THE CENTRE Of Florida's Suncoast is the beautiful bay which stretches out from the town of Tampa. On its southern branch is St Petersburg where I once watched the most lurid sunset I have ever seen flood the sky with colour. Hours earlier a storm in the Gulf of Mexico had been signposted by a 'twister' which moved menacingly across the horizon. On the north of the bay of Tampa is the sleepy town of Clearwater. In 1975 its mainly retired community, many of whom were Baptists, were feeling a chill wind of recession in the tourist trade. The splendid Fort Harrison Hotel run by the Jack Tar organization was for sale in the downtown area around the waterfront overlooking the municipal buildings which administered the town - incorporated under a Home Rule Charter of the State of Florida. A block away was the former Bank of Clearwater building which was also for sale. Another few blocks away was the Sandcastle Motel, which was also feeling the pinch.
On 27 October 1975, the Fort Harrison Hotel was purchased by Southern Land Sales and Development Corporation for $2.3 million hard cash, and a few days later the corporation acquired the bank building for $550,000. Then a spokesman for the United Churches of Florida stepped up to say that his organization was to be leased the buildings to hold ecumenical seminars for laymen of all faiths. Jack Tar Hotels were still puzzled when they were not even given a telephone number by the mysterious Southern Land Sales organization. They were soon to discover that both it and United Churches of Florida were fronts for the Church of Scientology.
Part of the plan in acquiring the new headquarters in Florida was to provide a 'dormant Corp' into which the assets and cash of the Church of Scientology of California could be siphoned off should they be
seized or wiped out by the IRS in California, which still controlled the purse-strings. Another purpose was to provide a 'Flag Land Base' which would take over the functions of the harassed *Apollo*.
There was another policy which was the brain-child of the new Guardians' Office. This was to establish the credibility of United Churches with opinion leaders in the local community. A directive ordered Scientologists to 'locate opinion leaders - then their enemies. the dirt, scandal, vested interests, crimes of the enemies...then turn this information over to UC who will approach the opinion leader and get his agreement to look into a specific subject....UC then discovers the scandal and turns it over to the opinion leader for his use.' An actual example was given of an enemy of one mayor who was a secret child-molester in the local park: the UC would demand a 'clean up the park campaign' which would just happen to disclose this dirt. This information would then be handed to the mayor on a plate. With friends like that, you might ask, what opinion leader needed enemies?
This ploy rebounded rather badly on the Church of Scientology. Clearwater's Mayor, Gabriel Cazares, was none too impressed by the secrecy of the 'United Churches' operation. 'I am discomfited by the increasing visibility of security personnel armed with billyclubs and mace, employed by the United Churches of Florida,' said the Mayor. 'I am unable to understand why this degree of security is required by a religious organization.'
On 28 January 1976, Arthur J. Maren of the Church of Scientology arrived in Clearwater and announced that the church was the real buyer of the Fort Harrison Hotel. The Church of Scientology did not wish to overshadow the good intentions of the United Churches, said Mr Maren. A public meeting was held at which the Church of Scientology outlined its high moral principles. But concealed behind this velvet voice was the steely intention to silence Mayor Cazares. On 6 February, just over a week after Maren came to town, a $1 million lawsuit was filed against the Mayor for libel, slander and violation of the church's civil rights. It didn't stop there. Behind the scenes a memo was circulating among Scientologists. It read: 'SITUATION: set of entheta (unfavourable) articles connection UC and LRH breaking now in Flag area papers. WHY: Unhandled enemies; possible plant and out-security. HANDLED: Collections and ops underway on reporters Orsini, Sableman and Snyder (radio broadcaster). Results of ops not in yet...'
The operations consisted of smear-tactics against the journalists who had been investigating the Church of Scientology. 'Operation
Bunny Bust' directed against reporter Bette Orsini of the *St Petersburg Times* consisted of planting allegations that her husband was involved in fraud activities in the charity for which he worked. There was no substance in these allegations. Indeed, they had the opposite effect. The newspapers filed a suit to prevent the church from harassing their reporters and strengthened their resolve to expose as much of the Church of Scientology's activities as possible. It was not until several years later that the documents emerged which showed conclusively that the smear-campaigns were authorized and directed by the Church of Scientology; otherwise they might have been explained as over-zealous conduct by paranoid Scientologists coming ashore from the *Apollo*, which had landed at Daytona Beach. Another suggestion was that dirt might be procured on the Chairman of the *St Petersburg Times* by tapping his servants. But the most vicious campaign was that directed at Mayor Cazares.
The first step in the campaign was a letter which purported to be from one of the Mayor's supporters and was sent to downtown businesses, especially the Jewish ones. 'God bless the Mayor' it began and went on to congratulate Cazares on his stand against Scientology, concluding: 'What we should do is make sure no more undesirables move into Clearwater. We kept the Miami Jews from turning beautiful Clearwater into Miami Beach. The blacks are decent and know their place...' That was just for starters. The next ploy was to infiltrate a forged document into a Mexican licence bureau which would 'prove' that Cazares was bigamously married to his present wife. Mrs Cazares was thus drawn into the tangled web. 'We'd been married twenty-nine years. Suddenly I was getting all kinds of mysterious phone-calls: girls calling "Is Gabe there?", telling me there's something personal between "he and me". Asking me if I knew where - "Do you know where Gabe is now?" - Things like that, you know.'
