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International | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism

Scientologists in Action: The True Nature of Scientology's "Vulture Ministers"
by Dr. Lilly von Marcab
Thursday Jun 26th, 2008 9:01 PM
One of the Scientology cult's many front operations is called the "Volunteer Ministers." Scientology delights in relentlessly producing an endless supply of "press releases" extolling the pure, selfless altruism of these heroic humanitarians, who, according to Tom Cruise, are the ONLY ones who REALLY know what to do at the scene of a disaster or emergency. Namely, to deliver "touch assists" (a sort of creepy, inappropriate massage), take down names and addresses, and give out their bizarre "Way to Happiness" pamphlet.

Human rights advocates, public health officials, and emergency personnel in nations worldwide have another name for these jet-setting opportunists. They call them "Vulture Ministers."

One of the Vulture Ministers' most famous public escapades was at the ruins of the World Trade Center in the days following 9/11. Legitimate mental health professionals were there, of course, to help the victims and counsel the witnesses. Meanwhile, the Vulture Ministers in their bright yellow t-shirts descended upon the scene. Scientology's maniacal hatred of psychologists and psychiatrists is well known. True to form, the Vulture Ministers performed blocking maneuvers to prevent psychologists from doing their work.

A leaked e-mail from a Scientology leader describes the scene.

"Additionally we are trying to move in and knock the psychs out of counseling to the grieving families and that could take another 100 plus people right now. Due to some brilliant maneuvering by some simply genius Sea Org Members we tied up the majority of the psychs who were attempting to get to families yesterday in Q&A, bullbait and wrangling. They have a hard time completing cycles of action and are pretty easy to disperse."

The Scientologist actually admits that at Ground Zero, he and the other Vulture Ministers obstructed the work of mental health professionals through arguments and physical intimidation. After asserting that only Scientologists know what the hell they're doing, he goes on to disparage the ministers of various (legitimate) religions who were "working hand in hand with the psychs."

"The fire-fighter company down the street from the org lost 14 members on Tuesday. No one can do anything for them or the rest but Scientologists. The other religions here with their ministers have shown their true colors and are working hand in hand with the psychs to give these people as much false data and restimulation as they can. They HAVE NO TECH and they're not even trying to hide it anymore. They've crossed over and abandoned anything spiritual and to hell with them."

The Scientologists also somehow scammed Fox News into believing they were a group of mental health professionals called "National Mental Health Assistance" (NMHA). For five hours on September 14, the toll-free phone number for this deceptive group crawled across the bottom of Fox News programming. It was a toll-free number to Scientology headquarters in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the real NMHA, the National Mental Health Association, issued a public warning in response to the conduct of the Vulture Ministers, saying that they were "intentionally confusing the public" by presenting themselves as mental health service providers. According to NMHA President Michael Faenza, "The public needs to understand that the Scientologists are using this tragedy to recruit new members. They are not providing mental health assistance."

The September 11 attacks were only one opportunity of many that the Vulture Ministers have taken as a means of exploiting the victims of tragedies and disasters, and recruiting new members. Every time there is a natural disaster or school shooting somewhere, the Vultures will appear.

In Russia, after the Beslan school hostage crisis in 2004, the Health Ministry ordered Scientologists out of the area, saying "that various psychological tactics the groups use, including what it called hypnosis, may be harmful not only for adults, but for children that have already suffered severe mental shock."

In the UK, Vulture Ministers were up to their usual tricks in the aftermath of the 7/7/2005 London bombings, targeting the families of victims and emergency workers. It was reported that the Vulture Ministers had been told to get away from survivors of the bus bombing in Tavistock Square.

In a recorded discussion with an undercover BBC reporter, two top Scientologists admitted that the purpose of the Vulture Ministers was to keep the psychologists and psychiatrists away from the victims and witnesses, and called this "spiritual security."

After the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, dozens of Vulture Ministers showed up on the campus. Bulletins to Scientology members said that help had been requested by the university provost, the Salvation Army and the Red Cross, but these organizations denied that any requests had been made.

