Lauren Smiley has been publishing a terrific series this week at our sister paper, SF Weekly.
Smiley first reported on September 8 that the very active Anonymous chapter there, Chanology SF, had received e-mails from someone inside Scientology’s “org” who went by the handle “ethicstrouble.”
Ethicstrouble claims to be a disillusioned Scientologist with inside information about the SF church (including charts and graphs). The org’s president, Jeff Quiros, tells Smiley that ethicstrouble is a hoax.
While Smiley has been unable to confirm that ethicstrouble is who he or she claims, she published this week a fascinating three-part interview with the supposed insider in which ethicstrouble describes losing confidence in Scientology, in part because of the constant presence of Anonymous protesters.
We asked one of the most well-known recent defectors from Scientology, Amy Scobee, to read ethicstrouble’s interview and comment on it.
Scobee spent 27 years in Scientology and worked directly with church leader David Miscavige before defecting in 2005. She told a dramatic tale of her time in Scientology in her book, “Abuse at the Top.” Scobee did multiple stints in the RPF — the Sea Org’s prison detail, the Rehabilitation Project Force — and she went through several stages of leaving the Sea Org and Scientology itself. For that reason, I thought she would have an interesting perspective on the ethicstrouble interview.
In the first part of the interview, ethicstrouble describes what it’s like to work at the SF org, and paints a picture of a place where people have to work extra jobs to get by.
First, there is no question in my mind that this person is an insider. I am so happy that Anonymous was able to prompt them to look at the Internet to find the truth. The stats are real, the day/foundation set-up is real, the “moonlighting” at “wog” jobs to make up for lack of income is real, the criminal registration (raising credit limit, etc.) is real. And I completely agree with their conclusion that Scientology is only being floated by people with deep pockets since they’re mainly asking for direct donations and don’t seem to give a hoot about service any more. Glad to see more people breaking away.
I asked for her thoughts on ethicstrouble’s concerns about being disaffected with Scientology but not wanting her co-workers or family to find out.
For sure. It’s terrifying (especially in the Sea Org, but also as a staff member) because you will be put on the meter and interrogated. I hated that so bad. They say the e-meter is reading and you have something you’re withholding and you’re not leaving the room until you confess what your crimes are. I’ve recently spoken to folks who are being put on the meter, being asked who they’re talking to, what they’re looking at on the Internet, etc. It just made them wonder what’s on the Internet and then they look. Whops! They’re not very smart.
The other thing mentioned about the Internet is so true. All their freaking computers are blocked with specific software so you’d have to go to an outside computer to be able to see anything.
That was an interesting part of the ethicstrouble interview — the claim that computers at the org are not hooked up to the Internet, to prevent Scientologists from seeing criticism of the church. I asked Amy if that was also the case at Int base — the California desert headquarters where she worked.
Yes, and there was an “INTERNET IN-CHARGE” who was an OSA person (Gloria Idda) and you would have to do a routing form and get multiple people’s approval to be able to gain access to the Internet — ONLY if it was needed for the type of job you had. I did that routing form. It still had the blocks on it, but you could at least do some sort of research for your job. And they’d be able to know if you looked at anything “bad.” The only way I think they think they can keep members is if they keep them in the total dark.
I asked Amy what she thought about ethicstrouble’s observation that the constant protests by Anonymous are crippling the org, keeping it from bringing in new people.
They’re not getting in new people, possibly because of the protests, and probably because people watch the news and read the Internet — the world isn’t as cloistered. So with lack of new public and old public Scientologists and staff discovering the truth and walking away, their organizations are becoming ghost towns.
The graphs ethicstrouble leaked do seem to indicate an organization that is struggling, which is consistent with what we’ve heard about Scientology as a whole.
My thanks to Amy Scobee for helping us out here at Runnin’ Scared.
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
#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.
SCIENTOLOGY IN THE VILLAGE VOICE
[Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis secretly recorded discussing “disconnection”]
[Benjamin Ring, LA deputy sheriff, wants you to spend your 401K on Scientology]
[Scientologists: How many of them are there, anyway?]
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]
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]
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
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]
[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?]
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!]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 30, 2011