Massimo Introvigne replies to our article about the new CAN

By Martini - January, 1999.

About a previous article: Does CESNUR co-operate with the new CAN?

On Dec. 27th, 1998, the GRIS Roma website - from where we learnt about the co-operation between CAN/CESNUR - published an interesting denial. Introvigne accepted our invitation to clarify the position of the Centre he manages. Even if we think that such a serious and compromising claim should have been to be denied much earlier, we are pleased to know that CESNUR does not refer people with cults problems to the new CAN.

While we suggest reading the whole of Introvigne's comments [1], we would like to point out here some interesting passages. For example, the organizer of the conference our "Dario" is referring to, confirms that the aforementioned "CAN Italia" was the Scientology run Cult Awareness Network, and its representative was a young man, whom Introvigne says he briefly met. [2]

We see the denial of Introvigne of the young man's claims as implicit confirmation that the young man tends to lie. Moreover according to Introvigne, who seems to be very familiar with the issue, there is no doubt that the new CAN staff one meets during conferences etc. is normally made up of scientologists, and that Scientology is engaged in «more or less "covert" operations».

The director of CESNUR thinks that the new CAN «is trying to gain credit by boasting» contacts «with older institutions», CESNUR among others, without even bothering to ask them for permission. Overlooking the fact that gaining credit for merit and good work would be much better than gaining it for "acquaintances", it's interesting to note how the Scientology-run new CAN seems to have no scruples in making (false?) claims that could be potentially harmful even for those who do not skimp on the defense of controversial groups such as Scientology, both in court and in the media. Now one wonders how scrupolous the new CAN may be with the people who contact it, and what is its factual degree of objectivity and reliability. Moreover one wonders whether the disposition to lie comes from its highest ranks rather than being a characteristic of the individual young Scientologist.

From Introvigne we learn that the new CAN «is not equipped to answer» questions «sometimes personal and dramatic» that are asked. Introvigne welcomes the fact that the new CAN addresses the people who contact it (maybe in the belief that it is the old CAN) to a list of professionals (CESNUR included). This statement might allege an implicit acknowledgement of the low professionality of the new CAN, and a regard for the work done by the old group, which Introvigne counted as "anti-cult" with all the negative meaning he gives to the term.

However, what perplexes us is the fact that, even if Introvigne seems to be very familiar with the new CAN issue - so much as to state that the new Network «was purchased by a group of "anti-anti-cult" activists», that its president is «himself a member of a rather controversial fundamentalist group», and that CESNUR addresses people not to the new CAN but to GRIS - the same Introvigne wrote: «Ironically, the name and the trade mark "Cult Awareness Network (CAN)" were purchased by a coalition of activists fighting for religious freedom, among which a number of Scientologists» [3]

We are curious how Introvigne can see a «group of 'anti-anti-cult' activists» whose president is himself «a member of a rather controversial fundamentalist group» as genuine fighters for religious freedom. They seem to be so genuine that the director of CESNUR prefers to address people looking for help to GRIS.

In the infamous CESNUR press release dated April 22nd, 1998, curiously entitled The rubbish that ends up on paper [4], with reference to GRIS we read: «Of course, the fact that people and the environment of GRIS are sliding towards anti-cult positions, particularly on a delicate and dangerous issue such as brainwashing, raises even more serious problems».

Introvigne finally concludes wondering whether the new CAN «is able to answer even quite simple questions» and «it would be interesting to make an experiment...»

... who is supposed to make it?

A group sliding towards anti-cult positions such as GRIS?

Or the cults victims themselves?

Or maybe the mysterious "anti-cult movement" whose disquieting presence hovers over almost every work of Introvigne's, and seems to be responsible for the construction of «moral panic» [5] and which is in the need to be monitored «for possible breaches of law at the national and international level»? [6]

It is worrying to notice that Introvigne considers as "religious persecution" the monitoring of groups whose members committed real crimes for which they were charged and imprisoned (and Introvigne should be aware of it, as he testified for the defence of Scientology in the Lyon case), meanwhile alleging that an unidentified "anticult movement" is encouraging «moral panic», and suggesting the American Congress «monitor» its activities - without making any distinction between the ones who honestly work to spread information and to support ex members, and the ones - and they surely exist - who go beyond this.

Finally, we would like to know how Introvigne can see the purchase of the old CAN by a scientologist as an «ironic» fact. It's known that Scientology perceived that Network as "Enemy #1": according to former members who took part in the project, Scientology executives worked for years to destroy the old CAN, and it was destroyed, at last. We think it should more objectively be described as a deliberate set of actions aimed to destruction rather than "an ironic purchase". [7]


[1] See this page.

[2] 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. 

[3] Massimo Introvigne speaking at the Department of Neuro-Science, Section of Psychiatry, University of Turin, May 30th, 1998. 

[4] The anonymous CESNUR Press Release dated April 22, 1998.

[5] Who is Afraid of Religious Minorities? The Social Construction of a Moral Panic - opening speech by Introvigne at CESNUR '98 conference in Torino, Italy (September 1998).

[6] Introvigne testifies at House Briefing in Washington. An event organized by the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission) and the House International Relations Committee on July 30, 1998.

[7] See the ample dossier on the Italian "Xenu" site.

Gli articoli apparsi originariamente su questo sito possono essere riprodotti liberamente,
sia in formato elettronico che su carta, a condizione che
non si cambi nulla, che si specifichi la fonte - il sito web Kelebek -
e che si pubblichi anche questa precisazione
Per gli articoli ripresi da altre fonti, si consultino i rispettivi siti o autori


Home | Il curatore del sito | Oriente, occidente, scontro di civiltà | Le "sette" e i think tank della destra in Italia | La cacciata dei Rom o "zingari" dal Kosovo | Il Prodotto Oriana Fallaci | Antologia sui neoconservatori | Testi di Costanzo Preve | Motore di ricerca | Kelebek il blog