So here's the situation: We're now only ten days away from the all-important preliminary hearing in the criminal rape prosecution of Scientology celebrityDanny Masterson, and everything he and defense attorney Tom Mesereau have thrown at the case has failed to push that date back.
Danny is facing 45 years to life in prison if he's convicted of raping the three women he's accused of attacking in incidents between 2001 and 2003, and as we've explained in the past, because these women were Scientologists at the time and blame the church for preventing them to come forward sooner, the prelim is liable to be very bad for Scientology itself.
On the other hand, there's a civil lawsuit these three women filed in 2019 against Masterson and the church, and it's had a very different trajectory. The three alleged victims, one of their husbands, and another woman sued Masterson and Scientology not over the alleged rapes, but for the harassment campaign they say they've endured since the women came forward to the LAPD in 2016. But a December 30, 2020 ruling by Los Angeles Superior CourtJudge Steven Kleifield denied the former Scientologists the right to trial, and forced them to take their grievances to Scientology's internal "religious arbitration." After petitioning an appeals court and being denied, the plaintiffs have now asked the state supreme court to review the case and overrule Kleifield. (The court just announced that it will delay ruling on the request for review until June 17.)
2020-05-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Our friend RB had a commitment with his family this week. I pulled an oldie but goodie. This is one of the first RB's, way back in 2014... That's how long we have been being entertained by this very talented scientology satirist.
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One of our readers forwarded an "FSM Newsletter" they received recently from the Church of Scientology. And reading it, we were reminded that Scientology is such a dishonest mess, we sometimes get inured to it.
Longtime Scientology watchers will not be surprised that "Field Staff Members" — essentially salespeople — are instructed to deceive and cajole new people into becoming members. But it still stuns us that something that calls itself a "church" would be so blatant about it.
The newsletter encourages FSMs, who bring in new people on commission, to rely on a 1978 policy letter written by founder L. Ron Hubbard. This policy, "Come-On Dissemination" has been public for years, but it doesn't get the attention it really deserves.
VillageDianne called us again from the overflow room at the Brooklyn courthouse, where she had watched about an hour of Marc Agnifilo's cross-examination of the government's first witness in the Nxivm trial.
Agnifilo is representing Nxivm leader Keith Raniere, who is now the only defendant in the case after five others all pleaded guilty before trial started yesterday.
Agnifilo was reading Nxivm's mission statement to Sylvie, the first witness, and asking her what portions of it meant to her.
Chiropractor James "Jay" Spina of Middletown, New York entered a guilty plea last week in an $80 million Medicare scam we told you about in September.
Spina initially filed a not guilty plea when the indictment was first announced, and his attorney told a local newspaper "we're going to continue to fight these charges" as Spina's business, renamed "Pain Relief and Wellness Center," remained open.
But now Spina, 61, joins a physician caught up in the scam, Charles Bagley, who previously pleaded guilty to the same charge, conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years, and Spina's sentencing has been scheduled for September 17.
2019-05-08, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Critical thinking is not just for classrooms but something I have found helpful in dealing with the irrational world around us and some of the nonsense that goes on at work, in relationships, politics, religion and all the rest. I talk about how it's helped me in dealing with my time in Scientology too. This clip is excerpted from Critical Q&A #2, originally published March 3, 2015. Enjoy!
2019-05-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is the latest piece of self-praise that appears on the phony "STAND League" website.
Everyone knows this is simply a front group run by the Office of Special Affairs International and their Twitterer-in-chief Fast Eddie Parkin.
They claim they fight for religious freedom and against bigotry and hate — but in fact the majority of their efforts go to "dead-agenting" Leah Remini, me and the brave victims of scientology abuse who have been on our show. With no new episodes airing, they have little to write about. So while Fast Eddie keeps tweeting about us, they put up a few things on their website that are rather comical, trying to appear that they have something worthwhile to offer.
2018-05-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is Scientology's headline on their website following David Miscavige's parking lot ribbon yanking: DOWN UNDER'S "CITY OF LIGHTS" WELCOMES NEWEST CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY
This is a double lie.
First, there is no "new church of scientology" in Perth. There is a new building, but that is not a "new church." It's the same crappy little scientology group that has been there for 50 years and has never amounted to anything.
Jon Atack has provided us a marvelous exclusive. He's provided us with copies of letters he received from a man name Don Rogers in the mid-1980s. And we've asked historian Chris Owen to help us understand just how valuable these letters are and what's in them, followed by the first of three Rogers letters in full (we'll post the second and third tomorrow). It's quite a week of early Dianetics history here at the Bunker!
Over the course of about a year in 1984-85, Scientology's leading unauthorized historian, Jon Atack, exchanged a series of letters with one of Hubbard's earliest collaborators, Don Rogers. Atack had reached out to Rogers in the course of researching "Hubbard Through the Looking Glass," a manuscript that later became his book A Piece of Blue Sky – a title prompted by a statement that Rogers attributed to Hubbard. The letters, which the Bunker can now publish following Rogers' 2003 death, provide many insights into the earliest days of Dianetics and Scientology.
Rogers was a young electrical engineer when he met Hubbard in 1949, just as Hubbard was in the process of developing Dianetics. He was a member of the "Bay Head Circle," a small group of collaborators who met at Hubbard's beach cottage at Bay Head, New Jersey. The others involved were John W. Campbell, the science-fiction editor; Art Ceppos, the head of the Hermitage House publishing firm; Dr. Joseph Winter, a Michigan physician and contributor to Campbell's magazine Astounding; and Sara Hubbard, who played a major but regrettably poorly documented role in the development of Dianetics. All of the group, plus a lawyer named C. Parker Morgan, became the board of directors of the Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation established in Elizabeth, New Jersey in April 1950.
The mysterious drone pilot is back!
Last year, a person who took great pains to remain anonymous approached us with a series of amazing 4K videos that were taken from a drone over several of Scientology's secret locations around the western United States.
Over a period of weeks we made them public, and the drone pilot indicated on his YouTube channel that the remarkable footage was free for anyone to download or use. Since then, we have seen his footage show up in television shows about the church. But it's here at the Underground Bunker that you get to see his work first.
"The workers there, the manager and other staff were Scientologists, there was a great deal of Scientology paraphernalia found throughout the facilities," said Trevor Lynch, assistant district attorney.
Lynch said deputies found two patients there, one of whom had a mental illness. The other was being treated for substance abuse.
"This facility was not capable for caring for the individuals it was taking in," Lynch said.
Three people were eventually arrested. Dennis Flamond and Hans Lytle were charged with false imprisonment, and another man, Marc Vallieres was charged with facilitation of kidnapping.
Did you read this headline and think I was accusing The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) of opposing the LGBT community? That's the problem. A small anti-LGBT group called the "American College of Pediatricians (ACP)" created a name that is easily confused with the AAP, the largest pediatrics organization in the country.
It is disturbing that news organizations and physicians are citing the "ACP" as a reputable source. The ACP is a small group of physicians that left the AAP after the AAP released a 2002 policy statement explaining that gay pose no risk to adopted children. The Southern Poverty Law Center has repeatedly labeled the ACP as an anti-LGBT hate group that promotes false claims and misleading scientific reports. Chillingly, the group has moved beyond its online reports, deeper into the political arena. They have gone as far as filing amicus briefs to U.S. courts for major cases concerning LGBT rights. Their reports have gained traction, despite clear criticism from expert physicians in the field. When asked about the ACP, Dr. Scott Leibowitz, medical director of the THRIVE program at Nationwide Children's Hospital and chair of the and issues committee for the American Academy of Child & Adolescent , did not parse his words, "It can hardly be a credible medical organization when it consistently chooses to ignore science and the growing evidence base that clearly demonstrates the benefits of affirmative care with LGBT youth across all ages."
