These days, and for the last few years, whenever Tony Ortega introduces Mike Rinder as the source of a quote in one of his articles, he says that he’s “the former International Spokesman” for the Church of Scientology. Karen de la Carriere and Jeffrey Augustine also revise Mike Rinder’s history and career timeline for him in these ways.
In fact, I’ve spoken to people who appeared on Scientology and the Aftermath, who had no idea what Mike Rinder really did in the Church of Scientology – even though his duties and responsibilities directly related to the abuse they received by the Church as administered through OSA.
So I am documenting here on this blog what Mike Rinder himself swore to a court what his duties and responsibilities were – not as just a former spokesman – but as a member of the Board of Directors for Scientology and as the Commanding Officer of the Office of Special Affairs for the Church of Scientology, reporting directly to David Miscavige every day for decades.
The following is from Mike Rinder’s own blog. The link is below.
“Because I have it soft copy and because I feel it summarizes a lot of relevant information that should be easily accessible for readers of this blog, this is the text of the declaration filed in the Monique Rathbun case in Texas today. For some reason loading this into wordpress keeps messing up the numbering. It doesnt change any of the text.”
DECLARATION OF MICHAEL RINDER
My name is Michael Rinder, I am over the age of 21, and I have personal knowledge of the facts stated herein, which I declare are true and correct subject to the penalty for perjury.
- I was raised in a Scientology family from the age of six. I joined church staff in April 1973 at the age of eighteen and remained a full time employee until June 2007.
- For most of the time between 1982 and 2007 I was a senior official in the Church of Scientology International (CSI), the so-called mother church of Scientology. I was on the Board of Directors of CSI from its inception in 1982 until I left in 2007.
- During the majority of the time between 1982 and 2007 I was the most senior official within CSI responsible for “external affairs”, meaning government and media relations, investigations and intelligence operations, as well as all litigation and contract matters. This function is performed by the Office of Special Affairs (“OSA”) and I was the head of OSA for most of this time.
- I have read Defendant Church of Scientology International’s “Anti-SLAPP Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s First Amended Petition” and attached affidavits of Allan Cartwright, David Lubow, John Allender, Richard Hirst, Monty Drake and Steven Sloat and I have also read Defendants Miscavige and RTC Special Appearances and requests for dismissal alleging this court does not have jurisdiction. I have relevant information concerning both of these efforts to dismiss this case.
Miscavige and Me
- Though a CSI employee, I answered directly to David Miscavige (the self-titled Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center or “COB RTC” or nowadays simply “COB”) and Religious Technology Center, either directly to Miscavige or through his representatives, primarily Mark (“Marty”) Rathbun and to a lesser extent Warren McShane and Mike Sutter. Even when there was someone who was administratively senior to me in CSI, they were senior in title only. RTC still directed my activities and I reported to one of the four named individuals above.
- I have more than two decades of personal experience working for David Miscavige dealing with the most pressing “external affairs” matters – from negotiations with the IRS to dealing with “attackers” and responding to media and numerous lawsuits. Miscavige has always maintained personal and direct control over situations he felt threatened his position of authority and power within the church or would harm his image. To facilitate this without subjecting himself to liability, an elaborate corporate structure was put in place to shield his involvement in direct actions, particularly those that are unsavory or could generate damaging PR or could drag him into litigation.
- I was selected by David Miscavige and brought to Los Angeles from Florida in April 1981 to participate in the purge of the “Guardian’s Office” which had been the arm of the church that had been responsible for “external affairs” but had been caught and prosecuted by the US Government for illegal acts. This in turn had engendered civil litigation which at the time was moving towards judgments against the church and threatened to drag Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard into civil and potentially criminal liability. Marty Rathbun was also part of this small group of people hand selected by Miscavige. OSA is heir to the role of the Guardian’s Office.
- At Miscavige’s direction, extensive and elaborate methods were employed to shield Hubbard from liability. After Hubbard died in 1986 and Miscavige took over, similar methods were employed by Miscavige to shield himself from liability.
