Journalists and Me; Tony Ortega, May 2013

On May 29, 2013, Tony Ortega published a review of Marty Rathbun’s book Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior.1Ortega had by then left The Village Voice and started his own blog dedicated to Scientology news and history. From 1982 to 2004, Rathbun had been, according to his own sworn statements, David Miscavige’s second in command and directed Scientology’s “extensive, ongoing security, intelligence, “black ops,” public relations, and criminal and civil legal matters.” Throughout those years, Rathbun black PRed me around the world, fair gamed me, committed crimes against me and made others, both his Scientologist juniors and hired collaborators, black PR me, fair game me and commit crimes against me.

Ortega wrote:

Rathbun makes that statement in regards to one of Scientology’s all time legal defeats, the 1984 Gerry Armstrong trial. Armstrong had worked as Hubbard’s archivist for a future authorized biography, and had become concerned when he realized that Hubbard’s private papers contradicted what Hubbard and the church had said publicly about him. If those papers got out, Hubbard’s credibility would be ruined. But when Armstrong brought that up with his superiors, he was punished. He left the Sea Org, and took some of the documents with him as protection. The church sued him, wanting the documents back.

There is no doubt that Ortega knew by this time that when I left I had not taken Hubbard’s private papers with me, as protection, or for any other reason. Ortega also knew that this issue was litigated in the Scientologists’ first lawsuit against me and ruled on in the judgment after my 1984 trial in Los Angeles. The judgment was affirmed on appeal.

In April 2012, when he was the editor at The Village Voice, Ortega had falsely asserted in an article: “Armstrong is also well known for how he left Scientology, taking with him thousands of documents.” I posted a comment correcting his assertion and providing the relevant text from my judgment. Ortega deleted it twice, and then let it be.2

In July 2012, Ortega wrote in another VV article: “When Armstrong realized that original documents from Hubbard’s life contradicted so much of what Hubbard and the church said about him, he spoke up about it and was kicked out of the Sea Org. He took those documents with him.” Again I posted a comment correcting Ortega and providing the evidentially-supported facts. He sent me a couple of petulant emails, but nevertheless deleted his accusation that when I left the cult I had taken with me the Hubbard documents, which would become the subject of years of litigation.3

But in July 2013, Ortega repeated his earlier disproven and adjudicated canard that I left the Sea Org and took some of the documents with me. It seems clear to me that he was aware of the false picture he was creating, knew it was rewriting history, and knew it served the Scientologists’ malevolent purposes. Several of his major contributors have participated in the Scientologists’ black PR campaign against me, and none of them have ever corrected their lies or smears. A terrible memory, an exceptionally thin skin, or acute carelessness do not fully explain it. I didn’t comment at the time.