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

Volume 5, Issue 8 - May 28 2000


Refunds

Two letters to Scientology asking for refunds were posted to a.r.s this week. From Virginia McClaughry: "As you know, I have withdrawn my membership to what is called The Church of Scientology, due to fraudulent misrepresentation of LRH written works, that are not factually written by LRH. Most Recently I was auditing on OT VII, one of the highest levels obtainable in the Church, up until approximately 1 1/2 years ago. "I discovered that LRH's HCOB C/S Series 73 RA, which was 12 pages long, had been edited and rewritten by RTRC I/C, to where the new issue (C/S Series 73RB), had SEVEN PAGES deleted of LRH's writings. In direct violation of BOTH of these versions, (one LRH, one not), as an OT VII, I was ordered to pay for a security check to renew my eligibility, every six months. I was sold services that were represented to be written by LRH. This is Fraud. "I was reverse audited by auditor of the year Therese Blum (reverse auditing is also known as black dianetics, it is auditing being used to attempt to cause harm to another). I was held in a room by the MAA sandcastle April Buchanan, with 2 male ethics officers guarding the door, who would not let me leave in time to catch my scheduled plane flight. My husband was asked to leave his place of employment, David Morse and Associates, because he was not in good standing with the Church of Scientology. This is of course religious discrimination. "Now that I know I was defrauded of approximately $220,067.50 during the course of my 9 years on OT VII, I want this money refunded to me within 15 days of receipt of my requests. Since I am no longer supporting the current Church, therefore I also demand a refund of my IAS membership fee, amount is $2000.00., refunded within 15 days of receipt of request. Request for refund from the IAS in the amount of $2000.00, requested by my husband in writing March 28, 2000, to be paid immediately." From Greg and Debra Barnes: "After some twenty plus years of strong participation and unquestioning loyalty to the Church of Scientology, we find ourselves forced into a position in which we must stand apart from what you are representing as the Church of Scientology. We have not deserted Scientology because you are not delivering Scientology as we have found out. By the selective use and misuse of the technology which we have experienced at the Mecca of Tech - Flag and by the intentional distortion and perversion of the technology, management has accomplished the nearly impossible, the public ridicule of Scientology, Scientologists, and the technology. "We have been defrauded of thousands of dollars by purchasing bogus made up services by RTC that has nothing to do with Hubbard's tech which we thought we were getting. We have been defrauded regarding your six month checks which are now called refreshers which we have references by Hubbard to prove are not to be delivered per C/S series 73RA. We have also been defrauded by your IAS representatives when we discovered there are no LRH references authorizing this organization to exist as well as its stated purpose one in particular protect the Scientology religion and Scientologists is totally bogus as evidence of our being attacked and other global situations the church is losing in, ie. Russia, France, Germany, Greece, Spain, Canada, not to mention other friends of mine who have come under the gun of your Black PR actions. "We are therefore making the following demands: Management all agents or employees of any Scientology entity or Scientologists are to cease all activities directed at my family and business Return of all funds paid to the following organizations: IAS - Patron Greg Barnes 40,000. WISE - 1,000. Flag - 170,000. Total due: 211,000. Debra and Greg Barnes pc folders, ethics folders and OSA files are to be destroyed with our inspection at time of destruction or turn said folders over to us." Message-ID: 8ghhkg$bo8@drn.newsguy.com Message-ID: 8giaqp$1pik@drn.newsguy.com

Battlefield Earth

The coming European release of Battlefield Earth has sparked articles on Scientology, such as an article in Spiegel on May 21st. "Hollywood's leading Scientologist John Travolta fulfilled his life's dream by filming a space thriller from his sect guru - and made a terrible fool of himself. This spring, the early warning systems of culture criticism found a new reason to sound the alarm: a science fiction film by the name of 'Battlefield Earth' was coming to the screen. The novel on which it is based originated from a man by the name of L. Ron Hubbard, who became known in his lifetime for the founding of the Scientology Church. "The film catastrophe had only one redeeming value: hardly had the movie started in the USA than the hysterics in the editorial department were called off and the annihilation writers took the command. A 'planetary disaster' judged Time, 'probably the worst film of the century,' wrote the New York Times. "In vain one waited for just one statement from Scientology. Probably for a good reason. Until now the psycho-association enjoyed the fact that it was feared by many people who would not break out in derisive laughter as soon as its name was heard. Either they hold Travolta responsible for this battlefield of a movie, as any other company would do when one of its image bearers fail, and throw him out. Or they grit their teeth and stand through the catastrophe." From Reuters on May 21st by Peter Bart: "The three most ominous words for a producer are 'labor of love.' When someone like John Travolta, your star in 'Battlefield Earth,' says he'll commit to a movie because it's a 'labor of love,' that really means the following: He's given the script to every studio in town and they've all passed. Even the star's agent hates the project so much that he's embarrassed to ask for money. "Your movie is 'The Showgirls of sci-fi shoot-em-ups,' wrote Dennis Harvey in Variety. 'Battlefield Earth' may well turn out to be the worst movie of this century,' said Elvis Mitchell in the New York Times. 'You haven't endured pain till you've seen Battlefield Earth', said Rita Kempley in the Washington Post. 'Some movies run off the rails, but this one is like the train crash in The Fugitive,' said Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. Notices like this normally would give someone like Travolta pause. John Travolta, a proselytizing Scientologist, clearly relished the mission of making a film based on an old L. Ron Hubbard novel, since Hubbard was the guru of Scientology." From Sueddeutsche Zeitung on May 20th: "John Travolta is an Operating Thetan of the highest level of clearing, which means, according to the teachings of the Church of Scientology, that Travolta is capable of controlling material, energy, space, time, form and life on the planet earth. But John Travolta is also a superstar of the highest income level, and, according to the teachings of Hollywood, that means that he is capable of controlling budgets, producers, studios and audience. And only on that account was he able to fulfill a dream: Battlefield Earth, which was written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, was filmed with Travolta in the lead role "Scientology was said to be financing the film, coauthoring the script and supervising the production. Accusations which the producers could credibly deny. Of course elements of Hubbard's worldview show up in the film script. One does not need special linguistic knowledge to recognize that the name of the 'Psychlo' monsters are rooted in the Scientology teachings. They are based, for the most part, on Hubbard's fanatic hatred of psychiatry." From Berliner Zeitung on May 18th: "The New York Times described Travolta's embarrassing presentation like this, 'He threw his head back and let loose stage laughter that would be hurt the ears of the bad guy in the worst trash series. In the unusually direct criticism accompanied by incredulous astonishment, it was said that the major Hollywood production, which had cost about $90 million, had fallen short of every amateur level. "Now that the movie is running in the theaters in the USA, one can more easily understand why no studio wanted to take on John Travolta's pet project. His concoction finally got a start from an outsider to Hollywood, Elie Samaha, a native born Lebanese. It was financed, in part, by the Munich company, Intertainment AG. Rumors continue to appear whereby the Scientologists are said to have financed the movie but these, as usual, are denied by speakers for the sect. The presumption that the association intended to recruit new, young members with the film was also officially denied." Space.com published an article on May 20th: "Battlefield Earth is destined to rival -- maybe even surpass -- Cleopatra, Howard the Duck, and Ishtar as the most misbegotten, ego-driven movie disaster of dismal special all time. But long after critics have had their rave, the film may yet be remembered for something it could offer that critics couldn't -- hope. The Los Angeles Times called and progress, the film 'a wholly miserable experience.' Variety derided it 'the Showgirls of sci-fi shoot-'em-ups.' "This must be said. Battlefield Earth is imbued with a sense of purpose, an uplifting plot line, a basic optimism about rationalism and progress. I scoffed when Travolta and the Scientology establishment insisted that the movie had nothing to do with Scientology, but now I almost believe them. Yes, the bad guys - Travolta, et al. - are known as 'Psychlos,' which I take to be a play on 'psychology' -- the profession toward which, of course, Scientologists have declared eternal enmity. But if this movie shows off Scientology at all, it shows it off as not a religion, in the sense of ecstasy or transcendence, but rather as a cult of hard work and upward mobility." From Der Tagesspiegel on May 24th: "Some superstars in Hollywood are more powerful than producers. Otherwise, how could you explain Warner Studios producing a movie like Battlefield Earth which was based on a novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and which the New York Times has already described as the 'worst film of the century'? "Even the plot of the bombastic science fiction epic seemed to have arisen from a head drunk with missionary zeal: the earth in the year 3000 is a slave state ruled by extraterrestrial 'Psychlos' who keep humans around as beasts of burden. Anybody familiar with Scientology's teachings of salvation will not be able to overlook the allusions. Hubbard detested modern psychiatry, whose representatives perpetuate the servitude of humanity here as 'Psychlos.' "As co-producer, Travolta also had a powerful hand in financing the thing. He needs two things now for the future: money and another success. Warner will take care of that. But the next time it will not be out of sheer gratitude." From a column by The Finger in Los Angeles' New Times on May 25th: "The Finger was counting on John Travolta to talk candidly about Battlefield Earth, his colossal summer disaster but the glad-handing star was suddenly nowhere to be found after weeks of high-profile pimping for the L. Ron Hubbard epic. "This appendage noticed that some movie critics were unsure about the connection between Hubbard's science fiction tale and his notorious science fiction cult, and many were downright stupid about Scientology. The cult is normally very secretive about its core tenets which, court records show, involve an evil galactic overlord named Xenu who supposedly blew up Earth's volcanoes 75 million years ago to vaporize surplus aliens whose disembodied spirits now live in clusters inside unwitting human beings. "But Battlefield Earth made no mention of Xenu or other Scientology secrets, and some morons have made the mistake of thinking that the story has no connection to Hubbard's religion. The most surprising gaffe appeared in a piece by Lynn Hirschberg in the May 14 New York Times Magazine. Hirschberg asserted that Scientology would not benefit financially from the movie since the rights to Hubbard's book had been acquired in the 1990s from Author Services, Inc., 'a Los Angeles agency that handles Hubbard's fiction and is not affiliated with the church.' But The Finger checked with one of the church's most high-ranking members ever to defect, Stacy Brooks, and she says that's a stupid blunder for a good newspaper to make. Brooks should know -- she worked for Author Services and was once one of the top people in Scientology's public relations force. Brooks says only the most trusted members of Scientology's Sea Organization get to work at Author Services. "Brooks was relieved that the film was taking such a nosedive: 'What they have on their hands is something that is going to set back their recruitment very severely, thank God.'" From London's Evening Standard on May 25th: "John Travolta's book-signing appearance at Waterstone's Piccadilly branch today is no longer a lazy publicity engagement but an exercise in damage limitation. The American press has already dubbed his new film Battlefield Earth, based on L Ron Hubbard's book and released here next week, as 'the worst movie of the century'. The star's links with Scientology, the controversial religion founded by Hubbard, has led to suggestions that the movie is a piece of propaganda. Commentators have seen in this story an allegory for Hubbard's beliefs. "Until now, Travolta has largely kept his faith private: when a Scientology scandal broke in France a couple of years ago, he fled the country rather than join in a public debate on the church's operations. He insists that Battlefield Earth, which he fought for 15 years to make, is nothing but 'entertainment and popcorn, good fun'. Others see in the film's futuristic plot an allegory of Hubbard's belief that humans are made up of clusters of spirits or thetans that were banished to the earth some 75 million years ago by a cruel galactic ruler called Xenu. One studio boss who refused the chance to make Battlefield Earth said, 'It was risky. On any film there are 10 variables that can kill you. On this one there was an 11th: Scientology. It just wasn't something anyone really wanted to get involved with.' "The idea that profits - if there are any - from Battlefield Earth merchandise might go to what Cynthia Kisser from the Cult Awareness Network describes as 'quite likely the most ruthless, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen' is another strike against Travolta." From Philadelphia Weekly: "Too bad that the enduring spirit of L. Ron Hubbard - the last striving American to successfully anoint himself the swaggering grand pooh-bah of civilized society - so disappointed us with the recent screen adaptation of his sci-fi magnum opus Battlefield Earth, a film whose reviews have been so universally scathing, it's enough to make you wonder if the Church of Scientology has somehow lost its comic muse. "More than 16 million copies of Dianetics have been sold, says its cover. Based on the always entertaining concept that what ails us humans stems from a run-in with the evil-doing ghosts of aliens ostracized from their home galaxy and vaporized by their leader Xemu some 75 million years ago, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health is a treasury of self-help humor, replete with screwball explanations for such things as constipation (which, by the way, 'can be caused or cured by positive suggestion with remarkable speed and facility'), gays and lesbians ('The sexual pervert ... is actually quite ill physically') and even the common douche bag (not a recommended tool for abortion). "Strangely, though nearly all the planet's movie reviewers have been quick to deny so much as an inkling of artistic merit in Battlefield Earth, an overwhelming majority of them have just as swiftly dashed the flick's oft-assumed role as a tool for attracting fresh comic blood to Scientology's depleted humor reserves. God only knows why. You'd really have to be a moron to miss the heady Dianetics parallels. "In a stealthy bit of Dianetics-style mirth, Travolta, the ultimate Psychlo company man, threatens his subordinates with retribution from the 'corporation's dreaded 'home office.' So why is it that despite the squeaky-clean, collectively reeducated brainpower of Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, the madcap traveling comedy revue Hubbard kicked off in 1950 with Dianetics' first print run has since become as tired as a Jerry Lewis telethon? Could it be that all the really good ideas for world domination have been taken? Or does getting your brain reprogrammed somehow mess with your delivery?" Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000524190207.121A-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: 8gb5i6$eip@netaxs.com Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000522154130.127A-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000522154205.127B-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: 8gdpvn$irg@netaxs.com Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000524190707.121D-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: 8gie58$jgc$1@nnrp1.deja.com Message-ID: XTvv0iAvMXL5Ew2W@lutefisk.demon.co.uk Message-ID: 20000527002946.11458.00000976@ng-ch1.aol.com

