A.r.s Week in Review - 9/24/2000
Week in Review Volume 5, Issue 24
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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> Veterans AffairsA 1999 appeal decision for a U.S. veteran seeking vocational
rehabilitation training was posted to a.r.s this week.
"The appellant is currently service connected for paranoid schizophrenia,
rated 100 percent disabling since March 1996. He therefore has a serious
employment handicap. The purpose of vocational training is to enable
veterans with service- connected disabilities to become employable to the
maximum extent feasible and to obtain and maintain suitable employment.
The Board observes that the appellant requested these benefits in order to
receive training/counseling to become an 'auditor' for the Church of
Scientology, a pseudo-religious cult. With respect to this matter, the
Board further observes that literature from the Scientology cult submitted
by the appellant with his substantive appeal in April 1997 described one
of their principles as 'Flag auditing,' apparently a method of some sort
of avoiding 'flubs' and 'wobbles,' and 'doing the C/S [sic] the way it's
supposed to be done.' Although it is not clear from the record, it appears
the vocational goal expressed by the appellant regarding the job as an
'auditor' for this group may in fact relate to indoctrination in the
aforementioned 'Flag auditing' principle. Thus, the goal for which he
seeks Chapter 31 benefits may be of dubious vocational merit. Vocational
rehabilitation benefits under Chapter 31, Title 38, United States Code are
> ClearwaterTory Bezazian reported that a Scientologist-owned restaurant in Clearwater
attempted to refuse her service based on her being a former Scientologist.
"I walked across Fort Harrison to a restaurant called Daniella's. I walked
in and stood by the counter. Suddenly the phone rang, and I heard what
looked like the owner say 'Blue top, white pants?' I realized I was the
only one in there in a blue top and white pants. As she skulked behind the
wall, and whispered into the phone I realized this is a security issue. I
left quickly, and went back across the street to LMT to get a back up. I
got Karin Case and we returned and I ordered a salad. No sooner had I
ordered than the same lady on the phone earlier came up to me from behind
"'Are you from across the street?' I said 'Yes'. She asked 'What do you do
there?' I told her it was none of her business. She told me she was a
Scientologist and was against what 'they' were doing and thus wasn't going
to serve me. I reminded her this was a PUBLIC business, and I had every
intention of eating there. She said no, so I said 'Well then call the
police darlin,' as THAT is Discrimination and is against the law. One of
the workers got me my salad, as she looked on reluctantly."
> GermanyDie Welt reported on September 17th on a memorial service held for Lisa
McPherson in Germany.
"There was an intense debate after a memorial service in the Luisen Church
in Charlottenburg between Scientologists and the sect commissioner for
Berlin and Brandenburg. Gandow gave his sermon in memory of a victim of
Scientology in the USA: 'After she attempted to leave, Lisa McPherson was
held against her will for 17 days and tormented. She died at the age of 36
"Scientologists had threatened Gandow in advance of the event and defamed
him in flyers which they distributed as an 'anti-sect commissioner' and
'Chief Inquisitor.' 'Within the past week Scientology has terrorized me by
telephone and threatened to disrupt our gathering,' said Gandow.
Scientologists assembled in front of the church and distributed glossy
brochures in which they disparaged critics who were involved with the
'Lisa McPherson case.'
"Apparently Gandow has not been stopped by these attempts at intimidation
from taking further steps against Scientology. In a letter to State
Bishop Wolfgang Huber, Scientology, with offices in Munich, demanded the
immediate dismissal of the clergyman. Thomas Gandow has initiated legal
steps against Scientology."
Rev. Gandow issued a press release following the service.
"Rev. Thomas Gandow addressed the Biblical story in his sermon of Cain
murdering his brother: 'We have all heard of Scientology's penitential
camps and enforced isolation. We know that people die there. We know that
the Scientology Organization is trying to intimidate its critics into
silence with slander, physical force and law suits.' He also included,
'Today, nobody can say they did not know. God gave us eyes to see, not to
look away. Therefore we have to guard the human dignity and freedom of our
fellow human beings as we would the apple of our own eye. To look away and
ignore would mean that we, ourselves, would be accessory to the deed.'
"The collection was taken up to aid the Lisa McPherson Trust help victims
in the USA. Among the approximately 150 participants of the memorial
service were representatives of the German Parliament and of the Berlin
House of Representatives, along with the Director of the Work Group on
Scientology of the Interior Agency of the Free and Hanseatic City of
Hamburg, Mrs. Ursula Caberta y Diaz."
