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Gary Beeny, 1949-2020: Scientology figure in notorious takeover of anti-cult group

We learned yesterday that Gary Beeny died last June. An OT 8 Scientologist, Beeny is a notable figure in Scientology history for his role in one notorious church operation: The takeover of the Cult Awareness Network, which people to this day cite as one of Scientology’s most sinister episodes.

CAN was for years an effective force in warning parents about organizations like the Church of Scientology, which is why Scientology put so much effort into destroying it. The saga goes back to the mid-1990s, when Scientology recruited a young Christian man named Jason Scott to sue CAN and deprogrammer Rick Ross for holding him against his will in a Washington state hotel room.

Ross had been hired by Scott’s mother to try and talk him out of the controlling Christian church he was a part of. But Scott managed to get away, and then was recruited by Scientology and its attorney Kendrick Moxon to sue Ross (and CAN, for referring Ross to Scott’s mother). The $5.2 million judgment was mostly borne by Ross, but enough was CAN’s responsibility that it bankrupted the organization, and Scientology then bought CAN’s assets in a bankruptcy sale.

In an excellent 1999 story, our old New Times Los Angeles colleague Ron Russell described what happened next after Gary Beeny convinced Jason Scott to sell him his court judgment:


The ultimate indignity for the anti-cult crusaders occurred earlier this year in a Chicago courtroom. Already having vanquished CAN, appropriated its name, and moved its offices from Illinois to within blocks of Scientology headquarters in Hollywood, lawyers with ties to the church moved to take possession of 20 years’ worth of CAN’s highly sensitive case files. Filling more than 150 boxes, the materials contained names, addresses, and detailed information on thousands of people who had turned to CAN for help in rescuing their friends and relatives. The list of organizations targeted by the old CAN read like a who’s who of fringe culture. Among them were the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nations, dozens of obscure fundamentalist and evangelical Christian groups, the Church of Satan, the Unification Church of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, followers of political extremist Lyndon LaRouche, and, of course, the Church of Scientology.

A judge had earlier excluded the materials from the bankruptcy liquidation, ordering that they be held in storage while the former CAN’s officers sought court protection to keep them out of the hands of its enemies. Bankruptcy judges are often leery of turning over the assets of one group to another, especially where rivalries exist. But Scientology lawyers appear to have devised a strategy to get around the problem. By purchasing the judgments against the penniless CAN, a Los Angeles man named Gary Beeny had become the bankrupt organization’s chief unsecured creditor. And so it was to Beeny that a judge in May awarded ownership of the files, the last vestige of CAN’s once-abundant resources. Beeny is a Scientologist, according to sources and The American Lawyer magazine. And in short order he transferred custodianship of the files to a Scientology-backed group, the Foundation for Religious Freedom [which is listed in an agreement with IRS as a Scientology entity]. The foundation had already become the entity officially licensed to operate the new CAN after another Scientologist, Steven L. Hayes, of Los Angeles, bought the logo and other appurtenances. In fact, the lawyer who represented Beeny was none other than Scientology attorney and high-profile spokesman Kendrick L. Moxon [an unindicted co-conspirator mentioned in a federal indictment that sent 11 Scientologists to prison]. He is the same lawyer who represented Jason Scott in the case that led to CAN’s bankruptcy. (Scott now says he was used as a pawn of Scientology and has disavowed Moxon.)

Beeny not only played his part to get CAN’s sensitive files into Scientology’s possession, he went on to complete OT 8 in 2004 to reach the top of Scientology’s “Bridge to Total Freedom.” And he continued to be such a loyal soldier for Scientology leader David Miscavige, he was called upon a few years ago to provide a video testimonial for a website that lavishes praise on the church leader.

We chose a still from that brief video above, and here’s what Beeny says in it:

There are two people that I hold in the highest regard you really could hold anybody, and that is our Founder, Mr. Hubbard, and David Miscavige. There are just certain people you just don’t know how they do what they do. How they have the confront they have, how they have the will they have, the integrity, the ability to create. It is something that is hard to describe, unless you’ve been able to see, in my case, this whole 44 years and what’s happened and what he has done to bring us to where we are today. You know, I have all the respect in the world for him.

He is a beloved figure, because we all get it. We all do understand what he has had to do personally to see this through, to see all of this occur, all of the advancements in the technology, all of the recovery of technology, all of the buildings, all of the expansion, the strategy. We know who’s doing this. We know who has the vision. We know who’s carrying the torch specifically for our Founder. And this gentleman is doing it in a way that is really remarkable, it is awe-inspiring and it’s something that, on the planet in the history of the world, is not going to be forgotten.

At a memorial event held in Los Angeles last June by Beeny’s family and friends, references were made to his dying “unexpectedly,” but there’s no mention of a cause, so we’re not going to speculate. Video of the event was filmed by Scientology celebrity Lynsey Bartilson, and oldtime Scientology watchers will no doubt find it extremely interesting to see that among the speakers at the event was one of Beeny’s closest friends, a man named Joel Phillips…


Yes, that Joel Phillips, who for many years operated one of Scientology’s most notorious websites for smearing its critics, “Religious Freedom Watch.”

Phillips stopped updating his site around 2005, but we’re sure some of the people who were slimed by his website have not forgotten him.

As for Beeny, Scientology’s publications show that he was still plugging away as recently as 2019, when he completed the Super Power rundown at the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida.

Naturally, the public didn’t hear anything at all about his death last year from the church itself, despite the loyalty he had showed to the organization whenever it needed him.



