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WACKY: Scientology flack Ben Shaw’s unhinged letter denying ties to Clearwater developer

[Scientology’s Ben Shaw and developer Rodney Riley]

On March 17 we shared with you an over-the-top, ranting letter sent by Scientology’s spokesman in Clearwater, Ben Shaw. He had sent the letter to Tracey McManus of the Tampa Bay Times, accusing her of being unethical, and he copied it to the mayor of Clearwater, which made it a public document.

“You are a propagandist who spreads blatant lies solely to harass Scientologists who accurately report about Tracey McManus,” Shaw wrote in his letter to McManus. It was off the hook.

Anyway, Shaw sent another letter to the city about the questions that McManus was asking in an investigation that produced yesterday’s blockbuster report from the Tampa Bay Times: That wealthy Scientologists, cooperating with the Church of Scientology, had brought in an out-of-town ringer, a developer named Rodney Riley, to front a $350 million project in the North Marina district. McManus had obtained an email from OT 8 Scientologist Stephen Epstein that told Riley he was going to be their “white knight” that would make the project look “legit” to the unsuspecting people of Clearwater. And also that he would be coordinating with Shaw and the church to buy up even more parcels.

Riley, Epstein, and Shaw all denied the implications of the email and say the Tampa Bay Times is all wrong. Which is what they always say.

Anyway, when McManus was asking detailed questions about the email to Shaw and the church, he sent another unhinged letter and copied it to the city, and we knew you’d want to see it. Here it is in all its glory.



Our main question after reading this letter is, how much trouble is Ben Shaw in with David Miscavige that their little plan has been found out to use Riley as their shill?


Technology Cocktail

“We are the heralds of a New Age. Man, stuck for millennia in the rut of status quo can at first balk and even ridicule, but, Can He Survive? Scientology for the individual is a passport to this new time. Scientology for the group is the Survival of the State.” — 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 [39] Fredrick Brennan [40] Clarissa Adams [41] Louise Shekter [42] John Sweeney


Source Code

“The whole US civil defense system is based on the idea that there is a thing called the government which is composed of people (which already is silly) and they’re going to take over the country at the moment of an attack, see? They aren’t there now. They’re not part of the people, and they’re not human, you see? And they’re parked up someplace in Canada along the DEW line or down in Mexico or out on some island, and they don’t exist there now. And at the moment of an attack, nobody is supposed to do anything but be taken over by the government. That’s what you’re supposed to do in an attack. Consider it absolutely fascinating! It’s just as bad as Eisenhower’s design for the Normandy landing. I mean, there was nothing worse than that. I didn’t know this until the other day. I’m going to write a book on it. I’m going to call it The Great Myth. You see, I was a Pacific amphibious warfare officer before these Normandy landings occurred. And there’s certain ways you’re supposed to make landings. Well, they didn’t make them that way at Normandy. They killed men instead.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 3, 1962



Avast, Ye Mateys

“Our trouble has been isolated to the British Government. It uses British Consuls, Lloyds and reporters as part of its intelligence service. It has been revealed that reporters in the UK, particularly those operating outside it, are members of their intelligence service while still being reporters. The US health societies, groups, foundations and agencies are all members of SMERSH which is an English takeover of the work of Clifford Beers to bring protection to mental patients. By blackmail, corruption and pretense of being ‘the very best people’ this group had the British government in its palm. It appointed the health ministers of both parties in England and throughout the Commonwealth and even Switzerland. SMERSH is a world takeover type group, full of preposterous plans. It is now actively destroying western nations whose governments look to them to dispose of malcontents without realizing SMERSH’s degraded technology is violently opposed by Western peoples. If we are careful, keep good security and continue to attack, SMERSH will collapse as they are trying to be a police state without either the police or army on their side. We must be alert to the Intelligence factors of SMERSH and safeguard against their penetration of our security. On our shoulders alone rests the possibility of freeing Mankind from the horror of one of these police states which could destroy Mankind. The rest, like sheep, have been taken in wholly.” — The Commodore, April 3, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Parsons was dodgy, and he was murdered because he was dodgy. But more specifically he was a commie. Israel is a commie state, so it makes sense he would pass data onto them. Hubbard was anti-commie. I reckon he was sent in on a mission to disturb Parsons. Years later another agent was sent in to kill Parsons probably because he was getting too out of hands. They didn’t want to just kill Parsons straight up back in ’46, it’s better to know who is your enemy and mess with them for years wasting their time, hence Hubbard’s mission. Parson was making jet-assist take-off for the Navy, so him being dodgy annoyed the Navy, and they would get their naval intelligence to handle him, thus we see Hubbard come into his life. Now this doesn’t mean Hubbard wasn’t into black magick. You can be sent on a mission and enjoy what that mission involves. In fact he could have liked Parsons but knew he was a sicko deep down being a lefty and that he needed to be dealt with.”


Past is Prologue

2002: Impact Magazine published news from the annual convention of the International Association of Scientologists. “This year’s annual IAS Convention of Delegates chaired by President IAS Administrations Ms. Janet McLaughlin and attended by 28 delegates, was held for the first time at the Flag Land Base. Ms. Debbie Fraser, Finance Director IAS Administrations, presented a financial report, and Mr. Carl Light, Public Affairs Executive IAS Administrations, summarized the grants funded by the IAS and the US IAS Members’ Trust and their results in the past year. The delegates at this year’s IAS Annual Delegates Convention pledge themselves to the attainment of the following goals: We intend to promote the Volunteer Minister program internationally, thus bringing the direct application of LRH tech to millions. We intend to continue the exposure of the criminal nature of the psychiatric industry and to bring criminal
psychiatrists to justice in greater numbers than ever before, while dramatically increasing public awareness of their abuses. We intend to further strike at the scourge of drug abuse by making LRH’s life saving drug rehabilitation technology know and used by ever-increasing numbers. We intend to greatly advance the use of LRH criminal rehabilitation technology, resulting in reformed criminals leading productive and ethical lives. We intend to forward the use of The Way to Happiness, which is desperately needed in this troubled world.”


Random Howdy


“We Farsecians are not evil. We are the Knights Templar of the Universe. We are the Keepers of the ARC of the Covenant.”


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] Another reason to watch the CA supremes: Danny Masterson is petitioning his rape case
[TWO years ago] The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 3: The judges
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s new attempt to force ‘religious arbitration’ on Danny Masterson’s accusers
[FOUR years ago] A stunning Scientology call to arms for our politically divided times on this dirt ball
[FIVE years ago] Newly released documents: Scientology leader L. Ron Hubbard tried to ‘buy’ an African nation
[SIX years ago] Scientology leader David Miscavige launches new personal attacks at Leah Remini
[SEVEN years ago] David Miscavige and a bussed-in crowd cut the ribbon on Atlanta’s new Scientology ‘Ideal Org’
[EIGHT years ago] How Scientologists are dealing with the popularity of Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear’
[NINE years ago] We asked David Miscavige’s tailor for his exact height — and here’s what he told us!
[TEN years ago] LEAK: Scientology’s Rehab Went from $5,000 to $2.5 Million in Insurance Revenue in One Year


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 2,988 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,493 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,043 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,033 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,924 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,228 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,099 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,204 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,681 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,993 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,559 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,478 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,646 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,227 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,488 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,524 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,240 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,804 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,119 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,294 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,845 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,976 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,314 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,169 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,288 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,644 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,947 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,053 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,451 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,327 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,910 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,405 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,659 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,768 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 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, 1995-2022 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2022), 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


Tony Ortega at Rolling Stone


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