|Odhan Fortune Protests|
Pickets were held this week to protest the treatment of Irish Scientologist Odhran Fortune. From Jeff Jacobson in Mesa, Arizona:
"Steve W. and I picketed from 6:15pm to 7:30pm or so. Wonderful Russ came out and had a long conversation with Steve, while Ginny came out and talked to me for a short while about Odhran. I gave her the family's flyer and she went in to read it and never came out again. She mentioned that she read that a deprogrammer had been involved in Odhran's case.
"My sign for the occasion said 'Let Odhran Fortune Go!' Despite the strangeness of the sign, we still got some 'atta boy' honks and thumbs up from passing cars!"
From Keith Henson in San Jose, California:
"I put in an hour and a half solo picketing the San Jose org from 6:30 to 8 pm. One side of my sign said, What Happened to Odhran Fortune? and the other said: Scientology - Heaven's Gate - Both UFO CULTS!
"Odhran's name had no effect on the fifteen or so clams who looked at it. But the other side, hoo boy, did that get a reaction! One of them demonstrated his reactive mind by giving me the finger. I thought that was funny and told him 'Thank you!' and 'ARC!'
From Ted Mayett in Las Vegas, Nevada:
"9:15am-10:05am. I opened up at the big org, vehicle count was 10. 35 minutes there and no police were called. It was hot today, but worse than that, it was windy. And I was tired and did not feel like going. But when I read that his brother did not recognize him, and that the mother burst out in tears when she saw him, well I just had to go and do it.
"So this picket was totally in respect for the friends and family of Odhran Fortune. A little gift that say's I appreciate the love and care you have for one of your own."
"Artemis" in Toronto reported on preparations by Scientologists there for a picket that didn't happen.
"Now you can call me suspicious, but perhaps they organized a wedding this weekend to make any Fortune picketers look bad. I wonder who was conducting the ceremony, as the only two people I've ever seen in clerical uniform (Rev. Buttnor & Rev. Mustache) were in plain clothes and doing their regular tasks (Litter collection and aimless wandering respectively).
"Just before 3 the wedding party drove off. The bride looked quite attractive in her traditional white dress, but most of the rest of the wedding party were nondescript at best.
"I stayed within sight of the org for about an hour, and while they had the regular tables outside the public section, they didn't successfully route anyone. Rev. Buttnor was talking pictures today. Now colour me stupid, but when I'm at weddings I take pictures of the Bride & Groom, various family members etc, but Rev. Buttnor seems more interested in taking pictures of apparently random parts of the street. I think he saw me and was trying to identify other possible picketers."
|Norwegian Defense Minister|
Andreas Heldal-Lund investigated the story in Scientology's Good News magazine containing testimonials from the Norwegian Minister of Defense, Jorgen Kosmo.
"I called the Ministry of Defense yesterday and talked to Runar Todok who is acting press contact for the Ministry. I told him about the article and he asked me to fax it to him. I immediately faxed the front page of the newspaper, the actual article and I threw in a copy of the Xemu leaflet as well.
"I'll quote from the article here and add comments based on the information I got from Runar Todok: 'In October, Norwegian HPRO [Honorary Public Relations Officer] Dan Viggo Bergtun visited his country's Defense Minister, Mr. Jorgen Kosmo, to present The Way to Happiness to him and show its value in improving society. Mr. Kosmo instantly grasped its potential.'
"They did meet, that's about all that's true. The Defense Minister remembered being introduced to this person and he politely listened to him presenting his case. In no way did he 'grasp its potential'.
"'His promise to read the book thoroughly and to report back to Dan Viggo was faithfully kept.'
"That's a lie! Kosmo never did read the book and he never Reported back to Dan Viggo. Maybe 'grasping its potential' was exactly what he did when he tossed it away though...
"'He recently told of his lectures and seminars, in which he regularly focuses on the precepts of The Way To Happiness.'
