Facebook has talked a big game about monitoring election misinformation, and yet the independent activist network Avaaz said it had to alert the company to the pages before it removed them for coordinated inauthentic behavior. The group didn't need an army of 35,000 moderators to figure this out, and yet Facebook consistently fails to spot the troublemakers that journalists and researchers with less funding and staff seem to keep spotting. As they say: makes you think.
Avaaz said that it alerted Facebook to the pages on Friday night. By that time, in aggregate, Avaaz says the top seven pages—Brian Kolfage, Conservative Values, The Undefeated, We Build the Wall Inc, Citizens of the American Republic, American Joe, and Trump at War—had collectively gained over 2.45 million followers. In some cases, Bannon and Brian Kolfage, co-conspirator in the "We Build the Wall, Inc." fundraiser/alleged scam, were co-admins.
Avaaz campaign director Fadi Quran told Gizmodo that its team identified the Bannon ring by running an "influencer analysis," keeping tabs on frequent guests on Bannon's podcasts and pages affiliated with Bannon's former "We Build the Wall" grift. Avaaz, which is comprised of 40 investigators and data analysts, has kept tabs on habitual misinformers and their coordinated sharing through custom software.
Since we started it more than a year ago, our "Overheard in the FreeZone" feature has become one of the most popular daily sources of commentary here at the Underground Bunker.
We have explained before that we appreciate the way that independent Scientologists — who for the most part are people who have left the Church of Scientology but continue to pursue independently the practices described by founder L. Ron Hubbard — are freer to discuss the subject than their counterparts still in the church.
In order to keep up on what "indies" are talking about, we browse numerous gathering places on the Internet to see what the latest wins and beefs are. (And there are a lot of beefs.)
2019-11-10, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This, according to Ron, is not a threat or a curse...
Sure seems like it to me.
This is one of the huge traps of scientology. Hubbard constantly dangled the "research" and "next levels" as the reason to give your money and your life over to the cause. In this regard it is much like the doomsday cults (including the Jehovah's Witnesses) who preach the soon to come Armageddon/end of the world that will consume everyone except the truly dedicated believers and committed practitioners of their particular brand of belief.
The Scientology Network (Scientology TV) may be the only digital property in the world being marketed primarily by hand.
Scientologists around the world are participating in the "Curious Campaign." A group of three London publics (see above) are being credited with the distribution of 250,000 flyers for the network and have announced plans to distribute up to 1 million.
But something doesn't add up for that to be true. If they can distribute 30 per hour they would each have to work over 11,000 hours to reach their target.
At the end of September, a journalist friend gave me Rudy Giuliani's phone number. When I called, he picked up on the second ring and promptly divulged previously unreported details about his collaboration with State Department officials on a quid pro quo this summer. Those conversations helped inform a report I filed with BuzzFeed, which was corroborated the next day in testimony and text messages from former Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker.
Giuliani forgot my name almost immediately, but we kept in touch. Truth is, I enjoy speaking with him. Two days after publication, on the evening he attended a Yankees playoff game with Alan Dershowitz, Giuliani — President Donald Trump's 75-year-old informal cybersecurity adviser — accidentally texted me what appeared to be a password: Eight characters, beginning with the name of a networking company and including a capital letter, a special character, and a number. Multiple IT experts confirmed it could be nothing else, and, given the iPhone's messaging setup, impossible to type with your butt or in any other unwitting way.
After an internal ethical debate, I alerted him. He replied, "Oh, that was just a butt dial," but thanked me, punctuated with a smiley-face emoji.
We have another classic for you this week in our 'Scientology Lit' series — a chapter from Bent Corydon's landmark 1987 book, L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman? Bent was a mission holder in Riverside, California who lost his mission but fought successfully to hold on to the building it was in. He also had to fight litigation from the church over his book, and also had to deal with his co-writer, L. Ron Hubbard Jr., pulling one of his flip-flops and turning on him. We chose a chapter that features Bent himself, talking about the drama of the infamous 1982Mission Holder's conference in San Francisco, when a young David Miscavige began to exert his authority on behalf of Hubbard, who was in hiding at the time. The SF conference came ten months after a Florida meeting when the Mission Holders had voiced their concerns about the increasingly heavy-handeded methods of Hubbard's new young lieutenants...
