USC is incompetently managed to say the least. No one in charge seems to know what is going on. Alternately, USC bosses know what's going on and choose to ignore it or cover it up.A case in point: USC is paying out $215 million in a settlement to the victims of its former gynecologist and sexual predator Dr. Tyndall. From the Los Angeles Times story of February 19, 2019:
The settlement has come in for criticism from lawyers for more than 500 women suing the university in state court. They have said the deal is premature and paltry, and allows USC to avoid embarrassing public disclosures about administrators' bungling of decades of misconduct complaints against Tyndall...What USC administrators knew about the physician and when they knew it is the subject of an investigation by the federal Department of Education. The Los Angeles County district attorney's office has also convened a criminal grand jury to hear evidence about Tyndall. In addition, the state court lawyers are demanding the gynecologist's personnel file and other records as they gather evidence for their lawsuits....
USC's Dr. Cecil "Chip" Murray: Scientology Scam
2019-03-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I have often noted that L. Ron Hubbard knew nothing about the formation of the IAS. He did not as it was a scheme to avoid bringing money into the US and therefore outside the purview of the IRS. The IAS morphed into something completely different over the first few years of its existence, especially after the Commodore shuffled off his mortal coil to continue his OT research in parts unknown. While it is in direct contradiction to much of his policy, I suspect he would have enjoyed how much money it raked in and gotten behind it. But he didn't and we will never know for sure.
But how ironic it is to see the IAS plugging themselves in celebration of this, his 108th birthday (as they like to call it inside the bubble). Continuing to count someone's age and sing happy birthday to them after they have died is a bit morbid — but not to scientologists who think this is perfectly normal even though they profess a belief that thetans are timeless, ageless beings and bodies are merely temporary vessels that allow the thetan to manifest itself in the physical universe.
Of course, Hubbard can no longer manifest himself — it would be nice if he would show up for a birthday celebration or give some sort of sign to let the faithful know he didn't just die and abandon them.
NEW: The new superseding indictment hit the court file the same day Nancy Salzman pled guilty, and we have it here.
Some additional very interesting documents have been unsealed in the Nxivm case even as one of its chief defendants, Nancy Salzman, pled guilty today in a Brooklyn court to a count of racketeering.
First, let's take a look at what the press is saying about Salzman's appearance in court today…
It's the holiest day on the Scientology calendar again, L. Ron Hubbard's birthday! Ron is 108 today, wherever he is, and so we're sending our annual birthday wishes to the Great Thetan while he's researching OT levels off at Target Two.
The Church of Scientology celebrated Ron's latest milestone last Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida, which will continue to be the site for the annual party, at least until L. Ron Hubbard Hall is completed at the Flag Land Base in a couple of years.
But even though they've already had the big party, you won't see any indication that it's Ron's birthday until after this Saturday, the 16th. That's when video of last week's event will be shown in Scientology's other facilities around the world.
Nxivm watchers have been anticipating this for some time, and today the new superseding indictment landed and we have a copy. One of the biggest changes from the previous indictment is that Nancy Salzman has been removed as a defendant now that she's pled guilty.
But there are other changes, namely the addition of charges against Nxivm leader Keith Raniere for sexual exploitation of a child and child pornography.
Here are the new counts, as spelled out in the indictment…
David Miscavige, leader of the Church of Scientology and boon companion to Tom Cruise, has a deep, honeyed voice, a kindly smile, and penetrating sky-blue eyes that go together well with his expensively tailored blue-serge suit and muted gray tie.
And although he is quite compact—an impression made unavoidable by the many photographs of the blond-pompadoured Miscavige grinning and standing an inch or two shorter than his already-diminutive movie-star pal—he radiates Alpha maleness, a comfort with power and, one has to admit, a certain charismatic charm.
"We're not here to preach to you, or to convince you, or to convert you," the 57-year-old Miscavige—whose formal title is Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center—declared as he introduced Monday night's launch of the Scientology Network. The premiere of the round-the-clock television channel starting at 8 p.m. was carried on DirecTV to some 20 million subscribers as well as on a variety of web platforms and apps.
