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A.r.s Week in Review - 6/1/2003

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  • Rod Keller
    Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 8, Issue 7 6/1/2003 by Rod Keller [rkeller@voicenet.com] copyright 2003 Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2003
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      Week in Review Volume 8, Issue 7
      6/1/2003 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
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      see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/weekinreview. PDA channel available at

      Week in Review is archived at:


      Note: This issue includes articles from the last two weeks of


      > Clearwater

      The St. Petersburg Times reported on May 29th that Scientology has mailed
      promotional materials to encourage retailers to open stores in downtown
      Clearwater, Florida.

      "The Church of Scientology has sent out promotional brochures to national
      retailers such as the Gap and Banana Republic in an effort to lure more
      upscale businesses downtown. But city officials, largely caught off-guard,
      expressed surprise and disappointment at the strategy. 'I thought that it
      was odd that an independent entity would do this,' Commissioner Whitney
      Gray said. 'You don't see other businesses, or churches certainly,
      marketing downtown to this degree.'

      "Gray said she had been notified by the church about plans for the
      eight-page flier touting downtown. She met with a church representative
      and bluntly outlined her concerns. Given the church's dominant presence
      downtown, there are people who refuse to spend money there because they
      think it would benefit Scientology, according to Gray. 'If it looks to the
      public like the Church of Scientology is building downtown,' she said,
      'people won't come.'

      "The brochure was distributed to 10 to 20 retailers, including Haagen-Dazs
      and Ann Taylor. The church, he said, has an interest in seeing downtown
      thrive, both for parishioners' benefit and for the community at large.

      "Commissioner Frank Hibbard said the church had ventured outside its
      traditional bounds. 'When you talk about promoting Clearwater as a whole,'
      he said, 'that is the role of city government.' In fact, the city put out
      a glossy brochure of its own in March, sending it to 4,000 developers
      nationwide. Assistant City Manager Ralph Stone said the effort was widely
      publicized and sought input from a host of city groups, many that include
      members of the church.

      "Mayor Brian Aungst said he was surprised by the brochures. 'I don't know
      that it hurts anything,' he said. 'It's probably helpful, but we'll find
      out, I guess.' City officials said they had no problems with the
      information contained in the church's flier - it is standard economic
      development fare, with statistics on population, median age and income.
      But they worried about straying from a unified message. At the very least,
      Gray said, the city of Clearwater needs to be perceived as heading up its
      own economic development. 'This just makes it a little bit harder,' she

      The article prompted a letter to the editor on June 1st.

      "The headline should read, City of Clearwater sold downtown to
      Scientology. The city of CLEARwater has long since been handed away bit by
      bit to this church by ill-informed and misguided commissioners and a few
      mayors, most recent being the ever-so-eloquent Brian Aungst. It does not
      bother me that the 'The Church of Scientology' operates in the city; it
      has a constitutional right to and I believe it should. However, do not
      think for a second it has the citizens of Clearwater in the forefront of
      its mind.

      "The church operates and caters to a transient population that, for the
      most part, is crammed into motels and apartment complexes throughout
      Clearwater and Pinellas County and is clothed and fed by the church. How
      is this helpful to a once thriving city? It is not. I challenge the City
      Commission to research the legal term ad valorem, and try to enact a bill
      that would restrict any tax-exempt entity from owning a certain percentage
      or dollar amount of property within a single city limit. - Paul Hodges,

      The St. Petersburg Times reported on May 23rd that Scientology is
      requesting the Lisa McPherson wrongful death case be moved from Clearwater
      because of the low opinion potential jurors have about the organization.

      "Earlier this spring professional researchers combed Tyrone Square Mall
      asking Pinellas residents what they thought of the church. 'A cult,' said
      person after person. 'Scam,' said one. 'Crooks,' said another. The
      researchers, hired by the church, questioned 300 people. Their findings
      were grim: Four out of five had unfavorable things to say about
      Scientology. The church concluded that the negative opinions Pinellas
      residents hold toward Scientology are so deep and widespread, it could not
      get a fair trial here.

      "This week, it took the unusual step of asking the court to move a civil
      trial out of this area because, it says, potential Pinellas jurors have
      been prejudiced by negative media coverage. The motion for a change of
      venue comes in a related matter, a countersuit against the McPherson
      estate and its attorney Ken Dandar. The church alleges that Dandar
      improperly attempted to add Scientology leader David Miscavige as a
      defendant in the wrongful-death suit. That case is scheduled for trial
      July 7.

