Ken Hoden

Ken Hoden

Ken Hoden

Mark Rathbun: The Battle of Portland (May 28, 2013)

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO
THE BATTLE OF PORTLAND

Men in general judge more from appearances than from reality. All men have eyes, but few have the gift of penetration. — Niccolo Machiavelli

Everything hung in the balance at the spring, 1985 trial of Julie Christofferson-Titchbourne vs Church of Scientology. This was the very case that my brother’s friend had tried to tell me about in 1977 in Portland, when he was making an effort to get me out of Scientology. Christofferson was a young woman who had taken a simple Communication Course. It was the very Communication Course that I had taken, at the same Portland mission I’d attended.

Christofferson had, however — according to her — an experience completely opposite to my own in taking the course. She and her Flynn-allied attorney Garry McMurry claimed that she was defrauded into taking the course in the first place, by false representations about L. Ron Hubbard’s credentials and Scientology’s scientific guarantees to bring her health, joy and happiness. According to the lawsuit, the course hypnotized Christofferson and the mission subsequently used that hypnotic state to turn her against her family. The case had originally gone to trial in 1977, and a Multnomah County jury had returned a verdict in her favor for more than two million dollars.

In 1982, the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case for new trial. The appeals court decision was one of our first major religious recognitions. While Miscavige took full credit for the victory with L. Ron Hubbard, in fact he had served as little more than a nuisance to its accomplishment. The case had already been argued and was pending decision when Miscavige’s Special Project came on the All Clear scene in 1981. His then-deputy Starkey had attempted to intervene in the matter, and wound up blowing off the attorney who would ultimately win the great precedent, Charles Merten.

Merten refused to re-try the case because of his disgust with the church’s new order. But he had already briefed and argued the appeal of the 1979 verdict, so there was no way for the Special Project to mess that up. Had it not been for the original Christofferson case appeals court decision, we likely would not have attained several of the more minor — but useful in their cumulative effect — religious recognition precedents we did wind up achieving through the perilous fight for an All Clear.

A new trial lawyer had been retained in Portland to try the case. Ted Runstein was a personable, seasoned and successful trial attorney. He was, however, demoted to ride shotgun to Earle Cooley and keep his mouth shut as local counsel after saying something for which Miscavige never forgave him. Runstein had suggested that “the jury needs to hear from some real Scientologists from the witness stand.” Miscavige replied that we have plenty of Scientologists on our witness list. Runstein countered, “Those are all Sea Org staff; I am talking about having them hear from Scientologist parishioners who live and work in the same community as the jurors — real Scientologists.” Miscavige snapped, “Sea Org members are real Scientologists, public Scientologists are dilettantes.” Miscavige ruminated on this affront by Runstein throughout the trial, calling him a “theetie-weetie, airy-fairy idiot” behind his back.

So when Earle Cooley rolled into town he had free rein.

David Miscavige, as the chairman of the board of Author Services, would spend the next several weeks in Portland supervising and dictating every last detail of the trial. He was going to show me, the dozens of other attorneys he categorized as “defensive losers,” and the entire OSA network how a trial was conducted, Scientology style. No more counter-intention from lawyers who knew best. He had a soul mate in Earle, so that in his view L. Ron Hubbard’s slash-and-burn policies with respect to detractors and attackers would run into no internal interference. David Miscavige would prove to Ron once again why he needed him to ramrod his intentions through. Hubbard himself was apparently incommunicado, as evidenced by little to no dispatch traffic arriving — which made Miscavige’s two-month, full-time battle of Portland stint possible.

We rented a number of units at a downtown condominium, walking distance from the courthouse. One unit was inhabited by Earle, his long-time mistress Jeannie and their fourteen-year-old son. Another one-bedroom unit was occupied by Miscavige and me. Another was reserved for a couple of Office of Special Affairs staff, and served as a document preparation area and repository. We had a dozen more staff working out of the offices of the mission, which were only a few blocks away. One more condo unit was occupied by Earle’s partner and protégé, Harry Manion.

Harry would prove pivotal to the case, though he did very little speaking in court. Harry was in his early thirties. A big, strapping man — if overweight, like Earle — with a boyish face and an infectious smile and personality. Harry was the archetypal hale fellow well met. He had a glib, friendly word for everyone he encountered, and a natural ability to make people feel comfortable and light. Harry had something else going for him. He was a former college and minor-league professional baseball player, and that really meant something to the judge.

Judge Don Londer was respected by many locally. But because he was Jewish, he was not really accepted into Portland’s traditionally WASP judicial circles. Londer consider himself an old jock, often reminiscing about his boxing career during his younger days in the Navy. He was also a decent, considerate man. However, he was not very bright. In the condo we used to joke that maybe he had his lights knocked out one too many times during his boxing career. But because Harry was a real professional athlete, in Londer’s eyes Harry could do no wrong. Harry struck up a relationship gradually by arriving a little early to court, and thus “bumping into” the judge regularly. The latter always wanted to hear jock war stories from Harry. Harry was the son Don Londer wished he had fathered.

In Miscavige’s view, the Christofferson case was the perfect test case. Christofferson had only ever had a few months engagement with Scientology. She had spent a total of $3,000 on auditing and courses. She had not been harassed by the Guardian’s Office. The court of appeals had already ruled that she could make no case for infliction of emotional distress/outrageous conduct.

Her only remaining cause of action was for fraud. The court of appeal had even narrowed the issue to whether the representations made to her were motivated by sincerely-held religious belief.

In retrospect, it was probably the stupidest move imaginable to not settle the case before trial, for those very reasons. Christofferson claimed fraud primarily based on alleged false representations about L. Ron Hubbard’s pre-Scientology credentials. These were the very issues aired in the Armstrong case, which had made an All Clear all but unattainable. By going to trial, we were affording a woman — who effectively had no damages to claim — a worldwide platform to replay the Armstrong inquisition all over again. Except this time Flynn’s stable of witnesses was bolstered by the former Executive Director of International Scientology, Bill Franks, and the former head of the organization Christofferson had interacted with — the Scientology Mission of Portland, Martin Samuels.

Samuels had been the owner of the Portland mission when both Christofferson and I were parishioners there. He was the owner of the Portland mission when the first Chistofferson trial played out. Samuels had joined the Flynn camp shortly after being expelled, during Miscavige’s mission holder purges of 1982. Samuels testified in the first Christofferson trial on behalf of the church. In the second trial we knew that he would testify that the mother church had not only run every single detail of the trial, but even forced Samuels to lie on the witness stand. And thus Christofferson II was rather a cinch for the Flynn camp to hit the mother church with a sizable judgment (something that had not occurred in the first trial).

But Miscavige — and thus we — looked at it in the simplistic, black-and-white, good-vs.-evil worldview of L. Ron Hubbard. This was our big opportunity to play it all over again. In our view, the 1979 Chistofferson verdict had been what motivated Flynn and FAMCO in the first place.

All of the testimony in the Armstrong trial (including that of Armstrong and Laurel Sullivan) came pouring into the record. More horror stories were added by Samuels and Franks, and by a host of other witnesses. Miscavige and I directed a couple dozen staff, frenetically working through each and every night to provide Earle with material to discredit each witness on cross examination. While direct examination was still in progress, I, Miscavige and several other staff would pore over the real-time transcripts being relayed from court, marking them up for every bit of discrediting documentation we had available in a massive file room at the mission. When the court day ended, we would huddle with Cooley and outline the preps required for the cross exam the next morning. The crews stayed up until 1 or 2 every night, putting the material together and getting final ok from me and Miscavige. Then we would sleep for two to three hours, wake up at 4 a.m. and prepare to meet Earle in his condo at 5 a.m. We would spend the next three hours briefing him on details about how each witness had lied, exaggerated, and twisted the truth or was somehow morally reprehensible. We liberally used material from the ethics records from their days in the church, even copying internal reports to use on cross. This went on for weeks. We continually engaged in echo-chamber, confidence-reinforcing sessions, reviewing how Earle had so thoroughly destroyed each witness’ credibility.

There were external indicia to support our overconfidence. Earle Cooley brutalized the plaintiff’s witnesses on cross examination. So dramatic were his cross exams, that each day Earle was up, the courtroom was packed with local lawyers. They had no interest in the case itself, but Earle’s cross examinations were so dramatic that word had spread through the legal community that Cooley was the best show in town. They were there only to watch a master of their own trade at work. What we were blind to was the cumulative impression that so much manhandling conveyed.

We received a wake-up call of sorts in the middle of the plaintiff’s case, but collectively chose not to heed it. We had planned to enter the covert Armstrong-Griffith-Park surveillance tapes into evidence during the cross examination of Armstrong. Earle set up Armstrong masterfully, leading him to deny that he had ever talked to anyone about taking over the church, orchestrating federal raids, and least of all manufacturing and planting documents in church files. Then Earle started quoting Armstrong from transcripts of the surveillance tapes, clearly demonstrating he was lying from the witness stand. The warning we did not heed came in the form of Judge Londer’s reaction to the courtroom spectacle. In chambers he loudly chastised the church’s behavior in being involved in such cloak-and-dagger activity to begin with. Londer, who clearly did not think much of Chistofferson’s case based on comments he had made up to that point in the trial, was more disgusted with the secret video-taping than the lies they revealed. Had we not been so thoroughly in the throes of a thought-stopping, alternate-reality creation, we might have given thought to how the jury felt about the aggressive, “gotcha” manner we were using with all the plaintiffs witnesses.

Even though it backfired in the case at hand, getting the Armstrong surveillance videos on the public record would serve as a major step in dealing with the more serious government threats of criminal indictments then still extant. The stakes were far higher than merely the Chistofferson case, and there was a great deal of tension in getting the tapes put on the record. We did not want to submit the producer, private eye Gene Ingram, to cross-examination, for fear that he would be forced to disclose anything about the increasing number of operations he was privy to. In the course of coordinating the transportation of the tapes to Portland and into the hands of church coordination attorney John Peterson, Miscavige insisted upon bypassing me and speaking directly to Ingram — something he had not done up to that point in time. I advised him that was a bad idea, should Ingram or he ever be subject to deposition.

I picked up the phone to make the call to Ingram, and Miscavige came flying at me — tackling me into a sofa and attempting to wrestle the phone from my hand. I would not relinquish my grip even though he was strangling me. I threw my chest out to buck Miscavige from me. He violently stabbed his fist into my chest and said menacingly, “Don’t you ever cross me,
motherfucker! I’ll have you declared [excommunicated] in a heartbeat if you ever fuck with me again.” I looked Miscavige in the eye for a moment and considered the weight of that statement. For four years no one on planet earth could communicate to L. Ron Hubbard but through Miscavige — not even his wife. Miscavige was the recipient of personal communications on a weekly basis from Hubbard — but for the extended periods the latter went incommunicado entirely. He was right, he could have me declared in a heartbeat, and all I’d fought for to date would have been for naught. I handed him the phone. He had established himself — much as he had done with Mary Sue Hubbard — as boss buffalo.

So dramatic were Earle Cooley’s cross examinations that we were all swept into the sweet oblivion of the drama of it all. We heard from Judge Londer, through Harry, and we heard from dozens of lawyers who attended as spectators and students: Earle Cooley was magnificent. Earle huddled us up in the condo one evening over beers.

“Have you guys ever heard of Percy Foreman?” Earle asked us.

We all replied that we had not.

“Foreman was one of the premier trial lawyers in American history. He once defended a woman who was up for a murder rap in Miami. The government brought a bunch of scumbag convicts in to bolster their case against her. Foreman demonstrated on cross examination that the testimony was obviously paid for. When he saw the jury understood that, he surprised everyone. After the case in chief, he rested the defense without calling a single witness. He wanted those cross examinations fresh on their minds when they went to deliberate.”

“Brilliant!” exclaimed Miscavige. “We don’t want to serve up our people to McMurry anyway.”

“Exactly,” Earle replied, “sending in Runstein and his ‘real Scientologists’ would be like sending sheep to slaughter.”

“You’re fucking-A right, Earle!” Miscavige proclaimed, as final authorization of the strategy.

And so Earle Cooley shocked the judge, the plaintiff’s team, and all who were watching when he announced the next morning in open court that the defense would call no witnesses, and rested. Judge Londer thought it was a great idea. He didn’t want to sit for another several weeks on this case. And he agreed with Earle that the plaintiff had never made a case worth a hill of beans. It was judge Londer’s nonchalant manner of dealing with jury instructions that helped set us up for the shock of our lives. Londer told Earle and Harry to relax on their stressed arguments to attempt strict control of the jury before their deliberations began. He said, “Hey, what has she got, three grand in damages? The jury isn’t stupid.” And so, with the judge’s assessment of the merits, we were optimistic — albeit nervous — as we awaited the verdict.

Nobody was prepared for the result. On a Friday afternoon the jury awarded Christofferson $39 million. That not only buried any idea of an All Clear, it put the church’s very future at risk. Earle Cooley wasn’t sure why he did it, but he asked the judge to hold off on recording the verdict for a few days. The judge wasn’t sure why either, but he granted Earle’s request.

Miscavige had flown back to Los Angeles after closing arguments. Cooley left that night for Las Vegas to blow off steam and to try to deaden the devastating loss with a weekend of amnesiainducing recreation. In a way, I was left alone holding the bag at the scene of the crime. Early Saturday morning I met with two associates of our local counsel in their Portland office. We frantically traded ideas for challenging the verdict before the case went up to the court of appeals for the two-to-three-year appellate process. One of the associates was a cheery, bright British woman. She came up with a wild idea. Since the verdict had not yet been recorded, we could still make a motion concerning the case before the lower court. That court retained jurisdiction until such time as the verdict was recorded.

We reckoned that since there were motions brought by our side continuously, against prejudicial matter being entered into evidence throughout the trial, and since those motions had been consistently denied, there was no way to challenge rulings already made along the way. However, what if we brought a motion for mistrial based on what was put before the jury during closing arguments? That was the one small window of trial history we had not already brought legal challenges to. With Cooley incommunicado, we got busy dissecting the transcript of the closing arguments to find something, anything we could hang our mistrial motion on. We noted some particularly prejudicial statements that plaintiff’s counsel had made, and drafted a motion for mistrial on the basis that the statements were so outrageous and prejudicial as to have potentially caused the jury to act on passion and prejudice, rather than on the evidence presented over several weeks of trial.

When Cooley returned at the end of the weekend, he thought the motion was brilliant. We filed it early the following week. Harry Manion artfully used his weeks of informal credibility-and-sympathy- building with judge Londer to obtain his agreement to set a hearing for a few weeks down the road, to consider the motion. Londer would not and did not ever record the jury’s verdict.

Miscavige returned to Portland and we had a conference in Cooley’s condo with a couple of legal staff. Miscavige was distraught and desperate. He talked of moving L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology management to a South American country in order to assure the church’s future survival. We discussed how with a 39-million-dollar judgment being publicized internationally, the three dozen similar FAMCO suits heading toward trial, and the DOJ and IRS champing at the bit to clean up anything remaining after the damage was done, the United States was about the least safe territory in the world for Scientology.

Miscavige railed about the stupidity of Judge Londer, how he continued to allow the trial to go out of control while reassuring us that the worst-case scenario was a few thousand dollars in damages. He ruminated how a mighty institution like Scientology could be brought to its knees by a group of degraded “wogs” (non-Scientologists) from a cow town. His own characterization prompted a lightning bolt from the blue.

“I got it!” he exclaimed. “We’ll take over this shit-hole town. I’ll bring in one hundred thousand Scientologists from around the world and we’ll surround that courthouse and make this town comply. We’ll overwhelm them. We’ll overwhelm not only the judge but every other criminal judge he talks to in his town.”

The battle of Portland had only just begun. We called in every Public Relations officer assigned to every church of Scientology in the world (several dozen) and gave them orders to call every person who had ever taken a service at each local church and order them to get to Portland for the biggest, most important event and contribution they would ever make to Scientology. Ken Hoden was pulled out of mothballs and put in charge of the “religious freedom crusade.” Hoden had been the Guardian’s Office person in charge of external affairs in Portland during the original Christofferson case appeal. Miscavige and Starkey had busted him and relegated him to backlines PR work in Los Angeles back in 1981, when they decided he had screwed up the appeal of the original case (the result of which was ultimately the vacating of the original two million-dollar judgment, and Scientology’s strongest religious recognition to date). But now Hoden was integral — he was the only one who knew the ropes in Portland, as well as all allies of the church and public officials in the Portland area. Hoden was instructed to wear a religious “dog collar” shirt and coat at all times in public. He would be the spokesman and he would position all utterances along the line that the Christofferson judgment was the worst assault on religious freedom in the United States in modern times.

