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Scientology’s 2019: Another year is in the books at the Underground Bunker!

Here we are just a few hours away from a new decade, and this Scientology thing is still messing up lives and running rings around courts and law enforcement.

What. The. Hell?

At least in our efforts to keep on top of the latest Scientology news, we have an amazing community of readers and commenters who travel with us on this journey. And we want to thank you all for making 2019 another wild ride here in the Underground Bunker.

There are so many people who contributed greatly to the work here. Fine people like Rod Keller, Sunny Pereira, Chris Owen, Jeffrey Augustine, and the many correspondents and tipsters who we can’t name and who often take great risks to keep us informed about what Scientology is up to.

With their help, we’re charging into the Roaring ’20s with just as much determination as ever to remain vigilant about L. Ron Hubbard’s shitshow.


Last year, we had Sunny Pereira give us some final thoughts about 2018 before the new year started. This year, we asked attorney Graham Berry for his thoughts about the year that was 2019…


In 2019, my Scientology-related work has been diverse. Early in the year I was retained to represent a former Scientology staffer in a serious criminal matter in which the church took an active interest. In my opinion, the fine young man had been horribly abused and taken advantage of by his former church. After a handful of court appearances, and much negotiation, a very favorable outcome was reached. I then assisted a former Sea Org member to document the appalling alleged sexual abuse of young teenage Sea Org members. What was even more disgusting was the extent to which Scientology uses very young teenage Sea Org members as ministers and therapists to audit/interrogate, for hours at a time, much older adult members upon the most private and intimate details of their sex lives, and then to bestow forgiveness for any misconduct.

Then there were a handful of successful repayment claims. Scientology policy and practice regarding refunds and repayments has not changed. Members must still Route Out (“run the gauntlet”) using the Claims Verification Board process. However, these successful claims involved alleged credit card abuse and, in most cases, alleged elder financial abuse. I expect I will be seeing more such cases in the New Year as church Registrar’s continue their unyielding pressure for more money, more money and even more money from a dwindling membership being financially cannibalized, and an increasing number of financial “whales,” and other financial activity, keeping the church’s gross income and profitability flowing. The latest Scientology mail has the church urging parishioners to make year-end donations to the church so the parishioners can claim 2019 tax deductions from “Uncle Sam” at the I.R.S. There have also been many other fascinating consultations regarding alleged Church misconduct, some of them ongoing.

But there have been lighter times as well. I have continued to enjoy the social company of many wonderful people who include former members, Underground Bunker readers, Facebookers, activists and lurkers. I also had the pleasure of attending the taping of the final episode of Leah Remini’s and Mike Rinder’s award winning television documentary series ‘The Aftermath.’ The final audience was an international and interstate group of people, most of whom had either participated in the show or been involved with the church in some interesting manner.

Of course, there has been the added pleasure of following the filing of three new major cases against the church; by Brian Kent’s large national team of very talented lawyers. However, the church has already asserted its reliance upon the numerous contracts that Scientology requires every parishioner, staffer and Sea Organization member to sign from their very first exposure to the organization. No contemplation, independent consultation, modification or copy is allowed. Their lawyers argue that unconscionability is not a consideration in these coerced or manipulated documents. The agreements require the Scientologist to waive and release the church from any claim whatsoever, even for wrongful death. Any dispute or claim must be resolved by binding religious arbitration before a panel of Scientologists who can be biased in favor of the church, and who must enforce the church’s harsh and unjust policies against ‘suppressive persons,’ which such claimants are by church definition. Increasingly the courts refuse to interfere in what are deemed internal matters of church governance and justice.

Already, the church legal eagles have been screeching that the judge must order the first claimant into its compulsory religious arbitration. Scientology’s wars of financial attrition, and litigation blitzkriegs, will likely continue to try and “overwhelm” the opposition. If the past is prologue, Scientology may be over-playing its hand. We’ll see. Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. So, continue reading ‘The Underground Bunker.’ Even for non-lawyers, 2020 is kicking off with some fascinating and enthralling litigation rollercoasters. I wish you all a very happy and successful New Year and 2020.

— Graham Berry

Thank you, counselor!

We have a lot to get to today in the final moments of 2019, so we’re just going to get to it. After finishing up the year in review that we started back on Dec 21, we will pay our respects to some people we lost this year, and then roll out our favorite stories of the year.

And all of it is leading up to midnight, when we’ll reveal Observer’s poster for 2020’s HowydCon. Hey, let’s party!

Finishing up our year in review: The stories of November/December 2019


A tipster leaked us a video that gave us a sobering look at just how sad and pathetic the local Scientology scene is in a place like the Birhmingham Org.

David Miscavige opened his first Ideal Org of the year in Kansas City, and we got a look at his local shills.

The KC Ideal Org then held its first wedding, and we solicited advice from former Scientologists for the young couple.

We noticed that Scientology had posted to its website a video revealing the presentation it privately gave Clearwater’s city council in a pitch for downtown development, and it was even more ridiculous than we imagined.

We found that Scientology had denounced a former member who gained popularity for an “ancient aliens” book published in 1989. And that author, William Bramley, sent us a lengthy response to Scientology’s condemnation of him.

Only a week after Kansas City, David Miscavige opened another Ideal Org in Columbus, Ohio, and once again we got the drop on his local shills.

Guy White, former husband to Suzette Hubbard and father to three Hubbard grandchildren, went public in a big way.

David Miscavige was served again, this time a lawsuit filed in Miami by a woman who alleges that she was sexually abused multiple time as a child employee for Scientology.

We interviewed an unusual pair of twin brothers in Florida who have created corporations with names like Sea Org Corporation and Scientology Inc.

We came into possession of three big new leaks of Scientology records, through the FBI, and from the Mace-Kingsley Ranch and the Valley Ideal Org, and we begin posting documents from each on a daily basis.

We said goodbye to Nan McLean, 96, a real hero who had fought Scientology for decades.

Scientology began its counterattack on the lawsuits filed by numerous women over the summer, claiming that the service of the suits was improper, and asking for sanctions for the “fraudulent” service. Miscavige, meanwhile, threatened to name the “Jane Does” suing Danny Masterson.

Musician Beck Hansen went public that he’s not a Scientologist, but Leah Remini said it was a “pussy move” for him to imply that he was never in to begin with.

In-Touch used to care about getting Scientology stories right. But now that it’s been sold to National Enquirer’s parent company, it has started up with garbage about Tom Cruise that is pure fantasy.


Scientology moved to dismiss the Miami lawsuit by saying it was filed in the wrong venue.

Early in December, we broke the news that two more women are cooperating with the LAPD in its investigation of Danny Masterson, bringing to six the number of victims talking to the police.

The next day, we revealed that a church member in Clearwater told us about the phone call with Scientology’s local spokeswoman, Pat Harney, who told them not to vote for Mark Bunker for city council in March, a clear violation of Scientology’s tax exempt status.

And the day after that another shock: Danny Masterson was served again, this time by handing court papers personally to his wife, actress Bijou Phillips.

And still rolling, the next day we revealed that a leaked spreadsheet showed that donors at the Harlem Org achieve statuses like “Harlem Homie” and “Gangster”!

And this huge week in December kept going with another shocker: A source close to L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey told us Lacey had no intention of charging Danny Masterson, and Masterson’s victims should hope that Lacey is unseated in March by former S.F. District Attorney George Gascon.

The fun continued over the weekend as we revealed the whales of the annual IAS event in England that had taken place in October, first the lesser whales and then the $1 million-plus major leviathans.

A few days later, Leah Remini said, on the record: “Jackie Lacey, you have forgotten what side you are on.”

We presented evidence that at least one of the witnesses the LAPD would like to talk to in the Masterson case has been sent to the Freewinds and out of the LAPD’s reach.

We said goodbye to Pete Combs, a radio reporter we deeply admired. And Bernie Headley, a man who inspired us with the way he fought disconnection.

Even more breaking news: Scientology notified the Masterson plaintiffs that it was going to try to force at least some of them into “religious arbitration” and kill their lawsuit.

Out of the Valley Ideal Org leak, we found a stunning document from a former Scientology spy who was trying to get back on the “Bridge” but was facing resistance from a suspicious church.

And with the holidays rapidly approaching, Scientology had one more surprise, asking for an emergency hearing to ask the court to force Valerie Haney into “religious arbitration.” But cooler heads prevailed, and the judge said Scientology could bring its motion to a regular court date in January.


