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Georgia puts legislator who promotes Scientology anti-psych efforts on mental health panel

[Donzella James, in gold, with David Miscavige at the 2016 Atlanta Ideal Org grand opening]

The state of mental health is so bad in Georgia, the federal government stepped in and sued the state, resulting in a 2010 settlement that required Georgia to improve conditions in its psychiatric hospitals and find more neighborhood-level solutions to behavioral problems.

Last year, in a bid to end that federal oversight, the state legislature passed a law creating a 24-member commission to study the problem for four years and come up with real solutions, hoping to mirror the success of a previous commission that studied and reformed criminal justice in the state.

News coverage of the new panel, the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform & Innovation Commission, has tended to assume that the study will find ways to more efficiently bring professional mental health care to more people who need it.

But the appointment of one member of that committee has some mental health observers shaking their heads.

In October, State Senator Donzella James (D-Atlanta) was appointed by Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan to the commission, where she’ll be helping to direct the future of Georgia’s mental health.


We heard about the appointment this week from a national mental health advocate who is horrified.

They reminded us that James is a longtime and enthusiastic supporter of Scientology and, in particular, its anti-psychiatry front, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR).

CCHR is the most unhinged of Scientology’s front groups, openly advocating not for some improvements in the professional mental health field, but for its total eradication. As we told the Daily Beast recently, Scientology leader David Miscavige was seen at a Scientology event advocating for the literal detonation of psychiatry, claiming that CCHR had “booby-trapped” the profession while images of explosions were playing behind him on screen.

On April 2, 2016, when Scientology opened its new “Ideal Org” in an Atlanta suburb, James was one of four local luminaries who were on stage with Scientology leader David Miscavige to give speeches welcoming the new facility.

“It’s a mad world that we live in. But it doesn’t need more psychiatry. No, this world needs CCHR!” she said, and added that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, whom she described as “phenomenally phenomenal” had been “chosen” by God.

Here’s a video and transcript of her entire presentation that day…


Thank you very much. It is truly my honor to join you here today among so many friends. And what a first-class church you have built here.

So on behalf of the City of Atlanta and the Great State of Georgia — Welcome!

You know, I was born and raised right here in Atlanta. I love this city, I love this state. But, like the rest of America, it has deep-rooted problems — problems which I know firsthand.

You see, my stepsister was a normal, vibrant, energetic young woman. An A-plus student, valedictorian of her high school, and just full of life’s possibilities ahead.

But in her first semester of college, something happened. She started acting out. Immediately, she was swept away into a mental ward at a local hospital. We couldn’t get her out for three weeks — they said she supposedly checked herself in. But by then, after the shock treatments and the excessive medication, the girl I knew was gone.

Why are we allowing our innocent and defenseless to be drugged like zombies? Why are we drugging and overdosing the heart of our nation? Well, I believe that these are tough questions that we all have to answer.


And there is no one that I would rather stand with to face them than CCHR, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights. You see, after the loss of my sister at the hands of psychiatry, I needed retribution.

Yes, she is still alive, but she’s never come back to her right mind. You see, back then we didn’t have anyone to turn to, there was nobody on our side. And when CCHR came to the halls of our state capitol with the “Psychiatry: Industry of Death” Exhibit, it captured my attention and opened my eyes real wide.

Yes, here were the people who shared my passions and hopes for change. And since that time we have partnered to bring this information, time and time again, to the leaders and legislators at the crisis points of our systems. We have introduced legislation to attack the root of the problem.

So you have my promise of never-ending support for these exhibits so we can tell everybody, “Join us and stop this madness”!

I truly believe that together we can take back our communities.

We have to work arm in arm to open people’s minds, to make their voices be heard. I have a responsibility to my family, yes, but also to generations to come. And so do you.

We all are in this together. And this amazing new Church is a place for us to reach out and keep spreading the word and going to those that need it most. It’s a mad world that we live in. But it doesn’t need more psychiatry. No, this world needs CCHR!

And to talk to the significance of this day, one must say a word on that man amongst men. That’s Mr. L. Ron Hubbard.

Now I don’t usually get excited about a single person, because I know a lot of great people. But this man is phenomenal — phenomenally phenomenal. He didn’t just come out of nowhere. I believe that God chose him — yes!

