Poor David Miscavige. As if he doesn't already have enough problems with declining membership, horrible press, and all those nagging questions about banishing his wife to a small mountain compound.
At least he has his whales. As we've pointed out innumerable times, Scientology's dictatorial leader really can't do anything about people giving up on him and leaving Scientology, but what he can focus on is his loyal and wealthy donors who turn over incredible sums of money. They're the ones Miscavige has to convince that Scientology is a going concern, and he really doesn't care what the rest of us think. Bad press? Who cares, as long as the whales are convinced that new "Ideal Orgs" mean Scientology is expanding.
We've seen more people than ever turning over millions to Miscavige, and some of them have done it in very creative ways. Two of the biggest whales, Trish Duggan and Doug Dohring, for example, have found ways to use the stock price of Humira's manufacturer and profits from the ABC Mouse program to funnel money to Scientology.
On July 4, three activists in matching white shirts posed for photos outside Cafe Frida, a vegan restaurant in the Quebec city of Trois-Rivières, and posted them to their personal Facebook pages with a message that said: "Three guardians of QUEBEC at the very heart of the antifascist neighborhood sadly no tifafa [antifa] present."
A separate post put up by the men shows posters on the cafe's exterior advertising an upcoming far-right rally in the city. The caption reads: "We went by that spot in Trois-Rivières. Sadly we didn't have the luck to meet any of you." The post also says the cafe would be offering free drinks during the rally, which is untrue, according to the cafe owner.
The men are or have previously been associated with anti-immigrant groups Storm Alliance and Soldiers of Odin. In another photo the men say they say they scared the non-existent Antifa away. VICE reached out to one of the men who posted the images on Facebook but did not receive a response.
2019-07-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Scientology likes to say they are not trying to compete with psychiatry. But the reality is that despite Hubbard saying he had developed the Introspection Rundown and thus gotten rid of the last reason for psychiatry to exist, Hubbard's policy remains that no "institutional" cases or people with "psych histories" are allowed in scientology orgs.
In 1972 Hubbard was intent upon using "Big League Sales" to get governments to offload psychiatry and take on scientology.
No explanation though about what to do with those in institutions or needing treatment for severe mental illnesses? Perhaps his thought was to follow his own advice in Science of Survival:
Maxime Bernier, leader of the right-wing People's Party of Canada, appeared posing with a militant anti-immigrant group during the Calgary Stampede last weekend.
The Northern Guard is an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim group, linked to violent clashes across the country including a recent brawl inside Toronto's Eaton Centre.
A photo of Bernier posing with the Northern Guard was uploaded to Facebook over the weekend by the leader of the hate group's Alberta chapter.
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In March 2017, journalist Tony Ortega reported that the actor and Scientologist Danny Masterson was being investigated by the LAPD on multiple counts of sexual assault.
Ortega's bombshell story referenced a Victim B, who filed a report with the LAPD in 2004 claiming that Masterson sexually assaulted her in 2003. A copy of Victim B's report alleges that, "The victim woke up while the suspect was having sex with her and struggled with him. The suspect choked the victim until she passed out." Masterson has vehemently denied the allegations.
While Masterson was eventually fired from Netflix's The Ranch in response to the sexual-assault allegations and subsequent controversy, the case against him is ongoing. In a November 2017 report, Huffington Post's Yashar Ali wrote that the investigation "has inexplicably stalled." Citing five sources "inside and outside the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office," Ali reported that there were four accusers involved in the case, and that, "At least three of the women who have accused him of rape were also Scientologists and reported the incidents to the Church of Scientology at the time."
Amy Zimmerman at the Daily Beast dropped a bomb on the Danny Masterson story last night. She revealed that the LAPD and Los Angeles District Attorney's office have copies of letters written by the mother of one of Masterson's accusers — the woman we're calling "Victim B" — and those letters suggest that in 2004 the Church of Scientology was persecuting two different women who had made rape allegations against Masterson. One of the letters, in fact, was addressed to church leader David Miscavige.
"I have seen [the documents] and believe these are 100 percent authentic," actress Leah Remini told the Daily Beast. "These match exactly everything I learned in Scientology and are consistent with my understanding and experience about how Scientology treats victims of crimes. I believe that there are many more documents contained in Scientology files that are required to be kept by Scientology. Those documents would support every aspect of what these victims recounted."
The letters also corroborate what we've previously reported about the allegations made by two of the four women who have come forward in the LAPD/LADA investigation. We have written at length about what Victim B alleges she experienced on an April night in 2003 at a party at Danny Masterson's house, and the punishment that the Church of Scientology later put Victim B through, requiring her to spend tens of thousands of dollars on expensive interrogations.
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Jon Atack graciously agreed to read and comment on a 1973Ingo Swann essay on Scientology that was recently dug up by our intrepid researcher, R.M. Seibert. We knew he'd have some interesting things to say about this presentation, which Swann aimed for fellow researchers into the parapsychological.
In the early 90s, I became intrigued by the exploits of the Spoonbenders – a group of "psychics" who were employed by US Intelligence agencies. Uri Geller and two more "psychics" were the subject of a series of tests made by two physicists at the "Stanford Research Institute" (SRI) – which sounds as if it were affiliated with Stanford University – it wasn't.
A very successful book – Mind-Reach – was published in 1976. The late, great Martin Gardner critiqued the evidence offered for paranormal activity in the SRI tests. I was fascinated that two of the "psychics" – Ingo Swann and Pat Price – and one of the two experimenters – Hal Puthoff – were Scientologists. Gardner claimed that ten members of the support team were also involved in Scientology.
2017-07-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Besides the obvious, what do all these groups have in common?
The Foundation for a Drug-Free World.
The Way to Happiness Foundation.
The answer: they're all businesses under the auspices of Scientology with the goal of driving new people into their orgs and missions. Sure they have other, lesser purposes, but their ultimate objective is to create new Scientologists, who in turn, theoretically add to the coffers of the mother church.
This week, lawyer Scott Pilutik and I discuss the Church of Scientology in the legal arena, taking up various questions and points that people have asked us about Scientology in court.
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"She had a cord tightly wrapped around her neck two times and the coroner could not rule out the fact that she may have been bound together with Marilyn Putt," according to the release. "The cause of death appears to be ligature strangulation, with the time of death being estimated at six to eight weeks prior to her body being found."
Investigators believe both victims were kidnapped and held captive for approximately three months at an unknown location most likely between South Lake Tahoe and Placerville.
Putt was closely associated with several leading members of the Church of Scientology at the time of her death, and investigators ask anyone associated with the church in the South Lake Tahoe area in the late 1970s and early 1980s to contact chief investigator Robert Cosley
Once again we've turned to our money man, John P, to help us dive into some interesting Scientology documents that have turned up in the Netherlands. Scientology is normally very secretive about its finances, but in a couple of countries, like Ireland and the Netherlands, local laws force them to open up their books. That gives us a rare chance to see how the local organizations are faring. And once again, the outlook is not good. In this case, the Scientology drug rehab center in Holland submitted its financial report for 2015, and we turned it over to John P…
A couple of weeks ago, I took a deep Global Capitalism HQ numbers dive into the 2013 and 2014 financial results of Narconon's operation in the Netherlands. That Dutch organization has now filed its 2015 results, squeaking in just ahead of the July 1 deadline.
Caveat: In this assessment I've taken a very quick look at the numbers to see what's changed since 2014. Note that I wrote this under tremendous time pressure in the car while between appointments, and I worked from memory of the 2014 numbers in several places. This is typical and accepted practice for a first cut on a set of financial results at Global Capitalism HQ, and the key is to get the direction of the argument correct even if the details are slightly off; I'm confident that I've done that here even if I've misremembered some of the 2014 numbers slightly.
2016-07-08, Press Release, US Commission on International Religious Freedom
Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 7 signed into law a package of anti-terrorism measures the Russian State Duma passed in late June. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) strongly condemns these measures. Under the guise of confronting terrorism, they would grant authorities sweeping powers to curtail civil liberties, including setting broad restrictions on religious practices that would make it very difficult for religious groups to operate. On June 23, President Putin signed into law yet another problematic measure: It authorizes the police to arrest people suspected of violating "generally accepted norms of social behavior," thereby giving authorities another weapon to use against disfavored groups, including religious organizations.
(Credit: John Russo) In April, we announced a new project by Aaron Smith-Levin and Nick Lister. The two former Church of Scientology members were planning a YouTube channel that would feature the stories they felt were left out of Alex Gibney's movie Going Clear — the stories of young people who had grown up in the church.
Smith-Levin and Lister had each featured prominently in stories about families being ripped apart by Scientology's "disconnection" policy. But they said they wanted to talk with other young Scientologists to get the full story about what it's like to grow up in the organization.
Now, they have the first video to show at their new channel, which they call "Growing Up in Scientology." It's a short portion from Aaron's interview of Nick, and it features a fun and disturbing anecdote about John Travolta looking for a chiropractic adjustment at 2 in the morning...
Mr. Saldarriaga's efforts at cooperation began shortly after federal authorities first approached him in March 2014 and said they had evidence that he paid an overseas hacker-for-hire firm to illegally obtain passwords to email accounts for dozens of individuals. Mr. Saldarriaga agreed to help the authorities and recorded several phone calls with one person who had hired him to hack into several personal email accounts, the unsealed court filings show.
The unidentified person that Mr. Saldarriaga taped the phone calls with is described by federal authorities as being one of his main clients in the filing. The client is said to be someone who has done investigations on behalf of the Church of Scientology, said people briefed on the case but not authorized to speak publicly.
Nothing in the newly released filings publicly identifies the church as being associated with Mr. Saldarriaga. But the day before he was sentenced, federal prosecutors filed victim impact statements from two people who have been outspoken critics of Scientology and were told by federal authorities that their email accounts may have been illegally hacked by Mr. Saldarriaga.
New York Times reporter Matthew Goldstein revealed today that before he was sentenced to prison on June 26, private investigator Eric Saldarriaga told Federal District Judge Richard J. Sullivan that he feared for his safety if it became public that he'd tried to help the FBI investigate his clients. In particular, he'd recorded phone calls with his main client, who Saldarriaga now worried "has the means and motive and the opportunity financially to do anything, and to cause great distress to my family."
That statement was made in the judge's chambers, and was recorded in a transcript which was unsealed this week. But Judge Sullivan kept hidden the name of the person Saldarriaga was referring to and what outfit the person worked for. But Goldstein now says that the Times has learned that the organization employing Saldarriaga's client was none other than the Church of Scientology.
The Underground Bunker can now officially say, we told you so.
2015-07-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
See the article on Tony Ortega's blog expanding on the new story in the New York Times published this afternoon.
The footbullets just keep rolling out.
The "PI handlers" — from Warren McShane to Linda Hamel and Neil O'Riley must be having a pretty rough go of things. This flap. The Ron Miscavige Snr flap. Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold finally coming in out of the cold. The Monique Rathbun fiasco of bumbling PIs. The bird house camera surveillance and buying my garbage caught on video. Just one disaster after another.
2015-07-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
From the scientology.org website, the conclusory statement of the new story about the magnificence of the Bogota ideal org:
This is simply a lie.
Bold, unapologetic and flatly untrue, this is scientology at its worst. Practicing the oft-quoted Hitler "Big Lie" technique:
2014-07-08, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Once a close-knit ideological group initiate has bought into the proposition that it behooves him to be a member he is indoctrinated into what a member does. He then gets busy doing what a good member does in the pursuit of having the benefits of membership.
