Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 3, Issue 12 06/28/98 by Rod Keller [firstname.lastname@example.org] copyright 1998
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 email@example.com It is archived at: http://wpxx02.toxi.uni-wuerzburg.de/~krasel/CoS/ars-summary.html http://www.thur.de/religio/publik/arsfaq.html http://www.xenu.net/archive/WIR/ http://www.ecis.com/~mallen/scn/arswr/ars-summary.html http://alfa.ist.utl.pt/~dif/ic/reviews.htm #####
Belgian newspaper Het Belang van Limburg reported that the church is
planning to monitor cults, including Scientology.
"Belgian bishops will setup up their own sect-center. Professor Adelbert Denaux said that 'Scientology fulfills certain criteria of a cult. In Germany the government is very alert on certain unlawful acts; in Belgium Scientology isn't as much in the picture, maybe because the group maintains a low profile here.' And 'I've already for many years good contact with them.'"
U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee from Texas and Senator Richard
Lugar of Indiana read proclamations praising schools involved in
Scientology's Set a Good Example program.
"Mr. Speaker, I Congresswoman Jackson-Lee, submit the following document concerning the Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. Whereas, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School has been selected one of three national first place award winners in the 12th Annual 'Set a Good Example Contest'' sponsored by the Concerned Businessmen's Association of America.
"Thomas Jefferson Elementary School has found effective ways and means to combat these increasing problems and are spreading the message, through the use of the book, 'The Way to Happiness, a Common Sense Moral Guide,' written by noted author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard, to those who have ears to hear. I will never turn from the example set forth by the remarkable work done by Thomas Jefferson Elementary School."
"Mr. LUGAR: Mr. President, I rise before you today to commend the first place award winners of the American Set a Good Example Competition. In this, the 12th year of the contest sponsored by the Concerned Businessmen's Association of America, Arsenal Technical High School of Indianapolis, Indiana, has been recognized as one of these very special schools.
"For their project, Arsenal Technical students selected the precept of 'Do Not Murder' taken from 'The Way to Happiness' by L. Ron Hubbard. First, the students discussed murders which have affected them, their families and communities. Next, students put themselves in the position of Mayor and formulated ways in which they would solve the problem of violence. Each student wrote essays about their plans."
Articles on the continuing controversy over Scientology in Germany. From
Agence France Presse:
"Continued surveillance of the Scientology Organization by the Office for Constitutional Protection is required, according to the opinion of the Enquete Commission 'So-called sects and psycho-groups.' Last Friday during a presentation of their final report, the Bundestag commission substantiated their findings that Scientology worked against liberal democratic foundations. The [Scientology] organization is not a religious community [according to the findings], but an organization with political goals."
"In the dispute with the Scientology organization, the German officials are bringing their heavy artillery to bear. The Office of Constitutional Protection has the organization under surveillance. In Bavaria there is a 'Scientology-T=DCV' for which civil officials and the labor office must denote businesses connected with the organization by placing an 'S' next to their position announcements. Scientology sees this as 'discrimination,' and critics doubt that this strict procedure is effective. Bavaria's Secretary of the Interior, however, believes the hard line has been effective.
"Scientology itself describes this as a 'campaign of instigation' and a regular persecution of its own members. The organization criticizes the German officials by saying that they are proceeding against Scientology with 'alarmist methods.' Of all the German states, the 'Free State' [of Bavaria] has taken the hardest line. Critics believe that Bavaria is using the wrong means. The Greens gripe that the secret service is not the right way to conduct the battle against Scientology. They believe that if members of the organization are violating rights in Germany, then an agency to handle rights violations should be put in place, and not the Office of Constitutional Protection."
>From Die Welt, on the Scientologist who used his position in the police department for church intelligence.
"Otto D., until March of this year still chief of the operations center of the police in Tempelhof, is, in all likelihood, a member of the Scientology organization. Possibly a leading member. The story remains as explosive as it does ominous. Otto D. contests everything against him. As a precautionary measure he has been transferred to a different post. He has complained about this transfer and, as a member of the Zehlendorf CDU, has asked his old party friends to testify, in vain, as to his personal integrity. As a long-time confidante of the Zehlendorf and Berlin CDU leadership, highly controversial incidents can put a person on the wrong channels. It is becoming lonelier for Otto D.; his police career appears to be over."
>From Berliner Zeitung:
"The investigations of the state district attorney's office have not yet been concluded, said Interior State Secretary Kuno Bose (CDU) on Thursday on the Constitutional Protection Committee of the house of representatives. The chief district attorney has indicated, however, that he would want to proceed in the investigation against the director of the operations center of the police.
"'I am surprised at the extent to which the Scientologists are going in order to dispute the membership of the police director,' said Green representative, Renate Kunast on Thursday. One would not expect that the organization would blow its own agent's cover."
