Sunday, December 28, 2008

High-Ranking Defector Speaks Out

I received a long comment on my post Scientology 1 and Scientology 2 yesterday, that stands out a bit by the length but also by the content.

Indeed, it claims to be from a high-ranking defector and is quite detailed.

I thought maybe that's a cut and paste from another page but by searching samples through Google I could not find another page or post forum containing the words.

I just do not know what to think of it, so if anybody has an idea, speak out.

Why it was posted as a comment to my blog and not on some open forum I don't know. I still suspect it to be pasted from somewhere else, even though the first paragraph directly addresses the post I made.

I guess this kind of things would be posted on OCMB, but it's virtually impossible for new people to post there as they'll have to wait for month before receiving news (if ever) of their registration.

Update - I did find the same text on another page, but it seems to have been posted around the same time as the comment was posted here. What is more, the same page carries a prior text dated Aug 2008, which is almost for sure from the same author.

Update 2 - A quick look through the net comes up with three names of high-ranking defectors speaking out and who maybe could have written this text. The text is either from one of them, or from someone else. This someone else either is already known as a defector or not. The three name I came up with are Jeff Hawkins, Marc Headley, and Larry Brennan. As I said, there may be more that are already known. If not, then it's somebody new.

You will find the comment here.

And here are a few excerpts I picked up from the text:
There definitely is a Scientology 1 and 2. Scientology, like all things, is neither all good, nor all bad. It is a blend of very, very good and very, very bad. The bad needs to be weeded out and ended. And the good, preserved. [...]

I speak from personal experience, having worked shoulder to shoulder with Scientology’s top executives as a high-ranking member of International Management.

I spent 25 years on staff, including a span of approximately 20 years in Scientology's secret headquarters in Gilman Hot Springs.

Recently, I decided to route out. The last straw came when David Miscavige physically assaulted and violently battered 3 individuals in my presence: Mark Yager, Guillaume Leserve and Mike Rinder (three of the highest ranking Scientologists on earth). I was not only in the same room, in one case I was standing right next to the victim when Miscavige attacked. All this transpired within a few weeks. I had endured incredible suppression in the hopes it might get better, but when Miscavige sweetened the deal by meting out potential concussions, I finally said enough. [...]

Many of us stayed on for years hoping it would get better under the delusion that “it couldn’t get worse.” We were wrong. Scientology’s Int Management has been decimated. It literally doesn’t exist. It went from some 1,400 staff in 1988, down to about 300 people today -- and true enough, all those with any kind of spine or spark of independence are long gone. [...]

And where are those staff now? All over the world, uniformly doing well, but having to rebuild their lives from scratch. Those of us who routed out standardly from Int Management were given $500 and a declare order which which to start over. Many of us have spent our whole adult lives in the Church. Which means when you leave, you also leave behind any family and every friend you know. Those of us who started with the Church at an early age, had no college degree. So just imagine starting over in your 40s or 50s, with $500, no friends, no place to live, no car, no credit, nothing. It keeps one busy for a few years.

But besides the challenge of starting over, those of us now on the outside all share something else, an abiding hatred for this total failure named David Miscavige. And one by one, we are starting to do something about it. [...]

All the leaders of the Church of Scientology are officially declared (suppressives) and have been for years. Like Mark Yager. And Ray Mithoff. And dozens more. Guillaume Leserve (Executive Director International, Janet Light (President of the IAS), top staff from OSA -- they’re all in the “SP Hall” -- two office trailers which once housed CMO Int. (“SP” means suppressive person or “anti-social”).

Even the term “International Management” is an oxymoron (“international mob” is more truthful since they have lacked any org board for years. There is no WDC, no Exec Strata, no CMO Int, and not even any RTC anymore. It’s all been dismantled by David Miscavige). There is only “COB’s Office.” Even Miscavige’s own wife, Shelley, a person whom he wiped his feet on constantly is, last I heard, “under watch” in New Mexico -- at the secret Archives location -- the Church of Spiritual Technology -- because apparently she suggested Miscavige was having an affair with his assistant.

When you send a report to Tech Reports Off RTC, there is no one there to read it.

Of course there’s much more. Did you know how Miscavige got IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg to grant tax exempt status to the Church of Scientology? Miscavige personally collared the IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg in the hallway outside his IRS office and threatened to expose him. Miscavige had his people in OSA (Office of Special Affairs) hire private investigators to trail and video Fred and they had caught him in some unethical activity. Miscavige told Fred if he didn’t cooperate, he’d immediately expose him in full-page ads in USA Today. That is what Miscavige told us at Int Management one night in 1993. He bragged about it.
A friend of mine who used to work in RTC told me that when she started, she received a Christmas bonus of $9,000. She felt guilty about it since regular Sea Org members only make $2,300 a year if they are lucky. When she tried to return it, she was told it had to be that big or else Miscavige’s bonus would look "out of proportion to the IRS." She was told, if you don't want to do it for yourself, do it for Miscavige. [...]

