Four years after he left Narconon Trois-Rivières, and two years after the so-called drug rehabilitation centre was shut down by the public health agency, David Love has been vindicated by the Quebec Human Rights Commission, which concluded the centre exploited and abused him - financially, physically and mentally - along with two other complainants.
Love, who was first a patient then an employee at Narconon until he realized it was closely linked to the Church of Scientology, said the commission's recent decision was a "global win" against Narconon, which continues to run drug rehabilitation centres in several countries - putting patients' lives at risk.
Every single Sea Org member from Senior Execs to Office of Special Affairs, to Security Guards to Canteen an Kitchen workers must spend two an half hours a day on the phone raking in $$$$, $3000 a pop from an exhausted tired public.
I know of some Scientologists who have changed their telephone number an even move Geographically to escape the money extortion.
Rice and beans 3 times day month in and month out is part of the punishments doled out for not making the quotas.
Listen to how City of Los Angeles building inspectors are fooled by
Sea Org members.
This video depicts an ongoing felony within the "Church" and that is holding people against their will. In fear that the departing member will speak out, go to the media, go to law enforcement, broadcast what goes on inside, they imprison the person in the hopes of getting "a different frame of mind" or enforcing them to sign on video camera 1" thick documents of keeping it all secret with a $25,000 penalty for EACH offense of telling what happened inside the ecclesiastical "Sea Organization."
VISION of a vandal who smashed almost windows at a city church has been released by police.
In the early hours of Tuesday, March, 18 an unknown man is seen causing damage to the church on North Terrace, according to reports.
TO Scientologists, founder L. Ron Hubbard is a larger-than-life figure - a war hero, philosopher and humanitarian.
But the real man was a dissembling, emotional wreck who made up most of his legendary exploits out of whole cloth, writes British journalist Russell Miller.
The couple began a legal fight to have their faith recognised in law after becoming engaged six years ago.
As devoted Scientologists – both are members of influential families within the British Scientology movement – they wanted to be married in their own church.
But the law did not allow it because it was not officially recognised as 'a place of meeting for religious worship'.
Miller's account of Hubbard's life was so devastating that Scientology tried to have his book banned. "Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard," finished the year after Hubbard's 1986 death, was successfully printed everywhere but in the US, where, after two years of litigation, Miller's American publisher threw in the towel.
The biography was heavily cited by later Scientology books, including Lawrence Wright's bestselling "Going Clear." But few Americans have had a chance to read it.
Until now. Twenty-seven years after its original release, "Bare-Faced Messiah" is getting new life with a new publisher, Silvertail Books.
Although she remains Australia's most famous Scientologist (since James Packer publicly distanced himself), Ceberano hopes the book addresses all questions and saves her from having to field too many more on the subject.
A CONTENTIOUS new drug and alcohol rehab centre on the Central Coast linked to the Church of Scientology has received 80 written objections from a local community with just 129 families.
Scientology offshoot Association for Better Living and Education Inc (ABLE) has lodged a development application to turn a run-down private resort into a live-in rehab centre with 35 patients staying up to six months at a time.
dm UPDATE Twee vzw's en elf leden van de Scientology-beweging zullen zich voor de Brusselse correctionele strafrechter moeten verantwoorden. Dat heeft de Brusselse raadkamer donderdag beslist. Het gaat om de vzw Scientologykerk van België en het European Office for Public Affairs and Human Rights van de internationale Scientologykerk. Het federaal parket wil Scientology laten veroordelen als criminele organisatie en beschuldigt de verdachten onder meer van oplichting, illegale geneeskunde, inbreuken op de privacywetgeving en afpersing.
Jillian joined staff at 15 years old. She is now 29 and fled about 3 weeks ago. In this opening of the series Jillian tells about working conditions, slave labor for $8 a week and being forced to work 15 hours a day up to 19 hours a day.
Contrast the glamor and the glitter of ribbon cutting some "Ideal Org" while Sea Org members have one working toilet for an entire FLOOR (some 100 occupants). Enforced cleaning of fiberglass with no protection given ~~ using 2 young girls to do work machines should do. Slave Labor. Human Trafficking and the beat goes on.,
An offshoot of the Church of Scientology, the Association for Better Living and Education, has applied to Wyong Shire Council to run a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in the Yarramalong Valley in the central coast hinterland.
In Joe's story, he told in dramatic fashion how Sara Goldberg was presented with a stark choice - either accept the pressure coming from Scientology officials and cut off all ties from her son, who had been expelled from the church, or, if she didn't comply, lose all contact with her daughter, who remains a Scientologist. It was the kind of impossible choice faced by other Scientologists every day. We have talked to or know about literally hundreds of people who have lost all interaction with their parents, or their children, or their siblings. It's the way that Scientology enforces discipline, and as Joe illustrated so well, it's never a "personal choice," as the church claims. It's forced on families, often with stunning cruelty.
Now, with the Goldbergs getting so much attention, we hope there's some appetite for readers to revisit the many cases of disconnection we've documented over the years. Here are some links. We hope you find them useful.
The Church of Scientology pressured Sara Goldberg for months to kick her son out of her life. She wouldn't do it. So the church put her on trial one night in a Scientology building in Clearwater. It was scary. Goldberg cried. She had been a devoted Scientologist for 36 years. Now her church was accusing her of committing a crime against Scientology -- not "disconnecting" from her renegade son.
A year after Hubbard died in 1986, the best book ever written about him was published by a British journalist named Russell Miller. Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard was immediately sued by the Church of Scientology all over the English-speaking part of the world, but only in the United States was the church successful at shutting it down, and only a small number of copies have been available here. But now, Miller's book is getting new life as Humfrey Hunter's Silvertail Books (the same UK publisher who put out John Sweeney's book Church of Fear) is releasing Bare-Faced Messiah in hardback and as an e-book. Copies started arriving this week, and so we had a conversation with Miller about his book's struggles, the harassment he went through personally, and what he thought of The Master.
The Church of Scientology has hired Olympic swimmer Scott Miller as a recruiter for a drug rehabilitation centre where the methamphetamine user 'dried out' on a controversial intensive sauna and vitamin therapy.
The gold medal winner, more recently well-known as an 'ice' addict, has been training at the secluded Narconon Drug Treatment Centre in the Yarra Ranges, east of Melbourne.
Through information objectors obtained through Freedom of Information, it was last night revealed that police attended more than 30 incidents at the East Warburton site, including one where a person had an axe.
Councillors unanimously voted to reject the application, but suggested Narconon work with the council to find a more suitable location.
POLICE are expected to speak when Yarra Ranges Council meets tonight (Tuesday 11 March) to decide the Narconon planning application.
The application to relocate the drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility from East Warburton to Warburton township was deferred by the council in December to allow further exploration around safety and amenity issues raised by objectors.
The council received 297 objections to the proposal.
"It's a little frustrating when you have a Church of Scientology," Cretekos nodded while he picked at a Panera Bread bagel, before quickly adding that his issues with the sect are not with the local members. "But for some reason, its leadership thinks it is above the community."
Over the years, Scientology has ignored local zoning codes, ran up a $435,000 fine for construction delays on its recently opened soup can E-meter Flag Building, and essentially regarded City Hall as a quaint nuisance.
The Church of Scientology has spoken out against Leah Remini's latest comments about her experience with the organization, calling the former member's account "absurd, insulting and motivated entirely by a desire to grab attention."
Scientology Inc Legal and hired Lawyer review the THREATS to media, critics and journalists Follow me for new videos The *Church* of Scientology has not sued the media in some 14 years. The last time it sued was Time Magazine a to a resounding LOSS for the Church, millions .
The judges' ruling in December said that the chapel should be registered as a place where marriages could take place because "Scientology comes within the meaning of a religion" – a decision that could have significant ramifications as religions can seek charitable status and tax exemptions.
A government source said at the time that the ruling could "open the floodgates" to other groups claiming to be religions for tax purposes.
But perhaps the greatest Scientology mystery is that of Michelle "Shelly" Miscavige, the wife of David Miscavige, the Church's head honcho. As a Vanity Fair expose reports, she has not been seen in public in seven years.
The suit was filed last year by Monique Rathbun, wife of church dissident Marty Rathbun, who claims she was subjected to a four-year campaign of dirty tricks, surveillance and harassment overseen by Miscavige.
You need to know about what goes on in the head of your favorite OC Weekly literary arts blogger like you need a hole in your own head or one of these, an E-Meter. But you might want to know about how what is in Mr. Bib's noggin actually gets there, at least by way of tardy recommendations of a couple of terrific reads.
At Thursday's candidate forum, the third public gathering for five men running for City Council, the campaign got down to brass tacks, Clearwater-style: property taxes and Scientology.
Yet the potential firepower of those traditionally explosive issues failed to detonate. All of the candidates agreed that raising property taxes would be - at best - a last resort.
Responding to questions from Radio Dialogue, Bulawayo City Council (BCC) Senior Public Relations Officer, Nesisa Mpofu said it was the responsibility of the owner of the building to ensure that the building remains unoccupied until it has been refurbished.
The building belongs to the Church of Scientology.
"The conditions at Marvel Court are not suitable for human habitation. A statutory notice was served upon Church of Scientology to ensure the premises were vacated hence the eviction which was served out last year with the assistance of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. The Church of Scientology is supposed to ensure that the premises are not occupied until repairs are done," said Mpofu.
An official from the Church of Scientology in Zimbabwe, who identified himself as Mr Chipere said the issue was benign handled by their Johannesburg office.
Scientology Inc has been reduced to a money extortion racket which it is permitted to do with IRS 501C 3 Tax exemption. Chris Shelton continues to share his journey of the Truman Show. Chris flew in from Minnesota to record this video and highlights the waste that is the GIANT Twin Cities ideal org. 90,000 square feet of empty buildings nobody needs. But the "Church" now owns it and can do with it whatever it wants.
Chris Shelton served on staff from the age of 17 to 43 years old. He departed 1 year ago.
This video is the first in an on going series.
Chris Shelton worked on and directly with the Ideal Org strategy so he knows whereof he speaks.
On the vasts sums of money extorted from one and all, there is no accountability, no transparency and Scientology Inc never reveals how much it has taken in and what it does with it. Big secrets. Lots of hidden goings on. Those leaving have to sign 1" thick docs promising never to reveal anything. Meaningless documents. Never hold up in a Court of Law. Chris Shelton signed all those documents..
In an interview with the Daily News, the church administrator, who identified himself as Chipere, confirmed the presence of illegal occupants who are resisting eviction.
"It is true that there are people living in our building and most of them are drunkards and street kids. We closed the flat after water supplies were cut," Chipere said.
Hurling his glasses to the floor, Judge Dib Waldrip gave both sides a tongue-lashing Monday, saying, "We're spending time doing nothing, nothing except burning money and the court's time and resources, and the Comal County taxpayer's money. I'm about to the limit, "the San Antonio Express-News reported Tuesday.
Upset with bickering lawyers, constant delays and objections, a state district judge reached his limit Monday in a case involving the Church of Scientology. The suit filed by Monique Rathbun, the wife of Scientology dissident Mark Rathbun, accuses agents of the Church of Scientology of conducting a four-year campaign of harassment, dirty tricks, and surveillance.
This is cleaned up audio version of video shot inside of a Scientology Sea Org meeting. In this video you can hear the speaker talking about how to get more money out of people. She basically is saying when people tell you they don't have more money, they do and how you can get it out of them. The cult has lied about this tactic for years and here you can not only see it is true but the Sea Org members are excited about it. This is the elite of Scientology who is headed by David Miscavige
This documentary is an inside look at the Scientology Celebrity Centre. I begin by taking you on my journey from a fresh faced new actor who just arrived in Los Angeles, full of hopes and dreams, to ultimately being recruited into Hollywood's most dangerous, secretive, and famous cult. I'm bringing to light all of their horrible crimes, especially detailing how they exploit members financially. I talk about their elite Sea Organization, which makes members sign billion year contracts and devote their entire lives to serving Scientology as around the clock slave labor. I also publicly reveal how anti-gay the church is, bringing homophobia to a whole new level. I'm exposing the church and airing all of their dirty laundry!
2014-01-22, John MacCormack, San Antonio Express-News
According to the lawsuit, the aggressive harassment by a bizarre church unit called the Squirrel Busters began in Ingleside on the Bay in 2009 and followed the Rathbuns when they moved to Comal County last year.
The suit claims Miscavige was behind the campaign, and as his lawyers made clear Wednesday in strenuous argument, he has emerged as the central figure in the fight.
The great-grandson of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, DeWolf is an outspoken critic of the controversial faith. He reveal the history behind his name in a highly-charged spoken word performance, explaining that it was changed by his grandfather as a way of distancing himself from Scientology's contentious leader.
Ocean FM - based in County Sligo - are insisting that the clip from the video which is presented as an 'interview' being conducted with a Scientologist in the Ocean FM studios is bogus, that the studio is NOT that of Ocean FM, and the 'presenter' conducting the interview is not known to anyone at the station.
After months of discord leading up to a landmark Scientology event, city and church officials have recently discussed potential common ground: swapping some properties.
Both sides have needs. And both own property the other covets.
Former Paul Hastings lawyer Samuel "Sandy" Rosen retired to Florida and took up bridge, but that didn't stop him from litigating.
Rosen sued the Fort Lauderdale Bridge Club Inc. in state and federal courts after he was ousted from membership in February 2010, the Daily Business Review reports. Above the Law noted the story.
The Daily Business Review describes Rosen as "a hard-knuckle litigator who represented the Church of Scientology against its detractors." Court documents say he was ousted from the club because of "alleged behavioral issues."
"When my manager brought up Landmark at a meeting, she said that it was a gift that Lululemon gave to its employees. We did not have to accept the gift, but if we didn't, we had to reevaluate our goals and how we align with the company," the worker said. "If you decided not to go, they would find a way to phase you out."
Her husband, Marty, quit the church in 2004 and began publicly speaking out against Scientology five years later. Monique Rathbun said that triggered a campaign that included confrontations outside their home and using private detectives to tail them.
Ricardo Cedillo, a San Antonio lawyer representing the church, acknowledged the action but said it was legitimate. He said the church used detectives to determine if Marty Rathbun was distributing copyright Scientology material without permission.
For years, there have been allegations by those who left Scientology that they faced orchestrated campaigns of blackmail and harassment by the church. Reps for the controversial group have always denied the charges, most recently saying that they "could care less" about former member Leah Remini. But new court documents exposing a never-before-seen conversation between church leader David Miscavige and his subordinates suggests that the church has in fact created the notorious "dead agent" files on departed Scientologists in the past, and that they have been used against those defectors.
As Monique Rathbun sees it, the Church of Scientology and its operatives tried to intimidate her for years - following, spying, aggressively confronting her and her husband, and playing tricks at her workplace to make colleagues think less of her.
That's why she sued.
But Scientology lawyers on Wednesday offered a different take. They said the church's actions were justified and legal - all part of a religious dispute with Rathbun's husband, Marty. He worked as a church executive for decades before leaving in 2004. In 2009, he began speaking out against church management.
The leader of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige, went on a series of foul-mouth rants at employees while he desperately tried to sabotage a journalist filming a documentary about the organization, according to new court documents.
The Fort Lauderdale Bridge Club Inc. is one of the top bridge clubs in the country.
Samuel "Sandy" Rosen was a hard-knuckle litigator who represented the Church of Scientology against its detractors, among others.
When he retired from New York to Bal Harbour, he turned his passion to bridge. In an effort to test his new bidding theory for a book he was writing on the popular card game, he joined the club.
But he was shown the door for "alleged behavioral issues" in February 2010, according to court documents.
The toxicology report was a disappointment. If it wasn't drugs, what drove Johnny Lewis to murder? Critics of Scientology have pointed to the church's resistance to psychiatry as a possible reason why Lewis's early behavioral issues may have been untreated. Lewis's father discounts that assumption, claiming that he pursued and encouraged psychiatric treatment for his son. It was Johnny who refused to comply.
The Church of Scientology covered its huge tent with a new wrap in anticipation of a planned New Year's Event, but this covering doesn't bother city officials.
The new wrap, put up around Christmas, doesn't violate the city's sign code, said City Manager Bill Horne.
The hearing is the most recent in series of lawsuits, filed against Narconon Arrowhead alleging wrongful death, credit card and insurance fraud and employees trading drugs for sex, according to court documents.
Also earlier this year the Senate passed Senate Bill 295, Stacy's Law," to regulate facilities such as Narconon Arrowhead.
For five years Marty Rathbun and his wife's lives have been made a 'living hell' by The Church of Scientology furious that he stepped down from his lofty position inside the powerful organization and then dared to speak out against it.
Their house was besieged by minions, known bizarrely as 'Squirrel Busters', harassing them at every turn. Private investigators were allegedly hired to follow them and monitor their movements, renting neighboring properties and setting up surveillance cameras trained on their home.
A handful of employees - now ex-employees - of a South Florida chiropractic office say they got more than a paycheck for their labors.
The workers say they were force-fed an indoctrination in the rituals of the Church of Scientology. Those rituals, the workers complained, included occasionally having to sit perfectly still in a spare room at the office, facing one another for an eight-hour staredown - as well as yelling at ashtrays and talking to the walls.
A hoax claiming the Church of Scientology was planning a nine-storey development at an iconic Albany site in WA's South Coast has infuriated local authorities.
A large banner reading "Church of Scientology Coming Soon" was removed from the 'for sale' sign at the Esplanade Hotel site at Middleton Beach today.
The workers say they were force-fed an indoctrination in the rituals of Scientology, the controversial religion that counts such celebrities as Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its members. Those rituals, the workers complained, included occasionally having to sit perfectly still in a spare room at the office, facing one another for an eight-hour stare-down - as well as yelling at ash trays and talking to the walls.
The workers say they were force-fed an indoctrination in the rituals of Scientology, the controversial religion that counts such celebrities as Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its members. Those rituals, the workers complained, included occasionally having to sit perfectly still in a spare room at the office, facing one another for an eight-hour stare-down - as well as yelling at ash trays and talking to the walls.
Dr Nerida James, a founder of Get Off Drugs Naturally and one of the directors of Narconon, said in response that they had listened to the community and had addressed issues such as traffic and safety.
"We have hired professional security who we are paying $4000 a week to be there in those after hours times (when police are not on duty) and who are trained to deal with people who might come around selling drugs, or anyone who becomes disruptive," she said.
She said in more than 13 years they had only two incidents at the centre, and none outside the centre.
The Church of Scientology, normally shrouded in controversy and secrecy, has issued photos of their 21st annual 'Christmas Stories' performance, where some of their famous members put on a show for fellow members.
Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige must submit to a deposition in a lawsuit filed against him and two church entities by Monique Rathbun, wife of high-profile church critic Marty Rathbun, a Texas judge ordered Friday.
The ruling was a blow to Scientology's legal team, which had tried to keep Miscavige distanced from the contentious action. Miscavige has testified in only a handful of cases during his 27 years as the church's leader.
For three months prior to the celebration, city officials had butted heads with church leaders over permits, illegally cutting trees and other violations. The church paid fines and was cited by the city's Code Enforcement Board for a massive tent wrap that the city deemed a sign.
Cretekos said he wanted a fresh start.
For years the Church of Scientology has waged a global campaign for acceptance as a genuine faith, keenly using the help of celebrity backing from the likes of Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Its cause has now been rewarded in Britain by a landmark legal victory, with the Supreme Court ruling that the movement – dismissed by some as a money-making cult – should in fact be treated as a bona fide religion.
Obama administration departments lobbied by Scientology include the State Department, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security.
Greg Mitchell, founder of the small firm The Mitchell Company, is the Church of Scientology's official lobbyist in Washington, D.C. and also a Church of Scientology member. Insiders say that his role is to help the Church gain mainstream credibility with influential decision-makers.
Now, after six years of little to no progress apart from the plywood covering doors and windows, the city has had enough.
Philadelphia's Department of Licenses & Inspections is taking the church to court, which could result in daily fines of several hundred dollars.
Using $7.85 million in donations, the church bought the 15-story Cunningham Piano building in downtown Philly back in 2007. The idea was to renovate the tower into a "cathedral" called the Philadelphia Freedom Org, which would broadcast L. Ron's message to the good people of greater Philly. Instead, the building has sat untouched for six years.
Now, the city's Department of Licenses & Inspections is taking the church to "blight court," a special municipal court that deals with violations like an ordinance that outlaws any building from boarding up multiple doors and windows (the church's tower has several).
Rebecca Swanson, a spokeswoman for L&I, said the Church of Scientology has obtained no permits for construction on the property and has been in violation of the city's "doors-and-windows" ordinance since January for having "multiple boarded windows."
As a result of the outstanding violation, Swanson said, the city is sending Scientology to Blight Court, a municipal-court hearing that could result in fines of up to $300 per day for each boarded opening.
L&I spokeswoman Rebecca Swanson said the church has been in violation of Philly's "doors-and-windows" ordinance since January for having "multiple boarded windows." Further, the church has obtained no permits for construction on the building.
After a trip to Blight Court, the violations could result in fines of up to $300 per day for each boarded opening.
A documentary about Scientology's Rehabilitation Project Force (the RPF) from producers Peter Reichelt and Ina Brockmann.
