We take another look at how Scientology misuses R-1 religious worker visas as it attempts to fill slots in its operations. It’s no longer able to bring on enough new domestic recruits or even US citizen children of current members to staff up Flag, Pac Base and its other major operations. We look at the line between accidental stretching of the bounds of the program and outright fraud. Several reports suggest that Scientology misuses the “guardianship” provisions of the law to mistreat younger R-1 visa holders, crossing the line into human trafficking. Continue reading “Scientology’s Continuing Abuse of Religious Visas, Human Trafficking and the Farce of Guardianship”
Today, some follow-up details on the South Africa nightmare showed up; I continue to think this could be significant as the cult appears to be retreating and retrenching from some geographies to focus on the US operation. I’m hungrily devouring everything I can to attempt to figure out whether this scenario of the cult declaring a sizable number of big donors will have ripple effects potentially including the entire org declaring itself independent of the “mother church.”
Tony’s article today focuses on a filing in the Garcia suit which can be used to cast aspersions on the credibility of the “diversity jurisdiction” memo which is still at issue in the case.
The message boards have a fair amount of clever creativity worth checking out. While some might accuse me of bias, I must say that Supermodel #1’s comments on yesterday’s Scientology Daily Digest are worth noting. She’s tolerant of my interest in the cult but has not had much interest in the spotlight. I invited her to put in a small comment on my first blog post to help “christen” the blog, much as an elegant woman christens a lumbering smoke-belching ship before launch. I may have created a monster, however, as reading her rather witty repartee will show.
Incidentally, now that she’s surfaced publicly, some might wonder if Supermodel #1 is a sock puppet of mine. She has met Tony on a couple of occasions, and has also met a number of other prominent members of our community; all can vouch for her, and since I was lurking nearby, proving that we have both been seen in the same place at the same time. She’s even found a potential self-portrait, shown here, that she feels captures her true essence.
Tony Ortega’s Blog
Tony’s story today analyzed the filing by Ted Babbitt, the plaintiff’s attorneys in the Garcia’s Super Power donation fraud case . Scientology was required to submit a five page (restriction to avoid them droning on for hundreds of pages) summary of the arbitration procedure, so that the judge could determine whether the arbitration procedure is fair. That’s needed in order to determine whether the court could intervene, given that the donor agreement requires a “Church” arbitration panel (which the Garcias contend inherently stacks the decks against anyone seeking redress).
The response to the arbitration outline filed by the cult is withering and direct, accusing the cult of “fraud” and “fiction” in the description of arbitration. The underlying legal filings are provided, as is a declaration of Mike Rinder, who points out that he spent 20 years in charge of managing legal affairs for the cult, and who says that he never knew of an actual arbitration proceeding to take place.
My take: I think that the Garcia’s attorney may have been rocked back on their heels by the diversity jurisdiction issue, which appears to leave the Court little room for discretion in determining whether it has to dismiss the case or whether it can continue. To a non-lawyer like me, it feels like this filing is far more confident in tone than the plaintiff’s opposition to the diversity jurisdiction issue. It is unusual for a motion like this to use such extraordinarily strong terms as “fraud” and “fiction.” In other cases I have looked at, attorneys tend to use a reasonable amount of restraint, even in the overview sections where one is expected to use passionate rhetoric to attempt to sway the judge before beginning the legal reasoning process. It is a surprising to see such strong words, one of which has a clear implication that a criminal act upon is being committed upon the court.
I think it is no coincidence that this response was filed very quickly, so that it influences the judge’s perception of the diversity jurisdiction argument and implies that it is likely fraudulent and fictional as well. Since I am not a lawyer, I don’t know how to assess how the judge reacts to this motion, either on its own merits, or in conjunction with the diversity jurisdiction issue. But I do note the more confident tone in this filing.
- “Anonymous” gives a nice analytical writeup on how Scientology “ethics” are supposed to work, particularly showing how it traps you into doing the will of the supreme leader, even if that turns out to be unethical in other ways.
- Good perspective from Skip Press about the playbook generally used for the CommEv scam. Fortunately, a number of people who have been through CommEv’s speak up about their experience, which is right in line with the theory Skip proposes.
- TruthIWant points out that he underwent a CommEv procedure, and how it represented an opportunity to bully him into submission, rather than to try to figure out what happened as the paper documents suggest it is intended to do. Not that we’re surprised it turned out that way, but firsthand accounts are always valuable.