- Miscavige is acutely aware of personal liability and carefully uses subterfuge to make it appear he has no connection to unsavory or potentially tortious or criminal activities. He talks on the phone or in person with no record to his trusted “lieutenants” about “sensitive matters” (such as anything relating to the “handling” of “attackers”, defined as anyone who threatens his position or the church through exposure in the media, on the internet or in the legal arena). If written communication is required it is not signed by him and gives no indication who it was written by. At times Miscavige even writes about himself in the third person (e.g. “this would impact COB” rather than “this would impact me.”) This is a pattern developed by Hubbard. Other times Miscavige instructs his lieutenants to issue orders in their name. This happened hundreds if not thousands of times where I would relay Miscavige orders to underlings in various Churches of Scientology around the world in my name.
- Miscavige compartmentalizes information – those who did not “need to know” were excluded from conversations or written orders. The majority of the time I worked under Miscavige, “sensitive” subjects, which included matters related to litigation, ongoing investigations or high level defectors were discussed ONLY with his most trusted juniors. On numerous occasions that meant only Marty Rathbun and me. He would tell others to leave the room, or he would step outside with us before discussing these matters. This was particularly the case when he wanted to discuss ongoing “investigations.”
- The “Case Officers” (usually Neal O’Riley, Ben Shaw and Linda Hamel, all former Guardian Office members) who directed PI’s and other operatives reported only to me, and I forwarded it to Miscavige, Rathbun, McShane and Sutter. The information they collected and activities they directed were kept segregated from even others in OSA. This is pursuant to the written policy of the church on how to conduct covert investigations and operations. (Some operations were so sensitive that Rathbun or McShane went directly to the Case Officers and I was not informed about what they were doing)
- Miscavige received a daily report concerning every legal case, every media action and every investigation ongoing in the world. I prepared this briefing each day, entitled the “OSA DR” (Office of Special Affairs Daily Report) and it was sent to Marty Rathbun and David Miscavige via an encrypted email program. The report had no indication on it who it was written by or who it was addressed to. There was a separate “Investigations Report” that I compiled with very limited distribution including David Miscavige and Marty Rathbun. The “Invest Report” contained specifics of all ongoing activities of Private Investigators and intelligence operations working for the church against “attackers”. This was delivered in an unmarked, sealed envelope with no indication who it was from or who it was to and is labeled “Secret — Eyes Only.” On hundreds of occasions David Miscavige specifically commented upon, issued orders concerning, and even micro-managed the format of the OSA Daily Reports. When I was in a different location from Miscavige, he would call me on the phone every single day first thing to direct what was to be done about matters raised in the OSA Daily Report (it was the first thing he looked at before even getting dressed when he woke up in the morning) and he would call me again at the end of the day to ask if there was any other “significant news”. Some days, if there was an investigation or legal case or media matter that he was especially interested in, he would call me several times during the day. All staff in OSA knew that phone calls “from COB” were highest priority and any meetings or other matters were to be interrupted to take a “call from COB.” Staff in OSA Int saw me receive literally thousands of phone calls from “COB.” When we were in the same location, I would be summoned to his office several times each day.
- Each and every OSA Daily Report and Intel or Invest Daily Report that was produced daily from 1981 to the present is filed both in electronic and hard copy form at OSA. It is long-standing, firm, unalterable Scientology policy that every report generated by OSA is faithfully and securely kept on file for eternity. The files are considered to be the mind of the organization.
Corporate Lines of Control – The Sea Organization
- In addition to the compartmented information and sensitive matters not being put in writing, an elaborate corporate structure is in place on paper intended to insulate Miscavige and RTC from any civil or criminal liability. I helped establish this structure starting in 1981, creating the different corporations of Scientology including CSI and RTC. This structure served three purposes: making a legally defensible structure that the IRS could ultimately grant tax exempt status to, creating an impenetrable corporate shield to limit liability to Hubbard (and subsequently Miscavige) and protecting assets from judgments by litigants by locating them in different corporate entities than those that were in direct contact with the public.
- In fact, there is no corporate separation in the Scientology hierarchy because the entire structure of Scientology corporations is completely subservient to the Sea Organization (“Sea Org” or “SO”). And that is under the unquestioned authority of its supreme commander, Captain David Miscavige.
