Scientology's SF Leaker Talks: We Ask Amy Scobee to Interpret

Categories: Scientology

Thumbnail image for AmyScobee.jpg
Amy Scobee: "I can tell you this person knows what they're talking about."
Lauren Smiley has been publishing a terrific series this week at our sister paper, SF Weekly.

Smiley first reported on September 8 that the very active Anonymous chapter there, Chanology SF, had received e-mails from someone inside Scientology's "org" who went by the handle "ethicstrouble."

Ethicstrouble claims to be a disillusioned Scientologist with inside information about the SF church (including charts and graphs). The org's president, Jeff Quiros, tells Smiley that ethicstrouble is a hoax.

While Smiley has been unable to confirm that ethicstrouble is who he or she claims, she published this week a fascinating three-part interview with the supposed insider in which ethicstrouble describes losing confidence in Scientology, in part because of the constant presence of Anonymous protesters.

We asked one of the most well-known recent defectors from Scientology, Amy Scobee, to read ethicstrouble's interview and comment on it.

Scobee spent 27 years in Scientology and worked directly with church leader David Miscavige before defecting in 2005. She told a dramatic tale of her time in Scientology in her book, "Abuse at the Top." Scobee did multiple stints in the RPF -- the Sea Org's prison detail, the Rehabilitation Project Force -- and she went through several stages of leaving the Sea Org and Scientology itself. For that reason, I thought she would have an interesting perspective on the ethicstrouble interview.

In the first part of the interview, ethicstrouble describes what it's like to work at the SF org, and paints a picture of a place where people have to work extra jobs to get by.

Amy's take:

First, there is no question in my mind that this person is an insider. I am so happy that Anonymous was able to prompt them to look at the Internet to find the truth. The stats are real, the day/foundation set-up is real, the "moonlighting" at "wog" jobs to make up for lack of income is real, the criminal registration (raising credit limit, etc.) is real. And I completely agree with their conclusion that Scientology is only being floated by people with deep pockets since they're mainly asking for direct donations and don't seem to give a hoot about service any more. Glad to see more people breaking away.

I asked for her thoughts on ethicstrouble's concerns about being disaffected with Scientology but not wanting her co-workers or family to find out.

For sure. It's terrifying (especially in the Sea Org, but also as a staff member) because you will be put on the meter and interrogated. I hated that so bad. They say the e-meter is reading and you have something you're withholding and you're not leaving the room until you confess what your crimes are. I've recently spoken to folks who are being put on the meter, being asked who they're talking to, what they're looking at on the Internet, etc. It just made them wonder what's on the Internet and then they look. Whops! They're not very smart.

The other thing mentioned about the Internet is so true. All their freaking computers are blocked with specific software so you'd have to go to an outside computer to be able to see anything.

That was an interesting part of the ethicstrouble interview -- the claim that computers at the org are not hooked up to the Internet, to prevent Scientologists from seeing criticism of the church. I asked Amy if that was also the case at Int base -- the California desert headquarters where she worked.

Yes, and there was an "INTERNET IN-CHARGE" who was an OSA person (Gloria Idda) and you would have to do a routing form and get multiple people's approval to be able to gain access to the Internet -- ONLY if it was needed for the type of job you had. I did that routing form. It still had the blocks on it, but you could at least do some sort of research for your job. And they'd be able to know if you looked at anything "bad." The only way I think they think they can keep members is if they keep them in the total dark.

I asked Amy what she thought about ethicstrouble's observation that the constant protests by Anonymous are crippling the org, keeping it from bringing in new people.

They're not getting in new people, possibly because of the protests, and probably because people watch the news and read the Internet -- the world isn't as cloistered. So with lack of new public and old public Scientologists and staff discovering the truth and walking away, their organizations are becoming ghost towns.

The graphs ethicstrouble leaked do seem to indicate an organization that is struggling, which is consistent with what we've heard about Scientology as a whole.

My thanks to Amy Scobee for helping us out here at Runnin' Scared.



