Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 3, Issue 29
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
Dolomiten Online reported that Scientology has been mass mailing European
versions of Freedom magazine in certain cities.
"Since the huge information campaign against Scientology in June the Scientologists in South Tyrol had been relatively calm. Residents of Europe Boulevard have found 'Freiheit' illustrated sect magazine in their mailboxes. What is alarming is the fact that the magazine had been distributed quite accurately: German editions for German families, Italian editions for Italian families. 'It has to make you wonder how the distributor knew which households spoke which language,' said Josef Stampfl, sect commissioner of Kurie."
Jeff Jacobsen described some of the hearing for Bruce Pettycrew.
Scientology has been trying to stop his picketing of the Mesa, Arizona org
with a court order.
"First Leslie's attorney gave a brief opening statement. He said Bruce and others have been harassing the church for more than 2 years, and his harassing activities are not protected speech, they are fighting words. 'Mr. Pettycrew and others must be stopped.' He wants the judge to keep *all* of us 500 yards away from the church property or any of their homes. Ian, Bruce's attorney (and son), nixed the 'and others' by pointing out the hearing was only about Bruce and nobody else.
"Xavier Cuellar testified early on for Bruce because he had to get back to work. He testified about somebody giving him a 'Bruce is a religious bigot' flyer at a Circle K store near Bruce' home. Xavier's testimony was to show that the church is basically doing what Bruce is doing, so what's the problem? Leslie testified next. She said there are 12 staff members here. She claimed Bruce was yelling loud enough to be heard inside the church (a violation of the previous restraining order) on March 7, June 13, and Sept. 5. In an affidavit she listed 40 dates that Bruce had picketed the church. 'It's crazy to attack a church' she said. She said she's sure Bruce is crazy. She was mad because Bruce videotaped her. She was mad because Bruce counts cars in the lot, which she called an invasion of their privacy.
"On cross examination, Ian asked Leslie if Bruce in all those 40 pickets had ever done any violence and she said no. Kathy, Bruce' wife, then came to the stand and showed 2 videotapes of pickets where Scientologists came out and picketed with us. At the very end I testified briefly, just saying that I've never seen Bruce do anything violent or yell. Urbon then asked me if I was on any drugs, if I was under psychiatric care, or if I had any felonies." Bruce posted the details of the second day of the hearing.
"After 51/2 hours of legal wrangling the boring outcome is the same as it has been for the last year: I and anyone else can picket all we want. I cannot make enough noise to be heard inside the bOrg. The Cult Wanted: 500 Yard Buffer Zone. No Photographs or Movies. No Discouraging Words. The above to apply to me and anybody the bOrg deemed to be 'in concert' with me. The judge all but let the cult's attorney know that she was insulted that he thought she was such a sap that she would grant that. She only extended the exact same result as we had in the Superior Court."
Jim Bebee reported on a hearing to determine the custody of the files of
the old Cult Awareness Network.
"There was a hearing October 22, 1998 in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois on the motion by the attorney for Scientologist Gary Beeny to have CAN's assets (including it's warehoused files and it's suit against Scientology for malicious prosecution) turned over for auction. Beeny purchased the $1.8 million dollar judgment Jason Scott obtained against CAN from Scott for $20,000 and seeks to have CAN's assets seized and sold in satisfaction of the judgment. Because of objections raised by CAN's attorneys and an attorney for Cynthia Kisser, the motion for turnover was not granted immediately. Objections to the turnover by CAN and response by CAN and Kisser, and response by Beany, will be filed and Nov. 1998 has been set as the next hearing date in the matter."
Former Scientologist Charlotte Kates posted an affidavit she submitted in
Keith Henson's case, in which she described her experiences with the
medical practices of Scientology.
"I was personally ordered by Tiffany Woods, the Senior HAS (Hubbard Communications Office Area Secretary) EUS (Eastern United States) and Jenny Porta, the LRH Communicator EUS, to stop taking medication that had been prescribed for me by a doctor to alleviate my thyroid condition--Grave's disease--upon my signing of a Sea Organization contract. Ms. Woods and Ms. Porta told me that I would otherwise be ineligible for Scientology services, and told me that my medical condition could be cured with PTS (Potential Trouble Source) handlings and Scientology auditing. I was informed that the cause of all illness is 'PTSness', and showed a reference from L. Ron Hubbard indicating that the root of all illness and/or injury is a PTS condition. Scientology believes it can handle and cure any and all such 'PTS conditions'. I was told therefore, I did not need the medicines prescribed to me by my physician, and that Scientology auditing would cure my illness. Scientology procedures were specifically not designed to complement traditional medicine; in fact, I was told that if I continued to take my prescribed medical drugs, I would be ineligible for this Scientology cure. I was not told to visit or ask a doctor's advice. I was ordered to cease medication on the advice of two medically untrained Scientology staff members.
