GA's letter to The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Re: Religious Intolerance in Europe: the Scientology connection
I mailed this letter a while ago. Thought everyone should know:
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, Chairman, Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman, and all Commissioners Ford House Office Building, Room 234 Washington, D.C. 20515 Re: Religious Intolerance in Europe: the Scientology connection I have learned that the CSCE is holding hearings on this subject, and I wish to add to your discussion some of my experiences, knowledge and opinions. I know that some Scientology celebrities and perhaps some apologists for the organization have spoken to the Commission. I also understand that Scientology's claim of religious persecution in Europe, particularly Germany, is the basis for these celebrities' appearance at the hearing and one of the bases for the hearing itself. In my opinion it is Scientology's own persecution of its members, ex-members and critics which is the source of most of its problems in Europe. I believe that Scientology's use of the shield of religion to carry out its abuses and persecutions is a real threat to freedom for legitimate, non-abusive religions. I believe that the US has turned its back on the victims of Scientology's abuses and persecutions, the very individuals who should be protected by the Constitutional guarantee of religious freedom. Finally, I believe that until it is willing to examine and act to curtail its own brand of religious persecution the US will lack the probity to preach about other countries' religious persecutions. It is my prayer for this Commission that it urge the US to take the lead in eliminating religious persecution by examining and dealing with the religious persecution within its own borders and exported by its own organizations. I am writing to you from Canada. Earlier this year it was necessary for me to leave the US, where I had been a resident since 1975, because I am the target of the Scientology organization's religious persecution in your country. This persecution, using the power and authority of the US legal system, resulted in a court order which prohibits me, on penalty of being jailed and fined, from mentioning Scientology or Scientologists or discussing my Scientology experiences. I believe that this court order is illegal and that Scientology procured it by illegal means. It impermissibly denies me freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association and due process. In effect it results in a form of legal and psychological slavery. I am in Canada where I am free to discuss Scientology and my experiences, and where I may freely express my religious thoughts about this "religion." The Scientology organization is well known for its policy of "using the law to harass." It spends many millions of dollars every year on lawyers and private investigators to harass individuals it designates as "enemy" targets. It overwhelms these targeted individuals with aggressive litigation, financial ruination, and extralegal operations and threats. Very few people have the money, strength or courage to stand up to this organization and its antisocial tactics. Even the US government, while it has stood up to military aggression of tyrannical foreign national regimes, has succumbed to the "religious" aggression of this US-based "church" of Scientology. I was in Scientology from 1969 through 1981, spending most of those years with its founder L. Ron Hubbard in the Sea Organization, Scientology's "elite" pseudo-military corps. I was on the Sea Org ship "Apollo" with Hubbard, where I was posted as, inter alia, the ship's legal officer and intelligence officer. Hubbard patterned his intelligence apparatus on the system of Nazi spy master Reinhard Gehlen. Scientology operates as a global intelligence organization collecting overt and covert information on individuals, other organizations and governments and running covert operations against its "enemies." During my Sea Org years I was twice assigned by Hubbard personally to Scientology's Rehabilitation Project Force ("RPF"), first in Florida, then in California, for a total of 25 months. The RPF is a penal camp created by Hubbard to punish anyone he felt crossed his will, or he even just disliked. People were assigned arbitrarily, for something as slight as a needle movement on the E-meter, the electro-psychometer Scientology calls for "legal" reasons a "religious artifact," but which in reality is a lie detector. I was assigned by Hubbard the first time for "insubordination," and the second time because he considered I was "joking." During much of my RPF sentence I was the "Bosun," the highest RPF member and in charge of the group. I became intimately familiar with RPF policies and practices. The RPF is, and is intended to be, a degrading experience to break the will of the person assigned. RPF members were segregated, did physical or menial labor for little or no pay, were required to run everywhere, and ate whatever was left after the regular Scientology staff members finished eating. Telephone calls from RPF members to their family were only by specific permission and were monitored. All mail from RPF members was first read by security personnel. Anyone who took the punishment of RPF assignment lightly was assigned to the RPF's RPF, an