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A.r.s Week in Review - 3/26/2000

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  • Rod Keller
    Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 4, Issue 50 3/26/2000 by Rod Keller [rkeller@voicenet.com] copyright 2000 Alt.religion.scientology Week in
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 26, 2000
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      Week in Review Volume 4, Issue 50
      by Rod Keller [rkeller@...]
      copyright 2000

      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 ONElist. Email weekinreview-subscribe@onelist.com or see

      Week in Review is archived at:


      > Clearwater

      From the letters to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times this week.

      "Although the St. Petersburg Times has printed letters from Scientologists
      in response to a number of stories, I would like to comment on the
      propensity of the Times to publish at the same time extremely prejudiced
      letters. It is a mystery why intolerant letters that would not be
      published had they been about any other religious or ethnic group in the
      area make the opinion pages. Then again, maybe it is not any surprise;
      newspapers are usually the last ones to champion any needed human rights
      issue. -- Liz Adams, Clearwater"

      Mark Bunker reported a new development in the white lined zone by a
      Scientology building in Clearwater, in which people have been prevented
      from walking or protesting in recent months.

      "Just moments ago I took a victory march through the white lines on
      Watterson Street. In a hearing this afternoon, Judge Pennick decreed that
      we can walk through the lines when we're not protesting. We must announce
      our names to the police then we are free to cross. As I strode manfully to
      the white lines, I announced in a strong but not booming voice 'I'm Mark
      Bunker and I'm here to cross the white lines!' I then walked down the
      street just like a citizen."

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      > Leo J. Ryan Foundation

      Rod Keller and Tom Padgett reported on the Leo J. Ryan Foundation annual
      conference last week in Stamford, Connecticut.

      "The main speakers after the meals were Ron Loomis, Steve Hassan, Bob
      Minton, Stephen Kent, Deborah Layton and Robert Jay Lifton. Ron Loomis'
      presentation was his standard talk he delivers at colleges around the
      country, Cults 101. Steve Hassan discussed his new book, Releasing the
      Bonds. Bob Minton's talk was on the Lisa McPherson Trust, and the city of
      Clearwater. Stephen Kent described the political and legal situation in
      Europe with respect to cults and Scientology in particular. Deborah Layton
      wrote 'Seductive Poison', a book on her experiences in Jonestown and her
      escape before the suicide/murders. Robert Lifton was amazing in his talk
      on Aum Shinrikyo and his new book 'Destroying the World to Save it.'

      "Joe Kelly and Pat Ryan discussed altered states of mind and how
      hallucination and suggestion work to fool members into believing the
      cult's claims. The example of levitation was very interesting, how trance
      states and hypnosis can make members of meditation cults believe that they
      and others can actually fly across the room, not just hop around on the
      padded floor.

      "[In] the Lisa McPherson Trust session Grady Ward describing how far the
      Internet has come in providing cult awareness information, and how cults
      have been working to destroy what has been achieved. Stacy Brooks
      described her experience with the Trust and how so many active members
      have been following the material available on web sites, newspapers, etc.
      Flo Conway and Joe Sigelman spoke on 'Church vs. State', and had some
      interesting analysis of the changing government attitudes towards cults,
      including the Waco incident. The session on the Maryland Task Force on
      Cults on Campus included Denny Gulick, a professor of mathematics at the
      University of Maryland and a proponent of cult education on campus, Ron
      Loomis who testified before the task force, and Frantz Wilson, a member of
      the task force and parent of a member of the Black Hebrews, a cult that
      believes black people should inherit the state of Israel as the true
      descendants of Isaac and Jacob."

      "Thomas Padgett gave a brief overview of his time from being recruited in
      1978 to leaving on his own in 1987, but gave more detailed highlights of
      the rein of terroristic attacks, stalkings, character assaults, death by
      litigation tactics, burglaries, SP declarations, destruction of his once
      successful and rewarding career, and worst of all, 'disconnection' from
      his minor children! Padgett's ex-wife remained in the cult as a devoted
      Hubbard believer. His litigious ex has tried several times to get him
      convicted on bogus trumped-up child support allegations which is a crime
      in all 50 states. Padgett has a warrant out for his arrest in Kentucky
      from his ex's continued fair gaming tactics. The judge in the cases is a
      family friend of the pro-scientologists in a small politically controlled
      Western Kentucky town.

