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"Patriotism is the Last Refuge of a Scoundrel": critic of a Cesnur - Introvigne text

[this could be taken as a defamation]

The 2000 Report of the French Mission to Fight Cults, the european pro-cult leader Massimo Introvigne explains:

[my comments in blue color, between square brackets]

The text of M. Introvigne is quoted in its entirety, in braun color, complete critic being needed.

See full text of the report (in French - probably taken and reformatted from here - 240 K)

The French governmental Mission to Fight Cults released on February 7, 2000 its report of activity. According to the French press, it went back and forth with the Prime Ministerís office, as the Mission experiences internal dissension and widespread criticism of its president, Alain Vivien. [so, M. attorney Introvigne, how is it that you feel needed to react so virulently?]

The report confirms the Missionís crisis. The "results" obtained are modest indeed. [Yes? so, how is it that immediateley after its creation, the main coercive criminal cult scientology wanted it destroyed, for at least the fourth time, and that right after the report, he was shouting "scandal!! we are poor victims!"?]

Mostly, the Mission has carried out a propaganda activity in co-operation with different branches of the French administration and with private anti-cult movements. On the political side, little has been achieved. [really? Lots of results are very evident for those who know; would it be only the number of mails received by anti-cultist assocs or individuals, press articles, demands from companies or officials, there is a tremendous difference between before and after the MILS creation, in 13 months only. Therefore, would those be the only results, that could be quite a lot already.]

"Whilst the [second parliamentary] report [on cults] of 1999 suggested a new statute against the crime of mind control, we should unfortunately conclude that there has been no political reaction whatsoever to this proposal".

[The exact quote is here: "Si le rapport de 1999 a préconisé une infraction de "manipulation mentale", force est de constater que cette proposition n'a appelé en l'état aucun commentaire de la part des pouvoirs publics. Pourtant la question de la création d'une infraction revient souvent, et divise même le monde de la lutte contre les sectes. Mais une telle infraction présuppose avant tout que l'on définisse l'objet visé en droit interne sans contrevenir aux libertés publiques traditionnelles et aux libertés fondamentales retenues dans différents textes internationaux et européens auxquels la France a souscrit. " - therefore, Cesnurian translation is quite doubtful, and greatly lacking of nuances. Translating "infraction" by "crime" is'nt correct; that should read: offence, and the original text adds much about this offence, in the direction of human rights respects; which is not quite the direction pointed by coercive cults]

The proposal by Senator About (a member of the Missionís consultative council) of a law allowing the government to disband a number of organizations, aimed directly at the "cults" ("sectes" being, as usual, the preferred four-letter word in French) [we can observe that number count stop at four letters for "sectes"!] has been passed unanimously by the Senate, but has received a number of objections by the government (and, we are told, within the Mission itself) [who told you?- usually, you are rather disert on unknown sources: quote that one, please].

The Mission proposes to disband two organizations: the Order of the Solar Temple and the Church of Scientology. As for the former, the Mission recognizes that it may not exist as a corporate body in France but suggests that a "de facto association" can be disbanded. Apart from the legal problems involved, it is unclear what a dissolution of the non-incorporated Order of the Solar Temple would achieve. Japan itself decided not to disband Aum Shinri-kyo but to put it under surveillance. [here, Introvigne forgets to say that Japanese institutions have gotten some jail sentences about Aum execs and murderers, and that despite new "engagements" by Aum's executives, Japan has not finalized all of the decisions, or that japanese people became quite distrustful about Aumists, which is almost enough to get that criminal cult down.]

"Disbanding" the Solar Temple, as the 1997 incident in Québec proves, would not dissuade the (former) members, still persuaded that a ritual suicide will lead them to a better state of existence, from committing suicide. [is it the advice of Introvigne? Should they shoot again?]

The Solar Templars who committed suicide in Québec in 1997 did not need a legally incorporated structure to perform their tragic deed. In fact, the "dissolution" of the Solar Temple is simply proposed as a desperate symbolic attempt to rescue the general idea that "cults" may be disbanded by simple governmental fiat. Nobody, the Mission thinks, will defend the Solar Temple. And, once the principle is established in respect of the Solar Temple, it will be applied to the Church of Scientology and other organizations. [who could believe such inane "logical conclusions"?]

