Nightline's Scientology "Exclusive": What was Exclusive About It, Exactly?

NightlineDebbieCook.JPG
I had a strange and powerful case of déjà vu last night while watching Nightline's interview with Debbie Cook as she talked about being held in "the Hole" at Scientology's international base in California, where executives who fall out of favor with church leader David Miscavige are sent to rot in an office-prison for weeks, months, even years at a time.

Well, OK, it wasn't really déjà vu I was experiencing. Which fancy French term do you use when you're seeing a news organization claim it has an "EXCLUSIVE" on an interview that quite a few of us other journalists have already heard numerous times before?

I don't know. Anyone out there good with French? Anyone know how to say "cringeworthy mainstream media epic fail"?

OK, I don't want to sound too harsh. I want to make it very clear that it is thrilling to see Debbie Cook taken seriously by a national news platform with such a large audience. Her story reached millions yesterday as it appeared on both Good Morning America and Nightline.

But for those of us who have been covering Debbie Cook as a breaking story since the first few minutes of 2012, it was maddening to see the way Nightline reported her story yesterday from what could only be characterized as abject fear.

ABC appeared so terrified of Scientology's litigious reputation, it not only allowed the church to hurl unsworn smears of her character in large quantities, but more egregiously, it failed to give any indication that Cook is only the latest of several former executives to come forward and describe the same exact allegations of abuse inside the church.

Cook came off last night the same way she did in a Bexar County, Texas courtroom on February 9: credible, factual, and unflappable. But ABC seemed to go out of its way to make her sound like a lone voice crying out about abuses without any kind of previous corroboration.

ABC had no excuse for presenting Cook's allegations without any kind of larger perspective or history: It's been nearly three years since Tom Tobin and Joe Childs exposed the horrors of "the Hole" in their explosive series, "The Truth Rundown" at the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times).

Janet Reitman also wrote about "the Hole" in her book Inside Scientology, published last summer. And Marc Headley wrote about the horrors of the Int Base in his escape narrative Blown for Good, which came out in 2009.

But even if we give Nightline the benefit of the doubt and assume that, as a typical view-from-nowhere national television program that can't deign to admit that it actually gets its story ideas from newspapers, magazines, and -- heaven forbid -- blogs, we still can't let Nightline off the hook on this one.

Here's why: Nightline had no excuse making Debbie Cook look like she had no corroboration for her tales from the Hole, because Nightline could have used previous accounts told to...

...Nightline itself.

Two years ago, Martin Bashir, following up on the St. Petersburg Times revelations, put together a hard-hitting expose of his own about David Miscavige's degrading treatment of Scientology executives....

Instead, Nightline made no reference to its earlier reporting, and not only didn't explain that others have come forward about "the Hole," but it made another puzzling decision to focus so closely on whether Debbie Cook was slapped or her finger was bent backwards.

Personally, I don't give a crap if Debbie Cook's finger was bent backwards.

We're covering Debbie Cook's story not only because of the way she was treated in 2007 at Scientology's desert headquarters, but for what she revealed about what's happening in Scientology right now in her stunning New Year's Eve e-mail.

Oh yeah, you didn't hear about that last night on Nightline, either.

Why is Debbie Cook's e-mail so significant? Because its allegations that Scientology is amassing a billion-dollar reserve through "extreme fundraising" appeared only weeks after the latest expose from Tobin and Childs -- "The Money Machine" -- provided hard data about similar allegations of a church mania for impoverishing its own members.

And yet, with the Tampa Bay Times series and reporting done here at the Village Voice tending to back up Debbie Cook's allegation, for example, that the "Ideal Org" push is a cynical ploy for the church to appear to be growing when it really isn't, how did Nightline begin its broadcast last night?

Naturally, with Terry Moran stating unequivocally that Scientology is growing.

Sigh. Well, I suppose we have to put up with a certain amount of that kind of genuflecting from the mainstream media.

Thursday's Stats, Upstat or Downstat? On Thursdays, Scientologists rush to get in their weekly statistics, and we like to do the same, weighing the church's fortunes over the past week. Of course, Debbie Cook appearing on ABC is a huge downstat for Scientology. But we can't help thinking of the opportunities missed here, from the crappy web headline ABC chose (A "PR crisis?" Is that what you call it when people are held against their will in degrading conditions, when 8-year-olds are signing billion-year contracts and are made to work long hours with no access to the outside world? PR, that's the church's biggest problem, really?) to Nightline's failure to cite its own past reporting on this subject. But still, this has been a disastrous first two months of the year for the church, and the lawsuit against Cook is only getting started.


