Saturday, 03 September 2016 17:17
Former Sea Org member Dan Koon worked in the compilations unit of Scientology (RTRC) where Hubbard's writings were turned into official Scientology books, lectures, and publications. Many of these products were sold to Scientologists and the public and thus represented a significant income stream for the Church. Accordingly, David Miscavige micromanaged compilations and Dan worked closely with Miscavige. After leaving the Sea Org, Dan Koon later helped Ron Miscavige Sr. to write his New York Times bestselling book -- Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me.
Thursday, 01 September 2016 16:47
Note: Tony Ortega posted this article today at the Underground Bunker.
Late last night, Marty Rathbun posted at his blog a lengthy broadside criticizing Ron Miscavige’s memoir, Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me.
The book came out in May and describes how Ron Miscavige introduced his son, church leader David Miscavige, to Scientology in 1969 as they looked for a solution to the 9-year-old’s asthma. The entire family eventually got into Scientology and moved to England to pursue courses and so David could become an auditor. After returning to the US, David got close to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and eventually, after Hubbard’s death in 1986, took over the organization. In 1985, Ron, a musician, joined the “Sea Org” and played trumpet and led Scientology’s orchestra, which played frequently at church events around the world. But eventually, as Ron describes in his book, he became disaffected with Scientology under the dictatorial rule of his son, and in March 2012 he and his wife Becky Bigelow escaped from a compound near Hemet, California.
After that escape, Ron learned that his son had assigned private investigators to follow him, and David also instructed his sisters, Denise and Lori, to cut off ties with their father. That’s what motivated him, Ron says, to write his book and reveal what a totalitarian ruler his son had become. His book was a bestseller, and it was featured on a highly watched episode of ABC’s 20/20 program.
But now, Rathbun, who had at one time been the second-highest ranking executive in the church and who has spent years exposing David Miscavige’s shortcomings, has surprisingly come to Dave’s aid, denouncing Ron’s book about his son as full of “hearsay.”
In a lengthy blog post, Rathbun produces a withering attack on the book.
— Rathbun says he offered to fact-check the manuscript, but Ron and his publisher, St. Martin’s Press, turned him down.
— Rathbun claims that he wanted to keep Ron from publishing “defamations” against his son that would end up having “deleterious emotional and spiritual effects” on Ron.
— After Ron’s 2012 escape, Rathbun tried to correct stories Ron was hearing about his son, but Ron printed the rumors instead of Rathbun’s facts.
— Rathbun claims he warned Ron against the “moral propriety” of writing a tell-all about his own son.
— Rathbun says he counseled Ron that if he wanted to keep his family intact, he wouldn’t “cavort” with “people who are actively attacking Scientology.”
— Because Ron turned down Rathbun’s offer of help, the book is “chock-full of hearsay, double hearsay, and anonymous hearsay.”
— Rathbun says Ron avoids blaming himself for his own role in producing the person David Miscavige is today. Ron instead blames his deceased first wife and L. Ron Hubbard for making Dave aggressive and a complainer.
— Rathbun criticizes Ron’s citation of the book The Sociopath Next Door to diagnose his son, when it was probably Ron’s neglect that made Dave the way he is.
— In 1998, Rathbun says, he was charged with gathering up people for the St. Petersburg Times to interview to paint a glowing portrait of Dave and his upbringing. In the course of that effort, Ron admitted to him that he had “beat the hell” out of his son and felt guilty for it.
— In 1981, Rathbun witnessed David Miscavige prevent his father from getting into a brawl in New Orleans following the Super Bowl. Ruthless doesn’t give Dave credit for the repeated ways he kept his dad out of trouble, Rathbun says.
— Rathbun says Ron invited the kind of smears that Scientology is throwing at him, including the unrelated criminal investigation that Ron’s son, Ron Jr., went through that Scientology featured on one of its smear websites and that we wrote about recently.
— Rathbun saves for last his agreement with the Church of Scientology’s official position that it’s “provable bullshit” that private investigators Dwayne and Daniel Powell spoke directly to David Miscavige when he told them to do nothing as they watched Ron Miscavige apparently suffering from a heart attack. (He wasn’t, but the Powells didn’t know that.) Rathbun casts doubt on the story, saying that over his more than 20 years in Scientology, “David Miscavige never once spoke to a private investigator.” What Rathbun doesn’t say, however, is that it was the Powells, not Ron Miscavige, who said that David Miscavige spoke to them directly on a telephone, and they said so while being questioned by West Allis, Wisconsin police in taped interviews as part of a criminal investigation.
Early this morning, we swapped messages with Ron’s co-writer, Dan Koon, who said he’d make sure Ron saw Rathbun’s review, and then would let us know if they wanted to make a statement.
Rathbun isn’t the first of Scientology’s critics to raise issues with Ron’s book; we found reviews by John Duignan and our commenter Once Born to be thoughtful pieces. In general, many people anticipated that Ron’s book would be a blockbuster of insider revelations about Scientology, David Miscavige, and perhaps Tom Cruise and Dave’s missing wife, Shelly Miscavige. But it turned out that Ron was often not around his son, and had little access to insider information. He and co-writer Dan Koon also repeatedly praised Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and numerous passages in the book try to convince the reader that there’s really something to Scientology’s processes. For that reason, the book was something of a let-down for church critics who were looking for a “killing blow” after Alex Gibney’s documentary Going Clear and Leah Remini’s tell-all, Troublemaker, which both came out in 2015.
