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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VIDEO LEAK: See former Scientology official Marty Rathbun interrogated under oath

Marty_Rathbun_depoWe’ve got another explosive story for you today here at the Underground Bunker. It’s the first portion of a videotaped deposition former Church of Scientology executive Mark “Marty” Rathbun sat for last month in a federal fraud lawsuit against the church.

Rathbun spent 27 years in Scientology and was its “inspector general for ethics,” the second-highest ranking official in the organization. He was known as a ruthlessly effective enforcer who then became disaffected and left the group in 2004. Today, he’s considered one of the biggest threats to Scientology’s continued existence, and on December 22, for the first time since his defection, he sat for a deposition and was questioned by the church’s own attorneys.

Continue reading VIDEO LEAK: See former Scientology official Marty Rathbun interrogated under oath

L. Ron Hubbard fisticuffs! Scientology secrets unearthed in a new government disclosure

Mary_Sue_Hubbard_LRHA friend of the Underground Bunker who is also a researcher at WhyWeProtest.net hit a small jackpot this week when a Freedom of Information Act request she made through the MuckRock website yielded fascinating new disclosures about Scientology in its early decades.

In the early 1960s, the Food and Drug Administration was concerned enough about the health claims being made by Scientology with its “e-meters,” that it raided the “Founding Church” in Washington DC after several years of investigations.

Continue reading L. Ron Hubbard fisticuffs! Scientology secrets unearthed in a new government disclosure

Scientology takes out full-page ad in the New York Times to attack Alex Gibney

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UPDATED: Scientology’s ad is now in the post, as well as a response from Alex Gibney. See below.

This is a fun one: New York Times staffer Michael Cieply reporting on an ad in his own newspaper.

Cieply reports that the Church of Scientology has taken out a full page ad in the Times to slam Alex Gibney, whose documentary about Scientology, Going Clear, premieres at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25.

You just knew Scientology was going to make this fun, didn’t you?

Continue reading Scientology takes out full-page ad in the New York Times to attack Alex Gibney

‘Phantom of the Opera’ gets a two-fer: Scientologist and child molester!

PhantomWow, James Barbour is back in a big way.

A few days ago, it was announced that Barbour was taking on the title role in Broadway’s longest-running production, Phantom of the Opera. And then, last night, the producers of the show felt compelled to answer an overwhelming Internet response to the news that Barbour was joining the cast.

Here’s what the show released…

Continue reading ‘Phantom of the Opera’ gets a two-fer: Scientologist and child molester!

Scientology reveals a lot more of its lofty plans for the former KCET studios

KCETWe’ve been curious about what Scientology was going to do with the old KCET studios in Los Angeles since they bought the complex back in 2011. It’s now under renovation, and we’re getting more and more information about what Scientology leader David Miscavige thinks he’s going to do with it.

Now, Scientology has put out a website with a lot more detail about the new plans, and we thought we’d excerpt some of the more relevant parts of it, for informational purposes.

Continue reading Scientology reveals a lot more of its lofty plans for the former KCET studios

Claire Headley explains her amazing Scientology experience as Tom Cruise’s ‘examiner’

Claire_HeadleyThe Underground Bunker is very happy that we could play a small role in bringing together one of our favorite people — Claire Headley — with David Pakman, who is doing some very good work interviewing former Scientologists about their experiences.

Claire explains how she grew up in Scientology, what it meant to be a young member of the Sea Org — and signing a contract for a billion years at only eight years of age — and what it was like to dedicate your entire life to L. Ron Hubbard.

Continue reading Claire Headley explains her amazing Scientology experience as Tom Cruise’s ‘examiner’

What Howard Stern should have asked Kirstie Alley about Scientology

Back in the day, still infested with space cooties.

Back in the day, still infested with space cooties.

When did Howard Stern become such a doormat?

Yesterday, once again, he had actress Kirstie Alley on his show, and once again he let her off easy regarding her involvement in Scientology and her rivalry with Leah Remini.

The last time Alley was on, she called Remini a “bigot” after Remini had left Scientology and then made public that her former friends in the organization had dropped her like a hot potato — a result of Scientology’s “disconnection” policy.

Continue reading What Howard Stern should have asked Kirstie Alley about Scientology

Monday Funnies: More evidence that Scientology is gearing up for a really tough 2015

UnbreakableCoverSurprise! If you’re looking for our Monday reveal, we sprang it early, on Saturday afternoon. Our big secret was the title and subject of our forthcoming book, ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely,’ about the life of Paulette Cooper, which London-based Silvertail Books is publishing in May.

We decided to keep that announcement up the rest of the weekend, so today we’re going to post our delayed Sunday Funnies — they’re our Monday Funnies!

And we’re going to start off with more evidence which convinces us that Scientology is taking very seriously the threats it is facing in 2015. We know that the organization has been dealing with dwindling membership for years, key defections by important officials, a tenacious “indie” movement that tries to entice other members to leave, and the growing legal problems of Narconon.

Continue reading Monday Funnies: More evidence that Scientology is gearing up for a really tough 2015

COMING IN MAY: A book about Scientology’s most infamous campaign of terror

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London-based Silvertail Books is to publish The Unbreakable Miss Lovely by Tony Ortega, the story of the life of author Paulette Cooper, the most famous victim of the Church of Scientology’s notorious and ruthless ‘Fair Game’ retaliation schemes.

Continue reading COMING IN MAY: A book about Scientology’s most infamous campaign of terror

Jon Atack: Scientology’s ‘training routines’ and their relationship to meditation

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.

We’re encouraged, Jon, that you’ve been receiving messages about your pieces here in the Bunker. And this week, you wanted to respond to one question in particular, about meditation and Scientology’s odd ‘training routines.’ We’re curious about this too. Take it away, Jon.

Continue reading Jon Atack: Scientology’s ‘training routines’ and their relationship to meditation