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September 10, 2012

ABC News yanks 20/20 investigation of Tom Cruise and Scientology

ABC News yanks 20/20 investigation of Tom Cruise and Scientology

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Monday, September 10, 2012

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  • ABC News yanks 20/20 investigation of Tom Cruise and Scientology
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Church of Scientology Berlin HQ
More information on Scientology:
  • Scientology
  • Scientology beliefs and practices
  • Scientology controversies
  • Scientology and the Internet
  • Xenu

An investigation into Scientology and Tom Cruise which was set to air this past Friday on the American television program 20/20 was removed from broadcast by ABC News. This is not the first time that ABC News has pulled an investigation into Scientology from airing on 20/20.

ABC News headquarters in New York City, New York. (2008)
Image: Jim.henderson.

A press release published by ABC on Thursday announced the scheduled airing of the investigation. It described the program as “an in-depth look” by Elizabeth Vargas into the recent report on Tom Cruise and Scientology by journalist Maureen Orth for Vanity Fair in its October 2012 publication.

An analysis of the situation by Editor-in-Chief Tony Ortega of The Village Voice pointed out that in 2008, actor and former Scientologist Jason Beghe was interviewed by Elizabeth Vargas after he had flown to New York. Beghe recounted to Vargas his experiences within Scientology and his decision to cease activity in the organization.

However, this interview by Vargas was never shown on ABC.

Cquote1.svg ABC caved again, and this time much more publicly. Cquote2.svg

Editor-in-Chief Tony Ortega, The Village Voice

Ortega noted, “Then, Friday night, ABC caved again, and this time much more publicly.” He highlighted a television screenshot which displays clearly the description given by ABC for the 20/20 program scheduled for Friday: “20/20. New. ‘Lovestyles of the Rich and Famous; The Camera Never Lies’ Journalist Maureen Orth discusses her recent article in Vanity Fair on Scientology and actor Tom Cruise; celebrity”.

According to Ortega, this was to be a significant investigation into Scientology. It was going to cover topics including the recent divorce of actress Katie Holmes from Tom Cruise, the role of minors within the Scientology organization, material on Scientology’s chief David Miscavige, and controversy regarding the elite Scientology group known as the Sea Org. Ortega was himself interviewed as part of the investigation, which he was told would comprise an hour-long broadcast.

Cquote1.svg We just got word that both ABC 20/20 & Nightline have pulled the TV shows that were going to air tonight. Cquote2.svg

—Marc Headley

In addition to Ortega, former Scientologists Marc Headley and his wife Claire were interviewed by ABC News for the 20/20 piece which they were informed would be complemented by a news segment on Nightline. Claire told the camera of her two mandatory abortions she experienced while a member of the Sea Org in Scientology; Ortega reported that this interview moved the ABC television crew to tears.

Marc Headley confirmed that he had learned of the ABC News decision. In a post Friday to a legal fund webpage he set up to support his family with litigation costs from Scientology, he commented: “We just got word that both ABC 20/20 & Nightline have pulled the TV shows that were going to air tonight. It appears that someone at OSA is trying to sandbag the downstats over the next few weeks.” OSA is an abbreviation for the Office of Special Affairs — a department within Scientology which has been compared to an intelligence agency that handles legal affairs and public relations. Downstat refers to a negative impact on statistics gathered by Scientology members of the Sea Org due to critical investigations of the organization by the media.



Related news

  • “Women reveal accounts of forced abortion in Scientology” — Wikinews, June 15, 2010
  • “Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology” — Wikinews, November 13, 2009
  • “YouTube accounts of Scientology critics suspended” — Wikinews, April 18, 2008

Sister links

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Office of Special Affairs
  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg List of Guardian’s Office operations
  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Operation Freakout

Sources

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October 11, 2010

Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive

Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive

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Monday, October 11, 2010

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Church of Scientology Berlin HQ
More information on Scientology:
  • Scientology
  • Scientology beliefs and practices
  • Scientology controversies
  • Scientology and the Internet
  • Xenu

Wikinews interviewed author Amy Scobee about her book Scientology – Abuse at the Top, and asked her about her experiences working as an executive within the organization. Scobee joined the organization at age 14, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005. She served as a Scientology executive in multiple high-ranking positions, working out of the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base“, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California.

Background

Scientology – Abuse at the Top by Amy Scobee
Image: Amy Scobee.

Scientology was founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1952. Scobee joined Scientology at age 14, and after leaving in 2005 she began to speak out critically about the organization and her views on alleged abuse carried out by management leader David Miscavige against staff members.

Scientology – Abuse at the Top was published in May, and Scobee has subsequently appeared in interviews about her experiences in the Scientology organization – for media including the St. Petersburg Times of Florida on June 23, and the BBC program Panorama hosted by investigative journalist John Sweeney, The Secrets of Scientology, which broadcast on BBC One on September 28.

Scobee’s book is structured chronologically, and she recounts her experiences first joining the Scientology organization, then becoming a staff member in its elite group the Sea Org, and finally rising to serve in multiple different high-ranking roles at the organization’s international management headquarters. Periodically throughout her experiences as an executive staff member for Scientology, Scobee was sent to the organization’s penal justice system the “Rehabilitation Project Force” (RPF), for supposed “evil on L. Ron Hubbard” or negative thoughts about the organization. These sentences often occurred after a division of management Scobee had served under experienced downward statistics related to profit margins and financial performance for the organization. In each instance she was sent to the RPF, Scobee was subsequently reinstated to an executive management role, and given supervisory responsibility over other senior Scientology officials.

The author reveals difficult emotional experiences in her book, including an incident where she was raped at age 14 by a Scientology supervisor and subsequently instructed by a “Scientology Ethics Officer” that she was in a “state of treason” and to keep the matter quiet and not report it to the police. Scobee describes difficult experiences she endured as part of her punishment served in Scientology’s RPF, including being sent to the RPF at age 16, and subsequently being slapped across the face for refusing to climb into a garbage can and clean it out.

Within Scientology management and the Sea Org, Scobee rose to serve in the Watchdog Committee (WDC) – the highest ecclesiastical body in the organization. After leaving the organization, Scobee was declared a “Suppressive Person“, and Scientology’s intelligence agency the Office of Special Affairs attempted to enforce organization regulations preventing her from ever speaking to her family including her mother again.

Prior to her book’s publication, Scobee was threatened with legal action, in a letter from a lawyer Bertram Fields representing influential Scientology member and celebrity, actor Tom Cruise. Separately, Scientology representative Tommy Davis stated the organization was also preparing a lawsuit against her related to the publication of her book. Further news about such threatened lawsuits have not been forthcoming following these statements from Tom Cruise’s lawyer and Scientology’s spokesman.

After Scobee began to speak out critically about Scientology to the St. Petersburg Times, the Scientology propaganda publication Freedom Magazine issued a publication in which it referred to her repeatedly as “The Adulteress”. Though Scobee had thought that statements she made during Scientology counseling sessions called “Auditing” were to be kept confidential under priest-penitent religious privilege, BBC News reported that “intimate details of her sex life” were forwarded by Scientology, to the St. Petersburg Times. BBC News reported that during an interview for the Panorama program, Scobee was photographed by agents for Scientology along with journalist John Sweeney. These photographs were then sent by Scientology UK lawyers from the firm Carter-Ruck to the BBC, in an attempt to show “bias” of journalist Sweeney towards Scobee in his interviewing.

Scientology – Abuse at the Top received a favorable reception from reviews and media coverage. All Headline News characterized it as a “tell-all book” about Scientology. Scobee’s account has also received positive reception in coverage from Today Tonight, The Drew Marshall Show, Lateline, and Panorama.

Interview

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png How did you first get involved with Scientology?

Amy Scobee in 2007
Image: Amy Scobee.

Amy Scobee: I was 14 years old. My parents had recently divorced and my mother took custody of me and my older brother. The three of us moved 30 miles north to the Seattle area and my mother started working as a draftsman at a company near by. My brother and I would go to school during the day and spend the evenings with our mom. We’d visit my father on the weekends. I was beginning to get used to this routine when suddenly my mother was no longer spending the evenings with us. Instead, she began attending classes after work at the local Church of Scientology.

One day I was home alone and the phone rang. It was a staff member from the church named Brett. I told him that my mom wasn’t home. He said that he was actually calling to talk to me. He said that he heard I was a very nice person and that I should come into the church to do an introductory service myself. I remember becoming very curious about this. I recall thinking, “Even though I’m just a kid, these guys are interested in me!” That somehow made me feel recognized and important.

I told my mother about the invitation and asked if I could go in with her to meet Brett, to which she agreed. Brett was a very handsome man, posted as the Public Registrar, responsible for signing new people up for service and collecting their money. He interviewed me and said that he could tell I had a lot of potential and would go very far in life, but that I needed to learn several tools to be able to do so successfully. I really wanted to find out all about this. Brett called my mother into his office and had her pay for my first course so I could get started immediately. And so, I enrolled on my first course – the “Communications Course”, on 17 May 1978.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you still see positive benefits out of some aspects of Scientology methodology? How so? What courses, programs, do you consider beneficial?

AS: There are some things that I consider to be basic truths, such as that one is a spiritual being, but that’s not unique to Scientology. I honestly no longer consider the methodology to be beneficial since I have seen the results of its application in broken families and broken individuals. I do have many friends who still very much believe in the technology, but consider the organization has turned criminal. To me, people should be free to believe in what they’d like. It’s when the practices begin to hurt people is where I object.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Why did you decide to join the elite Scientology group, the Sea Org?

AS: I thought that it sounded like an exciting adventure where I could help “salvage the planet” on a much larger scale than just in my home town. The “Sea Organization” (also Sea Org or SO for short) is defined on the official Church of Scientology web site as follows:

“The Sea Org was established in 1967 and once operated from a number of ships. It was set up to help L. Ron Hubbard with research of earlier civilizations and supervise Church organizations around the world. The first Sea Org members formulated a one-billion-year pledge to symbolize their commitment to the religion as immortal spiritual beings. It is signed by all members today. The Sea Organization is also entrusted to minister the advanced services of Scientology. The Sea Organization retains its name in celebration of the fact that Mr. Hubbard’s life was frequently connected to the sea. Although today the majority of Sea Organization members are based on land, in keeping with the tradition of the order’s inception, they still wear maritime-style uniforms and have ranks and ratings. Sea Org members work long hours and live communally with housing, meals, uniforms, medical and dental care provided by the Church. They participate in Scientology training and auditing during a portion of each day, but otherwise dedicate themselves to furthering the objectives of Scientology through their particular functions.”

Amy Scobee in 2007
Image: Amy Scobee.

It was September, 1979. Word arrived that an expansion event was being held in the Seattle church for all local Scientologists by officers of the Sea Org. Attendance was mandatory. My mother and I went to the event together. As people arrived, we were all ushered in and seated in a large hall. Before the event began, surveys were passed out for the audience to fill in, asking detailed questions about our individual qualifications, such as whether or not we had ever taken LSD, ever been institutionalized, if we had a criminal record, had huge personal debts and so forth. My answer to every one of these questions was, “No”. The surveys were collected up and the event began.

