Presenting Rod Keller's
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review

Volume 8, Issue 8 - June 8 2003



Clearwater

Letters to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times on June 5th reacted to plans to Scientology's efforts to promote downtown Clearwater, Florida to developers and retailers. "Please, Clearwater Commissioner Whitney Gray, spare preaching 'the good word of downtown' to the majority of Clearwater residents. City officials know how most residents feel about the Scientologists' overwhelming presence in downtown Clearwater. "The bulk of property they have procured within our city is disturbing to many. The concept of spending up to $41-million to provide residents with a Barnes & Noble, Ann Taylor, Armani Exchange, Kenneth Cole and FAO Schwartz is absurd. Do they think these stores would draw most of us downtown? Call me stupid, but come on. The elephant is in the living room. "This issue has exhausted most taxpayers in this community. Most of us have had uptown 'dreams' of downtown, but that's all they are, dreams. - Charlene Comeau, Clearwater "When I was in Florida last year, I dropped by the Lisa McPherson Trust not too long before its demise. One of the staff members took me on a walking tour to see the various Scientology buildings, pointing out the many 'security' cameras and motion sensors. We were constantly shadowed by operatives yapping on walkie-talkies and cell phones. When approaching Scientologists on the sidewalks, my guide simply stopped in his tracks, explaining that they couldn't come within 10 feet, so he preferred to let them figure out how to deal with that prohibition. "The atmosphere in downtown Clearwater is downright intimidating. The heart of the city is an occupied territory, under constant surveillance by a 'religion' based on sci-fi scriptures about alien forces that overwhelmed Battlefield Earth 75 million years ago. - Eldon M. Braun, Paris, France" Message-ID: 3e471c14.0306050600.242bc4c3@posting.google.com

Germany

A press release from the Dialog Center in Berlin, Germany on June 3rd warned that Scientology has begun advertising in magazines placed in taxi cabs. "Numerous Berlin taxis have been driving through the capitol city recently with covert Scientology advertisements. Sect commissioner of the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg, Rev. Thomas Gandow, warned about the taxi advertisements for the new Scientology magazine 'Free Mind - Reise zum Ich.' The connection of the advertisement to the Scientology organization is not readily apparent to either the taxi driver or to the potential buyers. This is because the word 'Scientology' is not mentioned, although the advertisement is for 'Dianetics' and Scientology founder Hubbard. "Scientology and Dianetics inventor Hubbard stated that his psycho-courses were going to replace psychiatry and psychotherapy. Erich Fromm, who back in 1950 was a renowned psychotherapist, wrote that the Dianetics book was 'alarming.' He said the book was a 'symptom of a dangerous trend.' "'Free Mind' is printed by Verlag New Era Publications GmbH. There is no doubt this is a Scientology corporation whose business consists primarily of dealing in Hubbard books."

