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A.r.s Week in Review - 3/9/2003

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  • Rod Keller
    Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 48 3/9/2003 by Rod Keller [rkeller@voicenet.com] copyright 2003 Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
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      Alt.religion.scientology
      Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 48
      3/9/2003 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
      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

      #####

      > Clearwater

      The letters to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times on March 4th
      included two responses to last week's article on new Scientology missions
      being established in the Clearwater area.

      "Scientology is only about making money. Scientology is a cultic,
      multilevel marketing enterprise where the merchandise is ostensibly
      personal well-being rather than household products. At least with Amway,
      you get some pretty good detergent. Scientology is religion as a pyramid
      scheme.

      "If Scientology is truly about improving lives, why aren't its insights
      free? Certainly at some point, organized religions get around to passing
      the collection plate, but for the world's major faiths, salvation (of one
      sort or another) comes first, and it comes free of charge. Scientologists
      would consider Mother Teresa types dismal failures because such people
      don't earn revenue for their church.

      "Apart from the issue of proprietary information, there are other reasons
      Scientology members don't share their beliefs freely. One is they haven't
      had enough brainwashing to know the Scientology version of the Greatest
      Story Every Told. They don't know about the evil galactic ruler Xenu who,
      Hubbard said, exterminated hundreds of millions of space aliens on Earth
      76-trillion years ago. They haven't paid Scientology enough cash for
      indoctrination to learn suffering comes from the ghosts of those murdered
      beings - called Body Thetans -- inhabiting humans and instilling false
      memories, causing sickness and mental dysfunction.

      "But if Scientologists are happy with their beliefs, who does it hurt? The
      same might be asked about snake oil treatments desperately purchased from
      avaricious charlatans. At least con artists simply rip you off and move
      on. The Scientologists want you to become a salesperson too, ensnaring
      those you can and disassociating yourself from all others. And Scientology
      is quite able to destroy your ability to reason and thoroughly control all
      aspects of your life so you'll be a willing drone in their cause. - Jim
      Carroll, Largo

      "Scientology seems poised to have an effect on other cities with its
      ever-expanding enterprise and tax-exempt status. The tax-exempt status is
      the key, and this article shows exactly why Scientology should not be
      exempt from paying taxes. The fees in this article are much like a fee
      paid to a doctor. Are fees paid to doctors exempt from taxes? No. Are the
      doctors' offices free from paying property tax, or do doctors' offices pay
      employment tax and every other proper tax that other businesses pay? Yes,
      and so should Scientology.

      "With that tax exemption Scientology is allowed to make huge sums of money
      and keep it all. This allows them the luxury to build multimillion-dollar
      projects on property that should be generating taxes for the county and
      state. This has ruined downtown Clearwater, without any question. The
      immense presence of Scientology in Clearwater and expanding areas is bad
      for the community. Scientology is a business and should be taxed as one. -
      F. Charles Gordon, Clearwater"

      Message-ID: <f019a.17760$gU.736149@...>

      #####

      > Ireland

      The Irish Times reported on March 6th and 7th that the case of Mary
      Johnston, a former Scientologist who is suing for conspiracy,
      misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights, continued this week
      with testimony from Dr. Stephen Kent.

      "A professor of sociology who has written books and articles critical of
      the Church of Scientology and other organisations told the High Court
      yesterday the church was attempting to isolate him within the academic
      community. Prof. Stephen Kent, who is based in Canada, made the claim in
      the ongoing action for damages by Ms Mary Johnston.

      "Yesterday, during resumed cross-examination of Prof. Kent, Mr. Michael
      Collins SC, for the defendants, referred to articles written by a number
      of sociologists, psychologists and others dealing with the concepts of
      brainwashing and coercive persuasion. Mr. Collins suggested the
      conclusions of some of these writers were at variance with those of Prof.
      Kent, particularly regarding the professor's view that a person's free
      will can be overborne by certain coercive persuasion techniques to such an
      extent they may undergo a significant personality change and truly convert
      to whatever ideology it may be sought to persuade them of.

      "Prof. Kent agreed there were some differences between his views and those
      of some writers referred to but said he was in broad agreement with them
      on many issues. He said one expert had not referred to religion in
      discussing coercive persuasion and he believed it was vital to factor in
      that people are motivated for purposive rewards. He agreed the term
      brainwashing can be used in two different senses, involving an element of
      physical force and no such physical element.

      "Mr. Collins said one recognised expert had described as a myth the theory
      that certain techniques could result in a person's psychiatric status
      being transformed from normal to pathological. Prof. Kent said he believed
      there could be a change in psychiatric status as a result of coercive
      persuasion. He agreed hypnosis could be a factor but said there were other
      factors.

