Friday, July 22, 2005

Who is Joan Wood?

Joan Wood was the Medical Examiner for Pinellas-Pasco Counties in Florida, and was responsible for the autopsy and forensic investigation of the death of Lisa McPherson at Scientology's "Flag Base" in Clearwater, Florida in 1995.

Wood changed the report on Lisa's death several times, originally listing the cause of death as "bed rest and dehydration", later changing it to "homicide, cause of death dehydration", and finally listing the death as an "accident", deleting any reference to cause except for the blood clot that formed in her leg and travelled to her lung.

Reportedly Wood was under intense pressure from the "Church" to not implicate them in her report, and reportedly the "Church" told Wood they could reveal information "extremely damaging to her career and reputation".

After Wood changed her report, the Pinellas-Pasco prosecutors were forced to drop the felony charges against Scientology when Circuit Judge Susan Shaeffer strongly hinted she would through the case out. The prosecutors later said Wood had "botched the case beyond repair".

After the debacle, Joan Wood was reappointed by Florida Governor Jeb Bush, but resigned her position shortly thereafter, citing "severe job-related stress" but denying that Scientology "got to her". Since her retirement, she has been extremely hard to find as many other cases she had investigated have fallen apart because of her alleged malpractice, although she has been continuously sought to testify by many defense attorneys seeking to impeach her previous reports.

The judge in the Lisa McPherson case, Susan Shaeffer, later recused herself from the civil trial because of a personal relationship with one of the lawyers in the case, then recently retired as well due to lung cancer. Judge Shaeffer had at one point made the comment that she "felt sad" that the Scientologists were forced to see people protesting the death of Lisa McPherson in Clearwater.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Fishman Papers and OT-8

If you haven't read them, you need to go check out the Fishman Papers.

The Fishman Papers occasioned possibly the most aggressive campaign in the history of Scientology, and the internet, on the part of the Church of Scientology to prevent information about their organization to become available.

I know nothing about Mr. Fishman, or whether his "fable" is true, but it says some interesting things.

One of the things it says, which Scientologists (publicly) vehemently deny, is that there is a document written by L. Ron Hubbard known as "OT-8" in which he says that he, L. Ron, is the Antichrist, and being the devil isn't so bad because Jesus was a child molester, and that he, L. Ron, will later return from the afterlife as a powerful politician and take over the world.

So do you think young Katie has heard that L. Ron is the devil? (Was the devil? Will be the devil??)

Other things it says is that David Miscavige and Tom Cruise have a "special relationship". I wonder what he means by that? It might be a pretty interesting story.

The Fishman papers are actually chock-full of juicy celebrity gossip, including lots of stuff about John Travolta's personal life and why he is married to Kelly Preston, how Mimi Rogers got Tom Cruise into Scientology, and how OJ Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clarke is married to one of the senior operatives of Scientology's "Office of Special Affairs", which is the "church's" secret police and intelligence service. Apparently they all have a lot in common with Charles Manson, who they REALLY doesn't want you to know was a Scientologist.

Perhaps the most intellectually interesting part of the Fishman Papers, however, is the discussion of the extensive relationship between L. Ron and famous Satanist Aleister Crowley. Hubbard apparently borrowed a lot of Scientology dogma from Crowley's satanic "Ordo Templi Orientis" (OTO).

The Fishman document makes a pretty persuasive case that the origins of Scientology were in Hubbard's association with Aleister Crowley and his satanic secret societies, and that Hubbard practiced all kinds of satanic rituals throughout his life. The accounts, many of which come from Hubbard's son Ron Jr., will make you cringe.

So is Scientology really a big front for the world's largest and most powerful Satanic cult? Everyone may form their own opinions, but you could (and the Fishman papers do) certainly make a pretty compelling argument for that case.

Interestingly, the case can be made in at least two ways - the first comparing the writings and actions of Hubbard and Scientology to those of Aleister Crowley's satanism, and the other by comparing Scientology to what Christian theology says about the devil and his ways.

Paranoia

Paul Krassner writes about being sued for libel (for $750,000) due to a 9-word promo in the magazine The Realist, which poked fun at Scientology.

9 word satire.

$750,000 worth of damages.

Oh yeah. It totally makes sense. If you're a Scientologist, that is, and indoctrinated in the ruthless policy of "fair game".

L. Ron Hubbard wrote in 1955: "The purpose of a lawsuit is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway . . . will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

L. Ron and the Sea Org


Ever see a picture of Dave Miscavige and the leadership of the Church of Scientology? Did you wonder why they appeared to be wearing Navy uniforms?

Well ultimately that's because L. Ron Hubbard's father, Harry Hubbard, was a career Naval officer, who had a long, if not remarkably distinguished, career in the Pacific.

When young Ron was growing up and his father was stationed at various Navy bases, the founder of Scientology did have some interesting experiences travelling around the Pacific. He later grossly embellished the tales of those experiences to say he had lived with Buddhist monks in China and Tibet studying Zen and Chinese philosophy, among many other things which weren't true, but his experiences with the Navy affected him for the rest of his life.

His father was a commissioned paymaster, a sort of Naval accountant responsible for payroll management and the like, and eventually rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, which was as far as he could legally go at the time in his limited duty status. But he was well known and generally respected in the very small Navy of the 1930s, and when WWII broke out, the young L. Ron was able to obtain a regular commission as a deck officer. He then had commands of two small vessels, the "YP-422" and the "PC-815". His later autobiographical accounts claimed he was a great war hero of pitched battles against Japanese submarines, but one of his superior officers described him as "not temperamentally fitted for independent command" and another found that he had mounted a major depth charge attack on a "known magnetic anomaly on the sea bed". Later he attacked Mexico (?!) with gunfire from his small patrol vessel and was relieved of his command. This is not, however, the account of his Navy career you will hear from the Church of Scientology.

After the war, still fascinated with all things Naval, L. Ron developed the habit of wearing Naval-style uniforms just because he liked the look of himself in them, and ultimately created his own Navy - the "Sea Organization" of the Church of Scientology, which allowed him to regularly promote himself and have other people call him "Commodore". The Sea Org is like a leadership cadre for the Church - all the major players came up through its ranks - and it operates much like a paramilitary force. At one time, the Sea Org even had ships, including a small cruise ship and some nice sailing yachts, and L. Ron spent several years in the 1970s cruising the Mediterranean on one or another of his Scientology yachts.

L. Ron Hubbard was a great storyteller, as well as a lifelong pathological liar. Although he did really serve in the Navy, almost all of his claims about his service, like most of his claims about everything else, were completely made up. Likewise the Sea Org is based on Hubbard's fantasies and rich imagination of himself as a great sea captain. I would very much like to see a ship actually operated by Scientologists wearing Navy outfits, however.

PS: I wonder if Tom Cruise has one of those natty outfits, or whether he is considered to be a fighter pilot in the Sea Org because he was in "Top Gun"?

PPS: The more I read about the life and stories of of L. Ron Hubbard, the more he reminds me of Joseph Smith.

PPPS: One more cute photo of "Captain" Miscavige and his crew here.

The War on Psychiatry

Psychiatry is a profession, like any other, that is not without its flaws. It can be fairly argued that many doctors have proven themselves to be overly-eager to prescribe medications as a band-aid alternative to long-term therapy. It cannot, however, be denied that the profession in general has been an enormous help to thousands of people suffering from emotional and mental disorders that cannot be treated by any other type of medicine.

Because of this, it makes perfect sense that the Church of Scientology would object to its practice. They don't want people with psychological disorders such as depression to find the help they need because it is precisely these types of people that are their prey. You'll note a number of the questions in their "personality test" ask the respondant if they often feel helpless, lonely, or experience a general sense of not having sufficient control over their life. Most of us are searching for answers in our complicated lives; Scientology proports to have them - for a price.

I think it's a terrible mistake to assume that the only people that are netted by dangerous cults or marketing schemes are the gullible and less-than-intelligent. Cults recruit from legions of emotionally weak or recently traumatized individuals. We all have moments in our lives where we ourselves suffer these weaknesses. Widows, parents with sick children and otherwise desperate people are targeted and promised cures or solutions. Anybody can fall victim without the proper support from their friends and families during these times of crisis. Believe that you can never be duped yourself is one of the surest ways that you will be.

But back to psychiatry, and more specifically, Tom Cruise's recent claims that he "understands" the profession and its history (where Matt Lauer does not; apparently Cruise took the time to research everything Lauer has ever studied or learned in his life before meeting for the interview). Cruise may "understand" psychiatry, but only as it has been taught to him by Scientology, which has never made its opposition to its practice a secret and therefore can hardly be relied upon as a objective source of information. Chances are, every word he's read has emphasized the negative, under-reported the positive and, knowing Scientology, flat out lied or made things up as it suited them. Cruise no more understands the history of psychiatry than a person who has read a handful of Greenpeace flyers can claim they understand the function of the ecosystem of an Amazonian rain forest. His knowledge is false and his public refusal to consider the possibility that a lot of people are actually helped by psychiatry dangerous, considering his widespread fame.

