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

Volume 5, Issue 2 - April 9 2000

Battlefield Earth

Berliner Zeitung reported on the release of Battlefield Earth in an April 6th article. "For John Travolta, this film is the fulfillment of a dream long cherished. 15 years ago, when the Hollywood actor started out to film the novel, 'Battlefield Earth,' he had wanted to play the young hero, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler. Now it has taken so long to put it together that he took over the part of Tyler's aging opponent. "There is a reason that production has taken so long and that renowned film studios like MGM, and later 20th Century Fox, first bought the rights then later gave them up for the book published in 1982: its name is L. Ron Hubbard and he was the founder of the Scientology sect. Intertainment chief Ruediger Baeres said that he had hesitated, because of Hubbard, when the film was first offered as part of a package of 60 productions for Europe-wide licensing: 'Scientology doesn't make any difference to me.' He said he only wanted to earn money. His objections had been overcome because a renowned company had taken over the operation of the film, Warner (Time Warner) - 'for me that was guarantee enough that the content was harmless,' said Baeres. The film script based on Hubbard's work was especially carefully reviewed by Warner. 'We bought a science fiction film with John Travolta, not a Scientology film,' Baeres defended his involvement. "Within the sect, 'Battlefield Earth' has long been celebrated as a propaganda coup. 'The parallels between the film and Scientology are obvious,' said Stacy Brooks, who was part of the organization's top management in the USA in the 1980s, from Florida. 'It is not coincidence that the monsters in the film are called 'Psychlos,' of all things,' Stacey Brooks believes. 'Psychs' is what Hubbard called psychiatrists, whom he regarded as his most troublesome lifelong adversaries. 'The model upon which Jonnie Tyler, the film hero, was built is Hubbard himself, who wanted to save humankind from psychiatry,' said the former member. 'The story of Battlefield Earth is absolutely ridiculous.' She supposes that the film will be 'a giant flop.'" From the Sunday Times on March 8th: "The anti-Scientology organisation FactNet has accused John Travolta's forthcoming sci- fi epic, Battlefield Earth, based on a book by L. Ron Hubbard, the cult's founder, of containing 'subliminal messages'. If FactNet is to be believed, the Warner Brothers extravaganza and its lavish marketing campaign are part of a sinister plot to recruit young people to the religious beliefs shared by Travolta, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and a growing number of Tinseltowners." Scientology announced a new electronic edition of Battlefield Earth to coincide with the release of the new movie. "L. Ron Hubbard's epic 428,000 word, 1,050-page science fiction adventure novel, Battlefield Earth will be published in its entirety as a Rocket eBook, which will be widely available through and A paperback tie-in movie edition of Battlefield Earth -- with a cover highlighting Travolta in his role as the alien menace, Terl the Psychlo -- will also be published nationally by Bridge Publications on April 4." Message-ID: 8ci9ei$u8v$ Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000406151620.118B-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: 8cmngm$ohm$

Mark Bunker

Mark Bunker had a hearing this week in a criminal case based on his arrest out side the Chicago org by off-duty police officers. "I appeared before the judge for another pre-trial hearing over the charges leveled at me for pointing a camera at Scientology. Once again in attendance was Elliot Abelson and this time Sylvia Stanard was along from Washington D.C. I knew she would be there since I had dinner with the Zizic's the night before and they told me she had come in to settle the Zizic's claims and was pushing hard to make this happen fast. When we first heard from the Zizics, they were trying to get $20,000 back for courses they prepaid but never used. The cult stalled them for two years before the Zizics made a call to the LMT. From the time of their contact with the Trust, the Zizics were suddenly being offered that money back if they signed a waiver. Now, with my arrest and the possibility of sending me away for 10 - 25 years, the church is pushing even harder to settle with the Zizics, my only witnesses. Now the church is willing to give back all the money they defrauded from the Zizics. In this waiver they have to agree to shut up and not assist anyone with any litigation against Scientology whether as a plaintiff or as a defendant. "The prosecutor was outraged by my appearing in Stamford at the Leo J. Ryan Conference and demanded once again that bail be raised and that I be restricted in my travel but the judge denied that motion allowing me to travel freely for my work. The prosecutor also said that they intend to treat this as a hate crime. If I truly hated Scientologists why would I give a warm smile and a wave to Sylvia when she entered the courtroom? The Zizics have assured me that they will be there when needed to testify on my behalf and I know they will. They are terrific people and it has been a pleasure getting to know them and their kids." Message-ID: 7nwG4.227$


