Battlefield EarthThe Wall Street Journal published an article on March 24th on Franchise Pictures and Battlefield Earth. "Big stars usually have to cut their fees by half or more, accepting instead profit-participation that in some cases reaches an enormous 40%, after costs have been recouped. Mr. Samaha's strategy is just weeks away from its biggest test yet, the May 12 release of a science-fiction epic called 'Battlefield Earth.' The film is the pet project of John Travolta, whose superstar clout failed to get it made for a dozen years. Script problems and a projected $100 million budget were often blamed, but many movie executives thought another big factor was the film's source materials 1982 novel by L. Ron Hubbard, late founder of the controversial Church of Scientology, which counts Mr. Travolta as a longtime member. "'Battlefield' is the first screen adaptation of any Hubbard science-fiction work, an achievement Mr. Travolta says is 'like putting Tennessee Williams' first works on the screen. It's a big deal.' Mr. Samaha, he adds, was 'smart to trust the artist.' 'Everyone thought I was crazy or mentally retarded' for tackling the project, Mr. Samaha says. Though the film has nothing to do with Scientology, some feared the Hubbard connection could provoke a backlash and make the film difficult to sell in places such as Germany and France, where Scientology has come under government attack. Even Mr. Travolta, Mr. Samaha recalls, warned that 'lots of people are going to come to you and try and persuade you and be negative about it.' "Franchise got it made by using a formula usually reserved for tiny independent films. Imperial Bank in Los Angeles provided loans to pay the production costs, which were slashed to a planned $50 million, but about 80% of that was to be covered by the presale of foreign distribution rights. Mr. Travolta had been keen to make the project since the mid-1980s, when he first lent his name to screenplay adaptations of the 1,050-page L. Ron Hubbard novel. Mr. Elwes and others say that the Hubbard tie is the main reason 'Battlefield' has never been made. Asked if he believes that the Hubbard connection placed extra hurdles in the film's way, Mr. Travolta says: 'I'll never know.' He adds that, 'If it were an issue secretly to someone, it would not be politically correct to voice it.' "The Scientology question was raised numerous times and batted down by Mr. Samaha, who says he would bark: 'This is what the movie is about: It's 'Planet of the Apes' starring John Travolta. You're either in or you're the f------ out.' Intertainment President Barry Baeres says that, given the controversy over Scientology in Germany, 'at first sight, you would say no to it.' But he succumbed to Mr. Samaha's insistence that 'Battlefield Earth' was Scientology-free. Mr. Travolta has contributed some of his own money - more than $5 million, according to Mr. Samaha." From the Sunday Times on April 1st: "Battlefield Earth, currently in post-production, is most definitely one of Whitaker's baffling choices. Looking set to be, frankly, the most laughable film ever made, the sci-fi Armageddon-fest is based on a novel by the late founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, and features an extraterrestrial John Travolta (also, spookily, a member of the Scientology A-list), attempting total Earth takeover in Scary Spice's platform boots. Expect it to crash land later this year." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com
Graham BerryGraham Berry is defending a lawsuit against Michael Hurtado, in a case involving allegations of illegal actions by Scientology. Graham filed a motion to protect many of the documents showing the extent of the illegal actions this week. "This motion is made on the ground that a dispute has arisen as to the identity of the rightful custodian of these documents. These documents are relevant to not only this case but potentially to other matters now in litigation involving the Church of Scientology, and potentially to Mr. Hurtado's pending criminal charges. The undersigned seeks this Court's Order for the proper handling and disposition, copying and/or distribution of these evidentiary materials pursuant to the Penal Code and the case law with regard to spoliation of evidence. "Keith Henson has communicated his claim to this office that the documents are relevant to the Rule 60(b) motion he has either filed or intends to file, and he has asked that the documents not be released from our firm. The documents are relevant as evidence of the payments made to Robert Cipriano during the time that he served as a witness against Graham Berry. The documents are relevant to the issue of whether the contacts between Eugene Ingram, Kendrick Moxon and various witnesses are appropriate, or not." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
