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Scientology in France -- still a fraud

Scientology in France — still a fraud

Our man in Paris, British journalist Jonny Jacobsen, is on the scene and tells us that French media have just reported that Scientology’s fraud conviction has been upheld.

Jonny’s been all over this case for years at his blog, Infinite Complacency, where he had recently put together a four part series of background leading up to this decision. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4). He’s also kept a close watch on the prosecution of the church in Belgium, and was one of the first to report on violence at Scientology’s International Base in California.

Here’s Jonny now…

France’s top court on Wednesday confirmed the conviction of Scientology for organised fraud, according to French media reports.

The ruling, by the Cour de Cassation, effectively ends the legal battle in France, making the convictions definitive, RFI radio and BFMTV reported.

Even before the judgment was handed down, the movement’s lawyers had said that they would take the fight to the European Court of Human Rights if it went against them.

Last year, the appeal court fined two Scientology organisations 400,000 euros and 200,000 respectively.

Scientology was trying to get those sentences quashed and in legal arguments last month tried to portray the convictions as an attack on their religious freedom.

So once again, Scientology claims it’s a religion being denied its freedoms, but France says it’s a fraudulent business and deserves its conviction for wrongdoing.

Will this conviction have an effect in the United States? It already has.

If you look at the way attorneys like Ted Babbitt in Florida, Jeff Harris in Georgia, and Ray Jeffrey in Texas are writing their legal pleadings, it’s clear that they’ve learned something about fending off the “religious freedom” defense — and that may be why they’re having so much recent success when attorneys before them struggled.

UPDATE: See Jonny’s latest update, below, for a full recap on the convictions that were upheld today, including two Scientology organizations and five individuals.

UPDATE: And now, Jonny has Scientology’s official response — see below.

And thanks to Espiando for the suggestion…


More from Jonny…

The events in question date back 15 years, to the late 1990s, but did not come to trial until May 2009.

In October of that year, the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris handed down fines and suspended sentences to six Scientologists and two Scientology organisations on offences ranging from fraud to the illegal practice of pharmacy.

The Association Spirituelle de l’Eglise de Scientologie CC (ASES), the Celebrity Centre, was convicted of organised fraud against two plaintiffs. It was fined 400,000 euros.

Scientology’s network of bookshops, Scientologie Espace Librairie (SEL), was also convicted of organised fraud against the plaintiffs and fined 200,000 euros.

The reason the movement has fought so hard to overturn the convictions was that they targeted not just individuals, but the organisation. The court effectively characterised standard operating procedure in Scientology as fraudulent.

Setting out the key elements of the fraud, the judgment referred to the Scientologists’ constant use of personality tests “devoid of any scientific value and analysed with the sole aim of selling various products and services.”

Attacking the hard-sell techniques used by some of the individual Scientologists convicted of fraud, it quoted extensively from Scientology’s internal documents, including founder L. Ron Hubbard’s policy letters.

The court’s point was that these techniques were not due to the excesses of a few over-zealous individuals but were directed from the top down.

In court and in the judgment itself, Judge Sophie-Hélène Château dismissed as “beyond fanciful” (plus que fantaisiste) attempts by the defendants to translate the English phrase “hard sell” as “taking care of people”.

The court also handed down fines and suspended sentences to some of the defendants for the illegal practice of pharmacy.

This was related to Scientology’s Purification Rundown, the programme devised by Hubbard himself that involves aerobic exercise, long hours in the sauna and massive doses of vitamins.

In court, the defence tried to argue both that the Rundown was a scientifically valid process and, in the context of Scientology, a religious practice in the tradition of purification rituals in other religions.

But one expert witness memorably described it as quackery (“charlatanesque”).

And psychiatrist Daniel Zagury described the way Scientology operated as an abuse of the well-known process of transference, in which the patient becomes dependent on their therapist.

For a full write-up of the original judgment, see this earlier analysis at Infinite Complacency.

Georges Fenech welcomed today’s ruling in a statement posted on his website (During the Sarkozy presidency, he headed up Miviludes, the government’s watchdog on cult-like activities):

“Far from being a violation of their religious freedom as the organisation — of American origin — contends, this decision lifts a veil on practices that are illicity and highly detrimental to the safety of people and their property,” he said.

“The Church of Scientology, if it is convicted again, leaves itself open to being dissolved, pure and simple, which was the sentence that the prosecutor at the original trial had already asked for.

“Even if the court had wanted to apply this sentence, that turned out to be impossible: the relevant law had been modified just weeks before the trial started.

“This inadvertent change, since reversed, provoked a storm of protest at the time, but nobody has been able to prove that this was anything more than an embarrassing mistake.”

Fenech added that the ruling would serve as a useful lesson to anyone tempted in the future by the movement.

Fenech, now a deputy and a senior figure in the right-wing opposition UMP, is a longtime sparring partner of Scientology.

As an investigating magistrate in the 1990s he brought the Lyon case to trial that resulted in several senior Scientologists being convicted on fraud charges.

One defendant was also convicted of homicide involontaire, or manslaughter. He was judged to have put so much pressure one of his followers, Patrice Vic, that he contributed to his suicide.

Vic jumped to his death from his apartment in Lyon in front of his wife.

Jonny just reported to us that the court’s decision is 82 PAGES LONG. He says that’s really rare, and he assumes it has something to do with Scientology announcing that it would take the case on to the European rights court.

This just in from Jonny…

Just had an interesting conversation with Fenech, who was just out of a parliamentary session. He mentioned that several more compaints have been filed against Scientology in France.

He could not give me details but this gives more substance to his remark about Scientology being under threat of being dissolved.

Bear in mind that there is a double-barrelled legal threat to Scientology in France.

First there is the law that mysteriously got changed just before the 2009 trial started.

Though the option of dissolution has now been reinstated, it was not available to the courts in the case as it cannot be applied retroactively.

But of course it could be available for future cases.

Then there is the 2001 About-Picard Law.

This law extends the range of existing laws to cover a broader range of offences, ones that are typically relevant in the context of cult-like activities — such as fraud and the illegal practice of medicine or pharmacy, for example.

A crucial provision of the law is that if an organisation is convicted two times then the court has the option of ordering its dissolution: its not automatic of course, but the option is there.

Since the convictions today confirm that France considers some of the core practices of Scientology amount to fraud, this poses a real problem to the movement.

Fenech pointed me in the direction of where I might get more details on these other complaints against the movement: I’ll be chasing that up when I have a minute.

LATEST UPDATE: Here’s Jonny’s full recap of today’s decision…

Here is how things stand after Wednesday’s ruling.

In 2009, the first court convicted the two Scientology organisations and six Scientologists of offences running from fraud and organised fraud to the illegal exercise of pharmacy.

All six individuals and the two Scientology organisations appealed.

Come the appeal trial however, one woman did not turn up — nor was a lawyer present to defend her — so her original 1,000-euro fine, was confirmed by default.

In February last year, the Paris appeal court, confirmed all the convictions against the appellants, in some cases increasing the penalties. They all took their cases to Cassation.

Today’s judgment from the Cour de Cassation effectively confirms all those sentences, the bulk of the ruling dealing in detail with the flood of procedural and constitutional arguments advanced by the defence.

The court has refused to quash — casser — any of the sentences handed out by the appeal court.

So that leaves us with the following situation.

The Celebrity Centre, a supposedly non-profit association that was raking in the money — Association Spirituelle de l’Eglise de Scientologie CC (ASES) — stands convicted of organised fraud.

It is fined 400,000 euros and ordered to pay for the details of the conviction to be published in several major French newpapers: Le Monde, Le Figaro, Libération, Le Parisien and Ouest France.

Scientology’s network of bookshops, Scientologie Espace Librarie (SEL), also stands convicted of organised fraud. It has been fined 200,000 euros and ordered to pay for the publication of the conviction in the same newspapers.

The following appeal court convictions and sentences are also confirmed in Cassation:

Alain Rosenberg, the managing director of the Celebrity Centre, was convicted of organised fraud and of complicity in the illegal exercise of pharmacy. He got a two-year suspended prison sentence and 30,000-euro fine.

Didier Michaux, the bookshop’s star salesman, was convicted of organised fraud. He got an 18-month suspended sentence and 20,000-euro fine.

Jean-François Valli, the other bookshop salesman, who also did work for the Celebrity Centre, was convicted of organised fraud. He got an 18-month suspended sentence and a 10,000-euro fine.

The Cour de Cassation also confirmed the heavier sentences the appeal court had handed out to the other two defendants:

Sabine Jacquart was convicted of organised fraud and of complicity in the illegal exercise of pharmacy. She got a two-year suspended sentence and 30,000-euro fine (up from 10 months suspended and a 5,000-euro fine). At the time in question, Jacquart was president of the Celebrity Centre.

Aline Fabre, who supervised the Purification Rundown at the Celebrity Centre, was convicted of the illegal exercise of pharmacy. She was fined 10,000 euros (up from the 2,000-euro fine she got in the original sentence).

The Cour de Cassation only quashed one part of the appeal court ruling: the order for some of those convicted to pay compensation to one of the plaintiffs, Aude-Claire Malton.

As state prosecutor Michel Gauthier had pointed out to the court last month, Malton had written to the appeal court before the trial started to say she was withdrawing from the case as a plaintiff. So that part of the ruling came as no surprise.

The only crumb of comfort for Scientology came in the Cassation ruling dismissing the bid by UNADFI, the counter-cult group, to be admitted as a plaintiff in the case.

Again though, this was no surprise: the lower courts both rejected UNADFI’s bid — but that did not stop UNADFI being represented in court during each stage of the legal process.

And now Scientology responds. Here, once again, is Jonny Jacobsen…

Just looking at Scientology’s official reaction to the ruling: not so much putting on a brave face as trying to transmute lead into gold.

“This ruling is a first victory in the sense that it has definitively rejected the only plaintiff, the UNADFI association, which came to pollute the debates illegally throughout the trial,” says the statement.

It is not hard to understand why Scientology is happy to see the back of UNADFI: they only wish it had come sooner rather than later.

The association’s lawyer, Olivier Morice, was a thorn in their side throughout the first two trials, because when it came to the inner workings of Scientology, he was easily the most knowledgeable lawyer in court.

