The organization is under police investigation, and yesterday angry ex-Scientologists and Anonymous members, spurred on by the claims, converged on its Australian headquarters calling for its tax-exempt status to be revoked.
ACA9: Xenophon Calls For Investigation into Scientology
Coast To Coast: Behind the Iron Curtain of the Church of Scientology
Listen to the 'Coast to Coast interview with author Marc Headley' playlist on YouTube [12 parts].
A new book called Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of the Church of Scientology by Marc Headley, an employee of the church's Los Angeles headquarters for 15 years, details allegations of systematic abuse and bizarre episodes, such as the three weeks Headley claims he spent under instruction from Tom Cruise in how to move bottles and other objects by concentrating on them.
Headley's book follows a year in which Scientology has been plagued by unwelcome revelations from high-profile defectors and fresh media investigation into its practices.
France24: French Court Convicts Church of Scientology of Fraud
The so-called "church" was recently convicted of widespread fraud in France, where it is considered a cult and is currently embroiled in a criminal investigation within the borders of Belgium.
Paul Haggis Renounces Scientology In Blistering Letter
HuffPo ~ The 56-year-old Haggis, who won an Oscar in 2005 for co-writing "Crash," said he was quitting the Church of Scientology after 35 years. "I could not, in good conscience, be a member of an organization where gay-bashing was tolerated," Haggis wrote.
Haggis wrote a letter addressed to Tommy Davis, the head of Scientology's Celebrity Centre. In it, Haggis said he was disappointed by the church's tacit denial of gay rights in the debate over California's gay marriage ban.
Jason Beghe Leaves The Cult of Scientology
American actor Jason Beghe (Filmography) was the first of Scientology's celebrity followers – for whom the church maintains a "Celebrity Centre" in L.A. – to break with it, after giving the church more than $1 million in donations over 12 years.
Beghe warns that the church is "destructive and a rip-off". He claims that since his renunciation of Scientology he has been pursued to seminars in Europe – held to speak of its dangers – by private investigators employed by Scientology and "disconnected" from former friends who remain within it.
In The Beginning, Let There Be 'Crazy'
The church faced global ridicule after an internal videotape by Cruise, the church's most high-profile member, was leaked and went viral on the Internet. It showed a rambling Cruise laughing inexplicably while saying that Scientologists were uniquely equipped with the knowledge necessary to cure most of the world's ills, including crime, drugs, mental health problems and violence.
The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power
Scientology has attempted, unsuccessfully, to sue the media, including U.S. mainstays the Washington Post and Time magazine. The repeated attempts to use the courts to silence critics have been criticized in the judgments that have been upheld against Scientology, including one in 1996 that described its "documented history of vexatious behavior" and abuse of "the [US] federal court system ... to destroy their opponents, rather than to resolve an actual dispute over trademark law or any other legal matter".
The decision of Beghe and Haggis to quit Scientology appears to have caused the movement its greatest recent PR difficulties, not least because of its dependence on Hollywood figures as both a source of revenue for its most expensive courses, and an advertisement for the religion. The involvement of such high-profile figures as Haggis, Cruise and John Travolta has acted as a reassurance for potential recruits against the allegations of its critics.
If Cruise's church was planning a mission to go out in a spectacular crash and burn implosion, then I'd say their project is right on schedule. That's a wrap! Lunch, everybody!