2018-08-26, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions from the comments section of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) While in the Sea Org did you come across other groups similar to Scientology using international waters to evade their respective government? Also would you equate Hubbard's Sea Org to Jim Jones' Jonestown? I guess what I'm asking is would you consider the ship used as an isolation tool?
(2) Hey there Chris, as a supporter of freedom of expression I'm a little concerned with the mass de-platforming of Alex Jones. Let me preface the following by stating that I am not a fan of Alex Jones. I do not align with his politics or his wacky theories but the manner in which he was removed from these platforms, the reason it was done and the speed it was done give me cause for concern. Of course a company has a right to refuse service (interesting that American liberals happily apply this to massive tech companies and not a tiny cake shop) but doesn't it concern you for the precedent being established? That for vague, nebulous and often unstated reasons, one's opinion can be deemed "wrong" and simply scrubbed from social media? You've talked often about how Scientology hijacks the genuine compassion of its members for self-serving purposes. I wonder if you can see how often the political Left in America also does this. I watched Bill Maher's audience (of self-identified liberals) cheer for censorship and then watch as a room full of presumably educated adults had to be informed that free speech means the right to say something they might not like. This whole scenario saddens me, as I see the self-proclaimed "party of the people" eroding liberty and then cheering about it.
2018-08-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Whenever things get really worrisome in David Miscavige's world he orders everyone to rewatch the 1993 "War Is Over" event.
This is his crowning achievement and he wants to remind everyone what an incredible accomplishment it was. He is convinced this is his "greatest performance" and it makes him look good, which tells you a lot. His tiny figure on that massive stage with flaming sconces taken from the castle in Young Frankenstein projects, in his mind, the image of power he craves.
In truth, it WAS incredible. It should never have happened. And while it is a bulwark in the defensive wall that surrounds scientology and its illegal and improper activities, it is also a point of enormous vulnerability now. Remove this single thing and his world comes tumbling down.
Rod Keller examines the state of Scientology in South Africa, where there's as much pressure to create "Ideal Orgs" as anywhere else...
South African Scientologists feel a strong bond with founder L. Ron Hubbard and quotes from his writings are being used in promoting the next Ideal Org for South Africa, in Durban. Hubbard spent six months in Johannesburg from September 1960 to February 1961, and during that time offered the technology of Scientology to a government that had recently imprisoned Nelson Mandela and created faux homelands for blacks that prevented them from being citizens of South Africa.
[L. Ron Hubbard's house in Johannesburg is preserved as a "heritage site."]
A new release of government documents shows that the FBI took very seriously the Church of Scientology's complaints about the Anonymous movement when it burst on the scene in January 2008, and the law enforcement agency spent months trying to find, in particular, the person who sent more than 20 letters to Southern California Scientology churches that contained a white powder.
We have two FBI files for you to pore through today, at 268 and 180 pages they're additional releases that we're getting thanks to journalist Emma Best, who is suing the FBI over numerous document requests she has made.
(The rise of Anonymous has been documented heavily, and we recommend McGill University professor Gabriella Coleman's 2014 book Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous as the most readable version of it.)
Busted! @JustinTemplerSr on Twitter just discovered Scientologist and STAND member "Alicia Selverson" was a stock photo. Major OSA fail.
Likewise, Scientologist and STAND member "Ellis Craig" is actually model Gert Rappenecker:
This is irrefutable evidence of Scientology fraud on Twitter. These fake STAND profiles are identity theft and put the lie to STAND.
In a Tampa Bay Times story published today, staff writer Tracey McManus covered the details of two dueling Change.org petitions. The first petition is mine and calls for the IRS to open an investigation in Scientology's tax exemption. I am asking people to please read, sign, and share my petition. The petition and details are here.
In the TBT article, Scientology spokesperson Karin Pouw attacked both myself and my petition. This attack occurred because I am going directly to the source of Scientology's ability to ply its evil trade: Scientology's ill-gotten 1993 IRS tax exemption.
If the Scientology Cult loses its tax exemption, then it is game over for this brutal, dishonest, and greedy business that masquerades as a religion. Scientology simply does not merit or deserve First Amendment religious protections.
2017-08-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I never realized how dehumanizing Scientology nomenclature was until my spouse and I began tossing out words LRH and his followers assigned for humans. Turns out, scientology is great at degrading people. If you weren't one hundred percent onboard with Ron and his tech, he had a name for you—and it wasn't complimentary.
Note: It would take too long and too many words to try to define all these pejoratives. Google "Scientology Tech Dictionary" for links to sites to help you clear these definitions if you'd like.
The National Enquirer announced this week that it had a "blockbuster world exclusive" involving some FBI documents that describe, in the Enquirer's words, "Scientology Leaders' HOOKER ORGY!"
Actually, the documents detail an investigation of Ronnie Miscavige Jr, older brother to Scientology leader David Miscavige, that took place long after Ronnie had left Scientology. And what the Enquirer didn't say about its "exclusive" is that these documents have been available for months at a website set up by the Church of Scientology itself to smear Ronnie and his father, Ron Miscavige Sr., in order to hit back at Ron's book, Ruthless, that came out in May.
Ron Miscavige Sr. introduced his son David to Scientology in 1969 as they looked for a solution to the 9-year-old's asthma. The entire family eventually got into Scientology and moved to England to pursue higher courses and so David could become an auditor. After returning to the US, David got close to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and eventually, after Hubbard's death in 1986, took over the organization. In 1985, Ron, a musician, joined the "Sea Org" and played trumpet and led Scientology's orchestra, which played frequently at church events around the world. But eventually, as Ron describes in his book, he became disaffected with Scientology under the dictatorial rule of his son, and in March 2012 he and his wife Becky Bigelow escaped from a compound near Hemet, California.
2015-08-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
A few days ago I posted something about David Miscavige's response to the Tampa Bay Times — Miscavige Media Handling.
And now this. An article published in Business Insider yesterday continuing the discussion about John Oliver's brilliant piece on televangelists and tax exemption. (And, in case you missed it, Oliver took another jab at scientology in his show last Sunday).
What is remarkable here is not the article itself. It contains virtually no new news other than an inaccurate statement from Anthony Ole, the president of Trinity Foundation where he seems to think scientology changed the law. It didn't. But any article that keeps this subject of scientology's exemption in the news deserves a round of applause. And the author ties together John Oliver, Lawrence Wright and Going Clear — and that is a sure-fire recipe for goodness.
Tom Cruise has been in the South American country of Colombia shooting scenes for his next movie, Mena, and on Tuesday he went to the capital city of Bogotá and dropped in at the Scientology "Ideal Org" there, which had its grand opening just a few weeks ago.
"In the afternoon the protagonist of Jerry Maguire arrived at the Church of Scientology in the north of the city," reported Noticias RCN. "The security detail at the building made the entrance of cameras impossible."
But photos of Cruise at the org are leaking out. The one above was sent to us by our local correspondent, who helped us cover the grand opening on July 5. Also, take a look at these two photos. The first one we posted a few days ago, showing a Scientologist, Joe Romero, at the Bogotá org...
Aaron Smith-Levin is back with another interesting video, this time featuring his own stories from growing up in Scientology.
Earlier, he and Nick Lister put together several video segments about Nick's life in the church. One of them, Nick's story about Tom Cruise banishing his own niece from the family for daring to kiss a boy, was picked up by a lot of major media outlets.
We don't know if there will be wider interest for today's piece, but we think it's one of the better examples of the kind of Scientology "regging" — pressure to donate money — that even a child has to endure. Give it a look and then share your thoughts about the video in our comments section...
Former Sea Org exec Chris Shelton has made an outstanding video explaining the Church of Scientology's byzantine and fairly incomprehensible Organizational Madness. This video is a "must watch" for all serious Scientology watchers.
