Saturday, February 21, 2009

In an interview on a television show called the No Drug Show, hosted by Larry Byrnes, the Church of Scientology blamed both the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States and the attack on Pearl Harbor on psychiatrists and the drugs they prescribe their patients. Scientology considers psychiatry to be barbaric and a violation of human rights.

The video was posted on the video sharing website YouTube, but was later removed “due to a copyright claim by Axiom 10 Productions, Inc.” Mark Bunker of XenuTV questioned why Axiom 10 would utilize the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to remove the video from YouTube, as it was promoting their ideology about psychiatrists. It was later re-added to another site called

David Figueroa, a spokesperson for the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a human rights group founded by the Church in 1969, said, “terrorism employs violence. Against not just the general public, like in 9/11, but against individuals when they are captured.” Figueroa is president of the CCHR organization in Florida.

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“To take [a] person, and turn them into a killing machine, against their will or have them do things that are against their nature, you need something behind that. Psychiatrists employ drugs and conditioning techniques in order to change people from what they would normally be, into killing machines,” added Figueroa. He also says that the leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden got the idea to form the terrorist group from his second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri in 1988. Then 13 years later, 19 terrorists hijacked four U.S. commercial airliners, crashing two into the World Trade Center towers, one into the The Pentagon and one into a field in Pennsylvania. The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people.

“He was [bin Laden] just transformed from someone who was a supporter” of the “jihad” against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, into someone whose “whole thought patterns and his entire viewpoint was changed by Zawahiri, and by whatever types of drugs Zawahiri used to make that change in bin Laden, we don’t know”, said Figueroa, who adds that Zawahiri was acting as a “psychiatrist”. In another show hosed by Byrnes, former CCHR-International president Dennis H. Clarke claims Zawahiri to be a “psychiatrist, a therapist”; Zawahiri is referred to in this program as the “guy who runs” bin Laden. However, Zawahiri is actually a surgeon; he is not a psychiatrist or a psychologist.

Figueroa goes on to say that Japanese kamikaze pilots responsible for bombing Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in December of 1941 were “on amphetamines which is a psychiatric drug” when they attacked. However, the Japanese did not employ kamikaze tactics until later in the war. Wikinews has contacted the CCHR for a statement regarding Figueroa’s remarks, but have yet to receive a reply. Scientology-associated publications have also attributed tragedies including the Jonestown massacre and the Holocaust to psychiatry.

At the conclusion of the television program, the host promotes a brochure which he says illustrates how “notorious terrorist acts like 9/11 were basically created by psychiatrists operating behind the scenes”.

The issue of Scientology’s stance on psychiatry was brought to the forefront in the media during a 2005 appearance by Tom Cruise on NBC’s program Today with Matt Lauer. At the time Cruise told Lauer he was critical of psychiatry and the use of antidepressants. In a December 2008 appearance on the Today show on a promotional tour for his film Valkyrie, Cruise told Lauer he wanted to apologize and felt he appeared arrogant in his 2005 interview.

This is not the first time the Church made false accusations for acts of violence. In October 2008, the Church falsely accused the internet protest group Anonymous of a 2007 school shooting in Finland. They accused Anonymous of being involved in the November 2007 shooting at Jokela High School, in which a man named Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot and killed nine people, including himself. The Church accused Auvinen of being part of Anonymous, and further accused the group of plotting the attack. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Finland later told Wikinews that Anonymous had nothing to do with the crime.

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