Press Release by Steven Fishman
12980 Southwest 48th Street
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33330-2339
April 28, 1994, Time 10:45 AM
PRESS RELEASE: SCIENTOLOGY UPPER LEVEL
REFERENCES (OT MATERIALS) AFFIRMED
UNSEALED AND IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN BY
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
On April 26, 1994, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth
Circuit in San Francisco denied Church of Scientology International's
appeal to seal the upper level materials and ruled in favor of myself,
defendant Steven Fishman, a former Scientologist, and my psychologist, Dr.
Judge Beezer of the Court of Appeals further denied the Church's motion to
return the previously confidential materials to the defendants, and by
doing so, ruled that they must remain unsealed and open to the public.
The controversy began in November of 1991, when the Church of Scientology
International sued Dr. Geertz and myself for defamation arising out of
statement which the defendants made to TIME MAGAZINE reporter Richard
Behar. The statements related to financial crimes which were committed by
me, Steven Fishman, after I was trained to participate in a securities
class action fraud scheme by Scientology staff members at the Church of
Scientology Mimi Org and the Church of Scientology Mission of Fort
Lauderdale. I spent the money obtained from the fraud on auditing,
training, and for purchasing the third largest library of L. Ron Hubbard
books, tapes, cassettes and E-Meters in the world.
After my arrest by the FBI in July of 1988, Church officials, church
officials ordered me to murder my psychologist, Dr. Geertz, because I had
confided in my psychologist about the details of my crime.
I was thrown into "Treason" a low ethics condition, and was told by my
Ethics Officer Frank Thompson that I could work my way up from "Treason"
by protecting the Church from the FBI investigation. I followed the
orders of my Ethics Officer which resulted in my being charged with
Obstruction of Justice. At the same time, Church attorney Timothy Bowles
worked closely with the United States District Attorney in Los Angeles in
order to secure my conviction and eliminate any exposure to the Church.
April 29, 1994 Page 2 Time 11:45 AM
In an effort to suppress the Church's involvement in the fraud, Church
officials ordered me to commit suicide, which was avoided due to a
successful exit-counseling intervention by former members Margery
Wakefield, Eddie Da Rocha, Richard Padilla, and through swift and
effective therapy by Dr. Geertz.
I suffered a psychotic break, and I was institutionalized at the Hollywood
Pavillion, a mental institution in South Florida.
The FBI limited its investigation of the Church's involvement in the fraud
to only one interview of former Mission Staff Peter and Barbara Letterese,
the very couple who trained me to commit the stock fraud in the first
My expert witnesses on cults, Dr. Margaret Singer and Dr. Richard Ofshe,
were not permitted to testify at my trial as to how to the Church of
Scientology influenced my thinking through mind control techniques, after
the Church of Scientology paid their own experts to convince the trial
judge that the theories of Drs. Singer and Ofshe were not "mainstream" and
should not be accepted by the court, facts which were overturned on appeal
in a separate case two years later.
With all possibilities of a fair trial derailed by the Church of
Scientology, I entered an Alford Plea (innocent of the charges but
responsible for the acts alleged), and was sentenced to five years in
prison. I was released early on December 29, 1992, and I remained on
probation until the end of my sentence.
While at the Federal Correctional Institution of Tallahassee, prison
officials uncovered an attempt to assassinate me by another inmate, Luis
Martinez, a Scientologist from Miami who was facing deportation to Cuba
and was promised legal help by the Church if I were killed. Luis Martinez
had a screwdriver fashioned into a dagger in his locker, as well as
pictures of me, and a stack of Scientology Technical Bulletins and Policy
While in prison, I began to turn my life around by becoming a cooperating
witness for the Internal Revenue Service, during their criminal
investigation into the Church of Scientology. I also ran the computer
room for the prison's education department, working 11 hours a day to pass
the time and keep my sanity. Shortly afterward, I was visited by a Mr.
Peter Comras, who claimed to be an agent of the Israeli government
investigating Scientology. Mr. Comras gained access to the visiting room
at the prison under false pretenses, which is a crime. It turned out that
Mr. Comras was a private investigator hired by the Office of Special
Affairs of the Church of Scientology to investigate me as part of the
Church's "Fair Game Law," in which the critics of the Church can be
deceived, lied to, intimidated, harassed and sued.
In November 1991, I was in fact sued, along with my psychologist, Dr.
Geertz. Alone and in prison, without benefit of counsel, I was forced to
defend a million dollar lawsuit brought by the in-house Scientology law
firm of Bowles and Moxon.
April 29, 1994 Page 3 Time 11:45 AM
In the course of defending my civil suit, I had to prove something that I
was unable to prove during the course of my criminal trial -- that
Scientology had influenced my thinking in order to get me to commit
financial crimes for them. In order to defend my lawsuit, I also had to
prove that I was driven psychotic by the Church, a condition known in
Church jargon as "PTS (Potential Trouble Source) Type III."
In order to do this, I introduced into the court record OT Levels I
through VII, which I obtained not through discovery in any legal
proceeding but which I had purchased in 1987 from fellow Scientologist
Ellie Bolger of Clearwater. I also introduced OT VIII, which i had
received from my former criminal attorney, who had obtained the materials
from expert witness Richard Ofshe.
