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Scientologist removed from L.A. court again after screaming at judge in fraud hearing

[Hanan Islam, circa 2014]

It was another strange day at Los Angeles Superior Court yesterday as a long-delayed preliminary hearing went into its second day, and our correspondent Jeffrey Augustine was on the scene.

Defendants Hanan Islam and her son Ronnie “Rizza” Islam had spent the night in county jail after their antics the previous day. When the courtroom opened at 1:30 pm, Augustine tells us, Rizza was brought in from a holding cell in jail blues and was handcuffed to a chair. His mother was also brought in, but besides the dark blue clothes with “LA County Jail” in white letters, she also had on a paper mask. Augustine says she was belligerent, complaining loudly about the way she had been treated.

Judge Michael Pastor was told by sheriff’s deputies that Hanan had refused to submit to a TB test when she was taken to jail, and so she had to be held in isolation. She had also refused a chest X-ray out of concerns about radiation, saying she had cured herself of cancer.

She also complained that her medical situation was private, and she didn’t like that it was being discussed in an open courtroom in front of “a bigoted reporter,” and she stared at Augustine, who has been skillfully giving us detailed and unbiased reporting from the scene. (Hanan’s attorney had waived her HIPAA rights in a previous public court session.)

Hanan also returned to the themes of sovereign citizen conspiracy theories, angrily denying that the court had any jurisdiction over her. In the morning, she had refused to leave her cell to come to the courthouse, and Judge Pastor had to issue an extraction order, which resulted in deputies forcibly removing her from her cell, which she loudly complained about to the judge.


Judge Pastor had heard enough. He ordered Hanan excluded from court, and she was taken back to jail. “Defendant Hanan Islam insists on being the center of attention,” the judge said wearily. The hearing then continued without her present. (Her son Rizza, it should be pointed out, comported himself respectfully during the proceeding.)

Some highlights of the second day of testimony by state prosecutors: Investigator Sam Richardson said that the World Literacy Crusade (Alfreddie Johnson’s infamous Scientology front operation in Compton) and American Health and Education Clinics (the Scientology Narconon rehab Johnson and Islam opened at the WLC facility) were essentially indistinguishable. They shared the facility, they shared literature, they shared personnel.

(“We use the Narconon program developed by L. Ron Hubbard,” World Literacy Crusade’s website stated on a now-defunct page that is preserved on the Internet Archive.)

Between September 2010 and June 2013, the county paid Hanan Islam’s clinic $3.8 million in reimbursements, which prosecutors now say were applied for fraudulently.

Defense attorneys had an opportunity to respond, and Augustine says that each of them began to carve out different approaches for their clients.

Rizza Islam’s attorney questioned the lack of Medi-Cal codes on sign-in sheets that listed the names of high school students who were taught by Rizza. But the state had already explained how the sign-in sheets were used by the scam’s “ghost writers” to produce lengthy (and bogus) progress reports for the students so Medi-Cal could be fraudulently billed. It felt like a fairly inconsequential attack on the state’s case, Augustine says.

The defense for Rizza’s older sister, Nimat Islam, took the line that Nimat was a low-level, inconsequential employee who was never in Suite F with the ghost writers, was not a signatory on bank accounts, and didn’t sign tax returns.

On rebuttal, the prosecution said that Nimat had threatened to fire an employee if they didn’t apply for Medi-Cal, suggesting she too was part of the overall scam.

Hanan’s attorney focused on her daughter Zakiyyah being in charge of billing, and also that Hanan did not teach or counsel any of the high school students, and that she wasn’t seen on any of the high school campuses.

On rebuttal, the prosecution said that Hanan didn’t go to the campuses because she dealt directly with the corrupt educators (two principals and a football coach) who supplied the students for the scheme.

