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On Memorial Day, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s stolen valor really rankles

On this Memorial Day here in the U.S., we’ve been thinking a lot lately about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s lies about his war service thanks to the release of Chris Owen’s eye-opening book, Ron the War Hero.

To commemorate this day, we thought we’d reprint a piece sent to us years ago that sums up how a lot of people feel about Hubbard and his war boasting, which was all built on fabrication. And to keep the theme going, we have some items from Laurie Harness that we think you’ll also find edifying.

First, here’s the tribute to Lt. Hubbard that we have posted in the past…



“My experience with Australia goes back to being the only anti-aircraft battery in Australia in ’41-’42… I was up in Brisbane. There was me and a Thompson submachine gun…I think that was all that was there.” (Interview granted to the Australian Press by L. Ron Hubbard on Jan. 10, 1963 at Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, England.)

Hubbard had to be referring to Mt. Coot-tha, a small peak south of Brisbane. Coot-tha (‘place of honey’ in Aborigine) commands a panoramic view of the Brisbane River valley, north to the city and the Tasman Sea. It’s a park now; you can go to the visitors’ center, enjoy the spectacular view, and read how, during WW II, the site “bristled with searchlights and gun emplacements” manned by the Royal Australian Air Force, and that the U.S. Navy had a large ammunition depot on the lower slope at a spot called J. C. Slaughter Falls.

Apparently Hubbard’s blindness had already struck, since these hundreds of personnel were invisible to him. The Navy alone had approximately 175 men camped at the depot. The guns, by the way, would have been bristling since 1939 when Australia went to war. They must have been so camouflaged he didn’t notice them.

These men were not there to smash their names into history, but just to “get the job done”; (an old Navy phrase I heard all my life, which some other outfit keeps using for some odd reason) watching for the enemy and loading the ships; helping to push the war north, island by bloody island, with no expectation of any glory but the remembrance their nations owe them to this day.

Of the many lies Hubbard told, this seems a small one; but stealing the honor due to those who really did get the job done is, in my eyes, one of his greater crimes.

There was another Navy lieutenant on the mountain — later, in ’43-’44; one R.L. Keeting of Boston, in command of the depot. A career man who exemplified the hardheaded, no-nonsense attitude of the wartime Navy. Slightly built but wiry, one-time lightweight champion of the Pacific fleet, he possessed a peculiar immunity to glamor and charisma; and had a short fuse with what he called ‘chiselers.’ Though Keeting and Hubbard had been in the same places — Brisbane, San Diego, Puget Sound — their paths don’t seem to have crossed. Which was perhaps just as well; one too many shore stories, and Keeting would have called him a damned liar and cleaned his plow.

Every time I see the Sea Org fake uniforms and stolen phrases and especially the fake dress swords, I could choke on bile.

Keeting’s sword — the genuine article — hangs in an old farmhouse, his grave lies in a small country cemetery. He’s remembered only by those who loved him. But he served his country with distinction and consequently helped to save the world. No mean legacy.

— Deborah Keeting-Hansen

How much more fitting this piece seems after reading from Chris Owen about what a disaster Hubbard actually left in his wake in Australia, and also the whopping lies he told about a non-existent secret mission he was part of there.

And it’s important to remember that the Church of Scientology has been complicit in L. Ron Hubbard’s stolen valor, pushing false narratives about his war service, and getting caught out so badly by Lawrence Wright in his epic 2011 New Yorker piece, “The Apostate.” In that piece Wright proved that the church was spreading doctored copies of Hubbard’s war record in order to make it look like he’d earned medals that he never did.

Remembering the people who sacrificed all on a day like this, Hubbard’s puffery is more distasteful than ever.



When Scientology pandered to the military

Laurie Harness posted some fun images we know you’d want to see. Here’s what she said about them: “A few years ago Scientology put out some nice-looking ads to make it seem as if they are just another normal church with mainstream values. I put my own touch on them, to make them more truthful, and then put them up on Twitter and FB. Here’s one I did, feel free to share it this Memorial Day weekend.”


Here’s the original…


Another one by Laurie…



And the original…



Bonus items from our tipsters

Marion Ross’ son and Scientology clown Jim Meskimen is in Paris! Here’s his dispatch…


I’ve visited Paris on three occasions.

