A tipster passed along something we didn't know: Noted Scientologist Greta van Susteren's sister is a psychiatrist. Or, as Greta's religion would have it, a practitioner of the "industry of death," a "fraud," a drug-peddler, and a "rapist." We asked her what she thought of her sister's curious views.
Lise van Susteren lives in Bethesda, Md. That's her, with Greta, in 2005. She is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University and completed her residency at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, a mental institution in Washington, D.C. She's a board-certified forensic psychiatrist and has served on the staff of mental health centers in Alexandria and Fairfax, Va. She was a consultant to the CIA, where she developed psychological profiles of world leaders. In 2006, she launched a failed Senate bid in Maryland.
Lise is no dabbler: She has a deep and varied career in psychiatry. Last month, she wrote in the Huffington Post that mental health professionals must do more to assess and redress the psychiatric effects of dislocation due to climate change.
Her sister Greta, on the other hand, is a member and underwriter of an organization whose leader David Miscavige lauds its "campaign for the global obliteration of psychiatry" and uses terms like "lethal assault," "plague," and "virus of abberation" when discussing his aim of "breaking the dark spell cast across earth" by people like Lise van Susteren. As of 1998, Greta had given at least $100,000 to Scientology; Miscavige's mother was the accountant at the law firm Greta ran with her husband John Coale. She and Coale own a home in Clearwater, Fla., Scientology's spiritual headquarters.
We called Lise to ask her about Greta's views. "These are private matters," she said. "I don't ever discuss them. The reality is, I don't know anything about Scientology's current campaigns. I know that in the past there were a few people who were very vocal about psychiatry, but I don't know enough to reasonably comment."
A few very vocal people is a vast understatement. We recommend Lise watch this video, of Miscavige at Scientology's New Year's celebration in 2006, to get a refresher. She could also go to Scientology's web site to learn about how her sister's religion regards psychiatry and psychology as "the stepchildren of...Hitler and the Nazis," and formed "the philosophical basis for the wholesale slaughter of human beings in...World War II." She might take special interest in that last bit, seeing as how her Jewish mother-in-law survived a German labor camp during the Holocaust by passing as a Catholic.
Greta and Lise don't seem to be estranged; Greta lent her support to Lise's Senate campaign and gave $2,100. We wonder what Miscavige thinks of one of his premier celebrity ambassadors palling around with a "psych."