Perhaps the biggest news today is the Tampa Bay times story that some Clearwater businesses have seen sales plummet in the wake of the Super Power opening, as staff apparently don’t wander between buildings as much, and as the cafeteria in the basement is capturing money that used to go to them. Way to relate to the community, Scientology!
Also, Tony’s blog had more insights on how people react to the OT III level, Marty Rathbun posts a particularly provocative long quote from Hubbard on conducting intelligence operations against enemies, Mike Rinder mocks Mark VIII e-meter marketing, and the general press unloads on the cult.
Today’s post is worth a close read as there are some pretty funny discoveries of videos and news stories from around the world.
Thanks to a large number of tipsters and commenters who brought stories to my attention today!
Tony Ortega’s Blog
Tony’s regular Tuesday feature delves a little deeper into the “mysteries” of the OT III level as seen through the eyes of former staff Claire Headley and Bruce Hines; it also features a fun video from Karen de la Carriere and J. Swift on the Ideal Org scam.
My take: What’s really interesting is that both Bruce Hines and Claire Headley said that their first reaction was “what a load of crap!” but their training instantly took over and their devotion to Scientology didn’t waver much. They both figured it was something they didn’t understand, and vowed to come back later and try and overcome their shortcomings that made them unable to comprehend the brilliance. Here are two fairly intelligent people who were so indoctrinated by the cult that they were unable to pull free when the alarm bells were ringing loudly. That’s a pretty powerful warning to others who think they’re somehow immune.
Also horrifying is Claire’s recollection of an accident on the base that left her with a badly broken foot and a broken shoulder, which nearly killed her. The cult wasn’t allowed to call 911 when Miscavige was actually on the base, perhaps because of his paranoia about his personal security. Just appalling.
From a purely literary standpoint, Hubbard’s description of “Incident One” is probably the lamest bit of handwritten nonsense I’ve seen him pen. When you read about the Big Bang, even dry physics texts make it sound pretty damned awe-inspiring. But here, Hubbard manages to take any element of wonder and mystery, the key elements of any origin story, out of it and make it sound like a back-of-the-napkin reminder of how to write something so pathetic by comparison that it would get laughed out of town.
- Grundoon points out that not only is Hubbard’s Incident 1 story literarily lame, but related “cosmology” trying to explain the origin of things like gravity is pretty loony as well. Great find on a quote from the PDC, which is Hubbard at his most unhinged! There’s even a “track map” of the “whole track” that sets all the crazy down on a timeline.
- Simi Valley points out that there’s always a lot of “review auditing” in OT III, which a) makes sure you’re believing all the bullshit, and b) runs up the cost far beyond the quoted amount.
- MonkeyKnickers kicks of a pretty funny discussion when she invents her own religion, with all the apparent attention to detail that Hubbard put into his cosmology. Hers sounds much nicer to join, especially if it helps bring In-n-Out Burger to the NYC area, which currently doesn’t look like it will happen in my lifetime.
- “Interested” posts a link to a YouTube German language broadcast on the death of Scientologist Biggi Reichert (it has English subtitles).
- RMycroft points out that the cult doesn’t intercept emergency personnel just when Miscavige is around — he finds a report of a cultie staying at the Fort Harrison, who was dying of lung cancer, but who had cult handlers apparently “sanitize” the death before the medical examiner was called.
- Racnad points out that he read the OT III materials in the LA Times when he was in. He also notes some of the bizarre rumors that floated around inside the cult about what happened to people who caught even the merest glimpse of the sacred scriptures without permission.
- “Good Fella” shares his experience of doing OT III, back in the earlier days when it only cost $800.
- Galactic Patrol points out that some people waited to figure out whether to believe the OT III material until they got audited, then they looked to whether the meter read a certain way to decide whether to believe it or not. Oops!
- “Anonymous” comes up with a pretty good narrative of how Hubbard got into the position where he had to coin tripe like the OT III level — trying to recapture the public visibility and interest in Dianetics,
Mike Rinder’s Blog
Mike posts about the craziness of the sales campaigns to get the new Mark VIII super-duper new e-meter in people’s hands immediately.
Apparently, one new and unique feature of the high-pressure marketing campaign is awards for the staff. The org that sells the most meters will apparently get a gift-wrapped swag basket of some indeterminate contents at some point in the future. For reference, Harry and David, the long-time gourmet gift basket retailer, offers a $200 gift basket as its most expensive. Split 30 ways (assuming 30 staff per org) would mean about $6 per employee, or a bonus of the better part of a week’s pay. This stands as a monument to cult cheapness, a paltry reward to whoever brings in hundreds of thousands in profits. Of course, such cheapness goes back to “Source,” as Hubbard offered a small plaque as a way of thanking anyone who brought in any of the biggest celebrities then alive in the cult’s first celebrity recruitment campaign.
