Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 4, Issue 34
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
A hearing was held in St. Petersburg this week on the restraining order
placed on Bob Minton following a protest at the Fort Harrison Hotel in
which he struck a Scientologist. Stacy Brooks reported on the hearing.
"Bob wanted Denis de Vlaming, a very well-respected attorney in Pinellas County, to represent him, but Mr. de Vlaming was out of town and couldn't meet with Bob until right before the hearing this morning. We drove to the courthouse in St. Pete and met him in the law library for twenty minutes, just long enough to meet him and give him a very short briefing of the history of Scientology's harassment of Bob, including the current circumstances. It was decided last week that we would have Mr. de Vlaming request a continuance to give him a chance to prepare for the hearing.
"The attorneys included Paul Johnson, Lee Fugate and Michael Hertzberg. Richard Howd (the 'petitioner') and Ben Shaw were sitting at the table with Howd's attorney Paul Johnson. Mike Rinder was sitting in the front row with Michael Hertzberg, Lee Fugate and a blonde OSA Legal go-for. One of the OSA handlers who has been assigned to handle Bob at several pickets in Clearwater, the one we call Spencer, was sitting in the next row with a long-time OSA Legal staff member whose first name is Joyce but whose last name I have forgotten. Also sitting in that row was Steve Marlowe. Steve was one of DM's fair-haired boys back in the early 1980s, but he was booted out of the inner circle and sent to the RPF for being disaffected with DM.
"Mr. de Vlaming got up and asked the judge for a continuance based on the fact that he had only just met his client twenty minutes before the hearing. Paul Johnson got up and said a continuance would be fine with him, but that his schedule was so full that he would not be able to reschedule a hearing until mid-December or early January. Mr. de Vlaming then stood up again and explained to the judge that waiting till mid-December would not be acceptable to his client. There is an important protest in the first week of December which Mr. Minton wants to attend. For another reason, Mr. de Vlaming said, Mr. Minton has bought a building in downtown Clearwater which he intends to use as a personal residence as well as for a business and he cannot be prohibited from entering his own property. This was a bombshell in the Scientology camp.
"He took a short break, and when he came back he said, OK, let's have the hearing on November 29. The TRO is still in place until the hearing on November 29."
>From the St. Petersburg Times:
"The Church of Scientology came to court Monday hoping its No. 1 enemy, Robert S. Minton, would never again be allowed near church properties in Clearwater. Instead, church officials learned that Minton, a 53-year-old New England millionaire, plans to be much too close for their comfort. Clearwater lawyer Denis de Vlaming told Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Thomas E. Penick Jr. that Minton has purchased a building next to the Clearwater Bank Building on Cleveland Street, one of Scientology's signature properties downtown. Later, de Vlaming clarified, saying Minton will not be closing on the building for a few weeks. Either way, Minton wants to use the building as a headquarters for a new, anti-Scientology organization named after Lisa McPherson, the church member who died in 1995 while under the care of Scientology staffers. Minton also plans to live in the building, de Vlaming said.
"The plans came to light during a hearing on whether a temporary restraining order against Minton should be made permanent. The church secured the order Nov. 4, three days after Minton was arrested for misdemeanor battery, accused of striking church staffer Richard W. Howd. De Vlaming called the incident 'a self-defense situation' and said Minton would plead innocent. A prominent defense attorney, de Vlaming's last high-profile client was the Baptist leader Henry J. Lyons, who was convicted of racketeering and grand theft."
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The Denver Post published a letter to the editor this week from the state
representative who organized a hearing in Denver, Colorado where
Scientology presented its case that psychiatric drugs were to blame for
the Columbine school shooting and other violence.
"The hearing was initiated by legislators, not the Church of Scientology. I, too, am concerned about the group. This hearing would have taken place earlier, but the information received turned out to be exclusively from Scientology's Citizens Commission on Human Rights. Upon learning this, I stopped everything and insisted we find highly qualified professionals not linked with Scientology.
