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An unusual Scientology advertisement leads to new intel on secretive ‘Int Base’

[The ‘Cine Castle’ at Int Base, home to the studios of Golden Era Productions]

We have an intriguing item today that appears to be rather modest, but in investigating it, it opened up a new window on a place we never lose interest in: Scientology’s Int Base.

The item we’re talking about was an ad that was placed on a closed Facebook group for a union of Los Angeles set painters. You know, the folks who give TV or movie backdrops the right look for whatever historical era or mood you’re going for. These are very talented people who know how to make a surface come alive with some paint and some know-how.

Anyway, this ad for work was sent to a particular painter who then posted it on the union Facebook group saying that he couldn’t take the job but wondered if someone else might want to look into it. The ad raised eyebrows right away. Not because it was looking for someone who could teach other set painters, but because of who was offering the job: Golden Era Productions, Scientology’s in-house audio-visual studio.

Now, it’s not unusual for Golden Era to advertise for work. In fact, we’ve posted numerous examples of Scientology’s casting calls for actors to appear in the church’s innumerable in-house videos. Also, we’ve seen many, many ads for staff work at Scientology facilities which are sent out to the general membership.

But this ad, we learned from our expert sources, was an unusual one. They told us that if we looked at it carefully, it was actually telling an interesting story. Here’s the notice…



Our experts tell us that the “Christi” writing the ad is Christi Mullins, who has an interesting history in Scientology. At one time, she was among the Sea Org’s most elite, a member of “CMO Int” at the base. The Commodore Messengers Organization is a very select group that produced David Miscavige, the church’s ultimate leader. The group traces its lineage to the original Messengers who were on the ship Apollo with L. Ron Hubbard in the 1970s, and even today CMO can only be staffed with the Sea Org’s most elite young members.

In 2006, however, in one of Miscavige’s fits of pique, he threw the entire staff of CMO Int into the “Hole” at Int Base. The bizarre office-prison was created by Miscavige early in 2004, and by 2006 it was at its most degrading, with about 100 top Scientology executives locked up in what had been an office in a double-wide trailer, with “slop” for food, and daily “seances” that pitted inmates against each other in brutal head games. After the existence of the Hole was revealed by the Tampa Bay Times in 2009, Miscavige altered the conditions somewhat, and the prisoners remained segregated but had more decent living conditions.

Our former Int Base witnesses tell us Mullins was stuck in that environment from 2006 to 2012. And like other inmates of the Hole, she finally was let out because she was needed elsewhere.

Mike Rinder, for example, was a prisoner in the Hole from 2006 to 2007, but then was pulled out when Miscavige needed him to help the church handle BBC reporter John Sweeney, who was doing a special on the organization.

In 2012 Christi Mullins was pulled out of the Hole, our experts tell us, because she was needed to fill the position of someone who had dared to escape from the base.

That year, in fact, there were two big escapes from the base that we reported on. In March, David Miscavige’s own father, Ron Miscavige, made his famous escape, which would eventually become the subject of his 2016 book, Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me. A month later, another big name made a run for freedom: Roanne Horwich, granddaughter to L. Ron Hubbard. After her escape, the only Hubbard family member still in the church organization is her mother, Diana Hubbard, who still lives at the base.


[A young Roanne Horwich with Amy Scobee at her 1987 Int Base wedding]

Five years later, Roanne still isn’t talking to reporters, but she also isn’t really hiding. She’s living in Los Angeles, and she paints Hollywood sets for a living, which is what she was doing at Int Base.

Our experts tell us that Christi Mullins was released from the Hole so she could take Roanne’s old post, “Set Finishing I/C [in charge]” at the “Cine” division, which oversees the filmmaking at Golden Era. It’s a step down from the CMO, but at least it’s out of the Hole.

Apparently Roanne hasn’t been so easy to replace, as the advertisement suggests. Mullins has had to advertise for someone who can come out to the base and teach Sea Org members how to paint sets, five years after the base’s best set-painter made her escape.

Marc Headley, who left the base in 2005 when it had a population of about 800, says that it wasn’t unheard of for the Cine division to seek the help of outside artists and experts. But, he says, at that time there were about ten good set painters. “They must really be desperate at this point to be trying to hire an outsider to train them,” he says.

He also reminded us that Christi Mullins has another place in Int Base history. In 2005, she was working directly for Claire Headley. “She was tasked with going with Claire to her eye doctor appointment to make sure she didn’t escape,” Marc tells us. “But then Claire did escape. That was Christi’s one job that day, so she would have gotten in a lot of trouble for it.”

Like our other experts, Marc noted that Mullins has come down in the world since leaving the Hole. “She was in international management. Now she’s working in the department that makes films that no one watches, and that you can only see in orgs that no one goes to.”

There have been some more recent escapes from the base, which we mentioned recently. And we continue to get more information as a result. For example, we received a new estimate for the population of Int Base, which we’re told is now down to only about 325 people.

We asked about the status of the Hole, and we were told that it still operates much as it has since Miscavige altered it in 2009. That is, the inmates of the Hole are still seen as degraded beings who are segregated from the rest of the Int Base population, and they must eat only among themselves, but rather than get fed slop from a bucket they are allowed to eat at the Massacre Canyon Inn, the base’s general mess hall. Also, they go to apartments in the “berthing” buildings at night rather than have to sleep on an office floor.

But yes, the Hole still exists, and some of its original prisoners have now been segregated for more than 13 years.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,833 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,816 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,590 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,936 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,430 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,470 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,182 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 708 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,797 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,937 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,257 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,232 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 588 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,890 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 997 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,399 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,272 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 853 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,358 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,602 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,711 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on August 5, 2017 at 07:00

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Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. 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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | 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 | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | 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


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