That’s why the defence tried and failed at both trials to get UNADFI kicked out of court before the trial got underway.

Instead, both the lower courts reserved their ruling on the matter until after the trial, which meant that Morice got full powers to represent UNADFI in court, questioning the defendants and the trial witnesses.

Scientology’s statement also describes today’s ruling against them as “an opportunity.”

Now they can “take the affair to an international jurisdiction, where the judicial debate can take place on the basis of law, far from the pressures of the executive, in a dispassionate space that is sensitive to the respect of fundamental rights.”

As expected then, they are taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

The ECHR is “far from the pressures of the executive,” says the statement — a reference to Scientology’s repeated claims that the French authorities were out to get the movement and put undue pressure on the courts to bring in convictions.

France is fifth — out of the 47 countries under the Court’s jurisdiction — in a list of states condemned for the failure to provide fair trials, says Scientology.

After listing some of France’s other judicial failings, the statement finishes off by saying that Scientology has been in France since 1959, where it has tens of thousands of members — and millions across the world.

Full marks for trying then.


Posted by Tony Ortega on October 16, 2013 at 08:20

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  • NOLAGirl

    October 16, 1793 – Marie Antoinette is guillotined at the Place de la Revolution

    That’s todays date. Coincidence? I think not. 😀

    • Miss Tia

      BRILLIANT!!!! We need caek!

      • TheHoleDoesNotExist

        Been busy baking for the occasion all morning!

        • stillgrace2

          Ooooh! Petit Fours! Comment approprié! Merci!

        • Miss Tia

          Ah, what a wonderful baker you are!!! Merci!

        • AsthmaticDwarf

          Oh! Simply gorgeous!!!

      • NOLAGirl

        Yes, Yes!!! She said “Let them eat caek.” LOL

        Caek for EVERYONE!!!! 🙂

      • Poison Ivy

        Or rather, ‘brioche’ (though she never really said that…)

        • NOLAGirl

          Amazing how that rumor helped bring about her ruin. Tabloids 1793-style. LOL

          • kemist

            It’s a really fascinating story.

            She and her lover exchanged letters written with a polyalphabetic cypher, the decoding of which was instrumental in her condemnation for treason.

    • Espiando

      And who was the one who first said that Scientology was re-running the French Revolution? C’est moi.

  • TheHoleDoesNotExist

    Thanks for the update, Jonny, and Tony. Curiouser and Curiouser. I have hopes that in the end, it will involve vast money pits.

    Maybe we can’t know right now where Miscavige IS, but we sure can mark off a lot of territories where he Isn’t. France? nix France
    Belgium? nix Belgium
    Germany? nix Germany
    Italy? nix Italy
    UK? nix UK
    Canada? nix Canada
    Spain? nix Spain?
    Texas? definitely nix Texas

    • Snippy_X

      Why Italy? Italy seems to be full of clam larvae.

      • TheHoleDoesNotExist

        Idle Orgs that DM opened with fanfare…all idle, so not a good photo op. Lugli family would be another. Oh yeah, Leah Remini and Tom Cruise’s Italian wedding saga has kind of been in the news lately.

        • Snippy_X

          Thx. They still have a ridiculous number of Narconons. Hopefully the press there will look at that too.

  • Dwight Geiger

    So glad that the French government wasn’t in shutdown like the U.S.or this ruling may not have happened.

  • Madora Pennington

    Cap’n Davey’s life keeps getting worse.

  • Cat Daddy
    • AsthmaticDwarf

      If you in a rush, and you skip past this video link, wait ! stop ! bookmark the link!

      Because it’s grand takedown of $cientology Inc. & Tom Mapother Cruze. Later tonight, with some popcorn, take a gander at this 6 minutes.

      It really shows how far the ridicule of all things $cientology has penetrated into American mass media and global communications.

      • SLIM

        Silly and funny stuff right there…

    • Missionary Kid

      That is DEVASTATING and funny , especially if you know something about $cientology.

      • Cat Daddy

        I am a dessiminator,

        • q-bird

          SO FUNNY Cat Daddy! Excellent. good good good !!!

  • WhereIsSHE

    Pardon the off topic interruption (or if this has already been posted):

    DODGERS FANS BOO TOM CRUISE (’cause he’s a shill for a criminal CULT, that’s WHY.)

    • 1subgenius

      Yes Tom

      • kemist

        I was yelling “boouise”.

      • Dwight Geiger

        Strike 3 called and Cruise heads back to the dugout.

      • aurora50

        He does not look well; kind of bloated and tired. Went to the ballgame and got booed in front of the Western World…sad.

        A question for the exes here:

        He was raised Catholic and it is reported even considered the priesthood. I wonder: how do Scientologists handle what Catholics are taught to experience as ‘guilt’? is it even in their inner repertoire? what for the CoS is considered ‘sin’?

        • Espiando

          The most common “sins” in the Catholic repertoire are also breaches of the dynamics. Admittedly, the Catholic Church hasn’t come up with a catchy, catch-all phrase for this like Scientology did with “out-2D”. But if you compare a sec check with a penitential from the 10th Century, you’re going to see a lot of direct correspondence.