2014-08-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This just in. A new begging email from Sheryle Festa trying to pitch the "L. Ron Hubbard Hall" as something urgent for planetary clearing. Or something.
I am going to compile a posting about the L. Ron Hubbard Hall boondoggle at some point, but I just wanted quickly get this one out as it contains a remarkable bit of honesty.
Chairman of the Board is over this project — there are no vias — there is no via between the Staff of CSRT and Chairman of the Board. He is overseeing every detail. Each day CSRT Staff report directly to Chairman of the Board. They are Commodore Messengers of the highest order as they execute all FUTURE EXPANSION for LRH as directed by Chairman of the Board.
2014-08-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Following up on the recent post about Orlando some Special Correspondents sent in some information about other "ideal orgs" which I thought I would share.
The Boston Org has now had to move out of the building they have occupied for decades and into rented facilities because in typical "ideal org style" they completely screwed up their planning.
Suncoast's future location, a former church Joe Childs at the Tampa Bay Times last night reported that there's trouble potentially brewing for the Scientology drug rehab facility in Hernando County, Florida.
Suncoast Rehabilitation Center, part of Scientology's Narconon network, has been in the news recently for a dispute with the county over its expansion plans. The Times has closely watched that battle, which took a fortunate turn for Suncoast when it successfully appealed a low damage award (the case is now in mediation). Childs reported last month that another facility, a former church, was purchased in Clearwater by the same owners, and we told you that according to our sources Suncoast is planning on moving its operation from Hernando County to the Clearwater location.
And now Childs has learned that Suncoast may be in some trouble with the state, after its director, Tammy Strickland, testified in the county dispute that three additional, unlicensed locations were rented in 2011 by Suncoast for housing patients and staff.
Once again, The Underground Bunker has teamed up with Woman's Day, Australia's largest selling magazine, to bring you an exclusive story.
Anette Iren Johansen recently left the Church of Scientology and has been blogging about her experiences, citing "terrible abuses committed within the church." But she saved until now her biggest secret: She was one of numerous women the church auditioned in 2004 and 2005 when Tom Cruise was looking for a new wife. She's the first, however, to go public about her experience.
Anette spoke to Henry Meller, US reporter for Woman's Day, and yesterday his story hit store shelves in Australia.
2013-08-26, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This email was forwarded to me by a number of people this morning, incredulous that they are STILL trying to collect money for Palace Miscavige.
At this point, it is on automatic.
The first thought in Corporate Scientology is "Give me your money" and ANY reason/excuse will do. No matter how lame, unreal or downright stupid it is. After all, "any outflow is good" and the ONLY thing that really counts is MONEY.
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.
Jon, last week you took on the shared reality that props up Scientology's cosmology. But what about L. Ron Hubbard himself? Did he share in that reality? This time, you said you wanted to tackle Hubbard's original motivations for creating a worldwide movement. What have you found out?
JON: In the 1952 book Scientology: 8.80, Hubbard described his goal in these words: "My purpose is to bring a barbarism out of the mud it thinks conceived it and to form, here on Earth, a civilization based on human understanding, not violence. That's a big purpose. A broad field. A star-high goal."
2012-08-26, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
We're moving Carnegie Mellon University professor Dave Touretzky up in our list this year. Touretzky is known for his many years of gathering and hosting information at his websites that describe Scientology's secret upper-level teachings and other detailed research. But it's Touretzky's dedication to getting out information about Scientology's drug treatment program, Narconon, which is making a big difference this year as the church's rehab centers have become the center of controversy. We've referred to Touretzky's pages often in our stories, and we hope readers use them to come to the understanding that Narconon's issues are longstanding and systemic.
Several former Narconon students and families of students interviewed by the World said they contacted drug addiction counselors through various websites. The counselors then recommended the family look into Narconon for rehab.
Search the Internet for help with drug rehab, and there's a chance you'll find one of 235 websites owned and operated by Dena Goad of Bixby. Goad owns her own business involving 1-800 hotline numbers attached to her websites, she said.