even more degrading experience. People assigned were not free to leave, and anyone who did wish to leave was guarded and held until he had, among other things, signed a list of his "crimes" extracted from his "auditing" files. Auditing is Scientology's psychotherapeutic processing, which it claims produces increased abilities and awareness. Statements made by a person being audited are recorded by an "auditor." These statements, which include the person's innermost thoughts, embarrassing incidents from his past, his sexual history, acts which might be legally prosecutable, etc. are available to and used by the intelligence personnel and leaders of the organization for non-therapeutic purposes, such as domination, intel operations or blackmail. Scientology promotes to the public that statements made in auditing are confidential. They are not. My last position inside Scientology involved assembling an archive of Hubbard's personal documents and providing research assistance to non-Scientologist author Omar Garrison who had been contracted to write Hubbard's biography. In the course of my research I uncovered and documented pervasive fraud concerning representations made by Hubbard and Scientology about his past, credentials, accomplishments, intentions and the claims and efficacy of his psychotherapeutic "mental technology." I attempted to get Scientology's leaders to correct the fraud, and as a result I was ordered to a "security check," an interrogation employing the E-meter. I saw that the trust I had placed in Hubbard and Scientology had been betrayed from the very beginning, that the organization's leaders were ill-intentioned, and that the fraud I sought to correct would continue. My wife and I were fortunate in being able to escape from the organization, because if we had announced our intention to leave we would have been separated and locked up. I had seen many people locked up and guarded inside, and I had been locked up and kept under guard myself. Shortly after I left, Scientology published "Suppressive Person Declares" on me, falsely accusing me of crimes and high crimes including promulgating false information about Hubbard and Scientology. The organization's declaring someone a "suppressive person," or "SP," subjects him to its infamous and judicially condemned "Fair Game Doctrine," which permits SPs to be "deprived of property, injured by any means by any Scientologist... tricked, sued, or lied to or destroyed." Being "declared" by Scientology can be a terrifying experience. During the first few months after I left the organization I learned of an intelligence operation being conducted against me and picked up surveillance. Scientology personnel also stole photographs I possessed. Knowing that my wife's and my life were in danger, I obtained from Garrison, with his permission, certain documents I believed I would need to defend us. I sent these to attorneys who had agreed to represent me, one of whom was Michael Flynn, then Scientology's most prominent lawyer enemy. From the time I left the organization until the present I have been the target of fair game. Acts against me by Scientology agents pursuant to this basic Scientology policy include: - filing five lawsuits against me; - following, surveilling and harassing me and my wife; - spying in our windows and upsetting our neighbors; - attempting to involve us in a freeway "accident;" - assaulting me; - striking me bodily with a car; - threatening to put a bullet between my eyes; - attempting on more than 12 occasions to have me prosecuted on false criminal charges, including by the FBI; - stealing a manuscript and artwork from my car; - filing false sworn statements about me in various litigations; - extracting and disseminating information from my supposedly confidential auditing files; - illegally videotaping me; - attempting to entrap me in the commission of a crime; - threatening me on several occasions if I testified about my knowledge of Scientology; - threatening my friends; - subjecting me to a massive international "black propaganda" campaign. Black propaganda or "black PR" is the term Hubbard gave to Scientology's policy and practice of destroying a target's reputation and credibility or public belief in him by the manufacture and spreading of falsehoods about him. Over the years Scientology has published and disseminated a small mountain of black PR on me, falsely accusing me of perversities and crimes, including crimes against humanity, in an ongoing effort to assassinate my character. The first case Scientology filed against me went to trial before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Paul G. Breckenridge, Jr. in 1984, resulting in a decision in my favor. Judge Breckenridge stated: "In addition to violating and abusing its own members civil rights, the organization over the years with its "Fair Game" doctrine has harassed and abused those persons not in the Church whom it perceives as enemies. The organization clearly is schizophrenic and paranoid, and this bizarre combination seems to be a reflection of its founder LRH[ubbard]. The evidence portrays a man who has been virtually a pathological liar when it comes to his history, background and achievements. The writings and documents in evidence additionally reflect his egoism, greed, avarice, lust for power, and vindictiveness and aggressiveness against persons perceived by