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Judge: Testimony about Scientology’s abuses so bad, it should get kicked out of the country

[Lemberger leaves court with Scientology’s Eric Lieberman, Mattan Ben Shaul, and Monique Yingling]

 
Dani Lemberger is back from a well-deserved weeklong vacation in the country of Jordan and we talked to him briefly yesterday, asking him what he could say about his recently concluded trial in Tel Aviv, Israel.

We have talked to three people who were in the courtroom during the trial, and we also obtained transcripts of much of the proceedings. We knew that Dani and Tami Lemberger were suing the Church of Scientology for libel and fraud, but that they were asking for only a modest amount in damages — 80,000 shekels, which is about $22,000. The church, for its part, wanted the Lembergers to stop violating church trademarks and copyrights when they offer “independent” Scientology at their “Dror Center” in Haifa. So how did things turn out?

Dani, who sounded very upbeat and satisfied, said he couldn’t divulge the terms of the settlement. But when we asked if Dror Center would still be open for business, he said, “open and thriving.” He says that about 60 people currently are active in auditing and courses at Dror Center, with others taking correspondence courses from overseas, particularly in Latvia, Ukraine, and Russia.

Our observers in court say that there were several stunning moments in the trial, which featured testimony by both Dani and Tami Lemberger, as well as Oregon resident Ronit Charny, who was Tami’s auditor at the Flag Land Base. Charny’s testimony detailed how frustrating it was for Tami to try and finish the expensive auditing level “OT 7” because Dani had become outspoken in his criticisms of Scientology leader David Miscavige.

Charny testified that Tami Lemberger spent thousands of dollars for interrogations, and had to endure pressure from Scientology officials to divorce Dani if she wanted to complete OT 7. At one point on the stand, Charny broke down as she related how Tami was manipulated and lied to by Scientology executives.

Dani Lemberger began his testimony in a January hearing, but our observers tell us that Tel Aviv District Judge Ruth Levhar-Sharon stopped the proceeding, seemingly astonished by what she was hearing about Scientology’s methods. At that point, she complained to Scientology attorneys that they had no representatives present in the courtroom from the organization itself who could make decisions about a settlement to end the lawsuit. She then rescheduled Dani’s remaining testimony and cross-examination for February 20.

It was during Dani’s cross-examination in the Feb 20 hearing that Scientology’s local attorney, Mattan Ben Shaul, told Dani that he had contacted former church official Mark “Marty” Rathbun, who had turned over a damaging email that Dani sent Rathbun in 2013, which we wrote about earlier. After the cross-examination of Dani was over, Judge Levhar-Sharon asked if the church had brought representatives, as she requested. In the courtroom, two of Scientology’s American attorneys were present — Eric Lieberman and William Walsh — and they then brought in two more of Scientology’s familiar faces — attorney Monique Yingling and Sea Org official Marc Yager.

Yes, Scientology’s star attorney who featured in a couple of ABC 20/20 episodes, Monique Yingling, had made the trip to the Tel Aviv courtroom.

Our court observers say that Judge Levhar-Sharon dressed down the large church delegation in English, telling them that she had heard “terrible” testimony about Scientology’s treatment of people, and that if the two sides could not come to some kind of settlement agreement, she would be writing a judgment that she said was so harsh, it would likely end Scientology in the state of Israel — and might, she added, have a global impact on the church.

She asked the church why, if the Lembergers dropped their damages claim, it couldn’t simply agree to leave the Lembergers alone to practice Scientology the way they saw fit. Our observers say Yager replied that if he were to do so, that it would make him a “heretic” in his own church. Wow.

The Church of Scientology and the Lembergers found a way to come to an agreement in the weeks since that remarkable court hearing.

But we can’t help wondering, if Judge Levhar-Sharon felt that the testimony in her court horrified her to such a degree that she had the power to shut down Scientology in the state of Israel, why should it be allowed to continue there simply because it found a way to settle with the Lembergers? Shouldn’t Israeli government officials be made aware of what horrified Judge Levhar-Sharon? We only wish we knew a journalist there who might take this subject as seriously as we do.

As for Dani and Tami Lemberger, we haven’t made it a secret that we admire them for their principled stand against the church, and we believe they should be allowed to practice “independent Scientology” as long as they want to. (We support all independents to believe what they want, as long as they don’t harm people the way the Church of Scientology does with its abusive policies — and yes, we say that even as we find L. Ron Hubbard and his ideas perfectly ridiculous. We respect all Scientologists as people, but we believe we are under no obligation to respect the ideas of Scientology.)

If anyone has some good ideas about how the testimony in this court case might be presented to Israeli officials so they might be made aware of Judge Levhar-Sharon’s statements, let us know. It might make for an interesting story in the Israeli press.

 
——————–

Valley Girl

Nancy Cartwright’s dream came true yesterday and Scientology’s San Fernando Valley “Ideal Org” was finally opened after years of intense fundraising. Now that David Miscavige has showed up to release some balloons, it can go back to being simply an empty building.

 

 
——————–

 
HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25. Go here to start making your plans. (And thank you, Observer!)

 
——————–

Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,695 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,798 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,292 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,332 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,044 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 511 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,629 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,799 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,119 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,094 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 450 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,752 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 859 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,261 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,134 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 715 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,220 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,464 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,573 days.

 
——————–

3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on March 20, 2017 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, Kindle, and audiobook versions. 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.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

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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  • Newiga

    Congratulations Mike Rinder for getting a US citizenship! F5

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BR3reVQlv_o/

    • Jimmy3

      Does that mean hes not using his Australian citizenship anymore?

    • Joe

      Yay!!!!!!! His family is so adorable.

      • flyonthewall

        my kids could prob beat up his kids

        • ReallyMGM

          The youngest one looks like his “Mini Me.”

          • flyonthewall

            he just needs a beard

    • Rasha
      • JJ

        Australia! Australia! Australia!

    • Nice.

    • Kestrel

      Congratulations, Mr. Rinder!

    • Observer

      Congratulations! We need all the sane people we can get right about now.

    • Juicer77

      🙂

  • nottrue

    He has a podcast on his twitter feed. ..He is a Bunker Fan.. .. … . .. https://twitter.com/jameslparis/status/843623418465521664/photo/1

  • OTVIIIisGrrr8!