The speaker came out and briefed us on the strategy to make Scientology a household word internationally and how it was vital for everyone to immediately get on the bandwagon to help make this a reality. He had a large map of the world behind him and pointed out the small red dots as current church locations, which appeared minuscule compared to the size of the planet. Then, in the middle of the event, the speaker read out a list of people who were to report immediately to a room in the back for a private briefing. My name was on the list. I felt my heart pounding as I couldn’t figure out how they knew my name. I had forgotten all about filling out the survey prior to the event.

My mom’s name wasn’t on the list, so I had to go to the special briefing without her. I reported to the back, along with about twenty others from the audience. The main event speaker (named Don) came to the back room, along with three other people in full dress Sea Org uniform (navy caps, gold lanyards, white gloves, dirks tied around their waist – the works). He informed us that we were the select few who were qualified and that we were all to join the elite team of the Sea Org – right now!

Don said that while he moved on to the next city to get many more people on board, two SO members were staying behind in Seattle to get all of us packed and sent off to the Sea Org. He handed out Sea Org contracts, had us all stand up, raise our right hands and repeat the code of a Sea Org member after him. This is called the “swearing in ceremony”. We all then signed the contract, pledging to work full time for the next billion years.

I had no clue what I was doing. I wondered why my mom’s name wasn’t called and what she would think. I didn’t dare question the Sea Org Officers. Everyone was following orders and I thought I had better as well. I did ask what type of work we’d be doing and the response was, “Our mission is to get ethics in on this planet and the universe. You’re joining the elite of the elite, responsible for handling the suppressive psychiatrists that exist in the here and now and those who implant beings between lives so as to make planetary clearing an actuality”. I was speechless.

The intermission was over, everyone was reseated and those in the back re-joined the rest of the audience for the remainder of the event. The speaker came back up and announced the names of those who had just joined the Sea Org. Immediate standing ovation! Loud cheers! We were going to be heroes!

My mom flipped out, “No way—don’t they realize that you’re still a minor? They have no parental consent. You’re only in 9th grade and now you’ll never get a proper education. How could they do this without discussing it with me first? It’s out of the question!”

I went back to the recruiter and said I couldn’t go as it wasn’t coordinated with my mom.

Like lions jumping on prey, the SO officers were all over my mom to handle her “counter-intention towards Scientology expansion”.

Finally, after being promised that I would absolutely continue my schooling to obtain a high school diploma, have three weeks off a year to come home to visit and be able to maintain routine communication with the family (all of which turned out to be a blatant lie), my mother signed a parental consent form, giving her approval for me to join the Sea Org – effective once I turned 16, which was only a few weeks away.

The recruiters had me list out things to handle before reporting for duty. My main concern was telling my dad, who knew nothing about Scientology. They said what I needed was a cover story, so tell him that I got a great offer and I’ll be going away to become a model in Paris. My mother and I went to visit my dad and that’s what we told him. He was so proud of me! I thought I was going to be sick.

Within a few weeks of signing my Sea Org contract, I was booked on a flight to Los Angeles. This was the first time I had been away from home and the first airplane I had ever been on. I arrived in Hollywood, California on 31 October 1979.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Why did you choose to write a book about your experiences?

AS: I felt it was very important to not only thoroughly review what I had just gone through for my 27 years as a staff member for Scientology, but to make that experience known to others so they can learn what goes on behind the scenes. The beginning services in Scientology seem very sensible and helpful. It’s like the bait and once you nibble on it, they get a hook into you and it’s NOT easy to free yourself once you’re hooked. Making the information known will hopefully enlighten people so they can see just how controlling and demanding and abusive the organization is – and stay clear of it themselves.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Can you explain your choice of the book’s title – what it means and refers to?

Cquote1.svg My book describes the physical, mental/emotional abuse that occurs day-in and day-out in the Scientology’s Sea Organization – from their Rehabilitation Project Force … to the physical assault & battery committed on the top executives by their current leader, David Miscavige Cquote2.svg

Amy Scobee

The title of my book is SCIENTOLOGY – ABUSE AT THE TOP. At the lower echelons of the organization, the parishioners are “schmoozed” and treated with all kinds of smiles and compassion. That’s because they pay for service and promote the “religion” to others so as to expand their ranks. So the organization needs to keep them happy and therefore the “internal laundry” of what goes on behind the scenes is kept entirely hidden away. The TOP of Scientology is the Sea Organization. My book describes the physical, mental/emotional abuse that occurs day-in and day-out in the Scientology’s Sea Organization – from their Rehabilitation Project Force (which is nothing short of a slave-labor camp, to which I was assigned four times for several years), to the physical assault & battery committed on the top executives by their current leader, David Miscavige (which I personally witnessed on at least a dozen occasions). Somehow the Scientology organizations are free from outside inspection because they are a “religion” and therefore allowed to practice their religious beliefs in any way they see fit. This is dangerous and the information about how far this has gone needs to be exposed, as it is extreme.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You left Scientology in 2005, why did you decide to publish the book, five years later?

AS: When I left in March 2005 after being a full-time, live-in staff member for a quarter century, I had a total of $150 to my name. I had no outside job skills, never cooked and I barely knew how to drive. I had no clue what I would be doing to make a living in the “outside world”. It was not unlike being dropped on another planet and having to figure out how to survive from scratch.

After I became stable and saved up some money, I began writing. As I wrote, I realized how important it was to get my story out. This “religion” promotes how their purpose is to create a sane world without criminality, etc. and the more I was OUT of their grip, the more I realized just how insane and criminal they really are. I learned about the Universal Declarations for Human Rights and saw how many points I personally knew were violated by the Scientology organization with their members. I learned about laws of the land (which I had been entirely ignorant of while a staff member) and realized some of the acts that I witnessed were actual violations of the LAW.

But what set me on the past to exposing the abuse within Scientology the most was when my mother was forced to disconnect from me, per Scientology’s “disconnection” policy where members are to cut all ties with anyone not in good standing with their “church”. This was a very emotionally traumatic situation. In my view, no religion worthy of the title should have a right to stand between loved ones.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Quite early on in the book’s first chapter, you recount an incident of being raped at age 14, by a 35-year-old married man who was your Scientology supervisor. You describe how your “Scientology Ethics Officer” found out, said you were in a “state of treason”, and that the incident was kept quiet and not reported to the police by Scientology officials. How difficult was it to include this in the book? For what reason did you choose to include this? Why didn’t you tell your parents about this?

Cquote1.svg One of the worst crimes you can commit as a Scientologist is bringing about “bad public relations” for them. Cquote2.svg

—Amy Scobee

AS: To me, it was very important to include this information in my book because it gives the reader an idea of how Scientology operates. One of the worst crimes you can commit as a Scientologist is bringing about “bad public relations” for them. Things that happen internally are KEPT internal with the “we handle our own” doctrine. Unfortunately, this was a CRIME for which that person could have been arrested. Instead, it was “handled” by the local staff (swept under the carpet) and forgotten about. I didn’t tell my parents because I was ashamed and afraid.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png After describing your arrival at the Scientology “Flag Land Base” in Florida at age 16, you recall how you met and became intimate with a 26-year-old man named David Paul, who later became your husband. For this act, you were subjected to a “security check” process on the Scientology device, the E-meter, and ordered to serve time performing manual labor on the controversial “Rehabilitation Project Force” (RPF) of Scientology. Is 16 a relatively young age to be sentenced to the Rehabilitation Project Force in Scientology? Did you know other individuals on this program that were younger than you, or around the same age?

AS: Yes, 16 is a young age to be sentenced to the Rehabilitation Project Force. I should have been attending school as per the agreement with my mother when she gave parental consent for me to join the Sea Organization – but I factually never saw one day of school after I joined. There were other teen-agers on the RPF at the same time, but I believe I was the youngest.

Scientologists working in the organization’s “Rehabilitation Project Force” in Los Angeles, California
Image: Martin Ottmann.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png During participation in the Rehabilitation Project Force, you recount how you were slapped across the face for refusing to climb into a garbage can after being ordered to do so by a leader of your group. How did this make you feel? Did you consider leaving the organization at all at this point in time? Why or why not, and why did you remain?

AS: It was a completely nutty order and I wasn’t about to comply. I ran around the block to get away as the lady who issued the order chased after me. I went to the person in charge asking for help but he was not in his office. The lady chased me into that office and then hit me across the face. I did NOT hit her back because I wanted to show that she was the crazy one. However when the Ethics Officer got there, he said I should have complied as she was my superior. I felt like it was a huge injustice because the order made no sense and had no purpose. She was just trying to exert her “authority” over me. But, I didn’t want to be in more trouble, so I did my punishment for non-compliance and carried on. No, I did not think of leaving then. At that point, I just thought that lady was insane, not the entire organization.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png After completing your time on the Rehabilitation Project Force, you were appointed to the position of “Commanding Officer of the Flag Land Base’s Communicator”, where you were “responsible for all in-coming and out-going traffic from the executive and obtaining compliance to all orders issued”. Did it surprise you that directly after finishing the Rehabilitation Project Force, you were given such a position of responsibility as a Scientology executive? Does this occur often in Scientology to members after they finish their sentence in the Rehabilitation Project Force?

AS: In the Sea Organization, one is expected to be able to perform any duty – with or without training. It’s preached that the salvation of the world is on our shoulders and everyone needs to pull up their bootstraps and make it go right. So, the appointment did not surprise me.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Shortly after your promotion from Rehabilitation Project Force member to this position, you were promoted to “Flag Land Bureau Estates Management Chief”, where you were “responsible for all public hotels and services”, and subsequently promoted to the “Commodore’s Messenger Organization (CMO)”. At the end of chapter 3, you write how you were “placed under a group justice action, called a Committee of Evidence”, and the committee, “recommended my removal for neglect of duty regarding the schedule”. However, a few days later you were told you were assigned to Los Angeles, California, in order to recruit for members to join the CMO. Again, this appears to be a pattern of conflicting orders within the organization, where in one instance you were disciplined for perceived slights, and yet directly afterward, promoted to a higher position of authority as a Scientology executive. How do you explain this behavior within the organization?

AS: The control and handling of personnel within the Sea Org was very unpredictable. There were always huge demands and needs for people on various projects or positions that had to be filled “at once”. So one could expect rapid changes. It was also considered that after one messes up, they can be corrected using the “ethics technology” of Scientology and confessionals so they can carry on after their level of ethics are once again acceptable.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What was the highest-ranking position you held within Scientology? Who did you report to in this position? What responsibilities did you have, and how many other people and sub-entities did you oversee?

Cquote1.svg I was in the Watchdog Committee (WDC) which is the highest ecclesiastical body in Scientology … I was in WDC for about a decade and held about six different sectors over the years Cquote2.svg

—Amy Scobee

AS: I was in the Watchdog Committee (WDC) which is the highest ecclesiastical body in Scientology, with a WDC member appointed over each of the numerous “sectors” or areas of Scientology to see to their proper management. My boss as a WDC member is the WDC Chairman. This is the highest management position in the organization. I was in WDC for about a decade and held about six different sectors over the years, including the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE) sector, which is responsible for the secular aspects of the organization – drug rehabilitation, criminal reform, Applied Scholastics study technology and The Way To Happiness Foundation – and the Celebrity Center sector. Anything that goes on inside your sector or sphere of responsibility as a WDC member, is your responsibility and you’re held accountable. This could be very stressful, particularly when the current head of Scientology – David Miscavige – is so abusive. For example, Miscavige learned that the Tampa Scientology organization was not paying their rent in 2003. As I had previously been the WDC member for all Scientology churches (approx 175 of them around the world) and should have noticed and handled it then, Miscavige demanded that I personally pay the rent of $5,000 (which I did not have). This order was enforced by his personal staff – I had to borrow the money from several other staff members and turn it into the Finance Office, who then wrote a check to the Tampa organization to pay their back rent as a “gift” to them from management.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png In chapter 4 of Scientology – Abuse at the Top, you cite the book Combating Cult Mind Control by cult researcher Steven Hassan, who explains that, “Members are made to feel part of an elite corps of mankind.” At what point in time did you read this book? Are there other books which helped you understand and put your experiences within Scientology into a greater context?

