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WHOA! Scientology to Judge Kleifield: Wrecking human lives IS our ‘commerce’

[David Miscavige: “Bite down on this, judge.”]

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Steven Kleifield shocked us last month when he vacated a hearing in the lawsuit between Danny Masterson’s rape accusers and the That ’70s Show actor and the Church of Scientology. Kleifield wiped out the hearing and then asked Scientology’s attorneys to submit a new argument for its motion to force the plaintiffs into “religious arbitration.”

Scientology has been on a winning streak with its arbitration strategy in lawsuits brought by former members. The church argues that Scientologists sign contracts that contain arbitration clauses that preclude them from suing in a court of law. Twice previously judges have denied former Scientologists the right to a trial because they signed such agreements. And now, for a third time, Scientology looked like it was well on its way to derailing another lawsuit by forcing Chrissie Carnell Bixler and the other women suing Masterson into Scientology’s version of arbitration.

But then Kleifield stunned both sides by pointing out something neither of them had brought up. Scientology’s gambit of forcing arbitration on its former members was based on the Federal Arbitration Act, which became law in 1926. Kleifield noted, however, that the act governed agreements of “commerce,” and was it really commerce, the stuff of dollars and cents, which was at stake in this lawsuit? These women are alleging that they’ve been stalked and harassed and slandered because they came forward to the police with their rape allegations. What does that have to do with contracts that govern commercial transactions?

Kleifield told Scientology’s attorneys they had a little more than two weeks to come up with an answer to his question, and they had to limit their response to five pages.

We have been highly anticipating what Scientology’s attorneys, William Forman for the Church of Scientology International and Matthew Hinks for the Religious Technology Center, would come back with on behalf of church leader David Miscavige.


We now have that document for you, below, and we can tell you that it should go down in the history of Scientology watching as an all-timer. This is Forman and Hinks unmasked, David Miscavige unleashed, L. Ron Hubbard bare knuckled.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Scientology revealed.

Their first argument is that the “commerce” of the Church of Scientology involves taking donations from members and then using that money for its “social betterment” initiatives. Also, they point out, the contracts govern whether a member can get a refund.

“The Agreements in the aggregate plainly affect both interstate and international commerce as they are a condition for the provision of Scientology services worldwide and govern the conditions for the receipt and return of religious donations — the primary source of the Church’s funding enabling its global ministry.”

And if Scientologists sign agreements that govern whether they can get ‘spiritual’ services, and whether they can get their money back, disputes over these matters can be quite varied.

They then cite case law saying that courts have interpreted broadly the notion of the sorts of disputes that might be covered under an arbitration agreement.

“Courts regularly enforce arbitration clauses with express terms that require arbitration of disputes beyond those that ‘arise out of’ the contracts or transactions,” the attorneys say.

But that’s not even necessary, they add, because the disputes in this lawsuit do arise directly out of the agreements that were signed.

Remember, these are plaintiffs who are suing because they say they’ve been surveilled, harassed, libeled, stalked, and their pets have even been poisoned, all in order to punish them for reporting violent rapes by a celebrity Scientologist. How, one wonders, could these be disputes that arise “directly out of the agreements that were signed”?

And this is when things get really interesting.

Scientology now drops all pretense that it isn’t the vicious, retaliatory, and paranoid organization that has long been established in court records and journalistic exposes.

The attorneys say the plaintiffs are wrong when they argue that the agreements only govern transactions involving Scientology services. In fact, the attorneys now argue, when Scientologists sign these contracts, they are promising to abide by everything L. Ron Hubbard laid down as the law of Scientology.

The Agreements define “Religious Services” broadly to include: “the beliefs and practices set forth in the writings and spoken words of LRH [L. Ron Hubbard] on the subjects of Dianetics and Scientology,” “all services or application of the principles of Mr. Hubbard provided to me by the ministers or staff of the Church,” “auditing,” “the application of Scientology Ethics and Justice technology, which are both exclusively religious components of the practice of the Scientology religion,” “the study and the application of the principles contained in the administrative writings of LRH used with the Church” and “any and all other services or use of the technology of L. Ron Hubbard, without limitation provided to me by the ministers or staff of the Church and all other Scientology churches and organizations.”

