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Paul Haggis: Marty Rathbun is using private info I gave him against Lawrence Wright

In the latest video that Mark “Marty” Rathbun posted to his website as part of his general attack on Lawrence Wright and his 2013 book Going Clear, Rathbun calls Wright’s book a “phony narrative,” and accuses Wright of deceiving readers about the way that director Paul Haggis came to investigate and leave the Church of Scientology. Rathbun claims that he deserves credit for putting Haggis on that path, which is left out of the book.

Paul Haggis tells us that Rathbun is right about that, and Rathbun does deserve credit — but that it was Paul’s own decision to keep that from Wright.

Last night, we described to Haggis what Rathbun had said in his latest video (“Going Clear, Part 15”), about Wright omitting Rathbun’s role, and a claim about Haggis asking Rathbun to hold back something about his daughters.

Haggis then sent us this message, his first public statement about Rathbun’s accusations.



I am afraid I have been busy working on a new feature documentary and haven’t watched Marty’s videos, but from what you say, Marty is likely telling a truth. At the time of Larry’s article and book I withheld the fact that Marty had reached out to me by email. I had already started questioning a lot of things about Scientology — had my confrontation with Tommy Davis about Prop 8, the church’s hidden policy of encouraging homophobia, had found Tommy Davis lying online about the policy of disconnection, and was feeling I would have to resign. And at that time I received an anonymous email that directed me to take a look at the St. Petersburg Times article. I did, was horrified by what I read, and responded to the email — which turned out to have been sent by Marty, at the suggestion of Jason Beghe. I did not know Marty at the time, and to the best of my knowledge had never met him, but I knew and liked Jason, having worked with him a few years before. Shortly after that, I had breakfast with Jason and he directed me to someone else he thought I should meet.

I withheld that information from Larry Wright. I had already decided to speak my mind and take what came, but I did not want Marty or Jason to get into even more trouble for helping me. Marty was being followed by private detectives and Jason was already under fire from the Church; they’d sent PI’s to harass and bait him, and he was tied up in a criminal case and struggling to get work, and was worried about losing his house. I appreciated his help, and Marty’s, and did not wish to give Scientology any more fuel to attack them.

I should add that I had a number of really good and helpful conversations with Marty during the months I was researching and writing my 2009 letter of resignation. He was very supportive and I considered him a friend. I always felt that if he wanted his role in my resignation made public, if he wanted to take that heat, he would do it himself.

Since that time I have talked about this, assuming that the secret no longer need be kept, and thanked Marty and Jason for opening my eyes. In fact I sent Marty a note to this effect just a month ago, though did not receive a reply. I will be forever grateful to both of them, and anything Marty says now will not change my mind.

Before Marty published my resignation letter on his blog, I sent him an edited version, deleting about a page, which involved something personal that my daughters would not want to have shared with the world — not about them personally, but about a friend and Scientologist who said some cruel things about them. They wanted to protect their former friend, despite her despicable behavior: that’s my daughters and I’m very proud of them. Marty agreed. And later I called him and asked him not to reveal the deleted portion to Larry Wright, to honor my daughters’ wishes for privacy. Perhaps that’s what he is referring to now; it’s all I can think of.

I similarly did not tell Larry Wright the names of five other people with whom I spoke as I did my research, people who helped me see the cruel truths about this organization and how it functions. These people were all afraid of the Church’s wrath should their role be disclosed. Some would have faced disconnection, one would lose a father, one would have lost a job, and all of them would certainly have been harassed. Three of those people I even kept secret from Marty and Jason. While my request to keep my daughters out of it was certainly personal, to the rest I felt I owed my silence. When threatened by the phalanx of officials from the church who came to my office, I similarly did not reveal Marty and Jason’s name, or any of the names of others who had been so helpful.

I am concerned about Marty. I have no idea why he would seek to discredit people he respected — like Mike Rinder, yourself, or Larry Wright — or in my case, someone he helped. I won’t speculate as to his motives. I wish him well. He has my eternal gratitude.

— Paul

Previously, we had shown that Rathbun has accused Wright of inventing material or lying about facts in his book, when it was easy to find the original source material that Wright was relying on. In this case, Rathbun again accuses Wright of dishonesty, and it turns out that Wright had left something out of his book because Paul Haggis had not told him about it. Lawrence Wright is a Pulitzer Prize winning author and investigative reporter, but he’s not a mind reader.