"By October, I learned of them through Dr. Fred Baughman, a pediatric neurologist who testified. None of the professionals (Baughman, Breggin, Block, Tracy or Mosher) are connected to Scientology or its commission. The college student from Oregon is a fundamentalist Christian, but the local Scientologist funded his way here at my request. The only witness from that Commission/Scientology was Bruce Wiseman, who had gathered the objective data of which adolescents had done which violence and were on (or coming off) which psychotropic drug. - State Rep. PENN PFIFFNER, R-Lakewood"
A French court this week handed down guilty verdicts and sentences for
Marseilles Scientologists now convicted of fraud. From Reuters, on
"A French court on Monday jailed a former leader of the Church of Scientology for six months, with a further 18 months suspended, for fraud. Xavier Delamare, an ex-leader of the church in southeastern France, was also fined 100,000 francs ($15,750). Five other members of the church were given suspended sentences ranging from six months to a year. One of the defendants, who has turned against the group and accused Delamare of sending him on shady fundraising missions, was cleared.
"The seven Scientologists went on trial last September on charges of fraud, violence and illegally practising medicine in connection with courses in spiritual purification organised for church members."
"Delamare's lawyer Jean-Yves Le Borgne said after the verdict that the proceedings had smacked of lynch law. The trial was marred by the disappearance of legal evidence, which authorities blamed on a court clerk's mistake. Legal documents that could have been used as evidence against the movement in two other cases have also gone missing."
>From Agence France Presse on November 15th:
"Prosecutors in the case had sought stiffer sentences against the defendants, arguing that 'beneath the religion there is a clear, institutionalised business drift' in which church officials practised 'mental manipulation' to extort money from people with problems. They cited as one example sessions offered by the church at 200 dollars an hour for people wishing to expiate themselves of dark moments of their existence. The sessions, described as a sort of pseudo-psychoanalysis, threatened the health of people with 'real psychological problems,' prosecutors said.
"Delamare specifically was found guilty of manipulating a 34-year-old man with psychological problems into abandoning his medical treatment in favour of a vitamin cure. The man in addition was encouraged to borrow 30,000 francs from his bank to purchase an 'electrometre' supposed to detect areas where he was feeling stressed. The man ended up in a psychiatric clinic. So-called purification sessions offered by the church and costing between 2,000 and 24,000 dollars were also described as 'worthless' and proof of a 'monstruous swindle' by prosecutors."
>From The Associated Press:
"'The entire case from start to finish has been politically motivated,' the Scientologists said in a statement on the verdict. 'This has been 10-year trial by Inquisition for the defendants,' the statement said. The Scientologists said they would continue to bring the case to the attention of international human rights organizations. Delamare's lawyer, Jean-Yves Le Borgne, said his client would take his time before deciding whether to appeal.
"In a statement issued last week in Los Angeles, the Scientologists said they had asked the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists to look into French efforts 'to prejudice the rights of minority religious members to a fair trial in France.' The Scientologists already have appealed to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for help in their goal of dissolving the French government's anti-sect unit."
>From the Times on November 16th:
"Those who were convicted - who have now left the organisation - were found guilty of extracting sums of money from gullible people, who signed on for courses in 'spiritual purification'. In one case of what the prosecution called a 'monstrous swindle', a man was persuaded to spend 3,000 pounds on an 'electrometer', an instrument used by Scientologists to identify zones of 'mental distress'. The group denounced the trial in Marseilles as a political lynching, carried out in a 'climate of religious McCarthyism'."
>From the BBC on November 15th:
"The former leader of the church in southern France, Xavier Delamare, was sentenced to two years in jail, including 18 months suspended, and fined 16,000 dollars for manipulating people into giving money to the church. He will not return to jail because he has spent 17 weeks in pre-trial detention.
"They went on trial last September accused of accepting money for dubious treatments organised for church members. Some of these included 'purification' sessions and vitamin cures sold at excessive prices, according to the prosecution. The case grew out of complaints by a former scientologist. Charges of violence and illegally practising medicine have been dropped."
>From Badische Zeitung on November 16th:
"It was ten years before the process could be opened this past September. And then it was almost dropped before it started. Nine of the ten victims had withdrawn their complaints - presumably out of fear of reprisal by the sect, as the representative of the remaining co-accuser hinted. Besides that, the justice administration, shortly before, had to admit that important court documents had been 'mistakenly' destroyed in the shredder one year before. At the time, the President of the Paris government commission to counteract sects, Alain Vivient, expressed a suspicion that the justice department and other state administrative organs had been infiltrated by the sect."
>From a translation of the sentencing documents:
"Delamare is accused to have, in Marseille, between 1987 and 1990, in any case under unprescribed time, through fraudulous methods designed to make believe into a success, or a fear of accident or any other chimerical occurrence, hereinto by attracting the victims into the Dianetic centers of Nice and Marseille, by a strong advertising, by submitting them to a free personality test supposed to inform them, but whose scientific value is null, by interpreting or making interpret such test in order to sell them services, such services being fraudulently presented as able to better the state of the persons, while these programs were not credible and could be, for some of them, classed under mental manipulation, so as to get finances, and having therefore fraudulently got part or totality of the fortune of: Raymond SCAPILLATO, Dominique DISDEROT, Annick LEPAGE, Eric DUCLOS, Jean-Jacques GRENERON, Robert POLGUER, Martine MOZICONACCI, Martine ALLISIO, Chantal LOLLICHON, Daniel MOLINE."
The French government has warned Denmark not to recognize Scientology as an official religion, according to Ritzau, on November 13th.
"Right now, Scientology is applying for recognition as a religion, which traditionally brings tax relief. If Scientology achieves tax relief in Denmark, all other EU countries have to follow their example, due to the EU legislation. We would consider that a scandal, says Alain Vivien, who is the chairman of a committee for the fight against cults. Danish politicians has to be aware of that they hold a European responsibility. If Denmark chooses to accredit Scientology, it will be in opposition of all other EU countries, says Vivien."
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Fraenkisher Tag reported on November 15th that a seminar on cults was
recently held in Bavaria.
"The 'School and Business Work Group' held an information seminar in the rooms of the Hanns Seidel Foundation for the purpose of explaining the fascination with sects. Behnk's presentation was called 'Scientology - Danger for State, Business and Society?' Even though the Scientology sect, which was founded in 1954, currently is said to have only about 5,000 to 10,000 members in Germany, it is not the less dangerous 'because its adherents are all the more radical,' as Behnk verified.
"Behnk continued his presentation by saying that the Scientologists had undermined the usual model of communication, that which is experienced by two parties as an exchange of ideas. 'In Scientology, only Scientologisms are transferred in their entirety to others. Scientology has no interest in what others think, and their communication forms a one-way street. Scientology works to gain members using methods that make one's hair stand on end, according to the speaker. Psycho-tests are often offered from the facade of an institute. The results of every test are very confusing to the person being tested and give the impression that the subject person urgently needs psychological help. The institute offers expensive courses, under the appearance of providing unique aspects of help, in order to manipulate people.
"Scientology was said to strive more to ban all that diverges from Scientology's worldview from the heads of its members. People are robbed of their personality. Scientologists are continually offered the chance to attain higher 'grades of salvation' through numerous courses. 'In this way, moral limits are eradicated,' as Wolfgang Behnk said. Members are gradually animated to take forceful action against Scientology opponents. Scientologists 'are absolutely megalomaniacal,' said Wolfgang Behnk. Although it is known that the sect is marked by atheism, sect leaders 'disguise' themselves as priests, as Behnk criticized. That is supposed to deceive people and suggest that Scientology is apparently harmless."
Sindelfinger Zeitung reported on November 17th that the Stuttgart org won a decision in court when officials lost a case to revoke its status as an association.
