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Bruce Hines: Scientology, its spies, the World Cup, and an irrepressible friend

[Mick Wenlock loved to root for the Englanders]

I just learned about Mick Wenlock’s passing. It’s sad. I’ve read a few tributes to him and decided to add my own.

I have been fortunate that he lived near me for the past 20 years. We spent many fun and enlightening times together during this time. He lived out on the plains east of Denver. I could drive to his place from my house in less than an hour. He and his wife, Nancy, had a smallish ranch, complete with dogs, cats, and horses. Their son, Sean, was often a pleasant presence. I remember sitting outside on a deck watching a spectacular nighttime sky, away from Denver’s light pollution. I was amazed to see how quickly a satellite traversed the firmament.

Our paths while in the Sea Org did not cross much. Once Nancy and I were together in Basel, Switzerland, in an attempt to get a wealthy lady there to make good on a check she had cancelled, a large sum of money that the “church” wanted back. After I left the cult, my first contact with them was via the XSO Yahoo group that Mick had set up and moderated. My participation in those chats played a significant role in getting my head straight after years of indoctrination.

Some of the people from that group got together a few times to enjoy some drinks and good food, and share war stories. Mick and Nancy were part of that. For me, those experiences were extremely therapeutic. One of the things I learned was that we all underwent similar hardships and abuse. An aspect of our mindset while still in was that anything bad that we went through was an isolated circumstance, not general in the world of Scientology, and brought on by our own shortcomings and sins. Oddly, knowing that it wasn’t just my own ordeals, but common to many, brought considerable relief. We could describe something in a few sentences using the cult lingo that the others then fully grasped. One could try to explain that same thing to an outsider for an hour and it still would not be understood. This is why, as explained by one of the participants, a therapist who had not been in Scientology might have a difficult time providing effective counselling to a former cult member.

Mick worked in Denver, so I would go and have lunch with him on occasion. He made that commute from his ranch five days a week. He was the IT guy for one of the major hospitals in Denver.


Out of many fun times, one for me was particularly amusing. It was in 2006 during the World Cup. Mick was a big soccer fan, though of course he called it football like the rest of the world outside the U.S. He had even for a while been the color commentator for some radio broadcasts of soccer games. One day we met at an English-style pub in Denver. England was playing and the place was packed to watch the match on tv. Mick and I stood at the bar, drinking a few too many beers and cheering the English side on. The atmosphere was great.

During all this something very strange happened. Mick was to my left and we were focused on the game. Suddenly, I felt someone to my right touching my lower leg with their foot. It was actually more of a light kick. I think the person had been trying to get my attention with lighter touches, but my involvement in the game made me oblivious. I turned to see a short, young woman looking at me. She was maybe five feet tall and in her early 20s. She was determined to get into a conversation.

While I can’t say for sure, I think there is a good chance that she was an operative for Scientology. She could have been a private investigator or worked for one. There are too many odd things about that encounter. It appeared that she was trying to get picked up. If so, there were many, many young guys in that bar. Why would she single out some older man over twice her age? Everyone was there to watch the World Cup, not meet new people of the opposite sex. Even so, she started to talking to me and acting kind of coy, yet interested.

I was too polite and let her go on for a while. For some reason she pulled out a photo of her “boyfriend” to show me. I know from another source that people in the Office of Special Affairs (OSA) at that time were making plans against me. By then I had appeared on national tv and been quoted in widely read newspapers, speaking against Scientology. In the XSO Yahoo group Mick and I had mentioned that we would be going to watch that match. We now know definitely that OSA had shills on that forum, so they would have been aware of where Mick and I would be.

I can only imagine that she was trying to strike up a friendship with me. Then she would want to remain in touch, hopefully gain my confidence, and maybe learn about anti-Scientology activities. Better yet, she might find out discreditable things about me. And, if I were to make some inappropriate advances towards her, that could be documented and used to ‘dead agent’ me. I do know that OSA would get plants to become a ‘friend’ of some critic in order to gain information.

I don’t think I am being too paranoid. Mick thought she was probably just some flirtatious girl in a bar. But to me, it was way too coincidental that this young lady would approach me out of all those younger, more attractive guys in that pub. I was suspicious at the time and became even more suspicious as I thought about it afterwards. Later, Mick humorously referred to her as “your diminutive friend.” After several minutes of listening to her, I told her I had to leave, said goodbye to Mick, and walked out. After all, she was distracting me from the match.

Then in the 2010 World Cup, Mick and I watched at his home as the U.S. and England played to a draw in their first match. It was a disappointing performance by England. Then a couple of years later we all went to a Colorado Rockies baseball game. And there were other get-togethers with former Scientologists and more pleasant times out at their ranch. I have fond memories of all those experiences.

Mick’s sense of humor was dry and hilarious. He told funny stories about his rough and tumble life in England before getting involved in Scientology, mimicking some English dialects. One time he was getting security checked while in the Sea Org and the subject of his earlier barroom fights came up. He was telling about his various escapades getting into scuffles in one situation or another. At one point the sec checker said, “Mick, you are supposed to be confessing, not bragging!” They had a cat who had lost an eye, named ‘Rooster’ by Mick for Rooster Cogburn.

Mick had definite opinions, which he was not shy about stating. But if another person had differing opinions, it did not affect his relationship with them. He and I often did not agree about political matters. He enjoyed getting into debates about such things, laying out his points of view articulately. One time after I responded to him, he said only, “Good answer!” Another time I was at their place for some occasion when several of his neighbors were there. One lady in particular was very religious, which Mick was not. During conversation the subject of religion came up. After a while the lady said, “Mick, have you ever read the bible?” He replied, “Yes, I have. Twice in fact.” And he had; he avidly read all kinds of things. Even though they had divergent views on some things, Mick’s friendship towards the woman was not diminished.

