Turn to Tony Ortega’s Runnin’ Scared for the latest update on the litigation.
by Mike Rinder and Marty Rathbun
The Radical Corporate church of Scientology has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in the Debbie Cook case.
The church is asking the court to declare the church the winners of the lawsuit based on the facts that they have presented to the court. To grant a Summary Judgment, the court must decide that there is no triable issue of fact. That means that no evidence that Debbie can present conflicts with the facts that the church says are established and prove its case for breach of contract.
You can read the church Summary Judgment Motion here, but for those of you who do not care to get mired down in legal mumbo-jumbo, here it is in a nutshell:
The church claims Debbie and Wayne left the church and signed contracts not to speak about their experiences. They were paid money in exchange for their silence. The church asserts that any claims by Debbie and Wayne that they signed the agreements under duress are invalid as even if that were true, Debbie and Wayne did nothing to overtly invalidate the agreements for 4 years. Their inaction indicated agreement with the contract and thus they “ratified” it by their inaction. They are arguing that because Debbie did not battle George Spencer, and effectively cross examine herself on the stand on 9 February, and testify about the duress she has continued to experience since leaving Flag in October 2007, there was no such continuing duress.
Here is where some readers of this blog can help.
Evidence can be submitted to the court by Debbie’s attorneys in the form of sworn affidavits.
A lot of people out there have communicated having experienced continuing duress similar to that experienced by Debbie. In particular, those who can honestly testify, in the form of sworn affidavit, to the following fact pattern may be integral in defeating corporate Scientology’s summary judgment motion:
a) signing non-disclosure agreements under intimidating circumstances including presence of Security and/or OSA personnel, presence of an OSA attorney, and/or presence of video recording equipment.
b) Witnessing or participation in the blow drill: where departed staff are tracked down by use of roving teams, credit card information, life history information, pc folder information, in order to make them participate in “a”.
c) Having a provisional SP declare held over one’s head, whereby you were told that if you remained compliant and silent on the outside the SP declare would not come, but if you did otherwise you would be SP declared thus either lose your immortal future and/or lose the right to communicate with friends, associates, business contacts, and family.
5. Were so indoctrinated in an isolated cult for so long that you lost all sense of common mores of civilized society. In other words, developed a mindset where you accepted the wholesale violations of civil and human rights visited upon self and others as justified or normal activity that did not warrant protest or reporting. Many have reported having developed a state of mind where the ends (no matter how unlawful or shocking) justified the means; where for extended periods of time they felt so degraded by their experience that they believed there was something awry with themselves for even harboring thoughts that Miscavige’s reign of violence and human rights violations was in any way actionable or wrong.
6. Because of 1-5 lived for a substantial period of time in fear or reticence of telling anyone about the facts underlying 1-5 or other facts concerning the loss of liberty or Human Rights of self and/or others by David Miscavige or agents of the church of Scientology.
A) Include any of the common manifestations you may have experienced that are often reported by others – nightmares about being apprehended and returned to the Hole or the Int Base or the RPF, nightmares about being visited (and being declared) and having your friends, family, and associates disconnected from you.
B) Include your own thought processes (backed by what you witnessed that prompted it) that kept yourself living in silent fear; such as taking a given period of time on the outside to begin to reckon that what you experienced inside was in fact unlawful or unacceptable in a civilized society; and such as awakening to the unlawful, unjustified nature of your experience only when you saw others were standing up and talking of their similar experiences over a period of time; and such as over time comparing what you experienced inside to the outside, and that experience beginning to wake your conscience with a need to do something about those left behind suffering.
C) Include your considerations about protecting the religion of Scientology. Part and parcel with that would be explaining any conditioning that had caused you to believe that the religion of Scientology was the same as the “church of Scientology” and how that played in keeping you silent and compliant – and of course how time played a part in the differentiation process that caused you to begin to communicate the evils you witnessed.
What is important to emphasize in “6” is time. How much time did it take you to decrompress from the physical and mental trauma of what you experienced in 1-5 to begin to speak with others about your experience; whether as a personal catharsis or as a conscientious need to help others still similarly situated.
I know there are literally hundreds who could and would attest to parts of 1 through 6 above. However, we are looking for corroborative witnesses to the experiences of Debbie and Wayne. Part and parcel of that of course is parallel experiences with an overlapping fact pattern.
