Author: Scientology Money Project

"Old Guard" Church of Scientology critic married to Karen de la Carriere, former Scientology Class XII C/S. Love knows no boundaries.

Scientology Singer Stephen Ridley: Music, Cryptocurrency and Grant Cardone

Tony Ortega today did a piece on singer Stephen Ridley coming out publicly as a Scientologist.

Just exactly who is Stephen Ridley?

A quick check shows he worked as a junior investment banker at USB but left banking to pursue his passion for music. The Financial Times reported earlier this year that Ridley has  launched his own cryptofund:

Stephen Ridley is also a shameless fanboy of his fellow Scientologist Grant Cardone:

Grant Cardone emphasizes the need to have multiple streams of income. This is hardly original to Cardone. Accordingly, Grant Cardone became a private equity fund manager in 2017 when he opened Cardone Equity Fund LLC. His SEC filing (see below) showed he was looking to raise $40,000,000. This fund is another income stream for Cardone.

We recently reported on Grant Cardone opening a non-accredited investment fund. Elena tweeted about it and mangled the details, i.e. she confused the FCC with the SEC:

Why are the Cardone’s looking for non-accredited investors given Cardone’s claim to have $540+ million in real estate? A half-billion dollar real estate portfolio should attract accredited investors. The obvious answer is that Cardone wants as many streams of income as he can create.

Stephen Ridley and his money guru Grant Cardone show the emphasis on money, self-promotion, and the Art of the Hustle amongst many Scientologists. Part of this is because what we call the Scientology Money Club is an extremely expensive club to join.

Scientology fancies itself a religion, but in our view it is really just a money club at the top. In our opinion, it takes a $5,000,000 IAS donation to buy one’s way into this club. In return comes the glorified IAS bowling trophy and access into the club. We have written about our Scientology Money Club hypothesis and documented financial relationships among Scientologists we discovered in the Panama Papers. These relationships include billionaire Bob Duggan.

We can plot Grant Cardone’s rise in Scientology on a seemingly date-coincident basis with he and Elena’s first major IAS trophy:

Predictively, Stephen Ridley will donate his first $1,000,000 towards joining the Scientology Money Club very soon. After all, access to the top is everything in Scientology — and access takes big money; completing all three L’s; OT status; and publicly promoting Scientology.

Stephen Ridley studies investment systems. Here is a video in which he promotes the HVF System (Francis Hunt’s Volatility Funnel Trading Method):

Grant Cardone’s SEC filing. Note: Please hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the page frame:

Cardone SEC FORM D

More Scientology Stock Photo Fraud!

Stock.Photo.Mace.Kingsley

Tony Ortega posted this Scientology ad on the Underground Bunker today.

The young lady shown in this Scientology ad is not a Scientologist; she is a stock photo. In general legal terms, companies that purchase and use stock photos for advertising may only use them for commercial purposes. Stock photo purchasers may not use the images to imply that the model has embraced a certain political or religious views. For example, it would violate contractual rules to purchase a stock photo to imply that the model embraced a certain religious or political view.

In the Scientology ad the model in the stock photo is used to imply that:

  1. She is an actual Scientologist.
  2. She is enthusiastic that her parents have spent $75,000+ on a Clear package so that their daughter can attain the State of Clear.

Our colleague “Noesis” at the Bunker caught the Scientology fraud:

Stock.Photo.Mace.Kingsley.1

When will the Church of Scientology stop engaging in blatant social media fraud?

Sizzle8 found the stock photo for sale. Sizzle8 also noted that the Scientology ad flipped the ad, this perhaps in an attempt to defeat Google reverse imaging:

The Scientology Money Project and other Scientology critics have been covering Scientology’s continuing pattern of social media fraud. Below are examples of the of many articles we’ve written on Scientology’s social media fraud. The number of article shows a pattern of deliberate intent to engage in social media fraud. The articles below include links to Sea Org member Taryn Teutsch’s bogus social media attacks on her father Mike Rinder and Scientology’s attacks on Leah Remini’s Emmy-winning show Scientology and the Aftermath.

Scientology’s blatant social media fraud fuels attacks on Leah Remini and Mike Rinder

Scientology Caught in Yet More Social Media Fraud! It Never Ends!

Scientology Narconon Europe Caught in Blatant False Advertising: More Scientology Stock Photo Fraud!

Scientology’s Social Media Fraud Campaign Tries to Defeat Google Reverse Imaging

Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley & Other Scientologists Lose Fake Followers in Twitter Fraud Purge

Scientologist Stacy Francis: Using Fake Twitter Followers to Attack Leah Remini

Fake Stock Photo Scientologists Support Taryn Teutsch’s Fake News Attack on Mike Rinder

The Paramedics Report on Cathy Bernardini: Why Taryn Teutsch’s Fair Game Attack on Mike Rinder Falls Apart

Scientology’s Fair Game Campaign Against Mike Rinder Collapsing Under the Weight of Scrutiny

Church of Scientology Engaging in Social Media Fraud to Attack Leah Remini and her Show

Scientology’s poster girl for its social media fraud is a fake Scientologist named Alicia Selverson. The bogus ad below uses a stock photo and fake name that subliminally looks and sounds like the actress Alicia Silverstone. Scientology is a fraud and so is its bogus STAND League.

alicia-selverson

When the “Alicia Selverson” Scientology fraud was caught and exposed on Twitter by many critics, Scientology tried to use a new Alicia Selverson:

Alicia.Selverson.New_.Fake_

Scientology cannot tell the truth because lies are the central principle of its own existence.

The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society: $1.45 Billion in Assets

Leah Remini and Mike Rinder interviewed Jehovah’s Witnesses on a very powerful and anguishing episode of Scientology and the Aftermath. The heartbreaking stories of shunning, sexual abuse, and suicide drove us to tears. The courage of Leah’s guests in speaking out proved that they cannot be silenced by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

Like the Church of Scientology, the Jehovah’s Witnesses practice the emotional blackmail of shunning and demand that their members place the organization above family and everything else in their lives. Having grown up in the Pentecostal Church, we know what it feels like when the church demands that one surrender all to God lest they face the pain of everlasting Hell and Perdition.

