179A.r.s Week in Review - 5/11/2003
- May 11, 2003Alt.religion.scientology
Week in Review Volume 8, Issue 5
5/11/2003 by Rod Keller [rkeller@...]
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review summarizes the most significant
postings from the Usenet group Alt.religion.scientology for the preceding
week for the benefit of those who can't follow the group as closely as
they'd like. Out of thousands of postings, I attempt to include news of
significant events, new affidavits, court rulings, new contributors,
whatever. I hope you find it useful. Like many readers of a.r.s, I have a
kill file. So please take into consideration that I may not have seen some
of the most significant postings.
The articles in A.r.s Week in Review are brief summaries of articles
posted to the newsgroup. They include message IDs for the original
articles, and many have a URL to get more information. You may be able to
find the original article, depending on how long your site stores articles
in the newsgroup before expiring them.
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> RitalinRoll Call reported on May 7th that U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy of
Rhode Island will oppose a bill supported by Scientology to prevent
requirements that some students take medicine for attention deficit
"Psychiatrists and at least one lawmaker are taking on the Church of
Scientology's support for a provision in a House special education bill
that seeks to prevent teachers from requiring students to take medication
for attention-deficit disorder. 'It's a wolf in sheep's clothing,' said
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) of the provision that was added to the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act reauthorization, which passed
the House last week. 'I suspect it probably had its antecedents in the
community that believes that all medication for kids with
[attention-deficit disorder] is wrong.'
"Kennedy and members of the psychiatric profession say the provision,
which has been aggressively backed by the Scientology-founded Citizens
Commission on Human Rights, is an attempt to achieve what opponents charge
is Scientology's broader goal of abolishing the field of psychiatry
"The provision, sponsored by freshman Rep. Max Burns (R-Ga.) and supported
by Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), is intended to address highly
publicized cases in several states of teachers pressuring parents to
medicate children with Ritalin and other psychotropic drugs. Burns said he
was aware that the provision was backed by CCHR, but said his goals were
far different from those of the Church of Scientology and CCHR, which
dispute the American Psychiatric Association's determination that
attention-deficit/hyper-activity disorder, or ADHD, is a medical condition
that sometimes requires medication.
"'I did not go out and solicit that support,' said Burns. 'We're not
trying to take away the scientifically based treatments that we have. But
we don't want to over-diagnose or misuse some of these treatments.'
"But psychiatric organizations that oppose the provision - including the
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American
Psychiatric Association, the Federation of Families for Children's Mental
Health, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and the National
Mental Health Association - claim supporters have been duped into
supporting a measure that they say could prevent teachers from even
talking to parents about the possibility of their child being evaluated by
a mental health professional. 'It's all an organized campaign to discredit
the mental health profession and disavow the existence of childhood mental
disorders,' said Clarke Ross, CEO of the nonprofit Children and Adults
with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder.
"CCHR spokeswoman Marla Filidei countered that her organization has been
fighting for the provision because of hundreds of stories from parents
about teachers and school districts that have urged or pressured parents
to put their nonattentive children on drugs, such as Ritalin, to address
what may be simple behavior problems or the boredom of a gifted child.
CCHR's Web site states that the group was formed in 1969 by the Church of
Scientology and State University of New York psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz
to 'combat psychiatry's oppression' and to 'expose and help abolish any
and all physically damaging practices in the field of mental healing.'
"Opponents of the provision are hoping to find allies in the Senate to
prevent the provision from becoming law. One lobbyist for the psychiatric
profession said they have already targeted a number of Democrats on the
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, such as Sens.
Edward Kennedy (Mass.) and Jeff Bingaman (N.M.). Psychiatric groups also
plan to contact Republicans friendly to the mental health profession, such
as Sens. Pete Domenici (N.M.) and John Warner (Va.). 'They're not too
worried about it getting into the Senate [Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act] bill,' the lobbyist said of conversations with Kennedy's
staff. 'Conference committee is where we'll be focused in the end.'
