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

Volume 6, Issue 40 - January 27 2002



Alaska

The Anchorage Daily News reported on January 26th that the Scientology org there is offering courses to the public. "The Church of Scientology offers more than 40 public courses in Dianetics and Scientology dealing with many aspects of life, including marriage and the family, the mind and the spirit, business, study skills, values, elimination of drugs and stress." Message-ID: a2uueb$cp0@netaxs.com

September 11

Fortean Times in their February issue described the efforts of Scientology to link September 11th terrorism to Psychiatry. "The Church of Scientology keeps flogging away at the dead of September 11. The CoS famously had it in for psychiatrists, psychologists, and to be blunt, anybody capable of picking up on their tommyrot for the transparent nonsense that it is. "So, guess who was actually ultimately responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks? Psychiatrists! A Church of Scientology front styling itself the 'Citizens Commission on Human Rights' has warned that the attacks were 'the cowardly actions of weak and insane minds [..] that have been deliberately psychologically indoctrinated to feel nothing about the mass murder of innocent lives.' "The Church of Scientology warns that 'from Hitler, the Bosnia-Kosovo 'ethnic cleansing' of psychiatrist Radovan Karadzic and his patient, Slobovan [sic] Milosevic, [..] the Unibomber [sic] and Oklahoma Bomber here in the U.S., all were reportedly, directly or indirectly, influenced by psychiatric or psychological techniques.'" Message-ID: 3c4d7891.3909733@news2.lightlink.com

Clearwater

The St. Petersburg Times reported on January 26th that Scientology invited notable Clearwater area residents to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Fort Harrison Hotel at a banquet in the Hotel. "The Church of Scientology, long on the fringe of the Clearwater community, will roll out the red carpet at its Fort Harrison Hotel tonight, staging a black tie gala for the area's power elite. And while several notables sent regrets, many others are going. "Tonight's party ranks as another indicator Scientology is gaining acceptance in a community historically suspicious of the church, if not hostile. Clearly pleased by the number of acceptances, Scientologists say their volunteerism and other civic efforts are making a difference. "Among those attending are politicians and civic leaders who years ago would have had serious reservations about wining and dining with Scientologists. State Sen. Jack Latvala and his wife, Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala, plan to go. Pinellas Sheriff Everett Rice will attend. So will Clearwater Mayor Brian Aungst. Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark is going. So, too are leaders from the Clearwater YMCA and the local branch of the NAACP. Clearwater businessman Phil Henderson and his wife, Dunedin City Commissioner Janet Henderson, a candidate for state representative, will go and write a check for their dinners. 'As recently as 10 years ago, I don't think a lot of people would come to the event, or even consider coming,' Henderson said. 'But they (Scientologists) have changed their ways.' "And, of course, the question is on everyone's lips: Will Scientology's celebrities be there? Bennetta Slaughter, chairwoman of the celebration, did say, when pushed, that John Travolta and Tom Cruise are filming elsewhere. What about Isaac Hayes? Jenna Elfman? Kirstie Alley? 'We have to make the anticipation continue,' Shaw quipped. 'I can't tell you.' Jazz legend Chick Corea, who lives in Clearwater, will be there, Shaw allowed. Scientology's leader, David Miscavige, who is based in Los Angeles, could be there. 'He's invited,' was all Shaw would reveal. "With valet service, an open bar, buffet and sit-down dinner with several menu choices, a live musical show and a complimentary brochure commemorating the hotel, the retail cost of the gala could be as much as $400 a person, estimated Gregory Snow, president of Tampa Bay's Best Publications and Productions, which publishes a wedding and party planning magazine. 'That's first class,' Snow said. 'It could be between $100,000 and $200,000.' "The church tried sponsoring a political forum at the Fort Harrison in 1992, Susan Latvala recalled, and she and other candidates struggled with the decision whether to attend. 'Do you think we should go? It's Scientology,' she said they asked one another. Of the 95 candidates invited, 17 showed up. "Latvala, though, will be the only Pinellas County commissioner there. Commissioner Karen Seel - her son has a dance. Commissioner John Morroni - it's his son's birthday. Clearwater businessman and community leader Alan Bomstein has a conflict. So do Clearwater City Commissioners Ed Hart and Bill Jonson. New Pinellas County Administrator Steve Spratt and longtime Clearwater police Chief Sid Klein sent regrets. St. Petersburg Times editors also sent their regrets. The church is not allowing the Times to send a reporter and photographer to cover the event. "Clearwater City Commissioners Whitney Gray and Hoyt Hamilton plan to attend. Hamilton said he is reimbursing the church $90, the price quoted to him for two dinners. 'I didn't want anyone to get the impression I was there on the church's dime,' Hamilton said. 'My attendance is strictly the opportunity to go back and revisit the site of my younger days in Clearwater.' "Numerous city employees were invited but have been told they can attend only the reception and not the dinner because of a city ordinance limiting gifts. That's what City Manager Bill Horne will do. Assistant City Manager Garry Brumback, who also plans to go, said Scientologists are some of the city's best volunteers." The St. Petersburg Times also reported on January 26th that the Fort Harrison Hotel will be open for tours and meals for the public "The three-week open house is part of the church's celebration of the Fort Harrison's 75th anniversary. The open house runs seven days a week until Feb. 17 from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Visitors can dine at the hotel's Hibiscus restaurant, where dress is casual and no reservations are required. Lunch tabs run about $8.50 per person and dinner averages $14 per person. The church is offering complimentary lunch or dinner to anyone celebrating a 75th birthday. "The public can also tour the hotel and see Images of a Lifetime, a photo exhibit on display in the Crystal Ballroom depicting the life and work of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. "The Church of Scientology purchased the Clearwater landmark in 1975 and over the span of 10 years renovated and restored the building's historic elements. As a spiritual retreat for Scientologists receiving advanced religious counseling, the hotel has largely been off limits to the public. Church officials say that will change with the 2003 completion of the massive new Flag building across the street. All of the counseling rooms in the Fort Harrison will be moved to the new building, a change that will render the old hotel completely taxable for the first time since the Scientologists bought it in 1975. Also at that point, the church will open the hotel's restaurants to the public." Message-ID: a2utno$ath@netaxs.com Message-ID: a2utrr$ath@netaxs.com

