Last week, we began our countdown of Scientology superpowers that Tom Cruise can expect as an OT Scientologist and million-dollar donor.
One of our favorite things that all Scientologists must learn how to do sooner or later as they move up the Bridge to Total Freedom is gain the ability to shout instructions at an ashtray.
You think we are kidding about this, but we are definitely not, dear reader.
Scientologist David Gentile, owner of GPB Capital Holdings, was dealt a legal loss yesterday when the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division granted Patrick Dibre his motion for summary judgment in GPB Capital Holdings v. Dibre. The case at hand concerned the sale of car dealerships owned by Dibre to GPB Capital Holdings. Certain of these dealership sales were never completed, this although GPB Capital paid Dibre ~$42 million.
A key contractual factor in selling a car dealership is that the automotive manufacturer must approve the sale. For example, if Party A wants to sell her three Nissan dealerships to Party B, then Nissan must approve the sale as its name, cars, repair services, and OEM replacement parts are involved. If Nissan performed due diligence on Party B and found it to be incapable of successfully running dealerships or to have other issues that could create legal liabilities for Nissan, then it would exercise its rights and decline to approve the sale.
This is what happened in the GPB Capital Holdings v. Dibre lawsuit. While a few auto manufacturers granted their approval for Dibre to sell his dealerships to GPB Capital, a few other manufacturers did not. Holdings. In lieu of selling the excluded dealerships, then, GPB Capital paid Dibre money in exchange for taking a percentage of the dealership profits. A new agreement was entered into between the parties. This new "Master Agreement" irrevocably released Dibre from all terms in the original agreement.
2020-08-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Once again, scientology demonstrates "do as I say, not as I do" — following the well-trod path of founder, L. Ron Hubbard.
Here again we see the so-called "Stand League" (I prefer to call it by its true acronym, STAAD — "scientologists taking action against discrimination") railing against anti-Semitism in one of their recent blog posts.
This is their attempt to present themselves as champions of religious freedom and speech by taking a sure-to-gain-agreement stance that anti-Semitism is to be deplored.
In 2011 we spent the month of August counting down a list of the "Top 25 People Crippling Scientology." Nine years later, Scientology is still hurting, but church leader David Miscavige learned long ago that paid membership was only one resource that kept him in business. He also relies on a small army of enablers, some paid, some not, who help him stay in business even though they aren't Scientologists themselves. So we thought we'd recognize them with this countdown.
It's true that religious studies academics struggle to get anyone to pay attention to what they have to say. And for the most part, the professor types who insist on helping out Scientology by claiming it's a bona fide "religion" that has been unfairly treated by the media rarely get much traction with the public or press.
But apologist academics can be a real pain for legitimate researchers who come under attack from these Scientology cheerleaders.
Joining the neo-Nazi movement was a choice that Christian Picciolini says cost him his livelihood, his wife and his sense of self.
Following the mass shooting in El Paso, he speaks out about his former community, to warn people about the wide reach of white supremacist extremism around the world.
The products, known as Miracle or Master Mineral Solution, MMS, and chlorine dioxide protocol, are not approved by the FDA.
The FDA says ingesting the solution, when mixed, is the same as drinking bleach and it can have potentially life-threatening side effects.
The products were first promoted 20 years ago as a remedy for just about every ailment, by a former Scientologist.
2019-08-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I came across this Sea Org promotional piece from 1999. It was a time when there had not been the extensive exposure of abuses of children in scientology. And thus it reflects the true attitude of scientology — not the carefully worded utterances that are put forth these days (scientology.org is the epitome of scientology propaganda and it is the lead for most public statements now).
Here we witness the unvarnished (well, at least less varnished) side of how scientology views children.
Education outside scientology is not valued. In fact Hubbard derided it often — especially higher education (he dropped out of college and his disdain has not been disguised since).
You may have seen Victoria Locke on YouTube or over at Facebook. She's been coming forward with some really shocking allegations of abuse while she was in Scientology, and she posted another stunning narrative yesterday.
"I had never given a second thought to my adult Sea Org recruiter telling me, a child, that he wanted to marry me once I signed my SO contract. I had never given a second thought to adults bull-baiting children on TRs with sexual vulgarity. As I come to more realizations, I am getting angrier and angrier," she wrote.