He himself built a gigantic building “for RTC” costing millions that today stands empty in Gilman Hot Springs.

Financial crimes are old hand to Miscavige. In the early 1980s when L. Ron Hubbard was still alive, Miscavige secretly took over the management of LRH assets and promptly lost $30,000,000 on bad investments in the oil industry. LRH never knew. Miscavige’s solution was to invent a series of “collectible prints” -- paintings by Frank Frazetta, etc., of semi-nude women with huge breasts -- and he had Author Services Inc. (ASI) sell these to Scientologists.[...]

When LRH was around, the Church sold services to generate money. Now it simply demands donations from Scientologists. In other words, there’s no exchange any more. It’s just outright extortion.

It’s time for Scientologists to open their eyes and confront. [...]

From the start his only real skill was intimidation. He developed it to a high art, as did others of his kind: Al Capone for example.

Choosing Heroes Carefully

You know, though I scan them, I usually skip Barbara Schwarz's messages in ARS as soon as I read something about Chattanooga, ear implant, LRH being impostered, or "German psych case officers", because I personally think that's crazy (which, apart for that craziness, does not prevent her from being a rather nice character overall).

Sometimes, though, you'll read surprising things, and I must admit that her analysis of Valkyrie made me think.

Not that I think Cruise was wrong in doing the film. He wanted to show that not all Germans were Nazi think-alike, and that's a very fine point.

But indeed, how do we know that the script he read initially was not romanticized and biased? How did Stauffenberg arrive at the position he was in the first place? (Though the same could be said of Gorbachev who turned out to be a history-turning genius.)

And it is true that the Germans changed their mind about the film, in spite of their hate for Scientology and Tom Cruise. That is telling something! Not that I agree with B. that this was to portray a "Good Nazi", but to portray precisely that not all were truly Nazi.

What got me tikking in B.'s message was in particular what she said about Schindler. I was indeed always wondering why Spielberg (who of course is a Jew himself, as I am, BTW), choose to make the film on Schindler instead of Raoul Wallenberg, who, for his part, was truly a real and awe inspiring courageous hero who saved the life of countless Jews, whereas Schindler may be a bit of a controversial figure indeed.

Nevertheless, I don't agree with the qualification of Cruise's film as "Nazi apologia". He certainly did not intent to apologise for any of the horror Nazis did, nor does he do it, quite on the contrary. I agree with Hartley patterson's assessment that Friedman's article is "total and utter nonsense". However, some of the questions B. raises are worth spending a bit of time mulling about and pondering upon.

UPDATE: Two additional food for thought brought up by Schwarz:

1) "Stauffenberg supported Hitler's insane system and ideology for many years and just turned around when he noticed that Germany will be defeated. "

Personally I don't believe that was the reason, but the events did take place in June 1944, not in 1934, when it would make more sense.

2) "it is possible that the Germany decided not to outlaw Scientology because of this Nazi-friendly Tom Cruise movie"

I think that's just a coincidence of date but it is interesting to note that in spite of the antagonism of Germany towards Scientology, Tom did push true to rehabilitate the picture of the possibly good no-Nazi-like German (and not "Nazi-friendly", for God sake). It may have been a factor in softening up German agencies, but is very unlikely to have been a result on its own. It takes much much more work on evidences no-evidences than that to arrive at such a conclusion.

Valkyrie Maintaining Well and Catching Up

The best web site to follow the box office evolution of Valkyrie is Mojo.

We can see here that with $8.12, not only Valkyrie maintains its position well, but it has lost only 2.7% compared to the preceding day. Of the four leaders, it is the one who lost public interest less, which means it is catching up a bit. Compare this with Brad Pitt losing 13.6% (but still remaining 2nd).

PS - With 2,758 theaters showing Valkyrie, it only comes in 7th position. This is 923 theaters less than Adam Sandler, and 722 less than Aniston. Counted by theater, Cruise would be 3rd rather than 4th.

The Not So SO-SO and the X Factor Combined

User ratings on Mojo are interesting, because the breakdown shows what I was writing about the fact that the film was no so so-so after all, and what I was writing about the "X factor".

Indeed, the breakdown after 157 votes is as follows:

As: 82 52.2%
Bs: 21 13.4%
Cs: 6 3.8%
Ds: 5 3.2%
Fs: 43 27.4%

See? The votes in the so-so (B) category are a minority. Most of the votes go in the A class , but because of important votes in the F category, the overall rating gets pulled down to B.

I have little doubt that part of the reasons for the F vote are due to the X factor.

In reality, the real film value would probably be around 8 rather than 7, where it currently is.

Users Reviews - a Solid 7

Users reviews continue on the trend predicted..

Though Metacritic went from 7 to 6.5 after 8 more votes (for a lowly total of 20), Rotten Tomatoes has it at 7.5 with 160 reviews, and IMDB at 7.1 after 1,424 votes.

It could be said, thus that user reviews are a solit 7 so far.

A Dog Beats Hitler

How come nobody told me that Marley was A DOG?

They were only talking about Jennifer Aniston. Is that fair? I think not... I didn't even know Owen Wilson was in the cast!

I love dogs (and animals in general). See? My logo is a dog...

I now saw the trailer and I must admit I too would have gone rushing to that film, leaving Cruise and Hitler far behind in a split second with no hesitation.

Anyway, I'll have to wait a while to see either before it gets to this part of the world.

Tom Cruise's Leaked Video 7th on 2008 YouTube Chart

The Huffington Post has compiled what it thinks is "YouTube's Best Of 2008: Top Ten (VIDEO)", arrived at "by combining the number of times viewed, newsworthiness and hilarity".

The leaked Tom Cruise video is 7th.

All the other videos I don't know about, which shows how truly lost in space a Belgian I am...

The leaked video is also part of the Top 10 viral video time wasters of, together with... rickrolling!
but the best use – and another sign of the crossing lines between the web and the real world – was the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which had a real-life "Rick Roll," with a surprise appearance by the English crooner himself, atop a float, breaking into his own song.
Other potentially interesting tops:

Beck Youthless lists what is apparently a new release from Beck today. It is unclear whether this is a new CD entirely or if its the single release of one of the music critics' favorite track of Modern Guilt:
BECK YOUTHLESS Slacker hero Beck - despite reportedly having turned to Scientology - releases a typically funk-filled affair. Offbeat handclaps and simple guitar arrangements make this one of his most sparse sounding offerings in years. All the better for it too.
PS - Beck have not "turned to Scientology". He "grew up in and around it".

Beck on Best-of Charts for 2008

Beck, second generation Scientologist and 2009 Grammy Award nominee for "Best Alternative Music Album", had his album "Modern Guilt" listed on several best-of 2008 charts this month, including the Rolling Stone's Top 50 Albums Of 2008, where he holds the number 8 spot:

MTV News Staff Favorites Of 2008: Sabrina Rojas Weiss’ Top 10
4. Beck, Modern Guilt: I love the retro, melodic sound of this album. Booty-shaking Beck is so much better than experimental or mopey Beck.
Capecodonline: The year's best pop music
8. "Modern Guilt," Beck (Interscope): Lyrically dark, but juiced by the lighthearted touch of producer Danger Mouse, Beck's latest gets off to a great start (the five opening tracks add up to the best first half of any of the year's releases), but fizzles after that. iPod pick: "Chemtrails"
Joan Anderman's top CD picks of 2008
BECK, "Modern Guilt" (Interscope) Maybe we've become a little too accustomed to great Beck records, because the artist's latest - a shimmering and uncharacteristically emotional collection - came out to little fanfare this summer. It's worth a spin or 10, if only for the heady collision of technology and humanity.
USA Today: Our critics' picks of 2008
4. Modern Guilt, Beck. Dizzying Beck-fest of retro pop, folk, electronica and surf rock. Critic’s picks: Top 10 albums of 2008
1. “Modern Guilt,” Beck: Beck and producer Brian “Dangermouse” Burton team up for a lean 33 minutes that celebrates their love of both ’60s pop and hip-hop. Now middle-age and obviously reflecting on his own mortality, the normally quirky Beckster delivers some of his darkest lyrics to date – darker even than 2002’s melancholy masterpiece “Sea Change.”

He channels new millennial dread on the title track, a bluesy nod to the Doors’ “People Are Strange.” He makes global climatic catastrophe sound like a rowdy go-go party on the infectious “Gamma Ray” and even briefly ponders suicide on weepy album closer “Volcano.”

But the haunting high point is psych-rock epic “Chemtrails,” with Beck donning an eerie falsetto as he sings about seas of humanity “swallowed by evil.” Long-time collaborator Joey Waronker puts on one hell of a drum clinic.

