The rise of Alternative for Germany, the new far-right political party competing in the upcoming federal election, has unsettled the consensus-driven, moderate politics of postwar Germany with its rabid anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric, unabashed nationalism, and winking gestures embracing the country's Nazi past.
Election-watchers expected a flood of fake news and inflammatory social media aiding Alternative for Germany, known by its German initials, AfD, to come from Russia. But one of the major publishers of online content friendly to the far-right party is an American website financed in large part and lead by Jewish philanthropist Nina Rosenwald.
Rosenwald's site, the Gatestone Institute, publishes a steady flow of inflammatory content about the German election, focused on stoking fears about immigrants and Muslims. In one of the most recent posts, the website warns of the construction of mosques in Germany and claims that Christianity is becoming "extinct."
Janis Gillham Grady was no ordinary member of the church - she was Scientology royalty.
Her mother Yvonne Gillham-Jentzsch founded the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre. Her father Peter Gillham espoused the Scientology creed around the globe. Her stepfather Heber Jentzsch was the church's president.
Such was her parents' devotion to the cause that Janis and her siblings had been raised in large part by L Ron Hubbard and his wife, Mary Sue.
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.
It bothers me when I hear someone say that they "blew" from Scientology. The word does not mean "left" – which is what they actually did – it means that they had to flee, because they were overwhelmed with guilt stemming from their transgressions (or "overts"). But the sneering, deprecatory label is accepted, as if leaving Scientology were not eminently sensible (I've not regretted it for a single moment!).
Language can make a fine trap: people begin to believe the words and act in accordance with their emotional resonance. Hubbard knew exactly how to enmesh people in a web of language, as Scientology's two 500-page dictionaries show. He brought about "conceptual understanding" by redefining hundreds of words (one of the cardinal sins of manipulators, as he pointed out in Propaganda by Redefinition of Words). The implanted concepts are often unhealthy, and it is important to think your way out of them, if you really want to be "self-determined."
2016-09-22, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
Hey everyone, this video continues our series of analyses of the chapter of this book, Scientology, edited by James R. Lewis. This book predominantly consists of apologetics, which by definition are "reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine." That hasn't been the case with every chapter, but this week we are definitely diving deep into the pool of rationalizations for Scientology.
Chapter 8 is by French professor of psychology Regis Dericqueobourg, whose name I am probably butchering because my French really sucks. Now I say that he is a professor of psychology because that's what this book says he is but according to Wikipedia, he's a sociologist of religions, so I'm not sure what his actual professional field of study is but I'll go with sociologist over psychologist. He works at the Charles De Gaulle University in Lille, France and is concerned with the conflict between society and minority religious groups, which may be one reason why he is so desperate to draw connections that don't exist between Scientology and other major religions so as to legitimize what Scientology is doing. Now I know that I'm biased in this, but having been a Scientologist for so long and seeing how it really operates behind closed doors versus what some of these academics have to say about it, I think my bias is well deserved.
This chapter asks the question "How Should We Regard the Religious Ceremonies of the Church of Scientology?" Let me first begin by telling you that when I was in Scientology, most of us regarded them as a bother and something that had to be done because we were ordered to do it. I'm referring mainly to the Sunday Service Program, which if I recall correctly came down pretty hard around 1999 with a newly revised book called The Background, Ministry, Ceremonies & Sermons of the Scientology Religion. This gigantic tome included a whole new format for our Sunday Services which included things that all of the Scientologists I knew had never heard of before such as a Prayer for Total Freedom. We all looked at each other kind of dumbfounded. Prayers? Huh?
In this video series, I'm taking on Scientology academic apologists by deconstructing the book Scientology by James R. Lewis, chapter by chapter. In this video, I look at Chapter 8, written by Regis Dericqueobourg and titled "How Should We Regard the Religious Ceremonies of the Church of Scientology?"
The introduction to this series is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3-lW...
CRITICAL MERCHANDISE AVAILABLE AT:
Sell the house. Sell the car. Sell the kids. As your cult leader we demand total obedience, and that means you will be shelling out the big bucks one week from today for the audiobook edition of The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper.
Or, if you aren't already a member, join Audible.com and get the book for free!
Yes, we recently took time out of our cult-leading duties to spend three days in a 7th Avenue studio reading our own book into a microphone so you could hear us tell the spellbinding tale of Paulette Cooper's incredible ordeal at the hands of Scientology's spies. Just think of the result: you, your dear leader, his mellifluous voice, and Paulette's saga, all together in your noise-cancelling headphones for ten hours!
