The Church of Fear

by craig on January 10, 2013 10:37 am in Uncategorized

I attended a launch last night for John Sweeney’s exposure of Scientology – “The Church of Fear”. Get down your bookshop and order a copy now. Carter Ruck and intense legal pressure was only the most “legitimate” form of the threats directed at John to stop this book, including a determined effort to have him sacked from the BBC. Every major UK publisher turned down the book and in the end John’s agent effectively self-published.

I met several escaped (that is the right word) Scientologists at the reception and I have to admit I had not previously realised just how vicious and dangerous this cult is.

I know that some regular commenters here are baffled at my friendship with John Sweeney, particularly after the mocking tone of some of “The Ambassador’s Last Stand”, his BBC documentary of my 2005 campaign against Jack Straw in Blackburn. On that one, no other tone would have got it on screen but after half an hour of fun at my expense, it socked you absolutely between the eyes with the harrowing truth of Jack Straw’s complicity in torture. You may recall that it was shifted at the last moment from 8pm to late night – there was a reason.

I disagree with John about quite a lot – most sharply about Julian Assange. But he is a big-hearted, passionate and honest man, which is what really matters. I have never confined my friends to those who share my political opinions – or I might not have any!

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207 Comments

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  1. Cults have been growing fast here in Britain alongside lack of job security & the obsession of driving the poor further below the poverty line.
    This mis-governed nation is turning the cult, be it freemasonry, Jehovah’s Witnesses, covens, Scientology & working for psychopathic big business into a survival strategy.
    This will get worse until we redistribute land or get Atlee, Wilson honest, compassionate politics back in Britain.

  2. Expect Us…

  3. I’m a Murrayist. Is that a cult? Show me a church not based on fear.

  4. “I’m a Murrayist. Is that a cult?”

    Close, only one letter out.

  5. yep, Celt

  6. He also prostrates himself at the feet of Herr mudjesty, preferring himself to be referenced as a British subject rather than a British citizen.

  7. That’s one way, albeit slippery, to get a K or a P I suppose.

  8. He dislikes JA ,and Medialens as well. Anything that questions the independence of the media he works for really. Which shows that he may be big hearted, but that on matter media, the pocket trumps the reason

  9. Apparently religiosity correlates with insecurity – I read it somewhere. Studies on some island showed than the fishermen on the calm coast were quite secular, those on the stormy coast more devout. So maybe we’re headed in the same direction as the USA, where chronic social insecurity leads to all that holiness.

  10. Michael Stephenson

    10 Jan, 2013 - 12:41 pm

    Ah Scientology, a pyramid scheme that preys exclusively on wealthy westerners to part them from their savings, the absolute epitome of a first world problem.

    The only reason anti-Scientology is a such a cause célèbre is precisely because it effects such a tiny percentage of the population that basically effects no-one. It’s easy to all band together and collectively have a go at something that almost nobody has any real world experience or emotional attachment to.

    It mirrors terrorism in that it attracts a massively disproportionate amount of attention for the size of the threat it actually poses. There are far more serious real world issues to worry about than a few wealthy and gullible westerners getting duped out of their savings.

    I’m sure Mr Sweeney will make a buck preaching to the converted though, good for him.

  11. @Fred,

    There is a belated reply to you on the Baghdad Conference Photos thread.

  12. Whether this particular cult matters or not, in my world, allowing people access to books does matter and murky influences on what gets published matters right to the top of the tree.

    I suggest anyone who reckons this particular book matters should go and order it from their local library. I do this whenever I suspect a useful book is being deliberately side-lined. Most libraries have a small charge – usually under £1 – for doing search-and-deliver on a book they don’t directly own. I’m thinking of ‘Cypherpunks’ here, too. I think a lot of the readers of this blog would be willing to throw in £1 to the cause of spreading that particular title.

    It goes like this: you order the book, fill out a little card and pay your £1 or whatever. They notify you when they find a copy and you borrow it. Sometimes, With small press, self-published or other non-mainstream books, you might get a benighted part timer at the desk who will tell you the book doesn’t exist because they can’t see it on their country stock so make sure you go in armed with the ISBN number and publisher so that you can demonstrate its existence. If they try a bit harder, they’ll find it.

    They have the options of buying a copy for their own stock, ordering it from another library, or applying for use of a British Library deposit copy. They may baulk at this, saying they’d have to pay a fee to the British Library. At this point, be ready to tell them why the book is important, that lots of people you know want to read it and, most importantly, that if they buy their own copy they’ll never again have to pay a British Library fee when people ask for it.

    There are several reasons why this is an excellent thing to do. However they go about getting the book, once your order pulls it into the system, it will come to the attention of a variety of library staff on its way to you. There are still a few members of the library staff who are actually librarians and even some of the ones who aren’t are still interested in the power of books. Seeing a new and interesting book, they tend to consider buying it for the shelves of whichever part of the system they are in charge of. My record so far (that I know of) is a county library buying eight copies of book I ordered, because they then found they’d had (and ignored) requests for it from that many branches.

