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Mike Rinder: A class act we’re proud to call a friend

About a week ago, Mike Rinder let us know that he was experiencing some health issues, and that he was awaiting test results to determine what was going on.

Yesterday, his wife Christie Collbran revealed publicly what they had learned: Mike has advanced esophageal cancer which is being driven by a mutation of a gene in his blood.

She said that they have an excellent medical team in place and that there is reason to be optimistic, which we were relieved to hear.

Naturally, there’s been an outpouring of support for Mike, who in September released his monumental book, A Billion Years: My Escape from a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology.


If you’ve read the book, you know that he frames it as a father who regretted getting his children into Scientology, and that he believes that anyone can change the path they’re on and rethink, for example, their connection to something as toxic and totalitarian as L. Ron Hubbard’s invention.

We’ve been fortunate to know Mike for more than a decade. We first met him when we flew down to Florida and interviewed him for The Village Voice.

But since then he’s been more than just someone we turn to for quotes on stories. He’s been a great friend, particularly when we’ve turned to him for advice when Scientology’s elaborate retaliation operations have been aimed at our family members.

Mike’s willingness to help us out during those periods told us so much about him and his integrity. And he never asked for anything in return.

We hope that as he goes through this challenging adventure, you will join us in offering him the kind of support he offered us when we were going through a scary time.

— Your Proprietor


Technology Cocktail

“In an assist you always count on the fact that the thetan himself would, if he could, do the right thing. If you work on that postulate you will never be wrong. Get the idea that it is something else trying to do the wrong thing. The keynote of a thetan is order.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1958



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

“One time a few years ago in a war that everybody fortunately has forgotten, a submarine appeared on my port bow. We’d been hanging over it for some time and it ran up its periscope. They used to throw up a patch of oil and then run the periscope up through the oil so as not to leave any salt scum or anything like that on their periscope lens, you know. So a blob of oil appeared and the fellow who was running the engine room telegraphs on the bridge was the only fellow looking in that direction. And he saw this blob of oil appear and he thought that was strange and interesting. We were going very slowly, we were almost dead in the water, and then right up through this big blob of brown oil on a blue sea comes a periscope — swswswswhhh — and looks around in every direction but at our ship! If it had turned another ninety degrees it would have read the biggest doggone 422 that you’d ever seen, fully magnified for the skipper. But anyway, the man on the engine room telegraphs is the only person who observed this incident in its various steps. The bridge was absolutely crammed with men because we were at general quarters. But nobody was looking right down there; they were looking out there, you know. And the fellow on the engine room telegraphs would say, ‘Thh.’ I finally noticed this strange performance and I was all set at this moment, you see, the second I saw this — flank speed and drop a depth charge right. Even if it blew our own stern off, that was fine, you see. And I said, ‘Khh!’ That was the awfulest mess of noncommunication! It finally came off all right. We dropped a depth charge and so on, but we were laughing about this for days. Nobody could talk!” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 5, 1955



Avast, Ye Mateys

MAYFAIR: Mayfair magazine UK published an article by me as a ‘World Exclusive.’ It may effectively handle a lot of things. It ended off the William Burroughs thing. It said why we’re attacked and attacks hard. It appeared on the stands just before Parliament adjourned. Captain AOUK said it acted like an S&D on the crew there. INJURIES: Those recently injured were not PTS. Survey showed they were exterior and feeling powerful and didn’t watch where they were sending the body.” — The Commodore, June 5, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I thought I was SP because I could not see pictures. Later I discovered that an SP could not think they were SP, so I then believed I thought I was SP so I could prove I was not SP. Either way I knew I was SP until the natural clear material came out and I self audited a pre-Dianetics experiment I was involved in with Hubbard, 1947, where my entire Whole Track was erased. I had no place to put pictures. I was overwhelmed and died (I think I just wandered out into traffic after the session), then I came back into a Scientology family in 1955 that gave me the tools to consider myself SP. I eventually attested to Clear OT but denied solo auditing because I had not done the Bridge.”


Past is Prologue

1995: Dennis Erlich reported new acts of harassment this week. The JJ Gaw, cos investigator, visited his landlord, looking for dirt. Also, the company that holds the mortgage on Dennis’ house was hit for some documents, billed to the landlord. More random acts: “Two nights ago I noticed that the automatic lights in front of my house didn’t turn on when I approached. Checking the bulbs, I found them to have been screwed out 2 turns. “Three weeks ago someone came by and sanded the street # off the curb in front of the house. No other houses on the block got this treatment.”


Random Howdy

I almost got castrated by an emu when I was a teenager.”



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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Found guilty on two counts on May 31, remanded to custody.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Trial scheduled for August 15.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for June 26 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Forced to arbitration. Plaintiffs asking permission for interlocutory appeal.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’
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 June 28.
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 Scientology celebrity exodus from LA to Clearwater continues
[TWO years ago] Was David Miscavige behind Tom Mesereau’s biggest blunder at Danny Masterson’s prelim?
[THREE years ago] Year after taping ‘Scientology & the Aftermath,’ Victoria Locke is still waiting for justice
[FOUR years ago] Scientology survey for its members: Why aren’t you giving us more money?
[FIVE years ago] First person: Four Scientologists have been shot, and you’re being sent to audit the pain away
[SIX years ago] Donna Fiore says Scientology is hounding her for dirt on stepdaughter Leah Remini
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology’s next big opening — its totally unneeded ‘Advanced Org’ in Australia
[EIGHT years ago] If the Sea Org doesn’t legally exist, how does it run Scientology?
[NINE years ago] 60 years ago and today: Scientology in its heyday, and now not so much
[TEN years ago] Just What Oklahoma Tornado Victims Need: Scientology to the Rescue!


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 3,051 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,556 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,106 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,096 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,987 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,291 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,162 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,267 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,714 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,056 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,622 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,541 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,708 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,290 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,551 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,587 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,303 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,867 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,182 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,357 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,908 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,039 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,377 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,232 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,351 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,707 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,010 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,116 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,514 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,390 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,973 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,468 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,722 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,831 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 5, 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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