      "Recipients of this years' LJRF Award were Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman,
      pioneers in the study of cults and mind control going back to the 1970's.
      In their book 'Snapping,' earlier extensive research surveys indicated
      'hour for hour, Scientology's techniques may be more than twice as
      damaging as those of other cults and self-help therapies, and up to four
      times as damaging per hour as the rituals of some other major cult

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      > Jenna Elfman

      Mrshowbiz published an interview with Scientology celebrity Jenna Elfman
      this week.

      "My husband has been a Scientologist for years, and I kept hearing him
      talk about Dianetics. And I said, 'What is Dianetics?' So he gave me the
      book. And he said there's a course you can take and you just have to read
      parts of it. And then one day I ran into a situation that made me like,
      frazzled. I was spending the night at my now-husband,
      boyfriend-at-the-time's house. I was so used to the alarm that it didn't
      wake me up, and I woke up an hour and a half after I was supposed to be
      there. I got in the car and I was all frazzled and starting to cry and was
      rushed, and I couldn't think. Then I went, Wait a minute--that's purely
      reactive and insane. Look, you're in the car, you can't get there any
      faster. So just turn the music on, enjoy. And I went da-da-da, da-da-da
      and got a lot more analytical about the situation.

      "When I got there, I said, 'I'm very sorry I'm late. The alarm didn't wake
      me up.' And they said, 'That's fine. We're not going to get to you for
      another few hours.' Like, wow! I went, This is great. It's just very
      simple: Scientology helps me live my life better."

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      > Germany

      Frankfurter Neue Presse reported on March 20th that Scientology must pay
      membership dues to a business council in Frankfurt.

      "The 'Scientology Church' must accept mandatory membership in the
      Frankfurt Chamber of Industry and Commerce and pay membership dues. That
      was decided by the Frankfurt Administrative Court. In the court's
      opinion, 'Scientology' is a corporation which is required to pay
      commercial taxes and therefore, according to legal determinations, it
      automatically has to be a member of the IHK. 'Scientology' operates a book
      store in Frankfurt in which its scriptures are distributed. The
      association had refused to accept mandatory membership because, it said,
      the distribution of the printed matter was occurring only on an 'honorary
      basis,' and that the shop was not being managed 'fully
      mercantilistically.' According to the court's presentation, that was not
      reflected in the circumstances. As a result there was the obligation to
      pay commercial tax, as had been confirmed by the revenue office and the
      City of Frankfurt."

      Mannheimer Morgen reported on March 17th that two government ministers in
      Hesse continue to be criticized for doing business with a Scientology real
      estate developer in Zwickau.

      "Hesse's Interior Minister Volker Bouffier and Justice Minister Christean
      Wagner (both CDU) were assailed yesterday in the state assembly for doing
      business with a Scientologist. The two ministers were attacked because, in
      1996, they bought buildings in Zwickau from a company whose business
      manager is a Scientologist. The top CDU politicians were said to have
      indirectly supported the organization because of a total of 3.7 million
      marks the Scientology Organization normally receives 15 percent, said
      Greens Representative Evelin Schoenhut-Keil. The Scientologists' goal is
      said to be the infiltration of society. In pursuing that goal, said
      Schoenhut-Keil, the organization is not above practicing money-laundering,
      corruption or psycho-terrorism against its members.

      "In response, Interior Minister Volker Bouffier (CDU) stressed that the
      CDU politicians had not known anything of the business manager's
      membership in Scientology at the time the purchase was made. In 1997, the
      business manager had submitted sworn testimony stating that he was not a
      Scientologist. Even if the opposite of that would have happened, stressed
      Bouffier, he would not have been able to terminate his five year contract
      because of that."

