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Mike Rinder answers questions about the new ‘Aftermath Foundation’

Last week, former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder announced the formation of a new foundation set up to help out people as they leave the Church of Scientology. He tells us the response was almost overwhelming.

Tonight, some of the people who appeared in Leah Remini’s Scientology and the Aftermath series will be celebrating at Clay Irwin’s Lucky Anchor pub in downtown Clearwater, in part to mark the start of the foundation (and, no doubt, to make David Miscavige nervous as he’s hosting the LRH Birthday Event at the same time across town at Ruth Eckerd Hall!).

We sent over some questions about the new non-profit organization to Rinder, and here’s what he sent us…

1. Great idea, and the name is smart — and it makes us think of Leah. Is she going to be involved?


Leah is already involved — she is the biggest supporter of the Foundation and her tweet and Instagram post generated a ton of interest.

2. Is there going to be a GoFundMe soon, or is there another method that the foundation will use to raise money?

No plans for a GoFundMe. We already have it set up for people to be able to donate on the website and so far there have been nearly 100 people who have made contributions to the Aftermath Foundation. We have plans for other activities to generate further interest and resources.

3. You said a lot of volunteers have already signed up to help. How do you plan to make use of their help?

So far, more than 400 people have offered to volunteer or assist in various ways. We have generated a database by geographic location and type of assistance available (from housing, to job offers to counseling). We plan to marry up the needs with the available resources.

4. You were once on your own, walking away from Scientology with nothing. What help did you need most at that point, and how can the foundation meet those needs?

I needed somewhere to live and I needed a way to get on my feet financially with a job, though I had no resume. This is exactly what we hope to be able to help people with.

5. What do you think it will take to get news of the Foundation to the people that could need it most, those deep in the Sea Organization? Any strategies you can share with us?

My view is that information about the outside world seeps into the Scientology bubble through friends and relatives and also through the “handlings” Scientology does with OSA and Ethics Officers. Numerous people have found out about Going Clear and Scientology and the Aftermath though “handlings” done because Scientology fears people are hearing about things and trying to pre-empt them. Freedom Magazine has been an amazing vehicle for informing people inside the Scientology bubble and making them aware of what is going on. Family members asking questions. People in stores asking Sea Org members if they have seen or heard things.

6. Some of the people you featured on the Aftermath series had been out of the church for a long time but still needed help in various ways. Can you talk about any specific people and the foundation might help them out?

No, we have adopted a policy from the outset that we will not disclose details about anyone who is helped unless they seek to publicize it themselves.


Keep your eyes peeled for Scientology TV

Tonight, David Miscavige will be lording over Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard Birthday Event in Clearwater, and we believe that he’ll announce the start of Scientology TV.

So keep your eyes peeled for the new cable network — previously, we found evidence that it was going to be part of the Spectrum cable system (formerly Time Warner Cable), but we don’t know if that’s still the case.

Traditionally, the rest of Scientology’s orgs show video of the event a week later, but we hear that L. Ron Hubbard Way in Los Angeles is being prepared for a special event to take place on Monday — could the Scientology TV announcement be so big, Miscavige can’t wait a week to celebrate it in L.A.?

This is big, people — or at least, Miscavige thinks it’s big. What a time to be alive.


Laura DeCrescenzo’s response to Scientology’s latest federal salvo: Give me a break

The more we read the court documents in Scientology’s latest ploy to derail Laura DeCrescenzo’s attempt to have her day in court, the more infuriating it is that Scientology gets away with wasting everyone’s time.

To catch you up, the latest outrage is that with a trial date of August 2018 in Los Angeles Superior Court finally set in Laura’s 9-year forced-abortion lawsuit against the church for abuses she suffered as a Sea Org worker, Scientology has lofted a Hail Mary pass in federal district court. After spending years litigating the case in state court, Scientology’s attorneys, Bert Deixler and Eric Lieberman, filed a new federal lawsuit against Laura, claiming that the federal court should have dismissed her entire case some nine years ago.

Most recently, Deixler and Lieberman filed a motion for summary judgment hoping the federal court would, in about a month, hold a hearing and toss Laura’s entire legal case out the window.

Now, Laura’s attorney John Blumberg has responded, and his filing explains in even more detail how desperate and cynical the Scientology federal gambit really is.

“Nearly eleven months after [Scientology] stipulated to the trial date, almost three months after the date that the trial was to commence, and after it announced ready for trial and filed joint exhibit and witness lists and six motions in limine, [Scientology] returned to this court by filing a complaint to enjoin further proceedings in the state court,” Blumberg writes.

And besides all the litigating that the church did in state court, Blumberg points out the ludicrous excuse Deixler and Lieberman gave for filing not one but two motions for summary judgment in state court — both of which they lost (and both of which we were in the courtroom to witness).

If Scientology really didn’t believe that Laura’s case should have been allowed to continue after 2009, why did the church file those two motions, and go through the process of trying to win them?

Blumberg points out that Deixler and Lieberman’s answer to that question is kind of amazing…

[Scientology] contends that it brought its two motions for summary judgment “in an attempt to avoid the necessity asking this court to intervene in the state court proceedings.”

In other words, Scientology spent literally years and heaps of money to fight with Laura’s team over two motions for summary judgment in state court because, they say, they just didn’t want to inconvenience the federal court.

How thoughtful of them.

If you’re wondering why a guy like Deixler, a California lawyer of considerable reputation, would try a cynical ploy like this, keep in mind this is the same attorney who told the California Supreme Court and US Supreme Court that Laura should not be allowed to have copies of her own Scientology folders because of their “religious” content. And when both courts ignored him and the church had to turn over those folders, what did they contain? Vile records of how a totalitarian organization had exerted control over a 12-year-old child through intimidation and fear.

One of the things Scientology brings out in stark detail is how this country’s court system simply isn’t equipped to deal with such bad faith dealing, and that Deixler’s prevarications to the highest courts in the land in order to provide cover for such an abusive organization will have no consequences whatsoever.

And now, he’s trying to destroy Laura’s chances at a day in court with some bogus sleight of hand — which, knowing our courts and Scientology’s record, will have a chance of winning. Hopefully, that decision comes soon so that it’s not hanging over Laura’s head much longer.


Scientology v. DeCrescenzo (federal) Opposition to MSJ by Tony Ortega on Scribd


We were ahead of the curve with Kevin MacDonald

We’re bringing back another non-Scientology story to our pages here at the Bunker that we wanted to tell you about. Back in 2000, we wrote a lengthy feature — really the first full profile anywhere — about Kevin MacDonald, a psychology professor at Cal State Long Beach who had been only one of two expert witnesses called to testify by David Irving in his notorious Holocaust libel trial. (For a fun portrayal of that court case, see the 2016 film Denial starring Rachel Weisz.)

When we wrote about MacDonald, he was known to a small section of academia, and he was becoming a favorite of some neo-Nazi websites. But he was nothing like the alt-right figure he is today. So we thought it might be fun to bring back our feature, which was published in a newspaper that went out of business in 2002, along with the archived story.

Titled “Witness for the Persecution,” it’s a long piece, but considering how much more famous MacDonald is today, we think it holds up pretty well.


Images from the Birthday Event begin to come in



Make your plans now!

Head over to our HowdyCon 2018 website to start making your travel plans!



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,049 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,652 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 195 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,258 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,032 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,806 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,152 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,646 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,686 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,398 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 924 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,013 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,153 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,473 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,448 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 804 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,106 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,212 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,615 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,487 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,069 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,574 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,818 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,927 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on March 10, 2018 at 07:00

E-mail 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. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

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, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), 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 | 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 non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


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