You know, some people say “Oh, you can’t be the master of everything.” But indeed, L. Ron Hubbard was.

He was truly one of a kind, exemplary in every way. And I know, because I had the opportunity to visit the L. Ron Hubbard Exhibit in Hollywood, California. And as I walked through, I thought, “He’s not gone.” He was before his time, he was during his time, and he is still most relevant at this time! Right?

And today, this is a testament to the fact that he is still with us and his teachings will live forevermore. So, in his name, and with this grand christening today, may the Great State of Georgia be even greater.

I thank you very much. Thank you for inviting me, and this is a wonderful place that I will return over and over again. Thank you.


The mental health advocate we spoke to points out that although James will be only one person on a 24-member panel, her impact may be bigger than you might expect.

“Her ability to steer the findings is limited,” they told us. “But in my experience with commissions of this sort, the recommendations are often hobbled by the need to achieve consensus. One member’s passionate opposition is often enough to keep a recommendation out of the report, in part because they don’t want the drama of someone resigning in protest. So having James on there could very possibly kill any hope of the commission making meaningful recommendations to expand access to psychiatric care. That would be tragic.”

We sent a message to Sen. James’s legislative assistant asking for a statement from the senator. Given the things she said at the Scientology grand opening, is she really qualified to be on the state mental health commission?

“Will she try to prevent greater access to psychiatry in the state, given her full-throated support to Scientology’s anti-psychiatry agenda?” we asked.

We’ll let you know if we get a reply.


Source Code

“You find many a girl — various stresses in the war you notice this: Some girl who was very much in love with some young man, and he got knocked off, something like that, and right away she becomes a lawyer — begins to talk in a rather husky voice. If you watch her a while longer, the next thing you know, she’s liable to start smoking cigars. You know? And in order to exteriorize her, you’d have to exteriorize her out of the body of a young man before you could exteriorize her out of the body she’s in. Now she doesn’t want to be in the body she’s in, so she’s not really in the body she’s in, and you just don’t have a dog’s chance of exteriorizing her out of that body. You say, ‘Be three feet back of your head.’ She’s not in it. So the whole command misses. You see that?” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 19, 1956


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Imagine that you are strong enough to instantly destroy in absolute agony anyone who offers you the slightest offence. Once you have destroyed them then it is done. You cannot reverse it. Might you postulate inability in yourself after destroying a loved one who admired another’s body when they thought you were not looking? We do not trust ourselves to become OT again until we have learnt to control our destructive impulses. The latest OT rundown is not a solution. The solution is spending thousands of hours studying LRH tech and fully understanding and applying it.”


Random Howdy

“OT 7 is just sitting in a room talking to yourself and seeing if the needle reacts. You’d think after a couple of years of doing that they would just say ‘fuck it!’ and tell the case supervisor ‘The belfry is bat-free’.”


Start making your plans…

Head over to the convention website and meet us in St. Louis!


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

[Catherine Bell, Chick Corea, and Nancy Cartwright]

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] New Sea Org escapee says that Scientology still forcing abortions, decade after practice exposed
[TWO years ago] More Scientology news is here: You won’t believe how fast this planet is being cleared!
[THREE years ago] Scientology in hot water again for cutting down trees without permission
[FOUR years ago] When the feds tracked down L. Ron Hubbard’s boast about getting rich by creating a religion
[FIVE years ago] Earache my eye: A Scientology official’s excuses why he can’t fly for deposition in fraud suit
[SIX years ago] Sunday Funnies: For the second year in a row, Scientology will have an ad in the Super Bowl
[SEVEN years ago] We Told You Jamie DeWolf Would Blow Up!
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Spokeswoman Who Disconnected From Her Father Criticizes Scientology Victim Who Didn’t


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,822 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,326 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,846 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 866 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 757 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,064 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,932 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,706 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,480 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,826 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,392 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,311 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,479 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,060 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,321 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,359 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,072 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,597 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,124 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,687 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,827 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,147 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,003 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,122 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,477 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,780 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,886 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,288 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,160 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,743 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,238 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,492 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,601 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 19, 2020 at 07:00

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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, 14 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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