Perhaps the number one question we get from people who are new to our website or on Twitter is, with all of the evidence and history of Scientology abuses over so many years, why doesn’t law enforcement do something about it?
There are various ways to respond to that question. Lawrence Wright gave one of the best answers during the movie Going Clear when he talked about how Scientology’s tax exempt status, granted in 1993, gives it enormous First Amendment protection as a religious organization.
But we also know that church leader David Miscavige spends significant resources “safe pointing” law enforcement agencies, a policy laid down by L. Ron Hubbard which has the church presenting a positive face to “opinion leaders” through the use of its “social betterment” front groups. By cultivating friendly relationships with agencies located near their major facilities, Scientology has been very effective.
And we want to thank Nathanial Thomas for helping to confirm this with a video he shot on March 5 and has generously shared with us. On that day, Thomas and a friend went to Scientology’s international management headquarters in Riverside County, California, near the town of Hemet. Known as Int Base or Gold Base, it’s a place we got a great overhead look at last year with some amazing drone footage. And if you remember that footage, you remember that a highway cuts right through the middle of the 500-acre compound. (It’s also where some of the hilarity ensues in Louis Theroux’s film playing now in theaters, My Scientology Movie.)
As you’ll see in the video, the presence of Thomas and his friend resulted in someone at the base making a call, saying the two men were fighting in the middle of the road. Several officers in patrol cars arrived, and finding that no fighting was going on, were about to drive away again. But before they did, Thomas managed to talk with a few of them, including a Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy who was surprisingly frank about how much esteem he has for the Scientologists at the base.
Says the deputy: “Scientology has actually been very forthcoming with all the information. I don’t represent them, neither does he [referring to another deputy], but they’ve helped us solve a lot of crime. A lot of crime. And I’m actually very grateful that they’re here, for a lot of reasons. Whatever they want to do behind the gates, that’s not my business.”
Well, thank you, deputy. It’s nice to know that you’re so unconcerned about a place where up to 100 Scientology executives were kept in what can only be characterized as a prison, from 2004 to 2009. And where people like Ron and Becky Miscavige, Marc and Claire Headley, John Brousseau, Stefan and Tanja Castle, and many others have literally had to escape, some of them running through the desert to get to safety. And a place where for decades, women who got pregnant were forced to go to a local clinic to get abortions, whether they wanted to or not.
It’s rather stunning how effective Miscavige’s “safe pointing” has been, and helps explain how he was able to banish a wife to a remote mountain compound more than eleven years ago now without any consequences. Or that he’s made other executives vanish, and law enforcement doesn’t show the slightest interest.
Thank you, Nathanial Thomas, for showing us that it’s pretty much exactly the way we expected. (To see a longer version of his visit to Gold Base, take a look at his YouTube channel.)
Dave and Tom’s excellent Clearwater adventure
Mike Rinder let loose with a great rant on Facebook yesterday that we thought you’d want to see. He was reacting to the news that what Scientology leader David Miscavige has been telling Clearwater officials in one-on-one, off the record meetings are details about Scientology plans to revitalize downtown Clearwater, in part with help from Tom Cruise, who will be putting together some kind of entertainment center.
You may remember that we broke the news of Cruise purchasing a double penthouse in a condo building that’s smack in the middle of the Flag Land Base, and now it sounds like Miscavige really wants Cruise to be involved in remaking his new home town. And so here’s what Rinder, the former church spokesman, had to say about it…
And now Dave and Tom are going to “rescue” Clearwater like the superheros they think they are? These two seem to think they can step in and throw money around and “hey presto” it will all be cool. Problem is, they are the CAUSE of the problem. Tom is getting a new condo downtown and so now something needs to be done to make Clearwater acceptable for a star of his mega-wattage. This happened before when scientology orgs were not up to “Tom’s standards” so Miscavige spent tens, maybe hundreds of millions of dollars buying scientology org buildings in New York, London and Madrid (he was dating Penelope Cruz at the time). Those fancy buildings sit empty today.
Even if he spends hundreds of millions on downtown Clearwater (converting the Oak Cove to a hotel is a silly joke – it will be for scientologists only and will join the other empty scientology hotels that litter downtown Clearwater) nobody will come. Miscavige and Cruise ignore the level of animosity towards scientology in this community — based on doing things like today. Thumbing their noses and operating “above the law.” Cruise’s “entertainment complex” will be as empty as the motels on Cleveland St. Local residents will NOT frequent it. And they are not going to get any big national retailers to come in — scientology will try to woo them with the “FSU Economic Impact Study” and when real professionals look at that embarrassing document they will note it is premised entirely on information PROVIDED by scientology.
I am sure Miscavige dazzled these bumpkins with video presentations and slick sales talk. Sad to say, he is smarter, tougher and has a lot more money at his disposal than they do. It’s like watching sheep being herded to the slaughter.
The Meaning of Life!
Author Robert Wright started “Meaning of Life TV” back in 2002, and he’s still associated with a version of it today, at meaningoflife.tv. We were interviewed recently by the site’s Nikita Petrov, who asked us some very good questions about Scientology. We’re parking it here for archival purposes, so don’t feel obliged to see us yammering on again about L. Ron Hubbard’s creation.
HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25. Go here to start making your plans.
Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,690 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,793 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,287 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,327 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,039 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 506 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,624 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,794 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,114 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,089 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 445 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,747 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 854 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,256 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,129 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 710 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,215 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,459 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,568 days.
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Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.
The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)
Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield