As is well known, liars are cowards and cowards are liars. In fact, it’s a specific part of the Scientology Scripture as contained in its ethics and justice codes. So it is that while lying is despised in society as a whole, it’s actually considered criminal within the religion of Scientology.
However, there is a type of lie that is considered criminal by everybody, because it represents conduct that tears at the very fabric of justice and civilized society.
By definition, a lie is “a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive.” When one lies, it has consequences. When one is known to be a liar, one soon finds himself shunned by friends and associates.
But perjury is much more serious. It means “the willful giving of false testimony under oath.” It’s a criminal offense. And when one is caught committing perjury, one goes to jail. In fact the penalty is intentionally harsh so as to serve as a deterrent for those who may not possess the moral integrity to be honest or truthful. Those convicted of perjury serve up to five years in prison doing hard time.
But actually, there is an even worse type of criminal liar. That’s the person who not only tells untruths to law enforcement and the courts, but also gets others to do so as well. It’s called suborning perjury and it means “to induce a witness to give false testimony.”
People who are suborners of perjury are much rarer than the cowardly liar or criminal perjurer. That’s because it takes a great deal of persuasion to get another to lie to authorities. One typically hears of this sort of crime—suborning perjury—perpetrated by thugs, since it’s always an attempt to get others to lie to protect the real criminal. That’s why it also carries a sentence of five years in jail.
All of which begs the question: Is there any greater form of dishonesty? Actually, there is. It’s called obstruction of justice, which means “an attempt to interfere with the administration of the courts, the judicial system or law enforcement officers, including threatening witnesses, hiding or destroying evidence.”
Here is the person who not only intimidates others to lie, but who looks at evidence of the truth and, as if out of an old gangster movie, tells his posse to “lose ‘em”—that is, get rid of it. Of course, this too is a crime, yet another five years in jail, but by now what does it matter to the criminal who has long since passed the point of any self-respect and considers laws are written for “suckers.” Meaning, honest people.
More to the point here: A person who would commit perjury, who would suborn perjury and who would obstruct justice is a person with the ethics of a gutter rat—a person who could tell a lie with a straight face to his “friends” and feel no remorse “unless I was caught,” a person who could see others being falsely accused of what he had done and keep silent while “lots of people go down and remain in turmoil while I go unrecognized as the source of it and survive.”
And if you’ve never seen this face of evil and have no desire to do so in the future, then be forewarned to avoid the self-proclaimed “Posse”: Marty “Kingpin” Rathbun, Mike “Corroborator” Rinder, and Tom “Con Man” DeVocht. Because all you’ve just read is their case history, the statements in quotes are their exact words.
And here’s what they did:
- 1993: The Church is at peace, having ended its 40-year conflict with the IRS, been exonerated and recognized as a fully tax-exempt religious institution. With this and other external conflicts ended, the Church turns its attention to religious and humanitarian programs.
- One month later, while the Church and its parishioners were still celebrating victory, Rathbun has a mental breakdown. It is assumed the years of external battles took their toll on him emotionally. He is given a two-year sabbatical in the Caribbean, with no work responsibilities whatsoever.
(Not for another decade, when he had his second mental breakdown, would he admit that the first breakdown wasn’t owing to the “stresses of war” but, rather, because the war was over when he actually had no desire for peace. As he himself phrased it, he only knew how to fight and was a “fish out of water” when it came to any constructive activity. But, as noted, that Rathbun admission wouldn’t come for another 10 years—in 2003.)
- 1995: The Church continues at peace and has entered a new era of expansion. But then, an accidental tragedy occurs with a woman who had been staying at a Church retreat in Clearwater, Florida. All concerned witnesses are interviewed by the police and the investigation discovers no wrongdoing.
- 1997: It is discovered that the witnesses interviewed by police were not truthful. Specifically, they had failed to inform authorities that the late woman concerned, Lisa McPherson, was actually psychotic. Moreover, the records detailing the psychosis were either lost or destroyed.
- Longstanding policy by the religion’s Founder expressly prohibits psychotics from being allowed on Church premises. Immediate internal investigations are ordered to find out:
- Who had allowed the psychotic on Church premises.
- Who had coordinated the witnesses to lie, since they had all told the same untruthful story.
- And who had lost or destroyed the missing evidence.
- Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder are assigned to investigate, and report their findings. Consequently:
- More than a dozen staff members are removed or dismissed, for allowing a psychotic on Church premises.
- Two senior executives are removed and assigned janitorial duties for allowing the psychotic onto Church premises.
- Two additional Church executives are removed and dismissed for destroying evidence.
- Church counsel representing the witnesses is fired for supposedly coaching those witnesses to lie.
(These findings are not what really happened, nor were those removed the actual perpetrators. Not for 10 years would the real truth concerning the above events be discovered.)
- 1997: New Church counsel are hired and all witnesses are reinterviewed by law enforcement to provide truthful testimony. They are granted immunity from prosecution.
- 1997–1998: The local newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times (renamed Tampa Bay Times in 2012), has long held a vendetta against the Scientology religion, and waged a decades-long campaign to not only drive the Church out of town, but also destroy it entirely. With the revelations that witnesses had been untruthful, the newspaper has a field day. All of this is made possible for the fact that once one tells a lie, nothing one says is believed. And so ensued 129 articles and 15 editorials, totaling some 30 newspaper pages and more than 4,000 column inches, urging criminal charges against the Church. The S.P. Times’ allegations are bizarre in the extreme. All articles are authored by the same reporter, Tom Tobin, and editor, Joe Childs. The Church spokesman responsible for answering the reporter’s enquiries is Mike Rinder.
- 1998: The S.P. Times’ coverage reaches a fever pitch. The paper makes a mockery of Rinder’s responses. Finally, the news organization reaches out to interview the ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, Mr. David Miscavige. Rinder recommends he not grant the interview, but Mr. Miscavige consents anyway. Moreover, he offers the newspaper complete and open access to the Church in Clearwater, Los Angeles and International Headquarters. It’s his first interview in six years and results in a fair and balanced Sunday edition cover story profiling him. Accordingly, after years of contentious relationship, open channels with the newspaper and Scientology are established for the first time in history if for no other reason (unbeknownst to Mr. Miscavige at this time) that all previous communications with the paper by Rinder and Rathbun were the opposite of “open” and cordial.
- 1998: Notwithstanding the foregoing, the one-year barrage of the S.P. Times’ editorializing has had its effect, and the State brings criminal charges against the Church itself. Such charges are unprecedented and inexplicable. Moreover, it sets off an international wave of anti-Scientology press.
- 1998–2000: Due to the serious ramifications of these charges to the Church, Mr. Miscavige is forced to relocate from Los Angeles to Clearwater and personally handle the matter. The tragedy is finally ruled an accident and the State drops all charges against the Church
- 2000–2002: Notwithstanding dismissal of criminal charges, a civil action proceeds.
In addition to the Church itself, an attempt is made to make Rathbun, Rinder and Mr. Miscavige defendants. Mr. Miscavige is in Los Angeles attending to preparations for the Church’s Millennium (2000) New Year’s celebration. Rathbun and Rinder are the legal affairs staff responsible for handling the hearing. They attend to court arguments, whereupon they are dismissed from the case, but Mr. Miscavige is not, becoming a defendant.
- 2002: In a two-month hearing, an anti-Scientologist testifies against Mr. Miscavige. He accuses him of:
- Personally destroying missing evidence in the case.
- Coaching the witness to lie.
- Destroying evidence ordered produced by the Court.
He points to a previous court decision in another case Rinder had defended, which ruled in error that Mr. Miscavige had destroyed evidence. While that decision had been overturned, the same charge of destruction of that very evidence was once again being made. Moreover, this anti-Scientologist claimed that he witnessed the destruction of evidence by the ecclesiastical leader.
The anti-Scientologist argument was simple: Since Mr. Miscavige had allegedly destroyed evidence in the other case, he would have been the one to destroy it in this case.