"I witnessed several other cases of Scientology being promoted as a medical cure, including the case of one public Scientologist active at the Philadelphia Organization. She became involved with Scientology in mid-1997. Years before, she had suffered from Lyme disease, which had been treated by a medical doctor. Not long after her initial involvement with Scientology, she suffered a recurrence of the illness, which became apparent to her as she began to suffer from memory loss, periods of blacking out, severe headaches and similar effects. A medical doctor did confirm her symptoms as being a recurrence of Lyme disease; however, before beginning medical treatment, she sought the advice of Scientologist chiropractors, nutritionists and other alternative medical practitioners. It was recommended to her that she cease medical treatment for Lyme disease; she was informed that the cause of all illness was 'PTSness.' She received many PTS handlings, at the cost of thousands of dollars in auditing fees. However, as she was still ill, she was now sold NED (New Era Dianetics) Assists (Scientology processes used to 'handle' illness or injury) as a cure for illness. NED Assists are commonly sold to ill Scientologists as cures for illness, and as replacements for medical care.
"She was sold several intensives (12 1/2 hour blocks of time) of Scientology auditing at the Flag Land Base on the premise that there, at 'the mecca of technical perfection,' her Lyme disease would be finally 'handled,' and that, therefore, the auditing was worth the exorbitant prices. She took out a second mortgage loan on her house to pay for these intensives of auditing. When these did not 'handle' her Lyme disease, she was told she had not purchased enough auditing. In a very intense registration session, she nearly maxed out her credit cards to purchase further intensives of Flag auditing, and was further promised a cure for her Lyme disease. Once again, she was not recommended to see a doctor, and was, in fact, discouraged from doing so.
"She was told that she would need $8000 worth of additional auditing. She was given a list of the names and telephone numbers of wealthy Clearwater Scientologists, and told to call them until one of them agreed to let her put her intensive on his credit card. She resisted the idea, and once again, felt forced to back down. Calling down the list, asking people she did not know for a credit card number for an $8000 intensive, she hated the idea but her resistance had been broken down. Eventually, one agreed."
The St. Petersburg Times published an article this week on David
Miscavige, the leader of Scientology.
"When David Miscavige recounts his rise to power in the Church of Scientology -- a journey that began when he quit high school at age 16 -- it is mostly a story of war. War against renegade Scientologists. War against Scientology's critics. War against its one-time arch enemy, the IRS. But Scientology's 38-year-old leader insists he is a determined peace-maker as well. After years spent well outside the public's radar screen, Miscavige says he plans to step forward now and take a central role in trying to end differences with those who still oppose Scientology, the self-improvement 'technology' devised by the late L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1950s."
FACTNet posted an interview with Jesse Prince this week in which he
described the efforts to force Mary Sue Hubbard to give up her claims on
Scientology's copyrighted documents.
"Now after [L. Ron Hubbard] passed, I was there when Mary Sue Hubbard was made to sign an agreement -- I do believe it was $100,000 -- to relinquish any kind of claim on the copyrights, or trademarks, or bank accounts, or anything to do with the Scientology fortune. I was part of a 12 or 17-man team of people that just invaded her house, and was all a pretty cordial affair. She didn't want to sign the damn thing. Lawyers were there, David Miscavige started screaming, 'You are going to sign it!'
"As well as Arthur, I was there when he signed it too. He got $50,000. All the Scientology lawyers were there, and they would just sit down, this is what the lawyers say, 'sign here.'
"The people were telling her to sign it was Norman Starkey, David Miscavige, the attorney just handing it to her telling her this is the release form, or whatever. I never said a word when I was there, Vicky never said a word, I don't think Marty spoke to her. Mark Jaeger was there. David Miscavige said we need to go in there and show a unified group of people from the church that we're running things and it's got nothing to do with her and she is not entitled to anything."
The scandal over missing documents in the Scientology trial in Paris
continued this week. From International Herald Tribune:
"Just after hundreds of legal documents on the Church of Scientology disappeared from a Paris court, computer files have now vanished from a government task force on sects, news reports said Thursday. Task force members feel the two events are not a coincidence, but signs that French sects have declared an all-out war on attempts to investigate them. One Wednesday, the French justice minister, Elisabeth Guigou, announced an investigation into the disappearance of hundreds of court documents from the Palais de Justice, Paris's main courthouse, regarding judicial action still pending against the Church of Scientology.
