A.r.s Week in Review - 11/28/99
Week in Review Volume 4, Issue 35
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, just email me at
rkeller@.... Subscriptions are also available on ONElist. Email
email@example.com or see http://www.onelist.com
Week in Review is archived at:
> CCHRScientology and the CCHR continue to make news in Denver, where
Scientology claims psychiatric drugs cause teen violence, such as at
Columbine High School. From the Denver Post on November 22nd:
"The debate about whether it is wise or even necessary to medicate
children who are hyperactive, depressed or have other psychiatric
conditions has been around for decades. Yet earlier this month it surfaced
in Colorado with so much force and emotion, it seemed almost like a whole
new issue. A lot of this is related to the post-Columbine situation," said
Dr. Jennifer Hagman, medical director of Children's Hospital's in-patient
psychiatric unit. 'The community is really struggling to figure out what
"Earlier this month, both an informal committee of state legislators and
the Colorado Board of Education listened to testimony on psychiatric
medications and a suggested link between drugs such as Ritalin and Luvox
and school shootings across the country. The debate about psychiatric
drugs 'is a very old bandwagon,' Hagman said. 'It's a bandwagon that was
more predominant in the late '70s and early '80s, and was primarily Church
of Scientology-driven.' Pfiffner and Johnson deny Scientology connections.
Both say they became concerned about children on psychiatric medications
several years ago and believe it's an issue that needs to be explored. 'We
haven't grappled with the policy issues,' Pfiffner said. 'I don't know
what the answer is. I'm not a doctor.'
"'It's very short-sighted to say that the medications are to blame for all
the problems,' Hagman said. 'These kids who are on medications are
sometimes the ones who are acting out, but the medications are not causing
that. The underlying mental condition is, and they aren't fully treated.'
Hagman said she hopes that the silver lining in this latest round of
discussions is more attention to the need for every child with problems to
have a thorough psychiatric assessment.
"By early last summer, Pfiffner said, he was thinking about the
coincidence of shootings and reports of medications. About the same time,
a slick magazine from the Citizens Commission on Human Rights
International, which was founded 30 years ago by the Church of
Scientology, was sent to state legislators. The packet raised the
question about a possible link between psychiatry and school violence.
Pfiffner said it made him back off from holding a forum on the subject in
early July. 'I was not going to be a front for the Church of Scientology,'
Pfiffner said. 'I shut everything down. I have been around enough to be
cautious about the Scientologists.' Pfiffner said this fall he decided to
renew the forum idea and sent letters to experts that he said he thought
would present a balanced view.
"On a national level, the debate may have only just begun. Columbine was a
'spiritual holocaust for this country,' said Bruce Wiseman, national
president of the Scientologist-founded Citizens Committee on Human Rights
International. Colorado is the first place where his group was contacted
to come and present views, Wiseman said. He spoke at Pfiffner's hearing
and before the state education board in October. He's also testified in
Pennsylvania and Tennessee and plans to speak soon on the topic in
From the New York Times on November 25th:
"A resolution recently passed by the Colorado Board of Education to
discourage teachers from recommending behavioral drugs like Ritalin and
Luvox has intensified a national debate over the growing use of
prescription drugs for children. The resolution, the first of its kind in
the country, carries no legal weight. But it urges teachers and other
school personnel to use discipline and instruction to overcome problem
behavior in the classroom, rather than to encourage parents to put their
children on drugs that are commonly prescribed for attention deficit and
"Patti Johnson, the school board member who organized a hearing on the
issue and proposed the resolution here, conceded that only a small number
of teachers in Colorado had ever insisted on a child taking prescription
drugs as a precondition to returning to class. But the resolution, she
said, was largely intended for them. 'I hope what happened in Colorado is
the exception and not the rule,' said Michael M. Faenza, president of the
National Mental Health Association, a consortium of advocacy groups for
the mentally ill, conceding that he fears other states and school
districts might replicate Colorado's efforts 'Holding up psychotropic
medicines as the possible cause of violent behavior is absurd,' Faenza
said. 'There's a wealth of information to show that they have helped
"Dr. Peter R. Breggin, director of the International Center for the Study
of Psychiatry and Psychology, a nonprofit research organization in
Bethesda, Md., testified at both hearings and said doctors have become too
eager to prescribe psychotropic drugs at the expense of conversations
among parents, teachers and children to learn why children are acting in
antisocial ways. 'It's a tremendous mistake to subdue the behavior of
children instead of tending to their needs,' Dr. Breggin said in an
interview. 'We're drugging them into submission rather than identifying
and meeting the genuine needs of the family, the school and the
community,' Dr. Breggin said. 'It's wrong in principle.'