As for Scientology, the report curiously mentions most of the same quotes from L. Ron Hubbard and incidents described in the 1998 Swiss Report on Scientology in order to draw an opposite conclusion. [a lie, M. Introvigne; where are conclusions "opposite"? Say; quote exactly which ones, because you miss any nuances; the swiss report is quite hard against scientology and other "endoctrinating groups" as well as against what they call the "religious market"; large denominations being not targeted, as you could see from here - 164 K]

The Mission is also quite confused about the Solar Temple. It claims that certain "scholars" (between brackets), who have argued that public action taken against the Order may have been a cause of the tragedy, "ignore chronology".

[the mission does not ignore chronology as much as Introvigne: insisting on the fact that the leader's wife has not been accepted on face value when renewing her passport shows that french or other authorities were quite aware that something was not running okay; but if such an "event" - the word used later by M. I.- can launch the massive killings undertaken by such cults, it demonstrates how much Cesnur, Introvigne, and various other apologists are disdainful of the importance of lives of human beings trapped into dangerous groups. Here a question for you, M. Introvigne: Do you defend the "rights" of an old crazy (now dead) filthy pedophile Gilbert Bourdin to abuse sexually of young girls? Do you, or would you allow our policemen to enter into such criminal groups to jail such criminals? Or do you consider, that such "religious persons" have the "religious right" to perform their "religious "rubbishes on children, because there could be some future risk that they would kill everybody around? Answer, please. And do think about this: do you see often the Vatican, by instance, paying zillions to defend one criminal priest because Vatican's "Public Relations" could be harmed? That's what your much protected scientology cult does.]

In fact, no scholar argued that public hostility was the sole cause of the suicides and homicides. Rather, both Jean-François Mayer and the undersigned have argued that perception of a public hostility by the Solar Temple (something different from hostility in itself) may have played a role, together with other causes, in the tragedy. [really a tricky nuance, isn't it? Who could take such supposed differences as real arguments? The best is that a similar argument has already been taken by scientologists when the People's Temple "suicided" 930 people in Guyana: scientology secret services allegated that the members were feeling bad, they were said to be "under pressure of CIA/FBI" etc... but only ONE person could feel really bad there, and decide such a massacre: the leader Jim Jones.

Another fact: the reverse has been true some months ago, after the US friends of Introvigne into the US CSCE have somewhat pinpointed and offended the Chinese Govt regarding the Falun Gong, neglecting the chinese psychology; then, some US top scholars- (and myself) informed the USA that their stupid handling would lead to reinforced opposition from the chinese govt against Falun Gong: it happened very soon after 1]

This perception was magnified by the arrest of Canadian members of the Temple, by an international police investigation, and by the refusal by French authorities to renew the passport of the leaderís wife, all events obviously having taken place before the first suicides-homicides in 1994. The Mission, thus, not the scholars is the party guilty of "ignoring chronology".

Chronology is not the only thing the Mission ignores. It proposes a definition of "cult" ("secte") introduced as accepted almost unanimously by "psychiatrists, academics, authors of parliamentary reports and even religious activists".

[another twist: the french report does not speak of such an acceptance, but of a "views convergence"; the report says : "this definition of the cult term was greatly eased by the convergence of criteria retained by the most various 'cultic bahaviour's observers' , whatever psychiatrists, scholars, reporters from parliamentary commissions or even from religious [individuals]."

of A "cult", according to this definition, is "an association with a totalitarian structure that may or may not claim to pursue religious aims whose deeds threaten human rights and the social balance (équilibre social)". This is, perhaps, a good definition of the Mission itself. [don't you feel the ridicule of such assertion?]

On the other hand, only a handful of anti-cult "academics" would accept it as a definition of "cult", while among "parliamentary reports" the German report (1998) argued explicitly that no definition of "cult" is possible.

[really? Then why is it that the german Commission wrote 10 pages to define the phenomenon? - with a quite precise documentation from lots of scholars of various disciplines- and to show that it'll not use "sect" "as it is highly questionable", true, but it used it then lots of times under the form "so-called sects", or under the form of "psychogroups" etc? Moreover, the characters of the groups studied into that perspective demonstrate the same problems met by such cults in France and in Germany (now an exact quote from the english original):

"violations of laws ,

abuse of power by individuals who take advantage of legal vacuums which jeopardizes interests protected by the law, such abuse calls for regulatory action by government,

violations contra bono mores derived from the system of fundamental values, and infringements of socila obligations."

