FIND A BETTER BASKET
A Literary Work Created and Written
FIND A BETTER BASKET
Copyright © 1994 Gerald Armstrong
All Rights Reserved
The Gerald Armstrong Corporation
Copyright © 1994 Gerald Armstrong
© 1994 Gerald Armstrong
FIND A BETTER BASKET
I, Gerald Armstrong, declare:
1. I am making this declaration in response to allegations made by Scientology organization leaders, attorneys and agents in court proceedings and public media around the world concerning a 1984 organization intelligence operation targeting me, which has been called the “Armstrong Operation.” I am copyrighting this document prior to its use in court because it will, in addition to putting the organization’s allegations into a proper context, form an outline for a screenplay I am writing. It is my story.
2. After I left the organization at the end of 1981, the organization intelligence bureau assigned Dan Sherman, a Los Angeles spy story writer and intel operative, to get close to me and become my friend, which he did. I had been the intelligence officer on board the “Apollo” with the organization’s founder and supreme leader L. Ron Hubbard, had studied his intelligence policies and Guardian’s Office 1 intelligence materials, had an
appreciation for that literary genre, and I was myself a writer, so Sherman and I had a real basis for a real friendship.
3. Sherman told me he was no longer involved in Scientology, wanted nothing to do with it, saw it as a personal waste of time, and also saw that its leaders were ruthless and dangerous, and claimed to be afraid of them finding out that he was friends with me. Sometime in 1982 or 1983 he told me that he was still in communication in a limited way with some of his old friends still in the organization. He described these friends as smart, reasonable and not fanatics. They were still Scientologists and worked on staff, but felt that organization leaders were criminals. Having no allegiance to these leaders, Sherman’s friends would occasionally tell him about conditions inside and their desire to end the organization’s criminal activities. They said the conditions inside were oppressive and chaotic and they were at risk even talking to him because sec checks2 were rampant.
4. During the 1984 trial of the organization’s case against me, Church of Scientology of California and Mary Sue Hubbard v. Gerald Armstrong, Los Angles Superior Court no. C 420153 (“Armstrong I“), Sherman told me that one of these friends, whom he called “Joey,” had told him that there was an
actual group inside the organization who were dedicated to reforming it because management had become suppressive. They called themselves the “Loyalists,” claiming to be ” loyal” to the preservation of the ideals of Scientology, “what worked.” They also recognized that its leaders were criminal, crazy, dangerous, and not dedicated to those ideals but were acting to destroy them. The “Loyalists” wanted to take control in a well-planned, effective and peaceful action before some tragedy happened. They claimed to know of criminal activities and a key part of their plan was the documenting of these activities.
5. Sherman said they were 35 in number, or at least there were 35 who knew they were “Loyalists,” all smart, reasonable and not fanatics. Some of them were his old friends from B-1. Such persons tended to be smart, reasonable and often were not fanatics. The people whom I knew to be, including Hubbard, the organization leaders, prided themselves on their recognition of unreasonableness as a virtue, and maintained an abiding fanaticism to justify their abuses and keep their positions of power. Sherman was smart and gave every appearance of being reasonable and unfanatical. He said the Loyalists knew he was in communication with me and wanted to talk with me but were afraid for their lives. This was not surprising to me because I knew from my own experiences that the organization had a brutal side and its leaders were dangerous, armed and desperate. Thus the first communications with the Loyalists were a few messages relayed by Sherman. They said that I had a proven record against
the organization, that my integrity had been unshakable and they wanted my help.
6. A few days after the Armstrong I trial ended, Joey, who, I later learned, was actually one David Kluge, made the first direct contact with me, a phone call to my home in Costa Mesa, California. He said the Loyalists knew I wanted my pc folders,3 was the head of the Guardian Office for years and among other things, authored the infamous order ‘GO 121669’ which directed culling of supposedly confidential P.C. files/folders for the purposes of internal security.” “The practice of culling supposedly confidential ‘P.C. folders or files’ to obtain information for purposes of intimidation and/or harassment is repugnant and outrageous. The Guardian’s Office, which plaintiff [Mary Sue Hubbard] headed, was no respector of anyone’s civil rights, particularly that of privacy.”]4 that my folders were being moved on a certain day and that I could get them if I wanted. I told Kluge that even though the folders were mine the organization would claim, if it was discovered I had them, that I was accepting stolen property, so I had to decline his offer. I was also already booked, on the same day the Loyalists said they would get me my pc folders, to fly to London to testify in a child custody case5 involving
Scientology, and I told Kluge that I couldn’t change my plans.
7. When I returned from the UK, where, incidentally, I had been harassed by a pack of English private investigators working for the organization, Kluge reestablished contact, and I communicated with him or Sherman several times over the next few months. I was happy to be in communication with them, because I’m happy to be in communication with anyone, and my relationship with the Loyalists, who were admitted Scientologists, seemed a spark of hope in the seemingly hopeless and threatening Scientology situation.
8. I have believed and stated that when Scientologists have the freedom to communicate to the people their leaders label “enemies,” Scientology will cease to have enemies. The organization’s leaders prohibit their minions from communicating with me, thus I am their enemy. This prohibition is enforced with severe “ethics” punishment, which could easily include “declaring” the person who dared to communicate with me a “suppressive” person, thus making him the target of the organization’s philosophy and practice of opportunistic hatred Hubbard called “fair game.”
9. I had lost my law office job because of the Armstrong I trial, which really ran from April into June, 1984, and I did not get another job for some months, so had considerable time on my
hands in the fall of 1984 to meet with Sherman and the Loyalists and do some of the things they wanted. I had begun to draw and write seriously during this period, and some of my writings concerned the Scientology battle and the Loyalists. My situation with the organization and the Loyalists was bizarre and psychologically traumatic, and this is reflected in my writings of the period. Thanks to, I believe, my growing faith in God I was given the gift of a healthy sense of humor and that too is a facet of my communications and writings during the period.
10. In late July, 1984 the organization fed to the media the story, and filed papers in various court cases, including Armstrong I, charging, that Michael Flynn, who had fought the organization’s fair game tactics for five years, who had been my friend and attorney for two years and had just successfully defended me in the Armstrong I trial, was behind a plot to cash a forged check for $2,000,000.00 on one of Hubbard’s accounts at the Bank of New England. Sherman and Kluge communicated that the Loyalists knew Flynn was not involved, and that the organization leaders knew Flynn was uninvolved but were framing him with the forgery. The Loyalists said that they were working inside the organization to acquire the proof of the frame-up, and that when they proved Flynn’s innocence they would be in a position to effectuate the reforms they sought. This was fine with me, because I fully believed that Flynn was innocent, and that the organization was framing him just to be able to attack him to eliminate the threat he represented to its antisocial practices
11. Over the next few months Sherman and Kluge communicated with me regularly about the Loyalists’ progress in documenting the truth about the Flynn frame-up. They claimed that all staff were searched before they could leave OSA or management offices, so it was hard to get any documents out. Nevertheless, on a couple of occasions Sherman and Joey gave me a page or two that had been smuggled out. I learned that a US Attorney in Boston had become involved in the investigation of the frame-up, and I passed whatever I got from the Loyalists to him through Flynn.
12. One of the ideas which developed with the Loyalists in the early fall of 1984 was the possible filing of a lawsuit to take control of the organization from the “criminals.” I saw this as an idea with merit, and could be the effective action the Loyalists said they were looking for to avert a major organization tragedy. I told Flynn what they wanted and he drafted a “bare bones” complaint which I passed to them. Sherman, Kluge and I discussed the lawsuit concept on several occasions, both of them asking me for my ideas and I helped as I could within the limits of my knowledge, ability and imagination.
13. The Loyalists then began discussing with me finding a financial “backer” for their lawsuit, basing this need on the likelihood that the bringing of the suit would freeze organization accounts, and the Loyalists would need operating capital. They claimed that the leaders had lots of money they had skimmed from the organization and squirreled away in their
own bank accounts, and the Loyalists were all staff members and thus broke. I couldn’t help them with money, and knew of no one who might finance whatever they did, so they said that, because I understood the situation so well, and had a proven record, they wanted me to talk to and encourage some prospective backers with whom they were in touch. One day I got a call from Kluge, asking me to fly to Las Vegas to meet with such a person, a “rich Scientologist” who had been mistreated by the organization and was aligned with the Loyalists on their goal of reformation.
Although on Kluge’s instructions I purchased a plane ticket, I called off the trip before leaving because my lawyers warned me that I could be walking into a trap.
14. There were many times during this period when I considered the possibility that I was walking into a trap. The thought arose in all my meetings with Kluge, and later with Mike Rinder, the second Loyalist I would meet. Their communications often didn’t jibe with what they or Sherman had said on earlier occasions, and sometimes they said things which were downright stupid. I had no way of originating a communication to them, had no telephone numbers, no locations, no names, and no idea what any of them did. They had my address, phone number, knew exactly what I did, and could call me any time they wanted. They told me almost nothing, and wanted to know everything I knew. They claimed I had to be kept in the dark because of their fear for their lives, and for that reason I went along with their, even to me, strange behavior.
15. Because of their fear for their lives they depended on secrecy, duplicity and intelligence procedures and goals. Although I had been in intelligence in the organization and had the essential quality for the field; i.e., native intelligence, I had, after leaving the organization, come to the conclusion that Scientology’s brand of intelligence; i.e., the secret world of data, duplicity, stealth, hidden intentions and hidden identities, was ineffective, unhealthy, unholy, and not my choice for how I would make my way through life and deal with my problems. Even inside the organization, which is an intelligence-based group, I had urged those who were in positions to do something about it to open up, stop lying, disclose its leaders, divulge its secrets; because I felt that its lies, secrets, and secret orders from its secret leaders would only bring upon it more problems. After leaving the organization, a factor in my life which led to my faith in openness and freedom as opposed to secrecy and leverage, was all the testifying I did, in trial in Armstrong I and in B & G Wards, and in many days of depositions in several more Scientology-related cases. Also I knew that the organization’s leaders, who had an undeniable determination to harm me, possessed my pc folders which contained every embarrassing incident or thought in my life, and my lives back umpteen impossibillion years. These facts had resulted in a tendency in me at times during this period to not care what happened to me and to act a little wild and silly.
16. Sometime during 1984 it came to me that what I was
following, and what was a far superior technology and faith than intelligence, or perhaps perfect intelligence, was guidance. I had been given, before and after my asking, a desire to know my Creator, and I believe I received during this period some of His communications to me. Hubbard in his writings put no faith in his Creator, but put it in something of his own making, an intelligence apparatus in which he was the secret leader with secret bank accounts, secret communication lines, secret codes, secret intentions, and secret lawyers to keep them all secret. I had come to know God a little, and understood that no matter how scary things got I was in hands in which I was in no real danger. I could be shot, my body could be destroyed, I could be defamed and ruined, and I would still be in no real danger. And things did get scary for me in my dealings with Sherman and the Loyalists during this period. I picked up surveillance on a number of occasions, and there was the nagging strangeness of the Loyalists’ communications and the movie-like quality of this play in which I was being played with. I still retained my intellect and acted with good sense most of the time, but a shift was occurring in my mind and soul. I began to walk deliberately into danger, but I was also new at this approach to life, and as yet a little foolhardy and undisciplined, and these facts too are reflected in my writings and actions of the period.
17. Sherman’s and Kluge’s interest was intelligence and they didn’t want to hear much of my philosophy of guidance, courage and openness, so I turned my mind to the intelligence
game, and as always happens when I turn my mind to any subject, I had ideas. Some of these ideas I communicated to the Loyalists, some I wrote down, some were only funny. Our meetings had a secretive, spy story feel to them, partly because of the danger the Loyalists said they were in and the danger I was in anyone would say, partly because of the subject matter we discussed, and partly because of the settings in which we met. Sherman insisted that I couldn’t come to his home, so we met on many occasions in the bird sanctuary in Griffith Park. My first meeting with Kluge was in a cemetery in Glendale. I met him two more times in early November at different locations in Griffith Park, and then met with Rinder two times in late November at two more locations in the park.
