Transcript of BBC Radio report on Volunteer Ministers, 2 July 2006

Thanks to 'red' on OCMB for the transcription and 'formerlyfooled' for finding it. Recorded clips are indented, the rest was a live broadcast.

FEMALE ANNOUNCER: ... on Five Live.

JULIAN WORRICKER: This Friday, the country will remember the first anniversary of the London bombings. We've heard many stories about the rescue work, the emergency services carried out that day, but what is less well known is that alongside them were Volunteer Ministers from Scientology.
This morning the Five Live Report goes undercover to investigate how, from the London bombings to Ground Zero, Volunteer Ministers from Scientology travel the world providing what they claim is effective help in times of peril.

MAN: Yeah.
ELODIE HARPER: Did they do anything like that after the London bombings, or -
WOMAN: Yes. Oh, yes.
WOMAN: All of it.
WOMAN: We all went.
MAN: We had a yellow van which was going around to help.
PAUL FLETCHER: We all went. We were all there.
ELODIE HARPER: You were all there?
ELODIE HARPER: And you went - Whereabouts did you go? Were you -
STEFANIA CISCO: The taxi stand where all the -
WOMAN: Russell Square.
MAN: [Inaudible]
STEFANIA CISCO: Russell Square. We were part of the emergency and we helped -

JULIAN WORRICKER: We also reveal how the world's biggest single terrorist attack became an opportunity for one big recruitment drive.

BRUCE HINES: So, at Ground Zero, then, they wanted to keep psychiatrists or other forms of counseling - um - out of the activities there.

JULIAN WORRICKER: And how conventional psychiatrists are under fire from the Scientologists.

DR. PHILIP HODSON: If you start off in an organization which begins with a science-fiction novel as the basis for its beliefs of the world and the universe, and from that point of view is proposing to criticize, say, the way in which we understand the schizophrenias in 2006, I'm afraid - um - I'm not going to take part in the conversation.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Well, investigating this for the Five Live Report were Elodie Harper and Naomi MacMullan, and Elodie joins me this morning.
Morning, Elodie. We've all heard of Scientology. Just remind us what it is.

ELODIE HARPER: Well, firstly, although it's often called a church, officially it actually isn't - or certainly not in this country - as the Charities Commission denied it that right in 1999, as it failed to promote, in their words, moral or spiritual welfare.

It is recognized as a religion in some other countries, though, including the U.S.A., where, as we know, it has a very high-profile following. Its belief system is based on the writings of L. Ron Hubbard, and particularly his book from 1950, which is called Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.

JULIAN WORRICKER: You went undercover - um - to a meeting of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights. Now what exactly is that?

ELODIE HARPER: Well, we went to three meetings of the CCHR, or Citizens Commission of [sic] Human Rights, which is a wing of Scientology dedicated to fighting psychiatry, which it says is the reason why our society is failing.

The meetings were led by Paul Fletcher, who's the director of CCHR's London branch and Stefania Cisco, a Director of Special Affairs for Scientology. And watching over us while we met was an imposing six-foot-high portrait of L. Ron Hubbard, which dominated the meeting room, along with rows and rows of his books. And much of the meetings were spent watching videos which set out Scientology's views on psychiatry and why they believe it's harmful to us.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Right, so how is this linked to their work on the 7th of July last year?

ELODIE HARPER: Well, CCHR believes that mental illnesses, including post-traumatic stress disorder, don't actually exist, but are just a fraud invented by psychiatrists as part of a plan to gain social control. And they also believe psychiatrists, or psychs, as they call them, are so dangerous that Scientology actually has a duty to protect the public from them in times of crisis.
And we discovered that was exactly what they tried to do on the streets of London on the day of the bombings almost twelve months ago.

ELODIE HARPER: I was reading on the CCHR web site how, like, CCHR went out after 9/11.
ELODIE HARPER: You know, goes to the site and say you - look, you don't have to go to a psychiatrist.
PAUL FLETCHER: That was our Volunteer Ministers.
ELODIE HARPER: That was Volunteer Ministers?
ELODIE HARPER: Did they do anything like that after the London bombings, or -
WOMAN: Yes. Oh, yes.
WOMAN: All of it.
WOMAN: Big time.
WOMAN: We all went then.
MAN: We had a yellow van which was going around to help.
PAUL FLETCHER: We all went. We were all there.
ELODIE HARPER: You were all there?
ELODIE HARPER: And you went -- Whereabouts did you go? Were you -
STEFANIA CISCO: The taxi stand where all the --
WOMAN: Russell Square.
MAN: [Inaudible]
STEFANIA CISCO: Russell Square. We were part of the emergency and we helped quite a lot -
PAUL FLETCHER: And the - Do you remember the Redding train disaster?
PAUL FLETCHER: We went there, too.
STEFANIA CISCO: We were there.
PAUL FLETCHER: [Inaudible]
ELODIE HARPER: Um -- and what kind of help and support did you offer?
PAUL FLETCHER: Well, we - we just offered whatever they need, you know, if they need, sort of, like, assists or [inaudible] locationals or they just want people to help with the cleaning up [inaudible].
STEFANIA CISCO: Just -- people are distressed, so you know, you want -- you - the opportunity for psychs when they are distressed, okay, you need counseling [mimics sound of an explosion]. You go in [snaps fingers] - that's it. Um - we tried to keep them away. Spiritual -
PAUL FLETCHER: Spiritual security.
ELODIE HARPER: Spiritual security.
WOMAN: Spiritual security
PAUL FLETCHER: Fighting the psychiatrists; keeping the psychs away.
ELODIE HARPER: And do you think you got through to people on 7/7?

