Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 2, Issue 16 07/27/97 by Rod Keller [email@example.com] copyright 1997
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 informtion. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org It is archived at: http://wpxx02.toxi.uni-wuerzburg.de/~krasel/CoS/ars-summary.html http://www.thur.de/religio/publik/arsfaq.html http://home.sol.no/heldal/CoS/archive/WIR/ http://www.i1.net/~mallen/scn/arswr/ars-summary.html #####
Lawrence Wollersheim reported that FACTNet has rejected a 12 million
dollar settlement offer from Scientology.
"I went to L.A. for two days about ten weeks ago and met with Monique Yingling (of the law firm of Yingling and Yingling of Washington D.C.), Marty Rathbun, and Mike Rinder. We continued to negotiate for the next four weeks.
"The basics of what Scientology sees in their minds as restrictions reciprocally and equally binding on both parties and a peace with dignity are as follows: That the non-profit free speech library and historic preservational archive called FACTNet be taken off the Internet and closed forever. That all FACTNet library databases containing electronic books, articles court decisions, government reports and former member debriefings about Scientology (or any other cultic organizations) contained in those databases be completely destroyed. That a total gag order be agreed to by Bob, Arnie, and Lawrence so that they can never again speak out about Scientology.
"That Bob, Arnie, and Lawrence are never again permitted to assist anyone in any manner trying to fight or expose Scientology. That Bob, Arnie, and Lawrence are never permitted to testify at any legal proceeding or government investigation or serve as expert witnesses concerning Scientology without service of a real adverse subpoena. That no money from the 12 million dollar package settlement could go to anyone continuing to fight or educate in any way against Scientology. That FACTNet return Scientology's court-submitted financial records and all copies of their 'advanced trade secret' materials and non-original copyrighted materials. That humiliating false and self-incriminating public statements be made that imply that the FACTNet research on Scientology's problem with members going psychotic or attempting or committing suicide while involved with their bizarre initiation rituals is not credible. That we falsely state in a public statement that FACTNet existed exclusively and solely for anti-Scientology activities.
"They also wanted an 'agreement violation' damage clause that could eventually amount to a flat penalty of $750,000 in damages against us every time they proved we have violated ANY term of the agreement no matter how inconsequentially and without showing any real damage to themselves.
"And finally, while Scientology corporations and fronts not bound by this agreement could sue us back to the Stone Age for alleged violations or anything else they could and would dream up, we of course, are still bound by every single other term of the agreement as far as restricting us from speaking out or working against Scientology.
"Scientology wanted all the Hubbard family heirs' names included in our deal so that all probate actions to examine the fraudulent asset transfers away from the Hubbard family heirs to David Miscavige's and Starkey's control would be stopped. Early on in the discussion, Scientology wanted a statement retracting all statements that Miscavige's mother-in-law's suicide/murder might have had any connection to David Miscavige or Scientology.
"Scientology has once again conclusively shown me it has not changed one iota from the entrapping Gerry Armstrong, Margie Wakefield, Flynn type settlement strategies. In fact it has gotten worse in its settlement demands."
Scientology also pulled RTC from the FACTNet litigation, leaving only Bridge Publications to continue the copyright infringement case. From the recommendation of Magistrate Judge Abram:
"IT IS RECOMMENDED that plaintiff RTC'S Motion Under Fed.R.Civ.P 41 to Withdraw Claims, filed May 14, 1997, be granted, and the defendants' request for attorneys' fees be denied. Plaintiff filed its motion after the court in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia entered a judgment in a companion case. Until the court issued the order, there was a viable issue in both courts.
"RTC is satisfied that the copyright issue has been resolved by the judgment in Virginia court. To ask this court to again address the same issue would be a waste of judicial resources and time."
A deposition of Robert Friend, brother of Scientologist Roxanne Friend was
posted this week. He describer Roxanne's treatment by Scientology,
"A There was a period of about six or so days prior to leaving for Florida where we made every effort to protect Roxanne from herself. That she had gotten herself into such a state that she was, in my opinion and her friend's opinion, was in serious jeopardy, both from her seeming uncanny ability at that time to create confrontation with people she didn't even know, and also because of her erratic behavior of getting picked up by the police, or institutionalized or getting in a car accident.
"Q During that - For what period of time was Roxanne not allowed to make telephone calls?
"A I would say about a six, seven day period prior to leaving for Florida.
"Q During that time, during the watch prior to the trip was Roxanne ever physically restrained from leaving the apartment?
"A I know for sure I restrained her on one occasion.
"Q. Did anyone else restrain her from leaving the apartment?