Recognize, the inclusion of David Miscavige is important in distinguishing between the hundreds with similar experience and the few dozen with experiences sufficiently parallel with Debbie and Wayne’s experience to be admissible, relevant witnesses. “The boss”, as you may have heard Church of Scientology International counsel Eliot Abelson refer to Miscavige in Debbie’s signing video, is front and center in this case. Irrespective of Abelson’s now-world-famous admission the “church” is doing everything in its power to keep the chief perp out of this dispute, without Miscavige, of course, there is no dispute. Without Miscavige there is no 31 December 2011 e-mail by Debbie, there is no need to speak out, there is no cause to shudder into silence, there is no need for redress for aggravated assault and battery, torture, imprisonment, and the entire array of serial human rights abuses Miscavige perpetrates to this day.
If you feel you can honestly swear to facts that fit squarely within 1-6 above, or your experience roughly follows the pattern of 1-6 above, an affidavit from you might be critical in overcoming David Miscavige’s dishonest and aggressive attempt to bury Debbie Cook through court process.
If you are willing to consider drafting and signing such an affidavit, please tell your story – emphasizing the facts that fit within the 1-6 pattern – in writing to Mike Rinder at firstname.lastname@example.org and copy me at email@example.com.
Despite David Miscavige’s best efforts to prevent Debbie from establishing a defense of any kind we are continuing to assist her counsel in ways that ensure that she have as full, fair and affordable a defense as possible.
If you step up, you will be protected.
Miscavige had his attorneys in on Saturday churning out juvenile threats in emailed letter form to Debbie and her counsel. One in particular is of interest to all who donated to the defense. George Spencer Esq of San Antonio Texas has warned that Debbie must preserve documentation of the amounts donated to her defense fund along with the names of all donors. He threatens that he is going to compel the production of such and that he intends to collect damages from the fund – of course leaving Debbie defenseless. Apparently Spencer’s boss Miscavige is apoplectic over the fact that Debbie has managed to be represented by competent counsel. And since, as will be made clear below Spencer is now given to reading my blog, a word to you Mr. Spencer:
Your attempt to cut off Ray Jeffrey’s office from being paid the minimal amounts he has agreed to take on Ms. Cook’s defense for, while being paid sickening amounts of blood money yourself by the cult, can be characterized best by one word: UNETHICAL.
I wanted to let those who have donated through my blog know that your donations to date are safe from attachment since they have already been paid to counsel. Future donations will be similarly rapidly forwarded to their ultimate destination. Also, your identities are safe with me. I am committing right here and now to defy any order from any authority to produce the names of donors. I won’t do it irrespective of the consequences to me personally. That is worse case scenario as we can find absolutely zero legal basis for Miscavige/Spencer’s demand. But, in the interest of full disclosure, you all ought to know what Miscavige is up to with respect to the case you have so generously supported.
Oh yeah, Miscavige also has his San Antonio messenger boy threatening to collect damages from “anyone who conspired with defendants, or aids and abets them” (implying yours truly) for Debbie having the temerity to post a “Thank You” on this blog to all who donated, An Open Letter to My Friends by Debbie Cook. That is in addition to claiming damages for Debbie’s having given sworn testimony in court on 9 February 2012. That is right, they are in effect accusing the Judge of abetting tortious conduct in her court on that fine Thursday afternoon.
Miscavige, like his idol the Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini before him, apparently staunchly believes that his rule is Supreme to mere courts and distractions like the civil law and constitutional rights. Even when he is attempting to use those same courts to harass, intimidate and destroy those who have exposed his FELONIES to the light of day.
What is remarkable is that he is so out of touch with the 21st Century that he commits such views to writing, and that leading members of the Texas bar are so hard up for money that they’d forward such bizarre pronunciamentos.
When Mike Rinder and I first read accounts of the absurd statement David Miscavige’s local San Antonio counsel George Spencer read to the court on Friday 10 February during Miscavige’s Santa Annaian surrender, we both independently noted tell-tale signs that it was authored by David Miscavige himself.
Now that the transcript from that day of proceedings is in, those suspicions are pretty much confirmed.