At the end of day’s testimony, Rizza Islam was led away in handcuffs to return to jail to continue to serve his five-day penalty for contempt. Judge Pastor said that his mother Hanan could reappear in court if she abides by the rules. But she’ll be cooling her heels in the county jail until Monday morning, when the hearing resumes with more testimony from the prosecution, this time a witness from the state Franchise Tax Board.


Introducing ‘The Lowdown’

Late last night, the cats threw the switch on some changes to the website. We’ve added a new blog, The Lowdown, and touched up the home page. On some of our browsers, the update worked immediately. But on Chrome, the changes were taking longer to propagate. So bear with us if things look a bit janky for you this morning.

Several months ago, we wanted to add more subjects to the Bunker, where we’ve been covering Scientology as a daily news beat since 2012. We added new blogs about Jehovah’s Witnesses and Nxivm, and we were fortunate to have Dianne Lipson provide killer eyewitness coverage for the Nxivm trial.

But we realized that it was very difficult to add blogs with such narrow focuses on top of the major Scientology site we were already operating. So we’ve retooled. We’ve emphasized our Scientology coverage on the home page, and we’ve added The Lowdown, a blog that will allow us to dip into as many different topics as we want to — sure, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Nxivm, but also culture, science, and even some politics: We’re thrilled that attorney Scott Pilutik will be featured regularly at The Lowdown. His lawyerly observations about national news have been extremely helpful to keep us calm as everything seems to be burning down around us.

Writing about Scientology every day is a full time job, and we don’t plan to attenuate our coverage. So items on The Lowdown are often just attempts at conversation starters and may not be much more than a link to a controversial new press article and a comment by us to get the discussion going. We hope you’ll give these items a look and help us grow the Bunker into entertaining new areas of conversation. — The Proprietor


Source Code

“The Roman Catholic Church, somewhere along the line, through watching the dramatizations of people, picked up some little fragments of R6, and they make it look like it’s continued forward into present time. But the truth of the matter is that the loyal officers were not all killed. Xenu missed. And they were not all killed. Not by a long way…Somebody, somewhere on this planet, back about 600 BC, found some piece of R6. And I don t know how they found it, either by watching mad men or something, but since that time they have used it and it became what is known as Christianity. The man on the cross. There was no Christ, but the man on the cross is shown as every man so of course each person seeing a crucified man has an immediate feeling of sympathy for this man. Therefore you get many PCs who say they are Christ.” — L. Ron Hubbard, October 3, 1968


Overheard in the FreeZone

“‘Love and Freedom’ is the tool the 1.1s use to win (our own wrong-headed) support, as like, as our government that promotes and talks about freedom and service to all, while taking away freedoms and taking away our prosperity. Homosexuality and related acts are not freedom, theta, or logical in this universe, at least in the part that I live in — instead they are just another extension of the alien deep-state cabal push-and-pull and complete trap to hold us in the lower tones so we can be controlled and eliminated.”


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

[Jenna Elfman, Giovanni Ribisi, and Greta Van Susteren]

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] Jesse Prince talks about the grieving after L. Ron Hubbard’s death — and the partying
[TWO years ago] Rerun Tuesday: ‘Leah Remini’ participants tell us what the series has meant to them
[THREE years ago] L. Ron Hubbard in exile: When Scientology’s leader ran things while on the lam
[FOUR years ago] ‘Going Clear’ Q&A: Mike Rinder and Sara Goldberg take heat from Scientologists
[FIVE years ago] What VICE magazine got wrong about Scientology in the UK
[SIX years ago] LIVE FROM TAMPA: The Garcia v. Scientology Federal Fraud Lawsuit Mini-Trial!
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology’s Meltdown: A Story Told in Pictures


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,586 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,715 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,219 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,739 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 759 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 650 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,957 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,825 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,599 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,373 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,719 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,285 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,204 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,372 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,953 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,214 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,253 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,965 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,491 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,017 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,580 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,720 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,040 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,896 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,015 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,370 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,673 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,779 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,181 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,053 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,636 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,131 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,385 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,494 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on October 3, 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, 14 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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