Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 4, Issue 17
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
Sales of the book conceived by L. Ron Hubbard, A Very Strange Trip, have
been boosted by bulk orders. The book has reached No. 11 on the New York
Times Bestseller List. From Deana Holmes:
"For the second year in a row, Bridge Publications, the publishing house of the Church of $cientology, has bulk-purchased its way onto the New York Times Bestseller List. This year, the book is A Very Strange Trip, concept by L. Ron Hubbard, book by Dave Wolverton.
"11 A VERY STRANGE TRIP, by L. Ron Hubbard and Dave Wolverton. (Bridge, $25.) An Army truck driver transports a contraband Russian time machine and developmental weaponry from Trenton to Denver. (+) A dagger (+) indicates that some bookstores report receiving bulk orders."
Amazon.com is informing buyers that A Piece of Blue Sky is no longer available due to lack of stock. A number of other online stores continue to take orders.
"We have contacted the supplier by phone and are sorry to report that the following title is in fact NOT AVAILABLE at this time: Jon Atack 'A Piece of Blue Sky : Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed'. This unavailable item has been canceled from your order."
LAWeekly published an article on July 23rd on Internet companies and the
lack of protection they provide to their customers.
"Dot-coms may be swashbuckling when it comes to financing and IPOs, but they're timid as kittens when it comes to standing up for their clientele. ISPs have themselves been the target of an increasing number of 'John Doe' lawsuits, which hamstring individual users' attempts to shield their identity. A John Doe suit is filed before the names of the defendants are actually known; the complainant's lawyer can then subpoena an ISP or online service for the real name and personal information of the user they claim has done them wrong. Many of these suits have been filed by companies hunting down online detractors, but at least one has been filed by the Church of Scientology to obtain the identity of a former church member who has posted copyrighted Church texts in the past. That person responded to AT&T WorldNet's dangerous lack of customer support, so to speak, in the only way he/she could: 'I guess it won't surprise anybody that because AT&T has put my life at risk [from] this harassment organization, I will be switching both Internet service providers and my long-distance service from AT&T to MCI."
The Buffalo News reported on July 17th that the Buffalo org was the victim
of a theft of equipment.
"An estimated $ 8,000 worth of audio-visual equipment was stolen during a burglary at the Church of Scientology at 47 W. Huron St., Buffalo police reported. The break-in occurred between midnight and 7 a.m. Friday, when the equipment disappeared and two gum-ball machines were broken, along with one window. The burglar or burglars fled through a side window and left a note on the second floor, according to police reports. The contents of the note were not disclosed."
The Sunday Times published an editorial on July 18 1999 concerning
Scientology celebrity Tom Cruise.
"When it comes to paranoia, the star of Mission: Impossible and Eyes Wide Shut turns in a virtuoso performance. The title of his new film is particularly apt, given that crew members on set were warned not to look him in the eye. Even builders at the Los Angeles home he and Nicole Kidman are having constructed were apparently told to turn their backs when the precious pair visited. This is the sort of attitude that makes sane people wonder what Kidman and Cruise have to hide.
"Prospective domestic staff are required to sign a confidentiality clause that would make even the chief of staff at Buckingham Palace blush. Those who might only accidentally notice them kiss and be tempted to tell run the risk of legally binding penalties costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's a wonder Tom and Nicole even allow us to watch their movies.
"But then they also see themselves as tacit missionaries for one of the world's wackier - and more alarmingly successful - cults: the self-styled Church of Scientology. Cruise was born a Roman Catholic and was once tempted to become a monk, which may explain his flirtation with celibacy. It is easy enough to understand why he was attracted to a 'religion' dreamt up by a secretive multi-millionaire. But Mr Cruise Control is inclined to freak if people poke fun at his faith, even though it is one of scientology's main tenets that we are all actually aliens, called Thetans (it's reassuring to know that even aliens study the Greek alphabet). When Mel Gibson tried to have a bit of fun at his expense, Cruise went ballistic."
Sindelfinger Zeitung reported on July 23rd that Scientology may have
maintained a spying operation on a German government official.