"A I remember Jim, I believe, Jim Sydejko blocking the door on one occasion.
"Q Did the other male staff member from Flag ever physically restrain her from leaving the apartment?
"A My recollection is that he was, Roxanne wasn't aware of his presence until we actually made the trip.
"A After, I believe it was about after two weeks, I was led to understand that Roxanne had been complaining that she didn't want to be there. And there was a last sort of effort to get her to try and have auditing to handle the psychosis.
"Q Who told you that she didn't want to be there?
"A A staff member whose responsibility deals with ethics."
The Toronto Globe and Mail published an article this week on Scientology
efforts against Germany.
"When you want to smear an opponent in contemporary Germany, there's no more effective way to do so than to call him or her a Nazi. That's exactly what each side is doing in the nasty battle that pits the German government against the Church of Scientology.
"Germany's 30,000 Scientologists, backed by the resources of their worldwide organization, see themselves as Jews in Nazi Germany, the targets of discrimination because of their religious beliefs. The disagreement escalated this week with the publication by Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democratic Union of a brochure attacking the U.S.-based group as a criminal organization.
"But Stephen Kent, a University of Alberta sociologist who has long studied Scientology, believes it is a totalitarian organization that should be feared by all democracies, including Germany, because of its alleged use of forced labour and indoctrination programs. 'The overall issue of Scientology's threat to the democratic state is certainly worthy of investigation.'
"Angelika Koester-Losseck, a member of the Green Party and her party's representative on a special parliamentary committee investigating cults, agrees that Scientology is more a business than a religion. 'They are interested in making money and controlling people.' 'I think they are a threat ... but I don't think they are a bigger threat than international organized crime and the drug scene.' And outlawing the group, as some members of the government apparently are interested in doing, would only force them underground, where they would continue to thrive, she said."
Scientologists demonstrated against Germany in Frankfurt this week. From the Associated Press:
"More than a thousand Scientologists on Monday chanted slogans and songs borrowed from the U.S. civil rights movement, alleging they are victims of religious persecution. The protest attracted members of the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology from across Europe, Canada and the United States, including such prominent Scientologists as Chick Corea, Issac Hayes and Anne Archer -- who delivered a message from John Travolta.
"The protesters -- crowd estimates ranged from 1,500 to 2,000 -- marched about a mile from Frankfurt's main train station to the Alte Oper opera house just outside city center. They chanted 'Freedom,' and carried signs that said 'Scientology Freedom of Religion' and 'Against Discrimination of Religious Minorities.'
And from the Rheinische Post:
"The group 'Freedom for Religions in Germany (FRG)' draw participants from over twenty countries for the demonstration. The groups was founded in the United States in April with the goal of promoting freedom of religion in Germany. The demonstrators demand 'a German nation without discrimination' and sang songs from the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.
"Chick Corea, the first speaker at the rally, expressed his pride at being a part of the movement for religious freedom and tolerance. The loudest applause, though, was for Issac Hayes. Alluding to the speech in Berlin by John F. Kennedy ('I am a Berliner'), Hayes called out to the crowd in German: 'I am a scientologist.'"
A letter and declaration from Garry Scarff were posted this week. As part
of Garry's settlement with Scientology, he is demanding that the German TV
show he participated in not be rebroadcast.
"I was a featured subject in your program 'Looking for..The Dark Side of Scientology', which aired on station ARD/WDR. I have been told by Ms. Mona Botros that it is going to be aired again. Having seen the show and the ridiculous falsehoods contained in it, I demand that you not re-air the show again.
"I lied numerous times and Mona Botros & you knew that I was lying, that I was not a credible witness and not worthy of your trust or being relied on. The show creates a completely false and reckless impression of Scientology and I can imagine that Scientologists world wide in fact find it civilly libelous. If you choose to air this program again, I will pursue every legal claim that is available to me under the laws of every country exposed to this trash."
The US State Department issued a report this week on religious freedom,
including a mention on Scientology in Germany.
"Recently, a federal administration court in Berlin denied Jehovah's Witnesses the status of a 'public body' on the grounds that the church did not offer the 'indispensable loyalty' towards the State, because, for example, it refused to acknowledge public elections. Jehovah's Witnesses are appealing this ruling in the Constitutional Court. Scientologists, including American citizens, have reported discrimination and harassment in Germany. In June 1997, German authorities placed the Church of Scientology under observation for one year, a decision Scientologists indicated they would appeal.
"In some German state governments and state/local-level church organizations, sect observers work within some political, administrative, and church structures to 'educate' the public and other officials about how to recognize members of sects.