      "At one point, Prof. Kent told Mr. Justice Peart the defendants had put in
      a critique of his work in an attempt to isolate him in the academic
      community. Mr. Collins said Prof. Kent had responded to that critique and
      he was indicating, in referring to certain articles, was that the
      professor has been the subject of criticism by reputed scholars."

      "A fundamental issue in the legal action by a woman against the Church of
      Scientology is whether her free will was overborne or compromised in her
      decision to take up certain courses run by the church, the High Court
      heard yesterday. If the court finds Ms Mary Johnston's free will was
      affected, it must then decide whether that has any legal consequences
      entitling her to damages, Mr. Michael Collins, for the church said.

      "The fundamental point was whether Ms Johnston's free will was compromised
      to an extent that was unacceptable in law, counsel added. His side would
      be arguing free will is a concept that cannot be measured.

      "Yesterday, Prof. Kent said he had referred to free will in the context of
      a sociological definition and not in the context of a philosophical
      discussion. He agreed that man has a reasoning power that is unique. Mr.
      Collins suggested that if a person exercises that power free of direction
      by anyone else, that is an exercise of free will, irrespective of how
      complete their information is. Prof. Kent said sociologists and
      psychologists had identified the importance of deception as mitigating a
      person's ability to make a decision."

      Message-ID: <Ls7aa.17969$gU.745131@...>
      Message-ID: <Jt7aa.17970$gU.745131@...>

      #####

      > Juliette Lewis

      The Washington Post reported on March 5th that Scientology celebrity
      Juliette Lewis visited the U.S. Congress to push for restrictions of the
      use of medicine for children with problem behavior.

      "Actress Juliette Lewis visits Capitol Hill today to sell Congress on the
      nationwide effort - spearheaded by the Church of Scientology - to stop
      educational authorities from requiring 'problem' schoolchildren to take
      mood-altering medication.

      "'This is not a Scientology thing, but there are Scientologists involved,'
      said the 29-year-old Lewis, who joined the church seven years ago after
      reading a Scientology text 'and it was really logical. I was 22, and at
      the time I could really use it. We are against putting people on drugs to
      help solve problems.' Lewis said she got involved in the
      anti-pharmaceutical campaign in 1999. 'Everyone was really upset due to
      Columbine and the other violent crimes that popped up afterward,' she
      said. 'The media started looking at entertainment media and blaming them -
      which was an oversimplified explanation. So I became curious.'

      "Given Scientology's influence in Hollywood, has it helped her career?
      'No. I don't look at it that way,' Lewis answered. 'It's helped me
      personally, but not necessarily professionally. The two can go together
      but that's not what I look to Scientology for.'"

      Message-ID: <1Jl9a.17771$gU.738833@...>

      #####

      > New Zealand

      The Dominion Post published an article on March 1st on the state of
      Scientology in New Zealand.

      "'Be careful what you write about Scientology. They're very rich and very
      litigious.' This warning comes from a psychiatrist - psychiatry is the
      sworn enemy of Scientology - and shows that the scepticism about the
      movement founded in the 1950s by L Ron Hubbard, who made his name as a
      writer of science fiction, is alive and well. The heyday of fear of it as
      a cult came in the late 1960s when hundreds of New Zealanders signed a
      petition calling for legislative curbs on it and a government commission
      of inquiry upheld a complaint that it was responsible for alienating two
      young Scientologists from their family. There was no subsequent
      legislation, but a handful of rules the cult said it had already embraced
      were laid down. Times have changed. Mike Ferris, spokesman for the
      Auckland-based church, says the family involved in the inquiry have long
      been reconciled. Scientology bears the respectable title of a religion.
      And a few weeks ago the Inland Revenue Department decided it qualified as
      a charity and was thus tax exempt.

      "The Scientologists - the church claims there are more than 6000 in New
      Zealand - are over the moon. Only a scattering of countries of the 151 in
      which they operate give them such fulsome recognition, notably Australia,
      South Africa and Sweden. Britain does not, nor does France. So what
      happened to make Scientology respectable, to align it with the mainstream
      churches in New Zealand, and give it the same financial advantages? Mr.
      Ferris says the possibility of recognition as a charity has been discussed
      with Inland Revenue for years. 'You could say we were running in to fixed
      ideas on what a religion might be.' He says a breakthrough came in the
      form of a 2001 Inland Revenue paper in which the definition of religion
      came from a 1983 Australian High Court case recognising Scientology as a
      religion. Armed with this, the Scientologists applied for charity status
      again.