We asked her if she might give our readers a little background on her situation, and she readily agreed, sending over this summary. As Scientology increasingly comes under examination for the way it mistreats children, we think it's important to keep Victoria's allegations in mind. Here's what she sent us…
MIDDLETOWN – The last two of five defendants recently pleaded guilty, a year after their federal indictment for what prosecutors have described as a "widespread," six-year, $80 million health insurance-fraud scheme driven by "greed."
All operated the former Dolson Avenue Medical clinic, a large, long-standing, multi-specialty orthopedic practice in Middletown.
The providers of chiropractic care, acupuncture, physical therapy and other services changed the name to the Pain Relief & Wellness Center after an August 2017FBI raid.
As regular readers know, we've been in the midst of a measles epidemic since last year, and it's been the worst in a generation. As of August 8, the CDC has confirmed 1,182 cases of measles. Contrary to the the way antivaxers like to point to a 50 year old Brady Bunch episode that made light the kids catching the measles and having to stay home from school as evidence that measles isn't serious, measles can be very serious. The CDC also notes that 124 of the people infected with measles had to be hospitalized, and 64 had complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis. Indeed, the past and present rebuke antivaxers who claim measles is just a mild childhood illness that provides natural immunity. Quite the opposite. Measles actually suppresses the immune system for up to three years or even more, leaving children more susceptible to other diseases. Contributing to these outbreaks has been vaccine hesitancy leading to the failure to vaccinating, leading to areas where vaccine uptake is below the level needed to maintain herd immunity, leading to—you guessed it!—measles outbreaks. To combat this, states have been cracking down on nonmedical exemptions known as "personal belief exemptions" (PBEs). California was the first to do this, passing SB 277 into law and joining Mississippi and West Virginia as a state in which only medical exemptions to school vaccine mandates would be permitted. This brings us to the discussion of another California bill under consideration, SB 276 and the strange involvement of the Church of Scientology in opposing it.
What is SB 276? It's a successor to SB 277 necessitated by a loophole in SB 277. The greatest flaw in SB 277 is that it permits basically any physician to write a letter claiming a medical exemption to school vaccine mandates for a patient, rather than requiring state oversight to mae sure that only medically valid medical exemptions were granted. Predictably, the antivaccine quacks in California saw this loophole as an opportunity. SB 277 took full effect at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, and for a while things went quite well. Early results showed that SB 277 was working swimmingly. The percentage of children not vaccinated plummeted. There was, however, a troubling sign when the study showing the improvement in vaccine uptake was published two years ago. There was a significant uptick in the medical exemption rate. At the time it was speculated that some of the increase in the medical exemption rate was due to parents of children who did have medical conditions for which a medical exemption was legitimately indicated but had just opted out using a PBE because it was so much easier. Into this morass soon plunged Dr. Bob Sears leading the way teaching parents how to secure medical exemptions for questionable indications. Soon, there was a cottage industry of quacks selling bogus medical exemptions to school vaccine mandates, even online. Indeed, in the Bay area five doctors wrote one-third of the medical exemption letters. Last month, it was noted that, for the first time since SB 277 went into effect, vaccination rates in California declined slightly.
In response to these problems, Senator Richard Pan, who co-sponsored SB 277 and was the driving force behind getting it passed, introduced SB 276, a law that would mandate a database of medical exemptions, so that the state can keep track of which doctors are issuing the most medical exemptions, and require that requests for medical exemptions to school vaccine mandates be approved by the State Public Health Officer or designee, who could reject exemptions not supported by science. The bill's been watered down a bit since then, with amendments removing the provision that would authorize the State Health Officer to review medical exemptions and revoke the ones he deems fraudulent or inconsistent with medical guidelines. On the other hand, the bill would require that the state health department to provide a standardized form for use for medical exemptions:
2018-08-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Though there has been an "official L. Ron Hubbard biographer" since I first hired him in 1991, there is still no L. Ron Hubbard biography.
"LRH biographer" or more often now "The Biographer", Dan Sherman spends his days penning prolix fluffery for David Miscavige to read from a teleprompter at his "international events" and Ideal Org ribbon yankings.
Over the span of 25 years, the silver mullet and his team of biographical "researchers", headed by Andy Lenarcic, have gathered an enormous amount of information, photographs and artifacts about the life of L. Ron Hubbard. They have literally scoured the world and have amassed a great deal of information. They have spent enormous amounts of time and effort seeking to prove L. Ron Hubbard's version of his life to be true.
In our last story about Efrem Logreira, we told you that he had turned down the offer of a check for $8,415 from the Church of Scientology.
