2-SPOTLIGHT January 6, 1997
YET ANOTHER HOLOCAUST? Germany has created a government office to coordinate its fight against the expansion of the Church of Scientology. Bonn contends Scientology is largely a money-making organization that seeks world domination. The International Association of Scientologists has funded a massive international public relations campaign against the German government, promoting tales about "the Holocaust" and likening modern-day Germany to Nazi Germany.
2-SPOTLIGHT February 24, 1997
NOT BANNED, BUT... The Washington Times (which is owned by the Unification Church, a rival to the Church of Scientology) reported on February 9 that "a court in Athens recently ordered a Scientology center to close for offering 'dangerous and harmful' instruction to its members" and that "Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands are investigating the group." In Germany more than 30 German court rulings have held that Scientology is entitled to the same constitutional protections as any other religion, although the Scientologists still say they are being victimized by the German government. Allegations by the Scientologists notwithstanding, the German regime does undoubtedly victimize and jail people who question "facts" about World War II history -even including American citizens who travel to Germany.
12- SPOTLIGHT March 3, 1997
The mainstream media and. Congress' are looking at the Church of Scientology.
EXCLUSIVE TO THE SPOTLIGHT BY THE SPOTLIGHT STAFF
The mainstream media has begun exposing what some call "the dark side" of the Church of Scientology. This development could lead to an investigation of the sealed IRS agreement with Scientology which granted tax-exempt status to the organization, a decision thought to be potentially worth billions of dollars to Scientology's coffers.
The SPOTLIGHT has learned of a meeting between a longtime former Scientology "insider" and a U.S. congressman, who cannot be identified at this time.
The lawmaker expressed a strong interest in attempting to get an investigation into why the IRS granted Scientology tax-exempt status. The former Scientologist has provided documentation on the issue to other receptive lawmakers.
The IRS decision has raised eyebrows across the globe. For example, Michael Zeigler, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry in the German state, of Bavaria, called the 1993 IRS decision to give Scientology tax-exempt status "strange ... Nobody knows how they got to be tax-exempt, and nobody in Washington will tell you."
When science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard founded Scientology in 1950, the church claimed tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code, which disallows commercial enterprises from obtaining the tax privilege. The tax agency determines what entity can be tax-exempt after studying its organizational and operational aspects.
In 1967, the IRS revoked Scientology's previously granted tax-exempt status. The church was found to be mainly a commercial enterprise in the business of selling Hubbard's copyrighted works and patents.
The church's primary income was and still comes from the process of selling personal "auditing." Auditing is a process whereby Scientology members reveal the most intimate details of their lives to church officials in an effort to achieve a "clear" mental state, supposedly freeing the individual to pursue in a positive manner his life's goals and dreams. Scientology also makes money through consulting, health care, drug treatment and the publishing and sales of books.
"In the history of the income tax, there is no other organization which has been involved in more adverse legal battles with the government than the church [of Scientology]," says tax consultant Dan Pilla. "In light of this historical backdrop, the truce seems even more incredible. Not only is the truce hard to imagine, but the manner in which it was achieved is even more suspect."
The mainstream press is standing up to Scientology despite the sympathetic stance the U.S. government has taken in recent years toward the business group.
In the aforementioned decision in
SPOTLIGHT March 9, 1997 -13
1993 that hit U.S. taxpayers right it the wallet, the IRS granted Scientology tax-exempt status after having denied the organization that privilege for 26 years.
In a symbolic gesture, the State Department recently released its annual human rights report accusing Germany of conducting "a campaign of harassment and intimidation" against Scientologists. ' For their own part, German officials freely acknowledge that they have taken actions to curtail the growth of Scientology, contending that the United States does not fully understand the ramifications of Scientology's outreach efforts in Germany.
Of interest to those who have watched Scientology's coalition-building efforts with other influential power blocs, Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-N.Y.), one of the Israel lobby's strongest voices on Capitol Hill, also lent his support to Scientology in denouncing the German government. The press in the United States had, for some years, been reluctant to criticize Scientology because of the latter's notorious penchant for filing lawsuits and the seemingly limitless funds it has to spend on litigation. However, when Time magazine successfully beat back a libel suit filed against it by the Church of Scientology, mainstream scribes began coming out of the closet.
In recent months, numerous media outlets have reported about the police investigation now underway into the mysterious death of 36-year-old Lisa McPherson, a Scientology member who resided in Florida.
The SPOTLIGHT reported on the case in the December 30. Since then, the shocking story has been featured on television's Hard Copy and Extra. Several newsprint dailies in the Sunshine State have reported on the death in depth. The story has recently appeared nationwide.
The Church of Scientology is now suing the medical examiner of Pinellas-Pasco County, Joan Wood, who handled the McPherson case. The suit demands that Wood open her entire confidential file on the case. Wood countered what she called Scientology's "public lies" by sharing sensitive details of the case with the press.
But Scientology has an apparent double standard when it comes to revealing information. It has refused to release any data in its files pertaining to gaining tax-exempt status.
The Chicago Tribune featured a lengthy story, "Germany zeroes in on Scientology" on the front page of its February 16 edition. The Tribune reported that the Scientologists blame the Catholic and Lutheran churches in Germany for its problems.
In the Tribune article, Simone Christoffel from Hamburg, Germany told of how her family was bankrupted emotionally and financially after her husband signed over more than $730,000 in assets to Scientology.
"I was at the point I didn't want to live anymore," she said. "We couldn't eat, we couldn't pay the rent. I decided I was responsible for the children and I wasn't going to ruin my life."
Scientology has had run-ins with the law in Spain and Italy. In France, a former Scientology head was sentenced to 18 months in jail for connection to manslaughter and fraud in a case stemming from a follower's suicide. Eleven Scientology member were imprisoned in the early 1980s for attempting to block investigations of Scientology.
German government officials have portrayed Scientology as a global business, an enterprise dependent on the money it extracts from members through manipulation and coercion, resulting often in psychological and physical dependency, financial devastation and even death. "Scientology is a commercial organization but, more than this, it is an organization on the edge of organized crime," Bavarian Interior Ministry spokesman Zeigler said. "It is a very brutal and aggressive organization in getting money."
SPOTLIGHT March 31, 1997 -13
It's too bad that Bible-believing Christians don't have the clout with the State
Department that the Scientologists have.
BY THE SPOTLIGHT STAFF
According to United States law, America doesn't do business with countries that use slave labor to produce goods for export, nor do we grant Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to countries that persecute persons for their religious beliefs. Yet, of course, Red China has MFN, with the blessing of the White House and a majority in the Congress. It is no secret that in Red China, it is very dangerous to be a professing Christian.
Germany identifies Scientology as "A greedy, cult-like organization, built on pseudo-science," in which "membership can lead to psychological and physical dependence, to financial ruin and even to suicide."
Consequently, Germany has been warned by the State Department that it is persecuting a religion for its treatment of Scientologists.