This was a killer walk-off number when Beck headlined at Bumbershoot this year.
The Glide 20: Our Top Albums of 2008
Its been awhile since Beck’s name made it onto any ‘best of’ lists, but his latest, Modern Guilt (co-produced with Danger Mouse) puts him back in the limelight with more solid production, novel beats and interesting lyrics. Traveling down some diverse sound avenues, his latest effort gains low-end strength in the bass heavy rhythms of "Orphans," "Gamma Ray" and "Youthless,” but shifts all the way to ethereal madness in “Chemtrails.” If this was Beck’s debut record, he’d be the wet spot of the blogosphere, but seeing as it’s his eighth, this veteran gem could easily be overlooked. The Top 25 Albums of 2008
17. Modern Guilt - Beck
At just 10 tracks, Modern Guilt - Beck's tenth album - certainly left listeners wanting more. But with Dangermouse behind him, he came up with some of his most eloquent tunes in years.
Will Amacher: The Ten Best Albums of 2008
6. Beck: Modern Guilt – This alternative renaissance man cannot be caged by any particular genre, and Beck continues to impress with each new venture. That mellow voice, along with the golden touch of producer Danger Mouse, makes for an album that those involved should be proud of.
ADAM KISPERT: Best Albums of the Year
8.) "Modern Guilt" by Beck — Combining with Danger Mouse, Beck finds the perfect hybrid of his previous guises to create something new. 2008's top albums
7) Beck: 'Modern Guilt' (DGC Records)
Long one of rock's most creative songwriters, Beck turns out one of the most tuneful CDs of his career with "Modern Guilt."
Sound Check: Rewinding the musical year
Beck, “Modern Guilt” (DGC): A continuation of the stirring-but-laid-back vibe Beck created with his finest album, “Sea Change.”
NZ Herald Best Of The Year List
30. Beck - Modern guilt "While he's dealt with everything from the big guy in the sky to war, it was never heavy going because of the off-kilter beats, laid-back grooves, and cunning instrumentation"
Update Jan 1, 2009: "Beck: 'Modern Guilt' After nearly a decade of creative sloth, in which Beck seemed to be desperately chasing the ghost of his previous work, he unexpectedly turned out this fantastic set of psychedelic electrofolk. With luminary producer Danger Mouse on board, Beck puts the Scientology self-help lingo and instantly-dated pop culture references aside in favor of an affecting album that still swings. "

Pageant Not Doing Well

A "Very Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant" does not seem to do well in theaters, at least not on the one reported by
I don’t envy the folks at TOTS who had to try to sell tickets to this straight-faced, kid-cast, multi-level satire of L. Ron Hubbard and company. But anyone who did find their way to the show experienced something strange and wonderful. Credit Ron Spencer in guiding his tiny company to just the right balance of innocence and knowledge, hilarity and creepiness. A shame it didn’t find the audience it deserved.

John Holdren and Scientology

At first I thought, reading this article, that Obama appointed a Scientologist as the White House Science adviser, but then I found out that the author uses "Scientology" with the meaning of pseudo-science, or approximate science, not as a reference to the actual movement.

You can see this in these two other articles of his:
PS - In another article today, an other author also use "Scientology" in a similar, albeit more political, manner:
"The political right, however, calls Kwanzaa a pseudo-Marxist phoney holiday which has been adopted by public institutions as part of a politically correct assault on the standing of Christmas. "It's the Scientology of holidays," says Erick Erickson, who writes the influential conservative blog"

LA Times Interviews Makers of Valkyrie

The LA Times features a long and detailed interview with Cruise, Singer, and McQuarrie, makers of Valkyrie.

In it, among many other things, they talk about Cruise being misunderstood:
When Cruise is asked if he feels misunderstood, Singer and McQuarrie jump in with the passion. [...]

"He's totally misunderstood. [...]

"You spend the first two weeks waiting for the . . . that you think Tom is to manifest itself. And after a year and half, you realize that is not who he is. . . . He gets a bad rap."

"He is a really great guy," chimes in McQuarrie. "He's a generous person. He works very hard. He is exceedingly professional. There is no hierarchy of any kind on the set. We would have . . . somebody's mother came to visit the set and Tom would spend the afternoon having lunch with that person's mother."

Cruise is more subdued about the vagaries of being Cruise. "I can't spend my time worrying about it," he says. As a kid, he moved constantly. "I was always the new kid. I went to different schools and I would hear back rumors about where I came from."

Now it's the same phenomenon, but "on a world stage, and sometimes it gets even very extreme and you've got to laugh about it. And some of it you kind of go, OK. OK, as in breathe, be Zen, ignore what you cannot control."