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Scientology’s 2018: Another year is in the books at the Underground Bunker!

 
We’re just a few hours away from the end of this crazy year of 2018, and we want to get through a lot of material before tonight’s big party, when we reveal Observer’s new HowdyCon poster at midnight.

To help get you in the mood for this shindig, we’ll start out with a hot new number from the creator of the official Underground Bunker theme song, Moxie Magee (A/K/A TheHoleDoesNotExist). Here’s her new tune for us, “Bunker Town”…

 

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One of our biggest highlights this year was that Sunny Pereira really stepped up her participation, and wrote a number of important pieces for us this year. We asked her for some thoughts on 2018…

 

 
This has been a great year of fun and touching stories about some of my encounters and adventures while in Scientology.

I believe it is important to continue to expose Scientology for what it really is. This takes constant reporting and information coming out to continue to show how, even over many decades, it is an abusive group that cannot change in its ways.

The first article I did this year was showing how we, as Sea Org members, are paid pennies and expected to work large amounts of time “volunteering” for this organization. Then, after years of dedication, only to be slapped with a hefty freeloader bill (unenforceable, of course, but many leaving the Sea Org are not aware of that fact). When you compare the payments we received to what we end up owing, it is quite eye-opening to how much of a con it really is. More importantly, it shows why it is so hard for a person to leave the Sea Org. It is incredibly difficult to get back on one’s feet with no support system and no money saved up at all.

I am ever grateful to Tony for allowing me to share my favorite story, about Brian, the protester in hospice care next to my step-dad. It was wonderful to finally properly pay tribute to two wonderful people. I also very much loved the comments that day from all you Bunkerites, who found, through digging, so much more information about Brian and what a fascinating character he was. Rest in Peace to both Brian and Erik.

Many other interesting stories were also covered this year: The 1996 Portland Shooting, giving vaccines to staff members without any training, several stories about second gen and what it is like for us, full release of the Scientology Passport and all of its pages, what it was like to be on the adult RPF as a child as well.

Another article worth mentioning is when I realized the con of Scientology and the State of Clear. It was quite a revelation to be in the Sea Org, deep in on a very important post, to find out that what you have been working day and night for is a complete and total scam. And finding a way out, which was not easy.

Looking back at these articles, I hope I have helped shed some light on different aspects and angles of Scientology and life in the Sea Org. There are still many, many more stories that can be told, and I hope to continue to have this platform to tell some of them.

Wishing all of you a Happy New Year. To 2019, another great year.

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— Sunny Pereira

 
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Continuing our year in review: The stories of November/December 2018

To celebrate the release of our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology, we made public for the first time something Paulette had typed up 46 years before. In the summer of 1972, she helped L. Ron Hubbard Jr. (“Nibs”) produce a 63-page manuscript about his father and the history of Scientology. More sober and coldly factual than what Nibs would tell Penthouse magazine a decade later, “A Look Inside Scientology” is a powerful indictment of the L. Ron Hubbard myth.

Leah Remini and Jada Pinkett Smith had a reconciliation on Jada’s Facebook show, but we’re still convinced she’s holding back about her actual Scientology involvement.

Clay Irwin sold his downtown Clearwater bar, and then told us that Scientology is gobbling up even more property in the area through one of its millionaires, and with the involvement of Tom Cruise, according to what Clay heard. He thinks the church is working on some kind of entertainment district.

Leah Remini’s third season of Scientology and the Aftermath started with an episode that wasn’t about Scientology at all. In a highly-anticipated two-hour special, she and Mike Rinder talked to former Jehovah’s Witnesses and learned how much the two groups (sadly) have in common.

We’re used to seeing Scientologists rush to take advantage of a natural disaster, but it you don’t see Kirstie Alley making a recording about it every day.

In perhaps her most important piece of the year, on November 26 Sunny Pereira described what it was like for Scientology’s certifier of Clears to realize that Clear didn’t exist.

