Faith-Based GroupsPat Robertson wrote a column in USA Today on March 5th, explaining his opposition to U.S. President Bush's plan to allow money to be given to religious groups for charitable programs. "Our laws do not let government engage in content discrimination of speech. The same government grants given to Catholics, Protestants and Jews must also be given to the Hare Krishnas, the Church of Scientology or Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church -- no matter that some may use brainwashing techniques or that the founder of one claims to be the messiah and another that he was Buddha reincarnated. Under the proposed faith-based initiative, all must receive taxpayer funds if they provide 'effective' service to the poor. In my mind, this creates an intolerable situation. "I propose a modest modification to the Bush plan: Faith-based organizations that want federal assistance could request a screening by the new White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives, which would look at such objective criteria as their financial integrity, record keeping, supervision and basic accountability. Assuming these organizations were performing approved services for those less fortunate in society, they would be listed in a government registry along with a list of projects the government wishes to support. Private individuals and corporations then could use that listing to make donations to the faith-based institutions of their choice." From the New York Times on March 7th: "It may seem surprising that Pat Robertson, one of the nation's most enthusiastic proponents of inserting religion into public life, would be the first serious critic of President Bush's plan to offer government aid to social programs run by religious groups. The Bush initiative is, after all, the most substantial effort in years to increase the role of religion in public life. But what worried Mr. Robertson, as expressed in his comments last month, was possible government financing of religious groups that are outside the mainstream, like the Church of Scientology, the Hare Krishna movement or the Unification Church. "Whether Mr. Robertson's comments signal trouble for the Bush program among all Christian conservatives is an open question. There are significant divisions among these believers that may become politically important now. "Mr. Bush has not said that he supports helping programs run by groups like Hare Krishnas, Scientologists or Wiccans. But neither has he said that any groups might be left out, and his administration is surely aware that any legislation that specifically excludes government aid based on a particular faith is unlikely to be constitutional. Asked during the campaign if, for example, he would approve of government financing for a Church of Scientology antidrug program, he answered: 'I have a problem with the teachings of Scientology being viewed on the same par as Judaism or Christianity. That just happens to be a personal point of view. But I am interested in results.'" The White House defended the program this week, as reported by the Associated Press on March 7th. "'Compassionate conservatism warmly welcomes godly people back into the public square while respecting and upholding - without fail - benevolent constitutional traditions,' John DiIulio, head of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, said in remarks prepared for the National Association of Evangelicals in Dallas. He said people who don't want government money to go to religious groups outside the mainstream, such as the Nation of Islam, must realize they are not entitled to that kind of veto power. "Others argue that the program is flawed because it could lead to nonmainstream religions getting money. Most recently the Rev. Jerry Falwell said he wouldn't want the Church of Scientology, the Jehovah's Witnesses or Muslims to get government grants. 'I don't see how any can be turned down because of their radical and unpopular views. I don't know where that would take us,' Falwell said." From USA Today on March 8th: "The Rev. Jerry Falwell, who told a religion Web site 'the Moslem faith teaches hate,' said Wednesday that his comments are aimed at Islamic political states such as Iran and Iraq, not American Muslims. Falwell later told USA Today that he meant any group that is anti-Semitic, racist or in any way bigoted should be disqualified. He named Aryan Nations and the Church of Scientology as examples." Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
