How to turn the toilet into a cache
How to turn the toilet into a cache

With the use of a toilet, you can pay for your coffee or buy bananas at a university in South Korea, where human waste is used to power a building.

Dr Cho Jai Won, a professor of urban and environmental engineering at the National Institute of Science and Technology in Ulsan (UNIST), has designed an environmentally friendly toilet connected to a laboratory that uses excrement to produce biogas and manure, Straitstimes reported.

The BeeVi waterless toilet uses a vacuum pump to send the faeces into an underground tank. There, microorganisms break down the waste into methane, which becomes a source of energy for the building, feeding a gas stove, a hot water boiler and a solid oxide fuel cell.

“If we think out of the box, faeces have a valuable value to produce energy and manure. I invested this value in ecological circulation “, Dr. Cho told about the innovation.

The average person defecates about 500 grams a day, which can be converted into 50 liters of methane, the environmental engineer estimates. This gas can generate 0.5kWh of electricity or be used to drive a car for about 1.2 km. To stimulate the use of the eco-toilet, Dr. Cho has created a virtual currency called Ggool, which means honey in Korean. Everyone who uses the eco-toilet earns 10 Ggool per day.

Students can use the currency to buy goods on campus – from freshly brewed coffee to a cup of instant noodles, fruit and books. Students can also pick up the products they want from a store and pay with Ggool by scanning a QR code.

“I used to think that feces was dirty, but now it’s a treasure of great value to me,” graduate student Heo Hui-jin told Ggool.

More than 1,000 Afghan troops are fleeing the Taliban across the border, with Tajikistan sending an army
More than 1,000 Afghan troops are fleeing the Taliban across the border, with Tajikistan sending an army

More than 1,000 Afghan security officials have fled across the border into Tajikistan since the Taliban advanced into northern Afghanistan, the Tajik border service said on Monday, while dozens more were captured by the rebels, Reuters and TASS reported.

The escapes underscore the rapidly deteriorating situation in the country, as international troops are close to a complete withdrawal after 20 years of war in Afghanistan and peace talks are stalled.

Hundreds of Afghan security forces have fled the Taliban’s rapid advance, but Sunday’s retreat was the largest confirmed, just two days after the United States officially left its main base in Afghanistan as part of a plan to withdraw all foreign troops by 11 p.m. September.

The Taliban seized six key areas in the northern province of Badakhshan, which borders both Tajikistan and China, after which 1,037 Afghan troops fled across the border with Tajikistan’s permission, its border service said.

On Sunday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani spoke by phone with his Tajik counterpart, President Emomali Rahmon, to discuss developments. “Special attention was paid to the escalation of the situation in the northern regions of Afghanistan, neighboring Tajikistan,” a statement from the Tajik president’s office said.

It added that Rahmon had expressed concern about “forced passage” by members of the Afghan security forces. Tajikistan could set up camps for potential refugees from Afghanistan, government sources told Reuters.

On Monday, Rahmon also spoke with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, who assured him that Moscow would support Dushanbe if necessary, both directly and through a regional security bloc, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Rahmon also called on colleagues from Central Asian leaders Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan and Kasim-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan to hold a meeting of the Security Council to order additional troops to be sent to the Afghan border.

A senior Afghan official has confirmed that there have been hundreds of crossings in Tajikistan, but does not know the exact number. “The Taliban cut off all roads and these people had nowhere to go but to cross the border,” he said Monday.

Last week, US forces left Bagram Air Base, effectively ending the longest war in US history. The Taliban have stopped attacks on Western forces, but continue to attack the Afghan government and security forces and quickly take over territory across the country.

Zabihula Attic, a parliamentarian from Badakhshan, told Reuters that the Taliban had taken 26 of the 28 districts of the border province – three of which had surrendered without a fight.

Members of the Afghan security forces used various escape routes, he said, but added that the Taliban had captured dozens of officers in Ishkash, where Tajik border forces had blocked any passage to the former Soviet republic. Tajik authorities said they had allowed 152 people from Ishkashim, but did not comment on whether anyone had been denied entry.

Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib was in Moscow on Monday for talks, saying government forces did not expect a Taliban offensive but would launch a counterattack.

Russia, which has a military base in Tajikistan, has said the Russian consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif is suspending operations for security concerns.

Tajikistan’s defense ministry will send 20,000 troops to bolster security on the Tajik-Afghan border as the situation in Afghanistan’s northern provinces worsens. Such an order was given by the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon at a meeting of the Security Council, which took place on Monday, the press service of the head of state announced.

According to her, in connection with the aggravation of the situation on the Tajik-Afghan border, the members of the Security Council of the republic have considered the issue of ensuring security in the border areas and taking measures to strengthen the protection of the state border. “The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, has instructed the republic’s defense minister to mobilize 20,000 troops from the reserve to further strengthen the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.”

The head of state also paid special attention to the prevention of state border violations related to transnational crime, terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking.

The strangest museums in the world
The strangest museums in the world

There are museums that do not require presentation. It is enough to name them to understand their scale and significance: the Prado Museum, the Louvre or the Uffizi Gallery are just a few examples. However, there are other museum exhibits, quite different from them in terms of the exhibits they present. Far from art, they rely on surprising and really strange collections, writes

Dog Collar Museum (Leeds, UK)

The Leeds Castle mansion has a permanent exhibition of dog collars, which, despite their strangeness, are visited by half a million people each year. Inspired by the love that the former owner of the house felt for these animals, the exhibition presents more than a hundred unique objects, as well as historical documents for dog accessories from different eras. You can even see dog collars dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries.

Underwater Museum of Art (Cancun, Mexico)

MUSA was opened in 2009 and besides being unique, it is also one of the rarest museums in the world. It houses more than five hundred submerged sculptures that have become home to a variety of sea creatures in the area, especially corals. To visit this museum, you have to put on a wetsuit and go down about six meters through the crystal clear waters of the Riviera Maya and thus enjoy an experience in which art and the environment merge in a unique way.

National Phallotheque of Iceland (Reykjavik, Iceland)

What began in 1997 as a biological research mission eventually turned into an exhibition open to the public, where it was possible to find various specimens of phalluses. The Icelandic National Fallout has more than two hundred different types of penises (or part of them) belonging to the mammals that inhabit Iceland. In it you can see from a hamster’s penis measuring 2 millimeters to that of a sperm whale 1.70 meters long and more than 70 kilograms. Of course, you can also find three male human organs donated to the museum after the death of their owners.

Museum of Excrement (Castelbosco, Italy)

In the Museum of Excrement, located in Castelbosco, in northern Italy, we can find cow dung turned into sculptures. Owner Giantonino Lucatelli decided to use manure from more than 2,500 cows to make fertilizers and building materials. With this you can create various works of contemporary art, made mainly from feces.

Hair Museum (Avanos, Turkey)

The last of the rarest museums in the world is located in Avanos, Turkey. The story of this strange place begins in 1979, when a friend of Galip, the owner of the restaurant, gives him a lock of hair as a souvenir before he leaves.

Since then, Galip has been collecting locks of hair from anyone who has visited his pottery workshop in Cappadocia. Currently, more than 16,000 strands with their names and addresses are on display. Even if it is possible, with a visit to this museum, the visitor’s hair will become part of the collection.

After a decade of waiting: Road signs in the native Bulgarian language in Tsaribrod
After a decade of waiting: Road signs in the native Bulgarian language in Tsaribrod

With the installation of new signs on the highway, Tsaribrod’s name once again shone with light on a hot June day after decades of waiting. The name Tsaribrod is becoming a fact and already fits in the road signs, announced the multimedia portal in Serbian and Bulgarian “Far”.

The largest Tsaribrod village, Zhelyusha, also acquired new signposts written in Cyrillic and native Bulgarian.

The PHARE team took photos on the highway between Zhelyusha and Tsaribrod.

Tsaribrod is associated with the geographical, political and linguistic concept of the Western Outskirts, where a compact Bulgarian population has lived for centuries, despite the fact that they have been within Serbia for almost a century.

