The united front of the activists involved in the fight against sects is cracking, Christophe Deloire reveals in the 19 October issue of the French weekly magazine Le Point. Because of the links between the anti-sect groups and the MILS (Interministerial Mission of Fight against Sects, which is under the direct authority of the Prime Minister), the resignations, exclusions, putsches and internal struggles of the anti-sect groups disturbed even the cabinet of Prime Minister Jospin.
Centre Against Mental Manipulations (CCMM)
Alain Vivien, who wrote the first parliamentary report against sects in 1983, was the chairman of the CCMM during 1997-1998. Although he was appointed chairman of the MILS in 1998, he remained on the board of directors of the CCMM. Jean-Pierre Bousquet succeeded Vivien as head of the CCMM, at least formally. The anti-sect group was in fact run by its administrative manager, Vivien's wife. A conflict arose between the new chairman and Vivien's wife, as well as three other key staff members. Although not legally empowered to do so, a CCMM bureau dismissed Bousquet in May 2001.This case was litigated in court. On 6 June 2001, the High Court of Paris (Tribunal de Grande Instance) put the CCMM under judicial control to allow time for election of a new chairman.
CCMM and MILS: Confusion of the Roles
Although a confidential interim report of the National Education was given to two ministers and to the chairman of the MILS, it was publicized by the CCMM.
When Alain Vivien, as chairman of the MILS, took part in a symposium on the sect issue in China in 2000, his wife accompanied him as the representative of the CCMM.
Early in 2001, Vivien's wife personally negotiated a budget of 4.5 FF (about U.S. $ 700,000) in the office of Jospin's cabinet head to purchase new headquarters for the CCMM. In February 2001, the requested amount was drawn from the budget for the defence of human rights and allocated to the CCMM. Before doing so, the official in charge of the request consulted the chairman of the MILS - Vivien. Alain Vivien is also the chairman of the DOM-TOM (Overseas Departments and Territories) of the League of Human Rights and has been since 1996.
In June 2001, Henry Pradeaux, Jospin's cabinet head, was said to have asked Alain Vivien to end this situation verging on a conflict of interest.
Other members of the board have announced their intention to resign from the CCMM. Among them are Max Bouderlique and Marie Genève, a co-founding member and chairwoman of honor of the CCMM.
National Union of the Associations Defending the Family and the Individual (UNADFI)
Since 1982, Janine Tavernier has been a fierce anti-sect activist. She had discovered that her husband, a former naval officer, had been seduced by a guru. Since 1993, she has chaired the UNADFI (National Union of the Associations Defending the Family and the Individual). She resigned on 21 September 2001. The reason for her departure: her children had been educated in Steiner schools, blacklisted as sect schools in the French parliamentary report and by Alain Vivien.
However, a letter addressed by Minister of Education Jack Lang to the Federation of the Steiner Schools on 24 July 2001 indicates that "controls carried out by General Inspector Daniel Groscolas have not revealed any sectarian activities". Daniel Groscolas is the head of the agency for the prevention of the sectarian phenomenon created at the Ministry of Education.
From the very beginning of the existence of the MILS, Alain Vivien clashed with inspector Groscolas and with psychiatrist Jean-Marie Abgrall, a long-standing anti-sect activist and an expert on the Order of the Solar Temple. According to Vivien, teaching staff with links to sects should be sanctioned but Groscolas always refused to take disciplinary measures against teachers accused of links with sects but who have not committed any professional misconduct. In February 2000, Groscolas and Abgrall were not re-appointed in the new "orientation council of the MILS". And last but not least, magistrate Denis Barthélemy, who was leading the official French delegation at the OSCE Meeting on the Human Dimension a few years ago, resigned from the MILS in July 2001.
Source: Le Point, 19 October 2001.