2016-09-22, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
None of these guest speakers have any idea of scientology's deplorable history of human rights abuses. Betcha this invite would be withdrawn in a big hurry if you chose to speak about that...
Fight for kids...
She made her name as the good witch Glinda in the Broadway show Wicked.
And Kristen Chenoweth, 47, brought a little magic of her own to the red carpet on Monday night at Beso Restaurant in Los Angeles.
The actress and singer showed off her toned limbs and slim figure in a delicate blush-pink lace-overlay drop-waist dress as she arrived at the Human Rights Hero Awards.
2015-09-22, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Here are the latest batch of lies put forth by "Flag."
Not just the "Mecca of Technical Perfection" and the "Friendliest Place on Earth" but "Global Vulture HQ."
Interestingly, they being with a likely true statement. In all of 2014 they managed to make 393 OT VII's. Highest Ever! And at that rate, even making it to the 30 year old target of 10,000 is 7 years away.
As former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder pointed out yesterday, Scientology's attempt to frighten a Clearwater, Florida movie theater out of showing Alex Gibney's documentary Going Clear only ended up with straight up and vertical expansion: Now two theaters in the area will be showing the movie.
If that doesn't sum up Scientology PR, we're not sure what does.
This all began to play out on Friday, and we know you've been following it. But we decided to get a visual of the situation, since we're in the Big Apple and we don't really know Tampa-area geography all that well.
Some of the people involved in that investigation, sparked by three deaths at the facility, have also sued in Oklahoma County, claiming the state deliberately buried the report.
Former inspector general for the agency Kim Poff and an investigator, Michael DeLong, say the report called for the facility to be closed, but the state doesn't want to battle the Church of Scientology in court.
2014-09-22, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
The latest "good news" shouted from the rooftops by our friendly WUS FSC. Somehow, it's not just the name that evokes the image of minced meat. Prepackaged ground up mystery meat seems to be a fairly accurate description of these offerings from Mr. Mintz.
I am surprised he put this one out as stats are not looking good....
Super Power, Running Program completions and Clears are down. You can see the comparative to the earlier reports below.
Today, we have a couple of videos that are typically hamfisted and mockworthy. But this first video, from the Nashville Celebrity Center, is another matter.
Technical secretary Karen Morris explains the tough choice she made to become a staff member and dedicate herself utterly to the cause.
It is a religion that has been ridiculed by many, despite major Hollywood stars including John Travolta and Tom Cruise being followers.
Now, Scientologist Juliette Lewis, 41, has revealed her own 'conspiracy theory' over the criticism the religion faces – and has defended Tom Cruise's angry interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show back in 2005.
'I'll get all conspiratorial on you, and I'm just going to throw this out,' Lewis told The Daily Beast, when talking about the main misconceptions of Scientology, using Cruise's interview – where he had a heated debate with Lauer about the misuse of pharmaceutical drugs – as an example.
2013-09-22, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
See the message below. Say goodbye to another Scientology Church.
As you might have heard, Celebrity CentreLondon and the London Ideal Orgs are merging to form London Org & Celebrity Centre! The first step to getting this done is getting the CC Files in top shape and up Ideal Org standards and their is a project working on this full time to get it done as fast as possible!
We need your help! Anyone that can volunteer their time and come to London Org to work on getting the files in order will be most appreciated and commended! We're here from first thing in the morning till last thing at night and you can find us on the 5th floor of London Org. Contact Joel on 07984783176 or Martin on 07828095047 for any information!
On Sundays we like to reveal to you the mailers and fliers that our network of tipsters forward to us during the week.
This week we received something unusual and enlightening.
While we've been focusing lately on major crises gripping the top echelons of the Church of Scientology, it's useful to remember there are still quite a few folks out there in far-flung locations, doing what they can to "clear the planet" — spread the word about Scientology so it can take over the world.
'Scientology erodes compassion' ( pic by Lizy Atack) Recovering Scientologists - and other campaigners - need to shake off the destructive mindset typical of those still inside the movement, writes Jon Atack.
'If somebody does you wrong, you must be willing to retaliate a thousand-fold.' Eric Theodore Cartman.
Ron Hubbard put forward the notion that the only reason people become upset is a 'third party' who is whispering in someone's ear. This is not true, of course, people can become upset without the least bit of help.
2012-09-22, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Folks, fasten your safety belts before you tie into this duo of gang buster articles.
Three of the most competent, courageous journalists to have tackled the beast now known as Scientology Inc. over the past several years have filed reports this evening that are already shaking the foundations of Miscavige's bunker.
