2018-01-15, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
There is plenty of reason to worry about defending anyone accused of sexual assault in today's climate. But the fear of consequences for speaking our truth has not held us back in the past and isn't about to start now.
We have supported victims of sexual abuse who have reached out to us and have worked with them and law enforcement to ensure justice is done for both victims and the accused. We have avoided trial by media.
In this time of heightened awareness of sexual predators, it is easy to remain quiet when an injustice is being perpetrated for fear of being tarred as politically incorrect. But more important to us than being politically correct is standing up for what we believe is right.
We spoke this weekend to Robbie Olson, 62, a Tucson-based GOP conservative who spent part of last year shepherding political upstart Joy Villa, 31, as she was rapidly ascending the highest levels of the "Make America Great Again" movement and was even endorsed by Donald Trump himself.
Olson tells us he became enamored of Villa after her Grammy Awards appearance last year in a "Make America Great Again" dress, and invited her to speak at a Pima County, Arizona GOP meeting in September. He was impressed by her infectious enthusiasm and her vocal support for the president, and he offered to help manage her budding political aspirations.
Over the next few months, Olson helped her gain access to people like Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Sean Hannity, Milo Yiannapoulos, and Kellyanne Conway, and helped her get appointed to Trump's campaign advisory board.
2017-01-15, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer questions left in the comments section of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week the questions I answer are:
(1) Dear Chris, I have watched all your Q&A and I have heard you saying many times that Sea Org members can leave the COS whenever they want, no one is stopping them except their own beliefs (they don't want to disconnect from their loved ones inside the Scientology, pay the debt, etc). I recently saw the 5th episode of "Leah Remini, Scientology and the Aftermath" and I remember how Marc Headley both had to escape from the Base. They also describe how others escaped and some were caught and brought back. So how is it that you say that they can leave whenever they want (if they decide to go)?! Other members caught them and bring them back by force!
(2) What happens in cases when there is disconnection and child custody comes into play? As you know, legally the parent without custodian rights needs to still pay for child support. At least here in California, I know the laws on child support are very strictly enforced. Does the church discourage people from paying or accepting child support?
In this stream I discuss Ex-Scientologist Mark Tordai's experience in the Church of Scientology and his journey leaving it.
Subscribe here! http://bit.ly/2ghqigo
Just your average millennial/philosopher king with a super useful Political Science degree (????) commentary videos about social and political issues.
2017-01-15, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
With all the massive international expansion and flood of people moving up the bridge, 10 times more than ever, etc etc one would imagine the heads of the organizations at the top of the Bridge would be flat out dealing with this overwhelming tide of OT's.
Instead, the "Commanding Officer" of the FSSO (responsible for delivering OT VIII — really her ONLY job) and the D/CO Flag AO (responsible for delivering OT I - VII, his SOLE job) are visible for another reason. Begging people to do FILING at Valley Org.
Not even a global beg for filing everywhere (which apparently IS needed) — just a single org so they can "open."
Cult expert Steve Hassan let the cat out of the bag last night, saying at his Facebook page that he's one of three guests on this week's "Reddit AMA" special episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath which is airing on A&E Tuesday at 10 pm. We can tell you who the other two guests are as well.
Remini did a previous Reddit special episode where she took questions from the website, but also used the occasion to bring on Paulette Cooper, Chris Shelton, Karen de la Carriere and Jeffrey Augustine. All of them are very familiar faces here at the Underground Bunker, and they did a superb job helping Leah explore areas that hadn't been covered in her other episodes.
This time she has a really intriguing slate of special guests. Besides Hassan, she's invited a powerful duo from Texas: author Lawrence Wright and attorney Ray Jeffrey.
The Church of Scientology Moscow filed an appeal challenging the Moscow City Court's ruling banning the organization, the court's spokesperson Ulyana Solopova told RAPSI on Friday.
The appeal will be considered by Russia's Supreme Court.
In November, Moscow City Court Judge Mikhail Kazakov granted a motion filed by the Russian Justice Ministry and ordered the liquidation of the branch of the Church of Scientology within six months.
(Judge William R. Nicklas Jr., photo source)
We were out on the road all day yesterday and so missed some of the drama happening down in Frederick County, Maryland. Our regular readers know that we've been following the action as Scientology struggles to put in a new drug rehab "Narconon" center there with a cute maneuver involving an aging fish camp and some complex local zoning rules.
