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Read Scientology spokesman Ben Shaw’s latest freakout over the Tampa Bay Times

[Shaw helpfully included this photo of David Miscavige with his letters]

Tampa Bay Times reporter Tracey McManus had another terrific piece yesterday about Scientology’s stranglehold on the downtown of Clearwater, Florida, a city the church surreptitiously invaded in 1975 and has said it wants to turn into the first “Scientology city.”

Scientology’s presence in the downtown has long been a major concern for city leaders trying to bring some life to the district, and now a major new step forward will be taken as a new amphitheater opens this weekend.

But as McManus explained in her thorough backgrounder on how the city reached this point, Scientology is still holding up the development of parcels of land in downtown that were purchased just since 2017.

We’ve helped explain that this is largely a result of church leader David Miscavige’s tantrum over his inability to get his hands on a tiny parcel of land near Scientology’s holiest spot, the Fort Harrison Hotel.

For her piece McManus reached out multiple times to spokesman Ben Shaw to get Scientology’s side of the story.


And Shaw did not disappoint.

We have obtained three letters that Shaw wrote to McManus and copied to the city (which is why they’re public and we got our hands on them). We think that, once again, you will enjoy Ben’s creative use of typefaces in order to express his outrage. And also, you just have to see Shaw burst a blood vessel over vice mayor Mark Bunker.

Shaw also sent along a number of photos of David Miscavige that he wanted the Tampa Bay Times to use, so we thought we’d throw him a bone and use one of them (see above).

We also really enjoyed Shaw’s screeching about the fact that Scientology TV is a network, not just a streaming service, and don’t you forget it!

(One of the things that really seemed to set off Shaw was that McManus had learned that Scientology has been claiming that it is restoring three buildings on Cleveland Street, but she found that only one of them has a permit for construction.)

Please let us know what part of Ben’s tantrum tickled you the most.

Here’s letter #1, from June 16…


Here’s letter #2, from June 18…

And here’s letter #3, from June 20…


Technology Cocktail

“We are not today in the area of thousands of hours. We are in the area of hundreds of hours in any case, sane or insane. I cite an example: a woman suffering from a postpartum psychosis was audited 600 hours on CCH 1, 2, 3, 4 before she turned sane long enough for the auditor to snap off the case the valence of her dying brother, at which moment she turned stably sane.” — 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

“It’s a long story. But in 1950, a fellow name of Palmer walked into the Explorers Club just as I was leaving the mail room, and Palmer says to me, ‘Hey, Ron, you want an expedition?’ And I said, ‘Well, sure.’ ‘Well, he says, ‘there’s a whole bunch of Greek and Roman statuary that was being brought from Athens to Rome, and the ship went aground on the north side of the Dodecanese.’ And he says, ‘Been there ever since. And they’ve just located it at about thirty fathoms of water’….And I’ve just been sort of working on this in my spare time and getting it together. Nothing very dramatic in the way of progress….And just today, why, their delay was explained. They had already put it before the Flag Committee and the board of directors and that sort of thing. So the expedition, as of that action, became an official scientific expedition: ocean archaeological survey with the purpose of discovering various periods of marine history in the past, as possibly represented on the floors of sunken harbors long since passed from the view of man where there are, of course, still ships. And I don’t guarantee that we won’t stop by on some of the stuff sunk during World War II and pick up a few tommy guns.” — L. Ron Hubbard, June 22, 1961



