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Scientology Faces Criminal Charges

A Belgian prosecutor on Tuesday recommended that the U.S.-based Church of Scientology stand trial for fraud and extortion, following a 10-year investigation that concluded the group should be labeled a criminal organization.

Scientology said it would fight the criminal charges recommended by investigating prosecutor Jean-Claude Van Espen, who said that up to 12 unidentified people should face charges.

Van Espen's probe also concluded that Scientology's Brussels-based Europe office and its Belgian missions conducted unlawful practices in medicine, violated privacy laws and used illegal business contracts, said Lieve Pellens, a spokeswoman at the Federal Prosecutors Office.

"They also face charges of being ... a criminal organization," Pellens said in a telephone interview.

Comment:



Attention

Indian Skeptic Charged with "Blasphemy" for Revealing Secret Behind "Miracle" of Weeping Cross

Weeping Statue Scam
© Rationalist International
This morning, officers of the Delhi Police reached Sanal Edamaruku's house to arrest him. They came upon directions of a Delhi court to execute an arrest warrant issued by a Mumbai Metropolitan Magistrate Court (second highest Criminal Court). If Sanal had been at home, he would be in jail now....

The officers were informed that Sanal is presently out of Delhi and traveling. They insisted on details of his whereabouts, addresses and contact numbers. Some hours later, they came again to press for information, to no avail.

What will happen next?

With this dramatic turn of events, Sanal Edamaruku's persecution has reached a dangerous new level. Exposing the "miracle" (watch video [in Hindi] below) of the water-dripping crucifix at the Velankanni church in Mumbai as a plumber's problem, he incurred Catholic fury beyond all trademark forgiveness. Highly alarming is the fact that the Catholic side has managed to secure considerable support from Indian government agencies. The Catholic Church is representing only a small minority of believers in India. But it is backed by a powerful worldwide apparatus, driven by great ambitions to conquer India and make up for its losses in the western world. I don't want the Dark Ages to come to India! Sanal says in the controversial TV program, drawing the battle lines

In the ongoing conflict, Sanal has the evidence-based factual truth on his side - regarding capillary action as well as regarding church history. Moreover, he enjoys the full support of the Indian Constitution that explicitly obliges all citizens to develop "scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform". And then, of course, there is the right to Freedom of Expression (Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.) on his side of the balance tray.

Cult

French court convicts Church of Scientology of fraud

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© Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Senior Paris Scientologist Eric Roux speaks to journalists as he arrives at court on Tuesday.
Paris, France -- A French court on Tuesday convicted the Church of Scientology and six of its members of organized fraud, but stopped short of banning the church.

The court also fined the members as much as 400,000 euros ($595,000) each.

The decision follows a three-week trial in May and June, during which two plaintiffs said they were defrauded by the organization, which is classified as a sect in France.

The Church of Scientology has about 45,000 followers in France, and some of them were in court Tuesday.

Comment:



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."

Comment:



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'

Image
© 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