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A.r.s Week in Review - 11/24/2002

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  • Rod Keller
    Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 34 11/24/2002 by Rod Keller [rkeller@voicenet.com] copyright 2002 Alt.religion.scientology Week in
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      Alt.religion.scientology
      Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 34
      11/24/2002 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

      ####

      > CCHR

      The Houston Chronicle published an article on November 24th on possible
      harm done to patients by restraint, including comments from a spokesman
      for Scientology's Citizen's Commission on Human Rights.

      "No state or federal agency aggregates deaths or injuries related to
      restraints. However, the Hartford Courant documented 142 deaths across the
      country during or after restraints performed between 1988 and 1998. In
      Texas, Austin-based Advocacy Inc., a federally funded program serving the
      interests of the disabled, has counted at least 15 fatalities over the
      past three years in hospitals and treatment centers across the state.
      Proponents say restraint is a necessity in the clinical and institutional
      world where some confrontations can be handled no other way. Critics say
      the practice is barbaric and should be banned.

      "The restraint method most commonly used today is the basket hold, so
      named because it serves to contain the patient in a more or less
      basketlike position. Dr. Jack Zusman, a professor at Florida Mental Health
      Institute in Tampa and author of a book on clinical restraint and
      seclusion, says a sort of consensus favoring the basket hold came about
      over the past generation or so. 'When I was in training, the accepted
      practice was the chokehold,' he says. 'At least we're past that.'

      "While some contend the basket hold can be OK if done correctly in the
      appropriate situation, others say it is far too susceptible to abuse or
      misuse, especially in understaffed facilities. Jerry Boswell, president of
      the Citizens Commission on Human Rights in Texas, says his organization,
      founded by the Church of Scientology, opposes most drug-based psychiatric
      treatment and has been lobbying the Texas Legislature to ban physical
      restraint altogether. 'It's used too often for the convenience of staff or
      as a punishment measure,' he contends. 'How many kids have to die before
      it's finally done away with?'

      "A basket hold that winds up with the patient face down on the floor is
      doubly perilous because he or she can suffer breath-stopping rib damage,
      diaphragm constriction or aspiration of vomit, Zusman says. Texas law
      prohibits face-down restraint, but incidents occur anyway. In a Mason
      County wilderness camp northwest of Austin, a 17-year-old boy died on
      April 14 after a prone restraint in which no one detected that he had
      vomited. A final autopsy report is pending. Even by-the-book restraints
      can include sudden wrenching movements by patients or staffers that can
      break bones or dislocate joints. In every case there's a risk of
      psychological trauma, says Zusman. 'It's unpleasant for everyone involved.
      It's rare for a patient to say thank you.'

      "State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, has prefiled a bill for the 2003
      session of the Legislature to prohibit types of restraint that can
      restrict a patient's breathing by compressing the chest or diaphragm or
      that interfere with the ability to talk. In addition, her Senate Bill 59
      would permit physical restraint to be used only when other means have
      failed, and would require that a person trained in the restraint, but not
      engaged in the application, monitor the patient's condition."

      Message-ID: <uC4E9.617$9c.78206@...>

      #####

      > India

      The Times of India reported on November 20th on the Scientology org in
      Delhi.

      "Tucked away in a quiet corner of Defence Colony, the Delhi headquarters
      of the Church of Scientology is surprisingly nondescript. So low-key have
      scientologists been that the entry of the world's 'newest religion' in
      India, that has among its followers Hollywood heavyweights Tom Cruise,
      John Travolta and Kirstie Alley, has gone almost unnoticed.

      "Reports of it being a 'closed, fanatical cult' have appeared time and
      again in the media. A critical cover story in Time magazine (May 6, 1991)
      called it 'the most lucrative and litigious cult the country (US) has ever
      seen'.

      "A visit to the Delhi scientology centre, however, leaves one with the
      feeling that in India a concerted effort is being made to leave the
      troubled, scandalous past behind. For one, the centre is called the
      'Hubbard Dianetics Foundation' and not the Church of Scientology. Says
      Joss Van De Ven, a senior Dutch Scientologist who is managing the centre:
      'We are offering something that is practical and workable.'