"The Scientology branch has been operating a brisk commercial business under the auspices of a registered association, according to the administrative presidium. The association articles and the general meetings were said by the speaker of the administrative presidium to be 'pseudo-meetings' throughout. As a result, its association privileges must be taken away. Dianetics Stuttgart was said to be striving for commercial advantage in its so-called 'auditing' and training its auditors. In early 1996, for instance, about twelve hours of auditing cost 8,652 marks ($6,575). At that time the Scientology Academy was offering Grades 0 through IV at 18,400 marks ($14,000). The administrative presidium estimated the annual intake of Dianetics Stuttgart to be 2 to 3 million marks.
"The administrative presidium of Stuttgart had been waging a similar dispute since 1993 with 'The new Bridge, Inc.' Scientology branch. A final decision never came about because The New Bridge, according to the administrative presidium, dissolved."
>From Stuttgarter Nachrichten on November 18th:
"The Scientology branch of Dianetics Stuttgart, Inc. argued against revocation of its legal ability yesterday, Wednesday, before the Stuttgart Administrative Court. In the verbal discussion, the court signaled that the status of being an association would not be able to be legally revoked. The Stuttgart administrative presidium had revoked association status for the sect in 1993 because the agency viewed the conduct of Dianetics as 'a commercial operation.' Mainly from so-called auditing courses - sect critics refer to it as brainwashing - the Scientologists earn millions every year in Stuttgart alone, according to the way the administrative presidium sees things. 'There is only one idea: namely to make money and yet more money,' said an administrative presidium staff member."
>From Stuttgarter Zeitung on November 18th:
"From the perspective of the representative of the administrative presidium, Scientology is 'only about making money.' Anything spiritual, religious or worldview was only feigned, he said. The association targets sales like a commercial business, therefore it could no longer enjoy the privileges of an association. He said the Scientology Church would have to lose its non-profit status.
"The opposing side referred, in its arguments, to large sports associations or organizations like Tuev or ADAC. They also were said to function as commercial businesses and nobody seriously contended their association rights. And the accusation that spirituality was feigned was untenable. An outsider could also come to that conclusion about the Catholic or Protestant churches, it was said. Because a decision in favor of the Scientologists has already been handed down by the Federal Administrative Court in these issues, the chances of success for the RP look rather slim. The administrative court will announce its decision in the next few days.
>From Stuttgarter Nachrichten on November 19th:
"The Scientology Organization has attained a victory in the dispute with the Stuttgart administrative presidium. According to a decision which has just been released by the administrative court of Stuttgart, the sect branch of Dianetics Stuttgart may retain its association status. The administrative presidium had revoked the status of an association with legal rights from the group in August 1994.
"Administration President Udo Andriof regretted the judgment. 'As far as we're concerned, this organization and all its sub-branches are still dangerous,' he said. The agency will not decide whether it will appeal the decision until it sees the basis for the decision in writing."
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The Los Angeles Times reported on November 18th that members of
Scientology contributed to a domestic violence center.
"The Women's Auxiliary of the Church of Scientology recently donated boxes and bags of clothing and toys to the Glendale Domestic Violence Center. The project was chaired by Margaret des Marteaux, who hd members gather clothing and other items over the last couple of months. Lissa Martinez, director of the Domestic Violence Project, and Sylvia Hines, chief executive officer of the YWCA in Glendale, accepted the donations. Along with des Marteaux were Judy Cox, executive director of the Church of Scientology Mission of the Foothills, Nancy Reitze, auxiliary chairwoman, and Lee Cambique, auxiliary member."
Catarina Pamnell reported protests in Copenhagen, Denmark this week.
"Saturday, I combined a shopping walk with friends down the Stroeget, Copenhagen pedestrian street, with a little bit of flier distribution. About 50 'Want to pay 1.000.000 kr for spiritual freedom? - try Scientology(tm)' given out. Sunday afternoon, after assorted entheta activities, I decided to give out another 50 fliers in Danish, in front of the AOSH EU.