A couple of years ago, Scientology, through its real estate arm, Social Betterment Properties International, plunked down $4.85 million on a parcel of land that included the lodge for a fish camp. The property, known as Trout Run, had once stood in for Camp David in scenes for The West Wing. Scientology had learned that although the current zoning didn't allow a rehab center, if it could get the parcel put on the county's register of historic places, it would qualify for a zoning exception that would allow renovation of the place for a 20-bed Narconon center.
If controversy sells, HBO may suddenly have a hit in Alex Gibney's new documentary about Scientology and renegades who left it behind.
On Friday, the Church of Scientology took aim at the movie - which its members and leaders have not yet seen - with full-page newspaper advertisements in The New York Times and elsewhere detailing what it says are journalistic lapses by Mr. Gibney.
A former rehabilitation patient at Narconon Freedom Center in Albion has sued the company, claiming the center uses its program to introduce Scientology to unwitting patients seeking drug rehabilitation.
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, Jan. 14, former patient and Ohio resident Lauren Prevec claims the center charged $25,000 in upfront costs before skipping a medical assessment, taking her completely off her anti-depressant medication and attempting to indoctrinate her to Scientology over the course of two months.
She is requesting $75,000 in damages.
Wow, James Barbour is back in a big way.
A few days ago, it was announced that Barbour was taking on the title role in Broadway's longest-running production, Phantom of the Opera. And then, last night, the producers of the show felt compelled to answer an overwhelming Internet response to the news that Barbour was joining the cast.
Here's what the show released...
In a lawsuit against Albion-based rehab facility Narconon Freedom Center, former patient Lauren Prevec claims the center is "using the program to introduce Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard's 'technology' to unwitting patients seeking drug rehabilitation."
In a lawsuit filed to U.S. District Court on Wednesday, Jan. 14, Prevec alleges the center charged $25,000 in upfront costs before skipping a medical assessment, taking her completely off her anti-depressant medication and attempting to indoctrinate her to Scientology over the course of two months.
She is requesting $75,000 in damages.
UPDATED: Scientology's ad is now in the post, as well as a response from Alex Gibney. See below.
This is a fun one: New York Times staffer Michael Cieply reporting on an ad in his own newspaper.
Cieply reports that the Church of Scientology has taken out a full page ad in the Times to slam Alex Gibney, whose documentary about Scientology, Going Clear, premieres at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25.
The Church of Scientology is known for attacking and intimidating it's critics, and one of the most notable victims of their harassment was Paulette Cooper. Cooper's story of being followed, sued, and even captured by the Church after she exposed them in 1971 is told by journalist Tony Ortega. The dark secrets and real human cost of going to battle with Scientology is laid bare in this uncensored interview on Media Mayhem, hosted by Allison Hope Weiner.
Tony Ortega is executive editor of The Raw Story and is formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He's written about Scientology since 1995, and has a forthcoming book about the subject.
Media Mayhem Full Episodes Playlist:
Media Mayhem Short Clips Playlist:
00:01 Welcome to Media Mayhem.
00:20 Introducing Tony Ortega.
00:30 Paulette Cooper exposes Scientology in 1971.
10:00 Cooper harassed and sued by Scientologists.
14:00 Cooper trapped by Scientologists again in 1980.
15:10 Scientology surveillance and intelligence gathering methods.
18:00 Scientologists using the legal system against Cooper and interfering with her work.
25:30 Did Cooper ever think about backing out due to threats on her and her family?
34:00 Thanks and goodbye.
2015-01-15, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The (lack of) irony deparment...
This small collection of Craigslist ads is a study in irony. The people who destroy families and tear relationships apart, who lie with reckless abandon...
The Global Reach of Radio
While we wait for word of legal happenings in Texas, we have a few fun items to tide you over today.
One of our tipsters sent us another issue of the Fort Harrison newsletter, the house organ of Scientology's mecca in Clearwater, Florida. This is our second issue, and already we're charmed by the upstat publication. We look forward to your comments on it.
We only wish we could watch the BIG GAME at the Hibiscus!
THE MANAGEMENT of Ocean FM have expressed amazement after the radio station's branding appeared in an international promotional video for the Church of Scientology.
Footage of an interview in a studio with an Ocean FM logo was used as part of the promo for Scientology's 'Truth About Drugs' campaign, screened at a conference in Florida.
However, the station – which broadcasts to south Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim – has said they had no involvement in the clip, calling their inclusion "bogus" and saying that it is being investigated. A statement reads:
The studio is NOT that of Ocean FM, and the 'presenter' conducting the interview is not known to anyone at Ocean.
Leah Remini talked about Scientology this evening on Access Hollywood, interviewed by her friend Holly Robinson Peete, and managed to say virtually nothing more than she already has.