      "Mr. Ferris laughs off the 'rich and litigious' label, unless litigious
      can include a case in the 1970s when someone impugned Scientology on
      talkback radio. 'He put forth a retraction.' He says Scientology is a
      non-profit group and funds are used in the region from which they come.
      The only New Zealand church, on the Ellerslie Panmure Highway, is rented.
      'Collecting real estate is absolutely not what we're about.'

      "The New Zealand Church of Scientology was the the first to be established
      outside of the United States. Paul Morris, professor of religious studies
      at Victoria University, says New Zealand is historically hospitable to new
      religious movements. 'Scientologists' view of themselves has greater
      continuity than it once had. Scientology has a series of different levels
      in many ways, a kind of inner circle with a shop-front version. Like many
      New Age movements, self-improvement is important.' The idea of auditing,
      he says, is 'like a pop-version of psychoanalytic theory, memory as a
      release. The aim is to become clear and fully functioning'.

      "Auckland University emeritus professor of psychiatry John Werry says any
      truth in Scientology's attacks on the psychiatric profession is 'highly
      overblown'. Scientology, he says, is supposed to be a religion with a
      scientific basis. Scientologists have a science for understanding human
      behaviour and see psychiatrists as competitors.

      "'It's about feeling good about yourself and your community,' says Tim
      Perkins, 33, of Wellington, who has been a Scientologist for seven years.
      Mr. Perkins was introduced to Scientology by his brother, who encountered
      it travelling with mates in the United States. He has done several
      Scientology courses, including a purification course in London in 2001.
      The aim was to clear toxins and radiation from his body. Vitamin and
      mineral supplements and exercise were part of that. 'After five or six
      weeks, I felt 10 years younger,' he says. 'Do I think it was expensive?
      Definitely not. I know I was pretty filled up with different toxins.' On
      other courses, he has learned communication skills, including 'dealing
      with the ups and downs of life and how to recognise people who have been
      harmful and are holding you back'. 'The whole ethics programme is amazing
      and gets back to doing unto others what you would have done to yourself.'

      "Bernard Roundhill, an early, acclaimed graphic artist, has been a
      Scientologist for almost as long as the movement has been in existence. He
      is 91 and lives with his third wife, Peggy, in Auckland. She, too, has
      been a Scientologist for decades. Mr. Roundhill discovered it in 1953.
      Mrs Roundhill says he learned, through Scientology, to create art that
      could communicate to people. 'With Scientology, he received validation and
      learned to do it better and better.'"

      Message-ID: <yEl9a.17770$gU.738833@...>

      #####

      > Protest Summary

      Dave Bird reported a protest on March 8th at the Birmingham, England
      Scientology org.

      "Present were Dave, Damian, Tony, and Katie, plus Jens and Martin who
      rolled in at the end of lunch. David and John arrived during the demo
      because of delayed trains from London, and also Neil. We were short of
      leaflets, but John had some and Martin did an extra hundred at the
      stationers. We set up the boom-box, first with Martin and later with John
      on the Mic, also the cylinder for helium balloons: we have two sorts,
      white with a single red and blue design or transparent with the same print
      on each of 4 sides in blue, and we had long-float coating in for the tiny
      tots who kept them rather than sucked the gas.

      "There were a fair number of clams counter-leafleting. One guy came past
      me and said 'are you protesting against that bunch on the second floor?
      Well done, they conned me into there six months ago, and wouldn't let me
      out. I hadn't got any money, so she kept saying I'd seen now how valuable
      the courses were and why didn't I borrow a few hundred quid off my mother
      to buy them with?' By popular request I went on the Mic at the end and did
      a few spirited choruses of Do The ElRon-Ron, Little Ghosties, the Xemu
      Rap, and so forth."

      Message-ID: <fkgVslAL3ja+EwA8@...>

      #####

      > In Memoriam

      The Ocean County Register reported that a teenager was struck and killed
      by a truck in his way to the Scientology org.

      "Clint Coleman had crossed Red Hill Avenue hundreds of times on his way to
      weekly youth meetings at the Church of Scientology. But Tuesday night, the
      Tustin 14-year-old never made it. A Dodge pickup hit Coleman and a friend
      while they were crossing Red Hill at Olwyn Drive at 6:50 p.m. Coleman died
      instantly, police said. His friend, Sam Crabtree, 19, also of Tustin, was
      recovering from major injuries Wednesday at Western Medical Center in
      Santa Ana.

      "The accident was the second involving teens at a crosswalk in the past
      week. Saturday, two 14-year-olds were injured when they were hit by a
      minivan in an unincorporated area near Tustin. Danielle Genzen, 14, a
      friend of Coleman's, is collecting signatures on a petition asking the
      city to add more streetlights and a stop sign or traffic light at the
      intersection.

