Scientology cult still hounding critic after forty years


Scientology critic Paulette Cooper

From the Daily Beast in the USA:

03.29.15

Scientology Former Public Enemy No. 1 Is Still Spooked, 40 Years Later

When Paulette Cooper was the church’s only public critic, she says she faced a ‘campaign of intimidation and destruction.’ Four decades later, despite the church’s denials, she tells The Daily Beast it’s not over.

Forty years after skewering Scientology as a “mental health cult” in her historic exposé, author Paulette Cooper is convinced the church is still keeping tabs on her. She sees the church planting operatives in the nail salon. She believes Scientologists are scrambling her travel plans. They approach as college students writing research papers, she says.

Cooper was the first and for years the only public critic of Scientology. Then she became the church’s Public Enemy No. 1. Ultimately, she was joined by defectors‚ many of whom will appear in Sunday’s HBO documentary based on Lawrence Wright’s book Going Clear.

“I’ve had Scientology spies on me since 1969, and here we are today. How many years is that that I’ve had to deal with these people?” Cooper told The Daily Beast.

In a statement to The Daily Beast, Church of Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw said Cooper’s claims are meritless—and maybe even borderline paranoid. …

Paulette Cooper sued the Church of Scientology in federal court for $25 million back in 1981. In the lawsuit, she alleged that in 1969, L. Ron Hubbard and Boston-based Scientologists burgled her therapist’s office, fleeced the state’s attorney general’s offices of Cooper’s correspondence, and planted members in the Better Business Bureau of Boston and at the law firm repping The Boston Globe, which was writing a piece on the church. A church spokesman at the time dismissed the lawsuit, calling it “one more attempt to gain publicity.”

The Church of Scientology and Cooper did come to a settlement in 1985 for an undisclosed sum. …

She says she still attracts refugees from Scientology, all these years later.

Just this week, an alleged defector wrote to Cooper calling the church a “repulsive right wing cult,” in an email reviewed by The Daily Beast. The woman praised Cooper: “You are the reason I left!”

“We told them, ‘I wrote about a scandal of Scientology and come on, nobody is at a hotel for two nights and has a $16,000 valet bill!’”

Approaches from strangers aren’t always welcome. Cooper says she is still traumatized from the hellish experiences she endured beginning in the late 1960s, when as a freelance journalist she started chasing the Church of Scientology for a magazine article. It was then, she says, that the church launched what she describes as a “campaign of intimidation and destruction.”

When Cooper moved into a new building in 1968, she says, 300 neighboring tenants received letters defaming her. “The church said I was a part-time prostitute and that I had sexually molested a 2-year-old baby,” she said. Then came the bomb scares. A team of Scientology operatives, she says, planted evidence that Cooper (allegedly dubbed “Miss Lovely” by the church for her radiant looks) had mailed anonymous bomb threats to the Church of Scientology in New York. They even pulled a partial fingerprint of hers off of a petition, she says. According to news articles from the 1980’s, the FBI uncovered an alleged smear campaign against Cooper, dubbed “Operation Freakout,” during raids of the church in 1977. The campaign allegedly involved impersonating “an effort to have [Cooper] imprisoned or driven insane.”

A low point came in 1973, Cooper says. Cooper says a new friend who was staying at her apartment, a red-headed man who called himself “Jerry Levin,” was secretly a Scientologist. They would swim in her rooftop pool at night, Cooper says, and Levin would try to convince her to stand on a high ledge with him, 33 stories above the street.

“Why on earth would Jerry want me to climb that ledge?” she said. “He was up there. It would have taken the slightest push, and that would have been in it.”

Cooper went on to write a best-selling book about her experiences, The Scandal of Scientology. But the shadow of the church still lingers over her life, Cooper says.

Scientology critic Tony Ortega, who is writing a book on Paulette Cooper titled The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, says the church employed and still employs spies. “Her story is important history because it could happen again tomorrow,” he said. The Church denied the spying allegations in a statement to The Daily Beast.

Today Cooper, an adopted Holocaust survivor whose parents were killed at Auschwitz during World War II, has rebuilt her reputation—but she still believes that Scientologists are spying on her. She remembers her friend and fellow Scientology critic Robert Kaufman, who wrote Inside Scientology, warning her: “They’ll always know what you’re doing because you’re still a threat to them.” (The Church denied this allegation, as well.)

Cooper, 72, says she is certain the surveillance will increase. “I will have to more cautious when [Tony Ortega’s] book comes out,” she said.

When she gets Facebook friend requests, she refuses them. “Unless I personally know them or know of a book they’ve written against it I do not accept,” she said.

She did recently accept one invitation: from Placido Domingo Jr. “He was a Scientologist and now he’s out. I think we can trust him,” she said.

This past week, Cooper had a pedicure at a hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, and met a woman who was reading Cooper’s newspaper column on dogs and cats.

“You’re Paulette Cooper,” she said, apparently as a fan.

Cooper hesitated. “I still had to ask myself: Could she have followed me there?” she told The Daily Beast.
[150328-scandal-of-scientology-book-cover-embed]

Cooper remembers how her mother went to a beauty shop several years ago and was approached by a woman who ultimately tried to fix up her son, a Scientologist, on a date with Cooper.

Church operatives, she says, have approached her as college students writing a Scientology research paper. “That is one of their standard crapolas,” Cooper said. “I came home one time and there was a student waiting in my lobby and she tells me ‘I’m a student I’m writing a paper on Scientology.’”

They’ve allegedly come as perps in the middle of the night. One time, outside her hotel room, she says she heard someone cackling loudly after failing to jimmy the door. “I’m alone and of course I was scared,” Cooper said. “I had double locked the door, of course. The person was jiggling and trying to get in. Then he laughed loudly.”

Sometimes Scientologists, Cooper claims, have messed with her travel plans.

While traveling to California to give a deposition for a Scientology lawsuit, she says, the second leg of her trip was mysteriously canceled. “I said to myself, ‘I can’t tell the flight manager that I’ve written about the church and they’re going after [me]’—they’d think I’m crazy. So I said to them, ‘I’m having a little harassment problems with a former husband and he likes to play little games on me like canceling my flight.’” It worked, and she was allowed to board the plane.

When Cooper and her husband visited Southern California 11 years ago to spend time with “antis”—former Scientologists—they returned one night to find the safe in their Sheraton Hotel room had been tampered with, she says, and a mysterious glove in the sink. “Sometimes Scientology leaves things so you know it’s them,” she said.

When they checked out, she says, the parking tab was $16,000. “We told [the hotel staff], ‘I wrote about a scandal of Scientology and come on, nobody is at a hotel for two nights and has a $16,000 valet bill!’” she said.

(The Church, which dismissed Cooper’s allegations about the valet bill and the canceled flight, did not address the claim about the glove in the sink.)

That Cooper says she is forced to be extra cautious makes sense to Ortega. “Paulette was under more surveillance than she even realized,” he said. “She was subject of five or six operations.

On Sunday, Cooper’s hosting a viewing party for Alex Gibney’s HBO documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, and she’s even invited her new pal from the Palm Beach hotel salon. “I’ve invited her over to watch,” Cooper said. “She’s such an anti-Scientologist and is so excited to watch the show with me. I feel like I want to give her a chance.”

There are some rather serious allegations in the Scientology expose documentary, “Going Clear.”

HBO’s scientology documentary was the channel’s most-watched documentary in nine years.

Australian priest blames victim for her murder


Jill Meagher, who was murdered in Melbourne. Photograph: Facebook/PR Image/AAP

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Jill Meagher‘s family criticise Catholic priest over ‘disgusting’ claim

Priest reportedly told students at a Melbourne primary school that if Meagher had been more ‘faith filled’ she would have been home and ‘not walking down Sydney Road at 3am’

This victim blaming is even worse for being part of a sermon to primary school children.

Merran Hitchick

Sunday 29 March 2015 06.36 BST

A Catholic priest in Melbourne has reportedly been criticised for a speech in which he said Jill Meagher would have been at home instead of out on the night she was raped and killed if she was more “faith filled”.

Meagher was murdered by Adrian Bayley after a night out Melbourne in September 2012. He was sentenced to life in prison.

The priest delivered his homily at an end-of-term service for a Catholic primary school in Melbourne on Friday and radio station 3AW reported he held up a newspaper article with a picture of Bayley on it to make his point. The report says he told a crowd of about 100 that if Meagher had been more “faith filled” she would have been home and “not walking down Sydney Road at 3am”.

Meagher’s family were outraged by the report and said it was a “stupid thing to say”.

“Adrian Bayley was out there that night looking for a victim and found her,” Joan Meagher, Jill Meagher’s mother-in-law told the Irish Independent. “He was looking for anyone, it didn’t matter to him who the person was.

Thomas Meagher, Jill’s husband, put a statement on Facebook calling the comments “disgusting”.

“What a truly abhorrent lesson to teach a child,” he wrote. “How a human being with such dangerous and misogynistic views can be allowed pass those messages onto children is depressing. Shameful.”