There was no end to the attempts to silence Gabriel's horn. In February 1976 the possibility of trawling Cazares' school records was being looked into. A few weeks later they schemed to present him as pro-Castro to the many Cuban exiles who live in Florida. The darkest operation yet was mounted in March 1976 when the Mayor went to Washington for a national conference of mayors. He was met by Joseph Alesi posing as a reporter and was introduced to Sharon Thomas who offered to show him Washington. As Cazares and Thomas were driving along, she hit a pedestrian (Church of Scientology agent Mike Meisner who feigned injury) and drove on. Following the hit-and-run 'accident', a church memo gleefully recorded 'I
should think the Mayor's political days are at an end'. That was a very real possibility, for Cazares was by this time a Democratic candidate for the congressional seat held by Republican representative Bill Young.
Over lunch, Young's administrative assistant was offered information which could damage Cazares' campaign by a Church of Scientology PR official. He refused the offer. So on 12 July, 'Operation Keller' went into action to 'create havoc and political decay for Cazares', Fake letters from 'Sharon T.' were mailed to political leaders in Pinellas County stating that Cazares had been involved in a hit-and-run accident in Washington. Cazares asked the FBI to investigate. Meanwhile, Young received a letter saying that the 'Sharon T.' letter was really authorized by the Cazares campaign in an attempt to implicate him in dirty tricks. Let us just recap that sequence since it almost defies credibility. The Guardians' Office of Scientology faked a hit-and-run accident implicating Cazares and leaked this information to his opponents, then wrote to these opponents double-bluffing them into thinking that Cazares had faked it in order to discredit them. Iago was a goody-goody compared to this lot.
In October, church agent Dick Weigand reported to his boss, Mo Budlong: 'A recent poll conducted by the *Clearwater Sun* received phoney responses from the public, generated covertly, which showed that his (Cazares') opponent had a crushing lead on him.' On 3 November 1976 a triumphant memo from Joe Lisa to Duke Snider recorded that Cazares had been defeated in the congressional race as a result of Guardian Order 398 - an operation to create strife between Cazares and the city commission; to place a church agent in his campaign organization to cause problems ('spreading rumours in his camp').
It was not the first nor the last time that infiltration had been practised by the Church of Scientology. Meisner was currently running agent 'Silver' (alias Gerald Bennett Wolfe) who had been employed as a clerk-typist at the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) since 1974. *Femme fatale* Sharon Thomas had got a job at the Justice Department in January 1976 at Meisner's instigation. Back at 'Flag' in Clearwater, there was also a plant in the *Clearwater Sun* newspaper office: June Byrne who had been undercover at the AMA (American Medical Association) and now was feeding the church daily reports on the anti-Scientology activities of the paper. On 17 March 1976 she reported that Assistant City Editor Tom Coat was taking a Scientology course at the Tampa mission under cover as a freelance photographer. Coat
was exposed by the church who issued a Press release and followed it with a $250,000 lawsuit against Coat and the *Sun*. June Byrne duly reported that Coat had heard about the lawsuit on his car radio and had appeared in the office in a state of severe shock.
All this activity by the Guardians' Office did not win respectability for the Church of Scientology; nor did it win the war of words. But if it did not achieve a truce, it was at least partly effective in securing a ceasefire from many of the church's opponents. Broadcaster [Job Snyder of the WDCL radio station was fired after a $5 million lawsuit was threatened against the station for anti-Scientology broadcasts he was making. The station reinstated him but with a proviso that he did not discuss Scientology on the air.
The church's libel action against Cazares was dismissed by Judge Ben Krentzmann in Tampa in the spring of 1977 and it later dropped two other lawsuits and Cazares withdrew *his* suit against the church. The *Clearwater Sun* had planned a book on Scientology but this did not appear. The *St Petersburg Times* did not pursue its lawsuit in order to protect the slender financial resources of the Easter Seal Society, the charity for which reporter Bette Orsini's husband worked, which would have been drawn into the case. However, the *St Petersburg Times* did publish a 25c booklet which details most of the events which have just been described. They were able to do so when many of the 48,149 internal Church of Scientology documents which were seized in an FBI raid in 1977 on the Washington org, were made public and nine senior Scientologists were sent to jail.
Books about Scientology have a greater permanency than newspaper articles and therefore it should not come as a surprise that vigorous smear-campaigns have been conducted against the authors of such investigations. The first book to run foul of the church was *The Scandal of Scientology* by journalist Paulette Cooper, which was written in 1971. To try to silence her, the Church of Scientology cooked up a scheme to steal some of her stationery and make it appear that she had sent them two bomb threats. One of the forgeries read: 'James, this is the last time I'm warning you. I don't know why I'm doing this but you're all out to get me and I'll give you one week before Scientology is an exploding volcano. I'll knock you out if my friends won't.' The Scientologists themselves then called in the police and as a result Paulette Cooper was arrested and indicted on three counts, facing up to fifteen years in jail if convicted. She told the '60 Minutes' television programme in April 1980: 'The whole ordeal fighting these
charges took eight months. I t cost me $19,000 in legal fees. I went into such a depression. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't write. I went down to 83 pounds. Finally I took and passed a sodium pentothal - or truth serum - test and the Government dropped the charges against me in 1975.' Further tactics were to write her phone number and obscene graffiti on walls in New York City where she lives, and put her name on pornographic mailing lists.
When the Clearwater scandal broke and she was booked to appear in Florida at broadcaster Snyder's invitation, the church decided to 'handle' its old nemesis in a new operation entitled 'Freakout'. Its goal was 'to get P.C. incarcerated in a mental institution or jail or at least hit her so hard that she drops her attacks'. Phase one involved telephone threats to Arab consulates by a voice impersonator (Ms Cooper is Jewish). Phase two, sending a threatening letter along the old bomb-hoax lines to such a consulate. Phase three, an impersonator would publicly threaten the President and Henry Kissinger while another Scientologist would tip off the authorities. Phase four, agents who had ingratiated themselves with Cooper (she at one time apparently had a relationship with a Church of Scientology man who was acting as an undercover agent) would help assess the success of the plan and if necessary notepaper bearing her fingerprints would be typed over with a bomb threat to Kissinger.