The next day, Leah Remini’s third season aired its first “regular” episode, and what a bombshell: Valerie Haney, who had served David and Shelly Miscavige as a personal steward, told her incredible story of escaping from Int Base in 2016 by hiding in the back of a car. We followed up with Valerie a few days later and learned more stunning details about life with Dave and Shelly — including some very personal details.

Early in December, we obtained the list of this year’s ‘whales’ feted at the annual IAS gala in England. And while overall membership may be shrinking, we’ve never seen so many members celebrated for donating more than a million dollars each to the church.

We were thrilled to see Cierra Westerman, the former Scientology private eye, appear on Aftermath, and she told us she didn’t regret coming forward even after getting the usual sliming by the church.

In her next episode Leah took aim at the Nation of Islam-Scientology relationship, discussing her own role in helping to fund it while she was still in the church. At the end of the episode, we got a shock — we learned only then that Tiponi Grey had died in November.

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On December 14, we revealed that with the help of several researchers, we’d managed to solve one of Scientology’s most enduring mysteries. We found Sonya Bianchi, now 92, who had appeared on stage with L. Ron Hubbard in August 1950 in a storied moment in Dianetics history. Sonya’s son Chris confirmed that we had found the right person, but he’s still considering whether to let us meet her.

A few days later, we had another major treat: Highlights from a Michael Chan video lecture! It’s awfully fun to see what miracles the church is promising to its suckers, er, parishioners.

On December 18, Leah took aim at the question we get asked the most: “Where’s Shelly?” And judging by social media, that episode has stirred up a huge response from the public who want to know how David Miscavige has gotten away with keeping his wife out of sight for 13 years. Typically, Scientology smeared Leah over the episode, but she gave us some choice words about it.

We said goodbye to former Scientology Executive Director International Bill Franks (1946-2018) just before our year-in-review began, provided more facts about Shelly Miscavige on Christmas day, and noted that Nation of Islam Minister Tony Muhammad took a slimy jab at Leah as we finished up the year.

 
MOST-READ STORIES OF NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018:
1. Scientology threatened to sue over last night’s episode, settled for sliming Leah & Mike instead
2. Shifting gears: Leah Remini talks about tonight’s two-hour special on Jehovah’s Witnesses
3. Leah Remini asks ‘Where is Shelly’ as the Church of Scientology turns 65!
4. Tiponi Grey, 1968-2018, a woman who told off Scientology for its lack of compassion
5. Nation of Islam takes a bigoted swipe at Leah Remini and the ‘Jews’ behind her show

 
A LOOK BACK AT NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017: We learned that Aftermath had filmed an episode with Danny Masterson’s accusers that was not going to air. But the second season ended with a stunning reunion. We provided a roadmap for the new president if he was really serious about reviewing Scientology’s tax-exempt status. We wrote about the death of Brad Bufanda and said goodbye to Sinar Parman. We wondered if Bob Duggan had flown the coop, and we made public for the first time the FBI file of former Clearwater mayor Gabe Cazares. We tracked down notorious Snow White spy Michael Meisner, and finished up the year with a heartwarming story of love.

A LOOK BACK AT NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016: Scientologist Vivian Kubrick’s plan to raise money for Shelley Duvall falls apart. David Miscavige’s claim that L. Ron Hubbard brought surfing to California is debunked. Scientology tries to derail the premiere of Leah Remini’s new series with a scummy letter. And Leah’s first “special” episode features Paulette Cooper.

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A LOOK BACK AT NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015: Leah Remini’s memoir, Troublemaker, hit bookstores. The Texas Third Court of Appeals handed Monique Rathbun a huge victory that seemed to pave the way for a world of hurt for Scientology. We began a day-by-day look at the final days of Lisa McPherson, 20 years after her tragic death. Tabatha Fauteux became Narconon’s newest victim. Legoland funded a Scientology front group on behalf of Jenna Elfman. And one of our biggest stories of the year, felony charges for Scientologists who had used students from primarily minority high schools in a suburb of LA to scam state insurance money.

