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Aussie journo Ben Schneiders helps us grasp the fuss he’s kicked up about Scientology

A few weeks ago we were first contacted by Australian journalist Ben Schneiders, who told us he was trying to figure out why Scientology was reporting such a huge increase in revenue in that country in recent years.

We helped him with some background about David Miscavige’s moves in that country, including the new “Advanced Org” in a Sydney suburb, a new “Ideal Org” in a Perth business park, and other moves that were designed to impress donors in Asia and the rest of the world so they will continue to fork over large amounts.

Schneiders’ article was especially effective not only because he revealed how much money Scientology has, the equivalent of about $100,000 per parishioner in that country, but that the church had shown a huge profit of about $65 million in recent years. (His amounts agreed with our own: In 2019 we estimated that Scientology in the US had about $150,000 per parishioner.)

And the best part about Schneiders’ piece was that it appeared in a major Australian publication and really made a big impact.


Since then, he’s published several follow-ups about how politicians in Australia are now taking seriously the idea that Scientology’s tax exempt status should be reviewed.

We reached out to Schneiders yesterday, saying that because the setup is different there, we were hoping he might put in plainer terms just what’s at stake.

“Absolutely. It’s kind of confusing, but it is significant,” he told us. “One of the two main political parties (Labor) have said they want the charities regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, to investigate Scientology and to determine whether it should keep its tax exemption (charitable status). The ACNC, similar to the IRS I believe, has the power to strip Scientology of that. The problem is ACNC investigations, by law, are secret and they provide little info even if they make an adverse finding against Scientology.

“Labor have said if they’re unhappy with how this process unfolds they would call a parliamentary inquiry specifically into Scientology (they have support from a smaller party on this, the Greens). That would be huge. Parliamentary inquiries are public and have vast powers to compel documents and witnesses so Scientology’s operations would be in the open. In 2009 Labor did not back an inquiry into Scientology after the Xenophon revelations.”

Ah yes, Nick Xenophon. In 2009 the independent senator from Adelaide famously stood up in parliament and gave a speech about Scientology that made news around the world. “Scientology is not a religious organization. It is a criminal organization that hides behind its so-called religious beliefs,” he said. He too asked for the charities regulator to begin an investigation, but he got no support from the major parties, including Labor. And that, Schneiders says, is what is different this time.

On Sunday, Labor MP tweeted Schneiders’ story, and is calling for an investigation by the ACNC.


So what, we asked Ben, can we expect next?

“I would expect the ACNC to investigate (they made rare public comment about all this, this week). But the crazy secrecy provisions mean they won’t confirm this if they do. It might be something of a waiting game. I’ll try find out what I can.”


Leigh unleashes another ‘Two Minutes Hate’


Back from her restful Mexico adventure, “human rights attorney,” Capitol rioter, anti-vaxx and anti-mask activist, and OT Scientologist Leigh Dundas unleashed another rapid-fire rant at a meeting of the Orange County Board of Education on Wednesday, and we knew you’d want to see her performance.

UPDATE: YouTube has removed the video because of its anti-vaxx nonsense. And so once again YouTube’s mindless algorithms prevent a website like ours from exposing the people spreading misinformation. Brilliant job, Internet masters!

Let’s see how long a Vimeo version lasts…



Source Code

“One of the prime principles you must know about any universe to keep it in a good, messy, chaotic, solid, disordered form is to take no responsibility for ever having created it. Say, ‘God did it,’ you’ve practically got it made! And the more you say, ‘God did it,’ the more solid the universe is going to get — if you made it up. Get the idea? Listen, if God made it and that was the true ownership of it, it would disappear! Because that’s assignment of proper ownership; that’s taking a full responsibility for it. That’s understanding exactly what its source was. And it would disappear, just like that.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 9, 1959


Avast, Ye Mateys

“When you view how far flung the SO is and how much it’s doing, I doubt there’s a group on the planet that could begin to equal it. Now in the wog world, there’s nothing but sunshine, chicken and ice cream. And H bombs and stupidity and snobs and aberration and the draft and droughts and inflation… Did you ever hear of troops fighting a comfortable war? I haven’t.” — The Commodore, April 9, 1969



Overheard in the FreeZone

“If we look into the current new age mass awakening we are experiencing, former Scientologists certainly have played a major part. Among top conspiracy theorists Scios are up there and have helped awaken us. Some exteriorise out the top of Scientology and bring about a new world. Others get trapped, and although it might seem mean some of these people are naughty boys which need timeout on the naughty chair forever. Hubbard believed in Crowleyism, so this might have been one of his operating principles in life and it does make sense.”


Past is Prologue

1999: La Nuova Sardegna reported that Italian authorities have raided and searched the homes of Scientology leaders in Cagliari. “Cagliari Digos searched some executives’ dwellings as well as the homes of other people connected to the religious organization that follows the ‘Dianetics’ bestseller author Ron Hubbard’s writings. The investigation is related to the suicide committed by a Cagliari 20 years old boy on March 1997: Roberto D. put an end to his life jumping from the 8th floor of a building. His relatives only knew that the boy attended the Scientology Cagliari branch office in his latest times. According to the accusation hypothesis on which Public Prosecutor Guido Pani is working, the boy would have been prompted to suicide after having been reduced into a psychological subjection by members of the Cagliari Scientology branch.”


Random Howdy

“So Miscavige quit doing processing right around the same time he assumed power? Sounds like he read OT 3, realized it was rubbish and went for the gold instead. That’s pretty much what I’ve always assumed.”



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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson arraigned Jan 20. Discovery hearing on April 20, prelim set for May 18.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed to April 13.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for May 20 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Charged in Brooklyn federal court on Feb 4. Arraigned on Feb 9. Pretrial conference set for Apr 29.

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. June 7: 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.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 24.

Concluded litigation:
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] Bobette Riales’ house burned? Scientology: ‘Can’t sue us. Didn’t happen in California.’
[TWO years ago] Scientology policy is to investigate rape victims seeking help, 1963 document reveals
[THREE years ago] Our prayers are answered — Freedom magazine is coming to Scientology television!
[FOUR years ago] Scientology spends millions on its shiny new buildings, but its workers have to beg for food
[FIVE years ago] Scientology buys ‘.org’ and ‘.net’ sites to battle anti-disconnection billboard in Los Angeles
[SIX years ago] Jenna Miscavige Hill on her uncle spying on her grandfather: The arrogance is astonishing
[SEVEN years ago] Appeals court: Would deposing Scientology’s leader violate Texas law?
[EIGHT years ago] How Scientology’s “Study Tech” Turns Schoolwork Into Conditioning


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 2,266 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,770 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,290 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,310 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,201 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,508 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,376 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,150 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,480 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,954 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,270 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,836 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,755 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,923 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,504 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,765 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,803 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,516 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,041 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 396 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,571 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,122 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,271 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,591 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,446 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,565 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,921 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,224 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,330 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,732 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,604 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,187 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,682 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,936 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,045 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 9, 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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