Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 4, Issue 9
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
A Piece of Blue Sky
Jon Atack's book on Scientology, A Piece of Blue Sky, continued to make
news after Amazon.com restored it to their catalog last week. From Heise
News on May 21st:
"The internet book dealer, Amazon.com, under pressure from massive protest, has decided to put a book critical of the Scientology sect back into its selection. In 1995, a British court had decided that the book contained a slanderous statement. However, it is hardly conceivable that in the United States, where freedom of speech counts rather high on the scale of Constitutional rights, that a similar judgment would be carried out there. After Wired News reported of the withdrawal of the book, a hail of protest came from internet news groups, particularly from the alt.religion.scientology forum. Amazon speaker Bill Curry said, 'On the basis of the information which we had in February, the decision we made seemed right to us. Happily, however, the actual information we have received in the past few days has caused us to take a second look.'"
>From Wired News on May 25th:
"A book removed from Amazon's site because of alleged legal troubles is now among the top 150 books sold by the online bookstore. The book, a controversial expose of the Church of Scientology, languished deep in Amazon's list of 4.5 million titles before being dropped in February. The book jumped to No. 700 before hitting a high of 148 on Tuesday. Author Jon Atack, reached at home, said he was pleased by the expression of approval from the reading audience. 'I'm very encouraged that so many people have been concerned that the book should be available,' Atack said.
"Amazon spokesperson Lizzie Allen said the company dropped the book after being contacted by representatives of Margaret Ishobel Hodkin of the United Kingdom. Hodkin successfully sued the book's author for defamation in 1995 over a single paragraph in the book that referred to her. But Allen said that the legal issues have still not been resolved. Hodkin's attorneys are still trying to have the book removed, and advocates in the UK argue that the book can be legally sold there.
"Atack said he was the only person named in the 1995 ruling, and that the book itself has never been banned. Only that specific paragraph cannot be printed (or even verbally exchanged) by him. Copies of the book without that paragraph are legal, and no other parties, Amazon included, would be liable for selling any copies of the book, he said. Atack said that the attorney who represented Hodkins was her son, Peter David Hodkins. Atack said he was a second-generation Scientologist whose practice is solely devoted to litigation for the church. 'They are the most litigious organization that has ever existed,' Atack added. Atack said that the Church of Scientology, through Hodkins, had pursued a ceaseless campaign to remove the book from bookstores and libraries. Several libraries, he said, report having a number of copies stolen."
Demand for the book pushed it into the top 100 this week, and Amazon.com has been arranging alternate suppliers to meet the demand. From Amazon.com earlier this week:
"THIS TITLE IS CURRENTLY NOT AVAILABLE. The publisher is out of stock. If you would like to purchase this title, we recommend that you occasionally check this page to see if it's been reprinted. Amazon.com Sales Rank: 98"
Showbiz Confidential carried an article this week on Scientology's
response to the upcoming movie Bowfinger.
"The Church of Scientology has been known to respond very sternly (invasively, some have claimed) to anyone or anything that takes a critical swipe at the organization. But despite an obvious satirical chiding of the controversial cult in the upcoming Steve Martin-Eddie Murphy comedy Bowfinger, church leaders are saying nothing this time out.
"Bowfinger is about a group of Hollywood wannabes led by Steve Martin who secretly film a hot movie star, Kit Ramsey (Murphy), for a low-budget movie they're making. Ramsey, we learn, is heavily dependent on a spiritual-guidance group called Mind Head. This comes into play when Martin and his guerilla colleagues try to blackmail Ramsey into approving their use of the footage with a videotape of Ramsey involved in an unsavory act. Terence Stamp plays Mind Head's frosty-eyed leader.
"Martin, who wrote the script, told Entertainment Weekly that Mind Head is 'a pastiche of many things I've seen in Hollywood. [Scientologists] are the biggest, so they'll probably be named, but it's not really, you know, it's many things.'" Heather Graham told EW that on the Bowfinger set, 'I'd go, 'Oh, that Scientology thing is really funny!' and they'd be like, 'It's not about Scientology, it's just a cult group.''