No matter how much phony, "feel-good," happy-slappy propaganda Scientology releases about its "Volunteer Ministers," it doesn't change the truth about these unskilled, obstructive cultists: Their only goals are to give the impression that Scientology is a benevolent, ordinary religion, and to recruit more paying customers. Fortunately, no matter how many self-congratulatory press releases they write, they are not having much success with either goal.

To learn more about how you can help put a stop to the Scientology cult's many ongoing crimes, including an internal corrections gulag, coerced abortions, toxic waste dumping, and many other things that will astonish you, please visit http://www.xenu.net and http://www.enturbulation.org

*See also:*

Excellent BBC Radio report (2006). Elodie Harper goes undercover to reveal the tactics used by Scientology followers in the immediate aftermath of traumatic events.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/networks/fivelive/aod.shtml?fivelive/flreport_scientologynew

Transcript of this BBC Radio report on Volunteer Ministers
http://www.daisy.freeserve.co.uk/stolgy_25.htm

Scientology at Ground Zero
http://www.xenu.net/archive/events/20010911-tragedy/

Scientology's Volunteer Minister program
http://www.cosvm.org/

Volunteer Ministers
http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Volunteer_Ministers

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by convert
Friday Jun 27th, 2008 5:41 AM
You'll see that Marcab's facts are spot on. No spin here. Scientology has a front group called "Volunteer Ministers" that has been universally panned for interfering in delicate situations like that of the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings. They are no qualified, and they do more harm than good. In fact, Scientology Volunteer Ministers were kicked out of the area surrounding the WTC in NYC because they were hindering the REAL lifesavers.

It is abundantly clear that this group exists to target those that are vulnerable and attempt to turn them on to the worthless, money-grubbing practice of scientology.
by bob dobbs
Friday Jun 27th, 2008 5:46 AM
Haha, let the recod show that the Scientologists still won't respond to the actual content of the letter, they just attack the author. The scienos are putting out twice the amount of crappy pr articles now, they won't allow any comments on them, why is that Milkeggsvodka?
by Curious
Friday Jun 27th, 2008 5:59 AM
How odd! How are these people allowed to do this when it is so obviously a con? Do people really believe that they are helping or is this just done for money?
by Milkeggsvodka
Friday Jun 27th, 2008 6:51 AM
I'm not a Scientologist, "Bob Dobbs", I just think the obsessive attacks on them have become twice as stupid and twice as scary as the cult itself. I think BOTH sides are severely deranged. Scientology IS a goofy UFO cult, but I think goofy UFO cults are COOL (I think Scientology is funny for the exact same reasons I think SubGenius is funny, but Scientology is much more interesting because they're actually serious!), and I think people who spend their lives toiling away "spreading the truth" on some sort of protest mission - whether it's PETA or Anonymous, are beyond pathetic.

Your have your opinion and I have mine. The only difference is you're determined to force yours onto every blog, message board, and news-comment field on the web, around the clock. That's called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and you and Marcab and all the other "anonymous" gang seriously need treatment for it. (Sorry, Scientology, but you're wrong about shrinks - some people really are in need of Prozac!)

by yeah.
Friday Jun 27th, 2008 8:01 AM
Right, m-e-v. You think they're ALL nuts-- but you're just fine-- even though you've somehow made it your business to go around responding to them on every site and blog.

Ya know, those living in glass houses, etc, and so on...
by xenubarb
Friday Jun 27th, 2008 8:40 AM
The "not a Scientologist" attacks the writer, invokes Prozac, issues life advice by wondering if the writer ever goes outside.

Well, let me tell you something, non-Scientologist whose nick sounds like a vodka milkshake, we have lives. And part of those lives enfolds a tiny bit of fury that this kind of malignant garbage is allowed to operate amongst vulnerable people who have suffered tragedy.

