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Religion News Report

July 27, 2000 (Vol. 4, Issue 235) - 1/2

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=== Jesus Christians
1. Cult boy found living in a tent
2. Police find missing Bobby
3. Runaway boy speaks of life with cult
4. Cult Boy Rejects Brainwashing Claims
5. Bobby come home, says judge
6. Boy speaks out for sect
7. Cults: Playing for keeps

=== Waco / Branch Davidians
8. Attorneys criticized for failure to reveal use of military tear gas
at Mount Carmel
9. Danforth sees ''little things'' behind Waco theories
10. Clinton says he 'gave in' on Waco raid
11. Reno says Clinton questioned her before Waco raid
12. Judge cancels hearing on remaining Davidian issue
13. Camera Expert Will Not Attend Waco

=== Aum Shinrikyo
14. AUM cultist gets death for killing lawyer, family
15. Aum figure to hang for Sakamoto killings
16. Aum's Hashimoto sentenced to death for murder

=== Falun Gong
17. Report: Chinese Hunger Striker Dies
18. Report: Chinese Sect Member Chokes
19. Falun Gong Member Dies in Police Custody - Group
20. Spiriting away of evil cults

=== Scientology
21. German visitor takes on Scientology
22. The Scientologists pay homage to their master

=== Unification Church
23. Abstinence advocacy group kicked out of Chicago schools

=== Raelian Religion
24. Raelian Religion Accepted By UNESCO as a Messenger of the Manifesto 2000

=== OSHO
25. A Sign of Mammon

» Part 2

=== Buddhism
26. Tibet Anti-Religion Campaign Widens
27. Buddha Boom Proliferation Of Images Shows Eagerness Of Immigrants
To Establish Religious Ties

=== Hinduism
28. Hindu 'missionaries' head overseas

=== Islam
29. Mali court sentences Sheikh to death
30. Death Sentence For Mali's "Barefooted" Sect Founder
31. Spanish women outraged by book that gives advice on beatings
32. Mosque a religious, political tug of war
33. Laws on religious extremism too soft, Russian Security Council hears
34. Azeri God's Army cult members to stand trial for murder
35. Malaysian police arrest five more Al Ma'unah members

=== Hate Groups
36. Germany won't block access to international Nazi sites

=== Other News
37. Church sued over sex-abuse confessions
38. Ancient Rite: Peyote Ritual Stirs Trouble in Utah
39. Trial of 13 OAU Cult Suspects Threatened
40. Hearst relives kidnapping for spoof film

=== Religious Freedom / Religious Intolerance
41. US judge blocks Ten Commandments monument

=== Death Penalty
42. House passes bill to block executions of pregnant women
43. News outlets ask for DNA tests in case of man executed in 1996

=== Noted
44. Two little boys (God's Army)
45. 'Born-again virgins' give up sex to bolster their self-esteem
46. Gore: Studying diverse beliefs led him to spiritual balance
47. Graham passing the torch via satellite
48. New-Age Commune Is Into Crafts and Time Travel

=== Internet
49. Study says Web is 500 times larger than major search engines now show


=== Jesus Christians

1. Cult boy found living in a tent
Independent (England), July 27, 2000
http://www.independent.co.uk/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Bobby Kelly, the 16-year-old, who disappeared to join the Jesus Christians religious cult, a month ago, was found safe and well today, police said.
(...)

''He is safe and well and will be taken by police to the High Court later today. Two men who were with Bobby have been arrested on a High Court warrant and will also be taken to appear before a High Court judge later today. The three were found living in a tent in a forest,'' the spokesman said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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2. Police find missing Bobby
BBC, July 27, 2000
http://news.bbc.co.uk/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Police at Scotland Yard have located missing teenager Bobby Kelly.
The 16-year-old from Romford, Essex, disappeared a month ago and is thought to have been with members of the Jesus Christians.

Officers confirmed they had found the boy on Thursday morning and he was due to appear at the High Court in London before midday.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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3. Runaway boy speaks of life with cult
The Guardian (England), July 27, 2000
http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The official solicitor yesterday renewed his call for a runaway teenager to contact him after he spoke on BBC radio about the religious cult he has joined.

Bobby Kelly, 16, who ran away from his home in Romford, Essex, a month ago and has been made a ward of court, insisted that he was not being held against his will but admitted being homesick and missing his relatives.

The six-minute interview was broadcast on the Today programme, 10 days after it was recorded, after a high court judge lifted an injunction against it, taken out by Bobby's family.

Bobby said making him a ward of court to prevent the cult, the Jesus Christians, from taking him abroad was an overreaction. Sounding confused and admitting that a cult member had accompanied him to a public telephone box from which he called the BBC, Bobby said he had joined the Jesus Christians because ''they got right down to the nitty-gritty of the Bible ... and they don't miss anything out''.

He said: ''If the [ward of court] decision gets scrapped then obviously I'm going to stay with these people, although obviously I will see my nan - like see her a few times throughout the year to reassure her ... That means I can't live my life for God then, doesn't it, if I live with my nan.
(...)

Asked if he missed his friends and relatives, he replied: ''Yeah, I'm very homesick actually. I miss my mum and my nan and my sister and other friends quite a lot actually, but it basically says in the Bible that I have to give everything up to work for God.''
(...)

Laurence Oates, the official solicitor, appointed to supervise Bobby's interests, said: ''This is a sad story, and I would like to interview him when I can be quite sure that he is in a free environment with no pressure from any quarter.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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4. Cult Boy Rejects Brainwashing Claims
Guardian (England), July 26, 2000
http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Radio listeners have heard missing teenager Bobby Kelly say he wants to remain for the rest of his life with the Jesus Christians religious group, with whom he disappeared a month ago.

Bobby was interviewed on July 17 by BBC Radio 4's Today programme. But the broadcast of his words was barred by an injunction, which has now been overturned in the High Court.
(...)

Asked why he had decided to join the Jesus Christians, he said: ''It was the fact that they got right down to the nitty-gritty of the Bible and they believe in Jesus and the Bible's teachings and they don't miss anything out. They tell the full story and that is why I love them so much and decided to join them.

''They are normal people, exactly like everyone else, except for the fact that they believe in Jesus and try to commit their lives to his teachings. I know exactly what I am doing and exactly why I joined.''
(...)

Asked what he planned to do next, he said: ''It all depends on the ward of court decision. If it is scrapped, then obviously I am going to stay with these people. ''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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5. Bobby come home, says judge
Yahoo/Reuters, July 25, 2000
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
LONDON (Reuters) - A High Court judge made an impassioned plea on Tuesday for a teenage boy who has run off and joined a religious sect to come out of hiding.
(...)

Mr Justice Munby urged Bobby to come out of hiding, saying he had absolutely nothing to fear and that his family would not be cross or upset.

''All they want to know, as indeed I do, is that he is safe and well and what he wants for the future,'' said the judge.

He continued: ''I now appeal to Bobby to come forward and to those who are presently caring for him, to help him do so. I am simply concerned that Bobby should be found as soon as possible in order that his true wishes and feelings can be ascertained.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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6. Boy speaks out for sect
BBC, July 26, 2000
http://news.bbc.co.uk/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(...)
The 16-year-old from Romford, Essex, is thought to be with members of the Jesus Christians, whom he met handing out leaflets just before he ran away from home.

The interview was broadcast after the BBC successfully challenged a gagging order in the High Court on Tuesday which had prevented it from reporting any interviews with the teenager.

The emergency ruling was granted to his family amid fears that the religious group planned to use the boy as a platform for its own ends.
(...)

''I miss my mum and my nan and my sister and a lot of other friends a lot, but it says in the Bible that you have to give everything up to work for God.''

He said he had decided to join the Jesus Christians because they told the ''full story'' about the Bible.

''It was the fact that they got right down to the nitty-gritty of the Bible and they believe in Jesus and the Bible's teachings and they don't miss anything out,'' he said.

''They tell the full story and that is why I love them so much and decided to join them.

''They are normal people, exactly like everyone else, except for the fact that they believe in Jesus and try to commit their lives to his teachings.

''I know exactly what I am doing and exactly why I joined.''
(...)

He added that plans to go to Germany as a missionary had been put on hold and said he was still in the UK and would remain here for at least two years.

The official solicitor Laurence Oates, who has been appointed to represent Bobby's interests, appealed for the teenager to come forward.

''If it was clear that Bobby was acting of his own free will, then there was no reason why he would not be allowed to remain with the Jesus Christians,'' he said.

''But he should come forward so that the court can decide what to do in his best interests.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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7. Cults: Playing for keeps
BBC, July 26, 2000
http://news.bbc.co.uk/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
It is one of the worst nightmares a family can face - a loved one who disappears into a cult.
(...)

Ian Haworth, general secretary of the Cult Information Centre (CIC), says should a loved one - a son or daughter, a parent, a partner - be lured into a cult, friends and family should take it seriously.

''A cult isn't playing games; it's playing for keeps. The aim of the average cult is to recruit for life, or until that person is no longer useful to them.''

The Jesus Christians say they are not a cult, but a ''live-by-faith, work-for-God-not-money Christian community'', according to their website.

Mr Haworth says one of the leaders, David Mackay, split off from the Family, formerly the Children of God, two decades ago.

The group's major base is in Australia, and its UK members are nomadic, handing out illustrated leaflets in London, Guildford, Liverpool and on the south coast.

''The Jesus Christians are a group about which we have received complaints, and about which we have concerns,'' Mr Haworth says.
(...)

Mind control techniques work very quickly on unsuspecting individuals, he says, warning that it can take just three or four days for a new recruit to be broken down.

Typical techniques employed by cults include hypnosis, peer group pressure, and ''love bombing'' - creating a sense of belonging through constant hugging and flattery.

New recruits are given stock phrases to use when questioned by the media.
(...)

The CIC recommends refraining from ridiculing the member's beliefs - he or she will have been programmed to regard outsiders with suspicion.

After re-establishing contact, friends and family can try and deprogram the member themselves, or employ a reputable exit counsellor.

''It has to be in a voluntary session - the member has to agree to counselling, even if they don't think they need it.''

Those who choose to do it themselves must exhaustively research the cult, the terms it uses, and its methods so they can talk to the member on the same wavelength.
(...)

Emphasise the difference between conversion and coercion. If a member begins to realise the powerful experience they went through was man-made, not divine, they may again start to question what they are doing.

