Addition to Chapter 30
Rathbun and the Destruction of Evidence
From print page 265:
I HAD NOT DONE ANYTHING ILLEGAL, but I can’t say that for the rest of the team working on this case. I knew that RTC was heavily involved, but didn’t learn until years later how David Miscavige, Marty Rathbun, Elliot Abelson and others navigated the outcome of the legal battle that got Scientology off the hook for Lisa’s death, including covering up the fact that David Miscavige had personally supervised Lisa McPherson’s auditing prior to her death. Rathbun’s role in this cover-up and excerpts from his legal deposition about destroying evidence of Miscavige’s involvement are briefly described here to help readers connect a few more dots. The deposition details were drawn from tonyortega.org.
Marty Rathbun had blown the Int base in 1993, not long after the IRS tax-exemption victory he had helped orchestrate. He came back and was sent to the Freewinds for nearly two years where he received auditing and training in great part from Greg Wilhere. He returned to the Int base in ’95, when he was put back on his best role as fixer and handler of problems under DM. (He left the Sea Org in 2004. Although the section below did not occur until 2014, I’m interjecting it here because it exemplifies Scientology’s practice of cover-ups.)
In his deposition of Dec. 22, 2014 with Scientology attorney Bert Deixler, posted at tonyortega.org, Rathbun disclosed a few aspects of the intentional cover-up of the Lisa McPherson case:
Rathbun: By the end of ’95…I was handling the cover-up of the Lisa McPherson case which was a legal intelligence PR job directly from Miscavige…
Deixler: You said the cover up of McPherson. Was the McPherson case the case in which you have acknowledged that you ordered the destruction of documents?
Rathbun: At the behest of David Miscavige, yeah.
Deixler: So–so the answer is, you ordered the destruction of documents, correct?”
Rathbun: I forward the order to destroy any evidence that might link David Miscavige to the case.
Deixler: And to whom did you give the order to destroy evidence?
Rathbun: Well, actually I—I sort of assented to general counsel’s advice to get done, and I said, Go ahead. Lose them. But Elliot Abelson had pretty much made the legal determination that the evidence should be destroyed.
Deixler: Mr. Abelson said this material should be gotten rid of?…When you say “this” to what are you referring?
Rathbun: A series of documents…Which were reports on the last day of Lisa McPherson’s life.
Deixler: OK. At the time you were ordering the destruction of these documents, did you think you were acting truthfully?
Rathbun: Truthfully. I—I don’t understand the question…I was acting ethically pursuant to Scientology’s ethics codes.
Deixler: And explain to me what part of the ethics code instructed you that it was appropriate to destroy evidence in a criminal proceeding.
Rathbun: It’s throughout the code. If you read that book, it’s throughout it. That ultimately if it’s good for Scientology, it’s good. It if’s bad for Scientology, it’s evil. Period.
Deixler: So it is correct that your view of the ethics system of Scientology permitted obstruction of justice; is that right?
Rathbun: Absolutely. Yes.
This cover-up debacle was also covered by WTSP, a CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg, Florida, where Rathbun made allegations that the Church of Scientology spent millions in an attempt to influence Florida judges as it was fighting the criminal investigation and then civil litigation following Lisa’s death. Anyone with a conscience—including Scientologists—has to ask the question, should Rathbun get off the hook for admitting to obstruction of justice because his “religion” required him to subscribe to this code of ethics? How is it that Scientology can put itself above the law and get away with it?
Another small but mind-bending fact about the Scientology organization is that we (staff) were not allowed to watch TV or access any Internet sites where we could have reviewed the news reporting covering the controversy. The penalty for going online was assignment to the prison camp.
From print page 268:
Instead of caring about fixing the criminal exchange level with Scientologists, and repairing the overt products at church expense, Miscavige created a public relations solution to con the Scientology world: The Golden Age of Tech (GAT). GAT was launched as a mandatory requirement for all Scientologists and staff to enroll in the new GAT courses to “finally” become 100% standard auditors. The courses consisted of hundreds of drills, drills, drills, that the student auditors would learn using their e-meter, their new drills simulator, their new drills materials, and the Scientology processes used in auditing. GAT was presented as a means of raising the bar on standards that LRH always intended but that had never been implemented.
