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Scientology: Trafficking suit has a Waffle House problem. ALSO: Newiga sings in Tokyo!

[Newiga takes Tokyo!]

The Bunker’s own Newiga flew over to Tokyo to run in the marathon there, and then did us a favor by going to the Scientology Ideal Org, snapping some photos, and even sang a little song for us all.

But first, let’s take care of some legal news.

In the Baxter v. Scientology federal labor trafficking lawsuit in Tampa, both sides turned in their five-page replies to the 10-page arguments they recently submitted to Judge Thomas Barber’s question about whether he has the right to rule that the contracts signed by former Sea Org workers Valeska Paris and Gawain and Laura Baxter were signed under duress.

Scientology wants Judge Barber to derail the lawsuit and send it into Scientology’s own “religious arbitration” because the three former Sea Orgers had signed employment and service contracts during their years working on Scientology’s cruise ship, the Freewinds.


Valeska and the Baxters filed their lawsuit last April, alleging that they’d been forced into the Sea Org as children, worked on the ship as adults, and were subjected to horrible treatment and abuse, and were forced to sign the contracts without even the ability to read them. They want Judge Barber to deny Scientology’s attempt to force them into arbitration, and to get on with the lawsuit.

(And a note, because this always comes up: Scientology is only referring to contracts that Valeska and Baxters signed as adults, not children, and they are not referring to the Sea Org “billion-year” contract. These are employment contracts, or service contracts that all Scientologists sign for any procedure in the church.)

In the 10-page memos and now five-page replies, both sides are wrestling with Judge Barber’s question about whether he even has the right to rule that the contracts were signed under duress, or whether he must give that over to a Scientology arbitrating panel to decide. So both sides are citing US Supreme Court rulings and appellate decisions and other case law trying to persuade Judge Barber about what he can do.

In these latest replies, Scientology is continuing its argument that case law argues that Valeska and the Baxters are really complaining about the whole agreements they signed, and not just the arbitration clauses, and that this prevents Judge Barber from ruling on the validity of those arbitration clauses. At one point, writing for Scientology, attorney Gustavo Membiela cites a case that involved Waffle House, which had a similar problem to what the plaintiffs here face. “Plaintiffs’ challenge is all Waffle House,” he says.

Valeska and the Baxters counter with an appeal to common sense. The problem is obvious, says their attorney Shelby Leighton: “Defendants contend that they should be able to force Plaintiffs into arbitration by including an arbitration provision in a larger contract and then making Plaintiffs agree to that contract under duress, even if the duress is gun-to-the-head obvious.”

That appears to be a reference to Judge Barber’s own stunning question in a November 17 hearing, asking Scientology’s attorneys if they would still not consider a contract signed under duress even if there was video of the Sea Org worker with a gun aimed at their head. (The Scientology reply was amazing: The contract is still valid even in that case.)

In other words, Judge Barber seems to understand the situation here, but he’s asking for clarification about whether the Supreme Court gives him the authority to rule on what he sees before his very eyes.

Well, the filings are now in from both sides, and the matter is in Judge Barber’s hands.

We’re now waiting for him to rule on two very important issues.

1. David Miscavige’s objection to being ruled that he has been served by substitution and is an official defendant in the case.

2. Scientology’s motions to force the case into arbitration.

And we really don’t know how long it’s going to take him to rule on either of those issues.

But in the meantime, we are grateful to our Finnish friend Newiga, who flew over to Japan this week to run in the Tokyo marathon.

After finishing the race, she decided to go by the Ideal Org there, which we remember had its grand opening in 2016. She sent us some photos, and a short video, which includes a song!



Says Newiga: “The Org was pretty clean (which you’d expect in Japan) and I saw maybe four to five people going in and out. I saw maybe three to four staff. Two of them definitely spotted me taking pictures. One public was reading something in front of the big windows inside. There were boxes (books?) in the back.”


Congratulations, Newiga, for running the marathon in Tokyo, a big accomplishment on your list of running goals. And our thanks for stopping by the org there.


