Scientology's First Celebrity Defector Reveals Church Secrets
'I was Miscavige's favorite boy,' says veteran TV actor Jason Beghe
by Tony Ortega
April 15th, 2008
http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0815,c ... .html/full
Scientology seduces you into thinking that it's a process through which you can truly become yourself. But ultimately, what it turns you into is a Scientologist a brainwashed version of yourself.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... rQLim8WeCg
Here is one of many videos - this one is very recent and is 122 minutes long.
- David McCarthy
- Site Admin
- Posts: 2568
- Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:09 am
- Location: New Zealand
I found this article about Scientology?s history in France.
Copied from above link:
Scientology?s Hubbard Convicted of Fraud in France, 1978
As yet another fraud trial opens for Scientology in France this week, it seems an appropriate time to to review the cult?s legal problems in that country over the years. Few people know that its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, was conviced of fraud there and sentenced to imprisonment.
By now, most people have learned that the nation of France is beginning its prosecution of Scientology?s French organization, along with seven of its top managers, on fraud and drugs charges. News articles about the case usually mention that Scientology was aquitted of fraud charges there in 2002; sometimes they mention that Scientology officials were convicted of fraud in Lyon in 1997 and in Marseille in 1999. Surprisingly, however, the fraud conviction of the cult?s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, on fraud charges in 1978, does not seem to be mentioned in any of the English-language reports.
After a seven-year public inquiry and a lengthy trial, the Paris Tribunal found four top Scientologists, including Hubbard, guilty of making fraudulent claims that physical cures and professional success could be achieved through Scientology. Hubbard, who did not attend the trial, and had already fled the country, was sentenced to four years imprisonment.
The judge concluded that the facts and statements by the witnesses were "ample proof" of the veracity of the charge.
Quoting Hubbard?s own words, the judge found that Scientology made false promises with the sole aim of "increasing the financial revenue."
An article from the Catholic Sentinel reports that "the court examined evidence of large profits made by an organization which declares itself to be non-profit, the psycho-therapeutic nature of a treatment dispensed by people with no medical qualifications, and the claim made by Scientology to be capable of curing some 70 percent of human illnesses," such as radioactive burn from the effects of an atomic bomb, etc.
Hubbard never served his prison sentence because he was essentially on the run from the law, sailing in the Caribbean on his yacht Apollo, trying to avoid not only French authorities but the US authorities as well. In 1978, the US Federal Government was preparing for the trial of Hubbard?s wife Mary Sue, and numerous other Scientology officials, on conspiracy and burglary charges. Hubbard, along with Scientology lawyer Kendrick Moxon, were named as "unindicted co-conspirators" in that case. This means the federal prosecutors were very sure they were involved, but couldn?t quite generate the evidence for a sure conviction. Mary Sue and the others ended up serving several years in federal prison. In addition, the Internal Revenue Service had evidence that Hubbard was taking millions of dollars "off the top" of Scientology profits, and hiding it in overseas banks.
Hubbard never returned to France, and was banned from the United Kingdom because he would not discuss his conviction with British authorities. Hubbard died in 1986 on his secluded California ranch.
With regard to the current proceedings, the UK Channel 4 interviewed a Scientology spokesperson, Daniele Gounard, who called the trial "bullshit!", and added, predictably, that the judge is a bigot. This indicates that Scientology is not optimistic about the outcome.
- David McCarthy
- Site Admin
- Posts: 2568
- Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:09 am
- Location: New Zealand
I had a big chuckle reading this comment..
Wouldn't that be something to hear JZ Knight/RSE Inc say....Daniele Gounard, who called the trial "bullshit!", and added, predictably, that the judge is a bigot. This indicates that Scientology is not optimistic about the outcome.
anyone unhappy with the teachings can get a full refund.
A full refund is the least RSE should offer,
As for the lives that have been lost and ruined by Judith's greedy madness
only accountability in a court of law will suffice.
Then RSE Inc ought to be shut down forever.... with all of Judith's ill gotten assets paid out to RSE victims.
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/katie_lee/ ... cientology
Copied from the above:
Wikipedia bars the Church of Scientology
Posted By: Katie Lee at May 29, 2009 at 18:26:18 [General]
Posted in: Technology
They've been told off countless times, and now Wikipedia has finally popped its foot down and banned those at Church of Scientology HQ from adding or editing entries.
The Register reports that all IP addresses owned or operated by the Church and its associates have been blocked from contributing to the site (unless they apply for special dispensation).
Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee voted 10 to 0 (and one voter abstained) to place an immediate ban on the Church. The ban is an attempt to prevent the self-serving edits that Wikipedia alleges the Church uses to push its own agenda.
The online encyclopedia makes it clear that contributers should not work for or be affiliated with any company or organisation that they write about, and has always tried to maintain what it calls a "neutral point of view". Individuals are often banned, but this apparently unprecented step has meant that a blanket ban Scientology IPs has been put in place.
Wikipedia has found it hard to police edits to Scientology-related entries because multiple editors have been working from various IPs with ever-changing addresses. It's unclear if there are lots of different editors, or if a few editors are using multiple accounts in a system known as "sock puppeting".
One Arbitration Committee member wrote:
"Our alternatives are to block them entirely, or checkuser every 'pro-Scientology' editor on this topic. I find the latter unacceptable. It is quite broad, but it seems that they're funneling a lot of editing traffic through a few IPs, which make socks impossible to track."
Scientology-related posts have long been troubling to Wikipedia, since many anti-Scientology editors have also been banned over the years. But Wikipedia has come under criticism for the rulings of its committee, which was once known for allowing full freedom of speech.
It's hard not to feel that banning IPs in this way is a rather drastic approach, which certainly doesn't sit well with a company that has always been associated with self-moderation, free-speech and a general air of goodwill. But with so much time and effort spent on dealing with what is just a tiny part of this enormous resource, I can't bring myself to condemn them entirely.
What do you think? Is this the thin end of the wedge. or does this action only go to strengthen Wikipedia's position as the web's greatest collaborative project?
You can read the full ArbCom trial here.
The first one is: The Bridge movie from: http://www.scientomogy.com/the_bridge.php
Wikipedia on the movie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bridge ... logy_film)
The second one is produced recently (very long) : http://carolineletkeman.org/sp/index.ph ... 6&Itemid=1
Copied from above link: Interview with ex-Scientologist John Duignan, author of "The Complex". John was in the Church of Scientology for 22 years, and rose to become a respected member of the highly secretive Sea Org. Here, he tells his shocking story in person for the first time.
"The Complex: An Insider Exposes The Covert World Of The Church Of Scientology": http://www.eason.ie/items/9781903582848
John Duignan gave a candid 'eye-opening' account of his whole time in Scientology and how he got out. RSE uses very similar brain washing techniques.
Scientology: The Truth Rundown, Part 1 of 3 in a special report on the Church of Scientology
St. Petersburg Times
Sunday, June 21, 2009
By Joe Childs and Thomas C. Tobin, Times Staff Writers
Part ONE of THREE
The leader of the Church of Scientology strode into the room with a boom box and an announcement: Time for a game of musical chairs.
David Miscavige had kept more than 30 members of his church's executive staff cooped up for weeks in a small office building outside Los Angeles, not letting them leave except to grab a shower. They slept on the floor, their food carted in.
Their assignment was to develop strategic plans for the church. But the leader trashed their every idea and berated them as incompetents and enemies, of him and the church.
Prove your devotion, Miscavige told them, by winning at musical chairs. Everyone else ? losers, all of you ? will be banished to Scientology outposts around the world. If families are split up, too bad.
To the music of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody they played through the night, parading around a conference room in their Navy-style uniforms, grown men and women wrestling over chairs.
The next evening, early in 2004, Miscavige gathered the group and out of nowhere slapped a manager named Tom De Vocht, threw him to the ground and delivered more blows. De Vocht took the beating and the humiliation in silence ? the way other executives always took the leader's attacks.
This account comes from executives who for decades were key figures in Scientology's powerful inner circle. Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder, the highest-ranking executives to leave the church, are speaking out for the first time.
Two other former executives who defected also agreed to interviews with the St. Petersburg Times: De Vocht, who for years oversaw the church's spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, and Amy Scobee, who helped create Scientology's celebrity network, which caters to the likes of John Travolta and Tom Cruise.
One by one, the four defectors walked away from the only life they knew. That Rathbun and Rinder are speaking out is a stunning reversal because they were among Miscavige's closest associates, Haldeman and Ehrlichman to his Nixon.
Now they provide an unprecedented look inside the upper reaches of the tightly controlled organization. They reveal:
? Physical violence permeated Scientology's international management team. Miscavige set the tone, routinely attacking his lieutenants. Rinder says the leader attacked him some 50 times.
Rathbun, Rinder and De Vocht admit that they, too, attacked their colleagues, to demonstrate loyalty to Miscavige and prove their mettle.
? Staffers are disciplined and controlled by a multi?layered system of "ecclesiastical justice.'' It includes publicly confessing sins and crimes to a group of peers, being ordered to jump into a pool fully clothed, facing embarrassing "security checks'' or, worse, being isolated as a "suppressive person.''
At the pinnacle of the hierarchy, Miscavige commands such power that managers follow his orders, however bizarre, with lemming-like obedience.
? Church staffers covered up how they botched the care of Lisa McPherson, a Scientologist who died after they held her 17 days in isolation at Clearwater's Fort Harrison Hotel.
Rathbun, who Miscavige put in charge of dealing with the fallout from the case, admits that he ordered the destruction of incriminating evidence. He and others also reveal that Miscavige made an embarrassing miscalculation on McPherson's Scientology counseling.
? With Miscavige calling the shots and Rathbun among those at his side, the church muscled the IRS into granting Scientology tax-exempt status. Offering fresh perspective on one of the church's crowning moments, Rathbun details an extraordinary campaign of public pressure backed by thousands of lawsuits.
? To prop up revenues, Miscavige has turned to long-time parishioners, urging them to buy material that the church markets as must-have, improved sacred scripture.
Church officials deny the accusations. Miscavige never hit a single church staffer, not once, they said.
On May 13, the Times asked to interview Miscavige, in person or by phone, and renewed the request repeatedly the past five weeks. Church officials said Miscavige's schedule would not permit an interview before July.
At 5:50 p.m. Saturday, Miscavige e-mailed the Times to protest the newspaper's decision to publish instead of waiting until he was available. His letter said he would produce information "annihilating the credibility'' of the defectors. Beloved by millions of Scientologists, church spokesmen say, Miscavige has guided the church through a quarter-century of growth.
The defectors are liars, they say, bitter apostates who have dug up tired allegations from the Internet and inflated the importance of the positions they held in Scientology's dedicated work force known as the Sea Org. They say it was the defectors who physically abused staff members, and when Miscavige found out, he put a stop to it and demoted them.
Now they say the defectors are trying to stage a coup, inventing allegations so they can topple Miscavige and seize control of the church.
The defectors deny it. They say they are speaking out because Miscavige must be exposed.
Rathbun says the leader's mistreatment of staff has driven away managers and paralyzed those who stay. "It's becoming chaos because ... there's no form of organization. Nobody's respected because he's constantly denigrating and beating on people.''
"I don't want people to continue to be hurt and tricked and lied to," Rinder said. "I was unsuccessful in changing anything through my own lack of courage when I was inside the church.
