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Cult

FBI investigates Church of Scientology over claims of human trafficking, enslavement and violence

The FBI is investigating the Church of Scientology over allegations of human trafficking, it is claimed.

Federal investigators have been interviewing former members of the controversial organisation, which counts Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its followers, over allegations of enslavement and violent treatment.

According to the New Yorker magazine, the FBI is also investigating allegations surrounding David Miscavige - the group's leader and the best man at Cruise's wedding - who has been accused of repeatedly hitting youngsters.

In an interview with the magazine, Hollywood director Paul Haggis spoke out for the first time over his embittered decision to leave Scientology.

'I was in a cult for 34 years. Everyone else could see it. I don't know why I couldn't,' said Mr Haggis, who wrote Million Dollar Baby and Casino Royale.

Comment:



Mr. Potato

Nicolas Sarkozy 'Knew Police Would Come Looking for Him'

sarkozy sayan
© Unknown
Nicolas Sarkozy predicted that French police would come looking for him days before his marital home with Carla Bruni and his office was raided as part of an ongoing illegal campaign funding scandal.

Fraud squad officers and an investigating magistrate yesterday searched the Paris home of Mr Sarkozy and his wife, as well as the office he moved into since losing his re-election bid in May. Reports of a raid at the offices of a law firm where he is an associate were denied this morning.

Mr Sarkozy lost his judicial immunity as head of state two weeks ago.

Magistrates are investigating claims that house staff of Liliane Bettencourt, heiress to the L'Oréal cosmetics empire and France's richest woman, handed over brown envelopes stuffed with cash to Mr Sarkozy and his aides to finance his successful 2007 presidential campaign.

On holiday in Canada since Monday, Mr Sarkozy has made no public comment on the raids. But Le Parisien quoted him as telling friends in recent days: "I know they'll come looking for me. Nothing will come of it all."

He has previously dismissed suggestions he received illegal payments as an electoral "stink bomb".

Footprints

Australian senator brands Scientology a 'criminal organisation'

Mr Xenophon, an Independent senator from South Australia, used parliamentary privilege to detail a host of serious allegations against the church made by former members.

Among them were claims that the Church of Scientology engaged in extensive criminal activity, including assault; imprisonment; the covering up of sexual abuse; embezzlement of church funds and blackmail. It was also claimed that the church had exerted pressure on some members to undergo abortions.
"Scientology is not a religious organisation; it is a criminal organisation that hides behind its so-called religious beliefs," Mr Xenophon told the senate.

"The letters received by me which were written by former followers in Australia contains extensive allegations of crimes and abuses that are truly shocking - crimes against them, and crimes they say they were coerced into committing.

"There are allegations of false imprisonment, coerced abortions and embezzlement of church funds."

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Book

Nicolas Sarkozy Fury Over Book Portraying Him as a 'Tyrant'

Nicolas Sarkozy
© EPA
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is reported to be furious about a book by one of his own UMP insiders, depicting him as a vengeful, sexually manipulating tyrant.

Marie-Cécile Guillaume's novel, The Monarch, His Son, His Fief, is causing a row within France's conservative ranks, for her lightly fictionalized tale about Mr Sarkozy's blinding thirst for power.

The book, to be published on June 14, fleshes out acts of "political violence," including threats and "back-stabbing," by a Sarkozy-based character and his entourage, which Ms Guillaume observed while working as cabinet director for Patrick Devedjian, a UMP legislator in the wealthy Paris suburb of the Hauts-de-Seine - Mr Sarkozy's electoral heartland.

Mr Devedjian, who has had strained relations with Mr Sarkozy since he lost out on a government post in the former administration, is described as a heroic figure opposite a self-obsessed, twitching "Rocky" and "The Monarch".

Ms Guillaume has said the book includes real dialogue and has not denied the identity of her fictional characters in interviews.

Boat

Former Scientology Member 'Held Against Will Aboard Cruise Ship'

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© ABC News
Australian Valeska Paris has alleged she spent years imprisoned on the Church of Scientology's cruise ship, The Freewinds
A former Church of Scientology member has claimed she was held against her will aboard the Church's cruise ship, The Freewinds, for 12 years.

Valeska Paris, an Australian resident, said she was forced onto the ship by the Church's leader, David Miscavige, when she was 17 after her mother tried to dissociate her from the organisation.

Ms Paris, who was born in Switzerland, moved to the UK at age six, where she was placed in the church's youth wing, the cadet org. At 14, she joined the church's elite Sea Organisation and signed a contract which bound her for a billion years.

"I was woken up in the morning and I was sent to the ship for 'two weeks'," she told ABC TV.

"I did not want to be there. I made it clear I did not want to be there and that was considered bad ethics, meaning it was considered not right."

Ms Paris claimed she was not allowed to leave the ship without an escort during her first six years aboard and was asked to perform hard labour in the engine room.

Star of David

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: Israel is behind Arafat's death

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Deflecting increasing criticism for his administration's role in the assassination of former Lebaneese prime minister Rafik Hariri, Syrian President Bashar Assad claimed Saturday that Israel was responsible for the death of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yassir Arafat.

"Among the many assassinations that Israel has carried out in a systemic and organized manner, the most dangerous one was the assassination of Arafat," Assad said, addressing a conference of Arab lawyers.

Assad, speaking in Damascus, added that "this was done secretly, under the watching eyes of the world. But no country responded - as if nothing had happened at all."

