On the cloudless morning of Sept. 11, 2001, there was a piece crew of about 10 Sea Group lifers chipping tar off of the roof of the seven-story Scientology constructing on forty sixth Avenue, a couple of steps away from Occasions Sq..
One of many laborers was Bruce Hines, who had signed the Sea Org’s billion-year contract practically 20 years earlier than, and had risen within the ranks of Scientology’s paramilitary Sea Org in order that by the early Nineties he had turn out to be an auditor (counselor) of some renown in Los Angeles. He’d been trusted to audit such church luminaries as Kirstie Alley, Nicole Kidman, and even Mary Sue Hubbard, the spouse of Scientology’s founder L. Ron Hubbard, who had died in 1986.
However then Hines, together with a number of of his co-workers, had been demoted to the Sea Org’s punishment element, the so-called “Rehabilitation Undertaking Power”—a humiliating program of deprivation. In a capricious group like Scientology, it wasn’t uncommon to be assigned to the RPF for nearly no cause in any respect and to be caught in it for years, fully minimize off from the skin world and even a lot of the remainder of Scientology. Hines discovered himself enduring the hardships of the RPF on the group’s secretive worldwide administration Int Base about 90 miles east of Los Angeles.
When a number of the RPFers had been informed they had been being moved to New York, Hines, who had been within the metropolis earlier than, welcomed the change. Being on the RPF in Manhattan needed to beat the grim expertise he was going via in California.
And so, on the morning of 9/11, Hines and his fellow prisoners discovered themselves on the constructing’s roof, chipping tar off of some bricks, ostensibly to arrange it to turn out to be a brand new remark deck.
One signal that the RPF in New York wasn’t as harsh because it was in Los Angeles was that they had been allowed to take heed to a music station on a transportable radio. And that’s how they first heard that the town was underneath assault.
“At that time, the Sea Org went into emergency mode,” Hines says in the present day. “We had been referred to as down and went to the CLO headquarters on forty eighth Avenue. It’s between eighth and ninth Avenue.”
If the “org” on forty sixth Avenue was the public-facing entrance for Scientology in Manhattan, the Continental Liaison Workplace on forty eighth Avenue was the actual headquarters of the native Sea Org and was the administration hub for Scientology’s total operation within the jap U.S.
After working to place collectively some emergency protocols after which, in basic Scientology trend, drilling on them to verify that they had them down, Hines and a few of his California companions had been despatched to Floor Zero the subsequent day.
Hines says the expertise was surreal, and it impacted him exhausting. They had been shut sufficient to see the destruction, and so they joined many different organizations and church buildings pitching in to assist rescuers of their grim job.
“We had been there supposedly to assist the primary responders, which we did do. Among the folks I used to be with had been heartfelt, wanting to assist,” Hines says. “However for the church total, it was a PR transfer.”
And it was one which paid off in such an enormous manner, it has affected Scientology ever since.
On Sept. 20, The New York Occasions carried a story on web page 20 about Scientology’s efforts at Floor Zero, specializing in the New York Org’s president, John Carmichael.
“At 54, Mr. Carmichael has the blond hair and blue eyes of a surfer, and the craggy face of a Mick Jagger or a Willem Dafoe,” the article stated. “Although many non secular organizations are supplying help for the catastrophe, few are as well-organized because the Scientologists, or as evident on the scene. When many volunteers had been requested to filter over the weekend, the Scientologists had been allowed to remain, working alongside teams just like the American Crimson Cross and the Salvation Military.”
Scientology chief David Miscavige was thrilled with the article, Hines says. “The New York Occasions publishing one thing constructive about Scientology? It was perhaps the one time they ever did it.”
Though Scientology had been sending its “Volunteer Ministers” to disasters since 1988, that single article within the Occasions raised the profile of the yellow-clad Scientologists to such a degree that Miscavige pumped sources into it and has saved the VMs a serious focus for the church ever since.
“It grew to become a very large deal,” Hines recollects.
If Scientology noticed a serious PR alternative in 9/11, the scene hit Hines in a really totally different manner. He had spent years remoted within the Sea Org and considering of “wogs”—Scientology’s phrase for non-Scientologists which has a racist origin in British English to explain non-white folks—as unfeeling, robotic losers. Now, he was all of a sudden surrounded by them as they pitched in to assist first responders at Floor Zero. The wogs round him appeared much more thoughtful and real than his fellow Scientologists.
For the primary time, Hines started having doubts about what he was doing along with his life.
Scientology’s seizing of the World Commerce Heart assaults as a PR alternative was most famously captured with the hassle to ship L. Ron Hubbard’s “detox” routine to first responders.
The New York Rescue Employees Cleansing Undertaking had celebrity Scientologist Tom Cruise as a co-founder and was run out of a clinic that referred to as itself “Downtown Medical.”
Mike Rinder, Scientology’s worldwide spokesman on the time, remembers taking Barbara Walters via the ability and never being very impressed.
“The tour of the detox place was probably the most underwhelming. I’d by no means been there and I used to be like, that is it? That’s all there may be? A few guys saying they’re feeling higher after doing the Purif? That’s it?”