him to be disloyal or hostile." Judge Breckenridge condemned as well Scientology's abuse of its participants' auditing or psychotherapy records: "culling supposedly confidential "P.C. folders or files" to obtain information for purposes of intimidation and/or harassment is repugnant and outrageous." (LASC No. C 420153) This decision was affirmed on appeal, Scientology v. Armstrong (1991), 232 Cal.App.3d 1060, 283 Cal. Rptr. 917. Scientology also subjected my attorney Michael Flynn to fair game attacks, which included infiltrating his office, threatening his family, paying known criminals to testify falsely against him, suing him and his office some fifteen times, framing him with the forgery of a $2,000,000 check, and targeting him with an international black PR campaign. (See, e.g., U.S. v. Kattar, 840 F.2d. 118). Flynn became desperate to have the attacks and threats end, and ultimately, due to that desperation, compromised his ethical responsibilities to his clients. In December, 1986 Scientology and Flynn entered into an agreement to settle all his some twenty clients' claims against the organization, plus Flynn's own lawsuit seeking damages for the years of fair game. I was to settle my cross complaint for the years of abuse inside Scientology and the years of fair game after I left. Scientology and Flynn positioned me as a deal breaker, only showing me the "settlement agreement" they wanted me to sign after my arrival in Los Angeles from Boston, where I had been working in Flynn's office. I protested that I could not sign the document, which required that I be absolutely silent about my then 17 years of experiences with Scientology, and which contained a $50,000.00 liquidated damages penalty for any utterance I might make to anyone. In response Flynn stated that the conditions were "not worth the paper they're printed on." He told me, "You can't contract away your Constitutional rights; "the conditions are unenforceable." When I argued that the settlement document opened me up to future problems with Scientology Flynn said, "I'll be there for you." Flynn said that he was sick of the litigation, the threats to him and his family and wanted out, that Scientology had ruined his marriage, his wife's health and his life. He said that as a part of the settlement he and all co-counsels had agreed to not become involved in organization-related litigation in the future. He expressed a deep concern that the courts in this country cannot deal with Scientology and its lawyers and their contemptuous abuse of the justice system. He told me that if I didn't sign I could look forward to more years of fair game harassment and misery. Flynn told me that the settlement's global form was to give Scientology the opportunity it sought to change its combative attitude and behavior by removing the threat he and his clients represented to it. He said Scientology had promised to cease fair game and that he and all his clients depended on my signing to have fair game against them cease. Because of Flynn's representations that the offensive conditions were not worth the paper they were printed on, and to have fair game end for Flynn, his family, his other clients and myself, I did sign Scientology's document. Although I sought peace and did nothing to irritate Scientology, the organization had no intention of ending fair game attacks on me or anyone else. Immediately following the settlement Scientology delivered black PR documents about me to the Los Angeles Times. Over the next three years, and before I responded in any way, Scientology's attacks included: - delivering black PR to various media representatives; - publishing its own false and defamatory descriptions of my Scientology experiences; - disseminating to the media an edited and defamatory version of the illegal videotape it had made of me; - disseminating my own documents which had been sealed in my case; - filing affidavits about me in a civil lawsuit in England which falsely charged that I had violated court orders and was an admitted agent provocateur of the US Government; - threatening to sue me if I even talked to attorneys in the case in which the false charges were being made; - threatening to expose a private writing if I did not assist Scientology's effort to prevent a third party litigant from accessing my LA Superior Court file; - threatening to sue me if I testified even after being served with a deposition subpoena. In the fall of 1989, after service of the deposition subpoena in the case of Bent Corydon v. Scientology, I received a series of telephone calls from Scientology attorney Lawrence Heller which were threatening and troubling. Heller threatened that I could be sued if I testified about my experiences, even though I had been subpoenaed, and that I should refuse to answer the deposition questions. As a result of Heller's threats and Scientology's other post-settlement fair game I concluded that the settlement agreement and the organization's efforts to enforce it were acting to obstruct justice, and that if I allowed myself to be intimidated by the threats I would be abetting that obstruction. I concluded that I could not avoid a confrontation with Scientology, and subsequently responded to defend myself and to try to correct the injustices created by the settlement agreement and its misuse. From that time until the present many people who consider