AustriaAgence France Presse on June 16th reported that a Vienna, Austria based human rights organization is defending itself against charges that it has been infiltrated by Scientology. "The Vienna-based International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights hit back Thursday at accusations by a French anti-cult official that it had been infiltrated by the Church of Scientology. Leading anti-cult official Alain Vivien suggested the IHFHR had been compromised. The IHFHR 'seems today to have passed into the hands of Scientologists and perhaps other transnational organisations,' said Vivien, who heads up France's Interministerial Committee for the Struggle against Cults. "In a letter to Vivien on Thursday, IHFHR executive director Aaron Rhodes declared his 'astonishment' at the charge. He was, he wrote, 'embarrassed for you and your fellow French citizens by your recourse to methods of denunciations and insinuations that remind us of those sometimes used by totalitarian and backward regimes.' In his letter, Rhodes acknowledged that its Moscow office had received funding from Scientology to print a leaflet on religious freedom, but said the group had never sought to hide the source of the funding." From the Associated Press reported on June 16th that the town of Lausanne is accusing Scientology of harassment on public property. "The Lausanne Town Council will denounce the scientologist managers for 'harassment' on public ground. For three days, they have been approaching passers-by in the street in the town center, in the frame of their private exhibition. Open air concerts without authorizations have also been organized. Despite a first warning, the harassment is still going on. 'This situation is not acceptable anymore' commented the town authorities friday, announcing that it was going to take the measures required to sue them. In 1998, the Town Council already had taken a decision restricting the usage of public grounds by scientology and related organizations." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com
International RelationsThe U.S. House Committee on International Relations held hearings this week on alleged infringement of religious liberty in Europe. From Die Presse on June 16th: "'The dealings with religious minorities in West Europe fills many Americans with concern. Several west European countries, who doubtlessly are friends of the USA and where freedom in general is cherished, have a weak point in their attitude towards religious minorities.' Benjamin Gilman, chairman of the foreign political committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, emphasized at the hearing on Wednesday that members of minority religions in west Europe are often discriminated against. "Robert Seiple, special ambassador of the State Department for International Religious Freedom, described the situation in Austria as not dissimilar from that of France. He said the government had long been carrying out an information campaign against any religious group which, in its opinion, harmed the interests of the individual or of society. Many representatives from Scientology and Jehovah's Witnesses testified." From the Washington Post on June 13th: "JAG star and Scientologist Catherine Bell, who plays Marine Corps attorney Sarah 'Mac' McKenzie on the CBS series about military justice, is in Washington this week, urging Congress to condemn religious intolerance in Europe. 'We want them to continue to support a resolution that basically condemns the religious discrimination going in Germany, and get some changes there,' the 31-year-old actress told us this morning as she paid courtesy calls on Capitol Hill. For the past four years a member of the Church of Scientology - which German law classifies as a business, not a religion - Bell testifies tomorrow before the House International Relations Committee. "Bell said she and her Scientology instructor traced her audition troubles to a searing memory of her life as fourth-grader, when several teachers gave her a test and she performed badly. 'You're a spiritual being and Scientology is a religion that deals with you as a spiritual being.' Asked if it's helpful to her career that other church members are in show biz, notably Ann Archer, Tom Cruise and John Travolta, Bell answered: 'You certainly help each other as friends.'" Excerpts from the hearing transcript: "REP. BENJAMIN GILMAN (R-NY): I'd like to point out that the purpose of this hearing is not to support the religious doctrines or other activities of religious minorities active in Western Europe. But we're called on not only to protect the rights of those we like, but of those with whom we may disagree with as well. I've put on the record repeatedly, for example, my concern over the use of Nazi imagery by supporters of Scientology in their effort to make their points about German policy. "Of course, holding or expressing a religious belief or worshipping in public and private as one may please is not, as such, forbidden by law in Western Europe. In practice however, expressing a minority religious belief often leads to discrimination. The loss of a job, of educational opportunities, of the right to gain custody of one's own child, or to be a foster parent, which seriously burdens one's exercise of freedom of religion. "AMBASSADOR ROBERT SEIPLE: German officials say they are concerned that Scientology has, 'anti-democratic tendencies.' The Offices for the Protection of the Constitution at both the state and federal level have been monitoring Scientology since 1997 for evidence of activities that would constitute a threat against the state. Although