Scientology Staff Woes Continue, Story # 449

I have chronicled in this blog numerous times before the life of a Scientology staff member is a tough one. They are hired with expectations of making a living, even if it is a frugal one, but what they get is either starvation wages or no wages at all. This was true even back in the days that Scientology had people in their course rooms. But nowadays the course rooms are bare. The only people taking courses are the children of Scientology or existing members who have been forced to retake courses, at their own expense however. Needless to say they are short of staff members. Yet Scientology points to the Inglewood, CA, org as a huge success. Here follows a recent story, courtesy of Tony Ortega and his “Underground Bunker.”
It was a video that lasted only 14 seconds. Long enough for a woman named Tiponi Grey to make a short statement behind a pair of large sunglasses…bad-news
It’s not unusual for people who work for Scientology to leave. But it is very unusual for them to announce it publicly on YouTube and Facebook. We reached out to Tiponi, and she agreed to talk to us about what had prompted her to make the video — after she checked us out and got a feel for the Underground Bunker.
Tiponi tells us that she had worked for several months at Scientology’s “Ideal Org” in Inglewood, California, a working-class suburb of Los Angeles with a primarily black and Latino population. Scientology’s facility there was opened on November 5, 2011 in what seemed pretty clearly to be an attempt by Scientology leader David Miscavige to make inroads in the African-American community.
Scientology is overwhelmingly white, and actor Jason Beghe told us that in the early 2000s both he and Isaac Hayes approached Miscavige, telling him that he needed to do something to attract more black participation. New churches in Inglewood and Harlem were part of that new outreach. But Tiponi tells that the Inglewood org is in trouble.
“The staff there is struggling, they’re not being paid, and they’re struggling to get new people people in,” she tells us. She says that the staff during the day numbers about 21, and 38 work on the night shift. But they’re serving just “two to eight” students at any given time, she says. “On various days, sometimes there may be no one in class. That happens a lot.” Tiponi was raised in Los Angeles and spent several years in Las Vegas. She has two sons and a daughter, and she got involved in Scientology, she says, because a former boyfriend had tried it out and told her about it. She first went to the org in July to take Scientology’s “personality test” and then took her first course.
She was offered a job right after that course, and was made a supervisor. “I oversaw basic courses for public,” she says, using the term in Scientology to differentiate public, staff, and Sea Org members of the organization. But she also had a personal mission in mind, she tells us.
“I just wanted to learn what they know so I could bring it back and teach other people, black people who really need that technology and that help. I really didn’t want to join any religion,” she says. “I have a problem with religion. With any kind of religion.”
If she didn’t like religion, why did she go to work for one? She joined staff, she says, because it was a way to get into the courses without paying for it. So she signed a five-year contract, and then tried to learn as much as she could. In the beginning steps of Scientology involvement, a person is put through “training routines” that involve staring with concentration, remaining focused through distraction, and learning with the heavy use of dictionaries and clay modeling. Former Scientologists who might have grown disaffected over the expensive and esoteric upper levels of Scientology often tell us that they found the beginning courses useful, even after they left. “I believe in what L. Ron Hubbard was doing, and the technology, and clearing the planet. But in other ways no, I didn’t like what they were doing,” Tiponi says. After she had spent some time as a public supervisor, Tiponi says her bosses told her they wanted her to supervise the “Survival Rundown” course, and transferred her to the headquarters complex in Los Angeles on Fountain Avenue, known as PAC Base and more colloquially as “Big Blue.” In recent years, Miscavige has put a heavy focus on the Survival Rundown, or SRD. It’s a composite course that oldtimers remember as “the Objectives,” and it involves up to hundreds of hours of strange exercises such as touching walls and holding objects. It’s intended to put someone in “present time,” and many former Scientologists tell us it’s a mind-bending (and mind-numbing) experience, as well as a physically exhausting one.
Tiponi said she felt restricted at PAC Base, and that she wasn’t learning what she wanted to. Also, she says it became more obvious to her that Scientology’s real purpose wasn’t what she had expected.
“When you get to a certain status, you learn what the true purpose is. I got to that point and realized it was just a business.”
After growing frustrated at PAC Base, she objected and went back to Inglewood. But even there, she says, she was spending too much time wrestling with bureaucracy and not learning what she wanted to know. She typed up a message complaining that Scientology was too focused on fundraising and sent it to key people at the org, announcing that she was resigning.
“It’s too much about money. You can’t call yourself a church and that’s your main purpose,” she says.
Tiponi says she said nothing negative about L. Ron Hubbard or the people who worked at the Inglewood org, but it was very obvious after she sent her message and then posted her video that she is now considered an enemy of the church. Still interested in Scientology’s materials, she tried to purchase a Hubbard recorded lecture, but was told she wasn’t welcome. She says the prices at the Inglewood facility are too high anyway.
“If, as in any religion, the purpose is to clear the planet, then you need to give something. And in that neighborhood there, you shouldn’t be charging those kinds of prices,” she says.
When she was on staff, one of her duties was to try and “recover” Scientologists who had left the organization. She was expected to write hundreds of letters — 700 each week. But the people they were trying to reach in the Inglewood area just weren’t interested, or didn’t have the money. The idea of putting that church there is a good one. But they have to look at what they’re doing. They need to get new people in to pay for staff, whose job it is to get new people in. It’s a cycle that doesn’t work, because the people who live there can’t afford those prices,” she says.
Tiponi says she’s now looking at a couple of different avenues, and hopes to start a business. She may, she says, teach something like Scientology’s study technology on her own.
We asked her if she expected to get some pushback from Scientology if she did that. But so far, she says, she hasn’t been harassed.
We sent an email to Scientology’s international spokeswoman, Karin Pouw, asking for a church statement about Tiponi’s resignation. If we hear back from her, we’ll add it to this story.