Scientology released a press release this week through the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) praising a Colorado legislator for a bill urging non-drug methods in dealing with school problems. "In the latest counter against the nation's epidemic of behavioral psychotropic drugs use on children, Congressman Bob Schaffer (Colorado) introduced legislation this week to the House of Representatives encouraging school personnel to use proven academic and/or classroom management solutions instead of drugs to resolve behavior, attention and learning problems. Mr. Bruce Wiseman, the U.S. President of CCHR welcomed Congressman Schaffer's resolution as 'a step towards dismantling the profitable business of drugging millions of normal children with mind-altering and often addictive psychiatric drugs, and returning schools to halls of learning.' Congressman Schaffer cited an 800% increase in the use of behavioral drugs in children over the past decade and said that many kids today are 'automatically forced into this drastic measure [of drug] therapy before more conventional methods have been attempted.'" Message-ID: 8cio71$erm$

Bulldog Capital Management

Bloomberg news reported on April 7th that) Bulldog Capital Management, a Scientologist-operated company, has lost most of the money in one fund in recent days. "Bulldog Capital Management LP, a hedge fund group with about $800 million in assets a week ago, said its $200 million Foxhound Fund 'lost most of its value' in the gyrating markets earlier this week. The fund, which borrowed money to bet on both rising and falling shares, was the biggest publicly known casualty of the roller-coaster equity market. 'This was our high-octane fund, and navigating in the recent market turbulence was extremely difficult,' said Ronald Pollack, chairman and chief investment officer of Bulldog. "The firm's other major funds, Dancing Bear LP and Bulldog Fund LP are both down about 9 percent this year. Brandon Marion is a member of the Church of Scientology. 'I am truly happy, I have a great marriage and a successful business. Scientology helped me develop my innate abilities to achieve a happy and well-balanced life,' says Marion on his personal website, which links to Scientology- related sites. According to Alex Eckelberry, a managing director at the fund group, the seven-year-old Bulldog does not manage money for the church, which counts among its members Isaac Hayes, Anne Archer, John Travolta and Juliette Lewis." Message-ID: 8cm37n$32n$


Jyllands-Posten reported on April 3rd on Scientology's recruitment methods and sales techniques, and the implications for recognition of Scientology as a religion in Denmark. "Professional Danish sales representatives strongly distance themselves from the methods employed by Scientology in selling their message. 'It's a cynical, brutal and hard sales method. They use a technique for asking questions, that is supposed to steer the customer into a position where he cannot say no. People are pushed into a corner, and their only way of getting out is to say 'yes, please'', says Dennis Rasmussen, an advisor for 'Danske Saelgere' - the organization of professional sales people. Jyllands-Posten has gotten hold of the course materials used by Scientology for training its adherents in recruiting new members, and get them to buy the services of the movement, in the form of books, courses and so-called spiritual counseling. "After reviewing the materials, Dennis Rasmussen concludes that the methods are dishonest and manipulative. 'In professional sales work, one should play with open cards and be loyal to the customer. In Scientology, all consideration is put aside in order to sell. They don't care whether or not the customer at all has the need to buy, not even whether or not he can afford it. It's just a matter of getting sales, regardless of if the customer is a drug addict or unemployed. It's very distasteful,' says Dennis Rasmussen. The controversial course materials is the so-called 'Hard Sell Pack', which is used for sales training in all parts of the many-branched organization of Scientology. "'In normal sales work, the customer has the possibility to say no, but here he doesn't. You keep going and going, until he gives up. You put the pressure on people, just like in a pyramid scheme', says the former Scientologist, who wishes to remain anonymous. Hard Sell is a concept developed by the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, who taught that the message of the movement should be spread through any means, since the actual salvation of the world is at stake. "Scientology has applied to become a recognized religious community in Denmark, and an answer is expected within a few weeks from the advisory committee under the Ecclesiastical Ministry. The former sales manager says, however, that the movement has nothing to do with religion. 'I thought so at the time, but today I can see that it's nothing but 'cool business'. For example, if I spoke with a disabled lady, I'd tell her that her condition probably was caused by something bad that she had done in a past life. And then I offered her to buy auditing, where she could clean the bad things out and get better. It's wrong to put pressure on people who are in a position of weakness,' says the defected scientologist." Catarina Pamnell reported that this article has had an effect on Scientology's application. "Since this article was published, the CoS has asked for their application for religious status to be postponed, in order for them to have time 'to refute the recent media attacks'. The advisory committee has said they will instead deal with other applications, and Scientology's application is now 'at the bottom of the drawer.'" Message-ID:


