Spotlight on “The Big List:” The Master List of Ex-COS Members Speaking Out

This contribution by Dutch Anon Trevor Horn, who posts in various forums as TrevAnon,reveals a different side of Anonymous, one where a committed team laboriously puts together a database over the course of a decade to help show the degree of abuses that Scientology has committed.  They are aiming to compile the definitive list of all former members of the Church of Scientology who have spoken out publicly against the organization’s abuses.  

This is a far different side of Anonymous than the one most of us recognize – the protesters outside Scientology facililties with clever signs, a determined but fun attitude, and lots of caek.  But the committed activists laboring on these projects are making an ongoing difference, long after most Anons have hung up their masks. 

The “Big List” project is important but is underappreciated and understaffed.  In this post, Trevor will talk about what it does, why it matters, and how people interested can help, with a one-time perusal of the list to spot any easy additions, to becoming a project member.

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Why Anecdotes Are Not Proof of Anything. Especially not Scientology Auditing

How do you prove that something like Scientology auditing “works?” I’ve had many discussions with former Scientologists who say that their lives changed for the better because of Scientology auditing, and that I should not treat it with such contempt.

I believe the stories of people who have life-changing “wins” from auditing yet, at the same time, I remain resolute in saying that auditing is not proven to be useful.  How do you resolve the apparent paradox in my view?

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Strategic Activism 2: Applied Asymmetry and the Guardian’s Office

The first post in this series discussed the use of principles adapted from the military doctrine of asymmetric warfare as one possible strategy to combat Scientology. This weekend marks the 10 year anniversary of the start of the Anon’s version of asymmetrical warfare against Scientology, both in the virtual and physical spaces, and seems an appropriate place from which to assess Scientology’s use of similar asymmetrical or unconventional tactics.

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Evolution of Scientology Opposition, 1968-2018

Source: t52.org

Today marks the tenth anniversary of Anonymous’ epic protests at Scientology locations worldwide.  While headcount is hard to estimate precisely, the number of people who turned out, many in Guy Fawkes masks, was at the very least a significant fraction of cult membership globally, and may have actually exceeded the total membership of the cult, which we now estimate at around 22,000 globally. Numerous sources have covered the reasons for and the history of Anonymous’ protests far better than we could.

More importantly, the scale of Anonymous’ protests put the cult into a defensive posture from which it has never recovered. The idea that a large group could show up on Scientology’s doorstep without the cult’s OSA goon squad anticipating it and preventing it undoubtedly shook leader David Miscavige to the core. And the cult’s playbook for dealing with protestors was forever shattered.

In this post, we look at why Anonymous was such a landmark in the evolution of opposition to the cult, and we put it in the context of the evolution of cult opposition over the last 50 years. We connect the dots and take a stab at predicting the nature of cult opposition that may come next, particularly if existing opponents change strategic focus to make these next generations of opposition happen.

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Hana Whitfield Interview: Was Hubbard Really Sincere About Helping People?

Scientology devotes an immense fraction of its staff to fixing substandard delivery of its services. It has more people devoted to detecting and deterring “thoughtcrime” from members whose loyalty may be wavering … and even more toiling away in a complex organization designed to ferret out and punish staff incompetence and disloyalty.

To a never-in, this smacks of a poorly designed product from an incompetent organization.  But more importantly, it suggests that Scientology “tech” may actually be deliberately and cynically designed to be impossible to succeed at, with the punishment of failure used as a retention mechanism to keep people in the cult.

Hana Whitfield, a prominent ex-Scientologist who worked personally for founder L. Ron Hubbard for many years, has contributed her perspective on whether Scientology is intentionally (and cynically) designed to fail, whether it was designed to help people but failed at that noble goal or whether Hubbard had a very different approach.  The answer will surprise you.

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Analytical Techniques: Don’t Overreact to Single Data Points

Last Thursday, the Los Angeles Times ran an op-ed piece by Scientology leader Miscavige’s consigliere, tax lawyer Monique (“Blinky”) Yingling.  In it, she rebuts a Times op-ed piece that ran back in November that made a case for revoking Scientology’s tax exemption.

We analyze this message — the content, the timing, the larger context of interest in the tax exemption, and we make an emotionally unsatisfying but intellectually honest decision in processing it. Continue reading “Analytical Techniques: Don’t Overreact to Single Data Points”

Strategic Activism: Fighting Scientology Asymmetrically, Part 1

In this, part one of a series on strategic activism, Dr. Jeff Wasel looks at the applicability of the theory of asymmetrical warfare in countering Scientology’s abuses. He revisits and revises some of his previous thoughts on the efficacy of OSA, as well as the current state of the church. Lastly, he looks at historical examples of the use of asymmetric warfare, as well as how the critic community at large can leverage its disruptive abilities.

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New Series: Adapting Military Strategy to Guide Scientology Activism

Unorthodox military theories can often provide alternative methods in opposing Scientology. Starting this Sunday, in a series of posts on johnpcapitalist.com, I’ll explain how just one of these theories can exponentially ratchet-up the heat on the church. This theory can also provide a lens in which to view the past actions of the church against the critic movement, as well as gauging the successes of groups such as Anonymous.  Continue reading “New Series: Adapting Military Strategy to Guide Scientology Activism”

Back of the Envelope: How Much Might Scientology Spend on Winter Olympics Ads?

Earlier today, Tony Ortega posted an article about Scientology’s plans to air advertising in the Tampa market during the 2018 Winter Olympics.  We do a quick back-of-the-envelope estimate of the amount that Scientology will spend and the size of the Scientologist audience that cult leader David Miscavige hopes to impress. Spoiler: unsurprisingly, it’s a costly boondoggle.

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