Convicted Watergate felon-turned-evangelist, Charles Colson, commenting on the reaction of the US. government to the two above-mentioned situations had this to say, in part:
Anyone familiar with religious persecution might automatically assume that the administration was seriously taking up the cause of Tibet, or finally riding to the rescue of persecuted Christians in China, Vietnam, East Timor or the Middle East, where thousands of believers have faced harassment, torture and in some cases murder. Such an assumption would be wrong.
The objects of the administration's concern are members of the Church of Scientology. It is Germany's poor treatment of this unusual group that has provoked the administration's ...ire.
This couldn't have anything to do with mutual back-scratching, could it? The
United States runs a massive trade deficit with Red China, and some soft money
comes oozing back into the campaigns of various Democrats, beginning with Bill
WHO IS PERSECUTED?
That would be true if the situation were following a rational pattern. But at Foggy Bottom, the striped pants set has a strange way of deciding who's being persecuted and who isn't.
Last September, both the House and Senate unanimously adopted a non-binding resolution which said, in part, that "Christians in China are now experiencing the worst persecution since the 1970s" and that in recent months, "eight Chinese Christian leaders were beaten to death by Chinese authorities simply because of their religious activities."
Christian spokesmen say this will only get worse when Hong Kong is handed over to the Reds on July 1, 1997.
That's OK with the U.S. State Department.
Talking about the situation of the Scientologists in Germany, Colson comments: "... these woes in no way compare to the plight of other religious minorities, especially Christians. So why this high level concern?"
He answers his own question: "Because an influential group of the president's supporters have taken up (See PERSECUTION, Page 1B)
SPOTLIGHT March 31, 1997 -15
(Continued From Page 13)
the cause. Those of us with wider persecution concerns would be wise to closely consider their modus operandi -Scientology headquarters mobilized actors John Travolta and Tom Cruise, and the latter's wife, actress Nicole Kidman. Then the group launched an advertising campaign, featuring full-page ads in the form of an "open letter" to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl that drew analogies to Nazi-era Germany. Also signing the "open letter" were Goldie Hawn, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Stone and Larry King.
(Parenthetically, Holocaust promoters took exception to the Scientologists' attempting to grab a piece of the "holocaust" victimization pie with the reference, possibly alienating one, of the cult's previous allies.) While Colson hopes, in print, that the administration broadens its approach to religious persecution, it isn't likely to happen, particularly when it's the Red Chinese government that has the money Clinton wants and not the Christians.
And, Western Christian groups seem unwilling to advance the cause of their co-religionists. According to Linda Chavez, a nationally syndicated columnist and Republican activist, one National Council of Churches official "recently dismissed reports of Christian persecution in China as simply the `overzealousness of local cadres.'"
SPOTLIGHT April 7, 1987 -31
SCIENTOLOGY BETRAYAL Until October 1, 1993, the date the IRS mysteriously granted Scientology its tax exemption, David Miscavige, top boss of Scientology had all his lemmings out there fighting, the IRS tooth and toenail. Some of the faithful, such as Armen Condo, even went to jail for their zeal. Since Scientology got the tax exemption, however, the policy of the "church" has changed and they no longer fight the IRS. This is a gross betrayal of the membership of Scientology and shows how incredibly hypocritical Miscavige and the other Scientology bosses are. It also exposes that they put money far above principal or ideology.
Los Angeles, California
(You have hit a sore point for Scientology defenders.
Readers may recall that this newspaper supported Scientology prior to 1994 because we, too, were taken in by its pose as being opposed to the IRS and the income tax. -Ed.)
4- SPOTLIGHT April 7, 1997
Impeach Clinton? This is the question that members of the Board of Policy of Liberty Lobby are now pondering. [ . . .]
There was a time in the not too distant past that the media cringed and feared
for its life when it came to reporting on the Church of Scientology They feared
libel suits and other harassment from the church and from its membership, as
laid down by procedures mandated by founder L. Ron Hubbard. In a word, the free
press was terrified
Today, however, the tables have been turned. Big media has lost its fear to report on Scientology. Suddenly the issue of the church's tax exemption granted by the IRS on October 1, 1993 is of major concern.
The national media was led by a sensational front-page story in the New York Times (March 9, 1997) which focused on the "mysterious" granting of the tax exemption.
Then, on March 25, the Wall Street Journal. (WSJ) clobbered Scientology. In a major, lengthy (42 column inches editorial, the WSJ echoed the finding of the Times. Both papers quoted enemies of the sect who charge that it is not a religion at all but a clever money making racket
But wait a minute. The SPOTLIGHT in a front-page story of its issue on November 1, 1993, first called national attention to the tax exemption. The SPOTLIGHT story said that Scientology, once a staunch foe of the IRS, had decided to join the mainstream and give up the fight in return for the exemption.
Tax and IRS expert Dan Pilla, in a SPOTLIGHT story of July 8, 1996, reviewed point by point the questionable process by which the IRS granted tax exempt status to Scientology.
The SPOTLIGHT thus maintains its record of often scooping the mainstream media in major stories. What makes the Scientology story important to every taxpayer is that when a multi-million dollar business like Scientology is removed from the tax rolls, everybody else's taxes have to go up. It puts the government and the taxpayers in the role of subsidizing Scientology. And if the exemption was acquired corruptly the conspirators should go to jail.
For decades, newspapers around the country have been intimidated by Scientology, fearing to tell the truth because they did not want to court libel suits, a major weapon of Scientology. Now, the ice has been broken by the Times and the WSJ. We congratulate them for deciding to expose the deal between the IRS and Scientology.
Of course, they still have a long way to go to tell "the rest of the story," as Paul Harvey would say. This is that IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg and Scientology boss David Miscavige seem to have made a deal: Goldberg and his Zionist bosses would give Miscavige and Scientology the tax exemption they craved if Miscavige would take over and wreck the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), which had been researching and publishing historical information greatly damaging to the multi-billion dollar "Holocaust" racket.
On October 1, 1993, both things happened: The IRS granted the exemption and there was a takeover of the IHR involving treacherous Scientologists who were employed by the IHR. (The chances against any two unrelated events taking place on the same day of a given year are 133,27,5 to 1.) The story waits for both the Times and the WSJ.
Remember, your influence counts. Use it!
SPOTLIGHT April 14, 1997 -31
In answer to the question: "Why the special treatment for the Church of Scientology?" I'll bet money its because the business is operated by the same people who took over the government of Russia, conducted the real holocaust in Ukraine in 1931-32, murdering about 6 million Kulaks, because they owned two cows, then purposefully starving to death all the rest of the people; holocausting millions of Germans at the end of the war and have. been holocausting the Arabs ever since.
DICK BOWMAN New Smyrna Beach, Florida
SPOTLIGHT April 14, 1997 -15
What do Liberty Lobby and the Heaven's Gate cult have in common? Both want a
better world. And that's where both part company. Heaven's Gate cult members
sought their better world somewhere in the sky -on a spaceship which they would
board after committing suicide.
Their trip was one of irrationality, pie-in-the-sky, if you will. They followed a leader who claimed to be Jesus and whatever he suggested they did, right down to the kind of clothes they wore, the food they ate, the beverage they drank and the work they did for a living.
