Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 13
6/30/2002 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.
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> Buffalo Org
The Buffalo News reported on June 26th that Scientology is threatening the
city of Buffalo, New York that the move to condemn the org there in order
to build a parking ramp may violate U.S. federal law.
"The Council found itself back in the debate over condemnation of a
four-story office building at 43 W. Huron St., now occupied by the Church
of Scientology, to make room for an expansion of the Owen B. Augspurger
"After failed attempts to negotiate with church leaders to purchase the
building, the Council voted, 10-3, in late April to begin condemnation and
demolition proceedings. However, a procedural error in the vote brought
the matter back before the Council, where opponents got another chance to
sway the vote.
"The Rev. John Carmichael, who presides over the church in New York State,
said for the city to wipe out a place of worship to make room for a
parking ramp not only reflects badly on the city and its leaders, it
'almost certainly violates federal law.' The matter was sent back to
committee for further review, stalling the $13.6 million project for
another two weeks."
Dave Touretzky reported this week that Scientology is promoting L. Ron
Hubbard's book Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science to university
"They're mailing freebies to university faculty. Here's what the package
consists of: One new, hardbound edition of Dianetics: The Evolution of a
Science, updated to include some drawings and an email address
). One new, shrinkwrapped, audio
version of the book. The book is read by Lloyd Sherr, 'an accomplished
voiceover artist.' The tape is recorded using ClearSound (tm). A reply
card where one can supply contact info.
"An interesting fact about this book is that it contains not a single
reference anywhere to the Church of Scientology. All the org addresses in
the back are for Hubbard Dianetics Foundations! All the contact and
copyright info mention Author Services or L. Ron Hubbard Library or Bridge
Publications or New Era Publications. Even the legal disclaimer at the
front of the book refers only to Hubbard's 'observations and research,'
omitting the standard Scientology phraseology about this being a
Hamburger Abendblatt reported on June 27th that Ursula Caberta, head of
Hamburg's Scientology Task Force, has been fined in connection with a loan
made to her by activist Bob Minton.
"For accepting favors she was fined 7,500 Euro by the Hamburg Office
Court, payable monthly in the amount of 1,250 Euro. Caberta had been
accused by the Scientology organization of receiving $75,000 from US
businessman Bob Minton. She herself described the sum as a private loan,
but the Scientologists saw it as bribery and accepting favors, because
Caberta dealt with Minton professionally and could no longer be impartial
"The decision for a fine is apparently a settlement between prosecution
and defense. The state attorney had originally filed for criminal charges,
but did not want to pass up the fine. In the case at hand Caberta will not
be regarded as a convicted criminal. Legally the criminal proceedings
will be seen as 'provisionally suspended.' Court spokesperson Sabine
Anette Westphalen said, 'If Mrs. Caberta accepts the fine, the proceedings
will be definitively over.'"
Corporate Counsel magazine published an article on June 25, 2002 on the
Google search engine, and the legal threats Scientology made to remove
links to Scientology awareness web site Xenu.net.
"Kulpreet Rana, director of legal affairs at Google Inc., received several
letters from the Church of Scientology International alleging copyright
infringement. If Web surfers looked for information about the church using
Google's search tools, the results brought up confidential documents. The
church insisted that Google remove the links. In typical Silicon Valley
fashion, Rana consulted the Mountain View, California-based company's
engineers for a high-tech legal solution. They decided to remove the links
to the confidential material to shield Google from legal trouble.
"But Rana didn't want to leave it at that, and the engineers added another
twist. Now, if a user finds one of the links that bothered the
Scientologists, a message on Google.com encourages him to visit
chillingeffects.org, a pro-First Amendment Web site founded by the
Electronic Frontier Foundation and a handful of law school clinics. Posted
on chillingeffects.org is the Scientologists' cease-and-desist letter to
the search engine.
""The church's letter listed 85 copyrighted works, including secret,
advanced teachings as well as photographs and texts drawn from the
church's official publications. Alongside each entry was the Web address
where the document could be found on www.xenu.net, a site calling itself
'Operation Clambake' that is critical of Scientology.
