Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 2, Issue 24 10/28/97 by Rod Keller [firstname.lastname@example.org] 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 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://home.sol.no/heldal/CoS/archive/WIR/ http://www.i1.net/~mallen/scn/arswr/ars-summary.html #####
Cult Awareness Network
The new Scientology-run Cult Awareness Network is the subject of a new
article from a concerned mother.
"My daughter is in a controversial New Age group. Everyone else in the family thinks that she is just exploring a new dimension in her life and that she will come out of it. I used to think this too, until she broke from me and her mail and phone calls were blocked. There have been abrupt changes in her life: She quit her job, sold her old truck and got a car payment, moved into the community, works for the community.
"When I looked for help, I recently experienced a betrayal from the Cult Awareness Network [CAN] in Chicago. The hotline operator makes sure she gets the name of the organization the caller is worried about. Her tone of voice changed to one of urgency, but I was too emotional to notice that at the time. I was told that the organization changed hands because of a lawsuit about a forcible deprogramming, that deprogramming is illegal, and that there is 100% recidivism rate, that mediation is recommended and that I would receive a phone call from a mediator.
"No mediator called me. CAN called the organization in question and disclosed that they were the Cult Awareness Network and that a complaint had been lodged. Since this is a new, small organization and I was the most recently aggrieved parent, they all knew I had made the phone call. Obviously my position became tenuous and a complete cut-off of all family soon occurred. When I learned of the betrayal, I called the hotline and complained.
"The executive director called me back and I, still believing this was a bona-fide organization, angrily told her how their policy of calling the organization was insane and how it had damaged even further my relationship with my daughter. She seemed to be genuinely emotionally shaken. She promised that a psychologist employed by CAN would call me. Obviously no one phoned."
A participant in the recent picket at Scientology's DC org, Wes Fager
reported unwanted attention from photographers.
"The week after the picket, I picked my wife up from work. I was sitting in my car reading a book, waiting for my wife when a car apparently parked in front of me. The driver got out, opened his trunk and took out what appeared to be a professional video camera, and started taking my picture and the picture of my wife as she came out of the building. Then he put his camera back in its case, shut the trunk, and drove off."
Deana Holmes reported this week that Scientology is seeking records of any
phone calls made by Dennis Erlich to a number of other Scientology
"I was informed tonight that Hogan dropped off a sealed filing with the court in the Erlich case. It seems that RTC and Bridge wants to know if Dennis has called any of the following people.
"Jetta Eggers, Felipe Rodriguezs, Gerry Armstron, Dan Leipold, Ford Greene, Andreas Heldal-Lund, Vaughn Young, Deana Holmes, Karin Spaink, Dave Touretzky, Johan Wevers, Zenon Panoussis, Homer Smith, Tom Klemesrud, Jeff Jacobsen, Graham Berry, Grady Ward, Keith Henson, Arnie Lerma, Lawrence Wollersheim"
Chris Owen announced additions to his "Scientology's Secret Service" web
site, including documents from 1988 and 1990 showing attempted
infiltration of the French government.
"The main item is a selection of OSA documents from France, originally reproduced in Serge Faubert's book 'Une secte aue coeur de la Republique'. They reveal how OSA planted agents in the Elysee palace; the agents appear to have had direct access to President Mitterand himself. Interestingly, a noted a.r.s. poster, Roger Gonnet, also appears in the French documents.
Finnish newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat carried an article on Scientology in
Germany this week.
"Hamburg is the center for the anti-scientology campaign, because until a few years ago the sect was very successful here, and the state parliament formed a special office for a scientology ombudsman in 1992. The social democratic politician Ursula Caberta was chosen to head the office. It's mainly thanks to her that the 'church' and the business deals of its members has received increasingly negative publicity, and the number of members leaving the cult has gone up.
"'The Rasputin of Bonn', a scientology magazine proclaims, with a picture of the federal labour minister Norbert Blum on the cover. Flames are reflected from his eyeglasses, a reference to Nazi book burnings. The scientologists feel they are being persecuted like the Jews in the 1930s. The Hollywood scientologists claimed the same thing in large paid newspaper advertisements last winter.
"The offices of Ms. Caberta is located in the office building of the Hamburg senate, beside the main railway station. Caberta has experienced a campaign against her, as defined by Hubbard's instructions. 'I'm not surprised about anything anymore: phone harassment and death threats are a part of the picture', she tells us. According to Caberta, the problems of the Hamburg 'church' became critical in 1995, when their leader Wiebke Hansen resigned or was fired, and Mark Lizer from the scientology elite group Sea Org came as her replacement from the U.S.A. Since then an increasing number of members have left the Hamburg church. 'In the first years we got information on only a few people quitting per year, but in the last three weeks we have been contacted by over 20 scientologists that have left the organization. If the number of resignations continue the same way, soon there won't be many more left.'"
German officials defended their treatment of Scientology this week in the wake of celebrity testimony in Washington DC. From Xinhua Newswire:
"German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel today defended Germany's treatment to the Scientology movement, saying the criticism by a U.S. senator was 'intolerable' to such a free country as Germany. 'The accusation that Scientology is being persecuted here is absurd,' Kinkel said in a statement in response to the claims by U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato that Germany was restricting freedom of religion with regard to Scientology. Kinkel stressed, 'Scientology is not a religion or world outlook. Its goals are directed at economic activity.'"
Also from Xinhua, word that Germany's intelligence service may begin monitoring Scientology outside Germany.
"A government spokesman made the confirmation after the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported such a move could lead to international complications with Washington. 'In the United States, senior intelligence service officials belong to Scientology,' said the newspaper. The idea was criticized today by the opposition Greens Party during a parliamentary debate on sects, which it said could intensify the conflict with Washington over Scientology's treatment."
Peik J Stromsholm reported that Johan 'Julf' Helsingius has asked the
Finnish Supreme Court to consider his case. Johan shut the anonymous
server anon.penet.fi following an attempts to force him to reveal the
identity of the penet user who posted secret Scientology documents.
"By filing for leave to appeal, the immediate effect is that Helsingius won't have to reveal the names before the Supreme Court has decided whether they will consider his case or not. It will probably take many months before a decision is reached. In his petition of appeal dated 8th of August 1997, submitted by his attorney Markku Ropponen from Scandinavian Law Offices, Helsingius concentrates mainly on constitutional concerns regarding privacy and rights during police investigations.
"The matter is investigated by the Helsinki police department as a minor copyright offence, after complaints by different Scientology corporations. The case is formally about a motion to compel Helsingius to testify. Helsingius argues that it could have a chilling effect on free speech on the Internet if the authorities can go to such extreme lengths in the investigation of minor offenses."
The Los Angeles Times reported this week that Scientology's textbooks were
rejected by the California state review board.
"State education officials on Monday rejected the latest version of a series of textbooks inspired by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, saying the books failed to properly depict disabled people and minorities. The publisher, Bridge Publications, is seeking to have five books based on Hubbard's educational ideas approved for use in California public classrooms as supplemental texts. But in a two-page letter faxed to the publisher Monday, the state Department of Education said revisions to the original series failed to adequately address concerns raised by a 20-member citizens review panel.
"The panel is one of several across the state that review supplemental materials to ensure that the works comply with the state's social content laws. The effort to include the books on the state-approved list - allowing, but not obligating, schools to buy them - has raised concerns among some educators and civil libertarians.
"The books were not approved by the state because they misrepresented the disabled and minorities, state officials said. For example, disabled characters were shown with canes, representative more of the aging process than of a disability, said Ruth McKenna, the state's chief deputy superintendent of public instruction. A disabled character in the texts also was shown in a wheelchair alone, isolated from others. In addition, the books did not depict enough disabled people.
"Bridge Publications had originally submitted the texts to the state in May 1996, only to have them rejected later that year. The firm submitted revised versions in August. According to the state's letter, written by McKenna, the citizens panel concluded that the revisions were too weak. In the case of minorities, for example, the state said the changes were accomplished by shading the faces of existing characters. One character ended up appearing white on certain pages but as an ethnic minority on other pages."
Bob Minton reported a phone call from Scientology attorney Elliott Abelson
"Elliott Ableson, acting as the cults mouthpiece, called me in NH on Tuesday Sept. 16th about 5:00pm and off the bat wanted to know 2 things: Are you surprised to hear from me?, and How have you been feeling in the last six months since Clearwater?
"The answers are: I'm not surprised to hear from someone representing the church of $cientology as I have been a key financial supporter of several $cientology critics involved in litigation against the cult. And: Pretty good but it's been kinda hectic.
"Ableson then explained that he wanted to explore my concerns about $cientology and maybe clear-up some misconceptions I may have. Further, he explained that he had read all my previous postings to ARS and said he appreciated that I had strong convictions about the first amendment to the constitution and especially to the adverse impact $cientology had on young people. He specifically referred to an ars post following the March 1996 picketing in Clearwater where I had offered a reward of $360,000 for information leading to the revocation of co$'s 501 (c)(3) tax status. He said he wanted to begin a dialogue.
"I mentioned the shutdown attempt of ars, Erlich's confinement at Flag, the raids on Erlich, Penny, Wollersheim, Lerma, Factnet and other incidents and especially what happened to Lisa McPherson almost 2 years ago. I also told him I was concerned about the extremely negative impact $cientology had on people I have come to know though ars; and that the whole thing was one big financial scam.
"Ableson made it clear that he was aware I had been helping Wollersheim and Dandar financially. Further, he stated he was learning something he did not previously think possible - that a critic of the co$ who was different intellectually from other critics with a stable family situation and stable business (in fact I have no business) could be a critic.
"Could this possibly have been a first amendment advocate making subtle threats to suggest that I not exercise my first amendment rights if it bothers his client? Is my family and business stability at risk? Gosh, I'm really not sure what this guy who teaches sharks how to kill and get away with it meant? The most telling of the 2 questions initially asked was number 2. I think Ableson may have been saying several things with this question: We got your medical records too. We will use your medical records, if you make it necessary, to embarrass and discredit you! Otherwise, how are you going to explain your trip to the emergency room at Mass General in Boston 3 days after returning from Clearwater in March 97?"
