Mark Dallara reported this week that Scientology is widening its contacts in the Tampa area black community, with ads and articles in the Weekly Challenger, a black operated newspaper.
"The Weekly Challenger, a Tampa Bay publication, has been giving $cientology positive press, and the cult had its own table and a full page ad in the program for the Martin Luther King dinner in Clearwater. One of $cientology's front groups is the World Literacy Crusade. Presumably an organization focused on reading skills, it is actually a recruitment tool to get new members into the money-sucking cult, by using the bogus 'study technology' of L. Ron Hubbard, $cientology's ill-favored founder.
"From The Weekly Challenger of May 23, 1998: The World Literacy Crusade of Pinellas County held a ceremony this week at its new headquarters on 1611 North Fort Harrison. The ceremony marked the beginning of renovations on the building which was donated to the World Literacy Crusade by local business owner Ben Kugler. The World Literacy Crusade was founded in 1992 in Compton California in the wake of the LA riots. Reverend [Alfreddie] Johnson started working with gang members in his area to improve their ability to read and write as well as teach them study skills using the study technology developed by author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard. It has since that time grown to 35 programs on five continents."
Martin Ottmann posted birthday game statistics for March, 1998 for Flag and the Freewinds.
"INTERNATIONAL CATEGORY: 1. Steve Besio, WUS 2. Michael Phillips, CW 3. Barry Klein, WUS 4. Debbie Hulthen, CW 5. Ronit Soracco, WUS 6. Wayne Fuller, CW 7. Mitch Talevi, WUS 8. Pat Parodi, WUS 9. Ray Barton, CW 10. Ty Dillard, WUS
"WESTERN UNITED STATES CATEGORY: 1. Divona Levis 2. Mike Smith 3. Dennis Feeney 4. Alicia Kartuzinski 5. Tom Soracco
"EASTERN UNITED STATES CATEGORY: 1. Gary Epstein 2. Susan Rowe 3. Choi Hoi Chan 4. Rita Zarahn 5. Andy Jajuga
"CANADA CATEGORY: 1. Frank Aggio 2. Dave Erison 3. Mick McCoy 4. Robert Aumais 5. Diane Shuck
"CLEARWATER CATEGORY: 1. Chiara Staples 2. Jennifer Sgroi 3. Doug Sadwick 4. Marcos Dana 5. Phylis Franklin
"UNITED KINGDOM CATEGORY: 1. Sheila Bulger 2. Malcom Croft 3. Pavane Fraser 4. Lorraine Bulger 5. Hanne Barram
"ITALY CATEGORY: 1. Paolo Tucci 2. Marco Puggelli 3. Aldo Stanzani 4. Rodolfo Cortinovis 5. Emiliano Lossani
"EUROPE CATEGORY: 1. Milko Thies 2. Monika Wieneke 3. Richard Lore 4. Yossi Charney 5. Rosie Freihoff
"TOP SHIP FSM MICHAEL PHILLIPS! 2. Pat Parodi 3. Steve Besio 4. Howard Glazer 5. Ronit Soracco 6. Penny Jones 7. Yossi Charny 8. Amsterdam Org 9. Monika Wieneke 10. Field Associates"
International Media Assistance released a report this week on journalists being harassed by cults. From "taz":
"Journalists who report on sects are often subjected to repression, according to a statement by International Media Assistance. Correspondents are, for instance, referred to as 'trouble-makers' by Scientology, they are threatened over the telephone, and are overwhelmed with counter-actions, accusations of omission, and temporary restraining orders, the organization stated yesterday in Zurich. Besides that, Scientology spreads 'unrealistic reports' about the correspondents."
Scientologist-operated Digital Lightwave is being sued by former Scientologist Brian Haney. His complaint was posted to a.r.s this week.
"Plaintiff H. Brian Haney is seeking damages as the result of a conspiracy by Defendants to defraud him and tortiously interfere with his relationships with Digital and Bryan Zwan, which caused Plaintiff to lose his 49% ownership interest in Digital, which is currently valued in the marketplace at more than $50 million.
