Ex-Scientology Executive Marty Rathbun Headed to Germany This Week -- Why This is Bad News for David Miscavige
Last night, I had a conversation with Marty Rathbun, who revealed that he's headed to Germany this week, and told me he'd have a series of videos on his blog today breaking that news in an interesting way -- with help from the Squirrel Busters.
"I'm a professional."
Sure enough, these videos don't disappoint. After the jump, watch as Rathbun seems to get the Squirrel Busters off-balance by telling them he's going to Europe to clean up the mess David Miscavige made there. Also, for those unsure what we're talking about, we'll try to explain why the Siege in South Texas should have been national news by now, and how Rathbun's trip to Germany is upping the ante on this story in a big way...
As we've been reporting for months now, a bizarre and dramatic siege has been going on in a cul-de-sac in a small town near Corpus Christi, Texas.
That's where Marty Rathbun lives with his wife, Monique, and where they welcome other "independent Scientologists" who have left the official church. For decades, Rathbun was a high-ranking executive in official Scientology, which is led by a man named David Miscavige. As inspector general of the Religious Technology Center or RTC -- one of the many entities in Scientology's alphabet soup structure -- Rathbun may have been the second-most powerful man in the organization. But he defected in 2004, and two years ago began criticizing Miscavige at his blog, and encouraging other longtime Scientologists to leave the church and join an independence movement that adheres to founder L. Ron Hubbard's philosophies while staying away from, and criticizing, the church that Hubbard founded.
Scientology under Miscavige, meanwhile, is known for attacking its critics, and in this case, that has taken on the form of a months long battle in little Ingleside on the Bay, Texas. Since April, a goon squad sent to intimidate Rathbun has been planted outside his house, day in and day out, videotaping him from all angles -- even from a paddle boat in the canal behind his house. Calling themselves "Squirrel Busters," the intimidation crew claimed to be working on a documentary about Rathbun, but that cover story fell apart when a freelance videographer hired for the filming blew the whistle, telling a local newspaper reporter, Mark Collette of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, that the film crew was being run by a man named "Dave Statter" who had told them their real mission: to make Rathbun's life "a living hell." Rathbun himself then confirmed with the videographer, Bert Leahy, that "Dave Statter" was actually Dave Lubow, a private investigator long in the employ of Scientology running its dirty tricks schemes under the church's Office of Special Affairs, its intelligence and covert operations wing.
For months, the crew sent by Scientology has been planted outside Rathbun's house, following him when he goes into town for meals, and also kept a tight tail on him during two trips to Los Angeles. Whenever Rathbun makes such trips, the Scientology crew seems to know the time and destination of his flights before he even leaves for the airport, and he has accused them of hacking into his private accounts or otherwise accessing his private travel information.
Then, a few days ago, the Squirrel Busters suddenly gave up. Last night Rathbun told me that after his most recent trip to Los Angeles, last week, he returned home to find that the Scientology goon squad had left its rental house and was no longer on his block. But before he could breathe a sigh of relief, suddenly they were back.
"The moving van's back in," he told me. When he asked them why they were back, he says they told him: "We were out of the here, but then we heard you were going to Germany, so we came back."
Once again, they had somehow found out about his travel plans. Since the Squirrel Busters had figured out that he was going overseas, Rathbun decided it was time to break the news.
Rathbun says that Ursula Caberta, a Hamburg politician, invited him to come speak in Germany two years ago, but he declined. Caberta had long been the commissioner of the Scientology Task Force of the Hamburg Interior Authority, which monitored Scientology in Germany from 1992 to 2010, and worked to raise awareness of its concerns with Scientology's controversies and reported abuses.
Other American ex-Scientologists have made highly publicized trips to meet with Caberta and speak to the German public. But for Rathbun, it was a tricky proposition: as long as criticism was aimed at both Hubbard and the church, he had little interest in helping that effort.
But over the last two years, he says, Caberta has read his blog and understands that he's criticizing the way Miscavige runs official Scientology while still honoring Hubbard's ideas about the mind.
