A.r.s Week in Review - 5/28/2000
Week in Review Volume 5, Issue 8
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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> RefundsTwo letters to Scientology asking for refunds were posted to a.r.s this
week. From Virginia McClaughry:
"As you know, I have withdrawn my membership to what is called The Church
of Scientology, due to fraudulent misrepresentation of LRH written works,
that are not factually written by LRH. Most Recently I was auditing on OT
VII, one of the highest levels obtainable in the Church, up until
approximately 1 1/2 years ago.
"I discovered that LRH's HCOB C/S Series 73 RA, which was 12 pages long,
had been edited and rewritten by RTRC I/C, to where the new issue (C/S
Series 73RB), had SEVEN PAGES deleted of LRH's writings. In direct
violation of BOTH of these versions, (one LRH, one not), as an OT VII, I
was ordered to pay for a security check to renew my eligibility, every six
months. I was sold services that were represented to be written by LRH.
This is Fraud.
"I was reverse audited by auditor of the year Therese Blum (reverse
auditing is also known as black dianetics, it is auditing being used to
attempt to cause harm to another). I was held in a room by the MAA
sandcastle April Buchanan, with 2 male ethics officers guarding the door,
who would not let me leave in time to catch my scheduled plane flight. My
husband was asked to leave his place of employment, David Morse and
Associates, because he was not in good standing with the Church of
Scientology. This is of course religious discrimination.
"Now that I know I was defrauded of approximately $220,067.50 during the
course of my 9 years on OT VII, I want this money refunded to me within 15
days of receipt of my requests. Since I am no longer supporting the
current Church, therefore I also demand a refund of my IAS membership fee,
amount is $2000.00., refunded within 15 days of receipt of request.
Request for refund from the IAS in the amount of $2000.00, requested by my
husband in writing March 28, 2000, to be paid immediately."
From Greg and Debra Barnes:
"After some twenty plus years of strong participation and unquestioning
loyalty to the Church of Scientology, we find ourselves forced into a
position in which we must stand apart from what you are representing as
the Church of Scientology. We have not deserted Scientology because you
are not delivering Scientology as we have found out. By the selective use
and misuse of the technology which we have experienced at the Mecca of
Tech - Flag and by the intentional distortion and perversion of the
technology, management has accomplished the nearly impossible, the public
ridicule of Scientology, Scientologists, and the technology.
"We have been defrauded of thousands of dollars by purchasing bogus made
up services by RTC that has nothing to do with Hubbard's tech which we
thought we were getting. We have been defrauded regarding your six month
checks which are now called refreshers which we have references by Hubbard
to prove are not to be delivered per C/S series 73RA. We have also been
defrauded by your IAS representatives when we discovered there are no LRH
references authorizing this organization to exist as well as its stated
purpose one in particular protect the Scientology religion and
Scientologists is totally bogus as evidence of our being attacked and
other global situations the church is losing in, ie. Russia, France,
Germany, Greece, Spain, Canada, not to mention other friends of mine who
have come under the gun of your Black PR actions.
"We are therefore making the following demands: Management all agents or
employees of any Scientology entity or Scientologists are to cease all
activities directed at my family and business Return of all funds paid to
the following organizations: IAS - Patron Greg Barnes 40,000. WISE -
1,000. Flag - 170,000. Total due: 211,000. Debra and Greg Barnes pc
folders, ethics folders and OSA files are to be destroyed with our
inspection at time of destruction or turn said folders over to us."
> Battlefield EarthThe coming European release of Battlefield Earth has sparked articles on
Scientology, such as an article in Spiegel on May 21st.
"Hollywood's leading Scientologist John Travolta fulfilled his life's
dream by filming a space thriller from his sect guru - and made a terrible
fool of himself. This spring, the early warning systems of culture
criticism found a new reason to sound the alarm: a science fiction film by
the name of 'Battlefield Earth' was coming to the screen. The novel on
which it is based originated from a man by the name of L. Ron Hubbard, who
became known in his lifetime for the founding of the Scientology Church.
"The film catastrophe had only one redeeming value: hardly had the movie
started in the USA than the hysterics in the editorial department were
called off and the annihilation writers took the command. A 'planetary
disaster' judged Time, 'probably the worst film of the century,' wrote the
New York Times.
"In vain one waited for just one statement from Scientology. Probably for
a good reason. Until now the psycho-association enjoyed the fact that it
was feared by many people who would not break out in derisive laughter as
soon as its name was heard. Either they hold Travolta responsible for this
battlefield of a movie, as any other company would do when one of its
image bearers fail, and throw him out. Or they grit their teeth and stand
through the catastrophe."
From Reuters on May 21st by Peter Bart:
"The three most ominous words for a producer are 'labor of love.' When
someone like John Travolta, your star in 'Battlefield Earth,' says he'll
commit to a movie because it's a 'labor of love,' that really means the
following: He's given the script to every studio in town and they've all
passed. Even the star's agent hates the project so much that he's
embarrassed to ask for money.
"Your movie is 'The Showgirls of sci-fi shoot-em-ups,' wrote Dennis Harvey
in Variety. 'Battlefield Earth' may well turn out to be the worst movie of
this century,' said Elvis Mitchell in the New York Times. 'You haven't
endured pain till you've seen Battlefield Earth', said Rita Kempley in the
Washington Post. 'Some movies run off the rails, but this one is like the
train crash in The Fugitive,' said Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Notices like this normally would give someone like Travolta pause. John
Travolta, a proselytizing Scientologist, clearly relished the mission of
making a film based on an old L. Ron Hubbard novel, since Hubbard was the
guru of Scientology."
