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Colombian senator asks defense minister to investigate Scientology over medal scandal

[Sen. Iván Cepeda wants an investigation of Scientology in Colombia]

Our correspondent in Colombia’s capital of Bogotá, who helped us cover the Scientology Ideal Org opening there in 2015, has been keeping an eye on the brewing scandal in that country over Scientology’s relationship with various members of the Colombian national police force.

He tells us that things have really begun to break loose, and at a time when the country is in some flux. Colombia held national elections in May, a runoff in June, and the country’s new president, Iván Duque, took office just three days ago, on August 7. Because of that, there’s a lot of turnover happening in the government and military, just as the Scientology scandal has hit the Colombian media.

And now, an upstart federal senator, Iván Cepeda, has put the new government on the spot about Scientology’s inroads into the national police. Cepeda is a member of Polo Democrático Alternativo (PDA), a democratic socialist party, and his petition was also supported by the centrist Green Alliance party. Cepeda’s petition formally asked that the country’s defense minister conduct an investigation of Scientology’s influence on the national police force.

“It is worrisome that allegedly they were using public resources of a state that according to our constitution is secular and non-denominational, to promote the ideas and doctrines of a particular church,” Cepeda told a parliamentarian commission yesterday. “It is obviously a matter of political control to investigate whether public money has been used in the promotion of this ideology, and that is why I have asked the Minister of Defense to report on the money spent on these courses and decorations, and also about the material that was distributed to the uniformed officials and what kind of courses were those dictated by the members of this church.”

Our correspondent says that Cepeda’s petition is being treated pretty seriously. “It’s worth noting that the petition is supported by right and left parties, which is quite uncommon in Colombia,” he tells us.


Meanwhile, he says, Scientology’s Spanish-language Twitter account is working overtime to counter the scandal. “The account had almost no activity between April and August. Now all of its tweets are replying to the Colombian media with the same set of videos.”

The scandal started over Scientology leader David Miscavige being pinned with a national police medal at the end of Scientology’s “Maiden Voyage” celebration on June 23 on the island of Barbados. Miscavige received the medal from retired national police general Carlos Ramiro Mena, who was apparently not authorized to be in uniform and decorating Miscavige.

Last Thursday, we expressed our lack of shock that the ceremony was a sham, and explained that for years Scientology has been using Colombia’s police forces as props in a clearly fraudulent campaign claiming that distribution of its “The Way to Happiness” booklets and other efforts have led to dramatic declines in Colombia’s crime rate, and other typical Scientology public relations blather.

We were interviewed that night on Radio W, a national Colombian news station, which asked us why national police forces would be willing to take part in Scientology’s schemes — and we answered that we were hoping the Colombians could explain that to us.

Now, W Radio has followed that up with a new story reviewing the history of Scientology’s ploy in Colombia, which began in 2008 with national police Colonel Ricardo Prado (a Freedom Medal winner) and Guillermo Smythe, public relations director of the Scientology cruise ship the Freewinds.

They’ve apparently been somewhat inseparable since then, as suggested by this ad which Mike Rinder posted at his website in November 2016…


Digging into archives at Scientology’s propaganda magazine Freedom, the W Radio story found that Scientology claimed its efforts in Colombia had resulted in a 60 percent drop in crime and — get this — a 700 percent increase in the country’s economy, and that Colombia was now the happiest nation on earth.

W Radio didn’t seem very impressed by those claims. We’re glad they’re digging into this. And we’re excited to see what happens with Senator Cepeda’s petition.

[PS: Dear readers, the nation is spelled Colombia, the university in New York City is Columbia. Please try to keep that in mind, because as Americans we have a tendency to confirm the impression that we know very little of the world outside our borders when, for example, we continually misspell the name of this South American country. Gracias.]


This is what the end of Scientology looks like

Peter Bonyai once again brings our attention to a Scientology video, and wow, this one is really something. Says Peter: “This is the Scientology Volunteer Ministers European Tour in Hungary — Grand Opening on July 17. Sounds grandiose, right? Just watch the video and see for yourself at 1:42 how many people turned up to watch this watershed event in the history of the planet.”


Years from now, when you want to explain to someone about the sad decline and fall of Scientology, this may be the go-to evidence. Straight up and vertical!




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 5,202 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,805 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 348 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 236 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,411 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,185 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,959 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,305 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,871 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,539 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,799 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,839 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,551 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,077 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,166 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,306 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,626 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,482 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,601 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 957 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,259 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,365 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,768 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,640 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,222 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,727 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,971 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,080 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on August 10, 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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