themselves victims of Scientology's abuse have contacted me to request my assistance in their efforts to obtain redress or defend themselves. I have come to believe that all people have a God-given right to assist their fellows, which cannot be taken away by human "contract." I have also come to see that a person's right to participate in a public controversy, certainly a controversy involving himself, should not and cannot be taken away by "contract." In the case of Scientology v. Armstrong, Marin County Superior Court Case No. 157680, the organization was awarded by summary judgment $300,000 in liquidated damages, $320,000 in costs and a permanent injunction prohibiting me from discussing Scientology or Scientologists, or assisting in any way Scientology's victims or fair game targets. This judgment is suspect because, among other things, the judge completely ignored and refused to address the First Amendment religious issues and defense. The judge ruled that Scientology may say whatever it wants about me, no matter how false, obnoxious or defamatory, and that I may not respond in any way to defend myself. To arrive at this conclusion he also ignored and refused to address a sworn declaration by Scientology attorney Heller that the organization, which had published false statements about me after the "settlement," was also bound by its non-disclosure conditions. Heller had filed this declaration in the Corydon litigation in an effort to prevent my deposition from going forward. I had never agreed to be Scientology's defenseless punching bag. I believe that a judgment in a US court which orders that someone submit to being a punching bag, especially to a known abusive and dangerous organization like Scientology, is itself abusive and dangerous, and illegal. That Scientology should use the US courts to obtain such an order and unfair advantage is indicative of its antisocial goals and disregard for civil rights and basic equity. Scientology's policy and practice of attacking and compromising judges presiding over its legal proceedings is well known. (See, e.g., The American Lawyer article, December 1980, "Scientology's War Against Judges.") This article, which focused on the criminal trial of 11 Scientology intelligence personnel in connection with their burglarizing of US Federal offices and theft of government documents, stated that Scientology's "strategy amounts to an all-out war against the D.C. district court judges, a war much more sophisticated, better financed and more successful than the bizarre tactics used by some other groups against their courtroom adversaries, such as Synanon's attempt to murder an opposing counsel by putting a rattlesnake in his mailbox." This all-out war continues to this day, and renders suspect every legal decision obtained by Scientology, including the tax exemption it obtained from the IRS in 1993. After Scientology sued me following the "settlement" I learned from Michael Flynn that he had signed a "contract" with Scientology which prevents him from assisting me in my defense. His promise to be there for me was merely an inducement to get me to sign so that fair game toward him would end. Throughout the post-settlement litigation, Flynn, while admitting that his contract with Scientology is illegal and unenforceable, has refused my requests to come forward, stating that he fears again having his life ruined by more fair game. This too is indicative of the organization's continuing antisocial goals and rights abuses. Early this year I was served with a subpoena for production of documents by Grady Ward in the case of Scientology v. Ward, USDC Northern District of California. Ward is accused of posting some of Scientology's "secret scriptures" to the internet. After receipt of the subpoena I received a letter from a Scientology attorney threatening me if I produced the requested documents. I therefore advised the presiding judge in the Ward case of the threat. Scientology was able to then obtain an order of contempt against me for communicating to the federal judge, sending me to jail and fining me. Also early this year I discovered that in its 1991 IRS Form 1023 submission, pursuant to which it obtained its tax exemption, Scientology included a four page section about me containing the same black PR the organization spreads to the media and public. What Scientology wrote about me, in response to the IRS's questions concerning my Scientology-related litigation is factually and in conclusion false. Scientology submitted these false statements to the IRS during a time when it believed it had me silenced by its gag contract, and thefeore unable to respond to correct the lies. I have asked Scientology to correct the lies submitted to the IRS and it has refused. Scientology's IRS tax exemption is based on lies, not just about me, but about other individuals, and about the organization's practices and intentions. The IRS was derelict in its duty to investigate the truth or falsity of Scientology's submissions. The US was derelict in its duty in granting Scientology's tax exempt status, protecting it, and supporting it in its global goals. By aligning itself with Scientology the US turned its back on its citizens who have been victimized by the organization, and who are really the people the US should protect and support. When I realized that Scientology's leaders consider that their tax