Keith Raniere's attorney Marc Agnifilo filed an interesting objection to Judge Nicholas Garaufis today, asking him to change his mind about the anonymity of the jury that the court will begin selecting on Monday.
Judge Garaufis had decided that to protect the jurors in such a high-profile trial, he wanted their identities protected not only from the public and press before, during, and after the trial, but also from the parties themselves.
But Raniere argues that keeping the identities of the jurors anonymous to him and his fellow defendants will be a barrier to his right to a fair trial.
Once again, the L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future awards ceremony is upon us, and once again it provides a clear example of how Scientology manages to go year after year without a reckoning for its abuses.
We first wrote about the contest and its annual awards gala for the Voice back in 2012, providing for the first time a direct tie between the science fiction event and shocking abuses in the church itself. We demonstrated that one of the Scientology 'Sea Org' executives running the contest, Barbara Ruiz, was also, at the same time, running 'The Hole,' David Miscavige's notorious prison for his own executives at Scientology's secret Gold Base near Hemet, California.
Former inmates in The Hole distinctly remember Ruiz helping to order them around in 2004, also the last year she was seen running the contest. After that she vanished and we've never received any information about her whereabouts, and the church never responded to our inquiries about her. No other media seems to care.
There's a fun report at Big League Politics today thanks to Frank Parlato, who gave the politics site a document proving that New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's father, attorney Douglas Rutnik, was paid a $100,000 retainer by Nxivm, the group whose leaders are now facing sex slavery charges in a federal trial slated to start in a few weeks.
Parlato told the site that Rutnik was hired as a consultant but was fired and then sued by Nxivm. He provided a document showing that Rutnik was paid a $100,000 retainer.
"Her father Doug Rutnik came to work as a consultant for NXIVM…he was fired, they sued him, and they had to pay him $100,000," Parlato told the website. "Her father's wife, her stepmother, was also a member of NXIVM…Doug got her into the cult, Gillibrand's father got Gillibrand's future stepmother into the cult. Doug left the cult because he was sued. Clare Bronfman after her father was sued donated money to Gillibrand. Gillibrand accepted it." (The court document, however, states that Rutnik was paid a $100,000 retainer, and then was required to pay that amount to settle the lawsuit.)
2018-04-05, Jennifer Rubin, Opinion, Washington Post
> By Jennifer Rubin Jennifer Rubin Opinion writer reporting from a center-right perspective Email Bio Follow Opinion writer April 5, 2018 If Friday afternoons are the best time to shove off embattled advisers, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt might want to start clearing out his desk today. A new complication has arisen in his corner of Trumpland's ethical swamp. The Post reports:
Kevin Minoli, EPA's designated agency ethics official and principal deputy general counsel, had written in a March 30 memo that Pruitt's lease of a room in a Capitol Hill condo co-owned by health-care lobbyist Vicki Hart — for $50 a night, charged only when he stayed there — did not constitute a gift because that rate for 30 consecutive days would have equated to a monthly rent of $1,500. Minoli described that as "a reasonable market value."
But in a new memo, which was obtained by the Campaign Legal Center and first reported by CNN, Minoli emphasized that he only evaluated the terms of the lease and not activities the document did not cover.
Most Americans have never heard of the far-right neoconservative nonprofit that ran the ads. It has no employees and no volunteers, and it's run out of the offices of a Washington, D.C. law firm. More importantly, most voters never saw the ads.
And that was by design.
The group, a social welfare organization called Secure America Now, worked hand in hand with Facebook and Google to target their message at voters in swing states who were most likely to be receptive to them.
And new tax documents obtained by OpenSecrets show that the money fueling the group came mostly from just three donors, including the secretive multimillionaire donor Robert Mercer.
This video is the next in the Basics of Scientology series, breaking down the basic concepts and methods of Scientology using critical thinking to look at the pros and cons of each. In this video, I look at L. Ron Hubbard's ideas of logic and reason and how he said to go about doing investigations both in and outside of Scientology to discover the root causes of situations and handle them. I show how his system is wholly illogical and is really just an exercise in confirmation bias.
