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]
Facebook

Subscribe to our e-mail list

Jon Atack: Did L. Ron Hubbard want to be considered a god?

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, we told you we’d be interested in your thoughts about a recent item by former Scientology executive Marty Rathbun. At his blog, Rathbun pointed out that there are multiple accounts of the life of Jesus, not only within the books of the New Testament but also in alternative texts that were edited out of the Bible. But Scientology, he points out, doesn’t allow alternative views. Its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, went to great lengths to make sure that only his take on things was considered “source” and couldn’t be altered.

Continue reading Jon Atack: Did L. Ron Hubbard want to be considered a god?

Arlene Cordova needs your help: Where is Scientology keeping her daughter Barbara?

BarbaraRobertOliverIn January, we told you about Barbara Cordova Oliver, 56, a longtime Scientologist who had vanished after having a mental breakdown at her 80-year-old mother Arlene’s house in the Los Angeles area last December.

Barbara had been a fixture at Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Center, where she ran something called Artists for a Better World. But after two failed moves to Clearwater, Florida with her Scientologist husband Robert Oliver, a distraught Barbara found herself at Arlene’s house and obviously needed medical attention. (Arlene has never been involved in Scientology.)

Continue reading Arlene Cordova needs your help: Where is Scientology keeping her daughter Barbara?

VIDEO: Scientology gets a grilling at Chautauqua

Sylvia_Stanard3When we heard that one of Scientology’s mouthpieces would be speaking at this year’s Chautauqua, we assumed it would be a non-event. It’s been a long time since Chautauqua had much of an effect on popular culture or made the news. And we figured the religious liberals at the yearly conference were just trying to be inclusive by inviting Sylvia Stanard of Scientology’s DC national office.

Well, we were right about one thing: Sylvia’s speech was about as interesting as watching paint dry. But if you can get through it, the really good part comes in the question and answer period afterward.

Continue reading VIDEO: Scientology gets a grilling at Chautauqua

Hana Whitfield: What it’s like to be stalked by Scientology

Hana_WhitfieldMark Bunker has shared with us another excerpt from the video interviews he’s been collecting for his upcoming documentary, Knowledge Report.

In this clip, he interviews Hana Eltringham Whitfield about what it’s like to be the target of “Fair Game” — Scientology’s notorious retaliation efforts coordinated by its Office of Special Affairs (OSA), which often include intrusive surveillance by private investigators.

Continue reading Hana Whitfield: What it’s like to be stalked by Scientology

Scientology’s fight with Ryan Hamilton delivers dox: The Eric Tenorio affidavit and more

Eric Tenorio

Eric Tenorio

With lawsuits and criminal investigations multiplying across the country, Scientology’s legal corps is busier than ever. We’re waiting to hear about possible grand jury indictments for insurance fraud at Scientology’s drug rehab facility in Oklahoma. Also in that state, we’re watching a massive lawsuit that accuses the church of a conspiracy to dupe the public about its counseling credentials and has 82 defendants, including Scientology’s leader, David Miscavige. A harassment lawsuit in Texas, a forced-abortion suit in Los Angeles, and a federal fraud lawsuit in Tampa have each produced stunning evidence and dramatic days in court.

Continue reading Scientology’s fight with Ryan Hamilton delivers dox: The Eric Tenorio affidavit and more

Scientology Sunday Funnies: The Nancy Cartwright countdown to godhood edition!

Hey, sailor

Hey, sailor

Once again our great tipsters came through as we received a boatload of Scientology mailers and fliers this week. On Sundays, we enjoy sharing the best of them with you in order to get a snapshot of the church’s desperate attempts to get more money out of fewer people.

There are a number of interesting revelations in these advertisements, not the least of which is, Her Royal Governess has finally finished OT Seven!

Continue reading Scientology Sunday Funnies: The Nancy Cartwright countdown to godhood edition!

Scientology surrenders — at least partially — in seven lawsuits against its rehab network

Ryan Hamilton

Ryan Hamilton

Here at the Underground Bunker, we’ve been keeping a close watch on Las Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton, who has filed eighteen lawsuits since January against Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon. Hamilton accuses Narconon of running a deceptive operation that promises drug counseling but instead subjects patients to Scientology training. In each case, Hamilton has sued a local Narconon facility in either California, Nevada, or Colorado, as well as two of Scientology’s umbrella organizations — Narconon International and the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE).

Now, we’ve learned that in seven of those lawsuits, Narconon International and ABLE have been removed after quietly settling with the plaintiffs. The lawsuits remain active, meanwhile, because the local facilities have not settled.

Continue reading Scientology surrenders — at least partially — in seven lawsuits against its rehab network

Garcia federal fraud lawsuit survives another challenge by Scientology

Luis_GarciaLuis and Rocio Garcia’s federal fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology has survived another challenge as Judge James Whittemore denied the church’s latest motion to dismiss.

The Garcias say they were defrauded by Scientology when it pressured them to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars in building projects, but since their lawsuit was first filed in January last year, it’s run into numerous technical roadblocks.

Continue reading Garcia federal fraud lawsuit survives another challenge by Scientology

French prosecutors investigating claims that a company forced Scientology on workers

Jonny Jacobsen

Jonny Jacobsen

Our man in Paris, Jonny Jacobsen, jumped into action after news broke this week of another possible Scientology prosecution in France. Here’s his report…

 
French prosecutors are investigating a complaint filed by 12 employees of a building firm who say their employer forced them to take part in Scientology courses.

The case is only in its early stages and may never make it to court. But one of France‚Äôs top lawyers, Olivier Morice — a veteran of court battles with the movement — is representing the workers who filed the complaint.

Continue reading French prosecutors investigating claims that a company forced Scientology on workers

A lawsuit over counseling credentials now aims at the essence of Scientology

DavidMiscavige2We have a few legal updates for you, and they involve the lawsuit filed by the National Association of Forensic Counselors against Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon, many of its employees, and Scientology’s leader, David Miscavige, as well.

A total of 82 defendants are scrambling to deal with the lawsuit, which alleges that they conspired to misuse the counseling certifications that the NAFC regulates. Masterminding the conspiracy, the NAFC alleged in its complaint, was Miscavige from his perch as the Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center (RTC), Scientology’s nominally controlling entity.

Continue reading A lawsuit over counseling credentials now aims at the essence of Scientology