Thank you, Paul, for speaking up. Like you, we’re puzzled as to why Rathbun is trying so hard (and so ineffectively) to discredit people like you and Lawrence Wright.

UPDATE: Rathbun has posted another video (“Going Clear, Part 16”), and it continues the accusation that Wright, describing Beghe’s involvement, is being deceptive about what Haggis knew of Beghe’s status as a defector. As Haggis pointed out in his statement above, he held back that knowledge from Wright because he feared that Scientology would use it to further harass Beghe. Instead of focusing on that — the very real bullying going on by the church — Rathbun continues to accuse Wright of being deceptive about matters he was unaware of. [End of update.]

Meanwhile, in another video (“Going Clear, Part 14”), Rathbun attempted to smear two more people that we’ve written about in the past, attorney Graham Berry and his one-time client, former Scientologist Michael Pattinson.


We asked Graham Berry if he had any comment about Rathbun’s video, and boy, did he…

I have listened to Marty Rathbun’s “Going Clear, Part 14” with utter bemusement, and some disappointment. Bemusement because Marty mistakes and conflates different events. Disappointment because I had considered Marty to be a good acquaintance. In 2011 I had spent five very enjoyable days in Hamburg, Germany with Marty, his lovely wife Monique, Ursula Caberta, and others. Over one meal I asked Marty to talk about circumstances of the IRS’s sudden U-turn and granting of tax exempt status to Scientology in 1993; only a few years after the IRS had totally defeated the church in Hernandez v. Commissioner (1989), where the US Supreme Court had held that “payments made to the [Churches of Scientology] for auditing and training services are not deductible charitable contributions” for income tax purposes. The subsequent IRS tax settlement agreement with Scientology reversed that holding. Marty declined to discuss the matter at all. He said, “Watch Primary Colors. That answers the question.” Anyone care to explain? [Well, we have a guess, Graham. — Ed.]

Marty has singled out Michael Pattinson’s case for seemingly homophobic ridicule and attack in an OSA-like attack. In fact, the Pattinson v. Scientology case was filed in mid-1998 at a time when OSA’s “Fair Game” activities against me were reaching their zenith. Some of those operations were run through Karen de la Carriere, who has since left the church and become a very kind, generous and dear friend. However, Marty Rathbun has declined to provide me information as to his knowledge of the church’s activities against me even though he was David Miscavige’s deputy. “Ask Mike Rinder,” he wrote most recently. In an article entitled “Double Crossed,” Tony Ortega detailed in 1999 what he described as “one of the most hellacious cases of fair game in recent years, the smearing of attorney Graham Berry.”

Before filing the Pattinson case, I had been litigating against the Church of Scientology in a number of matters. For example, the Joseph A. Yanny cases (against the church’s former lead trial attorney), the Fishman & Geertz case (in connection with the 1991 TIME magazine cover story), the Henson I and II cases, the Factnet case, the Jason Scott case, the motion to reopen the L. Ron Hubbard Probate case, and other matters. I was extremely empathetic to the plight of former Scientologists under attack from their former church and had chosen to resign as a capital partner from Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith, and then Musick, Peeler & Garrett, in order to continue this work after each of those firms were finally spooked by unrelenting harassment and intimidation by OSA. I was under 24/7 surveillance and stalking by OSA operatives wherever I was or went in the world. The church, through its attorneys and other stooges, had filed at least nine unsuccessful state bar complaints against me. “Dead Agent Packs” were being distributed around the world.

In early 1998 I had finally located the most scurrilous defamer, Robert Cipriano, and I filed suit in an effort to obtain a retraction from him, which he ultimately gave me after he finally broke free from the church’s corrupt clutches. Two months later Michael Pattinson came to me with a horrifying story of abuse and betrayal that is detailed in the first and third amended complaints. A number of lawyers had given the thumbs up to this lawsuit being right on the money with its allegations and causes of action.

The church responded by escalating their Fair Game activities against both Pattinson and myself, and bringing in lawyers from two New York law firms, a Washington DC law firm, and a number of Los Angeles law firms. In particular, attorney Moxon (who had also been named as a defendant) located a Scientology Sea Organization member in Copenhagen. Moxon then filed the case of Michel Reveillere v. Michael Pattinson alleging no-payment of a promissory note for a loan made when both were church members in Paris. Pattinson was unable to effectively deny liability and Moxon took a quick judgment against Pattinson which he then proceeded to execute upon. Pattinson was forced to declare bankruptcy in an effort to avoid Reveillere and Moxon, as a judgment creditor, interfering in Pattinson’s case against his former church.

