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New trial granted in defamation case against author who exposed Scientology in Australia

We watched the defamation trial of Australian journalist Steve Cannane in 2020, and we have never seen a judge work more thoroughly or competently as we did in the case of Justice Jayne Jagot, who ruled for Cannane.

Steve was the author of Fair Game, an excellent history of Scientology in Australia, and it was such a fair book it even included a chapter on one of the few times Scientology has actually been right, when it publicized the horrific practices of Dr. John Gill and others at a notorious psychiatric clinic where they were drugging patients in ways that were so severe that it killed quite a few of them. This practice was known as “Deep Sleep Therapy.” For his book, Cannane relied on accounts of the investigation of the matter from an official royal commission. In this country, relying on such a document would be sufficient.

But in Australia, which doesn’t have the same protections for the press, Cannane was sued for not going back and re-reporting the entire matter himself, some 30 years after it took place, when he relied on the official royal commission’s report. So the horrific practices of these medical professionals was put on trial again, and once again their lethal practices were exposed. Not surprisingly, Justice Jagot found that Cannane had not defamed Gill or his fellow plaintiff, John Herron, who has since passed away.

Gill appealed, and now the Federal Court has found that Justice Jagot erred, and has awarded Gill a new trial as well as his costs in the appeal. From this morning’s report by Ryan Young on


The court was told that Justice Jagot made an error when she concluded Mr Herron and Dr Gill falsified death certificates and Mr Herron defrauded patients.

Justice Michael Wigney said Justice Jagot also made an error when she found that Mr Cannane acted reasonably.

“Mr Cannane made a conscious decision not to obtain and publish Mr Herron’s and Dr Gill’s response or side of the story,” Justice Wigney said.

“There was essentially no dispute that Mr Cannane was able to, but made no attempt to, contact Mr Herron and Dr Gill to obtain and publish their response to what was said about them in chapter 14 of Fair Game.”

The court was told that Mr Cannane, the ABC’s Europe bureau chief, said he had “zero confidence” that Mr Herron and Dr Gill’s response would be truthful, and the book relied on reports from a royal commission into Chelmsford.

Dr. Gill apparently believes this is somehow clearing his name, when really it will only mean yet another costly trial with multiple witnesses coming forward to detail, once again, how inhumane and shocking these practices were, and that should have resulted in criminal charges at the time.

Some justice you have there, Australia.


New labor trafficking lawsuit filed against Scientology

In case you missed yesterday’s news, we posted the full complaint of the new lawsuit filed against Scientology by Valeska Paris and two other Australian former Sea Org workers, alleging that they had been forced into labor on Scientology’s private cruise ship, the Freewinds.

We’ll be watching this case closely as it unfolds in Tampa federal court — the same venue where the Garcias filed their lawsuit against the church in 2013.



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Source Code

“‘If I put in one more galaxy,’ a fellow said to me one day, ‘I’m going to sink straight through the crust of Earth.’ I don’t think he would have although the crust is only 40 miles thick and below that is nothing but molten lava. But anyway, he was getting too heavy.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 29, 1954


Avast, Ye Mateys

“David Mayo is assigned as an Ad Course Auditor assisting Bob Guilford. This is in addition to his Flag Interneship. This post does the incidental auditing and minor repairs and rud flying needed by Ad Courses. Full checkout on these actions should be done at once. This includes HCO B 26 Apr 71.” — The Commodore, April 29, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Millions of beings knowingly came to earth over the last few decades on a mission to raise the vibration of the planet: Starseeds. This is a small fraction compared to the billions of new beings here that came unknowingly one way or another, but millions is still a lot. Many of them know their previous planetary race (if not direct memories, at least some knowingness). These people also sometimes have knowingness on angels (beings outside the MEST universe) so I would have thought much of the technology being released by Ron currently would be well suited to them.”



Past is Prologue

1998: Neal Hamel reported an invitation to a briefing on the release of OT levels 9 and 10. “The captains of the Pacifica Bridge invite you to attend a special briefing: RELEASING OT IX & X. What are the strategic plans regrading [sic] the release of OT IX & X? When will they be complete? What does this have to do with you? Dave Petit, Captain Celebrity Centre International; Edy Lundeen, Captain AOLA; Jon Lundeen Captain ASHO Day; Cheryl Fiandaca, Captain ASHO Fdn; Saturday, May 2nd 7:00 PM AOLA Atrium.”


Random Howdy

“In Scientology, ripping off a wog isn’t a crime, it’s a duty.”


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. Additional charges also referred to grand jury after January 5 assault while in jail.

Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference May 20 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for May 5.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court.
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’s motion for reconsideration denied on March 15.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Next hearing scheduled for June 29.
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] ‘Almost Andy Reid’ says he’s unhappy that Scientology used him in propaganda video
[TWO years ago] NASA’s new spacesuit shares a name with Scientology’s legendary galactic warlord!
[THREE years ago] Scientology stepping up its promotion of chiropractic, demonizing of the AMA
[FOUR years ago] As another tiny enclave of Scientologists digs deep for an Ideal Org — what would Ron say?
[FIVE years ago] Garcias answer: Was Scientology not paying attention to an angry federal judge?
[SIX years ago] Ron Miscavige, his book ‘Ruthless,’ his nervous son, and Scientology Watching’s new reality
[SEVEN years ago] Want to go Clear? Has Scientology got a deal for you!
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology’s ‘Hogwarts’ doesn’t want you to think it’s connected to Scientology
[NINE years ago] Scientology Metaphysics: After Death, Will You Go to Mars or Venus?
[TEN years ago] Sunday Funnies: Librarians Under Assault!


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 2,649 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,154 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,704 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,694 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,585 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,892 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,760 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,534 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,865 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,338 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,654 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,220 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,139 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,307 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,887 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,149 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,185 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,900 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,425 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 780 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,955 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,506 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,655 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,975 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,830 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,949 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,305 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,608 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,714 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,112 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,988 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,571 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,066 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,320 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,429 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 29, 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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