Scientology Dramaturgy: Commenters of the Week!

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"And you say these policy letters are infallible?"
Things back at the underground bunker are peaceful and calm -- the cats dig the new scratching post, we hear, and they're finally getting some quiet time while we're on the road frantically trying to keep up with Scientology's ongoing implosion.

Things started out quietly enough as we began another week with some Sunday Funnies that continued a Star Wars theme Down Under. Then we kicked things up a notch with another big Monday investigative feature, this time about Scientology's secretive Church of Spiritual Technology. In a rare interview with a former CST employee, we provided detailed maps to all five locations of the church's bizarre underground vaults in California, New Mexico, and Wyoming, where archives of L. Ron Hubbard's writings are stored to survive a nuclear war.

On Tuesday, we took a closer look at the 2-minute TV ad that Scientology has been running on network television. Turns out not everything in it is exactly on the up and up.

That afternoon, we relayed the news that CCHR president Jan Eastgate was charged with a second count in her ongoing criminal prosecution in Australia. We also noted that tonight NYC anons will be celebrating four years of Project Chanology.

Wednesday morning we previewed the Debbie Cook temporary injunction hearing by interviewing Gerry Armstrong, another person who signed a gag order but then spoke out about Scientology anyway.

That night we sneakily boarded a plane to San Antonio so we'd be on the spot for Thursday's big hearing. We provided live updates from the courtroom that proved to be pretty popular. Thursday evening we wrapped up that day's testimony with some analysis of the case.

Friday morning, after posting our regular weekly feature of L. Ron Hubbard dispatches from the yacht Apollo, we resumed our live coverage from a San Antonio courtroom.

After Scientology surprised everyone by waving the white flag and giving up on its gag order as the lawsuit goes forward, we got to interview Debbie yesterday afternoon.

Wow, what a week! OK, let's get to the awards...

Our story on the Church of Spiritual Technology -- the super-secret Scientology division that builds its underground vaults -- inspired a lot of great observations from our readers. But I was particularly impressed by this comment by SFF...

The CST vault projects are pretty crazy but they are crazy in a way that I can respect. It's one of the few cases where the Church of Scientology is spending money on something that is not a cynical ploy to get good PR or to solicit donations. It is also something that has really no benefit to Miscavige unless he actually believes that doing so is important. Given how secretive the projects are, how many Scientologists would know if he pocketed the money instead of actually building anything? It is really more of a legitimate way for a religious organization to spend money than most Scientology expenditures. If Hubbard can't smash his name into history, his followers can at least smash it into various bits of countryside.

I also had to laugh at this fun jab by InTheNameOfXenu...

Those vaults may withstand a nuclear weapon, but they do not stand a chance against a photon blast from a Marcabian space destroyer.

On Tuesday, we had fun dissecting Scientology's TV ad. We were happy to see Kate Bornstein give us her own thoughts about Scientology and "God"...

Yes and no on the God thing, Mister Tony. As you say--no, Scientology doesn't believe in what they consider to be implanted images of God or His spokespeople on earth like Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed. Hubbard often hinted that he himself was the predicted reincarnation of Buddha named Maitreya--it was part of his plan to take over Buddhism with a patronizing racist book he wrote called "Hymn of Asia." On the other hand, I think Scientologists who look at that commercial will agree they've gotten to know God better than they knew God before they got in to Scientology.

The way I remember it, Scientology says that all life proceeds along eight vectors of survival, called dynamics. These are represented as concentric circles, with the 1st Dynamic (self) being at the hub, and the 8th Dynamic on the outside, containing all the rest. The 8th Dynamic, Ron taught, included people's concepts of God--he stressed that God is/was whatever you conceive of God to be. So, the more you know about the first seven dynamics (1:self, 2:sex&love, 3:groups, 4:humanity, 5:all life forms, 6:the physical universe, and 7:all spiritual beings)--the more you're able to figure out for yourself the 8th Dynamic, which some Scientologists may choose for themselves to call God, but many call it simply the 8th Dynamic. I don't remember anyone considering the 8th Dynamic particularly important to study or contemplate, but In this way I'm guessing Scientologists believe they're telling what they call an "acceptable truth" in that commercial.

