PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 28, 2002
The European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA (EACC) is pleased to announce Andreas Heldal-Lund of Stavanger, Norway as the recipient of the 2003 Leipzig Human Rights Award. The award will be presented on May 17 in the Old Stock Market in Leipzig, the city known as the birth place of the East German civil rights movement http://www.leipzig-award.org/englisch/index.html
Mr. Heldal-Lund is the fourth recipient of the Leipzig Award, which has been given each year to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the achieving of the human rights reforms that the EEAC seeks in US-operated totalitarian cults. Previous Leipzig Award recipients have been Robert Minton, American retired banker and civil rights activist; Dr. Norbert Blu"m, former German Federal Minister of Labor; and Alain Vivien, then President of the Mission Interministerielle pour la Lutte Contre les Sectes for the Prime Minister of the Republic of France (MILS).
Mr. Heldal-Lund is an Information Technology professional and free speech proponent who created and maintains the most famous Internet site in the world -- Operation Clambake http://www.xenu.net/ -- that exposes and opposes the fraud and human rights violations of the US-based Scientology organization. Scientology has attacked Mr. Heldal-Lund and his Internet Service Providers with lawyer threat letters and a black propaganda campaign, and caused a succession of ISPs to terminate his service.
In February this year, bowing to pressure from Scientology lawyers employing the US law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the widely used Internet search engine Google removed links to Operation Clambake from its directory. But Mr. Heldal-Lund held his ground, contending that Scientology withholds important information about its teachings that he was making available, and that people perhaps would not join the cult if the full information was accessible. Free speech advocates around the world rushed to his defense, mounted an Internet and print media campaign, and forced Google to put Clambake back into its search engine.
During his years of activism against Scientology human rights abuses, in addition to his webmaster work, Mr. Heldal-Lund has given talks to various groups, generated a tremendous quantity of excellent news stories, and been a respected and valuable contributor to the Internet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology.
Although he has been a target of Scientology legal and extralegal threats, and black PR throughout these years, Mr. Heldal-Lund has stayed light hearted, kept his sense of humor, and sustained his desire to help the cult's victims. In defiance of Scientology's policy of shuddering its media critics into silence, this past November 7 he celebrated Clambake's sixth year of spreading the truth about this dangerous organization.
The EEAC echoes Mr. Heldal-Lund's words from Operation Clambake: "People should be free to believe whatever they want, including Scientology. What I have against [the organization] is its deceitfulness, its lack of compassion for its members (especially the hard-working staff), its aggressive hard sell, its arrogance, its attack on free speech, its litigiousness, its harassment of its critics, its lack of concern for families, its gross neglect and abuse of children."
The Committee: Gerry Armstrong, British Columbia, Canada, Writer - Prof. Claire Champollion, Paris, France, Linguist, Researcher and Author - Joe Cisar, M.S., Cleveland, Ohio, Vietnam Veteran, Journalist - Prof. Alexander Dvorkin, Moscow, Russia, Director of the St. Irenaeus-of-Lyon-Center - Rev. Thomas Gandow, Berlin, Germany, Publisher of Berliner Dialog - Mike Garde, Dublin, Ireland, Dialog Centre Ireland - Roger Gonnet, Paris, France, Author - Friedrich Griess, Vienna, Austria, Engineer, Press Spokesman of Gesellschaft gegen Kultgefahren O"sterreich - Birgitta Harrington, Accountant, Helsingborg, Sweden - Tilman Hausherr, Berlin, Germany, Software Developer - Ursula MacKenzie, Retiree, London, United Kingdom - Solveig Prass, Leipzig, Germany, Business Manager EBI Leipzig - Prof. Johannes Aagaard, Aarhus, Denmark, President of the Dialog Center International (DCI) ]
The European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA was organized to work toward achieving the following reforms: