UPDATE: Danny Masterson's attorney Tom Mesereau asked for a delay. The arraignment was rescheduled for January 20.
At the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles today, Scientology celebrity and That '70s Show actor Danny Masterson is scheduled to be arraigned on charges of raping three different women. He is not required to be in court, and we'll be interested to find out if his defense attorneys Tom Mesereau and Sharon Appelbaum enter a not guilty plea or find a way to delay the arraignment.
Masterson, 44, is accused of forcibly raping three women in incidents between 2001 and 2003, and if convicted under California's strict "One Strike Law" for sexual assaults he's facing 45 years to life in prison.
(Part 3 of 6) "The World's Best Scientology Documentary Ever"
(New episode every Monday)
In this episode of "The Worlds Greatest Scientology Documentary ever," we explored the first step everyone must take along their Scientology journey: the Purification Process. Turns out the longer I stayed at the seminar, the more I began to realize that this is a corporation hiding behind a religion so they don't get sued for false advertising. In this video we bring up some points that hopefully people haven't seen before.
Seeing as Medical-Examiner-to-the-Stars Michael Baden is doing the TV lecture circuit this morning about the death of Jeffrey Epstein, I'll note that Baden is a very unreliable source for such opinions, having amply demonstrated an historical bias toward opinions that would either guarantee him money or TV interviews. Here, being the dissenting opinion on Epstein's death guarantees him the latter.
It was Baden, more than anyone else, who turned Lisa McPherson's "homicide" by the Church of Scientology into an "accident," leading to the dropping of charges against Scientology. I helped work on the related wrongful death suit and Baden's opinion was objectively preposterous. But it, together with a relentless harassment campaign by Scientology, helped drive the Pinellas County ME Joan Wood, to mentally break down and quit her job.
In the late 1970s Baden was just a bad medical examiner, losing two jobs in New York State, each within a year of being hired for "sloppiness," "uncooperativeness," and "poor judgment." Then he moved to the private sector, performing autopsies on behalf of families (instead of the state) before fashioning himself into a TV expert on true-crime shows.
Who are these guys? That was one of the reactions we had when we saw the dynamite first two videos put out by a couple of young infiltrators who have brought out some of the most fascinating (and hilarious) undercover video from inside Scientology in a long time.
It turns out they're "Reckless" Ben Schneider, 24, and his friend Michael Fortner, 23, who both recently moved to Los Angeles from Ohio.
Ben's a professional slackliner with a YouTube channel that hosts videos of his balancing exploits and also some prankish setups. The channel has a few thousand subscribers, and so far the two Scientology videos they've put out have amassed views of a few thousand.
2020-01-06, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Tracey McManus published another of her uniformly excellent articles recently: Where every Clearwater City Council Candidate stands on Scientology
I have excerpted most of the answers to her survey and offer my biased views on them.
I believe there are just two reasons why scientology is actually being spoken about in this election. It has been a taboo subject for local politicians for decades. They have steered clear of this topic like it was the plague... Now for the first time in recent memory, it is something to be debated.
"Ron Miscavige Life After Scientology" will explore Ron's time with the Church of Scientology and expose information that the Church does not want you to know.
Please support my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/itmuststop
Visit my website: https://www.therealronmiscavige.com/
2019-01-06, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions based on what they wrote in the comment section of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week the questions I answer are:
(1) The other day I watched Aaron Smith-Levin's latest assessment of the number of members the CoS has today being less than 35,000. He broadly estimated some 10,000 - 12,000 staff, including Sea Org members and about 25,000 public Scientologists.
That is a ratio of 1 staff member to 2.5 "clients" or paying customers! That is absurd. What are all those people doing? They may be busy around the clock, but what is each one, in fact, producing? Movies, spying, cleaning, cooking etc, etc - it all seems like making work for each other and being involved in things that don't actually bring in money or provide services. Thousands of auditors, for whom? How many persons does the average auditor service, or better, what is the maximum number he or she can handle?
