Scientology vs Debbie Cook, Day 1: Our Totally Unscientific Handicapping

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What an amazing time we had reporting from the Bexar County Courthouse today as Debbie Cook testified in the lawsuit filed against her by her former employer, the Church of Scientology.

We got back to our hotel room and saw for the first time the amazing comments left by our loyal readers. (Our Internet connection in the courtroom was very limited.) Good to see that this day seemed to have as much impact for so many of you as it did for us.

I won't go over everything that happened today. Please revisit our live updates from the hearing, or read excellent stories by the Tampa Bay Times and the San Antonio Express News.

In this piece, I'd just like to share some thoughts about how the case is going, from my totally unscientific, legally untrained, and I'm-doing-this-fast-because-I-want-a-margarita perspective.

First, let me give George Spencer his due. Scientology's local attorney is good, very good. He's methodical but not plodding. He's precise, and he keeps things narrowly focused. If his opening statement was a bit thin, his examination of Debbie Cook was laser-targeted. He simply wanted to show that she had left the church on good terms -- as the video of her signing her non-disclosure agreement in 2007 seemed to indicate -- that she was of sound mind when she agreed to a gag order, and that she should have been grateful to get $50,000 when she signed the agreement, and additional money and considerations.

Slender, of medium height, thinning on top, Spencer has a bit of a Hume Cronyn kind of look and appears to be in his 50s. He skillfully objected multiple times when Ray Jeffrey was getting a bit ahead of himself with leading questions. And Spencer seemed to think quick on his feet.

I thought he only did poorly a couple of times. Once was when he wanted Debbie Cook to admit that the headlines on news stories about her e-mail were disparaging of the church. It felt gratuitous and a little cruel -- Cook certainly wasn't responsible for the way us journalists write about her, and in a dispute over whether her e-mail disparaged Scientology, our news stories about the controversy are completely irrelevant. Cook actually did what she could to discourage us from writing about her. She asked me to take down her e-mail when I published it on New Year's Day (I complied), and she sent a note to the Tampa Bay Times pleading with them to understand that she didn't want to involve the press.

So to then blame her for the way headlines were written? Not Spencer's best moment.

I perceived another weakness when I thought later of his objection to Debbie Cook's eyewitness accounts of David Miscavige's alleged violence, and his severe mistreatment of her by putting her in "The Hole" at Int Base. Spencer said these stories were irrelevant because the defense had not proven that Miscavige has any connection to the plaintiff in the case, namely Scientology's Flag Service Organization.

This is an incredibly cynical ploy, but there's nothing wrong with it as long as the judge buys it, and Judge Martha Tanner did seem persuaded that the defense had not really proved a connection between Miscavige and FSO. (This is like saying that NBA Commissioner Daniel Stern has nothing to do with the New York Knicks because he doesn't put on shorts and heave three-pointers with the team.)

What I remembered only after I'd left the courthouse, however, is that earlier in the day, Spencer was trying to get Debbie Cook to admit that her New Year's Eve e-mail violated her non-disclosure agreement because it was disparaging.

Disparaging to whom? Well of course, David Miscavige.

So does Spencer get to have it both ways? Does Debbie Cook get punished for criticizing Miscavige, but she can't bring up Miscavige's own mistreatment of her? Well, this is exactly what Scientology's byzantine 1980s reorganization was made for, to provide the church's ultimate leader with deniability, since the shore story is that he's only the chairman of the board of one small Scientology entity, Religious Technology Center. Those who worked for him, however, say there is little in Scientology -- including FSO -- that he doesn't control with micromanaging fury.

On the other side, there's Ray Jeffrey, attorney for Debbie Cook and her husband Wayne Baumgarten. He's more homey, more emotional, and more fun to listen to than his competition, and in a long day in court, that does count for something. There were a few times when Spencer was objecting to the way he led Cook through her testimony that made me wonder if Jeffrey was going to recover. But he has amazing material to work with, so every small stumble quickly was overwhelmed with Cook's stunning testimony.

As for Cook herself, she was pretty damned credible on the stand. She handled Spencer's questions by being neither argumentative nor a doormat. She spoke up for herself when she needed to, and it never came off as a wrong move.

I think it would be difficult for anyone to conclude that she had not been through hell, and had signed pretty extreme non-disclosure agreements under less than ideal conditions.

