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A drone’s eye view of Scientology’s mecca, including Tom Cruise’s penthouse

Over the years we’ve had some great drone shots of Scientology properties. You probably remember our exciting series of posts highlighting the first ever 4K drone footage of Scientology’s secret compounds in California and New Mexico in 2016, for example.

Now one of our readers has sent in some illuminating aerial looks at Scientology’s most holy compound, the spiritual mecca it calls the Flag Land Base, in Clearwater, Florida.

We’ve seen overhead shots of the town before, of course, but we appreciate the attention to detail that our drone pilot has shown here.

It’s just a few minutes long, give it a look and then we’ll pull out some highlights.



Early in the sequence, there’s a nice look at what has been the center of controversy between Scientology leader David Miscavige and the city. It’s a small empty parcel of land, known as the Pierce Street parcel, that Miscavige desperately wants to get his hands on to prevent the city from including it in its “Imagine Clearwater” redevelopment plan.

And with this shot, you can really see why. Not only is the parcel smack up against the Oak Cove and behind the Fort Harrison Hotel, two key church properties, but it’s right up against the back of the Fort Harrison Hotel where the cabanas are. Yes, including the very cabana where Lisa McPherson was held for 17 days until her death.


Our pilot pulls back for another angle on it…


Then there’s a sweet shot that helps us put into perspective the proximity of the bromance at the center of Scientology, between its ruthless leader and its top celebrity.

According to renderings and plans for the Flag Building that we first published at the Village Voice in 2012, Dave’s personal office is on the seventh floor in the southwest corner of the building, as we’ve indicated here. While just a few minutes walk to the north, there’s the Skyview condo building, with the top two floors built especially for Top Gun himself, Tom Cruise.


This drone shot really shows you how close these two bros are.


Another approach from the north gives us a better look at the Skyview. From this angle, you can see the parking garage — that entire second floor is just for Tom, and there’s a car elevator to get there. And you can also see the air bridge that connects directly from the garage to the condo building, so Tom never has to emerge in public. He can just drive in, ride the car elevator up, walk across the bridge and up an elevator to his penthouse levels.

And Dave’s just a few minutes away to the south.


We also liked this angle, showing how Tom’s large condo windows will look out over the new development the city is putting together. That’s the city library on the left, where we had our appearance with Paulette Cooper in 2015.


Thank you, drone pilot, for bringing us these views!



Bonus items from our tipsters

Looks like we missed a wild event for the New Haven Ideal Org yesterday.



A Mystery Rebel is running 500,000 miles for the New Haven Ideal Org as long as the rest of the target is made!!!! This target is going down!!! Pass the news on and get everyone you know involved!!! Don’t miss out on our event today!!!



The New Haven Ideal Org project is incredibly, amazingly, breathtakingly close to completing our fundraising target. This will make us the 6th org in 3 and a 1/2 months to complete this major milestone!

But we need your help!

Last month, we pulled off the miracle of running 1.5 million miles in just 12 days to ‘win’ 1.5 million miles from the supremely generous and gracious Steve & Peggy Fabos’!

In one months’ time, we created almost 350 new status upgrades. Last week we had 33 people, highest ever attendance at our OTC meeting,


Where it was reported that the orgs Bodies in the Shop was in affluence, first starts and book sales was in affluence and the number of people

Attending our weekly meet-ups was in affluence!

We are now only 13 Humanitarians away from completing our target. We need your help to finish this right now!

We are holding a virtual event at 1:00 EST, this Sunday (tomorrow): Rebels Ride to Ideal for LRH’s Birthday, featuring Tony Twomey.

Please consider joining us, and please consider moving up in status for this incredible org.

13 More Humanitarians, and our target is done!!

Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you for all that you do to make this world a better place.