AS: I read several quotes from Steven Hassan from the internet that made total sense to me, so I ordered his book. It’s a fantastic read. I learned quite a lot about mind control and particularly found it interesting and true that a key aspect of mind control is INFORMATION CONTROL. If one can control the information that you are allowed to receive, then you can really control their thinking. They wouldn’t be equipped with all of the ACTUAL information to be able to analyze and made a sane decision about something. In Scientology and especially in the Sea Organization, information is controlled intensively. This includes ALL communication via telephone or mail – incoming and outgoing – being screened through security personnel in order to detect any antagonism regarding Scientology from the “outside”, no televisions allowed, no internet access, not being permitted to listen to or read any article that said anything negative about Scientology.

“News” was obtained by the numerous Scientology events, covering the “unprecedented expansion and world-wide acceptance of Scientology”. It was a lie, but it kept those not in-the-know thinking that we were doing well, so we need to keep working our guts out. It was astonishing to see when I left that Scientology had a BAD reputation of tearing apart families, of attacking critics, of scamming people out of their money, etc.

I saw how Tom Cruise (supposedly the BEST Scientology disseminator in the world) was losing it on Oprah Winfrey’s couch and with Mat Lauer. He was actually a laughing stock in the “real world”. But to Scientology, per David Miscavige, Tom Cruise is the most dedicated Scientologist he knows and was responsible for booming Scientology around the world. Well, the statistics I saw while in management for two decades didn’t have a Tom Cruise “boom” of expansion. In fact, we were constantly trying to find what was causing a lack of expansion in the various sectors of Scientology.

So, information control is a very important aspect of mind control to understand and watch for.

Another book I found to be very beneficial after leaving Scientology was Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. It answered a lot for me.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You described in chapter 6, being assigned to a sub-division of the Rehabilitation Project Force, called the “RPF’s RPF”. How was this different from the main RPF itself? What typical tasks were you ordered to perform? Were there many other women assigned to this unit? Were women given different roles or treated differently than men while on the RPF or the RPF’s RPF?

AS: The Rehabilitation Project Force (or RPF) is described by the church as a program offering a second chance to Sea Org members who have become unproductive or have strayed from the church’s codes, involving intensive physical labor at church facilities and auditing and study sessions to address the individual’s personal problems. I have a much harsher definition after spending a total of 5 ½ years on this program: A controlled slave labor camp to which is assigned anyone arbitrarily deemed a liability for actions (or thoughts) considered to be in opposition to the group.

If one gets in trouble while on the RPF program, they can be sent to the RPF’s RPF, which is a mandatory two week sentence and could take longer. One is segregated from the rest of the RPF and suffers twice the penalties of a regular RPF member, works longer hours, gets no pay and experiences other such restrictions. Men and women are not treated differently – as a Scientologist, they think they are not their body but spiritual beings, able to endure anything. You are expected to be able to perform any duty, no matter the excuse. I did all sorts of degrading jobs as a member of the RPF’s RPF, including hand shoveling a literal mountain of fermented and maggot-infested garbage for days. Several of these stories are included in my book so one can get the details of what really goes on to “handle” staff members in Scientology.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png During chapter 7, “Scientology Celebrities”, you recount how you were ordered to eat “rations of beans and rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner”, until you had filled a vacant WDC post. You write that you worked for two months in this capacity, attempting to fill the position and submitting 46 different recommendations. How did such a diet and living conditions affect you during this time? How was your overall health, well-being, and energy levels as compared to that when consuming a healthy full-balanced diet?

AS: There is some writing from L. Ron Hubbard that rice and beans, eaten together, form a complete protein. So that was the justification of why it was okay to put people on such a meager diet as a form of punishment – they can’t starve to death eating that. I learned to add things like mayonnaise to make it taste different and slide down easier. Looking back, I can’t believe I went through with it – or 99% of everything else I endured, but you’re in the frame of mind that any trouble can be overcome because one has to keep their eye on the overall big picture of helping to salvage the planet.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png While serving as executive over the Personnel Division at Commodore’s Messenger Organization International, you write that you were given the task of “a special project in LA to establish the Tom Cruise household with staff who were all Scientologists”. After interviewing individuals without telling them what they would be hired for, you note that – supervised directly by Shelly Miscavige, David Miscavige’s wife and personal assistant – you narrowed down submissions which were then given to Tom Cruise’s assistant, Andrea, to hire. Did these members of Scientology that were selected by Scientology management and then hired by Tom Cruise’s assistant report back to the chain of command through David Miscavige, or to Tom Cruise, or both?

AS: I did video recorded interviews with several Scientologists – they didn’t know what the interviews were for. I told them that I was doing a project, had some questions and at some point may possibly get back to them. I asked them questions about themselves, their skills, where they stood on Scientology training and counseling, etc. I then weeded out the ones that I didn’t think would be appropriate for the personal staff of Tom Cruise and for those who seemed promising, I compiled their video with contact information and sent it to Shelly Miscavige. She would forward to Andrea (TC’s Assistant at the time) any she thought were good. Andrea would then contact them for an interview directly. This continued until they had Scientologists selected for all of the key functions of the Cruise household (chef, nanny, Executive Housekeeper, etc.). Up to that point, several of those functions had been being done by Sea Org members (the specifics on this are covered in my book). Once they were hired by TC, they reported to him or his Assistant for their work assignments, not to the Scientology organization to my knowledge.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png After being appointed in October 1991 as the “Watchdog Committee member over the Celebrity Centre sector”, you recall meeting several members of “the top Scientology celebrity public”, including John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Kirstie Alley, Anne Archer, Nancy Cartwright, Billy Sheehan, Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie Presley, Juliette Lewis, Isaac Hayes, Tom Cruise, Edgar Winter, and Jenna Elfman. In what capacity did you meet these Scientology celebrities? Were they coming in for Scientology auditing, or counseling? Did they receive advice and assistance in some form with their professional careers?

AS: While I was working on the project to build Celebrity Centre International in Hollywood, I was often in the President’s office of the Celebrity Center where the top celebrities often would come. That’s how I met most of them. They would come into Celebrity Center to attend a course, to go in for a counseling session or to bring someone new in to introduce them to Scientology. Celebrity Centre International has a “career counseling” service it does provide and some celebrities have done this service to hopefully help them to do better in their careers.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You write that you are aware of situations where members of Scientology hired by celebrities as assistants or security staff, have actually reported back to the organization through a Scientology process called “Security Checks”, with revealing information about those celebrities. Did any of these celebrities ever find out such a tactic was being used to uncover information about them? If so, what was their response to this?

AS: No, not to my knowledge.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Shelly Miscavige told you that you were in the “highest ethics condition attainable” in Scientology while holding the executive position of “Watchdog Committee Celebrity Centre” (WDC CC), a condition called “power”. How did it feel to attain this status within the Scientology executive leadership? Were you pleased, satisfied, or feel that the work you had done to date was worth it? Did you feel it was appropriate to serve time on the Rehabilitation Project Force, in order to later get to such a status?

AS: Shelly Miscavige commented that I took the position to a condition of power – which is the highest condition of existence per the Scientology scriptures. But it was just a statement from her. No certificate or anything was issued.

I was awarded PERMANENT POSTING STATUS on two executive positions in Church of Scientology International (CSI – the highest management organization for Scientology). This is a status that can only be verified and authorized by the Religious Technology Center (RTC – the holder of the Scientology trademarks and service marks). I received my Permanent Posting certificate by RTC as the Watchdog Committee member for Celebrity Centres (WDC CC), which I held as a single duty for four years, and as a function with other Scientology sectors for nearly a decade. Amongst the extensive list of requirements one must meet to become Permanently Posted, ones ethics and production record must be verified as excellent and you must be capable of generating on the order of a million dollars a year for the organization.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png In 1996, you were transferred to the executive post of Watchdog Committee member for the Association for Better Living and Education (WDC ABLE). ABLE is an organization operated by Scientology management which oversees groups that promote Scientology techniques. In this executive position, you were responsible for supervising Scientology-associated entities including: Applied Scholastics, Narconon, Criminon, and The Way to Happiness Foundation. Can you explain a little bit about the function and purpose of each of these groups? Are they actual-practice, separate “secular” functioning organizations, or somehow related to the Scientology organization itself? How specifically were these groups influenced and/or managed by Scientology leadership? How involved was David Miscavige in the functioning of these groups?

AS: Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE): ABLE is an umbrella organization which specializes in promoting the use of Scientology technology as a means to solve social problems (drugs, crime, illiteracy and immorality) through Narconon, Criminon, Applied Scholastics and The Way to Happiness.

Narconon: The Narconon program is a drug education and rehabilitation program, founded on Hubbard’s belief that drugs and poisons stored in the body impede spiritual growth. Its “purification program” uses a regimen composed of sauna, physical exercise, vitamins and diet management, combined with auditing and study.

Criminon: A program designed to rehabilitate criminal offenders by teaching them study and communication methods and helping them reform their lives.

Applied Scholastics: Applied Scholastics promotes the use of Hubbard’s educational methodology, known as study tech, originally developed to help Scientologists study course materials.

The Way to Happiness (TWTH) Foundation: The TWTH Foundation promotes a moral code booklet written by Hubbard, entitled The Way to Happiness.

These are secular organizations and they are definitely related to Scientology in that the entity that manages them are all members of Scientology’s Sea Organization. When I was the Watchdog Committee member for the ABLE sector, one of my statistics was “Reserves” which was made up of the money collected from the tithes of each of these entities. David Miscavige appointed me to the WDC ABLE position and then issued a series of directions on what actions to be taken with the sector over the year that I held that job.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png After being told by David Miscavige that your husband at the time, Jim Mortland, was being removed or “offloaded” from Scientology’s Sea Organization, you were called into the office of the Internal Executive where you were pressured into making a decision to stay in the Sea Org and separate from your husband. You write in the book, that your “brainwashed response” was to answer, “I’m staying”. Why did you characterize this as a brainwashed response. How and why did you come to believe you had been a victim of brainwashing?

