We have a couple of legal briefs for our document hounds today, and they present two radically different versions of reality.
The last time we dropped in on the criminal prosecution of Scientology donor and Miami chiropractor Dennis Nobbe, government prosecutors were appealing a court ruling and asking US Magistrate Judge Alicia Otazo-Reyes to revoke Nobbe's bond and put him in custody.
We've known Nobbe for years as a Scientology bigwig who repeatedly ran into trouble for forcing Scientology on his employees, going so far as to create a mini "academy" for his workers to take Scientology courses on their time off. But it was quite a surprise when, at the end of July, Nobbe was arrested and charged with Medicare fraud and PPP loan abuse.
2020-09-15, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I wanted to take a minute to thank everyone concerned for the wonderful finale episode of The Aftermath which was recognized with our second Emmy last night. We were nominated 4 times and won twice, which is a pretty remarkable record.
It takes a LARGE number of people to make any TV show, it took an especially large number of people to make a complex, live audience show like that one with a subject matter that was very difficult, and particularly in light of the fact that Danny Masterson had not been charged at the time.
Let me start at the top. A&E were an amazing family to be part of on this journey. Lifelong friendships were forged during the process. Thanks to Elaine Frontain Bryant, Amy Slavitsky, David Sternbach and most especially to our champion and best friend, Devon Graham Hammonds.
David Gentile's GPB Capital announced a staggering devaluation of its funds from $1.8 billion to $1.1 billion. This took place in June. Our impression at the time was that the $700 million dollar write down was a necessary prelude to GPB releasing its restated, and long-awaited, 2015 and 2016 financial statements. GPB had promised to release these SEC-required statements on September 30, 2019.
On September 10th, the eve of the somber remembrance of the 9-11 attacks, GPB issued a notice stating that it would not meet its promised date of September 30, 2019. That GPB Capital sought to bury this announcement in the 9-11 news cycle shows GPB's nervous PR strategy. The timing was no different than releasing bad news late Friday afternoon or during the weekend.
Reporting on the delayed financials last week, Investment News quoted an e-mail written by GPB's director of communications Mr. Brian Weisenberger:
Scientology Volunteer Ministers traveled to the Bahamas this week to provide relief in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. We have no evidence that the hygiene packs assembled last week have been distributed, but we know of one boat and one airplane that have been making the trip. The 82-foot luxury yacht Gecko which usually rents for $9,000 per day has made several trips, bringing water and supplies to the island.
The ship also carried Maxwell B. Chambers, city commissioner of Miramar, Florida to the islands. State Senator Daphne Campbell was on hand to help load relief supplies on the Gecko. One reason the VMs exist is to "safepoint" Scientology. L. Ron Hubbard wrote and Scientologists believe that recruiting local politicians in social reform groups such as the VMs creates allies of the church and safepoints Scientology. They can be called upon to defend the church when trouble in the form of prosecution, increased taxation, or civil proceedings are brought against them. Sen. Campbell is an advocate for the Baker Act in Florida, which Scientology opposes.
An airplane (see above) carried four VMs to the disaster area. It doesn't appear capable of carrying a large number of hygiene kits, just the passengers. It's owned by Steve Anderson, Platinum Meritorious donor to the IAS. His plane made a round trip from Clearwater to Freeport on September 11 and has not been back according to flight logs.
2019-09-15, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
We keep seeing promotional pieces from Dublin "ideal org" that features people from other countries around Europe and the world. Almost every one of their "public" is NOT Irish.
The absence of Irish completions in the Dublin "ideal" org is hardly surprising.
Dublin only ever had a small, failing mission that was propped up by the Sea Org in order to keep its doors open. It suffered a massive blow from a legal case and the disclosure of its bankrupt condition.
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.
BetterHelp link: http://betterhelp.com/Cshelton
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2018-09-15, Press Release, Nashville Celebrity Centre
"Volunteer Ministers provided physical help in the form of food, water, clothing, gear and other necessities. They gave Scientology Assists—actions undertaken to help a person confront physical difficulties—to exhausted police and firefighters overcome with stress, fatigue and shock. They further provided spiritual assistance to those suffering from the loss of friends, family and coworkers.
"When it was over, Volunteer Ministers were awarded the New York Fire Department's Medal of Valor and received acknowledgment from officials and civic leaders."
Note: The real FDNY Medal of Valor is only awarded to firefighters who have died in the line of duty.
2018-09-15, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Our old friend Terra Cognita is back with some more thoughts...
Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, and Reefer Madness
LRH was hung up on dope. If drugs weren't the scourge of his universe they were certainly a bane of his existence.
Nathan Rich has led one fucked-up life. There's no escaping that conclusion after you read his unique autobiography that comes out on Tuesday, with the unusual title of Scythe Tleppo.
To say that Nathan's book is merely raw is to do it a disservice. Reading this book is going to leave you feeling like you've been up for five days straight on a hellish meth bender — and we've never done anything like that, so for this book to produce that feeling should give you some idea of how vivid it is.
It's not just that Nathan Rich was put through hell and lived to tell about it, because he certainly was. The son of a dipshit Scientologist mother who didn't give a crap about him, Nathan was raised the Scientology way, which is to say that childhood is sort of an illusion, and kids have to fend for themselves. In Nathan's case, that meant being sadistically imprisoned multiple times in a house of horrors known as the Mace-Kingsley Ranch, where the mistreatment of children was unbelievably cruel and took place in remote locations in California and New Mexico where escape was impossible.
You have to hand it to Scientology. No matter how much L. Ron Hubbard's creation is battered and bruised by bad press, shrinking numbers, and ridicule on social media, Scientology never, ever gives up.
And what a coup it has today. At 9:15 a.m. Eastern, Scientologists Meghan Fialkoff and Rebecca Minkoff will ring the bell to start the trading day at Nasdaq's market site in New York while representing one of Scientology's sneaky front groups that work to get L. Ron Hubbard's influence in the public schools.
We've been writing for years about Meghan and her father, Queens dentist Bernard Fialkoff, and we've marveled at how hard they work to push Scientology's "Foundation for a Drug-Free World" into New York City's schools, and with help from the New York Police Department.
This week, Karen Pressley is on board to talk about her past Scientology and Sea Org career including being married to musician Peter Schless, working at Scientology's secret international headquarters under David Miscavige and overseeing the progress of celebrities.
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The Church of Scientology is infamous for its rabid attacks on Psychiatry and what it calls "Big Pharma." In the tweet above we see Scientologist and OSA operative John Alex Wood going straight for the jugular by candidly and publicly admitting that the true purpose of Scientology's lunatic Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is, "the total ANNIHILATION of psychiatry world wide."
Scientology is opposed to psychiatric drugs in particular and all pharmaceuticals in general. This opposition is driven by Scientology's belief that drugs "mask the symptoms" of the underlying spiritual distress that is actually responsible for illnesses.
Scientology does not believe that mental illness exists. Scientology utterly dismisses Psychiatry as a fraudulent science and claims that "psych drugs" are part of a money-making racket designed to enslave and destroy people by drugging them into a crippled and helpless state solely for the profit of drug companies.
Issac Hayes son told The Hollywood Reporter that when his father had a stroke back in 2005, the Church of Scientology quit the SOUTH PARK on his behalf when he was recovering...wow
2016-09-15, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Hey everybody. This video is the next in my ongoing series taking apart this collection of essays and academic papers all bundled together under the name Scientology, edited by James R. Lewis. I've said from the beginning that I'm not objective in my views on Scientology and most of my critiques so far have been pretty harsh since the quality of the academic work in this book is frankly disgustingly bad. However, this week I was pleasantly surprised by Danish writers Peter B. Andersen and Rie Wellendorf who wrote chapter 7, Community in Scientology and among Scientologists. This is the first chapter I've read where the authors not only show their familiarity with the subject but use statistical and research information smartly to come up with sensible conclusions about Scientologists' actions and views. Let's get right into it.
Like most academic papers, they start by stating their basic theme and intentions in writing this and compared to some of the highbrow academic linguistics we've seen in earlier chapters, this is surprisingly readable.
"The Church of Scientology has been seen as a privatized religion fitting into the present age with hardly any 'communal expression or community activity'. Based on observations, interviews and a questionnaire handed out to about 500 core members of Scientology in Denmark between 1986 and 1999, the chapter argues that the teachings and organization of the Church of Scientology, gnostic and arcane though they may be, still allow for community in a religious sense of the word, but that it is established through other channels and therefore expresses itself in different ways than in, for example, a Catholic community in which all members have equal access to salvation through one initiation.
Yingling also forwarded a signed declaration from Powell, recanting his statements to police about the phone call from David Miscavige.
"Certain statements I allegedly made to the West Allis Police Department have been misinterpreted," it read in part.
Police in that Milwaukee suburb stand by their account: "There is no confusion in the statements that were made by Dwayne and Daniel Powell," Chief Patrick Mitchell said in an email.