Then comes the hammer blow:


“Plaintiffs’ claims, as pled by them, have their genesis in their relation with the Church as created and defined by the Agreements.”

The attorneys then list what those claims are, as evidence that they arise directly from a member’s relationship with the Church of Scientology.

— “Each pleads that Mr. Masterson assaulted them when members of the Church, that he was in the Church’s employ and acted as the Church’s agent at the time of the supposed assaults…”
— “that the Church then conspired to cover-up the assaults and dissuade the Plaintiffs from reporting the assaults to the police…”
— “Each alleges that Church doctrine forbade them from reporting their assaults, that they were then declared ‘Suppressive Persons’ for making such reports, and then targeted under the alleged Church doctrine of ‘Fair Game’ for harassment for the violations of Church doctrine.”

Instead of denying that any of this occurred, Scientology here is listing these claims by Chrissie Carnell Bixler and the others as proof that they arise from their relationship with the Church of Scientology.

The “commerce” of Scientology, in other words, is pledging your life to the policies of L. Ron Hubbard, which spell out explicitly that you will be harassed, stalked, and much worse if you cross the church.

And after citing more of the specific claims of how these women were subjected to humiliating Scientology rituals intended to keep them from going to the police, and were targeted by Fair Game harassment after they did come forward, Scientology argues that this only confirms that the disputes come out of the agreements they signed to be bound by L. Ron Hubbard’s word that they would be Fair Gamed and excommunicated if they spoke out.

Thus the claims explicitly include Church conduct against Plaintiffs while they were members, including instruction and religious services they received from the Church in response to reporting the assaults, application of Church doctrine against them, and their status within the Church.

Judge, they are saying, it’s true that the policies of L. Ron Hubbard spell out that these women would be terrorized if they went to the police. So it’s really not up to you to decide whether or not that’s something that’s covered by the agreements they signed. This is the commerce of Scientology, and so the church can decide what will be arbitrated or not.


We can’t help thinking of another time that Scientology had its back against a wall in a lawsuit and reacted by dropping its mask and speaking plainly what it was all about.

We’re referring to another lawsuit that alleged Fair Game harassment, which was brought by Monique Rathbun in Texas in 2013. You may recall that when it was obvious that attorney Ray Jeffrey was running circles around Scientology’s lawyers and that David Miscavige might actually be hauled into court for a deposition, Scientology’s attorneys dropped all pretense.

Like now, we were stunned then to see Scientology openly admit what we’d been saying about them for decades…


In its motion, Scientology is making stunning admissions: That, for example, the Church of Scientology International now admits being involved in sending the “Squirrel Busters” crew to South Texas and paying some of their expenses so they could protest outside of the Rathbun home from April to September 2011 (earlier, CSI attorney Les Strieber had denied in court that CSI had sent the Squirrel Busters). Scientology private investigator David Lubow is admitting that he helped run the operation. Two other defendants in the lawsuit, Monty Drake and Steven Gregory Sloat, are similarly admitting to being part of Scientology schemes to surveil the Rathbuns.

When Scientology is up against it in court, it drops the mask and says outright that yes, the words of L. Ron Hubbard really are the policy of Scientology, and that operating Fair Game campaigns against former members is simply what Scientology does as a result of those policies.

Once again, as if we ever really needed it, Scientology is openly agreeing with what we have been saying here at the Underground Bunker for years, what Leah Remini and Mike Rinder have been saying on their television show and podcast, and what so many other journalists and former members have been saying since the 1950s about this paranoid, vindictive organization that uses the courts as a weapon.

So now, will admitting that wrecking human lives is, in fact, the “commerce” of Scientology force Judge Kleifield to agree with them that his hands are tied? In our discussions with legal experts, it’s been pointed out to us that a 2019 US Supreme Court ruling, in New Prime v. Oliveira, found that a judge like Kleifield can decide whether or not the federal act applies. And that’s one more reason why we’re really looking forward to what this judge decides.