Tom Cruise

ABC News carried a story and an interview with Scientology celebrity Tom Cruise on May 23rd. "Earlier this month, US Weekly magazine reported that Cruise and his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, had 'quietly severed their ties to the Church of Scientology.' Cruise called the report 'garbage' and the magazine has printed a retraction. Cruise says he thinks the media is focused on Scientology - whose members include actor John Travolta - because a lot of people don't know what it is. 'People don't know that the great things they [Scientologists] do, within education, and how they really try to help the community,' says Cruise. 'It's just a very positive, wonderful thing.' "TOM CRUISE: People make mistakes in what they say, and I think that I, I respect Jann Wenner and 'US' magazine for printing the retraction. "JOEL SIEGEL: Why is there this obsession with Scientology? "TOM CRUISE: I don't know, you know. There's, there - I really don't know. And, um, I think it's unfortunate and I think it's also because people don't understand. People don't know what it is, you know, and there's, you know, people - there's history, there've been wars over; people don't understand and people don't know that, uh, the great things they do within education, how they really try to help the community. And, uh, it's just a very positive, wonderful thing. What difference does it make? I mean, I don't - you know, when I work with people, you don't ask them what religion [laughter], you know, based on." From the Daily Telegraph on May 27th: "There has been a flurry of activity in America this week after US Weekly reported Cruise saying he was underwhelmed by Travolta's new film, Battlefield Earth, a piece of futuristic mumbo-jumbo based on a book by L Ron Hubbard, the controversial founder of Scientology. US Weekly went further and said that Cruise and his wife, Nicole Kidman, had also 'quietly severed their ties' with the Church of Scientology. "This was too much. Pat Kingley of PMK, the PR firm with real celebrity clout, extracted a prominent apology from the mag. We have 'found out', said the mag, that Cruise remains 'an active and committed member' of the church and that he had 'neither said nor hinted at anything negative about the movie'. "Cruise's new film Mission: Impossible 2 has just taken $12.5 million on its opening day. Game, set and match to Cruise, I'd say." Message-ID: 39369aaf.9709268@news.primenet.com Message-ID: 3937a028.11110901@news.primenet.com Message-ID: 3ie0json754tfhug5aoh3gkrv8638dtidq@4ax.com

Germany

Stuttgarter Nachrichten reported on May 20th that a Scientologist is accused of beating up a school girl at an exhibition. "The event already took place several weeks ago. A mild Saturday afternoon in March: a sales crowd. On 'Kleinen Schlossplatz,' Scientologists were advertising for the 'What is Scientology?' exhibition on 39 Friedrich Street. Four school girls who happened to be passing by discovered balloons on which 'Scientology' was written in large letters. Annoyed that she had been accosted several times previously by members of the controversial organization, one of them stuck a pin in a yellow balloon. 'A dumb trick,' the young woman has since admitted. This sort of thing, however, drove one of the Scientologists into a rage so that he hit the 16 year old girl. 'Repeatedly,' she said. "'Scientologists normally avoid such confrontation,' said Codes Office Director Till Neumann. The conduct of the Dianeticians in public has not now reached new proportions. Offering books or expensive Dianetics courses for sale or recruiting members are still prohibited. That was decided by a judge of the Stuttgart municipal court." Freie Presse reported on May 23rd that Scientology continues to operate in Zwichau, despite promises to leave the city. "Gottfried Teubner, CDU state assembly member from Brand-Erbisdorf and commissioner for issues of religion and weltanschauung was making an announcement: the rumor ridden business group of 'Peter and Partner' was not a company that 'can be associated with Scientology in any way,' he said. He bases his opinion on a statement by the three business managers of the builder, Michael Peter, Bernd Ehret and Ulf Hofmann: they let Teubner know in writing that neither they nor their staff were trained according to the technology of Ron L. Hubbard. They furthermore stated that their business did not operate according to Hubbard's teachings, and that neither they nor their employees were Scientology members. "In the middle of February, when Fliegerbauer announced his retreat from Zwickau in a press conference, he tried to protect to the builder from suspicions of Scientology which were making their rounds in Zwickau. Since that time the presumptions have become more strongly rooted. It is mainly the special interest group of the 'Victims of Peter and Partner' who believe they have been conned out of millions of marks who continue to associate the names of the company bosses with the sect." Sindelfinger Zeitung reported on May 26th that the office of Constitutional Security continues to monitor Scientology. "According to Constitutional Security, foreign intelligence agencies are spying more in Baden-Wuerttemberg offices, halls and books. 'As it has been, the greatest danger comes from Russia, Iran and China,' said the more than 200 page volume by Constitutional Security. The Scientology Organization will also continue to be scrutinized. 'Since the Scientologists pursue the goal, as they always have, of securing and expanding their totalitarian system, there is a continuing need to have them observed by Constitutional Security,' said Schaeuble. The Greens sharply criticize the work of Constitutional Security." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000522154249.127D-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000524190606.121C-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000526195339.114A-100000@darkstar.zippy

Gregg Hagglund

The Abbey Oaks News from Oakville, Ontario, Canada published a story on May 19th about Scientology critic Gregg Hagglund. "Two police cruisers parked on Munn's Avenue near Sixth Line on Saturday, May 13, to investigate a complaint by a homeowner. Fifteen-year River Oaks resident Gregg Hagglund called about two picketers in front of his home around 2 p.m. The two women held placards reading 'Do you know your neighbor spreads hate propaganda?' Hagglund says the picketers visit his home on a regular basis and that they are from the Church of Scientology. "One of the women with a placard, who has been with the church for 20 years but prefers to remain anonymous, claims Hagglund has posted pictures of the children of Scientology parishioners on the internet. The internet site which the woman believes is hate propaganda was posted by Hagglund in 1997 and was critical of CSI. The pictures are head shots of the children of CSI parishioners and a picture of a two youths, eight to 10 years old sitting at a table with material for sale. "Hagglund says the picketing by the two CSI parishioners is just part of a 'protracted campaign of harassment by CSI' because he and several others have been picketing the church once a month since May of 1997. He says he shut down the offending web site in June of 1998 because he could no longer maintain it. He objects to CSI 'getting kids involved and proselytizing using kids' so he posted the pictures of children of parishioners helping to sell Scientology wares like books and courses. "Acting detective Scott Mason of the Intelligence unit of the Halton Regional Police does not believe Hagglund's activities fall within the Criminal Code's definition of 'Hate Propaganda.' 'I'd say there is a huge line between hate propaganda and criticizing. This is a free country. You can criticize anyone you want.' "Hagglund wants to warn and educate others that 'some of the practices of Scientology are potentially harmful, even deadly. 'If there is a sheet of ice and I'm the only one who can see a small hole, am I not morally responsible to tell people about it and keep someone from falling in?'" Message-ID: 392c4e0b.1528563@news.primenet.com

Brian Haney

Bryan Zwan issued subpoenas this week to critics of Scientology, attempting to obtain information on former Scientologist Brian Haney. Haney is suing for delivery of stock options that were awarded him in a fraud case. Zwan cited Haney's support of Scientology critics as the reason for withholding the options, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. From Gregg Hagglund: "I recently received a subpoena from a US District Court in Southern Ohio in the Zwan/Haney raucous. Since I consulted my lawyer and I am entitled to my expenses for your willful harassment. Please remit to me $500 Can. Since you have gone to so much trouble to engage a Reporting firm here in Canada for me to bring my documents to for copying on June 1, I intend to go. I shall bring close to 500,000 pages of documents and correspondence for copying and transmission to your offices on your clients nickel. If you can find any communique in that pile from Mr. Haney, Brown or HSH Investments you are welcome to it." From Ron Newman: "Bryan Zwan's lawyers have issued subpoenas for DOCUMENTS ONLY (not deposition) to the following people: Jerry [sic] Armstrong, Ken Dandar, Dennis Erlich, Steve Hassan, Jeff Jacobsen, Rod Keller, Cynthia Kisser, Dell Leibreich, Arnie Lerma, Ron Loomis, Ed Lotick [sic], Ron Newman, Frank Oliver, Robert Peterson, Grady Ward, Mark Dellars [sic], Tampa FL, Cynthia Kisser, Wonder Lake IL, Jessie [sic] Prince, Clearwater FL, Gary [sic] Scarff, Los Angeles CA, Cult Information Center, Bridgeport CT. The subpoena for Jessie [sic] Prince is the only one that also demands the witness appear personally for deposition, rather than just submitting copies of documents. Other people subpoenaed include Bob Minton, Stacy Brooks, Larry Wollersheim, Robert Vaughn Young, and Gregg Hagglund." Message-ID: n1lgisc7gvdoojqv11at42lo2ceoh45dso@4ax.com Message-ID: rnewman-2505001012130001@ppp225-58.thecia.net

