I, Vicki J. Aznaran, make the following declarations on personal knowledge except where the context indicates knowledge based upon information and belief.1
My husband Richard Aznaran and I are plaintiffs in the instant action wherein defendants (hereinafter referred to collectively as “Scientology”) have moved to strike our entire complaint and to prevent our attorneys from representing us.
2. As set forth in more detail below, my husband and I were involved with Scientology for approximately 15 years. For much of that time we were members of an organization known as the Sea Organization. This organization is an elite organization within Scientology. The Sea Organization has considerable influence and control over Scientology organizations. Generally, Sea Organization members hold the management posts within Scientology.
3. In 1978, after approximately four years as staff members, my husband and I joined the Sea Organization. From 1978 to early 1987, my husband and I worked most of our waking hours, with very few days off, at our various assignments within Scientology. I eventually became President of Religious Technology Center and, supposedly, the top “ecclesiastical” authority within Scientology. Richard was a high-level security officer. During this period my husband and I became intimately familiar with the structure and activities of various Scientology organizations. Among other things, I was briefed on and sometimes a participant in meetings involving litigation tactics and various
means used to attack and fight “enemies” of Scientology. In numerous instances I was in the chain of command or approval for such activities. The legal strategy of Scientology and the existence of numerous potential legal problems, some of which are set forth below, were known to me when I was a staff member in Scientology. Contrary to, what I understand to be claimed by defendants herein, Mr. Yanny did not reveal to me the legal strategies or secrets of Scientology. Nor did Mr. Yanny invent or open my eyes to the wrongs that I had suffered at the hands of Scientology.
4. I have become an “enemy” of Scientology. This has certain consequences that will influence what Scientology will do in this litigation. For example, it is important to understand that their value system allows dishonesty if done in the name of Scientology.
5. Enemies of Scientology are deemed to be “suppressive persons”(“SPs”). One becomes a “suppressive person” by doing a suppressive act, such as suing Scientology as a litigant or lawyer. In the jargon of Scientology, when one is “declared” this means that one has been declared a “suppressive person” and, therefore, may be, harassed, hurt, damaged or destroyed without regard to truth, honesty or legal rights. It is considered acceptable within Scientology to lie, cheat, steal and commit illegal acts in the name of dealing with a “suppressive person”.
6. This practice or policy is sometimes referred to as the policy of “fair game”. In the jargon of Scientology, a person who is “declared” is understood to be a suppressive person. This means that the person is “fair game”. The fair game policy was
issued in the 1960s. It was, never cancelled. A document was issued for public relations reasons that purportedly cancelled “fair game”; however, that document stated that it did not change the manner of handling persons declared “SP.” In reality, the purported cancellation of fair game is at most a matter of semantics. Enemies of Scientology are treated as “fair game.”
7. It is my understanding, and I have so testified in my deposition, that when my husband and I escaped from Scientology we were not immediately declared suppressive persons or subjected to the fair game policy. Among other things, we were compelled to do certain things and sign various documents to escape and avoid being subjected to fair game treatment. As we have now sued Scientology, we are “fair game”.
8. From 1984 through early 1987, I was President of Religious Technology Center (hereinafter “RTC”). As President of RTC and a Sea Organization member, I attended many meetings concerning the numerous legal actions involving Scientology organizations. During this time period, I had personal access to all legal documents having to do with RTC. I received a report every day on my computer that included a synopsis of each ongoing legal case involving Scientology. I received, or so I was told, copies of every major motion filed in cases involving Scientology. I was on the “approval lines” for legal documents dealing with RTC. During this time period, I had the option of attending legal meetings although some were mandatory. I attended many litigation meetings and became generally aware of Scientology’s dirty tricks and legal maneuvers. On specifics, I frequently deferred to in-house and outside counsel, however, at least in theory, I was
the head of RTC and had access to any business or litigation ” secrets” of Scientology.
9. As President of RTC, I was one of those responsible for retaining the services of Joseph Yanny as counsel for Scientology organizations. I supervised and worked with Mr. Yanny who served as coordinating attorney for RTC in 1985. I am not aware of any legal or corporate information concerning RTC that was available to Mr. Yanny but not available to me.
10. I am informed and believe that various Scientology organizations are contending that Mr. Yanny has somehow improperly educated me on the legal maneuvers, tactics and affairs of Scientology. Although such claims are consistent with litigation tactics of Scientology, which .are not constrained by considerations such as truth and reality, the proposition that I need Mr. Yanny to educate me on the internal affairs of Scientology is simply wrong. I was one of the highest ranking members of Scientology and was involved in upper management. Mr. Yanny was a lawyer hired by management, of which I was a part, to work for it. Further, it was the practice during the time period in question to screen the information given to outside counsel such as Mr Yanny.