          • aurora50

            The penitential I can find; what is the best site for a source of the Sci literature? I seem to be using the wrong search terms; I keep getting pages and pages of Church of Sci info, or ‘Independent’ sites with old dead links.

            Where to look and what to call it?

            Any suggestion most appreciated.

        • Graham

          “what for the CoS is considered ‘sin’?”

          Running out of money.

          • Natalia M


        • 1subgenius

          Guilt is systematically removed along with all other human emotions, as part of auditing out the “reactive mind”..

          • kemist

            I’m not certain of that.

            Sciloons are taught that they “pull in” any illness or wrong thing that happens to them, an idea that is designed to fuel chronic guilt and fear. The human emotions that get removed from their repertoire seem to be the ones that may actually help them, like love and compassion.

            I’m betting catholic guilt fits very snuggly within that belief system. It’s the parts about loving thy neighbor and helping the poor and disabled that might not fit all that well. But then very high degrees of cognitive dissonance in people are nothing new – there is such a thing as the prosperity gospel, and there is a public for it.

            • phronsie

              “I don’t have to do all that icky interacting with and dealing with people’s troubles and griefs because I am doing the greatest good by convincing them to get audited and take classes; I don’t have to worry about all those ol’ plebeian works of charity because I am funneling all of my time, energy and money into scientology, which ultimately means the greatest good for the greatest amount of (able) people!”

            • Mimi Rogers, who introduced him to Scientology, was one source about his desire to become a priest, but I think he probably couldn’t handle the celibate lifestyle.

              My own experience with my family was that if you have a lot of money and/or power, you are expected by your family, peers, etc., in the Church to do something for the less fortunate in the world. My great-grandmother gave a yearly birthday party for the local orphanage when she was living in Shanghai before WWII. When asked by her youngest daughters and oldest grandchild(Mom) why they couldn’t attend it, she said, “You all have your birthday parties with your relatives and friends, this is their day today.” When my grandfather moved to the Willow Glen area of San Jose, they went to a church that was outside their parish because it was in a relatively poorer section of town. It’s just easier for him to “KSW” and receive the white-glove treatment like he was the King of Bulgravia(or, the mad King Ludwig of Bavaria). In a way the former is very much like 10th Century Catholicism: “The Church believes what I believe, I believe what the Church believes”.

          • Missionary Kid

            Guilt may have been removed in regards to others, but it is sure added for any negative thoughts that they might have towards the church.

      • 1subgenius

        It’s official.
        It now sucks to be Tom Cruise.
        Sad and alone in a stadium of tens of thousands of people. Then they boo you.
        Tom, this may be your last chance.
        Look at your future.

    • NOLAGirl

      “The stadium DJ allegedly started spinning “I Wish” by Skee-Lo when the camera found Cruise.”


      “I wish I was taller, I wish I was a baller.” – Skee-Lo

    • Miss Tia

      but he cares so very very much!!!

    • VickiStubing

      Comments section is ripe for Sci educating the sports fans. Maybe some will trade a sports obsession for Sci-watching.

  • Cat Daddy
  • jmh
  • Sidney18511

    Why oh why does disqus suck balls today?

    • jeff

      It pretty much does most days. It’s a habit.

      • Robert Eckert

        It is much worse today than usual. I think we are getting so much traffic here that we have brought it to its knees: there was a “maintenance cycle” yesterday and the day before, which does not seem to have fixed much.

        • Snippy_X

          We should be patient with them. They are working with a skeleton crew in the NSA arm of their night crew, with the shut down and all.

        • If Disqus was an NSA project, that would explain a lot of things…………

    • TheHoleDoesNotExist

      It appears to be widespread disqus, not just here, today.

    • DamOTclese2

      They installed Windows 7.

    • Snippy_X

      It’s been messed up since the other night when they did some “maintenance.”

  • DamOTclese2

    Bring back madam guillotine!

    Droit cette façon, Mister Miscavige, aucune pression, aucun bousculades, il y a toujours de la place pour un de plus. Le asshole.

    • kemist

      Lol ! Did you use google translate ?

      I’ll try to translate a bit better :

      Par ici, monsieur Miscavidge, pas besoin de pousser, il y a toujours de la place pour un de plus. Trou du cul.

      • DamOTclese2

        I used a translator, yeah, I don’t know why they did not ask monsieur to step this way. I’m reminded of Blazing Saddles and the “Oh I couldn’t possibly work him in today, I have so much work and my best man is out sick.” 🙂

        Right this way, Mr. Miscavige, no waiting.

    • Robert Eckert

      Droit cette façon is evidently intended to be “right this way” but but it is “legal right this fashion”. Reminds me of a joke that “Left Behind” did not sell too well in France, because it was translated Gauche Derrière

  • Jgg2012

    This will be appealed to the European Court in Strasbourg. Interestingly, Scientology has been before them at least twice before. A case in Sweden for fraud was upheld; a case from Russia expelling them from the country was reversed. I think this is more like the Sweden case, and nations are wising up: you don’t expel groups or prevent them from writing books, you fine them for fraud (several times, if need be) when they make bogus health claims.