The hearing drags on for months. Mr. Miscavige repeatedly tells Rinder and Rathbun that he knows nothing of the missing evidence in the other case and certainly never ordered it destroyed (even if somebody else did).
Rinder and Rathbun are smug and do nothing about it. Their excuse is that the evidence is gone, no matter who did it, and how could they possibly have a way of responding to the charges?
Mr. Miscavige becomes convinced that Rinder and Rathbun must have destroyed the evidence. He orders an investigation by others to get to the bottom of it.
As it turns out, Rinder and Rathbun had not destroyed the evidence Mr. Miscavige had long been accused of destroying. In fact, all allegedly destroyed evidence—seven feet of it—was found, within one hour of the ordered investigation, in pristine condition, in Rinder’s office storage in Los Angeles.
Rinder was in possession of the evidence the whole time and had sat on it to the point of court rulings holding Mr. Miscavige responsible for ordering the evidence destroyed—when, in fact, said evidence was sitting right in Rinder’s office. Rinder’s only excuse: He “didn’t know” the evidence was there. However, it was also clear: He never even looked.
- 2002: It’s the beginning of the end for Rinder and Rathbun. Mr. Miscavige orders further investigation for the missing evidence in the current case. He has all storage in Clearwater searched, literally millions of linear feet of paper. It’s not found. Rinder and Rathbun quickly blame another staff member. Who knows? At this point nobody cares about their excuses.
- 2002: With the hearing concluded, both Rinder and Rathbun are removed for incompetence. Mr. Miscavige tells them he’s getting to the bottom of this case one way or the other—and their involvement in it. More to the point, from 2002 onward, neither was to ever serve in an executive capacity again.
- 2003: With Mr. Miscavige opening new Churches around the world, Rinder, Rathbun and—mysteriously at the time—Tom DeVocht team up and begin what is later described as a “reign of terror” on colleagues and coworkers in Miscavige’s absence.
- Upon his return, Mr. Miscavige takes immediate disciplinary action, dismissing Rathbun entirely and posting him in a lower-level Church.
- 2004: With Rinder and Rathbun now posted in low-level positions, Mr. Miscavige orders their peers to get to the bottom of their conspiracy. As he points out, both men had botched every legal case they had handled and for some reason had become so derelict of duty they were too lazy to even look for evidence. It made no sense.
- 2004: No sooner had Mr. Miscavige departed again than Rathbun had a complete breakdown, beating Rinder to a pulp before five men rushed in to stop Rathbun from killing Rinder.
- 2004: Rathbun promptly blows [makes a sudden, unauthorized departure] and is next discovered drunk in a ditch. Once again it is assumed (erroneously) that external wars had caused his mental breakdown.
He would finally admit that in both 1993 (his first breakdown) and now, he was upset because the final remaining case was over and there were no more battles to fight. As he stated, “I only know how to fight. It’s all I’ve ever done.”
Rathbun claims he’s a “warrior” and that he’ll be back when the next war starts. He’s informed there won’t be any further wars.
- 2005: Tom DeVocht, in charge of Church construction projects, is discovered to have signed millions of dollars in unauthorized work orders. He too, with this discovery, promptly blows. The only person he speaks to before leaving is Rinder, who later tells colleagues that he shook DeVocht’s hand as a parting message. Shook his hand? Leaving staff and the Church’s religious order without authorization, deserting one’s fellows, is not only despised by Scientologists, it’s cause for automatic expulsion from the religion.
- 2006–2007: With the Church once again at peace, and all external legal battles having long since been terminated, investigations have dead-ended as to how the last case concerning the accidental tragedy in 1995 in Clearwater could have even occurred. That’s when another legal staffer involved in defending the case confesses something he must get off his chest. Namely, that every time Mr. Miscavige would ask Rathbun and Rinder to investigate why witnesses had lied, and why evidence had gone missing, Rinder and Rathbun would wink at each other as soon as Mr. Miscavige left the room. Rathbun has long since been gone, but Rinder is confronted with the report.
Why would Rinder shake DeVocht’s hand? Rinder provided no answer. But it remained a mystery nobody forgot, repeatedly probing to get to the bottom of it.
