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Colombian roast: Will Scientologists care about David Miscavige’s latest fraud?

[Like stolen valor, but stupider.]

We are shocked to learn that a public relations stunt involving the leader of the Church of Scientology and a retired Colombian national police general which took place earlier this year on the island of Barbados turns out be a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.

For several years, Colombia has been playing straight man to Scientology leader David Miscavige’s neverending practical jokes that he runs on his own followers. One of the biggest canards he requires his acolytes to swallow is that Scientology is actually having some beneficial effect on that troubled South American country, and we’ve seen numerous Colombian police figures dutifully pose for photos and accept shiny medals and slick commendations as their part in the production.

But now, retired general Carlos Ramiro Mena has reportedly gotten himself into some hot water not for accepting a medal from Miscavige, but for pinning one on the diminutive ecclesiastical honcho in the name of the country’s national police, which he was not authorized to do.

The ceremony came at the end of this year’s “Maiden Voyage” celebration, a week long tribute to Scientology’s private cruise ship, the Freewinds, which is where wealthy longtime church members go to be subjected to Scientology’s ultimate prank, the auditing level Operating Thetan Level Eight (OT 8), during which participants learn that the estimated half a million to two million dollars they spent getting there has put them right back where they started, and with none of the superhuman powers they had been promised.

OT 8 and the Freewinds is always good for shaking down the rubes, but this year Miscavige had to raise the bar because this was the 30th anniversary of Maiden Voyage. So, for a capper on the week’s events, he had Mena pin a medal on him at the Bridgetown dock supposedly from the Colombian police for, get this, “transparency.” Here, this is what the public relations spin was at Miscavige’s site…


The National Colombian Police honored Mr. David Miscavige with one of their most prestigious awards — the Brigadier General Jaime Ramírez Gómez Inspector General Transparency Medal — in recognition of his leadership in helping bring about social change within the nation through the work of the Church of Scientology.

You will be stunned to learn that we paid very little attention to this display of quasi-military log-rolling at the time when it first became public because, well, it was almost as if we knew it had to be utter bullshit.

And now, multiple reports are coming from the Colombian press that the actual national police are not happy about having their name used in this fashion. Said one article…

The chief of the National Police, however, said in a press release that the institution never decorated the controversial Scientology leader and knew nothing about the pompous ceremony in Barbados in which retired General Carlos Mena took part.

According to newspaper El Espectador, National Police chief Jorge Hernando Nieto said he knew nothing of Mena’s trip to Barbados and was not authorized to represent the police or give away medals without institutional permission.

“Pompous?” Hey now, southern hemisphere homies, you might want to get a grip on those adjectives. This is the pope of an expanding worldwide clearing operation we’re talking about here.

Anyway, we know you’re on tenterhooks to learn if Mena will be punished in some way or if Miscavige will have to send the award back.

So far, the church has put out a statement that the award was authorized by national police director Jorge Hernando Nieto in December, and that Mena brought it to Barbados because Miscavige was unable to pick it up in Colombia itself.

At this point, we’re less interested in the squabble over an obscure medal than the intense interest of the Colombian media. Is it a sign that Scientology’s persistent gladhanding of low-level public officials — known as “safepointing” in the church — is finally starting to backfire as the notorious dishonesty of the Church of Scientology becomes more widely known?

We hope the Colombian press keeps after this story and starts asking other questions as well. Why, for example, has Miscavige put so much effort into cultivating Colombian officials?

We’d point to the Freewinds for an answer. One of the reasons that the ship stops at the Caribbean islands that it does is because they are notoriously corrupt, and Miscavige can’t afford too many questions about what’s happening on his barge. Last year, it came out that one island on the ship’s usual itinerary, Bonaire, was preparing an investigation of the vessel. The Freewinds has not been back to that island since.

If a port visit to a watchful island is a risk, how much more vulnerable is Scientology’s scow when it’s propped up out of the water for several weeks, unable to sail away? In recent years, when the vessel requires a stay in drydock for repairs, it has done so in Cartagena, Colombia. Before that, it was getting drydock repairs in Willemstad, Curaçao, but an ugly lawsuit there may have contributed to the location change.

After this current flap, it will be interesting to see if Scientology continues to drydock the
Freewinds in Colombia, where friendly relations with the police prevented too many questions. Cartagena may have just lost a lucrative client.

Colombian radio is trying to arrange us appearing on air tonight, if we can solve some logistical issues. If we get the chance, we’ll have as many questions for the hosts as they have for us, we have a feeling.


Rachel Bernstein quizzes your proprietor

We had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Rachel Bernstein, who has been such a help to people coming out of controlling groups.

Her podcast, IndoctriNation, is available on iTunes, but we also found this link on SoundCloud…




Please join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,194 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,797 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 340 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 228 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,403 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,177 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,951 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,297 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,863 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,531 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,791 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,831 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,543 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,069 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,158 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,298 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,618 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,593 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 949 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,251 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,357 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,760 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,632 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,214 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,719 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,963 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,072 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on August 2, 2018 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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), 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 | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


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