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