    • RMycroft

      The Russian case wasn’t about expelling them. By the their laws, Scientology could register as a religion, except that the Russians were giving them a complex bureaucratic run-around that would have given Gödel, Escher and Kafka nightmares. I’m sure that there’s quite a backlogged list of more recent complaints.

      • Jgg2012

        I see, just a riddle inside a mystery wrapped around an enigma.

        • RMycroft

          .. signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters.

    • RMycroft

      Oh, and this: ECHR turns down Church of Scientology’s claim against Belgium September 19, 2013, Russian Legal Information Agency

  • TheHoleDoesNotExist

    I just love this part because of the Hubbard saying “If it isn’t written, it isn’t true”

    “ordered to pay for the details of the conviction to be published in several major French newspapers”

    • ThetaBara

      Me too, although I am pretty sure that he meant written BY HIM.

  • Such wonderful news! Thanks to Jonny and Tony for the updates.

  • Kat Konces

    I don’t know which I love more–the actual fines, or the fact that the Co$ has to PAY to publish the convictions in several news outlets. Talk about “le rubbing of zee nose een eet”.

  • Jimmy Threetimes

    Jonny Jacobsen, thanks for giving us the hard sell! (taking care of us)

  • WhereIsSHE

    And it keeps getting better:


    “Tonight, Independent Scientologist, Brad Halsey, slammed David Miscavige and Tom Cruise for destroying lives and families — leading the faithful flock down a path of deceit and even a Ponzi scheme.

    A video posted last night with Brad Halsey slamming Tom Cruise and David Miscavige, titled ‘Message to Tom Cruise – Please Forward’, claims David Miscavige is lying to Scientologists in so-called ‘good standing’.

    Referring to David Miscavige as the real ‘Suppressive Person’, Halsey says, “… turning Scientology into a Ponzi scheme is what really happened with the ‘Super Power’ building that Scientology has been taking money from members for the past 25 years. “The building never came to fruition in 25 years,” said Halsey.

    “They forced parishioner to buy multiple book sets for local libraries, then you go to the libraries and you see there’s no books on display. That’s Ponzi scheme – that’s pure fraud,” said Halsey.”

    Click on the link for MOER –and video.

    • Tony Ortega


      • Egg roll. Hmm, what did I miss from the OSA drones I wonder?

        • Tony Ortega

          No, I explained yesterday why I’m not a Halsey fan.

          • WhereIsSHE

            Sorry. Missed that yesterday.

            • aurora50

              mid-way down the first page of the second posting…I would link to it but Disqus is so wonky today.

            • Here it is, if it doesn’t hit Tonys’ comment, just scroll down a little:


            • WhereIsSHE

              Just wanted to thank you for that link, Chutney Love.
              Holy shit, that guy is off his freaking rocker and needs to read about his “hero” and come to grips with REALITY (but I wont hold my breath, because.. yeah.. he’s off his freaking rocker.)

          • WhereIsSHE

            Just read your explanation(s), thanks to Chutney Love giving me a hand with a link to your comments.
            Sorry about that, “Bro”=(!
            Totally deserved the *eyeroll*.

    • IBBy

      hmmm interesting but a little like a lunatic calling a lunatic a lunatic

      • WhereIsSHE

        The part I liked is that it was posted on the site.

    • phronsie

      I expect the books made it to the libraries and the libraries did their best to unload them at their annual book sale fundraisers for a pittance of their over-bloated cost; pity scientology wasn’t truly charitable and had given them the money directly.

  • aurora50

    O/T. A Neil Gaiman lecture on the topic: …why using our imaginations, and providing for others to use theirs, is an obligation for all citizens.

    I have loved reading his books over the years; did not know of his Sci connections till some comments here in the past few weeks.

    He makes many thoughtful points, some rather dreadful:

    “The prison industry [speaking here of that great American growth industry – private prisons] needs to plan its future growth – how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be, 15 years
    from now? And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based on asking what percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds couldn’t read.”

  • nottrue

    Way to go Dodger fans.

  • whingeybingey
    • Missionary Kid

      Glad to see you around. I’v’e missed you.

      • whingeybingey

        Thanks, Missionary Kid! : )

  • Cases that should be brought include that of Gloria Lopez (RIP) and Martine Boublil.

  • aurora50

    So the court RAISED the punishments and fines…they are sending a strong message here: FRAUD…
    and that lovely little sting at the end: Sci members (what IS the best collective noun?) have to pay to have the judgements published…delicious!

    • i-Betty

      “what IS the best collective noun?”

      A Gaggle of Gaggers?

      Refresh for a beautiful definition.

      • aurora50

        That is ‘Spot On’ as they say in your neck of the woods, I believe…am just leaving for a round of appointments and will look forward to seeing what other suggestions have been made, when I return …but think this may be the first out of the gate and the WINNER!

        I especially like how it includes so much of the nuance of what we have come to see as their scam.

        • i-Betty

          I know! And something else I didn’t realise was that you can actually HearsayGoogle “rude words that start with letter G” and get 2,150,000 returns. The fun to be had! 🙂

  • Tony Ortega

    ADDED TO POST: Jonny discusses Scientology’s official response.

