Scientology Daily Digest: Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A day off turned out to be a great thing. It’s amazing how much difference two hours of sleep can make.  I’m back in the saddle now and rarin’ to go.

Today seems to be relatively quiet, perhaps because of the first snow of the season in many parts of the Northeast, including a few inches in the Canada region of upstate New York, an amount of snow that the locals, in their native tongue, call “flurries.”

Reaching back to yesterday, the latest video from Karen De La Carriere and J. Swift about the cult’s legal machinations is worth a watch. The funniest line was when Karen interviewed Jeff, wearing a silver wig that would make him the envy of any late-night televangelist, who said “We threatened Vanity Fair with a very serious threatening letter.”  “Yes but they published the article.” “Yes, but they almost didn’t publish it.”  Legally omnipotent, indeed.  Karen asks, “Why does the entire internet laugh at us?”  “Well, that’s not true.  It’s only part of the Internet that’s laughing at you, a large part to be sure, but only a part.”  I think the most important point in the video was the idea that the cult may start to turn up the “religious persecution” angle to try to rally the troops and to blunt opposition from outsiders.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI8d8pZQW04

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Tony’s weekly feature on actually “doing” Scientology with Claire Headley featured an interview of longtime auditor and Scientology exec Bruce Hines and some commentary about OT II.  More importantly, there’s a mention of what appears to be a looney-tunes filing in the Garcia case.  The cult is complaining that the Garcia’s reply to the description of arbitration that the Court limited to five pages is itself longer than five pages.  Also, Tony unveils the “sensurround” room with speakers throughout to help you perceive where sound is coming from.

My take: of course, the Garcia’s were not limited by the court to any specific length in their response, so this almost sounds like first graders arguing about the rules for tetherball.  The “diversity jurisdiction” trap that the cult sprung was way more clever than the usual maneuverings, because there’s little latitude for the judge to rule against it.  They follow this slick maneuver up with a couple of extremely odd filings that can only irritate the judge. So one wonders if they’re almost baiting the judge to try to find some way around the “diversity jurisdiction” issue and waste a lot of the Garcia’s money on a trial, only to have the jurisdiction reversed on appeal.

The “sound room” from the Super Power machinery revealed in today’s posts appears to be an acoustical engineering nightmare, but that is apparently in keeping with the grand tradition of recording engineering in the cult, leading straight back to Hubbard himself, as documented in the long but hilarious ESMB thread written by someone who was with Hubbard on the project.

Selected comments:

  • Marc Headley chips in with a couple comments.  He predicts that a lot of members will hit the streets when they realize that virtually all of the Biggest. Thing. Ever is warmed-over dreck that they’ve already seen before, but which they’re being bludgeoned into donating at great expense.  He also gives a great vignette of Scientology’s technological backwardness with its Incomm system.
  • Legal Eagle Scott Pilutik provides some details on why the Garcia case filing is bizarre, but also points out that the Court won’t wade through any of the nonsense until the petition over jurisdiction is decided.
  • Missionary Kid hypothesizes about the effects of the acoustical environment in the Wall-o-Sound chamber, as a way to bring about psychological effects from certain kinds of sound.
  • MaxSPaceman finds a quote attributed to David Mayo, who was Hubbard’s auditor and who was one of the first splinter groups to try to do independent Scientology, began to suspect that it was a con when he first read the OT III materials.

Mike Rinder’s Blog

  • Mike’s first post yesterday provides more perspective on what happened in South Africa. It is an interview with Wendy Bowman, one of the 18 people who were declared suppressive persons and cast out of the church a couple of weeks ago. http://www.mikerindersblog.org/wendy-bowman-of-the-joburg-18-tells-her-story/
  • Today’s post features comments from the cult’s Facebook page where the public are getting near delirious with anticipation.  I guess this goes to show that if you hype the event up far enough before it happens, that you’ll get people to believe anything is great.  Google “The Royal Nonesuch” from Huckleberry Finn and you’ll see what I mean.

ESMB, WWP, OCMB

Fairly quiet here, though eagle-eyed Aeger Primo was on patrol again today, for which we are grateful.

