A.r.s Week in Review - 10/8/2000
Week in Review Volume 5, Issue 26
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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> BurbankTory Bezazian reported meeting a young Scientologist in Burbank,
"A few weeks ago a family contacted the LMT and asked if someone, anyone
could please help them talk to their child who had joined staff in
Scientology. Since both Jesse and I were coming to LA anyways, we said
sure. We brought some basic information for the person to read, and a few
videos to watch. OSA intercepted the family in the parking lot and took
the person. The father got this person and they all went into the
reception to sit and talk. They sat on a couch in the lobby all crowded
around each other, talking. I took a paper down to the father just to
explain the essence of what we were going to do.
"I noticed 4 strategically posted Scientologists, one being the person who
took over the Scientology Parishioners League I was asked to head up last
October. He walked up to me and said 'Tory HOW COULD YOU?' I asked, 'How
could I what?' He rattled off the party line of sleep deprivation, etc. I
told him all we were going to do was show the person some information. Why
couldn't he look at both sides? He didn't have an answer for that. Every
time we would walk towards the family, a Scientologist would close in
towards the family and say 'Come with US' the parents later told us 'in a
shockingly monotone voice'.
"Jesse alerted the hotel security that these people (the Scientologists)
were not even guests of the hotel and they had lied and told the security
earlier that this was their son. Security asked them to leave, they
refused, so the police were called, I walked through the doors of the
hotel, and there were 4 or 5 police cars, a helicopter hovering above and
the OSA against the police car with their hands in cuffs, and the light
from the helicopter shining down on them.
"The Hotel staff that watched this was fully grossed out by what
Scientology did that night. The family certainly will never do Scientology
after being a part of this ordeal put on by these people calling
themselves Scientologists. Quite a few public there were asking what was
going on, and looked unhappy to see the Nazi like guards watching over the
family. The Burbank Police told me they were familiar with this kind of
"The young staff member had agreed to talk with us the next day. We were
all watching a video when we heard a knock on the door. Two tall policemen
come in. They had received a call that they 'needed to check on the young
person'. I am happy to report the young person is happy and well, and
safely off staff and doing what this person wants to do."
> Andrew ButtnorAndrew Buttnor, the son of OSA PR Al Buttnor, was killed by a gunshot in
Edmonton this week. From the Edmonton Journal on October 7th:
"An 18 year old man found dead in his car Tuesday in a west-end
neighbourhood is the soon of Allon Buttnor, a local Church of Scientology
reverend. Andrew Fletcher Buttnor died from a gunshot to the head. Police
have not recovered a weapon and no motive has been established. Although
Andrew Buttnor was not a member of the Church of Scientology, Jurt said
the church is going to increase its youth presence in the community in
response to his death. Members will focus on activities that promote a
drug-free life. 'We will be stepping up programs with youth because this
is something no one should have to endure,' Jurt said.
"A woman helping her son deliver newspapers spotted the bloodied man at
about 5 a.m., slumped behind the wheel of a car with the engine off but
the lights on, midway along 115th Ave, between 139th and 130th Streets."
> ClearwaterJeff Jacobsen reported on the new Religious Tolerance group headed by
Scientologist Mary DeMoss.
"The Clearwater City Commission lets citizens have 3 minutes each at the
beginning of their meetings to talk about whatever concerns them. Tonight
Mary DeMoss got up to promote her Religious Tolerance group. She said that
they were planning an interfaith potluck dinner (no date given), an
interfaith cookbook to raise money (for what?), and an interfaith choral
recital (no date given)."
> Church and StateThe Kansas City Star published an article on October 1st on efforts to
provide federal funds for religious charity programs.
"Ray Suarez, a Sunday school teacher and nationally known journalist,
wonders whether it's wise to pour federal money into church-based
charities. George W. Bush and Al Gore have made vague proposals to use
faith-based organizations to meet society's goals, such as fighting drug
addiction, Suarez said Sunday at the annual conference of Catholic
"Suarez, a former vice president of Episcopal Charities in Chicago, told a
group of about 750 people that church-based charities should be concerned
whether there could be a 'smooth partnership' with government. Its money
could come with guidelines dictating how they choose clients or limiting
"'We will almost inevitably find some of our fellow citizens who pay taxes
are more than happy to chip in for programs sponsored by the right kind of
religions,' Suarez said, 'But they aren't ready to countenance a Wiccan
substance abuse program, a Scientology sponsored welfare-to-work program
or Hindu marriage counselors.'"
