There's a great piece in the Albany Times Union by Brendan Lyons looking at the physicians who aided Nxivm in its bizarre schemes.
He reports that Dr. Danielle D. Roberts, 37, is under investigation by the state Health Department's Office of Professional Medical Conduct for branding women as part of Nxivm's alleged sex slavery operation. Also, the department has filed disciplinary charges against a doctor, Brandon B. Porter, who put Nxians through brain-activity experiments that consisted of showing them horrifying images of "murder, rape, and mutilation," Lyons reports.
Almost as troubling as the accusations against Roberts helping Allison Mack brand women as part of Keith Raniere's "DOS" secret sorority for women is that the Health Department initially ignored actress Sarah Edmondson when she first approached the agency with her story of being branded. Edmondson said that at least 20 women had been branded in ceremonies with the initials of Raniere and Mack near their pubic area, but her complaint in July 2017 was dismissed by the department, which said it wasn't a patient-doctor issue and should be reported to law enforcement instead.
With the Australia Royal Commission in 2016, and stories like the Atlantic's big piece last month, it sure seems like exposing the Watchtower organization for covering up child molestation among Jehovah's Witnesses is really gaining steam.
But it's good to remember the people who fought hard to make this issue public. In a short video, Barbara Anderson talks about her decision to leave her work as a researcher for the Watchtower organization and go public with what she'd learned about the way child abuse was being covered up.
We first got to know, and wrote about, attorney Graham Berry some 20 years ago in Los Angeles. He was already well known by then for his battles with the Church of Scientology. More recently, he has handled a string of new cases involving allegations that Scientology is taking advantage of elderly and other disadvantaged people with outrageous financial schemes.
You might remember Efrem Logreira, for example, who was made homeless after he was impoverished by interest payments that resulted when Scientology talked him into exorbitant charges for courses and auditing he could never make use of. We also told you about an 82-year-old woman in the Midwest who was flown to Los Angeles and then felt like she was under siege until she approved tens of thousands in charges. Both of those people turned to Berry, who worked aggressively to convince the Church to return their money and make them whole.
Each of those victims, meanwhile, talked to law enforcement.
2018-04-12, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
In this video, I talk with highly trained former Scientologist and Sea Org member Sunny Pereira about how Scientology deals with medicine and mental health disorders. We get into the details of how the more common mental disorders would be translated into "Scientologese," what L. Ron Hubbard says causes these conditions and how Scientology would deal with them. Both of us were in Scientology for years and oversaw some of these kinds of handlings. In the next videos in this series, we will explore the Introspection Rundown as well.
Playlist on this topic are here.
Basics of Scientology series is here.
In 1986, after years of illness, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard died, leaving the church to his key deputy, David Miscavige. Under its new leader, Scientology changed its image dramatically: Hubbard's absurd cravats and trademark leer gave way to Miscavige's gleaming business suits and beaming professional smile. Former leaders were euphemistically "rehabilitated." Small and secretive gatherings blossomed into celebrity engagements in Sheraton Hotel conference rooms. In a word, the church went corporate.
One thing that makes Scientology uniquely American is its amalgamation of corporate and authoritarian modes of social control. "[P]art of what made me get out had been observing that increasingly corporate mindset," recounts the novelist Sands Hall in her intriguing new memoir, Flunk. Start. Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology. "This is ironic, of course, considering the authoritarian mentality of the Church under Hubbard, but most of those years I managed to stay unaware." How this combination attracts untold thousands of members—to what is, by most accounts, a cult—has received much attention in the decades since Scientology's founding in the early 1950s.
Margaret Thaler Singer, an expert on the psychology of cults, believed that no one is impervious: "Any person who is in a vulnerable state, seeking companionship and a sense of meaning or in a period of transition or time of loss, is a good prospect for cult recruitment," she wrote. Flunk. Start. concerns the way that one ordinary, wayward, middle-class kid found herself in just such a state. And with its keen attention to the language and tactics of the church, Hall's memoir is unique among the assortment of Scientology reports and exposés, offering insight into the certainties that its subjects gain. Even more strikingly, though, her initiation serves as a symbolic social experience: It reminds us of the American bourgeois conviction, resurgent in our uncertain times, that we can purchase peace of mind—no matter the cost to companions, community, or open society.
2018-04-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The Chan Man is back...
And it's only $100 to hear him ramble. How could you resist? He will teach you the secret to make yourself rich: charge people $100 to tell them to charge people $100 to get rich...
