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 training includes how to physically pull cash away from a reluctant patsy

Les_DaneMartin Ottmann is a longtime critic of the Church of Scientology who is known for his dogged search for documents that describe every aspect of Scientology management and life. We asked him to bring some of his expertise to the Underground Bunker and help us dig into the dark corners of this secretive organization.

Martin sent us a 1974 document written by L. Ron Hubbard, who was apparently irritated by flagging sales at Scientology outlets.

Continue reading Scientology training includes how to physically pull cash away from a reluctant patsy

Scientology yesterday and today: Reports from Mark Bunker and Dennis Erlich

Dan_SlaughterFilmmaker Mark Bunker was dubbed “Wise Beard Man” by the Anonymous movement in 2008. We’ve been reading Mark’s observations about Scientology since the late 1990s, and we’re eagerly awaiting his documentary about Scientology, “Knowledge Report.”

Bunker’s recent return to Clearwater to live has us very intrigued. He told us he was going to approach the city’s new police chief about the infamous injunction that defines how protesters and the Church of Scientology can interact downtown, and we told him we wanted to know how it went. So he sent us over a full report! How did it go, Mark?

Continue reading Scientology yesterday and today: Reports from Mark Bunker and Dennis Erlich

Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest Scientology video in the history of Scientology videos

RockOfAgesWe’ve been leaked a video which could not be a more perfect distillation of Scientology as it exists in 2014.

This thing, well, it’s — it’s beautiful.

Before we show it to you, we want to help you put it in context. The few remaining Scientologists in Atlanta, like other cities in the U.S., are under intense pressure to donate huge amounts of money in order to pay for a new building they don’t need. These new facilities are called “Ideal Orgs,” and just yesterday former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder posted a great backgrounder on this maniacal decade-long push by church leader David Miscavige.

Continue reading Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest Scientology video in the history of Scientology videos

The Document: When Scientology canceled ‘Family Time’

Martin_Ottman2Martin Ottmann was in Scientology relatively briefly: He first got involved in Stuttgart in 1989, joined the Sea Organization and went to Clearwater in 1990, and by the end of 1992, after returning to Germany, he was out. Since then, however, he’s become known for his dogged pursuit of documents that reflect every possible detail of Scientology management and Scientology life. We asked him to bring some of his expertise to the Underground Bunker and help us dig into the dark corners of this secretive organization.

To start things off, Martin sent us a 1989 document that was smuggled out of Scientology’s Pacific Area Command (PAC Base), its big Los Angeles complex in the former Cedars of Lebanon Hospital. The document describes a change in policy that made it even more difficult for Sea Org parents to spend time with their children. Sea Org members are Scientology’s most dedicated workers — they sign billion-year contracts and work 110-hour weeks for pennies an hour.

Continue reading The Document: When Scientology canceled ‘Family Time’

More trouble for Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon — this time in Florida

Suncoast's future location, a former church

Suncoast’s future location, a former church

Joe Childs at the Tampa Bay Times last night reported that there’s trouble potentially brewing for the Scientology drug rehab facility in Hernando County, Florida.

Suncoast Rehabilitation Center, part of Scientology’s Narconon network, has been in the news recently for a dispute with the county over its expansion plans. The Times has closely watched that battle, which took a fortunate turn for Suncoast when it successfully appealed a low damage award (the case is now in mediation). Childs reported last month that another facility, a former church, was purchased in Clearwater by the same owners, and we told you that according to our sources Suncoast is planning on moving its operation from Hernando County to the Clearwater location.

Continue reading More trouble for Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon — this time in Florida

Chris Shelton explains why Scientology is in a management death spiral

Chris_SheltonWe’ve really enjoyed the explanatory videos put together by Chris Shelton, a former Scientology Sea Org worker who left the church only recently.

We’re happy to premiere his newest effort, a lengthy but fascinating look at Scientology’s management — how it’s supposed to work, and why it isn’t.

Continue reading Chris Shelton explains why Scientology is in a management death spiral

Scientology claims credit for solving the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri

Bob_AdamsIt’s time for Sunday Funnies, our weekly feature for reviewing the Scientology mailers forwarded to us by our great tipsters. And once again, we have a bushel of fun circulars put out by the fundraisingest church on earth.

But first, we have to hand it to Scientology junior spokesman Bob Adams for taking the church’s public relations to OT 9.

Yesterday, a press release disguised as a news story carrying Bob’s byline showed up on something totally not sketchy called “World Religion News.”

Continue reading Scientology claims credit for solving the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri

Jon Atack: How Scientology’s methods of manipulation stay with you after you leave

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.

We’re fortunate to have two pieces this week from you, Jon. On Thursday, you told us about L. Ron Hubbard’s theory that life was a game, with him controlling the pieces. Today, you’re talking again about leaving Scientology and recovering from it. Help us understand why it is ex-Scientologists have a hard time leaving the church behind.

Continue reading Jon Atack: How Scientology’s methods of manipulation stay with you after you leave

Scientology skates (so far) as OK grand jury says “keep investigating” Narconon Arrowhead

Stacy Dawn Murphy

Stacy Dawn Murphy

In June, we told you that we had learned the Oklahoma Multicounty Grand Jury was investigating evidence of insurance fraud at Scientology’s flagship drug rehab center, Narconon Arrowhead.

The Multicounty Grand Jury was empaneled in January 2013 and just finished its work, submitting a final report yesterday. It listed numerous murders and other crimes that it looked into. And near the end of its report, it had a single paragraph about Scientology’s rehab center:

Continue reading Scientology skates (so far) as OK grand jury says “keep investigating” Narconon Arrowhead

Scientology graduation videos from the UK? Even better!

Hamish_BulgerWe will admit to a lifetime of Anglophilia. Though we’ve never been to Albion’s shores, we tend to put its residents on a pedestal. And so it always amuses us that Scientology has found so much success there (at least historically). L. Ron Hubbard? In the UK?

And yet, here is video proof that the few Scientologists left in Blighty are still moving up the Bridge. A few days ago we had graduation videos from Copenhagen. Now let’s take a look at what’s been happening at Saint Hill Manor, Scientology’s headquarters in England!

Continue reading Scientology graduation videos from the UK? Even better!