  • Johnny Tank

    Alexa results for today: *refresh for image*
    Tony: US rank #8982 – up 70 from yesterday.
    Scientology: US rank #35382 – down 1192 from yesterday.

  • Observer

    Too bad Ron didn’t leave them something really useful like alchemy tech. With all the lead they’ve been handed lately, they could use it right about now.

  • Espiando

    So, what is French for “lying liars that lie”?

    • IBBy

      GoogleHeresay translated it to menteurs couché qui se trouvent but the tense and syntax may be grossly off. I speak Italian, not french

      • IBBy

        Ich spreche ein Deutsch als gut, und nicht alles was gut (probably butchered that. Its been awhile since high school)

        • Robert Eckert

          Oy. menteurs is “liars; speakers of falsehood” but couche’ is “lying; in bed” and se trouve is “lie; are located”. You want des menteurs mentants qui mentent.

          Similarly in German als is only “as” in the sense “during the time that”; for “as well” just usauch

    • kemist

      Maybe :

      “Des menteurs malhonnêtes qui mentent” ?

      That particular sentence structure is difficult to translate as is in french without mangling syntax. In my particular french variation the equivalent for that expession is simply :

      “C’est des ostie de crosseurs”

    • Moorwalker


      • sugarplumfairy


  • Mooser

    My, oh my, convicting Scientology execs, right down to the guy in the bookstore as criminals. Must be very discomforting for those who do MsScavenge’s business. Even if the “church” pays their fines, they’ve still got a nice, fat conviction on their record.

    • Dee Fogger

      The idea that the cult will pay these convicted criminals fines actually made me laugh. They’re staff, so unless they have some wealthy relatives or some hidden stash the cult hasn’t sucked up yet, they’ll have a real difficult time paying those fines.

    • DamOTclese2

      When David orders some customer to sell fraudulent books, the rube will have no choice, it’s either commit felonies and face going to prison else getting slapped by the dwarf… or walking away from the syndicate.

      • Mooser

        I’m getting the impression that the number of people who will run any significant risk for, or make themselves a personal sacrifice for Mscavige is steadily and drastically declining.

        • The Staff inside the various Orgs have this to contend with, according to John P:

          Based on accounts from former staff, I suspect that all that time
          gets eaten up by trying to figure out ways to make up weekly statistics
          so that other people get in trouble for the lack of results. More time
          is spent flogging your underlings for their lack of “stats.” And there
          is lots of other silliness: instead of calling people two or three times
          to invite them to events, people report receiving hundreds of voicemail
          messages, sometimes only a handful of minutes apart, inviting them to
          events. That would seem likely to be because there are so few prospects
          and because people can report “calls made” as a stat that’s almost as
          good as “people actually signed up for the event.”

          Add to that the constant avalanche of “emergency” projects mandated
          by headquarters as part of Miscavige’s latest brain fart, and you
          quickly get to 80 hours per week of irrelevant insanity that has nothing
          to do with producing any real results that move the organization
          forward. It could easily be imagined as the most dysfunctional
          organization on the planet, with a surreal daily life.

          • RMycroft

            Nobody can live on the $50/week staff pay (if they get it). They’d have to have some funds that haven’t been squeezed out of them yet, or a McJob on the side to live.

            More than half of low-wage workers employed by the largest U.S.
            fast-food restaurants earn so little that they must rely on public
            assistance to get by, according to a study released on Tuesday.
            Majority of U.S. fast-food workers need public assistance: study

            Okay, maybe not.

            • They would qualify for food stamps here in California, but how far does that go these days?

        • DamOTclese2

          Not even for money? I would. If the crook offered me significant cash, I’d consider it… but then I’m a whore. 🙂

          EDIT: Oh, but I also have standards. 🙂 Better call Saul!

  • DamOTclese2

    Pepe Le Pew in the French Foreign Legion. Where fir are you, David? All over I am looking somewhere for you, my darhling.

    • DamOTclese2

      And yeah, I don’t have any idea either. It just sprang in to my idiot wog head. Don’t know what it means. 🙂

  • Caliwog

    Great stuff. Scientologists really do believe hard sell equals caring — LRH redefined that word for them.

    • i-Betty

      Excellent 🙂

  • Tony Ortega


    • aquaclara

      New Post Up used to be my favorite phrase. Any sentence that combines fraud + Scientology is now my new fav. Thank you!

  • Graham

    “France is fifth — out of the 47 countries under the Court’s jurisdiction — in a list of states condemned for the failure to provide fair trials, says Scientology.”

    Wow, $camatology actually quoting a stat that’s checkable (Unlike their ludicrous “Tens of thousands of members” claim). Had to check it out and for once they’re not too far adrift of the truth; though in this case raw stats don’t really give much of a picture.

    According to ECHR’s own figures, France is 8th.

    Total violations 1959 – 2012:

    Turkey 2 521
    Italy 1 687
    Russia 1 262
    Ukraine 883
    Poland 871
    Romania 847
    Greece 662
    France 646

    These are raw figures, so not adjusted for population size. As an example the UK has a similar size population to France and had well under half the violations, at 289. Either the French have less regard for the law than the British, or they take a stronger line with those who try sailing too close to the wind…

    • DamOTclese2

      So the insane fucks list countries where they are recognized as organized crime. Wonderful. David really is a dumbfuck, huh?