"Opponents of the measure also said they were uncomfortable with the
ardent support offered the measure by the Church of Scientology through an
affiliate organization, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights. The
president of its American branch, Bruce Wiseman, who described the
commission as a 'psychiatric watchdog group,' testified at both hearings
and urged rejection of Ritalin and other drugs as a solution to
troublesome behavior. But Ms. Johnson, as well as Pfiffner, said the
organization's support was not a critical factor in any of their actions."
> ClearwaterPatricia Greenway reported this week on Scientology's preparations for
next week's protests in Clearwater, on the anniversary of Lisa McPherson's
"They have ripped up most of the sidewalks surrounding the Fort Harrison
Hotel and the Sandcastle. With the exception of the sidewalk directly in
front of the building, all sidewalks are now dirt, rubble and barricades.
This tends to limit the picketing opportunities, which, of course, is
"The vans are back in action, shuttling the 'fearful' back and forth to
all the buildings with windows blacked out by opaque Christmas
decorations. The course rooms on Cleveland Street have a festive
'tarping' design: all windows are covered in Christmas wrapping paper with
bright decorative bows! The Scn. Bank Building looks like Santa's House
with the front steps holding a dozen Christmas trees and fake snow!
"It's quite obvious to CW residents that the cult's plan is to hide behind
the 'valence' of Christmas in order to portray the message: Look at these
scary, degraded people who DARE to picket Christmas itself!'"
> David CecereDavid Cecere, the Executive Director of the Lisa McPherson Trust, reported
a Scientology-paid private investigator contacting his ex-wife this week.
"My ex-wife Suzy has been visited twice in the last 45 days by a PI
calling himself Mike. Mike told Suzy that he is in the employ of
Scientology. He asked her questions about me. He wanted to know what my
motivation is for being a 'deprogrammer.' He told Suzy that
'deprogramming' was a dangerous thing for me to do. He asked if Bob
Minton and/or Ken Dandar was paying me. He asked Suzy if she still loved
me and whether I was gay. He told Suzy that he had my financial records
and that he could prove that I was hiding assets from her. He told her
that scientology would help her with her divorce. Mike was curious about
my position as Executive Director of The Lisa McPherson Trust, Inc. Mike
wanted to know why I was chosen to be ED. He was interested in why I
accepted the position.
"Mike told Suzy that he and his partner are retired Redmond, WA cops. He
gave Suzy a business card supposedly bearing his partner's name:
Associated Investigators International Steve B. Bourdage P.O. Box 653
Auburn, WA 98071 877-787-8345 shoot535@...
"I decided that I wanted to ask some questions myself so I gave Mike a
call. He said that he has a partner named Steve Bourdage. When I told him
that he better hope that he really _is_ a retired Redmond cop because if
he's not the Redmond PD is going to take exception to his posing as one.
Mike denied ever telling anyone that either he or his partner was a
retired cop. Mike would not give me his last name. At one point in the
conversation, Mike asked 'What's your problem?' I explained that my only
problem was that he was willing to harass innocent people and that he was
working for an abusive cult. Mike said that he works for various clients
and that he doesn't take a personal point of view about them. I told him
that a whore rarely cares about such trifles."
> GermanyHamburger Abendblatt reported on November 24th on the new Hamburg org in
the city center.