Within days, several hundred Scientologists had shown up in Portland. Hoden organized them up, made signs and began regular marches around the courthouse. The trademark chant of the crusade echoed down the streets of Portland:

Hoden: “What do we want?”
The crowd: “Religious freedom!”
Hoden: “When do we want it?”
The crowd: “Now!”

Initially, the protesters came across as angry, in compliance with Miscavige’s orders to intimidate the city into compliance. As Miscavige was back in LA, and there was no allowance
for discussion of mitigation of his ideas, instead Hoden discussed with me the need to tone it down and create a far less threatening and far more dignified presentation. I told Ken he was right, and told him follow his instincts, just learn to report to Starkey and Miscavige in the language they liked to hear. That was to emphasize, in briefing them, how loud you were, how numerous you were, and how shocked and awed the public watching was — while taking a slightly different approach in conducting affairs on the ground. It was an art I had come to learn out of necessity, to avert many church catastrophes over the years.

Ken got the knack of how to play shock absorber to the brass — and did a masterful job in controlling the masses in a fashion that had maximum impact. Over the next week, thousands of Scientologists showed up and the regular protest marches easily surrounded the entire block the courthouse occupied, with parishioners marching in ranks of several abreast. Hoden took care to brief each arriving Scientologist on the importance of being polite and friendly, cleaning up after themselves and generally creating a good impression of “regular Scientologists.”

We wound up having two hearings before judge Londer, separated by several weeks. As much as the crusaders were creating the impression we wished they would, Londer could not wrap his wits around the constitutional arguments we were making. In one chambers meeting with counsel, he uttered something which, despite the public relations gains we were making with the “religious freedom campaign,” flagged our hopes of success. Earle Cooley had made a lengthy presentation, backed by citations to court case precedents. Londer had seized on one particular case that Cooley cited, buoying our attorneys’ hopes that he might understand and adopt our position. After a back-and-forth conversation about its parallels to the case at hand, Londer shocked them all by saying, “Wait a second. That was a court of appeals decision; this isn’t a court of appeals.” Of course, all legal precedent is created by opinions rendered by courts of appeal, and these are binding law for the lower courts to apply and follow. Londer’s statement belied a challenged cognitive capacity. As Earle Cooley put it, “Oh my God, we’re in the hands of the Philistines!”

We kept orchestrating Harry’s having “chance” encounters with Judge Londer, hoping to divine where he stood and hoping that he might begin to understand this case was not only important to the church and Earle, but to Harry’s future. Try as he might, Harry would come back from his meetings befuddled. His refrain was that Londer was as dumb as a sack of rocks, and he couldn’t tell whether anything we were presenting was getting through.

On the afternoon prior to the final hearing and the announcement of decision on the mistrial motion, Earle, Harry and I sat in Earle’s hotel room in Portland preparing our arguments. We had a last-minute brief to file, and had purposely waited until mid afternoon, when we knew Londer took a break. That way, when Harry was bringing the brief into the clerk, Londer might see him and invite him into his chambers for a chat. That went like clockwork. Earle and I beseeched Harry to call in any chips he might have with Londer. Earle told Harry to tell him outright that Londer needed to do this for Harry. Harry reported back that he had schmoozed with Londer, but that it wasn’t appropriate under the circumstances — open chambers doors — to make his ultimate personal pitch. However, Londer had invited Harry to come to his home that evening to meet his wife, since it might be the last time they would see one another. Harry had not committed, out of concern for doing something that would smell of impropriety and could come back to haunt us.

Earle and I discussed the matter in some detail. He explained the downsides of a visit — if it were ever found out it could raise the ugly specter of the decades of GO improprieties we were attempting to live down. “On balance,” Earle said, “this is up to the client. You need to brief the boss [Miscavige] and I’ll trust his instincts.” I called Miscavige and briefed him on all that had transpired. He said, “What is your hesitance? It’s a no brainer. Of course he sees Londer, and he does whatever he has to do to get the product.” I told Earle the verdict. Earle told me, “Okay, now it’s between me and Harry. I’m going to protect you and Dave. Leave it to me.”

Earle did report that Harry had gone to Londer’s home. He did not give particulars beyond saying that Londer was thrilled with the visit. He gave no guarantee of any particular outcome, “But,” Earle added, “tell Dave to relax.” And then Earle told me an anecdotal aphorism he would repeat several times to Dave and me over the next couple of years. He said, “Here is my only test of friendship. I know you are going to testify tomorrow in front a grand jury investigating me.

Do I sleep tonight…or don’t I?”

Even though Earle said he would sleep well that night, I did not. Of secondary importance was my own life. I was so thoroughly invested in the crusade to protect LRH and Scientology that the possible impact on them loomed larger than my own spiritual death — which would be a virtual certainty if we did not win. As I had learned by then on Hubbard’s lines of operation, there had to be a head on a pike after a catastrophe of this magnitude. And I had been around Miscavige long enough to know that regardless of his having micro-managed every move in the trial, down to strangling me the first time I attempted to counter him, it would not be Miscavige’s head on this particular pike.

The next morning, the Multnomah County Courthouse was surrounded by Scientologists. The hallways and wide stairways inside were packed with Scientologists, from the front door,
through the lobby, up to the third-floor courtroom of Judge Londer. Londer gave a touching soliloquy about how well the “real Scientologists” who had descended upon Portland had
conducted themselves. He said he might not have been so gracious and polite had his own religion been compared to botulism soup, as plaintiff’s counsel had done to the jury. He found
such conduct to be extremely prejudicial, and in violation of his own orders — having already determined that Scientology was a religion. The judge granted the mistrial motion, wiping out in one breath the $39,000,000 judgment.

After having survived a nuclear explosion by, among other things, successfully defrauding the court as to L. Ron Hubbard’s inaccessibility (Ron had been a named defendant, but we managed to get through the entire trial without the issue of his personal liability ever being adjudicated), Ron had two handwritten messages relayed to Miscavige. The first was a short note to the “real Scientologists,” the crusaders, commending them for having pulled off a feat of historical proportions by influencing the winning of the mistrial motion. The second consisted of two words and a single letter, sprawled across a full page in Ron’s signature style. It read, “Earle, congratulations! — R” The “R” stood for Ron, a signatory he had used for years on internal church dispatches.

Two months later, at our annual Sea Org Day celebration, Miscavige and I would be awarded special medals of honor, of a type never before issued by Ron. We had slipped on a banana peel and somehow managed to fall on a fur rug.

Notes

Declaration of Gerry Armstrong (March 7, 2006)

[…] 1

28. Scientology leaders had used the same Ken Hoden in a similar attempt in 1985 and 1986 to have me prosecuted by the Los Angeles District Attorney on charges

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that the organization itself manufactured. Scientology ran a covert operation on me from 1982 through 1984 involving a writer Dan Sherman whom organization leaders operated to befriend me, get close to me, and set me up in a series of secretly recorded and videotaped meetings with other covert agents. Mr. Sherman and the other agents claimed that there were people inside the organization who wanted to reform it and stop Fair Game, but they were afraid for their lives and so sought out my help. The other agents David Kluge and Michael Rinder, pretending to be reformers, attempted to entrap me into the commission of crimes, without success. The recordings were made without my permission or knowledge and were illegal, and were in no way evidence of what Scientology claimed they were. Nevertheless, Scientology edited the recordings and used Mr. Hoden and others to try to get the LA DA to prosecute me, as well as my attorney Michael Flynn. Appended hereto as Exhibit C is a true and correct copy of the letter dated April 25, 1986 from LA DA to Mr. Hoden, et al. fortunately refusing prosecution or further investigation of Scientology’s claims.2 Scientology claimed that its covert videotaping operation was legal because it was authorized by the LA PD. As mentioned above, a Scientology agent had paid an LA PD officer at least ten thousand dollars for a series of phony “authorizations” to wiretap and eavesdrop on Mr. Flynn and me. Appended hereto as Exhibit D is a true and correct copy of a public announcement of April 23, 1985 from the LA Chief of Police denouncing the “authorizations” as not from the LAPD3 Despite the scathing denouncement from the Chief of Police, and the corrupt officer being suspended from

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the LA PD, Scientology has continued to this day to justify its unlawful entrapment operation and the false charges it sought with the lie that the videotaping was approved by the LA PD.

29. At the time he attempted to have me prosecuted on Scientology’s trumped up charges, Mr. Hoden was part of the organization authorized and directed to handle or treat or Fair Game SPs. Scientologists in such positions are expected to lie, including under oath, to obstruct justice, and do what is necessary and can be gotten away with to harm the people organization leaders want harmed, like Mr. Henson and me. I believe that Mr. Hoden was used specifically in the efforts to have us prosecuted because he has been willing to lie, testify falsely or otherwise Fair Game us, whereas other Scientologists might not be so willing. I believe that my knowledge of Scientologists lying and testifying falsely as a practice, and specifically Ken Hoden lying, to have the organization’s SP victims prosecuted and jailed or otherwise harmed, was very relevant in Mr. Henson’s terrorism case, and if the jury had heard that testimony he would have been found not guilty on all counts.

30. The scriptural principle given by founder Hubbard that Scientology is following in its actions in the legal arena against people like Mr. Henson and me states:

The DEFENSE of anything is UNTENABLE. The only way to defend anything is to ATTACK, and if you ever forget that, then you will lose every battle you are ever engaged in, whether it is in terms of personal conversation, public debate, or a court of law. NEVER BE INTERESTED IN CHARGES. DO,
yourself, much MORE CHARGING, and you will WIN. And the public, seeing that you won, will then have a communication line to the effect that Scientologists WIN. Don’t ever let them have any other thought than that Scientology takes all of its objectives.4

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The charges that the Scientologists and their agents who execute the Suppressive Person doctrine bring against their SP victims are often false charges. Scientology sought to have me falsely charged by the LA PD in 1982 for theft. In 1985 and 1986, as shown above, Scientology tried to have me prosecuted by the LA DA. In 1985 and 1986 Scientology tried to have me prosecuted by the FBI in Boston on a charge Scientology manufactured that I had impersonated an FBI officer.5 In 1992 through 1994, Scientology sought to have me punished for contempt of court on false charges. In 1997, Scientology was successful, as shown above, in having me punished with a fine and jail for reporting the organization’s threat to me after I was subpoenaed. In 1998, Scientology was successful in having me fined and ordered to jail for twenty-six days for expressions expressed in Canada and Germany.6  In 2001, Scientology was again successful in having me found in contempt of court for more religious expressions in Canada.7 In 2001, Scientology also sought to get me in trouble with the FSB, the Russian intelligence service that succeeded the KGB, and tried to have me picked up by U.S. agents in Moscow.8 In 2002, Scientology sought to have me charged by the Ekaterinburg, Russia prosecutor on the basis of false statements by Scientologists that I had trespassed in their office in that city. In 2004 and 2005 a Scientology agent leased an office across the street from my apartment in Chilliwack, B.C. Canada, spied on my wife throughout that period, and tried to trick us into making a video recording to later be used against us.9

31. I am convinced that Ken Hoden and any Scientologists who testified that they were frightened by Keith Henson possibly bombing them or hurting them in any way are lying as part of a conspiracy run by Scientology’s leaders to deprive him of his rights in violation 18 U.S.C. § 241, and in violation of other state and federal criminal statutes. What Scientology is trying to do in silencing me judicially and

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extra-judicially demonstrates the same, and the list of beneficiaries of Scientology’s efforts to deprive me of my civil rights shows that the conspiracy is organization-wide. Since Scientology is demonstrably inter alia a criminal conspiracy against rights, Mr. Henson has every justification in the world to interfere with the conspiracy, even if the conspirators call their conspiracy religion.

[…]

Notes

Declaration of Gerry Armstrong (November 1, 1986)

http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50k/legal/a1/976.php

Declaration of Gerry Armstrong: excerpt re Armstrong Operation (October 11, 1986)

8. Another example of documents clearly withheld by plaintiff organization is in regards to the program to get the LA DA to bring criminal charges against me — ultimately to have me jailed. This is all part of the “Armstrong Operation.” At p. 23, no. 11 of the April 1986 declaration I showed, from the mouth of CSC, CSI, RTC and Hubbard attorney Earle C. Cooley, the existence of such documentation.1 The organization has produced none of these documents. A letter from the Office of the LA DA dated April 25, 1986, attached hereto as Exhibit [J]2, however, reveals that Mr. Peterson and organization personnel provided a mass of documentation, even more than I knew before then existed, to the DA. Mr. Peterson knows that I know because he got the DA’s letter. To consider that all this was done from no written orders, programs, evaluations or missions is madness. It should be noted that the recipients of the DA letter were all GO staff. Lyman Spurlock’s testimony at trial in 1984 that he (as ASI staff) and others got rid of the 1100 GO staff criminals is untrue. Ken Hoden was GO staff: in fact he was involved in the program on Hubbard’s orders to bring criminal charges against Julie Christofferson. Heber Jentzsch was a GO PR staffer for many years who was used for the organization’s frontal PR attacks on enemies. He continues to perform the same organization function. David Butterworth is a longtime GO staff member. When I knew him in the organization he was an aide to Mary Sue Hubbard in the Controller’s Office. John Peterson has been connected to

-8-

[CT 6259]

the GO from the 1970’s.3

Notes

  1. See Declaration of Gerry Armstrong April 09, 1986.
  2. See Letter from Office of the LA DA to Ken Hoden, et al.
  3. From Declaration of Gerald Armstrong October 11, 1986. Filed in Armstrong 1.

Letter from Los Angeles County DA to Ken Hoden (April 25, 1986)

OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS DIVISION
18000 CRIMINAL COURTS BUILDING
210 WEST TEMPLE STREET
LOS ANGELES. CALIFORNIA 90012 -3275
(213) 974-7437

IRA REINER, DISTRICT ATTORNEY

April 25, 1986

Rev. Ken Hoden
Rev. Kathleen Gorgon
Rev. Heber Jentzsch
Mr. John Peterson
Mr. David Butterworth
Church of Scientology
1301 N. Catalina
Los Angeles, California 90012

Gentlemen:1

In re S.I.D. CASE NO. C85-0054

In your letters dated May 1 and July 19, 1985, you asked that this office investigate your allegations that:

1. Chief Daryl Gates of the Los Angeles Police Department, Agents Al Lipkin and Al Ristuccia of the Internal Revenue Service, Gerald Armstrong, and Michael Flynn have committed the crime of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

2. Internal Revenue Service Agents Al Lipkin and Al Ristuccia additionally “aided and directed” the commission by Gerald Armstrong of violations of Penal Code Sections 182 (Conspiracy), 134 (Preparing False Evidence), and 653f (Solicitation of the commission of certain crimes).

3. Gerald Armstrong additionally prepared false documentary evidence in violation of Penal Code Section 134; committed extortion in violation of Penal Code Section 518; and solicited commission of the crimes of burglary, receiving stolen property, and forgery, in violation of Penal Code Section 653f.

Rev. Ken Hoden,et al.
April 25, 1986
Page Two

4. Michael Flynn additionally aided Gerald Armstrong in his violations of Penal Code Section 182,  conspiracy, and Penal Code Section 653f, solicitation of burglary, receiving stolen property, and forgery.

Following his receipt of your letters, Steven A. Sowders, Head of the Special Investigations Division, met personally with Rev. Jentzsch and Rev. Hoden to discuss your complaint. I have since reviewed the voluminous materials you submitted in support of your charges, and I have spoken at length on the telephone and in person with church members John Peterson and David Butterworth. In our several conversations, I informed both Mr. Butterworth and Mr. Peterson that in order intelligently to evaluate the Church of Scientology’s allegations, I would need further information. In addition to the documents already
provided, I asked them to provide me with:

(1) A complete description of the events to which the submitted documents relate, including:

(a) the time, date, and place of each event;
(b) the names of all persons present;
(c) the circumstances in which the event occurred;
(d) the name of each speaker and identifying information about him.

(2) A description of the manner in which the recording or other source information was obtained.

(3) A statement from the person who obtained the recording or other data, identifying him, describing the manner in which he obtained it, and setting forth the manner in which he could authenticate any recording and any transcript involved.

(4) An explanation of the relevance of the conversations and other materials cited to the allegations of criminal conduct.

I further requested that they furnish any other evidence they might have in support of the Church of Scientology’s allegations. I particularly requested documentation setting forth the specific facts in support of the allegations recited above. I asked that they provide the date, time, and place of each alleged event, and the name, address, and telephone number of each witness.

Rev. Ken Heden, et al.
April 25, 1986
Page Three

In response, I received from Mr. John Peterson a letter dated September 27, 1985, which letter I discussed on October 3, 1985, with Mr. Butterworth. Thereafter, following many attempts on my part to schedule a meeting with either Mr. Peterson or Mr. Butterworth or both of them, on December 10, 1985, they came to my office and conferred with Investigator Alan Tomich and me.

In that meeting, I reiterated my need to know the date, time, and place of each alleged event, and the name, address, and telephone number of each witness. I further asked whether the Church of Scientology had any additional evidence in support of its allegations. Messrs. Peterson and Butterworth responded that they had submitted to this office all the evidence that they had.

I explained to them that, in order to decide whether a prosecutable crime had been committed, we had to interview those persons who had observed the events that were alleged to constitute the criminal conduct; and that in order to interview those persons we needed to know who they were and where we could find them. In response, Mr. Peterson repeated the suggestion he made in his letter of September 27, 1985, that we interview Eugene Ingram, who had videotaped certain events which, Mr. Peterson said, were the basis of his allegations. He declined, however, to identify, beyond the name “Joey,” the persons other than Gerald Armstrong who appear on the tapes. It was my understanding that Messrs. Peterson and Butterworth intended to review the matter and that they would subsequently forward the requested witness information to me. Their response was a letter dated December 15, 1985, which contained a witness list comprised of the names of the persons the Church of Scientology has accused plus another I.R.S. agent and two police officers. He furnished no further information.

I responded to Mr. Peterson in a letter dated January 16, 1986, in which I summarized our December 10 meeting. In it, I also asked Mr. Peterson to permit Investigator Tomich to interview Mr. Eugene Ingram (whom Mr. Peterson, as an attorney, apparently represents), and I again requested that Mr. Peterson supply us with the information outlined above.

Rev. Ken Hoden, et al.
April 25, 1986
Page Four

In response, I received from Mr. Peterson a letter dated March 18, 1986. In it, he denied that he and Mr. Butterworth had intended, after the December 10 meeting, to provide further information, and he declared that we had received all the data he felt we needed.

It appears, then, that no further evidence in support of your allegations is forthcoming; and based on Mr. Peterson’s statement on December 10, 1985, that I had understood and accurately summarized the evidence the Church of Scientology had submitted, it appears that the assertions of fact described below constitute in its entirety the evidence in support of your allegations of criminal conduct.

Allegation 1:

That Chief Daryl Gates conspired to obstruct justice.

Evidence:

The allegation of “planting a ‘wire tap’ on Michael Flynn” was referred to Chief Gates [1] by Assistant City Attorney Lewis N. Unger on April 17, 1985. [2] On April 23, 1985, Chief Gates publicly rebuked Officer Phillip Rodriguez and Investigator Eugene Ingram for video taping Gerald Armstrong. Within hours, Investigators Lipkin and Ristuccia were seen, apparently by Rev. Heber Jentzch, [3] leaving Parker Center. There has allegedly  been no effort to do anything about “Mr. Armstrong’s crimes.”[4] Chief Gates also initiated an investigation “into the police officer and private investigator” (July 19 letter, p. 6).

Allegation 2:

That Internal Revenue Service Agents Al Lipkin and Al Ristuccia conspired with Gates, Armstrong, and Flynn to obstruct justice and that they “aided and directed” Gerald Armstrong in the commission of violations of Penal Code Sections 182, 134, and 653f.

Evidence:

John G. Peterson declared under penalty of perjury [5] that “Armstrong showed he was being used by the Internal Revenue Service to gather information.” In support of that declaration, Mr. Peterson included “excerpts from the videotape” which indicated that “GA” mentioned Al Ristuccia and gave Al Lipkin’s telephone number to “J”.

Rev. Ken Hoden, et al.
April 25, 1986
Page Five

Agents Lipkin and Ristuccia visited Officer Phillip Rodriguez and allegedly attempted to “strong arm” him. Agents Lipkin and Ristuccia stated that, on April 18, 1985, they interviewed Rodriguez, who admitted signing an authorization letter. The agents considered Rodriguez evasive and sought police assistance
in obtaining his cooperation. The agents were seen leaving Parker Center on April 23, 1985. [6]

Armstrong told ” J” that he had told Lipkin some people might want to talk to him, [7] and that he had told Lipkin to go after Peterson.

Allegation 3:

That Gerald Armstrong conspired with Michael Flynn, Daryl Gates, Al Lipkin, and Al Ristuccia to obstruct justice; prepared false documentary evidence; committed extortion; and solicited the commission of the crimes of burglary (Penal Code Section 459), receiving stolen property (Penal Code Section 496), and forgery (Penal Code Section 470), in violation of Penal Code Section 653f.

Evidence:

John Peterson declared that Armstrong conspired with a “church…staff member,” was “used by… the Internal Revenue Service to gather information,” “explained to the conspirators plans for attacking the  church…and…Hubbard,” and had a videotaped conversation with “J” which demonstrates his involvement with the government. [9]

“GA” told “J” to type the completed staff work on the policy and bring it in, that “issues can be created,” but he was “not really saying create incrimination (sic) evidence-but just to write about the speculation.” He also said, “They can never tell where the issue came from.” He wanted the lawsuits to end so that he could get his “global settlement.” [10]

Armstrong told ” J” about a “good-looker” named Carol. He said “the way to the man’s mind is through his cock” and “that’s definitely the way to get to the top.” He wrote a note which reads in part, “Establish available route for holding the cock of someone in ASI/WDC/etc.”[11]

Rev. Ken Hoden, et al.
April 25, 1986
Page Six

Armstrong allegedly wrote and handed over to someone on November 9, 1984, a “shopping list” of information which he asked a “church member to purloin.” “GA” told “J” “something should be done so that they can capitalize on getting stuff…into writing and…unstabilizing the whole PI, attorney apparatus.” He asked if “J” could get money to Peterson and told “J” to check the finance records. He said, “if we can get anything on Ingram (or) Peterson (or) finance records (or) other PI’s (or) operation ‘X’…, it’s all vital.”

Armstrong asked for specifics on payments to Ingram, and told “J” he should find what payments went to attorneys.

The handwritten list read in part, “1. Plan on Van Schaick…4. Anything on Hubbard or Don/ 5. Anything on upcoming legal battle… 8. Get me an original of an LRH Ed (current) or other issue type which could be from Hubbard. 8a. Same for WDC. Create one, get it distributed and get an assessment. Any partial that gives UP or ORG.”[12]

He also told ” J” he had given one “fanatic” document “to the Feds” and was giving them another. [13]

Armstrong told ” J” on November 9, 1984, that he could type “things and duplicate them and make them look exactly the same” and that “we could set up a press and…produce issues…” He thought, “shouldn’t I get some I HELP materials (?)”. He wanted to know “how they’re run off, what the type face is like…, – because we can simply create these;… – I can create documents with relative ease ….”

“J” suggested changing some documents. “GA” responded that “a lot of things can be done”, but he did not propose to “be stuffing things into their comm basket.” He later commented that something could be pasted and photocopied. [14]

Allegation 4:

That Michael F Flynn conspired to obstruct justice, and aided Gerald Armstrong in the crimes of conspiracy (Penal Code Section 182) and solicitation of burglary, receiving stolen property, and forgery (Penal Code Section 653f).

Rev. Ken Hoden, et al.
April 25, 1986
Page Seven

Evidence:

In April, 1985, Flynn contacted the United States Attorney in Boston, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Los Angeles Police Department. Flynn’s attorney, Raul Martinez then made allegedly false accusations of wire tapping.

Flynn told the Los Angeles Police Department that “Cooley” had had a video recording and a letter signed by Officer Rodriguez authorizing such a recording. By letter, Attorney Raul Martinez, representing Mr. Flynn, asked the City Attorney to investigate. The City Attorney forwarded the letter to Chief Gates. [15]

John Peterson declared under penalty of perjury that evidence indicated that Michael Flynn was directing Gerald Armstrong in order to steal documents, plot forgeries, steal legal strategies, implement a plot to seduce and blackmail a Scientologist, and conspire to suborn perjury. [16]

The “Van Schaick” case, referred to in Armstrong’s “shopping list”, was settled by Attorney Flynn.

* * *

As Mr. Peterson has noted, I have spent a considerable amount of time reviewing and comprehending the materials you have submitted to this office. For the reasons set forth below, I do not find that those materials contain sufficient evidence of the commission of any of the alleged crimes to justify the further investigation of those allegations.

At the outset, I should like to point out the following regarding Mr. Peterson’s letter dated September 27, 1985 and my subsequent communications with him. 1) Mr. Peterson told me that “the interviews took place in Griffith Park during… November, 1984.” He has not otherwise responded to my request for a complete description of the events to which the documents related, including times, dates, places, names, circumstances, and identifying information, (See Request #1, above.)

2) Mr. Peterson told me that “tapes are not in dispute” and that details of the taping should be sought from Gene Ingram.

Rev. Ken Hoden, et al.
April 25, 1986
Page Eight

But when Investigator Tomich sought to follow his advice, Mr. Peterson asserted he was Mr. Ingram’s attorney, and he refused to permit Investigator Tomich to interview him.

In his letter of March 18, 1986, Mr. Peterson refused further to respond to my requests for a description of the manner in which recordings and other source information were obtained; and for a statement from the person who obtained the information (some of it apparently recorded, some of it apparently from other sources) identifying that person and describing the acquisition of the information, documents, or tape, and the manner in which it could be authenticated (proved to be what it purports to be). (See Requests Nos. 2 and 3, above.)

3) He submitted ” data on the background of Jerry Armstrong” and the other documents referred to in the footnotes to this letter, in which he highlighted those portions he considered relevant to the allegations. He has not otherwise explained the relevance of the submitted materials to the allegations of criminal conduct. (See Request #4, above.)

4) He told me that the individuals speaking on the video tapes are “responsible witnesses who can be produced if necessary.” Beyond submitting a list of the names of the persons you have accused and three of their associates, he has not otherwise responded to my requests that he document the specific facts which prove the commission of the crimes alleged, including the particular details about each event and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the witnesses (See the paragraph following request #4, above).

* * *

A conspiracy to obstruct justice is an agreement between two or more persons to do an act or omit to do an act, as the result of which justice or the due administration of the laws is obstructed or perverted. To convict a person of that crime the prosecution must prove that he made such an agreement with the specific intent to commit or omit the necessary act and that, while he was a member of the conspiracy, he or a co-conspirator committed an overt act in furtherance of the object within the prosecuting jurisdiction (in our case, Los Angeles County).

Rev. Ken Hoden, et al.
April 25, 1986
Page Nine

Assuming that the factual allegations are true, and that Daryl Gates did receive from Michael Flynn a wiretapping complaint; did rebuke Officer Rodriguez and Investigator Ingram; and did initiate an investigation into possible criminal conduct by Rodriguez and Ingram; that Gerald Armstrong did have the above described conversations with “Joey” about Al Lipkin and Al Ristuccia; that Lipkin and Ristuccia did interview Rodriguez, did consider him evasive, did seek Los Angeles Police Department assistance in obtaining Rodriguez’s cooperation, and did visit Parker Center on April 23, 1985; that Armstrong told “Joey” to type staff work in order to create issues and that he did all the other things alleged (talked to “Joey” about “Carol,” told “Joey” that “they” should destablilize the “PI, attorney apparatus,” told “Joey” to check financial records, wrote and delivered the “shopping list,” and gave documents “to the Feds”) and that Michael Flynn both personally and through his attorney contacted the United States Attorney, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Los Angeles Police Department to complain about the tape recording, the actions of Officer Rodriguez, and other matters; and that he settled the “Van Schaick” case; we are unable to find in any of those allegations any evidence which would support an allegation that Chief Gates, Agent Lipkin, Agent Ristuccia, Mr. Armstrong, or Attorney Flynn agreed with anyone to commit or omit any act which might pervert or obstruct justice or the due administration of the laws.

No factual details (time, place circumstances, names of witnesses, etc.) have been submitted to support many of the conclusions that have been alleged. Thus there is no evidence that “there has been no effort to do anything about” crimes allegedly committed by Mr. Armstrong; that the Internal Revenue Service Agents attempted to “strongarm” Officer Rodriguez; that Mr. Armstrong conspired with a church staff member and explained to the conspirators his plans for attacking the church and Mr. Hubbard; that Mr. Armstrong wrote a “shopping list” of information and asked someone to “purloin” it; or that Michael Flynn made false accusations of wiretapping.

Therefore, the evidence of which we have been apprised of a conspiracy to obstruct justice is insufficient to warrant further investigation by this office.

To convict a person of the crime of preparation of false documentary evidence, the prosecution must prove that he in fact

Rev. Ken Hoden, et al.
April 25, 1986
Page Ten

made the document, that it was false, and that he intended it to be produced as true for a deceitful purpose in a proceeding authorized by law.

Even assuming that it can be proved by competent, admissible evidence that Gerald Armstrong told “Joey” to type staff work and that “issues can be created,” that “they can never tell where the issue came from,” and that he wanted the lawsuits to end so that he could get his “global settlement”; that Armstrong wrote and gave to someone the “shopping list”; that he told “Joey” he wanted to get “stuff…into writing” and to “unstabliz(e)” the “apparatus”; that he said getting records was “vital”; that he said he could type and duplicate things and create documents and set up a press and produce issues, that he wanted to know about a type face, that a lot of things could be done and that something could be pasted and photocopied; none of this, taken alone, constitutes evidence that Mr. Armstrong in fact created a single false document or that he intended that such a document be produced for any purpose in any legal proceeding.

Further, in the documents submitted to us, Mr. Armstrong is quoted as stating that he was not advocating the creation of incriminating evidence and that he did not propose to “be stuffing things into their comm baskets.”

We are aware of no other evidence which might lend criminal significance to the statements of Mr. Armstrong. We can find, therefore, no basis for a further investigation of the allegation that Penal Code Section 134 has been violated.

Extortion (Penal Code Section 518) is the obtaining of property from another with his consent, induced by a wrongful use of force or fear. The fear may be induced by a threat to injure a person or property, or to accuse the victim or a relative of crime, or to impute to any of them a deformity, disgrace, or crime, or to expose a secret affecting any of them. Penal Code Section 524 makes it a felony to attempt to commit extortion.

Assuming that it can be proved that Gerald Armstrong expressed the views alleged regarding the “way to the man’s mind” and that he wrote the note referring to “ASI” and “WDC”, that does not appear to us to be evidence that he or anyone obtained or

Rev. Ken Hoden, et al.
April 25, 1986
Page Eleven

attempted to obtain property from anyone by means of any threat. We therefore find no basis for further investigation of the allegation that Gerald Armstrong committed extortion.

The solicitation of another person to commit or join in the commission of burglary, receiving stolen property, or forgery is a felony, the proof of whose commission requires the testimony of two witnesses or of one witness plus evidence of corroborating circumstances. To convict a person of solicitation,
the prosecution must prove that he asked another person to commit a crime with the specific intent that it be committed.

The solicitation of burglary requires a request that one enter a building or other specific place (See Penal Code Section 459) intending to commit larceny or a felony; the solicitation of receiving stolen property requires a request that one receive property that one knows has been stolen; the solicitation of forgery, a request that one, with the intent to defraud, sign without authority another’s name or counterfeit his handwriting, or make any of the false documents specified in Penal Code Section 470, or knowingly utter such falsified document, signature, or handwriting.

Assuming that the allegations are true that Gerald Armstrong told “Joey” to type staff work, that “issues can be created.” that “something should be done so that they can capitalize on getting stuff into writing,” that “if we can get anything on Ingram (or) Peterson (or) finance records…, it’s all vital,” and that “Joey” should find what payments went to attorneys; and, further assuming it to be true that Armstrong gave “Joey” a list which specified “plan” or “anything” ” on” certain matters and stated “get me an original …issue type”; that he told “Joey” he had given and would give documents “to the Feds,” that he could duplicate things and create documents, and that something could be pasted and photocopied; these allegations nonetheless do not constitute evidence that Mr.  Armstrong, with the requisite intent, asked anyone to commit the crime of burglary, receiving stolen property, or forgery. We therefore find no basis for further investigation of the allegation that Gerald Armstrong violated Penal Code section 653f.

