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

Volume 7, Issue 34 - November 24 2002


The Houston Chronicle published an article on November 24th on possible harm done to patients by restraint, including comments from a spokesman for Scientology's Citizen's Commission on Human Rights. "No state or federal agency aggregates deaths or injuries related to restraints. However, the Hartford Courant documented 142 deaths across the country during or after restraints performed between 1988 and 1998. In Texas, Austin-based Advocacy Inc., a federally funded program serving the interests of the disabled, has counted at least 15 fatalities over the past three years in hospitals and treatment centers across the state. Proponents say restraint is a necessity in the clinical and institutional world where some confrontations can be handled no other way. Critics say the practice is barbaric and should be banned. "The restraint method most commonly used today is the basket hold, so named because it serves to contain the patient in a more or less basketlike position. Dr. Jack Zusman, a professor at Florida Mental Health Institute in Tampa and author of a book on clinical restraint and seclusion, says a sort of consensus favoring the basket hold came about over the past generation or so. 'When I was in training, the accepted practice was the chokehold,' he says. 'At least we're past that.' "While some contend the basket hold can be OK if done correctly in the appropriate situation, others say it is far too susceptible to abuse or misuse, especially in understaffed facilities. Jerry Boswell, president of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights in Texas, says his organization, founded by the Church of Scientology, opposes most drug-based psychiatric treatment and has been lobbying the Texas Legislature to ban physical restraint altogether. 'It's used too often for the convenience of staff or as a punishment measure,' he contends. 'How many kids have to die before it's finally done away with?' "A basket hold that winds up with the patient face down on the floor is doubly perilous because he or she can suffer breath-stopping rib damage, diaphragm constriction or aspiration of vomit, Zusman says. Texas law prohibits face-down restraint, but incidents occur anyway. In a Mason County wilderness camp northwest of Austin, a 17-year-old boy died on April 14 after a prone restraint in which no one detected that he had vomited. A final autopsy report is pending. Even by-the-book restraints can include sudden wrenching movements by patients or staffers that can break bones or dislocate joints. In every case there's a risk of psychological trauma, says Zusman. 'It's unpleasant for everyone involved. It's rare for a patient to say thank you.' "State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, has prefiled a bill for the 2003 session of the Legislature to prohibit types of restraint that can restrict a patient's breathing by compressing the chest or diaphragm or that interfere with the ability to talk. In addition, her Senate Bill 59 would permit physical restraint to be used only when other means have failed, and would require that a person trained in the restraint, but not engaged in the application, monitor the patient's condition." Message-ID: uC4E9.617$


The Times of India reported on November 20th on the Scientology org in Delhi. "Tucked away in a quiet corner of Defence Colony, the Delhi headquarters of the Church of Scientology is surprisingly nondescript. So low-key have scientologists been that the entry of the world's 'newest religion' in India, that has among its followers Hollywood heavyweights Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley, has gone almost unnoticed. "Reports of it being a 'closed, fanatical cult' have appeared time and again in the media. A critical cover story in Time magazine (May 6, 1991) called it 'the most lucrative and litigious cult the country (US) has ever seen'. "A visit to the Delhi scientology centre, however, leaves one with the feeling that in India a concerted effort is being made to leave the troubled, scandalous past behind. For one, the centre is called the 'Hubbard Dianetics Foundation' and not the Church of Scientology. Says Joss Van De Ven, a senior Dutch Scientologist who is managing the centre: 'We are offering something that is practical and workable.' "Nirvana, however, is anything but instant in Scientology. The novitiate is separated from the dianetical equivalent of enlightenment by a series of levels that he must pass, either by enrolling in more courses, or by getting repeatedly audited. And there lies the catch, for the courses are prohibitively expensive. Even at the Delhi centre, that offers only elementary ones, the cost is anything from Rs 2,000 to Rs 9,000 per course, even after a self-confessed 'lowering' to meet India's impoverished standards. The monetary factor ensures that Scientology's clientele in India is strictly upper class. "In fact, reported allegations of making money off adherents is one of the controversies the Church has faced over the years, made worse by claims of Hubbard having once said and quoted in the Reader's Digest (issue May 1980): 'Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion.'" Message-ID: RD9D9.539$

Narconon reported on November 21st that a delegation from the U.S. will visit a Scientology drug rehab facility in Tijuana, Mexico. "About 100 female legislators from the United States will visit the state prison in Ensenada today to see firsthand the results of a program for drug-addicted inmates. The state began the program, called Segunda Oportunidad, or Second Opportunity, seven years ago, based on the Church of Scientology's prisoner rehabilitation program, called Narconon. It is based on the philosophies of the late L. Ron Hubbard. "The program's strategy is to get the addicts to understand and then overcome the personal problems that led them to abuse drugs. The program begins with a detoxification process that uses sauna baths, massages, vitamins and proteins to reduce the biochemical effects of the drugs. No medications are used - not even methadone, a drug that reduces the symptoms of heroin withdrawal. "The program at the Ensenada prison was deemed so successful that it was approved for use two years ago at the state penitentiary in Tijuana. That program was suspended, however, during the recent transfer of prisoners to a new facility at El Hongo, in La Rumorosa. Since it began in 1995, the Second Opportunity program has attracted visitors from the United States and other countries. Judge Baltazar Garzon, who presided over the trial of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in Spain, recently traveled with other visitors to Ensenada and Tijuana to observe the program. "The program could be heading next to a prison in Colima, and the Guatemalan government has expressed an interest in it, said Francisco Iribe Paniagua, a program representative in Latin America. 'I believe the program works and could work for any drug-addicted person,' said Iribe, a former police chief of the Baja California capital of Mexicali and former director of the state agency that operates the prisons and tries to rehabilitate inmates. "The National Foundation of Women Legislators, which counts among its members Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, has been meeting in San Diego this week. About 100 of those on hand plan to travel to Ensenada today." Chris Owen announced a new web site on Narconon, "The site is not about attacking Narconon or criticising Scientology for the sake of it, and it's not motivated by any desire to harm Scientology. It's much more in a 'Consumer Reports' vein, assessing Narconon's (and Scientology's) claims against known facts, pointing out where the facts and claims diverge and providing omitted or downplayed facts, such as the real hazards of Narconon's methods. There will be a lot more material coming over the next few months. "Drug addicts are amongst the most vulnerable people in society and the effects of their addiction - on themselves, their families and society as a whole - can be devastating: crime, disease, family breakups. If scarce money is to be spent on rehabilitation courses, or if people are sent on them by courts or by well-meaning relatives, it's vital that all concerned should have all the facts to hand. In my opinion and that of many others, many of the facts about Narconon are obscured - some deliberately so. This website aims to redress that imbalance." Message-ID: Message-ID:


The Sun-Herald reported on November 24th that James Packer, an Australian billionaire, has become involved in Scientology. "James Packer is receiving instruction from an elite order in the Church of Scientology. The executive chairman of PBL and heir to Australia's richest fortune is believed to have turned to the secretive organisation in an attempt to regain control of his life after suffering a crisis of confidence following the collapse of his marriage. "In recent weeks Mr Packer has been attending self-help training sessions and has been seen at the Church's Dundas campus. On Friday, Mr Packer's office did not return calls concerning the inquiry, and no-one was prepared to confirm reports that he is being counselled. The Church has pulled a protective veil around its newest follower. 'If anyone becomes a member, he would be entitled to his privacy,' Scientology spokesman Cyrus Brooks said on Friday. "But according to other Church sources Mr Packer, 35, has undertaken so-called auditing sessions in self-help and personal improvement. These sessions are designed to help build self-confidence, explain why personal relationships fail and assist people to reach their full potential. It is understood Mr Packer was introduced by Hollywood actor Tom Cruise. The PBL chief has developed a friendship with Los Angeles-based Cruise, who is an advocate of the Church's doctrine. Friends said the bond between the two men strengthened in the wake of the collapse of telephony company One.Tel last year and his separation from wife Jodhi in June. "Mr Packer has travelled frequently this year to Los Angeles, where the Church's lavish Celebrity Centre has its headquarters. He has been attending counselling sessions lasting two to three hours a couple of times a week in Sydney. Mr Packer has employed a Scientologist as his personal assistant at his home in Bondi. Her role is to manage his house. The heir to a $7 billion fortune, Mr Packer has been sighted at the Dundas campus, regarded as the Church's key Sydney educational facility and home to many of its ministers and teachers. "The Church offers instruction on everything from self-esteem to business management. Mr Packer has not enrolled in any business management courses but is thought to be concentrating on learning to present himself and make a greater impact on people around him. "'Once you do one course, there is always another,' said one former member who did not wish to be named. 'That's how the Church makes its money. By charging for each subsequent course.' A separate order exists for celebrities. Known as C-Org (celebrity organisation) it offers exclusive counselling and extra privacy. It is understood Mr Packer is being counselled within the C-Org order." Message-ID:


The Hampstead & Highgate Express reported on November 22nd that Scientology wants to become involved in the curriculum of some London-area schools. "Scientologists want children in Camden schools to be taught their beliefs as part of the new curriculum. And the controversial group also wants pupils to learn about the teachings of the Moonies and Pagans during religious education (RE) lessons when the new school curriculum is introduced in 2003. "The movement, founded in the 1950s by late American eccentric L Ron Hubbard, has never had formal religious status in the UK. But members of the Camden branch, based in Tottenham Court Road for 35 years, believe Scientology, along with other smaller groups, should be given the same exposure as Catholicism and Protestantism at GCSE and A-Level. "Camden's standing advisory council for religious education (SACRE), which includes Church of England representatives, headteachers, councillors and school governors, is now set to consider the request, after two members of the Camden branch presented the council with a book on the movement on Tuesday. Scientologist Paul Dolan, who was at the meeting, said: 'We are asking SACRE to think of introducing other religious communities into the new school curriculum for religious education. 'It is really to extend religious tolerance of groups such as ourselves, the Unification church (the Moonies) the Unitarians, the Quakers and the Paganists. Some of these groups that have come about in the last 50 years aren't as represented as they perhaps should be.' "The committee agreed to seek expert advice on the issue from leading experts on cults before reaching its decision. If it accepts the request, representatives from the Church of Scientology will be appointed to SACRE and allowed to visit schools and talk about the group. But some SACRE members expressed concern that the move could encourage groups looking for 'a platform.' Councillor Julian Fullbrook, former chairman of SACRE, said: 'I would be worried about the number of movements that might want to use SACRE as a platform.' "The request has prompted serious concern by anti-cult groups. Ian Haworth, of the Cult Information Centre, said the move was 'potentially hazardous.' He added: 'If Scientology is considered a religion in the school curriculum, it will be the first to have a criminal record. The main concerns are not so much their beliefs, but the methods they employ to recruit new members. By introducing their beliefs, students would be missing the main point, and this could give them a false sense of security about the organisations in any relationships they might have with those groups.' "But a spokesman for the Church of Scientology, whose headquarters are in East Grinstead, said: 'With reports of religious discrimination still appearing in the media and elsewhere, we believe that schoolchildren should learn basic beliefs of all religions, as discrimination is very often fuelled by ignorance.'" Message-ID: ZrpD9.549$

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