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A.r.s Week in Review - 10/5/2003

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  • Rod Keller
    Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 8, Issue 21 10/5/2003 by Rod Keller [rkeller@voicenet.com] copyright 2003 Alt.religion.scientology Week in
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 5, 2003
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      Alt.religion.scientology
      Week in Review Volume 8, Issue 21
      10/5/2003 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

      #####

      > Perfect Score

      The Advocate newspaper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana reported on September
      22nd that a student who earned a perfect score on the ACT college entrance
      exam plans to join Scientology programs in New York City.

      "Craig Gehring went over an old math test to prepare to take the ACT back
      in June, but that's it. He ended up getting a perfect score, a 36. He was
      the only student in Louisiana to get a perfect score that day and one of
      only 72 such students across the nation.

      "The ACT Assessment is taken by roughly two million high school seniors
      each year, and was taken by 355,000 students in June. The ACT tests a
      student's skills in English, math, reading and science reasoning.
      Gehring's perfect score represents a composite score of all four tests.

      "Both the ACT and the 1600-point SAT, which measures students' math and
      verbal skills, are used as factors in college admissions and placement and
      in awarding scholarships. Gehring, however, may not go to college. A free
      thinker, Gehring said he plans to join a drug prevention and literacy
      program in New York City, loosely affiliated with the Church of
      Scientology. His father, Kyle Gehring, however, is uneasy. He said the son
      has discovered Scientology on his own. 'We're encouraging him to go to
      college,' he said. 'We think there is a lot he's going to miss out on.'"

      Message-ID: <1064224829.843439@...>

      #####

      > World Trade Centers

      The New York Times reported on October 4th that a Scientology program in
      New York aims to treat firefighters suffering from having worked at the
      World Trade Centers disaster with the Purification Rundown.

      "For the past year, more than 140 New York City firefighters, some ailing
      from their work in the ruins of the World Trade Center, have walked into a
      seventh-floor medical clinic just two blocks from the former disaster
      site. Once inside, some have abandoned the medical care and emotional
      counseling provided to them by their own department's doctors, and all
      have taken up a treatment regimen devised by L. Ron Hubbard, the late
      science fiction writer and founder of the Church of Scientology.

      "The firefighters take saunas, engage in physical workouts and swallow
      pills - all of which together constitute what for years has been known,
      amid considerable dispute, as Mr. Hubbard's detoxification program, one
      meant to wash the body of poisons or toxins. The firefighters are not
      charged for their trips to the clinic, called Downtown Medical.

      "One retired firefighter is a paid member of the clinic's advisory board,
      and the city's main fire union has pledged its 'full support' to the
      clinic as it seeks government grants and other forms of financing. 'The
      statements I have heard from firefighters who have completed the program
      are truly remarkable,' Stephen J. Cassidy, the president of the Uniformed
      Firefighters Association, wrote in a letter that is posted on the clinic's
      Web site. The letter adds, 'The work you are doing in this regard is
      unique in the city, and is very welcome.'

      "But the existence of the clinic has upset city Fire Department officials,
      who, among other concerns, are alarmed that the medical treatment
      prescribed by its doctors is being discarded by some firefighters who
      enroll at Downtown Medical. They say the clinic's detoxification program
      requires firefighters to stop using inhalers meant to help with their
      breathing and any medications they may be taking, like antidepressants or
      blood pressure pills.

      "The exact makeup of the pills taken as part of the program, for instance,
      is not widely known, although they are believed to contain niacin. One
      clinic board member wrote a report published in a firefighting magazine
      that firefighters produced blue beads of sweat during the program. One
      city firefighter said that the man next to him in the sauna once appeared
      to sweat a quarter-size black substance - evidence, he said, that toxins
      were being drained out of his body.

      "Officials with the clinic, while acknowledging some of them are
      Scientologists, said the clinic is not formally affiliated with the Church
      of Scientology. An official at the church's office in Los Angeles said
      they were aware of the clinic, but described it as a secular enterprise
      employing Mr. Hubbard's methods. Joseph Higgins, a retired firefighter who
      is now a paid member of the clinic's advisory board, said Tom Cruise, the
      actor, had paid for 'quite a bit' of the treatments for rescue workers,
      estimated by Mr. Higgins to cost $5,000 to $6,000 apiece.

      "In a blistering 1988 report, Dr. Ronald E. Gots, a toxicology expert from
      Bethesda, Md., called the regimen 'quackery,' and noted that 'no
      recognized body of toxicologists, no department of occupational medicine,
      nor any governmental agencies endorse or recommend such treatment.' The
      report ended Shreveport's dealings with the program. In an interview
      yesterday, Dr. Gots said of the program, 'It's an unproven, scientifically
      bereft notion.'