"Four weeks after the car of the Bayreuther publisher, Volker Gondrom, was bombed at his Bindlach workplace, there is still no trace of the perpetrators. The experts of the German criminal investigative office in Munich performed a complicated chemical and pyrotechnical analysis to determine the construction of the bomb and the nature of the firing mechanism. The investigators have not yet succeeded in their attempts.
"Despite several tips provided by the public at large, the state district attorney's office and its investigators still have not had a solid lead. The authorities did not want to take any position on the speculation of a possible connection between the assassination attempt and Gondrom's activities against the Scientologists. After having been anonymously implicated of being connected to Scientology, the Bayreuth publisher and his chain of bookstores had launched a counter-offensive. Strong denials ended with an anti-Scientology meeting between Gondrom and Renate Hartwig, renowned sect critic. Hartwig bolstered Gondrom's position and publicly stated, 'there is nothing to these rumors. Gondrom is doing everything humanly possible against Scientology.' Two weeks later, at 10:15 a.m. on May 18, a bomb exploded under Gondrom's car which was parked outside his Bindlach place of work."
>From the Nando Times:
"The Church of Scientology has denounced Germany's parliamentary report that was critical of the church as an attempt to deflect criticism that taxpayers' money was wasted. Reverend Heber Jentzsch, President of the Church of Scientology International based here in Los Angeles, said in a prepared statement released over the weekend that the report was costly and useless. Presenting its final report after two years of investigation, the parliamentary commission said Scientology, far from being a religious community, was in fact an organization with political goals."
"From: Nurnberger Nachrichten:
"Gert Tauber tries it with simple pictures. What the Scientology sect does, says the medical man from Erlangen, is nothing other that the 'breaking-in and [obedience] training of people with psycho-therapeutic techniques.' They experience conditions in which their consciousness is no longer entirely there. [They experience] a sort of trance or hypnosis.' Then, says the psycho-therapist, 'the perceptions of the person can be changed,' any compassion can be taken from them, and this binds them to the sect.
"Nobody is immune from this, says the doctor, even those who think of themselves as being strong. 'When I use psychological techniques in a certain way, I can train any person.' Nowhere else [outside of Scientology] has he experienced 'these techniques being so perfectly applied.' Tauber works at the Erlangen District Hospital and has treated former Scientologists as well as people who have participated in seminars given by the organization, such as the so-called 'Purification Run-Down.' The sect tells the participants that they will be physically and spiritually freed [by these seminars]. Actually, according to Tauber, they fall 'into extreme psychological difficulty. They are put out of sorts.' Psychotic episodes often follow which contain 'acute [health-] threatening conditions which range from panic attacks to euphoria.' Some of these victims end up visiting Tauber."
Scientology will be making another attempt to get the U.S. Congress to criticize Germany, using member John Travolta as the spokesperson. From Agence France Presse:
"Actor John Travolta of the Church of Scientology and several members of Congress on Thursday pushed for approval of a resolution urging Germany to respect religious freedom. 'We must have the courage to point to Germany even though it is an ally of our country,' Travolta told a press conference. 'Because if we shy away from persuading a country of Germany's prominence to abide by international human rights standards, there is little chance that the governments of countries like Iraq, China or the Sudan will listen when their human rights abuses are condemned.'
"The audience at the press conference consisted mostly of plainclothes Capitol security personnel, photographers and young congressional staffers eager for a look at the movie star. The congressional resolution would urge Germany to 'protect the right of freedom of religion or belief guaranteed to everyone in Germany by international human rights covenants.' A similar resolution has previously failed in the House of Representatives."
Grady Ward provided an update on settlement talks with Scientology in his
copyright infringement case.
"Judge Jeremy Fogel has gone on vacation without attempting to see if a real agreement resulted from the May recitals and how it could be reduced to writing, or if material terms have yet to be decided and thus negotiations are incomplete. Right now they are incomplete with the most important terms (to me) still left undecided or unratified. Even the important material term of the *scope* of the mutual release was left up in the air. Do we just release was the enumerated suits, or all current claims, or all possible claims and over what period of time and with whom explicitly."
Grady also reported correspondence with the FBI, who are apparently investigating Grady's care of materials provided to him during discovery.
"Dear Mr. Ward:
"The information that SA McClure will provide to you is that our office is investigating a possible contempt of court violation related to the federal civil lawsuit to which you are a party, 'Religious Technology Center versus Grady Ward,' number C-96-20207-RMW, Federal District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose, California. As such, SA McClure would simply like to ask you a few questions which may clear up this aforementioned situation. As such an interview, you may be represented by legal counsel, if you so choose.
