Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 3, Issue 15 07/19/98 by Rod Keller [firstname.lastname@example.org] copyright 1998
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 email@example.com It is archived at: http://wpxx02.toxi.uni-wuerzburg.de/~krasel/CoS/ars-summary.html http://www.thur.de/religio/publik/arsfaq.html http://www.xenu.net/archive/WIR/ http://www.ecis.com/~mallen/scn/arswr/ars-summary.html http://alfa.ist.utl.pt/~dif/ic/reviews.htm #####
Scientology in Austria has been publicizing an effort against
electroconvulsive therapy. From Der Standard:
"Questioning of patients in the Baumgartner Heights Psychiatric Hospital has led to the suspicion that electroshock is being used as punishment. This statement was made by Karl Morz, the president of Scientology's Commission for Violations of Psychiatry against Human Rights. The City Office of Health ruled out this possibility and informed the patients' attorney, 'If Morz has any tangible evidence, then he is cordially invited to contact us about it.'"
>From Salzburger Nachrichten:
"Members of this organization have been questioning patients and personnel in the clinic, and have the suspicion that electroshock is being used as punishment. A speaker from the City Health Office, Sepp Rieder (SP) confidently ruled out that method of procedure: 'We are not starting a discussion about human rights in psychiatry with Scientology. KVPM was founded in the 1970's by Scientology, Austria.'"
>From Die Presse:
"The first reaction from Sepp Rieder, a speaker of the City Health Office, was to 'confidently' rule out electroshock mistreatment. Rieder's office even informed the patients' attorney about the reproach, and left no doubt: 'We will not start a discussion with Scientology about human rights in psychiatry.'
"According to a statement made by KVPM members, they have conducted a survey during the past few days on the patients and personnel of Baumgartner Heights. On the basis of the results of the survey, the group, which was found in 1976, wants to conduct further investigation."
Salzburger Nachrichten reported that Scientology has withdrawn its application for recognition by the Austrian government.
"Eight categories may now officially refer to themselves as 'religious denominational communities.' They include the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Bahai, the Adventists and the Pentecostal communities. The gist of this law is that religious minorities can apply for 'legal entity' as a 'religious denominational community.'
"Scientology withdrew its application for the status of 'religious denominational community.' It is possible that that group wishes to avoid review of it books, which would be required for application."
Gerry Armstrong posted an affidavit Scientology prepared to derail his
lawsuit in Nevada by disputing residency in that state.
"I, Janet Holsclaw, declare and state as follows: I am an employee of Talon Executive Services, Inc. I have personal knowledge of the facts stated herein, and if called as a witness I could and would testify under oath as follows:
"On December 31, 1997, I discovered that Gerald David Armstrong had only been issued a Nevada Drivers License on December 19, 1997 with an expiration date of 10/18/01.
"Investigator Jeff Martin discovered that Gerald David Armstrong had rented a rental car from them from 15 December 1997 through 20 December 1997 and provided his address as 715 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. San Anselmo, California. Investigator Martin was also informed by the Budget Rental agent on December 27, 1997, that Gerald David Armstrong frequently rented from them and had always used the same California address in all previous times he rented from them."
Gerry commented on the filing:
"Budget advises me that the divulgence of my data to $cientology PIs by Budget's agent is unauthorized, a violation their own policy and an invasion of my privacy. There are significant untruths even in the information cult PIs Holsclaw and Martin claim they obtained from the Budget agent."
Keith Henson reported to the court that Graham Berry is not representing
him in his copyright violation case. He asked the court to stop
Scientology's abuse of the collection process following the decision to
award them $75,000.
"Mr. Graham Berry is no longer representing the defendant in this matter--for the simple reason defendant has no resources with which to pay an attorney.
"Defendant stated in his letter to the court in 1996 which started this case that exposing scientology criminal activities such as are to be found in NOTs 34 would subject him and his family to abuse by scientology. In scientology this is the policy formerly known as 'fair game.' Defendant has indeed been subject to 'fair game' in the form of unwarranted state court lawsuits filed in three cities, visits to neighbors by wanted (on a felony charge) RTC private investigator Gene Ingram, and continues to be subject to 'fair game' through abuse of the judgment collection process.
"Defendant has no idea of how far the court will support judgment collection abuse by the plaintiffs. But rather than make a court fight out of every point, defendant will file under seal next week everything plaintiff is requesting and let the court sort out what plaintiff is entitled to know for judgment collection, and what is fishing for information with the intent to 'fair game' defendant."
The Edmonton Examiner published an apology this week to Professor Stephen
Kent. The Examiner distributed Scientology's Freedom magazine as an
insert in the paper. Freedom attacked Professor Kent in the insert.
"In early June of 1998, the Edmonton Examiner inadvertently distributed copies of the Freedom Journal to some Edmonton homes. The Freedom Journal is published by the Church of Scientology International and made certain allegations concerning University of Alberta Professor Stephen A. Kent (Ph.D.). The Edmonton Examiner is not aware of any basis for the printed allegations and was wrong to distribute material which represented Professor Kent in a derogatory manner. Further, the Edmonton Examiner apologizes to Professor Stephen A. Kent for any embarrassment caused and sincerely regrets its role in the distribution of this material."
The Examiner also included a statement from Dr. Kent.
"The insert was especially critical of, but vague about, my presentations in Germany last summer about Scientology itself. From reading the libelous article, no one could know that I was speaking about human rights issues to German government officials and others who were investigating Scientology. No individual took responsibility for being author of the piece against me, nor did the publication identify any individual publisher or editor. I only can surmise that no one associated with the publication has the integrity to stand behind its contents.
"This debate saddens me, since I know that many ordinary members believe that Scientology has helped them and does good community work. These people, however, do not have access to the important information about the actions of the group's upper level management, which trace back to the founder himself."
The St. Petersburg Times reported that Scientology is continuing to
acquire properties in downtown Clearwater, Florida to create a Scientology
"According to property records, three corporations representing the church have purchased eight properties since June 1997 at prices totaling $3.4-million. The purchases bring to 30 the number of Clearwater properties owned or controlled by Scientology. [Brian Anderson] responded to comments from church critics who contend the church is not serious about the project and is using it as a way to get money from its parishioners. Those critics have noted that the church made the project public in 1989. He noted that the church has erected a fence to prepare for construction and chosen a construction management company and is working with architects. 'It absolutely will happen,' he said."
Bob Minton reported a meeting with Scientology's leaders to discuss his
opposition to the cult.
"During my 5.5 hours of conversations with Messrs. Rathbun and Rinder I was chided for, amongst many other things, never saying anything nice about Scientology. Mike Rinder and Marty Rathbun are superbly qualified representatives of Scientology, RTC, and OSA. I know David Miscavige is proud of these two loyal Scientologists as would be L. Ron Hubbard if he were alive to see their artful use of Scientology technology, I appreciate the kind offer to put me on the cans to run out a few incidents but I'll just stick to doing my own brand of Scientology PR."
The San Francisco Chronicle published a report on the availability of the
secret NOTS materials from the Swedish Parliament.
"The 150 pages, which Scientology's vice president, Janet Weiland, describes as 'a collection of scriptures dealing with confidential levels of Scientology,' are used to counsel members who achieve the highest level. Only an elite of 350, out of 8 million Scientologists, is supposed to read these pages. However, they were put on the Internet (briefly), and copies were given to the Swedish parliament by an enemy of Scientology who knew that a document sent to parliament becomes public unless the government stamps it secret. Parliament did make the text secret but was overruled in court: Sweden is very big on freedom of information. (Swedes feel they're entitled to read the prime minister's mail -- to and from.) Scientology asserts, and the United States agrees, that copyright was violated. The case may wind up in the European Court of Justice. Meanwhile, Scientologists keep borrowing copies so no one else can. Presumably, members can be trusted not to read. But anyone willing to pay the state for a copy can have one made."
