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A.r.s Week in Review - 3/11/2001

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  • Rod Keller
    Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 5, Issue 46 3/11/2001 by Rod Keller [rkeller@voicenet.com] copyright 2001 Alt.religion.scientology Week in
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 11, 2001
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      Week in Review Volume 5, Issue 46
      by Rod Keller [rkeller@...]
      copyright 2001

      Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review summarizes the most significant
      postings from the Usenet group Alt.religion.scientology for the preceding
      week for the benefit of those who can't follow the group as closely as
      they'd like. Out of thousands of postings, I attempt to include news of
      significant events, new affidavits, court rulings, new contributors,
      whatever. I hope you find it useful. Like many readers of a.r.s, I have a
      kill file. So please take into consideration that I may not have seen some
      of the most significant postings.

      The articles in A.r.s Week in Review are brief summaries of articles
      posted to the newsgroup. They include message IDs for the original
      articles, and many have a URL to get more information. You may be able to
      find the original article, depending on how long your site stores articles
      in the newsgroup before expiring them.

      Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available. Subscriptions are
      also available on Yahoo. Email weekinreview-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or
      see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/weekinreview
      Week in Review is archived at:


      > Faith-Based Groups

      Pat Robertson wrote a column in USA Today on March 5th, explaining his
      opposition to U.S. President Bush's plan to allow money to be given to
      religious groups for charitable programs.

      "Our laws do not let government engage in content discrimination of
      speech. The same government grants given to Catholics, Protestants and
      Jews must also be given to the Hare Krishnas, the Church of Scientology or
      Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church -- no matter that some may use
      brainwashing techniques or that the founder of one claims to be the
      messiah and another that he was Buddha reincarnated. Under the proposed
      faith-based initiative, all must receive taxpayer funds if they provide
      'effective' service to the poor. In my mind, this creates an intolerable

      "I propose a modest modification to the Bush plan: Faith-based
      organizations that want federal assistance could request a screening by
      the new White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives, which
      would look at such objective criteria as their financial integrity, record
      keeping, supervision and basic accountability. Assuming these
      organizations were performing approved services for those less fortunate
      in society, they would be listed in a government registry along with a
      list of projects the government wishes to support. Private individuals
      and corporations then could use that listing to make donations to the
      faith-based institutions of their choice."

      From the New York Times on March 7th:

      "It may seem surprising that Pat Robertson, one of the nation's most
      enthusiastic proponents of inserting religion into public life, would be
      the first serious critic of President Bush's plan to offer government aid
      to social programs run by religious groups. The Bush initiative is, after
      all, the most substantial effort in years to increase the role of religion
      in public life. But what worried Mr. Robertson, as expressed in his
      comments last month, was possible government financing of religious groups
      that are outside the mainstream, like the Church of Scientology, the Hare
      Krishna movement or the Unification Church.

      "Whether Mr. Robertson's comments signal trouble for the Bush program
      among all Christian conservatives is an open question. There are
      significant divisions among these believers that may become politically
      important now.

      "Mr. Bush has not said that he supports helping programs run by groups
      like Hare Krishnas, Scientologists or Wiccans. But neither has he said
      that any groups might be left out, and his administration is surely aware
      that any legislation that specifically excludes government aid based on a
      particular faith is unlikely to be constitutional. Asked during the
      campaign if, for example, he would approve of government financing for a
      Church of Scientology antidrug program, he answered: 'I have a problem
      with the teachings of Scientology being viewed on the same par as Judaism
      or Christianity. That just happens to be a personal point of view. But I
      am interested in results.'"

      The White House defended the program this week, as reported by the
      Associated Press on March 7th.

      "'Compassionate conservatism warmly welcomes godly people back into the
      public square while respecting and upholding - without fail - benevolent
      constitutional traditions,' John DiIulio, head of the Office of
      Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, said in remarks prepared for the
      National Association of Evangelicals in Dallas. He said people who don't
      want government money to go to religious groups outside the mainstream,
      such as the Nation of Islam, must realize they are not entitled to that
      kind of veto power.

      "Others argue that the program is flawed because it could lead to
      nonmainstream religions getting money. Most recently the Rev. Jerry
      Falwell said he wouldn't want the Church of Scientology, the Jehovah's
      Witnesses or Muslims to get government grants. 'I don't see how any can
      be turned down because of their radical and unpopular views. I don't know
      where that would take us,' Falwell said."