Whole Track Technology to Make More Money!
Whether it's about the shocking way people have been treated at a remote Tennessee facility, or the infamous death of a woman in Florida, for years we've been writing about Scientology's poor record of handling the needs of the mentally ill. Now, Chris Shelton and Sunny Pereira are beginning a series of discussions specifically about Scientology's ideas about mental health. We think you're going to find it very interesting. Here's what Chris has to say about today's first installment...
About a year ago, you all might recall Tony's story about Marc Vallieres and the charges brought against him and two other Scientologists for holding two people against their will in shacks on their Tennessee property. Those were Scientologists attempting to use L. Ron Hubbard's methods to "cure" people who had real mental health issues.
L. Ron Hubbard claimed from the earliest days of Dianetics that he had methods that could treat and even cure the insane, and he wasn't bashful in his boasts. This week, former Scientologist and highly trained Sea Org member Sunny Pereira and I talk in detail about Scientology's "tech" on medicine and mental health treatments. Over the following episodes in this series, we'll be taking apart the Introspection Rundown piece-by-piece. This is grim material but we do our best not to get too serious about all this, because the tragic consequences of this is all-too-obvious and all-too-painful for those who have had to live through it. With Scientology TV ramping up its anti-psychiatry rhetoric, I figured it was time to put some truth out there about Scientology's so called "solutions."
Let's say you want to engage a Scientologist friend, family member or acquaintance in a conversation about Scientology in order to (hopefully) open their eyes to things they are likely not aware of. If you want to be taken seriously by the Scientologist, it's important that any Scientology-speak words one attempts to use are used correctly, i.e., used the same way a Scientologist would use them. This video is the first of a series I'll be doing on how to use certain terms the same way a Scientologist would use them.
Thanks to Rasha, we have the new Source magazine from Scientology's Flag Land Base, and it has some fun items to help you expand your space and your havingness!
These publications put out by the church which encourage Scientologists to travel to Clearwater, Florida and spend serious money are a lot of fun. And in this issue, we were intrigued to see they were featuring the L Rundowns — L10, L11, and L12.
We have a special fascination for the Ls, a set of three auditing processes that are only available at the Flag base and which stand somewhat apart from the grade chart that Scientologists follow up the Bridge to Total Freedom. Three years ago, as part of our project to learn about each of the courses and levels that Scientologists experience, we spent some time talking about the Ls with former church executive Jefferson Hawkins.
CLEARWATER — The evening began with appetizers and drinks on the rooftop patio of the Fort Harrison Hotel overlooking downtown.
Before the big reveal, guests mingled with Scientology celebrities John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Kirstie Alley and pianist Chick Corea.
The roughly 70 attendees were a mix of parishioners, business and property owners, and downtown players — all hand-selected and there by invitation only.
It's no surprise that Reddit AMAs are most fun when something goes wrong—indeed, actor Woody Harrelson has been a Reddit punchline for five years because of a disastrous AMA in which he refused to answer questions about anything other than the film he was promoting.
The latest Q&A gone awry occurred yesterday, when actress Jenna Elfman of Dharma & Greg fame held an AMA about her new sitcom Imaginary Mary, which premiered last night on ABC. She answered a lot of complimentary questions about how she stays "so ageless and beautiful," and how she recovers from sickness by sleeping and taking Airborne.
But in a Harrelson-like turn of events, many questions in the AMA remained unanswered because they touched on Elfman's sordid history with Scientology. She is on the board of advisers for the Los Angeles exhibition"Psychology: An Industry of Death," which is owned by the controversial church. She also supported the Scientology-backed New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, which claimed to flush toxins from the bodies of 9/11 rescue workers using exercise, saunas and high doses of vitamins.
2017-04-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here we go again, more ridiculous hype. Opening their abandoned castle as an "AO" is going to solve crime, drugs, poverty, education, disease and political dishonesty... By getting a handful of people to "blow off" their BT's and Clusters? And I do mean a handful. This is not the JOB of an Advanced Org — that is the job of Missions and Class 5 orgs to reach into society and change conditions.
But these are obviously the "buttons" in South Africa, so they pitch people with "we will solve these things with an AO" and assume the sheeple will not stop to think "Why would an AO make any difference to these things? If we wanted to accomplish that why aren't we opening missions or at least giving money to do that..."
They know their audience. They tell them anything and they buy it.
We're still recovering from the 10,000-word page-turner (heh, get it?) that we uncorked yesterday after days of hard work and a nail-biting all-nighter.
So this morning we just had energy to tell you about this message we received from Astra Woodcraft. Yes, that Astra Woodcraft, who helped change the way the media approached Scientology when, in 2008, she joined with Jenna Miscavige Hill and Kendra Wiseman to create exscientologykids.com and proposed the notion that covering the church meant more than learning the Xenu story.
Here's what she sent us...
Family members of Scientologists are fighting to get their loved ones back, one billboard at a time. A billboard in Los Angeles reads: "To my loved one in Scientology … call me." Now Scientology leaders are firing back against the allegations.
There are over 9,000 billboards in Los Angeles, but this one stands out. Instead of advertising plastic surgery or DUI attorneys, this display was purchased to reunite families torn apart by Scientology.
Phil and Willie Jones are ex-Scientologists who joined the church in their late teens. They estimate that they gave over $150,000 to the controversial church, but they also gave even more: their children. Their son and daughter, Michael and Emily Jones, are members of the Sea Org – a billion-year commitment according to the religion, requiring 100 hour work weeks and a wage of 10 cents an hour, according to Raw Story.
A year-long series of investigations by WSB-TV, WSB-Radio and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution led Georgia regulators to shut down the Narconon drug treatment facility in a settlement agreement to avoid criminal prosecution. The facility was the subject of numerous allegations from families of patients who attended the program, including that the entire premise was rooted in fraud. The Narconon program is affiliated with the Church of Scientology and claims to utilize the Scientologist teachings, high doses of Niacin, and many hours each day in a sauna to rid patients of drug addiction. Investigations exposed allegations of insurance fraud, credit card fraud and misrepresentation of the facility's license, which was only supposed to be for outpatient treatment.
2016-04-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Had a chance to look through the latest International Scientology News — the propaganda piece sent out after each international event to re-hype the event hype.
Based on this magazine alone, things are going to hell in a hand-basket in the shrinking bubble of scientology.
What is fascinating about it is what is does NOT contain. It is virtually "expansion news free." Nothing that reflects the "massive international expansion" Miscavige is constantly mentioning. And all I did was flick through the pages and look at the pictures, I could not bring myself to read any of the drivel.
A retired, once-flamboyant trial lawyer who made millions off the tobacco wars of the 1990s, Coale is using his private jet to ferry O'Malley around early nominating states as the still largely unknown Democrat weighs a long-shot presidential bid.
In return, Coale, a self-described political junkie, gets a ringside seat.
Coale likes to help his friends. He has an eclectic set of them, both inside politics and out, some of whom he met through his wife, Fox News host Greta Van Susteren.
In buttoned-down Washington, Coale and Van Susteren rarely discuss their affiliation with Scientology, a controversial religion that opposes psychiatry, preferring spiritual healing as an alternative. Coale said that his religious beliefs don't drive his politics and that O'Malley "didn't seem to give a hell" when he told him about them several years ago.
(Mimi Rogers and Tom Cruise at the Academy Awards red carpet on March 29, 1989. Credit: Alan Light)
When Alex Gibney's film Going Clear premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, much of the subsequent news coverage focused on revelations by former Church of Scientology executive Mark "Marty" Rathbun that the church actively "drove a wedge" between Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, helping to end their relationship. Rathbun said that Scientology leader David Miscavige had even helped propel that breakup by ordering Kidman's phone to be tapped, and the organization also worked to have Tom and Nicole's adopted children, Isabella and Connor, turn away from their mother.
If the Church of Scientology was so active helping to break up Tom Cruise's second marriage, how involved were they in ending his first, to actress Mimi Rogers?
L. Ron Hubbard was wearing a naval officer's uniform when he first knocked on the door of the stately house in the Westminster section of Elizabeth. The uniform made a good first impression on Jim Kellogg's mother.
"One thing a landlord always worries about when you rent out a house is to not get a bad tenant," recalled Kellogg when I spoke with him last week. "To show up in your naval uniform was to show you're not going to be a bad tenant."
Never mind that it was 1949 and the war had ended four years earlier. The man who would soon found Scientology liked to dress like a ship's commander and would continue to do so for the rest of his life.
2014-04-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Things are really rocking in the WUS! At least they are if you buy into their self-congratulatory hype....
Some of this stuff is just priceless.