ELODIE HARPER: What you just heard there was Paul Fletcher telling us that he and other Scientologists were keeping the psychs away when they went to help trauma victims amongst all the chaos of the day. And Stefania jokingly refers to it as a type of spiritual security needed to save people from the threat of receiving psychological counseling.

JULIAN WORRICKER: But - um - Paul Fletcher did say, didn't he, that the Scientologists on the ground - the - the Volunteer Ministers - helped out - um - by offering cups of tea to the rescue workers and that clearly is a valuable role.

ELODIE HARPER: Yes, it is. Absolutely. But he does also refer to practicing what are called touch assists and locationals on trauma victims. Now, in particular, touch assists involve touching the person in order to put them into - in contact with the place of their physical or psychological injury. And these techniques are a form of faith healing - healing based on Scientology's teachings about how the human mind works.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Clearly this is a difficult time - the week ahead - for the survivors and families of the London bombings. Um - Has there been any reaction from them?

ELODIE HARPER: Yes, there has. We spoke to one survivor of the 7/7 bombings who has some mental health training and was also approached by Scientologists after the disaster. They didn't want to be identified, but they did tell us how they were shocked that they and fellow survivors were targeted by Scientologists trying to recruit them and talking of Dianetics therapy as if it were a - a medically recognized form of therapy.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Right, well, let - let's broaden the conversation, because it's not just at - um - 7/7, is it, that Scientologists have been seeking out - um - trauma victims?

ELODIE HARPER: No, it isn't. Not at all. I mean, in the days after the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, the National Mental Health Association in America warned people, in their words, to beware of Scientologists claiming to be mental health experts after they flooded the disaster zone with their Volunteer Ministers, who are the sort of worker ants of the organization.
So volunteers raced down to the Twin Towers from their Fifth Avenue headquarters, and from across the U.S.A. in the hours after the Twin Towers were hit.
We spoke to the NMHA, who did confirm this to us, and we also spoke to Bruce Hines, who is now an ex-Scientologist after 30 years in the organization, and he was one of those ordered to Lower Manhattan on the morning of September the 11th.

BRUCE HINES: Scientologists believe that they have the only answers to problems of the mind and the spirit and that sort of thing, and that no one else does, including other religions. They will say that they - um - accept other religions, but in reality they are - they think only Scientologists have the answers.
And starting way back in the '50s - um - L. Ron Hubbard began attacking psychiatry, and there's been sort of a battle going on ever since then. They've stated several times they want to destroy psychiatry.
So, at Ground Zero, then, they wanted to keep psychiatrists or other forms of counseling - um - out of the activities there.

ELODIE HARPER: And alarmingly, he also told Five Live that he wasn't only told to keep medically trained counselors away.

BRUCE HINES: I know there was, like, organized buses coming up from Florida, where there's a large Scientology center. Lots from California and from all around. So it ended up that there were hundreds going down there, probably every day. The idea was to get as many people as possible in yellow T-shirts down at Ground Zero, because the yellow T-shirts are very visible -- just sort of to make an impact that way - and there's always the hope that someone who gets involved will then continue with Scientology.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Um - We're going to bring a guest in at this stage.
Dr. Max Pemberton is here. He's a - a psychiatric doctor and journalist who last year also went undercover to report on the organization.

Max, good morning to you.

Um - Bruce Hines explained there how as a Volunteer Minister - um - he took advantage of the situation to keep out trained psychiatric helpers, as he put it, but does it become more sinister when he says that they used the disaster to recruit and actually convert people caught up in them?

DR. MAX PEMBERTON: Yes, it does. Um -- people - after such an awful event are in shock - um - they're incredibly vulnerable. It seems -- it seems to me very sinister that Scientology appears to be specifically targeting those individuals in the society who are vulnerable - um - whether this is because they've just survived a traumatic event or because they have longstanding mental health problems.
Um - I - I feel very uneasy at the idea that Scientology appears to be taking advantage of catastrophes by using them as recruitment venues. Um - Immediately after an event such as the July the 7th bombings, people need support, information and follow-up with trained professionals. The first few days after such an event are vital if the person isn't to experience long-term psychological problems.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Hmm. Because the situation was there that - that was alluded to there, whereby Scientologists are treating trauma victims. Now what do you make of that?