      From USA Today on March 8th:

      "The Rev. Jerry Falwell, who told a religion Web site 'the Moslem faith
      teaches hate,' said Wednesday that his comments are aimed at Islamic
      political states such as Iran and Iraq, not American Muslims. Falwell
      later told USA Today that he meant any group that is anti-Semitic, racist
      or in any way bigoted should be disqualified. He named Aryan Nations and
      the Church of Scientology as examples."

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      > Clearwater

      From the Letters to the Editor of the St. Petersburg Times on March 6th:

      "A few years ago, the Scientologists marched around the Clearwater Police
      Department chanting angry slogans at Chief Sid Klein. Now a judge accuses
      the department of being 'dangerously close to becoming a private security
      force for the Church of Scientology.' Now, we come to understand that
      Scientology has more than 100 spy cameras in downtown Clearwater. Judge
      Thomas Penick, the great invasion is over; this is occupation time.
      Maybe we should hire a city psychiatrist instead of a city manager. Seems
      to me the city is a little bipolar. -- Greg Barnes, Clearwater"

      Jeff Jacobsen reported that Citizens for a Better Clearwater has rejected
      memorial bricks he paid for in the names of Lisa McPherson and Congressman
      Leo J. Ryan.

      "We learned of their project to turn a small alleyway off Cleveland Street
      into a park. They were going to sell bricks where people could place a
      message on them to raise money, and these bricks would be interspersed
      through the brickwork walkway in the park. CBC had basically one rule
      about what could be on the brick, that there could be only one memorial
      brick per deceased. They later added that a committee would review each
      message. My brick was to say 'Remember Lisa McPherson, 1959-1995.'

      "I sent another check for $45.00 to Citizens for a Better Clearwater to
      again purchase a brick to help pay for the park amenities. This one was
      for a friend and it was to say 'in memory of Congressman Leo Ryan.'

      "Today I got a letter from CBC dated February 27 and signed Doug Williams,

      "'Citizens for a Better Clearwater is a private, non-profit organization
      which is committed to improving the city and forwarding a message of unity
      amongst its citizens and development for the downtown. We have reviewed
      your application along with your correspondence on the matter and do not
      feel that we can accept donations for a brick from you and still maintain
      the message of community harmony that we seek. We are therefore returning
      your brick donations.

      "First off, what on earth was disharmonizing about my bricks? Second, why
      did it take them months to let me know about this rejection, especially
      since they had sent a letter thanking me for the orders previously? I
      suspect now what I had heard as rumor, that CBC is controlled by
      Scientology. What other 'community' would be in disharmony over my

      Maggie DiPietra reported on a morning radio show on WFLA on which Jeff
      discussed the rejected brick messages.

      "The Tampa Bay area's most popular morning talk radio show this morning
      featured the hosts on the phone with Jeff Jacobsen, discussing the way the
      Citizens for a Better Clearwater people dissed the bricks he bought to
      sponsor a public park improvement project. The hosts wanted to call Mayor
      Brian Aungst to find out who this group is and why Jeff's memorialization
      bricks wouldn't be accepted. They talked about Lisa, about Scn, Inc., and
      its level of influence with the city of CW."

      The St. Petersburg Times published an article on March 11th describing the
      off-duty officers Scientology pays to patrol Watterson Street in

      "Every day, off-duty Clearwater police officers provide security for the
      Church of Scientology, which was investigated by police for 18 years but
      now is putting thousands of dollars in officers' pockets. The church pays
      $25-an-hour for two uniformed officers to pull an 81/2-hour shift seven
      days a week, 365 days a year. All told, the church has paid nearly
      $150,000 to 110 officers since January 2000. The arrangement is a
      remarkable turnaround for a department that long has mistrusted
      Scientology and rejected church attempts to ingratiate itself, saying no
      to offers of Scientology's anti-drug and criminal rehabilitation programs.

      "It was not an easy call, said 20-year Clearwater Police Chief Sid Klein.
      'Those of us in the Police Department who have dealt with this have our
      individual and collective memories of our experiences with the Church of
      Scientology,' Klein said. 'But nevertheless, they are a church at least in
      the eyes of the law. It's our responsibility to treat them, at this time,
      as any other church, whether we like it or not.'