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2018-04-05, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
This video is the next in my ongoing series breaking down Scientology principles and concepts and showing how the fundamental assumptions and ideas underlying these principles don't hold up to critical thinking. In this video, we are going to take a quick and dirty look at a part of Scientology which doesn't receive a lot of attention, even by all Scientologists, but which determines many of the decisions and activities the Church of Scientology engages in, including its abusive harassment and targeting of Scientology critics. What we are going to be looking at is a collection of guidelines and methods Hubbard wrote to teach Scientologists his own brand of logic and reasoning. The actual body of written issues this is based on is called the Data Series. There will be more videos and podcasts in the near future on this subject which will go into a lot of detail about different aspects of this. The purpose of this video is just to give a short overview and commentary on what this is all about.
Over the years, Hubbard wrote or approved thousands of policies letters which direct Scientology organizations on how to run. Some of these issues were centered around the same subject matter, such as how to handle money and banking. These were collected together, put in order and numbered and then collectively referred to as the Finance Series. There is a Public Relations Series, Executive Series, Personnel Series and many others including the Data Series.
These policies focus on the subject of logic, how to do investigations and how to find the supposed causes of things so that non-optimum situations can be resolved or optimum situations can be reinforced and made even better. Sounds like a good idea, but like everything Hubbard touched, there are so many hidden twists and turns that if you try to use this information for real, you'll find yourself failing more often than succeeding.
2018-04-05, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
So much wrong here...
A Non-Sea Org member giving a seminar at AOLA on how to become cause over life — some way OTHER than doing the OT levels?
I thought these non-staff seminar people were supposed to be reaching out to NEW public?
Is Scientology TV taking requests? We have to admit that we enjoyed the network's show about its L. Ron Hubbard archives (a program that held back key information, of course, but was still pretty eye-opening) and we'd like to see a similarly revealing piece about another of Scientology's most nutty facilities...
We've had a healthy fascination for the Super Power Building in Clearwater since we leaked a full set of plans and schematics for it in 2012, while the seven-story behemoth was still unfinished. Costing something like $80 million to $90 million to build, the "Flag Building" as it was finally dubbed by the church had first and foremost been a fundraising engine since it was announced in the early 1990s: Scientology raised between $145 million (a Tampa Bay Times estimate) and $200 million (Mike Rinder's estimate) from its members before finally dedicating the building in November 2013.
2017-04-05, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
What happened to Clive Rabies?
Clive was the worldwide cheerleader of the "10,000 onto and through Solo NOTs" campaign. A target that has been around for more than 20 years and has STILL not been attained. Last time they reported they had not even cracked 7,000 — notwithstanding that of that number I would estimate HALF are no longer scientologists or are dead.
We havent heard much from Clive for a while and now he has surfaced with a new gig:
Two years ago, we told you that Scientology's drug rehab in Australia was in trouble, and now there's more evidence of it — the place is being sued for not paying its bills. And TV journalist Bryan Seymour tells us the timing couldn't be worse for Scientology as it prepares for another push to expand its drug rehab network in that country.
Tom Cowie at The Age revealed yesterday that the Narconon rehab in East Warburton, which calls itself "Get Off Drugs Naturally," is being sued for non-payment of $158,767.75 (US $120,200) by Australian K9 Detection Unit, which supplied sniffer dogs to the rural facility from 2013 to the middle of last year. The dogs were deployed each day from 6pm to midnight to prevent patients (called "students" in Narconon) from having drugs brought into the center.
Two years ago, we reported that Scientology had failed to convince the people of nearby Warburton to allow the rehab to move into town from its more remote current location, O'Shannassy Lodge, where it has operated since 2001. Local citizens had banded together and with a records request showing how often police were called to the lodge convinced the local council that it would be a bad idea to have that kind of police activity in a more populated area.
Guy and Sheila Fauteux had insult added to injury when they found out that the young woman who started a GoFundMe page to raise money to help defray the costs of their daughter Tabatha's funeral made off with the money instead.
Krystal Gentley, 26, of Nashua, New Hampshire, was arrested on Friday after Guy Fauteux says he asked GoFundMe about the money, about $5,000, and found that it had been withdrawn.
"She was Tabatha's good friend. She was at Tabby's life celebration, and she offered to set up the GoFundMe. Then she decided she needed the money more than we did," Guy told us last night.
A billboard telling Church of Scientology members to call their estranged loved ones has gone up in Echo Park. The sign takes aim at the Church's controversial policy of disconnection, but there's a sorrowful personal story behind it.
Las Vegas couple Phil and Willie Jones left the Church, but their grown children are still employees for the Church's Sea Org, which requires long hours, little pay and a billion year contract, according to The Underground Bunker. Because their parents left the Church and have become outspoken critics, they have been required to cut off all ties from their parents or in Church terminology "disconnect." The couple created a website discussing the policy.
From our friends at Buzzfeed:
A campaign spokesperson for Rep. David Jolly, a Republican Senate candidate in Florida, admitted to BuzzFeed News on Tuesday that the campaign has edited Jolly's Wikipedia page to remove unflattering information.
Sarah Bascom, Jolly's spokesperson, confirmed that the campaign removed references to Jolly's past career as a lobbyist, his association with the Church of Scientology, his support for same sex marriage, and political contributions he made to Democratic candidates. Bascom accused a unspecified rival campaign of adding what she described as "campaign propaganda" in the first place.
2016-04-05, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The news from Flag has not been good.
You may recall I did a post (Things At Flag Are Bleak) in January mentioning they had stopped circulating the "Good News" briefings. And that only happens when there is nothing even the eternally unreal FSC office can present as good news.
But I guess they must read the blog, because 3 days later, after nothing since November 2015, suddenly in my in box appeared a new (shortened) edition of "Flag Good News."
A mom and dad with two adult children in the Church of Scientology paid for a giant billboard posted in Echo Park in an effort to reach out to their son and daughter.
After decades, Willie and Phil Jones left the church and haven't spoken to their daughter Emily or their son Mike in two years.
They've been disconnected, which is what Scientologists call their choice to cut off communication with people outside the church. Mike and Emily Jones are Scientologists. Emily Jones works for the upper management of the church, her parents said.
Saturday Night Live has just done a magnificent parody of the Church of Scientology and its 1990's promotional video We Stand Tall.
What must the Church of Scientology think?
I can tell you what the Church thinks: L. Ron Hubbard had absolutely no sense of humor and hated what he called "Joking & Degrading." Hubbard formalized this into a policy outlawing Joking & Degrading (J&D) in the Church of Scientology.
2015-04-05, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Choosing a side and then obsessively resisting against another side causes one mental and spiritual dissonance. One doesn't get relief from one's dissonant self by changing sides and carrying on with resisting. Agreeing to resist and then resisting is the trap. Many a trap sells jazzed up forms of resistance. Inspection of the salesmen on either side of most dramatic conflicts shows close parallels to those whom they invite you to resist. Intuitive people can even perceive their similar exuded discordant wavelengths.
An easy mark for resistance recruiters is someone who has been deeply conditioned to resist. Such folk are sitting ducks for re-enslavement by entrainment. Resisting against that which you once resisted for appeals to the denialist mind looking for return to the seeming comfortably numb stasis of two-valued thought. It is the lazy, short-sighted condition experienced by those practicing denialism.
Both sides in denialist conflict depend upon one another for the continuation of their chosen crusade, in some cases even for their very identities. All the while what you consider of the other side is precisely what it considers of you. In the world of scientology this week while the post 'Scientology's Vortex of Hate' was current, a prominent scientologist twittered that those interviewed in the documentary Going Clear were akin to 'Nazis' talking about Jews. Meanwhile, one of those alleged 'nazis' publicly dropped the same 'N' word on scientology twice. Two-valued logic thinking prevails: black vs. white, right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, God vs. the devil, America vs. the Nazis.
A very happy Easter to our readers, whether you celebrate the holiday or not. In case you missed the excitement last night, Saturday Night Live aired a pitch-perfect parody of Scientology's 1990 video "We Stand Tall" which was featured prominently in Alex Gibney's documentary Going Clear.
Gibney's film aired on HBO Sunday night and has been repeating since then, but the amount of work that went into SNL's spoof suggests that this has been in the works for weeks — either since Going Clear's theatrical run began on March 13 or perhaps as far back as when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
There are so many amazing little Easter eggs in this thing, and we're doing our best to unpack it. But of course, we know our eagle-eyed readers are going to spot some things that we've missed. Here, give it a close look...
