>> True Information: Valeska Guider was a member of the Church of Scientology’s religious order, the Sea Organization, and was a crew member aboard the Freewinds, a religious retreat for advanced spiritual services aboard a motor vessel. The Freewinds has sailed throughout the Caribbean since 1988. The Church established this religious retreat in tribute to Mr. Hubbard's maritime heritage and so that parishioners can partake in these advanced religious services off the cross roads of the world, undistracted from the secular world's day-to-day activities. Mr. Guider was a registered member of the ships crew, a volunteer whose duties included being a steward, a course supervisor and a spiritual counselor, all of which put her in daily contact with hundreds of passengers and crew.
The ridiculousness of Mr. Wright's absurd claim that Ms. Guider was "held there against her will" for twelve years is easily illustrated: Ms. Guider left the ship hundreds of times either alone and with others to go shopping, get married, enjoy outings with her husband on islands such as Aruba, St. Barth’s and Curacao, as well as for numerous other reasons such as to renew her passport. In 1998 she was married and honeymooned in the Bahamas with her Bahamas with her husband. In 2001, she hosted six members of her husband's family. As well, Ms. Guider spent months away from the ship on extended projects in the United Kingdom, United States and in Denmark.
Valeska Guider is a member of a small group of anti-Scientologists who have made up stories such as this to justify their failings. Ms. Guider was kindly taken care of, even provided a pregnancy stipend when she left the Church to have a child. That she now revises her history reflects apostate behavior as described by reknowned religious scholars:
"There is no denying that these (apostates) present a distorted view of the new religions to the public, the academy, and the courts by virtue of their ready availability and eagerness to testify against their former religious associations and activities." —Lonnie Kliever, Professor of Religious Studies at the Southern Methodist University
Mr. Wright attributes the source for his claims to a weblog by Tony Ortega. Mr. Wright also cites Tony Ortega’s weblog postings for allegations as to the value of the Church’s liquid assets (page ix), three lawsuits against the Church (pages 178, 180, 297), Church security arrangements (page 206), Church donations (page 287), alleged interactions between Church staff and celebrity Scientologists (page 301), alleged Church policy with respect to Internet access by members in the 1990s (page 311), and an alleged FBI investigation (page 326). At page 369, Mr. Wright describes Tony Ortega as follows: “Tony Ortega has been writing about Scientology since 1995, for the Phoenix New Times, and he continued as a valuable resource in the pages and the blog of the Village Voice until his recent resignation.”
Tony Ortega did not resign his position at The Village Voice. When he left The Village Voice in September 2012, The New York Observer disclosed that he lost his job as Editor-in-Chief for neglecting his duties in favor of his personal daily rants against Scientology. It even got so bad that one staffer at the Voice complained that, “‘He was increasingly obsessed with Scientology and had neglected almost all of his editorial duties at the paper,’ the ex-staffer said. ‘Sometimes he wouldn’t even edit features.’” (See observer.com/2012/09/tony-ortega-out-village-voice/).
Likewise, capitalnewyork.com called him “almost obsessive” about Scientology, and it reported, “Sources told Capital that both the newsroom and the sales side of the Voice had become increasingly uncomfortable with the volume of Scientology coverage Ortega was churning out. ‘We thought it was destroying the Voice brand,’ said one former staffer.” (See capitalnewyork.com/article/media/2012/09/6537099/village-voice-editor-chief-and-chief-scientology-antagonist-tony-orteg ).
Tony Ortega was also one of the principal apologists at the Voice for its association with Backpage.com, an online adult classifieds operation that has been criticized by the attorneys general of several states for promoting human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors. Following Mr. Ortega’s departure, media reported that Village Voice Media had been purchased by new owners and severed its relationship with Backpage.com (See businessweek.com/ap/2012-09-24/company-purchasing-village-voice-other-papers ).