Published in: on January 19, 2017 at 1:36 am  Leave a Comment  

The Whole-Track Security Check

In the world of inane thoughts and crass stupidity Scientology stands as a class apart.  Want proof of this assertion?  Take a look at this then.  It is a series of questions that Scientologist are expected to answer as part of their series of interrogation.   Hubbard was big on interrogating his followers paranoid man that he was.  These “sec checks” as they are known in Scientology parlance are not free either; you have to pay in one way or another to be abused in Scientology.  This list goes on and on to well over a hundred questions but to save your brain from exploding due to an excess of puerile and stupid questions I am only list the first few.  How do they know you are telling the truth?  They use an e-meter, a piece of 1930’s technology that had been updated by a Chiropractor in 1954, but that is another story.


Published in: on March 28, 2016 at 3:27 pm  Comments (2)  

“The Unbreakable Miss Lovely.”


How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper
by Tony Ortega
Silvertail Books, 2015In 1971

tony book

L. Ron Hubbard was at the height of his power. As “Commodore” of his small fleet of Scientology ships that flitted about the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic he was safe from any laws and beyond the reach of nosey reporters, process servers and IRS agents. He was the sole owner of a multimillion dollar empire with bank accounts in Switzerland and Luxembourg that were reckoned in the tens of millions of dollars. How much more was stored in safes and safety deposit boxes no one can say. He ruled like some monarch from another era; he demanded long hours of hard work and paid his followers a mere pittance. People aboard ship who asked too many of the wrong sort of questions were either put into special punishment units where they suffered greatly from overwork, lack of sleep and little food or, if they were lucky, they were simply dumped off at the next port of call without a cent to their name. To the public Scientology tried to show an image of exciting progress in the never ending quest for increased mental ability.  But beneath this heady veneer of fresh discoveries and new learning lurked a predator with teeth, sharp teeth.  To date few had challenged Hubbard’s methods and the Scientology course rooms were full to overflowing. Those who were in a position to speak out about the many abuses that existed in Scientology were not eager to engage Hubbard in any sort of conflict. Any attack on Hubbard would be real war, not just a war of words. Hubbard made no secret of what he would do, and had already done, to enemies. His “fair game” tactics would over time become truly infamous. Here are just a couple of the many extant references of what Hubbard had in mind.

PENALTIES FOR LOWER CONDITIONS”, HCO Policy Letter of 18 October 196 — L. Ron Hubbard, “[Suppressive Person] Order. Fair game. 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..

