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

Volume 6, Issue 10 - June 24 2001


The St. Petersburg Times reported on June 19th that plans to build a downtown parking garage in partnership with Scientology have fallen through. "Negotiations involving the city, the Church of Scientology, Pinellas County and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority failed to produce a deal to make the project work. Several months of talks ended last week, after one last-ditch effort to save the project. The garage was to be built at the site of the PSTA's downtown terminal at 525 Park St. and an adjacent county parking lot. The city will have to keep looking for other places to build a garage, which would be an incentive for other downtown redevelopment projects. "The two partners in the project - Pinellas County and the Church of Scientology - had no more funds to contribute either, Brumback said. The plan called for the county to provide land and $250,000 or more to the project. The church was ready to spend about $4.2-million, buying into the garage at a rate of about $9,800 per space, Brumback said. The Church of Scientology wanted to have a garage site planned by June's end, so that a parking garage would be ready when the Flag Building opened." The St. Petersburg Times reported on June 22nd that a proposed land swap between the city of Clearwater and Scientology has been finalized. "Commissioner Ed Hart was the only commissioner to vote against the swap, saying that he needed more information about downtown's parking needs before he could approve it. In the exchange, the city will give the church two vacant parcels used for parking. The lots, which total about 22,300 square feet, are south of Franklin Street and east of Garden Street on a block where the church plans a parking garage to serve its Flag Building. The land is worth $156,500 by city estimates based on county property records. No appraisal was presented to commissioners. "For its part, the church will give the city an 11,345-square-foot parcel at 612 Franklin St. between the city's Fire and Police departments. The land includes a 6,400-square-foot building that could be renovated for city office space. The church bought the land in April for $365,000." Message-ID: 9gnoek$ Message-ID: 9gv8e6$

Tom Cruise

Salon Magazine reported on June 18th that the publisher of Bold magazine has threatened to counter sue Scientology celebrity Tom Cruise. The magazine claims to have videotape of Cruise having gay sex. "Davis is threatening to counter sue. 'Since this False accusation Davis has suffered great emotional distress and is the Target of Crazy Fanatical Scientology activists making threats on his Life and Gay bashers who claim Davis makes his Money on his Macho Playboy Image and He's a fake,' Smith writes. "According to a recent Smith missive, 'The Next Big Story That will hit in Bold Entertainment Magazine is: SCIENTOLOGY THE HOLLYWOOD CONNECTION. With some many False reports on the Organization. Bold Magazine has gone DEEP UNDERCOVER inside the Church of Scientology." Message-ID: 9gkojc$

Emeril Lagasse

The Toronto Sun reported on June 21st that a new TV comedy starring chef Emeril Lagasse will remove dialog critical of Scientology. "Two lines disparaging Scientology, one of which refers to high-profile devotee John Travolta, are among elements of the Emeril pilot that will be cut, Lagasse said at a Food Network Canada press conference. Asked by The Sun whether the Scientology lines will stay in the show, Lagasse looked uncomfortable, paused, launched into a non-sequitur about wishing he had time to take his wife sailing, and finally, when pressed, said, 'I don't think so." Message-ID: 9gv7qk$