> GermanyBerliner Morgenpost reported on October 2nd that Rev. Thomas Gandow
continues to come under attack from Scientology.
"The Scientology sect has recently used its official periodical,
'Freiheit,' to attack the sect commissioner of the Evangelical Church of
Berlin-Brandenburg, Thomas Gandow. On the title page of the magazine,
which gives the circulation at 200,000, the religious minister and sect
expert is described as 'Chief Inquisitor,' among other things.
"The background of the operation against Gandow was his membership in the
founding committee of the 'European-American Citizens Committee for Human
Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA.' The committee brought into being
the 'Alternative Charlemagne Award' which it then presented to U.S.
businessman Robert S. Minton, who has financially supported opponents of
From Berliner Morgenpost on October 2nd:
"These days the clergyman has found himself more than ever a target of the
'Black Propaganda' of Scientology, an organization he has been telling
people about for a good twenty years. The sect has recently mass-mailed
copies of its 'Freiheit' print organ to numerous households in Zehlendorf
and Steglitz. On the cover page is Thomas Gandow's portrait; the sub-text
describes him as 'Chief Inquisitor.'
"'They are accusing me of doing my job,' said the minister. He said the
words 'cover organization' were also false, of course, 'because everything
about us is in the open.' Nevertheless, the sect's assertions weigh
heavily upon Gandow. 'Naturally we don't want to behave like the
Scientologists, so we will deny what they say. After all we have nothing
to hide.' How much of an impression the Hubbard adherents' recent campaign
has left upon people in Zehlendorf and Steglitz is difficult to judge,
said Thomas Gandow. But he still has bits of encouragement. In his office
there is a large bouquet of flowers given to him from a woman to express
her appreciation for his involvement in Scientology. And recently a
Zehlendorf mail carrier apologized to him for distributing the Scientology
Rev. Thomas Gandow described the campaign in more detail this week.
"On Monday I was informed by higher authority that Sabine Weber is
conducting a so-called 'noisy investigation' against me. She called up
the Evangelical Church Diaconate (EKD) office in Hannover and asked for
the lady in charge of ministerial and official legal obligations and asked
whether the legal obligations of a minister were comparable to the
obligations of an official, and what one could or would have to do in
order to be able to put a preacher up on charges of accepting bribes
"It had to do with a Gandow, minister in Berlin for suspicion of accepting
favors. It supposedly had to do with activities concerning a huge lawsuit
in the USA, something about multiple millions of dollars in damages.
"My bosses first thought it was about Minton's lawsuit for slander, etc. I
was able to tell them it had to do with the civil lawsuit about Lisa and
the SO. It [is] about as effective as a footbullet, since now there is
further possibility to distribute new, critical information about the SO."
Taz reported on October 5th that Scientology has filed a new lawsuit
against Ursula Caberta, claiming she has accepted bribes from Bob Minton.
"The Scientologists are showing that they are lawsuit-happy. They intend
to prohibit the Hamburg Interior Agency from letting their sect
commissioner Ursula Caberta continue her research and information work on
the Scientology Organization. A cease-and-desist application was filed
yesterday by Munich attorney Wilhelm Bluemel in the Hamburg Administrative
Court to that effect, verified court spokeswoman Angelika Huusmann.
"The director of the Interior Agency's Work Group on Scientology (AGS) was
said to have accepted a private loan from U.S. millionaire and Scientology
opponent Bob Minton. They want the AGS director to be prohibited from
performing her function of information work outside of her job.
"Caberta disputes the accusations. She said she had only accepted Minton's
invitation to an informational trip to the USA after Minton had been the
guest of the Interior Agency in April. 'The matter has been given to the
Department of Internal investigations,' said Interior Agency spokeswoman
"It was just last April that Scientology failed in its attempt in the
administrative court to have the AGS prohibited from distributing its
'Technology Statement.' Businesses can use the 'sect filter' to distance
themselves from the 'practices and technologies' of Scientology leader L.
