Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 4, Issue 30
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
The Cambridge Varsity this week reported a conference concerning cults,
"The Cambridge Forum's first official event, 'Who are you calling a cult?' was held on Monday 18 October. Opening the session was Ian Hawarth, cult buster, or head of the Cult Information Centre as he is more conventionally known. Defining 'cults' as those organisations using psychological manipulation, it became clear that the main violator, in Mr. Hawarth's opinion, was the Scientologist; secularism, the Nation of Islam and Satanism were not disputed. 'People involved in Scientology are reported to undergo drastic changes in personality, are quickly alienated from their family and friends and part with a great deal of money.' The Scientologist's reply dismissed such criticism as 'whipping up stories', and allegations that Scientology has been denied church status in this country were declared 'bullshit'. A member of the audience spoke of his experience with Scientologist representatives who had given him a questionnaire and interview. The Scientologist denied that there is an active recruitment procedure in Scientology, but distributed pamphlets with contact numbers throughout the course of the evening."
The Florida Sun-Sentinel published an article on a discussion panel hosted
by Scientology's Citizen's Commission on Human Rights.
"Exposing children to behavior-controlling drugs can shrink their brains, induce violence and drive up family health insurance costs, a panel opposed to administering the drugs said on Wednesday. 'These drugs do create psychoses,' said Mark Barber, a researcher and commissioner for the Citizens Commission on Human Rights. 'Stimulant drugs may impair learning.' About 50 people attended the public discussion sponsored by the commission, founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology. 'We owe it to our children to explore all the potential avenues of harm,' said state Sen. Mandy Dawson, D-Fort Lauderdale. Dawson may file legislation that would, for one, remove the ADHD label from student records.
"Leah Kelly, director of exceptional student education for Broward County schools, said parents can request that the ADHD identification be removed from a student's file, but the school has to agree to it. 'The label itself does not provide information about a child's educational needs,' she said. Lane Roosa, director of psychological services for Broward schools, said schools do not get involved extensively with the decision to prescribe behavior-controlling drugs. It's strictly up to the parent and physician."
The New York Times published an obituary honoring John Clark, a
psychiatrist and researcher on cults and mind control.
"Dr. Clark immersed himself in the study of new or generally unfamiliar sects like the Unification Church, the Church of Scientology and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Over time, he counseled more than 500 former members of the groups and their families. Dr. Margaret Thaler Singer, an expert on such groups and an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, said Dr. Clark was among the first professionals to turn attention to the subject, even before the mass suicide of People's Temple members in Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978.
"Through the 1980's, Dr. Clark was called upon by the news media, families and psychiatrists for his expertise on the influence of sects. The Church of Scientology objected strongly to Dr. Clark's assertions, and the church and Dr. Clark battled in court. Dr. Clark said the church had engaged in a campaign of harassment against him. In 1988, he settled with the church, received an undisclosed amount of money but agreed never to discuss the group publicly again."
Representatives of the U.S. Congress have again introduced a bill
criticizing Germany for its treatment of Scientology and other cults. From
the chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Benjamin A.
"The problem of religious intolerance in Europe is widely recognized, even in Europe itself. It should be obvious -- especially to Europeans -- that intolerance is much more harmful than is any so-called harm that may arise from adherence to one or another of the many new religions that have arisen in the world in the past few years. 'Germany is a country that should to be a leader in tolerance, and ought to be setting an example. Sadly, it is not doing so. Indeed, not only have countries such as Austria, Belgium, and France joined in its efforts to suppress disfavored groups on the basis of their religion or belief, but newly-developing democracies in Eastern Europe are following Germany's example. 'As recently as this week I have personally asked German government officials to open a dialogue, in particular, with Scientologists, which seems to be the group that they are most anxious about, but I have been rebuffed, as has the United States government when it made the same request. 'And so I will be joining in co-sponsoring a resolution on this subject, and will work to find other opportunities to use my influence to foster an atmosphere of tolerance of differences on the grounds of religion or belief."
>From United Press International:
"The United States has 'been a little weak-kneed' about putting pressure on the German government to be more sincere about letting people worship how they like, said the bill's House sponsor, Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., a Mormon who has also worked on religious freedom issues in China. Salmon added that the documented intolerance against Scientologists and others in Germany should not be overlooked simply because it is a U. S. ally.
"The resolution calls on the German government to prevent further discrimination, according to international agreements, and to open a dialogue with minority religious groups. Salmon introduced a similar measure in 1998, but it was defeated soundly on the House floor. Actress Anne Archer, a Scientologist who has addressed officials in Europe and elsewhere on religious freedom, represented Hollywood at Thursday's Capitol Hill event. 'If we do not insist that democratic governments abide by their human rights commitments, then we will be ignored when we try to remedy abuses by totalitarian regimes,' said Archer, who has starred in films such as 'Patriot Games' and 'Fatal Attraction.'"
Arnie Lerma reported on the news conference to announce the introduction of the bill.
"Arriving at the press conference at a few minutes before 2 pm, I was greeted at the door by a Scientology 'David Miscavige clone' John Terbush, who tried to prevent my entry. He accused me of wanting to create a scene. I told him I had no intention of disrupting his dog and pony act, and brushed him off, and entered. Opening statements reveal that they have only 48 co-sponsors for this tacit endorsement of Scientology's worldwide history of criminal activity. Down from 62 co-sponsors for previous Travolta show.
"After fifteen minutes or so, I took my jacket off. And was immediately asked to step into the hall, where the Capitol Police politely asked me to provide ID, and indicated that they had been notified that I planned to create some disturbance. And that under the the rules of Congress posters and placards were not allowed. Perhaps it was the red on white Scientology KILLS T-Shirt. After I told them about the visit to my home a few weeks ago by the FBI Anti-Terrorist Task force and the phone conversation with Agent O'Conner indicating that the Bureau suspected $cientology of providing the fake anonymous report, as well as the FACT that Scientology was convicted in the largest domestic spying case in US history AND that they did JAIL TIME. When I said JAIL TIME, both he and his Commander's attitude became very cooperative, and both took copies of The Art of Deception. Thierry DuChanac was seen to throw up his hands as I was allowed to re-enter what Scientology had hoped to be a one line show for them.
"And I reentered the room, and went up to one of the cameramen who was still running his camera, explained what happened, and his camera then zoomed in on: SCIENTOLOGY: WORSE THAN YOU THINK! and the People Against Scientology logo may make it to the evening news in Germany, showing truth crushing a swastika. [I] gave the Aide a copy of my flyers and Art of Deception, telling him simply, 'I was just asked to leave the Press conference, your chairman needs to understand exactly what he has stepped in.
"Scientology listed the following 'AUTHORITIES' for references to back up today's pony show. Dr. David Little, Professor of the Practice in Religion, Ethnicity and International Conflict, Harvard University; Massimo Introvigne, CENSUR, Director Center for Studies on New Religions, Torino ITALY; Dr. Derek Davis, Director JM Dawson Institute of Church State Studies Baylor University; Dr. Jeremy Gunn, former US State Department Religious freedom office; Judah Schroeder, Director International Affairs, Jehovah's Witnesses; Lee Boothby President, Int. Commission on freedom of Conscience Wash DC; Dr. Cole Durham, professor, Law School, Brigham Young University Provo Utah; Dan Fefferman, Exec Dir Int Coalition for Religious Freedom; Dr. James Richardson, professor, Sociology and Judicial Studies, University of Nevada; Dr. J. Gordon Melton Ex Dir American Branch of CENSUR; Khaled Saffuri ED Islamic Institute Wash DC."
Der Tagesspiegel reported on the hearing in an October 23rd article.
"On Thursday afternoon, a phalanx of American representatives, backed by Hollywood celebrities, sharply attacked the Federal Republic of Germany. The majority Republican politicians let it be known that a new resolution which was extremely critical of Germany would be brought before Congress. What's new this time around, though, is that the 'undisputed leadership role of Germany in Europe' is alleged to be responsible for the suppression of freedom of religion by 'other governments such as Poland, France and Denmark who are, regrettably, trying to imitate the Federal Republic.' Other than that, the accusations are nothing new.