Most important of all is to remain patient and constantly express your love and support, Mr Haworth says.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* An excellent guide to use is ''Releasing The Bonds,'' by Steve Hassan:


=== Waco / Branch Davidians

8. Attorneys criticized for failure to reveal use of military tear gas at Mount Carmel
Waco Tribune-Herald, July 26, 2000
http://www.accesswaco.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The Danforth report was seen as another victory for the government in clearing its name after the Mount Carmel tragedy seven years ago.

However, one group didn't fare well in last week's interim report: government attorneys.

Special Counsel John Danforth singled them out for criticism in light of the government's failure to disclose until 1999 that pyrotechnic tear gas canisters were used at Mount Carmel on the morning of April 19, 1993. The so-called military rounds were apparently fired only at a plywood covering over an underground tunnel 75 feet from the Davidian residence. However, Danforth said hiding their use fueled public mistrust of the government's entire operation.

''The actions of these few government employees who failed to disclose the use of pyrotechnics are reprehensible because they undermined the public confidence with which they were entrusted,'' Danforth said.

Federal prosecutors first failed to divulge the truth about the use of pyrotechnics, according to the Danforth report. They didn't tell the defense attorneys representing the 11 Davidians charged with crimes in the wake of Mount Carmel. Then, the government's defense team didn't tell the attorneys representing the Davidians in their wrongful-death lawsuit about the FBI's use of pyrotechnics - even though the plaintiffs specifically asked if they were used.

An irate Danforth, a former Missouri senator and an Episcopal priest, lectured the alleged offenders in his report and said the investigation into the matter is continuing.

''Government lawyers have responsibilities beyond winning the case at hand,'' Danforth said. ''They are not justified in seeking victory at all costs. A government lawyer should never hide evidence or shade the truth, and must always err on the side of disclosure.''

That sentiment drew an amen from Stanley Rentz. Rentz is the Waco attorney who represents Graeme Craddock, a Davidian serving a 20-year sentence for possessing a firearm and a grenade at Mount Carmel.

''I agree with Danforth,'' Rentz said. ''The government gets there first. They have a multitude of investigators who collect information. If they can sort through it and only use what helps them, excluding that which might cast a different light on the case, that's not playing fair.''
(...)

James William Blagg, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, issued a press release deferring questions to the Office of the Special Counsel or the Justice Department.

''It is my understanding that some United States Attorney's office employees may have been criticized within the Danforth report,'' Blagg said in the statement. ''Such criticism is certainly not consistent with the professional reputation earned and developed over many years by these employees...''

Steve ''Rocket'' Rosen, the Houston attorney who represented Livingstone Fagan and Kevin Whitecliff at the 1994 criminal trial, said he doesn't think Jahn and other government prosecutors can claim they're only guilty of negligence.

''How can it be negligence when it's intentional?'' Rosen asked. ''He (Jahn) and the rest of his cronies, they knew what was going on. They should have turned it over, and then be prepared to defend against it. That's what the Constitution tells them to do. It's crazy. There should be repercussions.''

Rosen wants U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. of Waco, before whom the criminal case was tried, to discipline government prosecutors who withheld evidence about the use of pyrotechnics.
(...)

The harshest criticism of a government attorney in the Danforth report was saved for Jacqueline Brown, an FBI civil attorney. It said Brown learned in 1996 that military tear gas rounds were used at Mount Carmel.

At least three times, however, the Justice Department failed to respond to plaintiffs' queries on the subject.
(...)

No criminal prosecution will be sought against Brown, but the Danforth report states that the matter will be forwarded to the appropriate state bar association and to the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility.

Waco's Rentz, however, doesn't think Jahn or Brown have much to worry about.

''Looking at the way the government dealt with most of these guys, they'll probably get medals and a pay raise,'' Rentz said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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9. Danforth sees ''little things'' behind Waco theories
AOL/Reuters, July 26, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A ''little thing'' -- an honest mistake by an FBI lawyer and her panicked effort to conceal it -- helped raise questions that led to a 10-month probe of the 1993 raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Texas, a special investigator said Tuesday.

John Danforth, the special counsel who last week exonerated government agents and officials in the events that led to the April 19, 1993, deaths of 80 cult members, told a Senate panel he believed the moral of the Waco investigation was that ''little things can be blown into very big things.''

Danforth repeated that he was ''100 percent certain'' there was no wrongdoing by Attorney General Janet Reno, top FBI officials or members of the FBI hostage team in the raid and resulting 51-day siege that ended with the fiery deaths of cult leader David Koresh and his followers.

But he also delivered a lecture of sorts to senators about the dangers inherent in the current climate of conspiracy theories and government distrust, where ''honest, even though bad mistakes are assumed to be evil acts.''
(...)

He said the resulting lack of confidence in the government was ''a disaster'' leading to his 10-month, $12 million investigation ''of something that never really happened.''
(...)

Democratic lawmakers were quick to praise Danforth's findings and expressed the hope they would end the long series of investigations, accusations and theories about Waco.
(...)

But Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, a Republican who is heading the Judiciary sub-committee probing the government's handling of the Waco investigation, said it was ''pretty hard to put speculation or the conspiracy theorists at bay'' given the ''pattern of concealment'' of the pyrotechnic rounds.

