Jeffrey Augustine

USC Part 2: Dr. Cecil Murray Did Not Write the Letter to CEO Bob Iger of Disney; Scientology’s Website Disagrees

USC’s Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray speaking at the dedication of
the Church of Scientology Inglewood. Murray has been associated
with the Church of Scientology for 25 years.

As we covered on our previous blog post, the Church of Scientology posted on its STAND League website a letter written by Dr. Cecil Murray on USC letterhead.

The letter is dated December 13, 2018. Dr. Murray’s letter asks Disney CEO Bob Iger to cancel Leah Remini’s show Scientology and the Aftermath. We sent an e-mail to USC Media Rep Ron Mackovich concerning Murray’s letter on January 29, 2019 and received no response.

As covered by Tony Ortega today, the University of Southern California issued a denial that Dr. Cecil Murray wrote the letter of December 13, 2018. The USC denial came about after Robin Athlyn Thompson sent a letter to USC and expressed her concerns. Thompson’s letter was effective because she understands branding and addressed her letter to USC public relations department in charge of trademarks.

Thompson asked if USC would indeed allow its trademark to be used by Dr. Murray to advocate for the censorship of Leah Remini’s television program. Robin’s letter shows the importance of knowing exactly where to focus a letter in a large bureaucracy such as USC. We congratulate Robin for her expert skills in identifying where to send her letter. Our e-mail to USC Media Relations was ineffective.

USC’s VP of PR and Marketing Brenda Maceo responded to Robin Athlyn Thompson:

Dear Ms. Thompson,
I want to personally acknowledge your letter to President Austin, which she has read and shared with me. She has asked me to respond on her behalf.
We strive for accuracy and appropriateness in all of our university communications. Reverend Murray has stated that he was not the author of the letter that was addressed to Mr. Iger on a discontinued letterhead. We are currently looking into the misuse of the university’s trademarks.
Thank you for sharing your concern with us.
Sincerely,
Brenda Maceo
Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing
University of Southern California

USC issued this additional statement:

This is where the Scientology high strangeness begins. Below is the USC letterhead on Murray’s purported letter posted to Scientology’s STAND League website:

Despite USC’s statements, our review today of Scientology’s STAND League website shows the exact same letter from Murray with the USC letterhead removed. In its place is a small letterhead from the First AME Church in Los Angeles where Murray served as senior pastor for 27 years:

Here are the present state of affairs:

1. According to USC’s reply to Robin Athlyn Thompson, Dr. Murray denies that he was the author of the letter on Scientology’s STAND League website.

2. The Church of Scientology has removed the USC logo from the Dr. Murray letter and substituted it with a small First AME logo.

3. While the Church Scientology changed letterheads, Scientology has not removed the Dr. Murray letter from its website; this despite USC’s insistence that Dr. Murray did not author the letter. This creates the appearance that Scientology is digging in its heels and insisting that Dr. Murray did in fact author the letter.

4. Absent an unequivocal denial for Dr. Murray, the presence of his letter on Scientology’s website remains troubling.

Here are an indisputable fact: Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray appeared at the Scientology Interfaith Event held at the Valley Org on the morning of January 22, 2019. The event across from the main gate of Disney Studios was held later in the afternoon and Dr. Murray did not attend. Dr. Murray appears in the Scientology group photo taken that morning at the Scientology Valley Org:

There is a second letter purportedly written by Dr. Murray on Scientology’s STAND League website. second This letter is on First AME letterhead and is incorrectly dated January 28, 2018. The year should be 2019. Nevertheless, this Dr. Murray letter once again asks Disney CEO Bob Iger to engage in censorship by cancelling Leah Remini’s show. USC has neither addressed nor repudiated this second Murray letter:

Even as Dr. Murray’s purported letters to Disney decry violence, the second purported Dr. Murray letter contains an implied threat of violence from the African American community if Disney CEO Iger does not respond to Dr. Murray concerning Scientology and the Aftermath:

When did Scientologists stand beside the African American community during very dark times? This purported letter from Dr. Murray offers no examples. USC needs to be cognizant of this second purported letter from Dr. Murray and repudiate it if Murray did not write it.

As it now stands, USC’s denial seems unconvincing given the presence of the two Dr. Murray letters on Scientology’s website. If the two letters remain on Scientology’s website and both USC and long-time Scientology supporter Dr. Murray do nothing then the conclusion that must be drawn is that Dr. Murray wrote the letters.

