Tony Ortega is executive editor of The Raw Story and is formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He's written about Scientology since 1995, and has a forthcoming book about the subject. He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world from an undisclosed location in an underground bunker he shares with four cats and one of them wrinkly Shar Pei dogs. Despite his super-secret security protections, you can still reach him pretty easily by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT gmail.com (Drop him a line if you'd like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.) [Header image courtesy John Rickard]
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Scientology got another legal spanking in France months ago and we’re just now finding out

Jonny Jacobsen

Jonny Jacobsen

Remember when Scientology’s fraud conviction in France was upheld by that country’s highest court just over a year ago? Our man in Paris, Jonny Jacobsen, worked feverishly that day to bring us several dispatches about it.

Jonny had been covering the fraud prosecution for years, and he helped us understand just how important it was that the Cour de Cassation upheld the 2009 convictions. As one French legislator explained to him, another conviction could result in Scientology getting kicked out of the country.

Continue reading Scientology got another legal spanking in France months ago and we’re just now finding out

Ryan Hamilton hit with setback as Narconon motion to dismiss prevails on some issues

Ryan Hamilton

Ryan Hamilton

Since January, we’ve been reporting on the 24 lawsuits filed by Las Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton against Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon. And in that time, Hamilton’s batting average has been remarkably high — in some cases, defendants Narconon International and the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE) have thrown in the towel, settling to get out of the lawsuits as Hamilton has fended off the usual tactics by Scientology’s attorneys.

Continue reading Ryan Hamilton hit with setback as Narconon motion to dismiss prevails on some issues

L. Ron Hubbard explains to a friend the real reason he wrote ‘Dianetics’

Forrest Ackerman

Forrest Ackerman

In Russell Miller’s 1987 book Bare-Faced Messiah — the best book ever written about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard — there’s a letter that Hubbard wrote to his friend Forrest Ackerman that Miller mentions briefly.

It was only recently, however, that we looked at the entire letter and realized how much Miller had left out of his book about it. In some ways, the 1949 letter is one of the most remarkable windows into what kind of a man Hubbard was, and we’re surprised it isn’t quoted more often.

Continue reading L. Ron Hubbard explains to a friend the real reason he wrote ‘Dianetics’

Scientology wants Mike Rinder’s affidavit struck from the record

pha106000047A week ago, we told you that in their fraud lawsuit, Luis and Rocio Garcia had filed an affidavit by former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder to convince Tampa federal Judge James A. Whittemore that the church’s internal arbitration rules were a sham.

It turns out Scientology wasn’t very happy about that.

Continue reading Scientology wants Mike Rinder’s affidavit struck from the record

Tom Cruise and his Freedom Medal of Valor: Where’s the tabloid press?

TomCruiseLondonOn Saturday night, just before midnight, we published a story about a remarkable photo of Tom Cruise that had been posted to Instagram. The photo had been put there by Luis Bascaran, a Venezuelan talent manager whose stable of actors includes a woman named Ruddy Rodriguez.

On Saturday afternoon Bascaran posted the photo of Ruddy and Tom Cruise, and Bascaran indicated that the location was London, and that the actors were there for a “spectacular celebration.” But what really caught our eye was the large medal around Tom’s neck — we recognized it immediately.

Continue reading Tom Cruise and his Freedom Medal of Valor: Where’s the tabloid press?

Vance Woodward files motion to reconsider his dismissed lawsuit against Scientology

UndoButtonWe’ll give him this — Vance Woodward is a fighter. The attorney, who spent more than 20 years in Scientology, then dropped out of it, wrote a book about his experiences in the church (which he later pulled from circulation), helped us read Dianetics cover to cover in one of our favorite series here at the Bunker, and moved to Los Angeles to restart his legal career, is not giving up on his lawsuit over the $200,000 he says he still has on account at Scientology.

Continue reading Vance Woodward files motion to reconsider his dismissed lawsuit against Scientology

Scientology is turning Larry Hagman’s house into a drunk tank for celebs

NarcononOjaiWell, Mike Rinder called it, and on Friday night, Scientology leader David Miscavige confirmed it: After purchasing the hilltop Ojai estate of Larry Hagman from the actor’s widow last year, the church will be turning the place into a drug rehab clinic for celebrities who need to dry out.

That was one of several announcements made by Miscavige as he held forth on Friday night’s annual International Association of Scientologists gala in a big tent on the grounds of Saint Hill Manor, the church’s UK headquarters and L. Ron Hubbard’s home from 1959 to 1966.

Continue reading Scientology is turning Larry Hagman’s house into a drunk tank for celebs

Marty Rathbun on being ambushed at LAX by raving Scientologists: ‘It was insane’

Jenny DeVocht

Jenny DeVocht

On Sunday evening, Mark “Marty” Rathbun, formerly the second-highest ranking official in the Church of Scientology, posted a bizarre 2-minute video to his blog, a video he had taken earlier in the day while he was waiting at Los Angeles International Airport to catch a flight back to his home in Texas.

Marty wouldn’t say why he was in LA, but he characterized the meeting with three church executives in the terminal as an “ambush.”

Continue reading Marty Rathbun on being ambushed at LAX by raving Scientologists: ‘It was insane’

Tom Cruise shows up with his Scientology ‘Freedom Medal of Valor’ in London

TomCruiseLondon

 
Well, so much for those idiotic tabloid reports about Tom Cruise losing his religion. The folks over at ESMB spotted a photograph posted Saturday on Instagram that shows Tom in London and wearing his Freedom Medal of Valor.

Continue reading Tom Cruise shows up with his Scientology ‘Freedom Medal of Valor’ in London

Jon Atack: The question Scientologists aren’t allowed to ask each other

Jon_AtackJon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and for more than a year on Saturdays he helped us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet. He was kind enough to send us a new post.

Jon, thanks for another new post. Tell us about the question Scientologists can’t ask each other!

Continue reading Jon Atack: The question Scientologists aren’t allowed to ask each other