In response to a question from Specter, Danforth said he issued an interim report on the investigation last week partially because he was under consideration for the vice presidential slot by Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

''I knew if that came to pass I would have to resign as special counsel,'' Danforth said, adding he wanted to be sure his ''fingerprints'' were on the conclusions.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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10. Clinton says he 'gave in' on Waco raid
Dallas Morning News, July 26, 2000
http://dallasnews.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
WASHINGTON - In language far stronger than he has publicly used before, President Clinton said he ''made a terrible mistake'' when he ''gave in'' to the Justice Department and authorized the FBI assault on the Branch Davidian compound in 1993 that resulted in the loss of more than 80 lives.

''I gave in to the people in the Justice Department who were pleading to go in early, and I felt personally responsible for what had happened, and I still do,'' the president told investigators earlier this year. ''I made a terrible mistake.''

The statement, seemingly indicating disagreement with a recommendation by Attorney General Janet Reno to proceed with the FBI operation, differs from Mr. Clinton's earlier comments.

In the past, the president said he signed off on the tear-gas plan only after questioning Ms. Reno about why the operation should proceed.''I was informed of the plan to end the siege,'' Mr. Clinton told reporters at a Rose Garden news conference the day after the 51-day standoff's tragic end. ''I discussed it with Attorney General Reno. I asked the questions I thought it was appropriate for me to ask. I then told her to do what she thought was right, and I take full responsibility for the implementation of the decision.''

He reiterated that view in subsequent statements in 1993 and 1995. His latest statements, suggesting that he was prodded into approving the operation, were made during an interview last April with Justice Department investigators probing campaign fund-raising controversies.

The transcript of the interview, released Monday by the White House, comes as Waco special counsel John Danforth heads to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to discuss his findings overwhelmingly exonerating the government of misdeeds during the 1993 siege.

The Justice Department declined to comment.
(...)

The president's statements in 1993 and this year are not inconsistent, the White House said.

''Both at the time of the incident and in the subsequent interview, the president accepted full responsibility for the federal actions at Waco. And from all accounts it appears that Senator Danforth's report last week found that the federal government had acted properly,'' White House spokesman Elliot Diringer said.
(...)

The Waco tragedy has been a difficult issue for the White House. Several hours into the operation, before the compound burned, Mr. Clinton appeared to distance himself from the decision to launch the raid.

''They made the tactical decisions,'' he said in 1993 of Ms. Reno and the FBI. ''I knew it was going to be done, but the decisions were entirely theirs, all the tactical decisions.''

Stung by reports that Mr. Clinton was distancing himself from Ms. Reno and the tragedy, the president stepped up his support of the attorney general - who drew considerable praise with her quick acceptance of responsibility.

''The buck stops with me,'' she said even before the fire had been completely extinguished.

One internal FBI document, found last fall at the headquarters of the bureau's hostage rescue team, indicated that the White House was briefed closely on the FBI's proposed tactical plans from the first weeks of the Waco crisis.
(...)

Also Tuesday, a federal judge in Waco canceled an Aug. 2 hearing on the issue of whether government agents fired guns into the compound just before it burned.

A court-appointed expert, British-based Vector Data Systems, issued a report in May concluding there was no scientific support for the gunfire charge. Judge Smith gave lawyers 10 days to decide whether they want to scheduled depositions of Vector's chief analyst in England before he issues a final ruling on that and other issues in the wrongful death case.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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11. Reno says Clinton questioned her before Waco raid
AOL/Reuters, July 27, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A day before the disastrous 1993 FBI raid on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, President Clinton wanted to make sure that Attorney General Janet Reno had no unanswered questions about the situation there, Reno said Thursday.

''My recollection was that we had a very difficult situation, that there were many issues. I went over those issues with him,'' Reno said of a Sunday afternoon telephone call a day before the April 19, 1993, raid.

''I think we both had to be convinced,'' she said. ''I had to be convinced before I made the determination. He wanted to make sure my questions had been answered ... . He had questions and I answered those questions and we went ahead.''

Reno said at her weekly Justice Department news briefing that she told Clinton why she had decided to go ahead with the raid. Reno had been asking the FBI a number of questions that she wanted answered before she gave approval.
(...)

Reno said Clinton made clear he had wanted to be kept advised of what was happening at Waco because of a similar situation that occurred when he was governor of Arkansas.

Former Sen. John Danforth, a Republican from Missouri, last week issued an report completely exonerating Reno and the government of wrongdoing, saying the group's leaders set the fire and shot at their own people.
(...)

Asked if Danforth's findings make Waco any less personally painful for her, Reno replied, ''The answer ... is no.''


12. Judge cancels hearing on remaining Davidian issue
Waco Tribune-Herald, July 25, 2000
http://www.accesswaco.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
An August hearing on the remaining issue in the Branch Davidians' $675 million wrongful-death lawsuit against the government - whether FBI agents shot at the Davidians - was scrubbed Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. of Waco.

Smith had set a tentative hearing date of Aug. 2.

In an order issued Tuesday, Smith told attorneys for the Davidians that they must travel to England if they wish to depose David Oxlee of Vector Data Systems. Oxlee helped stage the Mount Carmel re-creation last March at Fort Hood. Vector was the court-appointed infrared expert and also represented Special Counsel John Danforth.