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society listed the book value of its assets as $1,451,217,000 on its 2015 IRS Form 990-T. This places the Jehovah’s Witnesses into the same “billion dollar plus” cult status as the Church of Scientology. Click here to see $1.7 billion in Scientology assets.

In its 2013 990-T, the The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society listed its book value assets as $675,419,000:

The massive increase of $776,095,300 in Watchtower wealth between 2013 and 2015 is accounted for by the sales of extremely valuable Watchtower real estate in New York. The sprawling Watchtower facility located at 25-30 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn sold for a whopping $340 million in cash in 2016.

The Watchtower sold its six building facility in DUMBO for $375 million. The 2017 sale of the Watchtower’s eleven story building located at 107 Columbia Heights fetched $87.5 million dollars.

Other blockbuster Watchtower real estate sales:

    • 21 Clark Street sold for $200 million
    • 97 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights sold for $58 million
    • 117-125 Columbia Heights sold for $18 million
    • 69 Adams Street in Dumbo sold for $65 million

It is worth noting that on Line H of these 990-T’s the Watchtower Tower Bible and Tract Society lists its primary unrelated business activity as “Investment Activities.” So while the rank and file Witnesses are striving to please Jehovah, the big boys at the top have sold over $700 million in prime real estate and plowed that cash into undisclosed investment activities.

The $1.45 billion listed on the Watchtower’s 2015 990-T is only the money we know about. Who knows how much the Watchtower has hidden away since it began doing business in 1884? If you have additional information on Watchtower money please contact me, Jeffrey Augustine, at scienowriter@gmail.com. I am located in Los Angeles if you want a private meeting.

And what does this great wealth do? The same thing as it does it the Church of Scientology: It protects the people at the top from the consequences of their own actions in covering up sexual abuse and protecting sexual predators. It pays for lawyers who work to cover up sexual abuses and human rights abuses. The money also paid for a $28 million court judgment that would never have happened if the “two witness” rule was not in place to protect child molesters.

Predictably, the Church of Scientology attacked Mike and Leah for exposing the evil in the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. The attacks by Scientology only serve to reaffirm the fact that criminals will watch each other backs when they both have a lot to lose.

Below is the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society 2015 990-T. This is the most current year available as 990-T’s have a lag factor of 2-3 years. Please hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the page frame:

JW.990.2015

Scientologist Matt Feshbach Back in the Stem Cell Therapy Business


As we previously reported, Scientologist Matt Feshbach and his investors sold their Okyanos Heart Institute in the Bahamas sometime in 2017. Okyanos having been sold, Matt Feshbach next ran into a brick wall with the US Tax Court when it ruled that he could not discharge in bankruptcy the $3.8 million in back taxes he and wife Kathy owe the IRS.

The Feshbach’s are appealing this matter. Not one to let $3.8 million in back taxes get in his way, however, Matt Feshbach has once again resurfaced in the stem cell therapy business. His new firm is called Ambrose Cell Therapy LLC. Based in Dallas, Texas Ambrose filed as an LLC on August 18, 2017.

There is a stampede to get into the stem cell therapy business in Texas since the 2017 passage of “Charlie’s Law” (HB 810) which allows chronically and terminally ill people the right to opt for non-FDA approved treatments with adult stem cells. In her article published at medium.com Dr. Kirsten Matthews,  a Fellow in Science and Technology Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, reported on Charlie’s Law:

In the 2017 Texas legislative session, which ended on May 31, the state lawmakers passed a new bill to expand the state’s ‘Right to Try’ law — H.B. 810, also known as “Charlie’s Law.” The new law, which takes effect September 2017, allows patients who are chronically ill access to experimental stem cell-based interventions (SCBI) and permits clinics to charge patients for their ‘costs.’ While the law seems like a huge win for patients, it might also hurt the same people it is trying to help by reducing their protections. In contrast, the new law does place the state of Texas in a position to more readily regulate clinics providing experimental SCBIs, closing down those which are fraudulent.

In an article published in the Texas Heart Institute Journal, Dr. Iltis and I describe the risks associated with unregulated clinics offering unproven or experimental SCBI. The new Texas law would essentially circumvent the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and their Expanded Access Program (EAP), which regulates clinical trials and access to experimental therapies. It also bypasses many of the required ethical and informed consent rules required by the FDA…

Dr. Matthews and her colleagues noted in their recent paper:

Born of the expectations and hype associated with stem cells and regenerative medicine over the past two decades, there are now numerous clinics around the world selling stem cell-based interventions (SCBI) that have yet to be proven effective or safe, with little to no accounting of the outcomes being collected. SCBI treatments might hold the key to help patients, but they also have serious risks of side effects, including graft-versus-host disease, unintended harm, and even cancer. Clinics are charging exorbitant prices, some for more than $20,000 per treatment.

Given the potential size and money to be made in this market, there was a big push to pass Charlie’s Law by those people and companies in Texas that stood to financially benefit by operating stem cells clinics.

Prior to the passage of Charlie’s Law, there was a great deal of lucrative stem cell medical tourism being enjoyed by Mexico, Feshbach’s Okyanos Heart Institute in the Bahamas, and many other clinics outside the US. These non-US clinics do not have FDA approval for the procedures they sell and deliver nor do they require such.

Charlie’s Law allows Texas to compete with these non-US clinics by offering non-FDA approved treatments to the chronically and terminally ill. Charlie’s law also significantly limits the liability of the doctors and providers that deliver these non-FDA approved procedures.

The logic of Charlie’s Law is that if someone is in chronic pain or dying then they have a right to try non-FDA approved adult stem cell treatments. The extremely specific and narrow focus of Charlie’s Law shows it to have been the result of intense lobbying by a specific group of people with a vested interest in adult stem cells.

These people include former Texas Governor Rick Perry whose wife Anita Thigpen Perry serves on the Board of Directors of Celltex Therapeutics Corp of Houston, Texas. In 2017, Rick Perry earned $175,000 as a consultant to Celltex. The company itself moved its operations to Mexico in 2013 after failing to comply with several issues raised by the FDA. Rick Perry was confirmed by the Senate as the US Secretary of Energy in the Trump Administration.

EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS VS. ADULT STEM CELLS

One of the key distinctions to understand in stem cells is the difference between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. An excerpt from the National Institutes for Health:

Human embryonic and adult stem cells each have advantages and disadvantages regarding potential use for cell-based regenerative therapies. One major difference between adult and embryonic stem cells is their different abilities in the number and type of differentiated cell types they can become. Embryonic stem cells can become all cell types of the body because they are pluripotent. Adult stem cells are thought to be limited to differentiating into different cell types of their tissue of origin.

Embryonic stem cells can be grown relatively easily in culture. Adult stem cells are rare in mature tissues, so isolating these cells from an adult tissue is challenging, and methods to expand their numbers in cell culture have not yet been worked out. This is an important distinction, as large numbers of cells are needed for stem cell replacement therapies.

Embryonic stem cells can differentiate into any structure in the body. However, embryonic stem cells can only be harvested from embryos. These embryos are donated by women who have frozen and stored them with fertility clinics for the purpose of in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures. Following successful IVF procedures, many women wish to donate the frozen embryos they will not be using to the service of science. This practice naturally raised moral concerns in the American Religious Right. As a result, Federal laws enacted under the G.W. Bush Administration placed wide-ranging medieval and anti-scientific restrictions on stem cell research. For this reason, Charlie’s Law does not allow embryonic stem cells to be harvested or used in treatment.

Adult stem cells are harvested from the belly fat around an adult’s stomach. This fat is called adipose tissue. Thus, a patient becomes his or her own stem cell donor. Essentially, belly fat is extracted using liposuction or other means and then centrifuged in order to harvest stem cells. These stem cells are injected back into the patient’s body to treat various conditions. Unlike embryonic cells, however, adult stem cells cannot differentiate into any structure. This is one of the issues that make the many promises offered by adult stem cell therapy treatment providers so controversial.

THE FDA & STEM CELLS

Bianca Castro of NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported in May 2018 on Federal prosecutors filing injunctions against stem cell treatment clinics:

Federal prosecutors in California and Florida filed injunctions on Wednesday to stop two companies from providing stem cell treatments, alleging the clinics marketed their procedures as remedies for ailments including cancer and heart disease without proof of safety and efficacy, according to this statement from the Food and Drug Administration.

The firms put consumers at risk by promising benefits from treatments and products never approved by the FDA, the Justice Department alleged in court filings in both states.

The filings target two companies, one of which is affiliated with Innovations Stem Cell Center of Dallas.

But now, the FDA is filing a lawsuit to stop these kinds of stem cell therapies.

The FDA says they’re not approved because they haven’t been proven to be safe and effective…

The Cell Surgical Network released the following statement regarding the lawsuit:

The Cell Surgical Network (CSN) intends to vigorously defend the lawsuit filed today by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. CSN strongly rejects the idea that a person’s own cells should be regulated by FDA as a drug. On behalf of all Americans, we look forward to protecting patients’ rights and the physician-patient relationship. We share FDA’s concern for patient safety, but do not believe that FDA regulation of a surgical procedure that simply harnesses the healing power of a patient’s own cells, without altering the biological characteristics of those cells, is the answer. The decision of whether or not the surgical procedure is performed should be made by the patient and physician – not the FDA or any other arm of the federal government.

The Cell Surgical Network is an industry trade group that is attempting to set accreditation standards and make adult stem cell therapy a legitimate form of medical practice. To accomplish this goal, stem cell treatment providers, at present, need be excluded from FDA requirements. Stem cell advocates are trying to do this, in part, by arguing that a person’s own stem cells cannot be regulated as a drug by the FDA. Yet this argument is specious inasmuch as stem cell providers are extracting adipose tissue and extracting stem cells for the express purpose of medical treatment.

Adult stem cell providers want it both ways: They want to claim that their treatments are efficacious in treating a wide variety of medical conditions, and, they want to practice medicine without FDA approval. In this sense, these stem cell treatment providers are following the same story arc as anti-vaxxers: People should be allowed to make their own medical decisions and damn the science, dangers, and governmental restrictions.

Stem cells are classified as a drug under the FDA’s definition of a drug:

The Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and FDA regulations define the term drug, in part, by reference to its intended use, as “articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease” and “articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals.” Therefore, almost any ingested or topical or injectable product that, through its label or labeling (including internet websites, promotional pamphlets, and other marketing material), is claimed to be beneficial for such uses will be regulated by FDA as a drug. The definition also includes components of drugs, such as active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Stem cells are intended for “use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease” and are therefore properly classified as drugs. Stem cell treatment providers want to circumvent this definition and Charlie’s Law represents one such attempt. The litigation expected to arise from Charlie’s Law will test the legality of this particular piece of legislation. To argue that a dying person should be allowed to do whatever they want ignores the larger moral question: Should stem cell opportunists be allowed to exorbitantly profit from the desperation of the chronically ill and the dying by selling them non-FDA approved treatments? Another question: Do the chronically ill and the dying have the mental capacity to consent to spending large sums of money on unproven treatments? Or are they being driven by irrationality in their great suffering and mortal fear?

MATT FESHBACH, MUDHAR SHAWKAT, AND BOB DUGGAN

That Matt Feshbach is promoting stem cell therapy is old news; he first began investigating stem cells in 2009. His fellow Scientologist Ali Shawkat was the “angel investor” whose money funded Okyanos. From an article at Finsimes.com in 2014:

Okyanos Heart Institute, a Freeport, Bahamas-based developer of advanced coronary artery disease treatments, said it raised $8.9m in its Series B funding.

According to a written note, the round was led by Passion Group founder Ali Shawkat.

Passion Group’s single page website describes what the group is and does:

Ali Shawkat and his wife Noor and into the Scientology IAS for at least $10,000,000 USD based upon this particular IAS trophy:

Shawkat’s father Mudhar Shawkat — a former member of the Iraqi Parliament — is detailed in the Panama Papers. The entry on Mudhar Shawkat in the Panama Papers describes his activities and, in the final paragraph, alludes to the Shawkat’s investment in Feshbach’s Okyanos Heart Institute:

According to 2008 confidential emails, the lawyer representing Shawkat and his son, Ali, asked Appleby to hold in escrow about $140 million, the proceeds of the sale of the Shawkats’ shares in a joint venture with a Kuwaiti telecommunications company. The law firm refused that request but accepted them as clients later in 2008.

