Two major news items today. First, both sides filed their trial schedule in the Laura DiCrescenzo case. Of course, Laura’s side has a fairly straightforward schedule, but the cult has a byzantine process involving multiple mini-trials, with two weeks spent in the first such just arguing about First Amendment issues. And of course, while Miscavige’s fingerprints are mostly absent from this document, he still managed to get into the text a demand that Laura be forced to undergo a psychiatric exam as part of the case. It’s straight out of Monty Python.
The second major news item is the SP declaration of long-time staff member Ryan Hogarth from the South African branch of the cult, causing the African Scientology blog to speculate that the entire South African community could easily secede from the cult as the Haifa, Israel mission did.
Tony Ortega’s Blog
Tony published the two vastly different proposed trial schedules from plaintiffs and defendants in the Laura DiCrescenzo case. Laura’s attorneys propose a straight six week trial, while the cult proposes an avalanche of hearings, mini-trials, duplicative effort and other showboating that could easily approach four months in the courtroom, raising a pretty significant cost barrier to Laura.
My take: Usually, when you look through the cult’s legal filings, you don’t have to be a lawyer to spot the craziness that Miscavige has injected into the filing — inflammatory language, etc. A relatively quick skim of the defendants’ filing shows a relative lack of crazy, which is worth thinking about. Is Miscavige on vacation after the stress of the IAS event? Is he distracted? Or is it just a relatively simple filing and not worth his putting his unique “imprimatur” on it? About the only thing going on here that has any crazy is the proposal that Laura be ordered to undergo a psych evaluation, which to anyone who doesn’t believe in the cult, is kind of a joke. Apparently, Miscavige is so isolated in his little bubble that he has no idea what an actual psych eval is like.
Most telling is the proposal for a ten-day hearing on First Amendment issues. Recall that Judge Sohigian was completely upheld on the issue of “priest/penitent confession” laws in the first First Amendment issue raised by the cult. As one of Tony’s legal team points out, the cult is essentially trying to argue that the “Church” can do whatever it wants to religious workers when it tries to claim that the Court can’t get in the middle of a religious dispute. Of course, the logical extension of this is the belief that churches can sanction murder, rape, arson, fraud and all sorts of other violations when they come from sincerely held religious beliefs. But there are plenty of crooked pastors (Jim Bakker, and many many more) who have done jail time for their crimes.
- Enthralled Observer starts off a cascade of imaginings of what a psychiatric exam of David Miscavige might look like, if and when.
- Retired attorney LetsGetCoS takes a more logical view of what a psych eval might mean in the case.
- SugarPlumFairy cranks out a couple pithy comparisons to illustrate the craziness of the cult asking for psych exams.
- ShoopZ has a great shot of Kirstie Alley protesting psychiatry.
- Michael Hobson points out that DM’s true agenda in asking for a psych eval of Laura might be to “dead agent” her among the still-in loyal Kool-Aid drinkers.
- Mary McConnell repeats the words of an ESMB commenter on a small problem with DM requesting a psych exam for Laura: he told his flock that they had practically eliminated psychiatry many years ago, so if he requests a psychiatric exam, he might be essentially acknowledging that he has committed fraud in his IAS donation pitch.
Mike Rinder’s Blog
- Mike’s post today reflected the South African Scientology blog post of how Ryan Hogarth, decades-long Scientologist and former Scientology South Africa President, got declared as the goon squad from Headquarters continues to bang heads together, apparently randomly. Mike observes that Ryan Hogarth was the first local staff person to be allowed to introduce His Imperial Amazingness at an event, instead of using the game show host-like tones of Jeff Pomerantz in a pre-recorded blurb, so great is Hogarth’s credibility among the locals. Hogarth is a third-generation Scientologist (first one I’ve heard of) who was on staff, mostly in South Africa, for 25 years. He headed DSA (the local equivalent of OSA) for much of that time, and served for a time as President, which he equates to a figurehead. There’s some great details on the fiasco of acquiring and renovating the Ideal Org building, and more on life in the cult in a far-flung outpost. The post from Ryan Hogarth himself is relatively long but useful to read, as it details how the Internet brought him to his senses, when he discovered Marty Rathbun’s then-new blog.
- Mike’s post yesterday covers the craziness of Super Power marketing, giving yet another example from source documents of how the disconnect between the hype and the reality will accelerate the meltdown of the cult, with more people blowing.
Forum Sites (WWP, ESMB, OCMB)
- The forum sites are busy mulling over the meaning of the SP declaration of prominent South African Scientologist Ryan Hogarth. WWP and ESMB both have threads.
- And here are the threads on ESMB and WWP regarding the crazy contradiction of slobbering anti-psychiatry conspiracists requesting a psych evaluation of Laura DiCrescenzo.
- Here’s an ESMB thread pointing to the list of corporate entities associated with the cult. No real status update today, but nice to know where it is for future research. All 28 pages of it.
- This thread explores potential overlap between symbols in Scientology and those of Satanism.
- Dr. Karen Stollznow, a writer of paranormal, spiritual, superstition and cults has completed a book titled – “God Bless America: Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States” which includes an enthralling chapter about Scientology.
- One from the “cockroaches gotta roach” department: Narconon Arrowhead advertises “free counseling” to get people in the door to pay for their program that does not work (at best) or kills you (at worst).
- RadarOnline is picking up the Tom Cruise slave labor story all over again via the declarations of Jon Brousseau, Marc Headley and others that were filed last week in the Mosey Rathbun case. While Tony reported Brousseau’s story in mid-2012, I’d suspect we’ll see other sites picking up and re-broadcasting the RadarOnline story over the next couple days.