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A.r.s Week in Review - 11/10/2002

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  • Rod Keller
    Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 32 11/10/2002 by Rod Keller [rkeller@voicenet.com] copyright 2002 Alt.religion.scientology Week in
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 10, 2002
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      Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 32
      11/10/2002 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

      Week in Review is archived at:


      > The Profit

      The St. Petersburg Times reported on November 9th that Bob Minton has sued
      the producers of the film The Profit in order to see the financial books.

      "Church of Scientology critic Robert S. Minton put up $2.44-million to
      produce a film called The Profit, a thinly disguised movie about
      Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. But after the movie's limited release
      to one Pinellas theater in 2001, Minton went from being Scientology's
      archenemy to a cooperating witness who wanted out of an expensive fight
      against the church. Now Minton wants a look at the movie's financial

      "Minton filed a lawsuit Nov. 1 against the movie's writer and director,
      Peter Alexander, demanding a financial accounting of the $2.44-million
      Minton said he invested in The Profit. Minton's investment in the movie,
      and the company formed to shepherd it into production, provided the
      project's entire budget, save $100 invested by Alexander, according to the

      "'We want to know where the money went,' said McGowan. 'We don't think it
      all went to make the movie.' Alexander's attorney, Luke Lirot, said his
      client did not misappropriate the money. He accused Minton of doing the
      church's bidding by attacking Alexander and a movie that could be
      interpreted as being critical of Scientology.

      "Lirot said Scientology lawyers have been barred by a Pinellas judge from
      seeking information about the film. The judge's order is part of a
      wrongful death suit against Scientology by a lawyer for the estate of Lisa
      McPherson, who died in 1995 after 17 days in the care of Scientology
      staffers in Clearwater. Through that protective order, Minton also would
      be prohibited from seeking a financial accounting of a film, even if he
      funded its production. He can get the accounting, Lirot said, when the
      wrongful death case goes to trial, perhaps by next year.

      "But McGowan said the order doesn't apply to Minton. 'This is a whole
      different issue,' McGowan said. McGowan said his client began considering
      legal action after Courage Productions, the company Minton formed with
      Alexander to make The Profit, sued to stop Minton and the Lisa McPherson
      Trust from showing film clips on a Web site.

      "He said Minton wants to see whether any of his money was misappropriated
      or remains in the bank after production of the movie. If any of the cash
      remains, Minton wants it back, McGowan said."

      From the complaint filed in Florida:

      "The respondent has misappropriated company assets inter alia by bringing
      a Federal Lawsuit in the Middle District of Florida without the consent of
      the petitioner; by retaining counsel to do so without the consent of the
      petitioner; on information and belief by using company assets to pay
      counsel to engage in this activity; and on information and belief to pay
      himself and third parties money in excess of what is permitted by the
      agreement or otherwise misappropriated company assets for other purposes.

      "On June 5, 2002, the undersigned as counsel for the petitioner sent a
      certified letter to the respondent requesting a time for a review of the
      books and records of the company. On June 11, 2002, Luke Lirot, Esquire
      ('Mr. Lirot'), who is counsel for the company, advised the undersigned
      that further communication to the respondent should be made through him
      and that he would make arrangements for an inspection of the books and
      records within a reasonable time. When no written response was
      forthcoming, the undersigned again contacted Mr. Lirot, who thereafter
      advised the undersigned that the respondent was 'out of town' until the
      beginning of July 2002, and that the books and records were located in
      California with an accountant of some sort whom the respondent had
      presumably engaged.

      "Mr. Lirot further advised the undersigned that the aforesaid 'accountant'
      did not have an office, that he 'works out of his house,' and that he
      would not be available even to send the records back to Florida until July
      16, 2002. Between July 2002, and the date of this petition, Petitioner has
      consistently been rebuffed in his efforts to obtain the books and records
      of Courage Productions.

      "The petitioner has cause to believe that if an injunction does not issue
      these assets will be disbursed, concealed, or otherwise made unavailable
      to him by the time this action is concluded. It is in the interest of
      equity and justice that the court order the immediate disclosure of the
      whereabouts and the value of all company assets by the respondent and the
      disposition by the respondent of all $2,448,211.00 of capital provided by
      the petitioner. It is also in the interest of equity and justice that
      these assets be enjoined from any kind of alienation whatsoever by the
      respondent, directly or indirectly, or by the respondent through any third

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      > Canada

      Frank Magazine reported that Scientology has invited members of the
      Canadian Parliament to visit their UK headquarters to discuss alleged
      discrimination against Scientologists in Europe.

      "This week's award for most dubious parliamentary junket goes to Colleen
      Beaumier (Lib-Brampton West-Mississauga) who is trying to round up
      collegues for a week-long tot later this month to England to attend the
      international AGM of the charmingly offbeat Church of Scientology.
      According to Colleen, she hatched the idea for the UK odyssey with Al
      Buttnor, Scientology's chief Canadian spokesthingy.