ClearwaterThe St. Petersburg Times reported on March 29th that permits have been issued to begin the above ground portions of Scientology's new Super Power building in Clearwater, Florida. "The pair of towering white cranes that loom over the project, mostly idle since the fall, will come to life once more. For 16 months, the building has taken shape below ground as workers shaped a foundation and a giant basement that will serve as a dining facility for Scientology's uniformed staff. The crowning feature of the $45-million building will be a 15-story tower, visible from blocks away, topped by an eight-point Scientology cross made of bronze. At 384,000 square feet, the building will be the largest Scientology has ever constructed. It also will be the largest building in downtown Clearwater and one of the largest in Pinellas County. "The church expects the building will lead to a doubling of its 1,000-member Clearwater staff and a sharp increase in the number of Scientologists who visit Clearwater, from the current 2,000 a week to as many as 5,000. Although the size of the Scientology building requires 809 spaces under the code, the church has decided to pay for 334 spaces rather than build them. Before the permit was issued Tuesday afternoon, the church gave the city a check for slightly more than $1.5-million. Church officials said their need for parking is diminished by two factors. Many Scientologists using the building will arrive in the church's motor pool, which employs buses and vans. "The new building will feature a 'grand lobby' with sculptures depicting several concepts of Scientology; a first-floor chapel; several theaters for training and introductory films; a museum honoring the Sea Organization, the uniformed 'fraternal order' that staffs the church; and a museum honoring Scientology's late founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Other features include a bookstore, a library, 15 course rooms where Scientologists study together, and about 300 rooms for one-on-one counseling. The sixth floor will house an indoor running track for parishioners undergoing the Purification Rundown, a regimen of saunas, exercise and vitamins that Scientologists believe rids the body of toxins. All of the hotel's counseling rooms will be moved to the new building, a change that will render the old Fort Harrison completely taxable for the first time since Scientology bought it in 1975. Also at that point, the church will open the hotel's restaurants to the public -- another first in Clearwater. "The new structure is most frequently called the 'Super Power' project, which refers to the name of a set of yet-to-be-released Scientology 'rundowns' or processes that are said to give Scientologists 'an entirely new level of power and ability.'" Message-ID: email@example.com
GermanyLeipziger Volkszeitung reported on March 29th that many consider unwelcome Scientology's presence at a book fair in Leipzig. "Many exhibitors are annoyed over the presence of the controversial Scientologists who - garbed as New Era Publications - are praising their publications in fair hall 2 and targeting young fair visitors. The neighboring stalls especially felt that they were unjustly being brought into discredit and impaired. 'This is the psycho-corner here,' said one youth before he turned away again. Several exhibitors, mainly women's and religious book distributors, even threatened not to come back next year if they saw New Era on the exhibition list again. The fair's management dismissed all accusations: Scientology was not prohibited and neither was it under observation by Constitutional Security, explained Peter Guth, district manager of 'Buch-Kunst-Kultur,' therefore the fair could not legally act. "Boycotting the book fair is out of the question for 'Aufbau' Publishers, the best-selling belletristic publisher in eastern Germany. 'We are maintaining our involvement in the fair,' said press spokeswoman Andrea Doberenz, and then added, 'However, we have observed Scientology's appearance very skeptically. Passersby were outright pressured there.' The Scientologists were said to be accosting young people, primarily, in an 'overly friendly and very offensive' manner." The RTL television network will broadcast a program on Scientology on Tuesday, April 4th. Bob Minton announced that will also be a guest on the program. "Three weeks ago, Scientology was acknowledged in Sweden as a 'religious category.' How the German organization stands will be shown by the Federal Constitutional Security's 1999 report, due to be presented 4-4-2000 by Interior Minister Otto Schily. In 'Exposed - What goes on under cover of faith?', Scientology is also the theme of a live broadcast that same day by Hans Meiser. Guests will include Dr. Norbert Bluem, who took steps against Scientology and condemned it as 'criminal' and 'money-laundering' while he was in office as Federal Labor Minister, Tanya Neujahr, former Scientology Sea Org member, who will report on how she left the organization, Juerg Stettler, President and press speaker of SC Switzerland, and Sabine Weber, Vice President of 'Scientology Kirche Deutschland e.V.'" Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000330155426.118Afirstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000402080303.116Aemail@example.com
