In a dramatic reversal, Scientology has paid part of Lawrence Wollersheim's award against the Church of Scientology of California. In exchange, documents posted to a.r.s this week will not be filed with the court.
"April 18, 1997 in Los Angeles Superior Court, in a totally unexpected action the Church of Scientology International paid $480,000+ dollars on behalf of the Church of Scientology of California into the court for sanctions and court costs as a partial payment for the Wollersheim SLAPP suits. In their oral briefing the week before in front of the same judge the Church of Scientology International admitted on the record that it had funded the (frivolous) law suit for the Church of Scientology of California lawsuit against Wollersheim. The reason the Church of Scientology International made such a startling admission and immediately paid the money into the court was in exchange for a fast deal with the judge that the following court brief would not be filed in the existing SLAPP cases because they were going to pay off the Wollersheim judgments in full.
"Scientology's highest management has told its members for years' not one thin dime for Wollersheim,' but it blinked and reacted in a panic. It raced to get the money into the court to stop the filing of the following brief by Wollersheim's lawyers."
Excerpts from the non-filings:
"Defendant Larry Wollersheim seeks to amend the June 3, 1994 and November 8, 1996 final judgments awarding him costs and attorneys' fees, to add Religious Technology Center ('RTC') and Church of Scientology International ('CSI') as real party plaintiffs and judgment debtors. Those judgments are for the amounts of $132,676.57 and $298,039.74, respectively.
"Overwhelming evidence shows that RTC and CSI are the alter egos of plaintiff Church of Scientology of California ('CSC') and have been since RTC and CSI were incorporated in the early 1980s. As a matter of Scientology doctrine, a single individual, 'Sea Org' Captain and RTC's Chairman of the Board, David Miscavige, wields unchallenged control over all Scientology matters -- including the instant litigation -- unhampered by such bothersome details as corporate boundaries.
"As a result, the unity of interest between Scientology's corporations is so pervasive as to expose the notion of their independent existences as an utter ruse. CSC, in particular, is nothing more than a shell. RTC and CSI have financed and controlled CSC's case against Mr. Wollersheim since its inception.
"It is from the Sea Org that the strings in all Scientology organizations -- irrespective of corporate boundaries -- are pulled. The compliance of Scientology corporations with orders from the Sea Org is ensured by the policy of appointing only Sea Org officers to the corporations' highest posts.
"The highest ranking Sea Org officer is Captain David Miscavige. As previously noted, Miscavige was also a founding trustee of RTC and is now its chairman of the board.
"Importantly, although Miscavige presently associates himself with RTC, his corporate affiliation is actually immaterial; it is as the most senior officer in the Sea Org, that he runs the whole Scientology show. Thus, in the mid-1980s, Miscavige reigned over Scientology from his position as chairman of Author Services, Inc. (ASI), a for-profit corporation ostensibly created as a literary agency for L. Ron Hubbard. In 1987, during an IRS investigation of ASI's ties to Scientology's non-profit corporations, Miscavige simply moved the seat of power to RTC and appointed himself chairman of the board. .
"By its own admission, the looting of CSC left it without any resources -- and certainly not enough to bring or maintain this action. Enter CSI, which all along had been providing the financial support CSC needed to litigate against Mr. Wollersheim. CSI paid CSC's defense costs arising from Wollersheim I. CSI has also financed the present litigation. And, as CSC President Levin has testified, he recalls no written agreement between CSI and CSC for the repayment of attorneys fees.
"Consequently, although Mr. Wollersheim won his 1986 verdict of $30 million against CSC, it was CSI which mounted the counterattack. Its funding of the present lawsuit was part of the strategy to prevent Mr. Wollersheim from enforcing his judgment -- a campaign which has been successful to this day, more than a decade after the verdict. 'Not One Thin Dime For Wollersheim' was and is the battle cry.
"The interest of RTC in CSC's litigation with Mr. Wollersheim persists even today. In the ongoing Wollersheim V case, the Colorado District Court matter involving claims of copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation, plaintiff RTC began by petitioning the magistrate, in August of 1995, for an ex parte Writ of Seizure as authorized under federal copyright laws. Among the lawyers representing plaintiffs in case is the same Earle Cooley who tried the Wollersheim I matter and appeared in both Wollersheim II and III.