AS: Per this Wikipedia definition, “Mind control (also known as brainwashing, coercive persuasion, mind abuse, thought control, or thought reform) refers to a process in which a group or individual ‘systematically uses unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator(s), often to the detriment of the person being manipulated’.” In my right mind, I would not have walked away from my husband of 17 years. In my right mind, I would not have “turned a blind eye” when I witnessed a dozen accounts of assault & battery being committed on my comrades by David Miscavige. And I would never have given in to the physical labor and other “ethics” actions taken on myself and others for trumped up offenses. But I now understand that I was under the influence of mind control. This is not a light matter. People can laugh that concept off so readily, but it’s a very REAL thing. When one considers what is at stake (or is thought to be at stake) if one were to step out of line or violate the rules in any way, you try to remain quiet and compliant. In Scientology, if you get yourself in enough trouble (from some executive’s point of view), you can be banned from ever being allowed to receive the upper level services in Scientology – and thus enslave yourself as a spiritual being for eternity. Another more minor factor, but still major enough to keep you in line is the threat that any of your family or friends in Scientology would have to disconnect from you if you were no longer in good standing. So to say you want to leave, to go against the head of the organization, to report to outside authorities what’s going on inside is considered more of a crime than being quiet and compliant as a “good Scientologist”. This is what I consider has people brainwashed. It’s a way to control their rational thinking. It’s “the end justifies the means”. When I realized that I had been rationalizing away utter insanities that I both witnessed and experienced in the organization and that I needed to simply look at what was factually in front of me, I started making my plans to leave. The details of this revelation and how I finally got out is all detailed in my book.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png In chapter 10, “Assault and Battery”, you recount witnessing instances of violence by David Miscavige towards Scientology officials including: Ray Mithoff, Mike Rinder, and Jeff Hawkins. You write, “I am ashamed that I did not have enough courage at the time to inform the authorities or call the police, which would have been the logical thing to do.” Why do you think you decided not to report these instances to the police? What do you think law enforcement would have done if you had reported the matter to police? Knowing what you know now, and revisiting your memories of these incidents in hindsight, would you have acted differently if you were in the same situation again?

AS: As I mentioned above, I learned at an early age that Scientology “handles its own” and that one of the biggest crimes you can commit is to bring about bad publicity for the organization as that is directly counter to the expansion plans of eradicating the reactive mind on the entire planet before it’s “too late”. At first, I justified the abuse – making excuses for why it could possibly be occurring. I thought, “Miscavige is the head of the religion and he’s having to handle so much that all the stress and non-compliance is putting him over the edge”. But when it kept occurring and kept occurring, I ran out of justifications. I could finally see that it was a pattern of an abusive sociopath. When I first started exposing the abuse after I left Scientology, several of the Scientology executives who I used to work with put together sworn affidavits claiming Miscavige never laid a hand on anyone. These were typed up and signed under the penalty of perjury. They know it’s a blatant lie, but they think they’re defending their religion by doing this.

Regarding whether or not I would have done things differently were I in the same situation today – ABSOLUTLEY. I would have called the police. I would have filed criminal reports. I would have alerted the authorities that the head of the organization is hurting people in many ways and I would have gotten the agreement from my peers that Miscavige needed to come off any position of authority and has no right to lead in this fashion. I know that I would have been removed for Treason and declared a suppressive person for making that stand, but I’d be proud of the title because the one thing I would have left intact is my personal integrity.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The last chapter of your book describes your emotional reunion with your family after leaving Scientology – first meeting your father and then calling and meeting your mother – and finally reuniting with Mark “Mat” Pesch, now your husband. At any point in time did you feel unsafe during your journey to reunite with these people? Did Scientology’s intelligence agency, the Office of Special Affairs (OSA), monitor you or your family after you left the organization?

AS: As I was getting on the airplane home, the OSA staff member who escorted me to the airport said that I could not talk to my mother due to the “suppressive person” declare issue that she handed me a few hours before. Of course, after I arrived to my father’s house, I realized that I was no longer under Scientology’s control and I could contact my mother if I wanted – and I desperately wanted to! I hadn’t seen her in years and now I was home for good! Scientology did find out about us seeing each other and took various actions to put pressure on my step-father to enforce their disconnection policy. This was very messy and is one of the key reasons I chose to speak out publicly against Scientology’s human rights violations. At one point, my husband and I were followed by Private Investigators anywhere we went. We had to file a police report because one in particular was being very reckless in his attempts to stay on our tail – and flee when we tried to confront him. I finally filed a declaration against Scientology, showing several instances of harassment to myself and my family, which I considered witness tampering since I was named as a witness on an on-going lawsuit against them.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Were you concerned that your relationships might be affected due to Scientology declaring you a “Suppressive Person“, and telling members of the organization never to speak to you again? Has this stopped you, or are you in communication with current and/or former members of the organization?

AS: Aside from the incident mentioned above with my mother (which is now handled as she, too has left the church along with her husband), the “Suppressive Person” label has not stopped me from communicating to anyone I feel the need to communicate with. Some associates “discovered” (were told by Scientology when they saw them as my friend on facebook or something) that I was declared suppressive and therefore told me they could no longer talk to me. If they want to continue to support a controlling organization and toe the line, they are welcome to. I know what it’s like to be in a cult and understand their “reasoning”, no matter how much I now see it to be illogical and irrational.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png One month before your book was published, All Headline News reported that you received a legal threat from Tom Cruise’s lawyer, Bertram Fields, that warned you would face a defamation lawsuit from Cruise if the book was made publicly available. Specific complaints made included your accounts of hearing about a “drug history” involving Cruise, an ultimatum made by the Scientology organization to Cruise to decide between Nicole Kidman or the organization, and that Cruise’s personal assistants and employees that staff his home are chosen and paid for by the Scientology organization. Can you speak to how you came to have knowledge about these assertions you made, why you believe them to be true and factually accurate, and how you felt when you received the legal threat letter from Cruise’s attorney?

Prior to publication of Scientology – Abuse at the Top by Amy Scobee, the author was threatened with separate legal actions – by lawyer Bertram Fields representing influential Scientology member and celebrity, actor Tom Cruise; and Scientology representative Tommy Davis on behalf of Scientology management.
Image: Amy Scobee.

AS: Bertram Fields made a mistake by issuing that legal threat when he hadn’t even read my book to know what I actually said about his client. He made assumptions based on hearsay. When I received the letter, I thought that it was just like Scientology – issue threats to intimidate and back someone off. I wasn’t going to back off because what I wrote in my book was true. I am the one who did the project to hire Scientologists for Tom’s household. I am the one Shelly Miscavige told what disqualifying drugs Tom took so he could not qualify for the Sea Organization – which he supposedly wanted to join. I didn’t say anything in my book about Cruise having to decide between Nicole or the organization. So, I knew that it was an attempt to prevent me from putting out my book as “little ‘ol me” could never possibly stand up to the high-powered lawyer of an A-list celebrity who has millions of dollars at his disposal. But the fact is – it didn’t phase me as truth is truth and I’m willing to stand up for the truth.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The book was subsequently published and made publicly available. At this point in time, has there been any follow-up from Tom Cruise, his lawyer, or representatives, to you? How do you feel about your legal standing if Cruise were to escalate the matter beyond the initial legal threat letter?

AS: None, whatsoever and I highly doubt they would follow through with any lawsuit because what I stated in my book is truth. It’s what I did myself. It’s what I witnessed myself. What I reported in my book can be backed up with evidence and several witnesses – easily.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The month your book was published, the New York Daily News reported that Scientology organization public representative Tommy Davis characterized your accounts as “fiction”. With regards to assertions you made that David Miscavige and Scientology officials “snooped” in the confessional folders of Scientology members and particularly celebrities, Davis stated, “Nobody in the church has ever violated the priest-penitent privilege. … [Confessional files] are held in the strictest confidence.” How do you respond to these statements by Davis?

AS: Just like I did to the New York Daily News when they asked me about it: If Scientology does not violate the priest-penitent privilege, what is the Scientology spokesperson doing talking to the press about my sex life?

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Davis further stated to the New York Daily News that (separate from the earlier intimations from the lawyer for Tom Cruise) the Scientology organization was itself “preparing a lawsuit” against you because of the “disgusting allegations” in the book. Have you received any notice from the Scientology organization with regards such a potential lawsuit?

AS: No and I don’t expect to. Everything I’ve stated in my book are things that I personally observed (and where that wasn’t the case, I make it clear). I was careful not to exaggerate, but to be as factual as possible about my experiences. There is so much more I could have said about severe abuse others witnessed and told me about, but I kept it to my story. As there are numerous witnesses now out of Scientology who also saw what I saw while working at the International Headquarters for Scientology, I do not think Miscavige and his attorneys would be very successful trying to prove my “defamation” and their innocence in front of a jury.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Davis proceeded to make claims to the New York Daily News about your sexual relationships. Additionally, BBC News reported that after you began to make public criticism of the organization and its leader David Miscavige, Scientology provided “intimate details of her sex life” to the Florida newspaper the St. Petersburg Times. How did you feel when these sexual details were made public by Scientology? How do you feel this behavior by the organization and its officials reflects on its assertions of keeping confidential information secret, and respecting the privacy of priest-penitent privilege?

AS: To me – and MANY other people – it was obvious through their child-like reaction that they have something fairly big to hide. I gave a detailed eye-witness account of the head of the Scientology religion repeatedly beating staff members. That they respond with exaggerated accusations about my sex life is just a red herring. And it also proves that private information you may divulge in confessionals while a member of Scientology could be used against you should you step out of line in the future.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png In an August 2009 issue of the Scientology publication, Freedom Magazine, the issue referred to you multiple times only as “The Adulteress”. How did this make you feel when you found out about this publication? When you were still a member of the Scientology organization, what was your opinion at that point in time of Freedom Magazine? What is your opinion of the publication – its reputability and reliability, at this point in time?

AS: The “Freedom” magazine is the public mouthpiece for Scientology, often used as a medium to expose what they consider to be the ills of society (psychiatry, pharmaceutical companies and major critics of their religion). I was not surprised that they put out a magazine against those who exposed the illegal actions of the Scientology leader, David Miscavige, with his repeated abuse and assault and battery being committed on his junior Scientology executives. They felt that an attack on Miscavige was an attack on the whole religion and therefore those people involved needed to be exposed as rotten to the core.

In the August 2009 publication of “Freedom”, they slandered both the St. Petersburg Times reporters and the “defectors” (myself, Marty Rathbun, Mike Rinder and Tom DeVocht). Note: they did not use the name “Amy Scobee” in this magazine. Instead, they refer to me as “the Adulteress”. This slanderous character assassination appears in more than 20 places in their publication. It’s painfully obvious that they were referring to me since I was the only female that spoke out in the article they were protesting. I’m not “an adulteress”. As a member of Scientology’s Sea Organization (age 16 to 42), I had sexual intercourse with my first husband, my second husband and my current husband. Regardless, my “sexual purity” has nothing to do with my reporting the fact that I witnessed the head of the Church of Scientology commit repeated assault & battery on specific church executives while I was employed there. It’s just their attempt to “annihilate credibility” for exposing this crime. In my view, the Freedom magazine is used to help carry out Miscavige’s private agenda to try to remain in a position of power in that organization.

Amy Scobee in 2009
Image: Amy Scobee.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png BBC News reported on September 26, that during an interview for the Panorama special, The Secrets of Scientology, yourself and reporter John Sweeney were photographed, and such photographs of the two of you hugging after completing the interview were sent by Scientology UK lawyers from the firm Carter-Ruck to the BBC. What do you think Scientology was attempting to accomplish by sending these photos to the BBC? Is such behavior by the Scientology organization with regard to monitoring of journalists, critics, or former members such as yourself common? What do you do to cope and/or respond to such behavior from the Scientology organization?