"Kennedy argued that the problem is not as widespread as CCHR makes it
seem. 'Clearly, it's a legitimate issue, but as I said, it's a
mischaracterization of the situation to think that it's not the exception
rather than the rule,' he said. 'The question is whether this is a
national issue that requires a national bureaucracy,' added Ross. 'It's
all based on these highly publicized situations.'"
> CelebrityCelebrity Magazine reported news from the CCHR awards banquet, held in LOs
"At the Citizens Commission on Human Rights Awards Banquet, JULIETTE
LEWIS, PRISCILLA PRESLEY, EDUARDO PALOMO and GINA ST. JOHN presented Human
Rights Awards to individuals who have fought to expose the increasing
pressure schools are placing on parents to drug their children. Also
participating in the event was ANNE ARCHER as Mistress of Ceremonies.
Hundreds of doctors, politicians, human rights activists, parent groups
and celebrities, including CATHERINE BELL and LYNSEY BARTILSON, attended
the awards banquet in Los Angeles."
> ClearwaterThe St. Petersburg Times reported on May 11th that Clearwater city
officials are planning to revitalize the downtown area, despite the strong
presence of Scientology.
"Three years after voters killed a sweeping $300-million plan to remake
downtown, backers still lament the lost opportunity and ponder what might
have been. Amid pockets of redevelopment, empty storefronts remain,
leading to mounting fears that the struggling commercial corridor could
wither and die when the new Memorial Causeway Bridge opens and beach-bound
traffic is diverted forever off Cleveland Street. But city officials
remain hopeful. After months of study, they are preparing to bring forward
their latest plan to remake downtown into the tourist and community magnet
they say its geography has destined it to be.
"The exhaustive new proposal incorporates elements of past plans,
including a revamped Coachman Park and millions of dollars for
beautification and other improvements to the downtown core. What's new is
the acknowledgement that City Hall is available for sale if the right
development project comes along. And now Calvary Baptist Church's property
next door - a key to development - is on the block, too. Also planned are
a downtown marina, a monorail to the beach and a parking garage on Osceola
Avenue. Meanwhile, the plan will serve as a road map of sorts by creating
six unique 'character districts' with general design guidelines meant to
shape future development.
"But Clearwater faces unique challenges, including its distance from a
major interstate. And the dominant presence of the Church of Scientology
has fed the perception that investments downtown will chiefly benefit the
church, Siemon said. But that perception is false, he said. '(Scientology
is) not what's causing the failure of redevelopment,' Siemon said. 'What
makes them stand out in downtown Clearwater is they're the only ones
there. I think dilution is the only solution.'
"Commissioner Whitney Gray agreed. 'If you feel like there's a large
presence of Scientologists downtown, it's because it's in isolation,' she
said. 'The more great things there are to do downtown, the more people
> Digital LightwaveThe St. Petersburg Times reported on May 10th that Digital Lightwave will
not appeal a judgment by Seth Joseph, a former employee of the company.
"For four years, as he waited to collect millions of dollars he said he
was owed by former employer Digital Lightwave, whistleblower Seth Joseph
refused to talk publicly about his case. He preferred to let court
documents speak for themselves: hundreds of pages of testimony, e-mails
and internal memos that detailed how the Clearwater company maneuvered
through an accounting scandal in 1998. The documents also helped show how
the tech company's fortunes and misfortunes were closely tied to
influential members of the Church of Scientology.
"On Friday, after Digital said it would not appeal a $5.2-million judgment
in Joseph's favor, the former Digital senior executive vice president
broke his silence. 'Whenever an individual has to stand up to a big
company with lots of resources, it's not an even fight,' Joseph, who now
works for a Miami law firm, said in an interview with the St. Petersburg
Times. 'Digital used every delaying tactic, every procedure they could to
wear me down and make it almost impossible just to survive through the
process, but here we are.'
"Joseph filed an arbitration suit in 1999 alleging that he was unfairly
dismissed by Zwan. In testimony, Joseph said he was punished because he
urged Zwan to terminate another executive, Denise Licciardi, who was
linked to an accounting scandal in the company. Joseph said that Zwan, a
large donor to Scientology, did not want to dismiss Licciardi because she
is the twin sister of Scientology's worldwide leader, David Miscavige.
