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

Volume 6, Issue 30 - November 18 2001


The St. Petersburg Times reported on November 16th that the city of Clearwater, Florida has agreed to give small parcels of land to Scientology. "Clearwater commissioners voted Thursday to give several city alleys and easements on a block of land downtown to the Church of Scientology despite objections from a Pinellas County official, who argued that the county should receive some of the land. "Ed Armstrong, an attorney for the church, said that laws governing the vacation of property should determine who gets the land if the city has no use for it. Armstrong contended that legally only the church was entitled to the property on a block southwest of Franklin Street and East Avenue, where the church plans to build a parking garage to serve its new $50 million Flag Building that is under construction. City officials agreed." Message-ID:


The Washington CityPaper reported on November 9th that Scientology has been expanding its Criminon program into the Washington, DC jail system. "Several years ago, when Rudy Owens, 58, first saw a flier for a self-improvement course on a bulletin board inside Lorton's Minimum Security Facility, he thought it was bunk. 'It said, 'For those who are trying to change their life, get in touch with this program,'' he recalls. 'My first impression was that it was just someone else coming to the institution to make money off the inmates.' The course advertised on the bulletin board was offered by Criminon D.C., a local branch of an organization that seeks to rehabilitate criminals by using the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. "What hooked Owens on Criminon was its 'Communications Course' - one of several he took at Lorton - in which students are paired up to practice different elements of communication. 'The basic thing they teach you is that you can learn how to communicate with people to get your point across very plainly and very simply, and if you use this technology competently, you can get people to agree with what you are trying to accomplish,' he explains. "Since Owens left Lorton in May, he's made it his mission to spread the word about the program to his fellow ex-offenders and their families by volunteering to be Criminon D.C.'s director of programs. Owens wants to be an inner-city ambassador for the program. 'I'm the liaison to the grass roots,' he says. 'When people see a bunch of people who don't look like them, they get suspicious. I can go in and fit in. I look like part of the picture. People trust me. "Over the past several months, Criminon has aggressively courted case managers at halfway houses and parole and probation officers - anyone who's in a position to refer ex-offenders to programs. In September, the group had a coming-out of sorts, manning a booth at the first annual Metropolitan D.C. Ex-Offender Job and Human Service Fair, organized by the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice. And Criminon officials recently approached D.C. Department of Corrections officials about voluntarily offering their programs in halfway houses, through which all D.C. felons must pass before they are released. "D.C. Department of Corrections spokesperson Darryl J. Madden says officials are considering the offer. 'On the surface, [Criminon] is a significant program,' says Madden. 'It addresses self-confidence, life skills, and substance-abuse issues. We will review it on its merits. As with any group, we want to be very selective about what we expose our detained population to.' "According to Criminon International's promotional booklet, Lorton is just one of the 400 correctional facilities worldwide that have offered the program. The booklet lists offices in five states and the District of Columbia, as well as in nine other countries. Criminon is a subsidiary of the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE), which is listed among the 114 Scientology-related organizations to which the Internal Revenue Service granted nonprofit status in 1993. "Besides offering courses in prisons and halfway houses, Criminon organizers have begun teaching at a group home that houses kids involved in the juvenile-justice system, according to Papaheraklis. Criminon organizers