Salon magazine carried an article on Scientology's filter software,
designed to prevent Scientologists from reaching critical information on
"If you are a Scientologist, your church is hoping that you'll get online and build a Web site endorsing your religious beliefs. In fact, the Church of Scientology will give you a Web starter kit to do just that. It will even host your site for you, alongside those of thousands of fellow Scientology members. But if you want to visit alt.religion.scientology, the Web site of Operation Clambake or just about any page that mentions the word 'Xenu,' you're out of luck. In fact, you'd probably be unable to read this article. Because the starter kit that you just used to build your Web site also installed what Scientology critics are calling the 'Scieno Sitter': a filtering program, like those used to hide pornography from children, that prevents Scientologists from seeing terms and phrases that the church has decided to block.
"Opponents of Scientology -- and there are many online -- say that the Scientology On-line project's filter is 'cult mind-control for the 21st century' that stifles free speech. Members of the Church of Scientology say instead that it's a protective program, safeguarding the religious members from seeing materials that they never wanted to see in the first place.
"Scientology spokeswoman Peters says the filter was developed because 'many of our parishioners want to use the Internet but asked for a filter protection from those elements that have sought to twist and pervert the religion. Therefore, like many other religions and groups, we have provided a filter so our parishioners can enjoy their right to practice their religion without suffering harassment and intimidation for doing so.'
"Solid Oak, the software developer, denies having anything to do with Scieno Sitter, but acknowledges that its code could have been used via a sub-licensee. Ironically, the standard CyberSitter software blocks all Scientology Web sites as 'cults.' Milburn says: 'Scientology is not one of our customers. However, I have looked at the information on the Internet, and I can say that it appears likely that [Scientology's filter technology] comes from one of our sublicensees.'"
Keith Henson reported on pickets in San Jose this week.
"After court (bankruptcy) today I put in a really productive 45 minute picket from 6:20 to 7:05 (pm). The people who came in mostly made a really studied effort at not looking at my signs, which were the same as last time, about the $360k cost for the bridge. A few of them frankly stared at the sign. One guy stopped and looked hard at the sign, then (I think) drove around the building and out. There seems to be a running program, round and round the building going on and involving children. After a few laps by my picket a staffer came out and stopped them. One guy left his kids in his minivan for over 20 minutes. I was getting close to calling the cops, because you are not supposed to leave kids in cars at all, much less that long. One of the kids (just old enough to read) spent a lot of time looking at my sign which had the bit about mocking up your reactive mind."
"Deep Wog", on a picket this week in Toronto:
"A basic Toronto picket. We arrive at 10:00, we suppress until 13:00. We return to the org at 14:00 to further commit suppressive acts and speak suppressive words and distribute suppressive literature and think suppressive thoughts until 17:00. Cult defenses are better this time. But still inadequate. They effectively surrender about 15:30 or so, maintaining only a token resistance against Gregg. We had Xenu and Lisa flyers. We also had a new editions of Dy'nEthics (by Artemis). And Wulfen made up a nice 'Church of the Holy Censor' -- printing the entire Church of $cientology Index Prohibitorum from their net-nanny and latest Operation Foot Nuclear-Artillery-Shell.
"One lady clam takes to jumping right in front of groups of people, blocking there way, interrupting their conversations, while waving cult propaganda in their faces and bleating: 'Do you want to be stress tested?' It was incredibly rude behavior. Another clamette decides that theft is the way to deal with the public. Her trick? We hand someone a flier. Clamette creates a minor disturbance while trying to give the person some cult craziness. In all the activity, she would reach out and actually *TAKE OUR FLIER FROM THE PERSONS HAND*. The victim of the crime I witnessed, when he discovered his loss, was *livid*. Eyes popping. Extremely angry at this transgression of the law."
Ted Mayett picketed in Las Vegas with a copy of the secret NOTS materials from the Swedish Parliament in hand.
"I was quite concerned about walking back and forth carrying the NOTs from the Swedish Justice Department with me. I had arranged for reporters to be present and had other 'security' arrangements ready in case the reporters did not show. There was even a telephoto lens at work. It all proved unnecessary. They never bothered me. I did a short picket with the NOTs in my possession. they were in the envelope from Sweden, and the envelope was in a shoulder bag."
>From "Sue", who picketed the Minneapolis org this week:
"My picket sign was the same one I've used on my other recent pickets: 'SCIENTOLOGY: SPACE ALIEN SCAM' on one side and 'DOES THE BRIDGE REALLY COST $360,000?' on the other side. I also brought a bunch of copies of the Xemu flyer to hand out to people (I also had Lisa, Scam and Minneapolis/Poole flyers in my bag, but was mainly planning to use the Xemu flyer).
