NewsCorp's Rupert Murdoch Slaps Scientology
July 4, 2012
NewsCorp’s 81-year-old billionaire CEO Rupert Murdoch took aim at Scientology, hinting that actor Tom Cruise’s five-year marriage to actress Katie Holmes bit the dust because of the Church. With all due respect to Murdoch, Holmes knew what she was getting into when she married Cruise Nov. 18, 2006 in a 15th century fairytale Italian castle with 52-year-old Scientology Religious Technology Center director David Miscavige—Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s right hand man—his best man. “Scientology back in the news,” Murdoch tweeted. “Very weird cult, but big, big money involved with Tom Cruise either number two or three in [hierarchy],” raising more questions about the controversial Church established by Hubbard in 1953. Murdoch, the owner of FoxNews Channel, Wall Street Journal and New York Post, is rich enough to withstand Scientology’s proclivity toward litigation.
Murdoch’s swipe at Scientology stems in part from past run-ins, especially in Australia where the new-Age religion litigated its way into acceptance. Unconfirmed reports about Cruise recruiting Murdoch’s eldest son Lachlan and his millionaire buddy James Packer remain possible. Lachlan insists his views about Scientology parallel his father’s, while his friend Packer seems more sympathetic and remains friends with Cruise. “I can confirm on the record that I have never considered or close to considered becoming a Scientologist in any way or at any time. The premise of the story is entirely wrong. I probably come close to sharing my father’s views about the religion but I resist tweeting them,” said Lachlan in response to media reports explaining Rupert’s antipathy. Lachlan didn’t deny that Cruise, one of Scientology’s top leaders, didn’t try to influence or recruit him.
Lashing out at Scientology drives publicity to Murdoch’s publications, feverishly pursuing the tabloid story behind Cruise and Holmes’ divorce. Most Scientologists rarely speak out without immediate repercussions. When former Scientology’s former 17-year leader Debbie Cook of its “Mecca,” “Flag Land Base” Clearwater, Florida campus left the sect, she went public with her abuse directed by current Scientology CEO David Miscavige, Cruise’s close personal friend and best man. According to Scientology officials, Cook violated her confidentiality agreement, allowing any kind of malfeasance to go under wraps. Cook complained about being kept against her will in 2007 at Scientology’s desert compound near Palm Springs and tortured, both mentally and physically, attesting to the kind of coercive tactics used by the Church to keep higher-ups and devotees in line.
Cook’s 2012 lawsuit settled April 24 giving an embarrassing X-Ray into the inner workings off Scientology, where happy faces turn to frowns. Cook complained that she was imprisoned in Scientology’s Palm Desert’s “The Hole” with Gestapo-like treatment where she was slapped to the ground at the order of the 52-year-old Scientology CEO Miscavige. She finally settled with the Church for an undisclosed sum. Scientology sued Cook and her husband, Jan. 27, Wayne Baumgarten, complaining they both breached confidentiality agreements when they left Scientology in 2007. “The matter is settled. That’s the full extent of it,” said Cook and Baumgarten’s attorney Ray Jeffrey. Settling for what’s believed a hefty sum, Cook’s case now becomes part of the ugly underbelly that gets hidden from public view. Cook now must shut up or forfeit her legal settlement.
Murdoch’s critique raises more questions about Scientology’s practices, especially carefully honed mind-control techniques. Scientology attempted in the early days to gain recognition its Dianetics counseling methods. Banned in Victoria, Australia in 1966, a state inquiry into Scientology practices known as the 1965 “Anderson Report” concluded that The Church used “Command Hypnosis,” something with questionable therapeutic value but used effectively as a means of brainwashing. Victoria’s Board of Inquiry concluded that Scientology was based on nothing new, only “Authoritative Hypnosis,” a practice used to control and manipulate human subjects. Given the hypnotic methods used by Hubbard himself, most recruits are unaware of Scientology’s powerful mind-control techniques, refusing to disclose the methods and risks to unsuspecting recruits.
Calling Scientology a “very weird cult, but big money involved with Tom Cruise either number two or three in [hierarchy]," Murdoch invited an avalanche of hate mail from the grossly exaggerated Scientology membership. Estimated at around 3.5 million members in 2007, more recent estimates by the American Religious Identification Survey found the more real number was around 25,000. Whatever the numbers, the effect of recruitment and potential brainwashing cause catastrophic problems for vulnerable recruits. When recruits spend enough time and money to prove undying loyalty, they’re treated to Hubbard’s more advanced secrets, including the story of “Xenu” the evil leader of the “Galactic Confederacy” that brought billions of people to earth 75 million years ago in DC-8-looking planes. “Something creepy, maybe evil, about these people,” tweeted Murdoch, trying to get the word out.
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