DR. MAX PEMBERTON: Well, I'm -- personally I'm very disturbed to hear that Scientologists are treating trauma victims when they - when they actually don't believe in post-traumatic stress disorder.
Of course, we psychiatrists aren't infallible and in particular, psychiatric medication shouldn't be seen as a panacea to all forms of mental illness, but it is a medically recognized treatment which is subject to rigorous peer review, and if Scientologists advocate getting rid of psychiatric treatment for trauma victims, I'd - I'd like to know what they're going to offer instead.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Max, we will talk more as - as the report progresses.
Also with us is Ian Howarth, who is from the Cult Information Center and - um - joins us here on the river bank.

Ian, good morning. Thank you for coming along.

IAN HOWARTH: Good morning.

JULIAN WORRICKER: We - we should stress straight away we are not talking about a cult here. Or do you think we are?

IAN HOWARTH: Well, - um - if I was to answer that question, I might have to appear in court because - um - Scientology, like other groups, are well known for being highly litigious. So let's just say that we're talking about a group about which we are very concerned.

JULIAN WORRICKER: All right. Why should we be concerned when someone has converted to Scientology, in your mind?

IAN HOWARTH: Again, one has to be cautious as to what one says, but - um - what I would say is that - um - in 27 years of working full-time as a specialist in this field, I've had - um - many hundreds of calls of complaint from families and friends of loved ones who've become involved in Scientology, along with many hundreds of other groups as well.
And -- um -- those that have contacted me about their concerns for loved ones in Scientology have indicated that these people have indicated that these people have changed, in their opinion; changed for the worse. They - um - are - are usually alienated from their family - um - or will be as time goes by, and - um - they -- they want help. They want to understand this better, and - um - they want to look at ways forward.
And for those people that have been successful in, shall we say, rescuing loved ones from that group - um - however their loved ones have come out - um - they've normally taken a tremendously long time to recover. In fact - um -- the researchers Conway and Siegelman published back in - um - January of 1982 in - um - Science Digest - um - an article called "Information Disease," and according to their research, the average person leaving Scientology took 25.6 months to recover.

JULIAN WORRICKER: But these -- the people who are recruited in quotes, they are free to - to change that decision - to opt out at any point, aren't they?

IAN HOWARTH: Well, that's what Scientology would say. The people -

JULIAN WORRICKER: Well, what - what keeps them there?

IAN HOWARTH: Again, we're getting into a -- a difficult area. If we forget Scientology and we talk about the area that we specialize in, which is cults, then by definition, a cult is a group that uses psychologically coercive techniques to recruit people.
And - um - this is normally achieved, i.e., the control of the individual is normally achieved in the average cult in three or four days, so that the argument is for a typical cult that a cult member - um - no longer can exercise free will -


IAN HOWARTH: - and can no longer choose to leave, and of course, again, I want to state I'm not labeling any particular group - um -


IAN HOWARTH: - in - in that way.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Have you dealt with Scientologists specifically and - and face-to-face over some of the issues you've just discussed?

IAN HOWARTH: I've certainly - um - in 27 years, had a lot of dealings with - um - the Scientology organization. In fact - um - I helped the police in Canada; the Ontario Provincial Police in the form of - um - Sergeant Ciampini. Back in the early '80s - um - he was very interested in and concerned about Scientology and wanted my help, and any advice I could give him and contact with ex-members to see what might be going on behind the scenes. He contacted many, many people and it led to the biggest raid in Canadian history, where a hundred police officers raided the headquarters of Scientology. It led to criminal charges. And so today, Scientology in Canada is seen to be the first religion with a criminal record, which is rather interesting.

Um - I've dealt with Scientology members who've come along to lectures that I've been [sic] given that have been publicly - um - advertised and they've tried to disrupt the proceedings, which is understandable from their perspective.
And -- um - I've had, shall we say, a lot of interest in my work from individual Scientologists, people who are with what used to be known as the Guardian's Office, it's now called Office of Special Affairs. It's - it's their sort of - I - I guess we could describe it as their police force. And - um - they don't seem to like the sort of work that I - I do in trying to help individuals and families and I've been the subject of - um - various comments over the years and -- um -- smears as well.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Ian Howarth, thank you very much for the moment. We will talk more to you, and - um - inevitably, of course, we are going to hear the other side of the argument as well.

JULIAN WORRICKER: When we return in a few moments' time, more secret recordings from inside Scientology's London branch as we investigate how they target disasters around the world and their attitude to psychiatry.

DR. PHILIP HODSON: There is a - a sense of the ridiculous in place. Scientology is in no position to criticize psychiatry because Scientology itself could not possibly demonstrate a rational basis for what it thinks.

JULIAN WORRICKER: We'd like to hear your thoughts on this as well. What do you think about Scientology's work with trauma victims? Perhaps you are a victim who were approached yourself or you are a Scientologist who has attended a - a major disaster.

xxx58 to send a text message. You can e-mail

JULIAN WORRICKER: You're listening to Julian Worricker on Five Live; with you until one o'clock this morning. Sitting alongside the banks of the Thames in West London as a 10-kilometer sponsored riverside walk in aid of cancer research takes place, and we'll talk more about the issues raised by that event in the final hour of the program. If you can hear noises off, it's because one or two families and others are gathering outside the pub here, maybe for an early lunch or a late coffee. A few joggers and strollers going by. There's a bit of rowing going on on the Thames as well. Life continues after yesterday at around half-past six. Rest assured.

Back to this morning's Five Live Report, if you've been listening for the past quarter hour, Mind Games: Scientology versus Psychiatry. We've heard this morning how Volunteer Ministers from Scientology rushed to the London bombings and to 9/11 to offer what they call assists to victims
We - We've also been hearing secret recordings of senior members of the Church of Scientology explaining that the reason they were there was to keep trained psychiatrists away from trauma victims.
Our reporter is - um - Elodie Harper.
Did the Scientologists you recorded say that they concentrated their efforts mainly on trauma victims in the U.S. and the U.K.?

ELODIE HARPER: Actually, quite the opposite. Paul Fletcher, the leader of the group we attended told us he was first recruited by CCHR to keep an eye on the work of psychiatrists who were helping people in the wake of the tsunami.

PAUL FLETCHER: I went to India when the tsunami struck to - to help out on the relief effort.
And I got called from CCHR because they were worried that they might - they might be trying to divert the - um - relief money; to say that, oh, we can help them, give us the money and we'll just buy loads of drugs.
So that's - when I went out there, I sort of - I met with the psychiatrists who had been pinpointed or identified. So I did a lot of research as to what psychiatry was up to over there, and I found out, you know, they've got this plan [inaudible] in the States to get - they've got this plan to actually infiltrate all the medical centers throughout India, teach the G.P.s and the nurses how to identify the mentally disturbed, and then prescribe the medications that go with it, because there aren't enough psychiatrists in India. There's only about 3,200.

JULIAN WORRICKER: So what Paul Fletcher did in India was campaign against further funding for psychiatric treatment in the wake of the tsunami even though, as we heard there, he admits that mental health care in India is already underfunded and understaffed.

ELODIE HARPER: Yes, exactly, and the tsunami is only one of several disaster sites Scientology has targeted. Um - Scientology's Volunteer Ministers can always be identified by their bright yellow T-shirts, and we found that they appear at disaster zones such as Hurricane Katrina, Bezlan, and most recently the Indonesian earthquake.
Now, in the aftermath of the tsunami, Dutchman, Kastor Jong [approximated spelling] was sent to Sri Lanka for the Medicin sans Frontieres aid agency.
He was told by the Scientologists there that they were practicing something called trauma therapy, but he also witnessed the Scientologists distributing their literature, which only confused already traumatized local people.

KASTOR JONG [approximated spelling]: One of the things that we were observing was that - um - they handed out leaflets and books. We saw that the days after they visited, people were confused about what was going on - whether the medical services used for - for other purposes like distribution of books and leaflets and - and materials.
Well, my personal opinion is that medical services should be strictly medical because people who attend medical services are very vulnerable and extremely dependent and medical professional - you should keep up the medical ethics and - and only provide medical care and do medical acts. And it should be beyond any doubts that there are other activities done under the pretext of medical care.

ELODIE HARPER: Now, this week, I met Dr. Philip Hodson, who is an expert in stress counseling and trauma care and also a spokesperson for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. He told us he was very troubled by Scientologists practicing touch assists as touching a patient is strictly forbidden in psychological counseling.

ELODIE HARPER: What do feel about Scientologists practicing touch assists on trauma victims after 7/7?

DR. PHILIP HODSON: I think that the idea that a stranger who belongs to a particularly aggressive proselytizing evangelical group or organization coming along to do touch therapy is it -- is it what is needed, or are we actually looking for, if you like, propaganda-free touch and support - um - ideally from people with whom you feel safe because you know them.
I don't understand the reasons for any organized group of people without training trailing around disaster sites unless they see it as an opportunity to - um - further their own particular form of propaganda or religion or organization or whatever it is that they call themselves. I think it's - um - lamentable and I think from the point of view of professional and organized therapy in this country - um - we would see it as behavior which is - um - something that we could never, ever support.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Um - Max Pemberton, I'm assuming you would agree with Philip Hodson.

DR. MAX PEMBERTON: Absolutely. I - I find this all very worrying. In the case of people who've experienced a serious trauma, it's not just a case of people being discouraged from seeking professional help that concerns me, but that actually research has shown that in these situations, unqualified people offering help can actually do a great deal of harm and cause, actually, long-term problems for the victim.
What I found when I went undercover was that Scientologists simply denied the existence of mental illness, which also fits in with what Elodie found when she went undercover.

ELODIE HARPER: Yes. It does. Absolutely. I mean, since they told us very firmly that mental illness does not exist, we naturally asked what causes the symptoms of severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia or manic depression. And the group leaders who met us in London just wouldn't accept that psychiatric treatment or medication of any type can help you.
And we were told that psychiatrists are far more likely to kill you than cure you.