A person aids and abets the commission of a crime if, with knowledge of the perpetrator’s unlawful purpose and with the intent to encourage or facilitate the commission of the crime, he aids, promotes, or instigates its commission.

Rev. Ken Hoden, et al.
April 25, 1986
Page Twelve

The documents submitted to us indicate that Gerald Armstrong gave “Joey” Al Lipkin’s telephone number, that he told ” Joey” that he had told Lipkin some people might want to talk to him, that he told “Joey” that he had told Lipkin to go after Peterson, and that he mentioned Al Ristuccia to “Joey”. The  allegations regarding Michael Flynn are described above.

None of those allegations is itself evidence of any unlawful connection between those men and Mr. Armstrong. Further, since we have been presented with no significant evidence of any unlawful conduct on the part of Mr. Armstrong, we do not find that there is sufficient evidence to warrant further investigation
of the allegations that Al Lipkin, Al Ristuccia, or Michael Flynn aided and abetted the commission of any crime.

In addition to the lack of evidence set forth above, it must also be noted that, lacking knowledge of the manner in which the video tape recordings were obtained, we do not know whether their acquisition violated either United States or California law. If it violated federal law, material thus acquired even
if relevant – which it does not appear to be -might be inadmissible in evidence.

For all of the reasons described above, we have concluded that there is no evidence in support of the allegations of criminal conduct on the part of Daryl Gates, Al Lipkin, Al Ristuccia , Gerald Armstrong, and Michael Flynn. Accordingly, we shall take no further action in this matter, and our file is closed.

Very truly yours,

IRA REINER District Attorney
CURT LIVESAY
Assistant District Attorney

By [signed]
ROBERT N. JORGENSEN
Deputy District Attorney

jeb

c: Chief Daryl Gates, L.A.P.D.
Ron Townsend, I.R.S.
Al Lipkin, I.R.S.
Al Ristuccia, I.R.S.
Gerald Armstrong
Michael Flynn

[page break]

FOOTNOTES

1. This is set forth in a document entitled “6. Obstruction of Justice”.

2. See Exhibit 7 attached to “6. Obstruction of Justice.”

3. See Exhibit 11 attached to “6. Obstruction of Justice.”

4. See Number 1, above.

5. See document entitled “5. Conspiracy.”

6. See Number 1, above.

7. See document entitled “2. Soliciting… .”

8. See document entitled “1. Soliciting… .”

9. See Number 5, above.

10. See document entitled “4. Preparation of False Documentary Evidence.”

11. See document entitled “3. Extortion.”

12. See document entitled “1. Soliciting… .”

13. See Exhibit 1 page 16.

14. See document entitled “2. Soliciting… .”

15. See Number 1, above.

16. See Number 5, above.

17. See Number 8, above.

18. During our December 10 meeting, Messrs. Peterson and Butterworth identified “J” as “Joey”.

Notes

  1. This letter in PDF format.

LA Weekly: Inside Scientology: The Other Side of the Looking Glass (April 4-10, 1986)

Inside Scientology: The Other Side Of The Looking Glass (April 4-10, 1986)

Inside Scientology: The Other Side Of The Looking Glass (April 4-10, 1986)

by Ron Curran with Jennifer Pratt 1

LA Weekly

Inside Scientology: The Other Side Of The Looking Glass (p.20)

Inside Scientology: The Other Side Of The Looking Glass (p.20)

The most visible non-traditional “religion” in Los Angeles is Scientology. Everybody sees its buildings; few know what goes on inside them. Critics call it a “Moonie-like” cult; devotees such as John Travolta, Chick Corea Al Jarreau and Karen Black swear it has changed their lives for the better. Opponents say it coerces, menaces and manipulates members and critical outsiders alike; supporters say it has merely defended itself against outside assaults. One thing is certain: Scientology is different.

(L. Ron Hubbard) has now moved on to his next level of… research. This level is beyond anything any of us has ever imagined. It is a level, in fact done in an exterior state, completely exterior from the body. In this level . . . … the body is nothing more than an impediment, an encumbrance, to any further gain … Thus, at 2000 hours, Friday, the 24th of January A.D. [1986,] L. Ron Hubbard discarded the body he had used in this lifetime for 74 years, 10 months and 11 days

-Hubbard protege “Captain” David Miscavige to 1,800 Scientologists at the Hollywood Palladium January 27, 1986

Hubbard’s “Freedom” Army

L. Ron Hubbard

Inside Scientology: The Other Side of the Looking Glass (p. 21)

THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY’s headquarters on Berendo Street off Sunset Boulevard is the busy mecca, of L.A.’s substantial Scientology community.

Approach the “blue building” and young children scurry up and offer to sell you copies of Scientology magazines. As you enter the lobby and near the reception desk (which bears a banner urging members to “Get Trained”), staffers wearing the naval-motif uniform of the church are quick to greet you, eager to help current members or recruit new members. A steady stream, of non-staff Scientologists floods the lobby around you. Some are on their way to or from counseling sessions, others have just dropped by to peruse, the latest Scientology “technology” for sale (such as a set of taped L. Ron Hubbard lectures, selling for $1,888). The Church of Scientology is indeed a world of bustling activity — and bristling anxiety.

For when the staffers learn that you are a “wog” (Scientology-speak for non-Scientologist) or, worse yet, a wog journalist their warm smiles change instantly to icy defensiveness. “What do you want?” snaps the receptionist, who only seconds earlier wanted to be your best friend. It doesn’t take long to realize that although church literature stresses that ” ‘Love thy neighbor’ is a basic tenet,” unless a Scientologist’s neighbor is a fellow member of the church, Scientologists can be zealously self protective.

A closer look behind the facade of good will offers further evidence of this. Security guards are everywhere. Sophisticated locks (whose combinations are continually changed) seal off the building’s catacomb of offices, files and counseling cubicles. A wanted poster offering a $500 reward for incriminating information on several church “enemies” hangs near one of the corridors. And though Scientology claims to be , a “major religion” encouraging “all man’s inalienable rights . . .” to think freely, to talk freely to write freely their own opinions and to counter or utter or write upon the opinions of others,” its “mother church” seems more like a fortress than a forum to an outsider, its atmosphere more like a city under siege than a citadel of learning.

But to Church of Scientology officials, this hyperprotectionism is a basic necessity if the mission that L. Ron Hubbard has bestowed upon his flock – nothing less than “building a new civilization” – is to be achieved. That the battle lines had been drawn was clear when three of the Scientology leaders most responsible for fulfilling Hubbard’s vision gathered one recent Sunday morning in the office of Church of Scientology International’s 51-year-old president, the Reverend Heber Jentzsch. Seated in front of a wall-size photo of the Andromeda galaxy were Jentzsch, with an ornate Scientology cross hanging from the cleric’s collar of his powder-blue shirt; the Reverend Ken Hoden, the gaunt, intense, president of L.A.’s Scientology flock; and Earle Cooley, a blustery man of considerable girth who serves as the church’s primary attorney. Three well-groomed young aides sat at the ready should the leaders need documents in support their pending points. And above all (literally and figuratively) was L Ron Hubbard, keeping a watchful eye from a portrait hanging high on the south wall. (Though Hubbard officially “resigned” from church leadership in 1966, disappeared from the public eye altogether in 1981 and died last January, the spectre of “Ron” still hangs heavy over every nook and cranny of the Scientology scene.)

The Reverend Jentzsch offered to explain the reason for the Church of Scientology’s history of controversy. “We are the victim of an international assault led by the psychiatric community, Cointelpro, the Rockefellers and governments throughout the world,” said Jentzsch, a former journalist (LA. Free Press) and actor (Paint Your Wagon) who joined the church in 1967 and became president of Church of Scientology International, its management arm, in 1981. “The Church of Scientology is determined to stand up against this attack on First Amendment rights.”(See Sidebar The Government’s War Against Scientology.”)

“I think it goes much deeper,” added Cooley, who has served as the church’s attorney for 16 months, but who has been a church member for only six months. “What we’re dealing with is really a deep underlying problem. Since the dawn of time, mankind has been interested in unlocking the secrets of the mind, of human nature. All religions are engaged in this pursuit, but Scientology focuses on it more intensely. This places Scientology on a collision course with psychiatry, psychology and the forces of government who are committed to behavior modification, thought control and the manipulation of mankind. We are engaged in a war for the human spirit.”

“So we have to protect our church and our freedom to believe in the religion of our choice,” interjected Hoden. “We have been singled out and been the center of so much attention because we have discovered a workable way for man to achieve total freedom. The freedom of mankind is our goal, and we will defend our right to strive for that freedom. ”

L. Ron Hubbard surveyed the scene from his portrait. He seemed pleased.

L.A.’s Most Conspicuous “Cult”?

Scientology is certainly no stranger to attention, and when the reclusive L. Ron Hubbard died of a stroke at his San Lois Obispo, ranch, the bright light of public scrutiny was again cast upon his progeny. But despite the walls of defense evident at Scientology headquarters, the church has, ironically, done everything in its power to keep its product, if not its parishioners, in the public eye. For in the 35 years since Hubbard founded Scientology, basing it on principles propounded in his 1950 bestseller Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, it has consciously positioned itself as L.A.’s most conspicuous religion. (Some say “cult.”

Just look around. In a city of outlandish architecture, Scientology’s bright blue Berendo Street headquarters (once Cedars of Lebanon hospital) certainly catches the eye, while its 70-foot-tall green neon “SCIENTOLOGY” marquee dominates the Hollywood strip. Celebrities such as John Travolta, Karen Black and Al Jarreau publicly praise Scientology’s role in their success. Glossy newspaper supplements trumpet Scientology as a “major religion … [like] Protestantism, Buddhism, Judaism, Catholicism.” TV commercials show attractive woman scaling mighty cliffs thanks to Scientology principles. Circus like court trials brought by and against Scientology continually grab prominent coverage in the local and national press. (A $100 million fraud suit against the church is currently being tried in federal court here.) Indeed, in Los Angeles, where a high profile is often more important than high standards, the Church of Scientology has made itself a star.

But despite its pervasive presence, Scientology remains an enigma to most people.

The questions are many: What exactly is Scientology? Is it really a religion or is it a business disguised as a religion? How many members does it have? Who wields the power? Why does it generate so much controversy? Has it, as critics have charged, been taken over by a moneyhungry, manipulative and exploitive coterie who deceive and use the members for their own ends, turning them into fanatics, or is it run by a truly conscientious group? Is Scientology “the only road to total freedom,” as its many supporters insist, or a “greedy, brainwashing money machine and vicious cult engaging in sometimes despicable acts,” as detractors claim? Or is it something in between?

To answer these questions, LA Weekly spent the better part of a year tracing Scientology’s history, studying its doctrines and interviewing former members and other critics of the church. Perhaps most important, the Weekly’s editors approached the press-paranoid leader of Scientology with a deal; “Allow us to examine Scientology from the inside – to interview current church members, tour restricted church buildings and experiment with Scientology technology. In return, we promise to print a fair and accurate presentation of our findings.”

Initially, the offer was met with resistance. During a meeting with these reporters early last year at a restaurant across from Scientology headquarters, Ken Hoden made it clear that, because of previous critical articles in the Weekly, “We don’t want anything to do with your story.” Days later, a prominent advertiser who is a Scientologist threatened to pull his ads if an article critical of the church appeared. But a meeting between senior officials of the church and a Weekly editor eventually took place, the deal was, struck (“We’ve taken so many shots from the press, we have to be careful,” apologized Hoden) and the Weekly was granted unprecedented access to the inner workings of the Church of Scientology. (Not without restrictions, however. Church finances were ruled a taboo subject. We were barred from random interviewing of church members and allowed to tour Scientology grounds only with Hoden as our guide. This defensiveness, seems to stem from a combination of justified apprehension resulting from past press fixation on Scientology’s controversial aspects and a paranoia inherited from L. Ron Hubbard, who considered reporters pawns in the global psychiatric conspiracy. Hoden confirmed that all Scientology officials receive instruction on how to deal with reporters.)

Still, Hoden was surprisingly cooperative, spending nearly 50 hours explaining the structure and philosophy of his church, arranging interviews with current Scientologists and rebutting the allegations of some 30 representative former Scientologists. (There is also an official opposition group called FAIR – Freedom for All in Religion – consisting of about 200 former church members, many of whom still practice “auditing” at independent centers; but who oppose the current church hierarchy as “lying, fraudulent, and “Gestapo-like” to quote one FAIR member.)

Both sides had their axes to grind. Hoden and current church members feel Scientology is a ground-breaking religion unfairly persecuted because of its unique effectiveness. Former members, (vastly outnumbered by current members) claim that abusive church policies have left them emotionally, spiritually and financially bankrupt and feel that attacks on the church are justified.

What did we conclude? That Scientology is neither patently good nor patently evil. Rather, there is a curious dichotomy. The majority of Scientologists attest in being perfectly happy with the church, while former members tend to carry with them intense bitterness and resentment. The church criticizes psychiatry while selling pseudo-Freudian counseling. Scientologists accuse its enemies of launching malicious attacks against the church, but the church itself has a history of harassment and of vengeful (and sometimes illegal) clandestine operations against enemies, real or imagined. But above all, Scientology promises total freedom while undermining that noble theory too often with disturbing practices.

Therapy as Religion

Hubbard's shrine; Builders of a new civilization; E-meter auditing

Inside Scientology: The Other Side of the Looking Glass (p. 22)

Though the Berendo Street headquarters is the hub of Scientology activity in Los Angeles, the church’s showplace is in Celebrity Center at Franklin and Bronson. A grand gothic chateau built for William Randolph Hearst in the 1920s, this complex of Scientology offices and apartments has retained much of its charm, replete with garden grounds and flowing fountains. The idyllic setting is reinforced as you enter the mansion’s foyer. The walls are lined with original art, and music from a grand piano wafts around you. Indeed, it is a serene setting.

That is, until one is confronted in the main lobby by a large advertising display selling a series of taped lectures by L. Ron Hubbard titled “Radiation and Your Survival.” A brochure quotes Hubbard from a lecture: “There is actually such a point where a person’s beingness can be sufficiently great that he becomes practically indestructible.” The inference? With Scientology training, you will survive radiation poisoning. The cost of the lecture tape? Nearly $300. Welcome to the schizophrenic world that is the Church of Scientology: Enlightenment costs money;

It was at the Celebrity Center that we met 39-year old Ken Hoden for the first of several formal interviews. A former electrical engineer who is the son of a Baptist minister, Hoden says he became attracted to Scientology after reading Dianetics in 1973 and realizing he “was not as effective as [he] wanted to be.” He joined the staff the following year and was named titular head of Scientology’s influential L.A. congregation in 1984.

Henceforth, Hoden would be our personal guide through the church’s complex labyrinth of “freedom” and finance. Wearing a traditional priest collar under a well-tailored gray suit, and sipping coffee from a sterling silver service set in one of the Celebrity Center’s conference rooms, Hoden articulated his confidence in the church. “Scientology is the best way I’ve found to help people improve their lives. If Dianetics and Scientology are applied standardly, it will work 100 percent of the time with every single person everywhere. Compared in anything else, it is the only road to total freedom.

According to Hoden, the Church of Scientology currently boasts more than 40,000 members in Los Angeles and 6 million throughout the world. (Church officials concede the world total includes anyone who has taken any Scientology course over the last five years, though of course many of these people now have no affiliation with the church.) Of the L.A. members, 1,500 are full-time staff, 760 of them living and working out of the Berendo complex, earning $24 per week plus minimal room, board and expenses as members of the “Sea Organization,” an elite, almost monastic segment of the Scientology community.

The remainder of Scientology’s L.A. members are those who take courses at any of the five area churches or numerous franchise missions in the L.A. area. (Scientology claims to operate 600 churches and missions worldwide.) L.A. also serves as home to Scientology’s more upper-level Continental and American Saint Hill churches, as well as to “Advanced Org,” at which progressively more sophisticated (and expensive) services are offered.