But does any of it matter? This is what makes it so difficult to handicap what's going on in the courtroom. Sure, Debbie Cook provided stunning testimony about seeing a high-ranking Scientology executive ordered to lick a bathroom floor for a half hour, and about her own "confessionals" that gave her a mental breakdown -- but does any of that trump the fact that she signed a gag order and then may have violated it with her New Year's Eve e-mail?

It's hard to read Judge Tanner, and she may just decide that Cook signed an agreement and the church has every right to shut her up until the trial can occur. We'll know tomorrow.

But one thing doesn't hinge on the whims of a Bexar County Judge -- today, under oath, one of the most well known former executives in Scientology put on the public record a harrowing tale of degradation in the Sea Org. And you have to think, was that really worth suing Debbie Cook?



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]

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223 comments
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Lisa Whytock
Lisa Whytock

IF someone whould have the balls to do what Debbie did then Mi$cavige would no longer be able to do the misjustice he has been continuing to do for quite some time now. There is a thing in s$ientology called "Pulling a string". It is for the purpose of following an unethical trail to get to the truth. Unfortunatly there is also a known that in order for a lie to persist you just recreate (change) the lie to keep it changing in order to keep it persisting. Nobody would know this better then miscavige. He has been doing this for some time now, at least since fearless leader died. When I was young and walked by a scientology place, I had asked why it was called a "church". The guy laughed and said it was for the IRS as that is how they got around the tax thing. First lie...So we come to the first truth that LRH was no saint. scientologists are told to not go onto pages regarding scientology or about Ron the man...2nd truth is that they would find that they had to recreate his past as it was not as stated in the reports they put out. The early trips Ron made had some problems and one of them was the death of a young woman while on board with him. Of course she was probably called PTS so she would then be held accountable for the situation rather then Ron. The problem is that Ron was never hald accountable for his unethical behaviour and therefore liable to do more damage to others and also himself. Drug taking during his life leading to paranoia and outbursts of anger along with alcohol, all done with the support of those closest to him. #3: young miscavige comes in and is groomed by the big guy, Dr comes ie Ron is hiding out in hemet california...a little visteral here and there in the hiney and a subdued ron is now in the picture. #4: how many wills can a dead man write? Apparently ron being the OT he was wrote many until he got it right and wrote the right one making miscave the new big guy and putting rons wife out of the picture. I once spoke with a Ms Brewer who had been part of the guardian org who told me she recieved note from ron while she was breaking into place during that mystery time in scientologys history. Rons wife went to jail and had ron not died convienently when he did then he would have been next and the end of scientology would have happened. Hmm...that is a mystery string. Blame is a natural thing to do when you want to justify a wrong committed. There was a guy who knew allot of things about ron. he was his auditor...funny thing about his dissapearance is that the rundowns to above OT 8 just arn't happening. After OT 8 that guy went and then there are no more rundown other then the stuff that is taken from up to OT 8 levels. And then they have to justify the stupid happening by getting all people back on grades or lower OT levels or other stuff. What are they gonna do when everyone has done all the "handle" and on OT 8? No Ot 9 boys and girls unless they can figure another way to levels and blame David Mayo once more. Maybe Ron hid something in a glovebox and will be found in time for some more stuff to be gotten by all. One of the things with a membership for scientology is the IAS. They get money from all members for the use of hiring private dectives to pull the dirt and legal fees for going after people like the Sea Org member they had put in charge of Ron historical document of his life only to get rid of him and chase him all over the place to stop him when he found Ron histrory might not be something they wanted out. #5 Change Rons history...military, where the book Dianetics really came from, his mental history, his relationship with the practices of the occult and how scientology figures into it ( google OT VII part 1,2) they say it's bogus but then they lie allot anyway, his court documents and the mental analysis of doctors views on this man ( the mental analysis was before he became famous so trying to stop the "church" is crap as there was no "church") if we are to say, "They were all against him and trying to destroy him", isn't that kind of a classic case for the books as paranoid or having mental problems? This is a sad religion running amok with dillusion and fantasy. Mayo will be exposed at some point as all bullys do eventually and they do end. You know the funny part? The really funny part is that in this religion it actually starts with, " I have a bridge to sell?, wanna buy it?"

