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Two years after Scientology rehabbed an Australian acoustics lab, the silence is deafening

 
Two years ago today, Australian television journalist Bryan Seymour was on the scene to cover Scientology’s grand opening of an “Advanced Org” in a suburb of Sydney. To mark the anniversary, we asked Bryan to update us on how this major facility is faring.

The silence is eerie at the National Acoustics Laboratory in Chatswood.

At one time it was a bustling hub for engineers, scientists, and researchers working on Hearing Science, Audiology, Behavioural Science, Communication Science and Digital Processing. They made breakthroughs and exported their technology and products around the world.

Then Scientology bought and renovated the property. In 2016 they held a gala event to open their Australasian HQ. Australia’s first Ideal “Advanced Org” was, promised leader David Miscavige, “destined to be a beacon of freedom for the Asia Pacific region.”

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The early indicators, however, were not great. Organisers could manage only a paltry crowd of less than 1,500. And in the absence of any prominent speakers, a cavalcade of randoms got up to speak.

 

 

Among them was former Auburn Mayor Le Lam – who is better known in Australia for her political links to former fellow councillor Salim Mehajer.

Others who spoke at the event included Muslim cleric Amin Hady, whom Scientology touted as a “former religious adviser to the Australian Prime Minister,” but who in reality belonged to an advisory committee which advocated on behalf of the community.

I was sending live updates to the Underground Bunker on the day of the grand opening, as well as my televised report of the event.

With such an inauspicious beginning it is perhaps not surprising that things have not surged as promised on that first, glorious day.

The sprawling 145,000 square foot complex appears to be mostly empty.

After paying more than $57 million to buy and renovate the property, Scientology planned to ferry 275 Scientologists in by bus every day. These were presumably existing attendees at the previous facility at Dundas.

They also announced they would launch a recruitment drive to attract North Sydney residents battling drug addiction and depression. No such recruitment drive seems to have occurred. The fact that Scientology does not have a license to provide drug treatment and mental services at the complex may have dissuaded those in need from joining up.

One neighbor I spoke with this week, (who requested they not be named), told me several days a week — mainly Fridays and Saturdays — they see about 100 people using the nearby park and playground.

“I don’t see too many positive things there because I don’t feel like they contribute anything to the community,” the neighbor told me. “I don’t think anything they do has a positive impact.”

After months of complaints from neighbours, Scientology has finally turned off bright floodlights illuminating the area late at night. They have also reduced the use of loudspeakers at the property.

Otherwise, the regional HQ for the “world’s fastest growing religion” continues to operate in relative anonymity.

“They had a security person come to my house after a council survey to get my feedback,” The neighbor said.

“If Scientology were to close tomorrow I definitely won’t miss them, that’s for sure.”

It would still be quiet, but at least the National Acoustics Lab was contributing to society.

 
— Bryan Seymour

 
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Freewinds arriving in Cartagena this morning

According to marinetraffic.org, the Freewinds, Scientology’s private cruise ship, is arriving in Cartagena, Colombia today — its first trip there after a scandal broke out about Scientology’s influence on Colombia’s military and national police.

Our man in Bogotá has alerted his contacts in the local media. We can hardly wait to see what sort of welcome the Scientologists receive in a country where the press is still feeding on the scandal.

 
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Bonus items from our tipsters

Got a spare two grand?

 

 
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MEANWHILE, AT FACEBOOK…

 

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

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,227 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,830 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 373 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 261 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,436 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,210 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,984 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,330 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,896 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,564 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,824 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,864 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,576 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,102 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,191 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,331 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,651 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,507 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,626 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 982 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,284 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,390 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,793 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,664 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,247 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,752 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,996 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,105 days.

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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on September 4, 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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