A report authored by Oxlee concluded that government agents fired no gunshots on April 19, 1993.

The plaintiffs argue that flashes seen on an FBI infrared video taken that day are from government gunfire that pinned many Davidians inside a burning Mount Carmel.

Oxlee, however, determined that the flashes came from debris and not gunfire.

''Although the court expressed its willingness to have a hearing on this issue, counsel for the Andrade Plaintiffs (Mike Caddell) has informed the court that they have no desire to participate in such a hearing,'' Smith wrote. ''The court does not, therefore, have any intention of bringing David Oxlee of VDS to the United States at government expense to appear at a hearing.''

Smith ordered the remaining attorneys for the Davidians to inform him within 10 days whether they plan to travel to England to depose Oxlee prior to the court's ruling on the gunfire issue.

Ramsey Clark, who represents many of the longtime Davidians, said he hadn't decided whether he'll go to England.
(...)

Caddell made it plain more than a week ago that he wouldn't attend a hearing on the gunfire issue, which was separated from the other issues in the Davidians' lawsuit because Oxlee was recovering from surgery and couldn't travel.

Smith's instructions to the advisory jury assisting him in reaching a verdict in the lawsuit upset Caddell.

He wanted jurors to break down the Davidians' culpability individually for what happened at Mount Carmel. Instead, Smith asked the advisory jury to address the Davidians as a group.

Jurors subsequently ruled that the government was not negligent in its actions at Mount Carmel.

Caddell told the media he would not attend a hearing on the gunfire issue because he didn't want to participate in ''something that's not real.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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13. Camera Expert Will Not Attend Waco
Associated Press, July 25, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
DALLAS (AP) -- A court-appointed expert who was expected to testify on whether FBI agents shot at the Branch Davidian compound will not travel from England to the United States after all, a U.S. District ruled Tuesday.

Judge Walter Smith said he decided against requiring David Oxlee to come to Texas after Michael Caddell, lead plaintiffs' attorney in a $675 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by surviving Davidians and family members, said he would not participate in the hearing.
(...)

Oxlee was an expert with British firm Vector Data Systems Ltd., which examined infrared images taken by an aerial FBI surveillance camera on the final day of a 51-day standoff between federal agents and the Davidians.
(...)

Vector concluded the flashes on the 1993 tape were reflections from sunlight as it struck debris on the complex. But Davidian lawyers insisted gunfire created the flashes.

Smith barred the issue before the June 19 trial began, saying he wanted Oxlee to review Vector's finding before admitting it into court. Oxlee was ill and unable to travel to the United States until August.

Justice Department spokesman Thom Mrozek said Tuesday's ruling reaffirmed the government's stance.

''The government position is that the judge can rule in favor of the FBI on this spurious allegation that shots were fired into the compound on April 19. Both the test conducted by Vector and the analysis by our expert concluded that no gunshots were fired on that day,'' he said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Aum Shinrikyo

14. AUM cultist gets death for killing lawyer, family
Mainichi Daily News (Japan), July 26, 2000
http://www.mainichi.co.jp/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
An ''evil and inhumane'' former AUM Shinrikyo member who took part in the cold-blooded murders of an anti-cult lawyer and his family as well as the fatal poison gas attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, was given the death penalty Tuesday.

Satoru Hashimoto, 33, wept as Presiding Judge Toshio Nagai handed down the capital punishment at the Tokyo District Court.

He became the sixth AUM member to get the death penalty over a series of atrocious crimes, including the indiscriminate sarin gas attack on Tokyo subway systems that killed 12 and injured thousands in March 1995, carried out by the cult.

Hashimoto's lawyers are considering to appeal the ruling.
(...)

Lawyers acting for Hashimoto argued that he was just acting under the orders of his guru, but the court rejected this, saying that the former cultist was aware that his actions might result in the deaths of innocent people.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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15. Aum figure to hang for Sakamoto killings
Japan Times (Japan), July 26, 2000
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
An Aum Shinrikyo figure was sentenced to death Tuesday for taking part in the November 1989 murders of an anti-Aum lawyer and his family and the deadly June 1994 nerve gas attack in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture.

The Tokyo District Court found Satoru Hashimoto, 32, guilty of conspiring with five other cultists to murder Yokohama lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto, the attorney's wife, Satoko, and their 1-year-old son, Tatsuhiko.

Hashimoto, who had been a bodyguard for Aum guru Shoko Asahara, was also convicted of taking part in the Matsumoto sarin attack, which killed seven and injured more than 270 local residents, and in the construction of a sarin plant in Kamikuishiki, Yamanashi Prefecture.

Judge Toshio Nagai said Hashimoto deserves death because he played major roles in a series of heinous crimes, the Sakamoto murders in particular.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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16. Aum's Hashimoto sentenced to death for murder
Daily Yomiuri (Japan), July 26, 2000
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/newse/0726cr01.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(...)
In handing down the ruling, Presiding Judge Toshio Nagai said Hashimoto bore enormous criminal responsibility for the ''heinous and inhuman act'' of killing the lawyer and his family.

The judge also said nothing could excuse Hashimoto's misconduct in helping to carry out the Matsumoto sarin attack.

Lawyers for Hashimoto said immediately they would appeal the ruling.
(...)

This is the second time a district court has handed down a death sentence to a cult member involved in the Sakamoto killings.