Below are a few false statements propagated by the ACP that have the potential to harm LGBT youth:
2017-05-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
WISE is one of the lost step-children of the scientology hierarchy. Out there in left field, the only real value they have had is to pull a couple of dental/chiropractic consultants under their wing and then pump them to get new people using LRH tech and then onto the Bridge to collect FSM Commissions.
The CO WISE WUS sends out a constant stream of useless articles about random subjects, and I have not commented on them before.
But it suddenly struck me what is wrong with his pitch. Oh so very wrong.
2016-05-08, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer your questions based on what is left for me in the comments section of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com.
Link to the Tony Ortega article here
This week, the questions I answer are:
2016-05-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Is David Miscavige the Chosen One?
Miscavige has certainly run a concerted campaign for years to convince everyone L. Ron Hubbard personally selected him to take over after his passing.
The scientology.org official hagiography of Miscavige includes to this day this out of context quote about "real scientologists" that has been reinterpreted as if it means David Miscavige.
Scientology may be shrinking, but Rod Keller points out that at least its commends are expanding! It's time again for Rod's Scientology Social Media Review. He's made a specialty of hunting down the odd and wonderful things Scientologists post to the 'net. He's a chronicler who piece by piece builds a highly detailed assessment of what Scientology is doing around the world, and this is what he found for us this week…
Scientologists are being urged to save the dates of May 21st and May 28th for the opening of the BudapestIdeal Org in Hungary. The building is the former headquarters of Pentair, a manufacturer of heating cables and valves, and is within a block of the Danube River on the west side of the city.
Los Topos rescue workers and other Scientology Volunteer Ministers continued to work in earthquake-stricken Ecuador this week. Below, Los Topos receive thanks from the deputy mayor of Guayaquil, Doménica Tabacchi. Bottom photo, the team meets television personality Luzmila Nicolalde.
Over the past couple of weeks, we've been posting segments from a secretly-recorded audiotape that captures a Sea Org executive, Andres Rodriguez, talking to a group of Scientologists about their courses. We've posted three portions of the recording so far — part 1, part 2, part 3.
The tape gives us a rare glimpse inside a Scientology "org" and what it's like to face the challenges of the "Bridge to Total Freedom."
In particular, we hear Rodriguez complain about the way students have been cutting corners in the "Survival Rundown," a set of processes that have been given special emphasis by Scientology leader David Miscavige. Although they occur relatively early in a Scientologist's career, many high-level members have been asked to take or retake the "SRD." As we reported recently, one of our sources inside the church told us that all of his friends who were "OT 8's" — the highest achievement on the Bridge, which can take half a million dollars or more to reach — were now working through the SRD.
Narconon believes that you can sweat out the toxins present in your body due to your addiction, a premise refuted by many prominent toxicologists. So, if you enter this program you can expect to spend up to five hours a day sweating for no real discernable purpose. You will also be expected to ingest a variety of vitamins (niacin in particular), minerals and a special drink called Cal Mag. While claiming to be a non-religious program not associated with the Church of Scientology, you will be expected to study and learn all about L. Ron Hubbard and his teachings.
Narconon has been the subject to allegations of fraud and wrongful death suits due to their unproven methods throughout the United States. In 2013, they had to surrender their license to Georgia state officials after complaints of insurance fraud and that the program was operating illegally as a residential unit. Three patients at the Oklahoma Arrowhead center died between 2011 and 2012. Lawsuits have been filed in all three cases. Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop went as far as to say, "My recommendation about detoxification is to keep away from it. You don't need it. I'm not sure it does what this book describes. It's dangerous. I don't think L. Ron Hubbard has credibility in the scientific world. The author's suggestions about detoxification can be detrimental to your health."