One of the indications that the words came right from the pen of Miscavige is the back handed slander and libel of L Ron Hubbard and Scientology it invokes.
More than two years ago I noted on this blog – perhaps in the comments section – that Miscavige’s defense to the statements of me, Amy, Tom, and Mike about the Hole at Miscavige’s Scientology Inc heaquarters was out and out blaming his crimes on L Ron Hubbard policy. The following are the Miscavige orchastrated responses to the original Tampa Times Truth Rundown series testimony to Miscavige’s wholesale aggravated assault & battery, false imprisonment and the psychological torture on par with Abu Ghraib prison:
Church spokesmen confirm that managers are ordered into pools and assembled for group confessions. It’s part of the “ecclesiastical justice” system the church imposes on poor performers.
…The Sea Org is a “crew of tough sons of bitches,” said church spokesman Tommy Davis, an 18-year veteran of the group.
“The Sea Org is not a democracy. The members of it agree with a man named L. Ron Hubbard. They abide by his policies . . . and we follow it to the T, to the letter, to the punctuation marks. And if you disagree with that and you don’t like it, you don’t belong. Then you leave.”
And please hear Tommy’s channeling of Miscavige here, Tommy Davis Audio, pull up “a disciplined religious order” segment.
Well, February 10 2012 demonstrated that Miscavige has not changed his spots, and has made no ethics change – nay, he’s getting worse. Same old same, only more submerged and covert. Please read the following segment from the 10 Feb David Miscavige Surrender Hearing:
We’re very concerned that the defendants have used the Court proceedings to entangle this Court in fundamental ecclesiastical matters that need to be avoided under the First Amendment. Over a century ago our United States Supreme Court made it clear that courts must abstain from examining matters which concern church discipline. In fact, just last month, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the prohibition of judicial interference with religious liberties and the power to determine matters of discipline, faith, and internal organization in the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School versus EEOC. That was January 12th of this year. And the proceedings of yesterday were in violation of that.
That is how David Miscavige characterizes a day of Debbie Cook’s testimony in which she described false imprisonment, aggravated assault and battery, torture, and kidnapping all carried out at the direction of David Miscavige.
“Fundamental ecclesiastical matters”, “Church discipline”, “discipline, faith, and internal organization”, and – sit down if you are not already sitting – “religious liberties.” In order to invoke the law Miscavige’s counsel has cited, the church must claim the conduct Debbie has testified to is mandated by scriptures of Scientology (legally defined as the written and recorded-spoken words of L Ron Hubbard concerning Scientology).
Never mind that Miscavige, not Debbie Cook, dragged the dispute (and thus the conduct he says doesn’t belong in court) into court. Never mind that his factual nexus between L Ron Hubbard scripture and his unconscionable conduct can’t be made. Never mind that even if he could, the supreme court case cited couldn’t possibly shield the activity Debbie has testified to. Do mind, however, what this sociopath is doing.
David Miscavige is having to spend a bundle of parishioner donations to get a guy with the reputation of Spencer to tell a court with a straight face that TORTURE, KIDNAPPING, FALSE IMPRISONMENT, STALKING, AND AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AND BATTERY are STANDARD L RON HUBBARD SCIENTOLOGY RELIGIOUS PRACTICES and thus off limits for the court to even hear, let alone consider.
Miscavige wants to spend the religious recognition capital we struggled decades for to protect his heinous, serial felonies from scrutiny. More fundamentally, Miscavige – once again – wants to heave L Ron Hubbard under the bus.
Line in the sand, indeed.
On day one of Scientology Inc v Debbie Cook, after witnessing the opening statements of Ray Jeffrey and George Spencer, after Debbie Cook was called as first witness of the plaintiff, and after being dismissed from the courtroom as announced witnesses, Mike Rinder and I took a leisurely stroll at the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio. We could relax for a moment since by then we were assured that we owned David Miscavige.
We talked about the state of David Miscavige’s mind as reflected in his handling of the Battle of San Antonio. Our walk was relaxed because we knew that Miscavige’s arrogant, ill-advised first move would be his last – calling Debbie Cook to the stand. I said to Mike, “these days, watching Scientology Inc Legal is like watching a Tommy Davis PR performance.” Mike mused about how predictable it was that Miscavige would react as we figured he would to our message from the Alamo.