German Documentary/February 25, 1999
Dubbed into English
By Ina Brockmann and Peter Reichelt
To prepare for it, Olivier hired a handful of non-Scientology teachers to go along with the ten Scientology teachers who had been running the home-schooling operation.
But before the non-Scientology teachers could go near the children, they had to get Scientology training, Olivier says. "You couldn't interact with the kids until you'd taken a bunch of Scientology courses. And they were still supervised by the Scientology teachers to make sure they didn't make any mistakes using Study Technology," she says.
"They even wanted the parents to take Scientology courses. And they had a course room right on campus. With L. Ron Hubbard posters on the walls," she adds. "The kids were taught all that stuff. That if you yawned, it meant you'd had a misunderstood word."
Ten months after the Garcias filed the lawsuit in January, Scientology said it suddenly discovered that some of the trustees for the entities in the lawsuit are in California, where the Garcias live. Because of that, the church argues, the fraud lawsuit should not have been filed in a federal court in Tampa. The Garcias complained about the lack of information in the church's motion and asked for the ability to do discovery on the church's entities and trustees.
The Church of Scientology has purchased and remodeled dozens of buildings since it established its spiritual headquarters here 37 years ago. This weekend, it will open yet another.
But this one - a seven-story behemoth with more than 300,000 square feet - is being touted by the church as a game changer.
Across the street is another loss for Toronto mid-century modernism. Though not being demolished, the Church of Scientology building is undergoing a massive renovation, including a colourful PostModern recladding that has upset many as a major departure from the building's Modernist purity.
The city special events permit outlines street and sidewalk closures, noise restrictions, police and fire involvement and other details for the weekend, which will be highlighted by Sunday's grand opening of the $145 million Flag Building downtown. The church has said it expects 10,000 members to attend.
Portions of Fort Harrison Avenue, a major north-south thoroughfare, and sidewalks on either side of the street will be closed between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday. Security fencing will be erected to separate people invited to the private event from the general public.
A special events permit is expected to be issued Wednesday if city officials sign off.
The church did ask that the city close portions of a sidewalk near the Flag Building and temporarily disable a traffic signal near the building. The city had denied a church request to briefly remove the signal.
City officials have said they probably wouldn't approve any tweaks to their conditions. But late Tuesday, officials were still reviewing the church's request, said spokeswoman Joelle Castelli.
Tom Cruise is embroiled in a $50 million lawsuit against Bauer Publishing Company, the publisher of In Touch and Life & Style magazines, over claims that he "abandoned" his daughter Suri after his June 2012 divorce from Katie Holmes.
The Garcias allege that they were induced to give donations to Scientology under fraudulent conditions. But the church contends that the Garcias signed contracts which require them to seek refunds or other redress through an internal arbitration system. Scientology has told Judge Whittemore that this is an internal religious dispute, and not something that should be in a civil court of law. Before he rules on that matter, Whittemore asked Scientology to submit a 5-page explanation of its arbitration procedures. Now, the Garcias are responding to what the church submitted.
City officials said the church must meet the conditions as soon as possible.
Hanging in the balance are two major upcoming church events: an international gathering of Scientologists the weekend after Thanksgiving and an anticipated New Year's Eve celebration.
City Manager Bill Horne has been clear: If the church doesn't comply with all the conditions for the Flag Building dedication, the other two events won't receive city approval.
Gill said he "firmly believes" that Shelly Miscavige has been living at Twin Peaks since she was last seen in public in 2006.
Although "King of Queens" actress Leah Remini recently filed a missing-person report on her, Gill said it was "all in vain" as she would be "happy" at the base carrying out her archiving duties for the rest of her life.
"Listen, I find that question offensive," he told lawyers when asked about assertions that Holmes left Cruise to protect daughter Suri from Scientology. "I find it, those statements offensive. Like with any relationship, there are many different levels to it. You know I, I find it very offensive. There is no need to protect my daughter from my religion."
In a September deposition obtained by TMZ.com, Cruise compared shooting on location to serving a tour in Afghanistan. "That's what it feels like. And certainly on this last movie, it was brutal. It was brutal." The 51-year-old movie star then went on to claim that the physical training he does for his films are harder than training for the Olympics. "There is difficult physical stamina and preparation. Sometimes I've spent months, a year, and sometimes two years preparing for a single film," he said. "A sprinter for the Olympics, they only have to run two races a day. When I'm shooting, I could potentially have to run 30, 40 races a day, day after day."
To Tom Cruise, being away from his daughter while shooting a big-budget action movie "feels like" serving in Afghanistan.
The "Top Gun" actor was responding to a lawyer's question comparing the extended time away from Suri while filming a movie to a soldier's tour in Afghanistan, according to legal papers obtained by the Daily News.
MailOnline spoke exclusively to ex-Church member Dylan Gill, who oversaw the building of the base reveals all its secrets.
Twin Peaks was built to the strict orders of the Board of Directors, who set aside a minimum $18 million for the project, which began in 1989, and isn't even known to most Church members.
'It's kept in secrecy, almost no-one in Scientology knows the base exists. To even get invited to the base, you've got to be in the highest of highest ranks of Scientologists knowing the most secret of secrets. Then there's a whole layer on top of that once you get there!' reveals Dylan.
Both DM and TO talked to apostate Dylan Gill, who worked at the base; he told TO that "CST Headquarters has several buildings that are used for housing workers and for doing the work of archiving - plans for the vaults include etching Hubbard's millions of printed words on steel plates and storing them in titanium boxes." It also has "upscale residences" and an exercise yard (a gyro-gym!). Work started in 1989 and was originally budgeted at $18 million, "but it cost way more," according to Gill, who says also that it is lousy with cameras and heat and motion sensors.
The Church of Scientology has run afoul of city ordinances again, prompting city officials to say that if the church doesn't begin complying with city laws, it won't get permits for two major events later this month and an annual New Year's celebration.
The church has installed a white privacy fence on the western and southern boundaries of the property where it erected a massive tent for upcoming events, effectively blocking the view of the tent property from beachbound traffic passing by on Court Street. The church did not obtain a required permit before putting up the fence.
Anyone who wants to understand the devious, insane nature of the fraud known as L. Ron Hubbard should read this book cover to cover, and investigate all the footnotes. You will not only want Scientology ended forever, you'll feel the same way about any similar spiritual huckster that comes along in Hubbard's wake.
Tom Cruise has admitted in an explosive court deposition that actress Katie Holmes fled their marriage to protect their daughter from Scientology.
Cruise confessed that Holmes dumped him to spare their now 7-year-old daughter, Suri, from the celebrity-centric religion, according to the deposition, obtained by RadarOnline.
About 8,000 Scientologists would attend the downtown meeting from Nov. 29-Dec. 1, which will be held in a giant temporary tent already erected off Court Street, along a route to Clearwater Beach.
The Scientologists are asking for the city to close off some streets around the tent for their get-together.
Now we've talked to a man who said he was told his treatment would cost $20,000 - but then found that his insurance company was billed nearly $200,000 instead. This man's name is Sean Blevins, and he was treated at a Narconon-style center in Manistee, Michigan. We have Sean's insurance billings. Will they inspire the same kind of interest in Michigan that has law enforcement digging in Georgia?
On Tuesday church representatives delivered the new plan, proposing Nov. 29-Dec. 1 for the event, which is normally held in England.
The IAS meeting will be held in a massive tent the church erected beside Court Street, a major route to Clearwater Beach. The tent has drawn scrutiny because a wrap the church put over the tent has lettering that violates the city's sign laws.
The church has not indicated it will close Fort Harrison Avenue, a main north-south thoroughfare through downtown, for the IAS event.
Long time Church of Scientology investigator, videographer and television journalist Mark Bunker explains how he accidentally triggered the Anonymous war against Scientology. It stemmed from the removal of the Tom Cruise videos which angered free speech advocates and Chanology. Suddenly in February 2008 global protests erupted outside their "Churches". Scientology Inc has been an war with one at all for a very long time. It is a warfare internally and externally. You get glimpses of this in this video.
I explains what it was like to be inside behind cult lines when protests happened.
The actor's two-page description of his relationship with his daughter was filed Tuesday in a case against Bauer Publishing Co. The actor is suing Bauer over a pair of 2012 tabloid stories that claimed he had "abandoned" his daughter. The stories in Life & Style and In Touch magazines cited Cruise's absence from Suri's life due to overseas film shoots.
That day will highlight more than a week of celebrations for the church, which has requested street and sidewalk closures, police protection and other city services through an application for a special events permit.
Most problematic is the church's request to close a major downtown thoroughfare - Fort Harrison Avenue - for most of the weekend of Nov. 15-17. Fort Harrison is a north-south street through downtown that normally carries heavy beach-bound traffic on weekends.
The church also asked that Clearwater police erect a temporary fence "to create a perimeter" to keep uninvited guests at a distance from the Flag Building that Sunday.
Scientology sign violates city code: The city of Clearwater and the Church of Scientology are at a standoff.
The city is ordering local Scientologists to remove a giant shrink-wrap sign printed with the gold letters "KSW" for Keep Scientology Working from a downtown facility that is five stories high.
City officials have decided that the wrap, embossed with an acronym for "Keeping Scientology Working" and the phrase "The Golden Age of Tech" in enormous lettering, violates the city sign code because it exceeds the 30-odd-square feet of lettering allowed for a structure that size.
Scientology has until next Tuesday or Wednesday to remove the wrap from the 150,000-square-foot tent, Delk said. If the church doesn't, it could be subject to a fine of up to $250 a day following a city Code Enforcement Board hearing Nov. 20.
The city of Clearwater is asking the Church of Scientology to take down a massive sign draped on top of a five-story tent it erected for an upcoming event for the International Association of Scientologists.
The sign has the letters "KSW" which stands for "Keeping Scientology Working," the Tampa Bay Times said. It also includes the phrase: "The Golden Age of Tech." The church has said that the banner is a religious symbol, but the city says it is a sign and is covered by Clearwater's sign ordinance.
For five minutes I felt gratified, thinking my report that many psychiatric diagnostic categories are unscientific had been helpful. Then I saw that what the Clark v. Arizona decision, the last in the Court's most recent term, included was a serious mischaracterization and misapplication of my work. I wondered how the Court had heard of my book and soon discovered that the writer of an amicus curiae brief had cited it in a way that, through implication and omission, was misleading.
When I discovered that the "Citizens Commission on Human Rights" (CCHR) had submitted that brief, it struck me that a Justice would be unlikely to know that the [so-called] Church of Scientology founded and remains closely tied to the CCHR.
I wondered: Does the Supreme Court have mechanisms to find out the nature of groups that submit amicus briefs, and does the Court have mechanisms to figure out whether scientific research and clinicians' opinions in briefs are of good quality and accurately presented?
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.
An enormous mural draped Monday over a massive tent that was erected downtown by the Church of Scientology might violate city sign laws, city officials said.
The church, which didn't alert the city in advance about the mural, later told the city's planning director that it's a religious symbol.
Planning director Michael Delk said he will have to determine how much of the mural is signage and how much is symbol.
On October 16th the movement suffered a severe blow in the highest appeals court in France, which upheld the 2009 conviction for fraud of Scientology's main institutions in the country, and of five of the group's leaders. The institutions, including a bookstore, have been fined €600,000 ($827,000) and two prominent figures received suspended prison terms of two years each. The Church of Scientology, which claims more than 10m worldwide members including film stars John Travolta and Tom Cruise, said the verdict was a blow to religious freedom and vowed to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
The Church of Scientology International (CSI) filed an Anti-SLAPP motion Friday in Monique Rathbun's harassment lawsuit against the church and its leader, David Miscavige. And that motion includes stunning admissions by the church as it attempts a major gamble to stop the lawsuit in its tracks.
A Dutch court has ruled the Amsterdam arm of Scientology is a charitable organization and exempt from paying taxes.
The ruling by the Amsterdam Appeals Court overturns a lower court ruling that Scientology should be taxed because it charges adherents for classes.
The ruling by the Amsterdam Appeals Court overturns a lower court ruling that Scientology should be taxed because it charges adherents for classes.
The appeal court ruled that Scientology's classes "don't differ significantly from what other spiritual organizations do, or can do." It noted there are payment exemptions for members who can't afford them.
A French appeals court has refused to overturn a 2009 conviction for organized fraud against the Church of Scientology. The organization had claimed the original verdict violated its right to freedom of religion.
The judge also upheld rulings pronounced against six individual members of the church, including Alain Rosenberg, its head in France.
France's top appeals court on Wednesday upheld a fraud conviction and hundreds of thousands of euros in fines against the Church of Scientology for taking advantage of vulnerable followers.
The Cour de Cassation rejected the organisation's request that a 2009 conviction for "organised fraud" be overturned on the grounds it violated religious freedoms.
The group has previously indicated it will appeal the conviction to the European Court of Human Rights.
The verdict overturns a lower court decision which said the tax office is right in the way it treats Scientology. The court case stemmed from a tax office refusal to grant Scientology ANBI status, which is applied to religious and spiritual organisations and allows them, for example, to benefit from gifts.
The tax office had argued Scientology does not qualify as an ANBI institution because it also charges members for its audit and training programmes. However, the appeal court ruled that other churches also charge for training, such as becoming a priest.
France's highest appeals court on Wednesday upheld the 2009 fraud conviction of the Church of Scientology [church website; JURIST news archive]. The Cour de Cassation [official website, in French], the country's court of final appeal for civil and criminal matters, rejected the organization's request [AFP report] that the conviction be overturned on the grounds it violated religious freedom. The original ruling convicted Scientology's Celebrity Centre and bookstore in Paris of fraud following numerous instances of pressuring members [AP report] into paying large sums for questionable services and materials. The Church of Scientology is not recognized as a religion under French law.
The Church of Scientology said it would appeal to international tribunals after France's highest court upheld a fraud conviction Wednesday.
The Court of Cassation upheld a 2009 decision by a lower court against the French branch of the church and its bookstore and Celebrity Center in Paris, Radio France Internationale reported. The decision also let stand the convictions of five church members, including Alain Rosenberg, its head in France.
France's highest appeals court was due to rule on a fraud conviction against the Church of Scientology Wednesday. The sect is appealing against a ruling against five church members as well as the Paris-based Celebrity Centre and bookstore.
France's highest appeals court has upheld the 2009 fraud conviction of the Church of Scientology's French branch, its bookstore and five of its leaders.
The Scientologists were accused of pressuring members into paying large sums for questionable services and materials and using "commercial harassment" against recruits. The group and bookstore were fined 600,000 euros ($814,000). The Scientologists' appeals of their convictions claimed infringement on their religious freedom.
The Cour de Cassation, France's highest appeals court, threw out the Scientolgists' appeal against fines of 200,000 euros on its bookshop and 400,000 on its Celebrity Centre in Paris, as well as two-year suspended sentences and 30,000-euro fines on five sect members, including its leader in Paris, Alain Rosenberg.
It agreed with lower courts that the church had targeted emotionally fragile people for financial gain.
But it did cancel damages awarded to a complainant who had dropped out of the case.
France's top appeals court has upheld a fraud conviction and fines totalling hundreds of thousands of euros against the Church of Scientology, for taking advantage of vulnerable followers.
The Cour de Cassation on Wednesday rejected the organisation's request that a 2009 conviction for "organised fraud" be overturned on the grounds it violated religious freedoms.
The Church had argued in a September 4th hearing that the verdicts constituted a violation of their religious liberty, but the court on Wednesday rejected that claim.
In 2009, convictions and fines of €400,000 and €200,000 ($812,000 in total) were handed down to the Church's Celebrity Centre and a Scientology bookshop in the French capital.
Scientology leader in Paris, Alain Rosenburg and the Celebrity Centre's former president Sabine Jacquart were also found guilty of taking financial advantage of elderly members of the Church and sentenced to two-year suspended prison sentences as well as being handed €30,000 fines for organized fraud.
The French branch of the Church of Scientology was found guilty of organised fraud in 2009, a ruling that was upheld in a February 2012 appeal.
Five plaintiffs in the case accused the church of persuading them to spend tens of thousands of euros on personality tests as well as bogus vitamin cures, sauna sessions and "purification packs".
The court levied fines totalling €600,000 on the Celebrity Centre and the Scientology bookstore in Paris. Four French Scientology officials received suspended prison sentences while the church's leader in France, Alain Rosenberg, received a €30,000 fine as well as a two-year suspended sentence.
Nigel Hall argued that he had been unlawfully discriminated against because other Canadians had access to tax credits if they chose to donate to registered charities. Income Tax Act provisions requiring a "qualified donee," he maintained, violate the Charter of Rights.
But the court ruled that there was no Charter breach because no one who donated to non-registered charities was entitled to tax credits. The statutory scheme of registered charities also did not offend the Charter because no specific group was barred from applying for registration.
Marty Rathbun and his wife, Monique say that for three years they have been targeted in a campaign to destroy their lives.
Marty described a bizarre confrontation that took place at his front door, explaining, "They have this whole group of people with cameras on their heads, screaming and hollering."
Scientology is not considered a registered charity in Canada. If an individual donates to Scientology they will not receive an official donation receipt in Canada. In Hall v. The Queen, Mr. Hall donated money to the International Association of Scientologists ("IAS") and argued that the fact that he did not get a tax benefit is a violation of his Charter rights. Justice Pizzitelli of the Tax Court of Canada dismissed Mr. Hall's appeal. It is interesting that in the decision it notes "... IAS is not a registered Charity in Canada nor apparently even applied to be." Apparently Scientology has in the past tried to obtain registered charity status but CRA declined their application.
Scientology has made a believer of Louis Farrakhan, and we look at the reasons the church has courted the African American community, the truth about their drug and convict rehabilitation programs and what "going clear" really means with former scientologist Tory Christman. She details Scientology persecution of former members, the anti-medication and illness position of the church, how it has affected John Travolta in the case of his late-autistic son, Jett, and the extent of their brainwashing in the second part of her Media Mayhem interview.
A controversial travelling exhibit denouncing psychiatry and sponsored by a group funded by the Church of Scientology has come to Ottawa.
The Scientology-funded Citizen's Commission on Human Rights exhibit is called Psychiatry, An Industry of Death.
A new date for the dedication of the massive Flag Building downtown, which the church had originally tentatively planned for Sunday, will be made public "very shortly," said church spokeswoman Pat Harney.
"It's going to happen soon. It's something we're all looking forward to. I assure you that it's a bright future, not just for Scientology, but for all of us here," Harney said.
For decades, former Scientologist Leah Remini has kept quiet about what she witnessed as a member of the controversial church. But just as she was about to tell all in a court-ordered deposition, Scientology lawyers have gone to court to force her to keep her mouth shut.
Scientology former insider Tory Christman tells all about celebrities, slaves in the sea org, forced abortions, David Miscavige and L. Ron Hubbard in this shocking interview spanning her 30 year commitment to the church. From brainwashing, silencing free speech and using the mob to strong arm their message on the internet, we learn the lengths Scientology goes to preserve their image and their wealth, and why they continue to lose members on this Media Mayhem interview.
Four years and more than 75 formal complaints later, the Texas Education Agency finally moved to bar some of the most egregious offenders - including two companies operating with fake tax identification numbers and one that did not certify that its employees had passed criminal background checks - from the list of approved providers, which until 2012 included a company using Scientology-based instruction.
2013-10-04, Douglas R. Clifford, Editorial, Tampa Bay Times
The judges in two separate lawsuits against the Church of Scientology have made the right call to keep the focus on the church's behavior and reject its efforts to sidetrack the cases. The church should address the accusations of misconduct directly rather than delay and obfuscate by trying to force its accusers to change lawyers.
Young people with mental health issues were allegedly subjected to a "hostile" demonstration by "extreme" Scientology-linked protesters.
Youth delegates attending a mental health conference described how they were "upset and traumatised" by up to 60 shouting protesters.
The group were from the East Grinstead-based Citizens' Commission on Human Rights, which has ties with the Church of Scientology.
Judges in two states have rejected the Church of Scientology's attempts to undercut lawsuits that allege activities ranging from fraud to spying.
In both cases, the church attempted a rarely used legal strategy: Try to get the other side's lawyers disqualified.
But in federal court in Tampa and state court in Texas this week, the answer was no.
Former Scientologists Rocio and Luis Garcia, of Irvine, Calif., sued the church in January in Tampa federal court. But their suit advanced little in the following months as church lawyers filed multiple motions attempting to disarm it.
The church also sought to delay Thursday's hearing, saying the other side had not produced certain documents, as directed. U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore rejected that request Wednesday.
Hundreds of new Craigslist ads in San Francisco and other US cities target people seeking help and counseling for depression and panic attacks. The ads do not reveal they are for Scientology. UPDATED: Counter ads informing the public are the result of an Anonymous campaign.
Business Insider reports a member of Anonymous sent them an email stating that the Church of Scientology has been posting ads on Craigslist, describing it as abuse all "to recruit new members."
Accused of bilking insurance companies out of millions of dollars, Narconon of Georgia has agreed to give up its operating license in return for a promise the company won't be prosecuted.
Mary Morton, whose complaint to the Georgia Insurance Commissioner's Office started the investigation, told WSB's Pete Combs she called Narconon of Georgia Tuesday, but was told nothing about the non-prosecution agreement. Instead, Morton said a Narconon executive told her, "Unfortunately, we're full to capacity right now."
Morton said she got another call moments later from a counselor trying to sell her on another Narconon facility in a different state.
Kirstie Alley is reportedly furious that former friend Leah Remini spoke out about the Church of Scientology while appearing on "Dancing With the Stars." The two were once close friends who were members of the organization, but since Remini left the Church, Alley has been outspoken against her.
Alley was "absolutely stunned when it was announced that Leah would be a contestant on the show. Kirstie did feel extremely betrayed. Kirstie was livid that Leah made those comments about the church on Monday night," a friend told Radar Online.
According to an AJC report, the treatment facility will avoid potential criminal charges but the investigation against those running the business continues.
The charges stem from allegations that Narconon billed insurance companies for services it did not provide and operating as a residential unit when it was licensed as an outpatient clinic.
Following up on an investigation by WSB's Pete Combs, a Scientology-based drug rehab facility in Norcross agrees to shut its doors under pressure from the Gwinnett County district attorney who is investigating claims of massive insurance fraud. But that's not the end of the story.
Under the agreement reached between Narconon and District Attorney Danny Porter, Narconon closes its doors. In return, Porter promises not to prosecute the Scientology-related rehab facility based in Norcross.
That does not sit well with some.
Porter told us yesterday that despite the deal he cut with Narconon Georgia, his investigation is ongoing as his office pores over the thousands of documents taken in the raid, and he may end up charging individuals with wrongdoing. But Mary Morton told Pete how unhappy she is with the deal, and that when she called Narconon Georgia this week, she was told by its executive director, Jeannie Trahant, that it was too full to take new patients.
During Wednesday hearing Judge Bland ruled that Narconon attorneys will have to produce records of alleged incidents of employees, trainees and students using illegal drugs and alcohol from 2004 until 2010.
During the hearing Narconon Attorney Bill Pettigrew said he would produce the documents within 15 days.
The ruling was part of pre-trial proceedings in a lawsuit filed in March 2010 on behalf of Heather Landmeier a Narconon graduate now in a vegetative state after overdosing on heroin and oxycontin.
2013-09-25, Christian Boone, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A controversial Norcross drug treatment facility with ties to the Church of Scientology will avoid any potential criminal charges after surrendering its license to the state.
But the investigation into allegations of insurance fraud by those running the facility isn't over, Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said.
"Narconon as a corporate entity has been relieved of criminal liability but no individual is," Porter said Wednesday. "Certainly we've discovered discrepancies between what was billed and what was provided. The key now is to identify those individuals who were submitting the claims."
"Without getting into the details of my childhood and the dangers of Scientology's education system, I will say this. The leader of Scientology, Tom Cruise's best man, my uncle David Miscavige, is a high school dropout. What does that say about the value Scientology puts on education? Is this not what Jaden Smith is advocating?" Jenna asked.
"I don't know what propaganda you have seen or what your celebrity advocate friends have told you, but it's time to look a little deeper. If you don't want to know the truth (which I gather is the case from you saying you 'don't want to talk about Scientology') then please refrain from praising a system you clearly know nothing about," she concluded.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) declared inadmissible an application filed by the Church of Scientology claiming that the Belgian authorities had breached the church's rights by issuing statements to the media on a pending investigation.
In July, Remini announced her decision to leave the Church of Scientology, later admitting that the decision cost her several friends.
Fortunately, Lopez is standing by "The King of Queens" star, and even cheered for Remini from the audience at "DWTS" on Monday, according to the Daily Mail.
The Church of Scientology has backed off previously announced plans to dedicate its Flag Building downtown on Oct. 6 and will push back its grand opening indefinitely.
The seven-story structure that takes up an entire city block has been under construction since 1998. Also known as the "Super Power" building, the structure will reportedly house a classified church program first advanced by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard in the 1970s.
The church had expected 10,000 Scientologists for the dedication Oct. 6 and faced two city deadlines this week to supply information for a special events permit to close streets and sidewalks around the Flag Building. A traffic plan was due by 5 p.m. today and a certificate of liability insurance and an updated venue site plan are due by Friday.
City officials have given the Church of Scientology two deadlines to provide more details about the Oct. 6 dedication and grand opening of the church's massive Flag Building.
If the church doesn't comply this week, the city might not approve Scientology's request for street and sidewalk closures downtown for an event that the church says will draw up to 10,000 guests.
A judge is set to rule this week if Narconon Arrowhead will have to produce documents related to incidents of drug and alcohol use by its staff, according to court documents.
A hearing is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday in Pittsburg County District Court in the lawsuit against Narconon filed on behalf of a Narconon graduate now in a vegetative state after overdosing on heroin and oxycontin.
Signs proclaiming "NO Narconon in Hockley" were just about everywhere in the hamlet, which straddles the Mono-Adjala Townline, and concerned residents filled a meeting room in the Hockley Community and Seniors Hall last month to challenge representatives of Narconon International and Narconon Canada when they sought to allay fears that the facility would pose a threat to community safety.
Several attempts by the Times to reach Narconon for comment have so far been unsuccessful.
Kitchener-based physician Dr. Terry Polevoy has committed himself to revealing fraudulent health schemes in the medical field. He says he's been following Narconon and the Church of Scientology since the 1990s.
"Their own website leads you to believe that they're doing something (in Cambridge)," he said.
Walk down the front steps of their home. Take out the trash. Sit on their back deck. Climb into their pickup. A group of Scientologists called the "Squirrel Busters'' were always there, taunting, pointing cameras at them, telling Marty Rathbun to stop what he was doing. They often rolled up in a golf cart, coming from a rented house down the street.
And they kept it up for 199 days, until September 2011, Monique Rathbun told a Texas courtroom Thursday as testimony opened in her lawsuit alleging that Scientology leader David Miscavige directed a three-year intimidation campaign against her husband that ricocheted and harmed her as well.
Narconon has lost its controversial bid to buy the picturesque estate of late Conservative MP Donald Blenkarn and turn it into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre.
The Blenkarn family has chosen to sell the Hockley Village property to an area resident, according to Bill Schoenhardt, who is handling the sale on behalf of his sister-in-law, Marguerite Blenkarn.
In his affidavit, Marty Rathbun has provided his most lengthy sworn explanation of his activities working for Scientology and Miscavige, and it is an explosive document. It provides voluminous detail which explains that Miscavige does not have a limited role in the church but in fact rules every aspect of it with an iron fist. And with that complete control, Rathbun says, Miscavige certainly has conducted numerous activities in Texas, contrary to his sworn declaration.
At the end of July, the Canadian branch of Narconon International, a Scientology-based organization that operates non-medical drug rehab centres around the world, announced plans to bring a treatment centre to a 150-acre rural property along the Mono-Adjala Townline just north of Highway 9.
The announcement was met with overwhelming opposition by the community and since then residents have banded together to do what they can to stop the proposal.
In Hockley, however, residents are readying for battle. Some, including Caissie, simply don't believe a rehab facility belongs in the family-oriented village, which rarely sees police cruisers and has limited local medical services.
Others have been gripped by an Internet-fuelled panic about Narconon itself. The program, which includes detoxifying sauna sessions and high doses of vitamins, is lauded by famous Scientologists Tom Cruise and Kirstie Alley. But the methods have recently come under fire amid lawsuits filed by the families of three Narconon clients who died at a facility in Oklahoma.
What happened? Hollywood veteran manager and producer Jeff Wald sent his two youngest daughters to New Village. I spoke to him yesterday. Wald had a lot of praise for Will and Jada, and for Piano Foster (real name Franca Piano Foster). He told me that despite the reports from "bloggers," there was never talk of Scientology at the school.
But, he said, "We could never get past the association. We couldn't raise any money. And the Smiths were putting in $2 million of their own each year. They couldn't keep supporting it."
"If you're egocentric, not always confident or insecure because of being in public eye and want to be charitable, Scientology pushes your buttons. That's why someone like Bono would fit the bill perfectly as so many people know him," she said. "I know he was receiving Scientology auditing and was at one of the Celebrity Centre Galas. Why would he need auditing?"
"The investigation has been closed and we consider the report to be unfounded," Los Angeles Police Detective Gus Villanueva said. He declined to elaborate on the details in the report and why it was closed.
Shelly Miscavige's whereabouts have been a focus of church critics, who claim she has not appeared in public in six years.
Adjala-Tosorontio Mayor Tom Walsh, who attended the open house, estimates between 100 to 125 people were at the meeting.
It included a presentation mainly from Narconon International president Clark Carr, along with Meridian Planning, the firm looking after the application.
A plea deal with Pinellas prosecutors has ended an awkward chapter for the Church of Scientology and its long crusade against drugs, allowing the twin sister of the church's worldwide leader to avoid a marijuana conviction.
St. Petersburg police arrested Denise Gentile in January on charges of DUI, possession of marijuana and failure to yield. But, after negotiations between her attorney and the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office, she pleaded guilty Monday to a reduced charge of reckless driving. She did not appear in court, and a formal finding of guilt will be withheld.
The "Church" of Scientology is obsessed with "Good PR" for itself. Office of Special Affairs has a division called "Public Relations. It has a bunch of Sea Org members that work 80 hour weeks working flat out on improving the Church's public relations. Bad entries in Wikipedia would be an important target.
The twin sister of Scientology leader David Miscavige is fighting drug possession charges after she was arrested earlier this year when police allegedly found with nine marijuana-filled 'blunts' in her SUV.
It is also claimed that Denise Gentile knowingly allowed a rental property she owned in St Petersburg, Florida, to be used as a drug den and allowed one of her tenants to pay his utility bills by giving her drugs.
Well, it turns out you just can't teach a kinda-old non-religion religion new tricks. Reader John alerts us to a case in which the Church of Scientology is using copyright, trademark and cyberbullying laws to silence a parody criticizing the "church", Will Smith, and the attempt to destroy film making commonly known as After Earth. Recently, they demanded that GoDaddy nix cheerupwillsmith.com, which parodied the church and the film, over the use of their logos, a letter from church-leader David Miscavige, a photo of the same Miscavige, and a parody portrayal of Mr. Miscavige.
The Office of Special Affairs (OSA) plots and plans the *destruction* of its enemies.
OSA is an execution Arm of David Miscavige.
Ex-Scientologists, Ex-Sea Org staff, Anonymous and Critics who speak out about internal abuses were a prime target.
This video depicts how OSA did not have a clue on how to handle the Internet.
According to a new report by the National Enquirer, the Fat Actress star settled quietly with a customer of her products who claimed they were fraudulent, paying her $130,000.
"This is a major setback not only to Kirstie's profitable business enterprise, but also to her reputation," an insider told the magazine.
2013-06-17, Corynne McSherry, Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Church of Scientology International ("CSI") has often been accused of pulling out all the stops to suppress speech critical of the organization. Surprisingly, however, they have not yet made it into the EFF Takedown Hall of Shame.
The Church of Scientology International (CSI) demanded that GoDaddy take down a website, cheerupwillsmith.com, that uses parody and satire to tweak CSI, its alleged relationship to actor Will Smith, and its reportedly aggressive control over the activities of its members. The site included a letter, purportedly from Scientology leader David Miscavige, requiring CSI members to see After Earth, a new movie starring Will Smith that hasn't done well at the box office, at least three times in order to cheer Will up. The site also demanded that members make videos supporting Smith.
"The investigation into operations at the Narconon facility in Canadian continues," said a statement from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. "ODMHSAS, accordingly, is working with other regulatory agencies as part of this process. The department is prohibited from providing any additional detail concerning this matter."
Active entities in the investigation include the state Mental Health Department, the Pittsburg County Sheriff's Office, the Pittsburg County District Attorney's Office and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, as previously reported.
The plaintiffs argued that when their names were entered into Google's German-language search engine, it suggested links to fraud and Scientology. Google's autocomplete function uses software that takes into account keyword connections that have been entered frequently by other users.
Google will not have to alter its software, however. The court said that tech giant must instead remove defamatory autocomplete results when notified.
The Higher Regional Court of Cologne had previously ruled in favor of Google, saying the terms "Scientology" and "fraud" were not damaging enough to infringe on personal privacy. But on Tuesday, the Karlsruhe court overturned that ruling.
The Church of Scientology held an event for the opening of a new facility in Portland over the weekend. The crowd was around 450-750 people. But the church claims it was more like 2,500, and it Photoshopped in the proof.
Except the proof is about as convincing as your thetan's origin story. In reality, there were no people in the right-hand side of the photo. There was actually a line of rented trees set up to block the view of people not so friendly to Scientology (see the photo below), as well as police blocking off a four-block radius for the event. And it's not just that the picture was doctored, it's that it was done quite poorly.
The Vandergriend family and many others claim nobody told them Narconon was controlled by Scientology.
"They don't even have a certified doctor, a certified nurse, they don't have anybody," said Dave Vandergriend, Justin Vandergriend's father.
John Anchondo, a former Narconon salesman, said, potential patients weren't aware the rehab center was tied to Scientology.
Scientologist Peter Dwan, representing drugs charity Narconon, gave anti-drugs presentations to more than 30 schools in the county and is planning more.
But other drugs charities have criticised the methods used by Narconon, and one awareness charity warned schools against involvement with its programmes.
The federal government is expanding its health checks program, performed by GPs, which ensures children are ready for school by assessing their development. But the group, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, said these checks could lead to drugs being prescribed.
The Church of Scientology in Sydney has been accused of holding a young Taiwanese woman hostage after she suffered a mental breakdown.
In March 2012, Alice Wu was hospitalised after she punched a window at the Church of Scientology's headquarters in Dundas, in Sydney's west.
Ms Wu badly damaged her right hand in the incident. Her family claims she was trying to escape the facility at the time.
Cenk Uygur talks with Jamie DeWolf, the great-grandson of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, about his grievances with the religion and how it has affected his own family. "I think it's one of the most brilliant and devious, systematic brainwashing systems that's ever been invented," DeWolf says. "No one's ever accused my great-grandfather of being an idiot. ... The fact is, these are smart people - they've just been completely destroyed."
In the end Scientology will be taken down over money. Interesting, huh? A wealthy couple from Irvine, California are suing the Church of Scientology and its leader David Miscavige for fraud. Long time members of the cult, Luis and Rocio Garcia filed in federal court in Tampa, Florida. They say they've invested in something Scientology calls the "Super Power Building" in Clearwater, Florida that was begun in 1998 and has never opened.
Plaintiffs Luis and Rocio Garcia of Irvine, Calif., name five Scientology corporations as defendants, including the church's main entity in Clearwater. The former church members say they gave Scientology more than $420,000 for the massive "Super Power" building in Clearwater that has never opened, church services they never received and humanitarian projects that never materialized.
The deception went as far as producing phony videos of church earthquake relief efforts to induce parishioners to give, said the Garcias' attorney, Theodore Babbitt of West Palm Beach.
Maybe he was just imagining things. John H. Richardson, my former colleague at Premiere magazine, says curious incidents began happening after he started reporting on the Church of Scientology in 1993. It didn't seem coincidental to him: People knocking on his neighbors' doors, saying he was under investigation. A phone call telling his wife he had sent her some kind of sex-gram that the caller would read aloud.
The longtime occupants of the storefront at 696 Yonge have just moved to temporary digs in an old brick building at 77 Peter Street (former home of Time and Studio 77 night clubs) in order to renovate the Bauhaus-inspired modernist Yonge building at the corner of St. Mary.
2012 was a milestone year for the Dark Cult, with the dread message spreading to more than 10,000 conclaves and covens in 167 nations -- figures that represent a growth rate 20 times that of a decade ago.
Scientology defectors describe violence,abuse and humiliation in "the Hole". Isolated work sites. Limited communication with the outside. Psychological pressure to obey. Guards poised to chase after runaways.
The Cult of Scientology imposes a raft of restrictions and mental controls on its "religious" workers, who grind on, abiding 100-hour workweeks.
The Church of Scientology imposes a raft of restrictions and mental controls on its religious workers, who grind on, abiding 100-hour workweeks.
In mid 2009, two FBI agents based in Los Angeles quietly started investigating the church's treatment of its workers. Investigators continued through 2010 and into 2011. It was the FBI's first known criminal investigation of Scientology in 30 years.
Rathbun misrepresents his history in the Church claiming a high position to inflate his status. Rathbun was never part of the Church's international ecclesiastical management. Contrary to his delusional belief, he was not well known to parishioners, he did not speak at Church convocations and Sappell did not disclose that his only connection to Rathbun was meeting him once nor did he name Rathbun in his 1990 five-year-in-the-making opus illustrating Rathbun's insignificance in the Church's hierarchy.
In the mid-1980s, journalist Joel Sappell and a colleague began a five-year examination of the Church?of Scientology that would ultimately produce a 24-article series. It would also change Sappell's life in ways both mystifying? and unnerving. Decades later the onetime investigative reporter investigates what happened to him.
The Church of Scientology announced that it is about to begin renovations its Yonge Street location, according to Urban Toronto. No word yet on when the renovations will start or when they are expected to be completed.
The multi-agency investigation has been led by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Pittsburg County Sheriff's Office and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health.
Officials with the department of mental health have said the official autopsy report is one of several things they have been waiting on to complete their investigation, said Jeff Dismukes, spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
A Bend dentist has asked the Oregon Court of Appeals to review a $348,000 penalty stemming from allegations that he required employees to attend a Scientology-related training session.
The Bureau of Labor and Industries imposed the fine in September to settle charges of religious discrimination at Dr. Andrew W. Engel's practice, Awe Dental Spa.
Dandar is talking about how the Church settled the Lisa McPherson case. A former top-ranking Scientologist- Marty Rathbun says the Pinellas County Judge handling the McPherson case, Judge Robert Beach, should never have met with Church attorney Lee Fugate about the case.
Near the end of the segment, Rathbun says, "She agrees she's going to do it, but she wants a release in exchange, and that's the smoking gun. And [Scientology leader] Dave Miscavige had to sign it himself, I'm pretty sure. He certainly delivered it himself…Only then did she make the change on the death certificate."
Rathbun appears to be alleging that in a quid pro quo, Wood agreed to change the cause of death in return for a guarantee from the church that it would not hold her legally liable. It's a shocking allegation of impropriety. (Wood died in 2011.)
Last night, the St. Petersburg, Florida CBS affiliate, WTSP, broke news that Marty Rathbun has made blockbuster allegations in sworn testimony that the Church of Scientology spent millions in an attempt to influence Florida judges as it was fighting the criminal investigation and then civil litigation following the 1995 death of church member Lisa McPherson.
After filing suit in May of 2010, the Desmonds have spent two years trying to find answers about how and why Patrick died. Their lawyer said he is frustrated because at every turn, he has met with resistance, deception and disappearing evidence.
"There were documents that we asked for in discovery and they… said 'We don't have any such documents,'" said the Desmonds' attorney, Jeff Harris. "We determined later that they do. There clearly were documents that were responsive to the written discovery requests, which you have to respond to under oath, that had never been produced before. We had to find out about them other ways."
Judge Stacey Hydrick also concluded that Narconon Executive Director Mary Rieser lied in as many as ten depositions when she "repeatedly failed to produce, and on multiple occasions falsely denied the existence of clearly relevant, responsive documents and information."
Finally, Hydrick concluded that, when she asked Rieser on the stand about the omissions and false declarations, Narconon's leader was simply not credible in her responses. In other words, she failed to tell the truth.
2012-11-08, Christian Boone, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
In a rare move, a DeKalb County state judge has withdrawn a Norcross drug treatment facility's response to allegations in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by a former patient's parents.
Judge Stacey K. Hydrick said in a court order Nov. 5 that Narconon of Georgia "intentionally, willfully and repeatedly provided false and misleading responses to plaintiff's discovery requests regarding issues relevant to the resolution of this case."
The secretive Church of Scientology is to finally lift the lid on its £6 million plans for a listed mansion in Birmingham - seven years after targeting new headquarters in the city.
The American church, whose followers include Tom Cruise and John Travolta, is sending a representative to brief residents in a public consultation on the restoration of the former Pitmaston building in Moor Green Lane, Moseley.
While I was in Clearwater, Florida videotaping a Transit Board hearing which dealt with Scientology matters, I had my first run-in with the type of unusual activities that so often have been traced back to the Office of Special Affairs.
The Vandergriend family and many others talking to the I-Team said nobody told them Narconon was connected to Scientology and said they have no doubts why Justin relapsed after attending Narconon.
"They don't even have a certified doctor, a certified nurse," said Justin Vandergriend's father, Dave. "They don't have anybody."
The I-Team checked state databases and found that none of the Narconon employees identified had any Nevada medical licenses or certification for drug counseling or rehab services.
Justin Vandergriend's mother, Camille, said she called a number of 800 numbers trying to find a drug rehab center for her son.
"I talked to one gal who I was very impressed with and she in turn had a representative call me back," Camille Vandergriend said. "Unbeknownst to me, he was a representative from Narconon."
A source currently employed at Narconon told the I-Team they buy up several of the top websites shown on Google for drug rehab, redirecting calls to a Narconon phone bank.
"It was all bull****," Anchondo said. "The whole thing was to get them into our centers. If they didn't have money, then we'd refer them out to some homeless -- but man, I was good.
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.
The Kazakh State Agency for Religious Affairs has denied recognition as a religious organization to the republican association of scientologists, which means the latter may be denied re-registration, agency deputy head Marat Azilkhanov told Interfax on Thursday.
"They submitted founding documents for re-registration [as a religious organization]. Agency specialists concluded that the organization was not religious. So, we believe the scientology organization is not religious," he said.