"No longer on the edge of downtown on 63 Steindamm, but right in the
middle of it, on 9 Dom Street; that is where the controversial
organization now has its new center. The new building will be opened at 12
noon on Saturday. At around 3,000 square meters with five stories, the
new building is bigger than the old one in which Scientology resided since
1989. The new president, Gisela Hackenjos, has her office up at the top.
On ground level is the chapel, festival hall, book shop and working
spaces. Those include ethics and auditing rooms, finance offices and a
"The sale was managed allegedly through an attorney's office in
Washington. The sale price was said to have been set at 20 million marks,
which was paid for by the American Scientology center. The appearance of
the Americans as buyers emphasizes, in the opinion of Reinhard Wagner,
Hamburg Constitutional Security President, 'the high importance which the
Hamburg organization holds in the USA.' 1,000 of the total five to six
thousand Scientologists nationwide live here or in the surrounding areas."
Sueddeutsche Zeitung published an article on November 24th describing the
status of Scientology in Munich.
"Is Scientology a religion or a cut-and-dried business operation? A legal
proceeding between the Scientology Church Germany, Inc, and the Municipal
Planning Office has been reduced to this question in the Munich
Administrative Court. In the foreground, this is about information with
which the Planning Office has denied the self-named church and its members
special permission to 'conduct missionary work' on Leopold Street. What is
actually behind the legal dispute, however, is a feud which has gone on
for years between the Bavarian Interior Ministry and the Scientologists.
"The Interior Ministry does not regard Scientology as a religion in any
case: its position is that the Scientologists are merely hiding behind a
pseudo-religious facade for the purpose of creating a lawless field in
which to carry out its constitutionally hostile activities which range
from dirty to criminal. Scientology counters that no type of danger
emanates from the 'church.' All accusations are said to be only worn-out
phrases from apologetic opponents like the sect commissioners of the major
churches - and the Bavarian Interior Minister is also included.
"The Second Chamber will now hear a number of witnesses in an attempt to
clarify the question of whether the Scientologists may call upon the free
and open use of the public streets so that their 'body routers' may
'perform missionary work,' or whether they are pursuing commercial
activity which requires a business permit."
> Hubbard QuotationsLA Weekly published an article this week on a campaign to have newspapers
and magazines carry quotations from L. Ron Hubbard.
"'Affection could no more spoil a child than the sun could be put out by a
bucket of gasoline.' Don't go looking for this maxim in your Bartlett's
Familiar Quotations - but you just might find it in your local newspaper,
courtesy of Scientology. The IRS-designated religion has been mailing out
this and other pearls from the lips of founder L. Ron Hubbard to newspaper
'Quote of the Week' sections. The Hubbardisms address Morals ('The
criminal accuses others of things which he himself is doing'), Problems
('Any problem, to be a problem, must contain a lie') and, in a masterpiece
of mixed metaphor, Marriage ('Communication is the root of marital success
from which a strong union can grow, and noncommunication is the rock on
which the ship will bash out her keel'). They run above the tagline 'L.
Ron Hubbard, one of the most acclaimed and widely read authors of all
time.' (Hubbard was a science-fiction writer.)
"Hubbard public-relations director Kaye Conley says the quotes have
appeared in 80 publications, including the Orchard News (Nebraska),
Clayton Today (Oklahoma), and the Stratford Star, Iraan News, and Talihina
American (all of Texas). 'I'm not saying they're big, huge papers,' Conley
says. 'They don't have to be to be popular.' Iraan News editor Clara Greer
says her paper (circulation 900) printed 'everything that I got' during
the two-month-old Scientology P.R. campaign. 'One of our customers didn't
appreciate reading them.
"The Hubbard P.R. machine has been busy. An article on the P.R. News Wire
this month spoke of some 'interesting new insights' into the subject of
memory found in the Hubbard bestseller Dianetics: The Modern Science of
Mental Health. 'Never has our society been hit with so much devastation.
We're trying to do something about it,' Conley says. 'We just use the
quotes as filler to fill our little holes,' shrugs newspaper editor
> Lisa McPhersonThe St. Petersburg Times reported on November 24th that Medical Examiner
Joan Wood will re-examine some of the evidence in the death of Lisa
"Lawyers for the Church of Scientology have given Wood new evidence that,
they say, casts doubt on Wood's original opinion: that McPherson was
severely dehydrated when she died while in the care of Scientology
staffers. Scientology's evidence includes sworn statements from
laboratory employees involved in the original testing of McPherson's eye
fluid, a clear, jelly-like substance used by medical examiners to assess a
body's condition at death. It includes other scientific information that,
according to the church, shows McPherson's death had nothing to do with
"Wood said she will review the materials and also has agreed to join a
church-hired toxicologist in testing a second sample of McPherson's eye
fluid -- about one-fifth of a teaspoon -- which has been stored by Wood's
office since the autopsy. That test could take place as early as next
week at a lab near Philadelphia. An expert from Wood's staff will witness
the test along with Dr. Frederic Rieders, a toxicologist who was a defense
witness in another case where key scientific evidence was challenged --
the O.J. Simpson prosecution.