- The Sea Org is a fraternity of the most dedicated members of Scientology. They pledge themselves to eternal service, signing a billion year “contract.” Sea Org members live in church facilities and have no life outside the church. The name derives from the late 1960’s when L. Ron Hubbard took his most dedicated and trusted followers to sea on a fleet of ships. Hubbard assumed the naval rank of Commodore and the naval traditions of rank and command structures became part and parcel of the leadership of Scientology.
- Everyone in CSI and RTC and all other senior organizations of Scientology are members of the Sea Organization. I was a member of the Sea Organization from 1973 until 2007 and as all Sea Org members are required to do, I signed a billion year “contract”, committing myself to an eternity in service of Scientology and dedicating myself without question to the Sea Org strict and unquestioned code of conduct.
- The real control of Scientology lays within the Sea Organization hierarachy. Every person in any position of authority in the international structure of Scientology is a Sea Org member. Every one of them is answerable to Miscavige. He uses a contrived title that makes him sound like a Board Chairman of a normal corporation. This is a deliberate ruse. He is really the most senior official of the Sea Org and as such has complete and unquestioned authority over every Sea Org member regardless of their “corporate position.”
- When Hubbard died in 1986 and Miscavige took over to “follow in his footsteps” – Hubbard’s rank of Commodore was retired. Miscavige assumed the most senior rank of “Captain.” This bestows upon him ultimate “seniority of command” and authority over everyone else in the Sea Org (meaning every person in any position of authority in Scientology no matter their corporate position). Internally in Scientology, even members who are not in the Sea Org refer to him as “Captain Miscavige” and he is identified in church publications accordingly.
- When this true “line of command and control” was brought up in litigation in the 1990’s by former Sea Org members, Miscavige went to extraordinary lengths to camouflage his control by appointing a number of other people to the rank of “Captain (brevet).” “Brevet” means “temporary.” In that way he was able to submit a declaration to the court claiming that because there were “other Captains” he was not in fact able to exercise sole control of the Sea Organization. That conclusion was false, though his assertion that there were “other Captains” was literally true but the other “Captains” were temporary and each understood Miscavige could take away their “rank” as quickly as he had bestowed it. And he did so. After that declaration was filed he subsequently demoted every person he mentioned, not a single one of them retained the rank of Captain (brevet).
- In Scientology, Corporate Boards are window-dressing. The members of the Board of CSI had no idea what their duties and responsibilities were. As the head of OSA and thus responsible for maintaining “corporate regularity” I would direct board minutes be put together and sent to the various board members of CSI and many different corporations for the “Directors” to sign. Many did not even read them. They understood they were merely a formality required for maintaining “corporate regularity” but it had nothing to do with their actual operations. Every member of every corporate board and all officers (including CSI and RTC) had signed undated resignations that could be activated by Miscavige at any time. So too have many of the corporate directors (myself included) signed false declarations asserting these corporations are real because as dedicated Sea Org members it is considered far more important to protect L. Ron Hubbard or David Miscavige than comply with “wog” (the Scientology term for non-Scientologists) laws which are considered worthy only of contempt.
- I was directed by Miscavige personally on many, many different situations from lawsuits that he felt were important, to meeting with key media, to visiting with government officials, to directly running private investigators and intelligence operations. In each instance the level of micro-managing Miscavige engaged in is hard to believe.
Miscavige Connection to Texas
- Out of literally dozens, if not hundreds of examples, I recount what happened with the Aznarans in 1994, primarily because they were Texas residents and the events took place in Dallas. Vicki Aznaran, like Mark Rathbun, was previously the “Inspector General” of Religious Technology Center. She was ousted by Miscavige and left the church and she and her husband filed suit against a number of church entities in 1988. Miscavige considered her a threat due to her knowledge of the power struggle he had been engaged in after the death of L. Ron Hubbard in 1986. Aznaran had taken sides against Miscavige and therefore she and her husband had become “enemies.”
- In 1994 the Aznaran’s called the church and said they wanted to engage in settlement discussions to resolve their lawsuit.
- Miscavige called me, told me in detail what he wanted done and sent me to meet with Richard Aznaran at Dallas-Fort Worth airport. I was instructed by Miscavige to secretly record the entire meeting so Miscavige could hear every word that was said. I covertly recorded my meeting with Mr. Aznaran as Miscavige had ordered.
- When I returned to Los Angeles, Miscavige listened to the recording and then directed that I set up a settlement meeting with the Aznarans in Dallas. He gave me very explicit instructions. I was sent back to Dallas with Miscavige lieutenant, and RTC staff member, Mike Sutter and met with Richard and Vicki Aznaran in a suite in the Adolphus hotel in Dallas. Richard and Vicki were “represented” by Vicki’s sister as they were dissatisfied with the lawyer who had been representing them (Barry Van Sickle) and they wanted to be paid directly without Van Sickle getting anything.
- I negotiated a settlement with the Aznaran’s over two days in Dallas. I was called by Miscavige at least every hour and had to give detailed descriptions of everything that had transpired and then received more detailed direction from him on what was to be done. As has now become standard practice in all Scientology settlements, we were required to get the Aznarans to sign declarations that could be used to counter statements they had earlier made in the course of their lawsuit.
- Sutter and I returned to Los Angeles. We worked in Miscavige’s office on the 11th floor of the Hollywood Guarantee Building (HGB) 1710 Ivar Ave. (which also carries the CSI address of 6331 Hollywood Blvd) in Hollywood putting declarations – favorable to Miscavige himself that Miscavige had dictated – into final form. We typed them up and submitted them to Miscavige for his approval. Miscavige then despatched me and Sutter back to Dallas to get these signed and to tell the Aznarans that if they wouldn’t sign them there was no deal and they would get no money. The Aznaran’s balked at signing the documents. Some modifications were made to things the Aznarans considered were too blatantly and provably false. Every change required approval from Miscavige via telephone. If he disagreed with the wording they wanted Miscavige dictated a different version to go back to them.
- Miscavige was also directly and personally involved in other matters I am aware of related to Texas. Private Investigator Monty Drake was used to gather information on Dell Liebriech in Dallas Texas. Dell Liebriech was the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit filed in Florida on behalf of Lisa McPherson who had died under church care. Miscavige had been personally involved in the administration of Scientology counseling (auditing) to Ms. McPherson and was extremely concerned that he would be implicated in the case. He, Marty Rathbun and I essentially relocated to Florida from 1998 through 2002 to work almost exclusively on the case. Miscavige controlled every single aspect of it, primarily through Rathbun and me – from meeting with lawyers and experts to responding to protestors and making statements to the press. Not a single thing relating to the McPherson case was done that was not ordered by him. Not a single thing happened relating to that case that he was not immediately apprised of. Not a single utterance was made to the hundreds of media who repeatedly inquired of the church about the case without Miscavige either dictating the words to be spoken or authorizing them. All intelligence operations against the McPherson family and their lawyers were conducted only at the direction of or with prior approval of Miscavige.
- From January 2004 off and on through 2007, I was incarcerated by direct order of David Miscavige in what he called “The Hole.” This was formerly the building on the church “international headquarters” property in Hemet known as the “Int Trailer” as it consisted of two double-wide trailers connected by a conference room. Myself and in excess of one hundred other Sea Org members were confined to this building for months on end by order of Miscavige. This included all the other former “Captains” of the Sea Org, including those from CST and IAS, entities the church alleges are NOT under the control of Miscavige and RTC but ARE manned by Sea Org members and thus do in fact answer to his ultimate authority.
- We slept on the floor and ate all our meals within that building. It was literally turned into a prison, with bars on the doors and windows and a 24 hour-a-day security officer guarding the only entrance. Warren McShane was assigned by Miscavige as the “Warden” of the “The Hole” and he reported directly to Miscavige about the personnel and activities in The Hole. The only person anyone incarcerated in the Hole could communicate with outside the Hole was “Mr. McShane.”