At the end of May this year, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev met with Serbian counterpart Alexander Vucic, at which a number of agreements were reached on the western outskirts in various areas – from infrastructure and investment to education, names, assistance. During his meeting with representatives of the Bulgarian national minority, the question was raised about the return of the historical name Tsaribrod, which would completely replace the still used parallel name Dimitrovgrad. Vucic then said that the name issue should be resolved at the local level according to the wishes of local citizens.

The first step was taken in early 2019, when a new sign with the inscription “Municipality of Tsaribrod” in Bulgarian was placed on the building of Serbian Dimitrovgrad, along with the inscription in Serbian. Thus, the city restored its old, original name – Tsaribrod, and now both names are in use and with equal legal force, that is, every citizen, if desired, could receive an official document that he is a resident of Tsaribrod.

Tsaribrod is on the language map of Bulgaria

Tsaribrod is 5 km from the border and everyone knows that to this day in the area Bulgarian is spoken.

Between 1879 and 1920 Tsaribrod was the center of the district first in the Principality and then in the Kingdom of Bulgaria. There is a population statistic from 1890, where in the column “non-Bulgarians” of all villages in the area, including the town of Tsaribrod, it is explicitly noted that there are none, ie. the whole population is purely Bulgarian, a fact that has not changed much, except for the number of people. The region, alas, is depopulated due to a number of factors, of which I personally would highlight the lack of care and interest of both countries in it, recalls Prof. Ana Kocheva, linguist at the Department of Bulgarian Dialectology and Linguistic Geography at the Institute of Bulgarian language at Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

The Treaty of Neuilly, signed in 1919, excluded the area in which the city was located from the territory of Bulgaria and handed it over to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Then, between 1941 and 1944, Tsaribrod was again within the borders of Bulgaria, and in 1951 it was renamed Dimitrovgrad in honor of Georgi Dimitrov.

There are different versions of this – according to some Tito is taking this act in the name of communist solidarity, according to others – out of pity for the fact that Dimitrov’s first wife was the Serbian Ljubica Ivosevic, which in the end does not matter much.

More importantly, the old name has now been restored and thus the connection with the communist past will be erased for future generations =

Photo credit: Multimedia portal in Serbian and Bulgarian “Far”

8 tips for protecting your dog during the heat
8 tips for protecting your dog during the heat

The summer months can be great for having a good time with our dogs if we go to sea together and the furry creature has fun diving in the waves or if we walk together in the evening on a promenade.

However, the heat is not so great – neither for humans nor for dogs. We sweat, and they can’t even do that, and they just lie with their tongues out. Don’t be surprised if your dog doesn’t have the usual looking for play during the summer heat: it’s as if you want to run a marathon while it’s 37 degrees outside. That’s why they rely on us to make sure she feels good and doesn’t get hurt in the heat.

Here are some tips on how to take care of your best friend when the thermometer hits 30 and up:

On a hot day, the temperatures in the car can rise very quickly to dangerous values. If it’s 29 degrees Celsius outside, in the car it can reach 38 in 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature can rise to 48 degrees. As a result, your dog may suffer irreversible organ damage and lose his life.

Observe the humidity

Veterinarians remind you that it is important to monitor not only the temperature but also the humidity, which can also affect the dog.

Dogs breathe heavily, with their tongues out to evaporate moisture from their lungs. Thus the heat goes out of their body. If the humidity in the environment is too high, they will not be able to cool down and their temperature can quickly jump to dangerous levels.

The normal temperature of dogs varies between 38.3 and 39.2 degrees. If you notice a higher temperature, your dog may get a heat stroke.

Limit walks on hot days

Be careful when you go for a walk with the dog and play together. Walk mostly early in the morning and late in the evening and be especially vigilant if your dog has white ears, as these dogs are more susceptible to skin cancer.

Modern breeds (so-called brachefacial breeds) such as pugs and French bulldogs, and less modern Pekingese and Japanese hinns with flattened muzzles, often have breathing problems and also need to be more careful with the heat. Asphalt can burn your dog’s paws, so walk on the grass (as it is protected from ticks and fleas, of course).

Always carry water to prevent dehydration of the animal.