The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#1: L. Ron Hubbard
#2: David Miscavige
#3: Marty Rathbun
#4: Tom Cruise
#5: Joe Childs and Tom Tobin
#6: Anonymous
#7: Mark Bunker
#8: Mike Rinder
#9: Jason Beghe
#10: Lisa McPherson
#11: Nick Xenophon (and other public servants)
#12: Tommy Davis (and other hapless church executives)
#13: Janet Reitman (and other journalists)
#14: Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists)
#15: Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics)
#16: Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church's HQ
#17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano
#18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive
#19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons)
#20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures)
#21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church
#22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members)
#23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church)
#24: David Touretzky (and other academics)
#25: Xenu, galactic overlord


Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications.

tortega@villagevoice.com | @VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega

Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared


SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE

[All recent stories] | [Top 25 People Crippling Scientology] | [Commenters of the Week]

FEATURED INVESTIGATIONS

[Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis secretly recorded discussing "disconnection"]
[Benjamin Ring, LA deputy sheriff, wants you to spend your 401K on Scientology]
[Scientologists: How many of them are there, anyway?]

MARTY RATHBUN AND THE SIEGE OF SOUTH TEXAS

[Scientology has Rathbun arrested] | [Rathbun and Mark Bunker reveal surprising ties]
In Germany with Ursula Caberta: [Announcing plans] | [Press conference] | [Making news about Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, and Tony Blair] | [Post-trip interview]
The Squirrel Busters: [Goons with cameras on their heads] | [Rathbun's open letter to neighbors] | [Ingleside on the Bay, Texas rallies to Rathbun's cause] | [Squirrel Buster's claim to be making a "documentary"] | [VIDEO: "On a Boat"] | ["Anna" sent to creep out Monique Rathbun] | [Squirrel Busters go hillbilly] | [A videographer blows the whistle on the goon squad] | [Ed Bryan, OT VIII, shows the power of Scientology's highest levels]

SCIENTOLOGY SPYING AND "FAIR GAME"

[Secret Scientology documents spell out spying operation against Marc Headley]
[Scientology's West U.S. spies list revealed] | [Scientology's enemies list: Are you on it?]
Spy operation against Washington Post writer Richard Leiby: [Part 1] | [Part 2]
[A Scientology spy comes clean: Paulien Lombard's remarkable public confession]
[Scientology advertises for writers in Freedom magazine]
[Accidental leak shows Scientology spy wing plans to "handle" the Voice]

SCIENTOLOGY AND CELEBRITIES

["Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [Tom Cruise likes coconut cake] | [Tom Cruise has a sense of humor] | ["Tom Cruise not a kook!"] | [Paulette Cooper on Tom Cruise]
[Paul Haggis, director of Crash, issues an ultimatum, leaves the church]
[Character actor Jason Beghe defects noisily] | [Actor Michael Fairman reveals his "suppressive person" declaration] | [Michael Fairman talks to the Voice]
[Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh: Scientology-Branch Davidian link makes sense]
[Russell Brand weds ex-Scientologists in wild ceremony] | [Skip Press on Haggis]
[Placido Domingo Jr.: Scientology's retaliation is "scary and pathetic"]
Grant Cardone, NatGeo's "Turnaround King": [Doing Scientology's dirty work?] | [Milton Katselas complained about Cardone's smear job] | [Cardone runs to Huffpo]

JANET REITMAN'S INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY

[Our review of Inside Scientology] | [An interview with Janet Reitman] | [A report from Reitman's first book tour appearance] | [At the Half-King: Reitman not afraid]
[Scientology doesn't like Inside Scientology] | [Q&A at Washington Post]
[A roundup of Reitman's print reviews, and why isn't she on television more?]

HUGH URBAN'S THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

[A review of Urban's scholarly history of the church] | [An interview with Hugh Urban]

EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS SPEAK OUT

[Marc Headley: "Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [The Nancy Many interview]
[Sympathy for the Devil: Tory Christman's Story] | [Jeff Hawkins' Counterfeit Dreams]
[86 Million Thin Dimes: The Lawrence Wollersheim Saga] | [Mike Rinder on spying]

OVERSEAS NEWS

[Scientology dodges a bullet in Australia] | [Scientology exec Jan Eastgate arrested]
[All hell breaks loose in Israel] | [Scientology sees fundraising gold in the UK riots]
[Aussie former rugby pro Chris Guider calls David Miscavige "toxic" and "violent"]
[Stephen Cox, UK church newbie, pledges 20K pounds] | [Biggi Reichert: A German Lisa McPherson?]

ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS

[Scientology singalong, "We Stand Tall"] | [Captain Bill Robertson and "Galactic Patrol"]
[Scientology wins a major award!] | [Scientology wants your money: Meet Dede!]
[Birmingham in the House! The "Ideal" dance mix] | [Scientology and the Nation of Islam]
[When Scientology was hip] | [Sad: David Miscavige makes fun of his own fundraisers]
[Freedom magazine parodies The New Yorker. Hilarity ensues.]
[Scientology surf report: Anonymous parties outside the New York "org"]

THE VIEW INSIDE THE BUBBLE

[A scientologist's letter to the Voice and its readers] | [Scientology silent birth]
[Tad Reeves: Scientology might listen to this guy] | [More Tad Reeves and family]
[Scientology never forgets: A heartwarming telemarketing holiday miracle]
[Scientology High School, Dating and Super Powers!]

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24 comments
JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

This is good. What I also noticed is that the program for attempting to handle people who are looking at the internet ( seen as out-tech) is overseen by the Case Supervisor and the only post in SF org that seemed to be most active was the Out-Tech Situations Handled ( OUTTECHH ) which is the  stat of the Case Supervisor. One can find the handling info here at ESMB , CofS' "handling" for scios exposed to the Internet , h t t p : / / w w w . forum . exscn . net / showthread . php ?24227-CofS-quot-handling-quot-for-scios-exposed-to-the-Internet&highlight=handlingand here in this original post by Laura Dieckman/DeCrescenzo,  h t t p : / / w w w . forum . exscn . net / showthread . php ? 9646

The average seems at the SF Day Org to be about 7 Out-Tech situations handled per week, keeping the Case Supervisor busy but with those numbers, there are probably many many more members with 'handling programs' because of looking at the internet but they are not allowing themselves to be 'handled' by the church.

Marcotai
Marcotai

"We Ask Amy Scobee to Interpret"

LOL Yeah, the right person. Give me a break Tony.

Pk810663
Pk810663

Marco, Marco, Marco...

You do realize that you are the only shill left, right?

Everyone else is gone. You're all alone.

We love you Marcotai. You just remember that when you decide to blow, we will be here for you. You are better than LRH ever was.

Sanddancer
Sanddancer

So, who would you choose to interpret these findings, oh wise one? We need someone who has knowledge of the extensive jargon used within Scientology, without the threat of excommunication hanging over their heads. If the reports are incorrect, then let's see some real numbers. Let's get some independent verification, like an impartial observer to sit in at the SF org for a week to see how many people come in and out. Certainly if you're telling the truth, you'll be more than willing to show what's going on.

danlocke
danlocke

Just a check here... is no one commenting or are comments turned off... or is everyone doing OT TR 0????

bulldogSP
bulldogSP

Ha, I was thinking the same thing danlocke.

I think everyone is all talked out. L.Ron Hubbard topic and reading Marty's blog wore me out. lol

Thank you Amy for being a friend to us wogs. ;-)

danlocke
danlocke

Yes, that was pretty amazing over the last few weeks. The Village Voice should send all commenters tickets and reservations to a nice hotel in the Bahamas for a week. Too bad Oprah does not own this paper. 

Mirko
Mirko

Well said Dan.

The Lubow/FerrisKhan story is disturbing to say the least, esp with the connections to the death of Lisa McPherson.

danlocke
danlocke

Strangely enough, I think that the FerrisK who was posting here truly was the Ferris Khan that Fisher talks about. Really an interesting story and also a bit of a shame to see to what extent a person might go through in order to attempt to mess up a person's life. 

I stick up for Scientology often, but I have not and never will defend this rotten to the core policy that Ron manufactured of purposefully trying to hurt others. 

bulldogSP
bulldogSP

Ha ha! :-)

*whispering* So Ferrisk can't hear us. I think I'll go finish reading that article about him in the SP Times.

Hold down the fort okay. B-)

greebly
greebly

Sign the Whitehouse Petition to investigate the Church of Scientology and it's abuses.

Anyone can sign.

It’s all about a volume of voices, don’t be afraid anymore it is your right to get answers. If nothing happens atleast you are making a very important statement.

If problems registering go here 1st:

wwws dot whitehouse dot gov/user/register

+back to the Petition:

wh dot gov/4Os

If the Sign button is grey and not green simply log out and log back in.

 

Kate Bornstein
Kate Bornstein

Thanks to both of you for the interpretation. Funny thing is, as an ex Sea Org member (1970-1981) I read the interview without the need for interpretation of the words ethicstrouble was using. Hell, it's taken me a long time to stop using those words myself. The language is part of what keeps you inside. It's like this: you've got, like ethicstrouble was saying, all this certainty that you're an immortal all-powerful being. You know the secret to achieving Total Freedom no less, and NO ONE OUTSIDE SCIENTOLOGY UNDERSTANDS YOU! 