- Virtually the only thing that happened in The Hole was efforts to extract “confessions” from people about their misdeeds and “evil intentions” towards Miscavige. This was done by “group pressure” – dozens of people screaming at you for hours on end, sometimes physical assaults, even torture, lack of sleep and food. I think everyone who was in the Hole eventually wrote self-incriminating “confessions” in an effort to prove to Miscavige that they no longer needed to be held prisoner. If the “confession” was not sufficiently contrite or dramatic, it would be rejected and the mental and physical torture would resume.
- During some periods between 2004 and early 2006 The Hole and its occupants were temporarily reprieved for no apparent reason. But after a while, Miscavige changed his mind again and The Hole would be put back into operation. In early 2006 it became a permanent operation until I left it in March 2007.
- Select people that Miscavige needed would be allowed OUT of The Hole to conduct specific activities for Captain Miscavige. On a number of occasions I was released from The Hole to deal with the media. Angie Blankenship and Laurance Stumbke were allowed out of The Hole to work on specific building purchase and design matters for Miscavige. Once several people in The Hole were despatched to retrieve (a virtual kidnapping) Clark Morton who had escaped and fled to Las Vegas. Another time I and several others were temporarily reprieved by Miscavige and sent by him personally to “pick up” the IAS (International Association of Scientologists) executives including “Captain” Janet McLaughlin, and bring them to “The Hole.” Though Miscavige and the church claim the IAS is a completely separate and independent organization, it is manned exclusively by Sea Org members, all of whom must answer to Miscavige.
- My last reprieve from The Hole was in late 2006 when I was personally ordered by Miscavige to assist Tommy Davis. Davis had been taken out of Celebrity Centre International (a church in Los Angeles) to work directly and only for Miscavige. He had become one of the “Miscavige henchmen” he always maintained to carry out his express wishes. No mind was paid to their corporate positions or functions, they all knew they were answerable to Miscavige and did his bidding. For many years, I had been in that position. Because Miscavige had put me and the President of CSI, Heber Jentzsch in The Hole, he had turned to Tommy Davis to deal with inquiries by BBC Panorama in pursuit of a story. But Tommy Davis was inexperienced with the media. Miscavige told me I was to work for Tommy as his “servant” and that I was to “lick his asshole.” But soon Miscavige was calling and texting me to report on what Tommy was doing. It was a standard pattern of Miscavige: for every “go-to guy” he had as part of his personal team of henchmen there was someone else who would report on the person directly to Miscavige. In earlier times I had done this with Mark Rathbun and he had done so with me.
- Davis reported to Miscavige hourly, and sometimes more often, concerning the BBC. If it was not a phone call it was Blackberry text messages. Many times the messages from Miscavige were in the name of his “Communicator” (Laurisse “Lou” Stuckenbrock nee Henley-Smith his personal secretary who was with him every waking minute) – she would even speak to Davis and me on the phone saying the words that Miscavige was telling her to say (he could be heard saying it to her and then she would relay it).
My Escape and Subsequent Harassment
- After finally having enough of Miscavige’s physical and mental abuse, and participating in the lies he was perpetrating on the world, I escaped in June 2007. As a result of this all my family was ordered to disown me and “disconnect” from me. My wife divorced me, my children, brother, sister and mother (my father is deceased) all shunned me and do so to this day.
- After I spoke to the media in 2009 to confirm information they had been told by Marty Rathbun, I was stalked and surveiled by private investigators and representatives sent to my then-home town of Denver, Colorado. Miscavige’s personal attorney Monique Yingling and another attorney (Bill Walsh) from Washington DC, along with Tommy Davis and Jessica Feshbach were sent by Miscavige to attempt to ‘settle’ with me so that I would withdraw the corroboration I had provided for Mr. Rathbun’s interview with the St Petersburg Times. They attempted to use the threat of me never seeing or hearing again from my mother, wife, siblings, and children to force me to cooperate with their demands not to talk to the media. When I refused to be intimidated or paid for silence about crimes I had myself witnessed, I became a public enemy of Miscavige and the church of Scientology in the same fashion as Marty Rathbun. I have been mentioned by defendants in this case on a number of occasions, usually characterized as Mark Rathbun’s associate or co-conspirator. My wife (Christie Collbran) and I have been subjected to a similar campaign of harassment to the Rathbuns as detailed below. Neither me nor my wife have ever sought to counsel anyone since leaving the church.
- What I have done is respond to requests for information from the media, starting with speaking to reporters from the St Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times). I felt it was my obligation to make the truth about what goes on inside the church known. I have also been a witness for the FBI and other law enforcement officers who reached out to me and asked for my assistance in their investigations. As a result, the church has conducted a campaign of intimidation, spying, stalking and harassment against me and my wife and those I have worked with very similar to that conducted against the Rathbuns. Clearly its purpose has only been to attempt to intimidate me into silence as David Miscavige and his church did not like what I disclosed about their methods and activities. Unlike Mr. Rathbun, I never attempted to nor purported to counsel former members or apply Scientology to them in any fashion since my departure. What Mr. Rathbun and I hold in common is that we spoke out about what we witnessed. As a result, the same tactics applied against Mr. Rathbun have been applied against me and my wife by RTC and CSI following their longstanding practice of attempting to silence and destroy “critics.”
- Since 2009 me (and my wife) have been:
- Repeatedly followed and filmed by Private Investigators (including David Lubow),
- Harassed by “Squirrelbusters” (including Ed Bryan who was arrested while engaged in one of his efforts to harass me on a business trip to Miami),
- Had my garbage taken by church PI’s,
- Had surveillance cameras trained on my house from neighboring homes and from a specially constructed “bird house” in a neighboring property,
- Had friends, people I have worked with and for and neighbors “noisily investigated,” by Private Investigators working for the church,
- Spies have been sent to try and inveigle themselves into our lives,
- A house within sight of our home became the headquarters for Private Investigators watching us 24 hours a day
- I have been “tailed” by up to 6 vehicles at a time driven by Private Investigators wearing masks when I was in Los Angeles to see the FBI,
- I was followed by at least 2 cars the entire trip when I drove from Tampa Florida to Houston Texas,
- We have been met and hassled at airports after the church illegally accessed my travel plans,
- I have been followed to other cities by PI’s filming me including to Australia, England and Ireland as well as across the United States,
- My phone records have been illegally accessed resulting a letter from T-Mobile that they were conducting an internal investigation,
- Had phony postings about “Estate Sales” at my home put on Craigslist resulting in dozens of people knocking on my door starting at 6am on Saturday,
- My car was “keyed,”
- My wife and children have been followed to the supermarket, to the doctor and to the park,
- Numerous websites and publications containing false and defamatory statements about me and my wife have been distributed by the church.
- This is all in accordance with the pattern and practice of the Church of Scientology. Attached hereto are two of the key issues that are the “operations manual” of the church and David Miscavige in dealing with anyone perceived as an “attacker.” The most important sections are excerpted from each but the complete writings are revelatory and are ironbound and unbending policy of the church. The first details the operating principle of finding out what the person is seeking to protect and threatening that in order to “restrain” the “attacker.” This is often, as noted, the person’s job, but also includes family, particularly immediate family that the person feels a need to protect. The second gives some examples about how one can create scenarios that will cost someone their job by manufacturing false evidence against them.
1. These persons can always lose their jobs. These jobs, permitting them power to destroy, are valuable to them. This is A POINT OF VULNERABILITY.
2. If the person’s job is also not valuable to him or if he cannot be made to cost his job, something can be found which he is seeking to protect and it can be threatened.
A. COUNTER ATTACK TO OBTAIN THE REMOVAL OF THE PERSON with a product of DISMISSED ATTACKER.
B. If on test, A is not feasible, SURVEY TO FIND WHAT THE PERSON CONSIDERS VALUABLE AND USE IT FOR RESTRAINT.
Exhibit A 28 March 1972 COUNTER ATTACK TACTICS
Example: Gosh Porge is located as an antagonistic source in the Bureau of Mines. Study Bu of Mines. They frown on corrupt and bankrupt employees, it is carefully worked out by survey. Gosh Porge receives a check for 250 pounds from the Aluminium Company of America at his office for “tip off and patents sent” and “his wife” runs up fur coat bills at Harrods who sue and “a man in Soho” wants his 1800 pounds gambling debt and “a mistress” calls his boss and demands the return of her diamonds “Gosh borrowed” and as it keeps up, even Gosh Porge’s best denials won’t prevent his being sacked.
