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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Jon Atack: Scientology’s elusive ‘Clears’ and ‘Operating Thetans’ — where have they been?

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’ve wondered about the earliest group around L. Ron Hubbard when he published Dianetics, and where were the results of this research he had supposedly done before the book came out. As you point out, we thoroughly went through the book and were pretty surprised by its claims about how easily it would be to create Clears. And so we’re very excited that you’re taking a close look at that period and the claims Hubbard made for Clear and later “OT.” Take it away!

Continue reading Jon Atack: Scientology’s elusive ‘Clears’ and ‘Operating Thetans’ — where have they been?

Another Secret Lives leak: L. Ron Hubbard enjoyed humiliating people under hypnosis

Arthur_Jean_CoxWhile we’ve been bowled over by the response to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear’ — and it’s only going to get more intense as its HBO air date of March 16 nears — we’re still in the process here at the Underground Bunker of releasing rare video from another Scientology documentary altogether.

Today, we have our third leak of original, raw footage from Channel 4’s excellent 1997 program, Secret Lives — L. Ron Hubbard.

Continue reading Another Secret Lives leak: L. Ron Hubbard enjoyed humiliating people under hypnosis

How Scientologists are dealing with the buzz around Alex Gibney’s ‘Going Clear’

GoingClearPoster2One of our sources, who has connections both among Church of Scientology members and those who have been expelled from the organization, thought we would like to see how people on the inside are talking about Alex Gibney’s film Going Clear.

So far, there have only been two public screenings of the film, so only a few hundred human beings have actually seen it, but the press reaction has been massive. Much of that press interest has centered on the official reaction from the church, which has been as hamfisted and embarrassing as we might have predicted.

Continue reading How Scientologists are dealing with the buzz around Alex Gibney’s ‘Going Clear’

Scientology secrets in government docs: Did the feds have a chance to stop ‘Snow White’?

John_McMaster2Wow, it’s been fun to hang out at the Sundance Film Festival and be a part of the Going Clear screenings. We’re certain there will be plenty more to come about the movie and Scientology’s hamfisted attempts to smear it.

But for now we need to get back to the regular work of this website, reporting on all aspects of Scientology with the help of our great tipsters. We have some really big stories coming that we can’t wait to land. And we’re getting a back up on all the stuff we’ve been sent by our sources.

Continue reading Scientology secrets in government docs: Did the feds have a chance to stop ‘Snow White’?

Why Alex Gibney’s ‘Going Clear’ is scaring the crap out of Scientology

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Author Lawrence Wright and director Alex Gibney

Alex Gibney’s HBO documentary about Scientology, Going Clear, had its second public showing last night at the Sundance Film Festival, and we got another chance to think about what’s in it and what makes it so compelling.

Continue reading Why Alex Gibney’s ‘Going Clear’ is scaring the crap out of Scientology

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.

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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

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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’