Avast, Ye Mateys

“FLAG RUMOURS: You should write all your friends to correct field impression of Flag with brutal ethics and cat-o-nine. I worked out what really happened. In Melilla in the Spring of ’68 we had a flood of raw, relatively untrained, unaudited people arrive. We also had five people who were very heavy handed and suppressive, since blown or dismissed (Berez was booted out of the SO for drug use and is in jail for drug running and possibly Taunton). The ship during the VIII Class was (a) poorly manned (b) had SPs aboard and (c) had very few trained Scientologists and (d) was under heavy enemy attack (the Greek affair with bird dogs aboard). (The UK ban.) What happened was, we trained and processed up the crew, we opened the gate on the SPs and dumped them, we made quite a few auditors and beat the enemy attack with excellent PRO Area Control and the ‘dead agent’ caper, meaning getting documentary proof that what was said of us was lies and getting the agents booted out of the country.” — The Commodore, June 22, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Lao Tsu, The Buddha, Jesus, Moses, Ron, all had their flaws, all had their writings altered, all had some of it used for evil purposes, and all were bashed at some time. But they all had many things of value. You can spend an entire lifetime pointing out errors in all of them. But that is just plain stupid. It gets you and me nowhere. Most people who bash real Scientology over and over daily are really very lazy, not going to the trouble to find out what is true. A few have been harmed by pseudo Scientologists and now can’t tell the difference. Some have been fed false data or nothing but the bad actual data and their opinion is cemented. A few are just dumb asses who can’t tell the difference in steak and shit on a shingle. There is a lot of truth out there. Don’t dwell on the errors. Find some truths that work for you and others and put out some G** Damn effort in using it. Get your face out of the computer, get your hand off your privates, get out of the closet, get out there and DO something. It’s not really that hard.”


Past is Prologue

1998: U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee from Texas and Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana read proclamations praising schools involved in Scientology’s Set a Good Example program. “Mr. Speaker, I Congresswoman Jackson-Lee, submit the following document concerning the Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. Whereas, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School has been selected one of three national first place award winners in the 12th Annual ‘Set a Good Example Contest” sponsored by the Concerned Businessmen’s Association of America. Thomas Jefferson Elementary School has found effective ways and means to combat these increasing problems and are spreading the message, through the use of the book, ‘The Way to Happiness, a Common Sense Moral Guide,’ written by noted author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard, to those who have ears to hear. I will never turn from the example set forth by the remarkable work done by Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. Mr. LUGAR: Mr. President, I rise before you today to commend the first place award winners of the American Set a Good Example Competition. In this, the 12th year of the contest sponsored by the Concerned Businessmen’s Association of America, Arsenal Technical High School of Indianapolis, Indiana, has been recognized as one of these very special schools. For their project, Arsenal Technical students selected the precept of ‘Do Not Murder’ taken from ‘The Way to Happiness’ by L. Ron Hubbard. First, the students discussed murders which have affected them, their families and communities. Next, students put themselves in the position of Mayor and formulated ways in which they would solve the problem of violence. Each student wrote essays about their plans.”


Random Howdy


“The putrefaction shakedown is a more accurate name for it.”


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 fundraising is soaring to new heights! Scientology says so!
[TWO years ago] Scientology miracles from its 1980s heyday: How do they compare to today?
[THREE years ago] Scientology donor’s financial firm hit with new charges of securities violations
[FOUR years ago] How Scientology is likely going to come back at the explosive new lawsuits
[FIVE years ago] Why we think nutty Las Vegas councilwoman Michele Fiore might be a Scientologist
[SEVEN years ago] CLEARWATER DONE DEAL — Couple seeks big crowd for Scientology ‘disconnection’ billboard
[EIGHT years ago] LIVE-BLOGGING: The Toronto conference on Scientology kicks off and we’re on the scene
[NINE years ago] Sunday Funnies: The desperation in Scientology fliers is getting worse. Much worse.
[TEN years ago] Meet the Man Behind WWP, the Web Home of Anonymous and Project Chanology
[ELEVEN years ago] How Hooters — Yes, Hooters — Could Mess Up Scientology’s Refund Scam


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 3,068 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,579 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,129 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,119 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,004 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,308 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,179 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,284 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,731 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,073 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,639 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,558 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,725 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,307 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,568 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,604 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,320 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,884 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,199 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,374 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,925 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,056 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,394 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,249 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,368 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,724 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,027 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,133 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,531 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,407 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,990 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,485 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,739 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,848 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 22, 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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