A LOOK BACK AT NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018: We published a 1972 account of his life by L. Ron Hubbard Jr (with Paulette Cooper) that had never before seen the light of day. Clay Irwin sold his bar and tipped us off that Scientology was secretly buying up more property in Clearwater (which Tracey McManus at the Tampa Bay Times proved in a brilliant 2019 investigation). Leah Remini focused on Jehovah’s Witnesses, and then started out her third season about Scientology with the bombshell story of Valerie Haney’s escape from Scientology’s Gold Base. Sunny Pereira revealed the moment she realized Clear doesn’t exist. We interviewed Valerie Haney about about David Miscavige’s private life. Leah exposed the Nation of Islam, and we learned then that Tiponi Grey had died. NOI’s Tony Muhammad then took a slimy jab at Leah. After 68 years, we finally found Sonya Bianchi, L. Ron Hubbard’s first “Clear.”

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.

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.’

Five of our favorites from the most-upvoted comments of November/December 2019

November 5: Jefferson Hawkins
I walk past the Portland Org at least once a month, and it’s always empty. No public on the ground floor, where they have all the video screens, no one in the Intro lecture room. I remember the Ideal Org opening. I managed to lose my OSA tail and find a perch in a nearby parking structure. From that viewpoint, I was able to document that the attendance was about 350 people, which included people bussed in from LA, SFO and Seattle. They claimed 3,500.

November 6: otviii2late
When I was young and newly in Scientology, I was dating the love of my life. When he continually showed no interest in Scientology, I was summoned to the ethics officer and told I needed to choose between him and my eternity and was coerced into the decision of having to dump him. When I protested, I was assured by the ethics officer that it was no big deal because despite breaking up with him, I could still go on loving him quietly on my own, as consolation. Fortunately, that was advice I didn’t take and I’m still happily married to him today. Although I didn’t lose him, I did lose years of my life and my life savings. But I was one of the lucky ones.

November 9: Panopea Abrupta
DM is opening his 63rd Ideal Org. If he ever writes his autobiography, can I suggest a title? ‘Miscavige: How the MEST Was Won’


December 3: Andrea “i-Betty” Garner
It is things like this [the Pat Harney leaked call] that will incense David Miscavige at a bone-deep level: the inability to control local matters at a local level – and in his very own Scientology city to boot – without his tactics leaking to Tony and beyond. There is so little that remains within David Miscavige’s unfettered control these days and that must make his head spin. Tiny tyrants can only function efficiently when they maintain unrestricted dominion. Well done, everyone! And thanks to Tony’s source.

December 13: madge filpot
If the Catholic Church (an entity that is FAR wealthier than Scientology) can be brought to task in the courts for the sexual abuse by its clergy (and the courts followed through even when there was much more money involved and at least as much opportunity for bribes and buy-offs) then one would think the U.S. court system in these cases such as the Garcias and these rapes, would do their research, get hold of the appropriate LRH policies and bulletins that PROVE that internal arbitration is a sham and that PROVE how they play the legal system is designed to waste time, money and wear everyone down. SMDH.



People we said goodbye to this year…

Pete Combs, 1959-2019: A reporter who believed in the power of digging for the truth

Bernie Headley, 1952-2019: A man who fought against Scientology’s ‘disconnection’

Adam Holland, 1988-2019: Scientology whistle-blower who exposed Sea Org conditions

Nan McLean, 1923-2019: One of the bravest women who ever exposed Scientology’s abuses




Like the last three years, we have put together a list of our personal choices for most significant pieces we posted in 2019. 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. Charles Barkley becomes a slam dunk photo opportunity for Scientology

One of the things we keep an eye on here at the Bunker are Scientology’s many front groups, which act in sneaky ways and try to “safepoint” Scientology with “opinion leaders” — particularly celebrities. NBA legend Charles Barkley may have had no idea that he was being gladhanded by a couple of OT Scientologists at a charity golf event in Georgia this summer, but you can bet Scientology considered this photo opportunity a big win.


19. Sword-wielding, Bentley-driving man killed by police at Scientology org identified

Several days after a man was shot and killed by police at the Inglewood, California Scientology “Ideal Org,” the county medical examiner released the man’s name, Brian Statler. That allowed us to learn a few things about this 30-year-old mixed race man who drove an expensive white Bentley automobile to the org, reportedly threatened people with a “samurai sword,” and then was shot dead by the police. We’re still trying to piece together what happened that day, no thanks to the Inglewood police, who have maintained total silence about the event. What was Statler doing there at the org, and why was he so upset?



18. Sunny Pereira once again took us into the dark depths of Scientology’s cruel family policies

Sunny had another incredible year at the Bunker, and we are so grateful to her for sharing her experiences with us as a former child Sea Org member and adult technical expert before her defection. In 2019 she took us into Scientology’s homophobia, she stunned us with a letter she had written as a prisoner in the basement of Scientology’s “Big Blue” headquarters in Los Angeles, she explained how difficult it is to leave the Sea Org, how staff members are strung along with promises of superpowers, and how Scientology created its own prison for its children workers. But the piece that affected us the most was her searing look at how disconnection in her family meant that her mother, who remains in the Sea Org, gave instructions for how to divvy up family funerals so the two of them don’t run into each other. Scientology is an abomination.


17. Scientologist says the church is telling Clearwater members not to vote for Mark Bunker

This story meant a lot to us for several different reasons, not the least of which was that it came to us from a Scientology member in Clearwater who had just begun to question their involvement in the church. And what they had to tell us was pretty spectacular: Scientologists in Clearwater were being told to get in touch with spokeswoman Pat Harney who wanted to talk to them about the upcoming March election in Clearwater, and to make sure they knew there was a “suppressive person” on the ballot, Mark Bunker. It’s actually a violation of Scientology’s tax exempt status for it to be telling its members how to vote — even in the case of telling them who not to vote for. But we expect that the IRS will ignore this report, as it has ignored so much that Scientology does which should put its tax exempt status in jeopardy.


16. Give Scientology $500 and you too could be a ‘Harlem Homie’!

We could hardly believe our eyes when we saw a spreadsheet in a recent leak of Scientology documents which suggested that donors at the Harlem org were being rewarded with statuses like “Harlem Homie” and “Harlem Globetrotter.” But there was another shock — we actually recognized one of the names in the spreadsheet, and when we contacted that person they confirmed that they had, indeed, been named a Harlem Homie for giving Scientology money. Oh, Dave. You are really too much.


15. Scientology’s biggest donors of late 2019: The whales giving millions to David Miscavige

We’ve been watching Scientology’s big donors — we call them “whales” — for years. But we’ve never seen a year like this, with more celebrations and more donors giving millions to David Miscavige in exchange for big shiny trophies. And it’s Scientology itself that puts out photos of these wealthy givers. We like to post their celebratory photos so everyone knows their names.



14. Brad Pitt’s Scientology adventure: The sauna, the auditing, the… lizard?

Another amazing account from Sunny Pereira, this time in an interview with her, when she described being assigned to be Brad Pitt’s “examiner” at the Hollywood Celebrity Centre. And she related a particularly bizarre episode when Brad may have been messing with his Scientology handlers, bringing in his pet iguana for some processing.


13. Leah Remini: Where’s the outrage about Scientology’s disappeared?

In April, Leah Remini was kind enough to share with us a shocking photo from her collection. It was taken around the year 2004, and it shows Leah with two women who were each powerful Scientology executives but were each made to vanish into thin air about a year later. On Leah’s left, that’s Shelly Miscavige, wife of church leader David Miscavige, who disappeared in the summer of 2005 and has, we think, been kept at a small mountain compound out of the public eye ever since. On Leah’s right is Barbara Ruiz, who used to run Scientology’s Writers of the Future annual gala celebration, until she too was made to vanish in 2005. Year after year, there’s no sign of several former Scientology officials, and year after year law enforcement does nothing about it. “These people have family that are out in the real world but they’re afraid to ask about their imprisoned family members for fear of retaliation from Scientology,” Leah told us.


12. Graham Berry is on a roll: The attorney Scientology hates to see knocking on its door

Attorney Graham Berry had a huge 2019. We first profiled Graham for the Phoenix New Times 20 years ago, and even then he was a veteran litigator against the Church of Scientology, having so famously served the church’s celebrities in a lawsuit that had grown out of the 1991 Time magazine cover story, “The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power.” In the last couple of years, Graham has found some very smart ways to help victims, particularly the elderly, recover what they lost to Scientology’s extortionate financial scams. In 2019, we told you about an elderly woman in the Midwest who was helped by Graham. And then he generously shared with us some actual legal demand letters he had sent to Scientology on behalf of other clients who had fallen victim to Scientology’s tricks. What makes these cases so important is that they are happening now, not years ago, and law enforcement has the opportunity to see how Scientology is using financial chicanery that should get the church in a lot of trouble.