  • The most interesting discussion was one started yesterday, about how “independent Scientologists” delivering auditing can be accountable to their customers, instead of hiding the lack of customer success under a veil of secrecy as the cult does.  My take is that this is indeed necessary to build a growing business, since word of mouth is a powerful customer recruitment tool.  But I still think this is a potentially fatal challenge for the Indies, since I continue to think they’re not enthusiastic about building a real umbrella organization.  And the last part of the original post speaks volumes: they need to have a way that OSA spies don’t get auditing and then denounce their auditors as frauds.  Yes, there are all sorts of obvious comments to make about the idea that OSA would denounce auditing as a sham, but I’ll skip them to stay focused on the corporate strategy issue: it will be hard to build an effective organization when there is always some residual paranoia about the intentions of some of your customers, and that may even extend to suspicion about some of the partners you need in order to grow the organization.  
  • On WWP, some members of Anonymous plan to launch “Anontube,” a hosting site for anti-cult videos that would be beyond the reach of the bogus takedown notices that are part of the DMCA landscape in the US.

A couple discussions from yesterday were also interesting, including:

  • Some members of ESMB predict a mass exodus of Scientologists when GAT 2, Superpower, and all the Scientology celebrations planned in ClearwaterFL. More Scientologists may say WTF and leave. Then there is the recent wave of apostates in South Africa. Will some of them wish to practice Scientology outside the Church and join the Indie movement? A new thread discusses the challenges in doing this.
  • There’s a rumor that the cult will give a $500 bonus to staff members to celebrate the GAT 2 launch.  This sounds a bit far-fetched but it’s worth thinking about. A bonus of that magnitude without offsetting “mandatory donations” back to the cult, say, for copies of the new and improved (yet again) “Basics” would be uncommon, and would point to the possibility that staff retention is becoming a near panic-level problem.  That, in turn, is one of the issues that would bring about the end of the cult, and which all the reserves in the world wouldn’t be able to solve.

General News

  • Kevin Trudeau, Scientologist and serial fraudster, whose latest effort is an apparent pyramid scheme called “Global Information Network,” was found guilty of criminal contempt of court for failing to disclose assets that could be used to pay a $37 million fine levied for his scams.  The saddest part of the Chicago Trib article about the verdict was that there were dozens of “supporters” who were in tears when the verdict was read.  The penalties for criminal contempt in Federal court are fairly open-ended, potentially up to and including life in prison.  It seems likely that the Court is not going to be lenient when it sentences him in February.  Apparently, Trudeau is almost enough to make Grant Cardone seem like a class act.

 

 

 

  • OrangySky

    Great summary, John P. I’m particularly glad you pointed out the $500 bonus. (I’m assuming that’s to staff, not Sea Org?)

    Still, $500 is a fortune to most staff Scientologists…and you’re exactly right, it signals a desire to suddenly want to keep workers happy – something COB has never seemed the least bit concerned about before.

    I’m less interested in the possible post-Super Power/GATII Exodus (which may not be immediate) than in just how many Clams can COB get to Clearwater for his festivities. Spies in Clearwater noted that there was filming being done in front of the tent, with guys in tuxes and a “gown station” for women. Whether Sea Orgers or hired day players, there were many “extras” floating about for the camera. Sounds to me like a Potemkin Village operation – perhaps filming some staged scenes of the event before it takes place, to give the impression of mass? I’m certain that “gown station” will remain en force throughout the weekend. Even major award ceremonies employee a large number of “seat fillers” (those are the folks who slide into the stars’ seats at the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes etc while they’re in the green room waiting to go on, having pictures taken of themselves with their Statuette, or in the bathroom doing blow)…but I have a feeling Scientology will be taking “Seat Filler Tech” to new heights on this one.

    COB promised “8000 Scientologists” would arrive in Clearwater. But Bunkerites have checked flights from LAX to Tampa and found there are plenty of both coach and first class seats available.

    If you put a bow around it, will they come?

    One other interesting thing of note today was a visit to the Bunker by a Troll known as “Signs Of Success” (implication – all the ‘entheta’ means we Wogs and SP’s are overwhelmed with how Scientology is really succeeding and are about to have our heads explode with all its wonderfulness). He got quite an earful from a number of people, particularly Derek, who had some really smart questions for him.

