A.r.s Week in Review - 4/30/2000
Week in Review Volume 5, Issue 4
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.
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Note: This issue of A.r.s Week in Review covers articles for the last two
> Battlefield EarthFrom Ifuse.com:
"Crew members working on the latest John Travolta movie say they can't
wait to wrap, citing a 'creepy' level of Scientologist fervor surrounding
the set of potential summer sci-fi blockbuster 'Battlefield Earth.' The
movie is about a futuristic battle for Earth between opposing political
movements. The 'good' that wins out is supposed to represent the ideology
of Scientology. 'It's weird man,' said a member of the camera crew,
interviewed by iFUSE on the set Tuesday. 'Half these people are
Scientologists. Travolta's hired all of them to be here. It's like this
weird, religious epic. 'It's creepy, man.'
"Some crew members went so far as to call their Scientologist co-workers
'freaks,' saying they constantly speak wistfully of founder Hubbard and
how wonderful their faith is. Others -- who happen to be Scientologists --
said they were fine with the atmosphere. 'This is a film that I wanted to
work on,' said a Scientologist member of the production. 'Hubbard just
knew so many secrets about what really goes on, and his books made those
ideas come to life entertainingly, so it's great to be making this into a
movie that, hopefully, a lot of people will see.'"
Exclusive: Whitaker Talks 'Battlefield Earth'
"The $80 million sci-fi pic 'Battlefield Earth' opens here on June 2, and
one of the film's stars, Forest Whitaker, has been talking to Popcorn
about the L Ron Hubbard adaptation. 'It's very dark in some ways as a
sci-fi movie,' Whitaker says. 'It's also really funny because in some ways
we're so villainous that it becomes humorous - I mean, we're just so
ridiculously evil that it's like a joke. If it was going to be compared to
something, it would be sort of like 'Planet Of The Apes'.'
"'John describes it as, like, 'Pulp Fiction' for the year 3000,' Whitaker
explains. 'The aliens are extremely cool, you know, evil - we don't like
people but we got our own style and we have no problem destroying other
things, and those two characters in 'Pulp Fiction' have similar
From Ironminds.com on April 21st:
"If you're a regular moviegoer, you're sure to have noticed that the worst
of the current crop of trailers is for Battlefield Earth, starring John
Travolta, Forest Whitaker and Saving Private Ryan's Barry Pepper. At first
glance, the film appears to be about some vague post-apocalyptic universe
where 'man is an endangered species,' a universe where nothing seems to
happen except explosions and incessant, annoying laughs from an evil John
Travolta with hair extensions.
"The script, by newcomer Cory Mandell, is based on a novel by L. Ron
Hubbard, who also happens to be the founder of Scientology. Scientology is
a religion - called a cult by some - that provides its members with peace
and guidance in a world full of evil psychiatrists out for their own
well-being, or it's a con job that hoovers money out of spiritually needy
people and blackmails them into staying with the group, depending on
whether or not the person you're talking to is a member. So it goes to
stand, one would think, that Travolta starring in a movie based on a book
by the founder of his religion would be something of a recruitment video,
right? Travolta denies it, as does the Church, but a recent report by
not-for-profit organization F.A.C.T.Net accuses the film and the Church of
something even more sinister: subliminal messages.
"One piece of evidence might support that theory: the peculiar structuring
of Web sites for the film. The official Warner Bros. site, with that awful
trailer and interviews with the cast and director, is
www.battlefieldearth.net. The dot-com address, www.battlefieldearth.com,
however, is not affiliated with Warner Bros. at all. It's hosted instead
by Author Services Inc., a Scientology organization."
John Travolta has been on a book signing tour to promote Battlefield
Earth. From the Boston Globe on April 21st:
"Leading man John Travolta will be in town Tuesday promoting his
soon-to-be released movie 'Battlefield Earth.' The Hollywood hunk
reportedly plays a 9-foot-tall, hairy alien in the $80 million epic, which
also features his wife and fellow Church of Scientology member Kelly
Preston. The star will greet fans at 5 p.m. at Borders Bookstore downtown,
where he'll sign copies of Hubbard's book."
And from the Boston Herald on April 26th:
"Yesterday, while in town to promote his Church of Scientology- inspired
sci-fi flick 'Battlefield Earth,' Travolta was downright Terllike - at
least to the media! He did a couple of TV interviews, but refused to chat
with the print media. Because the actor, a devout Scientologist, knows
that a Face/Off with the ink-stained wretches would turn into an inquiry
about the controversial cult and the late L. Ron Hubbard, the Scientology
founder who wrote the book 'Battlefield Earth' which John labored mightily
to make into a movie.
"When Travolta did a small sit-down with a few radio stations at the
Ritz-Carlton, he decreed that he'd only answer questions about the $80
million post-apocalyptic flick - nothing else. Following the round of
interviews, John headed off to a packed 'Battlefield' book-signing at
Borders in Downtown Crossing where he would only sign - you guessed it -
'Battlefield' books and no other Travoltaobilia. Well, gotta support the
mother church and all."
"I was able to attend a sneak preview of Battlefield Earth last night.
What initially started out as a very slick, stylish movie with an
interesting premise, quickly turned into a standard Sci-Fi Action flick
with some INCREDIBLY HUGE plot holes.
"The movie starts in the year 3000. Man has already been overrun by the
aliens, and is on the verge of extinction. A nomad (Barry Pepper), who
lives in the mountains with his clan, leave the village to see the
'demons'. He stumbles into an abandoned city, and is captured and sent to
a prison. at this point, the movie then turns into the Generic action
flick, and starts to break down. John Travolta plays an Alien who is the
head of Security on Earth who is forced to stay wile stripping of natural
resources continues. His assistant (Forrest Whitaker) finds a vein of gold
in the mountains, and they come up with a plan to train some 'man-animals'
to use their machinery to strip the mine.