Holly told Leah that she had been very public and honest about the transition and that she handled it gracefully. What was it like going through that and Dancing with the Stars at the same time? Was it a supportive environment?
Yes, you go through transitions in your life and there are lessons you go through, she answered, and you hope you learn from them.
2014-01-15, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Critical thinking is all about being rational and logical. But for some people, these words make them think that critical thinking is boring, lifeless or dull. Or that you can't be emotional or passionate or really care about what you are talking about. Yet scientists can be some of the most passionate and caring people you'll ever meet.
Being a critical thinker isn't some dry, unemotional approach to life. Unfortunately, it's gotten kind of a bad rap in some popular shows because people like Mr. Spock on Star Trek (a show which I love, by the way) seem so cold-hearted and unattached. He's always says that he finds things fascinating, but frankly he's not exactly the life of the party.
So I wanted to take some time to discuss what is logic and how you can actually use it to improve your thinking, without feeling like you have to become a robot at the same time. There is nothing wrong with being passionate or emotional about something. Just as long as you are thinking straight about it at the same time!
2014-01-15, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Ok, so my name is Ian Lee. Back on August 15th I wrote an article for Mike's blog.
At the time I was in good standing and wanted to voice my opinions of some things that are happening within Scientology.
You can and should read that article here before you continue.
Ocean FM management have expressed amazement after the radio station's logo appeared in an international promotional video for the Church of Scientology.
The video, played live to a huge audience at the New Year's Eve Scientology event in Clearwater, Florida, includes a short clip of an 'interview' being conducted with a Scientologist in the Ocean FM studios.
However, the studio is not that of Ocean FM, and the 'presenter' conducting the interview is not known to anyone at Ocean.
What timing — just hours after The Atlantic magazine apologized for running a paid "advertorial" about Scientology's "Ideal Org" program, Buzzfeed has published a lengthy investigation of the church's building program that writer Alex Klein has been working on for quite a while.
He contacted us several weeks ago, and it was obvious then that he'd been doing his homework about Scientology leader David Miscavige's aggressive real estate caper.
As we pointed out just last night in our story about the Atlantic, Miscavige (through his spokespeople) answers nearly every criticism of Scientology by touting all the new buildings that he's been opening up around the world. But former Scientologists tell us that the constant fundraising for these new "Ideal Orgs" is actually one of the key things fueling internal unrest in the church, and driving away longtime members.
As has now become routine for the Times, your questions have nothing to do with the current activities of the Church of Scientology. Instead, you maintain what can only be described as an unprofessional - if not incestuous - relationship with apostates who have a record of lying about their former religion and have been gone from the Church for so many years they are completely out of touch with what is happening in Scientology today.
2013-01-15, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Below is a republication of a section of What Is Wrong With Scientology? that addresses my second piece of advice for future vitality of the subject of Scientology (the first was covered in the post, Integrate). Please share your thoughts about these thoughts.
Evolve or Dissolve
During my three-year hiatus from communication with any Scientologists, I worked with a man named John Kelley as a writer and editor for his alternative newspaper in Corpus Christi. John is a retired cognitive-behavioral therapist. One day I asked him to describe cognitive-behavioral psychology to me. He said that the therapist guides the patient to review his past, in order to assist him to come to realization (cognition) about his own behavior. The central idea is that a person's behavior can only be changed for the better when the individual self-determinatively recognizes the need for it, and decides to do so himself. The therapist does not invalidate (chastise), or evaluate (tell the patient how to think about himself). Instead he simply guides the person to look, so that the patient may come to cognition. In short, John described the heart and soul of the Scientology auditing process, probably better than I had heard any corporate Scientologist attempt to do so in the past. Comparing my discussions with John to the fevered anti-psych rallies of Scientology Inc. got me to thinking about evolution.
The Ideal Orgs certainly look great, make headlines, and serve as flashy totems of Scientology's (literally) unspeakable wealth. The Church of Scientology International (CSI) headquarters in Los Angeles says that it has built 34 of these cathedrals worldwide since 2003, with 60 more underway. Almost all were paid for by local parishioners, who had been lobbied by roving teams of fundraisers.
But inside the church, the Ideal Orgs are sparking insurrection. Across the country, donors and high-ranking executives say that the aggressive fundraising and construction scheme is used to enrich the central church at the expense of the rank and file, helping to grow the Scientology war chest to over a billion dollars. Two former members, Mike Rinder and Mark Elliott, went so far as to call the project a "real estate scam." To some of these defectors, the structures are metaphors for the religion itself: garish on the outside, empty on the inside. The irony is that the very expansion that Scientology lauds as its renaissance is actually a symbol of internal dissent and decline.