Technology Cocktail

“On the subject of strontium-90 it is interesting to note that a sufficient intake of calcium renders a person completely immuned to any effects of strontium-90. A child should be made to drink more milk and probably should have his diet fortified a little bit with calcium if anybody is truly worried about it.” — 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 [38] Steve Cannane



Source Code

“You can pick up a rock and handle it quite safely. It won’t disappear on you for the excellent reason that it has so many fundamentals, so many basics, so many premises from which it sprang. There are so many alter-isnesses which have proceeded along the line, that it’s not really likely to as-is in your hands. But if you start plowing around about the original rock or the source of all rocks, or you start questioning the source of all rocks, if you did it expertly enough I’m afraid you would feel the rock tremble, because if you did it completely successfully, it’s liable to be gone.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 7, 1957


Avast, Ye Mateys

“The ship looks good and Captain Robertson is to be congratulated on it and the officers and crew are thanked for their care and attention. I am glad to be back aboard. The only trouble is that ashore the dogs bark all night and now, without this I probably won’t be able to sleep. However, Janet Guilford says we can organize an All Hands Barking Stations.” — The Commodore, March 7, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Our DNA does not end here. It is in instant communication with all our cells at the same time, and with any other point in space and time. We have been messed with a long time ago, so that this program, this DNA, was dysfunctional. But it is becoming activated now. I have personally experienced this and tell you guys — clearly well-educated Scientologists — that this is hot stuff. Get ready for some exciting material, delivered in an unusual way compared to LRH’s but believe me it is awesome. What is coolest about it all is that he tells you that this can affect you as God (and as we know through engrams) also can, and that this is a two-way thing. So far, the energy levels of this planet inhibited this, but they are now high enough (higher tone level, higher theta) so that we can now successfully command our DNA. We can be masters, and this is what beings like Jesus were — Masters of their own DNA. We have only 30 percent of our DNA operational and someone with the state of Christ would be 100 percent. Many people on Earth are already above the 30 percent and this process has now momentum and is awakening in every body whether or not they are spiritually minded. This new revival will not make the world spiritual yet. It will bring a conscience of compassion which will in turn bring PEACE on Earth. This is not the end. This will be the beginning, the basis from which real change can begin to occur towards spirituality as until that happens all wisdom and technology can be weaponised.”


Past is Prologue

1996: Planned protest at the Flag Land Base in Clearwater was accomplished to considerable media attention. Despite Andrew Milne and Woody’s descriptions of the event as a failure, one radio station, four TV stations and two newspapers provided advance coverage, footage of the picket itself, and some the subsequent press conference. “Radio show on WMNF. Jeff Jacobsen, Dennis Erlich (by phone), Jeff Lee spoke about Dennis’ experiences and the reasons for the picket. When the host took calls, the person on the line was Brian Anderson, the DSA for the area. Notable occurrences: Anderson claimed that the ‘The law may be used very easily to harass…’ had never been a part of church policy, and when the host started questioning him about Dennis being locked in the basement of the Fort Harrison Hotel, he even claimed that there was no basement in the hotel.”



Random Howdy

“Hubbard deciding the right tone level for being mauled by a bear is fabulous.”


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] The new Impact magazine is here, and we get to see Scientology’s biggest donors celebrated!
[TWO years ago] The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 5: The dirty tricks private eyes
[THREE years ago] Valerie Haney asks judge to reconsider ruling, and has some excellent arguments
[FOUR years ago] Scientology denied: Eleventh Circuit brushes aside church attempt to stop Garcia appeal
[FIVE years ago] Is American culture now so hopeless that Scientology’s insanity is no longer notable?
[SIX years ago] Paul Haggis spoils movie night for Scientology, shows what a real humanitarian does
[SEVEN years ago] There’s a backstory to the recent news of a Scientology TV ad being banned in the UK
[EIGHT years ago] Jon Atack visits an org — ALSO: The richest Scientologist gets even richer!
[NINE years ago] BRAD HALSEY, 1957-2014
[TEN years ago] Blogging Dianetics, Part 10: Killing the Grizzly
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology: Dear Judge, Protect Us from Rathbun and Rinder!


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 2,961 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,466 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,016 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,006 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,897 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,201 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,072 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,177 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,654 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,966 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,532 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,451 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,619 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,200 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,461 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,498 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,213 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,777 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,092 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,267 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,818 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,949 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,287 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,142 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,261 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,617 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,920 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,026 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,424 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,300 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,883 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,378 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,632 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,741 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 7, 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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