The account of the VM's behavior is true. "Lt." Simon O'Hare, a "lieutenant" in Hubbard's toy navy the Sea Org, issued several emails describing how the VMs disrupted legitimate mental health workers, sneaked in under barricades meant to keep them out, and finally, announced that such emails would be discontinued, lest they fall into the wrong hands. But it was too late. They had. Into mine.

Let me tell you something, Mr. "Not-A-Scientologist." Now, there are thousands, not hundreds, of people who think Scientology stinks. And people like you keep on "applying the tech," failing to address issues, attacking the writers and critics, and laughably, accusing us of the very thing Scientology is doing in its futile scramble to generate good PR.

There's one huge difference, however. The information we offer is researchable, verified material. What do you offer? Ad hominem attacks and "testimonials" that usually start out, "Scientology saved my life."
That's called anecdotal, and doesn't hold up under scrutiny.

However, this year we've seen a death in Narconon, Scientology's detox fraud. We've seen a woman freed from captivity imposed by her Scientologist brother; the same "Introspection Rundown" that killed Lisa McPherson. And we've seen the suicide of a vulnerable girl in France who received a poor rating on her "Free Personality Test."

So you just keep on defending the indefensible, Mr. Vodka "I am not a Scientologist" Milkshake.

Your milkshake just ain't bringin' the boys to the yard since anonymous came out to play!
by Beware the Cult!
Friday Jun 27th, 2008 8:50 AM
Calling dangerous cults like Scientology "goofy" really downplays the threat they pose to all of us. I'll remind you that Heaven's Gate was a goofy UFO cult, until 38 members killed themselves on March 26, 1997.

Remember this, if nothing else: people don't join cults, cults recruit people! Scientologist "ministers" rush to disaster sites because people are psychologically vulnerable. Dangerous cults like Scientology are designed to do two things: expand and extract money from their members. This is why they have so many front groups which downplay their affiliation:

ABLE International's divisions:
- Applied Scholastics to get your kids through their bogus "Study Tech."
- Narconon and Criminon, to recruit recovering drug addicts and inmates. Drug-Free Marshals are a similar front group.
- The Way to Happiness, to recruit from other faiths and professional offices via a brochure (note the similarity to "The Way International," another cult.)

Citizens Commission on Human Rights - produces libel and slander against psychologists and psychiatry, a pet Scientology cause.
Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) - to recruit school children under supporting human rights
World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (W.I.S.E.) - to recruit business people

If you look into the Unification Church, a.k.a. the "Moonies," you'll find a very similar kind of dangerous cult structure with many front groups to recruit people.

Once recruited, Scientology practices "thought reform" employing repetitive, thought-stopping techniques like their "TRs" or Training Routines. This is how reasonable, intelligent people get drawn in and soon begin accepting whatever they are told by higher-ranking members.

Beware the cult!
by Fredric L. Rice
( frice [at] skeptictank.org ) Friday Jun 27th, 2008 9:55 AM
http://www.cosvm.org/

We intercepted internal emails between Scientology criminals during the aftermath of the September 11'th terrorist attacks against New York, all of which are available at the web site offered -- Scientology's "Vulture Ministers" web site.

These scumbag crimials deliberately sought to disrupt relief efforts at Ground Zero. The authorities had to continually capture these Scientology vultures and "escort" them off the grounds. These insane criminals were such a problem that fire fighters and other rescue, medical people were literally tripping over these god damned insane crooks.

The American Red Cross was forced to issue a public statement about Sceitnology scammers and others who were preying upon the victims, all of which are available on the web site.