Appleby set up the Passion Group Trust for the benefit of Mudhar Shawkat’s family members and registered three affiliated companies in the British Virgin Islands in 2008 and 2011, according to the files. Shawkat was identified in the Appleby documents as an “additional settlor” (a person who creates and funds a trust) of the Passion Group Trust and as a shareholder of Passion Investment Ltd., the trust’s investment arm.

However, upon the incorporation of a not-for-profit entity, which was also a beneficiary of the trust, concerns about the Iraqi family’s reported association with Chalabi emerged at the law firm. “It is suspicious,” an Appleby employee wrote in an email, “that they are setting up a charitable company offshore [Passion for Change S.A.] for funds coming out of Iraq – there does not seem any benefit other than lack of accountability in doing so.” But Appleby continued to provide services to Shawkat and his family after the firm’s managers noted that, other than accusations of favoritism in the award of government contracts, there were no allegations against Shawkat.

In the following months, in 2009, the leaked files show that the Shawkats transferred more than $30 million to the family trust and one of its affiliated companies, some of which was converted into shares. Board meeting minutes of Passion Investment Ltd. chaired by Shawkat’s son show that from 2013 to 2016, the company has invested in two medical companies and in an Iraqi dealership for Peugeot cars.

Mudhar Shawkat and his Scientologist son Ali Shawkat are connected to Matt Feshbach via the Shawkat’s Passion Investments Ltd., Passion Group, and Passion Trust.

We have also previously shown that Scientology billionaire Bob Duggan and another Scientology OT named Michael Holstein are connected to the Shawkat’s Passion companies as shown in the Panama Papers. The Shawkats and Bob Duggan are linked via a company called Genuine First Aid International:

Matt Feshbach’s new Ambrose Cell Therapy is worth documenting here at the Scientology Money Project for three reasons:

1. Matt Feshbach filed for bankruptcy and is trying to discharge $3.8 million USD he owes in back taxes. Feshbach told the bankruptcy court and the US Tax Court that he has no money and virtually no income.

2. In September 2008, the Fessbach’s made an Offer in Compromise (OIC) to the IRS to settle their 2001 tax debt of $3.6 million for $120,000, this to be made in payments over 48 months. The IRS declined the Fessbach’s unreasonable offer to settle for pennies on the dollar of the amount owed.

Judge McEwen of the US Tax Court wrote:

Feshbach.1

3. Given Matt Feshbach’s financial position we must ask where the money for his new Ambrose Cell Therapy LLC came from. Is it more Shawkat money? Or has Feshbach found other investors? While Bob Duggan has invested in two pharmaceutical companies, we personally cannot see Duggan investing in stem cells as, unlike pharmaceuticals, the science and the FDA approval process is not there. Duggan became a billionaire by complying with scientific protocols and the FDA approval process when he was the CEO of Pharmacyclics. Of course, we could be wrong. Other smart investors and institutions are putting money into stem cell companies. Perhaps most notably Texas A&M has signed a deal with Celltex Therapeutics Corp. for “a multiyear agreement for research into potential Alzheimer’s therapies.”

Matt Feshbach has a talent for reinventing himself. It remains to be seen if his once legendary talent for making enormous sums of money remains: Can Matt make lightning strike twice?


Ambrose Cell Therapy LLC filing from the Texas Secretary of State’s Office. Note: Please hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down and size controls at the bottom of the page frame.

Ambrose Cell Therapy - TX SOS_

Dr. Kirstin Matthews and her colleagues Bhavana Kunisetty and Keri Sprung discuss Charlie’s Law (HB 810). Note: Please hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down and size controls at the bottom of the page frame.

Stem.Cell.Paper.Charlies.Law

 

The Dianetics Center Next Door to the Pablo Escobar Death House in Medellin, Colombia

Thanks to Dr. Reefer for this video which clearly shows the Dianetics Center Next Door to the Pablo Escobar Death House in Medellin, Colombia Carrera 79 #45 D 941. When my article on this was published on Tony Ortega’s blog, the Cult got the video taken down from YouTube. Please mirror.

See my additional article on Scientology and Colombia: Why Colombia’s military was fertile territory for Scientology — and one general’s stunning role.


Here is my orignal article on the Dianetics Center next to the Pablo Escobar Death House as it appeared on the Underground Bunker:

In Colombia, Scientology’s ‘Casa Hubbard’
has a pretty interesting neighbor

Regular correspondent Jeffrey Augustine has a rather startling discovery to share with us…

It’s December 2, 1993, and in Colombia’s city of Medellin, in the Los Olivos residential district, the world’s wealthiest and most violent drug dealer is hiding out in a nondescript two-story home. The man is the notorious Pablo Escobar, whose cocaine cartel has brutally murdered countless people. Even the United States is not safe. Miami has been gripped in a wave of violence and killings ordered by Escobar.

Escobar is talking to his son on the phone. A Colombian military intelligence operative intercepts the call and relays information to other members of the Search Bloc, a special unit of the National Police. Led by Colonel Hugo Martínez, the Search Bloc team moves in and stealthily approaches the building containing Escobar, located at Carrera 79B #45D-94. Alerted to their presence, Escobar says goodbye to his son.

Álvaro de Jesús Agudelo, a/k/a “El Limón,” is Escobar’s only bodyguard this day. Escobar and El Limón open fire on the police as they make their way upstairs. The two men then jump out of a second story window onto the roof of the smaller home next to their hideout. As they do so, another group of Search Bloc members make their way onto the neighboring rooftops.


The Final Moments: Heavily armed Search Bloc members close in on Escobar and El Limón

Escobar and his bodyguard never make it off the red tile rooftop of the house onto which they had jumped. El Limón is shot and killed almost immediately. The force of the gunfire propels his body off the rooftop of the house and onto the ground.

Escobar is trapped on the rooftop as he fires at the Search Bloc in a desperate attempt to escape. Two bullets rip through Escobar’s leg and torso. The fatal shot tears through Escobar’s right ear and kills him instantly. Escobar collapses on the tile roof. Colonel Martínez shouts into his radio, “Viva Colombia! We have just killed Pablo Escobar!”