Keith Henson

LA Weekly published an article on June 22nd on Keith Henson, a refugee in Canada after being convicted in California of interfering with the Scientology religion. "Henson, a Palo Alto computer consultant, was in custody at the 'super-maximum-security' Metro West Detention Centre on a Canadian immigration warrant. The warrant was based on Henson's April 26 criminal conviction in Hemet, California. Henson was found guilty of a single misdemeanor count of interfering with a religion. To those familiar with a ferocious five-year war between the church and its Internet critics, it comes as no surprise that the religion was Scientology. "Earlier this month, Henson was freed, pending a hearing on his application for political asylum in Canada. Henson, who says he did no more than post nasty Usenet messages and picket Scientology locations, claims the church set him up. The case is likely to raise questions of how far a religion can go to protect itself from dissidents, and of free speech on the Net. "Skeptics have long congregated on alt.religion.scientology (ARS), a lively but not exactly headline-grabbing Usenet group. In 1995, Scientology tried to shut the site down. The retrospectively ill-advised attempt was followed by denial-of-service and 'sporging' (forgery and spoofing) attacks, which raised the hackles of the hardcore Net community. A new generation of anti-Scientology activists was born. Alt.religion.scientology now is one of the most popular Usenet groups. 'Scientology's action had the psychological effect you would have seen of a gang of thugs riding into a Midwestern town and burning down the newspapers,' Henson said. "Henson began picketing Scientology facilities nationwide, including the church's film-production compound outside Hemet. The razor-wire-enclosed spread, called Golden Era Productions, occupies 500 acres along Gilman Hot Springs Road. Critics claim the compound also houses the church's highly secretive security apparatus. Many of the 700 Scientologists who work at Golden Era are bused in from apartment complexes in Hemet, dressed in blue seafaring uniforms. "One of his postings was a suggestion to land a 'Cruise missile' on Gold Base; another said of Scientology, 'destroy it utterly.' Henson says the messages were inside jokes: 'Cruise' referred to actor Tom Cruise, a longtime Scientologist, and the 'destruction' quote was a takeoff on one of L. Ron's own incendiary statements. Golden Era general manager Ken Hoden says Henson's bomb postings were taken seriously. 'Based on evidence we were able to collect off the Internet, his intention was to destroy [the production facility] utterly, to leave not one stone unturned,' Hoden said. "After a disastrous non-defense defense - Henson and supporters say Riverside County Superior Court Judge Robert Wallerstein gutted their case - the jury hung on two counts, but convicted Henson of the interfering charge, which is classified as a hate crime. Facing a recommended 200 days in Riverside County Jail, which Henson feared had been infiltrated by the Scientologists' Criminon rehab program, the defendant fled before his sentencing date to Toronto, where he and Hagglund, a Canadian Scientology foe, picketed a downtown Scientology office. The church complained, bringing out the SWAT team. "Henson blames his prosecution on a Scientology doctrine called 'fair game.' In 1967, Hubbard announced that any suppressive person (Scientology jargon for 'enemy') 'may be deprived of property or injured by any means, by any Scientologist. He may be tricked, sued or lied to, or destroyed.' Frank Oliver of Florida, flew in to testify on Henson's behalf, but the judge refused to let him take the stand. Oliver told New Times Los Angeles his Scientology duties: 'Spy on people. Gather intelligence. Write reports.' "Henson's asylum application could take nine months to two years to resolve. In the meantime, he plans to be back on the picket line soon, despite a Canadian order to keep away from the church." Newsbytes reported on June 22nd that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has come out in support of Keith Henson. "Fearing that fugitive Scientology protester Keith Henson is being unjustly 'slimed' by the Church of Scientology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Friday publicly proclaimed its support for the convicted Internet critic, who has taken refuge in Canada from California authorities. 'Online civil liberties groups are concerned about what happened to Mr. Henson,' EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn said today. 'We felt the need to counter some of the sliming that is going on by Scientology.' "Cohn said that prosecutors blew out of proportion Henson's comments about launching a 'cruise missile' at one of the Church's compounds. Although transcripts from the trial have yet to be released, Cohn said that the trial judge in the case refused to allow the jury to see Henson's comments in the proper context. Read in context, it would be obvious that Henson was joking in his postings, Cohn said. From the EFF press release on June 22nd: "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today expressed concern over a California court conviction of H. Keith Henson in a case involving online criticism of the Church of Scientology. In a decision which appears to have violated his constitutional right to free speech, a jury in Riverside County convicted Henson of threatening the free exercise of religion by members of the CoS. "'We are deeply concerned that the decision violates Mr. Henson's free speech rights,' said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. 'Since he does not appear to have made any credible threat of physical attack as required for conviction under the U.S. Constitution, Mr. Henson has a legal right to express criticisms online without fearing a prison term.' "EFF Executive Director Shari Steele commented, 'EFF is deeply disturbed by these possible violations of Mr. Henson's constitutional rights. This trial seems intended to punish Mr. Henson for his opposition to a powerful organization, using the barest thread of legal justification to do so. EFF joins Mr. Henson's American counsel in urging the California Court of Appeals to set aside this verdict and confirm Mr. Henson's right to protest publicly a group that he opposes.'" Message-ID: Message-ID: psQY6.40612$ Message-ID: 9h5375$


The Los Angeles Times reported on June 22nd on the reopening of a Scientology mission in Glendale. "After moving off Brand Boulevard four years ago, the Church of Scientology returned earlier this month. The church's Mission of Brand Boulevard celebrated its grand opening at 222 1/2 N. Brand Blvd. on June 10 with a ribbon cutting. The new mission includes a classroom with self-study materials and rooms for pastoral counseling." Message-ID: KAQY6.40619$

