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Slimed by Scientology, Cierra Westerman says she’s still feeling good about coming forward

[Cierra Westerman]

Before last night’s episode of Scientology and the Aftermath even aired, Cierra Westerman…

— Was called a bigot by the Church of Scientology for wearing a Confederate Flag visor.

— Was told by a former colleague that she was likely to be sued by a former employer.

— Was told she could never again see a couple of members of her extended family.

— Was criticized by Scientology for owning two pistols (mistakenly called “revolvers” by the church).


— And was accused by Scientology of being a “liar 4 hire” for Leah Remini.

Westerman, a former private investigator who did work for the Church of Scientology, told us that she had been prepared for the attacks to come, but they still stunned her.

The pistols, for example, she bought at the urging of her then-boyfriend Dwayne Powell, a longtime Scientology private eye. “The reason I had those was because Dwayne was concerned about the church and wanted me to get protection,” she says.

She made no excuses for the Confederate Flag hat, but what was Scientology trying to say? After all, it was the church that had hired her — initially to infiltrate the Anonymous movement in 2008, and then later to watch Mike Rinder’s house and record the license plates of the people who visited him, as she explained in last night’s show. (She wasn’t paid for her appearance on the show, despite Scientology’s claim.)

We asked her last night, after seeing the attacks and seeing the episode, was she still glad that she had come forward?

“I am. And I hope it really does help.”

She’s still finding more evidence from her work for Scientology, which lasted until 2011. For example, just yesterday she discovered a flash drive with notes from her work on the “D-Line.”

She explained that it was short for “Detail line,” their euphemism for digging through the trash of their targets. She says that Powell and others would obtain bags of trash from sanitation workers — paying them about $20 each — and then took it back to the warehouse, where Cierra and others would sift through it looking for any information they could gather about people.

Last night, during the episode, Mike Rinder said that he knew his trash was being targeted and he was very careful about what he put in it so that the church never got anything valuable from him.

But actually, Cierra says Mike did throw away something very useful and he may not have realized it. “He threw away the box from a smartphone. And that was great for the investigators, because the box had all the numbers. If we have that information we could hack the phone. That is one thing you want to keep and never get rid of,” she says.

It’s insights like that into what Scientology’s PIs are up to which is the reason we appreciate Cierra so much.

She also told us she was surprised that some other things she told Mike and Leah didn’t make it into the show. Like what, we asked.

“That the trash guys actually ended up getting in a lot of trouble and lost their jobs, for example,” she says. “They weren’t supposed to be doing that and they got fired. And I think about how not only were we affecting families like Mike’s and the other ex-Scientologists, but we also affected the lives of those trash guys. I felt really bad about that.”

She also mentioned the time when hauling that trash got her pulled over by police. “Six cars showed up. The neighbors had called the cops. They came up to my car with their hands on their guns. I was scared shitless. I said, I’m a PI! I mean, my son was in the car. That was the beginning of the end for me.”


She found out later that the sanitation workers had been convinced to turn over the bags by Powell and the other PIs because they were told a drug ring was being investigated. Besides Mike Rinder and his wife Christie, the trash operations targeted many ex-church members, including Robert Almblad and his girlfriend Susan.

Cierra says that at the time, she never heard the “drug ring” cover story. But we asked her, what did she think was the reason she was going through refuse from the homes of the Almblads and Rinders looking for receipts and handwritten notes and prescriptions?

“I just knew it was for the church and I had to get as much information as I could. I knew that Robert and Mike were spending a lot of time together, and we were looking at them because they were ex-members.”

The worst, she says, was when another ex-member dumped a large amount of cross-shredded paper. They were assigned to piecing it back together.

“I worked on it for about two weeks and I couldn’t take it anymore, it was giving me headaches.” Was anything of value ever obtained from those shredded documents? “I don’t think so.”

As last night’s episode made clear, the sheer amount of resources that the Church of Scientology expends on following and harassing its enemies is truly prodigious. In 2009-2011 there was a massive operation in Clearwater that targeted Rinder, Almblad, Tom Devocht, Haydn James, Mat Pesch and Amy Scobee, and numerous others. The money spent on a small army of full-time investigators, multiple rental houses, and the warehouse central nerve center must have been astronomical — and we know that at the same time, similar operations were going on in Los Angeles, Denver, and Texas.

And all of it, paid for with tax exempt money, underwritten by you, the American taxpayer. It’s stunning, isn’t it?


23 years ago today — a grim anniversary


Justice for Lisa McPherson remains elusive. But on the 23rd anniversary of her death, we invite you to read the full series we did in 2015 on her final days.


Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Elisabeth Moss, Michael Peña, and Laura Prepon]

We’re building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs.’ We’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them, in order to build a record and maintain a watch as Scientology continues its inexorable decline — and yes, we finally have comments working on these new pages! Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Today’s Scientology celebrity: Joy Villa!



Now on sale: Twice the Miss Lovely!

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. What a pleasure it is for us to work with her on this after we wrote about her ordeal as a victim of Scientology’s “Fair Game” campaigns in our 2015 book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, which is also on sale in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions.



[ONE year ago] The raid on Scientology you probably haven’t heard about — and how the church beat the rap
[TWO years ago] EXCLUSIVE: Scientology tried to derail Remini series by calling 14-year-old ‘aggressor’ in rape
[THREE years ago] Twenty years ago today: The final hours of Lisa McPherson’s Scientology life
[FOUR years ago] Steve Cannane has Scientology book news, and helps us with a Down Under history lesson
[SIX years ago] Lisa McPherson Day: Is Florida Ashamed Yet?


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,289 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,420 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,922 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,402 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 465 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 353 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,660 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,528 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,302 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,076 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,422 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,988 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,908 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,075 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,656 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,916 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,956 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,668 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,194 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,283 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,423 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,743 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,599 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,718 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,074 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,376 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,482 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,885 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,756 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,339 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,834 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,088 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,197 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 5, 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

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates

Join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

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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