A description of the Golden Age of Tech and its consequences was abridged in the print book because so many former Scientology readers were familiar with it. I briefly describe it here:
MISCAVIGE’S GOLDEN AGE OF TECH
This strategy would cover up Flag’s technical imperfections and potentially make a lot of money from Scientologists buying all this training again, plus the required equipment and materials.
I noted that COB had turned to Ray Mithoff, Senior C/S International, who had been sleeping on a slope in a pup tent as a declared SP, to write the GAT drills. If Mithoff was an SP, why did he entrust Ray with writing the GAT drills?
100% standard auditing was particularly important at the biggest money makers: the Freewinds, the Flag Service Organization in Clearwater, the Advanced Orgs in LA, England and Copenhagen, and Celebrity Centre International. Credibility was everything, and would make or break the income lines. I already heard that several of the top celebrity auditors at CC Int who had previously been treated like gods had been removed and RPF’d because they “couldn’t audit” and had messed up several celebrity cases. I knew two of those auditors personally, and had been on the RPF with Stephanie Silcock.
The release of GAT rocked the Scientology world. People who had spent tens of thousands of dollars in auditor training were told that they were not a standard auditor, and would have to redo everything. Worse, those who had learned to audit themselves on the upper OT levels, from Solo I up to OT VIII, would have to do the GAT drills. We are talking big bucks here.
From a very short-term perspective, it was a potentially brilliant financial move. Auditor training packages for lower levels cost at least $30,000 in my day. Then to get from Clear to the top of the bridge at OT VIII as a solo auditor could cost on the average of $500,000 and up. Miscavige was looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars per Scientologist for re-training. Plus, Gold would manufacture a drills simulator machine required for their meter drills, plus the new Quantum E-Meter. A triple whammy of dollars, sure to make the Scientology empire rich.
COB failed to see that his public relations strategy that was purely money motivated would boomerang on him. Dissonant warning bells about the ethics of this strategy rang out. Many of us, including me, privately questioned GAT. Scientologists around the world started protesting their training certificates being found as invalid or inadequate. Who was going to fork out the money to pay to get trained all over again? How would we explain the “low standards” by which we had trained all Scientologists up to this point? What was ethical about keeping the money that they had paid and telling them they must pay more? Why didn’t we just admit that we had made a mistake? No, the truth couldn’t be told because that would cause Flag and the tech and Int Management to lose all credibility in the eyes of Scientologists. Miscavige had to pull off the PR feat of the century: paint a picture that the public would accept.
Many Scientologists did comply with GAT, but this marked another defining moment in Scientology’s mudslide of credibility. Reading between the lines, COB was dishing out pure invalidation of everyone’s case gain and training. Hundreds of Scientologists that turned into thousands disagreed with GAT and left Scientology, seeing their investment go down the drain and the program as a scam to bilk Scientologists for more money. Flag and other orgs started to empty out. Perhaps people were beginning to realize that the achievement of these different levels and OT abilities didn’t even exist.
I remember what happened when RTC heard drifts of disagreements from Int base staff about the Golden Age of Tech. Miscavige’s inner circle that frequented our offices picked up on our “counter-intention” to GAT. In response, Miscavige issued a directive telling all Sea Org members that if we expressed any counter-intention to GAT, that meant an immediate RPF assignment. In other words, operate like mindless robots and just follow orders from our authoritarian leader without questioning anything. The hammer came down hard on anyone who spoke out against it or refused to implement it. And we were forbidden to refer to it as “GAT”, we had to call in Golden Age of Tech.
I couldn’t find anything ethical about the GAT program. But when I was interrogated about it by RTC staff, I acted disinterested in any problems. I wasn’t going to tell the truth and go to the RPF for that. Had I been the IMPR or in a technical position, I would have left the Sea Org at that time. It’s not like I was turning a blind eye. I disagreed with GAT. I just wasn’t careless enough to become a dissident over this, because survival at the Int base wasn’t about integrity; it was about supporting command intention, unconditionally.