'Operation Freakout', however, didn't get off the ground. Although she appeared in the television programme in 1980 and at the Clearwater hearing instigated by attorney Michael Flynn, Cooper eventually signed a truce with Scientology and was offered a settlement (*see pages 142-3*). For some of the campaigners, the hassle, the wounds, the possibility that justice may not be done, makes them back off.
Sparkling Clearwater has not forgotten the day the Scientologists came to town. Those initial years when the cargo of frenzied 'Clears' came pouring ashore and began their covert operations against anyone who stood in their way, gave way to a period when the focus of church activity shifted to the West coast. Hubbard was present in Clearwater during the 'United Churches of Florida' ploy, staying at a condominium in Dunedin. He was worried about his health and had with him two personal physicians, Jim Dincalci, who had accompanied him to Washington DC in March 1976, and Kima Douglas. There is no reason to suppose he was not fully aware of all the operations being conducted against opponents. His wife, Mary Sue Hubbard, was responsible for instigating many of them and, as we shall see shortly, her appetite for dirty tricks was not confined to
Clearwater. When the LRH entourage moved away and the local opposition had passed its peak in 1976, Clearwater was still nominally the HQ of Scientology in the USA. It was here that the highest levels of the 'tech' were delivered and therefore it was here that the *creme de la creme* of Scientology's aspiring thetans came to be trained and put through their paces. They stayed in the Fort Harrison with their families or in the Sandcastle Motel and when Hubbard released the 'New Era Dianetics' courses in 1978, it was regarded as the 'top tech terminal'. This event, incidentally, was known as The Year of Technical Breakthroughs, and in org-speak as 'NOTS A.D.28'.
My own visit to Flag, as Clearwater is known, took place in a calmer climate. Young families played around in the courtyard of new accommodation at the rear of the Fort Harrison. The auditing rooms buzzed with activity and echoed to accents from all round the globe. Upstairs in the Fort Harrison a careful restoration had taken place of the Crystal Ballroom once used by citizens of Clearwater for big functions and high-school graduations. In a careful piece of fence-mending the Scientologists had not only restored it but had opened it to public hire for functions. And a good job they have made too. The Robert Adam style elliptical room with its pink carpet woven in Ulster at $32 per square yard is justifiably the pride and joy of Karen Valles who showed me round. There was an exhibition on show of work by artists who were Scientologists and much among it that would have no trouble in competing among the best in an open exhibition. The posters of Gottfried Helnwein impressed me greatly and Karen was at pains to point out that HCOBs on the subject of art were used in fostering creativity, 'What LRH did was to lay out "importances" which make it much easier to grasp the appropriate art form.' I mumbled polite assent and we went up to the penthouse which was being refurbished. It overlooks the City Hall in Clearwater, Mayor Cazares' old perch. His successor, Mayor (Mrs) Kathy Kelly, enjoys a less hostile relationship with the Church of Scientology but it is still not without its prickly areas.
In September 1984. in the week in which I visited Clearwater, the city had just announced proposed regulations which would clear the downtown area of tax-exempt organizations - among which the Church of Scientology, as a religious foundation, numbered significantly. Eight of Scientology's ten properties in the town were in that area. It would have moved the ground literally from under the Church's feet in Florida. A spokesman for Clearwater City denied
that the proposal was aimed specifically at the Church of Scientology. He said that Clearwater needed tax dollars to develop downtown and that these were not forthcoming from tax-exempt organizations.
It was not the first time the city had moved to rid itself of the Scientologists. In spring 1982 it invited Boston attorney Michael Flynn, scourge of Scientology in the United States, to present a series of hearings on the church. For five days a series of witnesses, including Cazares, Paulette Cooper and Hubbard's estranged son Ronald (alias DeWolf), testified to the blacker side of the Church of Scientology. The church declined to participate since it argued it could not cross-examine the witnesses and could only put its case after Flynn had poisoned the ground. The five days were effectively used by Flynn and despite the cost of $160,000 for the hearings he left the Clearwater authority a blueprint with which to eradicate Scientology from its doorstep.
The city began by putting pressure on the Church of Scientology to grant refunds to dissatisfied clients. But by far the most controversial move was the proposed Clearwater 'Charitable Solicitation Ordinance' which would enable the authorities to regulate the activities of any such organization collecting more than $10,000 annually. Flag, one-time jewel in the Scientology crown, earned the Church of Scientology a thousand times that amount. The Scientologists appealed against the ordinance to the courts on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment to the US Constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion. Judge Jovachivech at first saw it that way too, but she changed her mind four months later and held that the proposed ordinance was indeed constitutional and advised both sides that they could appeal. That is where the case was in 1986 (along with many others involving the Church of Scientology and its opponents) in a legal limbo that drags on from year to year.
Another move by the city administrators was to hold a referendum to approve a Bay Front Development which would gobble up the Sandcastle Motel. The city has not forgiven nor forgotten the events of 1976, despite vigorous efforts by officials of the Church of Scientology to make amends.
As I walked from the Fort Harrison to the Sandcastle Motel with Public Affairs Director, former lawyer Richard ('Rich') Haworth, we stopped at a pedestrian crossing with no cars in sight. I was about to proceed but he waited quietly for the green light to show. He explained that he and other Scientologists now have to be extra diligent in observing the law, 'We live in a goldfish bowl here. If a Scientologist
is walking down the street wearing socks of different colours, then somebody will notice.'
As we swam up and down the Sandcastle Motel swimming-pool and youthful Scientologists resident for courses walked round, Rich Haworth explained to me why being a Scientologist was important to him. 'In the day that the button is to be pushed, it's important that the guy is a "Clear", then it will only be pushed in a way that is unavoidable. It's basically survival that we're talking about. I can do more for the survival of the planet by being here in the Church of Scientology Public Affairs Department than practising law. It's dying with your boots on rather than being a spectator. Spectatorism is rampant in the media and people adopt "I don't have an opinion" as a way of life. Flynn's products are destruction and death. He doesn't put anything in place of what he's destroying. Handling Flynn is counter-productive,' Rich Haworth continued. 'The main show is what is going to improve people and that is the show we're going to keep on the road. We have a number of improved people working in society to improve it. That's what we're about.'
Would even arch-enemy Flynn be capable of redemption, I cheekily asked. 'Yes,' said Rich with a smile, 'but an individual's improvement depends on the overts he's committed and Flynn would have a long way to audit. Scientologists can pick themselves up by their bootstraps but if it weren't for the integrity of what LRH did we couldn't do that. One of the real tragedies of psychology is Situation Ethics and people get lost in a conflicting mass of ideas of what is right and wrong. Whereas LRH says if your action does the greatest good for the greatest number of Dynamics then it's right.' I seemed to recall that it was John Stuart Mill who said it, not Hubbard, and that it was called Utilitarianism.
Back at lunch in the Fort Harrison (a rather indifferent selection of salads at high prices), I was introduced to two Class XII auditors, the top-rank supervisors of the 'tech'. They both had somewhat intense stares and as they seemed to use their eyeballs rather more than their tongues, lunch was not a coruscating display of wit and wisdom. The only drop of blood I managed to squeeze out of these stony stares was from John Eastment, who has a masters degree in Electrical Engineering. What were the kind of things that auditing could solve, I asked, and was told that if there was a marital problem it could be chased back to source. Example? Bloop, bloop went the eyes. Apparently if the wife had burnt the toast and her husband had shouted at her, that could be an engram that was choking the relationship. It would have
to be audited out. We finished lunch with me reflecting that it was no wonder that people ran up so many hours of costly auditing trying to get a little back-chat from Class XII auditors.
On the way out of the Fort Harrison I was permitted to peek into a room where the personal folders are kept, containing all the secrets disclosed during auditing. The confessions, the guilty responses squeezed out during 'Sec Checks' were all there. Security is very tight, Rich explained. No one but your personal auditor and case supervisor would be allowed to see the contents of one of these folders. 'The secrets of the auditing room are as sacrosanct as the secrets of the confession box.'
In the evening it was time for a film-show in the Fort Harrison. A tape-slide presentation of the life of L. Ron Hubbard was showing and I was seated in the back row. Childhood pictures of Ron were shown as the legends about him were regailed by the narrator. 'I'm not like the other kids, not me, you bet at all,' he wrote in a song at the age of sixteen, ''cos my dad's a naval man.' As a Scout he met the President of the US, Calvin Coolidge, we were told, and was disappointed he had to go to the President and not the other way around. He noted that the President had a limp handshake. 'I was the only Scout to have made the President wince,' noted Ron in his diary, which is strangely the only document to have recorded the meeting. In Guam, when a youth in 1928, his red hair attracted stares from the natives. Then he was told that everyone who had red hair was made a king. He recorded himself in his diary as 'H.M. the Duke of Guam'. Such blatant immodesty was presented in such a way that the person already devoted to Hubbard would smile indulgently with the benefit of hindsight at these glimpses of destiny granted to the hero.
The tape-slide show ended with Ron signing off in a somewhat final manner in a message recorded in Las Palmas in 1967: 'I have borne it too long alone....I need your help...Goodbye for now. I will see you at the line at the other end of the Bridge....' This message was made at a time when Ron was supposed to have relinquished control over Scientology. As we have seen, it was not so at that time. He was supposed to be in seclusion so that he could devote himself to writing and this is still the answer given to those who enquire why he disappeared from view in 1980.
After the film-show I chatted to an old salt, Wally Burgess from Australia, who has been a Scientologist since 1954 and voyaged on the *Apollo*. He was tough, weatherbeaten and bald. The hour was late but he was there in uniform as if the Fort Harrison and 'Flag' were still at
sea and he was on watch. The hooded eyes watched me shrewdly. 'The greatest single difficulty we have is in stating the man's [LRH] abilities in such a way that people will listen. He's such a smart fella,' said Wally the Aussie. 'We probably err in trying to pass on too much to the uninitiated. You've gotta approach it on a gradient that he can accept. When I began in 1954 I could never have accepted my present understanding of what he has achieved.' This all-will-be-revealed-when-you're-ready approach enhances the mystique for many. But it also explains why there are so many pleasant and apparently open people within Scientology.
Breakfast at the Sandcastle Motel with Rich Haworth was memorable for three things. First, the splendid sensation of breakfasting alfresco overlooking the Clearwater harbour. Secondly, the waffles dripping with maple syrup which I ordered with my mixed grill. Third, the curious little note which came with the bill. It was a score-sheet for our attractive waitress. I did not have to mark her feminine attributes but her performance as a waitress out of ten. This, Rich Haworth explained, was standard throughout Scientology. Everyone is assessed on their performance and it is a measure of their effectiveness in following the 'tech'. Mission holders and auditors are assessed on how many people they are 'flowing up the Bridge'. Their 'stats' can be written in dollars and figures, but a waitress needs another objective measure. My subjective assessment would be added to that of others and constitute her 'stats' for performance purposes. Rich gave her a score of ten. After such a breakfast could I do anything but follow his lead? However, when we then went up to my room I found an assessment sheet from the maid asking me to give her some stats. The room seemed tidy but, alas, the toilet remained unflushed. I jokingly remarked that it was good to find Scientological maids were as imperfect as others. 'Tell her why,' said Rich earnestly. 'She'd appreciate that.' Whether or not my reminder about the toilet-bowl helped my room-maid to edge an inch further to the state of 'Clear', I have no idea, but I departed sparkling Clearwater with a flat feeling.