"The U.S. Government has expressed concern to the German Government about efforts to monitor religious organizations. The U.S. Government also has told the German Government that it would be concerned if persons were placed under observation or denied rights on the basis of mere membership in a group, rather than suspicion of illegal acts by individuals."
>From the Associated Press:
"A State Department report noted allegations of discrimination against Scientologists in Germany but emphasized that the German government respects religious freedoms. 'Scientologists, including American citizens, have reported discrimination and harassment in Germany,' said the department's first report on the state of religious freedom around the world. The report said the German constitution 'provides for religious freedom, and the government broadly respects this right in practice.'"
Inside Edition aired a third segment on the death of Scientologist Lisa
McPherson this week. They highlighted the recently released logs
describing the treatment of Lisa at the Fort Harrison.
"LAURA VAUGHAN, SCIENTOLOGY ATTORNEY: What they were trying to do was to feed her, to give her fluids, to get her to rest.
"KEN DANDAR, LAWYER FOR LISA McPHERSON'S FAMILY: She was banging on the walls trying to get out. She was screaming, yelling at them, kicking them, punching them.
"LAURA VAUGHAN: What the memos show is that Lisa McPherson was talking in non sequitur language, she wasn't saying things that made sense. She was taking off her clothes. She was, um, talking to people who weren't there. She was spitting food. She was jumping in the toilet. She was throwing water out of the toilet. She was doing things that a person who is psychotic does.
"MATT (reading out of logs): 'She tried to get out of the door. I let her sit outside for 5 minutes. She snuck away.' Repeatedly, security guards had to be called into the room.
"LAURA: That is so, that is so disingenuous and so--um, I can't even describe how you're trying to pull those things out of context to make this an exciting story.
"MATT, INTERVIEWING (reading out of logs): On November 22, 'she was like an ice cube. She talked incoherently hour after hour. She refused to eat. She spit out everything she took. She looked ill, like measles or chicken pox; had a fever to my touch.'-- (to Laura) Shouldn't somebody have called a doctor then?
"LAURA: What you're trying to do, Matt--first of all, you pull one thing out of the entirety of the report, and now you want to substitute your judgment for the judgment of the women who were with her for two weeks who were caring for her.
"KEN DANDAR: You can see that all of their efforts are to keep her asleep, just keep her doped up and asleep.
"VOICEOVER: The notes indicate that Lisa was being given, sometimes force-fed, a variety of medicines, herbal potions, and vitamins. We asked veteran forensic pathologist Dr. Klaus Spaeth to review the notes and Lisa's autopsy.
"DR. SPAETH: For example, the high doses of vitamin B1 can produce insomnia, severe irritability and headaches. Magnesium is a sedative, but it also produces severe dehydration. Chloral hydrate can produce hallucinations; it can produce severe damage to the kidneys.
"MATT--INTERVIEWING: You're telling me that the combination of herbs and potions and prescription medicines that they gave her may have interacted to kill her.
"DR. KLAUS SPAETH: I would go beyond that. I wouldn't say 'may have'; in fact, we have no other explanation for her condition."
Inside Edition had a follow-up mention on the following day's program.
"DEBORAH NORVILLE: And finally today, yesterday we told you about some new developments in the case of 36-year-old Lisa McPherson, who died while in the care of the Church of Scientology in Clearwater, FL. In that story, Dr. Klaus Spaeth, a veteran forensic pathologist, stated his opinion that McPherson dehydrated and suffered a blood clot as a result of the overall treatment she received. It has come to our attention that Dr. Spaeth himself has been involved in controversy. In 1992 he was barred for one year from holding a medical examiner's position in New Jersey; and in 1995 he was charged in Essex County, NJ with tampering with evidence and a witness and false swearing. Wednesday night, lawyers for the Church of Scientology sent us a letter saying that Dr. Spaeth's record demonstrates that his opinion is unreliable."
A The Salt Lake Tribune article described consumer protection efforts
against a Scientologist-owned distributor of plastic laundry balls,
promoted as a high-tech way to clean clothes.
"The Utah Division of Consumer Protection says a company selling a plastic ball with a liquid touted as a new way to clean clothes is misrepresenting the benefits of its product and is violating the Utah Consumer Sales Practice Act.
"According to Consumer Protection, The Laundry Solution, a plastic ball approximately 3 inches in diameter filled with a colored liquid, is being marketed and promoted with claims that through a 'confidential' process, the ball changes the molecular structure of water. Promoters of these laundry balls claim this change forces dirt from clothes through 'electronic release,' making the use of laundry detergent unnecessary. The balls are being sold for $75 to $90.
