"Beyond a certain point there is no return. This point has to be reached." - Franz Kafka

For those of you who don't know the back-story: while Sott.net is a web-site with editors and contributors spread across the globe, our physical 'headquarters' are in the South of France, near Toulouse. Six months ago, a jilted Frenchman filed a complaint to the Judiciary Police in Toulouse against Sott.net and its editors.

While we are not privy to the exact details of the complaint (we've asked, our lawyer has asked, but we're not entitled to know) what we do know is that, since the day this jilted Frenchman's former partner (who is a Sott editor) left him, (read all about him here) he has spent much time and effort in the re-dissemination of the lies of our very own long-term detractor and 'sloozer' (that's a slow loser), Vincent Bridges.

Since Bridges has, over the past ten years, gone to unreasonable lengths to defame us as a 'cult', we assume (with justification as you'll see below) that the specifics of our jilted Frenchman's complaint to the Toulouse Police were that we, a little ol' news website run by dozens of people around the world, are really, secretly, behind it all ... A 'CULT!' His rationale? His ex-partner was a Sott.net editor, was involved in our forum and had worked on translations, and she also decided to leave him, ergo, she MUST be being controlled by Sott.net! And Sott.net must therefore be a CULT!

As you can see, it makes perfect sense.

Reactionary Laws and Convenient 'Suicides'

It would all be rather funny (in a strange way) if it weren't for the fact that the Toulouse police appear to be taking the situation seriously. Now why would they do that? After all, the claim came from a guy with a history of violence against women and 'obsessive tendencies' according to a court psychiatrist. Sure, the police may feel they are duty-bound to engage in an at least cursory investigation, but a cursory investigation of this claim, by any rational individual, would very quickly uncover the spurious and defamatory nature of the claim. So maybe we're not dealing with a rational individual, or maybe the problem is more serious and concerns the way in which claims of 'cult' are received in France.
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My point here is that it is highly likely that this outrageous and patently false denunciation was chosen very carefully by our jilted Frenchman because it seems that certain elements within the French authorities like nothing better than to engage in a little 'cult hunting' from time to time. Now, I want to be as fair and balanced as possible in my treatment of this topic, so I need to explain the above 'cult hunting' remark.

In 2001, the 'About-Picard' law was passed by the French legislature. The full title of the law reads 'Loi n - 2001-504 du 12 juin 2001 tendant à renforcer la prevention et la repression des mouvements sectaires portant atteinte aux Droits de l'Homme et aux libertes fondamentales ('Law number 2001-504 of June 12, 2001 intended to reinforce the prevention and repression of sectarian (cultic) movements that infringe on human rights and on fundamental freedoms').

About-Picard was passed largely as a result of justified concern about 'doomsday cults', the most famous of which (in France) was the Order of the Solar Temple (OST). In 1994, 54 people (including children and infants) in Switzerland and Quebec, Canada, either committed suicide or were killed. The aims of the Order of the Solar Temple included: establishing "correct notions of authority and power in the world"; an affirmation of the primacy of the spiritual over the temporal; assisting humanity through a great "transition"; preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus as a solar god-king; and furthering a unification of all Christian churches and Islam. Members apparently believed that through their deaths they would "move to Sirius".

One very curious aspect of the 'Solar Temple suicides' was the report that another massacre (allegedly related to the OST) took place during the night of the 23rd December 1995. According to the official report, 16 people were shot in a field, in Vercors, France, and their corpses burned. Authorities later claimed that 2 people shot the others and then committed suicide by firearm and immolation. Note that these 'suicides' occurred over 1 year after the main group of 54 suicides in Canada and Switzerland. As it happens, some very curious and disturbing things were happening in the months of December and January 1995 in France.

1) 11th July 1995 the French National Assembly sets up a Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France following the events involving the members of the Order of the Solar Temple in late 1994 in Switzerland and Canada. The Commission reports back in December 1995.
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2) On December 15th 1995, a team of supposed French TV journalists visits an agrarian group/community that was growing 'giant' organic veggies without pesticides etc. The journalists ask the group if they can make a short film about their activities, assuring them that the report would be 'friendly' and about 'organic farming'. When the farmers view the final edited report as it will later be broadcast however, the group are horrified to realise that sentences have been cut, questions and answers had been deliberately mixed up in such a way that the group look like total nutcases.

3) One week later, on December 22nd, the report of the Parliamentary Commission on Cults presents its report to the Parliament, and its list of 172 'cultic movements' is ratified unanimously and published. Out of a total of 577, how many MPs were present? Seven. Furthermore, the 172 alleged 'cultic movements' are examined in just 50 minutes, or about 20 seconds to determine that each 'movement' was 'cultic'.

4) One day later (December 23rd), those 16 corpses are discovered in the Vercors region. On the spot before everyone else, conducting 54 interviews in 48 hours, 'directing the investigation' and categorically informing the French public that we were dealing with a mass suicide is a government-appointed 'anti-cult psychiatrist'.

5) 12 days later (January 4th) a major national television station broadcasts a prime time special program on cults. Two topics are dealt with: the so-called Vercors 'mass suicide' (allegedly associated with the previous year's Order of the Solar Temple suicides) and the manipulated report on the agrarian group, who were condemned as a 'cult' for growing large vegetables. Of course, the government-appointed 'anti -cult' psychiatrist is given center stage on the programme. Strangely however, he forgets to mention that each of the 16 Vercors corpses all had several bullets and were burnt with a flame-thrower. That little detail would only come to light five years later.