Tony Ortega is executive editor of The Raw Story and is formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He's written about Scientology since 1995, and has a forthcoming book about the subject. He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world from an undisclosed location in an underground bunker he shares with four cats and one of them wrinkly Shar Pei dogs. Despite his super-secret security protections, you can still reach him pretty easily by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT gmail.com (Drop him a line if you'd like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.) [Header image courtesy John Rickard]
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RATHBUN SUIT: Scientology’s last swipe in its anti-SLAPP appeal before hearing next week

Thomas Leatherbury

Thomas Leatherbury

Next Wednesday, Monique Rathbun and the Church of Scientology will tangle in another hearing before the Texas Third Court of Appeals.

The last time the court heard arguments in this lawsuit, it then reversed a trial court ruling that held Monique could depose Scientology leader David Miscavige in a question of jurisdiction. This time, the entire lawsuit is on the line.

Continue reading RATHBUN SUIT: Scientology’s last swipe in its anti-SLAPP appeal before hearing next week

New leaked videos from the super beings at Scientology!

LIPlanningSometimes it’s important to remember that Scientologists believe that not only had L. Ron Hubbard discovered, for the first time, the actual nature of the human mind — a breakthrough on par with the discovery of fire — but that he had found a way to improve human beings and make them ‘homo novi,’ an entirely new race.

Scientologists take pity on us mere wogs, who are stuck on this prison planet, blinded by our reactive minds. If only we could be like the superhumans who are using Ron’s technology to take over the galaxy.

Continue reading New leaked videos from the super beings at Scientology!

Scientology says it’s received $5.7 million from Google in advertising grants

Brandy_HarrisonAt a $100 per person event held in the San Fernando Valley on September 6, about 500 Scientologists were told, among other things, that Google has approved advertising grants totaling $5.7 million for Scientology churches around the country.

Also, that the Chinese government has approved Scientology’s website, scientology.org, as one of only a few religious websites Chinese citizens can access without restrictions.

Continue reading Scientology says it’s received $5.7 million from Google in advertising grants

Scientology’s secret plans for world domination — even better than the last time!

SciSatelliteIt’s always fun to see Scientology’s plans for taking over the world. No matter how much trouble the organization is in, no matter how many oldtimers ditch the place because of leader David Miscavige’s excesses, you can always count on Scientology acting like it’s actually about to catch fire and overwhelm the world with L. Ron Hubbard fever.

And how does Scientology think it’s going to reverse its recent downward spiral this time? Through media!

Continue reading Scientology’s secret plans for world domination — even better than the last time!

Scientology Sunday Funnies: Smile while you write that check, pardner!

Michael_ChiaraOur tipsters have been busy sending us Scientology’s wacky fundraising fliers and emails this week. We have a ton of them. But we did our best to narrow it down just to the best. (And if we didn’t use something you sent in, our apologies, but we are so grateful that you sent us what you did.)

Last night, the Silicon Valley folks held their Gladiator-themed party, and we’re looking forward to seeing photos from it soon.

But for now, we have one more promotional item for the party — a video that must have got folks awfully pumped up to have their cash taken from them at sword-point! And how can you go wrong with comedian Jim Meskimen?

Continue reading Scientology Sunday Funnies: Smile while you write that check, pardner!

Ryan Hamilton files 20th lawsuit against Scientology’s drug rehab network

Mike_SchmidtLas Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton has filed another federal fraud lawsuit against Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon. This one involves a New Hampshire family that was convinced to send their son to a Narconon facility in San Diego County.

Also, this case is very recent — Linda Keller was looking for a rehab facility for her son, Christopher, in April 2014.

Continue reading Ryan Hamilton files 20th lawsuit against Scientology’s drug rehab network

Escaping from a Scientology drug rehab center: A transcript

Per Wickstrom

Per Wickstrom

Recently, we received a message through Facebook from someone we didn’t know. She was frantic, worried about getting her cousin out of a drug rehab clinic in Michigan. The clinic, Best Drug Rehabilitation, is one of several Michigan facilities either owned or run by Per Wickstrom or a member of his family, and is modeled on Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon. Like Narconon centers, Best Drug uses Scientology training rather than drug counseling on its patients, who are not informed ahead of time of that link. We’ve provided this transcript from actual Facebook messages, with only slight edits for clarity and spelling, and we’ve changed the name of the woman who contacted us to “Anne.”

Continue reading Escaping from a Scientology drug rehab center: A transcript

DOX: Scientology drug rehab center found deficient after a 2010 California death

NNWatsonvilleWell here’s a shock. A patient at Scientology’s Watsonville, California drug rehab clinic, Narconon of Northern California, was rushed to an emergency room and died, the state later investigated the clinic and substantiated seven deficiencies — several of them major — and the clinic apparently suffered no penalty at all.

That’s pretty shocking, considering what’s been happening in the rest of the Narconon system in the years since that 2010 death was investigated in early 2012. Additional patient deaths in Georgia, Michigan, and Oklahoma — where three patients died in only a nine-month period — have led to multiple government investigations and numerous lawsuits.

Continue reading DOX: Scientology drug rehab center found deficient after a 2010 California death

Finally! Scientology begins selling its mysterious ‘OT’ levels more openly with slick new videos!

ot3AdWe’ve said it before: Scientology is really missing out by not being more open about its space-opera beliefs. Thanks to the Internet the word is already out, and there’s just no hiding the fact that Scientology is all about time travel to your brutal experiences taming unruly planets 10 million years in the past, getting implanted with memory-wiping brain-scans on Venus or Mars between lives, and spending years exorcising unseen alien entities with electronics that were considered sophisticated when a guy named Ike lived in the White House.

Maybe that kind of Space Age excitement, especially at several hundred dollars an hour, isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But it seems to us that everyone would be a lot better off if Scientology were to embrace its L. Ron Hubbard weirdness and actually try to reach people in a more open way.

Continue reading Finally! Scientology begins selling its mysterious ‘OT’ levels more openly with slick new videos!

Longtime Scientologist Jim Jackson remembers Lyman Spurlock, 1945-2014

Jim Jackson

Jim Jackson

We’re still hearing from people about Lyman Spurlock, the longtime Scientology executive who died last month of throat cancer. And in particular we received a truly remarkable remembrance from someone who has never spoken publicly about his time in the organization. Jim Jackson is an attorney and certified public accountant in Los Angeles.

 
I first met Lyman Spurlock in 1971 as his “Hard TR’s Supervisor” at the Berkeley Mission. Since we were both CPA’s, he later hired me in 1974 to work for him in his tax practice in Los Angeles.

Continue reading Longtime Scientologist Jim Jackson remembers Lyman Spurlock, 1945-2014