So Rathbun isn’t the first to be disappointed with Ruthless. But the context of Rathbun’s review is fascinating for any longtime Scientology watcher, and in particular for the way he repeatedly rails against the “anti-Scientology camp.”
Mark “Marty” Rathbun is a former top Church of Scientology executive who left the organization in 2004, disappeared so thoroughly some thought he was dead, then resurfaced and started his blog in 2009. For the next couple of years, Rathbun’s daily revelations about what it was like to work at the highest levels of the church made his website, as we said at the time, the single biggest challenge to the survival of the church itself. In particular, Rathbun denounced Scientology leader David Miscavige daily, and as a result Rathbun soon became the focus of a campaign of retaliation by the church with a group of private investigators and other operatives that lasted for at least five years.
Rathbun’s decision to go public with his insider information about Miscavige made him a media star. He was the centerpiece of the Tampa Bay Times’ massive 2009 series, “The Truth Rundown,” he was the subject of countless print and video interviews, and he is one of the central figures of three feature-length documentaries (Channel Four’s Scientologists at War, HBO’s Going Clear, and Louis Theroux’s upcoming My Scientology Movie).
It’s been fascinating watching Marty’s website change over time. Initially, he appeared to be the leader of a new movement of “independent Scientologists” who blamed Miscavige for ruining what they believed had been a thriving and more benevolent organization under founder L. Ron Hubbard. But later, Rathbun increasingly found fault with Hubbard himself, and we watched with interest as his comments section became something of a war zone between more and less doctrinaire “indies.” Eventually, on February 3, 2015, Rathbun produced a remarkable post he titled “Scientology Beliefs.” In it, he reduced Scientology to a mix of “pop psychology and hypnotism” that was so ineffective, it couldn’t even measure up to a placebo effect.
Scientologists were purposely kept blinded to that ineffectiveness, Rathbun wrote, by a method that was “carefully designed and administered…so as to lead Scientologists to wholeheartedly accept and live according to these beliefs.”
Six years after Rathbun had emerged as a leader of indies, he was now saying that Scientology — the subject itself, and not just David Miscavige’s mismanagement of it — was a con. And anyone who stood in its way, Scientology wanted dealt with brutally.
“Enemies, including psychs as well as anyone expressing any doubt or reservation about these beliefs, must be destroyed by any means necessary by Scientologists. Such means include lying, suing, cheating, harassing, intimidating, blackmailing, smearing and by physical violence,” Rathbun wrote.
And what has made Rathbun so interesting, especially to journalists, is that for many years, it was Rathbun whose job it was to smear and blackmail and intimidate Scientology’s enemies. In Scientology, he had been the “Inspector General – Ethics” of the Religious Technology Center, Scientology’s nominally controlling entity whose chairman of the board, David Miscavige, is known simply as “C.O.B.” to church members. That position, as Miscavige’s enforcer, put Rathbun in charge of running Scientology’s legendary dirty tricks campaigns against perceived enemies.
So it was something journalists often raised with Rathbun (and that Theroux makes a central focus of his movie): While Rathbun had clearly suffered intense harassment since coming forward as a whistleblower, in particular by a bizarre group of church operatives that called itself the “Squirrel Busters,” it was Rathbun himself who had run similar operations on behalf of the church against earlier whistleblowers.
It’s a question that tends to enrage Rathbun, and it does to great effect in Theroux’s film, as viewers will see as the movie opens in Australia this week, the UK in about a month, and the US in January.
If it’s legitimate to ask about Rathbun’s past as a Scientology enforcer, there’s simply no question that Marty and his wife, Monique, were subjected to one of the most elaborate and intense campaigns of retaliation since the days when Scientology was trying to frame journalist Paulette Cooper for a felony and almost drove her to suicide in the early 1970s. In 2013, Monique, who had never been a member of the Church of Scientology, filed suit against Miscavige and the church, and we watched closely as the harassment lawsuit moved through the courts, resulting in a couple of very favorable rulings.
But this January, Monique suddenly fired her entire legal team and, a few months later, withdrew from the lawsuit.
Naturally, many of our readers wondered if a settlement had been reached between the Rathbuns and the church. But their former attorneys — who would still be entitled to a percentage of any settlement — were unaware that any deal had been reached. And Marty himself, at his blog, said that there was no settlement. Since then, Rathbun has used his blog to attack the notion that dropping the lawsuit wasn’t a sensible idea, and there’s been no more criticism of David Miscavige and the Church of Scientology.
This new piece, with its defenses of David Miscavige and its repeated sneers at the “anti-Scientology” crowd, is another surprising evolution for Marty Rathbun, a figure who continues to fascinate us.
Sunday, 21 August 2016 01:07
(Note: This article was originally published at Mike Rinder's blog and is reposted here for informational purposes)
Somewhat buried under the coverage of the demise of Gawker and its greatest hits including publishing the infamous 2004 Freedom Medal of Valor video of Mr. Cruise making an ass of himself,, comes this from the International Business TimesÂÂ (and apparently Us Magazine, though I haven’t bothered to check that).
It’s a strange position to be in for scientology. They deny it’s “not them” keeping Tom away from Suri. Yet, if they are to be taken at at their word, they are throwing Mr. Cruise (they don’t want him referred to any other way — just like Mr. Miscavige and NOT Captain Miscavige) under the bus. He has apparently not denied the repeated stories that he does not see Suri. That would be the obvious thing to do if it not true. He used to file lawsuits over things like this and Bert Fields letters flew to the media outlets. So, the only explanation left isÂÂ that he doesn’t care about his daughter enough to visit with her?Â Wow. Good going there footbullet kings….
Here is the statement scientology is reported to have made, defending itself and trashing Mr. Cruise:
The Church of Scientology denied the allegations, telling Us Weekly: “We never comment on individual parishioners’ lives. On the issue of Church religious practices, we do not know who your anonymous sources are, but they got it all wrong. The answer to your question is no.
“Scientologists respect the faith of others, associate with and befriend members of every religion. Scientologists do not cut ties with non-Scientologist friends or family members because they have chosen another religion.
“Given that Scientology is a new religion, Scientologists often have family members and friends who are not Scientologists and who may practice another faith or no faith at all. This causes no conflict for Scientologists.”
This is, as is typical, an interesting and very misleading statement. They parse words like Bill Clinton denying his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
Let’s start at the beginning:
We never comment on individual parishioners’ lives. Unless of course we have decided they are “SP’s” and we can apply Fair Game to them. Technically, they are no longer “parishioners”, so this is “true.” But all the information we then disclose about them is from when they WERE “parishioners.” They get all sorts of personal information from their parishioners and generally do hold it — until they no longer deem them suitable to be protected by the “priest penitent privilege.”
Scientologists respect the faith of others, associate with and befriend members of every religion. Unless those beliefs are not compatible with scientology. They do not respect the beliefs of ex-scientologists. Or atheists (look up “Godless psychiatrists” in the writings of Hubbard — it appears over and over as the most dismissive condemnation possible). It is technically true there is no proscription against any other faith — they make this a big deal for public relations purposes.Â Except as one advances in scientology and is indoctrinated into Keeping Scientology Working and then more advanced scientology writings about Jesus Christ being an implant, you discover that every other religion is NOT compatible with scientology and to be a scientologists you CANNOT practice any other religion, or even yoga or anything else. Anything NOT scientology, whether another religion or self-help scheme is categorized by the derogatory term “Other Practices” and at the lower levels is severely frowned upon and discouraged and at the higher levels is specifically forbidden.
Scientologists do not cut ties with non-Scientologist friends or family members because they have chosen another religion. UNLESS THOSE FAMILY MEMBERS ARE EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS. If your other religion is “Not-scientology” it is not only a lie that scientologists do not cut ties with you, it is MANDATORY that any scientologist MUST cut ties. As a scientologist you don’t have to cut ties with your grandparents because they are Presbyterians. That is true. ÂÂ You don’t have to fire employees because they are Buddhists. You are allowed to see a doctor who is a Methodist. But you would be pushing the envelope if they are members of the Westboro Baptist Church, as those fundamentalists are categorized as “Anti-Scientologists” and thus you cannot be connected to them. If you RETURN to Catholicism AFTER converting to scientology, you are definitely persona non grataÂÂ to scientology and all scientologists must disconnect from you. Your former relationship with scientology trumps your new religion’s status. ÂÂ So, it all depends on whether you choose “another religion” AFTER scientology. And if “another religion” is deemed “Anti-scientology.” And it also depends how deeply you are IN scientology. Scientology deems it a “High Crime” to remain connected to someone who has been designated as no longer in “good standing” with the church. So, this statement also qualifies as “pants on fire.”
Given that Scientology is a new religion, Scientologists often have family members and friends who are not Scientologists and who may practice another faith or no faith at all. This causes no conflict for Scientologists. Again, unless that friend or family member used to be a scientologist. Or they have ever said something negative about scientology. Or they are a “government agent” or a psychiatrist, or a media reporter.
Miscavige thinks he is very clever with these carefully parsed statements sent to the press. He thinks nobody will notice and many media will blithely publish them without comment. And he is correct in some regard. But the truth is that everyone knowledgeable about scientology who sees this knows it is a lie. And that includes existing scientologists. ÂÂ When Tommy Davis infamously went on CNN and outright lied about disconnection and lied directly to Paul Haggis, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. And that led to the New Yorker article by Lawrence Wright (“The Apostate” a wonderful piece if you have never read it) and subsequently to Larry Wright’s book Going Clear which was then the basis for Alex Gibney’s HBO masterpiece of the same name.
You would think he would learn….
But fortunately, humility does not permeate the world of a sociopath. ÂÂ In their mind they cannot ever do anything wrong. So they will never learn from their mistakes and will simply keep repeating the same disasters over and over until finally they are no more.