"But I believe these abuses need to end ? This rot being instigated from inside Scientology actually is more destructive to the Scientology movement than anything external to it.''
BEATINGS: Random, whimsical
At 49, Miscavige is fit and tanned, his chiseled good looks accented by intense blue eyes. His frame is on the short side at 5 feet 5, but solid, with a matching, vise-like handshake.
The voice, resonant and strong, can transfix a crowd of thousands. Many call him "COB," because he is chairman of the board of the entity responsible for safeguarding Scientology, founded by L. Ron Hubbard in 1954.
"He is one of the most capable, intelligent individuals I've ever met," Rathbun said. "But L. Ron Hubbard says the intelligence scale doesn't necessarily line up with the sanity scale. Adolf Hitler was brilliant. Stalin was brilliant. They were geniuses. But they were also on a certain level stark, staring mad."
Rathbun, Rinder, Scobee and De Vocht say they participated in and witnessed madness, from musical chairs to repeated physical abuse.
What triggered Miscavige's outbursts? The victims usually had no clue.
"If it wasn't the answer he wanted to hear, he'd lose it," De Vocht said. "If it was contrary to how he thought, he'd lose it. If he found it to be smart aleck, or it was a better answer than he had, he would lose it."
Rathbun and Rinder list the executives they saw Miscavige attack:
Marc Yager: At least 20 times.
Guillaume Lesevre: At least 10 times.
Ray Mithoff: Rathbun said Miscavige "would regularly hit this guy open-handed upside the head real hard and jar him. Or grab him by the neck and throw him on the floor."
Norman Starkey: "Right in the parking lot, (Miscavige) just beat the living f--- out of him, got him on the ground and then started kicking him when he was down,'' Rathbun said.
He said he saw Rinder "get beat up at least a dozen times just in those last four years ? some of them were pretty gruesome."
Said Rinder: "Yager was like a punching bag. So was I."
He added: "The issue wasn't the physical pain of it. The issue was the humiliation and the domination. ... It's the fact that the domination you're getting ? hit in the face, kicked ? and you can't do anything about it. If you did try, you'd be attacking the COB.
"It was random and whimsical. It could be the look on your face. Or not answering a question quickly. But it always was a punishment.''
Scobee said Miscavige never laid a hand on her or any other woman, but she witnessed many attacks, including the time the leader choked Rinder until his face turned purple. Rinder confirmed that account.
De Vocht estimated that from 2003 to 2005, he saw Miscavige strike staffers as many as 100 times.
Rathbun, Rinder and De Vocht admit that they, in turn, hit others. In January 2004, Rathbun pummeled Rinder and had to be pried off by several church staffers.
"Yes, that incident happened," Rinder said. "It wasn't the only time that Marty or I was involved in some form of physical violence with people."
He recalled holding a church staffer against a wall by the collar and pressing into his throat.
Rathbun said he attacked many people, many times, including throwing Lesevre across a table, boxing Starkey's ears, and tackling Yager down a flight of stairs ? all, he said, on Miscavige's orders. He said he threw another staffer against the hood of a cab at Los Angeles International Airport. As a crowd gathered to watch, he cocked his fist and told him to improve his attitude.
De Vocht said he "punched a couple of guys" during one of many sessions where managers confessed their wrongdoings to their peers, a gathering that got raucous and physical. Embarrassed about it now, he says he easily rationalized it then: "If I don't attack I'm going to be attacked. It's a survival instinct in a weird situation that no one should be in."
The four defectors each said the leader established a culture that encouraged physical violence.
"It had become the accepted way of doing things," Rinder said. "If COB did it, it was okay for everybody else to do it, too."
Rinder said Rathbun was Miscavige's enforcer. "If Dave didn't want to go do any dirty work himself, he sent Marty to do it for him."
Rathbun doesn't deny it. It's difficult to get the truth, he said, "unless you talk to somebody who's got some dirt on their hands. And I freely admit I got dirt on my hands, and I feel terrible about it. That's why I'm doing what I'm doing."
Rathbun wasn't exempt from Miscavige's attacks. "He once grabbed me by the neck and banged my head against the wall.''
Nobody fought back.
"The thing is, he's got this huge entourage," Scobee said. "He's the 'savior' of everything because he has to bail everybody out because we're all incompetent a-------, which is what he repeatedly tells us.
"You don't have any money. You don't have job experience. You don't have anything. And he could put you on the streets and ruin you."
Church spokesman Tommy Davis said the defectors are lying. Responding to Rinder's contention that Miscavige attacked him some 50 times, Davis said: "He's absolutely lying.''
Yager, Starkey, Mithoff, and Lesevre all emphatically told the Times that Miscavige never attacked them.
Davis produced court affidavits in which Rathbun and Rinder, while still in Scientology's top ranks, praised the leader as a stellar person and vigorously denied rumors he had abused staff.
Davis pointed to a 1998 Times story in which Miscavige denied the same rumors. Rathbun backed him, saying that in 20 years working with Miscavige, he never saw the leader raise a hand to anyone.
"That's not his temperament,'' Rathbun said then. "He's got enough personal horsepower that he doesn't need to resort to things like that.''
Says Rathbun now: "That was the biggest lie I ever told you."
Davis played video of a confrontation between Rinder and a BBC reporter in London in 2007, just before Rinder left the church. The reporter repeatedly asked about the Miscavige rumors, which Rinder heatedly denied as "rubbish."
Now Rinder says that he lied to protect the church, and that his loyalty to Miscavige was misplaced. He said he did then what Miscavige's staff is doing today: "Just deny it. Nope. Not true. Never happened."
The Church of Scientology describes itself as working for "a civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights."
Scobee says Miscavige does not practice what Scientology preaches. He liberally labels church members as enemies, which forbids any contact with family and friends still in Scientology.
"You cannot call yourself a religious leader as you beat people, as you confine people, as you rip apart families," she said. "If I was trying to destroy Scientology, I would leave David Miscavige right where he is because he's doing a fantastic job of it."
That's what the defectors are doing to Miscavige, according to a team of two church lawyers and two spokesmen.
Rathbun, Rinder, De Vocht and Scobee: All of them failed at their jobs, broke Sea Org rules and were ethically suspect, the team said. Stack these four failures against a man of Miscavige's stature and it's clear who is credible and who is not.
"It's not a question of they have a version and we have a version. It's that this never happened," said Monique Yingling, a non-Scientologist lawyer who has represented the church for more than 20 years. "There is a story here, and it's not what you've been told."
As the lawyers and spokesmen defended Miscavige and sought to discredit his detractors, they produced materials from the four defectors' "ethics files'' ? confessions, contritions, laments that the church keeps to document their failures.
The documents illuminate a world of church justice outsiders rarely see. This ethics system keeps Scientologists striving to stay productive. It relies on the notion that at any given time, every human activity can be reduced to a statistic and everything ? a group, a person, someone's job or marriage ? can be measured and placed in one of 12 "conditions."
The lower conditions include "Confusion," "Treason" and "Enemy." The highest condition is "Power," followed by "Power Change" and "Affluence."
Moving up the ethics ladder requires that the subject pen confessions or soul-searching memos called "formulas," which are said to better the individual as he or she examines what went wrong. These memos also can give the church a ready source of written material to use against members who would turn against Scientology.
More documents are generated when a person wants to leave, or "blow."
In 1959, Hubbard wrote a policy stating that a person leaves as a kind of noble gesture when he can't help himself from injuring the church. To justify leaving, Hubbard believed, the person thinks up bad things to say about the church.
Anyone who leaves has committed "overts" (harmful acts) against the church and is withholding them. The church is obligated to make such people come clean, Hubbard said, because withholding overts against Scientology can lead to suicide or death by disease. They must write down their transgressions to remain in good standing when they leave.
Yingling and Davis said the church doesn't relish using documents from ethics files. But after the four defectors spoke out against Miscavige, the lawyer and spokesman said they had no choice.
They produced documents showing Scobee violated Sea Org rules on "romantic involvement outside of marriage." Scobee said the church is exaggerating.
She acknowledged violating the rules by committing a sexual act in a supervisor's room, but noted the man involved was her future husband. Another document said she "started a relationship" with a man not her husband in 1988. Scobee said it was a non-Scientologist electrician who asked her to run away with him. She said she declined and reported it to a supervisor but was disciplined anyway.
A document from July 2003 cited poor performance and declared her unfit to work at the California base.
Scobee counters that the church kept her in positions of responsibility for more than 20 years. She was pictured in a 1996 church magazine as one of the "most proven" and "highly dedicated" senior executives in Scientology.
"The point is, it doesn't matter if I was God or if I was a sloppy janitor," Scobee said. "What I saw is what I saw."
De Vocht was in a condition of "Treason" when he authored a memo in 2004 saying he made a land deal in Clearwater that lost the church $1 million. In a 2002 letter to Miscavige, he confessed to squandering $10 million in church funds through waste and overspending on two projects.
Asked about those documents, De Vocht said the writings in the ethics formulas reflect the distorted culture created by Miscavige, not reality. "You say whatever you have to, to appear to be cooperative. It's not a voluntary action. It's a cover your a--, get with the program thing or you're going to get beat up.''
Praising Miscavige was part of the formula, De Vocht said. "He's our pope, our leader, and he can't do wrong. ? If you say, 'I'll do everything I can to get it right,' then you can be okay. You don't have an option other than to bow down and say, You're right and I'm wrong.''
The church says that Rinder, Scientology's top spokesman for decades, is an inveterate liar. In its ethics files, the church says, Rinder admits that he lied 43 times over the years.
"It was a real problem, Mike's propensity to lie ?.Obviously he had an issue with the truth,'' said Davis, Rinder's successor as spokesman.
After denying Miscavige hit him or anyone else, Rinder is lying now, Yingling said. "He left because he was demoted ? He is bitter now and he has in his bitterness latched on to the one allegation he so vehemently denied for so many years.''
Added Davis: "One of the things he was known for saying was, 'Well, if I'm so bad, why keep asking me to do things?' You know the answer to that question?... The ultimate answer to that question is 'Mike, you know what, you're right. Why keep asking.' And we stopped asking. And then he left and nobody came for him.''
Like the other defectors, Rinder says he's sure he wrote whatever is in the ethics files, but he says the admissions are meaningless, they were just whatever his superiors wanted to hear. "All of these things were written to try and get into good graces or curry favor."
Davis said Rinder has not been able to deal with his fall from spokesman for an international church to his current, workaday job.
"Mike left. I think we can all agree he is bitter,'' Davis said. "This is a guy who ran with the big dogs in the tall grass ? it's a very exciting life. And now he is selling cars, and it must be a hell of a shock.''
The church released numerous pages of files it kept on Rathbun. Among them: a 1994 letter that said he had completed a Truth Rundown ? one of many types of confessionals ? and apologizing for leaving the church briefly the year before; three confessions for striking and verbally abusing staff dozens of times; and documents where he admits that he mishandled situations.
In a 2003 document, Rathbun writes a "public announcement" detailing two decades of flubs, including: making himself out to be more important than he was, making more work for Miscavige, mismanaging staff and messing up major assignments, including the church's long-running battle with the IRS.
Rathbun says he wrote what Miscavige wanted to hear.
