By Harry & Martini, Christmas 1998.
Last December, we started to publish the complete story  on how and why the new Cult Awareness Network changed direction and is now accused of being a Scientology front group.
Dr. Raffaella di Marzio, in charge of the Roman branch of G.R.I.S. (Gruppo di Ricerca e Informazione sulle Sette) in her review  of the CESNUR conference held in Turin, Italy, last September, writes she met a young Scientologist about whom we wrote a lot ) who «introduced himself as the representative of the Italian branch of CAN (Cult Awareness Network)».
«Among other things» she says «this man informed me that CESNUR as well receives help requests from people who have problems caused by "religious minorities", and as it is not a task of CESNUR's to provide such an assistance, they address people also to CAN.»
Today, after more that one month since the publication of di Marzio's article, the director of CESNUR has not publicly denied this claim that we consider very serious.
Moreover, oddly enough the new Cult
Awareness Network promotes Massimo Introvigne's work in its
first and important newsletter  - a bulletin with openly
propagandistic tones - introducing Mr. Introvigne as «a CAN professional
We then learn that last year the new CAN «sent to the press a long list of "experts"»  to be contacted in order to get "objective information" about religious minorities (our thoughts run to Scientology, as most new CAN activists are members of Scientology). Among the 22 lucky individuals selected by CAN  the fourth entry is J. Gordon Melton and the institute he founded in California (ISAR); Melton is the director of the American branch of CESNUR and sits on the board of directors of the network. Recently, the list of experts has been joined by Eileen Barker (see the official pages of the new CAN), who also sits on the board of directors of CESNUR International (oddly enough, in this list we do not see any of those people Introvigne would address as "anti-cult movement activists hostile to Scientology" - just to use his wordings).
In May 1998  Introvigne commented: «Ironically, the name and the logo of the "Cult Awareness Network (CAN)" were purchased by a coalition of activists who fight for religious freedom, among which a number of Scientologists» 
At this point we wish that the managing
Director of CESNUR had the common sense to deny any form of co-operation
with the new CAN.
 See the index of published articles on the Italian "Xenu" website.
 CESNUR '98 Conference - Facts, impressions, meetings and "events", minor and major, at an international meeting, by Dr. Raffaella Di Marzio of the Roman office of G.R.I.S.
 See Is Scientology investigating us? - The strange story of the mysterious MIAS (Italian Anti-Cult Movement), their lies and connections with the Church of Scientology. By Martini, Christmas 1998.
 See this page in the new CAN web site.
 For complete information about the position of CESNUR on the issue see the section CESNUR and "brainwashing" in the general index.
 See for example Melton regardered as an "expert" by the new CAN ("Giving Cults A Good Name", by Jeannette Walls, from Esquire Magazine, June 1997).
 We publish
the press release of the new CAN:
Where to go for factual information on new religions
If you need information about
new religions, there are many scholars and theologians who may be contacted
for objective information:
Dr. Newton Maloney
Dr. Philip Arnold
Dr. J. Gordon Melton
Lee Boothby, General Counsel
Rev. Jim Nicholls
Dr. David Bromley
Professor Gerry O'Sullivan
Dr. Isaac N. Brooks Jr.
Dr. James Richardson
Dr. William Cenkner
Dr. George Robertson
Dr. Edward Gaffney
Dr. James D. Tabor
Dr. Jeffrey Hadden
Dr. James E. Wood
Dr. Lonnie Kliever, Chairman
Dr. Stuart Wright
Dr. James Lewis
Dr. Hubert G. Locke
 Massimo Introvigne speaking at the Department of Neuro-Science, Section of Psychiatry, University of Turin, May 30th, 1998.
 The fact that a group of dedicated Scientologists claims to "fight for religious freedom" is quite a curious statement. With reference to this, Mr. Giuseppe Ferrari, national secretary of GRIS, in an interview to the Catholic daily Avvenire (Dec.1st, 1998) said: «one should verify whether they are claiming just their own freedom, riding roughshod over other people's rights».
In fact, to be tolerant one must primarily recognize the dignity of his/her interlocutor. On the contrary L. Ron Hubbard showed he was unable to accept criticism, even if legitimate: the doctrine of Scientology labels as a "suppressive person" (synonymous of mentally ill, ugly, criminal) whoever dares to question its validity or does not approve its methods.
Such a perspective does not
encourage "religious freedom" at all, as this concept implies respect for
others - unless it is a meaningless cliché used for mere
propaganda. The recognition of a religious status implies tax exemption
and other benefits, and grants some impunity: for Scientology it could
mean avoiding the payment of «a 240 millions lira fine [123.000 Euros]
after having evaded taxes for 410 million lira» [212.000 Euros]
(Niente tasse per Scientology,
by Cinzia Sasso, La Repubblica, Oct.15th 1998).