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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Classic Scientology shenanigans as class action lawsuit is filed against legal opponent NAFC

Clark_Carr2
Wasn’t it just yesterday we made the point that Scientology is incapable of evolving into a more benign form?

For you connoisseurs of classic Scientology legal chicanery, you’re going to love the full body and complex flavors of this vintage.

Continue reading Classic Scientology shenanigans as class action lawsuit is filed against legal opponent NAFC

Scientology Photoshopping, Part 2: A mystery disappearance on the yacht Apollo

RonEncyclopediaYesterday, we told you about Lauren Wolf describing what it was like to work for Lawrence Wright on his book Going Clear and finding an example of Scientology trying to erase the existence of L. Ron Hubbard’s second wife, Sara Northrup, from the record with creative photoshopping.

She told us that in the “Master Mariner” volume of “The RON Series” of “biographical encyclopedias” (pictured, right), she found an example of the church pulling Sara from a 1946 photograph of her with Hubbard.

Continue reading Scientology Photoshopping, Part 2: A mystery disappearance on the yacht Apollo

Scientology Photoshopping: Erasing L. Ron Hubbard’s second wife from ‘The RON Series’

RonSeriesMasterMariner
We have a real treat for you today, and it comes courtesy of someone we are honored to have helping us out.

We met Lauren Wolf when she was helping Lawrence Wright as the research assistant on his epic 2013 book on Scientology, Going Clear, and she’s been a friend to the Underground Bunker ever since.

Recently, she emailed us with a hot tip, and we are so glad that she did.

Continue reading Scientology Photoshopping: Erasing L. Ron Hubbard’s second wife from ‘The RON Series’

Kim Poff fired by Oklahoma agency after stories (including ours) described Scientology dispute

Kim Poff

Kim Poff

Now it can be told: Just days after we reported, along with local Oklahoma media, that Kim Poff had filed suit against the state’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuses Services (ODMHSAS), she was fired by another Oklahoma state agency, the Department of Human Services.

Her attorney, Rachel Bussett, tells us she believes those events are directly connected.

Continue reading Kim Poff fired by Oklahoma agency after stories (including ours) described Scientology dispute

Ryan Hamilton’s next move: Consolidating his Narconon litigation into one big case

StrengthInNumbers2Las Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton has filed 24 separate lawsuits against Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon, in three states. We’ve noticed that some of our commenters have wondered how one attorney can handle so many different suits at the same time, and apparently, that question has occurred to Hamilton himself.

On November 3, Hamilton submitted a motion to consolidate the pretrial phase of his 24 lawsuits to the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.

Continue reading Ryan Hamilton’s next move: Consolidating his Narconon litigation into one big case

Scientology Sunday Funnies: Kirstie Alley is now Super Powered!

Kirstie_Alley_LRHWe’re going to start out this installment of Sunday Funnies with a tip we received from one of our best sources. We’re told that on Friday night, the Flag graduation ceremony in Clearwater, Florida was graced by the presence of none other than super celebrity Scientologist and television actress Kirstie Alley!

Continue reading Scientology Sunday Funnies: Kirstie Alley is now Super Powered!

The Heinlein Letters: What L. Ron Hubbard’s close friends really thought of him

HubbardProfileA couple of weeks ago, we looked at a 1949 letter written by L. Ron Hubbard which hasn’t received a lot of attention before. Russell Miller paraphrased the letter in his 1987 book Bare-Faced Messiah, but the full text of the letter has never been published in a book or news article, as far as we know.

In it, Hubbard wrote to his friend Forrest Ackerman about the work he was doing on what would become Dianetics, the 1950 book that would change Hubbard’s fortunes and eventually lead him to create Scientology.

Continue reading The Heinlein Letters: What L. Ron Hubbard’s close friends really thought of him

Scientologist (and Tea Partier) Brent Jones is elected to Nevada’s legislature

Brent_JonesOur old friend Nathan Baca sent us a hot tip last night: He pointed out that Brent Jones had defeated incumbent Democrat James Healey in Nevada’s 35th Assembly district in Tuesday’s election, and no one had really noticed that it meant a Scientologist had managed to get himself elected to public office.

There’s precedence for Scientologists to get elected. Sonny Bono, who served as a US Representative from 1994 until his death in a skiing accident in 1998, took Scientology courses, though he was careful to put “Roman Catholic” on official documents.

Brent Jones was also cautious. He makes no mention of Scientology in his official campaign bio. But there’s no hiding his extensive involvement with the organization.

Continue reading Scientologist (and Tea Partier) Brent Jones is elected to Nevada’s legislature

RIFFER MADNESS: Scientology leader David Miscavige goes smeary in new court filing

Jeffrey Riffer

Jeffrey Riffer

Scientology leader David Miscavige has filed a motion to get himself dismissed from the massive lawsuit filed by the National Association of Forensic Counselors against Scientology and its drug rehab network, Narconon. But unlike the many other similar motions filed in the case, this is far from a routine legal document, and it includes a short declaration by the reclusive church leader himself.

We told you recently about the NAFC’s interesting adventures trying to serve Miscavige, who was one of 82 defendants named in the lawsuit along with many people who work at Narconon centers and related entities. The NAFC’s lawsuit alleges that Miscavige and the other defendants were involved in a years-long conspiracy to misuse the logos and trademarks of the NAFC in order to make the Narconon centers seem more legitimate than they really are — and all in an attempt to sucker new people ultimately into Scientology itself.

Continue reading RIFFER MADNESS: Scientology leader David Miscavige goes smeary in new court filing

Ken Dandar files another court appeal to get out of Scientology’s million-dollar noose

KenDandar2Let’s keep one thing in mind as we review, once again, why Tampa attorney Ken Dandar is facing ruination.

The only reason his bizarre legal situation exists is because two people died on Scientology’s watch.

One was a young church member named Lisa McPherson, who died in 1995 of severe dehydration, several experts say who examined her autopsy records, though the church managed to wriggle out of a criminal conviction when it put so much pressure on the local medical examiner she caved and changed the cause of death.

Continue reading Ken Dandar files another court appeal to get out of Scientology’s million-dollar noose