"I really wanted to like this movie, however, it had WAY too many glaring
problems. Here are a few of the most glaring ones: Travolta's character
has six fingers on his right hand. This is shown early in the film in an
obvious manner. No other aliens have six fingers on their right hand, and
this is never explained in the movie. Travolta uses a device that beams
info into the head of the Hero (Barry Pepper) in order to be able to teach
him their language so they can communicate. For some reason, he also beams
in history on the alien race, and how their technology works, and also
teaches him how to fly their planes. Hmm.
"THIS IS A MOVIE WHERE 1000 YEAR OLD, PERFECTLY WORK HARRIER JUMP JETS ARE
EXPERTLY PILOTED BY CAVEMEN WITH 7 DAYS OF TRAINING !!! Earlier in the
movie, Travolta tells Pepper 'When we arrived, All your technology, and
all your intelligence, and we were able to beat you in 9 minutes' 15
minutes later in the movie, Cavemen who were carrying spears and grunting
at each other are flying Harriers with precision, hovering inside
abandoned buildings, and jinxing like experts while blowing the Alien
craft out the sky left and right. All in less than 9 minutes. The actors
who played the aliens are supposed to be 9 ft. tall. Unfortunately, in
order to accomplish this, the actors had to wear HUGE lifts. This gave
them an awkward looking walk, similar to the way that people on stilts
walk. Sometimes very distracting.
"Travolta was good as the alien, but there were 3 or 4 scenes where I felt
he was acting WAY over the top. Barry Pepper's character felt way too
intelligent, given the fact that he lived in a hut in the mountains his
whole life, worshipping 'The Gods'. Overall, the effects were very good,
and the underlying 'Us vs Them' them ware played out fairly well, but
again, I just couldn't get past the holes in the plot, as they were way
From the Toronto Sun on April 29th:
"The avid Scientologist was in town yesterday to promote the $80- million,
sci-fi film version of L. Ron Hubbard's novel. The deceased Hubbard was
the founder of Scientology. As a salute, Travolta spent time at the
downtown Chapters book store, autographing Hubbard's books. Other
Travolta-ites were stationed outside the CHUMCity building on Queen St.
W., watching and sometimes squealing with excitement during his afternoon
open-window interview at MuchMusic.
"Travolta has been trying to get Battlefield Earth made since Hubbard
wrote the book in 1983. The intention was to play the young hero Jonnie
Goodboy not the dastardly Psychlos villain, Terl. Time, and his age,
changed his role, but not his obsession. 'Battlefield Earth is his
best-selling science-fiction piece,' Travolta says of Hubbard, who died
three years after his book was published. Travolta says he's confident
that the pro-environment, anti-greed theme is just as valid now. He also
stresses that Hubbard's book and Travolta's movie are science-fiction
entertainments, pointing out that Hubbard's Scientology is the
From the National Post on April 29th:
"'John! I love you!' 'I love you, too,' he responded, taking a seat at a
Toronto Chapter's where he was signing autographs for Battlefield Earth, a
sci-fi novel written by L. Ron Hubbard. Battlefield Earth has been made
into a feature film, starring Travolta as a nine-foot-tall alien, and will
be released in May. Lisa Fera chose to flip through What is Scientology?,
also written by L. Ron Hubbard. Everyone knows Travolta is a practising
Scientologist. (There were a couple of anti-Scientology protesters
outside.) That book reads on the front; 'Across the chasm is a high
plateau where things are far better. Scientology is the bridge across that
chasm.' I have no idea what that means exactly. But who cares? Everyone
had come to see Travolta the actor. 'No,' admitted 19-year-old Heather, 'I
probably won't ever read Battlefield Earth. I just want his autograph.'"
Steven Hassan reported an encounter with John Travolta during his book
signing in Boston.
"On Tuesday, April 26, 2000, at approximately 5:45 p.m., I was filmed by a
TV cameraperson giving a copy of my new book, Releasing the Bonds:
Empowering People to Think for Themselves to John Travolta as he was
leaving a book signing at Borders bookstore in Downtown Crossing, Boston.
I had just finished an interview with the AP reporter outside the
bookstore and had expressed my concern that the upcoming movie,
Battlefield Earth. By using one of its biggest stars, they could try to
offset the negative PR and dwindling membership due to the Lisa McPherson
death and subsequent lawsuits.
"As Travolta was leaving the book store, his limousine stopped in the
middle of the street, his electric window rolled down, his arm came out as
he waved. A number of fans rushed to ask him for autographs. I ran over
too and handed him the new, hard bond edition of Releasing the Bonds. He
signed the cover with a felt pen and handed it back to me. I said to him,
'I am the author. Here, you keep it' and gave it back to him. He seemed
startled and looked over the cover. Under my name it says 'America's
Leading Cult Counselor.' In an instant, the car sped away."
> CCHRScientology honored CCHR co-founder Thomas Szasz on April 24th with a
press release describing his accomplishments.
"'Psychiatry is probably the single most destructive force that has
affected American society within the last fifty years,' stated Thomas
Szasz, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the University of New York and
Lifetime Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Dr. Szasz
would know; with his 80th birthday this month, he celebrates more than
half a century of front-line psychiatric experience, observation and
"One of the first to reveal how psychiatry has slowly removed the
cornerstones of our culture, specifically 'individual responsibility,
virtue, standards of achievement,' Szasz wrote, 'Psychiatry is part of the
general liberal ethos...everybody is a victim, everybody has special
rights, no responsibilities. This psychiatric view has so completely
infiltrated American thinking, people don't even think of it as
> Lisa McPhersonThe St. Petersburg Times carried letters to the editor in response to a
recent column on the criminal and civil cases against Scientology in the
death of Lisa McPherson.