Cquote1.svg To me, it’s more important to prevent anyone else from being hurt by making Scientology’s human rights violations known Cquote2.svg

—Amy Scobee

AS: Yes, this type of intimidation is common practice by Scientology. As a witness in an on-going court case against Scientology, I was recently in a deposition with Scientology’s lead counsel. He pulled out the photo that their private investigators took of John Sweeney giving me a hug on the highway outside of the Scientology compound in Hemet after nearly two full days of interviews. He proceeded to ask me how much “alone time” I spent with Mr. Sweeney (which was none) and when I explained that we all gave each other hugs goodbye before we went our separate ways and that my husband was right there with me, the lawyer said, “We’ll see what the jury says about that!” All they are trying to do is intimidate us into silence through constant trails by PI’s, slandering our names with ridiculous accusations, etc., so we’d become cowed, be quiet and let their criminality go on, unchecked. Well, it hasn’t worked to keep me silent. To me, it’s more important to prevent anyone else from being hurt by making Scientology’s human rights violations known than to worry about them tarnishing my personal reputation in retaliation. I believe that the truth must be brought to light, despite consequences.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are there any other points that you would like to elaborate or explain?

AS: I think it’s very important for people to be educated on the subject of cults – including Scientology – so they know what to look out for and avoid. My book: Scientology – Abuse at the Top, gives people a good look at what goes on behind the scenes and how one could get gradually more and more involved until it’s their entire life – to the exclusion of almost anything or any one else. I hope it makes it into many people’s hands and they find it useful.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Amy Scobee, thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview with Wikinews.

AS: Thank you.



Related news

  • “Author of My Billion Year Contract reflects on life in elite Scientology group” — Wikinews, January 14, 2010
  • “Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology” — Wikinews, November 13, 2009

Sister links

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Gold Base
  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Sea Org

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November 13, 2009

Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology

Filed under: John Travolta,Marc Headley,Religion,Scientology,Tom Cruise — admin @ 5:00 am

Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology

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Friday, November 13, 2009

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Wikinews interviewed author Marc Headley about his new book Blown for Good, and asked him about life inside the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base”, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California. Headley joined the organization at age seven when his mother became a member, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005.

Background

Blown for Good by Marc Headley
Image: blownforgood.com.

Blown for Good was released November 5, and is available at www.blownforgood.com. Headley worked as an employee of Scientology for 15 years. While an employee of the Scientology headquarters located in Riverside County, California, Headley had the experience of practicing Scientology counseling services called “auditing” with Scientologist Tom Cruise, shortly after the actor had completed work on the film Days of Thunder. In 1990, Cruise was training to become proficient in the Scientology auditing techniques, and Headley was selected to become the actor’s auditing partner. Cruise and Headley worked together for three weeks, while the actor was practicing his Scientology techniques known as the “Upper Indoctrination Training Routines”. Headley says he was chosen to work with Cruise because he was a young staff member who was less likely to leave and discuss the actor’s Scientology experiences with the media.

The book provides details of what life was like for the author inside the organization’s headquarters. The inner flap of the book includes a map of the “International Headquarters of Scientology; Gilman Hot Springs, California”. Headley writes that under the direction of Scientology leader David Miscavige, employees who signed billion-year contracts routinely put in 100-hour weeks of work for minimal pay. According to Headley, possible discipline faced by the Scientology employees for perceived mistakes included being separated from family as part of the Scientology policy of “disconnection”, being declared a “suppressive person”, or being sent to the “Rehabilitation Project Force”, a program where Scientologists were assigned harsh labor.

Headley’s tasks while working at the Scientology compound Gold Base included dealing with audiovisual equipment used for organization presentations and speeches by Miscavige, and supervising production of thousands of audiotapes of lectures given by Scientology’s founder L. Ron Hubbard. From 1989 to 2005 Headley worked at the Scientology film production studio on scripts for movies which would be used to instruct new members of the organization on its practices. He faced repercussions from Miscavige if he could not meet production quotas. Headley asserts that he was physically abused by Miscavige, a claim made previously by other former Scientology officials in a series of investigative articles published in the St. Petersburg Times.

The book gives background on a 9-minute long video of Tom Cruise, leaked to the Internet in January 2008, that featured the actor discussing his views on Scientology. The Church of Scientology’s attempts to remove the leaked video from the Internet motivated the group Anonymous to focus its efforts against the organization. Headley writes that initially the promotional video about Cruise was supposed to feature celebrities including Will Smith speaking about the actor, but Miscavige instead insisted Cruise should simply talk about himself. According to Headley, Scientology employees were made to watch videos of Cruise which had been spliced together from the actor’s appearances in the media.

Headley describes a form of Miscavige’s management previously related in the St. Petersburg Times, where the Scientology leader made his staff play musical chairs to the Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Miscavige told 70 Scientology executives that they were to compete for chairs, and that only the last individual left after several rounds would remain at the compound, while the other executives would be assigned to remote locations. After a dramatic competition with multiple staffers in tears that they would be separated from their families, Miscavige stated no one would be removed from the compound.

In 2005, Headley left the Scientology compound in Hemet on a motorcycle, and fell off his vehicle after being chased by Scientology security guards. Riverside County police helped Headley escape from the Scientology security. Headley traveled to Kansas City to meet his father. He was later joined by his wife Claire who had also worked at the Gold Base compound.

Headley filed suit against Scientology in January 2009. In the legal case, he asserts that Scientology violated United States labor law with regard to his treatment while an employee of the organization. Headley and his lawyer Barry Van Sickle succeeded against attempts by the organization to get the suit dismissed. Headley’s lawsuit is set to begin in U.S. federal court in November 2010.

American talk radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou discussed the book on the November 4 edition of their program The John and Ken Show on KFI. “This is, the Scientology cult, is I guarantee you, a thousand times more bizarre than you could have ever imagined. And what these celebrities do, like Tom Cruise, is a thousand times more strange than you could ever imagine. I have never read about behavior like this in my life, I can’t imagine it. It’s really weird,” commented one of the hosts about material revealed by Headley in the book. Headley writes in the book that he started to question his involvement in Scientology when secretly listening to The John and Ken Show and watching Conan O’Brien make fun of Scientology celebrities. The National Enquirer reported on the release of Blown for Good, calling it an “explosive new book”.

The Editor in chief of The Village Voice, Tony Ortega, reviewed the book, and characterized it as a “remarkable account”. “Headley’s book also provides stunning material that has rarely been collected in one place, even with the Internet’s deep resources on L. Ron Hubbard’s strange creation. Headley’s story provides a damning account of life working for Scientology leader David Miscavige at the secretive desert base”, wrote Ortega in the review. He commented, “Perhaps the best service that Headley provides with Blown for Good is giving non-Scientologists the sense of what it’s really like to work, day in and day out, in such a strange organization, from the lowliest laborer mucking out excrement in a Gold Base pond (Headley says shit was coming out of his ears and pores for days) to what kind of luxuries the celebrities and high-ranking members enjoy.”

Interview

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png The foreword to Blown for Good is by Mark Rathbun, a former high-ranking Scientology official and recent critic who has gone public with statements that Scientology’s leader David Miscavige has been physically abusive towards organization staff members. Rathbun notes that he almost emailed you to suggest someone else write the foreword, commenting, “his views of some of Scientology founder Hubbard’s writings and my views differed greatly.” (L. Ron Hubbard was the founder of Scientology.) How do your views differ from Rathbun’s? Why did you select Mark Rathbun to write the foreword to your book?

Marc Headley: While I respect the right for people to believe whatever they want, I myself do not believe that L. Ron Hubbard did anything besides take what other people had already written and revised or repacked it for his own use.

In terms of the space aliens and earth people being inhabited by alien souls held captive in volcanoes from 75 million years ago – 75 million years is a long time to go without visiting, calling or just generally staying in touch. If they had the technology to travel from their own galaxy in spaceships that resembled DC-10’s and drop off millions of beings here, you think they would have come back a few times to check in on these guys. What’s up with that?

While I can respect other people’s beliefs and I mean no disrespect to any other faiths, I am more likely to subscribe to the 72 virgins philosophy than the idea that I or anyone should drop a huge amount of cash to rid myself of rogue space aliens squatting within my soul.

I asked Mark Rathbun to do the foreword for a few different reasons. The first being that he was one of the few people that was there for pretty much the entire time period I worked at the international headquarters. He witnessed and was privy to many of the things that I write about in the book. While we do not subscribe to the same ideas on what is wrong or right about Scientology, we both agree on the truth of what happened where we worked. He also has the respect of many current and former employees/members of organized Scientology who knew him as a high ranking official within the organization, and his endorsement of the book will do a lot to expose the abuse and false information within their ranks internationally.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You write in the “Author’s note” preface to the book that it took you over a year after leaving to be able to begin to speak publicly about your experiences in Scientology. What was that year-long process like? What experiences did you have that helped you come to the decision that you wanted to speak publicly about Scientology?

Cquote1.svg As an employee of Scientology for 15 years, we were indoctrinated with the concept that people outside of Scientology were criminals, drug addicts and sexual deviants in need of salvation and rescue by Scientology. Cquote2.svg

—Marc Headley

MH: I think that living in the real world, with absolutely no ties or communication with the Scientology world I lived in from the age of 7, was the best thing I could do to decompress and brought me to realize what was actually occurring in the world around me. As an employee of Scientology for 15 years, we were indoctrinated with the concept that people outside of Scientology were criminals, drug addicts and sexual deviants in need of salvation and rescue by Scientology. The overriding goal of ALL Scientologists is to “Clear the planet and make everyone in the entire world into a Scientologist”. After I left and was interacting with everyday people, I realized that not one single person in the real world treated me as bad as the “nicest” person in Scientology! People in the real world were nice, helpful and supportive of me and were very happy to be my friends and fellow associates.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You also write in the preface that your intention of publishing your experiences was to help readers, “avoid falling prey to any organization that might attempt to perpetrate similar abuses against them or someone they love in the future.” What specific types of abuses are you referring to? Do you see commonalities between Scientology and other organizations? If so, which organizations, and what common characteristics do they share?

MH: From what I have read and studied, Scientology is not the only group that uses coercion or heavy handed tactics to convince their members or staff to do things against their will. If people are aware of their rights and that they cannot sign them away, groups or cults that practice this will have less of a chance at succeeding.

When asked to compare what I experienced at the headquarters of Scientology, the only thing that I could liken it to would be what I would imagine that people living behind the Iron Curtain felt. No disrespect to anyone who had to go through that experience, but those people had little choice in the matter and escape could be not only dangerous but fatal. That wall was torn down 20 years ago. I can only hope that it does not take 20 years to tear down the iron curtain that exists in Gilman Hot Springs, California.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The book begins with an account of your experience leaving Scientology’s Gold Base facility on January 5, 2005. Did you suffer any injuries as a result of this ordeal? Have you had any further communications with the police that assisted you that day?

MH: Well, I think that when I was run off the road by the Scientology Security personnel, I had so much adrenaline pumping that even if I had sustained any minor injuries, I was willing to just do whatever I had to in order to successfully escape their control.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Upon your arrival at the international headquarters of Scientology, you recount how you were given a course where you were instructed that no one was allowed to tell family, friends, or other Scientology staff members that Scientology’s “Int Base” was located in Hemet, California (p. 91). Further, you write that no one outside the facility was to know that Scientology international management was located there. Do you know if this is still the case, or has current practice changed with regard to what outsiders are allowed to know about Gold Base?