From Sueddeutsche Zeitung on May 20th:
"John Travolta is an Operating Thetan of the highest level of clearing,
which means, according to the teachings of the Church of Scientology, that
Travolta is capable of controlling material, energy, space, time, form and
life on the planet earth. But John Travolta is also a superstar of the
highest income level, and, according to the teachings of Hollywood, that
means that he is capable of controlling budgets, producers, studios and
audience. And only on that account was he able to fulfill a dream:
Battlefield Earth, which was written by Scientology founder L. Ron
Hubbard, was filmed with Travolta in the lead role
"Scientology was said to be financing the film, coauthoring the script and
supervising the production. Accusations which the producers could credibly
deny. Of course elements of Hubbard's worldview show up in the film
script. One does not need special linguistic knowledge to recognize that
the name of the 'Psychlo' monsters are rooted in the Scientology
teachings. They are based, for the most part, on Hubbard's fanatic hatred
From Berliner Zeitung on May 18th:
"The New York Times described Travolta's embarrassing presentation like
this, 'He threw his head back and let loose stage laughter that would be
hurt the ears of the bad guy in the worst trash series. In the unusually
direct criticism accompanied by incredulous astonishment, it was said that
the major Hollywood production, which had cost about $90 million, had
fallen short of every amateur level.
"Now that the movie is running in the theaters in the USA, one can more
easily understand why no studio wanted to take on John Travolta's pet
project. His concoction finally got a start from an outsider to Hollywood,
Elie Samaha, a native born Lebanese. It was financed, in part, by the
Munich company, Intertainment AG. Rumors continue to appear whereby the
Scientologists are said to have financed the movie but these, as usual,
are denied by speakers for the sect. The presumption that the association
intended to recruit new, young members with the film was also officially
Space.com published an article on May 20th:
"Battlefield Earth is destined to rival -- maybe even surpass --
Cleopatra, Howard the Duck, and Ishtar as the most misbegotten, ego-driven
movie disaster of dismal special all time. But long after critics have had
their rave, the film may yet be remembered for something it could offer
that critics couldn't -- hope. The Los Angeles Times called and progress,
the film 'a wholly miserable experience.' Variety derided it 'the
Showgirls of sci-fi shoot-'em-ups.'
"This must be said. Battlefield Earth is imbued with a sense of purpose,
an uplifting plot line, a basic optimism about rationalism and progress. I
scoffed when Travolta and the Scientology establishment insisted that the
movie had nothing to do with Scientology, but now I almost believe them.
Yes, the bad guys - Travolta, et al. - are known as 'Psychlos,' which I
take to be a play on 'psychology' -- the profession toward which, of
course, Scientologists have declared eternal enmity. But if this movie
shows off Scientology at all, it shows it off as not a religion, in the
sense of ecstasy or transcendence, but rather as a cult of hard work and
From Der Tagesspiegel on May 24th:
"Some superstars in Hollywood are more powerful than producers. Otherwise,
how could you explain Warner Studios producing a movie like Battlefield
Earth which was based on a novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and
which the New York Times has already described as the 'worst film of the
"Even the plot of the bombastic science fiction epic seemed to have arisen
from a head drunk with missionary zeal: the earth in the year 3000 is a
slave state ruled by extraterrestrial 'Psychlos' who keep humans around as
beasts of burden. Anybody familiar with Scientology's teachings of
salvation will not be able to overlook the allusions. Hubbard detested
modern psychiatry, whose representatives perpetuate the servitude of
humanity here as 'Psychlos.'
"As co-producer, Travolta also had a powerful hand in financing the thing.
He needs two things now for the future: money and another success. Warner
will take care of that. But the next time it will not be out of sheer
From a column by The Finger in Los Angeles' New Times on May 25th:
"The Finger was counting on John Travolta to talk candidly about
Battlefield Earth, his colossal summer disaster but the glad-handing star
was suddenly nowhere to be found after weeks of high-profile pimping for
the L. Ron Hubbard epic.
"This appendage noticed that some movie critics were unsure about the
connection between Hubbard's science fiction tale and his notorious
science fiction cult, and many were downright stupid about Scientology.
The cult is normally very secretive about its core tenets which, court
records show, involve an evil galactic overlord named Xenu who supposedly
blew up Earth's volcanoes 75 million years ago to vaporize surplus aliens
whose disembodied spirits now live in clusters inside unwitting human
"But Battlefield Earth made no mention of Xenu or other Scientology
secrets, and some morons have made the mistake of thinking that the story
has no connection to Hubbard's religion. The most surprising gaffe
appeared in a piece by Lynn Hirschberg in the May 14 New York Times
Magazine. Hirschberg asserted that Scientology would not benefit
financially from the movie since the rights to Hubbard's book had been
acquired in the 1990s from Author Services, Inc., 'a Los Angeles agency
that handles Hubbard's fiction and is not affiliated with the church.' But
The Finger checked with one of the church's most high-ranking members ever
to defect, Stacy Brooks, and she says that's a stupid blunder for a good
newspaper to make. Brooks should know -- she worked for Author Services
and was once one of the top people in Scientology's public relations
force. Brooks says only the most trusted members of Scientology's Sea
Organization get to work at Author Services.
"Brooks was relieved that the film was taking such a nosedive: 'What they
have on their hands is something that is going to set back their
recruitment very severely, thank God.'"
