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

Volume 7, Issue 45 - February 16 2003

Ad Agency

Adweek reported on February 11th that Scientology has hired a new advertising agency. "The Church of Scientology has hired Horizon Media as its global media partner, the agency said. Horizon won the account following a review that included URI, the Beverly Hills, Calif., incumbent, as well as KSL Media and Universal McCann, both in Los Angeles, and Corinthian Media of New York. The Los Angeles-based client spent less than $1 million on advertising last year, according to CMR." Message-ID: SPj2a.16984$

Flag Land Base

Source magazine reported on the celebration of the anniversary of the Fort Harrison Hotel. "On January 18, 2003 more than 500 guests strolled down a red carpet to The Fort Harrison Hotel for the Fort Harrison Hotel's 76th Anniversary Gala. Guests included City, County and State government officials, business leaders and internationally renowned celebrities including John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Jenna Elfman, Erika Christensen, Anne Archer and Catherine Bell. "During the event, Mr. Stuart Rogel, President of the Tampa Bay Partnership, an organization whose purpose is to expand the Tampa Bay area and improve the quality of life here, presented a plaque to the Church of Scientology, which read, in part: 'In recognition of the Fort Harrison's 76th Anniversary as part of the heart and heritage of Clearwater. We congratulate you for your commitment to your community and for your work in making Tampa Bay a better community for all.' "Entertainment by the Golden Era Musicians, with Isaac Hayes, Chick Corea, Mark Isham and Kate Ceberano, capped the evening." Message-ID: 01N0B33L37667.6195486111@anonymous.poster


L'Unione Sarda reported on February 13th that three Scientologists have been charged with extortion of his cousin, who committed suicide in 1997. "When Roberto jumped out of his bedroom window, at the 5th floor of via Castiglione, he wasn't 20 yet. It was Feb. 18th, 1997. Four months later his parents filed a complaint: their son committed suicide - they claim - because he was exasperated by the continuous requests of money of his cousin, with whom Roberto shared the passion for Scientology. "The preliminary hearing judge indicted Giorgio Carta, 30 from Cagliari, with the charge of extortion. According to the deputy prosecutor Guido Pani, the defendant demanded almost 100 millions, threatening to reveal the confidences Roberto made during meetings with Scientology members. As for the other two indicted, Annamaria Cogoni, 44 from Selargius and Massimiliano Longu, 30 from Cagliari, the judge ordered the files to be transferred to the prosecutor in order to have the charges specified. Cogoni and Longu (both members of Scientology) are charged with abetting. "According to Roberto's parents (who sued for damages in the criminal prosecution) everything started with the boy's Scientology enrolling, of which he was happy at first. Then something happened. Roberto confided his father and mother to be pressed by his cousin Giorgio Carta with demands of money. "Two days ago a magazine related to Scientology and speaking of this investigation in a cryptic way was handed out for free in front of the Palace of Justice. After gathering a sheer dossier, Roberto's family asked the power of attorney to reopen the investigation about their son's death. The charge of suicide instigation dropped, while remains the one for extortion." Message-ID:

Los Angeles

The American Reporter reported on February 14th that Scientologists flooded a neighborhood council to vote for a pro-Scientology slate of officers. "In a naked show of power Wednesday night, some 500 Scientologists descended by the busload on a Neighborhood Council polling place at a local church with pre-marked sample ballots and proceeded to elect a slate of Scientology and other candidates, including Hillary Royce, the group's international spokesperson, by a huge margin. The Scientologists, most in their familiar blue military-style uniform, came in waves that almost overwhelmed volunteers who had set up a polling place in a large meeting room at the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. "An elder of the Presbyterian church, Andrew Ettinger, told The American Reporter at a candidate forum two weeks ago that he had encouraged Scientology - which is the fifth-largest employer in Hollywood, with almost 1,700 workers - to run a candidate for office. "Under the bylaws adopted by the HUNC, five geographical districts and other seats for non-profits, faith-based organizations, homeowners and businesses are voted on by all voters regardless of which category they may register in as stakeholders. By that unusual standard, the Scientologists were all eligible to vote if they worked either at its huge building at the corner of Ivar and Hollywood or its former mansion hotel property on Franklin Ave. called the Celebrity Centre. "The election was the first for board seats on the Hollywood United Neighborhood Council, or HUNC, which survived a tendentious battle with the rival Franklin-Hollywood Hills Community Council for the right to represent the area, which includes most of the Hollywood Hills from Cahuenga Blvd. to Western Ave., from the Hollywood Sign to Hollywood Blvd., with about 20,000 residents, or 'stakeholders.' "The turnout of the Scientologists has been downplayed just days ago by Ettinger, who was handily elected to a board seat. Indeed, Scientologists have not been a factor in municipal elections in the past, although Scientology International President Heber Jentzsch of Utah is a political contributor to Rep. Diane Watson, the area's new Congresswoman. Casting what seemed to be roughly 70 percent of the votes, the Scientologists elected at least two of their own members and an unknown number of other candidates who had not disclosed their religious affiliations. "Many, if not most Scientologists are not registered to vote in normal elections, largely because they view the American government as a product of psychiatric conspiracies. In the Neighborhood Council elections, however, voters do not have to be citizens, do not have to show identification, and may claim stakeholder status by merely affiliating with an organization." Message-ID: gb63a.17059$


