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Paris elects its first female mayor — and you have to see her record on Scientology!

Anne_HidalgoYesterday, Paris elected its first woman mayor, Anne Hidalgo. But as our man in France Jonny Jacobsen explains, she has a lot more interest for us here in the Underground Bunker than the fact that she’s female and from Spain…

Paris has, not surprisingly, elected another socialist mayor.

Anne Hidalgo succeeds her colleague Bernard Delanoë, having served as his lieutenant through his two-term tenure since 2001.

But Underground Bunker regulars will be most interested in her position on the question of les sectes in general — and Scientology in particular.

She’s not a fan.

Even in a country that has a cross-party animosity to Scientology, Hidalgo has marked herself out as a particularly vocal campaigner.


In 2005, as deputy mayor and head of a Committee of Vigilance against Cults, Hidalgo organised a demonstration outside Scientology’s offices in rue Jules Cesar (near the Canal Saint Martin and just down from Bastille).

“We want to warn Parisians of the dangers of certain movements and to alert them to the presence of these types of places,” she said at the time.

“Parisians have to be informed about their presence and the danger they pose,” she added. “It is not a church, Scientology, it is a movement that attacks people in distress.”

This of course was long before the landmark French trial of Scientology, which began in 2009 and finally in 2013 led to fraud convictions against the organization itself in France’s highest court.

But at the time she spoke, leading Scientologists had already been convicted as individuals on fraud-related charges in high profile trials in Lyon and in Marseille.

In 2009, at the first of the trials against two Scientology organizations, prosecutors called for both organizations to be disbanded. Hidalgo wrote an article in support of the prosecutors.

She contrasted their implacable opposition to Scientology to what she described as the complacency shown by France’s then president Nicolas Sarkozy.

She recalled how, a few years earlier, during his tenure as economy and finance minister, Sarkozy had met Tom Cruise during a visit to Paris. The article was accompanied by a photo of Sarkozy and Cruise, all smiles, shaking hands, with Sarkozy’s then wife Cecilia looking on.

Sarkozy had closed his eyes to the fact that Cruise, however big a movie star, was nevertheless an ambassador for Scientology, Hidalgo argued.

“Each one of us has a duty to do our part: we must not let anything pass because we know only too well how these machines for producing suffering work.

“What characterizes a cult above all is that you can enter but you can’t get out; if by some miracle you do get out, you find yourself in such a state of psychological destruction that social reinsertion is very difficult,” she wrote.

That is why every politician and citizen has a duty to prevent any threat to public order, she added, vowing to play her part by helping victims, spreading information “and, where necessary, by enforcement.”

Fighting talk then.

That article was until fairly recently — at least until July 2012 — posted on one of her official websites. It is not up at her new-look site, though clearly as a candidate and now mayor of Paris, she has had other fish to fry.

It remains to be seen what action, if any, Hidalgo intends to take on this issue in her new role as mayor of the French capital.

But I don’t think they were cracking open the champagne at Scientology’s Paris offices last night.

UPDATE: More from Jonny this morning…

A sharp-eyed researcher spotted the court-mandated publication of the judgments against Scientology in today’s copy of the Le Parisien and tweeted it:


I just checked and it’s genuine. On page 27 of the paper (a sports page, but whatever).

So that’s both the Celebrity Centre and the SEL bookshop publishing details of their convictions for organized fraud at the court of appeal in 2012.

And from what it says there, it will also be published in France’s top dailies such as Le Figaro (on the right) and Le Monde and Libération (on the left).

As we say over here: “Il y a des jours comme ça.”

…Just nipped out to buy the papers. As well as Le Parisien, both ads are on page 15 of Le Monde; split between pages 7 and 23 in Libération; and between pages 18 and 20 of Le Figaro.

Couldn’t get hold of a copy of Ouest France as that’s normally only available in — well, west France.

Shall we trust them on that one?

Thank you, Jonny!

We’ll mention just one more thing this morning — the Scientology stories in the press and now even on TV are coming fast and furious, and as always, the quality is uneven. This morning there’s a bizarre new story from Radar Online, for example, which combines the news of Vance Woodward’s lawsuit, which we covered last week, with completely unrelated tax documents for a UK Scientology entity, the Church of Scientology Religious Education College Inc.

Those documents have been at Wikileaks since 2009, and Bryan Seymour did extensive coverage of COSRECI in 2010 — and pointed out that the school had obtained tax-exempt status by using an Australian address.

What do the 2007 tax records of one relatively small UK entity have to do with a Los Angeles lawyer suing Scientology in 2014? Not a thing that we can see. But at this point, the media feeding frenzy means we’ll probably see more bizarre mashups like this in the future.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 31, 2014 at 07:00

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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN (Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING (Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
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