11. It is the stated policy and practice of Scientology to use the legal system to abuse and harass its enemies. This crude, fundamental directive of Scientology is no secret. In any event, this information did not come to me from Mr. Yanny. The policy is to do anything and everything possible to harass the opposing litigant without regard to whether any particular motion or maneuver is appropriate or warranted by the facts or applicable law. That policy was followed in every legal case I was involved
with or learned about while a member of the Sea Organization. The management of Scientology consistently expressed and demonstrated a complete disdain for the court system viewing it as nothing more than a method to harass enemies. Some examples of this are set forth below.
12. During litigation between Gerald Armstrong and Scientology, which was before Judge Breckenridge of Superior Court for Los Angeles County, the court ordered the production of Armstrong’s pre-clear (“PC”) folders. These are files maintained by Scientology on those who submit to interrogation sessions in a process called auditing. During the course of that litigation I was ordered to go through Armstrong’s folders and destroy or conceal anything that might be damaging to Scientology or helpful to Armstrong’s case. As ordered, I went through the files and destroyed contents that might support Armstrong’s claims against Scientology. This practice is known within Scientology as “culling PC folders” and is a common litigation tactic employed by Scientology.
13. During other litigation in Los Angeles known to me as the Wollersheim case, I was told that the. judge had ordered the production of Wollersheim’s folders. As ordered, I “culled” these files. In other words, I removed contents that might have been damaging to Scientology or support Wollersheim’s claims against Scientology. For example, I removed evidence of events involving his family, the anguish this caused him, evidence of disconnection from family and evidence of fair game.
14. I was involved in numerous meetings concerning what is known to me as the Christofferson case in Portland, Oregon. This
case was tried twice. In the first case, a Scientology witness by the name of Martin Samuels was coached and drilled for hours on how to lie convincingly or avoid telling the truth. Before or during the second trial he admitted to this course of conduct. In this litigation, a Scientologist by the name of Joan Shriver produced responsive documents that may have been incriminating. This was a serious breach of policy for which she was punished. These documents were ordered produced on such short notice that apparently files were not thoroughly “culled”. In another case, Mr. Yanny was severely criticized and almost fired for failing to properly coach and feed the desired answers to Heber Jentzsch. Mr. Jentzsch was, for public relations reasons, the purported head of the Church of Scientology International. During his deposition, Mr. Jentzsch was unable to answer fundamental questions concerning the management of Church of Scientology International. This may be what certain defendants are referring to when they say that they were dissatisfied with Mr. Yanny’s services and I protected him. There were those, including McShane, who were outraged by the embarrassing testimony of Mr. Jentzsch. This was blamed on Mr. Yanny. I did not wish. to discontinue using Mr. Yanny at RTC for this perceived problem.
15. In November, 1985, I was present at a meeting whereat Earle Cooley, a Scientologist lawyer, Lyman Spurlock and Norman Starkey, all high ranking Scientologists, announced that they were going to contact Judge Mariana Pfaelzer. Earlier that day Judge Pfaelzer had denied a Scientology motion for a temporary restraining order. After losing on the application there was a meeting to determine what to do about the situation. At the
meeting Mr. Cooley had a file, that purportedly contained background and personal information on Judge Pfaelzer. During the meeting Mr. Cooley and the others announced that they were going to attempt to meet with Judge Pfaelzer that evening, at her house if necessary, concerning the litigation in which the temporary restraining order had been sought. Thereafter, Mr. Cooley and two others left with their file on Judge Pfaelzer. They returned several hours later at which time I was told that their attempts to contact Judge Pfaelzer had been unsuccessful.
16. In late 1979 and early 1980, there was a massive document destruction program undertaken to destroy any evidence showing that L. Ron Hubbard (“LRH”) controlled Scientology. I participated in this activity in Clearwater, Florida and am informed that there was also intensive document destruction at facilities in Gilman Hot Springs, California. From at least that point onward there was a continuous effort to hide or destroy any evidence of Hubbard’s control. For example, during an IRS investigation in 1984 and 1985, while in bed with pneumonia, I was ordered out of bed by Norman Starkey who told me that they had received a tip from a Los Angeles Police officer advising them of a pending IRS raid in Los Angeles. Mr. Starkey ordered me to go to a computer facility and insure that all information on the computers in Los Angeles that might show Hubbard’s involvement and control of Scientology’s money was destroyed except for one copy of each document. These copies were to be saved on computer discs which were to be hidden in secure storage places. At the time I was also instructed to destroy anything that would show the control of Mr. Starkey or Mr. Miscavige over Scientology.
