Saturday, 7 April 2012

Scientology's 'Heretic': How Marty Rathbun Became The Arch-Enemy Of L Ron Hubbard Devotees

The men who came for Marty Rathbun wore a kind of uniform: dark glasses, clipped facial hair, and light blue T-shirts. Each carried either a microphone, or a video camera. On their chests were pictures of a squirrel, upon which a photograph of Marty's head had been crudely superimposed. Topping off the ensemble were black baseball caps with an embroidered slogan stitched in white above the peak. It proclaimed: 'SQUIRREL BUSTERS'.

There were four of them, and they appeared around lunchtime on 18 April last year. Marty was making a sandwich in the kitchen of his home in Ingleside on the Bay, on the Gulf Coast of Texas. When he heard them knock, he grabbed a video camera kept on his sideboard for such an occasion. Then he turned it on to 'record' and proceeded to the front door.

There followed a brief altercation which, even by the standards of YouTube, where clips of what occurred were later posted, seems impossibly surreal. "Come on, Marty!" bellows the group's middle-aged leader, who wears a camera on his head, "got anything to say?" Rathbun asks who he is. "I'm with Squirrel Buster Productions," comes the reply. "I'm doing an investigation on you, and your squirrel technology." Heated discussions ensue. "We'll be here for weeks and weeks," promises one of the men, after Marty orders them off his property. Another adds: "As long as it takes!".

They weren't lying. From that point onwards, men wearing 'squirrel buster' outfits began turning up outside Rathbun's home every few hours. Sometimes, they'd arrive in a car; often, as the long, hot summer wore on, in a golf buggy. Occasionally, they moored boats in the canal outside his home. According to a harassment log local police advised Marty to keep, they'd video him inside and outside the property. From time to time, they'd also pepper his wife, Monique, with hostile questions, often about their sex life.

The 'squirrel busters' stayed in Ingleside throughout May, June, July, and August 2011. They rented homes nearby, carried placards denouncing Marty, and posted occasional footage of him on the internet. Soon, they became the talk of the village. One day, as news spread, Mark Collette, a reporter from the Corpus Christi Caller, appeared on Marty's doorstep and asked what was going on. The answer left him stunned.

Read more here
'Moving on Up a Little Higher' (Marty's blog)

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