Laura DeCrescenzo's legal team has answered Scientology's latest delaying tactic in her 2009 forced-abortion lawsuit, and attorneys John Blumberg and Ave Buchwald state up front what's really at stake as Scientology asks for a stay in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Scientology wants Laura's nine-year state lawsuit put on hold as the church pursues a long-shot appeal of a long-shot federal lawsuit it filed in order to throw up a roadblock before Laura's scheduled August trial. That federal suit was dismissed, but the church wants to pursue its appeal even though that might delay Laura's trial for years.
"The federal court dismissed the action and [Scientology] appealed, triggering a process that can take years before final resolution. The issue is whether [Scientology]'s use of the federal system, after many years of voluntary participation in the Superior Court, is a subterfuge whose purpose is to further delay plaintiff from her day in court," Laura's attorneys write.
2018-05-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Scientology often claims that it does NOT require money before auditing services will be provided. Anyone who has ever been in a scientology org KNOWS this is a lie.
But scientology continues to make this claim, because it makes them sound "humanitarian" and beneficent. It is also one of the lies they foisted off on the IRS, claiming a large percentage of their services were delivered "free of charge." Of course, they did not mention that "free services" are "introductory" services, the ones designed to get you in the door and sitting in front of a "registrar" who gets you to pay for your first "real" service (still inexpensive compared to what is to come). Or they are free "tape plays" or "Sunday Services" — that nobody attends.
Scientology even claims they have a "Free Scientology Center" where auditing is provided at no charge to charity cases.
We've seen tonight's 2-hour A&E special episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, and we can tell you that it accomplishes much more than simply tiding fans over as they await the start of season two.
When Aftermath premiered last November, it was the network's most-watched first episode in a couple of years. It went on to average about 1.6 million viewers per episode as A&E scrambled to take advantage of its popularity by shooting a couple of special hour-long extra episodes for a season total of nine.
The second of those two special episodes featured author Lawrence Wright, attorney Ray Jeffrey, and cult expert Steve Hassan answering questions in a group setting. Tonight's new 2-hour special follows that format as well, this time with six special guests.
2016-05-29, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer questions from viewers left in the comments section of my Q&A videos or sent by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I take up are:
(1) David Miscavige has a reported financial worth of $50 million dollars (U.S.) as reported by many agencies (I simply typed in "David Miscavige net worth" in the Google searchbar to find this figure) - how is this possible if he takes a minimal salary as head of the Church? How has he amassed this fortune? I really can't fathom it. Do you think this is an accurate figure? Or is it a "public" figure and his real wealth is more, hidden away in other countries, etc, perhaps real estate, gold bullion (as one book theorized) or other assets? Does he earn or take a commission on donations to the International Association of Scientologists?
(2) I wondered if you might address the ability of public Scientologists to restrict what they see or read, at the behest of other Scientologists and the organisation and how their standards in real life aren't applied to their religion. This is true of many believers, where standards of evidence for taking medicines, buying stocks or how safe a car is aren't applied to the most important spiritual questions like: is there a god?
It's time again for Rod Keller'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...
Yesterday, the Church of Scientology posted an overhead photo of the chairs it had put out for its grand opening of its new media center in Los Angeles (a cropped version of that photo is shown above). Several of our readers made counts of those chairs, and all came up with an agreement of around 1,000 seats.
In short videos that were posted from the event, attendees could also be seen on balconies and other areas. So, a generous estimate for the total number of people who attended the brief ceremony would be about 2,000. With the foreshortening effect from Scientology's use of wide-angle lenses (and not with Photoshop, as is so often leveled at the church) the crowd looks bigger than that, as you'll see in the photos. But this event is down from the 2,500 people Scientology attracted three years ago for its last really big opening in the US, the November 2013 dedication of the Flag Building in Clearwater, Florida.
2016-05-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Tony Ortega has some excellent material on his blog today about the opening of the SuMP.
A few other/additional/redundant thoughts on this subject.
First, one of the more insane emails ever to come my way, Pasadena org sent this out at 8 pm on Friday night to let everyone know to come to the org at 7am the following morning because "course starts at 8am" — the most important thing about the most important event in the history of scientology, in fact the entire universe, is to keep those student points up and NOT MISS A MINUTE of your "enhancement"!
