The Boston Herald: Merchants of Sensationalism (ca. late March, 1998)

In March 1998, the Boston Herald published a series titled Scientology Unmasked: Inside Scientology. 1

Scientology’s response included this 24-age  “Dead Agent” pack titled The Boston Herald: Merchants of Sensationalism2

That “DA pack,” which includes a letter  from  Scientology’s current “LRH biographer” Dan Sherman, was also published in Scientology’s Freedom. 3

Within the DA pack, Scientology attacked some of the Boston Herald’s alleged sources, including Gerry Armstrong. Alleged, because the Boston Herald did not contact Gerry for their series.

Notes

 

 

  1. Scientology Unmasked: Inside Scientology:  http://www.apologeticsindex.org/s04a01.html#unmasked.
  2. Boston Herald: Merchants of Sensationalism in pdf format.
  3. Freedom’s Merchant of Sensationalism here: http://web.archive.org/web/19990904015436/http://news.scientology.org/mag/boston/

The Boston Herald: Scientology Unmasked: Scientology group reaches kids through PBS videos (March 5, 1998)

By JOSEPH MALLIA
Boston Herald
Date of Publication:3/5/981

More than 30 million American schoolchildren have watched PBS-TV math videos made by a Los Angeles-based foundation with intimate ties to the controversial Church of Scientology, the Herald has learned.

With lively camerawork and guest stars such as supermodel Cindy Crawford, comic Bill Cosby and athlete Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Peabody Award-winning videos have been paid for with at least $12 million in taxpayer funding since 1990, U.S. government documents show.

But the video company – known as FASE – has a hidden agenda promoting the “Purification Rundown,” the Church of Scientology’s $1,200 per-member detoxification ritual, said former top-ranked church member Robert Vaughn Young.

“FASE was originally created to put Scientology covertly into schools and government, to give the Purification Rundown an air of respectability,” said Young, of Seattle.

“Scientology created FASE so they could use it to get in the door,” the church defector said.

All the top executives at FASE are Scientologists and some are former members of the Church of Scientology’s notorious Guardian’s Office, some of whose leaders – including L. Ron Hubbard’s wife, Mary Sue – were imprisoned for spying on the U.S. government in the 1970s, Young said.

Founded in 1953, the Church of Scientology is criticized by anti-cult activists as a money-grabbing and fraudulent organization that uses deception to get new members for its high-priced programs.

FASE was created by the Church of Scientology in 1981, during the Cold War, to gather scientific proof that Hubbard’s controversial detox method could protect humans from radiation sickness in the event of a U.S.-U.S.S.R. nuclear war, Young said.

“Hubbard thought the end of the world was coming, through nuclear warfare. That really rattled some people,” Young recalled.

While the danger of U.S.-Soviet nuclear war subsided, the Purification Rundown is still widely practiced by Scientologists as a $1,200 preliminary religious ritual that all new members must buy – the first step on the Bridge to Total Freedom.

And the Rundown is sold only through the church – including its Boston branch at 448 Beacon St. – and two Scientology-connected organizations also headquartered in California: the non-profit Narconon and the for-profit detoxification clinic HealthMed.

The drug rehab regimen requires strenuous exercise, five hours of sweating in a sauna, megadoses of niacin, and ingesting a half-cup of vegetable oil – each day for two or three weeks.

Another ex-Scientologist, Dennis Erlich of Glendale, Calif., also said that FASE is intent on promoting the teachings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

“They’re trying to pass themselves off as independent. But their real job is to spread Hubbard’s philosophy,” Erlich said.

Stand and deliver

For FASE, popular success began in the mid-1980s when it hitched its wagon to a star – Los Angeles math teacher Jaime Escalante, whose story was told in the 1987 feature film “Stand and Deliver” starring Edward James Olmos.

Buying air conditioners for his sweltering summer-school classrooms and backpacks for his students, FASE’s Scientologists were Escalante’s early supporters.

With the gruffly humorous Bolivian immigrant, FASE produced the Peabody award-winning “Futures… with Jaime Escalante” for junior and senior high school students.

Since 1990, the Scientologists at FASE have paid Escalante up to $160,000 a year to help produce math videos, federal documents show.

And since 1993, the video company has teamed up with exuberant math teacher Kay Toliver, of Harlem, whose series “The Eddie Files” is being distributed by PBS this year.

FASE denies any strong ties to the Church of Scientology. But a review by the Herald has found several, including:

— Incorporation papers filed in 1981 with the Attorney General of California, in Sacramento, showing that FASE was created for the explicit purpose of promoting “the works of L. Ron Hubbard.” The papers were later amended to remove Hubbard’s name.

— Several recent FASE publications that promote Scientology’s Purification Rundown. FASE’s own Internet site (www.fasenet.org) also promoted the detox method as recently as January. These “research reports” are cited by Narconon, a worldwide Scientology group whose New England chapter in Everett has given anti-drug lectures to more than 375,000 schoolchildren, the Herald reported this week.

— An Internet link to FASE on the Church of Scientology’s official 30,000-page Internet site, promoting Narconon. The Scientology link says “a 1989 study by the Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education” proves the effectiveness of Narconon.

— An identical phrase that appears in Scientology scriptures and in a teacher’s guidebook for the PBS video series “Futures.” The guidebook phrase, “across a distance to a receipt-point,” is from a standard Scientology definition of the word “communication,” and it appears repeatedly in Scientology’s religious teachings, including the church’s “Axiom 28.”

