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BBC Radio report on Volunteer Ministers, 2 July 2006

BBC5Live is a national radio channel in the UK. The Julian Worricker show is Sundays 10.00 - 13.00, it includes an investigative report segment and this was advertised on the BBC website as

Mind Games - Scientology versus Psychiatry This week the Five Live Report goes undercover to investigate Scientology. In the hours after the London Bombings 12 months ago, dotted amongst the injured were the yellow shirted Volunteer Ministers of Scientology who managed to get behind the safety tape to help the injured and traumatised. But Five Live has found that the Volunteers were there to keep the trained trauma counsellors away from the victims, part of a bitter fight against psychiatry which has taken them to disaster zones at Ground Zero, the Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.
'Mind Games - Scientology versus Psychiatry' is an All Out Production


A full transcript of the program is on another page, what follows is a summary.

In a pub garden by the Thames on a sunny day:
Julian Worricker (presenter)
Elodie Harper (undercover journalist)
Dr Max Pemberton (evil psych)
Ian Howarth (Cult Information Centre)

On tape:
Bruce Hines (American ex-CoS)
Paul Fletcher (Director CCHR London)
Various experts

From a BBC studio elsewhere:
Janet Laveau (CoS UK spokesperson)
Brian Daniels (Deputy Executive Director CCHR London)

Elodie began with a brief description of Scientology, including the incorrect suggestion that it wasn't a Church (she meant it wasn't a charity) in the UK.
Elodie and another journalist went undercover to three meetings of CCHR in London. They watched videos and it was clear to them that Scientologists believed that mental illness didn't exist but was invented by psychiatrists.
She played a taped extract that had general agreement at a meeting that VMs went out after the London bombings and tried to keep people away from psychs. Paul Fletcher was present at the meetings.

9/11 was covered, with the NMHA warning about Scientology. Bruce Hines, one of the VMs there, pointed out that attacking psychiatry has always been part of CoS doctrine.

Max Pemberton expressed the usual psych objections.
Ian Howarth was cautious (they'll sue me if I call them a cult) but said that he'd had many complaints about Scientology. He quoted research suggesting that it took a long time to recover from Scientology.
There was discussion about whether people are 'free' to leave cults. Ian mentioned the police raid in Canada and scientologists disrupting public meetings at which he was speaking, trying to smear him etc.

[break for news bulletin]

A recording of Paul Fletcher was played talking about the Indian Ocean tsunami - or rather the evil psych plan to import their drugs into India.
Dr Kaster Jong (sp?) of Medicin sans Frontieres said that in Sri Lanka he was disturbed by VMs distributing leaflets and books that only confused disaster victims.
Dr Philip Hobson (another evil psych) expressed concern about touch assists, since touching a patient is forbidden in psychiatric councelling. "I don't understand the reason for any organised group of people without training trailing around disaster sites".
Max and Elodie agreed that scientologists had told them 'very firmly' that mental illness did not exist, and that psychiatry and drugs were far more likely to kill you. Scientology wanted to get rid of psychiatry altogether.
A taped extract from a CCHR video was played with a solemn voice telling us how many Americans psychiatry has killed.

Due to a BBC glitch Janet and Brian couldn't heard any of the preceeding. Once connected Janet ignored the first question and launched into a "let me just brief you" speech, successfully negotiated a "what are their qualifications?" question, and then ran into "do VMs recruit?"
Janet: "No , that's a completely false report"
Julian: "We heard people on tape acknowledging that that happened"
Oops. Janet umed a lot.
Elodie pointed out that it was Bruce Hines that said that there was recruiting after 9/11.
Janet had never heard of him.
Janet read a fulsome commendation from the NYPD post 9/11.
Elodie was ready for this one, and countered with Deputy Fire Commissioner Frank Gribben (sp?) expressing concern about firemen being told not to take their medications by scientology.
Janet had no knowledge of this.
Elodie "on tape there Paul Fletcher said that they were keeping psychiatrists away from trauma victims"
Janet: "That I've never heard of before"
Julian" "Why are they better at this than [professionals]?"
Brian: ...."the best thing to do is to look at the nature of the treatments, whether that be lobotomies, electric shock treatment..."
Ouch. I could feel 'reasonable' Janet cringing. She'd brought a fanatic along with her.
Max was brought in, and got sidetracked into a 'no they don't, yes they do' exchange with Brian.
Elodie: "So you're saying that the reason why you're keeping psychiatrists away from trauma victims at 7/7 and 9/11 is because they're going to be lobotomised and given dangerous drugs?"
Janet: "That's a little bit eccentric. [...] wherever that report came from it is a false report, it is not what VMs.."
Elodie: "Every single person at that meeting agreed that they were there to keep pyschiatrists away. It was not just one rogue member of the CoS, it was the entire meeting. They said they needed to rescue trauma victims from the clutches of psychiatrists".
At this point Janet has the cognition that CCHR has been infiltrated.
Janet: "Were you the one that was there at the meeting? OK then from conversations I had with production staff in preparation for this meeting one thing I can say is that either your understanding was completely incorrect or the communication that was given completely confused individuals as to what the CCHR..."
Julian: "I have not heard the tape prior to now but I heard people genuinely saying that they were keeping 'keeping the psychs away'. It was as clear as that, as night follows day."

On to the next question.
Julian: "Do you both believe that mental illness does not exist?"
Brian went into the 'chemical imbalance of the brain not being proven' speech.
Julian: "What do you say causes it?"
Brian ignores him and keeps going.
Julian tries again, and gives Janet the 'scientists say' prompt.
Janet: "...one of the confusions is to say that there is a scientific basis behind the diagnosis [plugs CCHR website with video of psychiatrists saying they haven't a clue]
Julian asks if scientologists have cured anyone. "If you have a way of guiding people though [difficulties] but you can't tell us what that is... they're just joining you on an act of blind faith!"

Max pointed out a fact that the CoS ignores, that all psychiatrists are qualified medical doctors and have the skills to distinguish between physical and mental illness.
Brian diverts him into medical jargon.
Elodie: "How would you suggest treating psychosis?"
No answer.

Back on track, Janet says there are over 60,000 VMs.

Ian Howarth comes in and gives his anti-CoS short speech, mentioning Canada and Judge Latey. Janet promptly DAs him:
Janet: "We have to stop meeting in front of microphones!"
Ian: "I've invited you to meet with me personally"
Janet: "That's actually because you don't publish your address Ian" [???] "I'm sure you were going to get around to telling the audience about your own convictions which resulted from the kidnapping and deprogramming that you were involved in in Canada"
Ian: "That's an absolute lie. You are smearing me on national radio"
Janet: Are you going to deny that you have a conviction, that you left Canada?"
Ian: "Of course. This is another bit of your propaganda to smear me"

[program segment runs out of time]

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