    • Interested

      The latter. They English are so damn politically correct. Shame on them.

  • TheHoleDoesNotExist

    Re: Update with scientology’s response:

    The scientology reality game now seems to be a chess board with lawyers on the boards as pawns. Three lawyers move to France, 15 lawyers to Texas, 15 ? lawyers to California, I forget how many lawyers in the Narconon cases and the Garcia cases. So it makes sense that all the scientology spokesperson (DM) can address in response is about the movement of lawyers and about court locations. I don’t think chess was taught at Miscavige’s high school.

    Sooner or later the whales are going to start noticing that no one is left but the salesmen and lawyers and connect the only two dots left to connect. Most of the members still in are hiding so it’s pretty easy to see the only thing still in sight and moving is Their cash …from salesman to lawyer. Come on, people. It doesn’t get clearer than this.

    • DamOTclese2

      You would expect that eventually the rubes that still hand the crime syndicate their money will see that it’s all going toward lawyers working to keep David Miscavige out of prison for racketeering, fraud, all that happy nonsense.

    • WhereIsSHE

      Right on, THDNE.
      And based on the increasingly desperate fundraising emails floating out into the “entheta-verse” lately, I think the trend is that they are finally getting it.

    • Deeana

      Even if Miscavige’s high school taught it, he wasn’t there long enough to learn it. Did he not drop out during or after 10th grade?

      • AsthmaticDwarf

        Dave Miscavige is a South Jersey/Philly criminal thug sociopath, who left high school when his dad moved the family to Saint Hill, to *learn the secrets of the universe* from Lafayette Ronald H. in England.

  • SandiCorrena

    Le Scientology fait chier – I believe that’s F Scientology and that is the limit of my French….
    Funny though say anything to me in french and I’ll love you forever or until I have time to heresay a translation

    • IBBy

      I’ve found french men speaking to be intoxicating, while french ladies sound harsh/shrill at times

      • jmh

        French men are excellently flirtatious. 🙂

  • Johnny Tank

    Scientology vs Mormon on Hearsay.

    Since we have been comparing Scientology and the Mormon faith on Alexa lately, I thought I might check what Hearsay has to say about search engine stats for the two. *refresh for image*

    Mormon (red) seems to have a steady amount of searches, and is well in front of the two, on average it is 25% ahead of Scientology. Meanwhile Scientology is ever so slowly sliding down hill. The three biggest spikes in the blue Scientology graph are TomKat engagement, TC Scientology video, and TomKat split. While the scandals (yes, Katie marrying TC was a scandal in my book) generate interest, it soon blows over and the stats just keep on going down.

  • SciWatcher

    It will be interesting to see what the European Court of Human rights, which offers “… a dispassionate space that is sensitive to the respect of fundamental rights,” has to say about one of the world’s worst abusers of human rights. Seems to me that this could be another huge foot bullet for the “church.”

  • Dee Fogger

    About-Picard makes it a crime “to defraud a person weakened by illness, old age, etc., but also of a person in a state of psychological or physical subjection resulting from grave or reiterated pressures or techniques able to alter judgement.” That describes standard operating procedures for the cult. Under this law a persons actions may be imputed to the organization resulting in that organizations dissolution or being prohibited from dealing with minors. I don’t see how they can avoid being prosecuted in the future as they simply can’t function without ‘helping others’ aka the hard sell.

  • stillgrace2

    There’s a victim in today’s story that deserves some recognition: Aude-Claire Malton (see picture below). She was the first to file charges against Scientology in the original case, and one of the two victims that refused to settle with scientology, allowing the case to go forward in 2009. She is mentioned above in the story because she didn’t receive any damage compensation in the appeal ruling. This is because she declined to be part of the appeal process. She missed out on receiving money, but I’m hoping she declined because she has moved on from her devastating experience in the summer of 1998, and is doing well.

    She says it took her nine years to recover from the fraud and abuses inflicted upon her by members of the scientology celebrity center in Paris. “I had trouble rebuilding my life. I wasn’t sure of myself and then I was completely destroyed… I had trouble trusting people again.”

    It’s an all-too-familiar story. She worked at a hotel and made the equivalence of $1,650 a month when she was bullied (her word) into spending just shy of $29,000 over a four month period. This plunged her deeply into debt, and left her bankrupt both physically and mentally.

    Details of her heart-breaking, and familiar scientology story are here:

    You can also search for more details of her experience and court case on Jonny’s excellent blog.

    As familiar as her story is (those criminal bastards!), I have never heard her name before today. It saddens my heart to know that there are thousands more stories just like hers. So much damage.

    I’d like to take a moment to salute the courage of Aude-Claire Malton. I hope she is sharing in this victory and has found some peace and serenity in her life. This cult must go down.

    • aquaclara

      This is so important, and so lovely. I hope she is here with us, too, if only to see the immense support from around the world for her, this case, and the fight against the fraud that is Scientology. Aude-Claire,
      We wish you strength and happiness and peace.

    • And I don’t rent cars!