      "'Mr Buttnor shared with me an interesting idea that he has to take
      several parliamentarians to Europe to demonstrate to them first hand the
      discrimination and prejudice experienced by members of the Church of
      Scientology. I thought the idea had merit and I agreed to forward the
      information to Members of Parliament who I thought might be sympathetic to
      their cause as well as interested in a trip of this nature.'

      "Among the subjects the Scientologists can be expected to raise with their
      guests are the constant concerns about 'suppressive' behaviour by
      governments around the world, some of which regard them as a dangerous
      cult, and plain old matters of the pocketbook (Revenue Canada kiboshed the
      Scientologists' last bid for tax free status in 1999). The parliamentary
      freeloaders are scheduled to leave for England October 17. On the 21st,
      after the AGM wraps up at Scientology world headquarters in Saint Hill
      Manor, East Grinstead, the Scientologists propose to whisk their guests
      off on a fun-filled tour of France and Germany, two governments with
      rigorous anti-cult laws the Sci-Fi's find particularly onerous before
      touching back down in Toronto, Planet Earth, October 23."

      Message-ID: <S8MAR76K37570.1307175926@...>


      > Clearwater

      The St. Petersburg Times reported on November 7th that three people were
      arrested for attempting to take a Scientologist to the doctor by force.

      "A man was arrested Tuesday and accused of enlisting two friends to help
      him tie up his wife so he could take her to the doctor. Largo police
      arrested Terry Ray Hemphill, 54, on charges of felony false imprisonment
      and misdemeanor domestic battery. Jamie J. Popa, 33, and Laurie Lynn
      Miller, 32, also were arrested on false imprisonment charges.

      "Hemphill's wife said it wasn't the first time her husband had physically
      abused her. She told Ross she did not report the previous abuse to police,
      but reported it to the Church of Scientology, of which the Hemphills are
      members. Ross said Mrs. Hemphill told him a Scientology counselor had been
      assigned to help the couple."

      The St. Petersburg Times reported on November 9th that a Scientologist
      died in Clearwater following a collision between a bicycle and a

      "A woman killed in a collision between a motorcycle and a bicycle Thursday
      night has been identified as Josianne Bergstrom, a parishioner of the
      Church of Scientology. Bergstrom, 53, was pedaling a bicycle southeaster
      across Drew Street about 9:40 p.m. when her bike collided with a westbound
      motorcycle driven by Joseph F. Beck, 39, of Clearwater, police said.
      Bergstrom was pronounced dead at the scene, which was on Drew Street west
      of Osceola Avenue.

      "Church spokesman Ben Shaw said Bergstrom was from Zurich, Switzerland,
      but he declined to say whether she was visiting the area or living here
      and working as a church staffer. The police report lists her address as
      the Fort Harrison Hotel, but it was not clear Friday whether that was a
      temporary or a permanent address."

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      > Delphi Schools

      The Fall, 2002 issue of The Delphi Forum reported news about Scientology's
      private school system.

      "Delphi San Diego, with its original school in the seaside town of La
      Jolla, now has a second campus in San Marcos, the fastest growing city in
      the country. The new San Marcos school opened its doors for summer session
      in June and now has close to 30 students enrolled in the kindergarten
      through 3rd grade program.

      "Located on a hilltop with four and a half acres of beautifully landscaped
      terrain all around, the schoolhouse itself (built in the late 1800s) is
      one of the oldest original buildings in the area. Before she opened the
      doors to the school, Chris had to obtain a conditional use permit to
      operate as a school once again. This required giving a presentation to the
      city council and planning commission for San Marcos. She decided to use
      the results of the Delphi Program to help 'sell' the idea at her
      presentation. The council and commissioners were so impressed with the
      program and students' test scores that they asked at the end of the
      presentation, 'When do you plan to do another one?' Needless to say, the
      permit was approved, and the school is doing very well.

      "A founding committee has been formed and is actively searching the west
      Los Angeles area-specifically, Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades - for an
      ideal site for the next Delphi Academy. The School would begin with a
      kindergarten through 3rd grade program, with the possibility of expanding
      to 6th grade (Form 4) at some later point. More than $2 million is
      currently pledged from parents and other interested parties to cover the
      land purchase and building construction of the school.

      "The efforts of parents have been indispensable in launching Delphi
      Academy of Los Angeles' new campus construction this past May. The
      facility is in Lake View Terrace, just north of the current site. The LA
      Parent Committee played a big part in the site search, and helped raise
      over $325,000 toward the land purchase and campus construction. Another
      $195,000 has been pledged and will come in during the next few months. By
      December, Phase One - all classrooms, administration areas, the parking
      lot, sports fields and landscaping-will be complete, paving the way for
      the school to move in over the holidays!

