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Thanks for the slick videos, Marty Rathbun. Here’s a not very slick one for you.

As we write this, Marty Rathbun has put out three segments of a video that he shot recently with professional help. He says in these videos that he is going to expose the “anti-Scientology cult” that uses Lawrence Wright’s book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief as its “bible.”

It’s truly fascinating, we’re sure. But as Rathbun emerges after months of silence, he’s avoiding a particularly important question that we’d like to see him answer.

We’re letting Dani Lemberger himself ask that question, from the old harbor at Caesarea, the Roman port built by Herod the Great which today is a charming place in Israel to have a glass of wine and catch up with old friends. Here’s Dani’s question, asked in our very unprofessional, not shot by Golden Era Productions video. (Sorry for the wind noise.)




Your proprietor: What question would you like to ask Marty Rathbun?

Dani Lemberger: Marty Rathbun, you gave my email to you to the Church of Scientology. Why did you do that? It didn’t damage me, it didn’t hurt me, but I’m curious to know why you gave the church my email.

Your proprietor: And that’s the question we’d really like him to answer.

Dani: Yes.

Rathbun, in his first couple of video segments, has been criticizing Lawrence Wright for some inaccuracies in Going Clear. As an author, we can tell you that errors happen, and we do our best to keep them out. If Larry Wright let a few through, it certainly didn’t take away from what was one of the most significant books published in this genre.

But the question we’re asking Marty Rathbun is far more important than a few gaffes in Going Clear. The question we’re asking goes to Marty Rathbun’s very credibility.

Why did he hand over a potentially damaging private email written by Dani Lemberger to the very Scientology attorney who would then use that email in litigation against Dani?

We’ll review the situation for those readers who missed our earlier story.

If you’ve seen our detailed summary of Rathbun’s blog over the years, you know that from about 2010 to 2012, he was the centerpoint of a movement. People who were leaving the Church of Scientology over their dissatisfaction with its leader David Miscavige were flocking to Rathbun’s website and to his home in Texas — particularly those who still had an affinity for the ideas of L. Ron Hubbard.

In 2012, an entire mission in Haifa, Israel, led by Dani and Tami Lemberger, split away from Miscavige and the church, and the Lembergers made a pilgrimage to Texas to meet with Rathbun. They spent six days there, and then we interviewed Dani on his way back home.

Since then, Rathbun’s blog went through significant changes. He increasingly criticized Hubbard, which turned off many “independent Scientologists,” and at one point he and Lemberger clashed over the formation of a stringent pro-Hubbard online group. Dani tells us that flare up was temporary, and he never considered it the end of his friendship with Rathbun.

In the last couple of years, however, Rathbun increasingly cut off ties with many of the former Scientologists he had associated with. By 2016, his website no longer had any criticism for David Miscavige, but instead Rathbun attacked people like former church members Ron Miscavige Sr. and Karen de la Carriere, filmmaker Louis Theroux, and this website.

A few of his remaining supporters applauded Rathbun, saying that he was taking a “middle path,” and that he was rooting out extremism on both sides of the Scientology debate.

While that didn’t make a lot of sense, it didn’t begin to explain what happened next.

In a Tel Aviv courtroom earlier this year, a trial was being heard in regards to a lawsuit filed by Dani Lemberger against the Church of Scientology for harassing him after he had announced the independence of his mission, the Dror Center in Haifa.

At one point, with Dani on the witness stand, Scientology’s local attorney, a partner with a prestigious law firm in Tel Aviv, Mattan Ben Shaul, said this, according to a transcript of the hearing we obtained:

I am telling you that I contacted Marty Rathbun, that enemy of Scientology that you visited in 2012. And I received from him an email that you sent him in 2013. Please confirm that you sent an email to Marty in April 2013? I will read to you what you said about Mr. Hubbard. Admitted into evidence as N33.

Dani confirmed to the attorney in court that day, and he confirmed to us, that the email Ben Shaul showed him in court that day was one he had written in private to Marty Rathbun. It contained a reference to Dani’s auditing, during which Dani admitted he’d imagined what it would be like to shoot David Miscavige in the head.

Dani tells us he was joking, but in the hands of a Scientology attorney, such an email could be very damaging in court. Dani was shocked that Rathbun had turned it over to the church for its use in the litigation.

“My email is my private email and I don’t know if he [Marty Rathbun] was allowed to give it to you, without my consent. But the fact is that he gave it to you,” Dani said on the witness stand.

Today, some five months later, Dani is still stunned that Rathbun would turn over such a potentially damaging email to the church to use against him. (As he pointed out in our video, the email turned out not to do him harm as the judge largely ignored it, and Dani and the church ultimately came to a settlement.)

How, we wonder, does helping out the Church of Scientology in its litigation against a former member fit with exploring a “middle path”? And what does it say about Rathbun that he would deliver such an email to the very church that he once railed against on his website?

Before we consider anything Rathbun has to say, shouldn’t he answer this question that casts his integrity in such doubt?

What about it, Marty? Is the “anti-Scientology cult” so important that you couldn’t answer this question first?



In the meantime, here’s the third segment of Rathbun’s video, in which we learn that Larry Wright is a fame whore, L. Ron Hubbard’s lectures were criminally overlooked, Paul Haggis is a liar, and that if you endorse the crackpot who suggested we are infested with invisible alien souls, for some reason you aren’t taken seriously. Enjoy.



Tom Cruise gets mummified by the NY Post

Oh, Tom. Five years ago, we warned you this day was coming.

We think Tom Cruise is a fine actor, and he’s still major money in Hollywood. But now that he’s in a turkey of a movie, The Mummy, the Hollywood press is pouncing.

Maureen Callahan at the NY Post has assembled a lot of the great reporting by Maureen Orth and others over the years to produce an unrelenting indictment of Cruise and his relationship to the Church of Scientology.

Callahan is right: Why don’t reporters ask Cruise about this stuff? And we’d add one question that she left out: How can Cruise simply abandon his daughter, reportedly because Suri is attached to her Scientology-defying mother?

How does Cruise get a pass?

Maybe it’s taken a bad movie to make him less than untouchable.



Wow, we’re getting close to the start of HowdyCon 2017 in Denver. And we had a slight change in logistics from our caterer for our dinner on Saturday night, June 24. If you plan to go, make sure you have confirmed with Kim O’Brien, our coordinator, and visit our HowdyCon website where she has instructions for how you can pay for the dinner fee that night. You need to do that right away to make sure you’ll be included in the Saturday night festivities, which include:

— London-based Australian journalist Steve Cannane talking about his book Fair Game
— A spoken-word performance from former Sea Org official Claire Headley
— Cathy Schenkelberg performing for us scenes from her one-woman show, “Squeeze My Cans”

You don’t want to miss out, so please visit the convention page and get in contact with Kim.

HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25 at the Residence Inn Denver City Center. Go here to start making your plans.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,776 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,533 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,879 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,373 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,413 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,125 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 651 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,740 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,880 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,200 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,175 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 531 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,833 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 940 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,342 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,215 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 796 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,301 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,545 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,654 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on June 9, 2017 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes 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 book, 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 about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten 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 | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


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