All of this has taken a toll. According to the American Religious Identification Survey, Scientology is shrinking; between 2001 and 2008 it estimates that the number of Scientologists in the United States fell from 55,000 to as low as 25,000. (A spokesperson for the Church dismissed this survey, claiming steady growth and millions of members worldwide.) Scientology has created the appearance of growth by opening expensive new facilities, but, "on the inside, it's dead," says Tom Felts, a former Washington staffer. And as the Church loses members, it has been grateful for new recruits wherever it can find them.
John McGhee, who travelled from Dublin to attend the protest, said he had been a Scientologist until two years ago.
Protesting against his former religion, he said East Grinstead held great significance for Scientologists.
Shirley Gilliam, the mother of Gabriel Graves - found dead at the facility in 2011, filed the wrongful death lawsuit today in PIttsburg County Court.
This is second wrongful death suit filed against facility this month. Earlier this month another wrongful death lawsuit against Narconon Arrowhead was filed on behalf of Robert Murphy and Tonya White, parents of Stacy Dawn Murphy, 20, of Owasso, who was found dead in the facility's withdrawal unit in July.
The family of a Claremore man who died while in drug rehab at Narconon Arrowhead filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging negligence and wrongful death.
The family of Gabriel Graves, a 32-year-old father of two who died in October 2011, is the third to sue the facility, which is located on Lake Eufaula northeast of McAlester.
How the denizens of 4chan moved from disrupting Second Life games for lulz to taking on the Church of Scientology is the central hinge of Knappenberger's story. Appropriately enough, it started with a video, that Tom Cruise barn burner circa January 2008, which Scientology HQ worked swiftly to wipe from the face of the Web. It was the audacity of that eradication that caught the attention of the 4channers who became known as Anonymous. Together, they targeted Scientology websites (a move that brought the FBI to the doors of several kids featured in the film) and organized international IRL protests, a move whose greatest success might have been getting a bunch of basement-dwellers laid.
Narconon Arrowhead has been the center of an ongoing investigation after the July death of 20-year-old Stacy Murphy which spured a county, state and federal investigation of the three other patient deaths at the facility.
Her death followed the deaths of three others, two of the other deaths along with Murphy's occured in a span of less than a year.
Last October, Gabriel Graves, 31, was found dead in his bed at the facility and then in April, Holten was found dead in her bed at the facility and in July, Murphy was found dead at the facility. In 2009 Kaysie Werninck also died while a patient at the facility.
According to an obituary published Aug. 30 in the Scranton Times, Corona graduated magna cum laude from Boston's Northeastern University in 1997. He landed a job as pharmacist in Philadelphia before moving to the Gwinnett area last year, where he worked as a counselor at Narconon of Georgia.
An inquiry with that company was not immediately returned Tuesday.
2012-10-15, Alexis Stevens, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A man found dead in a Gwinnett County office park died from using cocaine, the county's medical examiner's office said Monday.
Ronald Corona Jr., 39, was found around 2:30 a.m. Aug. 13 on Technology Parkway South in Peachtree Corners. Gwinnett officer were dispatched to the area following a report of a suspicious person "sleeping or possibly dead" behind a business.
The attorneys for the family of Stacy Dawn Murphy, who died July 19 while going through drug rehab at Narconon Arrowhead, filed a lawsuit against the facility Friday alleging wrongful death and negligence, according to a press release.
Murphy was the most recent of three deaths at Narconon since last year that began a multi-agency investigation into the facility.
2012-10-05, Mark Collette, Corpus Christi Caller-Times
A former Church of Scientology official living in Ingleside on the Bay says he is being watched again - this time by surveillance cameras aimed through the blinds at a nearby house - and that he has photos to prove it.
Oregon Labor and Industries Commissioner Brad Avakian said Thursday he has ordered Engel and his dental practice to pay nearly $350,000 in damages to the former employee who fled her job when ordered to attend a three-day Scientology-affiliated symposium or be fired.
Engel, whose Bend practice is AWE Dental Spa, issued a brief statement Friday through Portland attorney Michael Gordon, who said they will appeal the state labor commissioner's decision to the Oregon Court of Appeals:
A phone message at Engel's practice said he was out until Monday. He gained his dental license in Oregon in 1998. State Board of Dentistry records show the body has never taken disciplinary action against Engel.
Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian said the penalty will cover the woman's lost wages and damages as well as moving expenses and emotional distress.
Employees should feel "secure from an employer's pressure to do something that conflicts with their religious beliefs," he said in a written statement.
I wanted to explore the world of Scientology and did just that with former Scientologist and author Jefferson Hawkins. He had a bitter split with the Church and talks about physical and emotional abuse.
Hawkins spent some time on my show this evening. It was an eye-opening conversation.
Patrick Desmond's mother describes him as kind-hearted and good-natured, but the former Marine died at 28-years-old, losing a battle against alcoholism.
Desmond's death in 2008 came as he took part in a worldwide drug treatment program, Narconon, already under fire for other patient deaths and ties to the Church of Scientology.
Now a Channel 2 investigation is raising questions about the Narconon program and its license in Georgia.
In a three-hour interview with the Tampa Bay Times in the office of their Texas lawyer, Ray Jeffrey, the investigators shared details of their top-secret work. They told a rollicking tale of espionage and described the expense to which Scientology went to gather intelligence on real and perceived enemies.
The investigators' lawyer says the church paid them between $10 million and $12 million. In addition to Broeker, they followed several other church targets, including a drug company executive who now is governor of Indiana - Mitch Daniels.
As far as we could tell, however, Magnotta's actual involvement with Scientology was either exceedingly tenuous or nonexistent.
That isn't the case with Johnny Lewis. The Sons of Anarchy actor was a second-generation Scientologist, the child of prominent church members of the highest order (they're OT8's), and he also had extensive involvement with Scientology's troubled drug rehab program, Narconon.
KATY Perry's ex who allegedly murdered his landlady, her cat and then himself, had deep ties to Scientology and its drug abuse program.
A photo obtained by TMZ shows the Sons of Anarchy star Johnny Lewis, 28, at the Scientology substance abuse program, called Narconon, which he reportedly spoke at back in 2004.
The website reports that Lewis' mother used the principles of the program to keep him off drugs.
The Church of Scientology has broken years of silence over its future plans for a listed mansion in Moseley – with a pledge to spend £6 million on a major restoration.
The American church, whose followers include Tom Cruise and John Travolta, says it proposes a 'complete and sensitive' restoration of the former Pitmaston building in Moor Green Lane to 'bring the property back to its former glory'
He insisted he's not trying to take a stand or exclude anyone. "Everyone's welcome here, including Scientologists. I just want people to know, we are not associated with Scientology and that there are businesses in Clearwater that are not associated with Scientology. Please don't make that assumption."
Two private investigators are suing Scientology for breach of contract, alleging they were hired to spy on the Church's rivals and then let go even though they'd been promised their jobs were permanent.
In the case being heard in San Patricio County, Texas, the investigators, Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold, say they were paid about $500,000 each year since 1988 to keep watch on Pat Broeker, The Dallas Morning News is reporting.
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.
A federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of an aggressively contested wrongful death lawsuit filed against the Church of Scientology and three parishioners after the apparent suicide of a Virginia man who died while visiting his Scientologist father in Clearwater.
Kyle Brennan, 20, of Charlottesville, Va., shot himself the night of Feb. 16, 2007, with a handgun he found in his father's apartment, Clearwater police determined.
Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige ordered surveillance on one of his former church rivals in a secret operation that lasted 25 years and ate up millions in church funds, a Texas lawsuit alleges.
The two private investigators who filed the suit say the church hired them to conduct intensive surveillance on Pat Broeker, a church leader who worked closely with Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard in the 1970s and '80s. Broeker was ousted by Miscavige in a power struggle after Hubbard's 1986 death.
2012-09-21, Mark Collette, Corpus Christi Caller-Times
According to the lawsuit, Marrick and Arnold have a 25-year history with the church that began after the 1986 death of its founder, Hubbard. Its new leader, Miscavige, employed the two former law enforcement officers -- neither of them Scientologists -- to spy on Pat Broeker, the filing claims. Broeker claimed he, not Miscavige, was Hubbard's chosen successor.
In 2009, when Rathbun began speaking publicly about his role in the church, he described how he sent private investigators -- now identified as Marrick and Arnold -- to track Broeker.
Golden Era Productions, Gilman Hot Springs, CA, produces religious film, video, television, and events. These productions require considerable numbers of sets and props which must be produced to high levels of detail and accuracy, primarily from foam and wood.
A former drug addict who tried to kill himself at a Scientology-affiliated detox clinic is suing the center claiming their extreme treatment caused him to jump off a third floor balcony in a suicide attempt.
William Sweeney filed the lawsuit against Pur Detox in Dana Point, Calif., and Dr. Allan Sosin in the Orange County Superior Court this week, alleging negligence, medical malpractice and negligent supervision, the Court House News reported.
An Oklahoma drug rehab facility is being forced to hand over records that could possibly disclose that some employees are trading drugs in exchange for sex with patients.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court denied Narconon Arrowhead's request to keep those documents protected.
The documents will soon be released to the attorney representing the family of a young woman who overdosed after being released from the facility in 2008.
A local business owner wants to make clear first he is a devoted Southern Baptist.
Too many people come into Travis Wilkinson's business, Berry Beautiful Salon and Spa, assuming he is a member of the Church of Scientology because of the shop's proximity to downtown Clearwater.
"And as a devoted Southern Baptist, for people to think I'm a Scientologist is very hurtful to me personally," Wilkinson said.
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.
David Miscavige took over in '87. In 1988 Miscavige persuaded me to become executive chef for the Gold Base, [near Gilman Hot Springs, Calif.] From '88 to about 1990 I was basically the executive chef. We renovated the main cooking and dining facilities at Gold Base. Three of us feeding 500 people. Miscavige didn't have a personal chef at the time. I was cooking for everyone.
In 1990 when Tom Cruise came by I was assigned as his personal chef. He was doing training, doing courses, he was also getting some auditing. He came with his assistant, Andrea Morris. He had a nice luxury apartment renovated for him. Miscavige set up a whole bunch of facilities for Tom Cruise. He even made a couple of tennis courts. There was a rifle range operated just for Tom Cruise.
A new national affairs office opened Wednesday in the Dupont Circle area of Washington, D.C., for the Church of Scientology. Located in the historic Fraser Mansion, the new office "stands as the central point from which the church coordinates its many social and humanitarian initiatives on a national and international level," according to a statement posted on the Church of Scientology Web site.
Kirstie Alley, Scientology member and friend of Tom Cruise, has come forward to defend Cruise against Vanity Fair's recent claims that the church devised a secret process to audition wives for the actor in 2004.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court is considering a request to block a judge's order for a controversial drug treatment facility to produce records on staff misconduct.
Narconon Arrowhead, a drug detoxification facility rooted in Scientology, filed the request to block the judge's order last month in a negligence lawsuit filed on behalf of Heather Landmeier.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court is considering a request to block a judge's order for a controversial drug treatment facility to produce records on staff misconduct.
Narconon Arrowhead, a drug detoxification facility rooted in Scientology, filed the request to block the judge's order last month in a negligence lawsuit filed on behalf of Heather Landmeier.
But for being just plain pendeja, I don't think anything can top what she did in August: not only visit the Orange County Church of Scientology Ideal Org (the mothership, for us non-Xenuans), but reward the place with a certificate of congressional recognition.
2012-09-06, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
The Voice has obtained a remarkable document -- a letter from Scientology's attorneys which explains how the church would agree to forgive almost $43,000 in court costs if Marc and Claire Headley agree to turn over information about former Scientology executive Marty Rathbun and "others involved in disparaging" the church, "including any media contacts."
Mental problems, for instance, often are caused by traumatic memories of past lives as clams, sloths, and cave people.
You couldn't make this stuff up. But L. Ron Hubbard did - right here in Phoenix in the early 1950s.
He moved to Philadelphia after graduating from the Boston school and began working as a pharmacist. Most recently he had been living in the Guest Inn near downtown Norcross working as a counselor at Narcanon of Georgia, a Norcross-based drug rehab center.
The details are a bit incomplete, but his mother said he had entered Narcanon for an alcohol addiction, and after finishing the program, he completed a training program in April to become a Narcanon counselor so he could help others.
2012-08-31, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Scientology watchers, we have a treat for you this morning. This video has been making the rounds the last couple of days, and we can see why it's generating so much interest. Mike Napier, the captain of Scientology's private cruise ship, the Freewinds, stars in this film and tells us about the benefits of his "competence and leadership" course (which looks hard to distinguish from your typical Outward Bound sort of experience, but what do we know).
Scientologists are allowed to deduct the amounts that they pay for "auditing sessions" under a closing agreement that was entered into with the IRS in 1993 – after the IRS had won a case to deny the deductions as quid pro quo in the Supreme Court. Michael Sklar thought the principles of that agreement should allow him to deduct at least some of the payments made for his children to attend religious schools. The Ninth Circuit ruled that Sklar's tuition payments were not that similar to Scientology auditing charges, but went on to observe:
we would not hold that the unlawful policy set forth in the closing agreement must be extended to all religious organizations.
Ronald Joseph Corona Jr., 39, of Berwick, passed away on Monday, August 13, 2012. Born in Berwick on November 19, 1972, he was the son of Joanna Ursi and the late Ronald Joseph Corona Sr., who passed away on January 18, 2011.
Jamie DeWolf is most well known for being the host of Tourettes Without Regrets, a renegade show in which he displays weird, artistic, hilarious, vulgar, sexual, and insanely talented performers. Tourettes has won "Best of the Bay" from the SF Guardian and "Best Underground Cultural Event" by the East Bay Express.
You might also know that DeWolf is very charismatic, with an on-stage magnetism and swagger that few can rival. What you might not know, however, is that DeWolf is the great grandson of L. Ron Hubbard, the man-made saint of Scientology.
Narconon Arrowhead is being sued by the parents of a patient who died during treatment.
Filed Aug. 23, the lawsuit claims Narconon Arrowhead did not provide adequate medical care for Hillary Holten. Her parents say the facility was informed Holten had a medical condition that required her to take a steroid every day. The facility said they could manage the medication.
Just a half hour before protestors marched on Narconon's Lake Eufaula facility Saturday, Narconon Arrowhead CEO Gary Smith addressed the growing concerns against the program including its ties to the church of Scientology.
2012-08-26, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
We're moving Carnegie Mellon University professor Dave Touretzky up in our list this year. Touretzky is known for his many years of gathering and hosting information at his websites that describe Scientology's secret upper-level teachings and other detailed research. But it's Touretzky's dedication to getting out information about Scientology's drug treatment program, Narconon, which is making a big difference this year as the church's rehab centers have become the center of controversy. We've referred to Touretzky's pages often in our stories, and we hope readers use them to come to the understanding that Narconon's issues are longstanding and systemic.
Several former Narconon students and families of students interviewed by the World said they contacted drug addiction counselors through various websites. The counselors then recommended the family look into Narconon for rehab.
Search the Internet for help with drug rehab, and there's a chance you'll find one of 235 websites owned and operated by Dena Goad of Bixby. Goad owns her own business involving 1-800 hotline numbers attached to her websites, she said.
Although this was the last official sighting of the 36-year-old man, police say they have one other potential sighting on July 25 when it is believed Mr Somers attended a meeting at the Church of Scientology office in Ebrington Street.
Corona had been found early Monday behind an office at 25 Technology Parkway. The Homicide Unit had initially been called to investigate when police discovered several injuries to the victim's head. However, after a medical examination, it was determined the man did not die from his injuries.
Hillary Holten of Carrolton, Texas, died April 11 after entering Narconon Arrowhead, a nonmedical drug-detoxification facility on Lake Eufaula near McAlester.
Holten is one of three Narconon Arrowhead patrons to die since October. As a result of those deaths, the facility is being investigated by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the Pittsburg County Sheriff's Office and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
2012-08-23, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
L. Ron Hubbard's great-grandson moves up a few spots on our list this year after the way his profile has been rising lately. After the TomKat split, DeWolf was asked to make some comments, and an interview he gave to a Bay Area local television station got picked up and went around the world a few times. We'd predicted big things for Jamie, who has a lot of talent and charm, and isn't afraid to speak freely about his great-grandad.
Catton says recruiters operate referral websites and those recruiters are paid 10% of the $30,000 tuition fee if someone signs up. He says recruiters are not always honest about the facility's ties to Scientology.
"It really depends on the integrity of the person answering and working the referral process," said Catton. "But I don't doubt that for a second that people may have outright lied to them or misled them completely."
2012-08-21, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Yesterday, we talked to State Senator Tom Ivester, a Democrat from the western part of Oklahoma. For months, he says, he's been concerned about what goes on at Narconon Arrowhead.
As early as January, he had received complaints from a state resident that the place was a "ripoff" and was delivering strange treatments, but when Stacy Murphy, 20, died at the center on July 19, Ivester said he was motivated to act.
No drug and alcohol rehabilitation center is perfect. Meeting the needs of clients who come to facilities with a whole lot of baggage, including addiction and other behavioral and emotional issues, is a difficult job requiring close observation by a well-trained staff.
That said, three client deaths in the past year at the Narconon Arrowhead rehab facility on Lake Eufaula demand answers. Why and how did these three people die? Could more have been done to prevent their deaths?
2012-08-19, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
This year, summer has not been languid and lazy. In the wake of the TomKat divorce, media interest in Scientology has never been greater and we've never been busier. But we thought it was time to update our list from last year. This time, we've put a premium on what's happened in the last twelve months, so you might see some of your old favorites drop off the roster. But never fear -- you can always revisit our choices from last year, or the choices of our readers.
2012-08-18, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Catton became president of the facility in 2002. And he says he became aware that Gary Smith, the center's executive director, and other officials were very worried: in the time since Narconon had received the 1992 exemption, the law had changed, and if the state took a hard look at its certification, the place might not stay open, Catton says. He explains that when the state accepted the CARF approval, the state did so only to certify the initial part of Narconon's four-part program of treatment.
"They were worried that they had to get their entire program certified by the state, or get the law changed, or they would not be allowed to operate at all," he told me.
"It should be noted that while I was there the use and distribution of drugs by 'students' ... and staff was rampant," the complainant wrote to Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services officials.
"I was asked on numerous occasions if I wanted any drugs, but since I do not do drugs, I declined. I was offered many different types of drugs, ones I had never even heard of. By observation, no one was concerned about the drug use at this time."
Department of Mental Health spokesman Jeffrey Dismukes said he could not confirm any action the department took as a result of the complaint because he could not discuss an ongoing investigation.
Democratic state Sen. Tom Ivester said Friday that he believes the state should enact strict regulations on the type of treatments offered by Narconon Arrowhead.
Three patients of the center have died since October - the most recent in July. Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel Kerns has said his office is investigating the deaths.
2012-08-16, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
But standing in their way was the editor of a small weekly newspaper who proceeded to give Scientology hell over the next three years. His name is Bob Lobsinger, and this week I had a lengthy conversation with him.
"If they'd just come in here and been honest about who they were and what they wanted, it probably would have flown. But they lied every step of the way," Lobsinger told me by telephone from his home in Newkirk, Oklahoma.
Four deaths at Narconon's signature treatment facility in eastern Oklahoma have prompted local law enforcement and health officials to investigate the center and its program.
The inquiry began after Stacy Dawn Murphy, 20, was found dead in her room on July 19 after returning to the facility from a one-day leave. The cause of death is under investigation.
2012-08-14, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Three deaths have occurred at the center since October, and the most recent of them, Stacy Murphy, 20, was found on the morning of July 19.
A former patient who knew Stacy told us what conditions were like at the center, which uses Scientology's odd "training routines" rather than drug counseling. We also talked to a former employee of the facility who told us about the shaky history of Narconon Arrowhead's certification by the state of Oklahoma. Even before the recent deaths, he told us, officials at the center had worried that its certification was "vulnerable."
And now, we have startling information about the connection between Narconon and Scientology itself which, like so many other stories we've explored here, brings us right back to church leader David Miscavige's concentration camp for executives, known as "The Hole."
Narconon claims it is a non-medical rehabilitation program with around 150 patients, one of whom - Stacy Murphy, top right - died whilst being treated there, sparking a police investigation into the program.
The district attorney's office has confirmed that an investigation into four deaths at Narconon Arrowhead now involves the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health while a sheriff's inquiry has expanded with a request for more records.
"The Inspector General is looking into the consumer aspect of compliance with the Department of Mental Health," said District 18 Assistant District Attorney Richard Hull said Monday.
St Jude and St Paul's Primary School, in Kingsbury Road, Newington Green, arranged for Narconon to come in to teach the Year 6 pupils about the dangers of drug abuse before the end of term.
Narconon offer drug and rehabilitation services based on the writings of L Ron Hubbard, the man who inspired Scientology - a religion famously followed by Tom Cruise. But critics claim Narconon's rehab centres are used to help recruit people to the controversial church.
2012-08-02, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Harrowing accounts of what occurred in The Hole turned up in a 2009 investigation by Joe Childs and Tom Tobin of the Tampa Bay Times, in Marc Headley's 2009 book Blown for Good, and in Janet Reitman's 2011 history of the church, Inside Scientology.