We reflected on how after our announcing to the world that Miscavige was following right in the footsteps of infamous general and despot Santa Anna, he had ignored the well-known aphorism of philosopher George Santayana:
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
That is not say that all was sea shells and balloons on the front lines – but we knew at that point there was no reversing the fact that the Scientology Inc locomotive was headed straight into the train wreck of the century.
Even then though, we did not suspect that within 24 hours Miscavige would channel Santa Anna right on down to waving the white flag, and fleeing across the Texas plains in his underwear.
A Scientology Inc outright surrender is unprecedented in circumstances such as these.
Yes, Scientology Inc has paid huge sums of money at the courthouse steps in exchange for silencing Public Relations and Legal nightmares.
But, never has Scientology Inc surrendered after the damage was already done, and never in such a pathetic, thoroughly embarrassing fashion.
On my way out of San Antonio, I had a visit with Village Voice Editor In Chief Tony Ortega. Tony asked me why the Surrender at San Antonio was so epic.
I told Tony that in order to fully appreciate the answer he needed a little history lesson, as follows.
The Temporary Restraining Order(TRO)/Preliminary Injunction (PI) procedure is relatively standard in most states in America. Since 1981 Mike and I had helped Scientology Inc capitalize on it to crush, punish and silence many people. Generally, one can get the TRO with no notice to the defendant, and then the defendant has but ten days to put together a complete defense in a hearing for a PI. That means scrambling together for bread and trying to hire someone competent to enter a thoroughly unremunerative and unrewarding battle field and get him prepared for the unpreparable. Very few that Mike and I could recall had ever been able to get it together in that time frame. So, dozens of times we had used the weapon successfully to muzzle a defendant from the outset and for the remaining two to five year period the case would take to get to ultimate trial. It was like shackling the defendant to the whipping post, then using the two to five years of litigation process to bury, punish, and bankrupt him or her with harassing discovery and motion work. And while ultimately the defendant might prevail at trial (e.g. Gerry Armstrong, Joe Yanny), in many ways the person was ruined and enervated by that time.
Mike and I knew that it was no coincidence that from January 1, 2012 to this day Office of Special Affairs (OSA, dirty tricks and propaganda arm of Scientology Inc) had every available operative in the field pushing one message and one message alone toward Debbie Cook and Wayne Baumgarten: whatever you do, stay away from Marty. We read that like a telegram authored by Miscavige: we’re isolating Debbie for the whipping post treatment.
As one can read at exhibit B to Defendants’ Original Answer filed in the Bexar county courthouse, as late as January 15 (12 days prior to the Temporary Restraining Order), the OSA line had some effect. Debbie pled with OSA to leave her alone with this distancing claim: “I am also certain at this point that it was Marty and the Independents that worked so hard to get that comm into the press.” That was claimed despite the fact the “press” had her email before I even did, and I’ve never worked, let alone “worked so hard”, to get anything into the press, and notwithstanding the fact I had already informed Debbie through a mutual friend of the identities of two confirmed OSA agents whom she and Wayne had already befriended and trusted since 1 January. Regardless of Debbie’s mistrust, Mike and I still noted in my blog that it would not take long for Miscavige to force Debbie toward her only hope of a decent defense. And so we proceeded to raise funds for that purpose.
It was not until Debbie and Wayne were served with a Temporary Restraining Order that I received a call that she wanted help.
Here is where the formidable Independent network really came into play. First, mutual friends Yvonne and Ken Schick arranged a meeting at a secluded several acre residence where no OSA interference was possible. Another Independent paid the airfare to get Mike Rinder out to Texas immediately. Another Independent (Action Jackson Morehead) stood in for Mike in Florida to complete the move that he and Christie were in the middle of when the call for help arose. Probably the most crucial clutch play of the game also came from a Texas Independent. His many years of ethical business practice and consequent connections lead us to the biggest star of the entire battle, Sugar Ray Jeffrey.
Mike and I have worked with some of the most expensive and accomplished lawyers in countries across the world for several decades; and both of us recognized the day we met him that Ray was the only horse that could run the course before us in the time allotted to prepare. Normally, an attorney of his capability (with the level of competence and dedication of his partner and associate) would cost far more than we could afford. But, because Ray and his team were quick to understand the facts, and were moved by the principles and equities involved, we were able to retain him through the hearing of this week for just about the amount of money that Independents (for the most part) contributed – almost to the penny.