Hamburger Abendblatt reported on September 19th that Scientology continues
to press allegations of bribery against Ursula Caberta.
"The Director of the Work Group on Scientology of the Interior Agency,
according to statements by the sect, has accepted private money from
American businessman and Scientology opponent Bob Minton. The Scientology
organization has filed a criminal complaints at the Hamburg State
Attorney's Office for suspicion of accepting favors and bribes, et al.
Caberta gave the matter over to the Department of Internal Affairs for
investigation and would not say anything until the investigation was
closed. The Scientologists also filed a complaint against Minton for
suspicion of soliciting for favors and offering a bribe.
"The Scientologists demonstrated yesterday with about 80 people in front
of the Interior Agency and demanded 'frank explanation of the accusations
of corruption against Caberta.'"
From taz Hamburg on September 19th:
"Members of the Scientology Organization protested yesterday in front of
the Hamburg Interior Agency. The approximately 50 demonstrators demanded,
from their banners, an 'end to discrimination' and the explanation of the
accusations of corruption against the Director of the Work Group on
Scientology of the Interior Agency, Ursula Caberta. The organization
accused her of having accepted money from U.S. Scientology critic Bob
Minton. Caberta denied the accusations of corruption: she said that Minton
had invited her and that he only paid for her travel into the USA and her
Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung reported on September 19th that Baden-Wuerttemburg
has won a decision in court that may lead to Scientology lose its status
there as a legal association.
"The Superior Administrative Court in Mannheim has permitted appeal
against a decision of the Stuttgart Administrative Court, as the executive
presidium stated in the state capitol on Tuesday. The grounds are stated
to be 'legal and factual problems.' In its initial reaction, Executive
President Udo Andriof welcomed the Mannheim decision. 'We now have the
opportunity to prove that the revocation of legal capacity occurred
correctly because Dianetics Stuttgart is engaged as a business and pursues
commercial goals,' said Andriof. A spokesman of the executive presidium
estimated the yearly sales for Dianetics Stuttgart alone at from 2.5 to 3
million marks. The greatest effect a decision against the organization
would have would be in debtor liability. Creditors enjoy relatively little
protection with registered associations."
From Sindelfinger Zeitung on September 20th:
"The Stuttgart executive presidium has obtained a partial victory in the
dispute with Dianetics Stuttgart, Inc. Appeal of this decision has now
been allowed in Mannheim 'because of specific factual and legal problems.'
The primary purpose of Dianetics activities is commercial,' said RP
spokesman Ralph Koenig. And it, according to Koenig, does not merit
association privilege. He said they viewed the continued dispute with
From Stuttgarter Nachrichten on September 20th:
"Appeal would be filed 'in the next few weeks,' said Ralph Koenig,
spokesman of the executive presidium, yesterday. Koenig, however, did not
name an exact date. In a written position, Executive President Udo Andriof
expressed the hope of 'now confronting the Scientologists' machinations by
using administrative law.'"
Freie Presse reported on September 20th that the Mayor of Zwickau has
"Since the 49-year-old Eichhorn tossed in his cards in one fell swoop late
Monday afternoon, the valley city is no longer the way it was; rumor and
speculation abound. Even Eichhorn's closest confidante in the council
building, in politics and in business reacted as if he was still stunned.
The main reason he gave was irreconcilable differences between him and
several CDU council members. It was mainly in dealing with Scientology
that he could not do anything right. His critics accused him of going into
battle only half-heartedly against the sect, which was growing wildly in
Rheinpfalz Online reported on September 22nd that Gottfried Helnwein has
dropped his complaint against a former Scientologist who claims Helnwein
is an active member.
Gottfried Helnwein, the Austrian painter, may now be described with
impunity as a Scientologist and an auditor or a clergyman of the
Scientology organization. The artist waived hearing in the Frankfurt
Superior State Court, thereby dropping his complaint against Jeannette
Schweitzer, a former Scientology member. She had protested Helnwein's
intention to take part in a commemoration for the 'Neue Bremm'
concentration camp near Saarbruecken. Schweitzer objected to an adherent
of an organization as questionable as Scientology taking part in such a
"Helnwein announced in February that he withdrew his complaint because he
no longer lived in Germany and because the proceedings no longer meant
anything to him. Schweitzer, however, did not agree to withdrawal of the
complaint because that would have stopped her from being able to prove the
truthfulness of her statements. So a new hearing was scheduled which
Helnwein has now ended by waiving due procedure. According to Wolfgang
Boehm, Schweitzer's attorney, the Scientologists shrank back from having
witnesses heard in court who would give incriminating testimony. Boehm's
assessment was that new evidence of a connection between Helnwein and
Scientology, evidence supported by numerous witnesses, would have been
extremely incriminating to Scientology."