11. Michael Jackson and Scientology: When the Hollywood Celebrity Centre went on lockdown

Another surprising story out of Scientology’s past that came to us in an interview with Sunny Pereira. She described the strange three days in 1994 when Lisa Marie Presley came down to the Celebrity Centre with a special guest, her new husband Michael Jackson, and the facility shut off an entire wing to make sure the visit was as secret as possible. But if Scientology thought it was going to get its hooks into the Gloved One, he had other ideas, and soon the church’s play for him, and his marriage to Lisa Marie, was over.


10. Hubbard family member: Mary Sue griped about Scientology leader’s ‘Napoleon complex’

We’ve known Guy White for years, and we were looking forward to the day when he finally went public, bringing a new focus on the Hubbard family that’s been largely missing from Scientology coverage. Guy was married to L. Ron Hubbard’s daughter Suzette, and he’s father to three of Hubbard’s grandchildren. Guy had a front row seat for the way the Hubbard family was treated after L. Ron died in 1986 and David Miscavige began to take over. He says that Mary Sue Hubbard griped about Miscavige and he suggested that there’s little regard for the dictator among Hubbard’s descendants. But will they ever speak up for themselves?


9. How ‘The Kominsky Method’ nailed it: Writer Chuck Lorre’s secret Scientology past

Scientology is the subject of so many jabs and parodies coming out of Hollywood these days, we tend to ignore them. But then we saw an episode of the Netflix series ‘The Kominsky Method’ and we had to pay attention. The series, starring Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas, took on Scientology in a big way, with Haley Joel Osment playing a disaffected Flag registrar. And not only was the show that specific about Scientology’s setup, but the use of lingo was spot on. We wondered how the show had pulled it off, but then we got a shock: Geoff Levin revealed that writer-producer Chuck Lorre had actually come to California in the 1970s as a hardcore Scientologist, something people in Hollywood seemed not to realize today.


8. Leah Remini calls Beck’s sudden Scientology defection a ‘pussy move’

When news broke that Beck Hansen had filed for divorce from his wife Marissa Ribisi, we speculated that the singer-songwriter might be divorcing Scientology as well. He grew up in Scientology and had married into one of the strongest of celebrity clans, but we’d heard some things about Beck distancing himself from the church. In November, Beck made it official by telling an Australian reporter (and the New Yorker) that he was not a Scientologist. But Leah Remini told us she was pretty unhappy with the way Beck was pretending that he’d never been a Scientologist and that it was something the press had invented. That was certainly untrue, and Leah and her co-star Mike Rinder were both disappointed that Beck was not owning up to the truth.



7. Death in the Timor Sea: The darkest war secret of Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard

Historian Chris Owen had another huge year writing for us at the Bunker, and he also put out a new version of his essential book about L. Ron Hubbard’s war years, ‘Ron the War Hero.’ As he was researching his rewrite of that work, he stumbled on an incredible new account of what may be Hubbard’s biggest blunder of what was already known to be a disastrous World War II experience: A terrible strategic decision by Hubbard was at least partly responsible for the death of a number of Australian sailors in an incident not previously reported. What a scoop by Chris.


6. Tom Cruise thanked by daughter Isabella in bizarre Scientology promo

Thanks to an anonymous London tipster, we received an email that had been sent out by the London Ideal Org with a “success story” from one of its members, extolling the benefits of Scientology auditor training. We did a real double-take when we realized that the person talking about what a worthwhile ordeal she’d been through was none other than Isabella Cruise, daughter of actor Tom Cruise. Wow! We’ve been telling tabloid reporters for years that Tom and his kids were still dedicated Scientologists, but even we were shocked to see Isabella lending herself to this kind of internal marketing material.


5. Scientology’s cruise ship ‘Freewinds’ quarantined for the measles, the most wonderful and stupid story ever?

What an afternoon we had on May 1, scrambling along with several other news organizations to confirm what seemed too good to be true: An entire cruise ship had been quarantined in the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia because of a measles outbreak (which was bad enough), but incredibly the ship was none other than Scientology’s floating cathedral, the ‘Freewinds.’ The mainstream press gobbled it up as the thought of wealthy Scientologists shut up in a ship and unable to leave while the world was laughing was almost too much. Could there have been a more apt symbol for our dumb conspiracy-obsessed anti-vaccination times?