Meanwhile, Dean Blair was more certain that we'd struck the right tone...

There is no God in Scientology. No one ever gives praise or glory to God. No one ever prays. It is all me, me, me. They hold the belief as you pointed out so succinctly that at one time all of the Scientologists were God Almighty and that after studying Scientology and getting counselling for hundreds of thousands of dollars you can regain your God status. It is truly laughable. Having been a Scientologist for some decades I can attest that everything you have written in your article is factual.

Tuesday afternoon, we reported the news that in Australia, CCHR president Jan Eastgate had received a second charge in her criminal case. For some reason, that post brought out several church defenders who aren't usually around. We wish they'd show up more often. I liked the gumption of this comment by eni, for example...

Guys, you pontificate endlessly about how scientologists are blind and dogmatic in their beliefs and at the same time, you build a bonfire to dance with 'she's guilty!' glee around someone that hasn't been convicted. You're as nutty as they are.

Eni, come back!

Well, on Thursday morning we hit everyone with our big surprise, that we had traveled to San Antonio for the hearing in the Debbie Cook lawsuit. And we had to admit, we enjoyed the responses from our loyal readers. There was this one from anon anon song, for example...

I am resigned to the fact that I will not get much done today.

And this was a sweet jab by Kim O'Brien...

For the VERY first time in my LIFE ...i wish i was in Texas

Debbie Cook gave some pretty devastating testimony that day, and thank you Mat Pesch for giving us your own corroboration...

Amy and I were fed rice and beans 3 meals a day for weeks before signing our "gag order". Of course we were separated with personal guards on us 24/7. We were also at the Hacienda Gardens (where Debbie was at the end) which is surrounded by fences that have motion detectors. As brought up in the trial there are also video surveillance all over the property that is monitored by the guard in the booth at the gate. There is also a roving guard on a bike. Should the person escape over the fence the "blow drill" goes into effect to hunt the person down as was done with Debbie and Wayne. Of course we signed whatever was put in front of us with the hope of getting out of there without losing the ability to communicate with our families. Of course after we cooperated we still got declared as we left. This little route out procedure at the Hacienda prison routinely takes months and even beyond a year in some cases. Its "routine". What isn't routine is the torture that is routine at the International base. Extreme beatings, slop that makes rice and beans look like a gourmet meal, sleeping on concrete floors covered with bugs, electric and thus A/C turned off in the trailer known as "The Hole" out in the California desert where these Sea Org prisoners are supposed to live and sleep. People made to lick bathroom floors clean. People made to stand in a garbage pail for 12 hours with a sign around their neck saying "LESBO" while they are slapped, yelled at and water is poured over their heads. Individuals have also been strapped into chairs and slapped repetitively across the face with a fly swatter. People have been soaked and put in a small room with the A/C turned up all the way until they turned blue. Sounds like an Asian POW camp. No its the International Scientology headquarters as created by David Miscavige and executed by extreme cult members. That and much more has gone on for years despite being reported in detail by dozens of people to the FBI. The American government literally protects this tax exempt cult and criticizes other governments for not being nice to Scientology. People need to open their eyes. Scientology is a VERY extreme and dangerous cult with the stated intention of taking control of the governments and peoples of Earth - for the GOOD of all , of course...

After a day of live-blogging, we put down some thoughts about the first day of the hearing. And we had to nod our heads at this observation by LeeAnne Clark...

I'm disappointed that this hasn't made the national media yet. How can it NOT? This is Tom Cruise's religion! This is the dude that stood next to him as his best man at his wedding...being accused of sending thugs to break a woman's fingers, forcing an underling to lick a bathroom...all in open court! Why is this not on CNN? Why am I not seeing links to these stories on Yahoo? WTF? Come ON, media...get with the program! This should rate a cover article in People Magazine, for cripe's sake!

Meanwhile, Mark Fisher put up a prescient observation, considering what would happen the next morning...