"Todok told me that the Defense Minister definitely never had made any reference to The Way To Happiness in any lectures or seminars. Todok have read all lectures and seminars etc held by the Defense Minister and he laughed at the claim. He also said I could quote the Defense Minister on what his opinion was of Scientology, I don't know what words to use to translate it correctly, but it was far from flattering!
"'In his last letter to Dan, he included the text of the endorsement he now gives for the book to all those he recommends it to. It reads in part:
"'These are the golden rules that family, close friends and schools tried to teach us in our youth when they wanted to prepare us for the confrontation with day-to-day life. This book showed me that, on the way, these 'natural laws' faded and, in many cases, are totally gone.
"'For me, this book has been an eye opener. It is not enough to read it through once. In fact, each chapter demands and deserves to be studied with thoughtfulness and self-evaluation. If one takes his time with this, he will, little by little, take the road that lies there. We just have not been in a condition to see this road and thus have not fully understood what is required of us to walk it.'"
Norwegian tabloid Dagbladet carried a story on the fabrication.
"Kosmo misused by sect. False interview published throughout the world
"The Norwegian spokesman for Co$ apologize for the 'interview' and admits it to be an error. He also says: 'I assume that there is going to be a correction in the next number of GoodNews'. Now the scientologists say that the recommendation came from an inspector in the civilian defence."
Reuters reported that tennis star Boris Becker has threatened legal action against Scientology for using his picture and comments on the Internet to criticize Germany's tolerance of minorities.
"The organisation, which Germany views as anti-democratic and has put under intelligence surveillance, has a picture of Becker and his black wife Barbara at the top of an article headed 'The Trouble with Intolerance.' A Scientology spokesman said it had not reported anything more than Becker himself said in an interview last year when he said he planned to move to the United States when his son reached school age.
"The article, with the sub-heading 'For many minorities, living in Germany means living in fear,' cited Becker as an example of someone who had suffered 'years of intolerance and abuse, apparently owing to the fact that his wife is black.'
"Becker's Munich-based lawyers demanded Scientology withdraw all reference to the former Wimbledon champion and pledge not to use his picture again. 'Boris Becker is in no way prepared to promote the aims of your organisation in any manner,' the lawyers said in a letter addressed to the Church of Scientology International in London.
"Scientology spokesman Georg Stoffel said it had used the reference to Becker because it wanted to draw attention to examples of alleged discrimination in Germany -- both against its own members and other people. 'We campaign for the rights of all minorities,' he said. 'This was just one example.'
"Becker's lawyers said they hoped their letter to Scientology would have a positive outcome. 'We would note now, however, that we reserve the right to take the necessary legal steps if this case is repeated,' they said.
"Stoffel said he had not yet been informed about the letter and could not speculate whether Scientology would cooperate with Becker's request. He said he thought the story had been blown out of proportion, adding: 'It's been raining for days in Wimbledon and I think the journalists are desperately looking for something to write about.'"
Jens Tingleff, Roland Rashleigh-Berry and Martin Poulter provided picket reports of an event in Brighton.
"The clams were 'protesting for religious freedom'. Issues of 'Freedom[tm]' were handed out - the one with a baby on the front. A very small photocopied leaflet, going about a mind or something, was also handed out.
"As usual, we had to deal with the general public assuming that we were all $cientologists. The usual 'we're protesting a-GAINST! $cientology' brought about the usual double-take, and a lot of people took our leaflets and turned down the leaflets of the Co$. Some of them asked us to take issues of 'Freedom[tm]' off their hands, but I didn't like doing that."
"The clams outnumbered us at least two to one. Their banners were must larger. They turned it into a pro-Scientology demo and I am sure they gave out more leaflets than we did. But never mind! I was expecting that. The new tactic I am employing for small demos (6 of us yesterday) is to allow them to involve me in conversation. Dressed as Xemu and armed with Xemu leaflets they are in trouble if they talk to me. They think they are being clever by engaging people in lengthy conversations because they nullify the protesters and they have people to spare to give out leaflets.
"I managed to seed strong doubt in one of the staff members. He was horrified of the idea that scientology teaches that people are supposed to be full of dead space aliens. I do not think he will be with them much longer."