Here then, is the stunning document itself…


Bixler v. Scientology: Supp… by Tony Ortega


Source Code

“It’s very simple to take a thetan and knock him into a state of somnolence and make him believe he is someplace else and then actually operate with him at that new place. You could, for instance, take a, go down the street here and find a lady of easy virtue and put her into a super trance and then tell her very convincingly while she’s in this super trance that you’re going to take care of her body, but you simply want her to go down and uh, be Mrs. Eisenhower. The darndest things would happen to Mrs. Eisenhower. This is one of the oldest political gimmicks in this universe. This is so old and so worn out as a political gimmick that nearly everybody has done it and he is now guilty of an overt act every time he thinks of it.” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 4, 1952



Avast, Ye Mateys

“We have obtained permission from local authorities to burn paper on the dock. An incinerator is being constructed and will be used to burn confidential papers. So — paper hoarders, get your trash ready and work out how and when you will burn the trash at the end of the dock.” — Lt. N.F. Starkey, Captain, December 4, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The internal combustion engine doesn’t work in outer space or inner space. An entirely different system of propulsion is required that is not logically deductible from the internal combustion engine and if we continue with the same successful action beyond the limits of its scope or operating space and operating principles, we are baulked and parked in a repetitive cycle until we step outside the box and into the present time location and environment, here and now, accordingly to our ability to reach: and find out where we actually are. The Confusion Formula is actually a very high gradient of confront when applied as an autonomous spiritual being here on Earth in present time. Where are we and how on earth did we get here? Where do we originate from? Originate is the key term.”


Past is Prologue

1998: Karsten Lorenzen attended the Clearwater picket and gave testimony in the Lisa McPherson civil case concerning another isolation watch. From the St. Petersburg Times: “A former Scientologist from Denmark said Friday that he helped force bread, fruit and liquids into the throat of an unconscious woman as part of an effort help her recover from a mental breakdown. Karsten Lorenzen’s detailed account at a news conference held by a group of Scientology critics resembles the experience of Lisa McPherson, as documented by state investigators and Clearwater police. Church officials said Friday they had not fully investigated the Denmark man’s story but called it another in a series of unsupported and fantastic allegations by critics who, they contend, have serious credibility problems. They said force-feeding is not a prescribed procedure in Scientology.”


Random Howdy

“David Miscavige is the Sarah Winchester of cult leaders. He just keeps building and building, trying to keep the ghosts of his and Hubbard’s victims at bay.”



Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson’s demurrer denied Oct 19, arraignment delayed to Jan 6.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed for ‘Fatico’ hearing on Jan 19.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Jan 12 in Los Angeles

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Petition for writ of mandate denied Oct 22 by Cal 2nd Appellate District. Petition for review by state supreme court filed Oct 30.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Dec 18, re-hearing on motions to compel arbitration; Jan 29, Masterson’s request to stay discovery pending the criminal case
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Nov 18: Feshbachs indicated they will enter into consent judgment to pay the debt.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.

Concluded litigation:
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs.
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.


SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks

The Australian Seven News network cancelled a 10-part investigation of Scientology and its history of dirty tricks. Read the transcripts of the episodes and judge for yourself why Tom Cruise and Tommy Davis might not have wanted viewers to see this hard-hitting series by journalist Bryan Seymour.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. 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 a weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Danny Masterson is served rape lawsuit in papers delivered to his wife Bijou Phillips
[TWO years ago] Scientology is known for its use of spies — and tonight, you’ll hear from one
[THREE years ago] Yes, L. Ron Hubbard wrote even more about children and sex, and we need to talk about it
[FOUR years ago] A new technology shows promise for treating depression, so Scientology wants to kill it
[FIVE years ago] How Scientology ‘caretakers’ could stand by and watch Lisa McPherson deteriorate
[SIX years ago] ‘Chicago Fire’ actor Christian Stolte sets off an alarm about Scientology and the actors’ union
[SEVEN years ago] TEXAS SHOWDOWN: Can Monique Rathbun Get an Order to Depose Scientology Leader David Miscavige?
[NINE years ago] Scientology Cruise Ship as Hellhole: The Ramana Dienes-Browning Story


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 2,140 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,644 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,164 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,184 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,075 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,382 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,250 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,024 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,828 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,144 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,710 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,629 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,797 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,378 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,639 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,677 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,390 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,915 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 270 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,445 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,996 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,145 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,465 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,320 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,439 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,795 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,098 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,204 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,606 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,478 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,061 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,556 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,810 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,919 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 4, 2020 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, 1995-2019 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2019), 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, 15 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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