Noelle Talevi
OTC Chairman
OT Ambassador
Rebel Leader



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Source Code

“It was a lovely party. A smashing cake, a lovely present, the Snipes songs and all your happy smiles and applause made it a truly wonderful birthday. (I didn’t know how old I was this life, was sure I was several years younger, until the congratulations and best wishes. I added it up. 60. I still don’t believe it. Are you sure we haven’t skipped some calendar years somewhere?) It was a great day. And I appreciate you more than you will ever know.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 14, 1971


Avast, Ye Mateys

“HIGHEST EVERS: Thank you for the very happy birthday. I received some lovely presents including a new dining room table and chairs for the A Deck lounge — truly gorgeous. I now hear the Ship’s Rep flew to a nearby area to get some lovely presents for me from MSH. Very appreciated. Both the presents and the flight. Cards, telexes, lovely presents and remembrances. And HGC had a present — 639 w.d. auditing hours! Just by changing its lines and hard work. And the HCI’s FEBC stats are highest ever. The International Gross Income was the HIGHEST EVER! And the Planetary G.I. (not including AOUK, UK, EU, AF or ANZO Orgs) (including only US (Sea Org, Scn) and AOSH DK) hit over a quarter of a million in one week!” — The Commodore, March 14, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Unlike the 8th dynamic, MEST can be experimented with and gives repeatable results. Exactly how does a thetan interact with a body? We do it effortlessly but what is the mechanism? Can we interact with another bit of MEST in the same way? Why not? MEST exists apparently timelessly. That is to say, the interactions between MEST particles and fields purely and only exist in the present moment — there is no memory, no effect from earlier states. Obviously things change, but at each moment MEST things only react to present-time forces. We ourselves do not exist in that present moment, by the time our brains have processed information we are most of a second out of date. Hence when we try to affect MEST we can’t since it isn’t there in the past in which we are existing.”



Past is Prologue

2002: The Sunday News from Lancaster, Pennsylvania reported that a counselor with Narconon, Scientology’s drug rehabilitation program, was found guilty of selling heroin. “Anthony J. Mariani, 40, now of Dunwoody, Ga., also was found guilty of possessing drug paraphernalia. Mariani, who has undergone voluntary drug rehabilitation and now works as a counselor for the inpatient Narconon program outside Atlanta, faces a possible 2-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. On Sept. 9, 2000, Mariani, who had a long history of heroin addiction, was involved in a disturbance at the Turkey Hill Minit Market, 2787 Lincoln Highway East. When police arrived, they found Mariani in possession of 31 packets of heroin, weighing 1.1 grams, and assorted drug paraphernalia. Despite objections from Conrad, Ashworth allowed Mariani to remain free on $15,000 bail and return to the drug rehab center where he works and lives until he is sentenced.”


Random Howdy

“Hey, if chronic drunkenness, drug addiction, and debauchery were good enough for L. Ron, they’re good enough for me!”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next pretrial conference May 31. Trial scheduled for August 29.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Last hearing was on January 18, referred to grand jury.

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 March 25 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for April 8.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Hearing held on February 15, awaiting ruling.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Eleventh Circuit affirmed ruling granting Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Garcias considering next move.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Valerie asks for March 15 hearing on motion for reconsideration.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Scientology has said it will file an anti-SLAPP motion.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for June 28.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Appeal hearing held Aug 23-27. Awaiting a ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



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] Leah Remini spots Scientology’s best self-own in a long, long time
[TWO years ago] Danny Masterson’s victims speak out in sworn documents in lawsuit against Scientology
[THREE years ago] David Miscavige presides over Scientology’s holiest annual celebration of L. Ron Hubbard
[FOUR years ago] Lori Hodgson’s fight with Scientology for her kids is now a book you can pre-order
[FIVE years ago] Memories of a Scientology warrior: Marty Rathbun’s curious career as church rebel
[SIX years ago] Turns out at least FOUR employees sued Pasadena firm that forced Scientology on them
[SEVEN years ago] Outtakes from the 1997 ‘Secret Lives’ doc — an eyewitness at the Jack Parsons house
[NINE years ago] Your Life as Sperm or Egg: L. Ron Hubbard’s Mad Genius
[TEN years ago] In Clearwater for LRH’s 101st Birthday: Tales of Disconnection and Scientology Creepiness


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 2,603 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,108 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,628 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,648 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,539 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,846 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,714 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,488 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,819 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,292 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,608 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,174 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,093 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,261 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,842 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,103 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,139 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,854 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,379 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 734 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,909 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,460 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,609 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,929 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,784 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,903 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,259 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,562 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,668 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,066 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,942 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,525 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,020 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,274 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,383 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 14, 2022 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, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), 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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