MH: As far as I know, no internal policies have changed since I have left.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Another one of the instructions you write that you received upon arrival at Gold Base was that all outgoing mail would be read by Scientology security staff. Did this apply to incoming mail as well?

MH: Yes, ALL OUTGOING and INCOMING mail is not only logged, but also opened, checked and read by security personnel. Additionally, bank records or credit card information is culled for account numbers, and personal data or information that would be useful to track the person should they decide to leave the compound is kept on file and regularly updated.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you know whether or not this practice is in compliance with United States federal law regarding delivery of mail to its intended recipient?

MH: As far as I know, it is a federal offense to tamper with a person’s mail. The only place I know that mail can be checked like that is State or Federal prisons.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png According to your account of those that live on Gold Base itself (p. 138), the facility’s residents included David Miscavige, three other high-ranking officials in the organization, security guards, and other residents, totaling 14 people excluding the security guards. Are you aware that Scientology requested the since-passed Ordinance 884 in Riverside County, California, specifically to restrict protesters away from residential property – and claimed that Golden Era Productions is such a property? You write in the book that the majority of Gold Base employees actually live offsite in apartments. Do you know how many individuals currently reside on Gold Base itself?

MH: During the entire 15 years that I was there it was always the plan of Scientology officials to have ALL Int Base staff live on the property in communal housing. As far I know, these buildings have now been built and all employees that work at the Int Base also now live there, limiting not only their contact with the outside world but chances of ever escaping the facility. In fact, one of the reasons construction of these buildings was considered a priority while I was there was just that – keeping the staff housed on the property makes it that much harder for them to escape.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Is Scientology’s characterization from the Ordinance 884 proceedings, describing Gold Base as residential and containing private homes, appropriate in nature? Ordinance 884 is intended to keep protesters more than 50 feet away from property lines of residences. Are there residential housing buildings within 50 feet inside the property lines of Gold Base?

MH: I have never measured it out, but most of the housing that exists on the property is located in the “berthing buildings” section of the property. From what I remember these buildings are at least 100 feet or more from the highway. There [are] main production buildings located directly next to the highway all along the property lines. During my 15 years working there I spent many a night sleeping on the floor in my office and witnessed many others doing the same or sleeping under their desks for a few hours each night. Maybe that qualifies those buildings as “housing” based on that.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The book’s title is a reference to the Scientology term to “blow”, defined in the glossary of the book as “any unauthorized departure from any Scientology organization.” What steps are taken once the individual who had decided to leave is located? Has physical force been used in the past to bring individuals back? What other means have been used to attempt to bring people back to the organization?

MH: I would say that a very large percentage of staff that blow are recovered or at least a recovery is attempted. I know of many other staff that were restrained from leaving, or assaulted when being recovered or thrown into vehicles and brought back to the compound against their will. Stories that corroborate this are all over the internet and many people have spoken out against this abuse. Unfortunately, for most people the fear that they have of the Scientology organization takes years to wear off and by the time people come forward, it is too late, legally, for anything to be done about it by law enforcement.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You describe an elaborate scheme to get your wife Claire to join you, after she informed you that she wished to leave Gold Base (p. 322-25). This plan included avoiding use of phones known to Scientology, calling for a taxi under a different name, and calling friends from pay phones. Would it not have simply been easier for her to have contacted the local police for assistance, as they had done previously with you? To put it more simply – why the need for individuals who wish to leave Gold Base to orchestrate an escape to plan how they will “blow”? Could they not simply call the police using a phone, either from the facility itself or elsewhere, and request assistance to leave the organization?

Cquote1.svg …they would restrict you to the property with a personal security guard assigned, put you on heavy manual labor, subject you to months or years of interrogation and ultimately declare you a suppressive person anyway… Cquote2.svg

—Marc Headley

MH: When you are in that world, you are indoctrinated into believing that the worst thing you could do would be to get law enforcement involved. The Scientology organization has been doing this for years. Any stories about abuse, being held against one’s will or anything else that goes on there would be met with declarations and affidavits from a hundred people that nothing ever happened. And then after that, they would restrict you to the property with a personal security guard assigned, put you on heavy manual labor, subject you to months or years of interrogation and ultimately declare you a suppressive person anyway and throw you out on your ass. Think WestWorld meets 1984 meets The Truman Show.

More practically, it is well known to staff on the property that Security has a police scanner in the main security booth. So they would be alerted to the situation before the police even showed up, and would rapidly concoct a diversion to ensure the staff member did not escape.

In the 15 years I was there, I knew and heard of hundreds of different ways staff attempted to escape. Not once did I hear of someone calling 911 and escaping. Most staff did not have open access to a phone. All base phones were for internal use only, and to call an external number you had to be patched through by the Receptionist, who would only do so if you had authorization.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Do you know if individuals are being held at Gold Base against their will? What do you think would happen if individuals at Gold Base who wanted to leave – simply asked to be allowed to do so?

MH: At one point in the book, this happened. People were asked if they wanted to leave, several people decided to take the offer. After lengthy interrogations and with lengthy legal documents signed with promises never to expose what occurred at the compound, they were allowed to leave with restrictions.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You describe your experience in the book of receiving Scientology auditing from Tom Cruise (p. 111-15). You note that after your auditing with Cruise had completed a few months later, you were “watched over” to make sure “out-tech” had not occurred that your auditor could have been responsible for. What is “out-tech”, and what would have happened if this was recognized to have occurred?

If I were to get into an accident of any kind, this would be investigated and all counseling records would be reviewed to determine if any processes or procedures were done incorrectly. This commonly occurs when scientologists become ill, get in a car accident or in the worst cases, die. “Out tech” is their reference to some considered violation of procedure, resulting in the person doing worse after counseling.

Cquote1.svg I am sure that it is becoming harder and harder to field and answer questions regarding the criminal activities occurring within the Scientology world. Cquote2.svg

—Marc Headley

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Scientology has received quite a bit of attention in the media recently, from allegations of violence levied against David Miscavige by high-ranking former officials, to spokesman Tommy Davis abruptly leaving an interview with Martin Bashir on ABC News when the Xenu story was mentioned, to Scientology’s conviction of fraud in France, and the defection of Academy Award-winning film director Paul Haggis.

Do you think is aware of these developments? What about other celebrity Scientologists, for example or Kirstie Alley? Do you think these issues will affect the perceptions of celebrity Scientologists towards the organization? Why or why not?

MH: While it is hard to say what these people do or do not know, I am sure that it is becoming harder and harder to field and answer questions regarding the criminal activities occurring within the Scientology world.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png In a postcript, “More books by Marc Morgan Headley”, you write “Since escaping in 2005, both Marc and his wife Claire have been heavily “fair gamed” by Scientology and many attempts have been made to keep them from speaking out in regards to their experiences at the Int Base.” “Fair Game” is a Scientology policy written by founder L.Ron Hubbard that states individuals declared “Suppressive Person” by the organization, “May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.” A Piece of Blue Sky author Jon Atack noted that in its appeal of the case Wollersheim v. Church of Scientology of California, “Scientology asserted that ‘fair game’ was a ‘core practice of Scientology’, and therefore protected as ‘religious expression’.” What do you mean when you write in the book that you and your wife have been “fair gamed” by Scientology”? What actions has the organization taken to attempt to prevent you from speaking about your experiences at Gold Base? How have you and your wife dealt with this?

Marc Headley at conference on Scientology in Germany (September 4, 2008)

MH: I have had private investigators camped outside my place of residence, follow me to the grocery store, follow me when I’m dropping off my kids at school.

Cquote1.svg I have had private investigators camped outside my place of residence, follow me to the grocery store, follow me when I’m dropping off my kids at school. Cquote2.svg

—Marc Headley

Scientology officials have held meetings with my friends, family and employees and spread lies about me, my wife and our activities. Ex-members have been threatened with disconnection from their immediate family if they had any contact with me.

People that I knew that were already declared suppressive were offered to have their declares canceled if they turned over any information that would be helpful with blacklisting me or ruining my credibility or ability to work or make money.

One of my oldest friends (who is also a declared Suppressive Person by Scientology) was offered a “deal” by Tommy Davis to be allowed to speak with his family again if he were to provide any information or details about my current life that could be used against me in my current legal case against Scientology. When they doctored a declaration from him and he refused to sign it, they canceled the deal with him, but still attempted to use the bogus declaration in legal proceedings with me.

Child Protective Services were given a random phone call “tip” that my two children were being endangered and had to do a mandatory inspection at our house. The agent told us they had investigated the “tip”, that it was clearly false and advised us to be very careful as someone was obviously trying to create trouble for us.

Scientology management has even gone so far as to inform Scientology members that use FaceBook or MySpace social networking sites to spread false information to anyone listed as my friends and instruct them that they should “disconnect” from me.

Private Investigators tracked down and contacted persons that my wife had talked to and the broker she worked under in Real Estate and accused my wife of falsifying loan documents on someone she never did a loan for.

When I traveled to Germany to speak to government officials regarding Scientology’s abuses in the United State and abroad, Private Investigators banged on the door of my house early in the morning when my wife was alone with our children and harassed her, saying they’d [been] sent by Scientology.

During that same trip, private investigators showed up at my company warehouse and gave my employees false propaganda printed up by Scientology regarding me being an “anti-religious extremist”.

If I were to list everything else that I have experienced with Scientology in regards to Fair Game, this site would possibly need to upgrade their storage capacity!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are there any other points regarding Blown for Good or your experiences that you would like to elaborate or explain?

Cquote1.svg I want to make sure that people know that the more people that speak out, the more that these things will be dealt with. Cquote2.svg

—Marc Headley

I want to make sure that people know that the more people that speak out, the more that these things will be dealt with. The Scientology organization compares itself to other religions all the time. They state that they expect to be treated like other religions. Most mainstream religions in all countries of the world support the living wage or minimum wage for their employees and workers and publicly state this. If organized Scientology wants to be treated like other religions, they should cease the human rights abuses and take a hint from other groups and pay their employees for the work they perform. Maybe then, people would be able to LEAVE if they wanted to and not have the burden of being without family members, resources or the ability to buy a meal should they decide to terminate their employment with Scientology.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Mr. Headley, thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview with Wikinews.



Related news

  • “New book Blown for Good reveals details inside Scientology headquarters” — Wikinews, November 5, 2009

Sources

Wikinews
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Wikipedia Learn more about Gold Base and Sea Org on Wikipedia.
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March 28, 2008

Tom Cruise spoofed in film \’Superhero Movie\’

Tom Cruise spoofed in film ‘Superhero Movie’

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Miles Fisher impersonates Tom Cruise in Superhero Movie.
Image: Erwinfletcher.

Producers of the film Superhero Movie, out today, released clips from the film on the Internet parodying a Church of Scientology promotional video featuring Scientologist Tom Cruise.

Superhero Movie is written and directed by Scott Mazin, director of the 2000 comedy about superheroes The Specials. The film stars Drake Bell, Sara Paxton, Christopher McDonald, Pamela Anderson, Tracy Morgan, Regina Hall, Craig Bierko, Simon Rex, Leslie Nielsen, Marion Ross, Kevin Hart, Jeffrey Tambor, Ryan Hansen, Brent Spiner and Keith David.

