The Fox network aired an episode of Millennium which described descriptions of a cult similar to Scientology. Scientology had put pressure on the producers to make the episode less obviously based on the real cult. Fredric Rice provided a synopsis of the plot.
"[T]wo murderous Scientologists kill people who expose the absurdity of their cult. Charles Nelson Riley plays the part of 'Jose Chung' who knew the creator of a mind-bending, money-greedy, unthinking, idiotic, criminal cult back when the creator/leader of the cult was a fiction writer -- and a very poor one. Jose Chung is stalked by two Scientologists bent upon killing him for the articles he had published in a skin magazine.
"Frank Black, the show's hero, gets involved since the formation of and zealous extremes of religious and money cults fall into the venue of the work the Millennium group involves themselves with. The episode had analogs for a number of Scientology absurdities, carefully renamed and altered so that the cult here in the read world could do nothing but bite their lips and get further upset at what everyone knows was a truthful depiction of Scientology.
"They had 'The Book' -- only instead of a volcano, it had the garish quality of the real Dianetics with lightening bolts. Instead of an E-Meter, it had a galvametric measurement device which was used as a 'lie detector' coupled to a tape recorder which would continue to restate questions over and over until it decided an accurate answer was given. The number of thinly-veiled analogs were too numerous to cover here as that would take describing the entire episode. Of special humorous note was when Frank Black's supervisor calls Frank aside and asks him why the Millennium Group got involved. Frank mentions the name of the cult (the one the episode used, not the word 'Scientology') and Frank's supervisor takes a step away and say, 'Oh no, we can't do that.' Frank asks, 'Why? The Millennium Group never walks away from everything, even Evil Incarnate.' Frank's supervisor says, 'Yeah but Evil Incarnate can't sue.'
"When Frank and another police inspector pay a visit to the cult's head shill/liar, the shill robotically repeats his threat that any defamation would be met with the full extent of the law, making special pains to underscore being 'within the boundaries of the law,' of course. The shill points out that many Hollywood actors have joined the cult and some offer is done by the episode to use the same style and format that the real Scientology cult uses when putting up their toy celebs up on their strings to dance for the media.
"The conclusion of the episode? Charles gets the drop on the first Scientologist who comes to kill him (who later dies trying to leap from the building's roof -- with the power of positive thinking -- to escape.) But the second Scientologist -- armed with a pick-axe -- does him in."
John Ritson provided a transcript of the U.K.'s Channel 4 broadcast this week of Secret Lives - L. Ron Hubbard, which included footage of people who had known Hubbard. Some excerpts:
"CYRIL VOSPER - LRH Staff
'He told so many stories of his exploits, in South America, the West Indies and places, that he would have to have been at least 483 years old to have had time to have done all those things, but that doesn't really matter. I mean it was just very entertaining really, except that he turned it into a religion.'
"JIM DINCALCI - Ron Hubbard's Medical Officer
'LRH gave his son Nibs some amphetamines, and Nibs started talking, he said, started really going talking fast, from the speed. And he kept talking, he kept talking, and his dad kept giving him speed and all of a sudden he was talking about his history, when he was a clam and all these different situations in early earth. And out of that came 'History of Man'.'
"HANA ETRINGHAM - Hubbard's Deputy at Sea
'Making money I think to Hubbard was paramount. He wasn't that interested in it for himself. He did have perks, he did have his cars, his motorbikes, his books, his good food and things like that and eventually he had his villas and he had his estates and so on but the money that he wanted predominantly was for power.
'The entire objective was to find a place that Hubbard could eventually turn into his own kingdom, with his own government, his own passports, his own monetary system, in other words his own principality, that he would be the benign dictator of. That was the objective.
'At one point he turned round and said to us in a very masterful way, in a very, almost ambassadorial sort of way he said 'It's perfectly all right to step outside the law, because the law itself is aberrated, so in order to achieve our ends, that gives us licence to step outside the law'.'