2015-04-05, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
It is a watershed day.
The single best measure of having hit the mainstream of societal relevance in the US is to be the subject of a skit on SNL.
Scientology has truly hit the big time. And not in a good way.
This week's "Saturday Night Live" managed to mock Scientology, the religion/cult/billion-dollar business recently humiliated by the documentary "Going Clear," without actually making very much up.
In a video about "Neurotology," a religion that is virtually indistinguishable from Scientology, the cast sings a horrible, amazing, drippingly '80s song about the benefits of Neurotology, complete with references to Dianetics and the flawless performance of Bobby Moynihan as an L. Ron Hubbard equivalent.
One of the many highlights of HBO's explosive Scientology documentary "Going Clear" — a "We Are the World"-style music video produced by the church in 1990 — is brilliantly skewered on "Saturday Night Live."
The sketch from Michael Keaton's episode focused on believers who had disappeared or been disconnected from their families for speaking out.
Saturday Night Live went for the jugular with its takedown of Scientology.
In a sketch from this weekend's Michael Keaton-hosted episode, the NBC series aired a fake advertisement for a religion called the Church of Neurotology, which was an obvious stand-in for founder L. Ron Hubbard's controversial faith. It appears that SNL opted to change the religion's name slightly for legal reasons.
One line from the jingle was, "The oldest religion, real and true, started in 1982."
In its most recent episode, Saturday Night Live put a darkly humorous, and musical, spin on many of the allegations laid out in HBO's much-discussed Scientology documentary, Going Clear.
The skit is an apparent riff on the real-life songs authored by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and it is presented as an annotated 1990 music video for the "Church of Neurotology." Cast members Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Kenan Thompson and others play various members, in assorted vintage clothing.
As members sing and smile, on-screen graphics pop-up with notes for many of them, such as "Chained to toilet as punishment" and "Hiding in desert as woman."
2014-04-05, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Seriously Jeff, you are getting excited about this?
21 Super Power Completions (and remember, this is the "surge" of people who paid for this over the past 20 years in order to be first in line). At 20 per week (providing it stays at this artificially inflated level) it will take a year to complete 1000 people. 12 years to complete everyone in the Tampa Bay area and 10,000 years to complete all the Scientologists on earth.
Oh, wait a minute, these are just your phony numbers because if they were real you could not be excited about that as its like being excited about having invested in a pea shooter to fight a nuclear war. But still, even if there are really 25,000 scientologists on earth, its still going to take until 2039 to get them through Super Power (but the good news here is that the number won't be getting any bigger...)
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and he's helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet.
Once again, Jon is taking on Scientology's most basic beliefs and putting them under a microscope. This week, he has some thoughts for us about how Scientologists internalize L. Ron Hubbard's toxic policies of Disconnection and Fair Game.
JON: And we'll do even better and start out with a quote from the Dalai Lama: "The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, forgiveness."
Every single Sea Org member from Senior Execs to Office of Special Affairs, to Security Guards to Canteen an Kitchen workers must spend two an half hours a day on the phone raking in $$$$, $3000 a pop from an exhausted tired public.
I know of some Scientologists who have changed their telephone number an even move Geographically to escape the money extortion.
Rice and beans 3 times day month in and month out is part of the punishments doled out for not making the quotas.
Listen to how City of Los Angeles building inspectors are fooled by
Sea Org members.
Join us as we watch NBC's Rock Center talk to two Scientology whistle blowers who are well known here in the Underground Bunker. The show begins at 10 pm Eastern.
Luke Catton and Eric Tenorio have not only come forward with damning allegations about the business practices that they saw while they each worked at multiple Scientology drug rehab facilities, but the former Narconon executives have also been releasing stunning documentation to back up their claims.
We'll be live-blogging through the evening, and we hope you join us — Catton and Tenorio both may drop by to take part — but we wanted to start things off in our pre-show with a sure sign that Catton's evidence is giving Scientology heartburn.
Spanky Taylor asked The Bunker to observe a special anniversary today.
She and another former Sea Org friend, author Ira Chaleff, sent us a brief remembrance of Diane Colletto, who would have turned 60 today.
