Excellent review of Fansten’s book, Scientologie: autopsie d’une secte d’Etat

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Astrid

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Jan 8, 2011, 5:22:21 PM1/8/11
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http://infinitecomplacency.blogspot.com/2011/01/2-french-take-on-scientology.html

Jonny Jacobsen, gives a thorough review of French journalist Emmanuel
Fansten's important book, Scientologie: autopsie d’une secte d’Etat.

The book details the depth and methods Scientology has used in France,
to influence politics in its favor. Scientology may be loaded with
public relations and theological foot bullets but politics is one area
where they are master manipulators. Politicians and even academics
simply don't take the time to research Scientology carefully, before
being complicit and often caught in their deceptions. Going against
Scientology's wishes can result in harassment or marginalization (like
demotion in a job) for a politician and to fight Scientology is not
worth the risk. Fansten has several instances of this in his book, and
Jonny mentions them.

Many, perhaps most politicians rarely get beyond the do-good rhetoric
of Scientology's facade, the brochures and spokespeople. They just
don't understand how Scientology really works. They know squat about
the abuses, the secret beliefs, the high costs for courses, the
brainwashing, and the ineffectiveness or dangers in much of the
quackery. At least in France, it isn't all the politicians, because
the have MIVILUDES. So, even with Sarkozy being star-struck over
Cruise, especially with the hearings a few years ago, France has
politicians who are much better informed about Scientology than
politicians in the U.S.

If it weren't for the web, it really does seem to me like it would
almost take a Jonestown-like event for this cult to be stopped though.
Who knows, maybe Haggis's book will turn the tide.

France has a jump way above U.S. politics with their formation of
MIVILUDES, a government task force formed in 2002, designed to protect
people from the dangers in sects/cults like Scientology, and to keep
tabs on their compliance with the law.

Piltdown Man

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Jan 9, 2011, 6:12:30 PM1/9/11
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Astrid <Astrid...@yahoo.com> wrote...

And why not, an excellent review of this review by me.

> http://infinitecomplacency.blogspot.com/2011/01/2-french-take-on-scientology.html

> Jonny Jacobsen, gives a thorough review of French journalist Emmanuel
> Fansten's important book, Scientologie: autopsie d’une secte d’Etat.
>
> The book details the depth and methods Scientology has used in France,
> to influence politics in its favor.

I haven't read the book, but this review, which I've tried to read
thoroughly, fails to mention any way in which Scientology has influenced
French politics in its favour. Could you perhaps correct my apparent
oversights, and mention one political decision which shows the result of
this pervasive influence of Scientology in France? I have to assume you've
read the book yourself, not just this review, otherwise, you wouldn't know
the book is "important".

> Scientology may be loaded with
> public relations and theological foot bullets but politics is one area
> where they are master manipulators. Politicians and even academics
> simply don't take the time to research Scientology carefully, before
> being complicit and often caught in their deceptions.

Please name the French politicians you're referring to, and what decisions
they've taken that make them complicit with Scientology. Those names are in
the book, yes?

But you're right, of course. Scientologists are master manipulators. Those
weird rambling publications of theirs, published in awful, often borderline
gibberish, translations for those Europeans not blessed with the universal
Thetan language of 1930's American English (the language of Source),
translations brimming with appalling grammatical, spelling and hyphenation
errors, and drop caps with the first letter of the original English texts
prominently displayed at the beginning of translated paragraphs, will
immediately lead any European politician or academic into instant
compliance with whatever Scientology wants. After all, European politicians
and academics are all complete idiots, unlike those master manipulators
that make up the Church of Scientologyy. They never wonder: "what bunch of
illiterate retards produced this crap?"



> Going against Scientology's wishes can result in harassment or
> marginalization (like demotion in a job) for a politician and to fight
> Scientology is not worth the risk.

Please name one politician in France who was either harassed, suffered
"demotion in a job", or "marginalization" (how does that work, exactly,
for a politician in a democracy?) because he or she went "against
Scientology's wishes". I can't think of any.

I can come up with a few names for European politicians who tried to turn
being anti-Scientology into a salaried career, or a vote-winning
proposition at election time, though. (Hint: two of those names were
included in the WikiLeaks publication of US diplomatic cables.)

> Fansten has several instances of this in his book, and
> Jonny mentions them.

Where? Unless I've read it very, very badly, this review doesn't mention a
single instance of what you described. Please enlighten us.

The closest thing to what you're suggesting that I can find is a story
about a French civil servant, not a politician, involved in the state's
dealings with "cults", who in his spare time produced a doctoral thesis in
which he apparently expressed very strong personal opinions about
Scientology. That is of course his right. It is also not just the right but
the duty of his administrative superiors to decide that this doesn't sit
well with his duty of impartiality as a civil servant, and take the
decision to move him to different duties, involving matters on which he
hasn't publicly expressed any such opinions. If I were a French citizen, I
would find it very disturbing if they hadn't acted in this
way.

> Many, perhaps most politicians rarely get beyond the do-good rhetoric
> of Scientology's facade, the brochures and spokespeople. They just
> don't understand how Scientology really works. They know squat about
> the abuses, the secret beliefs, the high costs for courses, the
> brainwashing, and the ineffectiveness or dangers in much of the
> quackery.