On a final note, it is worth pointing out that the Church of Scientology’s Rev. Alfreddie Johnson and Nation of Islam Minister and Scientologist Tony Muhammad have been completely absent from Scientology’s s Interfaith movement. Why have these two clerics who loom so large in Scientology PR been excluded from OSA’s Operation Interfaith?

The answer seems to be that Scientology wants to firewall its bogus interfaith movement from the Anti-Semitism of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. Tony Muhammad on why the Jews control it all:


 

The Church of Scientology Explained in Three Tweets

Scientology’s Latest Attack on Mike Rinder is Drowning in Lies & Hypocrisy

Mike Rinder and Leah Remini at the 2018 Creative Arts Emmy Awards – Day 2 at Microsoft Theater on September 09, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

We begin with an excerpt from the letter Scientology’s bogus STAND League sent to The Walt Disney Company. Mike Rinder reported on this in his recent blog post:

The letter expresses Scientology’s concern that Disney may not hire a job candidate if it is discovered that said candidate is a Scientologist. Aside from this being blatantly absurd, STAND League conveniently ignores the fact that an essential component of Scientology’s Fair Game policy is to get people fired from their jobs and to destroy them utterly.

Look at the Scientology hypocrisy:

1. Scientology’s STAND League worries aloud about Scientologists being discriminated against for employment at Disney even as its main hashtag is #FireMikeRinder.

— Hypocrisy and contradiction: Scientology wants job candidates who are Scientologists protected from discrimination at Disney even as Scientology demands that Disney fire Mike Rinder. Firing Mike would be discrimination against his right to Free Speech and his right to earn a living. Scientology claims to be opposed to discrimination — except of course when it comes to Mike Rinder, Leah Remini and everyone else who exposes Scientology.

2. Scientology engages in phony concerns about Scientologists being discriminated against at Disney even as Scientology uses Taryn Teutsch and Cathy Bernardini to push a thoroughly debunked story that is actually a slanderous attack against Disney and A&E executives. This attack maliciously, and falsely, accuses Disney and A&E executives of supporting domestic abuse because they will not fire Mike Rinder.

— Scientology wants it both ways: It is engaging in a slanderous Fair Game attack against Disney executives even as it demands that Disney executives give Scientology special protections and considerations. This schizophrenic thuggery is typical of Scientology.

— The implicit Scientology extortion racket going on here is obvious: Scientology will continue to attack Disney executives as champions of domestic battery until and unless they fire Mike Rinder. This malicious Scientology tactic fails because it is based in fraud. 

3. The Church of Scientology’s ridiculous claim that anti-religionists “out” Scientologists online is just plain stupid. Scientology has for decades published several monthly promotional magazines in which it provides the entire world with the names and photos of its own members. Two examples:

denver-completion-list-427

Aug-2016-St-Louis-Clear-View-Completions

SCIENTOLOGY IS CREATING ITS OWN PROBLEMS

If the Church of Scientology has such concerns about protecting the privacy and identities of its members, then it stands to reason that Scientology should immediately stop outing its own members by publishing their names and photographs in the many magazines and promo pieces it mails out weekly and monthly to everyone on its mailing lists.

Scientology will never do this because L. Ron Hubbard’s policies order that Scientology magazines and other promotional materials are to include the names, photos, and success stories of Scientologists. Hubbard ordered promotional materials to be mailed out in large volumes. “Outflow equals inflow” he wrote. The Church of Scientology continually boasts about Bridge Publications, its enormous printing factory in Los Angeles that produces a huge amount of PR materials.

Ignoring its massive PR efforts which include numerous pamphlets, DVD’s, magazines, websites, and now Scientology TV, the Church of Scientology is now trying to blame “anti-religionists” for the fact that the names of Scientologists are discoverable in online searches. Sorry but this problem was created by L. Ron Hubbard’s policies — and Hubbard’s policies are Scientology’s scriptures. Hence, Scientology has a scriptural PR mandate which has resulted in Scientologists being discoverable in online searches. This is not the fault of “anti-religionists” or whomever else Scientology tries to blame for its own intrinsic problem.

