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

Volume 7, Issue 51 - March 30 2003



UK

The Daily Telegraph reported on March 27th that the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled against Scientology advertisements claiming that 250,000 people have been helped to give up drugs. The authority relies on public opinion and publicity rather than governmental authority to enforce its rulings. "The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint against the Church of Scientology, which stated in a poster that it had rescued 250,000 people from drug addiction. The council said that the worldwide religious movement had not proved its claim that as many as a quarter of a million addicts had stopped using drugs as a direct result of Scientology's intervention. "The Church of England's Birmingham diocese and several members of the public had objected to the poster, which was produced by the Scientologists to publicise a tour of parts of the country. The poster read: 'Scientology: applied religious philosophy. 250,000 people salvaged from drugs.' There was also a free telephone number and a website address. From the Birmingham Post on March 26th: "The Diocese of Birmingham complained that the poster breached the parts of the advertising code which related to truthfulness, honesty and substantiation. The letter added that the claims made were 'both dishonest and also misleading by both ambiguity and exaggeration'. "In upholding the complaint, the ASA said they were 'concerned that the advertisers had not proved that all those enrolled on the programmes were dependent on drugs at the time of the enrolment or that as many as 250,000 drug users had stopped using those drugs as a direct result of Scientology's intervention.'" From The Guardian on March 27: "The ruling related to a poster coinciding with a campaign run two years ago by the church. In effect it claimed that the church had saved all those who had completed its drug programmes. It did not mention that its definition of drug use included an occasional alcoholic drink or prescription medicine, and exposure to chemical toxins. "The ASA judgment said: 'The authority accepted that the programmes had enabled many people to overcome a dependency on drugs but was concerned that the advertisers had not proved that all those enrolled were dependent on street or prescription drugs at the time of enrolment, or that as many as 250,000 drug users had stopped as a direct result of Scientology's intervention.'" Mad.co.uk reported on March 26th that a second complaint against the claim that Scientology is capable of helping people stop taking drugs was denied by the ASA. "The Church of Scientology has been rapped by the ASA for an ad, which claimed the church had saved 250,000 people from drugs. While acknowledging the religion's views on drug use and its steps to prevent drug abuse among its members, the ASA did not accept that all those enrolled on the church's programmes were existing drug users, or had stopped taking drugs as a direct result of intervention by the church. "However the industry regulator failed to uphold a second complaint objecting to the claim that Scientology could help people kick a drug habit. The ASA felt the church had provided sufficient evidence to substantiate its claim." From the text of the adjudication: "The Authority accepted that more than 250,000 people had undertaken the Church's Drug Purification and Drug Rundown programmes, the Authority understood that, within Scientology, the concept of 'drug use' referred to a variety of behaviours that ranged from heavy use of street drugs to occasional ingestion of alcohol or prescription medicines and exposure to chemical toxins. It understood that, because the Church of Scientology described itself as a 'drug-free community,' members were encouraged to identify their patterns of drug use and free themselves from habits that contravened Scientology's philosophy. Although it acknowledged the terms of Scientology's philosophy on drug use, the Authority considered that, without clarification, readers were likely to interpret the claim '250,000 people salvaged from drugs' to mean that 250,000 people had stopped being dependent on street or prescription drugs because of Scientology. The Authority accepted that the drug Purification Rundown and Drug Rundown programmes the advertisers offered had enabled many people to overcome a dependency on drugs but was nevertheless concerned that the advertisers had not proved that all those enrolled on the programmes were dependent on street or prescription drugs at the time of enrolment or that as many as 250,000 drug users had stopped using those drugs as a direct result of Scientology's intervention. The Authority welcomed the advertisers' assurance that the poster was no longer appearing and advised them to make clear the terms of their definition of drugs in future advertising. "The Authority considered that the advertisers' evidence showed that many people with a damaging drug habit had stopped taking drugs with help from Scientology and did not object on those grounds." Message-ID: Uo6ga.18394$gU.791957@news2.voicenet.com Message-ID: 3e471c14.0303261656.59e528e6@posting.google.com Message-ID: 3e471c14.0303261705.32c45a58@posting.google.com Message-ID: QZDga.18409$gU.796115@news2.voicenet.com Message-ID: bVDga.18408$gU.796115@news2.voicenet.com