    As well as being a good helping hand with profile raising, your action will increase the author’s chance of getting a PLR payment. It’s only pennies per loan but, if the book isn’t in many libraries, it’s unlikely to reach the point where the library service bothers to make any payment to the author.

    So – go order books. If you’re not a member of a public library – go sign up now, then order books. It’s free to join, and it doesn’t hurt at all!

    (blasted captcha – that was a HARD sum!)

  13. Sorry – that should have said ‘county stock’ (can’t type, as well as can’t do hard sums.)

  14. I used to take them on in the street, Scientologists, but they were so indoctrinated none of them would listen to any viewpoint but the one they already held. When I told them that their founder L Ron Hubbard was a Satanist and friend of Aleister Crowley they ignored me and tried to talk to other passers by.

    I think they take short leases empty premises to recruit. There was one in Moseley some years back. It’s gone now I’m glad to say. I went in one day for a laugh and did this pseudo test (I think they called it the Oxford test) which was the furthest removed from a test in any seat of academia. The questions were psychologically designed to see how susceptible candidates were to indoctrination, like psychometric tests used in job interviews to ensure they get ‘yes’ people. My score was very low, I was told I would need a considerable amount of help with my progress. I explained how thankful I was to hear it. I would have been very worried if my score had been high. However, you can understand how the weak-minded get sucked in because they then get that pat on the back and congratulations which bring out the ego in everybody.

    Yes these people are dangerous. They take your money. Anybody who exposes them is a prophet of democracy.

  15. This young Syrian woman was not indoctrinated by Scientologists or the MSM. She says that if NATO invades her country and Russia does not back off it will be World War III. The Syrian people are not duped by western attempts to destabilise Syria the way they did with Iraq and Libya. The interviewer calls it a pre-emptive war by proxy.

    http://du119w.dub119.mail.live.com/default.aspx#n=2130185299&fid=1&fav=1&mid=05f5372e-5b1f-11e2-8a1a-00237de3f16c&fv=1

  16. Michael Stephenson

    10 Jan, 2013 - 1:14 pm

    What exactly is the solution supposed to be? Have the State ban Scientology?
    What about all the other lunatic and pernicious religions with severe real world consequences like the Catholic church.

    What about State worship which is so widespread as to be near universal, that causes people to collectively suppress the truth and believe fanciful fairy tales about the benevolence and heroism of their own particular state.

    Cognitive dissonance and a willingness to disregard reality if far more widespread among the population and dangerous, than the apex of stupidity being attracted to Scientology.

    How do you cure a moron?

  17. “How do you cure a moron?”

    Are they the ones that don’t drink coffee?

  18. Is ‘The Ambassador’s Last Stand’ anywhere online? Would love to watch it.

  19. The cure is talking, posting information and writing books. The better informed people are, the less likely they are to be fooled. There’s a great expression – “beware the man who’s only read one book.” All these silly organisations can look impressive when they’re the first one someone has come across or paid attention to. Put them side by side, and it’s immediately clear that at least some of them are nonsense.

  20. John Had you heard this? Wee Duggie is colluding too. Shame on him, Hague and the rest of them.

    Hague: ‘Options open’ on military support for Syrian rebels

    William Hague said the UK had a “moral obligation” to help save lives in Syria

    The UK has not excluded providing military assistance to the Syrian opposition, should the conflict worsen, William Hague has said.

    He told MPs the UK would look to amend the EU arms embargo so “additional assistance” was “not closed off”.

    He also pledged an additional £2m of “non-lethal” support to the Syrian opposition and civil society.

    Labour welcomed the government’s efforts to support political transition in Syria.

    /..
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20969386

  21. Frightening Mary but predictable. They all sing from the same hymn book but they are not singing hymns. They are chanting satanic verses.

    I guess if it comes to WWIII people like me will be considered subversives and killed in drone attacks by the cowards who sit behind computers killing pacifists. If their actions end in victory for the cowards they will be portrayed in Hollywood movies as Audie Murphy type heroes. In a society that paints black white what can we expect. Divine intervention? The consolation I retain in my heart is that Germany was the most powerful nation at the start of WWII.

  22. John Goss, last I heard – only a few months back – the local Scientology group is due to run its events from the Pitmaston Building in Moseley. This news surfaced in 2010 but as far as I know they have not yet started using it for this purpose – I wonder if they have not received planning permission for a change of use?

  23. Addendum – they still have offices off the shopping area of New Street in the centre of Birmingham. They’ve had a presence in the centre for many years – I remember volunteering for a personality test about twenty years ago, and I discovered that my low score could be fixed with an expensive set of courses. I’d vaguely heard it was a cult even then, but the two women who interviewed me scoffed openly at the suggestion.

  24. “There are far more serious real world issues to worry about”

    Have to agree. An exposé of the relationship between politicians, global banking, the oil industry and the corporate media for instance. Now there’s a dangerous cult if ever there was one.

  25. Jon, yes I remember them on New Street in the City Centre. I thought people had got wise to them. Didn’t know they were still trying to get a base in Moseley. Not everybody in B13 is rich! So glad you got a low score in their personality test. I should think most people on this blog would get a low score, perhaps even some of the trolls. That wasn’t an invite trolls to defend yourselves?