"Church of Scientology public relations rep Janet Weiland says she called former Universal Pictures president and COO Chris McGurk about Bowfinger last February and accepted his assurance that Bowfinger 'has nothing to do with Scientology.' Universal exec VP of publicity Terry Curtin says that exec VP of marketing Eddie Egan has had conversations of his own with Scientology reps and told them the same thing. Curtin spoke to me yesterday and also said that Mind Head isn't modeled on the Church of Scientology. I've seen the film and all I can say is, yeah, right. Mind Head is depicted as a tightly organized, control-oriented group that Eddie Murphy repeatedly goes to whenever he's concerned with a career issue. Sound familiar?
"Last weekend it seemed that the Scientologists were at least somewhat concerned. Terence Stamp told the New York Post's Howard Feinstein in a story from Cannes that ran Saturday that he'd 'heard' that Scientology devotee John Travolta had 'requested a special screening of the film to take directors of Scientology to see it.' But Curtin says, 'We've never heard of anyone requesting a screening of the film. I don't know that anyone in Travolta's camp has gotten involved in this.'"
Berliner Morgenpost reported on May 25th on the case of a German police
official accused of being a Scientologist.
"The former East German State Security (Stasi) informant who worked for Berlin Constitutional Security as an undercover man in surveillance of the Scientology sect, was, in his own words, a former East Berlin staff member of DDR espionage chief Markus Wolf. That is what 76 year old Adolf P told the Berliner Morgenpost. The testimony of Adolf P. contributed to the director of Berlin police operations, Otto Dreksler, being suspended from duty in 1998. Dreksler was suspected of having been a member of the Scientology Church. However the accusations proved to be unfounded.
"Adolf P. was assigned to the Scientology sect, where he played a decisive role in the Dreksler case. When an anonymous letter cast doubt upon the police director as a member of Scientology last year, Adolf P. says he was shown a photograph of Dreksler. 'I saw the man once in front of the Berlin Scientology center. But that does not mean that I saw him inside the building. I was told by Constitutional Security that my statement checked out.'
"Since then the 76 year old man is no longer working for the LfV. 'They let me go.' He assumes that he was a victim of an inside conspiracy against Dreksler. Adolf P. stated, 'Dreksler was not liked and was in line for promotion. They probably wanted to prevent that.'"
Sueddeutschen Zeitung reported on May 22nd that a Montessori School in Munich has collected petition signatures against recruitment efforts by Scientology.
"3,000 signatures against street recruitment by Scientology were collected by the 'Montessori Parents / Psycho-sects e.V.' initiative and handed over to Mayor Gertraud Burkert in city hall yesterday. The citizens, children among them, got the signatures of people who, in that past year, have been 'shamelessly and repeatedly oppressed' by Scientologists, including those in front of the Dianetics center on Leopold Street.
"As it said on the initiative's flyer, 'We cannot bring ourselves to understand how an organization which is being observed nationwide by Constitutional Security may distribute leaflets daily on the streets and drag unsuspecting citizens off to take tests.' It is through the personality test, which gives an essentially negative profile of the person being tested, that citizens are said to be pulled into the Scientology system. Besides financial harm, people risk being put under massive psychic influence. Parents of former students of the Dietramszell Montessori school founded the initiative in 1996, after cases of psycho-terrorism were reported near the school, which children of Scientologists also attend. Gertraud Burkert forwarded the list to the district administrative representative."
Keith Henson reported that his suit against the IRS for granting
Scientology tax exempt status is in default. If the IRS doesn't act, he
will win the case.
"In talking to Mr. Carlucci on May 20, 1999, he indicated that the IRS had finally given him instructions a day or two before the answer date and that the Government would be filing a motion response (not an answer) attacking my standing to bring this issue before the courts. An unanswered question we discussed at that time was that if I don't have standing to bring what is (in my opinion) a matter of unconstitutional usurping of Judicial power by the Executive branch, how could such actions ever be reviewed by the Courts?
