03.01.2003: CLONING CLAIM PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON QUEBEC-BASED RAELIAN GROUP



UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MONTREAL 000001

SIPDIS

E.0. 12958: N/A

TAGS: TBIO, ECON, KIRF, CA, Health

SUBJECT: CLONING CLAIM PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON QUEBEC-BASED

RAELIAN GROUP

1. SUMMARY: THE FOLLOWING IS SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON

THE MONTREAL-BASED RAELIAN GROUP, WHOSE MEMBER DR. BRIGITTE

BOISSELIER ANNOUNCED AT A DECEMBER 27 PRESS CONFERENCE IN

HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA THE BIRTH OF THE FIRST CLONED HUMAN

BEING, A 7 POUND BABY GIRL NICKNAMED EVE. AND ITS TWO MAIN

FIGURES LEADER CLAUDE VORILHON, BETTER KNOWN AS RAEL, AND

DR. BOISSELIER. ONE LIKELY RESULT OF THE BOISSELIER

ANNOUNCEMENT IS THAT CANADA´S PENDING LEGISLATION TO BAN

HUMAN CLONING COULD CONTAIN STRICTER RESTRICTIONS. END

SUMMARY.

2. THE RAELIAN MOVEMENT WAS FOUNDED BY FRENCHMAN CLAUDE

VORILHON, A FORMER SPORTS JOURNALIST, FAILED SINGER, RADIO

COMMENTATOR AND AVID STOCK CAR RACER. VORILHON CLAIMS TO

HAVE BEEN CONCEIVED ON DECEMBER 25, 1945, BY A FRENCH MOTHER

AND AN ALIEN FATHER. SPECIALISTS SAY HE WAS BORN IN VICHY,

FRANCE IN 1946. VORILHON WHO USES THE NAME RAEL (GOD´S

LIGHT) (PRONOUNCED RA-EL IN FRENCH (RHYMES WITH KAL-EL AND

JOR-EL)) SAYS HE CREATED THE MOVEMENT AFTER ALIENS VISITED

HIM IN CENTRAL FRANCE IN 1973. AT THAT TIME, LITTLE GREEN

ALIENS (APPROXIMATELY 4 FT TALL) TOLD HIM --IN FLUENT FRENCH-

- EARTHLINGS HAD BEEN CREATED IN A LABORATORY 25,000 YEARS

AGO. SINCE THESE ALIENS WHICH HE CALLS THE ELOHIM (THE

HEBREW WORD FOR GOD) ARE 25,000 YEARS AHEAD OF US, RAEL SAYS

CLONING IS VERY SIMPLE TASK FOR THEM.

3. ALTHOUGH THE SECT IS BASED IN MONTREAL--AND NOT

SWITZERLAND AS THE BRITISH TABLOID PRESS HAS REPORTED --RAEL

MOVED HIS PERSONAL HEADQUARTERS TO FLORIDA IN THE EARLY

NINETIES. WHEN IT WAS ANNOUNCED RAEL WAS MOVING TO FLORIDA,

RADIO COMMENTATORS JOKED HE WAS SIMPLY IMITATING QUEBEC

SNOWBIRDS OR THAT HE WANTED TO GET CLOSER TO NASCAR

CIRCUITS. HOWEVER, SOME SAW U.S. EXPANSION AS A LOGICAL

BUSINESS MOVE. ON THE ONE HAND, SINCE THE 1960S, QUEBEC HAS

PROVEN TO BE TOUGH RECRUITING GROUNDS FOR ALL RELIGIOUS

GROUPS, MAINSTREAM OR OTHERWISE. ON THE OTHER, THE U.S.

OFFERS MUCH BIGGER POOLS OF MONEY AND TARGET AUDIENCES FOR

RAELIAN COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISES. BECAUSE THE GROUP IS

RECOGNIZED AS AN ATHEIST RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION BY THE

QUEBEC GOVERNMENT IT ENJOYS THE SAME FISCAL ADVANTAGES AS

OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS.

4. THE GROUP OPERATES A THEME PARK CALLED UFO LAND IN

QUEBEC´S EASTERN TOWNSHIPS AREA. THE FACILITY, WHICH

CONSISTS MAINLY OF A LARGE FLYING SAUCER, A LARGE-SCALE DNA

MOLECULE AND SOME ROOMS FOR SUMMER SEMINARS AND MEDIA

INTERVIEWS, WAS RECENTLY VANDALIZED BUT IS SCHEDULED TO

REOPEN THIS SUMMER.

5. IN PHOTOS AND TELEVISION APPEARANCES, RAEL SURROUNDS

HIMSELF WITH BEAUTIFUL WOMEN. RAELIAN MEDIA KITS INCLUDE

MANY PICTURES OF SCANTILY DRESSED "MEMBERS." RAEL PREACHES

"SENSUAL MEDITATION" WHICH ENABLES THE FAITHFUL TO REACH THE

"COSMIC ORGASM."

6. DESPITE THE SECT´S TWO POWERFUL MARKETING TOOLS, SEX AND

UFOS, THE RAELIANS HAVE VERY FEW MEMBERS. THEIR WEB SITE

WWW.RAEL.ORG CLAIMS -IN TWENTY LANGUAGES-- TO HAVE 55,000

MEMBERS IN 84 COUNTRIES. HOWEVER MIKE KROPVELD, EXECUTIVE

DIRECTOR OF THE MONTREAL-BASED INFO-SECTE (NO RELATION WITH

THE PARIS ORGANIZATION OF THE SAME NAME) TOLD POST THAT THE

RAELIANS INFLATE THEIR FIGURES WITH PAST AND OCCASIONAL

MEMBERS. BECAUSE OF ALL THE MEDIA ATTENTION, THE GROUP

CREATES A LOT OF CURIOSITY -A RAEL SPOKESMAN STATED IN THE

LOCAL PRESS ON DECEMBER 30 THAT THE WEBSITE WAS GETTING ONE

MILLION HITS PER HOUR ON DECEMBER 26 -- BUT MOST VISITORS

ONLY ATTEND A FEW MEETINGS. THE ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP IS BETWEEN

2,000 AND 3,000 WORLDWIDE AND ABOUT 700 IN MONTREAL, SAYS

KROPVELD.

