Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 4, Issue 41
by Rod Keller
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review summarizes the most significant postings from the Usenet group Alt.religion.scientology for the preceding week for the benefit of those who can't follow the group as closely as they'd like. Out of thousands of postings, I attempt to include news of significant events, new affidavits, court rulings, new contributors, whatever. I hope you find it useful. Like many readers of a.r.s, I have a kill file. So please take into consideration that I may not have seen some of the most significant postings.
The articles in A.r.s Week in Review are brief summaries of articles posted to the newsgroup. They include message IDs for the original articles, and many have a URL to get more information. You may be able to find the original article, depending on how long your site stores articles in the newsgroup before expiring them.
Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available, just email me at
Note: This issue contains articles from the last two weeks of alt.religion.scientology.
The Tampa Tribune reported this week that Bob Minton will be charged with
battery for an incident during a protest at the Fort Harrison Hotel in
"An outspoken critic of the Church of Scientology was formally charged with misdemeanor battery late Friday. New Hampshire millionaire Robert S. Minton Jr. faces a maximum penalty of one year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted of striking Scientologist Richard W. Howd Jr. during a protest Oct. 31 outside the church's spiritual headquarters in downtown Clearwater. State Attorney Bernie McCabe had the option of not prosecuting the case, and Minton had been waiting since his arrest the night of the incident for a determination. Neither could be reached for comment late Friday.
"In the battery incident, Minton was carrying a protest sign up and down the sidewalk outside the Fort Harrison Hotel on Halloween night while Howd filmed him at close range with a video camera. Minton testified that he struck Howd with his placard when Howd would not back away as Minton left the area."
>From a letter to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times:
"Robert Minton knows that without morals and high integrity, Scientology would eventually fail. He really wants only to destroy a group that in verifiable fact has helped hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people to live happier, more ethical lives. He pretends to want to help us by reforming our ethics technology, but alteration of our ethics technology would make it unworkable. One wonders what Robert Minton is afraid of, what he is hiding that our ethics technology in its current form could bring to light. -- Robert Magness, Dunedin"
Inside Edition aired a segment on charges against a Clearwater charity
that supports Scientology.
"[A] group operating out of Clearwater, Florida that apparently sells teddy bears, with the money supposedly going to various charities. There was some question about how much money actually went to the charities and how much was kept by the group. They showed a woman getting into her car followed by the 'Inside Edition' camera crew; the woman refused to talk to the reporter, holding her arm in front of her face and saying, 'You're invading my privacy'. Then they mentioned that Clearwater was the 'spiritual headquarters' of the Co$, and said that Criminon had confirmed that they received money from this 'teddy bear' charity. They said that there was no mention on the group's web site that Criminon got money from the group.
"They had Priscilla Coates, she said that any charity that is soliciting money from the public has the responsibility to be up front about their identity and to let the public know who they are and what is being done with the money donated. They had Deborah Norville on saying that a spokesperson for Scn said that the 'teddy bear' charity is not a church charity and has never given money to the church, but that they encourage people to make donations to Criminon, which they say is 'an extremely worthy cause'."
Jyllands-Posten reported on January 20th that the recent U.K. decision
denying Scientology charity status could have an impact in Denmark and
"A committee under the Ministry of Ecclesiastics will during the coming month take a decision on Scientology's three year old application for recognition as a religious congregation. An approval would give Scientology the rights of conducting wedding ceremonies, and trigger tax exemptions worth millions of kroner.
"A British decision does, however, suggest that Scientology will face obstacles in realizing their dream. The British authorities have established that the American movement cannot be perceived as a religion. Scientology is more of a private organisation, that offers therapy to a small circle of paying members, says the British Charity Commission, which in December denied Scientology the status of religious charity. The British commission uses some of the same criteria of religion, as those that the Danish committee stresses.
"Scientology has now been denied recognition in both France and Great Britain. In Sweden, the tax office has recently granted Scientology tax exemption as a charity, but it is still uncertain whether the movement will get recognition as a religion.
"I think there would be a public outcry, if Scientology was approved. The movement has a bad reputation with the public, and some Christian groups apply massive pressure against a recognition. I don't think that the minister dares to go against those forces, says Dorthe Refslund Christensen."
Stuttgarter Nachrichten reported on January 8th that Stuttgart officials
plan to appeal the decision to revoke recognition of a Scientology
"After the setback in the legal dispute with the Scientology Organization
in November of last year, the Stuttgart administrative presidium plans on
filing an appeal. That was the answer a presidium speaker gave upon being
questioned. However, the decision to do that will not be made until the
written basis of the decision by the Stuttgart Administrative Court has
been evaluated. The dispute has to do with the RP having used a court
order to pull the association status from the Dianetik association, which
is regarded as being a Scientology organization. After the court's
decision, CDU State Assembly Representative Paul-Stefan Mauz demanded
several days ago that the state administration and the RP try to get the
decision overturned on appeal to the administrative court."