Narconon

Narconon International Newsletter reported in its May, 2003 issue on developments around the world regarding the Scientology drug rehab program. "The First China International Symposium on Alcohol and Health was put on by the Beijing SIJI Exchange Center for Science and Technology, the World Health Organization-Shanghai Collaborating Center for Health Education and Promotion, and the University of Nebraska. More than fifty delegates attended from throughout China, Australia, Canada, Europe, and Taiwan. The Narconon International President delivered an address on sauna sweat-out detoxification methodology, as developed by L. Ron Hubbard, in relation to treating alcoholism. He presented the research and published materials of the Narconon program and evidence of its worldwide delivery. "Following the symposium, the President met with Prof Gan Xmgfa of the WHO-Shanghai Collaborating Center, who requested that someone from Narconon International come as soon as possible to present the Narconon drug rehabilitation method, to help pilot the Narconon program in a local hospital, and to help survey the China Republic regarding drug abuse. Many professionals in the country are aware that there is a large and growing problem and are searching for intelligent technology that can be implemented rapidly and locally to deal with it. "An invitation to introduce Narconon technology and First Step Workshop at the second Project Bridges Faith Based Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention Conference soon followed from Washington, DC. The motto of the conference was 'Mobilizing to Bridge the Gap.' The conference focus was on faith- and community-based organizations, building them into a grassroots movement toward handling the drug problem. The attendees were primarily African-American pastors and related associates in the Washington, D.C. area. "Clifton Mitchell, President Bush's Coordinator of Faith and Community Partners Initiative, spoke about the President's initiative to increase funding for faith-based rehab groups. He encouraged the attendees to form coalitions and write grant proposals to the U.S. Government. Mr. Mitchell thanked Clark Carr and Narconon for helping him to do his job and urged everyone to visit Narconon Arrowhead. Rev. Carlton N. Pressley (Senior Advisor for Religious Affairs to the D.C. Mayor), gave a rousing sermon, preaching among other things that the listeners 'should be sending addicts to Narconon.' "The federal ANF (Anti Narcotics Force) of Pakistan invited the President of Narconon International to tour and lecture throughout Pakistan. Dr. Humaira Aziz, a Narconon supporter in Islamabad, has been disseminating Mr. Hubbard's social betterment technology, and Narconon drug prevention and rehabilitation methods were what were most urgently requested. "The Narconon International President first met with Dr. Muhammad Sharif, ED Narconon Hyderabad, near Karachi. Dr. Sharif set up meetings with the Mayor of Hyderabad and Latifabad, a neighboring town, and put on for the President a welcoming event with 40 enthusiastic supporters of Dr. Sharif's activities, followed by a banquet at which awards and recognitions were given out to all. "A two-day workshop in the city of Rawalpindi got rave reviews. All attendees gave heartfelt wins and thanks to Narconon International for coming to Islamabad/Rawalpindi, to the President, and to Dr. Humaira Aziz. Every rehab group in attendance rushed the President for Narconon license applications. The President then toured local rehabs, giving assists to those he saw were ill, and continued to work with their representatives on how to get vitamins, etc., for delivery. "The staff of Narconon Southern California have long since filled their Narconon Newport Beach facility to capacity. Now, after purchasing a lovely new residential facility in the desert hills of north San Diego County, they have completed the zoning approval processes and are filling this center to capacity and are looking for a third location! "Narconon Racine in Wisconsin was licensed this year. They have done their basic incorporation and have begun promoting the Narconon drug prevention program. This group is just north of Chicago, so they are also working in coordination with Narconon Great Lakes and will be doing referrals to Narconon Stone Hawk." Message-ID: DJ1YKYZO37778.1267824074@anonymous.poster

Safe

CNET News.com reported on June 3rd that Scientology is attempting to force AT&T to disclose the identity of a poster to alt.religion.scientology who allegedly posted copyrighted materials anonymously. "Raising new issues about anonymity on the Net, the Church of Scientology is invoking a law passed last year to force AT&T to disclose the identity of an Internet service subscriber who allegedly infringed the church's copyrights online. Scientology's Bridge Publications, which four years ago helped to forge new law when it sued Internet service provider Netcom, claims the anonymous author 'made two unauthorized, verbatim Internet postings' of the church's copyrighted works on the alt.religion.scientology Usenet group. Invoking a provision in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Bridge Publications filed a subpoena on AT&T that would require it to turn over the name of the Worldnet subscriber. "AT&T spokesman Jonathan Varman said the company had not yet turned over the information to the church and was 'looking to do the best for our customer and still comply with the court.' The subpoena set yesterday as the deadline for complying. In a telephone interview, the poster, going by the pseudonym 'Safe,' said AT&T had agreed to delay complying with the subpoena until at least tomorrow to give his attorney time to figure out how to proceed. "Dan Leipold, Safe's counsel and an attorney who has done battle with Bridge Publications in the past, said he was concerned the law was being misused against his client. 'This individual has not been shown to do anything wrong and yet he's going to lose his anonymity,' said Leipold, who declined to name the author. 'He's worried. He does not want to give up the anonymity because he knows who's on the other side and he knows what they'll do to him.' "According to one of the offending Usenet postings, the church goes so far as to make it a 'high crime' for followers to 'Organize splinter groups to diverge from Scientology practices still calling it Scientology or calling it something else.' In all, the post, which purports to cite the Introduction to Scientology Ethics, lists 274 'errors, misdemeanors, crimes, and high crimes' against the Church. "Leipold argued that despite the large amount of text quoted verbatim, the posting fell under so-called fair use exceptions to the copyright law. Fair use provisions permit parties to reprint copyrighted work depending on the purpose, the amount of text quoted, and other factors. 'If you're trying to illustrate the point that they exert control over their members, you can't do it by quoting only five or six rules,' Leipold said. 'You've got to look at what the scope is.'" Message-ID: 1054636018.812490@newshost01.voicenet.com