A LOOK BACK AT NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2014: Leaked plans show that a new $37 million Scientology facility in Australia will serve only 87 people, on average, at any one time. Some great nuggets about L. Ron Hubbard turned up in Robert Heinlein’s letters collection. We learned how Scientology strains to erase Hubbard’s second wife, Sara Northrup, from the historical record, while Hubbard’s first wife, Polly, filed an affidavit that Hubbard was a deadbeat dad. We went long with the surprising saga of Richie Acunto’s rise and fall. And Marty Rathbun gets ambushed again, this time with Louis Theroux.

A LOOK BACK AT NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013: Mike Rinder and Mike Bennitt in a helicopter over the Super Power party, our exclusive interview with Jacqueline Olivier, the principal at Will and Jada’s Scientology school, and we marked the actual 60th anniversary of the first ‘Church of Scientology.’

 
Eight of our favorites from the most-upvoted comments of November/December 2018

November 4: Once_Born
It’s painful to see Neil Armstrong’s name next to Hubbard’s at the Explorers Club, but I think Neil’s reputation can survive that insult. He actually achieved something for everyone, rather than weaving a banal fantasy for money and power. Armstrong was a personification of ‘the right stuff’ and also a profoundly modest man who maintained throughout his life that the moon landing was a team effort, and he only a part of it.

November 5: RMycroft
I safe-pointed the sheriff, but I did not bribe the deputy…

November 11: Jeb Burton
The head of the California Fire Fighters union just released a statement. “Everything is going to be all right now. We have received our personal hygiene packets.”

November 22: M.C. Mayo
“Telling someone I’m a Scientologist feels like telling someone I’m a Jew in the early 1940’s and hoping they’re not German.” No, Stephen Ridley, it’s not at all like that, you ignorant entitled twat.

November 28: Jimmy 3

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I read this blog every day, so I’ve become almost desensitized to stories of their many abuses. But for a moment there I sat back and thought about it: There are 30 or so human beings being held prisoner in a secluded compound… in California. If you or I had 30 people locked in a trailer in our backyard, and even one person reported it, we’re going to prison.

November 30: Marc Headley
Shit. Watching Movies & TV all fucking day!? Dr. 4′-13″ was yelling at me for not getting shit done for 15 years while he was watching the Eagles play football? I always wondered about the sports. When the New Year’s Event occurred each year David Miscavige would yip yap it up with the Pro TV production crew (who also did the Super Bowl) about sports and he would know way too much detail for someone who read about it or looked up the stats. He knew exact plays and what had happened in big games. Fucker. Funny. I am pissed that I just found out he was watching sports. I knew he was beating people up and yelling and screaming at us all the rest of the time for 15 years. But, that after all this time, HE was fucking off most of his day when not making our lives misrable? muddafuckka!

December 4: VickiStubing
The ice machine story is what brought me to the Bunker all those years ago. I remember being horrified at the thought of a church destroying a man’s career just because he no longer believes in what they teach/preach. I soon learned that this is no church, this is a chult. Just when you think you’ve heard the most horrible thing, something worse is revealed. I have so much love and respect for everyone who has spoken out at great risk to themselves, their families, and their livelihood (and their pets, sadly) and hope that others will see the light and run to freedom.

December 12: Mat Pesch
I hope last night’s episode will help the Nation of Islam realize that they have intentionally been targeted and infiltrated by a social virus called Scientology. Scientology by its own policies targets the leaders and opinion leaders of groups and countries it intends to take over. It uses some useful basic and helpful information to help hook a person and they falsely promise the moon. They trick and use good intentioned people to front for them. Once the “virus” is in a person or group it is very hard to remove. Key to its survival is to convince the host that anyone that attempts to discredit it is lying and bad and should be ignored, attacked and destroyed. Once that mechanism is in place the “virus” will trade meaningless certificates, trophies and metals in exchange for labor and money.