Helsingin Sanomat published a review on April 5th of a Swedish film shown on television about Scientology's treatment of children. "Finland's Justice department has still not accepted the Finland Scientology Church's application into the register of religious movements. A Senior Government secretary who has been preparing the denial decision says that the 'the main reason for that was that Scientology finds money grabbing more important than practicing their religion.' Selling complete mental freedom, the marketing organization has been criticized for selling courses and equipment to the gullible people who have fallen into their influence. Purchasing these takes a member's own borrowed or stolen money. For example, 'equipment that measures states of emotions,' the auditing meter sells for 18,000 Finnish marks (ca. 3,000 USD). But one can get a similar electricity meter for 200 FIM (ca. 33 USD) from stores. "In Lisbeth Lyngsen's shortened Danish documentary Children of Scientology, one is introduced to the movement's model of raising children. Scientology's American founder, sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard says that children are grown-ups who live in small bodies, who should mainly take care of themselves -- by themselves. In Lyngsen's documentary, this education method -- to deliberately "leave to one's own devices" or "abandon" -- is described by former members of the Danish Scientology movement. For example, the manager of a day care home and a long time press secretary raised her own daughter until she was a teenager under Hubbard's teachings. The third interview is with a young woman, who grew to adulthood in the Scientology model." Message-ID: 8cfepv$