From London's Evening Standard on May 25th:
"John Travolta's book-signing appearance at Waterstone's Piccadilly branch
today is no longer a lazy publicity engagement but an exercise in damage
limitation. The American press has already dubbed his new film Battlefield
Earth, based on L Ron Hubbard's book and released here next week, as 'the
worst movie of the century'. The star's links with Scientology, the
controversial religion founded by Hubbard, has led to suggestions that the
movie is a piece of propaganda. Commentators have seen in this story an
allegory for Hubbard's beliefs.
"Until now, Travolta has largely kept his faith private: when a
Scientology scandal broke in France a couple of years ago, he fled the
country rather than join in a public debate on the church's operations. He
insists that Battlefield Earth, which he fought for 15 years to make, is
nothing but 'entertainment and popcorn, good fun'. Others see in the
film's futuristic plot an allegory of Hubbard's belief that humans are
made up of clusters of spirits or thetans that were banished to the earth
some 75 million years ago by a cruel galactic ruler called Xenu. One
studio boss who refused the chance to make Battlefield Earth said, 'It was
risky. On any film there are 10 variables that can kill you. On this one
there was an 11th: Scientology. It just wasn't something anyone really
wanted to get involved with.'
"The idea that profits - if there are any - from Battlefield Earth
merchandise might go to what Cynthia Kisser from the Cult Awareness
Network describes as 'quite likely the most ruthless, the most litigious
and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen' is another strike
From Philadelphia Weekly:
"Too bad that the enduring spirit of L. Ron Hubbard - the last striving
American to successfully anoint himself the swaggering grand pooh-bah of
civilized society - so disappointed us with the recent screen adaptation
of his sci-fi magnum opus Battlefield Earth, a film whose reviews have
been so universally scathing, it's enough to make you wonder if the Church
of Scientology has somehow lost its comic muse.
"More than 16 million copies of Dianetics have been sold, says its cover.
Based on the always entertaining concept that what ails us humans stems
from a run-in with the evil-doing ghosts of aliens ostracized from their
home galaxy and vaporized by their leader Xemu some 75 million years ago,
Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health is a treasury of self-help
humor, replete with screwball explanations for such things as constipation
(which, by the way, 'can be caused or cured by positive suggestion with
remarkable speed and facility'), gays and lesbians ('The sexual pervert
... is actually quite ill physically') and even the common douche bag (not
a recommended tool for abortion).
"Strangely, though nearly all the planet's movie reviewers have been quick
to deny so much as an inkling of artistic merit in Battlefield Earth, an
overwhelming majority of them have just as swiftly dashed the flick's
oft-assumed role as a tool for attracting fresh comic blood to
Scientology's depleted humor reserves. God only knows why. You'd really
have to be a moron to miss the heady Dianetics parallels.
"In a stealthy bit of Dianetics-style mirth, Travolta, the ultimate
Psychlo company man, threatens his subordinates with retribution from the
'corporation's dreaded 'home office.' So why is it that despite the
squeaky-clean, collectively reeducated brainpower of Travolta, Kirstie
Alley, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, the madcap traveling comedy revue
Hubbard kicked off in 1950 with Dianetics' first print run has since
become as tired as a Jerry Lewis telethon? Could it be that all the
really good ideas for world domination have been taken? Or does getting
your brain reprogrammed somehow mess with your delivery?"
> Tom CruiseABC News carried a story and an interview with Scientology celebrity Tom
Cruise on May 23rd.
"Earlier this month, US Weekly magazine reported that Cruise and his wife,
actress Nicole Kidman, had 'quietly severed their ties to the Church of
Scientology.' Cruise called the report 'garbage' and the magazine has
printed a retraction. Cruise says he thinks the media is focused on
Scientology - whose members include actor John Travolta - because a lot of
people don't know what it is. 'People don't know that the great things
they [Scientologists] do, within education, and how they really try to
help the community,' says Cruise. 'It's just a very positive, wonderful
"TOM CRUISE: People make mistakes in what they say, and I think that I, I
respect Jann Wenner and 'US' magazine for printing the retraction.
"JOEL SIEGEL: Why is there this obsession with Scientology?
"TOM CRUISE: I don't know, you know. There's, there - I really don't know.
And, um, I think it's unfortunate and I think it's also because people
don't understand. People don't know what it is, you know, and there's, you
know, people - there's history, there've been wars over; people don't
understand and people don't know that, uh, the great things they do within
education, how they really try to help the community. And, uh, it's just a
very positive, wonderful thing. What difference does it make? I mean, I
don't - you know, when I work with people, you don't ask them what
religion [laughter], you know, based on."
From the Daily Telegraph on May 27th:
"There has been a flurry of activity in America this week after US Weekly
reported Cruise saying he was underwhelmed by Travolta's new film,
Battlefield Earth, a piece of futuristic mumbo-jumbo based on a book by L
Ron Hubbard, the controversial founder of Scientology. US Weekly went
further and said that Cruise and his wife, Nicole Kidman, had also
'quietly severed their ties' with the Church of Scientology.
"This was too much. Pat Kingley of PMK, the PR firm with real celebrity
clout, extracted a prominent apology from the mag. We have 'found out',
said the mag, that Cruise remains 'an active and committed member' of the
church and that he had 'neither said nor hinted at anything negative about
"Cruise's new film Mission: Impossible 2 has just taken $12.5 million on
its opening day. Game, set and match to Cruise, I'd say."
> GermanyStuttgarter Nachrichten reported on May 20th that a Scientologist is
accused of beating up a school girl at an exhibition.
