Eileen Barker the founder and impetus behind “INFORM” (Information Network Focus on Religious Movements) has long been considered a leading “cult apologist.”

The British professor of sociology has aligned herself with other “apologists” such as J. Gordon Melton, Massimo Introvigne and the late Jeffrey Hadden.

Barker sits on the board of Introvigne’s CESNUR an organization that regularly attacks cult critics

Hadden cited Barker prominently within a notorious memo that outlined strategies to suppress criticism of “cults.” And he hoped that funding for his proposals would come from groups called “cults.”

This would not have been anything new for Ms. Barker; whom once received funding from Rev. Moon of the Unification Church for a book she wrote about the organization and its members.

Nevertheless the London professor wants the public to believe she is an objective observer and academic.

However, it appears that the Archbishop of Canterbury doesn’t buy it.

The Church of England leader recently “snubbed” Barker’s INFORM organization reports The Guardian.

The English prelate will apparently not follow his predecessors by becoming a patron of the group.

It seems that Barker and her supporters are already busy trying to spin the bishop’s snub as the result of pressure from “evangelicals” that disapprove of “INFORM’s consensual” rather than confrontational approach to so-called “new religions” (a politically correct euphemism for “cults”).

But is this all about style or substance?

Critics of Barker have raised serious questions about the professor’s academic integrity and the substance of her “research.”

And concerned families that have historically sought help from INFORM have complained that its “consensual approach” may have included letting a “cult” know about their expressed concerns.

Maybe the snub from the Archbishop is just evidence that he is informed about INFORM.

NPR offered yet another installment yesterday of its “politically correct” view of so-called “New Religions” titled “Soka Gakkai” on All Things Considered.

This program focused on a controversial group called Soka Gakkai International (SGI); another group that has been called a “cult.”

But listeners didn’t hear the “c” word at any time within this report, which sounded more like an infomercial scripted by SGI than objective reporting.

SGI is a sect controlled by a by a Japanese businessman Daisaku Ikeda.

One of the most powerful men in Japan Ikeda has been both condemned and praised “as a devil and an angel, a Hitler and a Gandhi, a despot and a democrat” reported the Los Angeles Times.

Ikeda also controls the “New Komeito” party in Japan, which has been called the “political arm” of SGI.

However, NPR chose to never say Ikeda’s name or cite his role at any time during its broadcast. This was tantamount to explaining the Roman Catholic Church without mentioning the Pope, though some might observe that Ikeda’s religious significance within SGI might be more akin to Jesus.

NPR featured a plethora of SGI devotees rhapsodizing about how constant chanting helps their lives; one said it puts “gasoline” in her tank.

And of course like many groups called “cults” this one has celebrities too, Tina Turner and jazz musician Herbie Hancock are members.

NPR did mention parenthetically that the SGI teaching, you can chant for whatever you want, has been called “prosperity Buddhism.” However, there was no meaningful critique of the practice.

Former members of SGI have spoken out about the group’s abuses, but those voices were never heard.

“Very little about actual Buddhism is discussed by SGI, as most meetings and publications revolve around Ikeda and his writings, and a constant drama regarding the bad relations between SGI and it’s parent organization, Nichiren Shoshu, which excommunicated SGI several years ago.” said one former member.

NPR never cited this rift, even though they offered a supposed historical background about the group.

The broadcast also touted SGI’s status as a UN NGO (non-governmental organization).

Rev. Moon of the Unification Church also boasts UN NGO status, but as he knows such recognition can essentially be bought by paying dues and generally lubricating that international body financially.

NPR also reported that a liberal arts college was launched by SGI in California.

But nothing was said about the controversy that engulfed the school in its first 18 months. “Allegations of religious preferences” were reportedly the cause for a teacher exodus including its faculty dean and a prominent professor amidst campus protests.

NPR did find time though for two authors to plug SGI friendly books, one called “Soka Gakkai in America: Accommodation and Conversion.”

The Public Radio broadcast at times sounded more like a crusade than a news program.

Note: The introductory host of NPR’s “New Religions” series Barbara Bradley Hagerty seems to have her own critics. CultNews was recently notified that there have been serious questions raised “about Hagerty’s blatant conflict of interest and violation of professional ethics” (see report).

Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church created a media conglomerate to serve the would-be “Messiah” and propaganda purposes.

But it looks like the “cult” leader’s New World Communications is unraveling a bit; it has shed three of its publications recently.

Noticias del Mundo, a Spanish-language newspaper in New York City was dumped late last month reported the New York Post.

Insiders at Noticias said their superiors explained that the newspaper was “in bad shape.” And it appears that there was no meaningful effort to find a buyer.

Also on the chopping block was the Moon magazine known as “The World and I,” its staff of 31 got the ax.

“Insight” magazine, another Moon loser, was cut to “a five person skeleton crew” reported The Hill.

So far Rev. Moon’s media crown jewels the Washington Times and UPI news service have been spared, but perhaps staffers there should keep their resumes ready.

All these recent cutbacks are what a Moon spokesman called a “restructuring effort.” He claimed that the shutdowns would save the self-proclaimed “messiah” “millions of dollars” and help to “reposition” his other media assets reported the Washington Post.

Washington Times Editor in Chief Wesley Pruden put on a good face. “Our budget for next year is bigger than it’s ever been,” he said.

However, a bigger budget at the Times may be more bad news for Rev. Moon, since that newspaper has been a financial loser for some time.

In fact Moon’s media holdings seem to be a money pit.

Insight Magazine, which was launched in 1995, received an “annual subsidy” of $40 million dollars.

And Moon has reportedly “invested” more than $1 billion in the Washington Times.

This is not chump change, even for a rich “cult leader” with a religious empire once valued at more than $3 billion dollars, which includes a fishing fleet, canneries and valuable Manhattan real estate like the New Yorker Hotel.

Moon’s media has largely served as a conduit for the South Korean’s views and to indulge his considerable vanity. Moon has used the Washington Times Foundation as a vehicle to give him awards at upscale banquets attended by DC politicians and notables.

But now Rev. Moon is an octogenarian and he may soon fade away to some rest home for aged “cult” leaders.

It won’t be long before Moon’s financial residue is mulled over by his family, who will likely care more about the bottom line than his supposed “divine principles.”

Expect to see more dumping in the future at Moon Inc.

And that will likely lead to getting rid of everything that is not profitable, despite its prior usefulness as a vehicle for propaganda and self-aggrandizement.

Such a purge for profitability may mean eventually giving the ax to Pruden and his crew over at the Washington Times.

In a bizarre twist a missionary organization that targets Jews for conversion is bashing fellow Christians in a “cult” controlled newspaper.

The so-called “Jews for Jesus” (JFJ), founded by an ordained Baptist minister, took on Senate Chaplain Lloyd Ogilvie, American Values President Gary Bauer, singer Pat Boone, Rev. Jerry Falwell, broadcaster Pat Robertson and even Billy Graham in an attack launched within the Washington Times.

A JFJ spokesperson told the Times a subtle plot to “demonize” the organization has apparently taken hold amongst prominent evangelical leaders and many churches.

The alleged conspiracy supposedly can be seen through fading support for JFJ. Evidently, church invitations for their programs have dropped by 25% and donations slipped $371,130 in 2003.

The leadership of the controversial proselytizing organization chose to air its grievances within the Washington Times rather than a more traditional evangelical media outlet such as Christianity Today.

Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the self-proclaimed “messiah” whose followers are often called “Moonies,” controls the Washington Times.

Moon is the founder of the Unification Church, which has been called a “cult.”

The Unification Church teaches that Jesus essentially failed in his role to redeem the world, which Rev. Moon must now complete. Jesus was also stuck in spirit world until Moon married him so he could enter heaven.

Apparently, JFJ isn’t concerned about such theology when it comes to finding an outlet to discuss its budget worries. Concerns about cash flow seem to trump doctrinal differences with the paper’s primary funding source.

Jerry Falwell appeared to play both ends against the middle. “I highly regard the work of Jews for Jesus,” he told the Times while also endorsing the work of Yechiel Eckstein of the International Fellowship of Christians, which opposes JFJ.

Falwell is also friendly with Rev. Moon, who has generously given his ministry millions of dollars.

