What do you know. We take our eyes off of the satellite tracker for a few days, and Scientology's private cruise ship the Freewinds moved on us!
Since March 20, 2020, the floating cathedral, where wealthy Scientologists go for the culminating experience of the "Bridge to Total Freedom," an auditing level known as "Operating Thetan Level Eight," or OT 8, the ship had been stuck in port in Aruba because of the pandemic.
For months, Scientology has been advertising to its members, begging them to go to Aruba, spend two weeks in quarantine in a hotel, and then visit the ship and its "OT Bubble." Scientologists were even being encouraged to move their offices to the ship, another sign that the ship was going nowhere soon.
I was not able to be in court Tuesday to see Keith Raniere sentenced to 120 years in prison. Like many Nxivm observers, I knew this outcome could happen, but it's still hard to process a sentence that is longer than a life. Federal prisoners are required to serve 85 percent of their sentence. Effectively, Raniere's sentence is no less than 102 years.
In an interview with Frank Parlato, Raniere's lawyer Mark Agnifilo said, "Cami's gonna be it. She's gonna take the house down." He added, "I don't want to get too much into the reason why, you know, I advise Keith, but I mean, assuming Cami is going to come to court, and she's going to say, 'This is what happened. I was 15. And he took pictures of me,' I said [to Keith], 'This is the worst possible time for us to bring up a tampering [motion]. You know, the allegation [of tampering] is right after Cami said, 'It's seared in my brain. He took pictures of me, I'll never forget it'."
As Agnifilo predicted, Cami did bring the house down. In court, Cami confirmed she was a 15-year-old virgin when the then-45-year-old Raniere raped her. This puts the lie to a claim by Nxivm loyalists that the nude photos of Camila found in a hard drive in Raniere's study were tampered with. Camila stated, "He took naked pictures of me — the experience of being photographed is seared in my memory,"
Complaining that he really didn't have anything new to blog about, author and debunker Jason Colavito probably thought his latest note at his website was hardly worth the time it took him to write it up.
But we were kind of stunned by the observation that he made about how there just might be a fundamental shift going on right now in the speculative TV market.
We've explained before that we're huge fans of Colavito and the way he expertly deflates the nonsense in shows like Ancient Aliens that have become such a staple on cable television. But it struck him, he wrote, that this should be an especially busy time of year for him as the various charlatans peddling nonsense about the ancient world and about alien visitations would be inundating the market with new books and TV shows timed for the holiday market. But that's not the case this year, Jason says...
Just a week after throwing a party on L. Ron Hubbard way to celebrate another "season" of propaganda on its television channel, Scientology threw another shindig this past Saturday night so the locals could watch video of David Miscavige's nearly three-hour presentation at the IAS event in East Grinstead, England which took place the week before.
And once again, we had a correspondent in place to observe the action for us. Here's their report…
Like the week before, L. Ron Hubbard Way was entirely blocked off from Fountain to Sunset. There were two police cars with officers at each end of the street. There was again a spotlight machine at Sunset with four moving beams shining into the sky mimicking an old-fashioned Hollywood premiere. The stage and projection TV screen were placed with their backs parallel to Fountain Avenue and spanning the width of LRH Way. There were multiple rows of seats facing the large TV screen on the street.
Ex-JW activists Mark O'Donnell and Lloyd Evans team up for the second part of what Lloyd says will be a trilogy of lengthy videos examining an 'Elder's Manual' that has been leaked from the Jehovah's Witnesses organization.
Here's Lloyd's description...
In part two of my deep-dive livestream trilogy, I am joined by colleague Mark O'Donnell (John Redwood) to dissect the child sex abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses as laid out in the latest edition of the secretive "Shepherd the Flock of God" elder's manual.
We want to thank the tipster who sent us a very interesting new document. We're not at liberty yet to tell you just how our correspondent got their hands on this particular item — but that may change in the near future.
Anyway, what we're talking about is a most fascinating item, a brand new, 2018, "pilot" application for Scientology's Sea Organization, the folks who are so dedicated and hard core they sign billion-year contracts and promise to work around the clock for the church, lifetime after lifetime.
Before they can get to that point, however, they have to fill in an application and begin the process of turning over every bit of information about themselves to a very nosy Church of Scientology.
2018-10-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Apparently the idea that people are curious about scientology is no longer operative?
I wonder if it has anything to do with the promotion for Scientology The Aftermath that recently began that plays on their "Curious?" concept?