eventually want to open a Criminon 'community-education center' in D.C. There are three such centers in the United States, all located in California, and Papaheraklis says she has already looked at a couple of potential sites in the city. With such a center here, Criminon volunteers say, they would be able to offer a full array of Criminon programs, including drug detoxification and rehabilitation, to ex-offenders and their friends and family, as well. "Church of Scientology critics, including former Scientologists, say that District residents should be wary of the program. They argue that what the organization presents as self-help 'technology' is little more than watered-down church doctrine. Criminon's connections to Scientology have been enough to spark a probe in Britain. In July, the Independent reported that Britain's Home Office had launched an investigation into whether Criminon U.K.'s effort to circulate promotional material to prisoners and probationers was really an attempt by the Church of Scientology to target 'drug-addicted prisoners.' "Though many of Criminon D.C.'s volunteers are not Scientologists, the group's leaders are. The local organization's board of directors consists of Papaheraklis, her husband, George Papaheraklis, and James J. Jackson, according to corporation papers on file with the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. George Papaheraklis, who owns his own home-improvement business, was listed in a 1990 edition of Impact, a magazine put out by the International Association of Scientologists (IAS), as an 'honor roll' patron to the IAS, according to a list of IAS patrons posted on the Web site of the Fight Against Coercive Tactics Network, an organization that collects information on Scientology. Patrons who make the honor roll either give $20,000 or recruit 20 members for the IAS, says Arnaldo Lerma, a Scientologist-turned-church-critic who lives in Arlington, Va. Jackson has been listed as a member of the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (WISE), a Scientology-based management-consultant group, according to various lists of WISE members published by WISE and posted on several critical Scientology Web sites. "According to a program booklet, Criminon's offerings include 'Learning Improvement Courses,' which cover basic literacy and study techniques; the Communications Course, in which students learn to 'recognize where communication has broken down in the past' and 'to correct it in the present'; a 'Personal Integrity Course,' and a class on 'Handling Suppression,' a Scientology term for negative influences. 'The Way to Happiness Course,' however, is the 'crown jewel' of Criminon's offerings, according to the program's booklet. In this course, students learn 21 moral precepts that include imperatives such as 'Do not murder,' 'Don't do anything illegal,' and 'Flourish and prosper.' "The church has been criticized in the past for not making its connection to its community-service efforts more explicit. A 1993 Washington Post article described federal and District officials participating in a Drug-Free Marshals rally at the First Baptist Church in Northwest Washington, oblivious to the Church of Scientology's sponsorship of the event. In 1998, then-Palo Alto Mayor Dick Rosenbaum told a San Jose Mercury News reporter he was stunned to learn of the church's involvement after he attended a Drug-Free Marshals rally. "One former Department of Corrections program manager who is familiar with the Criminon program at Lorton and who asked not to be named says that Criminon representatives gave him literature that mentioned Hubbard. But he says no one ever said anything about Scientology in any of the classes that he observed. "Critics contend that the line between what is secular and what is Scientology isn't always clear. Criminon course materials don't mention the word 'Scientology.' They do, however, mention Hubbard and make extensive use of Scientology jargon. In the Communications Course, for instance, students are taught about 'affinity, reality, and communication,' according to the former program manager. The Scientology Web site says that 'the principle of affinity, reality, and communication' is 'a tool of considerable importance in Scientology.'" Message-ID: 3bf4c97f$

Tom Criuse

MSNBC reported on November 14th that the family of actress Penelope Cruz is upset about her possible engagement to Scientology celebrity Tom Cruise. "Cruz's parents 'are very upset' about the prospect of their daughter marrying the world's biggest movie star, says a well-placed insider, because of Cruise's religion. Cruise is a devout Scientologist and the religion is highly controversial in Spain. Spanish government prosecutors have been waging a legal war against the church for years. They have charged church officials with a variety of misdeeds, including kidnapping, tax fraud and damaging public health. In September, prosecutors asked the government to dissolve the church, which is not recognized as a religion in Spain. A lawyer for the church has called the charges 'religious prejudice.' "'Penelope's parents are devout Catholics,' says the source. 'There is no way that Tom Cruise is going to marry Penelope if she's not a Scientologist. Penelope has always been somewhat independent in her thoughts and actions, and the word is that she's taking Scientology courses on an almost daily basis. Her parents are not happy.'" Message-ID: 9t0ei1$


Berliner Kurier reported on November 14th that Berlin is the target of a new Scientology leaflet campaign. "The controversial 'Scientology' organization is once again advertising in Berlin. They are currently scattering about 20,000 copies of their glossy paged 'Freiheit' sermon pages around the capitol city. The group is even using the attack on New York for its campaign. 'This organization is deliberately using the current crisis to drum up business. By doing so, it targets those people who feel helpless. For them it wants to appear as a 'savior,' criticized Anne Ruehle, sect commissioner of the Berlin Senate. "Throughout the country we are currently distributing 100,000 copies, but most of them in Berlin,' confirmed Scientology spokeswoman Sabine Weber. 'Freiheit' wrote that 'Scientologists' are tackling the terrorism catastrophe in New York. But at the same time they are advertising for their so-called 'Dianetics' process, which they say alleviates 'spiritual suffering' with controversial psycho-methods." Neue Westfaelische Zeitung reported on November 17th that the sect commissioner of the Evangelical Church in Germany is warning young people about the dangers of Scientology. "'Thanks, Dusseldorf,' began the message that was recently distributed to households in the Rheinland. In it a 'young, religious community' expressed appreciation for openness and tolerance, and invited people to an 'open house.' The sender of this mail was the 'Scientology Church,' which had been keeping a low profile. Now, however, Scientology is obviously increasing its efforts to recruit members. 'Scientology is not a cult tucked into some remote cranny of the world; it makes its presence known,' said Joachim Keden, sect commissioner of the Evangelical Church in Germany. 'In Dusseldorf there are already two centers that take care of counseling its adherents all across Nordrhein-Westphalia.' While Scientology's membership has stagnated statewide at 400, according to NRW Constitutional Security, and its success has been modest, Keden still warns, 'Apparently the organization is preaching from its soapbox, and is making more contact with many people, especially the young.' "The lure for those starting out in business to get involved with the teachings of Scientology founder Ron Hubbard is probably the training and counseling that are offered. 'Ostensibly it will be about courses that are supposed to help you control your life.' 'Dianetics' might be brought up, as well as the negative experiences that Scientology calls 'engrams,' which are supposed to be removed in 'auditing,' an intrusive interrogation process. "The intended results, according to the evangelical preacher, is a society that functions as an 'authoritarian system, in which no deviation is possible.' That is often kept secret from those who join, neither are they aware of the high financial burden that comes along with involvement in Scientology. "Sabine Riede of the Essen 'Sekten-Info' counseling center said 'The Scientologists do not relax and do not give up.' Thus the number of calls they receive remains high. 'We get calls every day.' Rev. Keden says his phone also rings regularly. 'Calls have increased significantly,' he said, 'up to 25 people a week, including those wanting to leave, but also desperate spouses and distrustful companies.' The clergyman is convinced that 'Scientology is not solely a money machine, as many think. The organization is engaged in gaining influence and power worldwide.'" Freie Presse Chemnitz reported on November 16th that the Mayor of Zwickau will be forced to testify about his involvement with Scientologist and real estate developer Kurt Fliegerbauer. "The business manager Fliegerbauer of 'Schloss Osterstein' is alleged to have not paid fines in the amount of about 650,000 marks. The fines were levied by the city government against the corporate boss and his corporations in connection with 27 building plans, mainly from 1997 and 1998. Workers were put on site without the city ever having issued a building permit. "Five days have been scheduled for the hearing, the first day of which is Thursday of next week. The most prominent witness will be Zwickau's Executive Mayor Dietmar Vettermann (CDU), who functioned as the planning commissioner/mayor in both 1997 and 1998, and was responsible for construction in the city. The testimonies of Steffi Haupt of the city's monument protection office and of Volker Lippmann are just as eagerly anticipated. The director of the building planning office is responsible for the issuance of building permits. In addition, several witnesses from Fliegerbauer's corporation are scheduled to testify, including his wife, his former legal advisor, and an architect who was employed with 'Schloss Osterstein' management from 1995 to 1998. "Fliegerbauer contested all the fines. This brought the procedure to the city court. Fliegerbauer put on a happy face for the occasion, 'We will win the court procedure against the city.' He (still) does not want to say what he bases his confidence on. After national reunification, the construction tycoon renovated more than 260 buildings in Zwickau and, he says, and in doing so he cooperated with about 560 capital investors. After renovation of the 'Kraeutergewoelbel' protected as a monument on Hauptmarkt, he is currently working on the former 'Milchbar' right next to it on Verdermann." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1011116191829.117A-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1011117083226.116A-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1011117083311.116B-100000@darkstar.zippy


From letters to the editor of the Riverside Press on November 17th: "Every time we drive out to Gilman Springs road in San Jacinto we can't help notice the Scientology and Golden Era Studios all lit up like Las Vegas. Eve the big old ship has it's lights on. Every two feet or so has a light lit up and eve all of the fence posts. Talk about energy waste this is the place. I don't understand why they get away with it. - A W Y, Hemet California" Message-ID:


The Oklahoman reported on November 12th that the Indian reservation in Chilocco is looking for new tenants for the former Scientology Narconon compound recently relocated to Arrowhead, Oklahoma. "Tribal leaders know the value of the site north of Newkirk, both cultural and economic, and are trying to find a new tenant. Narconon, a drug-treatment center that uses the teachings of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, has moved its drug and alcohol treatment center from Chilocco to Arrowhead Lodge in Pittsburg County. "Two security guards live on the site to prevent vandalism and the tribes are working with Narconon to repair some of the buildings. Narconon officials took parts from some buildings to repair others. Narconon used only part of the campus but had planned to expand to use most of it eventually, Stone said. "In 1989, the tribes leased the land to Narconon. Stone said the first contract did not include an audit provision. Tribal leaders could not determine whether Narconon was paying the correct amount. The lease payment was based on a percentage of Narconon's clientele. Chapman said the contract gave each tribe a few thousand dollars each year but he did not have the exact figures. After mediation, a new contract was signed in January 2000 requiring Narconon to leave the campus within three years." The Phoenix New Times reported on November 15th that Arizona lawmakers are investigating Narconon's program in Mexican prisons. "State Senator Tom Smith spent time recently in a Mexican prison. And loved it. Smith (who was just visiting the jail, not locked up in it) and some of his colleagues are clamoring for Arizona to be the first state to use an experimental drug treatment program for prisoners. Inmates would swallow massive amounts of vitamins, sweat in a sauna for up to five hours a day and massage each other. At Smith's urging, officials at the state departments of corrections and juvenile corrections are devoting public resources to investigating the efficacy of 'Second Chance,' which is based on the principles of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. "Second Chance has reportedly had remarkable results in Mexican prisons, including an Ensenada facility that Smith and others toured. But critics warn that the 'body disintoxication' process - which includes large doses of niacin and is similar to the 'purification' program Scientologists follow when joining the church - does not rid the body of drugs and can be very dangerous. Others worry the program has not been adequately tested. "The Second Chance literature explains the daily regime: An inmate is given supervised doses of vitamins and minerals, including niacin, that are adjusted according to his needs depending on 'physical and mental indicators.' After taking the dose, the inmate exercises for half an hour until his blood is circulating rapidly and he's sweating. Then he sweats heavily for five hours in a sauna (with water breaks as needed). "Christine Weason, a central Phoenix Democrat who also visited Mexico to observe the program, was charmed. The Second Chance inmates were clean and well-behaved, and she was told that there were no religious ties. 'They just went out of their way to say this is not Scientology, this is not Scientology, this is not Scientology.' "Neither Smith nor Weason intends to introduce legislation regarding Second Chance. Weason hopes a private foundation will fund the program, while Smith is working to convince DOC's Terry Stewart and Department of Juvenile Corrections Director David Gaspar to redirect existing funds to Second Chance. "Last spring, GOP Representative Mark Anderson of Mesa sponsored an amendment that would have appropriated $1.5 million to operate Second Chance. In a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Stewart blasted Second Chance, observing that no nationally recognized drug treatment expert or institution has studied the program. He also worried that its ties to Scientology were problematic and expressed safety concerns about inmates massaging each other and sitting in saunas. George Weisz, Governor Jane Dee Hull's top adviser on law enforcement issues, criticized the methodology used in evaluating recidivism rates connected with Second Chance's claimed success. Anderson's legislation was ultimately defeated. But now DOC spokeswoman Rhonda Cole says her agency is researching Second Chance. 'We're also reviewing the legal context of the program as it relates to Scientology,' she says. "Felipe Gonzalez Castro, a professor of clinical psychology at Arizona State University and an expert in drug rehabilitation, reviewed Second Chance's literature and praises the self-esteem training, but questions the vitamin/sweat/massage component. 'The body detoxification seems useful at a basic level, but I don't know what evidence exists that shows that this is an efficacious component of a drug treatment program,' he says. "Administering large doses of niacin and other vitamins 'would indeed be a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, but because there isn't a manufacturer or doctor actually labeling and/or marketing niacin for this use, then we defer to the states to handle this,' says Crystal Rice, FDA spokeswoman." Message-ID: 9t1jd9$ Message-ID:

World Trade Centers

An email distributed to Scientologists about their efforts at the World Trade Centers disaster site was posted to a.r.s this week. "From: 'asho' Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001 21:51:07 -0800 "A letter was received from an executive who had worked in a company that lost many workers in the crisis at the World Trade Centers. 'It was a pleasure meeting you yesterday. I want to take this opportunity to express my thanks to you and the Church of Scientology for all you have done to assist both my company and our relief fund, through what can only be characterized as an incredibly difficult period of time. The professionalism, commitment and willingness to help has been unprecedented and consistent across all of the volunteer family. "'Every person without exception who has passed through the doors from the Church of Scientology has been extraordinary, as well as warm and living people. Words of thanks are inadequate and escape me. It has been our delight to be associated with this team of individuals, and we greet the departure of each one with sadness; you then replace them with someone just as fantastic.' "A representative from another volunteer organization that offers help to needy and wounded people sent someone in Columbus, Ohio to the Church of Scientology there. She was quite distraught; her sister was staying with her and she didn't know what to do as she was totally despondent. A Scientology Volunteer Minister was dispatched to her home and they found out that the woman was the wife of a fire fighter who had been lost in the World Trade Center disaster. Not having a clue as to what to do for her sister, she went downscale herself and was in despair about the whole situation. Both of them received locationals; the fire fighters wife was given another assist and it was found that she had scarcely eaten nor slept in days. After the assist she was gotten to eat, given vitamins and cal-mag and made to get some rest. The woman called into the Org the next day to say thanks for the help; her sister was now doing well and was able to go up to New York to handle all of the paperwork, etc. regarding her husband. "Much Love, Peter McCuen" The Columbus Dispatch reported on November 15th on the experiences of a volunteer who distributed Scientology literature near the disaster area. "Jack Via, a volunteer minister with the Church of Scientology, Via roams New York greeting and listening to strangers and handing out pamphlets to those willing to accept them. When he arrived in New York, Via admits, he worried about the reception Scientologists might receive. The Los Angeles-based church founded in 1954 by the late science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard isn't universally embraced. At one point after Sept. 11, as many as 800 Scientologist volunteers had gathered in New York. They employ what Via calls 'spiritual' first aid for those struggling with grief and dysfunction. "'We help people heal by getting the 'being' back in touch with the body or mind. It sounds simple, but it's very powerful.' One method called a 'touch assist' is performed by passing fingers over parts of the body in a way Scientologists believe unlocks nerve channels, while getting the people to focus on something other than the disaster confronting them. The volunteers ask two questions: Where did it happen, and where are you now? "Via and the other Scientologists get food donated by area restaurants. An arrangement with the church allows him to stay free in a New York hotel. He doesn't know when he'll return to Columbus. Via laughs off a suggestion that he might not return from New York, but he does not contest it. 'I came here to help,' he said. 'This has been exciting, adventurous and emotionally touching.'" Message-ID: Message-ID: 9t1j0n$