Lisa McPherson

The St. Petersburg Times reported on May 27th that Scientology continues to request the criminal charges resulting from the death of Lisa McPherson be dismissed. "Medical Examiner Joan Wood's investigation into the death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson was so flawed and biased that criminal charges against the Church of Scientology should be dismissed, the church argues in a new motion. Wood violated her own policies and failed to preserve evidence that might vindicate Scientology, the church alleges. She also compromised the objectivity required of her by state law, the document says, displaying 'an all-consuming passion to prosecute the church by inventing new creative medical theories' in McPherson's death. "The judge says she has yet to collect her thoughts and seriously consider the motion. That would be a waste of time if State Attorney Bernie McCabe were to drop the case on his own because of problems with Wood's testimony, Schaeffer said in a recent interview. McCabe's office began to review its case against the church in February after Wood officially changed the manner of McPherson's death to 'accident.' Previously, she had called it 'undetermined' and blamed the death on 'bed rest and severe dehydration,' but those words no longer appear on the death certificate. "Though Wood did not explain the change, it appeared to support the notion that Scientology was not at fault in the death. Not so, say prosecutors, who have since talked to Wood and contend the veteran medical examiner maintains McPherson died of 'medical neglect,' in part because of dehydration. McCabe's office may decide as early as next week whether to continue prosecuting the case." Message-ID: 8grdhb$jtr@netaxs.com

Bob Minton

A trial was held this week in which Bob Minton was charged with battery in an incident outside the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater in October, 1999. From the St. Petersburg Times: "Four video cameras were rolling the night Robert S. Minton was charged for striking a Church of Scientology staffer with his picket sign. They show Minton telling Scientologists they are all complicit in the death of Lisa McPherson, the 36-year-old Scientologist who died in 1995 while in the church's care. And each tape ends the same way: A frustrated Minton calls police on his cell phone. He crosses a side street, walking away from Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel in downtown Clearwater. In an instant, he yells at Howd to stop following him and wheels around, pointing his picket sign in Howd's direction. Howd's face collides hard with the edge of the sign, his head snapping back as he spins to the sidewalk. "'Mr. Minton is the one that lost his cool,' Pinellas-Pasco Assistant State Attorney Bill Tyson said in his opening statement to the jury of four women and two men. 'Mr. Minton is the one who was provoking people that night.' But Minton's attorney, Denis de Vlaming, said Minton was the victim of a Scientology plan to choreograph the incident and discredit his client. De Vlaming said church staffers followed Minton that day after he arrived at Tampa International Airport. De Vlaming linked those actions to a 1967 Scientology directive known as 'Fair Game.' Written by church founder L. Ron Hubbard, it stated that an enemy of Scientology 'may be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist' and 'may be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.' 'It is the manner in which they silence critics,' de Vlaming said. Minton 'had an absolute right to prevent them from getting into his face any further.'" From the Tampa Tribune on May 23rd: "The attorney likened Howd's job to that of a basketball player told to 'take the foul to stop the shot.' He said evidence will show that Howd, as a member of the church's Office of Special Affairs, was under orders to do whatever it took to discredit Minton. "A key defense witness in the case is former Scientologist Frank Oliver, who held a job investigating the background of church critics in the same department in which Howd now works. Testifying outside of the hearing of jurors so that Pinellas County Judge Robert Morris Jr. could rule on what would be allowed during the trial, Oliver said members of the Office of Special Affairs are rewarded for discrediting church critics and punished if they fail in that mission. A reward might include higher pay or a choice assignment, Oliver said. Punishment might be having to scrub all the toilets in the Fort Harrison Hotel, he said." The trial ended in a verdict of not guilty, according to the St. Petersburg Times on May 24th: "Defense attorney Denis de Vlaming knew his audience. Among the six jurors he faced during his closing argument Tuesday were a father of four and a single mother who turned out to be the jury forewoman. So he condensed the three-year feud between Robert S. Minton and the Church of Scientology to a scenario any parent could grasp: a fight between children. Minton, accused of misdemeanor battery against a Scientologist in Clearwater, is the kid who finally fights back after being pushed and heckled, de Vlaming submitted. The church, he said, is the child who started it all -- then cries foul. De Vlaming urged the jury to be the savvy parent who sees the truth. "After 40 minutes of deliberation Tuesday, the jury agreed with him, acquitting Minton after a trial that turned a spotlight on the church's often aggressive way of reacting to its critics. 'He was pushed,' de Vlaming said of Minton. 'He was pushed, he was set up and they (the church) got what they wanted.' De Vlaming pointed to what he said were several indications Minton was set up. Among them was a video that showed Howd sprawled motionless on the ground, his eyes closed. The tape then shows him opening his eyes, seeing the camera, then quickly closing them. 'Look at him,' de Vlaming told the jury, ridiculing Howd. 'Out cold! Needed an ambulance!' "After the verdict, Minton said his purpose in coming to Clearwater was to tell the public about Scientology's way of dealing with critics, and the trial, he said, helped accomplish that. One juror, Joyce Green of St. Petersburg, said 'I think he was provoked, and a lot of it was set up.' Juror Leroy Joiner of Clearwater, the father of four, said of Minton: 'He didn't mean to do it.'" From the Tampa Tribune on May 24th: "A prominent critic of Scientology who admitted striking a church member was found not guilty of misdemeanor battery Tuesday. 'Nobody should hit anybody, but due to the circumstances, he was pressured into it,' said the juror, who asked not to be identified. Asked if she feared church retribution for the verdict, the juror responded: 'That's why I don't want my name in the paper.' Other members of the four-woman, two-man panel declined to comment. "On the witness stand, Howd said he didn't wear his glasses that night because the video camera he was operating had a tiny 'peep sight.' But de Vlaming produced a photograph of Howd filming a different demonstration using the same type of camera while wearing his glasses. Howd took them off because he hoped to be hit, the defense attorney said. As he lay sprawled on a sidewalk after Minton struck him, Howd could be seen on videotape peeking through one eye, de Vlaming said. Then, when a policeman asked for identification, Howd pulled something out of his pocket and handed it the officer before resuming his horizontal pose. From Jeff Jacobsen: "I heard Frank Oliver give a reasonable and simple explanation of how OSA works. Then the prosecutor tried to impeach Frank, not by impugning his testimony but by showing a video of Frank shining a laser at an OSA cameraman. He also just HAPPENED to have an OEC volume where he made Frank read a one-sentence quote which states something like 'the church should do nothing illegal,' as if that one sentence could impeach the mountain of evidence that Frank produced. "The prosecutor tried to impeach Bob by saying that BOB was doing the Fair Gaming by his actions, such as picketing Bennetta Slaughter's house, picketing Flag at night, and such things. I felt that the prosecutor was relying on emotion and extraneous evidence while skipping lightly around the actual assault. It was very emotional when we went back into court. When the verdict of not guilty was read out, some people on Bob's side began crying, and I had trouble holding back tears of relief. No doubt there were tears on the other side as well." From Mark Bunker: "A particularly outrageous aspect of the Bob Minton trial was the behavior of Scientologist Marty Rathbun. On Monday, Rathbun and Rinder sat smugly, side by side in the courtroom, smirking to one another through the testimony. Toward the end of Richard Howd's testimony I glanced back at Rathbun and saw him giving hand signals to the witness and actually mouthing words to him as Howd spoke. Rathbun saw me looking at him. I even pointed at him and mouthed my own words to him. 'I caught you,' I said. "Incredibly, Rathbun barely missed a beat and kept up the coaching because by now Bob's attorney was hitting Howd hard with the Fair Game policy. In total, there were five people who saw Rathbun behaving this way. We broke shortly thereafter and I notified the bailiff who alerted the court. When the trial started again after the break, the judge called the attorneys to his bench to confer about this." Message-ID: 8gdp8j$irg@netaxs.com Message-ID: 8gdqn8$irg@netaxs.com Message-ID: gfqlis09159u0q5t5vpmcoovvgmbjso0ne@4ax.com Message-ID: 392b73b6.574855@news.primenet.com Message-ID: 8gge8f$sbp@netaxs.com Message-ID: 8ggend$sbp@netaxs.com Message-ID: frVW4.35929$wb7.1791309@news.flash.net