"The event already took place several weeks ago. A mild Saturday afternoon
in March: a sales crowd. On 'Kleinen Schlossplatz,' Scientologists were
advertising for the 'What is Scientology?' exhibition on 39 Friedrich
Street. Four school girls who happened to be passing by discovered
balloons on which 'Scientology' was written in large letters. Annoyed that
she had been accosted several times previously by members of the
controversial organization, one of them stuck a pin in a yellow balloon.
'A dumb trick,' the young woman has since admitted. This sort of thing,
however, drove one of the Scientologists into a rage so that he hit the 16
year old girl. 'Repeatedly,' she said.
"'Scientologists normally avoid such confrontation,' said Codes Office
Director Till Neumann. The conduct of the Dianeticians in public has not
now reached new proportions. Offering books or expensive Dianetics courses
for sale or recruiting members are still prohibited. That was decided by a
judge of the Stuttgart municipal court."
Freie Presse reported on May 23rd that Scientology continues to operate in
Zwichau, despite promises to leave the city.
"Gottfried Teubner, CDU state assembly member from Brand-Erbisdorf and
commissioner for issues of religion and weltanschauung was making an
announcement: the rumor ridden business group of 'Peter and Partner' was
not a company that 'can be associated with Scientology in any way,' he
said. He bases his opinion on a statement by the three business managers
of the builder, Michael Peter, Bernd Ehret and Ulf Hofmann: they let
Teubner know in writing that neither they nor their staff were trained
according to the technology of Ron L. Hubbard. They furthermore stated
that their business did not operate according to Hubbard's teachings, and
that neither they nor their employees were Scientology members.
"In the middle of February, when Fliegerbauer announced his retreat from
Zwickau in a press conference, he tried to protect to the builder from
suspicions of Scientology which were making their rounds in Zwickau. Since
that time the presumptions have become more strongly rooted. It is mainly
the special interest group of the 'Victims of Peter and Partner' who
believe they have been conned out of millions of marks who continue to
associate the names of the company bosses with the sect."
Sindelfinger Zeitung reported on May 26th that the office of
Constitutional Security continues to monitor Scientology.
"According to Constitutional Security, foreign intelligence agencies are
spying more in Baden-Wuerttemberg offices, halls and books. 'As it has
been, the greatest danger comes from Russia, Iran and China,' said the
more than 200 page volume by Constitutional Security. The Scientology
Organization will also continue to be scrutinized. 'Since the
Scientologists pursue the goal, as they always have, of securing and
expanding their totalitarian system, there is a continuing need to have
them observed by Constitutional Security,' said Schaeuble. The Greens
sharply criticize the work of Constitutional Security."
> Gregg HagglundThe Abbey Oaks News from Oakville, Ontario, Canada published a story on
May 19th about Scientology critic Gregg Hagglund.
"Two police cruisers parked on Munn's Avenue near Sixth Line on Saturday,
May 13, to investigate a complaint by a homeowner. Fifteen-year River Oaks
resident Gregg Hagglund called about two picketers in front of his home
around 2 p.m. The two women held placards reading 'Do you know your
neighbor spreads hate propaganda?' Hagglund says the picketers visit his
home on a regular basis and that they are from the Church of Scientology.
"One of the women with a placard, who has been with the church for 20
years but prefers to remain anonymous, claims Hagglund has posted pictures
of the children of Scientology parishioners on the internet. The internet
site which the woman believes is hate propaganda was posted by Hagglund in
1997 and was critical of CSI. The pictures are head shots of the children
of CSI parishioners and a picture of a two youths, eight to 10 years old
sitting at a table with material for sale.
"Hagglund says the picketing by the two CSI parishioners is just part of a
'protracted campaign of harassment by CSI' because he and several others
have been picketing the church once a month since May of 1997. He says he
shut down the offending web site in June of 1998 because he could no
longer maintain it. He objects to CSI 'getting kids involved and
proselytizing using kids' so he posted the pictures of children of
parishioners helping to sell Scientology wares like books and courses.
"Acting detective Scott Mason of the Intelligence unit of the Halton
Regional Police does not believe Hagglund's activities fall within the
Criminal Code's definition of 'Hate Propaganda.' 'I'd say there is a huge
line between hate propaganda and criticizing. This is a free country. You
can criticize anyone you want.'
"Hagglund wants to warn and educate others that 'some of the practices of
Scientology are potentially harmful, even deadly. 'If there is a sheet of
ice and I'm the only one who can see a small hole, am I not morally
responsible to tell people about it and keep someone from falling in?'"
> Brian HaneyBryan Zwan issued subpoenas this week to critics of Scientology,
attempting to obtain information on former Scientologist Brian Haney.
Haney is suing for delivery of stock options that were awarded him in a
fraud case. Zwan cited Haney's support of Scientology critics as the
reason for withholding the options, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
From Gregg Hagglund:
"I recently received a subpoena from a US District Court in Southern Ohio
in the Zwan/Haney raucous. Since I consulted my lawyer and I am entitled
to my expenses for your willful harassment. Please remit to me $500 Can.
Since you have gone to so much trouble to engage a Reporting firm here in
Canada for me to bring my documents to for copying on June 1, I intend to
go. I shall bring close to 500,000 pages of documents and correspondence
for copying and transmission to your offices on your clients nickel. If
you can find any communique in that pile from Mr. Haney, Brown or HSH
Investments you are welcome to it."
