Meet Scientology’s highest-level defector, Marty Rathbun. As the former Inspector General of Ethics in the organisation, Rathbun worked closely with its leader, David Miscavige, and celebrity follower Tom Cruise. Now he lives in small town America, a man under siege. “The squirrel himself, how you doing Mr Squirrel?” A woman in a blue poncho cackles at the top of her voice, her wild eyed-face jammed into the camera lens. She’s one of the Squirrel Busters who have for months besieged Marty Rathbun’s house. They’re sent to harass and torment members who leave and then make public their Scientology experiences. It’s an incredible turnaround for Marty who had been David Miscavige’s number two in the Church and was a master of these ‘dirty tricks’: “I didn’t think twice about silencing critics or punishing someone”. The Church may contest Marty’s status now, but in 1993 Miscavige describes taking on the head of the IRS, side by side with Marty, as they prevailed in Scientology’s greatest victory to date, becoming tax exempt in the US and dodging a billion dollar tax bill. Not only that – but Marty was the man charged with finding a poster boy for Scientology and attracting none other than Tom Cruise. “I helped them on his divorce with Nicole and then I was auditing him and helping him get Penelope audited”. But his close relationship with Cruise was also his downfall, “Miscavige had to start undermining me in front of Cruise”. Out of favour, Marty eventually escaped, going on the run to start up his own independent Scientology movement. Now his blog presents the greatest direct threat to Scientology. In return, they’ve turned Marty’s daily life into a bitter battle. Marty’s story offers an unparalleled insight into the inner workings of Scientology’s upper echelons and the full array of the weapons it resorts to when it feels a need to protect its own interests. Truly fascinating – and more than a little frightening. Orwell would have loved it!

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