Further, Kent says the film could change the ways academics study Scientology, particularly when it comes to using testimony from former members, which he says academia is often quick to dismiss. "There has been a very odd but persistent reaction against using the accounts of former members of Scientology in academic work," he says. "They can be seen as disgruntled former members. And I've used accounts of former members and have had others attempt to discredit me. Of course [the former members] could be lying, but it's up to experts [academics] to corroborate what they say." Kent hopes Going Clear might encourage academics to take these various perspectives more seriously.
Kent tells Maclean's he believes the biggest misconception about Scientology is that it's even a religion at all. "I define it as a multi-national conglomerate, only one part of which is religious," says Kent. But he doesn't go so far as to call it a cult. "I'm more concerned about groups that cause harm regardless of what sort of label we put on them. And that's the sort of thing Going Clear is about."
Posted below on the Scientology Money Project is a document from the IRS' website. Entitled Illegality and Public Policy Considerations, the document is authored by Jean Wright and Jay H. Rotz, the authors offer the following information:
"All organizations seeking exemption under 501(c)(3) must conform to certain fundamental legal principles applicable to all charitable organizations. Treas. Reg. 1.501(c)(3)-1(d)(2); Rev. Rul. 67-325, 1967-2 C.B. 113, 116-7. See also Rev. Rul. 71-447, 1971-2 C.B. 230; Rev. Rul. 75-231, 1975-1 C.B. 158. One of these basic charitable principles is that charitable organizations may not engage in behavior that is illegal or violates public policy.
"The Service views illegality as one of the criteria by which an organization's activities are evaluated. Rev. Rul. 80-278, 1980-2 C.B. 175, established a three-part test to determine whether an organization's activities will be considered permissible under 501(c)(3)
US Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) The Underground Bunker has obtained an e-mail written by Ron Wyden, the senior US Senator from Oregon, who has formally asked the Internal Revenue Service to explain why the Church of Scientology enjoys tax exempt status, 21 years after that exemption was granted in a controversial decision.
Wyden's inquiry comes at the same time that we have also confirmed with a former member of the church that IRSCriminal Investigation special agents sought and held a meeting with him recently to gather background on Scientology's activities - including hundreds of pages of documents from Monique Rathbun's harassment lawsuit in Texas and the federal fraud lawsuit brought by Luis and Rocio Garcia in Florida.
After two decades of inaction, could the IRS finally be ready to revisit its legendary capitulation to Scientology leader David Miscavige?
CLEARWATER -- -The Church of Scientology recently suggested to the city that property near the Bank of America building downtown could be a good location for a parking garage.
The city and Clearwater Marine Aquarium beg to differ.
For months, the city and church have sparred over the location for a parking garage to service an influx of tourists to CMA's planned aquarium on the waterfront site where City Hall now stands.
2013-05-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Our man in Sweden, Dan Koon, has sent us a copy of the "Dead Agent Pack" being distributed to those who dare question the wisdom of David Miscavige's Ideal Org Strategy.
As D/A packs go, it leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, it is really lame.
It could be Exhibit 1 in a presentation to prove that Ideal Orgs are a squirrel, off policy "bright idea" by the Chairman of the MEST Universe.
2010-05-08, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
I recently got back in touch with someone I'd known from the "old days," a person who was heavily involved in ABLE activities for many years. ABLE, for those not familiar with the acronym, is the Association for Better Living and Education, the Scientology entity responsible for overseeing the "secular applications of L. Ron Hubbard's work." They run Narconon, Applied Scholastics, Criminon, and The Way to Happiness Foundation.
We've been having an interesting discussion about ABLE and what really goes on behind the scenes. My friend, like most ABLE staff I've known, was sincere and dedicated, with a genuine desire to help others. And the ABLE programs have been key in giving Scientologists the hope and reassurance that what they were doing in Scientology really was making a difference in society – with drugs, education and improving morals. Even at the Int Base, when life around me was insane and chaotic, I would reassure myself that it was all worth it, in part because of these ABLE programs.
