Mark Bunker (Wise Beard Man) has been tipping us to several embarrassing developments for Scientology overseas lately.
The newest was yesterday’s raid of a Scientology center in Turin, Italy, where investigators uncovered a basement stash of records containing “sensitive personal data” about local officials and journalists that Scientology apparently considered enemies.
The archive of documents “had files on magistrates, policemen, journalists and relatives of former members,” which is consistent with Scientology’s long, sad history of going after defectors and critics by any means possible. The documents “were ‘chock full’ of sensitive information dealing with sexual habits, health and political inclinations.”
According to the report by an Italian news service, ANSA.it, the raid was part of a probe by local officials looking into accusations that Scientology uses personal information in questionable ways.
Imagine that! Actually, that charge has been proven again and again in this country in civil lawsuits, but unlike Italy and many other countries, the U.S. is squeamish about investigating anything that hides behind a “church” label. Overseas, however, as the ANSA report points out, “many countries do not qualify [Scientology] as a religion.”
Meanwhile, trouble for Scientology is really heating up in Australia. As we discussed recently when we were visited by former Scientology enforcer Aaron Saxton, his accusations of abuse, among those of several others, had inspired an Australian senator, Nick Xenophon, to propose an official government inquiry into L. Ron Hubbard’s wacky cabal. That proposal, however, initially went nowhere.
But now, Xenophon’s efforts have begun to pay off. Last week, the news emerged that Xenophon had indeed convinced the Australian government to begin a probe that would look into allegations of abuse in Scientology, which could, eventually, remove the church’s tax-exempt status.
Australia’s media responded with some amazing new allegations of abuse by Scientology in that country, including stunning accusations by Scarlett Hanna, the daughter of the president of Australian Scientology itself!
Wise Beard Man has the video. Go here to watch it.
Australia’s Lateline program followed up that bombshell with one just as explosive: that Scientology in that country had its own Roman Catholic-style abuse problem, covering up child molestation by a church official. Carmen Rainer told Lateline that she’d been molested as a child for years, but a Scientology official told her and her mother to lie to police about it.
Again, Bunker supplies the video.
Whew! It’s getting tough to keep up with Scientology crumbling around the globe!
Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he’s been writing about Scientology at several publications. Among his other stories about L. Ron Hubbard’s organization:
The Larry Wollersheim Saga — Scientology Finally Pays For Its Fraud
The Tory Bezazian (Christman) Story — How the Internet Saved A Scientologist From Herself
The Jason Beghe Defection — A Scientology Celebrity Goes Rogue
The Paul Haggis Ultimatum — The ‘Crash’ Director Tells Scientology to Shove It
The Marc Headley Escape — ‘Tom Cruise Told Me to Talk to a Bottle’
The Aaron Saxton Accusation — Australia turns up the heat on Scientology
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 21, 2010