Birthday Event

"Cerridwen" reported on the annual L. Ron Hubbard birthday event held in Clearwater on March 21st. "The LRH Birthday Event was held at the Ruth Eckert Hall and then held again on March 22nd in the outer orgs of the US and Canada. The theme around this event was 'Help' and how great it is to help others and how the C of S needs your help in Clearing the Planet. It seems the best way to help is to join staff or the Sea Org and if not, then the second best thing is to be on the Bridge as much as possible, preferably, full time. "The event is held at Flag on Friday night and then is sent via satellite to the local orgs in order for the event to be held the next night. The event seen at the local orgs or at the Shrine in LA is always a video of the event. The reason it is not live, is because they want to be able to edit it before everyone sees it. "All the big money people get to sit up front at an event. This is the case in local orgs as well. Patrons of the IAS, per policy get to sit in the first few rows. The more money you gave to the IAS, the closer to the front row you get. "The stage has is gold and gaudy with Gold columns, gold dais, huge gold replicas of the Birthday Game winners cup and the a photo of LRH that has to be 40 to 50 feet tall, by 12 feet wide. DM arrives to a standing ovation. DM starts talking about all war and giving his take on it. All of a sudden he came to a stop and said 'and so I welcome you to the 2003 LRH Birthday event' and the crowd went wild with cheers. It was really weird. "DM then introduced the LRH Biographer Dan Sherman. Dan's gig was to show us video taped interviews of non-Scientologists that knew and had some dealing with LRH and what a superior human being LRH really was. The first video was of a man who attended George University with LRH. He spoke about LRH and what a great guy he was and some of the fun things they did together, including learning how to put on a turban. There was one of Edd Charitier who was an illustrator for many of LRH's early Sci Fi works, a man who was a crew member of the ship the 895 that LRH commanded, the gardener at Saint Hill Manor and a black man from South Africa, who held the 'houseboy' job when LRH lived there. The all gave video testimonials to what an absolutely fucking fabulous guy LRH really was. "Mark Yager spoke about the 'unprecedented expansion' and then all of a sudden all these tech stat graphs started appearing on the screen and stayed up on the screen for 2 seconds. There was no way anyone could actually read them or see what the numbers on them were. But per Mark each and every one of the Scientology tech stats - "We get to see a video presentation of the brand new Tampa Org. I have to admit it was very nicely done, if you like that early attic look. I happen to know that Tampa org had an awful time getting their new building renovated and moved because of the 6,000 Scientologists that live in the Tampa area only a handful showed up to help reno and moved the org. "We have a new Class V Org formed in Athens, Georgia. The ED of the Athens Org gets a standing Ovation as he walks from the audience to the stage while the Golden Era Musicians play Greek Music. It's done in the same way that Oscar winners are filmed walking down the aisle to the stage while the appropriate theme song is played for them. He promises that 'I'll be back' soon to collect his Saint Hill Size Award. "Winner of the Mission Birthday game Third place: Kansas City (Kirstie Alley's Mission). Second place: A mission in the Ukraine. First Place: Cercedilla, Spain. "Class V Orgs Third place: Verona, Italy. Second place: St. Petersburg, Russia. Winner: Milano, Italy. "Sea Org Orgs Third Place: ASHO Day. Second Place: AO Europe. First Place: Celebrity Center Int. "CLO's or Continental Liaison Offices. Third Place: Latam (Latin America). Second Place: WUS (Western United States}. First Place: Europe. "The event wrapped up with DM showing us some of the newly purchased Scientology properties. The first one was in Buffalo, New York. Then DM showed us the newly purchased 'historic Landmark' that was purchased in San Francisco. Per DM, the C of S purchased the original Trans America Building which is right across the street from the current pyramid shaped Trans America building. "DM asked the crowd, who in this society is the leader in cultural changes in music, fashion. The answer per DM is Black America. So with this in mind, the C of S purchased a building on 125 Street in Harlem, New York." Message-ID: 8ZYDIMMV37705.6162847222@anonymous.poster