      "'They shouldn't be there,' said national policing expert James Fyfe, a
      criminal justice professor at Temple University in Philadelphia. 'When
      there's some dispute, the cops have to take a vow to be impartial. A cop
      cannot be impartial if he's taking money from one side.'

      "From Scientology's perspective, the police have done a good job. For more
      than a year, Watterson Avenue has been safe, which is all the church
      wants, a spokesman said. 'It's not like, 'Hey, it's neat to have the cops
      working for you,' ' said Ben Shaw, director of external affairs for the
      church's Flag Service Organization. 'Security is my responsibility. If
      somebody comes in here and shoots somebody, that's my responsibility.'

      "However, veteran Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Thomas E. Penick expressed
      concern two weeks ago after presiding over a lengthy hearing that included
      testimony from church members, church critics and officers who work the
      security detail. 'They are coming very dangerously close to becoming a
      private security force for the Church of Scientology,' Penick said.

      "'There are officers who simply will not work this detail because of their
      strong convictions regarding the Church of Scientology,' Klein said. 'Many
      officers here over the years were personally attacked, and those memories
      do not fade very fast.'

      "At the Lisa McPherson Trust, Scientology critics say the Police
      Department ought to be suspicious of the church's motives. The church's
      goal is to win the allegiance of the department, said Trust president
      Stacy Brooks, a former Scientologist. 'It's not the same as Publix hiring
      off-duty cops, or Walgreens,' Brooks said. 'No other organization I know
      of has an agenda to indoctrinate the members of the police force to their
      way of thinking.'"

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      > Cruise/Presley

      The National Examiner reported in its March 13th issue that Scientology
      celebrities Tom Cruise and Lisa Marie Presley have become close in the
      wake of Cruise's filing for divorce from Nicole Kidman.

      "Heartbroken Tom Cruise has turned to his religion and fellow
      Scientologist Lisa Marie Presley for comfort in the wake of his breakup
      with wife Nicole Kidman, according to a report in London's Daily Star
      newspaper. Pals say the sparks are already flying in Tom and Nicole's
      divorce and with him seeking comfort from Lisa Marie, romance is sure to
      blossom between them.

      "According to the British paper, Lisa Marie, who's been engaged for a year
      to musician John Oszajca, told a fellow Scientologist: 'Yes, it's true
      I've been Tom's shoulder to cry on. We've been spending a lot of time
      together. There is now no reason why we can't take it to the next level.'
      Says a friend of Lisa's: 'It's not surprising that they would get
      together. They've known each other for years because they share the same
      faith, the Church of Scientology. And in Hollywood, this is a close-knit
      community. Everyone knows everyone else.'

      "'Those two are so compatible, it's almost scary,' a fellow Scientologist
      told New York magazine's Los Angeles bureau chief Cathy Griffin. 'This is
      a natural, inevitable pairing.'"

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      > Maria Pia Gardini

      A translation of an article in the March 5th issue of La Republica was
      posted to a.r.s this week, describing the mission of Maria Pia Gardini to
      get money back from Scientology.

      "For this reason she just turned to her friend Jeb Bush, the Governor of
      Florida and the brother of President George. Maria Pia Gardini, 64, is now
      living in Grosseto after a ten years in the States where she got to the
      top of the organization. In her affidavits, fowarded to the FBI as well,
      she tells of the 'hell' she's been enduring for the past 16 yrs. She
      decided to made them public at a planetary level, via the Internet. 'They
      did extort me over 1.5 million US$ using psychological violence, also
      physical one at the end. I could get back just 500,000 US$. But now I want
      everything back.' She says she asked the help of the 'Lisa McPherson
      Trust,' an association that defends who claims to be a victim of
      Scientology. The Trust was named after Lisa McPherson, a girl who died
      after a 17 days segregation operated by the followers of the founder-god
      Ron Hubbard, according to her relatives.

