|Munich Org Raided|
Scientology's Munich, Germany org was raided by more than one hundred police officers this week. Police were seeking evidence in cases of arson and medical fraud. From Reuters:
"The raids are linked to separate investigations into the death last year of a businessman who allegedly received medical advice from Scientology members, three cases of suspected arson and the reported distribution of insulting material. State prosecutors said Scientology had cooperated with the raids of five of its offices.
"German police are investigating the death last year of a businessman who died after allegedly being told by the members of the group to take a 'vitamin preparation' for an illness. A second inquiry involves three cases of suspected arson on a house, car and a summer-house. The original suspect has claimed the fires were started by Scientology members. A separate investigation follows the distribution, allegedly by Scientology members, of pamphlets describing staff of a local hospital as 'psychiatric murderers.'"
"Church president Heber Jentzsch said in a statement the raids were 'clearly in retaliation for the ongoing investigation by the Church-sponsored Citizens Commission on Human Rights of gruesome patients deaths in Kaufbeuren psychiatric hospital.' He said the raids 'echo the worst excesses of a totalitarian police state' but would not stop the group's investigation."
Summary from BILD newspaper:
"His name is Konrad A., he was a member for 20 years, and was 43 years old. He believed he would never be ill again, so he did not have a health insurance. His 'bus company' is one bus with 50 seats, that he bought 2nd hand three years ago. Before that he had been a bus driver and before a train signal operator. His brother estimates that he paid about $300000 to scientology. He took vitamins that were coming in shoe boxes from Holland. On 21.7.1997 he had to transport scientologists to a demo in Frankfurt. He didn't brake properly at a red light and had an accident. On the evening he drove the scientologists back to the Munich scientology center. On 22:30 they called an ambulance - he had broken down. Coma."
The New York Post reported that U.S. President Bill Clinton has offered to help John Travolta with Scientology's standing in Germany.
"John Travolta says President Clinton offered to help him with a pet project - getting Scientology accepted as a religion in Germany - just as he was about to play a character based on the president.
"The movie is based on Joe Klein's best-selling novel about a lying, womanizing Southern governor - modeled on Clinton - who is running for president.. George says the final product, set for release next month, is far more sympathetic to 'Clinton' than is the book. 'You have to be dead not see that the film favors Clinton,' admitted Travolta, who gained 20 pounds and streaked his hair gray to look presidential in the film.
"Travolta told writer Josh Young that just before 'Primary Colors' went before the cameras last April, the actor was in Washington to promote Scientology - a controversial belief Travolta and scores of other Hollywood types embrace. 'The next day, I met with Clinton,' Travolta told George. 'He told me: 'Your program sounds great. More than that, I'd really love to help you with your issue over in Germany with Scientology.''
"For Travolta, Clinton reportedly went to the extraordinary length of assigning National Security Adviser Sandy Berger to be the administration's Scientology point man. Berger briefed Travolta in the same manner he would a senior senator, George reports. A White House official said last night, 'it is perfectly normal and logical' for Berger to get involved in the Scientology issue because 'it is in the general area of human rights concerns and this is something we have raised with the German government.'"
From a White House Press Briefing:
"Q Mike, John Travolta says that the president had promised to help him get Scientology worldwide recognition. Do you have a comment on that?
"MR. MCCURRY: I -- he may -- that may be a reference to what the United States government has done going back well over a year now to address the concerns that Scientologists in Germany have related to some problems they've experienced there, concerns that we share. We have addressed those in the Annual Human Rights Report that the State Department issues. There's a whole passage on it in last year's report, and I believe it was in this year's report, to. Whatever -- that is a matter of public record. We have pursued those concerns with the German Federation.
"Q Travolta very specifically said that the president assigned Sandy Berger to give him a briefing, as though he were a senator, and that the president did this to court Travolta in order to get a more favorable portrayal in 'Primary Colors.'