Clearwater

The St. Petersburg Times reported on March 26th that a proposed drug treatment center is turning to Scientology, hoping to receive the donation of a building in downtown Clearwater. "The Pinellas-Pasco public defender wants to put a new drug and alcohol dry-out center in or around downtown, a plan that has riled city officials, who fear such a facility would undercut their efforts to kick-start redevelopment in the struggling business corridor. 'We don't want to just be known as the place to come for people who have issues like that,' said Mayor Brian Aungst. "Public defender Bob Dillinger argues that locating a facility downtown is common sense. That's where the problem is, he said. Among those Dillinger has approached for help is the Church of Scientology, which owns numerous downtown properties. Dillinger said he needs a donated building to duplicate in North Pinellas the treatment services offered in St. Petersburg by Turning Point, an independently operated, government funded detox center. Turning Point serves 3,000 people a year, and Dillinger said he figured to help roughly half that number with a new center in Clearwater. "Several city officials said one property Dillinger targeted is a building owned by the Church of Scientology at 601 Grand Central St., a block east of Morton Plant Mease Hospital. The building operates as a church mill, where workers make furniture and internal fixtures for the church's Flag Service Building under construction in downtown Clearwater. The church is 'definitely willing' to help Dillinger, church spokesman Ben Shaw said, but the mill may be off limits. 'We need that building,' he said. "Shaw said the church is committed to a solution. 'We're a player in the downtown,' he said, 'and it's a downtown problem.'" Message-ID: Rbjga.18401$gU.793648@news2.voicenet.com

Narconon

The St. Petersburg Times reported on March 30th on a Narconon facility that has been operating in Clearwater for the past 10 months. "At Tampa Bay's newest alternative to mainstream drug treatment, the license issued by the state hangs next to commendations from the Church of Scientology. Narconon, a controversial drug treatment program based on techniques developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, has opened its first Florida facility in Clearwater in a commercial park off U.S. 19. "The facility's client list, its director said, is mostly mid- to upper-level executives - doctors, lawyers and business professionals - who are recreational drug users. The staff of five includes a certified addictions specialist and a registered nurse. "Critics contend that Narconon is a recruitment tool for Scientology. Narconon International president Clark Carr calls the charge 'baloney,' but concedes 10 to 15 percent who complete the program become Scientologists. The director of the new Clearwater Narconon, Cheryl Alderman, a Clearwater resident and a longtime Scientologist, sank $100,000 of her own money into the venture and opened it quietly 10 months ago. The program got a boost from Clearwater Mayor Brian Aungst, who issued a proclamation for 'Narconon Day.' "Now Alderman plans to do what no other Narconon program in the country does: Get taxpayer assistance in the form of state and federal grants. She also plans to seek referrals from local court systems and permission to teach a Narconon-based prevention program in Pinellas public schools. Some in the political elite indicate they will listen. Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala and Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judges Linda Allan and Linda Babb have toured the facility and left impressed. Pinellas Public Defender Robert Dillinger said he could envision courts sending offenders there. Government money and partnerships would subject the Clearwater facility to closer government scrutiny than any other Narconon facility has encountered. Alderman said her program is ready. "The Clearwater Narconon is financed by private Scientologists, Alderman said, and enjoys only a 'supportive' relationship with the Church of Scientology, whose international spiritual headquarters are in downtown Clearwater. Narconon's mission, she said, is to get people off drugs. Period. "Its ties to Scientology are undeniable. Scientologists are major contributors, and when volunteers are needed, Alderman simply calls the church. With one exception, every Narconon in the country is run by a Scientologist. Narconon also embraces Hubbard's opposition to psychiatric drugs. It sells itself as an alternative, drug-free treatment program. It does not use psychiatric drugs or methadone, common at most mainstream detoxification facilities for treatment of heroin and morphine addicts. "'There is no data that that kind of experience reduces the level of toxins,' said Dr. Raymond Harbison, professor of environmental and occupational health in the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida. Others question the program's stance against treatment drugs and psychiatry. As many as 40 percent of drug addicts need psychiatric treatment, sometimes including drugs, said Nancy Hamilton, chief executive officer of Tampa Bay's largest drug treatment program, Operation PAR. And drugs such as methadone, properly applied, improve the odds of getting heroin and opiate addicts clean, Hamilton said. "Despite the skepticism, Clearwater's Narconon is gaining acceptance. Tampa's DACCO, a drug treatment program, has referred clients. So has Pinellas-based Operation PAR, Alderman said. The latest edition of Scientology's Freedom magazine carries a ringing endorsement from Dr. Betty Buchan, vice president for research and laboratory services for Operation PAR. Buchan's comments landed her in trouble with her boss. Buchan has no authority to endorse a program for PAR, Hamilton said. If PAR employees referred clients to Narconon - computer records show no such referrals, Hamilton said - that should cease until PAR formally reviews Narconon. "County Commissioner Latvala said she is open to Narconon as an alternative. A former Pinellas School Board member, Latvala remembers school officials rebuffing an attempt several years ago to teach a Narconon prevention program. The feeling among many, she said, was: 'It's just Scientology. Oooo, don't do that. The Church of Scientology is here to stay,' Latvala said. 'They are doing a lot of good in the community. If they are teaching kids to say no to drugs, what's wrong with that? If (the drug treatment program) works, I'm all for it.' "When Narconon opened its Chilocco facility in 1991, the Oklahoma Board of Mental Health issued a blistering assessment in denying its application for certification. 'There is no credible evidence establishing the effectiveness of the Narconon program to its patients,' the board concluded. It attacked the program as medically unsafe; dismissed the sauna program as unproven; and criticized Narconon for inappropriately taking some patients off prescribed psychiatric medication." Message-ID: mzCha.18426$gU.803080@news2.voicenet.com

