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Leah Remini podcast: Scientology’s atrocious ‘Fair Game’ campaign against Mike Rinder

What starts out as an episode about the general background of Scientology’s “Fair Game” retaliation operations soon settles down into the specific ways that Mike Rinder was targeted after he left the Sea Org in 2007, and it’s a harrowing adventure.

We have the podcast embedded for you below, and we think you’re going to find it gripping. In the first third of the program, Rinder skillfully describes how Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard turned his “Guardian’s Office” into a massive spying operation on the US and UK governments (and many more) in the 1970s “Snow White Program.”

Mike explains how under Snow White, the GO sent operatives to infiltrate government offices to steal information about Scientology, including bugging the conference room at the main IRS headquarters in Washington DC. This years-long effort was ultimately tripped up when one of the chief operatives, Michael Meisner, was stopped by an FBI agent at a law library in DC, and the agent discovered that he was carrying a fake ID employee badge.

(That FBI agent, Christine Hansen, happened to be one of the first female agents in FBI history, and she told her story to us for the first time in our book about Paulette Cooper, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, where we went into the Meisner saga at length.)


As Mike describes, rather than turn himself in to the FBI, Meisner obeyed Scientology’s directive to go into hiding, but when he had second thoughts about that, Scientology tied him up and put a 24-hour guard on him. Ultimately, he got away from his captors and went straight to the FBI, spilled his guts, and a few weeks later the 1977 raid on Scientology in Los Angeles and Washington DC occurred. Based on what turned up in that raid, eleven top Scientologists, including Hubbard’s wife, Mary Sue, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and were sentenced to prison.

When Leah asked where Michael Meisner is today, Mike mentioned that we managed to track him down, although he declined to talk to us.

In the second and third parts of this week’s episode, Mike and Leah turn to Mike’s own experience of being Fair Gamed to make the point that this isn’t just something that happened in the 1970s to people like Paulette Cooper.

And even though we’re familiar with this story and we’ve written about the crazy confrontation that occurred in a Florida parking lot (and posted the audio of it), it still astonishes us to hear the tale today.

By 2009, when the Tampa Bay Times (then the St. Petersburg Times) was about to come out with its epic series on Scientology, “The Truth Rundown,” a contingent of Scientologists flew to Denver to confront Rinder, trying to convince him not to participate in it. Rinder had walked away from the Sea Org in 2007, but he hadn’t spoken out publicly. Among that group that came to see him, Rinder says, was top Scientology attorney Monique Yingling, who threatened him that if he talked to the press, he’d never again see his two children, Benjamin and Taryn, who were themselves Sea Org workers.

Rinder was begged by the Tampa Bay Times to go on the record because he was the only person who had been present and could corroborate the things that Marty Rathbun was telling them. So he agreed to go on the record for that corroboration only, not to give an interview himself.

Rinder then says that Yingling called up Joe Childs at the Times and claimed that when she came to see Rinder in Denver, she had told him that his son Benjamin had been diagnosed with an aggressive case of skin cancer, and that Rinder didn’t care and didn’t want to see his son.

Yingling said this in order to convince Childs that Rinder was such a horrible person, the newspaper should have nothing to do with him.

Mike Rinder then heard from Joe Childs for the first time that his son had cancer.

Rinder then sped to the Fort Harrison Hotel with Marty Rathbun in an attempt to see Benjamin, and we certainly remember well the video of them being harassed as Mike asks to see his son.

Two days later, the infamous encounter occurred when Mike was taking his then girlfriend (now wife) Christie Collbran to a doctor’s appointment, and they were ambushed by a contingent of unhinged Scientologists including Rinder’s ex-wife Cathy Bernardini, his daughter Taryn Teutsch, and Scientology operatives Jenny Linson and David Bloomberg.

You can hear in the audio what a chaotic scene ensued as the Scientologists swarmed Rinder, screaming at him to stay away from his son. When he tried to get into his car, they held the door and tossed away his keys. And in that scrum, Bernardini received an abrasion on her arm.

When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they ultimately found that Bernardini’s injury was the result of “incidental contact” and dismissed the matter. But ever since then, Scientology has turned blaming Mike Rinder for hurting Cathy’s arm into a minor industry, with his daughter Taryn telling anyone who will listen that her father is a wife-beater. She’s managed to worm her way into numerous groups and photo opportunities, including getting herself into photos with LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey and former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson.



It’s classic Scientology, it’s the kind of lying and manipulation that they not only aim at Rinder but also at Leah and your proprietor, and it’s relentless. Thankfully, the media knows well enough about how Scientology lies about everything that it rarely gains any traction.

But we can tell you as someone targeted by Scientology’s lies, it’s not fun.

Another astonishing episode from Leah and Mike. Give it a listen and then tell us your thoughts…



Source Code

“Anybody says to you, ‘Well, Scientology is weird because it believes in past lives,’ why, I look at them rather oddly and say, ‘Aren’t you familiar with the subject of psychotherapy?’ Be mean, you know. And they say, ‘Well, yes. Oh, yes. I’m a professor of Uptygup, you know.’ And say, ‘Well, why is it that you didn’t know that one of the primary branches of psychoanalysis and so forth — that of Professor Jung — believed implicitly in returns to druidism? See, we’re not being new at all’.” — L. Ron Hubbard, August 25, 1966


Overheard in the FreeZone


“There is no such thing as a personal first dynamic state of OT. I have seen many people in Scientology who want personal power. A self that wants to preserve itself is doomed. The ‘I’ that wants to be ‘OT’ is an aberration. Scientology will not succeed until it starts working from the top down rather than from the bottom up. First dynamic oriented beings will never create a brighter future.”


Random Howdy

“At first I thought you were funnin’ me but I hearsayed it and you’re right.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Arraignment scheduled for September 18.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing is set for August 27 in White Plains, NY, but attorneys are asking it be moved back. Jeffrey’s is set for October 24.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Jan 12 in Los Angeles
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Motion for reconsideration denied on August 11
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Sept 4 (CSI/RTC demurrer against Riales, Masterson demurrer), Oct 7-19 (motions to compel arbitration)
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach bankruptcy appeal: Oral arguments were heard on March 11 in Jacksonville
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021. Plaintiffs granted permission to file changes to amended complaint by Sept 4.


Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[The Big Three: Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Kirstie Alley]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] If Scientology’s Ideal Org grand openings are on hold, fundraising steams ahead
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s new ‘STAND’ front unleashes bot army on Twitter — and gets zapped
[FOUR years ago] Steven Mango, who appears in Theroux film, calls police to Scientology facility over assault
[FIVE years ago] Stop worrying about ISIS and Syria and Iraq — Scientology’s got this, people
[SIX years ago] Chris Shelton explains why Scientology is in a management death spiral
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology Sunday Funnies: The All-Video Version!
[NINE years ago] Russell Brand Performs Wedding Ceremony For Outspoken Former Scientologists


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,040 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,544 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,064 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,084 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 975 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,282 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,150 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,924 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,728 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,044 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,610 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,529 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,697 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,278 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,539 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,577 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,290 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,815 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,345 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,905 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,045 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,365 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,220 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,339 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,695 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,998 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,104 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,506 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,378 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,961 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,456 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,710 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,819 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 25, 2020 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post 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 new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, 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 can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2019 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2019), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | Shelly Miscavige, 14 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 | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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