      "Officials at the Manhattan clinic said that shortly after the terrorist
      attack, an official with the firefighters' union contacted the Foundation
      for Advancements in Science and Education, a group that promotes the
      detoxification program developed by Mr. Hubbard, to request the regimen
      for New York firefighters.

      "Stacks of of pamphlets about the program have appeared at Fort Totten,
      the department's training center. Department officials have tried to
      distance themselves from any impression that they endorse the regimen, but
      they say that it has been difficult. 'This is a very hard battle to win,'
      said Dr. Prezant, who noted that firefighters do the regimen on their own
      time and do not have to report to the department that they are undergoing
      it. 'It's not our job to say you can't go. All we can do is say there's no
      proven evidence it works.'"

      Message-ID: <1065272223.388528@...>

      #####

      > Legal Waiver

      The Oracle, newspaper of the University of South Florida, published an
      article on September 24th on the waiver Scientologists sign to be eligible
      for courses.

      "Rights and freedoms often go unnoticed until they are threatened. So why
      someone would choose to sign his or her freedoms away intentionally is an
      anomaly. However, the Church of Scientology has been making its members do
      exactly that. With this in mind, one must ask why a church, which is
      protected under the First Amendment, would force its members to forgo the
      rest of the rights given to them by residing in this country.

      "In order to be allowed to reach higher levels of success in the church,
      members must sign contracts that sign away their national rights. By
      signing, members waive the right to seek medical or psychiatric care as
      well as the right to see their families during church-provided treatment.
      This means family members or outside medical or psychiatric personnel
      cannot force the member into an outside medical situation. According to
      The New York Post, these contracts also say that members seeking advanced
      treatment must sign to 'forever (giving) up (the) right to sue the church
      and its staff for any injury or damage suffered in anyway connected with
      Scientology.'

      "Instead of medical treatments, members receive vitamins and introspection
      rundowns in which a guide assists the members in channeling past lives in
      order to determine the source of the ailment. Under the First Amendment,
      Americans have the right to practice whatever religion they see fit. But
      it is contradictory of a church, protected by such an amendment, to force
      its members to give up the rest of their rights if they want to be
      successful in the church's eyes. It is also suspicious that they take such
      precautions against potential legal actions if they did not see them as
      being inevitable. It makes one question the intention of a church that is
      attempting to administer such control over its followers."

      Message-ID: <1064483929.342047@...>

      #####

      > Hate Crimes

      The Palm Beach Post reported on September 26th that Palm Beach County,
      Florida ranks high on the state of Florida's list of cities with the most
      hate crimes, in part due to vandalism at the Scientology org there.

      "Palm Beach County ranked fifth in the state in hate crimes, according to
      a state report released Thursday. There were 24 hate crimes reported
      countywide last year, 13 of which were motivated by the victim's religion.
      Boca Raton recorded the most incidents - nine - one more than the Palm
      Beach County Sheriff's Office reported in the entire unincorporated area.

      "Palm Springs reported two hate-related incidents in 2002, both at the
      Church of Scientology in the Shores Plaza Mall, according to police
      spokesman Lt. Mark Hall. Twice vandals broke in and rummaged through the
      storefront church, painting graffiti on the walls. No arrests were made.
      'As far was we know, it could have been kids,' Hall said, 'but because
      (the graffiti) was directed at the beliefs of the church, it was
      classified as a hate crime.'"

      Message-ID: <1064570210.811542@...>

      #####

      > Belgium

      French newspaper Le Soir reported on September 19th on Scientology's new
      offices in the heart of Brussels, Belgium.

      "It's clear that Ron Hubbard's adherents love luxury. Their European
      office, which officially opens 17 September 2003, is an expensive
      three-story building at 91 Street of Law, in the very heart of the
      European quarter of Brussels. 'For us it's nice here, thank you!' smiles
      Fabio Amicarelli, director of the European office of the international
      'Scientology Church' cult. In the building, painted with white flowers,
      there are a few thematic halls. 'Here,' explained the director, 'no
      religious services are held.' They claim this is a 'human rights embassy,'
      which is 'a place for open and transparent dialogue.'

      "The staff consists of ten permanent employees. 'They accept everybody
      here,' emphasizes Fabio Amicarelli, 'on terms of mutual respect.' The
      stage setting is thought out to the most minute detail: photographs,
      symbolism, didactic paneling, slogans. Scientology does its best to show
      that it is somebody you can trust, and that using the 'cult' label on them
      is absolutely unjust. 'We serve as a religious association which is
      officially recognized all over the world,' insists our interlocutor.