From Ron Newman:
"Bryan Zwan's lawyers have issued subpoenas for DOCUMENTS ONLY (not
deposition) to the following people: Jerry [sic] Armstrong, Ken Dandar,
Dennis Erlich, Steve Hassan, Jeff Jacobsen, Rod Keller, Cynthia Kisser,
Dell Leibreich, Arnie Lerma, Ron Loomis, Ed Lotick [sic], Ron Newman,
Frank Oliver, Robert Peterson, Grady Ward, Mark Dellars [sic], Tampa FL,
Cynthia Kisser, Wonder Lake IL, Jessie [sic] Prince, Clearwater FL, Gary
[sic] Scarff, Los Angeles CA, Cult Information Center, Bridgeport CT. The
subpoena for Jessie [sic] Prince is the only one that also demands the
witness appear personally for deposition, rather than just submitting
copies of documents. Other people subpoenaed include Bob Minton, Stacy
Brooks, Larry Wollersheim, Robert Vaughn Young, and Gregg Hagglund."
> Lisa McPhersonThe St. Petersburg Times reported on May 27th that Scientology continues
to request the criminal charges resulting from the death of Lisa McPherson
"Medical Examiner Joan Wood's investigation into the death of
Scientologist Lisa McPherson was so flawed and biased that criminal
charges against the Church of Scientology should be dismissed, the church
argues in a new motion. Wood violated her own policies and failed to
preserve evidence that might vindicate Scientology, the church alleges.
She also compromised the objectivity required of her by state law, the
document says, displaying 'an all-consuming passion to prosecute the
church by inventing new creative medical theories' in McPherson's death.
"The judge says she has yet to collect her thoughts and seriously consider
the motion. That would be a waste of time if State Attorney Bernie McCabe
were to drop the case on his own because of problems with Wood's
testimony, Schaeffer said in a recent interview. McCabe's office began to
review its case against the church in February after Wood officially
changed the manner of McPherson's death to 'accident.' Previously, she had
called it 'undetermined' and blamed the death on 'bed rest and severe
dehydration,' but those words no longer appear on the death certificate.
"Though Wood did not explain the change, it appeared to support the notion
that Scientology was not at fault in the death. Not so, say prosecutors,
who have since talked to Wood and contend the veteran medical examiner
maintains McPherson died of 'medical neglect,' in part because of
dehydration. McCabe's office may decide as early as next week whether to
continue prosecuting the case."
> Bob MintonA trial was held this week in which Bob Minton was charged with battery in
an incident outside the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater in October,
1999. From the St. Petersburg Times:
"Four video cameras were rolling the night Robert S. Minton was charged
for striking a Church of Scientology staffer with his picket sign. They
show Minton telling Scientologists they are all complicit in the death of
Lisa McPherson, the 36-year-old Scientologist who died in 1995 while in
the church's care. And each tape ends the same way: A frustrated Minton
calls police on his cell phone. He crosses a side street, walking away
from Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel in downtown Clearwater. In an
instant, he yells at Howd to stop following him and wheels around,
pointing his picket sign in Howd's direction. Howd's face collides hard
with the edge of the sign, his head snapping back as he spins to the
"'Mr. Minton is the one that lost his cool,' Pinellas-Pasco Assistant
State Attorney Bill Tyson said in his opening statement to the jury of
four women and two men. 'Mr. Minton is the one who was provoking people
that night.' But Minton's attorney, Denis de Vlaming, said Minton was the
victim of a Scientology plan to choreograph the incident and discredit his
client. De Vlaming said church staffers followed Minton that day after he
arrived at Tampa International Airport. De Vlaming linked those actions to
a 1967 Scientology directive known as 'Fair Game.' Written by church
founder L. Ron Hubbard, it stated that an enemy of Scientology 'may be
deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist' and
'may be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.' 'It is the manner in which
they silence critics,' de Vlaming said. Minton 'had an absolute right to
prevent them from getting into his face any further.'"
From the Tampa Tribune on May 23rd:
"The attorney likened Howd's job to that of a basketball player told to
'take the foul to stop the shot.' He said evidence will show that Howd, as
a member of the church's Office of Special Affairs, was under orders to do
whatever it took to discredit Minton.
"A key defense witness in the case is former Scientologist Frank Oliver,
who held a job investigating the background of church critics in the same
department in which Howd now works. Testifying outside of the hearing of
jurors so that Pinellas County Judge Robert Morris Jr. could rule on what
would be allowed during the trial, Oliver said members of the Office of
Special Affairs are rewarded for discrediting church critics and punished
if they fail in that mission. A reward might include higher pay or a
choice assignment, Oliver said. Punishment might be having to scrub all
the toilets in the Fort Harrison Hotel, he said."
The trial ended in a verdict of not guilty, according to the St.
Petersburg Times on May 24th:
"Defense attorney Denis de Vlaming knew his audience. Among the six
jurors he faced during his closing argument Tuesday were a father of four
and a single mother who turned out to be the jury forewoman. So he
condensed the three-year feud between Robert S. Minton and the Church of
Scientology to a scenario any parent could grasp: a fight between
children. Minton, accused of misdemeanor battery against a Scientologist
in Clearwater, is the kid who finally fights back after being pushed and
heckled, de Vlaming submitted. The church, he said, is the child who
started it all -- then cries foul. De Vlaming urged the jury to be the
savvy parent who sees the truth.