Kirstie Alley

UK newspaper The Herald published an article on January 24th on Scientology celebrity Kirstie Alley. "Kirstie Alley stumbled big time, developing a cocaine habit by the age of 24. Apparently it once took her 30 days to drive from Kansas to Los Angeles because she had to buy drugs along the way. It could so easily have been the kiss of death to her future career, had it not been for the Church of Scientology. "According to Alley, a friend gave her a book, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, written by L Ron Hubbard - the man behind Scientology. Alley says: 'I thought, This either really works or it doesn't. So I packed up and moved to Los Angeles to find out.' Her newfound religion not only helped her to kick her two-year drugs habit, but gave her the inspiration to aim high career-wise. It also inspired her, two years ago, to buy a second home, the $1.5m house belonging to Lisa Marie Presley - located just five blocks away from the Scientology church. She is also a spokesperson for a drug-rehabilitation programme sponsored by Scientology. "After her dalliance with drugs and enrolling in the Scientology church, she made her debut on the small screen, but not in the traditional fashion. Instead, she appeared as a contestant on The Match Game. It wasn't long, though, before her throaty voice and striking looks brought Alley to the attention of directors and, in 1981, she received a phone call from Paramount to audition for the role of Lieutenant Saavik in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. "Off-screen her life was stormy. Her marriage to Parker Stevenson foundered and the battle for custody of the children was well-documented in the American tabloids. Then her romance with former Melrose Place hunk James Wilder fell apart just hours before they were due to wed. In response, the actress constructed a fence across the bridge she had built to connect their flats in Hollywood." Message-ID: jjl05uk4151cbdki3vqoep7hjsfsoolpma@4ax.com

Lisa McPherson

Deana Holmes posted to a.r.s this week to report that the Estate of Lisa McPherson has lost a case in Texas for breach of contract. "There was an attempt to add David Miscavige personally to the Lisa McPherson estate's case as a defendant. A Florida appellate court found last year that since Miscavige had never been served, he had never been added to the case, therefore Scientology was not to get the attorneys' fees they requested in defending Miscavige. "The cult had started a similar action against the estate in Texas federal court since Dell Liebreich, the executor of the estate, lives in Dallas. Despite the appellate ruling from Florida, the federal court judge let this case go forward. The jury did not give Scientology everything it asked for: Rosen's fee was cut in half, and it may be eliminated entirely since Rosen violated federal rules in bringing this case. The Estate plans to appeal, since the Texas court does not have jurisdiction over the estate, which is in Florida. To collect on this judgment, RTC and David Miscavige have to go to Florida and start an action in Florida courts, where there is already an adverse judgment against them. And it should be noted that the award is rather hollow, since the Estate has no funds." Message-ID: Xns91A1DDA9282F0mirelesonicnet@208.201.224.154

