One Year Ago Today: Did the Squirrel Busters Mark the Beginning of the End of Scientology?

Categories: Scientology

SquirrelTech.jpg
On April 18 last year, a man named Marty Rathbun opened his door at the sound of knocking and was presented with the sight you see here. Three men on his porch holding video cameras, and with backup cameras strapped to their foreheads. They were each wearing sky blue T-shirts that featured the same image: a squirrel whose head had been replaced with a photo of Rathbun's face.

Calling themselves "Squirrel Busters," the team of camera-wielding men were Scientologists on a strange mission.

As we look back today on what turned into a five-month siege in a little South Texas town, we have a special treat -- an interview with the man, Bert Leahy, who helped confirm that the Squirrel Busters was indeed a church operation. And after talking to him, we have to ask -- was the Squirrel Busters not only one of the most spectacular failures in Scientology's history, but also a turning point, a mile marker, a sign that the church's days are numbered?

First, a quick recap for those who weren't following our coverage of the siege last year: Until 2004, Marty Rathbun was one of the highest-ranking executives in the Church of Scientology. Like several other top officials, he says he was driven away from the church because of the behavior of its leader, David Miscavige, who purged many of the most loyal, highly-placed executives from the church's top ranks in the early and mid 2000s. In 2009, Rathbun resurfaced with a blog that is highly critical of Miscavige and promotes a burgeoning movement of ex-church members who still adhere to the philosophies of L. Ron Hubbard. These "independent Scientologists" are called "squirrels" by the church, using their word for "heretic."

Rathbun was not only a high-ranking executive; he was also one of the church's most highly regarded "auditors," and he let it be known that he was auditing -- giving spiritual counseling -- to other independents. One of these was Lori Hodgson, a California woman who traveled for the second time to Rathbun's house in Ingleside by the Bay, Texas, on April 16, 2011. Two days later, while taking a break during their day's counseling sessions, they heard a knock on the door and Rathbun found the Squirrel Busters on his porch.

As we described last week, one of the Squirrel Busters was a man named John Allender who had followed Hodgson from the San Jose area. What followed were months of harassment of Rathbun and his wife Monique as the goon squad rented a nearby house, planted itself in his cul de sac every day, and followed the Rathbuns around town, telling locals that they were making a documentary. Here at the Voice, we followed every bizarre new twist in the five-month saga.

Well, except for one. It was only this weekend that we finally got a chance to talk to Bert Leahy, the videographer who turned out to play such an important part in exposing the Squirrel Busters for the church operation that it was.

BertLeahy.jpg
Bert Leahy
Leahy was called in as relief several weeks after the squad first showed up at the Rathbun house.

"It was the first week in June," Leahy remembers, speaking to me from his house in North Texas.

"I got a phone call. I'd done some documentary work. And Dave was scouring the Internet looking for videographers. He wanted someone with experience shooting on the fly," Leahy says. "He identified himself as 'Dave Statter.' He said he had done some documentary work on kids and drugs and the psychiatric industry. And he said this project was a reality TV show, like MythBusters, but they called it 'Squirrel Busters.' He was offering $2,000 a week. I'm like, 'hell yeah!'"

Soon, Leahy had joined the rest of the crew and was wearing a "Squirrel Busters" blue T-shirt. And at first, he thought he'd really lucked into something good. Leahy says that another of the Squirrel Busters, Bart Parr, told him that he was getting paid more than $100,000 a year working for Scientology.

Leahy says that "Statter" had sophisticated gear to keep track of Rathbun's position. He remembers soon after he arrived seeing Statter watch his equipment and then bark at them, "He's at Pier 99 in Corpus. Go get your gear -- Marty's at the aquarium!"

Leahy says he wishes he still had some of the scenes he taped. "Bart would always take my tapes. I shot a lot of behind-the-scenes footage. Oh, if I still had that footage. 'Get that son of a bitch!' Dave would yell. It was pretty intense."

And even though "Statter" wasn't seen on the videos taken by the Squirrel Busters or by Rathbun, Leahy says there was no question that he was still in control.

"Dave would watch from afar. While we were filming, Bart would say, 'Dave says back up' or some other direction. Dave was directing things by Bluetooth," Leahy says.

At one point, Leahy helped chase Rathbun and ended up back at Rathbun's cul de sac, where police arrived on one of several calls to the location. Leahy stood around while the other Squirrel Busters dealt with the police, not realizing that Rathbun was filming him from his house.

Leahy quickly soured on the job as it became apparent that this was no legitimate documentary or reality TV production, but simply a surveillance mission intended to harass the Rathbuns. As he told Mark Collete of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times...

"Dave flat-out said our goal is to make Marty's life a living hell," Leahy said. "That's a quote. He never said 'stalk,' but he said make Marty's life a living hell with every means possible of impeding his everyday living, and make it so miserable for him and his neighbors that his neighbors will want him to move."

Leahy says it just felt wrong, and he told "Statter" that he couldn't be a part of it anymore. "I left just before they rented a house and started riding around in the golf cart," he says. He had worked for the Squirrel Busters for less than a week.

BertyLeahySB.jpg
Leahy, right, with the Squirrel Busters
After he got home, Leahy started reading up on Marty Rathbun, and discovered Rathbun's blog -- and realized to his horror that Rathbun had put up footage that showed Leahy milling around outside his house in his Squirrel Busters get up.

Not wanting Rathbun to think that he had endorsed the siege, Leahy contacted him, and then agreed to come see him and be interviewed on camera.

Leahy told him how Dave Statter had been running the the operation from a hotel room. Leahy still had a voice mail message from Statter, and he played it for Rathbun.

Rathbun immediately recognized the voice as that of Dave Lubow.

Leahy agreed with that identification after being shown photographs of Lubow, who is a private investigator long in the employ of the Church of Scientology's Office of Special Affairs. (Lubow, who did not return my phone call, would probably say that he works for an attorney, not the church. Mike Rinder, who for many years was executive director of OSA, says that's standard procedure for the church's private eyes, who work for attorneys who work for the church. But in an interview with Mark Bunker, Rinder also explained that Lubow reported to him directly on church operations in the past.) Leahy in turn saw Lubow getting directions in phone calls from Los Angeles, one of the church's headquarters.

With Leahy's eyewitness testimony, there's little question that the Church of Scientology was actively directing and paying for the expensive Squirrel Busters operation.

"I'm really surprised that they didn't have me sign some kind of non-disclosure agreement before I even went to work for them," Leahy says. And he's right -- but perhaps, in Lubow's rush to bring on people in a complex operation, that detail was missed.

With nothing holding him back, Leahy gave detailed interviews to Rathbun, and also put together his own videos about his experiences at his personal YouTube channel.

But Leahy's experience with Scientology wasn't finished.

"I had no idea the impact it would have, on the Internet and all that," he says. With news stories and blog posts and discussion forums, Leahy's name was now on thousands of web pages, associating him with Scientology.

And he noticed that suddenly, someone was casing his house from his alley. "They went through my garbage about two weeks after I got back," he says. He had little doubt who was looking for information on him.

"If I'd had a mug shot or anything, they would have exploited it. But luckily, I have a clean record," he says. "It was very stressful after I told my story. It was overwhelming."

Leahy just wanted to go back to filming weddings and sporting events. But he got nervous when a woman called him up and cancelled her contract with him to shoot her wedding. "She'd seen the stuff online, and she was worried Scientology would show up to hassle me at her wedding," he says.

Two months after leaving the Squirrel Busters, Leahy says the stress was becoming too much for him. He called up Lubow and told him he wanted the surveillance to end. Leahy says that when Lubow called him back, he complained that Leahy had "ruined his image." Leahy says he offered to take down his videos and promised to say nothing else to the press, but he felt the church owed him something in return. "They hired me under false pretenses," Leahy says. When Lubow asked him for a figure, Leahy suggested $20,000.

"He said I was trying to extort him," Leahy says. "He said not to call him again and hung up. I haven't heard anything else."

So Leahy has left up his videos, and he's still talking to the press. And life is returning to the way it was before. He's filming weddings and sporting events, and the work is steady.

"I guess everything's pretty much back to normal, but I can't get rid of that feeling of looking over my shoulder," he says.

Something else I learned from talking to Leahy: shortly after his story broke in the Caller-Times, he and Rathbun were contacted by NBC.

Rathbun and Leahy both say they were told by producers that a new show would be debuting called Rock Center, and they wanted to make the Squirrel Busters the subject of the very first segment aired on the new program in October.

"I told Bert not to get his hopes up," Rathbun says, pointing out that he'd been taped three separate times for the Today show and nothing had aired.

Sure enough, after showing a lot of early interest, the producers suddenly stopped calling.

Leahy is still frustrated by it. "They're missing it. What more do you need than my story to show how bad these people are?" he asks.

But Rathbun has a different conclusion looking back on the Squirrel Busters, who faded away in the fall after casing his house for so many weeks (and also visiting Mike Rinder in Florida and following Rathbun to Los Angeles in August).

"Everything that I went through and that Mike went through, I really believe that the year 2011 will be remembered for this -- we took over-the-top harassment out of their arsenal," Rathbun says. "I haven't seen a single thing since November."

Rathbun thinks that church leader David Miscavige wasn't prepared for how much publicity the Squirrel Busters would generate as the siege was happening.

"I think because they got so consistently ridiculed in the Village Voice, the Caller-Times, on my blog, they realized too many people are watching," he says. "The publicity really made a difference. And they heard from NBC news. And maybe others. Now they know that everyone is watching, and whatever they do is going to get publicized and get legs."

