Tom Klemesrud posted a letter to Los Angeles Police Department the this week in which he revealed the identity of the previously anonymous Scientologist, "AB". AB was silenced and tracked down by Scientology in 1995 with the help of the LAPD, and presumably punished following posts he made to a.r.s.
"Dear Detective Ingemunson:
On January 30, 1995 you used your influence at the LAPD Bunco Forgery Division to summon the resources of Interpol in an effort to hunt down a 'computer hacker' for the Los Angeles-headquartered Scientology cult. You were successful in this infamous work: the email address of firstname.lastname@example.org was given to you, and February 9, 1995 you got the name of the former 'Freewinds' cruise ship radio officer, and then-present INCOMM Director of Computerization, Mr. Rummelhart, or '(-AB-).'
"The cult found that out too. Detective Ingemunson, I believe you when you say you did not give up Rummelhart's name to the cult--that they discovered it on their own."
The Christian Science Monitor carried an article this week on Scientologist and Baptist Alfreddie Johnson.
"The Rev. Alfreddie Johnson says the problem with inner-city America is not the usual litany of woes: drugs, crime, gangs, teen-pregnancy, domestic abuse. All of the above are deeply rooted in something far more fundamental, he says. In a word, illiteracy.
"'If you go into any American city and look into the eyes of young people, you will see anger and alienation,' says this nondenominational preacher. 'Why? They are surrounded by a wealth of opportunity in this country yet are convinced such opportunity is not for them. This is the result of illiteracy.'
"The curriculum Johnson uses is a simple system from a controversial source. In the 1930s, L. Ron Hubbard, who later founded the Church of Scientology, designed a way to help potential readers of all ages overcome their own barriers to learning: He stressed that readers must know where, when, and how they become confused. In the WLC program, students are urged to look up any unclear words in dictionaries before proceeding in schoolwork or reading. They are taught to backtrack to lesson areas where their comprehension derailed or attention waned, to continually monitor their own understanding, and to construct ideas and concepts in materials like clay so they may literally grasp them.
"'The concepts are incredibly simple, which is partly why they are powerful and why they have been overlooked elsewhere,' says Sandy Chapman, a 20-year reading specialist and curriculum writer in San Diego.
"Students are also encouraged to master drills in communication, composure, and self-control that enable them to focus on education, ignoring the host of intrusions that are common in most classrooms. This ability to give students the tools to change their own lives - and through that, a sense of hope - is perhaps the major reason for WLC's success.
"The educational writings of Mr. Hubbard, which form the foundation of the course, made national headlines this summer after a Los Angeles teacher applied to start a charter school that would use them as core curricula. Concern was expressed that such books might contain religious views, breaching the separation of church and state. But the state Department of Education review panel - and some experts - say the materials have no religious content."
Christian Science Monitor: One Man's Crusade to Heal Illiteracy Ills
The New York Times reported that a German Scientologist has been granted asylum in the United States.
"A federal immigration court judge has granted asylum to a German member of the Church of Scientology who claimed that she would be subjected to religious persecution had she been required to return to her homeland, the woman's lawyer and a Scientology official said Friday. While few details of the case were available, it is believed to be the first time the United States has given asylum protection to a Scientologist. The Church of Scientology has been waging a highly public international campaign against what it considers discrimination against its members by the German government.
"Officials at the German Embassy in Washington said Friday that they had not heard of the asylum decision and would have no reaction until it was confirmed. An immigration court judge decided to approve the woman's application to remain in this country after a hearing last February. Officials at the State Department and the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Washington said they were unaware of the case.
"John Lund, an immigration lawyer in Tampa who represents the German woman, said his client was in the United States legally. 'She voluntarily applied for asylum,' Lund said, 'and the matter was referred to the immigration court by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The court made the decision, based on her individual facts, that she should be granted asylum.' Lund said the woman's case was not part of any orchestrated effort by the Church of Scientology to publicize its claims of discrimination. 'Our matter was totally outside of any campaign by the church,' Lund said. 'This individual was acting solely on her own.' To protect relatives still in Germany, Lund and Scientology officials refused to disclose the woman's name or where she lived.
"Kurt Weiland, an official with the Church of Scientology International, said a dozen German witnesses testified at the immigration hearing that the woman faced severe persecution in her homeland. 'She proved her suffering, the damage she experienced emotionally and economically, and how she was ostracized from society, all for no other reason than her religion,' Weiland said.
"A State Department spokesman, James Rubin, said he was unaware of the Scientology asylum case. But Rubin said the treatment of Scientologists in Germany was discussed on Wednesday by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in a meeting in Washington with Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel of Germany."