Once again, budget worries seem to be more important than religious conviction.

JFJ has historically been accused of exercising “cult-like” control over its members. Maybe its more than money that makes the group feel comfortable with “Moonies,” who allegedly have been “brainwashing” recruits in the US since the 1970s.

Much has been reported recently about the supposed growing relationship between the controversial Nation of Islam (NOI), which has been called a “cult” and Michael Jackson.

The former King of Pop, one-time Jehovah’s Witness and ex-husband of devout Scientologist Lisa Marie Presley, has now supposedly embraced Louis Farrakhan’s version of Islam reported the New York Post.

Since this story broke there have been further claims, counterclaims and repeated denials in news stories around the world, speculating about the pop icon’s religious status.

Leonard Muhammad, NOI chief of staff, was present during the exclusive Jackson CBS 60 Minutes interview with Ben Bradley taped on Christmas Day reported Fox News.

And there seems to be something of a power struggle between long-time loyalists within Neverland and NOI operatives for influence over the middle aged, self-styled Peter Pan reported Associated Press.

NOI has repeatedly denied it has any professional or business relationship with Jackson, though his attorney now refuses to deny the singer has ties to the sect.

Lawyer Mark Geragos has flip-flopped back and forth, first denying and now refusing to deny claims that the controversial group has growing influence over his client.

Some sources say NOI is “brainwashing” Jackson reports The Daily Telegraph.

But who is using whom?

Despite his attempt to feign child-like innocence Michael Jackson is an adroit self-serving spin-doctor, known for generating sensational stories to garner attention. He also collects high profile and/or celebrity friends that later become his convenient apologists.

Is the singer really mad for the Black Muslim sect, or is this just another ploy staged to politically position him for pre-trial publicity?

No doubt Louis Farrakhan is enjoying all the news coverage and may even want some of Jackson’s cash, which is reportedly still substantial despite his spendthrift ways and bad business decisions.

Farrakhan has forged some unlikely, but seemingly lucrative friendships lately, including Rev. Moon of the Unification Church as CultNews reported not long ago.

But is there a hidden agenda for the former King of Pop beyond his coming trial?

Maybe this pragmatic Pan is looking for long-term protection?

Jackson is admittedly using Farrakhan and his faithful currently for security. But if he is convicted and sentenced to hard time NOI has a formidable presence in the American prison system. And they can continue to provide protection behind the walls of whatever California correctional facility houses the fallen star.

Not bad for an end game, NOI may figuratively if not literally cover Jackson’s ass as his “rear guard.”

Mark Anderson was once a full-time pastor for Rev. Moon’s Unification Church in Phoenix, now he is a state senator serving in the Arizona legislature.

Controversy has surrounded Anderson historically. It seems that the senator’s legislative agenda may be more focused upon serving Moon, than the people of his district.

But Anderson’s supposedly heavenly approved leader may have bidden the legislator to work closely with another organization frequently called a “cult.”

Senator Anderson is pushing legislation that would preclude charging parents with abuse or neglect if they refuse to place or keep a child on psychiatric medication reported the .
Arizona Daily News

Anderson especially singled out the drug Ritalin, used to medicate hyperactive children as an example.

“Most of the kids who committed these Columbine-type crimes were kids on those kinds of drugs,” claimed the senator from Mesa. No study was cited to support this claim.

Anderson’s list of drugs that parent’s might withhold included anti-convulsants, which are used to treat seizures.

Another state senator strongly disagreed with his fellow Republican legislator. He said members of the Church of Scientology are pushing this legislation, because they “dislike any kind of psychiatry or psychology.”

But why would one of Rev. Moon’s faithful be so concerned about Scientology’s agenda?

Interestingly, the Moon-controlled Washington Times ran a story recently titled “Cruise line” (October 19th) about the actor Tom Cruise’s crusade against Ritalin.

“The biggest star on the planet…wants the public to know about…’the drugging of children’…needlessly prescribed…Ritalin,” breathlessly reported Rev. Moon’s daily newspaper within the US capital.

The Times story appeared just days before the Arizona Daily News report about Anderson’s efforts.

What’s up? Was this some sort of coordinated effort?

