2009-OCT-23: Australia: Soldier committed suicide after finishing
Scientology course: Edward Alexander McBride was found electrocuted
and hanged in an electrical substation in Brisbane on 2007-FEB-07. He had been
taking Scientology courses almost full time for a month, and committed suicide
two days after finishing the last course. He had paid the Church AUS$25,000.
He was considered a "loner" by his fellow soldiers and had been bullied.
The coroner and police unsuccessfully requested copies of McBride's audit and
ethics files from the local Church. The files had been moved to the U.S.
Church, out of reach of Australian police and coroner's office.
The coroner ruled that the suicide was not "reasonably foreseeable" by his
family, the Australian Defence Force or members of the Church of Scientology.
2009-OCT-24: USA: Scientology spokesperson Tommy Davis walks out of TV
interview:Nightline, a program on ABC, was interrupted when the Tommy
Davis -- spokesperson for the Church of Scientology -- stood up, removed his
microphone and walked off the set. Martin Bashir had asked him a series of
questions about the church's theology, beginning with:
"Do you believe that a galactic emperor called Xenu brought his people to
earth 75 million years ago and buried them in volcanoes?"
"Ok ... Martin, I am not going to discuss the disgusting perversions of
Scientology beliefs that can be found commonly on the Internet and be put in
the position of talking about things that are so fundamentally offensive to
Scientologists to discuss."
When Bashir pressed the question, Davis left. 2
2009-OCT-25: Canada: Long-term member of Scientology resigns: Paul
Haggis, 56, is a Canadian screenwriter and director who has won two Oscars for
his worn on the movie "Crash." He had long promoted the Church of
Scientology. However, he was distressed at the support that the church's San
Diego, CA office gave to Proposition 8 which
terminated the right of same-sex couples to marry in the state. He wrote a
1,500 word letter of resignation to Scientology spokesperson Tommy Davis.
Haggis mentioned that he had asked Davis several times since 2008-NOV to
publicly denounce the actions of that office.
"I reached a point several weeks ago where I no longer knew what to think. You
had allowed our name to be allied with the worst elements of the Christian
Right. ... You told me you were horrified, that you would get to the bottom of
it and 'heads would roll.' You promised action. Ten months passed. No action
was forthcoming. ... The church's refusal to denounce the actions of these
bigots, hypocrites and homophobes is cowardly. I can think of no other word.
Silence is consent, Tommy." 3
Haggis also referred to an interview that Davis
had on CNN in which he denied that Scientology members must shun anyone who
leaves the Church. Haggis wrote that his wife has, at "terrible personal
pain," broken ties with her own parents after they left Scientology."
2009-OCT-28: France: The Church of Scientology was
convicted of fraud in France: The Paris Correctional Court found six
leading Scientologists guilty of fraud. They were found guilty of extorting
money from what the court called "vulnerable" people who were followers or
employees of the Church. lain Rosenberg, the Scientology leader in France, and
five others were given a two-year suspended jail sentence and fined up to 30,000.
Complaints were filed in the late 1990s by two former church members who said
that they had been cheated out of money. She said that she had given
21,000 to the group and asked that it be returned after she left the group.
Scientology allegedly refused. A second women, an employee of Scientology,
said that she was fired after refusing to take classes given by the church.
The Celebrity Center and Bookshop --
Scientology's headquarters -- was fined US $890,000. Prosecutors had asked
that the be shut down completely. However, this was found to be beyond the
court's authority. The French branch announced it would appeal the ruling.
This is the first time that the Church of Scientology's fund raising methods
have been condemned by a court anywhere in the world. 4,5
2009-NOV-08: UK: Family of Winston Churchill
asked Church to stop using images: The family of Winston Churchill asked
the Church of Scientology to stop using promotional material which includes
photographs of Churchill and quotes from some of his speeches. They have
allegedly used such material to recruit staff, promote speaking engagements by
its members and to raise money to build more facilities.
Churchill's grandson, Nicholas Soames, wrote Scientology. He said: "I
expect them to desist from using my grandfather's image immediately. I don't
know if anything else can be done, but I have written to them and we will see
A church spokesperson defended its policy, saying: "The use of iconic images,
including those available in the public domain, to add color is of course done
very commonly." 6
2009-NOV-11: NV: Allegations of potential
domestic terrorism: Las Vegas SWAT officers and counterterrorism
detectives arrested Colby Schoolcraft in the middle of the night on OCT-15.
They seized a cache of weapons and ammunition including an AK-47 assault
rifle. Authorities have said that they believed an act of violence was about
to be committed against the local Church of Scientology. Schoolcraft is
allegedly a member of Anonymous -- an Internet based group that organizes
protests against the church.
It is alleged that Schoolcraft posted threats of potential violence to an
Anonymous website. His lawyer said that his client was not planning an violent
acts and was merely exercising his freedom to speak out against the Church.
2009-NOV-20: Australia: Church of Scientology
criticized by head of government inquiry: Kevin Anderson, QC, who
had led a two-year government inquiry into the Church of Scientology in the
1960s, renewed his criticism of the Church. He
Scientology is evil; its techniques evil; its practice a serious
threat to the community, medically, morally and socially; and its adherents
sadly deluded and often mentally ill."
Senator Nick Xenophon has called for a new inquiry. He supports this with
letters from former Scientologists. There is speculation that the government
might pass a law to terminate the Church's tax exempt status that was granted
in 1983. An alternate path is suggested by John Emerson, a charity taxation
specialist at the law firm Freehills. He said that:
"... if an investigation shows that the church's activities are not consistent
with those exhibited by religious institutions, and if those activities can be
shown to have changed since 1983, then it's open for a tax commissioner to run
a case against the organization saying it should no longer be recognized as a
2009-NOV-19: USA: New Jersey man sentenced to
prison for DDOS attack: Dmitriy Guzner of Verona, NJ was given a $37,500
fine, a year and a day sentence in federal prison, and two years probation
following prison. He was convicted of a series of Distributed Denial of
Service (DDOS) attacks on the Church of Scientology's web site starting on
2008-JAN-19 and extending over 112 days. It hit the website with bursts of
high traffic designed to knock the web site offline. It was successful; the
Church's website was out of service for several days. A second individual,
Brian Mettenbrink was indicted in Los Angeles in October on charges connected
with the 2008-JAN attack. 9
2009-NOV-22: Australia: Prime Minister concerned about CoS and is considering a parliamentary inquiry:
Prime minister Kevin Rudd expressed concern about allegations against the
Church of Scientology of "... a worldwide pattern of abuse and criminality"
He contemplating the launch of a parliamentary inquiry. The Church is under
police investigation in Australia. On NOV-21, some former Scientologists
conducted a protest at the Church's Australian headquarters calling for the
revoking of its tax-exempt status.
Member of Parliament Nick Xenophon gave an impassioned speech in Parliament
during the previous week. He claimed that the Church "... abuses its followers
[and] viciously targets its critics..." A spokesperson for the Church, Cyrus
Brooks, said that the allegations were "... unquestionably false. ... This was
not free speech. It was abuse and slander protected by the forms of our
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