      From Frankfurter Rundschau on March 17th:

      "'This is dealing with a private financial matter which has nothing to do
      with my post as state minister,' wrote Bouffier last week to the SPD
      faction in response to a questions about his real estate business with a
      professed Scientologist from Zwickau. In reality, the Minister, who has
      already been accused of 'treason to the party' and 'back-door affairs,'
      has not separated his private and work matters quite so clearly. That is
      proved by a letter which Bouffier filed against Kurt Fliegerbauer, the
      Zwickau Scientologist, in charges in the Zwickau state attorney's office
      on February 23rd of this year. The letter is authored on the official
      letterhead paper of the Minister with Hesse's coat of arms. Bouffier
      admitted that this afternoon he had 'inadvertently' had the charges
      prepared on ministry paper even though the charge was being filed by him
      'as a private man.'

      "Bouffier stated yesterday that in 1996 he was not aware of who managed
      the Osterstein company. It was not until September 1997 that he had read
      in the newspaper that a Scientologist managed the company. The investor
      verified for him, in writing, that there was nothing to the accusations.
      The businessman asked Bouffier for help in 1999, because he felt he was
      being persecuted by Zwickau CDU members because of his membership in
      Scientology. The Minister said he rebuffed Fliegerbauer's request.
      Fliegerbauer then suspended the guaranteed rental payments for the eastern
      real estate he had agreed upon with Bouffier because of what he said was a
      lack of help. Bouffier filed charges for breach of trust - on his ministry
      paper. SPD and Greens have criticized Bouffier for not clearly maintaining
      his distance in his cooperation with the Scientologist. Bouffier countered
      that it would not have been possible to get out of the contract without
      taking a loss if he only used the argument that his partner in the
      contract was a member of Scientology."

      Berliner Morgenpost published an update on March 17 of the Otto Dreksler
      case, a former police supervisor accused of being a Scientologist.

      "It's been almost two years since one of the biggest police scandals in
      Berlin got a start. Yet it has still not been explained why police
      director Otto Dreksler was wrongly described as a Scientologist, first
      anonymously, and then by Constitutional Security. If things go the way the
      CDU members of the Constitutional Security Committee would like, a cloak
      of silence will be drawn over the whole affair. As Interior Senator Eckart
      Werthebach said, 'This whole story has been over for years.'

      "What everything is really pointing to is that a secret plot against Otto
      Dreksler and the Berlin Security authorities had been concocted. In the
      past year, Interior Senator Eckart Werthebach has spoken of a
      disinformation campaign by the Stasi. Ex-staff of the DDR intelligence
      agency have, beyond any doubt, played a significant role in the affair.
      Besides the undercover men, there is much to support the concept that the
      anonymous letter writer who first slandered Dreksler had also snitched for
      the Stasi in the DDR era. Therefore, SPD Vice Chief Klaus Benneter also
      asked yesterday why Stasi spies were used on Scientology. Joerg
      Schoenbohm, stated that Stasi spies were only being implemented to observe
      continuing structures of that secret agency.' It has not yet been
      explained what led Constitutional Security management, including the
      Interior Senator and State Secretary, to deviate from this policy. PDS
      Representative Gernot Klemm asked, 'How could they know which undercover
      people at Constitutional Security had worked for the Stasi?' In the
      meantime, the state attorney's office is attempting to find out who was
      behind the intrigue. Investigation is currently in process."

      Die Welt reported on March 23rd that Scientology is the only organization
      to take advantage of new public records laws in three German states.

      "Its arrival has been calm and quiet in the offices of Schleswig-Holstein,
      Brandenburg and Berlin. Agencies from the Interior Ministry to
      Constitutional Protection are now open for inspection down to the last
      dusty folder - and nobody is looking in. For the first time, the
      authorities in three German states are obligated to let anybody have
      access to their administrative files. Before then, information, as a rule
      was refused: all information of the state was dealt with as confidential
      and reached the hands of normal citizens only as an exception - if they,
      themselves were affected by the information. Now any uninterested party
      can gain access to the files, which also include those on organizations.