  26. Michael Stephenson

    10 Jan, 2013 - 2:53 pm

    Barkbat:

    I’ve had a search about it’s nowhere to be seen.
    Perhaps someone has a recording of it?
    Or perhaps John Sweeney can be convinced to upload the documentary to archive.org.

  27. Well..at least they don’t knock on your door at 8am on a Sunday asking you if you want to be a Mormon, or is that Moron ??
    Think I will pop off now and hang a cross upside down..

  28. John Sweeney – Britain’s Alex Jones?

  29. There was a time when scientologists were banned from entering the country but the cult got a toe hold over here anyway.

  30. Michael Stephenson

    10 Jan, 2013 - 3:01 pm

    Kempe: Do you see the State banning people with certain beliefs from entering our country as a desirable thing?

  31. Completely O/T (well, except Craig does mention he and Sweeney don’t agree on Assange)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/10/us/new-evidence-to-be-introduced-against-bradley-manning.html?_r=1&

    “The prosecutors also said they would present logs of Internet chats in February 2010 between Private Manning and Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, including one in which the two men appeared to be “laughing” together about a New York Times article. The March 17, 2010, article said that the Pentagon had listed WikiLeaks as a threat to military operations and security.”

    Manning and Assange laughed in February about an article printed in March? How is that possible?

    These chat logs are, presumably, those where the US Govt claims the Nathaniel Frank alias is Julian Assange. There’s a lot of problems with whether those chat logs can be authenticated as not being overwritten at a later date. I’ve said before that Nathaniel Frank – an actual person, btw, a campaigner against the US Army’s policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – doesn’t strike me as an alias that Julian Assange would choose. Maybe Bradley Manning (or an Army “forensic investigator”), but not Assange.

    Back on topic: I’ve read some of the stories by Scientology defectors and/or adherents’ families. Absolutely heartbreaking some of them. Scroll down to “personal accounts”:

    http://www.xenu.net/

  32. @John Goss – ah, aleister crowley, the only chap who’ve i’ve ever read where I literally puked from reading a book – marvellous stuff for an under graduate. I think Satanist maybe a bit strong though, more just a massive pervert.

  33. PS to previous post.

    Even worse, the US Government is asking the judge to take “judicial notice” (ie, effectively treat as fact) that New York Times articles and a June 2010 New Yorker profile of Assange as authenticating the chat logs. From Alexa O’Brien, one of the few journalists who has covered the Bradley Manning trial in person from Day 1 and who has produced the only close-as-dammit transcript of proceedings:

    https://twitter.com/carwinb/status/289076311975145474

  34. Keith Crosby

    10 Jan, 2013 - 4:03 pm

    Honest? That rant against the Scientologist was so bogus he nearly lost his Equity card.

  35. John Sweeney’s stand against the evil cult is very brave. I watched both of his BBC programmes about scientology; the first one where he blew up and the second one where he met his tormentors and the cult’s intimidation and surveillance tactics were exposed.

    The guy who runs the “church”, a poison dwarf called Miscavage (Miscarriage?) , is a thoroughly nasty sociopath who governs by fear and intimidation.

    Presumably they have lots of juicy info on their celebrity donors from hours of auditing. These sessions are routinely audited and used against people who want to break out of the cults forced labour camps (Sea Org and Gold).

    Lawrence Wright’s book on Scientology will hit the shops in a couple of weeks. I’ve pre-ordered it. (http://www.amazon.com/Going-Clear-Scientology-Hollywood-Prison/dp/0307700666/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357834003&sr=1-1)

    And another book that will give you nightmairs is “Blown for Good – Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology” by Marc Morgan Headley

  36. Tom Cruise & Scientology: New Book Details Actor’s Involvement In Church, Role It Played In His Divorce
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/09/tom-cruise-scientology-new-book-divorce_n_2441842.html?utm_hp_ref=books&ir=Books

    I have heard of only a few of the ‘celebrities’ on the slideshow.

  37. Would very much like to see the 2005 documentary “The Ambassador’s Last Stand” but it’s as though all references to it have been eradicated from the internet.

    Does anyone know where it can be viewed?

  38. “Kempe: Do you see the State banning people with certain beliefs from entering our country as a desirable thing?”

    In the case of scientology I might be prepared to make an exception besides it’s not so much what they believe but what they do.

  39. Michael Stephenson

    10 Jan, 2013 - 5:43 pm

    People being able to make “exceptions” is the root of all evil.
    It’s very difficult to force yourself to try to never make exceptions, most never try, and those that do will always fail in some way.
    It is still important to try, even for things you viscerally dislike like Scientology or the BNP.

  40. @Michael Stephenson – I know where you are coming from, but I think the matter of making exceptions to rules (moral, legal or otherwise) is a very tricky one and certainly not a ‘black and white’ issue.

    As an example, take abortion – I am not advocating any moral standpoint here, merely using it as an example of a law-maker’s dilemma – suppose a government decides that abortion is so morally reprehensible that it should be illegal – is it then wrong to make an exception for women unfortunate enough to have been raped?

    But I do generally agree that making exceptions can be a ‘slippery slope’.

