Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 4, Issue 4
by Rod Keller
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review summarizes the most significant postings from the Usenet group Alt.religion.scientology for the preceding week for the benefit of those who can't follow the group as closely as they'd like. Out of thousands of postings, I attempt to include news of significant events, new affidavits, court rulings, new contributors, whatever. I hope you find it useful. Like many readers of a.r.s, I have a kill file. So please take into consideration that I may not have seen some of the most significant postings.
The articles in A.r.s Week in Review are brief summaries of articles posted to the newsgroup. They include message IDs for the original articles, and many have a URL to get more information. You may be able to find the original article, depending on how long your site stores articles in the newsgroup before expiring them.
Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available, just email me at
A preliminary hearing was held in Dennis Erlich's copyright violations
"Yesterday was my pretrial conference in San Jose. Federal judge Ronald Whyte presided. The scienos wanted all my witnesses removed. We had asked that material they had collected to Dead Agent and Black PR me and my witnesses from a confessional setting be banned from trial. The scienos asked Whyte to exclude 'any reference to the practices or beliefs of Scientology, its history, the background or meaning of the copyrighted texts, Erlich's own involvement with Scientology, and any testimony by any witness that has any relationship to Scientology.'
"Whyte indicated he needed to know how the texts were used in scn and would welcome testimony, evidence or witnesses to that end. He made it clear that he was not going to use the trial to judge the merit or fraudulent nature of scn. Evidence Relating to Alt.Religion.Scientology. Whyte said he would need to see the ongoing discussions in order to determine the context of the alleged posts and the threads in which they allegedly occurred. Since some of the material deals with Fair Game and treatment of Espees, Whyte's invitation for evidence and testimony about how the texts are used in the cult covers this.
"Harold asked the court to set a date for when the OT material and NOTs material had to be refiled - not under seal - and bedlam ensued at the scieno table. Whyte had unsealed the case and ordered to refile all their sealed filings, unsealed. Whyte lifted the 1997 protective order sealing the material in this case (the court file) because it was based on the bogus trade secret claims made by the scienos at that time. He also opted to maintain an open and public courtroom throughout the trial and declare the exhibits containing the courses at issue are not confidential at trial.
"In another order he bifurcated the case into a court trial on the scienos' copyright claims, and a jury trial (not yet scheduled) for my counter-claims. Whyte also gave a clear indication that he wanted the case to settle before trial and ordered us to a settlement conference in front of Judge Fogel next Thursday. And he would, by that same day, be able to tell us if the trial was going to go forward on May 4th so we could inform all the witnesses that they'd be testifying. Whyte also denied the scienos' motion to close the courtroom and trial to the public.
"On a sadder note, based on the theory that it would have been gathered eventually in discovery anyway, Whyte intends to allow the admission of evidence allegedly gleaned during the unconstitutional 7-hour raid the scienos perpetrated on me in February 1995, despite the fact it was obtained illegally."
Donald Lindsay described the courtroom scene.
"RTC fielded 5 people. Dennis sat with 4 MoFo people. About 16 people stayed in the pews, including moi, Keith Henson, a few other SPs, and Helena Kobrin. Keith wore a brown suit jacket over a 'Scientology Kills' T-shirt, but Dennis successfully went for a more judge-pleasing look.
"Rosen then spoke for RTC. He turns out to be tall, with a white beard over what might be a double chin. He spoke at length: I got the impression he always speaks at length. He didn't want context to be relevant. He claimed at length that the OT documents are numerous tiny documents, not one big document (thus making any tiny quote into a major quote). He wanted to know if he'd have to spend 3-4 of his 16 hours showing the chain of custody of his copies of Dennis' postings. He said that RTC had refiled some details of the copyright status of various Church documents, and that Helena would testify that the refiling was simply because she'd misread the certificates. Whyte argued with Rosen's claim that context didn't matter, and refused to change his mind. He's allowing the size of OT documents to be a point of dispute.
"A slightly unshaven RTC lawyer (Hart?) kept looking over at the SPs, as if he wanted to see our reactions. We smiled."
Roger Gonnet reported on a meeting of FECRIS, a European anti-cult
"17 countries were there, and some 150-200 persons. Many ex-ministers and deputies or officials from many countries, including far-east ones, south-america etc.
"Here is the commune declaration done at the end of the meeting: 'The undersigned european associations which had chosen as their purpose to prevent and struggle against the cultism's effects as well as to help the cults victims, having met on 23 and 24th of april, 1999 in Paris, declare their unshakable attachment toward the fundamental freedoms, as recognized by the Declaration Universelle des Droits de l'Homme in 1948, by the Convention Europeenne de sauvegarde des droits de l'homme et des libertes fondamentales in 1950, by the Convention internationale des Droits de l'Enfant in 1989, and, more generally, by the various Declarations des droits de l'Homme et des citoyens adopted by the various European states.