By following this leader they claimed they had found joy that was to last them for an eternity. They had no worries.
Cult members believed that by dropping out of society and running from the evils and the problems of the world, they would overcome all those mundane difficulties.
But that is not the way the world and life work.
Liberty Lobby, the nation's premier citizens' lobby in Washington, believes in facing reality. And by facing up to the problems of the world, people working together and acting politically can solve them.
There is no need to follow a self-proclaimed holy man such as Jim Jones, David Koresh or Rev. Sun Myung Moon, all of who claimed or claims to be Jesus reincarnated. Those who join Moon's Unification Church place their lives in his hands. He even selects their choice of marriage partners.
In reality, Moon and his publications, which include the Washington Times, front for the Rockefeller empire and the CIA. This involves big money and a shrewd ability to manipulate people. Moon's stable of hangers-on and pundits includes a galaxy of conservative intellectuals who consider Moon and the Times to be conservative, when in reality it is internationalist, not pro-American.
The Church of Scientology is another cultic organization. Its founder was a science fiction writer, the late L. Ron Hubbard. Members believe that 75 million years ago the galactic dictator Xenu sent the overpopulation of his outerspace realm by spaceship to Teegeeack (earth). These folk were decimated by hydrogen bombs and it is their "thetans," fragments of their personalities, that inhabit our bodies and bring about the evil in the world today.
One of the unique aspects of our Constitution is its guarantee of freedom of religion no matter how far out. The early colonists came to our shores to escape religious persecution. Since then, millions of others have come here to experience religious freedom.
One's religion is something personal and private. Liberty Lobby recognizes that fact. Even Jesus advised man to "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's."
To correct the political, man-made ills of the country requires political action. There is no magic involved. There is no substitute for political action. For over 40 years Liberty Lobby has offered the ways and means to do exactly this.
There is no mystery, no secret to overcome the ills of our country. The key is to organize a pressure group for patriotism, a lobby. Every interest you can name has a lobby working for it on Capitol Hill -banking, communications, education steel, automobiles, labor, etc. But Liberty Lobby is the only registered lobby that represents the consumers, taxpayers and voters the people who have no high-powered plutocratic representation in the halls of Congress.
Those of you readers who are not members of the Board of Policy of Liberty Lobby please review my special invitation to you to join the ranks of tens of thousands of your fellow Americans and do something to reverse America's decline.
All you need to know about Liberty Lobby and the benefits to yourself and your country for joining plus an application form, are in the yellow wrap around The SPOTLIGHT of March 31.
By joining Liberty Lobby you will not be alone in your fight for a better America. You will cease to be frustrated at the seeming helplessness on your part in combating America's enemies.
You will be fighting the good fight realistically and will not have to drop out and follow the call of some self-proclaimed holy man.
You will be persuading Congress to act for America. The wishes of our Founding Fathers for a prosperous nation will be realized by your participation in the process of government. You will say good bye to Mandrake the Magician and hello to sane, rational legislation for the common good. Let me hear from you now.
Remember. Your influence counts. Use It
SPOTLIGHT May 5, 1997 -13
A former Scientologist gives outsiders an insider look at a cult attempting "to
save the planet."
FIRST OF THREE INSTALLMENTS
By REINHOLD SOMMERSTEDT
Scientologists believe that the technical procedures they call 'The Bridge" lead to spiritual freedom. Scientology defines spiritual freedom as "the state of being a healthy, high IQ, self-determined individual." After spending up to hundreds of thousands of dollars and several futile years, many leave in despair.
Anyone who disagrees with or even questions the Church of Scientology (COs) is declared a suppressive person. All Scientologists are required to disconnect from, that is have no communication with such a person.
In 1976, for acting to preserve my own individual rights from being violated by a group of Scientologists, I was declared a suppressive person. I had insisted that the organization adhere to its' own rules of justice and code of honor. The COS would not. I am no longer puzzled by this. Although founder L. Ron Hubbard wanted Scientology to be a church the COS isn't a church at all. Though much abused, the term "church" is legally defined in Black's Law Dictionary as, "the religious society founded and established by Jesus Christ, to receive, preserve and propagate His doctrines and ordinances." Nothing in the theory or practice of Scientology fulfills this definition.
In 1934, a German named Norden Holtz published his book, Scientologie. The concepts and principles in the Holtz book are clearly found in (See COS, Page, 14)
14- SPOTLIGHT May 5, 1997
COS Defector Reveals Cults Inner Secrets (Continued From Page 13)
the seminal work of L. Ron Hubbard who published his Dianetics in 1950. Hubbard later founded Scientology, which is 'held to mean the 'study of knowing' or: 'knowing how to know.' Adherents believe that Scientology alone can enable them to solve spiritual as well as physical problems.
A prolific science-fiction writer, Hubbard apparently took the work of Holtz and developed his own technology. Scientologie, by Holtz, now available in English, contains the same specific language and scales found in Hubbard's work. Violating his own purported ethics, Hubbard declared himself to be the source, failing entirely to acknowledge Holtz.
No one argues that Dianetics and Scientology provide no benefit. Many have indeed been helped. Yet many also seek relief from the horrendous problems that arise from the elitist power structure of the Scientology machine. Thousands of students and staff members have encountered harassment, costly lawsuits and even hate campaigns when they seek recourse. Coerced to work long hours and suffer deprivations, they labor in the mistaken hope that the bridge to spiritual freedom will save" the planet.
Those unable to break the chains of bondage become vassals for an elite power machine that will attack :and, pursue any opposition to the ends of the earth. The purported aim: of Scientology is to save the planet.
I spent two years (1974-76) working as Director of Planning and Design for the Delphian Foundation, a Scientologists' project, in Sheridan, Oregon. The staff were all die-hard and dedicated workers Even when maltreated, they strove on. Most of these were cast aside when The Sea Organization (the most elite part of the machine) took control. I was summarily dismissed without cause. When I asked about compensation I was to receive for my services I was told, "The privilege of working here." Church President, Heber Jentzsch, also president of the International Association of Scientologists, assisted me when I appealed to the then-highest authority, World Wide Justice and Ethics Director, Jane Kember. She (rightly) declared that I was a member of the cult of the individual. Allowed no recourse, I then got wisdom. Declared a suppressive person, I was set free. Since then, knowing how to know has been much better.
No Scientologist is allowed to enjoy a private association. During personal counseling Scientologists are compelled to divulge all personal relations in intimate detail.
If any associate is antagonistic toward COS, Scientologists must disconnect from that person. Recently, Steve, the owner of a successful business in Costa Mesa, California, sought, my services for asset protection.
After in-depth consultations, he and his associates wanted to undertake the program that I offered. When asked, I disclosed that I was formerly associated with Scientology,
Though I had said nothing derogatory he asked if I had been declared a suppressive person. I said yes. He informed me that he could not do business with me unless I rejoined the group. At his request, I contacted his Scientology Ethics Officer. She did not reply to my letter and ordered Steve to disconnect; which he did.
