Following the recent blog post about the April 1978 article in the Washington Post from April 1978, I came across this one from May 78 by the same reporter.
Once again, scientology’s own documents indict them (in this case, literally). Though they deny everything, the people who were indicated (including Mary Sue Hubbard) all pled guilty and spent time in Federal prison.
Of course, scientology cannot change it’s modus operandi. As I said in my earlier post, the only reason we don’t have documents today like this today is there has been no raid to gather the evidence of their current operations.
Because this is a fairly long article, I have highlighted some of the most relevant sections.
Last night a spokesman for the Scientologists accused the FBI of “leaking erroneous data” in an effort to influence ongoing court proceedings in which the Scientologists are fighting to have their documents returned.
“They [FBI] are twisting facts to attribute to the church dirty tricks which they [FBI] have specialized in for years, which continues to this day,” the spokesman said. “The Washington Post is allowing itself to be used as a mouthpiece for these lies and half truths.”
The Washington Post reported recently that, according to informed sources, some of the seized Scientology documents indicate that church members staged a bogus hit-and-run accident in Rock Creek Park here in an attempt to compromise a visiting mayor who had opposed the Scientologists in Florida. The Post also reported that, according to those same sources, the church had forged a rough draft of an embarrassing news story under a Florida reporter’s name to undermine his credibility and had faked a bomb threat to frame the author of a book critical of Scientology.
According to both the government affidavit and its inventory of the seized Scientology documents, top Scientology officials were aware of and participated in the campaign to silence critics of Scientology.
These officials, according to the court documents, include Henning Heldt, head of the Church of Scientology’s Guardian Office in this country, and Mary Sue Hubbard, wife of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and the second-ranking person in the Scientology hierarchy.
According to the government affidavit, the Guardian’s Office, one of the two major divisions of the Church of Scientology, is responsible for carrying out covert operations to acquire government documents and “to discredit and remove from positions of power all persons whom the Church considers to be its enemies.”
According to the government inventory of the seized documents, Scientologists gathered information on the personal habits and courtroom conduct of U.S. District Court judges Oliver Gasch, Gerhard A. Gessel, Joseph C. McGarraghy and John J. Sirica, and U.S. Court of Appeals judge Carl McGowan, all of whom have have handled some aspect of cases brought by or against Scientologists here.
Some of the information was obtained from the judges’ private files, according to the inventory. Other bits came from interviews in which Scientologists masqueraded as students or reporters, a tactic that Scientology documents refer to as “suitable guise” interviews.
The material gathered ranges from assessments of the judges’ reactions to various legal tactics to Judge Gasch’s real estate transactions.
The files also include, according to the inventory, a five-page “investigation” of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and references to an acquaintance of Kennedy’s named Helga Wagner.
Kennedy’s spokesman, Tom Southwick, said yesterday that the Scientologists might have been interested in Kennedy because they oppose portions of his criminal code revisions that would allow judges to refer defendants to psychiatrists.
Southwick said the Scientologists might have been interested in Kennedy because they opposed portions of his criminal code revisions that allowed judges to refer defendants to psychiatrists.
The same memo that mentions Kennedy and Helga Wagner, according to the government, also says that “Wagner and Jackie Onassis (sic) have known each other for approximately eight years,” and says that telephone conversation with Onassis to interest her in the church.
A spokesman for the scientologists said the files on the judges “are nothing more than the files which would be maintained on judges in every law office in the United States.”
According to the government inventory, the Scientologists kept extensive files on the American Medical Association, the Better Business Bureau and the American Psychiatric Association, all of which had investigated Scientology or published articles about it.
The Scientologists’ investigation included, according to documents, the infiltration of several Scientologists into the AMA as employees. One, a secretary, had access to meetings of the AMA’s board of directors.
During 1975, confidential AMA documents were leaked to the press by then unknown sources, one of whom was nicknamed “Sore Throat” by the press. The leaked information led to investigations of the AMA by the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Postal Service, several congressional committees, Ralph Nader and the press.