Moments before I shot this video, something I confessed to an auditor or ethics officer in the 1980's came back to haunt me because this man asked me about it during the festive grand opening proceedings at 4401 W. Sunset Blvd for Scientology Media Productions, in Los Angeles. The audacity for the so-called "church" of scientology to turn its back on me, a former member who called their sanctuaries home for 37-years; I even served in their paramilitary unit, the Sea Org, at PAC Base for two years. So, I turned the table and followed Mr. Parkin as I filmed for the next 30-seconds, asking him to repeat, on camera, what he had just disclosed.
This NASTY man proved, yet again, that if you leave scientology and speak out against it, they will COMB your PC (pre-clear) and ethics folders and use AGAINST you what you confessed to an auditor decades ago. He ticked me off so much that after he chided me for that age-old confession, I followed him while videotaping him, asking him to repeat what he just said for the camera. What happened to the nasty man, you might wonder? Did he repent? Come clean? No, he ran away and told security that I was stalking him!
At the end of the video, he asked an associate of his, Fritz, to videotape me, and I offered my name, rank and serial number.
Contributor Jeffrey Augustine has put together another list for us, and this one gets to the heart of the matter — what, legally, is the Church of Scientology, and how is it still a thing?
We think you'll enjoy this exegesis as Jeff takes us step by step through this examination of how the church exists, on paper at least, as it goes through one of its most difficult periods.
1: What is the Church of Scientology?
2015-05-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The hypocrisy of scientology knows no bounds.
While proclaiming "the psychs" to be the "source of all evil and degradation on planet earth" amidst announcements of programs to "destroy psychiatry", "eradicate psychiatry" and "obliterate psychiatry" and promoting their "Psychiatry, An Industry of Death" "museum/exhibit," apparently psychs are A-OK as long as they are an element of "dealing with an SP."
This practice is known as "Fair Game" — and while the church claims "the policy is canceled", the PRACTICE is demonstrated routinely as a fundamental tenet of scientology. And here we go again.
2015-05-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The Freewinds Business College
Learn how to make money at the "spiritual retreat off the crossroads of the world" also known as "Vulture U".
Make money to "rapidly" move up the "Golden Age of Tech II Bridge" which is much better than the GAG I Bridge. Which leaves the old L. Ron Hubbard Bridge for dead...
2014-05-29, Lindsay Ognoskie, Los Altos Town Crier
Groves said that as of now, Narconon is banned from the district and will remain so unless the program receives clearance from the state. "When the state of California sends an advisory against it, I listen to the state," he said.
Narconon claims its curriculum has been "carefully revised" over the past decade, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle this week. However, the Chronicle – which has covered the school program in depth since 2004 – still found scientific inaccuracies in the current information Narcanon presents to students. One example: That its sauna treatment removes drug residue from body fat.
DRUG rehabilitation centre Narconon has appealed Yarra Ranges Council's March decision to refuse a permit to set up a centre in residential Warburton.
Objectors to the proposal by the Association For Better Living and Education that runs Narconon, were notified this week that an appeal had been lodged with the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal (VCAT) .
There were more than 300 objections to the planning application to move Narconon from East Warburton to the Green Gables Conference Centre in La La Avenue, Warburton.
In 1978, the Church of Scientology paid $2.7 million to acquire a fading resort in the California desert known as Gilman Hot Springs. The 550-acre parcel included a relatively modest house named "Bonnie View" that founder L. Ron Hubbard intended to live in, once it was renovated. But he never got the chance. By the end of February 1980 Hubbard went into permanent hiding elsewhere until his death in 1986.
In Hubbard's absence, the parcel at Gilman Hot Springs became Scientology's secretive "Gold Base," also called "Int Base" because it was the location of Scientology's international 'exec strata' — the top officials of the worldwide organization. And over the past couple of decades, the man who succeeded Hubbard as the church's leader, David Miscavige, has renovated and rebuilt the place primarily as a lavish monument to himself.
Scientology doesn't give tours of Int Base, and aerial shots don't give us access inside its buildings. But accounts by former church executives have given some idea that Miscavige has spent incredible sums to create a palace for himself, particularly an oversized office building for the use of the Religious Technology Center (RTC), the entity that nominally rules Scientology. Miscavige is the RTC's chairman of the board, which is why Scientologists routinely refer to him as "COB" for short. And we say "nominally," because former officials will tell you that RTC is only one of several corporate fictions that make up Scientology's structure. It's really the "Sea Organization" — with Captain David Miscavige at its top — that rules Scientology. And RTC contains the Sea Org's most trusted inner circle. Scientology is an organization obsessed with hierarchy, and no group is more lofty than the tiny circle of Sea Org members who work with Miscavige in the RTC and at its headquarters at Int Base.