What disgusting, insane criminals. By working against the relief workers and against the surviving victims, Scientology was working _for_ the terrorists who attacked New York. Scientology diverted victims and fire fighters, got in the way, and had to be repeatedly captured and removed, adding to the work burdon of the people who were there to help.

http://www.cosvm.org/

My opinions only and only my opinions.
by Lou
Friday Jun 27th, 2008 11:55 AM
The full picture here:

http://www.volunteerministers.org
http://scientologytoday.org/press/latest_scn-vm.html

Otherwise, as said earlier, Lilly is just a lousy propagandist whose compulsion to put an anti-Scientology spin on anything has taken over her brain. A VM would help her however. They are pretty forgiving.
by AnonMSW
Friday Jun 27th, 2008 12:45 PM
I am a social worker, trained for years to work with people in mental distress. PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a common diagnosis for persons who have been through serious / catastropic events like Katrina, 9/11, and the recent flooding and hurricanes our country has been experiencing. Scientology's sole purpose in sending people out to these sites of human devastation in order to prevent persons like FEMA CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams) from gaining access to victims of such natural and manmade disasters. To my knowledge there are no FEMA certified Scientologists among the "Volunteer Ministers," nor could there be because of the reliance of such training upon SOLID SCIENCE rather than science fiction.

These people do little but actively prey upon victims in their most vulnerable of moments, when they've lost everything and have nothing else to lose, a perfect and highly manipulable time when they "pounce" and try to make the non-help they provide seem like a miracle. People in disasters, many times, need a trained professional to allow themselves to deal with the shock of their plight. Scientology exploits these moments for all their worth, then follows up post-disaster with solicitation campaigns and the seeking of endorsements from civil agencies overburdened by the cleanup effort and too busy to notice those seeking endorsement were the same con-artists who misled the public only days before.

If a Volunteer Minister approaches you, except under the most dire circumstance such as them pulling you from a torrential flood lest you drown (unlikey as they will rarely risk their own safety to protect others), say loudly and clearly, "Do not approach me! I do not want your 'help.' If you continue to harrass me, I will call the police or National Guard."

In times of disaster, it may seem like any help is good help. Alas, in the case of Scientology and its hidden agendas, nothing could be further from the truth and likely if you accept their help you risk further and often irredeemable disaster. There is no "federal cult insurance," and floods, earthquakes, and terroristic acts are bad enough without further being emotionally and mentally victimized by would-be "rescuers" preying upon the innocent.

by gargy
Friday Jun 27th, 2008 2:21 PM
In 2003 San Diego County suffered what was called the "Fire Storm of '03" -- the worst brush fires in over 50 years. At that time my husband and I were $cientologist and VMs. We went out to the shelters to "help" the people who had been evacuated and I must say I was completely embarrassed about what we were expected to do. It's too long to go into here, suffice it to say it was practically criminal. Many VMs, myself included, also volunteered at the firefighter's base of operations (an airfield out in east county). We did odd jobs -- filing, directing traffic, handing out donated socks and shampoo to the returning firefighters. The most awful part came later: the spin put on it for the sake of rank & file $cilons -- the VMs "ran" the whole operation, gave the tech to thousands, helped hundreds overcome the trauma and loss, etc ad nauseum. When I read the stories in the $cilon publications, I wanted to hide my head in shame. We did practically nothing and certainly we did NOT change anyone's life.

I was also present as a VM in Baton Rouge after Katrina and I will attest that our marching orders were all about getting people "in." I gave up on that early on and just tried to talk to people about how they were going to proceed in their lives given that their city was under water. I helped organize a singing group and I offered to read to the young'uns, just regular stuff. No TWTH booklets, no assists, no recruiting. Just being with people.

The article is accurate and the author does a service by continuing to expose the con that is $cientology.
by Diogenes
Friday Jun 27th, 2008 7:30 PM
I'd like to see the Scientologists present here explain why a large group of "Volunteer Ministers" were expelled from Oklahoma City after the McVeigh bombing.
Title pretty much says it all.

I believe that scientology is a sick scam invented by ol' man hubbard to make money -- but dox plox re the NMHA thing. Maybe I missed a reference in this article. I'll go back and look.

Bottom line is that if you are going to make statements like:

"The Scientologists also somehow scammed Fox News into believing they were a group of mental health professionals called "National Mental Health Assistance" (NMHA). For five hours on September 14, the toll-free phone number for this deceptive group crawled across the bottom of Fox News programming. It was a toll-free number to Scientology headquarters in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the real NMHA, the National Mental Health Association, issued a public warning in response to the conduct of the Vulture Ministers, saying that they were "intentionally confusing the public" by presenting themselves as mental health service providers. According to NMHA President Michael Faenza, "The public needs to understand that the Scientologists are using this tragedy to recruit new members. They are not providing mental health assistance."

