Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 36
12/8/2002 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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The Buffalo News reported on December 6th that Scientology has accepted a
buy-out offer to allow the org building to be demolished and replaced with
a parking garage ramp.
"A long-festering property dispute between the City of Buffalo and the
Church of Scientology has come to an end, clearing the way for expansion
of the downtown Owen P. Augspurger Parking Ramp. Church officials have
accepted the city's purchase offer of $740,000 for its building at 43 W.
Huron St., at the corner of Franklin Street, and in exchange will drop the
federal lawsuit they filed against the city in early October.
"The $740,000 purchase agreement is the result of continued negotiations
between lawyers for the city and the church, which moved the city off its
original offer of $425,000, the value placed on the property by city
appraisers. An appraisal done on behalf of the church put the value at
$650,000. The $740,000 is said to cover not only the value of the
building, but also the expenses the church will incur to relocate. Under
terms of the purchase agreement, which requires approval by the Common
Council, the church will have the right to stay on as a tenant of the
building through April. The extended tenancy will give the church
additional time to find a new home while Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps, which
will oversee the ramp expansion, moves through the design approval
> John Travolta
The St. Petersburg Times reported on December 4th that Scientology
celebrity John Travolta has parked his private jet plane at the St.
Petersburg Clearwater airport while he takes courses at Flag Land Base.
"That Qantas airplane parked at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International
Airport? Nope, there are no plans for a nonstop service to Sydney,
Australia. The Boeing 707 visible to traffic passing by on Roosevelt
Boulevard belongs to actor/aviation buff John Travolta.
"Travolta is simply in town for religious services at the Church of
Scientology's spiritual center in downtown Clearwater, said church
spokesman Ben Shaw. Travolta arrived with his flight crew about a week
ago, said Thomas Jewsbury, director of operations for the airport. An
accomplished pilot, Travolta flies his jetliner into St.
Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport every few months so he can
attend religious services. But this time, the plane bears a distinctive
red Qantas logo, and it's parked in a more visible part of the airfield."
RTE reported on December 3rd that a former Scientologist is suing
Scientology for psychological injuries while she was a member.
"A Dublin woman who claims she was brainwashed by a cult has begun a High
Court legal action for damages. 40-year-old sports shop owner Mary Johnson
from Westwood, Foxrock, was a member of the Church of Scientology for two
years between 1992 and 1994. She is now suing the organisation because of
the experiences and pressures she claims she suffered while a member and
the threats and intimidation when she tried to leave.
"In the High Court today her lawyer Sean Ryan said the evidence in the
case will show how she was sucked into the organisation and subjected to
processes and procedures which brought her under its control and
influence. It is claimed she suffered psychiatric and psychological
injuries and post traumatic stress disorder. She was introduced of
Scientology in 1992 when she was upset after a relationship break-up."
From The Irish Examiner on December 4th:
"Dundalk-born Mary Johnson, 40, who has a sports equipment shop at
Westwood, Foxrock, is also suing three members of the church: John Keane,
Tom Cunningham and Gerard Ryan. In the High Court yesterday, Sean Ryan SC
for Ms Johnson, said she was 'sucked in' by the organisation which brought
her under its control and influence. Efforts were made to prevent her
leaving the organisation, to silence her and to devalue her. The court was
also told efforts had been made to intimidate her and to prevent her
"Ms Johnson had suffered psychological, psychiatric injuries, panic
attacks and post traumatic stress disorder, together with loss of short
term memory and that condition had been exacerbated by the subsequent
illegitimate conduct of the defendants. The story began in 1992 when Ms
Johnson was emotionally upset after splitting with her boyfriend. She knew
one of the defendants, Tom Cunningham, a member of the Church of
Scientology, who introduced her to 'dianetic auditing' of form of amateur
psychoanalysis. Mr Cunningham continually suggested Ms Johnson should go
to the church's Dublin mission in Middle Abbey Street and have a
personality test so that she could become involved in Scientology.
"The tests involved money and Ms Johnson was not well off. Under pressure
she signed up for a 'purification run down' an introduction to the church
at a cost of 1,200 pounds. Ms Johnson was required to do a medical
examination and was sent to a Scientologist described as a doctor. She
spent long periods in saunas and was told this was purification. People
such as this were described as 'raw meat' by L Ron Hubbard, the church's
founder. In March 1994, she started a 'Hubbard Dianetic Auditing' course
in Dublin and continued at Saint Hill Foundation in Britain.