There are other significant events which point to the Church of Scientology going through perhaps its most difficult times in decades -- evidence of dwindling membership, an exodus of high-level executives, the blockbuster 2009 expose by the Tampa Bay Times called "The Truth Rundown," the vigilance of the Anonymous movement, and others. But it was in the Squirrel Busters episode that we saw, really for the first time, how ineffective Scientology's own retaliation efforts could be. This strange mission -- to drive Marty Rathbun from Ingleside on the Bay through intimidation -- blew up in the church's face like few other things have in the last 30 years. Is this, then, the beginning of the end?

I think we'll start to get an answer to that question soon, and in unlikely places like San Antonio, Texas and Trois-Rivières, Quebec. Stay with us for more.


----------------------------------------------------------------

Tricky Dick Dropped From Print Version

Wow, that was fast. Scientology's massive printing operations have already produced a slick copy of International Scientology News all about the LRH Birthday Event which happened just over a month ago!

Having sat through the entire three-hour DVD of the Event, which celebrated what would have been L. Ron Hubbard's 101st birthday, I can tell you that this publication was one big repackaging of what happened on stage that night in Clearwater, Florida.

I was very curious, then, to see how some of Hubbard's tall tales were prepared for print. As we pointed out previously, perhaps the biggest howler of the night was a completely unbelievable yarn by Hubbard -- excerpted from a lecture he gave in the 1960s -- that had him claiming to have put down a 1945 rebellion by atomic scientists at Caltech who were threatening to overthrow the US government with the use of nuclear weapons.

In a bizarre coda to that story, official church biographer Dan Sherman claimed that the "henchman" of the scientist revolt was none other than Richard Nixon. (Here, check it out for yourself.)

So we were very curious to see how this part of the night's presentation would be translated to print. Here's an image of the relevant spread in the magazine...

LRHNuclear.jpg

And here's the portion that matters...

It took place at the end of World War II, when LRH and one Johnny Arwine, lieutenant commander of the US Coast Guard, brought together a great many atomic physicists for a meeting at the California Institute of Technology's Athenaeum Hall. These scientists -- many of them LRH's friends and former classmates -- represented the cream of America's atomic bomb project, including a chief engineer who designed the triggering device and no less than three Nobel Laureates for theoretical physics.

LRH's intention was to organize these men so that some sort of sensible control could be monitored across the bomb and thus prevent the further use of atomic fission against the human race. But the nuclear physicists were already so mad, so furious, that they said only one thing: "We wish to overthrow the government of the United States by force."

LRH and Arwine withdrew their support and "did what we could to knock the rough edges of the movement...and it all fell to nothing. But the atomic physicist did try." And as LRH then notes, "The punishment taken against him was severe."

Specifically, and summarily: a full 64 were stripped of security clearances, thus effectively ending their careers in government research departments.

No Tricky Dick!

Well, maybe it's one thing to claim in a video you don't expect the outside world to see that a former president, while still a soldier, tried to lead a treasonous coup of the federal government. But it's another thing to put it down in black and white, one supposes.


We're working hard to gather information today on the situation in Quebec. We know you're anxious to hear from David Love after his victory over Narconon in Trois Rivieres, and are working to have an interview with ready for our Friday morning post.

And remember to check our Facebook author page for other schedules and updates.


**********
Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at tortega@villagevoice.com, and if you ask nicely he'll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, a Tumblr, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.

New readers might want to check out our primer, "What is Scientology?" Another good overview is our series from last summer, "Top 25 People Crippling Scientology." At the top of every story, you'll see the "Scientology" category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories.

As for hot subjects we've covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and is now being sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology's "Mecca," whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.

Other stories have looked at Scientology's policy of "disconnection" that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We've also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there's plenty more coming.


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322 comments
welbyzworld
welbyzworld

This is so staged bro. Come on if you search the internet where is the squirrel buster's group video footage of their own? They obviously have cameras, so where is the footage? The only footage we have is him talking to them and why would they have T shirts and make it obvious that Scientology is publicly trying to harass him that would be bad PR for the church itself. He's obviously staging this any dumbass can see that to get generate sympathy lol.

markcabian
markcabian

@welbyzworld 

Dear Welby, do you think Marty and his wife staged the hundreds of days of stalking?  That she sent her own boss a dildo? That Marty planted a hidden remote video webcam on his street, and also rented the house across the street, just to get photos of the camera inside, fixed on his home? That's pretty elaborate! And then to find Bert, a local video professional, and ... well, you get my point.


Clearly, you are not "any dumbass", but a very special dumbass. I'll offer a little free advice: when OSA posts at blogs or news sites to uphold the sterling image of the cult and its founder, it holds a lot of weight to throw in "lulz", at least once. That gives your post irrefutable credibility. Flunk!


And to locate the footage that (OT) Allender took, look him up and ask. Also ask him why he took a vacation from the South San Francisco Bay Area, to come to Marty's door in Texas. I'm sure you'll have an interesting chat. Look him up at the Mission, or at Sterling Construction. Here, I'll give you his contact information now. 