> DonationThe Los Angeles Times reported on September 22nd that Scientologists
donated clothing to a women's center.
"The Woman's Auxiliary of the Church of Scientology recently donated bags
of clothing to the Domestic Violence Center of the Glendale YWCA, 735 E.
Lexington Drive. The items were presented to Vivian Jojola, volunteer
coordinator and Kim Pursell, director of shelter services. The auxiliary
plans to collect clothing and other items to help displaced families move
into transitional housing."
> Juliette LewisThe San Francisco Chronicle recently published an interview with
Scientology celebrity Juliette Lewis.
"Sitting in a San Francisco hotel room, Juliette Lewis comes off as a
grown-up. She is gracious, thoughtful and only slightly wary. She's
married to pro skateboarder Steve Berra, and she's still lean and boyishly
built in jeans and vintage T-shirt that reads 'Los Angeles 1981.'
"Lewis grew up around the Church of Scientology - her father was one of
the religion's most prominent early members in Hollywood - but it was
never forced on her, she says. When it came time to confront her substance
abuse, though, Lewis relied on the controversial religion, and she's still
a believer. 'The only thing I did at that time was Scientology courses.
To not validate it is wrong. Had I not done it, I would still be having
panic attacks. It's where I sought help and got it.'"
> David MinkoffThe St. Petersburg Times reported on September 22nd that Scientologist
David Minkoff is being sued in connection with the death of a man who died
from a brain hemorrhage.
"According to the complaint, filed Wednesday in Pasco Circuit Court, Gary
Houck awoke in his New Port Richey home on June 29, 1998, with no vision
in his left eye. At Community Hospital of New Port Richey, Houck told Dr.
David Minkoff about the headaches and said he went from blurry vision to
total blindness overnight. Minkoff examined Houck for 10 minutes and then
discharged him with a referral to see an ophthalmologist, according to the
complaint. Houck went straight to the office of Dr. Frederick Hauber, who
suspected that the reason for the sudden blindness was neurological, the
complaint states. But less than 24 hours later, Houck was brain dead. He
had suffered a massive brain hemorrhage.
"The lawsuit alleges that Houck died because the doctors he saw did not
give him the attention he needed and failed to communicate the seriousness
of the situation to each other or to Houck's HMO. Minkoff was a defendant
in the high-profile wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Lisa
McPherson, a member of the Church of Scientology. Minkoff, also a
Scientologist, pronounced McPherson dead after she was brought, severely
dehydrated, to a Pasco hospital in December 1995. Minkoff eventually
settled his part of the lawsuit."
> NigeriaAfrican Post published an interview with John Fashanu, the Nigerian soccer
star who has accused Scientology critic Bob Minton of illegal deals in a
debt buy-back program.
"AP: Who are those involved in these scandals apart from the three names
that were given by Africa Confidential namely, Jeffrey Schmidt, Robert
Minton and Alhaji Ahmed?
"Fashanu: I won't mention names yet, as I would prefer the Nigerian
government to conduct the investigation first.
"AP: Are you scared or worried?
"Fashanu: No, I am not. I have been warned off the investigation several
times and I received two anonymous threatening phone calls only last week.
"AP: That still does not answer our question is Fashanu scared?
"Fashanu: No I am not. I just think it would only be appropriate for the
Nigerian government to investigate the report first.
"AP: If they don't then what will happen next?
"Fashanu: I am sure the present civilian Administration will investigate
the matters. If you aware President Obasanjo has pledged to crack down on
the fraud and corruption which has given Nigerian business an appalling
reputation throughout the world."
> Tom PadgettTom Padgett posted details of his release from prison in Kentucky. Tom was
being held for failure to pay child support to his ex-wife, a
Scientologist. Evidence that he had paid was the reason for his release.
"The Hopkins County Jail released Tom onto the streets at 7:00 PM in a
bright orange prison jumpsuit with 'Christian Co. Jail' in bold black
letters on the back and 'prisoner' in bold letters running vertically down
each leg. He had no wallet or any form of identification on him as all his
belongings were still at the state inmate facility 40 miles away in
Hopkinsville. The Hopkins Co. authorities refused to give him a ride back.