The order to disconnect is a fearsome weapon. COS orders members to quit their jobs or even sever their family ties to kill any influence that questions COS doctrine or policies.
The official aim of Scientology is to rule the world by indoctrinating masses of individuals with their anti-Christian, humanistic beliefs and by
(See INSIDER'S, Page 19)
SPOTLIGHT May 5, 1997 -19
(Continued From Page 14) compelling adherents to comply with COS regulations. Opposition is to be overcome by simple exclusion from social intercourse.
RON HUBBARD RULES
Anyone who reveals the big secret that L. Ron Hubbard is revered as a deity is declared a suppressive person. Containment and control is so intense that no one in the organization can ever overcome it. Individualists must leave.
The conflict can be so great that individuals, especially staff, disintegrate. Scientologists call this a psychotic break. The broken individual is considered so dangerous to the group that they are locked down with a suicide ,watch, called baby watch. Auditing' (a form of personal counseling), is done following the principle: "What turns it on, turns it off." Newspapers in Florida have published detailed reports concerning the case of 36-year-old Lisa McPherson who, showed up in a Clearwater, Florida hospital dead after such treatment.
Miss McPherson is someone whom I recall worked diligently to help individuals. I am sure she worked extremely long hours for years without reward. Unable to endure any longer, she wished to return to her family. The organization couldn't let her go free. Miss McPherson's knowledge would be too valuable to critics.
Believing the stated ideals and principles of Scientology, good people study hard and strive to be good neighbors. Their aim is to save the planet. Somewhere along that course The Bridge becomes a trap. Their own good will becomes the tool of a tyrant and they live in bondage.
Mr. Sommerstedt, a former Scientologist, is the manager of Independent Trust Consultants, of Irvine, California and the founder of the Christian Institute for Ethics and Justice. While a member of the COS he qualified as an auditor and served as public relations officer in Scientology's Celebrity Center in Hollywood. His opinions are based on his own personal experience and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policy of The SPOTLIGHT.
18- SPOTLIGHT May 12, 1997
In his book Hymn of Asia, L. Ron Hubbard declared himself to be the successor to
Buddha. Next, the COS launched a planetary public relations effort. If Buddha is
God, than L. Ron Hubbard is God.
SECOND OF THREE INSTALLMENTS BY REINHOLD SOMMERSTEDT From the beginning, L. Ron Hub bard set up his Sea Organization aboard a ship in order to be ready to leave port at a moment's notice to avoid the police. By the mid-70s the Church of Scientology (COS) had begun to realize a certain success. It then established Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida. From there a powerful elite controlled the Scientology organizations found in each major city. Rigidly controlled, the independent missions fed business into the central Org and ultimately on to Flag for the most expensive services.
I visited Flag Land Base in 1976. I distinctly recall the long conversations that I had with Quentin Hubbard, the son of L. Ron Hubbard. This bright young man was the darling of Scientologists, primarily because -unlike his father- he was accessible. One could really talk with Quentin, while L. Ron Hubbard never appeared anywhere. Quentin and two or three others were the only people I ever met who had actually spoken with L. Ron Hubbard, the commodore. He was always mysterious, and is viewed by advanced Scientologists as a secret deity.
I liked Quentin and thought him to be a great potential leader who would not live the elitist life of his father and his father's snobby and ruthless staff. In fact, Quentin was outspoken, in this regard.
Quentin was homosexual. Scientology teaches tolerance. For this reason, homosexuals abound in the COS. His status, combined with the usual envy conflicts associated with homosexuals, resulted in Quentin becoming a large embarrassment to his father.
A highly placed auditor (personal counselor), Quentin knew the technology thoroughly. He once told his cramming (quality control) officer, "A lot of my dad's stuff doesn't work."
This position taken by such a revered technical expert caused enormous fear among those who controlled the machinery. Soon after, Quentin's homosexual partner was found dead.
That same year Quentin was found near death in his rented automobile outside Las Vegas. A hose reached from the tail-pipe to the window. There were no footprints in the dirt outside.
Recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning, he lay comatose for several days in a Las Vegas hospital. A woman who had reason to be in his hospital room reported that she saw an unexplained needle mark in Quentin's neck the night he died.
The police called it a "mysterious suicide." It is my conclusion that Quentin, as the heir apparent, would have ruined the plans of the elitist commodore's staff. Perhaps, even the plans of L. Ron Hubbard himself.
Typically, Hubbard rejected any police investigation. Then arose the meanest and most ruthless senior staff member of the Sea Organization, David Miscavige. He is now the current commodore, the top boss of Scientology.
After Quentin's suicide, the organization descended into turmoil. L. Ron Hubbard later died, recluse, surrounded by a sea of intrigue. Shortly thereafter, all independent missions were taken over by the Sea Organization (Flag) Senior Staff.
Not even the daring assembly of the Independent Mission Holders at Flag Land Base could overcome this forceful coup. Any hope of independence disappeared as a result of the ensuing tidal wave of scandalous declarations that blacklisted all dissenters. I was one.
I have held little interest in the organization since 1976. But now it has become evident that tyrants thrive on neglect. Far too many people have continued to suffer the consequences of these Scientologists who aspire to rule the planet. I feel violated by the private prohibition of a Scientologist to do business with me.
Compelling members to disconnect is the master stroke of controlling the opposition. This device makes all who are not a member of the group the enemy. Ultimately, everyone must be a compliant Scientologist or they cannot do business or have families.
Mr. Sommerstedt, a former Scientologist, is the manager of Independent Trust Consultants, of Irvine, California and the founder of the Christian Institute for Ethics. and Justice. While a member of the COS he qualified as an auditor and served as public relations officer in Scientology's Celebrity Center in Hollywood. His opinions are based on his own personal experience and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policy of The SPOTLIGHT.
SPOTLIGHT May 12 1997 -19
Only Scientology can save the planet. Anything else is opposition. Within the
organization, each person must comply with given policies. If he does not, he is
not allowed to have any benefit of the group. He must recant. The ethics officer
takes charge of this process. A specific program must be followed.
The internal extreme is the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF). There is always a supply of individuals who need correcting. There are two types of RPF internees. Both comprise those who won't run away and those who must be confined. This creates a very profitable (slave) labor pool.
The entire staff works under these conditions. They don't leave because they believe that The Bridge will lead them to spiritual freedom and The Bridge is available only to those who support the COS. Hubbard advises that, based on his Scale of Survival Dynamics, one determines his actions for survival by this axiom: "the greatest good for the greatest number [of Dynamics]." This is the COS equivalent to the Marxist, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
TAKEOVER OF IHR
Every aspect of the takeover of the Institute for Historical Review (IHR) and the related attacks against Liberty Lobby and The SPOTLIGHT resonates with the type of people, the methods and the hidden power within the COS. Remember, the sought after result is controlled opposition.
