The Duke's Master Spies

Greg Arnold and Paul Marrick
The news broke a few days ago that two long time PI’s for the Church of Scientology are suing the group after the church reneged on their lifetime commitment of employment.  C’mon guys, these former L.A. cops are mere wogs.  Their lifetimes are surely a drop in the bucket compared to the billion year commitment you get from all your Sea Org staff.

Attorneys for Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold said the church owes their clients for unpaid work, including casing the neighborhood of Ingleside on the Bay resident Mark “Marty” Rathbun, a former high-ranking church official.
Karin Pouw, a spokeswoman for the church based in California, said she had no comment because church attorneys had not had a chance to review the most recent lawsuit filing, received by the court clerk Thursday. It was filed in basic form, with few details, in July.
Rathbun defected from the church in 2004 and settled in the small bayside community where he began counseling other defectors, writing a blog criticizing the church, and fostering a movement of Scientologists who adhere to the philosophies of church founder L. Ron Hubbard but reject the practices of the organized church and its leadership.
For Ray Jeffrey, one of the attorneys for Marrick and Arnold, this is not his first brush with the church. He represented Debbie Cook, another former high-ranking church official who sent ripples through Scientology circles in a New Year’s Eve email to thousands of Scientologists criticizing aggressive fundraising practices and calling for changes.
The church sued her in San Antonio, where she lives. Jeffrey helped negotiate a settlement in which Cook gave up no money but agreed never to speak out against the church. Yet the settlement came only after a day of embarrassing court testimony from Cook, reported by the Tampa Bay Times, in which she detailed how church workers essentially were imprisoned and beaten.Jeffrey said Marrick, 52, of Colorado, and Arnold, 53, of California, approached him because of his work on the Cook case and the difficulty explaining the complexities of the inner workings of the church.
“If you go try to tell a lawyer about this who has no knowledge of it, it could take them months just to get the lay of the land,” Jeffrey said.
He is working with three other attorneys, including Tom Harrison, of Corpus Christi.

Joe Childs and Tom Tobin of the Tampa Bay Times reported on the lawsuit and have now done a lengthy interview with Marrick and Arnold who were hired in 1988 to spy on Pat Broeker, the man L. Ron Hubbard apparently chose as his successor to run Scientology.  Marrick and Arnold spent nearly the next 25 years following Broeker everywhere he went.

Church officials painted Broeker as an errand boy for the late Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. They said he had made off with $1.8 million and a cache of critically important Hubbard records.
Follow Broeker, they said. Watch him every minute. Report back frequently.
The private eyes did. Beginning in 1988 and continuing for a quarter of a century, Paul Marrick and Greg Arnold tracked Broeker from a California apartment to a cowboy town in Wyoming and even to the Czech Republic.
They spied on his girlfriends, rifled through his garbage and listened to his phone calls.
After 14 months, high-ranking church leader Marty Rathbun told Marrick and Arnold they had performed so well, the church would have work for them for the rest of their careers.
They were “part of the family,” Rathbun told them.
The church started paying them a lump sum: $32,000 a month.
“We thought, ‘Well, that sounds like a pretty good deal,’ ” said Marrick.
And the checks kept coming until this summer, when the church stopped paying.
Now, Marrick and Arnold are suing Scientology, claiming the church and its leader David Miscavige violated their long-ago verbal deal.
In a three-hour interview with the Tampa Bay Times in the office of their Texas lawyer, Ray Jeffrey, the investigators shared details of their top-secret work. They told a rollicking tale of espionage and described the expense to which Scientology went to gather intelligence on real and perceived enemies.
The investigators’ lawyer says the church paid them between $10 million and $12 million. In addition to Broeker, they followed several other church targets, including a drug company executive who now is governor of Indiana — Mitch Daniels.

In addition to the print story, segments of Tobin and Childs’ video interview have been posted on the Tampa Bay Times website.  In the video, the men explain that code names were used for all the parties involved.  David Miscavige was named the Duke, which seemed to please him mightily.

This looks to be a case that will quickly settle but the cat is now out of the bag.  After 25 years of following Broeker, the PI’s concluded he was a nice guy with nothing to hide and a far cry from how the Duke had him portrayed.  25 years of hounding a man because the Duke was worried about his throne.
If only someone could come up with a science of the mind that could help the poor, little Duke.

St. Pete Times on Forced Abortions

Natalie Hagemo speaks about forced abortions in Scientology's Sea org
UPDATED with Scientologist’s reactions below.
The St. Petersberg Times continues their terrific series of articles on Scientology fraud and abuse.  This time they focused on how Scientology coerced Sea Org members to have abortions in an article called No Kids Allowed.