Protest Summary

Arnie Lerma reported on a protest at the Washington, DC org on November 15th. "I had the pleasure of meeting ex-DC-Scientologist Chip Gallo face to face for the first time. We picketed from approximately 1:30 to 2:30 then spent 30 minutes socializing. In this brief 1 hour picket I recall at least 3 car horns honking at my sign that said: 'WARNING - Entering GREEDY CULT ZONE - Scientology - XENU.NET "I brought the 'Scientology should NOT have CHARITABLE status' sign out for Chip Gallo. They were not pleased to see yet another ex-DC Scientologist with a picket sign I handed out Rod Keller's custom picket entheta flyers. I called out 'It's worse than you think' to entice the apparently already informed public into taking a flyer. "A little old lady walked up to me and asked for a picket sign. So I handed her mine and she carried it up and back in front of the entrance for a while. Sylvia Stanard DSA DC, lumbered out and fiddled with a digital camera festooned with scotch tape, that apparently had been dropped a few times. "I asked Sylvia if she was going to be HERE for the 'fireworks' on my birthday party. She asked me 'is that a threat?' I said, 'it is a promise.' Sunday at 3AM to 6AM is the expected biggest lifetime or two display of the Leonid meteor shower. 800 meteorites per hour are expected." Christopher Wood reported a protest at the Toronto org on November 17th. "Picketers: Gregg Hagglund, Keith Henson, me. Leaflets: Gregg's Xenu Special We arrived on at the org at around 1:00, with Gregg and me right on the sidewalk, and Keith Henson up the road. The picket lasted about an hour and twenty minutes, and we passed out a fair number of leaflets. "Dan Bryenton initiated communication with Gregg, which rather puts the lie to the org's pretense of being terrified about the presence of picketers (in the past couple of months Scientologists have been acting all pretend-terrified). A passer-by telling me that my sign about science fiction and scientology was an insult to science fiction. I apologize again to that passer-by. "Later on in the picket a Scientologist came out and asked Gregg if he could be quiet, because he was 'disturbing the students'. Exactly how Gregg could be disturbing the students might be an interesting question to answer, because the traffic periodically drowned out his voice. Who were those students? Maybe they were from Avenue Road Roofing (a local WISE company). There were two incredibly junky cars parked in the lot when we arrived, one with the company name on the side, and the other with ladders tied to the top. There was another with a 'psychiatry kills' sticker in the back window." Message-ID: Message-ID:


The Seattle Business Journal reported on November 9th on Scientologist and potter Larry Bruning. "A production potter, Bruning, his wife Judy and son Ky make the stoneware and porcelain pottery that Bruning Pottery sells to florists, nurseries and garden stores throughout the Northwest. Founding members of the Best of the Northwest arts and crafts show, the Brunings also are known for their custom pottery and signature glazes, particularly the pairing of a rich cobalt blue base with a delicate lavender accent. 'I make an aesthetic product and I'm really proud of it,' Larry Bruning said. 'What I make changes mud into something really beautiful that people exchange money for.' "Years of repetition, of working patiently through the sting of wet, cold fingers and aching wrists, give Bruning a certain Zen-like tranquility as he transforms mud into serviceable, everyday art. He credits Scientology, and the needs of a growing family, with giving him the discipline to remain at the wheel. His body is so attuned to his craft, the act of throwing seems effortless." Message-ID:

South Africa

Arnie Lerma was a guest on a South African radio shot on November 12th. "Tim Modise Show on Monday 9 AM to 10 AM South Africa time. The names of the guests are: Ryan Hogart DSA Johannesburg in studio, Phillipa Sondergdaad another OSA shill on phone link, and Arnie Lerma. "I used the example of the literacy project claim of teaching 1.5 million kids to read, and correspondence from the South African Embassy to Tony McClelland. I quoted the Scientific American review of Dianetics by a Nobel prize winning physicist in 1951. 'This volume probably contains more promises and less evidence per page than has any publication since the invention of printing.' "Two callers called in citing the bible's warnings about false prophets. I said it's worse than that, here is Hubbard's own voice saying THERE WAS NO CHRIST. 4 pointers to 1 pointer to LERMANET.COM." 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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