"Among other things, the representatives said: 'hate is taught in German schools,' 'the government's persecution of minority religions has destroyed many artistic careers,' 'thousands need our help, because their voices are being suppressed in Germany.' Republican Mark Foley from Florida threatened to make freedom of religion in Germany a theme at the World Trade Organization (WTO). He also said that Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Orthodox Jews and Evangelical Christians were discriminated against in the Federal Republic of Germany. He said it was 'shocking that something like this could happen in a democracy.' California Democrat Xavier Becerra asserted that hundreds of Americans were denied entrance into Germany because they were Scientologists or members of other small religions. Matt Salmon, Republican representative from Arizona and himself a Mormon, gave his impression that the federal government was less of a problem than were state and local governments. Salmon asserted that jazz musician Chick Corea was stopped from entering the Federal Republic of Germany.
"Gilman and Salmon said afterwards to the 'Tagesspiegel' that they did not know of a single actual case where Americans could not travel to Germany because of their religious affiliation. He said that Corea had not obtained the permit he needed to appear for a concert in Germany. In response to the question as to what kind of permit a musician needed to appear in Germany, Representative Salmon said, 'That is just what Chick Corea told us.'"
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Catarina Pamnell reported that complaints against Danish TV for a
documentary shown in June have been dismissed.
"[T]he CoS filed a complaint to the Pressenaevnet [the Board of Press Ethics]. This board is an independent official unit with the purpose of dealing with complaints against the media - newspapers, tv, radio, periodicals, etc. - in accordance with the law of media responsibility. Each complaint is handled by 4 members of the board - one lawyer, one editor, one journalist and one government representative.
"The reconstruction of a child check sec was done by a Danish ex-scientologist, and labeled 'reconstruction'. Comments from Anette Refstrup were edited into it, while the question from the journalist that she was responding to was cut out. Thus the CoS claimed that it appeared as if she was commenting on the reconstruction itself, which was not the case. Pressenaevnet pronounced that there cannot be raised claims that an equal number of persons have to participate, to represent every side to an issue, and thus the complainant had been given sufficient opportunity to speak. Regarding the reconstruction, the board said that the editing ought to be done in a way that left no room for doubts, whether the complainant was commenting on the reconstruction. The board did not find grounds for criticism."
Liberation reported on October 19th that a French bank has been using the
services of a company connected to Scientology.
"At Banque Populaire in July 1998 they were more than a little proud to present the latest gem that the group had just acquired, a software system called Talent View. In the house newsletter, 'La Lettre Actifs', a few lines sufficed to hail this 'new vision of Human Resources', this 'tool of global management'. But then, this September 21, all hell broke loose. Shortly before the meeting in Paris of a joint commission within the group, a representative of human resources management for the company admitted his embarrassment to the unions. A union leader says 'They notified us that management was looking to get away from CML, that there were technical and business problems with them, but above all, that HR suspected them of being Scientologists'.
"According to an internal Banque Populaire memorandum, the program allows anyone having access (branch managers, service managers) to 'consult the important data concerning their colleagues' and to 'access their performance reviews'. In brief, to collect 'group and individual information' on the thousands of employees of the group. This is the sort of thing that made them write to the Rensignements Generaux that data 'considered to be confidential are being divulged to a company operated and owned by several known Scientologists.'
"The woman who preceded Pons as president of CML, Aline Lollichon had a 'Meet the scientologists on-line' web page, reserved for trusted members of the cult. A page which has since disappeared, wherein she explained her 'success in Scientology', why she was a scientologist, and which was her favorite quote from L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology.
"Jean-Pierre Pons and Michel Lollichon, husband of Aline and current director of sales for CML created Claryus, a corporation in the same sector as CML. Surprise, a year later Claryus' name appeared in the official listings of the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises. Simply put, the company itself adhered to Scientology. Alas 'Hubbard management technology' didn't really bring it any luck. After several millions in losses, on May 26 1994 Michel Lollichon was convicted on appeal and was given a ten year interdiction to manage a company. That December, Claryus was dissolved. But in the meantime, on September 30, 1994, CML Technologies was born. With a similar objective (software and training) to that of Claryus, and above all with part of the same team."
