oday, the cliché What you dont know cant hurt you is as thoroughly debunked as it is well-known. Yet some seem determined to convince the public at large to take these words to heart.
If what I speak of does not seem immediately obvious, consider that recent polls have shown public confidence in the media to be at record lows. The Pew Center for the People and the Press recently found that an estimated 56 percent of Americans say that news organizations often get the story wrong. Yet 80 percent also said that they believe the media plays a crucial role in a free society.
In this edition, we examine some of the stories you havent heard about in the mainstream media, and some examples of getting the story wrong. In both categories, you will find that what you dont know can hurt you.
It is this factthat ignorance can hurt both sidesthat drives members of the Church of Scientology, and Freedom, to look behind the official tales and provide an avenue for information which might be suppressed, ignored or otherwise lost in the noise.
For example, Scientologists worked with numerous other well-intentioned people to expose barbaric human rights abuses under apartheid in South Africa. Their work included revealing in Freedom the existence of psychiatric slave labor camps, where up to 10,000 blacks at a time were incarcerated, with many dying from wholesale neglect and abuses that included administration of deadly electro-convulsive shock without anesthetic. In exchange for their candor, the Church and its members encountered years of sustained assault from the apartheid regime, measures that included the banning of Freedom. With persistence, however, truth emerged victorious.
Independent commissions vindicated and commended the Churchs work and, in post-apartheid South Africa, a government inquiry was launched into psychiatric institutions throughout the countrywith sweeping actions recommended against psychiatry that included prosecution of psychiatric crimes and the historic establishment of a charter of rights for patients.
In the United States, unwilling to stand by while public citizens were abused as part of runaway government programsfor example, drugs already known to be deadly tested on human beingsthe Church worked with leading advocates of free information to become a pioneer in use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and shared its findings when it was successful in tearing down the walls of secrecy. And, of course, not all were pleased; the Church found itself on Richard Nixons enemies list"and is one of the only organizations on that list which still survives today.
Today, the Church and individual Scientologists continue to champion such causes and to demand that the truth be known, no matter the obstacles.
In our previous edition, we focused on abuse of power by certain individuals within the German government, and told a story not otherwise chronicled in the media. But awareness of the shocking human rights violations occurring in Germany is spreading. As you will read in this edition, a report published in June by the Human Rights Centre of the University of Essex, England, charges the German government with using democracy as an ideology to impose conformity.
And even within Germany itself, a growing number of scholars and other authorities are braving the threat of social ostracism by confirming that peaceful, law-abiding German citizens are having their families torn apart and their livelihood destroyed solely because of their religious beliefs, and that this intolerance is the work of political parties. We bring further evidence of this spreading intolerance in this edition.
In a similar vein, we share the results of extensive investigation, research and the use of FOIAparticularly in regard to the 1978 tragedy at Jonestown. Recently, Freedom obtained the release of nearly 39,000 pages of government files which have never before been seen outside the FBIpages which already show that conventional wisdom is fatally flawed and that many searching questions remain.
We also show how anti-religious hysteria has been fomented and false information made a staple of the daily media diet by a clique which profits from human tragedya group which, as one author put it, has divined that human life is a form of mental illness.
I hope you find this issue informative. I also encourage you to send any related information and your comments to Freedom.