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Scientology Dyspepsia: Commenters of the Week!

We're feeling a bit woozy after this week of Scientology watching here in the underground bunker. Not sure if it was something we ate, or just the thought of Tom Cruise hurling at Gold Base that has us a bit dizzy.

Anyway, Mr. Cruise was very much on our minds this week, as he featured in most of our stories. On Monday, we had some fun with an Australian supermarket tabloid, which claimed that Katie Holmes ran out on Mr. Scientology after she'd heard about our penetrating series on Scientology's retaliatory investigation of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

But then, early Wednesday morning, we learned that we were big Down Under!

We woke up that day to learn that overnight, we had appeared on Australian television, helping out Bryan Seymour with his fun piece about Lana Mitchell. Lana was a Sea Org member who worked for a time as a cook at Gold Base, Scientology's secretive international headquarters in the California desert. She told Seymour that it was the staff's job to serve church leader David Miscavige gourmet meals every couple of hours, and when one of the meals gave DM's bosom buddy Tom Cruise the shits, she was blamed (unfairly, she says) for giving Tom a bad shrimp.

Thursday morning, we posted a story that peeled back some layers on the way Scientology retaliates against even the most trivial slight -- in this case, a tiny story that appeared on Page Six, the New York Post's gossip page, in 2006. The Post story poked fun at Scientologists for shopping at Wal-Mart for a visit by Suri Cruise, who was just an infant at the time. In retaliation, Scientology's Office of Special Affairs targeted the woman who witnessed the Wal-Mart incident -- a cancer victim -- with an investigation to procure her telephone records and contact her "natural enemies." Only a few weeks old, and already Suri was getting the full LRH treatment -- never defend, always attack!

Later that day, we provided another Thursday Stats Roundup by looking at several Scientology developments around the world, including an appeal of a fraud conviction in France.

So let's get to the awards...

We couldn't help having some fun with an Australian supermarket tab Bryan Seymour pointed out to us, which suggested that Katie Holmes had stormed out on Tom thanks to the news which we broke about Scientology's secret campaign against South Park. Many of our regular readers laughed along with us, but we also took some abuse. And we love abuse! Take it away, Marcotai:

"An Australian gossip magazine is reporting something about Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise which is probably about as reliable as most of the stuff written about Tom and Katie by similar tabloids here in the U.S"...like our Village Voice for example. Just fixing it.

Ouch! That was a good one, Marcotai, lacking only the cute Anon shorthand, FIFY ("fixed it for you"). Our regular church-defending, English-challenged friend seems to be improving. Keep it up, Marco!

New commenter WOLFNSHEEPSKIN didn't appreciate our having fun with a gossip magazine, and let us have it between the eyes...

Though you clairified the questionable source -- you jumped the gun on this one and it does take away some credibility on past & future articles. Disappointed you picked this one up and ran with it.

Another solid hit! Yes, we were certainly guilty of having fun with a gossip rag this week. But it's not every day we're given credit for splitting up TomKat. Hard to let something like that go, we figure.

After we posted Bryan Seymour's fun scoop about Lana Mitchell getting the boot from Scientology, which blamed her for feeding Tom Cruise a bad crustacean, our readers had plenty of fun. In particular, I enjoyed the masterful satire of new commenter Skydog:

I am shocked and outraged. How is it that a criminal is allowed to poison a national icon like Tom Cruise and be rewarded by having her scandalous allegations being broadcast on two continents. The offense of defrosting and serving a poisonous shrimp merits hard labor-obviously, this apostate is unrepentant and has other crimes that no one knows about.

Our big story of the week was our investigation of Office of Special Affairs documents laying out a retaliation campaign after Cruise and baby Suri were embarrassed by a 2006 New York Post story. One of the people targeted in the program was Chuck Beatty, a former Sea Org member who was also the subject of an even more heinous, personalized attack. I was glad to see that Chuck spoke up:

Thanks for reporting the Scientology spy and dirty tactics stuff, you're the first to provide docs in the media like this. I'm still hoping "Harper's" will pick up the "Beatty Handling Program" and print excerpts from it in one of their  columns where they print interesting internal docs from various organizations.

