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A.r.s Week in Review - 2/9/2003

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  • Rod Keller
    Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 44 2/9/2003 by Rod Keller [rkeller@voicenet.com] copyright 2003 Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 9, 2003
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      Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 44
      2/9/2003 by Rod Keller [rkeller@...]
      copyright 2003

      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:


      > CCHR

      The Sun Herald newspaper from Mississippi reported on February 6th on
      research into the writing of prescriptions for Ritalin.

      "A study released Monday brings to a boil again the simmering debate about
      the use of stimulants to treat youngsters with Attention Deficit
      Hyperactivity Disorder. A Missouri-based company that manages pharmacy
      benefits raises concerns about disparity among states in the writing of
      prescriptions for Ritalin and similar drugs. States in the South write the
      highest percentage of prescriptions for these drugs, 6.5 percent in
      Louisiana being the highest.

      "Dr. Donald H. Lagrone, a pediatrician with practices in Biloxi and Ocean
      Springs, has treated countless children with ADHD, and he believes that
      drug therapy is not only appropriate in these cases but is the best course
      of action, provided the diagnosis is valid and the drugs are used
      appropriately and accurately. '(Ritalin) is the medication that has the
      largest body of scientific evidence behind its use,' Lagrone said. 'It's
      been shown to be effective and safe.'

      "Other sources argue with Lagrone's perspective, including the Citizens
      Commission on Human Rights. Lisa Marie Presley is a CCHR supporter and
      supports the contention that physicians, psychiatrists and school systeMs.
      in many states are drugging, and in some cases, causing the deaths of
      children believed to be ADHD afflicted. At the CCHR site, Web searchers
      will find such articles as 'Psychiatry Committing Fraud - Betraying
      Society,' 'Psychiatry Betraying & Drugging Children - Harming Lives.'
      Another icon at the CCHR site takes visitors to articles by the architect
      of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. In a nutshell, these concerned citizens
      address the 'increasing probleMs. faced by many parents today, (of) being
      coerced by school personnel to drug their children, and never being warned
      about the documented risks of the drugs prescribed to 'treat' them.'

      "The CCHR refers to but provides no specifics about treatments other than
      drug therapies, and Lagrone said it is possible to treat ADHD by managing
      a child's environment. 'Affluent families might be able to put their
      children in some other educational venue, but it would take substantial
      environmental intervention to treat without drugs,' he said."

      A Scientology press release on February 4th promoted a celebrity award
      ceremony for those who oppose the companies who manufacture psychiatric

      "Actors Priscilla Presley, Juliette Lewis, Leah Remini, Anne Archer, and
      Eduardo Palomo are among celebrities paying tribute to parents who battle
      against the child psychiatric drug industry. The celebrities will join
      politicians, parents rights groups and doctors at the Beverly Hilton
      Hotel, on Saturday, Feb. 15, for the annual human rights awards
      celebration of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International.

      "Ms. Presley is presenting CCHR's Human Rights Award to parent Lawrence
      Smith, who was threatened with charges of medical neglect if he refused to
      put his 7-year-old son, Matthew, on a cocaine-like stimulant. Matthew died
      at age 14 from a heart attack that a coroner attributed to the prescribed
      drug. Mr. Smith's website reaches thousands of parents each week, and has
      become one of the top websites for parents to become educated about the
      mental health, pharmaceutical and education system.

      "Other awardees are: Texas psychologist Dr. John Breeding, author of The
      Wildest Colts Make the Best Horses (presented by Leah Remini), Italy's Dr.
      Giorgio Antonucci, who helped cure hundreds of 'schizophrenic' patients,
      including children, without drugs (presented by Juliette Lewis), and Mr.
      Ricardo Rocha, a renowned journalist whose story on psychiatric drugging
      in Mexico has inspired legislative initiatives in Mexico to protect
      children against this abuse (presented by Eduardo Palomo)."

      The Independent Herald newspaper from New Zealand reported on February 5th
      that CCHR is releasing a new publication on psychiatric drugs.

      "The Citizens' Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a Church of Scientology
      organisation, has released a publication entitled, Psychiatry - Shattering
      Your World with Drugs. The glossy, magazine-sized publication - aimed at
      educators, politicians, parents and community workers - questions the
      widespread labeling of personality disorders and suggests chemicals are
      being used for behaviour control rather than used for therapeutic

      "However, Mental Health Commission deputy director and psychiatrist
      Anthony Duncan says the Scientologists' ideas are a great conspiracy
      theory, and psychiatrists have nothing to gain by pushing drug company

      "CCHR director Steve Green says the psychiatric diagnosing and drugging of
      children is one of the worst areas of drug abuse. 'We are in effect seeing
      a legalised form of drug pushing on very young children, which will be
      viewed in future times as seriously as the abuse of Lake Alice Psychiatric
      Hospital (patients) in the 1970s is seen now.'

