2018-08-16, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
This week I have an extended talk with former Scientologist and Sea Org member Jeff Hawkins. He oversaw a significant amount of the marketing and promotion for Scientology during the key period of Scientology's biggest success period - the 1970s and 80s. He also lived at the Int Base in Gilman Hot Springs for years and worked directly under David Miscavige (and was physically abused by him). Jeff talks about all of this and more in our chat.
From time to time we're asked if famous jazz bassist Stanley Clarke is still involved in Scientology (and the person asking is usually hoping we'll say no). For a while there, we hadn't seen Stanley showing much involvement in the organization, and so we weren't sure what to say. But then, ten days ago, we put up a three-year-old Scientology music video that clearly showed Clarke taking part, and so we pointed out he's at least still in it to a certain extent.
But then a tipster sent us this article, showing that Clarke is still so gung-ho he showed up on the cover of Scientology's 'Celebrity' magazine earlier this year. Ah, what a shame.
We thought you'd like to see the piece, which is rather more tepid than the article about Laura Prepon that caused a stir three years ago.
Don't know about you, but after last night's episode of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, we were left feeling a bit up in the air. If you remember, at the opening of the episode, we were reminded that at the end of last season, Mike and Leah were talking about meeting with attorneys to get some legal action going in regards to Scientology. And then, over the summer, we were teased with a brief scene about "detectives" showing up to talk to Leah.
Last night, we didn't really learn much about that discussion in Manhattan with an attorney, but we did learn that the subjects of last night's second season premiere episode, Mirriam Francis and Saina Kamula, met recently with Los AngelesPolice Department detectives and brought along Leah Remini and Mike Rinder for support. Cameras weren't allowed in that meeting, and we weren't really sure from last night's episode what to conclude about those talks. So we asked Mirriam and Saina about it directly.
Mirriam: The meeting with the detectives went well. I had first lodged my police statement in Australia in 2012. Over the course of a few years the investigator compiled a thorough and complete case, which he submitted, only to be told it had to be sent to US Authorites as that's where my father currently resides. Since that time I have had no update on my case and the Australian police have not been able to give me any information. So, I felt somewhat re-charged sitting down with the LAPD detectives. A feeling that perhaps now something would happen. The LAPD detectives were lovely. They seemed to listen and care about what we had to say. Our statememts were officially lodged. But nothing much has resulted.
2017-08-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Thanks to everyone for supporting the show last night.
There were too many tweets, messages, FB posts, blog comments here and at the Underground Bunker to possibly keep up, or respond to all the expressions of support and outrage. So let this be a general thanks to everyone.
But thanks beyond all thanks goes to two incredible, brave women, Mirriam Francis and Saina Kamula who stood up, spoke up and gave voice to every victim of similar abuse in scientology. There is MUCH more to their stories as you might imagine. Only so much can fit in the minutes available for the show. I wish we could tell the entire story of every person as the amazing details and information they have is so compelling and so heartbreaking. A&E provides the opportunity to tell these stories, but there are limitations in what can be included and what has to be left out. We have to try to capture the important essence of their stories in 48 minutes. From the reaction I have seen so far, it was powerful.
Underground Bunker reader Once Born, who runs the always informative blog, Scientology Books and Media, got his hands on a fascinating 1951 issue Marvel Science Stories that contains a three-part debate over Dianetics, L. Ron Hubbard's invention that had been released the year before. In this piece, being released simultaneously here and at his blog, Once Born goes through the magazine debate, which featured Hubbard himself.
The Marvel Science Stories that we're looking at today came out in May 1951 — one year after the first article describing "Dianetics" appeared in Astounding Science Fiction. During this time, the editor of Astounding, John W Campbell (initially an enthusiastic convert) had promoted Dianetics for all he was worth.
However, by March 1951 the Dianetics fad had run its course in Astounding (you can follow the rise and fall of Dianetics in Astounding here).
After nearly a decade on the real estate market, Holy City, located in the Santa Cruz mountains near Los Gatos, was purchased for the bargain price of $6 million.
Holy City's new owners are Robert Duggan and Trisha Duggan.
Forbes estimates their worth at $3.2 billion, and they are the Church of Scientology's biggest donors.
"Father Riker was a reverend who was less than stellar and quite a bigot in many respects," Darren Eastman, a neighbor to the property told CBS San Francisco. Trying to avoid the word "cult," Eastman calls the former inhabitants a "religious society," and notes that today, nearby kids often follow the old footpaths, looking for the abandoned zoo.
Now, the property has recently been reclaimed by a wealthy Silicon Valley couple, who, in a weird twist, also happen to be Scientology's biggest donors. Duggan served as CEO of Pharmacyclics, a biotech company, when it sold to AbbVie in 2015 for $21 billion, but even prior to that, Duggan and his artist wife Trish had in 2013 reportedly given $20 million to the church.
2016-08-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Why am I not surprised.
The mystery has been solved: How come the greatest advance in planetary dissemination in history has been unnaturally quiet? Not a single ad has appeared. The airwaves have not been flooded with all the good news about scientology. In fact, it is deafening silence from the center of the universe as we know it. Remember how much hype there was about how this was the "uncorrupted communication line to the billions" and all sorts of other vast overstatements? This is the headline and first paras of the article on scientology.org....
But the explanation of SuMP's invisibility has now been revealed. And it's a familiar one.
2015-08-16, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The show where I answer your questions. Please leave any comments or feedback in the comments section here below. I see everything and want to hear from you, If you can't or don't want to comment here but have a question you would like to ask me, you can also email me at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com.
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Questions asked this week:
While Bob Duggan and Grant Cardone continue their epic journey — Summer of '15, the Bromance — we're busy here in the Underground Bunker chasing down a dozen new leads that came in while we were traveling in Europe.
We have some big stories coming down the pike, including some big announcements, but for now we're researching and making phone calls and sending out emails so you'll have plenty to read in the coming weeks and months.
While we're deep in the weeds in some very complex new Scientology documents, we learned yesterday that Bob Duggan's summer reading fare is a bit lighter, as his bro Grant Cardone explained to a fan who sent in this question…
We want to thank LA Curbed for so generously crediting the Underground Bunker with our scoop last year about Mary Sue Hubbard's Los Feliz house. After a year's delay, it's on the market for the price we said it would be listed at, a cool 2.5 million clams!
You may remember the strange tale we told last summer: Mary Sue Hubbard, the third and final wife of Scientology's founder, was rewarded for her loyalty with a lovely home near Griffith Park in Los Angeles. Mary Sue had taken the fall after the 1977FBI raid on Scientology and the ensuing prosecutions that brought prison sentences for 11 top Guardian Office executives.
L. Ron Hubbard himself was only named an unindicted co-conspirator as his wife took the blame and went to prison in 1983. (He had gone into hiding in 1980 and died in seclusion in 1986.) She served a year of her four-year sentence, and after she got back out, lived out her years in the nice home at 2345 Chislehurst Drive.
2014-08-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This new book is a must read for anyone interested in scientology and what goes on inside the church.
Peter Bonyai recounts his experiences from the day he first walked into a mission in Pecs, Hungary through his life in the Sea Org and ultimately to his departure 10 years later.
I helped Peter by editing the english translation (he wrote it in his native tongue and translated it himself).
Tulsa attorney David Keesling, who represents the National Association of Forensic Counselors, said the lawsuit is the first to "connect the dots" linking the Church of Scientology, its leader, David Miscavige, and a host of related entities to Narconon's programs.
Narconon claims that it operates 100 drug rehabilitation and treatment centers in 30 countries, and that its Oklahoma facility is the largest.
In addition to the federal suit, 10 lawsuits have been filed in Pittsburg County District Court alleging wrongful deaths of Narconon patients, negligence, fraud and other claims against the drug rehabilitation facility.
2013-08-16, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Radical Corporate Scientology has become a collection of individuals begging for money under various guises and for an almost unlimited number of reasons. It is hard to imagine what it must be like to be one considered fair game by the circling vultures. I am sent the pleas and demands on a via and invariably the person who send it to me reports the insane volume of calls, texts, emails and snail mail that they receive. Fortunately, I get nothing from the RCS directly.
As time goes by the "reasons" to give become more and more "creative." It's like a convention of snake oil salesman gathered around a table — those with the best (most pathetic?) pitches will get to eat from the ever-diminishing amount of meat left on the few remaining carcasses. As the salesman get hungrier, their pleas become louder, more frequent and more insane.
See the post a couple of days ago concerning using Sea Org Day as a poor excuse to give money to the IAS.
MailOnline can today reveal the first close-up pictures of the Church of Scientology's 'alien space cathedral' built in a remote part of the New Mexico desert.
The mysterious building which leads to an underground vault sits next to two giant symbols carved into the ground - believed to be markers for the religion's followers to find their way back from the ends of the universe after humanity is destroyed in the future.
While no one knows the definite meaning of the pair of overlapping circles, each with a diamond in them, it is believed to have been trademarked by the Church of Technology, a branch of Scientology.
We're still hearing from people about the Church of Scientology's denials that it forces "disconnection" on members who have been excommunicated ("declared a suppressive person").
Cindy Plahuta, of Colorado, has a sadly typical story of how she learned about disconnection. After more than 20 years in the church, she became concerned about things she couldn't ignore — that the president of the Church of Scientology International, Heber Jentzsch, has reportedly been a prisoner of "The Hole" since about 2004, for example.
When Cindy asked her daughter, Kara Landry, what she thought about Heber's plight, Landry reacted by turning in her own mother to church ethics officers. (Previously, they had been very close — that's them in a photo taken on Kara's wedding day.) Landry subsequently disconnected from her, and since then Cindy has heard nothing from her daughter, who works at Scientology's South Coast Mission in Orange County, California.
2013-08-16, Nadine DeNinno, International Business Times
While the site remains a mystery for many, The Mail found one non-Scientologist who has seen the "alien space cathedral," Tim Gallagos, a Las Vegas Sheriff's Department officer in the 1990s.
Gallagos said the lair contains machines to copy the works of Hubbard to share post-Armageddon and described the vault as a "giant time capsule" where all the scriptures were being kept. He said there was a one-bedroom house near the vault but it had no technology, adding he "wouldn't want to live there.
"I was suspicious of it, the whole thing," he said of the guided tour he went on in the '90s. "It did feel like they were hiding something. I wasn't allowed to go into certain areas. I know when people are lying to me, I can tell from their body language and voice they were concealing something."
2012-08-16, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
But standing in their way was the editor of a small weekly newspaper who proceeded to give Scientology hell over the next three years. His name is Bob Lobsinger, and this week I had a lengthy conversation with him.
"If they'd just come in here and been honest about who they were and what they wanted, it probably would have flown. But they lied every step of the way," Lobsinger told me by telephone from his home in Newkirk, Oklahoma.
2011-08-16, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
As we've seen, different people have rotated in and rotated out of the Squirrel Busters crew, and there's solid evidence now that the entire operation is being run by a longtime Scientology private investigator named David Lubow, who operates a "war room" in a local hotel and keeps in touch with church officials in Los Angeles.
One member of the Texas goon squad that Rathbun has also identified is Edward Bryan, a La Mesa, California resident and such a longtime Scientologist, he's reportedly reached its highest spiritual level, known as "OT VIII."
2011-08-16, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Breaking News regarding the last post, reference: https://markrathbun.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/rome-smolders-while-the-phoenix-rises/
The Miami BeachPolice incident report was just obtained on OT H8 busted Ingleside on the Bay Ghost Buster, Ed Bryan.
Read it in detail. Trash diving and harassment. Pure Miscavige tech. Caught red handed he couldnt deny it.
2010-08-16, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Having recently recognized the depravity with which Miscavige and OSA are executing their programs to destroy me and other friends, I've thought more about the manner in which the RS enablers are being handled. I think we are being are being far too timid and mild about the well-heeled bots who continue to contribute to Miscavige's billion dollar facade and Black Ops.
I hear the arguments go something like this: well, they are well intentioned just like we were when we were bots. There are a couple things wrong with that argument. First, assumed identities are not the same. When we were bots the following was evident to staff and public:
a. Services were being delivered in orgs.
In February, anti-Scientology activists in Montreal joined others around the world in the organization's first simultaneous masked protest, which now take place monthly - including today at 11 a.m. in Lafontaine Park.
Last month, a video from a local Anonymous protest was posted on YouTube. In it, a Montreal woman claims that minions from the Church of Scientology began a campaign of harassment and got her fired from her new job. The Gazette spoke to this woman, known online as "Anonymiss," about her assertions against Scientology. She agreed to an interview only on the condition that her real name not be used.
A year ago, it was introduced quietly in Nairobi. Its offices are tucked away on the third floor of an unremarkable building along Ngong Road between two Christian churches; a far cry from the mother church.
The stairway is dark. It is hard to reconcile this image with that of millionaires Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Will Smith who are all Scientologists.
"Tom Cruise is doing exactly what Scientology leaders want him to do," Pressley says. "He's a celebrity and considered to be a shaper of public opinion and he makes a good spokesman for the organization. Scientology primarily targets the 'movers and shakers' in society in order to influence others."
Such high-profile personalities - - including Priscilla Presley and Lisa Marie Presley, actors Kirstie Alley and Patrick Swayze, TV personality Greta Van Susteren and musicians Chick Corea and Isaac Hayes - - "add a degree of respectability that breaks down any resistance listeners may have," Pressley says.
She knows well of what she speaks. For 17 years - - nearly half of her life - - she was involved with the cult. Nine of those years she served at the group's international headquarters located in a remote part of the California desert outside Palm Springs.
A DRUG program run by Scientologists and labelled dangerous by medical authorities is being given free rein at dozens of Melbourne schools.
The controversial Narconon group gave a speech at Melbourne High on Sunday and has made classroom presentations at Melbourne schools including MacRobertson Girls High.
The group -- which does not disclose its Scientology background to schools -- gives students booklets that condemn prescription drugs and equate coffee with heroin.
The Post Falls man claims he was ousted from the Church of Scientology because he talked about changes in the religion's scripture. Then he was asked to leave his job at a Spokane office managed by Scientologists, he said.
McClaughry is suing a Spokane company in U.S. District Court for alleged violations of the Civil Right Act, claiming he was fired for his religious beliefs.
The office manage said McClaughry resigned.
Water depth at the port is about 22 feet, with the depth in some entrance-channel areas as shallow as 20 feet. The depths create a narrow margin of safety for the Boheme, the only cruise ship sailing from the port. The 450-foot vessel draws 20 feet when fully loaded.
Port revenue from cruise business totaled $138,000 last year, the first year of the Boheme's operation. This includes fees charged for each passenger, docking and water. The vessel offers seven-day cruises.
Eleven high officials and agents of the Church of Scientology, including the wife of the founder, L. Ron Hubbard, were charged here yesterday in an allegedly widespread conspiracy to plant spies in government agencies, steal official documents and bug government meetings.
Much of the evidence outlined against the church's officials in the 28-count criminal indictment appears to be based on the church's own internal memorandums and other documents. The memorandums directed church operatives to "use any method" in its battle with the government.
Church spies were used, according to the indicment, to find out about Scientology's tax-exempt status, rumage through government files to get information on the church and on persons or groups it perceived to be its "enemies." They were also used as an "early warning system" to protect Hubbard from government acrunity, the indicment alleged.