Neil Muspratt reported on a picket at the Brisbane, Australia org this week.
"Stuart Riley and I put in another protest outside the Brisbane offices of the Church of Scientology yesterday afternoon from about 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Eventually there were 4 of them out there distributing their stuff, including a local edition of Freedom with a column by (and nice picture of) Virginia Stewart, Editor and Director of Public Affairs in Australia.
"[T]hey had that yellow 'Public Warning' leaflet describing what terrible people Stuart Riley, Tony McClelland and David Gerard are, the 'CultAware - Serpent of Hate' pamphlet and a full A4 page titled 'THE FACTS THAT ARE NOT INCLUDED IN REPORTS OF LISA MCPHERSONS DEATH'
"'In December 1995, Lisa McPherson died very suddenly of a unpredictable death by Pulmonary Embolism. Not only did Joan Wood feed her false information to the local media, she also went on two different tabloid TV shows, 'Hard Copy' and 'Inside Edition' and made the same outrageous accusations. Joan Wood alleged that she had performed the autopsy. The Church later found out that an assistant medical examiner had and he testified under oath that Joan Wood was not even present. There was no severe dehydration and dehydration was not the cause of death. The clot formation was due to injury to her leg that likely occurred from the car accident she suffered two weeks before her death.
"'Civil suit discovery has uncovered evidence that: Joan Wood's office destroyed documents concerning this matter that contained evidence showing the Church's innocence. Joan Wood's office covered up evidence that proves her allegations false and proves Lisa McPherson's death was accidental and unpredictable. THIS ADDS UP TO OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE'"
Web site www.entheta.net received a letter from their ISP following another demand for removal of documents from Scientology. The current demand is for four photographs from the Channel 4 documentary, Secret Lives. David Kramer is the attorney for the ISP, Concentric Network Corporation.
"We have received yet another letter from attorneys for the Church of Scientology identifying still more material on your Concentric web site that allegedly infringes the Church's copyrights. These materials were apparently added to your site after you were notified of the Church's original infringement allegations.
"The materials identified in this third letter from the Church are located
"Concentric's patience is at its end in this matter. The company does not wish to involve itself in your private campaign against the Church, nor should it be obligated to hire attorneys to protect itself from your questionable conduct. We insist that you remove the allegedly infringing materials from your Concentric site immediately. If the materials are not removed by the close of business on December 26 or if we receive any further correspondence from the Church alleging that its copyrights are infringed by materials on your web site, we will have no choice but to terminate your Concentric account in accordance with your Terms of Service Agreement."
Mirrors of the site have been made at
Roger Gonnet reported that a Scientology doctor in France has been placed on probation for sending patients to Scientology. The news came from 60 Millions de Consommateurs.
"[A] Medical Doctor sentenced an amend of 150000 FF and 2 years delayed jail has been sentenced against Doctor Joseph HELOU, MD in St Vit (Dept of Doubs), who sent his depressive patients to a cult, the church of scientology. The MD was organizing information's meetings upon scientology and got a percentage of the costs of 'courses' taken by his patients. The Medical Council (Conseil de l'Ordre des Médecins) has been less severe: Dr Helou has been suspended only for three months and has since restarted to be active."
Grady Ward announced that the trial in his copyright infringement case will begin shortly.
"In a hearing today December 23, 1997 in Santa Rosa, California, the Hon. Alan Jaroslovsky lifted the automatic statutory stay that has been in effect in the RTC v. Ward litigation since October 8, 1997. Effective immediately, this means that the civil trial in the RTC v. Ward litigation will go ahead on January 12, 1998."
Agence France Presse reports that a Greek court has upheld the closing of Scientology in that country.
"A court of appeal in Greece has upheld a decision to close the Greek branch of the Church of Scientology, and accused it of 'brain-washing' members, a legal source said Wednesday. The Greek Scientology branch known as the KEPHE, (i.e 'centre for applied philosophy') found guilty of proselytism, submitting its members to brain-washing and extorting money from them. The verdict affirmed a January decision. The prosecution was brought by Athens' most senior politician. A petition demanding the group be outlawed attracted 4,000 signatures, including parents of KEPHE members."