Full warrior mode, circa 1990 Last week, Mark "Marty" Rathbun sent us a review copy of his newest book, Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior. We're grateful that he did. After all, we weren't gentle with our review of his first book, a sort of manifesto for the Independent Scientology community that he's such a big part of.
Rathbun was once the second-highest ranking official in the Church of Scientology and oversaw its bruising legal strategies for many years. He had a reputation for being the "enforcer" for a church not known for turning the other cheek.
But after his defection in 2004 and then resurfacing in 2009, Rathbun quickly became, in our estimation, the single greatest threat to the ongoing existence of the church.
A US appeals court ducked key constitutional issues when it rejected lawsuits brought by Marc and Claire Headley against Scientology, the Harvard Law Review argues.
The latest issue of the Harvard Law Review casts a critical eye over last year's appeal court ruling that threw out the case brought by Marc and Claire Headley against Scientology - and it is not impressed.
The court missed an opportunity to clarify the law in a key area, it argues, and in throwing out the Headleys' complaint failed to apply its own arguments consistently.1
2013-05-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
One of our Special Correspondents sent me an excerpt of Miscavige's only print media interview.
It is of interest for a number of reasons, but most significantly, it makes clear why he is scared of the press. He has no control over revising history with the media as he does with his internal public (try to find an event video in any org on the planet that has Heber Jentzsch or Ray Mithoff in it.... they have been written out of history). There is no mystery why the DVDs of his speeches are guarded like the Crown Jewels and extraordinary measures are taken to prevent anyone from recording what he says, even on a public street).
This excerpt is from the profile by Joe Childs and Tom Tobin that appeared in the St Petersburg Times on October 25, 1998 entitled "The Man Behind Scientology."
2013-05-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
They are certainly milking Portland (the first "Scientology City" according to the church) for all its worth.
Funny how they were terrified that this "Monumental Dedication Address" not be filmed by Mark Bunker and not be seen by anyone who is not already indoctrinated into the brilliance of Chairman of the Bored Technology Center. And now it is being shown 100 times as something "monumental." Come on now, if it's that good, shouldn't everyone be able to benefit from hearing/seeing what the great man had to say? Is Scientology only for Scientologists? Why is Miscavige hiding his light under the bushel?
But this reveals something else.
2013-05-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here is something new, though NOT improved.
An "ASKING" seminar to help you with asking for those LARGE, MEANINGFUL donations to get your fundraising done faster
They just get more and more brazen, and apparently totally unconcerned about their image or the fact that they have become known for their money motivation.
2012-05-29, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
A few weeks ago, we noted that Amanda Palmer -- the musician who performs as a solo act and as one half of the Dresden Dolls and Evelyn Evelyn -- made a rather dramatic appearance at Kate Bornstein's book party, held at Dixon Place.
Right about that same time, Palmer was also making news for taking her career in a bold new direction -- unmoored from her record label, she is releasing a new album the indie way, and launched a Kickstarter project to fund production of it. With an initial goal of $100,000, the project is nearing a million dollars from almost 20,000 contributors.
Despite our story that Palmer had showed up to pay homage to Bornstein -- whose book is largely about how she managed to escape from a life in Scientology -- there's been some chatter on the Internet about Palmer, her husband Neil Gaiman, their connections to Scientology, and whether her Kickstarter project was somehow connected to, or would in some way fund, the controversial church. After the jump, see her dramatic answer to that question.
Please watch the movie - documentary TAPPED (2009) on hulu.com After watching this great documentary, ask yourself, is this a safe, clean, tamper proof facility ? If your Real Water tastes a bit dusty, maybe it's the windy Las Vegas weather, or, maybe someone should close the garage doors. This video cost me 345.30 per Team Get Real's Invoice, dated 5-25-2012 @ 3 a.m.
2012-05-29, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Scientology Inc. is providing a 'service' to assist corporate Scientologists 'keep undesirables off your lines.' It promises to 'clean up' everyone's email lists so that there is no one on it that is not a fanatical, kool-aid drinking Miscavige devotee. In true Orwellian style it is being offered by the "IHELP" branch of the corporation. Here is the pitch being distributed from the management building at Hollywood Blvd and Ivar Ave:
Please read the below and follow the directions. This is an
2011-05-29, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
I recently recognized that the Independent Movement has reached a major, stable Milestone.