"Mary Jo Melone takes it upon herself to determine what is or is not a
religion. Her column fosters bigotry and hatred for a religion that the
federal government has determined is a religion and entitled to tax-exempt
status. Yet the Church of Scientology is not just defending itself in
this case, but safeguarding for every individual, even Mary Jo Melone,
religious freedom. That is missed in her column. She chose to be biased,
bigoted and to disseminate hatred. - Dan Sigal, Clearwater
"As a Scientologist and one who has lived in Clearwater for more than 20
years, I found Mary Jo Melone's column of April 9 beyond offensive. It was
comparable to the worst rhetoric of the McCarthy-era paranoia. Who is
Melone to try to influence the judges in the cases involving my church,
and what theological background does she have to even speak about our
religious nature? - Betsy Roush, Clearwater
"I wholeheartedly applaud Mary Jo Melone's April 9 column. It was right on
the mark! I have read much about Scientology since moving to Clearwater
five years ago and still cannot see it as a religion. I do, however, see
it as an organization that deserves credit for attracting such
high-salaried followers. - Doris M. Landsman, Clearwater"
The St. Petersburg Times reported on April 19th that Scientology continues
efforts to remove David Miscavige as a defendant in the civil case.
"The church goes to court this morning to ask a Hillsborough judge to
remove David Miscavige as a defendant in the wrongful death lawsuit. In a
separate action, the church filed a lawsuit in Pinellas circuit court
alleging McPherson's estate broke a 1997 agreement by including Miscavige
in the wrongful death suit in the first place. Miscavige's attorneys will
argue at a hearing today that their client should not be a defendant, in
part because McPherson's estate agreed in 1997 to limit the lawsuit to the
Church of Scientology in Clearwater and not other Scientology entities or
"The Pinellas suit also refers to the 1997 agreement. It accuses the
estate of breaching the contract and intentionally interfering with it by
trying to expand the narrow scope of the original agreement. Ken Dandar,
who represents McPherson's family, described the church's latest suit as
frivolous and said the church was just trying to distract him from working
on the wrongful death suit. Miscavige 'totally controls' and
'micro-manages all of Scientology,' and his ecclesiastical role is part of
an elaborate set-up to shield Scientology and its leaders from liability,
according to the wrongful death suit.
From the St. Petersburg Times on April 20th:
"A judge said Wednesday he will take some time to decide whether
Scientology leader David Miscavige should remain a defendant in a wrongful
death lawsuit against the Church of Scientology in Clearwater.
Hillsborough Circuit Judge James S. Moody Jr. will consider a variety of
legal issues, including whether Miscavige was properly served with the
lawsuit at his Hollywood, Calif., office and whether his late addition to
the suit places him at a disadvantage.
"His New York attorney, Samuel D. Rosen, argued Wednesday that leaves
little time for him and his client to prepare for the June trial. Rosen
also criticized Tampa lawyer Ken Dandar, saying he has accused Miscavige
in McPherson's death without any evidence to back it up. Rosen urged Moody
to remove Dandar from the case. 'This is the most heinous charge one could
make -- a charge of premeditated murder against the worldwide leader of an
organized religion,' Rosen said, adding: 'This is an irresponsible
> ClearwaterThe St. Petersburg Times reported on April 29th that a meeting was held to
describe proposed development of downtown Clearwater.
"Patty Zimmerman says she is tired of having to leave Clearwater every
time she wants to visit an upscale shopping area, such as Hyde Park in
Tampa with its trendy stores and restaurants. She's hoping that will
change soon. Zimmerman, 52, was one of 200 people who attended a public
meeting Friday afternoon. They gathered in an upstairs conference room of
Harborview Center to hear developers talk about their multimillion-dollar
revitalization plan for downtown Clearwater. Many in the audience shared
Zimmerman's enthusiasm for the $300-million project, which would include a
state-of-the-art cinema, 1,200 housing units, more than 150,000 square
feet of shops and the quadrupling of Coachman Park.
"Mark Bunker, who works for Church of Scientology critic Bob Minton,
expressed concern that Scientologists may be the ones who benefit from the
redevelopment. The spiritual headquarters for the Church of Scientology
are in downtown Clearwater. Frisbie said people who are now intimidated
with Scientology's strong presence in downtown would feel otherwise once
the area was redeveloped. Scientologists would simply blend in with the
thousands of people who would flock to downtown daily. 'I think your fears
are way overblown,' he said. 'I promise you if you create this urban
environment your fears will disappear.'"
> Tom Cruise/Nicole KidmanThe South China Morning Post reported on April 29th that Tom Cruise and
Nicole Kidman may have left Scientology.
"Tom Cruise and his Australian actress wife Nicole Kidman quit soon after
completing Eyes Wide Shut, the late director Stanley Kubrick's last film,
according to reports in Hollywood. 'The Tinseltown buzz is that Cruise and
Kidman have quietly severed their ties to the Church of Scientology,' said
American gossip columnists Marcus Baram and Marc Malkin in the latest
issue of US Weekly magazine. 'Despite their representatives' denials, we
hear that Cruise and Kidman started limiting their involvement in the
church after shooting the Kubrick movie.'
"Cruise was introduced to the sect in 1987 by his then first wife, actress
Mimi Rogers, a long-time Scientologist. But the actor has often reacted
defensively when questioned about his membership and when Kidman was a
guest on a radio show she stated that she was a Catholic. 'I have gained a
lot from Scientology,' Cruise said in 1993. But he added: 'The Church of
Scientology doesn't run my life or career.'"
> Digital LightwaveThe Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Digital Lightwave and
its Scientologist founder Bryan Zwan with falsifying financial documents.
Digital Lightwave has settled the complaint, but charges against Zwan
"This matter involves an 'earnings management' scheme in which Digital
Lightwave, Inc. overstated revenues and earnings in two quarters to meet
analysts' expectations. As a result of this scheme, Digital included
materially false financial statements and other false and misleading
information in quarterly filings made with the Commission on Forms 10-Q
for the quarters ended June 30, 1997 and September 30, 1997. Digital also
issued false press releases to the public, which materially overstated its
revenues and earnings. Bryan J. Zwan, Digital's then chief executive
officer, was the person principally responsible for making the false
filings and issuing the false press releases. Zwan also signed the
fraudulent filings on behalf of Digital. Specifically, Digital's filings
with the Commission materially overstated its revenues and accounts
receivable by prematurely or incorrectly recognizing revenues on certain
transactions which were incomplete or contained contingencies. Zwan also
made materially false statements and omissions to Digital's independent
auditors in connection with their review of Digital's second and third
quarter 1997 financial statements.