ClearwaterFrom the Letters to the Editor of the St. Petersburg Times on March 6th: "A few years ago, the Scientologists marched around the Clearwater Police Department chanting angry slogans at Chief Sid Klein. Now a judge accuses the department of being 'dangerously close to becoming a private security force for the Church of Scientology.' Now, we come to understand that Scientology has more than 100 spy cameras in downtown Clearwater. Judge Thomas Penick, the great invasion is over; this is occupation time. Maybe we should hire a city psychiatrist instead of a city manager. Seems to me the city is a little bipolar. -- Greg Barnes, Clearwater" Jeff Jacobsen reported that Citizens for a Better Clearwater has rejected memorial bricks he paid for in the names of Lisa McPherson and Congressman Leo J. Ryan. "We learned of their project to turn a small alleyway off Cleveland Street into a park. They were going to sell bricks where people could place a message on them to raise money, and these bricks would be interspersed through the brickwork walkway in the park. CBC had basically one rule about what could be on the brick, that there could be only one memorial brick per deceased. They later added that a committee would review each message. My brick was to say 'Remember Lisa McPherson, 1959-1995.' "I sent another check for $45.00 to Citizens for a Better Clearwater to again purchase a brick to help pay for the park amenities. This one was for a friend and it was to say 'in memory of Congressman Leo Ryan.' "Today I got a letter from CBC dated February 27 and signed Doug Williams, Treasurer. "'Citizens for a Better Clearwater is a private, non-profit organization which is committed to improving the city and forwarding a message of unity amongst its citizens and development for the downtown. We have reviewed your application along with your correspondence on the matter and do not feel that we can accept donations for a brick from you and still maintain the message of community harmony that we seek. We are therefore returning your brick donations. "First off, what on earth was disharmonizing about my bricks? Second, why did it take them months to let me know about this rejection, especially since they had sent a letter thanking me for the orders previously? I suspect now what I had heard as rumor, that CBC is controlled by Scientology. What other 'community' would be in disharmony over my bricks?" Maggie DiPietra reported on a morning radio show on WFLA on which Jeff discussed the rejected brick messages. "The Tampa Bay area's most popular morning talk radio show this morning featured the hosts on the phone with Jeff Jacobsen, discussing the way the Citizens for a Better Clearwater people dissed the bricks he bought to sponsor a public park improvement project. The hosts wanted to call Mayor Brian Aungst to find out who this group is and why Jeff's memorialization bricks wouldn't be accepted. They talked about Lisa, about Scn, Inc., and its level of influence with the city of CW." The St. Petersburg Times published an article on March 11th describing the off-duty officers Scientology pays to patrol Watterson Street in Clearwater. "Every day, off-duty Clearwater police officers provide security for the Church of Scientology, which was investigated by police for 18 years but now is putting thousands of dollars in officers' pockets. The church pays $25-an-hour for two uniformed officers to pull an 81/2-hour shift seven days a week, 365 days a year. All told, the church has paid nearly $150,000 to 110 officers since January 2000. The arrangement is a remarkable turnaround for a department that long has mistrusted Scientology and rejected church attempts to ingratiate itself, saying no to offers of Scientology's anti-drug and criminal rehabilitation programs. "It was not an easy call, said 20-year Clearwater Police Chief Sid Klein. 'Those of us in the Police Department who have dealt with this have our individual and collective memories of our experiences with the Church of Scientology,' Klein said. 'But nevertheless, they are a church at least in the eyes of the law. It's our responsibility to treat them, at this time, as any other church, whether we like it or not.' "'They shouldn't be there,' said national policing expert James Fyfe, a criminal justice professor at Temple University in Philadelphia. 'When there's some dispute, the cops have to take a vow to be impartial. A cop cannot be impartial if he's taking money from one side.' "From Scientology's perspective, the police have done a good job. For more than a year, Watterson Avenue has been safe, which is all the church wants, a spokesman said. 'It's not like, 'Hey, it's neat to have the cops working for you,' ' said Ben Shaw, director of external affairs for the church's Flag Service Organization. 'Security is my responsibility. If somebody comes in here and shoots somebody, that's my responsibility.' "However, veteran Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Thomas E. Penick expressed concern two weeks ago after presiding over a lengthy hearing that included testimony from church members, church critics and officers who work the security detail. 'They are coming very dangerously close to becoming a private security force for the Church of Scientology,' Penick said. "'There are officers who simply will not work this detail because of their strong convictions regarding the Church of Scientology,' Klein said. 'Many officers here over the years were personally attacked, and those memories do not fade very fast.' "At the Lisa McPherson Trust, Scientology critics say the Police Department ought to be suspicious of the church's motives. The church's goal is to win the allegiance of the department, said Trust president Stacy Brooks, a former Scientologist. 