"I expected to receive a copy of the IRS's motion late May 21, 1999 by e-mail, but instead found a note from Mr. Carlucci saying he had been unable to complete the work and, on recomputation, thought he had until Monday, May 24, 1999 to complete and file the motion response.
"Plaintiff, H. Keith Henson, hereby requests that the Clerk enter the default of the defendant Internal Revenue Service pursuant to F.R.P.C. Rule 55 (a) upon the grounds appearing in the attached declaration of plaintiff, H. Keith Henson."
Judge Richard Weiking entered the default, which can be appealed.
"Plaintiff having requested entry of default under F.R.P.C. Rule 55 (a) which reads, 'When a party against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend as provided by these rules and that fact is made to appear by affidavit or otherwise, the clerk shall enter the party's default.' AND having examined the attached declaration of H. Keith Henson and the exhibits attached thereto and good cause appearing: Default is hereby entered."
Keith issued a press release on the upcoming hearing.
"H. Keith Henson, a resident of Palo Alto, California filed suit against the Internal Revenue Service Dec. 31, 1998 seeking a judicial review of the controversial 1993 closing agreement between Scientology and the IRS. In it the IRS promised to treat the fees for scientology courses as 'charitable donations' even though the Supreme Court had conclusively ruled in Hernandez vs. The Commissioner (1989) that Scientology's 'fixed donation' payments for 'auditing' and services could not be allowed under the tax codes as deductible donations. The IRS failed to respond to the suit within the 60 days allowed. Henson filed for default May 24 and a hearing is set for June 3."
Protest / Revenge Summary
Mark Bunker distributed leaflets at a Scientology event at Border's book
store in Glendale, California.
"This was his first time at a 'picket' and I use that term loosely because it certainly was not organized to be any sort of picket. In fact, I just wanted to come and shoot a little footage not knowing what would happen. I had a large batch of Lisa flyers and 'No Christ' flyers from Jeff Jacobsen (thanks Jeff) and this gentleman was very pleased to hand them out. We spent about a half an hour in front of the store, answering questions and passing out flyers.
"While speaking with one woman outside, she informed me that she will never buy a book from Borders again. That certainly wasn't my intent in being there but who am I to say where she should shop. The Scientologists made sure that I was not allowed to shoot inside but I put the camera outside the main door and shot there. This did seem to cause some enturbulation inside where the Scientologists had a modest table, seating two, not very far past the main entrance. There were a few copies of Hubbard books and a sign offering free 'Stress tests'. I understand they also had an e-meter but I did not see it. I occasionally went through the store before shooting and saw an occasional wog seated at the table but there was no throng waiting to hear about the fastest growing religion.
"After a half hour, I went in to talk to the folks at the table but they were packing up and leaving. The woman from the table came over and told the guy that I was some 'loony'. That amused me. I told her, 'So, I'm loony because I know about Xenu blowing us up in volcanoes 75 million years ago when Earth was known as Teegeeack, but Hubbard wasn't loony for thinking it up?' No response. There were several other Scientologists there with their cell phones and walkie talkies including...DAN!!! One of the two fellows who picketed my home. I leapt with joy at the sight of my old friend and went over with my hand outstretched but he refused to shake it. I tried to communicate with him but he picked up a book and stuck his nose in it and wouldn't blink. I told him how much sympathy he had garnered on the net from folks watching him in my revenge picket video but he didn't budge. I invited him outside to appear on camera but he didn't seem interested. I finally gave up and went out to get my camera."
"Realpch" reported a week of revenge flyers from Scientology this week at her home.
"May 18th: Two different flyerings, one wrapped around rocks in front yard found about 6pm, and yet another flyering, which occurred after dark...stuck in the chain link fence, which I found when I went to put out the garbage at 10:30 pm.
"May 19th: two flyers found, one in the fence, one in the geraniums at 7:40 am...left by the after dark flyerer the night before.
"May 20th: a loose flyer in front yard, and one under the garbage can in the driveway, found at 6:20 pm.
"May 21: two flyers twist tied to the chain link fence, left by the after dark flyerer and found at 9:45pm."
