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Scientology in Russia, a series by historian Chris Owen, part 3: The current crackdown

[Ivan Matsitsky in custody]

For some time now we’ve been nudging historian Chris Owen to help us understand what is going on with Scientology in Russia. We’ve seen news reports about numerous police raids of orgs there, and we’ve read about a prosecution involving some real estate fraud, but what are we to think about it?

Thankfully, Owen has done the deep dive we were hoping for, and that he’s known for. Today, his series concludes with part three of his examination, covering Scientology up to the present time and beyond. (See part one here and part two here.)

3. Scientology on trial: the St Petersburg case and the future

In August 2020, five members of the Scientology org in the Russian city of St Petersburg were put on trial on a variety of criminal charges. They had been arrested by members of the Federal Security Service (FSB, the successor to the KGB) in June 2016. The five are Ivan Matsitsky, who has been described ambiguously as the org’s “spiritual leader” (his actual Scientology post is unclear); executive director Galina Shurinova; local OSA chief Anastasia Terentyeva; her assistant Konstantsia Yesaulkova; and the org’s accountant, Sahib Aliyev.


Matsitsky, who was detained from June 2017 to November 2019, has somewhat controversially been ‘adopted’ by the US government as a “religious prisoner of conscience”. The defendants have also attracted support from Russian and foreign human rights activists. There have been suggestions that the defendants have been subjected to torture; a Post-it note apparently left accidentally on the case file by the investigators included the comments, ”He knows a lot, but is silent – interrogation with an electric reminder.”

The charges against the five are worth unpacking in detail. They are charged with offences relating to “illegal entrepreneurship associated with the extraction of income on an especially large scale,” “incitement to hatred or enmity, as well as humiliation of human dignity,” and “participation in an extremist community.”

Aliyev is also charged with money laundering relating to 17 million rubles ($231,000) out of 140 million rubles ($1.9 million) in cash received from illegal activity. This presumably relates to the donation of fraudulently acquired funds by the jailed businesswoman Ekaterina Zaborskikh, a member of the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises.

The investigators charge that between 2013 and 2016, the St Petersburg Scientologists had illegally earned almost 280 million rubles ($3.8 million) by selling books and providing paid services such as auditing. They allegedly did not have a license to conduct commercial activities. The defendants are also accused of illegally transferring large sums of money to Scientology’s parent organisation in the US. According to the FSB, the St Petersburg org was transferring at least 3-4 million rubles ($45,000-61,000) a week, and had potentially transferred as much as 3 billion rubles ($46 million) in recent years.

This explains the charge of illegal entrepreneurship, which is defined as “operating an illegal enterprise without registration or a special permit in cases where such permit is obligatory, or with the breach of licensing terms, committed by an organised group, if this deed has caused large damage to individuals, organisations, or the State, or is attended by profit-making on an especially large scale.”

The charges of incitement to hatred or enmity and humiliation of human dignity concern Scientology’s treatment of those it deems ‘Suppressive Persons’ or ‘Potential Trouble Sources.’ The raids seized a number of Scientology Ethics Orders in which members of the St Petersburg org had been deemed Potential Trouble Sources for refusing to disconnect from family members.

This is considered by prosecutors to be a “humiliation of human dignity.” The defendants’ lawyers deny the charge: “People were politely and correctly given to understand that they need to take measures for self-improvement and spiritual cleansing,” says Shurinova’s lawyer. Scientology has presented affidavits from former Potential Trouble Sources saying that they did not feel humiliated.

The charge of ‘extremism’ is perhaps the most contentious of the counts against the defendants. Scientology’s policies on suppressive persons have been cited as extremist in previous court rulings. According to security officials, it is now regarded as an “extremist community” because it is guided by publications previously ruled to be extremist.

Russia undoubtedly has a serious problem with religiously-inspired extremism. The Russian Caucasus has been affected for over 20 years by an Islamist insurgency, and ISIS has declared the region to be one of its provinces – the “Wilayet al-Qawqaz.” Tens of thousands have died in the North Caucasus insurgency and hundreds more have been killed in Islamist bombings elsewhere in Russia. Aum Shinryko, the doomsday cult that unleashed sarin nerve gas on the Tokyo subway in 1995, also had a major presence in Russia before it was banned as a terrorist group.

However, accusations of extremism have been made against many other groups, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pentacostalists and even the Salvation Army (designated, ludicrously, as a paramilitary organisation). Russia defines extremism very broadly, a fact that has attracted much concern from human rights groups. The laws on extremism have also been tightened in ways that appear to target legitimate religious activity, notably with the controversial “Yarovaya law” passed in 2016. It banned missionary activity carried out without a permit and requires that religious activities are only allowed to take place inside registered buildings, such as churches.