The church made special note of an affidavit dated June 6, 2009 ? after the Times asked the church about Rathbun ? authored by a Sea Org member whose name the church blacked out. She criticized Rathbun for being violent and abusive and playing a role in her family's recent effort to wrest her out of Scientology.
Rathbun says yes, he tried to help the family, because the woman voiced strong doubts about returning to Scientology.
Like De Vocht's, many of Rathbun's confessions are marked by bountiful praise of Miscavige. He writes, for example, that the leader "single-handedly salvaged Scientology."
Scientology's international management cadre lives and works on the church's 500-acre compound in the arid hills opposite Mount San Jacinto from Palm Springs.
Rathbun orchestrated a "reign of terror" there in 2002 and 2003, church representatives say, masquerading as an ethics officer while Miscavige was in Clearwater handling legal and other matters. They say the leader returned in late 2003, summarily demoted Rathbun and began to clean up his mess.
Rathbun says he was away from the base for almost all of 2002 and 2003, handling lawsuits and other sensitive matters at Miscavige's behest. When he returned to the base in late 2003, he said, it was Miscavige who had established a "reign of terror.''
The church said Rathbun has inflated his importance in Scientology; they say that after 1993, he never had a title.
But in a 1998 Scientology magazine, Rathbun is featured as the main speaker at a major event at Ruth Eckerd Hall attended by 3,000 Scientologists. The magazine said he was "inspector general" of the entity charged with safeguarding Scientology. Also, the church provided the Times a court document from March 2000 that listed Rathbun as a "director'' of the same entity.
If Rathbun's responsibility was as limited as the church says, the Times asked, how did he get people to submit to a reign of terror? Davis, the church spokesman, erupted.
"He's the one who's saying that Dave Miscavige beat these people,'' Davis screamed. "And he's saying that Dave Miscavige beat the exact same people that he beat. And that's what pisses me off. Because this guy's a f------ lunatic and I don't have to explain how or why he became one or how it was allowable.
"The fact is he's saying David Miscavige did what he did ? And now I'm getting a little angry. Am I angry at you? Not necessarily. But I'm g-- d--- pissed at Marty Rathbun. Because he knows that he was the reign of terror."
Landing in Clearwater
Fall 1975. An outfit calling itself the United Churches of Florida announced it would rent the Fort Harrison Hotel from the Southern Land Development Corp., a company with plans to buy the historic building.
No one ? not even lawyers for the seller ? could find out anything about Southern Land. Not even a phone number.
When the sale closed on Dec. 1, Southern paid $2.3 million in cash for the landmark property, where for 50 years locals held weddings, New Year's bashes and civic events.
The newcomers promptly closed the hotel to the public. Uniformed guards armed with mace and billy clubs patrolled the entrance.
On Jan. 28, 1976, a public relations team from Los Angeles came to Clearwater and announced that the real buyer was the Church of Scientology of California.
The deception put a scare into the sleepy town with gorgeous beaches. Clearwater Mayor Gabe Cazares was incensed by the group's evasive and then heavy-handed tactics.
"The Fort Harrison has been here for a half century and now, for the first time, it is actually a fort," he lamented. "It's frightening."
Locals grew anxious as they heard that Scientology was a cult with a belligerent streak. It had sued the State Department, the Justice Department, the IRS, the CIA, the LAPD ? any agency that pried or denied its requests.
Why did Hubbard choose Clearwater? He had run the church for years from a ship, the Apollo, and wanted a "land base.'' He sent scouts on a mission: Find a big building, near a good airport, in a warm climate.
A property in Daytona Beach made the short list. So did the Fort Harrison.
It was to be Scientology's "flagship." Hubbard sent dispatches on how "Flag'' should be run, everything from marketing plans to the staff's grooming and dress. It would be "huge, posh and self-supporting,'' Hubbard wrote, "a hotel of quality that puts the Waldorf Astoria to shame."
Hubbard trademarked a motto for the hotel: "The friendliest place in the whole world."
He would die a decade later, but already the next generation of church leaders was forming.
The Young Turks
Hubbard called it "fair game.'' Those who seek to damage the church, he said, "may be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.''
Mayor Cazares raised questions about the new group inhabiting the Fort Harrison, calling it a cult and trading lawsuits with the church. The Times and the Clearwater Sun investigated.
Scientologists followed Hubbard's playbook and went after enemies. They tried to frame Cazares in a fake hit-and-run accident. They intercepted Times' mail and falsely accused the paper's chairman, Nelson Poynter, of being a CIA agent.
By the spring of 1976, Hubbard ? the "Commodore" ? was realizing his vision for the Fort Harrison. Scientologists from around the world checked in for long stays. They spent thousands on counseling called "auditing," which seeks to rid the subconscious mind of negative experiences, leading to "higher states of spiritual awareness."
Mike Rinder, a 20-year-old Australian, ran the hotel telex, sending and receiving dispatches from Scientology outlets around the world.
David Miscavige, a 16-year-old from suburban Philadelphia, dropped out of 10th grade on his birthday that April and came to work at the Fort Harrison. He tended the grounds, served food and took pictures for promotional brochures.
In no time, the cocksure Miscavige was supervising adults. In 1977, after just 10 months in Clearwater, he was transferred to California, where he joined the Commodore's Messenger Organization, an esteemed group of about 20 who took on "missions'' assigned by Hubbard.
Late in 1978, Miscavige was put in charge of the crew remodeling Hubbard's home on a Southern California ranch. Among the group was a 21-year-old former college basketball player who had joined the church a year earlier in Portland.
Thirty years later, Marty Rathbun says he can picture the first time he laid eyes on the teenage boss, strutting about, "barking out orders.'' No mistaking David Miscavige.
The early power plays
In the mid 1970s, the IRS hired a clerk-typist named Gerald Bennett Wolfe. What they didn't know was that he was a Scientology plant ? code name "Silver.''
He broke into an attorney's office at IRS headquarters in Washington and copied government documents for months, with help from the Guardian's Office, the church's secretive intelligence arm.
The IRS had revoked Scientology's tax exemption some 10 years earlier, saying it was a commercial enterprise. Scientology fought back, withholding tax payments, unleashing its lawyers and using Silver to infiltrate the agency.
But his undercover mission backfired. On July 8, 1977, the FBI raided Scientology headquarters in Washington and L.A., seizing burglary tools, surveillance equipment and 48,000 documents.
In October 1979, Hubbard's wife, Mary Sue, who directed the Guardian's Office, and 10 other Scientologists were convicted on charges of conspiring to steal government documents or obstruct justice. Her husband, named an un?indicted co-conspirator, went into seclusion at his ranch near La Quinta, Calif.
By then, two of the young men from the remodeling detail were trusted aides to the self-exiled church founder. Rathbun delivered Hubbard's mail and messages; Miscavige was his "action chief.''
In January 1981, Miscavige asked Rathbun to join him on a road trip to the Super Bowl. Driving eight-hour shifts from L.A. to New Orleans, they got to know each other along the way.
Later that year, Hubbard gave Miscavige a critical assignment: Resolve the crush of lawsuits and investigations that threatened the church. Miscavige chose Rathbun and three others to help handle the job.
Rathbun says he spent six months prioritizing cases and developing strategy.
"I put together units to handle cases, one in Clearwater, one in New York, one in Boston, one in Toronto,'' he said. "They would answer to me. I was sort of becoming in charge of the legal operation.''
Miscavige, meanwhile, was disposing of internal rivals and building power. At age 21, he talked Hubbard's wife into resigning.
It didn't hurt to have Hubbard's approval. His son had filed a lawsuit claiming that the company overseeing Hubbard's assets, headed by Miscavige, was siphoning his fortune. Hubbard responded with a declaration stating that he had "unequivocal confidence in David Miscavige, who is a long-time devoted Scientologist, a trusted associate and a good friend to me."
Rinder, in turn, became a trusted associate to the emerging leader. Miscavige pulled his childhood acquaintance out of Clearwater to help dissolve the Guardian's Office, the arm of Scientology that had stolen the IRS files and committed other offenses.
He installed Rinder as head of the new international Office of Special Affairs. Part of Rinder's new job was to spread a revised narrative about Scientology: The church's new leaders were appalled to learn of the Guardian Office's dirty tricks. That was not, they said, what Scientology was all about.
Besting his rivals
On Jan. 27, 1986, thousands of Scientologists gathered at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, where a solemn Miscavige delivered the news: The founder had moved on to a new level of research that would be "done in an exterior state ? completely exterior of the body.''
At 74, L. Ron Hubbard was dead.
Miscavige yielded the microphone to church attorney Earle Cooley, who did not mention Miscavige by name, but helped cement him as future leader. Cooley disclosed that Hubbard, who had died of a stroke, left the bulk of his estate to Scientology, giving final instructions that were "his ultimate expression of his confidence in the management of the church.''
He left no explicit succession plan, leaving open the question of who would lead the church.
Months later, Miscavige, Rathbun and another executive took control of the Religious Technology Center, the RTC, which Hubbard created as the highest ecclesiastical body in the church. They dismissed the staff and pressured the head of the office to step down.
Miscavige became the RTC's chairman of the board, a title he still holds. Rathbun took the high-ranking post of inspector general for ethics.
The last rivals for control of Scientology were Pat and Annie Broeker, who had assisted Hubbard in his last years. The founder had elevated them to "loyal officer" status, a higher rank than Miscavige, a captain.
The Broekers also had custody of Hubbard's last writings, the cherished upper levels of Scientology auditing that he wrote by hand while in seclusion. For a church that depends in large part on auditing fees, the papers were a gold mine not only spiritually, but financially. Miscavige wanted them.
Rathbun reveals what they did:
The day Pat Broeker and Miscavige flew cross-country to meet church lawyers in Washington, Rathbun positioned a team of about 20 men outside the Broekers' ranch in Barstow, Calif.
During a layover in Chicago, Miscavige called with the signal for Rathbun to phone the ranch caretaker. Rathbun told her that Miscavige and Broeker had called with a message: The FBI planned to raid the ranch in two hours. If they didn't get Hubbard's papers out, they might be lost forever.
The woman let Rathbun and his guys in.
"It worked like a charm," he said.
Miscavige's rise was complete. At 26, he answered to no one in Scientology.
For Rathbun, the point of the story is that Miscavige maneuvered his way to the top, he was not the chosen one. But Scientologists believe he was anointed. "And when they believe that, they're willing to do almost anything."
It was a conversation days after getting their hands on Hubbard's last writings that Rathbun says showed him that Miscavige saw himself not as a political climber but as a chosen leader.
Miscavige seemed in awe of his new responsibilities, so Rathbun tried to buck him up. "I said my basketball coach in high school had these inspirational sayings. One, from Darrell Royal of the Texas Longhorns, stuck with me. He said, 'I don't worry about choosing a leader. He'll emerge.' ''
"That's false data!'' Miscavige shot back.
Said Rathbun: "He rejected that so fast. Boy, when I suggested he was anything other than anointed, he jumped down my throat.''
Scientology vs. the IRS
By the late 1980s, the battle with the IRS had quieted from the wild days of break-ins and indictments. But Miscavige was no less intent on getting back the church's tax exemption, which he thought would legitimize Scientology.
The new strategy, according to Rathbun: Overwhelm the IRS. Force mistakes.
The church filed about 200 lawsuits against the IRS, seeking documents to prove IRS harassment and challenging the agency's refusal to grant tax exemptions to church entities.
Some 2,300 individual Scientologists also sued the agency, demanding tax deductions for their contributions.
"Before you knew it, these simple little cookie-cutter suits ? became full-blown legal cases," Rathbun said.
Washington-based attorney William C. Walsh, who is now helping the church rebut the defectors claims, shepherded many of those cases. "We wanted to get to the bottom of what we felt was discrimination,'' he said. "And we got a lot of documents, evidence that proved it.''
"It's fair to say that when we started, there was a lot of distrust on both sides and suspicion,'' Walsh said. "We had to dispel that and prove who we were and what kind of people we were.''
Yingling teamed with Walsh, Miscavige and Rathbun on the case. She said the IRS investigation of Miscavige resulted in a file thicker than the FBI's file on Dr. Martin Luther King. "I mean it was insane,'' she said.
The church ratcheted up the pressure with a relentless campaign against the IRS.
Armed with IRS records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Scientology's magazine, Freedom, featured stories on alleged IRS abuses: lavish retreats on the taxpayers' dime; setting quotas on audits of individual Scientologists; targeting small businesses for audits while politically connected corporations were overlooked.
Scientologists distributed the magazine on the front steps of the IRS building in Washington.
A group called the National Coalition of IRS Whistleblowers waged its own campaign. Unbeknownst to many, it was quietly created and financed by Scientology.
It was a grinding war, with Scientology willing to spend whatever it took to best the federal agency. "I didn't even think about money,'' Rathbun said. "We did whatever we needed to do.''
They also knew the other side was hurting. A memo obtained by the church said the Scientology lawsuits had tapped the IRS's litigation budget before the year was up.
The church used other documents it got from the IRS against the agency.
In one, the Department of Justice scolded the IRS for taking indefensible positions in court cases against Scientology. The department said it feared being "sucked down" with the IRS and tarnished.
Another memo documented a conference of 20 IRS officials in the 1970s. They were trying to figure out how to respond to a judge's ruling that Scientology met the agency's definition of a religion. The IRS' solution? They talked about changing the definition.
Rathbun calls it the "Final Solution" conference, a meeting that demonstrated the IRS bias against Scientology. "We used that (memo) I don't know how many times on them," he said.
By 1991, Miscavige had grown impatient with the legal tussle. He was confident he could personally persuade the IRS to bend. That October, he and Rathbun walked into IRS headquarters in Washington and asked to meet with IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg. They had no appointment.
Goldberg, who did not respond to interview requests for this story, did not see them that day, but he met with them a week later.
Rathbun says that contrary to rumor, no bribes were paid, no extortion used. It was round-the-clock preparation and persistence ? plus thousands of lawsuits, hard-hitting magazine articles and full-page ads in USA Today criticizing the IRS.
"That was enough," Rathbun said. "You didn't need blackmail."
He and Miscavige prepped incessantly for their meeting. "I'm sitting there with three banker's boxes of documents. He (Miscavige) has this 20-page speech to deliver to these guys. And for every sentence, I've got two folders'' of backup.
Miscavige presented the argument that Scientology is a bona fide religion ? then offered an olive branch.
Rathbun recalls the gist of the leader's words to the IRS:
Look, we can just turn this off. This isn't the purpose of the church. We're just trying to defend ourselves. And this is the way we defend. We aggressively defend. If we can sit down and actually deal with the merits, get to what we feel we are actually entitled to, this all could be gone.
The two sides took a break.
Rathbun remembered: "Out in the hallway, Goldberg comes up to me because he sees I'm the right-hand guy. He goes: 'Does he mean it? We can really turn it off?' ''
"And I said,'' turning his hand for effect, " 'Like a faucet.' ''
The two sides started talks. Yingling said she warned church leaders to steel themselves, counseling that they answer every question, no matter how offensive.
Agents asked some doozies: about LSD initiation rituals, whether members were shot when they got out of line and about training terrorists in Mexico. "We answered everything,'' Yingling said, crediting Miscavige for insisting the church be open, honest and cooperative.
The back and forth lasted two years and resulted in this agreement: The church paid $12.5 million. The IRS dropped its criminal investigations. All pending cases were dropped.
On Oct. 8, 1993, some 10,000 church members gathered in the Los Angeles Sports Arena to celebrate the leader's announcement: The IRS had restored the church's tax exemption, legitimizing Scientology as a church, not a for-profit operation.
"The war is over," Miscavige told the crowd. "This means everything.''
Recharged on the Freewinds
The euphoria was short-lived. With the tax cases ended, court records became public. Newspapers wanted to know why Miscavige and his wife together made around $100,000 while at the time most church staffers made but $50 a week. Miscavige was furious, and got angrier still when Rathbun argued it would be an insignificant story.
Shortly after, Miscavige's wife, Michelle, came to Rathbun's office and, without a word, removed the gold captain's bars from his Sea Org uniform. Miscavige called him an SP, a suppressive person, and Rathbun was forced to confess his sins before his own staff.
Rathbun was done. "I thought to myself: You know what? That's it. What am I doing here?''
From the safe in his office at the California base he took three 1-ounce pieces of gold, worth about $500 each, slipped on a bomber jacket, ate breakfast in the mess hall and drove east toward Pensacola, to visit a friend. Miscavige tracked him down and arranged to meet in New Orleans.
"He begged me to come back,'' Rathbun recalled, adding that Miscavige offered the carrot of a two-year stint aboard the Freewinds, a Scientology cruise ship where parishioners get the highest levels of counseling while sailing the Caribbean.
Rathbun said Miscavige told him:
You've worked hard, you deserved a reward. Go spend time on the ship. Get yourself right, get in touch with what made you love the church in the first place. Hone your skills, come back as the best auditor on the planet.
It was just what Rathbun needed to hear: "I couldn't have been more thankful.''
He came aboard the Freewinds late in 1993. He worked odd jobs, devoured Hubbard's writings and spent eight to 10 hours a day receiving counseling and training to be an auditor.
After two years at sea, he reported to Clear?water, to Flag, where the church bases its best auditors and offers upper levels of training. But the quality of auditing had slipped. Rathbun's assignment was to help bring it back up.
Late in the summer of 1995, a woman exited an auditing room at the Fort Harrison Hotel, raised her arms above her head and shouted with delight ? a breach of the all-quiet protocol on the auditing floor.
"Who's that?'' Rathbun asked a supervisor.
"That's Lisa McPherson.''
ABOUT THE STORY
Mark C. "Marty" Rathbun left the Church of Scientology staff in late 2004, ending a 27-year career that saw him rise to be among the organization's top leaders. For the past four years, he has lived a low-profile life in Texas. Some speculated he had died.
In February, Rathbun posted an Internet message announcing he was available to counsel other disaffected Scientologists.
"Having dug myself out of the dark pit where many who leave the church land," he wrote, "I began lending a hand to others similarly situated."
Contacted by the St. Petersburg Times, Rathbun agreed to tell the story of his years in Scientology and what led to his leaving. The Times interviewed him at his home in Texas, and he came to Clearwater to revisit some of the scenes he described.
Seeking to corroborate Rathbun's story, the newspaper contacted others who were in Scientology during the same period and have left the church: Mike Rinder, one of Rathbun's closest associates for two decades; Tom De Vocht, whom Rathbun named as key to his decision to leave; and later, Amy Scobee.
Rathbun and Rinder were well known to the reporters, who had interviewed them dozens of times, sometimes combatively, through years of controversy in Clearwater. They also hosted the reporters in Los Angeles in 1998, when Miscavige granted the only print media interview he has given.
Two reporters met Rinder in Denver, where he now lives, but he declined to be interviewed. About a month later, two Washington-based lawyers who work for the church showed up unannounced in Denver, informed Rinder that they had heard about the newspaper's visit and asked what he had revealed.
They reminded him that as one of the church's top legal officers, attorney-client privilege did not end when he left the church. They told him he could hurt the church by going public.
Weeks later, after the church provided the newspaper with a 2007 video of Rinder heatedly denying that Miscavige hit him and others, Rinder decided to talk to the Times.
De Vocht was interviewed in Winter Haven. Scobee was interviewed in Pinellas County, when she and her husband came to visit relatives.
The reporters interviewed the four defectors multiple times, and met with church spokesmen and lawyers for 25 hours.
Joe Childs, Managing Editor/Tampa Bay, ran the Times Clearwater operation dating to 1993 and supervises the newspaper's Scientology coverage. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas C. Tobin has covered the Church of Scientology off and on since 1996. He can be reached at email@example.com
COMING TOMORROW PART 2
New details about the case of Lisa McPherson ? who died in the care of Scientologists ? from the executive who directed the church's handling of the case. He admits he ordered the destruction of incriminating evidence.
COMING TUESDAY PART 3
The defectors describe bizarre behavior, group punishments and other facets of the church's internal justice system.
Go online for more on Scientology, including video interviews with two of the defectors and previous coverage of the church.
Copied from above:
Prosecutors demand end of Scientology
June 16, 2009
THE Church of Scientology in France should be dissolved due to alleged fraudulent activities, the Paris public prosecution service has demanded.
The demand has been made as part of a court hearing in which the organisation is accused of swindling people out of their money in an organised gang.
The prosecution is also demanding fines of ?4 million against the two main legal entities of French Scientology ? the Association Spirituelle de l'Eglise de Scientologie-Celebrity Center and the Librairie SEL (Scientologie Espace Libert?) - and suspended jail sentences from two to four years and fines from ?10,000 to ?150,000 have been requested against four of its leaders.
The man facing the heaviest demands for punishment is Alain Rosenberg, 60, the leader of French Scientology.
Public prosecutor Maud Coujard set aside the issue of whether or not Scientology was a valid religion, saying: ?Pretend religion or real one, this is not the place to debate that. Neither the fact of being a religion nor religious motives would be a legal justification.?
The prosecution claim that the organisation uses a series of fraudulent methods to gain money from adherents ? starting with the personality tests used in recruitment through the use of ?e-meters? in ?auditing? people (a kind of counselling claimed to release people from negative effects of past experiences in a process of ?clearing? shown by the meter readings) to ?commercial harassment? and a ?cohort of training programs.?
All this adds up to a ?maniacal and paranoid? marketing system, say prosecutors, adding adherents are expected to sign forms which constitute a ?Faustian pact? renouncing the right to make complaints.
The Scientologists say money paid is just gifts from believers to the church. They deny the accusations and say their freedom to practice their religion is under attack.
The trial continues, with a judgment not expected until the autumn. Should the prosecution win, the Scientologists are certain to appeal and any final dissolution would probably be years away.
British diplomats compiled evidence 30 years ago that the founder of Scientology, L Ron Hubbard, was a "fraud", according to National Archive papers.
By Alastair Jamieson
Published: 6 Aug 2009
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... fraud.html
An excellent article that shows the destructiveness of Scientology and the aftermath. Ditto for cults including RSE. JZ is fortunate that RSE has not much of a history or presence in France yet.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/au ... ance-legal
?It claims to be one of the world's fastest-growing new religions but a battery of legal cases threaten its very existence in this secular country?
