Since the death of its leader Irv Rubin the so-called “Jewish Defense League” (JDL) has apparently split up into two rival camps, one led by Rubin’s widow and another by a Colorado attorney.

Bill Maniaci the “Director [of] Intelligence and Security” for the non-Rubin group told CutNews that he initially “took the reins as the Chairman” to form “a new and totally different organization.”

And they have their own Web site too.

Maniaci and his comrades had a convention last year during October in Nevada and voted in a new leader.

Attorney Matthew Fineberg of Boulder City, Colorado is the would-be Rubin replacement, but apparently Rubin’s widow Shelley isn’t buying it.

Maniaci says she “refused to attend the October 2004 conference and has since maintained an unauthorized and rogue chapter calling itself the Jewish Defense League.”

“Rogue chapter”?

But many people thought that the JDL was a “rogue” Jewish organization in the first place.

Maybe these dueling factions are attempting to redefine the term “fringe group”?

The “new JDL” appears impatient to dispense with the grieving widow. They “will soon be resolving [their] issues with Mrs. Rubin in court,” said Maniaci.

So much for her mourning period.

According to the “Director of Intelligence” for the repackaged JDL “Mrs. Rubin mistakenly believed that she should have inherited the organization after her Husband’s murder.”


Irv Rubin died after he hung himself in a jail cell. A pitiful suicide after he was locked up over a bomb plot.

Well it looks like the so-called “new and totally different” JDL hasn’t lost one lasting Rubin legacy, a penchant for conspiracy theories.

J. Gordon Melton, a somewhat specious “scholar” of what he refers to as “new religious movements” received a rather questionable gift from a foundation linked to a purported “cult,” reports Moving

Moving is a Web site created by and for young adults with parents who joined the notorious “Children of God” (COG).

The Web site recently made public a portion of a 2000 IRS disclosure document that lists a $10,000.00 gift given to the so-called “International Religious Directory,” which is a pet project of Mr. Melton.

The gift-giver is the Family Care Foundation, an organization founded by COG leaders.

Infamous sexual predator “Moses” David Berg who died in 1994 once defined COG as its absolute leader.

The group taught members to sexualize their minor children and encouraged its women to become “hookers for Christ.”

COG is now known as “The Family” and has been in the news lately due to a grizzly murder-suicide.

Ricky Rodriquez the son of its current leader Karen Zerby, Berg’s widow known as “Mama Maria” to her followers, committed suicide after murdering his former nanny Angela Smith. The young man who left COG about five years ago claimed she had molested him as a child.

Ms. Smith at the time of her death was listed as a director of the Family Care Foundation, which is reportedly “an arm of The Family.”

J. Gordon Melton has often been labeled a “cult apologist” because of his friendly relationships with such groups, but until now no one knew exactly how lucrative his COG connection was through the Family Care Foundation.

Mr. Melton seems to have made something of a career out of selling his scholarly services to various fringe groups, often called “cults.” His list of sponsors and/or clients has included JZ Knight or “Ramtha,” a new age guru that funded a Melton book project. And also Aum the terrorist Japanese cult, which paid the peripatetic apologist’s expenses to come to Tokyo after they gassed that city’s subways sending thousands to hospitals.

Mr. Melton’s motto seems to be, “have apologies will travel,” apparently that is when some substantial funding is made available.

Note: Supposedly objective academic papers by J. Gordon Melton and others often called “cult apologists” have recently been linked on-line through a Web site database. Many of the authors listed such as Dick Anthony & Thomas Robbins, David Bromley, Jeffrey Hadden, James Lewis, James T. Richardson and James Tabor have been recommended either by Scientology or the Scientology-linked “new Cult Awareness Network” as “resources.” Anson Shupe who is listed once worked for lawyers linked to Scientology. Another listed author Eileen Barker has received funding from Rev. Moon. Scholar Rocheford E. Burke cashed some checks from Krishna/ISCKON while Professor Susan Palmer worked closely with the Raelians. Cult apology appears to be a meaningful source of income for some within the academic community. The Web site CESNUR, which is home for many of the papers listed is run by Massimo Introvigne, a controversial man that works closely with many groups called “cults.”

This month’s issue of Scientology’s “Celebrity” magazine (issue 363) reports that a “Steven Buscemi” has completed the group’s religious ritual known as the “Purification Rundown.”

Might this be the actor Steve Buscemi?

That is, the Brooklyn born guy best known for his edgy character roles in cult films such as “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction” and most recently for his turn as Tony Blundetto in “The Sopranos.”

Has Mr. Buscemi moved from “cult films” to a so-called “cult”?

No photo was run with the Scientology magazine article, but Jenna Elfmann was featured on the cover.