17. I have been informed and believe that a an improper affidavit was filed in a case brought by L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. in Riverside, California. The circumstances were as follows: The document purported to be an affidavit of L. Ron Hubbard. The signature of Hubbard was purportedly notarized by David Miscavige. It is my understanding that this affidavit caused the case to be dismissed. Subsequently, I was told by Pat Broeker, who had been living with Hubbard at the time, and by Miscavige, that Miscavige had not seen Hubbard between 1980 and Hubbard’s death in 1986. Accordingly, the affidavit was apparently signed, notarized and dated during a time period when Hubbard was in seclusion and not seen by the person who purportedly notarized the signature of Hubbard.
18. In or about 1981, while working in a Scientology organization known as the Guardian’s Office, I had access to and observed various written and oral communications pertaining to illegitimate activities participated in by the Guardian’s Office.
The Guardian’s Office attempted to infiltrate both governmental and private agencies including the IRS, the Department of Justice, the American Medical Association and the National Institute of Mental Health. The purpose of this was to steal documents pursuant to Hubbard’s “Snow White” program. The goal of this program was to eliminate any negative reports about Hubbard and Scientology that may have been held by these various agencies.
19. While involved in Scientology I became aware of various operations directed against an author who had written a negative book about Scientology. The author, Paulette Cooper, was subjected to various forms of harassment. One operation included an
attempt to frame her. A false bomb threat was written. A Scientology agent lifted a fingerprint from Cooper’s apartment. These fingerprints were then transferred to the bomb threat letter. Ms. Cooper was subjected to an investigation and was not cleared until an FBI raid resulted in the seizure of Scientology documents that exposed the operation as a frame-up. There was at least one other operation directed against Ms. Cooper. The substance of it was to plant a boyfriend to reinforce and play upon her suicidal tendencies in the hopes that she would commit suicide.
20. In 1976 and 1977, the then Mayor of Clearwater, Florida, Gabe Cazares was involved with litigation against Scientology. Arrangements were made to have an attorney by the name of Merril [sp. Merrill] Vanniere [sp. Veneer?], a Scientologist, represent Mr. Cazares and sabotage his case. This plot was also exposed by documents obtained in an FBI raid of a .Scientology facility. Also, in response to Mr. Cazares’ litigation against Scientology, an attempt was made to implicate Mr. Cazares in a staged hit-and-run accident.
21. During the time period of my involvement with Scientology, I also learned of various. attempts to influence judges or force their removal from cases. For example, a private investigator named Dick Bast obtained a statement from a prostitute concerning involvement with a certain judge in Washington, D.C. who was sitting on a Scientology case. This was then publicized. The judge did not continue on the case. The same investigator, Dick Bast was also hired for the purpose of attempting to force the removal of a judge in Tampa, Florida. This involved what I know as the Burden case, which was civil
litigation brought by Michael Flynn. Dick Bast secured a yacht and attempted to get the judge on board for the purpose of filming him under compromising circumstances. The judge declined to go yachting and the operation was unsuccessful. Approximately $250,000.00 was spent on the operation.
22. I have been informed by Mark (Marty) Rathbun, a high ranking Scientologist, that his private investigator, Gene Ingram, “fed” a confession to Ala Tamimi when visiting him in an Italian prison. This false confession was, in substance, that Tamimi had been involved in a bad check scam involving an account of L. Ron Hubbard. This false confession implicated attorney Michael Flynn in the check scam. Michael Flynn was at the time considered a major enemy of Scientology because he represented numerous clients with claims against Scientology. This purported confession was used to slander and attack Michael Flynn. Michael Flynn has also been sued.by Scientology as part of its “strategy” for handling enemies.
23. During an IRS criminal investigation in the 1984 to 1985 time period, the IRS ordered production of various communications between Hubbard and Author Services, Inc. (ASI). The ASI staff worked literally day and night for several days reviewing documents so that unfavorable documents could be destroyed or otherwise concealed from the IRS. Lyman Spurlock and Marion M. Dendui, Scientologists involved in this operation, informed me of this operation. Also during this IRS investigation, my husband, Rick Aznaran, was ordered to remove and conceal any incriminating documents from certain locations. He was also directed to make the computer network “raid proof”. This involved creating a
system where incriminating documents could be deleted from computer storage rapidly and before the IRS could obtain control over the computers.
24. In 1985, I attended a conference on “squirrels” attended by Miscavige, Starkey, Spurlock, and McShane, members of top management, and others. In Scientology jargon, “squirrels” are people who use or practice some procedures also used by Scientology but who do not submit to the total control of the Scientology organization and, perhaps most importantly, who do not pay a percentage of their auditing or counseling fees to Scientology. At this meeting, David Miscavige ordered that public Scientologists be organized and motivated to physically attack squirrels and disrupt their operations. This was stated to be pursuant to the standard guidelines of Scientology. Pursuant to such directives, efforts were undertaken to intimidate and disrupt these persons and their organizations.
25. In 1981, operation “Juggernaut” was commenced. The purpose of this was to destroy Michael Flynn who, as stated above, was representing various plaintiffs with litigation against Scientology. This operation contemplated the use of infiltration, propaganda and attempts to persuade clients to turn against him.
26. The Guardians’ Office got into so much trouble, and worse yet got caught, that it was decided in the early 1980’s that the Guardians’ Office should be disbanded. This was purely a public relations gimmick. In short, it was decided that the Guardians’ Office and Mary Sue Hubbard, its then leader, were to take the rap for all criticism and improper conduct. This scheme was laid out in various written communications I observed in 1981
and 1982. (Of course, I was not allowed to keep or escape from Scientology with any such incriminating documents.)
27. Since the early 1970’s, Scientology has operated a forced labor camp known as the Rehabilitation Project Force (“RPF”). Staff members are incarcerated in the RPF for various real or imagined offense. People confined at this camp are forced to perform hard physical labor every day. They eat rice and beans, or left-overs, and wear rags. They are deprived of sufficient sleep. In 1987, I was confined in such a camp at Happy Valley for approximately six weeks. I worked all day and was confined in a room at night. To the best of my knowledge I was guarded 24 hours a day. They would not even let me shower alone. I had to obtain permission to use a bathroom. I was ill and not allowed to obtain medical treatment. I was not allowed to communicate with my husband nor was I allowed to obtain adequate sleep. I was told that I had gone insane and that my husband did not want to communicate with me. I was physically and psychologically abused both at Happy Valley and for numerous days thereafter in a process called “security checking”. Much oversimplified, I was grilled on a primitive lie detector called an E-Meter and made to understand that I would not be released, have my property returned, or escape fair game policy unless I eventually gave all of the “right” answers. Examples of ” right” answers were responses that I would not talk to a lawyer or consider suing Scientology. I had to give such answers before being released.
28. Recovering from the years of brainwashing, thought control and propaganda to which Scientology subjected me is a
gradual process that I do not fully understand. I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist and do not fully understand the ramifications of what I have been through although I can observe and experience many symptoms. I have many nightmares and a fear of Scientology.
29. The suit brought by Richard Aznaran and myself is based upon real events that happened to real people, namely us. Just as my husband and I do not need Mr. Yanny to educate us on any secrets of Scientology, it is simply untrue that our claims were somehow invented or manufactured by Mr. Yanny. The whimsical notion that Mr. Yanny invented this litigation through my husband and me is simply false.
30. My husband and I consider Mr. Yanny to be a friend. Further, it might be noted that Mr. Yanny was to serve as my personal counsel in a class action against Scientology and numerous individuals including myself. Recent events have changed this, however, .there was a period of time when Mr. Yanny was purportedly designated as my personal counsel with the approval of Scientology.
31. My husband and I feel quite strongly that we want Barry Van Sickle and the firm of Cummins & White to represent us in this case. Our reasons are both subjective and objective. We do not wish to list our subjective reasons, although we will do so if the Court requests it. Objectively, it might be noted that we had considerable difficulty finding counsel willing and in a position to undertake this extremely volatile, time consuming and expensive litigation. We are unable to pay hourly rates to pursue our claims and need a firm willing to work with us on a contingency
fee basis. I anticipate great difficulty, delay and prejudice if forced to find other counsel.
32. Based upon my experience within Scientology and as a litigant against it, I understand that this is not routine litigation. If I am forced to find other counsel, prospective counsel will be presented with the following situation:
(a) A complex case that must be handled on a contingency fee and cost-advanced basis;
(b) A case that requires a litigation team and substantial financial resources;
(c) A case involving an opponent who has a practice and history of suing opposing lawyers as a tactic in addition to subjecting opposing lawyers to surveillance, depositions, infiltration, bad publicity and the full ramifications of the fair game policy;
(d) A case where the opponent is not constrained by a need to be cost effective, truthful, honest or reasonable; and
(e) A case that requires extraordinary security precautions.
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed this 9th day of August, 1988, in Dallas, Texas.
VICKI J. AZNARAN