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

Volume 8, Issue 18 - August 24 2003

Lisa McPherson

The St. Petersburg Times reported on August 20th and 21st that the trial in the breach of contract case against the attorneys for the estate of Lisa McPherson was held in Clearwater this week. "Large and imposing, Church of Scientology attorney Samuel Rosen stood before a Pinellas County jury Tuesday, arms waving, voice booming. Pointing at Tampa lawyer Ken Dandar, he growled to jurors that Dandar had taken a 'garden variety' wrongful death lawsuit and allowed a church critic to turn it into 'a frontal attack on an entire religion.' Now, Rosen said, Dandar must be punished. And real punishment, he told jurors, doesn't even begin until they force Dandar to pay Scientology more than $2-million. "The battle stems from the wrongful death lawsuit Dandar filed on behalf of the estate of Lisa McPherson, a Scientologist who died in 1995 after 17 days of care at the church's spiritual headquarters in downtown Clearwater. Church officials cried foul when, more than two years into the wrongful death case, Dandar sought to add as defendants several top church officials, including the church's worldwide leader, David Miscavige. The ensuing bad publicity was devastating to Scientology, church officials said. It also violated a private agreement between the church and the McPherson estate not to add additional defendants, church attorneys contended. So the church sued. "Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge W. Douglas Baird agreed that the private agreement was breached. Now, the jury will decide how much Dandar and the estate owe the church in damages. "Dandar said his case has been handicapped because Judge Baird would not allow the jury to hear, among other things, why he attempted to add Miscavige. Dandar has said in the past that he based his attempt to add Miscavige as a defendant on the testimony of a former, high-ranking church official who said decisions about McPherson's care would have come from top church officials. 'This jury does not have the full picture,' Dandar said after jurors had left for the day." "A tiny smile creased Ken Dandar's face as a clerk read the first count of the jury verdict. Compensatory damages he owed the Church of Scientology: $4,500. Dandar knew then he had won. The grin widened and Dandar began to playfully pat his attorney, Luke Lirot, as the clerk read through the rest of the counts. The amount he was obligated to pay the church in punitive damages: zero. The legal team assembled by the Church of Scientology sat silently, then quickly filed out of the courtroom. "The church claimed Dandar was paid $2,050,000 from a wealthy church critic to turn a 'garden variety' wrongful death case into a broad attack on Scientology by naming the church's worldwide leader, David Miscavige, as a defendant. The jury didn't buy it. After less than 21/2 hours of deliberation, the jury concluded no punitive damages were warranted. "Jury forewoman Kandice Brockmeyer, a Pinellas-Pasco assistant public defender, said the church's legal team did not nail down its case. 'They asked us to speculate on a lot,' Brockmeyer said. 'They didn't show us enough proof. We spent a lot of time looking at the bills,' Brockmeyer said of the jury's decision to award the church $4,500. 'This is what we thought was reasonable and necessary.' The jury took issue with the expenses incurred by out-of-town attorneys who appeared to duplicate services of the church's local legal team, she said. Summing up the case, Brockmeyer said, 'It came down to the big law firm versus the little law firm.' "Dandar considered the verdict personal vindication. 'They wanted to hold me out as an example to people who file suit against them,' Dandar said. "Several hours after the verdict, church spokesman Ben Shaw issued a brief response: 'We're exploring our options, including the effect of 40 violations of court orders by Mr. Dandar and Mr. Lirot and their cumulative effect on the jury.' Shaw would not elaborate." Message-ID: Message-ID:


Agence France Presse reported on August 18th that Scientology plans to open a new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. "The Church of Scientology will open in mid-September a new office 'devoted to humans rights' in a building located near the European institutions in Brussels. For Marc Bromberg, the goal of this new office is 'to present, in the form of a permanent exposure, the activities of the Church of Scientology as regards rehabilitation of the drug addicts and the criminals, of fight against the illiteracy and the general decline of morality.' "'We want to also show our actions for the defense of humans rights and the denunciation of the psychiatric abuses,' affirmed Martin Weightman. The building, a beautiful building of two floors recently renovated which will be officially inaugurated on September 17, was in particular selected for its proximity with the European Parliament, according to Mr. Weightman." Message-ID: 3f430b06$0$26378$

Drug Free Marshals

La Prensa San Diego reported on August 22nd that the San Diego, California Police Department participated in an anti-crime night with Scientology's Drug Free Marshals program. "On Tuesday, August 5th, the San Diego Police Department's Central Division celebrated National Night Out with a Crime-Free Walk from police headquarters in downtown to Central division's station in Logan Heights. Public Officials, community leaders, local organizations and churches came together to walk with the police to celebrate community spirit, cooperation and commitment for safer neighborhoods. "The Drug-Free Marshals, kids who have taken the pledge to be drug-free, passed out badges and drug educational booklets on Cocaine, Ecstasy and Marijuana. Community Relations Officer Gary Gonzalez for the Heights area said, 'The event was a total success. It not only brought an opportunity to address crime issues, but it also gave the youth the opportunity to take the pledge to be drug-free. There's a nexus with drugs on almost every crime we have. If we address the drug issue, crime will slowly decrease. The pledge done by the Drug-Free Marshals program (sponsored by the Church of Scientology) is a perfect example of how community and youth can band together to fight drugs and crime. For next year's event, we want more neighborhoods to participate in the National Night Out.'" Message-ID:

Safe Harbor

Hamburger Morgenpost reported on August 2nd that a new Scientology group aimed at alternatives to Psychiatric treatment has been established in Hamburg, Germany. "The Safe Harbor association was recently founded in Hamburg. It is a cover organization for the sect that serves only one purpose: to infiltrate new social groups and to spread to crazy ideas of Ron Hubbard, the sect's founder. After drug addicts it is now the turn of the mentally ill. "'The case is exemplary,' said Rudiger Hintze from the Working Group Scientology at the Department for Domestic Affairs. 'We can see here what cunning methods Scientology uses to try to tie people to the organization and to spread Hubbard's ideology.' "Melanie Herff from Hamburg studied nutrition therapy in London - a science that is based on the assumption that most psychiatric disorders have physical causes. And that depression and schizophrenia need not always be treated with psychopharmaceuticals - that instead it is often only a matter of the right diet. Melanie Herff had only just returned to Hamburg after finishing her studies when the Scientologists started to take note of her. She received an invitation to attend the inaugural meeting of an association called Safe Harbor in a hotel in Ochsenzoll. So Melanie Herff went along, presented a paper - and before she knew it she had been proposed as chairwoman. She felt honored - and agreed to stand for election. Something she now very much regrets. "Scientology's strategy has long been to set up organizations that at first sight promote good causes. They try to get people on board who are already working in that subject area. The sect for instance used the Ritalin debate to recruit allies against hated psychiatry. The 'EIFFRIG' association was set up to fight alleged human rights violations in Germany. And 'Narkonon' carries the veneer of a well-meaning anti-drugs program. All these organizations are designed to find new victims for infiltration with Ron Hubbard's so-called 'technology.' "Melanie Herff became suspicious shortly after she was elected. 'I soon thought the people and what they were saying was pretty strange. And so I did some research on the Internet.' The results were alarming. She suddenly realized that she had unwittingly become a pawn of the Scientologists. The Working Group Scientology at the Department for Domestic Affairs had known for some weeks about the Scientologistsí plan to set up Safe Harbor. Thanks to Melanie Herff the Working Group now has information about the leaders. 'I don't want to be made to work for Scientology,' said Melanie Herff to explain why she left. She asked the association in writing to delete her name and her personal data and to refrain from any future contact. Message-ID: RJV6211A37850.3731944444@anonymous.poster

Protest Summary

The New York Post reported on August 20th that members of a laborer's union protested outside a New York Scientology org building to protest their selection of building contractors. "Members of Laborers' Local 78 installed their familiar giant inflatable rat in front of the Church of Scientology's headquarters at 2 W. 43rd St. yesterday. 'We're exposing them for being frauds,' says the union local's business manager, Sal Speziale. Frauds? Well, it's not what you think. 'They hired a non-union company - Asbestos and Lead Inc. - that exploits immigrant workers,' he says." Message-ID:

Saint Hill

Web site reported on August 15th that a week-long music festival was held at the Saint Hill Manor Scientology compound in East Grinstead, England. "The week-long festival, now in its 12th year, began with the traditional opening night classical concert, featuring artists from Budapest and Vienna as well as London and East Grinstead. "Following words of welcome from the executive director Robin Hogarth and executive producer Sheila Gaiman, Liz Nyegaard, of the L. Ron Hubbard Foundation, spoke of Mr. Hubbard's outstanding contribution to the arts through his music, photography and writings. Messages of good wishes and encouragement for the festival participants were received from celebrities including soul legend Issac Hayes and star of the film Carmen, Julia Migenes, and were read to guests by Krystyna Louw, vice-president of Celebrity Centre in the United States. "Participants and performers from over 10 different countries were attending an extensive variety of workshops this week, on subjects ranging from dance, acrobatics and drama, to painting screenwriting and singing." Message-ID:

World Trade Centers

Vail Daily reported on August 16th that Scientology is raising funds in Vail, Colorado to help fund a detoxification center established in New York to treat workers at the World Trade Centers disaster site. "New York firefighter Joe Higgins can no longer fight fires. He involuntarily retired from the New York Fire Department shortly after responding to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center because of health problems caused by a variety of toxins released when the skyscrapers collapsed. Five New York firefighters and emergency medical services personnel who suffered physically and mentally from the tragedy of Sept. 11 visited the Vail Valley Tuesday. They attended a fund raiser Tuesday night. "The toxins released after the buildings came down caused many to suffer asthma, heart conditions and trauma. 'These guys weren't sleeping, they weren't eating and they couldn't exercise,' said Joanie Sigel, a spokeswoman for the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Fund. 'In September 2002, we opened a detoxification clinic in downtown Manhattan with more than 150 rescue workers who received the detox.' "The detoxification clinic is part of a research project that was founded more than 20 years ago to help remove drugs and residuals from the body, said Jim Woodworth, director of operations for the New York Rescue Workers Detoxificiation Project. Two clinics were set up in Los Angeles by medical doctors who used L. Ron Hubbard's method of detoxification. "The program involves a precise regimen of daily sauna bathing and exercise along with vitamin-, mineral- and oil-supplements, he said. Through sweat, excretion and glands, the toxins leave the body, Higgins said. The detoxification program might be one of the leading, cutting edge projects in the country, Gulick said." Message-ID:

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