The day-to-day management of the church is carried out by Heber Jentzsch as president of the Church of Scientology International. Vicki Azneran is head of one of the church’s two major business subsidiaries, Religious Technology Corporation, (RTC), which controls Hubbard’s trade-marks. David Miscavige runs the second subsidiary, the for-profit Author Services Inc. (ASI), which handles Hubbard’s non Scientology literary works (such a the best-selling sci-fi novel, Battlefield Earth). The “ecclesiastical top” of Scientology is in Flag Service Org in Clearwater, Florida. Mark Yeager is the church’s highest ranking ecclesiastic official, assisted by Ray Mithoff. Earle Cooley coordinates all legal affairs, while Lyman Spurlock is church accountant and Norman Starkey serves as its marketing expert.

According to Hoden, these people assumed power “based on their record of production. If you make things go, You’ll move up in the church. It’s based on statistics … on graphs.” (QUOTAS are imposed on Scientologists to encourage the maximum number of new recruits and the highest level of production. Critics claim these quotas often lead to over aggressive recruiting and fraudulent promises of results that warp the church’s altruistic goals. The church’s “Code of Ethics” lists “mistakes resulting in financial loss” as a ‘misdemeanor’ offense.)

Ken Hoden also confirms that same of the church’s most influential advisors come from an inner circle of aides who served Hubbard in his final years. People like Pat and Anne Broeker (who Hoden says serve as “consultants” ) are rumored to have gained substantial power in the church. Miscavige’s role as announcer of Hubbard’s death and host of his annual New Year’s message seem to confirm this special influence.

Obviously, spiritual “enlightenment,” or higher levels getting ‘Clear’ is no requisite for advancement in the church.

Scientology is based on principles Hubbard first expressed in Dianetics – basically that man can achieve “total freedom” by controlling his “reactive mind.” Hubbard later expanded his theories into the more elaborate scenario of human existence and improvement known as Scientology. Upper-level Scientologists are exposed to Hubbard’s theories that abberrant behavior was implanted in humans 75 million years ago by an evil ruler named Xenu, who froze people and dropped them into 10 volcanos, After killing the humans with hydrogen bombs to combat over population, Xenu collected their spirits as they rose in clusters from the volcanos, and implanted the spirits with evil thoughts. Hubbard dubbed these clusters of brainwashed spirits “body thetans.” These thetans according to Hubbard, literally attach themselves to humans as we are reincarnated over the eons and are responsible for all aberrant behavior we commit. (Hubbard collected these and thousands of additional theories into a series of “red books” that serve as the bible of Scientology “technology.” A series of “green books” detail his daily rules and policies for church management.)

It needs to be noted here that Scientologists are not exposed to the “Xenu” theories until they have moved well up through the Scientology courses. These courses deal with more mundane behavioral patterns and relationships, much as any therapy does, and Scientologists insist they are effective aids to human growth, even without acceptance of any of Hubbard’s “higher” principles or theorems.

Hoden and other Scientologists argue that most other churches, at their core, have creation myths that are as strange to outsiders as Scientology’s – “Do you know what Mormons really believe?” one Scientologist asked. (Hoden was so troubled by the impending discussion of the Xenu material that he asked the Weekly not to print it. The material originally appeared in the L.A. Times.) And at any rate, church supporters argue, getting “clear” of psychological trauma is paramount in church practices, not forcing members to accept unusual theories; and members may hold traditional religious beliefs as well.

To eventually rid oneself of the “negative influence, of the mind,” a person must begin by “confronting” memory images of painful experiences accumulated in past and present lives. These negative mental images me called “engrams” and carry with them a negative electric charge. (Scientologists don’t consider the mind to be the brain, but rather a collection of pictures surrounding the person, accumulated throughout one’s present and previous lives. Scientologists consider a person to be a spirit – called a “thetan” that can be affected by these pictures.)

“Close your eyes and think of an apple,,, offers Hoden as proof that these mental pictures exist. “You can see an image of the apple, right? An engram is also a picture. They’re actual images of negative experiences that exist in your mind, and when you address them in auditing you can eliminate their harmful influence.” In an effort to “destimulate” the negative effect of an engram, Scientologists work their way up a “bridge” of increasingly expensive auditing courses until they eventually “clear” themselves of this “source of aberrant behavior and psychosomatic illness” and achieve ” total Freedom “.

“A Scientologist starts a the bottom of the bridge and works his way up to total freedom one course, at a time,” says Hoden. “He or she spends as much time as they need to achieve the results of each level. They decide when they’re ready to move up.”

Conspiracy pawns, sincere critics or just plain broke?

Inside Scientology: The Other Side of the Looking Glass (p. 24)

The bridge is divided into two sections – “processing” and “training.” The lower levels of the processing bridge, according to Hoden, “deal with the mind’s effect on the body, which would include addressing the subject of drug dependencies and self confidence and the psychosomatic source of illness.”Four courses comprise this lower level: “Purification Rundown,” which promises “freedom from residual effects of drug residues and other toxins” ; “Objectives,” which puts the Scientologist “in present time and able to control and put order in the environment”; “Drug Rundown,” which “releases the Scientologist from the harmful effect of drugs, medicine, or alcohol”; and “ARC Straight wire” which assures that the Scientologist “knows he /she wont get any worse.” (Sixty percent of the recruits, according to officials, have drug problems.)

The next level of processing includes seven auditing steps that lead up to the much sought after “clear” stage. Grade 0 provides the subject with “the ability to communicate freely with anyone on any subject”; Grade 1 provides the “ability to recognize the source of problems and make them vanish”; Grade 2 provides “relief from the the hostilities and sufferings of life”; Grade 3 allows ” freedom from the upsets of the past and ability to face the future”; Grade 4 assures that the Scientologist is “moving out of fixed conditions and gaining abilities to do new things”; “New Era Dianetics” proves that the subject is becoming a “clear or well and happy human being”; and “clear” is the stage where the Scientologist is “a being who no longer has his own reactive mind.”

After the Scientologist has achieved the state of “Clear”, he enters the final stages of processing called the Operating Thetan levels. The OTs “address the person as a spirit, improving the abilities of the spirit with the purpose of achieving total spiritual freedom”, according to Hoden. The ability gained in OT courses I through 7 is listed as “confidential” in church literature, but includes such secret teachings of L Ron Hubbard as his “Xenu” theory of man’s beginnings. OT 8 is due out this year, while courses 9 through 15 are scheduled for release in coming years.

“Auditing is a very specific process,” says Hoden, who himself has reached the level of OT 3, though, like many Scientologists encountered, he consumes vast amounts of coffee, adding to a general air of anxiety in the church (chain-smoking seems; de rigueur). “It is a scientific, spiritual technology that must be practiced in a specific manner in be effective in helping people achieve spiritual freedom. If it is carried out uniformly, it will not fail.” The person responsible for conducting auditing sessions at the various levels a called an “auditor” (or “minister”.) Auditors are trained on the “training” side of the bridge in a series of courses titled “Class 0 Auditor” through “Class 12 Auditor” (though an auditor cannot audit anyone, in a processing course higher than he himself has achieved). When conducting an auditing session, the auditor attaches subjects to an instrument called an “electropsychometer” or E-meter) that consists of two small metal cylinders connected by alligator clips to an elementary control board. As the Scientologist holds a cylinder in each hand, a harmless amount of electricity (about one-half volt) is pumped through his body. The auditor then asks questions regarding possible areas of emotional distress.

At the beginning of most anditing sessions (no matter what level the course), the auditor asks the same three questions of the subject Scientologist who is hooked up to the meter: “Do you have an ‘ARC’ break? (Meaning, “Are you upset about anything?”); “Do you have any present time problems?”); and “Has a withold been missed?” (Meaning, “is there any transgression you have witheld from someone?”)

If there are no specific problems, the auditor asks a series of literally hundreds of predetermined questions specific in that auditing level. For instance, in the lower level of “ARC Straightwire”, the auditor asks such questions as, “Can you remember a time when you were happy?~ Or when you had just finished constructing something? Life was cheerful? Somebody had given you something? You ate something good? You had a friend?” After the subject answers each question, the auditor probes him for “sense memory” details ( e.g. sight, smell, touch, color, emotion) that accompany the memory.

As questions are answered the auditor monitors a needle gauge to see if it registers any changes in “mental” electrical charge. Experiences in the past that contain pain or emotional trauma are believed to cause a change in a person’s electrical charge. The auditing minister then notes the E-meter response, in the person’s “PC (preclear) folder.” Case supervisors later examine these notes to assure that the problems will be addressed at later sessions or in more advanced courses. For each type of problem, there is a series of questions intended to neutralize the charge. (The meter will also indicate when the “mental charge” is removed from the traumatic experience, meaning that the engram in question has been adequately dealt with. An engram that is extremely charged is referred to as a “rock slam.”)

“The E-meter and auditing are really quite extraordinary,” says Tony Hitchman, a former South African journalist who now conducts auditing sessions. “They serve as a wonderfully specific guide to what’s troubling a person. Through auditing and the E=meter we cane help that person remove engrams and better his/her life.”

Our brief experience on the E-meter proved inconclusive. Though the needle registered in varying degrees when we were questioned about general emotional topics such as our families and love lives, it seemed little more than an instrument reacting to physical responses (rather than “spiritual pictures”), much like a lie detector.

Regardless of whether E-meter auditing is a scientific probe or purely a placebo, it is certainly popular among Scientologists being shown through the blue building by Hoden, we witnessed literally hundreds of church members auditing and being audited in the deep recesses of the former hospital. Though we were not allowed to question Scientologists as they were auditing, many church members interviewed after the session expressed unqualified raves for the process that is the backbone of Scientology study.

“Scientology auditing has added a lot of meaning to my life,” said Barbara Clarke, a 60-year-old former chemist and teacher who has studied Scientology for 18 years and served as a field auditor since 1975. “I got involved because I knew there had to be more to life than just getting up, working and going back to bed. From the very first lecture I attended, Scientology made so much sense I know auditing works, and I’ve never felt my doubts.”

Phil Gilbert, a 31- year-old plumbing company executive who began Scientology auditing after reading Dianetics in 1974, typically shared Clarke’s enthusiasm. “Scientology is the only logical explanation of how the mind works that I’ve come across,” he says. “Auditing has been invaluable. I studied piano as a kid but had forgotten how to play. My mind had just blocked out that talent. But after just a few auditing sessions I suddenly remembered, and I’ve been playing and writing ever since. It’s really something.”

Jonathan Hawks credited a chance Scientology encounter in 1968 with increasing his communicative abilities. “I was having a lot of problems stemming from my frustrated theater career,” said 52-year-old Hawk, who now works as a computer operator. “One day while my analyst was hospitalized, I happened to see an advertisement for a Scientology lecture and I thought, ‘Why not try it?’ As soon as I started auditing, I turned my problems around. I could finally communicate with people.

Even many former members who claim to have been embittered by their experience with the church … say they believe that they benefited from Scientology auditing. “I achieved some benefits.” remarked Jon Zegel who spent 10 years with the church before leaving to help establish an independent auditing group. “I’m more emotionally stable, and there seem improvements in my life.”

Countering this are, of course, the inevitable failures. While no statistics exist about whether auditing has been perceived by a majority of the participants as beneficial . . the church argues that there are more current members undergoing auditing than ex-members – certainly there is at least a vocal minority professing problems from the process.

More objective analysis of auditing is hard to come by (the Periodical Index lists no scientific studies in medical or psychological journals), and independent psychologists and psychiatric professionals are reluctant to be quoted by name, noting that one colleague who did criticize auditing is being sued by the church, which has built a reputation for litigiousness.

However, one L.A therapist who worked with a former Scientologist said: “A lot of the practices these guys use are very close to the truth, but I suspect it’s very dangerous for the average person because there’s a tendency toward coercive rigid misuse of otherwise good material. In this patient’s case, it was hard for him, to have an individualistic view. He saw everything in terms of ‘Scientology’ world view and jargon. It’s clearly not for everybody.”

Still another L.A. therapist who worked with a former Scientologist noted: “The process of simply having these auditing question, put to him didn’t help him. He had serious self-esteem problems and he needed aggressiveness training and emotional release so he could learn to express himself. The auditing was too passive for that. I suspect it doesn’t work on many people for that reason, and also became it doesn’t truly give them a basis to understand the underlying causes of their behavior.”

“Nancy,” 42, is one such example. She claims she left the church after eight years because “I wasn’t getting out of it what I thought I would. I had a drinking problem and my self-esteem was, low because of it. I’d heard from a friend that auditing was supposed to cure people of alcoholism. But I took courses for seven years, spending $12 000, then left. I went back for another year, a year later to give it a second chance and spent another $1,000, but I still wasn’t making progress. I was still drinking. Then I enrolled in Alcoholics Anonymous and I haven’t had a drink since September 1984 . Auditing just didn’t work for me.”

Yet another former member, “Betty” (who also requested anonymity), says she spent come than $80,000 during her 14 years of auditing. “They kept telling me just a little more auditing would solve my problems”, she says. “But all it did was make them $80,000 and make me feel worse about myself.”

Knowledgeable observers told the Weekly that they believe Scientology does have some positive effect, much of it coming from three sources a) that Scientology tends to attract many young drug-damaged, truly “lost” personalities who benefit from the structure as they would from any rigid-rule behavior systems such as prevail in many drug treatment programs b) that many of Scientology’s subjects have so little intercourse with themselves, self-reflection that even what they can pick up from the auditing process is itself the beginnings of self-awareness and therefore changed behavior; and c) the “placebo” effect — the fact that Scientologists believe themselves to be part of a process that helps them, and so they move through life with more confidence and fewer anxieties, creating their own more positive realities.

So what’s the problem? If even many church critics are satisfied that the auditing process has improved their Iives, why has Scientology been the center of so much controversy”?

Payment Before Enlightenment

“Total Freedom” through Scientology does not come, cheap. With registered trademarks affixed to every Scientology term and title, Hubbard’s religion some times more closely resembles K-mart than, say, Catholicism. Scientology’s policy of payment before enlightenment is perhaps the leading cause of questions concerning the church ‘s credibility as an altruistic institution. Although Ken Hoden initially dragged his feet in supplying a promised list of auditing fees because, as he put it, “when you walk into a Baptist church or any other church, [ finances are] just not something you commonly discuss,” He eventually provided a breakdown of prices for Scientology courses and materials.

Scientology’s “Donation Rate Card” shows that “public” Scientologists — who comprise the vast majority of church members — can spend more than $1,000 per hour of auditing (purchases in 12 1/2-hour blocks called ” intensives”) and between $50,000 and $100,000 (and more) to complete the dozens of Scientology courses.

(According to Hoden staff members of Scientology’s elite group whose members receive only $24 per week allowance plus expenses — receive auditing free of charge, and other members receive substantial discounts Hoden also stressed that “people can get Dianetics from a bookstore or library and audit themselves at home for free (up to the “Clear” level), or get their processing free as they study to be an auditing minister. However, the “Donation Rate Card” does not spell out this option, advising potential members to “contact the Registrar at the nearest Church of Scientology for individual consultation and estimate. ‘It also, mentions only ” Scientology churches, missions and field auditors” as outlets for processing services.

According to Hoden more than 90 percent of Scientologists enter the bridge by reading Dianetics and taking any of several “mini-courses” (such, as ‘Anatomy of the Human Mind’) to see if they find Scientology helpful.

The Scientology rate card lists the cost of the lowest-level course on the actual bridge (“Purification Rundown”) at $2,000 total, while intensives for the next nine courses up through “New Era Dianetics” cost $4,3330. A “clear” level intensive goes for $1,690 while OT intensives range from $1,000 to $8,000. There are literally hundreds of periphery Hubbard teachings that range in price from $5 to $16,500. “Recommended” E-meters are also for sale, ranging from, $873 for the Mark V to $3,493 for the Black Mark VI.

Many Scientologists who work their way up to the top of the bridge eventually spend more because the church historically continues to add “revised” auditing levels, each requiring additional investment before “total freedom” can be achieved.

The recent Scientology brochure announcing the addition of a revised OT 5 level provides a good example. The brochure announces a pending “miracle” auditing technology that promises to answer your “wildest dreams” questions about “Ron’s breakthrough into the ‘SECOND WALL OF FIRE.'” The “donation” required is $7,600 per intensive (Through upwards of five intensives my be needed.)

