Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 4, Issue 31
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
Kurier reported on October 25th on a controversy over a Scientologist
involved in the telecommunications systems of the Austrian government and
"Right at the 'hottest' points of the secret state telephone network sits a Scientologist. A member of an organization which German Constitutional Security as categorized as hostile to the Constitution. Here at home [Austria], Scientology (SO) is not prohibited.
"He tends to the network equipment for the Ministry of the Interior, federal police management and the gendarmerie. He coordinates the 'state ground network' for the federal chancellery office. A secret telephone system for the event of an emergency. Embassies and consulates also have telephone connections there. And if the Justice Department were to order telephone surveillance, that instruction would be routed through the Scientologist. The reason for the concern is a report from the German Federal Office for Constitutional Security, which Dr. Peter Prisch presented, 'There are indications that the SO intends to obtain leadership in society and in state through infiltration of the economy, politics and the state apparatus.'
"Telekom has now found an Austrian way out: the transfer of the technician to a 'harmless' area without personal disadvantage. A speaker for Telekom: 'This, on one side, is about finding a human solution, and at the same time avoiding mistrust in advance.'"
The Orange County Weekly included Scientology's CCHR director on a list of
the scariest people in the area.
"One of the many mysterious arms of the Church of Scientology, the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) takes out ads in the Pennysaver, rents a room on the bottom floor of Garden Grove Medical Center, and periodically breaks loose with a slide presentation extolling the evils of the corrupt and conspiratorial psychiatry industry. It's a well-rehearsed show, complete with violent and disturbing slides and complicated overhead transparencies direct from L. Ron Hubbard's Los Angeles office. According to Jackie Panzik, organizer of the OC chapter, the show offers abundant evidence that psychiatrists everywhere are playing backgammon with our brains--almost always with perilous results. But that ain't the scary part. What makes Panzik scary is the fact that after shocking the audience into slack-jawedness, she and her group slyly offer what they believe is an escape from our destined shrink-induced stupor: Scientology. All books and brochures on display at the meeting are published by the church's own publishing house, Bridge Publications Inc. And there are always a few strangely well-informed attendees seated among first timers to share shock and outrage and then help them make sense of the group's ideas."
The St. Petersburg Times carried a letter to the editor on October 25th
praising Clearwater city manager Mike Roberto.
"The first wrong statement is that Scientology is strongly dependent on visitors to downtown Clearwater. That is totally untrue as our parishioners come from all over the world to receive religious counseling and training and it does not matter one bit what goes on in downtown Clearwater. Our parishioners will keep coming here. If the citizens of Clearwater would just look at the changes that have occurred since City Manager Mike Roberto and the commissioners have started to get things done, they would be amazed. Clearwater was a slow-moving small town wanting no change before Mike Roberto got involved. Mike has made some excellent changes to our community. Let's look at the improvements and not concentrate on the faults, because progress has been made and that is what is important. -- Bob Sudalnik, Clearwater"
U.K. newspaper the Independent published an article on Scientology
celebrity Chick Corea this week.
"I ask Corea whether in his experience the ultra-conservative and restricted world of classical music portrayed in the popular media is still a reality. 'Oh, without a doubt,' he insists, laughing. 'But I'd probably go berserk if I tried to consider all of the expectations of people, especially playing Mozart.' Has Corea had to train a different part of his mind to interpret someone else's work? 'That's a strange comment to me. Mind wandering on stage means boring, or something. But we're talking metaphysics now. And, do you want to define mind? Remember you're talking to a Scientologist. In fact, without any technical terms, I find that when I'm performing the best possible state of mind is no thoughts at all, just action. Anything other than that is a distraction.'
"Chick Corea's association with Scientology stretches back to 1968 and is well-known. In America there are high-profile Scientologists in most aspects of arts and entertainment. In Europe, Corea's religious beliefs have been treated with suspicion, and so the fact that his own piano concerto is 'dedicated to the spirit of religious freedom' probably won't go unnoticed. 'Around the time the concerto was written I was in the process of allying with other minority religions in order to gain a religious validation. Just to be able to practise one's own religion. It's a practice that's still going on. And, yes, especially in Europe.'"