E! Online reported this week on Scientology celebrities.
"Kirstie Alley wants us to know that 98 percent of the things we've been hearing and reading about her romance with actor James Wilder and her impending divorce from Parker Stevenson are lies. That, she says, includes the stories that she and Wilder are planning to get married at the Scientology church in Florida. About the only thing that's true, she says, is the fact she and Wilder are together.
"Michael Jackson is planning to father yet another baby - this one by his ex-wife, Lisa Marie Presley, it was reported last night. Newspapers in London quoted the megastar as saying: 'Lisa Marie wants to have my baby, and I'm very proud and honored. A child with Lisa Marie would be a wonderful tribute to our past marriage.'"
The legal newspaper Los Angeles Daily Journal carried an article on Lawrence Wollersheim's victory in court, including interviews with his attorneys,
"The trial court concluded that defendants' leaders 'acted in bad faith which would result in an injustice to plaintiff if CSI's and RTC's corporate separateness were maintained and they were not added as judgment debtors.' In a 6-page order issued Oct. 29, 1997, the court concluded that CSI and RTC were the alter egos of CSC. The court based its findings on a number of factors including that CSI and RTC had sufficient unity of interest and ownership with CSC, that CSI and RTC controlled the litigation, that CSI financed the lawsuit, used the same counsel, and that RTC's chairman and highest officer supervised and controlled the defense and ordered the destruction of certain files the court ordered CSC to produce to plaintiff. Consequently, plaintiff was permitted to amend the judgment to include CSI and RTC, the real party defendants and judgment debtors. On Nov. 17, 1997, defendant CSI posted a bond in the amount of $9,045,229.40 to undertake an appeal of the reported decision. The result was reached approximately 17 years after the case was filed.
"Craig J. Stein: I have never been treated in any way that I would call inappropriate. I have not experienced anything. I have not experienced anything that is different than any other litigation except for the fact that every time we go to court, they have a new set of lawyers. Basically, we have continued to have reasonably positive results with the court. I guess they say, 'Well, we didn't have success with this set of lawyers, let's bring on another set of lawyers.'
"It is hard to even explain to you in a brief interview just how much litigation Mr. Wollersheim has been involved in, in connection with this case. He sued Scientology once, they have sued him at least four times now, and they are presently suing him. It is hard to imagine the process being used in this fashion. During the pendency of the trial, Scientology sued Mr. Wollersheim in the district court -- not only Mr. Wollersheim, but his lawyers and his expert witnesses. Ultimately, it was determined to have been brought in bad faith and was dismissed.
"Cathy Shipe: [T]hey are very litigious. They will file every sort of conceivable motion and oppose the motions you file very vigorously. So you get repeated opportunities to perfect your law and motion skills (laugh). It is a never-ending, long and tedious process.'
"There is no group of opponents that I have ever dealt with that has even come close to these people in terms of the volume and rancor associated with the litigation tactics they use. You know, it's not just me. We have declarations that we have used various times over the years from people like Judge Kolts. He talked in one of the declarations he filed in one of the cases about how they filed every motion that was conceivable and some that are not conceivable. He had never seen anything like it. Judge Ideman, who was on the Central District of California panel at one time, filed a declaration that basically said the same thing. He recused himself from the case, because he felt like he was being harassed by them. He just had enough. It is truly phenomenal. It's like nothing you see anywhere else.
"Daniel A. Leipold: Well, to go back -- I also represented the Cult Awareness Network. Scientology is what I would call a serial litigator, and they filed approximately 30 lawsuits against the CAN in California. They actually filed about 50 of them. I didn't know anything about Scientology, [and] didn't know anything about CAN. They needed a defense to some lawsuits. Well, at the time, it was just two lawsuits, so I said fine, I'd be willing to do that. What they did was, the Scientologists were using what they call FSMs, field staff members, which are outside public members of the organization to act as fronts, and they were fronting a series of Unruh civil rights actions against the CAN which considers Scientology to be a cult. [The suit] stated that CAN was discriminating against them by not allowing Scientologists to join.