The Saviour's Revenge
L. Ron Hubbard's attempt to use trade-secret and industrial espionage laws to enforce "church doctrine" is probably unique in the annals of religious and legal history. Deploying "Finance Police" operating under an "International Finance Dictator" to enforce the sending of "customers" from "franchises" to the higher Church also has a bizarre ring to it: something out of Hubbard's pulp fiction.
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.
#Scientology #LRonHubbard #SeaOrganization
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2018-11-10, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Squirrels and Change
L. Ron Hubbard defined "squirrel" as,
1. a squirrel is doing something entirely different. He doesn't understand any of the principles so he makes up a bunch of them to fulfill his ignorance, foists them off on a pc and gets no place. (SH Spec 77, 611C08).
A Toronto user of the reddit social media website was walking through Chinatown when he spotted people filming on a sidewalk. Behind them, taped on the wall, was a piece of white paper that read "Crowd Notice: Consent and Release."
The document stated that Scientology Media Productions was filming in the area, and that any person entering the area would "irrevocably consent to and authorize [the production company] to photograph you and make recordings of your voice and to use said photographs and/or recordings for worldwide exploitation . . . for any purpose whatsoever."
HuffPost: Trump Thinks Scientology Should Have Tax Exemption Revoked, Longtime Aide Says
Quite an article today in the Huffington Post in which Leah Remini figures prominently:
President Donald Trump believes the Church of Scientology should have its tax exemption revoked, a longtime family aide and current top official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development told an actress and producer in May.
(Trump, Miscavige, Mnuchin)
Does Donald Trump really want to end Scientology's tax exempt status? That's the provocative notion that Yashar Ali floated Thursday at the Huffington Post, but Yashar included a lot of caveats about whether there was any truth to the idea, or whether a president even has the influence to make such a decision.
The suggestion that Trump wants Scientology's exemption reviewed came from a longtime Trump aide, Lynne Patton, who in May reached out to actress Leah Remini on Twitter. In a private message, Patton said, "From the moment I saw your series, I told President Trump & his family that we needed to revoke their tax exempt status. They couldn't agree more."
President Trump has thrown his support behind removing the Church of Scientology's tax-exempt status, according to a HuffPost report.
Twitter messages from a Trump family friend and top official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) claimed that Trump and his family "couldn't agree more" that the church should lose its tax-exempt status.
"From The moment I saw your series I told President Trump & his family we needed to revoke their tax exempt status. They couldn't agree more, but please don't publicize that yet," Lynne Patton wrote to actress Leah Remini in the messages obtained by HuffPost. "This is going to get done in the next 4 years or I'll die trying. Knock on wood!"
Psychology professor Jordan Peterson's stated plan to build a website aimed at reducing enrolment in university classes he calls "indoctrination cults" has drawn the ire of his University of Toronto colleagues, who say it will make them the target of harassment.
"As a science professor, I'm not specifically targeted, but I still believe this website is morally wrong," U of T physics professor A.W. Peet told As It Happens host Carol Off. "A number of students and faculty members who I'm in correspondence with are concerned about his plans."
Peterson, who rose to fame in right-wing circles after his outspoken refusal to use gender-neutral pronouns, says he wants to use artificial intelligence to scour university curriculums for what he "calls post-modern neo-Marxist course content."
The guest speaker from the group Narconon was at Camden School for Girls and Brecknock Primary in Camden Town on Monday morning to give presentations on the long-term effects of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis.
The registered charity says it is secular but states its approach is directly adapted from the teachings of science fiction writer and founder of the controversial Church of Scientology L Ron Hubbard.