The so-called “Purification Rundown” apparently prescribed for “Steven Buscemi” is a process performed by Scientologists to supposedly purge them of toxins, largely accomplished through saunas and large doses of Niacin.

Tom Cruise swears by it.

And this practice is a central feature of the Scientology-linked drug rehab program called Narconon.

No independent peer-reviewed study or research has ever been published in a scientific journal to substantiate the effectiveness of the process objectively.

In fact the claim that toxins remain in the body for an extended period of time, which forms the basis of this treatment, has been dismissed by doctors.

If Steve Buscemi, known for his roles in independent films has been hooked by Scientology, it would be the first cool Hollywood type recruited by the group in quite some time.

Update: The NY Daily News later contacted Buscemi’s publicist who said, “I checked it out with him, and it’s 100% not true. It’s a different Steve Buscemi.” Scientology told the NY Daily News it is their “policy not to confirm or deny anything unless the celebrity goes public.”

Rev. Moon, purported “Messiah” and “cult leader” of the Unification Church has “funneled” $250,000 to help pay for President Bush’s inaugural festivities reports John Gorenfeld of I approve this

The $250,000 cash contribution, which represents the limit set for such gifts, comes from the Moon-controlled Washington Television Center.

The Center is a $55 million dollar building at 650 Massachusetts Ave. in Washington D.C. and it is home to such Moon-controlled enterprises as Atlantic Video and the “Nostalgia Network,” now known as “American Life TV.”

Apparently another tenant is the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), which may be a good fit considering that the Moon family is also in the gun business.

The Bushes do have a long-standing and fruitful relationship with Rev. Moon, which is why the South Korean religious leader makes it a point to attend their inaugurations and he can count on good seats.

Bush Sr. has raked in millions through accumulated honorariums paid out for speaking engagements at Moon-linked events.

The George H. Bush Presidential Library also was the recipient of a hefty gift from Rev. Moon and of course there is an appropriate plaque honoring the distinguished donor.

However, this donor is also distinguished by his criminal record, which includes a tax fraud conviction.

Pardon me?

Could it be that Rev. Moon and his followers are lining up a presidential pardon for the future to be granted right before the current President Bush leaves the White House?

“The donation may signal the beginning of an effort to secure a pardon for Moon,” says Larry Zilliox a private investigator and concerned Moon-watcher.

Is there reason to believe that Bush II can be counted on for such a favor?

Well maybe so, after all “Dubya” has so far tapped two long-time Moon devotees for political appointments, one to head AmeriCorp at Vista and another to serve as a US Trade Deputy.

Perhaps George W. Bush will once again follow in the footsteps of another president, but instead of his father this time it might be Bill Clinton, who handed out a few controversial pardons just before he left the White House.

After all if a criminally convicted former Arizona governor and wanted fugitive can get a pardon, why not a would-be “messiah”?

An elderly man claims that the Legionaries of Christ, also known as Regnum Christi, “exerted undue influence” and “pressured” him to surrender both his home and large amounts of cash.

In a letter first published by CultNews John T. Walsh Jr. explains, “the fraudulent and unlawful practices utilized by the Legion of Christ in soliciting donations.”

In 2003 Mr. Walsh was 78 and recently widowed when he was influenced by Legionaries of Christ seminarians and a “fundraiser” to make large donations to the organization.

The widower says he was “pressured” and eventually “quitclaimed [his] home to the Legion.”

Walsh also describes a process of isolation that prevented him from seeking financial advice from family and friends. He was instead “represented by counsel hand-picked by the Legion.”

The 80-year-old also claims that the Legionaries made misrepresentations about his property taxes.

“I will, in the very near future, no longer have the means to support myself,” he says.

Controversy is nothing new for the Legionaries of Christ whose founder Father Marcial Maciel Degollado has been repeatedly charged with sexual abuse.

Just this month the Vatican officially announced its decision to reopen an investigation of the powerful Mexican priest’s conduct reported New York’s Journal News.

John T. Walsh Jr. has sent his letter regarding charges against the Legionaries for financial misconduct to every Catholic bishop in the United States.

Meanwhile one bishop last month has already barred the group from his diocese.

Before Christmas Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of St. Paul-Minneapolis told his flock that the Legionaries of Christ are “not to be active in any way in the archdiocese” reported Catholic News Service.

Bishop Fynn’s concern seems reasonable given John Walsh’s stated experience.

Mr. Walsh who was once secure and independent now faces financial uncertainty at the end of his life.

What the widower was led to believe was an act of faithful charity, can now be seen as the byproduct of “undue influence” by a specious organization engaged in questionable fund-raising practices.

The Legionaries of Christ has 600 priests and 2,500 seminarians worldwide. There are 75 priests from the group within the United States and its US headquarters is in Orange, Connecticut.