Org News

The St. Petersburg Times reported on March 28th that the new Tampa org has opened after renovating a former cigar factory. "When the sign 'Church of Scientology Tampa' went up outside the stylishly renovated cigar factory next to her home, several other neighbors warned her it was 'more like a cult than a church.' But after several weeks, all she notices now is the busy parking lot. 'I can't complain,' said Furlow, 28. 'They seem like nice people.' "Saturday will mark the grand opening of the Church of Scientology's new Tampa home. The four-story, 18,000-square-foot facility at 3102 Habana Ave., purchased last year for $1.1-million, demonstrates the church's burgeoning growth on the other side of Tampa Bay from Clearwater. For years, Scientology maintained a nominal presence in Tampa, operating out of a small leased building on Henderson Boulevard in South Tampa. Now, church officials say, the church's Tampa membership has ballooned to 5,000. About 12,000 Scientologists are said to live in the bay area. "The Tampa facility will offer courses, lectures and counseling geared to longtime Scientologists. It also will welcome newcomers. Services will be provided in Spanish and English. Some offerings will be free - personality, IQ and aptitude testing. Scientology's 'purification rundown' will be offered. It aims to remove harmful toxins through vigorous exercise followed by several hours in a sauna in conjunction with a regimen of vitamins, minerals and oils. The facility has several treadmills and a sauna large enough for 20 people. On the top floor is the Hubbard Guidance Center, where 14 rooms have been readied for Scientology counseling, called auditing. "Scientologists have made substantial efforts recently to establish the church as members of the Tampa community. The church was one of 30 'gold level' contributors pledging at least $200,000 to Tampa's failed bid to land the 2012 Olympics. Church members also got involved in the Tampa mayoral race, hosting a fundraiser for Pam Iorio. Political consultant Mary Repper, who arranged the Iorio fundraiser, said she suggested it to some friends who are Scientologists as a way to avoid in Tampa some of the controversy the church generated when it quietly moved into Clearwater in the 1970s. "'They've done a beautiful job with the building,' said Javier Plasencia, who runs a cigar shop next door. 'They came in and introduced themselves and told us a little bit about their organization. They seem okay. They seem very friendly. The courses they offer are life improvement things,' he said. 'Heck, who can knock bettering people's lives, if that's their agenda.' "But Earl Haugabook, president of the West Tampa Chamber of Commerce, is wary of the church, given its controversial history in Clearwater. 'An organization like Scientology, which has basically taken over downtown Clearwater, is not the type of organization we want in the West Tampa area,' Haugabook said. 'But they purchased it, and it's their property. We're going to have to live with it.'" The San Francisco Business Times reported on March 21st that the San Francisco org has purchased a building and intends to relocate. "The Church of Scientology, Hubbard's celebrity-laden religious organization, has purchased 701 Montgomery St. for approximately $7 million. That's an eye-popping $350 per square foot for the 20,000-square-foot building. The Church of Scientology will move from its current 40,000-square-foot building at 83 McAllister St." Message-ID: pVWga.18413$gU.798503@news2.voicenet.com Message-ID: 7ADfa.18376$gU.788016@news2.voicenet.com

