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The BBC’s John Sweeney gives us another glimpse of creepy Scientology intimidation

SweeneyChurchOfFearDuring hearings this week in a lawsuit about Scientology spying and harassment, a 2010 video was played in a courtroom that showed the church’s hired operatives following Monique Rathbun to her south Texas home.

The video had nothing to do with a free-speech protest, and Monique has never been a member of the church itself. It appeared to be solid evidence that Scientology was tailing and filming her for no other reason than an ongoing campaign of intimidation and harassment.

But the church explained the video in an interesting way. Although it looked pretty plainly like a film crew stalking Monique, Scientology attorney Ricardo Cedillo claimed that it was actually footage from a church documentary about someone else entirely — BBC journalist John Sweeney.

In fact, Sweeney was being tailed by Scientology around that time. We previously published a series of 2007 text messages that showed Scientology leader David Miscavige micromanaging an intense stalking of Sweeney by church spokesmen Mike Rinder and Tommy Davis. Sweeney came to the US that year to make his documentary “Scientology and Me.”

Sweeney tells us that when he was filming his 2010 sequel, “The Secrets of Scientology,” he did travel to Texas to see the Rathbuns. And to show that he was still being tailed and photographed, he sent us a smartphone video that he made at the Tampa Airport in 2010.

 

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That Sweeney, what a card.

So what have we learned? That Scientology expends enormous resources to stalk, photograph, and intimidate journalists, former church members, and the wife of a former church member — Monique Rathbun. Whether claiming to be making “documentaries” is going to convince Judge Dib Waldrip that this activity was not a form of harassment is still to be seen.

 
As long as we’re looking at fun video, we love the charm of this WISE invitation. (WISE is Scientology’s front group that tries to rope in chiropractors and dentists.) If we’re not wrong, this was filmed in the Super Power Building in the portion that’s a museum to the Apollo (see the lifeboat behind him?). If that’s correct, then is the “sea” sound piped in? Give us your thoughts.

 

 
And one more tidbit today: We’ve been telling you for a long time that the Ideal Org push has resulted, in some cases, in empty buildings rotting because after raising the money to purchase them, there’s not enough money renovate them. (And Mike Rinder, at his blog, has been particularly good in documenting this.) Empty Scientology eyesores in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Toronto are real headaches for city officials.

But the latest news about a derelict Ideal Org in South Africa Zimbabwe is really in another category altogether. According to a local publication, the empty Ideal Org building in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, has been taken over by squatters who are running a bordello.

Where does that fit on the Tone Scale?

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on February 6, 2014 at 14:55

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN (Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING (Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40

 

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