The Church of Scientology's Religious Education College-subsidiary has been fined £14,000 after repeatedly polluting a River Medway-linked stream with raw sewage.
The church, based at Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead just three miles south of Surrey, has been prosecuted by the Environment Agency after inspectors found 200 meters of sewage during an inspection in October 2015.
The church's annual gala concert, attended by 1,600 guests, led to additional toilet facilities being provided that were not linked to the sewerage system. After that a new system was installed to cope with a larger volume of sewage. However, despite this new system being in place, in October 2015 the pollution occurred.
The Church of Scientology Religious Education College - a subsidiary of the organisation - repeatedly polluted a tributary of the River Medway with sewage from guests attending a gala concert at its headquarters in East Grinstead.
The church, based at Saint Hill Manor at East Grinstead, West Sussex, pleaded guilty to one offence and asked for ten others to be taken into consideration at Worthing Magistrates' Court on Friday 27 April.
The organisation was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay costs totalling £2,566.
The court heard that in August 2015, the church was replacing their old sewage treatment plant, with the new facility built to treat a higher volume of sewage.
The plant was completed and operating correctly when the Environment Agency inspected it in September 2015.
But in October, the Environment Agency was told of pollution in the Saint Hill area.
A division of the controversial Church of Scientology has been fined £14,000 for leaking raw sewage into a West Sussex river, poisoning aquatic life.
The Church of Scientology Religious Education College in East Grinstead was found to have breached environmental regulations after local people complained of pollution in a tributary of the River Medway.
The stream bed became coated with grey sewage fungus and dead invertebrates were found more than 350 metres downstream after the college replaced its sewage treatment plant in August 2015.
An initial inspection by the Environment Agency in September found the new plant was working properly, but by October 2015 residents in the Saint Hill area raised concerns about pollution.
Narconon bills itself as a drug rehabilitation therapy linked to the Church of Scientology. It was confirmed at the start of this year that the centre was to open in Ballivor. The multi-million euro development will cater for 34 "students" and 18 staff.
According to its official website, Narconon "uses unique rehabilitation technology that gets to the problem at its source and provides a path for long-term success".
But their methods have proven controversial.
"The dog was yelping in pain," Cedric Bixler-Zavala says, telling us about a nightmare scenario that took place in October when he got home after a grueling tour with his band, At The Drive In.
At the time, home for Bixler, 43, his wife Chrissie Carnell, 39, and their five-year-old twin boys was a house in Austin where a lot of strange things had been going on for several months.
The day before, Chrissie had noticed two men in a car following her. One of them was aiming a camera at her, and when she sped up, so did the two men. They only peeled off when she turned in to the parking lot of Austin's police heaquarters. Panicked and unsure what to do, she made a phone call to a law enforcement official in Los Angeles.
(Scientology attorney Robert Potter and Judge James Whittemore)
Whoa, Nelly. We're going to find out soon just how far the Church of Scientology can push an already amped-up federal judge.
Two weeks ago, we told you the bizarre new twist in Luis and Rocio Garcia's 2013 federal fraud lawsuit, which had Tampa Judge James Whittemore becoming so fed up he took matters into his own hands. In 2015, Whittemore ruled that the Garcias had signed contracts which required them to take any disputes to Scientology's internal arbitration and he stayed the lawsuit. Since then, both sides have been unable to select arbitrators, with each accusing the other of operating in bad faith.
2017-04-27, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Hey everyone. I've been talking about Scientology and destructive cults for some time now and we have discussed the concepts of undue influence, coercive persuasion and mind control or brainwashing, but I've never really dived deep into this and talked about what this is and isn't. As Justice Potter Stewart famously said about hard core pornography, it's hard to define but you know it when you see it and the same might be said for brainwashing. But is it really so easy to see and understand? Are there pitfalls in talking about it vs free will and an individual's rights to decide and choose what is best for his or her own life? What is the dividing line between personal choice and mind control?