Article in New Yourk Times (need registration)
BBC Channel 4 has come under attack from Scientology for its planned broadcast of an uncomplimentary documentary on L. Ron Hubbard. The Independent carried articles this week that John Travolta has been pressuring BBC executives to cancel the broadcast, and that Eugene Ingram and other Scientology PIs have been harassing the producers of the show.
"A committed Scientologist, Mr Travolta accuses Mr Jackson and Alan Hayling, the programme's commissioning editor, of being prepared to slander him and all the members of the church. He claims they seem intent on inciting hatred of the sect, as had been happening in Germany, where the authorities are suppressing its activities. The actor mysteriously asks whether the persecution of Scientologists will stop only when someone like himself becomes a victim. The star of Saturday Fight Fever and Pulp Fiction implores the television executives to let true friends of Mr Hubbard, who died in 1986, to be interviewed for the Secret Lives edition scheduled for 19 November. The programme, which has been completed, pulls apart the Hubbard legend, accusing him of being a fraud. Several of those interviewed were among his inner circle."
"JILL ROBINSON'S passion is horse-riding. As a busy director of television documentaries, she likes to relax by heading out of London to the horse she keeps in the Kent countryside. A few days ago, her idyll was shattered when two American men turned up at the small, isolated stables. Purporting to be her friends, they asked the stable-owner if she knew where Ms Robinson was. The woman became suspicious and they left. The same day, a card was pushed through Ms Robinson's letterbox. It came from someone called Eugene Ingram, of Ingram Investigations, California, and said he was investigating a case of attempted extortion. Would she call him?
"Ms Robinson knows all about Mr Ingram. For weeks this private detective and his colleagues have been keeping watch on her. Her car has been followed, her friends have been approached. Her colleagues have received visits and calls from Mr Ingram at their homes. And all because Ms Robinson is the director of a forthcoming Secret Lives programme for Channel 4 about the founding father of Scientology, L Ron Hubbard - a man who died 11 years ago. Mr Ingram has been hired by the Church of Scientology to investigate the programme and its makers. To that end, Mr Ingram, who regularly works for the Church, has tailed Ms Robinson and her colleagues from 3BM, the production company, across America and, more recently, around the Home Counties.
"The aim of Mr Ingram and his client is to prove that the programme is the result of a conspiracy by people in America to extort cash from the church. Pay us, so the Scientologists' theory goes, and we will stop going to the media with stories harmful to your religion. Ms Robinson, who has produced negative reports before on Scientology, must, they feel, be more than a reporter going about her job, and be wrapped up in some greater web of intrigue.
"Ms Robinson's brother works in the US. When she dropped by his house, the phone went: it was the Church of Scientology, asking for Jill. When she went to a friend's dinner party, a woman knocked at the door at 10.30 at night saying she needed water for her car radiator. Robinson did not go to the door but she could hear the woman's voice: she claims it was that of the guide who had led a group of visitors, including Ms Robinson, around the LA museum dedicated to Hubbard's life. Her friend gave the woman the water but could see no sign of a car. Robinson believes there wasn't one at all. 'It was their way of saying: 'We're here, we know you're there',' she said.
"In all, Ms Robinson, Mr Berthon, the associate producer, the cameraman, the sound recordist, the picture editor, the assistant cameraman, even the composer of the music, have had visits from Mr Ingram and his colleagues. Calls to Mr Ingram's office in California were not returned. But Elliot Abelson, an LA attorney, did call. He said he retained Mr Ingram on behalf of the Church of Scientology to investigate a conspiracy to extort money from the church. 'Mr Ingram searches for the facts and does it lawfully,' said Mr Abelson, 'He will continue to do it and will continue to get to the facts.'"
INDEPENDENCE: Travolta begs Channel 4 not to attack Scientology
INDEPENDENCE: Why Channel 4 is haunted by Scientology
Jens Tingleff reported on another picket at Scientology's Brighton, England location.
"Lots of people turned up, the weather held up, we made good contacts with locals; but most importantly: the Co$ had moved away from their 'high street' office and was now reduced to one little office, out of the way. In what was a very pleasant repetition of events from last month in Poole, we arrived to find that the main office for body-routing had been vacated. Some asking around uncovered that the clams were still leafletting on the very crowded sidewalks a bit further up. We found two clams who were busy leafletting, and immediately swamped them. After an hour, or so, another clam joined the leafletters. They were all handing out personality tests (marked with 'Copyright COSRECI 1988,' hmm??).