Drake Bell plays Rick Riker, a young man figuring out how to use his superpowers. The film parodies blockbuster superhero movies including Spider-Man, Batman, X-Men, and Fantastic Four.

Tom Cruise in 2006.
Image: Kevin Ballard.

In the original Scientology video, Cruise discusses his faith and his opinion on what it means to be a Scientologist, while the theme music from his Mission: Impossible series of films plays in the background. The video, which was not intended for public distribution outside of the Church of Scientology, is nine minutes long and contains heavy use of Scientology terminology. The video appeared on YouTube January 15, two days before the release of a biography on Cruise by Andrew Morton: Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography.

The Church of Scientology sent legal letters to YouTube and to Gawker.com, sites which were hosting the Cruise video at the time, and requested that they take it down. YouTube complied, but Gawker.com did not, and Nick Denton of Gawker.com commented: “It’s newsworthy, and we will not be removing it.” The video later appeared on websites other than Gawker.com, including the New York Post, Independent Television News and the BBC.

Attempts by the Church of Scientology to remove the video from the Internet motivated an Internet-based group known as “Anonymous” to take action in a movement called Project Chanology. Members of Anonymous bombarded Scientology websites and were successful in taking some of them down, including Scientology.org. Anonymous later changed tactics towards legal measures, and held international protests against Scientology on February 10 and March 15, with another international protest planned for April 12.

According to Scientology critic David S. Touretzky, the Scientology terms used in the video by Cruise have “entered the national lexicon”, and the Scientology video itself has become something of an Internet phenomenon. Touretzky also referred to the negative effect on Cruise’s publicity as a consequence of the leak.

Cquote1.svg Miles Fisher does an eerily dead-on impersonation of Cruise’s infamous leaked Scientology indoctrination video. Cquote2.svg

—Liz Shannon Miller, NewTeeVee

In the excerpt released online from Superhero Movie, actor Miles Fisher imitates Cruise in what Liz Shannon Miller of NewTeeVee described as “an eerily dead-on impersonation of Cruise’s infamous leaked Scientology indoctrination video”. She also compared the clip to a different spoof of the Cruise video, by actor Jerry O’Connell. Craig Ferguson also spoofed the video in a clip on his show on CBS, The Late Late Show, as did the comedy website Super Deluxe.

Christopher McDonald plays the villain “Hourglass” in Superhero Movie, and told MTV News he was surprised at some of the parodies that successfully appear in the film: “The thing I didn’t think we’d get away with was the actual Tom Cruise stuff. There may be lawsuits there.”

A post at Slashfilm wrote positively of Fisher’s performance: “Slashfilm would like to salute young actor and Harvard alum Miles Fisher for easily giving the best impression of Tom Cruise we’ve ever seen in the yuk-yuk comic book spoof.” A post at MoviesOnline commented: “The actor hits every point he needs to and it is almost scary how close he is to the actual Tom Cruise way of thinking.” Thomas Leupp of ReelzChannel.com called the scene “a dead-on spoof of Tom Cruise’s now-infamous Scientology video”. Ryan Parsons of CanMag wrote that Fisher impersonates Cruise “perfectly”, and Ryan Tate of Gawker.com called the clip “the slickest crazy-Cruise imitation yet, as well as one of the funniest”.



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January 25, 2008

\”Unauthorized\” Tom Cruise bio hits number one on Amazon.com, New York Times best sellers list

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in 2006. Image: misocrazy.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in 2006.
Image: misocrazy.

Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography, a biography of actor Tom Cruise written by journalist Andrew Morton, has hit the number one spot on Amazon.com‘s Top Sellers list and The New York Times Best Sellers list.

Morton’s book was published January 15, and hit number one on Amazon.com’s Top Sellers list on January 18. Yesterday, the book hit the number one spot on The New York Times Best Sellers list. The book is not for sale in Britain or Ireland, and the New York Post has reported that British tourists to the United States are buying copies of the book to bring back home.

Morton makes some controversial assertions in the book, including that Cruise is second in command at the Church of Scientology, and that Scientology was the cause of Cruise and Nicole Kidman‘s separation.

Cruise’s attorney, Bertram Fields released a statement which said that the book was “absolutely loaded with false statements.” Cruise has threatened a USD$100 million lawsuit against Morton and the book’s publisher, St. Martin’s Press. The Church of Scientology also responded to Morton’s claims in the book. In a 15-page statement, the Church called the book “bigoted” and a “defamatory assault,” and said that Cruise “holds no official or unofficial position in the Church hierarchy.”

Morton was interviewed by the Associated Press, and responded to some of the statements made by the Church of Scientology. When asked if he had attempted to interview Cruise for the book, Morton said “I asked Tom for an interview and he declined.” In response to a statement released by Cruise’s publicists that he had not interviewed “one person who has known or worked with Tom” in the past twenty-five years, Morton responded “I interviewed everyone from scriptwriters to producers to actors to actresses to teachers to girlfriends to pupils to Scientologists to people who have audited him.” When questioned about his assertion that Cruise is “second in command” of the Church of Scientology, Morton stated “Scientology would be a shadow of what it is today if it had not been for the involvement of Tom Cruise.”

Mr. Morton, apparently unfazed by the reputation of the group’s notoriously hair-triggered legal department, leaves few stones unhurled.

The Wall Street Journal

Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that parts of the book “push the limits of responsible reporting.” A review in the Chicago Tribune was also critical, and Teresa Budasi wrote “If you read Andrew Morton’s unauthorized biography of Tom Cruise with a fan’s curiosity in one hand and a thinking person’s skepticism in the other, you’ll likely end up in the same place you were before you read it: not all that interested.” In his review of the book, Dave Shiflett of The Wall Street Journal commented on the litigious nature of the Church of Scientology, writing “Mr. Morton, apparently unfazed by the reputation of the group’s notoriously hair-triggered legal department, leaves few stones unhurled.”

Shortly before the book’s publication, a video produced by the Church of Scientology featuring Tom Cruise promoting his beliefs appeared on the Internet. After the Church of Scientology sent a legal complaint to the online video-sharing website YouTube, the video was taken down from that site, but is available on Gawker.com. A group of Internet users calling themselves “Anonymous” subsequently announced a “War on Scientology” including denial-of-service attacks against the Church of Scientology’s main websites. Andreas Heldal-Lund, founder of the Scientology-critical site and Norway-based non-profit organization Operation Clambake released a statement on Tuesday critical of the actions of the “Anonymous” group, saying that the Church of Scientology deserves the right to freedom of speech.

People lose sight of the fact that Tom Cruise is actually a person. I feel for him.

Ben Stiller

Actor Jerry O’Connell, who had previously acted alongside Cruise in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire, produced a parody of the Cruise video which was released on Wednesday. Other Hollywood acquaintances of Cruise, including comedians Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller, released statements defending Cruise and criticizing those who have mocked him for his beliefs. Sandler stated “To see anyone’s private life invaded and mocked like this is sickening,” and Stiller commented “People lose sight of the fact that Tom Cruise is actually a person. I feel for him.”

On Wednesday the Associated Press reported that Cruise will be a presenter at the Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony on Sunday.


Related news

Sources

Wikipedia
Learn more about Tom Cruise and Scientology controversies on Wikipedia.
  • Marissa Charles “Tom Cruise biography hits Number one on NY Times’ bestseller list”. Showbiz Spy, January 24, 2008
  • Gavin Wilson “Adam Sandler hits out at people mocking Tom Cruise”. Showbiz Spy, January 24, 2008
  • “Adam Sandler: Stop Picking on Tom Cruise”. People Magazine, January 24, 2008
  • “Jerry O’Connell Parodies Tom Cruise Scientology Videos on Internet”. FOX News, January 24, 2008
  • “At least they’ll always have Mexico”. Dallas Morning News, January 24, 2008
  • Tom Feran “Where to find the Tom Cruise Scientology videos online, if they’re still posted”. Tom Feran, January 24, 2008
  • “Tom Cruise Ups Star Power at SAG Awards”. Associated Press, January 23, 2008
  • Andreas Heldal-Lund “OC Press Release 22.01.2008: DDoS attacks on Scientology”. Operation Clambake, January 22, 2008
  • Alicia Quarles “Andrew Morton looks behind ‘mask’ of Tom Cruise, defends biography”. Associated Press, January 21, 2008
  • Dave Shiflett “Airplane Reading”. The Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2008
  • “Tom Cruise Bio Author Responds to Criticism”. Actress Archives, January 18, 2008
  • Teresa Budasi “Cruise bio describes his best role: Scientologist – REVIEW: Focus on ‘cult’ doesn’t make movie star more interesting”. Chicago Tribune, January 17, 2008
  • Janet Maslin “Tom Cruise and His Bully Pulpit”. The New York Times, January 10, 2008


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January 17, 2008

Tom Cruise Scientology promotional video leaked to the Internet

Tom Cruise Scientology promotional video leaked to the Internet

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tom Cruise in 2007.
Image: Caroline Bonarde Ucci.

Two days before Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography, a biography of actor Tom Cruise written by journalist Andrew Morton, was released in the United States, a video showing Cruise promoting Scientology was leaked to the Internet. The promotional video appeared on video-sharing sites including YouTube, Gawker.com and radar online.com, and clips from the video were also shown on Wednesday morning talk shows in the United States.

In the 9-minute video produced by the Church of Scientology, Cruise is seen discussing his beliefs while the theme from his Mission: Impossible films plays as background music. Cruise appears wearing a black turtleneck sweater, speaking about his dedication to changing people’s lives. The format of the video appears to be an interview with Cruise, and it is edited with questions cut out. Some of Cruise’s responses end abruptly.

Cquote1.svg Being a Scientologist, when you drive past an accident it’s not like anyone else. As you drive past you know you have to do something about it because you know you’re the only one who can help. Cquote2.svg

—Tom Cruise from the video, quoted by Reuters

Throughout the video, Cruise uses Scientology jargon terms such as “KSW”: “For me, it’s all about KSW.” The term stands for Keeping Scientology Working, which refers to a 10-point letter written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard in 1965 to ensure the organization’s survival. Cruise also discusses “SPs”, or Suppressive Persons, “PTSPs”, a “potential trouble source” influenced by a Suppressive Person, and the need to “confront and shatter suppression”.

Cruise makes assertions about programs which use Hubbard’s teachings such as Criminon and Narconon “We’re the authorities on getting people off drugs. We’re the authorities on the mind. We’re the authorities on improving conditions. We can rehabilitate criminals. Way to happiness. We can bring peace and unite cultures.” Of the manner in which he wishes to spread Scientology’s message, he says “You’re in the playing field or out of the arena.” Cruise also expresses his disdain for psychiatrists, “Crush these guys [psychiatrists]! I’ve had it! Psychiatry doesn’t work. No mercy! None! Go to guns!”

The video concludes with Cruise laughing, and then a voiceover says: “Scientology can be defined by a single question: would you want others to develop the knowledge you have? In answering that question, Tom Cruise has introduced LRH [L. Ron Hubbard] technology to more than 1 billion people on earth. And that is only the first wave he has unleashed. That is why the story of Tom Cruise, Scientologist, has only just begun.”