According to ex-executives, the Ideal Org money play is simple: Find beautiful buildings; get local parishioners to foot the bill; keep them closed; keep fundraising; open them; and finally, have the parishioners pay for renovations, buy supplies, and send money to the central church for the right to practice there.
Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
NBC's Rock Center just sent us another peek at its Thursday night show with Paul Haggis and Lawrence Wright. Wow, take a look at these quotes from Haggis!
Wright explains why Scientology is controversial — because of the way it has treated its own people and outsiders who question it, of course. And it's also interesting to see Haggis say that giving the interview is really a stupid idea, implying that Scientology's legendary retaliation apparatus will make him pay.
Fast forward to last year, when, in a lengthy New Yorker profile, Haggis said he thought the church would try to discredit him by finding some dirty little secret to feed to the tabloids : "My bet is that, within two years, you're going to read something about me in a scandal that looks like it has nothing to do with the church."
This week Haggis told the New York Post's Page Six the church hasn't let up. "There are private eyes going through my trash. But only the paper is missing. Well, only paper I write on."
2011-01-15, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Here is some breaking news from my good friend of 33 years Mat Pesh. It further illustrates a point I have been making to friends for some time now: the Ogre that is destroying the church of Scientology is not only its failure to practice the technology but also its insistence on performing over-the-top freak shows attempting to shut people up. David Miscavige's primary collection line is based on his continued, off-policy advertisements of attacks against "Scientology." While painting himself as a victim he carefuly omits 100% of the "attacks" are brought about by his insane continuing efforts to control thought and suppress free speech, much like is documented below as occuring to this day (literally).
By the way, thanks Amy and Mat. Mike Rinder and I got a whole hell of a lot accomplished over the past couple days. I was wondering why there was so little distraction from the mosquitoes. Now, I know why.
RADICAL CORPORATE SCIENTOLOGY CONTINUES TO FAIL
As well as medical neglect, Peta O'Brien's letter told of a hostile working environment, an arbitrary internal justice system and a culture of bullying among senior executives.
When Peta O'Brien wrote to Senator Xenophon, she had only recently quit Scientology, having worked for them between 1989 and 2009, first in the Sea Org and then in staff posts.
O'Brien described how she was recruited into Scientology after a recent divorce.
Lawyers acting for Scientology are allegedly using medical information about two protesters picketing a Scientology facility near Hemet, California in an attempt to prevent the duo's attendance at further demos. The two protesters Angry Gay Pope and Happy Smurf, a former Scientologist, are contesting the legal action, which would prevent them protesting at the important facility (known internally as Gold Base). The pair, both openly gay, have the representation of attorney Graham Berry.
The ongoing battle between the Church of Scientology and the loosely-affiliated Anonymous collective has seen an explosion in protests over the last year. Scientologists have allegedly used false reports to the police, physical attacks and loudspeakers to curtail or frustrate protests at Gold Base.
The Scientologists' legal petition against the protesters alleges that they pose a "threat" to the wellbeing of 500 Scientology workers. Critics portray the move as a continuation of the organisation's hostility to homosexuality, which has included claims that it is able to "cure homosexuality" and providing financial support for Proposition 8, a law in California that bans the marriage of homosexual couples.
2009-01-15, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Mahoud Samed Almahadin (a/k/a Matt Connor) apparently thought it might be a smart way to protest L. Ron Hubbard's wacky cabal by slathering himself in vaseline, toenail clippings, and pubic hair clippings, and then entering the Scientology building on W. 46th Street and rubbing himself on everything in sight.
Morton's portrait of Cruise can be sharp and damning -- he depicts him as cold, calculating, manipulative and one who easily cuts off people after they have outlived their usefulness -- but he begins sympathetically, noting that the movie star's childhood was a rough-and-tumble one.
Independent publisher Henry Rosenbloom says more and more larger publishing houses are being scared off by possible legal threats.
"There's been a really chilling effect on the publication of current affairs matters, for instance," he said.
And there's no proof that sweating out toxins actually works, especially the kinds of toxins released on 9/11. Plus sitting in a hot sauna for hours on end can actually be dangerous to these already-sick people, due to dehydration and heat stroke.
Pushing junk science to exploit the brave men and women who put their lives on the line during a national crisis… Thanks for the help, Tom.
2008-01-15, Andy Meinen, Northwest Florida Daily News
A local drug and alcohol rehabilitation center is in a "holding pattern" after some residents objected last spring and summer to its plans to expand into South Walton County.