Mike does the math and thinks this means that the cult really expects to have 7,500 members doing courses actively, assuming a production run of 20,000 units (they were made when he was “in” and have been sitting in a warehouse since then, so he may have a reasonably good idea of exactly how many there are), less 5,000 for orgs and field auditors, divided by two because of the requirement that everyone have two in case one fails.
Marty Rathbun’s Blog
Marty has posted a particularly telling Hubbard quote about intelligence operations and sliming enemies. It’s a lot deeper than the oft-quoted one-liner justifying “Fair Game.” To get the full effect of Hubbard’s paranoid viciousness in action, this is worth a read. Secondarily, this might also serve as a quiet reminder to some of his readers that there is plenty of evidence to counter the view that “Hubbard always good, Miscavige always bad” that some Independent Scientologists espouse. Incidentally, the full “Manual of Justice” that this quote is taken from appears at http://www.xenu.net/archive/go/man_just.htm.
In fact, the comments are worth reading on this one as they show a fairly diverse range of opinions on Hubbard’s pronouncements here. The comments are definitely different from what I’d expect on this site or on Tony’s but there is not the lockstep agreement that some might expect.
Forum Sites (ESMB, OCMB, WWP)
Thanks yet again for Aeger Primo for her work monitoring the forum sites.
- Court documents from the David Mayo case in 1984, never before posted online, describe harassment techniques used decades ago. Within document the RTC and CSI admit claimed harassment of David Mayo. OP states these documents are relevant to understanding the Rathbun vs. Miscavige case, and shows that the Co$ has not changed thier tactics all these years
- More comments about Kirstie Alley’s hateful name calling of Leah Remini, and her lies about Scientology’s disconnection policy. The full Howard Stern interview is on YouTube at http://youtu.be/7c8hF_QaEKA. Marty Rathbun did a good takedown of the culture spawning such viciousness on his blog last week. And there is a long ESMB discussion of Kirstie oozing such class.
- BlackRob posts pix of the grand opening of Taiwan’s Ideal Org. We don’t have word yet (or photos, for that matter) indicating whether Miscavige actually made the trip.
- In an item from the television archives, here’s a scene from ABC’s Boston Legal, quizzing a Scientologist. Though the scene is from Oct. 2006, it is still relevant to us.
- Serious discussion and some J&D when a poster compares Scientology to Jonestown.
- Vistaril caught the end of the case where a Chicago cult staffer was arrested in November for dumping ice water on Darth Xander, an Anon whose protest history was profiled in Tony’s old Village Voice column a couple years ago. Apparently, despite having top-flight legal representation, the cultie pled guilty and was fined and got probation instead of fighting the charges and risking a year in jail. But at least there’s a conviction on her record. The whole saga is interesting — especially since her assault is yet another example of violent behavior against peaceful protesters.
- WWP’s BlackRob finds an incredibly boring video by a member of the OT Committee for the Johannesburg org explaining how things are going great, just great in South Africa for the cult.
- The Tampa Bay Times reported this afternoon that some downtown Clearwater businesses are struggling now that staff are moving into the new Super Power building, and apparently have less time to get out to buy coffee or otherwise spend their meager salaries. On the other hand, some hope that having all those culties out of the way will clean up downtown Clearwater’s image quicker and ultimately help business get back on track. Apparently, some of the tourists find the Sea Org uniforms a bit intimidating.
- The Tampa Bay Times also notes that the mayor of Clearwater sent a note congratulating Miscavige on the Super Power opening, though the article also mentions Mark Bunker’s excellent video about exactly why this is a bad thing for the city to do.
- Sheriff Lee Baca may not have much time for gladhanding Scientologists, given the arrests of 18 officers and managers in the LA County jail system for a particularly heinous series of crimes.
- “Enty,” the entertainment lawyer who posts at gossip site “Crazy Days and Nights,” thinks the Bauer Media attorneys could very well question Katie Holmes about whether Tom is Suri’s biological father, and if such questioning comes up, he speculates that Cruise could settle the Bauer suit quickly. It looks like the Bauer folks have the momentum in the trial since Bert Fields’ clumsy attempt to tie Bauer’s German parent to some sort of Nazi behavior not only fell flat but earned him sanctions.
- Apparently, “A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Christmas Pageant” is coming to a community theater in the San Diego area. Since there are apparently almost zero Scientologists in the San Diego area (out of 3.2 million population), the cult will have to bus people down from LA to protest, sadly.