"At least one rival search engine saw a spike in removal requests after
Google's delisting of the anti-Scientology Web pages. Says Sharon Anolik,
associate general counsel and chief privacy officer at Ask Jeeves Inc.,
based in Emeryville, Calif.: 'We don't like the idea of having to remove
sites from our results. And neither did Google. But the DMCA does require
"Scientology lawyer Helena Kobrin says her small firm has been trying to
hold online service providers responsible for revealing unpublished
copyrighted works since the mid-1990s. Technology has emboldened
infringers, observes Kobrin: 'It's easy to hide behind a computer.' While
she doesn't object to the church's legal notices being made public on
chillingeffects.org, she does take offense at the site's name. 'It implies
that the First Amendment gives people some special right to infringe
copyrights,' says Kobrin, a Scientologist who has represented the church
for 16 years.
"Robin Gross, a staff attorney for intellectual property at the Electronic
Frontier Foundation, describes such cease-and-desist notices as 'bully
letters' or 'legal torpedoes' unlikely to hold up in court. But few
recipients want to take their fights into the ring, she says, noting that
her organization has been looking for the right case to put digital
copyrights to the test."
> Keith Henson
Scientology this week filed another action against Keith Henson, arguing
that he is violating the terms of a permanent injunction against him to
not publish Scientology's secret NOTS materials.
"Religious Technology Center moves this Court to issue an Order to Show
Cause directing that defendant H. Keith Henson appear at an evidentiary
hearing before this Court on a date certain and to there and then show
cause why he should not be adjudicated in civil contempt of the Permanent
Injunction entered by this Court on June 16, 1997 in this action.
"The grounds for this motion are that defendant Henson has made postings
to the Internet that contain matters infringing RTC's copyrights in NOTs
56 and in NOTs 34, the same work for which he was previously adjudicated
as liable for copyright infringement in the action in which he was also
previously held in contempt by this Court for posting a sealed transcript
with portions of the work to the Internet. Additional grounds for this
motion are that in violation of the 1997 Injunction, Henson has been
inducing and encouraging others to infringe.
"Apparently believing that because he has fled the United States, and
therefore is no longer constrained by the Permanent Injunction entered in
this action, Henson has openly and arrogantly violated that Injunction.
RTC believes otherwise, and on this motion, asks the Court to issue an
Order setting an evidentiary hearing and directing Henson to appear and
show cause why he should not be adjudicated in civil contempt of the
Scientology is also attempting to remove the judge from Keith's bankruptcy
case, on the grounds that he is biased against Scientology.
"The grounds for this motion are the bankruptcy court's manifest bias
against RTC and the Scientology religion, his aiding of the debtor's
fugitive status, while permitting him to remain a chapter 13 debtor, and
his continuing unwillingness or inability to conduct an evidentiary
hearing on RTC's Motion to Dismiss, pending for nearly two years in a
bankruptcy proceeding that has been pending for more than four years. In
addition, Henson has committed contempt of the district court's Permanent
Injunction, which is being urged as further evidence of Henson's bad faith
in support of dismissal. As RTC's contempt motion will be heard by the
district court, judicial economy suggests it should also withdraw the
reference and address the related issues.
"In its most extraordinary April 22, 2002 Order, the bankruptcy judge
blatantly violated the First and Fifth Amendments to the United States
Constitution by prohibiting one of creditor Religious Technology Center's
long-standing counsel of record from access to discovery responses to be
made by debtor, H. Keith Henson, on the sole ground that counsel is an
adherent to the Scientology religion, and also aided and abetted Henson to
maintain his fugitive status in Canada by denying RTC's request that
Henson appear for further deposition in California.
"By his April 22, 2002 Order, the bankruptcy judge has now demonstrated,
beyond any shadow of doubt, that he is so insensitive and so biased
against RTC and the Scientology religion, that he is legally unqualified
to further preside over Henson's chapter 13 bankruptcy case.
"By that same order, the bankruptcy judge has again cast himself as an
alder and abettor of Henson, who has fled the United States and remains a
fugitive from a sentence of incarceration imposed by a California State
"In his April 22, 2002 order, in plain English, in words that do not admit
of any inoffensive interpretation, the bankruptcy judge held that 'the
identity of Debtor's employer must be disclosed, but only to Creditor's
outside counsel who are not members of the Church of Scientology or
members of Creditor.' It is, pure and simple, nothing less than a ruling
depriving RTC of one of its long-standing counsel, thus trampling upon the
constitutional rights of both RTC and its counsel, Ms. Kobrin."