      "However, Dr Duncan says anti-psychotic drugs are rarely used on children.
      ClaiMs. that learning and attention disorder treatment drugs, such as
      Ritalin, are just used to correct behaviour are ludicrous. 'Parents of
      most children who are on these drugs will laugh at it.' Anyone who has
      lived with children with ADHD will be well aware of the drugs' benefits.
      The amphetamine-based stimulants cannot be addictive because they work by
      stimulating natural brain chemicals, he adds. That only works to a certain
      point and overdoses just produce nasty side effects."

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      > Celebrities

      Celebrity Magazine reported news concerning Scientology' Celebrity Center.

      "Actress LYNSEY BARTILSON and children of the 'Set a Good Example Club'
      rode the Way to Happiness float in this year's annual Hollywood
      Blockbuster Spectacular. Sponsored by the Concerned Businessmen's
      Association of America, the float was a tribute to children who help the
      nation by forwarding the ideals set fort in L. Ron Hubbard's booklet, The
      Way to Happiness.

      "Celebrity Centre recently presented the tenth annual 'Christmas Stories'
      community benefit. As is traditional, this year's event featured musical
      performances, story reading and comedy skits by a host of celebrities. The
      fund-raiser benefits the Hollywood Police Activities League, part of a
      nationwide inner city youth development program operated by police
      officers to provide after-school activities as an alternative to gangs.
      The objective is to give children positive role models. The year,
      $15,000.00 was raised and presented to the Hollywood PAL."

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      > Germany

      Deutsche Welle reported on February 2nd on the decision by Germany to
      recognize certain Scientology organizations as tax-exempt.

      "The Scientology Church, the target of government monitoring in Germany,
      has been granted tax-free status within the country, the church announced
      on Monday. Officials made the decision based on a tax treaty between
      Germany and the United States, where the church has tax-exempt status. The
      ruling covers license fees the church receives for information and
      training films. Until now, the church has paid a 25 percent tax on the
      income. That money will now be refunded. Critics consider Scientology to
      be a money-hungry, unscrupulous operation."

      From DPA on February 3rd:

      "In a stunning move, German tax authorities have granted tax-exempt status
      to the controversial Church of Scientology, retroactive back to 1994,
      Scientology officials announced Monday. The announcement sent shock waves
      through Germany, where Scientology is widely viewed as a subversive cult.
      The German federal government, various state and local governments have
      all produced booklets and other information to warn unwary citizens about
      the 'dangers' of Scientology.

      "The tax ruling came from the Federal Office of Finances in Bonn on the
      basis of laws covering double taxation of American organizations operating
      in Germany. Because the Church of Scientology is classified as a
      tax-exempt religious organization in the United States, it cannot be taxed
      in Germany, according to the ruling."

      From Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on February 7th:

      "The U.S. Scientology organization, denounced by German politicians as a
      criminal cult and kept under political surveillance since 1997, was
      granted tax exemption by the Federal Finance Office on Monday. The office
      said that it had based its decision on an agreement between Germany and
      the United States governing double taxation. Scientology is exempted from
      taxation in the United States as a non-profit religious group. To avoid
      double taxation, the German authority said Scientology thus does not have
      to pay taxes on gains repatriated to the United States from license fees
      for film material in Germany.

      "The ruling applies to the period 1994-2005. It allows Scientology to
      recover taxes already paid to the government during that period. The tax
      exemption was made retroactive to the date of Scientology's legal
      complaint in 1996 and is usually granted for three more years. Scientology
      has been paying 25 percent of its proceeds in taxes.

      "Ebermann confirmed that "the decision did not imply any acknowledgment of
      Scientology as a church in Germany." He also stressed that the ruling
      didn't apply to proceeds obtained in Germany that aren't passed on to the
      United States."

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      > Greece

      The Church of Greece announced on February 2nd that the Greek Ministry of
      Education and Religious Affairs has turned down a request by Scientology
      to operate as a church.

      "The Greek Minister of Education and Religious Affairs has rejected the
      Greek Church of Scientology's request for permission to operate a house of
      prayer, on the basis that it does not constitute a church. The Minister's
      decision was based on a number of decisions of institutions abroad, as
      well as on the decision of the Court of First instance of Athens and the
      decision of the Athenian Court of Appeal, which ordered the closing down
      of the Center of Applied Philosophy of Greece - a previous name of
      Scientology in Greece - due to a series of illegal actions.

