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A.r.s Week in Review - 10/13/2002

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  • Rod Keller
    Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 28 10/13/2002 by Rod Keller [rkeller@voicenet.com] copyright 2002 Alt.religion.scientology Week in
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 13, 2002
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      Alt.religion.scientology
      Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 28
      10/13/2002 by Rod Keller [rkeller@...]
      copyright 2002

      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

      #####

      > Buffalo Org

      Business First of Buffalo reported on October 9th that the city of Buffalo
      still plans to tear down the Scientology org to build a parking ramp.

      "The stalemate on the proposed expansion of the Augspurger Ramp in
      downtown Buffalo is about to be broken by one of the city's primary
      economic development agencies. The Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency, at its
      Oct. 10 meeting, is expected to start eminent domain proceedings to
      acquire the necessary parcels to expand the parking ramp.

      "Critics, however, say the project would require taking and demolishing a
      building owned by the Church of Scientology, a move they claim is unfair
      to the church, and eliminate a building that may ultimately find other
      uses as a residential or commercial parcel.

      "Downtown leaders said they are encouraged that Masiello has tapped BURA
      to champion the project. 'It sounds like a welcome avenue,' said David
      Sweet, owner of the Rand and Main Seneca buildings. Many downtown leaders
      thought the project was going to get the green light earlier this year, so
      much so city leaders began to sell bonds for the ramp's expansion to meet
      in-house deadlines. The council, as recently as its Oct. 1 meeting, voted
      against the project."

      The Buffalo News reported on October 11th that Scientology has filed a
      lawsuit to oppose the plan.

      "The Buffalo Church of Scientology had filed suit in U.S. District Court
      to protect its building, which stands in the way of the project. The
      lawsuit accuses Mayor Anthony M. Masiello of making an 'end run' around
      the Common Council by reviving the project under a 1981 downtown urban
      renewal plan.

      "'Relocating a church is not a slight matter, but the city has had a 'take
      it or leave it' attitude,' the Rev. Elizabeth Akiyama, spokeswoman for the
      church, said in a statement. 'The Scientologists in Western New York
      should not have to bear the burden of not being able to practice our
      religion so that a parking structure can be built.'

      "The key weapon in the agency's arsenal is the power of eminent domain,
      which is likely to be needed to acquire the church building, at 43 W.
      Huron St., and a surface parking lot at 352 Pearl St. To date, offers to
      purchase the properties have failed, making condemnation an almost
      certainty. The situation involving the church proved particularly thorny.
      The city offered church leaders $425,000 for the four-story building but
      was rebuffed, raising the likelihood of acquisition through condemnation
      proceedings. The Council found itself drawing fire from opponents who
      charged the city cares more about expanding parking than leaving a
      religious congregation without a home."

      Message-ID: <VAgp9.498$wZ4.114122@...>
      Message-ID: <Mwdq9.53$Ex.14116@...>

      #####

      > CCHR

      The Patriot Ledger reported on September 26th that Scientologists who have
      been protesting a mental health facility in Massachusetts will be invited
      to tour the facility.

      "Protesters who demonstrated outside the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton
      on Tuesday have agreed to take a guided tour of the facilities and will
      schedule the tour within two weeks. The Rotenberg Center, a private school
      on Route 138 for people with severe behavioral problems, operates day and
      residential programs for 145 adults and children.

      "The center uses a therapy of rewards and punishments. Some of the
      punishments, including shock treatment on the surface of the skin,
      prompted the protest, said Christopher Garrison, Massachusetts director of
      the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, which was co-founded by the
      Church of Scientology in 1969. 'I know darn well he's going to sugarcoat
      the thing, and he's going to try to show me his video of successes,' he
      said, referring to the center's executive director, Matthew Israel. 'It's
      not like I'm not going to see people being shocked over and over again.'

      "As the protest was winding down Tuesday night, Garrison said Israel came
      out with some assistants to speak with the demonstrators. 'They agreed to
      give us a call in a week or two,' said Ann-Marie Iasimone, assistant
      director of the center. 'It was cordial. Everybody was professional.'
      Iasimone then defended the therapy. 'Sometimes the end result justifies
      what you have to do,' she said."