SCIENTOLOGY’S HORRIBLE REPUTATION IS SELF-CREATED

The underlying issue at hand is that the Church of Scientology’s reputation is horrible due to its own actions, and, individual Scientologists are associated with this horrible reputation. Rather than changing its conduct and thereby improving its reputation, Scientology wants to keep harming people, financially destroying its own members, engaging in Fair Game, and then wants to complain when its members are made to bear the stigma of Scientology’s own actions and awful reputation. And yet individual Scientologists are enabling and funding Scientology’s brutal conduct and horrible reputation by their donations to, and ongoing participation in, the Church of Scientology.

SCIENTOLOGY TV

David Miscavige has added to the problem by launching Scientology TV and its “Meet a Scientologist” episodes. Is the viewing public supposed to watch Scientology TV and never publicly mention or discuss the Scientologists who are featured on the program? The inconsistency of Scientology’s position is that it wants to feature Scientologists in its PR materials even as it demands that these materials not be studied, compiled, analyzed, or uploaded to the internet by the public to whom these materials are widely and regularly disseminated.

GREG & JANET DEERING AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE PROBLEM

Scientology TV featured Greg and Janet Deering, makers of the finest American made banjos on the market. Greg and Janet create a quality product, create jobs, and are proud Scientologists. Greg and Janet Deering’s donations to Scientology help to create and fund Scientology’s programs of Fair Game. Greg and Janet share in the collective moral culpability of the Church of Scientology’s Fair Game attacks as do all other Scientologists. If one were to Google “Greg and Janet Deering” the results on the front page all lead to Scientology websites. The Church of Scientology created these search results; the critics did not.

SCIENTOLOGY PR EVEN INCLUDES CHILDREN

Scientology publishes and mails out magazines and other PR pieces that shows photos of the children of Scientologists. The Church of Scientology promotes its members and their children and does so very publicly without any regard for their privacy. Scientology then turns around and blames critics for what? Posting the stuff Scientology mails us? Scientology even mails out photos of its Sea Org members:

Reality-011

It gets worse: People find it very hard to be removed from Scientology’s mailing lists. Countless people who left the Church long ago, bought a book, or did a course have written and asked Scientology to remove their names from all mailing lists and yet Scientology refuses to do so. This refusal occurs due to Scientology’s need to show weekly “stats” of promotional materials being mailed out. The policy was written by L. Ron Hubbard and must be obeyed. “Outflow equals inflow,” wrote Hubbard.

SCIENTOLOGY FAIR GAME

The Church of Scientology wants to portray itself as a persecuted victim even as its makes vicious Fair Game attack websites and videos on people who expose its evil and deceitful machinations.  These hate-motivated attacks, including the attacks on Disney and A&E executives, are based upon the sadistic and insane policies of L. Ron Hubbard:

* SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.

* This is the correct procedure: Spot who is attacking us. Start investigating them promptly for felonies or worse using our own professionals, not outside agencies. Double curve our reply by saying we welcome an investigation of them. Start feeding lurid, blood sex crime actual evidence on the attackers to the press. Don’t ever tamely submit to an investigation of us. Make it rough, rough on attackers all the way. — “Attacks on Scientology” (25 February 1966).

* If attacked on some vulnerable point by anyone or anything or any organization, always find or manufacture enough threat against them to cause them to sue for peace. — Dept. of Govt. Affairs (15 August 1960).

* The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly. — A Manual on the Dissemination of Material (1955).

THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN CONTROL IS TO LIE TO THEM. You can write that down in your book in great big letters. The only way you can control anybody is to lie to them. — Lecture: “Off the Time Track” (June 1952) as quoted in Journal of Scientology issue 18-G, reprinted in Technical Volumes of Dianetics & Scientology Vol. 1, p. 418.

The Bottom Line: The Church of Scientology is becoming increasingly incoherent, absurd, inconsistent, paranoid, and contradictory on social media.

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

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

Church of Scientology Continues to Attacks Autism; Calls It a Myth


The Church of Scientology’s lunatic anti-psychiatry group “Citizens Commission on Human Rights” has long attacked autism as a myth, as a condition that does not exist.

Scientology viciously and irrationally rejects and attacks Psychiatry and all psychiatric diagnoses as being false. Because autism is a psychiatric diagnosis — the Autism Spectrum Disorder is classified and described in the DSM-5 —  it must therefore be false according to Scientology.