      "A few months after she joined Scientology, Maria Pia Gardini went to
      Copenhagen for a 6 months stay. She began the 'bridge' to purification,
      from 'raw meat', as newcomers are labeled, to OT, the level where thetans
      become operating again. Maria Pia, like the other 'officers', reaches it
      aboard of the Freewinds, a ship always moving and headquarters of the
      church-cult. The standard price to reach OT 8, through repeated 'auditing'
      sessions, is 500 millions. 'In Copenhagen they housed me in a dump hotel,
      and I paid something like 160,000 US$. They forced us to wash dishes and
      mop floors. I knew I was taken in, and I say that's enough when my
      daughter died, in 1990. They extort me one million US$ for the Italian
      Class VIII project. Debbie Cook, heading the organization, now says she
      doesn't even know me. And I do not know one single Italian who got to the
      top purification'.

      "Scientology gave her 500,000 US$ back, she signed an agreement according
      to which she can not ask more, and can not 'spread false rumors' about the
      church-cult. When Maria Pia turned to the 'McPherson Trust' Kendrick
      Moxon, one of Scientology leaders, sent a letter in which he threatens to
      act legally if that agreement should be violated. Maria Pia has chosen to
      voice her story at least to have her money back, since nobody will give
      her back her deluded life. She also knocks at the door of Jeb Bush."

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      > Germany

      Stuttgarter Nachrichten reported on March 3rd that officials in Stuttgart
      may have violated the confidentiality of Scientology's tax returns.

      "The Stuttgart state attorney's office is currently checking into whether
      the coverage given on the controversial Scientology Organization would
      have violated its tax privacy. It was a matter of only one sentence about
      the Scientology Mission in Heilbronn. 'After the revenue office
      communicated that new unpaid taxes existed in significant amount, the
      state counsel office is currently checking to see if new proceedings to
      deny commercial operation should be introduced,' is what the original
      version of the report said. The sentence was removed from the report one
      month later, yet the original printed reports have long since been

      "Tax debts are not allowed to be made public. That means not with
      Scientology, either. 'Tax privacy goes very far and applies alike to both
      good and bad tax payers,' is how one official described the difference
      between rights and morals. How the sentence got into the report is
      currently being reviewed, said an official for the Culture Ministry.
      Surely the government has not deliberately committed a crime. Judicially
      though, that may hardly be of interest in the eyes of the law."

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      > Narconon

      The Guardian reported on March 1st that Narconon is being accused of
      stealing website design from a UK site.

      "Mike Slocombe, the designer and creator of Urban 75, isn't the type you
      would expect to get agitated about the rights of the copyright holder.
      'I got emails from people in America saying, 'Are you involved in this
      site, or did you design it?' So I took a look, and shrieked in horror as I
      saw what looks like my site.' Parts of the pages in question - published
      by Narconon, a drug treatment programme in the US - were, Slocombe says, a
      close match to earlier designs on Urban 75. The look and feel were
      confusingly similar. Certain graphics were identical. Sections of code -
      including, Slocombe points out, JavaScript for a pop-up window not used on
      the Narconon pages - were almost identical.

      "The main difference, it seems, is ideological. Urban 75 offers
      information about drugs without condemning their use, but Narconon
      actively promotes treatment of addiction through techniques developed by L
      Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology. Slocombe alleges
      that a copyright violation had taken place - but Gary Smith, Narconon's
      executive director, in an email to Online, said he 'does not believe the
      websites in question include any copyright infringement.'

      "The problem for a one-man show such as Urban 75 is that hardball is an
      expensive game to play. The Church of Scientology, famously litigious, has
      been an aggressive defender of its online copyright. So Slocombe used a
      radical tactic: posting comparisons of the two sites on Urban 75, plus a
      section (later removed) inviting his readers to email concerns to Narconon
      and its service provider, Earthlink. According to Smith's email,
      'Earthlink did not see that there was any problem with the Narconon

      "But Urban 75 has won small victories. Narconon took down the 'no tie-ins'
      phrase the day Slocombe wrote to them. They tweaked the graphics -
      replacing the orange chevrons first with an orange blob, then yellow
      arrows. They eventually removed the JavaScript function. Narconon made
      such changes, Smith says, because it 'wanted to resolve all concerns
      amicably'. Small victories, but valuable to Slocombe, a man wedded to his
      online obsession. 'I don't want people confusing my work with theirs.'"

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      > Protest Summary

      "Realpch" reported a protest in San Francisco on March 3rd.