HCO PL [7] Mar 65 “Suppressive Acts, Suppression of Scientology and Scientologists, The Fair Game Law” says:“By FAIR GAME is meant, without rights for self, possession or position, and no Scientologist may be brought for a Committee of Evidence* or punished for any action taken against a Suppressive Person or Group during the period that person or group is ‘fair game’.” LRH

Yet in 1971 two people stepped forward to shine some light on the hidden empire of Scientology. Both were subjected to Hubbard’s “fair game” policy. One was a upper level auditor who studied at Saint Hill Manor, a Scientology center in East Grinstead, Sussex, England. His name was Cyril Vosper (1935-2004), his book, The Mind Benders might not have been a best seller but it certainly put a burr under Hubbard’s saddle. Scientology struck back but that is a separate story and, probably because Vosper had a good idea of what steps Scientology would take, he was able to defeat most of their efforts against him.
The other person who attacked Scientology that year was a writer by the name of Paulette Cooper. Her book, The Scandal of Scientology , was enough to make the Commodore’s blood boil. Unlike Vosper she probably had little idea of just how much she had angered Hubbard and his minions. To make matters worse it came out as a trade paperback, not a hardcover like Vosper’s book. By the way, if you have on of these first printings they are now worth about a hundred bucks.



Published in: on March 20, 2016 at 10:18 pm  Comments (1)  

Ex-Scientology Story #448, -Paul Burkhart. A new top defector.


This story comes to us from Tony Ortega’s “Underground Bunker.”  A new defector from Scientology steps forward, a man who was near the top of the cult of the greedy cult.  He gives us a rare view into the inner workings of the world’s most secretive and combative fake religion.  None of what he has to say is encouraging from the Scientology point of view.  Their numbers have shrunk to a level that is below what man veteran Scientology watchers would credit the cult with.  Apparently only the hard core a left.  There are no masses left to leave! Mention is made of Shelly Miscavige however it only shows just how big a secret her disappearance is within the cult.  Here is what Tony Ortega said about Paul Burkhart. 

SCIENTOLOGY’S SPACE MAN: As of 2013, active Scientologists fewer than 20,000 worldwide

Yesterday, we began telling you about Paul Burkhart, the newest defector from Scientology’s international management to go public with what he experienced after joining the church in 1980, joining the Sea Org in 1985, and then leaving a little over two years ago, in August 2013.

For ten of those years, from 1999 to 2009, Burkhart worked at Scientology’s secretive International Base near Hemet, California. His job was to make space plans for the renovations that were constantly going on at Scientology facilities around the world. That put him at the center of what Scientology leader David Miscavige was doing, but at the same time gave him a measure of protection from the increasingly contentious atmosphere at Int Base. As former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder put it, Burkhart was both in the “center of the shitstorm” at the same time that he inhabited “his own bubble.”

Burkhart was so insulated, for example, he didn’t really know who Mark “Marty” Rathbun was, even though Rathbun, as Inspector General of Ethics for the Religious Technology Center, was essentially the second-highest ranking member of the church and Miscavige’s right hand man and chief enforcer.

At one point, Burkhart says, Rathbun was sent to his office to look into a problem involving architectural plans for Building 50, the lavish structure at Int Base that Miscavige was having built for the RTC and for his own wing of offices.

“Marty was sent down to investigate. I knew he was a big executive, but I didn’t really know who he was. I didn’t even stand up when he came in and asked me questions at my desk. He seemed a little concerned about that,” Burkhart says with a laugh.

There was another executive at the base whose stature Burkhart had no misunderstanding of. That was Shelly Miscavige, wife to the church leader and, as “COB assistant,” a formidable executive in her own right.

“She had a hard social veneer,” Burkhart says, “but she was immediately very warm to me. She never yelled at me for anything.” And her loyalty to COB — her husband Dave — was unwavering.

At one point, he says, when they were discussing the personal spaces to be designed for the Miscaviges to live in at Int Base, Burkhart remembers her telling him, “I wish I could build a palace for COB.”

He worked closely with her as they planned Building 50 and its sumptuous interiors. But no matter how lavish it was, there was no pleasing Miscavige. Burkhart tells us about an incident that happened after the building had been completed. He and others were called to the building and were told to wait for Miscavige to address them.

“We were called to Building 50, and we were sitting around in desks that had never been used. We waited all afternoon and evening. Finally, around midnight, we were marched out front to the circular drive there. Miscavige was haranguing us for messing up whatever it was. And then he handed a water bottle to a young woman who was an RTC estates worker under John Brousseau, Maggie Truax. Miscavige told her to open it up and throw the water on us. ‘Sir?’ she asked. ‘Wrong answer,’ he yelled at her. ‘OK,’ she said, and then she flung the water back and forth on the guys in the front row. They couldn’t move. They had to stand still and take it,” Burkhart remembers.

“I got the impression that Miscavige just needed something to complain about. He didn’t really want things to get fixed,” Burkhart says.

“So then Shelly had to patch things up afterwards,” he adds, saying that it was her typical role. He remembers her telling them, “Come on, guys, you have to realize, if we can just get behind him, we can accomplish our goals.”

Burkhart tells us that our timeline of what happened between Shelly and David Miscavige, which we reported based on things told to us by Mike Rinder, John Brousseau, and other eyewitnesses at Int Base, was the way he remembers, too. In 2005, Miscavige had gone to Los Angeles to work on a publishing project, “The Basics,” and Shelly had stayed behind at Int Base. While her husband was gone, Shelly took care of some tasks that Miscavige griped were never getting accomplished. She filled out an “org board,” for example, placing people in open job slots. And Miscavige had complained that he needed to have his personal items moved out of a building in “The Villas” so the space could be renovated. Shelly had the Household Unit crate up Miscavige’s things so the renovation could begin.

“They did a beautiful job storing his stuff, and set up temporary berthing for him in another set of buildings called the G’s,” he says — which is exactly what we had been told. When Miscavige returned, he blew a gasket when he saw what his wife had done in his absence. About a week later, around late August or early September in 2005, Shelly vanished. Except for a sighting of her at her father’s funeral in the summer of 2007, Shelly has not been seen in public or at Int Base or at a Scientology event in the decade since. It’s believed that she’s being held at a small, even more secret compound that Scientology maintains in the mountains near Lake Arrowhead, California.

Burkhart didn’t know where she was sent. He didn’t really think about her disappearance until about a year later when his boss Laurence Guenat referred to Shelly missing while speaking in hushed tones.


Published in: on February 16, 2016 at 3:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wife of Scientology Dictator Gone for a Decade, -Friend of Leah Remini

TEN YEARS GONE: Shelly Miscavige, the wife


Scientology’s leader wants us to forget

It was late summer 2005. That much our sources agree on. It might have been late August, or it might have been early September. But it was a full ten years ago, say our eyewitness sources, that Shelly Miscavige vanished.

When we started writing about Shelly and her strange situation, back in 2012, there was some confusion about the timing of her disappearance. But since then we developed new sources who were at Int Base and personally saw the events leading up to Shelly’s sudden departure. And those sources are sure of one thing: It was ten years ago, they tell us.

Ten years ago.

We’ve told Shelly’s story numerous times, and it also got a lengthy treatment in Vanity Fair. Leah Remini caused a stir in 2013 when she tried to get the Los Angeles Police Department to look into Shelly’s whereabouts. (They visited Shelly and reported that she was not only alive but didn’t want to make a public statement.)

Mention is made of Shelly by a recent defector from Scientology in today’s 2/13/16 edition of the “Underground Bunker.”…/scientologys-space-man-as-of-2013-active-scientologists-fewer-than-20000-worldwide


For the rest of the Story by Tony Ortega go here:

To see what the Wikipedia has to say about the missing wife use this link.

To read what the Huff Post had to say about the missing dictator’s wife go here:

Published in: on October 30, 2015 at 5:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Scientology may get a friend in the US Senate.


Lisa McPherson in life and after a 17 day stay in the 

Scientology headquarters at the Fort Harrison Hotel

in downtown Clearwater.

For decades the cult of Scientology has been attempting to get a seat of power in Washington.  If David Jolly, a representative from the Clearwater area, is able to take the US Senate seat vacated by Marco Rubio the cult could realize its longtime ambition.  Jolly is a known lickspittle of the cult for some time and has been in the Fort Harrison enough to know his way around without directions.  Certainly he knows about the scandals that the cult has been involved with, as well as the deaths and lawsuits, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference to him.  After all, a dollar is a dollar; it is all green even if it is tinged with blood.    Thanks to “The Daily Beast”  and  Tony Ortega for being on top of this.