German news wire dpa published an article on October 22nd on the proposal
in the U.S. Congress to criticize Germany for its treatment of
"Similar resolutions failed in 1997 and 1998 in the House of Representatives. At the presentation of the papers in Washington, their main author, Representative Matt Salmon, said, 'We should not permit state discrimination on religious grounds to continue in a democracy like Germany.' He said that Germany violated human rights with its handling of religious minorities. In the yearly reports of the American State Department and the UN, these kind of cases of discrimination in Germany continued to be referenced.
"The resolution called upon President Bill Clinton to express his concern about religious discrimination to the German government. 'The problem of religious intolerance in Europe is great,' said the chairman of the Committee for International Relations in the U.S. House of Representatives, Ben Gilman. 'The German government must begin a dialogue with us about this discrimination.' Film actress Ann Archer demanded religious freedom in Germany. 'Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Orthodox Jews and the Scientology Church suffer in Germany under a climate of religious intolerance,' said Archer."
>From Agence France Presse on October 21st:
"The treatment of Scientology, in the opinion of Bavarian Minister President Edmund Stoiber (CSU), is no longer a problem in trans-Atlantic relations. In any case, the people he spoke with on his trip to Washington did not mention it, said Stoiber on Wednesday (local time) in front of journalists in the U.S. capitol. 'I believe that our standpoint has been understood.' In the past, the complaints from Scientology about its treatment in Germany has led to ill humor between the German government and U.S. officials. The foreign affairs committee of the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to look at a Scientology resolution on Thursday, which is critical of Germany."
"It is questionable whether the resolution will fare any differently than it did in previous years by finding a majority there. Republican Senator Michael Enzi from Wyoming said that exactly because Germany was prominent in the European Union, the alleged discrimination of minority religious went beyond the German borders. Similar arguments were brought forward by film actress Anne Archer, who read a statement as a member of Scientology. As to the chances of passing the resolution, Mormon Representative Matt Salmon told the AFP news agency, 'We will have to do an enormous amount of information work.' He said, however, that he was optimistic, 'We intend to bring it to a vote this spring.' In the resolution, Germany is required to initiate a dialogue with representatives of Scientology, which they have so far refused to do."
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European Court of Justice
Agence France Presse reported on October 21st that a case before the
European Court of Justice brought by Scientology against financial
regulations in France is nearing an end.
"France's latest row with the Church of Scientology drew to a close here Thursday before the European Court of Justice (ECJ), as the court prepared to rule on its first case involving the controversial church. ECJ attorney general Antonio Saggio hinted in his final arguments on Thursday that French laws requiring certain foreign investors to first obtain governmental authorization are contrary to European laws on the free movement of goods and capital. Paris has steadfastly objected to the movement's investments in France, citing a law that restricts foreign investment to maintain public order.
"Saggio's statements, which do not necessarily reflect the court's ruling, were somewhat vague. He said that European law did not in principle bar a member state from creating legislation to limit the movement of foreign capital within its borders, if such investments would threaten public order or national security. Therefore, in the case of a religious group 'asked to respond to charges of fraud and tax evasion,' a member state can create capital-flow control mechanisms on an ad hoc basis, Saggio said. In 1995, France refused to allow the church to make investments in Paris, a situation which Scientologists have consistently rejected."
Der Tagesspiegel reported on October 26th that Scientology real estate
companies may be less numerous than once thought.
"In Berlin, there are, in the Senate's estimate, far fewer 'Scientology-aligned' real estate companies than had been publicly presumed. Repressive business methods and manipulative sales methods are frequently associated with the Scientology organization too quickly, without there being 'extensive indices' for that, Youth Senator Ingrid Stahmer (SPD) responded to a minor inquiry. As she further stated, the Senate does not have any oversight over the real estate companies which work for Scientology. There are said to be commercial enterprises by individual Scientologists and people who feel they are associated with the organization."
Scientology moved into a new building in Hamburg this week. From taz Hamburg on October 26th:
"Scientology burst vehemently back into the public's eye yesterday in Hamburg. Amidst a big name fanfare, the organization, which is under surveillance by the Hamburg Constitutional Security Agency, celebrated the end of its 'European Marathon for Human Rights' on Alsteranleger. A 'Torch of Freedom' was carried over 4,500 kilometers and through seven countries from Athens to Hamburg. About 1,500 adherents wanted to 'make the public more aware of the United Nations General Declaration of Human Rights, and to go on stage for freedom of religion.' 'It is no accident that Scientology chose Hamburg as the destination city of its marathon,' stated Manfred Murck, current director of the State Office for Constitutional Security, 'since their model European center is here.'
