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Scientology On Trial In Belgium 540

Posted by Soulskill
from the fighting-fire-with-fire dept.
dgharmon sends this news from the Atlantic Wire: "After a years-long legal battle, federal prosecutors in Belgium now believe their investigation is complete enough to charge the Church of Scientology and its leaders as a criminal organization on charges of extortion, fraud, privacy breaches, and the illegal practice of medicine. ... Multiple reports and the group's legal history point to one key factor here: The Belgian government won't charge Scientology for being a cult — authorities are focusing on prosecuting it as a criminal organization. Which is a new twist, as most of the group's many court battles over the years have focused on establishing its legitimacy as a religion. ... The Church of Scientology houses its European headquarters in Brussels, so a ban in Belgium could be crippling to the group — and authorities there seem to know it."
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Scientology On Trial In Belgium

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  • Re:Here it comes... (Score:5, Informative)

    by etash (1907284) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @02:52PM (#42443195)
    i don't know alot of mormonism, but scientology has been known to harass, abuse, threaten ex-members, people who disagree with them etc. etc. also check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Snow_White [wikipedia.org]
  • by Press2ToContinue (2424598) * on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @02:55PM (#42443245)

    Operation Snow White was the Church of Scientology's name for a conspiracy during the 1970s to purge unfavorable records about Scientology and its founder L. Ron Hubbard. This project included a series of infiltrations and thefts from 136 government agencies, foreign embassies and consulates, as well as private organizations critical of Scientology, carried out by Church members, in more than 30 countries;[1] the single largest infiltration of the United States government in history with up to 5,000 covert agents. This was also the operation that exposed 'Operation Freakout', because this was the case that initiated the US government investigation of the Church.

    Under this program, Scientology operatives committed infiltration, wiretapping, and theft of documents in government offices, most notably those of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Eleven highly-placed Church executives, including Mary Sue Hubbard (wife of founder L. Ron Hubbard and second-in-command of the organization), pleaded guilty or were convicted in federal court of obstructing justice, burglary of government offices, and theft of documents and government property. The case was United States v. Mary Sue Hubbard et al., 493 F.Supp. 209 (D.D.C. 1979).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Snow_White [wikipedia.org]

  • by Kergan (780543) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @03:00PM (#42443299)

    France has already convicted several senior officials a few years back for crimes such as embezzlement, and contribution to suicide.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientology_in_France [wikipedia.org]

  • by Press2ToContinue (2424598) * on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @03:11PM (#42443447)

    Steven Fishman attested in court that he was assigned by the Church of Scientology to to murder his psychologist, Dr. Uwe Geertz, and then commit suicide.

    The Fishman Affidavit is a set of court documents submitted Steven in 1993 in the federal case, Church of Scientology International v. Fishman and Geertz (Case No. CV 91-6426 (HLH (Tx) U.S. District Court for the Central District of California).

    The Affidavit contained criticisms of the Church of Scientology and substantial portions of the Operating Thetan course materials.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishman_Affidavit [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Here it comes... (Score:5, Informative)

    by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @03:22PM (#42443581) Journal

    How many other churches have, in the modern era, tried to infiltrate the government and destroy evidence against them (Operation Snow White)?

    The Scientologists are bumbling amateurs in this area. The serious religions effectively take over [wikipedia.org] the state. In some cases, the takeover of state by religion was accomplished so long ago that the religion is even considered a state [vatican.va] itself. Once a state is under the control of a monomaniacal cult, all shenanigans committed therein simply don't exist.

  • Re:Here it comes... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @03:26PM (#42443619)
    Pastafarians have pirate skeletons in their closets(because pirate skeletons are cool!)
  • Headquarters (Score:4, Informative)

    by Svippy (876087) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @03:36PM (#42443711) Homepage

    Actually, the European headquarters of Scientology is in Copenhagen (according to this US report [state.gov]), while the Brussels office is merely a lobbying firm for Scientology to the EU.

  • Re:Here it comes... (Score:2, Informative)

    by vlm (69642) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @03:57PM (#42443951)

    I'm pretty sure any religion you'd look at, with exception maybe of pastafarians (yum noodly appendages!) would have huge recent skeletons in their closets

    Buddhism? I think not.
    Paganism? I think not.
    Unitarian universalists? I think not.

    No its pretty much JUST the mainline judeo-christians and fringe cults that misbehave.

  • Re:Here it comes... (Score:4, Informative)

    by teg (97890) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @04:08PM (#42444059) Homepage

    But seriously, is there all that much difference between any of them? Just because we can trace these two churches back to their wacko founders, doesn't mean the other older churches weren't founded by wackos too.