2018-03-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Scientology is desperate.
And the most desperate of them all is the Freewinds. Trying anything to get people to the home of OT VIII, whether they are ready for OT VIII or not. One of those only comes along every few weeks, hardly enough to keep 200 SO members busy, so they have to come up with other ideas to get people to come to the Freewinds to hand over their money.
And what better idea could there be than an "Ebony Awakening" convention? Scientology is notoriously white.
In the weeks after Donald Trump was elected president, Americans flocked to the internet with pressing questions. Some inquired about immigration to Canada. Others Googled "sanctuary city." A few wanted to know what a "manafort" was. And millions were newly curious about the Electoral College, which for the second time in recent memory was going to contravene the will of the majority. What was it? Why was it? Could electors defy their voters' wishes?
People turned to the New York Times and the Washington Post, Fox News, and even the Constitution for answers. But few sources were as widely consulted as "Do You Understand the Electoral College?" a five-minute video hosted by retired lawyer and television pundit Tara Ross. Her genial lecture, illustrated with colorful cartoons and pop-up text—"pure democracies do not work"—can be found at Prager University, an online video portal curated by the conservative talk-radio host Dennis Prager. The Electoral College video had about 850,000 views before the election, says Allen Estrin, Prager's producer and consigliere. "Two weeks later, it had 50 million."
The intellectual quality of Ross' video is decidedly junior varsity. She doesn't mention how the Electoral College was born of a compromise with slave states or note the degree to which it skews the will of the majority—for example, by effectively giving a Wyoming resident's vote almost quadruple the power of a Californian's. She also claims (bizarrely) that the Electoral College thwarts voter fraud. But never mind any of that. The video is short and memorable, with quick cuts, zippy graphics, and cool sound effects. It sucks you in.
2018-03-13, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
With Scientology TV now arrived, here is my short review of their debut and the content Scientology is putting out about itself. I discuss the validity of the content and Scientology overall and what the real purpose of this channel is and who it's for. I'm posting this early this week because of the timely nature of the content and I'll be on the road this week.
With Scientology TV now arrived, here is my short review of their debut and the content Scientology is putting out about itself. I discuss the validity of the content and Scientology overall and what the real purpose of this channel is and who it's for.
Link to earlier video on Scn TV: https://youtu.be/6FXkStJ5lFU
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We've seen a lot of video of Scientology leader David Miscavige over the years. We've lost track of how many Scientology events we've watched him address.
So we can tell you from experience that the David Miscavige who kicked off last night's premiere of Scientology TV played things a lot cooler than we usually see him. He was more measured, and did his best to sound reasonable as he described the new network and its new shows.
"We're not here to preach to you, to convince you or to convert you," he said. "No, we simply want to show you, because after all the first principle of Scientology is that it's only true if it is true to you. So, take a look and then decide for yourself."
Mellon then states that "nobody wants to be 'the alien guy' in the national security bureaucracy" because those types of people are often "ridiculed or side-lined for drawing attention to the issue."
On Friday, new UFO footage was released by TTSA, a private scientific research group that is currently run by Dr. Hal Puthoff, a NASA and U.S. Department of Defense adviser and James Semivan, a former CIA officer.
The previously undisclosed authentic clip is of a 2015 Navy encounter off the U.S. East Coast. It shows footage of a "high-speed flight of an unidentified aircraft at low altitude".
2017-03-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
A couple of recent articles in the Tampa Bay Times: Scientology leader to visit Clearwater officials a week before vote on property purchase and Dynamic of City Council meetings with Scientology leader a rarity, and an analysis of the property situation in Clearwater yesterday on Tony Ortega's blog make for interesting reading.
I cannot help but draw parallels between what is happening with downtown Clearwater and David Miscavige's history as the supreme leader of scientology.
