A short background note  

Massimo Introvigne is an expert on international patent law, and also one of the five top leaders of the right-wing Catholic organisation, Alleanza Cattolica, a "sister group" of the Brazilian "Society for the Defence of Tradition, Family and Property.". 

In his free time, Introvigne also runs CESNUR, a "Centre for Studies on New Religions," funded by the local government of Piemonte in Northern Italy. Introvigne also claims to be a sociologist, having taught Sociology of Religion first at a clerical seminary in Southern Italy and then - for three days a year - at a private Mexican institution in Rome. 

In 1998, Introvigne published a study on a little-known organisation called "New Acropolis," of which I had once been a member. In this study he made a series of positively false and libellous statements about me personally; the study was also seriously flawed from an academic point of view.   

To defend myself from this unprovoked libel, I set up the CESNUR Critical Page, analysing his study, and suggesting why it was so markedly defective and one-sided. The reason, I maintained, lay in the extremist political and ideological background of Dr Introvigne.   

Dr Introvigne and his lawyers have gone through the CESNUR Critical Page with a fine-tooth comb looking for anything to sue about; yet they have never come up with any mistake on my part, or even one offensive remark about Dr Introvigne.   

Introvigne's idea of a debate was as follows:   

  • He threatened to sue us (July 20, 1998) even before the website opened (September 1st, 1998);
  • Between March and May 1999, he had his followers spam Usenet with over one hundred messages containing personal insults. This became known as the "inflatable doll" campaign, due to the fact that Introvigne's followers invited me to play with inflatable dolls and leave CESNUR alone. This episode unfortunately made many people forget something far more serious: several forgeries intended to make me appear an anti-Semite. 
  • Thanks to courageous friends of free speech, who mirrored us in many places and countries, our website survived this attempt at censorship. 
  • Dr Introvigne then made the study we are discussing here (August, 1999).