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Some personal news from Tony Ortega, the Underground Bunker’s proprietor

Hey, gang. I have some personal news that I wanted to share with you.

In October 2021, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, we had caught it very early, and so my doctors put me on a regimen of active surveillance, with regular visits to monitor the situation.

Then, this past March, a biopsy confirmed that the situation had advanced so that surveillance was no longer enough and we’d have to make some decisions about treatment.

But recovering from a biopsy takes time, and so I had one question for my doctor: Can I go cover a trial in Los Angeles in the meantime?


He gave me the green light, and so in April and May I got the chance to cover the second trial of Danny Masterson like I had the first, bringing you rapid reports from the courtroom multiple times a day, which was a tense but thrilling experience. The massive amount of feedback I received from you, the readers of the Bunker, really made the crazy work of trying to type up what was said in the courtroom all worth it.

And on May 31 I had the surreal experience of seeing the verdicts read, and watching Masterson handcuffed and led away to custody. And again, I want to thank you for the feedback I received. It was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my reporting career. And I’m grateful that I was able to report from the scene, even though I knew that I had some medical issues to deal with when I got home.

Later this month, I will be going in for surgery, and my doctors are very encouraging about my future chances of living cancer-free. And although there will be some interruptions here at the Bunker, they tell me I should be back at work on a normal schedule fairly quickly.

However, there will be a period when I will not be able to travel. And as a result, I will not be able to go to Los Angeles for Masterson’s September 7 sentencing.

This is a great disappointment for me, but I am sure that the Bunker will still be able to provide coverage of that day with the help of our correspondents.

I knew that if I didn’t go to the sentencing there would be questions, and I wanted you to hear this news directly from me.

Thank you again for the great support you have given to this enterprise for the past 12 years, and I am hoping to keep it up for a long time yet.

In fact, I’m already banking on my recovery: Jim Underdown, my old friend at Center for Inquiry West, has booked me for a speaking engagement in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 19.

I am looking forward to it, and I’m hoping some of you will come out to share a few laughs at David Miscavige’s expense.

— Tony Ortega


Technology Cocktail

“We’re moving right up to the Big Win and we should be able to handle it without going half round the bend patching up the flubs made by the victim impulse that comes on when we’re restimmed or exhausted. Let’s win all the way this time and keep it won.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1959




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 [43] Tory Christman [44] Kate Bornstein [45] Christian Stolte [46] Mark Bunker [47] Jon Atack [48] Luke Y. Thompson [49] Mark Ebner



Source Code

“I was auditing a preclear one day that had a history of lesbianism and I learned this lesson but good. She was very sensitive about it and wanted to get over it. I knew this. I knew that this was a broken-up case. I mean the person was in bad shape. She was very spinny….You’ve got this individual sitting there as I had this lesbian and at the end of twenty-five minutes I suddenly realized that I was being ‘awfully nice.’ And I was getting nowhere….So I just broke out my Scientological scalpel and I said, ‘Women are nice, aren’t they? Particularly in bed.’ Dahhhhhhwwwwww! Wild needle slams and so forth. First lock of the Rock that came off of that case was being in charge, way, way back on the track, as the high priestess of the Vestal Virgins who weren’t virgin anymore, for which she was quietly and lengthily cooked over a slow fire, and which was making her avoid being a housewife because housewives have to cook. One of the innumerable computations that came off of this case.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 1, 1958


Avast, Ye Mateys

“The VIII sessions being done by Belkacem Ferradj, Connie Broadbent and Quentin Hubbard are well above the Org VIII Course standard for consistency and fast case change. As soon as a couple more auditors qualify for full time Dianetic Qual assignment, Joan Robertson can join the full time Course to get her VIII. We do not have enough VIIIs coming up for the ship and the AOSH group so somebody better find the throttle on his study and begin to fill this gap. I’m told in the field an VIII is looked on like God.” — The Commodore, August 1, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I am pro-David Miscavige, the leader of the Church of Scientology. I used to be anti-him, but since he has called in Scientologists and secretly briefed them on the Covid scam, I now believe he is a good person but just sometimes loses control of his anger problem. I think he’s a good person who means well, and I’m so proud that he is anti-Covid. He’s not a scumbag communist member of the new world order. He’s anti-communism, and good on him. And maybe the bad things he’s done is because he had so much pressure from the world socialists to corrupt and shut down Scientology, which they hate. I hope the church can survive during these tough times. Scientology opens minds, not closes them, like the effing socialist world government and its education and media system does. This is why Scientology has been attacked for many years. Go, David. I’m with you.”


Past is Prologue

1996: Paulette Cooper reported this week on the death of Bob Kaufman, author of Inside Scientology, at age 63. “Bob was the first person courageous enough to reveal the upper level materials. For this, he was terribly harassed and his dreams of a concert piano career shattered. When he gave a recital at Carnegie Hall more than 20 years ago, the Scientologists found out in advance and called the ticket taker and told them to tell people he was ill and the concert was canceled. Almost everyone was turned away, and as Bob looked out at an almost empty audience, and realized what must have happened, he lost it and his fury crept into his music. Later, the Times review would complain that he played as if he was angry. He was also an extraordinary friend to many anti-Scientologists, including myself, Monica, Nan McClean, John Atack, Roy Wallis (when he was alive), Margie Wakefield, and others. I would download whatever humor I could find from a.r.s. and the web pages, and I would sing often these songs to him, or read him the funny anti-Scientology posts that you all wrote. And that’s how several of you really cheered him terrifically during his many surgical procedures, hospitalizations, setbacks, and chemo. So thank you all for him. He really loved it.”



Random Howdy

“Go to the Icke message board and search ‘Scientology.’ They think the Church of Scientology is either part of the NWO/Illuminati/Reptilian conspiracy or that the Scientologists are crazy. Ha!”


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. Sentencing on Sep 7.
‘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.
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Forced to arbitration. Plaintiffs allowed interlocutory appeal to Eleventh Circuit.
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 sentencing of Masterson on Sep 7.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Next hearing August 1.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Ordered to mediation.



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] He inscribed the night sky like no one else — and now he gets his due at Lowell Observatory
[TWO years ago] If this video doesn’t convince you Scientology is the world’s coolest religion, nothing will
[THREE years ago] Two years after filing their appeal, why there’s hope for the Garcias against Scientology
[FOUR years ago] Scientologists in Texas neighborhood battle turn out to include Lori Hodgson’s daughter
[FIVE years ago] Scientology TV is the best thing to happen to television — says Scientology
[SIX years ago] Clearwater Baptist pastor reflects on his message about Scientology, stands by it
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology opened a new ‘Ideal Org’ in Harlem, and we weren’t made to feel very welcome
[EIGHT years ago] When Jesse Prince sec-checked David Miscavige: A Scientology interrogation for the ages
[NINE years ago] Kirstie Alley ‘disconnects’ from not one but two men over their friendship with Leah Remini
[TEN years ago] Leah Remini Retaliation? Suddenly, Scientology “Fair Gaming” Of Critics Is Way Up
[ELEVEN years ago] Watch Mimi Faust Talk about Losing Her Mother to Scientology
[TWELVE years ago] Benjamin Ring, LA Sheriff’s Deputy, Under Official Inquiry for Endorsing Expensive Scientology Services


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 3,108 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,623 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,173 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,163 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,044 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,348 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,219 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,324 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,771 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,113 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,679 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,598 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,765 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,347 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,608 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,644 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,360 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,924 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,239 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,414 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,965 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,096 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,434 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,289 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,408 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,764 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,067 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,173 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,571 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,447 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,030 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,525 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,779 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,888 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 1, 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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