"Responding to consumer complaints, Consumer Protection asked the University of Utah physics department and an independent chemistry lab, San Rafael Chemical Services of Salt Lake City, to conduct separate evaluations of the claims made by TradeNet. The physics department's tests found there was no evidence of an electrical charge in the ball during use, nor any infrared emissions. The tests from San Rafael determined the liquid inside the ball was blue-colored water and was not 'structured' in any way different from ordinary water."
Odhran Fortune, the Irish Scientologist whose family is trying to obtain
his release, issued a statement against anti-cult activists this week.
"I have no regrets about leaving Gorey but I regret my family was so viciously manipulated by Deprogrammers and continues to be manipulated by them. These deprogrammers were Paul O'Kelly, Mary Johnston, Bonnie Woods, Richard Woods and Mike Guarde. For months, I was deprived of the ability to run my own life and made to do things against my will, at times deprived of sleep (up to 25 hrs) and physically assaulted. My passport was taken away from me so that I could not leave, I was constantly escorted, and I was prevented from using even a telephone. I was put under intense emotional and mental pressure, shouted at, harassed, and harangued about my beliefs and convictions, and even threatened with commitment to a mental institution if I did not renounce my religion at once.
"I hate these people who ruined my family. They are a despicable lot. They pretend to be interested in family but it is a big sham. The only break up families. They profit from keeping my family in conflict. I have already made a complaint to the Police and am consulting lawyers so that I can also take civil action."
Martin Hunt posted a transcription of a Vancouver radio show on
Scientology. Rev. Al Buttnor represented Scientology, and several a.r.s
regulars called in. Some excerpts:
"Howie Siegel: What is it about Scientology per se, not so much what laws Scientologist have broken, but about the philosophy/religion itself that odious?
"Dr. Stephen Kent: Scientology as an organization runs forced labour and re-indoctrination programs for its high-level, most committed members. These programs are called the Rehabilitation Project Force, and if people do an internet search, they can find out a lot of information, because many legal documents and former, statements of people who have been through these programs exist. These camps are run for the high-level Scientologists who deviate, who's production is supposedly not high enough, who've questioned leadership and leadership's decisions, and so on. These Sea Organizations or Sea Org members go through an internal trial called a committee of evidence, and then if convicted, they may get sent into these programs. Moreover, what's of greater concern is that there is a program inside of the program for people who get sent into these forced labour and rehabilitation projects, and then don't respond: it's called the Rehabilitation Project's Force's Rehabilitation Project Force, or the RPF's RPF, and this is an extreme program, where they work hard labour, well actually in both programs they work hard labour, in the RPF's RPF they don't get paid anything.
"Al Buttnor: Anyone can leave the Church of Scientology. Nobody has to participate in anything. All right?
"Dr. Stephen Kent: The accounts that I've read and the accounts that I've heard from people speak against the voluntary nature of certainly the RPF program. People all are always under guard. Indeed, one of the descriptions of an RPF camp in Hemet, California talks about being behind a wired fence with ground sensors, guards who allegedly have guns, and so on.
"Howie Siegel: I see. Well listen, we're talking to Martin Hunt who was a Scientologist. What are your feelings about Scientology now? You've left...it's been 7-8 years, do you have any positive feelings about Scientology?
"Martin Hunt: It's perhaps not an entirely negative experience; I'm not really concerned about the religious angles of it and whether... and you know a lot of people are there in Scientology for good motives; they want spiritual freedom. My concern is that they are being exploited and being used to make money.
"Howie Siegel: Do you consider it a cult?
"Martin Hunt: Yes I do.
"Howie Siegel: Let's go to Al Buttnor in Toronto. Al, are you there?
"Al Buttnor: Well, I think you need to start a paranoid club out in Western Canada.
"Howie Siegel: Let me ask you Martin; are you paranoid?
"Martin Hunt: Not particularly, no. Possibly I'm a little concerned about how Scientology has targeted and gone after critics in the past; and I'm not speaking, I'm not really making it up. You're not really paranoid if they're actually out to get you.
"Al Buttnor: Well, I think it's the other way around, Martin. I think we had to phone the police back in 95 about your threats.
"Howie Siegel: Did you make any threats?
"Martin Hunt: Absolutely not. Be interested to know what he's talking about.
"Howie Siegel: OK. I want to tell you about Xenu, or at least my listening audience - obviously don't have to tell you about Xenu. Xenu, according to L. Ron Hubbard, was in charge of all the planets 75,000,000 years ago, including Earth, and all these planets had an overload and overpopulation of a 178 billion people, and so they were brought to Earth, where, in fact, they were blown up, their bodies were disintegrated, but their souls survived, and those souls aliens are now residing in all humans. Now is that basically the philosophy of Scientology?