      "The latter decision among other things, states: 'it is an organization
      with totalitarian structures and tendencies, which in essence despises
      man, though it deceivingly acts freely in order and exclusively to attract
      members who in turn undergo brainwashing, so as to render their way of
      thought controllable, and which some years ago engaged in illegal profit

      "The Scientologists appealed to the Council of State for the annulment of
      the decision of the Minister. In this lawsuit the Holy Archdiocese of
      Athens (Orthodox Church of Greece) intervened against the Scientologists.
      Thus, although the case was scheduled for the 6th of December 2002, the
      Scientologists withdrew their appeal. In consequence, the decision of the
      Greek State is now permanent and irrevocable.

      "The Court Reporter's proposal proves that Scientology does not constitute
      a religion and that it is not recognized as such in most countries, among
      which are the U.S.A., England, France and Germany. It also proves that
      Scientology has often developed illegal activities in the countries in
      which it is active, and is therefore classified among dangerous and
      antisocial organizations."

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      > Ireland

      The Irish Times reported on the ongoing hearings in the case of a former
      Scientologist who is suing the org and members she claims harmed her while
      she was a member.

      "A man photographed while making a 'noisy investigation' of a woman who
      has sued the Church of Scientology was similar to a man in another
      photograph taken outside a meeting of Families Under Scientology Stress
      (FUSS), the High Court heard yesterday. Mr. Richard Woods was giving
      evidence in the continuing action by Ms Mary Johnston against the church
      and three members of its Dublin Mission - Mr. John Keane, Mr. Tom
      Cunningham and Mr. Gerard Ryan. Ms Johnston, who operates a sports
      equipment centre at Westwood, Foxrock, Dublin, is suing for damages. She
      was involved with the church from 1990 to 1994.

      "Mr. Woods told the court in 1994/95 he was attending a meeting of FUSS in
      London when he saw a man standing outside the door of the building with a
      clipboard and pen in his hand. He looked like a member of the Church of
      Scientology because of the way he dressed. Because of litigation with the
      church lasting seven years, Mr. Woods's solicitor had advised him to carry
      a camera and he had taken a photograph of the man, Mr. Woods said. Mr.
      Woods said the man in this photograph was obviously similar to the picture
      of a man who had been making a 'noisy investigation' of Ms Johnston and
      was photographed at Westwood, Dublin, in February 2001."

      "A company director and brother-in-law of a woman who is suing the Church
      of Scientology for damages told the High Court yesterday he was informed
      that between 25 and 40 phone calls were made by a person with an American
      accent to his clients and to private individuals. Mr. Paul O'Kelly was
      continuing his evidence in the action by his sister-in-law, Ms. Mary
      Johnston, against the Church of Scientology in Dublin and three of its
      members for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of her
      constitutional rights."

      "A 'purification rundown' course operated by the Church of Scientology was
      neither medically safe nor scientifically verified, the High Court was
      told yesterday. Prof. Michael Ryan, head of the pharmacology department at
      UCD, said he could not find any evidence to support the claiMs. in the
      church's documents about the course. To suggest it could get rid of
      radiation and toxic compounds was not supported by scientific facts, he

      "Yesterday the court was told Ms. Johnston had experienced a burning
      sensation as a result of participating in the purification rundown course
      and had been told this was a clearance of old sunburn. Prof. Ryan said
      there was no scientific evidence to support that contention. Mr. Michael
      Cush SC, for Ms. Johnston, submitted that the claiMs. made by the church
      in its documents concerning the purification course were false and the
      risks involved many and varied. Prof. Ryan said the claiMs. made in the
      church's documentation were not scientifically verified, and the programme
      was not medically safe."

      "The science behind the Church of Scientology was 'basically rubbish', a
      doctor told the High Court yesterday. Dr John Fleetwood, a general
      practitioner in the Blackrock/Monkstown area of Dublin, told the court Ms.
      Mary Johnston had attended him on October 29th, 1994. She was anxious and
      distressed. Dr Fleetwood said Ms. Johnston was generally quite healthy
      but complained of a lot of headaches.

      "Dr Fleetwood said he believed some of the church's programmes were a
      'sham' and he had no doubt her involvement in the church was instrumental
      in causing her stress and anxiety. He said the church did not let its
      adherents go without a fight."

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      > James Randi

      Dan Garvin this week reported giving a talk at the James Randi Educational
      Foundation's Amazing Meeting on Scientology.