"She understands where the real reform is coming from," he told me last night. And once he goes over there on Monday, and begins speaking on Wednesday, he thinks his message -- to focus on the abuses under Miscavige, not the philosophies of Hubbard -- will have a big impact, and progress in Germany to curb official Scientology will pick up speed.
"It's going to go like wildfire across Europe," Rathbun told me.
As you'll see in these videos, Rathbun delivers that message to Rich, the large guy who stars in the "breaking news" videos put out by the Squirrel Busters.
Having seen many of these videos over the last few months, I have to say that I've rarely seen Rich and the other Busters so off balance. As Marty tells them he's going to Europe to "clean up the mess David Miscavige has left there," keep an eye on Rich's face. I'm sure you'll let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree with me that there seems to be flicker of doubt washing across Rich's face...
Well, Rathbun's trip certainly raises the ante on this coming week. We'd already heard from others that another delegation of critics was heading over there, and had been told there would be a surprise guest along for the ride. Rathbun meeting Caberta? Yes, that is a major surprise, and should make for a rollercoaster of a week. Check back here at Runnin' Scared often as we keep an eye on the fireworks.
The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#13: Janet Reitman (and other journalists)
#14: Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists)
#15: Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics)
#16: Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church's HQ
#17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano
#18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive
#19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons)
#20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures)
#21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church
#22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members)
#23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church)
#24: David Touretzky (and other academics)
#25: Xenu, galactic overlord
See all of our recent Scientology coverage at the Voice
Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared
Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications. Among his other stories about L. Ron Hubbard's organization:
The Larry Wollersheim Saga -- Scientology Finally Pays For Its Fraud
The Tory Bezazian (Christman) Story -- How the Internet Saved A Scientologist From Herself
The Jason Beghe Defection -- A Scientology Celebrity Goes Rogue
The Robert Cipriano Case -- A Hellacious Example of Fair Game
The Paul Haggis Ultimatum -- The 'Crash' Director Tells Scientology to Shove It
The Marc Headley Escape -- 'Tom Cruise Told Me to Talk to a Bottle'
The Aaron Saxton Accusation -- Australia turns up the heat on Scientology
The Jefferson Hawkins Stipulation -- Scientology's former PR genius comes clean
The Daniel Montalvo Double-Cross -- Scientology lures a young defector into a trap
A Church Myth Debunked -- Scientology and Proposition 8
Daniel Montalvo Strikes Back -- Scientology Hit with Stunning Child-Labor Lawsuits
When Scientologists Attack -- The Marty Rathbun Intimidation
A Scientologist Excommunicated -- The Michael Fairman SP Declaration
The Richard Leiby Operation -- Investigating a reporter's divorce to shut him up
The Hugh Urban Investigation -- An academic takes a harsh look at Scientology's past
Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh -- A precedent for a Scientology-Branch Davidian link
Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology -- A masterful telling of Scientology's history
The Western Spy Network Revealed? -- Marty Rathbun ups the ante on David Miscavige
Scientology's Enemies List -- Are You On It?
Inside Inside Scientology -- An interview with author Janet Reitman
Scientology and the Nation of Islam -- Holy Doctrinal Mashup, Batman!
Scientologists -- How Many of Them Are There, Anyway?
Roger Weller's Wild Ride -- Scientology When it was Hip
The Marc Headley Infiltration -- A Scientology Spying Operation Revealed
Placido Domingo Jr: Scientology's Retaliation is "Scary and Pathetic"
An Interview with Nancy Many, Former Scientology Spy
The Paulien Lombard Confession -- A Scientology Spy Comes Clean
The Deputy Benjamin Ring Hard Sell -- Scientology wants your 401K
The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology -- the whole series!
The Squirrel Busters Busted -- Unmasking the Scientology PI in Charge
Tommy Davis, Scientology spokesman, secretly recorded discussing 'disconnection'
Scientology internal document says its Office of Special Affairs will 'handle' the Village Voice