Rinder finally admits that both he and Rathbun knew the entire time what happened to the “missing” evidence discovered in Rinder’s storage in Los Angeles. In fact, he and Rathbun were the ones who put it there—and said nothing about it while Mr. Miscavige was being accused of having destroyed it.
Rinder makes another stunning admission: that it was Rathbun himself who had violated Church policy and ordered the psychotic onto Church premises, overriding all other staff who had refused to do so since it was an obvious violation of the Church Founder’s policy.
Finally Rinder admits that he had conspired with Rathbun to point the finger at others who, once dismissed for their supposed misconduct, would no longer be around to expose Rathbun as the culprit. Rinder and Rathbun had let dozens go down or be dismissed—ordering their dismissal—to cover up that they, Rinder and Rathbun, were the actual perpetrators.
(As for the real reason they covered up who had allowed a psychotic on Church premises, it was because both Rinder and Rathbun knew they would be dismissed from the Church for violating the Founder’s policy on psychotics not being allowed on Church premises. And that was all in addition to a possible 10 years in jail for destroying evidence and suborning perjury, in forcing every witness to not be truthful. As for why Rathbun would allow a psychotic on Church premises, in contravention of the Founder’s specific policies, that would only be discovered years later. Specifically, it was Rathbun’s familial history of insanity—never revealed by him, although required on his application for Church staff—which prompted him to act irrationally in allowing a psychotic on Church premises in a misguided effort to attempt more than was done during his upbringing when his mother and both brothers were institutionalized.)
This was all Rinder admitted to in 2007—although, two years later, both he and Rathbun would finally confess to something even more startling.
Nevertheless, Rinder’s fate was sealed and he knew it. He would never again hold an executive position in any capacity and should he not complete an ecclesiastic ethics program, he would be transferred to a local Church parish to service parishioners and regain a sense of the Church’s religious mission.
- 2007: Rinder is in England, serving in an assistant capacity to Church spokespersons. Having completed a particular media assignment, he requests approval to return to the Church’s International Headquarters. He is told to remain in England for the time being and is reminded his “services” are not needed and maybe he can do something in England that would demonstrate his value. He says he will do so. Whereupon, he blows without so much as a word.
For here was a man who lived for the glory of walking in the shadow of power, and his fall in disgrace was more than he could tolerate. Over the preceding five years, he’d been given dozens of opportunities to reform and always thought he’d be given another. Finally realizing he’d have to earn his own way back up, he instead left his colleagues, his wife of 30 years, his children.
A LAST MOMENT OF CLARITY
But the story, tragically, doesn’t end there. For here are three criminals—Rathbun, Rinder and DeVocht—and since liars are cowards, it was self-evident they still had a dark secret. After all, every one of them had blown from the Church, which, according to the Church’s Founder, only occurs when one has overts and withholds [transgressions]. In this instance, it’s the textbook example virtually proving Mr. Hubbard’s discovery.
In a rare moment of lucidity and partial honesty, just before his departure, Rathbun attempted to come clean.
He admitted to the false façade he’d presented to others. Namely, because he had so badly mishandled external affairs, Mr. Miscavige was forced to intervene. That had an added benefit to Rathbun as he would then be seen by others in the presence of Mr. Miscavige (who was forced onto the front lines to handle Rathbun’s responsibilities). To wit:
“My continuous actions over the past two decades have suppressed Scientology dissemination….It has been carefully masked by a façade of being important or working on important things. It is all the more insidious because that ‘importance’ has been by association with COB (Mr. Miscavige).”
As he further confessed, his modus operandi included:
“The creation of ‘threats’ to justify my own existence and suppressive operating basis. This suppressive operating basis was employed to try to maintain the false impression that I have some other production record externally that warrants me maintaining a high position. In fact, this is a fraud I have perpetrated.”
