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A 2017 flight suggests that Scientology leader is still canoodling with his ‘communicator’

[Dave, Lou, and a private jet cabin]

It’s one of the most important and telling details from Leah Remini’s bestselling memoir, Troublemaker, a moment that helped begin her journey out of Scientology.

At the November 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in a castle in Italy, Leah was surprised to see that Tom’s best man, Scientology leader David Miscavige, was there at the wedding without his wife, Shelly. And adding to the mystery, she said, was that Dave was playing grab-ass with his “personal communicator,” a woman named Laurisse ‘Lou’ Henley-Smith.

What Leah didn’t know at that moment was that more than a year earlier, Shelly Miscavige had vanished from Scientology’s international management base, also known as Int or Gold Base in San Jacinto, California, where she and Dave had lived. We believe that Scientology has confined Shelly to a small mountain compound near Lake Arrowhead in the 18 years since. And Leah continues to bring Shelly’s disappearance to the public, demanding that law enforcement look into her fate.

But what Leah saw that day in Italy not only began her quest to find Shelly, it also provided some of the best evidence that Dave had replaced Shelly with his communicator, that Henley-Smith was more than just a very close employee.

That impression was also bolstered a couple of years later, in 2008, when the four of them — Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, David Miscavige, and Laurisse — were photographed at the Laguna Seca racetrack in California taking in a motorcycle event.


We have been asked in the many years since Leah’s sighting in Italy and those photos at the racetrack, are Dave and Lou still, today, more than employer and employee?

Several months ago, we began talking to a very interesting new defector from Scientology, Mitch Brisker, the man who directed Scientology’s films for many years and who today is making a splash with his appearances on various YouTube channels.

Brisker is a wealth of information about the inner workings of Scientology, and he only departed in 2020, so his information is unusually fresh.

He was the source of the fascinating story that in 2008, he had run into Shelly Miscavige, who was down from her mountain prison at the Starbucks in Redlands with her “handlers.”

But more recently, he had also personally witnessed something else that is pertinent to Shelly Miscavige’s disappearance.

In 2017, he says, he was on an overnight flight in a private plane with David Miscavige and Laurisse, who stayed in a private cabin by themselves over the entire night.

So, some 12 years after Shelly’s disappearance, 11 years after the wedding in Italy, and 9 years after the Laguna Seca race, Dave and Lou were still on intimate terms, he says.

And part of the reason he’s willing now to discuss it, Mitch says, is that what he saw Dave do was a violation of “2D” rules that Miscavige uses ruthlessly to destroy the lives of his employees.

The hypocrisy bugs him, Mitch says.

In October 2017, Mitch was in Los Angeles working on a special project involving marketing for Narconon, and he was writing material eight hours a day at the ASI building on Hollywood Blvd.

He would meet with Miscavige daily about the project, but Miscavige was also preparing for that year’s International Association of Scientologists (IAS) gala in East Grinstead, England, which took place each October and celebrated Scientology’s biggest donors.

Mitch says that one day, while they were working, Miscavige simply asked him, “why don’t you fly over to the event with us?”

Mitch knew he didn’t really have a choice in the matter. He says there were a few of them on the flight, and they met in the ASI parking lot at the prescribed time and were shuttled over to the private plane terminal at LAX, then taken to the aircraft.

“You get on the plane, and they immediately serve you some five-star food. They pick it up from the most insanely expensive restaurant,” he says with a laugh. “You hang out on the plane. It’s like a party.”


One of the passengers along for the ride with them was Diana Hubbard, daughter of founder L. Ron Hubbard, and the only family member still remaining in the organization.

Mitch knew her well. When he had first been taken out to Int Base to begin working as Scientology’s director, she had temporarily been made his immediate boss. And he says she was a lot of fun to be around.

“She’s a really pleasant person. I don’t know what he fuck she’s still doing there,” he says.

We told Mitch that over the years, we’ve seen Miscavige take Diana out of Int Base to events like the one in England, and she seems to serve as an icon.

“She’s a little bit of a symbolic character,” he said, in agreement. “She’s a delightful person to be around.”

Mitch remembers that the other passengers, besides Miscavige and Laurisse, were Karin Alpers, a director of the IASA, the administrative organization that runs the IAS, and a steward, a young Latina who worked for Miscavige.

But he also distinctly remembers the private jet’s two flight attendants.

“They were like supermodels who had black belts. They could have been bodyguards. They were lethally beautiful,” he says.

Flying the plane was pilot and Scientologist Randy Hepner, who has flown for Tom Cruise. And that’s why Mitch thinks they might have been using Cruise’s plane.

“Or, Miscavige could have chartered another jet and hired Randy to fly it,” he admits.

Whether it was Tom’s Gulfstream or another plane, Mitch says there was no question that it consisted of a main cabin, where he and Diana Hubbard and Karin Alpers sat, and then, in the rear, a private, master suite.

The flight left LAX in the afternoon and, jetting east, soon went into darkness for the overnight haul to Gatwick airport in England. And throughout the flight, he says, Miscavige and Laurisse stayed in the private suite.

To Mitch, the impression was inescapable: Miscavige and Henley-Smith were a couple.

Even if they weren’t sleeping together on the flight, which they certainly appeared to be doing, Mitch says it was “a massive violation of the 2-D rules of the Sea Org. Dave has destroyed lives over lesser violations. Just going in there and locking the door is a violation of the rules.”


“2D” refers to the “second dynamic,” Scientology jargon for sexual relationships. Mitch is suggesting that Miscavige, spending the night in a locked cabin with a woman not his wife, was a more severe violation of the Sea Org’s rules than other violations he had ruined careers over.

