ClearwaterThe St. Petersburg Times reported on January 14th that a hearing was held regarding alleged violations of the restraining order placed against Scientology and critics who protest in downtown Clearwater. "Ten feet has become ultra-important to downtown Clearwater's archenemies, the Church of Scientology and the Lisa McPherson Trust, an anti-Scientology watchdog group. It's how far apart the members of each group must stay from each other, according to an injunction issued Nov. 30 by Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court Judge Thomas Penick. On Friday, Penick faced the parties again at the St. Petersburg Judicial Building as each accused the other of crossing the line. Each side was hoping Penick would find the other in contempt of court, and maybe even toss them in jail. "Among their claims: The church says critic Tory Bezazian sat in its Santa chair. The trust says Scientologists had someone follow two of its people to Ruth's Chris Steak House in Tampa and interrupt their supper. But Friday, Penick never got to see any of the evidence, even though he had blocked off his entire day for the hearing. But by 12:30 -- after three hours of back-and-forth -- the hearing was over, bogged down in technical legal issues. "'There seems to be a never ending wealth of allegations and remarks etc., etc. between the parties, and other courts seem to get to deal with more weighty legal matters,' Penick said, 'while I get left like the nanny at home that has to take care of the children.' The church critics came with props: a megaphone, like the ones they use to picket the church, and 'The Threep,' which Minton uses when he protests. It is a retractable pole that stretches to 10 feet with a copy of the injunction hanging at the end. The Threep is also equipped with a bicycle horn and a flashing red warning light. "The critics wore white roses on their lapels. Members said it was a new statement symbolizing the White Rose, a group of German students and academics who protested Nazi Germany's Third Reich during World War II. From the bench, Penick took note of the adornments. 'You can notice one side because they're all wearing white roses,' Penick said. 'Maybe from now on these sides should come in color-coded.'" Message-ID: email@example.com
Erika ChristensenUSA Today reported on January 11th on Scientology celebrity Erika Christensen. "She's starring in the box office hit Traffic as the junkie daughter of the White House drug czar (Michael Douglas). But the 18-year-old actress couldn't be playing more against type. The Christensens, who live in L.A., are avid members of the Church of Scientology, which takes a strong position against drugs. "'I can't say enough about how I'm against drugs, and it's not something where I say 'Just don't do it,' Christensen says. 'I'm saying, Be smart, think about it, look at what it does to people, look at how much you have to experience in life and be courageous enough to do everything you want to without that chemical help.' Christensen researched her role for three months through Narcotics Anonymous. After making the movie, she thanked the organization by speaking to kids at a hospital fair about the dangers of drugs." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
CCHRScientology issued a press release this week criticizing the U.S. Surgeon General for a conference on mental health. "The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is calling the 'Report of the Surgeon General's Conference on Children's Mental Health' yet another attempt for snaring billions of taxpayers dollars by a failing mental health monopoly, which has consistently failed to find scientific evidence for any of the so-called child mental disorders. Bruce Wiseman, the national President of CCHR stated, 'One of the report's main contributors, the National Institute of Mental Health, admits that after spending $6 billion in research, no causes for mental illnesses have yet been established. They still cannot scientifically prove that any child has any of these so-called mental disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, yet millions of children are supposedly affected by it. The truth is these are nothing but arbitrary labels created by psychiatrists to justify their existence and rake in insurance money'. "CCHR will be utilizing Freedom of Information Act procedures to obtain the supposed science and studies behind this report. Wiseman says, 'The public has a right to know what proof the Surgeon General has that millions of children have mental disorders -- and what scientific proof there is that these disorders even exist.'" Message-ID: email@example.com