Russian police this week called Scientology "socially dangerous", and were
critical of Scientology's attempts to launch a Russian Narconon program.
"'The activities of followers of that sort of teaching are harmful and socially dangerous,' Boris Tsilinski, the head of the Interior Ministry's drugs squad, said in response to reports that a Scientology follower in Russia had claimed success in treating thousands of drug addicts. 'The treatment of drug addiction should be done by medical establishments who have suitably qualified specialists acting according to legally established rules,' Tsilinski told Itar-Tass news agency.
"The agency said Vladimir Ivanov, a Scientologist heading a fund for saving youngsters from drugs, had claimed that thousands of people had overcome addiction tanks to the organisation's programme. Tass said that in June 1996, the Russian health ministry issued an order banning 'propaganda and detoxification methods of the teaching of L. Ron Hubbard,' the founder of Scientology.
President Yeltsin also signed a law this week, restricting religious minorities and cults.
"A brief Kremlin statement said without elaboration that Yeltsin had signed the law 'On freedom of conscience and religious organisations.' Supporters of the bill, including the powerful Russian Orthodox Church, say it will help tackle the dangerous sects which have converged on Russia to exploit a spiritual gap left by the collapse of communism.
"Opponents sympathise with the bill's aim but say it violates Russia's post-Soviet constitution and discriminates unfairly against conventional minority religious groups. World church leaders lamented Yeltsin's decision to sign the draft, which followed a last-minute attempt to dissuade him by U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who was in Moscow this week.
"Diederik Lohman, director of the Moscow office of Human Rights Watch/Helsinki, said the bill opened the way for local officials to refuse to register religious groups seen to compete with the Orthodox Church and other 'traditional' religions."
A Florida Today article this week described plans for the L. Ron Hubbard
Achievement Awards, held at the Kennedy Space Center.
"[T]he keynote address will be delivered by Goddard Space Flight Center astrophysicist Yoji Kondo, author and recipient of the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement.
"Twenty-five neophyte writers and illustrators from across the United States, Canada, England, Russia and the Ukraine have qualified for the Hubbard Gold Achievement Awards, which extend a $4,000 cash prize to the winner of each category. Hubbard was the sci-fi author whose Dianetics teachings formed the Church of Scientology.
"Attending will be best-selling writer Kevin J. Anderson (X-Files: Ground Zero and Ruins; Jedi Academy Trilogy), and novelist Dave Wolverton (The Courtship of Princess Leia). Pioneer sci-fi authors Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson also will be on hand. 'It's a pretty big deal,' Widder says, 'when you consider that, over the past 13 years, the winners of the Writers of the Future contest have had 200 novels published.' Past Hubbard awards ceremonies have been hosted by the United Nations and Johnson Space Center, Widder says."
Time Magazine this week ran an article on Scientologist-Actress Kirstie
"Alley, now 46 (though she denies it), credits much of her good fortune to her participation in the controversial Church of Scientology. Growing up in Wichita, Kans., she dreamed of running off to Hollywood even though she was a daddy's girl. Sidetracked by cocaine and interior decorating, she dropped out of her acting studies at the University of Kansas. Then she read L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics, which Alley believes changed her life by making her take responsibility for herself. 'I thought, O.K., this is either the world's biggest scam or it's fabulous. I stopped working, quit my job, and I drove my car to California to be a Scientologist.'
"A member since age 26, she dismisses claims in the press that Scientology officials choose her roles - or approve her interviews. 'Scientologists are not sheep. They buck the system,' she argues. Earnings from the Look Who's Talking movies she made with Travolta, another famous church member, helped her open a Scientology mission in her Kansas hometown where nonmembers can learn to read. 'People don't see the good,' she says in disgust."
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In response to threatening letters to Roland Rashleigh-Berry's web site of
picketing flyers from Scientology lawyer Helena Kobrin, critics created
archives of the flyers this week. Deana Holmes writes:
"Helena K. Kobrin is threatening people over Roland Rashleigh-Berry's Xemu flyers. He's been pressured on his Coltice site, as has Jens Tingleff on his site. I have placed up a US mirror of the flyers at http://www.xmission.com/~mirele. I urge *everyone* to download the six files from that page and put up their own mirror. I'm doing this because I am convinced, after reviewing the flyers for myself, that there is no copyright infringement and that Ms. Kobrin is just trying to scare people.
"And to you, Ms. Kobrin...remember, if you're going to claim copyright infringement, you'd better by damn be ready to show it. It seems to me that when it comes to $cientology, you simply believe there's no such thing as Fair Use."
Lee Kanzler, Dave Touretzky and Frank Copeland also announced mirror sites.
"Well I put up another US Mirror and this is totally stupid to claim copyright infringement on this, just scare tactics. http://www2.whidbey.net/~skyhawk/cos/kox/"
"Here's another Coltice mirror, in a place CoS will not be able to remove it: http://www.cnbc.cmu.edu/~dst/Coltice"
"I say, over here. http://thingy.apana.org.au/~fjc/scn/mirrors/coltice/"