"As expected, the security guy asked me with some disbelief if I was there alone. I told him to go look for the other critics, which he did. Later he came back with the video cam, but didn't bother to use it. I had soon given out the last flier, so I headed towards the Scala for some coffee. Sec guy followed me, he was still looking for the other SPs. Then he came up to me, and I invited him to sit down. We had a nice long chat."
Gregg Hagglund reported a protest in Toronto this week.
"Flyer Count: Aprox. 900. AM Volunteers: Alan Barclay, Mike Argue and Gregg Hagglund. Ex Toronto Org members David Palter and Granfalloon provided moral support and refreshments. Mike worked the street opposite the org, Alan worked the south end of the Org and I took my old place, in front of the video camera. Traffic was actually quite steady and Mike and Alan went through 300 flyers by 1 PM.
"We were joined at lunch by Ron and shortly after we started the afternoon session, Slippery Jim DiGriz showed up ready to join the effort. So now 5 of us were busy doing brisk flyering and the Org of flyered back, but without any real enthusiasm. We ran out of flyers just before 5 PM. Despite Peter Ramsay's promise to show at the picket and 'BITE BACK', he made no appearance.
"There was a great deal of interest and demands by the Shills to know if I was planning to go to Clearwater this year. I declined to let them know exactly what my plans are."
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Neue Zuercher Zeitung reported on November 17th on the trial of Gabor
Bilkei, accused of murdering his wife.
"Gabor Bilkei, the veterinarian from Duebendorf who is accused of having murdered his third wife, Heike, is again put under pressure in the second day of his jury trial in the Zurich Court. Bilkei stated in court that he had agreed to separate from his wife. She had wanted to travel to South Africa to get rid of her drug habit with the help of the Scientology organization. He supported that. His wife had packed her things and next drove to the vacation house in Emmetten (NW). He had visited her there repeatedly. Right on the day of the separation, April 22, 1996, Bilkei tried to special order ten grams of highly poisonous prussic acid, which was not delivered to him. He had wanted to put rabid animals to sleep with it, stated Bilkei. He energetically denied the question as to whether the prussic acid had been meant to kill his wife."
Andreas Heldal-Lund reported the brief closing of Operation Clambake, his
web site at www.xenu.net, due to allegations of improper use of trademarks
and for copyright violations. The site was later re-opened with only minor
alterations. From a letter Andreas sent to his Internet provider:
"http://www.xenu.net/ - This is the index page for my site and contain links to information regarding all the metatags used there.
"http://www.xenu.net/roland-intro.html - This is an introduction to Scientology authored by Roland Rashleigh-Berry who is a former UK Scientologist and now a critic. This text is tailored for Operation Clambake and Roland has of course approved that I host it. All images on the page are made by me (except the HitBox banner of course, but this I got HotBox's approval to use).
"http://www.xenu.net/archive/scientology_illustrated/ - This is a witty illustrated introduction to Scientology made by two Italian critics of Scientology. None of the images in this series hosted on Operation Clambake are owned by RTC since they are from Corel clipart libraries etc (which I hold a legal copy of here). I have the author's permission to host this on Operation Clambake. If RTC claims I host images owned by them there, tell them to provide full addresses to these images.
"http://www.xenu.net/archive/WIR/ - This is an archive of postings made to the public newsgroup alt.religion.scientology from 1995 till today. This archive holds a lot of information about Scientology and fits all the metatags used on the page. Rod Keller who has given me permission to host it on Operation Clambake is the author of Week In Review. All images on this page are made by me.
"http://www.xenu.net/archive/FBI/ - This is an archive of documents made public by the FBI because of the Freedom of Information Act. The top image and the introduction text are made by Chris Owen and he has given the permission for it to be used on Operation Clambake. Other images used here are made by me (with some use of Corel clipart).
"I hope this clears all the issues brought up by RTC and that you immediately make my web site available again. Please contact me immediately if you have any further questions regarding this."