Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 1, Issue 47 03/30/97 by Rod Keller [email@example.com] copyright 1997
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 informtion. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org It is archived at: http://wpxx02.toxi.uni-wuerzburg.de/~krasel/CoS/ars-summary.html http://user1.i1.net/~mallen/scn/arswr/ars-summary.html http://users.aimnet.com/~jdiver/scieno.htm http://www.thur.de/religio/publik/arsfaq.html #####
"Scientology is currently demanding acceptance throughout the world, mostly on the basis of a 1993 Internal Revenue Service ruling extending it 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. The State Department's human rights report, an ad by Hollywood figures and others have berated Germany over persecution of Scientologists. Other sects have also started with odd theology and behavior; is Scientology now traveling the road to respectability?
"Conceivably so, though the Scientologists have more history than most to live down, most of it written in court decisions here and abroad. Scientology performs its 'auditing' and 'clearing' according to a schedule of set fees. Those who are 'cleared' at one level go on to the next with further training and further fees. To many authorities, not to mention alienated former Scientologists, Mr. Hubbard's creation looks a lot like the business of personal counseling or psychiatry (to which Scientology also raises theological objection). There have been repeated reports that Mr. Hubbard told his science-fiction colleagues that the way to get rich is to found a religion.
"The Scientologists promote anti-drug and anti-crime efforts, but even in the post-Hubbard era have been a magnet for controversy. For one thing, they are confronting the Internet, using copyright and other laws to inhibit their critics, who gather in a discussion group called alt.religion.scientology. Scientologists have succeeded with U.S. copyright suits against the posting of secret Hubbard texts, but have angered the Internet community. The texts keep appearing, for example on a Norwegian site calling itself Operation Clambake. Further litigation is currently under way in San Jose and Denver, with the patience of presiding jurists being tested by both Scientologists and 'netizens.' Internet defendants are now challenging the validity of the copyrights, and seeking to depose the secretive Mr. Miscavige about the circumstances of their transfer.
"Finally, Scientology is also in a controversy over the death of one of its members in Clearwater, Florida, in 1995. Lisa McPherson, 36, was detained by paramedics after she took off her clothes following a minor traffic accident. In lieu of psychiatric treatment, doctors released her to fellow Scientologists; 17 days later she died en route to another hospital where the staff included a Scientologist physician.
"We certainly hope that the Scientologists finally win the respectability they seek, though we note that the Mormons did abandon polygamy and the Jehovah's Witnesses no longer beseech potential converts by setting up loudspeakers on their lawns. In the meantime, we wonder why the State Department is so exercised over German statements that would be protected by U.S. libel law, indeed, over a German position that was the U.S. position until the current administration. And we certainly think the IRS should share with the rest of us whatever persuaded it that money from the disturbed seeking solace is no longer being siphoned off into bank accounts in Switzerland."
In the wake of this publicity, Andreas Heldal-Lund's Operation Clambake site has been experiencing unusually heavy use, presumably by the Journal's readership.
"Web statistics for the last few days: Number of requests: 3862 (77.0 MB transferred) Number of different hosts: 523
"I've got a vast amount of mail telling me that people have copied all the material on my site, they will react very strong if my site goes down again! I've already deleted all those mails and repartitioned my hard disk, you will never be able to read those mails."
Dennis Erlich posted a list of upcoming events in his copyright violations
case brought by Scientology.
Roger Alexander summarized a news broadcast on the Fox network in which
they interviewed Scientology PR Leisa Goodman.
"The first subject was their treatment in Germany. She said it was terrible, that the church members are hounded, etc. They refuse to accept Scientology[tm] as a religion. Interviewer (not pushing throughout) asked her what was Scientology, a religion, a business or a cult. She said it is recognized throughout the world as a religion, and by I.R.S.
"Interviewer said: Wasn't there some unusual things going on over 25 years, a war or smear campaign between Scn and I.R.S. he mentioned private investigators going into the personal lives of I.R.S. officials. Leisa said when people lie about you, you have to defend yourself. She said that people who attack the church usually have a hidden agenda and usually have a criminal background. She then launched into the church's public spirited role in their controversy with the I.R.S. They had done informational campaigns, put forth a taxpayers bill of rights, and published a public service booklet.
"[I]nterviewer asked her how much money it cost to get involved in Scn. (Implication, not words, isn't it a lot?) Here she appeared a little nervous. She debunked that quickly. She said you can spend $100 - $200. There are free services, (examples) Anyone can buy a book, started to expound on them. Interviewer cut her off Thank you Leisa Goodman."
