CCHRScientology put out a call this week for members of CCHR to flood the U.S. Senate with emails, urging defeat of the Family Opportunity Act. "This bill opens the door to a huge increase in the numbers of children who could be falsely labeled 'mentally ill'. Send a single SHORT email, in your own words, to the email list of US Senators below urging them not to pass SB 2247 - The Family Opportunity Act. Call your Senator (www.senate.gov) and Senator Trent Lott (202-224-6253) and leave a message with the receptionist that you are opposed to SB 2247 - The Family Opportunity Act. "You send your email to all the Senators at one time if you can copy and paste the entire list of email addresses below onto the Bcc line of your email. "The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) is trying to push legislation through Congress before the legislative session ends. This bill would allow additional funding to cover mental health 'treatments' of anyone under the age of 21 to be covered by government insurance - in this case Medicaid. It allows families who have physically or mentally disabled children and dependents under the age of 21, who normally make too much money to qualify for government Medicaid insurance an option to purchase this coverage on a sliding scale fee, dependent on their income for these children. Currently this insurance is only available for those whose incomes are at or below the poverty level; for example a family of four whose yearly income is $17,050, qualifies for Medicaid. The bill increases this 600 percent; i.e., a family of four will be able to buy Medicaid coverage if they earn under $102,000 a year. "This opens the door to a huge increase in the numbers of children who could be labeled 'mentally ill. In Section 3 of the bill a special point is made of ensuring that inpatient psychiatric hospitalization for anyone under 21 is part of the package. This sounds innocent enough until you realize how profitable psychiatric inpatient hospitalization is to the mental health industry. "Nowhere does the bill point out the following vital information - that children who are committed to psychiatric hospitals under this legislation will very likely become lifelong patients who need continual hospitalizations. Even more alarming is the fact that those who would label a child 'mentally disabled' and therefore make them eligible for coverage, are the very same people who will be paid to 'treat' that 'mental disability.'" CCHR has published a new booklet on Psychiatry. "The Citizens Commission on Human Rights has a new booklet out, Psychiatry: a Human rights Abuse and Global Failure. Along with the new booklet is a letter from Public Affairs Executive, June Parks, who extends an invitation to send her comments on the booklet." Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
ClearwaterFrom the letters to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times on December 19th: "Out-of-town protesters tried to harass the parishioners and staff members of the Church of Scientology. These protesters are not the kind of people we need in downtown Clearwater. As a downtown business owner, I am working alongside other merchants to make downtown a place where people can shop and bring their families. I have seen the work that the church has done to beautify its property and to make the downtown safer. On the other hand, these picketers are not doing anything to bring a sense of community to Clearwater. Instead they bring their lies and hate propaganda to try and tear down what we all have built up. -- Dino Zompanakis, Clearwater" Message-ID: email@example.com
GermanyThe Associated Press reported on December 14th that a court in Kassel, Germany ruled against Scientology in a case involving au-pairs. "Members of the Scientology Organization, which describes itself as a church, are not permitted to be employed in every case as au-pair employment referrers. The eleventh senate of the Federal Welfare Court in Kassel decided on Thursday that the necessary permit from the federal labor agency for au-pair employment referrers had to be considered on a case-by-case basis as to how far the referring agent was associated with the organization and whether that could constitute violation of employment security agreements. "The complainant is a 44-year-old woman from Bad Kreuznach who referred au-pairs from Estonia to German families and who had received a three-year permit from the federal labor agency in December 1994. The agency learned from press reports of the complainant's membership in Scientology and revoked her referral permit." Reuters reported on December 19th that the highest German court overturned a lower court ruling in a case involving Jehovah's Witnesses, which may have implications for Scientology. "Germany's highest court on Tuesday overturned a previous ruling denying official status to the Jehovah's Witnesses and ordered a new study of their bid to be a recognised religious body. The Federal Constitutional Court quashed a 1997 ruling that the Christian sect, founded in the U.S., should be refused the status of a public body because it forbade its members from taking part in political elections. 'A religious group should be judged not by its beliefs but by its behaviour,' said Judge Winfried Hassemer, explaining his ruling. "German restrictions on the California-based Church of Scientology - whose members are barred from government jobs in some regions - have been criticised by U.S. celebrities and business leaders who are members of the church. German authorities say that Scientology masquerades as a religion but exploits its members to raise money." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1001215173745.138Efirstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com