Whether Debbie Cook and her husband win tomorrow or not, the stories of abuse are now public record in a court of law through her testimony. It is now officially in a court of law that DM has been abusing his staff behind closed doors. That bell has been rung and he cannot unring it. Major damage.

Friday morning, we were on the scene again at the courthouse. But before testimony could start again, the church's attorneys shocked everyone by throwing in the towel. I couldn't wait to see how readers reacted to that when I finally got a chance to see the comments. And Kim O'Brien didn't let me down...

Gag order lifted. I think i just peed a little.

I also had to chuckle at this historic riff by ScientologyIsAReligion...

Now that the Scientology corporation has dropped its request for a temporary injunction, the judge is probably secretly heaving a sigh of relief that her pets are not in danger should she have ruled against the holy David Miscavige.

That afternoon I joined several other Scientologists who interviewed Debbie. Mark Fisher again provided some corroboration of his own...

She speaks the truth and I am glad to see that she realized how crazy things were in those last 7 months and decided to leave. She is right that the further away from David Miscavige you are, you do not see these abuses. It is at the top that these crazy brutalities happen. I had the good sense to leave shortly after they started happening around me. I could see the writing on the wall. That was 21 years ago. Law Enforcement authorities need to do something about DM and his abuses and then honest Scientologists can get back to work helping their fellow man if that is what they want to do.

We couldn't argue with JGG's assessment of the church's strategy...

Do you realize that the Church of Scientology handled this as badly as it could be handled? They dropped the case, but only after incurring legal fees, gaining lots of negative publicity and taking contrary positions in litigation. What were they thinking-that Rinder and Rathbun wouldn't have the courage to show up? That Cook would crack under pressure? Is there a PR tech they can use?

And DeckardCain, meanwhile, had us wondering just what is getting through to the celebrities...

This stuff just HAS to be getting back to Tom Cruise and the other celebrity retards. I hope they like eating humble pie because they will have to eat it by the truck load.

Well, I'm headed to the airport this morning, and will need to recuperate before another big week starts up. We should have another big surprise for you Monday morning, and we'll need all of our great commenters in great shape and ready to dive in. Until then, enjoy your Sunday Funnies tomorrow morning!



Debbie Cook Coverage in the Village Voice...

January 1: Scientology rocked by allegations of greed in e-mail to 12,000 church members

January 3: Is Scientology imploding? Watching the panic after a former executive dares to question church management

January 4: Scientology in crisis: Debbie Cook's transformation from enforcer to whistleblower

January 6: Scientology in turmoil: Debbie Cook's e-mail, annotated

January 31: Scientology sues Debbie Cook over her New Year's Eve e-mail

February 2: Debbie Cook files to dissolve Scientology's temporary restraining order: We talk to her attorney, Ray Jeffrey

February 3: Debbie Cook's motion denied: Scientology's restraining order remains in place until Thursday hearing

February 4: Scientology wants it both ways: The church's opposite legal strategies in Florida and Texas

Also, please see our primer, "What is Scientology?"


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] | [What is Scientology?] | [Top 25 People Crippling Scientology]
[Commenters of the Week] | [Thursday 2pm Stats!] | [Scientology vs. South Park]
[This Week Aboard the Apollo] | [Sunday Funnies]

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?]
[Scientology hates clean ice: The "Fair Game" operation that should turn your stomach]
[Scientology hates clean ice, part 2: Another target, and the web as weapon]
[Paulette Cooper, Scientology's original and worst nightmare: a Thanksgiving tribute]

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 | 12. Tommy Davis | 13. Janet Reitman | 14. Tory Christman | 15. Andreas Heldal-Lund | 16. Marc and Claire Headley | 17. Jefferson Hawkins | 18. Amy Scobee | 19. The Squirrel Busters | 20. Trey Parker and Matt Stone | 21. Kendrick Moxon | 22. Jamie DeWolf | 23. Ken Dandar | 24. Dave Touretzky | 25. Xenu