Laura Dieckman was just 12 when her parents let her leave home to work full time for Scientology’s religious order, the Sea Organization. At 16, she married a co-worker. At 17, she was pregnant.
She was excited to start a family, but she said Sea Org supervisors pressured her to have an abortion. She was back at work the following day.
Claire Headley joined at 16, married at 17 and was pregnant at 19. She said Sea Org supervisors threatened strenuous physical work and repeated interrogations if she didn’t end her pregnancy. She, too, was back at work the next day.
Two years later she had a second abortion, this time while working for the church in Clearwater.
A St. Petersburg Times investigation found their experiences were not unique. More than a dozen women said the culture in the Sea Org pushed them or women they knew to have abortions, in many cases, abortions they did not want.
Some said colleagues and supervisors pressured them to abort their pregnancies and remain productive workers without the distraction of raising children. Terminating a pregnancy and staying on the job affirmed one’s commitment to the all-important work of saving the planet.

Read the full report.
On Monday, they did a follow-up report:

Twenty years ago, when Natalie Hagemo was 19, pregnant and working for the Church of Scientology, she couldn’t wait to be a mother.
She was near the end of her first tri­mester, she says, when colleagues in Scientology’s military-style religious order, the Sea Organization, began pressuring her to get an abortion.
Two high-ranking officers said terminating the pregnancy would allow her to keep working. They berated her when she said no.
Supervisors told her to hide her expanding belly lest co-workers start thinking it was acceptable to get pregnant. Friends and colleagues shunned her.
Hagemo stood fast and, with her husband at her side, delivered Shelby on Aug. 20, 1990.
Hagemo left the Sea Org but remained an active parishioner and raised her daughter as a Scientologist.

Read the full report.
The St. Pete Times printed Letters to the Editor from Scientologists including this defense of the Organization from Joanie Sigal:

Once again you try to paint an ugly picture of a religious movement that has helped hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of people lead happy and successful lives. So let me address your latest falsehoods.
My experience in Scientology has been incredible.
I have been a member of the Church of Scientology since 1973. I met and married my husband while working for the church. I have raised two sons in the church. They are both practicing Scientologists. They have never taken drugs or abused alcohol. They are ethical and productive members of society. My husband and I have been married 32 years. We are both productive members of society. We both do extensive volunteer work in Clearwater.
THERE IS NO CHURCH POLICY CONCERNING ABORTION. I put that in all caps because I’m not sure that it will come across accurately if I don’t. What’s true about the Church of Scientology is not what any member or former member says. Even what I say is not the truth about the Church of Scientology. What is true is what L. Ron Hubbard wrote or said.
I know countless Scientologists who have children. I know hundreds — if not thousands — of staff members who have children. I know members of the Sea Organization who have raised children within that group.
Therefore your Sunday headline — No kids allowed — is a lie, pure and simple. But it is no less than what I expect from your newspaper.
I thank goodness that there are people in this society who do help others and who take responsibility for their own lives. The people you interviewed obviously don’t do either.

What Joanie leaves out of her bio is that she was the personal assistant of one the ten top Scientology officials who went to prison for Operation Snow White at the time of the espionage scandal.   I captured her on tape decades later with Clearwater politicians at the opening of a refurbished alleyway next to Scientology’s property.
And she can be seen hectoring Stacy Brooks about Bob Minton outside a City Council meeting in 2000.