FranceLe Canard Enchaine, a French satirical newspaper, reported on January 10th that a publisher is suing Scientology over the name of their magazine. "Guy Sorman, who published in the past the monthly journal L'Esprit Libre (The Free Mind), has decided to sue Scientology, which has just published a magazine under the same name. With a content that Sorman estimates 'in total contradiction with the liberal ideas he defends.' The publisher George Krassovsky, owning the Title, thinks also he'll launch a suit before Courts." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
GermanyGtonline reported on January 6th that a junk real estate scam in Munich is raising questions about a banker's possible involvement in Scientology. "At the Hypo-Vereinsbank in Munich Dr. Reiner Fuellmich is hated. The Goettingen lawyer represents 4,500 small investors who were scammed with inferior real estate deals, many of whom are now ruined: their purportedly profitable investment brings in no income from rent, but they still have to make payments on their loans. Most of the dubious deals were financed by the Bavarian Hyptheken Bank, which later merged with the Vereinsbank. Fuellmich alleges that the banks knew very well that the 'junk real estate' was not even worth half the value that their customers would have to pay. The response from the Hypo-Bank and other institutions: they are not the ones responsible for the faulty financial advice, the operation that made the ruinous real estate available to the public is. "The campaign against Goettingen attorney Dr. Reiner Fuellmich is primarily explained by the enormous amounts of money involved in the legal dispute Fuellmich is dealing with: The Hypo-bank alone dealt in volumes of from 40 to 50 billion marks in the dirty real estate deals. Finally, the 'Heilbronner Nachrichten' publication uses data from Fuellmich's tax returns to make an association with the Scientology sect. "Especially damaging for Fuellmich was the television report 'Das Netz' broadcast on ZDF July 28, 1999. Without producing any evidence of a Scientology connection, Fuellmich's picture was repeatedly shown overlaying sect writings. Fuellmich's opponents from Schaul's group of people, Hans-Juergen Schaul himself and the commentator accused the attorney of knowingly or unknowingly cooperating with the sect. "The libelous campaign was brought to an end by the Hamburg State Court with its judgment of October 20, 2000: a cease-and-desist order was issued to prohibit distribution of statements that Fuellmich was associated with Scientology thereby violating his personality rights; the broadcast was not permitted to be shown again. In addition the court found that the ZDF show was a one-sided report although the court did not clarify that. However Fuellmich let drop in the court's determination that he, in the battle against his opponent, sent some documents which Scientology also used against its adversaries. The judgment, a positive one for Fuellmich, was immediately turned around by his opponents. In mid November in the 'Heilbronner Nachrichten' appeared a report against Fuellmich in his home town of Nikolausberg which stated only the part about the attorney's alleged Scientology methods. The pamphlet did not contain one word about the cease-and-desist order. Also on the second Christmas day in the 'Heilbronner Nachrichten' Fuellmich's tax data again appeared with the Scientology accusation. As 'source' the paper gave an internet page which could not be found." Stuttgarter Zeitung reported on January 11th that Scientology is conducting an advertising campaign in Stuttgart. "Scientology is trying to get new members in Stuttgart with expensive advertising. The city has proved to be a lackey in that the sect is able to present itself side by side with big-name companies. And do it, of all places, at the giant screen at Pragsattel. The Stuttgart Market is responsible for marketing municipal real estate, and it says it relies completely on an advertising firm with which it does business. "The ticklish matter is especially annoying for chief assembly representative Wolfgang Schuster (CDU), who does not want to offer a platform for advertising in his city. He has denied the sect a major advertising presence on public spaces, even their leaflets may not be distributed in Stuttgart. So Schuster can't stand the thought of a laggard leaving the door wide open to Scientology in his district." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1010109061631.116Aemail@example.com Message-ID: REPOST-Pine.LNX.3.96.1010113161616.114Afirstname.lastname@example.org
Brian HaneyBob Minton reported that Brian Haney has settled his lawsuit against Scientologist Bryan Zwan. "Brian Haney settled with Zwan, Digital Lightwave and Scientology on 12/21. Haney took the money, he's now gagged and restricted regarding Scientology and tied in other ways." Message-ID: email@example.com