He had to sneak his way through the dark alleys to get to a pay phone to
call for help as not to be seen as an 'escaped prisoner'. More court
sanctioned legal harassment from Judge Boteler's little town!
"While at the motel for the past week, Tom got two phone calls from a
woman asking if 'he wanted some company.' She said she could be there in 5
minutes. Each time when Tom asked 'What kind of company?' she hesitated
stuttered and hung up. Another probable set-up by local authorities to get
Tom back behind bars where Scientologists want him to be.
"Laura Padgett's attorney William Witledge indicated that he and his
client were rejecting pre-payment of child support and were threatening a
new criminal indictment before a grand jury in her local hometown for
failure to pay for child support in August and September while he was in
prison! A local mediator went ahead and set up the pre-payment plan with a
> Protest SummaryThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an article on September 17th
about recent protests at the Scientology org.
"The only Church of Scientology in Georgia occupies a modest storefront on
a busy street in the north Atlanta neighborhood of Dunwoody ---
unremarkable except for the four pickets on the sidewalk. 'Scientology:
Tax-Exempt UFO Cult,' reads one protester's homemade sign. The other
pickets also wave signs at passing cars: 'Just Say No to Scientology,' and
'Scientology is a Scam.' It seems to have the support of many passers-by
who wave, honk their horns or give a thumbs-up as they drive past. The
pickets counted about 50 drive-by supporters in an hour on a recent
"It says it ministers to 8 million people around the world, but the church
in Atlanta, which serves about 100 parishioners a week, is a lonely
outpost. The only other churches in the Southeast are in Florida and
Nashville. 'I see frankly nothing religious about what they are doing,'
said Ann Lowe, who runs an anti-Scientology Web site. The protest is not
limited to Atlanta. Pickets stand outside Scientology churches all over
the country, but particularly in Clearwater, Florida, where the church has
a religious retreat center. Clearwater has become a protest center
because a Scientologist named Lisa McPherson died in 1995 after 17 days in
the church's care for a mental breakdown."
"Barb" reported on a recent protest at Gold Base, near Hemet, California.
"We pulled up at the Ashlee memorial about a quarter to 10. Dad went over
to introduce himself while I pulled my sign out of the car. At that
moment, a white van pulled up next to me. It was a Hemetian who was
curious as to why we were there. I gave him the quick rundown, he'd heard
of the transformer vault incident and agreed that the cult made it look
fishier than Sea World. I gave him a couple of fliers and joined the crew.
Brent, Mirele, and Arel were there already, Mir with no sunscreen, and
Arel with headphones.
"Graham Berry drove by honking. He brought his friend Jane along for the
adventure, she had the good sense to hang out in the shade. We saw the
odd person traversing the property, some security staked out by the
tunnel, and a guy down in the bushes landscaping. Brent and I spent a
short time over the tunnel, watching the security guys peek at us. I did
catch one 'parishioner' coming down the stairs, so I flipped my sign
around so he could read the 'Ron is Gone, but the Con lives On' side of my
sign. The other side said, 'Scientology Hates Free Speech.'"
From Brent Stone:
"It was a virtual ghost town, like it always is whenever anyone with a
sign shows up there. Of course, we had the armed guards watching our every
move, security cameras everywhere, rotating to look over every suppressive
breath. Ed Richardson was there, but seemed much too afraid to come out
from hiding behind the booth with the armed guards 'protecting' him,
taking pictures of us.
"Occasionally, we'd get a glimpse of someone in the distance (like on the
balcony of DM's mansion) taking our pictures. Other times, it would be a
security guard, herding unseen people back behind buildings and watching
for us to go out of sight so they could cross under the road in the
tunnels. Every once in a while, one would show up coming out of the
tunnels, sometimes covering their eyes so they couldn't see the dangers
From Deana Holmes:
"We parked by the Ashlee Shaner memorial which looked like it had been
trashed. So I replaced the butterflies and later Barb found the wreath in
the bushes and put it back by the cross. Then we got out our signs and
started to march up and down the highway. After a while, Barb and her dad
showed up and then after that, Graham and a friend also made it there.
"There are a whole series of truly ugly monuments on the chapel side of
the road. They are concrete rectangles, about two feet long, one foot wide
and about 5 inches tall. They say 'PRIVATE PROPERTY NO TRESPASSING' on
them. Apparently this is what the crew was doing when they left the entire
wheelbarrow full of cement to harden because of a previous visit by an SP.
The wheelbarrow is still there, located a bit behind a wall with a lot of
other junk of the construction type.