Jett Travolta (1992-2009) died tragically at aged sixteen in Freeport, Bahamas. Four years after his death, Scientologists John Travolta and Kelly Preston admitted that Jett was autistic. Grief is complex. When Jett was alive John and Kelly denied that he was autistic. This was due to the couple’s commitment to Scientology’s anti-psychiatry views.

When Jett was alive,  John Travolta’s brother Joey publicly stated that Jett was autistic. Joey implored John and Kelly to get Jett the help he needed. Instead, Kelly insisted that her son Jett had Kawasaki’s Syndrome that had been caused by exposure to carpet cleaning chemicals when he was young.

John and Kelly eventually did the right thing by acknowledging that autism existed. Kelly even opened up about it in a video:


In 2015, Scientology hired former US Congressman Dan Burton to lobby against vaccines in Congress. Forbes covered this in its article entitled, Former U.S. Rep. Dan Burton, Vaccine Foe, Now Lobbying For Scientology Outfit. An excerpt from that article:

When he served in the House of Representatives, Dan Burton (R-Indiana) reportedly held at least 20 hearings to try to force people to accept his belief that mercury in vaccines causes autism. Now he’s pulled down 20 Gs–$20,000 from July to September—as a lobbyist on behalf of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), which sounds reasonable enough, except that it’s a group co-founded by the Church of Scientology. The transition isn’t a big one for Burton because because Burton and Scientology and whacky autism causation theories go way back.

According to lobbying disclosure reports, Burton was paid to:

“maintain or increase protection for the public with reference to psychiatric treatments including drugs and brain devices.”

That’s not so wildly off the mark from his earlier goal of protecting the nation from mercury in vaccines with the expectation, one assumes, that doing so would protect the nation from the scourge of autism. Never mind that the nation isn’t under threat from either. Burton’s last hurrah as a Congressman was in 2012, the usual dog-and-pony show, giving the soon-to-be former Congressman one last chance as a representative of the people to claim that:

“I’m convinced that the mercury in vaccinations is a contributing factor to neurological diseases such as autism.”


Scientology’s partner in working to rid the world of vaccines is the notoriously anti-vaxxer group the Nation of Islam. Apparently, Scientology and the Nation of Islam like polio, smallpox, measles, and other deadly diseases that were largely eradicated by large-scale vaccinations programs. Dangerous pseudoscientific idiocy is certainly one thing that Scientology and the Nation of Islam have in common. Robert Kennedy Jr. has worked with Scientology and the Nation of Islam on this insanity. Look at the sensationalistic garbage Kennedy promotes:


In an irrational act I will never understand, Kelly Preston became a spokesperson for Karastan Carpets in 2008 when Jett was still alive. To promote carpets means that these carpets will need to be cleaned with carpet cleaning chemicals. This means the infants crawling on the carpets will be exposed to these chemicals as was Jett. Seems like a 4D overt on Kelly’s part.

A Scientology Private Investigator Visits Our Home Asking About Leah Remini and Heber Jentzsch

                         Private Investigator Rebecca Dobkin

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

By Jeffrey Augustine

Los Angeles, September 5, 2018: A woman dropped by our house in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz and asked to speak to my wife, Karen de la Carriere. Karen was busy, so I talked to her.

She handed me her card, which identified her as a private investigator named Rebecca Dobkin.

I asked her who she was working for, and she told me she was working for an attorney named Amanda Touchton. I asked her to spell it.

She said that Touchton represented Heber Jentzsch.

Heber is Karen’s ex-husband. He has also been, since the 1980s, the nominal president of the Church of Scientology International. I say “nominal,” because it was always little more than an honorary title — the real power to run Scientology was invested in founder L. Ron Hubbard and then, after his death in 1986, current leader David Miscavige.

Heber was well liked by Scientologists and also got along with reporters — for a while, at least, he was the person Scientology sent out to handle questions about the church, and he was pretty good at it. He was also frequently on stage at Scientology’s major events. But then, in the 1990s, his role seemed to get smaller and smaller, until he vanished pretty much altogether.

When Miscavige’s bizarre jail for upper level management was created at Scientology’s secretive management compound Int Base in 2004 — it eventually became known as “The Hole” — Heber was one of its prisoners, which we know from multiple witnesses. Heber has been out of sight almost entirely since then.