Members of COS and others destroyed the IHR but have failed to destroy the truth. Willis Carlo has triumphed anew with his publication of the instantly successful magazine, THE BARNES REVIEW. Truth-seeking individuals now rally in support of Liberty Lobby and The SPOTLIGHT. I closely observed the operatives of the turncoat staff. Tom Marcellus acted in a manner consistent with COS elitist power policies. He had a keeper. Greg Raven could not hide his lying eyes when he told me, he was not a Scientologist. Mark Weber is apparently the front for an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) component.
This operation is clearly run by attorneys who, with a little help from the IRS, now control the COS economically. These same attorneys represent the ADL, Russia and the American Communist Party. This writer believes Miscavige is a puppet of the lawyers who rule the copyrights of the so-called Scriptures of the Church.
Number 28 . . May 2,1997
IHR UPDATE is a temporary and irregular feature for SPOTLIGHT readers interested in facts surrounding the on-going controversy resulting from the bizarre takeover of the Institute for Historical Review.
Two or three days after the March 22, 1995 raid by the Costa Mesa Police and the San Diego Sheriff on the west coast headquarters of The SPOTLIGHT, Mark Weber wrote a note to a friend. It said,
Here's a copy of the news release we're sending out today. Also, in case you haven't seen them, are two items we're distributing about the Carto affair.
The, "Larry" was Costa Mesa cop Larry Rooker, the Archie Bunker
(Carroll O'Connor) look-alike who made the sad mistake of believing the lies of
Mark Weber and his equally infamous, associates and had impetuously led the
raid. (All this has been well-documented by numerous stories in The SPOTLIGHT
beginning with. the issue datelined April 10,1995.)
As soon as Rooker returned to his office on March 22 he called friend Weber and told him all about it. Weber then began calling around the country and even to Europe, breathlessly relating the details. He specified the number of cartons of records removed, the number of officers and SWAT Team, personnel and even that a helicopter was swirling above, documenting the raid with film.
If a caller asked if he (Weber) had had anything to do with it, or knew about it in advance, Weber would piously deny it. "absolutely not," he protested.
Of course, Weber lied. He and his two Scientology confederates, Tom Marcellus and Greg Raven, had not only approached Rooker and suggested the raid. but had actually given sworn affidavits to induce it.
On April 12, the victims of the raid sued Costa Mesa and the San Diego' sheriff for damages. It was obvious to Rooker's superiors that he had badly blundered and made the city of Costa Mesa -in the bankrupt county of Orange- liable for millions of dollars. The cost of the raid to taxpayers was about $400,000. The gullible and foolish Rocker was fired on April 18.
The firing of Rooker stirred our anti-hero to action again and on April 24 Weber called Tom Lazar, Rooker's superior. After the call, Weber wrote Lazar as follows:
Dear Captain Lazar:
Thank you for returning my phone call earlier today.
I was gratified by your assurance that Larry Rooker's departure would not impair your department's investigation of Willis Carto and Henry Fischer, and that Rooker would not have acted as he did if your department did not agree that this is an important case.
As I mentioned, Carto has brought a lawsuit against the Costa Mesa police department, the City of Costa Mess, me and two colleagues, among others, because of the March 22 police search of the Carto and Fischer residences. We understand that this lawsuit, No. 746694, was fled in Orange County Superior Court on the 12th.
We are eager to continue to cooperate with your department, in any way we can, in this investigation.
As was reported on page 1 of the April 21 issue of The SPOTLIGHT, all the property seized by Rooker and his approximately 30 raiders on March 22, 1995 was returned on April 3, 1997. The Costa Mesa Police Department thus tacitly admitted that the "criminal investigation" was merely a pretext for the raid and the raid itself was the crime.
SPOTLIGHT December 8, 1997 -13
Did a third party go to bat to, pressure the IRS into granting a cult a blanket exemption for profits from its far-flung business enterprises?
EXCLUSIVE TO THE SPOTLIGHT BY JAMES E TUCKER JR.
A federal judge is sitting on information about a secret deal the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) made with the Church of Scientology granting the global political body tax exemption as a "church."
More than a year ago, Washington lawyer William Lehrfeld brought a court action to force the IRS to disclose information about its secret decision to grant the Scientologists the valuable tax exemption (SPOTLIGHT, Dec. 2.1996).
The judge ordered the IRS to give him the documents so he could decide if they should be made public. More than a year later, he is still deciding. "There has been none-zero," said Lehrfeld when asked if there has been any action by the judge. "It is unusual. It is not a complicated case. It is straightforward, and there are no factual issues involved."
The issue is= whether the IRS should follow the law and explain how it reached the interesting conclusion, after three decades of fighting, that the far-flung Scientologists are a "church" and entitled to the tax exemption.
"Federal judges do what they want to, when they want to, or not do anything," Lehrfeld said.
If the court takes no action after another year has elapsed, Lehrfeld said, he will consider prodding the judge.
But don't expect to learn the dark secrets anytime soon.
If the judge ruled in favor of disclosure this minute, the IRS could delay action for years during appeals up to the Supreme Court. The IRS has a long history of such appeals, since it uses taxpayers' lawyers while a plaintiff spends himself poor or dies during the process.
Why is the IRS stonewalling? What is the secret to the "deal" that David Miscavige-the boss of Scientology -made with the IRS?
1O- SPOTLIGHT July 14, 1997
Elvis isn't alive -but he is speaking from the grave. One of the nation's most
popular supermarket tabloids has taken off after the Church of Scientology.
EXCLUSIVE TO THE SPOTLIGHT. BY AARON LEIDER
On June 24 the Church of Scientology took a public relations hit right between the eyes. The Star tabloid magazine, which reaches some 2.2 million weekly readers, published a sensational front-page feature story slamming Scientology. The story alleges the controversial church is responsible for the health and emotional problems of one of its church members, Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of the late singing star Elvis Presley, an American music icon.
Billing the report as a "shocking Star investigation of her bizarre secret world," the tabloid sent a very frank message to millions of Elvis Presley fans across the country: "The Church of Scientology is bad news."
The Star's devastating cover article about the controversial group is the strongest attack the church has suffered since Time magazine's lengthy and well-documented cover story of May 6, 1991, "Scientology, the Cult of Greed." Scientology filed a huge libel suit against Time for that -and lost.
Loss of the suit was a watershed defeat for Scientology because founder L. Ron Hubbard had instructed church bosses that all critics should be hit with libel suits, not necessarily because they would win but because of the harassment. This would cause the press to be very respectful, he said.
Richard Behar, who wrote the Time story, has now filed suit against Scientology.
Time's victory in the suit has been noted by all media and may have played a role in the decision of the Star's managers to go ahead with the investigation and bombshell story.
Add to this the fact that the Star exposé of Scientology touches on one of the most popular American performers of all time-whose" life and times continue to be of fascination to grassroots fans of all ages.
Clearly, the Church of Scientology is in for some rough sailing ahead. The Star exposé will probably have more impact on the future of the church than anything published about the church thus far.
