Tony Ortega is executive editor of TheLipTV and is formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He's written about Scientology since 1995, and in May 2015 released a book about Scientology's harassment of Paulette Cooper titled 'The Unbreakable Miss Lovely.' 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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Did Scientology hire the man sent to prison for hacking us? Not his job to find out, judge said

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As Eric Saldarriaga was leaving a ninth-floor courtroom at the old federal court house in New York City following his sentencing yesterday, he was in tears.

I couldn’t help wincing.

Continue reading Did Scientology hire the man sent to prison for hacking us? Not his job to find out, judge said

Jefferson Hawkins on how Scientology closes minds — a new podcast

Jefferson_Hawkins_ObeyAfter we posted yesterday’s story about how Mike Rinder and I had learned that we had each been victimized by the same private investigator, Eric Saldarriaga, I received an invitation form the US Attorney’s Office to speak at Saldarriaga’s sentencing today.

I decided to take it. The sentencing happens at 2 pm, and we are looking forward to it. But we’re also trying to prepare for this weekend’s book tour stop in Clearwater, Florida, so it’s going to be a busy day.

Continue reading Jefferson Hawkins on how Scientology closes minds — a new podcast

MIKE RINDER AND REPORTER: MAN CONVICTED OF HACKING WAS WORKING FOR SCIENTOLOGY

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Eric Saldarriaga faces sentencing Friday for the attempted hacking of the former church spokesman, who asks feds to look into Scientology’s alleged culpability

By Tony Ortega

Tomorrow in New York, Eric Saldarriaga, a 41-year-old Astoria, Queens private investigator, will be sentenced in federal court after pleading guilty to hiring a hacker to access private email accounts on behalf of his clients.

Continue reading MIKE RINDER AND REPORTER: MAN CONVICTED OF HACKING WAS WORKING FOR SCIENTOLOGY

Nora Crest in Toronto: Growing up in Scientology means indoctrination from birth

Nora_CrestWe had to leave the Toronto Scientology conference to deal with some changes back here in New York, but Jonny Jacobsen remained, and submitted this account of Nora Crest’s presentation on Wednesday.

Nora Crest gave a sharp, funny and at times moving account of what it is like to grow up inside Scientology. She was born in 1976, a few years after her mother had started in Scientology. Her mother was working with the Guardian’s Office in Sacramento – the old intelligence unit.

Continue reading Nora Crest in Toronto: Growing up in Scientology means indoctrination from birth

A rundown on the truth being delivered at the Toronto Scientology conference

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It was a real highlight for us to meet for the first time a frequent contributor to the Underground Bunker, former Sea Org worker Chris Shelton. We asked him to give us a report about his first day speaking at the Toronto conference yesterday. Here’s what he sent us.

Continue reading A rundown on the truth being delivered at the Toronto Scientology conference

Reed Slatkin dies of heart attack — Scientologist served time as major Ponzi schemer

Reed_SlatkinMary-Jo Alburger, former wife to convicted Ponzi schemer Reed Slatkin, confirmed to us this afternoon that her former husband died Saturday at about 3 pm of a massive heart attack. He was 66.

“He was alone and he made it to the hospital. He seemed to know he was having a heart attack and he collapsed and fell dead,” Alburger told us in a telephone call today.

Continue reading Reed Slatkin dies of heart attack — Scientologist served time as major Ponzi schemer

Jon Atack puts us on the spot at the Toronto Scientology conference

CFITorontoThis morning, Paulette Cooper and your proprietor will be on the hot seat at the Scientology conference in Toronto. Jon Atack has asked us to speak about Paulette’s legendary harassment by the Church of Scientology as a way to discuss the Guardian’s Office and the Office of Special Affairs — the spy wings of the only church that we know of that has a spy wing.

In advance of our talk, Atack sent us out a questionnaire. We did our best to provide some cogent answers. So here we go…

Continue reading Jon Atack puts us on the spot at the Toronto Scientology conference

LIVE-BLOGGING: The Toronto conference on Scientology kicks off and we’re on the scene

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It’s day one of the Scientology studies conference that’s been organized in Toronto by Jon Atack, and we’ve already had a blast. Yesterday, we arrived and began hanging out with a stellar list of people who appear regularly in stories here at the Underground Bunker.

When, for example, do you expect to find Gerry Armstrong sitting with Hana Whitfield? Come on, this is amazing.

Continue reading LIVE-BLOGGING: The Toronto conference on Scientology kicks off and we’re on the scene

‘Book ‘em, Danno': Just for fun, L. Ron Hubbard’s fingerprints, revealed!

HubbardLAPDThanks to researcher R.M. Seibert and the MuckRock website, we’ve been receiving some pretty great original documents about L. Ron Hubbard and his family lately, some of which have never been seen in public or put online before.

Much of it is also very serious, and is having us rethink some of the historical record about Hubbard and Scientology. But also, there’s some fun stuff. Like the new file that came through Friday.

Continue reading ‘Book ‘em, Danno': Just for fun, L. Ron Hubbard’s fingerprints, revealed!

RFK Jr’s anti-vax activism hits lowest spot ever — with Scientology and the Nation of Islam

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[RFK Jr. flanked Thursday night by Dr. Brian Hooker, left, and Rev. Tony Muhammad]

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. insists that he’s “pro-vaccine,” but his actions and writings say otherwise. However, even we didn’t think the once respected public figure would sink this low — peddling his anti-vaccine message at a Scientology facility Thursday night in order to alarm the black community of Los Angeles.

Continue reading RFK Jr’s anti-vax activism hits lowest spot ever — with Scientology and the Nation of Islam