Lars Baehren summarized a broadcast on German ZDF television program Mona Lisa, airing March 23rd.
"Featured topics were:
"the Clearwater Picket and Scientology's' involvement in the death of Lisa McPherson (remember the German camera team present during this event); the pathological results by Dr. Wood (including photographs of Lisa's arms and hands); Lisa Goodman's reaction on the case; the confirmation of Dr. Wood's finding by 5 other doctors.
"Chick Corea, Isaac Hayes and Anne Archer during their talk with congressmen at Capitol Hill.
"US state-department speaker Nicholas Burns talking about the government's duty to protect freedom of religion.
"Guenther Beckstein (Bavaria) on state movements to make Scientology care about German law.
"Scans of handwritten OT III.
"almost the complete Xenu story with volcanoes and electric cages and all you need to handle Thetans.
"Studio guests were Ursula Caberta and Sabine Weber. Weber's performance was pretty bad - the usual Scieno Bla on being misunderstood and so on. During the talk Weber told she only was PC, not yet having reach OT Grade."
Grady Ward provided a summary of upcoming events in the Scamizdat case.
"My wife, Felicity, will be deposed by Hogan or other members of the criminal cult in Eureka tomorrow, March 27, 1997 starting at 9:00 A.M. I would expect it to last about an hour, although cult attorney Hogan is authorized up to four hours by Magistrate Judge Edward A. Infante
"Then the following day, Friday, March 28, 1997, I am scheduled to spend all day at Hogan's Office at 60 South Market St. in San Jose to review and take notes of the confidential documents that are supposed to be produced pursuant to the Magistrate's orders.
"If one day appears to be sufficient to review what the cult has produced, the following day, Saturday, March 29, I will be deposed by the cult yet again.
"McShane's deposition (and my scheduled depositions of Starkey Spurlock, two other RTC insiders) will be scheduled separately since it is too soon to say how long McShane's might last.
"The criminal cult has also arranged for a settlement conference (ordered by District Judge Whyte) to be held supervised by Magistrate Infante on April 8, 1997 at the Federal Courthouse in San Francisco. Attending will be me, someone from RTC with settlement power, and likely Hogan.
"Discovery cut-off is scheduled for April 11, 1997. Trial is scheduled for June 16, 1997, although I have a summary judgment motion for all plaintiff's claims scheduled for May 2, 1997. The criminal cult also has a moved to either strike, dismiss, or obtain summary judgment on my racketeering counterclaims on the same date.
"Meanwhile the cult is obtaining pursuant to Rule 45 subpoena my employment records at Apple Computer and my telephone records dating back to January, 1995."
Judge Infante also ruled that Grady will not be allowed to depose Scientology leader David Miscavige.
"Good cause appearing, RTC's motion for a protective order is GRANTED and Ward's expedited motion to compel is DENIED for the reasons set forth below.
"An 'apex deposition,' such as this deposition sought by Ward of the Chairman of the Board of RTC, is warranted only where the party seeking the deposition presents proof that the proposed deponent has 'unique personal knowledge' related to the case. Put another way, the party seeking the deposition must show good cause for the deposition.
"Ward has not submitted any evidence that Miscavige has unique personal knowledge of the intellectual property issues related to the Advanced Technology works, or the particular issues in this case. In contrast, RTC presents a declaration from Warren McShane, President of RTC, that McShane is the person charged with responsibility for protecting, and most knowledgeable regarding, RTC's intellectual property rights, and states that it has offered to make McShane available for deposition.
"Ward further asserts that Miscavige 'is likely to have specific knowledge of Eugene Martin Ingram and the unlawful harassment of the defendant and his family detailed in the defendant's counterclaims and would be familiar with the specific actions taken against those who are perceived as 'enemies' of the scientology enterprise.'
"In response, RTC submits a declaration from Miscavige that he has no personal involvement in this case, and that he has no knowledge of the case other than what Mr. McShane has told him."
Keith Henson posted a motion he filed to have a summary judgment dismissal
of charges against him by Scientology. Some excerpts:
"I have researched the matter, and as a result of my research, I state
that NOTs 34 (or something claiming on the face of it to be NOTs 34) was
SCAMIZDAT #3, first posted April 2, 1995,
SCAMIZDAT #5, first posted May 18, 1995,
SCAMIZDAT #8, first posted June 15, 1995,
SCAMIZDAT #10, first posted August 6, 1995, and
SCAMIZDAT #11, first posted October 12, 1995.
