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News Archive for August, 1998

Swiss say no surveillance of Scientology needed, Monday, August 31, 1998, 06:05 a.m.
Bern, Switzerland (AP)--Switzerland said Monday that, unlike neighboring Germany, it sees no need to place the Church of Scientology under nationwide surveillance by counter-intelligence agents. Scientology shows totalitarian traits and has its own spying network, but there is no basis for police surveillance, a government commission said in its report. However, it said the situation would be reviewed at an unspecified future date. In June 1997, Germany placed Scientology under national scrutiny, citing its alleged anti-democratic aims and its intention to infiltrate government.
Girl claims cult thinking kept her with vampire cult, The Orlando Sentinel, Friday, August 14, 1998
Girls in the vampire cult convicted in the killings of a Eustis couple aren't guilty and shouldn't have to go to prison, the daughter of the slain couple said in an exclusive interview Thursday. Charity Lynn Keesee, 17, was sentenced to 10 1/2 years in prison, and Dana L. Cooper, 21, to 17 1/2 years. Cult leader Rod Ferrell, 18, is on death row. Howard Scott Anderson, 18, is serving a life sentence. Heather, who hasn't talked publicly since her parents were bludgeoned to death in 1996, has been the target of widespread suspicion about what she knew and when -- even though she was cleared by a grand jury. Her participation in vampire rituals, her desire to run away from home and her friendship with the convicted killer of her parents have baffled her friends and alienated her family. Heather said she is surprised now by the bizarre logic. She claims to have been indoctrinated for months into the cult's thinking. "He [Rod] was always talking about how he was the father," she said. "He was your maker," she said. "Charity was the dark mate." Fellow cult members were "siblings.It was like reconstructing your whole family."
Debate format offers narrow view of candidate choice, Orange County Register, Monday, August 17, 1998, 11:29 p.m. PDT
Tuesday night there will be two debates for the office of California governor. The first will be televised at 7 p.m. PDT from Fresno State University between Attorney General Dan Lungren, Republican, and Lieutenant Gov. Gray Davis, Democrat. The second debate will be on the Internet and will include those front-runner candidates plus five third-party candidates, including Harold H. Bloomfield of the Natural Law Party. (The Natural Law Party was founded by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1992. Critics claim it is a front group for the Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and other aspects of his uniquely fundamental brand of Hinduism.) There is a way for voters to get the full range of answers provided by the other candidates for this and the other debates: Point your Internet browser to www.democracynet.org/CA/gen/debate/.
Unification Church business group to conduct day trips, The Korea Herald, Thursday, August 13, 1998
Rev. Moon Sun-myung's Tongil Group has agreed with North Korea to develop Mt. Kumgang, and made it clear that its deal has nothing to do with the Hyundai Group's tourism project. "We have agreed with the North to operate a speed boat for one-day tours to Mt. Kumgang for South Koreans," said Park Bo-hi, a close aide to Rev. Moon, founder of the Unification Church. For the one-day tour to Mt. Kumgang, he said, Tongil plans to operate a boat which can carry 200-400 South Korean tourists at a time between Sokcho in the South and Changjon in the North, probably in Fall. According to news reports, the tourism project had hit a snag as the North demanded a whopping $500 per person entry fee for access to the mountain. The Tongil Group had pushed the tourism project since Rev. Moon, who was born in the North, visited Pyongyang and met North Korean paramount leader Kim Il-sung in December 1991.
Gay Scientologist sues church, Travolta over homosexual 'cure,' The San Diego Union-Tribune, Tuesday, August 11, 1998
John Travolta has been named in a lawsuit that charges the actor helped the Church of Scientology deceive a gay member into believing he could turn straight. Michael Pattinson, a Beverly Hills artist, alleges that the church used Travolta as an example of a homosexual "cured" by the church. Pattinson's 166-page complaint, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, charges that he "reasonably relied upon" Travolta's marriage to fellow Scientologist Kelly Preston as proof that "Scientology processing and courses would 'handle' my own homosexuality." Pattinson, who is suing the church, Travolta, and 21 other members for fraud, charges that he spent 25 years and $500,000 trying to become heterosexual -- but that's he's still gay.
Millionaire not charged in Scientology case, St. Petersburg Times, Saturday, August 8, 1998
Police in Sandown, N.H., have concluded that millionaire Robert S. Minton was not firing at four Scientologists who picketed his house July 25, and will not file charges against him. The police also decided not to press criminal trespassing charges against the Scientologists. Police also confirmed that Minton was using bird shot that would not have penetrated the vehicle the Scientologists were in, Currier said. Minton said he fired warning shots after the Scientologists trespassed at his 200-acre estate and yelled obscenities at a guest in his pool. The incident marked an escalation in a battle between the Clearwater-based Church of Scientology and Minton, a church critic.
Scientologists fighting to keep files secret, St. Petersburg Times, Thursday, August 6, 1998
Scientology is fighting to keep 13 years worth of Lisa McPherson's records about courses and counseling within the church secret. Their strong belief that those records should remain private was at issue Wednesday in a hearing concerning the wrongful death lawsuit filed against the church by McPherson's family. Scientology states that McPherson's records are confidential and says its credibility would be "lost forever" with other parishioners if the records were released. Attorneys for the church argue Scientology counseling or "auditing" sessions often contain sensitive information about people other than the parishioner. Scientology also claims they have a new Florida law on their side -- the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1998. The act became law in June. It mandates that governments, including the courts, should not "substantially burden the free exercise of religion" without a compelling governmental interest. Scientology's attorneys argue that releasing McPherson's files would violate the church's "sacred religious belief" that the files remain confidential and that they be retained by the church for use in a parishioner's future lives.
Scientology attempts to convert R. Minton??, St. Petersburg Times, Monday, August 3, 1998
Robert S. Minton, who has infuriated the church with his financial support of its enemies, says top Scientologists recently tried to recruit him as a member. Scientology leaders deny offering membership but acknowledge they made overtures to help Minton because they say he has an "emotional problem." Minton -- whose projects include bankrolling a lawsuit filed on behalf of Lisa McPherson, a Scientologist who died in Clearwater under mysterious circumstances -- told the Scientologists to keep their help to themselves. Scientology leaders now say he is a hopeless liar and criminal. The offer, Minton said, came in the last of meetings he requested in hopes of persuading Scientology to change how it treats some members. They ended with a five-hour session July 13 in Los Angeles. During their final meeting, Minton said Mike Rinder, head of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs, and Marty Rathbun, another top Scientology official, told him he could become a Scientologist despite his past criticism. They later pulled out an agreement that would have required him to drop all financial support of Scientology opponents and stop saying anything bad in public about Scientology. In return Scientology promised not to sue Minton. When he refused to sign, Minton said Rinder and Rathbun warned him they have "friends in high places" and suggested he may get caught up in FBI and IRS investigations of Scientology critics. Rinder denies making the threat. He says they merely warned Minton he was involved in criminal activities.

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