A.r.s Week in Review - 1/27/2002
Week in Review Volume 6, Issue 40
1/27/2002 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.
Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available. Subscriptions are
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Week in Review is archived at:
> AlaskaThe Anchorage Daily News reported on January 26th that the Scientology org
there is offering courses to the public.
"The Church of Scientology offers more than 40 public courses in Dianetics
and Scientology dealing with many aspects of life, including marriage and
the family, the mind and the spirit, business, study skills, values,
elimination of drugs and stress."
> September 11Fortean Times in their February issue described the efforts of Scientology
to link September 11th terrorism to Psychiatry.
"The Church of Scientology keeps flogging away at the dead of September
11. The CoS famously had it in for psychiatrists, psychologists, and to be
blunt, anybody capable of picking up on their tommyrot for the transparent
nonsense that it is.
"So, guess who was actually ultimately responsible for the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks? Psychiatrists! A Church of Scientology front styling
itself the 'Citizens Commission on Human Rights' has warned that the
attacks were 'the cowardly actions of weak and insane minds [..] that have
been deliberately psychologically indoctrinated to feel nothing about the
mass murder of innocent lives.'
"The Church of Scientology warns that 'from Hitler, the Bosnia-Kosovo
'ethnic cleansing' of psychiatrist Radovan Karadzic and his patient,
Slobovan [sic] Milosevic, [..] the Unibomber [sic] and Oklahoma Bomber
here in the U.S., all were reportedly, directly or indirectly, influenced
by psychiatric or psychological techniques.'"
> ClearwaterThe St. Petersburg Times reported on January 26th that Scientology invited
notable Clearwater area residents to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the
Fort Harrison Hotel at a banquet in the Hotel.
"The Church of Scientology, long on the fringe of the Clearwater
community, will roll out the red carpet at its Fort Harrison Hotel
tonight, staging a black tie gala for the area's power elite. And while
several notables sent regrets, many others are going.
"Tonight's party ranks as another indicator Scientology is gaining
acceptance in a community historically suspicious of the church, if not
hostile. Clearly pleased by the number of acceptances, Scientologists say
their volunteerism and other civic efforts are making a difference.
"Among those attending are politicians and civic leaders who years ago
would have had serious reservations about wining and dining with
Scientologists. State Sen. Jack Latvala and his wife, Pinellas County
Commissioner Susan Latvala, plan to go. Pinellas Sheriff Everett Rice will
attend. So will Clearwater Mayor Brian Aungst. Pinellas Supervisor of
Elections Deborah Clark is going. So, too are leaders from the Clearwater
YMCA and the local branch of the NAACP. Clearwater businessman Phil
Henderson and his wife, Dunedin City Commissioner Janet Henderson, a
candidate for state representative, will go and write a check for their
dinners. 'As recently as 10 years ago, I don't think a lot of people would
come to the event, or even consider coming,' Henderson said. 'But they
(Scientologists) have changed their ways.'
"And, of course, the question is on everyone's lips: Will Scientology's
celebrities be there? Bennetta Slaughter, chairwoman of the celebration,
did say, when pushed, that John Travolta and Tom Cruise are filming
elsewhere. What about Isaac Hayes? Jenna Elfman? Kirstie Alley? 'We have
to make the anticipation continue,' Shaw quipped. 'I can't tell you.' Jazz
legend Chick Corea, who lives in Clearwater, will be there, Shaw allowed.
Scientology's leader, David Miscavige, who is based in Los Angeles, could
be there. 'He's invited,' was all Shaw would reveal.
"With valet service, an open bar, buffet and sit-down dinner with several
menu choices, a live musical show and a complimentary brochure
commemorating the hotel, the retail cost of the gala could be as much as
$400 a person, estimated Gregory Snow, president of Tampa Bay's Best
Publications and Productions, which publishes a wedding and party planning
magazine. 'That's first class,' Snow said. 'It could be between $100,000
"The church tried sponsoring a political forum at the Fort Harrison in
1992, Susan Latvala recalled, and she and other candidates struggled with
the decision whether to attend. 'Do you think we should go? It's
Scientology,' she said they asked one another. Of the 95 candidates
invited, 17 showed up.
"Latvala, though, will be the only Pinellas County commissioner there.
Commissioner Karen Seel - her son has a dance. Commissioner John Morroni -
it's his son's birthday. Clearwater businessman and community leader Alan
Bomstein has a conflict. So do Clearwater City Commissioners Ed Hart and
Bill Jonson. New Pinellas County Administrator Steve Spratt and longtime
Clearwater police Chief Sid Klein sent regrets. St. Petersburg Times
editors also sent their regrets. The church is not allowing the Times to
send a reporter and photographer to cover the event.