  41. The trouble with Scientology is the L Ron Hubbard never predicted the rise of the internet.

    His business model cannot cope with a medium that can’t keep a secret, and where users cannot be intimidated into silence.

  42. Michael Stephenson

    10 Jan, 2013 - 6:48 pm

    If abortion is to be equated with murder, if we take that at face value, not question it. WHy should a woman be allowed to murder her child, just because she had been raped. We don’t allow death sentence for the rapist but we allow it for an entirely innocent child just because the mother has hurt feelings? That’s monstrous.

    From the point of view of someone who doesn’t view abortion as murder the idea that exceptions should be made for a rape is silly too, because the law is bad in the first place. the Law needs to be changed, not exceptions made.

    In my opinion making exceptions is universally bad, unless you can come up with a better example, I’m always open to being swayed.

  43. Michael Stephenson

    10 Jan, 2013 - 6:50 pm

    I wonder if L Ron Hubbard started out as an atheist making a point about stupidity and just got sucked in by all the cash he made.
    He did state the best way to get rich was to start a religion. It does seem rather church of the flying spaghetti monster.

  44. @Michael Stephenson – I just don’t think a sweeping statement like “making exceptions is universally bad” can be true.

    An example – “No dogs allowed (except guide dogs)”.

  45. I’m no medical expert, but I’m sure there must be cases where a woman’s life can be threatened by pregnancy or childbirth. If a woman is going to die in childbirth, AND she was raped, it follows that the rapist has now become, effectively, a murderer. Under these circumstances, should the baby, if it survives, have more of a right to live than the mother? If so, how does the motherless baby benefit?

  46. Owen Jones
    Wednesday 9 January 2013

    The Welfare Bill: A government of millionaires just made the poor poorer – and laughed as they did it

    A brutal assault from ideologically-crazed demagogues comes down to this: you have been mugged and therefore your less deserving neighbour should be mugged too.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-welfare-bill-a-government-of-millionaires-just-made-the-poor-poorer–and-laughed-as-they-did-it-8443619.html

  47. Actually the “motherless” baby will most likely be completely parentless – I don’t think rapists generally take responsibility for the offspring of their actions.

  48. and a little extra for good measure:

    Gideon advising a caller how to get round inheritance tax

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qjBec3fpBI&feature=player_embedded

  49. Michael Stephenson

    10 Jan, 2013 - 7:18 pm

    ” I just don’t think a sweeping statement like “making exceptions is universally bad” can be true.

    An example – “No dogs allowed (except guide dogs)”.”

    I think you know by context that I was referring to exceptions made to a persons rights based on some arbitrary criteria, you’re being a bit pedantic here.

  50. Michael Stephenson

    10 Jan, 2013 - 7:27 pm

    “it follows that the rapist has now become, effectively, a murderer”

    I don’t accept this premise at all.

    “Under these circumstances, should the baby, if it survives, have more of a right to live than the mother? If so, how does the motherless baby benefit?”

    You’re forcing a position I don’t actually hold, but I’d imagine that if you believe that a foetus is as much a human being as the mother, taking any action to reduce either’s chance of survival over the other is immoral.

    However this situation is totally contrived and irrelevant.

  51. At about 17 I bought a couple of copies of “Dianetics” mail-order. It was a thick paperback, cost £1.00, and I thought it would make a good xmas present at that price. Some books make impressive claims, this one was unsurpassed – you’ll be able to fly, make yourself invisible, make your eyes glow in the dark, and that was just for starters!

    It arrived, gave my friend a good laugh too when he got his copy, but after about 20 pages we had to abandon the read – it was just too ridiculous.

    However, for the next 15 years we got bombarded with mail from the “church” of Scientology, and they started getting loads of calls at my parents house too. They claimed to be friends of mine, and were anxious for details of my whereabouts.

    That’s how keen on follow-up they are if you buy a £1.00 book off them. Lord knows how they get on your case if you’d officially joined.

    Included in their voluminous bumf were price lists for “courses” they offered – tapes on how to succeed in business, have a successful marriage, dress properly, impress people and so on – these cost upwards of a thousand pounds each even back then. Let’s not get started on their Engram Eliminator machines which costs a fortune per session, so that one could eventually become a “clear”.

    What an absolute scam – they really are having a laugh with this.

  52. Thank you for your reply Michael Stephenson.

    Brain not working well today.

    I’ll shut up now.

    (“Good”, says Mary).

  53. No not at all Pan. I am sorry I interrupted your discussion.

    Your name has triggered this question. Did you ever see a film called Pan’s Labyrinth directed by Guillermo del Toro? Very memorable.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan's_Labyrinth

  54. “People being able to make “exceptions” is the root of all evil.”
    An unsecureable hyper-statement imo, and hinging uncomfortably on the mere freedom to except.

    Pan, The documentary “The Ambassador’s Stand” does seem be missing from the internet…

    Glen -very interesting account of scientology bothering/marketing. I could easily have signed up myself, at a similar wide eyed age.

  55. Craig

    Delighted you’re back and I endorse how you see John Sweeny. Those who only have friends who agree with them do not understand friendship.