 
The most-read stories of 2018

Here they are, the 25 most-read Underground Bunker stories of the year…

1. Ten years ago, all hell broke loose for Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology
2. PROSECUTORS PREPARE CHARGES CARRYING LIFE SENTENCE FOR DANNY MASTERSON
3. Are you Sci-Curious? Here’s Scientology’s 2018 Super Bowl ad
4. Tonight, ‘Vanity Fair Confidential’ brings the Shelly Miscavige story to the ID network

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5. What do you want to see in Leah Remini’s third season of ‘Scientology and the Aftermath’?
6. Strange days for a woman accusing Danny Masterson of rape — and for her rocker husband
7. Leah Remini is still being stalked, and now Scientology has turned to an ex-NYPD detective
8. Scientology threatened to sue over last night’s episode, settled for sliming Leah & Mike instead
9. Shifting gears: Leah Remini talks about tonight’s two-hour special on Jehovah’s Witnesses
10. Kirstie Alley goes OT 8, celebrates her ‘confront’ level on Scientology’s cruise ship ‘Freewinds’
11. Leah Remini asks ‘Where is Shelly’ as the Church of Scientology turns 65!
12. Tiponi Grey, 1968-2018, a woman who told off Scientology for its lack of compassion
13. Noted Scientology critic Arnie Lerma shoots and injures wife, then kills himself
14. Stop interacting with Scientology’s Internet trolls. Here’s proof it can backfire on you badly.
15. See the Scientology-like ad for Scientologist-owned ABCMouse, made by Scientologists!
16. Nation of Islam takes a bigoted swipe at Leah Remini and the ‘Jews’ behind her show
17. Juliette Lewis wants on ‘Red Table Talk’ — and here’s what Jada Smith should ask her
18. Viewers react to Tampa NBC affiliate saying Scientology is sponsoring Winter Olympics
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19. ‘It was my job to get Mike Rinder’s trash’ — A former Scientology spy begins to spill her guts
20. Hey, IRS: You might want to look at this new photo Scientology posted of David Miscavige
21. Federal judge smacks down Scientology’s shameless attempt to delay forced-abortion case
22. Shocking molestation claims inside Scientology leaking out before ‘Aftermath’ episode
23. SCIENTOLOGY CAVES: MISCAVIGE SETTLES FORCED-ABORTION CASE TO AVOID TRIAL
24. Is Tom Cruise buying up downtown Clearwater to create a Scientology entertainment mecca?
25. David Mayo, 1940-2017: Scientology’s top technical wizard and target of ‘Fair Game’

 
 
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IN MEMORIAM

[David Mayo, Tiponi Grey, and Bill Franks]

Some of the people we said goodbye to this year…

David Mayo, 1940-2017: Scientology’s top technical wizard and target of ‘Fair Game’

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David Palter, 1952-2018: Remembering a Scientologist who became a steady critic

Arnie Lerma, 1950-2018: Noted Scientology critic shoots and injures wife, then kills himself

Harlan Ellison, 1934-2018: A legend in science fiction, and a friend to the Underground Bunker

Jonathan Ramsay, 1981-2018: A life connected to some of our biggest Scientology stories ends in a terrible way

William J. Newman, 1950-2018: Another life connected to Scientology ends in despair, as so many do

Lajos Fritzlauf, 1963-2018: A Scientology enforcer, eulogized by one of his former victims

Dave Richards, 1948-2018: Ran the Founding Church of Scientology in DC

Eric Saldarriaga, 1973-2017: Private eye who took the fall for Scientology

Tiponi Grey, 1968-2018: A woman who told off Scientology for its lack of compassion

Bill Franks, 1946-2018: Appointed by Hubbard to ‘reform’ Scientology after Snow White scandal

 
 
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BEST OF THE BUNKER, 2018

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We’re grateful that some of our stories got a huge amount of readership this year. But traffic isn’t the only way to measure what goes on here. Like the last two years, we have put together a list of our personal choices for most significant pieces we posted in 2018. Some of them were scoops, others were investigative features, and some of them we just really enjoyed writing. (We’ll be adding this list to our favorites of all time.) So here goes.