"A little sentence in the state Constitutional Security report of 1998 causes consternation: 'Another written communication shows that a SO member took an interest in the personal environment of a minister president and forwarded his findings on to OSA Munich.'
"It appears as if nobody noticed the explosiveness of a little passage in the 1998 Constitutional Security report. On Thursday it could be verified in the government circles that the minister president involved was Erwin Teufel (CDU), who took office at the beginning of 1991. The alleged 'findings' which were supposed show that a snooping Scientologist had gained access to Teufel's personal environment are at least partially false. So false that the Constitutional Security agents really had to have known it. Yet the information was apparently not seriously checked out. There are two alternatives: either the state security agents have innocently been taken in by a con man or the feared Scientology secret service is not capable of performing intelligent research. However it may be, 'The passage should not have ever appeared,' scolded an official.
"After several crisis sessions, Rannacher gave an explanation for the failure on Thursday evening. The written communication by the Scientology member was said to be 'provably false in content.' For instance, it asserted that Teufel was related by marriage to someone who is known by name to be a Scientologist. However a familial or other type of relationship to this person does not exist."
>From Mannheimer Morgen on July 23rd:
"According to statements by the State Office for Constitutional Security in Baden-Wuerttemberg, the Scientology organization gathered certain information on federal and state politicians. Constitutional Security President Helmut Rannacher reported yesterday on a written communication of April 1991 which a member of the Scientology organization is alleged to have forwarded to the Munich resident Scientology secret service in Germany. It falsely asserted that Teufel was related by marriage to a Scientologist who is known by name. Scientology dismissed the accusation from Stuttgart."
>From an editorial in Nuernberger Zeitung, on July 23rd:
"An increasingly intense international cooperation by sects is looming over Eastern Europe. 'The large sect coalition,' warns the Commissioner for Sects and Weltanschauung Issues of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Bavaria, Wolfgang Behnk, 'can harm democracy.'
"The 'Transcendental Meditation' sect made the promise to the government in Belgrade during the Kosovo War that 'Invincibility for the Nation' would be achieved through 'TM.' And the Scientologists, said Gandow, had wanted to develop a 'model country' according to their own concepts. Today sects are said to have even closer contact to the Albanian government. In the refugee camps in Albania various sects have been recruiting for members. Scientology is already 'very successful' there, believe the Berlin sect experts. They apparently already have influence in the leading intellectual circles. Of all places, the Bulgarian Academy of Science in Sofia, criticized Gandow, has already published two books by sect founder Hubbard.
"Scientology supporters in Moscow had sued the local sect commissioner because he had dragged the 'sect mission' over the coals in a brochure entitled 'Ten Questions for persistent strangers - how to protect oneself from them.' In this proceeding not only Scientology adherents, but also representatives of the Moon sect and the sect of 'Hare Krishna' appeared. Gandow also indicated that there had been an exchange of correspondence between Scientology Moscow and the 'commander of the Moon sect.' The Scientologists have their sphere of influence mainly in the large cities where they go hunting for members using English courses. The Moon movement has gone into the schools and universities, where it lures offspring with essay competitions and travel to foreign countries."
Toronto's NOW magazine published an article on Scientology's harassment
campaign against Gregg Hagglund, a frequent protester at the Toronto org.
"Truth be told, Greg Hagglund has been a right pain in the ass for the Church of Scientology. From the regular demos in front of the church's Yonge Street offices to the photographing of church members and posting of their mugs on the Internet, Hagglund has been relentless in his attempts to expose the 'truth' about the curious practice of Scientology. The church has returned the favour with demos in front of Hagglund's Oakville home, but more recently upped the ante by paying an unannounced visit to his elderly parents' home in Ottawa and sending a letter to his brother, also in Ottawa, warning Hagglund to cease and desist, or else.
"Church member Peter Ramsay, who fired off the missive to Hagglund's brother, didn't return calls. But church spokesperson Al Buttnor says Scientology's actions are not intended to intimidate, although that seems to have been the result. 'We were hoping to get some assistance,' says Buttnor. 'They did not wish to be involved and we left. It's as simple as that.'"
