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Ribbon watch: Will Austin outsprint Paris for Scientology ‘Ideal’ glory?

It’s like Kremlinology over here as we attempt to read the tea leaves and figure out where Scientology leader David Miscavige is going to have his next “Ideal Org” grand opening and make another of his very rare public appearances.

But back in November and December, at two major events, Miscavige promised his followers that the new Paris cathedral would be the next to open in January, followed in quick succession by Ideal Orgs in Austin, Chicago, and Mexico City.

January has come and gone with no Paris opening, and Alex Barnes-Ross, who has been keeping an eye on it, tells us that he’s still seeing social media chatter which indicates the Paris event is not imminent.

He described a flier which indicates that yet another “briefing” event about the project is happening this weekend, which suggests that no grand opening is happening yet.


Meanwhile, our helper in Austin reports that there’s evidence a permit that was taken out for February 24th (several previous ones have come and gone) shows some signs of being real.

Here’s the message they sent us in full…

The February 24th opening of the Austin Org is looking more likely to happen. The minor evidence is that I drove by their parking lot around 4 pm today and counted 12 or 13 cars. (Last week, I only saw about 6 or 7.) That means more people are onsite at the Org, although it’s no guarantee of the opening, of course. After scoping out the parking lot, I drove by the building and noticed that they had covered up the Scientology sign on the side of the building, as well as the sign and quasi-cross symbol on the front. The pics I took last week show the side sign uncovered, as were the sign and symbol on the front. Funnily enough, the tacky-looking black tarp hiding their name over the front doors still has a section hanging loose, flapping in the breeze.

The major evidence is that I recently contacted the City of Austin department that’s handling the street closures. The description in the city’s online database was really confusing (whether that was the city’s fault or Scientology’s, I have no idea), so I emailed a few people at the city to ask for clarification. One guy provided some details that were somewhat helpful and somewhat not. I wrote back and asked for further clarification about a specific location that Scientology had requested for closure. It didn’t make sense for them to close the alley behind a neighboring building; they should have asked for the alley directly behind their own building. I didn’t hear anything from the guy at the city for a day or two. When he wrote back, the address closure I’d questioned had been changed/corrected to the alley behind the Scientology building. Also, several closures Scientology had previously listed had been deleted in the new version.

The point of the above being that it suggested the city had to go back and forth several times with the Scientology representative to determine the various locations the Org requested for closure. If the event weren’t happening next week, I’m not sure if the church’s planning with the city would still be occurring. Certainly, the Org could cancel at the last minute, as they’ve done multiple times in the past, but as of today, they seem to be moving ahead with opening on the 24th.

I’ve attached the form I received from the City. The first closure (sidewalk along the side of the facility) is set to begin on Tuesday the 20th at 9 am. I’ll make a trip by there next Tuesday to see if the sidewalk is closed. I think that’s going to be the big tell, either way.

Meanwhile, our Chicago helper sees no signs of life there at all, and one of our readers forwarded to us yet another flier where Scientologists are begged to consider joining staff. This one came with a video of a fellow named Sam.

Hello, Chicago, my name is Sam, I’m Pro Supe, I’m Pro Word Clearer, I’m Clear. I just joined to the Chicago org, it’s a very cool place to be. It’s a beautiful city where you can raise a family. The world’s crazy right now, they need a lot of help, they need a lot of sanity. And the only thing that can really, actually help the insanity is Scientology. And the group of people that can make that happen is just the Sea Org and the staff members. Come join the team and let’s help to make Chicago great again.

Judging by the state of the vegetation behind Sam, we can safely assume it’s been months, at least, since this was filmed, and who knows if Sam is still on Chicago’s Ideal Org staff, waiting for the building to open.

So that’s the latest from our Ideal Org watch: Austin shows signs that it might actually come off next weekend, Paris is still messing around with briefings and staff recruiting, Chicago is dormant, and we’re not sure what’s happening in Mexico City.

If you know more, please drop us a line!

UPDATE: And here’s help from Alex Barnes-Ross, who found this flier that suggests strongly that Austin will go on Feb 24. Sacre bleu, Paris!



