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East Grinstead council gets an earful about Scientology, whether it wants it or not

[Zooming with the burghers of Scientologyville]

Fallout from last November’s protests of Scientology’s “IAS gala” continues to produce interesting results in East Grinstead, England, the burg that is the site of Saint Hill, Scientology’s UK headquarters, and where founder L. Ron Hubbard oversaw Scientology’s golden age between 1959 and 1966.

Former Scientology London staffer Alex Barnes-Ross not only organized three days of protests at the event, but he’s followed that up with numerous questions for local leaders about their cozy relationship with Scientology. In particular, we’re thinking of East Grinstead’s mayor, Councillor Frazer Visser, who was rewarded for his friendliness to Scientology with a meeting with Tom Cruise at a Mission Impossible 7 premiere last summer, and who has defended his glad-handing appearances at church events as simply the way he represents everyone in town.

Well, Alex’s agitating appears to be spreading, because at yesterday’s East Grinstead Town Council, members of the public asked pointed questions of Mayor Visser, who fended them off as only a politician can.

We had asked for a Zoom link and the council had sent us one, so we were watching live as Danielle Chamberlin told Mayor Visser that she had been punished in Scientology by Hubbard by being stuffed in a ship’s chain locker.

It’s one of the more legendary punishments in the church, and one that goes back to Hubbard’s years aboard the Apollo, his flagship when he ran Scientology from sea after he left Saint Hill in 1967.


Danielle tells us she had arrived at the Apollo in 1973, and she was 12 when she was put in the chain locker, a dark, damp and extremely dangerous place. She also said that she had been raped as a child at a notorious Scientology dorm for children, Stonelands.

Her question for the mayor was, why is it OK for the council to accept donations from such an organization?

He responded by saying that any accusations of wrongdoing by the church should be reported to law enforcement, not the council. And he repeated that response as three other people asked similar questions.

We told Danielle that she was very brave to speak up about what she’d been through, which clearly still affects her today.

“What upsets me more is the total disregard by the Mayor for the part he is playing in supporting them,” she tells us. “And he just isn’t budging on his sycophancy!”

Austen Waite wanted to know, if the council has language about fighting modern slavery on its website, what is it doing about investigating modern slavery in Scientology?

A woman named Abbie told Mayor Visser that she was disabled, and Scientology would consider her a degraded being. “Does the mayor think it’s appropriate that he support such a discriminatory group?” she asked.

Mayor Visser insisted that he represents everyone in the town equally. “We are not the Church of Scientology. We don’t represent them in any way. I’m not here to defend them,” he said. But then he admitted, “I have no idea what their policy is toward disabled people.”

He said he “knew what was going on,” and that an effort had been made to have people ask questions. But “this isn’t the right forum,” he said. The council was actually there to approve a budget, which they did after the four people had asked their questions and Mayor Visser had then ended the public question period.

But as much as the mayor played this off as a politician would, we can’t help thinking it’s good for this council to hear about the group they’ve been so chummy with over the years.

Is it possible that local leaders really are unaware of Scientology’s controversies and abuses?

UK readers, we’d really like to get your thoughts on that question.



Technology Cocktail

“There isn’t a single datum in Scientology that can’t be proven as precisely as teacups are teacups and not saucepans. Now if we get a person fresh out of the study of ‘the mystical metaphysics of Cuffbah’ he’s going to have trouble. His pcs are going to ‘Itsa’ their heads off and never get well or better or anything. Because that person doesn’t know Scientology but thinks it’s all imprecise opinion. The news about Scientology is that it put the study of the mind into the precise exact sciences. If one doesn’t know that, one’s pcs ‘Itsa’ by the hour for one doesn’t know what he is handling that he is calling ‘a pc’.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1966



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

“Had the most fiendish idea the other day. I’m going to write a science fiction story (I still do, you know). I got a wonderful idea of writing about a government scientist who goes mad, you see, and the security is so terrific that nobody can find out what he’s doing, see? Not even his own boss, because the security is so terrific, you know? And when he orders materials he can’t tell anybody in the materiel department what it’s for because, of course, it’s so secret. You see, his security is very great. And he goes ahead and he builds up this thing which makes space solid. See, space becomes totally solid. See? And then puts it over the light lines to all the government offices everywhere. And of course, all the space in all government offices, complete with personnel, gets totally solid. And the last person that’s left is J. Edgar Spoofer. And he tries to explain it to this guy, that this guy doesn’t have the right to go ahead and do this in any direction and that he’s going to arrest him. But the guy tells J. Edgar Spoofer, ‘But look, you’re supposed to safeguard security in the government. And it says right here that my work is under total security and all actions I perform are under total security, so therefore, you’re violating your own order.’ So J. Edgar Spoofer steps back and lets the entirety of the Department of Justice and his office get totally solid. And everybody lived happily ever after.” — L. Ron Hubbard, January 30, 1957


