"Scientologists in Germany say they are unfairly vilified
Saarland's Higher Administrative Court ruled Wednesday that state intelligence services are no longer permitted to monitor the activities of the controversial Scientology organization.
Four years after Saarland's Higher Administrative Court decided to allow the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) to keep tabs on the activities of local scientologists, the court has now ruled in favor of the Church of Scientology's appeal on the grounds that seven years of intelligence surveillance failed to yield results justifying continued monitoring.
Breach of human rights
Given that in Saarland there are just twenty active members of the church -- out of a reported 30,000 across Germany -- the judge based his ruling on proportionality, a principle of German law that states that any action carried out by the state should not go beyond what it necessary to achieve its objectives."
Posted from http://www.expatica.com:
"A court ordered a halt on Wednesday to covert surveillance of Scientologists in Germany's second-smallest state, Saarland, saying seven years of monitoring the 20 members had not produced any significant evidence of subversion. The organisation is under watch in most German states because of allegations that it is subversive and that it may bully former members who renounce its ideology of self-improvement.
On appeal, Scientology won its case against the Saarland Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which uses both phone taps and infiltrators to keep tabs on potential subversives. The superior administrative tribunal in the city of Saarlouis said use of those methods was disproportionate to any potential threat. A lower tribunal in Saarland had ruled against the Scientologists in 2001.
"[... A silver] Grand Caravan, license# ATCR 068 (Ontario) pulled in behind me. My friend looked back and asked why the driver was video taping us? It has been a long time since I trapped a PI, the last one was in a gas station in Palo Alto.
But I remembered the drill, so I jumped out and confronted the guy. He backed up into a driveway and tried [to] go forward, trying to push me out of the way with his car. I guess he decided I wasn't going to move and that running over me with a witness banging on his side window telling him to stop and right across from the Brantford police station wasn't a good idea.
So he backed into the business establishment and eventually stopped with me standing in front of his car calling 911. [...]"
The police gave the name of the company which the person taping Keith worked for as "Solutions Security & Investigations, Executive Director: David L Brewer." Keith gave Mr. Brewer a call:
"Mr. Brewer admitted he did have an agent in Brantford this morning, but denied working for 'a religion' and said he knew who his client was. He did not deny that I was the target of their (clumsy) investigation but implied it might have been because my car was similar to someone else they were investigating."
"Advocates began spring worried budgets for state mental-health programs would be slashed by $82 million due to federal Medicaid cuts, but this week they are celebrating big gains.
Not only were the cuts replaced during the state legislative session that ended Sunday, but $18 million in new money was granted to bolster addiction treatment.
The funding for addiction, spread over two years, was agreed to near the end of the session only after the bill's champion, Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, threatened to pull his vote for the state budget unless some form of the bill passed.
The Hargrove legislation almost doubles the number of adults who will be treated for chemical dependency to 27,000 and adds another 1,000 slots for teens. Many addicts are also mentally ill, and the bill directs social-service agencies to assess people for both mental-health issues and addiction at the same time.
Among the people who spoke out against Hargrove's bill was a group with Scientology ties that argues too much emphasis is placed on medicating mentally ill people. Others raised concerns about involuntary commitments."
An article from the Tampa Tribune, http://tampatrib.com/News/MGBU8CA6S7E.html, entitled "Tears Don't Psych Out Lawmakers" was posted about a couple of Scientology's celebrities:
"Kirstie Alley and Kelly Preston gave dramatic testimony before legislative committees Tuesday, with Alley breaking down in tears while decrying the dangers of psychotropic drugs.
Lawmakers gave the histrionics the credibility they deserved. Not much.
Both actors are Scientologists and testified on behalf of a Scientology-backed measure aimed at discouraging parents from seeking mental health counseling for their children. [...]"
"Petoskey's planners on Thursday heard two hours of public comment, most of it unfavorable, before postponing a decision on TIA Corp.'s request for a special use permit to establish a substance abuse treatment center on Arlington Avenue.
The planners, meeting before an overflow crowd in Petoskey's City Hall, voted unanimously to schedule a special session to make their final decision. That session was tentatively set for Thursday, May 5. In moving to table, planner John Jorgensen said the planning commission had received enough new information in the past few days to warrant a thorough review of the issues before a final vote.
The commission has received more than 130 letters from the public, almost all of them asking the request be denied.
Three of the nine planning commissioners were absent from Thursday's session, which was attended by about 115 members of the public and TIA executive director Kate Wickstrom, her business partner and former husband, Per Wickstrom, their attorney, Michael Corcoran of Charlevoix, and architect, Chip Ironsides of Petoskey.
If the planning commission approves the permit, TIA expects to acquire the former Reus Residence convalescent home on Arlington Avenue just east of MacDonald Drive, expand the building and operate a 63-bed residential substance abuse treatment center there using the Narconon treatment methodology. [...]"