My courteous host was within the week promoted from Public Affairs to an executive post at 'Flag', then within a month was transferred to the Los Angeles HQ where his expertise as a lawyer would presumably come in handy since the Church of Scientology was rumoured to be spending in excess of $1.5 million a month in legal fees during 1984. As in the case of members of the armed services, he was given a posting.
Staff members in Scientology are like Navy personnel at sea. They are on call for duty at all hours without overtime and the hours are often long. A typical day is 9.15 a.m to 11 p.m. While every effort is made to post husbands and wives to the same org, they can spend months with several thousand miles between them as they fulfil their duties. While it is as hierarchical as the Navy on which it is modelled, the Sea Org could never be accused of transgressing Equal Rights for Women. Scientology is probably unique in the proportion of women in influential posts. Prime among them is Hubbard's wife, Mary Sue, who competed with her husband in the invention of bigger and better dirty tricks when she headed the Guardians' Office.
Although Rich Haworth and his colleagues in Public Affairs presented a most acceptable face of Scientology, the documents do not lie. The documents in question were among the 48,149 removed from Church of Scientology premises in Los Angeles and Washington on 8 July 1977 by FBI agents. They showed an amazingly successful campaign to infiltrate government agencies, place disinformation and gather blackmail material on both enemies and on their own agents. In retrospect the arrests and convictions which followed have been portrayed as the bringing to book of a few black sheep who had strayed in attempting to counteract false reports which the Government harboured in opposing Scientology. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was the Church of Scientology which was charged with inserting false reports in these agencies. The eleven conspirators indicted were the top rank of the Guardians' Office, the senior people in administering Hubbard's 'tech', and included his own wife.
The blueprint for this campaign was written by Mary Sue Hubbard on 16 December 1969. It is Guardian Order (GO)121669. Here are some excerpts: 'MAJOR TARGET: To use any and all means to detect any infiltration, double-agent or disaffected staff member, Scientologist or relatives of Scientologists and by any and all means to render null any harm such may have rendered Scientology....To establish intelligence files on all such persons...to make full use of all files on the organization to effect your major target. These include personnel files, Ethics files, dead files, central files, training files, PROCESSING FILES and requests for refunds' [my caps]. This document concludes: 'This is a continuing program on which projects will be issued from time to time.' It was signed MARY SUE HUBBARD. This was the foundation-stone on which the Operations against Cazares and the others were built. But once it had been operating for a few years, there were many things done in its furtherance which broke the law.
Any evidence linking the Hubbards to these activities was potential dynamite. To counteract it, several 'Operations' were developed. The first of these, 'Operation Snow White', was prepared by Hubbard himself while in hiding in an apartment in Queens, NY City with Jim Dincalci in 1973 while he was feeling ill and keeping low from the possibility of extradition to face the French anti-Church of Scientology case. By 1977 there were three others. The first of these was an early-warning system which would alert the Guardians to any attempt to indict or file a suit against Hubbard personally and which would raise his 'level of personal security immediately very high', i.e. enable him to dodge the authorities. The early-warning system was to be activated by any of the various agents of the Guardians planted in various government agencies including the IRS. There was also 'Operation Bulldozer Leak' which was designed to use these same agents to spread the rumour that Hubbard was no longer in charge of or responsible for the doings of the Church of Scientology. But by far the biggest parcel of dynamite was the 'Red Box system' introduced on 25 March 1977. The Red Box in question was a container at all orgs which was to be removed by a designated person in the event of a raid. Red Box material was defined as: '(a) Proof that a Scientologist is involved in criminal activities; (b) anything illegal that incriminates MSH/LRH (the Hubbards).' Also included were details about any operations against government groups or persons, or which contained illegal activities and the details of confidential financial accounts Among those 48,149 documents was a lot of Red Box material.
The events which led up to the FBI raid were straight out of the Watergate scenario and became known as 'Silvergate'. In 1976 the Church of Scientology had used its agent 'Silver' inside the IRS to obtain several intelligence flies on celebrities, politicians and big names. This originated in GO 1361 dated 4 January 1976, but it has never been made clear whether the purpose of gathering these files was to embarrass the IRS by making them public or to use them against the people concerned. Among the files stolen were those on California Governor Edmund Brown; Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley and his wife; singer Frank Sinatra and actor John Wayne, among others. The Deputy Guardian (Information) Dick Weigand sent the files to Deputy Guardian (US) Henning Heldt who returned them as they were 'too hot to have in my files'.
In March 1976 Guardian agent Mike Meisner (fresh from being 'run over' by Sharon Thomas's car in Rock Creek Park, Washington), met agent Gerald Bennett Wolfe, who was undercover as 'Silver' in the
IRS building at 1111 Constitution Ave, Washington NY. They entered the building in the evening and flashed Wolfe's ID card at the security man. Inside, they forced open the door of the room used to produce ID cards. While Meisner thumbed through the book of instructions for the photographic machine, Wolfe typed fictitious names on four blank cards and they made themselves fake ID cards, two for each of them. Meisner took the false name of 'John Foster'. Then they vanished into the night. In April the two men returned to the office of Thomas Crate, an auditor who had tax records of LRH and MSH, but found the door locked and persuaded a suspicious cleaning lady to open it. She obliged on two other occasions while they photocopied the files before returning them to Crate's office.
