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A close up look at how human rights abuser Scientology is touting human rights as a front

Rod Keller gives us a detailed look at how one Scientology front is having its sneaky ways exposed by a determined activist.

Scientology maintains several front groups – organizations that pretend to be independent from Scientology, but are really under the direct control of the Office of Special Affairs (OSA), which is the public relations, investigations and dirty tricks department. Youth for Human Rights is one of these, and their mission is to educate the public on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. When there are not enough youth involved, they sometimes go by the name United for Human Rights. Scientology orgs sponsor events to bring in non-Scientologists under a policy by L. Ron Hubbard known as “safepointing.”



Mark Lawson (not his real name) is part of a growing movement in Ontario, Canada to protest the deceptions and abuses of Scientology. Organizers come together on the Facebook group Ontario Against Scientology to share information. Protests have recently been held at the new Continental Liaison Office in Guelph, the Cambridge Ideal Org, and a Drug-Free Marshals event featuring a number of Toronto police officers. Lawson recently spotted a poster for a Youth for Human Rights event at the Ontario Science Center in Toronto and decided to investigate.


“I was thinking about just going to protest but then I thought why not go one better and attend the event undercover,” Lawson tells us. “I was surprised to see that there was so many attendees, probably about 60 or 70 people. Although it was meant to be a youth event there was not many youngsters in the crowd, which was mainly couples, with a few people on their own. The only youngsters were the ones actually taking part in the event.”

Entertainment for the event was provided by Scientologist Sean Hauk, who sang “Man of Reason,” a song from the 1998 album State of Mind by the Golden Era Musicians, as well as the 2006 song “Life is a Highway” by Canadian one-hit wonder Tom Cochrane.


Youth for Human Rights recruits non-Scientologist speakers at their events. In Scientology’s vocabulary these are known as “Opinion Leader” and they are not being recruited to join the church. Rather they are intended to be part of a group of Scientology allies that will come to the church’s aid when government officials investigate or prosecute them. For this event they were Toronto dentist Dr. Sheridan Cyrus, Muslim Imam Dr. Abdul Hai Patel, and Pierre AJ Sabourin, a landscape artist. Lawson is making a complete audio recording of the event available, although much of it is hard to understand.


[Dr. Cyrus receives a certificate for speaking at the event]

[Dr. Patel receives his certificate]

[Pierre AJ Sabourin]

In addition to Hauk, Scientologists attended included organizer Nicole Crellin, Pat Felske and long-time Toronto Director of Special Affairs Yvette Shank. Felske is second to Shank in OSA, the “DSA/PR,” and head of STAND in Ontario, a group responsible for an email and Twitter campaign against the A&E series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.


[Organizers receive certificates]

[Yvette Shank]

Lawson tells us, “I am shocked to see these front groups working away in an area very close to my home. I find it particularly ironic that they have a front group, Youth for Human Rights, when you hear all the horror stories about the cult abuses, forced abortions, family disconnection etc. Basically in Scientology there are no human rights!”

The event was extensively filmed and may be intended for Scientology’s video websites. “I felt it was all pretty much for PR with lots of photo taking and video during the whole event. There was special event lighting. The back row of seats which were not getting used were stacked up and moved away to make the hall look more full. All of the participants got a framed award, even the singer.”

The Ontario protest group is planning more activities, and welcomes new members as they oppose Scientology and its front groups.

— Rod Keller


Bonus items from our tipsters

A new tagline! 2018 will apparently be “a spiritual transcendence.”


In Barcelona, Virgilio has been cleared for takeoff as Santa urges him to “Go OT!”



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,959 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 105 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,168 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,942 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,716 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,062 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,556 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,596 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,308 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 834 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,923 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,063 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,383 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,358 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 714 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,016 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,122 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,525 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,398 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 979 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,484 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,728 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,837 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 10, 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 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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