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Andreas Heldal-Lund, who stared down Scientology, now faces his own mortality

Several weeks ago, our old friend Andreas Heldal-Lund messaged us with some unpleasant news. A tumor in his brain turns out to be a particularly aggressive form of cancer. He has been told he has another year or two, depending on how treatments go.

In recent days, Andreas has been making the news known to the public at his Instagram and Facebook accounts, and we told him that we would inform our readers that while he’s facing the end of his life, he’s doing so with a class and dignity and yes, even good humor, that is completely consistent with who he is and has been.

The world of Scientology watching owes a huge debt to Andreas, who, as Scientology’s war against the early Internet was in full cry in 1996, launched from his location in Stavanger, Norway a website he named “Operation Clambake.” Eventually, it would acquire the URL “”

Operation Clambake would become one of the most important locations online for all things Scientology, including previously unpublished court documents, personal narratives by former Scientologists, and a huge and active forum community.


The “Xenu” in, of course, refers to the bizarre galactic overlord that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard describes in the secret “Operating Thetan Level Three” materials that Scientologists must pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to reach. And “Operation Clambake” is a sly reference to one of Scientology’s most bizarre texts, the early book “What to Audit” that was renamed “History of Man” which has Hubbard describing Scientology’s take on evolution, including the claim that thetans (Scientology’s concept of an immortal soul) once inhabited clams before humans had evolved. The proof of it, Hubbard claimed, was that on occasion our jaws sometimes get stuck as our clam-memories resurface. Or something. Anyway, because of this book’s nutty claims, Scientologists are sometimes referred to as “clams.”

When Andreas first launched his site on November 7, 1996, he put out a press release explaining that he was making available contested documents from Scientology’s secret upper-level materials because he was offended that Scientology had tried to crush other early Internet pioneers who had dared to expose the church. Within a day, he had a response from Scientology’s lawyers demanding that he take down his site, and he was front-page news in Norway.

Holding firm against Scientology’s legal attacks, and operating from a country where Internet freedom was more liberally interpreted than in the US, made Andreas well known.

We have long admired him, not just for his free-speech fight, but also for the way he helped Tory Christman find her way from rabid Scientology activist to one of its more well-known defectors. We told that story back in 2001, and one of the things that comes through most strong in it is that Andreas helped Tory see Scientology’s abuses because of his kind, human touch.

In August 2012 we finally got a chance to meet the man in person when he dropped by the offices of the Village Voice. We ended up visiting Scientology’s Ideal Org in Times Square together, and were “body routed” inside to see a film. It was a great experience.

The next time we saw Andreas, it was at the 2015 “Getting Clear” conference put on by Jon Atack and Jim Beverley. And we especially savored the chance to get a photo of Andreas and Tory together.


At his Facebook account, Andreas has been describing what it has been like to let his friends know what’s going on with his health.

“The situation makes my friends come a lot closer, and we can talk about what we have meant to each other in life so far, things we probably never would have shared!” he wrote. “It also gives me the opportunity to settle and/or hand over all my pet projects and things I’ve used a lifetime to create and collect. I know now that they are in good hands. That also makes me content. Especially for a guy without my own children. And the relationship with my partner is much closer and more honest. When reality knocks you get a new perspective, and you seldom know or fully appreciate what you got until you realize you will lose it. I got and have experienced way more than most already, I get amazing healthcare and I got no pain now. And I have no regrets! Life is amazing!”

We asked him last night what thoughts he had about his overall journey exposing Scientology in such a major way, over so many years, and despite their best efforts to stop him.

“To me it was the right thing to come along at the right time in life,” he messaged us. “I had some skills that there was a need for, lived in Norway (legally safe), had time (after heartbreak) and Scientology managed to pour petrol on my fire every time I considered to quit. I felt that I contributed something valuable and good. So many people contacted me and shared their losses and their thanks. I feel very privileged now that I have this to look back at. This is part of me feeling I made a change or contributed something good to the world and history. But I stood on the shoulders of many better than me!”

We told him that what also made us root for him was his great sense of humor and his cleverness, which so bedeviled Scientology.


“I was amazed and surprised at how much attention what I did got globally. The media hype was insane! It was a cool experience, of course. I’m not ashamed to say it made me proud. But as I said it was not my genius, but the ones before me and the luck that I happened to enter the scene with what I could offer when I did. And I’m a little stubborn when someone tells me I can’t do something that I believe I should be allowed to do.”

He added that the experience helped him develop a deeper appreciation for the people victimized by Scientology.

“I once thought something like ‘How stupid can you be to fall for this?’ But quickly I learned that smarter people than I have fallen for cults and frauds. It was a revelation when I saw that at the right time and place it could also have been me.”

We’re just glad that Andreas turned his stubbornness to such a worthy effort. And that we got a chance to meet him, and consider him our friend. And we’ll treasure the rest of the time we have with him.


Today’s Scientology happy news. Yes, an excerpt from an actual press release put out by the church this week.

The Church of Scientology of Spain and the MEJORA Foundation—Foundation for the Improvement of Life, Culture and Society— have just announced the celebration of the upcoming 9th edition of the Religious Freedom Awards.

The Foundation for the Improvement of Life, Culture and Society, in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations since 2019, and founded by the Church of Scientology in 2015, will be in charge of presenting these pioneering awards in Spain, which have now reached their 9th edition.