The term brainwashing comes from the Chinese term xinao, which literally means "wash brain" and refers to the idea of cleansing or purifying a person's thoughts so they are right thinking and therefore right acting. The first serious studies of this subject were conducted in the early 1950s, the most famous and public of them written up by Robert J. Lifton in his book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study in 'Brainwashing' in China which fed into the then-popular notion of the creation of a Manchurian candidate. Those were the Red Scare days when McCarthyism had taken strong hold in Washington and anyone and everyone could possibly be a Soviet or Communist spy. Brainwashing was a theory which explained how POWs during the Korean War could be made to issue public statements against their country of origin and the government they were fighting for. The theory soon proved to be a fact when the techniques of overt and covert manipulation were broken down and examined more closely.
Lifton's book was published in 1961 but five years earlier, the US Army had concluded that brainwashing was not really a thing. This was very surprising since the Army's report shows that it most certainly was a thing. In the pamphlet entitled Communist Treatment of Prisoners of War - A Historical Survey, Senator James O. Eastland comments in the introduction about the commonality of experience between Russian, Chinese and Korean POWs and how the Geneva Convention was routinely violated in their treatment since the POWs were considered political pawns more than human beings. The report itself states:
Brainwashing, mind control, coersive persuasion, undue influence and a myriad of other terms are used to describe what con men, destructive cults and other dishonest individuals and groups do to influence thought and behavior. In this video, I discuss what brainwashing is, where the concept comes from and some of the concepts that explain how it works including examples from my own time in Scientology and how they utilize some of these techniques on their members.
in the video I mention that undue influence has not been successfully used in cult cases, but it actually was used in appeal in Molko vs the Moonies. Link: https://goo.gl/1TSczP
CRITICAL MERCHANDISE AVAILABLE AT:
David Miscavige has been one of the most prominent figures in Scientology for more than 30 years - and one of the most controversial.
Now, the Scientology leader, 55, is under renewed scrutiny as his own father, Ronald Miscavige, prepares to publish a memoir about his estranged son, titled Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me.
But just who is David Miscavige? Here are five things you need to know:
An exposé about internal Scientology leadership struggles between founder L. Ron Hubbard and current leader David Miscavige is at the center of a controversy. The book alleged poor living conditions and violence at the organization's headquarters in California.
The book, entitled 'Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me', was written by Ron Miscavige. Among the allegations in the book is that David "seized power" from Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
Today, in a Los Angeles courtroom, the Church of Scientology will try to convince a judge that it can treat its own workers as harshly as it wants to and a US civil court can have nothing to say about it.
Laura DeCrescenzo filed her abuse lawsuit against the Church of Scientology in 2009 and it's had a complex history since then. But before she can get to a trial later this year, she has to get past a second summary judgment hearing, happening today in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Her lawsuit already managed to survive a previous summary judgment hearing, in October 2013, and we were in the courtroom for that dramatic day, live blogging as Judge Ronald Sohigian found that Laura had compelling evidence about her forced abortion and other abuses as a member of Scientology's "Sea Org," evidence that deserved to be heard by a jury.
A Scientologist has been ordered to pay damages to a critic of her church. She sent a semi-nude pic of the man to his employer, in an attempt to get him fired. Ana Kasparian and Brett Erlich, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
"A Scientologist in Ireland has been ordered to pay damages for her "vitriolic and personalized" attack on the reputation of a man who dared to speak out against the religion.
When a former Scientologist gave a talk to boys at a school in Dublin about the dangers of joining the church, he might have guessed there would be blowback.
The father of Scientology leader David Miscavige has written a book about his son provocatively titled Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me - and David Miscavige has threatened to sue over the book, which its U.K. publisher says details the younger Miscavige's "brutal approach to running the organization." In the first excerpts from an interview Ron Miscavige did with ABC, he talks about his estranged son's childhood and says he "wasn't always that way."
"When he was a kid, I am telling you, he was a lovable kid," Ron Miscavige, who introduced David and other family members to Scientology in the '60s, tells ABC's 20/20 in an interview airing this Friday in advance of the memoir, due out May 3.
According to the publisher's description of the book, the elder Miscavige opens up about his son's rise to prominence within the controversial church, which counts celebrities including Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley among its members. As a young man, Miscavige worked directly with Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and eventually assumed control of the church following Hubbard's death in 1986.
Incident reports at controversial Scientology rehab center underscore reasons for that controversy.
