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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    "Holy Surveillance" - church claims right to spy on people with tree-mounted cameras

    In a bizarre twist in an ongoing civil case in Texas, the Church of Scientology admitted in a document filed with the court on Friday that they had indeed funded private investigators and cameramen to visibly follow and videotape a Texas woman and her husband for 199 days. In a move being labeled "Holy Surveillance" by some, the church also admits to hiring a man to mount in trees remote surveillance cameras aimed at the couples home after they moved to a new home in a more isolated location. The church claims the actions were based on "religious outrage" due to the woman's husband leaving the Church of Scientology. And that due to "religious freedom" the Church of Scientology has the right to conduct these actions.

    The suit began several months ago when the Texas woman filed suit against several people including the man who mounted the tree cameras, private investigators, several scientologist church members who traveled to Texas from Los Angeles to harass the couple daily, the Church of Scientology itself and its leader David Miscavige for ordering the actions.

    As of now a Temporary Injunction is in place against any further surveillance of the couple as the case winds its way through the court system.

    From the "Underground Bunker" website:

    "Now that we’ve had a couple of days to absorb Scientology’s surprising new motion in Monique Rathbun’s harassment lawsuit against the church, a few things are becoming more clear.

    First, this really is a remarkable legal strategy by the church, which now admits that it was behind outrageous behavior aimed at Monique and her husband, Mark “Marty” Rathbun, who was once a top Scientology official. But that behavior, the church asserts, was a form of legitimate religious expression that should not be silenced by Monique’s lawsuit. To that end, the church has filed an anti-SLAPP motion, which we explained previously is traditionally used by an outgunned opponent trying to derail a nuisance lawsuit.

    In order to convince Comal County, Texas Judge Dib Waldrip that its free speech rights are being trampled by Monique’s lawsuit, the church is now admitting that it did, in fact, target the Rathbuns in an extensive program of surveillance and disruption. In particular, the church is admitting to sending and funding the nutty “Squirrel Busters,” an intimidation squad that, over a span of 199 days, set up bizarre protests in front of the Rathbuns’ south Texas home. The Squirrel Busters followed the Rathbuns wherever they went, disrupting their lives on a daily basis. On Friday, the church submitted declarations from some of the Squirrel Busters themselves, who admitted to being sent by the church, but claimed that they had put on their weird spectacle out of a sense of religious outrage. Marty Rathbun started the fight, they claim, by saying such critical things about their religion."


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    "Thursday’s hearing was a preliminary matter, as lawyers argue about extending the temporary restraining order Monique Rathbun has secured against the Church of Scientology and the people she says have been stalking her and her husband. All but one lawyer for the defense passed up the chance to cross-examine Rathbun yesterday, saying they’d rather hold their questions for the trial itself.

    So Monique Rathbun spent more than two hours Thursday afternoon on the story of how she met and fell in love with Mark Rathbun—once a top official in the Church of Scientology, now one of the church’s most outspoken critics—and how their peaceful life on an impossibly idyllic Corpus Christi Bay became a nightmare. Beginning in late 2009, Mark and Monique Rathbun became the targets of sustained harassment by the Church of Scientology’s heretic-trackers known as “Squirrel Busters.”

    This is the point at which one of world religion’s great curiosities became a local Texas story. The Rathbuns’ neighbors rallied to chase the buffoonish Squirrel Busters from cozy Ingleside on the Bay—but when the Rathbuns discovered hidden cameras trained on their home after the Squirrel Busters’ departure, they fled to a remote new home in Comal County.

    Prompted by her lawyer Ray Jeffrey, Monique Rathbun choked up Thursday as she recalled finding surveillance cameras hidden in the trees behind their new home earlier this year, pointed at their house.

    “It was just devastating,” she said. “It was just… this is never gonna stop.”

    “How much more of this can you take?” Jeffrey asked her.

    “I don’t know,” she said. “I don’t know the answer to that question."


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    I had no idea...how awful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Rochester, New York

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