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Scientology’s happy promotions can’t hide the cancer eating away at its core

[Scientology’s Mod Squad]

You may have noticed this photo pop up a few days ago. It depicts the Rev. Alfreddie Johnson, Jr., late of Compton, California, on a visit to the London Scientology Ideal Org, flanked by that facility’s “it” duo, Charlie Wakley and Sandrine Mootoo.

We couldn’t think of a more appropriate image to capture the state of Scientology in 2019.

Wakley and Mootoo remind us that young people still fall under founder L. Ron Hubbard’s sway, whether they grow up in the organization or not, and bring to it a naive enthusiasm that at one time was one of Scientology’s best recruiting tools. Burning with energy, Wakley and Mootoo have tried to promote Scientology in London as a hip, exciting thing, and they search for unique ways to convince others that it’s “the world’s coolest religion.” (Which is actually, believe it or not, a slogan Scientology leader David Miscavige trotted out briefly.)

Wakley and Mootoo, staffers at the London org, are so sure the world needs to hear their happy news about Scientology, they briefly experimented with taking questions through YouTube, but their “Ask me anything” videos predictably backfired, and were soon taken down.

It was Charlie’s wife and fellow London staffer Kate Wakley who recently sent out an email to other Scientologists with a stunning success story written by Isabella Cruise, Tom Cruise’s 26-year-old daughter. A copy made its way to us, and after we posted it, major media around the world picked it up. Was Isabella ready to become a public promoter of Scientology? Perhaps she was. Or perhaps the Wakleys are simply a little too enthusiastic for their own good.

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If Wakley and Mootoo represent Scientology’s bumbling, half-witted future, it’s fitting that they seem to be so honored to greet Scientology’s past, very aptly embodied by a huckster like Alfreddie Johnson.

“This guy has literally helped tens of thousands of people around the world and is a massive inspiration to me so I just wanna say a massive THANK YOU!” Wakley wrote on his Facebook post of the photo.

Like any slick Scientology promotion, however, if you care to dig a little deeper, you’re likely to find a very disturbing reality permeating this declining organization.

Johnson has written that he came to Scientology as a result of the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. He soon became one of its most recognizable African-American figures, and claimed that he was responsible for bringing in other famous black figures to Scientology, including musician Isaac Hayes and Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan (we’ve heard alternate versions challenging his claim, however).

In Compton, a working-class suburb of Los Angeles, Johnson operated a Scientology front he called the World Literacy Crusade with a woman named Hanan Islam. She was its executive director, and together they founded “American Health and Education Clinics” at the same site.

Johnson, Islam, and the World Literacy Crusade had a colorful history, as we’ve detailed before:

— In 2005, Los Angeles County, which had been sending children from a group home to the “Clinic,” realized that the children were getting treatments that were totally inappropriate and seemed to be filled with Scientology. They ordered the group home to stop sending the kids.

— In 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported that the World Literacy Crusade office in Compton was the scene of a near riot as it turned out that the $1,500 vouchers it was selling for Section 8 housing turned out to be fakes.

— In 2012, Hanan Islam and Alfreddie Johnson were featured in a series of stories in the Tampa Bay Times which described how they flew to Florida and took over a struggling charter school, imposed Scientology teaching methods over the objections of parents and some teachers (who were fired), diverted large amounts of the school’s state money to the World Literacy Crusade, and left town after riding the charter school into the ground: “Calling herself ‘Dr. Hanan,’ Islam…said she was a naturopathic physician with two doctorates and a master’s degree from Rochville University and the Eden Institute. Rochville is an online school the Washington Post called ‘a diploma mill.’ No university named ‘Eden Institute’ could be found by the Times.”

— In 2013, after a Center for Investigative Reporting/CNN series exposed corruption in California’s Medi-Cal insurance program, American Health and Education Clinics was one of many that stopped receiving state funds and also found itself being looked at more closely, including Hanan Islam’s background: “Throughout her decadelong tenure at American Health and Education Clinics, authorities seemed to take no note of her criminal history. In the mid-’90s, she had pleaded guilty to a federal charge of providing a fake name on a passport application. She also had been convicted of grand theft for forging a $29,000 check,” CIR reported.