      "Friends and family at the Church of Scientology remembered Coleman as a
      fun-loving guy with a witty sense of humor and a crooked smile. He could
      raise anyone's spirits with a mean Clint Eastwood impression and he
      rattled off movie lines like a tape recorder, said Andra Clark, 23.
      Coleman attended Brighten School in Orange and spent many hours on Church
      of Scientology youth projects, including cleaning the shoreline at Doheny
      State Beach."

      Message-ID: <3e675fb8$1@...>

      #####

      > Reed Slatkin

      Slatkinfraud.com reported on March 2nd and 7th that the trustee in the
      Reed Slatkin bankruptcy case is involving several Scientology
      organizations that may have benefited from the Slatkin Ponzi scheme.

      "Despite its best efforts to disassociate itself from its disgraced former
      minister, the Church of Scientology is being dragged into the Reed Slatkin
      bankruptcy investigation once again - and this time, trustee Todd Neilson
      and the Creditors' Committee want documents. The Trustee has demanded that
      seven separate Scientology organizations produce documents related to any
      donations or gifts that the church has received from Slatkin since 1985.
      Church officials from each of the seven corporations will also have to
      appear for a videotaped examination.

      "In addition to records related to money transfers, the trustee also wants
      any and all documents or correspondence related to the Slatkin bankruptcy,
      pre-bankruptcy investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission
      and the ongoing criminal investigation. Neilson is also demanding all
      documents related to communication or correspondence between church
      officials and any other individual or entity regarding investments with
      Slatkin from 1985 until the present."

      "Two more Scientology organizations have been added to the list - the
      World Institute of Scientology Enterprises, the quasi-independent network
      of Scientologist businesses, and the Church of Scientology Religious
      Trust, one of the strongholds of cash within the labyrinth of the
      Scientology corporate empire. Both organizations have the potential to
      provide the trustee with a wealth of information related to Slatkin's
      activities in the years before his Ponzi scheme was uncovered.

      "According to Church of Scientology International spokesman Aron Mason,
      Slatkin was ejected from WISE precisely because of a failure to meet
      unspecified 'ethical standards.' A Knowledge Report, prepared by Slatkin
      business associate and net profiteer Richard Levine in 1988, is likely
      just one example of the correspondence that WISE and other
      Scientology-related entices would have received from puzzled and angry
      Slatkin investors over the years about Slatkin's shifty and deceptive
      business practices.

      "Many Scientology-related payments and donations are made directly to the
      Church of Scientology Religious Trust, which serves as a repository for
      virtually all of the cash collected from within the United States.

      "Scientologist attorney Helena Kobrin, long-time counsel to the Church of
      Scientology International and Religious Technology Center, two of the
      Scientology entities currently facing Slatkin-related Rule 2004
      examinations, lost no time in filing an objection to the examination on
      behalf of net-gainers named in adversary proceedings related the Slatkin
      case. Ms. Kobrin's motion, filed on behalf of Elvira Morgan, Yvonne
      Kellerhals, Alex Guevera, and the Fair family (Virginia, Whitney, Joshua
      and Jana), argues that the Rule 2004 examinations into the
      Scientology-related entities, which will scrutinize not only money
      received from Slatkin, but also from adversary defendants, would
      improperly deprive defendants of discovery rights.

      "Ms. Kobrin and her husband, Michael D. Kobrin, are also facing adversary
      proceedings based on the Trustee's claim that they netted $268,000 in
      Slatkin-related profits."

      Message-ID: <5e0371c5.0303022310.6946c197@...>
      Message-ID: <5e0371c5.0303070839.401a836b@...>

      #####

      > CCHR

      The News and Star newspaper from Carlisle, England reported on March 7th
      that the Scientology affiliated Citizen's Commission on Human Rights is
      asking a hospital to stop using Electroconvulsive Therapy to treat
      depression.

      "The Citizen's Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), set up by the Church of
      Scientology in America, said the West Cumberland Hospital's Yewdale Ward
      carries out Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT), which involves sending
      between 180 and 460 volts of electricity through the brain.

      "The procedure has been used since the Sixties and cannot be carried out
      unless a consent form is signed. It is practiced in hospitals all over the
      UK. But the CCHR is calling for the treatment to be stopped altogether.
      CCHR spokesman Brian Daniels said: 'Electroshock should not be available
      as a choice. After 50 years of practising this, psychiatrists are not
      likely to suddenly agree that it is harmful.'

      "Lindsay Varty, spokeswoman for North Cumbria Acute Health Trust,
      confirmed: 'It is a proven form of safe and effective treatment for people
      suffering from severe depression. The treatment is the subject of an
      ongoing audit.'"

      Message-ID: <J27aa.17968$gU.745055@...>

      -end-
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