STEFANIA CISCO: The point is also because it is accepted by society, that is the so-called specialists, they kill these children. They kill these people, they - they - they poison them because, you know, something is wrong -- bam -- [snaps fingers] increase the dosage. Do you see what I mean? That - that is the point in, obviously what they do. These - these are called mind-altering drugs for specific reasons if you look at it. You know? They don't even know themselves or realize what they do, you see? And - um - some of them kill themselves. Some of them kill others and then they kill themselves. See?

JULIAN WORRICKER: So what are they going to about it?

ELODIE HARPER: Well, ultimately, they'd like to get rid of psychiatry altogether and we were told to watch this space.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Right. Max Pemberton, thoughts on that, and that - that specific idea that mental illness does not exist?

DR. MAX PEMBERTON: Well, to - to my mind, they don't appear to be offering any kind of coherent or rational alternative and -- and nothing they're offering appears to be based on any kind of empirical evidence, which obviously is - is the basis for psychiatry. As I say, it's not perfect, but at least it has a basis of - of science.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Okay, well, in a -- a few moments' time, we will examine Scientology's attitude to mental health.

[male announcer over music] With all these so-called miracle treatments, nearly twice as many Americans have died in government psychiatric hospitals in just the past four decades than in all U.S. wars since 1776, so any way you measure it, psychiatry has spelled nothing but --

JULIAN WORRICKER: We'll speak to a senior member of the organization in a moment about recruiting at disaster zones, and obviously your thoughts on this are very welcome by e-mail or text., xxx58 to send a text message.
Are you a current or former Scientologist who wants to defend it or have you too been in a vulnerable position and been approached? We're happy to have all points of view from you on this. In a moment's time, as I say, we will talk to Scientologists and put some of the points raised during this report to them. It's now 11:42.

MALE ANNOUNCER: From the BBC, this is the U.K.'s home of live news and live sport. Five Live.

JULIAN WORRICKER: So this morning's Five Live Report has been looking at Scientology, its war on mental health.
Elodie Harper has been undercover reporting on how Scientology targeted the London bombings as well as other disasters, and along with her, doctor and journalist Dr. Max Pemberton.
Just before we move on, Elodie - um - recap what we've heard so far.

ELODIE HARPER: Well, we've heard from our secret recordings that Scientology Volunteer Ministers targeted disasters such as the London bombings and 9/11 to keep psychiatrists and trauma professionals away from victims.
Now Scientology has an estimated 10,000 members in the U.K. and we attended three meetings at one of their fifteen branches.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Well, let's bring in Janet Laveau, who's the head of External Affairs for Scientology, and Brian Daniels as well. Brian is Deputy Executive Director for the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, which is the branch of the organization which campaigns against psychiatry.

Janet, Brian, good morning and thank you both very much for coming on the program.

JANET LAVEAU: Yeah, the hearing is fine.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Excellent. Good.

Um - Let's deal with these issues point by point if we can, because obviously a lot of points have been raised here. And it's only right that you should have the chance um - to respond to them.
Let's deal first of all with what happens at the scene of disasters like 7/7, like 9/11. Do you have people there actively looking to recruit when people are suffering trauma?

JANET LAVEAU: Um - well - um - Julian, I - we seem to have missed the - um - the first part of the show, but - um - let me just brief you that - um - the Volunteer Ministers - um - was established by the Church to address the needs of - um - different individuals on a day-to-day basis. Part of the Volunteer Ministers Program also includes a Disaster Response Team, which is an organization of volunteers especially trained to respond in times of disaster. The motto of the Volunteer Ministers Disaster Response Team is "Something Can Be Done About It."
And our know-how is drawn from a greater body of Scientology materials and it's intended for the use of people of all beliefs so that they can help others in the aftermath of a catastrophe.

ELODIE HARPER: Is there --

JULIAN WORRICKER: What are their qualifications for that, specifically?

JANET LAVEAU: The qualifications for those vary from individual to individual, keeping in mind that when you have a disaster - um - situation, there's a lot of different things that are needed. For example - um - in - um - in New York during the time of - um - 9/11, one of the things that was needed most was - um - was assistance on the bucket line - um - organizations for food stalls - um - those sorts of things.
A lot of the relief work that we do actually is directed at the emergency workers, who, unfortunately, are the ones that are sort of most forgotten about - um - during those time periods.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Well, we -- we have acknowledged during the report that that sort of work has gone on and made specific reference to it during that in order to try and - um - strike the right balance here.
The point I'm trying to drive at is the idea that there are people there who are looking to recruit members of your organization at a time when people are deeply stressed and traumatized.
Does that happen?

JANET LAVEAU: No, Julian, that's complete -


JANET LAVEAU: That's - that's completely a false report. Let me just give you here -

JULIAN WORRICKER: We heard people on - on tape with an undercover reporter present acknowledging that that happens.

JANET LAVEAU: Um - well, no. I didn't hear that - um - tape, unfortunately, but let me just - um - say something on that, is that, I don't know what the question was that was asked - um - to elicit whatever the comment was that - um - was elicited, but that is not the purpose.
Um - let me just give you - um - to hear it from someone else, aside from ourselves, this is - um - from the New York Police Department - um - one of their chief -

ELODIE HARPER: Actually, if I - if I can help you there, it was - it was in fact - it wasn't during the secret recording. It was Bruce Hines, who is a former Scientologist, who said that he - um - was there to recruit people at 9/11.