"Dear Agent Woiwode,
"I refuse to be party to the harassment of the criminal cult of scientology who caused a baseless complaint to be lodged with Chief Magistrate Edward A. Infante. Enclosed are the documented instances of mail, wire, and bank fraud connected with the criminal cult of scientology in the litigation C 96-20207. I suggest that you stop ignoring the true criminal perpetrators here and investigate Religious Technology Center for their on-going racketeering and conspiracy to obstruct justice."
Pickets were held at a number of Scientology orgs this week. From Keith
Henson in San Jose:
"Got the week off to a good start with a one hour picket (1:15-2:15). It was a more active picket than most. A guy who was trying to get off their mailing list came by and talked to me for a while. He got ripped for over $200 when a 'friend' sent him and his wife there for marriage counseling. He was one pissed off dude--though in a way it did get them more together in both detesting scientology."
>From Realpch in San Francisco:
"I received a comment from one man that I remembered reading from one of Jour's picket reports: 'Don't you have anything better to do with your time?' It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I had already thought about my answer while reading Jour's report. 'Yeah, I have plenty of better things to do with my time!' I said. 'This is public service!'"
>From Deana Holmes, on the first picket of the Salt Lake City org:
"I parked on a side street, prepared my sign, and went over and began to picket. I really didn't talk to anyone, as there's not a whole lot of foot traffic, but I handed out several Lisa flyers. One of the flyers went to an older gentleman parked in a car in front of the org. It turned out he was waiting for his wife, who was inside taking services. There were a couple elementary school age children playing in the org's foyer. They stayed there for awhile, then they were hustled off upstairs. I saw one little kid peering through the blinds from one of the upstairs windows.
"One of the guys from one of the businesses came down and talked to me, and I gave him a Lisa pamphlet. What got his attention, he said, was my Lisa sign, which says: Young. Pretty. DEAD. 1959 <picture of Lisa with L11 cert> 1995. Did Scientology kill Lisa? www.scientology-kills.net. The other side of my sign said: $cientology: Church of the Holy Law$uit. www.xenu.net
"A public Scn came out of the building. She knew the standard line about Lisa McPherson, which was that she'd died of a pulmonary embolism. I told her that Scn had told more than one story, and mentioned the 'fast acting staph infection'. I told her I didn't like the RPF, I thought the Purif was a danger to one's health, and that Scn's stand on mental health was wrongheaded. At the end of it, we shook hands, and I told her that I'd probably be back to picket. I have to confess, that was probably the most open and non-confrontational conversation I've had with a Scn since I first got into this."
>From Bruce Pettycrew in Mesa, Arizona:
"I stopped by after work today and picketed from 5:15 to 6:15. Traffic was very heavy and, as it was rush hour and 104 degrees, not very responsive. A car turned in and the driver, a shaven headed young man with multiple rings in his ear, lip and eyebrow marched in to get some Co$ literature, because he was offended by my picket and my 'straight' appearance. I warned him that the Co$ was the most conformist group on the planet. I hope he takes the first TRs, it could be interesting."
>From Ted Mayett in Las Vegas:
"It was a two org kind of day. Little org, 9:50am, I don't know why, but at 10am 1/3 of the vehicles left the org. Big org 11:15-11:45am, vehicles 7. I counted 6 different staff members in that 30 minutes."
The Goteborgs-Posten carried an editorial on the Swedish court decision to
keep the secret NOTS materials available at the Parliament.
"It is good that 'Regeringsratten' [the Supreme Administrative Court] last Thursday decided to not accept the Government decision to seal the so called scientology bible. The Court stated that 'offentlighetsprincipen' in this case is senior to the law on secrecy. The book had been handed in to the Government and the Parliament, and thus become a public document. But the Government gave in to pressure from the U.S. The reason given was that making the document public violated the interests of the scientologists, and would conflict with Sweden's undertakings in international treaties.
"The scientologists are striving to protect themselves from the light of publicity, by calling themselves a religious organization, a church. Accordingly, the book is called religious materials. The business idea is to lure people into participating in expensive courses, where the thesis is that human development is hindered by aliens. It is of course important that an activity of this kind, that exploits the insecurity of, and searching for answers by individuals, may be exposed through open information and public debate. It is not a coincidence that Germany has refused to accept the religious label of this organization. It should not be possible to abuse the stamp of secrecy for the purpose of increasing profits in this kind of activity."
"U.S. officials said on Tuesday they disapproved of a Swedish court ruling which would allow the Church of Scientology's holiest book into the hands of the public. U.S. economic counselor in Stockholm Anthony Holmes told Reuters: 'We view the whole Scientology issue as a trade issue. We have not dealt with it as a political issue at all.' Holmes added: 'It's clearly a violation of Sweden's obligation to protect an unpublished copyrighted work. It's a blot on Sweden's reputation,' he said. 'The Freedom of the Press Act is like motherhood and apple pie in Sweden. We're not challenging that. We're saying this is a contradiction,' Holmes said.
"A spokesman for Sweden's foreign ministry said it was unlikely U.S.-Swedish relations would be hurt. 'We believe our legislation is in compliance with international law. We have very good relations with the United States,' said foreign ministry spokesman Jens Odlander."
>From Frankfurter Rundschau:
"The Swedish 'principle of public availability' is more important than international copyright. By this decision, Sweden's highest administrative court has compelled the administration to make secret scriptures of the Scientology movement available as public documents.
"Six months ago, after massive pressure from the Scientologists and the US administration, the Stockholm cabinet declared the 'holy books' of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to be secret material. In Hubbard's opinion, a person is possessed with alien beings which limit his development. This is supposed to be a consequence of the settlement of earth 75 million years ago by galactic Lord Xenu with spaceships full of beings. The understanding of the texts, from the Scientologist perspective, requires a development of awareness which can only be obtained through expensive courses offered by the organization. It is for this reason that the writings with the titles of OT and NOT are strongly secret. However, they were publicly accessible in Sweden, after Zenon Panoussis, a Scientology critic, sent a copies of them to the administration and to Parliament.
"The US administration complained about the violation of the copyrights which belonged to the Scientology Church and threatened to sue Stockholm in the World Trade Organization. The Swedish government gave in to the pressure and pulled the controversial material off the shelves. By that, they invoked a determination that the principle of public availability could be restricted if it harmed the relationship with another country. However, the administration court rejected this interpretation. The administration can only invoke secrecy if the content of the document would endanger the relationship with another country. The 'Scientology Bible' contains nothing which could harm the relationship to the USA, said the judge. Because of this, the principle of public available remains in effect. Justice Minister Laila Freivalds said that she would submit to this decision.
"Now the Scientologists want to sue Sweden in the European Court. The US embassy in Stockholm expressed regret that the rights of a 'corporate body of the USA' were being violated, and stated that it was the duty of the Swedish administration to solve this problem. After the court's decision, the Stockholm newspaper, 'Dagens Nyheter', placed the entire 'Scientology Bible' on their internet home page. On Friday afternoon, it had been taken down for unstated reasons."
Charlotte Kates reported her experience with Scientology's "net nanny"
software, which prevents Scientologists from accessing critical materials
on the Internet.
"The $cientology net nanny which Scientologists agree to use is hidden on the CD they receive in their packet of information about the Scientologist On-Line program. The CD contains three choices--the first, creating your spam page using the program CSI gives on the CD, second, creating online 'FSM selection slips' to email to your selectees, who will take them to the Org they go to, landing the web-page-creator 15% of his purchases there, and third, installing Netscape Communicator and setting up your web page. This third choice is, as specifically mentioned in the packet, not to be chosen until after your page has received 'Issue Authority' from CSI.
"The third button installs the net nanny, hidden in the Netscape InstallShield. It is an invisible program in My Computer or Windows Explorer and cannot be viewed by pressing control+alt+delete. It is insidious, showing up on every 32-bit Internet program on a computer. When entering mIRC channel #scientology, those on-channel tested the nanny. We found that certain nicks were invisible (such as 'alerma' and 'zinjifar') and that whatever they wrote was visible in the mIRC status bar and not on-channel. Everyone else, filter-free, clearly saw their writing in the channel screen. Certain words, when typed by myself or others, would cause me to be immediately kicked from IRC, including: Xenu, xenu.net, Wollersheim, Erlich, Grady Ward, Keith Henson, freezone and several others. Many words were invisible to me when others typed them, and invisible to others when I typed them, a long, long list including most ars'ers names, and also, ARS, A.R.S., and alt.religion.scientology, and other words such as: the unbelievable deletion of the word 'picket', clambake, Hemet, Gilman Hot Springs, Mark Ingber, Helena Kobrin, Kendrick Moxon, really nearly every critic and/or ex-member's name, from Roland Rashleigh-Berry to Graham Berry, and anti-cult people like Steven Hassan and Rick Ross.
"On the Web, sites such as xenu.net, entheta.net, lermanet.com, xs4all and csj.org (the AFF site) were completely blocked, whole domain names which also hosted critics' sites were blocked, dejanews.com was blocked. When reaching an unblocked search engines, all disliked domains would be listed as such: 'home.inreach.com', became ' . . ' Just dots with no words..Other words, contained in an unblocked or new page, would cause a page to stop loading. For example, about 1/4 of a web page would load, and the filter would then hit the word, for example, Hemet, and stop loading. One of the more interesting effects was its word chopping. For example 'NOTs' is a blocked word. This meant also that 'not sure' became 'ure', and that 'not surprised' became 'urprised.' Any configuration of 'not' and 's' was deleted. Also, in honor of ARSer 'Anima', the word 'animal' became, simply, 'l'. I hope to post a far more complete list of 'bad words' later. To any Scientologists reading, of course, 16-bit programs or Win98 kill it."