Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 38
12/29/2002 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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Note: This issue contains articles from the past two weeks.
The Daily Star reported on December 23rd that a representative from
Narconon participated in a seminar on drug abuse in Bangladesh.
"Drug trafficking is accelerating at an alarming pace in the country,
noted the speakers at a seminar yesterday in the city. The seminar on drug
abuse prevention and rehabilitation was organised by the Centre for
Sustainable Development and Research (CSDR).
"The speakers focused on various ways of addressing the drug abusing
problem and stressed the need for proper treatment and rehabilitation of
the addicted population. Medicinal drugs or pain killers can have a long
term damaging effect on the addict, both mentally and physically, noted
Clark R. N. Carr, president, Narconon International. He stressed on pain
free drug withdrawal process utilising specific nutrition and other
assists. The seminar was chaired by Prof. Samir K Saha, advisor, CSDR.
Khondoker Mahbubuddin Ahmed, member of parliament, spoke as the chief
guest in the occasion."
> Buffalo Org
The Buffalo News reported on December 22nd that Scientology has found a
new location for the Buffalo org. The old building is to be demolished to
make room for a parking ramp.
"A historic building in the 800 block of Main Street, which began its life
as a religious gathering place, is about to become the new home of
Buffalo's Church of Scientology. The Scientologists will move into the
former Buffalo Catholic Institute building, at 836 Main St. on the
southwest corner of Main and Virginia streets, early next year when they
move from their current location at 47 W. Huron St.
"Built in 1893, the three-story structure, with two mezzanine levels, is
one of a handful of Beaux Arts-style buildings in Buffalo. The
ivory-colored exterior of the stone and brick building features intricate
medallion brackets, copper projecting cornices, egg and dart moldings, and
highly decorative friezes. Its eye-catching features also include a row of
two-story arched windows that grace its Main Street facade.
"The decision to purchase the turn-of-the-century building ends a more
than yearlong saga involving the church's current home on West Huron. The
city had been trying to gain control of the site for expansion of its Owen
P. Augspurger Parking Ramp, a pursuit that led to heated Common Council
debate, packed public hearings and even a federal court suit by the church
to prevent the city from acquiring the property through eminent domain.
"Earlier this month the city and church came to an agreement under which
the city will pay $740,000 for the West Huron site, a figure that will
cover the appraised value of the four-story building and relocation costs.
The church declined to reveal the purchase price of its new home, but real
estate sources put it at around $400,000."
> Flag Land Base
Source Magazine reported some of the news from Flag Land Base in
"Clearwater Volunteer Ministers take responsibility for their community. -
Judy Fagerman, Volunteer Minister I/C for Clearwater and Sandra Deigner,
Deputy I/C, have been delivering LRH tech flat out since they set up a
booth at local outdoor market. 'Last Sunday, we gave stress tests and many
nerve assists,' said Judy. 'During one of them, the person blew a somatic
he'd had for eight months.' That man went right to the Clearwater Mission
to find out more.
"Judy and Sandra are also disseminating over the radio. After one recent
show where they covered LRH Assist Tech, and the cause of suppression, a
woman who had been listening in her care drove straight over to the
station. She's now on The Bridge. The VM's are involved in many other
activities including hatting local groups on LRH Assist Tech, such as the
local Boy Scout troop.
"The Community Learning Center in Clearwater, run by Scientologist Sharon
Hillestad, has joined forces with one of its best pupils in the adult
literacy program, former cruiserweight boxing champion Tyrone Booze.
Utilizing Tyrone's talents as a boxer - and his winning stance as last
year's recipient of the Tampa Bay Reads Adult Student of the Year award -
he and Sharon started the Smart Fighter Program. There, black youth can
get off the streets and go to daily boxing lessons - with the added punch
that they also learn how to read and write. This program is already so
effective that Tyrone was recently honored as the Tutor of the Year for
the Tampa Bay region."
> New Zealand
The New Zealand Press Association reported on December 27th that
Scientology will be recognized as a tax-exempt charity in New Zealand.
"The Church of Scientology will not pay any more income tax after the
Inland Revenue Department declared it a charity, the church said today.
The IRD said the church was a charitable organization dedicated to the
advancement of religion and its income would be tax exempt. The New
Zealand branch of the church, started in the United States by science
fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, was founded in Auckland in 1955."
> Leipzig Human Rights Award
The European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious
Freedom in the USA announced this week that the winner of its annual award
will be Andreas Heldal-Lund, creator of the Operation Clambake web site.
"The European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious
Freedom in the USA (EACC) is pleased to announce Andreas Heldal-Lund of
Stavanger, Norway as the recipient of the 2003 Leipzig Human Rights Award.
The award will be presented on May 17 in the Old Stock Market in Leipzig,
the city known as the birth place of the East German civil rights
"Mr. Heldal-Lund is the fourth recipient of the Leipzig Award, which has
been given each year to individuals who have made outstanding
contributions to the achieving of the human rights reforms that the EEAC
seeks in US-operated totalitarian cults. Mr. Heldal-Lund is an Information
Technology professional and free speech proponent who created and
maintains the most famous Internet site in the world Operation Clambake
--that exposes and opposes the fraud and human rights
violations of the US-based Scientology organization.