The Associated Press reported in articles on February 11-13 that Scientology offered a tour of a Mexico prison to Nevada legislators in order to promote the Narconon drug rehab program. "Hoping to win support for an alternative drug treatment program developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, a Nevada legislator wants her colleagues to join her on a trip to a Mexico prison to examine the program. Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, R-Reno, has proposed legislation to establish the Second Chance Program in Nevada for the state's female prison population. The program relies on detoxification and self-betterment principles developed by Hubbard. "Angle said she has secured funding from a mystery donor for 35 legislators to take a March 1 day trip to Ensenada State Prison, where the program has been operating since 1995. The program claims to have lowered inmate recidivism to 10 percent. The donor willing to pay for the lawmakers' trip is an Arizona man, but Angle wouldn't provide his name. She added that since the man isn't a registered lobbyist, he won't have to file a lobbyist spending report - so there would be no public financial record. "Malkiewich said he sent a letter about the trip to legislators Monday afternoon, and all reservations must be confirmed by 4 p.m. Wednesday because Southwest Airlines is holding 35 tickets. He said that as of Tuesday afternoon Assemblywomen Genie Ohrenschall, D-Las Vegas, and Valerie Weber, R-Las Vegas, and Assemblyman Don Gustavson, R-Sun Valley, had confirmed they'll make the trip. Other Nevada legislators were skeptical, however. A number of lawmakers said they did not plan on attending the trip because the funding source is suspect and they do not want to open themselves to criticism about accepting gifts or donations. "The Second Chance Program detoxifies inmates by administering vitamin and mineral supplements, massage and sauna treatments to drain the body of drug residue, according to the program's brochure. The program then includes an education component, followed by a self-respect component based on Hubbard's text 'The Way to Happiness.' The self-respect module also includes one-on-one interviews with a guidance counselor. The program ends with a life skills component, training inmates on how to evaluate other people and how to change unwanted conditions of their lives. Inmates are then expected to take the program back into their communities upon their release. "Angle said the program is not Scientology, but simply uses Hubbard's teachings. The Second Chance Program is licensed by the criminal rehabilitation group Criminon International, a child of Narconon International, a drug rehabilitation program. Both groups employ Hubbard's teachings in their rehabilitation efforts." "An Arizona businessman was identified Wednesday as the person paying for a quick trip to Mexico so Nevada lawmakers can see a prison drug treatment program developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, R-Reno, said Russell Suggs is underwriting the one-day fact-finding mission, and he only grudgingly agreed to let Angle reveal his name. 'He is approached not only by non-profits, but politicians as well,' Angle said. 'And he doesn't like his name spread around, but he would let it go if it would help me and the Second Chance Program.'" "A legislative trip to a Mexico prison to view an alternative drug treatment program developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was termed inappropriate Thursday by the Assembly's second-ranking Democrat. Assembly Majority Leader Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, said the program is scientifically invalid and undercuts other state efforts. 'I think this legislature has a true commitment to the rehabilitation of prisoners, especially those who are drug addicts,' Buckley said. "'If anything, why aren't we working on expanding (drug courts and mental health courts)? Why would we adopt an experimental, gimmicky program that has absolutely no scientific validation for it. All the studies seem to be done by Scientology efforts.' Buckley also said it's ironic Nevada would look to Mexico prisons for ways to handle drug addiction." From the Las Vegas Review-Journal on February 14th and 15th: "Assembly Majority Leader Barbara Buckley said Thursday legislators should not take a free trip to a Mexican prison