Under Russia’s 2002 Federal Law on Counteracting Extremist Activity, creating or participating in a designated extremist community is a criminal offence. It defines an extremist organisation as one for which a court has issued a decision on liquidation because of the organisation’s involvement in extremist activity. A 2017 amendment defines extremist activity as including “hatred or animosity towards any social group.” This includes “propaganda of exclusivity, superiority or inferiority of a person on the basis of their religious affiliation or attitude towards religion.”


[A 2016 raid in Moscow]

Scientology would certainly qualify on this basis, given its claims of superiority and its extreme hostility towards dissident Scientologists and critics. The Russian anti-cult campaigner Alexander Dvorkin has commented that “every religion has the right to criticise other faiths, but that should be done in a non-insulting manner.”


Crucially, the law does not require such statements to be an incitement to violence or discrimination. This means that any statement on the merits of a particular religion or another’s views of it could be considered ‘extremist.’ Indeed, this blog could potentially be considered an extremist publication under Russian law.

Russia’s approach contradicts widely-used international standards on dealing with extremism, such as the OSCE Freedom of Religion or Belief Policy Guidance. The law has been used for clearly political reasons, such as convicting a journalist for exposing official embezzlement and a woman who posted criticism of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Similar laws have been passed in Russia’s former Soviet neighbours Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Belarus, where Scientology has also encountered problems relating to ‘extremism.’

It remains to be seen how the St Petersburg case will be resolved. Russia’s courts lean strongly towards the government but are not slavishly subservient, as they are in China, for instance. The Russian government’s official policy is to make the country a “law-based state” (pravovoye gosudarstvo) operating under the rule of law, rather than the Chinese approach of rule by law, where the law is merely an instrument of state rule instead of a neutral arbiter. This means that the courts still have room to make their own decisions in some cases, rather than just rubber-stamping everything the government does.

Scientology has had repeated successes in Russian courts over the years in appealing against government decisions and court judgments. The state has not had it all its own way in the St Petersburg case; the St Petersburg City Court refused to allow the FSB to continue Matsitsky’s detention in November 2019 and ordered his release. The case’s outcome is not pre-ordained, though the odds of the defendants being fully acquitted do not seem high.

The Russian prosecutors have targeted Scientology’s financial dealings and its aggressive treatment of current and ex-members – issues that Western critics have frequently highlighted and demanded action against. Yet at the same time, Russia’s poor human rights record and its simultaneous campaigns against numerous other faith groups raise questions about whether Scientology and its members are being treated fairly. Notably, as the St Petersburg case illustrates, individuals are being charged for offences relating to the policies of Scientology as a whole. It is a certainty that these will continue unchanged, regardless of whether or not the individual defendants are convicted.

The St Petersburg case is the first time that Scientology has faced really sustained pressure from the authorities, but it remains to be seen whether Scientology’s wider presence in Russia will face further pressure once the trial is over. The Russian government has so far not attempted to impose any nationwide bans or restrictions on Scientology. In fact, it has treated Scientology quite mildly compared to other groups: by January 2020, at least 313 Jehovah’s Witnesses had faced charges or were being treated as suspects, and at least 780 police raids had been carried out against individual JWs and their groups since 2017. Scientology has not experienced anything on a comparable scale.

Scientology’s future in Russia remains uncertain. The country is neither a party-state like the old Soviet Union, nor a monolithic dictatorship like North Korea. Vladimir Putin is at the apex of what Russians call the “power vertical” – a pyramid of powerful interests that includes oligarchs, the heads of state-owned firms, the Russian Orthodox Church, regional governors and military and intelligence chiefs. Putin’s own views on Scientology are unknown; he is not known to have made any public statements about it, though he has called the crackdown on the Jehovah’s Witnesses “complete nonsense.”

Unfortunately for Scientology, it appears to be in the sights of Russia’s very powerful security establishment. It is likely that elements of the national security bureaucracy are pursuing it for their own reasons, probably to appease political pressure from figures in or associated with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Charging a handful of Scientologists in one city is a fairly token gesture compared to the far harsher treatment meted out to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The disparity in treatment is likely to be due to the JWs, with an estimated 175,000 members, being seen as a far bigger threat to religious unity than the far smaller number of Scientologists. There seems to be little indication that the Russian authorities regard Scientology as a threat to national security, despite the claims of ‘extremism’ being made against it.