We explained that Logreira, 75, joined Scientology only last year, but his handlers at the Los Angeles "org" ran up charges of $73,000 on credit cards that it opened for him — and then barred him from coming to Scientology events or taking more courses, which the money was supposed to pay for.
Since then, he's been trying to get his money back while getting hit with fees and interest on those charges. We started talking to him earlier this year after he quietly reached out to us, and we also reported that he has been talking to law enforcement. And in our last story we revealed that he has been talking to attorney Graham Berry, a figure well known for taking on cases against the church.
Well, now we have another report about how desperate the Church of Scientology is to solve its Efrem problem.
2017-08-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Things don't seem to be flourishing and prospering at the L. Ron Hubbard "literary agency" these days.
They are offering up their premises as a shooting location....
Next they will be renting out parking spaces in their building for the tourists on Hollywood Blvd — much like DenverIdeal Org does when the Rockies are playing at home.
2017-08-13, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions based on what is left for me in the comments section of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions answered are:
(1) I'm not sure if you've answered this already but have you had any noteworthy moments after leaving Scientology where you go "Woh, I had that all backwards, I can't believe I ever thought otherwise," or anything of that nature that comes to mind?
(2) I'm curious about a couple of things. Does the Sea Organization's billion year contract state anything about what the Church of Scientology will do for members who make this commitment? Also, have medical liaisons or supervisors ever suggested that the sick go to their disconnected family to ask for money for medical needs? So don't contact your family, but well it's ok to do so now that you are sick?
Rod Keller helps us keep an eye on Scientology overseas, and he has this report for us about Taiwan...
A tipster sent us the photo above of staff at the KaohsiungIdeal Org in Taiwan celebrating a "highest ever" for WDAHWO, or Well Done Auditing Hours With Out Purif. Scientology tracks a large number of statistics by the week, and Kaohsiung is actually two orgs - one for Day and the Foundation org for the nights and weekends. We asked former Johannesburg staff member Shelley Ashurst if this is a good stat or not. She tells us it's fairly typical for Ideal Orgs, but the stat breaks down to a rather small number of Scientologists active in the org. "A student doing the TRs and Objectives Course can account for 35 to 40 hours per week, so that 600 hours could equate to fewer than 20 PCs being serviced either in session, or in the course room. Every Ideal Org is built with enough auditing rooms and course rooms capable of delivering tens of thousands of hours per week. So the fact that they've reached 601 hours is embarrassing actually."
[Contributor to the planned Taipei Ideal Org. The Taipei 101 building, once the tallest in the world, forms part of the logo]
Aaron Saxton (born 1974) is a former Scientologist and member of the organisation's elite group called the Sea Org.
Aaron : From my position within the Church of Scientology I oversaw transportation of sensitive materials of celebrities that was to be used for blackmail.
On Thursday, we had a special treat for you: A photograph of Diana Hubbard taken in 1982 that had sat in a photographer's collection for 34 years before he dug it out and sent it to us. It was a stunning image of the daughter of L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology's founder, and it produced a flood of really interesting memories of her from some of our commenters.
It also motivated several other people to dig out old photos of their own, and we've put a few of them together today to show you. And thank you again, to our great friends of the Underground Bunker.
Our first correspondent let us know that he'd managed to track down a 1951 college yearbook for the University of Texas at Austin, where a young woman named Mary Sue Whipp graduated that year. Says our sleuth, "Mary Sue graduated in 1951 with a degree in English from the College of Liberal Arts. According to the Cactus Yearbook senior pictures section, she participated in the Women's Inter-Community Association (WICA), Touche (fencing), Tumble (gymnastics - it's misspelled 'Tumle' in the caption), and was part of the Houston Club (presumably because she's originally from Houston)."
2016-08-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Who are the Merchants of Chaos?
Scientology teaches that Suppressive Persons are Merchants of Chaos - relaying only "entheta" and generally upsetting people around them with bad news. Seems quite sensible you would not want to associate with this sort of person. And of course, L. Ron Hubbard declared the media are ALL Merchants of Chaos.
A Special Correspondent sent this letter to me, pointing out just how much "bad news" the ED of St Louis is spreading around to one and all.
2015-08-13, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Lloyd Evans is an ex-Jehovah's Witness and now an advocate against the destructive cult practices of that group. He has a YouTube channel under the name "John Cedars" and a website at http://jwsurvey.org. For the last three years he has been campaigning hard, doing excellent work to expose the crimes committed in the name of religion.