HELD ABOARD THE FREEWINDS: TALES OF THE SEA ORG

[Valeska Paris, held against her will from 1996 to 2007 on Scientology's cruise ship]
[Ramana Dienes-Browning, marriage at 16, sexual interrogation, life in the engine room]
[Melissa Paris, Valeska's sister: forced to marry at 16]

SCIENTOLOGY VS. SOUTH PARK: INVESTIGATION AS RETALIATION

[Scientology targeted South Park's Parker and Stone in an investigation]
[More documents in the South Park probe: instructions to send in a young mole]
[Scientology responds in typical fashion] | [Lloyd Kaufman confirms the probe]
[Mark Ebner also investigated after South Park involvement]
[Mark Chauppetta, private eye, explains what Scientology operatives look for]

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]
[Lori Hodgson and Disconnection: "No one's going to take my eternity away"]

SCIENTOLOGY AND CELEBRITIES

[Hey, Scientology Celebrity, Here's Your Media Training Checksheet!]
[Tom Cruise and X Factor's Stacy Francis singing together on the Freewinds]
[X Factor's Stacy Francis: Her first husband, Michael Sandlofer, answers abuse claims]
[Tom Cruise and Baby Suri embarrassed by news item, so someone must pay]
["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]
[Philip Boyd, Saving Grace actor, rips "the business that is Scientology"]

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

["The Money Machine": another blockbuster St. Pete Times investigation]
[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 in Israel: Arson, attempted murder, paranoia -- and a visit by the Voice!]
[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?] | [The Birmingham trove: 7,000 internal e-mails]
[Australian farmer blamed for giving Tom Cruise a bad shrimp, loses her friends, family]

ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS

[Scientology chillin' with hip hop!] | [The curious career of Scientology rapper Chill EB]
[Chill EB and me: the Voice interviews Scientology's in-house rapper]
[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]
[Desperate Scientology fundraising caught on video]

My Voice Nation Help
83 comments
kevin.anderson.60031
kevin.anderson.60031

LOL AT THIS:


And this was a sweet jab by Kim O'Brien...

For the VERY first time in my LIFE ...i wish i was in Texas

Dylan Reece
Dylan Reece

Kim O'Brien can S my Texas D, how about that.

Lou
Lou

Regarding DeckardCain's comment above regarding what the "celebrities" think, can you imagine what Katie Holmes' parents are thinking right now? Those poor souls must be beside themselves.

1subgenius
1subgenius

Apropos of absolutely nothing:The popular “Meet a Scientologist” profiles on the Church of Scientology International Video Channel at Scientology.org now total more than 200 broadcast-quality documentary videos featuring Scientologists from diverse locations and walks of life. The personal stories are told by Scientologists who are educators, teenagers, skydivers, a golf instructor, a hip-hop dancer, IT manager, stunt pilot, mothers, fathers, dentists, photographers, actors, musicians, fashion designers, engineers, students, business owners and more.A digital pioneer and leader in the online religious community, in April 2008 the Church of Scientology became the first major religion to launch its own official YouTube Video Channel, with videos now viewed more than 6 millions times.Karin PouwPhone: (323) 960 3500Email:  mediarelations@ChurchofScientology.net

Lulu Belle
Lulu Belle

I noticed Debbie Cook's testimony was primarily on Thursday. The biggest points were Thursday afternoon. Thursday at two-ish, actually.

Does anyone lave any idea how FSO's GI was this week?  :P

Mrs.VonTrapp
Mrs.VonTrapp

Eni wrote: "Guys, you pontificate endlessly about how scientologists are blind and dogmatic in their beliefs and at the same time, you build a bonfire to dance with 'she's guilty!' glee around someone that hasn't been convicted. You're as nutty as they are."I see where you're coming from and I've seen this too. But consider this. Many Ex Scientologists have personally witnessed many of the things that are being talked alleged. So when CoS lies, we know they are lying. For example, I know of child sex abuse cases where the child was much younger than in the Eastgate case and the parents never went to the authorities because why? We don't do that in Scientology. It's against the "rules". It's tough for me to imagine that Jan Eastgate did NOT do what she is accused of because what she did was standard practice.  