Do not rely on the fan

Animals react to heat differently from humans. As for the fans, it may be refreshing for us to hang in front of a running fan with our eyes closed and let it blow in our face, but that doesn’t do any good for your dog. It cannot be cooled by the blowing hot air.

Provide enough shade and water

When you go out, make sure that the animals in the house are in the shade and have enough fresh water. If the heat is really severe, you can put some ice in the water. If you are caring for a cat, put a few bowls of water in different places to have access to drink from anywhere.

Pull back the curtains, blinds, darken the rooms, especially those in which direct sunlight enters and those in which the animals stand.

Cool the dog inside and out

You can rub the dog with a damp cloth, spray his forehead with water or dress him in a damp garment. If your pet is not overly stressed from the bathroom, you can put him in the shower. This will cool down quickly and efficiently.

Be alert for symptoms of heat stroke

Extremely high temperatures can lead to heat stroke in animals (and humans).

Observe the dog for heavy or difficult breathing, glassy eyes, rapid heartbeat, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, staggering, profuse salivation, vomiting or loss of consciousness.

Particularly at risk are older dogs, puppies, those who are overweight or other chronic heart or respiratory diseases. Some breeds – boxers, pugs, shih tzu and others with flattened muzzles – are more difficult in the heat.

What to do if the dog gets heat stroke

If you notice any of the above symptoms, take the dog to an air-conditioned room. Put cold towels on his head, on his chest and wet him. Let him drink small amounts of lukewarm water or lick an ice cube. And, of course, call his veterinarian.

The end of the airplane magazine is coming
The end of the airplane magazine is coming

According to some analysts, his disappearance was even delayed

Until recently, one of the few entertainments on board an airplane was the unfolding of the on-board magazine, where one can find ideas for future trips, information about interesting people and shopping offers.

Soon, however, free editions in the front seat pocket will go down in history.

American Airlines is another American airline that says goodbye to its on-board magazine. One after another, the big airlines are giving up their paper editions in favor of other entertainment on board related to the new tastes of passengers, commented USA Today.

The first issue of American Airlines magazine was published in 1966 and advertised a ticket with a 50% discount for the spouses of businessmen, and the last topic of the issue was the LGBT communities in the United States. The difference in topics clearly shows how much the world has changed in the last 50 years.

Passenger expectations and requirements are also changing. More and more airlines offer on board a huge variety of movies, music, free Wi-Fi and even free foreign language lessons. This makes the magazine redundant.

On board American Airlines, for example, passengers can watch the airline’s own lifestyle channel directly on their phones, tablets or other devices.

The menus, maps and useful information that travelers used to look for on the last pages of magazines are now available on the airlines’ websites or mobile applications.

Henry Harteveld, an analyst in the tourism industry, told USA Today that the sector was even late in closing magazines. According to him, interest in them declined when people began uploading books, movies and other forms of entertainment to their personal computers and phones. This has logically led to a decline in the interest of advertisers to present their products on the pages of on-board magazines. The death of the on-board magazine is logical and there will hardly be many who will miss it.

China censors special new episode of “Friends”
China censors special new episode of “Friends”

Footage with Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and the South Korean group BTS was cut

Chinese fans of the series “Friends” have expressed dissatisfaction with the censorship of Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and the South Korean group BTS from the special new episode of the series, AFP reported.

The long-awaited new episode of the cult series was broadcast on three Chinese streaming platforms, but footage featuring some of the guest stars and references to the LGBT community was cut by the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

American singer Lady Gaga had to cancel her tour in China in 2016 because of her meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

Canadian singer Justin Bieber has been blocked from Beijing since 2014 after posting a photo of himself in Tokyo’s Yakusuni Shrine, which commemorates those killed in the Japanese wars.

KTS pop stars sparked Chinese Communist Party discontent last year when they did not mention the Chinese who died in the Korean War in a statement about the region’s “painful history.”

