AustraliaJan Groenveld reported this week that Scientology has pressed charges with the Equal Opportunity Commission of Victoria, Australia for alleged religious vilification. "The 'rev' Mary Anderson, Public Affairs, Melbourne Australia Org, has taken me to the Equal Opportunity Commission of Victoria (Australia) and charged me with 'religious vilification' under their act. 'A person must not, on the ground of religious belief or activity of another person or class of persons, engage in conduct that incites hatred against, serious contempt for, or revulsion or sever ridicule of, that other person or class of persons.' "Mary Anderson has charged me on the basis of my web site contents, The Anderson Report which she says was long ago overturned and described in the Victorian parliament in 1987 as 'draconian' and that this material is not biased, not factual and no current and does not fit into any category of helpful information, She refers to 'discredited author Russell Miller' with regard to comments on the site about Hubbard's statements about his life and war record which she states as been proven true by documentary evidence. "She states that persons who know little or nothing of Scientology and who take this site at face value could hardly fail to be infected with 'severe ridicule' or 'serious contempt of' if not 'hatred' of the subject of the site. She then asks that they demand I be made to remove the site." Message-ID: Pine.OSF.firstname.lastname@example.org
EgyptThe Associated Press reported on March 27th that two Scientologists detained in Cairo, Egypt have been released on bail. "A court on Wednesday freed on bail a Palestinian woman and her Israeli husband accused of 'contempt of religion' by promoting Scientology in Egypt, police officials said. Wafaa Hassan Ahmed, 26, and Mahmoud Mufid Masarwa, 28, who have confessed to being assigned by Scientology bureaus in Tel Aviv and Rome to promote the faith in Egypt, were arrested earlier last month. No formal charges were filed against the couple. "The judge who ordered their release Wednesday said 'Dianetics' was legally released in the Cairo Book Fair, and that the couple should not be punished for spreading 'new thought' as this would only be 'a violation of human rights.'" Message-ID: email@example.com
Lisa McPhersonA filing by the estate of Lisa McPherson was released this week, in which it argued against Scientology's argument that cockroaches do not feed on living people. "The defense has nothing to say about the fact that the Estate's forensic entomologists are all board certified and have seen roaches feeding upon pigs and have identified roach bites on human remains. The Estate's experts then take these findings and add to that the other case studies, including criminal reports of roaches found feeding upon babies, both alive and dead, and combine that with their education to arrive at their opinions. "The next amazing argument is that since the FLAG staff never saw a roach in Lisa's room, and since the hotel was regularly sprayed, then these marks could not be left by roaches. It will be up to the jury to believe or not believe the staff of FLAG. "Both Dr. Haskell and Dr. Goff made very conservative opinions in this matter. Neither would say that these marks are 100% roach feeding sites for one and only one reason: they were not there witnessing the roaches feeding upon Lisa. What both experts do opine is that these marks are consistent with roach bites based upon their experience and education and that their opinion meets the legal requirement of more likely than not. "The Estate attaches hereto two recently reported cases of live babies or children being found with roaches feeding upon them. The first concerns a criminal case involving abuse of a 7 month old Quail Valley girl from Riverside County, California, in 2001. At the emergency room at Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar, California, it was diagnosed that the baby was suffering from rat and cockroach bites. In April of 1998, in Rochester, N.Y., a mother was sentenced to 15 years for child neglect of her 5 year old daughter. Among other signs of neglect, a pathologist cited cockroach bites on her arms and legs. "In the authoritative textbook edited by Dr. Werner Spitz, M.D., there is an extensive discussion with pictures of ant and roach bites on the deceased. This is prime evidence that roaches do bite human flesh." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reed SlatkinReuters reported on March 26th that Scientology minister Reed Slatkin has agreed to plead guilty to investment fraud. "EarthLink co-founder Reed Slatkin, accused of defrauding investors out of nearly $600 million, has agreed to plead guilty to 15 federal charges, prosecutors said Tuesday. Slatkin, who was charged with 15 felony charges for allegedly orchestrating a massive Ponzi scheme in which he solicited more than $593 million from some 800 investors - including members of the Church of Scientology, where he is a minister - has reached a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to all of the charges. "Slatkin, 53, was charged with five counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, six counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice during an investigation being conducted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission." From Bloomberg News on March 26th: "Slatkin's attorney, Frederick D. Friedman with O'Neill, Lysaght & Sun LLP in Los Angeles, said in a statement that his client's decision to take the plea 'is a reflection of his decision to accept full responsibility for his conduct.' "The minister in the Church of Scientology got money from socialites, Hollywood producers and EarthLink's two top executives, Chairman Sky Dayton and Chief Executive Officer Garry Betty. Among the investors listed in SEC documents are Fox News legal commentator Greta Van Susteren and actors Giovanni Ribisi and Jeffrey Tambor." From the Wall Street Journal on March 27th: "Mr. Slatkin, an ordained Church of Scientology minister who attracted seven-figure investments from such luminaries as 'Pearl Harbor' producer Armyan Bernstein, Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren and former Capitol Records Chairman Hale Milgrim, is set to be arraigned in U.S. District Court next month. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 105 years, but federal sentencing guidelines will most likely bring that down to 12 1/2 to 15 years, according to Steve Olson, an assistant U.S. attorney. "Frederick Friedman, an attorney for Mr. Slatkin, said the plea reflects his client's decision 'to accept full responsibility for his conduct and move forward, by continuing his cooperation with both government authorities and his creditors.' Mr. Slatkin filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court in Santa Barbara last May. "No one else has been charged in the case, but the 32-page statement of facts mentions several unindicted co-conspirators, including one man, Ron Rakow, who served nine months in federal prison during the 1980s for his role in an $80 million Ponzi scheme known as 'Culture Farms.' According to the statement of facts, Mr. Rakow - who began investing with Mr. Slatkin before he was sent to prison - helped promote Mr. Slatkin's money management services. Mr. Slatkin's Santa Fe, N.M., bookkeeper, Jean Janu, and two others, Dan Jacobs and Didier Waroquiers, are also named in the statement as accomplices in Mr. Slatkin's conspiracy to obstruct a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into his investment practices that began in 2000. According to the statement, Ms. Janu furnished the SEC with lists of investor accounts that she was 'liquidating,' when in fact she hadn't returned any funds to investors. Messrs. Waroquiers and Jacobs, the statement adds, helped Mr. Slatkin deceive the SEC and investors into believing that he had more than $200 million secure in Swiss bank accounts." From the Los Angeles Times on March 27th: "Slatkin's sentence probably will be 'in the 12-to-15-year range,' said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. The sentence could be reduced by a few years if Slatkin, 53, cooperates fully with investigators, who still are trying to determine what happened to investors' money, Mrozek said. Slatkin has acknowledged that at least $255 million is missing in the scheme, in which new investors' money was used to pay bogus returns to prior investors. 'It's a very significant sentence for a consensual plea agreement,' said Richard Wynne, an attorney for creditors in Slatkin's bankruptcy case. But he added, 'We calculated he could have gotten a life sentence if this had gone to trial, so it's a sweet deal for him.' "Investors greeted news of the plea agreement warily. Some fear Slatkin might flee the country before his arraignment on an unspecified date next month. 'He's had 11 months to pack,' said investor George Kriste, 'and now he's got another 30 days.' The FBI and the U.S. attorney's office have said they don't believe Slatkin will try to escape. Slatkin's criminal attorney, Brian Sun, said his client was determined to cooperate with investigators. 'This is obviously a very emotional time for him, but he's committed to doing the right thing,' Sun said. 'His conduct speaks for itself.' "Slatkin, an ordained minister in the Church of Scientology, started soliciting money from fellow Scientologists in the mid-1980s. His stature and reputation grew after he helped co-found Internet service provider EarthLink Inc. in 1994. Before long, he was taking in large sums from Internet executives, Hollywood players and socialites from across the country." From the Santa Barbara News-Press on March 27th: "Prosecutors and Mr. Slatkin's criminal defense team say that if he fulfills the terms of the plea and cooperates with authorities, he will probably get far less than the maximum sentence. They disagree, however, on how much time he could spend behind bars. Federal authorities say it would be from 12 to 15 years, while Mr. Slatkin's attorney, Brian Sun, a former assistant U.S. attorney, said the range could be anywhere from no prison time to 15 years. 'There are a number of factors here,' said Mr. Sun. 'It really has a lot to do with the degree and quality of his cooperation.' "That cooperation will likely include identifying individuals who aided him with the conspiracy and fraud, sources said. In addition, Mr. Slatkin could help federal bankruptcy investigators track down some of the missing millions. 'Mr. Slatkin's agreement with the government is a reflection of his decision to accept full responsibility for his conduct and move forward by continued cooperation with both government authorities and his creditors,' said Fred Friedman, another attorney on his criminal defense team. "'The longer the sentence, the better,' said Michael Azeez, whose family collectively lost $42 million to Mr. Slatkin. 'I hope he gets a hanging judge.' There's a lot more that Mr. Slatkin can divulge about the nature and scope of the fraud that may help identify where some of the money went and who else was involved, Mr. Azeez said. 'I'm not sure why he isn't behind bars yet, though,' he said. "'The fact that he hasn't surrendered immediately is just a complete slap in the face,' said John Poitras, of Santa Ynez, a former venture capitalist who lost $15 million. 'He gets another 30 days to sip wine and enjoy the sunshine. This guy should be put away for the rest of his life for what he's done to hundreds of families.' "Rick Wynne, the attorney working with the creditors' committee, called the plea a 'smart deal' for Mr. Slatkin because if he had gone to trial to contest the charges, he would have been exposed to a life term. Because the plea compels Mr. Slatkin to cooperate with investigators, it may help creditors uncover any missing money, Mr. Wynne said. 