Then, this year, we heard from two additional sources about conditions in The Hole -- Debbie Cook's dramatic court testimony this February in San Antonio, and Mike Rinder's Voice video interview in March. (At Cook's hearing in February, the church put out a statement denying that The Hole exists. But the attorney who uttered that denial was not, as Cook, under oath in a court of law. He's also outnumbered by numerous former Scientologists who have spoken about the church's concentration camp with utter consistency.)
2012-07-29, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Brousseau helped convey Hubbard's instructions to the church after the aging writer went into seclusion. Brousseau lived for several years under an assumed name as he ran a Mojave Desert ranch in case Hubbard needed to hide there. And after Hubbard's death in 1986, Brousseau served Miscavige at Scientology's Int Base until Miscavige had him sent to a prison program for three years. After his return, Brousseau was surprised when Miscavige restored him to a position in Scientology's most powerful entity, RTC -- which allowed him to do more work for Tom Cruise.
And now we continue with part two....
2012-07-28, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
In some ways, Brousseau's tale is one of the most remarkable to come out of the secretive organization, and one that parallels so much of Scientology's own development and controversies.
He and Miscavige were brothers in law. They were both young cameramen working for Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard during his movie-making phase. Brousseau was Hubbard's personal chauffeur and helped maintain the cloak of secrecy when Hubbard vanished for good. He watched Miscavige transform Scientology and turn its base into a prison camp. He worked for Tom Cruise, which included serving in the household with Cruise and Katie Holmes. And having worked closely with both Cruise and Miscavige, he has choice things to say about the nature of their relationship.
The director at Narconon Arrowhead confirms two employees were fired this week after the body of a young woman was found dead at the facility.
"To answer the question two staff was fired this week for poor job performance which were completely unrelated to the recent matter," said Gary Smith director of Narconon Arrowhead.
In an interview with CBS, Jamie DeWolf calls Scientology a "well-funded psychotic beast" and describes Hubbard as nothing more than a "lying con-man" who peddled "pseudoscience".
DeWolf said Scientology destroyed his own family and undoubtedly led to Holmes's divorce from Cruise.
'Scientology is basically a pyramid scheme that sells secrets and they sell them under the guise of self-help,' Mr DeWolf said to CBS.
'Tom Cruise is another victim of the mirage that my great-grandfather created around himself.'
He says that the church is so demanding, so unforgiving, that he is putting himself in danger just by agreeing to speak on camera.
'Scientology is toxic; it's a poison and it's destroyed everyone that it's come into contact with it.'
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation turned over its investigation in connection with the July 19 death of Stacy Murphy to the Pittsburg County authorities. Murphy died at Narconon Arrowhead, a nonprofit drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located on Lake Eufaula near Canadian.
"After looking at the OSBI report and additional witness statements, the District Attorney's Office has requested the Sheriff's Office to further investigate," said Richard Hull, assistant district attorney.
"After looking at the OSBI report and additional witness statements, the District Attorney's Office has requested the Sheriff's Office to further investigate," said Richard Hull, assistant district attorney.
"The District Attorney's Office requested all reports on all three victims," said Sheriff Joel Kerns, referring to two other deaths that also occurred at the Narconon facility in the past nine months.
Hillary Holten, 21, of Carrollton, Texas, died April 11, and Gabriel Graves, 32, of Owasso, died Oct. 26.
A Pittsburg County drug rehabilitation center is under investigation after a third patient died within a nine-month period, Sheriff Joel Kerns said Monday.
The death of Stacy Dawn Murphy, 20, of Owasso is the latest in a string of deaths at Narconon Arrowhead.
2012-07-22, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
It was a pamphlet, dated 1969, titled "A Report to Members of Parliament on Scientology."
The 14-page item was published by Scientology's "World-Wide Public Relations Bureau" at East Grinstead in Sussex. It contains the church's responses to various objections to Scientology that had been raised by the UK and other Commonwealth governments at the time.
Steve Hall was a member of the Church of Scientology from 1987 to 2004, and was a marketing staffer in Scientology's international management headquarters in Gilman Hot Springs, near Hemet, California. He wrote the church's advertising tagline, "Know yourself, know life."
He spent years scripting speeches for Scientology leader David Miscavige and shooting videos for its conventions. He did it all as a volunteer, in return for room and board and a small amount of cash.
While famous Scientologists who donate their money to the church, like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, get to live their own lives at home, Scientologists who volunteer their labor instead can find themselves posted full-time at the Gilman Hot Springs HQ, which is an hour's drive through the desert from Las Vegas.
On Friday morning, Stacy Dawn Murphy, 20, was found dead at Narconon Arrowhead in Candian and her father said he wants answers.
Robert "Murphy" Murphy of Owasso said he needs to know her death won't go unnoticed.
2012-07-21, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
As we've been reporting, Heber, although he's been the president of the church since 1982, had so fallen from favor in the eyes of Scientology leader David Miscavige, he had been seen in public only rarely since around 2004 -- and multiple former church executives say that from at least 2006 to 2010, he was being held in Scientology's hellish office-prison at its International Base, known as "The Hole."
David said that not only has he been told by Scientology workers at the base that he could not talk to his brother, but that if he attempted to come see Heber, he would be turned away.
I just talked to David again, who says our story produced a very surprising result: this morning, Heber called him and angrily berated him for talking to the press.
A young woman says she was held against her will at Narconon Arrowhead and had to be rescued by Pittsburg County Sheriffs officers late Thursday night.
Narconon Arrowhead is a non-profit drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Canadian with ties to the church of Scientology, according to Gary Smith director of the facility.
Another person has been found dead at Narconon Arrowhead
Stacy Dawn Murphy 20, of Owasso has been found dead at Narconon Arrowhead, according to a report by the PIttsburg County Sheriff's Department.
Four people have died while patients at the facility, three in the last year.
The Church of Scientology received the go-ahead from the City of Sandy Springs to convert an office building into a church space, Tuesday night.
In a 5-1 vote, City Council approved zoning modification conditions to expand the office building, located at Glenridge Drive and Roswell Road.
"Right now the city is at about $90,000 in damages," said Laurel Henderson, legal counsel for the city."
The Sandy Springs City Council voted Tuesday night to allow the Church of Scientology's request to expand its building near Roswell Road and Glenridge Drive.
It's a battle that has dragged on since 2009.
The document, obtained by RadarOnline, says that during the time Ms DeCrescenzo lived and worked at the church's facilities in Los Angeles, she was forced to work seven days a week, at a total of 100 hours for less than minimum wage.
She was forced to marry at 16 and when she was 17, the documents claim, she fell pregnant and was told to have an abortion. If she did not, the church threatened she would lose her job, her house and her husband.
If she did lose her job, the church were then going to charge Ms DeCrescenzo a 'Freeloader Debt' to the tune of $120,000, according to the documents.
A 'Freeloader Debt' is money owed for on-the-job training and services which members are said to owe the church if they leave before their 'billion-year contract' expires.
Ms DeCrescenzo signed hers when she was just 12 years old.
According to the court documents, Laura Ann claims that she was recruited by the church "at the tender age of nine while living in New Mexcio and moved away from her family to live and work in Defendants' facilities in California when she was a mere twelve years old." However, when she began working for the church several years later, the documents allege, "once Plaintiff began living at Defendants' facilities, Defendants severely restricted Plaintiff's access to the outside world. Plaintiff had limited and restricted access to email, telephone, the internet, or uncensored television. Defendants also opened, read, and censored all mail."
What is most intriguing is how the war ended. There were two major issues. One was whether Scientology organizations qualified for exempt status. The other was whether the "donations" that members made for "auditing" sessions, where they were attached to "E-meters" could be deducted. Circuit courts split on the donation issue and it was ultimately resolved by the Supreme Court in favor of the IRS.
In studying Scientology, I have never been required to believe anything, and I appreciate that. Mr. Hubbard states this in his writings on personal integrity: "What is true for you is what you have observed yourself and when you lose that you have lost everything . Nothing in Dianetics and Scientology is true for you unless you have observed it and it is true according to your observation. That is all."
THE Church of Scientology has been quiet about Tom Cruise's divorce but the split has put the religion in the spotlight.
The church has made barely a single comment since Katie Holmes dropped her June 28 bombshell on the Hollywood A-lister, probably the most high-profile member of the nearly six-decade old organisation.
2012-07-14, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Yesterday, Karen de la Carriere memorialized her son, Alexander Jentzsch, who was found dead at a home in Los Angeles on the morning of July 3. He was only 27 years old.
Because the Church of Scientology would not give her access to her son's ashes, Karen had rose petals cast on the Pacific Ocean as other former members of the church and friends took part in a moving ceremony.
Mr Rathbun also insisted that the Church of Scientology closely monitors the communication of high profile members and orders members to sever ties with suppressive people, particularly those who are critical of the church.
He said: 'That person could be your son, it could be your daughter, it could be your father, it could be your mother. It doesn't matter.'
Speaking about the Cruise children, he said: 'They were being steered toward and indoctrinated toward coming to the conclusion that Nicole was a suppressive person.
So maybe it wasn't as bad as all that, but it was bad enough that People and the L.A. Times report Holmes was sneaking around behind Tom, making plans and using disposable cell phones until she dropped the bomb that she was moving out and asking for a divorce. Tom was apparently caught of guard by this, with a source saying he "was a happy man and thought he had a happy life. He keeps asking, 'What's happening?' "
He should ask ex-wife Kidman, whom Holmes enlisted for advice near the end. Us Weekly reveals Katie had been calling Nicole for support. "They've spoken over the last few weeks," a source told the glossy. "Nicole has been supportive, saying she's been through it too and to hang in there. She has been a private friend not many people know about."
2012-07-11, Victoria Cavaliere, New York Daily News
Greenfields School in England's Sussex countryside describes itself as an "independent day and boarding school from 2 to 18 years old." But those with a close knowledge of the institution tell London's Evening Standard it is "the school of choice" for employees of Saint Hill Manor, Scientology's UK headquarters.
Former students at Greenfields told the Standard that each year, as many as 10 students "disappear," from their normal educational track and are rumored to have been sent to the United States to enroll at Sea Organization, the religious order of the Church of Scientology. Sea Org, which boasts about 6,000 members, is housed in a compound near Los Angeles and devotees purportedly wear Naval-style uniforms.
During a seven year period the Church of Scientology has given a powerful lobbyist $590k to appeal to Congress on a range of issues from a threat of religious freedoms in foreign countries, 9/11 rescue workers, to immigration, according to documents reviewed exclusively by RadarOnline.com.
The Church Of Scientology hired The Mitchell Firm in 2003 to lobby politicians about issues important to the organization. Under federal law, the Lobbying Reports must be filed each quarter and are available to the public. Greg Mitchell, founder of The Mitchell Group is the former chief of staff of ex-Republican Congressman James Rogan of California.
2012-07-09, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
This morning, more than 10,000 Scientologists found an e-mail from Karen de la Carriere in their inboxes, written in jargon that they will understand, and informing them of the controversy surrounding the death of her son Alexander Jentzsch.
As we reported first on Thursday night, de la Carriere learned about the death of her 27-year-old son more than two days after he was found, unresponsive, at the home of his in-laws in Los Angeles. (The manner of his death is still being investigated, but the county coroner says there is no suspicion of foul play.)
Woodcraft moved from the United Kingfom to Florida with her family as a young teen and was enrolled in a "church backed" school, according to her Daily Mail interview. She claims to have seen her mother only once a week and was told to stop calling her "mom" and to start calling her "sir." Woodcraft also reports that children at the Sea Org branch of the Church of Scientology were kept in a "filthy compound" adorned in "old, torn clothes" and frequently had head lice.
In the fall of 2004, Tanja says she couldn't take it anymore and she jumped the fence surrounding the Scientology base.
"There's razor barrier along the top," said Tanja, "but I managed to get myself over without hurting myself too much. I walked down Highway 79 -- one of the security guards saw me."
Tanja says that security guard alerted Scientology executives, two of whom she claims followed her down the highway in a van.
"She grabbed my arm," said Tanja. "I started shouting and told them to leave me alone."
But Tanja says the Scientology executives eventually convinced her to get in the van and return to the church.
2012-07-07, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Last night, about 24 hours after our story appeared, we spoke again with Alexander's mother, Karen de la Carriere, by telephone.
She told us she was standing outside the Cedar Hill Mortuary in Los Angeles, but she was not allowed inside to see her son's body.
"My son is behind this wall. I'm touching the wall and he's just on the other side. But I can't see him because the church considers me a suppressive person," she said.
It was distributed by the Office of Special Affairs, which Rathbun describes as the "dirty tricks and propaganda arm of Scientology Inc."
In it, recipients are given details of ways to take action against derogatory online messages which have flooded cyberspace since Cruise, a passionate Scientologist, discovered his wife was leaving him.
Members are urged to scour the Internet for offensive statements and report them to website monitors with a note explaining the comments are in violation of the code of conduct.
"If [there] is only one person (me) reporting these issues, the moderator at Microsoft will not take the comment off," Lattanzi writes in the email. "If you start to have 10 or 20 people reporting it, they are going to take this down."
2012-07-06, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
But now, for the first time in memory, an entire mission has announced that it is defecting from the church en masse.
Israel's Dror Center, in Haifa, announced in a lengthy statement that it is rejecting the leadership of David Miscavige and the official church. It now plans to become a part of the burgeoning "independent Scientology" movement. (We sent a request for comment to the Church of Scientology's media office Wednesday evening, but our message has not been answered.)
2012-07-05, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
One of Scientology's many intriguing mysteries is the disappearance of church leader David Miscavige's wife, Michelle "Shelly" Barnett, who hasn't been seen in public since around 2007.
We've written about Shelly Miscavige in the past, about her strange disappearance, and about the equally mysterious death of her mother, Flo Barnett.
And now that the news media is crazy for any information about Scientology, it's only natural that it would become interested in Shelly. The Business Insider brought up the story on Tuesday, summarizing what Lawrence Wright had said about Shelly in his amazing 2011 profile of Paul Haggis for the New Yorker.
Katie Holmes isn't just parting ways with A-list husband Tom Cruise, she is also divorcing the Church of Scientology.
Holmes is seeking sole custody of their daughter reportedly in part to extricate Suri, 6, from her father's faith before Suri's heavy-duty Scientology education starts.
Scientology describes itself as the world's fastest growing religion, but in Australia it is going backwards.
Figures released to Lateline from the Australian Census show that in 2011, just 2,163 Australians called themselves Scientologists, a decrease of 13.7 per cent from the 2006 census.
The multiple online personalities of Luka Magnotta that include a wide range of interests can now include Magnotta the Scientologist.
"It really bothers me to hear constantly that untrue rumors that the 'church is a cult' and 'its nothing but mind control,'" someone going by the user name lukamagnotta wrote in a 2009 blog post on estrip.org, as uncovered by the Village Voice magazine.
The multiple online personalities of Luka Magnotta that include a wide range of interests can now include Magnotta the Scientologist.
"It really bothers me to hear constantly that untrue rumors that the 'church is a cult' and 'its nothing but mind control,'" someone going by the user name lukamagnotta wrote in a 2009 blog post on estrip.org, as uncovered by the Village Voice magazine.
The grand opening near the former home of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard follows a bitter eviction process for the former tenants of the building complex at the northeast corner of Indianola and 44th Street, which New Times detailed in our October 13, 2011 feature story, "Alien Invasion."
It also follows severe criticism of the religion's mission of recent years to build Ideal Orgs in major U.S. cities. Critics including former top Scientology officials like Debbie Cook have accused the organization and its leader, David Miscavige, of greedily sucking its members dry with incessant fund-raising tactics for real-estate projects that don't advance members' needs.
Kate Bornstein is an outspoken transsexual activist and author of "Gender Outlaw." In her new memoir, "Queer and Pleasant Danger," Kate opens up about her time as a high-ranking Scientologist the 1970's, as a member of the elite Sea Organization and first mate on L. Ron Hubbard's private yacht. Kate spoke to Brent about why Scientology appealed to her, her ex-communication, and her experiences at sea with Hubbard.
Kate Bornstein is a transsexual writer, performance artist and outspoken activist. But that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of her fascinating life. She spent more than a decade as a member of the Church of Scientology, even becoming one of the organization's highest-ranking members. In her new memoir Queer and Pleasant Danger, Bornstein opens up about her time in the controversial group and how her life has been since she was excommunicated.
2012-06-20, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Tampa Bay Times journalists Joe Childs and Tom Tobin have done it again, surprising us with yet another gem of reporting on the Church of Scientology.
This time, they learned from a man named Jon Donley, who worked as a media consultant for Debbie Cook, that she and her husband, Wayne Baumgarten, are leaving San Antonio this week for a new home on the French island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean.
9NEWS contributor Erica Cobb spoke to Erin Banks from the public affairs department of the Church of Scientology of Denver about the building restoration project as part of Denver's Urban Revitalization. Erin also shared her take on the controversy surrounding Scientology and explained the beliefs and methodology of the religion.
Politicos beware: if you're ever caught glad-handing the Church of Scientology, one of its former members will pay you a visit at a public meeting and give you the verbal version of "Scientology for Dummies."
Paulien Lombard, the former Scientologist who used to spy for church, is continuing her relentless campaign to spread the word about the abuses she says members of the organization suffer at the hands of their leaders. Her latest tour stop was at a Garden Grove City Council meeting.
The Church of Scientology sued the city over the church's application to open at 5395 Roswell Road. The city approved the application in 2009, but did not allow the church to expand space at the building because of limited parking, sparking a lawsuit that alleged the city violated the church's religious freedom.
During the protest last Saturday at the grand opening of Scientology's Ideal Org at the former Santa Ana Performing Arts and Event Center, Andrea Lombard, a 20-year member of the church, spoke about the psychological torment she says she endured in the organization.
"I never said to myself, wow the church is fucked up," she said. "I said to myself, what am I doing wrong?"
Two notable things occurred this weekend when OC Weekly blogger Josh Dulaney decided to check out the opening of a new Church of Scientology facility in downtown Santa Ana – without the benefit of an official media invite.
The St. Martin campaign has circulated copies of a 12-year-old article in the now defunct New Times Los Angeles newspaper about a Raul Lopez who allegedly paid Jones $30,000 for two ostrich eggs.
The story briefly mentions Jones but is mostly a story about Lopez's attempts to recover millions of dollars from the Church of Scientology.
Court records show Lopez spent $27,000 for part of Jones' ostrich-raising business, but the business went sour, and he was given back $20,000 as a settlement.
Jones, however, said he "paid nothing" in the dispute, and that if he loses the election, he will try to collect at least $10,000 in damages from St. Martin.
2012-06-01, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
"Touch me" the man says again and again. "Touch me."
In what should go down as one of the most skin-crawling audio tapes in recent Scientology history, we hear a church operative repeatedly challenge protester David Love to provoke an incident so that Love can find himself in a world of legal hurt.
A Nevada state Senate hopeful has taken to court to fight allegations that he conned a disabled man into buying two $30,000 ostrich eggs for the Church of Scientology.
Brent Jones says the spurious rumor appeared on a website called RealBrentJones.com.
"Did Brent Jones talk a mentally disabled man into giving up $30,000 for Brent's ostrich egg business," the website asks.
St. Martin's campaign swung first in the exchange of character assault, depicting on its website an ostrich sticking its head in the ground with the text, "Warning! Did Brent Jones talk a mentally disabled man into giving up $30,000 for Brent's ostrich egg business?"
Cited as its source was a 12-year-old news story from New Times Los Angeles about a lawsuit accusing Jones of selling two ostrich eggs to a man with a traumatic brain injury for $30,000 in 1994.
According to the article, Raul Lopez and his mother accused the Church of Scientology, Jones and others of bilking him out of money he received from the car accident that left him with brain damage. Both Lopez and Jones were Scientologists.
The case was settled out of court and is sealed.
She said Hubbard's "study technology" would enlighten children and help save the school. But grades from Florida's standardized FCAT test released Thursday show that, in one year under Islam's management, Life Force students' education suffered.
Life Force's third- and fourth-graders scored the lowest or second-lowest passing rates in math, reading and writing of more than 300 elementary schools across Tampa Bay.
2012-05-20, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Titled "Office of Special Affairs: Der Scientology-Geheimdienst" (Scientology's Secret Service), it included interviews with several people very familiar to readers of this blog: Marc Headley, Mike Rinder, Gerry Armstrong, and Tiziano Lugli. It also featured Ursula Caberta, the Hamburg politician who for years led a state-sponsored attempt to curb Scientology. We spoke to her on the telephone yesterday about the documentary. After the jump, her thoughts, as well as the documentary itself, with English subtitles.
"I think it's a good thing to do 90 minutes only on OSA," Caberta said to me from her home in Hamburg. The documentary focuses on the spy wing of the church, which also handles PR and legal affairs. The filmmakers are especially eager to talk to Rinder, who ran OSA for many years.
Although the pamphlets didn't carry the name Scientology on them, they advertised the Foundation For a Drug-Free World, which is sponsored by Scientology. When I called the number and asked where one should go to get help for drug abuse, I was directed to Narconon Arrowhead on Oklahoma's Lake Eufaula.
Is Lisa Marie Presley lashing out at Scientology on 'So Long?', Is Lisa Marie Presley lashing out at L. Ron Hubbard's Church of Scientology on "Storm and Grace?" It's kind of hard to read the words to "So Long" any other way if you're at all familiar with the rumors that she's left the Church. It's still no "Sexy Sadie," though.