"One of Scientology's lawyers, Lee Fugate, said if Wood were to alter her
original conclusions, 'that may change the entire playing field.' Wood
originally listed the manner of McPherson's death as 'undetermined.' Wood
said it is possible her review could lead to a finding of accidental
"The review is mandated in Wood's policy manual, which says the medical
examiner will 'readdress key issues' in a case if 'credible new evidence
is presented, regardless of its source.' Church lawyers also argue the eye
fluid samples were handled improperly, that the tests were conducted
incorrectly and the results contradict other findings in the autopsy."
> CelebritiesThe (London) Times published an article this week on a Scientology
celebrity event to be held in Los Angeles on New Year's Eve.
"The Scientologists are planning an enormous end of year bash for some
20,000 followers, drawn to LA by the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard - and the
possibility of rubbing shoulders with John Travolta, Tom Cruise and the
rest of the celebrity tribe who have been drawn to this secretive and
controversial religious organisation. The partying will begin on December
28 and go on for three days, with the happy pilgrims attending a series of
seminars. The organisers are still trying to secure suitable venues, and
their travel agents are making block hotel bookings.
"[A] spokeswoman could not confirm whether celebrities would definitely
attend - but she didn't rule it out either. But what she could promise was
that there would be well-known faces performing in the Christmas play.
Next week, Kirstie Alley (of Cheers fame), and another television comedy
star, Jenna Elfman, will be among those performing skits in what is billed
as 'a 1930s-style radio show'. Profits from the show go to The Police
Activities League, a youth development programme."
> SwedenDagens Nyheter reported on November 22nd that the secret NOTS materials
will be protected from public viewing.
"The legislative council has accepted the change in The Official Secrets
Act that was proposed by the government. However, this is to be viewed as
a temporary measure, and in the long-term view a simple change should be
made in The Freedom of the Press Act. Ever since the 'Scientology bible'
was handed in to Swedish authorities a couple of years ago, it has caused
trouble. Due to the Swedish Principle of Public Access to Official
Records, it became a public document as soon as it had been registered
with these authorities, and anyone could read it for free.
"This led to protests from the United States, who considers this a breach
of copyright law. The 'Scientology bible' has never before been made
public to persons outside of the Church of Scientology. The legislative
council does not, however, consider the change in the Official Secrets Act
proposed by the government to be the best road to take in this matter.
Instead, the paragraph that defines exceptions to the Freedom of Press Act
should be extended to include copyright protected works handed in to
public authorities without the consent of the copyright holder. But the
Freedom of Press Act is part of the Constitution, and changes to the
Constitution takes time to accomplish. Because of this situation, the
legislative council accepts the proposed changes as a temporary measure."
> John TravoltaThe Washington Post published an analysis of the book Battlefield Earth on
November 28th. The movie version of the L. Ron Hubbard book is being made
by Scientology celebrity John Travolta.
"So is 'Battlefield Earth' a recruiting film for Scientology? Nonsense,
Travolta says. The movie, he keeps telling reporters, has absolutely,
positively no connection to Scientology. Since 1975 he has been a devotee
of Scientology, an 'applied religious philosophy' that claims millions of
adherents. He credits Hubbard, the late science-fiction author, for all
his worldly and spiritual successes. Travolta calls 'Battlefield Earth'
one of the most popular books published in this century. 'The truth of why
I'm doing it is because it's a great piece of science fiction,' Travolta
has said. 'This is not about him [Hubbard]. This has nothing to do with
"Church counseling relies on a battery-powered contraption called an
'E-meter'-- a lie detector-type device invented by Hubbard that supposedly
helps members locate sources of mental and spiritual distress. Scientology
says its therapies can make people smarter, healthier, more successful.
