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Flag Down drama — Mark Bunker kicked out by conference organizer

MarkBunkerWe just heard from longtime Scientology critic Mark Bunker, who has just been summarily ejected from the Flag Down 2014 conference in Clearwater by organizer Laura Flynn.

“I just got kicked out and so did Tom Smith,” Bunker told us by telephone.

Leading up to the days of the conference, Flynn had been saying at the WWP forum that she didn’t want Bunker at the conference because she said it might cause the conference trouble. Bunker has an existing permanent injunction against him taken out by Scientology because of protests that happened more than a decade ago. But that injunction requires him to stay away from Scientology buildings and Scientologists, not critics at a conference.

Bunker tells us he arrived at the conference with local radio host Tom Smith, who was also kicked out by Flynn.

“We arrived here just as John Sweeney and Pete Griffiths and a few others were showing up,” Bunker told us. “We went over to the door and were chatting with people. One local woman came up and said she was really glad to see us there.”

But then Flynn arrived with a Sheriff’s deputy, and had the deputy tell Bunker he had to go. “You know why you have to leave, Mark,” he says Flynn told him.

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When Mark tried to talk to Sweeney about what was happening, the deputy told him firmly that he had to leave or “this is getting ugly.”

“I tried to quickly explain what was going on to Sweeney, and now I have just pulled out of here,” Bunker said. He said Sweeney’s wife was filming, so some video footage might show up soon.

“I don’t think I have to leave, but if you want me to, I’ll leave,” Bunker said he told the deputy.

Bunker was also approached by a process server the church apparently sent, who asked him, “Are you Arnie Lerma?”

We wondered why Tom Smith was also asked to leave. He doesn’t have an injunction against him.

“She didn’t want him there,” Bunker said.

Bunker managed to snap a photo of the church process server…

 
ProcessServer

 
And here’s video from the event. Part 1…

 



Video streaming by Ustream

 
And part 2…

 



Video streaming by Ustream

 
UPDATE: We just talked to Tom Smith, whose radio shows from several years ago were dynamite interviews of people like Bill Franks.

We asked Tom why he thought Laura Flynn had him kicked out of the conference.

“She wouldn’t give a reason. I’m not subject to any injunctions ever in my life. I’ve never been arrested for anything. I just don’t know what is going on. I was, let’s say, amazed that she did that,” he told us. “And let me say, Mark was just a spectator. This has nothing to do with protesting, so the injunction is not relevant.”

Then Tom told us he had talked to Flynn about Bunker possibly attending some time ago.

“I talked to Laura about a month ago, and she said she didn’t want Bunker there. I asked why, and she said she just doesn’t like him,” he says.

Tom says he got angry, she thanked him and hung up. “I guess she’s nursing a grudge about me speaking up for Mark. I can’t really think of anything else.”

We then talked again to Bunker, who says he’s seen some of the online chatter about his being kicked out.

“They’re saying that people were being served papers because I arrived tonight? Well Laura had apparently been served this morning. It had nothing to do with me. They were trying to use the injunction as an excuse to serve papers,” Mark says.

Meanwhile, we received this from a correspondent. Looks like a decent crowd…

 
TheCrowd

 
Watching the wires for differing opinions. From Wolfbane at WWP…

“I have no grudge against WBM [Bunker] nor Tom Smith. And have a great deal of respect for their work, and always will. But in this instance, they made the decision to be assholes and got treated like such. Stupid move was stupid. And hilarity ensued. One does not simply out-asshole an asshole like amaX [Laura Flynn]. <3 "From Garry Scarff at Facebook..."This is an event that was heavily publicized & Pete [Griffiths] continually asked for donations. I'm aware of ex-Scios that contributed $$ to Flag Down that were told they were not invited. Laura should have expected to be served by some BS injunction from the COS. They are angry that Flag Down is taking place. But to grab a sheriff's deputy & treat Mark Bunker & Tom like shit is ridiculous ... She should be ashamed of herself."From Xenu is Lord at WWP..."I love Mark and will always support him but he has gotten to touchy feely over the cult. The fact is he knew he was putting people at risk of being fucked with by the cult by coming. What is worse, is he did a video a few months back where where he made the choice to not fight the injunction that he knew full well the cult was still trying to bind him to. His answer for everything as of late, is just go happy lucky and be nice. Well maybe it is time for him to fight back."Sam Domingo at Facebook..."OSA is going to do everything they can to try to stop Flag Down from having any effect on it's dwindling stats. The organisers have to do everything they can to avoid trouble before it starts so I can see why they wouldn't want Mark Bunker attending. Maybe Mark could have been dealt with in a more dignified manner but none of us were there and it looks to me to be more like a personality clash than something worth speculating about before we have more information. My 10c worth. The cult is like a cornered animal injured and fighting so it's probably only going to get noisier as time goes on." UPDATE: Mark Bunker put this in the comments, but I want to put it here for posterity…