    • ThetaBara

      Linky-dink for the SOS comments?
      Glad to hear Derek is running rings around him. Not that I’m surprised or anything.

    • John P.

      I think “SignsOfSuccess” was outed by Tony as “Marcotai,” who is back under a different ID. The grammar is about the same. Yes, there were a lot of people who piled on; he managed to commandeer about 10% of the total comments on Tony’s site yesterday.

      I actually did a search in my e-mail for “SignsOfSuccess” and deleted all the posts I found that were either from him or were replying to him, so I didn’t scan for any worthy replies, because I figured that is a low return on my time invested.

      I think the “seat fillers” at Hollywood awards shows are to make the front rows look nice when the celebs who won the awards are backstage getting interviewed, going to the bathroom, etc. It looks odd when there are 10-12 empty seats in the first two rows at an event like that. For the big events (and even for some of the lesser ones), there are always more people who want to come than there are seats, so they don’t need “seat fillers” to make the auditorium look full. It’s a different problem they’re solving and there might be a couple dozen seat fillers at the Oscars out of thousands of available seats.

      Regarding Scientology “seat filler tech,” one can imagine the potential disaster if the seat fillers reach enough of the population of an event. Some older male cultie on the prowl asks a nicely-dressed younger female, “So, I haven’t seen you around here before. What OT level are you on?” and she admits she is a hired seat filler, and points out that the other 400 people in her section are also hired for the event.

      One disadvantage of “seat filler tech” in the tent is that there’s no balcony to keep the seat fillers from mixing with the real audience; it would be hard to enforce separation the way it would be with an auditorium with a balcony.

  • Spackle Motion

    It is highly out of character for Miscavige to approve such an exorbitant “bonus” to his slaves, so I imagine this is only a rumor. I giggle at the thought of the Cult implementing a corporate-like slave satisfaction survey. One of the questions would probably read:

    On a scale of 5 to 5, with 5 being ‘extremely satisfied!!!!!’, how would you rate the effectiveness of senior leadership?

    Great write up today, thanks JP. I didn’t have time to read any of this, which is why I come here for my night Sci-cap.

    • John P.

      I agree. This is either a rumor, which could be a very nice bit if mindf**k from outside if that’s the source, because it would give the staff some hope, then dash it utterly. Either that or it’s a way of the cult trying to “boom” stats for something they’re trying to sell. As you know, they give a small bonus to staff (not sure whether it’s local org or Sea Org) which is turned around and plowed back into a birthday present for COB.

  • ThetaBara

    Thanks, JP. Great stuff (as ever).
    Are you on that ThetaBurst list? They just sent out a couple of emails about the S Africa sitch (suggesting long time members were looking to go indy). LMK if you want a fwd.
    Thanks again for this!

    • John P.

      I am on that list. I missed those recent postings because they have probably been going to my spam folder for a while. The one with Wendy Bowman is a reprint from Mike Rinder’s blog, and I think the other South Africa one is a reprint from the BackInComm SA ex-Scientologists blog.

      Given what Tony said this morning about Thetaburst twisting things around in his bogus dates announcement, I didn’t check to ensure that the two articles from South Africa are verbatim copies or if they’re torqued a little bit; a quick scan doesn’t reveal any obvious alterations.

      So I am still a little confused as to the motivation of the person behind “thetaburst.org.” All I can figure out is that it’s an attempt by an Indie to troll existing members to bust them out. But it doesn’t seem likely to be all that effective.

  • SciWatcher

    Re: The Garcia case

    Given that Miscavige micro-manages everything, even his lawyers, and given his lack of ability to think long-term, do you really think that the diversity jurisdiction move was a well-thought out trap? Is Miscavige really that clever? Or is he finally listening to his lawyers advice?

    I’m wondering whether the jurisdiction issue was just a recommendation that he jumped on after the failed ploy to have Garcia’s lawyers removed from the case. These latest filings seem par for the course Miscavige maneuverings. Throw anything and everything at a problem to see what will stick. Unless he really is starting to listen to people who know more than he does, I don’t know that he’s clever enough (or patient enough) to think up this kind of scheme.

    • chukicita

      I’m thinking the diversity thing was one of several directions in a pre-arranged arsenal to be trotted out if it looks like things might start making sense.

    • John P.