Saarbruecker Zeitung reported on January 13th that the mayor of Leutenbach faces questions about his efforts to contain Scientology expansion. "There continues to be sentiment, even among Constitutional Security agents, that the 'expansion' of Scientology is stopped, or even that the organization is on the downfall. Three years ago, Scientology was advertising rather aggressively in the state's capitol city. At that time, the city reacted with a similar 'security clause' campaign for its employees, in which at least educational personnel and newly installed city hall employees had to sign the declaration. Kiesl's response included: 'I personally am convinced that it has an active totalitarian structure now as it did before, and that it presents a danger for our society in that it makes an entrance as a religious denomination, but in reality uses religion as protective camouflage. Like a wolf in sheep's clothing. People who go along with that cannot differentiate between [the needs of city] office and their organization's urge for expansion. It has also been determined in the highest courts that Scientology does not have to do with a church or religious congregation.
"'I would not have brought it up on my own because that might have caused discontent among the staff, but I am fully behind it and support it. The personnel council, I and Primary Coordinator Wolfgang Schmidt are completely agreed. We do not intend to have anybody here who is using Scientology ideology or who advertises their humanly despicable practices.'"
Vogtland-Anzeiger reported on January 8th that a Zwickau official denies allegations that the city has cooperated with Scientology.
"Zwickau's chief mayor Rainer Eichhorn (CDU) dismissed accusations by 'Kennzeichen D,' the ZDF magazine which said that the city had been cooperating with real estate dealer Kurt Fliegerbauer and the Scientologists. 'The city administration is aware of the problems of Scientology as well as of the dangers emanating from the sect,' said Eichhorn at a press conference on Friday. He said that the city explicitly distances itself from persons who belong to the Scientology organization. Kurt Fliegerbauer, who has said that he is a Scientologist, and his Osterstein Castle Management, Inc., have been buying up real estate in the city for years and renovating it. According to an advertising sign, Fliegerbauer says he has redone about 250 apartments, particularly in Zwickau city's northern suburbs. In Plauen he bought a building on Mendelsohn Place and redid it.
"Constitutional Security says there are many indications that Fliegerbauer is a high-ranking Scientologist. It cannot be proved, however, that he runs his real estate business in the name of Scientology, said Reinhard Boos, President of Sachsen Constitutional Security. Critics, among them Ursula Caberta of the Work Group on Scientology in Hamburg's Interior Senate, fear that Fliegerbauer and the Scientologists will infiltrate the city and the economy in this way. Caberta has stated on ZDF broadcasting that Fliegerbauer has implemented ideas hostile to the Constitution as prescribed by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology."
Freie Presse reported on January 18th that a party chairman plans to sue a local Scientologist for slander.
"CDU faction chairman in the Zwickau city council, Frank Seidel, was said to be the 'Julius Streicher from Zwickau, an irresponsible demagogue and fascist': by making this comparison, Kurt Fliegerbauer, professed Scientologist and business manager for Osterstein Castle Management Association, has made for some unrest in the city and beyond. While Seidel intends on suing the construction magnate, the CDU city association and the regional association of Buendnis 90/The Greens reacted by sharply criticizing this use of the Nazi comparison. The Buendnis-Greens have demanded that 'all democrats' decisively distance themselves from Fliegerbauer's diversions."
Fraenkischer Tag reported on January 19th that Nuernberg parents are being warned about Scientology tutors.
"Herzogenaurach Extreme caution is advised for parents in Herzogenaurach and outlying areas whose children are having problems in school. The Scientology organization is trying to introduce the teachings of founder L. Ron Hubbard to children through tutoring courses. Therefore there was a continuing education class offered in Liebfrauenhaus on Monday on the theme of 'Scientology Structure, Goals and Influence in Society,' which discussed matters including how to deal with the dangers of these front companies.
"Ludwig Lanzhammer, sect commissioner of the Catholic city church in Nuernberg, informed the approximately 140 participants of the names of the companies who offered tutoring. One of them was the 'HELP' institute out of Fuerth, behind which in turn, Lanzhammer said, stood the 'ABLE' front company. The 'Association for Better Living and Education' was said to be managed by Andreas Weigmann, a jeweler who is also from Fuerth and who has been a distinguished member of Scientology for a long time, even if he disputes it."
Keith Henson has lost his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn
Scientology's judgment against him for copyright violations.
"99-456 HENSON, H. KEITH V. RELIGIOUS TECH. CENTER. The motion of Electronic Frontier Foundation for leave to file a brief as amicus curiae is granted. The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied."
A prosecution filing in the Lisa McPherson criminal case was posted to
a.r.s this week. It details reasons why the Religious Freedom Restoration
Act should not be a defense for Scientology against the criminal charges,
and lays out the investigation in the circumstances of Lisa's death. Some
"The State acknowledges that although it originated as the secular activity of Dianetics, Scientology philosophy contains precepts such as reincarnation and the immortality of the spirit that are both metaphysical and religious in nature. Based upon this and other attributes of Scientology, Courts have found believers in Scientology to qualify for religious protection under the First Amendment. The State does not concede, however, that every precept or assertion in the vast library of works created by the prolific L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology's founder, to be religious tenets, beliefs or practices within constitutional or statutory protections. Moreover, despite the inclusion of the word 'church' in its corporate name, the State does not concede that the corporate defendant is coextensive with being the 'Church of Scientology.' The term 'church' usually denotes the physical structure where religious worship occurs and has also come to refer to the body of believers' It is clear that CSFSO equates with neither.