While it is a short phrase, it covers a subject that church critics say is crucial to Scientology’s recruitment techniques. Mind control over new members starts with Scientology’s communication courses, said anti-cult specialist Steve Hassan of Cambridge.

The church connection

Meanwhile, many FASE employees have held full-time jobs with the Church of Scientology, or with church-connected organizations like Narconon or HealthMed, according to the church’s press releases and documents obtained from U.S. grant agencies.

Among FASE’s employment links to Scientology:

— Steven R. Heard, the founder and president of FASE, was a longtime member of the Church of Scientology’s powerful Guardian’s Office, ex-Scientologists said.

— Kathleen Heard, Steven Heard’s wife and another former member of the Guardian’s Office, was once Scientology’s chief spokeswoman and is now senior producer at FASE. In the 1970s Kathleen Heard’s name appeared on numerous Church of Scientology press releases while the church battled fraud suits filed by Boston lawyer Michael Flynn on behalf of embittered ex-members.

— Dave Hendry, FASE’s director of teacher enhancement, worked from 1974-1990 in Oregon for Delphi Academies, a chain of Scientology schools (including a location on Blue Hill Avenue in Milton), according to a resume Hendry submitted to U.S. government grant-makers. Hendry did not state in the resume that FASE or Delphi Academies are linked to Scientology.

— Shelley L. Beckmann, a molecular biologist who is FASE’s science director, has since 1985 devoted much of her research time to Narconon and HealthMed, church press releases say.

— Dr. Megan G. Shields, FASE’s medical researcher, is the top researcher for Narconon and HealthMed, and wrote the 1992 introduction to Hubbard’s detox textbook, “Clear Body, Clear Mind.”

— Jack Dirmann, FASE’s associate director, used to run the Scientology drug-rehab company HealthMed, according to published reports. HealthMed sells the “Purification” detox method to firefighters, municipal unions and other groups.

— Carl Smith, FASE’s video producer, also directs a FASE anti-pesticide campaign that is directed in part against pharmaceutical firms like Prozac maker Eli Lilly and Ritalin maker Ciba-Geigy; the Church of Scientology has long battled these companies as part of its stance against psychiatric drugs. Smith’s pesticide work also helps promote the Purification Rundown detox program by calling attention to toxins in human body fat.

Carl Smith acknowledged in a Herald interview that all FASE’s senior employees are Scientologists.

But FASE’s videos do not promote Hubbard’s religion, Smith said.

“Are you trying to say that we’re making LRH videotapes? It just doesn’t wash,” Smith said. “It’s an incorrect statement to say that these are vehicles for Scientology.”

Steven Heard, the foundation’s top official, denied that religion plays a part in FASE’s TV shows.

“I am a Scientologist, but that doesn’t affect our work,” Heard said.

Heard acknowledged, however, that FASE continues to study and promote the Church of Scientology’s detoxification program.

“It’s the only method that actually addresses fat-stored chemical residues,” Heard said in the interview.

Hendry, the teacher-training director, said that the company keys in on minorities. “We have always tried to feature minorities in our work. That’s what the NSF (National Science Foundation) wants,” he said.

Escalante, who came from La Paz, Bolivia, inspired his mostly Latin-American students with the “ganas” – the desire – to overcome anti-Hispanic prejudice and pass a tough advanced placement calculus test.

And in his “Futures” videos, FASE appealed to wider audiences by bringing in celebrity guest stars like Cosby and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“Futures” made math relevant for inner-city kids, and showed them how Hispanics and African-Americans used math to earn good salaries as engineers and doctors. It attracted 15 million young viewers in 44 states, PBS said.

In Bay State schools

The public school system in Boston, for example, bought at least three sets of “Futures” videos. And a math teacher at Brighton High School who is also a Scientologist, Gerald Mazzarella, said in an interview that “Futures” was shown to every class in the school.

Boston Schools Superintendent Thomas W. Payzant, in response to questions about FASE, said he was concerned whether “the line separating church and state isn’t breached” by the TV company’s links to Scientology.

In more recent videos, FASE’s top star is Kay Toliver, an exuberant math teacher from East Harlem Tech in New York. Her programs, “Good Morning Miss Toliver” and “The Eddie Files,” have also reached an estimated 15 million children.

New segments of “The Eddie Files” are on the air this school year.

Public funding

Based on dozens of documents about FASE’s activities, obtained from the U.S. government under the Freedom of Information Act, the Herald has learned that:

— Nearly two-thirds of FASE’s $17 million production costs over a six-year period from 1990-1995 were paid for with $12 million-plus in U.S. government grants from the Departments of Justice, Commerce, Energy, Education and Labor; and the National Science Foundation. In its grant applications, FASE did not state that it was linked to the Church of Scientology.

— The remaining one-third of FASE’s budget was paid for with $5.5 million from major charities and corporations. These include Arco, IBM, the Carnegie Corp. of New York, and the Ronald McDonald Children’s Charity, government documents show.

— FASE commissioned a 1992 survey by the Dedham, pollster Research Communications Ltd., which showed that Hispanic and black children were influenced by the videos.

— FASE is now reaching bigger audiences with a Sci-Fi Channel special and other for-profit television shows, on the Internet, and at regional conferences with public school teachers nationwide. U.S. government agencies are paying for some of these efforts, including a FASE proposal to provide education news on video to superintendents, teachers and parents.

FASE’s yearly budget went from $729,342 in 1989 to $3 million four years later, the tax documents show.

In one year – 1992 – FASE paid $160,049 to Escalante; $112,000 to Kathleen Heard; $73,000 to Jack Dirmann; $130,000 to co-producer Rob Mikuriya; and $122,133 to Steven Heard. In 1993 and 1994 Steven Heard was paid $140,000, and Dirmann $87,400 in 1993 and $80,783 in 1994.