Jgg
Jgg

  Tony, the Church just dropped its motion for a Preliminary Injunction, so that answers your question.  Its a battle not worth winning: saying the NDA covers anything up to and including physical beatings is like saying (as they did in the Headley case) that 100-hour work weeks are part of their religion.  They may win a case here and here, but its a PR nightmare, and will lead others to sue saying they were misreprented as to what Scientology is all about.

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

For Lisa McPherson's sake, let this come to the forefront of the court case.Debbie Cook's 15 January 2012 email to Ben Shaw OSA INT via Kathy True :

"But I am still an important part of the biggest cover up in Scientology history. And for that, I expect a certain quid pro quo. If you expect me to help you cover up actual crimes committed at the Int Base, then I expect that you keep your shit together and not fly off the handle with bizarre lies or manipulations of my family, clients and comm lines because I pointed out a few policy violations"

http  // www . Tampabay . com/specials/2012/PDFs/scientology021011/c_scientology020912 (dot) pdf

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

Let's hope Debbie spills the beans on the Lisa McPherson case!Debbie Cook's 15 January 2012 email to Ben Shaw OSA INT via Kathy True:

"But I am still an important part of the biggest cover up in Scientology history. And for that, I expect a certain quid pro quo. If you expect me to help you cover up actual crimes committed at the Int Base, then I expect that you keep your shit together and not fly off the handle with bizarre lies or manipulations of my family, clients and comm lines because I pointed out a few policy violations"

http  // www . Tampabay.com/specials/2012/PDF.... pdf

redhead
redhead

Im hoping that news coverage of this court case goes world wide, and why shouldnt it, as they have orgs worldwide.  Miscavige has his fingers in a lot of pies, would like to see those fingers broken.Well done Tony for your excellant coverage, so far so good

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

No matter how you look at it, this is a big win for the victims and critics of Scientology:

[..] But one thing doesn't hinge on the whims of a Bexar County Judge -- today, under oath, one of the most well known former executives in Scientology put on the public record a harrowing tale of degradation in the Sea Org. And you have to think, was that really worth suing Debbie Cook?[..]

Nobodys
Nobodys

Tony, Village Voice. I am so grateful that you cared enough to be there in person, as a witness,  and as a relay point for all the interested parties in this matter.  I know you are not a Scientologist and I know from your writings that you don't think very highly of Hubbard's philosophy but there is obviously something personal for you about this whole Scientology story.

Debbie Cook is speaking for a large and largely silent majority of Scientologists  both in and out of the church be they public, staff or sea org. We all may not have been physically abused and psychologically tortured to the degree Debbie was, but that miasma permeated the entirety of Scientology and there is scarcely one person so involved that has not or is not now suffering the effects.  Some of us are just more aware of that than others.

I would love to be able to sit in the docket and get my own story on the public record. To be able to face my accusers and abusers; what catharsis that must be for Debbie no matter the outcome.  And that is ultimately part of recovering from the Scientology experience for any of us-to bear witness to what happened, what we did, what they did and come to some kind of resolution.

I must confess that revenge still burns in my heart.  I would love to see David Miscavige and his enablers exposed to the light of day.  I want their ability to influence and control taken away from them.  Let the playing filed be leveled for anyone who wants to stay with Scientology and unbind the ropes for anyone who wants to leave.

Again thank you Tony and the Village Voice. And of course Tobin and Childs.  And Debbie, thank you. I am hopeful this is it.

Kimber
Kimber

Nobodys,

Your post is excellent...  we would love to hear more from you.  You would be getting a lot more responses -  but there have been thousands of posts in the last 2 days!!!  Crazy! People can't keep up with all the quality posts, like yours.

So let me give you +10 "likes" even though it only lets me give you one!!

LightOfTruth123
LightOfTruth123

 I just watched the video of Debbie Cook's testimony about "the hole" where she became emotional. Shame, it just broke my heart.

Thanks Debbie, for exposing the pathology of the Scientology management to the world.

It's so sick. If I see Tom Cruise one more time handing out flowers to women on a talk show, and paying lip service to how valuable women are, I am going to have a fit!

