2018-03-25, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions from the comments sections of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) Due to the international nature of the Church of Scientology, how does the Church maintain control over the non-American sections? Surely they can maintain less control over these sections? Does this translate into a situation where the authoritarian control and human rights abuses are less severe for those Scientologists who are based outside of the US?
(2) Hearing about the latest Kirstie Alley tweet I thought she was quoted as saying that Scientology saved her life, that she was addicted to drugs. I thought Scientology shunned people who admitted to using drugs. Is this another example of Scientology bending their rules for celebs?
2018-03-25, John P. Capitalist, John P. Capitalist
I was first drawn to the Scientology critic movement as a result of my background in anti-money laundering, countering the financing of terrorism and the forensic analysis of financial crime. Having come across several Interpol reports that mentioned L. Ron Hubbard's money movements from his days on the Apollo, my interest was piqued as to the why and how of his intentions. The further I delved into the financial affairs of Scientology, the more I became convinced I was potentially dealing with a Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO) of significant proportions. While I've enjoyed investigating a variety of topics within Scientology, over the next few weeks I'll be returning to this premise.
I'll be looking at the historical perspective of money in the church in roughly three eras: the first era will address Hubbard's financial behavior up until the time of his final days; the second, David Miscavige's assumption of power and the 1982Mission Holder's shakedown, and third, money in the church under Miscavige following the Mission Holder shakedown up to the present day. Over the last several months, I've had the pleasure of speaking with several key figures in Scientology history who are intimately familiar with money management over the three eras I've mentioned. Further to these firsthand experiences, in recent weeks we've undertaken several investigations into some of the foundational writings of Scientology, as well as the link between conspiracy theory, Scientology and cults in general.
This doctrinal and psychological perspective has further shaped my understanding of the ideology, indeed the criminal mindset that underpins much of Scientology's financial dealings. Hubbard's writings contain his motivations for believing Scientology to be mankind's last hope and central to his thesis is that the ends will always justify the means. Paradoxically, while often stating that he, and therefore Scientology was the most ethical belief system on the planet, his motivations have always been criminal in many ways, especially when it comes to his views on authority, governments and the acquisition, movement and retention of money. Using Hubbard's own words, framed within the terms of a criminal investigation, we can then easily begin to establish the means, motive, and opportunity of how the Scientology TCO has operated over these 60 plus years.
Rod Keller continues to take apart David Miscavige's 'Ideal Org' strategy for us...
As expected, (San Fernando) Valley org won the annual Birthday Game contest this year. But the runners-up still get jockey trophies, as Denmark won for Europe and Melbourne won for ANZO. Only newly opened Ideal Orgs have won the overall title in recent years, and our money is on Dublin to win next year. Ireland's capital previously had only a small mission until money and staff poured in from around the world. Scientology seems determined to make Dublin a success.
Orlando and Perth were both pushing hard to complete their Ideal Org filing project by L. Ron Hubbard's birthday. Both missed the target, but should still open their Ideal Orgs this year. Orlando's filing is being done in Clearwater, and the grand opening is scheduled for late April.
2018-03-25, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is the second installment of the first draft of a novel written by our old friend Terra Cognita. For the next little while it is our Sunday Serial.
Terra welcomes all suggestions and feedback — this is draft — you can note them in the comments.
Time, Place, Form, and Event
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.
My Critical Picture channel: https://goo.gl/zzKx7p
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Yesterday we told you that we were looking forward to having a conversation with Jakub Stepniak, a Polish-born aspiring culture superstar who calls himself Kuba Ka, the 'God of Pop,' and who got on our radar when the Church of Scientology spent several months grooming him to be one of its vaunted celebrities.
On Tuesday, Kuba announced on Twitter that he was leaving the church just a week before he was scheduled to celebrate his birthday with an elaborate charity ball at Scientology's Hollywood Celebrity Center. We spoke with Kuba's business partner, actress Vikki Lizzi, who told us her attorney was preparing a lawsuit against the Celebrity Centre for backing out of the expensive event, and she filled us in on a lot of background on Kuba and his relationship to the church. We also found a serious Polish media interview with Kuba that helped us fill in some of his early years. (We hope you have at least reviewed yesterday's story — we think you'll get more mileage out of today's piece if you have some familiarity with the background we found on Kuba in yesterday's article.)
But what we really wanted was a conversation with the God of Pop himself, and last night we got it — two hours with Kuba Ka, his mother Tina Trozzo, as well as his business partners Vikki Lizzi and MJ Powers. Even his uncle, Danny Maghen, took part in our Skype session. (In fact, Uncle Danny was a hoot.)