"You know, these well known firms tend to come and go. You will see them on a case for six months or a year and then you won't see them again. I suspect that they eventually realize that they are getting farther and farther out on an edge. But, can I prove that? No. That is my suspicion. I do not believe that the motions are written by these well-known firms. And I have had these lawyers admit to me that they are not writing them. I don't know what the relationship is. They tend to over-lawyer cases unbelievably. They send legions of lawyers when any rational law firm or litigant would send one or two, and they believe by facing you off with a half dozen overpaid lawyers they will either overwhelm you or impress the court so much, that you won't stand a chance."
Scientology continues its letter-writing campaign to LA Weekly, which several weeks ago published an article on efforts to introduce Scientology techniques to public schools. Letters of support from Scientology critics were also published. Excerpts from the letters to the editor.
"I was surprised and disappointed at the poor journalism in your article 'The Learning Cure.' I felt it was written to prove a point, not written from actual research. I am the founder of a technology company that has grown from two employees to 800 in just over three years. I'm 26 years old, and have been written about in many national publications as a young success. I never attended college, and I attribute much of my success to my education at the Delphian School of Oregon, which trains its students in the use of Hubbard's study technology. This technology allows you to get the most out of the study of any subject. Knowing it, I was able to accomplish my post-high school education on my own. If Hubbard's technology is working, why attack it?
"Sky Dayton; Founder, Earthlink Network Inc.
"Fantastic, excellent work by Sara Catania. She and the Weekly should be commended for the production of such a frank and accurate description of Scientology's study technology. As a mother and a taxpayer, I thank you. I shudder to think of my children being educated with such mind-controlling, thought-stopping material.
"Sandra Jamison; Robins AFB, Georgia"
|Letters from Clearwater|
Mark Dallara transcribed a series of letters between Brian Anderson of Flag Land Base and Sid Klein, Chief of Police in Clearwater. The letters were sent in response to recent picketing at the Fort Harrison Hotel.
"Dear Chief Klein:
"It has now come to our attention that you are engaged in extra-legal activities to the effect of contributing to the planned demonstration outside the Church headquarters.
"Information we have received includes: Consulting the planned picketers on how they can best maximize their efforts, including briefings by Detective Paul Miller to 'spread out' so it creates a bigger impact, etc. Planned meetings (or ones which have already taken place) with various of your detectives and possibly including Detective Miller and Maser with Jeff Jacobsen -- another non-Clearwater resident not involved in any matters concerning the Church except for abridgement of their rights and participating in the hate campaign you have orchestrated/participated in.
"As a final note, we find it of great interest that your Department goes out of the way to forward the action of a non-Clearwater citizen to the detriment of the thousands who are Clearwater citizens. Apparently, your force is of the belief that Scientologists don't have the rights of citizens."
"Dear Mr. Anderson:
"Your letter is a fascinating mix of fact, fantasy, baseless allegation and absurd conclusions. The City of Clearwater Police Department is committed to the protection of people, property and the maintenance of safety and peace in the City of Clearwater.
"The essence of your allegations appears to be that meeting with or talking with individuals opposed to your church somehow constitutes extra legal activity and/or a violation of the rights of Scientologists. Consistent with good law enforcement practices, the Police Department has been in communication with the individuals who intend to protest against the Church of Scientology. The purpose of these communications is to assure a safe, peaceful, orderly demonstration by this group of individuals who have a constitutionally protected right to protest.
"The safety of the protesters and all members of the public, including Church of Scientology members, is paramount to the Clearwater Police Department. Safety will be best guaranteed by careful planning and good communication between the protesters, the City and the Church. In that spirit, the Police Department has had several meetings with representatives from the Church and has established a method of communication between the Church and the Police Department. Despite these efforts, Church representatives failed to appear at a scheduled meeting with the Police Department this morning, Friday, at 10:00 a.m.