Kazuaki Okazaki, 39, a former executive of the cult and the first to receive a death sentence for the killings, has already lodged an appeal.

Hashimoto is also the second of seven cult members indicted for murder and attempted murder in the Matsumoto sarin attack to be sentenced. He is the first to receive the death penalty.

The Tuesday ruling brought to six the number of cult members sentenced to death for crimes committed by the cult.
(...)

The judge said that although Hashimoto only acted on the instructions of his leader, he bore serious responsibility because he took part in the crimes of his own free will.
(...)

Hashimoto had testified that he did not know that the lawyer, the man's wife and his son were family members. However, the judge said that every cult member participated in the crime ''with the intention of killing all members of the Sakamoto family,'' and that they ''bore serious responsibility for the violence they used to kill the Sakamotos.''

Hashimoto, who was the driver of the car from which sarin gas was sprayed during the attack in Matsumoto, denied he intended to kill anyone, saying he thought the gas would only make people's noses run.

However, in his ruling, the judge said Hashimoto had willfully intended to kill because he did in fact know that spraying sarin could be fatal.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Falun Gong

17. Report: Chinese Hunger Striker Dies
AOL/AP, July 27, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
BEIJING (AP) - Police forcibly fed a hunger striker protesting the crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual group, causing the woman to choke to death, a Hong Kong-based human rights group said Thursday.

Gong Baohua died last month, about a week after police broke her nose while arresting her at a demonstration in Beijing, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy reported.

Police tried to force the 35-year-old woman to eat by using a nasal feeding tube at a detention center near her home in Pinggu County, outside of Beijing, the group said.

The account could not be immediately confirmed because police at the Pinggu Public Security Bureau declined to discuss the case.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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18. Report: Chinese Sect Member Chokes
AOL/AP, July 26, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
BEIJING (AP) - A follower of the banned Falun Gong spiritual group choked to death while in detention after police forcibly fed her to end her hunger strike, a human rights group said Wednesday.

Elementary school teacher An Xiukun, 50, was arrested June 6 while protesting a ban on the group in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.

An, who was being held at a detention center hear her home in Hengshui in central China's Hebei province, launched a hunger strike to protest being shackled, the group said.

Six days into the protest, guards forced food down her throat, causing her to choke, the center said.

The account could not be immediately confirmed. No telephone number for the detention center was available, but a man who answered the telephone at Hengshui's jail said no Falun Gong followers had been detained in the area.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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19. Falun Gong Member Dies in Police Custody - Group
AOL/Reuters, July 27, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
BEIJING (Reuters) - A member of the banned Falun Gong spiritual group died in police custody after officers tried to end a hunger strike by force-feeding, a Hong Kong-based human rights group said on Thursday.

The death of An Xiukun in Hengshui, a city in the northern province of Hebei, took to 25 the number of Falun Gong members who have died in custody since China banned the group last year, the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said.
(...)

She died of suffocation as police tried to force her to eat after six days, it said.

Her husband Zhang Qizheng was sentenced to three years labor reform, which does not require a trial, after he repeatedly demanded punishment for those responsible for his wife's death as well as compensation, the center added.
(...)

U.S. Falun Gong practitioners say tens of thousands of group members had been arrested or detained since the ban, and at least 5,000 sent to labor camps without trial.

The government says the group's membership has dwindled to about 40,000 from two million. Falun Gong says it has tens of millions of followers in China and 40 other countries.

China has acknowledged several deaths among Falun Gong adherents in police custody but said they were caused by suicide or natural causes.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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20. Spiriting away of evil cults
China Daily, July 27, 2000 (Editorial)
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/newsreal/Story.nsp?story_id=12356305&ID=newsreal&scategory=AP+Top+HeadlinesOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
A former member of Japan's Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult has been sentenced to hang by the Tokyo District Court for murders carried out before the cult's lethal gas attack on a Tokyo subway in 1995.

Just one week ago, two other Aum members were also sentenced to death for murder and attempted murder for their roles in releasing the Nazi-invented sarin nerve gas in the subway incident that killed 12 and injured thousands.

The court's decision may serve as a warning to those who still engage in heretic activities.

Recently, many countries have taken stricter measures against cults. China has also done so with the Falun Gong cult.

However, the fight seems set to go on, because some people are still infatuated by the cult which will not voluntarily step down from the stage.
(...)

''Master Li'' has gone too far to repent and be saved. But for others there is still time to repent.

They should open their eyes to Li's deceptive nature.

One single fact highlights this. As a man who claims to have ''supreme power,'' ''Master Li'' still has to stay in the United States to hide away from punishment in China.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Scientology

21. German visitor takes on Scientology
St. Petersburg Times, July 26, 2000
http://www.sptimes.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
CLEARWATER -- The battle between the Church of Scientology and the German government, a long-running dispute steeped in emotion and international politics, has come crashing into Clearwater with a visit by a controversial German official.

Ursula Caberta, who heads a government office in Hamburg that works to curb Scientology in Germany, said Tuesday at a downtown news conference that Scientology is viewed in her country as ''a new kind of political extremism.'' She also alleged that church officials have exaggerated hardships of Scientologists caused by her office and used fraud in an orchestrated effort to persuade U.S. lawmakers to impose sanctions against Germany.
(...)

