Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The FBI is Investigating Scientology

David Miscavige at a Scientology Event
The New Yorker article, a profile of Paul Haggis, has been posted onto their website.
Online, Haggis came across an appearance that Davis had made on CNN, in May, 2008. The anchor John Roberts asked Davis about the church’s policy of “disconnection,” in which members are encouraged to separate themselves from friends or family members who criticize Scientology. Davis responded, “There’s no such thing as disconnection as you’re characterizing it. And certainly we have to understand--
“Well, what is disconnection?” Roberts interjected.
“Scientology is a new religion,” Davis continued. “The majority of Scientologists in the world, they’re first generation. So their family members aren’t going to be Scientologists. . . . So, certainly, someone who is a Scientologist is going to respect their family members’ beliefs—”
“Well, what is disconnection?” Roberts said again.
“—and we consider family to be a building block of any society, so anything that’s characterized as disconnection or this kind of thing, it’s just not true. There isn’t any such policy.”
In his resignation letter, Haggis said, “We all know this policy exists. I didn’t have to search for verification—I didn’t have to look any further than my own home.” Haggis reminded Davis that, a few years earlier, his wife had been ordered to disconnect from her parents “because of something absolutely trivial they supposedly did twenty-five years ago when they resigned from the church. . . . Although it caused her terrible personal pain, my wife broke off all contact with them.” Haggis continued, “To see you lie so easily, I am afraid I had to ask myself: what else are you lying about?”
Haggis forwarded his resignation to more than twenty Scientologist friends, including Anne Archer, John Travolta, and Sky Dayton, the founder of EarthLink. “I felt if I sent it to my friends they’d be as horrified as I was, and they’d ask questions as well,” he says. “That turned out to be largely not the case. They were horrified that I’d send a letter like that.”
Read the full article.
Gawker reports that the FBI has been investigating Scientology for human trafficking violations over the course of the past year.
As expected, New Yorker staff writer Lawrence Wright’s massive profile of ex-Scientologist writer-director Paul Haggis (Million Dollar Baby, Crash) contains many interesting revelations about the Church of Scientology and the life of a prominent member. Chief among these is the existence of an ongoing FBI investigation into allegations of abuse by Scientology’s leader David Miscavige, and the enslavement of members of Scientology’s religious order, “Sea Org”. (Recently, former Sea Org members claimed to have been forced to have abortions.)
According to the article, agents from an FBI task force on human trafficking have been interviewing former members of Scientology about abuse in the church since at least December, 2009, and the case remains open.
Read the full Gawker piece here.  The New Yorker article appears in just a few hours.  Last year I moderated a panel on Scientology’s human tracking abuses in Los Angeles.  The full video of that press conference and the media coverage can be seen here.  The author of the New Yorker piece was interviewed recently on PBS.

Watch the full episode. See more Overheard with Evan Smith.

No comments: