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When Anonymous had Scientology in a panic: A new document has us nostalgic for 2008

AnonLondon

 
Where would we be without our wonderful network of tipsters? We are so fortunate that so many of our readers help us out by tracking down documents or giving us tips about where to find information. We have a few fun items for you today, but we first wanted to acknowledge how much we appreciate the help we get from our sources.

Especially someone like our first tipster today, who is an active member of the Church of Scientology. That’s all we can tell you at this time, but we’re very glad that this person recently sent us a small trove of documents that we’re still poring through. For today, however, we thought we’d share with you a fun little item they gave us that should make our readers who were involved in the Anonymous movement especially nostalgic.

It was May 18, 2008, and the Church of Scientology was in a bit of a panic. The protests by Chanology, the Anonymous wing that had decided to teach Scientology a lesson after it tried to censor the infamous Tom Cruise interview video that had leaked to the Internet that January, had been going on for a few months, and they were taking their toll. The protests were not only happening all over the place, but the protesters themselves were very clever, looking for creative ways to disrupt Scientology’s usual ways of doing things. And now, someone at the church had noticed a problem at a relatively new thing known as “Google Maps.”

Our source thought we’d get a kick out of a memo that went out to all of the “DSA’s” in the western United States, telling them they needed to make themselves familiar with Google Maps and how a map could be customized by users — and fast.

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Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs (OSA) is its public relations, intelligence, and spy division, and at each local org there is a Director of Special Affairs (DSA). We’ve been smuggled this fun document that was sent to all of the DSA’s telling them to get on Google, because some Anonymous weirdos had been changing all of the local Church of Scientology facilities so they showed up as “Cult of Scientology.”

Oh, those Anonymous rascals.

Here, enjoy your moment of 2008 hilarity…

Google Maps memo

 
Our second item comes from one of our most dogged, and most unsung, secret researchers. This person is indefatigable, hunting down amazing things for us that help us piece together our stories. And the other day, he stumbled across a small but perhaps telling thing about the Scientology Media Productions complex that we thought you might find interesting.

SMP is the expensive new set of studios that Scientology has created out of the old KCET complex in Los Angeles that the church purchased in 2011. It was supposed to have its grand opening last Saturday, but then we heard that the ceremony was postponed. But at Mike Rinder’s blog, the former Scientology spokesman said he was told that the SMP did open in a stealth ceremony. We’re still looking for confirmation of that.

In the meantime, we continue to wonder, what exactly are they going to do with this thing? Scientology already has a well-known set of state-of-the-art film studios, its Golden Era Productions complex at Gold Base, near Hemet, California. What are they going to do with the SMP?

Scientology’s marketing materials have implied that the church is starting up its own television station, and for a few years we’ve been having some fun imagining what Scientology TV programming would be like. But so far, we’ve been unable to find proof that Scientology has applied for, or received, a broadcasting license for a TV station.

Then, our dogged researcher noticed something. At Scientology’s application for a trademark on the SMP’s logo, it listed the following as the purpose of the facility…

 
SMPServices

Pre-recorded media, namely digital media digital video discs, digital versatile discs, compact discs, downloadable audio and video recordings, DVD’s, CD’s, and high definition digital discs featuring educational and informative programs, public service announcements and documentaries in the fields of religion, education, philosophy public service, entertainment, volunteer works, charitable works, charitable fundraising, social betterment, literacy, teaching, and drug education

 
Notice there’s no mention of broadcasting, just pre-recorded video. We can imagine that this description is not the last word on what will be going on at the SMP, but it makes you wonder. Did Scientology spend millions for the acquisition and renovation of the KCET studios so it can merely pump out more DVDs and YouTube videos?

If that’s the case, is the SMP mostly a fundraising tool, and a way for church leader David Miscavige to pull more workers out of Gold Base, which he’s been doing steadily since it was revealed in 2009 to contain a bizarre office-prison known as “The Hole”? Well, we wouldn’t put it past him.

And our third item comes from Aaron Smith-Levin, who thought we’d be interested in how Grant Cardone is dealing with the onslaught that is Ron Miscavige’s book Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me.

We’ve made the point that one of the things that makes Ron’s book a real problem for Scientology is that Ron was well known and well liked in the organization. Because of that, it will be harder for Scientologists to ignore this book, the way they do the books or articles written by journalists. Scientologists can be really skilled at ignoring anything in the media that’s upsetting about their church or its leader. But in Ron’s case, we figure they might be more receptive.

David Miscavige, however, has made sure there is handy material to convince Scientologists to ignore his father. On cue, a smear website about Ron appeared online just as the book was coming out, which attacks Ron in the usual Scientology ways. And get a load of Cardone, as he perfectly displays how Scientologists will be expected to deflect the message Ron is trying to convey…

 
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Ron Miscavige, handled!

 
Thanks again to our great tipsters. Keep that good stuff coming!

 
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Going Ideal again, this time in Hungary

Rod Keller let us know that the next Scientology org to go Ideal will be in Budapest, Hungary…

 
BudapestIdeal

BudapestIdeal2

 
At his blog, Péter Bonyai says that the date is actually a little hard to pin down at this point…

The date of the event is either 21 or 28 May – which is strange as the Church tells us in almost any reply to media enquiries that building and opening “Ideal Orgs” is the most important activity they are involved in and a sure sign of their fantastic expansion.

So this statement is rather hard to believe, as they appear to make it really hard to any foreign Scientologist to properly plan and arrange a trip to Budapest and attend this all-important event.

Bonyai makes a good point. These openings are getting more and more secretive. But we hope some of our folks can be there to get some photos out to us.

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on May 6, 2016 at 07:00

E-mail 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. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. 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.

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

 

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