Story #2: Ray Jeffrey Gets a Following

Voice readers seem to be taking a liking to Debbie Cook's attorney, Ray Jeffrey, particularly after we got a close look at the way he has been handling a flurry of sternly-worded letters coming from Scientology's attorneys.

But Jeffrey told me that although Scientology's letters don't bother him, there is one thing that has him angry -- the surveillance being done on Debbie Cook and on his law firm.

He shared with me the following e-mail that he sent Tuesday evening to Scientology's local attorneys, George Spencer and Mark Cannan:

Subject: Scientology v. Cook

The surveillance of my office and my clients is back on - you must be so proud!

Best regards,

Ray

I gave Jeffrey a call when I saw the e-mail.

"I guess the one thing that gets under my skin about this is, lawyers that I've seen at the courthouse for so many years, who hold themselves up as so reputable, would get involved with something like this. And they act very innocent when things like this come out," he says, explaining that when he's brought up to the opposing side that private eyes have been seen taking videos of license plates in his parking lot, or that Cook has been followed, he is met with protestations that the local attorneys are shocked to hear that such shenanigans are going on.

"It really irritates me that colleagues would not have higher standards than this. And I have told them before about the surveillance," he says. "Debbie was followed last night. And do you know what activity she was engaged in that needed to be spied on? She brought some puppies to our office to look at."

Jeffrey sounded as calm as always, but it was clear that he wasn't happy about the snooping. "I've been a litigator for 20 years. You can understand videoing in a case where someone claims an injury and you want to catch them playing tennis or something. But this is just ridiculous, that you would have private investigators following people just because you have a lawsuit with them. I think I'm pretty confident in saying that it's just unheard of here. And why, if you were a lawyer, would you want to get involved in something like that? Because the obvious point is intimidation," he says.

"This is a law firm that holds itself out as the oldest firm in San Antonio and says it's the most prestigious in town," he says, referring to Clemens & Spencer, the local firm hired by the church to sue Cook. "And to participate in this thing, are they comfortable just doing anything?"

I thought that was a good question. When I was in San Antonio, I noted that George Spencer seems like a formidable litigator. He was joined at the plaintiff's table by his partner, Mark Cannan, a man who for years represented the daily paper in town, the San Antonio Express-News. (It was Cannan who started things out the morning of February 9 by trying to convince Judge Martha Tanner that Scientology's team couldn't comply with Jeffrey's request to find and turn over material in the case, including a 2007 video of Debbie Cook signing her non-disclosure agreement as she left the employ of the church. A few hours later, after Cannan argued vociferously that it was too burdensome for Scientology to track down the video, the church's attorneys showed the video as part of their own case.)

Yesterday, I sent this e-mail to Cannan. I'm hoping he'll reply, and if he does I'll post his response in an update here...

Mr. Cannan,

I'm wondering what you must be feeling after receiving an e-mail like this from Mr. Jeffrey.

For years, you represented the San Antonio Express-News, and fought for that newspaper's ability to shed light where it was needed most.

Now you represent a client known for its intimidation tactics, and which are well documented.

Even though your client is suing Debbie Cook, how does it comport with the thrust of your career that Ms. Cook should be followed by private investigators?

Just wondering how that sits with you. I've always had the greatest respect for attorneys who fight for the rights of newspapers. And I'm hoping you could say something about how you view the issue of surveillance of someone like Ms. Cook or Mr. Jeffrey.

Sincerely,

Tony Ortega
Editor
The Village Voice

I suppose I could have also asked if Scientology's checks have been clearing without a hitch.

Thursday's Stats: Upstat or Downstat? As we saw last summer in another part of Texas, Scientology's habit of surveillance and intimidation can fail spectacularly. In this case, it's hard not to assume that hiring private eyes to dog Ray Jeffrey is a very unwise strategy. But for now, we have to wait and see.


Story #3: Rathbun and Rinder, Gagged?

I wanted to throw in just a brief follow-up item to yesterday's big document dump. A letter from George Spencer made some interesting statements about Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder, two former high-ranking Scientology executives who have been very vocal for several years in their criticisms of church leader David Miscavige.They have also offered to be witnesses for Debbie Cook as she defends herself in the church's lawsuit. But Spencer warned Jeffrey that talking to Rathbun and Rinder about their knowledge of Scientology's inner workings is some kind of violation.