      "The Scientologists' 'Human Rights Bureau' has been diligently writing to
      the ministries and government agencies of the three states. 'We would like
      to know what there is about us in their files,' said Koch. That alarms
      critics of the new law. 'That goes to show you who is interested:
      organizations like Scientology, which is under surveillance by
      Constitutional Security,' said Ulrich Spitzer, spokesman of the Flensburg
      Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Because of Scientology's inquiries, the
      Brandenburg SPD and CDU coalition parties want to back-paddle now and
      permit access to folders only by those who could show a 'justified
      interest' - as determined by the government.

      Suedwest Presse reported on March 23rd that former Labor Minister Norbert
      Bluem will oppose Scientology's recognition as a religion.

      "Norbert Bluem (CDU) intends to use all means to keep Scientology from
      being acknowledged as a religious denomination in Germany. 'The
      Scientologists have as much to do with a religious denomination as
      bicycles have to do with space travel,' said the former Labor Minister.
      Bluem accused the Scientologists of having ruined many people."

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      > Ireland

      The Irish Times reported on March 22nd on Ireland's churches efforts to
      monitor cults, including Scientology.

      "Mike Garde is employed by Ireland's major churches to monitor the
      country's 100-plus alternative religions. He tells Kellie Russell why
      we're now more susceptible to the 'unsettling presence' of cults Cult
      watchdog Mike Garde knows what can happen when you start poking your nose
      in other people's religions. He's Ireland's theosophical Big Brother,
      monitoring cults - or new religious movements as he prefers to call them -
      for Dublin's mainline Christian churches. As a self-employed fieldworker
      for an ecumenical ministry called Dialogue Ireland, he reports to a board,
      composed of representatives of the main Christian churches, on what he
      calls the 'unsettling presence' of alternative religions. He provides
      information, advice and pastoral support, for families, clergy, teachers
      and other professionals who encounter activities of cults.

      "He is a Mennonite - 'not a cult', he's quick to point out - but one of
      the Quaker-like peace churches founded before Anglicanism. It's a personal
      fact not lost on at least one of the organisations he's pursued in the
      name of disillusioned members and their disquieted families, a Dublin
      branch of the Scientologists. 'Scientology operates on a system of black
      propaganda,' he says. 'A section of the Mennon church was linked to a drug
      cartel in Mexico, so they contacted the church leaders I work for to tell
      them they had a dark horse among them.'

      "According to his research, there are more than 100 minor religions
      operating throughout the country. To date, Dialogue Ireland, which
      replaced the Catholic-run Cult Awareness Centre in 1992, has focused on
      Scientology, the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, new churches with Eastern
      or Christian foundations, 'human potential' movements and a group called
      Emin, which Garde describes as 'quasi-occult', promoting the powers of
      electromagnetic fields.

      "'We are the only country in Europe that still has not had a parliamentary
      investigation on the phenomenon of cults,' he says. Dialogue Ireland has
      now written to the Committee for Equality, Justice and Women's Rights,
      asking it to investigate the current situation in Ireland."

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      > Kirstie Alley

      The Wichita Business Journal carried a column on March 6th by Scientology
      celebrity Kirstie Alley.

      "Please join me in building on Wichita's ever-increasing commitment to
      education by attending our upcoming Education Expo at 10 a.m on Saturday,
      March 4 at the Wichita State University Metropolitan Complex. More than
      40 community groups around the city will be represented at the Expo, all
      seeking tutors to assist in our common efforts to improve educational
      opportunities and success.

      "I want to tell you a story of a little girl I'll name Chloe, who came
      into our tutoring center. She was 9 years old and hadn't learned to read
      yet. Her mother was at her wit's end. Chloe was having all sorts of
      difficulty in school and her mother had taken her to several different
      counselors where she ended up being put on a psychiatric drug for three
      years, which caused further problems. Our tutors worked with Chloe and
      found she had missed some basics at the beginning of her schooling. Chloe
      was brought forward with one-on-one tutoring and taught to read. She then
      learned the study tools that give students the solutions to difficulties
      with study so they can resolve them on their own. Today Chloe is doing
      very well and is drug-free. She loves school and gets along well with her
      peers. Both Chloe and her mother are extremely happy.