Alternative Charlemagne Award

Taz reported on May 27th that Bob Minton will be awarded the Alternative Charlemagne award in Leipzig, Germany. "American Robert S. Minton is to be distinguished with the 'Alternative Charlemagne Award' for his struggles with the Scientology sect. The 53-year-old man is the chairman of the 'Lisa McPherson Trust.' The presentation will take place on June 3 in Leipzig's old stock exchange." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000528063830.116A-100000@darkstar.zippy

Protest Summary

Hemet News reported that Keith Henson protested Scientology's Gold Base, and the death of a 16 year-old girl in an accident with construction equipment. "The accident near the Church of Scientology's film studio that killed a San Jacinto girl last week drew the attention of a frequent church protester from Palo Alto. Keith Henson picketed Friday in front of Golden Era Productions near San Jacinto, saying he believes the church did not use proper safety precautions to prevent the late-nite accident that killed 16 year-old Ashlee Shaner. Ashlee was killed May l7 after the car she was driving collided with a tractor on Gilman Springs Road at the east end of the church's compound. The tractor was driven by an employee of a contractor hired by Golden era to do work at the church's studio. There were no warnings posted to direct traffic around the tractor. "Henson, 57 said he picketed in front of the studio because of 'their' blatant disregard for human life and the fact that they'll do a huge job in covering it (the accident) up.' Hoden said the church has been working for years to improve safety on Gilman Springs Road, also called Highway 79, by installing a median to slow traffic and building pedestrian tunnels under the road. "The contractor, Redlands-based TaseCo Corp., was doing work for the church but Hoden said church officials do no give contractors direction. 'In other words, the accident had nothing to do with Golden era Productions or our employees,' Hoden said." From Keith Henson: "I got to Hemet about 9:30 this morning a reporter and a photographer were there. Sprinkler Tech was in operation. There was a near river running down the gutters. The response to my picket was complete non-confront. Not a soul in site, except the two guards at the gate. After 2 passes around the area picketing, I went to the west end, and checked out the accident site. The paint marks on the road from the police investigation indicate that Ashley was in her lane. It seems the front loader was going after another load of paving material, crossing the highway at a shallow angle. I suspect the bucket blocked the driver's vision." Bruce Pettycrew protested in Mesa, Arizona. "Kathy and I picketed for an hour this morning, 8:30 to 9:30. The temperature was in the 90's by the end of the picket. Traffic was lighter than usual, due to the holiday weekend. We arrived before any staff or public Co$ members. During the picket 7 cars arrived for a total of 8 persons." Message-ID: 8gp275$il9@edrn.newsguy.com Message-ID: 8jgtis4dfkgaeen1ab09esoa01ljv4tdm6@4ax.com Message-ID: mp2Y4.138776$U4.1112688@news1.rdc1.az.home.com

