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

Sunday Funnies: Scientology wants your child, even if it’s not yet born!

DuffsIt’s that time of the week when we share with you the best Scientology fundraising fliers that have been forwarded to us by our great tipsters.

These fliers give us some insight into how desperate the organization is as it tries to get more and more money out of fewer and fewer folks.

We’re also eternally fascinated to see who is still turning over big checks when it’s pretty obvious that Scientology’s apocalypse is in full swing.

Continue reading Sunday Funnies: Scientology wants your child, even if it’s not yet born!

Jon Atack: How to talk to a Scientologist to plant the seeds of doubt

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.

Jon, it looks like you have found another fun way to turn the words of L. Ron Hubbard back in on themselves. Let’s hear it.

Continue reading Jon Atack: How to talk to a Scientologist to plant the seeds of doubt

What VICE magazine got wrong about Scientology in the UK

Scientology's model child: A young Neil

Scientology’s model child: A young Neil

Although we noticed some of our readers praising the piece, we were disappointed with the recent interview of Jon Atack in VICE magazine. We fired off a missive to the magazine’s editors, and thought the residents of the Bunker might appreciate a gander at it.

It’s great to see VICE talk to one of the world’s top experts on Scientology, historian Jon Atack, for a story on Scientology in the UK.

Jon is an invaluable resource, and much of his book on the subject, A Piece of Blue Sky, takes place in England, where Jon was a member.

But it’s surprising that after talking to Jon, VICE came up with the idea that Scientology is mostly about Tom Cruise and Jon Travolta, and that it never seemed to “catch on” in Great Britain.

Continue reading What VICE magazine got wrong about Scientology in the UK

Q&A with Mike Rinder: Understanding the sudden changes at Scientology’s LA complex

Mike_Rinder_2ALSO, SEE BELOW: Jonny Jacobsen gives us a full report on the European Court of Human Rights decision regarding Scientology in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Mike Rinder was once Scientology’s top spokesman and oversaw the organization’s legal affairs. He left Scientology in 2007 after being held for about a year in its notorious internal prison for executives, “The Hole.” Now he writes about Scientology at his own website, and his long involvement in the organization ensures him a steady stream of insider accounts of what’s happening in the church.

Continue reading Q&A with Mike Rinder: Understanding the sudden changes at Scientology’s LA complex

Scientology’s drug rehab network hit with lawsuit number 22 by attorney Ryan Hamilton

sp-175-palmer
Las Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton has filed another federal fraud lawsuit against Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon. That brings to 22 the suits he’s filed against Narconon facilities in Colorado, California, and Nevada.

This time, the plaintiffs are Ricky and Jana Martin and their son Wes, who live in Texas. According to the complaint, on July 23, 2014, the Martins were looking for a rehab facility for Wes, and they talked to Dan Carmichael of Narconon Fresh Start.

Continue reading Scientology’s drug rehab network hit with lawsuit number 22 by attorney Ryan Hamilton

Does a judge’s order in the Garcia fraud lawsuit suggest trouble for Scientology?

Luis_Rocio_Garcia3We’re still waiting for a major decision from Federal District Judge James A. Whittemore in Tampa that will determine if Scientology can dodge a fraud lawsuit by insisting its former members have to submit all grievances to its internal arbitration system rather than litigate in a civil court.

But in the meantime, Scientology asked, and Whittemore granted, a seemingly minor request which we can’t help thinking hints at some trouble for the church’s arbitration gambit.

Continue reading Does a judge’s order in the Garcia fraud lawsuit suggest trouble for Scientology?

Jon Atack takes his presentation — ‘Scientology: The Cult of Greed’ — to Russia

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.

Jon, tell us about your recent trip to Russia.

Continue reading Jon Atack takes his presentation — ‘Scientology: The Cult of Greed’ — to Russia

Celebrating two years in the Bunker: Jonny Jacobsen on Russia, and Sunday Funnies!

BunkerCommand2Two years ago today, we switched on the circuits here in our underground bunker. The cats have been especially needy this week, anticipating our anniversary, and we made sure and stocked up on kibble and booze for today’s celebration.

For those of you who have been with us since the start — and many of you who were with us earlier, during our days at The Village Voice (2007-2012) or even before that, at New Times LA (1999-2002; Tory Christman and Mark Ebner and Mark Bunker, among others) or even a few of you who stretch all the way back to the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999; Rick Ross and Jeff Jacobsen, for example) — we humbly thank you for putting up with our adventures into the weird world of Scientology for so long.

Continue reading Celebrating two years in the Bunker: Jonny Jacobsen on Russia, and Sunday Funnies!

Ryan Hamilton files lawsuit number 21 against Scientology’s drug rehab network

Roberto_ClementeLas Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton continues to add to his total of breach of contract and fraud lawsuits against Narconon, Scientology’s drug rehab network. Hamilton has now filed 21 lawsuits against Narconon facilities in Colorado, California, and Nevada, and all but one of them in federal court.

The latest suit involves the Koslow family of New Mexico, and it involves very recent events. On April 3, 2014 Donna Koslow spoke with Admissions Director Nick Morrill about sending her daughter to the facility.

The Koslows were told that although concepts of L. Ron Hubbard were used, it was “completely secular and had nothing to do whatsoever with Scientology.”

Continue reading Ryan Hamilton files lawsuit number 21 against Scientology’s drug rehab network

Scientology prepares for its big party in England, Maureen Bolstad on the Purification Rundown

RidersSmallScientology’s big fall shindig, the October gala for the International Association of Scientologists, is making its triumphant return to England, and we have a couple of fun images for you to help you get excited for the big party.

Last year, you’ll remember that Scientology leader David Miscavige had a wild hair and shipped the big IAS tent over to Florida so the gala could take place in Clearwater. But now it’s back in England, and that just feels right.

Continue reading Scientology prepares for its big party in England, Maureen Bolstad on the Purification Rundown