      Thank you stillgrace for that informative and moving post!

      You wrote: “As familiar as her story is… I had never heard her name before today. It saddens my heart to know that there are thousands more stories just like hers. So much damage… I’d like to take a moment to salute the courage of Aude-Claire Malton. I hope she is sharing in this victory and has found some peace and serenity in her life.”

      You have written a poignant tribute to Aude-Claire but also to all the other Aude-Claires out there. For every story like hers that I hear about, I always wonder how many other people we’ll never get to meet and whose stories we will never get to hear.

      I, too, get so sad to think of the untold number of people who led quiet lives of desperation… right into their graves. Their stories of fear and betrayal by their “church” buried 6 feet under alongside their bodies. I could sob… simply sob until I am utterly exhausted… and lose faith that I will see the end of this cult in my lifetime. The shameful, evil lunacy (criminal, shameful, evil lunancy) must end soon!

  • Krista

    This makes me so happy…and it restores a bit of faith in justice… Good for the French court to stick to their guns and exposing Scientology for what they really are. Hope the ECHR will see the true picture as well.
    And thanks for Jonny Jacobson for his reporting here.

  • Sydjazz

    What can i say? vive la france 🙂

  • Hana Eltringham Whitfield

    I am delighted that this day has finally arrived, and I thank the France’s top court for the due diligence it gave the matter of fraud and the Church of Scientology. Being a twenty-year member of Scientology and the Sea Organization, I have watched the progress of this suit through various courts of law since the early 1970’s. I was on Hubbard’s ship in Lisbon when the court first indicted Hubbard. Terrified of being extradited to France, he fled to New York and hid out in Queens. A year later, he literally pranced back onto the ship, unable to stop smiling, very happy to be back (his own words) and safe from the long arm of the law – well, at least for a while. Thank you, Tony and Jonny, for your insightful and informative reporting.

    • aquaclara

      Hana, it is so good to see your name, and have your voice added in to today’s comments. I’m a never-in, but just wanted to wish you all the best.

    • Sunny Sands

      So wonderful to have your first person account, thank you.

    • Lurkness

      THANK YOU, Hana!

    • KJP in Portland

      Wow…hello Hana! Welcome to The Bunker!

    • L. C. Spencer

      Ahahaha HANA! We’re honored to see you here! Hope you’ll find it cozy here and stay around to give us more of the benefit of your experience and insight. Thank you, too, for all YOU’VE done to help get things to this point.

  • Jenny Blough

    A French Scientologist told me there were not more than 2000 Scientologists there. A “church” even closed not long ago. I guess he had not gotten the memo about tens of thousands of members.

    • aquaclara

      Wouldn’t we just LOVE to see that membership list become public in a court deposition, if only to stop the lies about the number of members….

      I don’t know anything about the missions and orgs in France, but maybe some will chime in with more info here.

      Tens of thousands does not equal less than 2,000. Even in Scilon math. Thank you for your info. I am relishing every bit of inside info here!

    • Graham

      There are just over 2000 in the UK, which has a similar size population to France. Given that the UK has a significant $camatology base at Saint Hill I can’t see there being more $cionos in France than the UK.

  • Artoo45

    Vive la France!

    • I came up with this, a tribute to a Surrealist, as he would recognize Scientology as a Surrealist version of a religion.

  • DamOTclese2

    Check out Twitter’s @kirstiealley comments. 🙂 The poor woman proclaimed she had an excellent day. Well, so did I, seeing that the Scientology crime syndicate is reconfirmed as being organized crime. 🙂

    Be sure to Tweet to Kirstie and see if you can elicit a “Oh yer alla bunch uh religious big-ots!” Meanies!

  • aurora50
  • richelieu jr

    Vive la France!

  • Bob Gravlin

    Cut the crap COS. If a Muslem believes his religion calls him to do terrorist acts in the name of his religion he will and should still be prosecuted for criminal acts, if he commits them. He can believe what he wants but his criminal acts should be punished. Why should COS be any different? If you do the crime you cannot use religion as an excuse to not pay. Criminal acts and unethical behaviors can and should be prosecuted and sued in court. It is the behavior which is the problem, and we must separate the behavior from the beliefs.

  • Candygram

    I heard the $cilons have 5 quizillion French member just in LA… And quazupallion worldwide. All kidding aside: amazing victory and reporting thereof. Thank you!!

  • Candygram

    In the too-bad-so-sad category, all the images in the comments sections seem to hate my iPad’s freedom. Oh well, at least I can read the articles.

  • edge

    Bravo, France. Bravo.

    As for the stats, we have to remember that wog math and Scientology math are different. See, we think in terms of people. Scientologists think in terms of Thetans. So yes, we may only see 2000 French Scientologists, a number that wouldn’t fill your average high school gym for a pep rally, but Scientologists see millions, if not trillions or quadrillions of Body Thetans. The only catch is that while those Body Thetans cause all of life’s problems, it’s those MEST bodies that have the money to exorcise them. Apparently money is Kryptonite to Thetans because rich, wealthy Scis have the fewest of them. Mo Thetans, mo problems, mo money please.

  • Jgg2012

    France may become the world’s first clear country.

  • DeElizabethan