Mark Collette of the Corpus Christi Caller Times broke the story, Latest Scientology legal battle unfolds in Coastal Bend as private investigators sue church. The biggest news story of South Texas in the past two years has suddenly risen from a nearly year-long slumber and has grown legs worthy of Godzilla.
The secretive Church bought the Moseley mansion and estate for a reported £4.25 million in September 2007 for its new Midland headquarters.
But it is understood the Scientologists have never moved into the imposing mansion and extensive grounds – and local residents are unhappy that the estate is being left to neglect.
Now the Church is being urged to come clean over its plans for the building, designed by well-known Birmingham architect Holland Hobbis and home of the Ideal Benefit insurance society for decades.
2011-09-22, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Chris Guider was my subordinate in his capacity as Inspector General's MAA for some time. Chris is one of the most honest, conscientious, and ethical people I had the pleasure of working with while in the Sea Organization (Corporate Scientology's elite order). Thanks for standing up and sounding off Chris. You can watch Chris do so here, breaking news from Australia:
2011-09-22, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
For those who don't know, Survival Insurance made millions by catering to Scientologists. When they started they pretty much ripped off the short-lived, but then (eighties) popular Survival Rundown trademark.
Survival CEO Richie Acunto became one of the elite of the Miscavige elite public. In 2007 he completed his rarified IAS status by paying TEN MILLION dollars to the IAS.
Is it any surprise that four years later Survival Insurance has filed for bankruptcy?
2011-09-22, Steve Cannane, Lateline, ABC News (Australia)
But Chris Guider thinks David Miscavige is not the kind of person who should be the head of a religious movement.
CHRIS GUIDER: He's a violent individual. He is. And there are accounts of him being physical with people. I've seen him physically beat one staff member, Mark Fisher, who was formerly an executive in RTC and worked very closely with Miscavige for a lot of years. And I witnessed him beating him.
2011-09-22, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Chris Guider, the latest Scientology executive to leave and say that David Miscavige gets slappy Reporter Steve Cannane e-mailed this morning to alert us to a story on Lateline, a program on Australia's ABC network. The piece describes the defection of yet another Scientology executive who says he witnessed church leader David Miscavige violently assaulting his employees. As you'll see in the video, Chris Guider was a professional rugby player who gave up his sports dreams to become a member of Scientology's hardcore Sea Org. Now he regrets that decision.
Cannane's story is just one of several interesting things happening overseas this week in the world of Scientology watching, and between countdown items (#5 popped up yesterday, #4 shows up tomorrow morning at 9 am), we thought we'd round up several of them in this post.
Besides, it's Thursday, and in Scientology, that's the day to turn in your stats and review a week's worth of progress. So what better day to review this overseas enturbulation!
2010-09-22, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Just like clockwork, the day before I head out of town the shenannigans step up. First, the unordered pizza is delivered. Then an unending battery of phone calls to home and cell. There is a distortion filtered voice ominously announcing that I am wrong, that David Miscavige is not the source of the oppression dished out by the church of Scientology. It is L Ron Hubbard. I am to be dealt with because I say otherwise. I am being watched.
No shit, Sherlock! If you are gonna go through the trouble of throw-away phones, voice distorters, hiring some punks to script and execute this stuff, and coordinate it all around felonious mis-use of travel computers, at least tell me something I don't know, and that I care about.
It sounds very much like an Anonymous prank. But, do they have access to airpline reservation information like we know Miscavige's "church" does? And thinking over the message, who would be more apt to send that one in particular, Anonymous or Miscavige?
1995-09-22, Steven Goldsmith, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Jason Scott is suing the Cult Awareness Network and the four deprogrammers hired by Scott's mother for unspecified damages.
The mother was trying to get Scott - then 18 - to leave the New Life Tabernacle Church, a member of the United Pentecostal Churches.
About 18 months later, the church was charged with four counts of theft of documents and information, four counts of breach of trust, and seven counts of possession.
Yesterday, the judge committed the church to trial on six charges of theft over $200, one charge of theft under $200, and four counts of breach of trust. He threw out the possession counts. Nine individuals were also committed to trial.
Indicative of the tremors that have rocked the commune was an offer last night by its spiritual leader, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, to give all but one of his 90 Rolls-Royces to his 5,000 disciples as a gesture of appreciation.
It was not accepted, however. The cars belong to the Rajneesh Investment Trust, which specifies that they be used exclusively by Mr. Rajneesh. The trust president, Swami Dhyan John, jumped in to say that because the guru had sat in all the vehicles, "they are sacred and we want them just where they are."