Sterling General Construction

Address: 1506 Dell Ave, Campbell, CA 95008 Phone:(408) 871-1372

Certs!

https://www.facebook.com/SterlingGeneralConstruction/photos/a.471544339579552.1073741825.454163981317588/548743901859595/?type=1&theater


What he does when he's not doing crimes: https://www.facebook.com/SterlingGeneralConstruction/photos/a.471544339579552.1073741825.454163981317588/491671227566863/?type=1&theater


Like him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.allender.1?fref=browse_search


Have a fun chat with him in The South Bay, and please -- tell us all about your visit. Tell him I said: Fuck OSA.

mooser42001
mooser42001

"Specifically, and summarily: a full 64 were stripped of security clearances, thus effectively ending their careers in government research departments."

And this bit of governmental by-play managed to escape the media?  A veritable nest of traitors discovered and exposed, and nobody noticed?

DodoTheLaser
DodoTheLaser

Tony Ortega and David Love. In less then 4 hours. Hi, RTC! 

CanuckXenu
CanuckXenu

Kelly Preston on Craig Ferguson right now.  Wow--is she gorgeous. What a waste that Travolta probably doesn't even touch her.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Thanks for the heads up. The Vancouver Sun and Canada dot com is reporting it too.

"Stand up, ashtray!" "Thank you." "Sit back down, ashtray!"

Yep. NarCONon is scientology. Isn't that right Tom Cruise?

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

I just watched a YouTube video of Paulien Lombard speaking out once again about being a spy for scientology. She spoke to the Santa Ana city council on April 16, 2012

It's unbelievable how her appearance has changed since leaving the cult. She looks healthy, strong, more attractive. It's hard to believe she was once OSA. What a respectable lady! I am so proud of her.

Title of video:

Paulien Lombard speaks against scientology Orange County

Victoriapandora
Victoriapandora

I was shocked today to hear this fine Dr. (whom I do not disagree with at all) featured on my favourite crackpot podcast, "The No Agenda Show.".

Does this Dr. who claims to be the co-founder on CCHR know who he is affiliated with?http://www.youtube.KOM/watch?v=zQegsqYhuZE&feature=player_embedded#! I have emailed my favourite ex MTV presenter turned podcaster and brilliant truth seeker. But I doubt he will truly understand what I am saying here. One more reason I don't feel all alone anymore Tony O.

Stoic-1
Stoic-1

Just saw Grant Cardone on ABC news tonight. His flight out of JFK was hit a flock of birds and lost an engine. The pilot circled back and landed the plane safely. Cardone was making a video of his reaction to it as he's walking off the plane. Glad everyone is safe but why didn't GC use his OT Powers to communicate with the birds (Beastmaster style) and keep the incident from happening in the first place? Show us UR OT POWERZ GRANT!

Too Much
Too Much

"...we took over-the-top harassment out of their arsenal," Rathbun says. "I haven't seen a single thing since November.""

That is not true. When organized crime syndicates die, when deadly cults start to die off, the masters who run things get more and more violent, more deadly, more insane with every public stunt. Scientology and David Miscavage is far from over, they have plenty of breaths left to commit even worse atrocities and crimes.

Jim
Jim

God invented Scientologists so the Moslems would have someone to laugh at.  And vice versa.

Too Much
Too Much

"He was offering $2,000 a week. I'm like, 'hell yeah""

The guy is from Texas. It would seem that his Christanic Republicanism drives his ethics.

Too Much
Too Much

"Squirrel Busters" -- One of David Miscavage's most insane lunatic stunts ever -- at least those the insane dwarf made in public.

Deanblair06
Deanblair06

It is all good.  All of the attacks against the cult whether it is one individuals personal horror story or a movement like Anonymous.  Individuals in the media such as Tony Ortega of the Village Voice or the reporters Joe Childs and Thomas C. Tobin at the Tampa Bay Times have been crucial in uncovering the hidden goings on of the "Church" of Scientology.  The internet, the political leaders in Australia, Germany, and France, the blogs, the websites, the defectors who held high positions in the "Church" are all very helpful in bringing us the truth.  I thank God for all of it.  

The "Squirrel Busters" and all of the other capers orchestrated by the "Church" are helping us in ways that were unexpected.  It is amazing to me to see how far we have come in the past two years which was when I personally discovered the truth about Scientology and I would  like to thank each and every one of you.  

Scilonschools
Scilonschools

THe Cult really has lost it's way recently, 30 years ago they would have TonyO bought off by now,simply a  bad show!

Villagedianne
Villagedianne

In the 90's, online critics used to say that the the Internet was Scientology's Vietnam.  That is, a war they could not win.  And like Vietnam, it has taken a lot longer than anybody thought it would. The war was always gonna end tomorrow, then it would drag on and on for years. But now it truly looks like we Scientology watchers are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and the possibility of a real victory (unlike in Vietnam).