4. Jackie Lacey insider: Unseat her in March if you want to see Danny Masterson charged

More than three years ago three women came forward to the LAPD with allegations that they’d been violently raped by Scientologist actor Danny Masterson in incidents between 2001 and 2004. They were later joined by a fourth woman in 2017 as the case was forwarded by the LAPD to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office for prosecution. But since then, despite “overwhelming evidence” according to journalist Yashar Ali, L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey has said nothing about whether she plans to file charges. And now, we had a bombshell: Someone close to Lacey told us that the D.A. had no intention of charging Masterson because she doesn’t want to take on the Church of Scientology, and if Masterson’s victims want justice they’ll have to hope Lacey is unseated by former S.F. District Attorney George Gascón in the March election. Gascón himself all but confirmed that he’d charge Masterson if he was elected, and Leah Remini announced at the Bunker that she’s voting for him.


3. Here’s the lawsuit against Scientology and Danny Masterson. Let’s dive into it.

If Jackie Lacey is doing nothing about the LAPD investigation of Masterson, the actor’s victims aren’t sitting still. In a move we’d long anticipated, Chrissie Carnell Bixler, Bobette Riales, and two Jane Does filed suit against Masterson in the summer, and also named the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige, for harassing them since they came forward to police. Scientology has characteristically responded in an aggressive manner, calling the service of the lawsuit “fraudulent” and asking the court for sanctions. Th church has also notified the victims that they intend to file motions forcing at least some of them into “religious arbitration” and stopping their lawsuit. Three years after these women went to the police looking for justice, they’re getting a legal mugging from Scientology for daring to speak up.


2. Valerie Haney drops ‘Jane Doe’ label in brutal amended complaint against Scientology

Scientology was rocked by three important lawsuits this summer, filed by numerous women who say they were assaulted and abused by Scientologists and the church itself, and backed by a powerful national legal team made up largely of former prosecutors who have a track record of finding justice for the people wronged by religious organizations. All three of the lawsuits have the potential to open up Scientology to legal examination and hold the church accountable for its abuses. But we are especially excited about the suit filed by David Miscavige’s former steward, Valerie Haney. A Sea Org member, Valerie served for years in the private quarters of Miscavige and his wife Shelly, and has plenty to say about the church dictator’s private life. No one who has sued Scientology has ever had a closer connection to Miscavige himself, corresponding to a stronger legal justification for subpoenaing and deposing Miscavige and his wife Shelly, who was hidden away in a mountain compound in 2005. This lawsuit, perhaps more than any other, may be a spectacular legal conflagration for the church.


1. SCIENTOLOGIST ARRESTED IN L.A. COURT: Narconon fraud defendants in wild scene

Four years ago, we broke a bizarre story out of Los Angeles. A woman named Hanan Islam and three of her children had been charged with felonies for ripping off the state Medi-Cal insurance program with the use of high school students undergoing “treatment” at their Scientology Narconon clinic in Compton. In the years since, the case moved glacially through the courts despite the severity of the charges, and finally, this year, the prosecution got going in earnest. The Islams objected and started acting bizarrely in court, lofting “sovereign citizen” defenses that only got them into more trouble. And then, thanks to Jeffrey Augustine covering a preliminary hearing for us, we had an eyewitness account when the sovereign citizen nonsense got Hanan and her son Rizza handcuffed and taken to jail. Meanwhile, the state finally put on its case and we learned just how strange and brazen this scam had been. Thanks to Jeffrey, we continue to get reports on this wild case as trial nears early in 2020.


Leaked document of the day

From the FBI documents release comes this item.

As a historical document that proves the deceptive nature of Scientology, it’s hard to surpass this one. It’s a lawsuit filed on behalf of Scientology’s Washington DC church, which is called the “Founding Church of Scientology” even though it was created in 1955 and more than a year after the first “Church of Scientology” corporation was created in Camden, New Jersey in December 1953 and the first physical church in Los Angeles in February 1954. The date of the lawsuit is really significant: It was filed in January 1977, and it’s a kitchen sink litany of gripes by Scientology that the FBI, CIA, and other US Government agencies had, since 1955, conspired to trash Scientology’s reputation by gathering and sharing damning investigative information about L. Ron Hubbard and his organization.