"The petition having been granted, agents of RTC raided the home of Larry Wollersheim, purportedly for the authorized purpose of locating L. Ron Hubbard-authored material whose RTC- owned copyrights were allegedly being infringed. As part of the raid, RTC ran a word search of Mr. Wollersheim's computer. Amazingly, among the keywords used in the search were 'Swearinger' (the judge in Mr. Wollersheim's case against CSC) and 'O'Reilly' (Mr. Wollersheim's attorney in that case).
"Another of RTC's search terms was 'Leipold,' referring to Mr. Wollersheim's attorney in this case. The results of such a search, as RTC and its counsel well knew, could only have turned up material relevant to Mr. Wollersheim's litigation with CSC (material protected by the attorney-client privilege or attorney work product doctrine) -- but absolutely nothing authorized by the magistrate's narrow order allowing a search for specific, copyrighted material. Nor could RTC's use of these search terms have produced anything relevant to its current claims against Mr. Wollersheim."
"I, LAWRENCE DOMINICK WOLLERSHEIM, declare as follows:
"On March 8, 1997, I traveled to Clearwater, Florida to participate in a demonstration at Scientology headquarters there. I was picketing regarding the suspicious death of a Scientology member, Lisa McPherson, who died while in the custody of the Church. The Coroner's Office found that she died of dehydration with her body covered with insect bites. During the course of the demonstration, one of the attorneys for Scientology in the Wollersheim V case, Elliot Abelson (who identifies himself as Scientology's general counsel), approached me in the company of Michael Rinder, the head of Scientology Legal and Intelligence Division. Mr. Rinder is an employee of the Office of Special Affairs of the Church of Scientology International which is NOT a party to the Wollersheim V case. Mr. Abelson advised me that he hoped that I did not take all the litigation he was involved with against me personally, it was just a job. During the course of this conversation, I advised him that I was confident that I would be able to prevail once again in the Wollersheim V litigation. I further advised them that it was likely that they would lose many of their copyrights that they were suing over. At this point, both Mr. Abelson and Mr. Rinder smiled at me and Mr. Rinder said, 'You don't have enough money to do that.'"
FACTNet attorney Graham Berry has filed Requests for Admission from Scientology in the Colorado copyright infringement case. Among the items Berry wants them to admit:
"That LRH wrote a document initiating the Snow White Program, ordinarily known as Snow White or Operation Snow White, and issued it to Department 20 for implementation.
"That Robert Vaughn Young worked in the Snow White Program from 1973 until 1977.
"That Sherman D. Lenske, Esq., has testified that he was LRH's attorney from April 1981 until his death on January 24, 1986 and was involved in communications with LRH during the years 1981 to 1986 concerning, among other things, the pre and post testamentary disposition of the Disputed Works.
"That as an employee of ASI, Robert Vaughn Young gave briefings to Sherman D. Lenske, Esq. and others from his law firm, about LRH.
"That during the years 1981 to 1986, ASI, and/or representatives thereof, possessed sheets of paper which were blank except for the signature of LRH for the purported purpose of being inserted into bound works making them autographed editions.
"That David Miscavige never turned his notary public logs, for the years 1982 to 1986, into the Los Angeles County Records' office and such other authorities as may be required by law."
Scientology's Freedom magazine has published an issue devoted to criticism of the Clearwater Police Department, according to an article in the St. Petersburg Times.
"Citing 'an informed source'' who is not named, the latest edition of the Scientology publication Freedom states that Clearwater police: Discriminate against black people and other minorities by targeting them for arrest and not hiring them in great enough numbers. Have a poor record of drug enforcement, which, it was suggested, may be the result of illegal steroid use by officers, or officers being 'on the take.' Pad their law enforcement statistics in order to inflate their budgets, and reap promotions and benefits for top officers.
"An article headlined Clearwater PD: Making the City Unsafe alleges that officers are encouraged to make 'easy' arrests for petty offenses, while more serious offenses go undetected. Police Chief Sid Klein responded Monday, saying: 'Freedom is at best journalistically bankrupt. I see no factual information in that publication that impugns the reputation, integrity or honesty of the Clearwater Police Department. So I really have no response to the articles.' "
Internet news site The Drudge Report cited sources that Scientologist Tom Cruise will be making an anti-psychiatric movie with director Stanley Kubrik.