A letter to the editor of the Carroll Star News on June 7th objected to
the newspaper's expose on the links between Narconon and Scientology as it
attempts to get a zoning variance in Carrollton, Georgia.
"An article of 5 May and commentary to a letter published on 26 May
expressed considerable hostility towards the Narconon program and inferred
that representatives of Narconon were disavowing any relationship to the
Church of Scientology. As is made clear in numerous pages of Narconon
International's website, the Narconon program was founded by a man named
William Benitez in Arizona State Prison in 1996 and later incorporated by
him as an independent non profit public benefit corporation. Mr, Benitez
based the Narconon program, which means supply 'no drugs.' on the research
of author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard. Although corporately separate
and distinct from the Church of Scientology from its beginning, the
Narconon network has long enjoyed a warm friendship with Scientology and
president, Narconon International
"Editor's response: The Carroll Star News reporter, J. Pilkonis accurately
reported that the Narconon representatives who visited Carroll County's
planning and zoning meetings (and the Star News office) denied any
association with the Church of Scientology. Later, in person, I pointedly
stated to Susan Webb (public relations representative of the Church or
Scientology) that I also was told by these two Narconon representatives
they did not have any relationship with them. She had no direct response
for me, and instead continued to speak of how great the organizations was.
Since Mr. Carr is the president of Narconon International and states: 'In
fact, the majority of new Narconon facilities established since that time
have been made possible by be volunteer and financial support given by
Scientologists,' I will assume that Narconon IS directly associated with
the Church of Scientology, and the two representatives were either grossly
misinformed or lying."
The newspaper published a commentary by J. Pilkonis on June 9th on the
"Hello, and welcome to another great JP column - the only column in
Carroll County, incidentally to win six consecutive Pulitzer prizes, a
Grammy for the audio recording of Brando Reads Pilkonis, and an
unprecedented twelve academy awards for the film version of The 'P' Stand
for Prima Donna: The JP Story, staring Nathon Lane as Bill Chappell,
Jackie Chan as Brian Crotty. Pathways' Joan Moore taking the part of,
well, just about anybody and, in a role which will shock you, Dr. Jack
Kevorkian as Sue Horn.
"As I write this in my fabulous 48 room mansion in the South of France
chomping on Beluga caviar and the generic brand of Ritz crackers, I am
busily dictating my next bestseller to my new secretary, Connie Chung, and
insisting to the powers that be that before I agree to let them carve my
face on Rushmore, that Jefferson character has to go.
"Are you impressed yet? I should hope not, because blatant lies should
never be something which benefits the one impairing them. Unfortunately,
one group of people who haven't quite picked up on this seem to be those
in charge of Narconon International, which, as we've finally confirmed, is
indeed tied both spiritually and financially to the Church of Scientology.
"We've now been visited on several occasions by both representatives of
Narconon and the Scientologists. They were caught in lie after lie after
lie, and when confronted with the truth, they opted to lie more. It got
so hard to take that I forcibly terminated our meeting with Susan Webb.
There was no point in going on. Her purpose - proving herself a liar - had
"The targets of Narconon are those cursed with addictions, people who are
intrinsically weak and vulnerable. Is Narconon a vehicle for the Church of
Scientology to recruit new members? I would not say yes or no on the
subject, but consider this: Norseman says 'No.' and their reputation for
honesty, at least in our dealings with them is utterly nil. The big joke
is that the Narconon/Scientologist camp don't seem to realize that they
wouldn't be under a fraction of the scrutiny they're currently
experiencing if they had just played it clean and honest from the very
beginning. It's true that they would have had a hard row to hoe, being
involved with something as eccentric as L. Ron Hubbard's rantings.
"This to no time for Bowdon residents to be complacent. Folks, now that
you know what kind of people you're dealing with, it's time to take real
action. Let your legislators know how you feel. Remind them that you'll
remember how they voted on the Narconon issue. It's my opinion that we're
dealing with a potentially dangerous situation here. But make your on
decisions, then act, for yourselves, and for the good of your community."
> Protest Summary
Keith Henson reported a protest at the Toronto, Canada org on June 22nd.