"Illustrative of the early statements are the May 29, 1996 and May 30, 1996 taped interviews of Janis Johnson and Alain Kartuzinski by the Clearwater Police Department which were conducted in the presence of CSFSO corporate counsel Robert Johnson.' Janis Johnson was a deputy in the Medical Liaison Office who was responsible for handling staff employees in their dealings with health related professionals. Alain Kartuzinski was the acting Senior Case Supervisor, the top auditor and head technical person within CSFSO's corporate organization. During interviews with police Johnson portrayed Lisa as a parishioner staying at the Hotel for rest and relaxation who was to get extra care from the staff, but not as being a clearly incompetent, severely disturbed woman who was actually unable to speak coherently and oblivious to her own needs. During the interview Johnson repeatedly misstated or minimized the symptoms and bizarre behavior which we now know that Lisa exhibited. She said Lisa was 'just upset' but 'she was 'with it'; that Lisa just needed a break to get away from everything; if things weren't going well then she would probably just sit and think about it and it would be hard for her to get to sleep. She described Lisa as merely being 'thin and real wound up' on Johnson's first visit and claims that on a second visit Lisa was better and made a coherent request for powdered vitamins. She acknowledged a single episode in which Lisa went into a rage she had to be given a 'big hug' for about ten minutes till she calmed down (she was actually restrained for an hour on one occasion) but stated that was the only problem that they had. Johnson was also evasive and intentionally misleading when detectives repeatedly asked if anyone was assigned to look out for Lisa on a continuing basis, indicating Lisa was merely a 'hotel guest'.
"Janis failed to mention the assignment of other staff members to serve as Lisa's caretakers, failed to mention Lisa being force-medicated or her own involvement in giving Lisa medication and shots, and did not mention her being removed from most of her normal duties and being specifically assigned to Lisa. Similarly, Alain Kartuzinski's initial statements to police gave no hint of Lisa's severe psychosis, his involvement in setting up 'caretakers' to watch her around the clock, or that he had directed that he be updated by written reports on her day to day condition.
"It became clear that Lisa was delusional and combative throughout her stay, was watched on a 24 hour basis by CSFSO employees because of the severity of her illness, had repeatedly resisted her 'caretakers,' and was subjected to forced medication and injections. Almost immediately after Lisa's death, the Office of Special Affairs (OSA), which handles legal and public relations problems for the corporation, began an investigation. All personnel who had contact with Lisa were directed immediately to 'Flag' and ordered to write down their observations and contact with Lisa. These first hand accounts by the witnesses were then 'summarized' in a typewritten memo by OSA employee Marcus Quirino Corporation Vice President Brian Anderson also wrote a summary of a conversation with David Minkoff. Anderson shared this latter summary with CSFSO attorney Robert Johnson the next day, but stated did not provide Johnson any of the Quirino memo. Anderson later destroyed all the original notes which had been written for Quirino by the caretakers. Despite the corporation's knowledge of the inaccuracy of the statements to police, it continued to affirm the reliability of the information given to officers.
"The defendant suggests that McPherson wanted, requested and consented to the treatment (and presumably the abuse and neglect which have been alleged). The sole apparent basis for these assertions, other than Lisa's history as a Scientologist, is the note in hospital records by attending physician Flynn Lovett that Lisa did not want to stay at the hospital and that the Scientologists had agreed to take care of Lisa and give her the kind of care 'she wanted.' The defense then suggests, without supporting detail, that Lisa made a specific and affirmative request for 'spiritual treatment' by Scientologists and then attempts to equate this presumed 'request' as justification for the forced use of medication, injections, herbal remedies and prescription medicines on an incompetent and resisting patient. This 'consenting' patient had been housed by them in a room without access to family or the outside world for seventeen days when she died as a result of her immobility. Consent is largely irrelevant to both charged crimes. No one can by consent grant permission to another to engage in the practice of medicine as that authority can only be conferred by licensing authorities.
"The defendant suggests that their employees' actions do not constitute a crime because they were following Scientology beliefs, yet at the same time suggests corporate liability is inappropriate because the same actions were not necessitated by and were in fact inconsistent with the tenets contained in Scientology scripture. Since neither the local corporation nor its employees may create or alter the religious doctrines of Scientology, the corporation's admissions demonstrate that the defense has not and cannot establish that the actions upon which the prosecution is based, were justified by the religious beliefs and practices of Scientology. There is no constitutional or statutory right to practice unlicensed medicine or abuse disabled adults simply because this criminal conduct may be alleged to be a religious practice.
"In order to invoke the protections of Florida RFRA, the defendant must sufficiently allege and establish that its practice of religion is substantially burdened. Defendant's religious tenets do not require defendant or its representatives to inject unprescribed substances into an incompetent patient, or force medication upon patients without their consent. Therefore, this prosecution for the violation of laws prohibiting such acts does not substantially burden defendant's religiously motivated conduct.