"Sea Org housing construction is well in evidence on the south end of the
property, going towards the golf course. I think there are three or four
buildings going up. One of the buildings has a Sea Org logo over the main
door (the laurel leaves and star). Revenimus. It is apparently dorm-style
"My favorite picketing spot was the underground tunnel. I noticed that
they were keeping most everyone away from the tunnel if at all possible,
because of that 'Church of $' sign I was carrying. One woman in Sea Org
dress blues, carrying her jacket on a hanger did go through the tunnel.
She held her jacket up to shield herself from the terrible entheta.
Otherwise, people were being held back."
Jeff Jacobsen and Tory Bezazian reported a protest at the Fort Harrison
Hotel in Clearwater.
"Tonight 14 of us picketed the Ft. Harrison Hotel. Some of us were
sporting new picket signs made to individual tastes. Others of us mostly
videotaped. We had 4 while Scientology had 5 besides there permanent
security cameras. It was quiet for a little while but then of course our
handlers were teleported in from wherever they hang out waiting for us to
picket. A new tactic tonight was that the Scientologists had flyers about
us terrible picketers, including one made up just for our guest of honor,
Graham Berry. I neither saw nor heard of any hint of violence tonight. We
had a good time and enjoyed all the car horn honks and thumbs up from the
Clearwater residents, and were happy to have some new Clearwater citizens
joining us to show their opinion of Scientology."
"Today we were all picketing and a man named Hans came up with Mary
DeMoss. She walks up and just starts raving about me being on drugs. The
last drugs I did were in 1969. Today Hans walks up and starts telling me
how 'psychotic' I looked the other day with my headset on. Dancing is now
on the list of Scientology's labels?"
> SwitzerlandSt. Galler Tagblatt reported on September 12th that police in Zurich do
not see Scientology or other sects as a problem in the Canton.
"Canton Councilman Manfred Eugster addressed a theme which has been more
in the news lately: the sect situation in the Canton, and the sect politic
of the executive assembly. Security Director Hans Diem had presented the
question to the Canton Police and stated that no problems are currently
known, and the police chief saw no need for action. Because of religious
freedom, no systematic form of inquiry was possible. Neither did the drug
withdrawal center of the Scientology-aligned Narconon organization in
Waldstatt present a problem, from the view of the police."
Tagesanzeiger Zurich reported on September 16th on the experiences a woman
in Zurich had with Narconon.
"They go looking for customers in the Zurich drug scene and distribute
flyers on public land: Narconon's staff seek clients who are ready for
withdrawal and to enter therapy. One of the people dazzled by the
fantastic promises of success from the Narconon people was a 45-year-old
Zurich woman with alcohol problems; she agreed to go into the Narconon
Center at Waldstatt, AR, for six months of rehabilitation.
"'It was not until after a week that I noticed that the center had
something to do with Scientology and was applying Ron Hubbard's methods,'
she said. When she brought that to the attention of the director, Barbara
Volkart, she said the director denied there was any connection between
Narconon and Scientology. Narconon President Ursula Suess asserted, in
contrast, that their participants are told that Narconon works with the
methods of the Scientology founder Hubbard. The fact is that the word
'Scientology' does not appear anywhere on the flyers, in the documents or
the internet home page.
"Although the woman was critically disposed towards Scientology, she did
not stop her therapy, but persisted in it. She hoped for physical and
mental recuperation from the special Purification program, which Narconon
propagates as a 'miracle program.' But first, the Zurich woman had to do
exercises for four weeks which are similar to the Communication course by
Ron Hubbard. 'It was horrible, we had to stare in each others eyes for
hours, talk to an ashtray, and answer the same questions hundreds of
times, like, 'Do birds fly?' said the woman. She regarded the exercises as
a waste of time. Besides the course, almost everyday she had to cook, wash
and clean. Looking back on it, the Zurich woman thinks the daily rate of
130 franks was too high, under those circumstances.
"'I was always getting dizzy, I had circulation problems, and even fell
down a couple of times.' She said she tried to eat a lot, but her stomach
often went on strike. So the already petite woman shed several kilograms
in four weeks. 'Every morning I was worn out, and much more tired than
before the Purification program.' She had enough after the Purification
program and wanted to stop her therapy right then. But the Scientologists
worked at her mulishly. They told her she would be passing up the
opportunity to become a new person. She finally had the strength, after a
week, to pack her things and leave the rehabilitation center against the
objections of the Narconon people. Since then, the Zurich woman said, she
has often been contacted by Narconon people and Scientologists who try to
talk her back into therapy."