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Dispatches from our far-flung correspondents agree: Scientology still sucks

[The Birmingham Ideal Org]

We were super fortunate to have reports come in this weekend from two of our great correspondents. In England, Graham updated us on the Birmingham org, and in California, Erin Hodges Plumb had another of her upstart adventures. We hope you enjoy them both…

It was nearly a year ago, on October 22, 2017, that Scientology leader Chairman of the Board David Miscavige opened the Birmingham Ideal Org in the English Midlands; an event I managed to blag my way into, and reported on for the Bunker.

Passing though again last Saturday I thought I’d stop off and see how things were going. Well, 12 cars in the car park on a Saturday afternoon might seem quite healthy for an organisation that only had 88 members in the region according to the 2011 Census. But compared to the size of the car park and the size of the massive T-shaped former insurance HQ building, 12 is possibly not that great. And for an organisation promising prosperity, one Audi plus one Tesla alongside ten down-market vehicles is not so impressive either.

And there all alone stands the compulsory yellow van; 10 years old, the paint fading badly and no identifying signage. Can you see it, lurking at the back of the car park? According to publicly available records it’s only done 10,000 miles, and 8,000 of those were done in the last year. This is an unbelievably low mileage for a commercial vehicle. Could it be that Birmingham Org has owned this vehicle from new, standing idle just to comply with some head office diktat?

I deliberately stepped back to take a general photo of the building, so you could see it as passers-by see it.

 

 
The road in front is the one they managed to get closed last year, and fill chock-full of coaches to obscure the view. If you have a magnifying glass you might be able to make out a small blue ‘free exhibition’ sign right by the front entrance to the building. If they were serious about inviting people in why is the sign so tiny? Why is there no sign at the entrance gate?

Possibly one reason is that there are no passers-by. Well, plenty in cars. A constant flow of people in cars going about their Saturday business, going too fast to notice a tiny sign a hundred yards inside the entrance gate. But people on foot? I was there for 20 minutes overall. Mostly sitting on the wall enjoying the sunshine; ideal weather for a stroll you’d think. But in all that time I counted one couple and one lone jogger. Equates to about ten people an hour at the most walk-friendly time of the day.

Both the lone blue sign, and the faded yellow van seem like symptoms of an organisation that’s just ‘going through the motions.’ The Volunteer Ministers van and the ‘free exhibition’ have morphed into ritual objects, tokens standing in place of real action. An organisation degenerating into some kind of cargo cult where ‘having a yellow van’ stands in for ‘having an effective rescue organisation’ and ‘having a sign and some display screens’ is the closest to dissemination we can be bothered to undertake, or have the resources to undertake.

The building, originally constructed as the HQ of the Ideal Benefit Society and currently a hollow, fake Ideal Org. will surely someday be sold and will make ideal hotel. Roll on that day.

 
— Graham

 
Meanwhile, in Southern California…

 

 
I keep seeing organizations that use Scientology’s facilities at Int Base for charity events, even when those groups stand for everything the Church of Scientology is against. Are they clueless? Or complicit?

I have no issues with the charities themselves — in fact I fully support them and their efforts in our community. I assume they simply have no knowledge of the abuses happening at Int Base, the things we’ve learned about through Leah’s show and Tony’s articles, and the books by former members about workers being confined, families ripped apart, and degrading treatment of people making almost no money for long hours of work.

Last year I attended a tea party at the Golden Era Golf Course out of curiosity. This led to a mixer behind the fences at the clipper ship Star of California where I took Karen Pressley’s book along and was asked to leave. I began noticing postings of other events at the golf course as fundraisers for local charities. I tried to go to a pancake breakfast and was blocked from even leaving my car by Scientology’s Linda Greilich and Danny Dunnigan. I do not know what they were telling people but it was something about me bringing anti-Scientology literature on base.

Since I’ve been blocked from attending events, I began contacting charities holding their fundraisers there, asking if they knew that the Sea Org members helping out at their functions worked for pennies an hour and worked around the clock. Groups like the Kiwanis have told me they don’t know about abuse, and they claim it’s a free community center and nothing to do with Scientology.

CASA’s Human Trafficking division claimed they used their own employees to work the events, but they canceled their event anyway. NAMI, the National Alliance for Mental Illness, scheduled an event. I wrote and asked if they had seen Scientology’s museum in Los Angeles attacking psychiatry. They didn’t respond, but the event was cancelled.

