In Part Three, we looked at Hubbard’s return home from Australia and the associated mythology surrounding this journey, as well as uncovering the truth about his alleged use of Pan American’s Philippine Clipper to get from Brisbane to Honolulu and on to San Francisco.
In Part Four, we turn to Hubbard’s brief time as a cable censor, his disastrous first attempt at command and his eventual admission to the Submarine Chaser Training Center (SCTC) in Florida. We’ll look at Hubbard’s record as associated with the converted fishing trawler Mist, eventually recommissioned as the coastal patrol craft USS YP-442, as well as the Church of Scientology’s claims about his combat record in the Battle of the Atlantic. I’d like to once again thank Chris Owen in particular for his previous research, which was invaluable to me in providing much of the historical context for this post. Continue reading “Debunking Military Lies, Part 4: Hubbard’s Fibs and Follies Afloat”
The European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) suite took effect yesterday, May 25, 2018. We look at what it might mean to Scientology, and how activists might use it as an avenue to bring about positive change in the organization, or, if Scientology is not serious about complying with the rules, how they might be hamstrung (but not shut down) by the GDPR.
I did extensive work on the potential impact of the GDPR on US-based companies in 2016 and early 2017, and this discussion is based on that work as well as other research about earlier investigations by European regulators into Scientology’s privacy practices.
Scientology’s antiquated paper-based recordkeeping practices, mandated by founder L. Ron Hubbard’s holy writ, cannot ever hope to comply with the GDPR. The cult’s belief that it’s inherently above “wog” law means that it probably won’t make a meaningful attempt to comply. That exposes Scientology to the highest level of penalties, a minimum fine of €20 million, reserved for chronic violation of the rules and for not taking them seriously. But while Scientology is exposed, we think regulators will have much larger fish to fry in the early days following GDPR enactment to pay attention to the cult. We discuss the specifics of what will happen when the regulators do turn their eyes onto Scientology’s privacy practices in the future.
Some commenters have suggested that GDPR could be a mortal blow to the Scientology organization, either globally or broadly across the European part of the operation. We strongly disagree. We do believe that the cult can be significantly hobbled in Europe but even the assessment of the maximum penalties and a high degree of oversight by regulators will not cause Scientology to shutter its doors. We discuss how activists against Scientology can use GDPR to hamstring the organization, even if it will not be driven entirely out of business.
Continue reading “Will GDPR Really be Scientology’s Achilles Heel?”
In Part 3, we’ll look at the controversy surrounding Hubbard’s departure and travel back to the United States from Brisbane, Australia, using some of the same previously cited sources from Parts 1 and 2 along with public records, such as those of the Naval Air Transport Service (NATS) and the Pan American Airways archive held by the University of Miami. I want to especially thank Jeffrey Augustine for laying much of the groundwork as to possible avenues for Hubbard’s travel home, specifically in response to Margaret Lake’s assertions as to this timeframe on her Scientology Myths blog. Ms. Lake attempts to demonstrate that much of Hubbard’s narrative about his return home from Australia is essentially true, and we’ll be rigorously challenging her claims as to the veracity of Hubbard’s narrative.
In researching her claims, I have come across empirical evidence that negates much of her argument, specifically the timeline of his return, his having called upon Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox to facilitate his return and his having used a Pan American Clipper for the entire journey to the United States. A major point of contention is where Hubbard was in the 14 days in between his departure from Brisbane on March 9th, and his arrival in San Francisco on March 23rd. I will provide a detailed examination of this timeframe, as well as show how Hubbard used duplicity, in the form of forged official orders, to steal a seat on a Clipper to fly home from Honolulu.
What emerges from my work is a hybrid narrative that like many of Hubbard’s stories, narratives and anecdotes, reflects some truth among the many lies. This particular series of events is important in Hubbard’s mythology. By debunking the veracity of Hubbard’s tale here, we are also debunking the very foundations of Scientology. Like his fanciful narrative of espionage on Java and saving Australia, his homeward-bound odyssey reflects his hubris and predisposition to constantly exceed his authority. More sinisterly, it shows his selfishness and cowardice, as in falsifying orders to return home from Honolulu via air, he undoubtedly bumped a more deserving fellow serviceman, or worse, a military dependent or other, more worthy passenger, as well as avoiding a potentially hazardous journey by ship.
It’s clear from Part 2 in our series that Hubbard’s brief time in Australia was a disaster, and certainly a far cry from both his and Scientology’s narrative of his single handedly saving our Antipodean allies from the ravages of Imperial Japan. If anything, the record demonstrates that he was considered a self-aggrandizing nuisance incapable of executing the few tasks he was given; his response to charges of incompetence reflects what would be a pattern throughout his life, wherein he would never admit fault or would blame others for his own failings, shirking responsibility wherever possible. Continue reading “Debunking Military Lies Part 3: Hubbard Fibs His Way Home”
I’ve been following with interest the implosion of the Nxivm cult, an Albany, New York-based group that saw its founder arrested for charges of sex slavery and brought back from hiding in Mexico.