By Angelique Chrisafis
The Guardian, Saturday 29 August 2009
An excerpt, copied from above:
From page 1, In a small Normandy village, surrounded by wheat fields, Gwen Le Berre keeps a Scientology "electrometer" machine in his bedroom. He opens the large green briefcase and peers at the machine inside. It looks like a lie-detector from an old TV cop show and Le Berre doesn't really understand how it works ? he just knows it's a key piece of kit for the Church of Scientology.
Le Berre, 21, keeps the machine as a memento of his mother's life. Four days before Christmas 2006, Gloria Lopez, a 47-year-old secretary, tidied her kitchen, hung out her washing, left her dull, suburban apartment overlooking the railway in Colombes, west of Paris, and walked the 30 metres out on to the tracks. She stood with her arms outstretched, smiling at the driver of the oncoming commuter train. He couldn't stop in time.
From page 2, But after reading her tormented writings, Lopez's children and her ex-husband decided to file a legal complaint against the Church of Scientology for what they claim is its role in her death. They estimate that in around 10 years as a Scientologist, Lopez spent between ?200,000 and ?250,000 on courses and books ? despite her secretary's salary, which was ?2,000 a month at the time of her death. Her family also claim that she was counselled by Scientology financial advisers and decided to sell a property she had inherited in Spain, freeing up capital for more courses. "They stole my mother," Gwen says. "I don't feel I knew my mother apart from in her role as a Scientologist."
The police investigation into the Lopez case is just one of a series of investigations and legal cases that has led the Church of Scientology to complain of a "climate of hatred" and a state-sponsored "inquisition" against them in France. Together they have the potential to threaten Scientology's very survival in France and undermine it elsewhere. This autumn, not only could its two flagship centres in France be closed down, but the church itself could be convicted of "organised fraud".
Along with the Lopez case, there is an ongoing investigation into a 2008 kidnapping case in which Martine Boublil, a 48-year-old Frenchwoman, is said to have been found being held, half naked, on a vermin-infested mattress in a house in Sardinia. She filed a complaint saying that her brother ? an ex-doctor and prominent Scientologist ? had kidnapped her, trying to treat her psychological problems himself. The Church of Scientology and Boublil's brother, Claude, denies she was kidnapped and described the case as a "tragic family affair" that the media had sought to exploit.
Copied from page 2 & 3, But this May the most serious fraud trial that the Church of Scientology has faced anywhere in the world opened in Paris. Not only were six important French Scientologists placed in the dock for organised fraud and illegally practising as pharmacists ? for selling vitamins classed as medication in France ? but, for the first time, the Church itself was accused of organised fraud. In a historic move, the state prosecutor requested that the judges dismantle and dissolve Paris's two flagship Scientology premises: the Celebrity Centre and its bookshop in the capital. The verdict is due at the end of October, and the world is watching. If the Paris centres are shut, it will limit Scientology's operations in France and may have implications elsewhere.
From page 3, Summing up, the French state prosecutor slammed a "universe of secret rules" and deliberate, planned, fraudulent manoeuvres. She criticised the movement's personality tests and electrometers, which she said were designed to impress and deceive members.
When the verdict is handed down in October, it may not only see the dissolution of Scientology's major Paris branches, but fines of ?4m and hefty sentences levelled against six individuals, among them Alain Rosenberg, the director general of Paris's Celebrity Centre and one of the select few Scientologists in France who have attained the church's highest grade of clarity and enlightenment. He denied the prosecution's charges that Scientology was a business that planned to ensnare new members to defraud them. "I'm a man of the church and not a director general of a business," he said. He defined purification treatments, electrometers and courses in Ron Hubbard's book Dianetics as "religious services", arguing that "spiritual elevation" had no price.
Defence lawyers said none of the individuals on trial had made a cent and had acted "out of religious conviction". Scientology's barrister Patrick Maisonneuve argued that while other countries had recognised Scientology as a religion, France was intent on "burning Ron Hubbard's books in the courtyard of the Holy Chapel as the international community watches in horror".
From page 4, He says it's wrong to assume people who join Scientology are "weak". "The people who sign up have a healthy approach, they want to go forward in life, achieve their projects and ambitions." At the Celebrity Centre, he felt he was surrounded by an elite membership from the worlds of art and business. But Stoffen became tortured by his struggle to progress to higher levels of "clarity" and the constant scraping for money to pay for courses. "You would do everything to pay that sum, it was a question of life and death for us, spiritual life or death," he says.
"When you're on the inside, the illusion is perfect. I was convinced that I was thinking for myself, that I became more authentic, that no one ran my life. But the reverse was happening. Without realising, I had been subjected to a real depersonalisation process, a destructuring, so I had become a type of clone. The aim is to destroy, destabilise the person, make them vulnerable, weaken them on a psychological level and place them in a state of dependence."
He left in 2001 and filed a legal complaint against the Church of Scientology for extortion, fraud, blackmail and illegally practising as pharmacists. In September 2006, an investigating judge dismissed the case, but in May 2007 that decision was overturned by an appeals court. A judicial investigation has been reopened and Stoffen will meet investigating magistrates in September as he waits for the next step in his case.
"When you leave Scientology, you're totally broken," he says, "as a human being, financially, morally. Your own identity is the result of indoctrination aimed at destroying your critical faculties. When you leave, the feeling of shame and guilt is enormous. It's unbearable."
From page 4 & 5, France, with its republican tradition of the separation of church and state, takes the behaviour of sects and cults seriously ? perhaps because it has been shaken by a number of major tragedies in recent history, including the mass suicide of members of the cult Order of the Solar Temple.
From page 5, The Church of Scientology argues that secular France is persecuting it for its beliefs as a "new religion". Fenech disagrees. "For France, Scientology is a vast commercial enterprise hiding behind a religious mask," he says. "This is not something against the Ron Hubbardian doctrine, or beliefs about intergalactic happenings thousands of years ago. What we're interested in is that people are dragged into this movement, lose their liberty, autonomy and sometimes their life." He says France protects freedom of religion, "but if a law is being broken, the state will go there. Religion isn't a protection against the law."
Back in Normandy, Gwen Le Berre says he has no interest in any kind of campaign against Scientology ? he just wants justice and the truth about his mother.
"When she died, I didn't know much about Scientology. It was the last thing that came to mind," her son says. "If, by bringing a case, we can open people's eyes, it will have been worth it."
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/How_the_S ... s_own_ends
An excerpt, copied from above:
How the Scientology Organization uses and exploits the United States' legal system for its own ends
by Graham E. Berry
Speech given at "That is Scientology! Reports from the U.S.A." - a conference in Hamburg, Germany sponsored by Germany?s Department of Interior Affairs. It was organized by Ursula Caberta, Head of Working Group, Scientology, Office for Domestic Affairs, Hamburg. The conference took place September 4, 2008.
From pages 1 & 2, These written policies are loosely called ?Fair Game? and they can take different forms ? intelligence, investigation, intimidation, litigation, fraud & deception. These six forms of Scientology ?Fair Game? are the principal means with which the Scientology enterprise uses and exploits the United States system of law for its own ends. The Church of Scientology has a well deserved reputation for being the most fearsome and intimidating litigant in America. Many lawyers are willing to deal with hardball litigation tactics, but few are willing to confront criminal tactics ? public corruption, bribery blackmail, extortion, perjury, obstruction of justice, fraud, false claims, lying, defamation, deception, intimidation and psycho terror. All of these things are well documented as being the regular litigation tactics of the Church of Scientology, its lawyers and its private investigators. The fraud starts with the deceitful claim that it is simply a misunderstood, peaceful, ethical religion. However, only Scientology's conduct, and not its science fiction space opera beliefs is relevant to my opinions being expressed here today.
From page 2, For example, Scientologist John Danielson was chief of staff to President George W. Bush's former secretary of Education, Rod Page. They are still working together as the ?Chartwell education group? and they are continuing to support Scientology as Applied Scholastics in 10 states to receive taxpayer monies as part of the supplemental education service under the ?no child left behind? program. Bruce Wiseman, the president of Scientology's anti-psychiatry group ? the Citizens Commission for Human Rights ? or CCHR ? is also the treasurer of the national foundation for woman legislators. Former Scientology lead attorney Gerald Chaleff is now the Los Angeles Police department lead attorney and a member of the Los Angeles Police department command team. The Los Angeles county sheriff publicly supports and promotes Scientology. It is said he even tried to introduce Scientology training into the Los Angeles sheriff's department. The Assistant city attorney in Los Angeles, in charge of ensuring the Los Angeles Police department does not engage in any racketeering conduct, ironically - is a Scientologist, married to OSA legal unit lawyer Ava Paquette who works with Mr. Moxon.
The list of infiltrated, corrupt, compromised officials, including judges, is a long and tawdry one. For example, Scientologist's are placed into law firm word processing rooms, into congressional mail rooms, to intercept and report on litigation documents and citizen complaints. These people are coercively indoctrinated into ignoring their oaths and obligations of office and to always advance Scientology's agenda. To them, as their written policies demand, the ends always really do justify the means. As you know here in Europe, no democratic state can survive such pervasive, criminal behavior; but the United States now has an institutional tolerance of Scientology's crimes, abuses, frauds and seditions.
From page 4, So how did this unconstitutional outrage happen? 3 decades ago, Scientology agents broke into, and infiltrated 135 government departments and embassies in Washington DC as part of ?Operation: Snow White?; which is an ongoing Scientology project. The worst criminal infiltration of the United States government in our nation's history was perpetrated by none other than the Church of Scientology.
From page 5, So this is Scientology in America today; and it adversely effects America's image and reputation around the world. The US government claims it is fearless and tireless against extremist Islamic terrorism, but it is intimidated, impotent, and complicit in matters of Scientology domestic terrorism, crime and abuse. The law in the United States only requires that the government and the courts respect freedom of religious belief. The law and the court decisions are also clear that wrongful church conduct, whether religiously motivated or not, may be regulated and punished like any other crimes and abuses. Despite that, nearly all complaints about Scientology crimes and abuses are ignored by Federal and State government's and their law enforcement agencies. Over the past 10 years many hundreds of complaints have been made to the FBI, the Department of Justice, the IRS and the congress ? and all are ignored or rejected with a specious excuse. Outraged public officials take in complaints, input them into the system and then are stunned speechless when higher-up's spike any investigation or prosecution. In part it is this official inaction and hypocrisy that is prompting the tens of thousands around the world now, to protest Anonymously; against what is widely viewed as the world's most dangerous cult.
From page 6, In the United States, justice and fair play on a level playing field are not possible in litigation involving the Church of Scientology. The Government, law enforcement, the courts and the media, have all been terrorized into abdicating their oaths of office and obligations. A copyrighted Scientology document provides that quote: - ?The lawsuit is to harass and to discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass; and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway would generally be sufficient to cause his professional demise. If possible, of course, ruin utterly.? Close quote. Scientology takes us even further by engaging in institutional, organized perjury. Quote: - ?The only way to control someone is to lie to them.? Close quote. wrote Hubbard. He also wrote a document called the ?Manual of Justice.? And in that he wrote quote: - ?People attack Scientology. Always even the score. Overt investigation of someone or something attacking us,by an outside detective agency, should be done more often, and hang the expense. Hire them and damn the costs when you need. The Critic will sure shudder into silence. Scientology punishment is gruesome. There are people hiding in terror on Earth because they attacked us. There are men dead because they attacked us.? Close quote.
In another Scientology policy document, Hubbard wrote quote: - ?We will become interested in the crimes of people who try to stop us. If you oppose Scientology, we will promptly look up, and find, and expose your crimes. If you leave us alone, we will leave you alone. Its very simple; even a fool can grasp that? Close quote. There are dozens of written, copyrighted Scientology policies along these lines and even worse. In another Scientology policy document, Hubbard directs the church to conduct quote: - ?wars of attrition on the basis of total attrition of the enemy. Just go in and obliterate them.? he says. ?Cut off enemy communications, funds and connections. Raid and harass.? Close quote.
Tuesday 15 September 2009
http://www.france24.com/en/20090915-sci ... ourt-fraud
Copied from above:
REUTERS - A new French law means the Church of Scientology cannot be dissolved in France even if it is convicted of fraud, it has emerged during a trial of the organisation.
A prosecutor has recommended that a Paris court dissolve the church?s French branch, which has been charged with fraud after complaints by former members who say they gave huge sums to the church for spiritual classes and ?purification packs?.
The Church of Scientology?s French arm denies fraud.
Whatever the ruling, under a legislative reform passed just before the start of the trial in May, it is no longer possible to punish a fraudulent organisation with dissolution.
The legal snag was discovered by the Inter-ministerial Unit to Monitor and Fight Cults. Georges Fenech, head of the unit, demanded on Monday that the legal power to dissolve an organisation be reinstated.
?Faced with organisations of a sectarian nature, which present a real danger to public order and public health, the law must always have such a measure at its disposal,? he said in a statement.
Prosecutors? unions and a lawyer representing alleged victims of the Church of Scientology, Olivier Morice, called for an inquiry into the legal change and an explanation from the Justice Ministry.
Even if the law is changed again, it cannot be applied retroactively to the Scientology trial, which was held in May and June, with the ruling expected in late October.
Jean-Luc Warsmann, a member of the ruling UMP party who introduced the bill amending the law, said in a statement that the change made the maximum penalty for fraud committed by an organisation a ban on its activites in France.
He said he believed a ban was better than dissolution, since it meant an organisation could not continue its activities under a different name.
The church said in a statement on Monday its prosecution was ?scandalous? and had already seriously harmed the organisation.
Registered as a religion in the United States, with celebrity members such as actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, Scientology enjoys no such legal protection in France.
The trial, which began on May 25, centres on complaints made in the late 1990s. Scientology?s French headquarters, a bookshop and six leading French Scientology members are in the dock.
Prosecutor Maud Coujard urged the court to return a guilty verdict, dissolve the organisation in France and fine it 4 million euros ($5.8 million).
Scientology?s lawyer, Patrick Maisonneuve, has called the prosecutor?s recommendation a ?death sentence? for the organisation in France.
European Court Of Human Rights Rules Russian Ban On Scientologists Illegal
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/ ... 5832.shtml
(AP) Russia's ban on the Church of Scientology is illegal, the European Court of Human Rights said Thursday in a binding ruling.
The court said Russia cannot ban the Church of Scientology just because it has not been in the country for long and awarded each of the groups euro5,000 ($7,270) in damages. The groups together also received euro10,000 ($14,500) for costs, which they shared.
The case was brought to the Strasbourg-based court by two Russian Scientology branches that were refused listing as "religious organizations" because they have not existed for at least 15 years as required by Russia's Religions Act.
Though Scientology is not widely seen as a religion in Europe, the court said it was making its judgment based on national law.
The Russian Scientology branches _ one in the city of Surgut, the other in Nizhnekamsk _ had originally taken their case to Russian courts but lost.
The Church of Scientology of Russia said the ruling "sets another important precedent to protect the rights of all other religious communities in Europe," according to a statement from spokeswoman Nina de Kastro.
In 2007, the Moscow Scientology branch Moscow won a case in the Strasbourg court. The St. Petersburg branch has a case pending.
The Strasbourg court issues rulings based on the European Convention on Human Rights that are binding on the 47 member states of the Council of Europe.
The Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology, founded in 1954 by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, claims to have 10 million members in 165 nations.
It has been active for decades in Europe, but has struggled to gain status as a religion. Belgium, Germany and other European countries see Scientology as a cult or sect.
Oct 23, 2009: High-Level Members Who Left the Church Say Leader David Miscavige Hit Subordinates; Church Denies Accusations
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yYk3yIZ ... re=related
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSn3HmoCG5s
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7d8-Oksh0E
Oct 24, 2009: How Scientology Attracts Celebrities - Church Has Long Sought High-Profile Public Figures as 'Walking Success Stories'
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4jBz00VuzE
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHpFi_xH0Is
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hkh2TPhoZgo
Scientology spokesperson, Tommy Davis took offense to Nightline?s Martin Bashir?s questions and walked out in the interview in Part 3?
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U11jvVP_yDE
Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hw_4NSX8x4
October 27, 2009 by France 24
A Paris court on Tuesday convicted the two principal institutions of the Church of Scientology in France of ?organised fraud?, but stopped short of banning the group?s activities in France.
The court also levied fines totalling 600,000 euros and handed suspended prison sentences to four French Scientology officials. Scientology?s leader in France, Alain Rosenberg, received a two-year suspended sentence and a fine of 30,000 euros.
It did not, however, ban the organisation?s activities.
The two key Scientology institutions ? known in France as The Celebrity Centre and the Spiritual Association of the Church of Scientology - were ordered to pay the fines for financially preying on Scientology?s vulnerable followers in the 1990s.
Reacting to the news shortly after the verdicts were announced, George Fenech, president of Milivudes, a French anti-cult group, told FRANCE 24 that the fines and prison sentences were appropriate, and that he hoped Scientology?s activities would eventually be stopped in France.
Fenech predicted that ?in the future, if Scientology commits more illegal activities, it could be dissolved by a court.?
The case was launched by two plaintiffs, who claimed that they were defrauded of over 20,000 euros and 49,500 euros each for costly materials they claim they were coerced into buying.
An intricacy of French law prohibiting courts from dissolving organisations convicted of fraud meant that Scientology could not be totally banned in France, though the law has since changed.
Scientology is officially considered a ?sect? in France, but claims it is a legitimate religion and denies any charges of embezzlement. A lawyer for the Church of Scientology has said it plans to appeal the verdict.
The Church of Scientology was founded in 1954 by American science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. It is officially recognised as a religion in the United States, and counts among its members a number of popular culture celebrities, such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Lisa Marie Presley.
http://www.france24.com/en/20091027-cou ... rance-sect
By Richard Shears, 18th November 2009
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldne ... nator.html
- Sad Grandfather
- Posts: 286
- Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:18 pm
- Location: Joe Reeves, Carthage, Mississippi http://joesue.com/
1. Scientology seems to be different from Judith's cult in that the leaders seem to be egotistical enough to actually believe their own BS, while scamming their followers. I still believe Judith's cult to be a cleverly conceived and orchestrated SCAM, and don't think she believes word of it.
2. Like with Judith's scam, it would appear the scientologists have learned that a few well placed bribes will trump truth and justice, anyday!
Don't panic Haiti, the Scientologists are coming!
For our good friends from the church of L Ron, it's not so much a tragedy as an opportunity
Posted by Marina Hyde
Friday 22 January 2010
Psychopath, conman, liar, fantasist, fraudster, bully, tax evader, megalomaniac ? it's fair to say L Ron Hubbard's death was a blow to global humanitarianism. Happily, there is a silver lining to the cloud that has hung over Earth since the founder of Scientology shed his corporeal form in 1986. That silver- lining is the high profile, expansionist figures who represent his organisation today ? and the good news is that they're turning their thoughts to Haiti.
Were an idiot like you to itemise the myriad things that this most wretched of disaster zones currently lacked, chances are you'd omit "militant Scientologists who claim post-traumatic stress is a conspiracy created by the evil psychiatric profession, and who believe the correct response to extreme shock is to touch sufferers with one finger, before attempting to convert them to the ways of Hubbard".
All I can say is, thank God for John Travolta. The Wild Hogs legend has unveiled his response to the unfolding crisis, announcing: "I have arranged for a plane to take down some Volunteer Ministers and some supplies and some medics." For the medics and supplies John must obviously be thanked, but for the Volunteer Ministers ? arriving in Haiti via Air Travolta along with scores from other Scientology churches ? the same cannot be said.
According to an official press release, the corps will be on hand to dispense "spiritual first aid" to Haitians. Because really, nothing should feel more appropriate right now than gadding about Port-au-Prince offering survivors the chance to be hooked up to an e-meter. Hopefully if they find any gay people, they can begin curing them.
For the Volunteer Ministers, you see, a tragedy is not so much a tragedy as a tragitunity.
But please, don't take Lost in Showbiz's word for it ? take that of L Ron himself, who personally decreed the strategy he called "Casualty Contact", in which he advised Scientologists to scan newspapers for reports of accidents or bereavements, searching for "people who have been victimised one way or another by life".
Stipulating that one way to do this was to trawl hospitals, Hubbard declared of the ambulance-chasing Scientologist that, "He should represent himself . . . as a minister whose compassion was compelled by the newspaper story concerning the person [. . .] However, in handling the press he should simply say that it is a mission of the church to assist those who are in need of assistance. He should avoid any lengthy discussions of Scientology and should talk about the work of ministers and how all too few ministers these days get around to places where they are needed. It's straight recruiting!"
Casualty Contact has since modulated into the Volunteer Ministers programme, whose yellow tents are increasingly visible at high-profile disaster sites, and often enlivened by special appearances by their celebrity adherents. Within these tents Scientologists administer the aforementioned Touch Assists, whose purpose is to "speed the Thetan's ability to heal or repair a condition with his body".
After 9/11, aid agencies at Ground Zero voiced concern that the Volunteer Ministers had displayed their leaflets around the disaster site and operated in the restricted area without authorisation until this was pointed out to the police, who then denied them access. Two days after the tragedy, and presenting themselves as an organisation called National Mental Health Assistance, representatives of the Church of Scientology duped Fox News into running the church's freephone number for five hours on the bottom of the screen, apparently in the belief that it was the official outreach hotline. Fox News removed it after an irate intervention from the real National Mental Health Association.
"The public needs to understand that the Scientologists are using this tragedy to recruit new members," the president of the NMHA stated. "They are not providing mental health assistance."
Au contraire, say the Scientologists, who claim they provide a unique brand of "meaningful help" during catastrophes. They were there after the tsunami, after Katrina ? with added Travolta ? and in Beslan, before being asked to leave after the local Russian health ministry judged their techniques unhelpful to already severely traumatised children.
And of course they were there after the 7 July attacks, when an undercover BBC investigation taped the leader of the London branch of the Church's anti-psychiatry movement laughing that their role in the immediate aftermath of the bombings was "fighting the psychiatrists; keeping the psychs away [from survivors]". One survivor who happened to have mental health training voiced his shock that Scientologists had attempted to recruit him and others.