Of course, what the government had on file in January 1977 was nothing compared what it would soon get its hands on a few months later in the FBI’s raid on Scientology locations in DC and Los Angeles on July 8, 1977. The depths of Scientology’s depravity, with countless operations run by its Guardian’s Office to infiltrate government agencies and destroy the lives of people it considered enemies — like Clearwater, Florida mayor Gabe Cazares and New York journalist Paulette Cooper — was orders of magnitude worse than anything anyone had imagined.

And yet, even though Scientology knew it was engaging in those illegal and reckless acts, it filed this lawsuit that January, accusing the government of spreading the idea that that its founder, L. Ron Hubbbard was likely insane, and that “its members and leaders regularly engage in illegal and criminal activities.”

After the raid, the church dropped this lawsuit, but then immediately filed another version of it, as a class-action, which came before Judge Charles Richey, the same judge who presided over the prosecutions of Mary Sue Hubbard and other top officials arrested after the raid. Records show he did certify the class Scientology was asking for, but then also granted the government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

So, just keep that in mind whenever you see Scientology say anything in a court document: It is fully capable of walking into court and accusing others of wrongdoing that it knows it is engaged in itself. And this thing calls itself a “church.”

Here’s Scientology’s quixotic January 1977 complaint…


Founding Church of Scientol… by Tony Ortega on Scribd


Source Code

“Sixty-three was the year I had to do all the research work. I’ve sacrificed everything now. The other day, the other day, not too long ago, I was outside taking a look at the dawn and it was a great relief. The Van Allen belt is nice and warm and you can sit in the Van Allen belt amongst the radiation that’s supposed to be so harmful. It’s nice that it’s there. It holds in the warm air, you know, and you can put out your beams and warm your hands. And rain clouds are absolutely beautiful there. They’re almost as good as a drink of Coca-Cola. And you can get into the ice crystals of a rain cloud and it’s very nice. It’s very nice. It’s cooling, refreshing, you know, like taking a cold shower on a hot summer day. And all of a sudden you’re not stricken by these fantastic temperature reactions. See, you’re in a body, you see, you get a temperature difference of ten degrees up or ten degrees down and you’re kind of miserable, you know? And outside, you get a temperature differential of two hundred degrees centigrade up and two hundred degrees centigrade down — it makes a nice change!” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 31, 1963


Overheard in the FreeZone

“E=mc2 is a flawed idea. Yes, it’s true that matter is really just solidified energy. But what’s been left out is the thetan. The thetan, who has no location in time and space, adds and subtracts energy and mass at will to the Universe as he sees fit. If, as an OT, I see a bus about to careen into a bunch of school kids and I decide to change the trajectory of the bus to spare the lives of these children, where does the energy to do that come from? Me! I create it from ‘whole cloth’ and add it to this universe.”


Random Howdy

“Well Sherbert, it doesn’t look like this tired ole punk is going to make it to midnight, so a ‘HAPPY NEW YEAR’ to you and the the rest of the Degenerates and a ‘Big, Big Love’.”


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

[The Big Three: Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Kirstie Alley]

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] Scientology’s 2018: Another year is in the books at the Underground Bunker!
[TWO years ago] Scientology’s 2017: Another year is in the books at the Underground Bunker!
[THREE years ago] LEAKED AUDIO — Scientology’s New Year’s event 2017: ‘Welcome to Scientology forever!’
[FOUR years ago] Scientology’s 2015: Another year is in the books at the Underground Bunker!
[FIVE years ago] Scientology’s 2014 in review: So long to another great year in the Bunker!
[SIX years ago] Scientology’s 2013 in review: The Super Power-ful finish to an eventful year
[SEVEN years ago] John Sweeney and Marc Headley Visit Scientology’s Odd New Mexico Vault
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Spectacular: Commenters of the Year!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,803 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,307 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,827 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 847 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 738 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,045 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,913 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,687 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,461 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,807 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,373 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,292 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,460 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,041 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,302 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,340 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,053 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,578 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,105 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,668 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,808 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,128 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,984 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,103 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,458 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,761 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,867 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,269 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,141 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,724 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,219 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,473 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,582 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 31, 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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