Gerry ArmstrongMarin News reported on December 21st that a judge has refused Scientology's request to hold Gerry Armstrong in contempt for speaking out against Scientology. "Church attorneys filed a contempt motion against Gerald Armstrong, a former Scientology archivist, for persistently violating a judge's order in 1995 to stop criticizing the church and discussing his experiences as an employee there. As evidence, church attorneys submitted a sheaf of messages Armstrong had posted in Internet discussion groups between March 1998 and July of this year. The messages, most of which were posted on the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup, include bilious exchanges between church members and Armstrong - who refers to his former employer as the 'Church of $cientology.' "But Judge Vernon Smith yesterday rejected the church's motion for a contempt citation, saying the judge who issued the original order, Gary Thomas, is long retired, and the church had failed to explain why Smith himself should issue a contempt order. 'The court has overwhelming evidence to hold him in contempt,' protested Andrew Wilson, the church's Sausalito-based attorney. 'I'm not convinced of that,' Smith said. But he continued the matter until next Wednesday, giving church attorneys a chance to file more briefs in support of their argument. "Armstrong, who now lives in Chilliwack, British Columbia, was not present at the hearing. But reached by telephone yesterday, he described Smith's action as 'really cool.' 'I'm really glad that a judge has taken note of the fact that Scientology is not what they're representing it to be,' said Armstrong, 54. 'This is an extraordinary time in my history.' Armstong, during an interview yesterday, did not deny writing the Internet messages. If anything, he said, the church understated his output. 'My count was 2,289,' he said. "Armstrong also insists the 1986 agreement does not trump his First Amendment rights. 'I settled my lawsuit against them for 12 and half years of lies and deceit and abuse,' he said. 'I did not settle with them to become a punching bag of the Church of Scientology.'" Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Choir EventThe Los Angeles Times reported on December 21st that a Scientology choir participated in a choir festival. "The 41st annual Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration takes place in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, from 3 to 9 p.m. Among the 39 performing groups appearing are the International Children's Choir, Long Beach Ballet Arts Center, Vox Femina, Church of Scientology Choir, Marla Bingham Contemporary Ballet and the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles." Message-ID: email@example.com
LargoThe St. Petersburg Times reported on December 20th and 21st that a new Scientology mission is being established in Largo, Florida, near to the Clearwater headquarters. "A prominent Scientologist is leading an effort to buy an 86-year-old church in downtown Largo, where she plans to open a Scientology mission, a development that has raised concerns among some city officials. The newly incorporated Church of Scientology Mission of Largo Inc. is paying $389,000 for the church at 160 Sixth St. SW and the house behind it at 520 Cleveland Ave. "The mission is the venture of Kathy Feshbach, 51, of Belleair, who said she is working with two partners. She has been a Scientologist for 18 years and her family is a major contributor to the Church of Scientology and its related organizations. The mission's purpose will be to meet the needs of new Scientologists. Feshbach said it will be staffed with five to 10 people and will have a bookstore. Classes, spiritual counseling and training will be offered, she said. "The mission signed a contract with church owner Abundant Life Ministries of Largo on Nov. 30, and a closing date has been set for the end of January. Feshbach said she and her partners are planning some interior renovations to the 7,600-square-foot building, but will preserve the character of the church, built in 1914 as the First Baptist Church of Largo. 'We love the fact that it's a church,' Feshbach said. 'That's why I wanted to buy it. I definitely want to keep it a religious spot.' "Feshbach has scheduled a meeting in January with Largo Mayor Bob Jackson, who said that the mission's presence in Largo may scare off some who might be interested in operating a business downtown. He added, however, that he didn't foresee any problems. 'This is America,' Jackson said Tuesday afternoon. 'We can't discriminate based on personal preferences. We are a nation of laws and if people are law-abiding, then they deserve a chance of happiness.' But other commissioners were less welcoming. Commissioner Mary Laurance said she has been unimpressed with Scientology's presence in downtown Clearwater. 