    Iain

  56. “You’re forcing a position I don’t actually hold, but I’d imagine that if you believe that a foetus is as much a human being as the mother, taking any action to reduce either’s chance of survival over the other is immoral.”

    I am reminded of the old dilemma of the runaway tram. The brakes have failed and it is hurtling towards five workmen on the track who will surely be killed. You are standing next to the lever which will move the points and turn the tram onto a side line where there is only one workman working. Do you save five lives by pulling the lever?

    The answer, of course, is no. Thou shalt not kill is the rule, by pulling the lever you would be murdering the one workman.

    Now if only we could get this into the heads of people like William Hague who talks of saving lives in Syria by killing innocent people we might get rid of a lot of the evil in the world.

  57. “I am reminded of the old dilemma of the runaway tram. The brakes have failed and it is hurtling towards five workmen on the track who will surely be killed. You are standing next to the lever which will move the points and turn the tram onto a side line where there is only one workman working. Do you save five lives by pulling the lever?

    The answer, of course, is no. Thou shalt not kill is the rule, by pulling the lever you would be murdering the one workman.”

    No sorry, I don’t follow that logic at all. By not doing anything you’re complicit in the deaths of five.

  58. You want to not have such decisions made, yet a decision is made regardless. The one which kills more for the sake of passivity. Passive aggression is possible, doing by not doing.
    I think a root of alot of evil, is people can care more about their laws than they care for people.

  59. “No sorry, I don’t follow that logic at all. By not doing anything you’re complicit in the deaths of five.”

    So let’s take a different dilemma. A doctor has six patients in his hospital all of the same rare blood group. Five of them will die soon if they don’t receive a transplant, the other is healthy apart from a broken leg.

    Do you think the doctor should kill the one to save the five?

  60. So what’s so bad about Scientology? Better a small cult than a globally organised religion.

    For most of my life, TV and newspapers have been telling me how wicked Scientology is, but now I realise that TV and newspapers collude to lie to me and just because all the media agree on something don’t make it so.

    So what do I know about Scientology? Not much more than what the MSM has told me. This same MSM which tells me I need to sacrifice my human rights and my privacy, hate Muslims, love Israel, believe politicians, care about trivia and vulgarity, buy, buy, buy, …

    Scientology is a cult. Zionism is a movement. They don’t care about me, just the opposite. If they’re warning me against Scientology, it’s for their benefit, not mine.

    Unfortunately for the point I’m making, I’m not interested in organisations with belief systems, so I can’t be bothered checking out what it is about Scientology that so worries Them. But any enemy of Them can’t be all bad.

  61. Fred,

    Sorry but i respectfully disagree.

    If killing is wrong then surely it’s better to kill less by pulling the lever?

    I get where you’re coming from but the non-intervensionist must also have exceptions,mitigation?

  62. Scientolgy is a scam,a crock of exploitative shit no doubt.They’re a sinister outfit.

    But,like The Moonies in the 80’s and 90’s they are the whipping boys of the MSM.

    When will the MSM go after the really sinister cult of Freemasonry though?

    The answer is never,because they(the MSM),the cops,judiciary,spooks,banks,royalty etc are all part of it.

    So expect the Scientology crew to take up all the column inches to deflect from addressing the really sinister outfit.

  63. Jives:
    <blockquoteScientolgy is a scam,a crock of exploitative shit no doubt.They’re a sinister outfit</blockquote
    You may be right, Jives, but how can you be so certain? Where has your information come from?

  64. Jives:

    Scientolgy is a scam,a crock of exploitative shit no doubt.They’re a sinister outfit

    You may be right, Jives, but how can you be so certain? Where has your information come from?

  65. I don’t see any difference between worshipping that part of the Creation that is called science and that part that is called finance.
    Thatcher Blair Brown Cameron belong to a religion called Financeology, which I find even more unconvincing than Scientology because the movement of money out of our pockets into theirs weakens us all against the threat of Chinese and Indian power.

    We will have to fight this fiscal dictatorship, like Syrian rebels are fighting, dismantling the false pyramids of power street by street, but in our case against the overloaded institutional power of modern IT run government.
    The bankers have spread their slug pellets over European finances and their bullets over the Muslim dictatorships.
    They are inside the boom of India and China and we are just blindly overcoming the obstacles they put in our path.

  66. Yes, a lot of religions are hostile to their adherents leaving, but isn’t the focus on Scientology a bit Scientologicophobic and therefore racist?* As far as I know, Scientologists don’t actually kill apostates. They just fleece their flock for cash, like most religions.

    Anyway, I remember when the BBC ran some documentary trailer about some guy tracking down the Scientologists and the voiceover saying something like, “And then there was a confrontation…” and the video of some guy yelling incoherently in the face of someone else. When I finally watched the documentary, it turned out that the guy having yelling incoherently, in a rage, was the BBC reporter himself. I thought it was very unprofessional, and completely counterproductive in showing the Scientologist as the saner of the two.

    So, yes, Scientology is a pile of junk and can be easily countered with good-humoured ridicule. But its destructiveness is, ironically, being scaremongered out of proportion.

    * The answer is no, of course.