"MR. MCCURRY: I'll have to find out further. I find that highly suspect. But I know that they did have a very brief discussion, I think at the president's volunteerism summit in Philadelphia, about the problem the Scientologists were facing in Germany. And I think the president properly asked Mr. Berger to follow up on that. But that had long been -- I think what that consisted of was Mr. Berger explaining what we had been doing to raise our concerns pursuant to work that we had already done diplomatically."
From New York Post article
Swedish Scientology critic Birgitta Dagnell reported probable harassment from Scientology this week.
"I live in an lonely area with no neighbors around in winter time. The road is an dead end. First it was a blue car for several days sneaking by very slowly. One morning I saw this car very close to my job also. It went away quickly when I passed it. Next car was a red one. It drove by every day for a week. Down to the dead end, turned and came back very slowly. Used to stop outside for a minute and look through the gate at my house. I met the red car a short bit from my home. When it saw me he quickly turned around and followed me. I stopped at the mail-box and posted some letters and noticed him 200 meters behind where he had stopped, watching me."
"When I came home from work this afternoon I found the gate wide open. It was closed when I went away. I found that the door to my office had been exposed to an attempt to break in. The lock to the door was halfway unscrewed and a garden door leading to the street stood open. I did not find any signs of that anyone had been inside the house. The police thought it might was an attempt to scare me as a 'normal' thief would had succeeded to break in quite easily."
Bruce Petticrew posted a filing from Scientology to prevent him from picketing the Mesa, Arizona org.
"For over a year, beginning on or around December, 1996, Defendant, Bruce Pettycrew has frequently been an unwelcome intrusion outside the Church carrying out acts o! highly offensive, religious bigotry and intolerance including general dissemination of hate propaganda, screaming and shouting at individual Scientology members and guests, wearing offensive clothing, and carrying and waving foreboding picket signs specifically aimed to incite fear and unrest.
"One of the signs that Defendant carries when he marches in front of the Church reads, 'Scientology Lies' and on the reverse side of the sign it reads, 'Scientology Hurts People'. One of Defendants T-shirts reads, 'Scientology Kills' in bright red letters. Distressed Scientology members have taken pictures of Defendant to evidence these acts. Defendant's numerous and related acts and statements over the past year, which serve no legitimate purpose, have been directed at the Church and would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed and have in fact reasonably caused the Church to be seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed.
"Defendant is known to be associated with an extremist faction of people around the country who have targeted the Church of Scientology, and those associated therewith, with subversive acts of hatred and violence. Defendant is known to have participated in a recent rally in Clearwater, Florida in December, 1997, related to the death of a Church member. Additionally, Defendant is expressly listed on the Internet as having been a participant in the Clearwater rally.
"Therefore, the Church is requesting an immediate injunction to be issued by this Court without further hearing enjoining Defendant to cease and desist from carrying on these acts of highly offensive, religious bigotry and intolerance including general dissemination of hate propaganda, screaming and shouting at individual Scientology members and guests, wearing offensive clothing, and carrying and waving foreboding picket signs anywhere within a radius of at least five-hundred (500) yards from the Church's principal location in Maricopa County, Arizona at 2111 W. University Drive, Mesa, Arizona 85201, or from any Church of Scientology special events at any location within Maricopa County, Arizona."
|Cult Awareness Network|
The M2 Presswire reported that the Cult Awareness Network plans to emerge from bankruptcy forced upon it by Scientology funded lawsuits.
"The authentic Cult Awareness Network, Inc. ('CAN') will emerge from bankruptcy on Thursday, February 5, 1998. As ordered by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ronald Barliant in Chicago on November 7, 1997, management of CAN's remaining assets now reverts to its Board of Directors. For 20 years, CAN, a non-profit educational organization, supplied information and advocacy about cults and mind control to families, media and other professionals - only to be driven into bankruptcy in 1995. Today, over the authentic CAN's objections, Scientology -related investors in Los Angeles are using CAN's name.
"The Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled on September 18, 1997, that the authentic CAN is entitled to sue Scientology for numerous, allegedly-malicious, Scientology-supported law suits. CAN's case was argued by Robert Dow, Jr., Esq.. Scientology has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case and CAN's response, opposing such review, is due on February 10. CAN is also appealing the bankruptcy court's approval in 1996 of the sale of CAN's name to Scientology-related investors. CAN says that the sale misleads individual consumers and deceives the public at large."
