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PODCAST: She spied on the FBI for Scientology and lived to tell about it

Readers have been raving about the pieces that Val Ross has been writing for us lately, so we thought it would be fun to have a conversation with her for our latest podcast episode.

Wow, we were not disappointed as Val goes into some really striking moments from her life as a Scientologist.

After we recorded it, however, she let us know that she had some things a bit mixed up on her chronology, and asked us to post this errata…

Back when all that was happening with Mark it was so chaotic for me. My brother and I worked out the correct timeline of the events, so if you could add this errata for the listeners.


On my birthday in 1983 was when my mom died of a stroke at age 49, I was still with Mark. My brother remembers that because after my mom died, he dropped out of college to take care of my dad and was there when my dad was on the phone trying to talk me into staying with Mark because being alone was the worst thing in the world. So when Mark beat me up it was my birthday in 1984. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer February 1984, my dad died Easter Sunday 1984.



Technology Cocktail

“Many beings live lives of quiet correctness without ever once making anything do anything. Things around them just happen to be orderly. The social system props them up. But someday—bang—the society gets into a turmoil which knocks out the props. THEN we see that there were too few present who could MAKE things go right and that is the end of the society. Thus died all old civilizations. Their people lived in a system correctness and things went right only so long as nothing was going wrong. Then one day things go wrong. These sophisticated but weak beings never were able to MAKE things go right and so the whole society collapses. One might also ask, ‘What is meant by right?’ This would be forwarding a purpose not destructive to the majority of the dynamics.” — 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

“[The] press and the public are interested in murder, assault, destruction, violence, sex and dishonesty in that order. Investigations which can uncover these factors in the activities of individuals of a group attacking Scientology are valuable in the degree that they contain a number of these factors. The more factors a case contains the more important the case is. The idea is that the press feeds on these factors and we feed them someone else’s. It will be found that our own Scientology groups contain so few of these they have to be invented about us. We need never invent them in the attacking group. They will be found to be there.” — L. Ron Hubbard, February 17, 1966


Avast, Ye Mateys

“The Flag Admin Org has a deficiency in LINE CONSCIOUSNESS. Because a line is invisible, one overlooks their presence. It’s public lines and routing lines are very poor. Lack of signs and advices and flash colors obscure lines. The staff member has to know where to route the particles and bodies and signs and flash marked paths and signs have to exist. An engineer flash marking pipes would understand this. I recommend the whole FAO get genned in by Dave Murphy on pipe flows as a starter. That makes the idea visible.” — The Commodore, February 17, 1971



Overheard in the FreeZone

“I entered this body when I was 4 and a half years old. This body was dying and the being inside it allowed me to enter it, because the entity wanted to leave. I was unaware of who I was for a long time. Many amazing things happened and I was able to awaken to who I am. I am one of the first new creations of new Orbs that are being created directly out of the static source in the future. I have never been in this universe before. I was sent from the future.”


Past is Prologue

2001: The San Francisco Chronicle published an article on Astra Woodcraft and her experiences in Scientology “Astra Woodcraft, apostate and defector, is the latest enemy of the Church of Scientology. Woodcraft, 22, never really joined this controversial psycho-spiritual movement, at least not as a free-thinking adult. Astra was born into it. Recruited at age 14 into the movement’s elite ‘Sea Organization,’ Woodcraft describes a brave new world of authoritarianism, greed and spiritual manipulation. Two generations of her family have been torn apart by Scientology. Holding her 2-year-old daughter, Kate, in her arms, Woodcraft vows that there will be no fourth generation in her clan. ‘I don’t want her to have any connection to Scientology,’ said Woodcraft. All cults have problems with apostates, insiders who leave the fold and denounce their former faith. But the Church of Scientology plays hardball with defectors, investigators and others seen as church enemies….Astra said her formal education stopped at age 9. Over the next few years, she was sent to a series of makeshift schools run by Scientologists. ‘There were no lessons, and hardly any books,’ she said. ‘Mostly, we just hung around.’ ‘We were only getting five or six hours a week,’ Astra said. When she was 14, young Woodcraft was recruited to follow her mother’s footsteps and join the Sea Organization. From age 14 to 19, she said, she was working from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., laboring for months without a day off, doing administrative work at the church world headquarter building in Hollywood. ‘Every week, you’re supposed to do more than the week before,’ she said. ‘You are in such a state of paranoia. All these kids are running around yelling at you. They’ll come up to you and yell, ‘What are you doing! Your statistics are down! What are your crimes?’ Astra Woodcraft says she was tricked into joining the Sea Org over lunch with Scientology recruiters at a Denny’s restaurant in Hollywood. She was offered a job at Bridge Publications, she said, which publishes books by L. Ron Hubbard. ‘In the regular Sea Org, they only pay you $45 a week, but Bridge is a for- profit company, so they have to pay minimum wage, about $300 a week,’ she said. ‘I thought it would be great. I was 14, and I’d be making $300 a week.’ Astra signed the standard billion-year contract promising loyalty to the Sea Org. ‘They say you join the Sea Org for a billion years, and every time you die you get a 21-year leave of absence between lifetimes,’ she said. ‘It’s ridiculous.’ Once she signed up, however, Astra was told she would be working, not at Bridge Publications, but for Scientology’s international justice chief for $45 a week as a secretary. At age 15, she married a 22-year-old Scientologist who also grew up in the movement. That same year, Woodcraft became an ‘ethics officer’ authorized to mete out punishment to anyone breaking Scientology rules. It’s not uncommon in the Sea Org to have young teenagers supervising and disciplining other members two or three times their age, she said. ‘It’s like in (George Orwell’s novel) ‘1984,’ when they have all the kids spying on their parents,’ she said. In July 1998, Woodcraft received a detailed bill from the Church of Scientology International office in Los Angeles demanding payment for all the ‘free’ training courses and auditing sessions she had received while in the Sea Org. The total amount was $89,526.”


Random Howdy

“47x Shades of Cray: The Grant Cardone Story”



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] Danny Masterson retrial: No, the DA is not putting less focus on Scientology
[TWO years ago] Shekter: The proposition that threatened to upend my Scientology billion-year commitment
[THREE years ago] The FBI wants a word with Leigh Dundas, Scientologist attorney and Capitol rioter
[FOUR years ago] DRONE FLYOVER: Another look at Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s final hiding place
[FIVE years ago] Another Scientology monument to L. Ron Hubbard is going up in besieged Clearwater
[SIX years ago] Scientology set to turn Silicon Valley ‘Ideal!’ Here’s our first look from the grand opening
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology’s next move in forced-abortion lawsuit: Deposing defectors
[EIGHT years ago] When will academics acknowledge that the Scientology ‘apostate’ theory is finished?
[NINE years ago] On the eve of the big Tampa hearing, the Garcias fire back at Scientology’s ‘bench memo’
[TEN years ago] NEW DATE: Celebration details of Los Angeles Scientology facilities leaked
[ELEVEN years ago] Sunday Funnies: The Grant Cardone Is An Asshat Special Edition!


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 2,813 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 3,308 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,823 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 3,373 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 2,363 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 2,244 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,548 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 3,419 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,971 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 4,312 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,879 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,798 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,966 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,547 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,808 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,844 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,560 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 3,124 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,439 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,614 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 7,165 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 4,296 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,634 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,489 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,608 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,964 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 7,267 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 3,373 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,771 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,647 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 3,212 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,725 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,979 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 15,088 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 17, 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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