He had a warmth that was appealing and engaging.

He was a caring husband, father, and friend.

I’ll miss him.

— Bruce Hines



Technology Cocktail/

“Today we assume that every successful process we ever had is and was a valid process. We are at a point of summation and valuation as we are achieving excellent and steady progress even on the most unlikely cases. I consider that the period of basic mental research has ended and the period of adjustment of skills, on which I will for some time be engaged, has been entered upon.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1963



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 [50] Bruce Hines [51] Spanky Taylor and Karen Pressley [51] Geoff and Robbie Levin [52] Sands Hall [53] Jonny Jacobsen [54] Sandy Holeman


Source Code

“I handled a preclear not too long ago who was in the valence of a horse. He had been in the valence of a horse for a long time. He had gotten so mad at a horse that he had wished everything off on this horse imaginable and then the horse won. And the preclear went into the horse’s valence. Fact. You have probably processed people in the valences of dogs and so forth. As a matter of fact, if I were raising a little child, I would certainly hang all the pets out the window and let them run away rather than have them around a child, because the pet is liable to give the child trouble.” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 19, 1951


Avast, Ye Mateys

“WORD TO WISE: When you are told it was by my orders you were moved, shot, demoted, denied a place in line at the canteen, forced to eat spinach with sand in it, ask to see it in writing. If it isn’t written it isn’t true.” — The Commodore, November 19, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Who is the person who invented the AI interface, where and when and for what purpose? Who, if anyone is behind them? Outside this planet, solar system, galaxy, universe etc… Who is both accountable and responsible. When one finally clears it down to ME, one arrives at a PRACTICAL UNDERSTANDING which may then be tested out and applied out through the relationships and dynamics.”



Past is Prologue

2001: Tory Christman reported on a protest in Los Angeles. “I had two friends visiting from Canada who are critics, we decided to give ‘old Blue’ a picket. The three of us parked on the street behind the Complex, and walked around to L Ron Hubbard Way with our picket signs. My sign says, ‘Scientology: Stop Hurting Families,’ and they other mentions families too, and they have on the back. As we walked along, immediately the security guards began slowly riding near us, and others walking on the street. On this day there were about 5-6 kids skateboarding and walking around the complex. As we walked one young kid yelled from across the street, ‘GET OFF OUR STREET!’ To which I said, ‘You don’t own this street’. We quietly continued walking up one side to the Sunset end of the Complex. As we did, the kids followed us, as did the security guards. As we walked, one little girl (maybe 12 we figured) came up to us and said, ‘We aren’t hurting families.’ I said back, ‘Tell that to the kids who are dead.’ She said, ‘We didn’t kill anyone’ and I said, ‘I didn’t say YOU did,’ hoping she might think about it. The kids also continued to tell us to ‘Get off of our street.’ I told them, ‘We actually have a legal right to be here and picket. Did you know that?’ Her response? ‘I don’t care!’ About this time we had curved around and were walking back down the side of LA Org and ASHO. LA ORG seemed it’s usual totally empty look. My friend asked her, ‘Do you realize you are being manipulated?’ Her response: ‘I don’t care!’ How sad to hear such a young person already SO shut down. About the time the security guards took the kids across the street and ‘handled’ them so they stopped talking with us. We decided to head over to Bridge, which is around the corner. As we walked along side of AOLA I could see the Examiner I had gone to while Co-Auditing FPRD in the 80’s. I could see the Reg’s on the phone, busy calling people trying to get them to buy more of the ‘Route to Total Freedom’.”


Random Howdy

“A Scientology divorce is simply postulating and as-ising that wife #2 never existed.”


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. Sentenced to 30 years to life 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. Next pretrial hearing October 30.

David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.

Civil litigation:
Leah Remini v. Scientology, alleging ‘Fair Game’ harassment and defamation: Complaint filed August 2, Scientology submitting anti-SLAPP response Oct 26.
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: Discovery phase.
Jane Doe 1 v. Scientology, David Miscavige, and Gavin Potter: Case unsealed and second amended complaint filed. Scientology moves for religious arbitration.
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] Let’s help out a couple of former Scientologists who could use your attention
[TWO years ago] L. Ron Hubbard 2.0 surprises us yet again with his latest venture: Sitting in a Tennessee jail
[THREE years ago] Danny Masterson takes another expensive and futile swipe at his criminal charges
[FOUR years ago] Nan McLean, 1923-2019: One of the bravest women who ever exposed Scientology’s abuses
[FIVE years ago] Disaster relief? Scientology’s own documents spell out the real mission of ‘Volunteer Ministers’
[SIX years ago] Most remote large city in the world won’t be overlooked by Scientology’s zeal to be ‘ideal’
[SEVEN years ago] EXCLUSIVE: See the letter Scientology sent to scare A&E out of airing Leah Remini’s series
[EIGHT years ago] ‘Babywatch,’ day one: Lisa McPherson raves out by Scientology’s holiest swimming pool
[NINE years ago] L. Ron Hubbard, deadbeat dad ALSO: Former members of Scientology show off their stuff
[TEN years ago] The Oiliness Table, For Real! A Look Inside Scientology’s Super Power Building
[ELEVEN years ago] LA’s Sheriff Lee Baca and Simpsons Actress Nancy Cartwright Shill for Scientology


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 3,218 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,733 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,283 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,273 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,154 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,458 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,329 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,434 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,881 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,223 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,789 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,708 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,875 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,457 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,718 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,754 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,470 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,034 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,349 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,524 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,075 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,206 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,544 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,399 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,518 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,874 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,177 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,283 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,681 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,557 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,122 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,635 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,889 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,998 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 19, 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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