    Church of Scientology Denounces Doctored Photos
    Church spokesman Ken Delusion today denounced doctored photos showing COB RTC Mr. David Miscavige apparently meeting with disgraced and convicted former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. “Mr. Miscavige does not know Lee Baca, has never met Lee Baca, and was out of the county in Israel when these alleged photos were taken. These photos are obviously a Psych plot to besmirch the good name of David Miscavige,” averred Delusion. “In happier news, Mr. Miscavige opened the Valley Ideal Org yesterday. Kirstie Alley and 12,000,000 other Scientologist attended the event.”

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/11956a8c01043eda17c027a545083debef156bc288f20439faa77e5750d4de93.png

    • Qbird

      My how ‘friends’ change, given the situation! XD

    • Rasha

      That absolute lie is unfounded. Here is the official Cherch record of the event…. (F5)

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5189cd956865fdf5f12a1d97189791a81e9af88fee79867d760d27828032e96e.jpg

      • Harpoona Frittata

        Can’t…help…myself…here. There’s a hilarious, but completely obscene shooping opportunity in this factually true pic of the niblet reaching out to shake, no pump the…(well, you can visually imagine where I’m going here, right?)

        Caption to read: “$cientology wants to pump you up too!”

        • Rasha

          XD

        • Kestrel

          Wouldn’t he have to reach just a little higher?

          • ze moo

            That’s a Donny Trump Snatchshake.

            • Kestrel

              I thought a snatchshake was one of the many beverages not served at Chick-fil-a.

          • Taffy Sinclair

            Moving on up just a little bit higher.

      • OTVIIIisGrrr8!

        Exactly and thank you. COB was merely drilling his staff on how to greet dignitaries with high ARC. That’s all that happened until the Psychs engaged in suppressive photoshoopery in order to besmirch COB.

        • Rasha

          It’s just awful how some people will just throw a Baca in there for no good reason!!….

      • Observer

        What is he doing with his hands?

    • ze moo

      I decry the besmirching of any and all who use besmirching as a way to besmirch any others. All besmirchers should themselves be besmirched. Oh crap, I just besmirched the besmirchers. Now I shall be besmirched!! Oh, woe is me. I shall rue this day forever.

      • Taffy Sinclair

        Moo!! Hi zemoo. Just greeting your luxurious self 🐂

    • Intergalactic Walrus

      LAPD Deputy Chief Robert Green is the new Lee Baca. These CO$ ass-kissing cops are like cockroaches, you rid the world of one and another one crawls out of a crack in the floor to replace it…
      (refresh)

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ca8ed6c998aed8122175a489d522f50b628c8148fc2a98ef434595d30e2892ad.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ef60aab4568ffceccfff46a2e18b6d7534efc0c5b3ad1df20fd36931d2506a84.png

      • 5 Feet Long and Luminous

        Hold up, is that top photo for real? It looks like something that would come with the picture frame.

        • Intergalactic Walrus

          IRK, but it’s real. The sneaky clams now crop the photos so you can’t see the feet and show where COB is standing in relation to everyone else. Here it looks like they have Green standing at least 10 feet behind COB so he doesn’t look so short but now COB’s head appears twice as big as in comparison. The whole photo is bizarre.

          • 5 Feet Long and Luminous

            It seriously looks like they’re in front of a green screen or something. Yeah, really bizarre.

    • Still_On_Your_Side
      • Missionary Kid

        It couldn’t be Cruise. While he’s taller, he’s not that much taller than shortarse.

        • EmmaDaoust

          Wearing lifts that high is quite a stunt, and, well, he does do his own stunts.

          • Missionary Kid

            *Snickersnort*

      • sizzle8

        I like how Miscavige uses two hands to clasp Baca’s hand while the good sheriff plays pocket pool with his other.

      • JJ

        Pahahahaaa!

    • JJ

      Why not a big pie face sticker?

  • eh_politico

    @t0ny0rteg4:disqus have you seen this? Do you know if there’s any truth to this?http://radaronline.com/videos/lisa-marie-presley-scientology/

    • Missionary Kid

      I saw it, and I think it’s bullshit. When I commented on it, I didn’t even put a link to it. It has Lisa Marie losing her children and back in $cientology and using drugs.

    • Robert Eckert

      Radar has lost credibility, on the subject of Scientology especially, a long time ago.

  • ze moo

    Judge Ruth Levhar-Sharon joins a long list of judges who have nailed the practices of $cientology where they belong, in the criminal justice system. True that the case in Israel was in civil court, but her words should be plastered all over the internet.

    The Lemburgers seem like such nice people. It just goes to show that even $cientologists can be good people, if they get out of the grind of Corporate $cientology. So all you never ins (myself included), don’t judge a book by its cover, unless that book is Battlefield Earth. It’s one thing to be open minded, it is another to let your brains fall out.

    Drop the coercive parts of Lron’s wisdom and you still have imaginary engrams and past lives and BTs to exorcise. I can why the early parts of the Bridge might be useful, but I have to pass on them.

    Still, I would enjoy sitting down with them and having a beer or 3. My only question is are Buffalo Wings kosher?

  • Intergalactic Walrus
    • stanrogers

      Note: this Aslan guy isn’t actually a lion, so if you were planning to tune in to see that…

      • Intergalactic Walrus

        At least there is no chance that he’ll be eating brains this week!

        • Observer

          Are you suuuuuuuure?

          • Intergalactic Walrus

            Well, since he’s going to be surrounded by $cientologists, he’ll have to order in 😉

      • JJ

        Every time I see that it is Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy all over!

  • PeaceMaker

    On the subject of human trafficking by Scientology, the young woman wearing a horizontally striped shirt in two photos, looks very Russian to me – even the shirt is rather typical, unless that is in fashion now in California – and possibly also the other young woman to the right of her in one photo. I deal with quite a few Russians and can often peg the new immigrants pretty accurately.
    Some day will we hear the story of how they staffed up this org for the big opening – and then how it collapsed. Hopefully much sooner, Scientology’s use and abuse of foreign workers will be exposed.

    • Vaquera

      She is of Czech heritage. Her hashtags indicate they are from Texas, Denmark and Miami.
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bf32e88a8b0d230e3486a7866a2d0d2bd8e4622d5c2258dc17b7b9d3de04beb9.jpg

      • Jimmy3

        Good Ron, no wonder they look so happy. If I were from places like that I’d welcome getting trafficked the hell out of there.

        • Kestrel

          I sure hope to see you at HowdyCon this year.