2019-01-06, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Someone recently pointed out some of the letters that are on the STAAD website complaining that The Aftermath might cost scientologists jobs.
Among the strange things they accuse us of, this has got to be one of the weirdest.
First, we have never asked anyone not to hire scientologists for any reason nor have we given anyone a reason not to do so.
Rod Keller has a report on the strange way Scientology is reacting to the news out of Sydney...
In the wake of the stabbing of two Scientologists in Sydney that left a Sea Org worker dead, Scientology has remained nearly silent on social media with its membership. According to policy, nobody can talk or know about the event except high level members of the Office of Special Affairs and the Ethics department. If they follow policy, Scientologists will never know the cause of the incident, that according to press reports so far it involved a son attempting to stop his mother from continuing on the Purification Rundown. Of course some members read the news, but it's considered "entheta."
Entheta means "enturbulated theta," theta being the life force that is one of the basic concepts in Scientology. Enturbulated is not a real word, but rather a Scientology shibboleth, a word used only by the group meaning in an agitated or disturbed state. Entheta is a danger to any Scientologist, and in particular to people at the AO after the event. Exposure to entheta is to be avoided at almost any cost.
The show where I answer your questions. Please leave any comments or feedback in the comments section here below. I see everything and want to hear from you.
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2018-01-06, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Seldom are married couples on the same page when it comes to their involvement with the Church of Scientology and for this reason, marriages frequently end in divorce—both with the couple and Scientology.
Husbands and wives often have different spiritual goals. Despite what the church would have people believe, rarely do both parties place the same importance on "ideal orgs," "clearing the planet," and "going free." And rarely do they feel the same away about Scientology tech, policy, and management. Since Scientologists aren't allowed to speak about anything related to the church that might be construed as the least bit negative, often times couples don't know how each other feels about the church. One might think their spouse is gung-ho, when in fact, both are sticking around for fear the other will disconnect if their true thoughts were revealed. The last thing a husband or wife wants is for their other half to think they're "other determined," "nattery," or have "counter intention." Mea culpa!
Priorities, Priorities, Priorities
We're still getting some interesting bits and pieces out of Scientology's recent New Year's event and the claims made by church leader David Miscavige. During the event filmed on December 16 in Los Angeles but shown in the rest of Scientology's facilities on December 31 Miscavige made the announcement that Mexico had recognized Scientology as a religion.
We were also struck by the photo you see above, when Miscavige called up many Scientologists to the stage who had qualified as "Power FSMs" (Field Staff Members) — and the church website explains that these were folks who had signed up 100 or more people on Scientology's "Bridge to Total Freedom" in the past year. FSMs recruit new people into Scientology and are paid a percentage of what those new members pay for courses. Power FSMs can make a very lucrative living.
The website also made this claim: "This year further saw an unprecedented four individuals achieve the status of Elite FSM, recognizing their achievement of having helped 1,000 people onto and up the Bridge."
Former Sea Org member Karen Pressley and I discuss the 80+ books that have been written since the 1950s about Scientology. Karen has put together a PDF presentation of all of these (link below) and we talk about the history of Scientology, how these books and other events have shaped that history and which ones we think are the most important to check out.
Karen's presentation: https://goo.gl/6pVYHy
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2017-01-06, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Scientology is circulating this promotional piece:
The FBI should be investigating scientology for human rights abuses not legitimizing them with "presentations" at their front groups. The earlier FBI investigation, targeting scientology human trafficking, was scuttled.
Now, a scientology front group is trying to legitimize itself by claiming FBI sanction/support. This is happening in a scientology building in downtown Clearwater. The FBI Field Office in Tampa knew a lot about the scientology Human Trafficking investigation. What are they thinking? We KNOW what scientology is thinking - it is what they do all the time, getting "official endorsements" to legitimize themselves.
