WikiLeaks: USAID meeting with Scientologists in Kazakhstan

lurkanon

Patron with Honors
Source: http://www.cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=09ASTANA818&q=scientology

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000818
SENSITIVE SIPDIS STATE FOR SCA/CEN,
DRL/IRF STATE PLEASE PASS TO USAID E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs] PHUM [Human Rights] EAID [Foreign Economic Assistance] SOCI [Social Conditions] KIRF [International Religious Freedom]

KZ [Kazakhstan] SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: SCIENTOLOGISTS, JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES HAVE CONTRASTING VIEWS ON PROGRESS ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ASTANA 00000818

001.2 OF 002 1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Not for public Internet.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: On April 22, USAID's State and Society Advisor met with representatives of the Church of Scientology and the Jehovah's Witnesses in Almaty. The two organizations offered contrasting views of progress on religious freedom and government interference in their activities. END SUMMARY.

3. (SBU) The Church of Scientology began its activities in Kazakhstan in 1996, in Almaty. The Church claims 10,000 members in Almaty, and about 15,000 additional members nationwide. The Church also claims to have an ethnic composition of approximately 50 percent ethic Russians and 50 percent members of other nationalities. Church Member Anastasia Minayeva and other staff with whom the USAID Advisor met alleged that the Church is under great pressure from the Government of Kazakhstan. Last year, the Church received visits from procurators, tax authorities, and eventually the Committee for National Security (KNB). Procurators opened a case against the Church because of its use of vitamin supplements in conjunction with sauna therapy. According to the Church, the vitamin/sauna practice is common in Scientology and used to "detoxify" the body.

4. (SBU) Scrutiny by the procurator's office led to a raid on a Church of Scientology on October 8, the Scientologists said. The Scientology members claimed that all of their "confessional files" were taken. Confessional files are the written comments of a Church member "auditing" another church member. This involves recording responses to questions posed by a Church member, which are kept in a confidential file. Members cannot continue their confessionals without the confiscated files, and the information also needs to be analyzed by a higher Church member so that progress and spiritual health of church members can be tracked. Minayeva stated that she suspected that the raids occurred because the Government of Kazakhstan believes that they are an instrument of the United States, and possibly a subversive organization. (COMMENT: There are indications that the government may believe that the Church is engaged in profit-making business activities inconsistent with its status as a religious organization. END COMMENT.) Minayeva stated that the Church is funded entirely by donations and income derived from sources originating in Kazakhstan, and the Church does not receive funding from foreign sources.

CONFISCATED MATERIALS

5. (SBU) The Church is still in operation, but the Scientologists say that recently local authorities confiscated electronic devices called "e-meters" used in "auditing" sessions. The e-meter is a device placed in the hands of Church members and used to measure electrical impulses in response to "auditing" questions. Auditing is a practice much like a one-on-one counseling session. The Church uses "auditing" to measure the spiritual progress of individual Church members. According to Church representatives, the Kazakhstani authorities claimed that the technology could be used as a lie detector, a claim which is denied by the Church. The files that were confiscated contain personal data, and may only be returned if the individual requests his or her personal file from the authorities. In Scientology, an individual usually does not have access to his or her own file, and it is usually only reviewed by those trained by the Church, the Scientologists explained.

SIGNS OF HOPE

6. (SBU) Church members described the current situation as not particularly good, but believe that there are some positive signs for them in Kazakhstan. A small branch of the Church did receive all of its confiscated files back, and all Church members were allowed to individually petition the courts. Court hearings are scheduled for May, and Church members believe they will receive court decisions within the same month. Church members also believe that the mass media is now less negative about their activities, although members did cite a negative report about the Church of Scientology published the previous week. Church leadership is in contact with the Helsinki Commission, the United States Council on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), as well as the OSCE.

ASTANA 00000818 002.2 OF 002 Church members believe that the international spotlight of Kazakhstan's 2010 OSCE chairmanship may lead to improved short-term prospects for the Church in Kazakhstan.
MILAS
 

Captain Koolaid

Patron Meritorious
TL;DR:

Government intervention against Cult of Scientology for make benefit Glorious Nation of Kazaksthan.

Borat approves.
 

freethinker

Sponsor
It would be splendid if the parishioners did request their folders back and read them.

But alas, they are too scared to lose their eternity, but then again a few might:biggrin:
 
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