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News from Texas reminds us of a legendary fight against Scientology’s goon squad

[Back in the day]

One of the reasons that Marty Rathbun’s bizarre about-face in 2016 was so startling and disappointing was that until that time, interviewing him was one of the absolute highlights of the work we had done here and at the Village Voice.

It was while we were editing the Voice in 2011 that Scientology’s goon squad, the “Squirrel Busters,” showed up at Rathbun’s south Texas home and began a months-long siege intended to make his life “a living hell,” one person who briefly took part in it said later.

From New York we started watching that crazy story develop in tiny Ingleside-by-the-Bay, and it helped convince us that this was what Scientology needed — daily beat coverage, something we’ve kept up in the 10 years since.

The next year, in November 2012, we made our second trip to Texas and our first trip to Rathbun’s home, and it was especially memorable because we drove to his house with attorney Ray Jeffrey and his two new clients, Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold, who were suing Scientology after they were fired from their jobs of following Pat Broeker for 24 years. (Don’t know that story? You should!) And while we were there, we met Jeffrey Augustine for the first time, and also the Channel 4 crew that were filming “Scientologists at War.”

One of the best parts about that trip was not just seeing Marty at his house with so many other visitors, but also seeing his wife, Monique. “Mosey,” he called her, and she was a delight.


And by “delight,” we mean that she just about threw a punch at us. She and Marty were still sore at a story we wrote at the Voice about the death of Annie Broeker that contained some unflattering references to Marty that they felt were unfair. (They weren’t.)

But that’s what made working with Marty and Monique so great. It was like sparring, and it was for very serious stakes. We said at the time that there was no bigger threat to David Miscavige’s position as leader of the Church of Scientology than Marty Rathbun and his blog. And we meant it.

Marty was taking on a big fight, but it was clear that Monique’s support was critical to the success he was having. They were an amazing team, and we didn’t mind having to spar with the both of them to get the important stories that were coming out at that time. (We even posed, at one point during that visit, in a mock boxing stance with Monique in one of our favorite photos of all time. It’s in our private collection.)

We flew back to Texas a year later when Monique filed her harassment lawsuit against David Miscavige and the Church of Scientology. We knew that it was a spectacular case and could actually put Miscavige in a witness chair. And after several dramatic developments in the case, and a long wait for an appeal hearing, by late 2015 the Rathbuns had won a huge appeal victory and they appeared to be in the driver’s seat. So it was especially bizarre that at that point, in early 2016, Monique fired her entire legal team and then dropped the case while making derogatory statements about her lawyers that we knew were untrue.

Marty said we would “rue the day” for reporting that strange about-face, but then things got even stranger. Later that year, Marty went on the attack, taking bizarre shots at Ron Miscavige, whose book “Ruthless” was coming out, and at Louis Theroux, whose “My Scientology Movie” was about to hit additional theaters. But that turned out to be only a prelude as we then caught Marty feeding information to Scientology’s legal team in a lawsuit against a former member, and then he began taking part in a bizarre series of videos attacking his former friends Mike Rinder and Paul Haggis, as well as Leah Remini, this website, and many others — videos that the Church of Scientology subsequently used in vicious online smear campaigns.

Marty had gone from David Miscavige’s biggest threat to his attack dog, and he never explained why. We never heard from Monique again, and we never got an answer from her about why she had turned on her lawyers, who had worked so hard for her for three years, and for no pay.

We’re bringing this up now because last night it was brought to our attention for the first time that in May at her Facebook account Monique revealed that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and that she had surgery last month.

“The good thing is that although it is a very aggressive form, it was caught very early and the doctors are confident we will be able to handle it,” she wrote in May. And after her surgery: “The surgery went well yesterday and I am back home resting in my comfy bed with my two favorite guys! This journey is not yet done, but step one is finally completed. The next steps will be rough but cancer messed with the wrong girl.”

We knew Monique well enough at one point to know that is certainly true: She’s a fighter, and she will pummel cancer into submission if she can.

We sure hope she can. We will never forget how great it was to work with her and Marty, and her announcement has brought back to us how much we treasure those days.

We expect to hear soon that she’s doing better than ever.


Bonus items from our tipsters


Meanwhile, also in Texas…



Source Code

“I remember one time I was arrested by mistake. They do that in the United States every once in a while. Somebody wanted me as a witness. They wanted me as a witness in a bankruptcy case of some kind, and I was just a witness, innocent bystander – factually an innocent bystander, but I must have had something about that particular area in some past life because the next thing I knew why the cops rushed in you know and practically shot everybody down and grabbed me and took me off and held me very carefully so that they would have this witness for this case. And I said to ‘em, ‘Don’t you think this is sort of unfair?’ And they didn’t pay any attention to that. So I got kind of mean, in my own inimical mean way. And when I finally appeared on the witness stand, I had the prosecuting attorney and the attorney for defense arguing with the judge that I shouldn’t be required to be held more than the next 15 or 20 minutes anyway because they wanted to help me. The judge helped me too. That was the end. I sat down and gave some testimony. I said, ‘Well I don’t know anything about it. I was hardly there.’ And that was it. Boom.” — L. Ron Hubbard, July 7, 1960


