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John Brousseau: Marty Rathbun is putting words in my mouth about the FBI’s Scientology probe

[John Brousseau]

We tried to stay away from Mark “Marty” Rathbun’s sad videos, we really did. We got two whole days away from commenting on his bizarre turnaround, which has him trying to rewrite the historical record in order to smear people he once said glowing things about. But once again, he’s really stepped over a line and we felt compelled to say something.

Rathbun was once the second-highest ranking official in Scientology before he left in 2004, and then resurfaced in 2009 with an important website that, for several years, became a rallying point for former church members who were critical of Scientology leader David Miscavige. Rathbun also became personally involved in numerous cases of litigation, and gave innumerable press interviews. We have previously mapped the curious arc that Rathbun’s website traveled between 2009 and the present, including its strange turn last year as Rathbun began attacking other former church members like Ron Miscavige Sr.

And now, he’s been putting out this new set of videos, rolling them out in short segments of a few minutes, and focused mainly on Lawrence Wright’s 2013 history, Going Clear. In the newest segment, Rathbun is challenging the reported accounts of why the 2009-2010 FBI investigation of Scientology ended, criticizing Lawrence Wright’s view of it. (Rathbun lumps us in with Wright, but actually, we’ve been quite open that we disagree with Wright and the Tampa Bay Times about why the FBI probe ended, and our story about it actually relied on Marty Rathbun’s account, confirmed by Mike Rinder and Marc Headley.)

Anyway, Rathbun has now changed his tune and says the FBI probe ended for quite another reason, and that’s because of the testimony of John Brousseau, who defected from Scientology’s secretive International Base near Hemet, California in 2010. Rathbun says that Brousseau contradicted other witnesses who had come out of the church earlier (Tom DeVocht, Mike Rinder, the Headleys, and Rathbun himself), and it proved to the FBI that it had no case…

John Brousseau told the FBI, “I have seen no violence on behalf of David Miscavige or anybody else at the upper levels of Scientology. I have seen no evidence of anything resembling this thing they called the Hole, for several, for the several years that I’d been there since most of these people left.” None of this stuff, that was the advertised crux of the FBI investigation, existed. The only percipient witness, the only person who was in a position to know, and a position to see, who was speaking on behalf of the complainants, said, “there’s no there there.”


Once again, Rathbun is promoting things that completely contradict what he said earlier and what others did as well.

In fact, here’s what John Brousseau told us about The Hole and talking to the FBI for our story at the Village Voice in 2012…

“It was a group seance, a total mindfuck. They were being told to confess their crimes,” Brousseau says.

“They were up there for about three days. Miscavige was trying to figure out what to do with them. Then, all of a sudden I got called by one of his personal secretaries, Ailon Barram, who told me to meet him at the CMO Int trailers,” he says.

Brousseau was told that Miscavige wanted the trailers made secure. “He wants steel bars put on the three doors. He wants it so no one can blow from this place,” he says.

“So I went down to the big garage. I knew where everything was. I rummaged around and found some real heavy chrome-plated steel tubing. Kind of oval. I went and measured every door, cut the pipe, made holes in the end with a drill press, and then put them on with these big ass nasty screws. I put bars on each of the three doors. In the windows, I put in a block with weird screws that no one would have a bit for in their pocket,” he says.

“The next morning, these people all got marched down to the new ‘Hole’ that I’d built. I’d turned it into a prison.”

When Brousseau left the base six years later, in 2010, there were still 80 to 100 executives being held in the place that came to be known as “The Hole.”

“It was Miscavige at his absolute worst. There were a lot of people in there. I was never in it. I just put the bars on the doors. But the people outside, they talked about it like it was a comedy. You had to be in agreement, too. You didn’t know who was going to turn you in. It was just this fear factor.”

As the Tampa Bay Times reported in its landmark 2009 investigation, “The Truth Rundown,” one of the worst mind games in The Hole occurred in 2004, when Miscavige had his disgraced executives play a game of “musical chairs” to the sound of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” promising that he planned to ship the losers that night to Scientology’s most godforsaken, far-flung locations around the planet.

“Miscavige wanted a bunch of U-Haul trucks parked by the door. He told me, rent three 24-foot U-Haul trucks, park them right by the front door. So when the people in The Hole came out for showers in the morning, they’d see them. It was just to make the ‘musical chairs’ thing more dramatic. Those trucks were there for three weeks,” he says.

“I remember telling the FBI this. I told them, there have to be records to prove what I was saying was true. You could find a receipt at the U-Haul in Hemet for three trucks that only had 18 miles each on them, the distance up to the base and back.”

So let’s review. Not only did John Brousseau personally put the bars on the windows and doors at the beginning of The Hole in 2004, but he told the FBI about the sadistic mind games, and even gave the FBI information that he believed they could use to independently confirm the Hole’s brutality.

Gosh, that’s about as completely opposite from what Marty Rathbun is now saying as you can get.

Last night, we heard from John Brousseau himself. He gave us this statement:

I am not sure why Marty says what he does about me. He puts words in my mouth about what I discussed with the FBI that are not true.

I had many discussions with the FBI. Marty was party to less than half of them.

I have already elaborated in the past on everything I saw, experienced and did while in the church. I don’t need to, nor do I have any desire to refute anything or regurgitate things that are easy to locate if anyone wants to. People are not stupid and can decide for themselves the likely truth.

I bear no ill will towards Marty. I have always considered him a good friend and he helped me in the darkest times when I first left the church. It is a free country. People have a right to their opinions and can say pretty much anything they like. They are free to be who they are and live how they want and choose their beliefs, their friends and acquaintances or not.

I have come a long way since 2010. I am happy. What my personal feelings are about Scientology or the various people on either side of things is really irrelevant. I won’t speak ill as to anyone’s character or actions or beliefs. And I am free to have mine as well. The only exception is when they cross that line and harm the livelihood of others. That is wrong and I will forever speak against such things. And if they stop then I will stop.

We know some of you are sick of Marty Rathbun and his train wreck videos. But once again he’s trying to rewrite history, and we wanted to point that out with a couple of memes.


The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012 was quite clear: Marc and Claire Headley had been treated appallingly in Scientology’s Sea Org and had plenty of evidence to prove it — but they sued under the wrong law. Somehow, Marty tries to spin that, saying that the Headleys, “factually,” had no case at all…


Our recent Rathbun coverage:

June 17: Paul Haggis: Marty Rathbun is using private info I gave him against Lawrence Wright
June 16: Marty Rathbun’s project becomes clear: Someone’s worried about Scientology & the IRS
June 15: Marty Rathbun, Victoria Britton has a question for you about Scientology and judges
June 14: Marty Rathbun tries to rewrite the record on Scientology spying. But we have the dox.
June 9: Thanks for the slick videos, Marty Rathbun. Here’s a not very slick one for you.


Aaron Smith-Levin on surveillance in Clearwater



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 4,787 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,544 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,890 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,384 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,424 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,136 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 662 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,751 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,891 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,211 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,186 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 542 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,844 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 951 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,353 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,226 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 807 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,312 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,556 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,665 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on June 20, 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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