From the Chinese streaming platforms iQiyi, Youku and Tencent Video did not answer AFP’s questions about the reasons for the censorship of the footage from the episode. /

The issue of China Media Bulletin 151 – February 2021 reports on: How the Clubhouse app’s crack in the Great Firewall highlighted Chinese netizen’s isolation from global users; new restrictive rules for journalists, celebrities, and social media users; more mainland information control tactics appear in Hong Kong; and how Beijing’s media influence and repressive reach in Europe, Africa, Asia, and beyond are evolving.

Censorship updates: New rules for journalists, “self-media,” entertainment industry, and internet services

Over the past two months, various government and quasigovernment bodies have issued new rules or draft regulations governing free expression.

Chinese journalists’ social media accounts scrutinized: New rules issued by the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) on January 12 require Chinese journalists to have their social media posts reviewed as a part of the annual verification process for renewal or issuing of press cards. The rules, which were immediately implemented for the review period ending in mid-March, cover material dating back to December 2019. Journalists who opened social media accounts without authorization or posted content deemed objectionable may be denied a press card.

Further crackdown on “self-media”: On January 22, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) released new provisions targeting “self-media” accounts. Such independently operated accounts, which publish or comment on news and current affairs, will be required to obtain a “Internet News Information Service Permit” and are prohibited from commenting on a list of restricted topics after the provisions go into effect on February 22. Those who violate the provisions can face a temporary or permanent ban from social media sites. Social media platforms will manage the accreditation process and are required to establish credit-rating systems for content producers. Companies like WeChat, Baidu, and Sohu have messaged their users and cautioned them not to comment on news unless they receive accreditation. This is the first time the provisions have been updated since 2017, with CAC citing a need to further combat “false information” following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Celebrity behavior rules formalized: The China Association of Performing Arts, an entertainment industry association under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, released new guidelines on February 5 outlining circumstances under which celebrities may be sanctioned for their speech or behavior. China’s public entertainment figures will be required to promote “the party’s line” while not “undermining national unity” or “endangering national security.” The 15 rules, which go into effect on March 1, are intended to formalize unwritten but longstanding standards of behavior; performers who violate the order face suspensions and even a permanent industry ban.

Draft update of key internet service regulation: CAC released on January 8 a draft update of the Regulations on Internet Information Service for public comment. The original regulations date back to 2000, and the updated draft adds several provisions on modern online issues like e-commerce and online fraud; new rules would also expand the list of prohibited online content to cover “false information,” information that “incites illegal assemblies,” or which “endangers the physical and mental health of minors.” The draft enshrines the CCP’s support for “cyber sovereignty,” calling for the state to take measures to “monitor, prevent, and address illegal and criminal activities using domestic or foreign internet resources to harm the security or order of the nation’s cyberspace.” It further codifies the Great Firewall, which blocks user access to banned websites. The period for public comment closed on February 7. While the regulations have not yet been enacted, in effect they codify into law much of what is already in practice.

Russia decides not to block Twitter after company deleted over 91% of prohibited content
Russia decides not to block Twitter after company deleted over 91% of prohibited content

As TASS informes, the Russian authorities decided not to block Twitter after the social network had removed over 90% of the illegal content, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media said on its website on Monday. The watchdog decided to stop decelerating Twitter’s loading speed for desktop traffic, but to keep the slowdown for mobile traffic. The watchdog will lift restrictions on access to the social network on desktop computers, while will maintain the slowdown of traffic on mobile devices

“The check showed that Twitter moderators removed over 91% of the prohibited information. At the moment, 563 posts with child pornography, drugs and suicide related content, calls on minors to participate in unauthorized mass events and also extremist and other pieces of content prohibited on the territory of the Russian Federation remain undeleted,” the regulator says.

The watchdog decided not to block the service, remove restrictions on access to it on desktop computers, while maintaining the slowdown of social network traffic on mobile devices.

The agency stressed that in order to completely remove the restrictions the social network should remove all identified prohibited materials, as well as respond to the department’s requirements no later than 24 hours from the moment of their receipt.

The agency mentioned a letter it received from the company. In that letter Twitter administration confirmed that it shares attempts to combat prohibited content and will take all necessary measures to remove it. It emphasizes that the management of the social network is interested in building a constructive dialogue with the Russian regulator.