Zwan has denied Joseph's account, saying his firing was part of a
"Joseph won his arbitration complaint and, most recently, an appellate
court affirmed the judgment in Joseph's favor. Joseph's lawyer, Holly
Skolnick, said the fight took longer than expected because 'I've never had
such tenacious adversaries. Seth really went through hell.'
"Joseph declined to talk about Zwan personally but predicted that more
problems lie ahead for his old company. As a maker of testing equipment,
Digital will lag behind any recovery in the telecom market since any
initial burst of spending will probably go to telecom switches and
operating equipment instead of testing, Joseph said. 'The only thing that
makes it possible that the company will survive is the fact that Zwan was
able to cash out to the tune of $400-million to $450-million during the
(tech) bubble,' he said."
> FranceAgence France Presse reported on May 7th that two Scientologists have been
indicted for fraud and illegally prescribing medicine.
"Two execs from the Scientology church have been recently indicted by a
Parisian instruction judge, one for fraud and the other for illegal
pharmacy practice. Alain Rosenberg has been indicted as General Manager of
the 'Celebrity Center' in Paris, for fraud and complicity of illegal
exercice of pharmacy.
"The judge suspects him to have been engaged in personality testing
without a scientific basis having caused damages to the plaintiff. Those
tests could have been used in order to steal fortunes of some people,
under the guise of a psychological aid.
"Another executive, Aline Fabre, is indicted for illegal pharmacy practice
because she would have sold high dosages vitamins. Attorney Aram
Kevorkian, who is the defender of the two persons indicted, declared that
indictment is not culpability, and that the people are not guilty. Nothing
forbids personality testing, and those tests had scientific bases, did he
declare, before adding that vitamins can be sold outside drugstores.
Kevorkian added that he had appealed of these indictments before the
Indictments appeal Room in Paris court."
> Scientology TourSkyway News published the first of two articles on a visit to Scientology
"Through the storefront windows at 1011 Nicollet Mall, the Church of
Scientology of Minnesota seems bright, open and warm. Posters advertise
personality, toxicity and IQ tests - free and immediately available. At
one of the tables abutting the windowpane, a young man in a black hooded
sweatshirt diligently fills in small ovals on a test. Bright paperbacks
and posters of golden, erupting volcanoes frame the space around him.
Come, step out of the rain - and discover your full potential.
"As I step inside, a kind- and weary-looking man jumps from his post at
the front desk to greet me. It's raining, I tell him, and ask, what is
this place? He extends his well-muscled, lean hand - the hand of a
laborer. He is Bernie, a volunteer, and says this is the Church of
Scientology. It basically believes you are a soul inhabiting a body that
can get toxic, so the church helps you clear it and reach your potential.
'You see,' he says, his eyes opening a little wider, 'you are so much more
than you've been taught you can be.'
"He reaches for one of the thousand or so books on the shelves as one
might reach for a bottle of medicine, haltingly yet reverently. 'This
book,' he begins, 'saved my life.' Bernie owns an auto diagnostics
business. Things got stressful, so he took a management course; the
teacher used a 'tone scale' to help him discern and deal with people's
"Bernie opens one of the thinner, cheaper books and displays the realm of
human beings divided into strata, from the gray and glowering at the
bottom, to the clear and serene at the top. 'You see,' he says, pointing
to the darkest circles, 'not everyone is on your side. About 2 percent of
people in the world are Suppressive Persons; they want to keep you from
being happy.' Suppressive agents cause most illnesses, Bernie explains.
Take someone he knows, he says, locked up in a mental hospital because 'he
didn't have this technology to deal with the abuse in his past.'
"Day two. I say hello to a woman in a pinstriped brown and black outfit at
the front desk, and Troy emerges in his pressed shirt, tie and gray
slacks. 'You're back!' he says with a flash of his even white smile. The
brochures seem contingent upon taking the personality test, I explain; I
only have a half-hour, is that enough?
"The woman at the front desk sets to her task, which involves calling
people out of the phone book. I resist the urge to interrupt and ask what
certain test questions are meant to reveal: 'Do you intend two or less
children in your family even though your health and income permit more?'