Business Day South Africa reports that Scientology's front group, Citizens' Commission on Human Rights, is campaigning against "sleep therapy" in that country.
"The Interim National Medical and Dental Council and the SA Human Rights Commission are looking into complaints about the controversial practice of 'sleep therapy' that were filed at the weekend by the Citizens' Commission on Human Rights. The citizens' commission said yesterday it was requesting the medical council to outlaw the practice, based on the 'debilitating effects on victims'.
"Although sleep therapy is legal in SA - and practised in the private sector - the Society of Psychiatrists of SA last month dubbed it 'medical malpractice '. The therapy, which usually involves intravenous antidepressants or other drug use to put a patient to sleep for several hours or even days, is used to treat depressive, anxious, insomniac and other psychiatric patients.
"The psychiatric society said the treatment was questionable given the efficacy of alternative treatments for mood and anxiety disorders, and was 'dangerous ' in that high drug doses were used. Sleep therapy is also considered malpractice in the US and UK and has been banned in Australia and New Zealand."
Swiss newspaper Le Courrier reports that Scientology has mounted a poster campaign in several cities.
"Lots of posters, incenting to 'think by yourself' and buy a book, are spread out over the walls of Geneva. Nothing extraordinary, except that these 180 wall cupboards are those of the Church of scientology. 17 francs a piece, the addition rises to a little more than 3000 francs [$4500] for 14 days,.
"The campaign extends to Basle, Bern and Zurich. Only the municipality of Lausanne is opposed to the initiative. 'We considered that these posters are likely to disturb people's convictions', said Silvia Zamora, municipal, director of works. A sufficient reason to give a negative notice to the Societe Generale d'Affichage. Scientology had contracted 450 wall cupboards for Lausanne. 'We consider this decision shocking', says Suzanne Montangero, president of the Church of scientology in Lausanne."
German newspaper Die Welt reported this week that Scientology membership is dropping rapidly in Germany.
"According to an article in DIE WELT, there is a large wave of people leaving scientology. The US headquarters are alarmed and are sending many 'watchdogs' to investigate the organisation. What is also surprising is the high amount of active scientologists who are willing to cooperate with the 'Verfassungsschutz' (office for the protection of the constitution). Because of that, they do not even have to send plants."
Die Welt article
The Oregonian reported that the mental health of Jairus Godeka, the Scientologist who was committed to a mental hospital following his shooting of staff members in the Portland org, is improving to allow him to participate in a trial.
"A year ago, Jairus Chegero Godeka, 39, was ordered to the Oregon state Hospital until he was judged able to think clearly enough to assist in his defense. A psychiatric report to Multnomah Judge Frank Bearden on Jan. 22, 1997 said Godeka provided only 'paranoid, essentially nonsensical' information in preparation for his defense.
"Godeka blamed the church for hypnotizing him, ruining his business and destroying his life. Church spokespeople said the church had not much contact with Godeka and did not know why he was angry with them. He earlier had blamed his problems on the church's San Francisco branch and once put a toy tank in front of a church office with a note saying, 'Next time it will be real,' police reports state.
"Defense attorney Kerry Chipman said in January 1997 that he planned an insanity defense in the case. Godeka remains in the state hospital in Salem. Court officials will meet next month to set a schedule for his trial on four counts of attempted aggravated murder, arson, one count of kidnapping, three counts of first-degree assault, one count of second-degree assault and one count of burglary."
A number of court filings regarding Keith Henson were posted this week, including this filing to show that the posting of NOTS 34 material was not "willful" under copyright law.
"Defendant (if permitted) will produce witnesses to the nature of the NOTs 34, 'The Sequence for Handling a Physical Condition.' Defendant maintains that NOTs 34 is an instruction manual for criminal activity. NOTs 34 specifically claims 'healing' with the Emeter, a claim which (besides being illegal) was specifically denied to all scientology organizations by Judge Gasell in an order, a copy of which has been provided to this court. Just this morning news has come from Germany of a person who is reported to have died from the effects of scientology's 'medical' treatment.