Freie Presse Lokales reported on October 19th that Osterstein Castle in
Zwickau, Germany is to be sold despite efforts to restore it by a
"'It was a shame to see how Osterstein Castle was going downhill. The lifeblood of the city was going with it.' Those were the exact words of perfume dealer Harald Ludwig to the Citizen's Assembly on the theme of 'How to continue in the city's center district?,' words which some Zwickau residents took to heart. 'I don't understand anything any more. First he had the building ruins, mainly in the northern quarter, literally served to him on a silver platter. And now the man is coldly disregarded,' he was referring to the CDU faction, which avoids any type of contact with Fliegerbauer. Because of Fliegerbauer's membership in the Scientology sect, there was also lively contradiction and criticism for the controversial methods of the Scientologists, who continue to gain influence, even in city hall, in their on-going renovation of real estate.
"Osterstein Castle, according to the bankruptcy administrator, is to be auctioned off, together with the granary and everything that goes with it. Whether Fliegerbauer, after the sale of the land rights, will also manage to sell off the real estate is currently considered to be highly questionable - at this time the area is under the care of construction magnates Lars Kruener and Willi Seidel."
Hamburger Morgenpost reported on October 22nd that Scientologists participating in a running event have reached Hamburg from their start in Athens, Greece.
"Participants of a '4,500 Kilometer Marathon for Human Rights,' organized by the sect, are supposed to arrive about noon at Gerhart Hauptmann Square. Its start was in Athens. The joggers are promoting the end of 'discrimination against religious minorities.' According to a statement by the sect six runners are taking turns running the whole way."
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Bob Minton reported that the newly formed Lisa McPherson foundation is
being blocked from renting office space in Clearwater, Florida.
"We were informed this morning that MKV Realty, which owns the Sun Trust Building at 601 Cleveland Street, has refused to rent the space we intended to occupy to either the Lisa Foundation or me. The buck has been passed up to a gentleman named 'Rusty' who has yet to return my call. Ken Dandar will also speak to Rusty when Rusty is available."
Scientology's response was posted to a.r.s this week countering the
complaint in the civil case for causing Lisa McPherson's death in 1995.
"Plaintiff" refers to Lisa McPherson herself, her actions prior to her
death and the suit brought by her estate against Scientology. Some
"The Plaintiff seeks to hold the Church, as owner of the Fort Harrison, a religious retreat, responsible for damages based on statutory causes of action that can only be maintained, respectively, against the licensee of a nursing home or an assisted living facility. The Church is neither a nursing home nor an assisted living facility.
"The Complaint seeks damages based upon acts that constituted the exercise of religious practice. The exercise of religious practice is protected activity under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Florida's Constitution and Florida's Religious Freedom Restoration Act ('RFRA'). Furthermore, the subject matter that the Plaintiff seeks to adjudicate cannot be adjudicated by a court pursuant to the First Amendment and RFRA.
"Plaintiff did not exercise ordinary care, caution or prudence for her welfare to avoid the happening of the alleged incidents, injuries or damages, if any, and by this failure to do so, Plaintiff thereby directly and proximately contributed to, or was the sole cause of the alleged injuries, losses and damages, if any.
"If the Church is subject to any liability to the Plaintiff, which the Church denies, it will be due in whole or in part to the acts, omissions, activities, carelessness, recklessness and/or negligence of others, including Morton Plant Hospital and its medical personnel.
"The Plaintiffs injuries, if any, were the result of a pre-existing injury, which was not diagnosed by the medical personnel at Morton Plant Hospital and which was not aggravated by the alleged incident herein. Alternatively, if any pre-existing injury was aggravated by the alleged incident herein, Plaintiff is only entitled to reimbursement for the degree of aggravation, and any recovery obtained herein must be reduced to the percentage of the aggravation which she allegedly suffered as a result of this claimed incident.
"The Church reasonably believed that, if taken, the actions allegedly constituting battery and false imprisonment were necessary to prevent the Plaintiff from being seriously injured. Lisa McPherson had voluntarily entered the Church facilities to engage in religious practice. The actions were reasonable under the circumstances to protect the physical safety and spiritual progress of Ms. McPherson, and the Church did not have any intent to harm the health, safety, or welfare of the Plaintiff, nor was any harm arm to her health, safety or welfare reasonably foreseeable.
"Plaintiff lacks standing to bring this action, because her appointment as personal representative was obtained through fraud and commission of criminal acts.