      From the letters to the editor of the Houston Press on October 10th:

      "Excellent coverage of the broad range of issues involved with reactive
      attachment disorder and the dangerous treatments that have been concocted
      for it. Having had the opportunity to review the assaults that Jeannie
      Warren was subjected to at the hands of Dr. Gross and his staff several
      years ago, I was astounded at the lengths to which practitioners will go
      in their pursuit of a 'cure.' I thought it was quite clear that the
      therapists involved would rather have her dead than untreated, and I think
      that treatment reimbursements played a large role in determining that
      attitude.

      "Dr. Gross has been a fugitive from U.S. justice for years. He has been
      convicted of fraud in association with his work with patients like Ms.
      Warren and has been hiding in England for several years to avoid jail.

      "Andrew Prough, executive director
      Texas Citizens Commission on Human Rights
      Austin"

      Message-ID: <Etyo9.477$wZ4.99629@...>
      Message-ID: <22d7d100.0210101304.49aa69c4@...>

      #####

      > Body Routing

      The Washington Post reported on October 13th reported that Scientology has
      joined a line of scalpers and homeless beggars outside the MCI Center
      before Washington Capitals games.

      "The Washington Capitals' season-opening hockey game was sold out when
      Alex Kuo and Alex Chou, both 16, got to the ticket window at MCI Center.
      So the high school friends were left with two options: head home to
      Potomac or buy a pair of tickets from the guy standing on the corner of
      Seventh and F streets NW.

      "City leaders and sports executives say they are growing increasingly
      unhappy with this sort of transaction. Ticket scalpers are an impediment
      to the way teams market their entertainment to the public. Fans who are
      hassled by pushy scalpers have complained that they should not have to
      navigate such a gantlet, event organizers say. 'It's like aggressive
      panhandling. They're all over you,' said D.C. Council member Sharon
      Ambrose (D-Ward 6), who along with Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), is sponsoring
      legislation to combat scalping.

      "At the Capitals game, the 'trading floor' wasn't held only by scalpers. A
      woman was passing out fliers for the Church of Scientology, and a homeless
      man held out a money bucket attached to a stick. Running this gantlet with
      her three elementary school children, Mary Meador of Clifton shrugged and
      said: 'It's part of living. It's not a big deal.'"

      Message-ID: <SD4q9.47$Ex.12835@...>

      #####

      > Germany

      Reuters reported on October 10th that Scientology claims book sales have
      risen in Germany this year.

      "Scientology may have some way to go before it becomes a bestseller in
      Germany, a country that describes it as an unwelcome cult, but officials
      said on Thursday demand for its books rose sharply this year. 'There is
      still negative publicity around but things are improving considerably,'
      said Thomas Goeldenitz, an official at Scientology's publishing wing New
      Era Publications. 'We have had some very good changes which are helping a
      lot now.'

      "The group claims to have sold 160 million copies of Hubbard's works over
      the past half century in 53 languages. Goeldenitz said New Era sells more
      than a million Scientology books a year worldwide. 'In Germany these days
      we are selling in 12 months 70-80,000 copies. In 1996 it was 35,000
      copies,' he said. Yet he admitted it was not always easy to get books onto
      store shelves. 'I've been talking to the big bookstores and you know they
      are telling me they are just scared to have the books,' he said,
      explaining they did not want to lose customers opposed to Scientology."

      Message-ID: <NkBp9.509$Rk3.56699@...>

      #####

      > Arts Festival

      The Los Angeles Times reported on October 8th that the Celebrity Center
      plans a series of Artists for a Better World Arts Festival events.

      "Artists for a Better World Arts Festival Celebrity Centre's Garden
      Pavilion 5930 Franklin Ave., Hollywood

      "Performances, displays, showcases, art exhibits, seminars will be
      featured at this event sponsored by the Church of Scientology.

      "Oct. 18: 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
      Oct. 19: 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
      Oct. 20: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m."

      Message-ID: <hes5qu09fd105tdmv88eiopv98q3vjq5r4@...>

      #####

      > Hurricane Relief

      The Advertiser reported on October 7th that Scientologists participated in
      feeding emergency workers in Lafayette, Louisiana during Hurricane Lili.

      "Justin English, 17, knew strangers were working furiously in the heat and
      humidity Sunday to restore electricity to his house. In return, English
      spent the day pouring drinks and making sandwiches to be delivered free to
      the thousands of electric linemen, tree trimmers and city workers
      restoring power knocked out by Hurricane Lili.

      "English was one of more than 50 volunteers, headed by the Church of
      Scientology Volunteer Ministers, who provided more than 2,500 free meals
      Sunday to workers across Acadiana, from Youngsville to Abbeville to Breaux
      Bridge, many of whom are contractors from other states.

