Amsterdam – At the end of last year, the Scientology Kerk Amsterdam [Scientology Church Amsterdam] managed to prevent the broadcast of the news- background and analysis program Netwerk. Former director Caspar de Rijk, who was going to contribute to the program, was put under so much pressure that he decided against participating. He is now considering taking legal action against the ‘church.’
Last November, Network planned to devote a broadcast to Scientology after reports in the media about the sect. Scientology is going through a deep crisis: believers leave in droves (latest count: 70 of about 150 active members), a number of internal fraud cases and recently de director of de Dutch Scientology Church was fired and replaced by foreign Sea Orgs (high-place Scientologist, dressed up as military officers).
Network reporters Frank du Mosch and Jelle Broek-Roelofs (NCRV) found De Rijk, among others, ready to contribute to the program. The ex-director left Scientology a few years ago, and now is part of a large group of ‘apostates‘ who have newly organized themselves under the name Ron’s Org (after Scientology’s founder, Ron Hubbard).
De Rijk’s ex-wife and two daughter are still with Scientology: his daughters are following ‘courses’ at Sea Org in Copenhagen, his ex has a high function within the feared Office of Special Affairs (the sect’s secret service) and is alternately stationed in Copenhagen and Düsseldorf. He hasn’t seen his daughters for years.
According to De Rijk, Scientology discovered medio November that Network was going to cover the sect’s problems, and that he would contribute to the program. He was subsequently approached by his ex-wife. “It was suggested to me that if I would withdraw from publicity, I would finally be permitted to see my daughers again. Bbefore Christmas even.”
De Rijk let Network know that he unfortunately had to withdraw from participating. “At the time, I consciencely chose for my private needs.” The Network reporters were, although understanding, furious. “after all the time and effort we invested, we now are left empty-handed,” they stated. Camera teams were cancelled en the item dismissed, because De Rijk is an indispensable source.
But a meeting between De Rijk and his daughers never came about. “In hindsight they simply strung me along for a while. They thought: we’ll keep him appeased for a month, and after that De Rijk will probably stay quiet.”
He now is convinced they were playing a game with him. After it became clear that he could forget about a meeting with his daughter, he also received aa ‘SP-declare’: a kind of judgement dat marks recalcitrant Scientologists as Suppresive Person. Other Scientologist are strictly prohibited to communicate with him – family or not.
“But I am not going to take this,” says De Rijk. “Of course I do not have the money to, like Scientology, engage in years of legal procedures, but I am considering taking steps. I want to know whether they can do this, especially in light of the fact that Scientology itself always claims that it is pro-freedom and against discrimination. This shows that Scientology has no respect whatsoever for family ties.”
Network reporter Frank du Mosch confirms the events. “True. We had already gone very far with Caspar. Right before the show’s taping, he suddenly called to say there were all kinds of ‘openings.’ I told him: I think you are being cheated. Apparently they have managed to hit a sensitive spot in some people. With Caspar that’s his daughters, with another promises that they would finally get the money back that they had invested in Scientology.”
In Scientology it is common practice to manipulate the media where possible. For instance, the sect requires makers of television programs to sign contracts. These contracts stipulate that Scientology not only has the right to view the final version, but also the right to correct ‘defamatory statements.’ If a third party in the broadcast makes any comments, Scientology has according to these contracts the right to make the last response. Quote from one such contract: ‘This response shall be part of the program and shall be broadcast after the third party in the broadcast has given his/her comments. This response shall receive at the least as much broadcast time as the amount of time granted to the third party for his views.’ Failure to abide by the contract results in a ‘compensation for damages’ of (in guilders) a ton [colloquial Dutch for 100,000 guilders = 45,378.02 EUR = 57,167.23 USD (at time of publication. Check this currency converter for current rates)]
Network is not going to give up. Now that it is clear what kind of game has been played, and now that De Rijk has been declared SP, the news programs will again attempt to produce a broadcast about the downfall of Scientology in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, Caspar de Rijk has become the target of an old-fashioned campaign of smear tactics in accordance with Scientology’s notorious Fair Game law. “I am supposed to have stolen money from people, and a complaint against me is said to have been filed. I supposedly… et cetera. That is all inspired by the Office of Special Affairs and the theory is simple: when there is a group of apostates, you’ve got to smear them one by one.”
Julia Rijnvis, spokesperson and secretary of Scientology in the Netherlands, does not want to comment. “Except for this: you should look into how Caspar de Rijk the last year – what do I say: the past five years – has dealt with his family. I’ll leave it at that.”