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Best Scientology shoops in the Bunker this year, and let’s see your faves too

 
Like last year, as part of our annual year in review, we asked Observer, our resident imagemaker (and designer of our new book cover, Battlefield Scientology) to pick out five of her favorite manipulated photos — otherwise known as “shoops” — produced by Underground Bunker readers.

Right away she came back with her choices, including the GIF above, put together by the inimitable Phil Jones.

In no particular order, here are the others she found most memorable.

From Douglas D. Douglas, Miscavige gets his medal for transparency…

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From Mark Parry-Maddocks…

 

 
From otviiiisGR8…

 

 
And from Richard…

 

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Thank you, Observer, for those choices. And now, please show us which shoops made you giggle this year…

 
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Continuing our year in review: The stories of August 2018

Early in August, we learned that the photo of David Miscavige receiving a medal from a Colombian police general was blowing up into a major media scandal in that country.

It was a little humorous for us, because we’ve been watching Miscavige use Colombia like a stage prop for years. But the press there was on fire, and some national lawmakers, including Senator Ivan Cepeda (left) called for a serious investigation into the matter.

At a subsequent hearing Colombian Senator Ivan Cepeda really let loose, bringing up ‘Xenu’ during the nationally-televised grilling of the country’s new Defense Minister.

Oddly, after a few weeks of the gnashing of teeth, Colombia’s media and politicians suddenly went silent and the scandal seemed to vanish into thin air — just as Scientology’s private cruise ship, the Freewinds was arriving at Cartagena for a “PR convention” that lasted several days.

Meanwhile, California was on fire in August, and Scientology saw it as a golden opportunity to hand out literature and spread the good word about Mr. Hubbard.

On August 7, we shared a pretty stunning document that researcher R.M. Seibert had dug up — proof that 50 years ago the US government was already fully aware of Scientology’s essential scam and its mental health abuses. The government simply has no excuse for its inaction.

July’s wild story about 75-year-old Efrem Logreira continued as it became pretty clear how much Scientology was scrambling to deal with this clear case of an older member of the public getting taken by the church. At this point, Scientology attorney Kendrick Moxon was flagging down Efrem’s attorney at the courthouse to hand him checks totalling $10,000. The desperation was palpable!

It’s always fun to get an update about Scientology’s whales — its big donors — and in August we got the mid-year report of richies who were given new trophies at the Maiden Voyage event in the summer. This is not as quite as big a deal as the whale sighting that occurs at the IAS gala in October every year.

Bruised and beaten after their drubbing at the hands of Federal Judge James D. Whittemore, Luis and Rocio Garcia decided that they would appeal his decision to keep their fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology from getting its day in court. Forced to submit to a kangaroo court of Scientology’s internal “arbitration,” the Garcias are hoping a higher court will rule that they deserve better.

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Rod Keller found us an image that created a stir: Sea Org members now encouraged to salute public Scientologists who give donations. And you didn’t think Sea Org members could be any more degraded than they already were.

We’ve pointed out numerous times that the popular education program for toddlers, ABCMouse.com, is owned by wealthy Scientology donor Doug Dohring, who has given millions to the church. But in August, we learned that Dohring also contracts out to a Scientologist TV outfit to make his ads. They felt a lot like the ads we see Scientology itself put out.

Late in August, news broke that the LAPD had actually allowed Scientology to put one of its kiosks that plays propaganda videos at the Hollywood police station. We pointed out that it was the same station Danny Masterson’s accusers were told they needed to stay away from because it had been hopelessly compromised with its relationship to the church.

And finally, the month ended with grim details about the death of Scientology ‘Clear’ Kristi Bouck, who had taken her life after a cross-country trip to Scientology’s mecca.

 
MOST-READ STORIES OF AUGUST 2018:
1. See the Scientology-like ad for Scientologist-owned ABCMouse, made by Scientologists!
2. Kiosk-Gate: LAPD told Masterson accuser its Hollywood site was compromised by Scientology
3. Why Scientology is a haven for sexual abusers — it’s the way L. Ron Hubbard designed it
4. Oh gross: Scientology Sea Org now saluting donors who give for ‘Ideal Orgs’
5. Scientology is very worried about 75-year-old Efrem Logreira and his allegations

 
A LOOK BACK AT AUGUST 2017: Carol Nyburg told us about her part in an unaired TV series. Leah’s second season started off with a bombshell about child molestation. Michael Peña’s wife Brie Shaffer backed her former employer, Danny Masterson. Pastor Willy Rice got the Scientology smear treatment. We made the full 2009-2010 FBI file about Scientology trafficking public (and on the same day we took in the solar eclipse with Jefferson Hawkins). We attended a San Antonio court hearing about Marty Rathbun.