Ybor City

The St. Petersburg Times reported on June 6th that Scientology will open a new facility in the Ybor City area of Tampa, Florida. "The church spent $200,000 renovating the leased building at 1619 E Eighth Ave. and expects 500 people for the grand opening, Tirabassi said. 'We like Ybor City because it has lots of people, lots of life, lots of activities, and it's a vibrant community,' she said. This week, workers were putting the finishing touches on the Scientology Life Improvement Center, which will sell Scientology books, administer personality, IQ and aptitude tests and offer self-improvement courses. "But to get people through the doors, the church stops them on sidewalks. Vince Pardo, executive director of the Ybor City Development Corporation, said he's pleased to see the church fix up a local building but he's also heard complaints about the intensity of church members' pitches. In teams of two, members have been standing along Seventh Avenue, talking to passers-by and offering free personality tests. Some of them have apparently followed customers onto private Centro Ybor property, where solicitation is off limits. "'We're all for free speech,' said Lisa Brock, a spokeswoman for Centro Ybor. 'We just have to draw the line at following people (onto) any of our property, which might cross into the area of harassment.'" From the St. Petersburg Times on June 7th: "The church, which has been criticized for aggressive canvassing in Ybor City, met with its neighbors this week and discussed that very question. After the meeting, Ybor civic leader Vince Pardo was pleased. The Scientologists, he said, had agreed to dispatch no more than two people at a time to recruit new members from the streets of Ybor. "But church spokeswoman Ana Tirabassi didn't remember it that way. She said the church didn't limit itself to a number but simply agreed not to overwhelm the neighborhood. Friday, after a reporter raised the discrepancy with Pardo, he opened a three-way conference call with church spokeswoman Pat Harney. When she avoided a firm commitment, he expressed disappointment. 'What you're doing is voluntary, and I appreciate that,' said Pardo, executive director of the Ybor City Development Corp. 'But I also appreciated that you came up with a number.' "In recent weeks, community leaders have received complaints about the number of canvassers and the intensity of their pitches. When the Scientologists learned about the concerns, they started talking to shop owners and promised to be good neighbors. Pardo said he told them about the concerns of business owners who had reported that church members followed customers onto Centro Ybor's property. The Scientologists, he said, were apologetic. Pardo said the church agreed to remind members of its policy not to follow or harass people on sidewalks. "Pardo said he was told that the typical number of canvassers assigned to Ybor is from two to eight. According to Pardo, the church committed to limiting canvassers to two at a time. Tirabassi said the church generally assigns no more than two members at a time but reserves the right to send more. The bottom line, Tirabassi said, is that the church wants to be sensitive to neighborhood concerns without limiting its own rights. Pardo said he was encouraged by the Scientologists' 'good faith, voluntary agreement.'" Message-ID: 3e471c14.0306060405.6aead645@posting.google.com Message-ID: 1054989910.672517@newshost02.voicenet.com


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A.r.s. Week in Review is put together by Rod Keller © This collection is organised for WWW by Andreas Heldal-Lund. Only edits done by me is replacing word encapsuled in * or _ with bold and underscore, and made links into HTML.


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