Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Australia's Channel 7 on Child Labor Abuse

Glosslip gloats about the fact that "Australia’s Channel 7 reporter Brian Seymour did a brilliant expose on the Church of Scientology’s long-standing child labor abuse”. In fact the footage was only brilliant in its manipulation of information and didn't expose anything since most of the show only consists of the say-so of a disgruntled ex-member commenting on teenagers going in and out of the building, punctuated by the exclamations and horrified speechless faces of Brian Seymour repeatedly shocked by the repetitive claims that they have to work 40 hours a day and don't get home schooling (something the CoS denies).

An example of manipulation of information is when we are shown an interview of Astra Woodcraft claiming that at age 15 she had to counsel a 40 years-old man against masturbating and that she had to show him a policy that says masturbating is banned (in reality there is no such policy). Then we are shown a 15 years-old girl entering the building with the exclamation of the reporter horrified that at this age she is trained to be an auditor - presumably to be trained to counsel 40 years-old men against masturbation. In fact, the counseling Astra did (if true as it certainly is not typical) was an ethic counseling, totally different to auditing. The footage deliberately mixes the two to give people a false impression.

Then we get the manipulated Hubbard interview I already pointed in my entry for June 30, in which the BBC deliberately assembled the interview to make Hubbard sound absurd, with of course Brian Seymour commenting “remember, this rambling ruck on tur is revered by Scientologsits”.

We also get the hint that minors illegally commit themselves through contract. Unfortunately the picture they show to illustrate this is precisely where it obviously says that minors need parental consent but you would only see this if you make a stand-still on the word "minors" that is shown for just a split second.

Not surprisingly, the footage ends on the Xenu story, falsely claiming that Scientology beliefs are build on that story.

The whole thing is theatrical and patently ridiculous but of course it is going to be a big hit for uncritical critics who already rave, rant, and ravel about it as can be seen on ESMB and Digg.

L. Ron Hubbard Biography on Video

Official Hubbard biography in video. Needs to be compared of course with critics' version of his life, probably closer to the truth.

Will Smith Defends Tom Cruise

Will Smith finds painful to see Tom Cruise attacked for his commitment to Scientology.
"I’ve met very few people committed to goodness the way Tom is. We disagree on a lot of things. But even with different faiths and different beliefs, at the end of the day, goodness is goodness.

Beck Gets Rave Reviews

Beck gets rave reviews for his latest album:
"Beck is the Eighth Wonder of the World. No one will ever be able to peg him - he seems to come from nowhere with a masterpiece at his side, only to disappear once again. In this month's Modern Guilt, he has done it again, and I am left in absolute amazement."

Perks of penance for Saudi jihadis

Having for a long time studied deprogramming and forcible deprogramming in depth, I have fairly advanced notions on the subject. Those who know me know that I have always taken a strong stand against forcible deprogramming, viewing it as a serious and gross abuse of basic human rights.

However, at the same time, I always thought that, if applied in a non-forcible manner, it could be a good "solution" for the extremists such as Jihad fanatics ready to blow themselves together with countless innocents.

Indeed, the thought process that leads to such extreme is cultic par excellence. If only these people could be made aware of the particular illusion they are into, the problem would be resolved by itself.

Force ala Bush is only going to reinforce fanatics in their conviction and motivation and is not a solution in the long term.

Interestingly, this concept is now put forward by unlikely candidates. Indeed, Abdul-Rahman Hadlaq, Director of the "Ideological Security Unit" in Saudi Arabia, is quoted as saying

"You cannot defeat an ideology by force. You have to fight ideas with ideas"
and to put this concept in practice - with relaxed prison settings in exchange of prisoners having to attend religious education classes where Islamic scholars challenge their views.

What is important to me in this setup is that it all be voluntary and that due process be respected. Prisoners should not be detained for their opinion but for actual crimes they committed, and the program should remain strictly voluntary, which seems to be the case.

This s a promising venue and I am curious to see where it will eventually lead.