Now, in the latest twist in the saga of church-sanctioned surveillance, Powell says he was paid thousands of dollars to sign the declaration after church attorneys summoned him to a meeting last year in Atlanta.
More than seven years after Laura DeCrescenzo filed her lawsuit alleging abuse at the hands of the Church of Scientology, she has moved one step closer to a trial with the latest rejection of a Scientology time-wasting appeal.
The California Supreme Court has denied the church's petition to review a state appeals court decision that upheld the trial court's denial of Scientology's second motion for summary judgment in the lawsuit. As we explained in August, Scientology is unhappy that its motion, which tried to have the lawsuit thrown out on First Amendment religious rights grounds, was denied by Judge John P. Doyle just before he disqualified himself from the lawsuit once he revealed that he had cousins in Scientology's Sea Organization.
Scientology's position is that because Doyle had to disqualify himself, his decision to deny the church's motion should also be disqualified. But the state appeals court disagreed, and now the state's highest court has refused to hear the matter.
But now, 10 years later, Hayes' son has revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that his dad did not quit the show because of the Scientology episode.
"Isaac Hayes did not quit South Park; someone quit South Park for him," Isaac Hayes III said.
"What happened was that in January 2006 my dad had a stroke and lost the ability to speak. He really didn't have that much comprehension, and he had to relearn to play the piano and a lot of different things. He was in no position to resign under his own knowledge.
"At the time, everybody around my father was involved in Scientology — his assistants, the core group of people. So someone quit South Park on Isaac Hayes' behalf. We don't know who.
(Thank you, reader SeriouslyWTF, for this image.)
Wow, it's great to be back in Phoenix. Your proprietor spent some very important formative years of his journalism career here in the Valley of the Sun, and it's great to see that despite some new trolley tracks, a freeway shooter, and some new coats of paint, the place essentially remains the same.
In other words, gorgeous.
2015-09-15, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The big push is on — open the unwanted Narconon "celebrity/VIP" centers across the world so Miscavige has something to talk about at the IAS Event. This is the latest. Narconon Ojai... It's been a long time coming, but the heat is on now, because it's just a month til the IAS event. Tony Ortega first reported on it way back in April 2014 (where I predicted it would be a Celeb/VIP Narconon)...
And while Narconon, ABLE and the church scream like stuck pigs when the plaintiffs in the numerous lawsuits filed over abuses in Narconon claim they are part of "scientology" and are controlled by the church, here is just another example of what a lie that is.
Desperate to get people there to be in the video, the CO CLO WUS sends out a last minute plea to anyone and everyone pitching them to be put on the list. "This CANNOT be a broad invitation..." even though she sent it out to everyone she possibly could hoping she would get more than 200 people who want to attend and can weed out the riff-raff so Mr. Cruise and COB don't have to mingle with the hoi-polloi. But even more ctastrophic, if she can't find 200 people in the largest concentration of scientologists on earth, she will have to send SO members to fill up the shots. That means she will have to hire buses and they will waste an entire day going to Ojai and they won't be on post regging for the IAS and selling Basics and overstocks of Congresses from the Bridge warehouse.
2014-09-15, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Admiration and the Scientology Mindset
After coming out of a cult experience like Scientology, I've seen a lot of former members try to make sense of the experience. I've been doing a lot of thinking and learning in the past year since I've been out, trying to undo the psychological damage that being in a cult for 27 years does to you. I'm not even close to being in a place where I can say I have it all figured out but I think it's good to take note when one hits certain milestones and I believe this is one of those. None of what I'm saying here in this article (or in any of my public writings) are an attempt to demean or insult current or former Scientologists.
I don't imagine my experience is so different than ex-members of any other cult or religious fundamentalist group either. Life in the real world is quite different from the bubble world that all mass movements create for themselves. Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard, preached that reality is agreement, and there is a certain degree of truth there, in that people in any group certainly agree to see things a certain way and actively block out anything that opposes "their reality."
It's always fun to see Scientology's plans for taking over the world. No matter how much trouble the organization is in, no matter how many oldtimers ditch the place because of leader David Miscavige's excesses, you can always count on Scientology acting like it's actually about to catch fire and overwhelm the world with L. Ron Hubbard fever.
And how does Scientology think it's going to reverse its recent downward spiral this time? Through media!
That's right, the cabal that's a laughingstock on television and radio somehow thinks it's going to turn that around with its new television studio — the old KCET studios in Los Angeles it purchased a few years ago.
2014-09-15, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is a bit old now, but still relevant.
