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While Leah Remini asks for government action, the government covers for Scientology overseas

[Leah Remini, expressing frustration at the lack of government action]

From the beginning of A&E’s series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, its two co-stars have repeatedly said that they not only want to expose Scientology’s alleged abuses, but also convince the government to do something about it.

With the premiere of the show’s third season this week, that refrain became even more prominent as Leah Remini and Mike Rinder talked about “following the money” and appealing to the US government to re-examine Scientology’s tax exempt status in the wake of the show’s many revelations.

In a promo, Remini even admitted some consternation that her first two seasons weren’t enough to get the government to do something. And despite many things we’ve heard from our own sources that state or federal agencies might, perhaps, be looking into Scientology’s practices, the frustration that nothing yet has happened is becoming pretty evident in Leah’s show.

And then yesterday our man in Hungary, Péter Bonyai, pointed out something that certainly got our attention:

While Leah and Mike are calling for action here in the US, overseas the US government is criticizing other countries for actually doing something about Scientology abuses.

We have told you in the past that part of President Bill Clinton’s legacy was his interest in international religious freedom, as well as his extraordinary assistance to the Church of Scientology. (It was Clinton who signed off on granting the Church of Scientology tax exempt status in 1993, two years after that process had begun under his predecessor, President George H.W. Bush.) Clinton’s State Department hammered the federal government in Germany, for example, when that country cracked down on Scientology for the same kinds of abuses that today Remini and Rinder are complaining about here in the United States.

Clinton’s focus on international religious freedom resulted in a 1998 law that to this day has the US government monitoring the situation in foreign countries. And earlier this year, the State Department’s annual report had a particularly interesting section about Hungary, Péter wanted us to know.

 

 
If you remember, Péter and others, including historian Chris Owen, have been reporting for us on the really extraordinary things going on in Hungary, where new attitudes about data protection are kicking in (along with other European countries). Scientology is particularly vulnerable to this kind of legislation, because spying on its own members and extracting deeply personal information from them is practically a Scientology sacrament — it literally couldn’t operate under L. Ron Hubbard’s policies if it weren’t violating the privacy of its members on a regular basis.

So we’ve been watching with some interest as Hungary launched a criminal investigation of Scientology and its use of personal information. Péter pointed out that the investigation was described in the State Department’s most recent report, which came out in May…

In December 2016, the government’s Data Protection Authority (DPA) launched a data protection investigation of the Church of Scientology. According to the Church, the DPA seized various documents and files from its offices in Budapest and Nyiregyhaza, including “preclear folders” (PCs) containing what the Church called confidential communications between penitents and their minister. The Church stated the seizure of the PCs constituted a violation of privacy and of members’ right to freedom of religion.

It’s pretty rich that Scientology is complaining about privacy rights being violated in a government investigation of how it violates the privacy of its members, but that’s less the point than what Péter found deeper in the report — not only a factual description of what was happening in Hungary, but a hint that the US government is actively trying to affect the outcome of that investigation on behalf of the church…

In frequent meetings with cabinet ministers, state secretaries and deputy state secretaries in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and other government officials, including in the Office of the Prime Minister and MHC, U.S. embassy representatives continued to advocate religious freedom and urge reconsideration of the religion law to amend those provisions that resulted in discrimination against minority religious groups. U.S. officials also voiced concerns regarding the government’s anti-Islamic rhetoric and the Church of Scientology investigation.

And so Peter raises a great point. What are the odds that the US government is going to launch the kind of devastating probe that Remini is asking for (and that actually happened here before, with the 1977-1980 Snow White prosecutions) when overseas it’s rapping other countries on the knuckles for looking into the exact same abuses Remini is uncovering here?

We understand that the government is not a monolith, and that US Justice Department officials interested in Scientology’s practices may care little what their colleagues in the State Department think, but it does make you wonder. When is the government going to take a real look at what David Miscavige and his organization is doing to families right here at home?

 
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Scientology caravan to Mexico!

After the tear-gassing this week, what place could use a Scientology mission more than Tijuana!

 





 
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Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Jenna Elfman, Giovanni Ribisi, and Greta Van Susteren]

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 Scientology front: Volunteer Ministers!

 

 
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Now on sale: Twice the Miss Lovely!

 
Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. What a pleasure it is for us to work with her on this after we wrote about her ordeal as a victim of Scientology’s “Fair Game” campaigns in our 2015 book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, which is also on sale in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions.

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] DOX: Sworn testimony that a U.S. state was too afraid to take on the Church of Scientology
[TWO years ago] As you watch Leah Remini’s show tonight, keep these people disappeared by Scientology in mind
[THREE years ago] Jonny Jacobsen: Why the Moscow ban on Scientology may be built on shaky foundations
[FOUR years ago] Jon Atack excavates the Scientology mind for L. Ron Hubbard’s most harmful implants
[FIVE years ago] Tonight: Scientology Gets Its IAS Gala On — Let’s Get Dauntless, Defiant, and Resolute!
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s Master Spies

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,283 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,916 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,396 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 459 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 347 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,654 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,522 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,296 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,070 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,416 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,982 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,902 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,069 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,650 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,910 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,950 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,662 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,188 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,277 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,417 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,737 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,593 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,712 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,068 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,370 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,476 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,879 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,750 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,333 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,838 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,082 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,191 days.

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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on November 29, 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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