- Madora Pennington talks about her own CommEv, and gives a sense of how much monkey business was involved in auditing, especially in getting the person in the chair to report just how wonderful every auditing session was. Madora says memorably, “you aren’t allowed not to get better from auditing no matter what!”
- Speaking of CommEv’s, “Room 101” had one, too. It did not end well.
- In a related example of how “Scientology ethics” seem to be rather highly flexible, Tory Christman shared an experience she knew about where to Scientologists were cheated out of a lot of commission money by a WISE company. Apparently, the cult step in and reverse the arbitration award because the CEO of the company was a major donor. The cult changed policies that Hubbard put in place the day before they “heard” the complaint to protect the money of the larger donor. Money quote: “it was the first time I realized you could PAY to have ‘tech’ removed.”
- Lurkness located an interview that Mark Bunker did of Greg and Debra Barnes, talking about their CommEv’s and expulsion from the cult.
- Sunny Sands somehow managed to find out that various Flag restaurants have been put on cash only basis with their liquor suppliers by order of the state alcohol regulator. In life, you apparently can stiff just about anybody but the tax man and the booze peddler. One potential explanation for this is that the cult doesn’t regularly sell liquor at its restaurants, but is dusting off its liquor licenses to accommodate the booze-swilling IAS guests. Too bad they didn’t bother to read the fine print before trying to get (illegal) extended payment terms from their vendors. Hope Miscavige doesn’t read this blog and find out about it, or there are going to be some sorry campers in the RPF.
- NoseInABk picks up on a cute poll that TMZ is doing about Tom Cruise’s involvement with Suri. Apparently, 96% think Cruise should not have the right to get Suri involved in the cult, though interestingly the readership is far more divided on whether “Abandoned” is a defamatory term.
- MonkeyKnickers writes an open letter to the cult, providing some heartfelt advice to management on how to improve the cult’s image. One of her better efforts, one that proves that messing with the pregnant lady carrying twins is generally less than smart.
- TheCommodeDoor finds a nifty quote in a nifty paper by Stephen A. Kent of the University of Alberta on whether Scientology is a religion.
- Chuck Beatty, who designed the routing forms for refunds in the 1980s with the express intent of driving people seeking refunds over the edge, gives some background on what he did.
Mike Rinder’s Blog
- Mike posted an article mulling over the extent to which Tom Cruise is subject to the disconnection policies that other Scientologists must live by. It’s a well-written piece that doesn’t cover a lot of new ground in the discussion, but is a clear and cogent summary of what most of us already understand, and is worth reading on that basis. http://www.mikerindersblog.org/tom-cruise-and-disconnection/
- Mike’s second article relays a story on BackInComm, the South African blog of the wave of ex-Scientologists recently declared by the head office. Mike references the story of Ernest & Gaye Corbett, decades long Scientologists and, according to Mike, the highest-profile members of the cult in SA. More useful details to try to back into what Miscavige thinks he is doing. http://backincomm.wordpress.com/2013/11/09/here-is-their-story-ernest-gaye-corbett/#more-132
WWP, ESMB, OCMB
Aeger Primo helps out in a big way today, again. A serious article to lead off followed by some lulz.
- WWP picked up a broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on the harassment campaign against Marty Rathbun, to be aired Sunday (tomorrow) at 10pm ET.
- ESMB has some snark and info about the casting call ad for actors “needed” to make the upcoming Co$ events at Flag (Clearwater, FL) look “good.” Apparently, management thinks the average Scientologist is just not attractive enough to populate a brochure. Either that or that, or if they used 15 culties for the brochure photos, at a rate of one blowing a month, they’d have to re-shoot the brochure in just over a year. Now you know why Winston was so overwhelmed at work in his job at the Ministry of Truth: erasing unpersons is a lot of work.
- Some pretty good humor and shoops about Tom Cruise’s comment in the Bauer Media deposition about how “My work as an actor is as hard as fighting in Afghanistan.” Some nice imagining how our troops would feel about the comparison. Both ESMB and WWP are weighing in.
- OCMB captures Angry Gay Pope talking about his recent adventure, including the “citizen’s arrest.”
- OCMB ponders what slant the cult might take on a new “tag line” for its ads.