Digital LightwaveDigital Lightwave filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission notice that founder Dr. Bryan Zwan refuses to hand over options in the company won in a lawsuit to Brian Haney because of alleged attacks against Scientology. Zwan is represented by Scientology attorney Kendrick Moxon. "DR. ZWAN REFUSED TO DELIVER THE SHARES, AND CONFIRMED HIS POSITION THAT THE OPTION IS UNENFORCEABLE BECAUSE OF MISREPRESENTATIONS BY MR. HANEY CONCERNING SCIENTOLOGY. AT THE INITIAL STAGES OF THE NEGOTIATIONS, MR. HANEY UNEQUIVOCALLY ASSURED DR. ZWAN THAT HE WAS NEUTRAL WITH RESPECT TO SCIENTOLOGY AND HAD NO INTENTION OF INITIATING OR FINANCING ATTACKS UPON IT. HE DENIED THAT HE HAD FINANCED SUCH ATTACKS IN THE PAST. MR. HANEY FURTHER REPRESENTED DURING THE NEGOTIATIONS THAT HE WOULD NOT ENGAGE IN SUCH ACTIVITIES AND WOULD NOT FINANCE SUCH ACTIVITIES IN THE FUTURE. IT IS CLEAR THAT SUCH REPRESENTATIONS WERE MADE BY MR. HANEY TO INDUCE RELIANCE THEREON BY DR. ZWAN AND THEREBY PERMIT 'SETTLEMENT' OF MR. HANEY 'S CLAIMS THROUGH THE PAYMENT OF FUNDS AND STOCK OPTIONS. "WE HAVE NOW LEARNED FROM DOCUMENTS POSTED TO THE INTERNET AND FROM OTHER SOURCES, THAT THROUGHOUT THE PERIOD OF THE NEGOTIATIONS, MR. HANEY WAS ACTIVELY FINANCING AND ENCOURAGING OTHERS TO ENGAGE IN THE ACTIVITIES HE REPRESENTED THAT BE WOULD NOT. CONTRARY TO MR. HANEY'S REPRESENTATIONS, HE CONTINUES WITH SUCH ACTIVITIES TODAY. IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THESE ACTIVITIES CONSTITUTE MATERIAL MISREPRESENTATIONS BY MR. HANEY." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keith HensonKeith Henson has filed for relief from the court of the judgment Scientology won for copyright infringement. He has submitted new evidence of fraud and abuse of his lawyer at the time, Graham Berry. "If the court considers the abuse of my counsel, Mr. Berry, described below and in the exhibits, and organized by RTC counsel Kendrick Moxon an 'extraordinary circumstance' the court could reconsider the RTC copyright judgment. The court may decide that the offenses amount to an 'unconscionable plan or scheme which is designed to improperly influence the court in its decision.' This would establish fraud on the court and invoke the power to set aside a judgment for fraud upon the court. Mr. Moxon's and Mr. Ingram's actions in hunting down, blackmailing, bribing, and suborning perjury from Mr. Cipriano was certainly an 'unconscionable plan or scheme designed to improperly influence the court in its decision.' The expressed goal was to tie up Mr. Berry to the maximum extent possible, leaving him little time to work on a number of cases against RTC or other Scientology cases. "RTC has done what they could to prevent me from making a living and limited my time to produce legal documents. They have done this through pickets, invasion of my client's work place, expensive bankruptcy depositions of my clients, my wife and me. They have put up posters near my home and work place with my photograph captioned 'Child Molester,' and 'Religious Bigot.' They have also attacked me through the agency of the Web site www.parishioners.org. RTC has certainly incurred more legal fees in the above bankruptcy case than the judgment and legal fees from this case combined. This is not the response of a party seeking economic restitution. They are paying, per Scientology policy, to use the judicial system to punish me for the simple reason that I am a critic of Scientology. "The United States Justice system is eventually going to have to stop being a tool to support the abusive and criminal activities of Scientology. It might as well be with this case." Message-ID: email@example.com
Lisa McPhersonThe Tampa Tribune published an article on April 2nd, describing Scientology's point of view on the death of Lisa McPherson and the subsequent criminal and civil cases. "Lisa McPherson wasn't an easy charge. She kicked people, stood in a toilet and claimed to have created time. Fellow Scientologists called her psychotic but shuddered to think how a psychiatrist might treat her. On the 17th day, McPherson died. Her body, not her troubled mind, had betrayed her, seizing her breath with a blood clot that lodged in her lungs. "Around the world, an echo sounded: 'Scientology Kills.' Church attorneys likened the prosecution to a witch hunt. Newspapers and television stations beat the drum. Critics galvanized, ready to hurl hostility at a religion they couldn't fathom. Strangers spit at Scientology staff, clients boycotted Scientologist-owned businesses, and Scientologists' children were mocked at school. 'This is America. This is supposed to be the land of religious freedom,' protests McPherson's former friend and employer, Bennetta Slaughter, who sent a daughter away to boarding school to get her out of the frenzy. "Then, in February, four years after McPherson's death, the state's case turned sour. Wood backed away from her findings. She signed an amended death certificate and left for a convention without explaining. She deleted 'bed rest and severe dehydration' as causes, removing a link to McPherson's caregivers. Instead, she wrote about the bruise on McPherson's left leg. "Prosecutors allege that Scientology staff held McPherson down while force-feeding her food, vitamins, minerals, herbs and medicines, from simple aspirin to a sedative prescribed by a doctor who didn't see her until she was dead. The penalty for conviction: fines of up to $15,000. 