At least he cares about us. Every last one of us.

Interview with Rick Ross

Cult expert Rick Ross is interviewed here. He covers all different kinds of cults, but of course - Scientology comes up.

On Tom Cruise:

Mr. Cruise, like many people in groups often called "cults," cannot easily tolerate an outside frame of reference. He lives in a kind of traveling Scientology bubble with his entourage of sycophants and assistants. It's doubtful that he could have a serious personal relationship with an unbeliever.

Cruise is Scientology's most important living asset and they wouldn't want it any other way. It would be a "mission impossible" for someone to become his spouse without accepting Scientology. Tom Cruise arguably lost his last link to the other side when he replaced his publicist Pat Kingsley with his Scientologist sister. If he doesn't want an unbeliever as a publicist, why would anyone think he wants one for a wife?


Here's Ross on those pesky OTs:

You hear a lot of talk about OT in Scientology. What is OT?

Scientology says that "Operating Thetan" (OT) is roughly its equivalent to the religious concept of a human soul. But there are other more cryptic meanings that connect the word to a belief in preexistence and alien beings from outer space. Scientology is after all the creation of L. Ron Hubbard who was first a Sci-fi writer before becoming a religious prophet.


Scientology zealously guards its OT secrets and has used copyright and trade secret law to keep former members from posting this information on the Internet. However, a woman in Holland has successfully beaten them legally and anyone can read Scientology's secret OT teachings by simply going to a website called "Operation Clambake."



Rick Ross blogs here at Cult News. And here's the website for the Rick Ross Institute, a valuable resource on cults around the world.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Noah Baumbach has discovered that ....

His dog is Tom Cruise. Here Baumbach tells us his dog's manic inner monologue:

Do you know the history of crate training? ’Cause I do. Don’t talk about things you don’t understand. Like saying dogs are wild. Dogs are wild—that is glib. Dogs are . . . I’ve done the research; there are crates that they put us in to quote unquote train us. They throw rattlesnakes at us. Electric-shock tags! I’m not making this up. This is . . . it’s history. Crate training just masks the problem. These dogs, they become zombies. You can totally handle disobedience naturally by saying “No!” and “Bad dog!” It works. Look at the facts. Shock tags?! I am disgusted.

hahaha! I fetch! Boy, I love to fetch. I am totally fired up when I fetch. And nap. I’ve got a great dog bed with leopard spots where I can power-nap, man. I’ve got awesome chew toys, too. I’m passionate about this rubber T-bone with peanut butter hidden in it. Here’s the point: do you know there are strays on the street eating out of the Dumpsters behind Chinese restaurants? I’m not making that up. I care about those mutts. But they don’t know what the options are. They don’t know that you can live in an apartment and get fed by a human. These hounds, man—when it thunders, they think the world is ending. Because they haven’t done the research.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Look out.

The public is now onto you, Scientologists!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Hubbard expose

Michael Crowley takes on the reality of Hubbard in this piece on Slate.

Hubbard always imagined himself a great man of history. "All men are your slaves," he once wrote in a diary entry unearthed during a 1984 lawsuit. He reportedly once claimed to have written a manuscript that contained such brutal truths that anyone who read it went insane or committed suicide. He fancied himself a nuclear physicist, never mind his lack of training, and posited that fallout from Cold War nuclear tests were interfering with Scientology therapies. (Hubbard even wrote a book titled All About Radiation—a swell read, according to one reviewer on Amazon who says, "I understand radiation better and feel like I could survive an atomic explosion somewhere on the planet, if it wasn't, of course, really close to me.") He reportedly constructed the myth that he was a World War II combat hero, when in fact the Navy reprimanded him after a San Diego-based ship he commanded shelled some nearby Mexican islands for target practice.


Delusions of grandeur, delusions of being an expert on everything. There is nothing that is not understood (and completely) by L. Ron Hubbard. He knows everything.

"All men are your slaves."

Nice.

How can Scientologists not be aware of this stuff, or just brush it all off as lies perpetrated by people who hated him?