Keith HensonKeith Henson posted an update in his bankruptcy case, in which Scientology is the chief creditor from a copyright violations case Henson lost. "The latest news is from my daughter. My wife and I paid a lawyer in LA to seek a protective order to limit her deposition. Judge March limited it to one hour and sanctioned the scientologists $1000 'sue sponte.' She also made comments to the effect of having never seen a bankruptcy of even a major international company which had a 34 page docket sheet or this many hours of deposition. The lawyer we were using has decided she no longer wants to be involved." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
LargoThe St. Petersburg Times reported on January 10th that a Scientology mission in Largo, Florida will not make its home in a prominent church building in downtown. "A wealthy Scientologist has withdrawn plans to buy a church in downtown Largo in which she hoped to open a Scientology mission. Kathy Feshbach said she did not feel comfortable about completing the deal after learning another church, which had been offered the chance to buy the property before her, is still interested in buying it. She said she will focus on finding another site in Largo for a mission. "The 86-year-old building at 160 Sixth St. SW is owned by Abundant Life Ministries. Grace Community Fellowship Church, which wants to buy the property, currently worships in the 7,600-square-foot building. Abundant Life Ministries Pastor Anthony McDaniel said he met with Grace Community Fellowship representatives Monday and offered to sell the property to Grace for $389,000. Grace representatives told McDaniel they would respond by Thursday. "Feshbach and the two partners that had been working with her to buy the church and the house behind it had offered Abundant Life Ministries $389,000 for the two properties. The offer was withdrawn late last month. Feshbach, a Scientologist for 18 years whose family has been a major contributor to the Church of Scientology and its related efforts, said she is looking for another Largo property for the mission. 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, Feshbach said. "Feshbach said she has not talked to any other Largo landowners about buying property to open a mission. On Tuesday, Feshbach met with Mayor Bob Jackson and City Commissioner Marty Shelby to discuss her plans and allay any fears they may have about a Scientology mission in Largo. After Feshbach's plans became public last month, several city commissioners and some residents said they were vehemently opposed to a Scientology mission in Largo, citing the sometimes acrimonious relationship between the Church of Scientology and the city of Clearwater. "Feshbach told Jackson there are no plans by the Church of Scientology to create a major presence in downtown Largo by purchasing large strips of land. 'The international headquarters are in Clearwater,' she said. 'I don't think we need any more.' Jackson was pleased to hear that from Feshbach. 'I feel better to get assurances that they would not expand their operations,' he said." Message-ID: email@example.com
Raul LopezThe Los Angeles New Times published letters to the editor this week in response to its cover story on Raul Lopez. "Scientology's treatment of Raul Lopez is outrageous: New Times is to be commended for its courage in publishing Ron Russell's article about how a disabled adult was taken advantage of by a litigious cult masquerading as a church. The analogy likening this young man to a girl being passed around at a Hell's Angels party is very accurate. Scientology has gotten away with this type of behavior for too long. They have influenced public officials who are too lazy to research the cult's long history of abuses. They have avoided responsibility for their actions by screaming 'religious intolerance' and calling anyone who protests them bigots. I would like to know what kind of religion includes taking advantage of the disabled as a religious tenet and right! "I note that the Scientology lawyers are already trying to put the blame elsewhere, this time upon Lopez's mother! And, of course, they imply that they are the victims of a pair of lawyers representing Lopez by denigrating them as self-proclaimed 'cult busters.' - Barb Graham, San Diego "How dare you compare us motorcycle gangsters to Scientologists! As an ex-member of El Paso, Texas' Thunderclouds (a motorcycle gang that ruled the streets way back in the late 1970s), I emphatically object to your paper likening Scientology to a motorcycle gang. No 'motorcycle gang' (we call them 'bike