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article imageFrance Accuses Scientology of Fraud, Schedules Trial

By Carol Forsloff     Mar 2, 2009 in World
Scientology is once again in the news. This time it is not about anything good, at least not for the religion's public relations. France is prosecuting Scientology for its materials and methods that the country believes makes fraudulent and extravagant
Lilly von Macarb in PR News provides a critical discussion of Scientology and once again gives the reader a detailed overview of what's happening in France. These news items, buried at the bottom of information segments, can sometimes reveal what folks need to know as they learn for themselves what faith is or isn't. In a world where some people can create a religion out of whole cloth, people often seek information that comes from outside the religion itself sometimes in order to know about any problems with which they might not otherwise be apprised. McCarb has been done several articles on Scientology that provides that extra information found in the news.
This time McCarb writes about the upcoming trial of France Vs. Scientology scheduled for May 2009. The case surrounds charges made by a woman in 1998 who acquired membership in Scientology after meeting a group of people outside a public transport station. After that the woman paid 140,000 francs for materials that included “purification packs” and books making “extravagant claims.” More about her complaints continued after the initial investigation which is why this case has extended to the present time and over a number of years.
The case is now proceeding to court following Judge Jean-Christophe Hullin's decision that the bookstore in France called “Celebrity Centre,” bookstore and seven top managers should go on trial for committing and practicing as pharmacists without proper qualifications. May 25 is the scheduled trial date.
On a page not yet completed on the Internet a timeline of criminal events involving Scientology is being put together. It includes the convictions in France in the initial timeline as well as charges and convictions that have occurred in other countries in Europe where members of Scientology have been found involved in crime, usually fraud. Other individuals have created reference pages that involve the timeline of specific charges and convictions of the Scientology group in the years before 2000.
McCarb underlines the issue that in publicity surrounding this case Scientology's founder L. Ron Hubbard isn't mentioned. She finds this surprising given the fact that Hubbard faced fraud charges himself in 1978 and fled France after he was sentenced to four years in prison.
The author of the most recent article on Scientology is one of a number of writers who have worked on exposing some of Scientology practices. McCarb covers the history and specifics of Scientology from its literature and from mainstream references in a clearly-refined and specific way. But some folks have gone beyond that to discuss Scientology and got into real trouble for their outlandish ways of doing it.
Keith Henson left the United States following his release of documents Scientology considered secret and helping to initiate a forum on the Internet exposing some of Scientology's practices. Henson's picketing and rhetorical advances, however, created a court backlash because of his particularly unusual ways of advancing his claims. Some see him as a martyr and some as just someone who wants attention.
France isn't the only country recently concerned about Scientology. Although Germany has had its own encounters in past years, during the past month some government leaders have been concerned Tom Cruise, one of the high profile practitioners of Scientology, might use his movie Valkyrie to advance the cause of his religion during his publicity about his recent film. The film has become popular in Germany and therefore a worry to politicians such as Michael Brand, a Christian Democrat. Brand believes that the heroic nature of Valkyrie combined with the charisma of Tom Cruise might mask Cruise' religion Scientology and its questionable practices. Brandt pointed out to his fellow legislators that Cruise had previously advocated Scientology claims previously. Perhaps he was referring to Cruise appearance on the Today Show some years ago defending Scientology in an argument against psychiatry. In any case Brand called for a boycott of the film and asked for his fellows to follow his lead and call for a nation-wide boycott. Brandt declared that the hero of the film, Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, the army officer who was the key figure in a foiled attempt to kill Hitler, would have rebelled against Cruise because of Scientologist's pursuit of what Brand refers to as totalitarian goals.
In the meantime Scientology has been in the news a good deal over the past several months, with the claim of autism and John Travolta's son Jett, who died accidentally in December, which allowed the religion to produce statements about its beliefs which it declared in line with the law. Next came Tom Cruise making the rounds to discuss the film Valkyrie and German authorities" concerns,and now this trial in France, written about by McCarb.
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