Atack talks - October 1995

   I have just returned from the Dialog Centre conference in
Berlin.  I was there to give the paper Scientology: Religion or
Intelligence Agency?, which is probably on the Net by now. My own
involvement with the Dialog Centre goes back several years and I
have recently been appointed to its scientific advisory board
I'll let you guess what I'm an expert on). Dialog Centre began in
the 1970s in Denmark with the specific mission of rescuing
victims of the guru trail in Asia.
   DC continues with this mission, offering Christian dialogue
and help to travellers who have washed up in the prisons,
hospitals and doss-houses of India and Thailand. Members of
Dialog Centre offer Christian alternatives to yoga and
meditation.  Soon after its inception, the problem of cults at
home became evident, and DC set about helping cult victims. I
have given my support to DC because I am happy that it is not an
evangelical group seeking converts, but a genuinely humanitarian
group with a sound academic basis (e.g., president Dr Johannes
Aagaard is a professor at Aarhus University in Denmark). Dialog
Centre shares with Aarhus University one of the few major
research libraries concerning cults.
   The Berlin conference was hosted by Thomas Gandow, who heads
the Berlin Dialog Centre and publishes Berliner Dialog. Gandow
has probably had as much to do with slowing the flood of cults
into eastern Europe as anyone. I was only present for the first
three days of the conference but managed to speak with many of
the attendees.  Academics and clergy were present from Greece,
Bulgaria, Romania, Austria, Russia, Germany, the Czech Republic,
Denmark, Estonia, France and England.
  Professor Alexander Dvorkin, who heads the Russian Orthodox
Church's mission to cults, spoke about the incursions of
Scientology into the bureaucracy, industry, medicine and the
military in Russia.  His alarming talk Scientology in Russia
should be available on the Net in the next few weeks. While
Moscow State University still houses the L. Ron Hubbard library,
the plaque has been discretely removed from the door. The biggest
scandal relates to children affected by fallout from Chernobyl
being subjected to the Purification Rundown by former head of the
Guardian's Office David Gaiman. Dvorkin says that there is uproar
at one Russian sanatorium with accusations that test results were
changed and that some children on the program ended up with pus
filled sores (fununculosis). Gaiman however wept for joy at the
press conference. German television has run a piece alleging that
the children used to show the wonderful results of the program
were in fact recruited in the Ukraine and paid for their
appearance. None of them were victims of Chernobyl.
  The Greek Pan Hellenic Parents Association is currently
fighting off a suit from U-Man Personnel.  It seems that U-Man
doesn't want its connection with Scientology making public. U-Man
has won two suits in Finland, but lost a suit in Estonia.
   A Greek representative produced copies of a PTS type C
declare, which he said was seized during a police raid, showing
the Type C Handling Program purportedly issued by the Invest
Handling Chief OSA EU (Office of Special Affairs Investigation
Department, Europe). Hopefully, this document will make it to the
Net as it shows the extreme control exerted by the cult on its
members. The girl in question was orderd to persuade her parents
to "disconnect" from an "SP".  It has such instructions as the
following: "tell your father that you love him dispite [sic] his
vicious attacks against your beliefs." The order, which is four
typed pages, scripts the entire conversation that the girl is to
have with her parents, for example: "Alev [the supposed SP] is
criminal in what he is doing. He uses parents to fight his own
personal battle.  Dora should state that as long as her parents
maintain their connection to him she will not even consider to
come back home."
   The Lyons case, where a scientologist industrialist leapt to
his death in front of his wife and child, is still under
investigation despite evidence which supports the allegation that
Invest agents were somehow involved with the Mitterand
presidency.  Three people await trial. Meanwhile, the journalist
who published purported telexes from Invest to a Mitterand aide,
has lost a case, having refused to name his sources. The case is
at appeal.
   In Germany, journalist Frank Nordhausen (co-author of Sekten
Concern) has alleged links between Scientology and animal rights
group NOAH. There are allegations that cosmetic producers are
being blackmailed because under German law they have to do animal
testing. If they pay money to a fund, they are not targeted by
the activists.
   While in Berlin, I was also shown documents and newspaper
reports concerning the withdrawal of Berlin state funding from
Narconon in the 1970s. Quite a story!
   In the Czech Republic, a libel action has been lost by the
cult. The Association for Religious Freedom has come into being
headed by a scientologist with a Moonie as secretary. Strangely,
a Mormon was also involved in the group. the Mormons tend to keep
away from FIREPHIM activities. There is some concern about a new
TV station, called Premier which is run by the head of
Scientology's uncle.  Premier received its licence very quickly
and according to a speaker at the conference all new private
stations must broadcast three hours of Premier programmes per
day. As yet there have been no cult related broadcasts.
  Members of the Leipzig counter-cult movement spoke, praising
Thomas Gandow for his rapid intervention after the wall came
down. It seems that East Germany was saved from major influence
by the larger cults, although there is a cult problem there. The
Leipzig group has grown largely from the concern of young people.
It has started to receive funding and now produces its own
  I urged the necessity of joining the  Internet  discussion  and
staying in touch by email.
  My  book  of  the  month  is Margaret Singer and Janja Lalichs'
Cults in Our Midst. I will probably write a review next month.
                           Jon Atack