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Scientology and Nation of Islam figure picks worst week to rail against measles vaccine

Rizza Islam picked the worst possible time to go on tour spreading misinformation about vaccines used to prevent the spread of measles.

Islam is both a Scientologist and a member of the Nation of Islam, and this week the news has been filled with stories about Scientology’s cruise ship, the Freewinds, being quarantined over a measles case in St. Lucia and Curaçao.

But while that was going on, Rizza was in New York City and appeared on “Sway in the Morning” on Sirius XM with rapper and radio personality Sway Calloway. Rizza’s affiliations with Scientology and the Nation of Islam were not mentioned during the interview, nor was the fact that he’s facing felony charges for state insurance fraud in Los Angeles.



Islam has a poor command of the facts about the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, and rubella). He claims there were 108 deaths from the vaccine from 2004 to 2014. It’s untrue, there are no reported deaths that can be attributed to MMR. To the contrary, the disease has been fought with great success using the vaccine. Worldwide deaths are down from over 500,000 in 2000 to 110,000 in 2017. In the U.S. measles was declared eliminated in 2000, but there has been a surge since 2017 as the number of parents who vaccinate their children is declining. This year there have been 704 cases, but fortunately no deaths.


Islam falsely claims in the interview that the vaccine contains formaldehyde. MMR is a live vaccine, and formaldehyde is used in small amounts to kill viruses for other vaccines. He claims it contains aluminum. Aluminum adjuvants are used in hepatitis, diphtheria, and tetanus vaccines to improve the strength of the immunity, but they are not used in MMR. He claims it contains mercury. It does not and never has.


[“Some of us stayed over, 2 are missing from the photo!” April 27th]

[“The Mighty 7 are still here on the ship getting trained!! I wish y’all were here getting this data!! We’ve forever changed!!!!“ – May 1st]

[“I’m now an FSM for the Freewinds!” – May 2nd]

The Sway in the Morning interview aired on April 27 and the story of the Freewinds quarantine broke on May 1st. The ship has since requested and received 100 doses of the MMR vaccine. We know of one group that is stuck on the ship — those who extended their visit after the Black Scientologists Convention to complete additional training in Scientology. If Rizza Islam had attended, he could have been one more unvaccinated Scientologist at risk of infection.

— Rod Keller



Freewinds passengers outnumbered by crew, 277 stuck onboard until Wednesday

Our Dutch-speaking division sent us this rundown on what the Caribbean press says is the latest on Dave’s barge in Willemstad:

— Authorities are saying there are no further measles cases than the first one, after an initial assessment.
— Blood samples of the 277 on board who could not show a history of vaccinations have been sent to mainland Dutch authorities for testing.
— These people have to stay on board until at least Wednesday when results are back.
— 41 passengers could show evidence of vaccinations, but apparently they are choosing to remain onboard
— Another interesting tidbit: There are 216 crew members vs 102 passengers on board. According to a cruise-watching website, only one other ship offers more crew than passengers. In that case it’s a mark of luxury, but on the Freewinds we have a feeling it’s more about Sea Org slaves being paid nothing outnumbering the smaller number of paying pilgrims.
— Authorities who boarded the ship are convinced that everything is fine on board.


Scientology wraps up Quebec labor mess with a bow

Canadian journalist Gaétan Pouliot alerted us to his latest fine piece, which reports that Scientology has managed to quietly take care of a labor dispute there which had them facing almost a million dollars in back pay and fees.

We know that Scientology pays its workers almost nothing and usually gets away with it by saying its staff are “religious volunteers,” but in a strong pro-labor place like Quebec, such a category of worker doesn’t exist and Scientology shouldn’t be able to get away with paying people starvation wages.


But in typical manner, Pouliot reports, Scientology has managed to make the controversy go away with an undisclosed settlement. There’s no way to know, he points out, whether the workers who were shorted have been made whole or even if Scientology agreed to some kind of obligation to raise pay in the future.

Once again, what looked like a promising government expose of Scientology’s bad acts has dissipated into nothing. Chalk up another one for David Miscavige’s legal troops.


Patron Meritorious Joy Villa gets dressed down

Joy Villa may have given up her Congressional ambitions, but she’s still working the MAGA crowd like a pro. We have already written substantial pieces about her real background and how her political plans got derailed, but we have little interest in her latest grift. Thankfully, a couple of journalists took up the challenge this time…


HowdyCon 2019 in Los Angeles

THURSDAY NIGHT OPPORTUNITY: This year’s HowdyCon is in Los Angeles. People tend to come in starting on Thursday, and that evening we will have a casual get-together at a watering hole. But we also want to point out that Cathy Schenkelberg’s “Squeeze My Cans” will be running at the Hollywood Fringe, and we encourage HowdyCon attendees to see her show on Thursday night, June 20. Tickets and more dates available here.

Friday night June 21 we will be having an event in a theater (like we did on Saturday night last year in Chicago). There will not be a charge to attend this event, but if you want to attend, you need to RSVP with your proprietor at tonyo94 AT gmail.

On Saturday, we are joining forces with Janis Gillham Grady, who is having a reunion in honor of the late Bill Franks. Originally, we thought this event might take place in Riverside, but instead it’s in the Los Angeles area. If you wish to attend the reunion, you will need to RSVP with Janis (janisgrady AT gmail), and there will be a small contribution she’s asking for in order to help cover her costs.

HOTEL: Janis tells us she’s worked out a deal with Hampton Inn and Suites, at 7501 North Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, (818) 768-1106. We have a $159 nightly rate for June 19 to 22. Note: You need to ask for the “family reunion” special rate.



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

[Alanna Masterson, Terry Jastrow, and Marisol Nichols]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. 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!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] In Hollywood and in Italy, Scientology is making all your dreams come true!
[TWO years ago] Ah, the reveries of 1950: When Dianetics was in full bloom
[THREE years ago] When Anonymous had Scientology in a panic: A new document has us nostalgic for 2008
[FOUR years ago] Bob Duggan, the richest Scientologist in the world, is going to love our nifty new drawings!
[FIVE years ago] Leaked footage of Scientology leader David Miscavige in Sydney
[SIX years ago] Investigation of Scientology Drug Rehab Program in Georgia Shifts to Credit Card Fraud
[SEVEN years ago] Sunday Funnies: Birmingham Raises the Odds on Ideal Orgs!
[EIGHT years ago] Lindsay Lohan Joining Scientology? How Could it Hurt?


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,438 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,567 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,071 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,551 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 611 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 502 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,809 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,677 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,451 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,225 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,571 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,137 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,057 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,224 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,805 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,066 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,105 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,817 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,343 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,432 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,572 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,892 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,748 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,867 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,223 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,525 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,631 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,033 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,905 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,488 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,983 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,237 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,346 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 6, 2019 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post 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 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. Our book about Paulette, 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, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | 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, or 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 | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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