"There were 4 of us, Arel, the unknown picketer, Gregg and me up the
street. Brian McPherson was taking pictures of Arel. In fact, we
understand from one of the locals Brian is there every Saturday just in
case we show up. We got a huge number of acks, but only gave out about 150
flyers. That area is just saturated.
"When Gregg and Arel first showed up there was this 18 yo with his mother.
They were looking into the testimonials window. The kid had a copy of What
is Scn in his knapsack. The kid was trying to sell her on spending her
retirement money. He was ready to fight Gregg, grabbed a flyer, crushed it
and threw it at Gregg. His mother was mortified and apologized. She went
on in and was put on the cans and everything, but was looking out the
window at the xenu flyer. Came back out and had a huge argument with the
kid. She went on up the street and the kid went back into the org, likely
a disconnect case."
Rod Keller reported a protest at the Washington, DC org on June 29th.
"Arnie Lerma, Duncan Pierce and I decided to protest the Washington, DC
org. We put in two hours despite the burning sun of the south. Arnie was
carrying his 'Danger: Greedy Cult Zone' sign, Duncan had the 'Scientology:
the Church with a Body Count sign,' and I had my 'Stop Hurting Families,
"We had a very slow and methodical sidewalk cleaning with a hose for most
of the protest. It didn't stop us from going back and forth as we pleased.
She took an hour and a half to clean 30 feet of sidewalk. I had my usual
'Why I Protest' flyers, of which I distributed about 300. A young woman
came running back for another flyer, reporting that a Scientologist was
standing down the block and took her flyer. She said he would walk up to
people and say 'Wow, that looks interesting, can I have that?' After that
I told everybody headed in that direction to 'Make sure the Scientologist
in the yellow shirt doesn't take your flyer. He doesn't want you to read
this.' Arnie was on the triangle across the street, and reported that they
guy didn't get any more flyers after that.
"We had a couple of interesting passers-by. A couple told Arnie that they
knew all about how bad Scientology is. Arnie asked how they came to know
that. 'I grew up in Clearwater, Florida' was the answer. We also had a
young man tell us he worked in the org for three weeks. 'They had me
talking to doll babies, so I quit.' The look on his face was hysterical.
Handler Sylvia Stanard was primarily concerned with the number of
protesters, being three and not a thousand I guess. Duncan had the line of
the day, 'How many does it take to make a statement?'"
Tages-Anzeiger reported on June 26th that two Scientologists have been
sentenced in Zurich, Switzerland for fraud.
"Two former Scientology adherents were sentenced on Tuesday by the Zurich
Superior Court for millions in fraud. An attorney received 27 months in
prison and his accomplice got punishment suspended.
"The superior court has confirmed the judgment of the Zurich district
court of 1999. The principal convicted party, a formerly high-ranking
Scientology member and long-term magistrate in eastern Switzerland, had
defrauded over 200 investors of about 15 million franks (over 10 million
dollars) in the early 1990s with false promises of returns, according to
the indictment. The attorney was supported in the data processing
department by another Scientologist.
"In December 1999 the primary accused was sentenced to two years nine
months in prison by the Zurich District Court. His accomplice got away
with six months prison suspended for aiding and abetting. Based on the
defendants' unblemished conduct since then, the superior court reduced the
sentences on appeal by six and three months respectively."
> John Travolta
U.K. Newspaper The Independent published a column on June 28th on
Scientology celebrity John Travolta.
"There was a time, probably around 1978, when I'd have envied any woman
married to John Travolta. Now, however, I feel nothing but pity for poor
Kelly Preston. For starters, there's Travolta's Scientology, and the
Scientology-related films. Then there are the films that have nothing to
do with Scientology, but are rubbish anyway. Then there is the passion for
flying Qantas aeroplanes, which he is now about to indulge by taking the
whole family on a trip around the world in his 707 jet.
"Surely Travolta doesn't need the money. Perhaps he just likes dressing up
in costumes and looking skywards with a mad glint in his eye. Possibly
because he thinks that up in the sky he is closer to L Ron Hubbard. He
couldn't sound like less of a catch if he had knickers on his head and two
pencils up one nostril. My one, fervent prayer? That somewhere up her
sleeve, Kelly has an excellent divorce lawyer."