"Clearwater City Commissioners Whitney Gray and Hoyt Hamilton plan to
attend. Hamilton said he is reimbursing the church $90, the price quoted
to him for two dinners. 'I didn't want anyone to get the impression I was
there on the church's dime,' Hamilton said. 'My attendance is strictly the
opportunity to go back and revisit the site of my younger days in
"Numerous city employees were invited but have been told they can attend
only the reception and not the dinner because of a city ordinance limiting
gifts. That's what City Manager Bill Horne will do. Assistant City Manager
Garry Brumback, who also plans to go, said Scientologists are some of the
city's best volunteers."
The St. Petersburg Times also reported on January 26th that the Fort
Harrison Hotel will be open for tours and meals for the public
"The three-week open house is part of the church's celebration of the Fort
Harrison's 75th anniversary. The open house runs seven days a week until
Feb. 17 from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Visitors can dine at the hotel's
Hibiscus restaurant, where dress is casual and no reservations are
required. Lunch tabs run about $8.50 per person and dinner averages $14
per person. The church is offering complimentary lunch or dinner to anyone
celebrating a 75th birthday.
"The public can also tour the hotel and see Images of a Lifetime, a photo
exhibit on display in the Crystal Ballroom depicting the life and work of
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
"The Church of Scientology purchased the Clearwater landmark in 1975 and
over the span of 10 years renovated and restored the building's historic
elements. As a spiritual retreat for Scientologists receiving advanced
religious counseling, the hotel has largely been off limits to the public.
Church officials say that will change with the 2003 completion of the
massive new Flag building across the street. All of the counseling rooms
in the Fort Harrison will be moved to the new building, a change that will
render the old hotel completely taxable for the first time since the
Scientologists bought it in 1975. Also at that point, the church will open
the hotel's restaurants to the public."
> Kirstie AlleyUK newspaper The Herald published an article on January 24th on
Scientology celebrity Kirstie Alley.
"Kirstie Alley stumbled big time, developing a cocaine habit by the age of
24. Apparently it once took her 30 days to drive from Kansas to Los
Angeles because she had to buy drugs along the way. It could so easily
have been the kiss of death to her future career, had it not been for the
Church of Scientology.
"According to Alley, a friend gave her a book, Dianetics: The Modern
Science of Mental Health, written by L Ron Hubbard - the man behind
Scientology. Alley says: 'I thought, This either really works or it
doesn't. So I packed up and moved to Los Angeles to find out.' Her
newfound religion not only helped her to kick her two-year drugs habit,
but gave her the inspiration to aim high career-wise. It also inspired
her, two years ago, to buy a second home, the $1.5m house belonging to
Lisa Marie Presley - located just five blocks away from the Scientology
church. She is also a spokesperson for a drug-rehabilitation programme
sponsored by Scientology.
"After her dalliance with drugs and enrolling in the Scientology church,
she made her debut on the small screen, but not in the traditional
fashion. Instead, she appeared as a contestant on The Match Game. It
wasn't long, though, before her throaty voice and striking looks brought
Alley to the attention of directors and, in 1981, she received a phone
call from Paramount to audition for the role of Lieutenant Saavik in Star
Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
"Off-screen her life was stormy. Her marriage to Parker Stevenson
foundered and the battle for custody of the children was well-documented
in the American tabloids. Then her romance with former Melrose Place hunk
James Wilder fell apart just hours before they were due to wed. In
response, the actress constructed a fence across the bridge she had built
to connect their flats in Hollywood."
> Lisa McPhersonDeana Holmes posted to a.r.s this week to report that the Estate of Lisa
McPherson has lost a case in Texas for breach of contract.
"There was an attempt to add David Miscavige personally to the Lisa
McPherson estate's case as a defendant. A Florida appellate court found
last year that since Miscavige had never been served, he had never been
added to the case, therefore Scientology was not to get the attorneys'
fees they requested in defending Miscavige.
"The cult had started a similar action against the estate in Texas federal
court since Dell Liebreich, the executor of the estate, lives in Dallas.
Despite the appellate ruling from Florida, the federal court judge let
this case go forward. The jury did not give Scientology everything it
asked for: Rosen's fee was cut in half, and it may be eliminated entirely
since Rosen violated federal rules in bringing this case. The Estate plans
to appeal, since the Texas court does not have jurisdiction over the
estate, which is in Florida. To collect on this judgment, RTC and David
Miscavige have to go to Florida and start an action in Florida courts,
where there is already an adverse judgment against them. And it should be
noted that the award is rather hollow, since the Estate has no funds."