    I believe that there are severe differences from them... Take these two:

    • Scientology is a scam, clearly designed by a science fiction author to part fools and their money
    • Islam was established as a way to control and motivate followers and gain power by a local chief... it just spread a bit much afterward

    In contrast, some of the other religions (Judaism, Christendom, Hinduim, Buddhism) seem to have started out as attempts to understand the world and fill out holes of their knowledge... and then it grew from there. Sure, many sects and leaders have used these to the same ends as the two religions listed above, but at least they don't seem to be started by someone with a clear motive to gain from it.

    That said, that the core of the religions is imagination doesn't prevent many of them from being rich treasure troves of culture and knowledge of what it is, and has been, to be human - created by humans.

  • Re:Here it comes... (Score:5, Informative)

    by kumanopuusan (698669) <goughnourc AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @04:49PM (#42444529)

    You've never heard of the Danites [wikipedia.org]? There was even a Sherlock Holmes story [wikipedia.org] about them.

    Seriously, the EU might be thinking about considering the Church of Scientology a criminal organization, but historically there was armed conflict between the Mormons and their neighbors [wikipedia.org], and the US federal government very nearly went to war with Utah [wikipedia.org].

  • by ChrisMaple (607946) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @05:16PM (#42444769)
    Part of the Protestant Reformation was making the Bible available to the laity, which the Roman Catholic Church opposed.
  • by Tagged_84 (1144281) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @05:29PM (#42444857) Homepage

    ...He does have medals from his service; however, most of them were routine ones awarded for time of service rather than valor...

    That's because the US gives out medals for everything! The guys I used to drink with from the Aussie army would always joke about how useless US medals are, successfully fire a weapon? Medal! Shoot yourself in the foot? Double Medal!

  • by Maxmin (921568) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @05:48PM (#42445007)

    If you're living in a predominately Mormon area, and you're not one of them, you're a lot less likely to be part of their circle, do business with them, marry their children and so forth.

    This as told to me by various Mormon and non-Mormon friends from SLC.

    I suppose this isn't a lot different from other religious groups. But it's worth pointing out.

  • Re:it was (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kergan (780543) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @06:41PM (#42445455)

    Uh huh? Keep in mind that, well, to the west and south of those, some people came up with the steam engine [wikipedia.org], circumnavigated Africa [livius.org] a couple of years before the Portugese eventually did, identified that earth was round [wikipedia.org], and said pretty much everything that needed to be said about democracy [wikipedia.org] and politics [wikipedia.org].

    But yeah, they're all idiots... Maybe [wikipedia.org].

  • Theodemocracy (Score:2, Informative)

    by sourcerror (1718066) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @08:06PM (#42446151)
    That isn't that far from Mormonism either: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodemocracy [wikipedia.org]
  • by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday January 02, 2013 @12:24AM (#42447677)
    With Mormons it's just an allegation that it's all a scam, but with Scientologists we can call up a huge pile of living witnesses and track the scam back to the beginning. The camoflage as a form of worship is just part of the con, and you've fallen into their trap by comparing them with established forms of worship.
    Early Mormon history may be very interesting but a better comparison would probably be with the gangs of New York or Chicago mobsters. Scientology is a racket IMHO.
  • Re:Here it comes... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Your.Master (1088569) on Wednesday January 02, 2013 @03:54AM (#42448425)

    I agree that human nature is the root here, but Hitler was not a "secularist", and Nazi Germany was explicitly Christian (notwithstanding any "no true scotsman" arguments to the contrary).

    "We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out." -Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin on 24 Oct. 1933

  • Re:Catholicism (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kyusaku Natsume (1098) on Wednesday January 02, 2013 @06:22AM (#42448847)

    Complete bullshit. The things that decimated the indian population were the new diseases brought by the europeans. Also, some tribes allied themselves with the invaders for selfish reasons, the conquest of Phillipines was made by an army that mostly was made of indians from Mexico. Without the diseases and local allies the european colonization of America at XVI century would have been impossible. Also, the spanish and portuguese considered humans beings the indians, that's why they brought black slaves from Africa, and you can still find indian communities around all the former spanish and portuguese colonies but not in the east coast of the USA.

    Sadly, the end of the american spanish empire instead of bringing more freedom and prosperity to the indians brought to them even more misery at the hands of the mestizos and the new local withe elite that considered their property titles granted by the Spanish Crown worthless pieces of paper.

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

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