"On June 21, 1994, Plaintiff, Bryan Zwan and Digital entered into the shareholders' agreement. Plaintiff thereby purchased 49% of Digital and became one of its two authorized directors. Bryan Zwan remained owner of 51% and was the other director. The Stock Purchase Agreement required Digital to be managed by Bryan Zwan under the supervision of Plaintiff as a director, prohibited the issuance of stock options without the written consent of Plaintiff, and required Digital to submit a business plan to Plaintiff before borrowing money.
"Between June 21, 1994 and September 29, 1994, in Clearwater, Florida, Defendants Karno, Ellenburg, and Bryan Zwan maliciously conspired together with the intention of wrongfully injuring Plaintiff in Ohio by acquiring for themselves Plaintiff's interest in Digital at an unfairly low price and then making an initial public offering of Digital shares.
"Frozen out from the information to which he was entitled, and threatened by Bryan Zwan with the specter of Digital's collapse and loss of Plaintiff's entire $4.4 million investment in Digital, on February 9, 1995, Plaintiff agreed to Bryan Zwan's entreaties and granted him an option to purchase Plaintiff's shares at an unfairly low price.
"Defendants ECC, CSFB, Ellenburg, Haase, Wegner, Karno and the Unknown Conspirators intentionally procured, without justification, the breach by Digital and Bryan Zwan of their obligations to Plaintiff under the Stock Purchase Agreement and the Shareholders' Agreement, including the following: they made it impossible for Plaintiff to supervise Bryan Zwan, and caused or induced Digital to: (i) issue and agree to stock options without Plaintiff's consent, (ii) not to submit a business plan or operating budget to Plaintiff, (iii) to borrow money outside the operating budget without Plaintiff's consent, and (iv) to refuse to permit Plaintiff to examine Digital's and records and documents.
"Ordering Defendants jointly and severally to pay Plaintiff such damages, together with interest, as Plaintiff has sustained in consequence of Defendants wrongful acts in an amount not less than $235 million, together with punitive damages."
The Sunday Mirror published an article on cult recruiting among children this week.
"Ulster is being targetted by a terrifying cult and parents are being told to safeguard their children or prepare to lose them. The International Church of Christ is sending a team of recruiting agents north from Dublin in time for the universities' September intake. The church says it is a charity, but Ayman Akshar, who has helped deprogramme hundreds of cult victims, says the ICC is one of the most dangerous groups in the western world.
"'The International Church of Christ works under about 20 other names throughout the world. The ICC, the Scientologists and the Unification Church are the three most powerful groups I know of,' he said. 'They strike up a friendly conversation and one thing leads to another. 'It all sounds very worthwhile and innocent - but it is the first step in what can become a terrifying and life-long nightmare. The mind control they use is very clever and a lot of people, especially women, are susceptible to their moves.'
"Other recent movements, including Scientologists, The International Church of Christ, The Unification Church and Hare Krishna, have been branded as dangerous cults. Students unions and welfare officers throughout Ireland are now on the look out for cults infiltrating their campus facilities.
"Dublin civil servant John was attracted to the Church of Scientology by the promise that it would improve his life forever. Two years later, the 33-year-old had withdrawn from his family, was aggressive and had handed over several thousand pounds to the organisation. Recruits are persuaded to take numerous courses priced between pounds 100 and pounds 1,000 to help them on to the path of 'enlightenment'.
"John said: 'I was recruited into Scientology by a friend. I really believed that the Scientologists' founder, L. Ron Hubbard had conducted research into the mind which could improve my life. I didn't think I was joining a religious movement. I thought I was joining a group which used scientific research to increase a person's IQ. We were told this could improve our careers and relationships with other people. The process used is called Dianetic Auditing and by the time I had a few sessions I wasn't able to make a critical decision about Scientology. The sessions were trance-inducing and taught me not to question anything I was told about the organisation. No-one questioned their beliefs or what they were doing, they even had their own language. I started having doubts about the organsiation when I felt under tremendous pressure to hand over my money. Salvation may be free in other churches but not in Scientology. Everything has its price. I paid anything from pounds 20 up to pounds 1,000 for a course to enlighten me. My family became worried because my personality had changed. I moved away from everyone who was not involved in Scientology. I withdrew from my family and when they tried to talk to me I became aggressive. I eventually listened to what my parents told me and got out. I was very lucky but I also felt betrayed, angry and a bit stupid for believing everything.
