Archive for category Scientology
In the latest thrilling instalment of a series I like to call ‘Scientology Lolz’, I’d like to take you to Russia, and to a report from the Moscow Times:
“Works by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard will be added to the country’s list of extremist literature for “undermining the traditional spiritual values of the citizens of the Russian Federation,” the Prosecutor General’s Office said Wednesday. The ruling is the latest use of the hotly debated law on extremism to target systems of belief that are not traditional in Russia.” – Source: The Moscow Times
The laws have been pretty controversial over in Russia since their introduction back in 2002, originally to try and curtain the rise in violence against ethnic groups and foreign citizens. However, much like similar anti-terrorism laws here in the UK, the boundaries of what counts as ‘extremist’ or ‘terrorist’ behaviour have proven to be so blurry that lawful citizens have been falling foul of them. Still, we’re not talking about everyday lawful citizens here, we’re talking about scientologists… whom the Russia court have effectively seen fit to ban. As the paper goes on to report:
“Prosecutors said they intercepted 28 individual titles, including books, audio and video recordings by Hubbard that were sent to residents in Surgut from the United States. The materials were sent for study to “psychiatrists, psychologists and sociologists,” who determined that they should not be distributed in Russia, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.”
Individuals in possession of extremist materials can be jailed for up to 15 days or fined 3,000 rubles (which is round about £80 or so).
The ruling of scientology literature as illegal comes in response to a court case last year whereby the cult won the right to be called a religion in Russia, after an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. So it looks like something of a canny move from the law makers who seem intent on keeping the space-cult out of the minds of Russian citizens. Read the rest of this entry »
Scientologists are criminals.
Don’t worry, that’s not a wild assertion made to martyr myself as the next cause célèbre of the libel reform campaign (although that’s not a bad idea – I mean who’d heard of the Simon Singh fella before he pointed out the happily bogus claims of the BCA? That’s right: nobody. And now look at him – front page of the BBC, on every skeptical podcast going, and standingly-ovated every time he leaves the house. I think the only way, therefore, to get big in the world of skepticism is now libel martyrdom. Fuck it – Dereck Acorah eats babies and Rupert Murdoch is a first-class cunt).
Anyway, as I was saying, scientologists ARE criminals. Or, at least, some of them are – according to the cult themselves. In fact, more scientologists are criminals than we previously thought, if the cult is to be believed (which, of course, it probably isn’t – because lots of scientologists are criminals, as I say).
I’ll explain, or rather, I’ll let the Telegraph explain:
Scientology ‘has branch in every English prison’
Scientology has obtained a foothold in every prison in England and Wales, a spokesman for the religion claims, despite official figures which show only three prisoners acknowledge following the religion.
Essentially, the crazy cult (who were convicted of activities listed as ‘fraud in an organised gang’ in France last year) have been targeting prisoners across England and Wales, in an attempt to help them see the error of their ways, go straight, expunge their thetons, audit their woes and generally do all that fun scientological stuff that keeps Tom Cruise bouncing on couches and keeps the creepy, sinister smile on Tommy Davis’ face. You see, their organisation has an entire programme dedicated to the rehabilitation of lags (does anybody other than The Sun use the word lag? I don’t think I’ve ever seen it used. Other than, you know, jet lag – but I think that’s a different context. Is someone who gets jailed for hijacking planes is known as a jet lag? I’d like to think so). Read the rest of this entry »
As followers of international news will know, the small island of Haiti recently suffered a devastating earthquake, leaving thousands dead and destroying the homes and lives of many more.
As we’re increasingly seeing in the wake of these natural disasters, the internet has proven to be a great source of aid and fundraising, with appeals instantly springing up on Twitter and Facebook to raise funds for the distraught citizens and destroyed towns.
But aid from charities like Unicef, The Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières and the Disasters Emergency Committee (please donate to any one of those) isn’t the limit of the help offered to those suffering the effects of the disaster – instead, smelling the desperation and sensing a chance to convert, religious organisations and dangerous cults have descended upon the troubled isle to hoover up the hopeless into their organisations. Read the rest of this entry »
In an update on a story we covered last week, things seems to be going from allegedly bad to allegedly worse for scientology. The St Petersburg Times – who have really taken the group to task in recent months, publishing expose after expose on the inner workings of the sect – have unveiled their latest piece of investigative reporting on the cult. The article lifts the lid on the attempts made by members to leave the group, and the extreme measures undertaken to persuade defectors back into the scientological fold.
Just to recap, recent revelations by the paper have exposed alleged abuse by leader David Miscavige, scientologies role in the death of member Lisa Mcpherson and the alleged cover-up of incriminating documents about her contraversial treatment. And now this latest report follows the attempts made by former members to leave the organisation, and the methods employed by scientology to coax them back to base. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been a bad week for Scientology all round, besides the ruling in France – with Academy Award-winning writer-director Paul Haggis officially and publicly resigning from the group. Paul took action after feeling his concerns over Scientology’s official stance on gay rights were not being addressed, leaving the group after writing a letter outlining his feelings on the issues and his reasons for wanting to disconnect with Scientology – more of which I’ll come to later.
Haggis’ action not only follows the ruling in France, but also the outburst made by Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis on Nightline where he linked the Anonymous movement – a movement allegedly set up to allegedly expose alleged crimes and alleged violations of alleged human rights allegedly by the allegedly alleged church of scientology – to a number of unproven illegal allegations which, to be fair, the presenter did a great job taking him to task on and highlighting that the allegations made by Tommy were not backed up by the FBI. The video is currently up on Youtube and is worth a look. On top of that, Tommy was recently interviewed by journalist Martin Bashir, citing offence of his religious beliefs and storming out after being politely asked to comment on the alien Xenu and the alien tales associated by some to Scientology, which is not recognised as a religion in the UK, Canada, Germany, France, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Isreal, Greece and Mexico, among other countries.
You might remember Tommy from the BBC Panorama programme, where he met with reporter John Sweeney – many times, during John’s attempts to interview other people with views on the practices of Scientology. On the back of those high-profile PR disasters, the open letter from Paul Haggis could not have come at a worst time for the group France classes as a ‘sect’.
In a news story that’s garnered worldwide publicity, two branches of the Church of Scientology in France have been sentenced this week to pay fines of over €600,000 after being convicted of “fraud in an organised gang” by a court in Paris. Four officials of the group, including Alain Rosenberg, the group’s head in France, also received suspended prison sentences of between 18 months and two years alongside fines ranging from €5,000 to €30,000.
The sentence comes at the culmination of case which saw two female former members allege that they were pressured into paying large sums of money to the church after joining in the 1990s. They also alleged that members of the church had harassed them to buy a variety of products including vitamins and to sign up for “purification” courses costing thousands of euros. For listeners who aren’t familiar with purification, it’s a detoxification technique used in scientology variously for religious, spiritual and medical benefits. The program consists of large doses of vitamin B3 Niacin and long, hot saunas, both beyond what is usually considered a safe level, as was detailed in the New York Press in June 2007. Read the rest of this entry »