'It has cost a very considerable amount of money, and obviously the issue here isn't a $15,000 fine. The issue is this attempt to stigmatize the church,' Rinder says. He questions why, if prosecutors suspected wrongdoing, they didn't simply charge the individual Scientologists who took care of McPherson, instead of going after a church, a move without precedent. He figures it's just an attempt to discredit Scientology. "Scientology holds that man is a spirit and basically good. Psychiatry begins from a premise that man is an animal and must be restrained. 'Forcing a Scientologist to receive psychiatric services would be like forcing an Orthodox Jew to eat pork or forcing a devoted Catholic to have an abortion,' Scientologists Kendrick Moxon and Helena Kobrin wrote in a legal brief filed on behalf of church members. The issue comes up in court files to explain why McPherson did not voluntarily remain at Morton Plant Hospital for psychiatric evaluation. Instead, she left with church friends, including case supervisor Alain Kartuzinski. "Now, critics of Scientology hold memorials and rally around her name. That bothers church members. 'When Lisa McPherson was alive,' says Rinder, the Scientology board member, 'they would have spit on her.'" Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob MintonAfrica Confidential published an article on March 31st about Nigerian debt repurchasing, and the role Bob Minton and Scientology play in investigations into its legality. "On the face of it the scheme was a shrewd way of covertly buying back Nigeria's commercial debt at deep discounts. In 1992, Nigeria had agreed the terms for a 'Brady bond' deal - basically, an approved way of reducing the nominal value of debts that were never likely to be paid in full - which took some $5.5bn. of commercial debt off the books. "The scheme was engineered by two American bankers, Jeffrey Schmidt and Robert Minton. Schmidt and Minton initially used a London-based company, Growth Management Limited (GML) to buy back Nigerian debt on the secondary market. The Nigerian government would pay funds into the Osterreichische Landesbank, which would pass on the credits to GML. Creditor banks at the time suspected Nigeria was buying back its own debt but did not know how. A member of the steering committee of Nigeria's creditors said: 'Some of us were happy to get rid of our Nigerian liabilities, partly because we were unsure about Nigeria's political future and partly because the Bank of England's new provisioning rules made it more expensive to hang on to it.' "Minton, then Chairman of Shamrock Financial, says many of the banks were aware of the buy-back in 'general terms' and took full advantage of it. He said the late CBN Governor, Ahmed, was 'transparently honest' and there was almost no possibility of fraud. 'We kept the Nigerian authorities fully informed, with detailed reports submitted on a monthly basis accounting for all the funds received and disbursed; these reports are still with the Central Bank today, I believe.' "Minton says the investigations into the buy-back are being used as an opportunity by the Church of Scientology to discredit him. He says he has spent some $4 mn. in the last five years defending the right of former scientologists to criticise the church and has been the target of a campaign of abuse. 'No one from the US or the Nigerian authorities has raised questions with me about the probity of the buy-back deal since it wound up in 1993,' Minton said." From The Sunday Times on April 2nd: "International financiers and bankers knew that billions of pounds disappeared from the Nigerian central bank in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was suspected that senior figures had hidden the cash in overseas accounts. The fraud centred on a Nigerian debt buy-back scheme run by the Central Bank of Nigeria between 1988 and 1993, he said. Hundreds of millions of pounds were diverted into foreign accounts. "Jeffrey Schmidt and Robert Minton used a London-based company, Growth Management, to buy back the debt with funds from Nigeria channeled through a leading Austrian bank, Osterreichische Landesbank. Further companies set up in America helped to disguise the origin of the funds. Money was later routed through banks in New York and Basle to buy back the debts. "Minton told the newsletter Africa Confidential this week that he had made money - but not the sums that were now being mentioned. 'We made tens of millions of dollars, not hundreds of millions and certainly not billions,' he said. Minton added: 'If any money was stolen, it must have been from transactions which were outside our control.' "Stefan Pinter of Growth Management said: 'It was one of the most effective buy-backs I've seen and of great benefit to Nigeria.'" Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom PadgettTom Padgett reported that he will face trial in Kentucky next week in a child custody case with his ex-wife, who is still an active Scientologist. "Tom Padgett of Massachusetts has to return to western Kentucky and stand trial on April 10th on whether or not he should be sentenced to 1 to 5 years in prison for alleged offenses where his scientologist ex-wife is the complaining witness." Message-ID: 24273-38E60514email@example.com