Simultaneously, the church was endeavoring to dismiss the Pattinson case and was seeking sanctions against me for having named Moxon as a defendant (which did not prevent him from serving as an attorney in the case). Eventually the church’s efforts were successful. New York attorney Samuel D. Rosen, Esq. of the giant Paul Hasting’s law firm obtained sanctions against me for Moxon’s attorneys fees (which were paid of course by the church) in the amount of nearly $30,000 (including the cost of his frequent first class airfares and five star hotel accommodations which the court deemed “reasonable”). It was one of the factors that drove me into a bankruptcy.

Marty Rathbun is wrong about the vexatious litigant ruling. The church accomplished this in the Berry v. Cipriano case where the church’s vexatious litigant motion was not only lacking in factual and legal merit (which the judge conceded) but was a proceeding described by a number of observers as a “kangaroo court.” That saga is another tale.

Marty is also wrong about President Clinton being a defendant in the Pattinson case where an injunction was sought to restrain the government from engaging in constitutional and other violations in connection with the Scientology-IRS secret tax settlement agreement (e.g. assisting the church in obtaining tax exempt status in other nations, avoiding Interpol action, and granting tax relief for commercial activities, etc.). The Clinton administration was named solely as a “relief defendant” in connection with the request for an injunction. Curiously, a little later, when engaged in a short conversation with then First Lady Clinton about my work against Scientology, she commented “I’m pleased you are on our side!”

In 2011 and subsequently, I thought Marty was well on the road to recovery from his Scientology experience and abuse. However, in making the attacks and comments in his series of videos on Lawrence Wright and Going Clear, Marty appears to be reverting to the cult’s agenda, talking points, and revisionism. It’s sad but if true he would not be the first person that the cult has managed to flip, sometimes as part of a confidential settlement.


Smile, Clay Irwin, you’re on creepy camera!

Clearwater, Florida tavernkeeper Clay Irwin messaged us a couple of photos yesterday, asking us if he should be concerned.

He explained that Bruno, his Miniature Pinscher, had been barking at something in the bushes on the property of his neighbor. Clay went over to see what it might be, and found this item, with a short metal rod stuck into the ground. He says it was well hidden, but he could see that it was pointed at his house.


We asked Clay if the lens of the Brinno camera had been aimed at his driveway.

“Yep. Totally,” he said.

A similar camera, you will remember, was mounted on a tree facing the driveway at Marty and Monique Rathbun’s house in Texas when they were under intense surveillance by Church of Scientology operatives. Rathbun, who used to run such operations before he left the church in 2004, said that the purpose of such a camera was to capture images of license plates so private investigators could determine who was visiting the house.

“No flipping way,” Irwin said when we explained this to him.

We’ve written about Irwin several times. He’s the owner of the Lucky Anchor pub on Cleveland Street in Clearwater, which he opened at the beginning of this year, right in the middle of Scientology’s “Flag Land Base” campus. He told us he was determined to get along with his church neighbors when he opened for business, but since then he’s had some run-ins with the organization that have complicated that relationship. A construction worker drinking at his bar took Clay on an impromptu tour of Tom Cruise’s unfinished condo down the street, for example, and seemingly because of that Clay was not invited to a presentation about downtown development that Scientology leader David Miscavige gave local business owners which included John Travolta, Kelly Preston, and Kirstie Alley. Clay later ran into Preston, however, and she seemed friendly.

Most recently, he’s been giving network television interviews about the latest controversies in town regarding Scientology. Since then, he says he’s been feeling like he’s being watched.

“I’ve been feeling like I have been followed,” he says. “I took the camera inside and opened it up. I searched the serial number online, but I didn’t find anything. I took the card out and my laptop is downloading files from it right now. They’re huge files.”

He found that the camera used four AA batteries, which lasted for 80 hours before needing to be changed, according to its specs. The camera looked like it had been there for numerous days, and so the batteries would have been changed several times, he estimates.

We told him we’d be interested to learn what he finds in the images recorded by the camera. He said he’d be happy to share that with us.


[Clay Irwin and Kelly Preston]


Chris Shelton talks with Natalie Feinblatt



HowdyCon 2017


HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25 at the Residence Inn Denver City Center. Go here for details.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,784 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,541 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,887 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,381 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,421 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,133 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 659 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,748 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,888 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,208 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,183 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 539 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,841 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 948 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,350 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,223 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 804 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,309 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,553 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,662 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on June 17, 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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