"The complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted because Lisa McPherson executed several covenants not to sue and releases for all potential damages in favor of the Church."
The St. Petersburg Times reported that Judge Moody has ruled that the jury in the civil case may consider punitive damages.
"The ruling came after a five-hour hearing in which church lawyers vigorously argued that the family had no grounds to seek a windfall from Scientology. Their argument: Churches cannot be made to pay punitive damages because of a new Florida law that says governments 'shall not substantially burden the free exercise of religion' without a 'compelling governmental interest.' A punitive damage award would needlessly punish Scientology's members by taking church money intended as donations, Scientology lawyer Eric M. Lieberman argued. He said the court had no compelling interest in penalizing those members.
"Ken Dandar, the lawyer for the estate, argued the state has a compelling interest in 'preserving life.' 'This organization exists for one reason -- to make money,' he said of Scientology. 'Therefore, punitive damages are the only thing that wakes them up to stop what they are doing.'
"Hillsborough County Circuit Judge James S. Moody Jr. ruled a jury could at least consider whether punitive damages were warranted. He cited a sworn statement by Minkoff, the Scientologist doctor in Pasco County, who pronounced McPherson dead. Minkoff has testified he was 'shocked' by McPherson's condition at the hospital. Moody also said a jury should be allowed to hear testimony from doctors hired by Dandar who say the Scientology staff clearly should have taken McPherson to a hospital sooner. The judge said Florida's Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not prevent the state from protecting the public against 'certain acts.' The issue will not be relevant unless a jury finds that Scientology caused McPherson's death. A trial is scheduled for June."
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Mark Bunker, the creator of Xenu-TV, reported being followed by a private
"I was about 45 minutes away from home today in a mall in Redondo Beach. A woman came up to me and said 'Do you know that man has been taking your picture for the past hour?' She pointed at a man across the mall who spun around when he saw me. The heavyset, squat, hispanic man quickly aimed his camera at The Disney Store and pretended to take a picture of it. This woman said she had been watching him for some time while she and her friend had lunch.
"The P.I. was leaving the mall and going into the parking structure and I asked security if they were going to stop him. They told me that they had simply told him he can't take pictures in the mall and asked him to leave. I caught up with the man as he entered the parking structure. I went up to him and asked him how Mike Rinder was doing. Told him I was very concerned about Mike's health after seeing him in person a couple months back. I also asked about Moxon and Kobrin but he didn't seem to know any of these people.
"I decided to spend some time with this guy and ask him a lot of questions, such as if he didn't work for Scientology, why did he need all those photographs of me? We had a lot of time to chat because I decided to walk him to his car. This should have been a short trip but this fellow didn't seem to want to go to his car now. He wanted to talk about the baseball game but I had other topics I felt should be covered like Snow White and Paulette Cooper and Lisa McPherson. We then strolled into a furniture store for about 15 seconds as he pretended to look at prices on some tables but I was still prattling on about the recent DM declaration and how DM's perjury was going to bring the whole house of cards tumbling down. He quickly decided it wasn't a good time to invest in furniture so we left the store and walked back across the street.
"As we headed back to the parking structure, a taxi was sitting nearby. The PI went up to the driver and asked him if he could take him somewhere and the cabbie agreed. I told the driver just what a fine fellow he had as a passenger and let them head off to unknown destinations taking comfort in knowing that I had caused this guy some inconvenience as he had to leave his car behind for a while and come back to claim it later. The PI claimed his name was Ben Hernandez."
Osloposten reported on October 15th that Scientology-affiliated management
consultants U-Man claim to have filed charges against critic Andreas
"Andreas Heldal-Lund is an IT Manager and lives in Stavanger. Since 1996 he has been having a war against the movement via Internet Heldal-Lund claims that U-MAN is part of [CoS'] deliberate strategy to establish so-called 'comm-lines' into society: The strategy is to get Scientologists into business and organizations, claims Heldal-Lund. 'I'm concerned how the sensitive information is handled,' he adds to Osloposten. U-MAN Norway is owned by high ranking and known Scientologists. Internally the company is run by using Scientology principles. The test used is judged by several specialists to be worthless. 'I take it for granted that U-MAN take me to the courts, if it is their opinion that I lie about this,' says Heldal, who systematically sends out letters to customers of U-MAN where he informs them about the Scientology connection.