As for the damage he caused, and again in his own words:
“This has resulted in some very expensive situations becoming much bigger than they were and winding up on COB’s plate to terminatedly handle. Each and every time on major situations, COB has had to intervene to clean up wars I had exacerbated. For example, left to my own devices in handling IRS litigation, the end result would undoubtedly have been no exemption, a billion-dollar tax bill, and possible shutting down of the Church. I have developed a slick false PR technique of positioning myself as having been integral in handling threats during and after the fact, when they are actually terminatedly handled by COB. By calculation I have lost the Church 43 million dollars on losses and expenses that could have been avoided.”
Proof of his words: Since the discovery and removal of Rathbun and Rinder, the seemingly endless series of “unexplainable” external battles and legal cases has “magically” ended. Indeed, the Church has emerged victorious in country after country with religious recognitions as well as precedent-setting decisions in the European Court of Human Rights (the highest court on international human rights issues for the 46 countries that comprise the Council of Europe).
But Rathbun knew something else. Unlike himself, whose only duties were concerned with external legal affairs, Mr. Miscavige was responsible for the leadership of the entire religion:
“By perpetuating these operations internally and externally, the worst suppression has been visited upon COB RTC [Religious Technology Center]. It is the worst suppression because COB RTC is the person who has single-handedly salvaged Scientology from potential external ruin, and single-handedly salvaged Scientology itself by holding the line technically, administratively, and on dissemination. Had he not been here and done what he has, Scientology would have been lost. There is no slightest doubt about that. The cumulative amount of COB’s time I have cost in terms of dropping balls, creating situations internally and externally, is on the order of eight years.”
Although he confessed to the ramifications of his actions, the magnitude of his damage is a bitter pill to swallow. Specifically, while he well knew how much his incompetence and created disasters had cost in terms of Mr. Miscavige’s time, the resultant Church expansion—with Rathbun off the lines and Mr. Miscavige free to dedicate himself to the Church’s religious mission—serves to illustrate just how destructive Rathbun was.
Case in point: With the Church’s resources now dedicated to the religion itself, since Rathbun has been gone the size of the Church has doubled what it had achieved in its first 55 years of existence. Moreover, Mr. Miscavige was finally free to complete a 25-year project to restore all Mr. Hubbard’s written and spoken words and so make available the full Scripture of the Scientology religion. (Read the biography of Scientology’s ecclesiastical leader at www.scientology.org/DavidMiscavige.) But that’s still not the end of the story, because Rathbun did not act alone in suppressing the religion. As he further admitted:
“I recognize my actions have been unfounded and ignorant and destructive in the extreme. There is no conspiracy connected with this pattern of suppression, except a portion of it. That is Mike Rinder who has gone into tacit agreement with me on making nothing of situations, false reporting on them, and allowing them to expand until they explode on COB’s plate to handle.”
Yes, Mike Rinder, who would later admit he was a “clone” of Rathbun—doing and saying whatever Rathbun ordered him to do or say.
But for all that, Rathbun’s most telling statement, the one that would prophesize his irreversible meltdown, was this:
“The motivations for these acts are a psychotic computation for self-preservation.”
BUSTED, BITTER, BROKE…AND PSYCHOTIC
Actually, it’s no surprise that shortly after confessing, Rathbun suddenly departed. After all, the threatening external battles had ended and the Church was able to dedicate all its resources to constructive activity—which is precisely what a psychotic cannot stand. In the Founder’s words describing those afflicted with psychosis:
“They stay on as long as it can be made bad or there is hope it can be destroyed. Then when attention is given to improvement, they blow.”
Such was the case with Rathbun, Rinder and DeVocht (not mentioned so far if only because his involvement was so insidiously hidden). Yet there was something else: a matter of self-importance. All of them left with the hope the Church would come “begging” them to return to “save the day.”
- Rathbun, in his own words, was awaiting the next “war,” which, thanks to his departure, never appeared.
- Rinder, similarly in his own words, awaited the next PR flap or legal case which, thanks to his departure, never materialized.
- DeVocht, also in his own words, awaited the request for his “construction skills” which, thanks to his departure, were never less needed as new Churches began arising on every continent now that construction projects were not being mismanaged by him.