For readers of Lawrence Wright's excellent book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief, you may remember Colletto's appearance. It's a short and sad tale. Diane Colletto was the editor of The Auditor and held other responsibilities in the church's publications division. Although she was only 25, she was going places. Until, that is, the night of August 19, 1978, when she was brutally murdered right outside Scientology's big headquarters in Los Angeles. But even today, nearly 35 years later, Colletto is still remembered fondly by those who knew her well.
The Ojai estate actor Larry Hagman dubbed "Heaven" has been sold to a nonprofit Scientology group.
The 32-acre property atop Sulphur Mountain sold for $5 million cash to Social Betterment Properties International, a nonprofit that states its mission is to "develop and maintain buildings and other real estate utilized by social betterment organizations carrying out programs that utilize technology and methods developed by L. Ron Hubbard and that are associated with and supported by the Scientology religion."
In the wake of a Rock Center with Brian Williams report on three deaths at a Scientology-linked drug treatment center in Oklahoma, the former president of the facility, and a former executive at a Narconon facility in Michigan have come forward to expose what they call deceitful marketing techniques and underqualified staff. "Narconon preys on vulnerable people. That's part of the sales techniques," said Lucas Catton, who stepped down as President of Narconon's Arrowhead facility in Oklahoma in 2004.
2013-04-05, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
A number of people formerly involved in David Miscavige's international festivals of Shermanspeak and Computer Generated Images have noted that many of the videos showing "accomplishments" are in fact staged by Golden Era and presented as "real".
Children are rounded up and put into videos of supposed "education programs" that last as long as the cameras are rolling and not a minute longer. Orgs are "filled" with pcs and students consisting of staff and friends, family and any warm body that can be rounded up to make the HGC and courserooms look busy. Relief efforts are rigged just for the cameras. Ribbon cuttings are staged etc etc etc
The footage is never identified as a "recreation" when it is presented. Instead it is heralded as "proof" of "expansion" and "inroads into society."
2012-04-05, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Mike Rinder wrote the following to clarify some comments he made about Lisa McPherson in his Village Voice interview. I then wrote my own post below that which expands upon Mike's and connects some dots and which lead to the carefully chosen words that constitute the title of this article.
I left some in mystery concerning Lisa McPherson. I told Tony Ortega that I had not known Miscavige had C/Sed her to attest to Clear (just a couple of months before she became psychotic) until after I had left the Sea Org, in spite of working on the criminal and civil case for 4 years. This has led to a number of questions and speculation about the significance of this.
The Sleepy Hollow Trailer Park has been a nook of affordable housing north of the San Jacinto River at State Street for at least 30 years.
Now almost all the residents are gone. In June, Business Management Services, which buys properties for the Church of Scientology, acquired the property from an investment company, and most of the 21 tenants have since moved out. The property near San Jacinto is riddled with piles of wood debris, abandoned furniture and a couple of single-wide mobile homes and trailers.
2010-04-05, Bart B. Van Bockstaele, Digital Journal
5. For the group that most ardently refuses to face reality.
And the category 5 award goes to Scientology because their OT levels IX, X and XI do not exist and because of the unsavoury stories that have come up lately about them, such as stories of alleged penal colonies, covered-up rapes, coerced abortions, slave labor, and savage abuse at the hands of David Miscavige.
2010-04-05, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Last week's series on Scientology by Anderson Cooper was so effective at lulling us to sleep, we overlooked a nice pick-me-up from, of all places, the National Enquirer.
How's this for a time-release bomb? Jason (My Name Is Earl) Lee divorced actress Carmen Llywellyn in 2001, but only now is she coming forward with some fairly entertaining dirt about Lee, a Scientologist, and his celebrity Scientologist friends.
Llywellyn tells the Enquirer that she's trying to stay far away from L. Ron Hubbard's wacky cabal since she divorced Lee:
A federal judge in Los Angeles has dismissed part of a lawsuit by a former Church of Scientology employee who says she is owed back wages.
Claire Headley worked in the church's elite Sea Organization and says she labored 100 hours a week for almost no pay on a gated campus southeast of Los Angeles.
The church successfully argued Headley was exempt from wage laws because she was part of a religious order.
The Utah Legislature continued funding a Scientology-based treatment for police officers exposed to methamphetamine, despite a state-funded study that was unable to find a connection between the drug and officers' illnesses.