"Ivar Bruvoll in U-MAN tells Osloposten that he does not see the point in wasting time and energy by meeting the man from Stavanger in court: 'We have no interest in sitting in court with Heldal- Lund, but we have pressed charges against him with the police,' Bruvoll tells Osloposten. The reason for the charges is among other things the information letter Heldal-Lund sends to customers of U-MAN."
"The part about they have reported me to the police seems to be a lie though. I've contacted the police 3 times and they have no knowledge about any charges against me."
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Doug Frantz, a reporter for the New York Times, recently discussed
Scientology during remarks at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at
"I've been an investigative reporter for almost 20 years, and I couldn't have done my job during those 20 years without sources, without relying on sources, on people who took risks to themselves, who risked going to jail. People on the Scientology story who risked something worse than jail, which is the wrath of Scientology.
"A woman called me up, a stranger, and she had some information about her husband, his financial dealings with the Church of Scientology. Then she said to me, 'Who can I go to to find out more about this church?' I gave her a piece of advice, and I wish now I hadn't. 'Talk to this guy, Stephen Kent, at the University of Alberta.' Kent put her in touch with a deprogrammer named Rick Ross down in Arizona, and Rick Ross told her how she could infiltrate the church and go in and find out about the church personally and then she was to come back out and tell this information to Rick Ross. So, lo and behold, she went into the church and she lasted about three days, and they're going through their tests and stuff and she confessed to her Scientology handler that 'This is how I got her,' and so it came right back to me, and what it did was make Scientology question my motives because it looked to them like I had taken a strong side against them, and I'd made a mistake, and I told them, I told them exactly what happened, that I made a mistake because I violated my own rule, and it's a rule I think about which you cannot be too pure.
"The next batch of sources I dealt with really were the Scientology defectors. If any of you have ever written the word Scientology in a story, your E-mail box has been filled with notices from these folks. Their motives were as suspect to me as those of any source or any official within the Church of Scientology because they clearly had an axe to grind, they had their own agenda. It was vitally important that I hear what they had to say, and then that I be able to go out and corroborate that. One of the people I talked to was a woman named Stacy Young, and I was focusing on the her relationship with the Church of Scientology. I spoke with her at great length about an organization she'd managed on behalf of the church. It was a front organization that the church had set up called IRS whistleblowers - I forget the formal name of it - but it had no association outwardly with the Church of Scientology, but she had said to me, 'We set this up, this was a front. We recruited former IRS agents and this was part of a war they were waging against the IRS.'
"She said she set up this organization, and she gave me all the details. She had no paperwork left and so on my own I was able to go out and find three former IRS employees who had been members of that organization, had been the fronts, and two of them didn't even know it, two of them were completely unaware, but the third one, and the guy who was really the leader of this organization, acknowledged that he knew Stacy Young, that he'd received financing and advice from her and other officials in the church.
"When Is a Nonprofit a Flim-Flam? For Scientology, the line was when they got that tax exemption, because they're now subsidized by the federal government, and that was used by the church to promote themselves all around the world. But it was a stamp of approval from the United Sates government, and that not only warranted my interest, but I think necessitated it.
"I could have made a career out of writing about Scientology and I chose not to, and my editors, bless them, agreed. What happened to me? Not much happened to me. It was very adversarial. There were private investigators poking around my house and photographing my wife and children, and other odd coincidences occurred, but it wasn't anything that I didn't expect, and it wasn't anything that hadn't happened in spades to lots of other people, including IRS officials. I went out to Los Angeles to have an interview with the Scientologists. I went out there expecting to see one church official and their tax lawyer, a woman from Washington named Monique Yingling. We walked in and there were six lawyers, three Scientology officials, a video camera, and a stenographer. The room was very small, very cramped, and the first hour they spent attacking me, personally. They knew a lot of stuff about me that surprised me, and I spent an hour sitting there listening to them and defending myself a little bit, and the next two hours they answered my questions to some extent. It was really the most extraordinary interview I've ever had, the most confrontational interview I've ever gone through, and I've covered the mob in Chicago for a long time and it was nothing like this."
"Fier" protested at the Canberra, Australia org this week.