Schockenawd
Schockenawd

What an incredibly fascinating week.  This blog was all-consuming.  Which can be a little dangerous if you've got a full time job and a family to feed...  I'm starting to think the Scientology-related stories on Runnin' Scared should come with a disclaimer:  "WARNING.  Consumption of this material may be addictive and has been known to cause breathlessness, sleeplessness and a strange fascination with squirrels." 

1subgenius
1subgenius

BTW, one of the vaults is where DM will make his stand/escape. "They'll never get me Mama!" And they never will. He witnessed how Hubbard died. He will die virtually alone, but in comfort. Quote me on that.

Jonathon Barbera
Jonathon Barbera

Mat Pesch wrote: "What isn't routine is the torture that is routine at the International base. Extreme beatings, slop that makes rice and beans look like a gourmet meal, sleeping on concrete floors covered with bugs, electric and thus A/C turned off in the trailer known as "The Hole" out in the California desert where these Sea Org prisoners are supposed to live and sleep. People made to lick bathroom floors clean. People made to stand in a garbage pail for 12 hours with a sign around their neck saying "LESBO" while they are slapped, yelled at and water is poured over their heads. Individuals have also been strapped into chairs and slapped repetitively across the face with a fly swatter. People have been soaked and put in a small room with the A/C turned up all the way until they turned blue. Sounds like an Asian POW camp. No its the International Scientology headquarters as created by David Miscavige and executed by extreme cult members."

And what did all of the torture provide for David Miscavige? If he had actually listened to L. Ron Hubbard's lectures, he would have known how abuse can only increase production in the short-term while building up resentment and the desire for mutiny in the long-term. David Miscavige deserves to fail because he has been pulling his own style of know-best for the past thirty years. Obviously he doesn't really know best or else the church wouldn't be shrinking and he wouldn't be in the news being depicted as an abusive torturer!

As for the INT-level crew members who put up with the abuse or (as Marty Rathbun did) support and promote it for twenty-two years...

L. Ron Hubbard refers to these people as degraded beings. Every description used by Mat Pesch emphasizes how ~severely~ degraded these crew members have become. They obviously don't have the leadership abilities needed to replace or even handle David Miscavige. They need Tony Ortega and Anon Orange and others like them to come to their rescue!

Derfty
Derfty

So, FBI Special Agent Tricia Whitehill (according to many articles published on the nets) has been investigating Scientology for over two years and has asked interviewees to keep quite for fear of a scn mole within the FBI would stall the investigation. Maybe Whitehill is the mole.

Jgg
Jgg

  Tony, was this week upstat for downstat?

MissCabbage
MissCabbage

I, for one, am so glad to have read the May 1991 Time Magazine cover story, "Scientology: The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power" in the doctor's office.  That was my first news article that I read about the cult.  The shenanigans this "Church" was involved in were so obvious and I really felt bad for those trapped inside, "blinded by the light,"especially those brought up in the cult.

These recent revelations (last decade or so) are unconscionable.  It is no surprise the cult put an end to it before others had an opportunity to speak.

Thank you Tony, for these reports.  It appears you have a full-time job on your hands!  All we readers are not disappointed and are in anticipation of the next bombshells from the Cult of $cientology.

Pretty Little Robot
Pretty Little Robot

Mr. Ortega, of all the things that amaze me about you (which are many and sundry), near the top of the list is the fact that you actually read through all these comments, carefully and thoroughly and punctually. It's like when the cool boy in high school goes out of his way to say hi to you in the hallway as he passes your locker. (Okay I don't remember high school very well, but that sounds familiar, right?)

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

Ah, Tony, you know you keep me coming back by including me in these.  I feel so...so...important! ;-) Frankly I'm just stunned that you actually read through all of those comments.  HUNDREDS of them!  Your advertisers must be peeing themselves in joy. But even with the incredible volume, I'll say it again:  you have the best, smartest comments section on the internet. 

I'm a little concerned, however, about your tease for Monday.  I'm starting to think maybe I should play the lottery so's I can become independently wealthy, quit my job, and spend all my time gaping at your latest jaw-dropper.  Hell, that's all I did this past week!

anon anon song
anon anon song

That goes without mentioning the secondary effect of inappropriate digital camera use.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

LOL. So true! Has anybody else dreamt about this in their sleep? I have, it was a nightmare! *shivers*

scnethics
scnethics

I'm not so sure.  Hubbard managed to hide, yes.  Two big reasons he succeeded where Miscavige may fail.  

1. The world is MUCH smaller than it used to be.  It used to be easier to hide from the FBI and other government agencies than it is now.

2. Hubbard was in control of the church at the time and had no true enemies within it.  Contrast that with Miscavige's position.  He won't be in control of the church and in fact will be scientology enemy #1. 

Add to that, the lone zealots who might have it as a pet project to deliver a special brand of justice.  Miscavige could find himself on the wrong end of a pair of pliers and a blowtorch in short order after making his escape.

LightOfTruth123
LightOfTruth123

What has been going on at the Int base, is exactly what Robert Jay lifton has described in  his book "Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of Brainwashing in China".

What is interesting, is what Lifton calls "over-reform", where he says they go too far with with the abuse and humiliation. Something then snaps in the victim, and they start waking up. That is clearly what has been happening to those in close proximity to Miscavige (Rinder, Rathbun, Cook, Scobee etc), they blew because of "over-reform".

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Well, there is something really fishy going on in the FBI? I'd like to think it's a stretch even for the conspiracy-inclined that the FBI has been compromised, but I am starting to have my doubts.

Hopefully, they have a agent inside $cientology right now gathering info on, not only David Miscavige, but all $cientologist who have broken the law.

I was wondering? Can't the government (FBI) be sued for negligence and careless conduct, under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)?

TonyOrtega
TonyOrtega

I'll provide a little scene from the courthouse yesterday morning. Tom Tobin and I were sitting next to each other on a bench outside the courtroom, and each of us were staring at our phones, scrolling and smiling like jackasses. What were we doing? Yes, we were going through our comments, and sharing the best ones with each other. Not only did we both admit to obsessively reading every comment put on our blogs, we admitted to reading the comments on EACH OTHER'S stories. So keep that in mind. It's not only me reading you, but it might be Tobin chuckling at what you wrote.

anon anon song
anon anon song

"you have the best, smartest comments section on the internet"

And still be able to say fuck, tits and shit without ending in a mod queue (I would test the other ones, but I don't want to push my luck).

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

I am really surprised no one in his "inner circle" has not attempted to assassinate him yet...well...maybe the bad shrimp was intended for Miscavige and not Tom Cruise, that might have been the first attempt? If at first you don't succeed...lol

Jgg
Jgg

  Actually Tony, I was hoping David Miscavige was reading our posts.  Wouldn't you love to be the fly on his wall when that happens?

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

The comments on the Tony O show are far, far better..

As great as the Tobin / Childs team is.. their comment section is loaded with brain-dead squirrels...

Def: Squirrel, is someone "stuck" in scientology mindlessly cracking nuts all day.

LightOfTruth123
LightOfTruth123

These are the little things I like about how you cover stories. I don't know what someone calls your style of journalism, but I like it. Would I be right in saying there is a little hint of "Gonzo journalism" in there, or would you feel insulted by that? I mean it as a compliment, though.

I like the little details that one won't get from other mainstream sources. I wish journalists would tell stories the way they would tell it to their best friend at a barbeque, like "Joe Childs looked at me and gave me a look that said, "Can you believe it?" or "Someone on the church team is going to need to give Spencer a lesson on how to pronounce "Miscavige."

Love it. Felt as if I was there :)

And yes, the commenters make this a great experience. I have also never been in Scientology, I discovered this blog via the "25 people crippling Scientology" and have been hooked ever since. None of this would have been possible without a strange little UFO cult with ambitions on taking over the world.

I must admit, the Scientology jargon took me a while, every time I encountered a new thing and learned what it was I was like "whaaa?"...squirrels...Zenu (that was the biggest surprise!)...their psychiatry thing (also left me speechless)...etc.