Scientology Could Get Its Own Senator

Meet Rep. David Jolly, the man who represents Scientology’s ‘Mecca’—and is now running to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate.
The Church of Scientology may soon have a new ally in the U.S. Senate.Republican congressman and 2016 Senate candidate David Jolly’s district includes the town of Clearwater, Florida, which is home to the Flag Service Organization, the spiritual headquarters of Scientologists planetwide and the organization’s Mecca.” It is Scientology’s largest church, situated in a complex spread out over a “nine-mile grid” in the heart of downtown Clearwater.Given the large footprint of the church in his district, Jolly’s ties with Scientologists may have paid dividends on the local level—but now that he’s running to represent the entire state of Florida, his connections with the controversial church may prove to be a liability. He’s received numerous donations from an infamous Scientologist doctor, attended rallies and fundraisers thrown by the church, and steadfastly refuses to distance himself from the group.Scientology is a relatively new religion created by American sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard in the mid-1950s. The church has gained much attention and media coverage in recent years for, among other things, opposing psychiatric medications and recruiting a wide variety of celebrities such as entertainer (and former Republican congressman) Sonny Bono and Tom Cruise.Critics of the church frequently accuse the religious organization of being at best a scam and at worst a cult that engages in criminal activity, abuse, campaigns of intimidation, and slave labor.Former high-ranking members have alleged that Scientology’s leader David Miscavige uses terroristic techniques to silence those critical of the church—charges Scientology denies. The church also allegedly used spies and operatives to try to frame its most famous critic for sending threats to then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.And if that wasn’t enough, the Church of Scientology was behind one of the largest infiltrations of the U.S. government in history, a vast operation that included bugging offices and breaking into IRS headquarters. (On a lesser note, a documentary about the church alleged that it employed a number of intimidation tactics to make Tom Cruise break up with Nicole Kidman.)

In 1976, the Church of Scientology decided to set up shop in Clearwater and promptly tried to take over the town, an operation detailed in a Pulitzer Prize-winning St. Petersberg Times series in 1980. The mayor at the time even referred to Scientology’s activities in the city as “the occupation of Clearwater.” It is now considered the biggest concentration of Scientologists in the world and a frequent destination for some of the church’s most famous adherents, such as Cruise and John Travolta.

Despite the criticisms that have engulfed the Church of Scientology, Jolly has made no evident effort to distance himself from the group—and in several cases has embraced events organized or sponsored by Scientologists

Jolly, the frontrunner for the GOP Senate nomination in Florida, was the “special guest” at a fundraiser for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in June 2014, which was organized by Scientologists.

He was also featured as the “guest of honor” at the Church of Scientology’s concert celebrating the centennial of Clearwater, Florida. The latter event was held at the Fort Harrison Hotel, which is owned by the church and used for “religious retreats,” and featured appearances by prominent Scientologists like actress Anne Archer.

Jolly’s wife was scheduled to be a model for a Church of Scientology charity fashion show benefiting chronically hungry children in September, but “sent her regrets and was not able to attend,” Church of Scientology spokesperson Pat Harney told The Daily Beast.

And there are other links to Scientology in Jolly’s political orbit: The treasurer of his Leadership Political Action Committee, Nancy Watkins, is on the advisory board of Florida Citizens for Social Reform. The organization, according to theTampa Bay Times, was “formed by local Scientologists that promotes drug treatment and education programs based on the teachings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.” In a statement to The Daily Beast, Watkins denied being a Scientologist.

“I am a CPA whose client base is public policy and political tax exempt entities and I serve as an advisor in that capacity of expertise. I have a very broad base of clients representing many varied professions, ideologies and public policy concerns,” Watkins said. “One client does not cause a connection to another client by any stretch.”

Jolly has also accepted several donations from Dr. David Minkoff, a doctor who was entangled in a Scientology scandal that involved the death of a 36-year-old woman.  According to the St. Petersburg Times, Minkoff prescribed Valium and another muscle relaxant at the urging of Church of Scientology staffers who were unlicensed to practice medicine. The staffers were trying to treat fellow church member Lisa McPherson, who was going through a mental breakdown, and Minkoff agreed to make the prescription without having ever seen her.  After 17 days of isolation, the Scientologists looking after McPherson drove her to the hospital where Minkoff worked—foregoing four closer hospitals.  Minkoff pronounced her dead. The state filed two charges against the Church of Scientology over the incident, but dropped them after the medical examiner changed the manner of McPherson’s death from “undetermined” to “accident.” McPherson’s estate would later reach a confidential settlement with the church.

Minkoff is not a frequent donor to political campaigns—his only other contribution is $250 to the Romney 2012 campaign—but was inspired to give to Jolly on five occasions since February 2014, totaling $3,000. Minkoff declined a request for an interview.  Jolly is unwilling to publicly embrace or distance himself from the church. Asked for Jolly’s views on the Church of Scientology, his Senate campaign spokesperson Sarah Bascom declined to address the question except in vaguest terms—or even to use the term “Scientology.”

