Scientology in Clearwater

Fort Harrison Hotel
In 1975, after running Scientology from aboard a ship in International waters for the better part of a decade, L. Ron Hubbard established a land base in a small town in Florida.  Clearwater was chosen in part because of its name; Clear being an important concept in Scientology.
They purchased the Ft. Harrison Hotel and a former bank building in the downtown area under the name United Churches of Florida to hide Scientology’s connection and set into motion a plan to take over the city; a plan Hubbard labeled Project Normandy.
Scientology’s Guardian’s Office (since renamed the Office of Special Affairs) set about infiltrating the government, the media and any other group they felt might stand in the way of Scientology’s goal. Their goal simply was to make Clearwater the first Scientology City.
It was only after the FBI raided Scientology’s headquarters in Los Angeles and Washington, DC in 1979 that the citizens of Clearwater discovered just how far Scientology would go to eliminate their “enemies.” Good men such as Mayor Gabe Cazares were targeted with vicious campaigns meant, as Hubbard would put it, to ruin them utterly.
In 1982, the city held a week’s worth of hearings on Scientology. The people of Clearwater were shocked to hear the testimony from people who had been in Scientology or attacked by Scientology including author Paulette Cooper and L. Ron Hubbard’s own son. Those hearings can now be seen in their entirety on our website.
Unfortunately, the city found themselves unable to fight Scientology’s mounting lawsuits and over the years have resigned themselves to the fact that Scientology is there to stay.  Even the Clearwater Police Department, which once spent decades investigating complaints about the cult,  allowed its officer to work for them when the Lisa McPerhson Trust moved into Clearwater in 2000-2002. The police reported directly to the Office of Special Affairs.
Scientology now dominates the otherwise dormant downtown and seems to set much of the agenda, directly or indirectly. The streets of downtown Clearwater are filled with uniformed Sea Org members trooping from building to building, earning poverty wages while servicing Scientology’s wealthy public members who travel to Clearwater from around the world upper level courses unavailable anywhere else.

Clearwater’s downtown is peppered with Scientology video cameras. Some are hidden, some in the open.Jeff Jacobsen photographed several of the cameras he saw in the open but even he was shocked when a Scientology security guard testified in court that they have over 100 cameras situated around the city.
See Jeff Jacobsen’s photos

Documents concerning Clearwater

The Emmons Files: An index of articles, police reports, and city reports concerning Scientology and Clearwater
A Letter from Clearwater City Manager Mike Roberto’s letter to Scientology leader David Miscavige – December 18, 1998
Affidavit of Paul Kellerhals, Scientology security chief, on how they feel they are treated by the community – March 29, 1999
“Scientology and the Clearwater Police” – Documentary about the relationship between the Police and the Office of Special Affairs during the LMT years.

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