Scientologists tried to silence enemies
by Sherman R. Frederick, R-J City Editor
April 22, 1980
The Las Vegas Church of Scientology attempted to silence its enemies and critics in Nevada by waging propaganda and espionage campaigns against Las Vegas law-enforcement and business agencies. Documents seized from the church by the FBI reveal the church on a national scale conspired to steal grand jury transcripts, attempted to infiltrate the CIA, and launched a myriad of dirty tricks against public officials.
The documents also show church members ran covert operations against the Clark County district attorneys office, infiltrated and claimed to break up the now defunct Clark County Mental Health Association, and kept close tabs on the US. attorney's office, the attorney general's office and other Southern Nevada law-enforcement agencies.
In addition, Scientologists waged a negative propaganda - a "black" public relations - campaign against the Better Business Bureau of Southern Nevada for giving out what was perceived to be unfavorable information about the church.
The Review-Journal obtained copies of the documents pertaining to Las Vegas through Paulette Cooper, author of the book "The Scandal of Scientology." They were found amid the 35 cartons of FBI seized documents used to convict nine top Scientologists last year of conspiring to steal government documents.
A federal judge in Washington DC made public the documents after the trial.
A summary of the previously undisclosed documents follow:
It read: "AG Info LV RE: DA's Office log 313. I would be very interested in the DA's files when you finally work out a method of getting them as per W/R 15 Nov. '73."
A similar log then continues: "We should follow up this LV cycle as Carter almost certainly saw a Scotland Yard report. The report must exist somewhere, probably the LV DA's office. I would suggest also the LV Police or the Nevada AG's office if the DA fails. You should get someone into that area or get someone there to start going for the files."
-A document titled "analysis US Atty's office - Nevada LV #7 concluded: "This agency probably has additional files on the church due to the above documentation that we do have knowledge of. It is not verified that these documents went to the US attorney (in) Nevada, but it is probable."
-In a dispatch marked "OPERATION BLACK FRIDAY" from the local church to higher ups in the church chain of command, the plot to discredit the Better Business Bureau was detailed.
The letter concludes:
A later letter explained that the black PR campaign was waged against the bureau because it was spreading unfavorable information about the church. The information the church felt would discredit the bureau was a letter that indicated the bureau was having "a very hard time financially."
Because of plots like these that were apparently hatched all over the United States, the church at one point found that it had taken so many documents that just reading them threatened to bog down the church's spy network, documents revealed.
Other documents show how the church infiltrated government offices.
Coupled with the Las Vegas documents, it was learned that at least three of the top leaders of the local church in the 1970's - the time documents show covert activity - have since risen to top posts at larger branches of the church.
The three are:
About ten other members of the Las Vegas church during the '70s also went on to hold high jobs in other more important Scientology outposts, informed sources said.
"They were paranoid," a former high ranking Las Vegas Scientologist, who asked not to be identified, said of church members who apparently engaged in the questionable activity in Las Vegas.
He said a common way the church infiltrated these agencies was by planting a church member in them as a secretary or a janitor. When the opportunity presented itself, the plant would search for anti-scientology evidence.
He also claimed the church has five prime targets in Nevada. He said they are:
The alleged current illegal activity by the church in Southern Nevada could not be immediately confirmed, however. When asked for a comment on the documents and allegations made by the former Scientologist, a church spokesman produced a Guardian Order dated DEC 27, 1979, which stated that certain church members may have engaged in "harassive or illegal acts." But, the order adds, the acts "misrepresent the basic tenets of the Church.".
Las Vegas Church spokesman Carol Garrity also said that to her knowledge no "harassive or illegal" acts are being carried out by church members.
She added that when Hubbard was convicted of stealing the documents in Washington DC the founders wife said "it won't happen again."
However, because the documents seem to indicate such silencing tactics were a systematic church effort, many observers wonder.
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