A LOOK BACK AT AUGUST 2016: Scientology didn’t make us feel very welcome at its Harlem grand opening. Life in retirement looks pretty good for Scientology’s notorious dirty trickster, Eugene Ingram. In the presidential campaign, a lot of comparisons between Donald Trump and L. Ron Hubbard were being made, but we pointed out that it was the Clinton White House that had serious Scientology baggage.

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A LOOK BACK AT AUGUST 2015: Steve Fishman, of the famous Fishman Papers, is doing serious time for a bizarre crime. Tom Cruise gave a speech in Spanish, and turned up at a Scientology org in Colombia. And Paulette Cooper had an amazing encounter in Europe.

A LOOK BACK AT AUGUST 2014: We remembered Denise Brennan on the occasion of her passing. Mary Sue Hubbard’s house finally went up for sale, as we had predicted. And Kim Poff and Michael DeLong filed lawsuits over the troubling behavior of Oklahoma state officials who were too afraid to take on Scientology.

A LOOK BACK AT AUGUST 2013: Leah Remini filed a missing-person report on Shelly Miscavige, PZ Myers read A History of Man with us, Gerry Armstrong helped us tell his tale, and Monique Rathbun filed her harassment lawsuit.

 
Five of our favorites from the most-upvoted comments of August 2018

August 17: flyonthewall
Say what you will about those Garcias but you can’t deny they have moxy, grit, gumption, pluck and just a bit of spunk.

August 18: Sunny
I’ve read part of Jon Atack’s book, which is wonderful reading. It hits too close to home and I had to give it a rest. The years he talks about here were all when I was a child, trying to get my mom’s attention. She was too busy saving the world. I don’t mention her much, but this section mentioned here today was when my mom got whisked up to Int for a year or two and worked under Guillaume Lesevre in Exec Strata. Her proper post title was D/GIEI… Deputy Gross Income Executive International. She was counting money as her children roamed the streets in search of food, sometimes having to steal to eat. (How many miles away? We were at Big Blue on our own while she was at Int. We saw her about one hour every other week.) We were 9 and 11.

August 19: Jefferson Hawkins
Saluting was never part of the Sea Org! We never saluted anyone. That’s why the people in the photo (and the photographer) have no idea what a military salute looks like. To see Sea Org members saluting public Scientologists pisses me off — kind of like when Miscavige said that Tom Cruise was “the most dedicated Scientologist I know,” which pissed off every Sea Org Member who heard it.

August 22: Phil Jones
Scientology wants to Clear the planet. I think they were counting on Colombia to be their ‘claimed’ first Cleared country. The thing is they haven’t even been able to Clear a single street, let alone a village or a town. Even L. Ron Hubbard Way in LA is only partly owned by Scientology. Neighbors across the street are definitely not Scientologists. Clearwater is the same. Not even a single street is ‘Cleared.’ They just own a lot of property. If they grow in any way they get noticed. If they get noticed then their abuses begin to surface and they are forced to shrink back into their tiny little cubby holes.

August 24: Once_Born
Leah Remini made an observation in her book ‘Troublemaker’ that is relevant here, and has also been made by academics who study groups like Scientology. When you join, you are promised specific, objective, verifiable benefits. For example, Hubbard promised that Clears would be able to correct their eyesight and grow new teeth. As you become more involved, you become more socially isolated because of the commitment required and the imperative needed to avoid ‘entheta.’ Your perspective narrows, and you start to interpret the world around you exclusively in Scientology terms. The final stage is illustrated by today’s OTs. The original promises have been completely forgotten, and the ‘benefits’ of Scientology can only be understood by Scientologists with faith in Scientology in terms of Scientology.

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

[Kelly Preston, Beck, and Anne Archer]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. 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!

 
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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.

 
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THE WHOLE TRACK

[ONE year ago] Joy Villa on the prospect of Trump going after Scientology’s tax-exempt status: ‘Nope’
[TWO years ago] After Steve Cannane’s big year writing about Scientology, we hit him up for a look back
[THREE years ago] Confirmed: Narconon’s entire Northern California network splits with Scientology
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s 2014 in review: New lawsuits and a house for sale in August!
[FIVE years ago] Scientology’s 2013 in review: July fireworks, courtesy of an actress from Brooklyn
[SIX years ago] Belgium Prosecuting Scientology as a Criminal Organization [UPDATED]

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,312 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,443 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,945 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,425 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 488 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 376 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,683 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,551 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,325 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,099 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,445 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,011 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,931 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,098 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,679 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,939 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,979 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,691 days.
Ginger Sugerman has not seen her three children in 1,464 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,217 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,306 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,446 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,766 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,622 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,741 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,097 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,399 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,505 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,908 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,779 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,362 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,857 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,111 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,220 days.

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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 28, 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 Underground 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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