exempt billions depend on silencing me, and that the US courts and government had formed an unholy alliance with the organization, I left for Canada. Scientology claims to be a religion, and claims all the extraordinary benefits conferred by the Constitution on religions. It claims that it is organized solely for religious purposes and that its policies and bulletins, even its intelligence training instructions and its "fair game" policy, are "scriptures." It claims that people and countries opposing its antisocial goals and practices and civil rights abuses are engaging in "religious persecution." It is axiomatic that there is no freedom of religion where there is no freedom to criticize, oppose or reform religion. The US was founded in great part by people fleeing "religious persecution" for opposing, criticizing or seeking to reform a religion, which had the power, often provided by the State, to persecute them. The US recognized the need for its citizens to be free from religious persecution in the Religious Expression and Religious Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment. The prohibition against the State's establishment of a religion has traditionally been interpreted to mean that no religion will be favored or given more support by government than any other religion. Christianity and Christians, Buddhism and Buddhists, and Scientology and Scientologists will be treated by government and all its branches in every way equally. Also anti- christians, anti-buddhists and anti-scientologists will be treated in every way equally. Scientology, with its fair game attacks, black PR, gag contracts, and aggressive litigation, is attempting to suppress and eliminate criticism, as well as opposition and reformation efforts. The US courts' enforcement of its gag contracts necessarily involves the State in this one "religion's" suppression and elimination of criticism. Judicial enforcement also results in the promotion and establishment of Scientology by the removal of opposition to its promotion and establishment. Unless the State is also willing to become involved in and support every other religion's suppression or elimination of criticism, its judicial assistance to Scientology in its campaign is favoritism, and impermissible. It is a tragedy for all that the US favors the most abusive and irreligious of its "religions." It is inconceivable that any US Court would prosecute someone who under any circumstances signed a contract which required that he not discuss God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Bible, or his experiences in the Christian religion; or for that matter Allah, Islam, Mohammed, the Koran, the Vedas or Krishna. It therefore must not do so at the insistence of Scientology. It is inconceivable that a Christian church in the US would do what Scientology has done to silence its critics. But even Christianity, although it would never silence anyone about itself, must not be given the opportunity. Therefore Scientology's efforts to silence its critics and prevent discussion of itself must not be given judicial support. My case is not unique. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Scientologists and ex-Scientologists in the US who are bound by this organization's contracts of silence. For this reason alone the statements of Scientology's spokespeople cannot and should not be believed. Those who would speak the truth have been shuddered by "contract" and threat into silence. I just happen to be one of the few who have chosen, despite the threats and attacks using the power of the US courts, to speak up. Mine is a test case for all the people Scientology binds in silence. What the US does in my case will spell either freedom or continued persecution for those many fearful silent people. In the US, Constitutionally guaranteed Freedom of Religion has come to mean freedom for the religious corporation and its leaders to persecute the practitioners, as well as the critics, of the religion. This is a perversion of Freedom, worked by clever lawyers being paid by the persecutors. It must be changed, and true Freedom of Religion reinstituted. The US is the only western country in which people can be jailed for mentioning a religion - Scientology. Certainly Germany does not jail people for mentioning any religion, or even Scientology. Regarding Scientology, and any religion, at least these things must be ordered and implemented before it should be granted the benefits of religious status, and before the US champions its cause: 1. Any member of any religion must be free to leave at any time without persecution for choosing to leave, and may not be detained for any amount of time; 2. Any member of any religion must be free to speak or write freely his or her experiences within that religion, and may not be persecuted for doing do; 3. Scientology must take steps to demonstrably insure that the practice of using information divulged by people during their association with the organization against those people in any way not for their welfare is forever stopped; 4. Scientology must reform pursuant to civil rights statutes, or abolish, its RPFs. Thank you for this opportunity. I pray that we do the right thing. Gerry Armstrong C/O George W. Abbott, Esquire 2245-B Meridian Boulevard P.O. Box 98 Minden, Nevada 89423-0098 (702)782-2302
Copyright © Gerry Armstrong - All Rights Reserved.