"We had so many protesters that we split up into two clusters, each with five or more protesters plus the odd observer. More than 200 signatures were collected to encourage the government to start an enquiry into $cientology. One local walked up and said he was so fed up with the clams that he was considering doing something about it. He got details, and hopefully we will be able to ship some Xemu leaflets to him. We shifted an estimated 1000 Xemu leaflets, making this protest easily the most productive in that very important aspect."
Andreas Heldal-Lund celebrated the first anniversary of the Operation Clambake web site by unveiling a large archive of Scientology Court Files, and a new URL, www.xenu.net.
"It is a collection of court files related to Scientology all the way back to 1968. Hopefully it could grow to an important bank of information for researchers in the feature, and not the least for people involved in law- suits from and against this criminal cult. But for that to happen I need help from you out there."
Scientology Court Files
Martin Ottmann posted an invitation to an event to promote Scientology's image in the Clearwater area.
"YOU'RE INVITED TO FLAG'S CLEAR EXPANSION COMMITTEE DINNER. Saturday, November 8, 1997 7:00pm * Flag Auditorium with a special briefing on: What Scientologist are doing to revitalize Downtown Clearwater. How we are working together with Clearwater community leaders to improve the environment. Specific plans to bring about the ideal scene for Clearwater through the Clear Expansion Committee. Special acknowledgements and awards. RSVP: 445-4366 Upstsat Casual Adults:$20; Children 12 and under: $10."
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel defended Germany's treatment of Scientology in preparation for his visit to the U.S. this week. From Reuters:
"'The American government knows full well the German position on Scientology and has repeatedly criticized propaganda efforts by Scientology to draw parallels to Nazi Germany,' Kinkel said in a statement. 'Scientology is not a religious or philosophical grouping. Its aims, at least in Germany, are focused on commercial activities,' he said. Kinkel said he was disappointed that U.S. congressional representatives had refused to give Germany's ambassador to Washington, Juergen Chrobog, a hearing to explain the German position."
"But Kinkel stressed in an interview with several German newspapers released ahead of publication on Tuesday that the latest criticism had not come from the U.S. government but from the House of Representatives. 'We must and shall not let our traditionally good relations become impaired by Scientology. Apart from that this is not an issue for the American government,' he said. 'This isn't a conflict between German and U.S governments. If it's a conflict at all, it's between a certain committee and the government, or the regional states,' a diplomatic source said."
"Kinkel said he encountered pro-Scientology demonstrators at all his stops in Washington on Wednesday and in Canada on Tuesday. The Church of Scientology has accused Germany, which has placed it under surveillance for possible anti-constitutional activities, of persecuting it in the same way Jews were treated during the Nazi period. The group issued a statement late on Wednesday accusing Kinkel of 'totalitarian-style suppression of a free press' because he allowed only German reporters to attend his Wednesday afternoon briefing. They said Kinkel also asked two German Scientologists to leave the briefing.
"'Mr. Kinkel finds the American concept of a free press alien to his government's thinking,' said Rev. Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International. 'He cannot control U.S. press as they report freely on his government's discrimination. He can control the German press and through them he hopes to manipulate the international media into ignoring his government's human rights abuses.'"
A U.S. House committee passed a resolution calling on President Clinton to relay concerns to the German government. From the Associated Press:
"A U.S. House panel passed a non-binding resolution Friday accusing some German officials of fostering 'an atmosphere of intolerance towards minority religious groups.' It also called upon President Clinton to relay to Bonn Congress' concern about alleged violations of the rights of Scientologists. Kinkel called the resolution factually incorrect and contradictory to the spirit of U.S.-German relations. He said he would discuss the issue with U.S. officials on Wednesday.
"Kinkel angrily denied that Sunday, repeating that Germany considers the Los Angeles-based church a money-making enterprise, not a religion. After the latest U.S. criticism, Kinkel will make a fresh attempt to explain Bonn's position to Albright, a senior German official said. 'We believe that certain aspects of German policy are seen in a distorted light in the United States,' said the official, who briefed reporters on condition he not be identified."
German Federal judges this week refused to decide whether or not Scientology is a religion, forcing a lower court to decide a case on other grounds. From the AP:
"Federal judges on Thursday refused to rule on whether the Church of Scientology is a religion, ordering a lower court to focus instead on the group's status as a non-profit group or a money-making business. The case, concerning a Scientology branch in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, already has been bounced several times from court to court -reflecting the sensitive and explosive nature of Scientology's status here.
"Judges on Thursday said that Scientology's religious status is irrelevant to this case, which focuses on whether a branch of the group in Baden-Wuerttemberg should be afforded non-profit status. They provided a guideline for the state court to make its decision, saying that Scientology would be considered a business only if it made a financial profit from selling educational materials to non-members. No date was set for a new trial in the lower court.