Cquote1.svg While the video can be seen in any Church of Scientology, what has appeared on the Internet is a pirated and edited version of a 3-hour event. Cquote2.svg

—Church of Scientology

According to Reuters, the Church of Scientology stated that the video was shown at a 2004 meeting of the International Association of Scientologists. In a statement, the Church of Scientology said that the video was Cruise’s acceptance speech after he had been given the organization’s “Freedom Medal”, and was shown “before an audience of 5,000 church parishioners and their guests.” The statement also called the video that appeared on the Internet a “pirated and edited version.” A representative for Cruise confirmed the Church of Scientology statement: “The video is of Mr. Cruise making an acceptance speech to fellow parishioners at a private church event in 2004.” David Miscavige, head of the Church of Scientology, had presented Cruise with the “Freedom Medal of Valor” at the 2004 ceremony. Eighty Scientologists have received the “Freedom Medal” since the award’s establishment in 1985, but Cruise is the only recipient of the Freedom Medal of Valor. Andrew Morton’s Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography characterizes Cruise as the second most powerful individual within the organization.

Cquote1.svg It’s newsworthy, and we will not be removing it. Cquote2.svg

—Gawker.com

The video first appeared on the Internet on Sunday, and disappeared after the footage was linked to from Gawker.com and The Huffington Post. Gawker.com posted a copy of the video Tuesday morning, and said that the video had “been passed around privately by reporters and writers investigating Cruise’s ties to Scientology.” Gawker.com noted that a smaller video clip which had previously been available on YouTube “is no longer available, most likely after the Church of Scientology sent in a copyright infringement notice.” Gawker.com has stated that the video will stay up on its site, and has reprinted correspondence with Ava Paquette, an attorney with Moxon & Kobrin, a law firm representing the Church of Scientology. Nick Denton of Gawker.com commented on the posting of the video “It’s newsworthy, and we will not be removing it.”

Cquote1.svg These tapes were made for purposes of recruitment. Cquote2.svg

—Mark Ebner

Investigative journalist Mark Ebner is helping to post more than two hours of additional footage related to the Cruise video, and called it “the most unintentionally hilarious footage you’ve ever seen,” and characterized it as “better than” when Cruise jumped on Oprah’s couch during a May 23, 2005 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and the South Park parody of Cruise in the controversial episode “Trapped in the Closet”. Ebner appeared on The Today Show on Wednesday, and discussed the video’s appearance on the Internet. In response, the Church of Scientology called Ebner a “fraud”. Ebner told the New York Daily News that “These tapes were made for purposes of recruitment.”

Cquote1.svg The Scientologists, by taking action to enforce their copyrights, have made it a news story. Cquote2.svg

—Mark Stephens, media lawyer

Attempts by the Church of Scientology to stop distribution of the video via the Internet “seem to have backfired spectacularly,” according to The Press Association, and by Thursday the video was viewable on websites other than Gawker.com, including the New York Post, Independent Television News and the BBC. For websites based in Britain usage of the video is protected under copyright laws, specifically for reporting news and current affairs. Still other reports on the video linked to locations where it could be watched, including a report in The Times. Copies of the video were not available on Google Video on Thursday, but were still available on YouTube.

Attorney Mark Stephens of London-based firm Finers Stephens Innocent commented on the Church of Scientology’s attempts to remove the video from the Internet: “The Scientologists, by taking action to enforce their copyrights, have made it a news story. The mistake was not to foresee that a news story has special protection in copyright law in reporting news and current events.”



Related news

  • “‘Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography’ released, $100 million lawsuit in planning stages” — Wikinews, January 16, 2008
  • “Germany’s top officials seek to ban Scientology” — Wikinews, December 7, 2007
  • Interview with Glen Stollery of ScienTOMogy.info” — Wikinews, April 5, 2006
  • “Tom Cruise parody site defiant in face of Scientology threats, demands its day in court” — Wikinews, October 29, 2005
  • Church of Scientology does not see humor in website dedicated to Tom Cruise” — Wikinews, September 25, 2005
  • “Tom Cruise debates psychiatry on NBC’s Today show” — Wikinews, June 25, 2005

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Wikipedia Learn more about Tom Cruise and Scientology controversies on Wikipedia.
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January 1, 2008

Senior security official: \”Hardly any chance\” to ban German Church of Scientology

Senior security official: “Hardly any chance” to ban German Church of Scientology

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  • Xenu

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Responding to a request of the chairman of the German Minister of Interior Conference, the interior affairs chief of the State of Saxony, Mr. Albrecht Buttolo, told the Associated Press (AP) today that he sees hardly any chance to ban the German Church of Scientology. His statement adds to heavy critique by the extremism expert of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Kristina Köhler, as well as speakers of all other Federal Parliament parties, who stated that it would not be a governmental task to ban a group like the Church of Scientology. The Berlin government expert Ulrich Battis added that a religious community like Scientology is almost impossible to ban.

The organization has been under investigation by the German government for over a decade by the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution. A spokesperson of the Office stated recently that a ban of the organization would be “not realistic” at the moment and that there isn’t enough evidence to support freezing its activities.

As German domestic security services prepared for a December 7 meeting, they found that the organization does operate in ways that may be perceived as hostile to the German constitution, but that at present the Church of Scientology has failed to successfully infiltrate German society; membership has stagnated. Investigators will initiate more intense surveillance through the Autumn of 2008 before deciding on whether to take further action.

Counterpressure

A speaker of the Federal Ministry of Interior, senior agency of the Office for Protection of the Constitution, stated that the public request for a ban was organized by some State Ministers of Interior as a “warning shot” for Scientology. The Church of Scientology had been increasing its public activities in 2006 and has opened new 41,000 square foot headquarters in the German capital Berlin in 2007. Also, in November 2007 well-known Scientologist Tom Cruise was awarded the German media prize “Bambi”, for courage in taking on the subject of German Resistance in the Third Reich in his newest movie Valkyrie. Cruise had been under public attack by the Federal Government first and refused permits for filming at historical sites. Later the Government dropped its concerns and decided to allow him to shoot scenes at the requested locations.

Sources

Wikipedia Learn more about Scientology and Scientology controversy on Wikipedia.



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December 7, 2007

Germany\’s top officials seek to ban Scientology

Germany’s top officials seek to ban Scientology

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Official warning leaflets from the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior on (from left to right) Islamic extremism, Scientology, and organized crime.
Image: Jeff Barnes.

After an investigation into the Church of Scientology (CoS), top security officials in Germany said that they consider its goals to be in conflict with the German constitution. Hamburg’s Interior Minister Udo Nagel first brought complaints to state interior ministers in Hamburg. The German Office for the Protection of the Constitution has also been monitoring the group, fearing they may gain control in German elections. In official reports, the government agency has said “There is substantial evidence that the Scientology organization is involved in activities directed against the free democratic order.” Nagel has been building support among other interior ministers.

Cquote1.svg There is substantial evidence that the Scientology organization is involved in activities directed against the free democratic order. Cquote2.svg

—German Office for the Protection of the Constitution

Berlin’s Interior Minister, Senator Erhart Koerting, presided over a two-day conference on the issue with the interior ministers of all of Germany’s 16 states. Federal Interior Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, also attended. The German government does not believe Scientology is a religion, but instead treats it as a commercial enterprise, and states that it takes advantage of its members. The government taxes the CoS and its sister organizations as businesses in the country.

The interior ministers will ask Germany’s domestic intelligence agency to determine what will be necessary in order to ban the CoS in Germany. The organization has been under investigation by the German government for over a decade, under allegations that it “threatens the peaceful democratic order.”

Scientologists have said that the investigation is a violation of their freedom of religion, and the United States Department of State has criticized Germany in its Human Rights Reports in previous years. Sabine Weber, a representative of Scientology in Germany, called the actions to ban Scientology “more than incomprehensible.”

This past summer, Germany had initially refused producers of a film starring Scientologist Tom Cruise to film at key sites. Cruise was later able to shoot his film in certain restricted areas.



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August 2, 2005

Tom Cruise orders €14,500 takeaway meal

Tom Cruise orders €14,500 takeaway meal

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Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Tom Cruise this week took the delivery service to a whole new level. Celebrating his 43rd birthday with numerous guests at a party in the USA, Cruise decided to call up his three favorite chefs, all living in Italy, to prepare a meal.

Cruise decided to fly all three chefs out to the United States at a cost of €14,500. According to the Daily Mail the chefs cooked the celebrity tagliatelle ragu, veal, and chocolate tiramisu.

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June 25, 2005

Tom Cruise debates psychiatry on NBC\’s Today show

Tom Cruise debates psychiatry on NBC’s Today show

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Saturday, June 25, 2005

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Church of Scientology Berlin HQ
More information on Scientology:
  • Scientology
  • Scientology beliefs and practices
  • Scientology controversies
  • Scientology and the Internet
  • Xenu

In an interview on NBC’s Today show with Matt Lauer, Tom Cruise aggressively defended his opposition to psychiatry and anti-depressive drugs. This occurred after being asked questions about his criticism of Brooke Shields, who has been taking drugs, including Paxil, for postpartum depression. Cruise is usually known for keeping his cool in interviews, but recently he has been slightly more unbound.

Cruise’s statements, including “Psychiatry is a pseudoscience”, and “There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance in a body”, reflect the beliefs of the Church of Scientology, of which he is a member. The interview became particularly tense when Lauer mentioned that he knew people who had been helped by taking Ritalin, an attention-deficit disorder drug.

“Matt, Matt, you don’t even — you’re glib,” Cruise responded. “You don’t even know what Ritalin is. If you start talking about chemical imbalance, you have to evaluate and read the research papers on how they came up with these theories, Matt, OK. That’s what I’ve done.”

Cruise went on to say: “You don’t know the history of psychiatry, I do.”

Cruise has not formally studied medicine beyond a high school education, having dropped out in his senior year (1980) to pursue an acting career. In light of this, some members of the psychiatric community have refuted Cruise’s controversial statements. Dr. John Scully, medical director of the American Psychiatric Association, has said “The illnesses we treat – anxiety, depression – are very real illnesses…The treatments work. We have demonstrated that through robust scientific study.”

Lauer insisted that Ritalin helped people: “You’re telling me what’s worked for people I know or hasn’t worked for people I know. I’m telling you, I’ve lived with these people and they’re better,” Lauer said.

Cruise hinted that Lauer was promoting Ritalin and Lauer scoffed: “I am not. I’m telling you in their cases, in their individual case, it worked.”

The exchange ended when the two basically agreed to disagree. Cruise, who is 42, did admit that one of his goals is to speak more about Scientology in an effort to get people to understand it better.

Scientology has historically been at odds with the established medical and mental health community. The rift dates back to the 1950s and Scientology’s founding father L. Ron Hubbard. In his book, “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health”, published in 1950, Hubbard claims that Dianetics (later called Scientology) could cure the majority of human ailments. These claims were sharply disputed by a variety of mainstream science and medical professionals including psychiatrists.

On Monday, June 27, 2005, the American Psychiatric Association released a statement that stated the following: “It is irresponsible for Mr. Cruise to use his movie publicity tour to promote his own ideological views and deter people with mental illness from getting the care they need…Rigorous, published, peer-reviewed research clearly demonstrates that treatment (of mental illness) works…It is unfortunate that in the face of this remarkable scientific and clinical progress that a small number of individuals and groups persist in questioning its legitimacy.”

The APA represents nearly 36,000 physicians specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.

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