> FishingThe Riverside Press-Enterprise reported on October 4th that Scientology is
hosting a fishing tournament at Gold Base near Hemet, California.
"Limited spaces are still available for the Second Annual Children's
Fishing Tournament at Lake Golden Era. Children from 6 to 15 will fish in
the tournament, sponsored by Golden Era Productions and Sun Country
Bassmasters. There will be an official weigh-in and awards as well as
> H.R. 588A new bill has been introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives,
which alleges religious discrimination in Europe against Scientology.
H. RES. 588
"Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to
violations in Western Europe of provisions of the Helsinki Final Act and
other international agreements relating to the freedom of individuals to
profess and practice religion or belief.
"Mr. SALMON (for himself, Mr. PAYNE, and Mr. GILMAN) submitted the
following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International
"Whereas the Department of State's annual reports on religious freedom and
human rights have documented numerous instances of government
discrimination based on religion or belief in Western Europe, including
discriminatory acts against American members of several different
religious denominations and beliefs;
"Whereas the Office of the United States Trade Representative has listed
Germany as a country engaged in discriminatory trade practices because of
'sect filter' guidelines issued to all federal government ministries and
used by German state and local governments, which have the potential to
discriminate against United States firms in German procurement decisions
by permitting government entities to reject bids and immediately terminate
contracts if a firm does not sign a 'sect filter' document attesting that
the firm and its employees are not affiliated with certain religious
"Whereas a bill passed by the French National Assembly on June 22, 2000,
contains repressive measures which would have a chilling effect on the
freedom religion and belief, including the dissolution of targeted
religious associations, the imprisonment of members of such groups, and
infringement upon freedom of speech, including speech intended to persuade
another person to a particular point of view, whether philosophical or
"Whereas a 1996 French National Assembly report listed 173 organizations
as suspect, including independent evangelical Christian churches,
Scientologists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Unificationists and this report
has been used by both private and official entities to harass, intimidate,
deny employment, and deny commercial loans to listed groups, and members
of other religious groups, such as Southern Baptists, Seventh Day
Adventists, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement, Opus Dei, and the
Society of Jesus, have also been subject to recent discrimination and
harassment at the hands of the French Government;
"Whereas the Government of Austria has instituted a 'sect' office which
disseminates official propaganda on religious groups not recognized by the
government and leading to a chilling effect on religious liberty;
"Whereas the Parliament of Belgium has established a government 'Advice
and Information Center on Sects' which disseminates official views on
groups considered 'sects' as defined by the list in the appendix to the
1997 Belgian Parliament report;
"Whereas Scientologists have been subject to pervasive civil, political,
and economic discrimination, harassment, surveillance, and orchestrated
boycotts in Germany, France, Belgium, and Austria; and
"Resolved, That the House of Representatives disapproves of the growing
intolerance, discrimination, and violence directed against individuals and
groups because of their religion or belief, in violation of the Helsinki
Final Act and other international agreements; calls upon the President and
the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom to raise
violations of the freedom of thought, conscience, religion, or belief, at
every appropriate level with representatives of countries that have failed
to implement their international commitments and obligations in this
regard; ensure that the United States makes full use of existing meetings
and structures of international organizations, including meetings of the
OSCE Permanent Council as well as periodic implementation review meetings
on human dimension issues, to raise violations of Participating States'
freely undertaken international commitments both to protect and to provide
for the full and effective exercise of the freedom of thought, conscience,
religion, or belief under their respective jurisdictions; and support the
inclusion of experts on religious liberty on United States delegations to
appropriate meetings of international organizations, including the OSCE."
> Protest SummaryKristi Wachter reported a protest this week in San Francisco.
"Date: Saturday, October 7, 2000. Start and End Times: 11:55 - 2:00 pm.
Picketers: Peaches, Kristi Wachter. Handlers: Craig (photos and DA
fliers). Number of Handouts given away: 156.