These two billboards have now replaced the "Curious?" ones in Clearwater:
2017-10-29, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
The weekly show where I answer viewer questions left for me in the comment section of my Q&A videos or sent to me by email at AskChrisShelton@gmail.com. This week, the questions I answer are:
(1) For a very long time I was involved with the Charismatic Movement that has wormed it's way through a lot of churches. I no longer go to church, though I do still consider myself a Christian.
I've been watching your YouTube videos about being involved in Scientology. Once you got out, did you deal with a lot of anger? If so, how long did it last? If you dealt with anger, what did you do to get over it?
2017-10-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Time for some IAS hype about the annual Celebration. It's slightly dated, but a bit of fun nevertheless.
They spin themselves into such a frenzy all I can think about is the old cartoon of the Tasmanian Devil. This is what the town criers who try to excite the sheeple remind me of...
Everything is SO over the top. It is like an insane tornado of superlatives and absurd descriptions of their minimal accomplishments it is like a parody.
Rod Keller gets us into the protest held in the Canadian city of Guelph yesterday as the locals let Scientology know that its "CLO" is not welcome there.
It was a rainy day yesterday in the city of Guelph, Ontario as residents protested the new Scientology office at in the downtown area. 15 protesters braved conditions at the new 40 Baker Street Continental Liaison Office, or CLO, which is a management office that coordinates and directs the orgs and missions in the Scientology "continent" of Canada. CLOs are not recruiting locations and they are staffed by Sea Org members who have signed a billion year contract to serve Scientology in this and all future lifetimes.
[Continental Liaison Office UK near Saint Hill, East Grinstead, England]
Dublin Marathon runners have criticised the "outrageous" placement of a Church of Scientology stand at the SEE Airtricity Dublin Marathon Expo in the RDS.
The three-day expo hosts registration for competitors gearing up for Sunday's race and gives businesses the opportunity to exhibit their products and services.
A Louth man (38), who didn't wish to be named, said he was collecting his race pack for Sunday when he spotted Scientology volunteers offering massages and handing out Church literature to attendees.
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 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.
I'm stirred by the Great Wollersheim Debate to make a few historical remarks. Lawrence rightly says that his case was a collaboration between many people; my contribution was but one of many.
The attorneys fought long and hard on his behalf, and Lawrence himself showed unbelievable fortitude. To this day, the only person to defeat Scientology so thoroughly in court is Lawrence. The odds against him were overwhelming, yet he persisted regardless, and we all owe him a great debt.
2016-10-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I have just finished reading Australian national journalist Steve Cannane's book Fair Game.
I highly recommend it as a very well written and researched account of scientology's history and a revealing expose of newly disclosed and little known information. Steve had earlier commented that I had prompted him to embark on this exercise when I had mentioned the important role Australia had played in the history of scientology — from the first government inquiry and ban to the Australian High Court decision defining religion and the precedent setting role of Australian media unintimidated by scientology's threats. And the personalities who had had pivotal roles, from Yvonne Jentzsch and family to Jan Eastgate and Senator Nick Xenophon to James Packer and Rupert Murdoch and sons.
His book is oriented around the history of scientology in Australia — but don't let that fool you into thinking it does not have much greater relevance in the overall narrative about scientology and its place in the world.
2015-10-29, Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large
By request, I am creating a series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) about important concepts in critical thinking. These will all be short, about a minute or so, and will cover one topic each. This second one is about opposing beliefs and the importance of questioning everything.
Here is the transcript for this:
A critical thinker is in a frame of mind of always questioning everything, including things they don't necessarily want to question.
Hey, tabloids, your boy Tom Cruise was at another Scientology fundraiser, helping out his main man David Miscavige (pictured, above) and we have the evidence.
A year ago, we provided proof that Tom Cruise attended the 2014 annual gala of the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) and even wore his "Freedom Medal of Valor." But not only did the tabloids that normally watch Cruise like a hawk completely ignore our report, Star magazine later fibbed and said Tom had not attended the party as the magazine pretended that Cruise was on his way out of Scientology.
Then, this summer, we provided yet more evidence of Tom's involvement — another photo, proving that Cruise had visited Scientology's new "Ideal Org" in Bogotá, Colombia.
2015-10-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
It's Halloween and the IAS Event all mixed up. There's a reg waiting for you behind every gravestone. Freddy Kruger and the Texas Chainsaw guy are movie characters. Those IAS regges are real.
Makes for a week of fine funnies...
There's nothing kids like more...