L. Ron Hubbard

Salon.com published a retrospective on January 24th on the L. Ron Hubbard, which is the date of his death in 1986. "Before the Scientology incarnation, Hubbard had a 20-year career writing pulp magazine stories - adventure, crime, westerns and then mostly science fiction. In 1982, after decades of Church work - much of it the labor of dodging the FBI, CIA, IRS and reporters - Hubbard returned to his muse with 'Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000.' If the numbers are to be believed, it became one of the greatest science-fiction hits of all time; if the apostates and investigative reporters are to be believed, the novel was a required purchase, and another Church scam. If Hubbard himself is to be believed in his introductory essay, he had been 'studying the branches of man's past knowledge at that time to see whether he had ever come up with anything valid.' He had done 'some pioneer work in rockets and gasses,' was 'in rather steady association with the new era of scientists, the boys who built the bomb,' and therefore well-placed to be 'one of the crew of writers that helped start man to the stars.' "According to the Church Web sites, his greatest accomplishment is the 10-book 'Mission Earth' series, a work that believer-critics find reminiscent of both 'the later Henry James' and 'the later Charles Dickens,' and such 'a biting commentary on exactly who is doing what on today's earth' that it is 'repeatedly drawing comparisons to the works of Jonathan Swift.' Presumably the later Jonathan Swift; possibly that section in 'Gulliver's Travels' wherein the mad scientists of Lagado endeavor, among other things, to reconstitute food from excrement." Message-ID: 20020124005308.27579.00000155@mb-fv.aol.com

John Travolta

Glasgow, Scotland newspaper The Herald published an article on January 24th on Scientology celebrity John Travolta. "The critics have not been kind to John Travolta's latest film, Domestic Disturbance, about a divorced father who discovers his wife's new husband is a murderer and that the lives of his ex-wife and his son are at risk. His career has been something of a roller-coaster ride, with sudden highs like Pulp Fiction followed by terrible lows like Battleship Earth, the Scientology-inspired sci-fi film he produced and starred in as a very fat, hirsute villain. "At one point, although the film was a surprise hit, he was reduced to playing the dad of a talking baby voiced by Bruce Willis. 'I think some of it is because of my Scientology,' he says. 'I have a place to handle my issues and tools to deal with things and a way to get information and support. I have also always been a glass-half-full kind of person. You know, even when I had a dip in my career 10 or 15 years ago, I still looked at it in a positive way. The way I saw it, I had had the honour of having been the biggest star in the world, and I would have something to tell my grandchildren. I didn't think - oh, what a tragedy. I think I had to hold on to that optimism, that is why it happened again and things turned round for me.'" Message-ID: hsk05us4gsqade4bl4ks4edcuic1h02vk8@4ax.com

Digital Lightwave

The St. Petersburg Times reported on January 24th that Bryan Zwan, founder of Digital Lightwave, has returned to head the Clearwater-based company. "Bryan Zwan, who ran Digital from 1990 through 1998, is back in charge after the sudden resignation of Gerry Chastelet on Wednesday. Zwan, who owns 58 percent of Digital's stock, rejoined the board last October. His return to a public role with the company came two days after he settled a charge of accounting irregularities with the Securities and Exchange Commission. "Chastelet, who could not be reached for comment, said in a written statement, 'I have thoroughly enjoyed my years at the company, in which we accomplished a great deal. However, I have decided that this is the right time for me to pursue new challenges and opportunities.' "Though Digital, which makes testing equipment for fiber-optic networks, thrived during the telecom boom under Chastelet's leadership, it has flagged since the middle of last year. Last week, Digital said it would take a restructuring charge of up to $800,000 in the first quarter, outsource some of its production and manufacturing, and cut an undisclosed number of jobs. During 2001, Digital cut 42 jobs and now has a work force of about 150. The company also said it expected fourth-quarter revenues to be between $5-million and $5.5-million, down from the $7.7-million estimated by analysts. "Zwan had run into conflict with the SEC when he and his company were accused of filing false financial reports for two quarters in 1997. While Digital settled its part of the case in 2000, Zwan refused to settle until all fraud charges were dropped. In October, he agreed to an injunction prohibiting him from violating securities laws. Zwan did not admit or deny the allegations. "Zwan, a major contributor to the Church of Scientology, has consistently denied that his religion has any involvement with Digital's operations. During his career with the company, Chastelet, who was not a Scientologist, also repeatedly took pains to distance himself from the church. Wednesday, Zwan once again said his religion would have no impact on how Digital will be run. 'I don't see it being an issue,' he said." Message-ID: a2phfa$nld@netaxs.com


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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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