Some background is in order. Several Corporate Scientology networks (OSA, Snr HCO, etc) have spend unprecedented treasure and resources over the past two years attempting to undermine and cripple the TRUTH that is the Independent Movement.
First and foremost in Miscavige's arsenal has been the DISCONNECT card, buttressed by a small army of OSA Intelligence agents and forest-destroying tomes of "dead agent" (discredit and third party) material aimed at Independents.
2010-05-29, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
I got a kick out of the Church's latest PR effort; a video entitled "Workers Paradise," showing the beautiful, lush, opulent facilities at Golden Era Productions.
In the first place – don't you just love that title? When I first saw it, I thought it was an Anon gag, but no, that's what the Church PR geniuses actually called it, "Workers Paradise." Of course, to anyone but the isolated and brain-dead staff at the Int Base, that calls up images of Stalin's slave labor gulags and purges. Exactly.
The heavily sarcasm-laden announcer voice drones on, saying things like "Does this look like a slave labor camp?" And he asks, "Who wouldn't want to work in a place like this?" Well, apparently no one wants to work there, as the vast Base facilities are shown as entirely devoid of human life. It's decidedly creepy.
At the Paris trial of two Scientology associations and six of its members, the court heard first from the original plaintiff in the case.
A scrum of cameramen and photographers gathered at the entrance to the Chamber 12 of the Paris central court house on Monday, May 25, the first day of the trial.
For the defendants and the plaintiffs, it was an intimidating gauntlet to have to run before getting to the courtroom.
So Wikipedia has banned all Church of Scientology IP addresses "in an unprecedented effort to crack down on self-serving edits," according to the Register and several other outlets. So what's with the title from one of the rare educators who actually thinks Wikipedia has a lot of value?
Wikipedia has banned the Church of Scientology from editing any articles. It's a punishment for repeated and deceptive editing of articles related to the controversial religion. The landmark ruling comes from the inner circle of a site that prides itself on being open and inclusive.
In a 10-1 ruling Thursday, the site's arbitration council voted to ban users coming from all IP addresses owned by the Church of Scientology and its associates, and further banned a number of editors by name. The story was first reported by The Register.
In an unprecedented effort to crack down on self-serving edits, the Wikipedia supreme court has banned contributions from all IP addresses owned or operated by the Church of Scientology and its associates.
Closing out the longest-running court case in Wikiland history, the site's Arbitration Committee voted 10 to 0 (with one abstention) in favor of the move, which takes effect immediately.
The Church of Scientology may have the support of global celebrities such as Tom Cruise to spread its message.
But it can no longer rely on the worldwide web to be so supportive.
Wikipedia - the online encyclopedia and world's eighth most popular website - has banned members of the Church from editing its own information on the site.
According to evidence found by Wikipedia, multiple users with known scientology IP addresses had been "openly editing (Scientology-related articles) from Church of Scientology equipment and apparently coordinating their activities".
The administrators were concerned the edits were "damaging Wikipedia's reputation for neutrality".
Considering the online battle between Scientology and Anonymous et al, it's surprising that the neutrality of pages for Scientology and Church of Scientology are not disputed. But editors using Scientology IP addresses have apparently been abusing the crowd-sourcing encyclopedia, and, according to The Register, Wikipedia has banned all church-owned and -operated IPs.
According to evidence turned up by admins in this long-running Wikiland court case, multiple editors have been "openly editing [Scientology-related articles] from Church of Scientology equipment and apparently coordinating their activities." Leaning on the famed WikiScanner, countless news stories have discussed the editing of Scientology articles from Scientology IPs, and some site admins are concerned this is "damaging Wikipedia's reputation for neutrality."
2009-05-29, Bobbie Johnson, Technology Blog, The Guardian
The internet's war with Scientologists has stepped up a gear, after Wikipedia administrators decided to ban the church from making changes to its site.
After a long debate, the online encyclopedia has decided to block anyone using an internet connection linked to the church from making changes to Wikipedia pages - in order to prevent propaganda changes and what it calls "sock puppet" attacks.
