Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Surreal encounter at Scientology’s secretive Int Base shows up in Danish documentary


Last December, we brought you some pretty bizarre footage. It was shot by Marc Headley, who was visiting Scientology’s secretive Int Base near Hemet, California with a Danish film crew making a documentary about a Danish former Scientologist, Robert Dam.

Dam had spent 20 years in Scientology before leaving in 2004. Headley himself grew up in Scientology and worked at Int Base as a Sea Org worker before he made a dramatic escape in 2005, which is described vividly in his excellent 2009 book, Blown for Good.

Marc told us that their plan in December was to approach the compound’s front gate, and if any Scientologists came out to confront him, Robert would get a chance to ask them questions. Instead what happened was that several Sea Org officials came out and began berating Headley, aiming cameras at him, and Marc captured some of it on his smartphone for us.

Now, the footage shot by the documentary crew has been released as part of a three-part film about Dam and the church. Near the end of the third and final episode, the encounter at the base is shown, and it’s even better than what Marc shared with us last year.


The segment begins at the 31:06-minute mark in this YouTube posting of the episode…


We asked Marc to take a look at it. He said he was surprised at how good the footage was, and he said it was obvious what the Scientology workers were trying to do. “They were trying to get me to do something that I’d go to jail for.” And now that he’s had a chance to see it as an observer, he says with a laugh, “I can’t believe I didn’t punch those guys.”

Catherine Fraser, Int Base’s public relations officer, keeps berating Headley about owing Scientology money. If you know Headley’s story, you know he was a key executive at the base who oversaw millions of dollars in equipment that was used to manufacture CDs and DVDs and many other things. Because equipment needed constant upgrading, Marc ran an approved project to put equipment on eBay for sale to pay for new items. Headley sold thousands of dollars worth of equipment, and had to pay several hundred in fees charged by the website. It’s that money — the fees totaling about $250 — that Marc says they’re accusing him of stealing.

“Believe me, if there was anything to it, they would have filed charges. It started out at $250, but then they kept increasing the number. Now they’re saying 30 or 40 thousand. It’s silliness,” he says.

For his part, Headley can be seen holding up his smartphone, showing photographs of his wife and family on vacations. He wanted the Sea Org workers to see what kind of life there is outside the base.

Dam, meanwhile, recognizes one of the men as John Stumbke, a former RTC Master at Arms, who Dam accuses of subjecting him years ago to a three-week interrogation at the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida.

“Of all the people at the base they sent out, that was a fluke. They didn’t know who Robert was,” Headley tells us.

It’s a powerful moment in the chaotic scene, and we’re glad the Danish crew caught it.


Another French prosecution of Scientology moves a step forward

Our man in Paris, Jonny Jacobsen, has a legal update for us this morning…

French prosecutors have launched a formal investigation into a building firm more than a year after staff there said their boss imposed Scientology courses on them, French media reported Wednesday.

Prosecutors are investigating possible workplace harassment, abuse of weakness and financial irregularities at Arcadia, a company based at Voisins-le-Bretonneux, about 20 miles southwest of Paris.

They say they were obliged to attend training courses at Scientology’s Celebrity Centre in Paris. Scientology trainers had subjected them to psychological abuse and they were eventually forced out of the company, they alleged.

Last year we reported that prosecutors had started looking at the complaint, filed by a dozen employees back in June 2014. This decision takes the case a step forward.

Olivier Morice, the lawyer who filed last year’s complaint, is a veteran opponent of Scientology. He frequently represents UNADFI, one of France’s main counter-cult groups.

Two investigating magistrates in Versaille, southwest of Paris, were appointed to the case last month. While this does not necessarily mean they will decide to send it for trial, Morice has welcomed this development as a sign that the authorities are taking the affair seriously.

— Jonny Jacobsen


Chris Shelton’s interview of Robyn Capella, part three

“In this episode, we talk about Robyn’s time at the LRH Life Exhibition and what it was like to promote the nonsense story the church tells about Hubbard’s life, who actually bothers to come see this exhibit, and where all those awards Hubbard gets actually come from. We then get into how she was transferred to work in Scientology’s monolithic management bureaucracy, the insanity of life as a local org staff member (even at one of the more ‘successful and affluent’ orgs) and the unexpected twists and turns her life took as a result.” — Chris Shelton



Bonus photos from our tipsters

The Auditor’s Day party this weekend in Moscow included delicious cake…


Hey, girl. Ed Fleetwood finished his Purif and he’s non-toxic and marvelous…




We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.

Tony Ortega’s upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

Sept 23: Cleveland, Parma Heights Library, 7pm sponsored by Center for Inquiry – Northeast Ohio

Sept 24: Minneapolis, Grumpy’s Bar & Grill, 2801 Snelling Ave, Roseville, 7 pm, sponsored by Minnesota Atheists

Sept 27: Portland, Friendly House, 1737 NW 26th Ave, 12:45 pm, sponsored by Humanists of Portland

Sept 28: Seattle, Razzi’s Pizzeria, 7 pm, with Seattle Skeptics and Seattle Atheists

Sept 29: Vancouver, BC, Seven Dining Lounge, 7 pm

Oct 23: Sydney, Giant Dwarf Theatre (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 25: Melbourne, venue secured (announcement coming later)

Oct 28: Adelaide (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 30: Perth

Past dates: Santa Barbara (5/16), Hollywood (5/17), Orange County (5/17), San Diego (5/20), San Francisco (5/22), New York (6/11), Chicago (6/20), Toronto (6/22), Clearwater (6/28), Washington DC (7/12), Hartford (7/14), Denver (7/17), Dallas (7/20), Houston (7/22), San Antonio (7/24), Austin (7/25), Paris (7/29), London (8/4), Boston (8/24)


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 17, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT 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 cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward

UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email