initial reports concluded that it did not, the monitoring continues to this day. In 1998, a commission on so-called sects and psycho groups presented a report to the parliament that criticized Scientology for, 'misinformation and intimidation,' of its critics. Accusing it of being a political extremist group with, 'totalitarian tendencies.' Following this, the states of Bavaria and Hamburg published brochures warning the public of the purported dangers Scientology poses. For their part, many of the country's Scientologists have reported both governmental and societal discrimination in their daily lives. "Some employers, for example, use the so-called sect filter, screening applicants for Scientology membership. The federal government also screens companies bidding on some consulting and training contracts for Scientologists, as do some state governments. That these and other forms of discrimination are occurring was documented in a 1998 UN report. We have expressed our concern that the continued official observation of Scientology by the German government, without any legal action being initiated as a result, creates an environment that encourages discrimination. We have urged our German colleagues to begin a dialogue with the scientologists, and we have raised our concerns multilaterally at meetings of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe. "DR. JEREMY GUNN: The one issue that has received increasing notice during the past few years in Europe is what may be called the anti-sect movement. The most serious problem regarding the anti-sect movement in Western Europe is in France. In 1998, the French government established an agency entitled the Inter-Ministerial Mission to Battle Against Sects. The mission is now headed by the former French Foreign Minister Monsieur Alain Vivien. During the past few years, the French National Assembly has also issued prejudicial reports on so-called sects that are shockingly unscientific. "The most commonly employed term by the anti-sect movement is, of course, the term sect, which plays a role similar to that of racial epithets. One common tactic by some in the anti-sect movement is then to accuse they're ideological opponent of being members or fellow travelers of the foreign group. I personally witnessed one telling example of this tactic by the president of the inter-ministerial himself against a member of an official U.S. delegation in France. "The reports of the anti-sect movements rely on statements made by accusers and disgruntled former members. But they refuse to accept the considerable evidence that most, although not all, adherents of the new religious movement generally report positive and beneficial experiences with the group. This was in fact the conclusion of both the Swedish and the German governments' investigation into new religious movements. "MR. JENSEN: I am the CEO of Executive Software, a company I founded in 1981 in California. My company's products are in use in every sector of the American economy, including right here on Capitol Hill, and are sold extensively abroad, as well. Purchase of my products is restricted in Germany by government edict. And now, the fact that Microsoft's new Windows 2000 operating system includes a component developed by my company is being used to justify a ban on the sale of Windows 2000 in Germany. "The official reason given is that my company is headed by a member of the Church of Scientology. But what does my religion have to do with selling software? While such a blatantly discriminatory admission would be condemned immediately in this country, in the climate of intolerance created by German government, it is allowed to pass. Official statements from the German government have confirmed that public bodies expressly ban purchases from companies owned by or associated with Scientologists, effectively prohibiting the purchase of U.S. products. "MS. BELL: In fact, I'm here at the request of my friend and fellow actress, Ann Archer, whose professional commitments unfortunately prevent her attendance at this hearing to speak on her behalf. Present in this room today are nearly two dozen German citizens who have come here to witness the fact that an official body would care enough to hear their personal grievances and provide an open forum to air the facts about governmental religious discrimination in Germany. "Mr. Karl Rorig is a very talented graphic artist whose work has been exhibited internationally and has appeared on the covers of leading international magazines. Because of his religious beliefs, Mr. Rorig has been blacklisted and has had exhibits boycotted or canceled. His bank accounts were closed with explanation, and his family threatened. He was compelled to send his family abroad to rescue them from the discrimination and intolerance they faced in Germany. "Mr. Hans Bajor, another Scientologist who is here today with his family, worked for 20 years as a journalist. After his religious affiliation became known, all work suddenly dried up. In the end, he had no choice but to leave Germany, and he and his family now live here in the United States. Finally, I would like to introduce Ms. Antia Viktor. In 1997 she became the first German Scientologist to be granted asylum by a U.S. immigration court on the grounds that she faced ruinous religious persecution if she had to return to Germany. On a personal note, I receive a lot of letters from people in Germany who watch 'JAG,' the TV series in which I play a U.S. Marine Corps attorney. I would hate to think that due to reading such hateful propaganda, that they might be made to think less of the program