"After 40 minutes of deliberation Tuesday, the jury agreed with him,
acquitting Minton after a trial that turned a spotlight on the church's
often aggressive way of reacting to its critics. 'He was pushed,' de
Vlaming said of Minton. 'He was pushed, he was set up and they (the
church) got what they wanted.' De Vlaming pointed to what he said were
several indications Minton was set up. Among them was a video that showed
Howd sprawled motionless on the ground, his eyes closed. The tape then
shows him opening his eyes, seeing the camera, then quickly closing them.
'Look at him,' de Vlaming told the jury, ridiculing Howd. 'Out cold!
Needed an ambulance!'
"After the verdict, Minton said his purpose in coming to Clearwater was to
tell the public about Scientology's way of dealing with critics, and the
trial, he said, helped accomplish that. One juror, Joyce Green of St.
Petersburg, said 'I think he was provoked, and a lot of it was set up.'
Juror Leroy Joiner of Clearwater, the father of four, said of Minton: 'He
didn't mean to do it.'"
From the Tampa Tribune on May 24th:
"A prominent critic of Scientology who admitted striking a church member
was found not guilty of misdemeanor battery Tuesday. 'Nobody should hit
anybody, but due to the circumstances, he was pressured into it,' said the
juror, who asked not to be identified. Asked if she feared church
retribution for the verdict, the juror responded: 'That's why I don't want
my name in the paper.' Other members of the four-woman, two-man panel
declined to comment.
"On the witness stand, Howd said he didn't wear his glasses that night
because the video camera he was operating had a tiny 'peep sight.' But de
Vlaming produced a photograph of Howd filming a different demonstration
using the same type of camera while wearing his glasses. Howd took them
off because he hoped to be hit, the defense attorney said. As he lay
sprawled on a sidewalk after Minton struck him, Howd could be seen on
videotape peeking through one eye, de Vlaming said. Then, when a policeman
asked for identification, Howd pulled something out of his pocket and
handed it the officer before resuming his horizontal pose.
From Jeff Jacobsen:
"I heard Frank Oliver give a reasonable and simple explanation of how OSA
works. Then the prosecutor tried to impeach Frank, not by impugning his
testimony but by showing a video of Frank shining a laser at an OSA
cameraman. He also just HAPPENED to have an OEC volume where he made Frank
read a one-sentence quote which states something like 'the church should
do nothing illegal,' as if that one sentence could impeach the mountain of
evidence that Frank produced.
"The prosecutor tried to impeach Bob by saying that BOB was doing the Fair
Gaming by his actions, such as picketing Bennetta Slaughter's house,
picketing Flag at night, and such things. I felt that the prosecutor was
relying on emotion and extraneous evidence while skipping lightly around
the actual assault. It was very emotional when we went back into court.
When the verdict of not guilty was read out, some people on Bob's side
began crying, and I had trouble holding back tears of relief. No doubt
there were tears on the other side as well."
From Mark Bunker:
"A particularly outrageous aspect of the Bob Minton trial was the behavior
of Scientologist Marty Rathbun. On Monday, Rathbun and Rinder sat smugly,
side by side in the courtroom, smirking to one another through the
testimony. Toward the end of Richard Howd's testimony I glanced back at
Rathbun and saw him giving hand signals to the witness and actually
mouthing words to him as Howd spoke. Rathbun saw me looking at him. I even
pointed at him and mouthed my own words to him. 'I caught you,' I said.
"Incredibly, Rathbun barely missed a beat and kept up the coaching because
by now Bob's attorney was hitting Howd hard with the Fair Game policy. In
total, there were five people who saw Rathbun behaving this way. We broke
shortly thereafter and I notified the bailiff who alerted the court. When
the trial started again after the break, the judge called the attorneys to
his bench to confer about this."
> Alternative Charlemagne AwardTaz reported on May 27th that Bob Minton will be awarded the Alternative
Charlemagne award in Leipzig, Germany.
"American Robert S. Minton is to be distinguished with the 'Alternative
Charlemagne Award' for his struggles with the Scientology sect. The
53-year-old man is the chairman of the 'Lisa McPherson Trust.' The
presentation will take place on June 3 in Leipzig's old stock exchange."
> Protest SummaryHemet News reported that Keith Henson protested Scientology's Gold Base,
and the death of a 16 year-old girl in an accident with construction
"The accident near the Church of Scientology's film studio that killed a
San Jacinto girl last week drew the attention of a frequent church
protester from Palo Alto. Keith Henson picketed Friday in front of Golden
Era Productions near San Jacinto, saying he believes the church did not
use proper safety precautions to prevent the late-nite accident that
killed 16 year-old Ashlee Shaner. Ashlee was killed May l7 after the car
she was driving collided with a tractor on Gilman Springs Road at the east
end of the church's compound. The tractor was driven by an employee of a
contractor hired by Golden era to do work at the church's studio. There
were no warnings posted to direct traffic around the tractor.
"Henson, 57 said he picketed in front of the studio because of 'their'
blatant disregard for human life and the fact that they'll do a huge job
in covering it (the accident) up.' Hoden said the church has been working
for years to improve safety on Gilman Springs Road, also called Highway
79, by installing a median to slow traffic and building pedestrian tunnels
under the road.
"The contractor, Redlands-based TaseCo Corp., was doing work for the
church but Hoden said church officials do no give contractors direction.
'In other words, the accident had nothing to do with Golden era
Productions or our employees,' Hoden said."