The OT materials remained unsealed for eighteen months. Despite the
Church's attempts to suppress these references, I argued that it would
have violated my constitutional rights to seal any documents that were not
obtained through discovery.
Dr. Geertz' attorney, Graham Berry of the law firm of Lewis, D'Amato,
Brisbois & Bisgaard of Los Angeles, showed a great deal of courage by
fighting back against the Church of Scientology and the attorneys at
Bowles and Moxon. With the help of F.A.C.T., which stands for Fight
Against Coercive Tactics (a bulletin board service for ex-cult members
operated by former Scientologists Lawrence Wollersheim and Bob Penny),
together with evidence provided by members of the Cult Awareness Network,
Dr. Geertz and I uncovered information about David Miscavige, the managing
agent of the Church of Scientology and commanding officer of the Religious
David Miscavige's mother-in-law, Mary Florence "Flo" Barnett, died from
four rifle shots, three to the chest and one to the head. Originally
classified as a "suicide," upon closer inspection it was determined from
the ballistics and the height of Ms. Barnett that the wounds could not
have been self-inflicted. Evidence was collected that just one week prior
to her death, Ms. Barnett had threatened to sue the Church, and was in
contact with David Mayo, a former member who was an avowed enemy of David
Furthermore, one of David Miscavige's sisters had committed suicide after
completing OT VII. Another sister left the church and became a prostitute
after starting the OT levels. David Miscavige's own father was once
arrested for rape.
Knowing through policy letters on the subject that the Church maintains a
double standard -- on one hand catering to celebrities like Scientology
royalty while on the other hand maintaining forced labor camps for
Scientologists in ethics trouble (known as the Rehabilitation Project
Force) and for children and other innocent victims who just happen to be
the unwanted offspring of Sea Org (Scientology staff who have signed a
billion year contract) parents (the Estates Project Force), Dr. Geertz and
Mr. Fishman served various celebrities with deposition subpoenas. The
celebrity witnesses included Isaac Hayes, Maxine Nightingale, Kelly
Preston (the wife of John Travolta) and others. Actor Tom Cruise avoided
service of his subpoena by hiding in the men's toilet of the Scientology
April 29, 1994 Page 4 Time 11:45 AM
Not willing to confront the interrogation of the celebrities or David
Miscavige, Church of Scientology in an unprecedented move made a motion to
the court to dismiss their own case against myself and Dr. Uwe Geertz with
prejudice, which means that they could never bring the same suit again in
The court agreed to dismiss the suit, which was a victory for the
defendants. However, the court also left the OT Levels unsealed and in the
public domain. Furious with this decision, the Church appealed this
decision to the Court of Appeals and lost. For the first time in the
United States of America, these secret documents are now open and
available to the public. Separately, a recent case also made these levels
also available in England.
Why are these "secrets" so important to the Church of Scientology?
Why has the cult gone through such lengths and spent so much money to seal
To understand this, one must first grasp exactly what the upper levels are
and where they came from.
During 1981, while I was an agent in the old Guardian's Office of
Scientology, I participated in a mission to recover a set of documents
containing confessional write-ups of L. Ron Hubbard, some of which were
written in 1949, and others in 1954. These materials, called O/W
(Overt/Withhold) Write-Ups, were part of materials used for an authorized
biography of L. Ron Hubbard to be written by author Omar Garrison, but
which was never written. The materials were stolen by Lavenda Van
Schaick, an ex-member, from Gerry Armstrong, an ex-member, who was Omar
Garrison's research assistant at the time. I recovered these materials
from an air conditioning duct in Lavenda Van Schaick's sister Lisa's
apartment, during a raid in which Lisa Van Schaick was raped as a
diversionary tactic by two Sea Org staff members. I had occasion to read
these documents before turning them over to my senior (supervisor), ADG
(Action Deputy Guardian) Fred Hare of the Guardian's Office, who had
ordered the mission.
The following is a brief summary of what was written by L. Ron Hubbard in
In 1947, L. Ron Hubbard was a psychiatric patient at the Oak Knoll Naval
Hospital under the care of Dr. Irving Kutzman.
At one point Hubbard was placed in a six-man ward where there was a
patient named McClellan. McClellan was "clearly schizophrenic", according
to Hubbard, and "screamed by day and by night" that he was being attacked
Hubbard wrote that he "experimented on the man", and noticed that the man
became worse whenever he told McClellan that the germs were attacking him,
and conversely improved when he directed the man to "send the germs away."
This little vignette from Hubbard's past is starkly familiar to processes
run on OT Levels III through VII.
April 29, 1994 Page 5 Time 11:45 AM
Central to Scientology dogma is the concept of the thetan, or spiritual
entity, which supposedly or at least according to Hubbard, occupies one
body at a time, and after death, discards the body and then goes through
various between lives area implants (also called the heaven implants) and
picks up a new body at the moment of conception.