or of me. "REP. SALMON: One of the concerns that's been raised is information that has been sent to virtually every member of this committee from the Lisa McPherson Trust. Do you have any thoughts on some of the allegations that have been raised by this group, and if so, what are they? "MR. JENSEN: Congressman contrary to its characterization as a foundation, it's a profit-making body and all the charges brought in their case were dismissed recently. "REP. SALMON: All of the charges that - or all of the allegations that they've made have been dropped? "MR. JENSEN: That's correct. They've been dismissed by the court. "REP. ACKERMAN: One of the things that the officials in Germany were using to make whatever points they thought they were making, was that this particular religion of which we speak today, Scientology, in their view was not a religion and was just basically a ponzi scheme to take money from unsuspecting people. We argued that, but how do you respond to that? "MR. JENSEN: Congressman, In Germany, they don't have religious freedom, they don't have separation of church and state, they have combined certain religions and declared certain religions to be official state religions. And all others are referred to as sects or free-churches. And my understanding is that free means a religion or church that's not controlled by the government. So I'm not surprised that they would use such derogatory terms to refer to my church. "REV. L'HEUREUX: One of the tragedies that I see in this current environment is that much of the anti-sect movement in Europe, France and Germany that I'm familiar with personally, in particular, arises because of the work for the last four decades here of the American anti-cult movement. It has been rendered economically deficient in this country by legal judgments that have bankrupted the cult awareness network and one of their leading kidnapper/deprogrammers." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000616151940.122Afirstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: oEu15.661$sI4.email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com
FranceAgence France Presse reported on June 11th that France plans a new initiative against mental manipulation by cults. "The struggle against cults should be considerably reinforced by a specific judicial arsenal, according to a bill initiated by the socialist group, and shall be examined on June 22d by the national assembly. The parliament have 'hesitated for long' before planning specific anti-cult dispositions, but this time, it has decided to 'take the bull by horns', said the deputy PS Catherine Picard, President of the Task Force to study cults in the French assembly. The text's purpose is to allow the political authorities to dissolve 'moral entities' having been condemned many times - either themselves or their executives, for some typically cultic offences, such as endangering people, illegal school studies, abuse of trust, etc." From The Guardian on June 14th: "France will defy President Clinton's appeal to be more tolerant of religious sects and introduce draconian laws, including an offense of 'mental manipulation' - brainwashing - which will carry a two-year prison sentence. President Jacques Chirac has told Clinton that religious freedom will no longer be a subject for bilateral presidential talks in the light of what has been officially described as 'shocking' White House support for Scientologists and Moonies. "Alain Vivien, chairman of a French ministerial mission to combat the influence of cults, said many observers believe Clinton was making his peace with big religious movements 'because they offer an indispensable source of political financing.' France has waged war against mainly American-sponsored movements, prompting the accusation, particularly by Scientologists, that it is indulging in 'collective hysteria' and preparing to ban religious freedoms. "Vivien denied that France was acting alone, claiming that Germany was leading the battle, with strong support from Belgium, the first country to produce a legal definition of a sect. He claimed that religious sects, led by Scientologists, were infiltrating U.N. and European human rights associations, financing some of their work and collaborating on reports that condemned France 'with virulence.'" Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: lIN15.2737$7I3.email@example.com
GermanyBadische Zeitung Loerrach reported on May 17th that Renate Hartweg spoke on the subject of Scientology in German business. "About 900 people filled the courtyard at the first presentation in the new series from the Volksbank Dreilaendereck, 'Dialogue - Discussions in Dreilaendereck.' In this attraction, Renate Hartweg developed the theme of 'Scientology - the ticking time-bomb in business.' Renate Hartwig answered the question clearly: Scientology was not a religion, but a 'business concern, similar to the Mafia,' and which she described in media interviews as 'racist, fascistoid and anti-democratic.' That, she said, was because the Scientologists' mission included actively obtaining cooperation in putting 'winners' (Scientologists) in key positions in all areas of society while 'losers' (non-Scientologists) were to be left out in the cold. "Mostly they appear as nice people, and can therefore present themselves as victims who 'are only persecuted because they are Scientologists.' She said, however, that they were not victims, but perpetrators. They often appear as business consultants and offer courses and seminars. For self-protection, Renate Hartwig recommended having a security declaration signed saying that Hubbard technology is not used in business operations." Der Tagesspiegel reported on June 16th on the controversy over Windows 2000 and its Scientology connection. "The latest U.S. Congressional hearings on the theme of 'Treatment of religious minorities in western Europe' took place on Wednesday. Once again, Germany was put on trial for its dealings with Scientology. But the old feud took a surprising turn. Has the Federal Republic of Germany been maneuvered into a situation in which it must boycott the Windows software from Microsoft? "'The federal government at first did not even try to palliate that their embargo being based on religious discrimination,' said Jensen on Wednesday before the foreign politics committee. 