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Cablegate: Cloning Claim Puts Spotlight On Quebec-Based

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MONTREAL 000001

SIPDIS

E.0. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO ECON KIRF CA
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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