          • Jimmy3

            I don’t know yet. I have a wedding (not mine) around the same time. But that is up in the air too.

            • Vaquera

              The wedding is up in the air? Does he know?

            • Jimmy3

              They’re just playing it by Lear at this point. It was never a for sure thing.

            • Kim O’Brien

              then i’m not going either . screw it . i’ll find a wedding , or a funeral , or a bar mitzvah .

              this is the worst cult ever

            • iampissed

              We suck at this cult thing.

            • Rasha

              No! We’re… it’s just… you guys do stuff!! And be like, all subservient and stuff! All of you! And …. Okay, yeah, we gotta practice more….. maybe an annual conference or something….

            • Jimmy3

              I am trying to make it work ok. I feel a little bad about it now… I recommended to them an amazing wedding photographer, but he’s actually a cheap divorce attorney.

            • Kim O’Brien

              they will thank you twice ~ get to howdycon

            • Rasha

              YAY!! Jimmy Three Times is going!!!!

      • PeaceMaker

        Vaquera, thanks for the sleuthing, that put me on the track. She is Czech, apparently brought over in just the last couple of months.

        • JJ

          Ahoj, jak se máš, běh o život!

          • PeaceMaker

            Nem fogok vásárolni ezt a lemezt, hogy karcos!

            • JJ

              I am getting this as Hungarian “I will not buy this record scratched…” The LRH stuff comes on CD now I think…

            • PeaceMaker

              Your comment seemed like a non-sequitur, so I responded with that from the Monty Python Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook sketch

            • JJ

              Oh. Mine is Czech for hello welcome and run away… I am not sure I know the Hungarian phrase book one let me go see.

              tabac.

              I have not seen this one as often as say the Cheese Shop or X parrot. The Penguin on top of your television set will explode.

              goornn

      • Joe

        It cracks me up that every Scientologist’s Instagram posts have more hashtags than a 12 year old girl.

        “Yay, we just signed up to get people on course! #amazing #fun #friends #ihavealife #pleasebelieveme #missingpersonsreport #ideal #twins #power #money #love”

    • Jenny Griffith

      She looks miserable.

  • Still_On_Your_Side

    Notified “The Jerusalem Post,” “JTA Today” and “Haaretz” about Tony’s story on the Lemberger litigation and Judge Levhar-Sharon’s remarks.

    • Jimmy3

      Slalom.

      • Missionary Kid

        What are you doing, skiing?

        • Jimmy3

          You’re funny. Matso tov.

          • stanrogers

            People called Romanes, they go the ‘ouse?

          • scottmercer

            La Hyams.

      • Still_On_Your_Side

        Are we skiing? (I am laughing)

        • Jimmy3

          Yes, in a way. Scientology is going down a black diamond with their skis strapped on backwards. It is humorous.

  • Intergalactic Walrus
    • Kim O’Brien

      wow . if ONLY someone would ask the name of the doctor of the ” hopeless coma patient ”

      darn it

    • Kestrel

      “That’s all you got? Comas?” – Benny Hinn

      • Kay (aka Nasty Lady)

        Laugh

    • Missionary Kid

      VM’s are the $cientology equivalents of faith healers. Both fake and taking advantage of faith.

    • Harpoona Frittata

      Quick, someone nominate Elron for sainthood! He’s cured more incurable cases of leukemia, bad breath and a lust for hot young same-sexed flesh than any non-medical doctor doctor who has ever lived. Kids with only half a brain have been rehabilitated under his kind and caring care. Womens’ cup size often miraculously increased, merely by being in his presence! The list goes on and on!

      These are true miracles and this true.

    • chukicita

      I wonder what the insurance code for woo is.

      • Kestrel

        47X

      • Intergalactic Walrus

        LRH?

    • madame duran

      “…we do a lot of good that you never hear about”.
      There’s a lot of bad within Scientology that you refuse to acknowledge or remedy.

      • scottmercer

        If nobody ever hears about it, your PR must suck shit then.

    • Mick Roberts

      “People are quick to judge the negative about us through false stories on TV shows and news….”

      No, I think that people like you are quick to judge the positive about yourself and your “religion” through false stories on those videos and the magazines that your leaders bullshit about put out there.

    • Observer

      Names, places, dates, non-Sci witnesses or it didn’t happen. Like Lafayette levitating one of his beloved ashtrays three feet in the air.

    • Rasha

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Or, in Scientology’s case, any evidence whatsoever.

      • Robert Eckert

        Ordinary clams require zero evidence, however.

      • JJ

        It’s extraordinary if you get into Scientology and don’t have to mortgage your home… Does that count?

        • Rasha

          Now that’s just silly.

    • kemist

      “I just read an amazing story…”

      How interesting. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0a2165ee5fbfb7a17b59ef86a240588d1758bd6a53fd52fdc3ae23a8b41898b2.jpg

      … That you expect people to believe the shit you’ve read.

    • iampissed

      Dox or drop dead.
      ETA: not you walrus

    • JJ

      Um I thought Scientology was Applied Technology not faith healing? So miracles has got to be out, right…unless you pulled one IN somehow…

    • Kay (aka Nasty Lady)

      As a nurse I don’t know whether to throw up or laugh my guts out at this…possibly both. The coma thing kind of infuriates me as it gives people false hope. As far as bringing the baby back….hey babies often bring THEMSELVES back…..they are durable little people with a lot of reserve…or sometimes just by stimulating them physically they will start breathing again. Anyway of course all of the above is nauseating, truly.

    • scottmercer

      “I just read an amazing story…” Stop right there. Story. Not news article, not report, but story. Stories are what our ancestors made up around the campfire. (I know there is such a thing as a “news story,” but fiction pieces are always referred to as stories, non-fiction much less so.)

      • madame duran

        …and then there was Fox News.

        Not all stories are fiction and not all news reports are true or accurate. What matters is the reliability of the source (no, not “Source” as Scientologists would interpret it).

    • Anecdotal evidence is evidence of anecdote.

  • Vaquera
    • Missionary Kid

      It’s scary enough to know what they teach. Oh, the horror!

      • MarcabExpat

        DON’T GO IN THERE!

        • Missionary Kid

          Thanks for the warning.

  • Qbird

    O/T: I don’t think that dang giraffe in NY is pregnant… she’s just fat & farts a lot.
    lol

    • iampissed

      Ya me to.

    • Observer

      :-O so Ron has returned!