- Ex-Scientologist Skip Press writes a column on celebrity news site The Morton Report that profiles Jon Atack, the Hubbard biographer who has been sharing pieces of his revised version of “A Piece of Blue Sky” on Tony’s site every week. Apparently, Atack helped Skip escape the cult.
- The BackInComm blog for South African Scientologists and ex’s ran an article today advocating that all Scientologists worldwide stop giving money to the “Church.” Well written advice. More importantly, it’s worth reading to feel the gauntlet being flung down. We’ll see what Miscavige does next. I am sure that being one of the recent Sea Org imports sent to town to fix things up will not be a pleasant lot in life (though I’m not feeling sorry for them at all).
Tony Ortega’s Blog
I’m not a lawyer and the subject of today’s article is sufficiently esoteric that it seems to be tripping even a couple of the lawyers who read Tony’s blog.
Today’s article focused on the response of the Garcia’s legal team to the motion to dismiss on “diversity jurisdiction” grounds that the cult filed recently in the Garcias’ suit in Federal Court in Florida alleging fraud in the Super Power donation campaign. Almost a year into the case, the cult’s legal team dropped a bombshell, asserting that the case did not belong in Federal court because several of the cult corporate entities are trusts whose trustees are California residents. The concept of diversity jurisdiction explained by Scott last week is apparently complex and arcane, and the cult appears to have created and sprung a trap that may have some chance of success either in the trial court or on appeal, because the trial court may have to do something that breaks an apparently ironclad procedural rule to keep the cult from profiting by chicanery, risking a messy appeal, or they have to dismiss the case so it is re-filed either in Florida or California. That could be a problem if re-filed in Florida since the cult has seemed to have done well with Tampa-area judges in the past, such as in attorney Ken Dandar’s being barred from suing Scientology again.
According to Scott Pilutik’s legal analysis, this was a sharp move by the cult because the Court apparent has no choice but to dismiss the case if subject matter jurisdiction is involved. In other words, good lawyering apparently may not be able to fix the issue.
The response from Ted Babbitt, the Garcias’ lawyer, appears to be alleging fraud: the cult has claimed that the directors are California based, without actually identifying them. In other words, he’s pointing out that the cult is not offering any proof to back up its case, so fraud may be involved. It sounds like he’s pointing out that the cult’s credibility after the motion to disqualify plaintiff’s counsel might be worth taking into account by the judge in looking at how to remedy this situation.
- Jeff Hawkins talks about life hiding behind the curtains on lockdown inside buildings at Int Base when protesters were outside the fences. So much for the most “theta” beings in the Scientology universe to “confront and shatter”” suppression. And these protests were long before Anonymous cranked up the numbers by a couple orders of magnitude.
- Semper Phi, who was doing training at Flag in the Anonymous 2008 protests gives her version of being on lockdown.
- DamOTclese2 also reminisces from his perspective as a protestor during the same era.
- Sunny Sands asked Roz Cohn to record her one-woman show about Scientology described in yesterday’s Underground Bunker article and post it; Roz e-mailed her back and said she was planning on it.
- Jmh details a phishing attack attempting to steal passwords for the people working to take down cult ads on Craigslist.
- Gerald Plourde raises the interesting notion that the delaying tactic of the motion on diversity jurisdiction may just be a tactic to stall the Garcia suit until Miscavige gets through the big events. I’m not sure there’s any way to determine whether this is true, but it is very interesting to think about; it will be worth noting if the cult withdraws the jurisdiction motion once the events are complete. It’ll also be interesting to see what happens if the cult starts to do some sloppy lawyering after laying what appears to be a remarkably clever trap.
- Nice comment by StillOnYourSide about another theory of a potential path for Babbitt to win the diversity jurisdiction argument for the Garcias.
- Grundoon did a nice bit of research on the historic neighborhood in LA where Hubbard lived for a time and where early cult facilities were located.
Mike Rinder’s Blog
- Brief post only encouraging people to vote for Leah on “Dancing with the Stars” and encouraging them to e-mail Clearwater city officials to encourage them not to grant the cult an exception for the late filing of the street closure permits for the events in two weeks.
Marty Rathbun’s Blog
- Marty has been on radio silence since October 30. This is an unusually long period of time for him. I did not check the comments to see if he is away or something.
“Scientology” on Google News
- Scientology has purchased a historic building in Buenos Aires for a new Idle Morgue. The deal, announced Monday, was for US$1.5 million, and restoration is expected to take 12-18 months.