'It's not the same as Publix hiring off-duty cops, or Walgreens,' Brooks said. 'No other organization I know of has an agenda to indoctrinate the members of the police force to their way of thinking.'" Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: B6CE3667.email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cruise/PresleyThe National Examiner reported in its March 13th issue that Scientology celebrities Tom Cruise and Lisa Marie Presley have become close in the wake of Cruise's filing for divorce from Nicole Kidman. "Heartbroken Tom Cruise has turned to his religion and fellow Scientologist Lisa Marie Presley for comfort in the wake of his breakup with wife Nicole Kidman, according to a report in London's Daily Star newspaper. Pals say the sparks are already flying in Tom and Nicole's divorce and with him seeking comfort from Lisa Marie, romance is sure to blossom between them. "According to the British paper, Lisa Marie, who's been engaged for a year to musician John Oszajca, told a fellow Scientologist: 'Yes, it's true I've been Tom's shoulder to cry on. We've been spending a lot of time together. There is now no reason why we can't take it to the next level.' Says a friend of Lisa's: 'It's not surprising that they would get together. They've known each other for years because they share the same faith, the Church of Scientology. And in Hollywood, this is a close-knit community. Everyone knows everyone else.' "'Those two are so compatible, it's almost scary,' a fellow Scientologist told New York magazine's Los Angeles bureau chief Cathy Griffin. 'This is a natural, inevitable pairing.'" Message-ID: email@example.com
Maria Pia GardiniA translation of an article in the March 5th issue of La Republica was posted to a.r.s this week, describing the mission of Maria Pia Gardini to get money back from Scientology. "For this reason she just turned to her friend Jeb Bush, the Governor of Florida and the brother of President George. Maria Pia Gardini, 64, is now living in Grosseto after a ten years in the States where she got to the top of the organization. In her affidavits, fowarded to the FBI as well, she tells of the 'hell' she's been enduring for the past 16 yrs. She decided to made them public at a planetary level, via the Internet. 'They did extort me over 1.5 million US$ using psychological violence, also physical one at the end. I could get back just 500,000 US$. But now I want everything back.' She says she asked the help of the 'Lisa McPherson Trust,' an association that defends who claims to be a victim of Scientology. The Trust was named after Lisa McPherson, a girl who died after a 17 days segregation operated by the followers of the founder-god Ron Hubbard, according to her relatives. "A few months after she joined Scientology, Maria Pia Gardini went to Copenhagen for a 6 months stay. She began the 'bridge' to purification, from 'raw meat', as newcomers are labeled, to OT, the level where thetans become operating again. Maria Pia, like the other 'officers', reaches it aboard of the Freewinds, a ship always moving and headquarters of the church-cult. The standard price to reach OT 8, through repeated 'auditing' sessions, is 500 millions. 'In Copenhagen they housed me in a dump hotel, and I paid something like 160,000 US$. They forced us to wash dishes and mop floors. I knew I was taken in, and I say that's enough when my daughter died, in 1990. They extort me one million US$ for the Italian Class VIII project. Debbie Cook, heading the organization, now says she doesn't even know me. And I do not know one single Italian who got to the top purification'. "Scientology gave her 500,000 US$ back, she signed an agreement according to which she can not ask more, and can not 'spread false rumors' about the church-cult. When Maria Pia turned to the 'McPherson Trust' Kendrick Moxon, one of Scientology leaders, sent a letter in which he threatens to act legally if that agreement should be violated. Maria Pia has chosen to voice her story at least to have her money back, since nobody will give her back her deluded life. She also knocks at the door of Jeb Bush." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
GermanyStuttgarter Nachrichten reported on March 3rd that officials in Stuttgart may have violated the confidentiality of Scientology's tax returns. "The Stuttgart state attorney's office is currently checking into whether the coverage given on the controversial Scientology Organization would have violated its tax privacy. It was a matter of only one sentence about the Scientology Mission in Heilbronn. 'After the revenue office communicated that new unpaid taxes existed in significant amount, the state counsel office is currently checking to see if new proceedings to deny commercial operation should be introduced,' is what the original version of the report said. The sentence was removed from the report one month later, yet the original printed reports have long since been distributed. "Tax debts are not allowed to be made public. That means not with Scientology, either. 'Tax privacy goes very far and applies alike to both good and bad tax payers,' is how one official described the difference between rights and morals. How the sentence got into the report is currently being reviewed, said an official for the Culture Ministry. Surely the government has not deliberately committed a crime. Judicially though, that may hardly be of interest in the eyes of the law." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1010307120216.116Bemail@example.com
