Archive for September 2006

What’s German for “Busted”

September 30, 2006

Scientology is again under close scrutiny by the German government.  This time, they are warning parents and educators about the dangers of Scientology’s educational front groups including Applied Scholastics.

‘Scientology is not a religion. It is a business and its aim is to gain power over individuals and try to brainwash them,’ Beckstein added. ‘We see it as the duty of the state to inform students and parents about the danger of these schools.’

Scientology spokeswoman Sabine Weber said the group was a religious one being persecuted and that fears about tutoring and brainwashing were ‘pure invention’. She said she was aware of only one case of a teacher using tutoring as a means to conversion. ‘This goes against Scientology doctrine,’ she added.

For more on L. Ron Hubbard’s Study Tech, check out these sites:

Scientology vs. Education, The Watchman Expositor, and Now Toronto

A Statue for Gabe

September 30, 2006

In going through my video of Gabe Cazares, I found this video from the Clearwater City Commission Meetings. I speak about Scientology’s use of PI’s and covert Ops and the global assault they were mounting against Bob Minton. In the end, I bring up the suggestion that Clearwater should erect a statue of Gabe and put it in the heart of Scientology’s empire in downtown Clearwater as a reminder of what this group has done to the city.

I stopped by Gabe’s home later in the week and was tickled when he mentioned that he and his wife Velma were at home watching the broadcast of the meeting and were taken by surprise and enjoyed the kind words.  I meant it then and still would like to see that statue appear but the reality is Clearwater will never shake Scientology’s grip over the community, largely because they have stopped trying.

A statue? Gabe deserves it but look how difficult it was to simply place a memorial brick in honor of Lisa McPherson on a public sidewalk when Scientology was largely in control of the beautification project in Clearwater.

Jeff Jacocobsen persevered and got the brick installed in the alley but after we left town, it was discovered that “someone” had defaced the brick, making it unreadable. It has since been replaced.

A Giant Has Passed

September 29, 2006

It is heartbreaking tonight to see the news that Gabe Cazares has died. He was a terrific man, a brave man and a kind man. I’m so glad I had a chance to meet him and share some time with him while I lived in his town of Clearwater, Florida.

I’m afraid I don’t have the words to convey how important Gabe was and why I truly consider him an American hero. He stood up to Scientology when they snuck into his town under an assumed name. He was the mayor at the time and took it upon himself to find out who this group was and why they came to his town under a cloud of lies and fraud.

For his efforts, Gabe was targeted by Scientology’s Guardian’s Office which set out to destroy his political career and his personal life with a series of covert actions including a phony hit and run accident and calls to his wife from giggly female Scientologists pretending to have a relationship with Gabe. I documented some of this on the LMT website back in 2000. You can read that material here.

The St. Pete Times has an obituary for Gabe.

CLEARWATER — Former Clearwater Mayor Gabe Cazares, a civil rights advocate, champion of the disadvantaged and arch-enemy of the Church of Scientology, died Friday (Sept. 29, 2006). He was 86.

As a politician, Mr. Cazares led the local Democratic Party and won public office at a time when few Hispanics even lived in Pinellas County.

As a community activist, he worked to help the poor and build bridges in Clearwater during the early years of integration. But after the Church of Scientology came to town in late 1975, Mr. Cazares became an outspoken critic, prompting Scientologists to hatch plans to smear him with sex allegations and a phony hit-and-run accident.

Mr. Cazares questioned the church’s motives, its quiet purchases of downtown property and the way its security guards carried billy clubs and Mace.

“I am unable to understand why this degree of security is required by a religious organization, and my concerns are shared by many other citizens,” Mr. Cazares said in January 1976.

Within months, Clearwater was enveloped in a hostile, polarized environment marked by spying, sharp rhetoric, protests and smear tactics — some of them targeting Mr. Cazares.

Federal investigators later found Scientology internal memos outlining plans by church leaders to control public opinion in Clearwater, concoct a sex smear campaign against Mr. Cazares and infiltrate the local media and other institutions.

Scientology documents also revealed that church members had staged a phony hit-and-run accident with Mr. Cazares in an attempt to discredit him.

The criminal investigation led to prison sentences against 11 high-ranking Scientologists for breaking into federal offices in Washington.

When the smoke eventually cleared, a $1.5-million defamation lawsuit filed by Mr. Cazares and his wife against the church was settled out of court in 1986. It was one of several suits between Mr. Cazares and the church over the years.

“Gabe saw Scientology as a threat to the city and very aggressively pointed those potential problems out to the electorate,” said Ron Stuart, a former editor of the Clearwater Sun, who was also targeted by Scientologists.

“He quickly got on the Scientologists’ enemy list,” said Stuart, now the spokesman for the Pinellas-Pasco judicial circuit. “That was the atmosphere in the city at the time. Gabe didn’t let it faze him. He stayed on it.”
***

There was so much more to Gabe’s life and the Time’s story can fill you in on some of that but to those of us who follow Scientology’s fraud and abuse, there were few who could match his courage and tenacity.

Here is a video Gabe made in the 1980’s for a local historical society. He is joined by journalist Wayne Shelor who would later become the PR person for the Clearwater Police Department.

RIP Gabe Cazares.

Get Your TRs In!

September 28, 2006

Scientology Training Routines (TRs in Scientology-speak) are an important element to the group. They shape the way Scientologists speak and think and are among the first steps in the gradual shifting of reality for Scientology members.

In 2000, I produced a demonstration video with Stacy Brooks and Jesse Prince, former high ranking members of Scientology, and at the time of the taping, my co-workers at the Lisa McPherson Trust. This video was shown once to an audience in Germany and never seen on the web…until now.

Memphis Gets a New Bridge

September 28, 2006

Brett Hanover’s terrific movie about Scientology will be shown at the Memphis Film Festival.   Today’s Memphis Daily News has an article about the festival and spoke to Brett about his entry.

“We represent one of the only venues for a lot of local filmmakers to get their work seen,” said Emily Trenholm, executive director of the Community Development Council of Greater Memphis. Away from that job, she volunteers to help organize the Indie Memphis festival.”We have the festival at Muvico, and it really is state-of-the-art. There are other venues, but there’s no venue like that.”

The venue allowed Brett Hanover, an 18-year-old college student studying film, to screen a new movie he’s produced about the Church of Scientology called “The Bridge.” This year will be his second time participating in the festival.

“It’s definitely the hometown festival,” he said. “In a way, it’s sort of limiting as far as what gets seen, but for me and other local filmmakers it’s an extremely important resource for getting your films out there and serving as a springboard to go elsewhere.”

I wish Brett great success with his film.  It took a lot of courage to make the movie and a lot of talent to make it a good movie.  It deserves to be seen by many and thanks to the net that is happening.  Wouldn’t it be nice for Brett to win a festival award in the city in which the film was created?  I’ve got my fingers crossed for him.

If you’re in the Memphis area, the film will be screened at the Muvico Peabody Place 22, and tickets are $6.50. The festival runs all day on Saturday and Sunday, and films are shown in the evenings Monday through Thursday.

Leave Your Message at the Sound of the Exploding Volcano

September 27, 2006

The feedbacks are working on the blog so please feel free to leave your comments. To get the ball rolling, here is a message from Xenu.

The Last Time I Saw Paris

September 27, 2006

The local paper for Scientology’s spiritual Mecca (Clearwater, Florida) is the St. Pete Times. Today two Scientologists write in to respond to an article about a man who has been videotaping Scientology for a cable access tv show called “Cult Watch.” One of the letter writers is the owner of the One Stoppe Shoppe, a downtown 7/11 type of store:

Unbelievably, your newspaper has hit a new low with staff writer Robert Farley’s sympathetic article on Shawn Lonsdale, the (nearly famous) anti-Scientologist. The article portrays his statements as incontrovertible facts and uses them to smear Scientology and the reputations of Scientologists. This is an old tactic of the St. Petersburg Times, but seldom have you quoted or presented a less credible source.

Farley writes that Lonsdale is filming a “documentary” on Scientology, when even Lonsdale himself calls it a “pseudo-documentary.”

His riveting footage of Scientology staffers crossing the street to go for lunch is hardly likely to win any journalism prizes. One would think that even a bottom feeder like Farley would hesitate to champion someone as disgusting as Shawn Lonsdale. Farley accepts and seems to excuse Lonsdale’s performing oral sex on strange men as something he had to do when “money was tight.” Why doesn’t he just get a job?

The Times has no qualms in taking his side so you can once again fan the flames of bigotry and prejudice in our city.
Paris Morfopoulos, Clearwater

Paris is no stranger to visitors of XENU TV.   Take a look at this video and you can see why the Scientologists don’t want to be immortalized on tape.