"Both Mr. Rinder and Mr. Rathbun signed confidentiality agreements with the Church," Spencer wrote.

That assertion created a stir in our comments section, so I called Rinder yesterday to ask him about Spencer's claim.

"Every Sea Org member signs those. They're routine. They're signed every year or something," Rinder says about confidentiality agreements that Spencer must be referring to in his letter. "I signed 20 of them. Probably Marty has too. They're absolutely meaningless. They're not worth the paper they're printed on."

Rinder was Scientology's chief spokesman until he left the church in 2007. He also ran its intelligence wing, the Office of Special Affairs, and oversaw legal affairs.

"It's strictly gamesmanship," he says of Spencer's letters that were sent to Jeffrey in a flurry over the last week and that we published yesterday.

"They're trying to come up with anything. You talk about someone in a bunker. This person is totally in a bunker mentality," he says, referring to David Miscavige. "This is crazy. There's no precedent for how nutty the activities are they're engaging in, starting with bringing the case to begin with. This guy's living in a bubble of unreality. and I suspect if there are private investigators out there, they're being run...out of L.A., and the local guys don't even know about it."

Rinder says he sees things in Spencer's letters, the choice of words, that he has no question are coming from church management in Los Angeles, and ultimately from Miscavige himself. And the surveillance strategy -- that's definitely coming from the top, he says.

"I don't think even [Ken] Dandar had PIs following him. I don't recall ever having PIs following attorneys," he says, referring to the Florida attorney who represented Lisa McPherson's family in her wrongful death lawsuit while Rinder was still overseeing the church's legal strategy. And he says he's surprised that Scientology would consider it a smart tactic to tail someone like Jeffrey, who spent a couple of years as a local mayor.

"I wouldn't be following the guy who was the ex-mayor around that community. I'd be really careful about treading on the wrong people's toes down there," Rinder says.

Thursday's Stats: Upstat or Downstat? How bad is the decision to send private investigators after Ray Jeffrey? Well, what do you think motivated the man to share so many stunning documents with the readers of the Village Voice?

Smart, Miscavige. Really smart.


UPDATE: Just heard from Rinder, who had this interesting observation about last night's show. He points out that it wasn't only Nightline who seemed to be operating from fear...

Mainstream media in the US are unfortunately corporate animals where the cost/benefit ratio is more important than the integrity of a story. That Nightline story was so obviously carefully constructed to avoid any legal liability it was sort of a joke to those who know the facts. The bones they threw the church -- airing all their responses and even running their line about the massive expansion was really pathetic. I suspect the Producer of that piece was privately throwing up in her mouth....

But, for the uninitiated (and that is really the target audience for this, reaching people who know nothing about it) I think the demeanor of Debbie and the fact that the church REFUSED to provide a spokesperson but instead sent letters denying everything -- and there was not word one of denial from Miscavige -- isn't lost on viewers.


UPDATE 2: Scientology's attorney George Spencer might need to learn what these "blog" things are. Make sure you pay attention to the final paragraph of this predictable letter complaining about Debbie Cook's Nightline appearance...

SpencerNightline.jpg

George, we already spelled it out pretty plainly: as long as Scientology is up to its old tricks and tails Ray Jeffrey and his client Debbie Cook, you can expect the documents to keep flowing!



**********
Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at tortega@villagevoice.com, and if you ask nicely he'll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories, which tend to come out each and every morning at 8 am, but can suddenly appear at any time of the day. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.

New readers might want to check out our primer, "What is Scientology?" Another good overview is our series from last summer, "Top 25 People Crippling Scientology." At the top of every story, you'll see the "Scientology" category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories. As for our regular features, on Thursdays we do a roundup of world press, on Fridays we visit L. Ron Hubbard on the yacht Apollo circa 1969-1971, on Saturdays we celebrate the week's best comments, and on Sundays we publish Scientology's wacky and tacky advertising mailers that people send us.

As for hot subjects we've covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and is now being sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology's "Mecca," whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.

Other stories have looked at Scientology's policy of "disconnection" that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We've also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there's plenty more coming.


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227 comments
Joe_Lynn
Joe_Lynn

Why shouldn't people trust Mike Rinder?  Here:

" I don't recall ever having PIs following attorneys"   Bullshit.  Not only bullshit, but a blatant lie from the guy who was overseeing not only the 'following' but the harassment  and the strictly illegal spying (using infiltrators) into attorney's offices during Mike's tenure as thugmaster of OSA.