It would be good to annotate them (where they appear in your article) with a direct reference (link or at least a reference to an article appearing in media, etc.) to statements made by parties concerned. Specifically, in this case, that FOX news was fooled and that the REAL NMHA made the statement you clain they did.

It's not immediately easy to find any such reference in your article, and in the spirit of tl;dr -- if it takes too long to find a definitive reference to a claim made in an article like this, people will not believe what the author has written.

Otherwise, a very good article. Lily is a gifted writer.

And the Volunteer Ministers of scientology are NOT present at any disaster for any other reason than to recruit. This I believe with all my heart and there is ample evidence of the fact that all they have ever brought is (sometimes water) "touch assists" and indoctrination.

Another Surfer
by tm
Friday Jun 27th, 2008 9:35 PM
They showed up at NIU after the shootings, too. They were confronted and denied having anything to do with scientology. They had the nerve to pass out their garbage right outside the memorial service.
by Omar
Saturday Jun 28th, 2008 10:56 AM
'Mental health' hotline a blind lead

The televised blurb offered mental health assistance dealing with the attacks. Callers reached Scientologists
St. Petersburg Times,, 9/15/01
http://www.sptimes.com/News/091501/Worldandnation/_Mental_health__hotli.shtml
by Mike
Saturday Jun 28th, 2008 2:31 PM
I had no idea about any of this. It's horrible. I had read something once about the "volunteer ministers" someplace, but this article really brings everything into context. I checked out the xenu.net link, too. Fascinating and quite disturbiing.
by Tristessa
Saturday Jun 28th, 2008 5:23 PM
Dear Scientologists,

Everything you believe and feel so passionately about is based on the concept that L. Ron Hubbard was telling the truth about his life history, accomplishments and experiences. He was not telling the truth. He was lying about almost everything. THAT is the stable datum.

Moreover, David Miscavige has lied to you about almost everything. That, too, is stable data.

You can begin your research here:

Who was L. Ron Hubbard?
http://www.xenu.net/archive/infopack/4.htm

by the scientology church?
Saturday Jun 28th, 2008 7:27 PM
Are their any demonstrations in the bay area against the scientology church?
by Anonomalous
Saturday Jun 28th, 2008 8:28 PM

Indeed there will be another of our monthly protests, the next being on July 12. These monthly protests, which involve thousands of people in over 100 cities worldwide, will continue until the Scientology criminal racket has been dismantled. We also have smaller "raids" on "stress test" tables and other Scientology scams, in between the monthly ones. Please check http://www.enturbulation.org to learn more about the worldwide activities; For the San Francisco Bay Area, there is this additional resource: http://www.anonymoussf.com

Glad you'll be joining us!

Pictured: San Francisco Anonymous members at the "Church" of Scientology, San Francisco
by great
Saturday Jun 28th, 2008 8:52 PM
can you post the date of your next demo on Indybay?
also, why not post pictures of the demo on Indyaby too?
by Luana1980
Sunday Jun 29th, 2008 12:24 PM
Their website even claims to train Red Cross personnel! It is abominable for these scientologists-in-disguise to secretly recruit new cult victims during times of extreme emotional distress. I wish they would learn some human decency.
by fortehlulz
Sunday Jun 29th, 2008 7:33 PM
well said*nods*


the mere fact that they tryed to pass them selves off as another organization, that right their is all i needed to here

plus thank fucken gowd 4 xenu.net^_^


also i heard that on 911 they were kicked out of emergency rooms, this could have been from the old gaurd ect..something like that
can anon deliver?
by Anonomalous
Sunday Jun 29th, 2008 8:07 PM
Anon delivers:

The Jerusalem Post
19.4.2002

By Rosalyn Harari

MEMBERS of the Scientologists cult in Tel Aviv managed to get into the public information center set up at Ichilov Hospital immediately after the recent terrorist attack in Allenby Street, where they spoke to families of the injured and gave out propaganda material on their cult, reports Tel Aviv Hebrew weekly.

