|Transcript: BBC Interview with Scientologist Mike Rinder|
Mike Rinder "dead agents " BBC Reporter John Sweeney.
Subject: UK Media: Mike Rinder on BBC TV
Date: 19 May 2007 08:51:28 -0700
I've transcribed this from the video fragment on the BBC site, but
frustratingly it doesn't say which programme it was from. From the
looks of the set, it seems to be an item from BBC News 24 on daytime
of Monday 14th, but I suppose it could be from BBC1's lunchtime news
bulletin. Can any other UK critics tell me when the programme was
shown and the name of the anchor? [link]
I would guess it came immediately after this report: [link]
Commenting on the content of this interview, I note that the
interviewer seems well briefed and I like the direction he takes it.
Rinder himself repeats how they were keen to give Panorama access to
Scientologists and to Church buildings, but doesn't address the unfair
conditions that they attached (e.g. that no critical voices appear in
Reporter: Good afternoon to you. You must be delighted by all the
publicity this is generating for you.
Mike Rinder: Oh, we're certainly not delighted by all the publicity.
What we are delighted by is the fact that we are able to now show what
really goes on behind the scenes in a programme like this.
We're not the first people that have experienced the exploding tomato.
This is something that has been going on for some time. I'm sure that
there are others who have had similar experiences. And now we are able
to show what really happened.
We documented everything that occurred, everything that occurred with
John Sweeney, and just to correct a couple of things that Sandy Smith
said in your earlier report: First of all, we offered very broad, open
access to John Sweeney and Panorama. He refused it. He refused to come
in to our churches. He refused our offers to accept broad access.
We wanted to show him everything about the Church. It messed up his
story that we were not... that he was unable to listen to what it was
that we were saying and unable to apparently accept our invitation to
come into the church.
R: Do you always film every journalist, every reporter who wants to
write a piece about you, or make a programme about you?
MR: No we don't. No.
R: Why did you in John Sweeney's case?
MR: Because we had offered him very broad access and in fact asked him
to provide us with a list of places that he would like to go, that we
could open up for him.
I flew over from the United States to meet with him when he first said
that he was doing this programme, in order to be able to arrange this.
He said that we was going to provide us with a list of places to go so
that we could make those arrangements. He did not.
He showed up at our spiritual headquarters in Clearwater where we have
two million square feet of buildings, forty buildings, ten thousand
Scientologists, and he didn't go into one of the buildings. He didn't
speak to one of the Scientologists there.
At that point, we knew that there was something wrong; that there was
something which was astray with the way that John Sweeney was
approaching filming the story.
R: The problem is, Mr Rinder, I mean, you wanted control. He's making
an independent documentary about the Church, he wants complete carte
blanche, doesn't he? Surely you would accept that there is a
legitimate interest, a legitimate exercise in making a documentary
about a church that was described in the High Court as "corrupt,
sinister and dangerous"?
MR: Well, first of all, with respect to that quote you just gave.
That quote has been completely and utterly discredited, subsequently.
That is from 1984, in a case that the Church was not involved in.
Certainly, Panorama and any other documentary film-maker has an
absolute right to make a documentary about the Church of Scientology.
That was why I flew to the United Kingdom in order to make all of our
information available to him. We were not trying to control John
Sweeney's activities. We were trying to give him access.
He was the one who was making the demands about how that would be
done. We said, "Look, we'll let you in. We'll take you anywhere that
you want to go. Any place in the church; any of our church facilities.
We'll take you through them." He refused.
R: But you say that goes back to 1984. Just on that quote, it's only
about ten years ago, isn't it, that the former executive director of
the Cult Awareness Network said that Scientology was "quite likely the
most ruthless, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the
country has ever seen." Do you dispute that quotation as well?
MR: I don't dispute that quotation. That comes from someone who
subsequently was found to have been involved with a ring of people who
were deprogramming and kidnapping people. They in the end went out of
business after they deprogrammed and kidnapped a Christian man in
Washington State in the United States and got hit with a seven point
five million dollar verdict against them. So I don't think there is
much credibility... I mean, you can pull statements from people all
over the place that are little critical statements. What we're trying
R: Yeah, but what it does say though, Mr Rinder, about your church, is
that you are pretty defensive and pretty aggressive, aren't you, when
it comes to defending the Church. You had a big battle with Google, I
think, last year. You threatened court action against them. They had
to remove web sites which criticised the group.
One thinks back... you talk about pulling quotes from history but your
founder L. Ron Hubbard, said that anyone could be "tricked, sued or
lied to and be destroyed" if they disagreed with the Church of
MR: That is a quote that is taken entirely and utterly out of context
from the 1960s, that when it was misinterpreted at that time, Mr.
R: What did he say, Mr Rinder?
MR: What he said was that people who have left the Church are no
longer entitled to the internal ethical and justice procedures of the
religion. That is it. That was the entirety of that quote, which has
R: He didn't say that it was "fair game" that they could be
legitimately "tricked, sued or lied to"?
MR: No, he did not, the interpretation... You have to understand that
there is a church policy which says that a scientologist may not sue
another scientologist in civil court. They have the right to resort to
internal Church justice procedures.
If you leave the Church, if you denounce the Church, you no longer
have those rights. So, a Scientologist could sue someone who has
actually left the Church without resorting to internal Church ethical
and justice procedures beforehand.
See also: Report of internal Scientology memo giving instructions to "dead agent" TV show.
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