubbard's book, the film will star John Travolta as the leader of a group of aliens that have taken over the Earth in the year 3000. One man rises up in an attempt to take down the alien invaders.
"Filming will start in Canada and Los Angeles on July 1. Elie Samaha, Jonathan Krane and Travolta will produce the film with a budget in the $70M range. Franchise's Ashok Amritraj and Andrew Stevens will take executive producer credits."
"One of them is the pet project Battlefield Earth--an adaptation of one of Scientology founder/sci-fi novelist L. Ron Hubbard's books. Travolta, the controversial religion's leading figure these days, has been trying to get the film made for some time, and now it appears he's actually going to get started on it in July. The trades report he's lined up director Roger Christian, the second-unit director for George Lucas' Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and has the film's $80 million budget financed through Franchise Films. (MGM had dibs on the picture earlier, but reportedly backed out because they thought the budget would exceed $100 million.) Travolta will produce and costar in the film. Battlefield Earth, a book written by Hubbard before he founded Scientology, portrays a future where a small population of remaining humans is dominated by an alien race."
"John Travolta's pet project 'Battlefield Earth,' a film based on the sci-fi novel by his spiritual guru L. Ron Hubbard, has moved closer to reality. Roger Christian has committed to direct Travolta in the story of a rebel hero who saves the earth from an oppressive race of 10-ft. tall aliens. Travolta, who has been fascinated by 'Battlefield Earth' for some time, will play the leader of the extra-terrestrials, and will get his usual fee of about $20 million. The role of the hero is not yet cast. Hubbard is the founder of Scientology, of which Travolta is an enthusiastic follower."
>From Internet Movie Database Studio Briefings:
"John Travolta's long-standing efforts to bring Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's sci-fi novel Battlefield Earth to the screen took another step forward with word that he has selected Roger Christian, a second-unit director on Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace (1999), to direct the film. Today's Daily Variety reported that the movie will be produced by Franchise Entertainment with a budget 'north of $70 million.' It had previously been announced that it would be produced at MGM, but, according to the trade paper, the studio had determined that the actual budget would exceed $100 million, a figure it deemed unacceptable. While the trade paper observed that the movie is not about Scientology, members of the group have actively promoted sales of the book and initially were accused of buying massive quantities in order to assure that it landed on the best-seller lists. Travolta is one of the more prominent members of the group, which calls itself a religion, and has often credited it for his success. He will produce and costar in the film."
U.K. newspaper The Independent published an article on a funding crisis
for Inform, an information clearinghouse on cults.
"Religious cults which threaten mass suicide or violent attacks at the start of the new millennium are to go unmonitored for the first time in a decade because the organisation which keeps track of them is to close. A funding crisis means that Inform, an academic research body which provides information to the police, governments and people trying to escape from sects, will be forced to shut this year.
"A dramatic increase in cult membership is predicted this year as millennial fever grips the western world. Already, a permanent watch around the Millennium Dome has been mounted by police to prevent suicide bids by cult members seeking high-profile deaths. The Home Office will this month convene a series of emergency meetings between church leaders and politicians to try to save the London School of Economics-based research group. Home Office Ministers plan to ask Gordon Brown to intervene to prevent its closure with an emergency grant but, with huge competition for funds, the chances of success are slim.
"As well as watching peaceful groups such as the Scientologists, Inform keeps tabs on controversial cults such as the Branch Davidians, whose leader David Koresh was killed together with 70 followers in a shoot-out after a 51-day siege at Waco, Texas."
The Atlanta Press, a free tabloid newspaper, published an article on
Scientology and Xemu.
"We head out to the town of Hemet, Hubbard's old stomping grounds where he did much of his writing. Here the church has one of its most sensitive sites, the Golden Era Production compound. The sprawling expanse teems with well manicured golf lawns, posh mansions and dozens of uniformed, darkly bespectacled people. They are most likely members of the church's elite SEA Organization -- the highest defenders of the faith, named for the crew of the yacht that Hubbad roamed the seas in for most of his twilight years.
"The guards are not in a talkative mood, but we want some answers. What makes Scientologists so devout? My uncle and I head back to the ranch to cruise the Internet. We dig up some startling information. Here's the core belief of Scientology, according to Hubbard's own words, the New York Times and many ex-Scientologists: 'Eons ago the evil ruler Xemu, also known as Xenu, banished hundreds of billions of people from the overpopulated Galactic Federation to volcanoes on Earth. He then blew them up with atomic bombs. But his subjects' spirits, or thetans, wouldn't go away and today clusters of them inhabit our bodies. To remove the pesky thetans, which manifest themselves as our problems and afflictions, everyone must be 'cleared' through the auditing counseling sessions.'
"That's it? Pulp science fiction as the truth of the universe? No wonder Hollywood types like John Travolta fall for it. I imagine they want to star in the movie when it comes out."