Next is where the control mechanism comes in on the upper levels --
Hubbard warned that if a thetan committed too many harmful acts (overts)
or kept too many secrets (withholds), the thetan's ability to confront
life would diminish, and he might not have sufficient power to pick up
another body, but might instead attack itself to a body part.
Thus, a thetan who lost power sufficient to pick up a new body would
become a "body thetan" (or BT) and might cling to a body's nose hair or to
an injured limb like an elbow, and further add to or cause illness and
disease in the body.
Rather than go to a doctor or psychologist, the individual would be
charged with removing these unwanted body thetans through rigorous
Scientological processes of "intending them away" or "causing them to
leave the body."
Therefore, the conventional physician, whether treating the body of the
mind, is viewed as a quack by Scientologists because the doctor does not
know about or accept the premise of "body thetans." Psychiatrists and
psychologists have often criticized the Church for allowing their staff
who are unskilled and untrained in the traditional mental health
professions to handle and treat the mind, and consequently they have been
viciously attacked by the Church of Scientology for over forty years; with
dirty tricks, smear campaigns and "psychbusts", which are protest rallies
against psychological and psychiatric group functions, resulting in
criminal acts of Church-sponsored terrorism against them.
If a wealthy Scientologist makes it as far as the upper OT Levels, he will
invariably be told that there are millions, billions, or trillions of
these body thetans attached to him that he has to get rid of, and they
have to be disposed of "one at a time." The cost can exceed tens of
thousands of dollars and may approach three or four hundred thousand
dollars for assistance in the removal of these body thetans. A parallel
can easily be drawn between Hubbard's encounter with McClellan's germ
phobia and the fear induced to remove body thetans which continuously
creates a very lucrative income for the Church.
For the benefit of those who subscribe to the technology, even if there
were any logic to the mythology of the body thetans, and if it were true
that the body can have millions, billions or trillions of body thetans
attached to it, it would be an impossible situation to "intend them all
away" because under that scenario, as body thetans were whisked away,
others would come in and take their place. The premise also assumes that
an individual can have command value over body thetans, which is realistic
as someone who tries to command the germs in his body to go away. The
success or failure would rest with the gullibility of the individual, and
the upper level drills of removing body thetans is highly
April 29, 1994 Page 6 Time 11:45 AM
dangerous to the sanity of the victim, since it is a form of demonic
exorcism (exorcising body thetans away from the body), and it assumes
facts not in evidence (that the body thetans actually exist and are real
in the first place).
Consequently, the OT Levels induce schizophrenia and schizophrenic
reaction. The same would be true if any church told its parishoners that
they have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to gain the ability to
make germs leave the body.
What the OT levels have produced is thousands of McClellans -- individuals
who have lost touch with reality, lost their sanity, and too often have
committed suicide because they correctly estimated the task of removing an
infinite number of body thetans from their body to be a hopeless and
impossible one. The fact that a sane person who has not been exposed to
the gradient-scale building blocks of Scientology would argue that this is
all nonsense would not matter. The individual stuck in the slavery of
believing that he can oust his body thetans through the correct
"application" of the upper level materials is too often driven "PTS Type
III," a form of psychosis, by being a task which he believes to be
solvable but which he knows innately that he cannot solve.
In defending my lawsuit, I argued the principle of "informed consent"
before the court. I stated that even in spiritual matters, the parishoner
has a right to know what awaits him at the higher levels of his religious
training. If psychosis and induced schizophrenia lie ahead, then he has
the right to examine these materials before committing his time and money
to the study of any religious doctrine. I further argued that it is just
as unconscionable that an individual enter into the study of a religion
without knowing the inherent dangers and health risks to his mental state
as it would be to buy a pack of cigarettes without being told the dangers
of lung cancer and heart disease. Apparently, the court agreed.
The Church of Scientology vehemently wants to keep these levels secret
because the more mystery there is attached to them, the more money they
can charge in "fixed donations." They also do not want the press and the
media to rationally look at their product -- schizophrenia inducing
science fiction which utilizes demonic exorcism techniques. They do not
want their celebrities to know the contents of these levels, or they would
no longer endorse Scientology. Without the cloak of mystery and secrecy,
parishoners who have not been exposed to the levels would see the fraud in
it and leave the Church in droves. Church executives know this and they
are frantic about the court's decision. They fear the inevitable -- an
After all, don't Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, John Travolta, Demi Moore, and
Priscilla Presley have a right to know what lies ahead for each of them in
pursuit of Scientology? The court feels they have a right to know.
The public domain is the most important forum we have as a free society.
The public's right to awareness supersedes the Church executives' right to
secrecy. Scientologists also have the freedom of choice in knowing what
is in store for them at the end of the "bridge." It is up to every one of
us to respect and stand up for the sanity of others. After all, if a
religion is truly workable, it can withstand the scrutiny of the truth.
No religion has a right to suppress that.
April 29, 1994 Page 7 Time 11:45 AM
Now that the upper level materials are finally unsealed, people are
finally free to make up their own minds about the "effectiveness" of
Freedom of choice is inherent in religious freedom. Secrecy and covert
mental manipulation is not.
That the United States District Court has both recognized and acknowledged
this proves that there truly is justice, even when it is attacked and
opposed by the Church of Scientology.