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Scientology trots out new propaganda ploy: Pretending to support journalists

First, it’s important that you need to understand how much Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard hated reporters. He called them “merchants of chaos” and created voluminous policies detailing how to fool reporters, how to “double curve” their attempts to expose Scientology, and essentially how to destroy their careers and ruin their lives.

He spent almost 20 years using the full force of his secret spy network to try and destroy just one journalist, Paulette Cooper, from about 1968 to 1985, hoping to cause her to commit suicide or get her thrown in prison.

And his successor, David Miscavige, has expended enormous resources trying to taint the careers of the excellent journalists at the Tampa Bay Times, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, filmmaker Alex Gibney, and the New Yorker’s Lawrence Wright.

On occasion, we’ve also hinted at Scientology’s efforts to try and derail your proprietor, sending private investigators literally around the globe to harass our friends and family members. But we know that this is simply Scientology following L. Ron Hubbard’s orders, as they must always do, and we ignore it as best we can.


But Miscavige has another key strategy that he’s followed in recent years, and that’s to pretend that Scientology stands against all of the things it’s accused of doing.

For example, in 2009 the FBI investigated Scientology for labor trafficking based on the way it mistreats its “Sea Org” workers, who are often children working up to 90 hours a week for little or no pay. So to combat that notion, Miscavige put enormous resources into various front groups that pretend Scientology is actually a human rights leader and fights trafficking around the world.

It’s a reprehensible and cynical public relations pose that few people who understand Scientology’s methods fall for. But Miscavige thinks it helps keep the heat off of Scientology.

And now, he’s trying something new that is so cynical, it really threw us for a loop.

At the Hollywood Fringe festival next week, we’re looking forward to seeing Cathy Schenkelberg perform her excellent one-woman show, “Squeeze My Cans” as a part of our annual HowdyCon celebration. But at the same festival, Scientology is trying out an outrageous public relations maneuver: It is pretending that it supports the work of journalists who find themselves the targets of authoritarian governments — in other words, organizations that mirror Scientology’s deep hatred for journalism.

Tomorrow, the festival will feature the first performance of “Dying for Our Voices,” which is being advertised as “a call to action, a display of the dangers and challenges our journalists face in their livelihoods.”

All proceeds from the show will go to the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the performance will be followed in ensuing weeks by two workshops that will make use of CPJ materials.

The Committee to Protect Journalists was founded in 1981 to defend the press rights of reporters and to make the killings of journalists around the world more well known.

But according to the festival listing, the workshops that will feature CPJ materials are being put on by the Scientology front group Youth for Human Rights.

That’s right — Scientology, through one of its front groups, is claiming that it is supporting the work of CPJ.

“Yikes,” Alex Gibney responded when we informed him that Scientology was trying to get into bed with CPJ.

“Tony, I’m a big supporter of CPJ, and I’m shocked by this,” Lawrence Wright emailed us. “I hope you get a prompt response. Thanks for raising this issue.”

We sent an email to the production team of “Dying for Our Voices,” asking why it would partner with a Scientology front group when Scientology has harassed and terrorized journalists for decades. We got no response.

But we did hear from the Committee to Protect Journalists, which made it clear that it has nothing to do with “Dying for Our Voices,” and that the CPJ materials the production’s workshops plan to use are publicly available.

Well, that’s a relief. But we sure would like to hear from the “Dying for Our Voices” production team about why they think partnering with Scientology is an appropriate way to support journalists.


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!

[Kelly Preston, Beck, and Anne Archer]

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] DOX: Quebec church owes other Scientology orgs heaps, pays its workers peanuts
[TWO years ago] Marty Rathbun tries to rewrite the record on Scientology spying. But we have the dox.
[THREE years ago] Scientology claims L. Ron Hubbard chose David Miscavige to succeed him, proving he didn’t
[FOUR years ago] Good morning, New York! Paulette Cooper is dishing on Scientology in the Big Apple today
[FIVE years ago] L. Ron Hubbard’s mesmerizing lore, and tales of Scientology’s secretive Int Base
[SIX years ago] The Fair-Gaming of ESMB’s Michelle “Emma” Sterling
[EIGHT years ago] David Miscavige, Scientology’s Leader, Wants You to Salute His Beagles


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,477 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,606 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,110 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,630 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 650 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 541 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,848 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,716 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,490 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,264 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,610 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,176 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,096 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,263 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,844 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,105 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,144 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,856 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,382 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,471 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,611 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,931 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,787 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,906 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,261 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,564 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,670 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,072 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,944 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,527 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,022 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,276 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,385 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 14, 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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