      "We have operated the free tutoring program at Lillie's Learning Place out
      of our Church of Scientology building at 3705 E. Douglas and have helped
      more than 700 children and adults. Not all of them have had learning
      problems but they all benefited from gaining the ability to effectively
      study. It gave them the key to both dreaming and reaching whatever goal
      they wished. I believe it is the key to our future as a society to create
      a new generation of kids who are literate and love to learn. It has too
      often been a failing that has cost us all a great deal."

      From The Sunflower, a student newspaper at Wichita State University, on
      March 3rd.

      "Actress and Wichita native Kirstie Alley will be opening a branch of
      Lillie's Learning Place, a free tutoring center, this Saturday after she
      hosts the Education Expo 2000. There will be several speakers, including
      Alley, Mark Siegel, national spokesperson for Applied Scholastics, and
      Jean Schodorf, president of USD 259. Rudy Love and the Love family will
      provide music. Having fun and being involved in the education of Wichita's
      children is the reason for Education Expo 2000, said Peggy Crawford,
      president of the Church of Scientology, which has sponsored the tutoring
      program for five years. 'The idea of it is to create 500 new tutors,' said
      Crawford. 'It's a community effort to increase education.'

      "L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology, has researched
      the study tools used at Lillie's Learning Place. However, Crawford said
      the program does not have any religious content. 'This is not a church
      activity,' said Crawford. 'It is completely secular.' Burks said most of
      the children involved in the program have another belief system, and the
      learning tools involved with Lillie's Learning Place help them learn how
      to handle life better."

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      > Lisa McPherson

      The St. Petersburg Times reported on March 26th on the documents provided
      by Scientology in an attempt to influence Medical Examiner Joan Wood in
      the case of Lisa McPherson.

      "Medical studies, scientific research, sworn testimony and more --
      thousands of pages from the Church of Scientology that Medical Examiner
      Joan Wood considered over five months before changing her ruling in the
      1995 death of Lisa McPherson.

      "Wood refuses to say what finally tipped the scale, prompting her to rule
      last month that McPherson's death was an accident. But records from her
      office examined by the St. Petersburg Times show she reviewed a wide array
      of materials seriously challenging her original conclusion that McPherson
      had died from a blood clot in her lung caused by 'bed rest and severe

      "The volume and scope of the records also reveal the lengths to which
      Scientology has gone to defend itself against criminal charges in
      McPherson's death -- charges it contends are threatening its reputation
      and viability, not only in Clearwater but throughout the world.

      "In making its case to Wood, Scientology hammered on several points: A
      blood clot in the lung, known as a pulmonary embolism, is a common killer.
      The public perception that McPherson was emaciated and lost as much as 40
      pounds while in the care of Scientology staffers in Clearwater is
      unsupported and incorrect. The fatal blood clot came not from dehydration
      but from a bruise McPherson had received in a minor auto accident before
      her 17-day stay at the Fort Harrison. Lab results on sodium levels in
      McPherson's eye fluid were too high to be credible and did not jibe with
      other findings in the autopsy.

      "The church's strategy is reminiscent of the O.J. Simpson murder case in
      1995 when defense attorneys meticulously picked away at the handling of
      blood samples and other forensic evidence, creating doubt among jurors. In
      the McPherson case, however, the all-out attack on the state's medical
      evidence is occurring well ahead of a trial. The church's Clearwater
      entity was charged in 1998 with abuse of a disabled adult and practicing
      medicine without a license, both felonies. One church official, asked
      recently to put a price tag on the defense so far, called it 'enormous.'

      "The stakes for Scientology apparently are high. In a recent court filing,
      the church contends the prosecution puts an unconstitutional burden on a
      religion, arguing in part that the case might even threaten its cherished
      and hard-won tax-exempt status from the IRS.