We hope so too, Chuck. Meanwhile, Skydog was back again, showing that he's really getting the hang of this commenting stuff...

Let me see if I get his strait. The source of a one paragraph non-newsworthy piece buried on page six of the New York Post is the subject of an OSA investigation of this magnitude. Don't they have anything better to do with their time? More disturbing is the fact that somewhere in the bowels of this toxic organization, there are individuals who consider this behavior not only normal but spiritual.

Regular reader Mark Fisher chimed in with an astute observation:

Katie Holmes and her family if they were smart would be reading between the lines. If Scientology is going to this much effort to spy and go through trash to find out things about a woman in a WalMart, then you can guarantee that they set their PI's on Katie, her family and friends before Tom Cruise had anything to do with her. That has to be a guaranteed fact.

And loyal commenter CofS Exit Zone once again let us know how she was affected after reading about Scientology's secret operations:

The "despicable" aspect of this story has me so blown away, it's taken me all day just to find my way past being speechless. This is a revealing look at the monster you married Katie. And I dont mean the man, I mean the malicious sycophant organization that makes Tom Cruise such a heinous ass. Run while you have still the chance Katie, and make sure you take Bella & Connor with you and not just your PR stunt child Suri.

Finally, after our Thursday Stats Roundup, I thought Endscientologynow put a nice capper on the entire week:

I wish we could get the IRS to take off their blinders.  Can you imagine just how much money they could get from this stupid cult to help the national deficit?  In California, they are cutting 10% of Medicaid payments (safety net health care for the indigent and poor) but the State could probably recoup that 10% if not more if they were allowed to tax this awful organization. SCIENTOLOGY IS THE 1%.

We're working on some really good stuff in the coming days, so make sure to come back often. This stuff just seems to build and build, doesn't it?


The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology #1: L. Ron Hubbard #2: David Miscavige #3: Marty Rathbun #4: Tom Cruise #5: Joe Childs and Tom Tobin #6: Anonymous #7: Mark Bunker #8: Mike Rinder #9: Jason Beghe #10: Lisa McPherson #11: Nick Xenophon (and other public servants) #12: Tommy Davis (and other hapless church executives) #13: Janet Reitman (and other journalists) #14: Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists) #15: Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics) #16: Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church's HQ #17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano #18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive #19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons) #20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures) #21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church #22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members) #23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church) #24: David Touretzky (and other academics) #25: Xenu, galactic overlord


Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications.

tortega@villagevoice.com | @VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega

Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared


SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE

[All recent stories] | [Top 25 People Crippling Scientology] | [Commenters of the Week] [Thursday 2pm Stats!] | [Scientology vs. South Park]

FEATURED INVESTIGATIONS

[Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis secretly recorded discussing "disconnection"] [Tom Cruise and Baby Suri embarrassed by news item, so someone must pay] [Benjamin Ring, LA deputy sheriff, wants you to spend your 401K on Scientology] [Scientologists: How many of them are there, anyway?] [Scientology hates clean ice: The "Fair Game" operation that should turn your stomach] [Scientology hates clean ice, part 2: Another target, and the web as weapon]

MARTY RATHBUN AND THE SIEGE OF SOUTH TEXAS

[Scientology has Rathbun arrested] | [Rathbun and Mark Bunker reveal surprising ties] In Germany with Ursula Caberta: [Announcing plans] | [Press conference] | [Making news about Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, and Tony Blair] | [Post-trip interview] The Squirrel Busters: [Goons with cameras on their heads] | [Rathbun's open letter to neighbors] | [Ingleside on the Bay, Texas rallies to Rathbun's cause] | [Squirrel Buster's claim to be making a "documentary"] | [VIDEO: "On a Boat"] | ["Anna" sent to creep out Monique Rathbun] | [Squirrel Busters go hillbilly] | [A videographer blows the whistle on the goon squad] | [Ed Bryan, OT VIII, shows the power of Scientology's highest levels]

SCIENTOLOGY SPYING AND "FAIR GAME"

[Secret Scientology documents spell out spying operation against Marc Headley] [Scientology's West U.S. spies list revealed] | [Scientology's enemies list: Are you on it?] Spy operation against Washington Post writer Richard Leiby: [Part 1] | [Part 2] [A Scientology spy comes clean: Paulien Lombard's remarkable public confession] [Scientology advertises for writers in Freedom magazine] [Accidental leak shows Scientology spy wing plans to "handle" the Voice] [Lori Hodgson and Disconnection: "No one's going to take my eternity away"]

SCIENTOLOGY AND CELEBRITIES

["Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [Tom Cruise likes coconut cake] | [Tom Cruise has a sense of humor] | ["Tom Cruise not a kook!"] | [Paulette Cooper on Tom Cruise] [Paul Haggis, director of Crash, issues an ultimatum, leaves the church] [Character actor Jason Beghe defects noisily] | [Actor Michael Fairman reveals his "suppressive person" declaration] | [Michael Fairman talks to the Voice] [Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh: Scientology-Branch Davidian link makes sense] [Russell Brand weds ex-Scientologists in wild ceremony] | [Skip Press on Haggis] [Placido Domingo Jr.: Scientology's retaliation is "scary and pathetic"] Grant Cardone, NatGeo's "Turnaround King": [Doing Scientology's dirty work?] | [Milton Katselas complained about Cardone's smear job] | [Cardone runs to Huffpo] [Philip Boyd, Saving Grace actor, rips "the business that is Scientology"]

JANET REITMAN'S INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY

[Our review of Inside Scientology] | [An interview with Janet Reitman] | [A report from Reitman's first book tour appearance] | [At the Half-King: Reitman not afraid] [Scientology doesn't like Inside Scientology] | [Q&A at Washington Post] [A roundup of Reitman's print reviews, and why isn't she on television more?]

HUGH URBAN'S THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

[A review of Urban's scholarly history of the church] | [An interview with Hugh Urban]

EX-SCIENTOLOGISTS SPEAK OUT

[Marc Headley: "Tom Cruise told me to talk to a bottle"] | [The Nancy Many interview] [Sympathy for the Devil: Tory Christman's Story] | [Jeff Hawkins' Counterfeit Dreams] [86 Million Thin Dimes: The Lawrence Wollersheim Saga] | [Mike Rinder on spying]

OVERSEAS NEWS

[Scientology dodges a bullet in Australia] | [Scientology exec Jan Eastgate arrested] [All hell breaks loose in Israel] | [Scientology sees fundraising gold in the UK riots] [Aussie former rugby pro Chris Guider calls David Miscavige "toxic" and "violent"] [Stephen Cox, UK church newbie, pledges 20K pounds] | [Biggi Reichert: A German Lisa McPherson?] | [The Birmingham trove: 7,000 internal e-mails] [Australian farmer blamed for giving Tom Cruise a bad shrimp, loses her friends, family]

ODD VIDEOS AND ODDER NEWS

[Scientology singalong, "We Stand Tall"] | [Captain Bill Robertson and "Galactic Patrol"] [Scientology wins a major award!] | [Scientology wants your money: Meet Dede!] [Birmingham in the House! The "Ideal" dance mix] | [Scientology and the Nation of Islam] [When Scientology was hip] | [Sad: David Miscavige makes fun of his own fundraisers] [Freedom magazine parodies The New Yorker. Hilarity ensues.] [Scientology surf report: Anonymous parties outside the New York "org"]

THE VIEW INSIDE THE BUBBLE

[A scientologist's letter to the Voice and its readers] | [Scientology silent birth] [Tad Reeves: Scientology might listen to this guy] | [More Tad Reeves and family] [Scientology never forgets: A heartwarming telemarketing holiday miracle] [Scientology High School, Dating and Super Powers!]


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