Twice last year, Narconon Gulf Coast Inc. tried to buy two beach homes that would have been used as an "educational center" for patients who have already completed a 30-day stay at the company's Destin facility, said Barnett Gilmer, spokesman for Narconon.
As of now, Narconon has no plans for any more expansion, Gilmer said.
"We're pretty much in a holding pattern," he said.
Mr. Cruise, in short, has never had a pulpit like this, and judging by the efforts of his church to remove the video from YouTube and other online video sites, neither does he seek one. The video was apparently meant for Scientologists only, though a call to the church's press office was not returned.
Undeterred by legal troubles, several sites have re-posted the video anyway, including The New York Post and Gawker, which vowed to stand its ground. "It's newsworthy," Nick Denton wrote. "And we will not be removing it."
2008-01-15, Edmund Tadros, Books, Sydney Morning Herald
Pan Macmillan will not print a local edition of the book Tom Cruise, An Unauthorised Biography in Australia due to legal concerns, a move that has been labelled an act of censorship.
But the book, which alleges that Scientology played a major role in the breakdown of the marriage between Hollywood superstar Cruise and Nicole Kidman, will still be imported for sale at independent bookshops.
Today TonightAustralia reports on Andrew Morton's book not being carried by the two largest book retailers in Australia. Problem is, the retailers said they wouldnt stock the book through fear of litigation at first. Now it seems as though another excuse was given by Dymocks. The Andrew Morton book is available in Australia and people are going to buy it. Tom Cruise is included in the report and shows a little of what all you "wogs" ("common ordinary run-of-the-mill garden-variety
2008-01-15, Roger Friedman, Celebrity Gossip, FOX News
In the videos, Cruise expresses his disgust for psychiatrists -- vowing to "crush" them with "no mercy" -- spews Scientology lingo and addresses the group's dead founder, L. Ron Hubbard, as if he were still alive. Hubbard died in 1986.
Cruise, who does not have a college degree, is also described in the videos by a voice-over narrator as a NASA spokesman and an expert on illiteracy.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ A judge has ruled that a lawsuit filed against the Church of Scientology over the death of a member can go to trial.
The cause and manner of Scientologist Lisa McPherson's death in 1995 "is legitimately an issue that needs to be decided by a jury," Judge Susan Schaeffer said Monday.
But the judge said she found no proof to support the McPherson estate's allegation that the church's worldwide leader, David Miscavige, decided to let McPherson die.
Blowhard producer-director Bobby Bowfinger (Martin) needs Ramsey to headline his make-or-break Z-grader Chubby Rain. Without a chance of him signing on, Bowfinger films the star covertly and uses Jiff as a stand-in.
When the rest of Chubby's cast start confronting Ramsey on the street with lines about aliens, it cracks his fragile mental state a little more and sends him running for extra sessions at his self-help guru's MindHead, a broad though frequently hilarious parody of Hollywood's flirtation with scientology, with Terence Stamp as its high priest.
(Use journal template)
Scientology leaders today try to dismiss the church's "bad-boy behavior" as something done without Hubbard's knowledge by rogue Scientologists, and as a thing of the past. It was Hubbard, however, who wrote the policies on which Scientologists, past and present, base their behavior and activities. Regarded as "Scripture," these policies are still in force and continue to perpetuate and govern Scientology's heinous and terroristic activities.
The following is a partial list of these totalistic mandatory policies or "doctrines" of Scientology (all emphasis is in originals except where noted):
1997-01-15, John Schmid, International Herald Tribune
FRANKFURT: Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democratic Party on Tuesday issued an indignant response to a group of prominent American entertainment industry figures who compared Germany's assaults on Jews under Hitler to its current stance toward Scientologists.
"The historical parallels in your letter are absurd," Johannes Gerster, a member of Mr. Kohl's conservative party, wrote to the 34 Americans who signed an "open letter" to Mr. Kohl last week that charged: "In the 1930s, it was the Jews. Today, it is the Scientologists."
A woman who was a member of the Church of Scientology for seven years and who has now filed a $200 million class action suit against the church, said of her experience that 'it was a whole menagerie of lies.'
Lavenda Van Schaick, a 29-year-old native of Texas who joined the church in Las Vegas, recited a list of experiences that her attorney, Michael Flynn, said, can only be described as 'Orweilian,' referring to George Orwell's depiction of a future society in the novel "1984" in which suspicion and paranoia are fostered by the state and in which words are used to conceal rather than to reveal.