Stern reported on March 31st that Bavaria wants to test Windows 2000 carefully because of a component that was written by a Scientologist-owned company. "The Free State of Bavaria will not install the Windows 2000 operating system from Microsoft until the controversial Scientology Organization's involvement with the software has been reviewed. The government agencies will wait until Windows 2000 has been checked out by the Federal Office for Security in Information Technology (BSI). Microsoft came under criticism because a portion of the software had been programmed by a company aligned with Scientology. It is still unclear how the software is to be checked out. The issue, primarily, is whether the program code, which is regarded as secret by Microsoft, will have to be revealed to the BSI. According to Microsoft, the suggestion is currently being examined in the U.S. company headquarters in Redmond. Microsoft was last quoted as denying that it intended to reveal the program code to BSI." Hamburger Morgenpost reported on April 7th that Bob Minton and Stacy Brooks visited Hamburg officials to discuss Scientology. "'The purpose of today's event is only to prevent you from finding out what Scientology really is.' - That was on a leaflet which an ardent Scientologist distributed in front of the Interior Agency yesterday. He would not have been pleased with what was going on inside: Scientology's 'Enemy Number 1,' the U.S. American Bob Minton was relating his experiences in the fight. At his side sat Stacy Brooks, who worked in the 'Sea Org' in the sect's headquarters and then left. The two came to Hamburg at the invitation of Sect Commissioner Ursula Caberta. What they had to relate explained why the organization, which wants to much to be a church, may not be a church. "Stacy Brooks: 'I supported the the Scientologists' ideas, but I became skeptical. All at once I was promoted in the 'Sea Org' and was directly under sect chief David Miscavige. They are a market-oriented corporation that only wants one thing: to increase money.' Because Brooks did not carry out orders, she was locked up for nine months without her being permitted to see her family. The graceful woman continued, 'I was interrogated without stop and had to run for 12 hours at time in circles. It was torture to make me 'introverted'.' Bob Minton was never a Scientologist. He began to get interested in the machinations of the sect when he read about the Lisa McPherson case on the internet. Scientology regards Minton as 'Enemy Number One' - its arch-enemy. Minton calls the Scientology intelligence agency, OSA, a 'paramilitary organized Mafia' and prophesied, 'If one were to back them into a corner one day, they would resort to violence. They possess rocket launchers, bazookas, countless other weapons.' "Bob Minton does not want to demonize the many Scientologists who are doing volunteer work on the street: 'The are well-meaning people. But their management in the Sea Org is totalitarian. Their management wants world domination.'" Die Welt published an article on April 7th on the support the Hamburg org is receiving from Scientology in the United States. "With massive financial support and personnel from the USA, the Scientologists are again increasingly active in Hamburg. It is primarily the organization's intelligence service, the 'Office of Special Affairs (OSA)' which has significantly increased its activity in recent times, reports Ursula Caberta, Director of the Work Group on Scientology in the Interior Agency. It is reported that organization opponents are being increasingly spied and eavesdropped upon and harassed. The Scientologists are also appearing in greater number on the streets, Caberta warned. "After they have been partly squeezed out of the real estate business, the Scientologists in Hamburg currently have their sights set on driving schools, among other things, according to Caberta. There they find young people who are open-minded to their attempts at infiltration. "In Hamburg, according to Ursula Caberta, the Scientology Organization is 'practically bankrupt.' After the Scientologists left behind bank rent in the amount of 1.6 million marks in their move from Steindamm, charges have been filed for fraudulent bankruptcy. "Today the power struggle between Caberta and the Scientologists is going into a decisive round. The Administrative Court must decide whether the security and technology statement developed by the Hamburg Work Group and in use all across Germany may continue to be used. By using the form ('I declare that I do not operate according to the technology of L. Ron Hubbard'), businesses can obtain information about whether the companies with which they do business belong to Scientologists. The organization has sued against the practice, but two applications for temporary orders have been dismissed." From Hamburger Abendblatt on April 6th: "Is the Hamburg Scientology Organization broke? Yesterday, the Director of the Work Group on Scientology in the Interior Agency, Ursula Caberta, stated the sect was 'practically bankrupt' and was only keeping itself afloat 'only with financial injections from the USA.' The Work Group has therefore filed criminal charges of 'fraudulent bankruptcy.' However, the organization has recently moved into a new domicile on Dom Street. That was allegedly financed with 20 million marks directly from the US American Scientology management, according to Caberta. It is said that Scientology left its former center on Steindamm still owing a large amount of back rent. "Her perspective was verified by a US American and businessman who is visiting Hamburg, Bob Minton, who is regarded in the States as 'Enemy Nr. 1' of the Scientology Organization. Minton, who is supporting the relatives of Lisa McPherson, the woman who was leaving Scientology who died in 1995 under mysterious circumstances, has himself experienced threats and reprisals from Scientology's intelligence agency, which it calls 'OSA' and which he described as 'paramilitary.' Those have ranged from harassing his business partner to threats made upon family members. "There is a hearing in the Hamburg Administrative Court today on whether the city and others may require companies to sign a statement saying they have nothing to do with Scientology. Scientology has sued against that practice." From TAZ on April 7th: "The Hamburg Interior Agency issued a warning of a new offensive by the Scientology Organization in Hamburg. According to statements by the Director of the 'Arbeitsgruppe Scientology' (AGS), Ursula Caberta, both her staff and Constitutional Security have described renewed operations just within these past few weeks. "For instance, today the organization opened a 'What is Scientology' exhibit on Gaensemarkt. At the same time it is contesting the allowability of the so-called 'technology declaration' with the AGS before the Administrative Court. The declaration is meant to give corporations the opportunity to guarantee that their business partners do not operate according to the 'technology of L. Ron Hubbard' - the deceased ex-Scientology ideologue. Caberta said, 'That does not sit well with some Scientologists.' "As a rebuttal to the transient opinion that Scientology is well thought of in the USA, the AGS Director invited Bob Minton and Stacy Brooks to the Elbe. Minton has devoted himself to the fight against Scientology since 1995: 'It is not a religious movement, but a totalitarian, political movement,' said Minton. He said that 'puppets from Hollywood' have helped it out in the publicity department. He is currently giving ex-member Lisa McPherson's relatives support in proceedings which are to clear up the circumstances surrounding her mysterious death." Volksblatt Wuerzburg reported on April 8th that a court dismissed Scientology's challenge to the practice of registering whether companies use the technology of L. Ron Hubbard. "The Scientology Organization has failed in its attempt to take action in court against the Work Group on Scientology commissioned by the Interior. The Administrative Court dismissed their complaint that the so-called 'technology statement' of the Work Group was inadmissible. The statement can be ordered from the agency by companies to find out if staff have connections with Scientology. The statement includes a question as to whether the person filling it out operates according to the 'technology of L. Ron Hubbard.'" Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000403163411.118B-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000407153332.124C-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000407153409.124D-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000407153501.124E-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000407153542.124F-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1000408074814.143A-100000@darkstar.zippy

Kansas City

The Kansas City Star reported on March 29th that Scientology plans to build a headquarters on a main street in nearby Shawnee Mission. "The Church of Scientology might buy a former cafeteria on Johnson Drive to use as its area headquarters serving six states. The use is a little unusual because most churches operate in residential neighborhoods, not commercial areas like Johnson Drive, Mission leaders said. The church would hold services on Sunday mornings and programs and counseling during the week, she added. "Commissioner Kim Brophy liked the idea of the church operating on Johnson Drive, rather than a neighborhood. Other cities, she said, have wrestled with megachurches, congregations that bring thousands of worshipers into residential neighborhoods - often to the annoyance of residents. Keeping the church in a commercial area would help prevent those problems, Brophy said." Message-ID:

Lisa McPherson

Hearings were held this week in both the civil and criminal cases resulting from the death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson. In each case, Scientology was arguing to dismiss the case because of the change in Dr. Joan Wood's autopsy report from "undetermined" to "accidental". From the St. Petersburg Times on April 4th and 6th, on proceedings in the criminal case: "'The entire basis for the state's prosecution of this case has now collapsed,' begins one of the many Scientology legal briefs arguing the case should be dismissed. The prosecution is grounded in 'consuming prejudice' against Scientology, the church alleges. Its leading argument for a dismissal: a February ruling by Medical Examiner Joan Wood, who now says McPherson died from an 'accident' stemming from a knee bruise that led to a fatal blood clot in her left lung. Wood once blamed McPherson's death on 'bed rest and severe dehydration' at Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, but has removed those words from the death certificate. The church also argues that the prosecution violates Florida law and the U.S. Constitution. "Prosecutors, meanwhile, remain adamant that the church should stand trial for the actions of its Clearwater staffers, who tried for 17 days to nurse McPherson through a severe mental breakdown, but who also were present when she died at age 36 on the way to a distant hospital. In the process, prosecutors say, the church abused McPherson and practiced medicine without a license. "If Schaeffer denies the church's request, the focus shifts to a five-week criminal trial scheduled in October. Scientology officials have warned they would free their lawyers to mount an all-out defense that could end up 'harming the credibility of many persons.' 'If we start down that road,' church official Mike Rinder said recently, 'the result of it is going to be bad for the city' of Clearwater." "The hearing in downtown St. Petersburg included a rare public appearance by Scientology's Los Angeles-based leader David Miscavige, who huddled with the church's lawyers at breaks and passed them notes during the proceedings. Behind him: an estimated 200 local Scientologists, many of whom have written affidavits saying the prosecution of Scientology has burdened the practice of their religion. The overflow crowd spilled into a second courtroom where they watched the hearing on TV. "Pinellas-Pasco Chief Circuit Judge Susan F. Schaeffer called the situation 'highly unusual' and wondered aloud whether prosecutors could ever get their case to a jury. The allegation of severe dehydration came from Chief Assistant State Attorney Doug Crow, despite a February ruling by Wood that McPherson's death was an 'accident' caused by a blood clot that traveled from her left knee to a lung. Previously, Wood ruled McPherson's death was caused by 'bed rest and severe dehydration.' Crow said he was perplexed by Wood's new ruling and said his office is reviewing whether it still has a case. Until then, however, it appears he intends to press the prosecution. Crow told Schaeffer that Wood 'continues to indicate' that McPherson's 1995 death was the result of medical neglect at Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel, where church staffers tried for 17 days to nurse her through a severe mental breakdown. "Scientology attorney Eric Lieberman argued that the church staffers who cared for McPherson were engaged in a religious practice called the Introspection Rundown, which attempts to quiet a psychotic person with isolation and vitamins followed by Scientology counseling. The practice is protected from prosecution under the First Amendment and several Florida laws, Lieberman said. He also cited the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits the government from significantly burdening the practice of religion. Schaeffer questioned the argument, saying: 'Your position is that your people can be as negligent as they want to be (without fear of prosecution) and that's kind of a scary proposition.' From a Fox-13 News television broadcast on April 5th: "The case of Lisa McPherson is very important to Scientologists. She suffered some sort of psychosis in 1995 and died under the care of fellow Scientologists. Now the church is charged with practicing medicine without a license and neglecting a disabled adult, charges these Scientologists see as a personal threat because their religion simply does not believe in psychiatry. "Bennetta Slaughter: 'They think man is a body, it's a mind, it's a piece of meat, if you will. That's really opposite religion.' "Chief Judge Susan Schaeffer asked lots of questions and made comments that made both sides squirm. Judge Susan Schaeffer: 'It would seem to me what that statute is clearly saying is if you've got some people that are doing that they ought not be doing such as practicing medicine, charge them--don't charge the church.' "And in other court documents local Scientologists claim the McPherson case has sparked religious bigotry. They say there have been physical attacks and businesses owned by Scientologists, they say, have lost customers and employees. Some even had shots fired through their front window." From WTSP Channel 10 News on April 5th: "Attorneys for the Church of