Officials from the Church of Scientology, the biggest property owner in downtown Clearwater, are quietly lobbying Pinellas County commissioners, voicing their opposition to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium's plans to relocate downtown.
Clearwater residents voted last December to allow the aquarium to lease public land on the downtown bluff, and the city's elected leaders unanimously support the relocation.
Scientology representatives have been meeting with county commissioners who will decide whether the aquarium gets bed tax dollars, which would be a significant source of funding for its expansion.
2014-10-29, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
A local Special Correspondent sent this in this morning and I thought it worth reprinting. Pity the media don't REALLY analyze what is going on.
The article is on MyFox Tampa Bay, headlined: "Church of Scientology expresses opposition to proposed aquarium."
Aside from the main message that the Church is opposed to plans to move the Clearwater Marine Aquarium downtown, there is this quote, "The objections to the project were coupled with a recent economic impact study conducted by Florida State University. It says the Church directly provides 4,300 jobs in the Clearwater area, with a direct economic impact of $432 million."
We have some fun odds and ends for you today while we nail down more big stories for you from the world of Scientology.
We're chasing down all sorts of things — follow-ups to our previous stories, as well as big legal happenings on the horizon. But we can't say too much just yet. We don't want to spoil things.
In the meantime, we've been meaning to share with you the latest newsletter from the Fort Harrison Hotel, Scientology's 'Mecca' in Clearwater, Florida. We always love to read the things our sharp-eyed readers pull out of these slick publications put out by Scientology.
Workers installed the wrap Monday, looking like dots beside the giant KSW letters as they dangled from ropes high above the structure.
Tuesday began with an inspection by the Fire Department of the 150,250-square-foot tent that borders Court Street, the primary route to Clearwater Beach. Inspectors gave the church one day to prove its wrap met the fire code. Church officials quickly provided documentation that it did.
But the church failed to persuade city officials that the wrap was a religious symbol. Nor is the wrap a mural. City code defines a mural as depicting a scene or event of natural, social, cultural or historic significance.
Going Solo: "Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." Claire Headley is taking us on our journey to train as Scientologists. She and her husband Marc were Sea Org workers who escaped from Scientology's International Base in 2005. She spent years working with Scientology's "tech," and was trusted to oversee the auditing of Tom Cruise. Go here to see the first part in this series.
Claire, you've taken us on a great journey of adventure up Scientology's "Bridge to Total Freedom." We've gone Clear, and we did our Preps before we start the Operating Thetan levels. But you tell us there's even more we have to do before we can do those levels. We need to do some training as auditors — and learn to audit ourselves in Solo Auditing?
CLAIRE: We have to do this first because OT 1, 2, and 3 are all solo audited levels. So that means you will be delivering those levels to yourself. For which you must be trained as a solo auditor.
TWO former Narconon employees have said claims there is no drug use at the East Warburton drug rehabilitation centre are rubbish.
Narconon is proposing to move their isolated East Warburton drug rehabilitation centre into Warburton township, close to homes and the local primary school.
A campaign opposing the move is gaining momentum as reports of unauthorised drug and alcohol use by clients are starting to emerge.
Smith told us Narconon prefers to treat nutritionally first, but does allow over-the-counter medications.
"If they are medications that are needed to keep those potential life-threatening situations under control, that's incorporated as part of the treatment plan," Smith said.
Narconon employs seven registered nurses. Smith said there is always a nurse on site, who will see patients at any time and the staff doctor is always on-call.
Narconon advertises a 70 percent success rate-a number Smith said comes from a series of survey calls, following program completion.
But there are still those three deaths, which remain a mystery.
Those tireless researchers over at WhyWeProtest.net reached a milestone last night (and are celebrating with party hats). They scour the Internet looking for evidence of people who have dared to leave the Church of Scientology and speak out publicly about it. (Many more leave quietly, hoping not to draw the wrath of an organization that is notorious for its retaliation ploys.)
Last night, they added the 2000th person to that last, which you can find alphabetized at the WWP site.
That threshold was crossed when WWP's researchers spotted this declaration by a couple in Germany named Inessa and Lothar Miethe...
2011-10-29, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Mike Rinder addressed the question of whether Scientology meets the accepted scholarly and legal standards of what constitutes a religion in a presentation to the Philosophical Society at Trinity College in DublinIreland this week. While versions of this address have appeared in the comments section of this blog already, here is a version with better audio than those posted thus far. I recommend that anyone interested in the subject of Scientology listen to the entire presentation.
