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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EXCLUSIVE: Scientology didn’t want you to see this letter it sent to the San Francisco Chronicle

Jamie_Dewolf2Last week, we remarked on what a superb job San Francisco Chronicle reporter Nanette Asimov had done on her lengthy profile of Jamie DeWolf (right), the L. Ron Hubbard great-grandson and Scientology critic we’ve been keeping an eye on for several years.

Jamie is a super-talented storyteller and performance artist who hasn’t exploited his connection to Hubbard as much as he might. He has a solid career that has nothing to do with criticizing Scientology, but he knows that he’s in demand because he has such colorful things to say about his grandfather — L. Ron Hubbard Jr., also known as Ron DeWolf — and his famous great-grandfather.

Continue reading EXCLUSIVE: Scientology didn’t want you to see this letter it sent to the San Francisco Chronicle

Comedy gold: Mark Ebner catches Scientology cheating with Sarah Silverman

LAComedyWomenOn Sunday, our old friend Mark Ebner began tweeting about something he’d spotted on Facebook. On Saturday night, a stand-up showcase featuring women had been scheduled to take place at Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre, and it called itself the “Los Angeles Women in Comedy Festival 2014.”

Continue reading Comedy gold: Mark Ebner catches Scientology cheating with Sarah Silverman

A Bunker Exclusive: Jonny Jacobsen’s 2008 book introduction describing Scientology

Jonny Jacobsen

Jonny Jacobsen

As 2007 was ending, and then as the Anonymous movement reacted to the Tom Cruise video incident in January 2008, a British journalist living in Paris, Jonny Jacobsen, was racing to put together a book about the Church of Scientology. More than a year before “The Truth Rundown,” the blockbuster series in the Tampa Bay Times that came out in 2009, Jacobsen was ready to expose the shocking nature of physical brutality in the highest echelons of Scientology at its secretive base in California, and many other previously unpublished secrets.

But Jonny struggled to find a publisher for his work, and after writing his introduction, he turned instead to another medium: He began his excellent blog, Infinite Complacency.

Continue reading A Bunker Exclusive: Jonny Jacobsen’s 2008 book introduction describing Scientology

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