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Scientology Insider Dan Koon - Part 2: Ron Miscavige's book Ruthless PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Blogs - Karen de la Carriere Blog
Tuesday, 13 September 2016 17:48

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Dan Koon ghost wrote Ron Miscavige Sr.'s book Ruthless. In this interview Dan discusses the writing and vetting process of the book and addresses criticisms. Dan also shares highlights of his 27 years in the Sea Org.

 
Scientology Insider Dan Koon - Part 1 of His Story PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Blogs - Karen de la Carriere Blog
Saturday, 03 September 2016 17:17

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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.

 
Marty Rathbun defends Scientology leader David Miscavige as he trashes tell-all memoir ‘Ruthless’ PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Blogs - Karen de la Carriere Blog
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.”


RuthlessUSUK


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.

 
Scientology Non-Disconnection Policy PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Blogs - Karen de la Carriere Blog
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 Times (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 is that he doesn’t care about his daughter enough to visit with her?  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.  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.  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 grata to scientology and all scientologists must disconnect from you. Your former relationship with scientology trumps your new religion’s status.  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.  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.  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.

 

 
New Scientology financial disclosures reflect the dire state of its chief drug rehab PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Blogs - Karen de la Carriere Blog
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:

2010: $8,793,476
2011: $11,091,425
2012: $12,333,912
2013: $4,332,483
2014: $2,044,407

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

 
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Embezzlement

Massive Ponzi Scheme

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Coercion

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Racketeering

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Torture

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