Technology Cocktail

“Scientology is a Religious philosophy in its highest meaning as it brings man to Total Freedom and Truth. Our Confessional relieves the being of the encumbrances which keep his awareness as a being limited to the physical aspects of life. Scientology is also a Religious practice in that the Church of Scientology conducts basic services such as Sermons at Church meetings, Christenings, Weddings and Funerals. Scientology does not conflict with other Religions or Religious Practices as it clarifies them and brings understanding of the spiritual nature of man.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1967



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

“Get a picture of a cat and say it belongs in 1810. A picture of a cow and say it belongs in 1830. Picture of a pig, say it belongs in the year 1. A picture of a woman, say it belongs in the second century BC. Continue with that exercise, any picture, any date. Any picture, any date. OK. Now let’s find some places you are not. All right.” — L. Ron Hubbard, February 16, 1954


Avast, Ye Mateys

“AMONGST THE STARS: Bill Franks – Clear OT; Bill Franks – L10; Lucy Mielczarek – OT VII; Rob Sanderson – OT II, Anthony Azzarella – Grade V Power Plus Release; Richard Peterson – Grade V Power Release; Bill Franks – FEBC Internship; Elith Schaltz – FEBC; Mike Rubio – FEBC; Bill Tucker – Management Power Rundown; Bruce Stern – Org Officer/Prod Officer Mini Hat; Susan Prieur – 3rd Class Missionaire; Susan Rubio – 3rd Class Missionaire; Suzette Hubbard – Moped Operator.” — Love, George C & A, February 16, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“While it seems true that LRH didn’t complete his engineering degree, he had some engineering schooling, he was a consummate engineer in how he thought; and many engineers were confident he had an engineer’s mind, including my father who was a software engineer. I was once shown a 1950 dictionary whose entry for Dianetics read ‘a mental science developed by American engineer, L. Ron Hubbard,’ and so I wonder if history has been revised/files have been corrupted, as dictionary writers tend to do good research work, I think.”



Past is Prologue

2000: The proceeds from planned Battlefield Earth action figures have been identified as benefiting Author Services, a part of Scientology. From Variety: “The most intriguing aspect of the toy line based on summer sci-fi epic ‘Battlefield Earth’ may not be the ‘Ratbastard’-spouting John Travolta doll. It could just be the millions of dollars the Church of Scientology stands to earn from the playthings. Though the church did not participate in the making of the Warner Bros./Franchise Pictures project, it was included in the merchandising agreement, according to Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder. Any deal for merchandising automatically includes Author Services, the agency that handles all of the works of late writer and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. The toy assembly includes Strike Jets, Psychoblasters and Thunder Battletanks alongside 11-inch figures of Travolta as Terl, the villainous warlord. The Terl doll borrows Travolta voice snippets from the film, including these lines: ‘Exterminate all man animals at will,’ ‘You wouldn’t last one day at the Academy,’ ‘Man is an endangered species’ and ‘Ratbastard.’ Trendmasters, the company responsible for the line of toys, says these types of movie-driven toys can earn as much as $50 million in sales. Exactly how much will the Church of Scientology recoup from the toys? No one seems to know.”


Random Howdy

“It’s just like the mob, if you’re a money maker, you’re golden. You can molest the kids, murder your mistress etc but as long as you’re UPSTAT you’re a HERO. This statement by Hubbard is all the proof that the indies or anyone else should ever need to convince them that it was never about anything else except the money.”


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] TRANSCRIPT: Experienced OT auditor secretly taped dishing on the state of Scientology today
[TWO years ago] SCIENTOLOGY DENIED: Appeals court refuses to rehear arbitration ruling in Masterson case
[THREE years ago] That Scientology spying operation on Anonymous? Yeah, we have video too
[FOUR years ago] Scientology and eyesight: The familiar totem of claiming clarity of vision to emulate Ron
[FIVE years ago] In homophobic Scientology, you are required to write up your sins or else
[SIX years ago] Scientology scare tactics used against woman who reported its quack therapy for kids
[SEVEN years ago] Louis Theroux enjoys UK award for ‘My Scientology Movie’ ahead of US release
[EIGHT years ago] Science Fiction smackdown: L. Ron Hubbard, the pith helmet-wearing ‘pipsqueak Prometheus’
[NINE years ago] The paranoid, depressed L. Ron Hubbard: Jim Dincalci’s 1997 ‘Secret Lives’ TV interview
[TEN years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology is having a grand re-opening at Big Blue this Saturday!
[ELEVEN years ago] Scientology Mythbusting with Jon Atack: And With Help From Harlan Ellison!


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 2,812 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 3,307 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,822 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,372 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,362 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,243 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,547 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,418 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,970 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,311 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,878 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,797 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,965 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,546 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,807 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,843 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,559 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,123 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,438 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,613 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,164 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,295 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,633 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,488 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,607 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,963 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,266 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,372 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,770 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,646 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,211 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,724 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,978 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 15,087 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 16, 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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