Scientology Sponsored Suit Against Opponent


©St. Petersburg Times, published December 23, 1997
By LUCY MORGAN and THOMAS C. TOBIN ©St. Petersburg Times, published December 23, 1997 LOS ANGELES — The Church of Scientology is complaining loudly about a Boston banker’s effort to finance anti-Scientology activities, including a wrongful death lawsuit against the church in Tampa.
Scientology has blasted Robert S. Minton Jr. for donating more than $1.25-million to its critics, calling his actions “nefarious” and underhanded. The church contends he is illegally interfering with lawsuits involving Scientology.
But earlier this decade, Scientology officials themselves backed several lawsuits against one of the church’s own adversaries, the Cult Awareness Network.
Attorneys and top officials for Scientology say there is no comparison because Minton’s motives are “sordid” and their efforts in the lawsuits against CAN were in defense of religious freedom.
“The only thing that’s the same is that there are lawsuits involved,” said Kendrick Moxon, a long-time Scientology attorney based in California. “If you say that’s a contradiction, that’s just a lie,” he said. “That’s just Southern prejudice” against Scientology.
Minton’s donations include $100,000 to Tampa lawyer Ken Dandar, who represents the estate of Lisa McPherson in a wrongful death lawsuit against the church.
McPherson was the 36-year-old Scientologist who died in 1995 after a 17-day stay at the church’s Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater. Police investigators have recommended criminal charges in the case.
In an effort to get more information about Minton, the church is using a bankruptcy case involving a church critic to subpoena records of Minton’s donations. At a hearing scheduled today in Tampa, Dandar is expected to argue against the church’s effort.
Dandar said he never heard of Minton until church lawyers asked about him this summer. He said he inquired about Minton over the Internet and Minton responded, offering financial aid in the McPherson case.
Minton also has given money to a number of other church critics, including three people whom the church brands as criminals for infringing on Scientology’s copyrights.
But Minton’s contributions are a fraction of the money and effort Scientology poured into lawsuits that bankrupted CAN, according to a lawyer who has defended the group. Attorney Daniel Leipold puts CAN’s legal expenses at roughly $2-million, and “for every nickel we spent, they spent at least a dollar.”
CAN was formed in 1973 by California families who had children in cults, but these days a call to the Cult Awareness hot line is likely to be answered by a Scientologist. A Scientology lawyer bought the network’s name and hot line after CAN declared bankruptcy in 1996.
For years Scientology had publicly denounced CAN, issuing news releases that accused the group of bigotry, kidnapping and other crimes. CAN countered with public denunciations of Scientology as a harmful cult that breaks up families, fleeces people out of money and endangers the lives of its members.
In 1991, CAN chapters around the country began getting letters from Scientologists who wanted to join the organization. There were strong similarities of language between the letters, which expressed sympathy with CAN’s efforts to help people “make responsible and informed decisions when it comes to religious choice.”
CAN admitted some of the Scientologists as members but rejected others. Within months, more than 35 discrimination lawsuits had been filed against CAN by individuals in California, Illinois, Washington, Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon and the District of Columbia. Most were filed in various California courthouses.
Then Scientologists wrote to insurance companies that carried policies for CAN, asking that they stop paying the group’s legal bills.
CAN had five mostly part-time employees, a network of volunteers, an annual budget of about $300,000 and an 800-telephone number. Many of the callers were parents worried that their sons or daughters were in cults.
CAN turned to Leipold, an Orange, Calif., lawyer who handled defense cases for medical malpractice insurance companies. Lloyd’s of London paid the first $1-million in legal fees and costs, but costs are now double that figure and still counting.
As he defended CAN in the California suits, Leipold found himself in court against long-time Scientology attorneys and other lawyers who were being paid by Scientology.
And, as he took statements from individual Scientology plaintiffs, Leipold found a remarkable lack of knowledge. Several of the plaintiffs said they had not seen or signed the lawsuits, even though the court papers bore their signatures.
Brian Hart, one of the first Scientologists to file a suit against CAN in December 1992, said he did not see the lawsuit until 10 months later — three days before he testified in a deposition.
Hart told lawyers he could not remember how he got the name and addresses of CAN officials. Nor could he remember many other circumstances that led to the lawsuit, including who asked him to write to CAN.
Another plaintiff, Jonathan L. Nordquist of Chicago, fired his attorney and asked a judge to dismiss his lawsuit. He said Eugene Ingram, a private investigator for the Church of Scientology, paid him $300 to have lunch, and he agreed to be a plaintiff. Nordquist said he signed a blank page for Scientology attorneys.
“Scientology planned, instigated, coordinated and sponsored a plan to subject CAN to multiple lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions in order to overwhelm and eliminate it or take it over and control it,” said Leipold.
Moxon, the church attorney, said there was no grand plan. “My office handled quite a few of (the cases),” he said. “We understood that type of discrimination.”
He said his firm represented the plaintiffs mostly at no charge and that individual churches within Scientology “helped a little bit, but very little.”
Most of the CAN lawsuits were dismissed before trial after the organization agreed to allow Scientologists as members, but not before running up the legal tab.
It was a 1994 suit filed in Seattle that was the final straw for CAN. Jason Scott was kidnapped after his mother called a CAN volunteer and was referred to a cult deprogramer to retrieve her 18-year-old son from a Pentecostal group.
Moxon filed suit for Scott and won a $1.8-million verdict against CAN. The judgment has been appealed, but CAN already has declared bankruptcy.
After a Scientology lawyer purchased the CAN name in bankruptcy court, Scott fired Moxon and hired Graham Berry, a Los Angeles lawyer who often has represented clients against Scientology. Now Scott says he believes he was a pawn in Scientology’s plan to eliminate CAN. In an interview, Berry called Scientology “a bunch of hypocrites” for complaining about Minton.
But church officials say there is a clear distinction between Minton’s activities and Scientology’s role in the CAN lawsuits.
Scientologists were working successfully to preserve First Amendment rights for themselves and all religions, while Minton “is funding people who have been proven to be copyright infringers,” said Michael J. Rinder, a top Scientology official in Los Angeles. “These people are a pack of criminals,” he said.
Rinder also said that Minton, by his involvement in the Lisa McPherson lawsuit, is supporting an effort by Dandar to extort $80-million from the church.
Dandar said the Florida Bar told him the arrangement with Minton was ethical, provided Minton did not control the case or have access to confidential information. He said Minton agreed to those terms and gave the money “with no strings attached.”