"The defendant, in a rush of hyperbole, suggests that not only did Lisa 'adamantly' reject psychiatric treatment while at Morton Plant but also that the instant prosecution will force the 'Church and its followers to refer all Scientologists experiencing [PTS Type III behavior], upon pain of prosecution and conviction to psychiatrists.' This is clearly untrue. The obligations imposed upon the defendant corporation to provide appropriate treatment for Lisa and upon which the instant prosecution is based, stems from their decision to voluntarily assume the status of caregiver of a disabled adult and keep her in its custody through what amounted to an unauthorized, de facto 'involuntary hospitalization's Lisa was clearly incapable of caring for herself. The defendant completely controlled her access to medical diagnosis, her access to care for her physical and mental needs, her access to nutrition, medicine and fluids, and her contact with family members and the outside world."
An affidavit in the civil case by Professor Stephen A. Kent was also posted to a.r.s this week.
"Counsel for the plaintiff asked me to provide opinions, based upon my education, experience, and investigation concerning: whether Scientology is solely and exclusively a religion; whether the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization is solely and exclusively a religious organization; whether Scientology's 'isolation' procedures toward perceived psychotics is a religious practice; whether 'auditing' procedures are solely and exclusively religious practices; and whether the 'Introspection Rundown' is a religious practice.
"[M]y opinion is that Scientology is a multifaceted transnational organization that is not solely religious. Among the organization's non-religious activities are its practices of both isolating perceived psychotics and auditing perceived psychotics. These specific activities are pseudo- medical and pseudo-psychiatric practices, not religious ones. Both practices, however, are in keeping with Scientology's primary, secular goal of eradicating psychiatry and replacing mental health treatments with Scientology ones.
"Support for my conclusion that Scientology 'is much more than merely a religious organization' comes from a top Scientology official, Norman Starkey, who is the Trustee of the Estate of L. Ron Hubbard. In 1997, when controversy erupted over Scientology's (ultimately successful) efforts to get some of its educational material approved for use in the California school system, Starkey wrote a letter to the editor of the Los Angeles Times in which he stated, '[t]he fact of the matter is that L. Ron Hubbard wrote prodigiously in numerous fields. His books on the subject of study are not a part of the religion of Scientology any more than his prolific output of fiction would be considered part of the church's doctrine'.
"Regarding religion, Hubbard stated: 'Scientology conflicts nowhere with the truth, and will be found to agree with known facts in whatever field it overlaps. It does not conflict with any religious truths. On the contrary, it has something to offer everyone, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Mohammedan [sic], Agnostic, and Atheist. It does not try to change the beliefs, doctrine or creed of the individual's church, on the contrary it brings the individual to a point of better understanding of them, whatever they may be.' Hubbard is very clear that both Dianetics and Scientology are psychological sciences, and that Scientology does not conflict with any religious or non-religious belief system. In this document, therefore, Scientology is not a religion, according to Hubbard himself. "An additional factor weighing against Flag Service Organization's claim to be solely and exclusively a religious organization is the operation on its premises of Scientology's forced labor and re-indoctrination program, the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF). This program is decidedly not religious. Moreover, it almost certainly violates a number of human rights conventions involving: the right to fair and public hearings by impartial judges: the right to freedom of thought; the right to freedom from unlawful interference with privacy; the right to just and favourable work conditions; and the right to appropriate standards of physical and mental health. The RPF is a penal program that Scientology operates to correct alleged deviations by members of its elite Sea Organization. Scientology leaders send Sea Org members to the RPF if they received a particular type of reading while being 'counseled' on an E-meter. Sea Org members also enter the RPF program if they are producing poor results on their jobs, have poor personality indicators, or are obviously making trouble. The RPF involves: forcible confinement; hard physical labor and other forms of physical maltreatment: long hours of study; various forms of social maltreatment; forced confessions; and (as a final condition of release from the program) obligatory 'success stories'. Inmates remain in the RPF for indefinite periods of time, and accounts from former Scientologists who were in this penal system report that some people remain in it for well over a year.
"In reaching a conclusion about whether the Introspection Rundown is a religious practice, it is important to keep the rundown's threefold intent in mind. First, it intends to correct the conditions that psychotics suffer, including their (frequent) violence and destructiveness. Second, it intends to attack reputed critics of the Scientology ideology and/or organization. Third, it intends to eliminate psychiatry by introducing a treatment procedure for psychosis that makes the profession unnecessary. According to Hubbard's teachings for Scientologists, the introduction of the Introspection Rundown 'MEANS THE LAST REASON TO HAVE PSYCHIATRY AROUND IS GONE'. Hubbard's desire and attempts to replace psychiatry with his own form of 'counseling' appears in Dianetics material that pre-dates his creation of Scientology. An examination of that early material in combination with subsequent Scientology information leads to the inescapable conclusion that the Introspection Rundown is, fundamentally, a pseudo-psychiatric (hence pseudo-medical) practice, and is not a religious practice. Flag Service Organization provided a facility - the Fort Harrison Hotel - that allowed Scientology to engage in this pseudo-medical, pseudo- psychiatric practice.