Stephen Kent

The Marburg Journal of Religion published a response from Leisa Goodman, of the Office of Special Affair's PR branch, to an article by Stephen Kent on European American relations regarding Scientology and other cults. "Stephen Kent writes about the Church of Scientology. Yet he has never been inside one of our churches, and he refuses to consider Scientologists' views. He has no first-hand experience. His descriptions of the Church of Scientology and its members are remote, unreal and untrue. His role in writing about Scientology is not that of a researcher seeking greater understanding, but a propagandist advocating a cause. His function is evidently to legitimise a governmental policy and practice of religious discrimination against Scientologists in Germany that has been criticised in more than 35 reports by international human rights agencies. German officials responsible for the abuses have been eager to seek out Kent, ignoring genuine scholarship and expertise on Scientology. "Take his remarks about the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), a voluntary programme undertaken only by members of the Sea Organisation. The Sea Organisation is a fraternal religious order within the Church of Scientology, and its name derives from its founding days aboard a fleet of ships, although today most Sea Organisations units are based on land. "The RPF programme is based upon one of the oldest and most fundamental concepts in religion - that of withdrawing to a cloister for prayer and/or intensive spiritual studies. This practice is common to many different faiths, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and the monastic orders of the Roman Catholic Church. "Turning to Germany, Kent questions the reality of religious discrimination in that country. How would he even know? He has never interviewed a German Scientologist and his bias precludes him from obtaining first-hand information. "Kent does not treat the matter of minority faiths in France with any more scholastic integrity than he does in Germany. He hastens to the defense of the French 'Interministerial Mission to Fight Against Sects (MILS)', targeting the Church of Scientology based upon an affidavit signed by a dismissed ex-member. The affidavit made ludicrous and outrageous claims about a Church facility in California. An attorney, who U.S. courts have since sanctioned approximately $100,000 and declared a 'vexatious litigant' for filing frivolous suits, paid the former member $17,000 to attach his signature to that affidavit. The legal firm for which this attorney worked, after reviewing evidence of the ex-member's lack of credibility, stopped using the affidavit. Kent, because fabrications fit his agenda and that of the French officials whose human rights abuses he is intent on sanctifying, chooses to ignore these facts. "Scholarship is a discipline which carries the responsibility to provide objective and accurate information in the service of the truth. It is not a channel to be exploited in an effort to coat human rights violations with a veneer of legitimacy. A real expert in the field of religion who approaches Scientology with an open mind will discover the culmination of a religious quest that man has engaged on for thousands of years. Message-ID: 9gjuso$

Lisa McPherson

The St. Petersburg Times reported on June 22nd that one of the charges against Scientology in the civil case has been dropped. "The Church of Scientology won a partial victory Thursday when a judge dismissed one of four counts in a 4-year-old wrongful death lawsuit filed by the estate of Lisa McPherson. In one of his final acts overseeing the case, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Frank Quesada dismissed the count alleging that McPherson was falsely imprisoned. "Ken Dandar, the lawyer representing the McPherson estate, argued that McPherson was psychotic and incapable of giving her consent when she was taken by members of the church to the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater. The 36-year-old Scientologist died in 1995 after 17 days in the care of Scientology staffers. "Although the lawsuit has yet to make it before a jury, Quesada on Thursday granted a motion to dismiss the false imprisonment count. 'Based on the undisputed facts of this case, plaintiff has not made and cannot make a showing that Lisa McPherson was unlawfully restrained 'against her will' by the defendants,' Quesada wrote in his 49-page opinion. 'In fact, all of the evidence indicates the opposite. Lisa McPherson refused psychiatric observation or admission at the hospital; she expressly stated her desire to receive the religious care and assistance from her fellow congregants that she and they wanted her to have. Moreover McPherson exhibited bizarre and psychotic behavior, there is no competent evidence that Lisa McPherson demanded to be released and was unlawfully restrained from leaving,' Quesada wrote. "Dandar said he will appeal Quesada's ruling. He said after a hearing Thursday that Quesada's order was based on false testimony and disregards the testimony of several psychiatrists who said McPherson was incapable of giving consent. But the ruling is not damaging to the main part of the case, Dandar said. 'It is not central at all,' Dandar said. 'Even if the jury were going to believe that Lisa wanted and consented to go to the hotel, she never consented to dying.' "Because of a shuffling of judicial assignments, the lawsuit will now be transferred to Pinellas-Pasco Chief Judge Susan Schaeffer. Dandar said he plans to file a motion asking Schaeffer to recuse herself because of previous comments she made that he said were sympathetic to the church." From the Associated Press on June 23rd: "'Not only is there no evidence that Lisa was brought to the Fort Harrison against her will, but the evidence is uncontroverted that, by every objective measure, Lisa agreed, consented and wished to go there,' Circuit Judge Frank Quesada said in dismissing the false imprisonment claim brought by McPherson's estate. Based on undisputed facts of the case, the estate made no showing that McPherson was unlawfully restrained against her will, Quesada wrote in a 49-page opinion granting a summary judgment. 'In fact, all of the evidence indicates the opposite.' "The judge said McPherson was exercising her constitutional right of privacy to refuse medical treatment at Morton Plant Hospital and to go instead to the Fort Harrison to receive care at the church's facility. Had the hospital refused to release her, that would have constituted false imprisonment, Quesada said. Church workers were not only entitled, but legally bound, to respect McPherson's 'constitutionally protected choice,' Quesada said." Stacy Brooks attended the hearing in which the judge announced his decision. "Jesse and I attended the hearing yesterday. Judge Quesada signed Scientology's proposed ruling on their motion for summary judgment regarding false imprisonment exactly as they submitted it. He added nothing. "Regarding Scientology's motion to exclude Jesse Prince as an expert or fact witness, Judge Quesada declined to rule at all, despite vigorous argument by Kendrick Moxon, aided by Lee Fugate." Message-ID: 9gv8al$ Message-ID: Message-ID:

Protest Summary

Gregg Hagglund reported a protest in Toronto on June 23rd. "Picketers - Close Range: Mike Argue, Kaeli, Zeratul, Gregg Hagglund. 120 feet: Keith Henson, Dave Palter. Observers: Grammarian, DeepWog2. Flyer Count: 270. Duration 12:15 PM to 2 PM. "This was the first picket since Keith's false arrest as a 'dangerous pipe bomber' and Internationally Hunted Misdemeanant 'hate criminal'. Org staff under OT3 went into hiding and skulking mode. A back alley was utilized to scuttle in and out of the Org. Police did not appear to respond to Scientology calls for assistance. The only Org response was a forlorn counter picketing effort by an OT3 named J.G. Layton. Layton started out by passing the libelous handout Al Buttnor or one of his stooges, manufactured years ago. However shortly thereafter a more senior org staff member stopped him. He was then only permitted to hand out the 'Free Movie' slips." Message-ID:

John Travolta

The Herald Sun reported on June 24th that Scientology celebrity John Travolta is touring Australia with an eye to recruiting for Scientology. "John Travolta is out to win recruits to Scientology during his promotional tour of Australia. 'I'm so proud of what it does and how it helps people, I don't really mind when Scientology is brought up,' he said. 'I feel like it's a perfect invitation for me to maybe help someone with their life.' "He said he was happy for the media to harp on the controversial religion to which he was one of several celebrity recruits. 'I think your average fellow would be offended by that, but in my case I'm actually pleased when it comes up because maybe it gives me an opportunity to share it with someone and maybe help them,' he said. "Based on the sci-fi writings of self professed guru L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology hinges on the assumption human beings can 'clear' themselves of past hurts and experiences and achieve optimal performance as humans. But it has attracted criticism that it can brainwash its devotees and strip them of much of their material wealth. Message-ID: 9h52va$


The President of the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises wrote members on June 20th to announce summer events and a cruise on the Freewinds. "At this year's Maiden Voyage Anniversary Cruise, new LRH technical and administrative services and materials are being announced which are crucial to moving all Scientologists up The Bridge to OT. And, as occurs each year, the briefings from the Maiden Voyage will be presented at events in local orgs throughout July. "Factually, EVERYONE must attend the Summer Events at their local org, and what is needed and wanted from the WISE Sector to back this up is that each member and all those you care about attend. What is coming will blow away any stops or failed purposes and put beings at cause. And I can tell you that anything standing between beings and reaching the top of The Bridge is about to be blown to smithereens. You will find out how at the Freewinds Summer Events. "The first events begin at Flag and PAC on Friday, 29 June and on Saturday 7 July in most other areas. The events will then continue on successive weekends for 4 weeks, with the wins continuing to build up. Contact your local org or WISE office for details. "Love, Don Drader President" Message-ID:

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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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