Friday, 19 August 2016 01:17
(Note: This article was originally published at Tony Ortega's Underground Bunker and is reposted here for informational purposes)
Contributor Jeffrey Augustine keeps a close eye on Scientology’s financial documents. And he has some new information today that backs up what we’ve been told anecdotally by our other sources — that Scientology’s flagship drug rehab center in Oklahoma, Narconon Arrowhead, is in serious trouble. Take it away, Jeffrey…
Here in the US, religious groups do not have to file tax returns. The only exception is if they have “unrelated business income.” If they do, thanks to a 2006 law change, religious groups must file an IRS form “990-T.” And even then, we don’t have much interest in the “unrelated” income that they report. The Church of Scientology, for example, owns a nine hole golf course at Gold Base that it rents out to local civic groups. The Flag Land Base in Clearwater and Celebrity Centre International in Hollywood each have ballrooms that they rent out. These tend to be trivial amounts and don’t tell us much about the real money they’re taking in for courses and donations.
However, the real value of the 990-T form is that it contains one really interesting question: It requires that the filer estimate the total “book value” of the organization. In other words, Scientology entities that submit these forms have to admit how much they’re worth.
And that’s forced several Scientology entities to admit to being worth a total of about $1.7 billion in assets. (And that’s only for the entities that report unrelated business income. Some of Scientology’s entities don’t submit 990-T forms, so we can only guess at their book value. But it would certainly mean that Scientology as a whole is worth billions more.)
Meanwhile, Scientology’s entities that can’t claim to be religious in nature — like the secular front groups, including the drug rehab companies under the Narconon umbrella — do submit annual tax returns (990 forms) if they have gross receipts of more than $200,000 or assets of $500,000 or more. There is typically a two year lag in getting 990s and 990-Ts. The forms Scientology submitted for the tax year 2014 are just now beginning to become available.
David Miscavige has always held out Narconon Arrowhead as the “flagship” of the drug rehab network. Located in Canadian, Oklahoma the facility has been rocked by a series of scandals and lawsuits – as have Narconon Georgia, Narconon in Canada, and several other Narconon centers.
The Underground Bunker has broken these stories to its international audience, and readers here have followed what seems to be the implosion of Narconon. Now, we can report that Narconon Arrowhead lost money in 2014 and has experienced a serious “stat crash.”
Narconon Arrowhead’s most recent 990 tax return, for 2014 (see below), paints a grim story.
Gross receipts that year were $4,117,845, a combination of gifts ($2,034,017) and sales of services ($2,044,407).
How did Narconon Arrowhead come up with $2 million in gifts? The answer is on another 990 tax form, the one submitted by Narconon’s Scientology umbrella organization, the Association for Better Living & Education (ABLE). In 2014, ABLE gave Arrowhead a “grant” of $1,879,286 for “general support.” Arrowhead’s remaining gift amount presumably came from other Scientology organizations. We can say that with some confidence based on precedent. In 2008, Scientology’s Social Betterment Properties International (SBPI) donated $180,000 to Narconon Arrowhead. Apparently, and for public relations reasons, David Miscavige cannot allow Narconon Arrowhead to become insolvent — it is, after all, the flagship of Narconon.
Arrowhead’s losses (revenues less expenses) for the year were $310,714. But that’s misleading. The real number, once you take away what was “gifted” to Arrowhead by ABLE to keep it afloat, is a real annual loss of at least $2,190,000. In other words, Scientology’s other groups had to prop up Narconon Arrowhead with $2 million in gifts so it would only show an annual loss of $310,714 in 2014. Of course, it is possible to work the numbers in different ways, but I am using very basic accounting. I welcome comments and analysis from the real numbers people here at the Bunker.
Even with Arrowhead’s lousy 2014 numbers, its losses in 2013 were even worse — a total of $3,713,907 in losses after subtracting operating costs from revenue. That might explain why Scientology found a couple of million to “gift” Arrowhead in 2014, which it didn’t do in 2013.
Meanwhile, ABLE wasn’t only propping up Arrowhead. It “gifted” plenty more to other Narconon entities that are struggling: Narconon International ($541,053), Narconon Fresh Start ($866,739), Narconon Pacific Coast ($15,561), Narconon Freedom Center ($34,047), International Academy of Detox Specialists ($30,762), and Narconon Georgia ($33,620).
For decades, Narconon was a reliable moneymaker for ABLE and the Church of Scientology. Now, after Narconon became a nightmare of lawsuits and scandals, Scientology is having to fork out serious money to keep it from collapsing.
Arrowhead’s decline is particularly stark. After its income rose to a peak of $12 million in 2012, it fell off a cliff after, that year, three patients died in a nine-month period:
As Tony reported recently, he’s heard from his sources that Arrowhead, which was designed to house more than 200 patients, is reportedly now down to ten staff and only three patients. If Miscavige is going to continue to prop up his flagship drug rehab, he’s going to have to keep giving it “gifts” in the millions.
Narconon Arrowhead 990 for 2014
— Jeffrey Augustine
Tuesday, 26 July 2016 21:49
Note: This article first appeared on Tony Ortega's Undergound Bunker on July 25, 2016. It is reproduced here for archival reasons.
We’re in transit again, and so we’re grateful that frequent contributor Jeffrey Augustine came through with another fun look at Scientology’s underlying policies. This one really needs no more explanation than that…
L. Ron Hubbard had absolutely no sense of humor and hated what he called “Joking and Degrading.” Hubbard formalized this into a policy outlawing Joking and Degrading (J&D’ing) in the Church of Scientology.
One of the first things Scientology does to a person is to outlaw and destroy their sense of humor. As Hubbard wrote in the Keeping Scientology Working (KSW) policy:
The whole agonized future of this planet, every man, woman and child on it, and your own destiny for the next endless trillions of years depend on what you do here and now with and in Scientology.
This is a deadly serious activity. And if we miss getting out of the trap now, we may never again have another chance.
Remember, this is our first chance to do so in all the endless trillions of years of the past.
In 1977, Hubbard wrote his infamous Jokers and Degraders HCO Policy Letter…
These four types of persons, these Jokers and Degraders, were verified as being deadly stat-crashers…
Yes, Hubbard asserted that some joker was physically driving students from an Org and so all hilarity was out the window.
Hubbard further denounced “wit and humor” as serious crimes that destroyed Orgs…
How did Hubbard instruct Scientologists to handle the Jokers and Degraders in their midst?
Confessionals — in other words, brutal face-ripping interrogations, also known as “Sec Checks” — are one of the ways to handled J&D’ers. Finally, Hubbard tells Scientology execs…
Hubbard and his successor David Miscavige have numerous ways to handle Jokers and Degraders. For example. the J&D’er could get a Court of Ethics or a “Comm Ev” (Committee of Evidence, something like a court martial). Even Scientology’s auditors are subjected to questions about Joking and Degrading…
And finally, the most serious of all questions…
Former Church execs have told me that modern Sec Checks ask the same essential questions about Miscavige himself: “HAVE YOU EVER MADE FUN OF OR JOKED ABOUT COB RTC DAVID MISCAVIGE?”
Lawrence Wright related an example of a joke gone wrong in his 2011 article “The Apostate” in The New Yorker, the article that became the basis for Wright’s book Going Clear:
Tommy Davis, at Cruise’s request, was allowed to erect a tent on the set of Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, where Scientology materials were distributed. That raised eyebrows in Hollywood. [Director Paul] Haggis says that when he appeared on the set Spielberg pulled him aside. “It’s really remarkable to me that I’ve met all these Scientologists, and they seem like the nicest people,” Spielberg said. Haggis replied, “Yeah, we keep all the evil ones in a closet.” (Spielberg’s publicist says that Spielberg doesn’t recall the conversation.)
A few days later, Haggis says, he was summoned to the Celebrity Centre, where officials told him that Cruise was very upset. “It was a joke,” Haggis explained. Davis offers a different account. He says that Cruise mentioned the incident to him only “in passing,” but that he himself found the remark offensive. He confronted Haggis, who apologized profusely, asking that his contrition be relayed to “anyone who might have been offended.”
Given Hubbard’s absolute ban on Joking & Degrading, we are left to ask about the lack of requisite deadly seriousness in Scientology fundraisers…
Saturday, 09 July 2016 13:07
Excerpted from Tony Ortega's Underground Bunker: The Church of Intimidation: Scientology stalks another ex-member on the taxpayer dime
What we have for you today appears to be a pretty slight item. It’s a letter, and it’s literally only one line long.
But when we saw it, we thought it spoke volumes, and we wanted to share it with you.
Doing so, however, would be tricky. Let us explain.
It’s a letter sent from the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles to someone who was once in Scientology’s Sea Organization as a child, and who has tried her best to put the Sea Org and Scientology behind her.
But Scientology never gives up. It usually manages to find a way to track down former members.
You know this is the case if you’ve been paying attention to Scientology’s practices. Five years ago we wrote about how Scientology will track you down even if you haven’t taken a course in forty years. But usually, when they do find you, they are trying to get you back on the Bridge.
Other times, as in today’s example, the church appears to be engaged in little more than pure intimidation.
Sharing the letter, and explaining the story behind it, we knew might put our tipster into harm’s way with the church. But she decided she’d rather that you all know about this episode and damn the consequences....
Let that sink in. An organization that had used this young woman as an indentured servant, from the ages of 11 to 16, an organization that gets around child labor laws by claiming to be a church and is subsidized by American taxpayers as a tax-exempt organization, went to the trouble of tracking her down more than a decade later, and for what?
Simply to let her know that it was watching.
That is what passes for a tax-exempt church in the United States.
Tuesday, 28 June 2016 18:38
In this podcast Mark Fisher -- who was David Miscavige's former assistant for many years at the Corporate Liaison Office and later RTC -- discusses how L. Ron Hubbard never appointedÂÂ David Miscavige as his Successor. Instead, Mark describes how David Miscavige, who then worked as an employee of the privately-owned for-profit company Author Services Inc., used ASI to stage a palace coup to take over RTC, and thus the Church, after the death of L. Ron Hubbard.
Mark Fisher also discusses how he took personal possession of L. Ron Hubbard's auditing folders and the OTVII - OTX materials after Hubbard's death, this at the direct order of David Miscavige.
ÂÂ In my previous article Scientology claims L. Ron Hubbard chose David Miscavige to succeed him, proving he didn’t, David Miscavige used Scientology attorney Eric Lieberman to insist that he, David Miscavige, had rightfully inherited the mantle of L. Ron Hubbard. Lieberman insisted the Church has documents from L. Ron Hubbard supporting this claim. However, neither Lieberman nor the Church has ever publicly produced these alleged documents. It stands to reason that if such documents existed then David Miscavige would certainly have produced and publicly circulated these documents immediately upon the death of L. Ron Hubbard in January 1986. This never happened. Therefore, Lieberman's claim must remain unsubstantiated until such a time as the purported documents are publicly posted online and made available for one and all to examine.
