Monday, 20 June 2011

The truth is the mortal enemy of 'Amway'

In 1997, an important documentary was made in Poland by an independent filmaker, Helmer Henryk Dederko, which is entitled 'Welcome to Life.' In this, a typically-deluded core-'Amway' adherent was openly-filmed taking a base-ball bat and smashing his television set to pieces. After being exposed (without his fully-informed consent) to co-ordinated devious techniques of social, psychological and physical persuasion, this poor Polish fellow had become convinced that television was a 'negative threat to achieving total financial freedom.'  Dederko's truthful documentary, revealed the economically-suicidal blind-faith of core-'Amway' adherents in their 'Diamond Leaders' and in the so-called 'Amway business opportunity.' Obvious comparisons were drawn between the 'negative versus positive' totalitarian myth ruling the lives of the unquestioning 'Amway' faithful in democratic Poland in the late 1990s and the reality-inverting 'good versus evil' totalitarian fairy tale which had ruled the lives of the unquestioning 'Communist' faithful in non-democratic Poland 1945-1990. Not surprisingly, when the billionaire bosses of the 'Amway' mob discovered what this film contained, they immediately invested a sizeable quantity of their ill-gotten gains in a criminal attempt to have their mortal enemy, the truth, repressed.
The following article (which explains what happened ) was published in the 'Warsaw Voice' in January 2003.
'One of the best documentaries made in Poland over the past decade has been kept locked up for the past five years.
The institution of censorship was repealed in Poland in 1990.
However, a new kind of censorship appeared in 1997. Theoretically, independent courts decide what can and what cannot be distributed and broadcast in free Poland, but in practice, this is done by skilled lawyers representing the interests of their clients. The imperfection of the Polish law makes the new court censorship no less efficient and ruthless than the communist Office for the Control of Press, Publications and Performances. Five years ago, Henryk Dederko, a film director from Łódź, made Witajcie w życiu (Welcome to Life), a documentary about the activities of the Amway Corporation-one of the world's largest companies selling chemical products and cosmetics in the network marketing system, which started its operations in Poland in the early 1990s. The documentary won recognition from the jury of the Eighth Media Festival, which gave it the Grand Prix. Polish TV bought the documentary and wanted to show it immediately, announcing the broadcast for Nov. 25, 1997.
Witajcie w życiu exposed the work of Polish Amway sales representatives, the methods of their training resembling brainwashing, and the philosophy of the corporation, with considerable political influences in the United States. Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George Bush did not try to conceal their relations with the company, and Bush openly said: "I feel I am an 'Amwayer' deep inside." Amway has several lobbyists on Capital Hill, headed until recently by Congressman Richard W. Pombo from California.
The documentary featured eight people who sold products and trained new members of the organization. They all authorized their appearance in the documentary and were paid for their involvement. However, they did it all without informing the company headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the Warsaw subsidiary. The Warsaw subsidiary and the headquarters learned about the documentary from reviews following a presentation for the press.
Amway hired one of the best and most expensive Polish lawyers, Jerzy Nauman. He tried to press the jury not to award the documentary, and then he brought a case to court concerning protection of personal goods of Amway and its sales representatives. He also put forward a motion requesting security for the claim in the form of a ban on the distribution of the documentary. Finally, he demanded that all copies be destroyed. That was reminiscent of the recent past, but had grounds in the Polish law. Forty editors-in-chief of Polish media were disturbed by the return of censorship for the protection of private interests. They protested, but the significance of their protest was purely moral.
Normally, you have to wait years for the settlement of cases concerning protection of personal goods in Poland. This time, the court made a decision after barely three days. It "temporarily" banned distribution of the documentary, also making it illegal to publish the script and the soundtrack until the valid determination of Amway's claim of zl.100,000 in damages. The law does not state that cases of this kind should be tried in the first place, as it is with electoral petitions.
TVP canceled the broadcast of the documentary, which cannot be shown even at private screenings. Deputies from the Sejm Committee for Culture, to which the editors-in-chief had addressed their protest, wanted to see the documentary so as to have an opinion on it, but the Sejm immediately received a fax from Amway's lawyers, who reminded the deputies that they would thus violate the court's ban. 
Even in the Polish Sejm, Amway has its people who advise their company about everything that might be of some importance to it. The main lobbyist of Amway is an influential deputy from the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD).
The "temporary situation" has continued for five years. With the temporary seizure of the film, Amway achieved its goal. So, now it can take its time before the case is resolved, especially that the sentence could be unfavorable to Amway. The court did look after its basic interest: the public opinion will not learn the inconvenient truth of Amway and of the methods it employs.
Dederko says he is surprised that the new era of censorship in Poland was initiated by a company from the United States-a country where the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech. For five years, Dederko and Jacek Gwizdała, producer of the documentary, have had no time to work, as they have to be regularly present at consecutive proceedings of the five lawsuits that Amway filed against them in courts in Łódź and Warsaw.
TVP, who bought the documentary, cannot make any profit on it. Amway lost as well-its sales in Poland have plummeted over the past five years, and the number of sales representatives have dropped by half.'
For more than 50 years, the billionaire bosses of the 'Amway' mob have been seeking to repress the truth about their hidden criminal objectives. The following article was published in 'Variety' in October 2009.
'In a year when Poles are commemorating the 20th anniversary of their freedom from Communist rule, a film that has been banned for 12 years is generating doubt about how far that freedom extends.
Helmer Henryk Dederko’s "Welcome to Life!," a docu about the practices of U.S. direct-sales empire Amway in the Polish market, was due to unspool at the Warsaw Film Festival, which ran Oct. 9-18. But the pic was pulled at the last minute by its producer, pubcaster TV Poland.
TV Poland rep Daniel Jablonski says the station could "not grant permission for the presentation of the film … because of unfinished legal proceedings."
The 1997 doc had been banned by a local court after Amway filed suit, claiming it was defamatory.
Amway Poland corporate affairs supervisor Anna Wieraszko says its lawsuit against TV Poland, which holds the pic’s copyright, and Contra Studio, the production shingle, is pending. Amway seeks a symbolic $3,000 compensation.
Fest director Stefan Laudyn wrote an open letter to fest auds Oct. 13, lamenting the last-minute reversal and saying that the withdrawal of the docu is an assault on freedom of expression.
At the very least, the legal wrangling could renew interest in the film. File sharing demand for "Welcome," already popular in local underground screenings, is expected to rise.'
Yet again, all of this clearly demonstrates an overall pattern of ongoing, major, racketeering activity (as defined by the US federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 1970, and clarified by subsequent US Supreme Court judgements).
David Brear (copyright 2011)

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