The "ideal" fad is really rolling inside the bubble. — now they have Rev. Alfreddie preaching to the converted about what an "ideal scientologist" is.
My concept of what embodies today's "ideal scientologist" is seen in the illustration above.
Geir Isene left the Church of Scientology in 2009, after being a member for 25 years. He is the only person in Norway that has reached the highest spiritual level in Scientology, OT 8. He recently released an autobiography where he writes openly about Scientology's inner secrets - the OT levels are described in detail. Link to his book release: http://isene.me/2013/09/01/1984/
2013-09-15, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
One of our Special Correspondents sent in this very well constructed chart.
In keeping with recent posts, it highlights once again, USING THE CHURCH'S OWN BOOKS AND WEBSITE, how there is NO EXPANSION anywhere other that supposed Missions in Asia and Russia and former Soviet satellites.
There is no real expansion since the mid 90's. Funny, the granting of tax exemption to the churches at the end of 1993 was supposed to have marked the beginning of the golden age of Scientology. At least that is what Miscavige said. He announced that because HE had personally brought the IRS to its knees, "The War Was Over" and an era of unprecedented expansion was upon us. He is STILL saying it today. He always HAS to be right, so he is going to keep saying this til his last breath.
We're back in our underground bunker after a rather eventful trip to the Texas hill country.
The cats genuinely seemed happy to see us. The dog even came over for a rub.
We're still in recovery mode, and we hope by tomorrow to be more caught up on the things going on in the rest of the Scientology Watching world that need our attention. We have Narconon news to catch up on. More court documents to show you. A couple of interviews that we've meant to get done. But we had to put everything on hold for what turned out to be a fateful couple of days at the Comal County courthouse.
SERGE Benhayon, the former bankrupt tennis coach turned multimillionaire "esoteric healer", plans to open a college where he is chairman for life so his teachings can't be "bastardised".
Mr Benhayon, who has been accused of running a new-age cult that offers "six levels of initiation", has registered his College of Universal Medicine as a tax-exempt charity and is seeking $750,000 in donations.
His supporters include St Andrew's Hospital chest surgeon Samuel Kim, who says therapies including "esoteric breast massage . . . work in great partnership with traditional medicine".
But an academic who researches alternative medicine groups said Universal Medicine's "prophetic aspect and its over-reliance on a personality rather than a transparent set of techniques" were concerning.
In 1991's "Delirious," actress Emma Samms mentions to her brother that Candy's character has a strange power over her. "Do you think he's a Scientologist?" the brother replies.
As soon as the filmmakers began showing a rough cut of the film, someone in the church's extensive network of spies tipped off headquarters about the gag. The producer and director began receiving letters and phone calls from others in the industry saying that the joke was offensive and asking that it be cut.
Soon, the communications became more sinister. Lawsuits were threatened. Director Tom Mankiewicz's house was broken into, his personal effects rifled, Premiere magazine reported. The filmmakers eventually caved and cut the line.
In the wake of publicity over the movie "The Master" and Tom Cruise's divorce, the Church of Scientology opened its national office last week in Washington, D.C., drawing support from Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and other officials.
Their attendance marked a significant endorsement from members of a government that was once partially at war with the organization.
Lawmakers in attendance were Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Indiana Republican Rep. Dan Burton and Illinois Democratic Rep. Danny Davis. Liz Gibson, Senior Program Manager at the Federal Emergency Management Agency was also in attendance.
2012-09-15, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Claudio and Renata Lugli just arrived home to Italy from a Power mission to Israel. Their purpose was to assist in the set up of the first Independent Advanced Scientology Organization in the Middle East.
As a result, Dani and Tami Lemberger's Dror (Freedom) center is now delivering OT Levels auditing and training through OT VII.
The Dror Center delivers most of the Bridge in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, and English. It is an international marvel.
2011-09-15, Steve Cannane, Lateline, ABC News (Australia)
STEVEN LEWIS, SLATER AND GORDON: They came to us with some fairly horrendous stories, but in addition they gave us a lot of evidence to say that they had not been paid proper wages. We have undertaken an investigation into that and we've come to the conclusion that indeed they were employees and entitled to be paid wages, back wages and other entitlements including superannuation under the Fair Work Act.
2011-09-15, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
I mentioned in the Village Voice that one of the most important results of our visit to Germany was helping to get Independents, and future Independents, out from the shadows and into communication. I am going to share with you one of several significant results we've already seen from this.
For those who haven't seen the videos within that post, please take a close look at the face of the OSA spy that Mosey so alertly spotted at the Berlin wall.
