Archive for June 2007

Stephanie Miller – German Flap

June 28, 2007

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Thursday June 28, 2007

Stephanie MillerStephanie Miller took up the story of Germany refusing Tom Cruise permission to film in government and military offices for his upcoming Nazi-Era film.

Once again, someone in the Stephanie Miller brain trust shows off a fairly thorough knowledge of Scientology buzzwords as Tom Cruise jumps on Oprah’s couch.

Voice guy Jim Ward gives a pretty good demonstration of why Germany might be wary of granting Scientology access to their offices.

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Countdown – Germany Says Nein to Cruise

June 27, 2007

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE – Tuesday June 26, 2007

Countdown It’s always nice to come home from work and turn on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. If only all news shows were as good as this and covered the important news of the day, from Bush’s latest blunder to Bill O’Reilly’s latest bluster.

A wonderful added benefit for the SP’s in the audience is that Keith will invariably cover the latest wacky Scientology story in a segment he has come to call “Tom Cruise Scares Me.”

Tonight, Keith looked at the controversy over Germany’s refusal to allow Cruise to film his new Nazi-era movie in government and military buildings. Governments refuse cooperation to filmmakers all the time. Usually it is because they are worried the film will show them in a bad light. This time, they came right out and said they are refusing him permission because Cruise is a Scientologist and they consider the group a cult.

Germany has very strict laws governing paramilitary cults such as Scientology. They were put into effect after WWII so another Nazi-like group could never rise again in their land. They take this seriously and they are not letting Scientology get away with their religious-cloak.

On a happier note, today is the birthday of my sweet Magooski, Tory Christman! Hooray and Huzzah! Let the world celebrate the wonderfulness of this completely enchanting woman we first met as Magoo.

Happy birthday, Tory!!!!!

Hellbound Alleee

June 24, 2007

Hellbound AlleeeWell, I just spent a delightful hour listening to a podcast from Hellbound Alleee.  It’s located on what I’m assured is America’s Greatest Blog.  Alleee took a few audio clips from the talkSport radio show, sprinkled in some sound bites of Hubbard and mixed it all together with some really infectious music.

I have to admit that music is not a big part of my life.  I never listened to the radio as a kid.  I never bought records except for comedy albums till much later in life.  And when I listen to a podcast like this or Harry Shearer’s weekly public radio series Le Show, I realize how much I’ve missed.

I grew up on TV.  Specifically movies on TV.   When I was a kid, every weekend there would be multiple Abbott and Costello movies or Hope and Crosby.   When the rest of the kids were embracing the London invasion, I was hearing the Andrew Sisters.  When others grew up with Lennon/McCartney, my favorite songwriting team was Van Heusen and Burke who wrote most of Bing Crosby’s songs during his peak days at Paramount Studios in the 40’s.

I know,  I’m a dork.  I know the Beatles because they made movies.  Until MTV came along, I was completely oblivious to whatever the current music happened to be.   I’m an outsider where this is concerned and I just love it when someone cracks open the door for me and gives me a peek at what I’ve been missing.  Not the mainstream stuff, but the buried, offbeat, wondrous and often kitschy stuff where people are clearly having the time of their life making music.

So I hope you enjoy her podcast.  I know I’m going to jump in and listen to many more of her shows.

And as a Star Trek fan, I especially loved the  musical tribute to Kirk, Spock and McCoy!

A Personal Story

June 24, 2007

Written and sent to me on 6/22/07

From time to time, people contact me and share their stories of their exposure to Scientology.   I asked permission  to post this here and have removed the names and city to protect the writer’s identity.

– Mark Bunker

Greetings Mr. Bunker,

Tonight, I was searching YouTube for a video and somehow ended up watching one of your videos regarding Scientology instead. This is the first time I had ever heard of “XenuTV.com“. I watched several of your videos which brought back some “not so fond” memories of my brushes with Scientology. I refuse to call it a “church” or a “religion”. Like you, I learned long ago what they truly are, but I learned the hard way. Though I did not suffer any tragedies, these are my experiences;

Approximately ___ years ago, I resided in the city of ________. I rented an apartment with my girlfriend. I was about 24-25 years old. I was a rookie cop, still wet behind the ears. At the time, I had never heard of Scientology.