Three OT VIII's Keep the Faith But Leave The Church

The St. Petersburg Times closes off 2009 with another installment of their Truth Rundown series.   This time, public Scientologists tell why they reached the top of the Bridge to Total Freedom and then told David Miscavige they were no longer going to support his mismanagement of the organization.  What Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder started earlier this year as they spoke out against Miscavige continues to snowball, making this one of the most amazing years in Scientology’s history.

They advanced to the Church of Scientology’s highest spiritual level, to “Operating Thetan VIII,” a vaunted realm said to endow extraordinary powers of perception and force of will.
But Geir Isene of Norway and Americans Mary Jo Leavitt and Sherry Katz recently announced they were leaving the church, citing strong disagreements with its management practices.
Isene left first, a decision that emboldened Leavitt, who inspired Katz. Such departures are rare among the church’s elite group of OT VIIIs, who are held up as role models in Scientology. The three each told the St. Petersburg Times that they had spent decades and hundreds of thousands of dollars to reach the church’s spiritual pinnacle.
All three stressed their ongoing belief in Scientology and say they remain grateful for how it helped them. Yet they took to the Internet — an act strongly discouraged by church leaders, who decry public airing of problems — to share their reasons for leaving. They said they hoped it would resonate within the Scientology community.
It did for Jack Airey of Palm Harbor, a Scientologist for the past 41 years. Just last year, the church selected Airey as the keynote speaker at a Scientology graduation and featured the 67-year-old in an infomercial that urged parishioners over 55 to become more active. Prompted by the public statements of Leavitt and Katz, Airey announced his decision to leave as well.
Marty Rathbun, Mike Rinder and other former executives went public this summer with allegations of abuse in Scientology’s management ranks. Now the disengagement by the three OT VIIIs and Airey offers a look inside Scientology from the seldom-shared perspective of parishioners.
Responding for the church, Los Angeles lawyer Anthony Michael Glassman said it’s “astonishing” the Times is giving “a public platform for the views of disgruntled and biased former members. …
“All major religions, be they Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, etc., suffer the defection, on a regular basis, of once orthodox members.”
The Times submitted nine questions to the church on Dec. 22 relating to statements made by the former parishioners. Glassman said the newspaper gave the church “inadequate” time to respond. “We will not be responding separately to each allegation contained in your letter, other than to unequivocally deny them.”
Church spokesman Tommy Davis criticized the Times for singling out departures by Scientologists, which he called “textbook discriminatory coverage. . . .
“That being said, the Church of Scientology wishes any parishioner well in their pursuit of spiritual enlightenment. The same most assuredly applies to your sources.”
The three OT VIIIs said they want reform of leadership. They pointed to the revelations by Rinder, Rathbun and others who told the Times that church leader David Miscavige resorted to violence to control and discipline key managers, assertions the church strongly denied.
“I want to stop the abuses,” said Isene, who owns an Oslo-based software company. “I want the Human Rights Watch … breathing down their neck.”

Click the link to read the full article.  My thanks to Joe Childs and Tom Tobin for continuing to write such excellent articles, to the SP Times for staying on the story and to everyone who continues to speak out about abuses big and small being committed by the leader of Scientology, David Miscavige, and those he makes do his bidding.
For those that follow Marty Rathbun’s blog as I do,  the site was recently hacked.  It has moved to a new location which you can find here.  I may not agree with everything he writes but I always enjoy reading his perspective and appreciate that he can speak to an audience that I could never reach as he  tries to put an end to some of the worst of the abuses.
Tony Ortega at the Village Voice ran an article about Marty’s blog problems earlier in the day.   He’s one of the journalists who really understands Scientology and isn’t afraid to clobber them when they deserve it.
So in another day, it will be another year.  I have a feeling that 2010 will be even better than 2009.  2010 will be a life changing year for me personally.  I have a hunch Slappy’s life will do some changing, too, before the year is over.