"The DRUDGE REPORT has learned that actor Tom Cruise is not only getting $20 million dollars for his acting role in Stanley Kubrick's new fuss film EYES WIDE SHUT, he's also been guaranteed 20% of the film's receipts. A strong source closely involved with the project says Cruise is earning every penny. 'Stanley is sending him to hell and back,' a Burbank snitch explains.
"The film involves sexual role playing, heroin addiction and intense mind games between a psychiatrist, his wife and his patients. The film is more than 7 months into production, with wrap and release dates yet to be determined There are many at WARNER BROS. that fear it will be dropped in NC-17 condition.'"
Dennis Erlich reported the resumption of OSA observation of his movements this week.
"Today I went over to Priscilla Coates' house to engage in some entheta rumor-mongering with her, and I was followed by a late-model, green or teal Chevy Blazer (i think was the make - possibly GMC) California license '4tents' (pretty sure). If you have any info on this vehicle or its owner, please e-mail me.
"I have a call in to the Glendale PD detective to whom I earlier reported scieno harassment."
Chris Owen summarized a number of articles from OSA's staff newspaper, Winning.
"The front page headline is 'United States Government Singes Germany' - 'Human Rights Report tells the world about the overts of Germany's politicians and sends the modern-day Nazis a message. In our last issue of Winning! we told you about the outrage that German suppressives are generating against their country - on an international scale. But if these wayward politicians thought the embarrassment they were suffering in recent months was uncomfortable, they must be writhing in agony now.'
"It describes the State Department's criticism of Germany for alleged discrimination against Scientologists, and devotes several paragraphs to the 'discovery' that the German government continues to pay a war pension to former Wehrmacht soldiers. This, Winning! says, 'cuts to the heart of the German government's claims that it has no ties to Nazism.'
"[A] piece by OSA head Mike Rinder, headlined: 'Ultimate Victory In Our Reach.' It is a fairly standard piece on how Scientology is winning unprecedented victories and is advancing shoulder- to-shoulder against suppressives worldwide. Rinder declares: '[W]e live on a planet besieged by suppression and out-ethics. In such a setting, it would be impossible for Scientology _not_ to encounter opposition. Only the quiet, the ineffective and the insincere are ignored. Just as LRH says in HCOB SIGNS OF SUCCESS, when we are really succeeding, 'the squirrels start to scream.' And that has never been more true.
"[A] brief story saying that the Hungarian government has recognised CCHR as being a legitimate conscientious alternative to military service. Now, according to Winning!, 'another group of volunteers will be helping CCHR in its mission to rescue planet Earth from the psychs.'"
Grady Ward this week received over 500 pages of Scientology's phone bill in response to a subpoena. The reaction by Scientology was swift, if not effective.
"Last night I received several frantic and frankly, deranged, telephone calls from Thomas R. Hogan, saying that I had 'illegally' obtained these records, 'had gone off the deep end' and promising all kinds of ex parte doom and gloom if I made these records public.
"At midnight last night a person identifying themselves as the 'ho, Helena Kobrin, logged on to #scientology on EFnet and, claiming that I had illegally obtained these records, demanded that any private phone material that I had distributed be not further disseminated, etc etc etc. While I am not surprised at the lunatic ravings of the criminal cult, I of course have not published any numbers lawfully obtained for a legitimate discovery purpose to the Internet. And have written a strong cease and desist letter to Thomas R. Hogan complaining of counsel's abusive behavior."
Kobrin's statement on Internet Relay Chat:
"If you have received any information from Grady Ward regarding RTC's phone records, you are hereby placed on notice that the information was illegally obtained, violates privacy rights, and is designated as confidential under the protective order in RTC v Ward. Will someone please e-mail me the whole log for tonight? The above notice was posted for your attention by Helena Kobrin, attorney of record in RTC v. Ward."
Grady also received attention at his house from a Scientologist or an investigator.