A team of 20 FBI agents has spent weeks cataloging the thousands of Scientology documents. According to the government inventory, they have found file folders and operations with the code names “Billys” Baby” “Vanguard,” “Hunter,” “Fleece,” “Starpoint,” “Amber,” “Pink In,” and ‘Lantern.’
One church document, dated Jan. 20, 1977, is entitled, “The Correct Use of Codes.” There is no further elaboration in the government summary.
The Scientologists kept files on scores of people and dozens of Congressmen, according to the inventory.
In the organization’s files are memos, letters, documents and teletypes, many of them confidential, dealing with intelligence matters involving the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service, the Treasury Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, according to the government inventory. One item seized is a draft of a letter from a former attorney general to a former secretary of the Treasury marked “Not Sent.”
Also there are references in seized Scientology memos to “D.C. Police Plants Debriefs,” and “FDA Plant Debriefs, 1959,” according to the inventory. The “debriefs” notations are references to reports filed by informers for the FDA and D.C. police that Scientologists, according to informed sources.
The government has possession of the organization’s files dealing with several men who were D.C. policemen and with local law firms, including Williams and Connolly, and Feldman, Ginsburg and Bress, according to the inventory. Both have had some connection with Scientology court cases.
The government inventory includes brief descriptions of a number of documents, with words in quotation marks taken directly from the documents, according to the government. In most cases the descriptions are brief, with no elaboration.
The inventory also includes the following:
A one-page confidential executive directive bearing the stamp “highest priority” and dated April 13, 1976, listing agencies “toward which our attack vector should be aimed.” The list includes the State Department, Interpol, the FBI, Post Office, Justice Department, IRS, CIA and Treasury Department.
A one-page document dated Nov. 6, 1975, entitled, “IRS: Zapping Them.”
A four-page memo on obtaining false identification.
A three-page memo on obtaining false birth certificates.
A memo on the “Vetting Hat Addition” which deals with the penetration of non-government organizations and the tapping of phone conversations.
A nine-page report designated priority regarding “Operations on enemies Sableman, Orsini and Bob Snyder.” Reporters with these names wrote stories critical of Scientology.
A seven-page memo dated Dec. 2, 1974, entitled “The Tailing and Following of Agents: What to Do.”
A manila folder entitled Operation Cut Throat containing six documents regarding the infiltration of the Better Business Bureau of Greater St. Louis.
A confidential Better Business Bureau report entitled “The Church of Scientology of Boston.”
Raymond Banoun, an assistant United States Attorney and the chief investigator in the government’s probe into Scientology, declined to elaborate on the church documents beyond what is in the inventory.
Scientologists have contended in court documents, press releases and interviews that they are victims of a 20-year campaign of harassment by the federal government, which is attempting to suppress their religion.
After recent articles in The Post about their alleged activities, scientology spokesmen held rallies and put out news releases announcing that the organization had been “monitoring” government activities in order to find “government illegalities and cover-ups” and make them public.
The spokesmen announced the formation of a new group, American Citizens for Honesty in Government, and called on “every honest government employee” to report improprieties to the “ACHG Ethics Committee.’
Scientology has been the subject of controversy since its founding in the late 1940s. It has been called quackery, and endorsed as a means to peace of mind.
The movement was founded by L. Ron Hubbard, a former science fiction writer who spread his gospel in a best-selling book, “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.’
Scientology professes to be a religion in which people can be “cleared” of troubling experiences through sessions with “auditors” or counselors. Fees for this auditing and courses in the movement’s philosophy can cost thousands of dollars.
Government interest in Scientology files increased last year after a high-ranking organization official, Michael Meisner, began telling the FBI and prosecutors about Scientology covert operations and documents. Meisner had been sought by the FBI in connection with his illegal entry into the U.S. District Courthouse here. He has since become a key government witness and is under protective custody, according to informed sources.