"Graeme Wilson, Public Affairs Director of the Church of Scientology, said it was unfair to expect him to respond to John's claims. 'Our method of financial support has also been deemed by religious experts to be a very fair system as the person donates money directly for religious services received."
Keith Henson reported that Scientology is attempting to remove his ability to petition the court, and has responded to charges that Helena Kobrin attacked him during a deposition to retrieve a controversial piece of paper.
"Henson claims that, during the course of his deposition in aid ofjudgment execution, RTC's attorney, Helena Kobrin, and her paralegal 'physically attacked' him. This contention is blatantly false, as set forth in the declarations of Ms. Kobrin, co-counsel Samuel Rosen, who witnessed the events recounted by Henson, and paralegal Allan Cartwright, who is also accused by Henson in his declaration.
"Henson's filing of this wilfully false declaration is both frivolous and harassing and constitutes perjury. To put an end to such filings, the Court should enter an Order that Henson may not file any further papers in this case unless he first obtains leave of Court to do so. In addition, the Court should deny Henson's request that the privileged document be made part of a deposition exhibit."
The Boston Globe published an article this week on Bob Minton, and his efforts to reform Scientology.
"Robert Minton is a multimillionaire who retired in 1992 at age 46. He lives in an elegant town house on Beacon Hill filled with antiques and Oriental rugs. He also owns a weekend home on several hundred acres in Sandown, N.H. So why has this self-made man chosen to do battle with the Church of Scientology instead of sitting back and enjoying his financial success and a peaceful, family existence? And why, especially, when he has never been a church member? Because, he says, he believes in the First Amendment; has the money to fight the church and what he calls its harassment of critics and former church members; and because he cannot forget being locked up at age 16 in a mental institution against his will.
"'People ask me why I'm involved in all this when it isn't my fight,' says Minton, during an interview at his home and over lunch at a Charles Street restaurant. 'I was never a member of this group but I'm involved because I believe everyone has the right to believe what they want. I'm just so incredibly shocked at the pain Scientology can cause people. It's so obvious that Scientology, like other groups and cults, causes a lot of devastation.'
"Despite these incidents and the pressures on his family, Minton, who made his fortune trading in the debts of Third World countries, says he will continue his anti-Scientology efforts indefinitely. 'The harassment began last fall after I bought a home [for $260,000] for a couple, former Scientologists, who were being hounded by the church in Seattle,' says Minton, who became interested in the church while surfing the Internet in the spring of 1995.
"The investigation into his background started after he paid an attorney for the family of Lisa McPherson in a wrongful death suit against the Scientologists. McPherson died after a 17-day stay in a church-owned hotel in Clearwater, Fla. According to published reports, church officials say that McPherson was under 24-hour watch at the hotel during which time she spit out food, banged violently on the walls of her room, and hallucinated.
"But the effect on his family has been an issue, especially for older daughter, Katherine. Drawing attention to oneself at age 12, Minton says, is something every preteen tries to avoid. Having picketers in front of your house can bring nothing but embarrassment to a young girl, says Minton. 'I've explained that I'm just not prepared to let these guys act like predators on people who are trying to exercise their most fundamental rights in a democracy.' At Christmas, he says, he and his wife gave a party for close friends and neighbors. During the evening, he noticed several boys dropping balloons filled with water off the back deck. Katherine later explained that the boys had come armed with the balloons in case the Scientologists were picketing.
"What Minton has found most disturbing is that his mother, son, and brother talked to detectives after he'd warned them to keep silent. He has little contact with them and is openly upset by what he sees as their betrayal. Detectives 'went to where my family works or to their homes and told them that I was being accused of hate crimes against the Scientologists,' says Minton. 'They said I was giving millions to people who are out to destroy the Scientologists. They told my mother that if I wasn't putting all these millions into a war against the Scientologists, maybe she could have a nicer home. They used the same tactic with my son and he began to question how I was spending my money.'"
A Scientology press release publicized a marathon being run to support the claims that Scientology is discriminated against in Germany.
"The run, which will go through eight European countries, will end on August 10 in Frankfurt with a big demonstration for religious freedom, at which celebrities, as well as several thousand visitors, are expected [to attend]. Leisa Goodman, human rights expert of the Church of Scientology International, said that the six week series of events is also meant to remind European opinion leaders of the meaning of religious freedom - of a time in which repressive governmental measures undermined the declaration's ideals of tolerance and human rights.
"The marathon began on June 25 in England, and will run through cities in Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Germany, and will culminate in a march in Frankfurt on August 10 with several thousand people.
"Leisa Goodman said that the German government's mass hysteria against new religious movements was the reason for growing intolerance of individual governments in Europe. German state and federal administrations have excluded Scientologists from civil service and political parties. They are violently attacked, their businesses are put on blacklists by the administration, their children are harassed and thrown out of schools and kindergartens; artists are prevented from performing by government officials when it becomes known that they are Scientologists.
"Austrians will also participate in the marathon for religious freedom. 500 participants from Austria are expected at the final demonstration in Frankfurt. The highlight of the demonstration will be the address and unveiling of a public work by Perli Pelzig, the Jewish artist."
Descriptions of pickets held at Scientology locations this week, including this report from Bruce Pettycrew in Mesa, Arizona:
"Kathy and I picketed from 9:00 to 10:00 AM on Independance Day. Traffic was light, but very appreciative in terms of 'thumbs up' and 'V' signs. In any case, even light traffic means 300-500 people can see our signs in an hour. We had rain Saturday evening. The heat, which had been 108-112 degress will drop, but the humidity will be up, and wind and rain in the afternoon may make picketing an iffy thing."
From Keith Henson in San Jose:
"20 minutes, 5:15-5:35 pm. 30 vehicles. No sprinkler tech, hardly any traffic in or out. The weeds in the lot next door are down, someone used a tractor on them. Also, the ivy has been cut out of the gutter on the street, though it still laps way over on the sidewalk."
From Ted Mayett in Las Vegas:
"Big org, 30min, 10:40-11:10am, vehicles 7, uneventful. It is a pleasure to picket this big org now. Last year there was an old guy who worked with the plants and flowers outside the org. And I mean this guy worked with them, he put many hours and hours into them. He is gone for about 6 months now, but his work shows. The flowers are positively lovely and healthy. They make a hot, dirty street come alive."
Tages-Anzeiger reported this week that Basel, Switzerland will be considering restricting Scientology street recruiting methods.
"For years the city of Basel has been one of the preferred hunting grounds of the controversial Scientology sect. Many passers-by feel harassed by the sect's obtrusive recruitment methods. These methods would be restricted by a new ordinance proposed by Basel's Planning Commissioner, Hans-Martin Tschudi, at the behest of Susanne Haller, SP senior council member and Scientology critic. 'Anybody who molests passers-by with obtrusive recruitment methods will receive a fine; repeat offenders will do time. The police will be instructed to direct recruiters away from specific or general locations when their contact with passers-by presents obtrusive harassment, or when there is evidence of recruitment methods being used which are illegal, deceptive, or otherwise sordid,' states the proposal. 'Scientology' is not mentioned.
"The goal is to prevent the ballooning of sect recruitment methods, and not to prohibit any category or to create punitive standards to fight undesired consequences of the activities of sects, as the Canton of Geneva has proposed. Tshudi thinks that it would be better still if the problem were addressed at the federal level. The Business Review Commission of the National Council is working on a related report, related Urs Eschmann, co-founder and former President of the Zurich sect advisory center 'Info-Sekta.' A general prohibition on Scientology, as is being considered in Zurich, is held to be counter-productive. Sects would only use that to present themselves as martyrs."