      "BENEFACTOR WITH HONORS ($100,000+): Craig & Sally Jensen
      BENEFACTORS ($50,000+): Delphi LA Student Government
      FUTURE BUILDERS ($25,000+): Alan & Sheila Atkinson-Baker, Michael &
      Elizabeth Baybak
      SUPPORTERS ($10,000): Kelly & Lisa Black, Brisker & Farr Families, Chris &
      Kate Davis, Alan & Karen Morrissett, Bobby & Susie Rounds"

      Message-ID: <7JV5CRDI37568.4433796296@...>


      > Denmark

      The Copenhagen Post reported on November 7th that a former East German
      Stasi officer has testified against Scientology in a libel case.

      "Onetime leader of the East German foreign intelligence service Stasi,
      Markus Wolf, testified under oath in a civil court case involving the
      Church of Scientology and a Danish journalist. "Wolf testified on behalf
      of filmmaker Walter Heynowski, whom the Church of Scientology in Denmark
      had accused to working under Wolf's spy racket, the HVA. The filmmaker,
      together with Danish journalist Joergen Pedersen, filed suit against the
      Scientologists on grounds of libelous fraud, demanding DKK 250,000 plus
      punitive damages against the editor-in-chief of the Scientology-affiliated
      journal Frihed after a 1999 special edition of the journal that appeared
      in 1999.

      "The special edition was produced after the Church of Scientology tried,
      without success, to block the rebroadcast of a Pedersen-produced
      documentary that was openly critical of the sect. The Scientologists
      struck back at the Danish journalist, alleging in the 1999 edition that
      Pedersen had enjoyed a close-crony relationship throughout the Cold War
      with Walter Heynowski, described by the magazine as 'the DDR master of
      film propaganda and misinformation' and a favourite of Markus Wolf. The
      Danish magazine also alleged that Heynowski had actually worked for the

      "Wolf refuted the allegation during Tuesday's testimony, maintaining that
      he never knew Heynowski particularly well, so he could never have been one
      of the enigmatic spy chief's favourites. Wolf told daily newspaper
      Politiken that he considered it his 'duty' to testify in the case. The
      Pedersen-Heynowski libel trial is expected to carry on for four more

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      > Front Sight

      Internet magazine Light of Reason reported this week that Front Sight, a
      gun training company, is filing suit against a former attendee who claims
      the company is associated with Scientology.

      "Diana Hsieh and her husband Paul first became acquainted with Front Sight
      Management in April 2002. For many months, they had nothing but the
      highest regard for Front Sight, where they had attended a four-day
      defensive handgun training course. Then, in October of this year, Diana
      began hearing certain stories about the alleged connections between
      Ignatius Piazza, the head of Front Sight, and Scientology.

      "Diana sent Piazza an email about these matters. 'Your association with
      Scientology may well pose a grave danger to the gun rights movement as a
      whole. As you succeed in 'changing hearts and minds' about guns, the
      anti-gun lobby and media will look for any convenient smear tactic to
      advance their cause. Your association with Scientology would be the
      perfect fodder for such folks. Gun enthusiasts would no longer be thought
      of as uneducated, paranoid rednecks, but rather brainwashed cult members.'

      "Front Sight filed a complaint naming Diana as a defendant on October 29.
      Even though Diana still does not know the contents of the lawsuit, or the
      nature of the claims against her, word has quickly spread throughout the
      guns rights community. Not surprisingly, people on various discussion
      threads are very upset at what they perceive to be Front Sight's
      high-handed, strong-arming tactics. For example, at The Firing Line,
      people said: 'I agree this is classic Scientology material. They use the
      legal system to intimidate people with the threat of a lawsuit.
      Unfortunately, it often works because most people prize their money above
      their autonomy and sovereignty.'

      "[Internet site] Glock Talk was threatened by Front Sight: 'Hi folks. I
      recently received a certified letter from Front Sight Firearms Training
      Institute's lawyer concerning negative posts made on Glock Talk. In
      addition to wanting me to ban an individual that made allegations against
      them, the message threatened legal action against this site if I didn't
      'Carefully check posts in the future concerning Front Site'.'

      "If there were only questions before about possible ties among Piazza,
      Front Sight and Scientology, many of those questions have become much more
      serious - and appear to have perhaps been answered - by Front Sight's
      speed in deciding to sue Diana."

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      > Nicole Kidman

      Australian newspaper The Courier Mail reported on November 7th that Nicole
      Kidman says she was never a Scientologist.

      "She also wants it known she is not gay, was never a Scientologist and
      that she's pretty happy with life. Kidman also explained that she never
      became a Scientologist during their marriage. 'I was introduced to it by
      him [Tom Cruise], and I explored it. But I'm not a Scientologist.'"

      Message-ID: <odnnsugcto3jd81kp640lc3upr0hu1qfkc@...>

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