  67. The ethical dilemma posed by the runaway rail-cart and the workmen went further, as I remember. Instead of just pulling a lever, sending the rail-cart over an alternative track killing one worker rather than the four on the current track, you now have to choose to actively kill that one person instead of the four.

    In this scenario, you see four workmen on a track. One fat worker is taking a break on a bridge further up the track – you are standing next to him when you see the rail-cart coming. You can do nothing, and watch the four workmen be killed. Or you could push the fat man off the bridge, because you know his body will divert the cart. (No arguing about that – it’s true in this situation.)

    This sort of ethical dilemma is discussed at Westpoint (USMA), America’s top military training college. No doubt it serves to explain a few good deaths is best, so the right kind of military intervention is always righteous, and killing innocents is a regrettable necessity. America is always on the side of the angels and, after all, Freedom© isn’t Free.

    *

    It also reminds me of an 80’s version of the ethical dilemma where you had Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein and Thatcher in a room with you. In your hand is a gun with two bullets in it. Who do you shoot?

    A: Thatcher. Twice – just to make sure.

  68. Hey AS: Good to see you didn’t just drop in as a one-off

    In that much publicised video clip you mention, the journalist (the very same John Sweeney) did lose it, and ranted at the very beatifically calm Scientologist in a most unprofessional manner. That clip has gone viral, which was the intent of the CoS all along.

    What that clip didn’t quite capture was the needling Sweeney taken for weeks off these dudes, who’d been following and pestering him at every turn. They were often nasty and accusatory, not to say outright deceitful, and were constantly filming Sweeney. The guy is human, he finally lost his rag. He coughed to his blunder right away, and showed it – and apologised for it – in his own report.

  69. Note about the above post, at 2:05am, in using the term “very beatifically”.

    It was in Mark Twain’s autobiography (I think) that he said something along the lines, that should you find yourself writing a piece and you are inclined to use the word “very”, you should instead use “goddamned”.

    Upon reading this, the Editor will strike out the word “goddamned”, leaving the sentence untroubled by an entirely unnecessary raising of the point to a higher degree.

    Sadly, there is no editor involved here, other than self-editorship which works almost as well as self-regulation and self-censorship. If we had a “Preview” option before the “Submit Comment” option, perhaps it would save at least some hasty (not to say, badly written) comments.

  70. This Sweeney bloke. You call him passionate. He doesn’t seem very passionate about confronting world famous and popular Hollywood stars about their Scientology. Passionate, with redactions.

  71. Glenn: What that clip didn’t quite capture was the needling Sweeney taken for weeks off these dudes, who’d been following and pestering him at every turn. They were often nasty and accusatory, not to say outright deceitful, and were constantly filming Sweeney. The guy is human, he finally lost his rag. He coughed to his blunder right away, and showed it – and apologised for it – in his own report.

    .
    Yes, I remember that the very Scientologists were filming him too so he wouldn’t have been able to edit his goddamned unprofessional rant from his report. I suppose the BBC used his rant for the trailer to a) cut off the Scientologists’ using it exclusively and b) because people like to tune in to watch a good row.

    I know what it’s like to go into frustrated ranting mode myself, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

  72. Mary, I watched the first half of Pan’s Labyrinth some time ago. My Spanish is passable, but not quite up to extracting the full meaning of what seemed to me at the time to be a rather dark and unfathomable film and I gave up on it.

    Having followed your link, I am now interested in watching it again.

    Moral dilemmas are so deep and interesting but this particular ‘commenting’ format we use on this forum does not lend itself well to such discussions, imo.

    The runaway tram, and rare blood group analogies are apt to the subject example I chose, rather hastily. I think they all serve to illustrate just how complex some of life’s decisions can be, particularly if one is trying to arrive at a ‘just’ outcome.

    Unfortunately, things become even more complex when you factor in the duplicitous chicanery of many of those who speak in support of human rights, but act, off-camera, to destroy those same rights.

    As for exceptions, perhaps ‘National Security’ is the exception that proves the rule.

  73. Jives

    Then you think the doctor would be justified in killing the one patient to save the five?

  74. St Esther of Rantzen is quick off the mark and preempts the release of the police report on Savile’s abuse, by appearing on BBC Breakfast to say she knew nothing. Such a super caring lady and so syrupy!

  75. A Node
    11 Jan, 2013 – 12:40 am
    So what’s so bad about Scientology? Better a small cult than a globally organised religion.

    Scientology is global although not on the scale of the Catholic church.

    http://www.scientology.org/churches/regions/united-states-of-america.html

    http://www.scientology.org/david-miscavige.html?org=1

  76. “The answer, of course, is no. Thou shalt not kill is the rule, by pulling the lever you would be murdering the one workman.”

    Fred’s dilemma is an old one that I have best heard expressed in the utilitarian vs kant debate. It is beyond me to summarise the arguments as I prepare to go to work but it is a fascinating and important question. I will return later if anyone is up for discussing this. Although I am very, very far from an expert and prepared to change my pov.

    I agree with fred and kant – against gut instinct, don’t touch the lever.

  77. Can scientology be any better or worse than the other inherited belief systems.

    Sadly what we all need more of, are belief systems.

    The msm has the control to have us believing almost anything.

    Look out for the signs of improvement.

    If the belief is we are all equal. Why bother trying to better?

  78. As my morning coffee is finished I must add that my disclaimer in my above comment does not go far enough in expressing how little I know about kant. However, I was once utterly convinced by a very beautiful german lady and maybe I had other things on my mind. Now I struggle to recall what I found so compelling about her argument. I think it may have been about the arrogance of knowing what is “best” more often results in bad consequences.

  79. Barbara Tucker, the parlimnt square peace campaigner, is in southwark court again today. As not seen on the bbc.

  80. @ Fred 10 Jan, 2013 – 10:27 pm

    “I am reminded of the old dilemma of the runaway tram. The brakes have failed and it is hurtling towards five workmen on the track who will surely be killed. You are standing next to the lever which will move the points and turn the tram onto a side line where there is only one workman working. Do you save five lives by pulling the lever?”

    “The answer, of course, is no. Thou shalt not kill is the rule, by pulling the lever you would be murdering the one workman.”

    The answer isn’t obvious to me. Don’t we applaud a pilot of an out-of-control plane who diverts it into a house, killing two people, to avoid a school where hundreds might die? Should he or she take hands off the controls and leave the crash to chance?

  81. NR
    “Don’t we applaud a pilot of an out-of-control plane who diverts it into a house, killing two people, to avoid a school where hundreds might die? Should he or she take hands off the controls and leave the crash to chance?”

    But how can the pilot know that there isn’t a party, attended by a hundreds + 1 kids, going on in the house?

  82. “If the belief is we are all equal. Why bother trying to better?”

    Better as in having a big shiny new car or better as in having a low carbon footprint and not taking more than your fair share of the worlds resources?

  83. Pull the lever? Push the fat guy? The Zen approach is to unask the quesion – the answer isn’t yes or no, it’s ‘zo’. In the real world you don’t have certainty. The men on the track might hear the wagon coming and jump clear, just at the moment you pull/push. The fat man might fall and die, but miss the track. You would be frozen by your intuitive awareness of these uncertainties. A form of the dilemma crops up as an argument against euthanasia in the case of terminal illness – you can never claim absolute certainty that the patient will die.

    You can try to strip out the chance elements, but it doesn’t help. You are in a laboratory. In front of you is a large red button. Imprisoned in another part of the building are five people; four in one room one in another. If you do nothing, a lethal gas will be injected into the room containing the four people. If you press the red button, the gas will be delivered to the room containing one person. The equipment has been tested many times and has never failed. Do you press the red button?

    A little more information: the four people are David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and Hillary Clinton. The one person is Craig Murray. Did that change your answer?

  84. @Vronsky
    Are you calling craig fat?

  85. “The Zen approach is to unask the quesion – the answer isn’t yes or no, it’s ‘zo’. ”

    I think if that was the approach the answer would be ‘mu’.

  86. “As far as I know, Scientologists don’t actually kill apostates. They just fleece their flock for cash, like most religions”

    That is debatable. Narconon, the dangerous and utterly discredited quackery that poses as Scientology style drug rehabilitation has claimed its fair share of victims.

  87. @ Phil 11 Jan, 2013 – 9:29 am
    “NR — “Don’t we applaud a pilot of an out-of-control plane who diverts it into a house, killing two people, to avoid a school where hundreds might die? Should he or she take hands off the controls and leave the crash to chance?”

    “But how can the pilot know that there isn’t a party, attended by a hundreds + 1 kids, going on in the house?”

    Or the pilot bails, survives, and learns that 101 kids were killed in the house party, while the school was empty for a vacation day.

    The public, instead of hailing a hero, will say they’ve never seen such stupidity and form a flash lynch mob to hunt down the murdering monster.

  88. My answer to those who follow, followers of religions, cults, freemasonry, joiners of clubs, police, army, sectarian hate cults, monarchists, shills, support football teams, company men who over identify with the firm, political parties, LFI, CFI, and so on, is that they are weak faulty incomplete scared individuals, who hope for some form of empowerment or gain by belonging to something that is greater than the individual and in their mind, greater even than the sum of the defective individuals concerned. Even if begun as benign, some will become the purest evil essence. Career, social, financial advancement plays a part in it, simply the opportunity to abuse with impunity random ideologically despised hate figures, a leg-up, protection, exemption from stent, watching, warding, preferment and favour -run through the morally void mind of the initiate. After a while their position within the cult, lodge, or church becomes over-arching, more important than it merits, to the point that they no longer function or integrate within the greater society rather erode it.

    Anyone who wishes to know further should send a postal order, return the signed, sworn oath of allegiance, and I’ll send a membership pack and sacred lapel badge.

    I agree with whoever it was above, it all smacks of ‘something must be done’ panic. There are greater evils afoot than this crummy cult. Why expend so much as an electron in care or concern about this lot. Go after the small fry when the corridors of power are packed with paniced, guileless guilty big fish ripe for netting.

