A response to the Montreal Gazette: Concordia students have the right to hear about Scientology's human rights abuse. This is slightly revised version of the original posted earlier to take into account unconfirmed reports of CCDH's return to Concordia in October.
Concordia administration opens the Scientology can of worms
Controversary has hit Concordia University in Montreal over the appearance of the Scientology exhibit "La psychiatrie: la vérité sur ses abus" (Psychiatry: The truth about its abuses ) at its McConnell Library. The editors of the Montreal Gazette in Scientologists have a right to free speech too have weighed in the on the situation. Concordia's independent paper The Link focused on student protest against the exhibit.
The administration rented space in McConnell Library for the exhibition to the Montreal Scientology group, Commission des Citoyens pour les Droits de l’Homme (CCDH). The equivalent group in anglophone North America is known as the Citizens' Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) who tour a similar "Psychiatry: Industry of Death " exhibit.
"Vociferous criticism has come from the international student-led Scientology protest movement Anonymous joined by Concordia students who have had no connection with them. There has been good coverage from The Gazette , CTV, and Radio Canada . Anonymous Montréal has issued a press release in French ( La scientologie à l'université concordia: inacceptable! ) Steve Faguy, at his indispensable Montreal blog Fagstein, has provided a particularly valuable perspective as a Concordia alumnus.
"Sure, go ahead. Rent McConnell Library to the Global Obliteration of Psychiatry guys. No problem."
The administration has defended its decision to rent space in the library as an appropriate exercise of academic freedom of speech, and the Gazette has commended them. Concordia College president Dr. Judith Woodswood has responded to an inquiry from a member of Anonymous Project Chanology named Charlie on its forum Why We Protest . She points him to the Gazette editorial which she notes with approval "accurately represents Concordia's position."
The issue, however, is not Scientology's right to free speech. The issue is quality of the administration's decision, what it indicates about concern for its students, and what conversations occurred between Scientology and the administration in negotiating the rental of space on campus.
The University is free to rent to whomever they want. The decision to rent space to Scientology, however, is nearly inexplicable except as an exercise in poor judgment and ignorance by those responsible in the decision process.
The theories of L. Ron Hubbard upon which CCDH's war on the mental health professions are based were debunked as dangerous pseudo-medicine and pseudo-psychotherapy within months of the publication of Dianetics in 1950. Numerous suicides and deaths have been implicated in Scientology's practice of pseudo-psychiatric treatment.
In place of argument supported by scientific research and reasoning, CCDH gives students propaganda of the most deranged sort: Nazi psychiatrists caused the Holocaust and 9/11 . There is an epidemic of psychotherapists raping their clients , and psychiatry creates racism . A ten-minute google search would have revealedthat there is nothing of interest in this smorgasbord of intellectual junk-food.
What is even more puzzling is that the University has apparently booked CCDH for an eleven-day return visit in October. The original booking was an exercise in poor judgment. What contacts between Scientologists and the administration took place to arrange a return engagement?
CCDH and the Sea Org Coerced Abortions
Lack of due diligence now confronts the Board of Governors with the fact they are also dealing with an organization that is systematically committing human rights abuses that are becoming known through mainstream media reports in the US like the extraordinary 12-part series by Nathan Baca at ABC-affiliate KESQ in Palm Springs.
Since the beginning of the year three lawsuits have been launched with more in the pipeline alleging slave labor working conditions, human trafficking, child abuse, interrogation by lie detectors, and coerced abortions. Information and background can be found at Jonny Jacobsen's Infinite Complacency.
Here is how CCDH is linked to these abuses. All of Scientology is run by the Sea Org. It is a religious order operated on totalitarian military lines and lead by David Miscavige who holds all power in Scientology. It forms the mid- and executive level management of Scientology everywhere on earth.
Sea Org staff Scientology's Office of Special Affairs (OSA), which is responsible for legal, financial, and external relations. Most importantly, OSA is the Church's intelligence and secret service agency that carries out the character assassination and financial destruction of Scientology's critics known as fair game.
Sea Org management direct the war on psychiatry and the activities of CCDH and enforce the coerced abortion policy among other things. When the Board of Governors deals with CCDH or any Scientology organization it is dealing with the Sea Org and through it with David Miscavige. CCDH is just another department of Scientology, Inc.
The Brutality of Coerced Abortion
Miscavige implemented a staff member policy within months of Hubbard's death in 1986 that there would no longer be children in the Sea Org. The reason is that Sea Org management did not want the additional capital and operating costs to accommodate a growing population of Sea Org children.
To understand how an organization would come to the point of demanding that every woman in its employ who gets pregnant abort and how a woman would comply, I refer you to two indispensable writers: Bob Penny in his Social Control in Scientology and Just Bill's articles on Why Do Scientologists Believe? and Scientology Thought Control.
Basically, there is only one ethical principle in Scientology, the good of organized Scientology as determined by David Miscavige in strict accordance with the doctrines of L. Ron Hubbard. many of which are viciously inhumane and anti-democratic. Pregnant women run counter to the demands of its mission, so pregnancy is an unethical and subversive act.