'There are some things you can skip and dance around. This is not one of them,' Laurance said. 'I just want to be very clear: I'm very against having them in downtown Largo.' Commissioner Harriet Crozier said while she was not clear on the details, when she heard about the mission, 'I got an upset stomach.' 'To think Scientology or some form of it might be encroaching in the community doesn't sit well with me,' she said." "When she moved to this city in 1946, Nelle Attaway attended the large, white church with the stained glass windows at the corner of First Avenue and Sixth Street SW. So she was disturbed Wednesday morning after reading that a prominent Scientologist is leading an effort to buy the building to create a Scientology mission in downtown Largo. 'My blood pressure is still up,' said Attaway, 77, who lives within walking distance of the church. "'Gee whiz, this is the United States of America. I don't know if somebody should be refused the opportunity to buy a piece of property,' said Greater Largo Chamber of Commerce president Marc Mansfield, who stressed he was not speaking for the organization. Several commissioners said they got telephone calls on the issue from residents Wednesday. Some said they were concerned about the proposed sale. A couple of people called the mayor's office saying they think Feshbach has the right to buy the building, but they wish the city could find a loophole to stop the sale. One person sent two e-mails to the mayor's office expressing outrage. "'I know they do a lot of good, but they control people's minds,' said Vice Mayor Jean Halvorsen. Then there were others, like City Commissioner Pat Burke. Although Burke agrees that Feshbach has the right to buy the building, she said she wishes the current owners would sell the property to someone who can open a business that will encourage people to invest in downtown. 'I would hope for something that would be a catalyst for bringing businesses in,' she said." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com
Raul LopezThe case of Raul Lopez against Scientology for defrauding him of the money he received in a head injury settlement was the subject of an article in the Los Angeles New Times. "Without exception, doctors advised him to adapt to his limitations and move on with his life. But that was before Lopez, 34, stumbled upon a Scientology booth at a Ventura County flea market. The Scientologists, he concluded, had what he wanted. 'They were going to make me whole again,' he recalls once believing. According to attorneys Dan Leipold and Ford Greene, Lopez also had something the Scientologists wanted: $1.7 million that was their client's share of the court settlement stemming from the accident. As part of a potentially explosive case wending its way toward trial in Los Angeles superior court Lopez's attorneys contend that the church and individuals associated with it swindled their brain-damaged client out of up to $1.3 million. "'They picked him clean, and we have the documentation to prove it,' Leipold says. For their part, Scientology lawyers deny that there was any wrongdoing, portraying Lopez as a willing participant during years of involvement in the church. Robert Amidon, a Burbank attorney who is among the legal team representing the church, calls Lopez's claim 'bogus,' characterizing the case (scheduled for trial next May) as an attack on religious expression: 'It's as if Lopez [were Catholic and] were to say, 'Please stop all confessionals in the Catholic Church because it hurts my brain to listen to the priest.' "What makes the Lopez case different to most, his lawyers contend, is that not only did Lopez exhibit diminished capacity during years of surrendering huge sums to the church and its affiliated entities, but that his Scientology handlers were well aware of his condition after having obtained copies of his medical and psychiatric records. One psychiatrist who examined Lopez after he was injured and reexamined him last year found that he was 'damaged [by the accident] intellectually, damaged interpersonally, and damaged with regard to his emotionality.' Dr. Leonard Diamond's report, a copy of which was obtained by New Times, concluded that the auditing Lopez received from the church provided 'absolutely no benefit,' adding, 'In fact, the data strongly point to the fact that these experiences have served to create additional disturbance so that [Lopez] has reached a point at which he is barely functioning.' "Much of the money went to pay for months of auditing sessions at Oxnard, which took place up to six times a week, before he was passed up the bridge for more advanced auditing at both the church's Celebrity Centre International in Hollywood and at its sprawling Flag Service Organization in Clearwater, Florida. He says he passed out during auditing on at least three occasions and that each time church representatives attributed it to personal inadequacies that they said only pointed up the need for more intense auditing. In addition, the lawyers contend that their brain- impaired client forked over hundreds of thousands of dollars to people connected with the church for other purposes. 'They isolated him from his family and took control of every aspect of his life,' says Leipold. 'They squeezed him until there was nothing left.' "Lopez relates how on several occasions church representatives escorted him to an Oxnard bank and waited in the car after instructing him to go inside and withdraw huge sums - ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 at a time -- in the form of cashier's checks, which he would then hand over to them. 'Some of the money was for loans [to other Scientologists], and some of it was for what they said I owed,' says Lopez. 'I can't tell you what all it was for. I know I never got much of the [lent] money back.' Whenever Lopez needed legal advice, people from the church sent him to a Scientology lawyer, the lawsuit contends. They arranged for his taxes to be prepared by a Scientology tax preparer. They even arranged to have his auditor - the Scientologist in charge of his expensive indoctrination sessions - move into his Oxnard house with him for 18 months. Church officials encouraged him to refinance both a three-bedroom home and a condominium that he had owned 'free and clear,' each time persuading him to use the proceeds for Scientology-related purposes. 'You're taught that it's your duty and responsibility to help a fellow Scientologist in need.' "His retreat from the uncertain world around him is a six-acre spread near the Ventura County community of Somis. It is the only asset that has survived from when times were flush. A $488-a-month disability check is his only ostensible income. 'Raul's been hurt badly,' says his mother. 'I want [the church] to give him back his money. But more than that, I wish he could just forget about what they did to him.'" Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com
Protest Summary"Wynot" reported a protest this week in Atlanta. "The usual gang at ARSCC-ATL were joined today by high ranking LMT official Jeff Jacobsen. Ethercat, Mad_Kow, and myself arrived at the org near noon to find Jeff awaiting, videotaping the cult's storefront and the passing traffic. Mad_Kow had his usual 'Scam' sign, EC carried 'Scientology Lies', and Jeff had his familiar photo of a smiling Lisa McPherson. I held a sign with 'Scientology Killed Lisa McPherson' on one side, and 'Dianetics/Scientology, Bait and Switch' on the other. "People were waving, honking, giving the thumbs-up, and even yelling thank-you to us. At one point a man in a white Chevy with Kentucky plates pulled in the driveway, and offered me a $10 bill. I thanked him, but said we did not need it - we were here to help people keep their money, not take it from them! "The culties were once again non-confront - not even any picture takers. The members who came in and out during our visit studiously ignored us." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Salt Lake CityThe Deseret News reported on December 23rd that Scientology will host Santa Claus at an event at the org. "The Church of Scientology, 1931 S. 1100 East, will host Santa Claus for Sugar House-area children starting at noon today. Santa will listen to all the children's wishes, and the public is invited. The Church of Scientology's sermon at 10 a.m. Sunday at the church will be 'How to Aid Your Fellow Man.' People of all faiths are welcome." Message-ID: email@example.com
SwitzerlandDer Bund reported on December 16th that the Federal Office of Police has concluded that Scientology should not be the subject of surveillance in Switzerland. "Structure and activities of sects and Scientology have hardly changed since the first investigation in 1998 wrote the BAP in its second status report. It was said that no activities had been ascertained which would justify preventive surveillance. In the case of Scientology neither intelligence activities nor deliberate attempts to infiltrate government agencies or private corporations were proven. The BAP will re-evaluate the situation according to developments and remain in contact with foreign agencies." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1001219183747.124Efirstname.lastname@example.org
Totally Fun CompanyPeter Alexander reported that Scientology has continued harassing his company, the Totally Fun Company. "As some of you may know, I am a Scientology critic (and former OT7 Scientologist) and I have a business called the Totally Fun Company. Totally Fun Company recently got a call from one of our vendors, who had just received a phone call from a Scientology agent. The Scientologist told him that his (fictitious) company had created a 5-7 minute 'video' for Totally Fun, and that we had stiffed him on the payment. He told our vendor that 'we were in trouble' financially and wondered if the vendor's payment had been received late. When the vendor said that he'd been paid on time, the Scientologist pumped him for more information and then hung up. "We assured him, and asked him to look up our very healthy Dun & Bradstreet rating. After we explained about Scientology, and the cowardly little lies they tell behind people's backs, he began to understand. But it took a good deal of talking before he really got the message, for the sneakiness and viciousness of Scientology's OSA agents is really outside most people's realities. They just can't believe that anyone would bother to be that evil, in the strange, cowardly way that L. Ron Hubbard taught his robots to behave." Message-ID: email@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.