Avast, Ye Mateys

“Celebrity Center doing very well. GI Affluence Trend since last SEPT! How do you like that! Hats off and a highly commended to Diana H., Yvonne Gillham and all the crew! Asho moving out in front with a high trend GI! Ira Chaleff and our Asho crew and USGO doing very well and USLO getting in there too! Very nice work and good teamwork by US offices! Asho Fnd not doing too badly but needs its own C/O. And good old AOLA still soaring into its Affluence Trend and all but Booksales normal or Affluence or Power GDSes, meaning its a near clean sweep of rising GDSes! It will be a $100,000 GI unless it overloads. The place must be simply bulging the walls. Fred Hare and our AOLA crew have recently been highly commended several times and are again. They need all the support they can get. I think Pac Plan should be revised to get Alex and Dave out there to give Fred a hand without changing anything they’ve got going but put in the Prod Org System. Wonderful to see what our people are doing and what they can do. This and all the good case gains aboard and in the field have me all cheered up!” — The Commodore, January 30, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“LRH might have been part of Brit agendas, but his agenda sided with the white South Africans for the benefit of the blacks. His tape predicted and explained what is happening and is the key for correction not only on South Africa but also in the Middle East.”



Past is Prologue

1997: Gerald Armstrong filed a packet with Judge Whyte this week, asking that he be allowed to provide testimony for Grady Ward, Keith Henson and Dennis Erlich. He argues that the order requiring him to remain silent is illegal, and was coerced by Scientology’s threats. Some excerpts: “I am a writer, artist and philosopher. Theologically speaking I am a prophet. Speaking religiously, I am a Christian. I have been sued by the Scientology organization five times since 1982 in its continuing effort to prevent me from speaking the truth and to destroy me financially. I have been throughout this time a world-wide target of Scientology’s character assassination campaign or ‘black propaganda,’ which it also calls ‘dead agenting.’ Grady Ward, defendant herein, posted a request for declarations concerning knowledge of fair game operations, and specifically ops involving organization private investigator Eugene M. Ingram. Mr. Ward stated that the declarations are needed fairly urgently. I have such knowledge, some of which I will provide below. I am submitting this declaration directly to the Court because of an order filed October 17, 1995. By that order, I am prohibited from: ‘Voluntarily assisting any person (not a government organ or entity) arbitrating, or litigating adversely to any of the Beneficiaries’. The ‘Beneficiaries’ are: The Church of Scientology International, its officers, directors, agents, representatives, employees, volunteers, successors, assigns and legal counsel. I believe the order and judgment are illegal on their faces, and obtained by Scientology through illegal tactics. The ‘contract’ which the ‘order’ enforces was obtained by Scientology through threat, fraud, related criminal activities, and the vitiation of my lawyers. In August and September 1982 the organization employed a number of private investigators to spy on and harass my wife and me. During that period one of these investigators assaulted me bodily, and another struck my body with a car, and attempted to involve me in a freeway accident by getting in front of my car and slamming on his brakes and pulling alongside my car and swerving into my lane. [T]he organization’s campaign against me included at least these acts: attempted entrapment; illegal videotaping; breaking into my car and theft of personal writings and art; filing false criminal charges against me with the Los Angeles District Attorney; filing false criminal charges against me with the Boston office of the FBI; filing false declarations to bring contempt of court proceedings against me on three occasions; obtaining perjured affidavits from English private investigators, who had harassed me in London in 1984, which falsely accused me of distributing ‘sealed’ documents; international dissemination of Scientology publications falsely accusing me of crimes, including crimes against humanity; culling and disseminating information from my supposedly confidential ‘auditing’ (psychotherapy) file. I know that the attempted entrapment, illegal videotaping, and filing false charges with the LA DA all involved Eugene Ingram. In the fall of 1984 Mr. Ingram called me and threatened to ‘put a bullet between [my] eyes.’ I worked with attorney Greene from August, 1991 through December, 1995. Throughout that period Scientology attempted overtly through misuse of the courts and covertly through its Office of Special Affairs, the organization’s intelligence arm to prevent me from working with Mr. Greene and from defending myself. Scientology employed a covert operative, Garry Scarff, whom it had infiltrated into Mr. Greene’s office, to develop a black PR ‘attack line’ that Mr. Greene and I were involved in a homosexual relationship. Scientology has subjected Mr. Greene to years of fair game, which included having Scarff steal his office records; concocting a plot with Scarff to have him killed; having Scarff execute false declarations about Mr. Greene. That Scientology will also subvert our courts’ power to prosecute ‘contempt’ is shown in its ‘application for order to show cause why Gerald Armstrong should not be held in contempt,’ Scientology filed another application for an OSC re contempt shortly after this one, charging that my providing a declaration to Lawrence Wollersheim was a violation of its ‘injunction.’ Scientology’s charges were either misrepresentations of my actions or completely manufactured. Ultimately Judge Diane Wayne discharged all of Scientology’s contempt charges in a ruling dated July 28, 1994. In my observation, Mr. Ward, Mr. Wollersheim, Mr. Henson, Mr. Erlich, Mr. Lerma and Mr. Penny (hereinafter, ‘WWHELP’) are in general agreement that Scientology is not a sincere, and hence real, religion but is a criminal cult engaged in harmful practices. In my opinion, if WWHELP are correct in their assessment, and if they did expose or publish Scientology’s secret documents, they were and are completely justified in having done so. Each of the WWHELP cases is being prosecuted by Scientology entity RTC, which claims to own the ‘religion’s’ marks, trade secrets and copyrighted materials. It is my understanding that David Miscavige notarized the signature of L. Ron Hubbard near the time of his alleged death in 1986 on a document which transferred Mr. Hubbard’s ownership of certain rights and/or marks from himself to RTC. While on board the ‘Apollo’ during 1972 through 1974 I was required on a number of occasions to have Mr. Hubbard’s signature notarized on various documents. There were a couple of notaries in Portugal I got to know who would verify the signature by comparison with a signature in their signature book. There were times when I took documents to these notaries which were not signed by Mr. Hubbard, but by Joyce Popham, who could sign his signature extremely well. Two of the documents signed by Ms. Popham were for the registration of the marks ‘Dianetics’ and ‘Scientology.’ Mr. Ward, and indeed all of WWHELP, should be able to freely obtain the testimony of anyone willing to testify on their behalf, or by subpoena anyone unwilling. They should be able to obtain the assistance of any expert witness they believe can help. If it is within this Court’s power, and I believe it is, I ask that it issue an order prohibiting Scientology from interfering with Mr. Ward’s, Mr. Henson’s and Mr. Erlich’s witnesses, including me, and an order to Scientology to release me from its ‘contract’ and the Thomas order so that I am free to assist these defendants in their cases.”