"Our weekly picket began slowly today with just myself and Goombaj. Our signs were '$cientology wants your money ... all of it' 'Scientology hates free speech' 'Scientology is a $cam of galactic proportions' and '$cientology - church of the holy lawsuit' and we handed out around 80 Space alien scam flyers. We picketed for 2 hours, and in the last 1/2 hr was when the OSA lady chose to follow, photograph and eventually communicate with us. After she said I was getting personal in my posts and activities, I requested just one example from 'the many occasions' but not surprisingly she had none. I am protesting the cult, not the people in it, I thought that was obvious."
Karin Spaink reported a protest in Amsterdam.
"I discovered a series of separate postings in various Dutch newsgroups about an event to be held Thursday the 14th. It was a rally for human rights. A group of marathon runners that were running from Athens to Hamburg were to arrive in Amsterdam that day. We decided to organize a small demonstration: Mike, Jeta, Zenon and me. I got us a demonstration permit from the city hall, Zenon came up with five slogans which I translated into Dutch, we copied them and cut them into A5 slips.
"When we arrived, there weren't many people outside the hotel itself: just the doorman, and one or two hotel guest quietly talking on the stairs leading to the entrance. We started leafleting. Within five minutes, a whole bunch of Scientology people emerged from the hotel and started leafleting as well. For twenty minutes, it was rather crowded there. Pedestrians passing, Scientologist trying to give them their yellow 'free concert' folder, us trying to give them our white slips. A typical situation was whereby we would approach somebody carrying one of the CoS folders and say: 'You have just been given a pamphlet by Scientology. I am one of their critics. Can I give you some of _our_ information?', which worked lovely.
"The police showed up. They spoke with some of the Scientologists, not with us, and after less than five minutes they left again, telling one of the CoS members that if there _were_ any problems, he could call them again. So the police had been phoned by them, and couldn't find anything wrong with the situation. As I wrote on the application for the demo: we were all instructed on how to behave, and apart from that, all four of us are rather friendly and well-bred.
"They would attempt to stand right in front of us and would try to block our way. One Scientology woman saw me moving towards a couple that had just been given the yellow CoS folder, put herself in between and blocked me, thereby trying to prevent me from giving them a leaflet. When I moved aside, she did so as well and meanwhile stepped back. I moved her aside, gave the couple my folder, and went up to the woman, took her by the shoulder and told her, quietly but very determined that I had just as much as a right to leaflet as they had, and that willfully barging into somebody with a disability was unbelievably rude. Within five minutes she went inside, not to be seen afterwards.
"The runners arrived. Five or six of them, dressed in blue and white sportswear, carrying a torch that stank rather heavily of diesel. A camera team showed up. One of them was part of a group of teenagers for who I once lectured and with whom I struck up some kind of friendship while visiting the same concerts. He wanted to interview me. Julia Rijnvis -- CoS PR-woman and OSA -- refused to allow him to interview me. If they would, she threatened, they couldn't film inside. The team argued. Then they agreed. And told me on the side that they would phone me later for a separate interview.
"At circa 20:30, we were getting cold. We decided to go to a nearby cafe and to return at about 21:45 to catch the outgoing crown, which we did. It was quiet when we arrived the second time. But within five minutes, the whole bunch came out again. This time we focussed far more on leafleting those that came _out_ of the hotel instead of going in. Some of them knew about us by then and completely ignored us; others _did_ indeed take or folders. The manager tried to get us away and threatened to phone the police. We told him that he should. We never heard from him, nor from the police. At 22:45 we decided to call it quits. By now we had spread something like 500 pamphlets."
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Svenska dagbladet published a discussion on the controversy over U.S.
efforts to change the Swedish constitution, which allows the parliament to
hold and make copies of Scientology's secret NOTs levels. Summary of the
article by Catarina Pamnell:
"This is a debate article in one of Sweden's leading newspapers, written by Erik Holmberg, former chief judge of the Court of Appeal, and Hans Schoier, former chief editor of Eskilstuna-Kuriren.
"Following the U.S. demands that the Swedish government take care of this situation, a change in copyright law was proposed, to prevent works that have not been published with the consent of the copyright holder from becoming public documents, if the publicity would be of harm to the copyright holder. This proposed law has not been accepted, however, due to legal complications.