"As I headed over toward the org, by the time I got over to 10th St., one guy read my sign out loud. I pulled out one of my Xemu flyers and asked if he wanted to read more about it and he snapped at me, 'I don't think so!' Well, sheesh, I was just trying to be helpful and save him $150,000+. Then I saw that Orchestra Hall was having their Sommerfest concert series and there was an outdoor mini-concert going on with a nice sized crowd of people there, so I decided to also walk between 11th and 12th St. with my sign. Also, right across the street from Orchestra Hall there's a bar called Brit's Pub; all the outdoor tables at Brit's Pub were filled up and there were more people standing in line waiting to go inside the bar."
Scientology's march to protest conditions in Germany reached Switzerland
this week. From dpa:
"On Thursday, about 100 people demonstrated for religious freedom in front of the UNO building in Geneva. The demonstration was part of a 'European March for Religious Freedom' that is being held by the Scientology organization. The demonstrators declared that the United Nations must urge Germany and France, especially, to respect religious freedom.
>From Agence France Presse:
"About 60 adherents of the Scientology organization demonstrated for denominational freedom in Europe and especially denounced 'religious discrimination' in Germany. The adherents of the association brought up the International Declaration of Human Rights and complained that several countries had violated it. The demonstrators belong to a group of Scientologists who started on their protest march on June 25 in Great Britain which is to take place in several European countries."
More information became available this week on the German government agent who was arrested in Switzerland in an operation partially planned by a Swiss politician. From Badische Neueste Nachrichten:
"Susanne Haller, the Swiss canton politician from Basel, who is possibly responsible for the arrest of a German intelligence agent from Baden-Wurttemberg on April 8 in Basel by the Swiss federal police after a meeting with a Scientology critic, apparently has good contact with the controversial organization. Jurg Stettler, speaker for Scientology in Zurich, told the BNN that Susanne Haller had already gotten in touch with him in March. He said the reason for the contact had been a public discussion at which Mrs. Haller as well as Ursula Caberta, the sect critic from Hamburg, were to attend. Mrs. Haller had called him (Stettler) up and told him that she wanted to speak with him. However, he said that a meeting never took place.
"After the arrest of the German agent, Susanne Haller contacted him again, continued Stettler. First she said that she had known nothing of the observation of the German agent by the Swiss police. Later on she said that she had orchestrated the whole thing. Stettler's words were, 'In less than 24 hours, Susanne Haller completely changed her story.'"
>From Basler Woche:
"'If I had not informed the District Attorney's Office about the planned meeting with the German intelligence agent, Peter Gobel, I would have relinquished my political mandate.' Susanne Haller, Basel Council member and Scientology critic, takes the offensive. First she countered the accusations which the southern German press made against her. At the same time she made known the explosive details surrounding the arrest of the German intelligence agent, Peter Gobel, in Basel. Susanne Haller said, 'Odette Jaccard, resident of Zurich, handed over a list of names of almost 2,000 Swiss people who were interested in Scientology to the intelligence agent.'
"Gobel handed a whole ream of secret Scientology documents over to her in Basel. Among them was a report on Scientology speaker Jurg Stettler. It was advance information on an operation and a letter from the Department of Special Affairs to a Basel Scientology group from March 12. It is still unclear what the German intelligence agent wanted to have done with this. Susanne Haller was hoping to find out in the upcoming legal proceedings."
From Frankfurter Rundschau, a report on the march planned in Frankfurt as
a conclusion to the march being made across Europe:
"The Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, D.C. in the United States is throwing a big event on August 10 at the Frankfurt opera house. The 'Freedom for Religions in Germany' movement, which comes about under the direction of Scientology, wants to put 10,000 demonstrators on stage this day in Frankfurt. The announced 'Assembly for Religious Freedom' is directed against the German government. The activists accuse the administration of persecuting religious minorities and their adherents.
"The Frankfurt City Office stated that the meeting was scheduled with them. Permission to hold the event will not be denied because the authorities do not see any direct endangerment to public security."