It's a lie. And Mike Rinder knows it.

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

I appreciate this article but I think it could have been stronger if only VVM had looked at its own record. In 2003 I helped start up City Pages' Babelogue, an early blog community focused on Minnesota politics and the arts.

I was not a VVM or City Pages employee. I worked freelance (and for very little money) but I did have a very free hand and we published some good stuff. The only subject I was not allowed to touch was Scientology because I was told CP/VVM simply did not want to deal with all the legal action Scientologists throw at their critics.

I'm glad to see VVM is wising up in that regard, and is now going after the biggest, most shameless cult in American history.

Guest
Guest

Slightly OT but the OSA really has the comments section on ANC news bu the shorthairs, the OSA who's been monitoring that place for awhile will abuse the "report abuse" button to delete any message he wants to, and ABC apparently lets him get away with it. Emailing ABC and asking them why my perfectly civil but entheta-containing posts can get deleted for no reason evokes no repsonse, the OSA owns the ABC forums.Louanne is posting there with all of her sock-puppets there over this story, there's apparently no problem with that.

Reasonable_Insanity
Reasonable_Insanity

When's the Squirrel Busters gonna show up at Jeffery's offices looking to question him as part of their documentary?!

That would be so totally awesome! Lolz!!! 

Edief55
Edief55

Just wondering if it would do any good to complain to the news media that released the stories of Debbie? saying, they did not do honest coverage? I'm going to their Facebook pages and doing so. Of course Ron Paul isn't much on the news either.

scilonschools
scilonschools

Tony re Mainstream media thing do you remember the post (and email) I made last week regarding the UK Media Insurance company contact I had? I think i will pop in and see him sometime over the next few days.

As for  Spencer and Co, maybe you ought to send them a career profile of FGur Finkelstien, showing the rise and fall of an attorney who became too close to the corrupting Church of Scientology.

Those Jewish Jails must be nice 'n comfey  !  :)

Hatchune Shun
Hatchune Shun

Fantastic work Mr Ortega.

A perfect article to end a productive day at the office (for me, my shift's ending).Also, thanks again for the mailing list, ran straight here when it came up on my inbox.

anonymous
anonymous

"George, we already spelled it out pretty plainly: as long as Scientology is up to its old tricks and tails Ray Jeffrey and his client Debbie Cook, you can expect the documents to keep flowing!"- Brilliant.  Nice work TO using journalism probably what it was meant for.  I wonder if Spencer is truly as naive as he sounds regarding the "media" (lol).

Whatever the case, I want the documents to keep flowing!  Great job again Tony for this collaborative effort that must have Miscavige's panties in a punch.

wannabeclear
wannabeclear

I'm glad that you've addressed this issue, because it was confounding to me that this "exclusive" story presented Debbie Cook's story as a lone accusation against the Co$ and gave their canned rebuttal equal weight.  My first thought was that Dan Harris and his producer were being lazy and phoning in this story that didn't require them to do much, since their "exclusive" had already been covered and appeared in different forms online (most notably here and in the Tampa Bay Times).  

Then of course, this kind of softball, unquestioning "journalism" and the placating of the cult are not unusual for a corporate concern like ABC and this is definitely part of the issue.  One can easily envision the legal department at ABC stepping in because of the fear of being sued by the notoriously litigious "church."  

However, the damage of their previous coverage has already been done and passed previous legal scrutiny by ABC counsel, so it was still puzzling to me why they'd let Debbie's story hang out there in this way.  So, here's the piece that I believe completes this ridiculous puzzle.  The reporter of the previous Nightline story was Martin Bashir, who was then co-anchor for Nightline and pretty prominent among ABC news talent (remember "Living with Michael Jackson"?)  But, he left ABC and for the last year or so he's been a contributor to Dateline NBC and hosted his own afternoon show on MSNBC.  To me, it seems plausible that ABC corporate was at least as concerned about giving airtime to (or mentioning) a former employee who is now working for their direct competitor.

DamOTclese2
DamOTclese2

George, you seem to be angry that your lunacy for defending the Scientology crime syndicate is being exposed for the public to see. If your clients were legitimate business people and were in the right on all this, George, you wouldn't be shitting your suit in anger.