According to federal court records, the two parties met in a mediation session on March 26.
The consent order filed on March 30 says the church and the city didn't finalize an agreement during that session but says both sides are willing to consider a revised parking plan. The consent order says city staff needed 30 to 45 days to review the plan, and said any zoning changes would require public notice 15 days in advance of a public hearing. The order also extends the deadline to submit a "proposed consolidated pretrial order" to June 15.
Serious allegations are being made against the Church of Scientology and the anti-drug programmes it runs in New Zealand.
Green MP Kevin Hague has used the protection of Parliamentary privilege to launch a blistering attack on the church, calling its actions repugnant, and accusing it of fleecing the vulnerable and the desperate.
When you're a Scientologist it's like the movie Goodfellas, where the gangsters hang out with only other gangsters. We only hung out with each other, so we knew we were saving the world. There was no question. And we knew anyone who was in our way was suppressive and needed to be shattered. Those are their words: shattered.
The state medical examiner's office wants to take a deeper look at the deaths of two people at a drug rehabilitation center that uses saunas and vitamins as part of an intensive cleansing regimen.
Last month, 21-year-old Hillary Holten died at the Narconon Arrowhead center at Canadian. Last October, 32-year-old Gabriel Graves died. The rehab facility uses techniques developed by Scientology founder and science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard and is the training center for Narconon International. Health officials in Quebec closed a Narconon facility last month.
"Mr. L. Ron Hubbard," the old guy said to me, "the bank so appreciates your business all these years, and it's such a pleasure to finally meet you in person."
Oops. No, this was much more than an oops -- this was a genuine oh fuck! It must have been the work of some SP [Suppressive Person -- Scientology's term for a person who is completely and irredeemably evil. Like me today; I'm an SP.] Well, some SP inside the Swiss banking conspiracy had obviously broken into the files of the Religious Research Foundation and falsely linked them to the Old Man. Fuck, fuck, fuck! I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I was a far superior being to the old man -- lying to him came easy.
Mike McCoy, a police community services specialist with the Santa Ana Police Department, confirmed that it is "90 percent" certain that the organization will open that day at Sycamore and Fifth streets at the former Santa Ana Performing Arts and Event Center.
Apparently, the group has failed to launch a couple times over the past few months. McCoy said they've nixed previous opening days.
2012-05-01, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
To set up his story of the night he met Kate Bornstein for the first time, Tony Lioce wants me to know some background about a different person—named Al—he had known previously.
Les manifestants, la plupart membres du mouvement Anonymous, étaient venus principalement de Montréal et de Québec pour célébrer la fermeture du centre de désintoxication. Ils prenaient le thé sur une table installée sur le bord de la route et dansaient au son d'une musique techno. Sans les affiches, la manifestation aurait pu passer pour une mascarade. "Nous avons gagné et vous avez perdu", disait en anglais dans un porte-voix un des manifestants masqués.
Deux des organisateurs de la manifestation, Pierre-Louis Leclerc et Christian Riopel, disaient lutter depuis plus de cinq ans contre les pratiques de l'Église de scientologie. "Les liens sont clairement établis entre l'Église de scientologie et les centres Narconon", affirme Pierre-Louis Leclerc. "On pratiquait des techniques non prouvées scientifiquement et dangereuses pour les patients."
Des opposants à Narconon Trois-Rivières ont manifesté dimanche après-midi devant le centre de désintoxication lié aux enseignements de l'Église de la Scientologie.
Une vingtaine de personnes, masquées pour la plupart, se sont présentées sur le coup de midi devant l'établissement situé sur le boulevard Parent. Plusieurs d'entre eux se réclamaient du collectif Anonymous, un groupe connu pour sa lutte contre la Scientologie.
Court documents show the settlement terms were filed on Monday and say that the church will drop its demand for damages against Cook and her husband Wayne Baumgarten. One provision in the settlement said Cook and Baumgarten are permanently and forever enjoined from "printing, posting, disseminating, circulating, quoting publicly, uttering or publishing any kind of statement in any form which is critical of, defamatory or disparaging against any of the Church Parties, either directly or indirectly."
No money was involved in the settlement.
Dueling lawsuits filed by the Church of Scientology and one of its highest-ranking former executives have been settled out of court.
Debbie Cook had testified in a Texas court that she witnessed church leader David Miscavige physically punch another Scientology executive in the face at the church's international headquarters in Riverside County.
The allegations included seven weeks of captivity in "The Hole," where Cook said she slept on the floor, was fed "slop," was coerced into giving false confessions and was beaten, according to previous Express-News reports. She was also forced to stand in a garbage can for 12 hours as water was poured over her head and watched as another man was ordered to lick a bathroom floor clean, she said during four hours of testimony.
She said she had much more to tell. She hoped out loud that raising the curtain on church abuses might spark "a reformation from within."
This week, her voice went silent.
Cook and Scientology settled a church lawsuit that backfired when she took the stand Feb. 9 in San Antonio, Texas.
Cook gave a riveting account of how she and other religious workers were physically and mentally abused at Scientology's desert compound near Los Angeles. She said she was detained and otherwise controlled when she and her husband, also a former church staffer, tried to leave the church's Clearwater campus in 2007.
2012-04-24, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Earlier this morning we reported that charges had been dropped against Scientology executive Jan Eastgate in Australia.
And now, another stunning development: Marty Rathbun just reported at his blog that the Church of Scientology has settled its lawsuit against former church executive Debbie Cook and her husband Wayne Baumgarten.
I just confirmed this with Debbie's attorney, Ray Jeffrey, who tells me he really can't say anything else about the terms of the settlement
Janice Meyer, an Australian citizen who lives in the US, had been charged with two counts of an act intending to pervert the course of justice in 1985 in Sydney.
She also goes by the name of Jan Eastgate.
I've reported before about Will Smith's donations to Scientology organizations in the past. But in none of the filings for the Will Smith Foundation was there ever listed a donation to the school he started with wife Jada Pinkett Smith in Calabasas, California. That school, New Village Leadership Academy, has been criticized in the past for teaching Scientology courses to its grade school students. For three years, NVLA never filed a Form 990 as a school, so it was hard to track their finances. But now a Form 990 Federal Tax filing has suddenly emerged on Guidestar.org just for the year 2010. It shows a few things of interest. For one, Smith donated $1,235,00 to the school in 2010 from his WSJ Trust, not from his publicly scrutinized foundation. That's why it never showed up before.
Two people have died in the last six months at Narconon Arrowhead, also the subject of an earlier lawsuit and an ongoing investigation into recent deaths into the facility. Narconon Arrowhead in Canadian is a non-profit drug and alcohol rehablitation center. Hillary Holten, 21, and Garbriel Graves, 32, were found dead at Narconon Arrowhead wthin the last six months according to a report from the Pittsburg Sheriffs Dept.
2012-04-20, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Sunday evening, news began to leak that one of Love's numerous complaints about the treatment center to Canadian authorities was paying off: Quebec health officials ordered the facility closed immediately, even as Narconon appeals the government's finding that it failed miserably in an attempt to get certification for its unscientific methods of treating drug addiction.
Since the news broke, Love has been talking to Canadian journalists as they scrambled to get details on the sudden closing, which came with no advance public word from health officials.
A recent YouTube video features Ed Dearborn, executive director of the Orange County Scientology "org", touting the merits of the organization's Narconon program.
Dearborn says Scientology has been "collaborating with the Santa Ana Police Department on our anti-drug education program, which has been very well accepted by the police departments, particularly Santa Ana, Huntington Beach and a few others."
But former Scientologists say the church is anything but sane. Remember Paulien Lombard, the ex-Scientologist who told us her tales of spying against those hostile to the church?
She spoke at this week's Santa Ana City Council meeting, issuing warnings about Scientology, saying the Ideal Org is scheduled to open on April 28. (I contacted Karin Pouw, church spokeswoman, about the grand opening, and she said when the church opens the Ideal Org, it will let everybody concerned know about it, including the media.)
L'Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de la Mauricie / Centre-du-Québec n'accordera pas la certification nécessaire à l'organisme Narconon de Trois-Rivières pour poursuivre ses activités.
C'est que parmi les 55 critères exigés pour recevoir la certification, Narconon devrait procéder à 46 correctifs de différentes natures, dont 26 jugés à facteur de risque élevé.
Health officials have ordered a private drug rehabilitation centre in Trois-Rivières to shut its doors. The Narconon Addiction Recovery Centre's methods are based on the theories of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. The local health agency says some of the centre's practices posed a danger to health and safety.
L'Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de la Mauricie a rencontré lundi les dirigeants de Narconon, un programme de désintoxication liée à l'Église de Scientologie dont Québec aurait révoqué la certification
Sept à huit heures de sauna par jour pendant 21 jours, engueuler un cendrier, ingurgiter des doses massives de vitamine. Voilà le traitement que propose, entre autres, Narconon Trois-Rivières à des toxicomanes.
2012-04-15, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Oh my, do we have a treat for you today. For several weeks now, we've been reporting on the "L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future" contest. For several years, certain writers have questioned the connection between the contest and Scientology, which owns and operates it. And recently, we dug up surprising links between the contest and shocking abuse allegedly happening at Scientology's international headquarters.
2012-04-13, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
When Adams approached Pouw for the church's side of things, she made a stunning admission, which Adams was good enough to share with us.
Karin Pouw has confirmed that a video attacking Rathbun -- made up of footage taken by the "Squirrel Busters" -- was a product of the Church of Scientology, and she also appears to confirm that the vicious attack website where the video appears is also connected to Scientology itself.
For weeks now, we've been looking at these anonymous attack websites, examining them for evidence that connects them to the church, and now, suddenly, Pouw has made that connection for us.
Orange County Scientologists are getting the word out about the happenings in Hubbardville, one YouTube video at a time. Check out ocidealorg's channel!
One video in particular is titled "The Central Files: The Quest For an Ideal Org."
We learned last week that the Church of Scientology in Orange County may be struggling to build its Ideal Org center at Sycamore and Fifth streets at the former Santa Ana Performing Arts and Event Center.
Apparently, they also are short on staff.
A video posted on YouTube shows staffers (including koi fish and a kitty cat) getting zany while urging folks to "Join staff!" Peep the video after the jump.
2012-04-08, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Like the Texas Monthly before it, The Independent does a fine job summarizing what happened as a crew of camera-carrying Scientologists planted themselves on a South Texas cul-de-sac, day after day, claiming to be doing a documentary on Rathbun, who was once the church's second-highest ranking official until he defected in 2004.
(For some reason, neither publication reported what we established here at the Voice: that there was no question the "Squirrel Busters" team was an operation of the church itself, supervised by Dave Lubow, a private eye who has long been used for such retaliation schemes by Scientology. Come on, fellow journalists: don't let the church get away with its lame denials of a connection to the Busters when there's solid evidence to connect the two. You only do your readers a disservice by not pointing this out.)
Here, in this seaside hamlet, full of retirees and fishermen, Marty Rathbun was fighting an extraordinary religious war. The 'squirrel busters' were among its (possibly self-appointed) foot soldiers. At stake in the dispute, which has now been running for almost three years, is the future of one of the world's most controversial and headline-prone spiritual institutions: the Church of Scientology.
Johnson had asked Vikki Williams, the outgoing operations director, for help learning the books. But when they sat down together, Williams couldn't explain why the accounts and the school's QuickBooks accounting software suddenly couldn't be accessed.
"Huh. Someone changed the password," Johnson recalled Williams saying. "At that point, I knew it was a game."
That hasn't been the only surprise in the last few weeks at Life Force, a publicly funded charter elementary school that teachers say was overrun by Scientology influence.
2012-04-06, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Now, with a little more than a week to go before Writers of the Future throws its big annual gala on April 15, Scientology is pulling out the big guns, adding surprising names to this year's party. And someone who ran the contest for many years tells us that can mean only one thing: the contest is in big trouble.
As we reported on March 12, we discovered troubling ties between the prestigious contest -- which brings together some of the biggest names in science fiction and fantasy to honor up and coming new writers -- and the startling allegations of abuse at Scientology's international headquarters ("Int Base") about 90 miles east of Los Angeles.
2012-04-04, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
"These were your friends, people you had traveled with," Rinder says. "But then, you get in the Hole? You can't trust anybody."
The forced confessions pitted friends against each other. And the conditions only made it worse. "Everyone sleeping with only about six inches on either side. Above you. Below you. Getting up in the middle of the night, you'd disturb everyone," Rinder says, and more than once compares it to the madness of Lord of the Flies...
2012-03-30, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
As you can see, the people in the audience are dressed very nicely and fill the hall, which has a seating capacity of 2,180. They roar with approval when church leader David Miscavige takes the stage to begin what will be a three-hour presentation on the life of Hubbard and the achievements of his movement, Scientology.
We have spared you the task of sitting through all three hours by pulling out only the very best highlights, including several short video segments.
2012-03-27, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Soter's second claim is some kind of semantic gamesmanship: at least half a dozen former Scientologists have come forward to speak publicly about -- or, in Debbie Cook's case, testify under oath to -- the existence of "the Hole," a frightening office-prison where 60 to 100 out-of-favor church executives were held day and night under guard, from at least 2004 to 2010.
Soter's first claim is more interesting. If "the Hole" no longer exists, we've been wondering where else such a large number of prisoners could be held at "Int Base," Scientology's 700-acre compound near Hemet, about 90 miles east of Los Angeles.
2012-03-26, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
This year, Frederick was invited back as a past winner to help put on the week-long workshops that a new set of winners will enjoy during their week of pampering this April.
But then, Frederick read our March 12 story about the troubling connections between Scientology's alleged abuses and an administrator of the contest, which the church owns. He announced in our comments section some stunning news: "After reading Tony's article and the comments, I decided to sever my Writers of the Future ties and forgo the free trip/vacation in L.A."
In 2009, Alley's Clearwater-based company registered the trademark for Organic Liaison, a line of supplements, sleep aids, muscle relaxers and colon cleansers.
The company seemed an understandable next step for Alley, 61, once the butt of gossip magazine weight jokes. She had recently left as spokeswoman for weight-loss conglomerate Jenny Craig.
But on that same day, Organic Liaison also registered a much less predictable trademark: Organic Liaison Life Insurance Solutions.
While the pending litigation is not described, the city was recently ordered into mediation with the Church of Scientology regarding its lawsuit against the city. The church is suing the city over the church's application to open at 5395 Roswell Road. The city approved the application in 2009, but did not allow the church to expand space at the building because of limited parking, sparking a lawsuit that alleged the city violated the church's religious freedom.
2012-03-21, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
And, as mentioned in the comments, here is Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder talking about David Miscavige's obsession with the movie behind the scenes. (They're being filmed fishing from Marty's backyard in Ingleside on the Bay, Texas by Rinder's lovely girlfriend, Christie Collbran.)
En ese inmueble viven extranjeros que están en el país con visas de turista y también mexicanos sin contrato ni prestaciones. Ven a sus familias un día cada dos o tres meses. Las mujeres tienen prohibido embarazarse; si lo hacen, las presionan para abortar. Si alguien se enferma, lo abandonan o lo echan. Las reglas internas son rígidas y están hechas para que nadie piense siquiera en la posibilidad de huir. Muy pocos cruzan la puerta de salida. El grupo castiga muy severamente la disidencia.
Se trata de la Organización del Mar, grupo semisecreto (muy pocos conocen sus reglas o saben quiénes la dirigen o cuántos miembros tiene) que controla desde aquí y para toda Latinoamérica las actividades de la Iglesia de la Cienciología (nombre extraoficial que se dan ellos mismos) o Dianética.
It was around noon Saturday and Hageli held signs and wore a Guy Fawkes mask (similar to the character in the movie V for Vendetta) in the shadows of the Fort Harrison and Flag building at Court Street and Ft. Harrison Avenue.
This is the second year he has come to Clearwater from Chicago to protest the Church of Scientology birthday celebration of founder L. Ron Hubbard. Hageli, a lawyer, said he made friends and had so much fun the year earlier protesting at the birthday party he wanted to come back.
2012-03-12, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
The "L. Ron Hubbard presents Writers of the Future" and Illustrators of the Future contests are prestigious and lucrative. They feature judges who are among the biggest names in the field, and they've helped launch the careers of important new artists.
Over the years, however, questions have been raised about the contests and their connection to Scientology. And those questions are getting more pointed with news of the church's abuses increasingly reaching the public -- such as Debbie Cook's recent court testimony about the torture of church executives at "The Hole," an office-prison at Scientology's California international headquarters.
But is there really any connection between a science fiction contest's glitzy parties in Los Angeles and the shocking abuse going on at the church's headquarters about 90 miles away?
The Voice has learned that the connection between the two is disturbingly close.
2012-03-09, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
This morning, Bexar County District Judge Cathy Stryker told Scientology to cool its jets.
She pushed back a hearing on its motion for summary judgment from March 23 to May 7. In the meantime, the church will have to answer Cook's request for a deposition by naming a church official who can be made available for it. And, by next week, the church should have to begin answering some of Cook's other requests for information.
"It was a good day for us, and they didn't seem to leave the courtroom very happy," Ray Jeffrey told me this afternoon by telephone.
The couple sued the church in November, seeking refunds on advance payments they made for services they never received at Scientology's spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, known as Flag, and at the church's Caribbean-based cruise ship, the Freewinds.
Scientology countered, arguing that "enrollment agreements'' the couple signed at Flag, which are standard for all church members, are enforceable contracts.
2012-03-08, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
What we've learned from years of reporting on Scientology is that if you don't watch carefully, it will get its tentacles into your school district or worm its way into your local city council chambers or somehow use one of its "secular" front groups to fool some other group of chuckleheads who don't see it coming from a mile away. However, that's getting a bit tougher for the church as more and more people seem to be keeping a vigilant eye on its every move.
A woman claims in Superior Court that Narconon of Northern California offered incompetent care for her sister's addiction, misrepresented its "success rate," and failed to inform her that the place is "a recruiting tool for the [nonparty] Church of Scientology."
The Tampa Bay Times reported last month that administrators at Life Force, which earns about $800,000 in public funds a year, compelled students to learn "study technology," a methodology devised by Scientology's late founder, L. Ron Hubbard.
Students at the public charter school advertised as the SMART Academy were also taken on a field trip to a Scientology church in Ybor City. More than $30,000 in school funds has been given to the World Literacy Crusade, a California-based group that promotes Hubbard's "study tech."
2012-03-07, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Last night, we learned about the church's countermove: its attorneys asked the court to delay the production of documents until their motion for summary judgment has been adjudicated. And if the motion is not granted, to delay the deposition and limit it in scope.
Oh, and one more thing: "That Rathbun and Rinder be excluded from the deposition."
2012-03-06, John O'Conner, StateImpact Florida, NPR
"If corrections can not be made then I think we should close the school," says school board member Carol Cook.
The school uses a controversial curriculum from the Church of Scientology, first reported by the Tampa Bay Times. But school board members said Scientology did not affect their decision.
Sarah Parker teaches 1st grade at Life Force Academy. She says the school does not teach religion.
"I don't know anything about Scientology," says Parker, who is Episcopal. "So to imply I was pushing Scientology. I'm sorry I wasn't."
2012-03-05, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
They survived the Nazi occupation, but they had lost their parents. In 1946, Suzy was adopted by their aunt and uncle. Two years later, Paulette was adopted by the Coopers, a wealthy couple who took her to the United States.
A senior Scientologist, who says she was imprisoned and tortured by the controversial religion's tyrannical leadership, has reiterated her testimony in a damaging TV interview.
Debbie Cook, who was one of Scientology's top brass executives before she quit in 2007, is involved in a legal wrangle with the Church, after sending a shock email denouncing the Chairman, David Miscavige. The message, which accused the chairman of hoarding and mismanaging funds, went out to 12,000 members just minutes after midnight on New Year's Day.
A memo by Pinellas County schools superintendent John Stewart urges the School Board to issue a 90-day notice of termination to Life Force and criticizes its budget, discipline system and leadership.
The school's curriculum, Stewart notes, was changed "without permission" from district officials. He adds that the school also has been operating under an unauthorized new name, the SMART Academy, since last month.
The Tampa Bay Times reported Sunday that Life Force administrators forced students to learn "study technology," a teaching methodology devised by the Church of Scientology's late founder, L. Ron Hubbard.
For 17 years Debbie Cook ran the church's spiritual mecca, the so-called Flag Base in Clearwater, Florida, where she ultimately rose to the title of captain. But Cook testified this month that beginning in 2005 she saw behavior exhibited by church leader David Miscavige that disturbed her deeply.
"I witnessed Mr. Miscavige physically punching in the face and wrestling to the ground another very senior executive at Scientology International level," Cook testified in court.
Life Force Arts and Technology Academy leaders asked the district last month to amend the embattled school's charter to provide for a fresh start.
But amid concerns that the tax-supported elementary school uses "study technology," a Scientology teaching method criticized as a covert recruiting tool, superintendent John Stewart recommended the School Board reject the charter amendments at its meeting March 6.
A scathing report unveils the ways how leaders of a Florida charter school are using their position as a way to teach unknowing students the advantages of Scientology.
Students at The Life Force Arts and Technology school near Tampa, Florida were taught using methods championed by the creator of Scientology and they were taken to temples during school-sponsored field trips.