 

20. In 1949, psychiatrists wouldn’t touch Dianetics — so L. Ron Hubbard invented one who would

During research on the early history of Dianetics for his book Astounding, author Alec Nevala-Lee ran across an absolutely amazing document. It was written in 1949 when L. Ron Hubbard and his early collaborators were trying to get his new “science” of the mind endorsed by some actual, you know scientists. Unable to interest any psychologists, who wanted nothing to do with Hubbard’s crackpot ideas, Hubbard decided instead to simply make one up! Hubbard himself wrote a “rebuttal” to Dianetics from the fictional psychologist, and it is a thing of beauty. One thing it proves: Hubbard himself was fully aware of the ridiculous nature of the claims he was making in his book.

 

19. Scientology disconnection and the incalculable damage it does to children

Sunny Pereira’s contributions were a real highlight at the Bunker this year. Whether it was dealing with a measles outbreak, or losing a parent to disconnection, or discovering that “Clear” didn’t actually exist, when it was your job to prove that they did. What a ride Sunny took us on.

 

18. EXCLUSIVE: The rise and fall of the ‘Pope of Scientology’ — in his own words

Historian Chris Owen made this discovery during his research: A 30-page narrative written by John McMaster for a 1977 court case that was never made public before. In it, McMaster traces his entire history in Scientology, which at one time touted him as the worlds first true “Clear.” In the second of two parts, McMaster details how much he felt betrayed by L. Ron Hubbard, and concluded that Scientology was an elaborate trap.

 

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17. Scientologists, gullible? Would they fall for a felon saying he’s the returned L. Ron Hubbard?

Independent Scientologists in the Pacific Northwest are putting on quite a show as they get in line to follow a 31-year-old man who claims that he’s the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard. His actual name is Justin Alan Craig, and he has a pretty impressive criminal record. We managed to have a Facebook messenger conversation with him, during which he flubbed some basic Hubbard trivia, and then he got a bit defensive with us in what turned out to be the most comical exchange we had all year.

 

16. FEDS CHARGE SCIENTOLOGISTS IN NEW YORK FOR $80 MILLION MEDICARE SCAM

A couple of upstate New York chiropractors were charged in an $80 million Medicare scam, but what news reports left out was that Jay and Jeff Spina were major, longtime Scientologists, and we dug into their history with the church. The Spina brothers have vowed to fight the charges and keep their practice open in the meantime.

 

15. Joy Villa’s ex talks about her domestic violence arrest and the child she put up for adoption

Even with all of the press that Joy Villa generates — whether it’s in fawning items that buy the line that she’s a new kind of conservative heroine, or in exposes about her Scientology involvement, which drives away many ‘MAGA’ types — we’re still the only outlet that has actually dug into Joy’s past with any real detail. We spoke with her former boyfriend and father of the child she put up for adoption, who explained why she was arrested on a domestic violence charge. And we then talked at length with Joy’s former manager, who helped her make her way into the Trump White House, only to see her plans of a Congressional campaign fall apart because of her Scientology loyalty. It kind of amazes us that these stories aren’t getting more attention as Joy continues to her pro-Trump grift.

 

14. See the Scientology-like ad for Scientologist-owned ABCMouse, made by Scientologists!

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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.

 

13. Judge to Garcias: Scientology can lie and cheat and there’s nothing I can do about it

Since Luis and Rocio Garcia filed their lawsuit against the Church of Scientology in January 2013, we followed every twist and turn in their legal saga. Mostly, it was an exercise in frustration as federal Judge James D. Whittemore denied the Garcias their day in court because of draconian contracts they had signed as Scientologists. He forced them instead to submit to the sham of Scientology’s internal arbitration, which included some pretty shocking irregularities, including lying to the court. But when the Garcias tried to get an evidentiary hearing to raise those problems, Whittemore told them his hands were tied. Scientology simply didn’t need to satisfy a court that it wasn’t defrauding its members.

 

12. Fifty years later and post-Scientology, 60’s band People! aims for a comeback

It was early in May 2018 that we finally got to tell a story we’ve wanted to tell for years, about the reuniting of brothers Robbie and Geoff Levin. The two were part of the 1960’s band People! that had a single radio hit in 1968 and then partially disbanded as most of the members, including the Levin brothers, got deeply involved in Scientology and joined its Sea Org. Eventually Robbie left, causing Geoff to disconnect from him. But then Geoff had his own doubts, started reading the Underground Bunker, and quietly reached out to us. Now, finally, Geoff was going public with his own disaffection from Scientology, and even better, the reunion of People! after 50 years. What a great story.