GarryS
GarryS

LOL. Mike Rinder floors me with his selective memory when it comes to the media. As OSA director, he coordinated & participated in surveillance ops of not only attorneys, but staff at law offices. Mike doesn't think Ken Dander was followed by PIs.  Seriously, Mike?  Ken & his brother have attested to being followed & under surveillance during his involvement in the Lisa McPherson case. Mike should see a doctor.. he's too young to be losing his memory.

NoMoreVisitsPlease
NoMoreVisitsPlease

OK, can I be honest with all of you?  The biggest problem with this report as far as I am concerned is not the weak reporting, it's the fact that Debbie professes her love for the "church" and her desire to reform the "church" and get it back to what it was.

Heavy Sigh.  Roll the eyes.

To me, the average Joe, this sends her credibility, or let's say my sympathy for her, down the crapper.  

Show me an ex Scientologist who says "there's a major abusive scam going on over there" and I say "Halleluja."  Show me an ex Scientologist who wants her abusive scam to be put back the way it was, which was...um...an abusive scam, and all I can think is "change the channel."  I mean, I'm not gonna get real excited about someone wanting to put back Scientology to the way it was.  

I am not a Scientologist.  Never been one.  Will never be one.  I began to research Scientology heavily this past summer because my husband of 2-1/2 years began receiving visits at our home from Scientologists wanting to know when he was going to come back and finish his courses (read: start giving them money again).

I'm glad that Debbie's story is making the news and calling attention to the abuse, but she is far from the ideal candidate to bring down the cult because she is still a believer.  That makes her not credible.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

"George, we already spelled it out pretty plainly: as long as Scientology is up to its old tricks and tails Ray Jeffrey and his client Debbie Cook, you can expect the documents to keep flowing!"

I hope you truly appreciate the amount of influence you have on the world. I’m just so, so thankful that you use your powers for good.

I hope David Miscavige pulls himself into a tighter fetal ball and weeps with evey update.

Theoracle
Theoracle

All true Tony.  You should be producing for ABC Nightline.

deanmen
deanmen

How can discussing being physically abused be in violation of that ridiculous NDA anyway?  That last letter seems like they aren't denying they abused her, they just don't want her talking about it.

CofS Exit Zone
CofS Exit Zone

RE: Update - ha! If George wants Ray to stop distributing his correspondence sent on behalf of his client, then perhaps George should tell his client to stop sicking the cult surveillance goons on opposing counsel. 

Hdemollester
Hdemollester

Hi everyone. I'm new to this forum, this is my first comment. I watched Nightline last night, and was so shocked I just spent the entire night reading up on Scientology, which is how I found this site. I'm in the entertainment industry, and know a few people who are into Scientology. I've been invited to come to the Celebrity Center a few times, for dinners or events. I hadn't gone yet due more to schedule issue than anything else, but I probably would have relented eventually.

Not now. No f-ing way.

I just spent hours pouring over this entire site. The primer, the horrible stories of abuse, the whole Debbie Cook story. I read as many comments threads as I could, which taught me almost more than the articles themselves.

I've read all the comments on this article, and while I understand your concerns about the half-assed job done by Nightline, let me assure you that from the perspective of this newbie, it did the job. It freaked me out enough to start looking into it, especially given the heavy concentration of Scientologists in my line of business, and the fact that I've clearly been a target of quiet but relentless recruitment.

The first thing I did was google Debbie cook. Guess what comes up first? That's how I found my way here. If your concern is that the story wouldn't scare off fresh meat, trust me, have no fear. I really knew nothing about it other than what I'd been told by the few Scientologists I knew. But that had now changed.

Not only me. I've been on the phone with friends and peers, and while a surprising number already knew enough about it to never set foot into one of their buildings, others were like me: kind of oblivious and possibly open to exploring.

Trust me when I tell you that none of my circle will ever again be at risk for being plucked by this dangerous cult. And I can tell you right now that there are certain people in my industry with whom I will never work again. And I'm fortunate enough to be able to make that choice.

What makes me angriest is that it was presented as a way to improve my life, increase my artistic abilities, and help others without all the typical religious dogma found in churches. In particular I have always disliked the blatant hatred towards gays you find in most churches, which as you can imagine, doesn't play well in my line of work. I was told this was different- welcoming, accepting of all, without the need to believe in the usual supernatural bullshit of Religions like Jesus and all that. Turns out that was all a lie- not only are they horribly homophobic, but they believe in freaking ALIENS!