Then there was the fact that each of them intended on “proving” how competent they were by becoming “world shakers” in the private sector. Rathbun said he’d create global learning programs in five years. Rinder would be a PR genius. And DeVocht one supposes imagined himself as the next mega-industrialist.
- Rathbun burned through his hundred-thousand-dollar inheritance (he had departed the Church with $0.00 in debts—credit cards or otherwise) and another hundred thousand dollars of assets in less than five years. Afterwards, he was next reported to be selling beer in a park. He was then reportedly pushing a broom—while “trying” his hand at “writing screenplays” for Hollywood.
- Rinder was selling used cars. When that proved too taxing for him, since it required he show up for work, he turned to telemarketing. Whereupon the venture he joined fell apart within months.
- DeVocht became a repo man, selling goods from repossessed storage lockers on eBay—a far cry from his previous life where his well-to-do wife (whom he abandoned) provided him with Armani suits and a steady allowance. His career as a 21st-century real estate mogul was next reflected in his career as a refurbisher of used furniture. He lost that job too.
In summary and substance, then, they were all busted, broke and bitter. And since it was now clear they’d never again enjoy the life they had and threw away through misconduct, they’d “get even.”
And they’d do so by resuscitating their career of crime which had been their undoing. Namely, lying and suborning perjury.
ENTER THE PRESS (AND AN APOSTATE “MEA CULPA”)
- 2009: It was hard to imagine what they might have to sell even though, date-coincident with media contact, neither Rathbun, Rinder nor DeVocht have any visible employment or means of support. Yet they now spend their days blogging on the Internet or glued to flat-screen TVs—while not even pretending to be so much as attempting to gain employment or engage in any work. Be that as it is, and no matter further rumors of the press “compensating” them, the fact is they did have a story to sell. And it was a bombshell.
Indeed, it would finally, after 14 years, clear up the mystery as to what had happened back in 1995 and who had been responsible for the perjury and obstruction of justice that resulted in the since-dismissed criminal charges—and the false accusations against the Church’s leader.
And who better to hear that story than the very same local newspaper that had so wished for it to result in the destruction of the Church—the St. Petersburg Times? In fact, the very same press—indeed, the same reporter, Tom Tobin—who had repeatedly taken spokesman Rinder to task for the lies told to law enforcement?
So what was the answer and who had done it?
It was a story the newspaper had no need to fact check. Because their suddenly “star” sources for a scandalous story about the Church and its leader confessed that it was they themselves—the “Posse”—who had committed the crime.
- Rathbun, in his own words, told how it was he who had ordered evidence destroyed: “I said, ‘lose ‘em’ and walked out of the room,” adding that the decision to destroy the records was his own: “Nobody told me to do it and I did it.”
- Rathbun further admitted he was the one who suborned perjury, forcing witnesses to lie.
- Rathbun also justified his acts by claiming it was “the hand I was dealt.” Specifically, that by the time he arrived on the scene, DeVocht, secretly, had already forced the first witnesses to lie. Whereupon Rathbun and DeVocht conspired to force all other witnesses to do the same—a secret they would keep until their revelation to the S.P. Times, in 2009, 14 years after the crime.
For the first time ever it was revealed:
- Finally, there was the answer to why Rinder shook DeVocht’s hand upon DeVocht’s cowardly departure those many years earlier, and Rinder’s bizarre friendship with Rathbun, even after Rathbun almost killed him: Rinder was in on it the whole time—directing the entire thing.
The S.P. Times’ reporter and editor, Tobin and Childs, were in paroxysms of glee over the Rathbun, Rinder and DeVocht confession. But it came at a price. Namely, the death of any remaining integrity or ethics they had as journalists.
Even though they had finally discovered who had committed the greatest lie of all—suborning perjury—they were now to give those perjurers a platform to vent about the very person who, after discovering only a fraction of what they’d done and now confessed, had removed them.
The fact Rathbun admitted that he, Rinder and DeVocht had suborned perjury and obstructed justice—after the statute of limitations had expired, thus precluding criminal prosecution and jail time—apparently did not matter. After all, Tobin and Childs had in previous years printed enough anti-Scientology vitriol to fill a book.