Have two of the biggest organizations called “cults” in the world today formed an alliance?

Is this part of a pragmatic series of legislative ventures and public relations ploys worked upon jointly by Scientology and the Unification Church?

Groups called “cults” typically seem to have one thing in common, the pursuit of power.

So despite their stark theological differences the Sci-fi “cult” and the self-proclaimed “messiah” from South Korea may have forged an “unholy alliance” based upon that.

People often think that old gurus fade away like old soldiers, but some just get really rich.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of Transcendental Meditation (TM) at 92 is one of the oldest gurus around and also it seems possibly the richest.

He was the guru that handed out mantras to the Beatles in the 1960s. Old fans of the “Fab Four” may think after that he just toddled off into obscurity, without the cache of the British rockers.

However, over the following decades Maharishi methodically built a literal spiritual empire, which is now worth more than all the former Beatles fortunes combined.

Paul McCartney is reportedly worth more than one billion dollars, but his old guru has more than triple the wealth of the knighted Beatle known now as Sir Paul.

Maharishi controls combined real estate and business holdings of at least $3.6 billion dollars reports the Hartford Advocate. Though some estimate his vast financial empire is really worth closer to $5 billion.

This may make Maharishi the richest purported “cult” leader in the world.

The TM founder’s closest rivals for that title would likely be:

Rev. Moon 82, who controls the Unification Church and somewhere around $3 billion.

And then there is David Miscavige, the current head of Scientology, a global organization with its own hefty holdings, which some say might easily be worth more than $1 billion.

All this goes to prove that there may be “no business like show business,” but “cults” can really pay off big time.

Evidence of increasing ties between Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Minister Lois Farrakhan and Rev. Moon of the Unification Church can be seen in an issue of the NOI Final Call newsletter this month.

Final Call contributor Mother Tynnetta Muhammad writes about her “series of articles with the Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon and the leadership of the Unification Church, and [her] recent visit to Korea and Mongolia.”

In her published contribution this month Mother Muhammad acknowledges “those individuals who have worked silently in the background to establish another [Korean] link to the Nation of Islam as manufacturers of products designed for the Exodus Program.”

The “Exodus Program” seems to be a Moon-inspired business venture and new funding source for Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam.

Mother Muhammad’s series of articles lauding the Unification Church and Rev. Moon can be seen on-line at the Final Call archive.

It looks like Moon has become a meaningful source of cash for Farrakhan.

Rev. Moon founder of the Unification Church, which is often called a “cult,” is certainly getting quite a bang for his buck these days at United Press International.

The self-proclaimed proclaimed “messiah” may not garner much attention at Associated Press, but he can always count on UPI.

And why not? After all he owns it.

Moon to Peace Council: Remove boundaries,” dutifully announces one UPI correspondent.

Religious council pushing for UN presence,” reports another.

Not to be left out the Washington Times, also controlled by Moon, chimed in “Clerics rally for peace at the UN.”

And so early this month Moon presided over a gathering at the New Yorker Hotel, another one of his acquisitions.

This included “a dozen former heads of state” at a ballroom bash.

Moon historically has paid huge honorariums for big names to show up at staged events, such as former President George H. Bush.

Besides indulging Moon’s penchant for speaking endlessly, one speech he gave lasted 16 hours; the “cult leader” announced that he wants a religious organization he controls to have full United Nations status.

Moon has his very own UN NGO (non-government organization) called the “Interreligious International Foundation for World Peace” (IIFWP), that he started with his wife in 1999.

But that’s apparently not enough for the would-be “messiah.” He now wants it recognized as an “official organ of the United Nations.”

Moon says his organization’s agenda is about achieving world peace by erasing national boundaries.

However, it seems that like virtually all Moon’s other grandiose ideas this one serves to feed its originator’s apparent megalomania.

“Your mission now is to engrave into your memory the meaning of my declaration today regarding ‘The New Elimination of Boundaries and World Peace,’ Return to your communities…for [the] purpose of building the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth and in Heaven… this is my direction, my order…”

When Moon talks about a “Kingdom of Heaven on Earth” imagine a one-world government run under his “direction,” set up as a dictatorship much like the “cult” he rules.

But is all this maybe Moon’s last hurrah?