One exception was when Alexander Jentzsch, the only child that Karen and Heber had together, died in 2012 at the age of 27. Karen by then had left the church and wasn’t allowed to see her son’s body (he had died of pneumonia, exacerbated by a pain medication he was taking, according to the LA Coroner), and at first she was told that Scientology planned to have no memorial at all. But after the media made a stink about it — including Tony at the Village Voice — the church did hold a ceremony (Karen wasn’t invited) and Heber showed up for it, the first time we’d seen a photo of him in years.

[Last known photo of Heber Jentzsch, center, at the 2012 memorial for his son Alexander at the Scientology Hollywood Celebrity Centre with Stan and Phillipa Gerson.]

Tony has reported in the past how Heber, who is from a huge Mormon family, has been missed by his relatives, who want to hear how he’s doing.

Dobkin told me that Amanda Touchton was representing Heber “in a matter related to Leah Remini’s reality TV show.”

She mispronounced Leah’s last name as “Reh-MEENIE.”

She said that she was investigating an incident that had happened at Int Base, which is near San Jacinto, about 85 miles east of Los Angeles. Apparently, someone had asked law enforcement to make a welfare check on Heber at the base.

I knew nothing about it, I told her.

She claimed that Heber had been thrown into the back of a police car during the welfare check, which I found hard to believe. Law enforcement officers checking on an 82-year-old’s welfare aren’t likely to treat them like a dangerous criminal.

She also handed me a printed out copy of a story that appeared here at the Bunker, which cited Karen saying she had been told that Heber had suffered a stroke.

She asked me how Karen knew that. I said I didn’t recall but that Heber had a lot of relatives. I couldn’t remember.

[Amanda Touchton]

I told Dobkin that Heber Jentzsch doesn’t make enough money as a Sea Org worker to pay for a lawyer, so I assumed the real client was Scientology.

She wouldn’t confirm it.

But we think it’s a pretty good bet that it was.

 

LAPD Hollywood Division Busted: Caught Red-Handed with Scientology Kiosk Installed In Its Premises.

Scn.LAPD

The Los Angeles Police Department is not even pretending to be neutral when it comes to its relationship to the Church of Scientology.

The long and suspicious relationship between the Church of Scientology and the LAPD continues unabated. Captain Cory Palka of the LAPD’s Hollywood Division allowed the Church of Scientology to install an informational kiosk in his station house. Palka has long been known to critics as an ardent supporter of the Church of Scientology.

An alert local citizen happened to drop by the Hollywood Division and spotted this egregious violation of Church & State. The violation was reported to American Atheists. Geoffrey Blackwell, an attorney for American Atheists, immediately sent a letter to Steve Soboroff, President of the Los Angeles Police Commission demanding the kiosk be removed.

Mr. Soboroff was not pleased with this situation and the kiosk was summarily removed. American Atheists commended the LAPD for its swift action. We do as well. Further, we trust that an investigation and formal disciplinary action will be take against Captain Palka and whomever else on his staff permitted the Scientology kiosk to be installed.

The Scientology kiosk in the Hollywood Division was not trivial. The kiosk was powered by electricity, required formal installation, and took up floor space. Los Angeles taxpayers paid for all of this, and, the kiosk violated LAPD rules, Constitutional principles, and a wide body of established case law.  Moreover, this kiosk raises troubling questions about the LAPD’s decades-long relationship with the Church of Scientology that many of us consider highly inappropriate.

Captain Palka’s incredibly poor judgment in the matter of the Scientology kiosk is a genuine reason for concern: If Palka will violate LAPD rules and clear Constitutional principles in such a brazen matter for Scientology, then what else will he do for Scientology? And more importantly, what has he done for Scientology in the past?

There clearly needs to be an investigation of Scientology’s undue influence within the LAPD. This Scientology Kiosk Affair evokes images of the seedy fake medal that retired Colombian National Police General Mena awarded David Miscavige in Barbados:

cAPT.pALKA

Left: Captain Cory Palka accepts a check from Scientology on behalf of the LAPD. Right: Retired Colombian Police General pins a fake medal on Scientology leader David Miscavige. Scientology’s sleazy relationship with cops who will “play ball” continues unabated.

Here is the letter sent to Steve Soboroff, President of the Los Angeles Police Commission, by American Atheists’ attorney Geoffrey Blackwell. Note: Hover your cursor over the mouse to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the page frame.

American.Atheist.Letter.to.LAPD