Scientology are arguing that this is a case really of religious freedom. They say Lisa McPherson denied that psychiatric care so she could seek spiritual care from her fellow Scientologists. Of course, she ended up dying in their care, but today her best friend told me--this is the first time she's speaking out--she told me she believes the church had nothing to do with Lisa's death. "Bennetta Slaughter: 'Well, Lisa was like family to me. She and I were more like sisters, even, than friends. She was practicing her religion. She was where she wanted to be. Lisa didn't die of anything except a pulmonary embolism. And if she hadn't died of a pulmonary embolism, she'd be here today and she'd be a Scientologist today.' "Prosecutors claim Lisa McPherson was neglected and medically mistreated by the very people she trusted. They say the Scientology staff was not trained or equipped to handle McPherson's problems. Still, Bennetta says she and the church are often accused of killing Lisa. She says the discrimination from it all is intense. She told me that her daughter along with a lot of other Scientologist children have been attacked and harassed in their schools. She said she even took her daughter because of that and put her in boarding school. Now they tell me, the Scientologists tell me if these charges are dropped, they will continue to try and mend the fences in their community and try to prove to people that they are actually good neighbors, that they always have been good neighbors." From the Tampa Tribune on April 6th: "The judge now considering whether to dismiss charges against the Church of Scientology in the death of Lisa McPherson said Wednesday the whole case may hinge on the word of a medical examiner. Pasco-Pinellas Medical Examiner Joan Wood stunned prosecutors in February when she amended her autopsy report to say Lisa McPherson died accidentally Dec. 5, 1995, as the result of a blood clot caused by a traffic accident. Despite the new autopsy report, Wood is still prepared to testify that McPherson died as a result of medical neglect while in the care of church staffers, State Attorney Doug Crow told Circuit Judge Susan Schaeffer. 'She's the medical examiner of this circuit. She's testified in very important cases,' Schaeffer said. 'In this case, she's under question: Can she withstand rigorous questioning' about changing her original findings? Later, the judge appeared to question Wood's ability to continue in office as the circuit's chief medical examiner. "Worldwide publicity about the case has stigmatized the church and its members, defense lawyer Eric Lieberman told Schaeffer. Never before has a church been charged with crimes, he said. If McPherson really was the victim of criminal neglect during the last 17 days of her life at the Fort Harrison, then prosecutors should have charged the individuals responsible for her care, Lieberman argued." From Channel 28 News on April 6th: "Bennetta Slaughter: 'Every action that was engaged upon while she was at the church was done with the intention to provide her with the spiritual counseling and the help that she needed, wanted and asked for.' "Doug Crow: 'This is clearly a case of collective responsibility. We believe the corporation clearly sanctioned, approved the criminal conduct.' "But Scientology's lawyers claim with the new ruling McPherson's death was accidental and constitutional protections for freedom of religion, there is no case. "Eric Lieberman, church attorney: 'There can be no basis to charge the church for this conduct, stigmatizing an entire religion.' "The maximum penalty for the Church of Scientology in this case is $15,000. But the church has already spent a lot more than that defending itself. Scientologists, though, say this fight for religious freedom isn't about the money; it's about the Constitution." From the St. Petersburg Times on April 7th: "After listening to legal arguments over two days, Pinellas-Pasco Chief Circuit Judge Susan F. Schaeffer said Thursday she will take a month to decide whether to dismiss the criminal case against the Church of Scientology. She also expressed support for key arguments raised by the church, which is defending itself against two charges in the 1995 death of Lisa McPherson. Schaeffer said she's convinced McPherson consented to go with fellow Scientologists to the church's Fort Harrison Hotel, where church staffers tried over 17 days to help her through a severe mental breakdown. "She also said it is obvious that individual Scientologists have been hurt by allegations against the church, a point Scientology uses to argue that prosecutors are illegally burdening the practice of religion. On a recent visit to downtown Clearwater, Schaeffer said, she saw pickets protesting McPherson's death. 'I felt sad for the parishioners that they had to see that,' she said. 'I'm sure that was very hurtful for them.' "The judge also questioned the prosecution's decision to charge the whole church rather than one or more of the staffers who cared for McPherson. 'Let's assume I disagree with you,' Schaeffer told prosecutor Doug Crow, beginning a line of questioning. 'I don't know if I do or not. But I think I do, quite frankly.' "The church, however, took its share of lumps from Schaeffer, who grilled defense attorney Lee Fugate. The judge noted that the Scientology 'case supervisor' who oversaw McPherson's care was untrained in medicine, yet still had authority over the medically trained staffers who looked in on her. 'That's going to sound real bad to a jury,' Schaeffer said. She also expressed irritation that none of the staffers with medical training had licenses. With all of Scientology's resources, she said, 'couldn't they have had a licensed physician there?' Schaeffer added: 'I bet if you had somebody trained and licensed, none of us would be here. Just a thought.' "Fugate disclosed that the case has prompted the church to arrange for a licensed doctor to be on call at the church's facilities in downtown Clearwater. He also said local hospitals, including Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, have agreed to keep Scientologists with psychotic symptoms out of their psychiatric wards." The Tampa Tribune reported that Scientology is stressing an email sent by Dr. Wood, asking for help with the tests performed on Lisa McPherson "Just before she backed away from blaming Lisa McPherson's death on bed rest and dehydration at the hands of Scientologists, the chief medical examiner e-mailed a colleague, pleading for help in proving the case. 'Please don't let me down. Life and career at stake,' Pasco-Pinellas Medical Examiner Joan E. Wood wrote Feb. 13 in a note she titled, 'URGENT!' Defense attorneys brought up the e-mail Thursday in a St. Petersburg courtroom, where Pasco-Pinellas Circuit Judge Susan Schaeffer heard final arguments on a motion to dismiss charges. "Wood sought help explaining the absence of 'ketones' in tests of bodily fluid taken from McPherson after her death. Ketones indicate a variety of physical conditions and diseases, including dehydration. 'We are truly down to do or die here,' she wrote. 'I will do whatever is right, but if we are vulnerable because [we] cannot explain absence of ketones, I will have to back down.' The e-mail message, which prosecutors gave to defense attorneys this week, sheds light on Wood's decision to amend an autopsy report that had become a rallying point for critics of Scientology." In the civil case this week, the St. Petersburg Times reported that Judge Moody has rejected the motion to dismiss without discussion. "In a ruling that stunned the Church of Scientology and its lawyers, a Hillsborough County judge said Friday that religious rights are not a central issue in the 1995 death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson. Circuit Judge James S. Moody Jr. also said it is not clear whether McPherson consented to her treatment by Scientology staffers before she died in their care. That question should be left to a jury, the judge said. After trying several times to get Moody to change his mind, Scientology's lawyers glumly retreated. One, frustrated, chucked a fistful of papers onto the defense table. "Moody's words contrasted sharply with those of Susan F. Schaeffer, the chief circuit judge in neighboring Pinellas County, who considered the same set of facts earlier this week in a criminal case against Scientology. Schaeffer said she will take a month to decide whether to dismiss two felony charges against the church in McPherson's death. But the church's lawyers reminded Moody of Schaeffer's comments during a two-day hearing. 'I respect Judge Schaeffer greatly, but I doubt her rulings are going to affect my rulings,' Moody said. "Even if McPherson did consent to entering the hotel, Moody said, there are questions about whether she withdrew that consent later. 'You say she then consented forever to whatever they wanted to do,' Moody told a Scientology lawyer. 'That doesn't make sense and it's not the law. Even a religion cannot use coercive practices. If she changes her mind, she changes her mind.' The church says McPherson consented but later became mentally incompetent to make decisions about her care, leaving staffers legally bound to honor her initial request for Scientology care." From the Tampa Tribune on April 8th: "As criminal charges against the Church of Scientology over the 1995 death of Lisa McPherson hang in the balance, a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the church by McPherson's family grinds toward a June trial. A Hillsborough circuit judge Friday denied requests by both sides that he rule on the civil case before it reaches a jury. Each side had asked for a ruling in its favor based on whether McPherson consented to her stay - and the care she received - at the church's spiritual headquarters in the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater before her death. The church says she did; her survivors say she didn't. "In announcing his decision, Judge James S. Moody Jr. said the case is 'replete with factual disputes.' Resolving those disputes is a jury's job, not a judge's, he said. Moody also reiterated his view that the lawsuit doesn't revolve around issues of religion. Rather, the issue is: Did McPherson consent to be cared for at the hotel and, if she did, did she later change her mind?" Message-ID: Message-ID: 8chtb8$ Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: 8ci3mq$ Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: 8ckgqr$ Message-ID: 8ckh5n$ Message-ID: 8cn6ua$ Message-ID: 8cn9q9$