"Murck has deduced that there are about 1,000 members in the Hanseatic City [of Hamburg], and that this number has remained constant for years. 'The members who are most able to pay came, for a long time, from the construction and real estate businesses.' Because of their crises, there were economic problems. Murck described yesterday's demonstration not only as a 'protest, but also as a recruitment effort.'
Die Welt published a commentary on the Scientology situation by Edgar S. Hasse on October 26th.
"Americans who stridently sneer at Germany because Scientologists are alleged to be oppressed there should have been at the Hamburg Alster yesterday. There they would have experienced just the opposite. As never before, the controversial organization was out hunting for souls in the city - in a publicity event disguised as a demonstration. On the one side, the legal state's tolerance of this event shows how seriously it takes the constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom of demonstration and freedom of religion. On the other side, it is clear how calmly the Hamburg community presence reacted to the 'Alster Vergnuegen' for Scientologists. No trace of hysteria. That is because, in a state of Basic Law, anybody may be happy according to his own - or unhappy.
"It remains appropriate for the Hanseatic community presence to continue distributing information on the psycho[logical] practices and the commercial goals of Scientology in the future - be it in schools or at demonstrations. That is because it is only those who are sufficiently informed who will not get bogged down with the Scientologists."
Also from Die Welt on October 26th:
"All thoroughfare came to a stop downtown on Monday. Members of the Scientology sect stood everywhere and pressed leaflets and balloons into the hands of passersby. On two stages on Stein Street and on Alsteranleger, sect members had rolled out red carpets. However, they were not greeted ceremoniously by any means, but with police whistles and boo's.
"The Scientology Commissioner of the Hamburg Senate, Ursula Caberta, warned about the 'psycho[logical] concern's strategy.' She said it had hidden its goals behind formulations which sounded unobjectionable. 'The organization's goals and ideology are directed against our liberal democratic basic order.' On the fringes of the activity, 15 members of the Youth Union (JU) distributed leaflets entitled, 'Stop Scientology!' It said that the goal of the Scientology Organization was the achievement of a totalitarian dictatorship and legal system. While the organization claimed, unjustifiably, entitlements to the protection by Basic Law for religious freedom, it simultaneously harassed and spied on its opponents with its own secret service. It was said to use conspiratorial methods to infiltrate important areas of state and society."
>From Hamburger Morgenpost on October 26th:
"Anybody who had hoped that the Scientologists would withdraw from Hamburg is bound to be disappointed: the sect is moving into a new building on the corner of Dom Street and Alter Fischmarkt. The location, only 100 meters from the Hamburg assembly building, has the effect of a provocation - 'the new home for the Scientologists will be in the heart of Hamburg,' announced its president, Gisela Hackenjos. 'The owner of the building is a real estate company who quite openly does not discriminate against applicants on religious grounds,' said a press release from the psycho-sect.
"Yesterday the Scientologists had six bagpipe players and a red carpet rolled out in front of its new headquarters - pompous reception for a delegation of the 'Church of Scientology' in Los Angeles - along with five torch bearers who arrived as part of a 'Marathon for Human Rights' in Hamburg. The amount of space in the new building surpasses that of the old by far, said a leaflet. Film presentations will be offered and a library established on ground level. There are 30 rooms planned just for 'spiritual counseling' - 'auditing' is viewed by critics as an especially underhanded form of brainwashing."
"Real estate agent Christian Voelkers showed he was appalled upon being addressed by the Hamburger Morgenpost about a particularly explosive deal, 'For God's sake!' His agency, 'Engel & Voelkers' had arranged the deal with the building on Dom Street for the new Scientology lessor, 'Waterfront.' The Hamburg brokerage firm had already been approached in 1998 by a U.S. investor: 'everything was run through Washington.' 'Not one word' had been mentioned about Scientologists moving in. 'We have the policy of not doing business with Scientologists. We do not sell to them.' The deal will not be undone: Voelker can keep his commission. The selling price was not quite 20 million marks, and had been rated as relatively high. The Hamburg Scientologists had given their limit as five million marks in looking for a building. This indicates that there may be investors from other countries involved."