Meanwhile, Sharon Thomas was now in place in the Justice Department where she had obtained a job as secretary to attorney Paul Figley who dealt with Freedom of Information Act cases. (The Church of Scientology was currently pursuing an FOI lawsuit against the Energy Research and Development Administration and she was churning out photocopies of correspondence and other material to pass to her bosses in the GO.)
The Guardians were pretty pleased with themselves. However, disaster struck on 11 June. Meisner and Wolfe were sitting in the library of the US Courthouse at the foot of Capitol Hill, waiting for the cleaners to vacate the office of Nathan Dodell, an old Church of Scientology foe whose personal file they were after in order to devise an operation to remove him as Assistant US Attorney for the District of Columbia. But a suspicious librarian summoned a couple of FBI agents and the two Guardians soon found themselves explaining to Special Agent Christine Hansen that they had been in the library to do legal research and to use the photocopy machine. Meisner asked if they were under arrest and when she said no, they left.
Meisner flew to California the next day to report to the Guardians' Office who decided that a rescue operation should be mounted. The cover-up operation was planned in Los Angeles at the offices of the Guardians in Fifield Manor. After reading Meisner's report, Guardians Heldt and Snider were of the opinion that Wolfe and Meisner should be spirited away beyond the reach of the FBI. Then they would not have to face charges and the matter would be closed. Dick Weigand argued that, on the contrary, it would spur the FBI to look more closely into the affairs of the Guardians' Office. He put forward a plan which involved Wolfe's pleading guilty to possessing a false ID, and invented a false cover story. 'John Foster', Wolfe would
say, was someone he had met for a few drinks in a bar and who offered to teach him how to undertake legal research. While pursuing this ploy, and under the influence of alcohol, they had seen the room in the Courthouse in which ID cards were made and had entered and made themselves the cards for a 'lark'. Since they had only met in the bar, Wolfe was unable to contact Foster again and did not know where he lived. Once Wolfe was given a minor sentence, Meisner could appear and plead guilty. That way the Church of Scientology would not be brought into matters at all.
Thus on 14 June, Weigand's secretary Janet Finn came to Meisner's motel room in Los Angeles, cut his hair, dyed it, shaved off his moustache and arranged for him to have soft contact lenses fitted. Suitably disguised, he slipped undercover and moved into Weigand's apartment. Back in Washington, Wolfe made sure that any mention of Meisner in the Guardians' Orifice was removed from the files. Wolfe was arrested on 30 June by Christine Hansen and duly told his version of the cover story. On 28 July 1976 Wolfe appeared before a magistrate who bound him over for action by the Grand Jury. However, to the consternation of the Guardians, a few days later on 5 August a warrant was issued for the arrest of one Michael Meisner.
Weigand was mystified how the FBI knew Meisner's true identity. He could only speculate in a report to Guardian supremo, Mary Sue Hubbard, that the FBI had located his former apartment house and shown his photo to a neighbour. He suggested several courses of action: further disguise for Meisner and the possibility of moving him out of the country. Mary Sue Hubbard replied: 'On getting him abroad, unless you have a good ID for him different than his own, it might be dangerous. He would better be "lost" in some large city where it would be difficult to find him.' Would it be possible to get Meisner an alibi she asked Weigand, in a letter dated 18 September. Weigand pointed out there would be difficulties. It would come down to 'our word against two FBI agents, cleaners and guards plus handwriting experts...fingerprint experts.' In a letter of 22 September, he favoured getting Meisner out of the country for five years until the statute of limitations had expired (an erroneous assumption as it turned out). He added ominously, 'There would be attempts to get him to turn or otherwise implicate us or others in various wrong-doings.' But Meisner was having none of it. He did not want to leave the country. He was becoming restive and missing his wife and children. Mary Sue Hubbard suggested a cold-blooded alternative which involved portraying Meisner as jealous of his wife's productivity
within the Church of Scientology, implying that he had organized the burglary in a fit of jealous pique. Clearly Meisner was expendable in an effort to avoid the Church of Scientology taking responsibility for agents acting under its instructions.
A trail was also laid by the Guardians using one of their Scientologists who was a lieutenant in the San Diego Police Force. Lt. Warren Young requested information regarding the arrest-warrant for Meisner from the National Crime Information Center computer. When Special Agent Christine Hansen ordered an investigation into why San Diego were interested, Lt. Young informed the FBI that he had arrested Meisner the previous day on a traffic offence. Although in fact Meisner had never been to San Diego, the FBI were diverted by following the false trail and Weigand remarked with satisfaction that this 'can't help but help us, while dispersing their investigation'. But the FBI hounds were following several real scents as well as the false one. The Washington Church of Scientology was served with a Grand Jury subpoena for all the personnel records of Michael Meisner on 8 October. They began to burrow and the Grand Jury case dragged on through the winter months. The Guardians several times considered plans to turn Meisner in and hope for a light sentence and an end to the investigation.
During this period Meisner had been moved around motels and lodgings under false names and the strain was beginning to tell. He began to threaten that unless the Wolfe case was settled soon he would surrender. In April 1977, Guardian Henning Heldt issued an order to restrain Meisner and to hold him against his will if he attempted to escape. The Guardians had moved from their role as protectors to one of captors. They had added kidnap to their crimes.
On 1 May, Michael Meisner was told he was to be moved to another apartment. He refused and was bound, gagged and forced into a waiting car and taken to an apartment at 3219 Descanso Drive in Los Angles and kept there. Eventually in an attempt to relax his captors he agreed to co-operate. His guards were sufficiently relaxed by the end of a month and on 29 May he escaped in a cab and took a Greyhound bus to Las Vegas. From there he telephoned Jim Douglass at the Los Angeles HQ and a meeting was arranged for the next day. The Guardians pressured Meisner to return to Los Angeles and after a meal at Canter's Restaurant he was returned to Descanso Drive.