The “Purification Rundown” was a touchstone for Scientologists since Hubbard had give you it in 1977 and, he informed followers, he had anticipated to be given the Nobel Prize for it.
“Mike Rinder, Scientology’s worldwide spokesman on the time, remembers taking Barbara Walters via the ability and never being very impressed.”
Hubbard theorized (with no analysis to again it up) that the human physique saved medicine and different toxins in human cells that might then be “restimulated” in flashbacks even years later. With the routine he had devised—elevated consumption of niacin and different nutritional vitamins to excessive ranges whereas present process sauna therapies for hours a day over the course of a month or longer—these toxins, he reasoned, may very well be leached out of the physique in sweat. And the method wouldn’t solely cleanse the physique but in addition the “thetan,” Scientology’s time period for the immortal soul that has lived for trillions of years in numerous lifetimes. (Scientology hardly ever mentions that final half to the general public.)
However as Rinder factors out, even when there’s no science behind Hubbard’s theories about medicine saved in fatty tissue or flashbacks occurring years later, first responders had been getting some train, time in a sauna, and had been being pampered by attentive Scientologists.
“I don’t know that there’s any scientific proof that the Purification Rundown did something for anyone. However that doesn’t imply that somebody reaching out and saying, ‘We need to allow you to,’ and being there and speaking to somebody and treating them kindly didn’t assist,” he says. “It was a type of excellent PR positionings. How can anybody assault that? I’m simply making an attempt to assist the primary responders.”
And Cruise’s involvement got here at an ideal time each for the Prime Gun actor and Scientology.
Cruise had first been brought into Scientology in 1986 when he started courting actress Mimi Rogers, who had grown up within the group. Quickly Cruise was hooked, and the couple was married in 1987 on one of many holiest days on the Scientology calendar: Could 9, often known as Dianetics Day, the anniversary of the 1950 publication of the guide by Hubbard that had began the motion.
Underneath strain by the church, Rogers agreed to separate with Cruise three years later after he had fallen for Kidman, his co-star on the film Days of Thunder. Kidman initially embraced Scientology (and was audited by Hines), however then soured on it, and in 1992 she pulled away from the church and took Cruise with her. For the subsequent eight years, till his 2000 breakup with Kidman, Cruise was largely separated from Scientology, and Rinder has described how a lot it bothered Miscavige.
After the cut up with Kidman, getting Cruise back in the fold became Miscavige’s obsession, Rinder and different former executives say, and the actor was subjected to intense auditing over the subsequent few years.
By 2003, Cruise was starting to starvation for methods to channel his revived gung-ho curiosity within the church. That July, he helped open a brand new headquarters in Missouri for Scientology’s entrance group, Utilized Scholastics, that tries to get school districts to accept L. Ron Hubbard’s education materials. And within the fall of 2003, tales started showing about Cruise serving to to open the Downtown Medical Heart for 9/11 first responders, and press reviews talked about how “controversial” it was that the clinic was utilizing “ideas” of L. Ron Hubbard whereas being cautious to not name it an outright arm of the church itself.
We requested Rinder if there was any doubt that the ability was a venture of Scientology.
“After all not. Was this Scientology making an attempt to reap the benefits of a tragedy? After all it was. Similar to the earthquake in Haiti,” Rinder says, referring to the 2010 quake which grew to become the main focus of a serious Scientology operation, together with John Travolta utilizing his private jet to fly provides in. “Every part is a chance for a photograph and a PR pitch. And let’s not neglect, a chance for fundraising,” Rinder provides.
To not point out main press consideration. “Barbara Walters was a really good particular person. Very good. ‘Oh, that’s good’—that’s about all she stated concerning the detox middle once I took her via it. She was making an attempt to be applicable, provided that she was planning on doing an interview with Tom, you understand what I imply? She wasn’t asking exhausting questions. I had no clue what she truly thought of it or the New York Org. And I don’t suppose she would have stated what she thought of it.”
“Every part is a chance for a photograph and a PR pitch. And let’s not neglect, a chance for fundraising.”
Whereas Cruise was the celeb face of the detox venture, it was truly run by one other Scientologist, Jim Woodworth, who had a compelling story about utilizing the Purif to beat a drug habit a decade earlier.
“I’m not right here changing these women and men to Scientology. And I’ve received to let you know one thing—I’ve been a Scientologist 20 years. In Sacramento I, greater than some other Scientologist, received new folks into Scientology, me personally. I’m excellent at changing folks, if I need to,” Woodworth informed John DeSio for a definitive 2007 story concerning the Detox Undertaking for the New York Press which centered on help the venture was receiving from some native politicians, in addition to authorities funding. “My goal right here is the aim that I said, to revive the standard of life to the rescue employees. It’s not a non secular goal,” Woodworth added.
DeSio, like different reporters, had no drawback discovering firefighters and police who backed up Woodworth’s statements and stated the sauna routine made them really feel higher and that they hadn’t been subjected to Scientology proselytizing.