Tom Cruise on the Ellen show: "Women, you gotta take care of them":

LightOfTruth123
LightOfTruth123

I just watched the video of Debbie Cook's testimony about "the hole" where she became emotional. Shame, it just broke my heart.

Thanks Debbie, for exposing the pathology of the Scientology management to the world.

It's so sick. If I see Tom Cruise one more time handing out flowers to women on a talk show, and paying lip service to how valuable women are, I am going to have a fit!

Tom Cruise on the Ellen show: "Women, you gotta take care of them":

www (DOT) youtube (DOT) com (FORWARD SLASH) watch?v=GzxkuA9HWwU

LightOfTruth123
LightOfTruth123

Hey Nobodys, you might like this video:

Cults: An In Depth Look At The Experience Of Being In Cults And Breaking Free From Them:

www (DOT) youtube (DOT) com (FORWARD SLASH) watch?v=VJ1w6lgrttE 

Mr Ogson
Mr Ogson

Excellent summary Tony O!  Kudos on your coverage and courage, both past and present.

I see the local troll has changed its skin and continues to blabber like the woefully uninformed apologist it is.  For someone who claims to have no horse in the race an old quote comes to mind ~ 'Me thinks  the man doth protest too much.'  I haven't kept tabs on what is being used more, non-sequiters, ad homs, or straw dogs, but the majority of the audience knows 'troll' by odor, and it face-palms.

Meanwhile back at Gold I suspect that by now the tiny dictator David Miscavige should be on a good drunken rampage, I pity the poor fools in the RPF at the moment, must drive them crazy to pay a fortune to become Poodle Boy's whipping posts. Oh the delicious irony of Hubbard's secretive corporate cult of greed and misery having its shit-stained laundry aired to the world public by its own hand, its, its, magical.

For those lurking scilons still under culty influence~ Its a big fraud!  Run away!  No 'clears', no OT's, never was, never will be.  Go spend your money on your kid's education, a nice long vacation, or donate to a legitimate charity like the Red Cross, anything but line the pockets of the CoS elite, quit being suckers.

Sean
Sean

PERSONAL INTEGRITY by L. Ron Hubbard"What is true for you is what you have observed yourself"

Seriously, do we have to go any further in this debate? Are Scientologist's now not heeding the word of LRH? 

Let me get this straight, a Scientologist in good standing exposes a diversion in "SOURCE" material and is being sued for it? SOURCE being LRH. So now The Church of Scientology is not practicing what the founder laid out?

That is just crazy :)

Maybe the true believers will now burn down a building, like a IDLE org....

Lisa Whytock
Lisa Whytock

The wrong started a long time ago...started with Ron the regular guy who had all sorts of issues. The problem is that so many fell into the trap and the guy running it is the same guy who was just hungry enough for power to go for the big ring and he is the new paranoid in office running things. Debbie needs to be truthful as she is and very carefulat the same time. It's taking a while but eventually this very dark grouping with tumble...

LightOfTruth123
LightOfTruth123

"PERSONAL INTEGRITY by L. Ron Hubbard"What is true for you is what you have observed yourself"

◘ Even a broken clock is right twice a day... ◘

Lisa Whytock
Lisa Whytock

scientologists really need to buy a new clock

the Dwarf
the Dwarf

the_windhover (aka DO),

Don't you have a floor to lick somewhere?

Brainslugged
Brainslugged

In other news, there were two great "Meet a Scientologist" articles today....

Farting BT
Farting BT

DO - Don't you have a floor to lick somewhere?

the_windhover
the_windhover

Shortly.  If you consider a "floor" to be bed, and "lick" to be sleep.

Robert Robinson
Robert Robinson

Tony, thanks for the post game report.  I look forward to round 2.

Sid_Sn
Sid_Sn

With regard to the questions concerning why Miscavige has taken her to court to shut her up, which guarantees she will sing like a canary....

I think the best logical conclusion is this: DM believed that sooner or later she would have started telling her story anyway. The correspondence she had with his lawyers indicated that she was on a mission to save Scientology. From his perspective, the die was already cast, and he wanted to make the first strike.

If he can win this case, then he will inflict some damage to her personally (which he enjoys), he would scare others off from talking (even if he loses, he will hope he has scared many off from talking) and presumably she would then be unable to speak further on the topic.

If he loses, he probably reckons that long term he is no worse off then if she had started speaking out on her own, maybe in the form of a book or similar.

