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Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard considered James Bond’s nemesis SMERSH his biggest enemy

[L. Ron Hubbard, circa 1971, and some actual SMERSH officers.]

We’re getting into round two of SMERSH Madness today, and by now we’ve heard from some newer readers who have asked us, what the heck are you talking about?

Well, fair enough. We named our “March Madness”-style bracket game after some pretty obscure and very nutty stuff. You see, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was a deeply paranoid control freak who by 1967 had decided the only way he could get away from government interference in the United States and United Kingdom was to take his movement to sea. That year, he took a few hundred of his most dedicated (and mostly younger) followers as he sailed three recently-acquired ships, including his flagship, the Royal Scotman, which later he rechristened as the Apollo.

As the Apollo plied the Mediterranean and the Atlantic (and then later the Caribbean), Hubbard would put out a daily report for all the crew to read. These reports were known as his “Orders of the Day,” or OODs for short. There are hundreds and hundreds of them, and we have a partial collection of them that were issued from 1968 to 1971.

There’s a lot of tedious detail in a typical OOD, which tended to run a couple of pages. But what we really enjoyed about them, as we excerpted them for a year while we were at the Village Voice, were the mini-essays Hubbard would sometimes include about what was happening in the world at large.

Talk about a captive audience, Hubbard was telling a few hundred E-meter cadets about a world that for years they’d almost entirely been cut off from. How were they to know if Hubbard knew what he was talking about as he ranted about world banking, American politics, and the like.


And who were they to object when Hubbard began telling them that one of the biggest obstacles Scientology faced in its ultimate goal to “clear the planet” was a shadowy secret world government named SMERSH.

We’re serious. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, L. Ron Hubbard genuinely believed that the world was secretly being controlled by the bad guys in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. The actual SMERSH was a Soviet military intelligence force that Joseph Stalin assembled in 1942 or 1943, and that existed until 1946 when it was absorbed by what became the country’s Ministry for State Security. The word “SMERSH” is a shortening of a phrase meaning “death to spies,” and its task was to bring down or co-opt German espionage during the war.

Fleming had some fun with the idea of SMERSH for his books, but in order to avoid offending Eastern European filmgoers, SMERSH was changed to SPECTRE for the James Bond movies.

Hubbard went much further, and saw SMERSH’s influence everywhere.

Here, we’ll give you a taste of it. This is from an OOD that was issued to the crew on November 11, 1971…


SMERSH was Stalin’s counter-espionage unit during and a little after WWII. But in Hubbard’s fevered mind, SMERSH had existed at least before the end of WWI, was responsible the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, and then the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany. He also believed it was another name for the secret world mental health conspiracy operated by “evil psychs.”

Just imagine it for a moment. You’re out there, at sea, completely at the mercy of this raving lunatic telling you that Scientology is one by one knocking off the heads of SMERSH in a battle for world control.

And you wonder why Scientology puts such a whammy on people. Sheesh.


SMERSH Madness 2018

Today we start the second round of our big dance featuring the people we think are working hardest to defend Scientology against its enemies. These are not only Scientologists, but also the people who enable the church as it works against its foes. Which of them do you think deserves the most recognition for Keeping Scientology Working, spreading disconnection, and litigating former Scientologists into the ground?

Today’s matchup features one of Scientology’s heaviest hitters in its courtroom battles, our #8 seed, Los Angeles attorney Bert Deixler. In particular, David Miscavige prefers Deixler as the church’s chief deposition taker — if Scientology wants to pressure you to say things that will be useful to them in court, it’s Bert whose job it is to get it out of you. But Bert’s real claim to fame as a Scientology attorney was the epic struggle he fought against Laura DeCrescenzo when she got a court order to obtain her personal files from the church in her forced-abortion lawsuit. Bert appealed that court order all the way to the California Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court, arguing that what was in Laura’s files was too “religious” for it to be released. Both courts ignored him, and Laura got her files. And what was in them? Vile records of a totalitarian organization manipulating a 12-year-old child. There was nothing religious about it. But Bert’s lies to the highest courts in the land got him in no trouble whatsoever, and only made him more valuable to Miscavige, we imagine.

Bert is taking on our #24 seed, motivational speaker Grant Cardone, who upset actress Jenna Elfman in the first round. Grant has provided a lot of diverting material here at the Bunker. There was the time he was David Miscavige’s enforcer and bullied ailing acting coach Milton Katselas, for example. More recently, Grant wormed his way into the orbit of Bob and Trish Duggan just as Scientology’s richest couple was splitting up. (Grant seems to have stuck by Trish in this difficult time.) In his work as a motivational speaker, he hasn’t shied away from questions about his involvement in Scientology, so we have to give him credit there. But we’re really going to be disappointed if Cardone doesn’t show up in some capacity on Scientology TV.


[Bert Deixler and Grant Cardone]

Who deserves to move on as champions of Scientology? Who has done more to perpetuate the church’s reputation in this time of crisis? Cast your votes!


Yesterday’s winners: Karin Pouw whipped John Sugg, and Marty Rathbun routed Danny Masterson!


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 5,056 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,659 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 202 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,265 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,039 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,813 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,159 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,653 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,693 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,405 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 931 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,020 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,160 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,480 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,455 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 811 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,113 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,219 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,622 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,494 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,076 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,581 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,825 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,934 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on March 17, 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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