"In December, a team of recruiters from Saint Hill came to Dublin and she
was asked how she was going to further her studies. She said she could not
afford further payments and was told she should go to her friends or sell
her business. She gave another 100 pound deposit for a course on a ship in
the Caribbean and subsequently signed a contract for one billion years to
work for Scientology."
From the Irish Times on December 7th:
"A woman who is suing the Church of Scientology was photographed by a man
while she was on a licensed premises early last year, the High Court was
told yesterday. Ms Mary Johnston said that incident occurred in
January/February 2001. Ms Johnston, who operates a sports equipment centre
at Westwood, Foxrock, Dublin, also said a friend had told her in her shop
earlier that a man had been on the premises and had made derogatory
remarks about her. Her attention was later drawn by a work colleague to a
man in the bar area of the Westwood centre. The man was queuing up to buy
something and then sat by the window and photographed her.
"Ms Johnston said she had a disposable camera which she gave to a friend,
Ms Catherine Hamilton, who took a picture of the man, which she produced
in court. The man had stared at her for about 10 minutes. She followed the
man out to the car park and he jumped a wall. She took a mental note of
the registration of a car he was driving and called garda. The man
concerned had come into her shop on a number of occasions.
"After leaving the Church, Ms Johnston said she had nightmares,
sleeplessness and anxiety attacks, which she had not experienced before.
Asked by Mr Michael Cush SC, one of her legal team, whether, in the two
years after leaving the Church, she had ever felt free of it or
scientologists, she said she did not. From May 1994, having left
Scientology, Ms Johnston said she lived in dread and fear because she knew
what she had told the movement in confidence 'risked being breached.' She
believed her private life in some way was going to become public. Towards
October, she began to have very bad and prolonged headaches and was dizzy.
She went to a doctor. She linked the headaches to Scientology.
"She was invited to speak at a meeting in Clonliffe College in late 1994.
Afterwards, a letter was sent by Mr Gerard Ryan to Stephen O'Brien, a
journalist then with the Irish Independent. The letter came into her
possession shortly afterwards. When she read it she was gutted because she
knew then that the fears she had were well founded. She was grieved by
what she read and she also felt betrayed.
"Mr Michael Collins SC, for the defendants, opened his cross-examination
of Ms Johnston by reading a nine-page article about Scientology, written
by Prof Brian Wilson, of Oxford University. Ms Johnston agreed this was a
reasonable summary of what Scientologists believed."
> Los Angeles
The New York Daily News, December 5th that the Celebrity Center in Los
Angeles will be holding a Christmas benefit event.
"The high priests of Scientology are no doubt regretting that loyal
follower Lisa Marie Presley wasn't able to coax her soon-to-be-ex husband,
Nicolas Cage, into the church. But other regulars at Scientology's
Celebrity Center in L.A. are still making merry.
"Among those due to join the center's 'Christmas Stories X' benefit
tomorrow and Saturday are Leah Remini, Anne Archer, Erika Christensen,
Juliette Lewis, Danny Masterson and Lynsey Bartilson. The money will go
to the Hollywood Police Activities League's Christmas party for
underprivileged children and inner-city youth programs."
The Burbank Leader reported on December 7th that Scientology has donated
housekeeping baskets to a local domestic violence shelter.
"The Women's Auxiliary of the Church of Scientology has provided the
Glendale YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter with Housekeeping Baskets filled
with laundry soap, sponges, bleach, trash bags and other items. Carol
Austin, Scientology Auxiliary Projects director, and Kim Balecha,
executive secretary of the Church of Scientology Mission in Glendale
presented the baskets to Yvette Romero, YWCA director of shelter
> Montel Williams
An episode of the Montel Williams television show promoted Scientology
celebrity Kelly Preston and the book Clear Body, Clear Mind. A summary by
"Kelly talked about how her and Travolta's son Jett got very ill with what
was eventually diagnosed as Kawasaki syndrome, and how it turns out it was
brought on by chemicals from having their carpet cleaned, plus pesticides
that somehow got in the house from outside. Then Montel holds up a copy of
Hubbard's 'Clear Body, Clear Mind', which is the book that Kelly
recommends people read to learn how to clear themselves from toxins they
may have been exposed to. Montel then says that Kelly has provided a free
copy of the book to everyone in Montel's studio audience.
"Kelly then talks about doing the Purification Program, and how when she
did this, her jaw started getting numb, apparently from Novocain she had
gotten years ago when she had some dental work done! Also, she talked
about how when she was a young girl she wore some kind of swimsuit that
had a slit in it, and how she got sunburned where the slit was while
wearing it, and then when she did this 'purification', the old sunburn
showed up on her skin again in the same slit pattern! Then they had
Michael Wisner on talking about exposure to chemicals, and he also
mentions 'Clear Body, Clear Mind.'"
The Intelligencer reported on December 3rd that a town council in Marmora,
Canada has rejected a zoning application for Scientology's Narconon
"Before a town hall packed with close to 125 people, council here
unanimously denied a rezoning application that would allow a former motel
to house a drug treatment centre. The move followed a special rezoning
hearing Monday night, called to allow those opposed and in favour of
allowing Narconon to legally continue in the former Treelawny Hotel. The
establishment of a Narconon facility in Marmora has caused huge rifts in
segments of the community, 40 km northwest of Belleville.
"After almost two hours of public deputations regarding the application,
council, in a recorded vote of 4-0 voted in favor of denying the
application to rezone the site. On one side, proponents of the endeavor -
six of whom were from the Toronto area - told of the benefits of the
program and attempted to dispel rumours that Narconon would not only bring
an influx of criminal activity to the area, but that the operation is an
attempt by the Church of Scientology to infiltrate the region.
"In opposition, Marmora residents - who presented a petition with more
than 350 names of locals opposed to the application - rallied against the
establishment, saying the program would have a negative effect on the area
by effectively labeling the region a 'drug treatment centre' for
"'We will be taking this to the Ontario Municipal Board,' pledged Penny
Luthra following the decision. During the meeting, her father Devinder - a
devout Sikh - said he bought the property because he 'wanted to bring
peace and harmony and revenue to this town.' 'I am not a Scientologist. I
am not a part of Scientology,' the Toronto businessman added. 'I like the
way they treat their patients. I want to do some good work for this
society.' A number of Scientology and Narconon supporters insisted
Narconon is an arm's length organization of Scientology. Reverend Al
Buttnor of the Office of Public Affairs of the Church of Scientology rose
to say what was before council 'was only a zoning issue,' and councillors
were not called to make a judgment either on Narconon or Scientology.
"Local Ted Bonter said the establishment of Narconon 'contributes nothing
to the betterment of this community,' and suggested Devinder reopen the
facility as a motel. 'This thing has evolved from under the table - it was
a smoke-screen from the beginning, and is tonight,' he said as the room
filled with applause. Stuart Newton said the community 'does not want to
be known as a drug treatment centre,' to outsiders."
> Lisa McPherson
A prayer for Lisa McPherson to commemorate her death at Scientology's Fort
Harrison Hotel was held on December 7th at the Nikolai Church in Leipzig,
"Rev. Gandow: On December 5, 1995 a 'Church of Scientology' vehicle drive
up to the New Port Richey Hospital north of Clearwater, Florida. The
driver explained to the doctor on emergency duty that he had a seriously
ill woman. What he had with him, however, was only a body in bad
condition. The woman was emaciated and dehydrated. Her body was covered
with bruises, sores and cockroach bites.
"It is certain that she was being treated with an 'Introspection Rundown,'
in which none of her tenders were to speak with her or answer her
questions. In a state medical examination, her death was spoken of as an
extreme case of dehydration. It was said that Lisa McPherson had received
no water for 5 to 10 days prior to her death. Scientology pressured the
mother of the deceased to cremate the body as soon as possible. The mother
was told Lisa had gotten sick in the afternoon and had rapidly
deteriorated, then was brought to the hospital, that it was fast-acting
"This, as in six previous years, is to remember the death of Lisa
McPherson and pray for those victims who, in their search for total
freedom, have found death as victims of a malicious totalitarian
organization. Today, on this international day of remembrance for Lisa
McPherson, we, as Christians, want to pray for justice and for God's peace
for the victims of Scientology. Let us not forget to pray for ourselves,
either, that we may receive hope and courage, for the courage to guard our
human freedom and dignity and the freedom and dignity of all on earth as
if it were our own. For the hope that more people and more politicians
will gain the courage they need to resist tyranny, wherever tyranny
appears, and in spite of the threats and promises accompanying it.
"We ask consideration for all those suffering unjustly in state prisons
and in punitive and concentration camps all over the world, as well as for
those in private punitive and reeducation camps, and in the isolation
arranged by Scientology in Europe and American, for all those who are
prevented from leading lives of physical wholesomeness, human dignity,
self-determination and freedom. We also pray for all victims of terror and
tyranny, of violence and force, whose blood cries to God from the Earth."