Reed Slatkin

The Los Angeles Times reported on March 26th that investors in the Reed Slatkin Ponzi scheme will attempt to recover funds from Scientology, and a judge has ruled that the records of donations must be handed over. "Investors defrauded of $255 million by EarthLink Inc. co-founder Reed Slatkin are hoping to recover funds from the Church of Scientology International and six affiliated organizations that allegedly wound up with tens of millions of dollars from the investment scam. The investors won an initial battle when a bankruptcy judge in Santa Barbara recently refused to block subpoenas ordering the Scientology groups to hand over records of money transferred to them by certain Slatkin investors who came out ahead financially. The subpoenas also seek records of communications the groups had about Slatkin, a longtime but now excommunicated Scientologist who was known for his celebrity clientele. "The subpoenas mark the first legal targeting of church entities. No suits have been filed against the church or the affiliates. Attorneys expect months of legal wrangling before the subpoenas might yield anything. Lawyers for the church groups, who sought to block the subpoenas, won a partial victory from U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robin Riblet, who is overseeing Slatkin's bankruptcy. The judge ruled Friday that they can participate in the subpoena process. That will allow the groups to mount further legal challenges and to have access to any documents that are made public. "One of the claims made to try to block the subpoenas was that details of money transfers are protected by 'clergy-communicant privileges' - the status accorded to the confessing of sins to a priest. But attorneys for the trustee and the committee of unsecured creditors questioned in court documents 'how a simple monetary transfer, where no communication was involved, would violate any clergy-communicant privileges.' Legally, there is no protection for third parties such as the Church of Scientology if it can be shown that they received supposed profits from Slatkin, said Alexander Pilmer, an attorney for the trustee and creditors. 'We believe that Scientology entities received tens of millions of dollars from Slatkin or from Slatkin's Ponzi scheme,' Pilmer said. "Slatkin pleaded guilty nearly a year ago to fraud, money laundering and conspiracy charges carrying a potential sentence of up to 15 years. Slatkin's plea agreement allowed him to request a lighter sentence because of what the plea agreement called the 'psychological impact of his association with certain individuals and/or groups,' a reference to his membership in the Church of Scientology and long and close relationship with some prominent members. "Linda Simmons Hight, a spokeswoman for the church in Los Angeles, said Slatkin 'used his position in the church to suck in Scientologists who were victimized along with other people.' Pilmer said dozens of people who profited from Slatkin's scheme have settled the claims. The latest settlement, approved Friday by Riblet, was with CNN legal commentator Greta Van Susteren and her husband, tobacco litigator John Coale. They agreed to pay about $700,000 - about 81 cents on the dollar for the profits Slatkin paid them." Message-ID: Tejga.18402$gU.793648@news2.voicenet.com

Spam

"Glennf" reported on March 26th that a marketing company hired by Scientology is sending out unsolicited emails asking for recipients to link to Scientology web sites. This would have the effect of boosting Scientology's prominence in search engines. "We would like very much to exchange links with your site, but to do it with a twist. Do to a long standing policy that prohibits the Church of Scientology from reciprocating links, we are not able to provide a link back. However, we do have a few sites that we could link you with. "Regards, Ignite Business Solutions http://www.ignitebiz.com linkpartners@ignitebiz.com" Message-ID: 3e471c14.0303270758.11aebbe6@posting.google.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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