Subscribe to Brother Ben X's Channel: http://bit.ly/1WEFRyG
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has got a lot of criticism for encouraging black people to use the TOOL Dianetics from Scientology. Many have came out and said he sold the Nation to Scientology, said he's merged into Scientology and more but those claims are false. The Minister simply saw a problem solver that could help a lot of black people with what they deal with on a regular basis. Listen to why he chose to make that decision!
Email Submissions: Brotherbenx@gmail.com
The United Kingdom just found this out the hard way, according to an investigative article in the London Evening Standard. "In the past year alone 35,000 children have taken part in the Narconon anti-drugs programme, including more than 16,000 in London," reported Benedict Moore-Bridger. He goes on to explain that "Narconon's theories about drug dependency and treatment have been described as potentially dangerous and dismissed by some scientists as lacking medical evidence. Critics say the lectures provide a 'soft introduction' to Scientology."
As Moore-Bridger notes, Narconon openly acknowledges that it is "based on the research and writings of L Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Scientology religion." But many teachers and school authorities are unaware of the connection, and may be unaware that the program doesn't employ actual addiction experts. That might be because those experts have long viewed the program as a pseudoscientific and potentially dangerous enterprise. "We have known for years that Scientologists have been targeting schools through drugs education packages," Professor David Nutt, former head of the U.K. government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, told Moore-Bridger. "They are the main provider of teaching aids to schools, as neither government nor local authorities put any money into this topic. It's an outrage."
The church purchased the former Cunningham Piano building across from Macy's near 13th Street in 2007 for $7.85 million to replace its Philadelphia headquarters a half-mile down on Race Street.
Since the purchase, the building has sat - dark, empty and tax exempt.
Recently, some Scientology-related posters have been placed in the windows. The building has collected paperwork for about a dozen violations from the city Department of Licenses & Inspections.
Serge Gil first reached out to us more than a year ago. It's taken a lot of time for his story to get to a large audience, but tonight he's going to be featured on an episode of ABC's 20/20 that we were also interviewed for.
Gil's story is wide ranging and very troubling, and we don't know how deeply 20/20 is going to get into it. But we wanted to provide some basic background on what he went through in order to supplement ABC's show. And we've had help by talking to Claire Headley, Aaron Smith-Levin, Mike Rinder, and Jefferson Hawkins.
We'll start by pointing out that Serge Gil is an angry man. He's now 38, but he says that how he was treated when he was a young teen at Scientology's "Flag Land Base" in Clearwater, Florida has permanently scarred him, and he is looking for payback.
While celebrity Scientologists including Laura Prepon and Jenna Elfman celebrated the holidays at a glamorous Hollywood party, others spent the season behind the walls of the Church's mysterious 500-acre desert compound near Hemet, California. Previously described by former members as "labor camp" and worse, the site has been shrouded in mystery – until now. A current Scientology official finally admitted the true conditions at the "campus" in court in November — and the description is frightening.
Church official Warren McShane, who lives on the base, offered attorneys a new perspective on the controversial site during his deposition as part of Monique Rathbun's ongoing harassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige.
Miscavige's offices there, McShane described in the deposition transcript, are located in a 45,000 sq. foot building with just two floors, although he is rarely present for long stretches of time. The same cannot be said for McShane, who admitted to working a brutal schedule of 9 in the morning until midnight every day.
An Illinois pleaded not guilty for allegedly threatening to kill Scientology leader David Miscavige and all followers of the church, according to court papers obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Andre Barkanov, 47, was charged with 12 felony counts of making criminal threats and one count of stalking for allegedly making phone calls to the main line of the Church of Scientology, saying he would kill Miscavige and "every single" member of the church, according to an affidavit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, The Times reported.
Barkanov is being held in the Los Angeles jail in lieu of $600,000 bail, according to L.A. County sheriff's records.
An Illinois man has been arrested and charged on suspicion of threatening to assassinate the leader of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige, and others affiliated with the church, according to court papers filed in Los Angeles.