"Gregg Hagglund: Yeah, they're basically stuck to us, the clusters, body thetans, and you have to pay many many thousands and thousands of dollars in the higher levels once this is revealed to you."
Los Angeles School
The Los Angeles Times carried an article this week on a local school's
ties to Scientology.
"A proposed charter school in the east San Fernando Valley is receiving close scrutiny from Los Angeles Unified School District officials who are concerned about the organizer's ties to the Church of Scientology and are questioning whether church teachings would appear in the new public school.
"Advocates of the Northwest Charter School acknowledge that they want to employ teaching methods developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, but say his system emphasizes common-sense strategies appropriate for a public school setting and children of any religion.
"After hearing of a possible Scientology link, however, school board President Julie Korenstein placed the charter school proposal on the agenda of the board's closed-door session for discussion Monday. She and other board members expressed concern that the Hubbard materials could violate the separation of church and state. 'We cannot turn our public school students and monies into a religious institution,' said board member David Tokofsky. 'It's a problem on a fundamental constitutional level.'
"The author of the Northwest Charter School petition, Los Angeles school district special education teacher Linda Smith, insisted that the teaching approach she wants to employ--known as Applied Scholastics--is nonsectarian. The curriculum would include standard texts, as well as Hubbard's Applied Scholastics, which Smith said helps bolster student achievement by addressing three 'barriers' to learning: Students use dictionaries to look up words they do not understand, they apply their lessons to real life, and they master each rung of material to obtain a thorough understanding of a subject.
"'I think that the [district] ought to do everything within its power to ensure that this is not a subterfuge for teaching about the Scientology religion,' said Doug Mirell, a 1st Amendment specialist and American Civil Liberties Union board member."
News this week from L. Ron Hubbard's birthplace, Tilden, Nebraska, where
local organizers have decided against creating a park in his honor.
Donald Harvill posted a report.
"Tilden has decided to not construct the L. Ron Hubbard Memorial Park, the money has returned from whence it came, and the local foundation that was going to oversee the project has disbanded. There was just too large of an uproar from too many of the citizens that were opposed to associating their town with the CoS."
Following their removal from Lars Baehren's web site, a collection of Flag
Orders is again available on the web.
"A couple of days ago HK (Helena Kobrin, main Attorney of Law Scientology / Dianetics) performed her CT (Cheap Trick) again. She sent the UoB (University of Bonn) and LB (Lars Baehren) a threat concerning a collection of FO's (Flag Orders) at the website of Lars. She lied of course: 'copyrights, unpublished, stolen', etc. Standard RTC (Religious Technology Center) procedure.
"Anyway. The FO's are back on-line again, with additions."
A declaration describing conditions in Scientology by Ginger Breggin was
posted for the first time this week. Ginger was active in Scientology in
its efforts against Psychiatrists, but has now left the cult.
"Terry [McCaan] was a public pc on ASHO lines, in his early forties, and seriously diabetic. Terry was also blind when I met him. His blindness developed when his retinas separated while he was doing the required purification rundown prior to our meeting. When I knew him Terry was very depressed about being blind and wanted to die. He resented deeply having been ordered to do the purification rundown. He was struggling with various disorders that were resulting from his diabetes, including the loss of toes due to poor circulation. He was not receiving regular medical care and on one occasion I and two other friends had to convince him to see a doctor when I discovered festering sores on the bottoms of his feet.
"When I was training as AG Detroit at the USGO in 1974, I visited the Sea Org housing where the small children were cared for by nannies. These children lived in filthy, subnormal conditions. Many of them had multiple open sores and skin conditions. I remember Emily Rubineck at PR US was preparing a report on the poor conditions to get them corrected at that time."
Dennis Erlich reported that the Burbank Org location has been vacated by
"The scieno org that used to be on the corner of Magnolia and Hollywood Way in beautiful downtown Burbank is gone. There is not even a sign on the door of the now vacant building.
"When the old phone number is dialed, one is directed to 15643 Sherman Way, Suite 120, Van Nuys, CA 91406. A whole 7-division org, academy levels and all, squished into one suite. Near Sherman Way and Sepulveda. The opposite end of the San Fernando Valley. Where the hookers roam after dark."
Scientologist Mike Smith replied that the org has been relocated.
"The Church of Scientology of the Valley moved from Burbank into the San Fernando Valley proper. It now occupies most of the first and part of the second floors of a four story office building that housed a large law firm. The academy is even bigger than at its previous location as well as are other delivery areas of the org."