Random Howdy

“If any kid ever needed a hickory switch it was L Ron Hubbard.”


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 January 29, 2024.
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud.


Civil litigation:
Leah Remini v. Scientology, alleging ‘Fair Game’ harassment and defamation: Complaint filed August 2, motion to strike/anti-SLAPP motions by Scientology to be heard January 9, 2024.
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] EXCLUSIVE: Lisa Marie Presley on Scientology, its leader David Miscavige, and why she left
[TWO years ago] We wondered what was in that new Scientology app: Now we know because we got in!
[THREE years ago] Scientology in Russia, a series by historian Chris Owen, part 3: The current crackdown
[FIVE years ago] Scientology targets Disney with anti-‘Aftermath’ rally, attendees number in the tens
[SIX years ago] A private eye comes clean: ‘Scientology is a disgrace to the world’
[SEVEN years ago] Putting back a family ripped apart by Scientology can be easier said than done
[EIGHT years ago] L. Ron Hubbard’s magic chalk, and other Scientology miracles at the ’07 Birthday Event
[NINE years ago] Another Secret Lives leak: L. Ron Hubbard enjoyed humiliating people under hypnosis
[TEN years ago] Jefferson Hawkins finishes off our series on Scientology ethics with a reprieve
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology’s Atlanta Drug Rehab Crumbling: Executive Director Mary Rieser Out


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Tammy Synovec has not seen her daughter Julia in 2,795 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 3,290 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,805 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,355 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,345 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,226 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,530 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,401 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,953 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,294 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,861 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,780 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,948 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,529 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,790 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,826 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,542 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,106 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,421 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,596 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,147 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,278 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,616 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,471 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,590 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,946 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,249 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,355 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,753 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,629 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,194 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,707 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,961 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 15,070 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on January 30, 2024 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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