'If we were invading another country, would you feel sympathetic towards
conscientious objectors in this country?' and 'Would the idea of
inflicting pain on game, small animals or fish prevent you from hunting
and fishing?' I answer honestly, 'yes,' 'yes' and 'yes.'
"By the time I finish (about 10 minutes) I've admitted to allowing
'external noise' to disturb my concentration, being 'a slow eater' who is
'touchy about certain things about [my]self' and occasionally 'feel[ing]
compelled to repeat some interesting item or tidbit.' Troy emerges with
the prognosis: I'm down on seven of 10 counts, below 'normal' and in an
'unacceptable state,' in need of 'immediate assistance' as I suffer from:
depression, a lack of accord, being critical, not being outgoing enough,
nervousness, irresponsibility and being unstable or dispersed.
"I stammer, try to explain/defend myself as Troy's finger points to each
of my documented downfalls: well, I can be blunt, but I'm also the primary
caregiver in my family, so how can I be irresponsible? Troy explains that
responsibility is not 'like, 'Do I pay my bills on time or vote.' It's
like, are you causative or do you let life happen to you - like cause and
effect. Don't I want to take control of my life?' Troy cocks his head,
smiles, and moves his index finger to my most significant problem -- the
one point on the chart Troy has drawn a small cloud around: I'm depressed.
I had no idea.
"Day Three. Over breakfast 'Josh' - me - completes the exam guessing how a
super-Scientologist would answer. 'Josh' doesn't prefer a few close
friends but prefers a wide net of familiars; he wants us to breed like
rabbits, which, of course, he has no problem shooting. He also feels
comfortable telling others every opinion he has, even if he can't prove
what he's saying and is generally not influenced by his emotions in his
personal interactions. This time, another man sits at the front desk. He
seems preoccupied, but looks up when I come in. He extends his long thin
hands to take the pink fold-up test, but withdraws when I tell him it's
for my husband - and I could get him to take it but not to come in. 'Well,
it isn't much use without talking about it with somebody,' he says softly,
but with deep concern. 'Well, I'd like to see how our charts compare.'
"'This is a nice looking chart,' she says, indicating the eight of 10
counts where Josh/superman is in the 'optimum range.' He's aggressive,
responsible, outgoing - very impressive. But there are a couple areas
where he's just normal: he can be critical and isn't very appreciative. If
I'm interested, there's a solution - a glossy little book on marriage and
the primer, 'Components of Understanding.'"
> Protest SummaryJeff Jacobsen reported a protest at the Mesa, Arizona org on May 8th.
"Bruce asked me if I wanted to picket. How could I say no? So during rush
hour today we picketed the mission in Mesa. There were about 16 cars
there, including wonderful Russ! One guy came out and took our pictures.
He talked to me a bit commenting on my Lisa McPherson sign and saying
that's old news. I said 'she's still dead.' He argued a bit with me,
asking if we also protest the Catholic church too. I said that we each
choose our fight.
"We got about 8 positive reactions and 1 negative from the traffic that
was crawling by because of road work ahead. I handed out 3 flyers, which
is almost a record there because there is little foot traffic. After an
hour we left and had a nice meal."
> Reed SlatkinSlatkinfraud.com reported on May 8th that Scientologists are opposing the
trustee's plan for the Reed Slatkin estate to go after some Scientology
orgs to recover money donated by Slatkin during the period he ran a Ponzi
scheme investment club.
"High-ranking Scientologist creditors are fighting back against Trustee
Todd Neilson's proposed reorganization of the estate, claiming that he
failed to disclose his plan to go after Church of Scientology entities in
an effort to recoup some of the millions lost in the Slatkin Ponzi Scheme.