Hey, there. I just got back from the “drama” and I just want to say that us being kicked out shouldn’t in anyway overshadow the event. I look forward to hearing what Sweeney and the other speakers had to say. I had planned to stay away because I’d been hearing for months how much this woman hates me but there are any number of reasons why random people can hate me so that doesn’t surprise me. There are many days when I hate myself. Take a number. But last Friday I heard from Tom Smith who called me to say he wasn’t welcome and I thought this was just silly and I said “let’s just go.” At the most I thought we would be grumbled at. I never expected to have the sheriff’s department kick me out so I left. I wasn’t there to create a scene. I just expected to watch some speakers.

As to people being served because I showed up…well, it looks like Laura was served a fake copy of the injunction hours before I arrived so they certainly were going to try to use the injunction against them whether I was there or not. I say a fake copy because it was xeroxed and not an official certified copy. Here’s one that was lying on the ground when I arrived. It came with a picture off the web that had me a Peter at an Dublin Anon raid. I was visiting Bob and Stacy and dropped by the raid for about a half an hour and posed for a couple of pictures. This is supposed to show we are in collusion? Please. I had nothing to do with this event or the organizers.

My attorney Denis deVlaming and I sat down a few months back with the police chief and others from the police department including attorney Rob Surette who assured us the injunction would only be used against me and not against others so we will let the police know that this stuff is complete nonsense and should not be used to tar anyone else who is in town.

Tom shot some video of the process server which I will put up later.

 
UPDATE: And now here’s what Laura Flynn herself just posted (1:30 am) at WWP. It’s lengthy, but we figure it’s best to post the entire thing.

Hi guise. I’m almost crying from the support here. I wish I’d been able to see this a few hours ago. This past weekend and tonight have been hellish. While everyone else is vacationing and doing radio and tv interviews I’ve been doing the grunt work for this conference. Please keep in mind when you read this wall of text that I am still sick. There’s a flu going around that keeps coming back. While all these things were happening my fever was spiking and then it would break.

Yes a process server or fake process server did bring me a true copy of the LMT injunction today while I was finishing up some of the decorations for the conference. Decorations that I made with my own money and on my own time. The guy who delivered it did make sure that I noted the page that was highlighted in orange basically stating that I can’t be in concert with anyone listed on the injunction. Yeah. I get it. BTW The Norwegian film crew with Geir got a hold of my copy which I took to the venue. They asked for it so I gave it to them. I told them to throw it away when they were done with it because that’s what I was going to do with it.

I took off from my home around 3:30PM with my conference clothes in a publix grocery bag because I had to sweat for two hours setting up the gym with only my husband to help. I didn’t get a chance to even wipe my face or put on make-up of anything. I simply put on my conference clothes in the bathroom at the Minnreg.

I go to sit down at the entrance table and I see Tom Smith outside. I no longer speak to Tom Smith and that is my right. I have not had a conversation with Tom Smith in quite a few months so if he is telling people that he spoke with me about a month ago that is not true. Tom Smith did tell Darth Xander that he would not be attending Flag Down because I was going to be there. Tom Smith did inform Xander that he would be attending the brunch held by TheHoleDoesNotExist on Wednesday morning. So even though I am friends with THDNE I contacted her and told her what was going on and that I would not attend so that Tom could attend an event. She understood even though now people will never see the baton twirling contest that she and I were going to take part in.

I go outside to ask the police officer to ask Tom Smith to leave and I come face-to-face with Mark Bunker who is surrounded by quite a few people.

I immediately went to the police officer that I hired and asked him to please ask these two men to leave. None of you will ever know what it feels like to tell someone about this injunction and that the people listed on it can’t be in concert with other critics and have the person look at you and say, “Why did he show up then?” It’s hard to make people with good common sense understand it.