Though the school receives $800,000 in federal funds, it is still struggling financially and students were forced to print out their own reading materials at home in order get around mismanaged budgets.
Revelations that the drug-free ambassadors were given taxpayer cash to publish drug awareness pamphlets based on Scientology teachings, have also sparked a review by the Department of Internal Affairs.
The group, and its sister organisation Drug Free Aotearoa, received around $10,000 from various Community Organisation Grants Schemes committees during 2011.
Drug education experts say the information in the pamphlets funded by the grants is not based on science, and should not be given government money or disseminated by schools.
Some parents and former teachers at Life Force, which receives about $800,000 a year in public funding, say the Pinellas County charter school has become a Scientology recruiting post targeting children.
Opened to serve a low-income Clearwater neighborhood and advertising classes in computers and modern dance, Life Force had begun pushing Hubbard's "study technology," which critics call a Trojan horse Scientology uses to infiltrate public classrooms.
And while Life Force students and teachers worked in poorly stocked classrooms and teachers went unpaid, the bankrupt school funneled tens of thousands of dollars more to Islam's business interests than she told the bankruptcy court she would charge.
However, Ms Paris's claims were backed up by a former senior executive on the Freewinds, Ramana Dienes-Browning.
"She made it very clear she did not want to be there," she claimed. "She had been sent to the ship so as not to be in contact with one of her parents and that is not what she wanted. She was very, very distressed."
SCIENTOLOGISTS have asked the federal government for an exemption to the Fair Work Act so they do not have to pay workers the minimum wage.
In a submission to the Fair Work review, public affairs director Reverend Mary Anderson said the Church of Scientology, which believes Earth was founded 75 million years ago by an alien tyrant called Xenu, should be exempt from workplace law because it was a legitimate religion.
"The Fair Work Act review process should not be treated as an opportunity to air extremist and farcical viewpoints devoid of facts.
"This attitude that an employer should have complete free rein to pay and treat their staff however they want has no place in the modern Australia."
2012-02-22, Eric J. Weilbacher, San Antonio Express-News
The church was seeking a gag order on the couple for speaking about their experience in the church, as well as for speaking about Scientology in general.
"I think they believed they could simply get a gag order," Jeffrey said. "I think they were surprised when she got an attorney."
There is now a stay in the trial, and no further date set for it to continue.
The Ingleside on the Bay Citizen Crime Watch committee held a town hall meeting on Thursday, Feb. 16 to announce its plans with the program and hear advice from local law enforcement.
Crime watch coordinator Joe Watson explained that the committee was formed in response to the unsolicited filming of local resident and former Scientology official Mark Rathbun, as well as potential industrial encroachment.
Advice offered in the pamphlets is based on research by Scientology's controversial founder, LRon Hubbard, who did not believe in medical drugs or psychiatry but instead in purging oneself of painful experiences to gain immortality.
Ross Bell, executive director of the New Zealand Drug Foundation, warned that the group's information was flawed pseudo-science and could prove harmful to youth.
A controversial Church of Scientology drug-awareness programme has received government funding to spread its unorthodox views through schools and community groups.
In the past six months, drug-free ambassadors linked to the church have circulated 130,000 drug education booklets around New Zealand, paid for in part by the Department of Internal Affairs' Community Organisations Grant Scheme.
2012-02-18, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
It was another fine week of commenting -- there were many more great observations and intelligent questions, and great back-and-forths going on. Let's keep up the momentum! Tomorrow morning, stop by for a helping of Sunday Funnies, and then for the Monday holiday, we'll have a special little treat I hope you enjoy.
In shocking court testimony a former Scientologist said she was locked up, beaten and tortured by the religion's senior members in a desert compound in California.
Debbie Cook, 50, was once a senior executive in Scientology who left the church in 2007, and she claimed on the stand that she was held against her will for 45 days in an ant-infested trailer.
2012-02-16, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
The vaults are the project of the Church of Spiritual Technology, a hush-hush entity inside Scientology that owns the trademarks and copyrights to L. Ron Hubbard's works, and that digs very expensive holes in the ground to store copies of Hubbard's writings so that they can survive a nuclear holocaust. Houses are also built near the vaults, and former CST employee Dylan Gill told us the purpose of these houses was to provide places for a reincarnated Hubbard to be raised in preparation of taking over Scientology.
After the story ran, Gill told us he noticed that readers wanted to know which of the "LRH Houses" the reincarnated Hubbard was most likely to return to. He told us the answer, and it turned out to be none of the places we showed on Monday.
"In the midst of all this we find out that a certain amount of money over the course of that fraudulent transfer period was paid to Church of Scientology entities," said the trustee's attorney Frank Terzo.
That is the crux of the complaint. The trustee states Piedra's practice "perpetrated a scheme to defraud patients," and in the four years prior to the bankruptcy filing approximately $2.2 million were transferred from the practice to various Church of Scientology-related entities.
"We did settle with the church for almost, with all the affiliates approximately $400,000," said Makumal.
Debbie Cook, a former Scientology executive, is being sued for breach of contract for criticizing the church in an email after she signed an agreement promising to remain silent. Last week, she took the stand in a San Antonio courthouse and testified about what she said happened on the property near Hemet in trailers she called "The Hole."
"There's a place called 'The Hole,' the windows were barred, the one entrance was guarded by security 24 hours a day," she said on the witness stand.
For 17 years, Cook was Captain of the church's Flag Service Organization, which is Scientology's spiritual Mecca in Clearwater, Fla.
In the fall of 2007, leaders dragged Cook and her husband back to Clearwater, Fla., Scientology's spiritual mecca, where she spent three more weeks in confinement, in and out of forced confessions with church officials, hoping for a path out. Then the church provided one: by signing a sweeping non-disclosure contract, agreeing to never speak ill of the church, she could leave. "I would have signed I stabbed babies over and over again and loved it. I would have done anything at that point," Cook said in sworn court testimony last week. "If I had refused to sign the agreement, then I wouldn't have been able to leave."
2012-02-14, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Reporter Bryan Seymour at the Base: "Scientology promised us someone would come and talk to us, that hasn't happened. I couldn't get through on the phone. More than 50 requests for interviews on camera have been flatly refused. The bottom line is they don't want people to know what's going on inside there, those who've lived in there like Shane, say it's like a gulag, a prison and yet it's in the middle of a suburb, it could be any suburb in Australia. People here would he horrified to know what has been going on in there for so many years and continues to this day."
After explosive trial testimony last week, the Church of Scientology abandoned its quest to silence a former church official it sued for breach of a confidentiality agreement, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
2012-02-13, Matt Reynolds, Courthouse News Service
Husband and wife Claire and Marc Headley each filed complaints against the Church of Scientology under the Trafficking Victims Act after leaving the Sea Organization, an order of Scientology in which members work long hours and perform hard labor without pay.
The Headleys worked at the church from the early 1990s until 2005. Claire Headley claimed that the church prohibited her from having children and was coerced into having two abortions. She also alleged that members who tried to leave the church were followed, brought back, and deprived of food and sleep, among other punishments.
2012-02-11, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
We can't remember a time when the attorneys of the Church of Scientology gave up on a case like they did today when they withdrew their request for a temporary injunction that would keep Debbie Cook and Wayne Baumgarten under a gag order until the church's lawsuit against them could come to trial.
That trial may still happen, but for now Cook and Baumgarten are free to talk to the press. So several reporters sat down with them Friday to talk about where they go from here.
Stung by damaging testimony about its inner workings, the Church of Scientology abruptly ended its effort to silence former Clearwater leader Debbie Cook on Friday, beating an uncharacteristic legal retreat and emboldening Cook to keep talking.
Just hours after the church dropped its request for an injunction enforcing a confidentiality agreement with Cook, she sat with reporters and said she hopes the turbulent events of the past few days open church members' eyes.
"I'm hoping that it will create a reformation from within," said Cook, who had previously declined to talk to the media.
2012-02-10, Lisa Eadicicco, International Business Times
The suit was sparked in early Jan. when Cook sent an email detailing the church's outrageous actions, to which they retailed by suing the former official for $300,000 in damages. Cook signed a contract in 2007 binding her to the church and forbidding her from revealing any information about the organization or its practices. In addition to the email that went public, Cook delivered a testimony yesterday detailing beatings, confinement, and forced confessions under direction of church leader David Miscavige.
2012-02-10, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
If you're just joining us, the Church of Scientology is suing one of its former high-ranking officials, Debbie Cook, and her husband, Wayne Baumgarten, who live here in San Antonio. Cook was something of a legend inside Scientology, and for many was the "face" of the religion. But her final couple of years, she testified yesterday, featured confinement and degradation on an almost unbelievable scale. She says she gladly signed a draconian non-disclosure agreement and accepted $50,000 in payment simply in order to get away from the church. Then, this past New Year's Eve, she sent out an e-mail to thousands of her fellow church members, complaining in part about how Scientology, under leader David Miscavige, is too focused on "extreme fundraising."
2012-02-09, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
What an amazing time we had reporting from the Bexar County Courthouse today as Debbie Cook testified in the lawsuit filed against her by her former employer, the Church of Scientology.
We got back to our hotel room and saw for the first time the amazing comments left by our loyal readers. (Our Internet connection in the courtroom was very limited.) Good to see that this day seemed to have as much impact for so many of you as it did for us.
I won't go over everything that happened today. Please revisit our live updates from the hearing, or read excellent stories by the Tampa Bay Times and the San Antonio Express News.
2012-02-08, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Scientology is suing Cook for sending out a New Year's Eve e-mail to thousands of her fellow church members in which she complained that the church, with its focus on "extreme fundraising," has wandered from the principles of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. The church claims in its lawsuit that Cook's e-mail was a violation of a non-disclosure agreement she signed in 2007, when she left her position on church staff and accepted a payment of $50,000. Cook, we believe, will attempt to introduce evidence that she signed the agreement under duress after her career in Scientology's "Sea Org" had become unbearable (we have previously written about homophobic hazing Cook was made to endure, and we hear that she is prepared to present evidence of far worse treatment).
2012-02-06, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
"I was in international management and the Watchdog Committee for 20 years, and I never knew where CST was, the whole time," says Amy Scobee, a former high-ranking church official.
"CST was very hush-hush. Even among the Int staff, it wasn't well known. Anyone coming from CST, it was very sensitive," says Gary Morehead, who was chief of security at Int Base and oversaw the interrogation of executives who had gone awry. He had to sign a bond promising that he'd keep confidential anything that came out in those interrogations, which are known as "sec-checking." When it came to CST executives, however, Morehead says he had to sign a second bond.
Unsure where the question originated Millar had asked his son why he was asking - and discovered the US-based cult advertising on Nursery TV, an iPhone App from Rotherham-based company Music Factory Entertainment Group Ltd.
Peter Parkin, chief executive of the Yorkshire-based company, said he was shocked and disappointed and would be demanding an explanation from Google but said it was out of his control. He said: "The mechanism's that control advertising content are controlled by Google on Google AdMob, they look at browsing history and the type of App and in theory as I understand it this sort of thing should not happen.
Georges Fenech, président de la Miviludes (Mission interministérielle de vigilance et de lutte contre les dérives sectaires) estime que "les jours sont désormais comptés en France pour la Scientologie". Dans une déclaration jeudi à l'AFP, M. Fenech a qualifié d'"historique" l'arrêt prononcé jeudi matin par la cour d'appel de Paris qui "condamne clairement l'escroquerie scientologique".
A Paris court is to rule Thursday in an appeal against a fine of hundreds of thousands of euros imposed on the Church of Scientology after it was found guilty of fleecing vulnerable followers.
A 2009 fraud conviction saw Scientology's Celebrity Centre and its bookshop in Paris, the two branches of its French operations, ordered to pay 600,000 euros ($790,000) in fines for preying financially on several followers in the 1990s.
The Church of Scientology relies heavily on First Amendment religious freedoms to shield itself from scrutiny in this country, but it is awfully quick to suppress freedom of speech that enjoys the same constitutional protections. The same church that raises the specter of Nazi oppression whenever it faces inquiry from German and French officials, expects its former, hardworking employees in the United States to sign away their free speech rights for as little as $500 in severance. The First Amendment is not a buffet where some rights are recognized and other inconvenient ones are ignored.
For those not in the church, or among its ex-members, Tidman's name may mean little, and her death will probably not be noticed by the mainstream press. But to Scientologists, who tend to call her by another name -- Annie Broeker -- she was a powerful symbol for where their movement had been and where it was going.
On January 14, former Scientology executive Marty Rathbun announced on his blog that a record of Tidman's death had been found online. Then, yesterday, he published her death certificate, along with an analysis of its details. Since his first announcement, we've been verifying information about her final years as well as interviewing people who knew her. [Go here for our primer, "What is Scientology?"]
2012-01-27, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Last summer, we brought you extensive coverage of Scientology's bizarre siege of a South Texas home. A goon squad calling itself the "Squirrel Busters" claimed to be a documentary crew making a film about former high-ranking church executive Marty Rathbun. The intimidation squad even managed to get Rathbun arrested.
Well, here's yet another collection of their footage, as Scientology continues to try to convince someone (who, we're not sure), that a series of 2009 stories revealing the violent nature of Scientology leader David Miscavige got things wrong and that Rathbun is the violent one, not DM.
After the jump: while Scientology still argues over allegations that are nearly three years old, Rathbun keeps hitting the church where it hurts.
However, I was intrigued to read of Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis alleging the organisation had employed private detectives to rake through his bins. I used to fancy being a private detective, but think I'll give it a miss now. Paul claims they're raking his rubbish to find material that could discredit him after he left the loopy outfit. How does that work then?
2012-01-18, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Meshell and Heather tell me what the two women from Scientology then told Edie: "You've been declared. We need you to sign this paper that says you've been declared."
Meshell tried to make me understand what those words meant to Edie, a woman who had given decades of her life to Scientology. It was as if your church, or some other organization that is important to you, had sent representatives to tell you that you are now considered beneath contempt, a nonperson, an evil entity. And they do this while presenting you with a three-page list of your shortcomings and evil deeds.
Scientology is known for being one of the more unusual - and secretive - religions, but we almost feel like signing up ourselves having seen that practitioners at the new Super Power Building will get access to an "infinite pit" and an "oiliness table." Details of the $100m "Flag Mecca" facility in Clearwater, Florida leaked to?The Village Voice, spilling hints at some of the more esoteric equipment being installed. According to the plans, there'll be everything from a wall made of water to an "Electric Fields Generator."
2012-01-17, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
On drawings we looked at last night, we noticed something that seemed to be missing on other blueprints. Near the Sound Rooms -- a couple of circular chambers -- there was something called "Barriers." Looking around some more, we found this drawing, which was labeled, Solid Barriers, Infinite Pit, and Water Wall.
Wait a minute. Did they say Infinite Pit!
For five months, the Squirrel Busters flitted around in their golf cart and popped up with cameras everywhere Marty Rathbun went, even filming him from a paddleboat in the canal behind his house. They engaged in what the sheriff's chief deputy and the county attorney called provocation until Rathbun snatched a pair of sunglasses from one of the Squirrel Busters, leaving a scratch on his forehead. They filed charges to have Rathbun arrested for assault; the county attorney dropped the case.
After OpTunisia and OpHBGary, most of 2011's Anonymous major actions fell into one of two camps: the activist and lulzy hacking. But the old culture went on as well, the lolcats of 4chan, the protests in front of the Church of Scientology. Anonymous only got harder to characterize, and there were no anons that agreed with all of the collective, except maybe about liking cats.
2012-01-09, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
The Voice has obtained hundreds of new renderings of Scientology's Super Power Building in Clearwater, Florida, as well as a comprehensive collection of its architectural drawings. [Go here for our primer: What is Scientology? Update: More renderings of the building's odder features. And we reveal part of how the Super Power Rundown itself works.]
The group purchased the building from Florence Baptist Church, which relocated to a new facility on Mt. Zion Road, for $1.64 million in June 2009. Renovation began in April of last year and costs were estimated at $6.5 million, according to documents submitted to the Boone County Building Department.
"The work has included a full renovation of the interiors including extensive structural work needed to adapt the entire building for our use," Banks said. "We are also doing a complete upgrade of the interior, including all new HVAC, electrical and plumbing, and new interior finishes."
2012-01-05, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
This week, the Scientology world was almost all about Debbie Cook, wherever you looked. Stories about her showed up all over the place -- European newspapers in particular were fascinated with her rebellious e-mail. And we want to thank Huffington Post for the shout-out in the video you see here. And just a few weeks after we exposed a HuffPo blogger as a shill for Scientology!
A leading Scientologist is attempting to spark a revolt against chief David Miscavige, who has led the organization since the death of L. Ron Hubbard 26 years ago.
Miscavige has ignored the teaching of L. Ron Hubbard and turned Scientology into a fundraising machine that bleeds wealthy members dry to construct lavish buildings and stockpile more than $1 billion in cash, Debra Cook wrote in an email to more than 12,000 current and former Scientologists. Cook was a top-ranking Scientology executive for decades before leaving the organization's payroll to start an Internet firm in 2008.
Debbie Cook, a former executive with the Church of Scientology has revealed she believes the church has become greedy and corrupt under the leadership of David Miscavige.
Cook, who worked at the church's Sea Org group in Clearwater, Fla., sent an email containing criticisms of the church's management to about 12,000 Scientologists on New Year's Day, according to the Village Voice, which first broke the story.
2012-01-04, Nadine DeNinno, International Business Times
Just minutes into the new year, 50-year-old Cook sent an email to condemn chairman David Miscavige to more than 12,000 current and former Scientologists, which has seen been published publically. The email, in short, delineates how the Church has lost focus within guidelines established by founder L. Ron Hubbard since Miscavige became chairman 26 years ago and turned it into a money-making machine-like organization.
It is particularly striking that the internal criticism came from a prominent leader and not from a disgruntled defector of the highly secretive church, the newspaper notes.
In her e-mail, Cook said the church is hoarding "well in excess of a billion dollars" yet continues to press members aggressively to contribute more, using intimidation tactics including threats that their "spiriitual progress" will be slowed, The Times reports.
2012-01-03, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
UPDATE: We look back at Debbie Cook's career, from enforcer to whistleblower.
The world of Scientology watching is still reeling after Debbie Cook's New Year's Eve e-mail landed in the inboxes of thousands of church members Saturday night.
A few minutes after midnight, we began receiving copies of the broadside, written by one of Scientology's most important former executives. Citing the words of L. Ron Hubbard, Cook trashed the church's current management under leader David Miscavige, complaining about a "new age of continuous fundraising" and "extreme over-regging."
2012-01-03, Ewan Palmer, International Business Times
Debbie Cook, one of the church's senior members, sent an email suggesting the religion had lost its way under current chairman Miscavige and criticised his aggressive fundraising tactics, which have raised $1 billion for the religion.
According to Cook, an obsession with money was contrary to Hubbard's teachings and a distraction from efforts to disseminate his beliefs.
Cook goes on to accuse Miscavige of dismantling the church's original structure. She cites the construction of lavish headquarter buildings that remain empty and the removal of a Watchdog Committee. She also accuses him of getting rid of laws designed to prevent the church from turning into a "one-man dictatorship."
The Squirrel Busters film crew trying to make a movie about Church of Scientology defector Mark Rathbun topped the Caller.com online reader poll of 2011's biggest stories.
"Squirrel," it should be noted, is Scientologist jargon for a heretic.
2012-01-01, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
A woman named Debbie Cook dropped something of an atom bomb on the membership of the Church of Scientology last night, and as of this minute -- about noon on New Year's Day -- her Facebook page is still going a bit crazy as her fellow church members deal with the fallout.
Cook was once a very high ranking executive in Scientology's Sea Org. She led the Flag Service Organization in Clearwater, Florida, which made her one of the most important executives at the spiritual headquarters of the worldwide organization. Several years ago, she left that position and the Sea Org, but she is still a member of the church in good standing.
2012-01-01, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Although we've written hundreds of articles about Scientology over the years, and other news organizations have contributed hundreds more -- not to mention the numerous books, television programs, and countless websites dedicated to the subject -- without fail we regularly run into people who ask us, "Yeah, but what is Scientology?"
We can't blame them. One of Scientology's appeals is its complexity and secrecy, and it can take years to fully absorb some of its arcane concepts. So for those coming to the subject for the first time, as well as those who want a deeper understanding, we're starting off the new year with this handy guide to L. Ron Hubbard's creation. We'll introduce concepts at a basic level, and provide links to further reading. With the help of our amazing commenting community -- which includes former Scientology executives with decades of experience -- we'll all learn more about an enigmatic organization that begins another crucial year of transition.
2011-12-26, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
We're going to start off our end-of-year celebrations this week by revealing which video you selected as the best of 2011.
My thanks to our readers who participated in the poll. We had many interesting videos to choose from this year; some were new, others were rediscovered, and every one made an impact.
2011-12-21, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
That accusation has been made previously about Joseph K. Grieboski, who blogs at Huffington Post's Religion section and runs something he calls the Institute on Religion and Foreign Policy. In 2009, former Scientologist Gerry Armstrong accused Grieboski of taking money from Scientology, claiming that he'd talked to a former Institute employee who told him of the connection.