There are some parallels between Nxivm and Scientology, in terms of a charismatic founder run amok, harnessing of celebrities to recruit, and an insatiable thirst for more money. We’ve already covered one set of parallels between the two groups, in an earlier look at childhood education “breakthroughs” to solve common educational problems and instill super powers in the minds of the kids. But there are also key differences. The core purpose of Nxivm seemed to be to serve as the “babe farm” to supply sex partners to founder Keith Raniere, and while money was important, it was not the be-all for the group. Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard appeared to be relatively if not completely faithful to his wife Mary Sue while he was involved in Scientology. Scientology seems to be more about the cash, as has been extensively documented everywhere; they seem to leave few stones unturned in an attempt to exact every last penny possible from members. But perhaps most of all, Scientology is about control of the minutiae of the lives of members and, especially, of staff, whose lives are controlled to the utmost degree.
Today, we’ll look at an amusing coincidence: how punctuation forms the basis of major money-raising campaigns in both Nxivm and Scientology. Why is punctuation so fascinating to cults, especially in an era where punctuation skills seem to be in steep decline in the world at large? Continue reading “What is it With Cults and Punctuation? Nxivm and Scientology Spelling Scams Revealed”
In Part 1 of this series, we were able to demonstrate that any claim of L. Ron Hubbard’s having been a spy in Java were demonstrably false. Like much of the myths around Hubbard’s life, his Java claims were really unnecessary in the grand scheme of things; it’s as though his many legitimate accomplishments were never enough, and when it came to anything remotely connected to the military or intelligence matters, gold plating his exploits was a must. The record shows that he volunteered to serve his country in a time of war, was deployed to combat theatre, and once there, could have made a contribution. Yet this reality wasn’t enough for Hubbard, and he would go on to exaggerate and lie about his Pacific service for many more years. In Part 2 of this series, I’ll be looking at his time in Australia as reflected in the record and then compare the record, historical context and other data points to Hubbard’s recollections. Continue reading “Debunking Military Lies Part 2: Hubbard’s Australian Idyll”
Today, we’ll take a look at how paranoid, far-right fringe political cult leader Lyndon LaRouche attempted to intimidate the musical world into redefining one of the fundamental aspects of musical physics. In some sense, LaRouche’s efforts are similar to what Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard did when attempting to reinvent the sound recording process as part of his own aesthetic theory.
The two stories are good for a few laughs. But ultimately, the moral of the story is quite serious. First, cults behave like totalitarian states in their attempts to control artistic and creative expression. Second, these examples remind us that cults are able to get their followers to believe strange things and to engage in quixotic quests that accomplish little save stroking the egos and lining the wallets of power-mad cult leaders. Scientology is far from alone in this regard, and combining our experience in Scientology’s ability to get members to do bizarre things with what we learn about similarities between cults can help the cult awareness community to help people more generally in the future. Continue reading “Lyndon LaRouche vs. L. Ron Hubbard: Why Two Paranoid Cults Tried to Redefine Music”
Recently, I’ve been looking into L. Ron Hubbard’s claims regarding his military career as a US Naval Reserve intelligence officer in the Pacific theatre early in WWII. I was curious as to the contexts of these claims, given the variances in accounts from Scientology historians such as Chris Owen, Jon Atack and Jeffrey Augustine. The Scientology Myths website also provides an excellent resource for source documentation regarding Hubbard’s naval service, as well as his brief time in the Marine Corps Reserve, though with a distinctly revionsist position as to Hubbard’s claims. While I’m interested in Hubbard’s brief Marine Corps service and will be examining that in the future, in this, the first of a multi-part series, I’ll be deconstructing his claims as to having been involved in espionage against the Japanese on Java in 1942. Future posts will look into his role as an intelligence officer in Australia from 1942 onward, as well as his postwar service and hospitalization.
My purpose here is to add to the existing body of research on the matter, by bringing my service background and life-long interest in military history to bear. The Pacific Theatre is of great personal interest to me, as my father served there as a Naval aviator. Indeed, his stories and those of friends and family, along my own reading on the subject, engendered a great deal of respect for those who fought in the Pacific, and were all significant motivators in my joining the Marine Corps. In revisiting Hubbard’s record, I hope to provide some useful additional context regarding his claims, and in doing so, further expose the exaggerations and outright lies of Mr. Hubbard in regards to his service early in WWII. For the most part, Hubbard served his country honorably in a time of war; it’s his exploiting his time in the Navy to further Scientology, as well as embellishing his service record, personal decorations, and overall contribution to the war effort that I find repellent. Continue reading “Debunking Military Lies, Part 1: Hubbard’s Tales from the South Pacific”
In this series, we will finally collect what we have learned about the Ideal Org program and the strategy behind it in one place. Here, we’ll take our best guess about why Scientology is so focused on building lots of expensive new churches that nobody visits. There is a strategy behind it, and there are rational reasons why Scientology leader David Miscavige thinks this is a good use of cash, but the logic behind the strategy may surprise you.
Part 1 looks at what Hubbard thought made a Scientology org ideal, and we’ll look at why Miscavige took the idea and turned it into something very different. There’s an underlying strategy as well as the usual cult needs to exploit both staff and members. Continue reading “Scientology Ideal Orgs as Destroyers of Wealth, Part 1: The Strategy”