"I have grown weary of the untold numbers of scurrilous claims, allegations and malicious charges leveled at the Police Department by the Church of Scientology. If you have any objective evidence whatsoever of your bizarre conspiracy theories or 'extra-legal' actions on the part of me or any Clearwater Police officer, it is time, Mr. Anderson for you to produce the evidence."
"We're citizens of Clearwater and considering that we're a thousand Scientologists for every one of the paid-for dissidents, and considering the Scientologists were from Clearwater whom you are entrusted to protect, I find it quite odd that you would instead attend the demonstration by the half-dozen and not ours of thousands that concerned you and your activities, by the people who were actually Lisa's friends and who did know her. You think it's unfair that our protest was far larger than the one held by your friends? If so, then you think every single Scientologist does not have the combined rights of a few anti-Scientology haters.
"I certainly consider it unusual that the press conference was closed-door (is that your idea of the First Amendment?) and Scientologists were prevented from attending by off-duty, uniformed police officers. That press conference was also attended, as spectators, by the likes of Detective Miller. On the other hand, we held a press conference, that was open door, and none of your police attended. You call that objective?
"You seem to think it's not extra-legal to have meetings with out-of-town protesters, organized up by an individual paying these people and think it's only appropriate that you meet with those individuals to ensure there are no incidents. You even suggested we delay opening Winter Wonderland and the Pinellas Trail, things which benefit the entire community, to cater to the more recently planned activities of these out-of-towners, paid to stage a sham 'vigil'? It's obvious who the cause of any non-peaceful incident would be--the out-of-towners. Especially since one of their half-dozen includes a man twice arrested by the LAPD in the last month and who literally bit a Scientologist when his harassment and violation of restraining orders were being stopped!"
Keith Henson, placed under citizen's arrest in Los Angeles, did not attend the events in Clearwater.
Bob Minton will be deposed in the Lisa McPherson case, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
"The Church of Scientology won the right Tuesday to question the man who has been financing its critics. [Judge Moody] also said he was 'disturbed' about an effort by one Scientology corporation to use an unrelated bankruptcy case in California to question Minton about his role in the McPherson case. Moody ruled earlier this month that Minton could not be questioned yet. 'I'm not going to have a party, through some related entity, do what I've told them not to do,' the judge said, warning he could sanction the church."
The Times ran another article, comparing Bob's contributions to the McPherson case to the funding of suits against the Cult Awareness Network by Scientology.
"Scientology has blasted Robert S. Minton Jr. for donating more than $1.25-million to its critics, calling his actions 'nefarious' and underhanded. The church contends he is illegally interfering with lawsuits involving Scientology. But earlier this decade, Scientology officials themselves backed several lawsuits against one of the church's own adversaries, the Cult Awareness Network.
"In an effort to get more information about Minton, the church is using a bankruptcy case involving a church critic to subpoena records of Minton's donations. At a hearing scheduled today in Tampa, Dandar is expected to argue against the church's effort. Dandar said he never heard of Minton until church lawyers asked about him this summer. He said he inquired about Minton over the Internet and Minton responded, offering financial aid in the McPherson case.
"But Minton's contributions are a fraction of the money and effort Scientology poured into lawsuits that bankrupted CAN, according to a lawyer who has defended the group. Attorney Daniel Leipold puts CAN's legal expenses at roughly $2-million, and 'for every nickel we spent, they spent at least a dollar.'
"Brian Hart, one of the first Scientologists to file a suit against CAN in December 1992, said he did not see the lawsuit until 10 months later -- three days before he testified in a deposition. Hart told lawyers he could not remember how he got the name and addresses of CAN officials. Nor could he remember many other circumstances that led to the lawsuit, including who asked him to write to CAN.