"When I brought out the video cam he got extremely enturbulated and took off. Later, I walked outside the house just to take a look and saw the snout of the same car a block away slowly backing up in order to try to keep out of my view. When I started sprinting at him, he zoomed right off again. The next time I got him was when he had to come out of a cul de sac behind my house. He had to drive right by the video cam on the way out."
Judge Ronald Whyte delivered a summary judgment to Scientology over Keith Henson this week, ruling that there are no triable issues to bring before a jury in this copyright infringement case. No damages or attorney's fees have been awarded yet. This despite claims that RTC does not have rights over the NOTS materials, which were written by David Mayo as an employee of the Church of Scientology of California. Keith will be allowed to file for reconsideration if any evidence is uncovered in his deposition of Scientology leader David Miscavige.
"Henson challenges the validity of the copyright on the grounds that there is no copyright notice on the original material, that plaintiff waited beyond the permitted five years to put such notice on the material, and that the material was copyrighted in Hubbard's name 'when it was in fact produce[d] by other people such as David Mayo.' As evidence, Henson states that he '[t]hese irregularities are backed up by affidavits filed in other cases which the defendant is expecting to be able to file shortly.' The exhibits attached to the affidavit filed by Henson two days before the hearing, however, do not demonstrate that there is any irregularity in the copyright that covers NOTs Series 34. Additionally, it is not clear what Henson means by the 'original material' on which RTC allegedly failed to provide copyright notice.
"Henson also contends that the licensing agreement between Hubbard's estate and RTC has been 'called into question, as the person who benefited from it the most (Miscavige) was the same person who notarized the transactions.' He claims that 'European handwriting experts indicate that Miscavige as well signed these documents using Hubbard's name.'Henson provides no evidence to support his blanket statements.
"In addition to a permanent injunction, RTC seeks enhanced statutory damages of $100,000 for Henson's allegedly willful and knowing infringement of its copyright in NOTs Series 34.
"Section 504(c)(1) provides that the copyright owner may elect to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages 'in a sum not less than $500 or more than $20,000 as the court considers just' for each infringement. In cases of willful infringement where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was done willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a maximum of $100,000.
"Henson's infringement may have been willful. However, it appears that one who has been notified that certain conduct would constitute infringement, but who reasonably and in good faith believes the contrary, is not liable for willful infringement for his infringing conduct. Therefore, the court finds that a question of fact exists as to willfulness."
Betti Freimann-Gefecht posted a translation of a German radio show on Station DLF, which aired on April 2nd. The show discussed the Lisa McPherson case
"Meanwhile, the police in Florida was contacted by lawyers representing the wanted scientologists in Florida, but also in Germany. One of the lawyers is Peter Mueller from Stuttgart. His client is Susanne G. who is living near Bochum now. The 36-year-old scientologist had been married to a Swiss when she went to Clearwater/Florida for working. Susanne G. is supposed to be one of the last persons who saw Lisa McPherson alive. This is why the police wants to question her. But Susanne G., according to her lawyer, does not know anything about that. She's merely suspecting. The reason why Susanne G. allows herself two layers at once with such a vague suspect, is explained by her German lawyer as follows:
"Mueller: 'This is very simple: After I had learned that the Florida-Police is via Internet looking for my client to question her, it is very possible that she would be questioned not only as a witness, but that they possibly believe they had to accuse her of something. And in this case, a conscientious defence counsel has to recommend the client to say nothing about anything.'
"The Lisa McPherson case, however, doesn't cause scientologists to doubt their own organization. It is just one American policeman and a medical examiner who carry out a hate campaign, they say. But there is one thing for sure: if the judgment would prove that Susanne G. is involved in the death, then it would be the first time for a German to be held responsible for a high crime here."
The following post to ARS, reported in this issue of ARS WIR, has been declared untrue and defamatory by a lawyer claiming to represent Brent Luckman. His letter to Operation Clambake presenting his version can be read here: Page: 1, 2, 3 and 4
The April 14th Los Angeles Times carried an article on the Luckman Interactive controversy. Luckman is being sued by investors for financial irregularities, including donations to Scientology and Scientology training for staff.
