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Report from the breakaway republic that’s still causing Scientology headaches

[Tami and Dani Lemberger at the Dror Center]

Back in 2012, one of the most remarkable stories we got to report was the stunning breakaway of an entire Scientology mission.

For years, we’d been hearing about and covering the defection of many individuals from this controlling organization. But this was something new: The entire Scientology mission in Haifa, Israel, led by its two leaders, the married couple Dani and Tami Lemberger, had defected en masse.

Since then, we’ve become friends with the Lembergers. Dani has visited us in the US, and we have visited them numerous times in Israel (where we go to visit family).

We also covered Dani’s lawsuit against Scientology, and the stunning detail that Marty Rathbun, the former top Scientology executive who had become a leading light of the “indie” movement, betrayed Dani by feeding one of his private emails to the Scientology legal team fighting Dani in court. It was one of the stunning confirmations that Rathbun had made a U-turn and shockingly became Scientology’s go-to attack dog, making videos trashing Mike Rinder, Leah Remini, and many others.

That subject came up again this weekend when we visited the Lembergers, and Dani remarked how the judge in his case had been incensed to hear about Scientology’s behavior. He said in Israel, the church didn’t even attempt to bring up the “arbitration” nonsense that is derailing lawsuits in the US. “They didn’t even try that in my case. They knew a judge here wouldn’t put up with that,” he said.


Dani had invited us to see the new digs for his “Dror Center,” the independent Scientology operation that grew out of the breakaway Haifa mission. The previous center was in an industrial part of the city, but it was destroyed by arson last year. Dani and Tami say that the crime was unrelated to the work they were doing.

But now they have bought an entire floor on a building right in downtown Haifa, and it is an impressive place, with auditing rooms, course rooms, and offices. It’s large and cheery and appears to be thriving.


As you’ll see in the video, Dani teases us about our lack of faith in the technology of L. Ron Hubbard, but well, what can we say. We may not put much faith in auditing, but we can’t help liking Dani and Tami Lemberger. They are a lot of fun to spend time with, and we will continue to visit them when we can get to Haifa.


Technology Cocktail

“A thetan with a buffer in front of him feels that he cannot receive various wavelengths and he knows there are some dangerous ones. He thinks they are dangerous to him and he has a tremendous number of considerations about this. The considerations are utterly fabulous in quantity concerning the amount of protection one has to have, the conditions under which one can do things. This degenerates to a point where a man can only see well when he is wearing a certain pair of carpet slippers.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1957




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 as Danny faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison. NOW WITH TRIAL INDEX.


THE PODCAST: How many have you heard?

[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley [3] Jeffrey Augustine [4] Bruce Hines [5] Sunny Pereira [6] Pete Griffiths [7] Geoff Levin [8] Patty Moher [9] Marc Headley [10] Jefferson Hawkins [11] Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan [12] Paulette Cooper [13] Jesse Prince [14] Mark Bunker [15] Jon Atack [16] Mirriam Francis [17] Bruce Hines on MSH

— SPECIAL: The best TV show on Scientology you never got to see

[1] Phil Jones [2] Derek Bloch [3] Carol Nyburg [4] Katrina Reyes [5] Jamie DeWolf

— The first Danny Masterson trial and beyond

[18] Trial special with Chris Shelton [19] Trial week one [20] Marc Headley on the spy in the hallway [21] Trial week two [22] Trial week three [23] Trial week four [24] Leah Remini on LAPD Corruption [25] Mike Rinder 2022 Thanksgiving Special [26] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part One [27] Jane Doe 4 (Tricia Vessey), Part Two [28] Claire Headley on the trial [29] Tory Christman [30] Bruce Hines on spying [31] Karen de la Carriere [32] Ron Miscavige on Shelly Miscavige [33] Karen de la Carriere on the L’s [34] Mark Bunker on Miscavige hiding [35] Mark Plummer [36] Mark Ebner [37] Karen Pressley



Source Code

“Scientology has various ends. Out of Scientology you could formulate, for instance, a very fine type of ‘thought warfare’ which — much better than an atom bomb. No, an atom bomb just kills people — but you could take in ‘thought warfare,’ you could enslave them utterly. You could, you’d make complete slaves out of them, with a very simple contraption. Very simple. We’re doing it the honest way in Scientology, because with a very simple contraption, with the greatest of ease, we could go around and anybody who was opposing Scientology would all of a sudden start being madly, insanely in favor of it. But that’s the easy way to do it, and that’s what’s wrong with the race, is everybody has tried it the easy way — control, restraint, more engrams, more punishment.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 3, 1952


Avast, Ye Mateys

“From the inspection of the ship for sea, the decks, bridge, Commodore’s and Aides areas, E/R, most Div III area, Tweendecks, and interior areas looks good. The most glaring outnesses were in personal cabins and a few unsecured items in office area. The MAA has the list and all is to be ready by 0900 for his further inspection. Each crew member in his own time will thoroughly clean his cabin for an inspection tomorrow at sea. Well it will be good to get to sea. After the all hands, Watch E will take her out. Lets have a great trip and bring home the bacon!” — Capt. W.B. Robertson, Capt. Yacht Apollo, (1970)


Overheard in the FreeZone

“It’s time to challenge the 60-year-old cliché about DNA as the blueprint of the body. It’s more like a list of the proteins that the cell will produce in response to various cues, either internal or external. There might also be a distinction between the engrams of the GE and those owned by the thetan. Looking from the top down, from the thetan’s viewpoint, an engram is just a section of the time track that he isn’t taking responsibility for creating. But looking from the other direction, the GE holds engrams as valuable for building structure. And from early Dianetics up to his research on effort processing, L. Ron Hubbard was addressing the GE. The organism is the mind of the GE, a mind that records action – counter-effort and effort – rather than thought. I think biology is starting to reject the view of organisms as machines built to rigid plans, in favour of considering them more like analog computers that respond to an array of external counter-efforts with efforts ‘calculated’ to maximise their survival.”


Past is Prologue


1999: Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger published an article this week on the charges against Scientology in Spain. “The indictment described Scientology as extremely dangerous. The members are said to be financially exploited and subjected to brainwashing. The twelve charges range from tax evasion to the formation of an illegal organization. The Scientologists promise cures without possessing the proper education or permits. The District Attorney even rates using the personality test for the recruitment of new customers as criminal. The person being tested is then told that he has (fictitious) psychic problems, which can be corrected with expensive courses and therapies, stated the District Attorney. The reality is that many people tested become psychically ill only after having taken the ‘therapy.’ The charges state that a diabetic was talked into believing that his illness was caused by psychic illness, and that it could be healed with Scientology courses. The patient later fell into a diabetic coma. The charges also include the Scientology co-organization of Narconon, which offers controversial therapy for drug addicts. This therapy includes daily sessions of up to five hours in the sauna and mega-doses of medications. The Scientology therapy center lacks any professional medical or psychological care, said the District Attorney. In addition, disobedient Scientologists were said to be locked up for days at a time.”


Random Howdy

“Seeing as how boxers get knocked out more than any other group, RTC is missing a golden opportunity to prove the efficacy of Dianetic theory by grabbing some punch-drunk pugilist off of Skid Row and giving him six months of auditing and then calling a press conference where the former rummy could recite Shakespeare and explain quantum theory to all present. Why doesn’t C.O.B. think of these things?”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Mistrial declared November 30. Retrial scheduled, jury selection begins March 29. Next pretrial hearing: Feb 16.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Next pretrial hearing Feb 13.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for March 1 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next status conference Feb 13.

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. Hearing November 17 to argue the arbitration motions, awaiting ruling.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: March 15, 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 at least through February 7.
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.



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] Video proof that Scientology’s cruise ship is the happiest place on earth
[TWO years ago] Here’s the full appeal petition in the lawsuit against Danny Masterson and Scientology
[THREE years ago] Expert: Scientology’s Grant Cardone ‘helping sell fake stem cell products to the public’
[FOUR years ago] Scientology claims to be the experts on drugs — their actual materials beg to differ
[FIVE years ago] Garcias ask for hearing on farcical ‘arbitration’; Scientology files 600 pages in Laura D case
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology, in forced-abortion case: It’s not abuse if you don’t complain when it’s happening
[EIGHT years ago] How’s this for a gift on L. Ron Hubbard’s birthday? ‘Going Clear’ in theaters March 13
[NINE years ago] John Travolta’s fun night at the Oscars
[TEN years ago] Sunday Funnies: Get Your Infant Audited!
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Counterattack: 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 2,957 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,462 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,012 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,002 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,893 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,197 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,068 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,173 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,650 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,962 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,528 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,447 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,615 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,196 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,457 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,494 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,209 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,773 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,088 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,263 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,814 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,945 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,283 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,138 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,257 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,613 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,916 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,022 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,420 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,296 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,879 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,374 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,628 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,737 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 3, 2023 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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