Shortly after the attack, around 10 Scientologists mingled with a group of social workers who were at the hospital to receive families of the injured. Wearing shirts bearing the tag "spiritual adviser Scientologist volunteer," they talked to the anxious relatives who had arrived at the center, where entry was permitted only to the hospital medical staff and relatives of the injured.

The cult representatives distributed a booklet written by the founder of the cult Ron Hubbard which promises its readers to help them reach "the path which leads to a much safer and happier life for you and for others."

One of the most persistent volunteers even managed to find her way into the emergency ward, where she was noticed by the hospital manager Gabi Barbash and asked to leave.

=============

Guess Who I saw at Ground Zero?!?
New York Post/October 20, 2002
By Sarah Gilbert

Apparently, the demand for reading material about Sept. 11 is so drastically high that you can have spent three weeks feeding volunteers at Ground Zero and score a book deal.

"21 Days at Ground Zero: A Young Volunteer's Story" is a new memoir by Juliet McIntyre, a 20-year-old Scientologist/aspiring actress who did, in fact, spend three weeks at Ground Zero feeding volunteers.

"A lot of people - neighbors and friends - had questions," says McIntyre, who lives on the Lower East Side. "I thought if I could write the book, it would help people understand."

Yet McIntyre is the central character and Ground Zero the mere backdrop, with cameos by visitors Vince Vaughn, Edward Norton, Susan Sarandon and fellow Scientologist John Travolta.

Tales of hardship include less-than-ideal sleeping arrangements: After trying to sleep on a plank of wood, then moving on to a row of rubber bins, she and her fellow volunteer Erica finally got some fireman - WHAT? - cots. But McIntyre says that the cots were hardly much better than the plank.

"What person has that shape is beyond me!" she says of the mattresses. "It was very unpleasant. But sleep was sleep, so we just suffered."

McIntyre's memoir isn't all a buzzkill, though:

"The day I was born," she writes, "Mom started to take a picture of me. To her surprise, I looked right at her and smiled. They say most newborns can't even focus their eyes but we still have the photo and there I am, already mugging for the camera."

Also in the book: pictures of McIntyre as a "child model," posing with Ben Stiller at Ground Zero, and one in which she stands in front of the wreckage with her Erica. The caption: "I took off my asbestos mask briefly to pose for this photo."

Heroism indeed.
by 89
Monday Jun 30th, 2008 8:01 AM
"How are these people allowed to do this when it is so obviously a con?"

I guess it's because most people can't imagine human beings being so callous as to go in to a disaster area and trying to block people from getting help, and advertising for expensive courses.

As another commenter said, some "Volunteer Ministers" even can't overcome how repulsive this is, and toss away the game plan and help for real instead.
by coyote
Wednesday Jul 16th, 2008 1:35 PM
I took a quick look at the vulture ministers site and found a rather extravagant claim that they "train Red Cross". I sent the link to the IRC webmaster. Be interesting to see what they have to say. If I get a response I'll forward
by orestes
Saturday Aug 2nd, 2008 9:22 AM
This is convincing enough.
by Fredric L. Rice
( frice [at] skeptictank.org ) Saturday Aug 2nd, 2008 11:00 AM
> Their website even claims to train Red Cross personnel!

That's outrageous! The insane Scientology criminals were caught and escorted out of "Ground Zero" repeatedly by fire fighters, rescue workers, law enforcement, and everyone else who had to take time off from helping to drag these insane criminals back behind poloice lines.

The American Red Cross had to issue a public statement because Scientology and other criminals were at Ground Zero specifically to prey upon the victims and those working to salvage what was left in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

The American Red Cross was repeatedly flooded with telephone calls complaining about the Scientology crime syndicate -- and of course the crime syndicate demands otherwise.