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What the Australian press can’t say about James Packer and his Scientology adventure

[Before the fall: Mariah Carey and James Packer]

You may have been seeing stories out of Australia about actor Tom Cruise and an Australian billionaire named James Packer. These stories caught us by surprise for two reasons.

1: Most of what’s in them was already covered by Steve Cannane in his excellent 2016 book Fair Game.

And 2: All of the stories are missing the single most interesting thing about the Packer-Cruise friendship, in part because of Australian law.

We’re not bound by that law, so we’re going to tell you that piece they’re leaving out, but first we need to set the table a bit.

We’ve written about Packer numerous times in the past. The son of legendary Australian businessman Kerry Packer, young James struggled to make his own way in the world, especially when he had a major business meltdown in 2001 costing hundreds of millions of dollars. This was not just an unwise telecommunications disaster, James Packer took it hard as the press naturally characterized it as the son stumbling while trying to be like dad.

To the rescue, surprisingly enough, came Tom Cruise. Cannane already explained this in his book, but a new book out this week repeats that story with a little new information, which the Australian press for some reason is now treating like a revelation.

Cruise brought Packer to the US, introduced him to Scientology, and by all accounts saved James from a really bad spot.

Just how bad was it? Well, that’s where the Australian press is handcuffed. We know the media there is aware of what we’re about to tell you — in fact, we discussed it with editors at that country’s largest magazine — but they can’t touch it for legal reasons that pertain there.

But we’re not under that same obligation. So we’ll tell you what we’ve known for a long time: What Cruise did was get his friend Packer checked into Scientology’s flagship drug rehab facility, Narconon Arrowhead in Oklahoma.

We know that from two former employees of the rehab who were both working at the facility when Packer was a patient there. Both were in positions of authority. And that’s how they were able to give us the additional detail that Arrowhead was sending detailed reports about Packer’s progress to Cruise, in violation of patient privacy rules.

After going through the quack sauna-and-vitamins treatment at Narconon Arrowhead, Packer rebounded, and spent the next few years as a devotee of Scientology itself (which is one of the outcomes Narconon is intended to produce).

 

 
We love this long-distance paparazzi shot of Cruise and Katie Holmes with Tommy Davis and Packer (on the phone) on one of Packer’s yachts. And note the Sea Org tattoo on Tommy’s arm.

Cannane’s book tells us that Packer had left Scientology by 2006, and at some point, according to the new book, he had a falling out with Cruise.

By the beginning of 2016, Packer was having a monster year. He had become engaged to his longtime love obsession — singer Mariah Carey — he was expanding his Australian casino operations into Las Vegas and Asia, and the mini-movie studio that he’d bought into with director Brett Ratner, cleverly named RatPac after the two of them, was going gangbusters.

His old Scientology pal Tommy Davis, meanwhile, had been out of his church spokesman job for about five years (although he testified in 2013 that he was still a member of the church), and the two of them hooked up again — Packer hired Davis to be his “general manager North America,” where he would help run RatPac in Hollywood.

But just a year later, Packer’s life had gone to shit in dramatic fashion. His plans to marry Mariah Carey suddenly ended as he walked away from the relationship, some of his employees were arrested in China and faced prison time for their activities trying to expand his gambling empire, his Las Vegas venture had been canceled, and even RatPac was suffering and he pulled out of it.

Tommy Davis went back to working for real estate investor Tom Barrack in Santa Monica, while Packer has tried to regroup. Now, he’s in the news again as a new book takes a fresh look at the roller coaster his life has been in recent years.

According to that book, Packer has now found a new spiritual path. “Packer has the maharishi spiritual guru Thom Knoles on speed dial to provide him with advice and alternative therapies to treat his depression,” says Australian website news.com.

Oh, and that rehab facility Tom Cruise got his friend into? A few years after Packer’s stint there, three patients died in a nine-month period. The local government ended up doing nothing about it, but Narconon Arrowhead became a shell of what it once was, housing only a handful of patients. Still, it’s in business today.

 
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Bonus items from our tipsters

Does anyone recognize these Yankees oldtimers who became the latest dupes for Queens dentist and sneaky Scientology front group operator Bernard Fialkoff, peddling his Drug-Free World propaganda?

 

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

[Kelly Preston, Beck, and Anne Archer]

We’re building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs.’ 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.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Today’s Ideal Org: Madrid, Spain!

 

 
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Coming November 1

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,249 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,882 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 425 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 313 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,488 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,262 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,036 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,382 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,948 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,868 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,035 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,616 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,876 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,916 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,628 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,154 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,243 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,383 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,703 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,559 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,678 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,034 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,336 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,442 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,845 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,716 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,299 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,804 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,048 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,157 days.

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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 26, 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

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates

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

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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