2017-03-25, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Scientology and Reason – or Reasonableness
Another big Scientology catchword is "reasonableness." Loosely defined, reasonableness is the condition of being reasonable—which on the surface, seems like a good trait. To reason means to think logically; to form conclusions, judgments, or inferences from facts or premises; to conclude or infer. According to Random House, the word reasonable means, "in accord with reason or sound judgement; logical; capable of rational behavior, decision, etc."
LRH put his own spin on the word.
Tom Cruise is moving to Clearwater & David Miscavige (leader of Scientology) is trying to con the city into ceding the Church a valuable piece of prime downtown, waterfront real estate.
Additional reporting: http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/edito...
Video tour of Tom Cruise's 2-story penthouse condo under construction in downtown Clearwater:
Jonathan Little Another day, another threat letter.
On Wednesday, we shared with you the latest threat letter Karen de la Carriere received from Scientology attorney Bert Deixler. Today, we have a salvo from Los Angeles attorney William H. Forman, who represents some Narconon entities, complaining about a website operated by Jonathan Little.
We've told you about Little in the past. He's an attorney in Indianapolis handling several lawsuits against Narconon facilities. He's just one of several attorneys around the country handling cases involving Scientology's troubled drug rehab network, with no sign of its troubles subsiding soon.
A petition to President Barack Obama to replace the Church of Scientology on Guadalupe with a HEB has gone viral on social media.
Electrical and computer engineering freshman Abhishek Deb started the petition for a government class.
"The assignment was to create a petition that got at least 20 signatures, and write two paragraphs about it for class," Deb said. "I didn't expect it to go viral and get this many signatures."
Just four days to go now before the airing of Alex Gibney's documentary about Scientology, Going Clear, on HBO Sunday night at 8 pm. We have another screenshot from the movie for you, featuring former top Scientology executive Mark "Marty" Rathbun.
We noticed that some press stories about Going Clear criticized Gibney for not explaining that Rathbun was still a Scientologist and audited other people who had left the church. Manohla Dargis of the New York Times was one notable example.
But there's a good reason why Gibney didn't refer to that in the film, and that's because it's simply not true.
2015-03-25, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Alex Gibney's film, Going Clear, documents the horror of disconnection and how it is used as a control mechanism in scientology.
It is most dramatically demonstrated in his film with the story of Sara Goldberg. Her son Nick had a friend who was friends with me. Nick would not disconnect from his friend, so his mother was told to disconnect from her son. She was given an impossible choice — if she didn't disconnect from him, she would be declared an SP and her daughter would be forced to disconnect from her. This is not a "personal choice" (as the church so often proclaims). Sara has the documents to prove that she begged to not be put in this impossible position. She also has a copy of the uncaring, inhumane response she received from the church. (This story was originally covered by Joe Childs in a lengthy article in the Tampa Bay Times).
So, why is this the topic of today's post?
Many people don't think twice about what's in that bottle of water they just bought at the grocery store. The taste, compared to tap water, might be worth it.
But in a recent article in Desert Companion, one of those bottles was looked at a little more closely. On the back of the label of Real Water - a bottle sold in many grocery stores around town - it says in fine black print: "Source of water: Las Vegas Valley Water District."
Now, bottling tap water is nothing new. In fact, according to the Food & Water Watch, about 50 percent of all bottled tap water in the U.S. comes from municipal tap water sources. What is new, however, is Real Water's claim that "Beyond alkalinity ... Alkalized Water Infused With Negative Ions."
2015-03-25, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The most active ingredient in scientology is not of scientology. It was with us long before L. Ron Hubbard. It has evolved and will continue to long after scientology ceases to attract headlines. The seed of scientology's rise and fall is Hubbard's and scientology's manic efforts and extreme measures taken to bottle and own and sell it (reference 'Truth'). This point is fleshed out a bit more in the latest post at the The Underground Bunker.
It is discussed in greater detail with Larry Flick on the Morning Jolt on sirius xm. To listen to it do the following:
a. Go to the following link, Morning Jolt.
"The 'Net changed everything and from all accounts has had a major impact on membership," said Mark Bunker, a TV journalist and longtime anti-Scientology activist.
The Internet, of course.
Still, it's a bit more complicated than that, Kent said. "It's not just the Internet," he said. Much of the momentum in the anti-Scientology movement that has culminated in the new HBO documentary comes from ex-members of the church, he said. The Internet gave them a chance to meet each other and trade stories, creating an echo effect that amplified their voices. "Former members became emboldened enough to start speaking on the Internet" about abuses they had allegedly witnessed and, Kent said, that in turn led to more defections and more ex-members speaking out.
2014-03-25, John P. Capitalist, John P. Capitalist
Sea Org executives back in the good ol' (or at least more numerous) days. Why do their hats look just a bit too large for their heads, in yet another parallel to the North Korean military?
In a video posted Sunday on Tony Ortega's site, recently escaped Sea Org member Jillian Schlesinger talked about her time in the cult. Jillian related several data points that are of interest, including David Miscavige's claim that RTC is reaping $75 million per year in revenue from Flag in Clearwater.
Here, we look at a few of the things Jillian said, and we look at what this might mean for the cult. Throughout, I share some analytical techniques I'm using to evaluate some of the things Jillian said when they either confirm or contradict my current best guesses. These thoughts may help you to do a better job in your own analysis.
2014-03-25, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Reference: Awakening from scientology
Using scientology parlance, we begin by attempting to help people move above 'know about' on the 'know to mystery scale.' I have found plenty outside of scientology that explains and validates the sequence of Hubbard's scale; illuminating the reason for the relatively high position for 'not know.' Thus, the Tao Te Ching – a book Hubbard once credited as offering in application all that scientology could hope to attain through its psychotherapeutic methodologies and training – teaches:
The Master leads; by emptying people's minds
The Church of Scientology paid a private investigator to trail its high-ranking defector, it's been claimed in court documents, a man who has claimed he personally audited Tom Cruise and recorded the Hollywood megastar's private confessionals.
As part of a major harassment lawsuit filed by Marty Rathbun's wife against the church, Scientologist David Lubow, a noted Scientology sleuth, submitted a sworn affidavit in which he admitted he was paid for his services and to make a documentary about the activities of the former Inspector General, who left the church in 2004.
The letter stated: "There are various branches of foreign religious and charitable organizations within the territory of Russia whose activities do not formally violate the provisions of Russian legislation but quite often promote the growth of tension in society."
The letter grouped Jehovah's Witnesses with the Unification Church, the Church of Scientology, "various eastern faiths," and Satanism, referring to them collectively as "branches that frequently carry out activities that damage the moral, mental, and physical health of their members."
2014-03-25, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
My name is Sydney Osborne. I got in Scientology at the Denver Org in 1989 and was on staff as a sup and Director of Training from 1990-2002. I was on Mace-Kingsley Family Center staff (Scn field group) from 2004-2008 starting in Div 2, and later becoming the OES. I've posted on this blog a few times as XclassVStaff.
I've known and worked with a lot of wonderful people in Scientology.
The Church of Scientology continues to deny practicing disconnection, states there is no pressure from the church, and that it's voluntary on the part of its parishioners. I'd like to share my own recent experiences with this to illustrate the fallacy of this assertion.
2014-03-25, Matt Reynolds, Courthouse News Service
An attorney sued the Church of Scientology, claiming it cajoled him into paying nearly $200,000 for counseling services he never used.
Vance Woodward sued the Church of Scientology and half a dozen affiliates and dbas, in Superior Court, alleging conversion and breach of contract.
Woodward, filing pro se, claims that when he was a church member he handed over all his savings and used all his available credit for church services, fearing physical threats or expulsion.
After our last installment of the series in June, Vance said he was relocating from San Francisco to Los Angeles and wanted to refocus his life on his legal career - he even took his memoir off the market.
But now he's back with a vengeance after suing the church. We have the complaint below, and it's a doozy.
The last time we checked on Laura DeCrescenzo's forced-abortion lawsuit against Scientology, we learned that Judge Ronald Sohigian (who handed Laura such a decisive victory in October) had decided to retire. The case was assigned to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rafael A. Ongkeko, but Scientology filed a peremptory challenge, which automatically was granted.
It's a Cinderella story in the NCAA Men's Basketball national championship tournament as Florida Gulf Coast University has become the first 15-seed to make it to the Sweet Sixteen.
In our own tournament, SMERSH Madness, we've seen plenty of upsets and tight showdowns as one winner will emerge who will represent the Church of Scientology's biggest current nemesis. And now we begin to determine regional bracket champs who will compete in the Final Four. We've been enjoying the comments readers have left as they described how they voted and why. We know some of the matchups have been very tough, and they're only going to get tougher.
So let's see who has reached the bracket finals...
Five lawsuits against Narconon Arrowhead in Pittsburg County accuse counselors at the organization of trading drugs for sex and claim one patient's credit card was fraudulently charged for $14,500.
Narconon Arrowhead officials issued a statement saying the lawsuits filed Thursday are financially motivated and "have no foundation of truth." The organization said its purpose is to help people overcome addiction and to prevent young people from developing drug habits.
Narconon Arrowhead counselors allegedly traded drugs for sex and fraudulently charged a patient's credit card $14,500, according to allegations in five lawsuits filed last week against the facility. The suits were filed in Pittsburg County District Court against Narconon of Oklahoma, Narconon International, Association of Better Living and Education International on behalf of family members of former clients of Narconon Arrowhead. Also among the allegations, the suits say Narconon influenced a grandmother to take out a $7,000 loan to "save her grandson's life" and charged some $14,500 to a credit card obtained without the cardholder's knowledge.