Protest Summary

Bruce Pettycrew reported two protest this week at the Mesa, Arizona org. "I dropped by after work for a quick picket this afternoon. The traffic from 3:45 to 4:30 was heavy, at full rush hour levels when I left. My sign got a lot of honks and waves. The sign is 3 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 feet, with 'Scientology Lies' on one side and 'Scientology Hurts People' on the other. When the wind blows above 10 mph, as today, it can be a great upper body workout to keep the sign up and straight. I gave out one leaflet to a pedestrian - I wish there was more foot traffic at the site, but the heavy drive-by crowd makes it a great place for my jumbo sign; More than 2500 drivers/passengers had a chance to see my sign during this picket." "Kathy and I picketed the One-and-only Arizona site of the Co$ in Mesa again today, from about 8:45 to 9:30 this morning. There were three cars in the lot when we arrived, and three more came during the picket - plus two cars dropped off people. I estimate a total of less than ten people this fine morning in the Valley of the Sun." John Ritson and Jens Tingleff reported a protest in East Grinstead, England, near the Saint Hill compound. "Bonnie Woods dropped by and Roland turned up and at about 3:00 we started picketing outside the Scientologists' bookshop and 'Information Centre' in the town. The reaction of the one member of staff there was to lock the door and make the first of a long series of phone calls. No attempt at confrontation, though she looked as if it would have done her good to get out in the sunshine occasionally. We had the boom box playing Hubbard's 'man on the cross, there was no man on the cross' and similar rantings. Two women were let into the shop, then another two, who had walked past us earlier, and finally a man appeared. They tried the 'Death Stare' but the only effect was laughter. "The police turned up in response to a complaint from the Scientologists, and made it clear to the Scientologists that we had a perfect right to picket. They had objected to us standing in front of their window, to which the police response was "If people can't stand in front of shop windows, how are the shops ever going to sell anything?". The shopkeeper had also complained about our boom box giving out a 'distorted noise'." "Bonnie Woods joined us and told about how her work is now going stronger than ever. Not only is she refreshed after a much deserved vacation paid for by the $cientology organisation, she's also very busy doing stuff that will help a lot of victims of the Co$ and prevent a great many people ever falling into the hands of the fraud-perpetrating suicide-inducing cult. "The police arrived (after 35 - 40 minutes), and informed us that the shop had complained that were making a 'loud garbled noise.' It's true, we were loud and the material was hardly a model of reason, but I though it was really very unkind of the clams to characterise L Ron Hubbard as 'garbled.' Message-ID: HuRG4.29051$ Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: 14PH4.35814$

South Africa

Reuters reported on April 3rd that South Africa has agreed to allow Scientology ministers to marry other people. "The South African Department of Home Affairs has granted ministers in the Church of Scientology the right to marry people in that country, a spokesman for Los Angeles-headquartered Scientology said Monday. The Rev. Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, said the decision legalizes all marriages performed by Scientology ministers in that country and 'means that Scientology is now fully recognized as a bona fide religion in South Africa.'" From the Associated Press: "Twelve Church of Scientology ministers have been licensed to perform marriage ceremonies, the government announced. The ruling ends a 40-year-long battle for recognition by the controversial church. Paul Sondergaard, the church's South African spokesman, said the ruling showed the government's commitment to protecting the rights of minority religions. "In South Africa, the Church of Scientology is registered as a nonprofit organization." Message-ID: 8ccstm$tb1$ Message-ID: 8cinue$ehd$


A Swedish legislator can be charged with copyright violations for placing secret Scientology materials in a public library, according to M2 on April 5th. "The Swedish constitutional committee has found that Carina Hagg, a MP for the social democrats, can be prosecuted for spreading the so-called Scientology 'bible'. The committee has investigated whether Hagg could be regarded as having legal immunity since she is an MP, as she has been reported to the police by the Scientologists for allegedly breaching the copyright law. Hagg reportedly handed in course material, referred to as the Scientology 'bible' from the Scientology church to the municipal library in Jonkoping. "The case is a part of a conflict between copyright and the right-of-access principle that involves the Scientology. Some years back, a former Swedish member of the church decided to hand the 'bible' over to Swedish authorities to make sure that it was made available. The Swedish government however decided to make the material secret, according to Dagens Nyheter this was done after there had been urgent requests from the USA." Message-ID:

Kelly Preston/John Travolta

Mrshowbiz reported on April 4th that Kelly Preston and John Travolta have completed the Scientology childbirth of their second child. "The baby girl, named Ella Bleu, weighed 9 pounds at birth. The delivery was planned to be what Scientologists call a 'quiet birth.' The star of Look Who's Talking Now explains the non-talking concept to Entertainment Tonight. 'We do the traditional French Lamaze, but in Dianetics, you try and keep the delivery room quiet so there's nothing recorded in the child's mind that shouldn't be there while there's pain going on,' Travolta says. Kelly is free to moan, because 'the sounds are not as detrimental. Any people saying any kind of negative verbiage may adversely affect the baby later on.'" Message-ID: 8cdhhh$lfc$

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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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