'The attacks on Scientology had pitched Hubbard into one of his periodic depressions. His response was to take it out on his followers, on sea and land. He designed a new disciplinary code called 'Ethics' which put many of them into what he called lower conditions of existence like Liability, Doubt, or Treason. To rise out of these conditions, penances were required. Liability, for example, required you to 'deal an effective blow to Scientology's enemies'.'
"VICTORIA DOWNSBOROUGH - crew member Avon River
'Everybody was supposedly in one of these lower conditions, which was quite astonishing because everybody really loved Ron, and wanted to contribute to having whatever his dreams might be come true.'
'He put this 4 1/2 year old little boy - Derek Greene - into the chain locker for two days and two nights. It's a closed metal container, it's wet, it's full of water and seaweed, it smells bad. But Derek was sitting up, on the chain, in this place, on his own, in the dark, for two days and two nights. He was not allowed to go to the potty. I mean he had to go in the chain locker on his own, soil himself. He was given food. And p- I was - I never went near it, the chain locker while he was in there, but people heard him crying. That is sheer total brutality. That is child abuse.'
'In 1973 a French court started proceedings against Hubbard for fraud. He had left his ship, which was berthed in Morocco and went to live in hiding in New York, where he was looked after by Jim Dincalci. To turn the tables on his enemies he devised a bizarre plan called 'Snow White'. Its stated aim was to correct false reports about Scientology. It led to Scientology members infiltrating government departments. Hubbard even issued a reading list for learning the black arts of espionage.'
"ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG
'He believed that there was an international cabal that was in control of the attack on him around the world as well as all the attacks in various countries. And so 'Snow White' was written to find this cabal, find all the connections between these enemy groups, and to expose them, to destroy them. It was done through burglary. It was just pure military intelligence.'
'He had phobias about dust, he had phobias about smells, he had phobias about sounds. He would hear sounds that weren't there and he would scream at the sound technician. He would see things that weren't there and he would scream at the people who were framing the shot. And he would smell smells that weren't there and he would have people rinse his clothing some 13 or 15 or however many times.'
"ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG
'He had grown a beard, he had grown his long hair, the nails were long, very much in the same problem as they found with Howard Hughes, unkempt nails. Neighbours, there was a neighbour that walked in on him one day and he had become very frightened, and suddenly scuttled out of the barn. He was frightened to meet people, he was terrified of meeting any new people. He was disappearing down, down, down into this little strange world of his. The irony of this is that this was a man who was promulgating and telling the world that with my technology and ideas, you can get bigger and bigger and bigger and yet he was shrinking down until finally he was hiding.'"
Eugene Ingram and Scientology's investigative arm continue to harass the makers of the documentary, as described in an article in the Daily Telegraph.
"He has then spread allegations that the film-makers may be implicated in an international conspiracy of extortion and money-laundering. Simon Berthon, the executive producer of the film about L Ron Hubbard, shown in the Secret Lives series on Channel 4 last night, condemned the detective's activities yesterday as a 'peculiar and subtle form of harassment'. He said the Scientologists' agents had somehow managed to establish which telephone numbers he and the film's producer-director, Jill Robinson, had recently rung on their private lines. Those numbers had then been rung by a woman claiming to be conducting a survey of television-viewing habits.
"The woman promised a year's free magazine subscription to those who took part in the survey - thereby tricking the film-makers' contacts into revealing their addresses. Soon afterwards the detective, Eugene M Ingram, of Los Angeles, arrived on the friends' doorsteps, saying that he was inquiring about Mr Berthon and Ms Robinson in connection with an international conspiracy of extortion and money-laundering. Mr Berthon said that the allegations appeared to have sprung from a payment of L2,000 that his company had made for access to an archive of material on the Scientologists.
"Ms Robinson, 45, said yesterday that about eight of her friends and associates in England, including her parents and her hairdresser, had been visited by Mr Ingram. Four of those had earlier received telephone calls from a woman claiming to be conducting a survey of television-viewing habits.
