|American Family Foundation|
Anti-cult group American Family Foundation held its annual meeting in Philadelphia this week. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
"The focus of this year's session is children and cults, with talks planned on child abuse, medical neglect, custody issues, effects on siblings, and advice for parents. 'There is a risk of parents in cults becoming 'middle managers' of their children, with the leaders dictating how to raise them,' Langone said. 'And there is a risk of child abuse, sometimes severe. In some cases, parents have left. But other times parents have stayed and hurt their children at the orders of the leader.'
"AFF's goal is to improve understanding of how different cults work, to monitor abuse, and to do 'preventive education.' The conference will present talks by panels of psychologists, lawyers and academics and an address by a woman who was raised in the Unification Church."
|Concerned Businessmen's Association of America|
Martin Ottmann posted a recent letter from the Concerned Businessmen's Association of America, a Scientology front group.
"The atrocities being perpetrated on our nation's children in the public school system are so bizarre and so covert that most people, even parents, cannot confront or recognize them. The creation of a society so totally influenced by psychiatry, as described in this letter, is designed to disguise itself from those it enslaves; few would volunteer, or offer up their children on the alter of the 'workforce of the future' if they knew the truth. Fewer still would believe that the freedoms taken for granted by our generation are being stripped away at this moment more thoroughly and with more dangerous consequences than have resulted from any armed conflict this planet has ever experiericed.
"The increasing influence of psychiatry has always been cloaked by claims of 'improving education,' 'meeting the needs of our future generation' and 'preventative mental health.' Yet the end result is that psychiatrists and psychologists, whose expertise and image are in stark opposition to the reality of their actions, have been allowed to play with the minds of millions of children with devastation the only visible results.
"You can help by supporting our efforts financially. The majority of our supporters have contributed anywhere between $750.00 (providing books and materials for one local school) and $50,000.00 (providing books and materials for 70 local schools)."
The St. Petersburg Times reported this week that Scientology plans to move a large tree before building the Super Power building on the site.
"The tree, thought to be more than 100 years old, once was part of a large hammock of oaks along Clearwater's waterfront bluff before downtown was developed. It stands 65 feet tall and weighs about 125 tons. Its trunk is 44 inches thick, and its boughs reach 120 feet across. Its life began when the city's name was two words, Clear Water. Fort Harrison Avenue and Cleveland Street were paved then with shells from a local Indian mound. Today, the tree stands near the center of a dusty city block at 215 S Fort Harrison Ave., the site of a massive new building planned by the Church of Scientology. Legally, the church could turn the tree into firewood to make way for the project. Instead, it has hired Westenberger to perform an unusual service: move the tree to the front of the lot where it can shade the new building's glass-enclosed lobby alongside two other existing oaks.
"The project normally would cost about $120,000, but donations of materials by local businesses will help trim the church's bill to about $80,000, Westenberger said. Westenberger's strategy is to relieve any stress on the tree and strengthen its root system. Then he and his crew will methodically cut the ground around it into a giant root ball. They will hoist it out of the only ground the tree has ever known, and move it to a new patch of earth 120 feet to the west.
"At present, Westenberger and church staff are soaking the roots daily with a vitamin and hormone spray. Construction soon will begin on the root ball, a painstaking process designed to stress the tree as little as possible."
FBI documents continue to be posted to a.r.s. This week, a summary of Hubbard's fingerprint record.
"Federal Lafayette Ronald inquiry Communications Hubbard January Commission 22, 1943 "Police Lafayette Ronald applicant Department Hubbard finger- Los Angeles printed California December 31, 1947 "Sheriff's Lafayette Ron August petty theft Office Hubbard #C-1396 17, 1948 (checks) San Luis Obispo California "United States Lafayette Ron December bankrupt Marshal Hubbard #11838 16, 1952 Philadelphia Pennsylvania"
News from Germany this week, where Hamburger Abendblatt reported that a complaint from a German Scientologist has been dismissed.
"A complaint by the well-known Scientologist and real estate dealer, Gotz Brase, against Ursula Caberta, the director of the Work Group on Scientology, was dismissed by the civil court. The complaint had to do with Brase's demand that the court forbid Caberta from allegedly advising banks not to do business with Scientologists, and allegedly recommending that they ask for a statement of a business's relationship to Scientology before they have dealings with them as customers. Caberta declined Brase's demand. She had only recommended to the banks, at their request, that they keep a written record of their position to Hubbard, the sect founder."
Germany's Enquete Commission issued its final report, according to a press release this week.
"Renate Rennebach, speaker for the SPD Work Group for this Commission, stated: 'The conclusion of the final report, last night, of the Enquete Commission's 'So-called Sects and Psycho-groups' is evidence of successful work which has had far-reaching effect on politics, science, and society.'
"Recommendations include: the creation of a Federal-State establishment, the introduction of legal regulation of the state's promotion of private counselling and information centers, the culmination of a law introduced by the Federal Assembly for commercial life assistance, the introduction of a legal responsibility for juridicial persons and associations as well as the continuation of surveillance of the Scientology organization by the Office of Constitutional Protection."
Grady Ward reported this week that he is finalizing details in his settlement agreement with Scientology in the copyright infringment case.
"A settlement status conference has been scheduled by District Judge Jeremy Fogel's courtroom deputy at 1:30 P.M. in Department 3 at 280 South First Street in San Jose on June 3, 1998. The topic will be to resolve the differences between Ward's draft of the settlement agreement and the cult's draft. Naturally Grady believes that his version matches the oral recitals at the May 12, 1998 settlement conference better the the cult's version."
Anonymous poster "Honnicut" reported that America Online plans to remove his web page at the request of Scientology.
"The complainant, The Church of Scientology, claims that your website uses a format and graphics owned by them. Although AOL respects the privacy of its members, in this case the complainant has provided us with adequate documentation for AOL to find it necessary to notify you and request that you remove infringing material by close of business Thursday, May 28, 1998, or we will be forced to block/remove your website and action your account."
"The Church of Scientology is, in fact, quite mistaken about my website. While my site is similar to the 'official' Scientologists-Online websites, every graphic that is on the actual site was created by me. The similarity to the 'official' web sites is intentional as my site is a parody. Though I do believe the Church of Scientology is primarily disturbed by the text content of my site, it seems that they must realize that content with which they disagree is not actionable. The 'official' web sites are not of a design that is sufficiently unique or inventive that it would have--or could have--been copyrighted. Therefore, it is my firm belief that any resemblance between the format of my web site and the format of the 'official' Church of Scientology web pages is non-infringing."
The National Enquirer reported this week that Scientologist Mimi Rogers trashed a TV studio this week when sales of her exercise device did not meet expecations.
"The shopping network scheduled her for two shows on Mother's Day, May 10, expecting to sell a minimum of 3,000 of her $29.50 'Mimi Rogers' Stretch and Flex' isometric exercise device--which, according to an HSN insider, 'is basically a piece of surgical hose with two plastic handles attached.' When the sales failed to reach 3,000, her next two programs scheduled for Monday, May 11 were canceled--and the ex-wife of Tom Cruise blew her top.
"'They threw two chairs around the room and tossed two trays of iced-down fruit and vegetables against the wall, with ice and food flying all over the place,' said the source. 'A basket of fruit that was provided for the star was also tossed across the room. It was a mess.' Then Mimi and her friends went out in the hallway where wild-eyed Mimi started screaming at the top of her lungs and flailing her arms. 'I'll never be on this (bleep) show again! I don't need this kind of (bleep)!' the source quoted her as saying. After she was politely told her two remaining shows were canceled, Mimi was heard yelling at HSN guest coordinator Christine Francis: 'You people are a bunch of lowlifes.'"
Wes Fager reported that Scientology placed an ad this week in the Washington City Paper.
"Page 47 of the the Washington City Paper, May 29, 1998 is a full page 200 item free personality test by The Founding Church of Scientology, 1701 20th St, NW, Washington, DC 20009. The responder is to answer 'yes', 'no', 'maybe' to 200 questions, fill in his name and address, fold and seal the page and mail it (postage already paid for). He is told that he will be contacted to set up an appointment for 'your FREE test analysis.' The Washington City Paper is a free paper in the metro Washington DC area."
Pickets of Scientology locations this week, first from Bruce Perrycrew in Arizona.
"We picketed an hour this morning. Traffic was light, but appreciative. I used a lighter sign, one with 'Just another UFO Cult' on one side and 'Stop Harassing Critics, Scientology' on the other. One of the perishoners (spelling intentional) came out to ask me to go away. He claimed my 'Scientology Kills' T-shirt was offensive to him. I said that death was offensive to me. He claimed that the OTIII story on the shirt contained 'bad data'. I told him it was word-for-word consistent with the first page of the 'Wall of Fire' writings in Hubbard's handwriting that were posted in GIF form on the web, and that the facts were verified by ex-scientologists.
From Jim Wissick in San Jose:
"Around 3:00pm, Mark came out of the org to talk to me. We covered a few subjects including Lisa McPherson, the outing of my Grandfather, the rmgroup, copyright, ect. Soon a bum came by, commented my sign was right ($cientology is a criminal cult | $cientology is socialy harmful), and then asked if Mark would like him to blow up the building!!! Needless to say, Mark was quite worried and left to deal with this new prolem. Mark expressed intrest in stopping the more heinous crimes of the cult, but I don't really believe him for some reason."