"The case before the judges Thursday started in 1986, when Baden-Wuerttemberg revoked the non-profit status of a local Scientology branch. The state said the group was primarily concerned with making money by selling books and self-improvement courses, not the 'idealistic goals' generally associated with a non-profit organization. A regional court overturned the ruling in July, saying that before the group's non-profit status could be revoked, it first must be determined whether Scientology is a religion and thus entitled to special privileges, such as tax-exempt status and the right to recruit members."
Anonymous poster "Code9red" reported his observations from the IAS annual meeting in Los Angeles.
"It was my last event, unless some miracle medication comes out to prevent spontaneous puking. The most vomit inducing section was the introduction of the new billboard campaign (to the usual hysterical reception of the audience). Get this - the new slogan is: 'Think for yourself--Scientology'. The billboard ad will then go on to explain how various aspects of the robot-cult teach you how to 'think for yourself'."
Johan Wevers reported that he is abandoning discussion with Scientology over his "Vorlon" posts of the NOTS material.
"Due to the confusion which is going on about the ownership of the documents (CsC vs. RTC, Hubbies possible ripoff by Miscavige) I have decided to stop negotiating without signing any agreement whatsoever. Since they even have not sued Jeta I decided they probably didn't want to sue me anyway for whatever reason. This decision was made over a month ago, but recently their lawyer reacted. His reaction didn't mention any relevant points (he included a verdict from Judge Whyte from June 1997 in which he said that Hubbard could have been co-author with Mayo - something I don't really dispute but isn't really relevant because that doesn't mean CsC would not have the copyrights - my lawyer and I have decided not to react anymore on their letters. Unless, of course, they would sue anyway. Which I seriously doubt."
The St. Petersburg Times ran two letters to the editor from Scientologists this week in reaction to the article on the large donations made by Lisa McPherson to Scientology prior to her death by dehydration in the Fort Harrison hotel.
"The Times' story, capitalizing again on the unfortunate and accidental death of McPherson, cobbled together incomplete information to suggest she was somehow wrong for wanting to contribute as much as she did to the Church of Scientology.
"The Times pointed out that Lisa's donations to the Church of Scientology were higher than the average that individuals give to Catholic and Protestant churches. In the Times' view, however, since these were given to the Church of Scientology, then what would normally be considered a good deed was automatically labeled as 'bad.'
"She was a competent adult woman who did well for herself financially, and she was simultaneously always interested in helping others around her.
"Perhaps the most revealing glimpse of the prejudicial undercurrent that marks the Times' reporting on Scientology is its constant reference to those who knew Lisa McPherson, not as friends or associates but as 'Scientologists.' The Times does not identify figures in its other stories by religion. Had McPherson been Jewish and in the company of friends who shared her faith, the Times would not refer to her friends as 'Jews' or identify her boss or her ex-husband as 'a Jew.' But the Times did these things in this case because it simply will not regard Scientology for what it is -- a religion.
"The Rev. Brian Anderson, vice president, Church of Scientology, Clearwater
"Donations to our church, like any other church, do not merely help the individual donating or even one specific church location. In the case of Scientology, donations help support a worldwide effort to create a world without insanity, criminality and war. Our social betterment programs, such as Narconon (drug rehabilitation), Criminon (criminal moral reform) and the World Literacy Crusade (reading and tutoring for illiterate children and adults) are fully supported by the church through the donations of time and money by its parishioners.
"In any church, there are parishioners who attend services and donate a small amount to the kitty each week. Then there are those parishioners who support their church body and soul. Lisa never did anything half-heartedly. She cared deeply for her friends, her church, her fellow employees and her community.
"Bennetta Slaughter, chief executive officer, AMC Publishing Inc., Clearwater"
St. Petersburg Times: Letters to the editor
The Associated Press reported this week that U.S. Representative Matt Salmon called on Scientologist John Travolta to phone his daughter before the opening of her high school play.
"Travolta phoned Lara Salmon, daughter of Rep. Matt Salmon, this week to wish her luck in her high school production of 'Hello, Dolly!' The star invited the 17-year-old to the set of his next movie. 'He knows my daughter is his biggest fan,' Salmon said. Salmon, an Arizona Republican, and Travolta met when the actor lobbied Congress earlier this year to push Germany to ease restrictions on the Church of Scientology. Travolta, a church follower, made the call to Lara after a House committee that her father sits on took a voice vote in support of Scientology and other religious groups. Mike Paranzino, Salmon's spokesman in Washington, said there was nothing improper about the congressman seeking a favor from Travolta. 'This is a non-story,' he said Thursday."
Hosted by Operation Clambake