clubs' now) would have treated Raul Lopez as badly as those Scientologists did! "Motorcycle gang members follow a code of honor that requires aggressive defense of people who are mentally disabled or 'slow.' We protect such people like brothers or sisters. Ninety-nine percent of motorcycle gang members would be livid with rage if they saw what those Scientologists have done to Raul Lopez. Comparing Scientology to a motorcycle gang is a gross, unpardonable insult to bikers everywhere. Even at our worst, we are never as bad as Scientology. - Name withheld upon request, San Pedro "The story of Raul Lopez is sad, and to be exploited by a 'church' is the zenith of tragedy. Scientology is proving itself, over and over again, with an ever swelling number of testimonials on the Internet (search for 'Xenu') of people who have abandoned the church after suffering its abuses, that it is truly the evil empire of this century. If you printed all of the Web pages on similar church abuses, it would rise from the floor to the ceiling. - Name withheld upon request, San Diego "Why is it you guys never say anything good about Scientology, or about L. Ron Hubbard? As a man who originated the most successful drug rehabilitation program in the world, Narcanon, and the most used literacy system, Applied Scholastics, Hubbard ought to merit some favorable mention in your pages. Isn't your slanted reporting a little obvious, even to you? Sometimes your reporting is excellent, but on this subject, you go off like a bunch of wackos. I've been involved in Scientology for 20 years. It got me off drugs. It helped me handle problems I had as a gay man, coming out. In all my 20 years involved, including three years as a staff member at several organizations, I've never observed the kind of negative stuff New Times reports on. - Keith Relkin, West Hollywood" Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Protest SummaryTory Bezazian reported a protest at several locations in Clearwater this week. "Yesterday Arnie Lerma, Randy and I were out doing a picket outside the Fort Harrison. We were standing on the sidewalk saying things like 'Don't waste your lives' and Arnie of course saying, 'There are no OT's there', etc. Suddenly we watched about 20 of people literally running along through the ground floor of the FH, to the back, into a bus and whisked away. Paul Kellerhaus followed us around doing his usual filming." "Randy, Arnie and I did a picket from the Hacienda Gardens (SO berthing) to the Sandcastle (Clear to OT 7) and the Fort Harrison at night." "Barb" reported a protest this week at Gold Base in Hemet, California. "We met a local from Riverside, Richard, and a mystery guest at Ida's place. The mystery guest is an ex-scio who spent ten years in the cult and is concerned about the possibility of the special harassment they reserve for their dissatisfied customers. We parked at the Ashlee memorial, which has sadly degenerated into remnants. Little bits of feathers, flowers, and other offerings are returning back to the earth, monitored by the camera mounted at the pullout area. "We made one pass up the road to Davey's house and back, and a strange parade it was; two older men, myself in my usual white hat and Scientology Kills T-shirt, and our mystery guest wore a rainbow wig and feathered mask. One fellow pulled over to inquire about our signs, and I gave him one of Richard's cool business card sized flyer with URLs on it, and a brief rundown of why we were there. As we returned on the first pass, a car pulled out and waited for us. It had our PI buddy Frank. Frank was wearing his silly grin, but didn't acknowledge my greeting to him. He dropped off his companion, and drove down past the Ashlee memorial, where he parked across the street with his beloved telephoto lens. "My dad noticed that the keys were not in his pocket. A car pulled over to ask about our signs. We enlisted them to give Richard and Miss X a ride to the Golden Era golf course and a phone. Frank hastily followed them to the golf course, where Miss X got to meet a very, very curious Muriel Dufresne. Finally a tow truck arrived to open up the car. I found the keys on the passenger's seat, under a cushion." Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: 3A5A058D.8E1F08BE@worldnet.att.net Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