      "Assistant State Attorney Doug Crow, the lead prosecutor on the case,
      declined to comment. Marty Rathbun, a top Scientology official, said the
      church could have waited until a trial to bring forth the evidence. But
      that would have harmed 'the credibility of many persons in a fashion that
      would have made them appear incompetent to the community,' he said."

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      > Protest Summary

      Sean Ostler reported a protest in Salt Lake City this week.

      "We got our picket signs out and began walking back and forth in front of
      the org. Almost immediately, I saw them start to scurry about inside. Judy
      Steed, the Executive Director, got on the phone at the receptionist's desk
      and called someone (presumably Phil). We picketed for about 20 minutes
      with no 'handling' from the org. Then Phil Parke (resident OT8) came
      slinking out the org with a camera and began taking our pictures. Then
      Deana pulled out her camera and began snapping pictures of Phil. Phil
      continued to snap pictures for a few minutes and then he slinked back into
      the org.

      "I noticed a lot more activity in the org lobby than usual. At one point
      there were five people. Then I noticed Phil taking pictures of us from
      inside the org. He had his camera right up against the glass."

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      > Lisa Marie Presley

      Star magazine reported this week that Scientology celebrity Lisa Marie
      Presley plans a Scientology wedding in Clearwater.

      "Lisa Marie Presley is planning a wacky Scientology wedding with rocker
      boyfriend John Oszajca. Elvis' daughter -- who sources say has already
      given more than $1 million to Scientology -- has now convinced her
      Hawaiian-born fiancee that he, too, should join the controversial church
      before they get married this summer.

      "And their bizarre wedding plans include: Having an ordained Scientologist
      minister conduct the ceremony at the Scientology Center in Clearwater,
      Fla., personalized Scientology training for the 25-year-old Oszajca before
      the wedding. a special Scientologist official who will be on 24-hour call
      to provide advice to the couple in the event of marital woes.

      "An insider told STAR that devout Scientologist Lisa Marie is thrilled
      that John is now embracing the Scientology movement. 'Lisa is so excited
      because she adores John,' said the insider. 'It means a lot to her that
      he's starting to get involved in her religion. In fact, it's an answer to
      Lisa's prayers. She has so much more in common with him than she had with
      Michael Jackson.' But, just to make sure that the marriage works out, the
      couple are making plans to meet with Scientologist counselors before they
      tie the knot. John has also been asked to go into Auditing--a program the
      church has devised to initiate new members.

      "'Lisa lived in Clearwater with her two kids for two years prior to her
      marriage to Michael Jackson and, during that time, she spent most of her
      days trying to reach the top echelons of Scientology,' said the insider.
      It's been estimated that she has invested more than $1 million in the
      church. 'A million dollars is worth spending for her because she wants to
      achieve her goals in the church.'"

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      > Scotland

      Gary Campbell reported on a new org location in Edinburgh, Scotland.

      "It looks like they've just moved straight into a former grocers and done
      very little redecorating. The sign above the shop still reads 'Best
      Choice' and they have a rickety message board with a hand-scrawled advert
      for their personality tests outside. They do look to have been spending a
      bit of money on the inside though, they've got a polished wooden floor
      with big glass windows giving a good view inside. It's noticeable, and
      they're likely to do a fair bit better than they did at their old place."

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      > Switzerland

      Basler Zeitung reported on March 23rd that the battle over Scientology
      recruitment in the streets of Basel continues.

      "Despite a misfire of the first police charges against two Scientology
      recruiters, the new Basel ban against improper recruitment on public land
      has had its effect. Scientology recruiters distribute 'free personality
      tests' with 200 questions in the Steinen suburb. The people accosted are
      invited to fill out the test and have it evaluated in a nearby office. It
      serves to find out the personal capabilities and weaknesses of the person
      approached, stated Andre Steffen from the Scientology Church. To improve
      the situation of the subject person, books, privately formed courses and
      seminars are offered, like the communication course for 250 franks. Bigger
      courses could cost from 1,000 to 2,000 franks.