Both schools have said they were unaware of the charity's links with Scientology and that teachers supervised the talks, which focused entirely on drug awareness.
Last week, we shared a treat with you that had been dug up by one of our helpful correspondents, a February 14, 1966Daily Mail story that called Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's academic credentials bogus.
Hubbard, for example, claimed to have graduated with a degree from George Washington University, but records there showed he left with failing grades after three semesters and never took a degree. The article also pointed out that Hubbard was calling himself "doctor" based on a Ph.D. from a diploma mill.
A few weeks after that Daily Mail article and pretty clearly because of it, on March 8, 1966 Hubbard took out an ad in The Times renouncing the use of the title "doctor."
Mike Adams, a conservative Texas blogger, greeted President-elect Donald Trump's victory with this post: "The evil, demonic, mass murdering Hillary Clinton has been defeated. This is VICTORY for all Americans, even the uninformed, ignorant morons who voted for Hillary."
But a few hours later, as the news sank in, Adams posted again with a more hopeful tone: "Today I declare 'LOVE WINS' because it is love for America that inspired us to collectively achieve this great victory." He said he was going to send Trump a video with his suggestions about how to reform health care.
Adams and thousands of others on the furious far-right of American political discourse, who have railed for years against the "criminal" and "treasonous" excesses of the federal government under President Obama, woke up Wednesday to find themselves in the odd position of being, essentially, insiders.
2015-11-10, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
This is another demonstration of the complete fail of the "ideal org" strategy.
Boston is one of the oldest and once largest orgs in the United States (it may still be one of the largest with 20 or so staff).
But it is important for a very particular reason. THIS is the org that L. Ron Hubbard wrote about as "proof" that it was not just him who could expand an org rapidly to SH Size.
The mother of Jim Carrey's late girlfriend, Cathriona White, says she has been the victim of vicious personal attacks since her daughter's death, telling PEOPLE in an exclusive interview that she is "devastated" over negative reports about their relationship and stressed that "calling her a failure is never something I would ever have done."
Speaking publicly for the first time since White was found dead of an apparent suicide six weeks ago, Brigid Sweetman remembers a daughter whom she says "was loved, she was so loved and I know she knew that" - even as Sweetman has faced rumors blaming her for the tragedy.
"There's a story that has been published saying that I sent Cathriona an email on her birthday nine days before she died, calling her a failure," she says. "I don't know who would say such lies, but this is something that never, ever happened. I am devastated people would say this."
A West Virginia man alleges his credit score has dropped 200 points because he cannot pay bills for treatment he says he never received at Narconon Freedom Center, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Albion.
Joshua Currey paid $15,000 for 12 days at the facility, which he said ignored his life story or personal problems with addiction and instead purported to treat him with its standardized program of Scientology indoctrination and rituals, according to a pending lawsuit filed in June in Calhoun County District Court.
The center made false representations that it had a 70 percent success rate, was non religious and the cost would be fully reimbursed by Currey's insurance, the lawsuit alleges.
[The woman Scientology won't name]
You have to give Scientology leader David Miscavige one thing: Once he makes a decision, it can get carried out very quickly. And after this weekend's opening of a large new Narconon center in Clearwater, Florida, it's plain that a major project Miscavige set into motion a couple of years ago is now pretty much complete.
Narconon, as we know it, is over.
And in its place is Narconon, version 2.0.
2015-11-10, Erik de la Garza, Courthouse News Service
The Church of Scientology's monitoring of a Texas woman, supposedly ordered by leader David Miscavige, is not protected by free speech, a Texas appeals court ruled.
he Third Court of Appeals in Austin handily rejected the church's argument that the alleged harassment of Monique Rathbun, the wife of a former high-ranking Scientologist, was a protected right of free speech and free association.
"It strains credulity to consider the harassing conduct that Rathbun complains of as having any direct relationship to this issue," Justice Scott Field wrote for the appeals court.