18. Sherman told me around October, 1984 that the Loyalists had found a potential backer, a woman named Rene, another “rich Scientologist,” who he said had been horribly hurt by the organization. He said he knew her personally and considered her a good and trusted friend. He said that she owned a publishing company which printed calendars, that he had told her about my artwork and writing, and that she wanted to see some of my materials for possible publication. Following our first meeting in Griffith Park Kluge took me to the Sheraton Grand Hotel in downtown Los Angeles to meet her. I took along a file of some of my work and left it with her. In my meeting with her she wanted to know my perspective on the lawsuit idea and my thoughts on removing the organization’s criminal leadership.
19. While claiming that the Loyalists wanted to take legal action to bring about a safe transfer of power, both Sherman and Kluge also claimed that they didn’t know anything about legal matters, nor any of the organization’s litigations, and that there were other people higher up in the Loyalist network who were trained in legal, stayed abreast of the organization’s litigation battles, and had an understanding of the Loyalists’ legal options and an overview of their plan which Sherman and Kluge didn’t have. Coupled with their claimed need to keep me in the dark for fear of their lives, their assertions of ignorance of legal matters caused considerable frustration in me and in our communications. As a result, I requested in a number of communications to speak to their “best legal mind.”
20. Finally the Loyalists said that their legal expert would meet me and a rendezvous was set up, again in Griffith Park. The “legal expert” turned out to be Mike Rinder, a person I had known in the organization, who had held various lower level administrative posts. Rinder, it turned out, also professed ignorance of legal concepts, and my meetings and communications with him were even more frustrating.
21. Some time after my last meeting with Rinder, which occurred November 30, 1984, I received a phone call from Kluge, advising me that the Loyalists did not trust me and would not be communicating with me again. I then wrote them my final communication, a copy of which is appended hereto as Exhibit A6, and gave it to Sherman to give to them.
22. During my cross-examination7 in the spring, 1985 trial of Julie Christofferson v. Scientology, Circuit Court of the State of Oregon, Multnomah County, No. A7704-05184, the organization broke the fact that Sherman, Kluge and Rinder had been covert operatives, the Loyalists were invented, and that my meetings with Kluge and Rinder had been videotaped.8 The organization called the whole more than two year affair the “Armstrong Operation.” Organization lawyers, Earle Cooley and John Peterson, claimed the Armstrong operation had been authorized by the Los Angeles Police Department, and they produced a letter dated November 7, 1984, a copy of which is appended hereto as Exhibit B 9, signed by an officer Phillip Rodriguez, directing organization private investigator Eugene M. Ingram to electronically eavesdrop on me and Michael Flynn.
23. On April 23, 1985, Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates issued a public statement, a copy of which is appended hereto as Exhibit C10, denying that the Rodriguez letter was a correspondence from the Los Angeles Police Department, denying that the Los Angeles Police Department had cooperated with Ingram, and stating emphatically that all purported authorizations directed to Ingram by any member of the Los Angeles Police Department are invalid and unauthorized. On information and belief, the officer, Phillip Rodriguez, who signed Ingram’s letter was paid $10,000.00 for his signature. Also on information and belief, following a Los Angeles Police Department Internal Affairs Division investigation and a Police
Department Board of Rights, Officer Rodriguez was suspended from the Los Angeles Police Force. Eugene Ingram had himself some years before been drummed out of the Los Angeles Police Department. He is reputed to have been busted for pandering and taking payoffs from drug dealers. He is a liar and a bully who has been involved in organization intelligence operations against its perceived enemies for many years. During the period I was involved with the Loyalists Ingram called me at my home and threatened to put a bullet between my eyes.
24. Initially the presiding judge in the Christofferson trial Donald F. Londer refused to admit the tapes because they had been obtained illegally. Then he viewed them in chambers and when he returned to the bench stated that “the tapes are devastating, very devastating to the church.” Then he admitted them into evidence.
25. Despite Judge Londer’s ruling and comments, and despite Chief Gates’ repudiation of the Rodriguez “authorization,” the organization has continued in press and courts around the world to claim that the videotape operation was “police-sanctioned.”
The organization has continued to claim that I originated the “plot to overthrow ” church” management” and that I initiated the contact with the organization members, who merely played along with my plan while remaining “loyal” to the organization. It also has continued to claim that the videotapes show me plotting to forge documents and seed them in organization files to be found in a raid, show me creating “sham lawsuits,” show me urging
the Loyalists to not prove anything but “just allege it,” and show me seeking to take control of the organization. The videotapes show none of those things. The tapes show that in the fall of 1984, during the reign of the organization’s present supreme leader David Miscavige (DM), the fair game doctrine was alive and as unfair as ever. The tapes show a mean-spirited, mendacious and malevolent organization using well-drilled operatives and electronic gadgetry to attempt, unsuccessfully, to set up an unwitting, funny, sometimes silly, clearly helpful, at times foul-mouthed, but otherwise ordinary human male.
26. The organization’s refusal to stop telling these lies is not surprising, however, because its leaders have put so many of their eggs in their dirty tricks basket. These leaders are unbalanced and in a very precarious situation. Having lied about the Armstrong Operation in so many courts and publications and to so many people, including their own followers, these leaders risk their positions of power, and in their minds their very lives, if they ever admit the breadth of those lies. Yet it is in the acknowledgement of the truth behind those lies where ultimately their safety will be found.
27. It has not ceased to be embarrassing to me whenever the organization trots out the Armstrong videotapes, because I do say some silly and raunchy things. But the organization has never been able to embarrass me into silence and it won’t now.
28. The Scientology legal war has almost run its course. The organization’s leaders can never rewrite all history.
Scientologists of good will everywhere can be free.
I declare under the penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed at San Anselmo, California, on February 20, 1994.
Copyright © 1994 Gerry Armstrong
- The Guardian’s Office (“GO”), headed from 1966 to 1981 by Mary Sue Hubbard, who reported to and was controlled by L. Ron Hubbard, consisted of five bureaus: Intelligence, Public Relations, Legal, Finance and Social Coordination (front groups). The GO was responsible for hiding its money and its actual command lines, defending the organization against attacks and for eliminating all opposition to its progress. Hubbard patterned its intelligence bureau, B-1, and the organization’s total espionage mentality on the work of Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s spy master. On Hubbard’s orders, after the conviction of 11 top GO intelligence personnel, including Mary Sue, for criminal activities against the US Government, Scientology’s second major arm of power, the Sea Organization, in a 1981 putsch took control of the GO’s functions and subsequently renamed the GO arm the Office of Special Affairs, “OSA.” ↩
- Sec checks are accusatory interrogations using Hubbard’s electropsychometer or E-Meter as a lie detector. Sec checks could be brutal, could go on for many hours or days, could involve several people asking questions, threatening and badgering, and could have disastrous results for the interrogee. ↩
- Pc folders, also called preclear or auditing files or folders, contain the record of processes run and questions asked by the auditor (psycho- therapist), E-Meter reads, and answers given and statements made by the preclear (or patient) during Scientology auditing (or psychotherapy) sessions. It was well known that I had opposed and exposed the organ- ization’s misuse of information divulged by the organization’s “preclears” (what were essentially psychotherapist-patient confidences) in auditing. I had been attempting to get the organization to deliver to me my pc folders throughout the Armstrong I litigation, and the misuse of auditing information was an issue in the Armstrong I trial. Judge Paul G. Breckenridge, Jr. stated in his decision following the 30-day Armstrong I trial: “[Mary Sue Hubbard ↩
- See The Breckenridge Decision, filed June 22, 1984. ↩
- This Royal Courts of Justice case, known as Re: B and G Wards resulted in a Judgment on July 23, 1984 issued by Justice Latey in favor of the non-Scientologist parent. The Judgment, which was upheld on appeal, contained a scathing condemnation of organization policies and practices. ↩
- Exhibit A: Letter to the Loyalists ↩
- See Excerpts of Proceedings in Christofferson ↩
- See Illegal Videos ↩
- Exhibit B: Illegal authorization November 7, 1984 ↩
- Exhibit C: Public Announcement by LAPD Police Chief Daryl Gates ↩