What sort of numbers they'll do in Haiti remains to be seen, but hats off to Travolta and the church leaders for deploying in this way. As for Scientology's most famous face, do recall "the Mr Cruise response to 9/11" ? setting up the First New York Hubbard Detox project where firemen who had breathed in the World Trade Centre dust were encouraged to submit to the "Purification Rundown", discarding their medication and taking endless saunas along with high doses of niacin, much to the despair of their doctors. Whether even Tom's nuclear self-confidence extends to mooting the First Port-au-Prince Hubbard Detox Project, only time will tell.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/ ... ists-haiti
The miracles in Haiti seem to be much larger than anything you've demonstrated. The Haitians are self-regulating their orderly lines. Rarely saw that at RSE with people trampling over others and knocking over others in the 'field.' The Haitians are helping one another. More than what I witnessed at RSE. If there is anywhere in the world where people are walking 20 miles to start over and escape and surviving insurmountable catastrophe, it's in Haiti. So when was RSE there?
I didn't think so. They don't need your psychotic babble. They need 'real' medical doctors and we all know-that you are most definitely not. You just 'play' one at RSE.
So don't knock yourself out, doc. The Haitians have you and RSE beat hands down, in both miracles and will and something RSE doesn't 'get.' They help and love one another.
Very well put,I have stopped watching all reports on Haiti,just too hard on me,but the way you discribed it, maybe I should look at it and learn things we never learned at RSE or, and no one will ever learn.
Greg;what a charlatant you are .
Thank you G2G
Greta van Susteren, an ex-CNN, now Foxnews talking head, [of OJ Simpson trial reporting fame] is a Scientologist. You can do the math....Two days after the tragedy, and presenting themselves as an organisation called National Mental Health Assistance, representatives of the Church of Scientology duped Fox News into running the church's freephone number for five hours on the bottom of the screen, apparently in the belief that it was the official outreach hotline. Fox News removed it after an irate intervention from the real National Mental Health Association.
http://gawker.com/5185380/sarah-palin-a ... e=true&s=x
"What is our plan?
A group of Scientologists, centered in Washington DC, have been working on setting up a PAC for many months. The purpsoe is to create a group which forward the aims of Scinetology and which can create power based on the principles outlined in the Aims of Scientology and the Creed. The PAC can be used to get Scientologists credible access to important poitical figures. This should allow us to create relationships, to make friends, handle entheta on Scientology and create safepoints for Scientology which can be used to help in handling present and any future attacks on our Church, as well as making successful Scientologists known on the important lines."
think of all the local Ramsters currently in office.
"Billy's Mom" Christianson
really? Scientologists making their headway into DC?Hello
Anything would be better than what we got now in Washington.
sort of like Ramsters politically making their way into Yelm.
I would have to say I politely disagree with having a Scientologist as Presdient elect or anywhere near influential status.
http://www.comcast.net/video/travolta-d ... 399090587/
"he brought along several ministers from the Church of Scientology with him."
Okay, bad joke. But, really
Questions for Baptists, Praise for Scientologists in Haiti
By ROBERT MACKEY
On Wednesday, as a Haitian judge continued to question 10 Americans whose faith-based mission to Haiti has landed them in legal trouble, the work of volunteer ministers from the Church of Scientology was lauded in a report on American television.
In the case of the detained Baptists, whose plan to take 33 Haitian children out of the country last week without official permission led to their arrest, a prosecutor told Reuters that a decision about whether to file charges will be announced on Thursday.
My colleagues Ginger Thompson and Shaila Dewan reported on Tuesday that several of the children were given to the Americans by their parents, and so were not orphans, as the group had initially claimed. Those parents also denied that they had given their children up for adoption and thought that they were only accepting an offer of a free education.
While the Baptist church members remain in a Port-au-Prince jail for another night, American Scientologists are celebrating the praise heaped on their volunteer ministers in the Haitian capital during this glowing report on NBC?s ?Today? show on Wednesday:
The report, headlined ?Scientologists Make a Difference in Haiti,? shows volunteers working in a Port-au-Prince hospital alongside a doctor who pronounces herself ?very impressed? and is narrated by a reporter who gives an enthusiastic account of Scientology healing and organizational techniques.
That assessment is quite different from the one given to the French news agency AFP by a doctor in Port-au-Prince last week, who reportedly laughed when asked about their touch therapy techniques.
Not surprisingly, this rave review of the church?s efforts in Haiti is now featured on a Scientology Web site documenting the work of its volunteer ministers in the wake of disasters. Another post on the Scientology ?Volunteer Minister Disaster Response? Web site shows members of the church helping to distribute food in Port-au-Prince alongside members of the American military.
As readers point out, for a very different perspective on the Scientologist presence in Haiti, see a post on Gawker which features what the blog says is an eyewitness account of the church?s volunteers at work in Port-au-Prince. The witness says he traveled to Port-au-Prince on the first flight chartered by the church, which also transported some non-Scientologist doctors and medical technicians. After arriving in Haiti, the witness said:
The doctors and EMTs in our party headed straight downtown to start working. The Scientologists had nowhere to go, and nowhere to put up the big yellow tent they?d brought for touch healing people in. They went to the UN, and managed to get on to their list of approved NGOs somehow. That meant they could set up in the UN grounds.
But they had no-one who spoke Creole, and they brought the weirdness of touch healing into a very superstitious society. They?d leave the tent and come into the general hospital downtown, and try healing people. One of the doctors and one of the nurses told me that the wounded started coming to them to tell them they didn?t want to be treated by the people in the yellow shirts.
One nurse told me that the Scientologists actually caused harm ? they gave food to people who were scheduled to go into surgery. That then led to complications in the operating theater.
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/0 ... -in-haiti/
> Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
> On Friday, six ex-scientologists spoke out about their experiences inside
> the Church of Scientology at a Press Conference in Hollywood.
> WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) – The airwaves of Los Angeles were
> buzzing with accounts of Scientology abuses last Friday after ex-staffers
> held a news conference in Hollywood. This event and a weekend filled with
> activities called a Megaraid marked the second anniversary of Project
> Chanology, a global protest against Scientology by an internet-based group
> called Anonymous.
> The press conference, which was also presented as a live video stream on the
> internet, was moderated by Mark Bunker an Emmy-winning journalist who has
> been covering Scientology since 1997. He is the webmaster for XENU TV
> (www.xenutv.com), which features video and audio interviews from former
> members, along documentaries, speeches, panels, protest videos, courtroom
> footage and a vast archive of broadcast media from around the world covering
> the controversial Scientology organization.
> Each of the presenters was able to tell his or her personal story of life
> inside the organization. A prepared summary given to journalists at the
> event offered a brief biography of the speakers and a bit about their story.
> Additionally, the press was also given background information and samples of
> Scientology documents.
> Marc Headley, the author of "Blown for Good," grew up in Hollywood, and
> joined Scientology?s Sea Org when he was just 16 years old. For 15 years he
> lived at Scientology?s International Base, where he worked 100-hour work
> weeks, for less than 50 cents an hour, and experienced mental and physical
> abuse. Headley told the conference of the dramatic escape he made, at age
> 32, from the heavily guarded Scientology compound in Hemet, California. He
> has since started a new life with his wife, who also escaped.
> Jefferson Hawkins spent 35 years working for the Church of Scientology, all
> over the world, and at all echelons, including the top level at the
> Scientology International Base in Hemet, California. For much of his time in
> Scientology, Hawkins was a key executive in Scientology?s marketing
> department. He conceived and ran the well-known Dianetics campaign in the
> 1980s that resulted in Dianetics appearing on all major bestseller lists.
> Hawkins talked about leaving Scientology in 2005 after experiencing
> firsthand the abuses and human rights violations at Scientology?s
> International Headquarters, including being allegedly beaten physically by
> Scientology?s leader, David Miscavige. Since 2006, he has been active in
> sharing his story concerning the Church of Scientology?s lies and abuses,
> and in providing help to individuals and families who have been harmed by
> Laura DeCrescenzo was recruited into the Sea Org at the age of 12. Married
> at16, she told of her story of becoming pregnant and subsequently forced to
> have an abortion, because children aren?t allowed in the Sea Org. She
> eventually became so desperate to escape she swallowed bleach to get herself
> thrown out. DeCrescenzo is now suing the church, alleging restricted
> freedom, forced abortions, severe punishment, and human trafficking.
> Maureen Bolstad has stated that at age 15 she "got tricked into making a
> dumb mistake" and signed a contract to join Scientology staff. She was
> promised an education and regular pay. Instead, Bolstad worked 18 hours a
> day, seven days a week, and developed health and emotional problems. In 17
> years, she only got to see her mother twice, for less than a week each time.
> She was allowed to leave after three years of being made to "confess her
> sins and evil intentions." Bolstad was divorced by her husband and still
> hasn?t heard from her sister, who stayed on staff, since 2006.
> Will Fry was raised by scientologists, and attended Scientology boarding
> school while his parents worked for the church. As a teenager, he joined the
> Sea Org, but immediately realized he wanted out; it took him almost three
> years. Afterwards the church billed him $12,000 for a so-called "freeloader
> Nancy Many, author of "My Billion Year Contract," was a college student in
> Boston when she first joined Scientology. She signed the infamous "Billion
> Year" contract when she joined the Sea Org, and was sent to Clearwater, Fl,
> to work under L. Ron Hubbard.
> When she was five months pregnant, Many was sent to the RPF (Rehabilitation
> Project Force--Scientology?s re-indoctrination and labor camp) where she was
> locked in the garage of the Fort Harrison Hotel until she was deemed
> "rehabilitated." After being subjected to relentless interrogations and
> confessions, Nancy suffered a mental breakdown that led to her leaving the
> During her presentation, Many also talked about Greg Bashaw, who was a
> devotee to Scientology, and later took his life in 2002. "I hope you people
> today," she told the reporters present, "can relay the fact that people are
> dieing... people are dieing... people are going psychotic."
> KABC, KTLA, KCAL/KCBS, KNBC and KTTV (Fox) all carried stories about the
> over two-hour press conference during their Friday evening news cycle, which
> also included a rebuttal by Scientology spokesman, Tommy Davis. Davis
> dismissed the statements as coming from angry former members who fabricated
> these stories.
> Catholic Online contacted Davis? office for a comment and is still awaiting
> a response.
> One observer at the event stated, "The media was at the press conference in
> force and showed a high level of interest. Mark Bunker did an absolutely
> superb job as the moderator. The event was emotional at times. One can read
> the internet, but when you see the people who actually lived the stories
> talk about it, it is almost overwhelming."
> "It is hard to hear a woman fighting back tears as she speaks about being
> pressured to abort her first child for the ?greatest good? by Scientology.
> Laura Decrescenzo was only seventeen years old when this happened. She was
> powerless and was told by Scientology that her baby was only tissue. She was
> broke, young, lacked a formal education, and was a stat in some production
> A question and answer time by the media present followed the presentation.
> Questions regarding the speaker?s stories were offered but some of the
> reporters preferred to focus more attention on the two lawsuits and the work
> of Anonymous.
> http://www.catholic.org/national/nation ... p?id=35423
First Broadcast March 8, 2010. About 44 minutes.
http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/special_ ... ientology/
http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/ ... 839875.htm
Ms Rainer had previously said that she was told by senior Scientology members that abuse was punishment for being bad in a previous life.
"She said, 'Just say no, keep repeating that'," Ms Rainer told the ABC in an interview last year.
"They told me it was my fault because I'd been bad in a past life. I believed them."
Scientologist charged for 'intimidating' alleged sex abuse victim
May 31, 2011
SENIOR member of the Church of Scientology has been charged by police for intimidating a young girl who wanted to report sexual abuse allegations within the church.