Keith Henson posted an appeal by Scientology to raise the attorney's fees
awarded them in his copyright infringement case from $75,000 to $865,000.
"The district court failed to calculate a 'lodestar' figure - a reasonable hourly rate multiplied by a reasonable number of hours - as mandated by this Court's and the Supreme Court's precedents. Moreover, the district court gave no reasons that would even remotely justify a fee reduction of over 91%. As the district court acknowledged, and as the record before that court showed, defendant Henson's litigation strategy was designed - successfully one may add - primarily to injure RTC further by driving up RTC's litigation costs in defending its rights against Henson's willful infringement and threats of further infringement. Indeed, Henson admittedly viewed this litigation as 'entertainment,' and as an opportunity for him to achieve status on an Internet newsgroup by engaging in a course of frivolous and irresponsible litigation tactics that caused RTC to incur substantial attorney's fees and costs. When Henson, who had proceeded pro se through the pretrial process, finally obtained counsel - Graham E. Berry - Henson's 'defense' further deteriorated, with wildly irresponsible, totally unsupported, and wholly irrelevant allegations of alleged misconduct by RTC, its counsel and the Church of Scientology generally.
"Henson placed in the public court file inflammatory 'affidavits' by third parties that were not even colorably relevant to any properly-filed motion, but rather, were offered in 'support' of Henson's irrelevant contention that the Church of Scientology is 'a criminal organization to the core.' And, because Henson refused RTC's request to withdraw these scandalous filings, RTC was left with no choice but to move, again successfully, to strike them.
"Much of what Henson tried to do throughout the case was to turn the lawsuit into a trial of Scientology. Therefore, many of the positions he took before trial and much of what he and his counsel wanted to do, and to some extent did do, during trial had no relevance to the pertinent issues. In fact, the evidence presented and attitude exhibited by Henson and his counsel during trial left the jury with little choice but to find that Henson's infringement was willful.
"Given that almost every action that RTC took was forced upon it by Henson actions, and given that RTC prevailed on almost every substantive issue, the district court's unexplained elimination of 9l.5% of RTC's fee request was a clear abuse of discretion. The fee award must be vacated and remanded with instructions to calculate a reasonable fee based on the lodestar method, with a 'concise, but clear,' explanation of the reasons for the award."
Express Newspaper published an article Julia Llewellyn Smith's experience
with Scientology's personality testing in London.
"For hours afterwards I was shaking. My interviewer also told me that I was so timid I was failing in every area of my life. On several occasions, I felt close to tears. Having arrived feeling fine about myself, I left wanting to curl up in a ball and never go out again. I had just undergone the Oxford Capacity Analysis test, the 'free personality test' offered at 30 centres across the country. Anyone who has walked past one of these centres will have been accosted by a smiling young person offering something that sounds as fun and harmless as a quiz in a women's magazine.
"Bonnie Woods, a former Scientologist who has counselled more than 300 families affected by the 'religion' says: 'I have been in mental asylums and seen the effects that recruitment into Scientology might have on someone who is vulnerable. People think that if you are not a basket case, you will be protected from the Scientologists. But in fact, anyone of any age going down the street can be just as susceptible as anyone else.'
"I was convinced that someone like me - level-headed, well-educated and cynical - could never be affected by something as ludicrous as Scientology. Inside, I was handed the 'personality test'. It consisted of 200 questions, requiring you to tick a box saying Yes, No or Maybe. They included: 'Would you buy 'on credit' in the hope you can keep up the payments?' (No); 'Do you rarely suspect the actions of others?' (No); 'Do you have little regret on past misfortunes or failures?' (No). Then a man introduced himself to me as Paul and took me into a booth, with a copy of my 'graph', a computer analysis of my answers. It showed that while in some areas I had 'good' marks; in others they were appalling. Was I aware how much these problems were holding me back? Shouldn't I tackle them? Wasn't it a real worry that I was so busy looking after my friends that I forgot to attend to my own needs? Weakly, I agreed.
