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 hits back at Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear’ with predictable smears

FreedomTrioYesterday morning, we told you which eight former Scientologists we guessed were interviewed for Alex Gibney’s documentary Going Clear, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival later that day.

Turns out we went eight for eight.

How’d the church do?

A sad one for six.

Continue reading Scientology hits back at Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear’ with predictable smears

‘Going Clear’ premieres at Sundance, and we watched in awe with the celebs

GoingClearPosterTobey Maguire was sitting in the row behind us. Alec Baldwin was down near the front. Morgan Spurlock and Kathryn Bigelow had joined us in the green room with Alex Gibney and Lawrence Wright.

But the real stars of the show — the ones who provided an emotional wallop — were sitting around us as we watched Gibney’s documentary about Scientology, Going Clear, at its Sundance premiere.

Continue reading ‘Going Clear’ premieres at Sundance, and we watched in awe with the celebs

Who are the 8 Scientologists profiled in ‘Going Clear,’ premiering today? We have a guess.

GibneyEightA

 
Our countdown is finally over, and today we learn just who is in Alex Gibney’s HBO documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. But even though the premiere is still several hours away, you didn’t think we were going to head for the theater without at least taking a guess who’s in the movie, did you?

Continue reading Who are the 8 Scientologists profiled in ‘Going Clear,’ premiering today? We have a guess.

First time in full: 1997 interview of Barbara Klowden, L. Ron Hubbard’s PR agent and lover

Barbara_Klowden
Here’s the second leak of raw footage from the excellent 1997 Channel 4 documentary, Secret Lives — L. Ron Hubbard. The film was made up of numerous interviews from people who had known Hubbard personally. But only a few minutes of each made it into the final documentary.

Jon Atack hooked us up with a source who is now making the full, uncut interviews from Secret Lives available. Last time, we got to see Hubbard’s literary agent, Forrest Ackerman, reminisce about the man. And this time, another rare treat: A 28-minute interview with Barbara Klowden, who worked as Hubbard’s PR assistant but was also his lover. (In Russell Miller’s 1987 biography of Hubbard, Bare-Faced Messiah, Barbara is given the pseudonym “Barbara Kaye.”)

Continue reading First time in full: 1997 interview of Barbara Klowden, L. Ron Hubbard’s PR agent and lover

VIDEO LEAK: Another segment from Marty Rathbun’s deposition — his ‘Liability Formula’

Marty_Rathbun_depo2Our source has made available another portion of Mark “Marty” Rathbun’s December 22 deposition; the first portion we published on Sunday.

As we pointed out then, this is the first time that Rathbun has been deposed since he emerged as a critic of his former employer, the Church of Scientology, in 2009. He had left the organization five years earlier after a career as one of its highest-ranking executives. But he’s now a severe critic of David Miscavige, the man who runs Scientology.

Continue reading VIDEO LEAK: Another segment from Marty Rathbun’s deposition — his ‘Liability Formula’

Las Vegas attorney files 27th suit against Scientology rehab, Michigan attorney files 2nd

Eddie_GeorgeLas Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton has filed his 27th lawsuit against Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon, and Jeffrey P. Ray, an attorney in Michigan, has added two of his own in just a week’s time.

Endorsed by Scientology’s most well-known celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and Kirstie Alley, Narconon was for many years one of the organization’s most reliable money-makers. But recent patient deaths, negative press attention, and lawsuits around the country have turned Narconon into one of Scientology’s biggest headaches.

Continue reading Las Vegas attorney files 27th suit against Scientology rehab, Michigan attorney files 2nd

How Scientology responds to adversity: A classic example from its golden era

FDAAgentWith just days to go until the beginning of what may turn out to be the biggest challenge the Church of Scientology has ever faced, we’re watching in awe as the organization fires back on several different fronts.

With Alex Gibney’s documentary “Going Clear” opening Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival and then airing March 16 on HBO, we’re seeing church leader David Miscavige respond with a full page ad in the New York Times, an advertising blitz on network television, and other major pushes to get Scientology’s message out on its own terms.

Continue reading How Scientology responds to adversity: A classic example from its golden era

Scientology’s first ‘Clear': L. Ron Hubbard intended to return as his daughter Diana’s son

John McMaster

John McMaster

We have more fascinating documents recently unearthed by a researcher who is a friend to the Underground Bunker as well as a mainstay at WhyWeProtest.net. As we said on Friday, her Freedom of Information Act request with the Food and Drug Administration (made with the help of the MuckRock website) is yielding some interesting new insights into Scientology’s early history.

Continue reading Scientology’s first ‘Clear': L. Ron Hubbard intended to return as his daughter Diana’s son

Earache my eye: A Scientology official’s excuses why he can’t fly for deposition in fraud suit

Mike Ellis [Photo by Doug Owens]

Mike Ellis [Photo by Doug Owens]

The Church of Scientology is known for its legendary scorched-earth legal tactics that can tie up lawsuits for years or persecute its enemies with endless motions and obfuscations.

But its legal chicanery can also be a hoot.

We have a series of documents that have been flying back and forth between parties as the Luis and Rocio Garcia federal fraud lawsuit against Scientology approaches a crucial February 18 evidentiary hearing. And we have a feeling you’re going to find the material in these documents rather entertaining.

Continue reading Earache my eye: A Scientology official’s excuses why he can’t fly for deposition in fraud suit

VIDEO LEAK: See former Scientology official Marty Rathbun interrogated under oath

Marty_Rathbun_depoWe’ve got another explosive story for you today here at the Underground Bunker. It’s the first portion of a videotaped deposition former Church of Scientology executive Mark “Marty” Rathbun sat for last month in a federal fraud lawsuit against the church.

Rathbun spent 27 years in Scientology and was its “inspector general for ethics,” the second-highest ranking official in the organization. He was known as a ruthlessly effective enforcer who then became disaffected and left the group in 2004. Today, he’s considered one of the biggest threats to Scientology’s continued existence, and on December 22, for the first time since his defection, he sat for a deposition and was questioned by the church’s own attorneys.

Continue reading VIDEO LEAK: See former Scientology official Marty Rathbun interrogated under oath