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Cult Awareness Network

The Cult Awareness Network (or CAN) was formerly a United States clearing-house for the provision of information on cults and purported cults. Subsequently forced into bankruptcy by legal action, it then became effectively a subsidiary organization of Scientology. Today the organizaton is seen as little more than a front group for Scientology, as it exclusively promotes Scientology's point of view regarding "cults" and "deprogrammers."

CAN was founded in the wake of the Jonestown mass suicide, and it collected information on many controversial organizations and religious movements.

In 1991, Time Magazine reported: "According to the Cult Awareness Network, whose 23 chapters monitor more than 200 'mind control' cults, no group prompts more telephone pleas for help than does Scientology. Says Cynthia Kisser, the network's Chicago-based executive director: 'Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen. No cult extracts more money from its members.'" (Time Magazine, May 6, 1991, "Scientology: The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power.")

Around this time, the Church of Scientology struck back. In The American Lawyer, an article recounts: "Starting in 1991, CAN was forced to fend off some 50 civil suits filed by Scientologists around the country, many of them asserting carbon copy claims and many pressed by the same law firm, Los Angeles's Bowles & Moxon. Scientologists also filed dozens of discrimination complaints against CAN with state human rights commissions nationwide, requiring the services of still more lawyers. The avalanche of litigation staggered the network. By 1994 CAN, which ran on a budget of about $300,000 a year, had been dumped by its insurers and owed tens of thousands of dollars to attorneys." (http://www.skeptictank.org/moxon.htm )

After driving the Cult Awareness Network to bankruptcy, a Scientologist attorney appeared in bankruptcy court and managed to win the bidding for what remained of the organization. The Cult Awareness Network is now one of the hundreds of front companies run by the Church of Scientology. (http://www.cnn.com/US/9612/19/scientology/index )

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