'I am not appearing here today to complain about a trade boycott or religious discrimination, but to direct your attention to the interplay of the two of them, an embargo that is justified with official government religious discrimination.' "It is recognized that one or the other government official in Washington will bow to the adeptly mounted pressure from Scientology and get excited about Germany's dealings with the alleged church. What's new is that the scandal pulls in one crisis after the next. The friends of Scientology have managed, for the first time, to rope in a second U.S. department. The USTR trade agency, directly subordinate to the White House, announced in the beginning of May that the disadvantages of Scientologists in announcements in Germany presented a serious obstacle to free world trade. It was about the exact same 'sect filter' that Craig Jensen complained about so emphatically. "Juergen Chrobog, the German Ambassador in Washington, reacted on Wednesday to the Congressional hearing, 'The latest assertions concern only a fraction of the contract announcements, in particular the educational measures in government contracts. These are not directed at Scientology, but are meant to ensure that techniques which attempt to suppress or psychologically manipulate are not implemented for purposes of consultation or education.'" From Der Tagesspiegel on June 16th: "The city-state of Hamburg will not use certain components of the new Windows 2000 computer operating system in its agencies because the components were produced by a U.S. company whose owner is one of the most influential Scientologists. This is in regard to a so-called defragmentation program with the name of Diskeeper, which serves to organize the data on a hard disk so that it can be more quickly accessed by the computer. The producer is the U.S. company Executive Software, Inc., which belongs to Scientologist Craig Jensen, who, according to the information in Hamburg, is counted as one of the managing forces of Scientology at 'Class VIII Operating Thetan.' Executive Software, in turn, belongs to the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (WISE). "On the part of the Federal Office for Security and Information Technology, nobody wanted to address the matter. 'Diskeeper is a matter in process,' said the representative spokesman of the Bonn office, Joachim Weber. For two months BSI, on commission of the Interior Ministry, has been negotiating with Microsoft in order to clear up any sort of threat from the operating system." From Der Tagesspiegel on June 16th: "Hamburg's government agencies are walking on thin ice. Stopping the installation of a computer program because it comes from the company of a high-ranking Scientologist is objectionable. This is not a matter of free selection of a product by a private operation. The pious intention is that Hamburg avoid anything which could be of use to Scientology. But a ban on products will affect any business which accuses Germany of discriminating against a religious denomination. The Scientology lobby in the USA will vigorously exploit this case. "But only assumptions have been given play here - which are fed by Scientology's incontestable urge for expansion and by growing discomfort of people who do business with the Microsoft company. The fact that not even computer experts can agree about the importance of the program does not help the situation. Of course the state should not play into the hands of sects. But it must place its obstacles to them more wisely." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000612164121.142Bfirstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000616152028.122Bemail@example.com Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000616152217.122Efirstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000616152139.122Demail@example.com
John McLaughlinA transcript of the May 20th broadcast of John McLaughlin's One on One TV show was posted to a.r.s this week, on the subject of religious discrimination and mentioning Scientology. "MR. MCLAUGHLIN: At the dawn of the 21st century, one of mankind's age-old curses still afflicts us. It is religious intolerance. In China, Christians and so-called 'cults' are the targets of brutal government crack-downs. In the Sudan, antichristian riots have killed hundreds. In Russia, antisemitism is rearing its despicable head. "SEN. BROWNBACK: The Religious Commission report on international religious liberty and they're putting forward three countries that they're particularly citing that have some of the worst cases of religious abuse, such as in the Sudan and China, and one that we hold some of the most promise, but some of the problems are rearing their head, in Russia. "MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And let's move on to Scientology. It's called a cult, which is kind of a dismissive word, which almost invites a certain amount of oppression, doesn't it? To those who practice Scientology, a true faith. "SEN. BROWNBACK: It is. And where I get concerned is, like the First Amendment, when you start cutting somebody's speech out somewhere, I get concerned anywhere about it. What people choose to do with their own souls is their right, and it should be protected. "MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, in Germany, the Scientologists take an extra-heavy hit. Why do the Germans find Scientology so obnoxious? "MS. SHEA: They don't consider it a religion, and I guess they feel threatened by it. And I don't think governments, especially Germany, should be in the business of saying, you know, what's a religion or not. And I find it very disconcerting." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Los Angeles BenefitThe Los Angeles Times reported on June 10th that Scientology held a fundraiser at a local country club. "The Women's Auxiliary of the Church of Scientology of La Crescenta held its second annual benefit at the La Canada Country Club. More than 220 attendees participated in live and silent auctions and had dinner. Mardi Gras was the theme of the event. Auction co-chairwomen were Lisa Malm of Glendale, Nancy Reitze of Pasadena and Margaret desMarteaux of Tujunga." Message-ID: email@example.com
Lisa McPhersonCriminal charges against Scientology in the death of Lisa McPherson were dropped by the prosecutor this week due to fears of the credibility of the Medical Examiner. From Reuters on June 12th: "A Florida prosecutor dropped criminal charges on Monday against the Church of Scientology's Clearwater headquarters in the 1995 death of a woman member. In 1998, Pinellas County State Attorney Bernie McCabe charged the church with two felonies, practicing medicine without a license and criminal neglect of a disabled adult in McPherson's death. In February this year, Pinellas Medical Examiner Joan Wood changed her finding in the cause of McPherson's death from undetermined to accidental after experts hired by the church challenged her original finding. McCabe said because of the change in the autopsy finding, he did not have enough evidence to proceed with the case. "'We're very happy. We think that was the appropriate thing to do,' Scientology spokesman Mark Rinder said. The church has said it was not responsible for McPherson's death. A separate civil wrongful death suit by McPherson's estate against the church is still pending. No trial date has been set." From the St. Petersburg Times on June 13th: "State Attorney Bernie McCabe's weekend reading was a memo by his chief assistant urging him to drop the first criminal charges ever filed in the United States against the Church of Scientology. The essence was all too clear: The star prosecution witness, Medical Examiner Joan Wood, really didn't know why Scientologist Lisa McPherson died in 1995 while in the care of Scientology staffers in Clearwater. It said she had botched the case beyond repair. "He read the memo one more time before the weight of its words finally sank in. Then, 'I realized I had nowhere to go,' he said Monday evening. 'You just have to do the right thing and let the chips fall where they may.' The veteran prosecutor had written 'OK' atop the memo with a scrawled note that instructed its writer, Assistant State Attorney Douglas Crow, to drop two felony criminal charges against the church's Clearwater operation: abuse of a disabled adult and practicing medicine without a license. "'It's not a celebration, I would describe it more as a sense of relief,' said Marty Rathbun, a top church official who normally deals with ecclesiastical matters but in recent years has been thrown into battle as a defense strategist. 'It's a big milestone,' Rathbun said. If anything good came of the case, he said, it was that it prompted Scientology to accelerate efforts to improve its relations in Clearwater. "Crow, the assistant prosecutor, placed the blame squarely with Joan Wood, the veteran medical examiner, who in 1997 broke her usual practice of discussing cases only in court. Crow submits that several factors may have 'impacted the quality of her judgment.' He cited Wood's vulnerability to litigation in the case and a suggestion by Scientology that it could 'reveal information extremely damaging to Wood's office and her career.' "Ken Dandar, the Tampa attorney representing McPherson's estate in the wrongful death lawsuit, said of McCabe's decision: 'This is a prosecutor that has no backbone.' He blamed the decision on politics, saying politicians 'want everything to be quiet, nice and neat and going after Scientology is too raucous. The people should be ashamed of their prosecutor.' In the civil case, Wood is 'just another doctor,' one of many medical experts, Dandar said. 'This has absolutely no effect on the civil case. It actually makes our resolve stronger, if that's possible.'" The St. Petersburg Times reported on June 13th on the effect this has had on the Medical Examiner, Joan Wood. "Although prosecutors said her 'serious forensic error' ruined their case against the Church of Scientology, Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner Joan Wood said Monday she has no plans to resign. But veteran lawyers predicted the case -- and particularly the 31-page memo from prosecutors that blasted Wood as 'illogical' and 'inconsistent' -- will dog her every time she takes the witness stand. "Wood would not comment on whether the dismissal of the case might affect her credibility in future criminal cases or her ability to continue in her job. 'This is a unique case,' Wood said. 