Presenting Rod Keller's
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review

Volume 5, Issue 4 - May 7 2000


The San Francisco Chronicle reported on May 1st that two sides with opposing views of cults met at the American Family Foundation meeting in Seattle. "There were a few screaming matches, and a bit of the old backbiting and rumor mongering, but it was a largely peaceful gathering of defectors, devotees, heartbroken families and assorted cult experts. Anti-cult activists warned of 'brainwashing' and 'mind control,' while their opponents tell tales of violent kidnapping and coercive 'deprogramming.' "Fighting in the cult wars may have reached a peak three years ago, when lawyers and other individuals linked to the Church of Scientology, one of the nation's most controversial and powerful new religious movements, sued the Cult Awareness Network into bankruptcy. The network, which had been one of the most outspoken anti-cult groups, eventually had its name, files and hotline taken over in a campaign dominated by members of the Church of Scientology. Today, those who call the Cult Awareness Network hotline actually get an information and referral service run by the Foundation for Religious Freedom, a group linked to the Church of Scientology. 'That's a form of deception,' said Herbert Rosedale, president of the American Family Foundation. "Among those working the crowd at the weekend conference was Nancy O'Meara, a longtime Church of Scientology member and corporate treasurer of the Foundation for Religious Freedom. She insists that the 'new' Cult Awareness Network provides a valuable service for family members who call the hotline concerned about relatives who have joined a cult. "Leading the reconciliation between the two cult camps were Michael Langone, a counseling psychologist and executive director of the American Family Foundation, and Eileen Barker, a sociologist at the London School of Economics and founder of INFORM, a British charity that provides information about new religious movements." Message-ID: 8elbkg$

Freewinds Refund

Greg and Debra Barnes reported that they have been paid a refund from an account they had prepaid on the Freewinds, Scientology's cruise ship. "Two OSA terminals delivered the checks and we actually had a good comm cycle with them and told them why after 20 years two OT 7's were leaving. We were hoping they might cog or see something in what we were saying but I do not think that it had any effect. It is unfortunate that the actions of the current management around the world have created such disdain for the subject of Scientology that they have no real understanding of." Message-ID: 8euqtm$

Breaking the Bonds

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette this week published a column by the book editor concerning Steve Hassan's book, Breaking the Bonds. "My friend Ramone the actuary has got me in trouble again. He has again written some wild stuff about the Church of Scientology and somehow it has got in the opinion columns, and now I have started to receive hate mail. Just this week I have had four letters of pure-d old hate, one from the church itself, up in St. Louis, and one even from Arkansas. One man, we'll call him Bradley J. Bauman of St. Louis, Mo., calls me 'truly amazing.' "In context he calls me 'inaccurate, trite, destructive, biting' and several other things that are too embarrassing to put in print. He's bent all out of shape because of what I've written about a Scientology book, Strange Trip, that went to the best-seller list last year. "Ramone forwarded me an e-mail this week about a new book, Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves, from his friend Steve Hassan, in which author Hassan describes his brief meeting in Boston with famous Scientologist John Travolta. Hassan was being interviewed on a Boston CBS affiliate and had just been telling the reporter of his concern that the upcoming movie, Battlefield Earth, was really a major effort to recruit new Scientology members and to promote good public relations for the church. Hassan says that by using one of its biggest stars, Scientologists could try to offset negative publicity and dwindling membership because of the Lisa McPherson death and subsequent lawsuits. "Hassan wrote: 'When I was leaving a book store, Travolta's limousine stopped in the middle of the street, his electric window rolled down, his arm came out and he waved. I ran over and handed him my book. He signed the cover and handed it back to me. 'I am the author, you keep it,' I told him, and gave it back. He seemed startled and looked at the cover. Under my name it says 'America's Leading Cult Counselor.' In an instant, the car sped away. For sure, some Scientology official is going to be yelled at for the breach of security. I can only hope that John actually considers the mind control issue and realizes that he doesn't need Scientology. I truly believe that deep inside he knows that and I hope he finds the resources to extricate himself in the near future.' "And then came a letter from Ellen Maher-Forney, director of community affairs of the church in St. Louis who is 'flabbergasted at the lengths to which your Mr. Gray will go to malign a religion.' She has never answered my earlier charge about the famous 'headless church members.' Members of her church appeared without heads in a picture on the church's Web site after their big century confab in Los Angeles. A photo manipulator apparently duplicated images from the crowd in an attempt to make the crowd appear larger and forgot to put heads on some duplications." Message-ID: 8eielh$e5v$