"Dozens of former company employees have gone several months without being paid. Creditors have filed suit. And one major backer of the firm alleges in a lawsuit that the company and its founder and chairman, Canadian-born Brent Luckman, have squandered nearly $1 million in company assets on first-class airline tickets, home stereo systems and donations to the Church of Scientology. Luckman, 38, insists that despite the company's current financial and legal troubles, Luckman Interactive is poised to ride the Internet boom to a big financial payoff. 'We've got a great future ahead of us,' says the charming, charismatic Luckman. 'High tech is the kind of thing where I've never had a shortage of ideas.'
"Employees say their troubles began with a company wide 'staff training and enhancement day' at the Church of Scientology's Celebrity Center in Hollywood, organized by Luckman himself. The purpose of the meeting, according to an Aug. 10 memo, was to reward employees for several months of rapid expansion and prepare the group for an 'upcoming expansion' by reviewing new management techniques that would be instituted at Luckman. 'I strongly urge you to attend,' the memo concluded.
"Many employees were outraged. Some knew that Luckman was a Scientologist, but they were dismayed that he would mix the company with his controversial religion. In addition, there was widespread resentment that employees would have to attend an all-day company function on the weekend without pay. 'There was an implication that if you didn't go, your job was in jeopardy,' said Corinna Moebius, who worked on Luckman's Web site directories for nearly a year before resigning in February. 'I said I was moving that weekend, because I was afraid for my job if I didn't go.'
"Ultimately, enough employees expressed concern about the event that it was canceled. But on Dec. 4, a group of employees were called into an 'awareness seminar' in Luckman's office. When they got there, they were greeted by a panel from the Celebrity Center. 'There were zero aspects that could be related to management,' said an employee who stayed for the hour long session. 'It was mostly Simon Says-ish: 'Feel your chair.' 'Feel your eyes.' 'See spots on the wall.' 'Locate objects in the room.' ' When pressed by employees, organizers told them that the meetings were voluntary, and many opted out. But former employees say the incident cast a pall over the company as people became preoccupied with the Scientology issue.
"Brent Luckman says he never heard about any objection to the meeting until March, when some of the protesters were laid off for financial reasons. He also denied that he tried to incorporate Scientology into the workplace. 'I don't use Scientology management techniques in this company at all,' Luckman said. 'People like Intel use techniques like WISE,' the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises, also known as Hubbard Management Technology. Barbara Lopez, a spokeswoman for Intel in Santa Clara, dismissed as ridiculous the suggestion that the company used Scientology management practices.
"Earlier this month, after Luckman Interactive sold one of its software products to CyberMedia, a Santa Monica firm, Luckman said all back pay issues would be resolved. But former employees who either quit or were laid off--and are therefore entitled under state law to penalties in the $3,000 to $5,000 range on the unpaid wages--were told by Mary-Felicia Apanius, Luckman's corporate counsel, that they could not receive their paychecks unless they dropped their claims against the company and forfeited their penalties."
|New York Review of Books|
The April 24 issue of New York Review of Books contains an article on Scientology and Germany.
"The church's propagandists point to a teacher in Lower Saxony who was allegedly dismissed because of her association and beliefs. Not quite. The teacher was transferred five times because she kept hawking material about 'cleansing courses' and Scientology brochures in the school. In other words, she had run afoul of well-established rules against merchandising and proselytizing of any kind--rules even a liberal American school board would enforce. In the end, the teacher was not fired, but removed from the classroom and given an office job in the Lower Saxony Ministry of Culture.
"There is no symmetry of political power between the Church of Scientology and the Federal Republic of Germany. One is rich, nasty, and vengeful--but still only a cult, whose leaders go to prison when found guilty of a crime. The other is a democratic nation of 80 million, respectable and respected, armed with all the power at the disposal of a state. If Scientology, or some other cult, illegally takes money from the faithful, terrorizes defectors, or breaks into government buildings, let the laws that protect the citizen and the state come into play. Let's indict and convict, but let's not smear and vilify those we despise, for those are tactics unworthy of a liberal polity."
Critics picketed the Poole, England Scientology mission, a week after the surprise picket in London. The previously announced picket in London this week was attended by one critic for one minute, plus the Jive Aces all-Scientologist jazz band. Reports were posted on the Poole picket by Jens Tingleff, Dave Bird, Martin Poulter, and "Roland".