Miscavige has long prided himself in his ability to "get things done" that others believed impossible. He began building his mystique when he removed all competitors to his dictatorship after the untimely death of L. Ron Hubbard. Though he was NOT the anointed successor to Hubbard, he assumed power and ruthlessly got rid of anyone he saw as a potential threat to his throne. He then cemented his undisputed position with the 1993IRS ruling that scientology is tax exempt and money given to its organizations is deductible as a charitable donation despite a US Supreme Court ruling to the contrary. In the wake of Lisa McPherson's death he moved to Clearwater to direct the defense of scientology against charges brought by the States Attorney. Miscavige personally met with Bernie McCabe and the lawyer for County Medical Examiner Joan Wood and successfully convinced them to drop the criminal charges against the church. At that time, he wooed City Attorney Pam Aiken and City Manager Mike Roberto (who resigned amidst scandal in mid 2000, replaced by Bill Horne who became the new pet target of Miscavige's affections). He plays the long game, and in person can be charming and solicitous. But only as long as he thinks you are moving in accordance with his plans.
(Danny Masterson and Sam Elliott in a scene from The Ranch, season one)
Today happens not only to be Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's 106th birthday, it's also a big day for Scientologist and That '70s Show actor Danny Masterson, who turns 41 today and we didn't want to miss the occasion.
You may already know that the Underground Bunker broke the news on March 3 that Masterson is being investigated by the Los AngelesPolice Department in three cases of rape or sodomy of women who were also members of the Church of Scientology. We want to stress that Masterson has not been charged with a crime, and he put out a statement denying any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, in a Feb. 22 letter to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, the person we're calling Victim A complained that the investigation has been plagued with mistakes and inaction caused, she believes, by the LAPD's relationship with the Church of Scientology.
CLEARWATER — The City Council's vote scheduled for Thursday on whether to buy a 1.4-acre downtown lot coveted by the Church of Scientology has been delayed a month because it wasn't properly advertised.
In June, someone submitted a public records request asking for two appraisals the city ordered on the Clearwater Marine Aquarium-owned property on the corner of Pierce Street and Osceola Avenue across the street from City Hall.
The city declined to release the records, citing an exemption in state law allowing municipalities to keep appraisals of property they're pursuing secret until a contract is considered by the council.
2016-03-13, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The show where I answer questions left in the comments section of my Q&A videos or sent by email to AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I take up are:
(1) One thing I've got on my mind is the As-Isness, exact duplicate, no two things can occupy the same time place basis of getting rid of mass in the mind. Can you explain this?
(2) I have heard and read a lot about the RPF, but I am still not fully clear about it. Yes, people are made to run, not talk to anyone, work very hard, eat scraps, sleep on the floor, a guard is at the locked door and there are bars on the windows. It is like a bad prison, with heavy work program during the day. But can a person, if they make up their mind, simply say: I am not going to oblige and I demand that I be let out? The church maintains it is voluntary, and it seems to me that there is some truth to that in the sense that people do not refuse to go to the RPF and believe they need to do it, for their own good. I understand that they are brainwashed, but I want to assume that someone is not (or have come to their senses) and demands to be let out. What will the church do in that instance? Will they use physical force to keep someone locked? Will they threaten use of physical force?
Today is the holiest day of the Scientology year, when the party-happy organization celebrates March 13, 1911, the date L. Ron Hubbard emerged into the known world to begin a life more adventurous than the lives of a dozen other men. He deigned to spend a little over 74 years in his Nebraska-sourced meat body before jettisoning it voluntarily on January 24, 1986. It was just one of countless lifetimes that the Great Thetan would spend in his eternity game. Can you handle the truth of your quadrillion years of existence? Dare any being contemplate the true nature of existence except for Ron?
Last night, the annual Birthday Event was held in Clearwater, Florida, and for several days Scientologists like John Travolta have been arriving, as this photo from a couple of days ago attests. On Sundays, Rod Keller gives us his weekly Scientology Social Media Review, and he has another fine collection for us again. Rod goes way back, having kept a meticulous eye on the church since 1992. He's well known for his indispensable "ARS Week in Review," which ran for nine years when ARS — the Usenet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology — was the most important daily source for Scientology news. More recently, Rod has made a specialty of hunting down the odd and wonderful things Scientologists post to social media, and this is what he found for us this week…
We'll start with just a few photos that capture the scene last night in Clearwater...