'That's not a question I can answer for you. You should ask an attorney.' During a child-abuse murder case last month Assistant Public Defender Violet Assaid cross-examined Wood about her change-of-heart on the McPherson case. Assaid also brought up an error Wood made in a 1994 child-abuse murder that forced prosecutors to downgrade a first-degree murder charge to second-degree murder. But the judge ruled that those matters were not sufficiently germane to the case at hand and did not allow the jury to hear that testimony. Assaid's client was convicted of first-degree murder. "Records released Monday show Wood angered State Attorney Bernie McCabe long before she reversed her finding on the cause of death with another action he disapproved of: appearing on the tabloid television show Inside Edition to discuss the McPherson case. In her statement last week, Wood told Crow she 'no longer felt the sense of camaraderie' she once shared with McCabe and his assistants. 'I just feel like my position is different. It's different with you; it's different with Bernie.'" From the Tampa Tribune on June 14th: "Medical examiner Joan Wood says the case against the Church of Scientology has hurt her personally, but she doesn't plan to quit her job. The now-defunct case has taken 'a toll far greater than anything else in my life,' Wood said Tuesday. Even now, she worries her actions have been misinterpreted. Wood said she mentioned the crash on the death certificate only because the crash ultimately led to McPherson's winding up in the care of fellow Scientologists. 'I'm saying in my opinion, her problems began when she had that accident and there is an unbroken chain from that accident to Morton Plant Hospital, back to the church, through the 17 days to her death,' Wood said. "Wood had little luck making the same case earlier this month before prosecutor Doug Crow. In a memo to State Attorney Bernie McCabe, Crow called Wood's explanations illogical. 'One might just as well have argued that the fact that Lisa was a Scientologist, lived in Clearwater or got out bed that morning are causes contributing to the death,' Crow wrote." The St. Petersburg Times published an editorial on June 14th. "It was a sad day Monday in Pinellas County when State Attorney Bernie McCabe dropped all charges against the Church of Scientology in the death of Lisa McPherson. Sad because the incompetence of Medical Examiner Joan Wood was exposed too late to save an important criminal case. Sad because McCabe could find no way to bring to justice those who callously allowed McPherson to suffer and die without seeking prompt medical attention for the incapacitated woman. Sad because the bullying Church of Scientology has won again with its mixture of seemingly unlimited resources and intimidation. "The medical examiner's conduct has spoiled this important case, and it threatens the outcome of others, as well. One defense attorney in an unrelated murder trial has already quizzed Wood about her handling of the McPherson autopsy. And other lawyers, including Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger, are questioning her credibility. "Re-appointment of Wood to another three-year term as medical examiner is awaiting a decision by Gov. Jeb Bush, who should question her fitness for the job. Wood should not let the issue get that far. Her sense of decency and integrity should tell her the right thing to do is to resign." From the Tampa Tribune on June 14th: "This was never an easy case. Although brought as a criminal matter, it was really a medical case, and prosecutors needed strong and convincing testimony from a sure medical examiner to prove the charges and attain a conviction. Scientology officials maintain that the prosecutors never had a case and that lies infected the investigation from the beginning. "Senior official Marty Rathbun told reporter David Sommer that McCabe's decision was 'a watershed event between an old era of distrust and misunderstandings and a new era of moving forward with the community.' But Lisa McPherson did not die an easy death, and the church's own internal records reveal, at the very least, a gross insensitivity to her worsening condition. Further, when church members realized how sick she was, they took her to an emergency room 45 minutes away rather than to close-by Morton Plant Hospital, where she could have received immediate medical attention. "The point is that the questions raised by McCabe's office haven't gone away, and neither has the civil case brought against the church by McPherson's estate. Perhaps in that forum, the truth about Lisa McPherson's death will finally be known." Reuters reported on June 13th that the civil case against Scientology continues to be heard. "Church of Scientology officials Tuesday hailed the dismissal of criminal charges against the church in the death of one of its members, while a critic promised to continue the legal battle in civil court. Ken Dandar, the attorney for McPherson's estate, vowed to continue a separate civil suit against the church. 