The Church of Fear 207


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!


207 thoughts on “The Church of Fear

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  • A Node

    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.

  • Jives

    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?

  • Jives

    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.

  • A Node

    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?

  • A Node

    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?

  • guano

    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.

  • angrysoba

    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.

  • glenn_uk

    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.

  • glenn_uk

    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.

  • glenn_uk

    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.

  • lwtc247

    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.

  • angrysoba

    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.

  • Pan

    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.

  • Fred

    Jives

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

  • Mary

    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!

  • Phil

    “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.

  • Jay

    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?

  • Phil

    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.

  • Phil

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

  • NR

    @ 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?

  • Phil

    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?

  • Fred

    “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?

  • Vronsky

    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?

  • Fred

    “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’.

  • Neil

    “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.

  • NR

    @ 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.

  • Cryptonym

    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.

  • Mary

    [..]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/

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