 

11. Scientology spells out its crazy ideas in a video you weren’t supposed to see

Michael Chan inhabits a pretty unique place in Scientology. He’s constantly traveling around the world whipping Scientologists into a fervor over, well, Scientology. He’s one of the few people who gets to speak out on L. Ron Hubbard’s arcane “tech” and the secrets and miracles of the upper levels. His talks are top secret, so you can imagine our glee when we got our hands on a full two-hour videotaped Chan stemwinder. We pulled out the best bits about bizarre Hubbard cosmology for this piece.

 

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10. Scientology relies heavily on Russian immigrants — and ‘disconnection’ doesn’t spare them

Some stories we wait a long time for here at the Bunker, and in January we finally got to tell a story we had first heard about some six years before — the harrowing saga of Katrina Reyes, a Russian immigrant who lost her mother to the Sea Org. Katrina is yet another example of a woman being punished by Scientology because she admitted to being a victim of sexual assault. Thankfully, despite the way she was treated in the Sea Org, and even after her mother turned her back on her, Katrina found a great husband and they now have a son. She perseveres.

 

9. Kim Poff, finally free to speak: ‘I want this story out. I want people to know what Narconon did.’

In April we finally got to do a story we’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Kim Poff, after winning a settlement from the state of Oklahoma, could finally speak freely about what she saw when she tried to get her bosses in state government to shut down Scientology’s flagship Narconon rehab there. But as Kim explained, although she found horrifying conditions at Narconon Arrowhead, her bosses were simply too afraid to take on Scientology, even after three patients had died at the facility in a nine-month period.

 

8. Captain David Miscavige’s faux-military Scientology ribbons, described and decoded!

What a treat this was. A tipster had taken the time to decode David Miscavige’s chest ribbons based on an internal Sea Org document, and the results were a lot of fun. Captain Miscavige, for example, had a commendation for “A/V Specialist” on his quasi-naval uniform. It was so precious!

 

7. Scientology used an ice cream ‘date’ to run up $20,000 on senior’s credit cards

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In July one of our favorite stories of the year began to unfold. We had actually begun talking to Efrem Logreira, 75, some months before as he struggled to deal with crushing debts on his credit cards. He had spent only a year in Scientology, but the church had run up huge charges on his account, without his approval he claimed, and the interest charges alone neared $1,000 a month and were about to make him homeless. We always hear that law enforcement is looking for two things regarding the Church of Scientology: 1. financial crimes and 2. timely reporting. Well, here was a senior getting bilked, and it was unfolding in Present Time (as the Scientologists say). Even better, Efrem was a lovely character who had clearly been taken advantage of, including the time some young ladies at the Celebrity Centre took him out for an ice cream date to convince him to sign off on a $20,000 charge. Efrem had taken a photograph of that event, and it was one of the best Scientology-related photos we’ve ever seen. Efrem ended up talking both to federal investigators and to attorney Graham Berry. We hope to have an update from him soon about his attempts to be made whole by the church.

 

6. Never public: L. Ron Hubbard Jr.’s devastating 1972 takedown of his father and Scientology

In November we made public for the first time something Paulette Cooper had typed up 46 years before. In the summer of 1972, she helped L. Ron Hubbard Jr. (“Nibs”) produce a 63-page manuscript about his father and the history of Scientology. More sober and coldly factual than what Nibs would tell Penthouse magazine a decade later, “A Look Inside Scientology” is a powerful indictment of the L. Ron Hubbard myth.

 

5. Strange days for a woman accusing Danny Masterson of rape — and for her rocker husband

In our most-read story of April, we talked to Chrissie Carnell and her husband, rocker Cedric Bixler-Zavala, about the harassment they’ve been experiencing since Chrissie accused Scientology actor Danny Masterson of rape. The couple has been through a bewildering series of events, including the violent death of their dog. Chrissie tells us that they continue to undergo harassment, and more than two years after she and three other women came forward, LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey has yet to make a decision on whether to charge Masterson.