  • Intergalactic Walrus
    • Rasha

      Hey, Tom. There are professional stunt people who can actually do this already, and it doesn’t waste a year of production time. It’s their job, and they don’t get trophies – they get paid and go home to see their children.

    • Kay (aka Nasty Lady)

      That includes of course 11 months of checking himself in the mirror, three weeks of interviewing potential brides, and one week to prepare for the stunt.

    • madame duran

      Nothing says career stagnation like being stuck doing film sequels instead of playing diverse roles. Mission Impossible and Jack Reacher from here on out.

    • Waiting for the swelling of your face to go down isn’t training.

  • ithilien
  • Intergalactic Walrus

    SMP’s grand opening was almost a year ago – on May 28th, 2016. When is this channel going to happen, Claudia? How many more “donations” do you have to make before this thing finally gets off the ground? Do they hand out Nobel Prizes for “scam tech”?
    (refresh)

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f657c9e5459a49388d037f3e85ddf81194f26baf88081f4608627e747e5ff1ac.png

    • edge

      Uh, they don’t give out Nobel Prizes for MLM scams.

    • Rasha

      “…deserves at least a hundred Nobel prizes…”

      Peace

      “Enemy. SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.”

      Physics

      “And well, it starts like this — it starts like this: I was up in the Van Allen belt — this is factual, and I don’t know why they’re scared of the Van Allen belt, because it’s simply hot. You’d be surprised how warm space is. Get down amongst the clouds and so forth, it can get pretty cold and damp. But you get well up and sunlight shining around and that sort of thing, it’s quite hot. And the Van Allen belt was radioactively hot. A lot of photons get trapped in that area and so forth. And I was up there watching the sunrise. Well, that was very interesting….”

      Medicine

      “Leukemia is evidently psychosomatic in origin and at least eight cases of leukemia had been treated successfully by Dianetics after medicine had traditionally given up. The source of leukemia has been reported to be an engram containing the phrase ‘It turns my blood to water.'”

      Chemistry

      Received a D for General Chemistry in 1931-32.

      Economics

      “Make money. Make more money. Make other people produce, so as to make money.”

      Literature

      Battlefield Earth. ‘Nuff said.

      Yeah. Havin’ trouble seeing how he qualifies for hundreds of wog Nobel prizes…. Just sayin’.

      • Intergalactic Walrus

        I started out reading that laughing and ended up with the chills, knowing that idiots actually believe that crap. Ugh! Thank you, Ron!

      • stanrogers

        Well, the economics is pretty much in line with the Austrian School, and that worked for Hayek in Stockholm, so…

    • chukicita

      She lost me at “uncorrupted”

    • Missionary Kid

      LRH doesn’t even deserve an Ig Nobel Prize. http://www.improbable.com/ig/

      • His self-medication andincredibly elaborated fear of doctors (he invented a ‘technology to rationalise avoiding them, called dianetics) might earn him a Darwin Prize, though http://darwinawards.com/darwin/

    • JJ

      Is this woman on crack?

    • 5 Feet Long and Luminous

      Wait, somehow tours of the CoS orgs got corrupted, too? Damn, those semicolons infected everything.

    • madame duran

      “unaltered, uncorrupted tours into our churches”

      A virtual, video tour and not an actual, in-person one?

      Since SMP is “open”, why doesn’t anyone offer or ask for a tour of the facility itself? Still ironing out “kinks” almost a year later?

      Note to Claudia: one needs a BROADCASTING LICENCE in order to operate a media channel…which the Co$ doesn’t have as yet.

      • Robert Eckert

        I don’t they have even applied for a license, or somebody like RMycroft would have told us.

        • Missionary Kid

          I’m willing to bet that what they will be doing is streaming online. That will be their “broadcast”. They may even have a security code so that only the faithful will be able to access the videos.

  • outraged

    What IS it with Judges hearing “terrible” testimony about Scientology’s treatment of people, and the doing diddley squat.

    • Jimmy3

      I know, right? I wish judges could simply decide to destroy people when they’re offended by what they hear in their courtroom.

      • stanrogers

        That’s street judges, like Dredd. The indoor guys have to sit down and listen and stuff. Until the benchtop laser cannons are installed anyway.

        • Jimmy3

          Mountable benchtop cannons are much cheaper and easier to install than a trapdoor-tunnel-to-dungeon system, as I would prefer. But that is structural, and they’d need to bring in the engineers, more lawyers, an endless line of contractors and subcontractors, more lawyers, and, hell, the pile of permits that’d need signing… Just bolt the laser cannons down and plug them in already. FFS.

      • outraged

        Yes! Pop out the saber light sword and swish, off with his or her head.

    • downtherabbithole

      Oh don’t get me started down this path. I have too many thoughts (most of them angry) why there are so many people in positions that can actually effect change but fail to do so. Be it a celeb, a politician, a judge, or law enforcement, how the madness of Scientology continues is damn baffling.

      Stepping down from the soap box now and thinking now is a good time for a glass of wine.

      Wishing everyone a pleasant evening.

  • Vaquera
  • Observer

    If anyone ever wants to cosplay David Miscavige here’s a suggestion.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/aee1795bf781a0fbd82e1ee8f76325833ae3d54848272496d183b4d097b24264.jpg

    • Taffy Sinclair

      I don’t wanna scare my trick-or-treaters…. Dressing up like Slappy McGee? That’s just cruel to the children…..

  • Gus_Cox

    (stuttering, stumbling…) WTF??? COB’s tie doesn’t match the background!!! Shit, that was the only damned thing I could admire about the guy – that He always selected a tie to match His backdrop! Now, there’s nothing 🙁 His stylist must have been sent to the hole or something.

    Although it’s still a nice tie.

    • MarcabExpat

      COB’s tie ALWAYS matches. It was the designer of the backdrop who was RPFed!

      • Gus_Cox

        haha!

    • Taffy Sinclair

      Weren’t the Lugli couple cornCOB and Shelly Missing-cavige’s stylists???

  • GrangerFX

    Deep thought of the day:
    How can it be that the greatest science fiction writer of all time and youngest eagle scout evah who traveled the stars over trillions of years of past lives never got the astronomy merit badge?https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d072f54e125563621747cc120c8888e4f6d2bc5228a533738a5f06800c62f47a.jpg
    I checked and the astronomy merit badge was created in 2011 as was LRH himself.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b6629dca86344351ee8863a191549ff32750a96059cb288141a4accbcd036f6f.jpg
    https://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Astronomy

    • Jimmy3

      LRH was actually created in 1910, but astronomy doesn’t require mathetical precision, so I’d say he should still get the badge.

      • GrangerFX

        Ahh you are measuring from conception.

        • Jimmy3

          Yeah. And 1910-2011 must have been the longest viable pregnancy on record. But was it really viable?

          I’m just giving you shit about an easy typo. I’m not proud of it.

          • GrangerFX

            Off topic but I picked up the second edition of the Images of a Lifetime book (which I photographed above). They really did a nice job with this version. The printing is a lot better than the first edition and they used color in several spots in the book. Worth every one of the seven dollars I paid for it.

            • Jimmy3

              I would check your balance statements. There’s a chance you actually paid one hundred and seven dollars for it.

    • MarcabExpat

      For those who have no background in scouting, I just need to point out how funny “rarely achieved 21 badges” sounds today. I don’t remember how many I had, but in my troop we collected those things like crazy. There were girls who filled their sashes up.

    • JJ

      Which one is “potential cult leader”.

    • LMAO!

  • Another late, “in case it hasn’t already been posted” comment. Mike Rinder is now a U.S. citizen. HT – Leah Remini’s twitter account.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BR3reVQlv_o/

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BR3q9CNl2bw/

    • moonnfire

      Grats to Mike!!!!

    • MarcabExpat

      My god, look at what happy people they all are. GO RINDERS YOU ALL WIN AT LIFE.

    • Taffy Sinclair

      The younger boy is his mini-me, it’s uncanny!
      Good looking fambly!

      Too bad his older children believe in disconnection, seeing how it’s “optional.”

    • Phil McKraken

      Can now run for office … Clearwater City Council, for instance.

      • I hadn’t thought about that. The mind reels at the possibilities . . .

        • MarcabExpat

          The only thing that could possibly enturbulate the Diminutive Miscreant more than that time he crashed the SP party in a helicopter.

          • A moment of epic enturbulation.

    • JJ

      Good on Ya! And welcome!

    • Gus_Cox

      Fuck yeah!

      Congratulations, Mike Rinder and Beautiful Family!

    • Scream Nevermore

      Your Commonwealth brothers and sisters still love you, Mike! 😉

  • EmmaDaoust

    The org paint job matches Stacy’s outfit.

  • As alleged rape victim in the Danny Masterson case claims a Scientology cover-up and asserts the LAPD is compromised by the Church of Scientology, LAPD Deputy Chief Robert Green praises Scientology at opening of Church of Scientology of the Valley Ideal Org. (ESMB article links to Tony’s first article on the subject.)

    https://twitter.com/IndieScieNews/status/844048697289728000

    /

    • The sad truth is that Scientologists do not do any of those things because they care about people at all but because they care about how Scientology looks in society.

  • Whoops!

    Police Probing Academy Course By Scientologist March 20, 1983, John Mintz, Washington Post

    • Jimmy3

      That was ballsy for 35 years ago, no? I’d like to read the pile of letters they received.

      • Some of the GO-11 might have still been in prison.

  • John Prince

    Out of sheer courtesy for my ex-scio Friends here on the Bunker Couch, I’ve tried to refrain from commenting about “Indies”, But the Lemberger Case has got my undies in a bundle here so I just can’t resist poking the Bear a bit; whether You drink grape or rasberry koolaid, You’re STILL DRINKING KOOLAID!! Independent OT’S Super Powers are EXACTLY as nonexsistent as “regular” OT SuperPowers , Indie scibots cannot “whole-track” their last 75 Million Years any more effectively than “standard”scibots can. All I’m really tryin’ to say is, THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES ON, and it’s hard to listen to People who repeatedly try to claim that the “tech” works for them! There IS NO “TECHNOLOGY” to scamology, other than mind-control, and elron’s “learning” tech (yelling at sp-ashtrays/molding play-dough figures/starring at dictionaries till you fall asleep etc.) is just as Laughable ,if You call yourself an “independant” scientologist or a dm-approved scientologist.
    “Independant” e-meters are designed to steal your money PRECISELY the way “calibrated” e-meters are.
    Sure, People should be free to believe whatever Silliness they like, as long as they’re not hurting Anyone else with their ridiculous beliefs but when Somebody is born into a never-ending Nightmare like the Clampire, IT’S
    HURTING Them! ..They never had a choice to make, to let their minds develope in a healthy, compassionate direction. elron was a charismatic lyin’ sack-a-shit, nothing more, this much is common knowledge. He lied about every aspect of his fairytale “life”, what astonishes me the Most is;he wasn’t even a Good liar, yet People bought his wacky Bullshit!! Clinging desperatly to elron’s “tech” as an” independant koolaid-drinker ” can only have One End..You’ll be standing there alone with an empty cup once the Smoke and Mirrors are “cleared” away …
    I implore You “Indies” out there who may be reading this..wake the fuck up ,People

    • My take is that the Israeli Org broke away and found itself in the hands of decent people who had decided to pretend that the bad stuff in Hubbard’s writings didn’t exist and to behave better. That’s kept them going.

      Lot of religions do this kind of thing when they have achieved a beachhead in a competitive ‘spiritual’ market . They put the nasty behaviour that kept them going behind them, and moderate. The CofS has never done this, which is one of the reasons it is presently failing. Also, it can’t do so effectively, because the Internet won’t let it forget – but that’s another matter.

      Of course all of the direct orders to behave in manipulative and abusive ways is still part of ‘The Tech’. Disconnection and fair game are still there, in black and white. With a change of leader there is nothing to stop these people becoming oppressive again, apart from the fact that, without the resources to do it properly, they would only lose business.

      If the Org really is pretending the bad stuff doesn’t exist, the worst that’s happening is that the members are wasting their time and money. But it could get bad again tomorrow…

      • John Prince

        Oh…Alright, I’ll try to tolerate indies (a little) if it’s ultimatley an escape-hatch outta the rabbithole , But I STILL want Queerwater to happen!

        I can see the Pink-Neon Flamingo Lights already 🐙🍸

    • Ask them for evidence that they are an immortal spiritual being and guess what? There is none. So it becomes simply a belief and not a scientific fact. Sorry, Indies but that is science for you.

      • John Prince

        Weird Science!

  • mrssandoval

    I tried to respond yesterday, but the page kept shutting down and reloading.

    I have more than a handful of friends who are Israeli-American, and it was their understanding that this cult is illegal in Israel. Was it once illegal and now it’s not? Were my friends wrong? Is this only ok because Dani & Tami are indies?

    You know, I’m Lutheran, but I fail in the dogma department. I fail to believe that God would send me to eternal hellfire if I didn’t go to church every Sunday, butt crack early. I pray—A LOT!—and I am a practicing Christian. I can assure you that the preacher of my church will never label me “heretic” because I’m not there every Sunday, nor do I always “practice?” Christianity within the frame of the Lutheran church.

    My godmother is Southern Baptist, and behind my parents’ backs, she had me baptized as a SB when I was 13. My folks were understandably upset at the sneakiness of it, but never ever thought it wrong, nor heretic, for me to attend SB church services. I’ve attended Catholic services, conservative Judaism synagogues, Methodist churches, Protestant services, non-denominational, etc. and no one cares or condemns me.

    What “church” would? Wouldn’t they be pleased you were still practicing? Does it matter where and when? This is so confounding and, on the cos’s behalf: asinine, petty, bully-like, and down right scary. Can anyone imagine living on the Mediterranean, eating hummus, practicing your religion, then David Miscavige shows up to knock the pita bread out of your hand?

    I’m hungry. Going to the fridge to see if I have any spanakopita left.

  • TheKremlinCandidate

    “Our court observers say that Judge Levhar-Sharon dressed down the large church delegation in English, telling them that she had heard “terrible” testimony about Scientology’s treatment of people, and that if the two sides could not come to some kind of settlement agreement, she would be writing a judgment that she said was so harsh, it would likely end Scientology in the state of Israel — and might, she added, have a global impact on the church.”

    Takes a conservative society to deal with this cult. The fact this judge didn’t just whip out the rug from beneath their feet permanently is disappointing… but maybe it’s a process… maybe it takes baby steps to corner them legally because over the years they’ve learned to play the systems well?

  • Does this really mean entertainer Kuba Ka is ending his membership in and relationship with the Church of Scientology?

    https://twitter.com/Kuba_Ka/status/844088921155809280

    • Juicer77

      “Kuba was promised to hang out with Time Cruise. Mommy donated big bucks and no luck. I am leaving!!”

      • Harmless Weirdo

        Ya know, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if that’s what it all comes down to.

        • Juicer77

          A sponger sponging off other spongers… Unsuccessfully!

    • Harmless Weirdo

      Maybe he’s finally caught on to the fact that Scientology not only won’t help make him a celebrity here in the US, but is actually a joke, and liability?

      Maybe he’s going broke? He’s obviously come here to become the Next Big Thing in pop music, and has spent a lot of money to make it happen. And he’s also shelled out a lot of money to the Co$. Could it be, by some miracle, that he’s had an awakening and decided to get out while he still has a pot to piss in?

      Or maybe his narcissism is so vast and all-encompassing, he’s decided he really is a god, and therefore doesn’t need LarH’s puny tech devised for humans?

      DO TELL US, KUBA KA.

      • Juicer77

        My bet is he and mommy are running low on funds and the light bulb finally switched on. Or it’s a publicity stunt. Or he is hoping they will beg him to stay. Maybe nobody came to his fancy birthday party!

        • Graham

          “Or he is hoping they will beg him to stay.”

          I’m going with that one. His ego really is that big and he really does seem to be that deluded.

    • AntoniaW

      From FB: perhaps his mother was dubious about it all along….? Whatever one thinks of the guy, it’s always good to see one get away.

      “HRH KUBA Ka is officially leaving the Church of Scientology. / Team KUBA Ka Empire Inc.
      Tina Trozzo Love You , Kuba ! I am very proud of you ! You are smart young man !”

  • Douglas D. Douglas

    My Scientology Adventure in Burbank

    As many readers here well know, I have had a long and lively interest in the Valley Ideal Org. We all wondered if it would ever actually open, and what the chances were to see anything of the ceremony when it did. When I found out (along with the rest of you) that it was to open on Sunday, March 19 (with just a couple of day’s notice), it seemed impossible. You see, we already had plans for the weekend with out-of-town relatives. But those plans did leave me with a couple of windows of opportunity—and the results were more than I could ever have postulated.

    Sunday morning I was able to make a very early “drive-by.” This confirmed for me that Burbank Blvd. was open. The small parking lot appeared to be set for some sort of activity, and there was even a food truck pulled up.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6a00cc0047749e080397e8faf9f1d9e5ada9409789a845806033d5c9fe96d713.jpg

    Driving east, the building itself came into view. Yellow ribbons, rather than the usual red, festooned the façade.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6ca652bd79e0b9060d75c079463e3d3e571e3d1f7379174a6aa3ff15f36cba06.jpg

    The bows were kind of perfunctory, and frankly looked more like alien mouths, open and puckered in anticipation of a feeding.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/90e163ff20e014141c8ad3edd4d23fc66817fbd3fdf3d256f566bbf284887b50.jpg

    Parking at a nearby car wash, I decided to see if I could get shots from across the street. Having looked at this building literally for years, I was struck at just how little had actually been done with it. Early renderings gave it a sleek futuristic appearance, followed later by a “retro” look. What they finally did was basically paint the building and add some new signs.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3f16c8aef773ac9f4410ddbc06b82e3fb02fae3678cad5e17af36003ccc429bd.jpg

    And, of course, it wouldn’t be a big Scientology event without a gracious message for the community:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8d2f564d0d6ad0e2ae0720c4291bd17b96a9131036f8dd59d648edc8b8741777.jpg

    The event was scheduled to start at noon. After getting the family situated, I set off for what I assumed would be an hour long “errand.” Driving back to the site on Burbank Boulevard, I was struck by the amount of traffic. I assumed this was not crowds headed to the weed dispensary (seen at center of photo) which is just a block away from the Ideal Org.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/56b69027abe3bf3fd641d1251e2c5500de6b915061ae7b1ad1bb44df45388eb8.jpg

    On the other side of the street, it appeared that somebody had arranged a special billboard greeting— or warning.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/adf0dc45dee2b4c03000df2c2ec3615f83c41ed53c1edd7886f1f0f6eedf3a7d.jpg

    I also noted that the traffic included several large black busses. Having seen them in other photos from other Ideal Org openings, I assumed they were shuttling members in from satellite parking lots. This made sense, as they were using their own lots to stage the activities. But I would later learn that I was mistaken in my assumption.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7f02d82d166656976b62eedcc884a0a21a46ff65c717052623695358e001dc2d.jpg

    As the traffic slowly moved past the building, the most striking impression was of the aimlessness of the crowd. It was hard to figure out just what was going on.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9cd864add36fd9245ba40796f93ed3b49eb876967f809efcb1ced0e7ea685e94.jpg

    Across the street there was another traffic jam, this one on the sidewalk. And I couldn’t help but notice that there was a big set piece there. One that was obviously built to be seen from the other side. The unfinished back added to the sense that things were not as carefully planned out as I would think they would be.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1fc712814fd7680726d399e87c51d7cddeadbf68f7941a2af2bfb38eea8bc338.jpg

    There were also big bags of balloons sitting right out in the open. So much for surprises.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/db4026e2088eeb57b68cb6c3e8da5e6d624e7428574d3ce39baa90fe0cb7f72f.jpg

    After finally getting clear of the scene on Burbank Blvd., I headed down a parallel side street and was surprised to find it clogged with parked cars. What were those shuttle busses for if the locals were parked on the street?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/328d4208fc567abf03f8b303b59874b2e9392fa6527b3e3ffdd470064f30c329.jpg

    I came back around and drove down a street that had been deserted early in the morning. Now it was full of people milling around, including a lot of security. I was worried they would turn me back, so I drove between a couple of apartment buildings and ended up parking in an enclosed area out of sight. It turns out that pedestrians were turned back at the corners, but drivers could go through, and ended up inside the protected envelope.

    I had a minimal disguise with me—a long haired wig, a ratty jacket, cap and sunglasses. But I wonder if I even needed it. Literally no one gave me a second look as I moved down the street with members of the crowd and headed to Burbank Blvd. For a festive occasion, the crowd seemed rather sullen. When there was conversation, it tended to be one of two topics: trying to figure out where they were supposed to be, and why there were no bathrooms available. It seems they were all in the building across the street, which was not yet officially open.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/559731407b7f1e3b8178aaf37d93b94a3afea03ec10dff8d53c208618fcac72e.jpg

    I was now walking down the route I had just driven. I found that what was happening was that everyone was being checked for wristbands at the entrance to the seating area. Thank goodness my jacket had long sleeves. I passed on set of balloons, strode past the entrance, then turned back to get a shot of people entering the main venue. By now the sun was directly overhead and it was getting hot.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cfe32d5c88ae65bf58ad224e1f9d89381bef42a57e15a4fc5c4eca33072775b4.jpg

    I now walked away from the entrance, with the second set of balloons at my left. I grabbed a quick shot of the building with the balloons in the foreground.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5a97d0fcb0be7302c3406c32d8471a66a2c5e65ca2e33fcb15f79d142046b8da.jpg

    I noticed that a hot wind was lifting the swag up onto the roof, and wondered who was responsible for getting that fixed before the ceremony began.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d812d8c1d253d54baf52fba5e644bfb112516115650b4de46f3e4959b4c107f0.jpg

    But this was not their first rodeo—and they had already attached ropes to the swags to pull them back into place. I guess a rope beats Power over MEST.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b7daaa44694f24da954aad2429aaa97938381a0bfa2e9c715059d6652aa26554.jpg

    At this point I realized I was about to leave the protected envelope, and I was on foot. Furthermore, a somewhat severe looking guy in a black suit was headed straight for me. As I started to compose what I would say to him, he suddenly stopped in his tracks, bent down, and scooped up something from off the ground. As I passed him, I saw he had a partially smoked cigarette in his hand. He smartly tapped on the end, and then carefully placed it in the pocket of his jacket. (I am not making this up!)

    More to follow! (It is so late and I am so tired.)

    • John Prince

      Too bad You couldn’t have handed him a Bic lighter and said “here, keep it” just to see the look on his Face 🤖

    • Juicer77

      Great report, thanks! Glad you got family time, too.

    • Jimmy3

      You should repost this tomorrow!

      • Douglas D. Douglas

        I would, except that I doubt I will be able to complete this until Wednesday. My schedule is insane just now.

    • Harmless Weirdo

      You da man, Douglas. Thank you for this.

      And yeah, I’m with you on the reno itself–it got done much faster than I expected, and the results are nowhere near as impressive as the renderings we’ve seen. For a project that has been so hyped for so long, in what the Co$ considers such an important location, it’s really dull and uninspired. Even the San Diego org made bigger changes to their building.

      But then again, Valley’s been one of the biggest embarrassments among the proposed Ideal Orgs–a project that should have been completed years ago, that kept limping along in its fundraising, and would have kept doing so had Nancy Cartwright not intervened. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that they made a quick job of it, once the money was there.

    • Wonderful.

      What impresses me is the way that they will cheerfully try to cut off public access with a handwritten sign and then enforce their own order. Doesn’t it bother people to be pushed around like that, or are there not that many pedestrians, or do they just assume it’s official?

      Also, after all the hype about the amazing renovations and how the building was going to look so classy – a coat of paint and some signs…

      So few people turn up, that it’s all down to the media presentation keeping the rank-an-file happy. They know their Org is empty, but they’re working hard because the CofS tells them all the others are booming. They can’t afford to go look, and see that all Orgs are empty, so it’s all good (for Miscavige).

    • Bavarian Rage

      DDD…well, I do declare…this is one of the most up close, parishioner-like view I’ve ever had of an opening. Outstanding reporting. Was your heart pounding, wondering if/when you were going to be caught? Pretty lack lustre security efforts. Can’t wait for part 2!!!

    • Free Minds, Free Hearts

      I am looking forward to Part 2 and finding out who was in the buses! You are such a tease!

  • Tony Ortega

    Dani Lemberger says he’s been having some trouble with Disqus and sent me the comment he wanted to appear here….