And its “free cash” bank account rose from $33,660 in 1992 to $611,626 two years later.

The church now enjoys tax-free religious status that it received from the Internal Revenue Service in 1993.

Notes

The Boston Herald: Scientology Unmasked: Church, enemies wage war on Internet battlefield (March 4, 1998)

By JOSEPH MALLIA
Boston Herald
Date of Publication:3/4/981

His online name was Rogue Agent2 and his scathing attacks against the Church of Scientology ripped through the Internet. Shielded behind an anonymous account at Northeastern University, he continued to anger and embarrass the church with messages that millions could read online.

“There was no Christ!” Rogue Agent said in an Internet message, quoting Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard. “Christianity succeeded in making people into victims. We can succeed by making victims into people,” Rogue Agent wrote in another message, again quoting Hubbard’s words.

Other Internet critics of Scientology had their homes in Virginia, Colorado and California searched and their computer disks seized by the church’s lawyers – including prominent Boston attorney Earle C. Cooley. The lawyers sought to stop what a judge ruled was copyright infringement.

“This is mortal combat between two alien cultures a flame war with real guns. A fight that has burst the banks of the Net and into the real world of police, lawyers, and armed search and seizure,” Wired magazine said in a 1995 article about the conflict between Scientology and its Internet critics. It “is the bitterest battle fought across the Internet to date,” Wired said.

In Boston, local Scientologists started investigating Rogue Agent, trying to learn his real name and silence him, the church’s critics said.

“He is really spooked about all the cult agents trying to find him,” said Jim Byrd, another local Internet critic.

“He is afraid for the safety of his family,” Byrd said. “Besides tons of lawyers, the cult hires lots of PIs and assorted goons.” Other U.S. critics have alleged Scientology hired private investigators to search their garbage, illicitly obtain their telephone records and credit reports, and engage in “noisy investigations” designed to smear them.

And overseas, Scientologists got search warrants in Finland and Holland to silence critics.

“Copyrights were getting ripped off right and left, and that’s all this really is,” said Church of Scientology International President Rev. Heber C. Jentzsch. “We’ve been elected the Texas Rangers of this new frontier,” Jentzsch said.

But Ron Newman of Somerville, one of the country’s best-known anti-Scientology Net critics, said the church’s main target is freedom of speech.

“I think it’s important to stand up against a private organization that tries to harass and sue people into submission,” Newman said.

Net notes

Here are descriptions of some of the documents – many of them posted on Web sites or the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology – that have gotten Scientology’s Internet critics in trouble with the church:

The cost of Scientology training. A December 1994 Internet document said it costs $376,000 to complete church training.

Hubbard’s motivation for creating Scientology. Many online documents contain statements from Hubbard’s friends, who remember him saying, “I’d like to start a religion. That’s where the money is.”

First-person stories by ex-Scientologists, who say they were manipulated, abused or held captive when they tried to leave the church.

Objective biographies of Hubbard. Online documents – including a document by his son, L. Ron Hubbard Jr. – say Hubbard experimented with black magic, drugs and sexual Satanic rituals in the 1940s in Southern California. Other Web sites have copies of school and Navy records detailing failures that contradict Hubbard’s glowing official biographies.

The Xenu incident. Scientology teaches all human misery can be traced to “Body Thetans” created 75 million years ago by the evil Galactic Federation ruler, Xenu. Only “auditing” – akin to exorcism – can rid the body of these disturbing, invisible creatures.

Harassment of journalists. Online stories describe how book authors, and reporters for the Los Angeles Times, Time magazine and other publications were investigated, threatened and framed for crimes to deter them from writing stories critical of Scientology.

Hubbard’s view of Christianity and Judaism. A critic’s Web site has a sound file – an actual recording of Hubbard’s voice – describing how evil extraterrestrials hypnotized humans into a belief in Jesus Christ.

Upper-level Scientology teachings that tell trainees to give and receive communication with plants and zoo animals.

The raids

Like most of the local critics, Ron Newman knew little about Scientology until he was angered by the punitive actions of Scientologists.

“A lot of people see it as Scientology’s Vietnam. It’s a morass,” said Sam Gorton, another local Internet critic of the church. “It’s ridiculously difficult to suppress information on the Net.”

Every time Scientology raids one critic, dozens of others post the same material online, Gorton said.

On Aug. 12, 1995, Earle Cooley accompanied federal marshals and Scientology employees into the home of Internet critic Arnaldo Lerma in Arlington, Va. They seized Lerma’s computer equipment, looking for copies of documents that Scientology wants kept secret.

But Cooley, a Boston lawyer who is chairman of the Boston University Board of Trustees, said Scientology only takes legal action as a last resort.

And its legal battle is bringing great benefit to society, by helping preserve the rights of authors and others whose work could be illicitly published online, he said.

Scientology eventually won court decisions preserving its right to prevent others from freely publishing church teachings on the Internet. “I think that the church litigation is on the cutting edge of a major issue confronting America,” Cooley said. While the Internet is a great innovation, he said, “like all wonderful things it has the potential for abuse.”

Rogue Agent

The Herald met with a group of local Internet critics – including Bob Minton, a retired banker from Boston who has donated $ 1.25 million to Scientology critics – at the Liberty Cafe, a cybercafe near MIT. The critics – who describe themselves as computer nerds – believe Scientology’s home searches and suppression of negative information are part of the church’s openly admitted plans to convert the entire planet.

The church’s harassment of Rogue Agent proves Scientology’s legal blitzes are not just meant to preserve its copyrights, said Dennis Erlich, a church defector who once oversaw high-level instruction at the church’s elite Flag Service Organization in Clearwater, Fla.

Rogue Agent was a threat because he was a tough Internet fighter, Erlich said.

“Scientology is basically a kind of mental ju jitsu, and Rogue just used that back on them,” Erlich said in a telephone interview from his home in Los Angeles.

“He was a very effective critic,” the defector said. “I taught him. I worked with him until he got the mindset.”

The Boston Church of Scientology tracked Rogue Agent to Northeastern’s computer science department, and the church’s legal officer, Annette Ross, sent a Dec. 1, 1995, letter of complaint to the university.

“That was enough to force the university to cave in and say he can’t be anonymous,” Erlich said. Rogue Agent, fearing harassment if he revealed his name, lost his Northeastern account a week later.

“Others are getting involved and drawn in, I don’t want them hurt,” Rogue Agent said in a farewell Internet message to the newsgroup.

Cooley said Scientology investigated Rogue Agent because he was posting “hate messages” on the Internet. Cooley was not able to provide any examples of the hate messages.

“In his case, it’s a question of trying to find out why an important university in Boston has somebody who’s posting hate material,” Cooley said. “Is he authorized to be spreading hate on the Internet using the facilities of Northeastern University?”

Meanwhile the church unveiled a new30,000-screen World Wide Web site, aimed mainly at attracting new members and selling its costly programs. And Scientology recruiters troll the Internet’s newsgroups and chat rooms.

Cooley defended the efforts of church members who are glutting the critics’ newsgroup, with thousands of pro-Scientology documents.

“I don’t see anything wrong with that. I don’t consider that ‘spamming”‘ – sending huge amounts of unwanted e-mail – the lawyer said.

Erlich, the defector, said he believes revealing Scientology’s teachings on the Internet will tear apart the church’s reclusive leadership.

“There’s no secret about this stuff anymore. It’s out. It’s never going to go away. Which means the fraud they engage in can’t persist,” Erlich said.

“Who’s going to win? We already won,” he said. “We have let the genie out of the bottle.”

Notes

The Boston Herald: Scientology Unmasked: Milton school shades ties to Scientology (March 2, 1998)

By JOSEPH MALLIA
Boston Herald
Date of Publication:3/2/981

A Church of Scientology school in Milton is enrolling large numbers of children from middle-class and professional black families in what critics say is part of the church’s nationwide plan to recruit minorities.

Officials at Delphi Academy do not tell parents that the school is part of the Church of Scientology, and that they are trying to recruit blacks for Scientology’s costly programs.

Yet they do admit that all staff members are Scientologists and they use Scientology materials.

A Herald review of the school has found that Delphi Academy:

Used precisely the same “Study Tech” as the Boston Church of Scientology on Beacon Street, where the methods are considered religious scriptures.

Sent up to 10 percent of each child’s tuition money to the Association for Better Living and Education, a Scientology organization in Los Angeles, according to its federal tax returns.

Got “referral” income of 10 percent to 15 percent of any Scientology course or book bought by a Delphi Academy parent, according to the school’s federal tax returns and ex-members of the church.

Has used an “E-Meter” – a device like a lie detector that measures emotional reactions – on Delphi children, according to a former student, Sabriya Dublin of Jamaica Plain. The E-Meter – the same device used by the church in counseling- sends a mild electric current through the child’s body, with fluctuations in a gauge showing emotional reactions, as a child answers questions while holding a shiny metal tube in each hand. A former Delphi student from Oregon, however, said the E-Meter was not used at his school.

Created a Delphi Parents Association so parents could pay for playground repairs and two new computers through fund-raising events – while Delphi made royalty payments to Scientology’s ABLE organization.

Promoted Scientology outside the school. Delphi’s headmistress, Ellen Garrison, helped establish a Scientology tutoring program for ninth-grade teachers at the Randolph Public Schools, said former Scientology church spokeswoman Kit Finn.

And a “Homework Club” sent older Delphi students to teach Scientology methods at the Tucker Elementary School, a Milton public school, a Delphi official said.

Attracted so many students in recent years that the school, in a converted gatehouse off a quiet stretch of Blue Hill Avenue, had to build two new classrooms. School spokeswoman Joanne List said most of the new students were black.

Critics of Scientology say the real motive of Delphi is to increase church membership, and make money by selling high-priced Scientology courses to parents, according to Priscilla Coates, an anti-cult activist in Los Angeles.

One parent, Harvard Dental School instructor Dr. E. Leo Whitworth, had just such an experience with Delphi Academy.

Whitworth said his son, L.V., was taught basic Church of Scientology methods like Study Technology during the four years he was enrolled at Delphi Academy.

The dentist said he did not learn that Delphi was linked to Scientology until after his son was enrolled, and then they recruited him for a variety of programs at the Church of Scientology on Beacon Street in Boston.

“I took two courses at the church,” Whitworth said. “It cost in the hundreds. They wanted me as a member. And they did try to get my wife. She started a course but she didn’t finish,” the dentist said.

During a vacation in California, Whitworth visited the offices of Sterling Management, a for-profit business linked to the Church of Scientology. There, Scientologists tried to sell him a dental office management program, Whitworth said.

“They were trying to get me to use their business techniques,” he said, but he didn’t like the program and it was too expensive. “It was too much like car salesman techniques. It cost a lot – around $ 10,000.”

Whitworth, who is also a Northeastern University trustee, said he knew of “several” non-Scientologist parents who enrolled their children in Delphi Academy and later became members of the church.

In retrospect, he said, Delphi Academy appears to be deceptive.

“I would rather they did say, up front, that they are part of Scientology. There are certain ways they could be more open,” he said. He also warned parents who enroll their children at Delphi to “be aware there are other aspects to it – the Scientology.”

Whitworth’s son, now 15, asked to be taken out of Delphi, the father said. “He didn’t want to stay there anymore. He was just uncomfortable.”

Several other black parents, however, said they were pleased with how well their children were learning at the school. And Delphi officials say students got high marks on the annual California Acheivement Tests.

New students to the $ 6,200-a-year school are recruited for Delphi and its summer camp by word of mouth, and through bulk mailings that do not mention Scientology. The school first opened in Belmont in 1980 under the name Apple School.

The 1,000-student network of Delphi academies in Oregon, Florida, California – and Milton – has recruited unsuspecting families for many years, Coates said.

But the interest in black citizens is new, because Scientology has few non-white members, she said. “They are looking for new niches for people and money,” Coates said.

A Herald reporter visited the 104-student Milton school twice, and found that the majority of its younger students are black. It enrolls children ages 3-13.

Parents who have enrolled their children at the school include professionals like Brockton obstetrician Dr. Dawna Jones and government workers like Barbara Hamilton, youth activities aide to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

Dr. Jones did not return calls seeking comment, but Hamilton said her son is doing well at Delphi.

“I would say he’s just generally improved,” including better reading skills, Hamilton said.

Other black, non-Scientologist parents include a top manager at Lexington-based Stride Rite Corp., an investment analyst, a nurse, a Massachusetts state trooper, Boston police officers, computer executives at Digital Equipment Corp. and Lotus Development, and an MBTA welder, according to Delphi officials.

Several other black parents are medical doctors, one owns a Roxbury air-conditioning company, one is a Christian minister, while another is a Catholic religious education director, Delphi officials said.

“The Scientology thing, that was one thing I had to clear up. At first I didn’t know it was a religious school, and I wasn’t looking for a religious school,” said Lee Jensen, a Massachusetts Water Resources Authority official, who enrolled her daughter, Nicole, at Delphi. “I told them, ‘I need to know exactly what you’re teaching my child, because you have her for nine hours a day.’ ”

Not every parent is middle-class, and Delphi gives no financial aid or scholarships, so some parents just scrape by, said List. “We have a lot of single mothers who eat peanut butter sandwiches, and don’t drive fancy cars,” she said.

The school does not require its students to convert to Scientology, said former student Sabriya Dublin, who said she attended the school for eight years.

The founder of the Delphi Academy schools, Alan Larson, said in an interview from Oregon that they succeed because they require every child to learn everything – without exception – before moving on to the next task.

And the Rev. Heber C. Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, said Delphi students’ Scholastic Aptitude Tests are “400 points above the national average.”

But Dennis Erlich, a former Scientology trainer in California, said his two daughters had to spend two years in remedial math and English courses after he transferred them to public school from a Scientology-run school, where he said instruction was poor.

Another church defector, Robert Vaughn Young, said Scientology’s leaders do not care about traditional education. They only care about getting people to buy Scientology courses, he said.

Notes

Declaration of Gerald Armstrong (August 12, 1986)

DECLARATION OF GERALD ARMSTRONG

I, Gerald Armstrong, declare as follows:

1. On July 31 and August 1, 1986 my deposition was taken by attorney Eric Blumenson in the case of Michael Flynn v. Church of Scientology, et al., No. CV 85-4853-R(Mcx). During his questioning of me, Mr. Blumenson revealed that the individual who had filed the complaint against me with the FBI in Boston in October 1985 was a woman named Mitra Hall. Prior to that time I had never heard of Ms. Hall.

2. This morning I had business which brought me at approximately 10:00 a.m. to the MBTA Green Line Auditorium stop on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston. As I was about to enter the station to take the train to work, I was approached by a woman who asked me if I would like to take a “free personality test.” The woman was  approximately 30 years old, about five feet four inches in height, dark haired, light brown skinned, and big-chested. She carried in her hand a bunch of cards with the words “personality test’ printed on them. Recalling that the complaint filed against me with the FBI had alleged that I had identified myself as an FBI agent to an individual handing out personality test cards at this same location, I asked the woman her name. She said, “Mitra Hall.”

3. I then asked Ms. Hall if she knew who I was. She said, “No.” I asked her if she had ever seen me before. She said, “No.” I asked her a number of times and in  different ways if she was absolutely sure she had never seen me before. She said, “No” to each question. It was clear that Ms. Hall had never seen me before. And I had never seen her before, and had never been to the Auditorium stop nor that part of Boston at any time before today.

4. I identified myself to Ms. Hall then questioned her about the incident which had allegedly occurred last October. She told me that she had been shown several photographs of me by someone, whom she would not name, in the legal department of the Boston Scientology organization, and had identified me as a result of being shown the photos. She stated that she had been accompanied by Scientology attorney Roger Geller when she went to the FBI to file the complaint.

5. I told Ms. Hall that she had filed a false complaint against me, and she stated she was justified “because (I was) trying to destroy (her) church.” She reiterated this charge, and the charge that my attorney Michael Flynn was trying to destroy her church, several times. It was clear from Ms. Hall’s failure to recognize me and from what she said that her complaint against me was false, but that she considered her action in filing the false complaint laudable because I was Scientology’s “enemy.” Following our conversation, which lasted about three minutes, I entered the train station and traveled to my workplace.

I declare under the penalty of perjury under the Laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed this 12th day of August, 1986 at Boston,

Massachusetts.

[Signed] Gerald Armstrong
Gerald Armstrong

GA Letter to FBI (Appeal from FOIA request denials) (December 9, 1985)

Law Offices
FLYNN & JOYCE
400 ATLANTIC AVENUE
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS 02210
——
(617) 350-7200

MICHAEL J. FLYNN
ROBERT W. JOYCE, P.C.
ADAH ROSE BITTERBAUM
MICHAEL A. TABB

December 9, 1985

OF COUNSEL
WILLIAM A. SHERIDAN

 

Assistant Attorney General
Office of Legal Policy
United States Department of Justice
Washington, DC 20530

ATTN: Office of Information and Privacy1

Dear Sir:

This is an appeal from the denials in the response to my Freedom of Information-Privacy Acts request directed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Boston, Massachusetts.

Attached please find a copy of the following documents forwarded to me by the FBI in Boston pursuant to my request.
A. Letter of November 20, 1985 to me signed by Edward W. Ludemann, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, in response to my FOIA request.2

B. Letter of November 12, 1985 to William F. Weld, U.S. Attorney in Boston, from James W. Greenleaf, Special Agent in Charge, re: Gerry Armstrong – Impersonation.3

C. Letter of 10/25/85 from me to agent Timothy Leonard re: alleged impersonation.4

D. Letter of 10/23/85 from me to FBI Boston requesting documents under FOIA.5

E. Declaration of Gerald Armstrong dated 10/23/85 relating to alleged incident of impersonation.6

F. FD-302 FBI report dated 11/4/85 prepared following an interview of me by FBI agent Timothy Leonard on 10/23/85.7

G. Complaint form dated 10/17/85 referencing a complaint filed with the FBI in Boston by persons to me as yet unknown.8

Assistant Attorney General
December 9, 1985
Page 2

H. Letter of 12/9/85 from me to FBI Boston correcting errors in the 11/4/85 FD-302 report.9

The information which has been denied and which I am appealing to have provided to me is as follows:

1. The names of the individuals who appeared at the Boston FBI office on 10/17/85 and provided the FBI with an affidavit which accused me of impersonation of an FBI agent (Ref. G attached).

2. A copy of the affidavit provided by these individuals to the FBI on 10/17/85 (Ref. G attached).

3. A copy of the letter dated 10/22/85 (Ref. item 2 of B attached).

4. A copy of the letter dated 11/6/85 (Ref. item 5 of B attached).

5. Any additional correspondence between the complainant or other members of Scientology and the FBI regarding this operation against me.

6. Any other reports, investigation results or conclusions by the FBI relating to this alleged impersonation/frameup.

I am appealing because I believe it is my right to know who my accusers are, and it is an injustice for them to remain unknown to me, and for correspondence and reports about me to remain unanswered and uncorrected in Federal files.

It is already acknowledged that the complainant and the persons acting with him or her are agents of Scientology. I have been attacked by Scientology or persons acting for the organization since I left in 1981. I have been assaulted, driven into and attempts were made to involve me in a highway accident. I have been libeled and slandered. The Organization, using private investigators and intelligence operatives, has attempted to destroy my reputation, livelihood and life. This “impersonation” incident is clearly only another Scientology operation. It seems to me to be patently unjust that this organization should be able to subject me to more intimidation

Assistant Attorney General
December 9, 1985
Page 3

and harassment via Federal agencies and yet have agents remain unknown and the reports filed about me go unrebutted.

I am also enclosing with this letter and attachments a copy of the decision in the lawsuit the organization brought against me in 1982. The trial judge found the same facts I have stated in the preceding paragraph.

Thank you for your anticipated assistance.

Very truly yours,

Gerry Armstrong

[Signed] G. Armstrong

GA/led
Enclosures

cc: Richard Greenberg, Esquire
Department of Justice

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS

Suffolk, SS.           12/10/85

Then personally appeared before me and acknowledged the foregoing instrument to be his free act and deed.

Before me,

[Signed] Lorna E. Doherty
Lorna E. Doherty

My Commission Expires: 3/31/89

Notes

  1. This document in PDF format.
  2. See: Letter from FBI SA Edward W. Ludemann to GA (November 20, 1985)
  3. See: FBI SA James W. Greenleaf to U.S. Attorney William F. Weld. (November 12, 1985)
  4. See: GA letter to agent Timothy Leonard. (October 23 1985)
  5. See: GA letter to FBI Boston. (October 23 1985)
  6. See: Declaration of Gerry Armstrong (October 23, 1985).
  7. See: FBI report. (October 23, 1985)
  8. See: Complaint form. (October 17, 1985)
  9. See: GA letter to FBI Boston. (November 4, 1985)

Declaration of Gerry Armstrong (October 23, 1985)

DECLARATION OF GERALD ARMSTRONG

 

I, Gerald Armstrong, hereby declare:

1. At approximately 4:10 p.m. on Monday, October 21, 1985, I received a call at work from a man who identified himself as Tim Leonard with the FBI in Boston. Mr. Leonard informed me that someone had filed a complaint with the FBI accusing me of a crime. On my insistence he acknowledged that Scientology was involved in the matter. I agreed to be interviewed by him today at 11:00 a.m.

2. I met today with Mr. Leonard who showed me his FBI identification card. During the interview, Mr. Leonard informed me that the charge he was investigating was “impersonation of an FBI agent.” He would not tell me who had filed the complaint; however, he did inform me of the following details:

A. The alleged incident occurred on Sunday, October 13, at 2:00 p.m. near the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Green Line Auditorium stop in Boston.

B. My accuser was a “body router” for Scientology, handing out cards for the organization’s “free personality test.”

C. My accuser stated that he approached me to get me

-1-

to come in for a free personality test and I said “I’m an FBI agent. I know all about your organization. Ron is hiding out even from his own people. We’re going to wipe you out within two years.”

D. My accuser returned to the Boston organization and with the assistance of his seniors identified me as the individual to whom he had “spoken.”

E. My accuser stated that I was with another individual. Mr. Leonard did not have a physical dscription of this individual, and did not know if the individual was male or female.

3. I have never impersonated, nor identified myself as an FBI agent or any other government official or employee at any time. I have never led anyone to believe by any act on my part that I was an FBI agent or a government official or employee.

4. On October 13, 1985, at 2:.00 p.m., I was at my residence, writing. I did not travel anywhere all day.

5. I was not at the location described to me by Mr. Leonard on October 13. In fact, I have never been to that location in Boston, nor anywhere close to that location.

6. I have never talked to, since my arrival in Boston,

-2-

anyone whom I knew to be, or identified himself or herself as, a Scientologist. Since coming to Boston I have never to my knowledge been approached by a Scientology “body router.”

7. The criminal complaint by the Scientology organization is completely false. Any “evidence” is “manufactured” pursuant to L. Ron Hubbard’s policy attached hereto as Exhibit [A], which states:

“If attacked on some vulnerable point by anyone or anything or any organization, always find or manufacture enough threat against them to cause them to sue for peace.”L. Ron Hubbard HCOPL 8/15/60

8. This is not the first time Hubbard or Scientology has sought to bring phony charges against me. They attempted the same using the Los Angeles Police Department in 1983 during the pendency of my civil lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court.

I declare under the penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed this 23rd day of October, 1985 at Boston, Massachusetts.

[Signed] Gerald Armstrong
GERALD ARMSTRONG

 

Letter from Roger Geller to FBI SA Tim Leonard (October 22, 1985)

Geller & Weinberg
ATTORNEYS AT LAW –
Eighty Boylston Street Suite 910
Boston, Massachusetts 02116
(617)482-5200
geller-ltr-1985-10-22

Letter from Roger Geller to FBI 22 October 1985

October 22, 1985

Tim Leonard, Special Agent
Federal Bureau of Investigation
JFK Federal Building
Government Center
Boston, MA 02203

Re: Complaint againt Gerald Armstrong

Dear Mr. Leonard:

In both my conversation with you yesterday and my discussion with Agent Graham on October 17, 1985, I pointed out that 18 U.S.C. §912 does cover the actions of Mr. Armstrong which are the subject of Ms. Hall’s complaint.

Apparently the Bureau is not terribly interested in bringing formal charges against Mr. Armstrong for his use of the Bureau’s name in his attempt to harass Ms. Hall.

As I have indicated, Mr. Armstrong has claimed to be close to the Bureau for some time now. Obviously, if he were an agent and/or employee of the Bureau, what he has done would not be a crime.

Therefore, please confirm or deny that Mr. Armstrong is or was an agent or employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Roger Geller

RG/clm

ROGER GELLER * PHILIP M. WEINBERG * JUDY WHISNANT

FBI Complaint: Scientology’s Complaint against Gerry Armstrong (“Impersonation”) (October 17, 1985)

FBI Complaint Form

FBI Complaint Form

Complaint: Transcript of Mitra Hall Complaint to FBI Re Gerry Armstrong (October 17, 1985)

TRANSCRIPT 0F MITRA HALL

COMPLAINT TO FBI RE GERRY ARMSTRONG

OCTOBER 17, 1985

MH= Mitra Hall; DG= Don Graham, FBI Agent; RG= Roger Geller, attorney

MITRA HALL: Mitra . . . M, I, T, R, A.

D0N GRAHAM: Right. Right. And the last name.

MH: Hall . . . H, A, L, L. That’s half of my last name but that’s

what I usually use.

DG: Ok, and where do you live Mitra?

MH: 75 St. Alphonsus. S, T . . .

DG: Right . . .

MH: . . . point, 11, L, P, H .

DO: Right . . .

MH: . . . O, N, S, U, S.

DG: . . . S, U, S. Street?

MH: That’s it. Yes, it’s a street. The number of the apartment is

1704.

DG: Number 1704.

MH: And, it’s in Boston.

DG: Okay. Do you have a telephone number there Mitra?

MH: 734-

DG: 734-

MH: 6314

DG: 6314. All right. You want to tell me what happened?

MH: I did meet this guy – this person in the street that told me

he was an FBI agent.

DG: Right. Where did this occur?

MH: 0n Mass Ave.

DG: Okay, about where an Mass Avenue?

MH: Between Boylston and Newbury. In front of the Auditorium Train

Station.

 

Page 2 TRANSCRIPT OF MITRA MALL – Complaint to FBI re Gerry Armstrong
dated October l7, 1985

Another voice: Tape’s stopped.

DG: Okay. When did this happen?

MH: Sunday.

DG: Which would have been the 13th?

MH: Yes.

DG: About what time of the day?

MH: Two o’clock. Might have been just past.

DG: PM?

MH: Yes.

DG: Okay. What occurred?

MH: I was saying something to this other person. I told him that

he was anti-social and this guy from behind me called me and

said said “Then well I’m social you can ask me”. I had never

heard anyone else say that so I was being curious and turned around and

asked him would you like to do a personality test. That’s what

I do.

DG Hmm Uh.

MH: Okay. And ah.. Are you ready?

DG: Okay. Then what happened ?

MH: Then he said “Are you from Dianetics and Scientolgy”?

DG: Okay.

MH: I said “Yes of course and I’m a very good Scientologist too”.

I usually say that to people when they want to bother me.

DG: Okay. All right.

 

Page 3 TRANSCRIPT OF MITRA HALL – Complaint to FBI re Gerry Armstrong
dated October 17, 1985

MH: And he said – This is exactly what he said: “I’m an FBI Agent..

DG: Okay.

MH: I know Ron is still alive,” or maybe he said “We know Ron’s still alive.”

RG: Referring to Mr. Hubbard, the Founder of Scientology.

DG: Okay. All right. Then what occurred?

MH: Then he said: “But he’s running -”

DG: Okay.

MH: “He’s running from his own people too.”

DG: All right.

MH: But meant that he was running from two different sides and

then he said “We’re going to shut you down in two years. That’s a

prediction . That’s a prediction for you”.

DG: Okay. Then what?

MH: Then, I kind of looked up and he had a very strange (inaudible)

said ” Yeah, good, carry on. You tried to do this in other places

too, Australia, you didn’t succeed, try again”. And he didn’t seem

to be listening, he was waiting for the bus.

DG: Did you walk away from him?

MH: Yes.

DG: Did he attempt to follow you?

MH: No.

RG: (This is said over the tape) So the total conversation was about

a minute?

MH: (Mitra is still talking).. two or three minutes actually.

DG: Okay. And do you know who this individual was?

 

Page 4 – TRANSCRIPTION OF MITRA HALL – Complaint to FBI re Gerry Armstrong
dated October 17, 1985

MH: I described it and was shown a picture of this…

DG: When you went back to the Church?

MH: Yes. I described it to the Church and my description was very close

to this person.

DG: Okay.

MH: Especially, the way the eybrows were on his…

DG: Okay. Well who was this person?

MH: Gerry Armstrong. It was his picture.

DG: Okay. And do you know anything more about Mr. Armstrong?

RG: I believe I know his, or can locate his address. I’d also like to

state a little meager background information about Mr. Armstrong.

DG: Hmm. Uh.

RG: He was a former member of the Church of Scientology in California,

and has been sued by the Church and has instituted legal action

against the Church and I belive most recently he had also impersonated

an FBI Agent or said that he was working with the FBI and was taped

in Los Angeles – both videotaped

DG: Hmm. Uh.

RG: and sound recorded with the knowledge and permission of the Los

Angeles Police Department. He’s recently moved to Boston , so there’s

a whole history of enmity towards Scientology and Mr. Hubbard on

the part of this fellow.

DG: Okay.

RG: We don’t know exactly that he’s doing here in Boston, but if he’s

walking around telling people that he’s from the Bureau..

 

Page 5 – TRANSCRIPTION OF MITRA HALL – Complaint to FBI re Gerry Armstrong
dated October 17, 1985

DG: Right. Do you know.. Do you have an address for him?

RG: I do, but I don’t have it and I’ll have to call you tomorrow.

DG: All right. I won’t be here. I’ll have someone get in touch

with you at your office.

RG: Okay.

DG: And you can give them whatever additional information you have

concerning Armstrong.

RG: Fine. Mitra has done an affidavit….

DG: Okay.

RG: which basically sets forth what she has told you.

DG Okay.

RG: including how she came to recognise Mr. Armstrong photographs

and what not that she was shown.

DG: Okay. Very good.

RG: In talking to her and also in reviewing the 18 U.S.C. Section 912,

it seems to me that what he was doing was trying to… he approached

her in sort of a threatening way and used the force of the authority

of the Bureau to sort of lend credence to his threat

DG: Hmm Uh.

RG: The way I read the Section 912 there is somewhat from our phone

conversation this morning where you say that in order to constitute

a violation of this section there has to be done with the purpose of

obtaining something of value or information of value. I read the

statute to say whoever falsely assumes or pretends to be an officer

or employee acting under the authority of the United States or any

Department and acts as such information is enough to constitute that crime

DG: Well, we’ll just look into that.

 

Page 6 – TRANSCRIPTION OF MITRA HALL – Complaint to FBI re Gerry Armstrong

RG: Of course, I mean I just…

DG: Yeah

RG: I mean I’m fully aware that there was no extortion done here. I mean

he didn’t try to get something or get information or get money

from Mitra but he did try to intimidate her and used the Bureau as

a way to do that and we are , we meaning, the Church and I as their

attorney am concerned that this type of behavior is going on and

we would like it to be investigated.

DG: Sure and that’s why we are bringing the information forth

RG: And I don’t want to make any – I don’t want to leave any false

impression but there is a long history with this individual

and you know, in the past he’s denied situations. When this other

incident occurred in Los Angeles, he’s denied. We wouldn’t be

surprised if he denies this but, Mitra is willing to swear and in

fact has done so that this has occurred. She has no axe to grind

with this guy. She’s never met him before and we think that she should,

her word should be given a great deal credulity.

DG: Okay. Will somebody be in touch with you to get the additional

information and the description information and so forth.

RG: Yeah.

DG: Good. Thank you vary much for coming over. Nice talking with you.

RG: Thank you very much for seeing us. Bye bye.

MH: Thank you.

DG: Good meeting you Mitra.

RG: This is the end of the interview. Anything else on this tape has

nothing to do with Mr. Armstrong.

-END-