      "'(The church) has learned that the breadth and intensity of 'community
      prejudice' against both the Scientology religion and Flag (the church's
      Clearwater entity) within Pinellas County is such that Flag cannot receive
      a fair trial in this venue,' the 28-page motion states. 'The community
      prejudice has been fueled by an ongoing barrage of negative media
      comments, principally by the St. Petersburg Times and the local television
      stations, including publication of inflammatory and unethical public
      statements by Kennan Dandar.'

      "Dandar, who has represented McPherson's family for six years, called the
      allegation 'a bunch of baloney' and another delay tactic by the church's
      formidable legal team.

      "Ben Shaw, the church's head of public relations in Clearwater, said the
      respondents were residents whose perceptions were 'created by the
      continuing onslaught of negative media coverage.'

      "Times editor and president Paul C. Tash defended the paper's coverage.
      'The Church of Scientology remains a big and important institution in the
      Tampa Bay area and we're going to continue our coverage, fully and fairly,
      even if sometimes the church officials object to that coverage,' Tash

      "Dandar said he wasn't surprised by the survey's findings. 'They (church
      officials) are complaining about the newspaper reporting on the tragic
      death of Lisa McPherson when they are the ones who caused her death in the
      first place,' Dandar said. 'They are blaming everyone but themselves for
      their bad public relations image.'

      "Last month, the case was reassigned from Circuit Judge Susan Schaeffer,
      who sat through weeks of hearings last year, to Senior Judge Robert Beach.
      Chief Circuit Judge David Demers made the move after Schaeffer recused
      herself from handling a counterclaim."

      Message-ID: <1053685708.753904@...>
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      > Narconon

      The South Idaho Press reported on May 20th that city officials in Rubert,
      Idaho will hear a presentation from Narconon

      "The council will also hear from officials of the Burley-based NARCONON of
      Idaho. The group offers drug treatment and counseling. NARCONON's
      treatment is based on methods created by L. Ron Hubbard. 'It's a natural
      method of ridding the body of drugs stored in fat. They use herbs, saunas,
      sweating and exercise to help in the process,' Neiwerth said.

      "The council needs to know about drug treatment alternatives, she said. 'I
      wanted the council to be aware of some of the methods available to help
      people get off drugs so they can get out of that drug mode and trafficking
      and making drugs. It's to help take them off that dependency for drugs,'
      Neiwerth said."

      Message-ID: <3ECADCE2.1030601@...>


      > Leipzig Human Rights Award

      Freie Presse Chemnitz reported on May 18th that the Leipzig Human Rights
      Award has been presented to Andreas Heldal-Lund, creator of the web site

      "The information technology specialist was honored in Leipzig on Sunday
      for his work against the Scientology cult and his efforts towards freedom
      of speech on the Internet. For almost seven years, Heldal-Lund has
      maintained a web site by the name of Operation Clambake, in which he
      distributes information about the Scientology organization.

      "Last year's award winner Alain Vivien said in his laudation that
      Heldal-Lund had revealed the machinations of the Scientologists with
      'respect and intelligence.' In doing this he was helping both potential
      and past victims.

      "In his acceptance speech, Heldal-Lund emphasized the role of the citizen
      in the fight for basic rights, such as freedom of speech. 'These rights
      being anchored in the Constitution is not good enough,' he said. Therefore
      every individual should deliberate on how to put a stop to such churches
      and organizations. Also people had to continue to earn their basic rights.

      "Heldal-Lund uses his Internet pages to inform people about the doctrines
      and practices of Scientology that the organization itself does not want
      published. Despite legal complaints from Scientology and temporary
      boycotts from several Internet Service Providers, Heldal-Lund has not shut
      down his web site.

      "The award is conferred annually by the European-American Citizens
      Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA. Besides
      Americans and Germans, the committee includes members from England,
      Austria, Russia and Sweden. The Citizens Committee was formed in 1997 and
      opposes physical and psychological abuse of humans under the pretext of
      religion, among other things. One of the people who received the award
      prior to Heldal-Lund was former Labor Minister Norbert Bluem."

      From Frankfurter Rundschau on May 15th:

      "The Norwegian Internet expert from Stavanger is receiving this year's
      Leipzig Human Rights Award on Sunday. For six years Heldal-Lund has been
      engaged in uncovering the human rights violations of the cult-like
      Scientology organization, as reported by the 'European-American Citizens
      Committee for Human rights and Religious Freedom in the USA' in Berlin on
      Wednesday. The recipients of the unremunerated honor, bestowed since 2000
      in the form of a glass-contained sculpture with an image of the Leipzig
      Nikolas Church, include former federal labor minister Norbert Bluem (CDU).
      In presenting its award to individuals, the Committee hopes to promote
      'human rights reforms' among cult-like organizations."

      Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.96.1030525055801.121A-100000@...>
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      > Scientology Tour

      Skyway News published the second of two articles on May 12th on a tour of
      the Scientology org in Minnesota.

      "After a quick talk with Scientologist Troy about how I don't have to be
      introverted, and, really, the depression score isn't high enough to be a
      real concern, Diane, another volunteer working at Scientology's 1011
      Nicollet Mall center, asks if I'd like to see a video on Dianetics.
      There's a process in it that can help people figure out what's wrong and
      give them the tools to fix it.

      "There is a certain cadence to the narration and pacing of the imagery,
      the monotonous voice of the narrator regularly punctuated by exceedingly
      long pauses. However slowly, I am being introduced to the only system in
      the world that has ever figured out the source of man's problems and, more
      importantly, how to fix them.

      "Basically: the mind is split into two parts, the 'analytical mind' and
      the 'reactive mind'. The analytical mind is incapable of making mistakes,
      it is logical and rational - it is sane. The reactive mind is toxic,
      holding on to negative impressions of the world formed by bad experiences
      or by people saying things to us while we're in an unconscious state; it
      is the source of neurosis and insanity.

      "Michael has pulled out a screening form. The questions quickly grow
      intimate: Have I had any alcohol in the last 24 hours, how much do I
      normally drink, have I ever had any illegal drugs, am I on any medication,
      ever had psychiatric treatment or counseling, if so, why, how long, what
      was the analysis? I end up telling him things I don't usually divulge to
      strangers. Have I or a family member ever personally contributed to
      negative articles in the media about Scientology? Am I a member of the
      news media? Am I with the CIA or FBI or any other government agency?

      "I ask a free church service is contingent upon my profession or
      government involvement. 'The church has to protect itself from
      infiltrants,' he explains. Like I said before, I'm the managing editor of
      Skyway News, but I'm not in the CIA or anything. He just writes 'No.' With
      the form completed, albeit incorrectly, and oddly without me having to
      sign it, we move on.

      "For the next hour or so, I recount 10 times each the experiences of a
      bike accident and a previous childhood chin injury, eyes closed.
      Unfortunately, I couldn't recall anything said to me when I was
      unconscious, no engrams. But I did get a headache and my neck got tight -
      evidence of regression, i.e., reliving the experiences on that part of my
      time track.

      "I just need to pay for some books I picked up from hours ago. Michael
      drops me off with a woman who can process the book order. There's no cash
      register. She has to go to the basement to get change. Standing there,
      waiting, I browse the brochures. I'm back in the area where I watched the
      Dianetics video.

      "One of the men in the navy-like outfits approaches. 'Are you in the
      navy?' I ask. 'No, I'm in the Sea Org.' Uh-huh. 'Would you like to
      complete our survey?' he asks, handing me another opportunity to offer up
      personal information: name, address, am I married, do I have kids? How
      many? Do I have debts? How much? And answer 'yes or 'no' questions like,

      "Another man approaches as I finger brochures. 'Do you like to read?' he
      asks. Yes, I like to read, in fact, I work at the local newspaper; no, I
      don't have much time. The woman emerges from the basement with my change.
      Despite my desire to leave, I find it impossible to be rude and leave the
      friendly man who approached me. We agree to talk until 4:30 p.m., no
      longer. At 5:30 p.m., I get up to leave.

      "Diane comes out. 'How was the auditing?' The next step is the basic
      Dianetics course for just $35 and another audit that costs $200 but it's
      eight hours long. Over the next day or so, I find 'Dianetics' impossible
      to read. I quote a passage to my husband and can't imagine calling the
      kind man for assistance decoding it."

      Message-ID: <Xns9380618C6B62kadywwwaifnet@>


      > Reed Slatkin

      Slatkinfraud.com reported on May 26th that Scientologists have been
      pressuring their members to join in opposing the Reed Slatkin trustee's
      attempts to recover money from Scientology orgs.

      "Scientologist profiteers used high pressure tactics to pressure fellow
      Scientologists with creditor status in the case to sign up for a legal
      maneuver almost entirely contrary to their own interests. In a mass email
      sent out last January, longtime Scientologist Tony Lonstein, currently on
      the hook for nearly $2 million according to the suit filed against him by
      the estate, called on his fellow Scientologists to join an objection to
      the trustee's plans to reorganize the estate, claiming that trustee Todd
      Neilson is 'out of control' and plotting to attack the church.

      "'The Trustee is out of control, suing anyone he can find. As an example,
      in the 50 page interrogatory which he just sent us, there is a full page
      devoted to listing out every single corporate entity of the Church,
      followed by questions related to our dealings with the Church. Despite the
      fact that this is highly inappropriate, it does lead one to believe that
      the Trustee has taken significant time researching all the Church's legal
      entities, and one must wonder if he doesn't intend to use this information
      in some sort of a suit or other attack against the Church, which I am sure
      you would not want to support.'