3/12/16 - A couple of protesters announced they would be picketing at Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Fl as the big annual L. Ron Hubbard birthday bash was being held. Alex Hageli has been fighting a 16-year-old injunction Scientology has been using to stop all protests and he has been winning the fight.
2016-03-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
"Amendment 1: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Scientology is fast to claim protection under the First Amendment to the US Constitution — when it serves their purpose. Either to avoid responsibility for their actions or to try and claim some PR points as "champions of human rights." (See Freedom magazine as Exhibit 1)
Yet they are not so quick to announce their support of others' First Amendment rights if it does not forward their objectives. In fact, they will do everything in their power to prevent anyone speaking that they don't agree with. There is a great deal of evidence to support this fact, but let's just consider the recent events surrounding Phil and Willie Jones.
Federal judge James D. Whittemore ended the Luis and Rocio Garcia fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology today by finding that Scientology can enforce contracts signed by the Garcias which require them to take their disputes to the church's internal arbitration.
Whittemore made that decision while acknowledging that never, in the more than 60-year history of Scientology, had there ever been an arbitration, and that testimony indicated that there were no actual procedures set up for handling such a procedure.
Once again, Scientology's powerful First Amendment protections as a "church" came into play as Whittemore said his hands were tied as far as considering the Garcias' contention that they could never get a fair arbitration from Scientology, which requires that such a dispute be heard by a three-person panel made up of Scientologists in good standing.
Hey, it's the Commodore's 104th birthday! And what better way to celebrate the Great OT's March 13, 1911 birth in Tilden, Nebraska than to welcome the theatrical release of Alex Gibney's documentary about Scientology, Going Clear, which opens today in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.
Speaking of the film's release, let's get this out of the way first, because we're getting a lot of questions that suggest some people are really confused about this movie and how they get to see it.
First, this 2-hour documentary was produced by HBO, and it is getting a short theatrical release so it can qualify for next year's Academy Awards. So that's why it's playing only a week (maybe two, if enough people go this weekend) in Los Angeles (at the Hollywood Arclight), San Francisco (at The Presidio), and New York (at the Francesca Beale Theater at Lincoln Center). No, it won't be coming to a theater near you in Chicago, or Charlotte, or St. Louis or all the other places that people have been emailing us.
2015-03-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
In celebration of LRH's birthday, here is something to celebrate. The clearest expression of the future for all scientologists.
There is no end in sight. Fundraising will continue until there isn't a single person left with a dollar or asset to their name who is still "with the program." It will be a collection of bone dry skeletons, bled dry and discarded like used kleenexes. As each person realizes they have nothing left to give or that this is in fact a game where nobody wins, they will fall away and then distance themselves completely from the insatiable maw that is corporate scientology.
Drew and Maria Robb were long time SO Members. Like many others (David Wilson springs immediately to mind) they have jumped on board the "ideal org" bandwagon to try and curry favor and erase the stigma of being "ex-SO" by handing over money and getting others to do so. But though they get smiles and glad handing when they turn over their cash, the sneers behind their backs from Miscavige and Co never go away. And when the cash dries up so do the pretensions that they are anything beyond pond scum.
Pouw's response letter wholly dismisses the questions that THR posed to the Church: "The false allegations in Gibney's film are reflected in each of the questions you ask," Pouw writes. "Those questions bear no relationship to L. Ron Hubbard or to the Scientology religion. Rather than provide a response to each of these questions, which are part of Gibney's propaganda, I am going to take up the sources of these allegations so you understand their motivations to spread hatred, religious bigotry and lies. We are not trying to discredit these people. It is simply that Mr. Gibney is miscrediting them."
In her letter, Pouw then refers THR to a series of videos the Church published about Alex Gibney and the former Scientology members who appear in his film, including Spanky Taylor, Sara Goldberg, Hana Whitfield, Marty Rathbun, Mike Rinder and Marc Headley. The videos are titled as follows: "Mike Rinder: The Wife Beater," "Marty Rathbun: A Violent Psychopath," "Marc Headley: The Soulless Sellout," "Hana Whitfield: Can You Spare a Billion?" "Sara Goldberg: The Home Wrecker" and "'Spanky' Taylor: The Drama Queen."
