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Spanish news website calls out Scientology volcano vultures at La Palma

A few days ago Scientology put out its usual press releases about how it was at the scene of yet another disaster with its yellow-shirted “Volunteer Ministers,” this time on the island of La Palma in the Canaries where a volcano began erupting on September 19.

As we’ve documented time and time again here, what’s actually going on is that Scientology dispatches its members for the primary reason of setting up PR photos like the one you see above.

This time, at least, a Spanish news website, El Español, is calling out Scientology for its vulturish opportunism in a substantial piece that is pretty harsh.

“This is how Scientology takes advantage of the misfortune of La Palma to attract faithful and funds,” reads the headline that was posted yesterday, and the piece includes a lengthy interview with a former Spanish Scientologist who was only identified as “Andrés.” He had spent ten years in the organization, and warned the website of what Scientology’s real aims are.


“They tend to go to disasters to record themselves on video and raise money at private events,” he laments. Andrés assures that he still has debts from his time within Scientology. “First they offer you cheap courses to, supposedly, improve your self-esteem. Little by little they make you spend more money and they urge you to dedicate all your time to working for them. Then they destroy your autonomy,” he recalls.

“They tell you they are saving you, they say they are saving the world, and the volcano is perfect for them,” Andrés continues. In addition to this, he assures that Scientology has been sending the self-appointed Volunteer Ministers for years to places that are in trouble. “They were in Argentina, in Haiti and, making history, even in the 9/11 attacks,” he says. In this way they would raise funds for their shell companies, which sometimes do not even appear to be linked to the organization.

Bingo. Recently, at the Daily Beast, we wrote about Bruce Hines, who recounted his experience at Ground Zero after 9/11, when it finally began to dawn on him that Scientology’s disaster opportunism was really just about public relations. It helped him to decide to make his nervy escape from the Sea Org.

Andrés told El Español that although he’s out of the church he continues to keep in touch with Scientologists who, he says, are anti-vaccination, and anti-maskers (something we’ve documented ourselves). In other words, while they’re pretending that they’re concerned with the general welfare by pitching in to remove ash or give first responders bottled water and pamphlets, they’re actually contributing to the lasting effects of another public health disaster, the pandemic.

El Español also talked to a psychologist who also had no illusions about how Scientology operates.

“They are looking for vulnerable people,” says Canarian psychologist Manuel Pérez. However, the expert maintains that many of the publications that have appeared on networks have been deleted due to the complaints of hundreds of users. “Many people from La Palma realized that it was Scientology and many of us know that it is a dangerous sect,” he says. “The problem is that many others do not realize it and can be captured,” he says.

Andrés, however, clarified that the VMs are not necessarily there for recruitment, but their primary role is to be filmed in slick videos that then get shown to the rest of the organization at its big events, and the point is to convince Scientology’s big donors to turn over millions in donations.

Hey, this Andrés really knows his stuff. That’s what we’ve been saying for years: The Ideal Org dog-and-pony show, the VMs, the scam of Narconon, the “Human Rights” campaigns — ultimately, all of this front group activity is about convincing the Dugganses and Cumminses and Bridgeforths that Scientology is a growing, positive influence in the world so they will fork over millions and millions more in donations.

But that’s not to say that Scientology is not constantly trying to recruit new people, Andrés pointed out.

“The most common method of recruitment is the sale of books at fairs and events,” says Andrés. The organization often sells Dianetics, a self-help manual written by the founder of the Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. “They ask for your phone number and call you to ask what you think of the book,” he says.

“It is also common to be stopped in the street to offer you a free personality test,” he continues. “It is the most common method of recruitment, they do a very long exam and the truth is that it tends to be quite right.” Andrés says that knowing your personality helps them perceive your weak points. “They offer you a free course and you feel that their therapy can change your life.” According to the ex-Scientologist, little by little these courses are increasing in cost and require you to dedicate more time to them. “It is a manipulation so that you live only for them,” he says.

After a brief recitation of Scientology’s early history, the article even quotes Andrés describing the church’s homophobia, its anti-psychiatry fervor, and the way it gathers damaging information about people and will use it against them if they leave. “They know you very well and when you want to leave they publish everything they know about you on their websites. That’s why most of us leave in silence,” he said.

Like we said, it’s a harsh and very substantial piece, and we salute Andrés and El Español for telling the truth about Scientology as it tries to take advantage of a disaster that has caused the evacuation of about 7,000 people.

Meanwhile, we might also add that it was in the city of Las Palmas, on Gran Canaria, about 250 kilometers east of the island of La Palma, that founder L. Ron Hubbard spent time in the 1960s working on the esoteric upper levels of Scientology, including the infamous OT 3 and its story of Xenu the genocidal galactic overlord. It was from Las Palmas that Hubbard sent his notorious “pinks and greys” letter to his wife, saying that he was drinking rum and popping pills while doing that work.