Meanwhile, the scheduled appearance of agent Silver before the Grand Jury took place on 10 June in Washington, and 'Silvergate' moved into another level of criminality. During cross-examination
Wolfe stated several facts he knew to be false and the following exchange took place:
Q: Now did you know Mr Foster by any other name? Wolfe: No, I didn't.
Q: You only knew him by John Foster? Wolfe: Right.
He made these statements when he knew not only the full name and whereabouts of Michael Meisner but who was hiding him.
When the news of Wolfe's Grand Jury appearance crossed to the coast where Meisner was being held, now at an apartment on South Verdugo in Glendale, he made his second attempt to 'blow', this time a successful one. He took two buses to a bowling-alley to evade pursuit and telephoned Assistant Attorney Garey Stark in Washington DC offering to surrender. Within two hours three FBI agents were at the bowling-alley and Meisner was soon on his way to Washington by plane. In order to lull the Guardians into a false sense of security, a letter was dispatched from Meisner (postmarked San Francisco) to Guardian Brian Andrus which stated that he was lying low for a couple of weeks because he needed time to be by himself. The steely response of the top Guardian Mary Sue Hubbard in a communique to Heldt was typical: 'I frankly would not waste Bur I resources looking for him but would instead utilize resources to figure out a way to defuse him should he turn traitor.'
A week after Meisner had surrendered to the authorities, the strike against the Church of Scientology came suddenly and swiftly. At 6 a.m. on 8 July 1977, 134 FBI agents armed with search-warrants and sledgehammers broke into Fifield Manor, the Guardians' HQ in Los Angeles, and simultaneously into the Washington org. Their haul of documents formed the basis of the case which led a Grand Jury on 15 August to indict eleven Guardians - from Mary Sue Hubbard at the top to Sharon Thomas at agent level. Among the eleven were Henning Heldt, Duke Snider and Gerald Bennett Wolfe (alias 'Silver'). But two Guardian chiefs slipped through the net: Jane Kember, Head of the GO Worldwide, and her deputy, Morris ('Mo') Budlong, fled to England.
It took two years to bring the verdict in on the other nine and the sentencing memorandum on the fugitives Kember and Budlong was dated 16 December 1980. During the period between arrest and sentencing, the Scientologists were appealing and wriggling to justify their actions. Kember and Budlong resisted extradition from England
and appealed to the House of Lords. Throughout the process they argued that the Guardians had been tempted into taking their actions because of a long-standing persecution of Scientology by government agencies. Their actions were part of a 'False Report Correction Program' which was to locate false charges against Scientology being held in government files and to eliminate or correct these. Many of these reports, the Church of Scientology contended, were originated by Interpol and spread through its network and unable to be checked or corrected. But the documents seized by the FBI told a very different and sordid story. Many of the documents detailed the special 'drills' used to train a Guardian. 'Intelligence Specialist Training Routine TR-L' trained the student 'how to outflow false data effectively' - in other words, how to lie. The student was supposed to initiate a falsehood upon which he or she would be interrogated. Blinking, looking away when answering or fumbling a response, were all greeted by 'flunk' from the coach and the exercise began over again until 'he/she can lie facilely'. The document gives an example:
Q: Where do you come from?
Student: I come from the Housewives' Committee on Drug Abuse.
Q: But you said earlier that you were single?
Student: Well, actually I was married but I am divorced. I have two kids in the suburbs where I'm a housewife. In fact, I'm a member of the PTA.
Q: What town is that you live in? Student: West Brighton.
Q: But there is no public school in West Brighton.
Student: I know. I send my children to school in Brighton and that's where I'm a PTA member...
Lying was only one of the Guardians' tricks. In a memo of 17 October 1971, Kathy Gregg outlines the twelve steps for a 'strike' ('gathering information on a covert basis'). In May 1974, Deputy Guardian Worldwide, Mo Budlong, had refined this into a manual of 'how a professional operates in stealing materials by infiltration or by straight breaking, entering and theft'. This included how to avoid leaving fingerprints and the use of lock-picking devices. In May 1975, the Guardians were concerned with the difference in law between 'breaking and entering' and 'unlawful entry' and one memo frankly states, 'a large proportion, if not the majority of our
high-priority successful collections actions, fail into the category of second-degree burglary, which is a felony'.
While the Guardians claimed that their activities were designed to remove false reports, the documents show otherwise. In a worldwide project dated 16 September 1975, David Gaiman, Deputy Guardian PR W/W, orders the planting of false information in US Security Agency computers 'to hold up American security to ridicule'. The project called for the use of plants to place the information, which would have involved a pedigree cat being placed on record and a sequence of events being planned which would lead to the cat holding a press conference.
The plants in police departments, the IRS, and other government agencies made the Guardians' Office into an amateur espionage agency. Like conventional spies they also developed their escape hatches. 'Project Quaker' dated 9 November 1976 involved setting up a system of safe houses and ready passports so that Guardians wanted by the authorities for questioning could suddenly disappear in such a way that they could not be accused of fleeing prosecution. Since December 1975 there had already been developed an 'early-warning system' using the inside agents to alert the GO to any possible move by the authorities against Scientology and Hubbard in particular. Personal security on Hubbard would then be raised so that he might evade indictment. During the legal process against the eleven GO members, there was a constant fear that Hubbard himself would be implicated. He and his wife Mary Sue separated after the 8 July raid so that he could be distanced from proceedings. In the event, he remained an unindicted co-conspirator.