A year after Hubbard died in 1986, the best book ever written about him was published by a British journalist named Russell Miller. Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard was immediately sued by the Church of Scientology all over the English-speaking part of the world, but only in the United States was the church successful at shutting it down, and only a small number of copies have been available here. But now, Miller's book is getting new life as Humfrey Hunter's Silvertail Books (the same UK publisher who put out John Sweeney's book Church of Fear) is releasing Bare-Faced Messiah in hardback and as an e-book. Copies started arriving this week, and so we had a conversation with Miller about his book's struggles, the harassment he went through personally, and what he thought of The Master.
2014-03-13, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Russell Miller's book is finally going to be published in the U.S. apparently. An interview with Miller was posted on Tony Ortega's blog this morning. I read the book last year. I actually thought I had read it back in the eighties when it was published. After all, I helped direct and coordinate the abusive litigation tactics that drove his U.S. publisher into dropping the project. When I read the book, I recognized that in fact I had never read it all those years back. It was lingering cult delusion that made me think I had. In the eighties I had only read summaries and 'dead agent' packs compiled by Office of Special Affairs. Even in the past couple years I have referred to Miller as a propagandist; that was before actually having read the book. What I found remarkable about the thorough read I did was how balanced and even-handed Miller was about L. Ron Hubbard. It is not a wholesale condemnation. While I don't attest to the accuracy of all his facts, for the most part the book covers a lot of irrefutable history pretty accurately.
2014-03-13, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Delusion within the fundamentalist church of scientology is the order of the day. Usually the stories of the astonishing power of scientologists to shape world events is talked about on the "grapevine" or maybe mentioned on Facebook or in personal emails. But here is a communication from the most senior scientology official in Europe, feeding fiction to the sheeple as you must believe it fact.
At least Walter Kotric has an excuse for his horrendous spelling and grammar. Though if he is going to send messages out in english he should get an english speaker to edit and proofread them before doing so.
Amazing how these sort of things become legendary "truths."
The Church of Scientology has hired Olympic swimmer Scott Miller as a recruiter for a drug rehabilitation centre where the methamphetamine user 'dried out' on a controversial intensive sauna and vitamin therapy.
The gold medal winner, more recently well-known as an 'ice' addict, has been training at the secluded Narconon Drug Treatment Centre in the Yarra Ranges, east of Melbourne.
In 2005David Miscavige raised his level of sadism and torture on staff members. He demanded $10 million dollars a day in Scientology book sales, books already in possession of Scientologist who were expected to purchase for $3000, a newer set. Punishments for not meeting quotas doled out sleep deprivation and humiliating cleaning assignments.
Huge amounts of these books ended up for a pittance on Ebay or Amazon or in garage sales on tables for $1 each.
Chris Shelton reveals some insights of what happened within the ecclesiastical "Sea Organization".
Hip, Hip, Hooray! Today is March 13, which every Scientologist considers the most important day of the year. It was on this day in 1911 that Lafayette Ronald Hubbard emerged into the world with plenty of prenatal engrams and a burning desire to change the world.
The Church of Scientology always puts on a great bash for LRH, and this year, for scheduling reasons, official celebrations won't be held in Clearwater, Florida and Los Angeles for several more days. (If you happen to be going, we'd love to get some eyewitness reports.) Even though those events are a few days away, we think we know what they're going to frost the cakes with this time around. Once again, church members have been told that Super Power is coming this year!
Which is, of course, what they were told last year, and the year before that.
They joined NXIVM hoping to secure an improved life. But when they left the organization, they found themselves entangled in the court system, bankrupt and in one case suicidal.
Some people who have defected from NXIVM have said the same leaders who preach humanitarianism are also master intimidators who will wring out opponents with years of litigation, use private investigators to bully and urge the government to pursue charges against those they believe have crossed them.
"They'll go to the ends of the earth to destroy you," Susan Dones, who once established a NXIVM training site in Washington state but broke away from the group in 2009, said in court last fall. She and her partner and former NXIVM trainer Kim Woolhouse were representing themselves against NXIVM's claims they had violated their confidentiality agreements with the organization.