The Austin Org has been located right across the street from the University of Texas for DECADES. Can these people really think that if they put nice furniture and install a bunch of FART Div 6 displays it is somehow going to magically take off? This is "Ideal Think" (a new sort of debilitating mental illness that CCHR is doing NOTHING about) to the last stop of the crazy train. Usually the hype is about how they are going to open a "new ideal org" (somewhere out in the boonies) and this is what will suddenly cause "planetary clearing" to "become a reality." The sad thing about this drivel is that Austin has ALREADY been in the "ideal location" forever. So, they are not even going to "open a new Ideal Org" they are just going to make the current furniture "ideal"?
In 2005, two Cuban workers showed up in the town of Willemstad, on the island of Curaçao in the Caribbean, and said they had escaped hellish conditions at a nearby drydock facility, where they'd been held for years. A third worker had made his own escape from the drydock a few months earlier.
One of the three men had worked at the facility a decade. The other two had arrived in 2001 and 2002. They said that they, along with about a hundred other men, were forced into the jobs as part of a deal to pay off Cuba's debt to the Curaçao Drydock Company. After they had arrived, their passports were seized and they had been working 112 hours a week and under dangerous conditions for only about three cents an hour. The rest of the $6.90 an hour they were supposed to be earning went to pay off Cuba's debt.
In 2002 one of the men, Alberto Justo Rodriguez Licea, fell and broke his foot and ankle when the system suspending him while he scraped rust from a hull snapped. He was sent back to Cuba, and after he healed, was then returned to Curaçao to keep working. In 2004, plaintiff Fernando Alonso Hernandez was returned to Cuba after burning his hand while welding steel. He too was returned to the drydock after he had healed.
2013-04-12, Miss Fortune, Glistening, Quivering Underbelly
EXCLUSIVE: MISS FORTUNE HAS THE OFFICIAL COURT FILING!
A Forever Recovery attempted to send patient with head injury home by himself -- on a plane!
Heroic Southwest Airlines gate agent at Detroit Metro Airport noticed man's condition, calls EMS
2013-04-12, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Last Friday night in Buffalo.
Apparently, it's an all-hands to make a new video to hawk their "leatherbounds for Non E" program. Seems it's really hard to sell 500 of anything in the world's first and model Ideal Org. Just think, they have been trying to get their Non E program going for about 6 months now. Probably should have re-evaluated and have a "What the hell are we doing here?" progam by now.
But aside from that — look around in there. The place is empty. It's not dinner time and its before "graduation".
Last year, we noticed that some former winners of Scientology's "Writers of the Future" awards were nervously wondering if they'd been had.
With so much bad publicity plaguing the church, was it really such a good thing to win an award from an organization becoming increasingly known for things like locking up its executives in a hellish office-prison?
The contest attracts very prestigious writers in the science fiction and fantasy realms to judge entries by new, unpublished writers for a big boost in their careers. There's no doubt that it's a great contest, and it's awash in money, putting on a weeklong celebration in Hollywood.
Orange County Scientologists are getting the word out about the happenings in Hubbardville, one YouTube video at a time. Check out ocidealorg's channel!
One video in particular is titled "The Central Files: The Quest For an Ideal Org."
2012-04-12, Paule Vermot-Desroches, Le Nouvelliste
Le centre de réhabilitation et de désintoxication Narconon de Trois-Rivières a été contraint de fermer ses portes. Selon des informations obtenues par Le Nouvelliste, un avis aurait été envoyé à l'organisme vendredi à l'effet que la certification nécessaire pour opérer un centre de désintoxication n'aurait pas été accordée par le ministère de la Santé.
2012-04-12, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The following is what L Ron Hubbard had to say about the state of the United States Department of Justice's investigative arm in 1979. Irrespective of how exaggerated his rancor might have been about the target of his wrath, it seems to me to be a rather chillingly accurate description of David Miscavige's Scientology Inc in the year 2012.