By far the most sinister and nasty of the GO tricks were practised against those who had been subject to Scientology auditing and whose loyalty to the 'org' had to be ensured. These unsuspecting souls had perhaps imagined that the contents of their 'processing folders' were sacrosanct and (as was taught officially) would in no circumstances be revealed to anyone. They had reckoned without GO 121669 issued by Mary Sue Hubbard on 16 December 1969, which was concerned with the detection of double agents infiltrated into Scientology by the Government or with disaffected Scientologists who might supply information to the authorities. As quoted earlier, it included the following operating targets: 'To make full use of all files on the organization to effect your major target. These include personnel files, Ethics files, dead files, central files, training files, PROCESSING FILES and requests for refunds.' [my caps]. As we have seen, many of the
questions asked during auditing touch areas which are intensely personal. 'Engrams', in popular language, might be described as 'hang-ups'. 'Overts' are acts about which one can be expected to feel guilty. Add to these the self-confessed crimes and guilty acts elicited during a 'Sec-Check' and you have the stuff of which emotional blackmail can be made. It was precisely to this area that the Guardians' attention was turned. Michael Meisner was audited sometimes for four hours per day during his eleven months as a fugitive and this information, detailing all his weak points, was found in the documents culled in the raid.
That was just the tip of the iceberg. One file culled in January 1977 from the records of someone who was feeding information about the infiltration used by the GO contains many purple passages. His use of drugs, his *menage a trois* with his wife and another man in bed together and his forgery of a cheque are all detailed together with his sexual habits and his hang-ups about the size of his penis. His second wife's personal details are then detailed in a separate memo. Both this man (IH) and his wife (K) had given incriminating evidence to the IRS about Scientology and the GO officer summarizing his case concludes: 'This guy sure looks like a plant to me', adding ominously, 'There are a lot of strings to pull on this guy.'
Where no files existed on their enemies, the Guardians would resort to other tricks. Smear-tactics were one of these and there are various drills to help their operatives execute a successful smear. 'Take into account effectiveness, security, legality, workability etc when making your decisions. Choose which basic plan is best', reads the instruction at the head of a sheet in which various scenarios are laid out. Options include calling the enemy's boss and telling him that the man is homosexual, harassing him with threatening phone calls in the middle of the night and spreading false rumours about him. One example concerns a teacher who got a Scientology grant cancelled and is causing trouble for the Church of Scientology. The options for dealing with her are as follows: '(1) Cleverly kidnap her and run reverse processes on her while implanting the phrase "I will never attack Scientology again. I love Scientology." (2) Get copies of the court records where she was found guilty of child-molesting and send a copy to the school principal, Board of Education and a few parents. (3) Send a male PSM in on her who, after she falls in love with him, will get her to move out of the country with him. (4) Pay ten of her students to write dirty phrases about her on the schoolroom blackboard.' These are the only options offered. (Reverse processes are implanting 'engrams' during
auditing instead of removing them. It is strictly against the official ethics codes of Scientology and is equivalent to a psychotherapist implanting a neurosis in a patient for spite.)
Other wild schemes involved connecting a bishop opposed to the Church of Scientology to pornographic activities, poisoning a newspaper editor or, more humanely, putting itching powder in his clothes while he is asleep or telling everyone that he is a Communist. It would all be laughable if it were not the case that these very tactics have been used against dozens of people unlucky enough to have acquired the title 'enemy of Scientology'.
In the early 1970s, sociologist Roy Wallis was completing his research project on Scientology eventually published under the title *The Road to Total Freedom* when he became the victim of the Guardians' paranoia. Ironically the book is now accepted by the Public Affairs office of the Church of Scientology as reasonable and fair (they even loaned me a copy) but at the time an undercover agent was sent to Stirling University where Wallis then taught. Posing as a student, he attempted to get Wallis to tell him if he was involved in the drug scene. Wallis recognized him from Saint Hill, so the student then changed his story, claiming to be a defector from the Church of Scientology. In 'The Moral Career of a Research Project' (published within *Doing Sociological Research* in 1977) Wallis describes what happened next: 'In the weeks following his visit a number of forged letters came to light, some of which were supposedly written by me. These letters sent to my university employers, colleagues and others, implicated me in a variety of acts from a homosexual love affair to spying for the drug squad. Because I had few enemies and because this attention followed so closely upon the receipt of my paper by the Church of Scientology organization, it did not seem too difficult to infer the source of these attempts to inconvenience me.'
Writers, journalists, politicians, even judges sitting on cases involving the Church of Scientology - no one was immune from the Guardians. The decade of the seventies had begun with the *Apollo* at sea and Hubbard riding high on the crest of a wave of expansion in orgs around the world. When he came ashore in Clearwater, the boom continued and the Guardians had the confidence to act as if they were an alternative CIA. But by the end of the seventies their crimes were beginning to catch up with them. In December 1979 the nine Guardians received sentences ranging from four to five years and had $10,000 fines imposed. Jane Kember and Mo Budlong were
to receive a similar sentence a year later when they were brought back from England to face the music.
It is argued by the Church of Scientology that those responsible for the crimes of the Guardians have been purged from the leadership of the Church of Scientology and the GO has now been abolished. This is perfectly true. Jane Kember ascended the serpentine snake of the Church of Scientology's hierarchy and has descended the ladder of ignominy. She is living in East Grinstead, still a Scientologist but without any position of influence. Mary Sue Hubbard is out of prison and was 'busted' from her posts. On leaving prison, she lived apart from the husband in whose shadow she perpetrated so many of the Guardians' operations. Now a new breed of Young Turks are in charge, but as we shall see, the leopards have not changed their spots.
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