JANET LAVEAU: Well, I don't know who Bruce - um - Hines is, or what he was there for, but that is absolutely not the purpose, and let me just give you - um - this is a - a letter from the - um - Chief of Police - um - New York Department, who says:

"I want to express to you my appreciation in all that your Church has done in these difficult times and I would ask that you pass my thanks along to your Volunteer Ministers.
"As one who saw firsthand what was needed at the World Trade Center site in the days and weeks immediately after September 11th, I want to thank you, the Church of Scientology and the Volunteer Ministers of the Church of Scientology, many of whom came long distances to help us.
"The Volunteer Ministers worked with great energy and great compassion at Ground Zero, helping to ease the physical burdens and mental strains of the rescue workers from the earliest days of -"

ELODIE HARPER: Can I - can I also --

JANET LAVEAU: Let me just finish, let me just finish.

"- from the earliest days of this tragedy until the time when volunteers were no longer needed at the site. The people of your Church were there in force. The organization, the caring, and the dedication of your Volunteer Ministers was exceptional and very much appreciated and will long be remembered by those who received their help. I cannot thank the Volunteer Ministers enough."

ELODIE HARPER: Can I - can I just -

JANET LAVEAU: That's from the New York Police Department.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Janet, hold on because Elodie - Elodie has a letter that she wants to quote to you.

ELODIE HARPER: Yes - um - can you also answer that the Deputy Fire Commissioner, Frank Gribbon expressed his concerns that - um - Scientology Volunteer Ministers were urging people not to take their medications which had been prescribed by doctors, and he had the backing there of Dr. David Prezant, who also expressed his concern about this?

JANET LAVEAU: I have no knowledge of - who - where is - um - this person from?

ELODIE HARPER: It's Frank Gribbon, the Deputy Fire Commissioner in New York.

JANET LAVEAU: Well, I have the letter from the - um - chief of the department of the New York Police Department, so I -- I have no knowledge of - um - what it is that you're referring to.

ELODIE HARPER: Could - could you also - um - on tape there, Paul Fletcher said that they were keeping psychiatrists away from trauma victims. Have you any comment to make about that?

JANET LAVEAU: I have no, I mean - that, I've never heard of before. The - um -- Volunteer Ministers work alongside of - um - the different - um - agencies, government agencies - um - other churches, other religions - um - we're there to help the same as everyone else is there to help.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Why are they better placed to help than trained psychiatrists and trained counselors, who, in many cases have had years of training before they are remotely qualified to go to that sort of scene?

JANET LAVEAU: Yeah. Well, I'm going to turn that one over to Brian.

BRIAN DANIELS: Yeah. Um. Morning, Julian.


BRIAN DANIELS: My name's Brian Daniels. I'm from the Citizens Commission on Human Rights -


BRIAN DANIELS: - and - um - with regards to why - why wouldn't psychiatrists be better placed, when - I - I think the best thing to do is to look at the actual nature of the treatments - um - whether that be lobotomies, whether that be electric shock treatment -

DR. MAX PEMBERTON: Sorry. Can I - I just need to interrupt there.

JULIAN WORRICKER: We do have someone who is qualified in that field sitting here listening to us.

BRIAN DANIELS: This is Max, is it?

DR. MAX PEMBERTON: Yeah, it is.


DR. MAX PEMBERTON: Hi - hi, Brian. I've just - I - I've got to just interject there because, I mean, lobotomies, certainly historically - um - psychiatry, as indeed lots of medicine, in fact lots of institution, has quite a - a shady past, but I mean, lobotomies have not been done for decades.

BRIAN DANIELS: Okay, let me stop you there, Max, because in 1999, a high-profile case of Lena Zavaroni, who, at 35 years old had been under psychiatric care for a couple of, I mean, at least ten to fifteen years, and - um - she was found to have a - an eating problem, and then she was given psychiatric drugs, it didn't really go anywhere.
Then she was given electric shock treatment in - um - Canada. That didn't work, and then she went back onto some other psychiatric drugs, and I believe it was antidepressants, which didn't seem to do it, and then in September 1999, she was - um - she undertook a lobotomy in Cardiff, under the neurosurgeon -


BRIAN DANIELS: - called Brian Simpson, and then she died four weeks later.

DR. MAX PEMBERTON: Brian, you're giving me one example, which I - obviously I can't comment on because it's just one - one particular case that I'm not very familiar with.
But certainly, from - from my experience, I have never, ever come across - um - someone who's been lobotomized. Um - it's just not done anymore because there's just no kinetic indication for it. We have pharmaceutical advances and psychotherapeutic advances which means it's not needed anymore.