The Catholic Church has apologised for the comments, the Age reports, with one official saying the church did not support the “totally inappropriate” and offensive” comments.

Monsignor Greg Bennett, vicar-general of the archdiocese of Melbourne, went on radio to apologise.

“I’ve spoken with the priest; he acknowledges that the homily wasn’t appropriate and apologises for the offence and upset it has caused,” he told 3AW.

“The reference to Jill Meagher in particular was offensive and inappropriate and the people of Victoria and Ireland mourn her sad and tragic death.

See also here.

‘Kill the gays bill’, after Uganda, the USA?


This video from the USA says about itself:

Jeff Sharlett, author of “The Family” and Rachel Maddow discuss the secretive Republican “C Street House” run by a bizarre conservative Christian group.

As an addition to the earlier post on this blog about United States Christian fundamentalists The Family, also known as The Fellowship; from Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, 6 February 2010, paper edition, page 4, article “Het geheime netwerk van Christus” (Christ’s secret network):

Asked about the recent affair in Uganda, where Family activists have proposed the death penalty for homosexuals, Stephen Haines

son of Family leader Wallace E. Haines jr.

says: “My father probably would have supported that. He always felt very strongly that gays should be punished.”

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

To counter the ‘kill the gays‘ proposal, an activist in California has proposed an ‘Intolerant Jackass Act’

Posted 2 hours ago by Evan Bartlett

This week we reported on the unfathomable news that a Californian lawyer had proposed a bill that would legalise the murder of lesbian and gay people in the state by “bullets to the head”.

Somehow, the Sodomite Suppression Act will actually be put to a signature-gathering stage because under Californian law, anyone who pays a $200 (£134) fee can put forward legislation without it being blocked by the attorney general.

In the unlikely event that Matt McLaughlin’s proposal gathers 365,880 signatures, it will be put to a ballot in November.

However, in much cheerier news, utilising the same loophole, a former politician and community activist plans to propose the Intolerant Jackass Act which brilliantly skewers the original.

The bill proposes that anyone found guilty of suggesting an act to kill gay people “shall be required to attend sensitivity training for at least three (3) hours per month for twelve (12) consecutive months. In addition, the offender or ‘Intolerant Jackass’ must donate $5,000 (£3,367) to a pro-gay or pro-lesbian organization”.

Speaking to Slate, Charlotte Laws explained that although she doesn’t necessarily expect her counter-bill to be passed, she decided she had to “fight fire with fire”.

“The only way to counter [the Sodomite Suppression Act] is… to let people know that most people in California don’t agree with something as incendiary and hateful as what this one attorney proposed.

We have a very open-minded state and country. This is one guy, and there are millions of us who do not agree with this.”

Charlotte Laws, activist and former politician

Israel’s Netanyahu’s unholy alliance with European anti-Semites


This video from France says about itself:

Le Pen’s National Front accused of backing Holocaust denier for office in Paris

15 March 2014

France’s far-right National Front party has placed a Holocaust denier on its list of candidates for the municipal elections in Paris. The candidate, Pierre Panet, has said he “shares the analysis” of Roger Garaudy, a convicted Holocaust denier but that he doesn’t elaborate on his views because it is illegal in France.

Not only in the USA are there anti-Semitic preachers like John Hagee who pretend to be friends of Israel. Not only is there anti-Semitic warmonger and phone hacker Rupert Murdoch from Australia, pretending to be a friend of Israel.

There are anti-Semitic European fascists like that as well.

From Newsweek in the USA:

Netanyahu’s Unholy Alliance With Europe’s ‘Anti-Semitic’ Far Right

By Charles Hawley / March 24, 2015 11:32 AM EDT

“Fear has won the election,” wrote the Spanish paper El País last Wednesday after Israeli voters once again made the right-wing Likud the country’s strongest political party. “In Israel, fear is king and the one occupying the throne is called Netanyahu.” Other papers across the continent were equally disheartened. “Netanyahu’s victory pushes a dignified settlement of the Palestinian conflict far into the future,” wrote Le Monde. In Germany, Tagesspiegel wrote: “At the end of the tunnel, only a tunnel can be seen.”

But one growing faction in Europe is welcoming Benjamin Netanyahu and his re-election with open arms. On the ultra-conservative periphery, among the xenophobic, nativist fringe, right-wing populists are unabashedly rejoicing. For them, Europe is engaged in a battle against encroaching Islam – and the hardliner Netanyahu, they believe, is doing yeoman’s work on the front lines. “Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory is a good thing for several reasons,” Geert Wilders, the vociferous anti-Islam incendiary from the Netherlands, said in an emailed statement. “We share his criticism of Iran . . . and his opposition to a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria.”