Narconon is a Scientology-affiliated drug rehab program with multiple US and international locations, known for using unorthodox, non-medicinal detox methods, mainly consisting of vitamin supplementation, exercise, and sauna time. While the program insists that its treatment methods are sound and that it does not preach Scientology, law enforcement records concerning a facility in Oklahoma - which include reports of three deaths - speak to their opponent's concerns.
2015-04-27, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The wheels have come off the Miscavige Bandwagon.
Here are the latest "Good News" reports from Flag, courtesy of Jeff Mintz and his Silicon Valley alter ego Sandy Dodwell. As always, at the bottom I have added these stats to the earlier reports that have been tracked since fairly soon after GAG II was released in November 2013.
This forms perhaps the most accurate and complete record of the ACTUAL production of Flag over the last year and a half.
We thought it was very smart of filmmaker Louis Theroux to tweet last week that Scientology's attorneys have told him the church plans to make a documentary about him now that his own film about Scientology is in the can.
We've been telling you for some time that Louis and the BBC have been working on a documentary about Scientology. Theroux recently said publicly that his film is going to be very different from Alex Gibney's super-successful HBO movie, Going Clear, which turned out to be one of the most-watched documentaries in HBO history.
We first talked to producer Simon Chinn about his ideas for a theatrically-released feature film about Scientology three years ago. He told us then that he wanted Louis Theroux for it, and then he hired skilled director John Dower. Since then, we've been kept a little in the dark about the contents of the film (except for some rather generic BBC publicity about it), but we have a guess about its focus. For now, we're going to keep that to ourselves.
David Miscavige routinely uses the Narconons as places of humanitarian goodness, a refuge and therapy for drug addicts. There is no mention of the $40,000 fee extorted for the dry out and the flock are strictly forbidden to visit the Internet to get the facts. So lets lift up the curtains and see what lies beneath.
The public complain of 26 phone calls a day to enforce attendance at these events.
"Knowledge reports" and *Ethics handlings* occur for non attendance.
It's that time of the week again, when we share with you the wacky fundraising mailers that the Church of Scientology sends out to its members around the world.
Our longtime readers have seen plenty of appeals for Ideal Org fundraising, and fliers urging Scientologists to hurry up and do their next course. But there are subtle differences in these advertisements, and we can't help perceiving a distinct sense of panic and desperation as the weeks go by. Scientology is dying, and the forced tone of excitement is getting pretty obvious.
But judge for yourself, and let us know in the comments what you think about these most recent examples.
2014-04-27, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
A quick report from a Special Correspondent in the home of the "ideal" New York org (and of course the invisible CCNY and the imaginary Harlem ideal org, and the non existent Missions). This is where the infamous "stress test" began — pushed into a fad by Angie Blankenship when she and Jenny Linson were sent by Miscavige to "expand the org" so the ideal building could open — 10 years ago now. And yes, he spoke to them on the phone AT LEAST ONCE EVERY DAY and sent them long, rambling written orders every day too. Warren McShane and Allen Cartwright perjurious deposition testimony notwithstanding.
Pretty sorry state of affairs. And these criminals are not using a Warehouse 8, so of course they are 50,000X less effective than they otherwise would be....
I guess the ideal org cannot afford the latest in technical advances to ensure they are delivering "standard tech." They probably got these 4 meters as hand-me-downs when Rich and Karen Beatty bought their 2 Warehouse 8's (each).
2014-04-27, Miss Fortune, Glistening, Quivering Underbelly
Per Wickstrom's planned expansion of his tottering drug empire, under the name Best Choice Rehabilitation in Wright Township, Michigan, faces one final legal hurdle.
Wright Township officials are locked in a legal battle with Wickstrom's Narconon-based drug rehabilitation treatment juggernaut, one that wants to build a drug treatment center in a former Marne nursing home.
In a battle that's reminiscent of a famous "Chinatown" scene, Wickstrom's "my medical clinic/my drug rehab facility" legal battle may be headed for a showdown in Michigan's Court of Appeals.
A drug rehab believed to be tied to the church of Scientology is under investigation for insurance fraud after a former patient claimed the center charged her insurance company $166,000 for $15,000 worth of treatment.