Going forward, Scientology faces three possible futures in Russia. The least likely is that the authorities will become more tolerant. If anything, Russia is going in the opposite direction. In 2020, Putin engineered his possible continuation in office until 2036. The attempted assassination of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in late 2020 and mass arrests of his supporters show the regime becoming increasingly harsh towards those it sees as enemies. As the regime comes under increasing economic and political pressure, it is likely to crack down harder on dissent.

This leads on to the second possibility: that the Russian government may step up the crackdown on Scientology and other groups, perhaps as a way of distracting from the country’s economic problems. This, however, is likely to be of limited political benefit to the government. Scientology may not be popular but outside of the limited circle of anti-cult campaigners and Orthodox Church hardliners, a crackdown would be unlikely to make most people feel happier about the government’s performance.

The most likely possibility is that the Russian government will simply continue on its present course – appeasing political interests by harassing Scientology periodically through “mask shows” (police raids) and perhaps mounting the occasional prosecution, but otherwise letting it continue to operate. It is unlikely to feel much need to take stronger action.

Since the turn of the century, Scientology’s former political alliances in Russia have dissipated, WISE appears to be a declining force, and the number of Russian Scientologists appears to have shrunk significantly. While Russia is still likely to be useful economically to Scientology, it is likely to mainly be of use as a source of recruits for Sea Org facilities in the West (see for instance the story of Katrina Reyes) .

Scientology is not defenseless. It has a well-rehearsed playbook, developed over more than half a century, for resisting government pressure (see “Scientology’s 60 year plan to protect itself from the law”). In a November 2017 message to the St Petersburg defendants, Scientology leader David Miscavige pointed out that Scientology had successfully overcome government hostility in Australia, Spain, Italy, the UK and the US, even though it had taken decades. No country has ever managed to completely suppress Scientology. Whether tolerated or under government pressure, it will likely continue to be a presence in Russia for the foreseeable future.


— Chris Owen


Bonus items from our tipsters

We heard from a former Sea Org worker who directed us to an image that Scientologist actress Juliette Lewis posted at her Instagram account. In a series of photos, Juliette is showing off a new dress as she prepares for a press day to promote a film, Mayday, premiering at the Sundance Film Festival tomorrow.

Our source pointed out that the photo was taken at Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre, and what struck them was how shabby the place looks. “That grout would never look like that when I was there. I’m really shocked.”


For another opinion, we sent the photo to Sunny Pereira, who worked at the Celebrity Centre in the 1990s.

“Yes, they normally tried to keep things looking clean,” Sunny tells us. “It does look like they haven’t been keeping up. There is an estates department responsible for the upkeep, but who knows if anyone is keeping up. Hubbard says ‘the public know us by our MEST,’ but it looks like CC is getting neglected.”

For comparison, Sunny sent us this image from 1994:



So tell us what you think. Folks stuck at home with the lockdown and CC getting shabby? It’s gotta be a rough time for Captain Dave, hasn’t it?


Jon Atack and Edwin Stratton

The latest, on history, fanaticism, and deception.



Source Code

“Had the most fiendish idea the other day. I’m going to write a science fiction story (I still do, you know). I got a wonderful idea of writing about a government scientist who goes mad, you see, and the security is so terrific that nobody can find out what he’s doing, see? Not even his own boss, because the security is so terrific, you know? And when he orders materials he can’t tell anybody in the materiel department what it’s for because, of course, it’s so secret. You see, his security is very great. And he goes ahead and he builds up this thing which makes space solid. See, space becomes totally solid. See? And then puts it over the light lines to all the government offices everywhere. And of course, all the space in all government offices, complete with personnel, gets totally solid. And the last person that’s left is J. Edgar Spoofer. And he tries to explain it to this guy, that this guy doesn’t have the right to go ahead and do this in any direction and that he’s going to arrest him. But the guy tells J. Edgar Spoofer, ‘But look, you’re supposed to safeguard security in the government. And it says right here that my work is under total security and all actions I perform are under total security, so therefore, you’re violating your own order.’ So J. Edgar Spoofer steps back and lets the entirety of the Department of Justice and his office get totally solid. And everybody lived happily ever after.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 30, 1957