A Clinton Township woman alleges she vomits blood and has a swollen abdomen as a result of her forced participation in a sauna program likened to a Church of Scientology ritual at an addiction treatment facility in Albion.
Candice Tyler was eventually in the sauna five hours a day while taking Niacin, also known as vitamin B3 or nicontinic acid, and had an allergic reaction, which lead to headaches. She started coughing blood and was taken in early 2013 to a hospital emergency room, according to a lawsuit filed in March against Narconon Freedom Center.
It is pending in Calhoun County Circuit Court, demands a jury trial, and asks for more than $25,000 in damages.
The Travoltas side step not detailing where their money goes in this official document by listing the groups it donates to on its website. Is it true? Who knows? They don't commit to it on the federal filing. Three of the key groups they've given money to in 2014 are Scientology fronts– The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, GRODYSH International, and the Way to Happiness. They're mixed in with a few "name" organizations that are used as camouflage for the foundation's real agenda.
Las Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton has filed 24 separate lawsuits against Scientology's drug rehab network, Narconon, in three states. We've noticed that some of our commenters have wondered how one attorney can handle so many different suits at the same time, and apparently, that question has occurred to Hamilton himself.
On November 3, Hamilton submitted a motion to consolidate the pretrial phase of his 24 lawsuits to the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.
Hamilton is asking that the pretrial matters in his pending actions in California, Colorado, and Nevada be coordinated in the federal court's Las Vegas division.
In an interview with The Telegraph, 61-year-old Haggis spoke about how he was trolled online by Scientologists after he very publicly renounced the organisation in 2009.
'I know what they do online,' he said. 'I've seen them attack others under false names, try to discredit them, ruin their careers.
'And I've heard about these two people who work in the basement of Special Affairs there and they're just online all day at their computers, going on to various blogs, commenting on people's lives and things they do.'
2014-11-10, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Last week I put up a post entitled Scientology Takes Clearwater For Suckers.
A bit earlier tonight, scientology finally got their response approved through command channels, and it appeared in the form of the comment reprinted below.
Of course, a comment such as this to an old post would be buried and most people would not see it.
2013-11-10, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
As might have been evident from my last post Abolition of Scientology Slavery, my approach and contribution to that abolition will continue to be pursued along educational lines. In that regard, I have three books at various stages of completion which I hope to publish in 2014. Upon completion, I reckon I will have done what I can do on and with the subject of Scientology.
I will provide short previews of each book between now and the end of the year. Responses to those summaries will play a role in sequence of completion and publishing. The working title of the first one to preview is Clear and Beyond: How to Graduate from Scientology.
This is a manual for assisting one toward restoring forfeited critical, analytical and independent thinking and living. It does not attempt to sell a particular ultimate path. Instead, it is a recommendation on how one might learn to find one's own way after having been conditioned toward being a good follower. Some of its content has been presaged in many posts over the past year on this blog.
CLEARWATER-Clearwater voters gave Clearwater Marine Aquarium a big victory last week in a referendum allowing the aquarium to negotiate with the city on a lease of downtown waterfront property for a $160.5 million new facility.
On Thursday, two days after the polls closed, several members of the opposition addressed City Council, signaling their intent to keep the fight alive.
Tom Petersen, who has filed a suit seeking to invalidate the referendum, said the tentative agreement between the aquarium and the city undervalues the 5 ½ acres where City Hall now stands.
2013-11-10, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
Dani and Tami LembergerDror Center
Our Israeli Special Correspondent sent in this report. In light of events in Joburg, it seemed particularly appropriate to hear how things are going in Haifa.
It's been a little over a year since Dror Center of Haifa, Israel left the Church of Scientology. Their departure in July 2012 made big news and was reported by Marty Rathbun and here.
Book her, Danno!
Update: Prosecution offered her a plea bargain. Scientologist plead guilty, received $250 fine and 6 months' supervision (similar to probation). In exchange, she does not have a criminal record with a battery charge permanently attached to it unless she screws up again.