Some sources say that the 83-year-old “messiah” is eyeing a potential spot to “spend his remaining years” reported the Joong Ang Daily.

However, would Moon be satisfied preaching to tourists at his resort? And unless it was inhabited as an exclusive “Moonie” retreat, would vacationers gladly endure his endless rants?

The answer to both questions is probably no.

A softer version of the New York Times story “Scientologist’s Treatments Lure Firefighters” came out through Associated Press (AP). The AP titled its story “Firefighters seek treatment recommended by Scientologist.”

The “treatment” is provided by Downtown Medical, located in lower Manhattan, which provides Scientology’s “purification rundown” for the detoxification of FDNY firemen and others that worked at Ground Zero.

AP’s report was run virtually verbatim by a local New York news website 1010 Wins.

This Scientology-related program certainly is getting its money’s worth from Joseph Higgins; a retired firefighter who is a paid member of the controversial clinic’s advisory board.

The former fireman certainly kept spinning and plugging away for his benefactor in the AP piece.

“I am obligated to let every firefighter and rescue worker who was exposed to the dust know about the program,” Sounding more like a preacher than a professional Higgins testified it “saved my life.”

But here is what Joe should feel “obligated” to tell “every firefighter and rescue worker,” but if he did his paychecks might be stopped.

When firefighters and rescue workers take treatment at Downtown Medical they are becoming involved with Scientology, albeit through a carefully organized labyrinth of intertwining organizations.

Anyone with access to the Internet can easily find out that the clinic is little more than the latest extension of an ongoing effort emanating from Scientology to promote the controversial teachings and dubious practices proscribed by its founder L. Ron Hubbard.

For those who might be somewhat Internet impaired or inhibited here is a simple guide to obtain background information concerning Scientology’s connections to Downtown Medical and its treatment program.

Interested journalists and curious Netizens should start with an article from the Boston Herald series “Scientology Unmasked” titled “Scientology group reaches kids through PBS videos.”

Point and click here.

In this piece a program called FASE is outlined.

“FASE was originally created to put Scientology covertly into schools and government, to give the Purification Rundown [the treatment used by the Downtown Medical on firemen] an air of respectability,” said a former high-ranking church insider. He added, “they could use it to get in the door.”

Is Scientology now using this strategy to “get in the door” at FDNY and maybe grab some government funding?

The NY Times reported that “the city’s main fire union has pledged its ‘full support’ to the clinic as it seeks government grants and other forms of financing.”

The Boston Herald reported, “Nearly two-thirds of FASE’s $17 million production costs over a six-year period from 1990-1995 were paid for with $12 million-plus in U.S. government grants from the Departments of Justice, Commerce, Energy, Education and Labor; and the National Science Foundation. In its grant applications, FASE did not state that it was linked to the Church of Scientology.”

Incorporation papers filed in 1981 with the Attorney General of California, in Sacramento, show that FASE was created for the explicit purpose of promoting “the works of L. Ron Hubbard.” The papers were later amended to remove Hubbard’s name.

The Herald also reported that the “controversial detox method” is seen as a “preliminary religious ritual that all new members must buy.”

Do FDNY firemen know that they are participating in a “preliminary religious ritual”? Don’t expect Joe Higgins to tell them anytime soon.

So what does FASE have to do with Downtown Medical?

Well, other than the obvious connection that the NY clinic clearly uses the very same Hubbard/Scientology method of treatment commonly called the “purification rundown,” there are other links.

That is, a series of interconnecting hyper links to other Web pages that is literally visible on the Internet.

Go to the official website of FASE and see the top of the column to the left titled “Foundation News.”

Point and click here.

Note the link “New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project.”

At this Web page read the definitive promotional pitch for FASE and its self-described role of promoting L. Ron Hubbard’s “detoxification program.”

This includes the following; “Foundation staff and associates have played an ongoing role in the…establishment of the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project.”

Point and click here.

The last sentence on this page suggests “click here to learn more about this remarkable humanitarian effort.”

And where does this link take visitors?

Web surfers will then find themselves at the official website of the New York Workers Detoxification Project.

The same project who pays Joseph Higgins as an advisory board member.

