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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The Underground Bunker 2014 Year-in-Review starts today!

2014We’re racing toward a new year again, and so it’s time to look back at the territory we covered in yet another twelvemonth here in the Underground Bunker.

As ever, we want to wish our commenting community a happy holidays and offer another big thanks for making the Bunker what it is. We hope our longtime readers will enjoy some reminders about the important stories of 2014, and maybe our newer readers will consider this a guide to things they might catch up on.

Continue reading The Underground Bunker 2014 Year-in-Review starts today!

Jon Atack looks back at his final Scientology auditing session — and how he broke free

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, it’s been another great year with you here in the Underground Bunker. What better way to head into the holidays than with another deep dive from you into what challenges people face when they leave the Church of Scientology…

Continue reading Jon Atack looks back at his final Scientology auditing session — and how he broke free

Scientology’s Craigslist expert issues new instructions after so much ad flagging

CraigslistHere’s a little treat we thought we’d put out before your holiday weekend kicks off. (Tap, tap. Is this thing on? Anyone there? Ha.)

Over at WhyWeProtest.net, and then here in the comments section of the Underground Bunker, there’s been a coordinated effort by folks who do their best to “flag” deceptive ads that Scientology posts on Craigslist pages. (We have never condoned nor prohibited this activity in our comments section, where readers are free to do what they want.)

Continue reading Scientology’s Craigslist expert issues new instructions after so much ad flagging

Chris Shelton’s new video: Scientology is coming apart at the seams

Chris_Shelton2Chris Shelton was a longtime Scientology Sea Org worker who only recently left the organization. Since then, he’s become one of the best former Scientologists at actually explaining what Scientology is and why it’s doomed.

It also doesn’t hurt that the man has some good video skills. We’ve posted a number of his great short films that help both never-ins and former church members understand how L. Ron Hubbard’s “technology” and “admin tech” lead to contradictory logic that only gets more messed up by the crew that Scientology leader David Miscavige runs today.

Continue reading Chris Shelton’s new video: Scientology is coming apart at the seams

Rick Ross has a new book that will help you get someone out of Scientology

CultsInsideOutBack in the fall of 1995, we noticed an interesting letter to the editor in the Arizona Republic. It was from a man named Rick Ross who complained that the Republic‘s story about a lawsuit (which had gone against Ross) had failed to include the most important things about it — namely, that the newspaper had left out all mention of the Church of Scientology’s role in it.

We’d read a little about Scientology and were intrigued by it. And the newspaper we worked for at the time, the Phoenix New Times, encouraged us to find stories that the local dailies had ignored or had done badly. We reached out to Rick, and it led to our first cover story for the paper. It also put us on a path of developing sources about Scientology, a path we’ve been on for 19 years now.

Continue reading Rick Ross has a new book that will help you get someone out of Scientology

New investigation of Scientology in France on criminal charges

Olivier Morice

Olivier Morice

We have a breaking news story from our correspondent in Paris, British journalist Jonny Jacobsen. What’s the latest, Jonny?

[UPDATED: See correction, below.]

A French investigating magistrate is pressing charges against Scientology’s Celebrity Centre after a long-running probe into the movement’s activities at a school here.

Also, Cabinet Morice, the law firm representing the plaintiffs, tells The Underground Bunker that two other Scientology organizations are still under investigation.

Continue reading New investigation of Scientology in France on criminal charges

Scientology’s Clark Carr: Those letters after my name were no good and I didn’t know it

Clark Carr

Clark Carr

We have a few legal updates for you today as we do our best to keep track of the many different lawsuits that Scientology is involved in around the country.

There’s more back and forth between Narconon International’s president, Clark Carr, and the National Association of Forensic Counselors. If you recall, the NAFC filed a massive lawsuit — with 82 defendants — against Scientology and its drug rehab network, Narconon, alleging that Scientology had been misusing the NAFC’s trademarks and logos for several years in an attempt to make the rehab program appear more legitimate than it is. The ultimate aim of this effort was to attract people into the program and then into Scientology itself, the NAFC alleged. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Oklahoma, because that’s where the rehab system’s flagship facility is — the ailing Narconon Arrowhead.

Continue reading Scientology’s Clark Carr: Those letters after my name were no good and I didn’t know it

Scientology attorneys ask Garcia judge — Keep Mike Rinder away from us!

Mike_Rinder3We mentioned the other day that Scientology had brought in a ringer for the depositions it plans to take in the next phase of the federal fraud lawsuit brought by former church members Luis and Rocio Garcia. We said that the Garcias, as well as former Scientologists Mike Rinder and Christie Collbran and others expect to be deposed by Scientology’s special attorney, Bert Deixler.

On the other side, the Garcias will be focusing on one deposition in particular. They’re planning on questioning Scientology’s “International Justice Chief,” Mike Ellis.

Continue reading Scientology attorneys ask Garcia judge — Keep Mike Rinder away from us!

More about the goons Scientology sent to intimidate Marty Rathbun and Louis Theroux

SmithStithWe had to scramble yesterday evening to bring you some information about the latest Scientology ambush video that former church official Mark “Marty” Rathbun posted to the Internet.

Now, some hours later, a more complete — and more depressing — picture of what happened Saturday in Los Angeles is emerging, thanks to the eagle-eyed researchers at ESMB and our own sources in the church itself.

Continue reading More about the goons Scientology sent to intimidate Marty Rathbun and Louis Theroux

Another Scientology ambush, this time of Marty Rathbun with Louis Theroux present

SciAmbushMarty Rathbun has been ambushed by odd Scientologists asking strange questions yet again, and this time Marty not only managed to catch them in his short video of the encounter, but filmmaker Louis Theroux can also be seen in it.

In October, Rathbun posted video of three top Scientology officials ambushing him at the gate of a terminal in Los Angeles International airport. He managed to capture a blurry video of the three executives telling him to get a life while carrying cameras of their own.

Continue reading Another Scientology ambush, this time of Marty Rathbun with Louis Theroux present