      "I spoke for half an hour on Scientology and the Sea Org, and later
      answered questions in a panel discussion. In between, whenever there were
      breaks between talks, attendees were asking me questions almost nonstop.
      Scientology is truly a hot (and disturbing) topic among people who use
      their heads, and most of them did not know much about it."

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      > In Memoriam

      The Washington Post reported the death of Scientologist Nancy Wright
      Graham in Falls Church, Virginia.

      "Nancy Wright Graham, 54, the owner and operator of Suddenly Slender, a
      Falls Church health and beauty mineral-wrap business she started in 1996,
      died Jan. 29 at her home in Falls Church. She had cancer. Mrs. Graham was
      a founding member of the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre in
      Washington, which conducts spiritual counseling for residents and visiting
      celebrities. Her hobbies included camping, canoeing and stargazing."

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      > Russia

      The BBC reported on February 4th on the continuing protests against
      Scientology in St. Petersburg.

      "The Moving Together youth organization have placed a five-tonne stone at
      the entrance to St. Petersburg's mayoralty in the Smolnyy palace 'to give
      weight' to their indefinite action of protest against the Scientologist
      sect. Campaign activists put up a tent in front of the Scientologists'
      Church on the city's Ploshchad Vosstaniya [Square] on 27 January. A
      demonstration was staged on Tuesday [4 February].

      "'We have spent almost two weeks in front of the Scientologists' Church
      and managed to reduce the inflow of new members to this organization and
      to collect thousands of signatures under an appeal to the city authorities
      to close the sect.'

      "To add more weight to the appeal the demonstrators stuck leaflets to the
      five-tonne stone outside Smolnyy. The action will continue until the
      Scientologists' Church, which the Moving Together consider to be a Satanic
      and criminal sect, is closed down.

      "The city's Scientologists, meanwhile, said that they sent a protest
      against the youth movement's actions to the city authorities on 30
      January. They argued that their organization is registered and that 'those
      who oppose them are protesting against the authorities and are possibly
      trying to incite religious enmity.'"

      From the Los Angeles Times on February 8th:

      "A Kremlin-connected youth movement is targeting the Church of Scientology
      with pickets and a planned lawsuit in an attempt to shut down its center
      in St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city. 'We've decided to go
      after the most odious and dangerous of the cults,' said Aleksey Kuznetsov,
      an organizer with Walking Together, a youth group that supports the
      policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

      "Walking Together members pitched a tent near the Scientology headquarters
      in central St. Petersburg for 12 days, distributed anti-Scientologist
      pamphlets and erected a large sign reading, 'The Sect Is There,' with an
      arrow pointing at the five-story building."

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      > Linking

      The operators of slatkinfraud.com reported that they have received a
      demand that they stop linking their web site to the Hubbard College of
      Administration site.

      "Hello my name is Alverto and I am the Director of Promotion and Marketing
      of the Hubbard College of Administration International Today I was doing a
      random search and your web site was one of the results of the search. I am
      asking you at this time to remove all and all links to the Hubbard College
      of Administration International and its web sites.

      "I am not saying that what you are doing is okay or not. Everyone is
      entitled to their own free speech but at this time I would like for you to
      remove the links for the Hubbard College of Administration International
      web site and it's network. At no time were you given permission. Please
      refer the the disclaimer in the copy rights link on the Hubbard College of
      Administration Internationals web site."

      The Boston Globe reported on February 2nd that Scientology is frequently
      on the leading edge in legal issues over search engines and linking

      "Last year, lawyers for the Church of Scientology insisted that Google
      remove from its index links to Xenu.net, a Web site that is highly
      critical of the controversial church. They claimed that the site infringed
      on the church's copyrights and trademarks. Google promptly complied, to
      the horror of many Google fans who saw it as an abdication of the
      company's longstanding commitment to search purity. Google said it had no
      choice but to abide by federal copyright law, but critics pointed out that
      Google had in fact removed more than was required under law. In the end,
      Google restored some of the links and explained its reasoning to users.
      'Ultimately,' Sergey Brin says, 'where we ended up was the right
      conclusion, but we didn't initially handle it correctly.'

      "Harvard Law's Zittrain says more clashes are on the way. 'The cutting
      edge on such battles is often the Church of Scientology,' he says. 'They
      have very well honed procedures and tactics to remove information that
      they find objectionable.' Check out a site called chillingeffects.org to
      see the growing list of letters from various parties demanding that Google
      remove information about them. What seeMs. clear is that just as in
      Washington, some parties will have more power than others in the Internet
      democracy governing Google Nation."

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