"The copyright law is an ordinary law, while the freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and offentlighetsprincipen, are protected by the constitution and thus have precedence. But when copyright was written out of the constitution and made into an ordinary law in the early 1960s, an exemption was written into this new law regarding public documents. That solved a problem for the moment, but was a logical contradiction: A law that is of a lower importance level than the constitution regulating when the constitution is to be in force.
"This is a complex question where different interpretation of the laws are possible, and should be reviewed with care, as it deals with important constitutional rights which one better not tamper with while under diplomatic pressure. A question should be regulated in the constitution itself when it deals with constitutional rights. Changing the constitution is of course a lengthier process than changing an ordinary law, and cannot be completed during one single term of election."
Swedish magazine Resume reports that a Scientologist has resigned from an advertising agency when the Norwegian power company announced plans to withdraw its association and its plans to invest.
"The scientologist Peter Brusquini resigns from all his functions and also his partnership in the advertising agency Pettersson & Brusquini. This was announced after the Norwegian power company Norkraft A/S, who intended to invest 20 million SEK in the agency, declared that they will cease all co-operation with Pettersson & Brusquini.
"Last year, Norkraft went looking for a Swedish advertising agency, to establish themselves on the Swedish market. They got in contact with Pettersson & Brusquini, who offered Norkraft a partnership in the agency. Norkraft bought the idea, and agreed to invest 20 million SEK in P&B, who at this time had a liquidity problem.
"'Our company president immediately contacted P&B after the article, and let them know that we expected an official denial. We awaited the denial, but when it never materialized, we took a board decision to immediately cease all co-operation,' says Geir Christian Totland. As a consequence of this decision, the founder and part owner of the agency, Peter Brusquini, now leaves all his functions, his partnership and all influence over the agency. Through this move, the company hopes to accentuate that they do not have any ties to the Church of Scientology."
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Tages-Anzeiger reported on October 18th that a Scientology school will not
have to close in Littau.
"The Lucerne Administrative Court granted the complainant a delay in the closing of the school by the administration. The administration had closed the non-denominational primary school directed by Sandra Planzer at the end of September because of a lack of trustworthiness. It based its decision on the membership of the teacher in the Scientology movement. Since the Administrative Court has granted a delay in the closing, the private school can open up again on Monday for business after the fall break. According to Planzer, the court has recognized her overwhelming interest in the continued operation of the school. A closing of the school would have destroyed the teacher's means of livelihood."
Tages-Anzeiger reported on October 23rd that two Scientologists have been cleared of accusations that they conducted deceptive advertising in Basel.
"The new law in Basel-City Canton which prohibits deceptive advertising on public land has not passed its baptism by fire. The solitary judge in the Basel Criminal Court exonerated two Scientologists on formal grounds. They had repeatedly accosted pedestrians in an aggressive manner and were fined 500 franks, which they then appealed.
"In the basis of his judgment, the judge stated that the distribution of personality tests by Scientologists is part of a comprehensive sales strategy, which makes it commercial activity. The goal of their operation consists of selling astronomically expensive course and materials, as the one accused had demonstrated. He had stated that he had paid out about 15,000 franks [over $10,000] for such 'religious services.' Because of that, the judge did not rate the advertising as an idealist or religious activity, but as commercial. Therefore the new law could not be applied; the Scientologists have to be charged for unfair [commercial] competition. But because the sect is using everything it has to look like a church, the exoneration may hurt more than help. Now their advertising can be assessed as commercial activity, and the 'missionaries' have to count on being prosecuted for unfair competition, which carries heavier penalties."
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An update on the Michael Pattinson lawsuit against Scientology was posted
to a.r.s this week.
"Settlement discussions in the Pattinson case have fallen apart. Berry has been appointed special counsel to Pattinson's bankruptcy trustee over the incredulous shouts of Moxon. Continuing with the travails of Moxon, he now to decide whether to file a correct verification in the Hutado case. He now has to decide whether to subject Hutado to a perjury prosecution by having improperly verified the Hutado complaint something any lawyer without a conflict of interest would advise Hutado not to do. Hutado has made false claims of abuses at the hands of Berry."