      "Nirvana, however, is anything but instant in Scientology. The novitiate
      is separated from the dianetical equivalent of enlightenment by a series
      of levels that he must pass, either by enrolling in more courses, or by
      getting repeatedly audited. And there lies the catch, for the courses are
      prohibitively expensive. Even at the Delhi centre, that offers only
      elementary ones, the cost is anything from Rs 2,000 to Rs 9,000 per
      course, even after a self-confessed 'lowering' to meet India's
      impoverished standards. The monetary factor ensures that Scientology's
      clientele in India is strictly upper class.

      "In fact, reported allegations of making money off adherents is one of the
      controversies the Church has faced over the years, made worse by claims of
      Hubbard having once said and quoted in the Reader's Digest (issue May
      1980): 'Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to
      make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion.'"

      Message-ID: <RD9D9.539$9c.69927@...>

      #####

      > Narconon

      Signonsandiego.com reported on November 21st that a delegation from the
      U.S. will visit a Scientology drug rehab facility in Tijuana, Mexico.

      "About 100 female legislators from the United States will visit the state
      prison in Ensenada today to see firsthand the results of a program for
      drug-addicted inmates. The state began the program, called Segunda
      Oportunidad, or Second Opportunity, seven years ago, based on the Church
      of Scientology's prisoner rehabilitation program, called Narconon. It is
      based on the philosophies of the late L. Ron Hubbard.

      "The program's strategy is to get the addicts to understand and then
      overcome the personal problems that led them to abuse drugs. The program
      begins with a detoxification process that uses sauna baths, massages,
      vitamins and proteins to reduce the biochemical effects of the drugs. No
      medications are used - not even methadone, a drug that reduces the
      symptoms of heroin withdrawal.

      "The program at the Ensenada prison was deemed so successful that it was
      approved for use two years ago at the state penitentiary in Tijuana. That
      program was suspended, however, during the recent transfer of prisoners to
      a new facility at El Hongo, in La Rumorosa. Since it began in 1995, the
      Second Opportunity program has attracted visitors from the United States
      and other countries. Judge Baltazar Garzon, who presided over the trial of
      former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in Spain, recently traveled with
      other visitors to Ensenada and Tijuana to observe the program.

      "The program could be heading next to a prison in Colima, and the
      Guatemalan government has expressed an interest in it, said Francisco
      Iribe Paniagua, a program representative in Latin America. 'I believe the
      program works and could work for any drug-addicted person,' said Iribe, a
      former police chief of the Baja California capital of Mexicali and former
      director of the state agency that operates the prisons and tries to
      rehabilitate inmates.

      "The National Foundation of Women Legislators, which counts among its
      members Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, has been meeting in San Diego this
      week. About 100 of those on hand plan to travel to Ensenada today."

      Chris Owen announced a new web site on Narconon, www.narconon-exposed.org.

      "The site is not about attacking Narconon or criticising Scientology for
      the sake of it, and it's not motivated by any desire to harm Scientology.
      It's much more in a 'Consumer Reports' vein, assessing Narconon's (and
      Scientology's) claims against known facts, pointing out where the facts
      and claims diverge and providing omitted or downplayed facts, such as the
      real hazards of Narconon's methods. There will be a lot more material
      coming over the next few months.

      "Drug addicts are amongst the most vulnerable people in society and the
      effects of their addiction - on themselves, their families and society as
      a whole - can be devastating: crime, disease, family breakups. If scarce
      money is to be spent on rehabilitation courses, or if people are sent on
      them by courts or by well-meaning relatives, it's vital that all concerned
      should have all the facts to hand. In my opinion and that of many others,
      many of the facts about Narconon are obscured - some deliberately so. This
      website aims to redress that imbalance."

      Message-ID: <80ee9418.0211210812.79e87565@...>
      Message-ID: <f758becc.0211221453.700692b0@...>

      #####

      > Australia

      The Sun-Herald reported on November 24th that James Packer, an Australian
      billionaire, has become involved in Scientology.

      "James Packer is receiving instruction from an elite order in the Church
      of Scientology. The executive chairman of PBL and heir to Australia's
      richest fortune is believed to have turned to the secretive organisation
      in an attempt to regain control of his life after suffering a crisis of
      confidence following the collapse of his marriage.

      "In recent weeks Mr Packer has been attending self-help training sessions
      and has been seen at the Church's Dundas campus. On Friday, Mr Packer's
      office did not return calls concerning the inquiry, and no-one was
      prepared to confirm reports that he is being counselled. The Church has
      pulled a protective veil around its newest follower. 'If anyone becomes a
      member, he would be entitled to his privacy,' Scientology spokesman Cyrus
      Brooks said on Friday.