Officials in the church's worldwide spiritual headquarters here were quick to respond, inviting reporters to speak with about 20 German Scientologists who say they have moved to Clearwater because of discrimination in their homeland. Many said Caberta has stoked a hate campaign in Germany that has ruined the lives and fortunes of scores of Scientologists, denying them access to jobs, credit, schools and civic groups.
(...)

On Sunday, when Caberta arrived at Tampa International Airport, about a dozen Scientologists greeted her with shouts of ''Nazi, go home!'' and other insults. That was followed by many tense moments that have kept Clearwater police on their toes, including a dual picket Sunday in which Scientologists and members of Minton's group warily shared the same sidewalk.

Stacy Brooks, a leader of Minton's group and a former Scientologist, said the display at the airport was ''an embarrassing moment for me as an American.'' She said Caberta was an ''incredibly compassionate'' person.

But Scientologists disagree. ''It was an appropriate welcome,'' said Marty Rathbun, a top church official, who called Caberta a ''fascist demagogue.''

At the news conference, Caberta focused on the case of Antje Victore, a German Scientologist who in 1997 was granted political asylum in the United States by a Tampa immigration judge after claiming she was subjected to religious persecution in her homeland.

It was believed to be the first time the United States had granted asylum to a Scientologist.

Caberta pointed to letters Victore used to make her case. They were written by business owners who said Victore wouldn't be hired in Germany because of her involvement in Scientology. However, Victore failed to disclose to the judge that the letters were written by fellow Scientologists, Caberta said. She also said they were written in English, not German, which suggested an orchestrated effort by Scientology to use Victore's case for political gain and a ''spectacular'' abuse of the U.S. system.

In a bill pending before Congress, the case is listed as one reason the United States should pressure Germany to stop ''government discrimination . . . based on religion or belief.''
(...)

Though Scientology did not orchestrate the case, Rathbun said, there would have been nothing improper if it had.

He and Bill Walsh, the church's human rights lawyer, criticized a form developed by Caberta's office that is used by companies and many local governments in Germany to weed out Scientologist job candidates.

The church refers to the form as a ''sect filter.'' Walsh said it is coming into increasingly wider use by German companies, including subsidiaries of U.S. corporations, promoting ''importation of this kind of tyranny,'' Walsh said.

Caberta said Tuesday that the form was developed after German business people complained that Scientologists were trying to incorporate the principles of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard into corporations.

The form prevents that practice and is not a blanket ban against hiring Scientologists, she said: ''This is falsely being converted into a question of religion.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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*
This video of Ursula Caberta's arrival in Clearwater clearly demonstrates
Scientology's hateful nature. Caution: this is unedited video, showing
Scientologists engaged in harassment, hate speech, and lying:

Standard video:
http://www.xenutv.com/trust/arrival.ramOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]

Dsl video (streaming):
http://www.xenutv.com/trust/dslarrival.ramOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]

Scientologists are known for their harassment of Scientology's critics:
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/s04.html#cosharassOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]

About Germany vs. Scientology
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/s04.html#freedomrelOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]

About the so-called ''Sect Filter'':
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/s34.htmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]


22. The Scientologists pay homage to their master
Die Welt (Germany), July 26, 2000
Translation: CISAR
http://cisar.org/000726a.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
It was shortly after 11:30 a.m. when a visibly worn press spokeswoman, surrounded by American assistants, opened the exhibition about the ''Life and Work of L. Ron Hubbard'' in the Bieberhaus near the main railroad station. And about 250 Scientologists went.
(...)

Overall, one got the impression in the Bieberhaus that Hubbard must have genuinely performed thousands of dare-devil feats. The press spokeswoman pointed out constantly that all the works ever printed by the Master came to 149 million copies, among them such ''classics'' as ''Typewriter in the Sky,'' ''Evil Triumphant'' and ''The Horror'' [not sure of actual English titles].

But Hubbard was more than that. The illustrated chapters of his paths of life were described in ''The Boy Scout,'' ''The Adventurer,'' and even ''The Flyer.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* ''What is true is what is true for you.'' (L. Ron Hubbard)

* For a more realistic look at L. Ron Hubbard, see:

The Bare-faced Messiah
http://www.xs4all.nl/~kspaink/cos/rmiller/index.htmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]

The L. Ron Hubbard Papers
http://www.xs4all.nl/~kspaink/cos/LRH-bio/lrhpaper.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]

Ron the ''War Hero''
http://www.xs4all.nl/~kspaink/cos/warhero/index.htmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]


=== Unification Church

23. Abstinence advocacy group kicked out of Chicago schools
The Florida Times-Union, July 24, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
CHICAGO -- A sexual abstinence advocacy group with ties to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church has been barred from Chicago public schools after administrators found the group had presented a controversial curriculum in sex education classrooms without proper approval.

The Pure Love Alliance (PLA) launched a nationwide promotional tour of 300 avowed celibate teenagers last week with a goal of introducing its curriculum in all 50 states by next year. The organization says it has presented its abstinence program in 61 Chicago schools in the last school year with the consent of teachers and made presentations in high schools in Miami, Los Angeles and Alabama.