This matter also the question: Why, after 30 years at the top of Scientology, does David Miscavige suddenly feel the need to assert that he is the legitimate successor of L. Ron Hubbard? The answer may lie in the fact that many former Scientologists view Miscavige’s succession to power as having been the result of an illegitimate palace coup after L. Ron Hubbard died on January 26, 1966 without having appointed a successor.
ÂÂ In the David Miscavige.Affadavit.17 Feb 1994 David Miscavige stated that L. Ron Hubbard went completely out of touch with any and all Church entities from May of 1984 until he passed away in January of 1986.
ÂÂ This means that from May 1984 forward, Hubbard had absolutely no contact with David Miscavige or anyone else in the Church. And from 1982-1987 David Miscavige was COB Author Services Inc., a for-profit California corporation that was not a part of the Church of Scientology International. During this time period, however, David Miscavige arguably pierced the corporate veils between ASI, CST. RTC, and CSI at one crucial event. "Commander” David Miscavige showed up in the uniform of a Sea Org member to help conduct the Mission Holder Massacre of October 1982. As an employee of a privately-owned corporation, Miscavige had no authority to act within CST, RTC, or CSI. Nevertheless, Miscavige announced to the Mission Holders:
"Earlier this evening both Kingsley Wimbush and Dean Stokes were here. They have both now been declared and we are pursuing criminal charges against them. They have been delivering their own squirrel tech while calling it Scientology. Kingsley Wimbush's 'dinging process' is complete squirrel. You won't find it in any tech, yet he has been calling it Scientology. That's a violation of trademark laws and he now faces some serious charges for this crime. This sort of activity is NOT going to go on any more."
Question: By what right or authority did Commodore David Miscavige declare Kingsley Wimbush and Dean Stokes? As an ASI employee, Miscavige had absolutely no standing in CSI; he had no ecclesiastical or corporate authority to declare SP’s. And yet in the 1982 photo below we see David Miscavige declaring Mission Holder Dean Stokes of Dallas an SP:
Given David Miscavige’s lack of corporate and ecclesiastical standing in the Church, we must therefore assume David Miscavige declared Dean Stokes based upon Miscavige’s standing as a then Commander - and later Captain -- in the Sea Org. However, this belies what CSI Legal Director Alan Cartwright stated in when he was deposed by Ray Jeffrey in Rathbun v. Miscavige:
Q. (By Mr. Jeffrey) Okay. Is David Miscavige captain of the Sea Organization?
Q. What — does he have a rank within the Sea Organization?
A. He has a rank, just like I have a rank.
Q. And what is his rank?
A. From what I understand, he has a rank of captain.
Q. Okay. Is that an insulting term?
A. I don’t know about being insulting, it’s just an incorrect term.
Q. According to you?
Q. Yeah, that it’s — no, you said it’s incorrect. It’s incorrect according to you.
A. What I said to you was I don’t know him as Captain David Miscavige. I’ve never heard that being used.
Q. Have you ever seen him in his captain’s uniform?
A. I’ve seen him in his Sea Org uniform.
Q. And is it a captain’s uniform with captain’s rank?
A. You know, I’m not sure.
Q. Do you have a uniform?
Q. And so, what you’re saying is that everyone within this group called the Sea Organization has a rank, but the ranks are meaningless?
A. Ranks — these — you have to understand what the Sea Org is. It’s a religious order, and these are — these are honorary positions that are given to someone because of longevity and what they’ve done for the religion. That’s all it is.
Q. Is there any chain of authority from rank to rank? Does a captain have authority in connection with an ensign?
Q. There’s no authority that derives from that?
A. None whatsoever. Just to give you an example, I’m an ensign, Linda Hamel is a midshipman, I have a senior rank to her.
Q. And both of those ranks are beneath captain?
A. In the levels of ranks, yes.
Q. But, you are saying that the ranks are meaningless in terms of authority?
According to CSI Legal Director Alan Cartwright, ÂÂ Sea Org ranks are meaningless in Scientology. Hence, corporate ranks mean everything. So to repeat, how did David Miscavige, an employee of a for-profit privately owned corporation called Author Services Inc., have any corporate standing to declare Dean Stokes, Kingsley Wimbush, or anyone else an SP in 1982 at the Mission Holders Conference? David Miscavige’s claim that his Sea Org rank means nothing does not withstand scrutiny when we consider the actions of “Sea Org Commander David Miscavige” at the 1982 Mission Holders Conference.
ÂÂ Likewise, David Miscavige’s claim to be the legitimate successor to L. Ron Hubbard does not withstand scrutiny when we consider the complete absence of any ÂÂ succession document, or documents, written by L. Ron Hubbard. Rather, based upon the available evidence, we must conclude that David Miscavige came to power in a palace coup he staged to take over RTC after the death of L. Ron Hubbard.
