A.r.s Week in Review - 8/24/2003
Week in Review Volume 8, Issue 18
8/24/2003 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.
Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available. Subscriptions are
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> Lisa McPhersonThe St. Petersburg Times reported on August 20th and 21st that the trial
in the breach of contract case against the attorneys for the estate of
Lisa McPherson was held in Clearwater this week.
"Large and imposing, Church of Scientology attorney Samuel Rosen stood
before a Pinellas County jury Tuesday, arms waving, voice booming.
Pointing at Tampa lawyer Ken Dandar, he growled to jurors that Dandar had
taken a 'garden variety' wrongful death lawsuit and allowed a church
critic to turn it into 'a frontal attack on an entire religion.' Now,
Rosen said, Dandar must be punished. And real punishment, he told jurors,
doesn't even begin until they force Dandar to pay Scientology more than
"The battle stems from the wrongful death lawsuit Dandar filed on behalf
of the estate of Lisa McPherson, a Scientologist who died in 1995 after 17
days of care at the church's spiritual headquarters in downtown
Clearwater. Church officials cried foul when, more than two years into the
wrongful death case, Dandar sought to add as defendants several top church
officials, including the church's worldwide leader, David Miscavige. The
ensuing bad publicity was devastating to Scientology, church officials
said. It also violated a private agreement between the church and the
McPherson estate not to add additional defendants, church attorneys
contended. So the church sued.
"Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge W. Douglas Baird agreed that the private
agreement was breached. Now, the jury will decide how much Dandar and the
estate owe the church in damages.
"Dandar said his case has been handicapped because Judge Baird would not
allow the jury to hear, among other things, why he attempted to add
Miscavige. Dandar has said in the past that he based his attempt to add
Miscavige as a defendant on the testimony of a former, high-ranking church
official who said decisions about McPherson's care would have come from
top church officials. 'This jury does not have the full picture,' Dandar
said after jurors had left for the day."
"A tiny smile creased Ken Dandar's face as a clerk read the first count of
the jury verdict. Compensatory damages he owed the Church of Scientology:
$4,500. Dandar knew then he had won. The grin widened and Dandar began to
playfully pat his attorney, Luke Lirot, as the clerk read through the rest
of the counts. The amount he was obligated to pay the church in punitive
damages: zero. The legal team assembled by the Church of Scientology sat
silently, then quickly filed out of the courtroom.
"The church claimed Dandar was paid $2,050,000 from a wealthy church
critic to turn a 'garden variety' wrongful death case into a broad attack
on Scientology by naming the church's worldwide leader, David Miscavige,
as a defendant. The jury didn't buy it. After less than 21/2 hours of
deliberation, the jury concluded no punitive damages were warranted.
"Jury forewoman Kandice Brockmeyer, a Pinellas-Pasco assistant public
defender, said the church's legal team did not nail down its case. 'They
asked us to speculate on a lot,' Brockmeyer said. 'They didn't show us
enough proof. We spent a lot of time looking at the bills,' Brockmeyer
said of the jury's decision to award the church $4,500. 'This is what we
thought was reasonable and necessary.' The jury took issue with the
expenses incurred by out-of-town attorneys who appeared to duplicate
services of the church's local legal team, she said. Summing up the case,
Brockmeyer said, 'It came down to the big law firm versus the little law
"Dandar considered the verdict personal vindication. 'They wanted to hold
me out as an example to people who file suit against them,' Dandar said.
"Several hours after the verdict, church spokesman Ben Shaw issued a brief
response: 'We're exploring our options, including the effect of 40
violations of court orders by Mr. Dandar and Mr. Lirot and their
cumulative effect on the jury.' Shaw would not elaborate."
> BelgiumAgence France Presse reported on August 18th that Scientology plans to
open a new headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
"The Church of Scientology will open in mid-September a new office
'devoted to humans rights' in a building located near the European
institutions in Brussels. For Marc Bromberg, the goal of this new office
is 'to present, in the form of a permanent exposure, the activities of the
Church of Scientology as regards rehabilitation of the drug addicts and
the criminals, of fight against the illiteracy and the general decline of
"'We want to also show our actions for the defense of humans rights and
the denunciation of the psychiatric abuses,' affirmed Martin Weightman.
The building, a beautiful building of two floors recently renovated which
will be officially inaugurated on September 17, was in particular selected
for its proximity with the European Parliament, according to Mr.
> Drug Free MarshalsLa Prensa San Diego reported on August 22nd that the San Diego, California
Police Department participated in an anti-crime night with Scientology's
Drug Free Marshals program.
"On Tuesday, August 5th, the San Diego Police Department's Central
Division celebrated National Night Out with a Crime-Free Walk from police
headquarters in downtown to Central division's station in Logan Heights.
Public Officials, community leaders, local organizations and churches came
together to walk with the police to celebrate community spirit,
cooperation and commitment for safer neighborhoods.
"The Drug-Free Marshals, kids who have taken the pledge to be drug-free,
passed out badges and drug educational booklets on Cocaine, Ecstasy and
Marijuana. Community Relations Officer Gary Gonzalez for the Heights area
said, 'The event was a total success. It not only brought an opportunity
to address crime issues, but it also gave the youth the opportunity to
take the pledge to be drug-free. There's a nexus with drugs on almost
every crime we have. If we address the drug issue, crime will slowly
decrease. The pledge done by the Drug-Free Marshals program (sponsored by
the Church of Scientology) is a perfect example of how community and youth
can band together to fight drugs and crime. For next year's event, we want
more neighborhoods to participate in the National Night Out.'"