BRIAN DANIELS: And these are the - I mean, I take your point, Max, but the - the psychotherapeutic advances, let's take psychiatric drugs. I mean, internationally, since 2002, there have been - there's been international studies and psychiatric drug warnings that now total 52. In 2002, it was three. There is a great awareness of the fact that these psychopharmaceutical products are not all they're made out to be, and the fact is -



BRIAN DANIELS: No, let me - let me just finish on that, because there's the side effects such as aggression, violence, hallucinations, and even suicidal ideation; those things which are - they are prescribed for, and which they are purporting to actually treat.


ELODIE HARPER: So are you saying that -

JULIAN WORRICKER: Sorry, Elodie. Go on.

ELODIE HARPER: So, are you saying that the reason why you're keeping psychiatrists away from trauma victims at 7/7 and 9/11 is because you're afraid that they're going to be lobotomized and given dangerous drugs? Is that why you're keeping them away?

JANET LAVEAU: Um - that's a little bit eccentric, I think.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Well, you raised them first, with respect, but anyway -

JANET LAVEAU: No, no, no, no, and - and - as I said before - um - Julian, that is not - wherever that report came from, it is a false report. It is incorrect. That is not why the Volunteer Ministers go to -

ELODIE HARPER: Every single person in that meeting agreed that they were there to keep psychiatrists away. This was not just one rogue member of the Church of Scientology. This was the entire meeting.

JANET LAVEAU: No, the - the -

ELODIE HARPER: They said that they needed to rescue - um - trauma victims from the - from the clutches of psychiatrists.

JANET LAVEAU: Were you the one that was there in the meeting?


JANET LAVEAU: Oh, okay. Well, from the conversations that I've had with other production staff at the BBC here in preparations for this show - um - one thing that I can say is that either, you know, your understanding was completely incorrect or the - the communication that was given completely confused individuals as to what - what the - the CCHR actually is -

JULIAN WORRICKER: Janet, Janet, I - I had not heard the tape prior to now, but I heard people genuinely celebrating the idea of keeping the psychs away. It was as clear as night follows day.

JANET LAVEAU: Well, okay, I mean, as I said - um - Julie [sic], unfortunately we - um - haven't been privy to listening to that particular tape, so it's really hard to comment. But what I can -

JULIAN WORRICKER: All right. Can I - can I put another point to you -


JULIAN WORRICKER: - which I think is quite important here because it gets into the sort of - the kernel of - of why this discussion is happening.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Do you both believe that mental illness does not exist?

BRIAN DANIELS: Well, let - let me come to that. Now, when you - when you consider what it is that psychiatric patients, those people who are receiving the so-called treatments are being told, let's take the prevailing psychiatric theory, or one of them, and that is the chemical imbalance of the brain. That's what - um - parents of young children are being told. That's what adults are being told. Yet there's no empirical scientific evidence, there's no tests to actually show that a chemical imbalance actually exists -


BRIAN DANIELS: - and furthermore -

JULIAN WORRICKER: What do you - What do you - What do you say causes it?

BRIAN DANIELS: [Inaudible] -- what I would say -

JULIAN WORRICKER: What do you say causes it - if it isn't that?

BRIAN DANIELS: Let me just go on to that then, because if it's - the other thing is that, if a chemical imbalance, you can't prove it, the other thing to point out is that what does a correct chemical balance look like? Even that, you can't actually say.

JULIAN WORRICKER: But - but you still haven't answered the - what do you think causes it, have you?


JULIAN WORRICKER: If you've got people who are - um - who are clearly unstable for whatever reason -


JULIAN WORRICKER: - what is causing it if - if it isn't what the scientists are alluding to?

JANET LAVEAU: Well, I think one of the confusions, first of all, Julian, is to - um - is say that there actually is a science behind the diagnosis. If - um - individuals wish to go to the CCHR web site,, there is - um - a video of interviews that were done by - of psychiatrists at the - um - APA Convention in Toronto in May 2006 where each one of the individuals say there are no tests for - um - to back up the diagnosis, and when asked about cures, they - each one of them said that there - they hadn't cured any patients.


JANET LAVEAU: I think that the - you know, the living -


JANET LAVEAU: That's not the - the point of - that's not the question. The thing that people have to understand -

JULIAN WORRICKER: It's a pretty good question if you happen to be suffering at the time.

JANET LAVEAU: Yes, I understand, but you know, one - um - needs to actually take a look at - um -

JULIAN WORRICKER: Yeah, but - but what I'm trying to get at is that if you end up in a situation -


JULIAN WORRICKER: - um - telling people that you have a way of guiding them through a difficulty, but you can't tell us what that is - um - what hope does that offer them? They're just - they're just joining you in - in an act of blind faith.

BRIAN DANIELS: Let me -- one thing on that, Julian, is that what people don't know - what's not generally known is that - um - undiagnosed physical conditions - and Max can probably - um - confirm this - and that is that undiagnosed physical conditions can manifest as - um - mental illness symptoms.

DR. MAX PEMBERTON: Well, absolutely, but that's the role of - of the doctor, is to work out if it's a physical cause, if it's a psychiatric cause or, you know -

BRIAN DANIELS: But you're a doctor, Max

DR. MAX PEMBERTON: I know, well, that's the role of the doctor is to work that out. That's why we did six years at medical school and then countless years specializing is so I can sit there and say this person is confused. Do they have a - a raised urea and creatinine -


DR. MAX PEMBERTON: - or do they actually have a - a psychosis, like - that's - that's what being a doctor is.