Monday, 30 May 2016 19:23
From Tony Ortega's Underground Bunker:
Contributor Jeffrey Augustine has taken a close look at Scientology’s over-the-top attacks on Ron Miscavige for this piece today. We think you’re going to find that he unearthed some really eye-opening stuff!
On May 3, Ron Miscavige published a book about his son, Scientology leader David Miscavige. Titled Ruthless, the book is an unsparing account of how Ron watched his son take over Scientology and became a pitiless dictator.
David struck back with a typical Scientology “Fair Game” retaliation scheme. In this case, it was in the form of an anonymous smear website attacking his own father, as well as a concerted effort to market that website in online ads and in emails. Here at the Bunker, we’ve already looked at some of the claims being made on that website.
After my own close look at that material the church has thrown at Ron Miscavige, one thing stood out to me: The glaring contradictions between what David Miscavige said under oath in a 1994 court declaration, and what’s being said about him in the church’s attacks on his father.
In 1994, David Miscavige gave a sworn declaration in a lawsuit that grew out of the 1991 TIME magazine cover story that called Scientology “a thriving cult of greed and power.” The person who wrote that story was Richard Behar, who, like other journalists, described David Miscavige as the man who ran Scientology with an iron fist, and controlled everything down to the smallest detail.
In his court declaration, Miscavige denied that he exerted that level of control:
Since March of 1987, I have been Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center (“RTC”), a California non-profit religious corporation recognized as tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. RTC is not part of Church management, nor is it involved in the daily affairs of various Church of Scientology organizations or missions. RTC ensures that the trademarks of Dianetics and Scientology, and the technology they represent, are properly used around the world. It exists to see that Dianetics and Scientology technology is safeguarded, is in good hands, and is properly used.
This is the typical line that the church usually takes: That David Miscavige is the “ecclesiastical leader” of Scientology, the chairman of the board of the Religious Technology Center (COB of RTC) and is not involved in the Church of Scientology and its day to day activities — and certainly not in its notorious retaliatory schemes against the church’s perceived enemies.
But here’s the irony. David Miscavige and Scientology are so anxious to discredit David’s father Ron on its smear website about him, the church has provided video testimony from workers at the International Base — also known as “Gold Base” for Golden Era Productions, the studios at the base where Scientology music and videos are produced — as a way to claim that Ron was not the person he describes in his book. But the unintended consequence of that is, many of these base workers have provided testimony that completely contradicts what David Miscavige said in that 1994 court declaration!
Statements from the executives and musicians who are featured at the smear website claim that David Miscavige is intimately involved in the daily affairs of the most detailed activities inside Scientology. These executives speak of David Miscavige being involved in the minute details of planning and building kitchens, studios, apartment complexes, and even the laundry rooms.
Continue reading: http://tonyortega.org/2016/05/30/how-scientologys-smears-of-ron-miscavige-could-end-up-a-bigger-problem-for-his-son-dave/#more-31314
Sunday, 01 May 2016 15:17
Sunday, 03 April 2016 18:46
(Note: This article was originally published at Tony Ortega's Underground Bunker and is republished here for archival purposes)
Jeffrey Augustine is back, continuing on his investigation of Scientology’s governing documents and what they mean for members and ex-members. This time, Jeff tells us about the thing every ex-member of Scientology should do as soon as he or she has decided to leave…
ÂÂ In America, freedom of religion is typically considered in positive terms: Americans are free to embrace or reject religion as they please. Monotheism, polytheism, pantheism, animism, and every other religious form under the sun are allowed to be practiced in America without any interference from the government.
Churches, temples, mosques, and ashrams are free to determine their own internal form of government, rules, and discipline. The government is prohibited from intruding into these ecclesiastical matters. The First and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution guarantees these rights. In the legal case Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese, Etc. v. Milivojevich, the Court stated:
“…the First and Fourteenth Amendments permit hierarchical religious organizations to establish their own rules and regulations for internal discipline and government, and to create tribunals for adjudicating disputes over these matters. When this choice is exercised and ecclesiastical tribunals are created to decide disputes over the government and direction of subordinate bodies, the Constitution requires that civil courts accept their decisions as binding upon them.”
So long as the “rules and regulations for internal discipline and government” do not violate US law, the members of a religious group can be subjected to harsh ecclesiastical tribunals, severe punishments, and even the humiliating public disclosure of their sins and the US courts cannot do anything about it. This is the dark side of “freedom of religion.”
A really clear example of this is a court case that I think has a lot of relevance for Scientology. It was the 1984 dispute known as Guinn v. Church of Christ of Collinsville, which was ultimately decided by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
Marian Guinn joined the Church of Christ in 1974 in the small community of Collinsville, Oklahoma, where up to five percent of the local population belonged to the church. Several years into her membership in the church, Guinn, a single woman, began dating the town’s mayor. The mayor was a divorced man, and according to the Church of Christ, the only form of divorce condoned by the Bible was one caused by adultery, which was not the situation in the mayor’s case. So the church considered Guinn’s relationship with the mayor to be “unbiblical,” and the church elders demanded a meeting with her.
In that meeting, Guinn admitted that she was sleeping with the mayor, compounding the problem in the eyes of the elders. They told her to end the relationship, and she promised to repent. In a second meeting, the elders demanded that Guinn appear before the assembled church membership and publicly confess to the sin of fornication. Instead, she stopped attending the church.