Avast, Ye Mateys

“MARY SUE HUBBARD is assigned Power as a student, 2nd week running, with 441 points. She also got 100 percent on her Exam. DIANA HUBBARD having gotten 100 points is upgraded to Emergency as a student. KEN URQUHART, with only 10 points, is assigned Non Existence as a student. The Class in general is doing well on Dianetics, will soon complete, and be ready to audit. When so qualified they go onto VI or VIII as eligible.” — The Commodore, July 7, 1969


Overheard in the FreeZone


“Scientology does not make ‘good people.’ No, it really does not. We make Clears and OTs. We make Auditors, we make Administrators and Executives. This is something completely different. Honestly, I don’t want to be ‘good.’ People who do what they are told or when they have to be told what to do are considered as good: ‘I was just doing my job.’ So a civil servant, a policeman, a soldier. Finally, it’s someone who doesn’t want to, can’t, or shouldn’t take responsibility. Someone who does not want to, cannot or should not think.”


Past is Prologue

1996: David Gerard posted news concerning the Liar’s Club, an Australian radio program taken off the air by the Australian Broadcasting Authority for its criticism of Scientology. “Australia’s leading law body on media, the Communications Law Centre (CLC), has disagreed with the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) over a recent finding of religious vilification by Melbourne public broadcaster 3RRR-FM. In the first such ruling in Australian broadcast history, the ABA charged in February 1996 that Triple R had breached Radio Program Standards on The Liars’ Club by gratuitously vilifying the Church of Scientology, after an ex-Scientologist, Cyril Vosper, appeared as a guest and told of his problems since leaving the organisation. The CLC states in their intensive review of the lengthy ABA report: ‘We consider the ABA’s interpretation of the meaning of ‘gratuitous’ is incorrect. At no point in the decision does the ABA consider any of the controversies that have surrounded the church and whether there was any validity in Vosper’s allegations. ‘Discussion and criticism of religious institutions and the conduct of followers of a religion can be distinguished from criticism and abuse of a religion and its followers on the basis of beliefs. It is true that the ABA is not in a position to pass judgment on the church or to make findings about the truth or otherwise of the allegations, but this does not prevent it from acknowledging that the church has been the subject of debate and controversy, and that therefore, the allegations, when situated within this context, and in the context of Vosper’s ongoing public stance against the church, were not gratuitous.’ It is believed that Triple R will now be approaching the ABA for a review of its ruling citing the points made by the CLC.”


Random Howdy

“Hubbard said that Mohammed was a hustler and a ‘small town booster’ and that the ‘Black Stone’ was a piece of the R6 implant.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next hearing set for August 9. Trial tentatively scheduled for early November.

Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference August 21 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: June 18 pretrial conference delayed until July 9.

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.’ Petition to US Supreme Court submitted on May 26. Scientology responded on June 25.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: California Supreme Court granted review on May 26 and asked the Second Appellate Division to direct Judge Steven Kleifield to show cause why he granted Scientology’s motion for arbitration.
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Dec 17: Feshbachs sign court judgment obliging them to pay entire $3.674 million tax debt, plus interest from Nov 19.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Case appealed on Dec 24.

Concluded litigation:
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
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.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. 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 a weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] PPP small-business coronavirus bailout loans went to Scientology and Narconon centers
[TWO years ago] How Scientology treats a member in real need strains the notion of the word ‘church’
[THREE years ago] Scientology’s messiah? ‘Hubbard believed he was as great as Jesus, Buddha, & Mohammed’
[FOUR years ago] The Scientology lecture in which L. Ron Hubbard revealed the true name of our Earth society
[FIVE years ago] The Church of Intimidation: Scientology stalks another ex-member on the taxpayer dime
[SIX years ago] Monique Rathbun: Hey, Texas court, here’s something to chew on
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology tries to psych out Florida — and Chill EB is back!
[EIGHT years ago] Alanna Masterson’s Dad Calls Connor Cruise ‘Worst Person in the World’ for Her to Date
[NINE years ago] No Memorial Service for Scientology President’s Son? ‘So Despicable, It’s Almost Beyond Words’
[TEN years ago] ‘Inside Scientology’: Janet Reitman’s Book Tour Starts Off With a Scientologist Challenging Her


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 2,354 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,859 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,379 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,399 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,290 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,597 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,465 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,239 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,569 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,043 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,359 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,925 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,844 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,012 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,593 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,854 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,892 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,605 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,130 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 485 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,660 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,211 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,360 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,680 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,535 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,654 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,010 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,313 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,419 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,821 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,693 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,276 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,771 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,025 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,134 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 7, 2021 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, 1995-2020 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2020), 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, 15 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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