Friday, July 15, 2005

Questions For Tom

Kudos to David Rowan at the Times of London for raising the issue of the media coddling Tom Cruise and his batshittery of late:

Thanks to his recent pronouncements, we now know that Scientology has “the only successful drug rehabilitation program in the world”, that psychiatry (as his Church teaches) is a Nazi “pseudoscience” and that antidepressants are worthless — tsk, Brooke Shields — as there is “no such thing as a chemical imbalance”. We have learnt that Cruise had a Scientology “massage ” tent brought on to Spielberg’s set (“to help the sick and injured”), that he is a Scientology “helper” who can save criminals and drug-addicts through the Church’s Narcocon programme and that his new fiancée, Katie Holmes, joyously “digs” Scientology too.

All very enlightening to the fix-grinned trivia merchants granted audiences with the great star — but in their fear of earning disapproval, too many so-called journalists have simply indulged Cruise’s questionable assertions. As talented an actor as he is, his active promotion of Scientology interests at a time when the group is pushing its medically questionable programmes in American schools and lobbying to legislate against psychiatry, demands closer scrutiny in the public interest. Instead, the tough questions go unasked and unanswered, with even Readers Digest — which once investigated what it concluded was “a frightening cult” — now reduced to attending a Scientology “immersion course” in order to interview Cruise for a cover story.


Oprah, Matt Lauer and countless red carpet mike stands in nice clothes haven't yet had the guts to ask Tom some of the tougher questions about Scientology. If he's going to use his celebrity to promote his "church," then he at least owes the public a few answers to some of the more unsettling questions.

Rowan continues:

So here are a few questions that the media ought to have asked Cruise. Tom, if you are so keen to place the Church firmly at the heart of public debate, why is it so anxious to suppress open discussion about its treatment record or finances? Why have defecting members been held to “billion-year” contracts to stay silent? And why have journalists investigating the church so often alleged that they met campaigns of personal intimidation and harassment? Richard Behar, who wrote an award-winning cover story for Time magazine in 1991, headlined “The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power”, claimed that in researching his piece, “at least ten attorneys and six private detectives were unleashed by Scientology and its followers in an effort to threaten, harass and discredit me”. The Church also brought a $415 million libel suit over Behar’s article — ultimately thrown out ten years later, but not before it served to warn off other potential investigations.


Some questions I'd like to ask Tom myself:

*Do you know who Lisa McPherson is and if so, would you care to comment on the circumstances of her death?

*Given your passionate support for the church's objections to psychiatry and pharmaceutical treatment for mental disorders, how do you feel about the founder of your church using drugs to conduct mind control experiments on his own children?

*What would your good friend Will Smith think if he knew L. Ron Hubbard was a racist that supported apartheid in South Africa?

*Do you support freedom of expression for non-Scientologists? If so, have you spoken to any of the church leaders regarding their efforts to silence anyone that raises criticism of their tactics?

It's doubtful Cruise will ever have to face such scrutiny, certainly not from the entertainment media, many of whom are willing do endure hours-long tours of the Celebrity Center in Los Angeles to kiss his ass for the privilege of an interview.

"I Don't Recognize Her."

From uber-bitchy gossip aficionado Ted Casablanca:

Speaking of Tom, superinside sources connected out the friggin' wazoo tell me intended bride Katie Holmes is not experiencing from her family the smooth love-slide for Tommy-boy she would like. Ohioans in overdrive tell me Katie was expecting an all-aboard approval. Didn't exactly happen.

Yes, yes, yes, Katie's very happy. I know this. That's what K.H.'s peeps have been proclaiming fer weeks (just seems like eons). I'm sure it's true. But as I'm sure you gossipy folks have heard at this overgabbed point, Katie's family is reportedly a different story: "I don't recognize her."


And the kicker quote:

Finally saw War of the Worlds, by the by. Fabulous! However, look. If Tom Cruise makes one more bullet-ridden shoot-'em-to-death movie (à la The Last Samurai) and emerges for the epilogue like some do-me Rolling Stone cover, all dusty come-hither heroism with requisite facial scratches for beauty marks, I'm gonna lose it!

Die, you idiot, then maybe you'll finally get that damn Oscar (even though I seem to be the only one in the world thinking you richly deserve one). Do I need to remind you that your beloved ex Nic finally nabbed her statuette for drowning her depressed ass in The Hours? Love ya, mean it.


Okay, so I put that last bit in just to be mean.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

One-stop Cruise-crazy

Many of the highlights of the Cruise-is-crazy World Tour in one place!