'While some of his victims certainly might have preferred that Mr. Slatkin be drawn and quartered, his plea is an appropriate resolution to his 15-year fraudulent scheme,' he said. 'Mr. Slatkin will have a long time to sit in jail and contemplate what he did to hundreds of his creditors and their families.'" From the text of the plea agreement: "Defendant gives up the right to indictment by a grand jury and agrees to plead guilty to a fifteen-count Information in the form attached to this agreement or a substantially similar form. Defendant made up and/or executed a scheme or plan for obtaining money or property by making false promises or statements; defendant knew that the promises or statements were false; the promises or statements were material, that is they would reasonably influence a person to part with money or property; defendant acted with the intent to defraud; and defendant used or caused to be used, the mails or private commercial interstate carriers to carry out an essential part of the scheme. "The total maximum sentence for all offenses to which defendant is pleading guilty is: 105 years imprisonment; a three-year period of supervised release; a fine of $3.75 million or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the fraud and conspiracy plus twice the value of the criminally derived property involved in the money laundering transactions, whichever is greater; and a mandatory special assessment of $1500. "Defendant understands that defendant will be required to pay full restitution to the victims of the offenses. The parties currently believe that the applicable amount of restitution is not less than $254,597,235, but recognize and agree that this amount could change based on facts that come to the attention of the parties prior to sentencing. Defendant further agrees that defendant will not seek the discharge of any restitution obligation, in whole or in part, in any present or future bankruptcy proceeding." Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
WISEThe Los Angeles Times published an article in the Sterling Management and the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises on March 29th. "The 'Battlefield Earth' videos, 'I am a Scientologist' poster and numerous pictures of L. Ron Hubbard make it clear that Sterling Management isn't a typical consulting firm. The company is one of about 100 in Glendale, Montrose, La Crescenta and La Canada Flintridge that practice the organizational principles of Scientology. In fact, Sterling Management's business is to promote and teach the organizational principles of the church to small business owners across the country. Hubbard, founder of Scientology and a science fiction writer and philosopher, developed what is referred to as his 'management technology' for the religion's expansion. "Sterling Management owner Kevin Wilson and the other owners of local companies use the management practices as members of the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises - WISE. WISE licenses and promotes Hubbard's work to businesses for the Church of Scientology, WISE President Don Drader said. About 3,200 WISE members around the world pay anywhere from $250 to $36,000 per year for membership. Most WISE members are Scientologists, but it's not required, Drader said. "James Ryan, an EEOC public affairs specialist, said he wasn't aware of WISE, but organizations are entitled to use religious principles in the workplace, as long as employees have the option to object and be excused. Wilson said he is aware of employee discrimination law and that he stays within its bounds. 'This job has nothing to do with Scientology,' Wilson said. 'In no way can I dictate anyone's job with Scientology.' "Wilson makes sure his company's clients are aware of the relationship between his business and Scientology, too. All Sterling Management clients sign a waiver before entering into the consulting relationship, Wilson said. The waiver states that the Hubbard management materials imply 'no religious affiliation whatsoever.' It also states a Sterling consultant may recommend a client see a Scientology practitioner, if the client has personal problems beyond the scope of Sterling Management." Message-ID: email@example.com
UKBBC News reported on March 26th that a teacher's union is speaking out against schools being run by some religious organizations, including Scientology. "Clearer guidelines must be introduced to establish which religious organisations will be permitted to take up the running of state-funded faith schools, a teachers' union says. There was currently no clear indication of who would approve or reject an application to build a school called the Osama Bin Laden Academy, warned the general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), Peter Smith. Similarly the Church of Scientology, the Moonies or even supporters of David Icke - the former footballer and TV presenter who once claimed he was the Messiah - could apply to run a state school, said Mr Smith. "Government plans to encourage a wide range of religious groups to run state-funded schools have proved controversial, with critics saying they are divisive. Mixed opinion over faith schools was no less obvious than at the ATL's annual conference in Cardiff, where delegates tabled conflicting motions on the matter. One calls for the government to abandon all plans to increase the number of faith schools, another urges delegates to 'recognise the positive contribution these faith schools make to the education of young people.' "The ATL was not pressing for a secular education system, said Mr Smith, as history could not be rewritten. But he said the government had made a grave mistake when it paved the way for more faith schools. 'My own personal view is if a dog is snoring, don't kick it awake and I think it was very stupid of the government to kick this dog awake,' he said." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.