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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Scientology’s front group that targets kids gets cover from a Swiss politician: News report

FaktenUberDrogen

 
Once again, Jonny Jacobsen is our man on the scene in Europe, where news of Scientology’s infiltration of a Swiss national organization broke in the local press. Give us the details, Jonny…

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EXCLUSIVE: Tom Cruise Scientology video shows the actor praising the church — in Spanish!

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Thanks to former Scientologist Tiziano Lugli, we have a world exclusive for you today here at the Underground Bunker. It’s a previously unreleased video made by the Church of Scientology and intended only to be seen by members. It’s a short segment that’s part of a larger, hour-and-a-half grand opening celebration, and it captures Tom Cruise helping to open the new Madrid church in 2004, with the actor charming the locals by giving a 7-minute speech about what Scientology means to him — in Spanish!

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Why no one should ever believe anything said by Scientology Sea Org or staff members

LyingJeffrey Augustine is back with another delicious dive into Scientology’s own policies and documents. In this case, he’s looking at Scientology’s own statements about whether you should ever believe a word they say…

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Why is the press so timid about outing Scientology’s many front groups?

SciDrugFree2We’re very happy to see a small publication like the Santa Clarita Express in Southern California expose a Scientology front group for what it is. Reporter Melissa Lampert revealed in her Thursday story that the local branch of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office will be offering a class put on by the Foundation for a Drug-Free World for teens in September. We hope that kind of pressure makes the Sheriff’s Office think about whether it really wants to get into bed with Scientology.

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How Scientology sets up its members to find themselves helpless in court

ScalesWe’ve provided a lot of detailed, step-by-step coverage of numerous lawsuits involving the Church of Scientology in recent years. They tend to involve large dollar amounts (as in the case of the Garcias, who say they were defrauded of about $440,000), or years of abuse (as in the case of Laura DeCrescenzo), or major legal maneuvers from Scientology’s top officials and lawyers (as in the case of Monique Rathbun’s harassment suit in Texas).

But today we have something on the other end of the scale. A legal action involving a modest request for a refund that took place this week in a Phoenix small claims court, and which once again proved how Scientology has US courts tied up in knots because of the draconian nature of the contracts it makes members sign.

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Um, about that story claiming Will Smith got a ‘refund’ from his broke-ass shuttered school…

Jaden, Willow, Jada, and Will Smith, from a 2010 BBC appearance

Jaden, Willow, Jada, and Will Smith, from a 2010 BBC appearance

You may have run across a very confusing story about Scientology, Will and Jada Smith, and a “refund” that spun out across tabloid news websites yesterday.

Like lemmings, many sites simply repeated what started with a RadarOnline story claiming that tax records showed Will and Jada had received a $1.2 million refund from a “church-affiliated” school which shut down in 2013.

Continue reading Um, about that story claiming Will Smith got a ‘refund’ from his broke-ass shuttered school…

What really happens at a Scientology rehab? Nick Lister dishes on the Narconon experience

Nick_Lister_Aaron2Hey, we’re still recovering from last night’s wild time in London. Thankfully, Aaron Smith-Levin has sent over a couple of new videos interview Nick Lister in their series, “Growing Up In Scientology.” We’ll let Aaron introduce them…

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London! And a member of government asks us, what can we do about Scientology?

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Not everyone gets so close up to Big Ben you get this perspective.

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Scientology’s Freedom magazine congratulates itself for going ‘Ideal’

FreedomCoversWe’ve greatly enjoyed the new Freedom magazine. Scientology’s propaganda outlet used to be a lot wackier and in its own way was screamingly funny. For several years it came out only about once a year, and when it did, it was a doozy — issues slammed Marty Rathbun for running his own “cult” (A Posse of Lunatics), or went after Lawrence Wright, Paul Haggis, and The New Yorker (What a Load of Balderdash).

The writing in those issues was slimy and hilarious, and it was quite clear that it had been done to Scientology leader David Miscavige’s exacting standards of ridicule. But then, after about a year with no issues, Freedom reappeared a year ago after a new staff had been assembled in Los Angeles. This new incarnation of Freedom is very entertaining in its earnestness.

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Garcias’ appeal rejected; now the couple faces the real possibility of Scientology arbitration

Luis_GarciaAnother setback for the Garcias, and this one seems to leave little else for them to do but to submit to Scientology’s internal arbitration scheme.

As we told you earlier, Luis and Rocio Garcia appealed the ruling by federal Judge James Whittemore granting Scientology’s motion to compel the Garcias to use the church’s arbitration process — even though Whittemore himself admitted that there was significant evidence that the arbitration scheme was a sham and didn’t exist.

Continue reading Garcias’ appeal rejected; now the couple faces the real possibility of Scientology arbitration