Well, yes, that's obvious. European politicians live in a total void. They
don't watch TV, they don't read newspapers, they have no internet access,
they pretty much know nothing about anything at all. Not only do they not
know what the general public attitude towards Scientology is, they just
don't care. After all, they're politicians, their voting public is of
absolutely no concern to them. They just take anything that's put to them
at face value, and do whatever the stary-eyed followers of any tiny little
American psychobabble cult they accidentally come across tell them to do.
They're oblivious to the fact that every single piece of reporting on
Scientology I've *ever* seen, in any European language I know, over what is
by now something like three decades of Scientology-watching as a hobby, has
been universally negative. This complete disconnection from reality is why
these politicians keep on being reelected by those of us Europeans who live
in the real world. It's also why Scientology is now so hugely powerful all
over Europe.

I'll just pick a few more points from this review, I really can't go into
everything. Here's one quote:

"Fansten is also mistaken when he says that Hubbard was buried in a
mausoleum in the New Mexico desert: in fact he was cremated. He appears to
have mixed up Hubbard's fate with that of an archive of Hubbard's work kept
in an underground bunker in the New Mexico desert."

This actually solves a little mystery for me: this absurd canard was
included in a French TV documentary broadcast in 2010, proclaiming as fact
(with pictures of the site included) that Hubbard's body is preserved in
some kind of unspecified mummified or embalmed state in an underground
mausoleum, awaiting his resurrection. What made that statement even more
absurd was (a) that anybody can look up what happened to Hubbard's body
after his death in Russell Miller's book, and Russell Miller was actually
interviewed in that documentary, so it's not as if they didn't know about
his book; and (b) that anybody who's even remotely acquainted with
Scientology would know that such preservation of Teegeeack meat bodies
plays no role at all in the belief system, quite the contrary.

So where did this nonsense come from? Well, I have to conclude that it
probably came from the imagination of Emmanuel Fansten. I also have to
assume that he's the kind of journalist who can't be bothered with
easily-checked facts when pure fantasy makes for a more sensational story.
(The fact that there's still a considerable language barrier between France
and the English-speaking world, and that all the vital information about
Scientology is in English is convenient for him.)

Another quote:

"But Fansten's work is not just a cuttings job: it does more than simply
summarise press reports of the developments in France and elsewhere. He has
interviewed deputies, magistrates and members of France's internal security
service, Renseignements Généreaux [sic], and gained access to hitherto
confidential ministerial notes. Throughout his book, Fansten makes it clear
that the pursuit of power and influence was one of founder L. Ron Hubbard's
priorities for the movement. He drives the point home with periodic quotes
from Hubbard himself, often at the head of his chapters. Hubbard's
confidential February 16, 1969 policy letter 'Targets, Defence', for
example, proved rich pickings for his book."

This is a good example of something one sees over and over and over again
in anti-Scientology material from what I like to call the hysterical
school. Yes, Hubbard wrote down all kinds of silly power fantasies about
his future role as dictator of the world. The people who keep on quoting
this silliness don't seem to care that Scientology has never come close to
achieving any kind of real-world power, that for as long as it has been
around it has pretty much only aroused public ridicule or suspicion, and
that Hubbard's career as cult leader was one uninterrupted story of failure
and cockups (admittedly, often hilarious ones, Scientology's one saving
grace -- it's just so damn funny!). Doesn't it ever occur to any of these
people that a tiny little bunch of totally incompetent, self-obsessed kooks
with delusions of super-human powers don't pose a threat to anything?
Sorry, but I really have to wonder about the intelligence level of people
who treat Hubbard's grandiose fantasies about absolute power as if they
were realistic scenarios for a future Scientology coup d'état.

Quote:
"But as well as its obvious presence, it has a hand in pressure groups
where its presence is not always obvious, such as Federation for a
Drug-Free Europe and Human Rights Without Frontiers."

That might be worrisome -- if these supposed pressure groups actually
existed and had influence, and didn't just lead a phantom existence within
the pages of material put out by Scientology, which nobody ever reads.

Here's another quote, about something that's (at least geographically)
close to me:

"The movement has put its money where its mouth is in Brussels, centre of
several key European institutions, including the European Union. In
February 2010, the organisation opened a six-storey European centre in the
centre of the city, adding to its already considerable presence there."

"Its already considerable presence there"?? What does that refer to? The
one and only Curch of Scientology in Belgium, the Brussels org, was quietly
closed without anybody (including me) noticing somewhere in 2009. I don't
know if that new "European centre" is even a delivery org. They also have
had a building in Brussels for years now, which they call the "European
Office for Public Affairs and Human Rights" (at least on the shingle).
Nobody in Brussels notices what, if anything, goes on there. (At least, I
haven't heard that one's been closed down -- but then, it took a very long
time before I heard the Brussels org had been closed down. Somebody should
really go and check whether it's still there, and whether there's any sign
of human activity.)

Anyway, this statement just boils down to: Scientology has enough money to
buy buildings, including one in Brussels (in this particular case: actually
four decrepit old buildings in a not particularly desirable bit of
Brussels, which formerly housed government offices and had stood abandoned
for years before the state finally found someone to take them off their
hands.)

PM (possibly filing one of his last despatches from the embattled remnants
of non-Scientologist Europe)

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