Next time I get invited to the Celebrity Center, you can be sure that I will tell them to tell their buddy Xenu to shove it up his 75-million year old alien ass.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

How many times have we heard stories like this? To many to be counted. :-(

"Jeffrey says his office continues to get angry emails from the church each time Cook’s case makes headlines. He also claims he’s dealt with harassment ever since the case went to court — presumably by the church. “My clients are followed by private investigators with video cameras. My office building has been staked out, and the investigators have driven slowly through our parking lot to video the license plates of the cars parked there,” he said today.”I know of no legitimate purpose for these activities. The obvious illegitimate purpose is intimidation.”

10 Things Mr Jeffrey Should Do To Protect Himself.

1. Laughter/humor is one of the best defences when fighting the cult - they don't know how to handle/fight humor.

2. Videotape everything they do then send footage to Tony Ortega. They hate it when their surveillance tech is laughed at and exposed. Plus, there are a lot of people on this blog who might be able to identify pi's, osa, etc. Turn the surveillance on them, reverse the role-it is key to fighting the cult.

3. Dumpster Diver's- it is a sad, pitiful fact they love going through peoples trash. Put a rattle snake in the trash container, squirt Nestled chocolate all over trash or hide in container and pop out and scare PI, or slap him and run away. LOL. After a couple times, the PI should stop. And remember, shred everything even your grocery list.

4. Hire a PI to follow the PI's. That would be lulzy.

5. Turn off your phones at night. You'll most probably get telephone calls at 3:00AM from a heavy breather. You need your rest, so turn off those phones!

6. Stay calm when they are driving to close, running red lights, swerving into you, cutting lanes, when following you. They want you to crash or make you have a heart attack. Yes, David Miscarriage is that evil to order it. Install a dashboard camera in your vehicle, front and back they really aren't that expensive.

Remember they'll do anything to gather evidence about you even make up false smears about your private life. Warn your family friends and neighbors.

7. Beware of strange women taking a sudden interest in you or wanting to take a photo with you, it's a set up.David Miscavige is like Charles Manson, he orders sci-women to do his dirty deeds for him. So, be aware of the Susan Atkins, Squeaky Fromme types. Oh, and the Mary De Moss types.

8. Document all license plate numbers. It will eventually lead you to one of their criminals.

9. Remember everything seems like it makes utterly no sense on what is being done to you, that's the point, they want to scare you, drive you crazy. They are testing your mettle finding buttons to push that will make you react to your weaknesses. That's why they harrass your family, friends, co-workers and your animals. If they intimidate all of the above they're hoping you'll quit representing Debbie.

They are going to try and make you make a choice between Debbie and all of the above. Don't fall for it. It's the oldest black op in the art of intimidation.Don't let them get the best of you think of it as a fun game of cat and mouse. Laugh at them like this, hahahahaaDmdonghah!

10. *Secret Weapon Tony O* - everything they do to you expose it, bring it into the light, let the world know about it. Tony Ortega is one of your best weapons against the cult he'll let the world know what you're going through. Don't let them isolate you or intimidate you and most of all, do not let them scare you!

DM hates bad PR and being exposed to the wog world.

I hope someone else will come along and give you more tips?

"Why are you following me?" Dory, in the movie Finding Nemo actually teaches a very valuable principle?  Let me assure you, it is not how to speak whale, it is what to do when you realize that you are being followed by a private investigator. LOL!

Mr Jeffrey, if you're reading this?

Keep us posted. Good Luck!

Sorry about my bad spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. etc.

Hatchune Shun
Hatchune Shun

Dub that Debbie Busters and we have a winner.

Bonus if they used both Squirrel & soon-to-come Debbie Busters.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

He's stressed out because Davey and Toxin Moxen are riding his a$$ like a Texas brahma bull right now.

"What's that you say? Yesss, sir. I'll lick up that cow pie right away, sir." *click*

Michael Hobson
Michael Hobson

You, Garry Scarff, have zero first-hand knowledge of any operations Mike Rinder  personally conducted or participated in, excepting those in which you were yourself acting as a Co$ operative. Given that OSA's Intelligence Branch operates and operated entirely on a need-to-know basis, you were never in any position to know about any but those few either.

Michael A. HobsonIndependent Scientologist

Guest
Guest

Doesn't matter.  Truth be told or not, her best personal defense is to claim to be a true believer.   If she were smart, she'd claim to believe nothing but Scamatology, until she wins her countersuit.  Which she will. 