      "Our handlers were somewhat testy and pesky for this picket. Perhaps they
      were still upset by last month's picket which was well attended and
      featured those notorious suppressives Keith Hensen and Tory Bezazian.
      Maybe they thought that she would grace the picket again, because Nasty
      Mark was there for the event, and behaving badly. After remarks about med
      dosages and queries about my general state of happiness and marital
      status, he resorted to reading me a list of 'Psych Atrocities.' He also
      worked heavily on Phr, doing the crowding routine and more bullbaiting.
      Luckily Phil was there, and occupied much of his time with congenial chat.

      "Craig the Scientologist was there too, with his video camera and the
      usual 'Religious Bigot' flyers. Lately he has taken to taping Jour quite a
      bit at pickets, and dogging her every step. He was a bit at a loss, with
      her absence, and resorted to videotaping me and Phr. He was overheard
      exclaiming, 'These people are against all religions! Ask them about other

      "I handed out an unknown number of flyers, since I didn't count what I had
      started with. Phil informs me that Nasty Mark told him that he (Mark) was
      'a major player in the OSA ops.'"

      John Ritson and Roland Rashleigh-Berry reports on a protest in London on
      March 10th.

      "The highlight was one of the clams lugging out a thick dictionary to do
      'word-clearing' in the middle of the pavement. He had managed to convince
      himself that 'word-clearing' was the answer to all problems, because if
      one misunderstood words while in command of nuclear weapons, one could
      cause a disaster, but had difficulties when it was pointed out that some
      sentences could contain perfectly simple words but be nonsense. The sight
      of the poor soul standing there frantically trying to locate 'enturbulate'
      was mind-blowing.

      "I could manipulate one Scientologist into coming out of hiding simply by
      describing the criminal L. Ron Hubbard. He would come out and order me not
      to talk about Hubbard, I would go into detail about Hubbard's use of
      Vistaril and 'pinks and greys'. He would go back inside again. Another
      staffer tried the 'Death Stare' on each picketer in turn, to no effect.
      Then he tried a bizarre ritual of going up to picketers while holding a
      clipboard, and then drawing two vertical lines on the paper."

      "We picketed the Martian Embassy on Tottenham Court Road today (10 March
      2001). There were me (Roland), Hartley, Jens, Shellac, Martin P, Steve
      C-T, John Ritson and Duke the dog in attendance. We had a police presence
      today because the police had got so fed up with being called out on
      previous pickets from false reports from the clams that they decided to be
      there and find out what goes on. 550 leaflets were given out to public
      who actually wanted to take them. John Ritson was a wonder on the
      boombox. He scored his metaphorical double-century today."

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      > Skepticism

      The Skeptical Inquirer published an article on Scientology in its
      March/April issue. Hud Nordin posted a summary to a.r.s.

      "'Just because not much has been written about the ongoing war on the part
      of Scientology against its critics does not mean that they have suddenly
      reverted to civilized norms. If anything, it means that such harassment
      has become so commonplace that it is no longer newsworthy.'

      "He first covers Scientology's battle in Clearwater against protesters and
      picketers, mentioning the Lisa McPherson Trust, why it is so named, the
      Scientology-paid police, the videotapes of Scientology hooliganism, and
      the infamous hammer attack. The last half of the section visits Keith
      Henson's story: his free speech advocacy, his posting of the law-breaking
      secret scriptures, and his subsequent crushing by the Scientology legal
      behemoth. The last paragraph describes Scientology's trumped up charges of
      Keith's alleged terrorism via unpossessed nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.

      "'Such persecution is clearly intended not to protect Scientology's
      legitimate interests but to serve as a warning to other would-be activists
      of the fate awaiting them if they should follow Henson's examples.'"

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      > Super Power

      Peter Alexander posted to a.r.s concerning the construction of the Super
      Power building in Clearwater.

      "When I was still a public member of Scientology, I contributed $100,000
      to the SuperPower Building, and was privy to inside information about the
      project. According to Bruce and Chairman Roger, the registrars, and the
      SuperPower project leader, the purpose of SuperPower and the new
      SuperPower building was to 'undercut' the gradient for all of Scientology.
      They explained that no matter what level people attained in Scientology,
      they still had 'out ethics' which were preventing them from realizing
      their gains. This, they said, applied to OT8's and OT7's, and well as
      people lower on the bridge. This was a tactic admission that Scientology's
      OT levels were not working, and additional hypnosis/brainwashing was
      required before anyone could become OT.