"The undersigned associations reaffirm specifically their attachment to the belief and thought freedom, to the expression freedom and the association freedom, which are the bases of of the civil society in every State of Right based on democratic principles. To help citizens to gain access to a free information, such as everybody could be protected from sectarism (cultism), and to facilitate the free debate, as well as to watch that no citizen could be deprived of his free expression rights. To protect individuals against any dehumanizing form of mental manipulation or psychic or intellectual conditioning, whatever could be the philosophical, religious or commercial mask under which those practices could hide.
"That negating the existence of national, regional, or transnational sectarian/cultic groups, hidden or not under the mask of religious or philosophical beliefs, can only contribute to lure the public opinion and to lead indirectly the public powers to neglect to act against them. That whatever an association calls itself philosophical or religious does not allow it to violate the Human Rights neither the laws, neither to destabilize the social balances.
"According this, the FECRIS asks the official recognition of the Federation Europeenne des associations de defense contre les pratiques totalitaires du sectarisme (FECRIS), in order it will be referred to by the European Parliament, the European Council, the OSCE - Organisation pour la Securite et la Cooperation en Europe, as well as by the United Nations and other organs and commissions dependent of those. The FECRIS will be moreover in constant communication with administrative authorities having to launch the various fiscal and custom processes for european community states and European community, as well for the international services created for the same aims. The creation in National Parliaments, as well as in the Parlement de l'Union europeenne and in the assemblee parlementaire of the Conseil de l'Europe, of studies' commissions having to observe the sectarian/cultic phenomenon evolution, and, if needed, having to get legislative arrangements and to determinate the legal actions which would fit to those."
Grady Ward posted a letter to Scientology lawyer Tom Hogan this week, in
which he rescinded his settlement agreement.
"This letter is to give notice to your client that I elect under California Civil Code 1689(b) to rescind the settlement contract that you believe we entered into on May 12, 1998. Pursuant to California Civil Code 1691, I hereby offer to return to you all consideration given me such as forbearance of any claim(s) in the district court for alleged copyright infringement, upon condition that you likewise return or void all consideration that I have tendered to you such as the $200 monthly payments, order and consent to judgment and permanent injunction.
"Your client, R.T.C. and its attorneys have shown a clear intention to dishonor the settlement negotiations entered into between us by repeatedly breaching the contract's implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by wrongfully trying to deprive me of the very income I need to pay the $200 a month sum owed to you for life specified in the May 12, 1998 settlement negotiations. At least twice Marty Rathbun, a member of the board of RTC and a principal in the May 12, 1998 settlement negotiations has tried tortiously and in bad faith to interfere with my employment with Robert S. Minton and F.A.C.T.Net even though there was no justifiable reason to do so.
"The most recent example of this wrongful conduct on the part of your client and its attorney, namely, Samuel D. Rosen, Marty Rathbun, and Mike Rinder occurred on February 28, 1999 that a declaration under penalty of perjury I received on April 5, 1999 from Robert S. Minton in which he testifies that Marty Rathbun used false and defamatory statements that I was a 'convicted copyright infringer' in order to persuade F.A.C.T.Net to terminate me. Considering that this behavior also jeopardizes my family with young children who rely upon my meager income for food and shelter is also outrageous and indefensible."
Karsten Lorenzen spoke out against Scientology at a lecture in Aarhus,
Denmark this week.
"This was held at the Danish KFUM/K (almost a scout union)'s room near a church called Sct. Johannes, which is a danish Lutheran Protestant church. People attending was 14-80 years old."
"As usual I talked about Hubbard's life, Dianetics and CoS. And as usual OSA was represented. But the new thing was that OSA was thrown out from the lecture even before I started, they wanted a written document, stating that I and the arrangers of the meeting, did not want them there. What also was new was that they claimed to have published a book about me, the book turned out to be a special edition of the danish freedom magazine. There where approximately 60 people attending the lecture, which of course where absolutely free. The arrangers and I handed out copies of a folder called 'Critical information about Scientology' to almost everyone."
Ted Mayett protested at Las Vegas orgs on April 20th, 21st and 22nd.
"Little org, 12:36-12:56p. Uneventful. They had some kind of event going on, something to do with 'rocketing to OT at Flag', there was a big poster about it. There were 6 of them, staff and public combined, intensely watching some video on a TV. So I walked back and forth looking at the back of their heads. The Stress Test sign is up at the CC here."