"Element two of defendant's case is the long standing and widely recognized abuse of legal process common to scientology corporations. As an example, scientology made (now dismissed) trade secret claims in the case at hand on material which this very court had previously ruled could no longer be considered a trade secret (after being posted around the world a number of times).
"The reason for this ex parte motion is required is that scientology has, through hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal filings, exhausted a witness to their litigious nature the defendant needs at trial. The witness, Gerry Armstrong, provided this court with a document which provides a substantial amount of information on the background of Scientology practices and litigation tactics. This was provided to the court in a response to a subpoena from Grady Ward in a related case. Scientology representatives threatened Mr. Armstrong in an attempt to get him to ignore Mr. Wards subpoena."
Highlights from a court filing against the proposed restraining order Scientology is attempting to get against picketing Gold Base near Hemet, California.
"Plaintiff Ken Hoden is merely the alter-ego of this criminal cult and its leader, David Miscavige. Plaintiff and his counsel, Kendrick L. Moxon, Esq., have obtained the ex parte relief herein by perpetrating a fraud upon this court. The gist of plaintiff's fallacious case is that defendant is a large, drug-crazed, dangerous man with a history of violent, criminal and murderous activity. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Henson had never been arrested for any alleged Offense until he was targeted by Scientology's ferocious litigation juggernaut. The Church of Scientology, through its office of Special Affairs has a long and documented history of abusing the judicial system with vexatious and frivolous litigation for the purpose of harassing and destroying its critics, even framing them. This, and the related cases, are merely further examples of this sordid anti-social history.
"Essentially, this is a case about a powerful tax-exempt commercial and political organization pursuing its institutional policies to suppress all criticism, whether inside or outside, of the organization. Rather than accept both the benefit and the burdens of the First Amendment under which it claims to be a church, plaintiff is misusing the harassment statute to try and silence Mr. Henson's public criticism of the Church of Scientology's practices and conduct. However, at the end of the day, it will be seen that it is plaintiff and his organization who is harassing Mr. Henson, and not vice versa.
"The true inquiry is whether Mr. Henson's activities are Constitutionally protected and if so what limits can be placed upon his speech rights. First, public issue picketing is an activity protected by the First Amendment. Under current First Amendment analysis, the extent to which a defendant's rights of speech may be curtailed begins with identifying the forum used by the defendant to communicate his or her message. 'It has been clearly established since time immemorial that city streets and sidewalks are public fora.' 'No particularized inquiry into the precise nature of a specific street is necessary; all public streets are held in the public trust and are properly considered traditional public fora.'
"Plaintiff also has no right to be free from public criticism. 'No prior decisions support the claim that the interest of an individual in being free from public criticism of his business practices in pamphlets or leaflets warrants use of the injunctive power of a court.'
"The evidence will establish that the material allegations plaintiff makes against Mr. Henson are lacking in both a factual and legal basis and that attorneys' fees should be awarded against plaintiff, and his attorney."
From Scientology attorney Kendrick Moxon reply to the filing:
"The brief raises scurrilous, inflammatory and irrelevant allegations which although false, even if true have no conceivable purpose except to attempt to prejudice the Court against plaintiff and manipulate the media by insertion of such material in a public file. The brief is not designed to raise genuine issues for bearing on February 20th, rather, it is filed for press consumption with allegations of 'fact' under a purported litigation privilege to protect the defendant and his counsel from civil liability. Response to the brief would require hundreds of pages, and if the issues raised in the brief were actually to be litigated, it would require weeks to do so. Defendant evidently intends to put the Scientology religion on trial in this courtroom in violation of the First Amendment - not to defend the limited harassment charges against him.
"[D]efendant's brief should be stricken, and defendant ordered to limit his presentation at trial to the limited issues which this case addresses, in order to obviate the numerous motions in limine which would be necessary if the brief and issues raised therein stand."