2012-03-13, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
A fitting post for March 13th. Before L Ron Hubbard wrote LRH Executive Directive (ED) 339R he did some serious research. As many of you know the ED was all about the question of what LRH wanted for his birthday. He answered the question: big, booming Scientology organizations.
He formulated a game for Organizations to play with one another that would encourage them to expand from year to year to achieve that. Part of his research to make this game work included surveying staff across the world about what it was that they most wanted as a reward for achieving the target he had set for them. The answer was overwhelming: to make it up the Bridge to and through the OT Levels. And so, LRH ED 339R was anchored on that reward. It was THE incentive to get org staffs to go the extra mile to dedicate themselves wholeheartedly toward expanding their organizations. The sabotage of that reward was not minor. It was a betrayal that marked the beginning of the end of the LRH Birthday Game. Mike Reppen and his wife Betsy tell in some detail how that sabotage was achieved. Their story parallels what happened to virtually every org that achieved the target of the Birthday game in the 80's and 90's. If you wonder about Miscavige's motives for carrying out this sabotage look no further than HCOB 10 May 1982 OT Levels. - Marty
A-E Declaration: I have seen enough
2011-03-13, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
Interesting subject. One I've been meaning to write about for a while. A subject that I'm sure will elicit strong opinions.
The promise of OT Abilities was one which first attracted me to Scientology. I avidly read the "OT Phenomena" stories from OTs in Advance Magazine. Then in the 1970s, I became the Editor of Advance Magazine, and eagerly collected and published these stories. In some ways I was the perfect candidate for Editor – I was not yet OT myself and held an eager fascination for the subject. My sense of awe and anticipation translated itself into the magazine and helped to create a sense of mystery and wonder surrounding the OT Levels.
And the stories certainly were amazing. Stories about communicating over long distances through the mind (telepathy), remote viewing (extrasensory perception or clairvoyance), influencing matter, energy, space and time as a spirit (telekinesis or psychokinesis), supernatural healing, predicting future events (precognition), remembering past lives, dealing with ghosts and haunting, and more. Exciting, heady stuff. Exhilarating and empowering.
Today, March 13th, is L. Ron Hubbard's Birthday, and the "church" of Scientology uses it as a huge recruitment tool, as always, for either money or hustling people to join staff. This video goes over how it looked in 1950, 1969 and when things dramatically changed in 1982, and suggested reading about
L. Ron Hubbard. Here's a link about the timeline of Scientology, and suggested books: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline...
A Florida man is suing Narconon Southern California, saying a brief stint in its Newport Beach drug rehab house subjected him to sexual assault, unwanted medication and demeaning work..
Pablo Mendoza checked into the company's Balboa Peninsula triplex in September seeking help for cocaine addiction and found the oceanfront house to be "filthy" and filled with an "unbearable odor," according to the lawsuit filed against Narconon Southern California on March 6 in Miami-Dade County Court..
"He immediately wanted to leave and go back home to Miami, but the facility representatives refused his request to call his family to complain and request that he come back home," the lawsuit says. "He was prohibited from using the telephone.".
2009-03-13, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Wise Beard Man tipped us recently that KESQ, a local television station in Palm Springs, California, has put together a pretty terrific 5-part investigation of Scientology.
Why Palm Springs? Well, one of Scientology's stranger facilities is located in the California desert, well away from the prying eyes of big-town journalists. For years, the Hubbard cabal in Hemet, California has been able to push around local politicians and law enforcement, convincing them, for example, that protesters at the desert site should be jailed for things like random Usenet posts.
So it's encouraging that even out in the middle of nowhere, Scientology can't escape a thorough drubbing by an alert media.
On the birthday of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, church officials reported a bomb threat and had a bomb squad detonate a suspicious package outside their downtown building.
A security guard at the Life Improvement Center, 336 1st Avenue N., called police about 12:30 p.m. and reported finding a suitcase in an alley behind the building. He told police he had not seen the suitcase when he checked the alley earlier, according to a news release from the St. Petersburg Police Department.