Protest Summary"Realpch" reported a protest in San Francisco on March 3rd. "Our handlers were somewhat testy and pesky for this picket. Perhaps they were still upset by last month's picket which was well attended and featured those notorious suppressives Keith Hensen and Tory Bezazian. Maybe they thought that she would grace the picket again, because Nasty Mark was there for the event, and behaving badly. After remarks about med dosages and queries about my general state of happiness and marital status, he resorted to reading me a list of 'Psych Atrocities.' He also worked heavily on Phr, doing the crowding routine and more bullbaiting. Luckily Phil was there, and occupied much of his time with congenial chat. "Craig the Scientologist was there too, with his video camera and the usual 'Religious Bigot' flyers. Lately he has taken to taping Jour quite a bit at pickets, and dogging her every step. He was a bit at a loss, with her absence, and resorted to videotaping me and Phr. He was overheard exclaiming, 'These people are against all religions! Ask them about other religions!' "I handed out an unknown number of flyers, since I didn't count what I had started with. Phil informs me that Nasty Mark told him that he (Mark) was 'a major player in the OSA ops.'" John Ritson and Roland Rashleigh-Berry reports on a protest in London on March 10th. "The highlight was one of the clams lugging out a thick dictionary to do 'word-clearing' in the middle of the pavement. He had managed to convince himself that 'word-clearing' was the answer to all problems, because if one misunderstood words while in command of nuclear weapons, one could cause a disaster, but had difficulties when it was pointed out that some sentences could contain perfectly simple words but be nonsense. The sight of the poor soul standing there frantically trying to locate 'enturbulate' was mind-blowing. "I could manipulate one Scientologist into coming out of hiding simply by describing the criminal L. Ron Hubbard. He would come out and order me not to talk about Hubbard, I would go into detail about Hubbard's use of Vistaril and 'pinks and greys'. He would go back inside again. Another staffer tried the 'Death Stare' on each picketer in turn, to no effect. Then he tried a bizarre ritual of going up to picketers while holding a clipboard, and then drawing two vertical lines on the paper." "We picketed the Martian Embassy on Tottenham Court Road today (10 March 2001). There were me (Roland), Hartley, Jens, Shellac, Martin P, Steve C-T, John Ritson and Duke the dog in attendance. We had a police presence today because the police had got so fed up with being called out on previous pickets from false reports from the clams that they decided to be there and find out what goes on. 550 leaflets were given out to public who actually wanted to take them. John Ritson was a wonder on the boombox. He scored his metaphorical double-century today." Message-ID: 3AA2B3B9.A65B43FE@aol.com Message-ID: 6gF+laD1$pq6Ew1g@jritson.demon.co.uk Message-ID: 3AAA8CB1.3C5A@virgin.net
SkepticismThe Skeptical Inquirer published an article on Scientology in its March/April issue. Hud Nordin posted a summary to a.r.s. "'Just because not much has been written about the ongoing war on the part of Scientology against its critics does not mean that they have suddenly reverted to civilized norms. If anything, it means that such harassment has become so commonplace that it is no longer newsworthy.' "He first covers Scientology's battle in Clearwater against protesters and picketers, mentioning the Lisa McPherson Trust, why it is so named, the Scientology-paid police, the videotapes of Scientology hooliganism, and the infamous hammer attack. The last half of the section visits Keith Henson's story: his free speech advocacy, his posting of the law-breaking secret scriptures, and his subsequent crushing by the Scientology legal behemoth. The last paragraph describes Scientology's trumped up charges of Keith's alleged terrorism via unpossessed nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. "'Such persecution is clearly intended not to protect Scientology's legitimate interests but to serve as a warning to other would-be activists of the fate awaiting them if they should follow Henson's examples.'" Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Super PowerPeter Alexander posted to a.r.s concerning the construction of the Super Power building in Clearwater. "When I was still a public member of Scientology, I contributed $100,000 to the SuperPower Building, and was privy to inside information about the project. According to Bruce and Chairman Roger, the registrars, and the SuperPower project leader, the purpose of SuperPower and the new SuperPower building was to 'undercut' the gradient for all of Scientology. They explained that no matter what level people attained in Scientology, they still had 'out ethics' which were preventing them from realizing their gains. This, they said, applied to OT8's and OT7's, and well as people lower on the bridge. This was a tactic admission that Scientology's OT levels were not working, and additional hypnosis/brainwashing was required before anyone could become OT. "They invited me to several luncheons with Matt Feshbach. Matt was, at the time, the only public person who had been allowed to complete SuperPower. He described one particular rundown, in which he ran and ran around a 'maypole' in a circle. He told me that all the members of the upper management of RTC had also done this, and the other SuperPower rundowns. These SuperPower rundowns amount to about the same level of brainwashing as the Chinese Communists used during the Great Cultural Revolution, where they could 're-educate' even the toughest souls into complete submission. "I met with Ken, the Scientology Project Architect and went over the building plans. One of the main features of the building is a large, circular room with a maypole in the middle for the 'running' rundown. The rest of the building includes a new auditorium and new auditing rooms. Clearwater will become the number one Robot Factory on the planet, or so the Scientology management believes. What will actually happen is that this brainwashing will 'take' for awhile, then wear off, leaving the victims of the cult damaged, and probably broke. We'll have more and more broken, defeated people wandering the streets of Clearwater." Message-ID: email@example.com
SwitzerlandTages-Anzeiger reported on March 3rd that Scientologists have been convicted of defrauding investors in Switzerland. "At the end of the 1980s and early 1990s Scientologists caused financial damages of about 100 million franks with partially fraudulent businesses. One of them, a 57-year-old attorney, former magistrate and high-ranking bank employee, went before the superior court on Friday. He had relieved German investors of 22 million franks, thereby earning himself two years nine months prison from the district court. "The 40-year-old codefendant who was responsible for the computer programming and had received six months imprisonment in the first trial said it clear as a bell about the proceedings, 'If we would not have been Scientologists, then we would not be standing here today, that is guaranteed.' Both accused were heavily in debt so that they could pay the 'church' 350,000 franks and 450,000 franks respectively for courses and services. Besides that the attorney had bought worthless pictures of sect founder Ron Hubbard for hundreds of thousands of franks and had amassed debts of 3.5 million franks. "In newspaper inserts the two passed themselves off as the 'Federal Association of American Banks' and promised 9 to 10 percent interest. From 1991 to 1994 the attorney took in money, mostly cash, in Zurich, which he then hand-carried to Munich. In return he reaped 600,000 franks in commission from his business partner. When their cover was blown, the accomplice in Munich vanished - and with him most of the money. He has still not surfaced. "His attorney had stated there was a connection to the many courses which his client had taken with Scientology: he said his client had been strongly mentally influenced and had learned to suppress doubts. Besides that the courses were said to have strongly modified structural His codefendant and his attorney made an even stronger case. They spoke of a loss of ability to differentiate, of totalitarian systems and of inquisitorial proceedings and brainwashing. The judges also asked question after question about Scientology. But they have not yet dismissed any part of the conviction." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1010307120140.116Afirstname.lastname@example.org
Zenon PanoussisZenon Panoussis reported that he lost the his appeal of his copyright violation case in Swedish court this week. "The district court's ruling is confirmed and I am ordered to pay yet another SEK 400,000 (USD 40,000) for RTC's legal costs in the appeal. I am appealing this ruling right now. The supreme court might or might not hear the appeal." From the Associated Press on March 9th: "A Swedish appeals court upheld on Friday a previous verdict banning a man from distributing a copyrighted Church of Scientology training manual. The manual was a 'sacred text' and covered by copyright ownership, the court ruled. In September 1998, the Stockholm District Court ruled that Panoussis had violated copyright laws when he published the manual on the Internet. "In its ruling, the appeals court said the scientologists had treated the material as confidential such as by requiring members to sign agreements about not revealing the details of the texts. 'We are very pleased with the ruling. It shows that the justice system works,' church spokeswoman Tarja Vulto said. The case 'was about copyright, and that the copyright owners have the right to their own material,' she added." Message-ID: 3AA8B492.BC8D0DE7@xs4all.nl 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.