“Congressman Jolly takes seriously his responsibility to represent all 700,000 of his constituents,” Bascom told The Daily Beast. “As for who chooses to support his campaign, that information is readily available on our campaign reports.” A spokesperson for the Church of Scientology said that the organization’s “longstanding policy” was to avoid participating in politics, and does not support or oppose political candidates. The events that Jolly attended at the “spiritual headquarters” were to support the community, she argued.

“The church and its members are very active in community groups, charities, and efforts aimed at making Clearwater a better place to live for everyone. In this regard, Congressman Jolly has attended two events held at the Church of Scientology,” said church spokesperson Karin Pouw.  “We consider Congressman Jolly’s attendance at these events as showing his support for the specific beneficiaries of the events and for the Clearwater community in general, not as a ‘show of support’ for the Church of Scientology.”

—with additional reporting by Asawin Suebsaeng

Scientology had a plan for Clearwater

Operation Normandy

When Scientology crept into Clearwater, FL during the mid-1970’s under the name “United Churches of Florida,” they had a written plan that called for the complete takeover of the city.  In great detail they laid out step-by-step their scheme to infiltrate city government, the press and the business interests.  All political figures, opinion leaders and local personalities were to be investigated in order find out their interests, background and any damaging skeletons in the closet.  Follow this link and read it for yourself.  When you’re done ask yourself if you still think that Scientology is a religion.

When Xenuphobic Celebs Speak Out Against The Cult…. Yes, There’s A Dumb Enough Politician (David Jolly, R) Out There Taking Scientology Contributions

More coverage:

Published in: on October 16, 2015 at 3:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

From the “Encyclopedia of American Loons” #957, David Miscavige


The dictator of Scientology, David Miscavige, has received the dubious honor of being listed in an Encyclopedia of nuts, cranks, pumpnuts, wingnuts, hate-mongers, history and climate deniers as well as the usual young earth creationists and religious zealots.  His entry is amusing if nothing else.  Fish  in a barrel. David Miscavige is the leader of the Church of Scientology, succeeding L. Ron Hubbard upon Hubbard’s death in 1986. Miscavige has a reputation for being an asshole, and has had numerous allegations made against him in court documents and media reports regarding his treatment of staff, including physical assault, coerced abortions, human trafficking and child labor (some recent allegations here). Not that any of those factors, correct or not, would make any difference to whether he counts as a loon – the Narconon alone would suffice aplenty. Miscavige had in fact already assumed much of the control before Hubbard’s demise, instigating a thorough reorganization of the church, starting a large-scale publication program of new versions of Scientology’s books and courses, relaunching The Sea Org, scoring an epic win in 1993 when they reached a settlement with the IRS over the taxes Scientology had been withholding ever since their tax exempt status was revoked in 1967, and beginning its legendary war on all criticism on the Internet (with the usual Streisand effects hot on the heals) and famous defeats.). 

To read the whole story with links go here:

Published in: on August 28, 2015 at 5:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

2015 so far in the press . . . . A bad year so far for Scientology.


2015 has been one of the worst years on record of the cult of Scientology.  Every week has brought fresh pangs of misery to those who job it is to wait upon David Miscavige, the dictator of Scientology.  Here is some of it:

Year to Date

June only

If you havent’ read Mike Rinder’s Scientolgy blog you don’t know what you are missing.

Published in: on July 5, 2015 at 10:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Scientologist Bob Duggan in Peril, Google to the Rescue!

From Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker.

Google helps Scientology billionaire Bob Duggan

hide a dark family secret


Recently, we told you that California pharmaceuticals entrepreneur Bob Duggan — a man currently worth 2.3 billion — had, through an agent, complained to Google about a story we wrote about him.

Duggan didn’t complain directly to us, but then he must have known that the facts in the story we wrote are rock solid. We relied on first-hand accounts, court records, and photographic evidence to show that in 2013, at the same time that Duggan and his wife, Trish, were propping up failing Scientology facilities in South Africa with large donations, two of their six adopted children suddenly showed up in that country, and were being cared for by South African Scientology families.

It suggested a bizarre trade deal — Duggan largesse saved Scientology buildings while two of their children were taken off their hands — and yet, despite those bizarre allegations, everything about the story was nailed down tighter than John Travolta’s hairpiece.

We titled it A perplexing tale about Bob Duggan, the richest Scientologist in the world,” and published it on October 15. It proved to be one of our most popular stories of the year, as well as probably the one that took the most work (including long Skype calls to Johannesburg).