Sid
Sid

Whilst I accept that I would not want the Squirrel Busters hanging around my house, I'm not convinced that it had the same effect on Marty that it would on the average Joe.

Marty co-authored the book on harassment. He understood the context of what was happening to him, he understood who was doing it to him and why. He knew what they were hoping to achieve.

A large chunk of the people that Marty (and especially Mike) harassed and intimidated throughout the years had no such insight. They would not have understood why they lost their jobs, why their credit cards were suddenly canceled, why their flights were canceled, why the police visited to ask about strange allegations. Many were "shuddered into silence", they might even have been "ruined utterly".

Marty also understood that Miscavige was playing right into his hands. Here's Marty telling the world that he has left an abusive, violent lunatic asylum masquerading as a church and how does this church respond? By sending round the Squirrel Busters of course! That will sure show the world that Marty is delusional!

I felt much more concern for his wife Mosey, who would have been reliant on her husband to explain the madness to her.

I am pleased to see that Marty has started talking more openly about abuses carried out by the church during Hubbard's reign. The other day on his blog he spoke about Operation Snow White and avoided the usual bs about it all being down to Mary Sue Hubbard.

Astonishingly, judging by the comments on his blog, some Scientoligists still believe that Hubbard was justified in executing Snow White - yet the same people are highly critical of the Squirrel Busters. You can take people out of the cult, but you can't easily take the cult out of the people.

DodoTheLaser
DodoTheLaser

In reply to Garyb1088:

Unfortunately, the difference is not huge. Indies are free from the direct abuses.Yet the states of Clear and OT are still very questionable and rather laughable. I am sorry, but it seems to be very true. I feel betrayed. That's why I am Ex.

Garyb1088
Garyb1088

Tony, you have written some good stories about Scientology. However, I wish you would differentiate between Scientology (as laid out by L. Ron Hubbard) and the new corporate Scientology under David Miscavige. There is a HUGE difference and I think you need to take a closer look.

Quarkfire
Quarkfire

I still can't get over the Squirrel Busters. 

I'm not arrogant enough to say that I could never be sucked into a cult. Even one that would end up draining my bank account and disconnecting me from my friends. I can't even say for certain I wouldn't put up with a fair bit of getting slapped around by my so-called spiritual leader before finally deciding I'd had enough. 

However, the moment someone asked me to strap a camera to my head and harass people while wearing a t-shirt with a crudely photoshopped rodent on it--I would be so out of there. 

LoyalOfficer
LoyalOfficer

Not only did L. Ron save us from our own mocked up minds, he then (at great personal risk) discovered the alien soul infestation of our bodies and how to remove those pesky parasites.Just when I thought that L.Ron could not be any more awesome,I mean I get all tingly whenever I think of that astounding ginger, he saved us from a revolution by those ca-wazy physicists and that evil Richard Nixon. I thank God (I mean Nancy Cartwright) that a man liked him used his unrivaled intelligence and unbridled courage to save our puny existence on so many occasions. Hip Hip Hooray!!!! Hip Hip Hooray!!!!! Hip Hip Hooray!!!!!!  

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

The "Reply" is very popular on this article. Just sayin'.

Anon Nom Nom
Anon Nom Nom

Looks like scientology deleted the squirrel busters channel on youtube.  I guess they (finally) realized how nutty they looked in those videos.

Dean Fox
Dean Fox

Scientology as an idea will likely be around for a long time to come regardless of its merits.

If the church of scientology continues as it is it will likely qualify for a Darwin award in the not too distant future; it's both entertaining and sad to watch as it footbullets itself to death.

David Miscavige, save yourself by giving the billions of $ cash you amassed from member donations back to the members equally and fairly, letting the locals take title of the ideal orgs to run or dispose of as they wish and resigning as COB and turning yourself in to the RPF. It will do your thetan, lungs and liver the world of good.

Besides you will be coming back, with lessons learned you could always try to get it right next time, you just have to learn them the hard way this time.

media_lush
media_lush

Tony, regarding your normal Sunday Funnies and and your bonus "OT Phenomena" experiences people wrote about in Advance Magazine I think it would be cool if you could possibly post links to high quality scans of some of the loonier ones as they would make great material for Anons, or anyone really, to print out and hand out to people being shilled by the 'Are you depressed' crap they try and lure people with. The beauty of this is that you would actually be giving them copies of LRH's publications so it would be regarded as sacrilege (?) if the scions tried to destroy it. 

I wonder how many of them have ever seen high level OT's writing about meeting Indian Chiefs, moving clouds and all that crap.... would be fun to ask them.  They couldn't pretend to not know what you're talking about as hey, you see, it's written here......