It seems that all cults have one vital type of 'to do' indoctrination in common. That is, the member learns to a high level of certitude who the perceived or designated enemies of that group are and he accepts a share of responsibility for taking action against those enemies. The less rational the group the greater the importance is given to the enemy and the more overwhelmingly destructive the enemy is portrayed as. The less the group's principles and objectives stand on their own merit the more emphasis is put on remaining ever vigilant for signs of enemy encroachment and upon destroying perceived enemies. Conquering the enemy can become the group's raison d'etre. Sometimes the highest level of 'reason' you will hear from some cult members is a rant about the evils of this or that nemesis as the answer to virtually any tough question. That is a particular strain of denialism.
Irrespective of the degree of apparent effectiveness of a cult's teachings in isolation, this enemy indoctrination feature begins a mental reversal that wipes out any potential positive and makes the member a mental prisoner and potentially dangerous. Some groups preach that ultimate enlightenment or salvation cannot be reached absent elimination of the enemy. Some extreme cults even talk in terms of the need to 'obliterate' or 'annihilate' entire classes of people in order for themselves or humankind to survive. Such groups clearly are of concern to family and friends of members and to society at large for obvious reasons. It is not hard to see the negative social effects that a band of such self-righteous zealots marching to the beat of the same paranoid drum could cause. But, ultimately the adverse effect on the cult soldier individually is more predictably certain.
He's like a machine. Since late January, Las Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton has filed sixteen federal fraud lawsuits against Scientology's drug rehab network. The latest was filed this weekend, and we have the details.
In February of this year, Jerry Courson went looking for a suitable rehab program for his wife, Christy, and found himself talking to a Narconon "Fresh Start" recruiter, in this case about Narconon's facility in Fort Collins, Colorado, which is also known as "A Life Worth Saving."
2014-07-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
They're pitching fiction books at Maiden Voyage.
What is the theory behind this? The "church" celebrating the "25th Anniversary" of the Freewinds is pitching merchandise that has NOTHING to do with scientology.
It makes three things clear:
2013-07-08, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
See the story posted this morning on Tony Ortega's blog Scientology Celebrity Rebellion.
I have heard a lot of the same things Ortega reports. The drama surrounding Leah has been ongoing for some time, and in what has become typical Miscavige, he has now turned her into an avowed enemy of his squirreling and heavy-handed efforts to force her into line, including attempts to control her by working over her immediate family.
I have known Leah for many years. She is one of the most down-to-earth, honest and truly caring celebrities I came across in Scientology. Funny, endearing and abrasive all at once, she does not sit quietly when she knows something is wrong. And she is unwilling to keep her mouth shut when she knows injustices are being perpetrated on those who have no voice to speak for themselves. She is acutely aware that if things are a bit "off" in how she is being "handled" then it is probably WAY worse for those who are not accorded "VIP treatment."
Leah, her mother Vicki, and daughter Sofia On Friday, we reported that we'd received a tip King of Queens actress Leah Remini had left the Church of Scientology in an angry fit. We asked our tipsters for more information, and we got it.
Over the weekend, we were contacted by several sources with detailed inside knowledge who tell us Remini is breaking away because of the way leader David Miscavige is treating church members, Sea Org workers, and Scientology itself.
According to our sources, Remini has been distancing herself from what she refers to as the church's "corrupt management" for a few years. And it started with a dramatic scene.
We just confirmed with a clerk at the Pinellas County, Florida circuit court that Denise Gentile — who was facing DUI and pot possession charges — pleaded guilty today to the lesser charge of reckless driving, and agreed to attend DUI school and pay several court costs and fines.
Last week, the Tampa Bay Times reported that on January 22, Gentile was arrested as she was driving her Dodge Durango erratically outside a rental property she owned. Under the driver's seat was found a black vinyl bag with nine marijuana "blunts," and Gentile was found to have a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit.
But more importantly, Times writer Joe Childs dug into the arrest's background, painting a portrait of Gentile as a troubled property owner who had taken marijuana for rent from tenants running a drug house. That story ran on the front page of the daily newspaper that serves the area where Scientology has its spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida — it was a publicity disaster for the church, whose leader, David Miscavige, is Denise Gentile's twin brother.
A plea deal with Pinellas prosecutors has ended an awkward chapter for the Church of Scientology and its long crusade against drugs, allowing the twin sister of the church's worldwide leader to avoid a marijuana conviction.
St. Petersburg police arrested Denise Gentile in January on charges of DUI, possession of marijuana and failure to yield. But, after negotiations between her attorney and the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office, she pleaded guilty Monday to a reduced charge of reckless driving. She did not appear in court, and a formal finding of guilt will be withheld.
The daughter and son-in-law of wrongly imprisoned publican Frank Shortt are in the upper echelons of the Irish wing of the Church of Scientology, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
The executive ranks of the Irish mission of the highly secretive religious organisation -- that counts Tom Cruise and John Travolta as members -- includes Zabrina Collins (nee Shortt) and her husband, Gerard Collins.
The revelation comes as the church braces itself for another high-profile legal battle with a former member claiming he was a victim of emotional distress and was defrauded of €100,000.
2012-07-08, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
The following is my opinion along with the facts I base it on.
The Cruise camp's only three utterances since the divorce filing of Holmes were:
1) First, reports that Tom Cruise was 'suprised' by the filing and was 'saddened.'
2012-07-08, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Hubbard and his third wife, Mary Sue. UPDATE (July 9): The New York Post is reporting that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have signed a private divorce settlement, and put out a statement emphasizing the mutual respect they have for their "respective beliefs." This only convinces us that the predictions in this story are likely to be true.
Just talked to Marty Rathbun and asked him about the statement put out by Holmes and Cruise: "It's carefully crafted. It's vague," he says. "They think they're going to get away with that statement, but I don't think it's good enough. There's too much interest in it from the press."
I asked him if he thought, now that the divorce is over, the press will stop caring about what's happening in Scientology. "I don't know if the press is going to stay interested or not, but I think we're past the tipping point now. Nobody's walking into a Scientology center to join up now," he says, and we discussed all of the crises facing the church. More later. For now, here's the rest of our story from yesterday predicting the outcome of the divorce.
Alexander Jentzsch, the 27-year-old son of Scientology president Heber Jentzsch, died last week after complaining of a fever the night before, leaving his grieving mother, Karen de la Carriere, without any closure.
For Ms de la Carriere left the Church some two years ago, and because of her decision, she said her son was forced to disconnect from her - an act which she has labelled 'savage.'
Ms de la Carriere revealed to MailOnline the tragic life of her only child, saying: 'For two years, he was gone from my life, and a few weeks ago his life fell apart…and now he's dead.'
Attorney Kennan Dandar wants to represent a woman suing the Church of Scientology over the suicide of her son. The woman wants Dandar to represent her.
So what's the problem? Nothing, a Florida federal court ruled last year, issuing an injunction barring a state court from kicking Dandar off the case. But on Thursday, a federal appeals court found that -- despite worries about limiting the mother's right to choose counsel -- the federal court could not force the state court to let Dandar continue on the case.
2011-07-08, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Since Miscavige's madness continues unabated despite growing exposure, I can only imagine his "rationale" goes something like this: "I don't care how crazy the public thinks we look, I want them to think we are totally nuts, I want them to think we will destroy ourselves if we have to in order to destroy anyone who defies me. I want everyone afraid of me again."
Sorry Charlie, by the time this absurdity reaches international audiences - precisely where this train appears to be headed under your guidance - the entire world will consider you to be what you have become, a travesty*.
2011-07-08, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
A friend to Runnin' Scared sent us some very interesting photos from the site of a protest yesterday outside the Pfizer building on East 42nd Street.
She noticed right away a reference to everyone's favorite Scientologist, Tom Cruise, in one of the signs, which read, "Tom Cruise Not a Kook! Psychiatric Abuse Epidemic Is Real!"
Other signs made reference to various psychiatric drugs, which Cruise famously ran down when he went fairly loony in 2005. (Couch jumping. Surely you remember.)