The FBI charter mews about safeguarding the populace but hides and is utterly disregarded by an organization whose principles are carefully planned wholly on terrorism and conducts itself more lawlessly than any criminal it ever listed as Public Enemy #1. Who is Public Enemy #1 today? The FBI! Its obvious target is every opinion leader and public-spirited group in America! To the FBI their own charter is not only a subject for mirth but the Constitution itself which they are sworn to uphold is just garbage which impedes their headlong terror zeal. In the name of "justice" and even calling themselves the Justice Department they practice every conceivable perversion of injustice. With their terror tools, preferring lies to fact, they have created a police state in which no man, woman or child or even a politician is safe, either from downstats or the FBI. To the FBI all men are guilty and can't be proven innocent, and behind her bandaged eyes, Justice herself weeps. In the name of "justice" they have condemned this society to death. - HCO PL 25 March 1979 A New Hope for Justice
UPDATE 4/12/12: A number of people took issue with my having had the temerity to characterize L Ron Hubbard's words as "rancorous" and "exaggerated." When I replied to some comments with context that LRH wrote this while the church was desperately attempting to position the FBI as a Nazi organization that had desecrated the Constitution by raiding a church - when that church had committed serial, document "heinous" crimes over many years, some took issue with my use of the word "heinous."
2011-04-12, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Source of NOTs technology - L Ron Hubbard
When you create a huge, open tent a lot of wonderful things occur - many of which we have been sharing on a daily basis here.
With no admission fee, no pre-requisites, no qualifications, no screening - you also get your share of hucksters, clowns and pick-pockets. I generally let people get along and encourage them to go along their own paths for the most part. But when the crime rate starts to escalate it doesn't hurt to warn people about certain dark alleys.
Demolition began last week on the old Ivory Bean House on Washington Street. After the building began shedding bricks in February, the city's Inspectional Services Department ordered the Bean's owner, the Church of Scientology, to demolish the structure.
As far as the church is concerned, it had gotten what it had wanted since it purchased the building in 2008.
A protest last year outside the Church of Scientology of Illinois headquarters in Lake View has prompted the city to stop enforcing an ordinance that banned protests while religious services are being conducted.
The issue arose late last year, when eight or nine protesters gathered outside the Church of Scientology location at 3011 N. Lincoln.
The County Department of Environmental Health has issued a Boil Water Order and for the Narconon drug-rehab facility in Warner Springs.
The drinking water system tested present for total coliform bacteria.
The Internet-based group Anonymous held its third protest in about three months Saturday outside the headquarters of the Church of Scientology.
Although it started with about 50 people at 3 p.m., the number swelled to about 200 an hour later. Joshua Nussbaum, 20, an organizer, said the point of Saturday's protest was to focus public attention on what he says is the church's practice of ostracizing loved ones perceived as a threat.
Demonstrations were held in several cities across Canada and around the world against the Church of Scientology Saturday.
The rallies were organized by a group calling itself Anonymous, a loose coalition of protesters who wore masks to hide their identity to prevent what they fear is retaliation by Scientology hardliners.
They wore masks, bandanas, even t-shirts to hide their identities. Some of those who protested outside Biloxi's Church of Scientology Sunday say they prefer to remain anonymous to avoid any potential problems with the church.
They're calling this protest mission "Operation Re-connect," a direct response to a scientology term called disconnection.
"If you're a scientologist and you have family members who are critics of scientology or don't agree with scientology, the church will ask you to disconnect from your family members who are not scientologists," said an anonymous protestor.
The bills these men are sponsoring would try to keep students from ever getting psychiatric treatment, even those who might be contemplating suicide. The bills would require that any mental health treatment become part of the student's permanent record and that schools tell parents that mental illness cannot be diagnosed through a medical test.
Scientology filed suits with state courts in Berlin and Cologne against Germany's federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, asking that continued monitoring of Scientologists be outlawed.
Since 1997, 15 of Germany's 16 states have monitored Scientologists on suspicion that the group is a cult with purely economic interests that endangers democracy by trying to infiltrate governments and companies.
In an apparent response to criticism of its handling of a threatening letter from a Church of Scientology lawyer, the popular search engine Google has begun to make so-called "takedown" letters public. DMCA-censored pages are now two clicks and a cut-and-paste away from the regular search results.
The full text of two new letters to Google, dated April 9 and 10, already appears on the free speech site chillingeffects.org. "I think it's great that they're calling attention to the way the takedown provision can be used to compromise their search results," said Wendy Seltzer, Fellow of Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and co-founder of chillngeffects.org.
CHILOCCO (AP) The certification process for a drug treatment center will resume later this month when a Tulsa psychiatrist pays a visit to the center on Indian trust land, officials said Thursday.
The Narconon Chilocco New Life Center has operated more than a year without state certification. Narconon is at the old Chilocco Indian School about 10 miles south of Kansas in Kay County.
John Chelf, a psychiatrist in Tulsa, has scheduled visits at the Narconon campus for April 25 and April 26.