2012-03-25, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Scientologists don't really have a Sunday service. They like to say that they do, because they crave mainstream acceptance. But unless Xenu rested after six days and L. Ron Hubbard just forgot to mention it, there's no reason for Scientologists to treat Sunday any differently than every other day of coursework, detoxes, fundraising, and generally clearing the planet.
So here at the Voice, we've come up with a Scientology Sunday tradition of our own, and we call it Sunday Funnies! Our sources regularly send us Scientology's wacky and tacky fundraising mailers, and each week we choose a few of them to gaze upon, hoping that it inspires you to wax eloquent in our comments section. So here we go...
Last week, we broke news of Scientology's exciting new way to soak its members -- Ron, the Encyclopedia! Yes, Britannica may have given up the ghost, but Scientologists will no doubt be shelling out $720 each for this amazing 16-volume set all about L. Ron Hubbard's life. And this week, we have the promotional video! Check it out...
2010-03-25, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
The Wrap The Wrap is reporting that Anderson Cooper will begin a four-day CNN special series Monday titled Scientology: A History of Violence.
This is becoming a drumbeat now, after the St. Pete Times's excellent series last year revealed that Scientology's diminutive leader, David Miscavige, allegedly gets slappy with his employees.
Now, unfortunately, the bigs are starting to weigh in -- New York Times, recently, and now Anderson Cooper -- with what is increasingly a misguided approach to Scientology.
Le gouvernement québécois pourrait imposer des amendes ou même faire fermer Narconon l'an prochain si le centre de désintoxication scientologue de Trois-Rivières continue d'offrir ses services sans la certification du ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS).
Harold Fortin, l'attaché de presse de la ministre déléguée aux Services sociaux, Lise Thériault, a indiqué mercredi qu'à la suite de l'enquête du Soleil sur Narconon, l'Agence de la santé et de services sociaux de la Mauricie avait joint le centre pour le sommer de se conformer aux exigences du MSSS.
2010-03-25, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
OSA has launched a rather corny "letter writing" campaign, urging Scientologists to pepper the "mucky-mucks" at CNN with "heartfelt" letters following a set script. Of course, no one has actually seen the program yet, but of course OSA "knows" what it's all about - "salacious reporting" and "gossip" from a bunch of "losers." How they already know all about the program before it even airs is a mystery answered best by their seniors and handlers. Here's the letter writing campaign:
Dear Friends and Family,
Anderson Cooper is doing an bullshit "expose" on our church. I have written the mucky-mucks at CNN a letter (see below). We must act on this. I urge you to write your own letter about this disgusting piece. In fact, here are the email addresses for you:
Two former employees who worked more than a decade at the Church of Scientology's Golden Era Productions enclave near Hemet have filed lawsuits alleging the church violated federal and state labor laws and engaged in human trafficking.
Church of Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis called the lawsuits "utterly meritless," noting that hundreds of staff would boast about working conditions at the nearly 700-acre compound in Gilman Hot Springs.
"Working conditions at Gold Base are nothing short of spectacular," Davis said.
The controversial group has been labeled secretive, inspirational, dangerous and misunderstood.
The Church of Scientology?
No, it's a mysterious group of masked men and computer hackers called Anonymous who say are committed to dismantling the powerful religious organization renowned for its celebrity members such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
SAN FRANCISCO, March 25 (UPI) -- The Church of Scientology is suing a former member for $10 million after the San Francisco man continued his critical barbs despite an agreement to stop.
The church has accused Gerry Armstrong of breaching an agreement that he could not talk about the Church of Scientology in public, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.
Armstrong joined the church in 1969 and became an insider. But he left the church in 1981 and later became one of Scientology's harshest critics. The church sued Armstrong in 1984 for allegedly stealing thousands of pages of private papers of the movement's founder, the late L. Ron Hubbard. A settlement required Armstrong to no longer make public criticism of Scientology.
NEWKIRK - Some Indian leaders are disappointed with the amount of revenue being generated by a drug and alcohol abuse treatment center that promised to pay five tribes millions of dollars over the next two decades.
As a result, the leaders of the Kaw and Pawnee tribes have asked the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to audit the Narconon Chilocco New Life Center to determine whether the non-Indian facility is meeting payment terms of a 25-year lease.
In 1989, Narconon Chilocco leaders said it would pay the five tribes of the Chilocco Development Authority $16 million during the next 25 years in return for leasing the old Chilocco Indian school for a 75-bed drug and alcohol abuse treatment center.