ELVIS HATED SCIENTOLOGY
The Star's expose featured a headline declaring: "Elvis Blasts Scientology" and quoted the popular singer as having said "That s.o.b. group -all they want is my money." The Star described Presley as "one of the most vocal critics of the group" before his death in 1977. The Star-quoting Lamar Fike, a close associate of Elvis Presley- said Scientologists made strenuous efforts to court Presley but were ignominiously rejected by the superstar performer.
"The hell with those people," Fike says he remembers Presley saying. There was "no way" Presley said he would ever become involved with the group. Fike says Presley "stayed. away from Scientology like it wad a cobra" and that he would be horrified "if he knew how far Lisa's gotten into it."
Although Presley suffered health problems exacerbated by drug abuse, The King, as Presley was dubbed by his fans, was known for his devotion to his family-particularly his wife Priscilla and their only child, Lisa Marie.
After her husband's death, Mrs. Presley, an actress, was recruited into Scientology and brought Elvis's little daughter into the group. Now, 20 years after the death of her father, young Miss Presley has become totally captured by Scientology to the point that longtime friends and family have become concerned. The 29-year-old, according to the Star, was recently hospitalized near her home in Clearwater, Florida (a major base of operations for Scientology's global corporate empire) where she moved in order to be close to the church The Star says that Lisa Marie was hospitalized with stomach, liver and bronchial infections after undergoing a Scientology process known as "cleansing."
The Star says that friends fear that the "cleansing" could put Miss Presley's health at risk and charges that "she is under constant observation from church members who virtually never leave her alone."
The Star reports that "observers say Lisa Marie is regularly whisked to nearby church buildings in a blue Chevrolet van. Anyone who gets too close is surrounded by uniformed Scientology security guards and pressured to move on."
To make matters worse for Scientology, the Star drew parallels between the case of Lisa Marie Presley and another Lisa -Lisa McPherson- who died in Clearwater, Florida under mysterious circumstances (See The SPOTLIGHT, Dec. 30, 1996) and whose family is now suing the church.
The death of Miss McPherson has been a major cause célèbre in Clearwater and has put the Church of Scientology off balance, involving it in a very public dispute with officials and law enforcement authorities who have pulled no punches in suggesting that Scientology's mistreatment of Miss Mcpherson resulted in her death.
McPherson's family and others say that she was preparing to pull out of the church but that Scientologists would not let her. The Star says that through a church process called "introspection rundown" (essentially isolating a person) Miss McPherson's health was endangered, resulting in her death. The Star says that arrests of Scientologists may soon be forthcoming in this case.
Now, in the wake of the McPherson affair, the family of Lisa Marie Presley is growing increasingly concerned, particularly because of parallel health questions involved.
Miss Presley's friends and family see her as a potential target of Scientology, says the Star, because on her upcoming 30th birthday on February 1, she will come into her father's $100 million fortune which has been held in trust.
The Star says that friends and family fear that she will be "pressured" into giving the money to Scientology.
14- SPOTLIGHT January 19, 1998
People die every day, but Florida authorities may take a closer look the next
time a Scientologist is found dead.
By THE SPOTLIGHT STAFF
As the death toll of former Church of Scientology members grows, Florida officials are searching for a link between eight deaths spanning 17 years.
By themselves, officials thought nothing of a handful of people dying. After Lisa McPherson's death put the spotlight on the Church of Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida, probers have began looking for a connection previously overlooked.
According to a former Scientologist who is now on a mission to expose the group's nefarious activities, "church" members will stoop to any level -even murder- to advance their cause.
"Once you accept the circular world of Hubbardism cosmology, then any act is justified," Arnie Lerma told The SPOTLIGHT. Lerma sponsors a web-site, www.lermanet.com devoted to uncovering Scientology.
"Scientology, by its demonic demeanor, has exploited every device it could to accomplish its aims," he added.
Lerma said he was attracted to it as a youth looking to create a better world. Instead, Lerma says he found an organization top heavy with hucksters looking to make a buck.
Scientology is the only "religion" without a divine guide. "The Church of Scientology only answers to a dead, bad science fiction writer" Lerma added.
Miss McPherson was an apparently healthy young woman who was taken to Morton Plant Hospital after she behaved erratically after a minor traffic accident. Scientologists reportedly followed her to the hospital and told doctors Miss McPhersons religion prohibited psychiatry and took custody of her on November 18, 1995.
Seventeen days later her body was wheeled into the New Port Richey hospital by Scientologists. Miss McPherson was dead. (See SPOTLIGHT Dec. 20, 1996 and others.)
Church officials have claimed Miss McPherson became ill at the Fort Harrison, walked to a van and died as the van pulled into the hospital parking lot. The van would have driven past other hospitals looking for one with a Scientologist on staff in the emergency room.
Mike Rinder, a top church official in Germany, told German television the woman "died in a hotel room.". The McPherson family has sued the church, claiming it was responsible for Miss McPherson's death. The trial is ongoing. Evidence made public during the trial has given the public a look into some Scientology practices. It has also raised questions among investigators.
One' medical examiner, Dr. Joan Wood, claimed Miss McPherson died of a blood clot in her left lung, brought on by excessive bed rest and severe dehydration.
According to the St. Petersburg Times, the church sued Dr. Wood, assembled its own team of medical experts and threatened legal action against news outlets covering the case.
It's an old tactic. Founder L. Ron Hubbard told followers that perceived enemies are "fair game" and subject to being 'tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed,'" Time magazine said in a cover story May 6, 1991. The magazine was sued for libel, but won a drawn out case. The author of the story, Richard Behar, is currently counter-suing the church.
Those who criticize the church often find themselves engulfed in litigation, stalked by private eyes, framed for fictional crimes, beaten up or threatened with death," Behar wrote.
Hubbard used lawyers to strike fear in the hearts of would be critics. "Beware of attorneys who tell you not to sue," he wrote. "The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win."
Florida officials are considering criminal charges against the church. In addition, the national press is on the offensive against the church. For example, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times published front page stories on the IRS's agreement with Scientology to grant it, after a 40 year battle, tax exempt status in late December. Four years after The SPOTLIGHT exposed a secret deal between the Internal Revenue Service and the Church of Scientology (Nov. 1, 1993), the issue has been forced into the mainstream press.
Then in late December, someone at the IRS leaked a secret agreement between the IRS and church. By the end of the year stories had appeared in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. Lerma has the agreement posted on his web site.
The turning point for the orthodox media in America seemed to be Time's 1994 victory against a libel suit brought by Scientologists. After Miss McPherson's death, the press wanted to take a closer, critical look at the church.
Lerma says this is a sign the press is no longer afraid of church lawyers. "There is a perception from the media that the public hates Scientology," he said That has fueled the negative coverage, he said.
The church owns a large chunk of downtown Clearwater. It operates 21 properties valued at nearly $30 million. Church officials have earmarked a city block for a new 340,000-squarefoot office building it has planned.
Scientologists also want to build an 800-space parking garage and a six-story auditorium.
Because the Church of Scientology is the largest landowner in Clearwater; the Times devotes a great deal of energy reporting news about the church.
