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Remembering another Scientology ‘warrior’ — with the help of Mark Bunker

[Dennis Clarke, mastering chewing gum tech]

On May 9, a Scientologist named Dennis Clarke died in Hawaii, where he’d been in failing health for some time. There was some discussion on the usual forums about Clarke’s extensive history in the church. He had been a Freedom Medal winner for his work as president of CCHR, the Scientology front group that agitates against psychiatry. Later he had become disillusioned when the church he had served for so long provided no help after he had had a stroke that left him partially paralyzed.

Hearing about Clarke again evoked for us another time and place — the rough pickets outside the Fort Harrison Hotel in the early 2000s, which were caught on tape by Mark Bunker. It was a time when Lisa McPherson’s death was producing terrible press for the church, and when the Lisa McPherson Trust, funded by businessman Robert Minton, was regularly picketing Scientology’s most holy site.

Those were very different times. You can see in Bunker’s videos that the few picketers were swarmed by aggressive Scientologists, who shouted at them and shoved them. And none was more imposing or intimidating than Clarke, who was huge. We couldn’t help being curious about what Bunker thought of the news that his old nemesis had gone to his reward. So we asked him.

“Well, I’m sorry to see him pass,” Bunker told us. “I heard how he was discarded by Scientology and in bad shape in his last years. I have long said there is only one Scientologist I have met and not liked and that was Clarke. He was a bully and a tough guy whose behavior I could not entirely blame on L. Ron Hubbard. If you watch my video on Scientology and the Clearwater police, you will see what I mean. I have several examples of him punching people or trying to provoke a fight in that video. What I don’t have on tape is the time Clarke showed up at the LMT back door when Jesse Prince was there with his girlfriend. Clarke told him, ‘Get out of my town, n—–‘.”

Here’s that video Mark is referring to, which in its last third contains “Dennis Clarke’s greatest hits.”

 

 
“The LMT years, 2000 to 2001, were the most fascinating years of my life, largely because of the interactions I had with many Scientologists who came out to handle me,” Bunker says. “Most of them I enjoyed seeing. They would say the most outrageous things in front of my camera, words that never once bothered me. Dennis Clarke was different. His violence made it impossible for me to forgive him. You can see in the Mad Picket video how out of control he could get. He was forced by the police to leave the protest over his outbursts.”

It’s also great to see Bunker in action in that video. We asked him how things were going for him lately. After moving back to Clearwater, he’d run into a string of bad luck that had slowed down his work on his feature-length documentary, Knowledge Report.

“I am doing better. My health has been on an upswing and I have been putting my life back in order, coming up on one year at my latest job, where a few had even heard about Wise Beard Man before I entered the building. As of two weeks ago, I also now have a three day weekend allowing me to work more on the film,” he says.

We’re glad to hear it.

 
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Clearwater land swap with Scientology

Tampa Bay Times reporter Tracey McManus has a new piece today about a land swap being considered between the city of Clearwater, Florida and the Church of Scientology. No, the swap does not involve the 1.4-acre parcel the two were just wrestling over a couple of months ago, so calm down.

But Mayor George Cretekos did admit to McManus that he’s not entirely comfortable with the idea of swapping parcels with the church so soon after the bruising fight they all just went through, and good for him.

We talked to Cretekos recently and asked him what we were asked by many readers: What would keep the city from selling the City Hall-adjacent parcel that the city paid the Clearwater Marine Aquarium $4.25 million for, but that Scientology leader David Miscavige had said he would fork over up to $15 million to own? Cretekos assured us that he was committed to the city’s “Imagine Clearwater” plan, which is why it bought the land from the aquarium.

Eventually, he told us, the city would produce a “request for proposal” regarding the 1.4-acre parcel — outlining specific desires for how they wanted the land used — and then open the bidding to anyone, including the church itself. But even if the church did offer a bid, it would have to abide by the RFP and deliver what the city wants for the land use.

Anyway, that’s down the road. For now, McManus has described a different swap so that the city can get a parking lot near some new apartments and the church can get some small parcels near the “L. Ron Hubbard Hall” it plans to build.

As far as we know, no dolphins will be harmed in the transaction. But we’re glad to see Cretekos isn’t going to accept it without some additional vetting.

 
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Bonus items from our tipsters

It’s a Mathers sighting! Actual caption: “With my friends from Kazakhstan & Russia at Flag.”

 

 
Actual caption from Scientology front-group pusher Kerri Kasem: “Off to do my radio show and then on a plane to New York. Hosting the DrugFreeWorld.us event with Rebecca Minkoff!”

 

 
We’re not entirely sure what the theme of the fundraiser is here from the KC folks, but it’s pretty freaky.

 

 
Meanwhile, in New Zealand…

 

 
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Countdown to Denver!

 

 
HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25 at the Residence Inn Denver City Center. Go here to start making your plans.

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,768 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,525 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,871 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,365 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,405 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,117 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 643 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,732 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,872 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,192 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,167 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 523 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,825 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 932 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,334 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,207 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 788 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,293 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,537 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,646 days.

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on June 1, 2017 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield

 

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