Avast, Ye Mateys

“Celebrity Center doing very well. GI Affluence Trend since last SEPT! How do you like that! Hats off and a highly commended to Diana H., Yvonne Gillham and all the crew! Asho moving out in front with a high trend GI! Ira Chaleff and our Asho crew and USGO doing very well and USLO getting in there too! Very nice work and good teamwork by US offices! Asho Fnd not doing too badly but needs its own C/O. And good old AOLA still soaring into its Affluence Trend and all but Booksales normal or Affluence or Power GDSes, meaning its a near clean sweep of rising GDSes! It will be a $100,000 GI unless it overloads. The place must be simply bulging the walls. Fred Hare and our AOLA crew have recently been highly commended several times and are again. They need all the support they can get. I think Pac Plan should be revised to get Alex and Dave out there to give Fred a hand without changing anything they’ve got going but put in the Prod Org System. Wonderful to see what our people are doing and what they can do. This and all the good case gains aboard and in the field have me all cheered up!” — The Commodore, January 30, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Scientology just doesn’t achieve what it promises. It’s a borderline scam. It’s super cool and interesting and mind opening to new ideas and a different way of viewing life too, but Hubbard was outpointy. Many Scios are outpointy. The tech doesn’t cure aberrations or insanity, if anything it exacerbates it. The whole religion you could say handles the wrong why. The why Hubbard sells is engrams, then entities on the higher levels — handle those and the problems don’t go away, because they are the wrong whys. Occasionally they are the right why, so he alters the importance of these targets and says that everyone must do this tech all the time because it will handle everything. Hubbard engages in major alter importance salestalk. His religion was really a political movement taking on the corrupt western world, and possibly a super entertaining game of his to take over earth, which back then I would have supported even if I knew the engram stuff didn’t really work because we need people who are fighting the corrupt system. So I defs like that part of it. Even now if people get involved with the church they learn that big pharma is bad, the gov is not to be trusted, conspiracy theories, etc, etc. This is great stuff. But I’m only a half a Scio now in the same way that I’m half a Christian. I just know too much dodgy stuff about these religions to say I believe in them or fully support them. Hubbard chose Miscavige to assist him, remember that, and Miscavige didn’t have his body taken over by an alien thetan, that’s utterly ridiculous imaginary rubbish which Captain Bill spurts out. So the tech didn’t work on him. In fact the better imagination you have the better the auditing tech works on you. Makes you wonder.”


Past is Prologue

2000: Mark Bunker was arrested in Chicago this week for allegedly trespassing during the filming of a couple attempting to get a refund at the org. Jim Beebe posted details. “Mark at this hour is at a Chicago Police station trying to retrieve his camera. He was arrested last night while standing on a public sidewalk outside of the Church of Scientology in Chicago at 3011 No. Lincoln Ave. He was charged with criminal trespassing, an outrageous violation of his civil rights. Two Chicago dentists, husband and wife, have been trying to get their money back from the Chicago Church of Scientology. They claim that they were swindled out of a lot of money. The Chicago Church of Scientology has been stalling them and giving them a run around. This couple has gone to the Org several times and each time getting more stories and run arounds. Mark Bunker, a television journalist in Florida heard about this and decided to interview them. This couple has filed a lawsuit against the Marcus Group. The Marcus Group is one of Scientology’s management front groups and this couple claims that they were lured into Scientology via Marcus. The wife was conned into buying and taking the Purification Rundown and recently discovered that she has liver damage from this and is now unable to get health insurance. Also, she is now unable to work. They have a son in a private school and the cult tried to use their son to recruit other students.”


Random Howdy


“If any kid ever needed a hickory switch it was L Ron Hubbard.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson arraigned Jan 20. Next conf to set prelim, March 24.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed to March 2.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for May 20 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 denied Dec 11.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Dec 30, Judge Kleifield granted Scientology’s motions to compel arbitration. March 8: Status conference.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Dec 17: Feshbachs sign court judgment obliging them to pay entire $3.674 million tax debt, plus interest from Nov 19.
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?



[TWO years ago] Scientology targets Disney with anti-‘Aftermath’ rally, attendees number in the tens
[THREE years ago] A private eye comes clean: ‘Scientology is a disgrace to the world’
[FOUR years ago] Putting back a family ripped apart by Scientology can be easier said than done
[FIVE years ago] L. Ron Hubbard’s magic chalk, and other Scientology miracles at the ’07 Birthday Event
[SIX years ago] Another Secret Lives leak: L. Ron Hubbard enjoyed humiliating people under hypnosis
[SEVEN years ago] Jefferson Hawkins finishes off our series on Scientology ethics with a reprieve
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology’s Atlanta Drug Rehab Crumbling: Executive Director Mary Rieser Out
[NINE years ago] Death of a Scientologist: Why Annie Broeker, Famous in the Church, Had to Die in Secret


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 2,197 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,701 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,221 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,241 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,132 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,439 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,307 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,081 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,885 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,201 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,767 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,686 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,854 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,435 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,696 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,734 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,447 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,972 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 327 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,502 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,053 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,202 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,522 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,377 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,496 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,852 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,155 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,261 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,663 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,535 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,118 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,613 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,867 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,976 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 30, 2021 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our 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, 1995-2020 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2020), 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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