 

4. The Valerie Haney interview: Scientology smear tactics, and where Shelly Miscavige is

To start off Leah Remini’s third season of Scientology and the Aftermath, Valerie Haney, who had served David and Shelly Miscavige as a personal steward, told her incredible story of escaping from Int Base in 2016 by hiding in the back of a car. We followed up with Valerie a few days later and learned more stunning details about life with Dave and Shelly — including some very personal details about the love life of a worldwide ecclesiastical leader.

 

3. A private eye comes clean: ‘Scientology is a disgrace to the world’

In January we had quite a get: The testimony of Cierra Westerman, the first professional private investigator to come forward after working for the Church of Scientology. Cierra had been recruited out of a Florida trade school to infiltrate the Anonymous movement for Scientology in 2008, and then was part of a massive operation in Clearwater targeting Mike Rinder and other recently defected church officials. She had lived near Rinder, watched his house, and had even taken and sifted through his garbage. She even had receipts. We’re so glad she decided to come forward, tell her story at the Underground Bunker, and then go on to an appearance on Leah’s show.

 

2. Finally, L. Ron Hubbard’s first ‘Clear’ — Sonya Bianchi — found again after 68 years

Part of what motivates us to do this work day in and day out is the prospect of solving some of Scientology’s longstanding mysteries. Like tracking down Snow White spy Michael Meisner, or tracking down the detective who investigated Flo Barnett’s bizarre death. But we never thought we’d have any chance to solve one of the original mysteries of early Dianetics history — who was Sonya Bianchi, the woman L. Ron Hubbard declared the world’s first ‘Clear,’ and what had happened to her after the night of August 10, 1950, when her debut at the Shrine Auditorium had gone so wrong? Well, after 68 years, with the help of several researchers we discovered that Sonya is still alive at 92 years old and living in Massachusetts. Her son helped fill in some details about why she had vanished from Scientology history, and we’re hoping we get a chance to meet her soon. What a surprise this was for us in 2018.

 

1. SCIENTOLOGY CAVES: MISCAVIGE SETTLES FORCED-ABORTION CASE TO AVOID TRIAL

In 2012 we started watching Laura Decrescenzo’s court battle, and by then it was already three years old. She had filed her lawsuit in 2009 over her treatment as a child in Scientology’s Sea Org, which she joined at the age of 12. At 17, she alleged that she had been forced to have an abortion, which was policy in order to keep Sea Org women working 112-hour weeks. Scientology practiced its usual scorched-earth tactics in order to delay the case endlessly, but finally in 2018, those appeals began to run out. With just days to go before a trial would begin, David Miscavige blinked. Of course we would have liked to see a trial happen, and evidence of the abuse of children entered in court in front of a jury and the press, but we must salute Laura for sticking to her guns for nine years and outlasting Scientology’s ruthless dictator. “We must never forget the legacy of this lawsuit,” Mike Rinder said at his blog after Laura won her settlement. “Laura DeCrescenzo inflicted serious and permanent damage on Scientology.”

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

[Alanna Masterson, Terry Jastrow, and Marisol Nichols]

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] Scientology’s 2017: Another year is in the books at the Underground Bunker!
[TWO years ago] LEAKED AUDIO — Scientology’s New Year’s event 2017: ‘Welcome to Scientology forever!’
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s 2015: Another year is in the books at the Underground Bunker!
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s 2014 in review: So long to another great year in the Bunker!
[FIVE years ago] Scientology’s 2013 in review: The Super Power-ful finish to an eventful year
[SIX years ago] John Sweeney and Marc Headley Visit Scientology’s Odd New Mexico Vault

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,315 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,446 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,948 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,428 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 491 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 379 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,686 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,554 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,328 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,102 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,448 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,014 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 6,934 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,101 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,682 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,942 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,982 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,694 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,220 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,309 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,449 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,769 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,625 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,744 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,100 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,402 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,508 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,911 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,782 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,365 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,860 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,114 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,223 days.

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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on December 31, 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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