CanuckXenu
CanuckXenu

There's a bit of new information on Narconon T-R here:

http://www.cbc.ZA/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/04/17/narconon-trois-rivieres.html

(Change ZA to CA)

Of note in this story:

*Four patients had to be taken to hospital in recent months

*Narconon fought back last night with a statement defending people's rights to "choose the program that works for them..." and blasted the government for not supporting more rehab choices

*Narconon said they are willing to make needed corrections

So it ain't over yet.

AnotherSP
AnotherSP

I love seeing the lies of L Ron Hubbard being exposed! He was down-right psychotic and his lies so prevalent. Thanks again VV for bringing more tears to my eyes --- from laughing so hard. Atomic pysicists wouldn't have wasted any time talking to the likes of Hubbard! They were too busy doing REAL research.

Theoracle
Theoracle

Leahy has more integrity than the executives of Scn Inc  and the OT's sent down there to launch the worse OUT public relations campaign in history.  They even scammed Leahy with a pure sense of entitlement. All the while trying to drive home the point that Marty was out ethics.  That is as ass backwards as it gets.  Total confusion.  Complete sense of entitlement to torture and scam, criminal minds.  All the while imagining themselves as the "white hats".  

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

David Miscavige will always have a endless supply of useless unethical idiots doing his dirty work solely for the benefit of his own power and control. Once the money dries up he's screwed.

Scientology's master plan of global enslavement is no longer a secret due to the internet. It must really piss them off that the internet has no eraser, so they aren't able to hide their crimes anymore. Hahaha!

What's funny is they started this so-called war to secure a brutal monopoly over the plant's future. It is the beginning of the end for them because Anons and critics aren't going to go away, so David Miscavige, scientologists and OSA better face up to it the world is pissed off at you and they're not going to take your corruption any longer, you lose.

In order to secure our own continued existence as a free race on this planet we have to continue exposing them for what they are, corrupt, money grubbing, lying terrorists.

I'm glad Berth Leahy left before getting deeper into scientology's illusory gold bubble of the false "Way To Happiness," good for him.

Kim O'Brien
Kim O'Brien

I think scientology is a zit that is about ready to pop ...

media_lush
media_lush

My "Waterloo" moment was watching respected BBC journalist John Sweeney's Panorama special back in 2007. Whilst the main thing most people remember was the shout-off with Tommy Davis the thing that really stuck in my craw was footage from someone who had left the 'church' and was using his camera to demonstrate the harassment he was getting... one of their harassment goons shouted out something along the lines of 'what's it feel like to abuse children?".... this was on a public street! Wow, my hackles rose and I would have to say that was the moment that this cult really got my attention for the worse. 

Sweeney did a follow up piece in 2010 where he talked to Mike Rinder. I reckon now would be the perfect time to do a second follow up and I think he would make a great interviewee for you Tony. I'll try and track down his contact details and suggest this to him.

Going off on a tangent here I thought I would mention my Tom Cruise meeting...., well it wasn't a meeting as such but he did bump into me (geez, he is so small) in a nightclub called Nells in New York in the mid to late 80's. Now this was just after his massive hit Top Gun, what I found strange looking back retrospectively, was that he was alone, in fact he seemed a slightly forlorn figure all by himself [Prime Target?].

How the hell he turned into the self-confident/deluded loon he is now is quite staggering. 

TonyOrtega
TonyOrtega

For the first time, I have asked the IT department to block someone from our comments. I have been loathe to do that, because I believe in the messiness of free expression, and this commenting community in particular has been amazingly smart and on point, even with many disagreements. However, in recent days someone using at least three different accounts -- but all from the same IP address in Southern California -- has posted offensive, untrue statements of fact about David Miscavige that are very suspicious. I have been removing these comments, and now that it's clear the person is merely switching accounts to leave the same offensive material, I've decided that person has given up the privilege to join us in this discussion.

TonyOrtega
TonyOrtega

I don't often look at the comments over at Rathbun's blog, but there's such a doozy there today that I just had to point it out. We used to have "Margaret" around here to rabidly attack anyone who dared suggest that L. Ron Hubbard ever fibbed in the least about anything he ever said about himself. Well, now she's turning herself into a pretzel trying to justify Hubbard's wild tall tale about shutting down an atomic scientist rebellion in November 1945. It's really something to behold.

AnonKeeScott
AnonKeeScott

The beginning of the end of Scientology was marked when Hubbard raped several women (as reported by Bent Corydon and others), with David Miscavige following in his footsteps raping and assaulting men in the SO. It's a downward spiral since then and Scientology is as dead as Hubbard's rotting corpse.

Jonathon Barbera
Jonathon Barbera

Marty Rathbun has the reputation for being a sleazeball.

Bert Leahy demonstrated integrity and decency when he met with Marty Rathbun to confess and apologize. You will note that Marty Rathbun owes many former church members similar confessions and apologizes for his numerous crimes against them.