Wikipedia, the giant online encyclopedia anyone can edit, has decided to block contributions from computers owned by the Church of Scientology, saying that it has changed copy to advance its own agenda.
A "longstanding struggle" between admirers of Scientology and critics of the group prompted Wikipedia on Thursday to bar online edits from computer addresses "owned or operated by the Church of Scientology and its associates."
An array of editors believed to have taken sides in a Scientology public-image war at Wikipedia have also been barred from tinkering with topics related to the church.
In a decision that will concern some in Los Angeles, the online encyclopedia has decided to ban all changes to the site made by IP addresses owned or operated by the church and its associates.
According to a report by the Register, the arbitration against the church, the longest in Wikipedia's history, ended this week with a 10-0 decision, one Wikipedian abstaining.
2009-05-29, Douglas MacMillan, Blogspotting, BusinessWeek
On Friday, the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee voted to bar several IP addresses linked to the Church of Scientology from making edits to some or all articles on the site, as The Register first reported. The committee, a senior group of volunteers who frequently review matters related to controversial and high-activity articles, found these users to be in frequent violation of the site's "neutral point of view" principle - defined as content added or edited "as far as possible without bias" - among other policies.
A Wikipedia representative says the verdict was the result of an extended period of review, and that the committee "looked at all sides of the situation" before making a decision. Indeed, the committee also banned some Wikipedia users for making edits to the "Scientology" article that were critical of the organization. Bans on IP addresses are not permanent; site administrators can lift them or make other concessions.
Wikipedia has taken a rather dramatic step to end four year dispute over the Scientology page and more than 430 related articles. The entire IP range of the Church of Scientology as well as the accounts of several contributors are now banned from editing the content in an effort to reduce a "persistent point-of-view pushing and extensive feuding over sources on multiple articles."
A NORTHSIDE Scientologist has defended his religion and criticised those who have held continual protests outside the Church of Scientology in recent months.
An opposition group called 'Anonymous' has demonstrated outside the centre, which is located on Middle Abbey Street, once a month since the start of the year.
This is nothing new. New Religious Movements (NRMs) are usually faced with such suspicion. Especially when referred to as a "cult", as is often the case with Scientology. Interestingly, articles that were outright attacks on the group were rare. The negative reports do not represent the church in a controversial or dangerous manner, but rather in a satirical fashion. There is a clear bias represented and although the media is not informing its readers to fear Scientology, it is stigmatising the group into a joke and presenting its central doctrine as a comic story.
Scientology is clearly losing the PR war, particularly in Australia.
This video was taken during the May 28th mini raid. The man is a staff member at the Scientology Org in Toronto.
During his smoke break he encourages protesters to : "Call Al-Qaeda to get a bomb to (pointing at the org) blow us up".
Hundreds of inmates at one of California's highest-security prisons, where a fourth are mentally ill and most are serving time for violent crimes, have participated in a rehabilitation program affiliated with the Church of Scientology, which rejects traditional mental health care.
The rehab program is offered at Corcoran State Prison by Criminon International, a secular arm of Scientology, a fierce opponent of psychiatry and antipsychotic drugs given to mentally ill prisoners to regulate their impulses and behavior.
A 7-year-old wrongful death lawsuit filed by the estate of Lisa McPherson against the Church of Scientology reached a surprise settlement this week, ending one of the most fiercely contested and enduring legal battles in Pinellas County history.
The out-of-court agreement ends the last remaining legal threat facing the church after the widely publicized 1995 death of McPherson, a Scientologist who died after 17 days in the care of church members in Clearwater.
Terms of the settlement, reached after several days of mediation in a St. Petersburg law office, were confidential.
The worldwide head of the Church of Scientology says he and other top officials were "absolutely outraged" when they concluded that fellow members were committing crimes.
"We don't do illegal things," David Miscavige, the 32-year-old church leader from Los Angeles, testified yesterday.
BOSTON (AP) _ Two men have been charged with trying to extort $100,000 from the Church of Scientology by threats and offers of phony evidence about a $2 million check forged on the account of church founder L. Ron Hubbard.
George T. Kattar, 67, of Methuen, and Harvey Brower, 49, of Swampscott, were charged Wednesday with a count each of attempted extortion, three of wire fraud, one of receiving and disposing of funds moving in interstate commerce, and with making threats of violence against church officials.
The men were named in a federal indictment handed up May 23, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Brackett B. Denniston III.