Ken Hoden is quick to justify Scientology’s rates. “There isn’t a legitimate emphasis in the world that doesn’t put an emphasis on money,” says Hoden “People know how much our courses cost when they sign up. Besides, you can’t put a price on total spiritual freedom.” Hoden added that members who question the adding of new study levels “are people who have given up the quest for total freedom. If you talk to people in the church who are up to that point, they’re waiting on pins and needles for the new levels to come out. People in the church have no complaints. Besides, without money the church could not expand and bring further hope to mankind.”

Current church members also insist that Scientology is worth any price. “I’ve found it’s a great bargain because I’m more in control and therefore able to fulfill my potential and make more money,” volunteered Carol Worthy Corns, a 43-year-old professional composer who joined Scientology 15 years ago while still in college. “I’d undergone two years of psychotherapy after spending the 60’s looking for life’s answers in assorted philosophies and the drug culture. But in my first three auditing sessions, I handled a major problem that would have taken me many years and 20 times more money to solve through psychotherapy. Scientology has saved my life at least 10 times. How can you put a monetary value on that kind of help?”

But Scientology’s high prices have caused many members to question the church’s priorities. One such is “Steve” ( who spoke on condition that his real name not be used.) Steve was introduced to Scientology 13 years ago while still in college. He served as a member of Hubbard’s staff for eight years, bringing home the then standard salary of $17 for each of what he describes as “our average six-day, 80 hour work weeks.) Steve claims he spent more than $30,000 on Scientology before joining staff ( borrowing money from his parents and working door-to-door job on his one day off) before beginning to doubt Scientology’s motives.

“When the prices went really high, I started to feel that if Hubbard really thought Scientology worked, it would make it easier, not harder, for people to experience it,” says Steve. “Total Freedom was available, yet we couldn’t afford it.”
Hana Eltringham Whitfield – ex-D/Commodore for L Ron Hubbard and Jerry Whitfield

Caption: Critical Former church members Hana and Jerry Whitfield

Jerry Whitfield, who is on the steering committee of FAIR, is another former member who became disillusioned by the church’s financial priorities. Whitfield spent eight years, and $20,000 in the church before he realized that “though the technology was helpful, the organization was not set up to let people make full use of it. It was arranged to maximize its profit margin.”

A History of Controversy

Hana and Jerry Whitfield

Inside Scientology: The Other Side of the Looking Glass (p. 30)

As anyone who follows the news knows, Scientology has been involved in a series of controversial cases, many of them involving vengeful church actions against its critics. (More on this below.) Although the church always paints itself as the victim, its critics suggest that Scientology hasn’t been persecuted from the outside, but rather is the victim of warped and misplaced priorities inside the church. The critics, – and there are more than the church is willing to admit – assert that the fundamental problems afflicting the church are a direct reflection of the complex personality of the man who sired it, and of the power structure and money-bent of the church itself, as divorced from Scientology Practices.

Step inside the giant brass doors of Scientology headquarters’ Fountain Avenue entrance and you enter a shrine to the legend of Hubbard. Hundreds of proclamations honoring Hubbard from such luminaries as former L.A. Councilwoman Peggy Stevenson, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis and Colorado Senator Gary Hart line the walls. Several portraits and busts of Hubbard are prominently displayed. Collections of his detective, science fiction and Scientology writings are meticulously preserved. Unfortunately for Scientology, it has often proven difficult for church members to separate manufactured legend from reality in Hubbard’s life. Official church biographies have at various times described Hubbard as a nuclear physicist, an earner of a Ph.D., and a Navy hero who was crippled, blinded and twice declared dead in battle (but who completely healed his wound with Dianetics techniques).
In fact, Navy records show that Hubbard’s war record my have been exaggerated and that he was hospitalized due to minor ulcers and a fall from a ladder. In addition, evidence suggests that Hubbard obtained his Ph.D. from a diploma mill known as Sequoia University after failing class and dropping out of George Washington University.

(Hoden claims Hubbard left school because because “they couldn’t teach him what the human spirit was, so he went elsewhere.)”

Hana Eltringham Whitfield has unique insight into the man who was; Lafayette Ron Hubbard. Before leaving the church in 1983, Eltringham Whitfield served as a senior Scientology official for 18 years (after signing the requisite “billion-year contract” with the church), including a stint a a personal aide aboard Hubbard’s 320-foot yacht, the Apollo. (“Commodore” Hubbard established a naval motif throughout his church, requiring staff members to wear sailorlike uniforms and giving them various “officer” titles.) Says Eltringham Whitfield of Hubbard: “He was a very shrewd man, but he always wanted to be something more than he really was. He wanted to be a nuclear physicist, a war hero. He was an insecure man in that respect, so he felt the need in romanticize his past.”

Ken Hoden dismisses Hubbard’s biographical inconsistencies as “errors by former public relations people who have since been removed.” But whatever the cause of the confusion, there is no question that Hubbard was ambitious. After a prolific and successful career writing pulp science fiction and detective stores, Hubbard published a thin volume of his Dianetics theories in 1948. He expanded those rudimentary principles in 1949 and published his full Dianetics book in May 1950. The book was a run away best seller and a favorite among artists, writers and other intelligentsia of the day. (Dianetics has sold more than 7 million copies. Scientology officials put total sales of Hubbard’s 589 published fiction and non-fiction stories and books at more than 50 million.)

Hubbard took the profits from Dianetics and created the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth, New Jersey. When this initial venture proved unsuccessful, Hubbard moved the foundation first to Kansas, then to Phoenix, where he formed the Hubbard Academy of Scientology in 1954. Later that year, a small group of Hubbard’s followers officially established the Founding Church of Scientology, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., and field offices in L.A. Hubbard was named church director and “founder of the Scientology religion.” Less than five years after reportedly telling a 1949 convention of sci-fi writers that “if a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion,” Hubbard had taken his own advice. (Although Scientology officials have in the past confirmed the quote but claimed Hubbard was only kidding, others dispute the quote entirely, attributing it instead to George Orwell.)

By then, Hubbard’s philosophy had already come under serious attack. His claim that with Dianetics auditing IQs could be greatly increased, that “arthritis vanishes, myopia gets better, heart illness decreases, asthma disappears, stomachs function properly and the whole catalogue of ills goes away and stays away,” had led to a 1951 New Jersey investigation for fraudulent medical practices. Similar claims attracted the attention of federal officials shortly after Scientology was founded, and ensuing years would see Hubbard’s religion investigated by the governments of Australia, Canada, England, France, New Zealand and South Africa (as well as the U.S.).

Scientology was banned outright in much of Australia from 1965 through 1973. From 1968 through 1980, England barred foreign nationals, including Hubbard, from entering the country to practice Scientology. (Hoden claim that the church received apologies from government officials when the bans were lifted.) French officials in 1978 convicted Hubbard and two Scientology associates ( in absentia ) of fraudulent medical practices and fined them $7,000 before higher courts overturned these decisions. Such claims have also been the basis of several lawsuits, including one last year in which a Portland woman was awarded $39 million in damages before the judge, perhaps influenced by pressure from thousands of Scientologists protesting the decision, overturned his ruling on the grounds that it violated Scientology’s right to freedom of religion.

Ken Hoden confirms that Hubbard’s early claims are still taken as gospel by Scientologists. “We’re not saying that if you lose a leg we can grow another for you,” says Hoden (who stresses that the church “encourages members to see a doctor if they are ill. “Through auditing, the psychosomatic causes of illness can be addressed. Once these are handled, the body is capable of healing itself.” Hoden did, however, reassert that church members – including himself – regularly increase their IQs while studying Scientology.

Another major assertion among Scientologists is that the investigations are not only unwarranted but are part of a global conspiracy to destroy the church, orchestrated in part by the psychiatric establishment. (Hubbard often compared psychiatrists to Hitler, and Genghis Khan.)

“Psychiatry is a self perpetuating fraud that realizes we can do a better job of helping people without shock treatment and pills”, says Hoden, who added that Scientology is now practiced without restriction throughout the world. “The governments who have harassed us are threatened by our investigations into their excesses.”

Scientology’s claims of government harassment may, in fact, have some validity. The church is a leading expert in the intricacies of the Freedom of Information Act and publishes Freedom Magazine of tough investigative reporting that has broken several stories embarrassing to its primary government targets: the FBI, CIA and IRS. (For full conspiracy details, see sidebar.)

Scientology and the IRS have long been particularly bitter opponents. Despite the controversy surrounding Hubbard, the popularity of his philosophy – and Scientology’s bank accounts – grew quickly throughout the ’50s. Money came so fast to Scientology that Hubbard, the pulp author who reportedly said he was tired of writing for a penny a word in 1949 – though Scientology officials deny this attribution – was able just 10 years later to buy a 30-room mansion and 57 acre estate I in England, originally built for the Maharajah of Jaipur.

Soon after, the IRS began examining the relationship between Hubbard and his church. The years of investigations led to a 1984 U.S. Tax Court ruling that the Church of Scientology of California (CSC) had “made a business of selling religion” It had blocked the IRS from collecting taxes by storing large amounts of cash in a trust fund controlled by high-ranking church leaders. “Money that was supposed to be used strictly for church activities was going to individuals, ” says IRS spokesman Rob Giannangeli. “That misuse, combined with other violations of public policies on the part of Scientology officials, led us to determine that the Church of Scientology was not acting as a responsible exempt organization. ”

The 1984 denial of tax exempt status led the IRS to bill Scientology for $1.4 million in back taxes for the target period Of 1970-72, with bills for other years to be forthcoming upon investigation. Scientology has appealed the decision to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and continues doing business as usual. Ken Hoden insists this policy is fair because we are confident [the court] will overrule the IRS,” though he added that a negative court ruling will “affect the church throughout the country.” But Giannangeli, while confirming that Scientology is technically within the law in still encouraging such donations, questions the practice’s propriety.

“If the courts ultimately uphold the IRS decision, Scientologists will have to pay back taxes on any contributions totaling more than $1,000″ says Gimmangeli. so if a Scientologist wrote off contributions of $50,000 a year, he’s going to have a pretty hefty tax bill.”

Allegations that Hubbard’s immense wealth (estimated at up to $600 million, though Hoden would only put the figure “in the millions, and we’re getting all of it”) was due in large part to funds being illegally transferred from his church’s accounts have dogged Scientology since its inception. Cash flow, certainly, has rarely been a problem for the church. Scientology bought its Berendo headquarters for $5.5 million in cash in 1976 and continues to make major real estate purchases. Former Scientology employees who once held sensitive financial positions within die church have testified that various subsidiaries were used to transfer church funds illegally to Hubbard’s European bank accounts.

But to many Scientology critics, the controversy over financial misappropriation is a secondary concern. To these critics, the true danger of Scientology is the system of “control” used by church officials to keep disgruntled members from reclaiming their money and departing if they feel their funds are being mishandled. Ken Hoden claims that members have that freedom: “If someone says they don’t like the way we do things, we say, “Fine. Leave if you want.”

But critics assert that Scientology policy and practices are designed to manipulate members to stay (and keep their money) in the church, or, if members do leave, to intimidate the “squirrels” (Scientology speak for former members) into not criticizing Scientology.

Ideological Totalism?

Juliann Savage is a clinical social worker in the Cult Clinic, six years a non-sectarian affiliate of Jewish Firmly Services operating out of the United Way building in Van Nuys. Savage has treated more than 70 victims of mind control, from Hare Krishnas to Moonies, in her two and a half years on staff. She insists the 10 former Scientologists with whom she has worked, have been her most difficult assignments.

Juliann Savage

Inside Scientology: The Other Side of the Looking Glass (p. 33)

“These people have given their entire lives over to Scientology in exchange for the promise of ‘total freedom,’ ” says Savage. “But what they really get is the exact opposite. Scientology is a textbook example of systematic mind control and totalism.”

To support her assertion that brainwashing techniques are an inextricable part of Scientology practice – especially with staff members — Savage refers to one of the world’s definitive works on mind control, the much heralded “Chapter 22 Ideological Totalism” of Dr. Robert Jay Lifton’s book entitled Thought Reform the Psychology of Totalism. Here, Lifton describes how such psychological tactics as ” milieu control,” “mandatory confession” and “language loading” are used to control masses of people (in his specific case, the Communist Chinese). It is Savage’s contention that Lifton’s theories, although they can be applied to many subcultures, are especially applicable to Scientology.

“What we have with Scientology is a subculture that insists on absolute control of every aspect of a person’s life,” says Savage as she sips herbal tea in her small Van Nuys office. “Adults are greatly discouraged from having relationships with non-Scientologists. They are worked so many hours per week, either doing staff activities or auditing sessions, that they have no time for outside activities. The church encourages an all or nothing, us versus them, everything-outside-the-church-is-bad-everything-inside-is-good idealogy that can be very harmful. And if you question this, you’re Labeled a ‘supressive person’ who doesn’t have the ability to understand. The insular inbreeding in Scientology is incredible.”

(Statistics and statements provided by Scientology seem to lend a least partial credence to Savage’s claim. Church demographics, indicate that nearly half of all Scientologists have family in the church, while Ken Hoden confirms that many Scientology children attend private schools run by Scientologists – such as Delphi in Monrovia – or the Apollo Training Academy, a church-operated afternoon “day-care center” that operates after regular schools let out. “But the church hopes to run its own schools soon,” added Hoden.)

One Scientology practice that critics single out as a form of control is the church’s “ethics” system. Scientologists are subject to a highly detailed code of ethics drafted by L. Ron Hubbard and governed by “ethics officers” and “justice officers.” This ethics code is divided into four categories of “offenses” against the church: “Errors … .. Misdemeanors,” “Crimes” and “High Crimes.”

Errors are defined as “minor, unintentional goofs” in auditing or administration. Misdemeanors include such offences as “mistakes resulting in financial or traffic loss,” “continued association with squirrels,” and “refusing an E-meter check.” Crimes “cover offenses normally considered criminal,” such as “placing Scientology or Scientologists at risk,” “organizing or allowing a gathering or meeting of staff members or field auditors or the public to protest the order of a senior,” and “impersonating Scientologist or staff member when not authorized.” High crimes consist of “publicly departing Scientology” or committing such “supressive acts” as “public statements against Scientology or Scientologists,” “bringing civil suit against any Scientology organization,” and “giving anti-Scientology advice to the press.”

Errors are dealt with by “corrections, reprimand or warnings.” Misdemeanors are “subject to direct punishment,” which for a staff member is “assignment of a personal condition of Emergency for up to three weeks” and up in three months for an executive staff member. If assigned this “condition of Emergency,” a staffer has his or her pay reduced by one-third. If the staffer appeals his or her case to a “Committee of Evidence” and loses, his or her penalty may be increased to even, stiffer penalties, including minor demotion. Punishments for “crimes” against the church must be dictated by a Committee of Evidence (made up of ministers) and can include demotion or “even dismissal or arrest [for theft].” High crimes include cancellation of all auditing achievements and expulsion by the church’s ultimate ethical authority, the “justice minister.”

According to Hoden, “The purpose of ethics is to keep a person living in such a way that auditing can keep them living an ethical life.” But former members claim that its motives are less noble.

Jerry Whitfield claims to have served on “several” Committees of Evidence. They were just a reason to get people out of the church,” says Whitfield. “We were instructed by seniors on how to decide cases. If the higher-ups didn’t like a certain member they were history.”

Another Scientology policy Savage singles out as a control mechanism is known as “Disconnection,” which takes, two forms, Savage argues. First, current church members are often encouraged by auditing ministers to “disconnect” themselves from “suppressive” relatives. Ken Hoden uses an example from The Color Purple to illustrate what he feels is the positive result of such disconnection.

“In The Color Purple, Celie was connected to a suppressive husband,” explains Hoden. “He used to beat her around and treat her mean. But let’s say one day she walked up to the Church of Scientology. We’d tell her, ‘Gelie, you look like you’ve got a problem with your husband. We want you to sit down and communicate with your husband and try to work it out.’ But if that didn’t work, we’d say, ‘If you don’t disconnect from this person, then your life is going to be miserable forever.’ Disconnection is just common sense in some cases. It is left up to the individual, though.”

Critics claim, however, that Scientology encourages far more than disconnection from harmful persons, which every psychologist urges. Instead critics say, Scientologists are often urged to sever ties with loved ones whose only “problem” is their distaste for Scientology – a practice that reinforces the insular, inbred world of “milieu control” criticized by Savage.

“Robert” is a former member who agrees with Savage. Last year, after 16 years, with the church, the 37-year-old departed. He recalls that shortly after he joined the church, his parents sent him news clippings critical of Scientology. Robert claims his “ethics officer” (who determines if Scientologists stay within the ethical guidelines of the church) told him he had to disconnect from his parents if he was to achieve total freedom.