      "Anybody who is going through a crisis is susceptible to those kind of
      promises, answers SP greater council member Susanne Haller. First, she
      said, the person accosted is overwhelmed with 'love bombing,' a salvo of
      'stroke units.' She said that whoever uncritically follows up on the
      offers ends up in a closed, self-justifying system of thought and
      behavior. Personal risk for the person recruited is associated with
      dependencies outside the network of psychological services and associated
      with considerable expenses.

      "To oppose that sort of risk, the Greater Council decision prohibits
      recruiting passersby by using 'deceptive or obtrusive methods.'
      Recruitment personnel in violation of that ordinance can be dispersed
      'from specific locations or in general.' In response to the state rights
      complaint of the 'Scientology Church Association,' the Federal Court
      confirmed the validity of this regulation. At the same time the criminal
      court exonerated two Scientology recruiters who had been charged. That is
      because it judged the recruitment to be commercial, and therefore not
      religious, activity. The Department of Police and Military submitted an
      appeal to that judgment, reported the chief of the legal service, Stephan

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      > WWW

      The Guardian published an article on March 23rd on the battle on the
      Internet against Scientology.

      "August 12 1995 was a Saturday much like any other in the urban sprawl of
      Arlington, Virginia. Except that an alert went out over email and on
      Usenet groups to say that 10 people - including two federal marshals, two
      computer technicians, one a former FBI agent, and several attorneys - were
      raiding the home of former Scientologist Arnaldo Lerma. Leading the raid
      was Helena Kobrin, a senior lawyer representing the Church of Scientology.
      She was well known on the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology, due to her
      frequent postings which insisted on the deletion of files she claimed
      contained the Church's copyrighted materials. Lerma was distraught. Many
      of his personal and business files were kept on his PC. Told that his
      hardware would be returned the following Monday, he was still waiting
      weeks later.

      "There had been other raids in the US and further afield, including on an
      anonymous remailer run by Johan Helsingius in Finland, as the Church
      pursued anyone it felt was posting 'secret' materials. Such
      confrontations are continuing - albeit in more subtle form - as pro- and
      anti-cultists struggle for control of the 'truth' over the net.

      "On the Church of Scientology's slick official site you can take a
      personality test online (although you have to meet someone in person to
      receive the results) and visit links to more than 15,000 Scientologists.
      Said one British opponent of Scientology: 'The battle between Scientology
      and its opponents has been absolutely transformed by the net.' As writer
      William Shaw, author of Spying In Guru Land, explains, the main reason
      that the Church of Scientology has a large internet presence is the high
      net profile of its opponents. 'The CoS is very proficient at the internet
      now, but I believe that was only responding to very successful
      anti-Scientology sites on the web in the early 90s.'

      "Much of the background to the war between Scientologists and their
      detractors can be seen at Operation Clambake set up by Andreas Heldal-Lund
      in Norway in 1996. One of the incidents he highlights was last year when
      Amazon.com dropped Jon Atack's book A Piece Of Blue Sky, which was
      critical of Scientology's teachings. There was a massive outcry from
      netizens and free speech advocates, and Amazon promptly reversed its
      decision. The site also outlines how, in 1998, Scientologists were issued
      with filtering software to prevent them visiting anti-Scientology sites.

      "Roger Gonnet, an anti-Scientology activist running a web site based in
      France, says: 'My two sites were attacked three times each, the first with
      three attorneys in a row, attacking my ISP too. They even tried to attack
      under the guise of 'violation of trade secrets' which is a strong thing
      for a 'religion'.'

      "'For many years, the Church of Scientology has taken action to protect
      its scriptures from abuse,' says a spokesperson. 'It is in pursuit of its
      First Amendment right of free religious exercise that the Church has
      brought legal action to enforce existing copyright and trade secrets laws
      on the internet.'"

      Message-ID: <38d9820c.2707716@...>

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