"Dianetics encountered charges about the unlawful practice of medicine almost from its inception. As I summarized in an academic article a few years ago 'the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners accused the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation, Inc., of 'operating a school for the treatment of disease without a license' in January, 1951, which contributed to the organization's departure from Elizabeth, New Jersey in April-- prior to its pending trial in May. In late March, 1953, two Dianetics and Scientology practitioners were arrested, along with the confiscation of an E-meter, as part of an investigation into 'running an unlicensed school and practicing medicine without licenses'. Likewise, in late 1953 or early 1954, a Glendale, California Dianeticist or Scientologist apparently spent ten days in jail for 'practicising medicine without a license'. An additional case occurred in Phoenix, Arizona in 1955, in which Edd [sic] Clark, 56, was charged with 'practicing medicine without a license'. On two occasions, the American federal government has intervened against aspects of Scientology's pseudo-medical practices. The first intervention took place in 1958, when the: US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seized and destroyed 21,000 tablets of a compound known as Dianazene, marketed by an agency associated with the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, the Distribution Center, claiming that they were falsely labeled as a preventative and treatment of 'radiation sickness'. The second intervention occurred in 1963, when the FDA again raided the Founding Church of Scientology, confiscating E-meters and associated literature. The FDA believed that the organization was making false claims about curing a number of diseases when a person reached that state of 'clear,' which required extensive work on an E-meter.
"Based upon the above, Scientology is not for all purposes a religion, since key components of Hubbard's writings addressed secular issues such as purported techniques for treating psychosis. Scientology's Introspection Rundown and the practice of isolating people thought to be having psychotic episodes are not religious practices; they are pseudo-medical and pseudo-psychiatric ones. This conclusion takes into account a long and dangerous tradition of attempted cures for psychotics that dates back to the early days of Dianetics and continues throughout Scientology's history. The fact that Lisa McPherson apparently became psychotic after she had attained the Scientology status of 'Clear' and supposedly was free from her 'reactive mind' strongly suggests that Scientology 'technology' is ineffective regarding psychiatric treatment of at least some forms of mental illness, and that this technology can be fatal."
Jeff Jacobsen reported a possible case of a PTS III case recently in Los
"I have been informed of an even more recent possible case where someone has been declared a type III and possibly held. This was at the December 28 rally in Los Angeles. I heard from a reliable source is that someone was designated a type III and removed from the event. As we all painfully know, another type III was not released until she was dead. Therefore, we as people who know how dangerous Scientology quack practices can be have to be very concerned when someone is called a type III. Did anyone at the Los Angeles Sports Arena rally see someone removed by security? Do you know any Scientologist who has gone missing after that event? Find out for YOURSELF because a life could be at stake."
Kristi Wachter reported a protest in San Francisco on January 15th.
"Great picket: Phil, Peaches, and me, fending off the rain with the power of our postulates. Steady foot traffic, excellent response from passersby, lots of interesting stories from those who stopped to talk with us. Jeff Quiros was there to snap pictures (with a photo partner); I got a 2-minute handling from a Scientologist whose idea of communication seems to be to talk AT someone, rather than with them; we had a visit from an a.r.s. lurker, Charlie, who mostly came to let us know there are a lot more people reading a.r.s. than posting, and to show his support.
"I arrived about 12:15 to find Phil already ensconsed in front of the Org, in rare form and very eager to communicate. There were quite a few Scientologists in evidence, more than usual, and Phil speculated as to why this might be. He thought it might be whatever 'New Golden Age of the Same Old Stuff' which is getting Marketed for the Millennium. A lot of people were very nicely dressed, black being the favorite color. There was the usual massing of the troops to observe our picket, and Jeff Quiros took a lot of pictures. We handed out a lot of flyers, I did better than usual, and we got more acknowledgment from the general public than ever before. It's great to have people walk up to you and thank you for what you are doing."
"Ethen" distributed flyers at Scientology locations in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
"I made up a number of flyer packages from critics web pages that offered pre written flyers protesting the Co$. The strongest reaction and interest was towards the Xemu flyer, which people found amazingly hilarious and insane. We did not contact the Police as we were not Picketing in one central spot, or picketing per se. What we did do out in the cold snow was deliver the flyer packs to the neighbors who lived by the Key mission members. The key members addresses were discovered by posing individuals looking to join Scientology.
"We ended up hitting 4 different locations where sunday meetings were held. A lot of neighbors also complained to us about the increase in traffic issue in their neighborhood. After a day of delivering flyers to neighbors, a couple of us ended up visiting the Local dianetics office. We handed out a few flyers to passerby's, and caused one younger man from going into the joint, after he took a moment to talk to us. There wasn't a whole lot of any activity worth reporting, and the only opposition from Co$ was a woman in her mid 40's coming out and asking why we were there and who we were with. We only stayed at the dianetics office for a short time, and then it was all over."
>From John Ritson on a protest at the London org.