From Keith Henson:
"I got to Hemet about 9:30 this morning a reporter and a photographer were
there. Sprinkler Tech was in operation. There was a near river running
down the gutters. The response to my picket was complete non-confront. Not
a soul in site, except the two guards at the gate. After 2 passes around
the area picketing, I went to the west end, and checked out the accident
site. The paint marks on the road from the police investigation indicate
that Ashley was in her lane. It seems the front loader was going after
another load of paving material, crossing the highway at a shallow angle.
I suspect the bucket blocked the driver's vision."
Bruce Pettycrew protested in Mesa, Arizona.
"Kathy and I picketed for an hour this morning, 8:30 to 9:30. The
temperature was in the 90's by the end of the picket. Traffic was lighter
than usual, due to the holiday weekend. We arrived before any staff or
public Co$ members. During the picket 7 cars arrived for a total of 8
> WKLSArnie Lerma participated in a radio interview on WKLS, Atlanta. Some
excerpts from the transcript:
"When you first touch base with these people they will find out what
really concerns you about yourself, stage fright, or perhaps you've got
some terrible disease, you've got cancer, you've got AIDS, it doesn't
matter. Whatever they find out that you think is messing up your life they
will then say this phrase: 'Scientology can help you with' then they
insert the thing THAT. Basically it's a psychological terrorist group.
They promise to solve whatever you think your problem is., it doesn't
"June 3rd there is a, a, demonstration down in front of their place at
1611 Mt Vernon Road down in Dunwoodie, starting at 11 AM. These are local
critics that are down in Atlanta, that have been picketing them routinely.
They are protesting Scientology's LIES and the death of a lady named Lisa
McPherson. She was basically guilty of wanting to leave scientology. They
are saying 'its an accident' but this girl was held in a room for 17 days
and during this time she lost 45 lbs."
> Sales SeminarThe San Jose Mirror announced a sales seminar at the Palo Alto org.
"Sales seminar 'Maximizing Efficiency in Sales,' a community service of
Church of Scientology, will be conducted by sales and marketing expert
Richard Wilson, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, at the church's Mission of Palo Alto,
3505 El Camino Real."
> West Valley"XenuBusters" reported that the West Valley org has moved to Chatsworth.
"It seems the West Valley Chapter (or as the Scienos say, 'The Hubbard
Dianetics Center of the West Valley) has moved as I have encountered it
while driving down Devonshire Street in Chatsworth. It is on the south
side of Devonshire St. in a strip mall a block west of DeSoto Ave, and
easily visible from the street (unlike the old location in an industrial
park which was about two miles away)."
> Susan MorganAn update was posted to a.r.s this week on Susan Morgan, who was
unsuccessful in suing her Scientologist employer for turning her
Providence, RI workplace into a Scientology mission.
"I'm headed back to court May 31st, so that Dr. Carlsten can 'harass me
through the legal system' and try to force me to pay his legal fees.
Fortunately I have no money, no house - so I'm fairly judgment proof. He
managed to get the same judge - Alice Gibney to preside over this
ridiculous action. "
> MalibuLA Weekly reported on May 26th that an effort to have the city of Malibu,
California to honor L. Ron Hubbard has raised controversy.
"The controversy first flared when Scientology Surf Club president Rob
Hoover asked the city of Malibu to proclaim March 13 L. Ron Hubbard Day,
in honor of Scientology's founder. The request made the City Council
agenda, but was withdrawn by Hoover when March 13 came and went with no
"'I was shocked when I saw [the proclamation request] on the agenda,' said
longtime Malibu resident Ruby Fader. 'I don't see any reason to promote
the Church of Scientology. To me, it is a cult.' Both the ACLU and the
Malibu city attorney said the proclamation would have violated the
constitutional separation of church and state. That didn't stop the San
Diego County city of Encinitas, however, which in March issued a Hubbard
Day proclamation - without realizing that Hubbard was Scientology's
founder, according to Encinitas Mayor James Bond. Bond said Hoover told
him only that Hubbard was a writer and surfer who lived in Encinitas in
"'I think that, in truth, he should have let us know that [Hubbard] was a
founder of Scientology so we at least had that knowledge,' Bond said.
Adding clout to Hoover's requests for proclamations was his beach cleanup
work with Heal the Bay and the Surfrider Foundation, two well- respected
groups dedicated to saving California's coastline.
"In pitching the Hubbard Day idea to Malibu, Hoover presented the City
Council with a copy of Hubbard's 1981 'Way to Happiness' moral code. In
April, foundation members took part in the Church of Scientology Celebrity
Center International's Adopt-a-Beach cleanup at Zuma Creek. Ferrara,
however, insisted church members are trying to clean up the beaches, not
recruit new members. 'It is the most unglamorous thing you can do in your
life,' said Ferrara. 'We're out there in a social capacity, not a
> SwitzerlandTages-Anzeiger reported on May 18th that the city of Zurich will continue
to support a cult counseling center.
"The Community Council followed suit of the city council and rejected the
individual initiative of Scientologist Peter Thalmann with a vote of 90 to
0. Thalmann had demanded cessation of financial support for Infosekta with
the argument that the subsidization violated religious freedom. In
addition, he said that Infosekta led a 'battle against minority religions'
with the money. The city council decided that the contribution of 20,000
franks per year to Infosekta was in the public interest and did not
present a violation of freedom of religion."
Beobachter reported on May 24th that a cult critic has been sued and
harassed by Scientology.
"Even the federal district attorney sympathized with the sect critic.
'[Swiss District Attorney] Carla Del Ponte was very nice at my hearing,'
Odette Jaccard recalls. 'She said that I would be able to continue my
work. She just could not help me with it.' And the police officer who
searched her apartment for incriminating material encouraged her, 'Go to
the press about this.'