Bob Minton reported on a protest at Scientology's Boston location.
"The main event today took place due to the arrival of Don Notts and Haywood Jafakov from SFO. DW Pierce and I rounded out the foursome. Today's picket was also mandated by events of the last few months that have resulted in attacks on friends of mine by the scum management of scientology that make anything you have ever heard about seem like childs play.
"Mary Frances Newey was her usual obnoxious self and called me a 'fucking cock-sucker' four times in quick succession as I laid out some of Hubbard's foibles. She also commented: 'why do you always wear the same clothes? I thought you were supposed to be a millionaire!' Maureen O'Keefe, the OSA love goddess, was all over me like a rug and necessitated a call to the police by me as she bumped me once and was her very loud and usually combative self. The OSA camera team was of course out in full force.
"There were two other handlers who can be seen in the photos I've posted to alt.binaries.scientology, a blonde and some guy who was fairly unforgettable but was very fond of calling Don Notts 'fucker.' Frank Offman, OSA PR man, was like a choir boy today. Not a word or a peep except when he talked with the police. As far as the police, the Scienos stopped walking along with us when the two black and whites arrived and halted all verbal abuse. Therefore, we were able to conduct the rest of the picket unencumbered by the usual handlers and their hassles. The police told Offman and me that they would hold us accountable to keep our respective sides under control."
Bruce Pettycrew posted a letter sent to his wife's employer from a Scientology private investigator.
"I am writing to you because of my deep concern about one Ms Kathleen Pettycrew, a teacher in the Shaw Elementary School, 1342 East Washington Street in Phoenix and her anti religious activities. This teacher and her husband have been picketing the Church of Scientology. This activity became so disruptive that the Church had to obtain an injunction against her husband (supporting documents attached) to keep him from harassing members of the church as well as anyone visiting during religious ceremonies. About the time of the injunction someone spray painted Nazi symbols on the church and someone shot at the church. Also windows were broken several times. Fortunately no one was injured but the parishioners are (rightfully so) concerned for their safety. I am not accusing Ms Pettycrew of doing this. I do know that she and her husband, Bruce Pettycrew, seem to be affiliated with a group of individuals that are directing a lot of hatred and bigotry against the Church of Scientology.
"I spoke telephonically to <Name omitted>, Executive Director of Human Resources at the Phoenix Elementary School District. When I advised him of my concern he stated that he had no interest in such matters and asked me to contact him if the police arrested this teacher. Never mind my 40 years experience as a professional investigator, as a citizen of Arizona I was shocked with his lack of concern with the anti religious sentiment expressed by one of your employees. I hope his lack of professional ethics does not permeate the public school system in Arizona.
"Sincerely Yours, Kirk Fowler"
Bruce also posted a report of a protest at the Mesa, Arizona org.
"Kathy, Jeff Jacobsen and I picketed the Mesa Borg from 10:30 to 11:30 this morning. It was about 90-95 degrees with a stiff breeze that made it almost pleasant weather. Leslie Durhman arrived about 11:00, but no one came out to handle us or counter-picket.
"Just before we left a car pulled into the parking lot and two men got out, one wearing a Sikh style turban. Jeff gave them fliers, and then they went inside the building. We left about 5 minutes later, so we do not know if they were just sikhing information (sorry!) or what."
Ron Sharp posted a letter from Peter Ramsay, a Toronto Scientologist who plans a smear campaign against local protesters.
"The mainstay of my educational campaign will be my brochure. My brochure will be full colour and multi-paged. It will be printed on expensive stock and will be professionally designed. For those times when I mail it, I will have an envelope with an appropriate photograph and slogan. The text of my brochure will have two underlying themes. Firstly, that Hagglund has been conducting a campaign of hatred and harassment against the parishioners and staff of the Toronto Church of Scientology. Comparisons will be made to the campaign of a more noxious religious bigot-Ernst Zundel. The second theme will be the use, by a certain few, of the right guaranteed in our Charter of Rights, to forward their deviant and destructive views and activities. Here the comparison will be made to, among others, the gentleman from British Columbia who successfully appealed his conviction of possession of child pornography.