Jan Eastgate, the head of the church's "International Commission on Human Rights" which attacks psychology, has been charged by NSW Police with perverting the course of justice.
According the ABC TV's Lateline, police have alleged Eastgate intimidated a then 11-year-old Carmen Rainer to provide false statements about sexual abuse by her stepfather.
Ms Rainer has alleged that Ms Eastgate, who was then head of the church's citizens' commission on human rights in Australia, told her she should deny any charges of the sexual abuse or she and her brother would be taken away by social services.
Ms Rainer's mother Phoebe has also admitted Ms Eastgate told both of them what to say and to lie to police and in an interview with the Department of Community Services. Ms Eastgate previously called the allegations "egregiously false".
She she has not commented since being charged.
Ms Eastgate has been asked by NSW police to surrender her passport.
Ms Rainer had previously said that she was told by senior Scientology members that abuse was punishment for being bad in a previous life.
"She said, 'Just say no, keep repeating that'," Ms Rainer told the ABC in an interview last year.
"They told me it was my fault because I'd been bad in a past life. I believed them."
Ms Eastgate was the recipient of the Church of Scientology's Freedom Medal for her work with human rights, primarily aimed at uncovering problems with psychology treatments.
The news comes after the Australian Securities & Investments Commission earlier this month launched an inquiry into the business dealings of a Sydney property developer and senior Scientologist over a series of property deals.
The inquiry by ASIC into Carly Crutchfield was launched after independent senator Nick Xenophon - a vocal opponent of Scientology - sent a dossier to the corporate watchdog last month.
Senator Xenophon is calling for a judicial inquiry into the church.
The South Australian senator is asking that the organisation be stripped of its official religious status as a church, which means among other things its earnings aren't taxed. Scientology is founded on the teachings of American science fiction novelist L. Ron Hubbard, who taught that human psychological problems are a result of an ancient alien leader called Xenu, who attacked the planet Earth and left behind traumatised spirits of the former Earth race.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/na ... 6066045613
http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-ep ... the-closet
You can follow me on twitterPeter J Reilly
IRS Scientology "Thirty Years War" - Village Voice Legal Expert Argues "Treaty" Is Unconstitutional
The Katie Holmes – Tom Cruise divorce has brought Scientology into the news. I read a lot more tax decisions than celebrity profiles, so the question that popped into my mind was why is it that I see so many references to Scientology in tax cases, but never seem to see any current decisions. It turned out that there had been a “thirty years war” between Scientology and the IRS. Those references that litter more contemporary cases might be analogized to shell holes, if you can forgive the anachronism, since there was probably not ordnance in the real Thirty Years War (1618-1648) that could produce really impressive shell holes. The war ended in 1993 with a closing agreement. Closing agreements are confidential, but this one was leaked. My reading of it was that it seemed like a reasonable way to settle things. Scott Pilutik, who is often cited by the Village Voice ,thinks I got it really wrong. Here is what he has to say:
Spend a few hours googling “Scientology” and the questions will start piling up in your mind: How can a religion be so profitable? Why does it attract so many celebrities? Do they really believe that we’re all descended from an intergalactic overlord named Xenu?
But the most fascinating question has nothing to do with Scientology’s beliefs: Why is Scientology tax exempt? (And should it, perhaps, not be?)
The best way to begin answering this is to first puncture a popular misconception. People often conflate recognition as a religion and recognition as a tax exempt § 501(c)(3) entity as being effectively the same thing. But the IRS does not make determinations of an entity’s religiosity. In fact, the IRS is constitutionally prohibited from even entertaining the question. Whether Scientology is or is not a religion is thus a red herring–a philosophical as opposed to legal question, far outside the scope of the tax exemption question.
The IRS instead considers whether the organization maintains a “religious purpose,” which the IRS attempts to divine by asking (1) whether the beliefs of the organization are “truly and sincerely held,” and (2) whether the practices associated with the organization’s beliefs are not “illegal or contrary to clearly defined public policy.” Crudely restated, a qualifying religious organization must not be a sham, and it must not be morally repugnant.
Before considering how Scientology fares by this analysis, let’s first look at its tumultuous history with respect to the question of tax exemption.
The history of the Scientology religion is peculiar in that it began not as a religion but as a self-help therapy—a psychotherapeutic process designed toward self-betterment, as detailed in L Ron Hubbard’s 1950 book, Dianetics. Hubbard gradually refined Dianetics, which urged readers to audit themselves, to become Scientology, which administers the auditing under its strict auspices.
Sixteen years after Hubbard successfully foisted Scientology on the world, the advantages in labeling it a religion dawned on him when he was confronted with the problem of transferring assets from one non-exempt corporation to an exempt but inactive one. He wrote in 1966:
So we’re getting all straight now, it seems. And good news! As all auditors will be ministers, ministers have in many places special privileges including tax and housing allowances. Of course anything is a religion that treats the human spirit. And also Parliaments don’t attack religions. But that isn’t our real reason – it’s been a long hard task to make a good corporate structure in the UK and Commonwealth so the assets could be transferred.
– HCO Executive Letter Of 12 March 1966
This reconceptualization from psychotherapy to religion afforded Scientology a few distinct advantages: (1) protection against government regulation (with respect to Hubbard’s quasi-medical claims); (2) immunity from liability against claims of fraud; and (3) the monetary benefits of the tax exemption. Whereas most religious beliefs predate the tax exemption, Scientology grew in its enticing shadow, and indeed seems to have been molded by its allure.
The IRS responded to Hubbard’s redefining Scientology as a religion by rescinding CSC’s exempt status in 1967, which triggered decades of costly litigation between the two. In the most important of those cases, Founding Church of Scientology v. United States, the IRS successfully argued that Scientology failed to qualify for 501(c)(3) exempt status because its net earnings inured to the benefit of private individuals, namely founder L Ron Hubbard.
Scientology took another, ultimately more effective, tack against the IRS, when it organized a number of its parishioners to sue the IRS for disallowing deductions for payments they made for Scientology auditing under Section 170 of the tax code, which allows individuals to claim deductions for charitable contributions. Dozens of cases were filed across the country, leading to different results–the First and Ninth Circuits courts (in, respectively, Hernandez and Graham) agreed with the IRS that auditing payments were non-deductible, but the Second, Sixth, and Eighth Circuits (in, respectively, Foley, Neher, and Staples) agreed with Scientology.
The Supreme Court consolidated the cases in 1989, now called Hernandez, and resolved the circuit split against Scientology. It found that, structurally, payments for auditing services was in essence a quid pro quo transaction. A true donation, the court reasoned, does not trigger an expected return such as that present in the Scientology/parishioner auditing transaction. The dissent in Hernandez instead recommended examining the benefit itself for evidence of religiosity—if the benefit is purely religious, the inquiry as to whether a contribution is a donation should end there.
Losing in the Supreme Court usually represents the end of the road, but Scientology was persistent and tenacious. In 1991 it filed another Section 170 challenge, this time in the Eleventh Circuit (Powell v. U.S.), conceding the quid pro quo argument it lost in Hernandez but raising another argument, that the IRS was administratively inconsistent in allowing, for instance, rental fees paid by Protestants for the privilege of sitting in a specific pew at religious services, while denying Scientologists their auditing payment deduction.
As Powell was being remanded to the district court, however, the IRS suddenly caved and gave Scientology everything it asked for in 1993–deductions for auditing and its restoring its tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status. The war was over and Scientology won.
So what happened–why did the IRS crumble? A 1997 New York Times story revealed how Scientology had paid a number of private investigators to personally investigate and surveil IRS officials, financed front groups, including a fake news bureau, to attack the IRS politically, and made an unscheduled visit to the IRS’s national office in Washington D.C., where Hubbard-successor (and current leader) David Miscavige was permitted to meet with then-Commissioner Fred T. Goldberg, a meeting Goldberg denies took place.
Scientology’s aggressive conduct shouldn’t have come as a surprise to the IRS, since nine Scientologists, fourteen years earlier, were convicted on an array of indictments, including burglarizing government offices, in an attempt to infiltrate the IRS among other government agencies, which resulted in prison sentences for each defendant. Some of the goals of “Operation Snow White,” as the infiltration program was internally called, were met when Scientology and the IRS settled in 1993.
We may never know whether sinister skullduggery made the IRS fold, but it could also simply have been that the IRS was being drained of limited resources and unable to continue litigating on so many fronts, and with no end to the lawsuits in sight, threw in the towel.
Regardless of how it played out behind the scenes, the substantive issues that led the IRS to rescind Scientology’s exempt status and deny its parishioners’ auditing deductions, have not changed, or ever been publicly addressed by the IRS, which refuses to even acknowledge the validity of the secret agreement published by the Wall Street Journal in 1997.
Accordingly, despite the IRS having circumvented its result, Hernandez remains good law, and the Scientology-IRS agreement exists in direct contravention of the Constitution. This was noted by Ninth Circuit Judge Barry G. Silverman in a recent case brought by a Jewish family (Michael and Maria Sklar) who argued that if Scientologists can deduct auditing payments, they should be permitted to deduct their children’s religious school tuition:
If the IRS does, in fact, give preferential treatment to members of the Church of Scientology—allowing them a special right to claim deductions that are contrary to law and disallowed to everybody else—then the proper course of action is a lawsuit to put a stop to that policy
The court found against the Sklars, essentially reasoning that two wrongs don’t make a right. But how then to right the Scientology wrong? An argument might have been made that perhaps a citizen-taxpayer might have standing under the taxpayer standing exception under Flast v. Cohen, but after the Flast decision was so restrictively narrowed in 2007’s Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation, it would seem that the IRS-Scientology agreement is immune from anyone even
a legal challenge.
If someone were to break through the catch-22 and challenge Scientology’s exempt status in court–how might that go? Returning to the stated IRS criteria requiring, first, that entities have sincerely held beliefs, it seems likely Scientology would clear this hurdle. Scientology would have little difficulty demonstrating that its beliefs are sincerely held.
However, if Scientology’s practices were to be examined under the second IRS “religious purpose” criteria, requiring that an entity’s practices not contravene public policy, significant questions are raised, given how Scientology (1) forces its members to “disconnect” from family members; (2) mistreats children; (3) coerces abortions by its staff members; (4) maintains a practice of what it calls “Fair Game” by which its perceived enemies can be and often are retaliated against in extrajudicial manners; (5) operates in every way as a taxable for-profit business, by accepting money in a quid pro quo exchange for its services; and finally, (6) continues to personally benefit an individual (inurement), this time Hubbard’s successor, David Miscavige.
We, as a country, presumptively bestow exempt status on religious groups because we believe religious groups provide a net benefit to the larger community. In sharp contrast, Scientology, by its morally repugnant practices, benefits itself at significant cost to the larger community. It’s high time the IRS rescinded Scientology’s exempt status.
Scott Pilutik received his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, and practices law in New York City. His legal analyses have appeared in and been cited by numerous outlets, including The Village Voice
Mr. Pilutik has not convinced me, but I think I will work up a follow-up post rather than state my reasons here. I hope to get plenty of comments on this, but be warned. Intelligent, coherent comments can lead to recruitment as a guest poster. Mr. Pilutik is not the first person to fall into the trap
http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterjreill ... itutional/
I laughed for days!
http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2 ... ges/60398/