Andre Barkanov is accused of making several phone calls to the Church of Scientology's main telephone line and vowing to kill Miscavige, the church's upper echelon and "every single" member of the church, according to an affidavit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The alleged threats were first made July 21 in five phone calls ranging in duration from a few minutes to more than three hours, according to the affidavit filed by investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department.
The "L. Ron Hubbard Golden Age" theater troupe visited a middle school in St. Petersburg, Florida recently in order to bring back to life the words of the pulp fiction writer. Having actors read the corn-pone tales that Hubbard cranked out in the 1930s is just one of a dizzying number of stealthy ways that Scientology tries to spread the influence of Hubbard and, ultimately, gain new members.
Over the years, we've brought you many images of Scientology front groups peddling Hubbard around the world, and in these images, the best possible face is put on the activities and the crowds they draw.
But through multiple lines of influence, we judge that Scientology is shrinking really quite quickly now, and the movement is having a much tougher time motivating even its longtime members to get involved, let alone the raw public it needs for new blood.
2016-01-06, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
You have probably read mentions of the idea that scientologists believe they cause things to happen that are quite mad.
OT VIII's claiming it was their intention that brought down the Berlin Wall for example (meanwhile, they cannot make all orgs ideal and then tell Dear Leader "We are ready for you to release OT IX and X")
But many of these things are the stuff of myth. You didn't hear anyone say it, so you don't really know if it is just an urban legend.
Ryan Hamilton has filed yet another federal fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology's drug rehab network, Narconon. This makes 26 lawsuits he's filed just since last February, and none of them has been dismissed (although a number of them have been settled or are in mediation).
Once again, Hamilton has filed a lawsuit on behalf of someone who paid for drug counseling at the Narconon Fresh Start facility in Caliente, Nevada, known as Rainbow Canyon Retreat.
Maryland resident Dianna Nardella found the place by searching online for a rehab facility for her son, Charles, in December 2011. According to the complaint filed by Hamilton, Dianna found herself talking on the phone to Narconon Fresh Start representative Ryan Warczak.
The Fort Lauderdale Bridge Club Inc. is one of the top bridge clubs in the country.
Samuel "Sandy" Rosen was a hard-knuckle litigator who represented the Church of Scientology against its detractors, among others.
When he retired from New York to Bal Harbour, he turned his passion to bridge. In an effort to test his new bidding theory for a book he was writing on the popular card game, he joined the club.
But he was shown the door for "alleged behavioral issues" in February 2010, according to court documents.
2014-01-06, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
For about 30 years now the FSO has been pushing an arbitrary target of "10,000 onto or through OT VII" as the solution to "handling the planet."
It comes from a twisted interpretation of this quote from a 1952 lecture: "...at any one time on earth there were not more than about 10,000 people of a caliber that was sufficient to do a little steering or leading..."
Clive Rabey, the point man for the FSO on this matter, explained it in Source Mag like this:
Our video elves have been busy again, and we have another treat for you.
A source has made available for us video from Scientology's historic IAS gala, which took place in November in a giant tent in Clearwater, Florida.
The International Association of Scientologists was founded in 1984 as a legal defense fund for the church. Members are constantly hit up for donations to the IAS, and are told to "up their status" by giving thousands and thousands more. Usually, the IAS gala is held in October in England, and is a time for celebrating Scientology's successes during the year. This time, however, Scientology leader David Miscavige had the giant tent shipped from England and held the event in Florida, part of what seems to be an increasing consolidation of the movement in Clearwater.
Once again, our tipsters have come through and we have a fun collection of Scientology wackiness for you this Sunday morning.
We're kicking things off with some news from Taiwan, where David Miscavige's church has been making a major push in recent months.
We've seen the boasting about a new Chinese-language translation of Scientology's essential texts ("the Basics"), but are these books really flying off the shelves?
