2019-08-19, Ibrahim Hindy, Opinion, National Observer
What does Ghada Melek, the federal Conservative candidate for Mississauga-Streetsville, have in common with Coalition Avenir Québec parliamentarians?
The same misguided belief that religious symbols and public spaces in Canada are somehow in conflict.
For decades, since the Multiculturalism Act of 1988, Canadians have put forth societal ideals that celebrate religious and cultural differences while making room for everyone.
OTTAWA – Elections Canada is issuing a special warning to all advocacy groups that they should not issue any scientifically verifiable facts during the election that would interfere with Canada's democracy.
Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault explained that communicating proven science such as climate change, melting glaciers, or a baking soda and vinegar volcano science project could indirectly challenge the candidacy of Maxime Bernier.
"Confirming or denying what candidates say with scientific reasoning or peer-reviewed studies is considered advocacy," explained Perrault to the press. "Some say the earth revolves around the sun. Others say magic. Advocacy groups must remain silent on that trouble-maker Galileo Galilei and his controversial discoveries."
With two new lawsuits filed and more on the way, and with 'Aftermath' ending in a week, we know that Scientology watchers have been focused on some big news stories with a promise of more to come. But something that we received by email this week reminded us that Scientology watching is not just about the big stories or the big names.
We want to thank the reader who brought to our attention that Scientology had received some glowing press in a trade publication that covers the printing industry. In that world, Scientology's major printing center in the Southern California city of Commerce is a real heavyweight. Called the International Dissemination and Distribution Center, the 185,000 square foot facility expends enormous resources to pump out a huge number of slick brochures, mailers, DVD packaging and more, using state-of-the-art equipment working at dizzying rates, up to 55,000 pages an hour.
It's all operated by Sea Org members, the Scientologists so dedicated that they've signed billion-year contracts and work 112-hour weeks for pennies an hour, when they get paid at all. They work 365 days a year and can go years without seeing their non-Sea Org relatives, simply from their exhausting work schedules.
2019-08-19, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
It never ceases to amaze me how overtly crazy some of Hubbard's ramblings are.
Or how the clubbed seals inside the bubble proffer them as evidence of his infallible wisdom in all things.
Not that I didn't do the same for many, many years. And perhaps that is what makes it even more remarkable to me now.
It is quite easy to see that the Church of Scientology International (CSI) is not its own entity and is, in fact, the alter ego of David Miscavige. Characteristics of a corporate alter ego situation include, but are not limited to:
The failure to observe corporate formalities, or, engaging in sham formalities, i.e. having directors and officers who have no actual power and serve as "rubber stamps." Scientology's non-functioning officers and directors have no actual power; they are rubber stamps who sign whatever they are ordered to sign by David Miscavige or his cut outs.
Treatment by an individual of assets as if they were their own. David Miscavige is accountable to no one for how he spends Scientology's money. The waste of parishioner funds on Fair Game is ordered and directed by David Miscavige as is all other spending.
Two members of the far-right group Proud Boys were found guilty Monday of charges stemming from a brawl with anti-fascist protesters near a Republican club in Manhattan in 2018.
Maxwell Hare, 27, and John Kinsman, 39, were convicted of attempted gang assault, attempted assault and riot charges. A Manhattan Supreme Court jury deliberated for less than two days on the charges.
Hare and Kinsman will be sentenced Oct. 11. They face up to 15 years in prison for the attempted gang assault convictions.
Donald Trump has accused Google of manipulating the 2016 US election in favour of his democratic rival Hillary Clinton, citing a conservative judicial activist site that frequently makes false accusations and spreads conspiracies against liberals.
"Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election!" Mr Trump tweeted. "This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought!"
Since his 2016 electoral victory, Mr Trump has frequently claimed — falsely — that millions of votes were illegally cast during that contest. This latest accusation does not cite a specific study, and instead tagged the group Judicial Watch, a conservative activist group that targets Democrats through frequent lawsuits, and has made false or unsubstantiated claims in the past that have been picked up by conservative or right-wing news outlets.
The president did not offer a link to this supposed report, although he tagged right-wing organization Judicial Watch in the tweet, which may mean it was the source of the information.
