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]
Facebook

Subscribe to our e-mail list

The paranoid, depressed L. Ron Hubbard: Jim Dincalci’s 1997 ‘Secret Lives’ TV interview

Jim_Dincalci_SL

We have another uncut interview leaked for the first time from Channel 4’s excellent 1997 documentary, Secret Lives — L. Ron Hubbard, this time with Hubbard’s former medical officer, Jim Dincalci.

The documentary is one of the better ones made about Scientology, and it contains numerous short clips of people who knew Hubbard. A source is releasing to us the uncut segments with these participants for the first time. So far, we’ve seen interviews with Hubbard’s literary agent, Forrest Ackerman, his press assistant and lover, Barbara Klowden, one of Hubbard’s fellow science fiction colleagues, Arthur Jean Cox, and the former mayor of Clearwater, Florida, Gabe Cazares.

Continue reading The paranoid, depressed L. Ron Hubbard: Jim Dincalci’s 1997 ‘Secret Lives’ TV interview

Scientology Sunday Funnies: New ‘Continental’ Narconons opening soon?

Chris_Shelton_GibneyIt’s that time of the week again, when we share with you some of the Scientology communications that our great tipsters have sent us.

We also have a couple of emails that some members received. And we have a new video from Chris Shelton, as he looks forward to Alex Gibney’s documentary airing next month on HBO.

Let’s start off with the emails.

Continue reading Scientology Sunday Funnies: New ‘Continental’ Narconons opening soon?

More secrets from Scientology’s vanished entity, Narconon International

Where's Clark?

Where’s Clark?

On Monday, we told you about the latest adventures of our friend Mark Ebner, who once again stumbled across some things Scientology had abandoned. In this case, they were documents sitting in an empty office building on Hollywood Boulevard that for at least several years had been the headquarters of Narconon International.

Narconon International and its president, Clark Carr, had left the building so suddenly, there were documents lying around, a softball bat, magazines, and other things that Ebner took pictures of or scooped up and mailed us.

We were surprised, but we also told you that we had been hearing from one of our best sources that Narconon International, the umbrella group that oversees Scientology’s drug rehab clinics, was in trouble and was going to be dismantled. And now, here was some proof of it.

Continue reading More secrets from Scientology’s vanished entity, Narconon International

Days before crucial hearing, Scientology pulls out a ghost to sway a federal judge

Judge James D. Whittemore

Judge James D. Whittemore

Federal Tampa district Judge James D. Whittemore has been preparing in a very methodical way ahead of a February 18 evidentiary hearing that could have a huge impact on the Church of Scientology.

He’s already held one live hearing on this important preliminary matter, and in anticipation of next week’s event, he ordered both sides in the Luis and Rocio Garcia fraud lawsuit against the church to conduct numerous depositions.

We published one deposition transcript, two video segments from another (one, two), and detailed some of the complications about scheduling a third. But there were several others which were scheduled that we haven’t had a chance to discuss.

Continue reading Days before crucial hearing, Scientology pulls out a ghost to sway a federal judge

Fact-checking Danny Masterson’s remarkable Paper interview about Scientology

Danny_Masterson

By now you’ve probably seen Danny Masterson’s interview with Paper magazine, which was posted online Wednesday evening. The piece is getting a lot of attention because Scientology’s celebrities are usually very reluctant to talk publicly about the secretive organization.

The last time an actor said so much about his involvement in Scientology, and as aggressively, it was Tom Cruise in 2005, and it backfired on him rather spectacularly. But now, with Alex Gibney’s Scientology documentary, based on Lawrence Wright’s book Going Clear, airing on HBO on March 16 after its successful premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Masterson has been set loose, and with pretty remarkable results.

Continue reading Fact-checking Danny Masterson’s remarkable Paper interview about Scientology

These are the superpowers Scientologists are paying big bucks to attain

AdvanceCoverDuring our time at the Village Voice one of our readers’ favorite features were the “OT Phenomena” we dug out of old copies of Advance! magazine.

Jefferson Hawkins, who at one time edited the magazine, told us that “OT Phenomena” was the most popular feature in the publication. It featured the tantalizing tales of superhuman abilities that were being experienced by Scientologists who had reached the “Operating Thetan” or “OT” levels — the highest and most expensive courses in the pay-as-you-go organization.

Continue reading These are the superpowers Scientologists are paying big bucks to attain

‘You encourage people to leave the Church of Scientology': The Mike Rinder deposition

Mike_RinderOn Wednesday, we told you about the startling admission by Mike Rinder in his January 6 sworn deposition that Leah Remini, who defected from Scientology in 2013, has been in talks to join a federal fraud lawsuit against the church.

Now, we’re going to post the entire deposition for you to examine, and we think you’ll find a few other things in it pretty entertaining.

Continue reading ‘You encourage people to leave the Church of Scientology': The Mike Rinder deposition

Mark Ebner finds Scientology’s rubbish again as Narconon International vanishes!

Clark Carr, where'd you go?

Clark Carr, where’d you go?

One of our better sources said it to us several months ago, and it was so startling, we really weren’t sure what to make of it.

“Narconon International is being dismantled,” he told us.

Hang on. Narconon International, the Scientology umbrella group that oversees and licenses all Narconon rehab centers around the world, which sits just under another Scientology umbrella group, the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE), is going away? What made him think so?

Continue reading Mark Ebner finds Scientology’s rubbish again as Narconon International vanishes!

Ryan Hamilton’s plan to consolidate his lawsuits against Scientology rehabs is denied

Ryan Hamilton

Ryan Hamilton

We’re so used to Las Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton running roughshod over his opponents, this comes as a bit of a surprise. But Hamilton’s attempt to have his many lawsuits in several states against Scientology’s drug rehab network Narconon consolidated into a single federal court in Nevada was rejected on Friday.

Consolidating the cases would have simplified things for Hamilton — with so many cases (27 filed in total), they’re generating many motions which are very similar to each other.

Continue reading Ryan Hamilton’s plan to consolidate his lawsuits against Scientology rehabs is denied

An L. Ron Hubbard island fantasy: The Scientology daydream you haven’t heard

Hubbard1956On Tuesday, we told you about new FDA documents which helped us fill in some gaps in Scientology history. The documents took us back to late 1957, when L. Ron Hubbard hatched a scheme to force the country’s psychiatrists and psychologists to take a “loyalty oath” he’d dreamed up, with hopes of rooting out disloyal shrinks and then sending their names to Vice President Richard Nixon for persecution.

Nixon didn’t like being named in Hubbard’s plot, and he sicced the Secret Service on Scientology, which prompted Hubbard in 1960 to tell his followers not to vote for Nixon in that year’s presidential election. And hey, Nixon lost in a squeaker! And you thought postulates weren’t effective.

Continue reading An L. Ron Hubbard island fantasy: The Scientology daydream you haven’t heard