"This was a fairly uneventful picket; just lots of strolling, waving,
fliering, and chatting. The biggest news is that we saw no sign of Jeff
Quiros. Instead, we had a new handler - Craig. Craig is a good-looking,
tall black man who is best known to faithful readers of ars for having
regularly revenge-picketed Peaches and me. Craig emerged with a camera
and began taking pictures. He talked to Peaches, who has told him before
that she's not interested in talking with him. While snapping pictures, he
told Peaches that, when she was picketed, it was HIM doing the picketing,
and she better talk to her neighbors and tell them to 'cut it out'. He
said he'd talked to the police and if they didn't cut it out, they would
be arrested. Peaches, sensibly, made no response other than to tell him,
AGAIN, that she didn't want to talk to him.
"Craig had a stack of DA fliers - some with my name and photo, and others
showing Peaches. The one given out today calls me a bigot, not a
religious bigot, leaves out the 'Your neighbor' part, and has the
parishioners.org URL at the bottom. Craig made a half-hearted attempt to
give a DA flier to everyone who took a flier from me. When we happened to
be standing near one another, I would occasionally explain that he thought
I was a bigot because I wanted the organization to stop breaking the law.
Once, I told a passerby that Lisa had been held against her will for 17
days until she was dead, and that was why I was out picketing, he said,
'That's a lie.'
"Late in the picket, Peaches and I spotted Craig, half a block away,
heading for his car with his picket signs in his hand. He was off to
picket one of us - me, as it turned out. I arrived home about 3:30, and he
was there in front of my apartment building. I greeted him, took a few
pictures, told him I'd forgotten to mention how happy I was to see him
again, wished him a good rest of the weekend, took the DA flier out of the
gate, and went inside. He may well have put in two hours at my place."
> Battlefield EarthBattlefield Earth opened in Australia this week. The Canberra Times
published this article on October 1st:
"For 15 years, Travolta has tried to get Battlefield Earth before the
cameras. It's a slam-bang sci-fi epic set 1000 years in the future. But
more tellingly, it's a film based on the writings of L. Ron Hubbard, the
founder of Scientology. Travolta is a Scientologist, the most famous one
on earth. But even though Tom Cruise, Chick Corea, Jenna Elfman, Kirstie
Alley and several other celebrities share that with him, most of Hollywood
does not. And faith isn't enough to get a movie on the screen.
"'I didn't have the clout to get it made,' Travolta says. But clout wasn't
the only problem. There was the script. 'It was a long time in the
making, mostly because I didn't finally get [the script] right until
recently,' he says. 'A year and a half ago, we got a version of the script
that tackled the book and did it justice.'
"Then there were the special effects. Hubbard's action-packed novel
features gigantic aliens, futuristic technology and battles, battles
everywhere. 'I don't think, if we'd done this book 15 to 20 years ago,
the special effects would have measured up to what we were able to do,'
Travolta says. 'Now, they're state of the art, realistic. This was just
the right time to make this film.'
"But, of course, he's leaving out the obvious hold-up to Battlefield
Earth. Hubbard invented Scientology, the controversial self-help religion
that has been under fire for decades for its expense to its followers, its
medical claims and the intimidation tactics its leaders use to quash
dissent and bad publicity. Battlefield Earth is a movie with a lot of
"Could anti-Scientology bias have kept Hollywood from making the film?
'Quite the opposite,' Travolta says. 'It's so many people's favourite
book, when word got out that we had the green light, the options I had for
people who wanted to work on it were amazing. Travolta has, from time to
time, distanced himself from the church, which uses fasting, counseling
and a gadget called an e-meter to help its practitioners purge toxic
substances and toxic forces from their lives. But he's never dodged
questions about it.
"'He doesn't push Scientology,' says George Thomas, film critic for the
Akron Beacon-Journal, who has interviewed Travolta several times. 'He
charms you into understanding his position and tries to make you respect
what he believes.'
"Something of a compendium of Hubbard's sci-fi writings recast in a new
story, Battlefield Earth did earn some good reviews when the novel came
out in 1982. But some critics have said the sales figures were inflated by
Scientologists buying multiple copies, a Donald Trump trick for creating a
best-seller. Richard Leiby, writing in the Washington Post, sees the book
and film as a metaphoric treatment of Hubbard's philosophy, that
psychology and psychiatry are the root of modern evil - the villains of
the piece are the 'psychlos'. But any suggestions of a link between the
film and Scientology draw swift rebukes from the church leadership."