Last week, Luis and Rocio Garcia responded to Scientology's most serious attack on their federal fraud lawsuit with a harshly-worded court brief which also included a declaration from Luis Garcia himself.
On Friday, Scientology filed a new motion which is asking for Garcia's declaration to be rejected. Why? Because Garcia is now alleging facts which contradict the lawsuit's original complaint, the church says.
In January, the Garcias sued five of Scientology's corporate entities, accusing them of defrauding the Garcias as they were asked for donations. In particular, the Garcias say they gave one entity — the Church of Scientology Religious Trust (CSRT) — more than $300,000 for donations toward construction of Scientology's "Super Power Building."
I think data hounds should pay close attention to the story on Mike Rinder's blog about the Haifa org, which broke away from the cult en masse last year. There are abundant stats on how well the org is doing. I show below how these credible stats can be used to bracket estimates for the size of the cult worldwide, so this is a pretty significant discovery.
Tony's blog post today featured a story about a relatively bizarre filing in the Luis Garcia case. Apparently, the cult is trying to get one of the plaintiff's declarations thrown out because it is alleging facts that are inconsistent with the complaint. What makes this absolutely surreal is that the facts mentioned in the declaration are the ones that Scientology has alleged. So in other words, essentially, the cult of saying that Luis Garcia's declaration is invalid because it repeats the church's statements, which are true when the church says them but lies when Garcia repeats them.
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'
2013-11-10, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It
I know many readers here have taken to following the new "African Scientologists Getting Back In Comm" blog.
There is a post there today that everyone should read. "Here is their story: Ernest and Gaye Corbett" is perhaps the most damning expose of what is so wrong with the "Ideal Org Program" that has yet to see the light of day.
And it comes from two people who were, for many years, without question THE single biggest supporters of the church and the Ideal Org Program in South Africa.
Gary Douglas has a bridge to total...something...to sell you Our old Village Voice Media colleagues at the Houston Press asked us to help get the word out about their cover story this week, and we're happy to oblige.
Press veteran Craig Malisow has a barnburner of a story about a 70-year-old man named Gary Douglas who is doing something of an L. Ron Hubbard impression while running "Access Consciousness," which Malisow characterizes as a "Scientology knockoff."
After reading Craig's article, we had to agree that Access is pretty much a bizarre imitation of Hubbard. We also wondered why this doesn't happen more often.
2011-11-10, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
Somehow, somewhere along the line, Corporate Scientology lost the following truths that make Scientology so workable. I point it out in the hope that none of us ever lose sight of them.
From L Ron Hubbard Lecture titled Scientology and Living, 4 July 1954:
Now, there are two other categories of human beings. And one is the category, upper scale, where things can be good or bad at will; everything on the Know to Sex in the upper scale can be good, you see? But when they're on lower scale, everything on the Know to Sex scale - which is Mystery, there, to Sex Scale - is bad. And when you get something where everything on the Mystery or the Know to Sex Scale is bad, you have somebody who is inverted, very badly inverted.
2011-11-10, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Heldal-Lund takes on an Idol Every Thursday afternoon, Scientology's "orgs" -- its churches, as it were -- scramble to report their weekly stats to show how much progress they've made over the week before. And woe to those whose numbers are sagging!
We do something similar here at Runnin' Scared every week. A little before the Thursday 2pm deadline, we tally up the previous week's media hits and misses for the church, and we look for stories far and wide.
In fact, this week's roundup starts in far-off Norway, where one of Scientology's all-time most formidable critics took on the sort of cultural icon it's hard to beat these days: that country's version of an American Idol judge.
2009-11-10, Jefferson Hawkins, Leaving Scientology
LRH says in Dianetics 55!, "If one gets himself into trouble by communicating, he should further communicate. More communication, not less, is the answer, and I consider this riddle solved after a quarter of a century of investigation and pondering."