"The problem with the Oxford test is that it pinpoints your weaknesses quite accurately. Some of the things Paul said were true. Only later it occurred to me that there had been no mention at all of my good points. I felt embarrassed to be so shaken, but according to Bonnie, my reaction was normal. 'The Scientologists put you in a vulnerable position,' she says. 'They hammer home your inadequacies. The technique is designed to make you suggestible and vulnerable.'
"I was ushered into another room, and greeted by Raj. Raj showed me details of the dianetics course he recommended. How much would the course cost? '20 pounds,' Raj said. 'Listen,' said Raj. 'I'm telling you this as a friend, not as a Scientologist. Why not just go for it? It's only 20 pounds? What have you got to lose?' Later, I learned that this is standard Scientology sales patter. Scientology's income is estimated at 200 million pounds a year, with additional assets of 270 million pounds.
"My name may now be put on a Scientology blacklist. Journalists, along with homosexuals, are not allowed to become Scientologists and those who have criticised the cult in the past say they have been persistently harassed. 'What is extraordinary is that the Scientologists are now saying 'Find out for yourself',' says Bonnie. 'Well I did find out and by my speaking out about what I didn't like, I can expect to be harassed for the rest of my life.'"
"Anima" posted a description of Christian protests in Los Angeles this
"'Christian' demonstrators, sometimes almost a half dozen middle-aged men, keep turning up on Hollywood Blvd. to picket the Elron Hubbard Lie Museum. A friend caught them in action again just last week, and as usual, the clams were sent scurrying for cover lest they see such horrible entheta as Bible thumpers tend to promulgate."
"Fier" protested this week at the Canberra, Australia org.
"Louise and I spontaneously decided to hand out some Xenu flyers, and we got quite a reaction! Starting at midday, we began to hand out the flyers to pedestrians near the cult headquarters. Within seconds, several staff came down to attack the attackers. They purposely got in our way, and pushed and jostled me when I was trying to give out my flyers, with the classic 'read what scientology doesn't want you know' line. We had no signs, as this was a spontaneous protest, but we had no trouble in giving out the 50 flyers we'd printed.
"Soon after we began, the troops of staff came down and started to give out 'what is scientology' pamphlets. The majority of people were happy to get both sides of the story though. The Ethics officer verbally abused me again and again, with very sly libelous comments to me, like 'have you fucked any sheep lately?' 'How do you screw the sheep, Hemi, from behind?' He called me a child molester, and a turncoat SP.
"A fanatical 'public' scientologist also joined in the free-for-all-attack on myself and Louise. All of them eyeballed us from 3-6 inches away while asking foolish questions, and this public fellow repeatedly requested I hit him in the face. One rather unfriendly staff member, after I asked her if she knew about Xenu and that Hubbard married bigamously, screamed at me 'I'll punch you in the head if you tell me stuff like that!!!' - to which I smirked and said 'Go right ahead.'
"Staff of the comic shop right below the org were amused, and readily took flyers even with all the clammies running round telling people nasty things about us. That nasty ethics officer several times asked me if I'd mind if they posted my overt writeups on the net, and threatened to do so, but I just said 'Go right ahead, Dean, go right ahead'. At 2:00pm (stat time) the DSA gave me a letter from their lawyers."
"TO BE DELIVERED BY HAND RE: CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY
"We are the solicitors for the Church of Scientology. We are instructed that you are engaged in distributing documents which contain unpublished Church Scriptures which are subject to copyright. You are acting in breach of the Copyright Act. We have instructions to commence proceedings in the ACT Supreme Court for an injunction if you continue this activity. We would ask the Court to order that the costs of the application be borne by you.
>From Louise Cook:
"A spontaneous and impromptu gathering of two critics, Louise Cook and Fier outside the Canberra org (Australia) resulted in the handing out of 100 copies of the Xemu flyer. I was surprised at the number of Scientologists present to distribute leaflets, more than I have seen at any event. I was also surprised by the lack of communication skills displayed by many of the counter distributors, many resorting to personal attacks and ridicule, instead of addressing the relevant issues.