“Here I was, a 20-year-old kid looking for a little meaning in my life,” recalls Robert, “and all of a sudden there’s this ethics officer telling me I should never talk to my parents again. In retrospect, I can see that my folks were trying to look out for me. But I did what the ethics officer said. I wrote my parents a letter telling them I never wanted to hear or speak to them again.”

A second form of disconnection requires church members to sever all ties with Scientologists who leave the church, no matter how close the friendships. This on pain of being labeled “suppressive” themselves. This practice has proved effective in keeping people in the church, since no one wants to lose all their friends. And “disconnection” from the church has been found to be debilitatingly traumatic to a number of people who have left the fold.

“Betty” is one such person. After spending more than 14 years in and $80,000 on the church, she decided “it was just not economically feasible for me to stay.” Interviewing her, her pain was still apparent, as it was with other former members who agreed to talk to us.

“The entire year after I left was the worst one I ever went through,” Betty said. “I had lived for many of my Scientology years with the same, seven people in a small apartment. We did everything together. We loved each other. But when I said I had to leave, none of these people who I’d known and loved for years would even say hello to me. It was absolutely traumatic.

Robert was also disconnected from longtime friends. “I realized a couple years ago that Hubbard was in this whole thing just for the money and power,” he says, adding that he spent $50,000 to reach the highest level of Scientology study (OT-7), only to become disillusioned when the church added “revised” levels. “So I decided to leave. When I officially left the church I tried talking to the friends I had been closest to for years, tried to tell them that I now thought Scientology was a fraud. But they didn’t want to hear it. They started ignoring me. When I sent them Christmas cards this year, I got back several disconnection letters.”

One letter, from a longtime girlfriend, reads: “This is a disconnection letter. I do not wish any [thrice underlined] type of communication from you. You have chosen to be a squirrel and I am a Scientologist. It makes it very black and white. Do not have any comm to [Scientology speak for “communication with”] me until you have handled your scene and am back in good standing with the church and moving on the bridge (in Scientology, not your squirrel group).” The letter noted that copies had been sent to the church’s “International Justice Chief” and the “Advanced Organization Master at Arms”.

“[Sending copies to ethics and justice] is to let her masters know that she is a good little robot who is still properly brainwashed,” says Robert. “If she’d bothered to talk to me, she’d have found out that I’m not in any ‘squirrel group’ [a church term for groups of former members who I practice Scientology without church sanctions] She’s probably scared shitless that her cult-member peers saw her get a card from a suppressive and will file a ‘knowledge report’ on her. [A church member is required to file such a report if he or she witnesses a fellow member commit such an anti-Scientology crime.] But I don’t really blame her – she’s just another victim of Scientology’s brainwashing techniques.”

The church’s answer to this is that the only individuals considered to be “suppressive” when they leave the church are, in Hoden’ s words, “those who are expelled for doing something in violation of the ethical codes and practices of the Church of Scientology. In that case, people from the church should not associate with that person. But if a church member still wants to associate with the expelled person, fine. But he has to leave the church.” Hoden denied that this is an intimidating practice, though obviously members find it just that.

In arguing for the “thought control” vision of Scientology, Savage and other critics point to other church practices such as “Rehabilitation Project Force” (RPF) duty, “Training Routines” and “security checks,” RPF duty, they say, is forced labor intended to help the church minimize costs, and is used frequently as punishment for church members believed to be out of line. Hoden first explained the RPF as little more than “a work force where church members are assigned so they can get five hours of exercise a day while accomplishing something constructive, like repairing Scientology buildings and mowing lawns.” He later conceded that any senior Sea Org member can put any underling on the RPF as punishment for not working up to his ability. “I was RPFed for nine months in 1982,” says Hoden. “I had been slacking off in some of my administrative duties. But I liked the RPF. I could have gotten off earlier, but I asked to stay on.”

“Who wants to scrub floors or cart trash for a year?” says one former church staffer. “The idea is to make you think twice before doing or saying anything that church officials will RPF you for,”

Critics claim also that “training routines” (TRs) are used in control members in a similar fashion. Former Scientologists have testified that in TRs, Scientologists are often made to sit absolutely stiff without moving at all, not even blinking. They claim this drill is often carried out for hours at a time, every day, for weeks.

While being escorted by Hoden through the deep recesses of the basement of the Scientology “mother church,” we inadvertently stumbled upon a TR session. From a distance, we heard a man shouting. When questioned about the source of the scream, Hoden led us to a small room. As we approached, it became clear that the man was shouting “Thank you, thank you” as loudly as he could to a Scientology official. The unusual nature of the scene was not lost on Hoden, who seemed momentarily flustered. “This, is a TR,” Hoden then explained. “Did you ever know someone who was so timid that you could barely hear him speak? This man is being taught to express himself more loudly and clearly. ”

“Security checks” are yet another form of control, disgruntled former members allege. These “sec-checks” are performed while a member is hooked up to an E-meter. One sec-check form submitted as evidence in a recent trial included the following questions:

“Have you ever had any unkind thoughts about LRH [L. Ron Hubbard]?” “Have you ever had anything to do with pornography?” “Have you ever assisted in an abortion?” “Have you ever practiced sodomy?” “Have you ever been a news paper reporter?” “Do you know of any plans to injure a Scientology organization?” “How do you feel about being controlled?” (Hoden confirmed all but the “reporter” and “control” questions, while adding that numbers me asked only if they had “done” anything against Hubbard.)

To outsiders this is obviously a significant invasion of a person’s privacy, but Ken Hoden and many current and former church members insist that the ends justify the means in these practices. “I’ve been in Scientology for 10 years, and I’m here on my own free will,” says Kimberly Nesbig, a non-staff Scientologist who simply takes auditing courses. “These claims [of brainwashing] are ridiculous. Scientology has saved my life. I was on drugs and on my way out. Scientology has given me the technology to do what I want in life.”

“Claims that we’re insulated, isolated and out of touch with the world is just pure propaganda, ” adds Tim Skog, 34, who has served as a Sea Org Public Affairs staff, since 1983. “I read the papers, I listen to the radio, I go outside. More than any other religion, we don’t lead monastic lives.” (Skog added that there is no “us versus the wogs” encouragement in the church. “Definitely us against the psychiatrists, but that’s fine.”)

Says Mike Rinder, a 30-year-old administrative supervisor who’s been with Sea Org since 1973, “I consider [allegations of] cult mind control to be a joke.”

Other Scientologists also add that their practices are not unlike these of more mainstream religions, an assertion that Johanna Savage is quick to rebut. “The difference with Scientology lies in the degree to which these, control practices are carried out and the amount a Scientologist is forced to sacrifice. If a person wants to become a Catholic, they are fully apprised of what they are in for and they are given time to prepare. With Scientology, you are not told that you may have to spend $100,000 or give up your former friends and family.

“The mandatory loss of one’s self into the Church of Scientology is more severe than in my other group I’ve ever dealt with. I don’t know of my group whose members are room fearful and intensely angry after they leave.”

Breach of Faith?

One particular church policy has been partially at the root of the fear and anger: Scientology’s alleged use of personal information in members’ “confidential” PreClear (PC) folders, information confessed during auditing. There is substantial evidence that this information has been culled, perhaps to pressure members either into staying in the church or into, not criticizing the church if they do leave.

Although Hoden denies such practices, (“In all my years here, I have never known of my such action on the part of a church member; the confidentiality of a person’s folder is the most sacred rule of Scientology”), testimony and documents supplied by former church members indicate that, with or without Hoden’s knowledge, there has been abuse of confidential PC folders. According to the testimony of and an interview with one former Scientology intelligence operative, the now defunct church intelligence division known as the Guardian’s Office asked that files be culled for such desirable PC information as “specific things to use for blackmail such in sexual promiscuity, sexual problems, problems with the family, troubles with parents, any alcoholic problem … anything a person would nor want others to know about.”

Several memos from various church offices to the GO seem to confirm claims that PC Code, have been culled for incriminating information. One 1972 memo supplied to the Weekly clearly notes that “the following data was gotten from [name deleted by the Weekly] PC folders.” It then details a female member’s auditing history: “Several self-induced abortions; … two weeks psych treatment … due to alcohol problems … Drug history: Librium, Valium, Miltowns, alcohol, LSD, opium, heroin … Son is in jail … Connected to a suppressive group … probably the IRS … That’s about it. Love, [name deleted by Weekly].”

A second mid-70s memo (which Hoden claims was not culled from a PC folder but from general church files) graphically details the sex life of another female member: “She slept with four or five men during [an early Scientology course] … She has quite a record of promiscuity … She let [three men] touch her genitals during sessions … She masturbated regularly since she was 8 years old, mentioning doing it once with coffee grounds … and once had a puppy lick her.”

Presented with the memos during a recent Sunday morning meeting in the blue building, Hoden was visibly disturbed. “Okay. Fine – Good,” he said after a long pause. “But was there ever my mention that this was used against her? She’s still with the church. She’s testified for us. She knows this exists. I don’t know why someone in the GO would have needed to see this, but I can honestly say that I don’t know of one case in the Church, of Scientology [where] stuff in a person’s folder has been used against them. And this stuff as 10 years old. What I’m saying is very Simply this: Nothing has ever been used against a person out of their folders.”

California Superior Court judge Paul Breckenridge found differently in a 1984 decision in which he agreed with Scientology’s critics that the church has abused the “confidential” folders for unethical purposes. “Each [of the former Scientologists] has broken with the movement for a variety of reasons, but at the same time, each is still bound by the knowledge that the church has in its possession his or her most inner thoughts and confessions, all recorded [in PC folders] or other security files of the organization, and that the church or its minions is fully capable of intimidation and other physical and psychological abuse if it suits their ends,” wrote Breckenridge, siding with several former members – including former church archivist Gerald Armstrong – sued by Scientology The record is repleat with evidence of such abuse … The practice of culling supposedly confidential PC folders or files to obtain information for purposes of intimidation and/or harassment is repugnant and outrageous.”2

The GO was officially disbanded in 1981, and the church now officially disavows its activities, which Hoden insists are not currently being duplicated by other church departments. However, several former church members told the Weekly that abuse of PC folders continues. One former member claims he was contacted as recently as last month by a church operative who warned him that “if I didn’t sign a confession implicating myself and my friends in trumped-up crimes against the church, he would go to authorities with information from my folders that might be incriminating.”

Told this, Hoden again adamantly denied that such abuse of PC folders could happen under the “strict” guidelines in force today. He insisted it was unfair to quote the former member anonymously because the church could not then rebut the allegation. “Maybe the reason they want anonymity is because they are lying to you,”said Hoden and later added, “Get me the name of the person making this allegation and I’ll report it to the police.

“The thing that I find disgusting, Hoden said with an edge to his voice, “is that someone gave those memos to you. Somebody went and dug them up and said, ‘Wow, boy, this will do it . . . ‘ just so they could get some negative article in your paper. And that’s a shame.”

The Minutemen at the Ready

[A ‘suppressive Person’ is ] Fair Game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by a Scientologist without discipline of the Scientologist [sic] May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed

-L. Ron Hubbard

On February 15, six police officers, stood near the door of Lea Baeck Temple, awaiting the confrontation. They had been called by leaders of Freedom for All in Religion (FAIR), a group of former Church of Scientology members who were sponsoring a speech that evening by Boston attorney and anti-Scientology leader Michael Flynn. Flynn, who has represented marry former church members in lawsuits against the church, was appearing to discuss a new, class-action suit intended to compel Scientology to release PC folders of former members. Because of the nature of the evening’s topic, FAIR leaders anticipated a visit from a group of Scientologists who call themselves the “Minutemen” (because of their ability to mobilize quickly).

To members of FAIR and other church critics, they are known as “Scientology’s ‘Fair Game’ Gestapo.” (Though Hoden, stresses that Hubbard’s “Fair Game” doctrine was officially rescinded 20 years ago, it has emerged throughout the years in a rallying cry among former church members.)

Current church members; allegedly had made their presence felt at the temple throughout the week preceding the the speech. A prominent Jewish Scientologist had phoned temple leaders to warn that Michael Flynn attracted troublemakers. Other anonymous calls stressed similar warnings. And according to the temple’s event coordinator, Nancy Lachman, “A group of men came by claiming to be security for the Flynn speech. They asked to check out the auditorium. But since I hire all security, I knew they were not who they said they were.”

Fearing confrontation, FAIR’s leader, refused entry to what they say were 70 known Scientologists. Despite the right security, disruptions began less than a minute into Flynn’s speech to the 200 FAIR members. A man stood up in the audience and shouted, “Isn’t it true, Mr. Flynn, that you are in this for the money?” The heckler was quickly removed from the auditorium amidst a hail of boos, but minutes later another man stood up and shouted at Flynn. Then another. And before the evening’s conclusion, nearly a dozen alleged Minutemen were escorted from the temple.

“The hassle gets frustrating, but I’m used to it,”said Flynn who has been sued by the church more than a dozen times. Flynn asserts he has been followed by Scientology detectives, (including two who took the room next to his at the hotel where he stayed for the speech) and has been set up for the forgery of a $2 million check written on a Hubbard account. “It was actually a quieter evening than I expected”

Hoden dismisses Flynn’s charges with accusations of opportunism, describing Flynn as a major “point man” in the global conspiracy against the church. (See conspiracy sidebar.) Flynn does indeed have a financial stake in his cases against the church. But irrespective of his motives, the Church of Scientology’s history of harassment of its “enemies,” real or imagined, undermines its claims of humanistic priorities.

The seeds for aggressive defense were sown by Hubbard himself in several policy statements, which were fueled by increasing governmental and journalistic attacks. Hubbard was convinced that the “central agency” carrying out the concerted, global conspiracy to destroy Scientology was the World Federation for Mental Health, which he believed controlled the FBI, the CIA, the IRS, the Better Business Bureau, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the news media.

“Only attacks resolve threats,” wrote Hubbard in 1966. ” . . . Spot [anyone] who is investigating us. Start investigating them promptly for FELONIES or worse using our own professionals, not outside agencies … Start feeding lurid, blood sex crime actual evidence [sic] on the attackers to the press. Don’t ever submit tamely to an investigation of us. Make it rough, rough on the attackers all the way … Remember: Intelligence we do with a whisper. Investigations, we do with a yell.”

To carry out these intelligence and investigative activities, Hubbard formed the Guardian’s Office (GO) in 1966 and named as director, his third wife, Mary Sue. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the GO’s purpose, according to Mrs. Hubbard, was “to sweep, aside opposition sufficiently to create a vacuum into which Scientology could expand.”

“Use all possible lines of approach to obtain files, i.e., job penetration, janitor penetration, suitable guises utilizing covers, etc.,” instructed one GO policy. It wasn’t long before these counterattacks were put into practice. Hoden, a critic of the GO, confirms that the GO soon had agents working in the AMA and California Attorney General’s Office, and breaking into IRS, Justice Department and FBI offices. The World Federation of Mental Health was (coincidentally) burglarized of stationery and a list of delegates for an upcoming conference. Soon after, those delegates received notices on Federation stationery that the location of their conference had been changed from Washington, D.C., to Havana, Cuba.

The AMA was the target of an alleged GO campaign in the mid 1970s. Known as the “Sore Throat” case, it involved the leaking of international AMA memoranda detailing its often unethical political maneuvers and secret attempts to kill a 1970 generic drug bill that it publicly supported. An FBI investigation showed that the memos were most likely leaked by a Scientologist who had recently been hired by the AMA – but who also served as Pacific Secretary of the GO. (The operatives husband had been director of Scientology’s covert activities in Washington, D.C., and was later indicted by a federal grand jury for bugging a high-level IRS meeting in which Scientology’s tax-exempt status was discussed.)

Scientology officially disavowed itself of any knowledge of the “Sore Throat” case and no charges were brought against the Scientologist who had leaked the memoranda. But information made public by the leaks led to IRS, Post Office, Federal Election Commission and congressional investigations into the AMA before the case blew over.