"On Sunday Mr Berthon's friend answered the door to a man who said he was a private detective, trying to find a man who had put money into a laundering account. He showed her a photograph of Mr Berthon getting into his car and asked if she knew him. He then said that Mr Berthon had put the money into the 'laundering account' and that this was an offence. The friend said: 'I said I was surprised to hear that because he was an upright citizen with a good reputation. He did not mention the Scientologists once. I thought 'how the hell did he get my number?' Then we worked backwards. The thing that worries me most is how they can get particulars of the numbers Simon had rung.'
"Graeme Wilson, public affairs director of the Church in the United Kingdom, said that Mr Ingram had been hired by an American attorney, Elliot J Abelson of Los Angeles, which acted for the Church. He faxed to The Telegraph a letter from Mr Abelson to D J Freeman, Mr Berthon's solicitor, replying to a complaint of harassment made by Mr Berthon and dismissing all allegations against Mr Ingram's conduct as false. In it, Mr Abelson said that he had hired Mr Ingram to investigate international conspirators who were trying to extort money from Churches of Scientology with help from the media. Mr Berthon and Ms Robinson had been in touch with some of these people, said Mr Abelson. He said: 'Consequently I have retained Mr Ingram, as part of his investigatory duties, to determine whether individuals including Ms Robinson and her producer Simon Berthon are knowingly acting in furtherance of the intentions of the suspected conspirators.'"
Scientology is threatening to sue over the broadcast, according to a post this week by Chris Owen
"They've also announced their intention to sue Channel 4 over the programme. They claim that it was 'grossly unfair' and amounts to a 'character assassination' of L Ron Hubbard. The CoS have hired the infamous libel lawyer, Peter Carter-Ruck, to bring the case against C4." Scientology subsequently fired their lawyer in a dispute over a counter-attack ad campaign.
"Scientology had a massive advertising campaign ready to roll on Thursday morning, with full-page 'attack ads' in every UK newspaper intended to 'dead agent' Channel 4, 3BM Productions (the film's producers) and the people who contributed to the documentary. However, Scientology's lawyers - Peter Carter-Ruck and Partners - apparently warned them that the adverts were grossly defamatory and that they would be comprehensively reamed if the ads were run. The messenger was duly shot, and Carter-Ruck was sacked. Carter-Ruck is one of Britain's highest-paid lawyers and has a truly awesome reputation for pursuing libel cases; no doubt the CoS's finances have taken an appropriate hit, though not nearly as much as they would have if they had lost a libel action.
"The damage didn't stop there; Channel 4's lawyers have got hold of the adverts and have apparently warned the CoS that they will be taken to the cleaners if the ads are run. So far, they haven't been."
Web site The Smoking Gun this week published an affidavit from Parker Stevenson, who is filing for divorce from Scientologist Kirstie Alley. In addition to descriptions of wild and expensive parties and shopping sprees, the document describes Alley's attempt to resolve the issue through Scientology procedures.
"In numerous conversations with me, Kirstie has threatened to 'bury me' in legal fees, and she pursues her threat. Since the commencement of this action, Kirstie has made me fight for everything I have achieved to date, including the joint custody of our minor children, and continuance of the action in California, situs of our marital residence, the children's residence, and the majority of our assets. I, through my California counsel, had diligently sought to resolve this matter without litigation and continue to do so. Kirstie initially wanted us to mediate our property, support and custody issues before a respected member of the Church of Scientology. I attended one five-hour meeting on December 28, 1996, and discovered that neither the mediator, nor Kirstie, had any knowledge of the law regarding the issues. Kirstie didn't even understand the concept of sharing on an equal basis the property we had accumulated during our marriage. I told Kirstie that I needed the assistance of an attorney to advise me of the applicable law and my rights and obligations and I advised Kirstie to get similar advice."
The Smoking Gun: Document of the day
The identity of the woman who claimed to have received asylum in the U.S. due to religious persecution in Germany was identified this week in Germany's FOCUS magazine.
"[T]he name of the woman who claimed to have received Asylum is 'Antje Victore'. She has lived the last 3 years in Clearwater and is a real estate broker. Before, she was involved in the company of the (later) convicted criminal and OT8 top-scientologist Detlef Foullois. Antje refused to provide any evidence that she received asylum. The article does not mention any accusation of personal persecution, only general accusations."