The agency praised the efforts Twitter had already made to comply with the requirements of Russian legislation.

The watchdog also said that measures to restrict traffic, similar to those used in relation to Twitter, can be extended to Facebook and YouTube. This will happen if the services do not remove illegal content.

On March 10, the media watchdog announced that it had begun to initially decelerate Twitter’s loading speed in Russia because the service did not remove content prohibited in the country. The agency promised to take further measures to influence the social network even going as far as imposing a block).

On April 5, the watchdog decided to extend the slowdown measures until May 15. The decision was made after the social network had begun a dialogue and removed a significant part of the prohibited content.

By the time the agency took these initial measures of the beginning of the application of restrictive measures, the department demanded that the social network remove more than 4,100 prohibited pieces of content identified since 2017. In addition, since the start of the service traffic slowdown, about 1,800 new prohibited posts have been identified.

Disney and A&E History Channel Asked Not to Spread Weird Conspiracy Theories
Disney and A&E History Channel Asked Not to Spread Weird Conspiracy Theories

Eleven NGOs and academic research centers specialized in human rights and religious liberty, two of them with special consultative status at the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) wrote on October 28, 2020, to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, protesting an episode on A&E’s History Channel, part of its program “America’s Book of Secrets,” entitled “Cults, Hate Groups, and Secret Societies.” Disney is the co-owner of the A&E Networks, which in turn owns the History Channel.

The episode, now being aired in different countries, supports weird conspiracy theories, suggesting that Freemasons may operate a secret base hidden under Denver International Airport, where babies may be killed; that the Illuminati try to dictate how many children each family may have and conspire with the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett; and that “cults” are proliferating like never before and are guilty of all conceivable wrongdoings.

One special target of the episode is the Church of Scientology, which is attacked by lumping it together with the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazis, and religious movements that committed mass homicides and suicides. While Scientology is discussed, images not related to this religion are shown.

The show promotes conspiracy theories and anti-cult stereotypes and is not, the eleven NGOs said, inoffensive. When hate speech is promoted against minority groups, be they the Freemasons or the Scientologist, violence is never far off.

The eleven NGOs called on Disney and the A&E Network to avoid spreading fake news, conspiracy theories, and hate speech, which, they argued, in times of world pandemic are more dangerous than ever.

Why Is A&E’s History Channel Spreading Conspiracy Theories and Attacking Religious Liberty? An Open Letter to Bob Chapek

Dear Mr. Chapek:

We write to you as you are the CEO of The Walt Disney Company, co-owner of the A&E Networks, which in turn owns the History Channel.
We live in challenging times. The COVID-19 pandemic has been compounded by what is dubbed an “infodemic,” in which weird conspiracy theories are irresponsibly spread. In a few short months, this infodemic has escalated from a curiosity to a major cause of concern to governments, international organizations, and human rights advocates. Just like the pandemic, the infodemic can kill; when certain minorities are targeted through lies and hate speech, the prospect or reality of violence is never far off.

As organizations specializing in the defense of religious freedom, we are concerned with an episode on A&E’s History Channel, part of its program “America’s Book of Secrets,” entitled “Cults, Hate Groups, and Secret Societies.” The episode aired originally on August 18, 2020 and is now being broadcast in several countries.

The episode is a typical compilation of conspiracy theories, some so clearly preposterous they would not normally be granted any attention.

For example, it is argued that under Denver International Airport there may be “an underground military base that’s supposed to be a launching point for the New World Order.” Those who intend to launch a sinister New World Order from the secret base hidden under the airport are identified with the Freemasons. Their program is announced, the episode says, in murals at the same airport allegedly depicting “war, corpses of babies, people fleeing underground, a plague, death, Nazism, dictatorship, the coming of a New World Order.” “You have a mural,” the episode says, “that shows this soldier in a gas mask with a scimitar stabbing a dove and this endless chain of dying women and babies going out from under it. It’s just horrific.”

