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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  • macky

    “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 ??

  • A Node

    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? …….

  • Geoff

    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.

  • Abe Rene

    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.

  • Mary

    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! 🙂

  • Phil

    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…

  • Phil

    A Node 11 Jan, 2013 – 11:19 am
    “How about you? …….”

    As this is purely a thought game I say yes to the overlap. The new me could console myself that perhaps, just perhaps, there was an escape for the old me. Better still, adopt an afterlife belief. I need time to consider really – I’ll get back to you in 20 years if I’m still on this planet.

    But how about transporting yourself a distance of 1m to sneak in a quick apology?

  • Pan

    @A Node – Your transporter booth question is an interesting one.

    Some thoughts: in the ’20 second overlap’ version, what is not stated, but must be assumed is that there is some kind of signal (like a green light) in the departure booth which tells you that you have ‘arrived’ and are ‘fully re-assembled and alive’ in the destination (Centauri) booth, so that you know when your 20-second ‘bonus’ has started.

    I also assume that the ‘disintegration’ (killing) of you that takes place in the departure booth is supposed to be completely instantaneous and painless.

    But didn’t you get into that departure booth in the first place because you wanted to be somewhere else?

    Surely you (the ‘original’ you) would only be aware of having actually arrived at your desired destination if the ‘original’ you was no longer in existence?

    Given the above conditions, if I really wanted to experience another world like Centauri, by means of the transporter booth, I don’t think the 20-second ‘bonus’ would change my decision in any way. With, or without the 20 seconds, I know I must ‘die’ in the departure booth if I want to ‘know and experience’ my arrival at Centauri, so what’s the difference? Jumping out of the departure booth during those 20 seconds just denies your consciousness the trip, and gives a ‘free trip’ to ‘some other guy’.

  • glenn_uk

    “English Knight” – Saville wasn’t interested in boys. Underage girls was his thing. Actually the BBC was – an is – an arm of the government, always has been. MI5 had an office at the BBC. There’s not a reasonable sentence in your entire silly rant.

  • MJ

    “Saville wasn’t interested in boys”

    According to the report 18% of his victims were boys.

  • English Knight

    Sorry Jon, next I will have to be more circumspect in saying THE TRUTH about Esther Rantzen. You do know Savile happened precisely because no one had the guts to say the truth and PC became the death of many of the abused.

  • Jon

    EK: it was the comment about Helen Boaden that got you deleted (and has done before, iirc). I’ve no idea if she is a lesbian, but it doesn’t matter, and in any case any abusive terminology connected with people’s sexuality is not tolerated here.

    If you think Rantzen knew about Saville’s activities and are willing to put your real name to such a statement publicly, then fair enough. But I am not convinced your “TRUTH” would be very persuasive in court.

  • Pan

    @A Node – I remember an episode of Star Trek in which Captain Jean Luc Picard and some officers were transported somewhere from the ship’s transporter deck, but even though they ‘left’ the ship they didn’t arrive at their destination. In the end, once it was decided that they really did not exist (physically) any more, they were re-created on the ship by ‘extracting’ them from the transporter’s ‘memory buffer’. I don’t remember how they described their experiences of what happened to them while they were ‘away’, but I seem to remember there was some interesting theoretical hypothesizing/analysis of the issues of ‘duplicate existence’ and such things, similar to those in your question.

  • Jives


    “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 ??’

    Well all arguments are conceits,and the more absurd the argument the greater the conceit.

    The ‘ticking bomb’ argument is a conceit of argument used to justify torture.But its Hollywood absurdity to the max really.

    All i opined was in the heat of the train lever scenario i wouldnt have time for the luxury of moral internal debate,id instinctively pull the lever so less were killed and hope ultimately the train companys faulty mechanisms were the real liablility in law.

    Id worry about my moral response afterwards.

  • Jives

    Fred 8.23 am,

    No i dont think the doctor should kill the one to save five in that scenario.

    The boy wasnt going to imminently die anyway as in the train lever scenario.

  • Lemon Puffs

    Where’s the Foreign Secretary? Why does he only come out of the woodwork to throw half arsed accusations at Mr Assad and then scurry back into the darkness before anyone can ask him any questions?

    If Stuart Hall can be arrested for crimes committed in the 1970s why cant the Foreign Secretary be arrested for crimes committed in the 90s when there is enough evidence of the deliberate cover-up of a paedophile ring in North Wales. Impeding the detection of a crime is a crime.

    Anyone else worked out that the whole ‘This Morning’ episode with Cameron was staged to give the impression that the media blackout is self imposed (and overdue) restraint instead of orders from on high?

    It worked out well for all parties concerned except those interested in the truth. Even Philip Schofield seems proud of his mis-placed efforts to bring down the government while still managing to retain his job. How does that work when a minister of the crown gets sacked on the say so of a bent copper acting as a doorman?

  • Jives

    John Goss,

    Thanks for the shill link John.Interesting to see it formalised.

    The problem on this blog is that the shills/trolls we get are just so bad at their jobs.

    We usually suss them within 2 posts.

    Why cant their line managers send us good ones? Are we not a worthy enough target blog? Lol.

    Or perhaps they get sent here just prior to their line manager sacking them for incompetence?

  • Jives

    I see Foxy raised his head yesterday and had a pop at Camerons gay marriage policy.

    But,alas,still no Werrity to be found.

  • Phil

    I can immediately think of two cases for deleting comments: marketing links and repetition.

    But I am troubled that comments are deleted for their content. Yes, even content that repels me. Especially content that repels me. Censorship does not change the unacceptable opinion but it reduces our ability to confront unpalatable untruths. Far worse, censorship can prevent us from recognising unpalatable truths.

    The list of tabboo opinions seems to be groing. As Craig says above about only having like minded friends, only tolerating like minded, “acceptable”, comments is a ghetto.

    Censorship is what they do. We are right and protect the weak.

    This has been a fundamentalist opinion comment from cloud cuckoo land.

  • Michael Stephenson

    Phil, unfortunately Craig can be held responsible for the content of comments posted to his site.

    So at the very least libellous comments have to be deleted.

    O/T There is an AMA (aky me anything)of someone who is testifying at Bradley Mannings trial called Lauren McNamara happening over at reddit right now.
    Unfortunately their servers are having a bit of traffic overload:

  • Pan

    Administrator, please delete the comment from Phil 5:28 pm because the word “ghetto” is offensive to minority ethnic groups living in slum areas.

    “This has been a fundamentalist opinion comment from cloud cuckoo land.” (LOL) Oh well, that gets you off the hook then!

  • Phil

    John Goss 11 Jan, 2013 – 5:08 pm

    Very nice description of shill modus operandi. I think we recognise a few of those!

  • Phil

    “So at the very least libellous comments have to be deleted.”

    Mmmm. Not sure about that. There are pages of libellous comments here that remain intact.

    “Oh well, that gets you off the hook then!”

    Fair cop. I poorly try to disguise my lack of conviction in humour.

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