"We had one placard, with the message 'Warning: you are entering a cult recruitment zone,' and a range of props including Duke the trolley dog, a bullhorn to amplify Dave's voice, and a Xemu costume for Roland R-B. We handed out hundreds of leaflets, but not as many as at previous pickets. It was then that the only really disappointing act took place - a man snatched a whole wad of leaflets from one of us and took them away. Given that on a previous occasion, Roland was punched repeatedly in the face by a scientologist, and that, on another occasion, a couple came back from one of our pickets to find their own house being picketed by Scientologists, we weren't too upset about this.
"One of the people I talked to was a South African. He claimed that the 2.5 million South African children that Scn had taught to read were real, not a fiction created for the sake of good publicity. He said that he himself had taught twenty social workers who each taught about 100 children. He admitted, though, that what they were doing was 'increasing the reading age' of the children.
"Given the scienos' bad behaviour in other cities, I should in fairness point out that Brighton's scienos did not make frivolous complaints to the police, did not get a whole coach-load of counter protesters to come down from nearby Saint Hill and did not jeer, yell abuse or physically intimidate picketers."
|Cult Information Service|
Dave Touretzky reported that a new organization has been formed to take the place of the Cult Awareness Network, the Cult Information Service.
"When the CAN national organization was taken over by Scientology, the local chapters, which were not taken over, had to reorganize. And so the former Cult Awareness Network of New York and New Jersey (CAN of NY/NJ) is now the Cult Information Service, reachable at 201-833-1212.
"The same people who were involved in CAN of NY/NJ are behind CIS. The organization holds a yearly conference, provides families with information about destructive groups, and serves as a resource for the media researching stories about cults. They need money; their job has gotten harder with the demise of the national organization.
"Contributions are 100% tax deductible. Checks may be sent to:
Cult Information Service
P.O. Box 867
Teaneck, NJ 07666"
|Super Power Building|
The St. Petersburg Times reported this week that Scientology has finalized plans for the new Super Power building, to be built across from the Ft. Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida.
"The mammoth building would be part of a complex featuring an 800-space parking garage and a 2,500-seat auditorium. A church official said Tuesday that construction is expected to begin this year. With an estimated 340,000 square feet of space, the office building alone would dwarf many of the larger office buildings in downtown Clearwater. It would have roughly the same square footage as the Barnett Tower in downtown St. Petersburg.
"Under the new plans, the office building would be six stories tall, with a 12-story tower on the southwest corner that would be skinnier than the rest of the building. It would be built across the street from Scientology's signature building in Clearwater, the Fort Harrison Hotel. A covered walkway over S Fort Harrison Avenue would join the two buildings.
"Scientology spokesman Brian Anderson said the church was leaning toward a design for the office building that would echo the 1920s-era Mediterranean Revival-style architecture of the Fort Harrison Hotel. Previous plans for a building with a dramatic space-age design are now 'not as likely,' Anderson said.
"Some say that Scientology expansion is not what Clearwater needs. 'It concerns me that churches are taking over downtown rather than businesses,' said Roger Woodruff, head of the Downtown Development Board. 'I would like to see a private business there that would be on the tax rolls.'
"A Mediterranean Revival design that includes marble will make the building more costly, said Michael Fields, regional managing director of Binswanger, a commercial real-estate service company based in Tampa. Fields said constructing a 340,000-square-foot class A office building could cost between $34-million and $59-million. An 800-space parking garage could cost another $4.8-million to $6.4-million, he said."
"'Obviously, I'm disappointed that we have more property taken off the tax roll,' said Mayor Rita Garvey, a longtime Scientology critic. 'It's unfortunate that it's expanding the presence of Scientology in downtown.' Garvey said she hopes city officials will 'do the best we can to make sure it's an asset to downtown.'
"Les Spits, who owns an upscale furniture store downtown and is a member of the Downtown Development Board, said one plus for downtown will be that many church functions will be consolidated in one site. That will reduce the number of uniformed church staffers on the downtown sidewalks, which is intimidating for some, he said.
"Former City Commissioner Fred Thomas also places the onus on the city, but in a different way. 'If the city doesn't get proactive in the redevelopment of the private sector, there won't be a private sector in downtown in 10 years,' Thomas said. 'It'll all be Scientology.' Thomas is opening a restaurant and pool supply business along the Pinellas Trail downtown, but said he would not have made his investment if he had known the red tape he was going to encounter at City Hall."
Additional transcripts from the deposition of Dr. Robert Davis, who performed the autopsy of Scientologist Lisa McPherson, were posted this week. Some excerpts:
"Q Well, here's what the -- the transcript says -- the reporter says, 'Five days, you think, she went without liquids. Dr. Wood': 'I think five to ten is reasonable; it may have been seventeen'; that's her statement.
"Can a competent, well-trained medical examiner like yourself predict how long someone went without water before they died?
"A I can't.
"Q Now in addition, during this Inside Edition show, Dr. Wood made the following observation: Quote, I spent some time in court, as you can imagine, and so I'm very careful with my wording, and my wording would be this: From the time that Lisa McPherson died backward twenty-four to forty-eight hours, she was unconscious.
"Now can a competent medical examiner, well-trained, accurately predict the level of a person's consciousness before death from conducting an autopsy?
"A I'm going to answer that by just simply saying that I can't and --
"MS CARLUCCI: That's an answer.
"Q Okay. The reason why I'm bringing all this up is because part of this -- the files from your office, page 18 of the fax, which we already talked about a little bit, the letter from Dr. David Minkoff off December 16th, 1996, talks about 'a clinical history of sudden deterioration, massive diarrhea and shock fit this picture, in addition to pulmonary embolus and other findings you've described.'
"Q Okay. All right. Now did you read this Minkoff -- Dr. Minkoff's letter of December 16th, 1996?
"Q Is he trying to direct you onto how your opinion should come out of this for the cause of death? Do you take it, from the letter addressed to 'Dear Medical Examiner' by Dr. David Minkoff on December 16th, 1996, as an attempt by him to direct a finding as to the cause of death?
"THE WITNESS: I don't know what was in his mind when he wrote the letter. I mean, I --
"Q Are the vitreous results consistent with dehydration?
"A Profound -- they're consistent with significant dehydration.
"Q And is the crusting that you noted in the Protocol consistent with findings of dehydration?
"A The crusting is, to me, a nonspecific kind of thing and is of some value. You know, in a hierarchy of things, I don't know that I'd put it foremost.
"Q She died -- or proclaimed she was dead of arrival at new Port Richey Hospital --
"MR. WEINBERG: Object, I object to that, because there's nothing in the case that says that she was dead on arrival. You know that there's there's some dispute as to that.
"Q All right. Well, she was either dead on arrival or as the Number Two man in scientology testified to, she was dead inside the hotel --
"MR. WEINBERG: All right now, Ken. No, Ken -- Hold on a second. Hold on a second.
"I move to strike that and I also object, and you know darn well that that isn't correct, but what you know is, is that -- is that -- is that there -- it's certainly not been established in your case that Lisa McPherson was dead on arrival; that there is evidence in your case that she received CPR and emergency room treatment for twenty-one minutes when she got to the hospital -- all right? -- so if you want to say that, that's fine, but if you start -- if you start with this nonsense that isn't in the record, then I have a right to object to it because it's not in the record.
"BY MR. DANDAR: You have a right to object to the form, but not -- not chastise me, okay?
"MR. WEINBERG: -- because then I will chastise you for that, because you know that that was -- you know that that was a cheap shot and you know all you're doing is trying to sensationalize this and that's why you have this camera here, so -- you know, so that you can play games, like the St. Pete Times, but if you want -- if you want to restrict yourself to the facts, as opposed to making outlandish statements, then -- then that's fine.
"Q Well, on the investigative follow-up at 2355 hours on December 5th, 1995, it says that, 'We are now working on a homicide.' Did anyone tell you that?