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

This is a VERY excellent point, and thank you for bringing this up.  I for one agree wholeheartedly.  The only thing I'd like to point out in response is that, while her  professions of love for the "church" do make her appear to be still sucked in, she also came across as VERY credible on a personal level, both in the interview and on the stand.  And the fact that she testified to these abuses under oath lends an even stronger level of credibility to them...there are just not that many regular citizens who have the cajones to get up on the stand in a court of law and blatantly, openly lie in such a grand fashion. 

Whereas the church wouldn't even bother being interviewed, responding only through weak letters and half-baked denials.

The fact is, as flawed as the Nightline show was, it definitely brought out the theory that something stinks in that there "church."  Even if all that stinks is that the leader of it is an overbearing, abusive, maniacal sadist...that's enough to at least get people asking questions before they'll set foot in an Org.

As we've seen in this very comment thread, that's already happening.  And the good news is, with the internet and Tony's blog now available, it takes only seconds for the rest of the entire rotten core to reveal itself.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

I forgot to add, George Spencer the *Evil* attorney better realize Debbie's 15 minutes of fame has only just begun.

It's nice to know "Boy George" is reading this blog. It just keeps getting better reading your whiny letters you send to Jeffrey's.

Why stop at Nightline, I think Debbie should continue and go on the Ellen Show (since Ellen is a lesbian) and explain how your client the homophobic manic ordered someone to place a "LESBO" sign around her neck.

Jim
Jim

It can't be in violation of the NDA.  The whole thing is ridiculous, and most likely the counsel for scientology knows this but is taking the cash.  Interestingly, this may get them in to trouble if they are aware of the abuses. 

Guest
Guest

Talk about a great success story!

Guest
Guest

Awesome post.  You have made some very wise observations. 

bobx
bobx

Thanks, your post I'm sure made Tony's day, as well as a lot of other people's.  One of the great frustrations of Sci-watchers has been why a story of this magnitude gets so little attention:  especially why it gets no attention from prosecutors, but also why the wider media tells so little about it.  It is good to know that word is getting through to those who most need to hear it, those whom this cult tries to recruit.

Kate Bornstein
Kate Bornstein

Wonderful post. But now you'll never get to work with Tom Cruise. His loss. xoxo K

MarkStark
MarkStark

Wow! Amazing. If you ever have time, you should read Russell Miller's bio of Hubbard BAREFACED MESSIAH, which is free in several formats online. Janet Reitman also wrote a book recently INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY. The development of this organization is stranger than fiction. Both books go into it.

For a shorter read, Pulitzer prize winning author Lawrence Wright's 26-page article for The New Yorker (online, free) entitled THE APOSTATE, which is the story of director/writer Paul Haggis leaving Scientology over a number of issues, including their use of child slaves. (They indenture children into their Sea Org, as young as 8.)

They are a PR monster, and very good at it. They operate with: Bait and switch, and carrot on a stick. Some of the things they teach early on are useful to actors in particular, but it quickly gets into a form of mind control aimed at money extraction. Actor Jason Beghe spent more than 1 million dollars on it. They get many people donating MILLIONS. Jason was the first actor to denounce them at great length, in video interviews.

Also, don't miss the historic Tom Cruise Scientologist video on YouTube, where he talks about being the only one who can help at an auto accident, and envisioning an all Scientology planet where all critics of Scientology (Suppressive Persons) are "in the history books."

Lastly, not to make you paranoid, but some people in the industry never act like Scilons or say they are. They don't have a pod in their trunk or garage, or a special tattoo. Anyone you're unsure of, use a little caution. Most are pretty obvious, because some are even paid head-hunter fees for bagging new raw meat. Hubbard called new recruits, "raw meat" and they still use that term inside the cult. Many celebrity members know nothing or little about the abuses, because they are assigned people to "handle" them. Tommy Davis (Anne Archer's son) was once Tom Cruise's handler, and then David Miscavige, cult leader, took over that job personally. They are best friends.

Really glad you can tell your friends about it. You'll be saving them from a money-sucking time consuming trap that has ruined some careers in Hollywood.

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

Hey H!  Um...everyone...meet H.  H, meet the smartest, funniest, most insightful group of commenters on the internet.

I actually know H casually, but we had never talked about Scientology before.  As active as I am on this blog, it's not something I generally discuss with my friends (although I probably would have had I known she was being recruited!). 

The funniest part about this is that I didn't bring her here...she found ME here!  I'm one of the few Scientology critics ballsy enough to use my real name in here...and lemme tell you, we had a pretty hilarious phone conversation this afternoon, when she called to tell me she saw my name all over this blog. 

