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Scientology Sunday Funnies: Portland Is Now Cleared, On to the Rest of Earth! UPDATE: PHOTOSHOPPING?


[UPDATE: See our Editor’s Note, below.]

Yesterday’s events in Portland turned out to be a riot here at the blog as we followed the adventures of Mark “Wise Beard Man” Bunker.

Bunker was there to witness David Miscavige (right, on stage) open up the newest “Ideal Org,” the Scientology leader’s program of acquiring and renovating expensive downtown landmarks even as the church is suffering internal schisms and dwindling membership.

We have more photos of yesterday’s event, and then our usual Sunday collection of wacky Scientology mailers and fliers sent in to us by our network of tipsters.

UPDATE: Mike Rinder just notified us about the blatant Photoshop job done by the Church of Scientology, which has a history of doing this. Here’s a photo of yesterday’s event that they posted to their main website,…



As Rinder points out, the entire right side of that image contains people who weren’t actually at the event. We’ve added a red line to show where the line of rented trees actually was and the part of the crowd that wasn’t actually there. Compare it to this photo taken from a different angle by Omnom which clearly shows the row of trees…


That touch-up job is pretty bad, and we’re kind of amazed that they tried to pull this off with so many of our correspondents on the scene. The church is claiming an attendance of 2,500 people — but our eyewitnesses estimate it was closer to 450 to 750.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Washington Times reported that the Church of Scientology denies that it doctored this photo. We compared Scientology’s photo of the crowd (which it estimated at 2,500) against photos taken by our correspondents (who said the crowd was more like 450 to 750 people) and pointed out that an entire row of shrubs had somehow been erased and there were people seemingly standing in a street that was actually empty. The church has been caught manipulating crowd shots in the past to inflate attendance at its events. Some of our own commenters pointed out that a very wide angle lens in the right position might create the effect in Scientology’s image. We’ll be interested to see further analysis of the image by experts. UPDATE: Please see our latest statement about Scientology’s photo.

Over at WWP, one of the researchers there noticed something fishy going on with the balloons in the image…


See a larger version of this photo here.

UPDATE TWO: Mark Bunker just posted his preliminary video of Miscavige after his odyssey yesterday to find a place to use his camera without interference. Take a look…


Hey, we have more coming from Portland, probably in our Wednesday post. Sign up for our e-mails (look on the left rail) and you’ll get a message every time we put up a new story. Now, back to our post from this morning…

We enjoyed several photos from Portland posted by “Omnom” at the Ex-Scientologist Message Board. There was this classic shot of stacked chairs, reflecting the poor showing at the event. (Jefferson Hawkins tells us he estimates a turnout of about 400 to 450 people. Missionary Kid counted rows and came up with a number closer to 750). Apparently, they were expecting many more…


Here’s an overhead shot by Omnom of the full crowd that filled NW 3rd Avenue. As protesters learned, Scientology had acquired a movie permit that allowed them to shut down several blocks around the building…


Here’s a video put together by Jefferson Hawkins. No sound, but some good views, especially of Miscavige on stage…


And this morning, we now have the side-splitting claims of the church’s own press release about the event. One of the things we wanted to know about this Ideal Org grand opening was the roster of local dignitaries who joined in. Sacramento’s event lured in the city’s mayor, Kevin Johnson, and Denver’s Ideal Org attracted the chief of police, Robert White. So how did Portland do?

Not too well. Here’s the lineup: “Cornelius City Manager and former Mayor of Beaverton, Mr. Rob Drake; Executive Director of the Portland Marathon, Mr. Les Smith; Chair of the Inter-Religious Action Network of Washington County, Ms. Annie Heart; and Host for the national ‘Voice of Freedom’ television and radio programs, Reverend Jim Nicholls.”

What, no elected officials at all? Come on, Miscavige, you’re slipping.

And Scientology’s own estimate for the attendance of the event? 2,500. Which is about three to five times the reality.

So let’s move on to our Sunday funnies. Hey, New York, get ready to have a The Way to Happiness booklet shoved into your hand while you’re at the Puerto Rican Day parade next month!


Hey, who doesn’t want a sane planet! Join the most ethical people on earth as they bring back malingerers into the fold…


We had noticed that several different video versions of an IAS song had been showing up lately. Now we understand the reason why — orgs were competing with each other in a karoake contest! And look who won — Rome!


You’ve heard about the problems at Narconon’s flagship facility in Oklahoma, and you’ve read about the raid of Narconon in Georgia. But what’s happening out in California? Apparently, they’re having a whale of a time out there, as this video attests…


Thanks again to our great tipsters — keep those mailers and fliers coming in!


Changes at the Peacock Network

NBC has cancelled Rock Center, which is disappointing for those of us who had been enjoying its segments on Scientology and its drug rehab network, Narconon. However, NBC also just announced a spin off of its popular show Chicago Fire that will be named Chicago PD, and will star ex-Scientology actor Jason “Let’s see a motherfucking clear” Beghe.

And finally, a programming note: On Friday, we scrambled to post a story about Scientology’s motion to disqualify the attorneys for Luis Garcia in his federal fraud lawsuit. We could tell from the comments that the documents we posted were tough to interpret. So tomorrow morning, we plan to have more about the motion, with some analysis by Scott Pilutik.


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 12, 2013 at 07:00

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