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ABC gives platform to Scientologist named one of 12 biggest sources of vaccine disinfo

 
We’ve been telling you for years that Rizza Islam is a menace. And now it’s official.

The Scientology/Nation of Islam anti-vaxx crusader was just named in a study by the Center for Countering Digital Hate and Anti-Vax Watch which concluded that something like 65 percent of the misinformation about vaccines and the coronavirus that pollutes the Internet actually comes from only twelve sources.

Rizza Islam was named #5 on that list.

What’s even more reprehensible about the fact that the 31-year-old huckster has been able to generate so many lies about matters that could actually harm the health of so many people is that for some five years now he’s been the subject of a Medi-Cal fraud probe, and he’s awaiting trial on felony charges that could put him in prison.

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Our readers know that we’ve been following that case very closely, which California investigators have described in court as a bizarre scheme headed by Rizza’s mother, Hanan Islam, and also carried out by two of his sisters, who operated out of a jackleg Scientology drug rehab in Compton that used high school students as unwitting dupes and ripped off about $4 million in insurance money from the state.

We first broke the news about the criminal charges back in 2015, and after numerous court hearings — which included Hanan and Rizza being thrown in jail for trying some wacko sovereign citizen strategies in court — the paper of record in that city, the Los Angeles Times, has yet to write a single word about the crime, the charges, or any of the court hearings.

And so while the Times has for some reason completely ignored Rizza Islam and his criminal charges, the Nation of Islam grifter has amassed such a river of lies online he’s become one of the nation’s biggest sources for deadly misinformation.

Perhaps if the Times hadn’t ignored this story, ABC and Sunny Hostin might have had second thoughts about featuring Rizza this month on their limited series Soul of a Nation, which has attempted to celebrate and uplift Black culture in this country.

In the clip from the series that ABC put on its YouTube channel which focused on “hope and faith,” Rizza is there to say that he’s Muslim (as balance, apparently, with guests Charles Blow, an agnostic, and Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie of the AME Church). But he’s actually Nation of Islam, an anti-Semitic Black Nationalist group, and Rizza is one of the best examples of NOI’s alliance with Scientology, an odd relationship that has taken place over the last decade.

NOI leader Minister Louis Farrakhan announced that he wanted his followers to get Dianetics auditing training in 2010, and we’ve watched in the years since as some NOI figures have become full blown Scientologists, including Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad, a/k/a Tony Muhammad, who is not only a Scientologist but was given Scientology’s highest award, the Freedom Medal, by leader David Miscavige.

And part of the glue between Scientologists and NOI members is their shared interest in anti-vaccine disinformation. In 2015, notorious anti-vaxx figure Robert F. Kennedy Jr. attended a vaccine disinformation rally at a Scientology community center and shared the stage with Muhammad.

 

 
Rizza Islam, meanwhile, was part of the cross-pollination when he, Muhammad, and Scientology OT 8 Lucy Cole brought the anti-vaxx message to a national NOI gathering.

 

[Rizza with Lucy Cole and Tony Muhammad at a screening of Vaxxed, an anti-vaccine propaganda film.]

 

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[Rizza with Lucy Cole, Tony Muhammad, and right, Del Bigtree, producer of Vaxxed, at a 2016 NOI event.]

Since he’s been charged with defrauding the state while working out of a Scientology front — the now-closed World Literacy Crusade in Compton — Rizza has played down his connections to the church. But there’s no doubt he was raised in Scientology and was a major presence at the center. He’s not facing as many criminal charges as his mother, Hanan Islam, who led the scheme, but state investigators said Rizza helped move youngsters through the Scientology rehab.

Here’s a photo of him from those days at the WLC, auditing a youngster with a Scientology E-meter. Behind him you can see his mother, Hanan.

 

 
So with all of that, his involvement in a bizarre, sophisticated scam that used kids to steal money from the state, an upcoming trial on felony charges, and being named as one of the twelve most problematic liars about vaccines and the coronavirus on the Internet, is it possible that the Los Angeles Times might actually begin to pay some attention to Rizza Islam and the danger he poses?

 
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Source Code

“Look, you know that a thetan has been sitting around here for a couple of hundred trillion years. You realize that there have been psychiatrists all over the track? I mean, you probably didn’t realize that it was a stupid universe, but it is. Been psychiatrists all over the track; they’ve been electric shocking people. Well, that certainly should have upset the GPMs, shouldn’t it have? Huh?” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 26, 1963

 
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Avast, Ye Mateys

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“THE BEACH: Cagliari’s old town (mostly bombed out in WW II) is reputed to be more expensive and a bit ‘clip.’ The new town is over the hill and is reputed to be fairer in price. These shore people will give you bad money exchange rates if you don’t watch it.” — March 26, 1969

 
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Overheard in the FreeZone

“I see there’s a whole bunch of new people here. If you’re serious about Scientology, I’d recommend you find a good indie group (there’s lots, just type in independent Scientology) and leave this one. The admin is NOT a Scientologist, and he will ruin your case. Please trust me on that, he posts things contrary to what Scientologists actually believe in, confidential cognitions, and is increasingly more antagonistic towards Scientology, Scientologists, and LRH. I’m only making this post for your own good.”

 
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Past is Prologue

1999: The Ottawa Citizen published an article about Scientology celebrity Jenna Elfman. “‘The most obnoxious, proselytizing Scientologist in Hollywood’ was how Movieline magazine recently described her. Asked about it, Elfman doesn’t rise to the bait. ‘I mention Scientology a lot,’ she says matter-of-factly. ‘But I never spoke to that magazine or the person who wrote that article. I never proselytized to them, so I thought the article was pretty funny.'”

 
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Random Howdy

“So the owner of a gay bar took money from the Church of Scientology? AAAAGGHH! Now I’m really in a bad mood.”

 

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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson arraigned Jan 20. Discovery hearing on April 20, prelim set for May 18.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed to April 13.
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. June 7: 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:
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.

 
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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.

SCIENTOLOGY: FAIR GAME

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.

LEAH REMINI: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE AFTERMATH

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.

SCIENTOLOGY’S CELEBRITIES, from A to Z

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?

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Scientology’s bizarre response to the pandemic: Handing out sketchy cleaning products
[TWO years ago] Tom Cruise’s son Connor to marry Scientology staffer in the church’s Florida mecca
[THREE years ago] Leah Remini is still being stalked, and now Scientology has turned to an ex-NYPD detective
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s gateway drug: The personality test and what it’s actually telling you
[FIVE years ago] Talking Scientology with actor and podcaster Ethan McKinley
[SIX years ago] ‘Going Clear’: Sara Goldberg on how Scientology turned her own daughter against her
[SEVEN years ago] Jillian Schlesinger: How I got into Scientology, and how I got out
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology’s Version of Family Values: The Group is Everything
[NINE years ago] Scientology’s ‘Writers of the Future’ Contest Loses a Participant After Our Expose

 
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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 2,252 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,756 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,276 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,296 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,187 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,494 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,362 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,136 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,466 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,940 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,256 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,822 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,741 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,909 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,490 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,751 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,789 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,502 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,027 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 382 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,557 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,108 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,257 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,577 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,432 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,551 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,907 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,210 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,316 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,718 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,590 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,173 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,668 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,922 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,031 days.

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Posted by Tony Ortega on March 26, 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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