Besides, Tobin and Childs felt confident in another regard. They knew Mr. Miscavige rarely gave interviews and would likely decline their request to do so—at which point they could print the latest self-corroborated lies by the self-admitted perjurers with a tacked-on, “Mr. Miscavige refused to comment.” So the betrayal wasn’t merely by those who were busted—Rathbun, Rinder and DeVocht. It also included the S.P. Times’ Tobin and Childs. They well knew, from his 1998 interview, that Mr. Miscavige was the only person ever truthful to them. They further knew they hated Rinder prior to the Miscavige open-access interview. As for Rathbun, they would have never met him were it not for Mr. Miscavige (who the newspaper now knew was unaware of Rathbun’s crime at the time Rathbun was introduced to them). And DeVocht? Yes—Mr. Miscavige’s introduction too. Nobody in the Church, not even the corrupt trio, ever considered the reporter and editor to be ethical or honest. They merely knew Mr. Miscavige was—and so even the likes of Tobin, Childs had no choice but to be impressed. After all, he was no Rinder—a man they, again, despised.
Childs and Tobin destroyed any appearance of objectivity. And once it was done, even the S.P. Times editorial staff wanted to spit in their face.
Because as it turned out, however, just as in 1998, Mr. Miscavige did indeed agree to be interviewed. Moreover, he told Childs and Tobin, in writing, that he would “provide information annihilating the credibility of your sources.”
The Times was caught out. They knew what it meant to interview Mr. Miscavige. They knew it would be fact, fact, fact, truth, truth, truth. So what did they do? They cancelled the interview and went to press the very next day.
What had served for anti-Scientology fodder in literally hundreds of articles and editorials, between 1997 and 2004, was now brushed aside as a “tsk-tsk” because the perjurers were now suddenly on the St. Petersburg Times’ anti-Scientology team.
How do they get away with it? More importantly, how can dishonest journalists live with themselves?
The answer is simple. They aren’t looking for the “truth,” they are only interested in a “story.” And in the 21st-century Internet age—where any blogger can post anything he wants, anonymously no less—the so-called mainstream media is more and more pressed to make a buck. And more times than not, today’s talking heads themselves cut their teeth on the Internet fringe.
Case in point: television tabloid host Anderson Cooper.
He called one month after the S.P. Times’ trash had run in 2009, in an attempt to circle the journalistic wagon for his Florida colleagues whose “exposé” was already being eviscerated—including by other real journalists who were up in arms that any respectable newspaper would “profile” a man they’d refused to interview. (And those real journalists included staff of the S.P. Times itself.)
But, like the S.P. Times, Cooper also possessed a hatred for Scientology and, in particular, previous spokesman Rinder (when he was in the Church). But now, Rinder had jumped on the anti-Scientology bandwagon and was calling Cooper to pimp his co-conspirator and fellow perjurer Rathbun. Rinder had reportedly already made a commitment for cash ($250,000 was rumored on the Internet) to another media outlet and his lies were reserved as an “exclusive” to them.
Anderson Cooper had a plan to cover his tracks:
- Refuse to provide any specifics of allegations made against the Church. In this way, he thought, he could prevent any meaningful response, since the Church would have no details to respond to. Even more, by refusing to give specifics, the subsequent lack of a Church response to the lies he would broadcast could be excused by Cooper with a simple “I wasn’t aware of that information.”
- Refuse to accept open access to the Church. That way he could, he thought, get away with presenting an entirely distorted picture of the Church as told by the defrocked apostates who were now his sources.
- Refuse to accept any information from the Church. That way, again, he’d have “plausible deniability” when he broadcast his anti-Scientology propaganda.
Of course, it all backfired on him. His AC 360 show was a bust; his ratings continued their plummet. And when the Church was finally informed of the specific lies now being made by Cooper’s “Posse” of perjurers—for the first time on the broadcast itself—the Church had miles of video footage to prove they were liars.