Since that shootout, debates have raged over whether Escobar was actually killed by the police or ended his own life. He had reportedly told his family that if he were ever cornered, he would put a bullet into his ear, which was the location of the fatal shot. But either way, the location of that scene has become a local landmark, and you can find numerous websites and videos that provide a guide to finding the two-story hideout.

In one particular video of the location, the camera operator shows that the old hideout has gained a third story, but it’s clearly still recognizable as the house were Escobar had been hiding out…

And when he zooms out a little, his eye is drawn to a curious looking volcano next door…

As he then quickly pans past that next door storefront, we can see that it bears the name “Casa Hubbard”….

A check of Scientology’s website confirms that the Scientology Mission in Medellin is, in fact, located right next door to the Pablo Escobar death house:

Scientology’s choice of location for a mission is, in our view, a perfect metaphor: Scientology is a transnational criminal syndicate run by a crime boss with an army of enforcers and paid thugs.

— Jeffrey Augustine

Thank you for that sobering connection, Jeffrey. And looking at the most recent Google streetview of the location, taken in July 2017, you can see on the left the low rooftop where Escobar came to rest, in the middle the two-story-turned-three-story hideout (now a “Spanish School”), and on the right the building no longer has its Casa Hubbard signage. As so many other Scientology missions around the world, this one appears to exist only in a church website directory.

Scientology Wants Mike Rinder Fired Even as it Protects Louis Farrakhan as He Calls for Killing Cops & Calls Jews “Termites”

The Church of Scientology’s phony front group STAND demands that Disney fire Mike Rinder from Leah Remini’s show Scientology and the Aftermath.

Scientology does this even as it refuses to declare Louis Farrakhan an SP and expel him from the Church for cause:

1. Louis Farrakhan declared in a July 2015 speech that “if the federal government will not intercede in our affairs, then we must rise up and kill those who kill us.” Specifically, Farrakhan was calling for the murder of police officers.

2. Farrakhan last week called Jews “termites.” This was Holocaust language.

Mike Rinder and Leah Remini are exposing the evil of the Church of Scientology. They are using eyewitness accounts, court documents, Scientology documents, and the written policies of L. Ron Hubbard. Everything Leah and Mike present in their show is documented by unimpeachable proof.

Scientology doesn’t like Leah and Mike exposing the Fair Game, Disconnection, greed, and lies in which Scientology engages. As a result, Scientology seeks to get Mike Rinder fired from the show.

Conversely, the Church of Scientology will not fire Louis Farrakhan and expel him from the Church, this despite the fact that Farrakhan has called for the murder of police officers and attacked Jews as termites.

The Church of Scientology is incredibly hypocritical and fraudulent: Scientology will protect a Jew-hating man who calls for the murder of police officers even as it attacks those who are exposing its vicious conduct.

Jews are Termites: Scientologist Louis Farrakhan’s Anti-Semitism Rages on Unchecked by David Miscavige

Scientologist and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan compared Jews to termites. This is Holocaust language — but this is exactly what we’ve come to expect from Louis Farrakhan.

The CSI Board of Directors granted a license to the Nation of Islam to use Dianetics and Scientology. CSI’s license to the Nation of Islam has not been suspended or revoked due to Mr. Farrakhan’s conduct.

Neither COB RTC Mr. David Miscavige nor the CSI Board of Directors have taken any disciplinary action against Scientologist Louis Farrakhan.

The conclusion here is that the Church of Scientology International and David Miscavige, by their silence and inaction, have acquised to — and therefore entered into agreement with — the anti-Semitism of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.

 

Scientology’s cruise ship the Freewinds: Why OT 8 needed to be delivered off-shore

(This article by Jeffrey Augustine was originally published on Tony Ortega’s blog and is republished here for archival purposes)

As covered in our previous article, the Church of Scientology proclaimed the imminent release of the highest auditing level on the Bridge, OT 8, in 1971. “Imminent,” however, turned out to be another 14 years of waiting before it was L. Ron Hubbard announced the release of the level in Ron’s Journal 39. Hubbard declared that OT 8 was his 1985 New Year’s Gift to Scientologists…

On OT 8, Scientologists would finally discover the primary reason for amnesia on the Whole Track — why they had forgotten most of what they had experienced in their trillions of years of previous existence. Such a huge technological advance would need a special location to deliver, and a new Advanced Org dedicated solely to OT 8. An elite team of Sea Org auditors would need to be selected and trained.

But why a ship for OT 8? We see three reasons. First, the Church was purchasing real estate in Downtown Clearwater at a pace that made the locals tense about Scientology’s plans for their tranquil seaside community. Those tensions were becoming open hostility by 1985. Second, Scientology did not have IRS tax exemption in 1985. Third, Scientology was still smarting after the FBI’s massive 1977 raid and the subsequent prosecution of eleven church officials.

Hubbard was in hiding, and he had a series of backup ranches in case he needed to flee his hiding place in Creston, California. Having a ship based outside of US jurisdiction offered the Church its own backup location. The IAS was already headquartered in Curacao and it made sense to designate Curacao the home port of the new ship. Essentially, the new ship would serve as an IAS office and fundraising center. Scientologists who visited the ship would be squeezed for IAS donations.

The undertaking to find, purchase, staff, and renovate a suitable ship was called the Ship Project, with the IAS fundraising from 1985 to 1988 to pay for the initial costs. In 1986, the Ship Project was taken over by the Flag Ship Trust. A most curious entity, the Flag Ship Trust had no jurisdiction and could only be contacted in care of Whitman & Ransom in London:

The Flag Ship Trust purchased the Bohème in September 1986. However, the way in which Scientology purchased and took ownership of the vessel was dodgy. For example, the Church of Scientology told the IRS in 1992 that the Freewinds had a mortgage on it:

[The] “Freewinds” cruise vessel: this asset has a net book value (cost less depreciation} of $15,295,000 and is subject to a mortgage of $12,500,000 held by Trust for Scientologists. The net equity in the vessel is thus $2,795,000. The vessel is owned by San Donato Properties Corporation and is chartered to Majestic Cruise Lines Inc. Its home port is Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles, and it sails primarily in the Caribbean.