From Hemet area newspaper The Press-Enterprise:
"A Northern California man who has picketed Church of Scientology sites across the country has been banned from going near the church's Golden Era film productions in Gilman Hot Springs. Golden Era Manager Ken Hoden received a temporary restraining order after claiming Keith Henson harassed and threatened him while picketing outside the church's complex along Highway 79 Jan. 6. 'I think he's a menace to the community,' Hoden said Wednesday. 'With his mental attitude there's no knowing what he's going to do. He's a walking time bomb.'
"Henson, 55, of Palo Alto, maintains he was exercising his rights to free speech and had no intention of harming Hoden. During the 20-minute protest he carried a sign that questioned whether Scientologists were to blame in the death of a Florida woman. Both Sides are scheduled to appear at a hearing Feb. 20 in Riverside Superior Court to determine whether the restraining order should be made permanent.
"Golden Era officials said in court documents that Henson poses a safety risk to employees based on his history of threats against the church and involvement with cryonics, the practice of freezing bodies in the hopes that they can be brought back to life when cures are found. Although Henson was associated with the Alcor Life Extension laboratory, he said he was not investigated as a suspect. 'They're trying to say I'm a really bad character considered to be slightly strange,' Henson said.
"Henson blames 'standard tech' - the application of Scientology technology - for the death of Lisa McPherson in December 1995. McPherson died 17 days after she entered the church's 'retreat center' to begin a 24-hour surveillance program aimed at treating her mental illness. Henson said he protests to help prevent other people from 'dying in the hands of Scientologists.' He went to Golden Era because he was in Southern California defending himself in another case Scientologists filed against him in Los Angeles in November."
Bob Minton posted more details on his trip to be interviewed by a news crew in Clearwater this past week.
"On Sunday the German SAT-1 TV film crew and producer went on a tour of a few sites in Clearwater with Gabe Cazares and his wife Velma. For those new to ARS, Gabe was mayor of Clearwater when scientology first slithered out of the water as the United Churches of Florida.
"Brian Anderson is a Scientologist. He works for the Guardian Office. He is not required to have manners, be polite, respectful of others or show wogs any other common courtesies. His religion demands he jump out of bushes at Hacienda Gardens and taunt Gabe Cazares while he is being interviewed by SAT-1. SAT-1 deserves to be accused of paying Dallara and Minton to stage a picket in front of the Fort Harrison, Clearwater Bank Building, and the Sandcastle. Brian can startle and taunt Mr. Cazares again in front of the Clearwater Bank building on Sunday and try to disrupt the interview.
"When Gabe's interview is over and Gabe, his wife and the SAT-1 crew are walking away, Brian can yell to SAT-1 'why don't you interview somebody other than a senile old man next time you are here'."
Bob also reported continued leafleting on two occasions this week on by Scientologists.
"[A] scientologist minister, in full ministerial garb plus a suited companion distributed leaflets on Beacon Hill this afternoon (It's the same leaflet as the last few times). Also, they picketed with a banner."
"Two scienos picketed tonight with a sign that had 2 picts of me at top followed by 'MINTON STOP CREATING VIOLENCE ON OUR CHURCH'. This was the first meeting I had with the 1 OSA guy last name Hall and his pal who gave a name which I don't remember. They wanted to know:
"Why I was so mean and nasty to take a mortgage on my mothers house? Who my psychiatrist is? That they had not let out all the dirty information found out about me by David Lee to my neighbors yet. That they are still investigating my German connections, especially the money side of them. That if I picket the Boston Org they will picket my house."
An episode of the animated series The Simpsons contained parody elements of Scientology and other cults. Mark Dallara posted an analysis.
"Tonight's episode of the Simpsons, which focused on a cult called Movementarianism, contained references to several different real-life cults, including a number of rather explicit references to the criminal corporation of $cientology.