"Renate Christie tried very hard to taunt me with ridicule, accusing me of having blue doll eyes, ahem dull eyes, and calling me insane and claiming I had been institutionalized. She called me a floozie amongst other things. She kept yelling in my face 'What are your crimes?' Anna Detheridge tried to rip up the Xemu flyers up leaping at Fier and trying to grab them off him. She kept telling me that the reason I was there was that I no longer had Matt's penis up my arse."
Gregg Hagglund reported on a protest in Toronto this week.
"The purpose of this short Picket for me was to accomplish several things. First to show the TO Org I was not backing off. Second because the TO Org has no body routers during the week this was a chance for me to regain the perspective and attitude I used to have at pickets, but had drifted away from. Third was to show the weekday staff how 'at cause' we SPs were over the mighty OTs. Fourth, to observe the staff as Stats time came and went and lastly to see how many were on course.
"GypsyBlue volunteered to be my second. GypsyBlue and I spent a little over one hour, from just after 1 to a little after 2, flyering with the RXspecial. We both did fairly well on very light traffic in a hot afternoon. However one or the other of us or both a the same time, hit upon the tactic of *never* mentioning the word 'Church' and rarely 'Scientology'. Instead we offered. 'The Cult of Greed and Power does _not_ want you to see this. Or The Cult is afraid of this. Or This is the Cults 3 hundred thousand dollar secret, for free."
Bruce Pettycrew protested at the Mesa location this week.
"We picketed the Mesa Mi$$ion from 9:00 to 10:00 AM today. There were no handlers. The passing traffic was _unusually_ supportive, many more honks and 'thumbs up' than usual - maybe they missed us?"
Bob Minton protested in Boston this week.
"Pictures from the 7-19 Boston solo picket, which is the one shown on XenuTV, are posted on ABS. Pictures from the 7-22 Boston picket, which will be shown on XenuTV Sunday or Monday, are posted on ABS. This picket included Jim Byrd, DW Pierce and me. This picket got a lot more hectic that the solo picket as the video will show."
Randy the Handyman
The Los Angeles Times published an article on Scientologist Randy Mate.
"The 6-foot-6-inch Glendale resident and Los Feliz carpenter and
contractor is out to change the world, one small character contest at a
time. With the help of his wife, Becky, Randy has once again sponsored an
art contest. Contestants can enter poetry, fiction or nonfiction, art,
photographs or cartoons on 12 virtuous themes. Randy the Handyman said he
tries to conduct his business with honesty and integrity. The Handyman
does everything from fixing leaky sinks to installing whole-house fans.
The contest is also to promote virtue throughout society, Becky said.
"Randy the Handyman met Becky the Artist when Randy came from Phoenix and
Becky from Denver to work at the Church of Scientology in Hollywood."
Salon Magazine published a story on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,
Sue Mullaney's battle to keep alive a web site critical of Scientology.
"Susan Mullaney is not a fan of the Church of Scientology. Her two-year-old Web site contains a library of short audio excerpts from L. Ron Hubbard speeches and a 'secret' Scientology questionnaire, as well as her biting commentary about this material -- the usage of which she claims falls well within legal 'fair use' boundaries. In March, Mullaney was informed by her Internet service provider, Frontier GlobalCenter, that her Web site had been partially blocked, due to a letter from the Church of Scientology that alleged she was illegally using copyrighted materials. Thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which the Church of Scientology invoked in this case, Frontier was required to block the Web site unless Mullaney agreed to contest the charges in court. She did agree and filed the paperwork, but still it took four months for Mullaney to have her Web site reinstated.
"In a war against what it calls the 'cult of Scientology,' the online community of Scientology critics has long copied, distributed and annotated hundreds of 'top secret' and copyrighted documents from the Church of Scientology -- usually invoking fair use laws to defend their actions. The Church of Scientology has determinedly fought to dismantle the Web sites that have republished its material all across the Net -- using legal threats, filtering software and innumerable pro-Scientology posts in Usenet groups.