"Specifically, the company began recognizing revenues based on verbal
purchase orders and a fraudulent bill and hold transaction. As a result,
Digital was able to exceed analysts' expectations, reporting revenues of
$5.3 million and earnings of $.05 per share for the quarter. In the third
quarter of 1997, Digital, through Zwan, again employed the fraudulent
revenue recognition policies, and was able to exceed analysts'
expectations for the second consecutive quarter. This time Digital
reported revenues of $8.3 million and earnings of $.08 per share. These
results were materially overstated because most of the reported revenues
were again based on fraudulent bill and hold transactions and Verbal POs.
Digital's third quarter Form 10-Q, which was filed on November 13, 1997,
contained the fraudulent financial results.
"The SEC respectfully requests that the Court: Declare, determine and find
that defendants Digital and Zwan, each committed the violations of the
federal securities laws alleged herein. Issue a Permanent Injunction,
restraining and enjoining defendant Zwan, his officers, agents, servants,
employees, attorneys, and all persons in active concert or participation
with him, and each of them, from violating the Securities Act. Issue an
Order directing defendant Zwan to pay a civil penalty pursuant to for his
violations of the federal securities laws as complained herein."
> eBaySlashdot reported on April 28th that online auction host eBay has been
removing auctions of e-meters due to demands from Scientology under the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
"Does the Digital Millennium Copyright Act cover electrical religious
artifacts? Apparently the Church of Scientology thinks so. eBay has been
yanking auctions of e-meters because of complaints by the CoS. In response
to queries by a collector, eBay said 'the Church of Scientology is giving
us Notices of Infringement, which we are legally required to honor. These
items are being ended for that reason.' This is just one more data point
in the disturbing trend of the DMCA being used as an all-purpose club to
remove material from the Internet.
"The device itself is just an electrical mechanism, somewhat like a fancy
multimeter or oscilloscope. It's patented, but of course thousands of
patented items are sold on eBay every day. To members of the Church of
Scientology, however, it's more than just an electrical device. It's used
in 'auditing,' which apparently helps new members advance in the program.
"Rod Keller, a Scientology critic, noticed that e-meter auctions were
being taken down, and wrote eBay to ask why. The response was: 'These
items are not prohibited due to their nature, but the Church of
Scientology is giving us Notices of Infringement, which we are legally
required to honor. These items are being ended for that reason.'
"When Mr. Keller expressed surprise at this, the next message went into a
little more detail: 'There is a procedure under the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act whereby someone who claims to be an owner of Intellectual
property can send a notice sworn under penalty of perjury that an item is
infringing. The internet provider must then remove the item. The seller of
the item (not a third party) can request and fill out a counter notice. If
he/she does so, the complaining party who filled out the original notice
has a limited period of time to file suit, or the provider can go ahead
and relist the item.
"Based on eBay's statements, the Church of Scientology has sworn under
penalty of perjury that it has an 'exclusive right' to copyright on the
material that was posted in the auction. To me, that seems obviously
wrong. But to enjoy the protections of the DMCA, service providers must
remove any material as soon as they're told it infringes on copyright.
Once material has been challenged, the service provider must act
'expeditiously' to remove it. Only when the material is gone can the
accused user make a case to defend it."
> FranceRoger Gonnet attended a public meeting in Lyon, organized by Scientology
to criticize the treatment of cults in France.
"I entered a public meeting organized by clams. The organization picketed
was clam organized, room paid in dollars. The number of groups supposed to
be part of that organization is 52. There was a blond girl with a yellow
star 'I'm a cult's member' - she's a Raelian. Some others had this
tasteful yellow star as well, despite the fact that at least one Jew was
there. I walked in, presented myself as a member of 'our' association on
human rights defense, the http://www.alt-charlemagne-award.de Some
minutes later, I was cornered between scientologists who had been
instructed to be all around me.
"Less than 80 persons were there. There were the President, Joel
Labruyere, a guy who is working against anticultists since some 18 months,
and has written a defamation book. The vice-president is Irving Sarnoff,
USA. The others 'judges' were Me Joseph, an attorney having defended a
cult guru called Horus in France. He's also sort of a conspirationist
theoretician, mixing lots of other affairs. Also the author of a book
called the 'radishes of the anger', in french. probably because his client
guru was supposed to be sort of a peasant planting radishes. Dr Erik
Dietrich, MD supposed to have a specialty into 'victimology', while none
exist specifically in France, as far as I know. The singer Nayah, around
30, who was a singer having ran for France in the Eurovision Concours some
years ago, but was discovered as a Raelian priestess, and she lost her
"Then, some supposed victims came. One of them spoke for about 20 minutes
of his problems with his chief at work, while nothing was related to cult
appurtenance. Another, a Raelian girl, 31, spoke of the fact that her
child had been taken by a judge and given to her ex-husband. She went into
a delirium and was sent to psychiatrists. And also another guru who
complained from having had problems as a boy of 19 months died in his
non-religious-cult, where kids are more or less often beaten as a way to
get them doing right.
"So, later, we got a speech from the Dr Dietrich, who went so far as to
allege that our CAN - the ADFI - is protecting children sex-abusers. That
was too much, I shouted quite clearly that it was a lie. The scieno behind
me menaced me immediately to get me out of the room. I took the doctor
'apart', saying him 'So, would you say that we ADFI members are
pedophiles'? He did not reiterate. So I asked where were the proofs of his
defamation: he pretended they were in a judgment being on courts now in
The Los Angeles Times published a column on April 21st by Scientology
President Heber Jentzsch, criticizing recent decisions in France.