"In addition to my brochure I will be acquiring a phone number-hopefully a 1-900 number-with which to more easily promulgate my educational message. I'm hoping for a number combination that will give me 1-900-HAG-LUND but, if unavailable, I will settle for 1-900-LUN-ATIC. The 1-900 number will be used in conjunction with my lawn signs. My lawn signs will feature a photo of Hagglund, the slogan 'The Face of Religious Intolerance' and the 1-900 number.
"Mrs. Hagglund is a contracted public school teacher who works for the Etobicoke Board of Education. As a certified public school teacher, Mrs. Hagglund is required to follow the professional standards established and overseen by the Ontario Teachers' Federation and the College of Teachers. In particular, she has a duty to the public to 'recognize a responsibility to promote respect for human rights'. Accordingly, I will be petitioning the College of Teachers later this year to bring a charge of professional misconduct against Mrs. Hagglund. My Petition will charge Mrs. Hagglund with commission of at least two of the offences listed in the amendments of Bill 31, specifically: 'An act or omission that, having regard to all the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional. Conduct unbecoming a member.'
"My brochure will also feature your photos, along with your home addresses, your occupations, business addresses and the names of the companies who employ you as well as some of the statements you have made and a synopsis of your activities. My signs which I distribute in your home and business areas will feature your faces. I intend to distribute my brochure, on a continuing basis, to: every home in a two block radius of 2237 Munn's Ave. every apartment/condo at xxx xxxxx Street. every apartment at 25 St. Dennis Drive. every apartment at 25 Mabelle. every teacher who teaches at Islington Junior Middle School as well as selected group of officials of the Etobicoke Public School Board and the Ontario Teacher's Federation. a select group of executives at the xxx xxxx xxxxxxxxx xxx of Canada. a select group of executives at xxxxx xxxxxxx Inc.
"All of the foregoing is just the start. The reason that I'm writing to you both is to make you an offer. You can back off or face the consequences."
The National Enquirer published an article on Scientology celebrities
protesting against Psychiatry with the Citizen's Commission on Human
"Scientologists Lisa Marie Presley, Kirstie Alley and Juliette Lewis led a protest against psychiatrists and their prescribing of medications to treat young people, claiming such drugs are responsible for violent outbursts such as the recent killings in Littleton, Colo. Dressed in black and carrying black balloons, they marched around the Washington Convention Center on May 15 chanting, 'Don't drug our kids! Don't shock our kids! Just leave our kids alone!'
"'They're making drug addicts out of our children,' declared Alley, who brought her two children to the protest. 'It's barbaric, and it's being promoted by psychiatrists.' Marla Filidei, vice president of the Church of Scientology's Citizen's Commission on Human Rights, told The ENQUIRER: 'We're opposed to drugging children for normal child behavior. All the celebrities in this event called me because of the killings at Columbine High School in Littleton. As children, they saw that many energetic, artistic kids were given drugs like Ritalin and the drugs just stifled these kids' creativity and energy.
"But Dr. Nada Stotland, of the American Psychiatric Association, told a reporter: 'There is no evidence that psychiatric medications cause violence in children or adults. I have no doubt these medications have saved more kids' lives than they've taken. This effort by the Scientologists to frighten people away from getting treatment for their kids is sad.'"
Newswire epd reported on May 25th that the case against Spanish
Scientologists has been postponed.
"Court proceedings against the Scientology organization in Madrid which had been scheduled for June 1 have been postponed. The lawyer representing the 18 accused has himself accused the judge of the 4th chamber of the Madrid court with prejudice. Until the highest court in Madrid decides upon this application by the defense, the proceedings are postponed.
"The process against the leading Scientology members, Scientology President Heber Jentzsch among them, is supposed to last for three months. The state attorney made a total of twelve charges against the accused of violation of Spanish criminal and civil law. Among these charges are the psychical treatment and medical diagnosing with a 'personality test' without medical education. People with mild depression suffer personality upsets after this 'treatment,' according to the state attorney."