San Donato Properties Corporation is a Panamanian Corporation and a subsidiary of Transcorp Services S.A. In turn, Transcorp Services S.A is owned by the Flag Ship Trust. Thus, it appears that the Flag Ship Trust conveyed ownership of the Freewinds to San Donato Properties Corporation in such a way that resulted in a $12,500,000 mortgage on the ship. This was simply moving a Scientology asset from one pocket to another in order to create a mortgage and a new owner. All of these offshore machinations created legal barriers behind which Scientology was shielded.

The new Advanced Organization created to manage and deliver OT 8 was named the Flag Ship Service Organization (FSSO). One of the initial goals of the Ship Project was to find Sea Org members who were professionally qualified to serve in key FSSO positions aboard the new ship. On the Apollo, which was classed as a private yacht, Commodore Hubbard could appoint a person Captain based solely upon their past life experiences of having captained ships. However, David Miscavige and the FSSO had a different situation. The Freewinds is classed as a cruise ship and had to meet the standards of maritime law for cruise ships. Miscavige had to find a professional Captain, navigators, electricians, deck hands, mechanics, chefs, and trained engineers for the engine room. The crew of the Freewinds had to be Sea Org as well because the FSSO is a Sea Org Org. Mike Napier was a public Scientologist who had captained ships and had masters papers. He was recruited into the Sea Org as were other qualified people. The crew of the Freewinds constitutes the FSSO. The ship itself serves as the FSSO Base.

The FSSO can also be called the CSFSSO (Church of Scientology the Flag Ship Service Organization). In its 1992 IRS application for tax exemption, Scientology made it abundantly clear to the IRS that both the Flag Ship Trust and the CSFSSO keep and bank all of their money outside of the US.

The Church of Scientology Flag Ship Service organization (CSFSSO) was incorporated in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles as a non-profit foundation in April 1988. It commenced activities on 1 May 1988, shortly before the maiden voyage of the Freewinds on 6 June 1988. Its procedures for handling its receipts, discussed below, have applied since its inception and remain unchanged today.

CSFSSO does not have, nor has it ever had, a United States bank account. None of its income has ever been banked in the U.S. CSFSSO has never provided any religious goods or services to its parishioners within the United States; rather, these activities are conducted entirely outside the U.S., from aboard the M.V. Freewinds.

CSFSSO has local bank accounts in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, the home port of the Freewinds. CSFSSO also has U.S. dollar and foreign currency accounts in Luxembourg. CSFSSO accepts payments and donations via major credit cards (e.g. Visa and Mastercard), which are deposited in its local accounts in Curacao.|

Parishioners in the U.S. who wish to make donations to CSFSSO for religious services usually send payment by check or credit card debit to CSFSSO via the Church of Scientology Freewinds Relay Office, located in Clearwater, Florida. This is a practical expedient because the Freewinds is usually at sea in the Caribbean and its exact location for mail purposes varies. The Relay Office collects all mail and other communications destined for the Freewinds. Any currency intended for CSFSSO is converted into a U.S. dollar draft or money order; cash is never sent abroad in a mailpack because of the risk of theft or other loss. Every week, the Relay Office forwards all mail, including checks and credit card invoices, to Curacao. If the Freewinds is not in port, the mailpack is collected by a Ship’s representative and delivered to the Ship as soon as it arrives. All checks are invoiced by CSFSSO on-board the Freewinds and is deposited into local bank accounts in Curacao, as noted above.

In that same 1992 IRS filing Scientology also told the IRS about Scientologists having bounced checks:

One wonders what sort of hellish Ethics handlings OT 7’s faced when their “postulate checks” for OT 8 bounced. This amusing admission that some Scientologists write bad checks shows us that Scientology follows up to collect on them.

When the Church of Scientology took delivery of its new ship in 1986, an intense 20-month period of renovations began. Deadly blue asbestos on the ship was discovered during this period. Former Sea Org member and architect Lawrence Woodcraft wrote an affidavit on this matter in 2001. Woodcraft describes the extensive amounts of asbestos aboard the ship. An excerpt of the Woodcraft Affidavit is quite revealing about Scientology’s attitude regarding asbestos:

No one on the ship knew anything about asbestos, nor did they care… Around this time Bitty Miscavige visited the ship. She was the Church executive with overall responsibility for the ship project. I went to her and took copies of the ship’s blueprints and showed her the full extent of asbestos on the ship. At first she was calm, but as I further explained the dangers, she begun to realize that it was a problem. We had a meeting to discuss the problem of asbestos. Steve Kisacky stated that L. Ron Hubbard doesn’t state in policy that asbestos is dangerous; he only states that fiberglass is dangerous and therefore we are only removing the fiberglass. In fact, the dock next to the Freewinds was piled high with fiberglass that had been removed by Sea Org members. It was explained to me that the ship was being remodeled only according to the written policies and “advices” of L. Ron Hubbard. Since Hubbard had been in the US Navy and had then founded the Sea Org and had run a fleet of ships, he knew everything about ships. If asbestos was dangerous, he would have written this somewhere. Also Hubbard knew everything about cancer. He had written that cancer was caused by the mind and specifically second dynamic aberration (problems with relationships). I was told that people only get sick if they go into “agreement” with being sick. As the ship was going to be filled with “operating thetans” doing the highest level in Scientology (OT 8) nothing was going to make them sick. I was being a “wog” (non-scientologist) worrying about a little thing like asbestos.

International Management having decreed that Sea Org members and OTVIII’s were impervious to asbestos and mesothelioma, the renovations and crew recruitment continued apace. Scientology management’s view of asbestos offers us yet more evidence into how Scientology thinks and acts with wanton and flagrant disregard for the well-being of its members.

In our next installment we look at the immediate events leading up the Maiden Voyage of the MV Freewinds.


Declaration of Lawrence Woodcraft

Lawrence Woodcraft Affidavit about Asbestos on the Freewinds - January 24, 2001

What a train wreck: The ignominious fate of Scientology’s original flagship, the ‘Apollo’

                                                  L. Ron Hubbard’s Flagship Apollo

(This article by Jeffrey Augustine was first published on The Underground Bunker. It is republished here with added content and archival material.)