And now Rathbun comes forward with a document from Scientology's Office of Special Affairs -- the church's intelligence and covert operations wing -- which suggests that Grieboski was employed to actively temper anti-Scientology sentiment in European countries. Previously, we've authenticated Rathbun's leaks of OSA documents, including spying operations against Marc Headley, Mark Ebner, and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
And besides, another former top Scientology official tells the Voice that he has personal information about Grieboski's employment with the church.
2011-12-21, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
While he's playing Hubbard's words, Gorman himself barks things at the workers intended to make them question their faith. He's not subtle about it. He's deliberately trying to get under their skin. Many of them, in fact, know Gorman well. He grew up in Scientology and worked at the San Francisco org for years until leaving in 2001. In 2005, he began protesting Scientology, and his intense -- but peaceful -- demonstrations have resulted in more than one org worker taking a swing at him.
On Saturday, Gorman found himself being charged by a large, angry Scientologist whose rather remarkable bull-rush was caught on video being filmed by Gorman's wife, Jennifer. The man took several swings at him, Gorman says, and after reporting the incident to the police, he was told charges would be filed against the man. After the jump, what we've learned so far about the angry Scientologist, the incident, and Tommy and Jennifer Gorman and their history with the church...
2011-12-20, Marimer Matos, Courthouse News Service
The mother of a boy who killed himself cannot sue his father and the Church of Scientology for taking away his antidepressants, a federal judge ruled.
Victoria Britton filed suit in 2009 over the death of her 20-year-old son, Kyle Thomas Brennan, after he visited with his father in Clearwater, Fla., in February 2007.
CHURCH leaders in Tonbridge have questioned why almost a quarter of the library's religious section is dedicated to books on Scientology.
Seventeen of the 72 books, written by founder and science fiction author L Ron Hubbard, in the section at the Avebury Avenue library are devoted to the controversial religion.
2011-12-16, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
On November 18, we started a new feature here on Fridays: the Voice has obtained hundreds of copies of L. Ron Hubbard's previously unpublished "Orders of the Day," which he gave to crew members as he sailed the Mediterranean. Our documents cover the period from 1968 to 1971, and this time we're looking at what was happening the week of December 11 through 17 during those years.
After the jump, LRH plows past OT VII to OT VIII...
2011-12-10, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Another Saturday morning here in the underground bunker finds us once again picking up the pieces after another hectic week. Let's review, shall we?
After starting off the week with another edition of Sunday Funnies, that evening we published our lengthy interview with Ramana Dienes-Browning, a former Sea Org executive who corroborated the claims of Valeska Paris, and described her own harrowing adventures aboard the Freewinds.
More enquiries revealed that the trip's organisers had hired an agency that specialised in arranging for crowds for celebrity events.
An official from that agency, who was present at the airport, said that each person was paid an average of Rs 300 to be a part of the crowd and cheer for Tom for 15 mins. "We asked them to reach here by 4 pm as we were told that he would arrive at 5:15," the official told this newspaper on condition of anonymity.
As far as the police were concerned, however, the paid crowd had its advantages. "Mobs that randomly gather to see celebrities can be extremely unruly and tough to control. A hired crowd is better. It behaves itself and listens to us," said a security officer outside the terminal.
2011-12-04, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Scientology doesn't really have a Sunday service. They like to say that they do, because they crave mainstream acceptance. But unless Xenu rested after six days and L. Ron Hubbard just forgot to mention it, there's no reason for Scientologists to treat Sunday any differently than every other day of coursework, detoxes, fundraising, and generally clearing the planet.
After Fairman was ousted, the actor claims he received a letter from the family chiropractor -- an active Scientologist -- informing him she would no longer treat the Fairman family. Fairman also claims she refused to hand over a copy of the family's medical records.
When the world's biggest star and possibly the most famous Scientologist on earth, Tom Cruise, stepped out of the Mumbai domestic airport on Saturday with his entourage, little did he know that the screaming crowds he was waving out to were not his Indian fans at all!
In fact, the 200-and-odd people gathered there didn't even know who he was and they couldn't care less. They had been hired at the rate of Rs 150, or $3 per person approximately, by a model coordinator to do the same!
2011-12-03, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
The scene here in the underground bunker is like the quiet after a major storm. A hurricane blew up out of the Caribbean this week and hit us square on. The place is a mess. The cats are skittish. But the excitement has finally died down a bit, the lights are low, the empty bottles have been cleared out, and we're trying to regain some composure here as we reflect on what happened...
We seem to say it every Saturday, but this time we really mean it: what a week, Scientology watchers!
IT'S THE cruise ship that is supposed to help make people spiritually free but if the testimony from a former on-board worker is to be believed the freedom of the guests comes at the expense of the oppressed below-decks crew.
Valeska Paris says the church of Scientology's leader David Miscavige imprisoned her on the Freewinds when she was 17 to prevent her mother taking her away from the controversial religion.
2011-12-01, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Over the last three days, her sister Valeska has become famous on three continents. Sunday night, Australia's ABC network, on its Lateline program, aired a story by Steve Cannane, who explained that in 1996, Valeska, then only 18, was taken -- against her will, she says -- to serve as a Sea Org staffer aboard the Freewinds, and would remain there, a virtual prisoner, for 12 years. We followed up Cannane's story with our own lengthy interview of Valeska, which filled in more about her family history, her time on the Freewinds, and how she finally managed to get off the ship and start a family with former Australian rugby star Chris Guider.
But Valeska urged me to talk to Melissa, telling me that her story alone was not a complete picture.
Ruth Eckerd leaders said invitees to the benefit, which was to raise money for renovation of the historic Capitol Theatre downtown, responded with a "significant number of negative comments" when they saw that Scientology was involved. On Thursday, a day after announcing the event, Ruth Eckerd leaders abruptly called it off.
2011-12-01, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Monday morning at 5 am, I heard from our good friend Steve Cannane, a journalist at Australia's ABC network, that he was breaking a big story -- that for 12 years, Valeska Paris had been held against her will on the Scientology cruise ship, Freewinds.
Valeska Paris, an Australian resident, said she was forced onto the ship by the Church's leader, David Miscavige, when she was 17 after her mother tried to dissociate her from the organisation.
Ms Paris, who was born in Switzerland, moved to the UK at age six, where she was placed in the church's youth wing, the cadet org. At 14, she joined the church's elite Sea Organisation and signed a contract which bound her for a billion years.
2011-11-30, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
And then, recently, in the mail, one of our readers sent us some pure gold.
It is a five-page document, and it may be the most precious, hopeful, earnest, presumptious, and ultimately dictatorial artifact I have seen come out of the church in some time.
It is a checksheet, and it is designed to instruct a new celebrity recruit in the arcane ways of L. Ron Hubbard, and how to take Hubbard's greatness to the outside world by learning how to speak to the press about such monumental things.
2011-11-30, Steve Cannane, ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Valeska Paris says the Church of Scientology's leader David Miscavige sent her to the ship when she was 18, to prevent her mother taking her away from Scientology.
Ms Paris says she ended up being on the ship for over a decade, and was unable to leave The Freewinds for the first six years without an escort.
She has also described the church's leader David Miscavige as a psychopath and says he should be put on trial.
For most people, an extended stay aboard a luxury cruise liner sounds like a dream vacation.
But Valeska Paris says she was held against her will aboard the Scientology cruise ship "Freewinds" for more than a decade. During her stay on the vessel, she alleges, she was forced into hard labor and never allowed to leave the ship without an escort.
2011-11-29, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Last night, we had a lengthy conversation over Skype with Valeska Paris, and learned much more about her upbringing in Scientology, her time on the ship, and in particular, what it was like when church leader David Miscavige brought aboard his best pal, Tom Cruise, for the actor's big birthday celebration in 2004.
We also talked about how she decided to speak out even though she had previously signed confidentiality agreements with the notoriously litigious church.
"They're cowards. They always threaten, but they never follow it up," she says.
2011-11-28, Steve Cannane, Lateline, ABC News (Australia)
Her mother had denounced Scientology on French TV after her ex-husband, Albert Jaquier, had committed suicide. A self-made millionaire, his last days were spent in poverty. In a diary he kept, he blamed the Church of Scientology for fleecing him of his fortune.
Valeska Paris says the Church was so worried her mother would take her away that Scientology's leader David Miscavige intervened, ordering she be taken to the Church's cruise ship, The Freewinds.
An Australian woman claims she was held against her will on a Church of Scientology cruise ship for 12 years.
The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Valeska Paris said the church's leader, David Miscavige, sent her to the cruise ship The Freewinds when she was 17 to stop her mother from taking her away from Scientology.
2011-11-26, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
We're still recovering here in the underground bunker from this week's big feast. The leftover turkey is still holding out as we look back on the past week of Scientology watching here at Runnin' Scared.
A hip hop video which leaked online last week called "Dauntless, Defiant, Resolute," produced for the internal use of the Church of Scientology, is going viral across the Internet, drawing mockery and criticism of the church from mainstream media.
2011-11-24, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
In gratitude to our many loyal Scientology watchers who have made this year so special, here at the Voice we are excited to present a Thanksgiving tribute to Scientology's first and worst nightmare, the one, the only, Paulette Cooper.
40 years ago, Paulette published her stunning expose of the church, The Scandal of Scientology, and we also didn't want that anniversary to go unmarked. So over the last several weeks, I've been in touch with Paulette, talking to her about her book, about its famous aftermath, and learning about someone who has been encouraging me over my entire career. Here then is the Paulette that I've gotten to know.
2011-11-22, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Thursday night, we were quick to jump on the leak of a video that was only meant for internal Scientology consumption. It featured pallid European Scientologists breakdancing and pantomiming to a hip hop track that extolled the virtues of the International Association Scientologists -- the IAS.
The St. Petersburg Times has a big feature this weekend on the shameless "money machine" that is Scientology. Example number one: A Seattle couple who gave seven figures to the church only to be later be written up for "insufficient generosity."
The Times story explains through multiple accounts from former church members how Scientology fundraisers are relentless -- to an almost sociopathic level -- in their demands for money from parishioners.
"Contrary to the St. Petersburg Times' mischaracterizations, parishioners donate to the church because they enthusiastically support their chosen faith," spokeswoman Karin Pouw said.
"They continue to do so because those donations fund programs that parishioners are proud to support: The opening of new Ideal Scientology Churches throughout the world, and the implementation of global humanitarian initiatives and social betterment programs."
Those parishioners, in the thousands, far outweigh the "handful of disaffected apostates" who spoke to the Times, the church said.
Dozens of former Scientology parishioners told the St. Petersburg Times that they donated five- and six-figure sums to Scientology churches but were never given a financial report. They said the same held true for the IAS. Former church staffers said they didn't see reports either.
Scientology insists that its churches and the IAS give members "considerable details" about how donations are spent. Spokeswoman Karin Pouw said this information is "broadly communicated through the church's own publications, including Impact magazine and International Scientology News."
A review of Scientology magazines found large amounts of positive information about the church and its affiliates, but no financial reporting.
Always mysterious since coming to Clearwater under a fake name in 1975, the church became all the more inscrutable as its big building just sat there, finished on the outside, raw inside.
But unknown to those wondering about the delay was the whirl of activity just across the street.
In an office off the mezzanine in the church's Fort Harrison Hotel, a savvy team of fundraisers was raking in millions.
The Super Power project has been a bonanza for the Church of Scientology. Far from a financial burden, it has been a money magnet, a powerful come-on for L. Ron Hubbard's master vision.
Lynne Hoverson and Bert Schippers quickly pitched in with a $12,000 donation when Seattle Scientologists started raising money for a new church in 2000. They later boosted their gift to $160,000.
On a late-autumn evening in 2005, a trio of church fundraisers arrived at the couple's home. They wanted more cash for the $13 million project.
Ninety thousand dollars.
2011-11-19, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
There's a lot to absorb in this new installment in the series, which focuses on the IAS's hard-sell tactics, as well as the "Ideal Org" building boom.
And here's another unsavory detail: If Scientology has always been money-mad, the pressures of the last decade have been off the charts as church leader David Miscavige decided to use the 9/11 attacks as a new call to action.
2011-11-19, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
A wail was heard across the land tonight.
Just as we were leaving the office for the evening, we were notified that thousands of people who recently signed a White House petition about Scientology had received e-mail notices that the Obama administration would not, in fact, respond to the petition.
The petition, started by attorney Graham Berry, did meet its minimum required number of signatures. But you can see here why the White House says it can't respond:
An organization that has drawn protests in other parts of Toronto has launched a location in Scarborough.
On Nov. 12, Scarborough's first and Toronto's fourth Church of Scientology opened at Neilson Road and McLevin Avenue in the Malvern area. It joins churches on Yonge Street and Broadview Avenue.
2011-11-14, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
The previous day, the SP Times duo had introduced us to Hy Levy, a fomerly successful "registrar" who brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars to Scientology each and every week by convincing church members to max out their credit cards, pull from their 401Ks, and draw from equity on their houses.
Today, we meet some of those church members who gave and gave and gave, particularly after Scientology leader David Miscavige put out new versions of L. Ron Hubbard's books in 2007.
Culkin trusted his new friends at Scientology's Flag Land Base in Clearwater, so he gave in and told them.
The six-figure sum got the attention of Flag's "registrars," the religious workers who collect payments for church services and solicit donations for Scientology causes. No matter how much he gave, Culkin said they pestered him almost every day to give more. He ended up spending $330,000 on church services and donations during the year he spent in Scientology.
Large groups of registrars for the IAS repeatedly approached him, pressing him to give. Another registrar hounded him to spend thousands on counseling. One day, two church staffers from different departments tugged at his arms in a hallway, competing for a donation.
With the hotel as its linchpin, Flag has grown into a patchwork of 67 parcels, mostly downtown, serving as a worldwide center for Scientology counseling. Flag's workforce consists of 1,200 members of the church's religious order, the Sea Organization.
The church's Clearwater land holdings are valued by the county at $89 million, of which $59 million is tax exempt. Facilities not used for religious purposes are taxed.
Hy Levy lived in terror of what would happen if he didn't make his number, a weekly sales target of $200,000. The money was due every Thursday by 2 p.m.
Often when he failed, his bosses exiled him to the kitchen to scrub pots. Sometimes they made him eat only beans and rice for a week. They publicly humiliated him, calling him a loser, a saboteur. They got in his face, screaming, swearing. You soulless bastard!
He said they used profanity a lot where he worked: the Church of Scientology.
2011-11-12, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
It's been a light posting week, but our commenters did not let us down. We've had so much fun with singing on the Scientology ship Freewinds and other madcap adventures, even as we ventured outside the underground bunker.
2011-11-06, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
So we're doing something about it. We're launching a Sunday morning Scientology Open Thread, looking forward to your thoughtful, funny, acerbic, or edgy contributions for whatever it is you'd like to talk about. And, to get the juices flowing, we're going to start things off with some fun images that Scientologists send out to inspire each other. (Um, in most cases, inspire each other to fork over money, that is.)
2011-11-03, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Today, we have another leak of Scientology's internal documents which describe the church's efforts to dig up dirt not on a former high-ranking official, or a member of the Hollywood elite, or even a former parishioner. In this case, Scientology's own documents reveal, the church sicced its private eyes on a cancer victim, an older woman who lives not far from Scientology's own international headquarters, a woman whose only known transgression against the church was having a conversation in a Wal-Mart store.
A Lawton man is fighting to stop a drug addiction education program from making a presentation to students at three area schools over the next three days.
The program is called "Narconon" and Colin Henderson says it is not what it appears. He is not alone in his concern. A school in Purcell recently refused to allow a Narconon presentation, and states like California, Massachusetts, and Hawaii have also banned it from their public schools.
2011-11-02, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
Now, she's apparently changed her mind. In her interview with Seymour, she explains that as Miscavige's cook, it was her job to lavish on the church leader gourmet meals every few hours, and especially when Miscavige's good friend Tom Cruise showed up.
But when Cruise got food poisoning from a bad shrimp, Mitchell says she was unfairly blamed, and found herself cut off not only from her job, but also from her friends and family.
A new temple in Basel would form part of the sect's worldwide growth plans. The Church of Scientology recently announced at a fund-raising event in the United States that it planned to build 70 new churches, including the one in Basel.
But one expert on religious sects, Georg Otto Schmid, dismissed the move as a marketing ploy aimed at regaining some of the members lost in recent year. Even though the organisation claims to have 1,200 members in the region of Basel alone, Schmid instead believes the figure to be "around 200".
2011-10-28, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
"They handed me a copy of Dianetics when I first started doing work for them, and I just threw it in the trash. It didn't catch my attention," he says. "As long as they paid me in a timely fashion, I wasn't going to judge. I'm a fucking mercenary.
"I give the Church of Scientology props. It's funny, I had a potential client call me who wanted some background done on certain people. You could call these people a borderline religious organization, a borderline cult. I told them they could take an example from Scientology, because they seem to do it right when it comes to gathering data."
I asked him if he could characterize the kind of work the church asked him to do. "Most of the cases I worked on were doing background information on ex-members who were saying things about them that weren't pleasant," he answered.
Lincoln County has a drug rehabilitation center at the Rainbow Canyon Retreat, also known as Narconon, a few miles south of Caliente.
County Commissioner Paul Donohue introduced Gerry Marshall, Narconon fresh start field control supervisor from the Los Angeles office, at the County Commission meeting Oct. 17. Marshall explained the vision and purpose of their program, and the work at the retreat center here, which has been in service since 2004.
Donohue said he along with Commissioners Mathews and Rowe, and their wives, were recently invited to dinner at the retreat center for a tour of the facility and to watch a graduation and awards ceremony.
No less than 40 minutes after today's newspaper went to print, the Church of Scientology's public relations department got in touch. They wished to respond to the request I had lodged earlier - seeking comment on reports that its employees had attempted to dig up dirt on the South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker (pictured).
In the interests of journalistic fairness, their emailed statement is printed in full below.
Former member of the Church of Scientology, Mark Rathbun, posted the evidence of the investigation on his own website.
The document shows how agents tried to find direct links to some the duo's closest allies including John Stamos, a friend of Stone's.
'To find a direct line into Stone and Parker, some of their friends have been identified.
The report offered an insight into the operation: 'The special collections (covert information gathering such as trash collection, purchased phone records, hacked airline reservations, purchased bank records) will be debugged in order to get some viable strings that can be pulled.
However, the pursuit ultimately proved to be futile and the memo concluded: 'It is clear that this investigation is not going anywhere and DCOE (D/Commanding Officer External OSA) is getting it debugged.'
A former executive of the Church of Scientology has come out saying the Church had a plan to smear South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian break it down on The Young Turks.
2011-10-23, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
"These connections are being PRC'd," reads the document, and Rathbun explains that the acronym stands for "public records check." Scientology's standard procedure would be to put its private eyes on a complete check of these people and their property, legal, and other public records. If they owed taxes, or had been in messy divorces, or had been arrested, Scientology would soon know about it.
"There are some strings that will be pulled on the PRC on Stone," the document reads, suggesting that investigators had already found something about Matt Stone in public records that would make him vulnerable.
The grand opening of the Church of Scientology's brand new The Super Power Building is expected very soon. The 12-storey building, which took more than 13 years to build, and cost about $90 million, is located in Clearwater, Florida.
The Sun reports an elaborate arrangement of security and secrecy surrounding the imposing building with nearly 900 rooms. The windows are blacked out, cameras monitors are installed at entrances with security guards on duty 24 hours.
When we contacted DHS to confirm the engagement, and inquire as to why it would be dispatching a federal employee to address an event sponsored by an organization that's the current target of an FBI human trafficking investigation, a spokesman told us in a statement that Shora would not, in fact, be attending. He also seemed to suggest that the invitation was misleading, claiming that it had been extended not by the Church of Scientology but by a group called Washington Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster:
2011-10-20, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
We just can't seem to get enough of Grant Cardone, the wealthy Scientologist who starred in his own National Geographic Channel reality show, donated millions of dollars to Scientology's war chest, and did Scientology's dirty work to slime fellow church member Milton Katselas, a well known Hollywood acting coach.
Now, he has timely advice for all you crusties hanging around down at Wall Street: quit yer bitchin' and stop hassling the 1 percent!
2011-10-17, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
We also have a rich, robust free-for-all going on in our comments section between Scientology church members, Scientology critics, and independent Scientologists. I even get in there myself and spar with folks from time to time. It keeps me on my toes!
However, despite the presence of that forum, some church members still prefer to e-mail me directly. Knowing that some of our readers would like to see how these folks react to our coverage, I thought I'd share with you a few of their letters!
2011-10-13, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
It's that time of the week again -- at 2 pm on Thursdays, Scientology orgs turn in their stats for the week, and so we like to do our own accounting of how things went for the church with our weekly roundup.
After the jump, an eye-opening look inside an "Ideal org" by our sister paper in Phoenix. But first, watch this video segment released by Mark Bunker, in which he interviews Jamie DeWolf for his upcoming documentary, Knowledge Report.
2011-10-13, Tony Ortega, Runnin' Scared, Village Voice
We've seen Lynch work over the years, and it is something to behold. Apparently, he actually had a real career at a legitimate newspaper (and if you worked with Jim back in the day, how about giving me a call to fill me in with the details?), but these days, he's the hired gun for Scientology and its disinformation organ, Freedom.
In August, Freedom was in the news for its hilariously stupid parody of New Yorker magazine, which attempted to slime writer Lawrence Wright and Crash director Paul Haggis.