Meisner has told the government that Scientology officials hid him while he was a fugitive and then placed him under 24-hour guard when he tried to return to Washington. At one point, he has said in an affidavit, he was moved from one building to another while handcuffed and gagged.
According to the government inventory of Church documents, a number of top Church officials, including Henning Heldt and Mary Sue Hubbard, talked about Meisner’s situation while he was a fugitive. One memo, found in Heldt’s desk, begins “Dear Mary Sue, Herb is threatening to return to D.C.”
“Herb,” Meisner has sworn, was a code name for him. Other documents, with cross references to Herb and Meisner, confirm that, according to informed sources.
According to Meisner’s sworn statements, organization officials believed it was essential for the operation and security of Scientology to keep detailed records.
Here is an other article from 1984 — even after they were exposed in the seized documents above, prosecuted, pled guilty and went to prison, they continued their operations. The operation described in the article below against Judge Krentzman WAS in fact attempted, but he was not entrapped.
Feds eye alleged sect plot to corrupt U.S. judge
by George Wayne Shelor
January 22, 1984
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa is investigating a suspected 1982 extortion plot by the Church of Scientology to entrap and compromise a Tampa federal judge who presided over a suit against the Clearwater-based sect, a Clearwater Sun investigation has revealed.
The purported plot, which involved an attempt to lure U.S. District Judge Ben Krentzman aboard a boat off the Pinellas Suncoast where prostitutes and drugs were to be used to put the judge in a compromising position, was authorized personally by reclusive Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, confidential sources have told the Sun.
Although U.S. Attorney Robert Merkle would neither confirm nor deny his office is involved in the investigation, Clearwater Police Chief Sid Klein acknowledged Saturday his department has been investigating the activities of the controversial sect.
“The Clearwater Police Department has been conducting an ongoing criminal investigation involving the Church of Scientology,” Klein said. “Pertinent information related to this case has been turned over to a federal agency.” Klein would not, however, discuss the specific nature of his department’s investigation.
Pinellas County Sheriff Gerald Coleman said his department, too, is involved in a criminal investigation of the sect’s activities, “(but) I’m not at liberty to discuss any of the details,” he said.
John G. Peterson, a Beverly Hills, Calif., attorney for the Church of Scientology, dismissed the substance of the story when reached late Saturday.
“Ben Krentzman is a respected judge,” Peterson said. “There is no way we would ever in our wildest imagination dream that Ben Krentzman would get on a boat with drugs and prostitutes.”
And although no law enforcement agencies contacted within the past three weeks would confirm a federal investigation, confidential sources have told the Sun that federal investigators have been in contact in recent weeks with a former high-ranking Scientologist, a witness whose identity is a tightly guarded secret.
The witness, a former officer in Scientology’s “Guardian Office/Watchdog Committee,” became “disenchanted” with the church in recent months and is believed to have details of the plot to entrap Krentzman, according to sources.
The witness reportedly was ordered by Hubbard – through another sect official – to use $250,000 to execute the plan to compromise Krentzman because Scientology officials anticipated an unfavorable ruling in the trial, according to sources.
Prosecutors have reportedly guaranteed the witness protection and immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony which may implicate a number of Church of Scientology officials and others in the reported plot, the Sun has learned.
Although specifics of the plot have not been disclosed, the Sun has confirmed through several sources that it involved the attempt to lure the judge aboard a large boat equipped with drugs, prostitutes and hidden cameras and microphones.
Although the alleged operation was reportedly implemented to a degree, the conspirators were unsuccessful in getting Kretzman aboard the boat, sources said. Krentzman, however, was unaware of the 1982 plot until recently.
Curiously, such a plot was referred to in an edition of a weekly newsletter which circulated publicly in Southern California in December. The newsletter, a copy of which the Sun has obtained, carries no disclaimer as to whom or what organization is responsible for its publication. But the contents of it are decidedly anti-Scientology, revealing many facets of the sect’s operation which, if factual, appear to come from former church insiders.