The complete interview with ex-Scientologist Nick Lister, covering his entire life growing up in Scientology, experiences at a private Scientology school, being heavily recruited to be part of the Sea Organization, joining staff at a Scientology church and then leaving and what happens when you try to break away from Scientology.
Scientology keeps looking for people in distress and duress who might be vulnerable to their gibberish.
According to the 2014 Federal tax filing for the Jett Travolta Foundation, John Travolta pitched in like a good soldier last year.
His Jett Travolta Foundation gave $3,000 to the Way of Happiness Foundation, a Scientology organization started by L. Ron Hubbard. The purpose was to distribute booklets in Ferguson and St. Louis, Missouri after the Michael Brown shooting and during the racial tension there.
Laura DeCrescenzo In 2013, the Underground Bunker provided live coverage as Laura DeCrescenzo's forced-abortion lawsuit survived a major challenge by the Church of Scientology. Laura sued the church in 2009 because she alleges that she was abused as a "Sea Org" worker who, for example, was made to work 90-hour weeks for pennies an hour — and that's when she was 12 years old. When she turned 13, she was moved to an adult schedule of 112-hour weeks. At 17, while still technically a child, she says she was coerced into having an abortion — something other women have alleged was standard policy in the Sea Org, where having children was forbidden because it would prevent them from working so much.
After four years of complex legal wrangling — which even included Scientology's failed attempt to have the US Supreme Court intervene — DeCrescenzo's legal team convinced LA Superior Court Judge Ronald Sohigian that there was enough evidence of Scientology's shocking treatment of Laura that a jury should sort out who was telling the truth. Sohigian denied Scientology's motion for summary judgment. Sohigian then retired, and the new judge in the case scheduled trial for December 7, 2015.
But now, as that trial date looms, Scientology has filed yet another voluminous motion for summary judgment — and this time, it's a familiar refrain.
2014-08-13, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Did you ever wonder why scientologists are so comfortable with and accomplished at issuing 'acceptable truth' (scientology euphemism for lie)? This may shed some light on the question. For starters, scientologists are taught from the get-go that whatever is true for the individual is true. That datum is presented by L. Ron Hubbard in such wise that usually it is taken as a tremendous validation and empowerment of the reader. It is so universally accepted as such that it is about the last scientology stable datum a recovering scientologist is willing to question. They find it difficult to reckon that such an idea can ultimately serve as a cement ceiling to any growth beyond wherever scientology might take them.
In fact, it is the first step toward a sort of chronic self-hypnotic state that ultimately automatically converts the scientologist's subjective world into the objective world. To a scientologist there is no objective universe, but for the one he or she deigns to be true.* Over time that subjective reality is thoroughly shaped and molded by the universe view of L. Ron Hubbard. Once fully converted to accepting that wholly subjective, albeit influenced by indoctrination, universe view as objective fact, a hard core scientologist can act rather insanely. No matter how hard you try to convince him about the existence of an objective fact he will increasingly cling to his 'reality' (which after all to him is the only true source of objective fact) no matter how fanciful or insane that reality may be. Ironically, that is insanity according to Hubbard's own definition – unable to sense and perceive that which just about everybody else is able to.
That is one reason why scientology organizations can smugly count on any scientologist in good standing to comfortably commit perjury for scientology and its leaders. Scientologists can and do perform that feat with the greatest aplomb, without the slightest sense of guilt or remorse for doing so. I have watched lawyers become dumbfounded witnessing scientologists so perform so facilely while under oath. Those skills are honed in scientology's 'Success Through Communication ' course that teaches one to comfortably lie as a supposed social necessity. They are refined in lengthy, arduous witness coaching sessions with scientology legal staff (sessions that are promptly and conveniently forgotten upon command by the scientologist's cultivated ability to create his own reality). Connected to legal proceedings or not, the scientologist's subjective universe view reins so supreme that he can even be unaware that he is lying through his teeth while doing so.
Denise Brennan, a former Scientology executive in the 1970s and 1980s who became a vocal whistle blower about the organization's structure and finances, died of a heart attack in New Hampshire yesterday morning at about 8 am.
Brennan, 62, had told numerous friends that she had been writing so much about Scientology in recent years in part because she didn't expect to be around much longer.
2013-08-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The constant "give us your money" drumbeat is only growing louder.
But it is becoming ever more brazen and the "reasons" are getting more and more absurd.
This new email contains so many outpoints it is difficult to comprehend that anyone in their right mind would have sent it.
Claire Headley is taking us on our journey to train as Scientologists. She and her husband Marc were Sea Org workers who escaped from Scientology's International Base in 2005. She spent years working with Scientology's "tech," and was trusted to oversee the auditing of Tom Cruise. Go here to see the first part in this series.
Claire, we're starting to get into some serious money this week as things suddenly kick up. And that's exciting. Up to now, we've noticed that our trip up Scientology's Bridge to Total Freedom has contained a lot of repetition and rather simple concepts about communication, learning, and control. So far, there's been no space opera and even less excitement in our Scientology training. But with the price increasing, can we expect some thrills?
CLAIRE: Well, Expanded Grade 0 is our next step, and it's the level in Scientology that deals with communication on all "flows." The ability gained for this level is: Ability to communicate freely with anyone on any subject.
2012-08-13, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
You might be interested in getting yourself declared (excommunicated) by Scientology Inc. in a rapid, efficient and relatively painless fashion. All you need to do is associate with me. A number of people have achieved the instant-declared status by simply being seen communicating with me or by being found to be posting on this blog.
The advantages of the instant, causative declare stem from the fact that when you ride with me nobody in the church messes with you. You won't have family members recruited to act as covert spies for Scientology Inc. You won't have confidential confessional information used by family and friends to push your buttons so as to convince you to change your mind. You won't have the 'this is your life' missions sent using family and friends (starting with the highest of 'affinity' of course) to subject you to lengthy invalidation and evaluation sessions accentuated with heavy doses of doomsday scenario scare tactics.
If you choose this route, of course your friends, family and associates affiliated with corporate Scientology will disconnect from you. They will be plied with all manner of exaggerated and manufactured stories about you to get them to comply. That comes with the territory; whether you go the instant declare route or not. All I am offering is a means to expedite the process so that it is a clean, quick break. If you are sufficiently briefed about and exterior to Scientology Inc. culture you will understand that all that is going to happen no matter which way you choose to cut the umbical cord. The relatively painless declare speeds the process so that you don't go through months of drama. I am garlic as far as the vampire in chief (David Miscavige) is concerned. Once some of it rubs off on you - Miscavige and his minions must stay far, far away for fear of being enervated by contact.
Adam joined Scientology's Sea Org at the age of 18. He served at the Toronto Org, and two years later he realized that he wasn't helping people like he was promised he would. He was working long hours, had no time off, and the lack of contact with his family was taking its toll on him. Adam wanted to visit his Father for Christmas. That was the beginning of the end for Adam. He knew that there would be lasting consequences, but the heartbreaking outcome is no less difficult for Adam, and his family, to endure.
2011-08-13, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
For several years, a man named Jamie DeWolf has been getting noticed for his slam poetry. But now, it looks like he's really about to break out. Why? Well, we posted this video recently, and the response was pretty huge. Just watch and you'll probably understand why:
2010-08-13, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
My good friend Nancy Many asked me to post this on Leaving Scientology. Nancy, of course, was speaking out against the Church long before many of us got up the nerve. She experienced the evil of the Church up close and personal, as she details in her book, My Billion Year Contract. Her comments about Marty are relevant, particularly as the Church has singled Marty out for some particularly vile dirty tricks. I don't think they have any idea how many friends and allies Marty really has. Here's what Nancy has to say:
Re Marty Rathbun –
I have recently discovered that I have forwarded incorrect information regarding Marty. It came from a person in RTC at the time, whom I trusted. I have since discovered there were other falsehoods this person gave to me.
Scientology's Purification Rundown is so dangerous it almost killed one of his clients, former Scientologist Roger Gonnet told the Paris court.
So far Roger Gonnet had been answering questions from President of the Court, Judge Sophie-Hélène Château. Now Maître Olivier Morice took up the questioning of the former Scientologist, who he had called as a witness for the plaintiffs in the case.
Morice recalled that the defendant Alain Rosenberg, while confirming that he was executive director of the Paris Celebrity Centre, had said his role had been a spiritual one rather than involving any financial responsibilities. Was that Gonnet's understanding of the post? It was not.
Meanwhile, Klein's stance toward the Church of Scientology softened over time, according to a 2001 Tribune story.
For years, Klein's department collected criminal intelligence on the church, mostly based on complaints regarding refunds sought by disgruntled members.