As lawmakers were slashing funds for other state programs, they sidestepped public debate and appropriated $100,000 -- enough cash for about 20 police officers to undergo the regimen of exercise, sauna time and large doses of antioxidants.
The funding was added by Senate Republicans in the waning days of the session, with the backing of Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.
Rantings of a MADMAN named Hubbard Episode 6
L Ron Hubbard and the Christ Game
Taken from lecture 24 of the Philadelphia Doctorate Course lectures when L. Ron Hubbard didn't get his PhD. This is an old game played by thetans.
"You'll find, by the way, another manifestation is preclears will shift identities and borrow fascimiles like mad. There's what they call 'The Christ Game' and that game has been played and played and played and play..., honest to Pete, these cards are just so thin, they've been laid down amongst the coffee cups, and so forth, of the whole universe. You'll find out thousands of years before the year 1 AD, Earth, you will have facsimilies and dolls made up like Christ. Fac One: a million years ago is occasionally rigged with Christ and the devil and an angel. 's a fascinating thing, it's an old game. Here on Earth, there was undoubtably a Christ. One of the reasons he was ... he swept in so suddenly ah, and he, he would go forward so hard, is he had a good assist back of him in terms of an implant."
Hubbard just babbled all over the place and some people bought lock, stock, and barrel. No wonder he had a bridge to sell them too!
While the religion of Tom Cruise and John Travolta has been getting some tough press in recent days, it's also been lauded by President Bush's brother.
Florida Governor Jeb Bush raised eyebrows among the critics of the sometimes controversial religion recently when he honored Scientology volunteers who helped victims of hurricanes in his state.
Members of the group — which was put in the spotlight this week by the New York Daily News for its alleged anti-homosexual philosophy — were given a "Points of Light Award" as Hurricane Heroes. Scientology volunteers have been high profile at disaster scenes recently, distributing food and water, as well as delivering controversial "touch assist" healings that supposedly help victims through the laying on of hands.
Not long ago, the momentous news came that Tom Cruise had split with Penélope Cruz, his girlfriend of just over two years -- a breakup that concludes one of the more glittering chapters of Hollywood fantasy. Strangely, though, this wasn't the most momentous split Cruise experienced that week. That honor belongs to a break that took place a few days prior between Cruise and his publicist, Pat Kingsley, a partner in the firm PMK, who's been shepherding Cruise's public persona for the past 14 years. (The responsibility now passes to Cruise's sister Lee Anne DeVette.)
LOS ANGELES, April 5 -- A street in Los Angeles has been renamed after the late L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. City Council President John Ferraro, speaking at Saturday's dedication ceremony for L. Ron Hubbard Way, said the author's humanitarian works 'are contributing greatly to helping eradicate illiteracy, drug abuse and criminality in the city of Los Angeles.'
The Church of Scientology estimates that more than 7,000 people, including celebrities John Travolta and Kirstie Alley, attended the ceremony. Church of Scientology International President Heber Jentzch said, 'It is from this city that Scientology has expanded worldwide like no other religious movement in the 20th Century.' Added Jentzch: 'It was due to Mr. Hubbard's persistence in solving the causes of human suffering, of immorality, illiteracy and drug abuse, that today thousands of L.A. residents are leading lives salvaged from the raw deal of our decaying civilization.' The newly named street, formerly Berendo Street, links Sunset Boulevard with Fountain Avenue in the Hollywood area. Church of Scientology staff and volunteers landscaped the area and paved the 350- yard street with more than 150,000 bricks, creating the first brick- lined street in Los Angeles in 80 years. -- -
Copyright 1997 by United Press International. All rights reserved. -- -
The purchaser, it turned out, was the rich, mysterious Church of Scientology, an international cult that for two decades has specialized in a unique form of psychological counseling, often against hysterical opposition. Scientology, in turn, has tended toward defensiveness bordering on paranoia, filing scores of libel suits on the slightest provocation. In February, the Church of Scientology sued Mayor Cazares, then threatened the Clearwater Sun, the St. Petersburg Times and radio station WDCL. "We are not a turn-the-other-cheek religion," Spokesman Arthur Maren told TIME Correspondent David Beckwith.