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A Current Affair -

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First tonight - the Church of

Scientology, and fresh evidence of

spying and intimidation has been

raised in a new documentary. It's

the latest chapter in the very

public brawl between the religion

and the BBC's John Sweeney. This

time, the Church has hit back with

its own feature film.

I wanted to investigate this self-

styled church. The accusation -

it's a cult.

It's the battle for your beliefs -

a religion versus the BBC. And it's

rival documentaries. being fought with, of all things,

Hi, I'm John Sweeney from the BBC.

I don't want to shake his hand,

because he's, um - he's working. I don't want to shake his hand, because he's, um - he's working.

You're not going to shake my hand?

Leading the anti-Scientology

vitriol is this man. If you

investigate them, they will come for you.

I know, because I've done it before.

He's British journalist John

Sweeney. But if his name doesn't

ring any bells, perhaps this might.

You were not fair! You did not hear

or record - He was the reporter who

famously lost it at Tommy Davis,

one of the head honchos of

Scientology. The Church claims the

BBC doco is flawed because of

Sweeney's mental attitude towards

them. At the time, he claimed he

was spied on and harassed by church

leaders, and that, in turn, forced

him to crack. leaders, and that, in turn, forced him to crack. Strangers watching me

at breakfast - day after day after

day... It just depends who you

believe. Scientologists say Sweeney

has a vendetta, and that destroys

his credibility, and that of his

documentary. But the reporter's

convinced he has proof he was being

stalked by the Church, introducing

us to a new whistleblower. Was I

being paranoid? No. You were being

followed. We were being followed?

Yes. Andoofrpblgts who gave the ord

-- And who gave under the orders to

follow us? It would have come under

my purview. There's no doubt? No

doubt whatsoever. As Sweeney and

Mike Rinder, the former chief

executive turned whistleblower, set

about filming this latest expose,

the surveillance goes from

undercover to in your face. It's a

dramatic and confrontational style

of documentary-making, guaranteed

to get viewers' total attention.

You, sir, have been following this

man, Mike Rinder, to his house. I

put it to you that that is an

intrusion - that you are harassing

this man. If this isn't harassment,

what is it?

Is this how this Church goes about

its business?

But Mike Rinder is not the only man

with a tale of woe. Others who have

left the church speak of the

monitoring of members as well -

even poster boy Tom Cruise isn't

immune. And, because Scientology's

dunce - he or she has the ability

to create new and better realities

and improved conditions. His family

says they saw private vision of

Cruise taken by the Church.

Scientologists say it's all legal

and consefrpbual. I was working for

the Scientology organisation. I

installed over 100 rooms that had

two cameras and a microphone in

them, where people would get

auditing. Is the camera obvious? No.

It's hidden? Yes. In most cases,

it's inside of a smoke detector or

inside of a picture frame. The

documentary is strong stuff -

Scientology copping an absolute

pasting. It's certainly not for the

first time. In fact, the religion

has now had enough of all the bad

press, and they've taken the

drastic measure of filming their

very own documentary, promoting

themselves, but mainly potting their critics. their critics. themselves, but mainly potting

His behaviour is callous, insulting

and bullying. What happens if it is

a brainwashing cult?

It's just a money-raising cult.

Others say it's a. R stunt.

The main aim of the film is to

discredit John Sweeney. He's

labelled a fraud, a liar, and unethical.

In Los Angeles, where he bangs on a

seldom-used fire door at the back

of a Church building, attempting to

show he was being denied access.

And in London, where he uses a

movie premiere to harass film star

John Travolta with his religious


The Church ends up wheeling out a

number of celebrity Scientologys to

confront the British journalist.

First up, Kirstie Alley. Then,

Oscar nominee Anne Archer. Do I

look brainwashed to you? How dare

you. We became quite concerned that,

you know, we weren't going to get a

fair go. We decided to document his documentary. Virginia Stewart

represents the Church of

Scientology in Australia. And

insists all of their operations

insists all of their operations here are above board.

here are above board. Rather than

going through the front door of the

church, he tries to sneak around

the back door. So I think our

documentary showed, clearly, his

unethical activities that he

engaged in in that documentary.

This is, in effect, stalking. Why

would you do that but to intimidate

or to harass the person, to put

them off what they are trying to

do? Senator Nick Xenophon has been

leading the crusade against

Scientology here in Australia. What

does this organisation have to

hide? What are they worried about?

Why are they so obsessed with

following people around and filming

them? It really is a bizarre

public-relations battle - a no

holds barred slanging match. Is

Scientology a religion, or a rort?

Clearly, some have already made up

their mind. Clearly, some have already made up

their mind. So it's not surprising

that some people continue to sum up

word - cult. the Church of Scientology in one

And the international Church of

Scientology has released a

statement saying that it had agreed