[Map showing Las Palmas on Gran Canaria, and the island of La Palma where a volcano is erupting]


Bonus items from our tipsters

More opportunities to open up yer wallet, pilgrims!



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Source Code

The ship in question — the ship in question was a heavy cruiser and its four-stripe captain had first come ashore and had looked at me, you know, ‘What! You’re Senior Officer Present ashore?’ and had sniffed. And I was trying to get him orders and he was trying to get orders and everybody was trying to do something to get it out of here, because the Japanese might strike in the north at any time. He finally came in the office, you know, all four stripes and gold braid and so forth, and he said, ‘Mr. Hubbard,’ he said, ‘if you will sign — if you will sign sailing orders for me, I’ll sail.’ So I scribbled out: ‘You are hereby detached from this station and shall proceed upon your way as befits your duties and missions. Signed, L. Ron Hubbard.’” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 7, 1959


Avast, Ye Mateys

“SUCCESS: My sincere gratitude to L. Ron Hubbard, Commodore, for my recent auditing program. Thanks to Tommy Klingvall my auditor for helping me to see the TRUTH and as-is the lies and take responsibility for the overts on the old Time Track. This IS what Total FREEDOM is. Nothing there but me.” — Lt. N.F. Starkey, Clear OT, November 7, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Look, I’m sorry Scientologists to say this, but Hubbard was a Lucifer worshipper. Good remote viewers have looked into Lucifer and he was a bad guy. He’s the god of chaos, he Fs up the world. Top Freemasons and Satanists worship Lucifer too. The Illuminati too. And look at the chaos and destruction they are causing. It’s not good. Scientology is cool to do for a certain amount of time but you can’t stay in it forever because eventually it will stuff you up. It’s corrupted. It was created by the spirit of Lucifer as anyone who worships Lucifer kinda gets mind controlled by this evil being and it causes chaos. Hubbard was mind possessed by Lucifer and look at the chaos in Hubbard’s personal life and the problems with the Church of Scientology.”


Past is Prologue


2000: A concert was held in Clearwater to benefit the Lisa McPherson Trust. Jamie Kennedy, great-grandson of L. Ron Hubbard was the master of ceremonies and a guest on a Tampa radio show to promote the event. “Jamie was articulate and fairly well informed. Bubba remarked on the air how impressed he was with Jamie, and begged him to return on Monday. He also promoted the Lisa McPherson Trust benefit. Bubba made a good observation; that Jamie has nothing to gain by this – no book he’s promoting, etc. He also said that Scientologists were scary, and not much seems to scare Bubba. The station is WXTB 97.9 in the Tampa Bay area.”


Random Howdy

“I’m still nursing injuries from slam dancing.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for November 10. Trial tentatively scheduled for February.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference December 17 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for November 19.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30, 2020 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ US Supreme Court denied Valerie’s petition Oct 4.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: California Supreme Court granted review on May 26 and asked the Second Appellate Division to direct Judge Steven Kleifield to show cause why he granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Oral arguments held November 2, awaiting a ruling.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9, 2020 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: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for June 28, 2022.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 23. Appeal hearing held Aug 23-27. Awaiting a ruling.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


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 BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. 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] Medal by medal, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s ‘stolen valor’ is laid bare
[TWO years ago] Scientology proudly now displaying miserable secret deal it offered Clearwater leaders
[THREE years ago] Here’s an example of how Scientology’s ‘disconnection’ is designed to eat away at you
[FOUR years ago] Tonight on ‘Leah Remini’: ‘I just walked away from Scientology after seeing Leah’s show’
[FIVE years ago] On the ballot tomorrow: The former lawman who let Scientology’s drug horror clinic off the hook
[SIX years ago] Desperate to hurt Going Clear‘s Oscar chances, Scientology goes down a dangerous path
[SEVEN years ago] Scientologist (and Tea Partier) Brent Jones is elected to Nevada’s legislature
[EIGHT years ago] Statistically Speaking: Jefferson Hawkins Takes Us Into Scientology’s Numbers Fixation
[NINE years ago] FOUR MORE YEARS!…Of Inaction On Scientology?
[TEN years ago] Michael Sandlofer, 1st Husband to X Factor’s Stacy Francis, on Her Past, Her Scientology, and Her Problems With The Truth


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 2,477 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,982 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,502 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,522 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,413 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,720 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,588 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,362 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,692 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,166 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,482 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,048 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,967 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,135 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,716 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,977 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,013 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,728 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,253 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 608 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,783 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,334 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,483 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,803 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,658 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,777 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,133 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,436 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,542 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,940 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,816 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,399 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,894 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,148 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,257 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 7, 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


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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