The Scientologist bloc is represented by lawyer Helena Kobrin, herself an
active Scientologist and Slatkin net debtor, who has also served as
counsel to several of the Scientology organizations targeted by the
"From the Kobrin motion: 'Objecting parties assert that the Plan cannot be
confirmed because it has become evidence that the Trustee intends to sue
various Scientology entities, but did not disclose this intention in his
disclosure statement. Instead, he waited to make this intention known
through his attorney's comments to a newspaper reporter, resulting in a
March 26, 2003 article entitled 'Victims of Scam Target Church.' Beyond
the obvious desire to use this intention to create yellow journalism, the
Trustee's failure to disclose this intention in the normal fashion through
disclosure documents filed in the court violates 11 USC 1129(1),(2) and
(3). Not only would it affect how a substantial number of claimants who
are parishioners of the Scientology religion would vote, but the
concealment of the issue affects the entire conduct of the case, including
such things as the intensity of the Trustee's pursuit of these and other
adversary defendants, and the Trustee's refusal to settle other than at a
very high percentage of the amounts demanded.'
"Ike Kezsbom, a longtime Scientologist, writes in his declaration of
objection: 'My accounts suffered a net loss of approximately $2,400,000. I
am a longstanding member of the Church of Scientology. I reviewed the
Trustee's disclosure statement and proposed plan, and it did not state
that they were planning to sue the Church of Scientology. I would be
opposed to any Plan that involves suing my Church, and would prefer a plan
that liquidates the assets of the Estate as promptly as possible. Based on
the disclosure, I was under the impression that they did not intend to sue
the Church. I believe other Scientologists [sic] creditors were also left
with the same impression.'"
> FSMsFlag FSM NewsLetter reported the winners of the Birthday Game for Flag
Field Staff Members. The contest is based on money paid by recruits for
training and processing to Scientology in Clearwater, Florida.
"FINAL BIRTHDAY GAME STANDINGS 2002-2003 WINNERS!
1. Michael Phillips CW
2. Wendy Ettricks WUS
3. Ty Dillard WUS
4. Barry Klein WUS
5. Mike Smith WUS
6. Ronit Soracco WUS
7. Steve Besio CW
8. Ray Barton CW
9. Divona Lewis WUS
10. Wayne Fuller CW
11. Deborah Hulthen CW
12. Monika Ruegg EU
13. Pat Parodi WUS
14. Sheila Bulger UK
15. Kay Daly Weiner WUS
16. Mary Jo Hyland WUS
17. Dennis Feeney WUS
18. Neils Kjedlsen EU
19. Susan Rowe EUS
20. Luis Colon EUS"
> NarcononTulsa World reported on May 3rd that the Oklahoma legislature voted down a
measure to commend Narconon for its work in drug rehabilitation.
"Normally, resolutions honoring this or that group, person or event fly
through the Legislature with nary a ripple of controversy. However, those
measures do not usually involve substance-abuse treatment facilities
operated by the Church of Scientology. On Thursday, freshman Rep. Terry
Harrison, D-McAlester, appeared surprised that his Senate Concurrent
Resolution 29, sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Frank Shurden,
D-Henryetta, sparked opposition. The resolution commends Narconon
Arrowhead, a nationally recognized drug and alcohol treatment facility
located at a former state lodge in Pittsburg County.
"The measure doesn't mention the facility's ties to Scientology. It cites
the $5.5 million spent on the lodge's purchase and renovation, delivery of
free drug education programs to 58,000 Oklahoma youths, 130 jobs and $7.4
million impact on the local economy, among other attributes. Rep. Richard
Lerblance, D-Hartshorne, said drug-afflicted people come to the Narconon
center from all over the country. A lawyer, Lerblance said some of his
clients have completed the program successfully. 'This is a program, a
company, that has come into Pittsburg County to help people,' he said.
'Whoever this company is owned by is immaterial.' Rep. Al Lindley,
D-Oklahoma City, also spoke for the measure. 'I'm completely ashamed of
the membership here,' he said. 'It doesn't matter who owns that facility
down there, as long as it helps people.'
"Rep. Bill Paulk, D-Oklahoma City, said he didn't want his name 'on
something supporting the Church of Scientology.' The veteran lawmaker said
such measures illustrate the dangers of mixing church and state. 'This is
a faith-based organization,' Paulk said. The resolution failed 43-50. It
had passed the Senate a day earlier, but not before Shurden fielded
questions on the facility's licensing with the state."