to view an unproven drug treatment program that uses sauna and massage treatments. Buckley, D-Las Vegas, expects most legislators won't take the March 1 trip to an Ensenada prison that is being arranged by Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, R-Reno. Angle has been championing a program there that was developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. She is sponsoring legislation to put the program in women's prisons in Nevada. "The governor's office announced Thursday that Corrections Director Jackie Crawford will not travel again to the Mexican prison. Assembly members Genie Ohrenschall, D-Las Vegas, Valerie Weber, R-Las Vegas, and Don Gustavson, R-Sun Valley, earlier signed up for the trip. Ohrenschall canceled, but Weber still intends to go. 'I want to keep an open mind about it,' Weber said. 'It may be a way to help the state save money.' Weber said her trip is being privately funded." "The governor's office wants nothing to do with a Republican assemblywoman's plan to have female inmates submit to a drug rehabilitation program developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, a spokesman said Friday. Greg Bortolin, press secretary to Gov. Kenny Guinn, said the administration is 'moving in another direction' in its inmate drug rehabilitation efforts. He added that neither Corrections Director Jackie Crawford nor any members of her staff will take additional trips to an Ensenada, Mexico, prison to review the controversial drug rehabilitation program that uses sauna and massage treatment. "The Arizona state government rejected the program last year because of its $15,000-per-inmate cost and because program sponsors did not track participants once they left prison. Crawford said there is merit to the Second Chance Program used in the Mexican prison, but not necessarily more than other drug rehabilitation programs. She said she took a free trip to the Mexican prison because Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, R-Reno, requested she see the program. "Angle insisted 'raw partisanship' is the real reason why Democrats have rejected an examination of the Hubbard program. She said Assembly Majority Leader Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, has been inducing legislators to reject the program without looking at its merits. Guinn, however, is a Republican. Until she hears otherwise from Crawford, Angle said she believes the administration may be convinced to offer the program to Nevada inmates. Angle added 'more than a few' legislators will fly to Mexico March 1 on a day trip to see the rehabilitation program. She also declined to identify legislators who will take the trip, saying she doesn't have an accurate count. But Angle acknowledged that none of the 23 Democrats in the 42-member Assembly will make the trip. 'I had Democrats attending until she (Buckley) began this partisan move,' Angle said." From the Las Vegas Sun on February 14th: "Lawmakers are fleeing as fast as they can from a proposed trip to Ensenada, Mexico, to see a prison experiment with Scientology ties. Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, R-Reno, is proposing a pilot program in Nevada, and has secured 35 seats on a Southwest Airlines flight to San Diego on March 1 as part of a trip to the prison. "Angle, the Assembly minority whip, is sponsoring a bill to launch a similar model in Nevada's women's prisons, and would be seeking grant money through President Bush's faith-based initiatives. That leads many to suspect Scientologists will continue to have ties to the program in Nevada, and is keeping most lawmakers away from the trip. Angle said she would seek Bush's community-based, not faith-based, initiative grants. She said she is not a Scientologist, just a woman of faith who attends weekly prayer meetings in the Legislative Building. In her office, she has a poster commemorating the first prayer in Congress. "So far Angle has just two legislative takers for her sojourn: Don Gustavson, R-Sun Valley, and Valerie Weber, R-Las Vegas. Gustavson and Angle are the most conservative lawmakers in the Assembly, often voting as a two-person bloc against bills that other Republicans sponsor. Weber is a freshman Assemblywoman and Christian conservative." Message-ID: 8Rj2a.16985$ Message-ID: fWN2a.17025$ Message-ID: Message-ID: i363a.17058$ Message-ID: UIr3a.17078$ Message-ID: PNr3a.17079$