From "Jour" on two pickets in San Francisco:
"I did two short solo pickets at the San Francisco org today. It was drizzling pretty much the whole time, but it was a light enough rain that I closed up my umbrella and picketed without it. I had my usual sign (USING YOUR TAX $$$ TO DEFRAUD etc. / NO SCIENCE IN $CN / $CN DESTROYS FAMILIES), plus a bunch of 'sucker' fliers and some postcards pre-addressed to the California Attorney General. The Scientologists did a pretty good job of ignoring me. They did come outside and cluster in little groups of two or three to smoke cigarettes. The postcards call for an investigation into reports of $cn criminal activity, and they're pre-addressed to the CA attorney general (the Office of Public Inquiry). I think many people feel like they'd like to do something to help out, especially if requires very little effort or money on their part. If they have the option of doing it anonymously, so much the better. The postcard fulfills all these requirements."
"It was a LOVELY day for picketing today, and Peaches, phr and I put in a good hour and a half at the San Francisco org. I ran out of 'sucker' fliers and gave out a record number of 'Why I'm Picketing' fliers (and a record number of Attorney General postcards, but since this is.)
"A gentleman talked with me for quite a while. He was from South Africa. I believe he had come to visit the $cn org as part of his effort to learn about $cn, possibly for journalistic purposes. He looked carefully at my fliers and I THINK he was telling me he felt guilty going in and talking to the Scientologists now that I had given him my information. While we were talking, we were joined by a Sea Org lady. She came right up and joined our conversation - she had apparently talked with the South African gentleman before. He asked her what she thought of my sign (the side that was facing her was '$cn - using your tax $$$ to defraud the public, practice medicine illegally, harass critics in court). She read it and told him that $cn doesn't get any tax money. I explained to him that since $cn gets tax breaks nobody else gets, they're effectively being subsidized with our tax dollars, and that they abuse their non-profit status by lobbying. I also asked her whether Narconon got any tax money. She said she didn't think so, she didn't really know - an answer that transformed itself into a definite 'no'. I asked if she was sure, and she said she wasn't, but reasserted her 'no' answer to the gentleman. I said I would have to look into it."
From Ake Wiman in Sweden:
"Made a minor picket outside Malmoe Org in Sweden yesterday. Distibuted about 500 flyers together with a friend. (Xemu-flyer in Swedish and my own - excerps from $cio criminal history and why do $cio have the same religion as Hitler). People living near the org really dislike them. Neighbours who have to pass the scios several times a day are really fed up with their free personality test, come and watch our movie etc."
Jeff Jacobsen announced the fourth picket in Clearwater this week.
"Make your plans now to attend the 4TH ANNUAL protest against the Church of Scientology in Clearwater Florida, Saturday December 5, 1998. This is the anniversary date of the death of Lisa McPherson. Details are still being worked on.
"In March 1996 we picketed the Bank Building in Clearwater. There were about 18 of us. This was just 3 months after Lisa died, but we knew nothing about her at that time. In March 1997 we picketed in front of the Ft. Harrison Hotel. Hundreds of Scientologists harassed us all day long and got terrible PR for themselves out of that. We had a memorial candlelight vigil for Lisa that night, and the Scientologists harassed us there as well, even blowing out our candles. In December 1997 we picketed for the third time, but the church closed down the Ft. Harrison Hotel, so there was no confrontation this time. We left a wreath in front of the Ft. Harrison Hotel.
"What will happen this time? It's impossible to say. But it will be interesting. Our goal is to pressure the church to stop hurting people, and to inform the public of the evil side of this so-called church."
A Practical Guide for Peacefully Protesting Scientology
Swiss publication Facts carried an article this week on a Scientologist who scammed investors and gave the money to the cult.
"In their complaint of December 19, 1997, the Zurich district attorney counted 350 charges of fraud for a total of 22 million franks ($16 million). The artful deception of the fictitious bank consortium shows how the Scientology organization relieves their members of their money and makes them susceptible to illegal business practices. For the first time, sect experts, in connection with Scientology, are warning of a phenomenon which, until now, was limited [in Switzerland] to drug addicts: 'commercial crime.' 'The member's necessity for money is so great,' says Odette Jaccard, speaker for the Swiss Information Group on Scientology and Dianetics, 'that it can hardly be accumulated fast enough by legal means.'