Mitch says that whenever he had seen the two of them, he had been struck by two thoughts: “It would shock me how short he was,” was the first thought, he said. (Miscavige’s former tailor, Claudio Lugli, told us years ago that Miscavige is “max” five-feet-one.)

Mitch said the second thought was always, is she sleeping with him? Now, he seemed to have his answer.

“They never came out of that room the whole flight,” he says.

“There are no rules for Dave. This was one of the best examples of it. Spending the night with her? He would send someone else to the RPF for that,” he adds.

Mitch left Scientology a couple of years later, but we asked him, based on what he’d seen, if he thinks David Miscavige and Laurisse are a couple today, and he said he did.

Like we said, Mitch’s information is fresher than most, and we’re looking forward to reading the book he’s finishing up about his experiences, Scientology: The Big Lie, How I Made An Evil Cult Look Good, and he also has a YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, in the latest photos of David Miscavige published in Scientology’s magazines and websites, the church leader is still wearing his wedding ring.

His wife Shelly has not been seen in public in more than 16 years now.


Technology Cocktail

“Today nothing can destroy us or our works. I have no fear for our future and I know what we can do. Available to your hands is the technology necessary to handle rumor mongers, unethical persons and enturbulators.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1960




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

“One court in Virginia, they proved conclusively that Scientology was a healing science, because it cured things, and actually brought people into court to show that they had been cured of something by Scientology, which proved it was a healing cience, and gave some, and I don’t even think though they had the nerve to call the auditor in and sentence him. I think he remains unsentenced to this day. It was just too much nonsense, you see. In other words, they can go clear around the line. That proves we’re a healing subject, you see. Wild business. Look the length and breadth of the land, I don’t think they could have found anybody who’d been healed by anything on medicine. But they were proving our cases for us.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 29, 1963


Avast, Ye Mateys

“The Club Dinner aboard was a great success and the Port Captain’s org officer is filing commendables in the folders of all who contributed. We apparently were a CIA shp that really smuggles cats to hang crowbars on banana trees. But this is all scotched. The guests were very pleased. (I’m going to send bills for advertising to both CIA and the Mafia.) This Club didn’t know they had other clubs in nearby ports. And by the way a recent mission reports the last country we were in all cool. The Rep there reported a flap, failed to report the flap was vanished.” — The Commodore, August 29, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“You are running a black Public Relations campaign against probably the most productive Freezone organization in the field. More productive probably than even Flag Land Base. And all this on grounds of a bunch of suppositions and speculations in a publication that has all the marks of being created by OSA. You are the one that needs to be investigated here. That’s according to the original ‘Introduction to Scientology Ethics’ book. I will have to write a knowledge report on your false assertion that I am part of a global effort to suppress Scientology the subject as part of a black propaganda campaign against Bill Robertson and his Freezone tech.”


Past is Prologue

1996: The Associated Press carried a story concerning U.S. presidential candidate Bob Dole and his staff’s desire not to have him associated with Scientology. “As the vacationing Dole made his way down Santa Barbara’s main drag, heading for dinner Monday at Joe’s Cafe, he and a crush of autograph seekers drew near a building prominently labeled ‘Dianetics — Church of Scientology Center.’ Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a top policy adviser to the Dole campaign, eyed the surrounding horde of news photographers and tugged at press secretary Nelson Warfield, pointing out the Scientology center. Its storefront sign would likely land in the photographers’ frames if Dole headed in a straight line down the sidewalk. ‘You don’t want him in front of there. Cross him over there, then cross him back,’ Rumsfeld instructed while gesturing across the street.”



Random Howdy

“After the horrorshow called Jonestown and the government-led debacle at Waco, no one has to wonder at the government’s reluctance to revisit Cultland. The only reason they got involved with FLDS was because of the rampant pedophilia. And even with that righteous justification, the Feds got all kinds of shit from the religious right wing in this country.”


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:
Leah Remini v. Scientology, alleging ‘Fair Game’ harassment and defamation: Complaint filed August 2, hearing on proof of service on Oct 3.
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 Nov 6.
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] October showdowns: After years of delays, Scientology-related trials are looming
[TWO years ago] Tom Cruise’s Scientology superpowers, No. 4: Destroying a planet with the touch of a finger
[THREE years ago] The Top 25 People Enabling Scientology, No. 18: Mark ‘Marty’ Rathbun
[FOUR years ago] Another legal fight brewing over Scientology’s refusal to return future payments
[FIVE years ago] Some countries force Scientology to open the books: Here’s one report on how bad business is
[SIX years ago] LIVE FROM SAN ANTONIO: Will a former Scientology enforcer be compelled to testify?
[SEVEN years ago] A Scientologist on the ballot: OC candidate keeping mum about his anti-psych work
[EIGHT years ago] Louisiana congressman posts Narconon pic, then yanks it after we point out Scientology link
[NINE years ago] Scientology yesterday and today: Reports from Mark Bunker and Dennis Erlich
[TEN years ago] What the Daily News Left Out of its Story on Scientology in Harlem
[ELEVEN years ago] Court Testimony: Narconon Intentionally Deceived a Florida Drug Court About Its Licensing
[TWELVE years ago] The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, No. 15: Andreas Heldal-Lund


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 3,136 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,651 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,201 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,191 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,072 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,376 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,247 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,352 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,799 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,141 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,707 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,626 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,793 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,375 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,636 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,672 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,388 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,952 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,267 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,442 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,993 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,124 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,462 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,317 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,436 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,792 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,095 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,201 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,599 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,475 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,040 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,553 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,807 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,916 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 29, 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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