"MR. WEINBERG: Excuse me, let's read it right, now. It says, 'TC to Barb, Columbia NPR ER, told her we are going to call PASO and will need to call her back as we are working on a homicide now.' Now that doesn't say, Ken, that this is a homicide. You know what I'm saying? That doesn't -- well -- that doesn't say this case is a homicide; it just says they're working on a homicide.
"MR. DANDAR: Well, this is in the file of Lisa McPherson, so I don't know what other case it could be possibly talking about."
The TV tabloid show Entertainment Tonight broadcast a defense of Lisa Marie Presley by Scientology this week.
"BOB GOEN, 'ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT' CO-HOST [picture of Lisa Marie and Church of Scientology logo to his right]: The tabloids went into a frenzy when Lisa Marie Presley suffered from a mysterious illness last month. Some reports had her collapsing because of a practice of the controversial church of which she is a member, Scientology. Now we are taking a rare look inside the most controversial church in America to find out what really happened to Lisa Marie.
"JAN CARL, VOICE-OVER: When Lisa Marie was hospitalized for a series of infections last month, rumors swirled that it was everything from a suicide attempt to complications from a Purification program at the Church of Scientology.
"DR. MEGAN SHIELDS: The person takes a precalculated measure of niacin. He does some aerobic exercises which is also something that will increase circulation and also break down fat and release toxins, and then he intermittently goes in and out of a sauna.
"JC, VOICE-OVER: But, in an exclusive interview, Lisa Marie's former stepmother-in-law, Karen Hollander, a spokeswoman for Scientology, denied the cleansing program caused Lisa Marie's health crisis.
"KAREN HOLLANDER: Unfortunately, the story was pretty fabricated. In actual fact, she did the Purification but it was over 10 years ago, and she has spoken about it openly that she had tremendous results. She felt that it gave her a lot of, more feeling and, she, more creativity, more alertness.
"JC, VOICE-OVER: Hollander did say that other church members were on hand to help.
"KH: We care about people and in fact we have procedures to assist one in getting well and recovering faster so of course we would go see anyone, just because we care.
"JOHN GOEN, CO-HOST: Thanks, Jan. The folks at the Church of Scientology tell us that Lisa Marie is doing well now and they say the Purification program is open to non-members as well."
Martin Ottmann reported this week that German Scientologists are struggling to combat the PR problems caused by a new book about Scientologist Gottfried Helnwein.
"Today I got a phone call from Peter Reichelt, the author of the book about the German celebrity Scientologist Gottfried Helnwein. He informed me that the reporter of the 'Stern'-magazine, Andreas Hallaschka, who wrote a report on Gottfried Helnwein and the book about him, is constantly getting phone calls from the PR-secretary of the German Scientology-Church Sabine Weber. She BEGGED him for a meeting. She told him that she has gotten SERIOUS PROBLEMS from her seniors because she couldn't prohibit the publication of the book and that she has to do amends now."
Gerry Armstrong made his debut on a.r.s this week, reporting why he was forced to flee the United States for Canada, and to report on developments in his case against Scientology. Excerpts from a letter from Gerry to David Miscavige:
"Not many days ago I was led to somebody's web page which contained a portion of Scientology's IRS form 1023 submitted in 1992. Because of what I found, and other threats from your organization, I left the US. This 1023 submission made clear to me finally why you have attacked me so violently since the 1986 'settlement,' and indeed why you contrived the 'settlement' to take the form it did, even though I continued through the years to try to achieve a sane and lasting peace. You believe that your billions and billions depend on my destruction.
"Your submission contains the same lies about me, the same attacks in all the black PR/DA packs and court filings that you have had your organization manufacture since the 'settlement.' Happily, as I'm sure you've noticed I've said before, since you are personally responsible you can do what is necessary to correct it all.