True enough, M. Introvigne was not embarrassed to attribute to "his own" Pope Jean Paul II to have said that "nazism and communism were "religions", while the Pope had said the exact contrary; see here]

The operative word here is "totalitarian", and a "totalitarian" association is one where the leader "cannot be removed through a democratic process", is not elected by the majority of members, and has the ultimate power of defining a doctrine that "cannot be contested". Once again, French anti-cultists cannot come out with criteria which may distinguish between a genuine religion and an evil "cult". In the Roman Catholic Church the Pope "cannot be removed through a democratic process", is not elected by the majority of the Catholics, and has the ultimate power of defining doctrine that cannot be contested without, ultimately, leaving the Church. This is also true for countless other religious organizations. [I can only recommend to the readers to get an eye on the original report, so as to be able to find out the important nuances; further, the report adds some interesting parts, like "Cults are defined essentially by a behaviour harming human rights and social balance". That essential part has not been quoted by M. Introvigne; would it fit to the average Christians or other religious people? I don't think so; would it fit to the ultras, from ultra right wings small groups of 'christians', like the FTP - of which M. Introvigne derives his own inner 'beliefs'? my opinion is: yes.]

The additional criteria introduced are not more helpful. There is a lengthy discussion (and an entire separate chapter) about the "infiltration" of economy and businesses as a trademark of the "cults". This is, however, a mere tautology: it is because the "cults" have been preliminarily defined as "evil that the participation of their members in business activities is an "infiltration". [good point, M. Introvigne: how is it that those cults have sometimes such a taste for infiltrating the weapons industry, while christians and some non religious groups, for instance, are actively elaborating "ethical investments" to avoid such categories of anti-human investments?] The same economic activities carried out by members of non "cultic" religions or of the French Freemasonry (whose recent scandals are making the covers of mainline French magazines in these very weeks, and which is well represented in the Mission) are not regarded as "infiltration". [strange, how is it that Cesnur uses also FM members ? I'll check this later]

The key test of the first French parliamentary report on cults, of 1996, of "mental destabilization" (in fact, brainwashing) is now regarded as "interesting but having, in the present status of science, a subjective character making it difficult to be used in a legal scenario". (This may be the reason why the proposal of the 1999 report to create a new crime of mind control has not been taken seriously by politicians.) [from the report, that's the mission, and not specifically the politicians, who has not taken it as usable for the moment: trying to oppose french politicians to the mission is quite a good idea, as it allows me to remind the facts: two french laws have been passed recently and unanimously from right to left, targeting cults]

An additional test is now proposed [wrong again: the "now proposed test" is a list presented in the report as coming from the 1995 report on cults, and the exemple choosen later by Introvigne comes from the European convention about Human Rights, a text often used by Introvigne as a support for his defenses of criminal cults...] : it was in the shape of "equality between men and women": "it would be a serious breach of human rights to admit that groups calling themselves religious may profess a non-equality in this field". Again, this test is useless in order to distinguish between religions and cults since the two largest religions in France, Roman Catholicism and Islam, are often accused precisely of "professing a non-equality", often in stronger terms than "cults".

A large section of the report is devoted to the international problems of France. : [the international problems are those of every country now in Europe, invaded by coercive cults, this is quite clear in the report] It is an incredible text, where rough anti-Americanism and nationalism [no nationalism to be read, unless taking the few notes reminding that France was a very first country having written an universal declaration of human rights, as a "nationalism"] are offered as poor substitutes for logical argument. The report offends the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. legislation on freedom of religion, and the U.S. congressional investigations of religious liberty in France as part of a vast pro-cult conspiracy, involving also the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe) [Poor author Introvigne seeing his last resorts toward celebrity disclosed publicly and internationally? I was not dupe since a long time, as shown in various texts here; and US themselves are certainly much divergent of most cesnurian opinions about cults].