But Cooper did something else far more telling—and damning—of media ethics today. For while public distrust of the media is now at an all-time high, that same public doesn’t necessarily know how the media misleads them. All they know is that they are being lied to, if for no other reason than most people are honest and can tell when a story has the stench of a sewer.
So how does Anderson Cooper do it? And what’s in his bag of smoke-and-mirror tricks?
It’s simple. It’s not what he shows on his broadcast; it’s what he doesn’t show:
- Cooper was read Rathbun’s public confession wherein Rathbun admitted to the criminal misconduct which led to his removal. It was all recorded on videotape by Cooper as he conducted his interview of Church officials. Not one sentence of that confession was included in the AC 360 broadcast.
- Cooper was provided the Rathbun admission of criminal perjury and obstruction of justice by himself, Rinder and DeVocht. Again, his AC 360 broadcast made no mention of it.
- Cooper was provided DeVocht’s confession, wherein DeVocht admits he is a compulsive liar. No mention of it is made in the broadcast.
- Cooper was made aware that his sources had been removed for their misconduct—a fact even those sources admitted was true. As noted, such misconduct included Rathbun’s admission of wasted Church funds during his tenure in external affairs; the same again for Rinder; and the same for DeVocht in mismanaged construction projects. The point: These people were removed for a reason; their misconduct was criminal; and the damage was very expensive. Cooper made no mention of it whatsoever.
- Cooper was aware that Rinder had “sold” his story to another media outlet. Again, no mention of it.
- Moreover, Cooper interviewed Rinder in proxy through his then live-in lover, Christie Collbran—the age of Rinder’s daughter—but presented her tales (as given to her by Rinder) without any mention of her relationship to Rinder. The incestuous connection was apparently “irrelevant” to Cooper. (Why not at least tell the truth and, as Cooper says, “let the viewer decide”?)
- Finally, every statement made by Church officials concerning the affairs of the Church, its growth and its leadership, since the removal and dismissal of Cooper’s sources six years earlier—all of them were omitted from the broadcast.
Fortunately, the Church has the resources to expose the media manipulation Cooper engages in.
But what does it say for a news organization that becomes an apologist for criminals? Perjurers, suborners of perjury, obstructors of justice—criminals? Then again, what does it say about media blithely broadcasting what they are informed is a pack of lies, and doing so even despite the fact those telling the lies are self-admitted criminal perjurers and suborners of perjury? In other words, these are people who had conspired to coerce dozens to corroborate each other’s lies to police—all of which meant Cooper was mere putty in their hands by comparison. And he knew it.
Actually, maybe it doesn’t say much. After all, nobody ever said Anderson Cooper was a real journalist.
WHAT’S THE REAL STORY?
Anybody can see it for themselves. Just log on to scientology.org and scientology.tv and what one will see is a dynamic, expanding new religion working to do good, with global humanitarian programs under the banner of Universal Human Rights, Drug Education and Rehabilitation, Global Literacy Programs and a Volunteer Minister relief force, front and center, helping wherever needed.
Now contrast that with a handful of bitter, disgruntled apostates who through dishonesty, malfeasance and hard-core-go-to-jail criminality are no longer allowed to be a part of it.
In a world where press headlines take religions to task when they don’t clean house, the media should applaud a church that does remove miscreant thugs.
That they lie about the leader of the religion (the man who removed them) is no surprise. After all, they had engaged in felonious conduct, for which they should have served jail time. And when that crime was exposed, they allowed the leader of the Church to be targeted for the acts they had committed—all while knowing and keeping it a secret from him that it was they who had committed the crime. That they could then sit there pretending to defend the leader, while professing they’d “take a bullet” for him—well, they were indeed taking a bullet…and shooting it right in his back. So they were well trained for their “self-corroborating” media tour. After all, the easiest lie to level against him, and corroborate among themselves, were the very crimes they had committed in teaming up together to physically abuse staff when the investigation was closing in on their secret. Just change the name and go to town. Lying…it was the only thing remaining they knew how to do.
And that’s the real story of Rathbun, Rinder and DeVocht. They don’t belong in front of cameras, unless it’s for a mug shot.