On October 29th Hamburger Morgenpost published an opinion piece on the new Scientology headquarters.
"'We're all going to Hamburg! The International Association of Scientologists is handing over the new Org!' David Miscavige, President of the 'Religious Technology Center' and sovereign ruler of Scientology, betrayed with these words at a sect celebration in Great Britain last Sunday that the new Hamburg branch was openly operating on instructions from headquarters in Los Angeles.
"The new, not quite 20 million mark building on 9 Dom Street is currently in possession of the 'Waterfront Grundstuecksverwaltungsgesellschaft mbH'. Robert Roseman, Potsdam, is registered as the point of contact. Lot capital: 5.75 million marks. The attorney has his office in the offices of 'Williams, Mullen, Christian & Dobbins in 'The Farragut Building' on 17th Street in Washington, DC. Scientology spokesman Georg Stoffels on the new lessor: 'We have a good relationship.'
"Even Hamburg's Constitutional Security agents were taken by surprise that the psycho-sect has 'moved up a step,' admitted Manfred Murck, Vice Chief of the State Office of Constitutional Security. Even though this will have the effect of being 'more motivating,' he had not reckoned with a drastic change in operation."
Hamburger Morgenpost reported on October 29th that city officials will try to remove the Scientology cross from the new building.
"The Scientology symbol can be seen all the way from the corners of Moenckberg and Berg streets: their big, self-styled cross hangs many meters tall on the new sect center on Dom Street, adorned with the controversial label 'Scientology Kirche'. The mid-city district office does not intend to put up with that. As an advertisement, that type of facade alteration has to have a permit, said Claudia Eggert, speaker for the district office. The Scientologists, however, have not submitted an application and are acting entirely on their own: 'That is clearly not allowed and will be treated as an ordinance violation.'"
Frankfurter Neue Presse published an article on October 29th on a community meeting in Wetterau, Germany.
"'Are there Scientologists in Wetterau? If so, do you know any of them?' This surprising question appeared to hit close to home for speaker Joerg Bickelhaupt, evangelical minister for 12 years, as he was giving an hour's talk on the 'Weltanschauung Background of Scientology' in the community hall for 35 visitors which included many women. After an instant of reflection the clergyman merely said, 'There is someone in Dortelweil,' then he went on to say that the center of Scientology's operations in Germany were the big cities, like Stuttgart or Frankfurt.
"Bickelhaupt, on staff for seven years in the Work Group for Issues of Weltanschauung for the Evangelical Church in Hessen and Nassau, does not conform with everyone who uses the word 'sect' to categorize the 'Scientology Church' (SC), which is a multi-national structure striving for commercial, social and political power led by a 'Captain' David Miscavige since the death of founder Hubbard. The resident of Karben does not see 'the religious background' in all this. Bickelhaupt said, 'Religion, for Scientology, is only a facade; the church was founded to avoid taxes.' He said that Scientologists only want power, success and reincarnation.
"Scientologists promise, as Bickelhaupt stated, to be able to make 'Operating Thetans' (OT) out of people - by way of expensive courses which keep the cash registers busy and which have driven many people into bankruptcy. In order to become OT, people must first get rid of the contents of their unconscious memory, called negative engrams, asserts Scientology. An OT, according to Scientology, represents the highest stage of being. 'As master over space and time he can, in becoming a type of god, create his own universe.'
"'Scientologists exchange,' stated the minister, 'science fiction and reality.' The 'total freedom' which is promised actually demands 'total subordination'. It opposes the standards of Christianity just as much as it does those of individual dignity and the rights of people."
Berliner Morgenpost reported on October 26th that the case of Otto Dreksler, a police director accused of being a Scientologist, is coming to trial. He is suing for damages resulting from false accusations.
"The proceedings against Berlin State begin today in the civil court on Tegeler Way in Charlottenburg. Police Director Otto Dreksler demands 50,000 marks in damages, along with 16,000 marks material compensation. Grounds for the complaint was the unjustifiable official statement of March 31, 1998, which said that the director of the operations center of the Berlin police was a Scientologist. Berlin Constitutional Security, which had been conducting an investigation, later had to admit that its suspicions were groundless and could not be proved. The secret agents had argued that undercover man Adolf P., alias 'Junior,' had identified Dreksler repeatedly, but then later contradicted himself."