"In the last six months, at least a half dozen critics of the Church of Scientology have reported that the church has demanded that Internet service providers disable their Web sites or reveal their identities as anonymous Usenet posters, because of alleged copyright infringements. And, they say that the Internet service providers have carried out such demands without hesitation. The magic wand the Church of Scientology is invoking to get such quick results? The Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
"After her site was removed, for example, Mullaney filed a counter-notification agreeing to defend her use of the sound files and questionnaire. But the Church of Scientology failed to meet the 10-day deadline to begin a legal battle; as a result, Mullaney's Web site was reinstated on July 8. Still, that doesn't mean that her Web site is safe -- although the Church of Scientology apparently decided against litigation in this round, both she and Frank Fields are concerned that there is nothing to keep the Church of Scientology from filing repeated complaints. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, unfortunately, doesn't prevent multiple complaints for the same alleged violation -- a loophole which could, conceivably, spur an endless cycle of Web sites being blocked and reinstated.
"So far, no Digital Millennium Copyright Act cases have been tried in court, so it's still difficult to predict how the Church of Scientology's use of the law will hold up. Kobrin says that the Church of Scientology has 'won judgments and obtained permanent injunctions in five U.S. cases and two non-U.S. cases,' but that was back before the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was on the books. Now that critics have a legal fallback as well, will they be able to more easily defend their usage of Church materials?"
Messages from the members-only Scientology mailing list TNX were
anonymously posted to a.r.s this week.
"I started suping for Criminon last fall. The inmates assigned to me by
Criminon in CA are all in the Utah prison system. I have one graduate
already and another about to graduate, and others scattered along the way
from start to finish on their first course, The Way to Happiness extension
course. Criminon gave me a well-written hat and I just set up the small
folder system required and started. My first graduate just went out on
parole, a 40-ish woman stepping tentatively back out into life to try
again. She was as hopeful and excited as a 16-year-old going to a prom.
It's a nice feeling to have helped her, as I'm sure you understand.
"If any of you would like a very part-time volunteer hat that you can do
from home while your kids sleep, I recommend that you contact Criminon.
The hat is so manageable as far as your own time and schedule goes, but
just open those envelopes and there you are, right in the California or
Utah or Florida prison system, helping this inmate back up the bottom of
the dwindling spiral. Also helping Ron to empty out the prisons and clean
up this planet.
Eldorado Springs, CO"
"Thanks to everyone who wrote, with suggestions and requests for our old
tech & OEC volumes. Due to the volume of responses and request for info, I
can't respond to everyone personally. But here are the various suggestions
I received, in no particular order:
"Call Bridge Publication and ask them. According to the person answering
the phone, she said there is no written policy, but she is encouraging
people to shred the volumes. - KSW1 - shred them. Do not use them. -
Donate them to a library or prison. - Donate them to the Qual Library of
an org that wants them on file - Apparently, there are a number of old
timers out there who find these old volumes invaluable when doing FDSing.
- Donate them to a BC courseroom or student.
"My wonderful mother, Edith Manning, left her tired non functioning 82 year old body on Tuesday July 13th after a 2 day coma, no pain, and little struggle. She was surrounded by family in her own home when she went. She was a great example to me in many aspects of life not the least of which was on the 2-D as a wife and mother. I'd like to publicly thank and commend David Sanders, a Solo NOTs auditor for assisting my mother after leaving her body, and Suzanne Justus an OT VIII and dear friend for assisting me upon losing her. LRH gave us the exact knowledge on body death and effective handlings for our response to it. I was able to give these R-factors to my mom. I had a lot of wins doing this.
"I have a friend in California who is selling a magnificent long fur coat because it is never cold enough to wear it there. Any of you TNXers from colder climes interested in a long, light champagne/blond mink coat with fox trim all the way down the shawl collar which runs down the front to bottom. You will be helping a Clear get back on the Bridge as well as getting a fantastic fur.