>From Le Figaro:
"Has someone spirited away these documents, essential to bring the cult back into criminal court? That's the question being asked by the members of the National Union for the Protection of Families and Individuals (UNADFI), an organization behind several investigations, notably in Lyon and Marseilles. The case in question is being handled by the Parisian judge Marie-Paul Moracchini since 1993. The investigation was opened in 1989 for 'fraud, practicing medicine without a license, and related offenses'.
"The disappearance of volume 9, and the absence of certain documents in volume 8 (out of a total of 10 volumes) was announced Monday, when the case was to go before a grand jury. In the absence of these documents, the magistrates were completely unable to act on the charges. They have pushed the hearing out to the 9th of November. 'Normally, there is a photocopy of any such files, but it appears that this too has disappeared', Tavernier bemoaned. The civil parties claim to have never been able to obtain a complete copy of the files for themselves.
"Among the missing evidence is testimony of victims telling to the court that they wished to withdraw their complaints against the cult. 'False documents', says UNADFI. 'We looked at the withdrawal of complaints by two victims of the Church, Didier Lerouge and Cric Dumas. In fact, these people claim never to have signed any such documents', Janine Tavernier explained."
Articles on Scientology this week from Germany. First from Frankfurter
"At first glance, Martin K. appears to be a successful businessman. However, K's company, AMK, the Akademie for Marketing and Kommunication, is a company which belongs to an association of the Scientology Church. He prefers not to say so publicly. Soon, however, he will have to assume the position, as the tax agency is taking an interest in the Akademie. The operating manager has practically had his back to the wall since 1993: If he had only not paid bills for earthly goods (rent, wages, taxes, insurance), then he would only have owed 1,600,000 marks to other Scientologists. That does not appeal to the senior men of the organization; they have downgraded their debts internally, according to research done by the Kronberg Timeservice commercial detective agency.
"The plot of the AMK is always the same. It begins with a seminar. Strengthening the personality, learning, applying oneself to the job? For many, it happens as it did with Susanne R., secretary. She is a staff member of a large business from the Rhein-Main region. She showed up informally at the AMK, the Akademie for Marketing and Kommication. They immediately had her fill out the questionnaire, which contained questions like 'In your opinion, what is wrong with your company?' and 'Do you have the feeling that your company needs management advisement?' How this served to open up new business opportunities soon became clear. Susanne R. answered the question of who she would recommend take the seminar with, 'My one boss would be good, since he has a pile of unfinished work.' The secretary, it turns out, is a prominent Scientologist who advertises her 'beliefs' on her own home page.
"The anxiety about the Scientologists now has to do with whether irregularities will be discovered with Martin K. and his AMK company. They will have to try to cover him, and if that does not work, they will abandon him. Even the organization is not allowed to do everything to gain success, especially not when it has to do with publicity. If K. is no longer covered by his own people then the business manager, who has been one of the largest donation collectors for Scientology and who until recently lived in Konigstein in Taunus, may as well leave. Even the great Scientology Church is afraid of that."
>From Kieler Nachrichten:
"The state administration's position of sect commissioner will remain vacant for the time being. That is the decision made by the factions yesterday. According to the SPD, the Greens should take over the operation of the sect commissioner, but that the available personnel in the state administration be kept on. The danger of the Scientology organization, to which the sect position is primarily dedicated, has not yet been proven according to evidence. CDU Representative Ursula Roper accused the Greens of being dangerously naive. Schleswig-Holstein, which is the only state which does not have the Scientology organization under surveillance by state security, need not isolate itself further."
BAZ - Basler Zeitung published an article on efforts to stop Scientology
from recruiting on public land.
"The 'Scientology Church Basel' and one of their members have filed a legal complaint disputing the supplement to the trespass code decided upon in September by the Great Council. In that supplement, approaching pedestrians on public land 'with deceptive and unfair methods' became a legally punishable action. According to Scientology's view of the situation, this is an 'unacceptable special-case law,' which would restrict freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Moreover, the new criminal standard is said [by Scientology] to be 'almost a duplicate of a federal law against unfair competition.' A part of the law is said to be so imprecisely worded that citizens do not know what is meant. That law, in the future, could be applied to all unfavorable groups, wrote Scientology; on the other hand, they say, the new regulation is meant to 'affect only a few Scientologists who address pedestrians in a certain area of the city ['Steinenvorstadt']."
John Jordan posted an update on Grady Ward's copyright infringement case.