Trump has regularly claimed that Clinton did not win the popular vote in 2016, even though official tallies showed she received roughly 3 million more votes despite losing the Electoral College.
In the past, the president has blamed his popular vote defeat on millions of "illegal" votes, although he has never produced any evidence that illegal votes cost him the popular vote, nor explained why this conspiracy planted so many of these votes in deep blue states like California instead of in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and other swing states.
Four women have filed lawsuits against the Church of Scientology, claiming it has waged a harassment campaign against them since they accused actor and Scientology member Danny Masterson of sexual assault.
"Their lives have been extraordinarily difficult," says Stewart Ryan, an attorney for the four.
A 46-page suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday claims the church harangued Masterson's ex-girlfriends Marie Bobette Riales and Chrissie Carnell Bixler—and two other plaintiffs—after each accused him of sexual assault.
1. Minimum wage in Los Angeles is $13.25 per hour.
2. The first four hours of overtime on any workday is calculated at $19.87 per hour. This is the "time and a half" hourly rate. Overtime is defined as all hours worked beyond eight hours.
3. All overtime hours that exceed 12 hours in a day must be paid at double pay. This is $26.50 per hour. However, all work hours that exceed eight hours on the seventh consecutive day of work must be paid at double time. Double time pay is $26.50 per hour.
2018-08-19, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions left for me in the comment sections of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) I have heard this phrase said a few times before, but despite my best efforts at some amateur researching, I couldn't find anything close to resembling a proper definition. So here's my question. What does it mean when an SP is given a "golden rod"? Is this something that makes an SP a super SP? Is this "golden rod" thing anything related to or concerning an SP to begin with? After a short time of trying to find an adequate definition without any results, I figured I should just hit you up and find out the real deal. Keep up the good work!
(2) I found this quote about LRH Policy:
In the summer of 1973, Conrad Romo, a 19-year-old boy from L.A. whose Catholic upbringing had been derailed by books like Hermann Hesse's Siddartha and John G. Neihardt's Black Elk Speaks—anything that "spoke of more than just this world"—turned on the TV and watched an advertisement for a new religion called "Scientology."
The ad was catchy–a tight one-minute clip with a jingle from '70s radiostar Edward Bear and the vague promise of deeper meaning. When a phone number flashed across the screen, Romo took note.
"I'm a sucker for a little ad," Romo, now a grey-haired Buddhist with a goatee, told The Daily Beast. When he phoned the line to hear more, the boy spoke to a woman who called herself "Spanky." Later, he would recognize her as Spanky Taylor, a spokesperson for Scientology's publicity arm, Axioms Productions, and John Travolta's personal "auditor"—jargon for a kind of counselor. But in the moment, he thought she seemed cool. "Spanky had a really sexy voice," Romo said, laughing. "I was intrigued."
Rod Keller has a great new report on just how wacky and desperate Scientology fundraising is becoming...
We've been following the progress of the Columbus, Ohio org to renovate their future Ideal Org home, and last week they held another fundraiser. We have an unusual level of detail on how everything happened.
This money is all for renovations — the building was purchased in 2010 and has sat empty since then. The event theme was "Boots in the Sky," referring to the 1952 essay by L. Ron Hubbard on individual responsibility. Despite the surreal imagery of floating footwear, it is one of the most inspiring writings in Scientology and is frequently used in fundraising and to recruit volunteers. It comes with a hint of guilt: if you want to improve yourself with Scientology you should be ashamed not to take responsibility for the success and expansion of the group.
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.
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2017-08-19, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Scientology, in their zeal to sling mud and smear anyone they don't agree with, have created a new whinesmear site about Pastor Willy Rice of the ClearwaterCalvary Baptist church.
It is a typical scientology effort — long on adjectives and pejoratives, short on facts and dripping with hypocrisy.
Let's address the most obvious point first. Pastor Rice's stance on gays.
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. For more than three years he's been helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet.
Scientology's advocates believe fervently that it is a system for positive behavioral transformation. However, there are many former practitioners who believe it is a negative system of behavioral transformation. And there are people – real people – who simply don't care: They believe that there are far more serious things going on in the world than the psychological benefit or damage caused by Scientology.
I continue to care, because Scientology is a packed microcosm of social behavior – just about anything you can find in a group can be found here, from the positive and caring aspects to the negative and destructive. Hubbard said, "We have ways of making slaves here." He also added "Let's make sure that none are made," but there are some of us who believe that he was disingenuous. He offered to sell his "brainwashing" to JFK. The letter went unanswered, but the thought is worth investigating: If Scientology is, indeed, a system for brainwashing, then how would those subjected to brainwashing know that they'd been subjected to brainwashing?
Robert and Trish Duggan have acquired the town of Holy City in California for $6million
A Silicon Valley pharmaceutical billionaire and his artist wife, who are top donors to the Church of Scientology, have purchased a California ghost town for $6million.
The rustic 142-acre site of Holy City sat on the market for a decade before Robert and Trish Duggan purchased it for nearly half the initial $11-million asking price.
We learned yesterday that next week, Gawker will shut down. For some of us who toiled in the trenches of New York journalism of a certain era, the news is hard to believe. Gawker had a big effect on the way online journalism is done (not all of it positive, some will tell you), and it certainly changed the way we think about writing and reporting.
You will no doubt be seeing a lot of obituaries written about Gawker over the next week now that Univision is shutting it down after buying all of Gawker Media's websites in a fire sale. You can read plenty more about how Gawker's fate was sealed when a billionaire, Peter Thiel, took revenge for being outed by the site by funding Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea's lawsuit against Gawker over a sex tape. You probably already know the tale, and we won't go into it except to say, as someone who has been targeted by a couple of different billionaires we've written about, it's a really fucked up hazard of the occupation. Anyway, relevant to our interests here at the Underground Bunker we wanted to commemorate one Gawker achievement in particular that forever changed the way Scientology is perceived by the public.
We're talking about the shock to the system when a 9-minute interview of Tom Cruise appeared online early in 2008, and Gawker, more than any other website, made sure that the interview remained public for all to see.
(Note: This article was originally published at Tony Ortega's Underground Bunker and is reposted here for informational and archival purposes)
Contributor Jeffrey Augustine keeps a close eye on Scientology's financial documents. And he has some new information today that backs up what we've been told anecdotally by our other sources — that Scientology's flagship drug rehab center in Oklahoma, Narconon Arrowhead, is in serious trouble. Take it away, Jeffrey…
Here in the US, religious groups do not have to file tax returns. The only exception is if they have "unrelated business income." If they do, thanks to a 2006 law change, religious groups must file an IRS form "990-T." And even then, we don't have much interest in the "unrelated" income that they report. The Church of Scientology, for example, owns a nine hole golf course at Gold Base that it rents out to local civic groups. The Flag Land Base in Clearwater and Celebrity Centre International in Hollywood each have ballrooms that they rent out. These tend to be trivial amounts and don't tell us much about the real money they're taking in for courses and donations.
U.S. Rep. David Jolly will hobnob with some of his most controversial constituents later this month.
Jolly, an Indian Shores Republican who recently launched a bid for U.S. Senate, is listed as a "guest of honor" at the Church of Scientology's Aug. 29 concert celebrating the city of Clearwater's centennial.
According to a press release, the semi-formal event titled "Clearwater: A Century in Music" will feature appearances by actress Anne Archer, Grammy-award winning jazz artist Chick Corea and impressionist Jim Meskimen.
2015-08-19, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
After a lean period in the ideal world, things are hopping again. Rabbits are being pulled out of the hat once more to prove that the massive international expansion that COP keeps talking about is real.
They are now promoting "5 ideal org in 4 months" and "We are opening an ideal org every month for the rest of the year and have just opened Tokyo and Bogota then it will be Harlem, Milano and Atlanta."
Of course, this is typical scientology math. If they open these 5 ideal orgs by the end of this year, it will be 5 in 6 months, not 5 in 4. Bogota was opened in July. But what's a little white lie in a white out blizzard of lies?
U.S. Rep. David Jolly will hobnob with some of his most controversial constituents later this month.