      "Scientologist net-loser Al Ribisi questioned Lonstein's failure to make
      clear his own pecuniary interest in the motion, and chided him; '(for)
      positioning the issue in any way with our Church. Leave the Church out of
      it. It's off-line. We have an Office of Special Affairs to handle these
      things.' Lonstein responded by quoting liberally from Scientology founder
      L. Ron Hubbard, and claimed that trustee Todd Neilson was a 'suppressive'
      - a Scientology term for an 'enemy' - for attempting to recoup Slatkin
      profits from 'hundreds of upstanding, ethical, productive Scientologists.'

      "'I personally believe that the Trustee's actions are suppressive, and
      that his suit of hundreds of upstanding, ethical, productive
      Scientologists is suppressive, and that his attempts use the legal system
      to strong-arm Scientologists into paying him by trying to get their assets
      attached in advance of a judgement are suppressive, and that his posturing
      to sue the Church is grossly suppressive, and if he sues the Church, he is
      100% suppressive, and that anyone who actively backs him up or sits
      quietly on the sidelines getting monetary benefit from his actions is
      aiding and abetting a Suppressive. Think about it, one of the
      distributions you receive from the Trustee could potentially be money
      extracted from the Church. No-one would want that to occur.'"

      Message-ID: <5e0371c5.0305260806.e04472f@...>


      > Tampa

      The Tampa Tribune reported on May 31st that Scientology has been
      aggressively distributing material in Ybor City, a neighborhood of Tampa,
      Florida known for its large number of bars and restaurants.

      "For months, well-dressed Scientologists have lined parts of Seventh
      Avenue, two on each side of the street, passing out pamphlets and asking
      passers-by to take a personality test. Now, Ybor City residents and
      business owners are complaining to the city that they are being harassed
      by Scientology recruiters who follow them down the street and won't take
      no for an answer. 'People have said they are just as annoying as
      panhandlers,' said Vince Pardo, president of the Ybor City Development

      "The church is renovating a building it is leasing at 1619 E. Eighth Ave.
      and plans to open The Scientology Life Improvement Center on June 7, said
      Ana Tirabassi, spokeswoman for the church's Tampa headquarters. It will
      offer lectures, courses and films on Scientology, she said. Scientologists
      stand on street corners not to harass people, Tirabassi said, but 'to
      introduce us to people new to the subject.' 'It's a traditional way of
      letting people know about Scientology,' she said. 'It's what we do in
      cities all over the country. We have excellent relations with our Ybor
      neighbors, and there have been no complaints that I know of.'

      "In response to complaints made to the city, Councilwoman Rose Ferlita on
      Thursday asked the city's legal department to investigate the issue and
      find out what, if anything, the city can do to limit how Scientologists
      recruit in the district. 'We have two issues here,' Ferlita said. 'The
      respect of visitors of Ybor and religious rights. I don't really feel you
      can equate this to panhandling, but them approaching someone may
      ultimately end in the request for a contribution.'

      "Tampa has an aggressive panhandling ordinance that prohibits people from
      repeatedly asking for money. Members of the Ybor Coalition have asked the
      city whether it can draft a similar ordinance to limit how many times
      Scientologists can ask someone to take a personality test. But because it
      is a religious organization, it has protection, said Gina Grimes, chief
      assistant city attorney. The city is faced with balancing the
      constitutional religious rights of the church with the rights of someone
      to walk down the street without feeling pressured, she said.

      "Joe Howden, an Ybor resident and Barrio Latino commissioner, said he
      walks past at least four Scientologists daily on his way to work at King
      Corona Cigars at 1523 Seventh Ave. 'We've worked hard to get panhandlers
      out of this area, and now we have these people standing on the street
      approaching people, and it's unfair,' he said. 'I don't know why this
      organization seems to think it has the right to step beyond the boundary
      of personal space.'

      "Irene Pierpont, general manager of Centro Ybor, said she has had to ask
      Scientologists to leave her property. 'We wouldn't have a problem if we
      didn't witness them following people down the street,' Pierpont said. 'But
      we just can't have that here.'

      "Rachelle Wagner, an Ybor resident, said she's glad to see the church
      renovating a vacant building, but she's concerned that members don't
      identify themselves when approaching people on the street. 'The average
      person doesn't know what a personality test is or what Scientology is,'
      Wagner said. 'What bothers me most is that they seem so sneaky.'"

      Message-ID: <1054395295.644605@...>
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