"It is my informed belief that from April 2, 1995 to the present NOTs 34 has been available somewhere on the net. SCAMIZDAT #11 was reposted sometime in the two weeks before March 22, 1996 when the filing of the Ward case inspired me to see what was actually in these documents. I found the news postings which contained NOTs 34 in files 155407 and 155724 on Netcom. On March 22, 1996 there were at least two repostings of SCAMIZDAT 11 on the Netcom news spool, cut in different places.
"On or about October 23, 1995, two files became available by FTP transfer
from the site theta.com. These were:
-rw-r--r-- 1 keith 1902078 Oct 23 1995 megamega.zip
-rw-r--r-- 1 keith 696137 Oct 23 1995 scamitot.zip
"On this date I logged into theta.com and transferred these two files to my FTP directory on Netcom. I believe I sent email to counsel for RTC, Helena Kobrin, asking if these files were authorized and I made announcements of the fact I had these two files from theta.com on the Usenet news group alt.religion. scientology.
"I am aware that a subpoena for me to produce NOTs 34 is in process in Florida, in the Circuit Court of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, in and for Hillsborough County. This is a case (which has seen national media attention) of a 36 year old woman who died late in 1995 in Clearwater, Florida while under the 'care' of Scientology. I intend to comply with the subpoena.
"Though I was not aware of the Lisa McPherson example at the time, this case is exactly why I was concerned about the use of copyright and trade secret laws to prevent public warnings about Scientology 'medical' treatments. My post in March of 1996 which quoted NOTs 34 was non-commercial, and was done for the purpose of educating the public about some of the more dangerous practices of Scientology. (And their use of the courts to suppress such warnings.)
"I have had a long history of public service, having been active in search and rescue, and occasionally as a lay preacher in a Lutheran campus ministry. I have been involved in volunteer activities which carried risk of infection with HIV, and for many years I was active in public education and promotion of national space program goals. In the course of this last, I tangled with another cult, that of Lyndon LaRouche, shortly before LaRouche was indicted and sent to prison for credit card fraud.
"If *I* have to go to prison for contempt as a result of supplying information for an investigation into something which looks like at least negligent homicide, if not murder, or if I am found liable for $100,000 damages for warning people about cult practices which can kill them, that may just be the cost of public service."
Keith also posted email to Scientology attorney Helena Kobrin, responding to her request that Keith cancel a posting which quoted four lines from NOTS 34.
"Even though canceling material which as been up on Ron Newman's web site for nearly a year is silly, I did it and am reposting with the lines slightly trimmed. However, I am not up to asking the court to seal something based on four lines, it would have the effect of making me look foolish. You have the true believer protection so you won't feel so silly when asking Judge Whyte to seal it, and you already have the copy ready from asking the Ninth circuit to seal the same four lines."
Ron Newman posted an advertisement in a local paper in which Scientology
claims to be able to counsel people with marital difficulties.
"The following ad appeared in my local suburban weekly, the Somerville (Mass.) Journal, last Thursday.
"Marriages break down because of incompatible personalities
"If you and your marital partner are having trouble, come in and get your Personality and IQ checked as this may be the reason for your disputes.
"SCIENTOMETRIC(R) Testing Center Church of Scientology of Boston 448 Beacon Street Boston, Massachusetts 02115 Phone: (617) 266-9500"
Diane Richardson announced availability of RealAudio files of a radio
call-in show on New York's National Public Radio affiliate, WNYC, which
aired on March 28th.
"Files are located at http://www.bway.net/~keith/index.html
"WNYC is the most listened to NPR station in the U.S. On the Line is a call-in show, usually featuring public affairs topics of current interest.
"The program is two hours long. The Scientology[tm] segment took place in the first hour, from 10:06 a.m. until 11:00. All callers in the first hour were at least wary of Scientology[tm] and raised a broad array of questions and points ranging from the belief that it was a scam to painful personal stories about family or friends in the cult.
"Oddly, the Scientology[tm] OSA representative who appeared as a spokesman was Alex Jones, who is based in Washington, DC.
"Part one: Guest Alex Jones, 'Church' of Scientology[tm] OSA, with callers. Part two: Guest Cynthia Kisser, Former Executive Director of Cult Awareness Network, with callers. Part three: One call by a Scientologist to a segment in the second hour about 'Television and Spirituality.'"