7. ACCORDING TO LOCAL NEWS ANALYSTS, THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF

RAELIANS IS TO CREATE LIFE IN A LABORATORY WHICH WOULD MAKE

HUMAN BEINGS IMMORTAL AND ENABLE THEM TO CREATE ANOTHER

CIVILIZATION ON ANOTHER PLANET. IN THE MEANTIME, RAEL WANTS

TO BUILD AN EMBASSY IN ISRAEL TO WELCOME THE ELOHIM WHEN

THEY COME BACK IN 2035. THE GROUP HAS ALSO BEEN CRITICIZED

FOR ADVOCATING THE USE OF GENETICS FOR EUGENIC ATTEMPTS AT

IMPROVING THE HUMAN RACE. THE GROUP´S STRUCTURE WITH PRIESTS

AND BISHOPS IS BASED ALONG THE LINES OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

8. UNTIL RECENTLY THE GROUP AVOIDED SERIOUS CONTROVERSY.

THERE HAVE NOT BEEN ANY STORIES OF FORMER MEMBERS

COMPLAINING ABOUT BEING CONNED OUT OF THEIR MONEY OR

PHYSICALLY ABUSED OR SEDUCED, AND NO INVOLVEMENT WITH MINORS

-- EXCEPT ONE CASE IN FRANCE.

9. NONETHELESS, THE RAELIANS KNOW HOW TO PIGGYBACK ON

STORIES TO GET PUBLICITY. WHEN IN 1993, AUTHORITIES IN

QUEBEC DECIDED AGAINST INSTALLING CONDOM DISTRIBUTORS IN

SCHOOLS, RAELIANS VISITED THE KIDS WITH FREE SAMPLES. IN THE

WAKE OF THE RECENT PEDOPHILE CHARGES AGAINST VARIOUS

RELIGIOUS ORDERS, THE GROUP WENT BACK TO THE SCHOOLS IN

QUEBEC. THEIR PLAN THIS TIME WAS TO HAND OUT SMALL WOODEN

CROSSES FOR THE STUDENTS TO BURN. BUT PUBLIC AND

GOVERNMENTAL OPPOSITION STOPPED THE LATER PROJECT. IN BOTH

CASES, ALMOST ALL THE PUBLICITY THEY GARNERED WAS BAD.

10. SENSING A SIMILAR WAVE OF CONDEMNATION, RAEL HAS

PUBLICLY DISTANCED HIMSELF FROM DR. BOISSELIER, A RAELIAN

BISHOP, AND HER CLONING WORK, SAYING HE HAD GOTTEN RID OF

CLONAID TWO YEARS AGO. HOWEVER, KROPVELD BELIEVES THAT

CLONING IS BY FAR THE GROUP´S MOST DANGEROUS WORK. KROPFELD

EVEN DOUBTS RAEL REALLY BELIEVES IN CLONING HUMAN BEINGS

BEYOND ITS MARKETING POSSIBILITIES FOR HIMSELF AS SECT

LEADER.

11. AS FOR DR BRIGITTE BOISSELIER, SHE WAS BORN IN 1956 IN

FRANCE. SHE HOLDS TWO PHDS IN CHEMISTRY, ONE FROM THE

UNIVERSITY OF DIJON IN FRANCE AND ONE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF

HOUSTON. AFTER HOUSTON SHE WAS HIRED BY AIR LIQUIDE THE

FRENCH INDUSTRIAL AND MEDICAL GAS MULTINATIONAL TO WORK ON

REVERSIBLE OXYGEN BINDING. IN 1989, AIR LIQUIDE PROMOTED HER

TO VP RESEARCH.

12. PRIOR TO JOINING CLONAID (SEE WWW.CLONAID.COM) IN 1997,

DR. BOISSELIER HAD NOT WORKED IN BIOLOGY OR REPRODUCTION

TECHNIQUES. THE LAS VEGAS-BASED CLONAID RECEIVED $500,000

FROM MARK HUNT TO BUILD A LABORATORY IN WEST VIRGINIA BEFORE

MR. HUNT DECIDED TO STOP FINANCING THAT PROJECT. CLONAID

ALSO CLAIMS TO HAVE RECEIVED $200,000 FROM 250 DIFFERENT

DONORS IN THE HOPE OF CLONING A FAMILY MEMBER. ON MARCH 28,

2001 DR. BOISSELIER AND RAEL DEFENDED THEIR CLONING PROJECTS

BEFORE A SENATE COMMITTEE.

13. COMMENT. THE PUBLICITY GARNERED BY THE CLONING

ANNOUNCEMENT MAY BE USED BY THE RAEL ORGANIZATION TO GAIN

NEW ADHERENTS IN THE UNITED STATES.

14. CANADA LIKE MANY OTHER COUNTRIES IS IN THE PROCESS OF

ADOPTING LEGISLATION BILL C-113 WHICH WOULD BAN HUMAN

CLONING. ONE LIKELY RESULT OF THE BOISSELIER ANNOUNCEMENT IS

THAT SUCH LEGISLATION COULD CONTAIN STRICTER RESTRICTIONS.

END COMMENT.

KANTER



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