"I will communicate the truth behind the falsehoods in your 1023 submission, both to the IRS and to other US government agencies responsible. I will do what is necessary to bring about a Congressional awareness of the false submission, and what I know about your related activities, including, but not limited to, your attacks on and compromise of my attorney Michael Flynn. I will communicate what I know about the falsehoods underlying your organization's US tax exemption and your related activities to any foreign government in countries where you have used the US tax exemption to forward or defend your activities.
"I pray that you will see that by my writing you I am still hopeful that you will choose to avoid what will be, no matter what you henceforth do to try to harm me, certain calamity. I pray that you will immediately communicate your willingness to meet with me and my attorney."
"I have received the record on appeal in my case. It is 10,000 pages, and an amazing set of documents. I have until June 30 to file my appellant's opening brief, but will try to get that extended because there are important documents missing from the record which I will try to locate, and because the issues are so important that for the sake of justice I ought to be given a real opportunity to adequately present them.
"Here in this little corner of Canada I do not have access to California Rules of Court, or any other California or US law books for that matter, so am just doing the best I can and can provide little guidance in procedure or research. I can, however, provide facts and the issues as I see them. Much of these have been stated in my 1/27/97 declaration in the Ward, Henson and Erlich cases which is (I am very grateful) on a number of people's pages.
"I've been working full time just to stay afloat and alive, and will have to continue to do so. I am, as a blessing or a burden, in a position legally and historically, to play a role in resolving this problem. I am in this geographic position to be able to participate at all; even though this location has significant disadvantages. I know that there are many people who want the Scientology problem to be resolved as soon as possible and before terrible harm is inflicted."
Grady Ward reported that Scientology is attempting to seal his entire deposition with their leader, David Miscavige.
"[A]nd as the 30 days just passed I got a one page letter from Mssr. Hogan today informing me that, yes, the entirety of the DM deposition was designated 'confidential'. I had already made an expedited motion before Judge Infante to remove such an obviously bad-faith designation, but was denied (without prejudice) by the Judge when RTC opposed claiming it was only the default 30 day confidentiality that stood in the way of the transcript being released.
"I phoned Mssr. Hogan today to inform him that I would be filing another expedited motion to unseal the transcript Monday (a 3 day waiting period is required). I can't say what Magistrate Infante will finally do, but he had already denied a blanket protective order concerning the DM depo proposed by the criminal cult. I think the odds are better than even that I will get the majority of the deposition text unsealed."
Paul Grosswald reported this week that he chased Scientology's Jive Aces band through the streets of New York as they toured on an open-top bus.
"Last Wednesday, while walking through Manhattan on my way to a Cult Information Service meeting, I was stunned to see a big yellow bus whizzing past me with a sign saying, 'Get a New Slant on Life with Scientology!' It turns out the bus was carrying 'Jive Aces,' a Scientology band from England which is currently spending time in the U.S. I found out they were scheduled to appear at South Street Seaport that night, so after the CIS meeting I went down to South Street to watch them play. I must say, they are quite good.
"[T]oday I am in Manhattan again and I walk by the org and what do I see? There's that darn big yellow bus again! And they got a whole table set up on the sidewalk with books and an e-meter, and a guy who invites me to sit down to get a 'free reading.' Suddenly the music kicks in, and they're off! The bus pulls out and turns onto Broadway, music blaring, in the middle of the day, with thousands of people walking by! The band is standing up on the top of the bus playing their music, and there are about twenty or so people up there with them dancing around and cheering and waving to the crowd, like this was some kind of spontaneous parade. They had someone walking alongside the bus handing out tickets to Scientology movies to people on the sidewalk.
"With every crowd that formed, I jumped right into the middle of it, shouting loudly: 'I know you are enjoying this music, but you should know that these people are part of a very dangerous destructive cult called the Church of Scientology!' I would say that I am a former member, when I was in the group I was working 14 hours a day cleaning toilets for no pay, phone calls from my family were intercepted, I was coerced into dropping out of college and signing a one-billion year contract, etc, etc, etc. This process went on for a good half hour or so. I was literally following the big yellow bus around Times Square undoing all of their PR tech, which they were trying so hard at. Finally, John Carmichael, the New York President of Scientology, arrived on the scene asking to talk to me, but I ran up the street away from him, because I wanted to catch up to the bus. On the next block, the bus pulled over, Carmichael went up to them and said something, and suddenly a whole bunch of clams started coming off the bus. The bus continued on with a skeleton crew of musicians, but they were no longer playing any music. All the other 'groupies' who had been with them previously were now off the bus and out of the picture, as the bus continued to its next destination.
"[T]he bus, which at this point was on 8th Ave., decided to go over to 10th. The bus pulled away from the curb, made a left turn, and only got halfway to 9th before the street began lighting up with lovely shades of red and blue. And so the cops pulled over the big yellow bus, and it was only a matter of time before I overheard one cop say to the other, 'They don't have the registration.'"
Robert Young reported that Ken Dandar has hired him to help investigate the death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson.
"My name is Robert Vaughn Young and I have been retained as a consultant by counsel for Plaintiff in the case.
"I am seeking anyone who knew Lisa McPherson, who died on or about Dec. 5, 1995, after being in the care of Scientology personnel in Clearwater, Florida. I am particularly interested in anyone who knew her while she lived and worked in Florida or who spoke with her about her intention to leave Scientology or who met her during any business trips from Florida. If anyone knows has any information or knows how to reach anyone who does, please contact me by email or by phone.
"I am seeking information about a company that employed Ms. McPherson in Clearwater. The company is AMC Publishing, which was apparently a dba ('doing business as,' meaning it was part of another entity) for Prodex, Inc., also in Clearwater.
"This includes: (a) former employees of either company or anyone who knows how to reach them, (b) litigation in which either company was involved, (c) additional connections between the companies and any other companies or groups, including Scientology organizations.
"I am seeking information regarding the transporting of Roxanne Friend to Clearwater and her subsequent confinement there, several years ago. (She subsequently died of cancer.)"
Tilman Hausherr reported on the case filed by Scientology against the Russian Orthodox Church.
"22 scientologists and 1 Krishna dropped their complaint because they 'didn't want to sue the Russian orthodox church'. The court telegraphed to 5 other scientologists. They also wanted to pull out. But their petition was done in an incorrect way (probably on purpose, to appeal if it had been accepted and the case lost) so it was denied.
"Nevertheless the culties were very present at the trial, helping with documents, filming, consulting, etc. One of the remaining scientologists said later that he wanted to participate, but that he was busy in Copenhagen, and asked to postpone the trial for an indefinite time. The defendants opposed this trick, and filed a motion that the 5 scientologists be separated into a separate case; this was accepted."
The Russian St. Petersburg Times reported that Scientology is involved in a tax dispute there.
"The local branch of Scientologists and the tax police are wrangling over a tax bill that the followers of L. Ron Hubbard say will put them out of business. The police, they say, are targeting them for ideological reasons. The federal tax police are seeking 703 million rubles ($122,000) from the St. Petersburg Dianetics Center in St. Petersburg, because they judge the center is earning a healthy profit from commercial activities.
"Representatives of the center, however, say they only owe 16 million rubles ($2,780). The Scientologists have appealed the tax police's decision to the St. Petersburg Arbitration Court. 'The ideas of Ron Hubbard are about freedom and independence,' said Nadezhda Valdayeva, official representative at the St. Petersburg Dianetics office. 'Those are threatening ideas for the people in power. Of course, this is political. They want to shut us down.'
"This isn't the first time the Dianetics Center has had tax problems. Last year, they paid 87 million rubles in taxes after the tax police said they had discovered accounting problems at the center and seized the group's property.
"The Scientologists said they will be filing documents with the court in a couple of days to support their position but said they would be completely unable to pay the sum. 'Look around here. We all receive very little money,' said Valdayeva. 'We are not rich. This would kill us. It would be the death of the organization.' The organization takes up most of the fifth floor at 33 Voronezhskaya Ulitsa and employs about 100 people, Valdayeva said. The center has about 1,500 members in the St. Petersburg area, she said."