Anti-Masonism has long been a plague in America and beyond, and has led to harassment and discrimination of law-abiding citizens whose only sin is being members of Freemasonry—a brotherhood that espouses ideas with which some may disagree but which is certainly not illegal, and which has undeniably and powerfully contributed to charitable and benevolent activities. It is even more alarming when the myth of the Illuminati as a secret group controlling the world is propagated in what purports to be a serious documentary format—with names named and shamed as connected with a vast Illuminati conspiracy aimed, inter alia, at “telling other people whether they should or should not have children.” The Koch brothers, Jeff Bezos, Henry Kissinger, Warren Buffett, and the unavoidable Bill Gates are all connected in the episode with these Masonic-Illuminati conspiracies.

This would only be one among many paranoid conspiracy theories if not framed in the broader category of “cults, hate groups and secret societies,” lumping together Freemasonry, the Illuminati, the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party, the Osho Rajneesh movement, the Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple, and the Church of Scientology.

It is a well-known hate speech technique to lump together disrelated groups that have no connection, then claim they are all similar, and all bad. It is unfortunate that what purports to be factual, legitimate content on the History Channel only presents superficial platitudes on Waco, Jonestown, Rajneeshpuram, or Heaven’s Gate—all subjects on which serious scholarly literature exists, including in-depth investigations of the reasons behind the events depicted. Instead, only the “anti-cult” version is presented, and we hear from former deprogrammers like Rick Ross, who have embarrassing criminal records and who make claims about all “cults,” state that a cult is “a group of people attached to a disturbed personality,” and that “these people are, by nature, unstable.” We also hear from anti-cult scholar Janja Lalich that “today, there are more cults than ever before,” without any evidence offered for this general assertion.

To create a false impression of objectivity, we hear two brief balanced comments on the Scientology religion from a leading scholar of new religious movements, Professor J. Gordon Melton, but these are overwhelmed by a flood of anti-Scientology commentary by individuals like Tony Ortega whose main activity is attacking the Scientology religion.

The visual construction of the episode can only be characterized as fake news; Scientology courses are discussed while images are displayed that do not depict the activities of this Church; lectures by other groups are depicted while discussing Scientology lectures; and drawings showing the human brain are put on screen to explain the reactive mind and the state of clear, which, in Scientology, have no connection whatsoever with the brain.

This biased misrepresentation is offensive to Scientologists. The episode’s hate speech against the Scientology religion is mostly built by innuendo, presenting Scientology in the same context as the Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, mass suicides, or folk tales about the Illuminati and the Freemasons killing babies under the Denver airport.

Is this merely laughable? History, including recent events, prove that hate speech harms. Scientologists themselves have been physically attacked by unstable individuals whom irresponsible TV programs like this one had convinced that the Scientology religion was an intolerable form of evil. In 2019, a Taiwanese Scientologist, Yeh Chih-Jen (1994–2019), was stabbed to death in Sydney, Australia, by a teenager who had been persuaded his mother was in danger because she was participating in Scientology activities there.

The History Channel cannot hide behind “free speech” arguments. Hate speech and fake news are not free speech. Denouncing Scientologists, Freemasons, or prominent businesspersons as evil enemies of humanity may lead some who watch these shows to take the law into their own hands, and to try to violently stop what they have been made to believe are malevolent individuals and groups.

Particularly in these times, bizarre conspiracy theories casting religious minorities and entire categories of people as public enemies are extremely dangerous. We call on Disney to immediately stop this bigotry, cease broadcasting this show, remove it from the History Channel website, and repudiate such wild conspiracy theories and disinformation. It is time to put an end to the promotion of inflammatory hate speech that will only generate further violence.


CAP-LC – Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience*
CESNUR – Center for Studies on New Religions
EIFRF – European Inter-Religious Forum for Religious Freedom
Fedinsieme [Faiths Together]
FOB – European Federation for Freedom of Belief
FOREF – Forum for Religious Freedom Europe
Fundación para la Mejora de la Vida la Cultura y la Sociedad*
HRWF – Human Rights Without Frontiers
LIREC – Center for Studies on Freedom of Belief, Religion and Conscience
ORLIR – International Observatory of Religious Liberty of Refugees
Soteria International

*UN ECOSOC Special Consultative Status