2011-09-15, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Urban, with Nancy Jesser, their daughter Maya Urban-Jesser, and Shiva the dog In June, we reviewed a remarkable new book about Scientology. A review copy of Hugh Urban's The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion, put out by the Princeton University Press, had arrived at our desk almost the same day as Janet Reitman's highly anticipated book about the church, Inside Scientology.
We were impressed by the way Urban, in only 216 pages, not only laid out a robust history of Scientology in a highly readable narrative, but also did what others really hadn't before: put L. Ron Hubbard's creation in the cultural and political context of its time -- Scientology is a Cold War product, and absorbed all of that era's paranoia and desire for secrecy.
Urban's book was also impressive for its depth of research -- here in one volume were citations of many of the most significant court decisions that have rocked Scientology over the decades, as well as concise rundowns of many other church controversies. The book makes for a great companion to Reitman's journalistic approach: both books have come out at about the same time, and both with common goals of looking at a controversial subject from an objective, scholarly point of view.
Authorities found nothing hazardous after evacuating the Scientology headquarters in northwest Thursday afternoon.
The building in the 1400 block of 16th Street NW was evacuated because of a suspicious package.
2011-09-15, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Tony Ortega at the Village Voice recently posted an article on a new book, A History of a New Religion by Hugh B. Urban. I recommend the article, and when I receive and read the book I'll probably recommend it too based on Tony's review.
I think it is significant that the two latest books on the subject of Scientology by outsiders, both journalistic and scholarly, fully acknowledge the Scientology Reformation.
According to Lightbourne's trial lawyer Carlson Shurland, the first person to find Jett after he collapsed was the Travoltas' maid, who alerted the front desk of the holiday resort where the family's residence is situated.
About 15 minutes passed before the emergency services were called, he says.
When Lightbourne and Rolle arrived, at about 10.45am, they were led to the bathroom, where a number of 'white people', he recalls, were huddled around a boy, who was naked and covered by a towel, lying on the marble floor.
Sept. 15: A hitherto unnoticed change in French law will prevent a court from dissolving the two Scientology organisations charged in the Paris trial, as prosecutors had recommended.
Judges will not be able to follow the prosecutors' recommendations to shut down two organisations charged in the Paris trial of Scientology thanks to a law passed just before the case was tried.
The law, voted May 12, was part of a package designed to simplify existing legislation. But buried in a long list of measures was one removing the power of judges to order the dissolution of an organisation found guilty of fraud.
A NEW law has been "discovered" that means that whatever the outcome of France's Scientology trial, the French branch of the group cannot be dissolved.
French Scientology - considered to be a cult by the government - has been on trial, accused of swindling people out of money in an organised gang.
A judgement is expected next month and prosecutors are demanding that the organisation be dissolved.
However it has come to light that the Simplification and Clarification of the Law act, which the government passed just before the trial started in May, has a clause in it which means courts can no longer dissolve associations found guilty of fraud.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabia finds itself for the first time on a U.S. list of countries of particular concern "for particularly severe violations of religious freedom," paving the way for possible U.S. sanctions.
"In September 2004, the secretary of state designated Saudi Arabia as a 'country of particular concern' under the International Religious Freedom Act for particularly severe violations of religious freedom," said the State Department's "Annual Report on International Religious Freedom 2004."
The report said freedom of religion was not recognized or protected under Saudi law, and basic religious freedoms were denied to all but those who practiced the Wahhabi branch of Sunni Islam.
Television viewers who turned to Fox News on Friday for coverage of the terrorist attack also saw a message scrolling across the bottom of their screens -- National Mental Health Assistance: 800-FOR-TRUTH.
Unknown to the cable news channel, the phone number connects to a Church of Scientology center in Los Angeles, where Scientologists were manning the phones.
A Clearwater doctor who declared Scientologist Lisa McPherson dead when she arrived at a New Port Richey hospital in December 1995 has paid her estate $100,000 to settle his portion of a wrongful death suit McPherson's family filed against the Church of Scientology and others.
James Felman, the Tampa lawyer who represents Dr. David Minkoff, said two medical malpractice insurance companies paid the entire amount.
In a victory for the Church of Scientology (a.k.a. the Religious Technology Center), a district court in Sweden has ordered Zenon Panoussis to pay the church $164,000 for infringing its copyright by distributing confidential records on the Net in 1996. Aside from the online posting, Panoussis also sent the church's copyrighted training manual to the Swedish parliament, which according to law, is required to make documents it receives available to the public.