With that as one of the basic principles of Scientology, one would think that Facebook and Scientology would make a great match. After all, Facebook has the stated goal of "Giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected."
Not so fast.
Sea Organization or Sea Org is a sort of "religious order" within Scientology where only the most committed members of the late L. Ron Hubbard's cult live out their lives. For the unborn child of a mother in Sea Org, that isn't very long. They are aborted.
2008-11-10, Candice M. Giove, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Maybe the Church of Scientology found the "tech" to create the permit problem and inclement weather that forced Anonymous members to cancel this weekend's scheduled protest. Doubtful. Protestors learned that the New York Police Department did not issue a permit for their monthly event on West 46th Street anyway, most likely because the street was closed off to vehicular traffic due to construction. Anons then huddled under umbrellas in Bryant Park to rethink the day, but ultimately realized that it would be futile to pass out fliers in the downpour. They hope to gain a permit for next Saturday, November 15th.
If you sense a tinge of the otherworldly in those alluring green eyes of hers, you are probably right: Rep. Bono has met twice with representatives of the Church of Scientology since coming to Capitol Hill. The Church's headquarters are in her district, and their records show she has taken several classes with them. Also, someone really needs to rescue her and her alienlike beauty from who she's currently going out with: another congressman named Rep. Cornelius McGillicuddy IV, R-Fla. Seriously. Look it up.
The SEC filing didn't give details, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation has gotten involved on Google's behalf. According to EFF's case backgrounder, Google is being sued by Landmark Education, which describes itself as "a global educational enterprise offering The Landmark Forum and graduate courses," and claims that more than 160,000 people per year participate in Landmark's courses.
Critics accuse Landmark of being a Scientology-style cult.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that diagnoses of psycho-social problems among children over the past two decades have more than doubled. But a group calling itself Citizens Commission on Human Rights(CCHR), as well as the NAACP, say the psychiatric drugging of children is often subject to abuse. Both groups are pushing legislation to curb prescriptions of drugs to kids. NPR's Tavis Smiley discusses the issue with Fred Shaw, president of the Compton, Calif. NAACP and Cassandra Auerbach, director of CCHR in Los Angeles.
The controversial Church of Scientology had its application to be recognised as a religion turned down yesterday.
After more than three years' deliberation, the Charity Commissioners rejected the organisation's claim saying that it did not qualify because it was not a religion and did not benefit the public.
Critics of Scientology portray the organisation as a wacky cult that brainwashes individuals and exists to make money.
The war between Scientology and its online opponents may have no visible end, but victory in the latest skirmish goes to the Net. Last week, a judge dismissed a request from Bridge Publications (one of the countless subsidiaries of the Church of Scientology) for summary judgment against FACTNet, a nonprofit online anti-cult group that Scientology had accused of duplicating its copyrighted material.
A Narconon drug center in northern Oklahoma may accept new patients while waiting for the state's ruling on its certification application, an Oklahoma County judge has ruled.
District Judge Leamon Freeman's ruling Friday counters a Sept. 7 order by Kay County District Judge Neal Beekman that blocked the center from accepting any more patients until it is certified.
An Oklahoma County judge on Friday ruled against a ban on new patients that a Kay County judge had imposed on Narconon's drug treatment center in northern Oklahoma.
District Judge Leamon Freeman ruled Narconon Chilocco New Life Center officials may accept new patients while waiting for the state's decision on the center's certification application.
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court upheld today the confidentiality of tax return information, handing the Church of Scientology a defeat in its bid to obtain IRS records relating to the church.
The court, in a 6-0 ruling with Justice William Brennan and Antonin Scalia not participating, upheld a lower court ruling that the Freedom of Information Act does not outweigh the confidentiality of tax returns.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist said the court could not find anything in the language of the 1976Tax Reform Act, which dealt with confidentiality of tax return information, or the act's legislative history to support the church's agrument that the material should be released.