Battlefield Earth

Rod Keller posted details of a secret Scientology plan to boost revenues for Battlefield Earth in a ticket refund scheme. "Scientologists are quietly being told when they go to the theater to see BE they are to buy extra tickets. They are then to return the unused tickets to a person who is designated in their area for a refund. Those who might seek the refund are to be asked if they would like to make that as a 'donation,' saving the refund costs. In some cases, some staff are being designated to go and buy a block of tickets, but not too many to be noticed, (say 6-8) and not even go but take them back to the org for the refund. This is to be done for several weeks. "Scientologists are being told to do it as a 'birthday present to Ron.' Some already love the idea of making it #1. They are also being told they can give the tickets to friends to promote Hubbard, another idea they also like. ASI has set aside several million dollars for this that they will mark off in some 'promotional' manner. The heaviest is to be done in the first week as that is the first make/break point and then it will go into week #2. In fact, there is a whole BE-promo team that has been set up to coordinate this, to make sure the Scientologists go and that they buy the extra tickets. "Some of the Deep Pocket boys who usually contribute large amounts are being hit up for this, to help cover costs. Some are doing it as 'investment.' Now it may be thought that a few million dollars is not enough to do it but that is just what they are prepared to pay back to the Scientologists. It is up to the team to see that the Scientologists 'donate' it. "DM can't leave it to promo and Travolta's name to make it a hit and he knows there are not enough Scientologists in the US to make it a hit so he has to do the same routine he used back in the 80s to make the books into 'best sellers.' Word is out that heads will roll if BE is not the #1 hit movie in its opening week." Message-ID: 8f1a7q$


Star magazine reported on May 16th that Scientology may have an influence on the growth of the family of John Travolta and Kelly Preston. "John Travolta and Kelly Preston just had their second child, but they'll start working on number three as soon as possible. Their Scientology counselor suggested that four kids is the perfect family for them." Message-ID:

Dallas Celebrity Center

The The Dallas Morning News reported on May 3rd that the Dallas Celebrity Center has moved to a new location. "The buzz started when the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre moved into an old, quirky mansion at Buckner Boulevard and Dixie Lane, about a mile east of White Rock Lake. 'I have no idea what a 'Celebrity Centre' is, but I haven't seen anyone famous around here yet,' said Mark McCord, who lives nearby. The church's new home is in a landmark estate named 'Grandwick' by a former owner because it reminded him of a castle in Germany. The gaudy 10,000-square-foot home built with numerous architectural styles has had many incarnations through the years. It became an overgrown, rundown eyesore, then was transformed into an ornate, eccentric home with an outdoor wedding chapel and a ballroom that doubled as a banquet room and reception hall. For a while, it was a bed and breakfast. "A spokesman said the Church of Scientology has spent about a half-million dollars to purchase and remodel the rambling house and devoted a lot of time to working with residents to ensure a smooth transition into the neighborhood. 'When we bought the property, we talked to neighbors individually, interviewed them and answered their questions,' said Scott Gordon, the church's director of public relations in Dallas. "Mr. Gordon said the Celebrity Centre church provides a secluded place for artists and professionals to study and seek spiritual growth. It has had weekend open houses for neighbors and potential members, he said, but a grand opening has been pushed back until late summer to allow more time to complete renovations. "Detractors of the church say Scientology is a moneymaking cult, but members say it is attacked because, at nearly 50 years old, Scientology is still a new religion. There are 12 Celebrity Centres 'across the planet,' with the largest in Hollywood, where many of its members are in the entertainment industry, Mr. Gordon said. "The garage has been transformed into an area for 'purification rundown,' which includes a sauna, exercise and diet to rid the body of toxins, part of a Scientology drug-rehabilitation program. Bedrooms have been divided into small counseling or 'auditing' rooms. There, church officials use a device called an E-meter - which they say reads thoughts - to eliminate negative mental images and help parishioners achieve a 'clear state.' "One thing about the house won't change: The Last Supper, etched in a 10-by-4-foot glass window in the dining room. Grandwick's former owner commissioned an artist who spent a year working on the property, etching and sandblasting the 700-pound piece of glass. Currently, it is covered up by a wall of bookcases full of Dianetics and other Hubbard teachings. Soon, Mr. Gordon said, the room will be a chapel, and the bookcases will be moved." Message-ID:


Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman are still Scientologists, according to reports from the Internet Movie Database. "Couple TOM CRUISE and NICOLE KIDMAN have slammed reports they have quit the Church of Scientology. Cruise and Kidman have hit back at the reports insisting they are still 'very involved.' Spokeswomen for Cruise JENNIFER ALLAN says, 'Neither Tom or Nicole are too irritated by these reports but they do want people to know they are both still very involved with the church. Any reports that they are splitting are unfounded and untrue and both Nicole and Tom are still members of the Church of Scientology.'" The Sunday Times reported that a new book reveals details of Tom Cruise's publicity tactics, and those of Lisa Marie Presley. "As Jeannette Walls, the gossip columnist for the American MSNBC cable channel, reveals in her book, Dish: The Inside Story on the World of Gossip, it is just as likely to be the stars who have supplied the tittle-tattle themselves. Walls reports that when MTV was working on an expose of alternative religions Scientologist Lisa Marie Presley, called the station. She told them bluntly that if they were tough on scientology, they would lose access to Jackson's music. "Pat Kingsley is the self-styled dominatrix of movie PR. Walls calls her the 'most loathed woman in Hollywood' and claims in her book that Kingsley not only gets to decide which journalists can interview her stars, but also controls what they can write about. With Cruise, for example, she has insisted that journalists sign contracts that he will not be presented 'in a negative or derogatory manner', which pretty much precludes anything interesting. "Walls describes how, over the years, Kingsley has astutely used the press's desperation to get access to Cruise as a way of shielding him from unwanted questions about his membership of the Church of Scientology and false rumours about his sexual orientation. It is even suggested that Kingsley allowed false stories to circulate that portrayed the actor as a hero. At the time of the release of Mission: Impossible, it was reported that Cruise had saved the lives of a French family whose yacht had exploded off Capri. But according to the Italian coast guard, Cruise was not involved in the rescue at all - all he did was visit the family in hospital." Message-ID: Message-ID:


Fuldaer Zeitung reported on April 28th that Renate Hartwig gave a presentation on the dangers of Scientology in Fulda. "In the 'Cinestar' theater complex in Fulda, Renate Hartwig called for more civil courage in the battle against Scientology. The city and district associations of the Youth Union had invited the well-known book author and anti-Scientology campaigner for an evening's presentation. "In a one and a half hour presentation, the well-known book author and independent journalist described the origins of Scientology and vividly and vivaciously reported on her own experiences with the fight against the organization. The origins of Scientology had been 'fraudulent in advance,' according to Hartwig. In 1950, the science fiction author Lafayette Ronald Hubbard published the book, 'Dianetics.' In 1954, the 'Church of Scientology' arose from the ever growing organization. But the true goal of Scientology, she said, was the establishment of a totalitarian system, a dictatorship. 'Scientology is no Lady Bug Club. It is an organization with its own intelligence agency, penal camps in the USA, and countless cover companies,' Hartwig warned. "She said her constant activities to expose the true goals of Scientology and to exercise criticism with regard to the organization had been accompanied by campaigns of libel and strategies of slander by Scientology. 'I have experienced it myself,' said Hartwig. She said her three children had also been targets of Scientology. 'It is not enough that we just talk about Scientology,' the speaker stressed, 'we have to recognize that something ideological is happening here.' She founded the protective association 'Robin Direkt e.V.' together with her husband." Tilman Hausherr reported on his visit to the Berlin Scientology exhibition. "On Schloss Street in Berlin-Steglitz there were friendly people passing out leaflets and balloons, as well as a clown who was driving a junky car that was falling apart and a gray-haired minder. Walking into the exhibition, I was immediately greeted, and one of the people showed me the sequence in which I should look at the texts in the room so that I would not have 'misunderstood words.' In one room a video tape of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was playing, of all they could have shown, they had the one where he had green lips. There were also many photographs of him, even the one with the tomatoes. "Several Scientologists were talking among themselves in one corner; it was about some kind of counter-demonstration which was supposed to have happened somewhere. It was unclear whether it was in Berlin or in Hamburg. The high point of the exhibition was a demonstration on the Quantum E-Meter. A woman did the pinch test. The indicator needle was actually moving a little bit back and forth, regardless of anything she did or said. I could not make out a connection. That was not the case with her at all. What struck me, however, was that the needle reacted to even the tiniest hand movement. The woman said that one could make out the difference between a physical and a spiritual reaction on the e-meter. In the scope of the discussion she also speculated that one could also audit animals, e.g., calm down dogs. "I told one of the others that I had already heard a lot about Scientology from the press and even once from the 'other side.' I told her that I had learned things from the internet, from both Scientology and the critics, namely She said she didn't know that site." The Washington Post reported on May 4th on a report issued by a U.S. Trade Representative which criticizes Germany for "sect filters", a system of signed statements that allow people to be sure that a business does not use L. Ron Hubbard's methods of administration. "Escalating a long dispute over religious freedom, the United States has formally alleged that certain contracting practices of the German government unfairly discriminate against members of the Church of Scientology. In a report to Congress this week, U.S. trade officials challenged a German policy under which companies seeking certain training and consulting contracts can be disqualified if they refuse to sign 'sect filter' statements. "Juergen Chrobog, the German ambassador to the United States, defended the policy yesterday. The measure 'is not focused on membership in the Scientology Organization,' he said in a statement, 'but is instead designed to rule out the possibility that [Scientology founder] Ron Hubbard's methods, which seek to psychologically influence behavior, psychologically manipulate or oppress individuals, could be used for training or consulting purposes.' "The report, submitted by the office of U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, said this practice could discriminate against U.S. companies seeking government contract work in Germany and is spreading beyond government contracting into the private sector." From Reuters on May 2nd: "The Church of Scientology hailed on Tuesday fresh U.S. criticism of Germany for using a 'sect filter' to keep companies with any links to Scientology from doing business with the German government. The U.S.-based organization said in a statement that what it called Washington's 'denunciation of German procurement practices targeting Scientologists' was 'the most unequivocal and comprehensive to date.' 'It indicates that in the view of the U.S. government, such practices threaten American trade,' it added. "The U.S. report also noted that while the procurement guidelines applied only to the German federal government, state-level entities and private firms appeared to be using sect filters too. At least one major U.S. supplier has been forced to undergo a qualification process significantly more extensive than that required of its competitors, the U.S. trade representative said." From the text of the Trade Representative's report: "Policy guidance issued by the German Federal Government has raised concerns about a potential for discrimination against U.S. firms in procurement decisions by German entities. In September 1998, the Federal Economics Ministry issued procurement guidelines to be put into effect by all Federal Government Ministries. These procurement guidelines warn that a firm should be deemed 'unreliable' if it refuses to sign a so-called sect filter. The filter requires a firm's leadership to attest that Scientology principles will not be used or spread in fulfillment of any contract; that the leadership of a firm will not recommend or approve participation in courses or seminars relating to Scientology principles during the course of business; and that firms reject Scientology principles in conjunction with any subsidiary. Procurement entities are permitted to reject bids and immediately terminate contracts if a firm does not sign the sect filter. Upon learning of the sect filter requirements, the Administration raised its concerns with the German Government and continues to press the Germans to repeal this discriminatory policy." Giessener Anzeiger reported on May 4th that German Federal President Johannes Rau sees misunderstanding in German/U.S. relations, but no crisis. "Rau gave this assessment at the start of his three day visit to the USA before the press in Washington. 'We need a trans-Atlantic partnership with equal rights whereby Europe, not Germany, is the USA's partner,' said Rau. In that connection, he said, it was regrettable that 'Europe was not yet of one mind with regards to foreign politics and security politics.' "Rau counted the understandings of religious congregations among the 'acceptable and explicit differences' between Germany and the USA. In the case of Scientology he said that 'no religious substance was present.' The Federal President said, 'The fact that someone calls themselves a church does not make them a church.'" Stuttgarter Zeitung reported on April 29th that a woman was accidentally given the name of a Scientology recruiter when applying for work at a Labor Office in Nuertingen. "Through oversight a staff member from the Goeppingen Labor Office gave out the name of a recruiter from the Dianetics Stuttgart Association, Inc. Behind Dianetics Stuttgart, Inc. is concealed the Stuttgart Scientology center. Apparently, that is not known to several staff members of the labor office. The woman had made an inquiry in the Employer Information Service (AIS) to find an opening. Instead of reporting to Dianetics, as the Labor Office recommended, the woman called up the charitable association 'Aktion Bildungsinformation' (ABI). Their chief, Eberhard Kleinmann, had already had sharp words of criticism for the Goeppinger Labor Office because it had forwarded an office cleaning lady from Filderstadt an online offer from Dianetics. Now the ABI has again made the president of the labor office aware of events. 'We are getting the impression that Scientology has been increasing advertisement to target those who are looking for work.' As another instance, a job seeker was also send to Dianetics in December. She did not receive anything about work there, though, but instead was offered personality training for cash. "All staff were made aware of Scientology and instructed not to hand out the names of their recruiters. Presumably the address had slipped by in the course of daily business, 'Dozens of inquiries are made every day through AIS.'" Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000501161143.125A-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000504161136.116A-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: 8ev8si$ Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000505161443.116B-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000428163654.118C-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000424162821.118A-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000501161235.125C-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: 5oWP4.59$ Message-ID: NxWP4.62$