> Safe HarborHamburger Morgenpost reported on August 2nd that a new Scientology group
aimed at alternatives to Psychiatric treatment has been established in
"The Safe Harbor association was recently founded in Hamburg. It is a
cover organization for the sect that serves only one purpose: to
infiltrate new social groups and to spread to crazy ideas of Ron Hubbard,
the sect's founder. After drug addicts it is now the turn of the mentally
"'The case is exemplary,' said Rudiger Hintze from the Working Group
Scientology at the Department for Domestic Affairs. 'We can see here what
cunning methods Scientology uses to try to tie people to the organization
and to spread Hubbard's ideology.'
"Melanie Herff from Hamburg studied nutrition therapy in London - a
science that is based on the assumption that most psychiatric disorders
have physical causes. And that depression and schizophrenia need not
always be treated with psychopharmaceuticals - that instead it is often
only a matter of the right diet. Melanie Herff had only just returned to
Hamburg after finishing her studies when the Scientologists started to
take note of her. She received an invitation to attend the inaugural
meeting of an association called Safe Harbor in a hotel in Ochsenzoll.
So Melanie Herff went along, presented a paper - and before she knew it
she had been proposed as chairwoman. She felt honored - and agreed to
stand for election. Something she now very much regrets.
"Scientology's strategy has long been to set up organizations that at
first sight promote good causes. They try to get people on board who are
already working in that subject area. The sect for instance used the
Ritalin debate to recruit allies against hated psychiatry. The 'EIFFRIG'
association was set up to fight alleged human rights violations in
Germany. And 'Narkonon' carries the veneer of a well-meaning anti-drugs
program. All these organizations are designed to find new victims for
infiltration with Ron Hubbard's so-called 'technology.'
"Melanie Herff became suspicious shortly after she was elected. 'I soon
thought the people and what they were saying was pretty strange. And so I
did some research on the Internet.' The results were alarming. She
suddenly realized that she had unwittingly become a pawn of the
Scientologists. The Working Group Scientology at the Department for
Domestic Affairs had known for some weeks about the Scientologists plan
to set up Safe Harbor. Thanks to Melanie Herff the Working Group now has
information about the leaders. 'I don't want to be made to work for
Scientology,' said Melanie Herff to explain why she left. She asked the
association in writing to delete her name and her personal data and to
refrain from any future contact.
> Protest SummaryThe New York Post reported on August 20th that members of a laborer's
union protested outside a New York Scientology org building to protest
their selection of building contractors.
"Members of Laborers' Local 78 installed their familiar giant inflatable
rat in front of the Church of Scientology's headquarters at 2 W. 43rd St.
yesterday. 'We're exposing them for being frauds,' says the union local's
business manager, Sal Speziale. Frauds? Well, it's not what you think.
'They hired a non-union company - Asbestos and Lead Inc. - that exploits
immigrant workers,' he says."
> Saint HillWeb site Thisiskentandeastsussex.co.uk reported on August 15th that a
week-long music festival was held at the Saint Hill Manor Scientology
compound in East Grinstead, England.
"The week-long festival, now in its 12th year, began with the traditional
opening night classical concert, featuring artists from Budapest and
Vienna as well as London and East Grinstead.
"Following words of welcome from the executive director Robin Hogarth and
executive producer Sheila Gaiman, Liz Nyegaard, of the L. Ron Hubbard
Foundation, spoke of Mr. Hubbard's outstanding contribution to the arts
through his music, photography and writings. Messages of good wishes and
encouragement for the festival participants were received from celebrities
including soul legend Issac Hayes and star of the film Carmen, Julia
Migenes, and were read to guests by Krystyna Louw, vice-president of
Celebrity Centre in the United States.
"Participants and performers from over 10 different countries were
attending an extensive variety of workshops this week, on subjects ranging
from dance, acrobatics and drama, to painting screenwriting and singing."
> World Trade CentersVail Daily reported on August 16th that Scientology is raising funds in
Vail, Colorado to help fund a detoxification center established in New
York to treat workers at the World Trade Centers disaster site.
"New York firefighter Joe Higgins can no longer fight fires. He
involuntarily retired from the New York Fire Department shortly after
responding to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center because of
health problems caused by a variety of toxins released when the
skyscrapers collapsed. Five New York firefighters and emergency medical
services personnel who suffered physically and mentally from the tragedy
of Sept. 11 visited the Vail Valley Tuesday. They attended a fund raiser
"The toxins released after the buildings came down caused many to suffer
asthma, heart conditions and trauma. 'These guys weren't sleeping, they
weren't eating and they couldn't exercise,' said Joanie Sigel, a
spokeswoman for the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Fund. 'In
September 2002, we opened a detoxification clinic in downtown Manhattan
with more than 150 rescue workers who received the detox.'
"The detoxification clinic is part of a research project that was founded
more than 20 years ago to help remove drugs and residuals from the body,
said Jim Woodworth, director of operations for the New York Rescue Workers
Detoxificiation Project. Two clinics were set up in Los Angeles by medical
doctors who used L. Ron Hubbard's method of detoxification.
"The program involves a precise regimen of daily sauna bathing and
exercise along with vitamin-, mineral- and oil-supplements, he said.
Through sweat, excretion and glands, the toxins leave the body, Higgins
said. The detoxification program might be one of the leading, cutting edge
projects in the country, Gulick said."