TimeThe Atlanta Journal Constitution reported on January 13th that Time Magazine has won an appeal by Scientology to reverse the dismissal of a libel lawsuit over the 1991 cover article. "Time Inc. and another unit of AOL Time Warner Inc. have persuaded a federal appeals panel to uphold the dismissal of a libel suit brought by the Church of Scientology International. The lawsuit stemmed from a 1991 cover story in Time magazine titled 'Scientology: The Cult of Greed,' which called Scientology 'a ruthless global scam.' The 7,500-word story by journalist Richard Behar said the church survives by 'intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner,' and called Scientology a 'ruthless ... terroristic' cult. The church sued Behar, Time and Time Warner for libel, claiming that these and other statements were defamatory." From the New York Law Journal on January 16th: "In a libel lawsuit, the Church of Scientology failed to show actual malice by a writer for Time magazine, which published an expose of the organization in 1991, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has held. The appeals court, in a suit filed over the Time cover story 'Scientology: The Cult of Greed,' also said that no reasonable jury could find that reporter Richard Behar published allegations about a stock scam and murder-suicide involving members of the church 'with purposeful avoidance of the truth.' "Mr. Behar's 10-page article criticized Scientology as a 'ruthless global scam' posing as a religion that survived 'by intimidating members and critics in a 'Mafia-like' manner.' One allegation in the story, denied by the church, was that church member Steven Fishman stole stock confirmation slips in order to join dozens of successful securities class action lawsuits. Mr. Behar reported that Mr. Fishman spent almost a third of the million dollars he made from the stock scam on Scientology books and tapes, and when he was caught, was instructed by the church to kill a psychiatrist that he had confided in, Dr. Uwe Geertz, and then kill himself. "The Second Circuit agreed with Judge Leisure that the church could not make a showing of actual malice in publishing either the stock scam or murder-suicide allegations. 'The article does not present Fishman's claim as undisputed fact, but rather makes clear that Scientology denies the truth of Fishman and Dr. Geertz's charges,' said Chief Judge John M. Walker Jr., writing for the appeals court. 'In view of the extensive research Behar conducted and the fact that the death threat was accurately reported as an allegation, we agree with the district court that no reasonable jury could find' Mr. Behar was purposefully avoiding the truth in publishing the allegations. "Other statements from the article that the court found fell short of actual malice were the 'Mafia-like' allegation, a second that called the group 'classically terroristic,' and a third that read: 'Those who criticize the church--journalists, doctors, lawyers and even judges--often find themselves framed for fictional crimes, beaten up or threatened with death.' "Another allegation concerned the suicide of a man named Noah Lottick. Mr. Behar had written that 'The Lotticks lost their son, Noah, who jumped from a Manhattan hotel clutching $171, virtually the only money he had not yet turned over to Scientology. His parents blame the church and would like to sue but are frightened by the organization's reputation for ruthlessness.' The church had argued that Mr. Behar had a negative view of Scientology, and in the words of Judge Walker, 'that his bias pervaded the investigation and caused him to publish false and defamatory statements' about the church--a claim Judge Leisure found unsupported by the evidence. Moreover, Judge Leisure said that the church had failed to show inadequate investigation on the part of the reporter." Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joan WoodThe St. Petersburg Times reported on January 11th that former Medical Examiner is refusing to testify in a murder case. "Former Pasco-Pinellas Medical Examiner Joan Wood is refusing to respond to subpoenas to give a deposition considered critical to the defense in a murder case. Wood, who retired Sept. 30 after she was harshly criticized for her role in the collapse of the high-profile criminal case against the Church of Scientology, skipped a Nov. 1 deposition at which she was to testify about the suspicious death of a 7-month-old girl. She was served with a subpoena on Sept. 28, but as the date for the deposition approached, Wood's associates said she was too ill to testify. "Wood, 56, served as the circuit's chief medical examiner for 18 years, but the end of her career was tarnished by the case of Scientologist Lisa McPherson, who died in 1995 after 17 days in the care of church staffers. 'The actions and testimony of Dr. Wood, a forensic witness essential to the state's case, has so muddled the equities and underlying facts in this case, however, that it has undermined what began as a strong legal position,' the memo said." 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.