The officer was cordial, but did have to finally insist that they both leave because both of them starting bantering loudly back-and-forth about how they were being kicked out. They were just blithering and not moving so the officer told them they needed to leave now.

Of course the whole thing is being filmed and everyone is not understanding what’s going on so I try to explain that I’m protecting myself and everyone else when Joe Childs steps up to introduce himself and shake my hand and then ask for an explanation. This is all happening just minutes before we’re supposed to start.

I knew there would be severe complaints for my making Bunker and Smith leave.

I hear almost immediately that the internet is blowing up because Bunker has called Ortega and Ortega has posted it on his blog. One person is showing me some of the tamer comments about me. Then Arnie Lerma asks to talk to me about what happened. One thing I will say about Arnie is that he listens. After I explained myself he said that he now understood why I did it, but he wasn’t sure if it needed to be done. Then I got a phone call (yes, a PHONE CALL) during the conference from someone wanting to discuss why I’d thrown out Bunker. I told the person I could not talk right now.

Everyone at the conference knows what happened and about 2/3’s are not happy with me.

I know that Mark Bunker doesn’t care for me. I don’t care for him either. But I would never do what he did tonight. I had hoped that Mr. Bunker would have been a gentleman and not put me in the position of having to remove him from the premises to protect everyone at the venue from that stupid injunction, but I was wrong. And he did it just minutes before I was supposed to introduce Pete. That’s right. I was supposed to greet everyone and then introduce Pete. I was so upset with everything going on that I chose not to do that. I am sure that will make Bunker and all the Bunkerites gleeful knowing that they caused me so much upset that I couldn’t even do a 90 second intro to welcome people to a conference that I have worked full-time on for months. A conference that I have spent hundreds of dollars of my own money to make happen.

I am sick, exhausted, and overworked. I’m also not sure why I’m such a horrible person for protecting myself and other people with being served with an injunction that requires you to hire an attorney to fight.

Now I’m listening to Amarillo By Morning by George Strait. I’m going to lie down and cry myself to sleep.

One more thing—I love you guys. Thank you for the support and for posting the words of encouragement from the other sites. <3 why we protest is the best.

 
And now Tom Smith’s reply to Laura Flynn, also from WWP…

“I go to sit down at the entrance table and I see Tom Smith outside. I no longer speak to Tom Smith and that is my right. I have not had a conversation with Tom Smith in quite a few months so if he is telling people that he spoke with me about a month ago that is not true.”

I believe that I told Tony O a couple months. In our last conversation you wanted me to speak at the conference. I brought up Mark Bunker and asked for an explanation of why you did not want him there. You mentioned the injunction which I pointed out did not apply. You said that you did not like him anyway. I protested that and you hung up on me.

“Tom Smith did tell Darth Xander that he would not be attending Flag Down because I was going to be there.”

I told him that it appeared to me that AMA had disconnected from me and I likely was not welcome there. Xander encouraged me to attend anyway.

“I go outside to ask the police officer to ask Tom Smith to leave and I come face-to-face with Mark Bunker who is surrounded by quite a few people. I immediately went to the police officer that I hired and asked him to please ask these two men to leave.”

That was a Sheriff’s deputy and he initially ordered, not asked, Mark to leave, Then, he ordered, not asked, me to leave, based on your instructions to him.

“The officer was cordial, but did have to finally insist that they both leave because both of them starting bantering loudly back-and-forth about how they were being kicked out. They were just blithering and not moving so the officer told them they needed to leave now.”

I think we have some video footage of that which Mark will post. I asked you for a reason why you wanted me to leave and you refused to provide any. I addressed you and the deputy directly at that time, not Mark. No bantering or blithering occurred.

I hope that those who participate in Flag Down will come away with a greater understanding of what is going on in scientology. In the 28 years I was involved, I witnessed many abuses where they acted out of their prejudices and emotions, but at no time did they use law enforcement to tell me to go away. AMA, perhaps you should step aside and let Peter take charge of the conference for the remainder.

 
And now, here’s video of the eviction, shot by Tom Smith. Unfortunately, it could not be stabilized, and we apologize for the shaky picture.

 

 
——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on May 5, 2014 at 19:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN (Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING (Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43

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