In France this month Scientology staff members were convicted of fraud. A
German court ruled that Scientology used 'inhuman and totalitarian
practices.' A California appeals court branded its treatment of one member
'manifestly outrageous.' (His award of $2.5 million for 'serious emotional
injury' was twice upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, but he has never been
able to collect.) Church policy letters show that Scientology wants to
eradicate psychiatry and psychology, as well as gain control, or the
allegiance, of 'key political figures' and the proprietors of 'all news
media.' Its avowed goal is to 'Clear the Planet'--that is, to turn
everyone into a Scientologist who has achieved the level of 'Clear'
through Hubbard's books, drills and E-meter.
"For those who pay enough to achieve its top levels (as Travolta has),
Scientology offers a secret cosmology centered on intergalactic travel,
space battles and encounters with aliens. Traditional faiths may embrace
visions of Heaven and Hell, redeemers and miracles, but Hubbard says all
those were merely 'implanted' in humans by extraterrestrials eons ago.
Hubbard taught that the psychiatric establishment was not just a
present-day evil, but a timeless one. In a distant galaxy, alien 'psychs'
devised implants that would ultimately wreck the spiritual progress of
human beings, he said. The psychs and their 'blackened souls,' he
preached, were to blame for all crime, violence and sin. 'They destroyed
every great civilization to date and are hard at work on this one.' In
'Battlefield Earth,' Hubbard writes that the ruthless Psychlo race was the
tool of a medical cult that implanted metallic capsules in Psychlo babies'
skulls so they grow up to become sadists. He writes that these 'mental
doctors'--called 'catrists'--made up the 'real, hidden government.'
Psychlo ... catrist? It doesn't take a degree in semiotics to make the
"In 1977, he penned a screenplay titled 'Revolt in the Stars,' featuring
an intergalactic overlord named Xenu and his psychiatric advisers, Stug
and Sty. They carry out a holocaust by rounding up 'unwanted' beings from
every planet and transporting them to Earth, where they are put in
volcanoes and slaughtered with atomic bombs. The plot of 'Revolt' mirrors
a sacred Scientology text called 'OT III'. It is revealed to
Scientologists only after they pay tens of thousands of dollars and
undergo many hours of intensive 'processing' to prepare them for the Xenu
message. 'Revolt' was shopped around Hollywood in late 1979 but never
made it to the screen.
"Travolta has taken special courses to help him detect enemies. 'I don't
think anyone should be tolerant of suppressive acts,' Travolta said in a
1990 interview with the church's Celebrity magazine. 'I no longer doubt
when I am in the presence of suppression. And I am very unreasonable about
it.' In Scientology writings, a suppressive person deserves no mercy. He
may be 'deprived of property or injured by any means by any
Scientologist,' according to a 1967 Hubbard policy letter. 'May be
tricked, sued, or lied to or destroyed.'
"When Hubbard's swashbuckling epic was published in 1982, Scientologists
immediately saw parallels to the life of its author. Some figured Hubbard
had based its fair-haired hero, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler on himself. 'This
was Hubbard building his own mythology,' says Gerry Armstrong, a former
Hubbard aide who lost faith in the founder in 1981 and left after a dozen
years on staff. 'Hubbard had developed his own hagiography.' In
'Battlefield Earth'--the book and the movie--Tyler takes on the head of
the Psychlo security force, Terl, who lords over a mining operation on
Earth. Terl rounds up humans and feeds them a diet of raw rats. He is
obsessed with spying, blackmailing and manufacturing evidence to be used
against his enemies. (Some who had known Hubbard and personally felt his
wrath detected traits of Hubbard in Terl, too.)
"Soon after the book came out, Hubbard autographed a copy for Travolta,
says former Scientology public relations official Robert Vaughn Young. 'I
delivered it into his hands,' Young recalls. Disaffected former
Scientologists say the movie will serve to boost the church's membership
and reinforce Hubbard's anti-psychiatry message. But Young detects a more
subtle strategy. 'In one sense, John Travolta is right--this is not a
book about Scientology,' he says. 'But it's a way for people to discover
Scientology. It's a lead-in.'"