"For a major American human rights body to compare contemporary France
with the totalitarian Romania of the late dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu would
have been unthinkable a few years ago. Yet such a comparison was made at a
recent hearing by the chairman of the Commission on Security and
Cooperation in Europe, U.S. Rep. Christopher H. Smith, after a French
government official refused to meet with a member of a U.S. delegation to
discuss American concerns about France's treatment of scores of religious
"France is unique among European countries in establishing a government
panel specifically to foster intolerance of religious groups, unabashedly
calling it the Interministerial Mission to Combat Sects. Of the 38
religious movements that sent representatives to the Paris hearing, nearly
all blamed the government panel for their sufferings. Alain Vivien, the
head of the panel, last June told the French news agency Agence France
Presse: 'In the United States, freedoms are crazy. In the name of the 1st
Amendment of the American Constitution, which forbids legislation on
religious matters, one can say and do anything.' In Vivien's view,
religion must be controlled, if necessary by legislation.
"Those familiar with the worsening human rights situation in France
understand exactly why Vivien's ire is directed at the Church of
Scientology. Scientologists are active in defending religious liberty and
in exposing the human rights abuses committed in the name of the French
government. Indeed, Derek Davis of the J.M. Dawson Institute of
Church-State Studies at Baylor University recently made this observation:
'There is no group in the world today that is doing more to celebrate and
promote the principle of religious freedom than the Church of
> GermanyDer Tagesspiegel reported on April 19 that the opening of a Scientology
exhibition in Steglitz, Germany drew protesters.
"A small demonstration against the opening of the Scientology sect's
exhibition on Dueppel Street in Steglitz yesterday occurred on
Herman-Ehlers Square in front of the Steglitz assembly building. Those who
called for the protest operation included the Steglitz CDU district
association. Scientology spokesman Georg Stoffel responded by saying that
the exhibition would continue past its planned end on Thursday."
Taz reported on April 18th that the Scientology exhibit in Berlin will not
be happening as planned at the Best Western hotel.
"The invitations to the Best Western Hotel Steglitz International had
already been sent out, but now the worldwide sect business must change the
address for its 'What is Scientology?' exhibition. 'No public meetings
had been arranged with us,' the business manager of the hotel,
Klaus-Volker Stolle, founded the cancellation yesterday. He said the
500,000 leaflets in which the Scientologists have been advertising for
their exhibit in recent days violate their contract with the hotel.
"Key to the decision, though, was said to have been that after the
business contract with the Scientologists became known, other customers
announced there would be consequences. One of the customers was the
federal press office, which rented rooms from the hotel for visiting
groups from the federal house of representatives. It was said that the
press office had written a letter which announced that it would reconsider
its business relations with the hotel. 'From a commercial point of view,
perhaps the contract was hurting us more,' said hotel business manager
Stolle. He terminated the contract."
From Tagesspiegel on April 18th:
"Under pressure from the Press and Information Office of the federal
government, the Hotel Best Western Steglitz International has terminated
an agreement with the 'Scientology Church' for spaces for an exhibition.
Their reservations, as verified by Klaus-Volker Stoller, the hotel's
business manager, were canceled. Stolle gave his reason as being that it
had been assumed that Scientology had wanted to organize a closed seminar,
not a public arrangement. Canceling the reservations, though, started with
pressure from the Press Office.
"The office was said to have indirectly threatened in a letter to cancel
reservations for visitor groups from the federal representative assembly
for the current and next years. The press office's letter said that
'understandably' one would expect guests to spend the night in
'indubitable hotels.' According to Stolle, about 3,000 guests would be
affected by a possible cancellation. The exhibition will be opened today
in private spaces."
Berliner Kurier reported on April 19th that the Scientology exhibit in
Berlin was protested by the Youth Union.
"The Youth Union mobilized resistance on short notice and protested
against the SO exhibition, which opened yesterday. 'This sect manipulates
people and wants to exploit them and leave them without a will of their
own,' warned Nadine Wichatzek (25), one of the organizers. CDU General
Secretary Ingo Schmitt also condemned Scientology, 'Scientology is one of
the most dangerous international sects.' Within the show, SO activists
demonstrated one way spiritual lives of members were explored: a so-called
'electrometer,' a small device with dials, knobs and two tin cans is
supposed to be able to measure positive and negative feelings. A member of
the 'Kurier' editorial staff tested the device - it obviously worked only
for those who believed in it."
From Die Welt on April 19th:
"Despite public protests, the first 'What is Scientology?' exhibition has
been in Berlin since Wednesday. While the public pressure could at first
prevent the religious community from making a public presentation in the
'Best Western' Steglitz Hotel, the organization quickly found an
alternative location. A private lessor made spaces available on short
notice at 30 Dueppel Street in Steglitz.
"The federal press office is said to have lodged a protest at the Best
Western Hotel. It allegedly threatened to cancel all visitor groups from
the parliamentary representatives for this and the coming years in the
event that the hotel accepted the exhibition in its spaces. The people of
Berlin should to go the exhibition to form their own picture of what was
really behind the controversy, said the Scientologists' invitation. The
group itself claimed that it said what Scientology was at the exhibition's
opening: that it fought for a better life in hard times, a life 'without
mental illness and without cancer or other illnesses.'"
The exhibit attracted few non-Scientologists, according to a Berliner
Zeitung article on April 20th.
"According to statements by Anne Ruehle, sect commissioner of the Senate,
the Scientology Organization had sent out a half million invitations in
advance. On Tuesday, however, when the 'What is Scientology?' exhibition
opened on the fourth floor of a building in Steglitz, there was
practically nobody there but its own members. They were helped neither by
the leaflets which the Scientologists pushed into the hands of pedestrians
nor by the little girl who was giving out blue and yellow balloons at the
entrance to the building. About ten visitors found their way inside in the
afternoon; they were greeted by about twice that many, permanently smiling
Scientologists. They did not let the guests out of sight. 'Do you have
another question?' 'Can I explain that to you?'; no visitor could look at
the display tables without being disturbed.