According to poster David Rice, "Packages of over 130 letters each were delivered to the planners just a day before Thursday's hearing. Hence a good reason to table a decision.
"Clearwater residents prefer Dunedin's downtown to their own, a survey says.
According to 400 residents surveyed March 29-31 by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, 29 percent of those telephoned are 'somewhat dissatisfied' with Clearwater's downtown area. Roughly 37 percent were 'very dissatisfied,' and 26 percent of those surveyed said they never go downtown. The figures have a sampling error of plus or minus .9 percent.
Although Mayor Frank Hibbard said he was most surprised to learn that so many people don't go downtown, he said the survey was a 'no-brainer. There's nothing to do downtown.'
Thirty-eight percent of those polled agreed, saying that was their main problem with downtown. Other reasons were a lack of entertainment, poor shopping or poor restaurants (20 percent), too much traffic (17 percent), lack of parking (14 percent) and the presence of the Church of Scientology (12 percent).
"Today was the Los Angeles Book Fair which I've now gone to a few times, with various friends. Today my friend Sam and I went to the picket, and joined a few other friends there. Sam decided to wear a T-shirt he had gotten which has on both sides: 'SCIENTOLOGY KILLS' and I believe it had www.xenu.net on it, too.
Ok, so we arrived, and the place was jumping! There are tons of booths from all different publishers, stores, and authors, and we both love books, so it was fun. Immediately people began coming up to Sam saying, 'Love the shirt, man'.
This went on all day, in various forms. We ran into someone Sam knew, and while talking even he was quite surprised, as he wasn't too familiar with the Scientology scene. He commented how amazing it was how many people came up and said they liked his shirt, agreed with it, didn't like Scientology, etc.
One man came up to us who used to be on staff. He told us, 'I finally ran from the place once he realized what a con it was'. He was happy to be free of them, and we congratulated him too. It's always amazing how many people have their own frightening stories, and you know they're true. People can't make up these kinds of stories. Well, they *could* ... but why bother?
I also spoke with a number of people, and literally everyone we talked with congratulated me on getting out, and commented strongly on disliking Scientology. I shared cards with Web sites on them, with a number of people who expressed an interest, and each person thanked me for this.
Well, except for one person, that is. This was sort of funny. Having walked around for awhile, we decided to stop and get a bite to eat. We bought something, and because all the tables were taken, we sat on a ledge, sort of behind a tree. All of a sudden this man arrived some feet away, with a rather large video camera and a huge lens. It was pointed directly at Sam. I mentioned it to him, and he decided to walk off, and see what happened. Since the guy kept the camera directly on the corner he walked off to, I began to wonder.
Being an outgoing person, I decided to go greet this man. I walked over and asked what he was filming? He said, 'Oh, just the fair'. He seemed pretty grumpy, so I asked, 'You're not a Scientologist are you?' He said, 'No, why?'
I explained how it looked like he had his camera on my friend who had the T-shirt on that said, 'Scientology Kills' and that is the kind of thing Scientology would do. He seemed really angry now and snapped, 'I'm taking an Art Class'.
I asked, 'At CC?' He then really snapped, 'I don't have ANY idea what you are talking about'. At this point I left to go find my friend, but both of us found that very suspicious. However, ~~~perhaps~~ we were wrong.
My friend pointed out that first Scientology used the 'Personality Test'. Then when South Park and others made fun of it, they tried switching to the 'IQ' test. I guess people laughed at that, so finally now C of S has the 'Stress Test'. In each of the Scientology booths there were few if any people at their booths, at least while we were there.
As we began to leave, I spotted a sign 'Stress Test' in the corner of a Spanish Bookstore. How odd! I decided to go ask what was up. I asked one of the girls that worked there, 'Why do you have the Scientology Stress Test at your tent'. She was young and said, 'I don't know'. So I asked who ran the tent, and could I speak with them? She asked an older lady, and then said, 'It's because he's selling Dianetics'.
Ok, fine. So I walked over to a young girl who was alone, doing the Stress test, speaking to a man in Spanish, trying to sell him, 'Self Analysis'. Once done, she asked if I wanted to do the Stress test, and I said, 'Sure'. I wanted to see how she explained it. To my great surprise, this is what she said. First off, the cans were cold, and she didn't wait for the cans to warm up. For those not familiar with the E-meter, until the cans warm up, the needle will naturally be 'Falling to the right'....not due to 'stress' but because the cans are freezing!
She began to tell me that if the needle fell to the right, that meant I had stress on something and that I was thinking of something stressful as the needle was falling to the right.
No I wasn't......the cans are warming up! DUH~ But I let it be, to see where this went. Finally they warmed up, and she asked what I was thinking of. I said, 'Nothing' as I really wasn't focused on any one thing, and the needle wasn't moving much either way. I was frankly amazed that I was here; holding these cans that I'd spent the vast majority of my adult life believing could help me get free .. now knowing it was nothing but smoke and mirrors.