Jolly, an Indian Shores Republican who recently launched a bid for U.S. Senate, is listed as a "guest of honor" at the Church of Scientology's Aug. 29 concert celebrating the city of Clearwater's centennial.
According to a press release, the semi-formal event titled "Clearwater: A Century in Music" will feature appearances by actress Anne Archer, Grammy-award winning jazz artist Chick Corea and impressionist Jim Meskimen. It starts with a 7 p.m. reception at the Fort Harrison Hotel, one of Scientology's signature properties in a downtown area that the church has transformed into its spiritual hub. At 8 p.m., Jolly will give "a special presentation to the City of Clearwater."
Michael Doven. He and his wife Andrea are long time Scientologists with close ties to Tom Cruise. Michael Doven is a photographer who functioned as Tom Cruise's Scientology assistant for years. In 2012, the intrepid Tony Ortega reported that Doven had been secretly monitoring Cruise and reporting back to the cult leaders.
But now Doven has started a movie company called United Pictures Group. He's got a slate of films he is producing with other Scientologists including soap opera actress Michelle Stafford. One of his projects his called "Mission Accomplished." Last year, he produced a straight to video feature with Terry Jastrow, the Scientologist husband of Anne Archer. Archer's son, Tommy Davis, used to be Scientology's celebrity wrangler.
The preeminent academic studying Scientology, Dr. Steve Kent at the University of Alberta, recently set us on an interesting pursuit: Trace, he asked us, the effects of TIME magazine's epic 1991 cover story on Scientology, "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power."
For some time now, we've been thinking about that question, making phone calls, and digging up records. The project appealed to us for a number of reasons, one of which was that we'd just spent a couple of years investigating the Paulette Cooper story, which spanned from World War II to the present day, but involved research mostly focused on the period 1968 to 1985. We've also spent a lot of time thinking about Scientology's more recent history, after the year 2000, as a result of our work at the Village Voice and here at the Bunker. But we have some gaps in that intervening period, 1985-2000, that we were eager to fill in.
We're still reading and searching and interviewing with no end in sight, but we thought we might come up for air after getting our hands on a fascinating document we thought you might want to see. And also so we can do a little crowdsourcing to help us get some ideas about where to go next.
2014-08-19, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Greg Capazorio was awarded an IAS Freedom Medal with a stirring video concocted by the Sherminator that made it seem that the Way To Happiness Campaign was integrated across the entire Gauteng Prison system in South Africa.
Of course, as with most of these videos, it was, to put it kindly, a bit of an overstatement. To be accurate about it, it was more like a 90% fabrication. Some South African friends told me Capazorio was not even the primary mover for what was done (there was some WTH distribution and use). Perhaps one or more of them can enlighten us a little in the comments.
And I would be willing to bet my last dollar that if you went to the Gauteng Prison System today you would be hard pressed to find a single copy of the WTH.
The state Department of Mental Health "buried" an inspector general's report recommending that Narconon Arrowhead be shut down after three patients died there, according to two lawsuits against the agency.
The Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services fired its inspector general, Kim Poff, and an investigator, Michael DeLong, last year after they objected to the agency withholding the Narconon report, the lawsuits state.
According to her legal complaint, "As a result of their investigation, Ms. Poff and Mr. DeLong determined that the Narconon facility violated numerous state laws and recommended to leadership that the facility be shut down." Her finalized report on the investigation was submitted by the fall of 2012.
But Poff alleges that her bosses attempted to "hide the findings" of her report by telling her to advise the department's board of directors that "the report and investigation was still pending."
Why? Because, Poff alleges, her bosses "buried the report, recommendations and findings of Ms. Poff & Mr. DeLong because the Department did not want to get involved in litigation involving the Church of Scientology."
Investigators say the Scientology-based drug treatment center Narconon Arrowhead, located on Lake Eufaula, violated numerous state laws and should be shut down. But they also say the Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse hid the results of that investigation, and did nothing.
Former Inspector General Kim Poff and Michael DeLong, the two highest ranking investigators with the agency, say they were fired after they objected to the state keeping the findings of their investigation secret and they have now filed a wrongful termination suit.