Another means of establishing the self-serving, synergistic connections between these organizations, which are so closely associated with the Church of Scientology, is to follow some of the principle players involved.

Specifically, this means noting two names in particular that keep popping up–Jim Woodworth and Dr. David Root.

Woodworth is the executive director of the controversial NY detox clinic.

He is also on the advisory board of the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project.

Point and click here.

And Woodworth is also listed as a staff member at the International Academy of Detoxification Specialists, which is also aligned with Scientology.

Point and click here.

Woodworth is likewise executive director at Health Med, yet another organization linked to Scientology.

Point and click here.

Doctors at the California Department of Health Services have accused Health Med of making “false medical claims” and of “taking advantage of the fears of workers and the public about toxic chemicals and their potential health effects.”

Dr. Root likewise wears many hats.

He is Health Med’s medical director.

Again, point and click here.

And Root like his colleague Woodworth sits on the advisory board of the NY Rescue Workers Detoxification Project.

Once again, point and click here.

Root also serves as the senior medical advisor for the International Academy of Detoxification Specialists.

And again, point and click here.

Scientology tacitly reveals these connections on its own official website in an article titled “Purification program saves New York fireman’s lives.”

The article sates; “9/11 left hundreds of members of the New York Fire Department (FDNY) and other rescue workers at the World Trade Center site, severely debilitated from the toxins they were exposed to during the tragedy. To get rid of the toxins a group of the rescue personnel recently began L. Ron Hubbard’s Purification detoxification program at Health Med, a medical clinic that delivers the program.”

Point and click here.

This Scientology page ends with the statement; “To enroll on the Purification Program at the Church of Scientology nearest you, click here.”

This link takes interested visitors directly to a Web page where you can locate the nearest Church of Scientology.

Stephan Hittmann, executive director of the FDNY Office of Fire and Life Safety told the AP, “The program seems to be the real deal.”

However, “the real deal” instead seems to be the connections to Scientology Hittmann should examine more closely.

The AP neglected to include quotes from the toxicology expert interviewed by the NY Times. He stated that the NY clinic’s program is an “unproven, scientifically bereft notion.”

Nor did AP quote the NY Times citation of an official report, which concluded that Hubbard’s purification rundown, was “quackery,” and that “no recognized body of toxicologists, no department of occupational medicine, nor any governmental agencies endorse or recommend such treatment.”

The AP did offer readers the following endnote though; “The Church of Scientology, founded by Hubbard in 1954, teaches that technology can expand the mind and help solve problems.”

However, Time Magazine wasn’t quite so kind. The mega-magazine featured Scientology on its May 6, 1991 cover as “The Cult of Greed.”

The Time cover story further described Scientology as “a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner.”

Point and click here.

That same noted Time Magazine article pointed out Scientology’s connection to Health Med and further stated that it “promotes a grueling and excessive system of saunas, exercise and vitamins designed by Hubbard to purify the body.”

Time also said, “Experts denounce the regime as quackery and potentially harmful, yet Health Med solicits unions and public agencies for contracts.”

Time also reported that “Hubbard’s purification treatments are the mainstay of Narconon, a Scientology-run chain of…alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers.”

Scientology sued Time Magazine regarding its 1991 expose’, but the case was dismissed and never went to trial.

Some say that this litigation created a chill amongst the mainstream media concerning critical coverage about the controversial church.

Is this why some media outlets don’t report the facts regarding Scientology-related programs so clearly in plain view on the Internet?

L. Ron Hubbard’s creation Scientology has grown to become perhaps the most powerful “cult” in America; its only meaningful competitor for that title seems to be Rev. Moon’s Unification Church.

Like Moon’s “cult” empire, which has historically manifested itself through a myriad of front organizations, not to mention Moon-controlled holdings such as the Washington Times and United Press International (historic competitor of AP), Scientology also seems to seep through society in many guises.

Will the NY Times or AP take the time to simply surf the Internet for the facts regarding Scientology’s connections to Downtown Medical?

It seems like this isn’t that difficult.

New York City firefighters and their families have suffered enough and should not be used as pawns or props for some Scientology-related fund-raising, recruitment and/or promotional scheme.