One afternoon, there was a knock at my door. I answered it. There, stood two young men holding folders and clip boards. They introduced themselves as representatives of an organization which offers free personality tests and evaluations. They never mentioned they were from the “Church of Scientology.” They said that these tests were devised by Stanford University and were scientifically proven. They continued and told me that if I completely filled out the questionnaire and mailed it back, they would contact me to schedule an appointment to discuss the results of the test and offer a free “Self Improvement” course. I thought it was interesting and I thought that self improvement is always a good thing. I asked for two tests so my girlfriend could participate as well. We filled it out and mailed them off the next day.

Approximately one week later, I received a phone call from them. At the time, they had a Scientology center in the city of _____, about 15 minutes away from my home. A few days later, my girlfriend and I showed up for our appointment. Even during regular business hours, the entrance was kept locked. We rang the buzzer, at which time, a male and female came to the door and asked us a few questions to confirm that we had an appointment, then let us in. It was very quiet with the exception of the strange, but soothing instrumental music they were playing over the sound system through-out most of the building. They asked us to be seated in the lobby until called into an office. The environment was very business-like. I remember seeing several different “self-improvement” books as well as “Dianetics” and a few other titles on display racks. It reminded me of being in a doctor’s office waiting room. When the time came, they allowed only one of us at a time into the office. I volunteered first.

I walked into the office where a man sat at a desk. He asked me to close the door behind me as I entered. After just a few moments of conversation, I noticed that his eyes seemed to be opened wider than the average person, but more strangely, he hardly ever blinked. He also stared into my eyes, almost never breaking eye contact, except to read the test results or write down notes. He was quite frank when he discussed the results of the personality test. In fact, he was border-line offensive. He made me feel “small.” After discussing the multitude of negative things, he threw me a bone and said a few nice things too. I remember thinking to myself, “Am I really this screwed up? Sheeesh, maybe I am.” Eventually, he began to describe various self improvement programs they offered. The prices for the beginner programs were fairly inexpensive at about $30-$50. He told me that a few famous celebrities were “long time” members and that people from all walks of life were also members. He told me that these programs were used “world-wide.” He told me several success stories and guaranteed that these courses would work and that they would help me become successful in my personal life and in my career. At this point, he still mentioned nothing about Scientology. I was thinking that there must have been some actual validity to all of this. By the time he was done talking to me, I was eager to sign up. During this interview, I lied about my occupation because I was actually embarrassed about the test results.

While the man interviewed my girlfriend, another man gave me a tour of part of the facility. There were some areas which he did not show me. He said those areas were “off limits” and were for “long time” members only. He showed me a few classrooms, a few small rooms which he said was for “private instruction.” He then brought me into a 10’x10′ room which had no desks or tables. It contained several plastic chairs like you might see on an outdoor patio. Against one of the walls was a big screen television. He asked me to sit down while he showed me a video presentation. I recognized the man in the video as an actor named “Geoffrey Lewis“. I remembered him from my teenage years. He was in a few TV shows, including Dukes of Hazard. He had also been in a few movies. It turned out that at the time, he was a spokesman of sorts for the Church of Scientology. Watching the video is when I first heard the words “Church of Scientology” uttered, since I had arrived at this location. He also got into the history of it’s founder, L Ron Hubbard. He passed him off as being a war hero, a world traveler, and explorer who helped people all over the world. He made some great sales pitches. The man giving me the tour explained that they use this room as part of a “purification” program meant to detoxify the body and mind. He told me that students drink some liquid, which I cannot remember the details about. He also told me that they would take specially formulated vitamins, then go to the sauna after watching the video. He did not elaborate any further on these “specially formulated” vitamins. At the time, I thought this was all a bit strange, but I kept an open mind.

I enrolled my girlfriend and I in a course to get our feet wet and to get a taste of what this was all about. Over the course of three weeks, I noticed some strange things. Many of the people who worked there as “instructors” or “councilors” had the same facial expression as the man from my interview. When speaking to me, their eyes were wide open and rarely blinking. When they were not talking to us, they seemed somewhat normal.

When they discovered my girlfriend was not working at the time, they offered to hire her as a receptionist and said they would give us discounts on the courses we took. This sounded good. They then explained that she would have to dedicate herself to studying, completing programs, and progressing onto other programs. After a receiving her first paycheck, we discovered that they had taken most of the money from he paycheck to cover costs of books, and to pay for our courses. The pay she received was about 1/3rd what she should have been paid. I thought this was strange.

After completing the initial program, they convinced us to sign up for another program which was much more expensive (over $200), but it included classroom instruction as well. Before this course began, we attended an orientation in one of the classrooms. There was approximately 15 other people in the room with us. During the orientation they discussed many things, but the subjects that stand out in my mind had to do with “Auditing”, the “ARC Triangle”, “The Bridge”, and they also spoke in detail about “reaching clarity” and the fact that once you achieve clarity, you could learn to control others using your subconscious. It was at this point, I felt there was something seriously wrong here. How did they go from scientifically proven tests and self-improvement courses, to mind control!? They even showed us one of the auditing devices and they gave a small demonstration. The first thing I thought is, “Don’t they have something like this at Disneyland in the nickel arcade?” The only difference is, the one at Disneyland was mounted on a large oak cabinet. At this time, I knew we had either been conned or these people are mentally ill. I remained calm and finished out the evening.

When my girlfriend and I returned home, I logged onto the Internet and began doing some research into the Church of Scientology. I was horrified by what I discovered. It was then, that I learned about Lisa McPherson and all of the other suspicious homicides and suicides involving the Church of Scientology. I also saw articles about people that had ended up in financial ruin. The next day after work, I went to a local library and looked up other articles which I found in Time Magazine, various news papers, and other well known publications.

The following day I stayed home from work. I showed my girlfriend what I found on the Internet. She promptly telephoned the Scientology center and spoke to a supervisor and told them she was resigning immediately and that neither of us would be returning. The supervisor pleaded with her not to quit and wanted to talk to me. I told my girlfriend to hang up on him. After doing so, we received a call back from a female at the Scientology center. This female told my girlfriend that they wanted to discuss this with her alone, in private. They asked if they could meet her someplace to talk. I grabbed the phone from my girlfriend and told the woman to never contact us again. She asked what the problem was, so I went for it. I told her all of the negative things I had discovered and also about the death of Lisa McPherson. She said it was only media propaganda and that I would be making a serious mistake by quitting and taking my girlfriend out of the program as well. I asked what she meant by that, at which time, she calmed down and asked, “Please, Please, just meet us somewhere so we can talk. We need to clear this up.” I told her “No” and told her to never contact us again, then I hung up.

Approximately two hours later, there was a loud knock at my front door. I looked out the peep hole and saw three men and two women dressed in either dark blue or black military style uniforms. two of them had some kind of badge pinned on their uniform. At first, I had no clue who they were, but I never open the door for solicitors. I ignored them until they continued knocking again. I walked up to the door. Without opening the door, I asked what they wanted. One of the men said, “We are from the Church of Scientology. We don’t need to talk to you. We need to talk to _____” I was stunned! I could not believe what was happening. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I told them to leave immediately or I would call the police. Suddenly, I saw the shadow of two people attempting to look into my side window, through the closed blinds. Now, I had enough. They had pushed me too far. I retrieved my duty weapon and my badge from the kitchen table. I opened the front door with my gun in one hand and my badge in the other. They apparently did not notice the gun in my hand because the first thing out of one of the men’s mouth was, “We need to come inside so we can talk.” I replied, ” Hell no! Leave here right now or someone is going to jail.” I showed my badge and identified myself as a police officer and told them if anyone from their organization ever attempted to contact my girlfriend or me again, I would see to it one or all of them be arrested and I would engage them in civil litigation. Without saying another word to me, they left. Luckily, that was the last I heard from them.

I firmly believe that they are definitely cultist. I saw nothing during my experiences that would justify calling it a religion. They are nothing but an organization of con men and women who have successfully ran this massive operation under the guise of “religion.” They are smart because they know nobody with any sort of power will touch them for fear of being labeled a “bigot.” Most of the members I saw were in their 20’s – early 30’s. I am certain that the Church of Scientology targets this age group knowing that these groups usually have jobs, but are still somewhat naive.

On another note, I am much wiser, and of course much more mature at nearly __ years old. I wish I had this wisdom back then.

The Now Show

June 23, 2007

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Friday June 22, 2007

The Now ShowHere’s a fun clip from the BBC4 radio comedy series, the The Now Show. In it, the hosts respond to listener’s mail and manage to joke about Panorama, John Sweeney’s shouting, the meaning of Scientology and intergalactic rulers. What’s not to like? …unless you were a corporate head of Scientology.

I hadn’t heard of the Now Show before being sent this clip but it sounds like a fun show that I’ll have to check out. You can listen each week on the net. Find out a lot more about the show at Wikipedia.

Download mp3

UPDATE:  

A big thanks to Sponge for providing the clip and for putting into context a big joke at the end of the segment in which they play audio from this 70’s vintage TV commercial

Now, it’s even funnier!

The Great Debate

June 13, 2007

XENU TV, the leading producer of quality video productions covering the world of Scientology, has extended the offer of a no-holds-barred debate between former Scientologist Tory Christman and the internet poster known as Truth Seeker.  This debate will be videotaped and presented unedited on the internet on XENU TV, YouTube, GoogleVideo and made available for Truth Seeker’s own website.

Tory Christman was a 30 year member of Scientology and valued by the group so much that she appeared in many of their publications including the coffee-table hardcover book, “What is Scientology.”

Since leaving Scientology, she has been a much sought-after guest for newscasts in the U.S. and abroad.  She has appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, MSNBC, CBS, FOX and the BBC among many others.  Her knowledge of Scientology’s technology and the inner workings of this once mysterious group has helped laypeople understand why many consider Scientology less a religion and more a cult.

Truth Seeker has presented him/herself as the only official critic of Scientology and has urged others to avoid information presented on such widely respected sites as Operating Clambake.   He argues  that these are decoy sites set up by Scientology to ensnare  a person’s private information and thus use it to destroy the websurfer.

Fortunately, I am a well respected journalist with an Emmy to my name and my credibility is impeccable.  Truth Seeker does not list my name in his many posts of covert-Scientologists who pretend to be critics.   I also have the respect of corporate Scientology who do not list me as a dangerous individual on their website, Religious Freedom Watch.

I have, to my knowledge, only one person on this planet who dislikes me and that is Shirley Jean Wilson, but I forgive her for her harsh judgment.

The wide distribution of this debate on video portals such as YouTube and GoogleVideo will ensure that Scientology could not do as Truth Seeker fears and use the video for nefarious ends.

Tory Christman agreed wholeheartedly on June 12th, 2007 to appear for this open and honest debate.  Will you, Truth Seeker agree as well?

talkSPORT

June 12, 2007

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Saturday May 19th, 2007

To counter the bad press from the BBC1’s broadcast of Panorama’s “Scientology and Me,” the head of Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs, Mike Rinder, went on a live radio show, heard in the wee hours of the morning. It was a sports talk show which Rinder did along with a UK Scientology big-wig, Bob Keenan.

What does Scientology have to do with Sports? Besides their using a Nigerian soccer player to try to frame Bob Minton on international financial crimes…nada. However, here was a safe port where they could spew their propaganda with no tough questioning.

This is exactly the show Scientology wanted John Sweeney to do. They wanted to show nothing but their good PR spin and panicked when Sweeney suggested he would talk to people with opposing views. The host of this show, Mike Mendoza, allows the most outrageous claims to go unchallenged.

In SEGMENT 1, they discuss how the Panorama show came about, from Scientology’s perspective.

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SEGMENT 2 features the clip of Sweeney losing his cool at the “Industry of Death” exhibit in Los Angeles. This is the clip Scientology put on YouTube the weekend before the broadcast to try to blunt the impact of Panorama’s show. Instead it drew a record crowd to the show and a lot of attention to Scientology’s creepy ways.

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SEGMENT 3 is where Mendoza not only lobs softball questions to Scientology but he starts to answer on their behalf. Rinder disputes the effect of Disconnection on families and then smears the family who appeared on Panorama. Rinder talks about the people Sweeney talked to or tried to talk to for the show. He claims Sweeney threatened to shut down Narconon, perhaps confusing him with Vince Daniels. Mendoza has heard only “good things” about Narconon.

They poo-poo the “suggestion” that Scientology had people follow Sweeney during the making of the show. Scientology hire PI? Who would believe that? Anyone who can look at the truth.

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SEGMENT 4 is when they start to take listeners calls.

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In SEGMENT 5, callers or e-mailers who attack Sweeney get on with no problem. When a caller mentions possible harm from being “clear,” Mendoza nearly has a fit. Another caller talks about a friend’s husband who got drawn in and obsessed with Scientology which led to a divorce. Mendoza doesn’t even need Rinder to respond. He attacks the woman for her question.

When a caller suggests that Mendoza was perhaps a Scientologist himself, he admitted that he spent time at the Org. The segment ends abruptly as Mendoza praises Scientology for their efforts to bring “Peace to the Middle East” with their Way to Happiness pamphlets.

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By SEGMENT 6, I was so incensed by this show that I had to call overseas to try to correct some of the lies being told. I was on hold for ten minutes. I got through to speak and was put on the air.

Here’s my phone call to the show which mysteriously went unaired:

“Hi, this is Mark Bunker. I have website critical of Scientology and I think you’re doing a grave injustice to your audience by only showing one side to this story…”

*click*

…and not even one word of that got through. On the air, they pretended that I accidentally got cut off and said they wanted me to call back and they’d put me on the air. So I called back and held for another 10 minutes until the screener came on the line. I explained to him what had happened and that they specifically said on air that they wanted me to call back.

I told him I would not mention my website if they were concerned about that. The screener said he had my phone number and would ask Mendoza if they wanted to call me back and put me on the air but I couldn’t remain on hold. Mendoza refused to call me back.

But Mendoza admits he spent time at the Org and he was never held down and brainwashed. Fancy that.

A caller brings up the movie “Holy Smoke” in which Harvey Keitel plays a deprogrammer. “That’s a movie!” declares Mendoza. Then allows Rinder to “dispell” the rumor of Xenu and space aliens. All bullocks, it turns out.

Tina wants to know how to best find out about Scientology. Read a book, she is told. Why do celebrities love Scientology? When Keenan drops the ball, Sweeney gives the answer.

Someone mentioned shouting at a box on an earlier show. Never happens!!! What nonsense. Who would yell at a box? Sorry that no one mentioned ashtrays.

Former member Mary e-mails a charge that critics like me were kept off the show. Mendoza is outraged someone would suggest that and admits that Scientology has given a “very generous” donation to his personal charity.

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Segment 7 begins with a rousing e-mail from someone who admires the Scientologists he has met. Then it gets good as a Freezoner tries to pin Mike Rinder down on freedom of religion, especially when it comes to independent Scientologists practicing outside the church. Keenan speaks up about those damned squirrels.

Caller Brian has been in Scientology for nearly 50 years, one of the original founders. Sweeney sucks. “Industry of Death”…brilliant.

Silent Birth? Scientifically proven. Accepted church? Absolutely! What do you believe? Get a book. Why do so many people leave Scientology? So many? What? What are you talking about? What’s Scientology’s take on sex? We don’t care about sex. We deal with the spirit.

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SEGMENT 8 is a quick follow up after the guests leave. Mendoza assures the audience he asked all the tough questions. Thanks for the super job, Mike.

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