L. Ron Hubbard’s original flagship, the Apollo, met a freak ending when it was hit and destroyed by a 3,750,000 pound freight train. This is somewhat ironic when you remember Hubbard’s 1963 claim…

“I notice that we all believe that Venus has a methane atmosphere and is unlivable. I almost got run down by a freight locomotive the other day — didn’t look very uncivilized to me.” – L. Ron Hubbard, “Between Lives Implants” lecture, SHSBC #317. 23 July 1963.

Commodore L. Ron Hubbard in his office on the Apollo. In this photo we can see Ron wearing a Rolex; his pack of Kool cigarettes; ashtray; and his daily glass of Coca-Cola. Ron’s fake war medals can be seen on the right side of the photo. The fake medals are hanging in a display case leaning against the wall.

Train-ship collisions are as rare as David Miscavige doing a network television news interview, which is to say that both have only happened once, according to the record. How did this bizarre collision occur? The story begins in 1975 in Daytona Beach, Florida when the Sea Org left the Apollo and went ashore.

When Hubbard and the Sea Org went ashore in 1975 and began surreptitiously to take over the town of Clearwater, Florida, the Apollo became a forgotten discard, a sort of second wife the Sea Org never had. The vessel was now a 39-year-old boat that guzzled expensive fuel oil. Accordingly, a seven-man skeleton crew was assigned to maintain the vessel while the Church worked to sell it and make some money. The crew dropped anchor in Nassau and would remain there for two years as only a tiny handful of prospective buyers came and went.

Read Paul Kawaller’s account: The Final Days on the Apollo

The Apollo was finally sold for $90,000 in 1977 to Consolidated-Andy Inc., a shipbreaking firm in Brownsville, Texas. The poster russ tee k9 added this comment on the sale of the Apollo on Tony Ortega’s blog:

Originally intending to dismantle the ship for scrap, Richard Jaross, Vice-President of Consolidated-Andy Inc., told the Brownsville Herald in October 1977 that the company had decided instead to turn it into a floating restaurant and locate it at the highly popular tourist town of South Padre Island.

Consolidated-Andy Inc. then changed its plans and sold the ship at auction to Zanzibar Shipping in 1978 for $188,000, doubling its investment in a one-year flip. Rechristened the Arctic Star by Zanzibar, the ship would never leave Brownsville for South Padre Island. Zanzibar Shipping would later be described in court papers as a, “Panamanian corporation with its headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.” This makes no sense, but it gets more tangled as Zanzibar Shipping claimed in court papers that it did no business in the United States.

The 1982 Memorandum Decision of District Judge DeAnda tells the story and adds an incorrect detail that would surely have infuriated Commodore Hubbard:

The ship now called “ARCTIC STAR” has seen a colorful and varied career. Christened the “ROYAL SCOTSMAN” in 1936, she plied the rough seas between Belfast and Glasgow and survived. She risked German U-Boats when used as a troop ship in World War II and survived. She even had a name change (to “APOLLO”) and saw use as a spy ship for the CIA and survived. After having successfully avoided these often encountered and expected nautical dangers, it is perhaps quite ironic that she did not survive the night of September 16, 1980, when while lying at berth in the Port of Brownsville, Texas, she was rammed and constructively sunk by a railroad train.

…In addition to its unusual history, the ownership of the “ARCTIC STAR” is also far from ordinary. Although since being rechristened the “ARCTIC STAR” the ship has never left the Port of Brownsville, Texas, it is owned by Zanzibar Shipping, S. A., a Panamanian corporation with its headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The exact makeup of this corporation, created especially for ownership of the “ARCTIC STAR,” is shrouded in mystery; its stock is “bearer stock” and not even the corporate secretary, Ms. Ann Priddy, has any idea who or where its stockholders are. Despite its being headquartered in Wisconsin and having its only known asset permanently docked in Texas, Zanzibar Shipping maintains that it does no business in the United States.

The Apollo was not a CIA spy ship. In fact, L. Ron Hubbard was infuriated when this rumor was circulated during the years when the Apollo was cruising around the Mediterranean. The “Apollo is a CIA ship” rumor caused the Apollo to lose docking privileges in Mediterranean ports. Soon, virtually no Mediterranean ports would accept the Apollo. This forced Hubbard to order the Apollo to cross the Atlantic in July 1974. The Apollo then cruised the Caribbean for about sixteen months. Hubbard decided to have the Sea Org go ashore to Daytona Beach in October 1975.


THE LAWSUIT

“WTF!?” you may be asking yourself. How does a train hit a ship? One of my sources sent me a PDF copy of the newspaper article from the Brownsville Herald which is posted at the bottom of this article. In the article we learn that the collision happened late at night. The four people who were living aboard the ship were not injured; the same could not be said for the Apollo.

Quoting from the July 19, 1981 story we read:

The train, operated by Missouri Pacific, had been rolling along the concrete pier on a siding when seven boxcars detached from an engine, smashed through a blockade and struck the ship…

It was a night Capt. Robert Manning won’t easily forget either.

“I said: ‘I can’t believe this, there’s a train hanging out of the ship.”

Manning, asleep at the time of impact, recalls he was awakened by his wife, Anna, telling him: “ Honey, we’ve been hit by a train .”

“I thought it was a dream,” Manning said.

And it wasn’t easy explaining it to the Coast Guard and others he contacted by telephone. “They said, ‘Right, captain. Now put down that bottle and get yourself some sleep.’

“And I said, ‘No, really, we’ve been hit by a train .’

“And they’d say, ‘Captain, put out what you’re smoking and try to get some rest. Everything’s going to be all right.’”


Captain Manning’s appearance is as colorful as his great story-telling ability:


Trial Judge DeAnda wrote of Captain Manning:

The ship’s master is Captain Robert Manning, all of whose navigational charts seem to point towards the federal courthouse. See U. S. v. Firebird, Inc., No. B-79-116, (S.D.Texas, filed May 17, 1979); Baldwin v. Cisneros, No. B-79-249 (S.D.Tex., filed November 15, 1979); Brownsville Navigational District v. “ARCTIC STAR”, No. B-82-5 (S.D.Tex., filed January 11, 1982); Zanzibar Shipping v. United States, No. H-82-288 (S.D.Tex., filed after January 11, 1982).