The GO’s covert harassment was not restricted to operations against faceless government agencies. Individuals who church officials claim were “attacking” Scientology were the target of GO efforts as wall. A Hubbard policy released at the GO’s inception offered a blueprint for Scientology operations against individuals:

“As soon as one of these threats starts, you get a Scientologist or Scientologists to investigate noisily. You find out where he or she works or worked, doctor, dentist, friends, neighbors, anyone [sic] and phone up and say, ‘I am investigating Mr./Mrs…. for criminal activities as he/she as been trying to prevent Man’s freedom and is restricting my religious freedom’ just be NOISY – it’s, very odd at first, but makes fantastic sense and WORKS.”

An earlier Hubbard statement was even more explicit: “People who attack Scientology are criminals. Politician A stands up on his hind legs in a parliament and brays for condemnation of Scientology- When we look him over we find crimes – embezzled funds, moral lapses, a thirst for young boys – sordid stuff. ”

Perhaps the most damaging GO operation against an individual had as it’s target one Paulette Cooper, a Near York freelance journalist whose 1971 book “The Scandal of Scientology” examined early Scientology abuses. Upon publication of the book (which Cooper later admitted contained numerous factual inaccuracies), members of the GO initiated a comprehensive campaign, the purpose of which was, according to files uncovered in a 1977 FBI raid of the church’s L.A offices, “getting [Cooper] incarcerated in a mental institution or in jail.” (A file labeled “P.C.’s Personal Diaries” was also found.) Scientology quickly filed several lawsuits, and Cooper’s publisher chose to cease publication.

"Minutemen" line courthouse halls.

Inside Scientology: The Other Side of the Looking Glass (p.41)

In 1973, Cooper found herself under federal investigation on bomb threat and perjury charges after a Scientology undercover agent allegedly stole her personal stationery, and used it to forge two threatening letters to a high ranking Scientology official. Only after two years of unsuccessfully defending herself in the courts did Cooper agree to take a “truth serum” test, which she passed. Cooper’s total costs in clearing her name exceeded $28,000. (Hoden says that the church has since paid Cooper’s attorney’s fees under the condition that Cooper not speak to the press regarding the case, and has “mended the fence” for this old GO activity.)

The GO’s most embarrassing operation took place in 1976, when two Scientologists were caught late at night inside the Federal Courthouse in Washington, D.C. One of the insiders turned government witness, and an ensuing investigation led to the conviction of nine top Scientology leaders – among them, Mary Sue Hubbard – on conspiracy and theft charges. Although Mrs. Hubbard appealed the conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that the FBI raid on the Scientology offices that followed her indictment (in which 90,000 documents, burglar tools and electronic, surveillance equipment were confiscated) was unconstitutional”, she was sentenced to five years in prison (of which she served one) and fined $10,000.

Church documents provide startling insight into the detailed nature of the GO’s intelligence and subsequent cover-up operations. One 1975 document (marked at the top, “DO NOT COPY!!! “) notes as its “PURPOSE: To clean … files of legally actionable evidence against the GO and it personel [sic].” After first explaining the legal definition of “evidence” the memo describes the proper way to “vet”(or censor) internal intelligence reports of “illegal evidence.”

“Using a razor blade, cut out all parts of reports written by us that would indicate something illegal was happening, already did happen or was being planned,” reads the memo: “When shredding all the pieces you have to cut out please ensure you put the particle into the shredder so that the teeth of the shredder cut the line and not between the lines (put it in cross-wise.”)

The same memo outlines the types of information that should be vetted: “Evidence that anything was stolen by one of our guys … Implications of posing as a government agent … Evidence of tapping phone lines or illegal taping of conversations … Mentions of harassment of an individual … Any mention of bribery … Wordings like ‘this will get him’ or ‘let’s wipe him out’ . . – Any mentions, of entrapment setting up someone, to commit a crime either directly or indirectly. ”

Hoden is quick to admit that “a handful” of GO members were out of control. But he repeatedly stresses that “we got rid of the GO and all those people in 1981 and restructured the church to make sure those abuses never happen again. It’s unfair to keep criticizing us for things that took place 10 years ago and have since been rectified.”

In fairness, there is another light in which to view all these activities. According to Hoden, “there was not one criminal violation on the part of the church 1950 until 1966” – but then, faced coordinated attack from government agencies (see sidebar story), it had to strike back – and the GO over did it. “The fools cost us a big black eye,” Hoden says.

Scientology president Jentzsch goes even further, claiming the GO was driven to some of its acts by “agent provocateurs” infiltrated into the organization by government agencies under the federal Cointelpro program (for more information, again see sidebar). Although he cites only one person by name -Michael Meisner, a former member who became a key government witness, in the trial against Mary See Hubbard – Jentzsch, notes accurately that there is considerable documentation that U.S. government agencies did mount a Cointelpro operation against the church and that the use of infiltrated agents to drive organizations into acts they would not otherwise commit was standard Cointelpro fare. Jentzsch, however, does not deny that the GO did some ugly things on its own. “So we’ve had some bad people do some bad things. But look at the whole person. Look at who we are now.”

Hoden, confirmed, however, the existence of the Minutemen, describing them as “a loose organization of church people who stay in very close contact with each other and can be instantly called to respond very quickly to a problem.” Hoden stresses, however, that “they rally against court attacks on the church, not against individuals.” One such Minutemen operation, said Hoden, took place last year when thousands of Scientologists converged on a Portland, Oregon courthouse to protest a $39-million penalty against the church. (That decision was subsequently overturned and must be retired.) Another occurred last November, when 3,000 Scientologists jammed three floors of the L.A. County Courthouse to block public access in the OT-3 “Xenu” documents temporarily made public by a judge in the Wollersheim trial.

Nevertheless, Hoden insists that the disruption of the FAIR meeting at the Leo Block Temple was not a church-sanctioned Minutemen effort. “If I had wanted to organize something, we could have put 4,000 people in there,” says Hoden. “But I feel they have a First Amendment right to do what they’re doing, though what they’ve trying to do is create a fight, create a disturbance so it’ll get covered by the Press and make the church look like it’s something it’s not. They sent a mailer to people within the church announcing the meeting. That’s really stupid. That’s like running into a Jewish temple and saying it was great what Hitler did to the Jews. But, no, we didn’t do anything out there.”

Hoden added that he would definitely know of my such harassment operations. However, in a letter to temple Rabbi Leonard Beerman dated February 13, Hoden made it clear that such harassment can take place without his knowledge and that he has no intention of intervening or stopping it. “[Scientologists] are, as a rule, strong-minded, independent and ready to voice their opinions and feelings,” wrote Hoden. “If my of these protests have been distressing to your temple’s staff, I apologize. However, I cannot control the individual lives of members of my congregation, nor would I consider doing so.”

When asked on another occasion about a recent “Stamp Out Squirrel Tech” demonstration at an independent auditing center (the Advanced Ability Center in Santa Barbara) – one of 20 such incidents identified by church critics as alleged Minutemen operations over the past two years – Hoden admitted, “Oh yeah, I heard something about that.”

Church critics adamantly dispute Hoden’s assertion that the Minutemen do not carry out church-sanctioned, GO-like harassment campaigns. David Mayo, who claims he was abducted by Scientology agents and “imprisoned” on ethics charges in Gilman Hot Springs (the Scientology compound near Palm Springs when Hubbard resided before going underground) before “escaping,” as he puts it, to form the Advanced Ability Center, claims that Scientologists and private investigators hired by the church have harassed him.

“They’ve held demonstrations out front, physically attacked members and circulated wanted posters putting a price on our heads,” says Mayo. “I feel Scientology is a religion or philosophy, and I feel people who believe in it should be allowed to practice it … [ The attitude of church leaders is a huge contradiction. The church says it can give you the ability to reach self-determination, yet it handles dissent in exactly the opposite way.”

Early church member Fred Stansfield alleged "Minutemen victim."

Inside Scientology: The Other Side of the Looking Glass (p. 42)

Three alleged Minutemen incidents involved Fred Stanfield, a disaffected church member who was one of Hubbard’s earliest followers in the mid ’50s- Stansfield claims he received a death threat from a Scientologist “friend” on March 24, 1984 (a threat reported to the FBI). On October 20, 1985, incident allegedly involved a physical attack on Stansfield by four long time church members who also pelted his house with eggs, while a November 11 attack saw Stansfield verbally harassed by several people who identified themselves as Minutemen.

“These Minutemen and Hoden’s office work as the new GO,” says Stansfield. “The harassment is even more prevalent now than it used to be.”

Hoden dismisses the claims of Mayo and Stansfield and, indeed, of most church critics – as a combination of sour grapes, and financial motivation. “We kicked these people out of the church because we didn’t want them anymore,” says Hoden, who notes that a federal court judge recently ruled that Mayo must refrain from using certain religious scriptures until it is determined whether they were stolen from the church. “And many are new involved in lawsuits against the church. But those few people aren’t our problem. They’re just pawns being manipulated. Our actual problem is that we have cut across various plans by psychiatric associations and certain people in government, backed with millions of dollars, to control man with drugs. That’s our real problem.”

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free J.W. von Goethe

The question of who is enslaved and who is free – Scientologists or their critics – is a matter of personal judgment. However, two things seem evident. First, Scientologists should be allowed to practice their religion as long as it operates within the law. The majority of Scientologists seem happy (whether they are, being controlled or not) and the First Amendment guarantees their right to freely choose their beliefs. However, it’s equally clear that if Scientology is to achieve the mantle of “major religion” it insists it deserves, it must set aside its hyperparanoia and consider the constructive criticisms offered by people who obviously care about the Scientology process.

Whether Scientology’s problems are due to a global conspiracy outside the church or misplaced priorities and a “greedy, power hungry” ruling elite inside, as critics charge, or a combination of both, the stubborn insistence of church leaders that, the Church of Scientology is without fault and that everyone who offers criticism is a “wog” pawn of psychiatrists and politicians who most be silenced- betrays, at best, an irresponsible tunnel vision or, at worst a dangerous misunderstanding of the First Amendment and the church’s own putative creed.

As one former member puts it: “‘The Scientology process has done wonderful things for me and can help a lot of people. But the people who run the church have to realize that these problems of high prices and aggressive defense are like engrams blocking Scientology’s road to total freedom. Until they identify these problems and work to solve them, they can’t fault people for questioning their motives.”

The Government’s War Against SCIENTOLOGY

Scientologists say the church is engaged in “a war for the human spirit” against a global conspiracy involving psychiatrists, the Rockefeller family, the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) and the U.S. government (including the FBI, CIA and IRS). According to Ken Hoden, Scientologists feel that although each of these diverse entities have different reasons for attacking the church, their enemies have banded together as one to achieve a common end — “destroying the Church of Scientology. ’’

Whether a conspiracy as vast as this exists is problematical, but certainly Scientology has come under unwarranted investigation and unconstitutional attack from most if not all of these agencies, to an extent that might make any organization paranoid and defensive.

Scientology’s adversarial relationship with the psychiatric community doubtless began with L. Ron Hubbard, whose 1950 Dianetics vilified Freudian psychiatry. Hubbard frequently compared psychiatrists to Hitler and Genghis Khan throughout the final 35 years of his life. In return, in the early ’50s psychiatrists were quick to accuse Hubbard of quackery for his promises of what auditing could do. As the governmental and journalistic investigations into his controversial new religion multiplied during the mid-’S0s, Hubbard focused his attention on the World Federation for Mental Health, a psychiatric society he claimed orchestrated worldwide criticism of the church.

Scientology officials still regard the psychiatric community, fearful of Hubbard’s “bridge to total freedom,” as the driving force behind the church’s problems.

Scientologists believe, in fact, that it was a prominent German psychiatric clinic, one of the Max Planck Institutes, that first drew the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) into a “conspiracy” against the church. The Max Planck Institutes, named after the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, were organizations reconstituted after World War II from the Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science and its subsidiary societies. A German Scientology magazine noted the connections between the Max Planck Institute’s psychiatric wing and its predecessor, the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research, believed responsible for the murder of 275,000 people during the Nazi era.  Scientologists claim the Planck Institute arranged for Interpol to execute an elaborate smear campaign against the church.

To counter this, one of the church’s “reform” groups, the National Commission on Law Enforcement and Social Justice, soon began an investigation of Interpol. Scientologists say its commission discovered that Interpol, until as recently as 1972, had been led by former Nazis. (Their information was accurate.) The allegation infuriated Interpol leaders, who then turned to the U.S. government. Scientologists say the Nixon administration’s shadowy Counter-Intelligence Program (Cointelpro) devised an international network of “harassment and black propaganda” against the church. (Cointelpro, of course, achieved notoriety the Watergate era for its illegal activities against American citizens exercising their rights to freedom of speech and assembly. Two high-ranking FBI officials were ultimately sentenced to prison terms for their roles in Cointelpro.)

According to church officials, government operations involving the FBI, CIA and IRS had sought to undermine Scientology’s credibility since the program’s earliest days. “The strength of those government groups lies in control and manipulation,” says Ken Hoden. “We encourage freedom, so there was immediate conflict. Cointelpro has since infiltrated and disrupted our church, accused us of selling drugs, and generally slandered our church around the world, just like it did to Martin Luther King.”

Although there is considerable documented evidence that some Cointelpro actions against the church took place (including FBI insertion of undercover agents in the church), their extent is not clear. But certainly government agencies sought to get other agencies involved in a campaign against the church and, as Scientologists charge, its freedoms were not respected.

Whether or not at Interpol’s prompting, the church and the U.S. government have been at each other’s throats for more than 30 years. Scientology’s Founding Church in Washington, D.C., was listed on Richard Nixon’s infamous IRS “enemies list,” along with such groups as the Black Panthers and Students for a Democratic Society. Scientologists claim several key letters between Scientology churches have mysteriously found their ways to IRS offices in Fresno and Ogden, Utah. And the FBI staged a massive raid on the church’s Berendo headquarters in 1977 after Scientology operatives were caught in federal courthouses trying to steal government files on Scientology.

The conflict has escalated in recent years as the church, desperate to ward off harassing government investigations and illegal government actions, stepped up its counter-investigation against the government. Scientology’s Freedom magazine has broken several major stories embarrassing to its government targets, including a report of the Army’s mid-1960s experiments in which unsuspecting travelers in Washington, D.C. ’s National Airport were exposed to dangerous bacteria in simulation of a germ-warfare attack. Freedom has also printed confidential IRS memos documenting questionable IRS tax auditing practices, and the magazine continues to solicit testimony on IRS abuses through prominent newspaper ads.

According to church leaders; the current point man for the “legal assault” against Scientology is Michael Flynn, a Boston-based attorney who has represented several former church members in lawsuits against the church. Ken Hoden accuses Flynn of carrying out a “premeditated and very exact plan to destroy the church,” backing the claim with alleged notes removed from Flynn’s trash by Scientologists which detail a plan to enlist witnesses against the church, though not beyond what any good lawyer would do to support his case. Scientologists also accuse Flynn of forging a $2 million check against a personal Hubbard account, a charge that is currently being investigated by a Boston grand jury.

Flynn denies these accusations, and in turn accuses the church of hiring private detectives to follow him around the country and harass his family. Hoden concedes that detectives hired by church attorneys have followed Flynn around the country, but claims the act was justified. “He [Flynn] has worked with the government and taken money to sue the church from the Rockefellers, who feel that Scientology is a threat to their psychiatry and pharmacological interests, in an orchestrated effort to bring down the church.” (Documents show that Flynn has received about $135,000 in grants from a Rockefeller philanthropic trust.)

Critics insist that church leaders have invented this conspiracy scenario to unify members into an “us against them” army fighting for mankind’s freedom. But Ken Hoden and other church leaders express unwavering confidence in their conspiracy theory. “The proof is there,” says Hoden. “Who’s harassing whom?”

“Everybody always points at what the church has done, which was only to defend ourselves,” says church president Heber Jentzsch. “But the real story that nobody wants to look at is what was done to us by government agencies acting illegally. That’s the story.”  -R.C.

Notes

  1. This document in PDF format.
  2. See The Breckenridge Decision, filed 22 June 1984.

Impact: on Scientology litigation, Earle Cooley, Don Randolph, Ken Hoden. (1985)

IASA (1985). Fighting Back: The Third in the Series Handling Attacks. Impact 3, 44.) 1

Notes

  1. This document in PDF format.

Scientology’s edited version of the illegal videos (narrated by Heber Jentzsch) (ca. mid 1985)

Notes1

  1. Heber Jentzsch: “In July 1985, the video transcript was presented to several congressmen and queries were forwarded to the IRS.”

Declaration of Ken Hoden (July 29, 1985)

http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50k/legal/a1/998.php