Anyone who thinks that young people aren’t freely thinking these days – think again. I photographed the Operation: Fair Game Stop protest in London last weekend and saw the confrontation between Epic Nose Guy, who was described to me as 15 years old, and the City of London Police. At the outset of the demonstration the City Police made clear to Anonymous that they considered equating the word ‘cult’ with the Church of Scientology was a crime under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006. That meant no banners making such an equation, despite a) Scientology not being acknowledged as a religion in the United Kingdom, b) the Act applying to incitement against individuals, not organisations and c) the ‘Church’ of Scientology being acknowledged by the judiciary as a cult. Epic Nose Guy refused to take his banner down:
It’s a further, odious development in the rolling back of rights and freedoms under New Labour, but it’s also a serious concern that a police force with considerable past links to the ‘Church’ of Scientology should continue to protect it, when London’s Metropolitan Police declines to. How’s this for starters, in addition to the curious case of Kevin Hurley in the previous link:
“guest invitations in May for two constables and a sergeant to attend the premiere of Mission Impossible 3 in Leicester Square, where they were able to rub shoulders with the best known Scientologist of all and the star of the film, Tom Cruise
Since July 7 the Church of Scientology has invited four police constables, an inspector and a chief superintendent to a charity dinner at their British headquarters, Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, West Sussex, where the officers received a donation of £5,000 for a City of London children’s charity.
The hospitality continued with a member of the Hubbard Foundation buying lunch for about £20 for a chief superintendent at Boisdale restaurant in Bishopsgate, central London, where the £28 set menu currently includes mini-Macsween haggis, fish or meat of the day and raspberry cranachan.
But the register of hospitality contains gaps on at least two occasions, where it is not known which officer attended an event or who authorised it.
The invitations to the Mission Impossible 3 premiere in May for three officers were followed in August by another event at the East Grinstead centre for an unknown number of officers. In September the register does not specify how many officers attended a concert at Bishopsgate police station by the Jive Aces; a band made up of Scientologists whose advertising states that they play “hot jive” and “big band swing”.
The night before last month’s grand opening of the Church of Scientology’s centre in the City, one of the force’s two chief superintendents joined a detective superintendent, a uniformed constable and a detective constable at a star-studded charity dinner at Saint Hill Manor, where prizes are awarded to followers who donate the biggest sums to the movement.
The dinner was attended by Cruise, who sat at a special table nearest the past year’s biggest donors.
The next day, Sunday October 22, a sergeant recorded being offered refreshments worth between £3 and £5 by scientologists as he was policing the opening of the London centre. Another officer, a constable, was a guest at a charity gala in East Grinstead the following night, where he recorded receiving £50 worth of hospitality. Most recently, on October 24, two sergeants and two constables attended a Jive Aces concert at Saint Hill.”
This comes across as a lot more than just ingratiating themselves with one another, doesn’t it? Let’s keep focused on the point here: the City Police determined, despite the reasons at the top, that likening the ‘Church’ of Scientology to a cult constituted hate speech, and that a 15 year old boy should pay a price for disobeying them. Yet the links continue:
“the scientologists have made donations of £6,250 to the City of London Children’s Charity.”
and what about this:
“Chief Superintendent Ken Stewart, a divisional commander with the City of London police, agreed to be filmed outside Bishopsgate police station for the Scientology film, which is shown to members of the organisation.”
The church has also secured a discount of £281,344 in rates on its London centre, which comes out of public funds, and is now trying to avoid paying any rates at all.
Sources have told the Mail that the Scientologists intend to use glowing letters of praise from the City of London police to support their application for discretionary rates relief.
It doesn’t matter if all these people become members or not. The point is that when push comes to shove, and you’re a City of London cop, pushed to deal with a crowd of Anonymous protesters, who are you likely to support – the rich organisation who lets you meet Tom Cruise and buys you expensive meals, or a bunch of rowdy teenagers who just won’t stop? It’s far simpler than brainwashing, corrupting or converting – it’s straightforward befriending. Yet Scientology is a cult. You can read firsthand accounts here, here, here, and here. There is also their Fair Game policy, which was even used against the BBC in their documentary about them. And there’s always their e-meters, the cornerstone of the religion, which is supposed to ‘audit’ people’s spiritual states:
Does any reasonable person really think that criminalising a 15 year old boy for calling a spade a spade is just?