Law enforcement agents raided the Narconon of Georgia, which has been endorsed by Scientology head L. Ron Hubbard, on Friday to execute a search warrant and to question employees about billing practices.
'We have credible information that indicates that insurance fraud is taking place with Narconon,' Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens told WSB Radio.
2013-04-27, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Next in the series "Life is Good" from another who experienced the horrors of working directly for Miscavige, eventually escaped and is now a recognized leader in a totally new profession and has also moved up the bridge.... Mike Rinder
By Lana Mitchell
There are many things that cause a person to think twice when having doubts about departing the Church. The most obvious one is the idea that by doing so, you "forfeit your eternity". By leaving the church you will no longer have access to the OT levels – or to standard tech – so you are damned to continue a homo sapien existence here on this planet. Considering the fact that we are immortal beings that will continue to live on, regardless of bodies or circumstances, it truly is absurd that we even buy these lines from Corporate Scientology.
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He now has a new edition of the book out, and on Saturdays 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.
Jon, we have to admit that we're pretty skeptical about Scientology's "R2-45" policy, which was mentioned on this blog earlier this week. Supposedly, L. Ron Hubbard instructed his followers that to use the R2-45 method was to eliminate church enemies with the use of a Colt semi-automatic pistol (with .45 caliber ammunition). What's the evidence that LRH ever really invented a policy of murder?
JON: "R2-45" did become a code in the cult. Outside of the Guardian's Office (the church's original intelligence unit, 1966-1981), no one took it seriously — at least for a moment.
Gwen Van Kleef and Pat Felske, with the Niagara chapter of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, told the kids that another drug young people may encounter - Ecstacy - is also no walk in the park. Some people even die from taking a single one of the pills common to rave parties, they said.
"That's something the drug dealers will never tell you," said Felske. "They'll never tell you the truth."
Van Kleef had the students stand, raise their right hands and make a pledge to be drug free, and to show their friends that having a drug-free life is more fun.
2012-04-27, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Debbie and Wayne: Breathing easier? Our legal expert, Manhattan attorney Scott Pilutik, has been busy fielding questions since news broke earlier this week that the Church of Scientology had settled its lawsuit with former executive Debbie Cook and her husband Wayne Baumgarten.
After the jump, he takes a detailed look at the court's final judgment in the matter, which spells out the terms of a new gag order that will prevent the couple from ever again criticizing the church publicly.
And Scott also provided me this short version of how he sees this remarkable case, which began with an infamous e-mail that Cook sent out on New Year's Eve to her fellow Scientologists...
2011-04-27, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
When the New Yorker announced David Miscavige is the primary target of a massive Federal probe into his decades long human trafficking and serial, institutionalized aggravated assaults, DM suffered a serious set back in his quest to rule Hollywood. I mean, how could he hob nob at Tom's and John's premiere parties with all the stars looking at him suspiciously as if they were sneaking a peak at Al Capone?
So, the audacious one figured he'd show them. If he couldn't be accepted, he'd just keep buying his way in. Starting with KCET studios in Hollywood:
2011-04-27, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Fairman as a Firefly baddie I had to admit, when I heard about Michael Fairman's explosive exit from Scientology (see our story about it here), my first reaction was, "Michael who?"
His face certainly was familiar, but I wasn't sure where I'd seen it before...
"Penske File! That's what people yell at me," Fairman told me this morning in a phone call. "Most people recognize me for two shows I did on Firefly and one show on Seinfeld. If you mention 'Penske File,' people recognize me."
Our agent barely made it out of Scientology's secret bunker at Gold Base underneath their movie studio "Golden Era Productions".
This internal video is meant only for top OSA executives with RTC Clearence forming a new inner layer of offense called "SHADO". It reveals that scientology's master plan is much more desperate than we had first thought (SHADO codename "Operation: Much More Desperate Than You First Thought").
Hopefully, our contingency plan will counter any attack of this nature. All will be revealed in my next video to be released soon. Please notify all Marcabs and agents of Xenu.
This was a bit like a special interest group coming out in Old Yelleresque, foaming-at-the-mouth opposition to the Bald Eagle, Betty Ford and the Gerber Baby.