And “Legal areas” like lawyers are a point of hit also.
Without consulting Legal Bu Bish Smish is suing C of S for truckloads. Survey his attorneys covertly. One finds they detest “people from the City”, very prejudiced against money clauses. So City blokes start appearing on their lines for Bish Smish – will he win the suit? Broker wants to know can Bish Smish cover his margins?
City bowler hat beats up lawyer with an umbrella because Bish Smish said he was going to get the lawyer to sue him over the “blocks of stock” Bish Smish swindled. Keep it up. Soon he won’t have any lawyer!
Exhibit B 28 March 1972 INTELLIGENCE PRINCIPLES
Miscavige “Enemy” Handlings
- Anything that happens relating to “major attacks” on Scientology is micro-managed by Miscavige. Nobody else has the authority to call any shots on anything that could threaten his position. Thus, for example, in 2005 when the Los Angeles Times planned to do a story on Scientology, Miscavige directed every action, cleared all written correspondence (and wrote much of it even though it was sent out in my name), listened to recordings of the meetings I conducted with the reporters and spoke to me on the phone immediately before any meeting I had with them, during the meeting and immediately after. I would routinely excuse myself from meetings with the media to debrief to Miscavige. Between 1997 and 2004 often if I was recording a media interview Marty Rathbun would be sent along so he could be on the phone reporting in to Miscavige while I was being interviewed. This happened dozens of times. The last thing I did in the church in 2007 was deal with BBC Panorama and Miscavige literally micro-managed minute-by-minute with text messages, phone calls and numerous encrypted emails.
- The same pattern occurred with investigations into what were labeled “anti-Scientologists” like Bob Minton – who for a time was the single biggest thorn in Miscavige’s side. Minton is perhaps the closest recent example of someone Miscavige considered a similar sort of threat to his position and reputation as Marty Rathbun, though Minton was not of the same stature as he had never been an “insider” who worked directly with Miscavige for years. In fact, he had never met Miscavige.
- Nevertheless, because Minton publicly asserted Miscavige was involved in Lisa McPherson’s death and that he had physically abused his underlings, Miscavige micro-managed the activities of the church to put an end to Minton’s efforts. At various times Miscavige called me numerous times a day for updates on Minton. Otherwise it was daily for several years. For someone like Minton, or now Rathbun, Miscavige required detailed proposals from his underlings (myself, Rathbun, McShane or Sutter back then — whoever is filling our roles today) on the handlings to be taken. He in turn issued detailed orders and responses. All of this correspondence is maintained in a special department that maintains a complete, exact record, both electronically and hard copy of everything that is sent to or emanated from “COB.” These are considered to be the most important documents in the church and they are painstakingly filed and maintained. When I last saw them in 2007 there were literally hundreds or perhaps thousands of 3” ring binders filled with “COB (written) Orders” and transcripts of his verbal orders, briefings, conferences, discussions and phone calls.
- In 1999, Miscavige dispatched Marty Rathbun and me to both Boston and Los Angeles to meet with Minton. On both occasions he gave us special surreptitious recording devices so we could record the entire meeting and forward it to him.
- When Minton began picketing the church in Clearwater over the death of Lisa McPherson, Miscavige ordered pickets to be sent to his home in New Hampshire and also outside businesses he was engaged in. He also ordered pickets outside of Minton’s “Lisa McPherson Trust” office in Clearwater and at the homes of Minton associates including Mark Bunker. In my experience, the exclusive source of this sort of confrontation has been Miscavige. He ordered me personally to arrange a picket and march around the Clearwater Police Department and the St Petersburg Times in 1997 and was on the phone with me the entire two hours of the picket.
