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PODCAST: Steve Cannane checks in after reporting from the war in Ukraine

One of our favorite people in the whole world is Australian journalist Steve Cannane. We first became aware of Steve’s work because he was tearing it up at the ABC with story after story about Scientology in the land Down Under.

In particular, he was the first reporter to interview Valeska Paris, who alleged that for more than ten years she had been a prisoner on Scientology’s cruise ship the Freewinds. We then interviewed Valeska for the Village Voice, and it became the most popular story we ever published there.

Today Valeska is suing Scientology for labor trafficking in Tampa, and it’s been several years since Steve’s terrific book about Scientology in Australia, Fair Game, came out and was sued in court — but not by Scientology. (Go figure.) And let’s not forget that part of Steve’s book tour included stopping by HowdyCon 2017 in Denver!

We wanted to catch up with Steve, especially after seeing some of the reporting he’s done from the war in Ukraine. Amazing stuff! (Listen to the podcast here.)



Technology Cocktail

“Another thing that happened is that I remembered why I left the Author’s League of America some years ago. Its Board had begun to offer prizes to deify minorities and it was taking other party-line data and trying to foist it off on American writers. The Newspaper Guild, so far as I know, is not entirely clear of this influence.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1957


Jon Atack and Mark Bunker




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

“Theta doesn’t have space or time. And therefore it’s very simple: Theta can just as well be in Milwaukee as Paris, simultaneously. And the only reason why you are this size conceptually and not the size of the galaxy conceptually is because you find it handier to conceive yourselves to be this size. And you’re actually looking at a piece of the physical universe — you, your body. But as far as your mind is concerned, there is no reason why it can’t only stretch through this galaxy but could go through all the island universes. You see how that could be? There is no limit, then, on how wide a mind can expand or how small it can contract, because it’s not size and it’s not time or space. Also, there is no reason why I can’t think something today and have you pick it up six months ago.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 4, 1952



Avast, Ye Mateys

“ACTION BRIEFING: An FO-CBO on Action’s Responsibility for Briefing is issued in the wake of the first weeks stat reduction of Jbg, Celebrity Center and possibly London. The foremost WHY is that these were ‘loners,’ only sent one person to the FEBC who then went home and got his hard. Morale — 2 minimum FEBCs must be sent. In short, Hades broke loose here when the stats didn’t go up at once there in two instances. Those lone guys better get a 2nd FEBC here in a hurry. It takes a team. Lovely stat boosts in all the rest we sent out.” — The Commodore, March 4, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I remember going to the Lawrence Radiation Lab with my stepfather who is a nuclear physicist and being shown the bubble chamber and the atom splitter. Interesting stuff. He was part of the Manhattan Project, which is why I am looking forward to the day we can all sing hallelujah the physical sciences discover the thetan and really know what a thetan is.”


Past is Prologue

2000: The St. Petersburg Times published an editorial on the criminal case against Scientology in the death of Lisa McPherson. “The tragedy of Lisa McPherson’s death in a Scientology hotel room has turned into a sad, convoluted mess that cries out for justice. An unexplained reversal by Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner Joan Wood has prosecutors reviewing their case and raises questions about Wood’s competence. Meanwhile, sworn statements by Scientologists paint a disturbing picture of McPherson’s final days and raise this question: Why was no individual charged with a crime? Wood certainly surprised the state attorney’s office. The new autopsy report is ‘something of major significance we need to review,’ said Assistant State Attorney Doug Crow. Amid the doubt, this much is clear: Wood owes the residents of Pinellas County an explanation; and State Attorney Bernie McCabe still needs to prosecute those his office determines to be responsible in McPherson’s suffering and death. No doubt remains that McPherson was ill served by her Scientology ‘caretakers.’ Alain Kartuzinski, a senior church staff member, ordered McPherson’s isolation and authorized medication without a doctor’s approval. Then he lied to police about his involvement. Janis Johnson, a church medical officer and unlicensed doctor, was seen giving McPherson injections of a prescription muscle relaxant that had not been authorized by a doctor. She also lied to police. David Houghton, a dentist, helped administer medication, including forcing crushed aspirin and Benadryl down her throat with a large syringe. David Minkoff, a church member and doctor in Pasco County, prescribed drugs for McPherson over the phone without examining the patient. By the time he saw her, she was dead. Changing a few words on the autopsy report does not change the tragic events that unfolded in a darkened Scientology hotel room. Whatever caused the blood clot that killed McPherson, timely medical care would have given her a chance to survive. No matter how many experts the Church of Scientology hires or how much pressure they put on public officials, a jury should decide if someone committed a crime in the death of Lisa McPherson.”


Random Howdy

“Bob, no offense, but thoughts don’t have mass.”



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] Scientology: Valerie Haney can’t rely on a court ruling that hasn’t been published!
[TWO years ago] Read the brief filed by constitutional scholars supporting Danny Masterson’s accusers
[THREE years ago] Los Angeles District Attorney: Jackie Lacey leading as slow vote tally continues
[FOUR years ago] Scientology made him suicidal, but that was only the beginning of his problems
[FIVE years ago] Scientology laying on the ‘religious freedom’ act thicker than ever as its TV channel nears
[SIX years ago] Wealthy Scientology donor Joy Villa plays latest prank on ‘Gays for Trump’ today in DC
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology officials panicked about overdose death of star Narconon pupil: Boyfriend
[EIGHT years ago] Scenes from the ‘Going Clear’ publicity caravan in midtown Manhattan
[NINE years ago] Bruce Hines takes us through Scientology’s Original Operating Thetan Level Seven!
[TEN years ago] Document Leak: Scientology Sexual Histories
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: Use Kids to Solicit Donations? Why Not!


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 2,958 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,463 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,013 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,003 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,894 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,198 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,069 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,174 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,651 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,963 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,529 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,448 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,616 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,197 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,458 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,495 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,210 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,774 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,089 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,264 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,815 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,946 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,284 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,139 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,258 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,614 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,917 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,023 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,421 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,297 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,880 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,375 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,629 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,738 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 4, 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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