> L. Ron HubbardSalon.com published a retrospective on January 24th on the L. Ron Hubbard,
which is the date of his death in 1986.
"Before the Scientology incarnation, Hubbard had a 20-year career writing
pulp magazine stories - adventure, crime, westerns and then mostly science
fiction. In 1982, after decades of Church work - much of it the labor of
dodging the FBI, CIA, IRS and reporters - Hubbard returned to his muse
with 'Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000.' If the numbers are to
be believed, it became one of the greatest science-fiction hits of all
time; if the apostates and investigative reporters are to be believed, the
novel was a required purchase, and another Church scam. If Hubbard himself
is to be believed in his introductory essay, he had been 'studying the
branches of man's past knowledge at that time to see whether he had ever
come up with anything valid.' He had done 'some pioneer work in rockets
and gasses,' was 'in rather steady association with the new era of
scientists, the boys who built the bomb,' and therefore well-placed to be
'one of the crew of writers that helped start man to the stars.'
"According to the Church Web sites, his greatest accomplishment is the
10-book 'Mission Earth' series, a work that believer-critics find
reminiscent of both 'the later Henry James' and 'the later Charles
Dickens,' and such 'a biting commentary on exactly who is doing what on
today's earth' that it is 'repeatedly drawing comparisons to the works of
Jonathan Swift.' Presumably the later Jonathan Swift; possibly that
section in 'Gulliver's Travels' wherein the mad scientists of Lagado
endeavor, among other things, to reconstitute food from excrement."
> John TravoltaGlasgow, Scotland newspaper The Herald published an article on January
24th on Scientology celebrity John Travolta.
"The critics have not been kind to John Travolta's latest film, Domestic
Disturbance, about a divorced father who discovers his wife's new husband
is a murderer and that the lives of his ex-wife and his son are at risk.
His career has been something of a roller-coaster ride, with sudden highs
like Pulp Fiction followed by terrible lows like Battleship Earth, the
Scientology-inspired sci-fi film he produced and starred in as a very fat,
"At one point, although the film was a surprise hit, he was reduced to
playing the dad of a talking baby voiced by Bruce Willis. 'I think some of
it is because of my Scientology,' he says. 'I have a place to handle my
issues and tools to deal with things and a way to get information and
support. I have also always been a glass-half-full kind of person. You
know, even when I had a dip in my career 10 or 15 years ago, I still
looked at it in a positive way. The way I saw it, I had had the honour of
having been the biggest star in the world, and I would have something to
tell my grandchildren. I didn't think - oh, what a tragedy. I think I had
to hold on to that optimism, that is why it happened again and things
turned round for me.'"
> Digital LightwaveThe St. Petersburg Times reported on January 24th that Bryan Zwan, founder
of Digital Lightwave, has returned to head the Clearwater-based company.
"Bryan Zwan, who ran Digital from 1990 through 1998, is back in charge
after the sudden resignation of Gerry Chastelet on Wednesday. Zwan, who
owns 58 percent of Digital's stock, rejoined the board last October. His
return to a public role with the company came two days after he settled a
charge of accounting irregularities with the Securities and Exchange
"Chastelet, who could not be reached for comment, said in a written
statement, 'I have thoroughly enjoyed my years at the company, in which we
accomplished a great deal. However, I have decided that this is the right
time for me to pursue new challenges and opportunities.'
"Though Digital, which makes testing equipment for fiber-optic networks,
thrived during the telecom boom under Chastelet's leadership, it has
flagged since the middle of last year. Last week, Digital said it would
take a restructuring charge of up to $800,000 in the first quarter,
outsource some of its production and manufacturing, and cut an undisclosed
number of jobs. During 2001, Digital cut 42 jobs and now has a work force
of about 150. The company also said it expected fourth-quarter revenues to
be between $5-million and $5.5-million, down from the $7.7-million
estimated by analysts.
"Zwan had run into conflict with the SEC when he and his company were
accused of filing false financial reports for two quarters in 1997. While
Digital settled its part of the case in 2000, Zwan refused to settle until
all fraud charges were dropped. In October, he agreed to an injunction
prohibiting him from violating securities laws. Zwan did not admit or deny
"Zwan, a major contributor to the Church of Scientology, has consistently
denied that his religion has any involvement with Digital's operations.
During his career with the company, Chastelet, who was not a
Scientologist, also repeatedly took pains to distance himself from the
church. Wednesday, Zwan once again said his religion would have no impact
on how Digital will be run. 'I don't see it being an issue,' he said."