      "The European office of the 'Church of Scientology' opens it doors 17
      September. 'There will be many people,' asserts Fabio Amicarelli. How
      many? What are their names? Unknown. Brussels was not chosen by accident.
      The Church of Scientology makes no secret of its wish to have its
      activities known in the capitals of Europe. Lobbying? 'If you like, yes.
      But what is reprehensible about that?' And how about that speech in the
      Belgian parliament from 1997 in which talks about a 'harmful cult?' 'We
      respect Belgian laws and the government. But we think that Belgium lives
      fifteen years in the past. Scientology is not what they say at all.' And
      the questionable methods of proselytizing? And the sources of the
      organization's financing? 'Rumors and prejudice,' says Amicarelli.

      "The European office is a site for conducting conferences and meetings.
      'We will invite the most diverse people so they can tell about our actions
      in defending human rights,' says the director. 'We will work here through
      our social programs: the fight against drug addiction, eliminating
      intolerance and rehabilitating criminals.' The office doors will 'always
      be open.' Even for the press? 'If they want to call on us.'"

      Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.96.1030922170403.112B-100000@...>

      #####

      > Russia

      Newsru.com reported on September 19th that Scientology continues to
      operate in Russia, and have protested outside a psychiatric institute in
      Moscow.

      "The director of the V.P. Serbsky Center for Social and Forensic
      Psychiatry, Tatyana Dmitriev, expressed annoyance with the activities of
      Scientologists on Russian territory. Appearing today in Moscow at a
      conference on problems of prison psychiatry, she mentioned that officially
      the activities of the Scientologists were prohibited in the Russian
      Federation. Meanwhile, in her words, the Scientologists continue to
      operate under the mask of rights advocate organizations. 'And that is how
      the big money works that is invested in Scientology,' said the Center
      chief. 'They believe,' explained T. Dmitriev, 'that psychiatry in general
      does not need to concern treatment of the sick - that, as the saying goes,
      God gave you whatever you need.' It was in this respect, T. Dmitriev said,
      that the Scientology protest actions were carried on outside the V.P.
      Serbsky Center. One of their principle slogans, said T. Dmitriev, was
      'Psychiatrists: hands away from people!' Participants of such actions also
      appeal to the government to stop financing the country's psychiatry."

      Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.96.1030922170556.112C-100000@...>

      #####

      > Applied Scholastics

      The Lovelock Review-Miner reported on September 4th that a pilot program
      to use Scientology's study tech in a Nevada school district will be
      discontinued.

      "During a special meeting of the Pershing County School Board on Tuesday,
      Sept. 2, the Pershing County School Board voted to permanently discontinue
      use of the Applied Scholastics study program within the Pershing County
      School District. Several people throughout the community, including
      parents and teachers, had expressed concern with the program because the
      books used in the program are reportedly based on the teachings of L. Ron
      Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology.

      "Pershing County Middle School teacher Debra Scilacci was one of those
      teachers who supported the program. She said that she has used the program
      in her classroom and it has helped several students improve reading
      skills. Those who spoke against the program said that the link to Hubbard
      was reason enough to cause them concern. Pershing County High School
      teacher Valdine McLean expressed her opposition to using the program. She
      said that she felt that Hubbard's connection to the program was her major
      concern.

      "Also speaking out against the program, were Pershing County Elementary
      Literacy specialists Sandy Condie and Shea Murphy. Condie and Murphy run a
      literacy program at the elementary school and said that the Applied
      Scholastics program is radically different than what they teach in the
      younger grades.

      "School Board member Todd Plimpton made a motion that 'the Pershing County
      School Board, upon further consideration and review of the materials and
      testimony as presented, hereby suspend indefinitely, without prejudice,
      the Applied Scholastics program.' Board member Rachel Clingan seconded the
      motion. Clingan said that her decision was not a reflection of any the
      people who have been involved with the Applied Scholastics program. 'It
      has helped some students,' Clingan said 'that's not an issue here.' She
      said that suspending the program is the right thing to do for the
      community at this time.

      "Board member Brad Arnold said that when the issue came up what he wanted
      to know was if the program met the needs of the district. 'After the
      reading the results presented by staff,' Arnold said 'I am not convinced
      that this technique, by itself, has proved or produced a mainstream
      improvement.' Arnold said that he is convinced that increased
      individualized instruction as provided by staff either in school or summer
      school has proven to be beneficial.

      "The motion to discontinue use of the Applied Scholastics program was
      unanimously passed by the board."

      Message-ID: <1064311545.492938@...>

      -end-
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