We love our tipsters. They are constantly alerting us to interesting stuff about Scientology. Some of it is just strange, like this rabbit hole we went down yesterday. Is it important? Probably not. But we thought readers might find it amusing. So here we go.
On Sunday, a couple of pages appeared online from a recent issue of The Comm Line, a newsletter that's printed for Scientologists and can be picked up in some shops in Clearwater, Florida.
One of the pages contained a curious ad...
The Church of Scientology, famous for its Hollywood celebrity followers, once hailed its new home in north-east England as a centre for spiritual enlightenment. Several years on, the building lies empty and is a haven for squatters and drug users. So will it ever open?
The Windmill Hills former school and care home in Gateshead looks like the ideal setting for a ghost story.
Damp and derelict, the spooky Victorian day school sits at the mercy of vandals, squatters and the elements.
2013-08-19, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The "friendliest place in the world" is losing its lustre. In fact, it is becoming downright creepy.
This is from the latest "OT" Committee Meeting Minutes — my highlighting in red:
"Emmett Osborn, OTC Dir IAS Field Dissemination, come up to brief us about the winners of the recent IAS Game with the prize of a special pin for getting 2 status upgrades, 2 Lifetime Memberships or a donation on $10,000. He presented gifts of special lapel pins, engraved pens and one-of-a-kind shoulder bags to the winners, Kaye Champagne and Tom Cummins. Emmett re-briefed us on the new IAS Game that was first announced last week, for every Flag OTC member sign up four others on the IAS monthly debit program for $100 per month. Emmett reminded us that FSM commissions would be available for those signing others up for this.
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and on Saturdays he's helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet.
This week, Jon, we wanted your thoughts on the whole schmear.
L. Ron Hubbard's ideas about the human mind and the physical universe really don't comport with what science tells us about how the world works. But how does Hubbard's worldview still continue to work for some people?
2012-08-19, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
This year, summer has not been languid and lazy. In the wake of the TomKat divorce, media interest in Scientology has never been greater and we've never been busier. But we thought it was time to update our list from last year. This time, we've put a premium on what's happened in the last twelve months, so you might see some of your old favorites drop off the roster. But never fear -- you can always revisit our choices from last year, or the choices of our readers.
2012-08-19, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
I am providing below a copy of the introduction I wrote for people who do Training Routines 0-9 here at Casablanca. I am not suggesting that anyone else copy and utilize it (but they are free to if they wish). However, I think some might find the context provided of interest.
Introduction to Training Routines 0-9 at Casablanca
The cutting edge of modern physics, quantum theory or quantum mechanics, has never been proven wrong in its predictions of phenomena. That is why technology derived from its principles accounts for more than one third of our current economy. These facts are not widely known, in part because quantum theory reveals unanswered conundrums that seem to set classic physics on its head. Most confounding is quantum theory's demonstration that consciousness affects, and may even create, the physical universe. Scientists have demonstrated over and over that the observer affects the behavior of matter in its smallest observable form (the sub atomic waves or particles which combine to form all matter). The fact that the observer (the spirit) is not of the physical universe and cannot therefore be directly measured by physical devices leaves quantum theorists scratching their heads and posing rather clumsy metaphysical questions. The seeming convergence of science into the realm of consciousness, or the spirit, frightened many scientists in the early part of the 20th Century. That included one of science's most free and liberal thinkers, Albert Einstein. On more than one occasion Einstein warned fellow scientists to be wary of the 'spooky actions' that quantum physics revealed when the observer (consciousness, or the spirit) met matter. He along with the leading scientists of the era were concerned that quantum theory would turn science toward the metaphysical realms of consciousness; a taboo for the masters of the physical universe. One of the pioneers of quantum theory, Niels Bohr, proffered an agreement called the Copenhagen interpretation to allay such fears. The agreement was that the established observation of quantum physics that the observer (consciousness, spirit) affects and even seems to create matter at the microscopic level would only apply at the level of the then-fringe sub study of quantum mechanics. Since science was unable to demonstrate the quantum observations with matter larger than atoms – in large part due to its lack of technological means to do so – classic Newtonian physics would not be monkeyed with at the macroscopic level. Science would leave the spirit alone.
