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Scientology’s 2014 in review: In chilly February, Hambo began his onslaught

HoffmanHubbardWe’re continuing our countdown of the best stories we covered this year, and we’re looking at what happened in February.

The month started out with a new lawsuit, filed by an attorney in Las Vegas, Ryan Hamilton (a/k/a “Hambo”), who would become a very familiar name here in the Underground Bunker.

We were impressed by the thorough nature of Hamilton’s complaint in the federal fraud lawsuit he was filing against one of Scientology’s drug rehab clinics, Rainbow Canyon Retreat in Nevada, one of the facilities in the Narconon network. By the end of the year, Hamilton would file 24 separate lawsuits against the Narconon system.

On February 2, Philip Seymour Hoffman, who had played a character based on L. Ron Hubbard in the film The Master, was found dead of a drug overdose in his New York apartment.

A few days later, Vanity Fair published a story about a subject that we’d been reporting on for some time — the disappearance of David Miscavige’s wife, Shelly. And then, on February 7, we had a wild new chapter in that story — a report from a security employee who had reportedly told a friend that he was part of the detail making sure Shelly Miscavige didn’t leave her mountain prison.

On February 10, we got a wild hair and decided to pontificate about the way the media always exaggerates Scientology’s celebrity quotient.

On February 23, Scientology had a big day in England with the wedding of Alessandro Calcioli and Louisa Hodkin. While the British press did a pretty good job covering the legal fight the couple had been through to change English wedding laws, we had even more background we wish the papers had paid attention to.

On the 27th, we had an unusual exclusive. We managed to talk to the niece of newly appointed prime minister of the embattled Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. She flatly denied the rumor that had been swirling around for several years, that her uncle and her mother were heavily involved in Scientology. They weren’t involved at all, she told us.

A LOOK BACK AT FEBRUARY 2013: Jenna Miscavige Hill’s memoir, Beyond Belief, is published. Harlan Ellison helps us document a Hubbard legend. And former Narconon executive Eric Tenorio comes forward.

 
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Scientology refunds and repayments

Jeffrey Augustine and Karen de la Carriere explain the Orwellian world of Scientology’s refund processes.

 

 
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The Scientology Christmas catalog takes a beating

First it was Jerry Coyne back in November who had a laugh at the expense of Scientology and its clownish “Christmas” online catalog. Coyne is one of our favorite bloggers — the biology professor’s “Evolution is True” is often the best damned thing on the Internet some days.

And now, Deadspin’s Drew Magary has really taken apart the catalog in a hilarious extended take. Magary has long had an interest in Scientology reporting and we always enjoyed getting a boost to our Bunker stories from him with his wide Twitter reach. You’ll howl at the way he eviscerates the stupidity of the catalog.

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on December 22, 2014 at 07:00

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, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48

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, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

 

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