The Jacksonville Times-Union reported that Scientologist John Travolta was confronted by actor Woody Harrelson concerning Scientology.
"Travolta and co-star Woody Harrelson verbally jousted about Scientology while making their upcoming movie, Thin Red Line, insiders claim. 'Woody has a problem with Scientology and he went up and told John what he thought,' says a source close to the production. 'John and he got into some heated arguments. They never came to blows, but it got pretty tense on the set.'"
|Fort Harrison Crash|
A driver crashed into the lobby of Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel this week. From the St. Petersburg Times report:
"A 33-year-old member of Calvary Baptist Church rammed a pickup truck into the church's educational building early Tuesday, then turned a corner and drove through the main entrance of the Church of Scientology's local headquarters. Curtis P. Oie, 33, of 1987 Sandra Drive in Clearwater, was charged with two counts of felony criminal mischief. He was being held Tuesday at Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.
"Oie told officers he rammed the buildings because he disagreed with the teachings of both churches, police spokesman Wayne Shelor said. The Rev. Bill Anderson, pastor of Calvary Baptist, said Oie has been a member of the church for about two years. He said Oie was a quiet man who attended services occasionally. 'He's never given us any problem at all,' Anderson said.
"Brian Anderson, spokesman for the Church of Scientology, said the driver ran over a bank of newspaper vending boxes in front of the Fort Harrison Hotel, the church's landmark retreat at 210 S Fort Harrison Ave. He said the driver backed up and steered his truck into two large wooden doors leading to the lobby. The driver got out of the truck, picked up a newspaper vending rack, threw it in the back of the pickup and drove away.
From The Tampa Tribune:
"Damage to Calvary was estimated at $4,000, and damage to the Church of Scientology was tagged at $3,000. 'These kinds of things happen,' said Bill Anderson, senior pastor at Calvary. 'People lose their cool for one reason or another.'
"Oie, who drove away from the Scientology location after throwing a newspaper sales rack in the back of his truck, was apprehended a couple of blocks away, police say. Charged with two counts of felony criminal mischief, he was being held on $5,000 bail at the Pinellas County Jail. Oie has suffered from mental illness for the past five years and has been on medication during that time, his father said.
"'He just struck out at everything. He basically stole my truck and went on a rampage,' Stanley Oie said. The elder Oie said he had no clue why the churches were targeted. 'I haven't been able to find any answers for it,' the father said."
TAZ reported on Scientology's efforts in the Scientologist On-Line project, to flood the web with individual home pages and to install a net filter on members' computers.
"Each Scientologist who wants to present himself on the internet receives a 'Scientology Web Kit' on a CD ROM. A couple of forms have to be filled out, signed and sent in, and before you know it, another sect member's home page is ready. It does not have to win any web prizes; it completely suffices that it is part of the net at all. That is because the objective of this operation is to flood the data bases of the search machines with thousands of standard pages so that anybody who searches on 'Scientology' in Alta Vista, HotBot, or other programs will find the pages of the front line members.
"The sect shepherds do not appear to completely trust their sheep. Even dedicated disciples could find things on the web which might shake their belief. This is why they must sign a license agreement, which states that they must use a specially designed filter program when they access web sites, before they install their Scientology Web Kit. This is supposed to guarantee, as the instructions state, that they can 'view other sites on Dianetics, Scientology or its principals without threat of accessing sites deemed to be using the Marks or Works in an unauthorized fashion or deemed to be improper or discreditable to the Scientology religion.'
"It is not surprising that all of the web sites of former members and declared opponents of the sect are on the black list. The usenet groups on Scientology are also blocked out; discussion is not desired. Conspicuously, many German sites have been censored: WDR and ZDF, the Stern, the Berliner Morgen Post, the Online Chat group 'Metropolis,', the domestic intelligence and the Green Party in Bavaria, only to mention a few."
A.r.s. Week in Review is put together by Rod Keller ©
This collection is organised for WWW by Andreas Heldal-Lund.
Only edits done by me is replacing word encapsuled in * or _ with bold and underscore, and made links into HTML.