Contacted at his Clearwater homes Saturday, Judge Krentzman said federal authorities have recently briefed him of impending newspaper storeis about “some wild story,” but he declined to elaborate further.
“I was given notice two or three days ago that something may be in the newspapers,” about the alleged plot, Krentzman said. “I never heard anything about it until just recently.”
Krentzman said he had no “feelings at all” about the developing investigation, and he was reluctant to comment further on a matter on which he is not fully versed.
Although Merkle and other law enforcement officials refused to confirm details of the case, the Sun has learned and confidential sources have confirmed:
Krentzman was the chief judge of Florida’s 32-county Middle District, at the time of his semi-retirement in late 1982. (Federal judges are appointed for life and never actually retire. Upon stepping down, they still draw full salary and may preside over some cases.)
One of Krentzman’s more controversial cases was Tonja C. Burden vs. the Church of Scientology, a long and complicated trial which began in July 1980.
Miss Burden, then 20, filed a $ million suit against the sect to compensate her for alleged mental abuse, brainwashing, imprisonment and fraud, according to public records. Miss Burden said she entered the Church of Scientology with her parents at age 13 and was for a time a “personal slave” to former pulp science fiction writer and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
Miss Burden’s seven years in the sect ended when she fled from the garage of the former Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, the church’s international headquarters.
The church, which has affiliated outlets throughout the world, has headquarters in Clearwater, Los Angeles and Suffolk, England. It claims a worldwide membership of 6 million. A former church official recently estimated the church’s assets at $300 million, a figure investigators have labeled “conservative.”
During the trial, Krentzman ordered the sect to reveal the whereabouts of the reclusive Hubbard, who had not been seen in a number of years. Church officials told Krentzman that Hubbard, who founded the sect in 1954, retired from the organization in 1966 and had no hand in its everyday affairs. They said they did not know where he lived and thereby could not reveal information they did not have.
The Scientologists’ attorneys countered Krentzman’s order by demanding that Krentzman remove himself from the case because the judge’s son, John, had at one time worked for the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office on a Scientology investigation, and Krentzman was thereby prejudiced.
However, sect attorney Peterson said Saturday the church never once sought to have Krentzman removed from the case. “I think somebody is using your paper to get a story going,” he said.
Krentzman refused to step down from the case. And although he went into semi-retirement in November 1982, Krentzman retained jurisdiciton over the Burden trial until November 1983. At that time, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich assumed jurisdiction, according to Tony Cunningham, a Pinellas County attorney representing Miss Burden. The case is unresolved but “is at issue and ready for trial,” Cunningham said.
Also during early 1982, the Clearwater City Commission held a series of public hearings, producing witnesses attensting to the sect’s purported criminal activities not only in Clearwater but in other areas of the United States.
A number of ex-Scientologists called the church’s Fort Harrison headquarters in downtown Clearwater “a horror” and told of the sect’s “Fair-Game Doctrine” which states that an enemy “may be tricked, sued, lied to or destroyed.”
Also, since 1975, when the Scientologists made Clearwater their international headquarters, dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the sect. Allegations of the sect’s involvement in fraud, enslavement, entrapment, theft and harassment have filled the court system.
Eleven church leaders, including Hubbard’s wife, Mary Sue, were found guilty four years ago of a massive criminal conspiracy to steal thousands of government files and to conduct burglaries, wiretapping and spying on more than 120 public agencies, including the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the CIA.
The sect, claimed the Justice Department, was “involved in a widespread conspiracy to subvert not only the government but the judiciary as well.”
While the city of Clearwater was holding the hearings, Scientology officials were issuing press releases saying that any transgressions were in the past, and the sect was no longer, if ever, involved in any subversive activities.
But it was at this time, from February to May 1982, that the alleged plot was being constructed, according to informed and reliable sources and the California newsletter.