I first visited Paris with my mother in the spring of 1983. She met me in Madrid after I had been living in Spain for some time as an art student. She offered to take me to Paris and also Amsterdam, and, being 23 years old and with no solid plans or commitments (not to mention money) I agreed. In Paris we had a very amusing time, heightened by the fact that she recalled none of her high school French, and my only foreign tongue was Spanish. Parisians of that time tended to withhold the fact that they spoke English if they did, so we were frequently speechless as well as clueless. We had a good time anyway, visiting the Louvre, going to a concert on the spur of the moment, having a lovely meal at the home of a French designer friend. I met some lovely people on that trip whom I’ve never seen again.

It would be another 25 years when I would return to Paris, this time to work on a French pseudo-documentary about George W. Bush, where I performed the voice of “W”. I didn’t have a wonderful time this time, since I was in a sound studio for most of the three or so days I was in the city. Every day when I would be released from recording, I walked for miles by the Seine, observing the magnificent decorated bridges and admiring the Parisians, who all seemed to have a cigarette in one hand and the end of a dog leash in the other.

Now I am in Paris again, 11 years later, this time with my wife and daughter. Despite consulting YouTube, I still speak only a few French words and phrases, (to which my Gallic friends generally respond “What?”) and I don’t know my arrondissement from my elbow, but I’m having the best time ever. Being with Tamra and Taylor is a big reason why. The weather has been very kind to us, and the many people we’ve come in contact with have been even kinder.

We came to Paris to help out with some events at the French chapter of our church, and so far everyone we’ve met has been very friendly and not at all the stereotypical French “snob”. (I’m sure they still exist somewhere, but I haven’t seen them.) Our trip is only halfway done, and I will have much more to report when we return, but it is interesting to return again, after so long, to this extraordinary city, and to experience this unique culture with all it’s charming peculiarities. To be continued…

Jim, helping out French Scientology as it begins to work on an Ideal Org, which has generated some ugly publicity? Hm. This could get interesting.


HowdyCon 2019 in Los Angeles

THURSDAY NIGHT OPPORTUNITY: This year’s HowdyCon is in Los Angeles. People tend to come in starting on Thursday, and that evening we will have a casual get-together at a watering hole. But we also want to point out that Cathy Schenkelberg’s “Squeeze My Cans” will be running at the Hollywood Fringe, and we encourage HowdyCon attendees to see her show on Thursday night, June 20. Tickets and more dates available here.

Friday night June 21 we will be having an event in a theater (like we did on Saturday night last year in Chicago). There will not be a charge to attend this event, but if you want to attend, you need to RSVP with your proprietor at tonyo94 AT gmail.

On Saturday, we are joining forces with Janis Gillham Grady, who is having a reunion in honor of the late Bill Franks. Originally, we thought this event might take place in Riverside, but instead it’s in the Los Angeles area. If you wish to attend the reunion, you will need to RSVP with Janis (janisgrady AT gmail), and there will be a small contribution she’s asking for in order to help cover her costs.

HOTEL: Janis tells us she’s worked out a deal with Hampton Inn and Suites, at 7501 North Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, (818) 768-1106. We have a $159 nightly rate for June 19 to 22. Note: You need to ask for the “family reunion” special rate.



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!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] PRAISE XENU: We have more Scientology hip-hop, and even better – IT’S AUSSIE-FLAVORED
[TWO years ago] ‘Source’ magazine offers a glimpse into what goes on at Scientology’s Florida ‘mecca’
[THREE years ago] Is Scientology using Tommy Davis to get Aussie billionaire James Packer back in the fold?
[FOUR years ago] John Coale, Greta Van Susteren, and the miracle of Scientology drug technology: A meditation
[FIVE years ago] Life after Scientology: The post-Sea Org baby boom
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s Drug Rehab Network Goes On the Offensive
[SEVEN years ago] How You Can Help a Film About Kate Bornstein Happen
[ELEVEN years ago] Jason Beghe Turned Away at NY Scientology Building


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,459 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,588 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,092 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,612 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 632 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 523 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,830 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,698 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,472 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,246 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,592 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,158 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,078 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,245 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,826 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,087 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,126 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,838 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,364 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,453 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,593 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,913 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,769 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,888 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,244 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,546 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,652 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,054 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,926 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,509 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,004 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,258 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,367 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 27, 2019 at 07:00

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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. Our book about Paulette, 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, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | 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, or 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 | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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