In Memoriam

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported on February 10th that Scientologist Laurent Fafard has passed away. "Retired Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra violinist Laurent Joseph Fafard spent his life inspiring others through music. As a violin teacher, it wasn't unusual for one-hour lessons to turn into three-hour lessons about life. After Mr. Fafard retired, he dedicated much his time to the Church of Scientology of Ohio, based in Cincinnati, where he served as a trainer to the church's new counselors. In response to the civil unrest here in April 2001, Mr. Fafard was pivotal in organization of a day of interfaith reconciliation. 'He believed in the diversity of man and commonality of the spirit,' said his friend, Mary Harrill of Clifton." Message-ID:


The Moscow Times reported on February 13th that Scientologists plan to protest against free sex to commemorate Valentine's Day. "Cynics overwhelmed by the love in the air on Valentine's Day can head for Tverskaya Ulitsa, where the Church of Scientology will be campaigning 'against the source of depravity and debauchery' on Friday. The anti-free-sex rally, which will take place around noon between buildings No. 17 and 19, is cunningly titled 'Sex v Bolshom Gorode,' the Russian name for the popular U.S. television series 'Sex in the City.' Those with a more somber relationship with St. Valentine can try out the Christ the Savior Cathedral. The Catholic Church handed over some of the remains of St. Valentine to the Russian Orthodox Church last month, and they are to be placed in the cathedral soon." Message-ID: YYN2a.17026$


Voice of America published a profile on Scientology on February 16th. "Last month, Germany's Federal Finance Office granted the Church of Scientology full tax-exempt status, clearing the way for the organization to be recognized as a bona fide religious group. Scientology was founded in the United States nearly 50 years ago by L. Ron Hubbard, an engineer and novelist. Many political leaders in Europe have accused the group of being a cult and the German decision comes at a time when here in the United States, a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the church awaits trial. "By the church's own estimate, Scientology has spread to more than 150 countries since the organization was first founded in 1954. Church officials say as many as 640,000 people may be joining the Church of Scientology each year. And 80 percent of these people boast an annual income that's higher than the U.S. national average. "Susan Taylor, who heads the organization in Washington, DC, says Scientology isn't a Christ-centered religion. 'The Church of Scientology religion, its basic beliefs, are actually rooted in eastern philosophies. L. Ron Hubbard said many years ago that if you were to liken Scientology to any other religion, it'd be closest to Buddhism,' she says. 'So we have a very eastern core, but with a very western approach.' "That 'western' approach includes something called 'auditing', one the of the group's more controversial practices. According to Ms. Taylor, the process involves a precise set of questions posed to a person in stages. The goal is to achieve what Scientologists call 'spiritual freedom'. Auditing sessions are conducted by people who've been specially trained by the church, and the process is designed to take place over the course of 20 years. "But Susan Taylor is quick to point out it isn't therapy. In fact, the Church of Scientology stands in active opposition to modern-day psychiatry. 'Scientology is nothing like psychiatry or psychology,' she says. 'I mean, nothing at all. For instance, a psychiatrist and a psychologist, in most cases, do not have a belief in God. You have a problem? We're going to label you, and we're going to give you a drug. Scientologists approach an individual's difficulties from a spiritual viewpoint. We also believe that the whole field of mental health belongs in the field of religion.' "And therein lies the problem for some people, including the family of 36-year-old Lisa McPherson. They've filed a lawsuit in Florida, claiming she died because, among other things, the Church of Scientology removed her from the care of a psychiatrist. In 1995, she was involved in a minor traffic accident, during which she exhibited behavior that law enforcement officials thought could be a sign of mental instability. She was admitted to a hospital, where a psychological evaluation was ordered. But representatives from the Church of Scientology insisted the evaluation would violate Ms. McPherson's religious rights. They removed her from the care of doctors, and 17 days later, Lisa McPherson was dead. The official cause of death was a blot clot, said to have been the result of dehydration and excessive bed rest. "'Scientology's complete rejection of all dimensions of psychiatry can have dire consequences for people who need psychiatric care,' says Stephen Kent, a sociologist at the University of Alberta who specializes in alternative religions. He's interviewed hundreds of people who have left the Church of Scientology and says under the banner of religious freedom, church officials are practicing medicine without a license. 'The auditing process is a multi-faceted activity, and one could argue that at least part of it involves belief in supernatural forces. But a lot of it is straight pseudo-psychotherapy,' he says. "Professor Kent also says the church requires its members to pay large sums of money to participate in auditing sessions. He says Scientologists are asked to reveal a lot of personal information during these sessions, information that's recorded in the church's official records and because of that, he says many who want to leave the church feel they can't." 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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