Marty won't confess to or apologize for much of anything because first and foremost he doesn't believe he ever did anything "wrong" while he was working for the Church of Scientology. If this guy (who has the reputation for being a violent sleazeball) doesn't recognize his own behavior as being inappropriate, how will anyone expect the church and its brainwashed cult followers to reform themselves?

Marty Rathbun himself really represents the end of Scientology. He has abandoned ethics in favor of making a quick buck off the misery of others. He laughs at the church's failures to expand while his own operation remains stagnant and small. People recognize this, right?

RadioPaul1
RadioPaul1

What does it say about Scientology that they did not have enough people in the area that they had to hire Burt to begin with? 8 million members and they had to hire help from the outside? 

Barbara Snow
Barbara Snow

I love-love-love the Squirrel Busters.  I don't see Marty Rathbun as an innocent party in this because he was willing to do this type of thing to others.  But the Squirrel Busters themselves were so ridiculous, so stupid, so obnoxious ... so EVERYTHING that is Scientology.  Putting all those video's on the internet for all to see is priceless.   You couldn't pay anyone to better poke fun at the "church".   

Sue
Sue

Tony please clone yourself and go kick butt at ABC and NBC!!!!!

California
California

The Jan./Feb. 2008 Anonymous/Chanology "Tom Cruise viral videos," published internationally on YouTube, were when many people were first engaged by the comic lunacy of Tom Cruise and then began to use the Internet to delve deeper into the SCN story.  Although the "Tom Cruise viral videos" were mostly of him from the 2004 English gathering, they were still topical in terms of SCN nonsense.  And each one contained a snippet of SCN's involvement with American public education.

That was when it all began to go downhill for SCN in terms of the general public. IMO. 

Rick Astley's "Never Going to Give You Up" became an anonymous meme and was even featured, with Rick, on the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Parade float.... talk about international, general public exposure for Anonymous and of SCN , especially for the younger generation, who started wondering what was going on.  The world-wide raids on the orgs commenced then, as well. 

Ivy Mapother
Ivy Mapother

For his partial weeks' work, was Bert Leahy paid in cash or with a check? Did he receive a 1099 and if so, from whom? And how about Squirrel Buster, Bart Parr, is that $100,000 plus a W-2 income or is he another independent contractor? Did Bart list "Squirrel Buster" as his occupation on his tax return? There's an IRS red flag if I've ever seen one.

N. Graham
N. Graham

While it's VERY gratifying to see Scio going down the tubes, there is still a part of me that fears the thought of no Scientology-nobody can make things up like them.  The Nuclear Physicists story is a good example.  I am getting hooked on this crazy entertainment!  What am I going to when Scio goes belly-up?  I guess I could re-read old stuff or maybe some guard will sneak out videos of Davey and his boyfriend/master in prison and post them on YouTube, but it just won't be the same!

xenubarb
xenubarb

One could mark the beginning of the end by the Time Magazine expose in 1991, but the impact was not as great as the South Park 'Trapped in the Closet' episode.

I literally dropped my jaw at the teaser, "Stan fails a free personality test."Could it be?We couldn't wait and then...IT WAS!!! OMG with OTIII and everything!

That was definitely the beginning of the end.

Rumpelstiltskin
Rumpelstiltskin

Tony, don't forget your mate down under. He has already run a report on NarCONon here and Mr Love's victory may be of interest

Rolotomasii
Rolotomasii

In the words of South Park, this fruity little club is on its way out.  Although completely unscientific, for shits and giggles I looked at how many people "like" Scientology on Facebook compared to other religions.  The number of "likes" for the CO$ is somewhere around 4500, while Christianity has 1.2 million "likes", Catholicism has approx 550,000 "likes" , Islam has in excess of 800,000 "likes", what is titled the Jewish religion has approx. 55,000 "likes", Buddhism has almost 16,000 "likes", heck even Shinto has almost 6,000 "likes".

Another unscientific measurement of any belief structure is how many people you encounter in your daily life that adhere to a particular belief.   I take my office of approx 150 people.  Of those, I know and work with Jews, Christians, Muslims, non-believers, straight people, gay people, Democrats and Republicans plus 1 guy who is probably a member of the Green Party. The point of this admittedly unscientific survey and using my office as a baseline, which is located in a semi-urban area and is very mixed racially and ethnically, there is not one Scientologist.  Those who have heard of the CO$ have either heard of it via Tom Cruise entertainment news or encountered references of it in popular culture and thought it to be a little weird.  

How many CO$ "churches" are there?  One in New York City?  None that I am aware of in New Jersey.  Maybe one in Philadelphia?  And this group is spreading?  It simply is not increasing in membership or influence in any appreciable fashion.  I know the independent scientologists will place the blame on the current corporate structure of their faith, but are the independent ranks increasing from any source other than disaffected former members who still believe in the "tech" running from Miscavige's regime?  The answer is plainly no. 

    

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

There is no way an unsuspecting wog would grasp the criminal insanity of Satanology in one week... that Leahy realized that something was wrong after the first week is to his credit... that he quit is to his credit... that he went online and researched the background of what he was involved in.. is to his credit.. that he actually had the INTEGRITY to contact Marty and apologize IN PERSON... and then agreed to make a statement while being filmed in Marty's Home and then answer very specific questions by Marty while being filmed is Way Beyond what most people would do... and Head and Shoulders above all Scientologists that are and continue to participate in the Criminal Corporation of Satanology.

California
California

The beginning of the end of SCN as a political force (by-n-large supporting Republican aims) was in 2005 with the exposure of their infiltration into public education, under the team of Sec'y of Education Rod Paige and his SCN Chief of Staff John Danielson.  (They formed the Chartwell Educational Group, an influence peddling firm, upon exiting the federal dept. of ed.) 

They left under a cloud caused by the San Francisco Chronicle 12-articles on Narconon Drug Education being taught (for free!) in California public and charter schools and the examination of the program by the California Department of Education which refused to recommend it for public and charter education in 2004-2005.  [Both Mike and Marty were still in SCN but few know how active they were in creating and implementing this failed infiltration of public education in the late 1990's and early-mid 2000's.]  The 2004 coverage of SCN Narconon Drug Education in public and charter ed was international and in Jan., 2007 the Sunday Times did their own expose of what was happening in England with Narconon Drug Education and education.Side-by-side with this was Applied Scholastics becoming part of the now almost defunct NCLB Title 1 Supplemental Educational Services (SES) program where the "tutors" for students at "failing" schools were receiving between $30 to $80 per hour per student, at non-district-supervised off-grounds sites.  SCN/AS was part of the pack of many "faith-based" and secular groups who received the monies and the outrage by teachers, administrators and policy makers led to the tightening of accountability for the groups doing the "tutoring."  Three academic studies of the SES program published in 2005/2006 found it to be hyper-expensive and useless in helping the students.  References available.And Narconon rehab programs were shut down in Newport Beach and stopped from starting in Leona Valley, CA in 2005-2006-2007, although IMO, the latter was an effort to establish another version of the HOLE in that remote rural site.  The aerial view of the buildings (formerly used to hold recalcitrant SCN kids) were identical to a RPF site.Currently, SCN and Nation of Islam were just stopped from siphoning tax-payer monies from a charter school in Florida into their own coffers. The school has discarded "Study Tech" and the children are being taught Florida state curriculum.  It will close in June.And, yes, almost everyone involved received retaliation at the hands of SCN but there was, deliberately, little or no publicity by the choice of the activists/professionals involved.  The focus was on the issue, not the years-long (in some cases) retaliation.Since both Mike and Marty created and engaged in similar retaliation tactics during their years in SCN, it would be great for them to come forward (privately or publicly), acknowledge what was done by whom to whom and get information to the targets and the authorities so that compensation could be made to the targets.The SCN edifice. which Mike and Marty helped build, has been shaky for years.  I do not see the Texas retaliation against Marty as being as significant as Marty would like it to be perceived.  Just same-o/same-o DM/MR/MR of what was done to SCN's many targets for decades.

Each of us who became activists have had roles to play, some public/some private, and each successful endeavor chipped away at SCN.

Chocolate Velvet
Chocolate Velvet

No question, it has been a productive year on the scientology-watching front. You deserve a party, Tony O! Or a bottle of fine aged single-malt. :)

I think the squirrelbusters are an indicator of what a conundrum Rathbun represents to them. They couldn't go the usual route when he blew, and drop tort bombs on him until he crawled in a hole. I am sure DM knew if he took Rathbun to court, he would sing like a bird, on the record - just as Debbie Cook did. Marty knows so much, that is something COS clearly wants to avoid. So, how to smite the SP, without stirring up a hornet's nest?

It says a lot about the state of affairs in the COS that this squirrelbusters thing was the best they could come up with. How lame is that? I know it was a miserable time for the targets of the harassment, but as others have pointed out, it was nothing compared to what COS has done in the past. A pitiful attempt to provoke Rathbun into acting out on camera - like a 60 Minutes ambush story or something. What did they get? Marty turns a hose on them, and Marty knocks a guy's glasses off. They try to use the footage of Angry Marty to paint him as a "violent psychopath". DM can giggle with glee at the websites made just for him, about the "evil SP".

But what did it cost them? The exposure that has spun out from this "handling" has been like the fabled iceberg and Titanic - creating pressure on the entire structure that will ultimately sink it. I imagine the mere threat of major network coverage of this situation is driving DM to make further mistakes. It also seems as if the COS legal strategy in the Cook case is mostly about keeping Rathbun out of it. A defensive posture is a weak one, and the COS is on the defensive because of the increasing scrutiny of their actions. The squirrelbusters were gasoline on the funeral pyre of scientology, no doubt.

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