"Antje Victore, maiden name Pingel, worked with the title of an 'Executive Director Expansion' in Detlef Foullois' trouble-ridden company. Her asylum in the US was already being granted on February 28th this year. Kurt Weiland said it was 'coincidence' that this asylum become public during the debate on this House Resolution recently and not any earlier. She is also a Patron."
Mark Dallara posted to report his appearance before the Clearwater City Commission meeting, where he spoke during an open comments portion of the agenda concerning the the upcoming protest of Scientology, December 5-6.
"On December 5th and 6th, there will be protest activities against $cientology in Clearwater. I am here to provide information related to the events, which have been organized once again by individual activists and former Scientologists. The reasons for my own participation can be summed up in a statement by journalist Richard Behar. In a 1991 TIME magazine cover story, he wrote, 'The Church of Scientology... portrays itself as a religion. In reality the church is a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner.'
"[Y]ou are probably aware of at least some of the many facts which support Behar's statement. That $cientology maintains an internal intelligence agency, which is used for covert operations and smear campaigns to silence those who speak out against the cult's tactics. That such operations were launched against the defunct Clearwater Sun newspaper and former Clearwater Mayor Gabe Cazares, among others. That both a criminal investigation and civil suit are continuing in the matter of Lisa McPherson, a young Scientologist who died while in the custody of fellow cult members. That the notes kept by $cientologists during Lisa's ordeal indicate that she unsuccessfully attempted to leave her quarters, and was subjected to quack medical practices by unlicensed personnel.
"I have several documents that I wish to submit for the Commission's review in this matter. Foremost among them is an academic paper by Dr. Stephen Kent of the University of Alberta. It explores the human rights violations which are inherent in $cientology practices such as the RPF. I would urge the Commission to adopt a very direct policy regarding $cientology - Do not allow yourselves to be deceived or manipulated, and DO NOT COOPERATE WITH THIS CULT."
German Life magazine carried an article this week on the Scientology controversy. Some excerpts:
"To explain the furious hostility between Germany and the Church of Scientology, German officials might point to the story of a young man from Braunschweig named Jurgen Behrndt. Shortly before his graduation from technical school in 1989, Behrndt received an offer of free career counseling in a brochure from an employment agent in Hamburg. But the man turned out to be a Scientologist recruiter, and instead of employment advice, he gave Behrndt a copy of the Scientologists' Bible, DIANETICS: THE MODERN SCIENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH. Then a woman from the Scientologists' Hamburg office began calling, Behrnst said, and pressuring him to take a 200-question personality test.
"He did, beginning a six-year membership with the group, and endless series of 'audits' of his mental health and classes to 'stabilize' his mind. 'When things went well, I paid ever-more money out of my pocket,' Behrndt recalled. 'When things went poorly, I was insulted and rebuked.' In Behrndt's first year of membership, Scientology officials visited his parents with him seeking a DM 75,000 ($50,250) loan toward his activities. By the time he broke from the group in 1995, Behrndt had spent some DM 200,000 ($143,000), as unemployed and emotionally ravaged: 'Many days I saw no reason to even get up.'
"Claudia Nolte, Germany's Federal Minister for the Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, has been one of the most vocal critics, vowing to fight the group 'with all means at my disposal' and calling for federal agents to monitor it. 'Scientology aims for world domination and the destruction of our society,' said Nolte, a member of Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
"An administrative court ruled in 1995 that Scientology's extensive marketing of books and courses makes it a commercial enterprise under German law. A federal labor court that same year ruled that Scientology uses 'inhumane and totalitarian practices,' often separating members from their families to make them psychologically and financially dependent on the Scientology group. In its decision, the court quoted one of Hubbard's instructions to 'make money, make more money--make other people produce so as to make money' and concluded that Scientology claims to be a church merely as a cover to pursue financial interests."
Reuters carried an article on U.S. Congressmen who were embarrassed over the vote to rebuke Germany in the House.