"Another plaintiff, Jonathan L. Nordquist of Chicago, fired his attorney and asked a judge to dismiss his lawsuit. He said Eugene Ingram, a private investigator for the Church of Scientology, paid him $300 to have lunch, and he agreed to be a plaintiff. Nordquist said he signed a blank page for Scientology attorneys. 'Scientology planned, instigated, coordinated and sponsored a plan to subject CAN to multiple lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions in order to overwhelm and eliminate it or take it over and control it,' said Leipold."
24 Heures reported that Switzerland has closed a private and secret Scientology school.
"Hidden from curious eyes in an apartment of downtown Lausanne, a score of children followed during nearly one year the courses given by teachers involved in the scientologist movement. How did the DIPC discover this underground class ? 'Precisely because the children had disappeared from the official circuit. We sought their trace and thus discovered the problem,' remembers Jean-Jacques Schwaab, head of the State education. The secretary of State points out that home teaching is allowed as long as the number of pupils does not exceed six. 'But there were ten small children in age to be in nursery school and ten others old enough for primary school'. On request of Jean-Jacques Schwaab, the police was called out to stop these infrigements. The class closed definitively at the end of September.
"In what do they differ from those used in the public schools? 'They are very similar, that's why they are dangerous,' explains Francois Lavergnat, president of the Grouping for the Defense of the Family and the Individual. 'The subjects are the same. But between two serious courses, they are gradually inculcated the doctrines, namely the concept of belonging to an elite as well as the submission to the movement. It is an even more perverted method since it is used on children, who are by definition more susceptible to influence than adults. If one thinks that their parents are for the majority followers of the movement, you get young people completely out of reality at fifteen years-old. They are totally out of the society. Sometimes we are able to bring them back on the tracks. But it's very difficult when they have been conditioned from the beginning. That's why the scientologists are trying to open schools on every country of the world. With little or no success as far as I know.'
"The General Secretary of the DIPC, Fabien Loi Zedda, reminds that the Vaud's Canton is not the first one in Switzerland to refuse scientologist's managed schools opening: 'Two other Swiss Cantons have taken similar decisions.'"
Tilman Hausherr reported this week that the org in Zurich, Switzerland has been shrinking, and no longer occupies their entire building.
"[The] Zurich org used to be the biggest in Europe. Occupying a six story building the place was busy as can be. Busy-ness however seems to have dropped markedly over the past 12 months as reported by a recent defector: 'They vacated the sixth floor completely, the fifth is almost empty as well. Plans are to sub-lease those two floors.'"
The Sonora, California Union Democrat reports that Scientology is developing an abandoned mine there for use as a storage vault.
"The Church of Spiritual Technology has been blasting at the Lady Washington Mine, 18749 First Avenue, for several weeks and recently finished gunniting about 108 feet of tunnel. Plans filed with the Tuolumne County Building Department show a 15-foot-wide, 250-foot-long-tunnel. The first 98 feet from the entrance are improved, with a 10.5-foot domed ceiling. At the end of the 98 feet is a 10-foot-long storage room. The plans show the rest of the tunnel to be unimproved. The value of the finished project, according to the building permit, is $210,000. The church has also applied for a permit to build a generator building, but that permit has not yet been approved.
"The Lady Washington Mine and two houses on 26.23 acres were purchased in 1988 by William and Donna Daniels. They bought six parcels in all. Part of the land was sold by William Trimmer, and the rest by Drew Reeves. In 1988, the Daniels gave the property to Norman Starkey, trustee of 'Author's Family Trust.' Starkey gave the property to the Church of Spiritual Technology in 1993."
Zenon Panoussis announced that he has moved from Sweden to The Netherlands. The move is not motivated by his lawsuits from Scientology.
"I have lived in Amsterdam before and I have wanted to return here for a long time, long before I got involved with scientology at all. Anyway, living here or there changes nothing and offers neither advantage nor disadvantage, as far as the legal cases in Sweden are concerned.
"I've been sued again in Sweden. Loooong opening motion. Some day I will sell the bulk of court documents as recycling paper and get rich."
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