What he hopefully had not bargained for, is the massive interest this could spark in the media.

Another contributing factor of course is just how pissed he is that Cook wrote the email in the first place, and his anger is likely to be a motivating factor in bringing this case. That chilling revelation that he's on the phone to her, keeping her talking, probably shouting abuse, checking that his goon squad have arrived to cart her off to the RFP before coldly saying "Goodbye." gives perhaps some insight into his capacity for hatred.

Theoracle
Theoracle

When you give great tools to unstable people, bad things can happen with great tools.  See link on how facebook defriending led to double murder in Tennessee. Someone used facebook to defriend someone and was murdered because of it.  This is an example of how people can turn a good thing into a tragedy when they inclined to do so.  

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

WOW. I am exhausted from today, was diagnosed with walking pneumonia and still followed the hearing, even at the doctor's office in a haze.

There must have been hundreds of people accessing this site because DISQUS wasn't loading on my cell. It was an amazing day of "Shock n' Awe." I swear, miscavige and his cronies belong in jail.

I don't have a Twitter account, so I kept going to wwp, exsmb and ocmb to get more updates. Hope tomorrow is just as exciting as today and DISQUS lets me post?

Orale, Tony! You were great today, thanks!

Frolix8
Frolix8

Some observations from an ex-trial lawyer, in no particular order:

a. Ms. Cooks blouse needed to be buttoned up at least one, better yet two, buttons. Female judges and female jurors, in my experience, are brutal to women who fail to dress in a demure manner. As a rule (female or male) convervative dress is the best choice for a courtroom.

b. Per Mr. Jeffrey not always being on his A game. He has not had near as much time as the plaintiff's attorneys to be able to digest the totality of the case and Scientology. This would be true of any case at this stage of the proceedings. The defense will have been handicapped by having had less time to prepare its case. It is he nature of the beast.

c. Per leading questions by Mr. Jeffrey. Yes, they are not technically allowed, however this is a judge only hearing. The rule, in my experience, has been that leading questions are not a critical issue. While I doubt it is a strategy of the defense, I don't think it will harm the defense case. One is given the opportunity to cure a sustained objection. This gives the defense greater opportunity to bring greater detail before the court than might have otherwise been done. In a sense, the objection could be a strategic error because the judge will learn more than she would have without the objection.

d. The attempt to preclude the media was foolish. Clearly the judge wasn't having any of it. While Scientology may have forced the attorney to make such a demand, the attorney had to know how poorly that would reflect on their side, especially when coupled with the utterly bizarre demand that the defense not be allowed to give an opening statement. As a lawyer your credibility is all you have. Credibility wanes when you come out shooting with two silly demands of this nature. In essence, Scientology is demanding that the judge allow a Star Chamber proceeding.

e. I will be most interested to see if both defendants are called by Scientology. It would make sense to do so. They must establish facts that can be applied to a court ruling to shut down or rather silence both defendants.

f. I think the plaintiff may have indavertantly opened the door for greater disclosure of DM's involvment by his objection. He should have merely stated the question was no relevant. He, for whatever reason, had to state that the allegations of abuse were false. Perhaps he was forced to speak at greater length regarding his objection. Or it could have been from the heat of battle. Or, cynically, at the behest of his masters. If I were a judge and heard about evidence linking DM directly to Ms. Cook via the horrors he caused her to face, my interest in the connection would be piqued. Tony's comment about this objection and his later reflection about it are spot on.

g. Four hours of testimony on the first day of this hearing is pretty impressive. That speaks to good skills by all involved. The judge, in particular, needs to be commended.

h. How many days has been scheduled for the hearing? Two days seems too little.

i.  I would no expect a ruling from the bench. This is the type of case where the ruling should be in the form of a written opinion. If I were the judge, that is what I would do. The TRO can be continued until the court makes its decision known.

j. The irony has already been noted by others -- the gag order is moot. Scientology in its questioning of Ms. Cook placed on public record before God, the press, and everyone else more scurrilous information than did Ms. Cook prior to today's hearing. I wonder how the bench views the irony.

Those are some of my thoughts. Take them with a grain or so of salt in that I practiced in a non-Texas jurisidction and spent most of my time in criminal, family, and juvenile law.

