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Indie Scientologist running for Seattle city council on lingering anti-mask outrage

We’re always interested when Scientologists run for public office, which isn’t very often. In 2020, we wrote about a former Sea Org member running for city council in the Oregon town of McMinnville (she lost). There was a married couple who each ran for office in Nevada (one of them, Brent Jones, did serve as a state legislator but failed in his bid to move up to lieutenant governor). And also in Nevada, we’ve had some questions about a perennial candidate there.

Now, we’ve learned about something a little different. Victoria Palmer, an independent Scientologist — someone who practices the ideas of founder L. Ron Hubbard but outside the confines of the official Church of Scientology itself — is running in Seattle’s November city council election.

And it’s the way we learned about Palmer’s candidacy that is maybe the most interesting thing about it.

Noted indie figure Rey Robles has announced a return of his “Theta Alliance,” which has an annual convention in Reno but hasn’t met since the pandemic hit.

In his flier, Robles noted that the Scientology “Free Zone” has been fractured in recent years, and it was time “to bring together all in the independent field practicing the works of Scientology and Dianetics including all developments.” The convention (with a $250 entry) will be taking place over three days, August 11-13 in Reno, and three speakers are featured on the flier.


The first is Robles himself, who is a very colorful figure. He said he had “sorcerer powers” on CNN’s 2017 Believer episode about the independents, and we also noted that at one time he was offering followers the secret of living to age 150 for only $100.

The second speaker featured is Trey Lotz, a longtime stalwart in the independent field whose endorsement helped LRH 2.0 gain some traction with indies.

And the third speaker listed is Palmer.


Here’s how Robles describes her…

Lifelong Scientologist, Class IV, OT 3

Leading the Way to Freedom

This presentation will rekindle your purpose for freedom. Victoria will share the story of how her persistence ended the oppressive mandates in her state, bringing freedom to the environment. She is now a candidate for Seattle City Council.

That sent us looking up Palmer’s campaign website. We didn’t see any mention of Scientology on it. Her “about” page was mostly about her anti-mandate advocacy:

The COVID pandemic response by government authorities in Washington state was excessive and created huge injustices and casualties. Lockdowns, face coverings and mandatory vaccination caused incalculable damage to the physical, mental, and financial well-being of Washingtonians. I became an outspoken advocate for those damaged by this government overreach. I started with a campaign of signs on the streets and freeways around Seattle and built up to over 20 organized marches in the Seattle area – including a march of almost 1000 people through downtown Seattle in January 2022….

Our efforts were effective in ending vaccine mandates in many private businesses. I helped others facing unfair mandates successfully keep their job or stay in college. Our outcry helped bring the early ending of the statewide public and employee mask mandates in 2022…

We were curious, though, whether Palmer attributed any of her success fighting state mandates to her background in Scientology. We asked her about that in an email, and we’ll let you know if she gets back to us.


Palmer, who says she’s new to politics and isn’t affiliated with any political party, is one of five announced challengers to District 6 incumbent Democrat Dan Strauss, who is seeking a second term. So far, he’s garnered about a dozen endorsements from state legislators and other local officials.

We’re not sure if Palmer has a strong chance to unseat Strauss, but those OT abilities have to give her an edge, no?


Technology Cocktail

“We’ve got 2,500,000,000 preclears. We can somehow control ourselves long enough to make a few auditors. They are made by direct, blunt instruction, the tougher the better. They are unmade by a lot of super saccharine sympathy about their poor, hopeless little cases.” — 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

“We used to be tolerant about [the University of] Chicago. Most of us wanted to go there because you only had to go a couple of years before they handed you a sheepskin and we were bored. But this outfit uttered this asinine statement: ‘We have tested all the techniques of Dianetics and found out it didn’t work.’ Well, in the first place it’s asinine because all the techniques of Dianetics didn’t exist in published form and were not available to them to test, see? So right away, that was nonsense. For instance, I know of techniques that were released at the first foundation in Elizabeth which have never seen the light of day; I have never seen them published or anything else. Matter of fact, I saw three or four splinter groups suddenly start up on stuff that was merely designed to take care of one PC or something like that, and then they decided that this would apply to all PCs and so forth. There are several brands of therapy which are adrift today which simply consist of one technique developed for one PC at Elizabeth. So for any outfit to grandly look down its nose and say, ‘We have tested all the techniques of Dianetics,’ you know? Well, what a statement, see? They haven’t got them to test. How would they even know if they had tested all the techniques? Right away they are irresponsible. And then to say they didn’t work would also be asinine because if they had tested even sloppily, they would have gotten some result someplace, unless they were simply uttering a publicity statement to protect the vested interest.” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 18, 1964