The often-strained relationship between Klein and the church reached its nadir with Lisa McPherson, a church member who died in December 1995 after a 17-day stay in the church's Fort Harrison Hotel. The church was leveled with criminal charges, which were later dropped.
But Scientologists went after Klein, accusing him of Gestapo tactics, suggesting he was associated with organized crime. And in 1997, Scientology supporters picketed the police station.
According to records from the Clark County assessor's office, the Church of Scientology, Creative Mission of Las Vegas, in October 2005 purchased the 3.71-acre parcel from Congregation Ner Tamid, a large Reform synagogue that has since moved to Henderson, for $2.9 million. According to Calley, the church is spending about another $3 million on renovations.
The renovated church, set to open in November, will have added space for executive offices.
The controversial religion is renovating a former synagogue complex near the corner of Eastern and Emerson avenues so it can become Scientology's focal point in Nevada, with 36,845 square feet of space and a "Celebrity Centre" to specially cater to high-profile artists, celebrities and community leaders.
The Las Vegas celebrity center will be Scientology's fourth such center in the U.S. The others are in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville, Tenn.
An ex-Scientologist and an army of online pranksters attempt to bring down the controversial religion.
But Gorman's loyalty to Scientology turned to rage against it in 2001, after his then-teenage friend Jennifer Stewart, now his wife, alleged she was forcibly raped by an adult staff member of the Mountain View branch of the church. Both say that Scientology officials, including Quiros, urged them not to go to the police. Scientology staffers vigorously deny both allegations. In a later civil suit, the church weighed the bad press that might come from the "incendiary" allegations coming out at trial and paid Stewart a handsome 2005 out-of-court settlement that barely made the news.
So when Wollersheim -- the ex-Scientologist who won a $8.7 million judgment from the organization for "infliction of emotional distress" -- invited the Anons to come discuss the direction of the anti-Scientology movement on the boat of his spiritual non-profit, which doubles as his crib while the Nevada resident is in the Bay Area, the Anons weren't exactly lining up to RSVP.
Some posted on the Bay Area Anonymous message board that it was "a trap." One
posted: "Super-sekret meetings and invite-only treeforts are for faggots" (Anonymous' favorite name for each other). Some worried Scientologist moles would show up to take their photos. They decided to wear their masks, and to be wary of being used for any ulterior motive by Wollersheim's other non-profit FACTNet (Fight Against Coercive Tactics Network).
In 2003, to accommodate new members, the church spent $3.5 million to buy 220 125th Street – a six-story industrial building the organization has begun renovating into a church. Within the coming year, its 30,000 to 50,000 square feet (according to the real estate broker's and Hines's figures, respectively) will have a sauna – part of the church's anti-toxin purification program – a film center, and a variety of classrooms and training rooms. All of this is standard in a Scientology church, but this one will be decorated to suit the people it's aimed at serving: Computer renderings of what the place will look like show rooms with African motifs. Even the current office, however small, has a few well-placed gourds.
U.S. marshals seized computer equipment and files yesterday from a Virginia man accused by the Church of Scientology of posting its most sacred texts on the Internet.
Marshals also served Arnaldo Lerma, 44, with a restraining order barring him from revealing more of the church's copyrighted documents in a federal copyright infringement suit filed by the church Friday.
The Church of Scientology International filed a $120-million federal lawsuit against 17 Washington- and Los Angeles-based Internal Revenue Service officials Monday, accusing them of waging a 33-year campaign of illegal acts against Scientology and a large number of its members.
According to the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and testimony from IRS officials detail a lengthy history and unchanging pattern of improper, harassing and illegal activities against the church by IRS officials.
Among those sued are IRS agents who in the mid-1980s conducted a criminal tax investigation against Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, whose death in 1986 reportedly ended the probe.
The suit alleges that IRS agents in Los Angeles, along with a former church member, schemed to plant forged documents in the Church of Scientology's files, which the IRS could then seize in a raid.
1988-08-13, Richard Haworth, Letters to the editor, St. Petersburg Times
Historically, the basis for most, if not all, prejudice in this country has been the lack of genuine, true information about groups or organizations. Lack of genuine knowledge about someone or something leaves a vacuum that can be filled by bigoted statements that do nothing to further understanding.
When both conveyors are running, the Pinellas Park store can make 120 pizzas an hour. That kind of quantity is important to stores in the the Clearwater area, which have been known to get orders from the Church of Scientology for up to 200 pies at one time.