letters/FACTNews - Vol. I, Issue #11, December, 1997
A digest on freedom of mind, mind control, & cults
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In this issue
(1)Scientology faces scrutiny after Florida parishioner's death
(2)Japan to Speed Up Murder Trials of Cult Guru
(3)Third annual protest against Scientology in Clearwater, Florida
(4)Consumer group wants government Web links opened
(5)Religious cult demands cancellation of Swedes picket against Scientology tactics
(7)Colleges arm students with facts about cults
(8)Greek nation stunned by 'satanists' trial
(9)Gifts of cash fuel battle of principle
(10)Canadian Victim of "Nazi-Style Experimental Psychiatry "
Scientology faces glare of scrutiny after Florida parishioner's death
Front page of New York Times, 12/01/97
Japan to Speed Up Murder Trials of Cult Guru
Shoko Asahara, leader of Aum Shinri Kyo (Aum Supreme Truth Sect), stands accused of the March 20, 1995, gas attack, which killed 12 people and made thousands ill.
Third annual protest against Scientology
in Clearwater, Florida
This is a collection of reports about the picket in Clearwater, as they were posted to the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology.
Consumer group wants government Web links opened
With hundreds of global TV and radio stations and limitless space on the Internet, a handful of Ralph Nader's public-interest groups, including the Consumer Project on Technology, the Center for Study of Responsive Law, and the Taxpayers Asset Project, are bringing a legal challenge to the United States Information Agency.
Religious cult demands cancellation of interview
Members of the AUM Shinrikyo religious cult demanded that Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS) cancel the airing of an interview with lawyer, Tsutsumi Sakamoto. Cult members allegedly murdered Sakamoto, who was opposed to the AUM Shinrikyo religious cult, his wife Satoko and their 1-year-old son Tatsuhiko in 1989. Their bodies were found in three different locations in 1995.
Swedes picket against Scientology tactics
Pictures and text from the March 15, 1997 picket of the Dianetics Center/Scientology Church in Stockholm and a report from the August 1997 picket of the Dianetics Center/Scientology Church in Stockholm. The pickets are against Scientology tactics and harassments, and in memory of the tragic death of Lisa McPherson .
Colleges arm students with facts about cults
Several universities across the country are alerting students of the questionable tactics some groups use to lure and hold young members.
Greek nation stunned by 'satanists' trial
Arguing before a prison court, convicts now in their mid-20s said their 1993 acts of abduction, rape and murder were all part of sacrificial rituals and offerings to Satan. One told the court they are not "stars", just cold-blooded murderers.
Gifts of cash fuel battle of principle
Retired Beacon Hill investment banker and FACTNet director, Robert Minton said he decided to fund church critics because he believes Scientology abuses some of its members and uses unfair, strong-arm tactics to intimidate its detractors.
Boston Daily Globe
Canadian Victim of "Nazi-Style Experimental Psychiatry "
Steve Smith was incarcerated at the Oak Ridge mental hospital and received sadistic treatments which may have been part of a CIA experimentation program.
December letters/FACTNews Digest
.c Kyodo News Service
TOKYO, Dec. 5 (Kyodo) - Members of the AUM Shinrikyo religious cult demanded that Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS) cancel the airing of an interview with a lawyer on the insistence of the cult's founder Shoko Asahara, the cult's former senior member said Friday.
Kiyohide Hayakawa, 48, told the Tokyo District Court during Asahara's trial that the 42-year-old founder insisted they prevent TBS from airing a videotaped interview with Tsutsumi Sakamoto, a lawyer who was opposed to AUM. Hayakawa was testifying as a witness for the prosecution.
Cult members allegedly murdered the lawyer, his wife Satoko and their 1-year-old son Tatsuhiko in 1989. Their bodies were found in three different locations in 1995.
Asahara rejected cult members' proposal to have TBS air the cult's refutations together with the lawyer's interview, Hayakawa said. TBS never aired the interview. Hayakawa also said another former cult member's court testimony on the killings was incorrect.
Kazuaki Okazaki, 37, was wrong when he testified that the cult had planned to bury the three bodies under its facility in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, Hayakawa said. Okazaki is ''confusing discussions (on how to dispose of the bodies) with the time when we were trying to decide what to do with the body of Teruyuki Majima,'' Hayakawa said. Majima died while taking part in a cult training session.
Hayakawa also said when he and another of the six cult members who took part in killing the Sakamotos reported back to the cult's facilities, Asahara reprimanded them for having left a glove and a cult badge at the murder site.
Asahara is on trial in connection with 17 criminal cases, including the Sakamoto killings and the March 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, which killed 12 and injured thousands.
Hayakawa, once regarded as the cult's No. 2 man, is charged with the murder of the lawyer and his family.
Colleges arm students with facts about cults
Washington Post - Tuesday, December 9, 1997
At the University of Maryland's College Park campus, a push is underway to alert students that they are not immune to cult recruitment. It's the latest example of a recognition by several universities across the country that their campuses offer prime hunting ground for destructive cults.
Torn between a commitment to respect pluralism and a desire to protect
students, the schools are trying to make students aware of the questionable tactics some groups use to lure and hold young members. Several Washington
area universities have produced cult awareness campaigns in recent years. New students at Georgetown University receive a pamphlet titled "High Pressure Religious Groups" that describes the groups as using "persistent, manipulative and
often dishonest persuasion" to recruit. Incoming students at George Washington University get a similar pamphlet, mailed to their homes.
The push to raise awareness in College Park came after months of complaints from parents who said their children were recruited into cults while attending the state's flagship educational institution. To blunt recruiting drives, administrators at several campuses nationwide have stripped some student groups of official recognition after they were found to be using deceptive approaches. In most cases, that means the groups are forbidden to use campus facilities for meetings. In other instances, schools have banned adult members of certain groups from entering residence halls.
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