2012-01-06, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Please click this link, Good Morning America, Meet Debbie Cook
UPDATE: 4:37 pm Central Standard Time:
The GMA story was originally planned as a teaser for tonight's edition of ABC Nightline. However, the Scn corporation has had a gaggle of high-priced lawyers (at great expense to donating public) bombarding ABC News with threats and lies all day long yesterday and today. It finally got the point where ABC decided to punt (for now) because it was distracting the business of reporting contemporaneously on world affairs. Because it was not unexpected by me I never mentioned the planned broadcast. This is about the sixth major network show I am aware of on the crimes of David Miscavige that has been spiked in the past eighteen months. At the end of the day the tension of each new spike (cover up and killing) adds numbers of professionals in the journalism field to the ranks of the educated on the tactics of Miscavige's mafia like organization. Be assured that that cummulative tension will have a deleterious effect (and actually does have as time goes by) on the perpetrator of the lie-based threats. The chickens always come home to roost. The detailed story of how corporate Scientology accomplishes such results (with specifics on all of the shows I have alluded to above) will be covered in my second book (including documents that prove it), The Scientology Reformation, which will be out some time after the first book.
Debbie Cook, the high-profile Scientologist who on New Year's Eve launched a surprise effort to reform the Church of Scientology's aggressive fundraising practices, has renewed her call for action but insists she's not picking a fight with the church.
In a letter released to the Tampa Bay Times, Cook again rallies individual Scientologists, calling on them to do their part in restoring the church to the way its founder L. Ron Hubbard wanted it to run.
2012-01-06, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Since news broke Sunday of Debbie Cook's stunning e-mail, sent to thousands of her fellow Scientologists, word of a serious rift inside the church has been appearing in many news outlets, particularly in Europe. In the meantime, we provided additional depth and context about Debbie Cook, her career, and her salvo against church leader David Miscavige.
This morning, the Cook story showed up on ABC's Good Morning America. We couldn't help noticing that the editing on it was a bit strange, and it leads us to think it was only part of a larger segment -- perhaps something that's going to play tonight on Nightline?
If so, that means a whole group of new folks may be coming to this story, and we figure they're going to have a lot of questions about who this Debbie Cook is and what her e-mail is all about. (And plenty more will wonder, "What is Scientology?")
2012-01-06, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
On November 18, we started a new feature here on Fridays: the Voice has obtained hundreds of copies of L. Ron Hubbard's previously unpublished "Orders of the Day," which he gave to crew members as he sailed the Mediterranean. Our documents cover the period from late 1968 through 1971, and this time we're looking at what was happening the week of January 1 through 7 during those years.
After the jump, LRH is not pleased with conditions aboard his yacht...
2011-01-06, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Just when it began to look like it couldn't get any darker than the last chapter...
I have appended below OSA International's "[Chuck] Beatty Handling Program." It is dated 2007. It is genuine and will be proven so in a court of law if and when need be.
When I likened David Miscavige to J Edgar (Mary) Hoover some months
The Tunisian authorities have allegedly carried out targeted "phishing" operations: stealing users passwords to spy on them and eradicate online criticism. Websites on both sides have been hacked.
Anonymous, the loosely-knit group of international web activists that drew world attention for their "distributed denial of service" (DDoS) attacks on the servers of companies that blocked payments and server access to the whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks, joined the fray, in solidarity with the Tunisian uprising.
2010-01-06, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
Just a few months ago, we used to regularly announce people leaving David Miscavige's Brave New Church of Miscavology. These days, there are so many leaving it's hard to keep up. Kudos to Kathy Braceland, Murray and Exilda Pearlman, Dr. Brad and Natalie Hagemo, and Silvia Kusada, to name just a few of the recent, high-profile ones. Of course, for every one going public, there are many more behind the scenes, out of the Church but still flying under the radar, usually because of family connections.
But if you think it's hard for us to keep track of everyone who is leaving, think of the poor Scientologists who are still in the Church! From all indications, there is massive confusion as to who one can and cannot talk to!
