Re: Scientology 2/2

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Tue Feb 12 2002 - 06:21:56 GMT

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    From: Keith Henson <>
    Subject: Re: Scientology 2/2
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    At 11:18 AM 11/02/02 +0100, you wrote:
    >>----- Original Message -----
    >>From: <>Dace
    >> > Perhaps we should not intervene on the basis of protecting the cult
    >> members
    >> > but on the basis of protecting the rest of us from cults such as bin
    >> Laden's
    >> > and Aum. I think a lot of people from New York and Tokyo would agree.
    >>It's a free society. We can only interfere with individuals and
    >>organizations when they've broken the law. We can't demonize them first
    >>and then oppose them on moral grounds. Let's not mimic the Christian Right.
    >>Still trying to keep up with the pace....
    >>I know one thing pretty sure, in Belgium here, there is a list ( ordered by
    >>the Ministery of Justice) where upon all the dangerous sekts are mentioned,
    >>Scientology is one of them.
    >>( And IIRC Scientology went to the law against the Belgium authorities, but
    >>and again IIRC the Belgium constitution does have a law allowing it to keep
    >>track of dangerous sekts ), and that against the laws which protect our civil
    >>rights and private life.))

    A posting I made at the time

    From: Keith Henson (
    Subject: Re: travolta lie/babble
    Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology

    Date: 1999/10/23

    Dear Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman:
    Dear Sen. Michael Enzi:

    I understand the two of you are involved with the resolution to condemn
    Germany for the way they are dealing with the criminal cult of Scientology.

    You might consider condemning Belgium first. A few weeks ago the Belgium
    autorities, 120 strong, raided every Scientology organization and all the
    fronts companies in Belgium on charges of fraud, illegal practice of
    medicine and money laundering. This was the biggest raid against
    Scientology since the FBI raided them (130 agents) in the late 70s and 11
    high ranking organizers were jailed for the largest espionage operation
    ever against the US government. From what the Belgium authorities have
    found, Scientology has not changed a bit. They are in criminal trouble in
    France, Greece, and Spain. In the last, Spain wants to imprison the
    president of Scientology for 30 years, but chances are he will jump bail
    and not return.

    You might note that in this country, Scientology is in deep trouble over
    the death of a woman who was held captive by them in Florida.

    I have clipped the name, but the attached below was recently sent to a
    high ranking administration official. Just two days ago I talked to the
    person to whom this had been assigned and they used the term "case" to
    describe the steps already taken. They were so familiar with the details
    that they did not ask about the rumors I mention in the letter.

    I do not suggest that you take any of this at my say so, but you may want
    to have a staffer take a look into the situation. You might decide this
    is a hot potato you don't need.

    Best Wishes,

    Keith Henson

    >>The Belgium government interferes with the life of individuals and with the
    >>internal rules of organizations.
    >>Breaking the law or not, they are watching you....

    From: Piltdown Man (
    Subject: Re: State Dep.-09-05: Belgium - Co$ (incl. raid)
    Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
    View: Complete Thread (4 articles) | Original Format
    Date: 2000-09-07 20:59:13 PST wrote...

    > 2000 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom:BelgiumReleased
    > by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
    > U.S. Department of State, September 5, 2000
    > [snap]
    > Governmental Abuses of Religious Freedom
    > On September 30, 1999, a 110-officer police force raided offices and
    > homes of members of the Church of Scientology. No arrests or
    > convictions resulted from this raid.

    As a Belgian who saw this story play out, I am astounded and frankly
    insulted that this US government publication doesn't mention the reason for
    these raids, which had absolutely nothing to do with Scientology's
    self-proclaimed religious status: the ongoing judicial investigation is
    about fraud and false bookkeeping. While this doesn't seem to have been a
    primary focus of the investigation at first, violations of privacy
    legislation also became a part of it.

    > The Government is unwilling to
    > provide further statements, as the matter is still under investigation.

    "Unwilling"? It's an ongoing criminal investigation for chrissakes. If any
    government official was "willing" to comment beyond what the prosecutor's
    office has said, he'd be breaking the law himself.

    > Church members stated that the Government's seizure and retention of
    > church computers, materials, and files impede the ability of the Church
    > to practice freely.

    Translated into non-Scieno-speak: police officers, under instruction from
    an independently operating investigating judge, raided the places of
    business of a number of intertwined commercial entities (U-Man among them)
    suspected of being involved in large-scale financial wrongdoing and tax
    evasion, and seized their records.

    > The Church also filed a complaint that the
    > Prosecutor's Office provided a statement to the press in violation of
    > secrecy laws; the complaint is pending and no action was taken by mid-
    > 2000.

    And no action will ever be taken on this point, either. All the
    prosecutor's office did was give out some general statements on what their
    investigation was about. That's about how far they can go without violating
    the legally prescribed secrecy of the process (IANAL, but this point I'm
    pretty sure about).

    > The Church of Scientology expressed frustration with a lack of access
    > and communication with the Government, both before and after the
    > September 1999 raids of church property and followers' homes.

    What reason would any Belgian government official have to spend time
    talking to representatives of an obscure organisation which even by its own
    admission has a few hundred members in the country at most? What government
    departments would they be interested in having "communication" with anyway,
    and what about? There's no Ministry of Crazy American UFO Cults. The only
    reason the Belgian authorities got interested in Scientology was because of
    a complaint for embezzlement from an ex-member who couldn't get a refund.
    If they'd simply given the woman whose complaint launched the whole
    investigation her money back when she asked for it (in 1997, IIRC), nobody
    would ever have bothered them.

    > [snap]
    > During the period covered by this report, embassy officials also met
    > with representatives of all recognized religions (Roman Catholicism,
    > Protestantism, Judaism, Anglicanism, Islam, and Greek and Russian
    > Orthodoxy),

    They left out secular humanism, which is also a "recognized religion" in
    Belgium. Recognized means, among other things, that ministers of these
    faiths are on the government payroll. Of course, this doesn't mean that
    people who adhere to "non-recognized" religions are in any way impeded from
    following their faith. Yes, Belgium is truly an example of severe
    state-sanctioned religious intolerance, isn't it?

    > as well as with groups such as the Church of Jesus Christ
    > of Latter-Day Saints, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Church of
    > Scientology.

    Of which the first two groups mentioned have never been the subject of
    criminal investigations for fraud in Belgium. I wonder why that is.

    I am left with the impression that the US State Department thinks that when
    a group of people claim to be a religion, they should be exempt from any
    laws they don't like.


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