Avast, Ye Mateys

“NEW RUNDOWN: The original Rundown of last November variously called and numbered, is now to be exported to eligible orgs as the New-Life Rundown, to be given in their Dept 10s It is a high-priced successful package. It requires Class IX to Supervise it. It must not be confused with a Life Repair. It literally gives one a new life. It does not supplant any grade or OT level. It has been smoothed out and is highly successful. The Rundowns Flag has been doing lately are above it. It will handle any special case. It’s a doll. Our Dept 10 is grooving in on it.” — The Commodore, June 18, 1971



Overheard in the FreeZone

“The difference between Free Zone Scientologist and (American) Independent Scientologists: Free Zone Scientologists practice Scientology outside the Church since the early 80s as led by Captain Bill Robertson. American Indies left the church mainly 10 years ago (around 2009) and were indoctrinated into believing that Free Zone Scientologists are squirrels.”


Past is Prologue

2001: LA Weekly published an article on Keith Henson, a refugee in Canada after being convicted in California of interfering with the Scientology religion. “Henson, a Palo Alto computer consultant, was in custody at the ‘super-maximum-security’ Metro West Detention Centre on a Canadian immigration warrant. The warrant was based on Henson’s April 26 criminal conviction in Hemet, California. Henson was found guilty of a single misdemeanor count of interfering with a religion. To those familiar with a ferocious five-year war between the church and its Internet critics, it comes as no surprise that the religion was Scientology. Earlier this month, Henson was freed, pending a hearing on his application for political asylum in Canada. Henson, who says he did no more than post nasty Usenet messages and picket Scientology locations, claims the church set him up. The case is likely to raise questions of how far a religion can go to protect itself from dissidents, and of free speech on the Net. Skeptics have long congregated on alt.religion.scientology (ARS), a lively but not exactly headline-grabbing Usenet group. In 1995, Scientology tried to shut the site down. The retrospectively ill-advised attempt was followed by denial-of-service and ‘sporging’ (forgery and spoofing) attacks, which raised the hackles of the hardcore Net community. A new generation of anti-Scientology activists was born. Alt.religion.scientology now is one of the most popular Usenet groups. ‘Scientology’s action had the psychological effect you would have seen of a gang of thugs riding into a Midwestern town and burning down the newspapers,’ Henson said.”


Random Howdy

“So Kim shoots the ex-girlfriend and her entire performing ensemble and makes the families watch, and then sends them to labor camps. I bet C.O.B. pleasures himself fantasizing he had that kind of power.”


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] Scientology: Put Bixler case on hold while we hit up the US Supreme Court about ‘arbitration’
[TWO years ago] Goodbye to a Scientology watcher we will dearly miss: Molly Kell, 1960-2021
[THREE years ago] How will Scientology react to Danny Masterson being charged with rape?
[FOUR years ago] Wise Beard Man on the ballot in Scientology’s mecca? Mark Bunker on why he’s running
[FIVE years ago] Another sign Nation of Islam members are moving from Dianetics to full Scientology
[SIX years ago] Scientology caught red-handed breaking government restrictions — and without penalty
[SEVEN years ago] When you postulate upon a star: L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology’s funny made-up words
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology’s slush fund: Jeffrey Augustine takes apart the fictions of the IAS
[NINE years ago] Scientology fires legal salvoes at the Garcias, and Vance Woodward fires back
[TEN years ago] What Scientologists at War Left Out: Some Annotations on Channel 4’s Documentary


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 3,064 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,569 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,119 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,109 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,000 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,304 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,175 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,280 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,727 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,069 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,635 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,554 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,721 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,303 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,564 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,600 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,316 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,880 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,195 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,370 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,921 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,052 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,390 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,245 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,364 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,720 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,023 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,129 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,527 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,403 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,986 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,481 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,735 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,844 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 18, 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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