2019-02-20, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Many of you may have seen Aaron Smith-Levin's video posted on Tony Ortega's blog yesterday.
If you missed it, here it is again:
In response to the video a large number of people contacted The Foundation offering their assistance and making donations. The response was heart-warming and greatly appreciated.
Yesterday morning, the Underground Bunker lost one of its most loyal and longtime readers. A resident of Redlands, California, he was fighting a recurrence of cancer after twice surviving the disease. His name was Tony Ortega. He was 80 years old. And he was my dad.
The son of a musician, Tony took up guitar and formed a couple of different folk music groups in the early 1960s, writing hundreds of songs. One of his bandmates, Larry Ramos, became a singer for The Association, and a song written by Tony, "Like Always," appears on The Association's 1968 album Greatest Hits, the group's biggest-selling release. Tony also wrote songs that were recorded by the Fifth Dimension and other artists under the music company he had created in 1960 and called Sumex, for "Super Mexican."
He also worked as a sales manager and then general manager in the steel industry in California with companies like Ryerson, RJM, and Cascade. At one point in the 1990s, he was running two steel distribution plants in Southern and Northern California at the same time, shuttling back and forth several times a month.
2018-02-20, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I found the article fascinating (I have included the full text of it below) for a number of reasons.
First, EVERYONE in Clearwater knows exactly what the biggest problem facing Clearwater is. The downtown is dead. While neighboring Dunedin, Safety Harbor and even St. Petersburg are flourishing and prospering, Clearwater languishes in the empty storefront doldrums.
Yet Clearwater has greater potential for its downtown than any other city around — it sits on a bluff overlooking the Intracoastal waterway, it is home to one of the best beaches in the world and has a beautiful marina and a large park. What could possibly be wrong? Of course, it's also the international spiritual headquarters of an infamous cult. It's the single difference between Clearwater and the other flourishing cities that surround it. Scientology is the elephant in the room that isn't just sitting in the corner. It rampages around, squashing things in its sight and dropping large helpings of dung that stink the place up. People in Clearwater venture downtown with trepidation, if not fear, holding their noses and looking over their shoulders.
Historian Chris Owen has graced us with another terrific deep dive into one of Scientology's more curious artifacts. Today, he provides new insight on one of L. Ron Hubbard's greatest hoaxes. Tomorrow, he explains how Hubbard's prank took on a life of its own with this country's extreme right wing.
In the late summer of 1955, a curious booklet called "Brain-Washing: A Synthesis of the Russian Textbook of Psychopolitics" began circulating across the United States. Published with a foreword by a "Professor Charles Stickley," it claimed to be a transcript of an address given to "American students at the Lenin University" by Lavrenti Beria, the head of the Soviet Union's secret police. It portrayed Beria as describing how to use psychiatry and psychology to carry out a communist takeover of the West. The following year, the booklet became hugely more prominent when it became part of a campaign by far-right groups against a new mental health law in Alaska.
Versions of the booklet have been republished dozens of times since then by far-right groups and activists. It is still in print today. (The text of the original version can be seen here.) Many of those who have republished the booklet over the years would have been surprised to learn that it was a forgery by none other than L. Ron Hubbard and his Scientology organization, created to take revenge against the psychiatric profession for its hostility towards Scientology.
The Clearwater City Council will have a pivotal discussion this afternoon that could help determine the future of a downtown that has been waiting decades for a revival. Council members should agree to buy a prime piece of land adjacent to City Hall with an eye toward future redevelopment that could fit nicely with the latest revitalization plan. Or they can take a pass, let the Church of Scientology buy the land and allow the church to tighten its choke hold on the city.
It's important to take the long view. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium bought the 1.4-acre lot in 2012 as part of an ambitious plan to build a new home along the downtown bluff that would have been the long-sought signature attraction for a rejuvenated downtown. Voters demonstrated their faith by approving a referendum in 2013 to allow a long-term lease of the adjacent City Hall site to the aquarium. But the aquarium could not raise the millions it needed, abandoned the idea in 2015 and is ready to sell the vacant lot it no longer needs.
The aquarium, which is renovating its facilities on Island Estates, has done its part. It has given the city time to complete a new blueprint for downtown. For more than a year, it has held off the Church of Scientology, which has offered the aquarium more than $4 million for the property. Mayor George Cretekos said Monday he is inclined to have the city buy the property, and the other council members also should step up.
2017-02-20, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Many people wonder how people in this day and age are recruited into the Sea Org. If you have Google, I think the chances are that you might check it out before you sign a billion year contract for anything.
And that is part of the answer as to who the few are that join the SO today.
SO recruits come from two buckets:
Thanks to tipster "Communicator I/C" for alerting us last night that Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan not only brought up Scientology during his annual "Saviours' Day" keynote address yesterday afternoon, but he mentioned Leah Remini by name (well, almost), and seemed to question her motives for criticizing her former church.
For quite a few years, we've been keeping an eye on the odd relationship that's developed between Farrakhan's group and David Miscavige's Church of Scientology. As best we can tell, that relationship began around the year 2006, when Scientologist and Baptist minister the Rev. Alfreddie Johnson Jr. began bringing Farrakhan to HollywoodCelebrity Centre events. According to NOI's official publication The Final Call, Farrakhan began introducing Scientology concepts to his Nation of Islam followers on May 8, 2010. Farrakhan had come to the realization that L. Ron Hubbard (perhaps the whitest man who ever lived) had valuable "wisdom" for the black nationalist organization that Farrakhan has led since 1977.
Farrakhan asked his followers to study Hubbard's original text, the 1950 book Dianetics, which is known as "Book One" to Scientologists. We've seen photographs of large convention rooms filled with hundreds of NOI members doing "Book One auditing," which is the original form of counseling that Hubbard developed and does not use an E-meter. More than a thousand NOI members have been certified as Dianetics auditors, according to The Final Call. We've also seen an increasing number of Nation of Islam members doing actual Scientology, and progressing rather far up Scientology's "Bridge to Total Freedom." But at this point, we still don't see much convincing evidence of an actual merger between the two groups.
(Note: This article was first published at Tony Ortega's Underground Bunker)
On Wednesday, Tony Ortega wrote that a Tampa federal judge continues to uphold his ruling that a California couple, Louis and Rocio Garcia, must submit their allegations of fraud to Scientology's internal arbitration scheme — which doesn't, actually, exist. And part of their frustration, the Garcia's allege, is that every time they select a Scientologist they want to make an arbitrator in the Orwellian scheme, Scientology finds a way to declare that person "not in good standing." Even the judge admitted it was pretty impossible to figure out who is and who isn't in "good standing" in the church.
What is a Scientologist in good standing anyway?
2016-02-20, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Tom Cruise's brother in law, nominal "head" of "Criminon International" and IAS fundraising shill has poured his heart into his latest letter beseeching people to come hear him speak on behalf of the IAS (so he can collect his FSM commissions).
This letter is fascinating on many levels:
He starts out in Chicken Little mode: look how bad things are, everyone is against us and it is terrible. But with it comes the scientology twist: all this PROVES we are winning. The "hysteria of the SP's" - ie the constant stream of bad news that pours in the door — from media coverage to legal losses and government prosecutions — is just "our indication of win!" This sort of (il)logic may keep the sheeple believing things are copacetic, but it also keeps them thinking there is no need to change and they should carry on. And thus, they barrel ahead on a path of total self-destruction. But I must say, it is nice to see so much mention of their "detractors" and "SP's" and the "growing pains" - obviously it is being noticed that things are not going quite as smoothly as predicted.
(El Cinco Supremo: Dave Lubow, Steve Sloat, Ed Bryan, Monty Drake, and CSI)
As our experts predicted, Scientology's attorneys met their deadline yesterday and petitioned the Texas Supreme Court in an attempt to have an appellate decision reconsidered in Monique Rathbun's harassment lawsuit against the church, even after the case has been put into some question since Monique fired her own set of attorneys three weeks ago and is without counsel.
In the filing, which we have for you below, the Church of Scientology International (CSI) restates its version of the evidence in the case, making it sound as favorable as possible for itself while making the Rathbuns sound like calculating villains. But that doesn't really matter. The state supreme court is not there to re-litigate the facts of a case. So Scientology also presents arguments that it hopes will convince the court that there's an issue here worth its time. (A separate brief has been filed for CSI's fellow defendants, private investigators and other operatives who took part in the yearslong surveillance campaign aimed at Monique and her husband, former Scientology official Mark "Marty" Rathbun.)
Alex Gibney's highly anticipated new documentary "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief," is now slated for a March 29 HBO debut.
The documentary was one of the buzziest films from Sundance (it premiered before a packed house) and even prompted the Church of Scientology to take out a full-page ad in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times a week before its premier, claiming that the documentary was packed with lies.
Today, HBO has released an official trailer for the documentary which you can feast your eyes on in the meantime.
Psychology: The Stanford Prison Experiment - BBCDocumentary
The Stanford Prison Experiment, a dramatic simulation study of the psychology of imprisonment and one of the best known psychology experiments ever undertaken.Dr. Zimbardo takes us through the Stanford Prison Experiment, in which healthy college students are transformed into unstable prisoners and brutal prison guards within days by the power of the situation in which they found themselves.
In 1971, psychologist Philip Zimbardo and his colleagues set out to create an experiment that looked at the impact of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. Zimbardo, a former classmate of Stanley Milgram (who is best-known for his famous obedience experiment, was interested in expanding upon Milgram's research. He wanted to further investigate the the impact of situational variables on human behavior.
The Church of Scientology has launched a full-scale assault on a new HBO documentary about the controversial religious sect, specifically targeting its Oscar-winning director and claiming that his late father - an acclaimed journalist - published CIA propaganda.
In more than 200 tweets, the church has tried to discredit Alex Gibney and his sources in 'Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief', which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last month.
It has also issued a statement on the website of Freedom Magazine, its news publication, claiming the documentary is 'propaganda', 'one-sided', full of 'false information' and features 'vengeful' sources.
Jefferson Hawkins has put out another book about Scientology - and this one is based on the work he did here at the Underground Bunker in his series about Scientology's bizarre system of 'ethics.'
He's updated and added to the series and collected it all in an ebook which is available on Amazon. He also sent us the book's preface, and we're going to reproduce it here.
Jeff is one of the wisest people we've met from the world of Scientology, and we're fortunate to have his help here at the Bunker. We hope you take the time to consider downloading his book
2014-02-20, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Just for fun, I thought everyone might get a kick out of reading this.
It is the original write up put together by Sherry Murphy or Guillaume Lesevre or someone to hand out to the "OT VIII's" who attended the FreewindsMaiden Voyage Events (back when they were still held).
The idea was to give the public something that started to make THEM responsible. Miscavige complained often that he is the "only one" and that the staff and even public didnt contribute to accomplishing "command intention" so this was written and handed out and the newly invented "OT Ambassadors" were made to swear to uphold it (reciting it in unison).
The suit was filed last year by Monique Rathbun, wife of church dissident Marty Rathbun, who claims she was subjected to a four-year campaign of dirty tricks, surveillance and harassment overseen by Miscavige.
2014-02-20, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
But for the first and last paragraphs, included for the purpose of establishing context, the following is a new passage added to venture three of a course on graduating from Scientology.
The further Scientologists proceed in their study, the more they are precluded from comparing their learning to any other discipline. They are trained to treat any independent, evolved learning about the mind and spirit with disdain. The greater the degree of arrogant certainty with which the Scientologist identifies and authoritatively rejects incursion of data originated by someone other than Ron, is the degree to which an individual is considered valuable and is validated and promoted within the ranks of Scientology. There is no more important standard of credibility within Scientology than this.
I began the search that lead to this course by attempting to do what L. Ron Hubbard proclaimed Scientology sought to do. That is to reconcile science with spirit. Quite evidently somewhere along the line Scientology divorced itself entirely from science and became a full-fledged religious belief system. My journey gave me a much deeper appreciation for where and how that departure came about – some of which has already been summarized in books and blog essays.
Scott Pilutik Yesterday, we posted Scientology's petition for a writ of mandamus, as the church attempts to overturn the decision by Comal CountyJudge Dib Waldrip allowing Monique Rathbun to depose Scientology leader David Miscavige in her harassment lawsuit against the church.
We pointed out that the recitation of facts in the petition is very familiar to those of us who have been following along with Scientology's arguments since Monique filed her lawsuit in August. But we wanted to get more perspective on the legal argument that Scientology used in its petition, which was written by Wallace Jefferson, who recently left his position as chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court.
We turned to our legal adviser, Manhattan attorney Scott Pilutik, for some insights.
The leader of Scientology, David Miscavige, banished his devoted wife to a secretive base after she defied his orders and reshuffled his staff while he was out of town, sources have claimed.
The revelations come after actress and Scientologist Leah Remini sensationally filed a missing person's report last year, claiming that Shelly Miscavige had been missing since 2007.
Police later said they had spoken with Shelly - but questions remained about what had caused her sudden and lengthy disappearance from the public stage she had once confidently graced.
Now Vanity Fair has spoken with sources who have given new insights into David Miscavige's fiery temper, his wife's desire to appease him despite her own loneliness and her ultimate banishment.
Herb Richardson, helluva guy We want to thank Professor David Touretzky of Carnegie Mellon University, who sent us down this rabbit hole a few days ago.
He pointed us to a news item that has grabbed considerable attention in the academic world, although Gawker thinks it can't be any more boring.
Here's the thumbnail: An academic librarian at McMaster University in Ontario named David Askey is being sued for millions because in 2010, when he was still a tenured associate professor at Kansas State University, he wrote a blog post criticizing the quality of books put out by an academic publisher, Edwin Mellen Press.
Sen. Tom Ivester
Yesterday, Oklahoma's Senate voted 46-0 to approve a bill authored by Sen. Tom Ivester which will require drug rehab facilities to be licensed by the state mental health board.
Senate Bill 295 now goes to the House, and if it's approved there, will go to Oklahoma GovernorMary Fallin for signing.
2013-02-20, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
L. Ron Hubbard was a great observer and describer of phenomena. He once noted that the universe abhors a vacuum. He also noted that when confronted with a vacuum of data, people tend to invent data to fill it.
I have intentionally not shared a lot of personal information over the past several months; and I don't intend to start regularly doing so in the near future. However, I have observed that Ron's description of the information vacuum has apparently created a field day for those intent on reading tea leaves and those who harbor intentions inimical to my own. And that has apparently upset some folks. So, I am going to attempt to fill in the vacuum in the hopes it might set some people at ease.
Monique and I worked hard throughout 2011 to create some time for me to write some books that I believe will help Scientologists and former Scientologists heal and move on up a little higher with their lives. Things did not go as planned. 2012 presented some issues that I thought, right or wrong, deserved my attention.
Waving a marker, Keith Raniere drew a chart for the prospective sales force that sat before him in folding chairs. He sketched how his payment matrix could make salesmen for the Innovative Network wealthy if only they would apply themselves to building a sequence of customers and affiliates who would sell more memberships.
Gesturing vigorously, he asked his prospects to visualize a pile of ten million dollars.
"It's big. It's huge. You know the smell of new money makes your nostrils twitch like a bunny," he said. "Imagine the feel of the bills.... Get it firmly in your consciousness." He paused.
Keith Raniere, the founder of NXIVM, receives no pay for his leadership of the human potential school, according to testimony in federal court, so his income tax liability is a mystery.
But when it comes to compensation his followers collect, Raniere recommends against paying taxes, court testimony reveals.
In sworn depositions, Susan Dones, a former NXIVM trainer, and Barbara J. Bouchey, a former NXIVM executive board member, say Raniere advises his close associates to get off "the grid" and avoid paying Uncle Sam. His recommendations have force, they say, and suggests they have been heeded by some people close to Raniere, according to public records, though it is unclear why Raniere espouses this point of view.
2012-02-20, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Scientology watchers, we have a special treat for you this holiday Monday.
Recently, one of our readers who is a longtime former Scientologist mailed us a treasure trove: Copies of early Advance! magazines, a complete run from issue 11 in 1971 to issue 56 in 1979. (That's L. Ron Hubbard's photo of his daughter Diana gracing the cover of issue 12.)
This stuff is pure gold. Advance! is the publication of Scientology's "advanced orgs" where experienced church members pay for pricey "upper-level" teachings. As we've written before, one of the ways Scientology gets its members to fork over huge prices for auditing is to dangle the prospect of amazing superpowers. And one of our favorite things about Advance! (when we can get our hands on a copy) is the testimonials of high-level church members enticing new suckers -- er, aspiring OTs -- with tales of their abilities to affect the physical world with their minds!
2012-02-20, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
When Mike Rinder and I first read accounts of the absurd statement David Miscavige's local San Antonio counsel George Spencer read to the court on Friday 10 February during Miscavige's Santa Annaian surrender, we both independently noted tell-tale signs that it was authored by David Miscavige himself.
Now that the transcript from that day of proceedings is in, those suspicions are pretty much confirmed.
One of the indications that the words came right from the pen of Miscavige is the back handed slander and libel of L Ron Hubbard and Scientology it invokes.
2011-02-20, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
What do Sam Houston and Davy Crockett have to do with Independents Day 2011?
I happened to research these fellows during my history study days in 05-06; when we lived in Houston, Texas. That included accepted histories and alternate histories – including verbal histories, Black histories, Mexican histories and Native American histories.
Crockett and Houston were US Congressmen representing the state of Tennessee. (Houston later became Governor). Both left Tennessee for Texas when the reaction to their counter-cultural ideas got too thick. Both defied President Andrew Jackson's policy to renege on treaties with Native Americans.
2010-02-20, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
Robert F. Kennedy wrote: "What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents."
The evil acts that many people associate with religion are in fact the work of religious extremists, not the work of mainline or moderate religious people. Whether we are talking about the Spanish Inquisition or 9/11, it is the extremists who insist that the end justifies the means, and that end includes the destruction of those who do not believe as they do.
There is nothing wrong with religious faith. There is nothing wrong with holding strongly to one's beliefs. There is nothing wrong with having the conviction that one is on the right spiritual path.
CLEARWATER — Scientology. Taxes. Shutting down libraries. Drilling for underground water.
What do the candidates for Clearwater City Council think about these hot topics?
Six men are running for two council seats in the March 9 election, which is just a little more than two weeks away. They have fielded dozens of wide-ranging questions from the public at a series of candidate forums. It's all been leading up to a forum that will be televised live on the city's TV channel, C-VIEW, beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday
Hard to believe its been a year.
Brave anons in -15 F windchill...about 100 of the glorious bastards.
When their grandchildren ask "What did you do in the great struggle against the world's most sinister scam?", they won't have to answer: "I was shovelling shit in Louisiana." (to paraphrase George S. Patton)
What will YOU tell your grandchildren?
By the way, I know no one wants to be doing this next year,although we will if it is necessary. It is my belief that this struggle will be over with victory before the end of this year.
I subscribe to the aims of Scientology which are: "a civilisation without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights".
Lonsdale became a public nemesis of the church in 2006 when he began videotaping outside its downtown Clearwater offices, the church's spiritual headquarters. He often stood next to a sign that said, "Cult Watch. Now Filming!"
2004-02-20, Richard Danielson, St. Petersburg Times
The high-rise is planned for slightly less than an acre on Cleveland Street. Currently, the property consists mostly of a parking lot next to Station Square Park.
Ray Cassano, a downtown property owner and health food distributor, who also is prominent in local Scientology circles, is heading a group of local investors backing the project.
In an interview with The New York Times during the campaign, Mr. Bush was asked if, for example, he would approve of government financing for a Church of Scientology antidrug program. He answered: "I have a problem with the teachings of Scientology being viewed on the same par as Judaism or Christianity. That just happens to be a personal point of view. But I am interested in results. I am not focused on the process."
A lawsuit filed Wednesday alleges that the Church of Scientology is responsible for the death of Lisa McPherson, who died in 1995 while in the care of church members.
The lawsuit claims McPherson received Scientology treatments that "were carried out by medically untrained and unlicensed personnel."
The lawsuit was filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court by Tampa lawyer Ken Dandar, an attorney representing McPherson's estate. It promises to seek "substantial" punitive and compensatory damages against the church.
Scientology lawyerElliot Abelson said Wednesday: "This type of lawsuit, based on no facts, is an extortion attempt. It's only about money."
BONN - The city of Stuttgart said Wednesday it was taking measures to combat Scientology that will put it at the forefront of efforts in Germany to limit the influence of the organization.
All applicants for jobs in the city's public service will now have to give an assurance in writing that they are not members of the group, which says it is a religion but is not recognized as such in Germany, said city official Juergen Kiesl.
Sabine Weber, Scientology's spokeswoman in Germany, accused Stuttgart of "flagrantly abusing human rights by deciding whether or not to employ someone on the basis of the religion they belong to."
Mr. Justice Ted Matlow, in a decision rendered Monday in the Ontario Court of Justice, rejected the crown's request to keep 546 boxes of documents seized from church premises in 1983.
After a preliminary hearing that lasted 159 court days, Judge William Babe of the provincial division of the Ontario Court threw out the possession counts and committed the church to trial on six charges of theft over $200, one charge of theft under $200 and four counts of breach of trust.