But there he was, a chap by the name of Ken Kramer, growing more apoplectic than Alec Baldwin getting ready for visitation day at the prospect the Florida Legislature might create something called the Statewide Office for Suicide Prevention, charged with - well, you know, preventing suicide.
Kramer attempted to organize a letter-writing campaign, encouraging his fellow travelers from the Planet Kalignoid 5 to doom the bill creating the Office for Suicide Prevention, which would operate out of the Office of Drug Control.
He never mentions it in his e-mail titled 'Funding For Bogus Suicide Programs,' but Kramer is associated with the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, which sounds all warm and fuzzy but in reality serves as a front shilling for the Scientology sect.
Well, he probably just forgot the full disclosure, being caught up in the frenzy to discredit the suicide prevention program.
Think of those zany, cuckoo, wacky Scientologists as sort of the National Rifle Association of cults.
So they can get plenty fired up over the vaguest prospect of a psychologist or psychiatrist getting anywhere remotely near someone who might be contemplating a crisis in their lives.
To folks like Kramer, this isn't an issue about public health. It's competition for customers.
Kramer cryptically suggested sinister motives behind the creation of the Statewide Office for Suicide Prevention, noting 'an item has recently appeared mysteriously in Senate budget Bill 2800, $400,000 tucked away on Page 81 of the 401-page budget.'
'Mysteriously'? 'Tucked away'? Oh really? The item appears on Page 80 of the budget bill, readily available to anyone to read in a public document.
As well, the bill, a public record, creating the suicide office was originally filed in December; 'The Da Vinci Code' meets Skull & Bones this was not.
A few days ago, a joint Senate-House conference committee approved a $200,000 seed money appropriation to create the Statewide Suicide Prevention Program, which will be used to develop a comprehensive effort for consideration during next year's legislative session.
The program would involve local suicide prevention agencies, faith-based groups, law enforcement, emergency response professionals, schools, universities, substance abuse treatment organizations and, yes, cue the 'Running with Scissors' theme - mental health experts.
Now there's a recipe for subversion - potentially suicidal people getting help from people who know what they are doing.
Kramer did not respond to questions submitted through the Citizens Commission on Human Rights about his opposition to the bill.
But Dennis Ross, the executive director of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, who lobbied on behalf of the suicide prevention office, dismissed Kramer's letter-writing campaign.
'They've quite literally gotten to the point where they CCHR don't have a lot of credibility,' Ross said. 'Everyone's in favor of suicide prevention.
'These people are despicable.'
SPIEGEL: Do you see it as your job to recruit new followers for Scientology?
Cruise: I'm a helper. For instance, I myself have helped hundreds of people get off drugs. In Scientology, we have the only successful drug rehabilitation program in the world. It's called Narconon.
SPIEGEL: That's not correct. Yours is never mentioned among the recognized detox programs. Independent experts warn against it because it is rooted in pseudo science.
WASHINGTON -- A California jury has convicted Keith Henson, a prominent critic of Scientology, of terrorizing the group through Usenet posts and by picketing one of its offices.
Henson, a computer engineer who has been involved in prior legal skirmishes with Scientology, was found guilty on Thursday of interfering with Scientologists' civil rights and now faces a prison sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $5,000.
The charges revolved around posts Henson made in the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup about targeting a nuclear missile at Scientologists, and Henson's picketing of the group's Golden Era Productions in Riverside, California.
2000-04-27, Enzo Di Matteo, Politics, NOW Magazine
Grit MP Derek Lee a Scientology symp? You might wonder if you happened to breeze the most recent issue of the Toronto Free Press.
There, pictured with church prez Janet Laveau, is the former Grit GTA caucus chair along with a group of others listed as recipients of the Friends of the L. Ron Hubbard Humanitarian Award.
For three years, Levman oversaw a series of covert intelligence operations as deputy guardian for Canada, aimed at attacking the "enemies" of Scientology, founded by [L. Ron Hubbard] in the mid-1950s.
"Hubbard said you defend Scientology from your enemies. He has a share of the blame for Scientology coming to where it has today," [Levman] said.
A former official of the Church of Scientology, testifying at the trial of his suit charging the church with fraud, says church staff members engaged in a pattern of lies, tricks and deception in efforts to keep him from disclosing how the organization operates.