An investigation by the newspaper earlier this year noted seven other Scientologists who died suddenly after coming to Clearwater for training or counseling.
All of the victims appeared healthy when they arrived in Florida, according to the newspaper. In four of those deaths, "relatives or law enforcement
SPOTLIGHT January 19, 1998 -15
officials suspect that the church's health regimen or its opposition to psychiatric care precluded appropriate medical care," the Times says.
For example, Margarit Winkelmann walked fully clothed into Tampa Bay on January 11, 1980. Mrs. Winkelmann, 51, struggled back to the shore, then dove face first back in the water.
Mrs. Winkelmann, a resident of Zurich, Switzerland, was receiving Scientology treatment for a psychiatric problem. The woman was clutching a Scientology pamphlet in her hand when police fished her body out of the water.
Police ruled the death a suicide. In another instance, Josephus Havenith, a Dutch music teacher, visited the Fort Harrison Hotel for two months of "counseling" in February 1980. Havenith's body was found by the maid in a bathtub after other guests reported water running beneath the door of his room at the Fort Harrison Hotel into the hallway. The water was so hot it had scalded the skin off his body. Police were told Havenith, 45, was a man in his "50s or 60s" and was found dead in bed.
This death was also ruled a suicide.
Andreas Ostertag, an official of the Stuttgart mission, was called to Clearwater from Germany. Church officials reportedly had some financial irregularities, suggesting that Ostertag may have been embezzling. On October 31, 1985 Ostertag and a German Scientologist set off on a half-mile swim in Tampa Bay. Ostertag's body was recovered several days later.
A major car accident left Heribert Pfaff, 31, of Munich suffering from severe seizures. He flew to Clearwater hoping the Church of Scientology could help him find a cure.
Scientologists took Pfaff off the medication doctors had prescribed for the man's seizures, according to his brother. On August 28, 1988, Pfaff was found dead in Room 758 of the Fort Harrison Hotel. An autopsy says a seizure probably caused Pfaff's death.
The $100,000 Pfaff brought with him from Germany was missing. The family turned down a request Pfaff made a few days before his death to wire an additional $150,000.
Peter Frei's body -fully clothed- was found floating face down near the shore on June 30, 1988. The Swiss citizen was taking courses at the Church of Scientology.
At first police could not identify Frei, then on July 4, the church reported him missing since June 29.
"Church officials had already cleaned out Frei's room and packed up his possessions by the time police arrived," the Times reported. "But friends told police a valise with his wallet and other valuables was missing."
While Florida officials were trying to identify Frei, his apartment in Switzerland was burglarized and ransacked.
Dr. Wood ruled Frei's death a suicide, but says she is troubled. "What's a fully clothed man doing dead in the water?" she asked. "Clearly this death should be reinvestigated. We still don't know what happened."
Frei's family says he couldn't swim and was afraid of water.
Another Scientologist, Roger Nind, ran into the path of a car traveling 30 mph on October 16, 1992. Nind's wallet, passport and $1,000, in cash were not returned to the family. According to a family member, Nind wanted out of the church.
Carrie Slaughterbeck was a healthy 23-year-old who moved from Indiana to Clearwater in 1996 to work for a prominent Scientologist. Miss Slaughterbeck was on a nutritional program popular among Scientologists, according to her sister. The regime includes vitamins and algae capsules. Dr. Wood says Miss Slaughterbeck's death may have been from a mitral valve prolapse.
Scientologists claim there is nothing unusual about the death rate of visitors to their Clearwater, headquarters. A church spokesman told the St. Petersburg Times only critics such as the Clearwater police, church defectors and news media find something suspicious about these cases.
But law enforcement officials say the deaths of Scientologists would have received greater scrutiny given what officials have learned through the McPherson case.
"We would handle things differently today," Clearwater Deputy Police Chief Paul Maser told the Times. "We'd be more cautious and we'd talk to more people and look at the scene in more depth."
Time magazine reported Noah Lottick killed himself in Manhattan after "donating" more than $5,000 to the church. Lottick reportedly jumped from a hotel room clutching $171 -the only money he had not turned over to the church. In March of 1988, a Frenchman, Patrice Vic, also jumped out of a hotel window to his death. Vic had been a Scientologist for six months. Hours before his death, Vic told his wife he needed $6,000 to pay for a church course of "purification."
Jean-Jacques Mazier, the former head of the church in France, was convicted of manslaughter in the case. Fourteen other Scientologists were convicted of related charges ranging from embezzlement. to fraud.
Scientology employs what Time magazine calls "a crude
psychotherapeutic technique [Scientology founder L, Ron Hubbard] called
'auditing.' He also created a simplified lie detector [called an "E-meter"]
that was designed to measure electrical changes in the skin while subjects
discussed intimate details of their past"
As Scientology became more popular, Hubbard (shown left) added more expensive steps for his followers to climb, according to Time. Hubbard's philosophy insists humans are made of "thetans" (clusters of spirits) banished to Earth some 75 million years ago by a galactic ruler named Xenu.
After legal actions resulted in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stripping Scientology's mother church of its tax-exempt status in 1967 and the federal government discounting the church's claim to medical healing, Scientology sought' First Amendment protection as a religion.
After a long battle, the IRS reversed itself in 1993 and granted tax-exempt status to the church in a decision that came as a surprise and shock to Scientology watchers:
16- SPOTLIGHT February 8, 1998
Would church members resort to killing pets to intimidate opponents?
EXCLUSIVE TO THE SPOTLIGHT BY THE SPOTLIGHT STAFF
Critics of the Church of Scientology are beginning to believe that the cult is now adopting animal abuse as one way of harassing its critics. Former Scientologist Arnie Lerma, now one of Scientology's most prominent critics, recently cited several instances which he and others believe can be traced to Scientology.
One woman, Enid Vein, had her cat shot when she became embroiled in a legal battle involving Scientology. Miss Vein was forced to settle after she ran out of money, but Miss Vein has not spoken anything about the animal's death since the settlement of the case.
"I suppose not saying anything about her cat being shot was part of the settlement," Lerma speculates.
Lerma found his own cat with its throat cut, but Lerma was able to nurse the little fellow back to health. This incident took place when Lerma himself was also being sued by Scientology for having exposed its doctrines on the Internet.
The judge in a federal criminal case against Mary Sue Hubbard, the wife of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, found his miniature collie drowned in his pool.
Robert S. Minton, a wealthy businessman who has become a critic of Scientology (even though he is not a former Scientologist himself) found what he called "a dead, but otherwise healthy looking cat" on his doorstep. Minton has been providing financing for lawsuits against Scientology by its critics, in particular in the case of Lisa McPherson who died mysteriously while in the "care" of Scientology.
FIGHT MONEY WITH MONEY
Another former high-ranking Scientologist, Robert Vaughn Young -a former national spokesman for the cult, until he and his wife left in disgust- has suffered harassment by the church.
The Youngs established a popular "foster home" for abused and homeless cats and dogs in the Seattle, Washington area that saved animals from extermination by the city pound. They have adopted out nearly 500 kittens, cats and a few dogs. However, Scientology agents began harassing his animal sanctuary by trying to have it closed down. According to Young, David Lee, a private investigator working for Los Angeles-based investigator Eugene Ingram, who has long been associated with Kendrick Moxon, Scientology's lead in-house attorney, began instigating a letter-writing and telephone campaign to Seattle City offices urging that Young's animal shelter be shut shown. This resulted in an official investigation.
"Scientology knows how important our animal rescue work is to us. They were unable to silence us so now they are seeking to find or manufacture enough threat to the innocent animals hoping we will 'shudder into silence," Young says. "I want the world to know the extremes to which this cult of thugs will go.
"Scientology already has a reputation for harassing [Internet users] as well as the media and others," be added. "Now let Scientology add a new credit to their list of abuses: innocent animals."
For his part, Minton had a surprise in store for the Scientologists. He went to the Seattle area and purchased a new property for the Young's animal shelter.
According to Minton, the Scientologists attempted to interfere with the new location, but Minton said in a posting on the Internet "Let the 'church' of $cientology be put on notice that any time they cause the Youngs' cats to meow, the Internet and animal lovers everywhere will ROAR!"
The Clearwater, Florida community is not the only locale where there is
increasing public awareness of the enigmatic activities of Scientology.
EXCLUSIVE TO THE SPOTLIGHT BY THE SPOTLIGHT STAFF
Critics of Scientology -including especially former members who have left the cult- have begun to step up their public awareness efforts to alert people about Scientology.
In locations as far apart as Mesa, Arizona; Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia; London; Atlanta; Sacramento; Boston and San Francisco, anti-Scientology picketing has put Scientology in the spotlight. Pickets have carried such signs as:
Is Scientology Practicing Medicine Without a License?
CO$ Stole My Friend
Lisa's Blood on Scientology Hands
Scientology Mind Muggers
CO$ Suppresses Free Speech
Scientology Hurts People
Scientology Harasses Critics; and
Hands Off the Internet
The last picket sign refers to efforts by Scientology to censor its critics who
have increasingly begun to use the Internet as a source of communication with
fellow critics worldwide. These critics also alert Internet users to the tactics
As a consequence of its efforts to censor its Internet critics -through harassment, lawsuits, etc- many Internet users who previously showed no interest in Scientology, have become active critics, concerned at what they perceive to be Scientology's efforts to censor freedom of speech. As one Scientology critic, David Gerard, has commented: "If you are having problems with outbreaks of Scientology around your area, consider demonstrating against the local organization. It really works, and they don't like it one little bit. Two or three demonstrators have a lot of presence when they know the entire Internet stands behind them. Go on out there with thirty million of your mates behind you today."
12- SPOTLIGHT March 16, 1998
Reprinted with permission of The Wall Street Journal Copyright 1998.
Dow Jones Company, Inc. All rights reserved
There's no particular reason for the world to worry about a smallish cult that believes invisible 75 million-year-old thetans are floating around our skulls. The search for the meaning of life in the vastness of the universe preoccupies most people at some time or another, though they usually find their way into houses of worship, therapeutic counseling or the local liquor store.
When instead they come calling on the National Security Adviser, it may be time for a reality check. Some of the weirdest conversations of the day concern Sandy Berger's meeting with John Travolta, along with Tom Cruise the chief ornaments of the Scientology movement. Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard, professed to believe the evil galactic overlord Xenu shipped frozen thetans to Teegeack, better known as planet Earth, dropping them down volcanoes and pulverizing, them with hydrogen bombs and setting their souls adrift. By now it seems you can't understand the universe without plumbing thetan influence in the White House, the halls of Congress, and the murky heart of the IRS.
Mr. Travolta brought the cult to our attention again thanks to an article in George magazine describing how the actor and the President of the United States enjoyed an apparently mutually beneficial meeting last spring at a volunteerism conference in Philadelphia. The actor was there to deliver a speech about Scientology's educational materials. What concerned the President, Mr. Travolta suggests, was the big screen filling up with Jack Stanton, the Clintonesque President in "Primary Colors" -the movie Mr. Travolta was just then making, having eaten himself into a properly presidential profile. Its probably unlikely that a film directed by Mike Nichols would ever, treat Stanton/Clinton as anything but a charming rogue and shrewd manipulator. But the prospect of a wide screen valentine became ever more probable as Mr. Clinton took the moment to feel Mr. Travolta's pain. And told him he would try to make it go away.
Who is hurting Mr. Travolta? The German government, that's who. Like the U.S. prior to a 1993 tax settlement mysteriously upgrading the cult to the status of a tax-exempt religion, Germany considers Scientology a business run by extremists and has put the church under surveillance. Assisted by frightened escapees, the Germans make the case that Scientology exploits the weaknesses of its members for profit that at the very least should be taxed. This creates the worst kind of pain for Scientology, which reaps millions from "auditing," cleaning a "preclear" of repressed memories. With millions of years of memories, getting cleared and achieving ever higher levels of purity can be a lengthy and costly experience. It also yields intensely private information that is carefully stored in files.
For some, the process has also been dangerous. Earlier this month, German police searched five Munich locations of the sect after the suspicious death of a cult member. In Clearwater, Florida, a young woman mysteriously died after being held at a Scientology hotel. Maybe Mr. Clinton could send down Janet Reno for an investigative weekend in her old neighborhood.
But back to Mr. Berger, who found Presidential whim expanding for duties to include stilling an actor's pain. Asked by "Meet the Press" about his briefing of Mr. Travolta last September, the National Security Adviser looked like he might eat his tie as he downplayed the meeting as a normal response to reports of religious persecution by the German government. His real goal, he said, was to get an autograph for one of his kids; we note he didn't ask for educational materials.
Mr. Berger is not the only official caught up in Scientology's web. Senator Alfonse D'Amato, about whom no movie we know of is being made, has scolded Germany at a hearing organized by the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. And by the time the House finally defeated a resolution criticizing Germany late last year, a flabbergasted Madeleine Albright had already endured several ludicrous discussions with Germany's equally flabbergasted foreign minister, Klaus Kinkel. A federal immigration judge added to the surreal merriment by granting asylum in November to a preposterous German woman who feared returning home because she is a Scientologist.
But if that is all weird, it is nothing compared with the mysteries surrounding the decision of the IRS to suddenly grant Scientology a tax-exempt status after years of litigation. Our Elizabeth MacDonald reported that in the secret settlement the IRS dropped its position that "auditing" fees were not deductible, a position that had been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. In return it got $12.5 million and a promise that the cult would drop its numerous lawsuits against the IRS and its agents. The IRS says it is investigating the leak.
Meanwhile, Scientology is litigating with everyone else in sight; why not, after having intimidated the biggest gun on the block? The IRS lately announced its desire to turn itself into a friendly agency. How. about an auditing session? Leading off with this question: Is there anyone at the IRS who seriously thinks that the unbelievable sums of money Scientology spends on lawsuits meets the agency's requirement that a charity spend its funds only on charitable purposes?