'This has absolutely no effect on the civil case. It actually makes our resolve stronger, if that's possible,' Dandar told the St. Petersburg Times. No trial date has been set for the civil case." The St. Petersburg Times reported on June 14th that Scientology offered prosecutors a deal to drop the charges. "Alarmed at the 'massive impact' of two criminal charges, the Church of Scientology's worldwide leader quickly offered Pinellas County's top prosecutor a deal. Drop the charges, David Miscavige told State Attorney Bernie McCabe in November 1998, and the church would make a $500,000 donation to the county's EMS system. It also would pay the nearly $200,000 in expenses incurred in what then was a three-year investigation into Lisa McPherson's 1995 death while in the care of her fellow Scientologists. In addition, Miscavige offered to pay the $15,000 the church would have been fined if convicted of the charges. "He also promised steps to ensure a death like McPherson's never occurred again. The church would submit to temporary monitoring under a 'pretrial intervention program.' It would have a doctor on call 24 hours a day at Scientology's Clearwater operation. And it would establish a protocol with local hospitals that detailed how Scientologists with mental problems should be cared for in light of Scientology's vigorous opposition to psychiatry. "Shortly after Miscavige made the offer in 1998, McCabe turned it down and made no counter proposal. 'That conversation didn't last very long,' the prosecutor said Tuesday. 'I didn't think (the offer) spoke appropriately to the conduct we had charged.' The offer to McCabe was meant to address the prosecutor's chief concerns about McPherson's treatment while in the care of staffers at Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel, Miscavige said. For example, the donation to EMS attempted to ease concerns that none of the staffers thought to call 911 during McPherson's 17-day stay, instead driving her in a van to a hospital 45 minutes away. The donation was neither a 'buyout' nor a symbolic gesture but a tangible expression of Scientology's support for EMS service, Miscavige said." The Times also reported on June 14th that many in Clearwater are ready to let the case drop, and resume life as normal. "With a high-profile criminal case against the Church of Scientology dropped, city officials, downtown merchants and residents are divided on what impact the turn of events will have on the church's image in Clearwater. 'I think it's time to move on in the community,' City Manager Mike Roberto said. 'I've always contended that the church was a positive aspect of the city. They're a major property owner downtown and a contributor to the community.' 'I'm not in any way defending what the church may have done way into the past,' said Les Spits, owner of the Mooko International fine furniture gallery downtown. However, he said, the past is just that -- the past. With the McPherson case, Spits said, 'If it was anybody else, then the issue would be dropped and that would be the end of it now. But because there is this vendetta it seems against the church, it keeps getting dragged up, and the rest of us who are trying to build a community down here suffer for it.' "But other residents expect wariness toward the church to continue, regardless of the decision to halt criminal prosecution. A civil case filed by McPherson's family over her death is still pending. 'I think it leaves more hanging in the air,' former Mayor Rita Garvey said. 'A woman died under their care.'" From the St. Petersburg Times on June 16th, on the public records status of autopsy photographs of Lisa McPherson. "Now that the criminal case against the Church of Scientology is over, a judge must decide whether the public should have access to a key piece of evidence: the autopsy photos of Scientologist Lisa McPherson. The church and McPherson's estate, normally at odds, joined forces Thursday to ask Pinellas-Pasco Chief Circuit Judge Susan F. Schaeffer to keep the photos under seal. The church argued the photos could jeopardize its right to a fair trial in Tampa, where the estate has filed a wrongful death lawsuit contending Scientology is responsible for McPherson's 1995 death. "Ken Dandar, the estate's attorney, told Schaeffer the privacy rights of McPherson's family could be compromised if the public were to see the photos. He added he did not want to give the church any grounds for appeal. Schaeffer denied both requests, saying she had no jurisdiction in the matter. But she kept the photos under seal until the church and the estate could file lawsuits in Pinellas. "Schaeffer looked at the autopsy photographs from the bench and described them in open court. Echoing Scientology's attorneys, she said some of the natural changes that occur in a body after death could be misconstrued by the public. She said local newspapers probably would not publish them, but worried that they might be displayed on the Internet. 'That does give you some concerns,' she said." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com
NigeriaBob Minton attended a forum at Howard University in Washington, DC this week to explain how Scientology is attempting to use his past business dealings in Nigeria against him. From the Nigeria Guardian on June 14th: "Details of the $4.5 billion debt buy-back deals of the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida administration were unearthed at the weekend in Washington DC, United States of America, with the then government's principal partner, Bob Minton admitting that the transactions were not totally transparent. The deals, similar to the Ajaokuta debt buy-back scheme of the late Gen. Sani Abacha administration were blown open recently by former football star, John Fashanu. "At a forum held by the U.S.