I was VERY happy to hear of the effect the Nightline show had on H. I watched it last night, and was pretty disgusted.  What a bunch of pussies.  But hey, if it affected H this way, I can guarantee you it affected others as well.  Maybe not with the punch we would have liked, but it's another nail in the coffin.

H...nice to see you here...and like SP says, I hope you keep coming back!  And bring your friends! :-)

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Right On! Welcome Hde, glad to hear Nightline brought you here. Maybe it did scare noobs then. Thanks for sharing your story. ;-)

They'll be a lot of people asking you question since you're in the entertainment industry. So, stick around.

Sally
Sally

Regarding dumpster diving. If you were really worried about someone snooping on you, I think it would be funny to spray your trash with mace, before tying the bag shut.  

Angry snoop diver with angry eyes!

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

WOW!!! Sorry, I didn't mean to write a book.

GarryS
GarryS

And you know this for fact, how Mr. Hobson?  You were not present during any of my OSA ops or anytime I was in Mike Rinder's presence.  You continue to talk out of you arse on things you know nothing about to prove yourself worthy of your friendship with the former director of OSA.

DamOTclese2
DamOTclese2

That's not fair. Scarff was pressured to commit treason against the ARSCC in the hopes that Miscaviage would let him back in as a customer. He was caught on television committing treason by phoning up his buds at OSA and reporting on the ARSCC human rights activities, after which he started crying like a High School girl who had just been slapped. It's not easy being a fat turncoat with zero friends.

MarkStark
MarkStark

Her story points out how valuable a blog like Tony's can be. Any search on Debbie Cook leads right here, to Tony's extensive reporting of Debbie's story.

Guest
Guest

Let's put it this way:  Tom Cruise doesn't get to work with HER.  

LightOfTruth123
LightOfTruth123

"meet the smartest, funniest, most insightful group of commenters on the internet."

That's true, I have perused many online discussion forums, but I have to say, this bunch is special. My interest is social psychology, so inevitably at some point cults come into the picture. What I have learned from my research, and all the individual stories of people I have read, is that when someone gets themselve out of a cult, they tend to do a lot of research; psychology, philosophy, you name it. It's vital for their recovery, to deconstruct their own experience, and figure out what the hell had happened to them, and find a way forward. So the ex-Scientologists here are very knowledgeable about psychology and philosophy, compared to your average person in society.

What I have also been reminded of once again, since discovering this place, is NEVER underestimate the power of the human spirit.

MarkStark
MarkStark

 That's so cool LeeAnne. No wonder she's informed so quickly. Crack Hollywood open, would you?

John P.
John P.

Mace merely irritates the eyes and causes one to cough.  

To do mortal injury to the Scientologists going through one's trash, it might be better to discard copies of the OT3 materials that are widely available on the Internet.  That way, if any of the people going through your garbage see them, they will catch pneumonia, suffer from lack of sleep, and die.  That's what Hubbard himself said would happen to anyone who got access to the OT 3 material improperly, so you know it's true.  

Oh, and maybe you should cover the OT 3 sacred drivel in Nestle's chocolate syrup as somebody suggested, so that they are forced to spend lots of time cleaning off the sacred scriptures before trying not to read them.  That is called "impaling them on the horns of a dilemma."

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Ooooh, never thought of that? Perfect! See all it takes is a little innovation. I really like that one and it's legal.

GarryS
GarryS

LOL. I have many friends, but I never consider kooks & creeps like yourself to be among them.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

That makes my heart soar! I cringe at the thought of him. *shivers* To think someone has more power than him in the entertainment industry brings me tears of joy. :-D

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

LeeAnn, nice job spreading the word. O:-)

LeeAnneClark
LeeAnneClark

I'll have to leave that up to H.  I don't actually work in the "industry" - I'm just a nobody shlub toiling out here in the corporate world.  I know H through a travel club.  But lemme tell ya, that gal's got contacts!  Once Nightline piqued her interest and she contacted me, I took it upon myself to enlighten her as much as I was able.  It's now up to her if she wants to take her new-found enlightenment and go work on the Hollywood crowd.

Of course, as y'all can imagine, I for one hope she does!

DodoTheLaser
DodoTheLaser

Reminds me of some OT III, trying to look happy, with his arm hand-cuffed to their OT III materials diplomat-case, from some AO magazine a few years ago... I still wonder if it was a joke or a real thing.

Guest
Guest

Well played, John P. 

Well played. 

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