It proved so popular, that it soon became the number one result on a Google search of Bob Duggan’s name…

We first noticed that our story was topping Google about the time, in April, that an eagle-eyed reader notified us about the complaint filed by Duggan’s agent, which was memorialized on the Chilling Effects website.

Duggan was clearly unhappy that the most popular online item in the world associated with his name was our story about his strange transfer of his adopted boys to South Africa. But rather than send us a threat letter he instead went straight to Google.

What he did, through his agent, Matt Archambault, was to complain to Google not about the facts in the story, but about the images that we’d used to illustrate it — only two of which he had any ownership claim over. Specifically, Duggan filed a complaint under the DMCA — a “takedown notice” — for six of the images in the story. The first was a headshot of Duggan that came from his own website. Duggan also complained about a photo of his wife Trish that came from her website; a collage of photos from Scientology’s Impact magazine which featured him and Trish accepting trophies from Scientology leader David Miscavige; a photo from Scientology’s website showing the grand opening of the Pretoria Ideal Org in 2013; a photo of Robin Hogarth from Robin’s own Facebook page; and a photo of Robin, his wife Carol, and their (formerly Bob’s) son, from Carol’s Facebook page. In each case, we had been careful to point out in our story where each image had come from, and that in each case the subjects in the photos had posted the items themselves. We wanted readers to know exactly where we had obtained them. (Another photo in the story, showing Carol Hogarth and the blurred-out boy, was taken by Carol’s sister Shelley Ashurst, who gave us the photo with her permission.)

Why did Duggan care that, for example, we’d used a generic promotional photo from the Scientology website about the opening of its Pretoria org? Well, it was pretty obvious to us what he was doing: He wanted Google to punish us for supposed copyright violations by de-indexing our story, making it more difficult for people to find.

We noticed the complaint about ten days after it had been filed. We hoped that was soon enough that our idea for a remedy might be in time — we asked Oregon cartoonist Chad Essley to create illustrations that we could use to replace the photos that Duggan was complaining about. Essley came through quickly, and we thenannounced our clever ploy once we had the new images in place.

Apparently, however, our effort to switch out the images didn’t happen in time, or Google just ignored it, because we noticed this week that our story has indeed been de-indexed and no longer shows up when you search on Bob’s name…

Not only is it no longer a top search result, but even if you search on the words “bob duggan perplexing,” you get an alternative URL to the story and not the original URL it was posted under. As far as we can tell, Google has done its best to bury our story.

On behalf of a billionaire. Who made his kids disappear.

And again, Google did this after we had addressed the issues listed in Bob’s complaint — we had removed the images that Duggan pretended he was concerned about.

Did Google even bother to check whether the images Duggan complained about were still in the piece? Does it matter now? Would they respond to an “appeal” of some sort? Our experts tell us trying to get through to Google and convince it to explain itself is about as quixotic a task as there is in this Internet age.

So we decided rather than go begging to Google we would write this story, and let our readers know what kind of interference the search giant is running for a billionaire like Duggan.

And, if our readers read, link to, tweet, Facebook, and share this story to as many people as they can, it might just rise up on Google’s search results, and help direct people to our original story. At least that’s the theory. We’ll see.

To read the complete story go here:

Published in: on June 13, 2015 at 12:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ex-Scientology Story #447, Phillip Gale, Why Did He Die?


So why did this brilliant young man die?  Did his involvement in Scientology do him significant damage?  And just what was his connection to the cult of L. Ron Hubbard?  Writer and serious thinker Mark Ebner takes a look at this in his story, “Death of a Nethead.”  

“In 1999, Rolling Stone assigned Hollywood reporter Mark Ebner to the story of Philip Gale, an MIT prodigy born into Scientology who killed himself on the birthday of the cult’s founder. The organization sent Rolling Stone a damning dossier on Ebner and the story was spiked. Ebner says he was told by his assigning editor that Rolling Stone owner Jann Wenner was close to John Travolta, one of the sect’s most prominent Hollywood supporters. Since then, the Church of Scientology has softened in its response to critics; and internet outlets have proven less easily browbeaten. So here—after the jump— is Ebner’s original piece, Death of a Nethead.”

This unfortunate youth did manage an entry into the Wikipedia, too bad he didn’t live, his final entry after a lifetime of work could have been much larger and more positive.

Published in: on June 5, 2015 at 3:15 pm  Leave a Comment