Frolix8
Frolix8

Ugh! Too many typos. Sorry for that.

Julie_Kanon
Julie_Kanon

 To Scientology's/David Miscaviges dismay, which will also bring around either a change or the end to Scientology. The TRUTH is out there now. Scientology can no longer keep secret, all there criminal activities and constant harassment of critics. The have very effectively used our legal system to silence people. The have trampled over peoples constitutional rights to free speech. There deceptive use of there hundreds of front groups like, Narconon, Criminon, Applied Scholastics, Way to Happiness, ABLE, WISE, Citizens Commission on Human Rights(CCHR), etc. To lure people into Scientology under the guise of offering some help is an abomination. There is more to Scientology than you know?

the_windhover
the_windhover

Hi there.

Kimber
Kimber

Dear the_windhover (or DO),

While I appreciate the value of a good troll (you have done a good job!)

Please take care that it is not purely deflationary.  That is, don't steal the hopes and dreams of justice, even vicarious justice, from the many that are victims of abuse. Second-hand accounts of court room activities can be a drop of healing fresh water for those victims of scientology abuse.

Don't let your trolling, no matter how good the intentions, get in the way of the healing process for the injured   Because when every third post here on Tony's blog is from you, and those who have been here for years don't know you, it tends to be deflationary.

Thanks

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

Kimber, you're wasting your time.  D'OH doesn't give two shits about all of the abuse, the pain, heartache, destroyed families, destroyed lives.  He doesn't believe any of it happened...because his fucked up "religion" tells him that it couldn't have happened, so that's what he deludes himself to believe.  In spite of the preponderance of evidence (a concept that is clearly beyond his limited intellectual capabilities), he believes they are all disgruntled apostates hellbent on destroying the "church", willing to make up fantastical stories, collude with each other to ensure their stories align, and actually perjure themselves, to do it.  All of them.  Oh, and the fact that they all report the same stories, over and over, hundreds of stories, and that the media has picked up on it, means that Scientology "sometimes doesn't get a fair shake." 

The self-delusion is pretty incredible to witness.

Lisa Whytock
Lisa Whytock

I was one of the ones who started the IAS dinner events.  Worked the evening at the org as the div 6 head for awhile and had to stay late till we decided who had the right ammount of money to "reg" for our rent, I mean, the next step for their bridge. We had a quota that was rediculous and harsh. When the seattle area did not donate enough by what IAS wanted, I was to go up there every week for a month or two and do dinner events till they started to pay more. Howard Becker called me up in the night to make a deal with me so he could be in on the Holt Quinn regging and get a piece of the commission pie. 10%. You know Howard only does IAS regging? You know he was not a rich man before IAS regging? I supported my family on my commissions and got my husbands auditing as the money is too good to pass up. He started the first outpatient narconon. In the background it is all about the money and then the PR of looking really concerned. Having a celeb is always a good thing too as they are very good for the PR. Did I mention our ethics officer died of a drug overdose and the place is a funnel to get others to scientology? And for the love of God...why did someone not put Ron on the program with all the pinks and greys he was taking besides the alcohol and visteral for paranoia he was taking in his ass? I have seen the work they do. I have seen families torn and lost for the group. I got a person into sea org who ws one of the people with lisa macphearson. She was scared and told me they were routing her out of sea org on unfit. She said the thing with lisa should never have happened, they were killing her. I also saw Henry in the RPF, but he's dead now. You are a clueless individual to think that this "church" is for some reason a church at all or even equal to look at like other religions. Money, if you don't have any, then you are just not able. If you are just not able then you will be spoken to about staff as they can then use you for something, at least for awhile. Told how you can have purpose and then they will tell you of going up the bridge for free if you bring them up to old saint hill.   If you believe what they are saying, I have a bridge to sell you..oh yeah, that has already been used.

robinlandseadel
robinlandseadel

"It's a weird job, but I guess it's better than cleaning toilets . . .

mind, you, it's only a "guess" . . ."

the_windhover
the_windhover

I couldn't agree more.  I simply wish to post my comments here as many others do, and have them registered, and with no need to debate further.  You are right in that I feel compelled to check responses to my posts, and when there's a contradictory or insulting follow-up... well, I gotta follow-up, too!