Case in point: we recently received an e-mail from Tomi Lyn Bowling, forwarded to us by one of our "reporters." Tomi is, bless her, trying to make sense of all this and trying to keep people from connecting with, or talking to, the wrong people. It's something like herding cats, but she makes an interesting attempt.
Riverside County supervisors Tuesday fast-tracked and unanimously approved an ordinance that restricts picketing outside homes and a Church of Scientology base near Hemet.
Supervisors deemed the restrictions urgent and voted to forgo regular statutory proceedings, which include a second hearing. The ordinance went into effect after its introduction Tuesday despite unresolved questions about exactly how rules will apply to the Scientology base.
The new ordinance, backed by the church and Supervisor Jeff Stone, stipulates that pickets must remain at least 50 feet from the property line of any residence they are targeting in unincorporated Riverside County. The ordinance makes an exception to permit protesters on a sidewalk across the street from the property.
Claims that Tom Cruise is the second-in-command of the Church of Scientology and that some scientologists believe his daughter Suri is the product of a sperm donation from Scientology's late founder L. Ron Hubbard are among the explosive charges author Andrew Morton alleges in his new book, "Tom Cruise, An Unauthorized Biography," London's Daily Mail reported Sunday.
A bombshell biography of Tom Cruise could put muckraking author Andrew Morton back in the cross-hairs of the megawatt star and Scientology bigwigs who are pilloried in the tell-all.
"Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography," by Morton - who penned a biography of Princess Diana - is due in bookstores Jan. 15. The Post obtained copies through online retailers.
With its claims about the influence of Scientology in the star's life and loves, the book could kick up a storm of controversy with the sect.
An organization that says it wants to reform the Church of Scientology has followed through with its plans to open a headquarters at the epicenter of the Scientology world.
The group, led by New England millionaire Robert S. Minton, on Wednesday purchased a small office building at 33 N Fort Harrison Ave., just 30 feet from a major Scientology building downtown. Minton and a five-member staff say they plan to educate local residents -- including existing Scientologists -- about abuses within the church.
Scientology reacted Wednesday with strong words.
"These guys are nobodies," said church official Marty Rathbun. "They bring absolutely nothing to this community."
The secret agreement, obtained by the Wall Street Journal, indicates Scientology bought its way out of potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes for $12.5-million. In return, the IRS granted tax-exempt status to 114 Scientology-related organizations, dismissed tax penalties and liens against some church groups and stopped audits of 13 Scientology entities. That is not a deal; it is a sellout by an IRS that has been accused of running roughshod over less threatening taxpayers.
Johnson, a nationally known lawyer who has held high positions in the American Bar Association, is scheduled to go on trial Monday on charges that he extorted money from an Orlando-based construction company in 1981, used the money to bribe three former Hillsborough County Commissioners, then lied about it before a federal grand jury. He is the last of 25 people, including real estate brokers, developers, business owners and lawyers, to go on trial in the Hillsborough County corruption case filed by federal prosecutors in May 1985.
A former Hillsborough County state attorney and a respected lawyer in Tampa, Johnson has repeatedly maintained his innocence. In court papers filed Thursday, however, Johnson's attorney, F. Lee Bailey, argued that potential jurors in the trial may be prejudiced against Johnson if they learn that he has represented the Scientologists in a number of legal matters, including a pending property tax dispute with Pinellas County.
In that case, an organization called Abortion Right Mobilization Inc. wants the tax-exempt status of the U.S. Catholic Conference withdrawn because of the church's political stance on abortion.
The organization attempted to get financial information from the conference. When the conference refused to supply it, the case wound up in the courts. The trial court and the appeals court found that the Catholic Conference had to turn over the information, but the church group has appealed to the Supreme Court.
Clearwater is interested in the outcome of the case because it is now defending its 1983 charitable solicitations ordinance in court. The ordinance requires financial disclosure by any religious or charitable organization that solicits funds in Clearwater, including the Church of Scientology, which has an international headquarters here.