So the elders then drove to her house for a third confrontation, and again demanded that she make a public pronouncement of her sin. They then sent her a letter warning that if she didn’t do what she was told, she would be withdrawn from the fellowship, and she realized that the elders intended to inform the congregation of her deeds. She sought legal advice, and her lawyer sent the elders a letter advising the not to discuss her private life with the congregation. Guinn also sent a letter making it clear that she had left the church and had rescinded her consent to be governed by its rules. This turned out to be crucial.
A few days later, the elders ignored her request to respect her privacy and read out a letter about her involvement with the mayor to the congregation. They also encouraged the church members to contact Guinn and ask her to repent. When Guinn met with one of the elders and again asked that her privacy be respected, he told her that her attempt to withdraw herself from the congregation was “doctrinally impossible” — as far as they were concerned, they still governed her and she could never leave on her own.
Guinn’s private life was not only discussed at her church, but the facts of her “sin” were also sent to four other local Church of Christ congregations to be read aloud to the members.
Marian Guinn then filed suit against the church for invasion of privacy and emotional distress. The Church of Christ argued in court that because its rules do not permit its members to ever resign or depart from the Church, the Church’s rules applied to Guinn even after she resigned. (A jury eventually awarded her $390,000.)
The Church of Christ, like the Church of Scientology, would like its members to think of it as the Hotel California: You can check out any time you want but you can never leave. However, this is simply not correct. The Guinn court offered an instructional and highly valuable ruling:
Just as freedom to worship is protected by the First Amendment, so also is the liberty to recede from one’s religious allegiance. In Torcaso v. Watkins the Court reaffirmed that neither a state nor the federal government can force or influence a person to go or to remain away from church against one’s will or to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. The First Amendment clearly safeguards the freedom to worship as well as the freedom not to worship.
As an aside, what this tells us is that the Scientologist who wishes to resign from the Church in order to escape its oppression and abuse is free to do so by sending the Church a written statement of resignation that includes a specific withdrawal of one’s consent to be governed by Scientology’s doctrinal rules. (And please note that I am not an attorney; this article may not be relied upon for legal advice. Please consult a licensed attorney in your state for specific legal advice about your particular situation.)
The point here is that anyone desiring to resign from a church and withdraw their consent to be governed by the rules of that church must make a positive act. This means writing a letter to appropriate church officials specifically stating one’s resignation and withdrawal of consent. In the case of the Church of Scientology one needs to resign from the IAS, the Church of Scientology International, and all Orgs where one has signed membership services contracts and had services; the positive act should be as broad and sweeping as possible.
The court record in Guinn is specific on the point of withdrawing consent (emphasis mine):
The Elders had never been confronted with a member who chose to withdraw from the church. Because disciplinary proceedings against Parishioner had already commenced when she withdrew her membership, the Elders concluded their actions could not be hindered by her withdrawal and would be protected by the First Amendment. Parishioner relies on her September 24, 1981 handwritten letter to the Elders in which she unequivocally stated that she withdrew her membership and terminated her consent to being treated as a member of the Church of Christ communion. By common-law standards we find her communication was an effective withdrawal of her membership and of her consent to religious discipline.
Consent is the crux of the matter in terms of religion in America. Once an individual consents to be governed by a church’s rules, that individual is fully subject to the rules and the punishments, however harsh they may be, for breaking those rules.
Once an individual resigns from their church and withdraws their consent to be governed by church rules, however, the church no longer has any rights to punish them. As the Church Discipline blog wrote of the Guinn matter:
This bears repeating. Once a withdraw has occurred the First Amendment protections don’t belong to the church, rather they belong to the individual. All religious activity in the United States is consensual, a person who publicly claims not to be a member of a church is legally not a member of that church and church discipline cannot continue without consent. A church attempting to discipline a person that has withdrawn can be found to be engaging in a form of harassment.
Where the Church of Scientology radically differs from every other church in America is that it has a malicious intake system in which new members are systematically stripped of their civil rights when they sign a series of waivers.
In a previous article in the Bunker, I laid out the four basic contracts the Church of Scientology uses to legally assert its First and Fourteenth Amendment religious protections against its own members.
In business terminology, the Church of Scientology “front loads” its membership terms and conditions. What this means is that Scientology ensures that it is legally protected at the outset from any potential or conceivable future legal consequences from new members by using secular contract law against new members. These contracts legally position the Church deeply behind the religious protections of the US Constitution.
The brutally honest answer as to why the Church of Scientology has gotten away with what it does to its members is simple: Scientologists consented to it. Even if that consent was coerced, not understood, given under compulsion or the threat of an SP Declare and disconnection, that consent allowed the Church to become the beast it is today. When Scientologists no longer consent to the Church’s brutality and abuse they leave by their positive acts of resignation or escape.
The Church of Scientology is like a rigged casino: Thanks to its Constitutional protections, the odds are absolutely and irrevocably stacked in favor of the house. Like all rigged casinos, people will have some wins in Scientology; but over time the house takes everything. That is how the game is designed. The only way out is to resign from the Church and to withdraw one’s consent to be governed by the Church of Scientology’s rules.
— Jeffrey Augustine