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A filing by Scientology opposing the addition of new defendants in the
Lisa McPherson civil case was posted to a.r.s this week. Some excerpts:
"Plaintiff has filed a motion for leave to amend and to add new parties which is a direct breach of a contractual stipulation executed by plaintiff and her counsel nearly two years ago. Pursuant to that agreement, to which plaintiff amazingly does not even refer in her moving papers, plaintiff agreed not to attempt to add to this litigation the very parties whom she now seeks leave to add as defendants. That agreement is dispositive and controlling, and itself requires that the plaintiff's motion be denied for the reasons stated in Point I of the Argument section of this memorandum. The court need go no further in deciding the instant motion.
"The motion, and its supporting papers, are the latest and most dramatic evidence that this case is no longer, if it ever was, about providing some degree of reasonable compensation to the family of Lisa McPherson for her alleged wrongful death. Indeed, Ms. McPherson's mother died prior to the institution of the lawsuit, and this case has been pursued nominally by Ms. McPherson's more distant relatives who never maintained any meaningful relationship with her. This case has proceeded in the name of these distant relatives on the pretense that they controlled the litigation and personally sought compensation. That pretense can no longer be maintained. Rather, control over the instant litigation has been seized by a small, active and wealthy group of anti-Scientologists who are intent on using the litigation as a club to inflict grievous damage upon the Scientology religion and the churches and leaders associated with it. The group includes several former Scientology officials - including Jesse Prince and Stacy Young - who were removed from their positions by present church leadership precisely because they engaged in acts that were either unlawful or contrary to Scientology principles.
"Whether these former officials now seek vengeance, tribute, or both, they have been funded to an extraordinary degree - hundreds of thousands of dollars - by Boston mega-millionaire Robert Minton, who has poured even greater resources into this case, and has promised to pour millions more. And it is by dint of Mr. Minton's influence that plaintiff's attorney, unburdened by any real client, has focused his fire with increasing intensity on maligning the religion and its leadership with grossly irresponsible, false, and totally unsupportable charges of a violent nature -including the latest outrageous allegation that not only the current defendant, but the entire international church leadership, purposely murdered Lisa McPherson."
Lisa McPherson Trust
Bob Minton reported that Scientology has been moving against a new
organization being organized in Clearwater, Florida, now known as the Lisa
"This morning at 9:00am the lease contracts were ready to be signed when Stacy called before going over to the Nations Bank Building on Cleveland Street. However, by the time she arrived at 10:30, they said they got an email message from the owner who said to put this lease on hold. In fact, Stacy was told they have other plans for the space and it won't be available. This is in a building which has a lot of unrented space."
"We have found out that the Scienos have been sending large DA packs on all involved in the Lisa Foundation to at least office buildings number 2 and 4."
"Bennetta Slaughter, the AMC boss of Lisa McPherson who was in fact THE person most responsible for destroying Lisa, incorporated The Lisa Foundation and The Lisa McPherson Foundation in Florida the day before the incorporation papers filed by Ken Dandar landed at the Secretary of State Office in Florida. It now looks as though the Estate of Lisa McPherson will have to file a lawsuit against Benetta Slaughter to rightfully reclaim its property."
>From the St. Petersburg Times, on October 26th:
"What would Lisa McPherson have wanted? That question burns at the center of yet another battle between the Church of Scientology and its critics. Both sides say they have McPherson's best interests at heart, yet each is using her name to oppose the other.
"On one side, Scientology's top critic said Monday he is financing a new foundation that will reach out to disaffected members of the church and educate the public about what he says are the harmful effects of Scientology. Robert S. Minton, a retired investment banker from New England, said a full-time staff is being assembled in Clearwater. They hope to find downtown office space as close as possible to the Fort Harrison Hotel, a retreat that Scientologists around the world consider their 'mecca.' The Fort Harrison also is where McPherson, 36, suffered a severe mental breakdown for 17 days before she died of a blood clot in her left lung. The new foundation would be a safe harbor, providing 'exit counseling' for people wanting to leave Scientology, said Minton.