WKLS

Arnie Lerma participated in a radio interview on WKLS, Atlanta. Some excerpts from the transcript: "When you first touch base with these people they will find out what really concerns you about yourself, stage fright, or perhaps you've got some terrible disease, you've got cancer, you've got AIDS, it doesn't matter. Whatever they find out that you think is messing up your life they will then say this phrase: 'Scientology can help you with' then they insert the thing THAT. Basically it's a psychological terrorist group. They promise to solve whatever you think your problem is., it doesn't matter. "June 3rd there is a, a, demonstration down in front of their place at 1611 Mt Vernon Road down in Dunwoodie, starting at 11 AM. These are local critics that are down in Atlanta, that have been picketing them routinely. They are protesting Scientology's LIES and the death of a lady named Lisa McPherson. She was basically guilty of wanting to leave scientology. They are saying 'its an accident' but this girl was held in a room for 17 days and during this time she lost 45 lbs." Message-ID: 8gmam5$2c1t@edrn.newsguy.com

Sales Seminar

The San Jose Mirror announced a sales seminar at the Palo Alto org. "Sales seminar 'Maximizing Efficiency in Sales,' a community service of Church of Scientology, will be conducted by sales and marketing expert Richard Wilson, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, at the church's Mission of Palo Alto, 3505 El Camino Real." Message-ID: c7b0js446p3srbh19pkqav2r21uo31chc1@4ax.com

West Valley

"XenuBusters" reported that the West Valley org has moved to Chatsworth. "It seems the West Valley Chapter (or as the Scienos say, 'The Hubbard Dianetics Center of the West Valley) has moved as I have encountered it while driving down Devonshire Street in Chatsworth. It is on the south side of Devonshire St. in a strip mall a block west of DeSoto Ave, and easily visible from the street (unlike the old location in an industrial park which was about two miles away)." Message-ID: 20000525001937.06591.00000107@ng-fh1.aol.com

Susan Morgan

An update was posted to a.r.s this week on Susan Morgan, who was unsuccessful in suing her Scientologist employer for turning her Providence, RI workplace into a Scientology mission. "I'm headed back to court May 31st, so that Dr. Carlsten can 'harass me through the legal system' and try to force me to pay his legal fees. Fortunately I have no money, no house - so I'm fairly judgment proof. He managed to get the same judge - Alice Gibney to preside over this ridiculous action. " Message-ID: 8gcg5a$5nk@netaxs.com

Malibu

LA Weekly reported on May 26th that an effort to have the city of Malibu, California to honor L. Ron Hubbard has raised controversy. "The controversy first flared when Scientology Surf Club president Rob Hoover asked the city of Malibu to proclaim March 13 L. Ron Hubbard Day, in honor of Scientology's founder. The request made the City Council agenda, but was withdrawn by Hoover when March 13 came and went with no action. "'I was shocked when I saw [the proclamation request] on the agenda,' said longtime Malibu resident Ruby Fader. 'I don't see any reason to promote the Church of Scientology. To me, it is a cult.' Both the ACLU and the Malibu city attorney said the proclamation would have violated the constitutional separation of church and state. That didn't stop the San Diego County city of Encinitas, however, which in March issued a Hubbard Day proclamation - without realizing that Hubbard was Scientology's founder, according to Encinitas Mayor James Bond. Bond said Hoover told him only that Hubbard was a writer and surfer who lived in Encinitas in 1934. "'I think that, in truth, he should have let us know that [Hubbard] was a founder of Scientology so we at least had that knowledge,' Bond said. Adding clout to Hoover's requests for proclamations was his beach cleanup work with Heal the Bay and the Surfrider Foundation, two well- respected groups dedicated to saving California's coastline. "In pitching the Hubbard Day idea to Malibu, Hoover presented the City Council with a copy of Hubbard's 1981 'Way to Happiness' moral code. In April, foundation members took part in the Church of Scientology Celebrity Center International's Adopt-a-Beach cleanup at Zuma Creek. Ferrara, however, insisted church members are trying to clean up the beaches, not recruit new members. 'It is the most unglamorous thing you can do in your life,' said Ferrara. 'We're out there in a social capacity, not a religious one.'" Message-ID: 8gidtr$j74$1@nnrp1.deja.com