The president, facing pressure from the United states and Europe, said that he fully supported the formation of an international investigation charged with examining the circumstances surrounding Arafat's death, similar to the committee currently charged with investigating Hariri's assassination.

Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem characterized Assad's comments as "ridiculous," and said that -more than anything else - they showed the level of his distress.

In addition, the officials said that Israel has on a number of occasions called on the Palestinians to make public the Arafat medical file.

Die

No Doubt about Iran's Support for Syria

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© Fars News
Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani
Iran's Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani in a meeting with Syrian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Jihad al-Laham blasted the West's pressures and threats against Damascus, and ensured Iran's full and continued support for Syria.

"Iran feels no doubt about its support for Syria," Amoli Larijani said during the meeting in Tehran on Wednesday, and expressed deep regret over the western countries' oppressions against the friendly and brotherly country of Syria.

He further expressed pleasure in the progresses made in Syria, including the approval of a new Constitution and holding new elections, and said, "Given the abilities that it has the support that it receives from certain countries, we rest assured that Syria will move towards progress and excellence and will, God willing, go past these problems."

Amoli Larijani also viewed Syria's resistance against the Zionist regime of Israel as the root cause of the western countries' pressure on Damascus.

Many regional leaders have praised Syria for its long-term resistance against the arrogant powers and advocates of the Zionist regime.

Comment: It should be noted that the word Zionist should are not should not be confused with people who practice the Judaic religion. "Iran has always underlined that it respects Jews, but condemns Zionism as a racist cult." -Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad




Cult

Tom Cruise is Looking Like a Loose Cannon to the Scientologists

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© AFP/Getty Images

Hollywood actor Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is 50 years old today. Actors and actresses who trade on their looks rarely enjoy passing this particular milestone, and Cruise has plenty of other reasons to feel miserable.

He's stuck in rainy Iceland, filming a thriller, while his third wife, Katie Holmes, files for divorce and sole custody of their six-year-old daughter, Suri. At the weekend, his spokesman asked the media to respect the couple's privacy. The tabloids thought about this for a split second before splashing with "TOM AND KATIE TO DIVORCE - more details pages 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 20, 21."

Why the hysteria? Cruise is one of Hollywood's most bankable stars, but he's in the twilight of his career as a leading man. There used to be rumours that he's gay, but no one has ever stood them up. If showbusiness reporters wanted to "out" A-list stars, which they don't, then there are more obvious candidates.

But here's another headline from yesterday: CULT STALKS KATIE. The "cult" is Scientology, to which Tom Cruise has belonged since his twenties. The headline comes from the Sun, whose owner, Rupert Murdoch, took to Twitter on Sunday to describe the religion as "something creepy, even evil".

Tom Cruise is not only the world's most famous Scientologist but also one of its most powerful operatives. Some sources claim he's Number Two to David Miscavige, the leader of the organisation and best man at his wedding to Holmes.

Comment:



Candle

Iran, World Powers End Experts Meeting

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© Unknown
Iran and the six world powers ended two days of talks by technical experts who discussed the details of the two sides' proposals to end the nuclear standoff between Tehran and the sextet.

A statement issued by the European Union at the end of the talks in Istanbul said the discussions lasted a full day and ended early Wednesday.

The meeting was part of the agreement reached by Iran's top negotiator Saeed Jalili and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton at the end of their latest round of talks in Moscow.

After a 15-month hiatus, Iran and the Group 5+1 held several rounds of talks this year, with the latest one in Moscow on June 18-19. At the end of the Moscow talks, Jalili and Ashton announced that they would hold a meeting after talks between their deputies.

Ali Baqeri, who is Jalili's deputy in both negotiations with the world powers and in Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), and deputy head of EU's foreign policy affairs Helga Schmid will meet after the expert meeting which ended in Istanbul today.

After a meeting between Baqeri and Schmid, Jalili and Ashton will meet again. The talks followed three rounds of negotiations between Iran and six world powers that have failed to produce a breakthrough.

It was agreed in Istanbul that Baqeri and Schmid would meet but no date has yet been set, an official who could not be named under EU rules told AP.

The meeting in Istanbul was led by nuclear expert Stephan Klement on behalf of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

The statement said experts from the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) had met with the Iranian team, and "provided further detail of the 5+1 proposal given to Iran in Baghdad (while) Iran shared further detail of their proposal; and the experts explored positions on a number of technical subjects."

Cult

Snipers, Razor wire and Prison cells - Inside the Secret Scientology HQ

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  • 700-acre compound 90 miles from Los Angeles is HQ of Sea Org
  • Centre, dubbed Gold Base, was kept a secret to even Scientologists for decades
  • It's claimed Cruise planned to send Suri to Sea Org
  • Organisation is being investigated by FBI over human trafficking
This is Gold Base, the secret desert HQ of the Scientology Church and the controversial Sea Org group, reportedly central to Katie Holmes's marital split from Tom Cruise.

Ominously for those inside, the razor-sharp fences surrounding the 700-acre compound of Gold Base have spikes pointing in both directions.

With motion sensors along the perimeter and a camouflaged sniper bunker hidden in the hillside above, it is unclear whether the prison-style security is to keep people out or to keep them in - or both. The base, surrounded by hills near the town of Hemet in southern California, was for decades a secret even to most Scientologists.

But now it has been thrust into the spotlight amid claims that Holmes ended her six-year-marriage to the Mission Impossible star over fears that he wanted to send their daughter Suri to join Sea Org.

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