"On the other side are local Scientologists who last week registered two corporations bearing McPherson's name in an attempt to head off Minton's effort. They acted after news of Minton's plan leaked out on the Internet. The leader of the group is Bennetta Slaughter, a Clearwater businesswoman and a Scientologist who was McPherson's boss and longtime friend. Slaughter said Monday that her group -- either the Lisa Foundation Inc. or the Lisa McPherson Foundation Inc. -- would work as a kind of Anti-Defamation League to stand up against the 'hate-mongering' and 'religious intolerance' of Minton and his allies.
"Mike Rinder, a top Scientology official, called Minton's plan 'despicable and disgusting' and said it 'brings nothing positive to the city.' He added: 'Bob Minton never met Lisa McPherson. If he had, he would have spit in her eye.'
"Equally passionate was Tampa lawyer Ken Dandar, who has alleged that Slaughter was partially responsible for McPherson's death. Dandar represents McPherson's estate in the wrongful death case and is helping Minton form his foundation. 'We did not kill her,' Dandar said. 'They have no business using that name.' He said Slaughter's action was 'like O.J. Simpson forming a foundation in the name of Nicole Simpson. It just is ludicrous, brazen and shameful.'"
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Bob Minton reported friends in Boston and New Hampshire, and his
daughter's schools have been sent packets from Scientology.
"This past weekend I got calls from people in Boston who said they received a letter from Scientology that read as follows: 'If you have any dealings with Bob Minton of 137 Fremont Rd., Sandown, New Hampshire, please be aware of his activities on the Internet.' Attached to the unsigned note were 2 posts to a.r.s made by Diane Richardson on 29 Sept and 30 Sept which amounted to 7 pages attached to the letter. Diane's messages were purported to be IRC logs in which I had allegedly used profanity.
"I received calls from 5 different people in Sandown, New Hampshire, from different parts of town, telling me of the same letter. So that is the second mailing to over 4,000 residents here. Today, the two schools that my daughters attend in Boston received the same letter, again mailed from Boston."
The Washington Post reported on October 26th that the U.S. Navy paid a
consultant to teach Scientology style management techniques.
"Roger Helbig has filed a complaint with the Naval Office of Inspector General over 'team-building' management training courses offered in the last year to civilians at a now-closed Navy outfit called the 'Environmental Detachment' in Vallejo, Calif. Helbig, who attended one of the classes, taught by consultant Edward E. Morler, says they borrowed heavily from teachings of the Church of Scientology. Helbig points to this example: A Morler handout describes a scale used to measure 'Characteristics Related to Emotional Levels'; Helbig says it is 'nearly identical' to the church's 'Tone Scale.' For instance, both Morler's scale and the 'Tone Scale' give 'enthusiasm' a 4.0 and 'apathy' a .05.
"We tried to get Morler on the phone to hear his side of the story, but his assistant told us he was traveling in Europe and could not be reached. The Navy paid Morler $25,000 for his courses. Apparently, Morler was once a Scientologist. Janet Weiland, a Scientology spokeswoman, told us that Morler was excommunicated from the church in the early 1980s. She said the church is worried that he has violated its copyright on these materials. 'This is very concerning to us. We are going to investigate this as well,' she said.
"As for the Navy, it's investigating. A Navy spokeswoman said she couldn't comment further. Helbig concluded: 'I don't think the Navy intended to pay for Scientology.'"
Bruce Pettycrew protested at the Mesa, Arizona org this week.
"Today Kathy and picketed from 9:00 until 9:45, at which time 30 mph winds made sign handling impossible. There were four people waiting to get in when we arrived, including two children. A woman arrived about 9:15 to open the building and two others arrived during the picket. OSA member Leslie Duhrman has not been seen for two months now."
Mark Bunker attended an event at Los Angeles' Shrine theater.
"We started at the CC where we had one handler. He came out to block Don NOTS' sign. Then we were heading to the Shrine. As we got to my car, another car came pulling up and inside were two people I had met twice before, RJ and Vickie. They came out to handle me at the 4th of Jully event and at the CC Anniversary event. After spending 10 or so minutes in the middle of the road with these two, they invited us to come to dinner but it was too close to the event time and we knew they were just trying to delay us so we said our goodbyes and headed to the Shrine.
"Don stayed near the bus entrance and the parking lot. I was surprised to see the rental cop. It was the same cop who grabbed my camera on July 2nd. I had filed a battery report on him after that but later dropped it. There seemed to be far fewer people at the event than in the past, Keith was amazed at how quiet it was.