Then, the shit really hit the fan, although nearly four years later it has still only been reported here at the Underground Bunker: Islam and three of her children were arrested and charged with felonies as the alleged scam they were running at the World Literacy Crusade facility was exposed by state investigators.

Operating as a Scientology “Narconon” drug rehab clinic, American Health and Education Clinics was ripping off state insurance money by pretending to put patients through drug rehab counseling. Those patients were actually unwitting local high school students, supplied by two principals and a football coach, all of three of whom lost their jobs when the scam was exposed.

Alfreddie Johnson himself was not arrested or charged, but his World Literacy Crusade shuttered, and he got far away as quickly as he could — one of his newer schemes was based in Dubai, for example — while his former partner, Islam, faced the music back in Los Angeles Superior Court (while actually living in Las Vegas).

 

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[Islam, before her arrest on felony charges]

 
We are still stunned that this story has not appeared at all in local Los Angeles media. Three prominent Los Angeles African-American educators were disgraced after supplying unwitting high schoolers to a Scientology clinic that pretended to treat them for drug problems in order to steal about $3 million from the state. Six people were arrested on multiple felony charges, and the case has dragged on glacially in the courts for four years without even a preliminary hearing happening yet. (We doubt that would be the case if the Los Angeles Times had bothered to write even a single story about it.)

One of the clinic employees charged has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and has been dropped from the case. But Hanan Islam, 59, and three of her ten children, Zakiyyah Islam, 36, Nimat Islam, 42, and Ronnie Islam, 29, are still facing felony charges.

Ronnie is better known as “Rizza Islam,” a Nation of Islam and Scientology figure who spends a lot of time advocating against vaccinations, which he claims are a plot to destroy black children. (Although Rizza has referred to Alfreddie Johnson as his father, he has also posted on social media about another man being his biological father.)

We’ve relied on a correspondent who attends court hearings in the case to keep up on what’s happening, and right now it’s at a bizarre juncture. While Alfreddie Johnson is being feted in London, back in Los Angeles, the court is waiting for his former partner Hanan Islam to die.

Here’s what our court observer said when we asked them to summarize what’s been happening in the case over the last several months.

None of the defendants have appeared at the last five court sessions on the matter. Only their attorneys have appeared. The first delay occurred when Rizza Islam’s pro bono attorney Gary S. Brown suddenly died of a heart attack two days before the preliminary hearing was set to begin. Brown was a decades-long member of the Church of Scientology. A delay was needed to find Rizza Islam a new attorney.

The preliminary hearing was then slated to begin when Hanan Islam’s attorney waived her HIPAA rights to inform the court that she has colon cancer. The judge asked the prosecution if it wanted to sever Hanan from the case and the prosecution said no.

Hanan’s lawyer said she was too ill to travel or to appear in court. He said she was trying an alternative treatment and if that didn’t work then she would have to look at conventional medical treatment.

If Hanan Islam dies the complexion of the case changes. The judge is taking a wait and see approach. The defense lawyers seem to think that if Hanan dies then the case falls apart.

One of the defense lawyers claimed that the other defendants did not get any money from the scheme and only Hanan did. Therefore, charges should be reduced to misdemeanors or dropped.

Although Hanan’s latest online activity has been peddling cancer cures in Colombia, the court believes her death is so imminent it was waiting just two weeks before another status hearing to decide what to do, our correspondent tells us.

We’ll let you know what we hear.

 
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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.

 

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

[The Big Three: Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Kirstie Alley]

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?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Joy Villa makes it back to the White House, but on a sour note
[TWO years ago] Child deaths at a pop concert turn into the latest chance for Scientology to spread its propaganda
[THREE years ago] Will Scientology’s celebrities heed the call and show up for today’s big media center opening?
[FOUR years ago] Former Scientologist found guilty of defrauding other exes — ALSO: 1998 film re-release
[FIVE years ago] Scientology’s drug rehab system hit with tenth federal fraud lawsuit by Las Vegas attorney
[SIX years ago] Scientology Gets Emotional: Claire Headley on the Tone Scale

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,460 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,589 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,093 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,613 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 633 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 524 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,831 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,699 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,473 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,247 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,593 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,159 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,079 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,246 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,827 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,088 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,127 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,839 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,365 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,454 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,594 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,914 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,770 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,889 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,245 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,547 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,653 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,055 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,927 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,510 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,005 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,259 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,368 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on May 28, 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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