Switzerland

Tages-Anzeiger reported on May 18th that the city of Zurich will continue to support a cult counseling center. "The Community Council followed suit of the city council and rejected the individual initiative of Scientologist Peter Thalmann with a vote of 90 to 0. Thalmann had demanded cessation of financial support for Infosekta with the argument that the subsidization violated religious freedom. In addition, he said that Infosekta led a 'battle against minority religions' with the money. The city council decided that the contribution of 20,000 franks per year to Infosekta was in the public interest and did not present a violation of freedom of religion." Beobachter reported on May 24th that a cult critic has been sued and harassed by Scientology. "Even the federal district attorney sympathized with the sect critic. '[Swiss District Attorney] Carla Del Ponte was very nice at my hearing,' Odette Jaccard recalls. 'She said that I would be able to continue my work. She just could not help me with it.' And the police officer who searched her apartment for incriminating material encouraged her, 'Go to the press about this.' "In April 1998, Jaccard was arrested because she had handed over information on Swiss members of the Scientology psycho-sect to a German Constitutional Security agent in Basel in an operation that looked like it came out of the movies. Odette Jaccard was sentenced to ten days imprisonment suspended in November 1999. 'But it didn't stop me from continuing to to distribute information about the unholy works of sects.' Her attorney appealed the judgment and a decision on it is supposed to be made this summer. "Jaccard had previously been sued by Scientology for 'infringement of respect.' The court decided in her favor, though, even when it went all the way up to the federal court. She has been disparaged repeatedly in the sect's publications. "It is from the internet that she gets a major portion of her information on sects. She is particularly proud of her two grandchildren, who distributed many of her leaflets and posters at school and at sports events." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000522154227.127C-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000525191353.116A-100000@darkstar.zippy

Bonnie Woods

The Argus published an article on May 12th on Scientology in Sussex, England. "They promise solutions to all your problems - no more unhappy relationships, no more job worries. They even promise an end to an assortment of medical conditions, including cancer. But some of those who have spent years inside the secretive cult and parted with tens of thousands of pounds tell a very different story: how the Church of Scientology persuaded them to part with their life savings to pay for endless courses; how they worked long hours for a pittance and were bullied and harassed after trying to expose its sinister practices to the world. "I was invited into the Hubbard Dianetics Centre, a suite of rooms at top of a building in nearby North Street. What I did not tell or the other cult members during the next six was that I was a reporter posing as fictional executive David Miller, man in his late twenties, who had just moved to town and was saddled personal problems. Sitting on a sofa in their office, I was given a personality quiz to complete entitled The Standard Oxford Capacity Analysis Test which involved answering 200 questions. They included: Q3 Do you browse through railway timetables, directories or dictionaries just for pleasure? Q122 Do you ever get disturbed by the noise of the wind or a house settling down? My answer sheet was taken away by a young woman who returned minutes later to show me the results and introduce herself as Catriona Clark. She produced a line graph based on the findings which claimed I was depressed, unstable and nervous. Looking me straight in the eye, she launched into how taking a course in Dianetics, the practical application of Scientology, could unlock my potential and free me from my neuroses. By taking an introductory seminar, which would last around 30 hours and cost 27.36 pounds, I could embark on a 'wonderful adventure'. And yes, they did take credit cards. "I arrived back at the centre at 7pm for my first one-hour session. Catriona took me through to the Academy where Tim hovered over two seated girls who were reading. I was offered a seat at one of the desks and given my course book. Between the book's sections were exercises to be carried out, each to be signed as they were completed - but not before the rules were spelt out. It was forbidden to take any medication during the course, including pain relievers and anti-depressants. One exercise asked me to try to imagine the taste, smell, touch and sound of an object. Another involved writing about what I had for breakfast. "I had arranged a meeting with ex-Scientologist Bonnie Woods. She left their ranks in 1982 and three years later moved to England. In 1993 she discovered the cult's members had produced a leaflet featuring her photograph and the words Hate Campaigner Comes to Town which was being posted through neighbours' letterboxes. She promptly took the cult to court and last year, with help from the civil rights group Liberty, won libel damages of 55,000 pounds. "As I became a recognised face within the cult, I began spending longer and longer studying with its members, gaining their trust and seeing for myself their unorthodox practices. During my second visit I was shown a man and woman who were undertaking the Success Through Communication course. Despite its name, the pair spent little of their time communicating and instead sat facing one another in total silence. Then the woman began counting from one to ten and being chastised at the end for not doing it correctly and being made to start over again. During the session she complained: 'You wouldn't believe how many hours I've been doing this. Seven hours.' "There was no shortage of people who were happy to speak of how using Dianetics had helped change their lives. One woman had been divorced twice but since enrolling had been happily married for ten years. But Dianetics claims it is not just an excellent marriage counselor, it can also succeed where medicine has failed. A man explained how he had lost feeling in his knees but regained it after starting the course. During one session, Mike Stryck, who had been involved in Dianetics for six years, explained how he had taken a Purification Rundown course. Costing around 1,000 pounds, it involves taking massive doses of vitamins and sweating out toxins from the body in a sauna. The aim is to cleanse the body of all drugs and impurities, even radiation. "Becoming a member of staff for the Scientologists involved Bonnie working from 9am until as late as midnight for six days a week, earning an average of $15 a week. Bonnie fell in love with a fellow Scientologist, Bob Toftness, and they married in 1976 and had a child together, Desiree. In 1981 the marriage foundered and the following year Bonnie was rushed into hospital suffering from endometriosis. She said: 'It was while I was in hospital recovering from the operation that I realised that I didn't any longer want to be involved as a staff member, although I still considered myself a Scientologist. It was in 1982 that Bonnie met Richard Woods, who had also become embroiled with the Scientologists, and the pair married in 1985. By 1992, both had renounced the cult and set up a group, Escape, to help families whose relatives had become involved. Richard, 49, said: 'We came to East Grinstead on the invitation of various church pastors who felt it would be helpful to have Christians who could have some understanding of the organisation to help families who had loved ones who had joined.' As practising Christians they have now helped hundreds of worried families. They have also shadowed Scientologists recruiting in central Brighton, giving out a leaflet entitled What the Scientologists Don't Tell You." Message-ID: Fux1s7.1xA@bath.ac.uk


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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.


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