  89. [..]The funny thing was, although I started the job with no strong opinions or political views, after a few weeks of this I became very emotionally wedded to the pro-Israel ideas I was pushing. There must be some psychological factor at work…a good salesman learns to honestly love the products he’s selling, I guess. It wasn’t long before my responses became fiery and passionate, and I began to learn more about the topic on my own. “This is a good sign,” my trainer told me. “It means you are ready for the next step: complex debate.”[..]

    I Was a Paid Internet Shill
    http://consciouslifenews.com/paid-internet-shill-shadowy-groups-manipulate-internet-opinion-debate/1147073/

  90. “If killing is wrong then surely it’s better to kill less by pulling the lever?”

    A bit of logical fallacy there; if killing is wrong then it’s better not to kill.

    These conceited for the Greater Good arguments become even more absurd if you take these already far-fetched scenarios into further extreme but logical reasoning, ie would you rape & sadistically torture to death five children to save the lives of six others ??

  91. A few years ago, while exploring dilemmas like these with some friends, we came up with a new one which I still ponder:

    It is the future, there are teleportation booths on every planet, and the universe is your oyster. The booths work by scanning every particle of your body and mind and instantaneously transmitting the information to another booth where you are rebuilt. It is forbidden to have two versions of yourself in existence at the same time so the instant the scan is finished, that body is disintegrated. The ‘you’ that is built elsewhere comes into existence at that same instant, continuing uninterrupted the thought train of your ‘donor’ body. The technology is 100% reliable and can be repeated indefinitely without damage to your body or consciousness.

    Would you use the booths? I would. Even though I know that I have been killed in one booth, another me continues. As far as I am concerned, I step into one booth and step out of another on the far side of the galaxy. As I look up at the triple moons of Alpha Centauri, huge against the purple sky, I don’t care about my old organic matter turned to ashes 4 light years away. I’m here, now, me, A Node, galactic traveller.

    Now for the twist. Instead of the ‘old’ body dying the same instant as the ‘new’ one is created, there is a 20 second overlap. The ‘old’ me has time to jump out of the booth before disintegration begins. I don’t want to die, that guy on Alpha Centauri is some other me, I’m the real me, kill him. Why should I feel like this? Nothing much has changed from the first scenario. I was quite happy to be killed as long as I knew I would be ‘reborn’ the same instant elsewhere, but not if I’m given an extra ‘bonus’ 20 seconds.

    I’ve been pondering this for 20 years and I still don’t completely understand my feelings. I would unhesitating enter the ‘instantaneous’ booth, but I’m not sure that I’m brave enough to go into the ‘overlap’ one.

    How about you? …….

  92. I wonder what the royal family who gave their patronage to Savile in shovels full think when reading the shocking contents of this document.

    Giving Victims a Voice
    Joint report into sexual allegations made against Jimmy Savile
    http://www.nspcc.org.uk/news-and-views/our-news/child-protection-news/13-01-11-yewtree-report/yewtree-report-pdf_wdf93652.pdf

  93. The BBC do not mention the royal patronage. Pleased to see that Sky News do so.

    http://news.sky.com/story/1036598/savile-report-reveals-full-scale-of-sex-abuse

  94. Mary, I’m gonna guess the royals and others will be more concerned about making sure another fall guy is lined up ready to take more of the heat in case public anger isn’t sufficiently assuaged.

  95. I will check out this book. Readers might also like to look at Andrew Morton’s unofficial biography of Tom Cruise, which is not available in shops the UK because of libel laws, but easy enough to obtain via the internet. I also found out about an amusing South Park parody of Scientology and its “kings” who are portrayed as refusing to come out of a closet -the latter may be just a joke, but the sci-fi legend behind the cult is presented in the sketch, which can be seen on the internet.

  96. I see Mr Mapother aka Tom Cruise intervened.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trapped_in_the_Closet_(South_Park)

    Mapother

  97. Ref Savile. What were the real reasons for Surrey Police and the CPS not prosecuting Savile in 2009? We are being told that there was insufficient evidence. Did Savile threaten to expose some names in the higher echelons of power, perhaps residing in the dying embers of Gordon Brown’s regime.

    Everybody is so sorry now and ‘we must not let it happen again’. How times have we heard that phrase being churned out in recent times in so many spheres. I feel sorry for the victims who have not received any justice. I hope that they join together and get compensation from the BBC, the NHS and whoever else gave Savile free reign in their premises.

    I note we have the unveiling of a Kate portrait (who cares whether it looks like her) today as a diversion and that the raising of the Union flag in Belfast the other day to celebrate her birthday deflected the rioting. Three hearty cheers for Kate I say! :)

  98. How MANY times….

    This is from the Surrey Advertiser online today.

    Jimmy Savile ‘could have been prosecuted after police probe’
    By Chris Caulfield
    January 11, 2013
    http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/s/2127008_jimmy_savile_could_have_been_prosecuted_after_police_probe

  99. Mary 11 Jan, 2013 – 11:07 am
    “I Was a Paid Internet Shill”

    Thank for that link. Bookmarked. Fascinating to hear such accounts. I wanted more detail.

    I found the writer credible. Unlike many commentators. But then perhaps they are shills…

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