For those whose intellectual curiosity has been piqued here is the Australian High Court decision of 1983 that Mike referred to, Australian High Court.
For those who want to study the evolution of the establishment of Scientology's religiosity, Justice Skelly Wright's, of the D.C. Federal Appellate Court, 1969 opinion in the Food and Drug Administration's case against the e-meter is essential reading, Founding Church of Scientology vs United States (1969)
2011-10-29, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Clearing the planet, one dumpster at a time For our longtime, loyal readers and commenters (of all persuasions), I just want to say how much I appreciate your continued interest in things we're doing here at the underground bunker. This week, we got a huge influx of new folks as our stories went somewhat viral, but naturally, it was the OG friends of Runnin' Scared who tended to post the most memorable sayings and salutations.
Things started, of course, with Sunday morning's big bombshell, when Marty Rathbun made public an OSA document describing a 2006 investigation of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Fortunately, that morning, I happened to be spending some time online, and spotted Rathbun's post within minutes of his putting it up. I called him for a quick quote, and then put up my own story, beating any other press by most of the day.
By the next morning, more than a hundred news organizations around the world were on the story, but by then I had up our second story, and this time with OSA documents only we were in possession of.
2010-10-29, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
Last year, I wrote a satirical essay about the "types of SP." I never published it on this blog, but it seems it's time to revisit the subject, as apparently the Church has now invented several more classes of SP.
With so many people getting declared these days, the C of S has quite a time keeping them all straight. Even though they declare someone, that does not mean that they can now talk to other SPs. Oh, no. The Church has to have ways of keeping some SPs from talking to other SPs. They have to keep SPs from speaking out. And there are even SPs that can't leave the Int Base!
So here's my updated list of "Types of SPs."
Is the Church surviving on borrowed time? Most of its more suspect teachings and practices, some of which verge on the tactics employed by spy agencies, have been there in plain sight for all to see on the the internet sites of critics and former members.
For all the recent bad publicity in the mainstream media, the truth is Scientology has never been far from controversy. The rest of the world may finally be waking up.
Investigations into the Church's activities have been held in half a dozen countries, including in this very province. A raid of the Church's headquarters here led to a celebrated court case that uncovered government documents in the Church's possession.
Clients pay Ed Armstrong for legal help and his access to the upper reaches of county government, where leaders enjoy the benefits of being close to the Clearwater lawyer but are wary of appearing too cozy.
It's a delicate dance of interests, and Armstrong may have overstepped it at last week's Pinellas County Commission meeting, where roughly 250 residents came to be heard on a slate of contentious land use cases.
Over on Ron L Hubbard way at the large Scientology complex in East Hollywood, a videographer was filming on the sidewalk when he was all of the sudden surrounded by three alleged Scientologists with cameras who kept on cornering him. This follows city council action regarding the closure of the street on a weekly basis and a contentious video (below) taken on the street on July 4th, 1999.
The concert, which included performances from Academy Award nominated film composer Mark Isham and the UK's top swing band, The Jive Aces, raised £150,000 for the construction of the Bluebell Railway Station in East Grinstead.
UNIFORMED police distributed Church of Scientology propaganda at Whyalla High School, contrary to guidelines for religious education.
A team of police officers visiting the school showed classes a DVD on living a moral life and distributed a booklet entitled "Whyalla High School presents the way to happiness, a common-sense guide for better living", written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
Among their topics of conversation? The stir Seinfeld recently caused when he revealed he'd dabbled in Scientology.
"I did some Scientology courses about 30 years ago," Jerry told Billy. "The only thing that bothers me about people knowing that is that it is not my complete wacko resume. It's just one aspect!"
A poster being sold to mark the 100th anniversary of the subway has an underground message - and it has nothing to do with trains.
The poster, which depicts a crowded Times Square subway station, contains what seems like an endless number of plugs for the controversial Church of Scientology.
NEWKIRK - Several former employees of Narconon Chilocco New Life Center criticized the facility Wednesday for failing to promptly pay their salaries and overtime, and claimed that the recently licensed drug and alcohol abuse facility is a front for the Church of Scientology.
Gene McCormick, who quit as Narconon Chilocco's chief of security on Monday, and Edith Clark, whose duties included head of international training, had the harshest words for the 75-bed facility when the group met with reporters Wednesday in a downtown Newkirk building.
Clark said Narconon Chilocco owed her an undetermined amount of back wages because she said the facility refused to pay her overtime even though she says she worked 60 to 70 hours a week.