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PODCAST: Mark Bunker on Scientology’s sabotage of progress in Clearwater

Thanks to the intrepid work of Tampa Bay Times reporter Tracey McManus, we learned this past week that Scientology continues its old tricks in Clearwater, the Florida city whose downtown was taken over by the church in a surreptitious takeover 45 years ago.

The latest kerfuffle, which had yet another developer being chased out of town by Scientology’s style of intimidation, resulted in some fireworks at a public meeting, thanks to the one city councilman in that town paying attention.

So we thought we’d invite that city councilman on this program, not only because of the vital work he’s doing in Clearwater, but also because he happens to be an old friend.

We go way back with Mark Bunker, a/k/a ‘Wise Beard Man,’ and it was a treat to catch up with him and talk about the challenges still facing the people of Clearwater.


Today, we’re releasing the fourteenth episode of The Underground Bunker Podcast to our paid subscribers at Substack. You should receive it presently at your email inbox if you’re on the list.

Not a paid subscriber? Well, we have something for you, too. Last week’s episode was with Jesse Prince, who at one time was the third-highest-ranking official in Scientology, and later become one of its biggest headaches. In the weeks before, we talked to Paulette Cooper, Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan, Jefferson Hawkins, Marc Headley, Patty Moher, Geoff Levin, Pete Griffiths, Sunny Pereira, Jeffrey Augustine, and Claire Headley.

Those first thirteen episodes are now free to all of our subscribers, paid and unpaid. All of our podcast episodes can be found here.


Paul Haggis will be able to introduce his Scientology past at trial

Yesterday, Judge Sabrina Kraus ruled that Paul Haggis will be allowed to bring up his history as a high-profile Scientology defector when his trial against former publicist Haleigh Breest begins on October 11 in New York.

As you read here, Breest had asked that Haggis not be able to discuss his Scientology history or that he had predicted to New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright in 2011 that Scientology would find a way to ensnare him in a scandal after he became such a prominent and public critic of the church.

“The jury is entitled to be informed of any possible motive Plaintiff may have and about The Church’s efforts to discredit Haggis. Haggis should have the opportunity to present evidence will show that The Church was, in fact, seeking to embroil Haggis in ruinous, false allegations regarding women prior to Breest’s allegations here,” Judge Kraus ruled.

This should lead to some very interesting testimony in the trial from the Haggis legal team, as we spelled out previously.

Judge Kraus also ruled that Breest won’t be able to bring in evidence about Haggis’s arrest in Italy earlier this year, a case that rapidly fell apart. But Haggis won’t be able to bring in evidence about his financial situation. So Kraus gave both sides something, but the Scientology ruling does seem like a big one.



Technology Cocktail

“Scientology is a precision subject. It has axioms. Like geometry. Two equilateral triangles aren’t similar because Euclid said so. They’re similar because they are. If you don’t believe it, look at them. There isn’t a single datum in Scientology that can’t be proven as precisely as teacups are teacups and not saucepans. Now if we get a person fresh out of the study of ‘the mystical metaphysics of Cuffbah’ he’s going to have trouble. His pcs are going to ‘Itsa’ their heads off and never get well or better or anything. Because that person doesn’t know Scientology but thinks it’s all imprecise opinion.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1971


Now with no restrictions: Our podcast series on the Scientology docuseries that never aired

In five episodes, we recently looked at something we’ve been curious about for several years: The potentially explosive television show, produced by Sirens Media, that would have featured L. Ron Hubbard great-grandson Jamie DeWolf as its presenter, and that would have taken an active look at the families ripped apart by Scientology’s “disconnection” policy. Unfortunately, even though the series was ready to air on the A&E network in 2016, it never has. Our podcast series turned out even better than we were hoping, and we’ve made all five episodes available to everyone.


Source Code

“Do you know that absolutely standard tech, complete, proper, hair line standard tech, used in organizations throughout the world, will at least triple the stats of each within 90 days? Couldn’t help it. And if it was really applied in a business-like fashion, and nobody messed it up in any way, shape, or form, one of our Division 5 people said we might even be able to take the planet within a year. It is hot.” — L. Ron Hubbard, September 24, 1968


Avast, Ye Mateys


“SORE ARM: ‘They take this spike, see, and they stab you and then fill you up with germs, see, and when your arm recovers then you find out it has to all be done again. And then you can go into any cholera area and not kick the bucket. And you don’t get quarantined and you can go to warm ports and not have to freeze to death all winter. So that’s why you get a sore arm.’ At least that’s how it was all explained to me.” — The Commodore September 24, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Your Democratic friends and Democratic PCs are supporting the destruction of the USA, and with that, the rest of the world. You seem to forget LRH quotes on Marxism. Marxists today teach the children and teenagers in USA. The LGBT sodomite agenda is rampant. LRH said that the LGBT agenda had cause the destruction of the USA (he said that in the 60’s) like before with Rome, Greece etc. Finally, you don’t seem to have duplicated the LRH taped lecture The Free Being. In it LRH describes with detail how lower organized beings and entities can and have been bringing down Free Beings and OTs along the track. Those ‘lower but well organized beings’ are the Antifa and BLM communist leaders and their spiritual entities. Yes. Marxism is a spiritual movement pretending to be atheistic. Not to say of BLM and Vudu.”


Past is Prologue

1999: Scientology celebrity John Travolta fled France this week to avoid being called to testify at the trial of French Scientologists. From the Independent: “The actor and scientologist John Travolta has cut short a visit to Paris apparently because he feared he might be called to give evidence in the trial of seven French members of the Church of Scientology in Marseilles. Members of his entourage told the French news agency, Agence France Presse, that Travolta feared that he might be forced to give evidence at the fraud trial of seven French Scientologists. The judgment on the seven, accused of claiming sums of up to pounds 15,000 for bogus treatment, has been delayed until 15 November.”


Random Howdy

“Yesterday you were merely irritating. Today you’ve placed yourself on the menu.”



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: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Arraigned on August 29.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff scheduled to be sentenced on Oct 28.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for October 24 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] Scientology OT 8 and ‘STAND’ blogger who expressed anti-vax views dies of Covid
[TWO years ago] VALERIE HANEY SEEKS WRIT: Victims’ rights groups show support, Scientology cries bigotry
[THREE years ago] Another national census is in, and Scientology comes in at a mighty 0.007 percent!
[FOUR years ago] A Scientology enforcer dies, and one of his former victims is the only one to eulogize him
[FIVE years ago] Scientology got plenty of photo ops out of hurricanes in Texas and Florida. But did it help?
[SIX years ago] Flirt with Scientology, and its dogged letter writers will hound you forever
[SEVEN years ago] We’re live and on the air today in Minneapolis, and Scientology is the fat we’re chewing
[EIGHT years ago] Rathbun v. Scientology: Another appeals court hearing, this time with everything on the line
[NINE years ago] JASON BEGHE ON LEAH REMINI: She’s Right, Scientology Does Want Her to Fail
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Dropkick: Commenters of the Week!


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 2,797 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,302 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,852 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,842 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,733 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,038 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,908 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,013 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,486 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,802 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,368 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,287 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,455 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,035 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,297 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,333 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,048 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,613 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 928 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,103 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,654 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,785 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,123 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,978 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,097 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,453 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,756 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,862 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,260 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,136 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,719 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,214 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,468 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,577 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 24, 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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