"A limo pulled up to the entrance. Don was convinced it was DM so he went over to chat. No one else was around so Don moved the cones in the street so that the limo could enter. Now the limo was surrounded by SPs with signs and cameras. We then left."
John Ritson and Hartley Patterson reported a protest at the Brighton org this week.
"The Brighton 'org' is located at the edge of a shopping precinct near the centre of town, but on the top floor of a small office block, presenting only a blank door and an entryphone to passers-by. Awareness of the evils of Scientology was very high in Brighton, with people thanking us for our work and hardly anybody even in doubt as to how bad Scientology was.
"We only saw about half-a dozen Scientologists all afternoon, as they scuttled in and out of the door. Two did a brief bit of leafleting with the 'Think for yourself' flyer well away from us, and they were all totally 'non-confront'. The only words uttered to us all afternoon by the Scientologists were 'Why are you here?' and two words suggesting sex and travel. We gave out about 500 leaflets and then repaired to a local hostelry to watch the rugby."
"Picketers: Roland, Dave, John R, Shellac, Duke the dog and myself. Guest Picketer: Barb. Opposition: none. They took one look at us and decided on non-confront. We couldn't even see any bodyrouters, though the streets were packed with shoppers. Reception: favourable from those who had heard of the CoS, indifference from the rest. An estimated 500 leaflets were handed out."
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Officials in Basel, Switzerland are charging two Scientologists with
deceptive recruitment tactics.
"The charges against the Scientologists were dropped due to a technical deficiency. In the two other cases there were two exonerations. The charging authority had complained of 'annoyance,' while the law specifies 'unfair and deceptive advertising.'
"Despite this, the whole thing turned into a disaster for Scientology, because the court clearly stated that 'Hard sell - people buy' cannot be a religion. The sale begins with the recruitment on the street, said the court president - 'Scientology is clearly a commercially operating undertaking with wages and work contracts.' Both Scientologists had taken the 'Hard Sell' and 'Body Routing' courses. That would probably have qualified their action as 'unfair and deceptive advertising.' Other trials are scheduled; the indictments for them will have to worded accordingly."
Wall Street Journal
The October 25th edition of the Wall Street Journal mentioned the
Scientology cases as ones that are helping shape freedom of speech through
"The Internet is testing America's vaunted commitment to free speech. The Web now gives individuals the means -- and the First Amendment, the right -- to applaud, critique, parody or simply discuss whatever with whomever on an unprecedented scale. First, courts rejected would-be Web censors, who wanted ill-defined 'decency' laws enacted to ban 'offensive' material online. While that debate is not yet settled, another has gained attention. The ease with which the Internet allows us to reproduce and disseminate texts and images has raised concerns about protecting intellectual property, specifically copyrights.
"Since 1995, the Church of Scientology has waged an aggressive legal campaign against anyone daring to bad-mouth the group online. In instances where cybercritics have posted excerpts of the church's copyrighted secret texts, Scientologists have sued with mixed results.
"In a 1995 ruling against the church, U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema wrote: 'When the [Scientologists] first approached the court ... the dispute was presented as a straightforward one under copyright and trade secret law. However, the court is now convinced that the primary motivation of [the Scientologists] ... is to stifle criticism of Scientology in general and to harass its critics.'
"Contrast that decision with one issued two years later by another district court judge, Ronald Whyte in California. Again, the church accused the defendant, Keith Henson, of violating its copyright and trade secrets through his Internet postings. Mr. Henson argued that his postings were protected under fair use, since his motive was not to profit from the church's writings but to expose what he considers a corrupt organization. This time, however, the judge agreed with the Scientologists and ruled in their favor. Further, a jury deciding on damages in the case last year awarded the church $75,000.
"The inconsistency doesn't surprise observers like David Post, a law professor at Temple University. For one, 'the threshold for copyright protection is fairly low,' says Mr. Post, who is also co-director of the Cyberspace Law Institute. 'Pretty much anything that you can imagine flying around out there in cyberspace is protected. So copyright is going to be the place where people try to shut up their opponents. It's the weapon of first resort, in a sense.' More important, says the professor, is the fact that the issue is being played out through the common law process of the courts, in a sort of conversation among judges. This process, says Mr. Post, is a very effective, decentralized way of adapting existing law to this new medium without ham-fisted legislation."