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Tom Cruise and his Freedom Medal of Valor: Where’s the tabloid press?

TomCruiseLondonOn Saturday night, just before midnight, we published a story about a remarkable photo of Tom Cruise that had been posted to Instagram. The photo had been put there by Luis Bascaran, a Venezuelan talent manager whose stable of actors includes a woman named Ruddy Rodriguez.

On Saturday afternoon Bascaran posted the photo of Ruddy and Tom Cruise, and Bascaran indicated that the location was London, and that the actors were there for a “spectacular celebration.” But what really caught our eye was the large medal around Tom’s neck — we recognized it immediately.

As we explained in our story, this was the first time that we had seen Tom photographed with his “Freedom Medal of Valor” since he had received it exactly ten years earlier from Scientology leader David Miscavige. Two years ago, there was a British press report that Tom had been spotted wearing the medal at the Patron’s Ball held on the annual International Association of Scientologists gala weekend, but this was the first time that Tom had actually been photographed wearing the thing since he received it a decade ago. The day this photograph was posted was the same day as this year’s IAS Patron’s Ball, and we feel pretty confident that’s where he was going (in nearby East Grinstead, England, about 30 miles away) after snapping this photo.

We explained more background about the medal and why the photo is such a big deal last night on Allison Hope Weiner’s show, “Media Mayhem”…

 

 
As we pointed out, this should put to rest all of the rumors promoted by the tabloid press that Tom was getting away from Scientology — rumors we never took seriously.

But we have to ask, where is the tabloid press? The outlets that remark on Cruise’s every move are surprisingly silent on this, and now the photograph has been up (and it’s still there) for more than three days. What are they waiting for?

 
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DeVochtBloombergMike Rinder: Top Scientology management’s greatest hits

During our appearance with Allison Hope Weiner, we also discussed Marty Rathbun’s Sunday adventure at LAX, and the video of his encounter with three top Scientology officials that shot to the top of Reddit yesterday and has now been seen more than half a million times.

At his blog, Mike Rinder reminds us of a previous run-in with two of those officials — Jenny Linson DeVocht and Dave Bloomberg in 2010.

If you haven’t heard the audio or read the transcript of that encounter, brace yourself for a bumpy ride.

Here’s the entire call. See Rinder’s post for the transcript.

 

 
Mike Rinder was once the top spokesman for all of Scientology and oversaw its legal affairs until he was imprisoned in “The Hole” for about a year in 2006. He was then pulled out of the church’s internal prison long enough to help “handle” BBC reporter John Sweeney in 2007 when the reporter was making his film “Scientology and Me.” Rinder then used his freedom from The Hole to make an escape in London that year. As a result of his defection, his entire family — wife Cathy Rinder, daughter Taryn, and son Benjamin “disconnected” from him in the Scientology way.

Like with Marty Rathbun, Rinder was subjected to fierce retaliation in the form of surveillance and harassment — what Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard dubbed “Fair Game.”

By 2010, Rinder had gone public with his own criticisms of Scientology and was now working with John Sweeney for the BBC’s follow-up film, “The Secrets of Scientology.” He had also moved on from his previous marriage, and was dating Christie Collbran, the woman he would eventually marry and have a son with. That day in 2010 in Florida, he was waiting for Christie at a doctor’s appointment when, like Rathbun at LAX, he was ambushed a group of Scientologists — in this case Dave Bloomberg, Jenny Linson DeVocht and members of his family: his estranged wife Cathy, daughter Taryn, and brother Andrew, who had been flown out from Melbourne for the operation.

As it happened, Rinder happened to be on the phone with Sweeney in England, who recorded what could be heard. As Rinder says, the sound quality isn’t great, but the transcript is gut-wrenching. And although it was the Scientologists who ambushed Rinder, afterwards the church tried to use injuries Cathy Rinder sustained in the confrontation as evidence that she’d been attacked, unprovoked, by her former husband. It was pretty slimy.

It can’t be easy to relive this incident for Rinder, but we’re glad he reminded us today of how consistent Scientology’s top management has been in its bizarre behavior.

 
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With “Ideal Narconons” on the way, Narconon Arrowhead circles the drain

In 2001, the flagship facility of Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon Arrowhead, recorded a Public Service Announcement. It’s online here, and about halfway through, you can hear a man say, “it was the closest thing to walking death I could imagine” among the other voices talking about the negative effects of drug abuse.

The man who uttered those words was a Narconon Arrowhead employee named Jean Lafitte.

Eight years after that recording was made, in 2009, while still an employee at Narconon Arrowhead, Jean Lafitte took his own life. (You can find his obituary here.)

Narconon Arrowhead CEO Gary Smith is fully aware, we’re told, that Jean Lafitte’s voice is on that PSA. And yet, look what the facility sent out via email last month:

 
NNArrowheadAd

 
Says our tipster who made us aware that Narconon Arrowhead was still using this recording…

This was a PSA that was created shortly after the grand opening of Arrowhead in 2001. If you notice the text, it mentions loved ones killing themselves. Well, Jean Lafitte appears in this recording — he was a Narconon staff member for many years and killed himself on the property, yet here they are still pretending to be some type of saviors. In addition, the majority of the other people heard in the PSA have relapsed, and one had her boyfriend (and former Arrowhead staff member) die of an overdose.

And that wasn’t the only odd or questionable thing Narconon Arrowhead has put out in recent weeks. We were forwarded two separate email surveys that Arrowhead sent out, and one of them was particularly strange…

 
NNArrowheadSurvey

 
Our tipster says Narconon has sharply increased the number of emails it’s sending out, including several surveys. It’s consistent with a facility that is on the ropes and trying to decide how to remain in business just as it’s being superseded. Apparently, the folks at Narconon International are even considering the radical possibility of finally admitting, after decades in business, what has been plain all along — that Narconon’s supposedly “secular” program is actually Scientology training.

“They’re really getting desperate,” our tipster says.

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on October 22, 2014 at 07:00

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, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48

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, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

 

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