"Scientology has attacked Mr. Heldal-Lund and his Internet Service
Providers with lawyer threat letters and a black propaganda campaign, and
caused a succession of ISPs to terminate his service. In February this
year, bowing to pressure from Scientology lawyers employing the US law
called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the widely used
Internet search engine Google removed links to Operation Clambake from its
directory. But Mr. Heldal-Lund held his ground, contending that
Scientology withholds important information about its teachings that he
was making available, and that people perhaps would not join the cult if
the full information was accessible. Free speech advocates around the
world rushed to his defense, mounted an Internet and print media campaign,
and forced Google to put Clambake back into its search engine."
Gerry Armstrong reported on a recent trip to Ekaterinburg, Russia, where
he participated in a conference on cults and Scientology.
"We'd been invited to Ekaterinburg by Archbishop Vincent of the
Ekatrinburg Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church to participate in a
three-day conference on dangerous cults sponsored by the Church, with the
blessing of Alexey II, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, and by the
Government of the Urals Federal District.
"There were a few over three hundred attendees at the conference, which
took place in an auditorium of the Urals Academy of State Service, and
perhaps thirty people presented papers on various sociological,
psychological or theological topics relating to cults. I gave a talk in
three parts on Scientology, which was translated into Russian as I spoke
by Professor Alexander Dvorkin.
"A number of TV and print media personnel attended, and at the end of the
first morning session we had a press conference in a separate meeting room
in the Academy with several TV stations participating. In the afternoon,
a group of twelve of us, including both bishops, had a very positive
meeting with the Presidential Plenipotentiary in the Urals Federal
District Pyotr Latyshev. I had the opportunity to tell him about my
personal experiences and knowledge of Scientology. He seemed genuinely
interested in the cult's intelligence structure and activities, which is
quite understandable because he was, I believe, a general in the Russian
army before being appointed as President Putin's Representative in the
"After giving one part of my conference talk, a young woman, who was not
part of the program, walked onto the stage, up to the podium and began to
mouth some promo for Scientology. She was ushered away from the podium and
out into the hallway, where I spoke to her and proposed that we have a
debate, which she accepted. The young woman, who gave her first name as
Maria, but whose family name I didn't get, said that she is an employee of
the cult in Ekaterinburg, and has been a Scientologist for five years. As
it turned out, she really didn't want to debate Scientology, but wanted
only to give her commercial for the cult. Nevertheless, I had the
opportunity to tell her some of my experiences and ask her some questions
to attempt to get her to discuss wogs' concerns about Scientology.
"Over the next two days of the conference, in addition to presenting the
second and third parts of my paper, I participated in a flurry of media
engagements. We had a second press conference in the Ekaterinburg Media
Center building, with nine television channels (or at least cameras)
present and several newspaper representatives. Right after the press
conference I gave two additional interviews to TV journalists. At a
separate TV station, I did an interview for a half-hour show, which will
also include talks with Professor Dvorkin and Novosibirsk Archpriest
Alexander Novopashin. And I did a talk-format show, with Professor
Dvorkin participating and translating, which will be televised around
"I accepted Maria's invitation and visiting the Ekaterinburg Scientology
office, along with local priests Father Vladimir and Father Nikita,
Professor Dvorkin, Pastor Thomas Gandow, and two television station crews.
I didn't go inside the cult's office, because the large Scientologist
blocking the entrance wouldn't specifically invite me in, but all the
others entered and engaged the Scientologists in dueling videocams, and
even some precious dialogue. The Scientologists were apparently giving
visitors to their center black PR documents on their designated enemies,
including Professor Dvorkin and me, and it was reported that they sent to
Ekaterinburg officials an accompanying letter similar to their 2001 black
PR letter to Nizhny-Novgorod officials.
"At one point, the large Scientologist grabbed Dvorkin in a sort of
Russian bear hug, and someone else called the police. Two officers arrived
and took a number of statements. During our hour or so visit, I engaged
the Scientologist man-handler in a discussion about Hubbard's lies and
Scientology's unworkability, had similar conversations with a number of
people who arrived to do courses or something, and gave interviews to the
two TV crews. That evening, our twenty-first anniversary visit to
Scientology was top news on both channels.
"Pastor Gandow and I also gave a talk to a class of sixty university
theology students, and then had a question and answer period with them. A
number of them had also attended the conference at the Academy of State
Service, so already knew us to some extent, and if time had allowed would
have kept us talking for hours.
"Our final work day in the Urals, we traveled to Asbest, at the invitation
of the Orthodox Church Parish, to give a talk in the city's Cultural
Center to about one hundred fifty people. A number of the attendees,
which included at least two local government representatives, also asked
excellent questions, and clearly grasped the danger of certain cults. One
of the representatives expressed the observation that the people in his
country had for seventy years been suppressed by a cult which became the
The Sunday Mirror reported on December 22nd that the British Home
Secretary will propose laws that distinguish Scientology and other cults
from mainstream religions.
"Brainwashing cults which prey on vulnerable youngsters are to be targeted
in a Government crackdown. Home Secretary David Blunkett is drawing up
laws that will create a new legal definition of cults distinguishing them
from mainstream religions. Mr. Blunkett says the law needs to protect
young people who are being exploited financially and sexually.
"Groups deemed to be cults will be unable to apply for charitable status,
which allows them tax perks, and they will face close financial
monitoring. Any signs that recruits are being exploited for their cash
will result in prosecutions. Laws may also be made that relate to
detaining people through psychological manipulation. Organisations that
may be affected include the US-based Church of Scientology and the