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US Army catches Scientology ‘detox’ study rigging results, government document shows

DailyBeastDetoxAs the Daily Beast reported recently in an excellent piece, a government-funded study has been going on for several years in Maryland that is measuring the effect of Scientology’s “detoxification” regimen on veterans with Gulf War Syndrome. The study isn’t actually testing L. Ron Hubbard’s quack theories for how his sauna-and-niacin plan is actually supposed to work (as Jeffrey Augustine recently laid out in all of its goofiness). Instead of putting Hubbard’s way-out ideas to the test, the study is only asking its subjects if they feel better after getting some exercise and the sauna treatment.

But even with that low bar to get over, Scientology, it turned out, tried to rig things in its favor.

We learned this after the tireless document hound and friend to the Underground Bunker, R.M. Seibert, made another successful records request with the help of the Muckrock website. The documents she managed to get her hands on provide a narrative of how the years-long study ran into numerous problems with funding and bureaucracy. But our favorite item was the record of a site visit made this March by the Army to inspect how its money was being spent.

A handful of minor deficiencies were caught, but the item that really had us chuckling was the discovery that the study was asking subjects to fill out a form that hadn’t been approved.

Can you guess what it was?

Yes, veterans were asked to fill out typical Scientology “success stories” about their time in the program, the same kind of happy reports that Scientologists are pressured to fill out when they finish an expensive course. And naturally, a success story form asks only for “wins,” and there’s no place on it for concerns or complaints. The Army’s reaction was classic…


The team identified a “Success” form in subject files for subjects to record improvements of symptoms or other ‘wins’ experienced through study participation. The Institutional Review Board did not approve this form for use. This form does not provide an opportunity for subjects to identify any problems or concerns. Consider providing subjects a more balanced
assessment form.

You have to hand it to Scientology. Consider the gumption it takes to ask veterans to fill out the kind of success reports that Scientology uses primarily to lay down a record against a church member so that if he or she ever ends up suing the church, Scientology brings out the success stories to show that no harm could have been done to them. (Scientology has used success stories in litigation against everyone from Larry Wollersheim to Debbie Cook to Laura DeCrescenzo. It’s a favorite litigation tactic of the church going way back.)

Wow. Take a look at the report itself and give us your thoughts.

Scientology Detox Site Visit

ADDED: We also got a copy of lead investigator David Carpenter’s response to the Army: “There is no such form as a part of our study. It is true that the Severna Park people use this form, but it is not one that we developed and it is not one we use. Thus this should not require IRB review.”

Yeah, so it’s just those Scientology people pressuring the veterans to think happy thoughts. Got it!


Miss Lovely on parade

Miss Lovely made the scene at Burning Man!



Going Clear at the Emmys

The 2015 “Creative Arts Emmys” is happening tomorrow at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles. FXX will broadcast the event a week later, the day before the regular Emmys broadcast.

Alex Gibney and his documentary Going Clear are up for seven Emmys, and those will be decided tomorrow. We hope to get some reports from the participants.


Bonus photos from our tipsters

What’s this? Only nine days until the grand opening of the Ideal Org in Harlem, and the furniture’s just arriving? Yikes…


Says our tipster: “When PCs could not find or run past-life incidents in auditing, this quote from Science of Survival would be used to get the PC to run imaginary incidents until they felt comfortable locating and running ‘real’ past-life incidents. There really is no line drawn in auditing between imagination and reality when running whole-track incidents, other than coaxing a PC to say that ‘this one is real’.”


This week’s super top registrar in Kaohsiung, Taiwan!




We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.

Tony Ortega’s upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

Sept 15: Phoenix, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 555 N. Central Ave in downtown Phoenix, Cronkite Theater on 2nd floor, 5:30 pm, sponsored by ASU’s Barrett Honors College

Sept 23: Cleveland, Parma Heights Library, 7pm sponsored by Center for Inquiry – Northeast Ohio

Sept 24: Minneapolis, Grumpy’s Bar & Grill, 2801 Snelling Ave, Roseville, 7 pm, sponsored by Minnesota Atheists

Sept 27: Portland, Friendly House, 1737 NW 26th Ave, 12:45 pm, sponsored by Humanists of Portland

Sept 28: Seattle, Razzi’s Pizzeria, 7 pm, with Seattle Skeptics and Seattle Atheists

Sept 29: Vancouver, BC, Seven Dining Lounge, 7 pm

Oct 23: Sydney, Giant Dwarf Theatre (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 25: Melbourne, venue secured (announcement coming later)

Oct 28: Adelaide (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 30: Perth

Past dates: Santa Barbara (5/16), Hollywood (5/17), Orange County (5/17), San Diego (5/20), San Francisco (5/22), New York (6/11), Chicago (6/20), Toronto (6/22), Clearwater (6/28), Washington DC (7/12), Hartford (7/14), Denver (7/17), Dallas (7/20), Houston (7/22), San Antonio (7/24), Austin (7/25), Paris (7/29), London (8/4), Boston (8/24)


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 11, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT 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 cover to cover with the help of LA 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

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
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


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