I don't know if I would have been interested if it hadn't been for a certain couch jumping Hollywood star, who also happens to be a Scientologist, which was the only thing I knew about Scientology when I discovered this place - so thank you mr. Mission Impossible!

I knew a lot about cults before, but Scientology has managed to venture even further into la-la land. This is really twilight zone stuff.

Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times" ;)

Pretty Little Robot
Pretty Little Robot

Screencapping this thread and saving for rainy day in 3 . . . 2 . . . 

Lars
Lars

I've noticed the scientology sock-puppets are much more heavily vested in commenting relentlessly on Tobin/Child's articles, which makes sense since they are local. 

However the clever (and not-so-clever) trolls come out in far greater abundance here.  

Chocolate Velvet
Chocolate Velvet

Oops. The above was a reply to Tony's comment. A thousand pardons...

bobx
bobx

Wow!  Although I generally can't be online during the day, I'm another who makes a habit of reading through every comment on these threads (and on the Tampa Bay articles when there are some, and big chunks of Marty's blog although I don't hit that one always), and Thursday's 600+ just about killed me.  I had to leave part of it until Friday, and then catch up on yet more long comment threads!  If I had heavier work commitments, I sure I couldn't manage.How many others are there who follow every word of this?  Mind you, I don't even have a personal connection to the story; I just have an interest in religions and weird examples of human mind-sets, and of course a touch of CDO (that's like OCD, but I put the letters in the correct order!)  I rarely have much to contribute to the thread except bits of snark, although I'll continue to do so as long as I get a couple Likes (I don't aim for the great honor of "Commenter of the Week" but I've had Likes from TonyO and MarkStark, which are honors enough); and of course, it is my duty to give out more Likes than I get.

LightOfTruth123
LightOfTruth123

I don't know if y'all remember that nineties movie "Fortress" with Christopher Lambert. That's basically how I picture Int base.

scnethics
scnethics

"if one person steps up"

You would think, but then I see brave person after brave person stepping up, and most people say "see ya, buddy".  Here's Debbie Cook, 17 years the captain of  the Mecca of Scientology.  You would think people would listen to her.  You would think the members would have a meeting and discuss all of this in the open.  You know what a lot of them do instead?  They go to the church one at a time and get "handled", which is to say, they are given a packet of the same bullshit information they are fed at events ("the church is expanding like never before", etc.)  and how Debbie is wrong and the church is right, and then they say "wow, I guess Debbie has become a confused idiot, or maybe she's just plain evil!" and they go about their business with a dumb smile on their face.

It's the craziest thing I have ever seen and I live in it.  I WAS the same way.  

Every member of this particular group has to make this stand on their own at some point.  They first have to wake up and then they have to work up the courage to do something (working on that part myself).  All us lurkers want it to be easy.  We want there to be a massive exodus or David Miscavige overthrown or it to become OK all of a sudden for us to come out in the open.  We can wait forever, or we can do our small part and then face the consequences as so many brave people have before.

This Debbie Cook email did wake a lot of people up, I think.  It's now a question of how many of them will decide to make a stand.

Ahhh, feel better, needed to vent, thanks.  :)

Lliira
Lliira

Ah, okay. Sorry for misreading you :). 

It certainly happens a lot, when nearly everyone knows that what's going on is wrong, one person seems to be controlling all of it, and yet no one does anything. The closest thing I can think of in my own life is watching someone pick on another kid and not saying anything to try to stop it. There's the well-founded worry that you'll be the next victim. We hope for better behavior from adults, but cults do quash the idea of individual agency.

On the plus side, it's been shown that if just one person steps up and says, "this isn't right", it's highly likely that a whole bunch of other people will join them.

scnethics
scnethics

LOL - explains a lot of his behavior.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

LOLZ. Or find anybody that small who looks like Alfred E. Neuman. It must drive him "MAD" because he also looks like Howdy Doody.

scnethics
scnethics

I didn't mean that he should have killed him!  :)But, he should have walked over (he was witnessing an assault), grabbed him, slammed him against a wall and told him that's it, and maybe knocked the wind out of him or something.  I'm sure he wishes he had.  

