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Monthly Archives

EXCLUSIVE: The rise and fall of the ‘Pope of Scientology’ — in his own words

[John McMaster]

Historian Chris Owen just keeps coming up with gems. He notified us this week that he’d made a killer find digging through some British government files — a 30-page affidavit submitted by the “World’s First Real Clear” — John McMaster — for the defense to use in a 1977 libel lawsuit filed by the []


Bad boys, part two: Scientology’s involvement with drug smugglers had a long legacy

[L. Ron and Mary Sue Hubbard were running spy operations from sea]

Yesterday, historian Chris Owen explored how Scientology’s Guardian’s Office mounted a secret intelligence operation in cooperation with US Customs to break up an international drug smuggling ring involving ex-Scientologists and two Sea Org vessels. Today, he continues the story with a look at the []

Bad boys of the Sea Org: guns, drugs, murder and Scientology

[L. Ron Hubbard, Commodore of his own navy]

Chris Owen once again dives into Scientology history to bring us sparkling detail on a sordid episode in Sea Org history. Today, the first of two []

Witness to Dianetics: For the first time, the letters of key Hubbard ally Donald H. Rogers

 Jon Atack has provided us a marvelous exclusive. He’s provided us with copies of letters he received from a man name Don Rogers in the mid-1980s. And we’ve asked historian Chris Owen to help us understand just how valuable these letters are and what’s in them, followed by the first of three Rogers letters in []

Newly released documents: Scientology leader L. Ron Hubbard tried to ‘buy’ an African nation

 Historian Chris Owen has another exclusive for the Bunker, and this one is a real doozy. You may know that in 1966 Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard made an effort to become influential in the African nation of Rhodesia — until he was unceremoniously deported. But new documents show that subsequent to that embarrassing failure, []

Hubbard’s ‘Brainwashing Manual’ — how a crude Scientology hoax became a far-right touchstone

[Kenneth Goff, left, and George Putnam]

Chris Owen continues his two-part series today with a look at what became of L. Ron Hubbard’s hoax, a “Brainwashing Manual” that he pretended had been written by a Soviet academic. Yesterday, Chris traced the origins of the hoax. Today, he looks at its lasting []

How L. Ron Hubbard tried to hoax the FBI, and ‘brainwashed’ politicians of the far right

[Image: courtesy Mark Plummer]

Historian Chris Owen has graced us with another terrific deep dive into one of Scientology’s more curious artifacts. Today, he provides new insight on one of L. Ron Hubbard’s greatest hoaxes. Tomorrow, he explains how Hubbard’s prank took on a life of its own with this country’s extreme right []

Scientology spies coming forward to spill their guts, then and now: A key example from the past

[Robert Dardano, at the 1982 Clearwater Hearings]

In our book about Scientology’s harassment of Paulette Cooper, we spent some time talking about a Massachusetts man named Robert Dardano who volunteered for Scientology’s “Guardian’s Office.” Dardano’s testimony was key for understanding how Scientology continued to spy on Paulette in the mid-1970s, even after she had managed to []

The Battle of Portland, part 2: Pressuring a court by surrounding it with Scientologists and celebs

 Yesterday, historian Chris Owen set up the backstory for what became known as the “Battle of Portland” in Scientology history. When we left off, an Oregon lawsuit had resulted in a $39 million judgment, with $20 million of it against Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. At that point, an emergency meeting was called by church []

The Battle of Portland: How Scientology turned a nightmare court verdict into a major victory

 Yesterday, we pointed out that a Scientology demonstration in Budapest reminded us of the famous “Battle of Portland” that took place in 1985. It just so happens that historian Chris Owen has been working on a detailed look at the Portland adventure, which we’re posting in two parts. Here’s the first half, which explains how []