And the Church certainly features these programs in their PR and promotion efforts. If you look at the latest version of their website, you see the ABLE programs bannered across the top, as "Global Social Betterment and Humanitarian Programs Sponsored by the Church of Scientology." Tommy Davis, when confronted by accusations of Church abuse, violence and human rights violations, is quick to bring these programs up, questioning the motives of anyone who would dare "attack" an organization that is doing this much good in society.
The South Australian Opposition leader, Martin Hamilton-Smith, has responded to legal demands from Premier Mike Rann by making a public apology for the Scientology affair.
Mr Rann's lawyers have written to Mr Hamilton-Smith demanding a full public apology for falsely claiming the Labor Party had solicited donations from an organisation linked to the Church of Scientology.
Mr Hamilton-Smith had used forged documents to base the claims, which he now acknowledges were fakes.
There are problems with how security for a Nashville Scientology event was handled, and laws appear to have been broken.
The security firm hired by the Church of Scientology was Hayes Security on Gallatin Road. A representative of the firm said that the matter is being turned over to its attorneys.
Mr Clarkson acknowledged that the band had free booklets - entitled 'The Way to Happiness' - available at their gigs but insisted the publication was a "non religious, non political, common sense moral code and we usually have them on our CD table."
One Derry shopper who watched the Jive Aces perform in Foyleside, claimed: "I think it's terrible the band was exploiting a major entertainment event as a platform to promote their 'Church'. I would love to have stayed and listened to the music, but once me and my sister saw the flyers, we bolted. It was really off-putting."
ROBERTS: It's 27 minutes after the hour. Scientology has some prominent followers and some very vocal critics. But now some of those critics are anonymous taking their campaign to the Internet. CNN's Kareen Wynter explains.
KAREEN WYNTER, CNN GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Church of Scientology has had its share of critics over the years and more than its share of negative press. The church has always fought back, but now the critics have harnessed a new flat form, the Internet. And Scientology may have a harder time defending itself.
Groups like this one called Anonymous are using cyberspace to challenge the church.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are anonymous. We are legion.
WYNTER: The group's postings on YouTube generated heavy traffic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want you to be aware of the very real dangers of Scientology.
Part 1 of 2 (Shortened to fit youtube and to keep the listener from going absolutely fucking nuts listening to LRH bullshit) Hubbard does an unexpected lecture on hypnosis in 1954. Scientology is hypnosis sold as therapy or religion. Scientology does just what hubbard claims hypnotists do.
What Scientology really is - The Ultimate Scam
Part 2 of 2 (Shortened to fit youtube and to keep the listener from going absolutely fucking nuts listening to LRH bullshit)
Hubbard does an unexpected lecture on hypnosis in 1954. Scientology is hypnosis sold as therapy or religion. Scientology does just what hubbard claims hypnotists do.
According to Roecker, who first recounted the incident on LA's KROQ-FM's Kevin and Bean Show, the invective started to fly after he made several references to Scientology theology and its reported central tenant, the story of Xenu. Roecker says Jenna repeatedly said "What crimes have you committed?" and began screaming at Roecker, "Have you raped a baby?" as motorists on Los Feliz Boulevard drove by in snarled traffic.
The Church of Scientology was not mentioned at the televised meeting, but commissioners have said they are uncomfortable with the church being named in a visible way on the library's walls.
They voted unanimously to accept money from anyone but to recognize donors only discreetly on a small plaque instead of naming rooms or areas after large contributors.
St. Petersburg has been without a cruise ship in its port since the Boheme was purchased by the Church of Scientology last year. The city's search for a replacement ship has been limited by the location of the port, which is too shallow to accommodate many cruise ships.
In an interview Thursday, Mayor Robert Ulrich said the Fiesta Princessa appears to be an ideal replacement.
"It's bigger than the Boheme," he said, and, as a converted ferryboat, "it has a shallower draft."