Coerced Abortion and Concordia's Catholics and Evangelicals
There are human rights abuses that cause more widespread damage like the barbaric shunning practice known as disconnection, but I am going to focus on coerced abortion. It is the most heinous to the Catholic and Evangelical sensibilities of Concordia's founding institutions and the students, parents, faculty, staff, governors, and alumni who adhere to churches of those traditions. Concordia is the merger of Loyola College, founded by Jesuits; and Sir George Williams University named after the founder of the Montreal Young Men's Christian Association.
Pregnant Sea Org women are forced to chose between abortion and being fired from Sea Org. If they resist they are harassed, verbally and physically abused, humiliated, and interrogated with lie detectors to get them to comply. The Sea Org recruits many teenagers from Scientology families proud to have their children in an elite core committed to doing good by whole-hearted dedication to the goal of Clearing the Planet.
A young woman who refuses to abort and leaves Sea Org has no money, no education, no driver's license, and loses all her friends who are forced to disconnect from her. She is given a bill for services unpaid for that may be as much as $120,000. If she speaks critically of Scientology, her Scientologist family members will also be forced to disconnect from her.
The whole process is coercive and abusive of women from start to finish. When feminists learn of what is going on I hope they will rise up in arms.
Janet Honn-Alex of Planned Parenthood Riverside: I just felt that it was strange that they would all make the same decision. Independent of their individual circumstances, they had all made the decision to have an abortion, no matter how old they were or how many children they already had.
Coerced abortions are of interest to Catholics connected to Concordia, including Sr. Françoise Boisvert of the Congrégation de Notre Dame. She is the Director General of Montreal's Marionopolis College and sits on the Concordia Board of Governors. Coerced abortion is also of interest to the Catholic Primate of Canada, Cardinal Marc Ouellet who recently spoke critically of Scientology on two occaisions recently and defended Anonymous' right to free speech.
Does CCDH know about the coerced abortions?
The abortion policy applies only to Sea Org women and not the women among the 95% of "public Scientologists" who form the rank and file. The Sea Org policy and the experiences of the women under it are only known to Sea Org members. Of course, it is well known to former Sea Org women who have spoken out and are filing lawsuits, Anonymous, and now the rest of the world. Tom Cruise and Greta van Susteren do not know about the policy.
Thus, Sea Org members of CCDH know about the abortion policy and are subject to it. Non-Sea Org staffers of CCDH do not know. The Board of Governors might want to have a chat with CCDH officials and query them on this point.
Anonymous Concordia and Marc Headley, Braveheart of the Scientology Oppressed
In the five months to CCDH's return in October the global situation is going to get worse due to Anonymous, Marc Headley, the Catholic Church, and the governments of France and Belgium.
The single most active protester against the University's decision was a Concordia student who had no affiliation with Anonymous. He does now and other Concordia students will join him. Anonymous will continue to raid, as they say, or demonstrate wherever CCDH and CCHR are touring. Anons are coming to San Francisco from all over the West Coast to counter-protest a CCHR demonstration and Industry of Death Exhibit for the Annual American Psychiatric Association May 16 - 21.
Marc Headley is an ex-Sea Org staffer who literally escaped from Gold Base international headquarters on a motorcycle in the rain pursued by OSA security agents. He is in his mid-thirties and the father of two children. His wife Claire was forced to abort twice. He has become the Braveheart of the Scientology oppressed and is rallying the 25,000 ex-Sea Org members to speak up. He defies David Miscavige and isn't afraid of anything.
Marc has filed a complaint for slave labor treatment. His wife Claire Headley has filed for her two coerced abortions. Laura DeCrescenzo was inducted into the Sea Org at 12, married at 16, and forced into abortion as a minor at 17. She faked a suicide attempt by drinking bleach to escape the Sea Org. She has filed. There are more lawsuits in the pipeline and more and more victims of Sea Org religious abuse are speaking up.
The Holy See, France, Belgium, and Sarah Palin
The Holy See has quietly moved into public opposition to Scientology. Cardinal Marc Ouellet in February spoke critically of Scientology to a reporter at Le Soleil. Anonymous Québec hand-delivered a letter commending him, recounting human rights abuses including coerced abortion, and proposing a 12-point program of education and action for the Church. Three days later at his annual press lunch he again criticized Scientology and defended Anonymous' right to free speech. Catholic primates do not speak off the cuff about controversial matters without consultation with the Holy See. Once maybe. Not twice.
This is a green light for North American Catholics and other churches to move in active support of ending the coerced abortions and other human rights abuses in the Sea Org. There are movements going on building to presentation of complaints of human rights violations to the UN. The Holy See, France, and Germany will be important as this unfolds. I can't imagine the Vatican not supporting a complaint for human trafficking and coerced abortions in Scientology. Can you?