      "With the help of radio station KQIS, Marie Pace, executive director of
      the Church of Scientology Volunteer Ministers, asked residents for
      donations of food, drinks and time. She especially appealed to residents
      without electricity to donate food that might otherwise be lost without
      cold storage. 'We cooked roasts, we cooked hams,' Pace said. 'People
      brought enough food for us to feed 2,500 people.'

      "The volunteers worked out of Comeaux's Cajun Corner in Lafayette, the
      space donated by owner Ronnie Comeaux, who cooked hamburgers and
      pistolettes alongside the Scientologists on Sunday."

      Message-ID: <EByo9.479$wZ4.99645@...>

      #####

      > Montreal

      The McGill Daily published an article on September 23rd on a visit to the
      Scientology org in Montreal.

      "I am, quite understandably, afraid. I'm standing outside Montreal's own
      Church of Scientology, and I'm beginning to seriously doubt the viability
      of my plan, not to mention its wisdom. The original idea? To waltz into
      the place undercover, posing as an interested and eager potential convert.
      I wanted to see what these Scientologists would do to me. Would they
      brainwash and indoctrinate me with utopian, sci-fi visions of an alternate
      reality? Would they blackmail me into signing my life away? Or would they
      simply demand the entirety of my meager savings account in exchange for
      promises of spiritual fulfillment?

      "The place doesn't even look like a church, but instead like a decrepit
      hardware store. I take a deep breath and summon forth all my faculties of
      rational thought and analysis, as well as my courage. Steeling myself, I
      stride through the glass door, only to be confronted with an array of
      glossy pamphlets and two or three mild-mannered, relatively normal-looking
      people sitting calmly at their desks.

      "Immediately, a man approaches me, inquiring as to my business. I play
      innocent, citing an interest in Scientology that remains unquenched by my
      casual internet surfing. He ushers me into a special viewing cubicle,
      where I sit among stacks of videos with names like The Deterioration of
      Liberty, Operation Manual for the Mind, and The Dynamic Principles of
      Existence. The video I watch consists entirely of a 1966 interview with L.
      Ron Hubbard, the charismatic founder of Scientology. He has 'cult leader'
      written all over him: a friendly Nebraska drawl, intent and slitted eyes,
      an avuncular air. I do my best to conceal my reporter's notebook in which
      I furiously scrawl notes, convinced that I am being watched.

      "The second the movie concludes, a second unidentified man appears behind
      me. 'I need to speak with you now,' he says. I furtively look around and
      map out possible escape routes. The man - Alain - and I talk for some
      time. He is rather non-threatening. He asks about any potential engrams I
      may be harbouring, and I quickly invent a tale of a troubled relationship
      with my parents. He nods and recommends that I take one of the
      instructional courses offered by the Church, which he assures me will
      improve my interpersonal relations. He offers to give me a standardized
      personality test. In the box for my name, address, and telephone number, I
      provide a battery of fakes, as friends had warned me that the
      Scientologists would stalk and blackmail me if I gave them my real vitals.
      My test results indicate that the majority of my personal traits are in
      the 'Unacceptable State' zone, and the several pages of analytic print-out
      - only parts of which I am permitted to see, tell me the following: 'You
      have an unstable character; you are a person on whom no one can count; you
      are in a total nervous state; you do not know how to control yourself,
      even in ordinary circumstances.' The report goes on to tell me that I am
      irritable and 'can become hysterical or violent' in my everyday actions. I
      am 'totally irresponsible,' as well as 'totally insensitive and without
      heart.' Alain tells me that my condition is urgent, but that -
      conveniently - Scientology can help me. I extricate myself from the
      situation, citing budgetary constraints and a need to think things over. I
      promise to return later in the week and quickly walk out, vowing never to
      return.

      "Jean La Riviere, Director of Public Affairs at Montreal's Church of
      Scientology and a practitioner of the faith since 1974, acknowledges how
      damaging the widespread criticism and scapegoating of Scientology has been
      for its believers. 'It's hard to hear these stories, which continue
      pushing negative stereotypes of our beliefs.' La Riviere observes that any
      new religion encounters difficulty and opposition at its inception, as did
      Christianity and other now-accepted faiths when they were getting off the
      ground. 'When you have a new religious movement, this kind of targeting
      happens because the faith is not understood. Right away, because they
      don't have any information, people will create information for
      themselves,' La Riviere says. 'It's unfortunate, but that's how human
      nature works.' What does the future hold for Scientology? It's hard to
      say. Now that society has legions of second- and third-generation
      Scientologists on its hands, it looks as though the faith is here to stay.
      'If the media start reporting on Scientology in a more positive way,'
      Cowan remarks, 'that might fuel its growth even more.' In the end,
      Scientologists are harmless - they don't have laser eyes, they won't stalk
      your family, they don't have apocalyptic fantasies. They're just people
      who go to church, like any other people who go to church. Ultimately, I'm
      amazed at how entrenched my misconceptions about these people were, and I
      feel rather silly.