Tilman Hausherr reported on the event.
"It was very nice and tasteful. I believe that the family would have liked
it. One segment summarized the wishes and the feelings of Lisa from the
time she was alive very well. There were about 20-30 people sitting, i.e.
participating. Additionally, a few hundred came in and out to visit the
church, which is a major tourist attraction, and which was not closed
while the service took place."
> Protest Summary
Jens Tingleff reported a Lisa McPherson memorial event in London on
"In memory of Lisa McPherson, eight international SPs gathered outside the
Tottenham Court Rd org. I spent the time handing out leaflets. After
having had the attendant police warn off an over-eager Sea Ogre, I
distributed probably a good one hundred leaflets. I found that all I had
to do to get rid of leaflets was to say 'a-GAINST Scientology,' and I'd
get a smile and an occasional taker for the leaflets.
"John R. did his usual unrelenting stint at the microphone, and we had
enough leafletters to hold our own against the clams. The Scientologists
were using their usual leafletting tactics of either standing in people's
way and thrusting the rubbish into their hands, or stand by and weakly say
'free magazine?' In spite of the seriously chilly winds, we held out for
long enough to pretty much run out of leaflets, and we repaired to the
Mike Krotz reported a candlelight vigil in Clearwater on December 7th.
"A quiet and respectful candlelight vigil took place in Clearwater, in
memory of Lisa McPherson. Present were myself and 'Charlie.' The vigil
lasted from about 6:30 pm until about 8:20 pm. We were on the corner of
Osceola and Pierce Streets, which had significant road and foot traffic
due to road detours from construction in the area.
"I noticed that I was being watched by a person stationed on the 2nd floor
balcony of the Ft. Harrison for the entire time I was standing alone on
the corner. After Charlie arrived, the person on the balcony seemed to be
busy on the cell phone, and was soon joined by two others.
"As the intent of this vigil was to honor Lisa and not to make a scene or
statement, we had no signs and handed out no fliers. We concluded with a
walk up the sidewalk and back again across the street on the West side of
the Ft. Harrison. We had discussed that as being the last thing to do
before ending the vigil, and as we talked at the corner after the walk,
both of our candles were blown out by the wind. We took that as a good
omen and ended the vigil."
Tory Christman reported a protest in Los Angeles on December 7th.
"A bunch of us gathered in LA to have both a picket, and then a vigil in
honor of Lisa McPherson, who died at the hands of Scientology and their
medical malpractice. Mark Bunker joined us for lunch and later helped film
our Candlelight vigil. All in all we were in full about 10 people, from
four different states. We decided to begin picketing by the HGB (Hollywood
Guarantee Building) where Int Management is. As we strolled back and forth
people gladly stopped and took our flyers. Many told us they already knew
how bad Scientology is, so we suggested they pass on the flyers to others.
"While we were talking Benetta Slaughter came up to Jeff Jacobsen who was
holding the big Xenu.net sign. She told him he never really knew Lisa. He
was amazed to see her. I told him later that is always what we used to say
to people. Also a lady who is the head PR for Europe came by. We stayed
out in front of the Int building for two hours, picketing, passing out
flyers, and just talking with people.
"From there we headed down to the Scientology Testing Center. Barb and
Richard had come up from Riverside, and Jeff was here from Phoenix. A few
others had come from different areas and this was their first picket. As
we walked back and forth, I knew two of the OT's handing out flyers
promoting the Free Personality test. One used to be (and may still be) the
ED of LA org. She and her friend just laughed at me, saying 'Oh Tory' as I
walked up. Do they have ANY clue why I left? Do they even see it as weird
that they don't even want to ask why?
"Kay Connally (head of PR, esp. for L. Ron Hubbard) was there running the
Winter Wonderland. She sneered at me. I finally said, 'Hi Kay.' She turned
around and said, 'I thought I told you last year not to hurt the kids.' I
told her, 'I'm not hurting any kids. What you said last year is YOU would
get my money back that Scientology owes to me, and you still have not.'
She ran off while I was saying that. We stayed there for about one more
hour, and then took a break.
"Finally as it turned dark, we headed back to the HGB for the Candlelight
Vigil for Lisa. We each lit our candles, and said something in honor of
this lovely woman who died so needlessly. May she rest in peace, and
hopefully our day of communication will help others not get snagged up in
this 'religion' where you can get in, but you can't get out!"