      "But according to other Church sources Mr Packer, 35, has undertaken
      so-called auditing sessions in self-help and personal improvement. These
      sessions are designed to help build self-confidence, explain why personal
      relationships fail and assist people to reach their full potential. It is
      understood Mr Packer was introduced by Hollywood actor Tom Cruise. The PBL
      chief has developed a friendship with Los Angeles-based Cruise, who is an
      advocate of the Church's doctrine. Friends said the bond between the two
      men strengthened in the wake of the collapse of telephony company One.Tel
      last year and his separation from wife Jodhi in June.

      "Mr Packer has travelled frequently this year to Los Angeles, where the
      Church's lavish Celebrity Centre has its headquarters. He has been
      attending counselling sessions lasting two to three hours a couple of
      times a week in Sydney. Mr Packer has employed a Scientologist as his
      personal assistant at his home in Bondi. Her role is to manage his house.
      The heir to a $7 billion fortune, Mr Packer has been sighted at the Dundas
      campus, regarded as the Church's key Sydney educational facility and home
      to many of its ministers and teachers.

      "The Church offers instruction on everything from self-esteem to business
      management. Mr Packer has not enrolled in any business management courses
      but is thought to be concentrating on learning to present himself and make
      a greater impact on people around him.

      "'Once you do one course, there is always another,' said one former member
      who did not wish to be named. 'That's how the Church makes its money. By
      charging for each subsequent course.' A separate order exists for
      celebrities. Known as C-Org (celebrity organisation) it offers exclusive
      counselling and extra privacy. It is understood Mr Packer is being
      counselled within the C-Org order."

      Message-ID: <80ee9418.0211230554.16b897dd@...>

      #####

      > UK

      The Hampstead & Highgate Express reported on November 22nd that
      Scientology wants to become involved in the curriculum of some London-area
      schools.

      "Scientologists want children in Camden schools to be taught their beliefs
      as part of the new curriculum. And the controversial group also wants
      pupils to learn about the teachings of the Moonies and Pagans during
      religious education (RE) lessons when the new school curriculum is
      introduced in 2003.

      "The movement, founded in the 1950s by late American eccentric L Ron
      Hubbard, has never had formal religious status in the UK. But members of
      the Camden branch, based in Tottenham Court Road for 35 years, believe
      Scientology, along with other smaller groups, should be given the same
      exposure as Catholicism and Protestantism at GCSE and A-Level.

      "Camden's standing advisory council for religious education (SACRE), which
      includes Church of England representatives, headteachers, councillors and
      school governors, is now set to consider the request, after two members of
      the Camden branch presented the council with a book on the movement on
      Tuesday. Scientologist Paul Dolan, who was at the meeting, said: 'We are
      asking SACRE to think of introducing other religious communities into the
      new school curriculum for religious education. 'It is really to extend
      religious tolerance of groups such as ourselves, the Unification church
      (the Moonies) the Unitarians, the Quakers and the Paganists. Some of these
      groups that have come about in the last 50 years aren't as represented as
      they perhaps should be.'

      "The committee agreed to seek expert advice on the issue from leading
      experts on cults before reaching its decision. If it accepts the request,
      representatives from the Church of Scientology will be appointed to SACRE
      and allowed to visit schools and talk about the group. But some SACRE
      members expressed concern that the move could encourage groups looking for
      'a platform.' Councillor Julian Fullbrook, former chairman of SACRE, said:
      'I would be worried about the number of movements that might want to use
      SACRE as a platform.'

      "The request has prompted serious concern by anti-cult groups. Ian
      Haworth, of the Cult Information Centre, said the move was 'potentially
      hazardous.' He added: 'If Scientology is considered a religion in the
      school curriculum, it will be the first to have a criminal record. The
      main concerns are not so much their beliefs, but the methods they employ
      to recruit new members. By introducing their beliefs, students would be
      missing the main point, and this could give them a false sense of security
      about the organisations in any relationships they might have with those
      groups.'

      "But a spokesman for the Church of Scientology, whose headquarters are in
      East Grinstead, said: 'With reports of religious discrimination still
      appearing in the media and elsewhere, we believe that schoolchildren
      should learn basic beliefs of all religions, as discrimination is very
      often fuelled by ignorance.'"

      Message-ID: <ZrpD9.549$9c.72146@...>

      -end-
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