BRIAN DANIELS: Well, let's take - well, for example, psychosis. What is - is there, for example - what is the physical condition that may manifest as psychosis? I'm a lay person.

DR. MAX PEMBERTON: Well, for - for example, if you have - um - cancer - um, and you have a high - I mean, I don't - I don't really want to get into specifics here because I think this is -

BRIAN DANIELS: Well, it'd be interesting, though.

DR. MAX PEMBERTON: - but - but - but if, for example, if you have cancer, you have - um - raised calcium levels, that can actually make - um - can create lots of symptoms which would mimic what we classify as psychosis.

BRIAN DANIELS: What about psychosis, then?

DR. MAX PEMBERTON: The thing - I think the thing you have to realize here is that all of medicine is about arbitrary lines being drawn between certain symptoms. So there's certain symptoms are included and that makes a diagnosis. Certain symptoms are excluded, and that - that stops the diagnosis.

BRIAN DANIELS: But let's take psychosis. You raised that particular - um - condition -

ELODIE HARPER: I mean, how would - how would you suggest treating psychosis?

BRIAN DANIELS: Well, let me just finish that, because what I have found, and this - this is from doctors, is that a vitamin B-12 deficiency -

ELODIE HARPER: So is that - is that how you would - you would treat psychosis with a vitamin B-12, is that what you're saying?

BRIAN DANIELS: No. No. No, I'm not. I'm saying that that's what a doctor said - that psychosis can be as a result of a vitamin B-12 deficiency.

DR. MAX PEMBERTON: Yes. Korsakoff's psychosis --


DR. MAX PEMBERTON: - That's a recognized diagnosis for - um -- for people who are alcoholics and haven't had enough B-12.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Can I -- can I deal with the issue that we started with, namely the idea of people being at the scene of major disasters.


JULIAN WORRICKER: Um - we have been and talked about major events in New York in 2001 and here in London last year. We also heard people talking about the treatment of those who suffered in the tsunami in India and Sri Lanka and other places. Are you saying that in the future, you will not go to those - to those sort of events and seek to do the sort of work that you have been alluding to thus far?

JANET LAVEAU: Um - Julian, no one has said any such thing.

JULIAN WORRICKER: Why - why will you go, then? Why have you gone?

JANET LAVEAU: We've gone - um - to do the work that we do, which is part of the - um - the Disaster Relief Team - um - from the Volunteer Ministers. There's over 60,000 Volunteer Ministers - um - around the world who are ready to respond to disasters whenever they happen -

JULIAN WORRICKER: Okay. I just want to bring Ian Howarth in to respond -

IAN HOWARTH. You're talking about the work that you do, but the work that you do has been seen over the last few decades to be creating difficulties in many parts of the world. Again, you have a criminal record. Not you personally, but Scientology. In Canada - um - Judge Latey in the early '80s, a high-court judge in the U.K., described Scientology as corrupt, sinister and dangerous, so why should we listen to anything that Scientology is saying?


IAN HOWARTH: Why should we - um - trust anything that you're coming out with? Um - I - I would suggest that even describing yourself as a religion in these - um - environments where tragedies have occurred is - is perhaps an insult to religious community, who would want to - um - respond with - um - love and compassion.


IAN HOWARTH: We - we don't see that coming from Scientology.

JANET LAVEAU : Well, Ian, you know, we have to stop meeting in front of microphones like this.

IAN HOWARTH: We've met face to face, and -


IAN HOWARTH: - I've invited you to meet with me personally and you've not - um - taken me up on that.

JANET LAVEAU: Well, that's -

IAN HOWARTH: Let's - let's not - um - throw in some -

JANET LAVEAU: - because you don't actually publish your address, Ian.
But let me just say this: I'm sure that you were also going to get around to also telling the audience about your own convictions which have resulted from the - um - kidnapping and deprogramming that you were involved in in Canada.



IAN HOWARTH: - is an absolute lie. You are smearing me on national radio and --

JANET LAVEAU: Well, Ian --

IAN HOWARTH: -- this is not helpful.

JANET LAVEAU: -- Ian, are you - are you - are you going to deny that you have a conviction yourself; that you left Canada -

IAN HOWARTH: Of course I am going to deny that I have a conviction. I do not have a conviction. This is another bit of your propaganda to smear me and it's not helpful.

JANET LAVEAU: Well, it's not part of the propaganda, it actually exists. And - um - they were trying to - um - execute judgment in this particular country on that - um - prosecution -


JULIAN WORRICKER: It's been denied, and you have heard the denials.

JANET LAVEAU: and you conveniently declared bankruptcy at that - um -
All right, so that's fine.

JULIAN WORRICKER: I'm afraid I'm going to have to butt in at this point because you can hear the music playing, which I'm afraid indicates that it's the end of the conversation. Thank you all very much for taking part, and to Elodie for guiding us through the Five Live Report.

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