Der Standard reported on May 3rd that Scientology held an exhibit in Vienna at the stock exchange. "Visitors were told to 'think for themselves' so that they would 'find out what Scientology really is.' That is because 'Scientology is very interested in improving the cultural and social climate,' as the Austrian chairman, Peter Fleischer, stated. The controversial organization is recorded in Austria as being an association but 'Naturally we regard ourselves as religion.' It was also stated that there are 'more than 5,000 volunteer clergy people who would help during catastrophe. The goal was said to be a 'civilization without insanity, without crime and without war.' At the exhibition, next to the writings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, an 'e-meter' could be seen. This 'e-meter' was said to measure 'spiritual torment.'" Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000503200155.118A-100000@darkstar.zippy

Flag Land Base

A synopsis of Flag Land Base News was posted to a.r.s this week. "On Friday, March 17th, thousands poured into Ruth Eckerd hall. The gift LRH always wanted most for his birthday is the expansion of Scientology. It became clear that we are expanding faster than ever before, and this IS the Scientology Millennium. "C of the B with moving tributes to LRH included scores of examples of how LRH social reform technology is impacting society and countless lives in places as diverse as the Dominican Republic, where LRH study is being implemented in schools. to reforms in criminal rehabilitation in Mexico, implementation of LRH admin tech in Africa and much more. "Mr Marc Yager [announced] expansion statistics, which included 43 new missions being opened since the beginning of the year. CoB RTC announced that the Tokyo Org had achieved the size of old Saint Hill. "Recognizing that a group of OT's is invincible and necessary to really clear this planet, many Flag OT's have decided to do the sensible thing - join the Sea Org and forward the boom! 'Since the Golden Age of Tech for OT, the statistics at the Flag Advanced Org have been soaring in the only direction you'd expect statistics from an OT org to go - UP!" Message-ID:


Scientology announced that an L. Ron Hubbard story will be distributed in a new streaming format over the Internet. "Storyteller Online, Inc. announced today it will offer L. Ron Hubbard's fast-paced action story of the American West -- 'Six-Gun Caballero' -- in a new, cutting-edge, streaming media format for delivery over the Internet, under a licensing pact with Author Services, Inc.. Streaming media is the vastly popular technology which allows a user to hear sound, video or text over the Internet without lengthy download times. "Storyteller Online said that the hard-hitting action of 'Six Gun Caballero' will unfold in a completely new format that synchronizes -- and highlights -- each line of text with the richly versatile audio narration by veteran film and television actor Geoffrey Lewis. A vividly colorful illustration will also depict a scene from each chapter of Hubbard's rousing yarn of the Old West." Message-ID: 8endtg$sal$


Tagesanzeiger announced on April 27 that Scientology is leaving its location in Zurich. "The controversial Scientology psycho-sect began on Friday to vacate its Information and Test Center on 41 Badener Street. To be sure, the American organization will soon be opening a new information center downtown. Where the stubborn street missionaries will be hunting for customers in the future, though, is still not known. "The Hubbard adherents were sub-lessees of the Neuburg sports shop, whose contract with Paradeplatz real estate has run out. Their departure gives primarily the surrounding businesses and residents reason to celebrate. 'When the Scientologists stood in front of our shop with their leaflets, some pedestrians would go over to the other side of the street,' said a sales lady from an adjacent business. 'In the beginning we had to shoo them away, later we just had to give them the 'look',' reported an employee from a different shop. 'I called the police on them once,' chimed in her colleague. District Association President Max Kuenzig also expressed his relief at the prospect." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000502205342.118A-100000@darkstar.zippy