The Mission is apparently proud of its participation at the OSCE meeting in Vienna in March 1999, where the hysterical [name calling again, after the offending title?] reaction of its secretary, Mr Denis Barthélemy, exposed the Mission to severe international criticism. The report continues to blame the criticism of France at that meeting to "the participation of cults", while in fact the strongest criticism did not come from religious movements but from the general reporters appointed by OSCE to introduce the discussion (one of them being the undersigned) [and targeted as one of those fabricating confusion, for sure, we know, M. Undersigned Appointed -by cults- through CSCE, yes, as you said here.].

The report also protests the CSCE hearing in Washington of June 8, 1999, dismissing the witnesses as cultists or cult apologists [the terms used are Introvigne's, and objecting that no French representative was invited to offer an answer, apparently ignoring that the French situation had been the object of a previous CSCE briefing held in Washington on July 30, 1998 (where the undersigned was a witness) [really, we know that, M. Introvigne: now, for those readers who would like to read more about that piece of biased reporting done by Cesnur Chief in Washington, see here]. At that briefing, the ambassadors of the relevant countries had been invited, but nobody from the French Embassy had deemed wise to show up. [really? USA had invited some, as far as we know, but I can be wrong here; checkings will be done; now, how is it that you were invited, and not me, for instance?]

The Missionís only argument, apart from its rude anti-Americanism, is that America appears to be at least divided on the issue, since the same Mr Barthélemy has been invited at the yearly conferences of the American Family Foundation both in 1999 and in 2000. Obviously, the American Family Foundation is hardly a counterpart to the U.S. Congress or the Department of State. [certainly, and perhaps supreme courts or courts in US have some considerations of intereston scientology by instance ? Look what they wrote about scientology]

But the Foundation, who has recently tried to distance itself from the most extreme forms of anti-cultism, should seriously consider whether its dangerous liaisons with Mr Barthélemy would not place it precisely in the most extreme, lunatic fringe of cult-watching. [What about a similar name calling: "lunatic fringe of the rabid self-called scholars defending the most criminal cults"? Really, M. Introvigne, I think that you could have been drunk when calling names high officials from foreign countries.]

That the Mission is indeed part of this fringe is confirmed both by its continuing assault on scholars (including the rather moderate editors of the collective book Sectes et Démocratie, perhaps evidence that moderation is no defense against the Missionís hysteria), and by its praise and sponsorship of the anti-cult propaganda in French public schools through textbooks, regarded as "fool" in the U.S. even by self-respecting cult critics. [which is why the same high US officials are prudently observing some silence since they got clashed by lots of countries, and inside their own, for their imprudent report on "religious freedom". You are not well informed, M. Introvigne - unless only cults are "informing" you?]

The report praises a textbook including the most absurd atrocity tales about cults (English translation available in this Web site). Commenting on the section on brainwashing in that manual, Dr Benjamin Zablocki, a leading academic exponent of brainwashing theories in the U.S., wrote that it "proves that there can be fools on all sides of an issue. I totally disavow the simplistic theory presented in the paragraph" (quoted with permission). It is probably time for the American cult awareness community to decide whether it wants to support French foolishness, primitive anti-Americanism, and intolerance, or seek elsewhere in Europe partners for a responsible, if difficult, dialogue. [again trying to get Europe countries separated, while to trying to get some attention from Dr. Zablocki, M. Introvigne? Did you ever count how many suits your preferred cult lost or is about to lose in Eu and US? What about the english charity commission refusal to observe and admit "religiousness" into scientology? - what about the various german, swiss, or belgian reports on cults, that you've attacked as much as the french one?]

Ultimately, the report defies ridicule [I doubt Introvigne's name calling does much] by claiming that almost all countries look to France as "one of the homelands of human rights", that France should withdraw from dialogue on this issue with the United States, and should stand firm and proud of its record on religious liberty. Unfortunately, as recent European trends seem to confirm, such forms of nationalism are not merely ridicule, and may cause serious manifestations of hate and intolerance. Nationalism, it should be remembered, is no substitute for the truth. There are instances when, as Samuel Johnson said in 1775, "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel".

[Dr Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784, also wrote: "A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but one is but an insect, and the other a horse still.",

as well as he wrote:

"The advice that is wanted is commonly unwellcome, and that which is not wanted is evidently impertinent."]

(back)I'm not agreeing with chinese govt either, for what it did then. But it was predictable that it could have this reaction after the american report.


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