"In April 1998, Jaccard was arrested because she had handed over
information on Swiss members of the Scientology psycho-sect to a German
Constitutional Security agent in Basel in an operation that looked like it
came out of the movies. Odette Jaccard was sentenced to ten days
imprisonment suspended in November 1999. 'But it didn't stop me from
continuing to to distribute information about the unholy works of sects.'
Her attorney appealed the judgment and a decision on it is supposed to be
made this summer.
"Jaccard had previously been sued by Scientology for 'infringement of
respect.' The court decided in her favor, though, even when it went all
the way up to the federal court. She has been disparaged repeatedly in the
"It is from the internet that she gets a major portion of her information
on sects. She is particularly proud of her two grandchildren, who
distributed many of her leaflets and posters at school and at sports
> Bonnie WoodsThe Argus published an article on May 12th on Scientology in Sussex,
"They promise solutions to all your problems - no more unhappy
relationships, no more job worries. They even promise an end to an
assortment of medical conditions, including cancer. But some of those who
have spent years inside the secretive cult and parted with tens of
thousands of pounds tell a very different story: how the Church of
Scientology persuaded them to part with their life savings to pay for
endless courses; how they worked long hours for a pittance and were
bullied and harassed after trying to expose its sinister practices to the
"I was invited into the Hubbard Dianetics Centre, a suite of rooms at top
of a building in nearby North Street. What I did not tell or the other
cult members during the next six was that I was a reporter posing as
fictional executive David Miller, man in his late twenties, who had just
moved to town and was saddled personal problems. Sitting on a sofa in
their office, I was given a personality quiz to complete entitled The
Standard Oxford Capacity Analysis Test which involved answering 200
questions. They included: Q3 Do you browse through railway timetables,
directories or dictionaries just for pleasure? Q122 Do you ever get
disturbed by the noise of the wind or a house settling down? My answer
sheet was taken away by a young woman who returned minutes later to show
me the results and introduce herself as Catriona Clark. She produced a
line graph based on the findings which claimed I was depressed, unstable
and nervous. Looking me straight in the eye, she launched into how taking
a course in Dianetics, the practical application of Scientology, could
unlock my potential and free me from my neuroses. By taking an
introductory seminar, which would last around 30 hours and cost 27.36
pounds, I could embark on a 'wonderful adventure'. And yes, they did take
"I arrived back at the centre at 7pm for my first one-hour session.
Catriona took me through to the Academy where Tim hovered over two seated
girls who were reading. I was offered a seat at one of the desks and given
my course book. Between the book's sections were exercises to be carried
out, each to be signed as they were completed - but not before the rules
were spelt out. It was forbidden to take any medication during the course,
including pain relievers and anti-depressants. One exercise asked me to
try to imagine the taste, smell, touch and sound of an object. Another
involved writing about what I had for breakfast.
"I had arranged a meeting with ex-Scientologist Bonnie Woods. She left
their ranks in 1982 and three years later moved to England. In 1993 she
discovered the cult's members had produced a leaflet featuring her
photograph and the words Hate Campaigner Comes to Town which was being
posted through neighbours' letterboxes. She promptly took the cult to
court and last year, with help from the civil rights group Liberty, won
libel damages of 55,000 pounds.
"As I became a recognised face within the cult, I began spending longer
and longer studying with its members, gaining their trust and seeing for
myself their unorthodox practices. During my second visit I was shown a
man and woman who were undertaking the Success Through Communication
course. Despite its name, the pair spent little of their time
communicating and instead sat facing one another in total silence. Then
the woman began counting from one to ten and being chastised at the end
for not doing it correctly and being made to start over again. During the
session she complained: 'You wouldn't believe how many hours I've been
doing this. Seven hours.'
"There was no shortage of people who were happy to speak of how using
Dianetics had helped change their lives. One woman had been divorced
twice but since enrolling had been happily married for ten years. But
Dianetics claims it is not just an excellent marriage counselor, it can
also succeed where medicine has failed. A man explained how he had lost
feeling in his knees but regained it after starting the course. During
one session, Mike Stryck, who had been involved in Dianetics for six
years, explained how he had taken a Purification Rundown course. Costing
around 1,000 pounds, it involves taking massive doses of vitamins and
sweating out toxins from the body in a sauna. The aim is to cleanse the
body of all drugs and impurities, even radiation.
"Becoming a member of staff for the Scientologists involved Bonnie working
from 9am until as late as midnight for six days a week, earning an average
of $15 a week. Bonnie fell in love with a fellow Scientologist, Bob
Toftness, and they married in 1976 and had a child together, Desiree. In
1981 the marriage foundered and the following year Bonnie was rushed into
hospital suffering from endometriosis. She said: 'It was while I was in
hospital recovering from the operation that I realised that I didn't any
longer want to be involved as a staff member, although I still considered
myself a Scientologist. It was in 1982 that Bonnie met Richard Woods, who
had also become embroiled with the Scientologists, and the pair married in
1985. By 1992, both had renounced the cult and set up a group, Escape, to
help families whose relatives had become involved. Richard, 49, said: 'We
came to East Grinstead on the invitation of various church pastors who
felt it would be helpful to have Christians who could have some
understanding of the organisation to help families who had loved ones who
had joined.' As practising Christians they have now helped hundreds of
worried families. They have also shadowed Scientologists recruiting in
central Brighton, giving out a leaflet entitled What the Scientologists
Don't Tell You."