"Movementarian uniforms - the light blue shirt, dark blue pants, and dark ties worn by the recruiters were an echo of the clothing worn by members of the Sea Organization, an 'elite' group within $cientology. Orientation film - Homer and his family are recruited into the cult through a free film. One of $cientology's 'body-routing' tactics is to give people free passes to a nutball orientation movie at one of their missions or orgs. Trillion-year contract - Homer mentions that he has signed over all his money, the house, and even himself for a trillion years. The lawyers - the Movementarians bring out their biggest guns towards the end of the show... the attorneys. Tax-exempt status - At one point, a reference is made to Movementarianism's tax-exempt status."
The New York Times published an article this week on celebrities and Scientology.
"John Travolta stood in the parking garage below City Hall, waiting for his sleek black Jaguar. He had just accepted an award on behalf of the Church of Scientology from the public works commission, and he was talking earnestly about what the religion means to him. 'Through Scientology, you learn to examine your life and be more productive,' Travolta said as three senior church officials hovered nearby. 'You can make sure you avoid any pitfalls and you can face your challenges and handle them.'
"Travolta, referred to within the church hierarchy as J.T., is the brightest star in Scientology's galaxy of celebrities. He is a box-office draw whose value as a public representative of the much-debated group has soared along with his rejuvenated career.
"Scientology has established separate facilities, called Celebrity Centres, that cater to prominent members by offering private counseling and courses and even emergency health services. Although the facilities are open to all Scientologists, internal church documents show that their primary purpose is to recruit celebrities and use the celebrities' prestige to help expand Scientology.
"For an organization fighting to win mainstream acceptance in an atmosphere of suspicion, association with celebrities in the public mind can be very beneficial. 'These groups are often crying out for legitimacy, and they seek it any way they can, especially if they are under duress in public,' said James T. Richardson, a professor of sociology and law at the University of Nevada at Reno. 'What's phenomenal is the success that Scientology has had with the entertainment industry.'
"'The purpose of Celebrity Centre is, to forward the expansion and popularization of Scientology through the arts,' Hubbard wrote in a church policy letter in 1973. There are 10 Celebrity Centres around the world, with the largest and most successful located in the former Chateau Elysee hotel, restored by Scientology, near the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles."
The St. Petersburg Times published an article on the suicide of Patrice Vic, who jumped from a window in France while under financial pressure from Scientology.
"Nelly Vic's sad eyes begin telling her story, even before she gets to the part about how her husband jumped to his death from their children's bedroom window. The 41-year-old widow puts her head in her hands and swallows hard as she recalls that last night before her husband, Patrice, jumped from the 12th-floor window. Next to her sits a son, now 13, who slept through his father's suicide.
"Mrs. Vic blames her husband's death on the Church of Scientology; the church's top official in Lyon badgered her husband to come up with $6,000 to take more Scientology counseling. Mrs. Vic shares those hard feelings about the church with other families of Scientologists who died at their own hand or under unusual circumstances.
"What sets her husband's case apart is that criminal justice authorities agreed. Jean-Jacques Mazier, the Scientology official, was convicted of manslaughter and fraud in Vic's death. The French court also ruled that Scientology was pressuring members for money that wound up in Clearwater, where the church maintains its spiritual headquarters.
"The charges against Mazier and several other Scientologists centered on the way they pressured prospective members who needed help. Testimony also described foreign bank accounts that were used to send money to Clearwater, where it paid for training of high-level Scientology officials. On the day before her husband's death, Mrs. Vic testified, Mazier came to their home in Lyon and urged her to sign loan papers for the money. She said her husband became highly agitated, paced the house and went to the Scientology center in Lyon instead of going to his job as an industrial designer.
"After spending a day with Mazier and failing to convince his wife to help obtain the loan, Vic returned home looking for papers so he could apply for the loan by himself, Mrs. Vic said. 'He was just coming in and out, very agitated,' she said. 'He kept getting up out of bed, he was unable to sleep.' At 5 a.m. as she tried to stop him, Vic dashed toward the window in the room where their two sons were sleeping. 'He said 'Don't keep me, it's the only solution,' and he went through the window, she told the Times. Patrice Vic was 31."
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