Finally I thought of just that: 'What a con it all was and how happy I was to be out of there' and the needle moved to the right ~~ and quite possibly F/N'd. As I thought that, she asked, 'What are you thinking of?' I said, 'Scientology'. She then said, 'Well, you have quite a bit of stress on that'.
(This was quite an incorrect evaluation and out tech, really). The old 'Stress test' consisted of pinching someone, and having the needle move or fall to the right. Then saying, 'Recall that pinch'. Once they recalled it, the needle would make the same move it had made (supposedly) when they were first pinched. Then, as the same needle reaction occurred, you'd say,'That'. This would be supposedly the person recalling that pinch, and would prove the E-meter would 'Read' .showing the 'charge' one had on pain, which Dianetics was based on.
Since she was going to evaluate for me, I decided to tell her what I was thinking. I told her I had actually been in Scientology for 30 years, and found out it doesn't work. I know there are many 'nice' people in Scientology, but the truth is, it doesn't work, and I hoped she'd not waste her whole life and at least read both sides and make up her own mind. I handed her a card, quite sure she'd turn it over. To who, I wasn't sure, but I figured it would be OSA, in one form or another.
As I walked away.....guess who arrived on the scene? Oh yes..Mr. Camera Man! The same jack ass that had been following us the entire day, taking his 'shots of the festival', supposedly. Why it is Scientologists feel they have to lie? I won't be at all surprised if OSA adds some ugly photo of me on their hate page: 'RFW', with their Black PR about me. And they wonder why the vast majority of people dislike them.
Mr. Camera man was looking for Sam, and I told him so, as we stood some feet away. Suddenly he turned all the way around, saw us, Sam took a photo of him, and he hid behind another guy. During this time, the young girl (20 at most) handed him the card I gave her. She waved at me, and I waved back .. knowing he had told her some lies about me, and thankful I'd finally seen my way out of that insidious trap.
-- Posted from Defamer, at [long link]
"The Church of Scientology maintained its omnipresence at the LAT Festival of Books this weekend, where we encountered at least three COS-sponsored booths. Two of the booths offered e-meter stress tests as a respite from the thetan-attracting activity of perusing books not authored by L. Ron Hubbard (copies of Dianetics were handy for those flunking the test). While Tom Cruise was obviously busy with more pressing missions, the booths were not without their own brand of star-power, as The Sandlot’s Patrick Renna (pictured above), pitched in and helped administer some of the tests.
favorite Hubbard quote: http://www.our-home.org/patrickrenna/quote.htm]
Elsewhere, chipper Scientology 'booth dudes' and 'booth babes' handed out free bookmarks while trying to lure passers-by into a booth promoting Hubbard’s shoddily-written science fiction. Here,(photo) a couple of kids are drawn in by the books’ vividly illustrated covers, then are forced to listen to a canned lecture on how a childhood Ritalin dependence rendered Spongebob a semiretarded slave to the psychiatric drug industry. [...]"
"Police chief apologizes to archbishop
A month after the scandalous incident with the police beatings in Yekaterinburg of priest Vladimir Zaitsev and Moscow sectologist professor Alexander Dvorkin, Yekaterinburg Archbishop Vikentiy announced that the eparchy was once again cooperating with the police. 'Today we are once again in accord and cooperating with each other. We hope such conflicts will not escalate,' said the senior clergyman. 'I met personally with the chief of city police and we discussed the issue about settling the conflict ... This incident has to be examined very closely so as not to kindle feelings of suspicion or unpleasantness. I think that with God's help the conflict is being settled,' commented the archbishop.
According to the Yekaterinburg archbishop, police officers apologized to him for the incident, reported UralPolit.Ru. 'Police representatives approached me personally and offered apologies for the occurrence. The police officers themselves realize they made a mistake,' reported the archbishop.
It was on March 23rd that Vladimir Zaitsev and professor Alexander Dvorkin arrived at a school with whose principal they had arranged to give a lecture about cults. However the principal changed his mind the day of the lecture and refused to let people into the assembly hall, the Yekaterinburg eparchy informed 'UralPolit.Ru.' 25 or 30 people were at the school. 'Father Vladimir went to apologize to the people for the lecture falling through. Unfortunately, someone, perhaps the principal, called the police. Rather than sort the situation out, the police cracked down. They beat the professor and Father Vladimir, who suffered injuries, then they brought them to the station,' reported the head of the Yekaterinburg eparchy. Father Vladimir being involved in extremist behavior was out of the question, said the senior clergyman.
The incident found great public resonance. Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II responded to the event. The issue was taken up by RF general prosecutor Yuriy Zolotov.
April 21, 2005"
A.r.s. Week in Review is put together for your benefit.
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.