Lliira
Lliira

If my theory about DO/the_windhover is correct, and he's nothing but a troll, every time anyone engages him in any way, but particularly in an insulting way, he gets all tingly. If he's OSA, well, he'll figure it out soon enough, because he's reading this stuff with the rest of us. Either way, he's not really worth the effort, imo.

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

Sick.  Just sick.  What you don't realize is that we all see through your tactics.  Seriously, once again, this entire post is not worth wasting time picking it apart.  It crumbles on its face.  Okay, I'll bother with one tiny point:  used car lots don't kidnap, torture, starve, and abuse people.  You fucktard. 

It was fun for a while, but now you just disgust me.

the_windhover
the_windhover

That I have repeatedly said I have nothing to do with Scientology and that you claim that I do really does a disservice to your positions.

I certainly feel a great deal of empathy for any person hurting.  But simply the presence of pain should not mean that an institution or organization should be razed.  Automobile collisions kill thousands each year: yet of course they are not banned.

Similarly, as for Scientology, there are clearly many people (I won't say more than "many") who find it valuable enough to donate millions to each year, and who continue to engage as public or staff.

That there are claims that such a Scientology public is exposed to excessive fundraising is interesting, yet somewhat irrelevant.  Such claims have been made for years.  As have claims that used car lots use aggressive sales techniques.  Indeed, persuasion, fundraising, and sales are hallmarks of America, and almost all modern American religions use them in one form or another.

As to claims of actual physical violence, that is, of course, beyond the pale, and such accusations should be fully investigated.  That said, Tommy Davis has admitted that "overboarding" is part of Scientology, and that seems to jibe with reports of LRH at sea.  But, really, such seemingly "extreme" religious practices aren't that unusual.  Tibetan monks walk on their knees for hundreds of miles, mortification of the flesh is common in Catholicism (among other Christian faiths), and there are arguably far more abuses amongst college fraternities, too.

the_windhover
the_windhover

I'm not sure how to respond to that.

I certainly respect the "group therapy" nature of the comments section of this blog.

That said, I don't think that that should stand in the way of critical analysis, or even devil's advocacy, of the situation.

Please, too, look back at how I have been treated here.  As I have said multiple times, I have nothing to do with Scientology, yet, at every juncture, I am criticized, verbally assaulted (well, if someone telling me they would spit in my face if they saw me counts as that), and assumed to be "OSA" simply because I post things that are not part of the cheering squad.

While I have a thick skin, and such effrontery shan't dissuade, it is this very sort of ultra-paranoid "us vs them" mentality that is EXACTLY what those very same people decry about their former religion.  I should think it would be useful for them, instead, to adjust to a less confrontational and more accepting position.  People have different ideas on subjects, including Scientology.

Unex
Unex

Hey DO, I'd like to believe there is room here for nay-sayers/ devils-advocates regardless of their motivations.  Having said that, if you could provide us with an example of a writing/policy of Hubbard's that you disagree with it might go some way towards convincing us that you aren't just another OSA sock.

the_windhover
the_windhover

Actually, I think that my response was pretty much exactly opposite any "classic OSA playbook".  But whatever.  Your mind is made up.

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

 Classic OSA playbook bullshit.  You don't fool anyone. (But yourself, of course.)

the_windhover
the_windhover

I am DO... now posting under this account.  (It would not let me register "DO".)

candace6
candace6

I was wondering the same thing.  What did it for me was the "not getting a fair shake" nonsense.

scnethics
scnethics

Me too.  DO posts here so he's aware of the church's disconnection policy pulling apart families, and other abuses of staff and members.  He's OSA, or he's decided for some fucked up reason to do everything OSA would want him to.  Either way...sad.   He needs to report to scnethics immediately!

the_windhover
the_windhover

People are allowed to freely assemble.  And are also allowed to freely non-assemble.  While "disconnection" may result in harsh results, there is certainly nothing illegal about such actions.  Should Romeo wish to engage Juliet, they both may lose their families.  Such is the nature of humans.

scnethics
scnethics

 Thanks for reporting to scnethics, DO.  Now grow a conscience and stop acting like an inhuman twit.

F_Randy_Hullabaloo
F_Randy_Hullabaloo

I wanna see the four hours of video tape of the testimony.  Chingon!

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