Los Angeles

From letters to the editor of the Los Angeles Times on May 5th: "I applaud Marcela Rojas and the Westside Weekly for their unbiased coverage of the Scientology Surf Club's hard work cleaning beaches, donating money and raising public awareness of environmental causes. The booklet the club distributes on beaches, L. Ron Hubbard's 'The Way to Happiness,' contains 21 common-sense precepts. It is unfortunate the Malibu council failed to add its name to the more than 2,800 municipalities and service organizations that publicly recognize Mr. Hubbard's humanitarian works. - JON VON GUNTEN, Seven Hills "I read the article in the Westside Weekly written on April 21 by Marcela Rojas about Scientologists helping clean up the beach. I would like to correct one thing, and that is to say Scientology is a 'moneymaking venture' is not only false, but creates hatred and defamation toward our group. Having studied and used the tools of Scientology in my life for 30-some years, I know first hand that we are an active group who does believe in bettering our world. - TORY BEZAZIAN, Burbank " Message-ID: 8euqga$

Lisa McPherson

The Tampa Tribune reported on May 6th that the trial in the Lisa McPherson civil case has been postponed "A wrongful death trial involving the Church of Scientology, scheduled for June, has been postponed indefinitely. The church recently asked a Hillsborough circuit judge for a delay, saying it needed more time to prepare. The church also said it expected the trial to last longer than the earlier estimate of five weeks." Message-ID:

Bob Minton

Bob Minton posted details of his financial dealings in Nigeria, which are under attack by Scientology. "'The Scientology Fashanu Report' is a worthless piece of crap that even the PRESENT Nigerian Government has no interest in pursuing as it relates to anything to do with the buyback I was involved with. Scientology is feeding this bullshit everywhere, even to Washington but nobody is listening which is why you can read it all on ARS. "The total amount of debt purchased for Nigeria by any companies which I or my fellow shareholders was involved with amounted to US Dollars 4,447,524,747 at a cost to Nigeria of US Dollars 1,548,577,891. That means an average price to Nigeria of 34.819 percent. The companies I was involved with made a fraction of one percent commission on the debt we purchased NOT 30+ percent. Every item in 'The Fashanu Scientology Report' is based on the lie that we bought at 10 percent and sold for 40+ percent to Nigeria. "The Nigerian Central Bank led by the then Governor Ahmed, Deputy Governor Ismalia Usman (today, Nigeria's Minister of Finance) and many others like a Mr. Animashawan were the most honest people I have ever dealt with. They were a credit to Nigeria and totally atypical of the African stereotype Scientology and others would have you believe. General Babangida (IBB) who was the Nigerian ruler when we did this business, made a very wise decision to approve the buyback plan we presented to the Central Bank of Nigeria. It saved Nigeria billions of US Dollars and no matter how much the Church of Scientology tries to spin it." Message-ID:

Protest Summary

Bruce Pettycrew reported a protest at the Mesa, Arizona org this week. "Kathy and I picketed the house of ill repute operated by the Co$ in Mesa. We were there from 8:30 to 9:30. During that time 9 cars and 1 bicycle arrived, for a total of 13 people." Kristi Wachter protested in San Francisco. "Picketers: Kristi Wachter, Peaches, Phr Number of Handouts given away: 146. "I arranged my various fliers inside my 'What part of KNOW don't you understand?' bookbag, donned my sandwich sign ('SCIENTOLOGY HURTS PEOPLE', with 'SCIENTOLOGISTS CONVICTED *AGAIN*!' on the back), picked up my picket sign, ('SCIENTOLOGY: - STILL - BREAKING THE LAW - ' and 'SCIENTOLOGY: - CONVICTED - OF LYING - LEARN THE TRUTH', same as last time), stuffed my inflatable alien's feet under the straps of my backpack, and headed out the door. "I arrived at the org at 12:05 and began picketing. There was a police van parked in one of the three spaces in front of the org, making it difficult for passing cars to see me, so I tended to hang out a little to the west of the org; there's a broad walkway there where Leavenworth Street dead-ends, and most of the pedestrian traffic goes through there. "Around 1 pm or so Jeff Quiros appeared, striding purposefully toward the org with an attache case in each hand. I greeted him and smiled and said 'Nice to see you!' and he smiled back. Shortly thereafter, he emerged to take pictures while Peaches and I were talking with a passerby. I noticed the camera and began waving and smiling. Unfortunately, Jeff's batteries weren't working properly. I offered to lend him mine, but he graciously declined. "A gentleman said he had gone in three times, and 'within a minute and a half all they could think about was money,' so he became disgusted with them and left. A gentleman who stopped to talk with us while Jeff Quiros was taking pictures said he had seen the help wanted sign and needed a job, so he went in and took the 200-question test and then found out the job involved selling Scientology books and courses and he left. Years later, he passed by when they were offering the 'stress test' and he said the lady doing the demo had pinched his arm so hard that the mark never went away." Message-ID: K40R4.101050$ Message-ID:

Weekly Planet

Tampa's Weekly Planet newspaper published an article this week on the St. Petersburg Times' coverage of Scientology. "When freelance journalist Anita Romeo proposed a story to the St. Petersburg Times about an artist living in Clearwater, it seemed like an easy hit on a slow ball for the writer. The artist is Jessica Rockwell, a distant cousin of one of America's most beloved painters, Norman Rockwell. In about 500 words, Romeo gave a snapshot of Jessica Rockwell and last month handed in a draft of her story. "Romeo says Sutton demanded to know if Rockwell was a Scientologist. 'This was a story about an artist, not her religion,' Romeo says. 'You wouldn't ask an artist about their religion unless it had something to do with the art. And, with Jessica, that wasn't the case.' "What is the case is that the Times and its rival across the bay, The Tampa Tribune, have long been accused of unrelenting bias against some minority groups. The newspapers seldom acknowledge, much less ever publicly discuss, accusations of unfair reporting. Scientologists complain they get far different treatment by the Times than other religions considered more mainstream. For example, some local Catholic, Methodist and Baptist clergy have all been charged with sensational crimes in recent years. Yet the Times would never suggest - as the newspaper's loudest columnist, Mary Jo Melone, did on Nov. 22, 1998, about Scientology - that the Christian denominations' beliefs were 'mumbo jumbo.' "The Times, which has long helped whip up antagonism against the church, has failed to fully acknowledge how off base it was in some reporting despite, for example, recent courtroom reversals that have favored Scientologists. In recent years, with Scientology, the Times has abandoned dispassionate reporting and investigation in favor of shrill attacks. Columns by Melone and editorials trumpet that the religion is a fraud or is likely a lawbreaker. Articles overwhelmingly focus on the negative - often sacrificing logic and balance in the process. "The Times has used the blunderbuss reporting of Lucy Morgan to find something ominous in a single suicide of a Scientologist far, far away in Lyon, France - yet the paper seldom takes serious looks at religious connections to the many suicides each year in St. Petersburg. Morgan was also tapped to breathlessly report that eight Scientologists had died while visiting Clearwater during the last two decades - never questioning whether that was a meaningful number compared to the thousands of acolytes who have visited the church headquarters. "Most significant, the Times has published dozens of articles repeating the claims that the church was responsible for the 1995 death of parishioner Lisa McPherson. Editorials and columns underscored the newspaper's unstated but apparent assumption that it had nailed the church. 'The Church of Scientology is not above the law. Their bullying tactics should not deter law enforcement officials from finding out what really happened to Lisa McPherson,' an editorial declared on Jan. 25, 1997. "There is no written policy at the Times that proclaims Scientologists are outside the pale of fair reporting. Then again, as many journalism critics have pointed out, prejudice in newsrooms doesn't need to be codified in order to be very real. The late University of California professor, Herbert Schiller, in Culture, Inc.: The Corporate Takeover of Public Expression, decried 'the education of journalists and other media professionals, built-in penalties and rewards for doing what is expected, norms presented as objective rules, and the occasional but telling direct intrusion from above. The main lever is the internalization of values.' In other words, the Times' unwritten rules encourage columnist Melone's raw, screeching bigotry. The same culture silently signals editors such as Sutton that they had better not let a positive spin on Scientology get into the paper." Message-ID: 8esu69$2e3$


Reuters reported on May 4th that Sweden will allow Scientologists to marry couples. "Sweden, one of only a handful of countries to recognize the Church of Scientology as a 'religious community,' has granted its ministers the right to perform marriages, the Los Angeles-based organization said on Thursday. The Rev. Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, welcomed Thursday's move by the Swedish National Judicial Board for Public Lands and Funds as a 'milestone for the Church of Scientology in Europe and for religious freedom.'" Message-ID: 8eum6p$

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