      "I have to say, my greatest comfort through this whole experience has been
      learning that the personality test I took at the Church has been widely
      documented as being skewed - designed to indicate that people have
      problems that Scientology can solve. So while I may still need to worry
      about my stereotypes and biases, I can sleep easy about my hysterical,
      violent outbursts."

      Message-ID: <20021006144923.20947.00009516@...>

      #####

      > State Department

      The Associated Press reported on October 7th that the annual U.S. State
      Department on International Religious Freedom again criticizes Germany for
      alleged mistreatment of Scientologists.

      "Some local authorities and private firms in Germany use 'sect filters'
      focused on the U.S.-based Church of Scientology in hiring and contracting,
      a new State Department report says. 'These practices give rise to a
      climate of discrimination and may cause financial losses for individual
      companies, the department's 2002 report on international religion said. It
      was released Monday. The report said the federal property office has
      barred the sale of some real estate to the Scientologists, noting that the
      Finance Ministry has urged that such sales be avoided if possible.

      "'Scientologists reported employment difficulties, and in the state of
      Bavaria, applicants for state civil service positions must complete
      questionnaires detailing any relationship they may have with Scientology,'
      the report said. The report said U.S. government discussed the status of
      Scientology many times with state and local officials in the past year.
      'U.S. officials frequently made the point that the use of 'filters' to
      prevent persons from practicing their professions, solely on a basis of
      their beliefs, is an abuse of their rights, as well as a discriminatory
      business practice,' the report said. authorities, the U.S. German
      officials, the U.S. government expressed its concerns over infringement of
      individual rights because of religious affiliations."

      In a BBC Worldservice Radio interview on October 8th, Scientology
      spokesperson Leisa Goodman called for elimination of the French
      governmental agency MILS, which is responsible for cult awareness.

      "LG: The problem is that this body, which is under the government of
      France, it creates discrimination, incites hatred, solely because of
      someone's religion. And [the] French government in fact admitted two weeks
      ago that MILS has caused some big problems. And then today [the] US State
      Department released their report on religious freedom around the world and
      it states that countries like China and Vietnam are now citing France
      because they are stating how France is used to justifying persecution of
      religion. All these countries, totalitarian countries, They're using the
      French model and I think that sets a terrible example as a modern western
      democracy.

      "Q: The French government says that it has to protect vulnerable members
      of society. If the Scientologists are a bona fide body, what do they have
      to be afraid of?

      "LG: First before you persecute a body of people you'd have to have
      evidence of wrongdoing. And the problem is that the French government,
      they haven't come up with anything. In stead they go on this wild witch
      hunt, which has been conducted majorly by MILS, against, they have a list
      of a 173 religions, what they call a sect-blacklist, including Christian
      denominations, it includes Jehovah's Witnesses, and many others besides
      Scientology.

      "Q: There are a number of legal suits pending against the Scientologists
      in France, aren't there, hat have been brought by ex-Scientologists, by
      individuals?

      "LG: No, that's not true at all.

      "Q: Well actually it is true, because I spoke to some of them last week.

      "LG: But they're not pending. Two of them have come to fruition. And
      there's one that's ongoing. But there's very many positive decisions in
      France that have been rendered. And there's also the decision by the
      European court of human rights against France for their actions against
      Scientology.

      "Q: Are you worried that the church of Scientology could be closed down in
      France?

      "LG: Not at all. Because you see, Scientologists, we've weathered the
      storm, from 1950 since the church came into being, since the church was
      founded in '54. We believe in fighting for human rights, not only for us
      but for other religions. That's why we've sent this letter to the
      president of France. We've demanded that he disband MILS, that he actually
      get rid of this hate machine."

      Message-ID: <awyo9.478$wZ4.99629@...>
      Message-ID: <v3c7qu8kdkt161gnr59rd3sqhs2eptd78j@...>

      -end-
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