Protest SummaryKristi Wachter reported a protest in San Francisco this week. "Date: Saturday, April 1, 2000; Start and End Times: 12:20 - 2:00 pm; Picketers: Jeff Liss, Kristi Wachter, Peaches, Phr; 166 total fliers. "I producing a sign that was blank on both sides. (My sandwich sign has slogans stapled to both sides, so I left that as it was.) To go with the blank sign, I had made up new fliers. On one side, I put: $CIENTOLOGY: A WHOLE LOT OF NOTHING and some text explaining that the other side of the flier contains lots of stuff, like Scn's apology to Paulette Cooper, the helpful things Scn did for Lisa McPherson, and all the links from Scn's web site that point to critic's pages. After Peaches arrived, Jeff Quiros came out for the obligatory photo shoot; we all cooperated and posed for him." Arnie Lerma reported a protest at the Washington, DC org. "Scientology did not come out and play, they did nothing. Just sent out the borg bodyrouters, not even photos. They did not say a word. The thumbs up, honks and way-to-go's heartening, but the often whispered 'thank you' of quiet passers by were the very best of all." Catarina Pamnell protested the Scientology exhibit in Malmoe, Sweden this week. "They had rented space in a theatre complex right in the city center, on the 5th floor though. When me and Ake arrived in the afternoon, a scientology band was playing in the central square. Not the (in)famous Jive Aces, alas, only some local talents. There is a convenient arcade leading from the central square to the exhibition place, so apart from body routers right outside of the entrance, there were several in the square also. We joined them with our fliers 'Watch out for pitfalls! Does the CoS tell you *everything*?, listing some of our points of criticism and web addresses on one side, and examples of Hubbard words of wisdom on the other. Total flier count maybe 100. "The kids were reading aloud from the flier some of the examples of kookie Hubbard (like 'sex was invented by evil alien psychiatrists', 'not smoking enough causes cancer', 'don't ever call an alien from the Fifth Invader Force a Venusian, it's a horrible insult', 'everyone who criticises Scientology is a criminal' etc, just summed up for easy reading, most of them not full quotes, but with the reference stated for each). Sour Sponsor said 'Who wrote this flier? She did? Then I don't believe a word.' So I immediately pulled up an authentic copy of HCOPL 27 August 1987, 'People who oppose Scientology' in Swedish, showed the kids that Hubbard did say that all critics are criminals, and offered to show proof of some other points too, if needed. I had packed a little kit of useful materials and books. Sour Sponsor disappeared, and the kids cheered us on. "Then a short, non-Swedish scientologist came up. He and some other non-local staff tried to shake us by saying things like 'You're not allowed to be here. You don't have a permit. We have a permit. Now we will call the police!' etc. The cops obviously had more important things to deal with, as they never showed up. "Photo guy joined us for coffee, and so did a Swedish guy who claimed to be someone who had just become a little interested in scientology, had read a few books. Unfortunately for him, he was rather transparent as a 'spy'. But I decided to play along, it being April 1st and all. Kept him entertained for an hour at least." Message-ID: Pine.BSF.firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
SwizerlandBasler Zeitung reported on March 28th that a ruling against a Swiss Scientologist for libel has been upheld. "The Waadtland Cantonal Court upheld the first judgment against the President of the Lausanne Scientologists. The woman had been sentenced to ten days imprisonment suspended for libelous speech. She had assailed the founder of the Group for the Protection of Family and Individuals in April 1996 in a Scientology magazine, describing him as a 'braggart,' among other things. The canton court judges reproached the woman for having attacked the man on the personal level and not because of his ideas. The convicted intends to fight the decision before the Federal Court. In a press release signed by the Scientology Church of Lausanne, she described the decision as a direct attack on freedom of the press." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000329181021.129Aemail@example.com
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.