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Another Scientologist becomes instant star with Trump supporters, this time in Puerto Rico

First it was Joy Villa, a celebrity-wannabe who had been trying for years to use her involvement in Scientology to get somewhere in Hollywood. Then she put on a “Make America Great Again” dress at the Grammy Awards in February and instantly became a hit with Donald Trump supporters. The climber has used that overnight fame to get in with Fox News and the Trump campaign, despite the fact that during the election she actually supported Bernie Sanders.

Now, it’s happened again. Jim Bates, the Organization Executive Secretary at Scientology’s mission in Puerto Rico, who is married to Susan (Marino) Bates, the mission’s Executive Director, was posting photos to his Facebook page of a few Scientology “Volunteer Ministers” who had arrived on the island — and without supplies except for some chainsaws, as our Rod Keller pointed out yesterday.

But then on Saturday Bates made this unsupported claim:



Over the weekend, that statement, without any supporting evidence, went viral among Trump supporters who don’t want to believe what the media has been reporting out of the hurricane-ravaged island, that Puerto Rico is in serious trouble.

Meanwhile, Trump critics who didn’t like that message raised questions about Bates and his Facebook page. They noticed, for example, that several of the groups he belongs to on Facebook have names that are in the Cyrillic alphabet.


Was the “Jim Bates” Facebook page actually a Russian bot or troll who had forgotten to cover up his groups along with his friends list, which is not public?

We don’t know why this Facebook user is involved in Russian groups, but at least one of them has a connection to Scientology’s work in Russia through its “WISE” business front. And in other ways his page is consistent with Jim Bates, the org executive secretary of the Puerto Rican Scientology mission.

He’s apparently been at the mission for numerous years, and had worked for Scientology in New York before that.


And his wife is the longtime executive director of the mission, which has little presence on the island.


At her own Facebook page, Susan Marino Bates lists just a few five-star reviews, one of which she gave to alt-right star Milo Yiannopoulos. Another she gave to her own Dianetics center.

We’re pretty skeptical that this is a Russian troll. It looks to us like the kind of thing a Scientologist in a place like Puerto Rico might be posting, exaggerating the impact of Scientology Volunteer Ministers in a disaster zone.

The real mystery isn’t why Jim Bates would be making those claims, but why anyone would be taking them seriously.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,891 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 37 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,100 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,874 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,648 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,994 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,488 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,528 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,240 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 766 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,855 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,995 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,315 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,290 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 646 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,948 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,054 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,457 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,330 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 911 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,416 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,660 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,769 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 2, 2017 at 07:00

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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 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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