      One guess (I’m not yet sure it’s the best one) is that the diversity jurisdiction issue is a trap that may have been planned back in the days that the corporate structure was set up, in the early 1980s. That could well be why they mixed trusts into the “stack” of entities in the hierarchy. Miscavige personally and long-time legal eagles like Monique Yingling probably knew about this “trump card” and decided the time was finally right to play this card.

      If this read on the situation is correct, that could be a measure of the importance of this case to the cult. Once played, however it ends, I think it will be difficult for them to play it a second time. I think this particular trap was designed to be sprung late in a case when the cult is concerned that things are not going well.

      I would also suspect that if this were planned by the people who set up the corporate structure 30 years ago, it may not be as effective as it would have been under the laws of the time. The law is always becoming more complex, but I would have to believe case law, even on relatively basic procedural issues like this, has evolved significantly. It might not be an exaggeration to say that case law has evolved more in the last 30 years than in the previous 130.

      And if case law has evolved but the cult’s strategies and/or the corporate structure has not, then the cult could be exposed in ways that they did not imagine 30 years ago, and they might be banking on a strategy that no longer is as sure-fire as it was. The odds that Miscavige, he of the notoriously short attention span, has met with lawyers to update the corporate structure to account for the latest developments in case law, a couple of times a year for many decades, seems unlikely at best.

      • Anonymous

        John P.

        I assume you’ve seen this document, but have included a link just in case others may also have interest.

        http://paulsrabbit.com/LHBvol1a.pdf

        Larry Brennan was a long time trusted Sea Org member and was in the lead of the Scientology “Corporate SortOut” project in the 70’s and 80″

        From one of Larry’s sworn declarations:

        “I have more factual and legal knowledge of the history of organized scientology’s corporate, tax and other legal matters outside of the courts from the 1970s through early 1984 than any single person currently in organized scientology or outside of same. I believe that I have more knowledge of actions taken by organized scientology to develop a religious cloaking and why it was done than anyone else currently in organized scientology. Additionally, I have intimate and detailed knowledge of the creation of much of the current corporate and other legal structure of organized scientology as well as what Miscavige and L. Ron Hubbard (hereinafter “Hubbard”) had to do with it. This will be covered below.”

        The document is 80+ pages and the links embedded within go to many, many more pages.

        While the information is a bit dated, it provides some very useful foundational data for more current analytical work upon which you and others may be engaged.

        • John P.

          Nice catch. Yes, the Larry Brennan document is a very important document in understanding not only the current structure but also the way that the cult thinks. Thanks for chasing down the link.

          Incidentally, Larry Brennan is now Denise Brennan, and she has commented on Tony’s blog quite frequently in the past, though not recently.

          • Anonymous

            Denise’s work is everywhere and it is among the most articulate, thoughtful and insightful available. It is pretty tough to credibly argue against the info she has assembled, especially given the tenure and insider status of her prior life as a very senior Sea Org member spanning both the Hubbard and Miscavige eras.

      • SciWatcher

        Oh wow, very, very interesting. So this is their nuclear option.

    • aegerprimo

      Old habits die hard, IMO he is still micromanaging. He is a narcissistic
      egomaniac.

  • Miss Tia

    Whoa!!! I’ve been reading about Kevin Trudeau for years, but I never knew he was a $cientologist! How did I not know that??? Excellent summary as always John!

    • aegerprimo

      I didn’t know he was a Scientologist either! That explains his criminal pyramid scheme.

      • John P.

        He may not be a current member, but I remember reading that he was involved in the cult for a while. Read about the “Global Information Network.” It sounds pretty brazen, even by the standards of other pyramid schemes.

  • Eivol Ekdal

    “Hold on! Just a word, gentlemen.” They stopped to listen. “We are sold – mighty badly sold. But we don’t want to be the laughing stock of this whole town, I reckon, and never hear the last of this thing as long as we live. No. What we want is to go out of here quiet, and talk this show up, and sell the rest of the town! Then we’ll all be in the same boat. Ain’t that sensible?” (“You bet it is! – the jedge is right!” everybody sings out.) “All right, then – not a word about any sell. Go along home, and advise everybody to come and see the tragedy.”
    http://www.pbs.org/marktwain/learnmore/writings_royal.html