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Federal judge urged to ignore Scientology whining and get on with arbitration disaster

[Luis and Rocio Garcia, and Judge Whittemore]

Luis and Rocio Garcia are more aware than anyone that when Tampa federal Judge James Whittemore begins calling Scientologists to ask for their participation in an arbitration, all hell is likely to break loose.

But as they point out in a new court filing, they think it’s important for the judge to learn that on his own, and Scientology should stop complaining and get out of the way. Here’s how the Garcias’ attorney Ted Babbitt put it in their response to Scientology’s most recent whiny motion:

If [it’s] true that Scientologists by their nature would hesitate to be involved in any proceeding directed by this Court shouldn’t the Court find that out? If Scientologists simply wouldn’t take part in a fair and unbiased proceeding isn’t that exactly what the Court should know? If it is true as Defendants’ state in Page 3 of their current motion, “that direct contact to Scientology parishioners from a civil court about Scientology procedure may cause alarm of such individuals” doesn’t that confirm what Plaintiffs have argued?

What the Garcias have been arguing since they filed their fraud lawsuit in 2013 is that they were lied to by a church that has no scruples about manipulating its members in order to get donations from them. The church argued back that the Garcias had signed membership contracts requiring them to submit any grievances to internal arbitration, and in 2015 Judge Whittemore agreed, staying the lawsuit. But in the two years since then, the two sides have been unable to set up a panel of three arbitrators, who must be Scientologists in good standing. So Whittemore stepped in, ordering the church to give him the names and contact information for 500 Los Angeles-area Scientologists so he (or his clerks) could personally call people from the list and set up the three-member arbitration panel.

Multiple times, Scientology has filed motions essentially telling the judge he can’t do that, and the Garcias, in this new filing, point out that the church’s complaints simply reflect what a sham the arbitration is. (Multiple former Scientology executives have testified that the contracts were fraudulently set up to keep members from getting refunds, and the church itself admitted in court that it has never, in its decades-long history, ever even attempted an internal arbitration in the past.)


So now the Garcias have submitted their response, encouraging Judge Whittemore to ignore the church’s attempted roadblocks, and the real fun should begin. Start making phone calls, judge! We can’t wait to hear how it turns out!



Man delivers book critique four years after publication

Oh man, if Marty Rathbun’s new videos are going to be this boring, this is going to be brutal.

More than four years after Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief hit bookshelves, Rathbun is apparently going to give us a point-by-point critique of it.

If you want a preview of where he’s going, you can see that he already made these exact points — that Wright was supposedly less objective regarding Scientology than he was reporting on Al Qaeda in his book The Looming Tower — in a blog post Rathbun wrote when Going Clear actually did come out back in 2013.

At that time, Rathbun was still nominally promoting the “independent Scientology” viewpoint, and he knew that his followers were going to be highly offended not by Wright’s withering look at David Miscavige and the current church, but by Wright’s portrayal of L. Ron Hubbard, which was the harshest since Russell Miller’s definitive 1987 biography, Bare-Faced Messiah.

Two years later, when Alex Gibney’s documentary version of Wright’s book came out, Rathbun didn’t squawk. Instead, he posted links to all of the favorable coverage the movie was getting. What had changed? Well, Rathbun was no longer peddling the “indie” outlook, and had himself been battering Hubbard at his website.

Apparently, something has convinced Rathbun to go back to his 2013 mindset.



Chris Shelton on Scientology and “faith”

Chris says: ” In this video, I take a look at Scientology as a faith-based religion, which wouldn’t sound so weird or unusual except that Hubbard and the Church of Scientology do not present Scientology as faith-based, but instead make it out to be the ‘science of certainty’ and claim scientific research underlies the body of work. This is not true, and I go over three of the most fundamental tenets which Scientologists have to take on faith in order to buy into Scientology at all. I hope that this will be helpful in getting where Scientologists are coming from philosophically and that it will be useful in perhaps dealing with them online or in conversation or interventions.



Wow, we’re getting close to the start of HowdyCon 2017 in Denver. And we had a slight change in logistics from our caterer for our dinner on Saturday night, June 24. If you plan to go, make sure you have confirmed with Kim O’Brien, our coordinator, and visit our HowdyCon website where she has instructions for how you can pay for the dinner fee that night. You need to do that right away to make sure you’ll be included in the Saturday night festivities, which include:

— London-based Australian journalist Steve Cannane talking about his book Fair Game
— A spoken-word performance from former Sea Org official Claire Headley
— Cathy Schenkelberg performing for us scenes from her one-woman show, “Squeeze My Cans”

You don’t want to miss out, so please visit the convention page and get in contact with Kim.

HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25 at the Residence Inn Denver City Center. Go here to start making your plans.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,775 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,532 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,878 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,372 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,412 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,124 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 650 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,739 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,879 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,199 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,174 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 530 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,832 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 939 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,341 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,214 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 795 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,300 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,544 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,653 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on June 8, 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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