The significance of Anonymous is not even appreciated by Anonymous itself. In one year its relentless raiding across North America has been seen all over Europe which has been further conscientized by incessant raiding and appearances in major media by local European Anon cells.
Anonymous Germany was given recognition by the government of Germany which invited them formally and officially to an important Scientology-critical conference in Hamburg last September. Miscavige sent his top-flight lawyers and OSA agents. They tried their standard dirty tricks and got pwned by German security agents, Marc Headley, and anons "for lulz, epic win, and great justice."
In the space that Anonymous has opened up, the usual pressure from the US State Department on France and Germany has abated and those countries have revived legal cases that could mean the dismantling of Scientology there. These cases are against the organization and not individual Scientologists. The charges? Corporate fraud for standard Scientology services and illegal practice of medicine. That is to say, exactly the same things it does uniformly everywhere in the world.
Kookabura - I knew from the moment I heard of the first coerced abortion that Scientology was doomed. Forced abortions will be its undoing. A group that has sunk that far into depravity will not survive. The decency of mankind will rise up and crush it. And the sooner the better.
Do the Concordia Board of Governors, President Judith Woodswood, Vice-President Services Michael Di Grappa, and Sarah Palin really want to jump aboard the sinking ship of David Miscavige's coerced abortions?
Will the Board of Governors snatch defeat from the jaws of Scientology?
This is good for the cause of ending Scientology's human rights abuses. It is bad for Concordia, particularly when Concordia's independent student paper reports Governor Vineburg saying of the University $4MM operating deficit, “We have serious financial problems”.
This is always a risk with controversial issues in academia. However, does the Board really want to say, "The Board of Governors of Concordia University is proud that we lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition, donations, and grants to defend Scientology's right to propagandize our students with pseudo-science debunked in 1950 and anti-psychiatry hate exhibits and hatchet jobs against our psychology department and its students" ? I am wondering what St. Ignatius of Loyola and Sir George Williams would think.
I think it would be a mistake for the Governors to do nothing or cancel the October appearance of CCDH. The students and governors are better served by using an eleven-day CCDH return in October to sponsor a whole range of teaching, discussion, and debate about CCDH, Scientology, and human rights abuses. Since anonymous are mostly poor college students, the psychology department, alumni, corporate donors and sponsors, and the administration would need to fund these events.
There are splendid resources available. Professor Stephen A. Kent of the University of Alberta is a leading academic expert and critic of Scientology. Jean-Paul Dubreuil is one of the most knowledgeable and articulate ex-Sea Org members in Québec. Students need to hear his experiences.
Dr. Ridha Joober of McGill University is the only psychiatrist in living memory who has publicly criticized Scientology. He movingly expressed his profound concern for the potential for depression and suicide among students affected by CCDH's ideas in his interview at the exhibit with CTV. His perspective would be invaluable.
Louise Arbour, the former Supreme Court Justice and High Commissioner of the UN Human Rights Commission lives in Montreal. If the students of Concordia can engage her interest her perspective on human rights abuses and the French and Belgian cases would be invaluable. There are challenging legal issues of religious cloaking that need expert analysis and commentary as Anonymous Québec. recommended in their letter to Cardinal Ouellet. Another valuable perspective is to be had from Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon. She was ambassador to the Holy See in the Bush administration, a heroine of the pro-life movement and now teaches church-state constitutional and comparative law at Harvard.
From the US, students need to hear the direct experience of Marc Headley and other survivors of Scientology abuse, and especially the stories of women close in age to Concordia students like Astra Woodcraft and David Miscavige's niece, Jenna Miscavige Hill. They are former Sea Org children who have founded the wonderful Ex-Scientology Kids. They left because they were being coerced into abortion. Jenna recounts that she was called "a degraded being" for being pregnant.
These are some of the resources available. The University, unwittingly, has catalyzed a public discussion about Scientology's relationship to society among university students that is long, long overdue.
This is serious business. Now is the time time to serve Concordia students' true interests.
A Note on Due Diligence:
Tiresomely, many of Scientology's foes choose to remain anonymous, claiming that critics have been harassed in the past. This is, we suggest, unwise marketing, if nothing else. Never mind the merits of an idea; when it is denounced anonymously, it's the critics who seem sinister.
No one who has read Jeff Jacobsen's sociological study We Are Legion: Anonymous and the War on Scientology would ever write these sentences.
The Anonymous forums on Why We Protest are available to journalists and others looking for information.
Jonny Jacobsen: Infinite Complacency
Bob Penny: Social Control in Scientology
Why Do Scientologists Believe? Scientology Thought Control
Scientology Critical Information Directory:
What is wrong with Scientology?
Brainwashing in Scientology's RPF
Scientology: Is this a Religion?
Malignant Narcissism, L. Ron Hubbard, and Scientology's Policies of Narcissistic Rage
Why We Protest: Media Forum
Shoop credit: Dr. Lilly von Marcab - Scientology cult's "Sea Org": Tax-exempt child abuse, coerced abortions, internal prisons