"Despite the scanty response, the arrangers looked like they were
thrilled. They said they had already counted about 100 visitors. 'Based on
the great demand, we will extend the exhibition for a couple of days,'
said the sect spokesman, Georg Stoffel. He also expressed himself
optimistically as far as the number of Scientologists in Berlin. He
mentioned up to 2,000; Anne Ruehle, in contrast, assumes there are a few
hundred members in the city."
OTS reviewed a television program on Scientology, which aired on April
"'In the net of Scientology, Psycho-terrorism without end?' by
Hans-Michael Kassel and Jeannette Schweitzer. Former management staff of
Scientology Hamburg, they were prepared to give the television cameras an
exclusive look into the rather strongly shielded processes in the 'Org.'
In doing that they give first-hand testimony and demonstrate the methods
of incremented recruitment, the creation of dependency and the
exploitation of members.
"Since the 1970s, 'Scientology' in Hamburg has been trying to conquer
Germany according to the pseudo-religious rules of its founder, L. Ron
Hubbard. The high-ranking former members used authentic concepts to tell
the SWR team how, under the pretense of life assistance and over the
course of years, thousands of 'customers,' including themselves, were
sounded out with the help of primitive lie detectors, exploited, and
subjected to humanly contemptuous rituals of punishment. 'We were told -
and we believed - that it was a matter of spiritual freedom. What it
really was a matter of was money, money and more money,' reported a former
top manager from Scientology Hamburg."
The state of Brandenburg will install Windows 2000, according to Berliner
Morgenpost on April 22nd.
"A component program of the Windows 2000 software has been causing a stir
for months: the 'Diskeeper' defragmentation program is said to have
originated from a Scientology adherent's company in California. The
concern is that Windows 2000 could be used to spy on its users and forward
data over the internet to points unknown. The Brandenburg state
administration sees no cause to be ill at ease. 'The Ministry of Justice
has used the program without objections since the end of last year,' said
Rolf Hellmert, spokesman for the Ministry of Justice.
"In contrast, the Free State of Bavaria decided at the month's beginning
to not install the system until it had been checked out by the Federal
Office for Security in Information Technology. Brandenburg's Data
Security Commissioner, Alexander Dix, described the security risks for the
state administration as limited, because sufficient precautions had been
built into it."
Focus Online reported on April 28th that Microsoft has made source code
for Windows 2000 available to allay fears that Scientologist-created
components may spy on users of the operating system.
"According to information obtained by Focus, the German Federal Office for
Security in Information Technology got a look into the so-called 'source
code' of the new Windows 2000 computer operating system. Microsoft,
however, contested having revealed its source code, but an unnamed source
in the federal administration said that the corporation wanted to prevent
its secret program components from being subject to review in other
Hamburger Morgenpost reported on April 25 that Ursula Caberta announced
that Scientology in the U.S. is supporting the effort to expand in
"According to the assessment by the Interior Agency's work group, the
Scientology Organization has been making a more aggressive showing in
Hamburg. 'The millions in aid for the Hamburg Scientologists was a
declaration of hostility from the USA,' said the Director of the Work
Group, Ursula Caberta.
"The headquarters in Los Angeles made about 20 million marks available for
a new building for the organization in downtown Hamburg. 'Up to that
point, a bankrupt unit had never been re-financed from the USA,' said
Caberta, 'the money flowed only in one direction'. At the moment, she
said, Scientology was not doing well in Germany, but that did not mean
that the fight against this new form of political extremism was going to
Freie Presse on April 28th reported that a new (anti) Scientology
counseling center in Zwickau is being opposed by some in the city council.
"This city of Zwickau is contesting the planned Scientology Counseling
Center. An application for a temporary establishment of such an office was
rejected on Thursday after lively controversy in the city council's
executive and administration committee. The administration had until the
end of the first quarter to submit a concept for supporting and financing
a Scientology office. The administration had suggested that the
counseling be offered in conjunction with the already existing Contact and
Information Office of an Evangelical Church congregation. To that end it
was proposed that 87,000 marks be set aside for a new voluntary mission of
the city until the end of 2001. This proposal did not find a majority;
neither did the modified proposal submitted by city councilman Frieder
Badstuebner that the office should unconditionally be part of the city
itself and should be secured until at least 2002."
> Keith HensonKeith Henson posted a court filing this week, in which he moved to protect
documents regarding The Day of the Child, which he says was a sham charity
designed to funnel money from Scientology to harass his former lawyer,
"On March 24, 2000, Mr. Berry delivered the Cipriano documents to the
offices of Robie & Matthai. No one from Robie & Matthai has either copied
or read those documents and they have been placed in a secure storage
facility. There is no known copy of the documents.
"The documents are relevant as evidence of the payments made to Robert
Cipriano during the time that he served as a witness against Graham Berry.
The documents are relevant to the issue of whether the contacts between
Eugene Ingram, Kendrick Moxon and various witnesses are appropriate, or
not. The documents are potentially relevant to various violations of the
laws governing non-profit organizations, including the solicitation of
funds, the use of those funds, and the taxability of those monies. There
is concern that without the court allowing copying of the records before
disposition to any party, the records may be irretrievably lost and/or
> Lisa McPherson TrustStacy Brooks reported on a recent trip to Europe to meet with leaders in
"Bob Minton and I just spent ten days in Europe. We went to Cologne,
Hamburg and Paris. We discussed how we are dealing with the Church of
Scientology and how we can coordinate our actions. Bob and I were both
disturbed at reports from both Germany and France about actions that have
been taken by the United States against those countries for their position
"First we had a brief stay in Cologne during which Bob participated in a
live television program. The host of the show was Hans Meiser, a
well-known television personality in Northern Germany. The others on the
show were Dr. Norbert Blum, former minister of labor and a long-term
critic of Scientology, and Tanya Neujahr, a former Sea Org member at St.
