Marty Rathbun dropped another bomb on his blog today, making public what he says is a secret list of Scientology’s spy network in the western United States.
Rathbun is a top former Scientology official who defected in 2004 and in recent years has become the chief source of heartburn for current Scientology leader David Miscavige. Once an enforcer who helped Miscavige battle Scientology’s enemies, Rathbun is now openly trying to recruit away church members by exposing Scientology’s most damaging secrets.
Many of Rathbun’s most recent document releases have come from the files of the Office of Special Affairs, Scientology’s covert-operations wing, which, among other things, provides surveillance of perceived church enemies through the use of hired private investigators as well as volunteers from among the ranks of ordinary Scientologists. Rathbun posted what he says is a recent list of those volunteers, outing several hundred people as willing spies for the church.
Twelve years ago, I wrote a profile of one such OSA volunteer, a woman named Tory Christman who was used by her OSA handlers to keep a watchful eye on Internet criticism of Scientology. She willingly helped OSA until suddenly, and dramatically defecting entirely from the church.
The list Rathbun is making public is more than just a list of names. Each person is identified by which part of the country they are in, which Scientology “org” they are affiliated with, how far along they are in their Scientology training, what area of expertise they might be useful to OSA, other talents they might have, and finally, whether they are “trusted.”
There’s a well-known actress on the list, for example, who I have heard is particularly gung-ho in her dedication to Scientology. Her usefulness to OSA is listed as “political actions and Criminon,” referring to a program that Scientology claims helps prison inmates. Her other identifier: “Is a celebrity.”
We noticed that one person who chimed in early about Rathbun’s posting was Michael Fairman, the character actor we wrote about recently after he made public his excommunication document from the church.
We called up Fairman, who said he was surprised to see his former manager on the list of supposed spies.
“She was my manager. and then she wanted to stay after I came out and was declared, it was very bizarre,” he told me. In other words, even after Fairman had made public that he was leaving Scientology, his Scientologist manager still wanted to work with him. Now after seeing this list, it all makes more sense.
“I don’t know what their actual duties are,” he says, referring to what actual work the volunteers on the list might have performed for OSA and its secretive operations. “I just know that these are the Kool-aid drinkers, people dedicated to do the church’s work. It’s actually sickening that they had this network of people. It’s disgusting.”
Fairman recognized three other names as Scientologists who had tried to do an intervention on him when he decided to leave the church. One was a fellow actor, identified as “Celebrity and Comedian” in the secret database.
“It makes sense that they would end up on that list. But what they were trained for or asked to do, I don’t know,” Fairman says. “It just kills me that they have a list and train these people to work for the OSA. It’s pretty scary. What the hell is that, in a church? I mean, what the fuck is that?”
Meanwhile, Fairman tells me that he’s been experiencing some of the same intimidation that Rathbun has been going through. Rathbun and Mike Rinder, another former top Scientology official, were recently in Los Angeles and had dinner with Fairman. Several days later, three Scientologists, one carrying a videocamera, showed up at Fairman’s door, reminiscent of the “Squirrel Busters” episode at Rathbun’s house that we wrote about earlier.
Fairman says he called police to scare off the Scientology goon squad.
Meanwhile, Fairman also tells me that the ABC station in Los Angeles interviewed him about the intimidation attempt for what he believes will be a multi-part series coming soon.
“Things are heating up!” he says. “I mean your articles and this [Janet Reitman] book, and I guess [Lawrence Wright’s] book is coming out soon. Miscavige is, I’m sure, twirling like a top right now, because he’s being hit by a lot of different sides.”
Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he’s been writing about Scientology at several publications. Among his other stories about L. Ron Hubbard’s organization:
The Larry Wollersheim Saga — Scientology Finally Pays For Its Fraud
The Tory Bezazian (Christman) Story — How the Internet Saved A Scientologist From Herself
The Jason Beghe Defection — A Scientology Celebrity Goes Rogue
The Robert Cipriano Case — A Hellacious Example of Fair Game
The Paul Haggis Ultimatum — The ‘Crash’ Director Tells Scientology to Shove It
The Marc Headley Escape — ‘Tom Cruise Told Me to Talk to a Bottle’
The Aaron Saxton Accusation — Australia turns up the heat on Scientology
The Jefferson Hawkins Stipulation — Scientology’s former PR genius comes clean
The Daniel Montalvo Double-Cross — Scientology lures a young defector into a trap
A Church Myth Debunked — Scientology and Proposition 8
Daniel Montalvo Strikes Back — Scientology Hit with Stunning Child-Labor Lawsuits
When Scientologists Attack — The Marty Rathbun Intimidation
A Scientologist Excommunicated — The Michael Fairman SP Declaration
The Richard Leiby Operation — Investigating a reporter’s divorce to shut him up
The Hugh Urban Investigation — An academic takes a harsh look at Scientology’s past
Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh — A precedent for a Scientology-Branch Davidian link