"The expensive Scientology membership had finally brought Hans Kaspar Rhyner upon hard times. He needed money, is how Rhyner explained his part in the million dollar debacle to the investigative authorities. The higher Rhyner got in the Scientology hierarchy, the worse his economic situation became. 'Especially in 1988 and 1989', ascertained the Zurich district attorney's office in his written complaint, 'the private and commercial mountain of debt took on dangerous proportions.' In 1987 he entered the controversial organization, by 1989, he had already reached the state of 'clear'. In the next two years, he worked his way up to Operating Thetan 5, called OT5, one of the highest steps in the Scientology hierarchy. His ascension alone cost Rhyner about a half million franks ($350,000). On top of that came payments for further membership courses and for the International Association of Scientology (IAS), which brought him the title of 'Patron Meritorious,' a privileged position inside of the organization. Cost: another half a million.
"Confidential documents from former Scientology members prove that in the past few years, three dozen Thetans have had to declare bankruptcy in Switzerland. 'A good Scientologist,' affirms Scientology opponent Odette Jaccard, distinguishes himself by having been involved with a yard-long list of businesses.'"
Karin Spaink reported on the trial of Zenon Panoussis in Sweden this week. The case concerns copyright violations of the NOTS materials.
"There are seven Scientologists who flock together on one side of the courtroom. The only one who stands out is McShane himself. Next to him is one of Magnusson's colleagues; he is to act as interpreter. Tarja Vulto is there: Swedish OSA. Immediately behind the lawyer/translator is an American, who will often lean forward when something interesting occurs, in order to catch the translator's words as he relays them to McShane. Birgitta Dagnell, Swedish a.r.s.-regular and former Scientology member --; Anti-Cult, a.r.s.-regular and also from Sweden; Karsten, from the Dialog Centre in Copenhagen; and Joe Harrington from the US. And us, from the Netherlands.
"As it turns out, Ingrid Forsstrom is indeed presiding the court. This case concerns itself whether or not Z has violated the Temporary Restraining Order he was subjected to in 1996, for instance when he handed in copies of the NOTS to parliament, to the administrative court, and to the Court of Appeals. Magnusson stipulates that Z has violated the TRO. Z maintains he hasn't; that besides, it is most unclear to which materials the term 'the materials' the TRO bar him from publishing exactly refer to, and moreover that he hasn't published these NOTS after getting the TRO, but just provided the three institutes mentioned with copies. The case is a semi-penal one: while the alleged copyright infringement is a civil case, violating a TRO is not, but it could cost Z 50.000 crowns.
"Since this part of today's session is surely dealing with actual quotes taken from 'the material', the doors will close and the audience is requested to vacate the room. Magnusson, McShane, the translator/lawyer, Z and the court are the only ones allowed to hear what Birgitta Alexandersson, the notary, has to relay. The notary/witness claims to have made a random selection, in this way arriving at seven NOTS from attachment 126, which she then proceeded to compare to RTC's purportedly 'originals', and found that yes, they were the same. As it turns out, Z was able to challenge the notary statement. Many, if not most, of the NOTS included in attachment 126 are, erm, let me put it this way, mocked up. There are Borkified versions of purportedly original NOTS. There are Soul-Bro'ified versions of purportedly original NOTS. The court adjourns. Verdict due on June 8th.
"We're outside the courtroom. Z restates his previous proposal. If RTC would admit to the NOTS having been legally published -- and thereby subject them to all the privileges, rules and exceptions to copyright law -- he would gladly admit to having committed copyright infringement. He is prepared to pay a symbolical tort for this infringement and both parties will pay their own legal costs. McShane flatly refuses."
The St. Petersburg Times reported on the case of Michael Pattinson this week. Michael is suing Scientology for mistreatment 25 years ago, when he was a member.
"Besides the church and its top officials, the list of defendants includes the U.S. government, President Clinton and some members of his Cabinet as well as actor and prominent Scientologist John Travolta. Scientology spokesman Brian Anderson dismissed the lawsuit as 'tabloid litigation' and said Berry was using Pattinson as a puppet to extort money from the church. Pattinson, 48, says in his suit he spent about $500,000 on Scientology because the church promised its counseling would rid him of homosexual urges and give him special abilities, such as being able to 'exteriorize' or come and go from one's body.
"Pattinson also charges that church staffers twice held him captive as they tried to commit him to $7,400 worth of Scientology counseling. In a 1996 incident, reported to Clearwater police in 1997, Pattinson said he escaped by running from Scientology's Sandcastle Hotel on Drew Street in Clearwater as two staffers chased him. Prosecutors took no action because Pattinson had written letters to the staffers apologizing for his own behavior during the Sandcastle incident.
"President Clinton is accused of allowing himself to be 'seduced' by Scientology's celebrity culture, including actor Travolta. The lawsuit alleges the Clinton administration has tailored its foreign policy to further Scientology's goals in Germany and Sweden. The suit accuses Travolta, the most visible of Scientology's celebrity members, of misrepresenting the benefits of church counseling to the public."
SP Times: Scientology at center of unusual lawsuit
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.