Hill who, at the age of 17, was put in charge of security for several
isolation watches. Later Tanya tried to escape from St. Hill and was
dragged, kicking and screaming, into a room where she was locked up and
kept in isolation herself for several days, until she agreed to write up
her overts and withholds (O/Ws) and remain at St. Hill.
"Also on the show were Sabine Weber, head of OSA in Munich, and two other
German Scientologists. Bob had to speak through a translator so he was
able to answer Hans Meiser's question about harassment, but he wasn't able
to participate in the heated argument that took up most of the show. Dr.
Blum was very good at responding to the Scientologists' attempts to
portray themselves as victims of religious discrimination. After the
television program was over, we took a train with Tanya to Hamburg, where
we were met at the station by Ursula Caberta, head of the Scientology task
force for the state of Hamburg. She arranged a press conference so that
the German media could have a chance to hear a U.S. perspective on
Scientology. Ursula, Bob and I all spoke to a room filled with German
media. Several newspaper articles resulted, as well as television spots on
the major stations.
"We flew to Paris for a meeting arranged by Roger Gonnet with Denis
Barthelemy, secretary general of the Interministerial Task Force Against
Cults. Roger also arranged many media interviews for us in Paris. We
discussed with Ursula Caberta and Denis Barthelemy the importance of
separating the belief system from the practices of Scientology. We found
that they are in complete agreement that Scientologists are perfectly free
to believe in the efficacy of the tech and any other aspect of Scientology
they wish to embrace. But they feel strongly, as we do, that no one,
including a Scientologist, has the right to violate anyone's civil or
human rights or to abuse or deceive anyone for the sake of achieving their
> Bob MintonAfrica News Service reported on April 28th about an investigation into
Nigerian finances, including those by Scientology critic Bob Minton.
Scientology appears to be instigating the investigation.
"IThings have been uneasy at the Minna front where Ibrahim Babangida, aka
IBB, Nigeria's former military president, and godfather of this often
hyperactive contraption seats in court. At home and abroad, IBB has been
the butt of a recent harsh attack and passionate flaming from people who
see his hands in the architecture of the country's many seasons of
discontent. The complex of ethnic and religious tensions and crises in the
country, has been, therefore, in certain quarters, traced to the unseen
hands of the godfather.
"He angrily told a Nigerian Tribune interview that sections of the press
and the pool of active anti-Babangidaists have been mean to him, even as
they have engaged in straw targeting in an attempt to rupture his 'warm
relationship with president Olusegun Obasanjo' whose anti corruption
program has now taken a foreign policy format. If IBB so cherishes his
relationship with Obasanjo as the Nigerian Tribune interview suggests,
then his biggest nightmare now, might well be the successful freeze on
three accounts of his close business associate and friend, the American
Mr. Robert Minton. Authoritative Tempo sources in leading European banking
Institutions disclosed that Minton's accounts in Austria London and
Switzerland, were frozen following the result of a relay of activities
triggered by the private investigations of Nigerian footballer, John
Fashanu into the country's loots hidden in Europe.
"The Minton account squeeze, points to a case of massive corruption
perpetrated by foreigners at a time Nigeria is itself facing a crisis of
reputaion on a world scale for issues related to corruption and scams. In
this case a collusion between Nigerians and noted foreigners ripped the
country of hard earned resources in multiple billions through a debt-buy
back scheme which turned into a bottomless pit. Minton who lives in Turkey
and London has his hands stretched deep in financial dealings throughout
Eastern Europe, Turkey and a number of developing countries like Nigeria
where he reportedly helped arrange a secret debt buy-back scheme that ran
for years and laundered not less than $6 billions of dollars through
United State and foreign banks. Nigeria's search for its looted monies is
one of the signal planks of president Olusegun Obasanjo's foreign policy
programmes. The search leader is another Babangida associate, General
Aliyu Gusau, who currently serves as Obasanjo's National Security Adviser.
The Minton scheme was successfully faciliated when he was the operations
manager of the secret buy back deal through his various companies,
Triolet, Shamrock, GNL and Greenland Holdings.
"Minton is quoted in Africa Confidential saying he notified the IMF and
World Bank about the scheme and they gave him 'tacit approval.' Minton is
also quoted as saying 'many of the banks were aware of the buy-back in
general terms and took full advantage of it.' In context of the debt buy
back scheme, Mintons sub vocalisation points to a vivid picture of
conspiracy between him, Robert Smith, certain select creditor banks along
with Chase Manhattan Bank and all the nominee/holding banks using their
unsubstantiated 'tacit approval' from the IMF and World Bank."
> Tom PadgettTom Padgett posted a summary of a court hearing in Kentucky, where he is
involved in lawsuits with his ex-wife, who is still a Scientologist.
"Kentucky 4th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Charlie Boteler noted during
his ramblings of why expert and material witness testimony and evidence on
Tom Padgett's behalf should remain stricken from the record, 'It doesn't
matter if you (Mr. Padgett) have the character of Jesus Christ or the
devil (satan). I don't care.'
"Padgett has vowed to fight this. Proceeding pro se, Padgett convinced
the court to enter the expert assessment by Preston & Associates,
executive recruitment consultants and arbitration service. Mr. Preston
Doom, reported three critical factors contributing to the demise of
Padgett's once successful career: 'unfriendly' stalkings at his places of
work with character assaults and cultic P.I.'s infiltrating his employers
and employees; the obsessive litigious behavior of his ex wife over the
past 7+ years; a felony label being attempted to be put on him by Laura
Padgett in matters of child support. Civil court matters were postponed to
> Protest SummaryKeith Henson protested the Scientology org in San Jose this week.
"I went by the Rosemary location for a short picket (about 10 am).