"Big org, 10:20-11:05am. She came out on the porch, saw me and screamed, 'are you here again asshole?', I said, 'no, I'm not here, it's just your reality' and kept walking while she continued to shout, something about 'crazy'. About 15 minutes later she comes out to talk to me, she is carrying a long pen, one of those long fancy pens, she plans to stick me with it, she is staring at my face trying to decide on a shot to the throat or to the eyes. So i keep moving left to right, forward and backward, keeping her moving. Then I say, 'Emily, can I ask you a question', she freezes, I say, 'yes, I know your name Emily Trainer', well, that defused the situation. Now she just goes into one of her patented 'psychiatry rants'
"Emily Trainer has always been a problem, she likes to shout at me, call me 'asshole' 'crazy' etc. I've known the woman for maybe ten years now, she is maybe 55+ years old, she does not recognize me or remember me. She is quite capable of violence, always has been, always a loud and pushy person."
"It was a two org kind of day again. Big org, 10:18-10:48am. My darling Emily came out, was going to approach, then changed her mind. It was uneventful. Little org, 11:00-11:30 am, uneventful."
Keith Henson reported revenge flyers posted near his home.
"Yesterday a friend of mine pointed me to some bright yellow flyers put up on community announcement boards about two blocks from my house. They are the usual DA business (with a nearly black picture of me) but at the bottom they do admit (in small type) to be associated with scientology. But get this: They misspelled their own URL!"
Bruce Pettycrew protested in Mesa, Arizona on April 23rd and 24th.
"I picketed during the morning rush hour today, 7-8 AM. Traffic was heavy and there were a number of pedestrians, as well. Several of the walkers gave me encouragement, with comments such as 'Give it to those psychos.' There was no one at the Borg."
"Kathy and I picketed from 9 to 10 AM today. The Borgs introduced a new tactic, they put up a sign during the picket. It read: 'Church Picketers are Bigots' The sign was about 6 feet long and was displayed on two poles about 10 feet above the ground, yellow letters on a blue background. The sign was parallel to the traffic on University Av., and so could hardly have been seen by any of the passing traffic. Our picket signs were the only text that passing cars could possibly read. As soon as we left, the sign came down."
Tages-Anzeiger published an article on April 22 on the lack of
understanding Swiss courts have concerning cults.
"Cases of infatuation with sects leading to the destruction of marriages are par for the course. When just one of the partners falls into the clutches of a sect or a healer, the relationship almost always falls apart. If it is the husband who wanders off, the harm to the children is controlled. In this case, the mother gets custody, but few courts today will prohibit the father from visiting his children on the weekend and bringing them to a sect event.
"If it is the mother who gets caught up, the children can only be protected if the father receives custody. The courts can rarely be pushed to take this step. An acute risk arises of having the children also fall into the vacuum of the sect. The courts downplay this danger, as a rule. In these cases the father is often driven to despair. His children often refuse to visit with him because he is demonized by the sect and their mother.
"The break-up of families due to sects used to happen primarily in connection with Jehova's Witnesses, the fundamental Christian congregations and with larger sects such as Scientology."
The Associated Press reported on April 22nd that New York and 10 other
states have banned the sale of laundry balls, particularly those sold by
the defunct Scientology company, Tradenet.
"The states claim two Dunedin, Fla., companies involved in the sale and marketing of 'The Laundry Solution' and 'The Super Globe' failed to substantiate their claims of selling an environmentally-superior alternative to detergent. The states also alleged the companies failed to tell consumers of reports that refuted the makers' claims, New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said Thursday."
The London Evening Standard reported on April 23rd that Scientology
celebrity Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman are suing over allegations that
they needed a coach to help them act love scenes.
"For Hollywood's hottest married couple, the slur could hardly be worse. Which is why Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman are prepared to reveal intimate details of their sex life together before a judge and jury in a multi-million dollar action against an American magazine. The magazine - The Star - has alleged that a pair of English sex therapists had to teach the couple how to make love on screen for their joint starring role in the late director Stanley Kubrick's final movie, the steamy, sado-masochistic Eyes Wide Shut. Cruise and Kidman yesterday filed a multi-million pound libel lawsuit claiming the magazine 'acted with hatred, ill-will, malice and fraud' by publishing the story.
"The magazine claims to have a contract proving the Duffields were hired for the job. The contract is said to contain a demand that they sign a lifetime confidentiality agreement, which they apparently did. Phil Bunton, editor-in-chief of the magazine, is unrepentant. He said: 'If Tom and Nicole want to sue over this it means they are leaving themselves open to be questioned in open court about extremely intimate details of their marriage. I can't imagine why they want to pursue this unless there is some hidden Scientology agenda I am not aware of. Scientologists are against psychotherapy and presumably sex therapy, too, so maybe that has something to do with it.'"