“We are very happy,” agrees Filip Dewinter, a leading member of Belgian right-wing party Vlaams Belang. “It is a good thing for Israel, but also good for right-wing parties in Europe because he understands that the first danger for Europe is Islamisation.” David Lasar, a foreign policy co-ordinator for the Austrian Freedom Party, echoed that sentiment. “For sure, I am very happy,” says Lasar, who has worked hard in recent years to develop ties with staunchly conservative parties overseas. “It is a very important step that Netanyahu has won the election.”

From the perspective of a European chauvinistic periphery that has increasingly been striving for mainstream legitimacy in the recent past, the enthusiasm is understandable. As groups like the Austrian Freedom Party, France’s Front National and the Swedish Democrats have long histories of anti-Semitism, recent years have seen them attempting to refocus their enmity on Islam and Islamists. With that shift has come a recognition that Israeli conservatives, with their rejection of a Palestinian state and hardline approach to Islamism, are their natural allies.

The Likud party has been cautiously returning the admiration. …

Sentiments like that are music to the ears of European right-wing parties. “For me, Netanyahu is quite a positive choice,” says Aymeric Chauprade, a member of European Parliament for Front National. “He is very strong against terror and against Islamists.” Kent Ekeroth, a Swedish parliamentarian with the right-wing Swedish Democrats, agrees: “It is far better that Likud won,” he says. “The Left doesn’t take the security situation seriously and, because of that, they are far more likely to appease the Arabs.”

Ekeroth was careful to insist that he wasn’t speaking on behalf of his party. But his message chimes with the increasing number of right-wing populist pilgrims heading to Israel for talks with West Bank settlers, Likud parliamentarians and other conservative leaders. Ekeroth, Dewinter and Lasar have all made the trip, as have Austrian Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache and Wilders. Even Front National leader Marine Le Pen, whose father and party founder Jean-Marie was considered vehemently anti-Semitic, has expressed interest in visiting the country. …

The Swedish Democrats and the Austrian Freedom Party have very questionable pasts. They are still perceived as racists and anti-Semitic by many,” says Yehuda Ben-Hur Levy, a visiting fellow at the Centre for European Reform and a long-time observer of the European far Right. “This is to some extent a way to legitimate themselves – saying, ‘If we go to Israel, you can’t really claim that we are anti-Semitic’.”

Thus far, the right wingers’ visits to Israel have not been given the official stamp of approval. While delegates have often been received by parliamentarians acting independently, they have never been received by a Foreign Ministry delegation or given an official government welcome. But there is some hope on the right that Netanyahu’s re-election may change that. “The understanding between right-wing parties and Israel can only get better under Netanyahu,” says Dewinter of Vlaams Belang. The Austrian press even speculated in December that Strache might soon receive an official invitation.

Israeli daily Haaretz wrote about Herr Strache:

The honor of lighting the torch goes to the brightest jewel in this racist crown – Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of Austria’s Freedom Party. If Jorg Haider was “Hitler’s spiritual grandson,” then Strache is his extremely illegitimate great-grandson. His grandfather was in the Waffen-SS, and his father served in the Wehrmacht. As a university student, Strache belonged to an extremist organization from which Jews were banned, hung out with neo-Nazis and participated in paramilitary exercises with them. Commentators in Austria say that Strache is trying to copy Haider but that he is less sophisticated and ultimately more extreme than his role model. (A selection of Strache’s brilliant comments were published in his interview with Haaretz in March.)

The Newsweek article continues:

Such optimism may not be misplaced. Many conservatives in Israel now see the European right wing as being the only reliable partner on a continent where, they say, anti-Semitism has become rooted in the political mainstream. Right-wing parties, says Kleiner of Likud, “are better at recognising the real danger that Europe is facing from the Muslims . . . . They are less naive than the Left.”

Traditionally, Israeli governments (often secular, or at least not fanatically religious) used to define the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a political conflict about land; not as a religious conflict. When a fanatical Islamophobic Australian Christian tried to burn down the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem in 1969, Israeli police stopped that terrorist. As recently as 2014, Israeli police stopped a Christian fundamentalist terrorist from Texas from blowing up Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem. Defining the Israeli-Palestinian issue as political made that conflict difficult to resolve, but not insoluble.

However, defining the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a religious conflict, as Netanyahu’s Likud party tends to do, pro-or anti-Islam, leads to a conflict where each side claims to have ‘God on its side'; to an insoluble conflict, where Israeli and Palestinian civilians are doomed to live in permanent war. European fascists, hating both Jews and Arabs, love to see both killing each other endlessly.

Such comments endear Netanyahu to the Right. “I am quite happy,” says Fiorello Provera, a senior member of the Italian right-wing party Lega Nord and a former European parliamentarian. “I think that Netanyahu is the right man for the difficult situation.”

Uri Avnery: The Israeli Salvation Front. The huge and growing gap between the very rich and the very poor, which largely parallels the gap between the ethnic communities, is a disaster for all of us: here.

Chileans protest against bishop’s cover-up of child abuse


This 21 March 2015 video is called Chilean Catholics Protest Naming of Bishop Linked to Sex Abuse.

From the BBC:

21 March 2015 Last updated at 19:25 GMT

Hundreds in Chile try to stop Bishop Barros ordination

Protesters in southern Chile have tried to stop the ordination of a Catholic bishop, accusing him of covering up a priest’s sexual abuse of young boys.

Police in the city of Osorno said at least 650 people turned up at the cathedral wearing black in protest against the ordination of Juan Barros.

The protesters say Bishop Barros used his position in the Church to try to deter an investigation into the actions of his mentor, Fernando Karadima.

Bishop Barros denies the allegations.

‘Tremendous problem’

More than 1,000 people wrote to Pope Francis to ask him to review the appointment.

“I believe the Catholic Church is not listening to its people,” said Christian Democrat congressman Sergio Ojeda.

“That is why we are asking for Bishop Barros to show dignity and resign, putting an end to this tremendous problem,” he told La Tercera newspaper.

The top leaders of Chile’s Catholic Church and most of the local authorities stayed away, but the ceremony went ahead in the morning in Osorno, some 900km (560 miles) south of the capital, Santiago.

Protesters outside and inside the cathedral attempted to stop the ordination going ahead.

There was a heavy police presence there and three people were arrested. …

‘Penitence and prayer’

Juan Barros was a protege of Father Karadima, who spent decades training young men to enter the priesthood, and regularly celebrated Mass at a well-known church in Santiago.

In February 2011, the Vatican found Father Karadima, then 81, guilty of sexually abusing children.

The Vatican ordered him to a life of “penitence and prayer” in a monastery in Santiago.

Months later, a judge dismissed a criminal case against him, saying the alleged crimes had been committed too many years before.

The BBC’s Gideon Long, in Santiago, says that before the allegations surfaced, Father Karadima was one of the most respected and influential priests in Chile.

Pope Francis under pressure after appointing bishop suspected of protecting a pedofile priest: here.

Child sex abuse survivors who were handpicked by Pope Francis to advise the Catholic church on how to address the issue are meeting with a senior church official in Rome on Sunday to criticise the Vatican’s handling of a case in Chile. Peter Saunders, a Briton who was abused by two priests as a teenager, told the Guardian that in an emergency meeting with Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who heads the pope’s abuse committee, he would demand action in a case involving a Chilean bishop, Juan Barros: here.

At least 54 Colombian girls sexually abused by immune US military: Report here.

Dutch pedophile priest working with Brazilian children


This video from the USA says about itself:

Abuse Documentary: The Shame of the Catholic Church | Retro Report | The New York Times

31 March 2014

Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has been making headlines for years. Some priests have been punished, but what about the bishops who shielded them?

Read the story here.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Pedophile priest still works with kids’

Today, 03:54

The Dutch pedophile priest Cornelio still works with children. In Brazil he accompanies children in making toys, according to a broadcast of the EO [Dutch Protestant broadcasting corporation] television show Dit is de Dag Onderzoek. The program, which will be broadcast tonight, did research on sexual abuse by missionaries.

Cornelio (90 years old) worked from 1962 to 1988 as the leader of the Roman Catholic youth activities in Vught [Noord-Brabant province, the Netherlands]. He organized children’s camps and taught children crafts lessons.

Congregation

Three men have said to the hotline for reporting sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church [officially recognized by the Dutch Roman Catholic Church] that they used to be repeatedly abused by the priest. They also saw during camps how he abused other boys. The hotline has upheld all complaints and Father Cornelio is also said to have admitted this.

The congregation of the priest promised several years ago to take appropriate action against the man, but Cornelio says he never got any penalty.

According to the investigative journalists of the EO, there are still more pedophile priests not dealt with by their congregations. The congregation of Father Cornelio did not want to respond to the broadcast.

Dit is de Dag Onderzoek, NPO 2 TV, 21:15.