Darlene came out and took my picture. She got the NO OTs sign and
IMPLANTED WITH DEAD SPACE ALIENS sign. She also mentioned that they were
going to let the National Space Society know how one of their board
members spends his time. I suspect they may be planning to disrupt the
next national meeting of the Board."
Mark Bunker reported a protest in Clearwater following a hearing on
"Today I attended the meeting held by the folks hoping to develop
Clearwater's Bayfront. The developers laid out a rosie picture of what
life will be like when they convert the bayfront into a bustling downtown
area with businesses, cinemas, parks and a botanical garden. The key was
to get people to live downtown in the new beautiful, exciting Clearwater.
Without people residing downtown, they explained, none of this would work.
"When the floor was opened to questions, I asked if any studies have been
done to see if people are reluctant to come downtown because of
Scientology. The developers were prepared for this question and it seems
someone had asked it at the early morning session as well. They explained
that now the Scientologists are the only ones downtown so if you go there
it is natural to feel uncomfortable. But when the development is done 10 -
25,000 people will be milling around downtown and the Scientologists won't
even be noticed.
"When I came back to the office and shared my report we decided to take
back a little bit of Clearwater and stage a picket. So around 5:30, armed
with frames of the video I shot in December when the cult painted red dots
on the sidewalks, we went out to protest on the church's side of the
street for the first time in months. Using the pictures as guides, Bob and
I made sure to stay outside of the area Scientology had once illegally
painted on the public sidewalks. Peter and Patricia came along as well and
we managed to get a LOT of support from passing motorists. The loud
honking of horns was heard throughout the area as we blanketed Cleveland
in front of the Bank Building for an hour during dinner, driving Al
Buttner to distraction as he tried to deal with the SP's who just won't
Gregg Hagglund reported a protest in Toronto at a book signing by John
"Picketers: Dave Palter, Mike Argue, Deep Wog, Gregg Hagglund. We did
about 150 flyers most in the first few minutes. Thereafter we each had an
'assigned' harasser. Mr. Ramsay was waiting for me and physically attacked
me outside of Star Bucks. David Palter witnessed the action from inside
Star Bucks. Ramsay blocked my way and bumped into me. I tried to get
around him. He was shouting he was 'going to be all over me today Child
abuser' I was shouting he was crazy and to leave me alone. He then tried
to punch me in the stomach, which I kind of dodged. He then poked me in
the mouth with his forefinger again shouting that 'He was going to be all
over me' I then eluded him long enough to get by him and head for the
safety of Star Bucks. He caught up with me at the door and we grasped the
handle at the same time opening the door. I tried to slip thru' and he
tried to push the door shut on me.
"The Co$ acted like thugs on the street. Blocking our path, dogging our
heels. There was an attempt at damaging one of Deep Wogs Cameras and the
same thug broke one of my picket signs and tried to steal a block of
flyers from Mike. I had signs relating to Battlefield Earth and Cult
Coffers etc. Also 'Visit WWW.XENU.NET and think for yourself.'"
Keith Henson protested in Mountain View and Palo Alto in a show of support
for Gregg Hagglund.
"Very little interaction with the scns at Mt. View. One older woman yelled
at me from inside her car, but the window was rolled up and I was unable
to hear what she said. When I got to the Palo Alto org, three org members
were busy in the tiny flower bed out front. They tried to ignore me, but I
could tell they were reading the signs. They either finished or were
> Freewinds RefundGreg and Debra Barnes posted about their attempts to get a refund from the
"I asked in writing some 45 days ago for the money we have on account
which is over $12,000 and according to one Luwig Alpers the Port Captain
we are to receive our money but no money yet. He turned ugly and started
to tell me that I should be talking to IJC and then I told him that I did
not give IJC our money we gave it to you on the Freewinds. Today was
supposed to be the day that we get our money guess the most 'ethical group
on the planet' is slipping. Will keep you posted on whether the ship pays
off or not."
From Bob Minton:
"Greg and Debra like Mike and Virginia McClaughry, have been prominent and
respected members of the Scientology field. Despite the fact that all four
have been recently declared suppressive, they all have a firmly held
belief in Scientology but are vigorously opposed to the abusive, deceptive
and tech altering practices. In summary, Mike and Virginia, and Greg and
Debra are TRUE religious freedom fighters who are standing up for their
beliefs and opposed to Miscavige's efforts to destroy Scientology. I am
proud to stand beside them and to help them in any way possible to
emancipate Scientologists so that they may all practice their truly held
beliefs free from oppression.
> SwitzerlandThe Swiss newspaper 24 heures reported that Scientologists in Lausanne
were caught distributing literature, a violation of local law.
"After many ordinary pedestrians complained being harassed on public
grounds by Church of Scientology staff, the city council decided to
completely ban CoS activities on public ground. After an appeal by the
CoS, they had to lift that ban, but edicted restricting conditions on
their activities on public ground. CoS is allowed to have a booth only
twice a month, at a well defined spot, market days excluded. Leafleting
is only allowed one day per week, market days excluded.
"CoS staff was caught leafleting at the main railways station, last
Wednesday (market day) and were ordered to immediately stop. The local org
head, Mrs Montangero (recently convicted and receiving suspended sentence
for defaming a critic - sentenced confirmed in first appeal) complained
about religious freedom and freedom of speech."
Basler Zeitung published an article on April 19th on the writers of a new
book on cults in the Alsace region.
"In their recently published book, 'Sectes, des paradis totalitaires?,'
two TV journalists, Jean-Pierre Stucki and Catherine Munsch, have
presented a state of affairs on sects in Alsace, Lorraine and in
Franche-Comte. To some degree, they rely for their information on two
parliamentary inquiry committee reports, which were presented at the
behest of the French National Assembly in 1995 and 1999.
About the Scientologists the authors wrote, 'To our knowledge, the
'Church' of Scientology is not, at least officially, represented in the
ten departments of eastern France. But it has again become active there,
particularly in southern Alsace, where leaflets with the address of the
Scientology center in Basel are handed out.'"