2012-08-26, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
A rather significant front-page article ran this week in a major Italian newspaper. One of its subjects, Renata Lugli, wrote a short introduction to the piece. It precedes the article below.
Anyone that studied and understood the materiel contained in the PTS SP Course , knows that suppression decreases when the person can do something about it.
If I have to choose from the many suppressions that I received from David Miscavige, thanks to his deadly tentacles of his "church", the one that was most damaging was the violent intrusion in the very personal matters that relate to my family .
2011-08-26, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Eventually, they escaped from that life, and Marc went on to start a lucrative business in Los Angeles (which he recently sold -- the couple now lives with their two children in Colorado). But what really puts Marc on this list is what he did once he got out of Scientology -- he didn't let well enough alone. Headley knew that he possessed crucial, damning information about Scientology: he'd worked directly with Tom Cruise as the actor's guinea pig while Cruise learned how to audit. Headley had also worked closely with Scientology leader David Miscavige and had witnessed the violence and chaos on the base. Headley began leaking his observations under the name "Blown for Good" on the Internet. What BFG had to say alarmed Scientology so much, we know now that the church expended enormous resources to confirm that it was Headley leaking that information.
A new lobby group for families affected by suicide has sparked concerns over links with the Church of Scientology.
Casper (Community Action on Suicide Prevention, Education & Research) was formed by two mothers who lost their children to suicide.
However, Green MP Kevin Hague said the Citizens Commission for Human Rights (CCHR) was closely associated with Casper, and was established as an arm of the Church of Scientology.
2010-08-26, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
To: Executives and staff of Int, Gold, OSA, etc
Know your rights.
I know you have heard horrific things about how former staff who left the church with evidence in their possession will be prosecuted . You should know that that is propaganda.
2009-08-26, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
LRH defines personal integrity in this way:
"Personal integrity is knowing what you know – what you know is what you know – and to have the courage to know and to say what you have observed. And that is integrity."
Most Scientologists know that there is something deeply wrong with their Church. They have observed it for themselves:
When Sci-Fi schlock L.Ron Hubbard first conceived of Xenu, he probably didn't imagine that his galactic bad guy would one day be the evil fall guy for a world religion! (Or at least not until later, because apparently at some point he DID purposely use his sci-fi as the basis for founding his own religion).
Or, in this case, water. The actor's most recent brush with risky business came on the morning of Aug. 7 as Cruise, 34, and wife Nicole Kidman, 29, were breakfasting on the Talitha G. That's the luxurious chartered yacht on which the couple, their two toddlers and some high-powered pals (including a pair of studio heads) were enjoying a leisurely, weeklong cruise. Mid-croissant, they spotted a sailboat on fire and five people bobbing in a rubber raft nearby.
Wasting no time, Cruise immediately sent over his yacht's skiff to bring the victims to safety. Just moments after the stricken sailors-French paper tycoon Jacques Lejeune, 68, his wife, Bernadette, 42, daughter Eugénie, 7, and two crew members-reached safety, their 63-foot vessel sank. Cruise, who kept his feet dry and caught the whole incident on camcorder from his perch on deck, "did what any decent person would do," proclaimed the actor's delighted publicist Pat Kingsley. "If I ever get in trouble, I hope Tom Cruise is nearby."
Two weeks ago, Arnie Lerma's home office was raided by U.S. Marshal's accompanied by lawyers and officials from the Church of Scientology. While the marshal's stood by, Lermas' computer was dismantled and carried away.
As the Church of Scientology battles a band of cyberspace dissidents - seizing computers and papers from the homes of vocal online critics in the past two weeks - local defectors charge they are being harassed for speaking out against the church.
Robert Vaughn Young and Stacy Young, longtime staff members who left the Church of Scientology in 1989, complained to police that Scientologists have picketed their house in West Seattle at least five times in the past two weeks. They said protesters carrying signs reading "Stop the Hate" and "Protect the First Amendment" yelled derogatory statements about them to their neighbors.