"The clams were their usual jolly self. They were much better behaved than the London ones, in fact. They repeatedly tried the old distraction tactics, engaging protesters in conversations which were more like interrogations. One clam was being fairly aggressive towards one of our female protesters. A passer-by supported her in the discussions with the clam. I went up to him, and he did the usual 'Why are you here? No I don't read the Internet, it's full of false data! I can show you thousands of success stories' spiel. I told him I didn't want him to talk to me, and turned around. I believe he yelled at me, but what do I care.
"The senior local clam *did* know that we were scheduled to appear in London. I never doubted that OSA monitors a.r.s. very attentively, but I was interested to learn that this kind of information was available to local orgs."
"We drew up the the small square called old market. A woman with a clipboard was earnestly talking to a potential chump. 'Excuse me,' I said, 'are you from Scientology?' 'No.' 'could I look at your clipboard?' 'No.' So, I drew back a few feet, walking to rest against the big octagonal stone litter bin about 12 feet behind her. I picked up Duke, his red wheels and yellow water wings gleaming in the bright summer sun. 'If you're from the church of scientology', I said into the mic, 'which I'm pretty sure you are, then I've got one question for you. And it's this...WOOF! WOOF! GLUG! GLUG! WHO! DROWNED! THE JUDGES! DOG! I said WOOF! WOOF! GLUG! GLUG! WHO! DROWNED! THE JUDGES! DOG!
"The response from the public was uniformly good. I belted out a few songs somewhere near the notes, and a few chants. The clams turned up; the missionaire himself who was a tall graying man in a white shirt, another guy from Treasury in a red jumper, etc. I was the 'machine gunner of the section', 80% of the sound power, and every time I ran out of steam and stopped I would hear one of the others shouting and start up with 'picket AGAINST scientology, sign our petition to regulate their canvassers, etc.'
"Two cops arrived also from the direction of Deer Hay Lane. Apparently we there had been a complaint that we were handing out obscene leaflets. Instantly the 2 or 3 leaflet types were produced, and the puzzled cops read them through. 'Nothing obscene here, do you want them back?' 'No, keep them'. Big grins, and invitations to keep up the good work."
"Our placards were the best yet: double sided, properly printed and laminated. Some had a red triangle with the words 'Warning, you are entering a cult recruitment zone'. My favourite said 'Scientologists, don't disconnect from your families. They still love you.'"
"I've have been told by London OSA that the Poole picketers are going to be sued. Well they should sue me shouldn't they. Because I sang there right in the streets and in front of the public and the Sea Org staff members that scientology WAS A C-O-N J-O-B! That's libelous isn't it? Actually saying and singing that Scientology is a C-O-N J-O-B!"
"Their current line is that one of the Poole mission staff got assaulted while we were picketing. I pointed out that it wouldn't have been any of us. He agreed but said that because we were picketing it created a mood of violence resulting in a member of the public attacking one of their members. Thus is was the fault of the people who were picketing."
The protesters sent an open letter to the mayor of Poole.
"On Saturday 12th April, a dozen or so Internet activists and people with relatives in the group protested against the actions of the 'Church' of Scientology. Two of out number took 150 signatures in the two hours we were present. We ask only some very simple things. That no canvasser steps into your path to block your way, but stands aside and asks if you are interested. That no canvasser puts leaflets or materials about you or your belongings unasked. If canvassers are from an organisation, they should have the name of the organisation or at least what they are canvassing for: on their leaflets or clipboards, worn as badges or tee shirts, stated when they make their pitch to you. Scientology agreed once to wear badges identifying themselves. It's a farce. Not one of them had a badge on Saturday."
The Daily Echo carried an article on April 15th, with a photo.
"A DOZEN or so protesters picketers head got their point across to Scientologists in Poole as they held a 'lightning' demonstration outside the organisation's largest 'mission'. The unexpected picketing by activists took place in the High Street during a busy shopping day. Two of the demonstrators also took signatures for their petition asking Poole Council for better regulation of canvassers.
