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Scientology litigation update: The Garcias respond, and the NAFC plays hardball

Squirrel Busters Ed Bryan and Joanne Wheaton on a boat in a 2011 video we'd like to see again

Squirrel Busters Ed Bryan and Joanne Wheaton on a boat in a 2011 video we’d like to see again

We’re trying to stay on top of a lot of different litigation involving the Church of Scientology that’s happening around the country. We’re fortunate to have numerous tipsters and legal experts who help keep us up on what’s going on.

Let’s start with the federal fraud lawsuit in Tampa filed by Luis and Rocio Garcia. You’ll remember that the Garcias survived a daunting challenge to their lawsuit and its “diversity jurisdiction.” They dropped three defendants in order to get around an objection by Scientology, but then the church accused the Garcias of cutting corners in order to make that change.

Now, the Garcias have answered that accusation in a succinct filing — but did so a day late, and have asked Judge James D. Whittemore to excuse their tardiness. Yikes. We’ll see what happens.

 
Now moving to Monique Rathbun’s harassment lawsuit in Texas against Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige. We discovered that in our previous postings of the various appeal briefs filed by the defendants, we overlooked one, by Ed Bryan. And he’s not someone we want to overlook.

Bryan is an OT 8 and was one of the “Squirrel Busters” who surveilled the Rathbuns and demonstrated outside their south Texas home in 2011. At one point, the Squirrel Busters even filmed the Rathbuns from a paddle-boat in the canal behind their home, and looked pretty ridiculous doing it. Once images of them in the boat showed up at Marty Rathbun’s blog and at the Village Voice, the Squirrel Busters then responded with a comedic comeback — a parody of the SNL skit “I’m On a Boat,” starring Ed Bryan jumping around on someone’s yacht. (Sadly, that video seems to have disappeared from YouTube.) Bryan then left Texas to harass former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder at a trade show in Miami and got arrested.

But Bryan’s most important role — at least for Monique Rathbun’s lawsuit — was that he wrote an e-mail which Monique’s side obtained, and it shows Bryan talking about the Squirrel Busters operation in terms that made it plain it was a church operation to “take down” Marty Rathbun. That e-mail helped convince Comal County Judge Waldrip that Scientology leader David Miscavige should be deposed on a question of jurisdiction, and that Scientology was a business protecting its turf when it hassled the Rathbuns — a key part of Waldrip’s decision to deny Scientology’s ‘anti-SLAPP’ motion. But now Miscavige is appealing that order to be deposed, and Scientology is appealing the decision about the anti-SLAPP motion. We expect a decision from the Texas Third Court of Appeals about Miscavige’s deposition at any time, and we expect to see Monique’s response to Scientology’s anti-SLAPP appeal next week. In the meantime, here’s Ed Bryan’s appeal brief, which we forgot to post earlier.

 
Now we turn to the massive lawsuit filed against Scientology and its drug rehab network, Narconon, by the National Association of Forensic Counselors. As we pointed out earlier, some of the defendants are being represented by attorneys in Tulsa, other defendants are filing “special appearances” to challenge the Oklahoma federal court’s jurisdiction over them, and some, like Scientology leader David Miscavige, haven’t been served at all.

But there’s an early drama developing over one defendant in particular, and it got a lot more interesting this week.

David Lee is co-founder of Intervention Services and Technologies, Inc., and in his motion to dismiss, he said that Intervention Services is an Indiana corporation and his contact with Oklahoma was minimal. We also pointed out that Lee has become known as a significant Narconon whistleblower, posting at sites such as Reaching for the Tipping Point about his change of heart about Narconon’s deceptive practices.

Now, the NAFC has answered Lee’s motion, and they’ve hit back hard. It turns out that on May 20, just days after the NAFC initially filed its lawsuit, Lee sent a lengthy e-mail to the NAFC’s attorneys, explaining his extensive involvement with Scientology and Narconon, but pointing out that he had become a major critic.

In the e-mail, Lee describes exactly what NAFC is trying to prove in this lawsuit, that people involved with Narconon obtained NAFC certifications in less than honest ways.

Since then, he explains, he’s gone on to become an energetic critic of Scientology’s rehab network.

I posted…to the Reaching for the Tipping Point website in January of 2013…I spoke with several attorneys, including Gary Richardson, to offer any help in regards to the Arrowhead case, also Jeffrey Ray…and I have been in communication with two attorneys in regards to a wrongful death lawsuit and the Richard Teague case in Michigan…I’ve been in contact with and referred people to Detective (now Chief) Blocker of the Battle Creek Police Department to investigate fraud and other dealings…Since then I’ve had overt threats of being sued by Per Wickstrom, as well as whispers in the Narconon world from former contacts that I was drawing a lot of attention. At the time, the Squirrel Busters case was amping up, and we had concerns about repercussions, Fair Game tactics, and others. I made a promise to my fiancĂ©e at the time that I would shift to a more anonymous form of helping. We installed a security system with 5 cameras, armed ourselves just in case as there are reports of animal poisonings, and I purchased just about every variation of whoisdavidlee.com, to prevent Scientology from purchasing the URLs and anonymously posting details from my personal client records while a student at Narconon.

I then created (with Ethercat and Mary [McConell’s] permission) another username on Reaching for the Tipping Point, that is my anonymous username. The username is ‘Source.’ I have since made over 160 postings…I created another identity named ‘seology’ for the Narconon Reviews website and created a 10-part series call The Rise and Fall of the Narconon Marketing Empire, that details much of the history of Narconon’s marketing practices.

I donated almost $1,000 (not sure the exact amount) so that we could get the last 2 years attorney generals complaints in Michigan against the Scientology entities there. Ann (Ethercat) and Mefree just got them a couple of weeks ago and are digitizing them and should be posting them soon.

The NAFC however, submitted Lee’s e-mail as an exhibit to its response to his motion to dismiss, and used the information in it to point out that he admitted to being a part of Scientology’s conspiracy to misuse the NAFC’s logo and certifications.

“Defendant David Lee was added to the Complaint by virtue of his direct involvement in the violations and participation in the civil conspiracy. As alleged in the Complaint, David Lee and [Intervention Specialists] are interventionists that operate websites and companies for the purposes of referring treatment to Narconon Treatment Centers in exchange for a referral fee…He and Intervention Services were the biggest provider of interventions for every Narconon in North America.”

The NAFC, in other words, is playing hardball.

Here’s the e-mail, posted as an exhibit in the lawsuit…
 

NAFC v. Scientology: David Lee Email

 
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Jon_AtackJon Atack tears apart Scientology’s appeal to academics

Our man in Paris, Jonny Jacobsen, keeps up his series on Scientology and the academics with a dynamite piece featuring our old friend and Bunker contributor Jon Atack.

Jacobsen asked Atack to annotate a recent presentation given by Eric Roux, Scientology’s attorney and key figure in Europe. And Atack really delivers. Drawing on his deep knowledge as author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the best histories of the church ever written, Atack easily tears apart Roux’s happy hagiography of Scientology’s development since the 1970s.

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on July 2, 2014 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN (Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING (Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer

 

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