Missouri Pacific Railroad Company conceded liability. The locomotive was pulling eighteen fully loaded freight cars. Seven of these cars separated from the train, jumped the tracks, smashed through a concrete barrier, and slammed into the Arctic Star. The only question now was how much Zanzibar Shipping could take Missouri Pacific to the cleaners for.

Here is a photo posted on the Bunker by PickAnotherID that shows the culprit in the crash:

               Following the 1980 collision, Engine 2199 was placed back into service.

Fun Fact: Athearn sells a replica of the ship-killer Engine #2199. This makes the perfect gift for model train enthusiasts who want a replica of an engine with an unusual history:


HOW HARD DID THE TRAIN HIT THE APOLLO?

Essentially, the train cars hit the ship so hard that “the nine-inch polypropylene stern lines securing the ship snapped from the impact.” Imagine the sheer force needed to snap 9″ polypropylene lines! The ship’s stern was pushed out and its bow was pushed in and collided with the dock. The net effect was that the hull was twisted from the impact. As the court noted:

Repair of a twisted hull is extremely expensive. The “ARCTIC STAR” is a riveted-hull vessel, a type of construction no longer used in shipbuilding. To determine the exact extent of the damages would require the ship to be towed to a shipyard capable of doing this type of repair work and there drydocking and completely inspecting the ship. Estimates for this repair work were uniformly high…The lowest estimate is $10,000,000.

The court noted that the locomotive and its fully loaded freight cars weighed 3,750,000 pounds. The speed at which the fully loaded train was moving cannot be found by your correspondent. However, physics gives us the simple equation: Force equals mass times acceleration. The train was pulling eighteen fully loaded freight cars at a sufficiently high rate of speed that when seven cars separated from the train and jumped the tracks, they hit the 3,244 ton Apollo with a high enough amount energy to twist the ship’s 340 foot hull. According to the court record, the Apollo rolled during the impact and took on some water. The ship didn’t sink but it did take on water.


The Apollo began life as the HMS Royal Scotsman. Built in 1936 at Harland & Wolff’s Belfast yard, the ship was built to ferry cattle and passengers between Belfast and Glasgow. The ship served as a troop transport in WWII. Scientology purchased the Royal Scotsman in 1967 and rechristened it the Apollo. The photo was taken during the HMS Royal Scotsman’s sea trials. The vessel was 340 feet in length and weight 3244 tons. The beam was 48 feet and the draught 17 feet. 

The court discussed the various legal theories in determining damages. This was necessary as the opposing parties were light years apart in what the damages should be. The court noted this discrepancy in whimsical language:

One of Defendant’s experts, Tommy Laing, estimated the damages at $21,000, based on cost of repair; one of Plaintiff’s experts Fergus Fleming, estimated damages at $35,000,000, based on cost of replacement. This is not a shadowland, but the Twilight Zone. Even when considering value alone, the differences are staggering. A surveyor for Plaintiff, Manning Dierlam, estimated the “ARCTIC STAR”‘s market value at $2,500,000… Defendant’s experts’ top value was $350,000.

The court next discussed the actual condition of the ship…

…the photographic evidence introduced during the trial indicates an aging and rusting ship in poor condition…The fact that the “ARCTIC STAR” could not legally sail on September 16, 1980, and the costs of re-securing her seaworthy status are important and relevant factors the Court has considered in determining her value. Because of her poor condition and lack of papers the Court further finds that on September 16, 1980, the “ARCTIC STAR” was not seaworthy.

Two other factors the Court has utilized in determining the value of the “ARCTIC STAR” are her insured value and the ship’s mortgage. Plaintiff’s claims of great value for its vessel are undercut by the fact that it did not maintain insurance on her…Zanzibar Shipping apparently negotiated a mortgage with a foreign bank for $200,000 and had received a Letter of Credit for that amount.

…After considering all of the above factors and findings of fact, the Court concludes that the value of the “ARCTIC STAR” on September 16, 1980 was $350,000. The Court finds her salvage value was $58,400, based on $40 a ton for uncut scrap and a weight of 1460 tons…Plaintiff is therefore entitled to recover from Defendant the sum of $291,600 as damages for the constructive total loss of the “ARCTIC STAR.”

An additional $13,000 was awarded for a small scow and a hatch cover the train destroyed. Costs of cleaning up 10 tons of oil that were spilled were awarded as were survey fees. Zanzibar Shipping paid $188,000 for the ship and collected $291,600 in damages, thus turning a tidy profit. The court awarded 12 percent per year interest from the date of the loss and so Zanzibar pocketed about another $70,000 in interest.

Gulmar Inc. of Brownsville, Texas was given the contract to haul away the damaged Arctic Star and scrap it. The Apollo, the once legendary Flag Ship of Commodore L. Ron Hubbard, was disposed of quietly and without sorrow under the pitiless sun in a nondescript ship breaking yard in Brownsville, Texas.

In a peculiar postscript to this story, parts of the Apollo deemed to be of value were stored by Gulmar Inc. in 1984 only to be promptly forgotten. In 2016, Gulmar Inc. sold these items at auction. An eBay seller purchased the lot and realized he had parts of the Apollo.

The seller offered the ship’s helm for $19,995.95. We contacted him, and he said that he had sold the item, but wouldn’t reveal the identity of buyer or the amount paid.


Consolidated-Andy Inc. purchases the Apollo. Story of October 16, 1977 in the Brownsville Herald. Please hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the page frame:

brownsville-herald-oct-16-1977-p-9.AAA

The Brownsville Herald article on the train hitting the Apollo. Please hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the page frame:

Apollo.brownsville-herald-jul-19-1981-p-27

The Memorandum Decision in Zanzibar Shipping v. Railroad Locomotive Engine. Please hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the page frame:

ZANZIBAR SHPG. v. Railroad Locomotive Engine, 533 F. Supp. 392 (S.D. Tex. 1982) __ Justia.1