Ivan Arjona-Pelado, President of the Church of Scientology European Office for Public Affairs and Human Rights, will host this ceremony in September 23rd 2022, near the Spanish Parliament, at the headquarters of the Church of Scientology of Spain that was inaugurated by Mr. David Miscavige, ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion.

The awards ceremony, organised by the Church of Scientology Fundacion MEJORA, will be held in person and via streaming and will be attended by experts and professors in religious freedom, as well as high ranking officials of the public administration.


Now available: Bonus for our supporters


Episode 9 of the Underground Bunker podcast has been sent out to paid subscribers, and Marc Headley returns to explain why he took the trouble to submit a lengthy response to a Scientologist’s nutty YouTube video. Meanwhile, we’ve made episodes 1 through 8 available to everyone, with Patty Moher on her career as a Scientology spy, Geoff Levin on Scientology’s celebrities, Pete Griffiths on running a mission, Sunny Pereira dishing secrets of Scientology’s Hollywood Celebrity Centre, Bruce Hines on the crazy life in the Sea Org, Jeffrey Augustine on recent Scientology court cases, Claire Headley exposing Tom Cruise, and Marc Headley on what it must be like for David Miscavige living in Clearwater, Florida.. Go here to get the episodes!


Source Code

“I toured around the empty ship and it looked lonesome. The galley was kept going by deckhands. Vixie had some trouble towing the ship out to anchor but made it. (The Commodores Messenger couldn’t find the Main Engine throttles as the engineers evidently took them on liberty.) Six new X trainees came aboard and were quickly trained up and fired by Dimples the man-eating shark — at least she said they had been fired. All in all it was quiet and restful.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 26, 1971


Avast, Ye Mateys

“The Con of All Hands, the Navigator and the forward well deck fender tenders are assigned a Condition of Non Existence for approaching a dock too fast at too steep an angle and not correcting or recovering from an obvious pilot error and not buffering it with fenders. This resulted in a small dent and a crack in the hull. They may not have any liberty in this port. The area crack is to be welded and a small plate placed over it.” — The Commodore, August 26, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I feel sorry for the people that watched The Master and thought it was an accurate depiction of Scientology and of LRH. It’s accurate in some sense, but it’s truly a covert satire, therefore, black propganda. And, wow, I feel bad for the people for whom Hollywood played a big role in their education, which is a large number of people.”



Past is Prologue

1998: Lawrence Wollersheim reported on Scientology’s harassment of Jesse Prince, a former executive with RTC. “Never in the 17 years since I have left Scientology have I seen such intense intimidation, psychological terrorism and covert operations brought to such an immediate fever pitch as with the Jesse Prince situation. Scientology has put Factnet, our attorneys, our directors and Jesse under a state of total siege. Jesse has had two death threats, a Factnet director one, a PI tried to set Jesse up with some type of paid call girl, and Jesse is followed day and night by one to two cars from the Temple security agency in Denver. The PI’s stalking Jesse were driving so recklessly (40 miles an hour in reverse for approximately 200 yards) that they could have killed someone. We have had to call the police and the FBI numerous times to have them involved and monitoring the situation. Scientology and its attorneys are doing all this to use total psychological terrorism and induced fear for only one purpose, to intimidate a federal witness into silence.”


Random Howdy

“Hubbard was making the whole thing up as he went along, and the ‘tech’ is nothing but mumbo jumbo. Until these people realize that LRH was the flim flam man, they will never be truly free.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Trial scheduled for October 11.
‘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: Readiness hearing scheduled for August 22 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for September 19.
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, Scientology moving to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs filed amended complaint on August 2.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: February 2, 2023.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place, next status hearing October 25. Scientology petitioning US Supreme Court over appellate ruling.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for December 6.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior 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] Gerry Armstrong hits back at apologist journal for questioning Hubbard ‘pinks & greys’ letter
[TWO years ago] Ahead of next week’s hearing, Danny Masterson’s accusers blast his attacks on their lawsuit
[THREE years ago] Tonight, Leah Remini ends ‘Scientology and the Aftermath’ with a hard look at Danny Masterson
[FOUR years ago] Scientology keeps pushing for ‘Ideal Orgs’ in places where it’s pure madness
[FIVE years ago] DOX: The FBI’s 2008 investigation of Anonymous and its attacks on the Church of Scientology
[SIX years ago] Is the Enquirer’s ‘exclusive’ on Scientology’s ‘hooker orgy’ a David Miscavige backfire?
[SEVEN years ago] So much for tabloid rumors: Tom Cruise visits Scientology’s ‘Ideal Org’ while he’s in Bogotá
[EIGHT years ago] More trouble for Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon — this time in Florida
[NINE years ago] What Motivated L. Ron Hubbard? Historian Jon Atack Follows the Clues
[TEN years ago] (2012’s) Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, Nos. 14-16
[ELEVEN years ago] The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 16: Marc Headley


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 2,768 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,273 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,823 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,813 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,704 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,009 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,879 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,984 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,457 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,773 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,339 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,258 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,426 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,006 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,268 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,304 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,019 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,544 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 899 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,074 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,625 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,756 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,094 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,949 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,068 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,424 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,727 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,833 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,231 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,107 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,690 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,185 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,439 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,548 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 26, 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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