"[A] gaggle of anti-Scientologists emerged onto the cold but dry London streets to picket the Tottenham Court Road 'org' and encountered an intrepid SP armed with a large voice and a purple blow-up alien who had already been there for hours. We distributed a lot of leaflets, to general public support. The 'org' was even more 'downstat' than usual. Five counter-picketers handed out copies of 'Freedom' and the leaflet that misquotes Einstein plus (a sure sign of internal confusion) the OSA journal 'Winning' with articles in impenetrable Scienobabble. We stopped at about four, when we ran out of leaflets."
>From Steve Carmichael-Timson:
"The picket in London went very well and thanks to some well placed disinformation the OSA and the heavies were in Brighton waiting for us there. We got loads of leaflets passed out including a hovering helicopter with POLICE written on the side. They took loads of piccies and we took lots of video to be passed on and I even got my own DA leaflet. I was called a 'Gun for Hire' who has threatened to assassinate Tony Blair who want's to fire bomb churches. I got followed by some of them and managed to escape into a police car who kindly drove me to the train station."
Bruce Pettycrew reported a protest at the Mesa, Arizona org.
"Kathy and I met Jeff Jacobsen for an 11:00 AM picket. The weather was overcast, low sixties, a welcome change for the record hot (80 degree) days preceding. We handed out 4 leaflets. University Street traffic was medium, but we still got a good proportion of honks or gestural 'attaboys' from drivers."
Tages-Anzeiger reported on January 8th that Zurich has rejected the
protest of a Scientologist against funding a cult counseling center.
"The city council has rejected the individual initiative from Scientologist and middle school teacher Peter Thalmann. He had demanded that the city not be allowed to financially support the sect counseling center because it was violating freedom of religion by doing that. It is a matter of 20,000 Swiss franks a year. The city council wrote in its answer that Infosekta did not direct its activity against religious denominations, but against unwanted outgrowths of certain sects. 'These often lead people who had fallen into the vacuum of such groups to dependencies, psychic detriment, to loss of social and emotional relational networks, to economic need and, in individual cases, even to suicide,' wrote the city council. Because such people will become a public burden sooner or later, it was in the public interest to support Infosekta. Besides that, the federal court had already clearly decided that such subsidies did not violate the religious neutrality of the state, explained the city council.
Tages-Anzeiger also reported in a January 13th article on the inclusion of software from a Scientologist-owned company in Windows 2000.
"The Diskeeper program which maintains the hard disk was developed by Executive Software, a California company belonging to high-ranking Scientologist Craig Jensen. Sect critics from Germany now warn that the software company could have access to the data on computers which have installed Windows 2000. And that would be many. Do we risk being watched over by Scientology in the dreadful manner envisioned by George Orwell?
"That is theoretically possible, computer specialists state, but hardly practical. The so-called defragmentation program does actually have access to all data stored on disk. The technical magazine 'c't' has found no peculiarities in the program, however the possibility that the operating system component could secretly gather computer users' data cannot be completely ruled out.
24 Heures reported on January 19th that the president of the Lausanne mission has been sentenced for defamation. "Suzanne Montangero, president of the Lausanne mission has been sentenced to 10 days of detention (suspended) and fined 3,000 CHF ($2,000) plus CHF 1,500 ($1,000) to the victim for moral injury. She will also have to pay the justice expenses. The victim is Francois Lavergnat, founder of the of the 'Group for protection of the family and the individual', one of the strongest scientology opponent in Switzerland. In April 1996, Mrs Montangero published an article in the scientologist bulletin 'Ethics and Freedom'. The article mentioned several irregularities in Mr. Lavergnat businesses and financial problems within his family. Mr Lavergnat sued Mrs Montangero for defamation and won. The plaintiff's lawyer mentioned that this was typical dead agenting practice, as encouraged by L. R. Hubbard himself."
The gossip column of Star Magazine reports that John Travolta has a plan
to save the Planet Hollywood chain.
"John Travolta has come up with a scheme to save the troubled Planet Hollywood restaurant chain--he wants to turn it into Planet Scientology! He'd like to change the show biz theme and concentrate on sci-fi memorabilia. Prominently featured would be books and items from the science-fiction writing career of the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. John feels this would be an ideal way to introduce the principles of Scientology to the masses, but so far the restaurant chain's celebrity backers aren't so sure."
An ethics order was posted anonymously this week, in which a Clearwater
public was assigned the condition of Treason.
"CLEARWATER CHARTER COMMITTEE WISE FLB 27 December 1999 WISE Int. THOSE CONCERNED STAN ALBRO BROAD PUBLIC ISSUE STAN ALBRO CONDITION ASSIGNMENT OF TREASON
"World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (WISE) is a non-profit religious membership organization that was established to aid its members' businesses in adopting L. Ron Hubbard's administrative technology to their benefit. The purpose of the Charter Committee is to use L. Ron Hubbard's system of ethics and justice to create a more ethical business environment among its members and those they associate with. Pursuant to that purpose Stan Albro a businessman from Clearwater FL, is downgraded from a condition of Liability and is hereby assigned a condition of Treason.