-based Nigerian Democratic Movement, at Harvard University, Washington DC, Minton also conceded that if the deals were done in the open market, they would have fetched higher prices for Nigeria. The American businessman, with two others - Jeff Schmidt and Celine Louis - bought back debts and resold to Nigeria between 1988 and 1993. Minton, who expressed readiness to testify before the Nigerian Senate, if summoned, noted that by the disclosures, he was violating the term of agreement with the Babangida administration that the transaction would be kept secret. Fashanu and his Canada-based investigator, Robert Clarke, who were also billed to address the forum were, however absent. "As to the steps he would take on the accusations leveled against him by the Fashanu report, Minton said he had retained a counsel in Nigeria, sued Fashanu in Italy and would also sue him in Germany and the United Kingdom. Minton alleged that Fashanu was being used by the Church of Scientology with which he has a three-year running battle over the church's alleged human rights violations and murder of certain persons which he is trying to expose." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Protest SummaryKeith Henson reported a protests this week in the San Jose area. "I bought one of the street people a bagel, he picketed while I went and got it. Offered to buy him lunch and dinner if he wanted to keep picketing, but it was too weird for him when nice Mark came out with a camcorder and taped him. Only other thing of note was that 'blue shirt' came out and wanted to know if my taping crew was there. Since I would not say if they were watching he was moderately abusive verbally, but refrained again from nazi salutes. "They did call the San Jose police. The officer who came by could find nothing amiss with me picketing from the sidewalk, and took away a copy of the newspaper story on Ashlee Shaner. After that I gave the San Jose mission, Los Gatos, and the new Mt. View locations token ten minute pickets. Mt. View has done nothing to block the windows. I also went by the Palo Alto org, but it was entirely shut down today." Mark Bunker reported a one person protest in Clearwater, near the Lisa McPherson Trust. "I stepped outside about 1 p.m. today and noticed the entire Sea Org coming out of the bank building and lining up across the street. Literally hundreds of uniformed members filling more than half the block on the opposite side of the street. They reached almost all the way down to our door. I grabbed one of the Lisa Picket signs from our window and walked over to the group. Instantly they all averted their eyes and looked away so I walked through the group and stood at the edge of the white lines. In moments, OSA was out there to assess the situation. This included a personal appearance from Ben Shaw himself. Suddenly the troops were all called back inside. This all happened in a little more than a minute. After the crowd was herded inside I asked the OSA guy who was standing between me and the cop 'Everybody had to go back in because of one sign?' He didn't respond." Bruce Pettycrew protested in Mesa, Arizona. "Kathy and I picketed today from 9:00 to 10:00 AM. When we arrived, the site was empty, by 10:00 8 persons had arrived. During the picket a car driven by a single woman arrived and parked right next to the driveway, so our path went within 8 feet of her while she was finishing her cigarette before going inside. She gave me a fixed stare as I walked by, so I offered to give her information about the behavior of her church. Her reply: 'Don't talk to me.' Since she was parked directly by the sign with the motto 'Think for yourself' I pointed out that she needed info from both sides to carry out that goal. Her reply: 'Don't talk to me'. "Two women came out to take our picture during the picket, including the one that offered such scintillating conversation. I told her that I hoped she got a good picture. Her reply: 'Don't talk to me.'" Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: gEX25.email@example.com
ProzacThe Boston Globe published an article on June 11th on Prozac, mentioning the effect Scientology has had on the history of the drug. "This is a story about a drug that changed the world, the bravery of rats, the evolution of a psychiatrist, the Jekyll and Hyde nature of man-made chemicals, the Church of Scientology, and the impulses that lead some people to kill. The drug is Prozac. Introduced by Eli Lilly and Co. in 1988 as the first notable new antidepressant in two decades, it lifted the spirits of millions and became shorthand for the search for answers in convenient pill form. "The most ardent Prozac critics were members of a group affiliated with Scientology, which was founded by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, in part based on his hatred of psychiatry. The group blanketed the media with claims that Prozac was a 'killer drug.' In one press release the group stated that 'the numbers of persons who have been driven or are being driven suicidal or homicidal by Prozac is astronomical.' It was one of many subtle and not-so-subtle distortions of Teicher's paper. 'Teicher says his contact with the Scientologists was limited to one phone call in which he complained they were distorting his data. Yet, he says, he suffered 'guilt by association,' despite the fact that he always believed Prozac was a valuable addition to the psychiatrist's toolbox, 'a breakthrough' drug that simply needed to be monitored closely for troubling side effects. But, for the most part, all anyone heard was that Teicher had linked Prozac to suicide, and the Scientologists were citing him as their most potent ally. "The psychiatric community circled the wagons to oppose the Scientologists' attacks on Prozac and the entire profession, sweeping up Teicher in what he called a 'strange, surreal' process. Lilly fought back as well, offering studies and scientists to challenge Teicher's work and sending out press releases of their own to counter the criticism." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.