“Twenty-six days later, I used to be a special particular person—not simply bodily however mentally. No bullshit,” retired NYPD lieutenant Steve Mona informed DeSio, testifying to higher sleep and a extra constructive outlook on life basically for the 2007 article.
By then, nonetheless, the Purif had come underneath new scrutiny when, in 2004, it was subjected to a scientific review on the request of the California public college system, as DeSio describes:
Whereas the New York model of the purification rundown will get some authorities funding, [Scientology’s drug rehab network] Narconon, which makes use of just about the identical cleansing process as Downtown Medical, couldn’t give their program away in California. Narconon had supplied drug counseling and rehabilitation applications to California’s public faculties freed from cost since no less than 1991, and had finally introduced this system to 39 college districts throughout the state. In 2004, when criticism of each Narconon and its connections to Scientology started to accentuate, the San Francisco college district turned to an impartial social gathering, the San Francisco Medical Society, to judge the deserves of Narconon. These deserves couldn’t be discovered.
In a September 2004 letter to highschool district officers Steve Heilig, director of well being and training for the San Francisco Medical Society, confirmed what critics had been alleging for years: Narconon will not be science. In his letter, Heilig wrote that he and 5 others who evaluated the Narconon curriculum discovered it “usually exemplifies the outdated, non-evidence-based and generally factually inaccurate method, which has not served college students effectively for many years.”
Heilig’s letter set in movement a series of occasions, and by February 2005 California’s training division really useful that each one public faculties reject Narconon as unscientific, a declare that was unanimously backed the subsequent month by the California Medical Affiliation.
5 years after his 2007 interview with DeSio, Woodworth had moved his operation to Louisiana, the place a brand new catastrophe—and a brand new Scientology celeb—was beckoning.
In 2012, the Gulf Coast was nonetheless recovering from the 2010 BP oil spill, and Woodworth, this time with That ’70s Present actor-Scientologist Danny Masterson, was providing to deal with cleanup employees with the Purification Rundown.
“I’m very happy with what we do and L. Ron Hubbard is the creator and humanitarian who developed the method,” Woodworth informed a Baton Rouge NPR station. Masterson, in the meantime, helped with fundraising efforts in the identical manner that Cruise had 9 years earlier.
We regarded for Woodworth in the present day and located that he’s nonetheless in Louisiana, the place he’s CEO of Mildew Zero Baton Rouge, an environmental cleanup franchise that was initially based in Los Angeles by Danny Masterson’s stepfather, Robert “Rusty” Tweed, who the SEC banned for all times from buying and selling securities in 2017 after accusing him of working a Ponzi scheme. Danny Masterson himself is dealing with 45 years to life in jail if he’s convicted of raping three women in a trial that’s scheduled for February.
Woodworth didn’t reply to our request to ask him to look again at his New York and Louisiana detox facilities; the Church of Scientology and Tom Cruise didn’t reply to a request for remark.
Just like the New York clinic, the Gulf Coast Cleansing Program generated some press about its connection to Scientology, and lasted for under a restricted time.
The New York Rescue Employees Cleansing Undertaking rocketed again into the press in November 2015, nonetheless, when The Smoking Gun revealed that presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s charity arm, the Donald J. Trump Basis, had apparently made only a single donation to a trigger associated to 9/11.
Of all of the ways in which New Yorkers had given to charities serving to within the wake of the assaults, Trump’s outfit had made solely a paltry $1,000 donation, and it was to the Tom Cruise detox clinic and its Purification Rundown.
We are inclined to suppose that Trump, if he personally directed the donation to be made, was extra prone to have been starstruck by Cruise than fascinated with Hubbard’s detox course of. As soon as Trump was elected president in 2016, Scientology made quite a few efforts to get near him via such figures as singer Joy Villa and some wealthy Florida donors, however we’ve by no means discovered any proof that Trump himself has any curiosity in Scientology. (For one factor, being a Scientologist requires a ton of studying, which is reportedly not Trump’s bag.)
Within the days and weeks after his expertise at Floor Zero, Hines says he couldn’t shake the impressions that had been made on him by the opposite New Yorkers pitching in to assist.
“We had been taught that wogs had been mainly deluded, and that they had been deluded by trillion-year-old implants. However I noticed how effectively they had been working, how variety they had been to everybody, and to us. And the way far more real they had been than what we had been doing,” he says.
“It was a stark comparability for me. I had been led to imagine this in any case these years of indoctrination—I had been in for 23 years—and I used to be by no means round these folks. Right here was a time once I truly noticed these folks and the way they had been. It didn’t add up.
“I thought of it over the subsequent 12 months as I grew to become extra unhappy, after which I made a decision to depart. I truly left Scientology from New York.”
Being cautious to not be seen by his fellow Sea Org employees, Bruce Hines rigorously packed a bag and made for the Port Authority to take a bus.
He’s by no means regarded again.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-tom-cruise-and-scientology-exploited-911with-help-from-trump?supply=articles&by way of=rss | How Tom Cruise and Scientology Exploited 9/11—With Assist From Trump