      "They invited me to several luncheons with Matt Feshbach. Matt was, at
      the time, the only public person who had been allowed to complete
      SuperPower. He described one particular rundown, in which he ran and ran
      around a 'maypole' in a circle. He told me that all the members of the
      upper management of RTC had also done this, and the other SuperPower
      rundowns. These SuperPower rundowns amount to about the same level of
      brainwashing as the Chinese Communists used during the Great Cultural
      Revolution, where they could 're-educate' even the toughest souls into
      complete submission.

      "I met with Ken, the Scientology Project Architect and went over the
      building plans. One of the main features of the building is a large,
      circular room with a maypole in the middle for the 'running' rundown. The
      rest of the building includes a new auditorium and new auditing rooms.
      Clearwater will become the number one Robot Factory on the planet, or so
      the Scientology management believes. What will actually happen is that
      this brainwashing will 'take' for awhile, then wear off, leaving the
      victims of the cult damaged, and probably broke. We'll have more and more
      broken, defeated people wandering the streets of Clearwater."

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      > Switzerland

      Tages-Anzeiger reported on March 3rd that Scientologists have been
      convicted of defrauding investors in Switzerland.

      "At the end of the 1980s and early 1990s Scientologists caused financial
      damages of about 100 million franks with partially fraudulent businesses.
      One of them, a 57-year-old attorney, former magistrate and high-ranking
      bank employee, went before the superior court on Friday. He had relieved
      German investors of 22 million franks, thereby earning himself two years
      nine months prison from the district court.

      "The 40-year-old codefendant who was responsible for the computer
      programming and had received six months imprisonment in the first trial
      said it clear as a bell about the proceedings, 'If we would not have been
      Scientologists, then we would not be standing here today, that is
      guaranteed.' Both accused were heavily in debt so that they could pay the
      'church' 350,000 franks and 450,000 franks respectively for courses and
      services. Besides that the attorney had bought worthless pictures of sect
      founder Ron Hubbard for hundreds of thousands of franks and had amassed
      debts of 3.5 million franks.

      "In newspaper inserts the two passed themselves off as the 'Federal
      Association of American Banks' and promised 9 to 10 percent interest.
      From 1991 to 1994 the attorney took in money, mostly cash, in Zurich,
      which he then hand-carried to Munich. In return he reaped 600,000 franks
      in commission from his business partner. When their cover was blown, the
      accomplice in Munich vanished - and with him most of the money. He has
      still not surfaced.

      "His attorney had stated there was a connection to the many courses which
      his client had taken with Scientology: he said his client had been
      strongly mentally influenced and had learned to suppress doubts. Besides
      that the courses were said to have strongly modified structural His
      codefendant and his attorney made an even stronger case. They spoke of a
      loss of ability to differentiate, of totalitarian systems and of
      inquisitorial proceedings and brainwashing. The judges also asked question
      after question about Scientology. But they have not yet dismissed any part
      of the conviction."

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      > Zenon Panoussis

      Zenon Panoussis reported that he lost the his appeal of his copyright
      violation case in Swedish court this week.

      "The district court's ruling is confirmed and I am ordered to pay yet
      another SEK 400,000 (USD 40,000) for RTC's legal costs in the appeal. I
      am appealing this ruling right now. The supreme court might or might not
      hear the appeal."

      From the Associated Press on March 9th:

      "A Swedish appeals court upheld on Friday a previous verdict banning a man
      from distributing a copyrighted Church of Scientology training manual. The
      manual was a 'sacred text' and covered by copyright ownership, the court
      ruled. In September 1998, the Stockholm District Court ruled that
      Panoussis had violated copyright laws when he published the manual on the

      "In its ruling, the appeals court said the scientologists had treated the
      material as confidential such as by requiring members to sign agreements
      about not revealing the details of the texts. 'We are very pleased with
      the ruling. It shows that the justice system works,' church spokeswoman
      Tarja Vulto said. The case 'was about copyright, and that the copyright
      owners have the right to their own material,' she added."

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