The old adage “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts” may be useful to Tsunami survivors receiving attention from some specious sects and groups called “cults.”

Just like in the movie Troy something sinister and/or self-serving can be concealed in a “gift horse,” and it’s probably not Brad Pitt.

In recent days a growing array of controversial religious organizations, gurus and self-styled healers have launched efforts for Tsunami relief, but who are they really focused upon helping?

Do their programs reflect a genuine desire to assist the victims of the most horrific catastrophe of the 21st Century, or are they just there to play the disaster for publicity and possibly some new recruits?

South African Scientologists are using church branches as drop-off points for clothes and other goods targeted for relief reports IOL.

And Scientologists flying in from all over.

Scientology has sent volunteers from Australia to identify bodies reported the AAP.

English Scientologists and even a voluteer from Utah funded by an anonymous businessman are being flown in to somehow help reports Surrey On Line and the and the Salt Lake Tribune.

Scientology volunteers are known for their bright yellow jackets emblazoned with “Scientology Volunteer Ministers” worn when doing their charitable chores.

Scientology says that over 200 “volunteer ministers” are helping in tsunami-hit countries.

In a strange twist Scientology has trained Tibetan monks to help tsunami survivors through so-called “touch assists,” which seems to be Scientology’s version of the popular Pentecostal practice known as “laying on of hands” for healing. Scientology volunteers and the Buddhist monks using their method will touch survivors to help heal their trauma reports the AFP.

Another controversial group concerned about the trauma of tsunami survivors is the “Gentle Wind Project.” This organization is sending its so-called “trauma cards” to Sumatra, which supposedly have “the ability to forgive and [help users] move forward in life” according to one testimonial featured on the group’s Web site. But critics have dismissed the cards as “quackery” and a doctor warned that groups pushing such products often find “people who are desperate…and then take advantage of them.”

Madonna’s much-hyped “Kabbalah Centre” is shipping 10,000 bottles of its touted “Kabbalah Water,” which the pop diva seems to believe has spiritual properties reported MSNBC.

Wouldn’t regular bottled tap water be just as effective and much cheaper? But then that couldn’t afford a photo op with glitzy “Kabbalah Centre” labeling would it?

And then there is the so-called “Art of Living” organization led by a former associate of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi “Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.” He has dispatched his disciples to teach tsunami victims “yoga” and “meditation.”

Hey Sri Sri how about funding some conventional classrooms for children rather than pushing your “yoga”?

Another pitch comes from Guru Sri Chinmoy of New York. His followers are collecting for something called “The Oneness-Heart-Tears and Smiles” organization and say they are now “engaged in an urgent global effort to bring desperately needed relief to the survivors.”

But Chinmoy, who has been embroiled in sex scandals and called a sleazy swami,” doesn’t seem to fit the “world harmony leader” title claimed at the group’s fund-raising Web site.

Mata” the hugging mama guru has reportedly laid down some hard cash reported one news service.

But will she want a photo op hugging her check like “Summa Ching Hai” when she dropped some dough on the Red Cross for September 11th victims?

Meanwhile hate preacher Fred Phelps from Kansas wants everyone to know that he is “thankful” God killed Swedish citizens through this particular disaster, something about their collective sexual sins reported Raw Print.

Is that Fred smiling over there for the cameras with his “God Hates Fags” sign?

Who will land next with the next wave of volunteers?

Maybe some Falun Gongers will show up to teach exercise classes and pass out flyers, or will it be Sai baba the guru philanthropist and alleged pedophile?

Nothing new about such activities by specious groups after a disaster except the size and depth of this terrible tragedy.

Scientology volunteers were seen at Ground Zero not long after the Twin Towers collapsed. And John Travolta seemed anxious for his photo-op when he visited the site.

Then Tom Cruise launched the Scientology-linked “Downtown Medical,” located in lower Manhattan, which provided the so-called “purification rundown” for the detoxification of FDNY firemen and others that worked at Ground Zero.

People are the most vulnerable to undue influence and recruitment efforts by groups called “cults” when experiencing a personal crisis, loss and/or going through a difficult transition. When people are isolated from family, friends, their community and familiar support systems they are likely to be weakened and more susceptible.

Sound like Tsunami victims?

Meanwhile mainstream religious and relief organizations and government agencies are focused upon providing practical help to the massive numbers of survivors such as potable not magical water, medical care and the restoration of basic services through the rebuilding of infrastructure.

CNN reports that this is the largest humanitarian effort in recorded history.

Let’s hope that that these practical efforts reach the tsunami victims before any so-called “cults” exploit their vulnerabilities or use them as backdrops for some photo-op.