- The “Squirrelbusters” attack that has been used to harass the Rathbuns in Texas was conceived and instituted by Miscavige in 1984 when he ordered “confrontations” by the original “Squirrelbusters” at David Mayo’s facility in Santa Barbara. This was the beginning of the hostile “confrontations” that continue to this day.
- I was charged with the responsibility of locating people who would be willing to carry out such confrontations and harassment and brought in a man named Dennis Clark from Hawaii and a local Scientologist Jim Jackson. They in turn recruited others to join them. I reported on their activities daily, in person, to Vicki Aznaran in RTC who relayed the information to Miscavige. Clark and Jackson were instructed that if they were approached and questioned by anyone concerning their activities, including media or law enforcement officials, they were to claim that they were merely “parishioners” of Scientology who had “decided on their own initiative” to protest Mr. Mayo’s activities.
- In addition to the “confrontations” Miscavige personally ordered a full time investigation of Minton that would “find his buttons” and get him to stop complaining about Miscavige’s abuses and “stirring up trouble.” The investigator I assigned to this was David Lubow. I met with Lubow in Clearwater and briefed him (relaying specifically what Miscavige told me the investigator was to do). This included extensive surveillance of Minton and his family, investigating all neighbors and business contacts and being “in his face” at all times. Lubow’s reports were relayed by me to Miscavige as “Eyes Only” reports or when I was in the same location as him I verbally relayed them to his face.
2010 Texas Experience
- In April 2010 I flew to Corpus Christi, Texas where I was met inside the terminal by 5 individuals dispatched by Captain Miscavige to attempt to intimidate me and prevent me from meeting an old friend, John Brousseau (“JB”). JB had recently escaped Miscavige’s guarded compound near Hemet, California and made his way to Mark and Monique Rathbun’s home near Corpus Christi. Like Rathbun, JB was an extremely high priority problem for Miscavige as he had worked closely with Miscavige and Tom Cruise. Miscavige spared no expense to try to prevent JB from connecting with Rathbun and me.
- I had traveled to Corpus Christi with the express approval of the FBI (who paid my airfare) to determine whether JB was legitimate and to ask him to speak with the FBI.
- I soon learned that there were many more than those 5 people despatched by private jet to Corpus Christi that day. In addition to those 5 – Church spokesman Tommy Davis and three other church executives who at the time worked exclusively for Miscavige (Angie Blankenship, Laurance Stumbke and Bob Wright), Tom Cruise’s former assistant Michael Doven, Scientology actors Michael Roberts and Michael Duff, as well as several others from Miscavige’s personal entourage at the Hemet church high security base where he lives.
- Nobody other than Miscavige has authority to order staff from different churches as well as public Scientologists, to get on a private plane and fly to Corpus Christi to try and prevent JB from meeting with Marty Rathbun and me. The Corpus Christi Airport Police and local FBI agents ultimately arrived on the scene to ensure I had safe passage to leave to meet with Marty Rathbun and JB and subsequently accompany JB to meet with the FBI in San Antonio 3 days later.
- Over the course of more than 20 years I knew the level of situation that Miscavige insisted he call the shots on: Any international media. Any legal case that might directly implicate or involve him. Any significant negotiations with major governments (US, UK, Spain) concerning tax exemption. Potential criminal prosecution in the United States. Anyone exposing his dirty laundry and threatening his PR or position. Marty Rathbun fits into virtually all of these categories. He has been interviewed by major international media. He has been a witness for legal cases and provided declarations. He was one of the key witnesses/informants for the FBI investigation. And he has more direct, personal knowledge of the activities of David Miscavige than perhaps anyone else on earth. Thus, there is not a chance that any action would be taken concerning Marty Rathbun (or his wife) that was not either ordered by David Miscavige or sanctioned by him in response to a detailed proposal of action requested by him. Of that there is no doubt.
My name is Michael John Rinder. My date of birth is April 10th, 1955. My address is 808 Bentwood Ct, Palm Harbor, Florida.
I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed in Pinellas County, State of Florida, on the 3rd day of December 2013.