Scientology officials were already on guard for suspicious packages, spokesman Pat Harney said, because the church has received several phone and Internet threats recently. Today's message implied that a bomb had been sent to one of the local Scientology buildings, he said.
The Church of Scientology was told again Thursday it could not have a court order restraining Anonymous protesters this weekend, largely because the church's foe is as elusive as thin air.
But in its zeal to identify those who threatened the church, Scientology misfired, according to one woman who says she got fingered just because she works at Starbucks, near the church's headquarters.
Tuesday's suit, a petition for an "injunction for protection against repeat violence," was denied Wednesday afternoon by Circuit Judge Linda Allan, who ruled the relevant Florida statute does not apply to corporations.
Just hours before Allan ruled, the church filed a separate, nearly identical lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order. The second suit seeks protection under a different Florida statute. No decision has been made on that suit.
2008-03-13, Abhi Raghunathan, St. Petersburg Times
Police are investigating a suspicious package found behind Scientology's downtown center today. Fourth Street between Central Avenue and 2nd Avenue N is blocked along with 1st Avenue N between 4th Street and 3rd Street. The building was evacuated.
The Church of Scientology tried to stop protesters from returning to the sidewalks outside its headquarters this week by filing a type of petition in court usually used by women in fear for their safety.
And in large part because of that approach, a Pinellas-Pasco circuit judge denied it late Wednesday afternoon.
"There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins," the 63-year-old soul singer and outspoken Scientologist said.
"South Park" co-creator Matt Stone responded sharply, saying, "This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology. ... He has no problem ... with our show making fun of Christians."
HOLLYWOOD, March 13 (UPI) -- Some say it was an amicable parting, others say not, but undisputed is that actor Tom Cruise has fired his publicist of the past 14 years, Pat Kingsley.
The New York Daily News Saturday said the split was triggered by Kingsley's counsel to Cruise to stop talking so much about his Scientologist beliefs.
Cruise's sister LeeAnne Devette, also a Scientologist, said the separation was friendly and that if Cruise does not talk about Scientology people say he's keeping it a mystery on purpose.
A High Court action for damages by a Dublin sports shop owner against the Church of Scientology has ended after out of court talks.
The case taken by Mary Johnston was expected to last until May. However, Mr Justice Peart was told at lunchtime today that the case appeared to be settled.
No details of the settlement were disclosed but costs in the action are estimated to be around €2 million.
CALL THEM THE O.J. ALL-STAR TALK TEAM—THE CAcophony of cops and lawyers, Marcia Clark fashion critics and DNA experts who provide nonstop commentary on every sneeze. In the midst of this media madness, CNN's Greta Van Susteren, a 40-year-old Washington attorney and an adjunct law professor at Georgetown University, stays true to her own winning gimmick: she talks straight and lets the facts fall where they may.
Van Susteren will not, for example, use a word like "sequestration." Instead, she says, "I talk about cooping people up in hotels." And we are not, as she says, watching the Trial of the Century but "a run-of-the-mill murder case—with a defendant whose name we recognize." Her husband (and law partner), John Coale, 48, says that, "with Greta, what you see is what you get. People genuinely like her."
With CNN's ratings skyrocketing (an estimated 15 million viewers tune in daily to its trial coverage), Van Susteren's bosses certainly are pleased. "Greta is a wonderful teacher," says CNN senior vice president Gail Evans, who chose Van Susteren to do analysis for the 1991 William Kennedy Smith rape trial. Evans compiled a list of top women lawyers, called Van Susteren and never called the rest. "I said, 'This is what we're looking for.' People may have a love-hate relationship with lawyers, but they want to understand the law themselves. Greta is candid. She isn't afraid to say what she thinks."
Who is Helga Wagner?
People have been wondering ever since a Washington Post story on May 18, 1978, which said that her name had been linked with Sen. Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy's in documents seized by federal agents in raids on the Church of Scientology offices here and in Los Angeles.
There was nothing in court records at that time to say who she was, or where she lived, or what her connection was to Kennedy.