Several organizations, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/ PUSH Coalition, have criticized the program as being based on an unsound curriculum and targeting black communities with a message of ''fear and shame.'' Other critics have claimed the involvement of Unification Church members violates the separation of church and state.

The founder and president of the program said school officials banned Pure Love because the PLA's instructors belong to the Unification Church. He accused the program's critics of conducting a witch-hunt.
(...)

Robert Kittel, Pure Love Alliance president, said his group does not teach ''absolute sex,'' although he acknowledged the term is used in some of its publications. Because the term is ''causing confusion,'' it will be deleted from Pure Love literature, Kittel said. ''Arranged marriages are not part of our program,'' he said.
(...)

Kittel condemned the decision by Chicago schools chief Paul Vallas to no longer allow the group's instructors into the classrooms.

''Why are we being pulled out of the classrooms? It's only because of our religious faith, because the Unification Church is an unpopular religion and they thought we'd be an easy target,'' Kittel said.

Kittel, who, like the PLA's other two founders and most of the abstinence-only instructors, is a member of the church, said: ''We violated no school laws, we have not engaged in religious instruction and we have not tried to convert or proselytize anybody.''

He denied the PLA has any ties to the Unification Church other than common membership and said it raises its own funds as a separate non-profit, tax-exempt group. He accused the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health of conducting a witch-hunt because of religious prejudice.
(...)

Kittel predicted that hundreds of civic, religious and political leaders would defend the Pure Love curriculum because of their outrage that sex education in public schools has been stripped of any moral content.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* The Unification Church is a destructive cult:
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/u05.htmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]


=== Raelian Religion

24. Raelian Religion Accepted By UNESCO as a Messenger of the Manifesto 2000
Yahoo/PRNewswire, July 26, 2000 (Press Release)
http://biz.yahoo.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
MIAMI, July 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the Raelian Religion:

The Raelian Religion has just been accepted by UNESCO in the role of ''Messenger of the Manifesto 2000.'' This huge project is launched by the international organization for the promotion of peace and non-violence in the world.

Twelve themes proposed by the Raelian Religion are as follows:
(...)

- The adoption by the UN and UNESCO of a non-Christian calendar out of
respect for other religions of the Earth, from which the year 0 (zero) would
correspond to a non-religious historical event, such as the year the UN was
created or the year of the bombing of Hiroshima.

- The obligation in all kindergarten schools to use books showing only children of different races and religions other than the dominant race and religion of their own country.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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See follow-up


=== OSHO

25. A Sign of Mammon
taz (Germany), July 20, 2000
Translation: CISAR
http://cisar.org/000720a.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Lonely, almost devoid of people, the street to the international Osho commune extends through Koregaon Park, a pleasant district in the city of Poona. Several months ago, thousands of Asians, Europeans and American thronged here in search of something to thrill their souls. Today it is nothing more than a yawning vacuum.
(...)

Who would be surprised that, in the commune, a bitter power struggle is raging for control of hundreds of meditation centers around the world, for the marketing rights of 1,500 book titles, and of sound cassettes and videotapes of lectures from the Master.

Shortly before his departure, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who in the latter years of his earthly presence took the name of ''Osho,'' had tasked a so-called ''Inner Circle'' of 21 trusted people with the management of the commune. As of today, fifteen of the original members have been separated or fired.

The successors themselves are making determinations about the illustrious committee. As ever, members have surrounded themselves with an aura of exclusivity, seldom are seen in public, and do not converse even with commune members. The decisions of the Inner Circle are invisible to the outside and are not subject to any kind of democratic control. Differences of opinion only appear to outsiders when a Swami or a Ma, frustrated, leaves the commune.
(...)

Behind the blue-tinted window panes of the office building, the spokesman of the commune, Swami Satya Vedant, receives inquisitive journalists. No, he says, there is no conflict, everything is all right. Twenty years ago, Osho transferred the copyrights of his works to a foundation. Now several people are trying to fabricate a scandal out of it. They spread lies with the help of the media, but their lies have been contradicted point by point, explained the bearded Indian and hands over photocopies of a full-page advertisement which the Inner Circle had published in the Indian Express, an inter-regional daily newspaper. In it the commune management attacked the credibility of their opponents with the assertion that they had not been there when Osho had bestowed his legacy upon the commune management.

An appointment for an interview was made for two days later with Osho's former secretary and one-time close confidant, Ma Yoga Neelam, who left the commune in a dispute one and a half years ago, and who is now leading the rebellion.
(...)

Her partner Swami Keerti, who bravely and loyally pronounced the decisions of the Inner Circle from 1987 up to February of this year as its press spokesman, is today a dedicated critic: ''Osho is not a ware, he is a consciousness revolution. He always intended that his thoughts and works be disseminated as widely as possible, and not that a select few usurp them with patents and trademarks.''

These accusations are aimed directly at the management of the Inner Circle, namely Michael O'Bryne (Swami Jeyesh), John Andrew (Swami Amrito) and Ma Anando, who proclaimed herself sole possessor of all copyrights to Osho's works in a foundation based in New York, the ''Osho International Foundation.'' ''Those three have covertly re-located the power center of the community overseas. In the future, if we would like to print Osho's books in India, then we must apply for permission from New York,'' thundered Ma Neelam. Ten days ago, she was also served with a denial of entry to the building by the Inner Circle.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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» Continued in Part 2