"Stan Albro is in non-compliance with the terms of the Dispute Resolution Order #212, Larry Pearce v. Stan Albro, from the Clearwater Charter Committee, dated 24 June 1998. Per the terms of this agreement Stan is to pay Larry an amount weekly until the note is paid off. Stan has fallen behind in payments to Larry several thousand dollars and is now many weeks in arrears. Stan [agreed] that if a succession of payments fall behind that Stan must hire a WISE licensed consultant to come into the company and remedy the situation. Stan refuses to comply with this point even though it is part of the agreement that he signed.
"If this situation is not resolved by the above time the Clearwater Charter Committee as the next ethics gradient will call a Court of Ethics."
"Jeff Lee, Ethics Officer Clearwater Charter Committee"
Lisa McPherson Trust
>From letters to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times:
"I am a board member for the Lisa McPherson Trust and I take issue with the statements given by the cult of Scientology's spokesman, Marty Rathbun. First, I am not an outsider, as Mr. Rathbun claims. I own a residence in Tampa and only moved here after the company I work for moved from downtown Clearwater because of the dark and threatening nature of the cult and its not-so-well-hidden agenda.
"The cult of Scientology has managed to insidiously insert itself into the very threads that control the business community of downtown Clearwater. When asked by the Lisa McPherson Trust to assist in finding office space downtown, I ended up going to every high-rise office building in downtown with vacant office space. In each case, we were turned down. When asked, some of the property managers were honest enough to say that they'd been contacted by the cult. We knew this to be true because we were followed by private investigators the entire time we were visiting these buildings. So when Mr. Rathbun says the reason we're here 'is to harass people,' all I can say is that they accuse others of what they are guilty of.
"The Trust will produce the truth about Scientology and its management, the lies they tell their members and why they are trying to stop the trust. -- Patricia Greenway, Tampa
"So why does the Times give Robert Minton all this ink? Could it be that you are merely a propaganda mouthpiece for the psychiatric/pharmaceutical cartel that is turning our children into drugged zombies through their label-and-drug-children program? Since Scientology is the only effective opposition to their plans and has highly effective methods of helping children to lead drug-free lives, this cartel is inevitably found to be backing people like Minton. -- Larry Byrnes, Clearwater
Bob Minton reported a protest that coincided with the first few days of the Lisa McPherson Trust opening.
"Our signs, with the Pilot's advice, were as follows: Sign 1, side one --- IT'S SAFE TO LOOK. Side two --- IT'S SAFE TO TALK. Sign 2, side one --- LISA McPHERSON TRUST. side two --- 467-9335. Thank you very much Safe, The Pilot, and many other unnamed Scientologists who are giving us meaningful insight into the means of reforming this organization so that it becomes workable for Scientologists and non-menacing to the outside world."
Stacy Brooks reported on the opening of the Trust in Clearwater.
"As of January 6, 2000, the Lisa McPherson Trust is open for business at 33 N. Ft. Harrison in downtown Clearwater. Scott Brauer, the CPA who sold Bob the building, met us on Wednesday, January 5, at 3:00 for the closing. Ben was trying to get Scott to agree to pull out of the deal with Bob by offering him nearly double the amount and promising to indemnify him against any litigation that might result, but Scott refused, much to Ben's dismay. We told Scott for the hundredth time how much we appreciated his integrity and courage. Scott's attitude all along has been clear and straightforward. 'I have to be able to look at myself in the mirror every morning,' he said with a shrug.
"[A]s I passed the kitchen door of Ottavio's, one of the staff, Robert, came out and told me that he had had a visit from Josh, who is in charge of all the buses that pick up and drop off the Scientologists in back of the Clearwater Bank building on Watterson. He said Josh came into the restaurant after the St. Pete Times article ran about the closing. The article had mentioned that a local restaurant sent over wine and bruschetta, and Josh came in to say, 'Was that Ottavio's that sent over wine and bruschetta?' Robert said he told him yes, it sure was, and he was really glad to have us in the neighborhood because we're good customers at the restaurant. Apparently at that point Josh began reciting the usual dead agenting material about us - he said Robert didn't realize how violent we are and how dangerous it is that we are moving in. Robert replied that he felt like he was on the playground in kindergarten. He told Josh that he is a businessman and that we are good customers, and that's the end of the conversation.
"I also spoke to Scott Brauer that afternoon. He said he had a phone call from Mike Roberto, Clearwater City Manager, at about 6:00 Wednesday evening. Roberto told him he was calling because he had heard about the deal with Bob Minton and wondered if Scott realized how much trouble it would bring to downtown Clearwater if the deal with Minton went through. Scott said he felt that Roberto was trying to strong-arm him, and he said it seemed to him that Roberto was calling to put pressure on him to back out of the sale. Scott just told him they didn't need to have the conversation because Bob Minton already owned the building, as of 3:45 that afternoon.
"Another unnerving moment occurred when the phone man discovered a wire on our main phone line that wasn't supposed to be there. Was it a bug? We'll never know for sure. The phone man said it could be an old arrangement between two offices to share a line, or it could be something more sinister, but there was really no way to tell for sure. Grady has now arranged for a security measure on the phone lines that will allow us to determine if anyone has tampered with them.