Recently I was told of an event planned for the Star of California that would benefit Valley Restart, a homeless shelter in Hemet. Tickets cost $75, but I decided to try to get in and talk to Sea Org members working it. The flier said nothing about who was providing the food or entertainment, so I figured it must be the Sea Org. I paid my cash and got my ticket. I used my own name; I don’t hide behind disguises. The next day I received a call from Linda at Valley Restart, who said that I was being refunded my money and would not be allowed to attend. I asked why and was just told to get my refund. I asked if they support Scientology and was told that had nothing to do with the event. I shared with them that if Scientology was controlling the event and approving the guest list, it really isn’t free.

I’m glad these charities are able to make so much money for their organizations. If the Sea Org members were paid a decent wage, allowed to come and go off the base, and treated well, it could be an excellent facility to use. But we know that’s not the case, and the charities are being used for propaganda to try to put a nice face on the organization to hide behind.

I went to the event anyway, not actually driving on to the property, but near the gate. I asked Linda Greilich and Muriel if Scientology had refunded the money or was it Valley Restart? Muriel kept telling me she didn’t have time for my questions, and asked me to leave. I repeated the question several times. She finally said Valley Restart had given me my money back. So it was costing the charity money they would have made if Scientology wasn’t controlling their guests.

I have also tried to contact Linda Greilich about setting up a fundraiser for the Aftermath Foundation. All the advertisements for use of the golf course and clubhouse claim they are available for all non-profits. I will continue to push until we either have our fundraiser, or they change the literature.

Make calls, send emails, ask questions. One person can make a difference, or at least really piss off some Scientologists.

As the security guard came up to my car, hired as private security for the event, I heard on the radio that there was a disturbance at the gate by “That Erin Plumb girl.”

 
— Erin Hodges Plumb

 
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Bonus items from our tipsters

Our thanks to the tipster who sent us the latest issue of Planetary Dissemination, a newsletter put out by Scientology’s publishing arm, Bridge Publications. In it, we learn that Scientology is spreading the good word about L. Ron Hubbard in digital editions of his books, and audiobooks, but we also learn that there’s a special way that Scientology’s whales — big donors — can give donations specifically for this effort.

And what’s a donation without a donation status? Yes, not only can you become “meritorious” with your IAS donations, but if you give to the publishing dissemination campaigns, you can become an “ambassador” or even better, a “luminary”! Here’s the list of dissemination bigwigs, and we’re sure you’ll recognize the usual lumbering cetaceans…

 

 
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Underground Bunker TV

The programming just keeps coming at Underground Bunker TV. We’ve posted short videos about ABCMouse, Bob Duggan, Scientology attorney Gary Soter, David Miscavige’s position in the church,what Scientology says about Jesus and Christianity, Scientology’s obsession with masturbation, the Ideal Orgs, Narconon deaths and the vile secret buried in Dianetics. Today we have another short spot that brings up something we’ve covered here before. We hope these vids will draw people back here to the Bunker to seek more information. So please help us get them out into the world!

 

 
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Scientology’s celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs’ — now with comments!

[Danny Masterson and the Bogotá Ideal Org]

We’re building landing pages about two of David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, his celebrities and his ‘Ideal Orgs.’ We’re posting pages each day, and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them, in order to build a record and maintain a watch as Scientology continues its inexorable decline — and yes, we finally have comments working on these new pages! Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments about all of your favorite celebrites and failing Ideal Orgs

Previously, we posted pages for celebrities Anne Archer, Beck Hansen, Catherine Bell, Chick Corea, Elisabeth Moss, Erika Christensen, Ethan Suplee, Giovanni Ribisi, Greta Van Susteren, Jenna Elfman, John Travolta, Juliette Lewis, Kelly Preston, Kirstie Alley, Laura Prepon, Marisol Nichols, Michael Peña, Nancy Cartwright, and Tom Cruise. And for the Ideal Orgs of Portland, Oregon; Sydney, Australia; San Diego, California; Denver, Colorado; Nashville, Tennessee; Perth, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; Sacramento, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Silicon Valley, California; Rome, Italy; Orlando, Florida; Moscow, Russia; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Seattle, Washington; Dallas, Texas; Melbourne, Australia; San Fernando Valley, California; and Pasadena, California.

Today it’s Danny Masterson and Bogotá, Colombia!

 
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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 5,254 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,857 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 400 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 288 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,463 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,237 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,011 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,357 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,923 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,591 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,851 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,891 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,603 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,129 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,218 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,358 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,678 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,534 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,653 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,009 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,311 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,417 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,820 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,691 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,274 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,779 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,023 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,132 days.

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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 1, 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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