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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‘Going Clear’ subject Tom DeVocht reveals new info about Tom Cruise and Scientology’s leader

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We have another screenshot from Alex Gibney’s documentary Going Clear, which airs on Sunday, March 29 at 8pm. Pictured here is one of the eight former Scientologists interviewed for the movie, former Sea Org executive Tom DeVocht. We recently gave you a little background on Tom and explained how he’s been dealing with an increase in private investigator harassment as the movie’s airing nears.

Continue reading ‘Going Clear’ subject Tom DeVocht reveals new info about Tom Cruise and Scientology’s leader

‘Going Clear': Jason Beghe, the actor who left Scientology and made a stink about it

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Here’s a screenshot of Jason Beghe from Alex Gibney’s film Going Clear, which airs on HBO in nine more days, on March 29.

Beghe is one of eight former members of the Church of Scientology who make up the main subjects of Gibney’s film. Our longtime readers know that we’ve been writing about Jason for a long time, since he made his very visible protest against Scientology in 2008, having left the organization a few months earlier.

Continue reading ‘Going Clear': Jason Beghe, the actor who left Scientology and made a stink about it

‘Going Clear’ fallout: Imagining the fate of Scientology and David Miscavige

David_Miscavige_IAS30Maria Bustillos contacted us recently, telling us that she was working on a review of Alex Gibney’s film Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, and she wanted to ask us a question, which turned out to be quite good.

We were familiar with Maria’s work because of a story she did at The Awl in 2011 lauding the work of Los Angeles Times reporters Joel Sappell and Robert Welkos, who wrote about Scientology in a number of stories in the 1980s, culminating in a huge series in 1990. She also referred to earlier work done by Pulitzer-prize winners Charles Stafford and Bette Orsini at the St. Petersburg Times.

Continue reading ‘Going Clear’ fallout: Imagining the fate of Scientology and David Miscavige

Another ‘Secret Lives’ outtake: The neighbor who knew L. Ron Hubbard and his first wife

SenatorRobertFordAnother day, another treat here at the Underground Bunker. We have another previously unseen interview that was recorded for Channel 4’s excellent 1997 documentary, Secret Lives — L. Ron Hubbard.

This time, we get a glimpse of a time period that rarely gets much treatment — Hubbard’s first marriage, to Margaret “Polly” Grubb, as witnessed by a neighbor who got to know the Hubbards pretty well.

Continue reading Another ‘Secret Lives’ outtake: The neighbor who knew L. Ron Hubbard and his first wife

More proof that Scientology used the ‘R2-45′ method to intimidate enemies

Charles_Berner2We’re back with more documents that have been released recently by the FDA that illuminate Scientology’s early years. Thanks to a researcher who is a friend to the Underground Bunker and her work with the Muckrock website, we have yet more investigative records that have never before been online.

In this case, we’re looking at an early Dianeticist and Scientologist who was among the first to be targeted by the “ethics” procedures that L. Ron Hubbard put into place in 1965 as he became more concerned about splinter groups. After 1965, Hubbard and Scientology became much more openly about control and interrogation, declaring enemies “suppressive” and subjecting former members and critics to “Fair Game.”

Continue reading More proof that Scientology used the ‘R2-45′ method to intimidate enemies

Mareka Brousseau on the degradations of Scientology’s Sea Org life

JeffMarekaJeffrey Augustine is back with another podcast, this time his second interview with Mareka Brousseau.

Mareka, the daughter of Haydn and Lucy James, gives us more glimpses of the hardships of Sea Org life in Scientology. Her eyewitness testimony is hard-hitting, as usual.

Continue reading Mareka Brousseau on the degradations of Scientology’s Sea Org life

‘Going Clear’ subject Tom DeVocht gets a lesson in Scientology’s social media surveillance

Tom DeVocht

Tom DeVocht

We’ve been telling you that Scientology’s reaction to Alex Gibney’s film Going Clear has been a burst of “Fair Game” activity that’s affecting numerous people involved with the film. This is behind-the-scenes stuff that isn’t obvious from what’s getting more attention from the press — the silly letters and videos Scientology has been posting to its Freedom magazine website.

One of the people feeling the heat has been Tom DeVocht, who is featured prominently in the film. Sure, he’s getting smeared at the Freedom website, but they’re the same old slanders that have been thrown at him for years, some of it aimed at him previously on anonymous attack websites that we always assumed the church was secretly running.

Continue reading ‘Going Clear’ subject Tom DeVocht gets a lesson in Scientology’s social media surveillance

Outtakes from the 1997 ‘Secret Lives’ doc — an eyewitness at the Jack Parsons house

ParsonageWe have another treat for you today as we continue to get leaked original interviews that were filmed for the excellent 1997 Channel 4 documentary, Secret Lives — L. Ron Hubbard.

Up to this point, we’ve provided you with extended interviews of a number of people who showed up in the Channel 4 film. But now, we have an interview that was never included at all.

Continue reading Outtakes from the 1997 ‘Secret Lives’ doc — an eyewitness at the Jack Parsons house

GARCIA FRAUD CASE ENDED AS JUDGE GRANTS SCIENTOLOGY ARBITRATION MOTION

Judge James D. Whittemore

Judge James D. Whittemore

Federal Judge James D. Whittemore ended the Luis and Rocio Garcia fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology today by finding that Scientology can enforce contracts signed by the Garcias which require them to take their disputes to the church’s internal arbitration.

Whittemore made that decision while acknowledging that never, in the more than 60-year history of Scientology, had there ever been an arbitration, and that testimony indicated that there were no actual procedures set up for handling such a procedure.

Continue reading GARCIA FRAUD CASE ENDED AS JUDGE GRANTS SCIENTOLOGY ARBITRATION MOTION

L. Ron Hubbard and ‘Going Clear’ — a reading list to celebrate Scientology’s birthday boy!

HubbardBirthdayHey, it’s the Commodore’s 104th birthday! And what better way to celebrate the Great OT’s March 13, 1911 birth in Tilden, Nebraska than to welcome the theatrical release of Alex Gibney’s documentary about Scientology, Going Clear, which opens today in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.

Speaking of the film’s release, let’s get this out of the way first, because we’re getting a lot of questions that suggest some people are really confused about this movie and how they get to see it.

Continue reading L. Ron Hubbard and ‘Going Clear’ — a reading list to celebrate Scientology’s birthday boy!