"That night Bob, Grady, Jesse, Mark, Duncan, David and I went to Ottavio's for a great dinner. Robert greeted us with yet another story. Mike Roberto's aide had come into the restaurant earlier and immediately brought up the Lisa McPherson Trust. He told Robert it was World War 3 between the Trust and Scientology and that he had better stay out of it. Robert just shook his head in amazement as he told me the story. I told him it's not true that it's World War 3, that we aren't here to wage a war; we're here to educate people and help Scientologists.
"At about 6:00 Bob announced that he was going to do the first official picket of the Lisa McPherson Trust. It was in the middle of the dinner hour, so as Bob and Grady picketed, the Flag buses were arriving to deliver the outer org students for dinner and pick up other students to take them back to course. Close to three hundred students were there, walking right past Grady on the west side of Watterson and Bob on the east side as they went into the dining room or left to get back on the buses. As the students piled out of the buses, Bob called out to them, 'It's safe to look! It's safe to talk!' Then he said to them, 'Make Scientology an organization you can be proud of! L. Ron Hubbard would never have approved of the way David Miscavige is trying to destroy Scientology.' He also said, 'Reform Scientology now! Dump David Miscavige!' and 'Reform Scientology now! Make it an organization you can be proud of!' Because they were on their way to have dinner, Bob told them, 'Take your knives and forks and bang them on the table and demand reforms now!' Then he called out, 'We're from the Lisa McPherson Trust. We're here in Clearwater at 33 North Fort Harrison Avenue. We're here to help you. If you have trouble with Scientology you can call us at 467-9335.'
"Rinder was waving a sheaf of papers, which, as they got closer, they realized was a copy of the injunction. Bob went to the other side of the street and continued to hold his sign up as the students poured out of the building. Grady, Jesse and Mark approached the police car to see what was happening, and they could hear Rinder saying repeatedly, 'He's an employee. Look on page four.' It turned out that OSA had had the bright idea to call the police and tell them Grady should be arrested for violating the injunction because he was an employee of Bob's and therefore couldn't come within ten feet of the building."
Bob Minton reported revenge pickets in Boston this week.
"My former home in Boston has been picketed the last 3 days, inclusive of today, as a means of harassing my children and Therese, my wife, from whom I am at present legally separated. Could Scientologists explain the rationale for this?"
The Baltimore Sun published an article on January 19th on the opening of the Trust.
"It's a modest, two-story office building in a sleepy downtown. But for Bob Minton, it is the field office for nothing less than a war for the heart and soul of this quiet coastal city. 'We're going to liberate Clearwater,' Minton declares. Whether Clearwater needs liberating is open to debate. But after about 25 years of serving, often uneasily, as one of the Church of Scientology's most important bases in the country, Clearwater finds itself once again drawn into a battle over the controversial group. Minton, 53, is a retired millionaire from New England who has protested and funded lawsuits against the church, which he says is a cult that has destroyed members' lives and trampled on the civil rights of its opponents. Early this month, he brought his fight to the heart of the church's Clearwater operations by opening a center here to provide information on the group and provide 'exit counseling' for members who want to leave.
"Church officials have fought back: Picketers have descended on Minton's various homes to denounce him as a religious bigot, and he says his family and friends also have been harassed. The church sought to block Minton's center from opening by offering the seller of the building twice the $325,000 that Minton paid. 'They're here only for one purpose, to harass Scientology,' says Mike Rinder, a spokesman for the church.
"Minton's center is named the Lisa McPherson Trust, to memorialize a Scientologist who died here four years ago while in the care of fellow church members. The church faces criminal charges in connection with McPherson's death, and Minton has helped fund a family member's civil lawsuit against Scientology. Both cases are scheduled to come to trial later this year.
"'He started it,' Rinder, the Scientology spokesman, says simply. 'He wants to picket us, but claims he's being harassed when Scientologists protest against him.' Rinder says Minton's Lisa McPherson center can only hurt relations between the city and the church. Scientology's critics say McPherson's case is emblematic of the dangers the church poses to its members. In the last two years of her life, McPherson had spent nearly $100,000 on Scientology courses."
The Tampa Tribune reported on January 21st that at a Clearwater city council meeting Bob Minton accused City Manager Mike Roberto of attempting to influence the sale of the Trust building.
"An outspoken Church of Scientology critic accused several city officials and a well-known Clearwater law firm Thursday of trying to interfere with his recent purchase of a downtown property to serve as his anti-Scientology headquarters. New Hampshire millionaire Robert S. Minton Jr., who bought property at 33 N. Fort Harrison Ave. on Jan. 5 near the church's spiritual base, told city commissioners 'the city of Clearwater is getting too cozy with an organization that is a destructive cult.'
"City Manager Mike Roberto acknowledged calling the former owner of the downtown building to find out when the sale would occur 'because we're going to have to deal with the consequences.' Roberto said he was informed the closing had already taken place earlier that day. 'No, I never told him not to sell,' Roberto said. 'In fact, I specifically said, I was not trying to influence the sale.'"