    Hi everyone, this is Dani Lemberger, back from Jordan, at home in Haifa, Israel.
    Not much I can add to the above, the settlement is all secret, not by my demand but per the wishes of you know who.
    I had the honor to have Marc Yaeger, Monique Yingling and others from Scn Int’l Management come meet me in Israel. All my pleas to meet with senior Church exec’s or with Miscavige when I was in the Church were turned down, so I finally got some satisfaction.
    There is nothing like a “gag” agreement, I can say anything I want and do anything I believe in. Nor is there any impact on Dror Center. We will continue to deliver services based on Ron Hubbard’s applied philosophy. As law-abiding citizens in Israel will not violate the law, not even copyright laws, except that I exceed the speed limits.
    A fascinating friendship has evolved between Tony Ortega and myself. True, we have a common enemy which always makes for a strong bond between blood-thirsty men, but beyond that, Tony is a man of integrity, intellect and even a great writer.
    We differ on what to me is the most important thing in life, making a better world by use of Hubbard’s Technology, he ridicules Hubbard and offends me but openly and respectfully. He has a right to be ignorant about the secrets of life. He believes he’s all meat and life is a brain, I know I’m an immortal Operating Thetan. Minor differences, who cares?
    Tony has family in Israel so we meet here occasionally, he’s been to Dror, has had dinner at our home. We agree Tami is a great cook. I told him she’s an even better auditor but he turned down my offer of free auditing.
    I am grateful to Tony for his fair and even coverage.
    I hope that now that this mud-slinging contest is over, Tony will cover the wonderful work we do at Dror making a better world using Hubbard’s Tech. Thank you all for being interested and for your views, although they usually conflict with mine.

    • MostSpecialAgent Joe McClaine

      Dani sounds like a really decent human being and someone I would hang out with.
      I’m not sure how he can provide Scientology services without breaking copyright laws. I’m not sure what the Dror center provides is strictly even Scientology.
      Israel is so beautiful and Americans only hear all the bad news. I was lucky to have a kibbutz experience in my youth back packing around Europe and the middle east. I also went to Syria and am so sad as to what has happened there. It was a beautiful country and not at all like what people think of here in the states.
      It was surprising to see people doubt that he would go to Jordan yesterday. We are profoundly ignorant in the USA to the total picture of what the middle east is really like. Yes it has very serious problems and can be very backward, but to abandon all hope and see them as inhuman is unhelpful and keeps the cycle going. we need to see how much they are like us and less on the differences. Humans want the same things, security and a better future for their kids.
      The current climate in the US is profoundly worrying, but I think we will get through it. Thankfully I don’t think Trump has a master plan or is a evil genius but is just an incompetent fool who has a few shady sales skills.
      I also went to Yugoslavia in my youth and all religions lived peacefully in great harmony. It was such a shook to see it all implode and ethnic cleansing become a thing a couple decades ago, so I do worry because I see it could happen anywhere given the right circumstances.
      I was briefly a militant atheist primarily because of the Christian right trying to enforce their beliefs on others. I stopped all that as it wasn’t really helping anyone even myself.
      I realized that to hold irrational, emotional beliefs is what it is to be human. Seeing my own beliefs as irrational sometimes, was a profound experience for me and I got to know myself and be less hard on others irrationality.
      I really like that you are able to make a distinction between beliefs and actions on this blog. I feel very comfortable opposing abuses but accepting others beliefs.
      I was able to join an episcopal church that practices ecumenical policies. I am still an atheist and tell the bishop that, but the church flies the rainbow flag and is very progressive. I get to visit all kinds of churches, synagogues and mosques and I only believe in the golden rule, treat others as you’d like to be treated. It’s in all faiths and is common ground we can all agree on. sometimes I’m filled with doubt, when I see on the blog, other faiths reach out to Scientology and normalize them. Thankfully Scientology has no presence here. I just hope I can change a few minds and promote more acceptance of differences. Our differences are so small compared to what we all share.
      One thing that is such a joy, is seeing people leave an abusive cult like Scientology. Most of the SP’s are extraordinary people that care about humanity and want good things.
      Thanks Tony for writing about Dror, I’m sure if they were abusive in the future you’d write about that too, but that seems unlikely. Dani and Tami good luck, I’d never go on the cans either but I’d stop by and say hello if I were ever in Haifa again.
      ETA I saw your comments on today’s story. We well could be liberal fools, I accept that. Generally extremist cults and fundamentalists don’t wish to participate in ecumenical activities. I don’t think we tie ourselves in knots like Aslan does. Scientology lies and pretends to be what it is not so they could fool liberals but generally I think it’s productive if you can use a little discernment. It’s a fine line to walk.

      • madge filpot

        Well spoken.. thank you very much, and I totally agree. Regardless of “belief” systems.. we all share SO much more than not. If we share and embrace the differences, there is then more room to see the commonalities. And we can rise above the “noise” and create more positive change. IMHO.

    • 5 Feet Long and Luminous

      Thank for sharing, TO, you blood-thirsty meat-man.

  • Silence of the Clams

    Why not just shut it down? Why not see if some reporters might run it up the flagpole to the politicians to see if they will do something?

    Is this the Tony Ortega that’s been reporting on this stuff for decades?

    Scientology isn’t the only ‘cherch’ that brainwashes people and makes them shun their families and act in completely bizarre ways. Do they take it further than most every other ‘religion’? Yes. But who cares? If you question one silly belief, you have to question them all – and we can’t have that.

    I think what sets this organization apart from others is the fact they are so freaking clearly run like a business it’s embarrassing. The FACT the legal system in our country protects these monsters makes me seethe sometimes. But when an overwhelming majority of Americans (including judges) have been brainwashed since childhood (in most cases) to believe there is something up in the sky watching them and even stepping in to help them every once and a while, well, you begin to see how they are influenced to give these scumbags a pass.

    Guarantee: Had she done what she threatened to do. She would have been disbarred or fired, stoned to death or whatever it is they do to religious heretics in Israel.

  • ithilien

    But we can’t help wondering, if Judge Levhar-Sharon felt that the testimony in her court horrified her to such a degree that she had the power to shut down Scientology in the state of Israel, why should it be allowed to continue there simply because it found a way to settle with the Lembergers? Shouldn’t Israeli government officials be made aware of what horrified Judge Levhar-Sharon?

    Exactly, it doesnt make sense. something going on there.

  • ithilien

    Judge’s statement does not make sense. She allows the great evil to persisit, as long as they pay someone off. Judge judy knows that if it doesnt make sense, its not true. There’s more going on here. Sci got away with it once again

  • Gus_Cox

    I wonder how much Yuengling charged to fly all the way to Israel for a court case.

  • Sine qua non

    Very cute picture of the radiant Claire Headley. Girl crush!

  • Sine qua non

    Those photos of people at the Valley Org event reveal COS in its moronic glory. They look like buffoons!

  • Adrien Marcel Drea

    hazak dani !