"'We vote on a lot of things we should be embarrassed about,' Calvin Dooley, Democrat from California, told journalists. 'That never should have come up for a vote.' The six congressmen, on a three-day tour of Europe, said they were relieved the House of Representatives soundly defeated a resolution criticizing Germany for discriminating against religious minority groups, particularly Scientology.
"'The overwhelming size of the vote should show how House members feel,' said Bob Livingston, a Louisiana Republican. Jim Kolbe, an Arizona Republican, said the vote was 'an overwhelming endorsement of respect for Germany.' 'Scientology had waged a very vigorous campaign. Some people were evidently persuaded,' he said. Asked if they thought religious freedom was lacking in Germany, the six representatives shook their heads and said no."
Scientology's celebrities were present at a gathering at the LA Celebrity Center this week to mark the re-release of Hubbard's Fundamentals of Thought, according to a Scientology press release.
"Three of television's brightest talents -- Jenna Elfman (Dharma and Greg), Leah Remini (Fired Up) and twice Emmy nominated actress and producer Lee Purcell -- headlined a gathering of stars at Hollywood's Celebrity Centre International Saturday night marking the publication of L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought. The release event also spotlighted such film and television performers as Bodhi Elfman, Jim Meskimen, Christopher Smith, Larry Anderson, comedian/actor Tom Ayers, international fashion model Kathy Doyle and two-time world champion free-style skier, Bob Salerno.
"Explaining the impact that the life-changing principles of The Fundamentals of Thought has had on her own life and skyrocketing career -- and why so many celebrated entertainers and famed personalities in other fields are involved in Scientology -- Jenna Elfman said: 'I didn't know how to open the door to my goals and would have been fiddling with the lock for all these years had I not learned about Scientology. I now know that I truly am limitless.' She continued, 'Scientology opened the door for me and I've just walked through it to success.'"
Graham Berry described some of the courtroom events during the ruling last week that the assets of the RTC and CSI were subject to Lawrence Wollersheim's $6 million judgment.
"Lawrence's collection attorneys (Craig Stein and Dan Liepold) of course. From the Goon's camp there were Bill Drescher, Esq., David Chodos, Esq., Mike Rinder, Lynn Farney and Howard Guttfeld. The judge refused to stay execution to give them time to get the $9 million bond together. Mike Rinder turned ashen and white, as did the Rev. Farney and Howie.
"Farney and Howie then followed those working on the issuance of the Writ of Execution. Subsequently they checked the courts file and it very nearly went missing for a few days (back to archives) until fate intervened and it went back to the courtroom where it belonged."
Scientology subsequently posted the $9 million bond to stop immediate seizure of assets. Lawrence Wollersheim commented:
"They have never put up a bond before because they were terrified if they paid off any one victim, then tens of thousands of other victims would come forward and sue them and possibly collect. This forced bond is a major victory for every Scientology victim all over the world thinking about suing Scientology for its ongoing human rights abuses and religious persecution activities. I believe that Scientology they will even be facing new criminal charges in the US for their asset- stripping and other felony corporate fraud."
Bob Minton reported that Scientology is continuing its harassment of him for supporting several anti-Scientology causes and individuals.
"Tonight my mother calls to tell me that she was telephoned today by a very nice man named 'Dan Wallace' of 'East Coast Newspapers' in Boston who was doing a story about how her son 'had accumulated so much wealth in his international banking business. Did my mother know a Mr. Phillips? Did my mother know about my link to Germany? Did my mother know about an article about me in London? My mother said that these sound like questions you should be asking my son who is also in Boston. She went to get a pen, surprise the $cieno Freedumb journalists was still there and gave this number (718) 440-9222."
"I learned that the $cienos have made a motion in the wrongful death suit that Lisa's family has brought against the 'church' of $cientology, to have me deposed. Apparently, I have information that is critical to this case as I am part of some bigger conspiracy funded by the German government to discredit/punish the 'church' of $cientology. I understand a protective order is in the works. The hearing for this motion which apparently revolves around me supposedly having funneled money from the German government to the McPherson family is set for December 4th."
Bob also reported his latest assistance - to former Scientologists Vaughn and Stacy Young, who were harassed by Scientology with a whispering campaign for keeping and caring for a number of animals in their Seattle home.
"I am personally happy to have been able to have purchased this property on Vashon Island which will enable Vaughn and Stacy to continue in their dual roles of rescuing animals and people from the victimization inflicted by uncaring humans--be they $cientologists abusing their members or critics as well as people who no longer have need of a kitty.
"The 'church' of $cientology has already demonstrated their willingness to try and attack these cats in their new location and have them and the Youngs eased out of Vashon Island just like they successfully did in West Seattle. Yes, David Lee--a detective working on behalf of the 'church' already admitted to having trespassed on the property in a discussion with a real estate broker who handled this property purchase on my behalf. He was just 'having a look around'."
Helsingborgs Dagblad reported that a member of the Swedish Parliament is sending copies of the NOTS to public libraries for safekeeping.
"The social-democratic member of Parliament Carina Hagg, is now about to spread the scientologists bible even thought the Government chose to seal it. The scientology bible is in the Parliament and in the Government. Regarding the one in the Parliament, the Government have no possibility to seal it. Hagg has now given one copy to the library in Jonkoping, tells the newspaper Varnamo Nyheter. Everybody who wants to, should have the ability to read the secret scripture, is the motto of Carina Hagg."
Anonymous poster "NoScieno" reported that Scientology has introduced a new device, the E-meter simulator.
"The Hubbard E-Meter Drills Simulator. It's a flat black box with 55 keys (reminiscent of a screenless laptop), decorated with the $cientology and Diarrhetics logos. The picture I have is too small to make out the key-labels, but the accompanying text reads: 'This is the breakthrough which creates fully interactive sessions through the replay of every imaginable E-Meter needle and Tone Arm action. Within a few minutes of hatting and drilling, /anyone/ can use this simulator.' No price is given in the insert."
Wired magazine carried an update article on the lawsuits being pursued against Internet participants by Scientology.
"In the battle between the Church of Scientology (COS) and the Net, the shrapnel's still flying. As long ago as May 1995, posters on alt.religion.scientology were betting that California Nethead Grady Ward would be the next Church target. On March 21, 1996, those predictions were borne out: the COS filed a lawsuit accusing Ward of anonymously posting a series of texts under the moniker 'Scamizdat' - documents containing secrets normally seen by Scientologists only after years of expensive study. The Church also obtained a preliminary injunction, forcing Ward to cease any activity that would violate COS copyright of the materials.'
"The only thing I really care about is freedom of speech and criticism on the Net,' says Ward, who categorically denies the charges. Keith Henson was the Church's next target. Henson, whose interests in space colonization and cryonics were chronicled in Ed Regis's 1990 book Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition: Science Slightly over the Edge, welcomes Scientology's suit against him, saying, 'It will increase my status on the Net.' Henson has filed a counterclaim for US$500 million in damages.
"Even as these new cases are placed on the burner, others continue to simmer: at press time, Dennis Erlich - raided by the COS in February 1995, when, by court order, the Church seized possessions from his home and permanently deleted files from his computer - was still waiting for a ruling from Judge Whyte as to whether the COS documents he posted qualified as trade secrets, given their widespread distribution on the Net. Arnaldo Lerma, whose computer was returned months after an August 1995 raid (with two 1-Gbyte hard disks missing), lost in court this January when US District Court Judge Leonie M. Brinkema issued a summary judgment that Lerma had violated Church copyrights. Eight months later, Brinkema had yet to issue her opinion in writing.
"Though the suits have been reported in great detail on the Net, they have not chilled discussion on the newsgroup. Nor has the worst vertical spam in Usenet history. From the end of May to the end of July, an estimated 20,000 messages consisting of brief quotations from Scientology promotional materials were posted to alt.religion.scientology. Posters are forced to pick their way through acres of the stuff to get to the meat of the discussion, where they consider the ramifications of the Netcom settlement, argue about Scientology practices, and, of course, flame each other. The battle rages on."
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