Leah Remini podcast: Your proprietor

Says Mike Rinder: “Leah and I talk to our old friend Tony Ortega this week. Tony has been reporting on Scientology for decades and as anyone who reads this blog likely knows, he writes pieces every day relating to Scientology at the Underground Bunker. This is the most complete repository of reporting on Scientology anywhere….We cover a lot of ground from the legal cases to the Fair Gaming of him and his family. We discuss Tony’s book about the amazing Paulette Cooper, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely (if you have not read it, I highly recommend it).” Thanks, Mike!



Source Code

“The reactive bank is a thing. It’s got sort of mushy looking electronic masses and it’s got pictures and locks and other things associated with this, it is a thing. Well, the physical universe and the remaining dynamics, of course, are themselves a thing. And that’s what we mean when we say our universe and the other fellow’s universe and everybody’s universe. There were three universes, if you can remember rightly. Well, that apparently is very true, there are apparently three universes, but we were speaking of the reactive bank as meaning one of those universes where, as a matter of fact, that’s a little bit of a curve in the line. It turns out that there was his universe, you know, his brick walls, and we’re not sure right now whether or not they’re his brick walls and everybody’s brick walls or only his brick walls, or exactly what’s the status of these brick walls, because we’re right up a bunch, right up against the ability to disintegrate matter, all these various phenomena that — a yogi has been known as a good yogi if he could, you know, something or other, if he could levitate, you know, you’ve heard all these tricks and nonsense pieces and that sort of thing. Kid game stuff. This is the level you’re looking at. You see?” — L. Ron Hubbard, February 23, 1965


Avast, Ye Mateys

“RECRUITS: We appreciate all the new recruits. You are very valuable to us. It permits older hands to move up. In your turn if you do a good job, you will also be moving up in your time. You are expected to do the job assigned well and raise its stats. You are expected to complete your AB, SS I, SS II and Mission School during your study time, which should be about 2.5 hours a day during one or another of your study periods.” — The Commodore, February 23, 1971



Overheard in the FreeZone

“According to L. Ron Hubbard, the Marcabians would have arrived to Earth in 1983. The first thing the Marcabians would have done is to take over the Church of Scientology. Captain Bill Robertson described later how this was done with the help of the Government of the United States of America.”


Past is Prologue

1996: A first-hand account from the Apollo was posted this week which counters the claim by Scientology spokesman Andy Milne that calling Hubbard a “nuclear physicist” on the cover of the book All About Radiation was invented by book editor Lauren Sullivan. Neal Hamel responded with his own remembrance: “Andy, I was on Flag with Hubbard, something you did not have the opportunity to do. While I was there, Laurel Watson was there. I observed an incident with Laurel where she was preparing a book cover for a new release of one of Hubbard’s books. He read her the riot act for a mistake she had made on a book cover (I forget which one). I remember her coming down the ship’s corridor in tears and quite upset. Hubbard dictated every damn word on the book covers that were released. He also specified and approved the cover art. Your story simply has no credibility.”


Random Howdy

“‘Ness is More.’ It’s Hubbard’s version of his favorite book ‘1984.’ Reduce the language down to its most base level and you can control what people think and it also separates them from the rest of society. Hubbard was already fairly knowledgeable about mind control techniques and hypnotism before he wrote Dianetics, so I don’t know why anyone would think his specific control techniques were by accident.”



Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson arraigned Jan 20. Next conf to set prelim, March 24.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed to March 2.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for May 20 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Charged in Brooklyn federal court on Feb 4. Arraigned on Feb 9. Pretrial conference set for Apr 29.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Petition for writ of mandate denied Oct 22 by Cal 2nd Appellate District. Petition for review by state supreme court denied Dec 11.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Dec 30, Judge Kleifield granted Scientology’s motions to compel arbitration. March 8: Status conference.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Dec 17: Feshbachs sign court judgment obliging them to pay entire $3.674 million tax debt, plus interest from Nov 19.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 24.

Concluded litigation:
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs.
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.


SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks

The Australian Seven News network cancelled a 10-part investigation of Scientology and its history of dirty tricks. Read the transcripts of the episodes and judge for yourself why Tom Cruise and Tommy Davis might not have wanted viewers to see this hard-hitting series by journalist Bryan Seymour.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. 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 a weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] For once Scientology gives up on Ideal Org, settles for a fancy ‘mission’ instead
[TWO years ago] Leah Remini pays for vexing Tom Cruise with Scientology’s ‘Truth Rundown’
[THREE years ago] Laura DeCrescenzo fires back at Scientology’s desperate new federal court gambit
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s Celebrity Whisperer: An inside account of life in the fame-obsessed church
[FIVE years ago] Scientology tried to suppress this video, and that’s why you’re seeing it here today
[SIX years ago] Scientology Australia spills its guts, and you can thank Bryan Seymour and Nick Xenophon
[SEVEN years ago] Five things to watch for in today’s first Scientology wedding in the UK
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Mythbusting with Jon Atack: Fair Game!
[NINE years ago] Scientology Demands the Right to Employ Slaves in Australia While Getting Puff Pieces in DC, Florida


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 2,221 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,725 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,245 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,265 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,156 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,463 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,331 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,105 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,909 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,225 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,791 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,710 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,878 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,459 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,720 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,758 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,471 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,996 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 351 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,526 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,077 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,226 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,546 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,401 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,520 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,876 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,179 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,285 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,687 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,559 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,142 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,637 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,891 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,000 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 23, 2021 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, 1995-2020 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2020), 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, 15 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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