"Judge Ronald M. Whyte has handed Ward a couple of victories in the last few days. First, he ordered that all further issues related to injunctions be referred to Judge Fogel. Today he ruled that he would *not* order Ward to Show Cause why he should not be held in contempt for allegedly soliciting cult's intellectual property last month."
Star magazine reports that actress Kirstie Alley was married recently in a
"Kirstie Alley has already taken vows with James Wilder in a secret ceremony. It was a Scientology ceremony and not considered legal. Kirstie and James are both Scientologists and turned to the group to help their problematic relationship. She wants to marry, but he wants to concentrate on his career. After they completed relationship training in the group's L.A. headquarters, they held a private ceremony to pledge their love and put their problems behind them."
The St. Petersburg Times reported that the Lisa McPherson case has
attracted the attention of the Florida Attorney General.
"Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth has offered 'the complete services of my office' to help investigate the 1995 death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson. Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe has been reviewing evidence and conducting his own investigation since December, when the Clearwater Police Department and Florida Department of Law Enforcement recommended criminal charges. McCabe said Monday he was considering Butterworth's offer and hopes to make a decision on the case soon. 'I'm receptive to exploring ways his office might assist us,' he said. McCabe said he wants to complete the case 'as soon as possible.' He said some of the charges under consideration are subject to a statute of limitations that expires Dec. 5, the three-year anniversary of McPherson's death. Other possible charges are not subject to the statute, he said."
World Entertainment News Network reports that Tom Cruise was recently left
off the guest list of a Scientology event in England.
"PATRIOT GAMES star ANNE ARCHER is to be mistress of ceremonies at a charity concert in West Sussex, England, for the controversial Church of Scientology. Archer will be flying into Britain this week to attend the fundraiser But TOM CRUISE has been left off the guest list. Cruise, currently in London while stunning wife NICOLE KIDMAN appears in the steamy play the BLUE ROOM, is well known as a serious supporter of the religious sect. But in a cruel snub he was not asked to next weekend's party. Instead the cult organisers invited obscure band THE JIVE ACES, whose most noticeable claim to fame was playing at Hollywood star KIRSTIE ALLEY'S children's tea party last Saturday. Organiser LIZ NYEGAARD says, 'He wasn't asked, I would know if he had been. We just decided not to ask him.'"
A summary of pickets at Scientology orgs this week. First from "Spartakus"
"As before, I had my 'SCIENTOLOGY HURTS PEOPLE' sign with 'SCIENTOLOGY: RELIGION FOR THE WEALTHY' on the back, and I also brought 'Why I Picket Scientology' and the 'Rev. Bagley' flyers. I handed out everything I had. One pedestrian read my flyers on the spot, talked a bit about Lisa McPherson with me, shook his head and then walked into the org! He emerged, said 'God bless you' to me, and went on his way. I wish I'd thought to ask him what he said to the scienos. As in the last three pickets, our fearless Minneapolis scienos were non- confront all the way. When I ended my picket to go back to work, a scieno made a half-hearted effort to follow me, but I ditched him."
>From Keith Henson in San Jose:
"About 11:30 about ten minutes, no traffic in or out. Gave away a few flyers. Other than the scientology sign, they have nothing else out, unlike previous times."
>From John Ritson at Saint Hill:
"The Scientologists were holding a major event at their Saint Hill headquarters near East Grinstead, Sussex - apparently to relaunch a book on 'Ethics' so suppressives decided to rain on their parade. We turned up outside the main entrance to Saint Hill at 1pm with a banner denouncing RTC for 'squirreling'. There were perhaps 15 cars parked on the verge outside, other cars going in and out, and even a coach that was unloading people at a nearby car- park. Scientology 'security' were enturbulated by the picket, and tried to push us off the verge into the road. The police turned up and were notably unimpressed by the Scientologists complaints of 'trespass' on a public highway. When the police left, one Scientologist got fairly aggressive with his pushing, so we moved into the roadway, protected from oncoming traffic by a parked car. The 'security' detail then tried to protect passing Scientologists from the sight of us by standing further out in the roadway at great risk to their own safety."
>From Bruce Pettycrew in Mesa, Arizona:
"Kathy and I joined Jeff Jacobsen for a picket from noon to 1:00 today. The weather was balmy, almost as balmy as the Co$. There were only 3 cars in the lot when we arrived. 5 more came during the picket, there apparently is a class around 1 to 1:30. The traffic was lighter than usual, but we got a good response. People do not like the Co$, that is one thing that is demonstrated whenever we picket."