Prato does say that Jett suffered from Autism, an assertion Preston and Travolta denied up to and after his death. It was only when the Bahamas police released Travolta's initial statement to them did the movie star's admission of Jett's Autism finally surface. Indeed for years the Travoltas insisted Jett suffered from Kawasaki Syndrome. He didn't. Prato doesn't ask Preston about any of that.
I don't know what helped Preston get over Jett's death. Everyone deals with grief differently, and Jett's loss is not to be minimized. But I do know that three months later she was back at work shooting "Casino Jack" with Kevin Spacey.
Why do certain media choose to offer platforms to those who spread malicious lies and instill fear about Muslims? Do they agree with those sentiments? Is it to influence their government's policies on multiculturalism, immigration or laws banning Muslim institutions and practices? Is it in the name of free speech for Muslim-bashers? To fill space? To improve ratings? Or merely for the hell of it?
Take a look at the Canadian cases of Maclean's magazine and columnist Mark Steyn, and the Sun Media chain and both Geert Wilders and Ann Coulter. All three warn of the imminent Muslim threat to civilization – that's good old us, of course – and demonize an entire religion and its adherents by effectively lumping together all the world's 1.5 billion Muslims as one homogeneous, monolithic, looming, existential menace. Never mind that Muslims live in every country on earth and are divided by sect, nationality, class, language, religious practice, ideology and race.
For some years, Mr. Steyn had a regular column in Maclean's, where a regular theme was the way Muslims imperiled the world. Besides his column, the magazine also published a long excerpt from his book America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, which a reviewer in The Globe and Mail called "quite possibly the most crass and vulgar book about the West's relationship with the Islamic world I have ever encountered."
2011-08-19, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
A heretic is a person who committed heresy.
Heresy (from Greek a??es?, which originally meant "choice") is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion. The founder or leader of a heretical movement is called a heresiarch, while individuals who espouse heresy or commit heresy, are known as heretics. Heresiology is the study of heresy.
The word heresy is usually used within a Christian, Jewish, or Islamic context, and implies something slightly different in each. In certain historical Christian and Jewish cultures, heresy was punishable by law. In modern times, the word heresy is often used in jest and without religious context.
2010-08-19, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Miscavige and his minions are painting themselves into the lower corner of the RTC bunker by virtue of being forced to make sworn representations; a slippery slope for a pack of liars.
Warren McShane swore out a complaint to the Riverside County Sheriff's Office. A copy of the resultant Sheriff's report was obtained by the Headleys' lawyers and it was filed in their cases in support of their opposition to the church's motion for summary judgment. A link to the document, along with the Church's urgent motion to strike it from the record, is at the bottom of this report. Note in the motion that the church denies Warren made any such report to the Sheriff.
The complaint was filed based on a photo of Tom Cruise's and David Miscavige's motorcycles appearing on my blog. (words in italics are quotations from the official documents.)
It's alleged Scientology has avoided paying tax in the United Kingdom by claiming it is run out of South Australia.
In Britain, the Church of Scientology is supposed to pay tax on the millions of pounds it brings in each year. Now, the organisation has been accused of claiming its entire UK operation is part of its Australian outfit.
A US doctor mounted a vigorous defence of Scientology's Purification Rundown, the controversial treatment at the centre of the Paris trial.
The morning had been devoted to fairly damning testimony against Scientology by two witnesses for the plaintiffs in the case: Jean-Pierre Brard, a deputy in France's Assemblée Nationale; and former member turned critic Roger Gonnet.
That afternoon, a key witness for the defendants got his say: a doctor from California who had been called to defend the Purification Rundown from a medical perspective.
In leadership lessons, one vital skill is the ability of a leader to take responsibility for his every action, whether it achieves success or failure.
John Fashanu, former footballer, may not have acquired this aspect of leadership, or so it seems. Recently, the ex-international squarely put the blame for his controversial 'Fashanu Report' on the media.
He said the claim that $6bn was allegedly fleeced from the country's coffers between 1988 and 1993 did not emanate from him, but was a mere media creation. He therefore apologized to the former military ruler, General Ibrahim Babangida, whose junta supervised that period in Nigeria's history.
"There was never a time that I accused General Babangida over funds stacked away in any foreign land. It was just a media creation and I have personally apologized to him for the embarrassment it has caused him," Fashanu said.,
Continuing, he stressed, "I can say it again and again, that there was nothing like debt buy-back or any billions stacked away in any account anywhere. It was all a misrepresentation by the media world-wide, and it is rather unfortunate. I am sorry; we have not found any debt buy-back or any allegation at all. I have also apologized to her Excellency Maryam Babangida as well."
Many people are taken aback by what they describe as Fashanu's resort to the blame game. They still remember that Fashanu, in April 2000, had claimed to have names, dates and account numbers of those involved in the alleged debt buy-back scam.
However, the hollowness of his denials started becoming evident when recently he failed to show up at a Professor Bolaji Aluko-led Nigerian Democratic Movement (NDM)-organized public forum, where he was to confront Robert Minton on the controversial report. Incidentally, this was after repeated assurances from Fashanu and his agent, Robert Clarke, that he would be at the public forum to state his position.
Robert Minton, whom Fashanu had accused of serving as a front for the Federal Government, had accused him of being sponsored by Scientology organisation, a cult group Minton had brought into critical light.
Minton said: "Fashanu has been used by the Scientology organisation that considers me to be their greatest enemy in the world. There is no chance Fashanu investigated it on his own. His investigator is a full-time worker for Scientology. This is a vendetta on Scientology's part against me and they are using Fashanu and Nigeria as a tool to beat me on the head. That is the bottomline."
Whether these inconsistencies were the creation of the media or self-inflicted is a question only Fashanu himself can answer.
But there are Nigerians who suspect that he may have realized that he needs the powerful strings of the former military president to pull through some of his business or political ventures.
For many friends this image of the couple-abrasive, frightened, isolated from what they loved and fostered-would prove to be their final memory. Seven days later, on the evening of July 10, Duncan swallowed a number of Tylenol PM tablets with bourbon. It was Blake who first discovered her body on the floor of their bedroom, and it was Blake who, a week later, ended his own life by taking the A train to Rockaway Beach and walking into the Atlantic Ocean.
EUFAULA - Narconon Arrowhead, the drug rehabilitation and international training center formerly known as Narconon Chilocco Center near Newkirk, has relocated to Lake Eufaula.
The center, considered the with a ribbon cutting and barbecue.
The relocation was necessary because of expansion. Narconon now has centers in 29 countries. Its mission is "to eradicate the problem of drug and alcohol abuse internationally through effective rehabilitation and education.'
Homosexuality, of course, is discouraged, while marriage and family -- or at least the appearance of such -- are de rigueur. Some have even maintained that Scientology attempts to cure members of their homosexuality. Enter Tom Cruise. The celebrity Scientologist contingent is well-known -- John Travolta, Anne Archer, Jenna Elfman and Kirstie Alley are the A-list members, but have you heard about the alleged involvement of William Burroughs, Patrick Swayze, Gordon Lightfoot, Mikhail Baryshnikhov and Ginger Spice?
Given these numbers, the church's financial future would seem to be shaky. Scientology has been desperately fighting to win tax-exempt status from Revenue Canada, but the struggle doesn't seem to be going well, if the two years it's taken so far are any clue.
It was 9:30 and Arnie Lerma was lounging in his living room in Arlington, drinking his Saturday morning coffee, hanging. Suddenly, a knock at the door -- who could it be at this hour? -- and boom, before he could force anything out of his mouth, they were pouring into his house: federal marshals, lawyers, computer technicians, cameramen.
They stayed for three hours last Saturday. They inventoried and confiscated everything Lerma cherished: his computer, every disk in the place, his client list, his phone numbers. And then they left.
"I'm one of those guys who keeps everything -- my whole life -- on the computer," Lerma says. "And now they have it all."
An attorney for the state Health Department is questioning whether the state Mental Health Board acted properly when it exempted the Narconon Chilocco New Life Center from certification last week.
Attorney Rob Cole said the department might not license the drug treatment center because of questions about the exemption. The licensing is the next step for Narconon.