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184A.r.s Week in Review - 6/15/2003

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  • Rod Keller
    Jun 15, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      Alt.religion.scientology
      Week in Review Volume 8, Issue 9
      6/15/2003 by Rod Keller [rkeller@...]
      copyright 2003

      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.

      Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available. Subscriptions are
      also available on Yahoo. Email weekinreview-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or
      see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/weekinreview. PDA channel available at
      http://avantgo.com/channels/_add_channel.pl?cha_id=2900

      Week in Review is archived at:
      http://www.xenu.net/archive/WIR/
      http://www.uni-bonn.de/~uzs1dc/scientology/wir.html
      http://www.religio.de/publik/arsfaq.html

      #####

      > Clearwater

      A St. Petersburg Times editorial on June 9th reacted to charges made by
      Scientology that Clearwater area residents have been prejudiced against
      them by press coverage.

      "Many Pinellas County residents know the story of how the Church of
      Scientology slipped into Pinellas under a different name in 1975 and began
      buying property in downtown Clearwater, where it established its
      international religious retreat known as Flag. They remember the clashes
      that followed between Clearwater city officials and Scientology, the
      church's penchant for secrecy and the disinformation campaign hatched by
      the organization to discredit a city official who opposed Scientology.

      "Many Pinellas residents also remember hearing that a member of the Church
      of Scientology, Lisa McPherson, died in 1995 after being kept in the care
      of staffers in the church's Fort Harrison building. Because they know all
      that, some of them have strong opinions about Scientology, and it should
      come as no surprise that many of those opinions are negative. What is
      surprising, given the history of the church in Pinellas, is that
      Scientology officials are shocked by how many Pinellas residents distrust
      or dislike their organization.

      "The church recently hired professional researchers to survey 300 shoppers
      at a St. Petersburg mall to learn their opinions of Scientology, Flag and
      the McPherson case. Since getting the results, the church has asked for a
      change of venue in an upcoming jury trial that peripherally involves
      aspects of the McPherson case. The church's motion for the venue change is
      filled with accusations about the 'religious bigotry' of the Pinellas
      population and 'hate-mongering' by local media, including the St.
      Petersburg Times. The church claims that the media have poisoned the
      public's view of Scientology.

      "The truth of the matter is that most residents of Pinellas County are
      neither misled nor confused about Scientology. What they are is
      well-informed, and they have good memories. They see not just the
      dressed-up image the church has displayed since getting smarter about
      public relations a few years ago, but also the years of shenanigans that
      preceded the change.

      "Church officials apparently thought they had made more progress at
      changing perceptions, especially in Clearwater. And indeed, Clearwater
      officials have forged a cooperative relationship with Scientology, in some
      cases accepting campaign support and assistance from church members,
      bestowing awards on the church and even inviting church officials'
      participation in city government affairs.

      "Perhaps it was the city of Clearwater's accommodating attitude that
      recently led the church to believe it had the standing to start recruiting
      national retailers to downtown Clearwater. The church prepared a brochure
      spotlighting the city's demographics and benefits (including a section
      touting the positive presence of the Church of Scientology downtown) and
      sent it to retailers such as the Gap and Banana Republic. Because no
      author is listed, the brochure promotes the mistaken impression that it
      comes from city government. Yet asked about this presumptuousness by the
      church, Mayor Brian Aungst said merely, 'I don't know that it hurts
      anything. It's probably helpful, but we'll find out.'

      "Clearwater officials would do well to review the results of the
      Scientology survey and consider whether an informed and wary public would
      be comfortable seeing them hold hands with the Church of Scientology."

      Message-ID: <1055153838.94746@...>

      #####

      > Lisa McPherson

      The Palm Beach Post reported on June 11th that Scientology has withdrawn
      its request to move the breach of contract counterclaim in the Lisa
      McPherson case to another county.

      "In a letter to the judge on the breach-of-contract case, an attorney for
      the church wrote that since the court date was only four weeks away, the
      church would try for a fair jury panel there. The Scientologists
      previously argued that they could not continue in the Clearwater area
      because a survey conducted by the church had shown a bias in the area.

      "The church lawyers asked that the case be moved to Palm Beach or Broward
      county because the counties have demographics similar to Pinellas County.
      The church is involved in expansive litigation after a church member died
      while under psychiatric care at a church facility. The church member, Lisa
      McPherson, 36, a devout Scientologist from Clearwater, had a mental
      breakdown in 1995 and was taken to a church retreat facility, where she
      died 17 days later."

      Message-ID: <3e471c14.0306110811.564c44d8@...>

      #####

      > Tom Cruise

      The Washington Post reported on June 15th that Scientology celebrity Tom
      Cruise visited U.S. Government officials in part to discuss issues
      important to Scientology.

      "Church of Scientology cause celeb Tom Cruise slipped into town this week
      for private meetings with senior Bush administration officials at the
      Department of Education and the White House. On Thursday, Education
      Secretary Rod Paige hosted a lunch for Cruise so the actor could gab with
      education officials in the secretary's dining room. 'He wanted to learn
      more about the president's 'no child left behind' program,' Education
      Undersecretary Eugene Hickok told us yesterday. Hickock added: 'We're
      willing to talk to anyone interested in the issue. I don't think I'm
      star-struck.' But we hear that on Friday at the White House, where Cruise
      lobbied officials on Scientology-related issues, there were plenty of
      young female staffers standing around, hoping to bump into him in the
      corridors of power."

      Message-ID: <3e471c14.0306142123.1d697177@...>

      #####

      > Reed Slatkin

      Slatkinfraud.com reported on June 14th that an attorney for Scientology
      will be asking for a subpoena in the Reed Slatkin Ponzi scheme case to
      discover communications between creditors of the Slatkin estate and the
      Slatkinfraud creators.

      "Scientology lawyer Helena Kobrin, here acting as counsel for herself
      (independent from Scientology) and other Scientology investors, has filed
      a declaration revealing her intent to target members of the Creditors'
      Committee for subpoena. First on Kobrin's list is George Kriste. Among the
      monstrous laundry list of material she asks Kriste produce is a request
      for 'all documents which relate to communications you have had with any
      person who is involved in the Slatkinfraud web site, including, without
      limitation, David Touretzky, Kady O'Malley, and Scott Pilutik.' Kirkland &
      Ellis attorney Alex Pilmer replies in a letter that Kriste will only
      respond to the subpoena if ordered to by the court. If the court does
      allow the Kriste subpoena, Kobrin states plans for serving identical
      subpoenas to the rest of the Creditors' Committee."

      Message-ID: <5e0371c5.0306141502.2f1b9142@...>

      -end-