But I did need interpretation to understand the shrinking of the church that's taking place. My God, the church has changed so much since I've left. They're more bald-faced about their fair game tactics than they were in my day—and this further alienates the church from anyone who's not in the church. Right?

It's like in the Scorsese film, Goodfellas: the gangsters and their families only hang out with themselves. Both language and deviance from the dominant culture's morality and sense of decency make scary the parallels between the culture of Scorsese's mafia and the culture of what Marty Rathbun calls radical or corporate Scientologists. (Thank you, Marty—I like the distinction.)

So thanks for bringing me up to date on what's going on. And—since it's my bailiwick—I've gotta ask: what gender is ethicstrouble? I mean, I know that thetans have no gender, so any gender is an act, but does ethicstrouble have a boy body or a girl body this lifetime? I'm curious to hear how the gender divide plays out nowadays. What's the gender demographic of people leaving the church?

Love your courageous journalism,Mister Tony. Love the raw truth and compassion in your books, Miss Amy.

kiss kiss

Kate ( used to be Lt. Al ) Bornstein

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

Hi Kate. Best wishes on your book, "A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The true story of a nice Jewish boy who joins the Church of Scientology, and leaves twelve years later to become the lovely lady she is today", and with reconnecting with your daughter some day.

Andie
Andie

Very interesting comparison. Thansk!

Karen De La Carriere
Karen De La Carriere

My dear Kate,

         Many moons ago, as a young interne I audited you on the Flag Ship Apollo.

You were a senior executive at the then FOLO Eastern United States and you came to the ship for a review or some such.

         In more recent times I have studied up your incredible journey and I want to salute you for being true to yourself and your own Code of Honor.

         We have never connected up since Apollo Days ~~ and here we are on Village Voice.

         Kate, I think you are a very special human being.

          Many blessings to you,

           Karen

 

Kate Bornstein
Kate Bornstein

Karen! Oh my stars and whiskers, hello after all these years. Thank you for saying hey and for your very kind words. One thing I've learned lo, these many years: it takes one to know one. ::big hugs:: And many blessings back to you. xoxo Kate

danlocke
danlocke

I never got to meet you when I was in, but I knew many people who admired you, Kate. Kenny Shapirio I am pretty sure is still "in" (but no longer in the SO; RPF'd and then off-loaded), but I remember he was amongst those who spoke of you with admiration.

You were in his musings when we would talk and reminisce. 

Even though there are many "dark sides" to this whole activity; I am proud of the many brilliant people I have been fortunate to have met who were or are involved. They always lit up like beacons in those dark places.

My best to you in your expanding new life and all well-wishes.

Kate Bornstein
Kate Bornstein

Dan, that's so sweet. Agreed—their were some brilliant, kind and giving people in those days, and I've  been getting back in touch with a lot of 'em. Aw, I'm glad to hear from you. And frankly, I'm glad to hear I wasn't *always* the jerk I'd let myself become by keeping Scientology working. Sigh.I'm off to work now (film shoot in my home town, Asbury Park!) but I'll be back to join in on this conversation again when I get back. Hugs to you, Dan, and to Kenny if you're in touch.

TonyOrtega
TonyOrtega

Lauren still doesn't know if ethicstrouble is male or female, so she's using the pronoun "they" at this point.

Kate Bornstein
Kate Bornstein

Tony—darling—"they" is a lovely gender neutral pronoun, and I use it for myself sometimes. But really, ethicstrouble could be so many more genders than just male or female. And isn't *that* weird—how Scientology enforces the gender binary while claiming that thetans aren't their meat bodies. xoxo K

danlocke
danlocke

For lots of fun, and insight into the creativity and delicious non-conformity of Kate Bornstein, click on her profile, take a deep breath and go explore the nuggets of fun and wisdom on her blog.

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

Thanks Amy, for helping contribute to the overwhelming preponderance of evidence that CO$ is bad for anyone's health, particularly mental health.

scifibandit
scifibandit

Yeah, how creepy is such Big Brother behavior? 

Yeppir
Yeppir

Funny - I clicked like on your post (and I do like it) before I realized you said, and I am paraphrasing for brevity: "Thanks AMY, for ... evidence that CO$ is bad for anyone's ... mental health." 

I thought you were talking to KATE! 

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