It's in an interview with Martin Bashir and also I've seen him tell the story in other places.  He acts like if he had gotten involved physically, he would have killed Miscavige, but I don't buy it.  I think he was afraid or he certainly would have done something.  I'm not saying he's a coward, and also not saying that I would have had the courage in that situation, especially being at Int Base where DM is God.  I think he's not a coward, and the fact that he was in that situation shows the amount of control people are under there (as if the Hole wasn't proof enough of that!)  

Lliira
Lliira

I don't think it's cowardly to decide not to kill someone! Marty Rathbun showed that he still had some small basic sense of right and wrong by leaving instead of turning to violence. Hopefully the longer he's "out", communicating with all sorts of different people, reading whatever he wants, the more his conscience will grow.

scnethics
scnethics

Taster, but knowing Miscavige it doesn't help.  He only has them there so he can push them aside and tell them how worthless they are.  Maybe that poison shrimp idea wasn't a bad idea after all!

scnethics
scnethics

I heard they tried to get a body double for him, but none of the applicants could exude "asshole" sufficiently to fool anyone.  Seriously, I'm just happy I never ended up in the Hole, or the Sea Org.  It's lucky that I experimented with psychedelics and that disqualified me!  There was one point where they were letting people in who had tried LSD and I almost bit...

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Would they be considered a tester or a taster?

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

ROFL. Yes, don't forget the unfortunates in the Hole. Since davey is soooo paranoid, does he have a food tester? I'd love for Tony to surprise us with a ex-scilon "food tester" story.

scnethics
scnethics

I watched again today an interview with Marty Rathbun where he says there was a point where he knew he was either going to "end" Miscavige, or leave the church.  So he left and he never laid a finger on Miscavige.  I think that's telling.  Marty is a guy with a temper and he doesn't seem to shy away from physical confrontation.  I'm sure that if Marty were to meet up with Miscavige now, it would be a different story, but in that environment at Int Base, Marty was as much a coward as anyone.  The inner circle is so hopelessly under DM's spell, they'll never do anything about him.  I wonder though, if he were to die for some reason, would anybody know what to do?  Or would everyone mill about until some other psycho took command?  Would they cry or would it be a "ding-dong-the-witch-is-dead-thing"?  Maybe they would all leave?  I hope they would remember to unlock the Hole on their way out.

LightOfTruth123
LightOfTruth123

That makes perfect sense. It's authentic, I hope you are setting a new trend in journalism.

TonyOrtega
TonyOrtega

 Thank you, Light. I wouldn't call it "Gonzo," but you are pointing out what for me is still, to this day, what separates "alternative" from "mainstream" reporting, even as some claim that the difference has been reduced by the nature of the Internet. I first learned to make that distinction as my career was starting out in Arizona. I had good friends at a daily paper in Phoenix, and after a long day of work we'd get together at a bar to swap stories. And it struck me that when one of the daily reporters had a big story that had made the front page and was getting pats on the back for it, one if his or her colleagues would always ask, "so what really happened?" It was just assumed that they could only get a part of the more messy reality into stories that had to be cleaned up for general consumption. It made me realize how much better I had it, that the messy (or funny or poignant) reality is what our readers really wanted and expected, and were prepared to be shocked or offended or angered in order to get it. Does that make sense?

Lars
Lars

I was relieved when the mega-post settled at around 670 comments....  Disqus isn't built for that!!  

Lliira
Lliira

I follow all of it. I'm home all day anyway (disabled), and it's still not easy to keep up!

Chocolate Velvet
Chocolate Velvet

That tickles me, as my gramma used to say - the image of you guys both groovin on your commenters. But when do you sleep?

My very first comment was chosen for this honor, and I've been hooked ever since. ;)

Ain't it wonderful to get feedback, Tony?

anon anon song
anon anon song

well, we know how to get around THAT!

piss (DOT) cocksucker (DOT) motherfucker (DOT) c**t

sorry, can't bring myself to write that last one out.

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