"There have been a number of complaints about Poole Scientologists canvassing people in the High Street. The protesters gained 150 signatures in two hours and faxed the sheets to the council yesterday morning
"Dave Bird for the protesters said: 'if canvassers are from an organisation, they should have the name of the organisation, or at least what they are canvassing or, on their leaflets or clipboards, worn as badges or T-shirts, when they make their pitch to you. If their promotion involves selling something they should describe what it is &how much it costs. The protest was excellent. It was part of a surprise operation. The last protest held in Poole was 3 or 4 years ago. We will be holding more in the future.'
"Poole Council has already discussed plans to set up a working party to clam p down on the activities of Scientologists. A spokesman for the Scientologists was unavailable for comment."
Juergen Behrndt announced that he has won his case in German court for a partial refund from Scientology.
"Today the county court in Hamburg, Germany decided that the CO$ has to pay back the half of all my auditing and other courses I did in 89-95. (The whole amount was DM 91000 = $51000)"
The St. Petersburg Times reported today that the Sea Org will be getting new uniforms in Clearwater.
"Gone by this summer will be the formal-looking maritime uniforms with navy blue pants and light blue or white shirts. They will be replaced by a more casual look with more variety and neutral colors such as lavender, raspberry, taupe and olive.
"The new design calls for seven outfits, one for each division of the church staff. Each division will have its own color scheme."
The Star tabloid published an article this week on Scientology celebrities and the e-meter.
"The oddball apparatus is called an E meter, and Travolta uses it every day. He and fellow Scientologists Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and Kirstie Alley say the lie-detector-like machine measures mental anguish. The faithful claim it's so sensitive, it can pick up the pain a human feels when pricked by a nail.
"'You hold two metal rods in your hands, and an experienced teacher can tell from the movements of the needles on the meter where the problem is in your body and soul,' Travolta told the German magazine STERN. 'I use it every day, at home or in the celebrity center in Hollywood. I also take a machine with me with I'm on location. It's a religious device and I enjoy it. I'm always totally refreshed by it.'
"Travolta vehemently denies claims that Scientologists have been brainwashed. 'That is frightful garbage,' he says. 'Do you really believe that I would stand for something like that? The courses help me solve my problems. I also attend religious counseling where, with a spiritual guide, I tackle personal problems.'"
The EO Tax Bulletin published a review of developments in Scientology's U.S. tax status.
"There is no veil of secrecy surrounding the Service's 1993 decision to grant the Church of Scientology exemption under section 501(c)(3), says the church's tax lawyer, Monique E. Yingling of Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger, Washington. And some other tax attorneys in this town actually agree.
"The question of secrecy and intrigue surrounding the Scientology case was resurrected by a March 9, 1997 front-page New York Times story in which reporter Douglas Franz suggested that a 1991 impromptu meeting between church leaders and then-IRS Commissioner Fred T. Goldberg Jr. instigated 'a 180-degree turn' in the Service's position, from fighting at every turn Scientology's assertion that it was entitled to exemption to ultimately granting exemption in 1993. The church purchased a full-page ad in the March 19, 1997 Times refuting Franz's assertions that the Scientologists received their exemption in a less-than-above-board manner.
"Leonard J. Henzke Jr. of Ginsburg, Feldman, and Bress, Washington, commenting on the impromptu 1991 meeting that apparently had occurred between church leaders and an IRS official, said that person was more likely the chief counsel than the commissioner. But 'the Times article made it sound like something was wrong' with holding such a meeting, Henzke said, adding that 'there is nothing wrong with getting in to see the chief counsel or with the IRS setting up a committee' to look into a particular taxpayer's case.
"But, former IRS Commissioner Donald Alexander would be much less accommodating. Granting charity status to the Church of Scientology is 'something I never would have done,' he said. Alexander offered a theory for 'why the IRS folded': the unrelenting tenacity of the Scientologists. 'Some people don't like the use of resources [particularly] if they're not winning. Even though the IRS was winning, the Church of Scientology wouldn't give up.'"
Keith Bennett reported that Scientology pressure has forced his Internet provider to block his web pages and cancel his postings of the NOTS materials.
"I have received Email from my ISP telling me to stop posting / hosting the NOTs or else, so I shall. Even if they did make this decision with letting me present my case in person, AND without letting me see the correspondence with RTC - I have reason to believe that several of their claims are lies."
"I even tried to delete it per their request, but can't - I no longer have write permission. Also, my news server canceled all of my posts."