With precious little time to work, it seemed that every resource we needed at every step of the way magically appeared compliments of one Independent or another.
I told Tony that had it not been for a lot of good folks living right and supporting one another and being there for one another and ready to drop everything to answer when the call came, Debbie Cook and Wayne Baumgarten would have been Texas road kill by now.
Had it not been for David Miscavige’s insane paranoia – which was as predictable as the morning sunrise – Debbie Cook’s testimony as to Miscavige’s crimes would never have seen the light of day.
Until David Miscavige sued Debbie Cook she made her intentions to him clear in writing as follows:
a) She did not intend to disclose publicly the crimes of David Miscavige and Scientology Inc.
b) She considered the intentions and interests of “Marty and the Independents” something not necessarily parallel to her own.
However, the very crimes Miscavige was trying to cover up with the Temporary Restraining order, and keep covered up with the sought for Preliminary Injunction, were the very crimes that invalidated the “agreement” that he wanted enforced. It didn’t take a legal genius to understand that; Mike and I saw it before we even saw Miscavige’s stupid lawsuit and secretly obtained Temporary Restraining Order.
David Miscavige literally forced Debbie Cook to disclose his crimes in the only forum, under his own interpretation of the law, she could possibly do so without legal repercussions to herself. To wit, in the witness box in defense of an application for a Preliminary Injunction worded in the fashion Miscavige worded his would-be one against Debbie.
Miscavige got what he postulated; and he paid dearly with Scientology parishioner donation war chest funds to make his postulate stick.
Some have wondered about the merits of Miscavige’s claim that he has now attained the goods to win the case on Summary Judgment. There are no merits to it. It is simply a typical Miscavige “PR” maneuver – the bully getting the tar whipped out of him, and claiming as he retreats “I am gonna kick your ass later.”
And as is typical of Miscavige, the rest of his statement was bogus too. He didn’t surrender because Debbie was going to continue to use the witness stand to trumpet his crimes. She was done with that phase of her testimony – the rest of it was rather mundane by comparison. What he was hoping to avoid was the rest of the defense case (Mike and I establishing that the precise duress Debbie described being applied to force her to sign the “agreement” was standard operating procedure designed and engineered by Miscavige) and the inevitable court ruling that Scientology Inc gag orders are unenforceable, whether backed by fifty grand in “consideration” or not.
You see, Debbie is just the tip of the iceberg. And Miscavige is acutely aware of that. Others have left the Int Base torture chamber called “The Hole” since Debbie departed in 2007. Among them are former WDC member Greg Hughes, former Int Management Exec Committee member Debbie Hughes, and former COB Project Ops (and Hole Torture In Charge) Angie Blankenship. They too were bought off and signed agreements identical to Debbie’s. The facts they can testify to about the conduct of David Miscavige are still within the criminal statute of limitations for aggravated assault and battery, false imprisonment, and human trafficking.
While Miscavige’s unprecedented surrender is indicative of a meltdown of magnitude, there is still a method behind the tyrant’s madness.
But, Greg Hughes, Debbie Hughes, Angie Blankenship, and others similarly situated cannot take solace in the lack of official precedent invalidating their agreements. I know they would love to do so as some kind of synthetic balm for their aching consciences. Fact of the matter is, despite the lack of written judicial decision, the precedent has been set and it is clear as a bell to any literate individual aware of the Battle of San Antonio. David Miscavige has not nor can he use the courts to enforce his unlawful, unconscionable cover-up contracts. We have proven that when push comes to shove those “agreements” are as worthless as the paper they were written on. Further, we have established that when Miscavige attempts to isolate and tie anyone to the whipping post, there is a formidable movement out here that will protect them and lead them safely to the promised land; whether they agree with and support our aims or not.
All who contributed please take a huge win. You got us to exactly where I predicted you could take us with your contributions. The product was better than any of us could have expected. Some of the lessons I take with me:
Don’t mess with Texas.
Don’t mess with Independents.
Don’t mess with the Truth.
update: Village Voice Cook Interview, Ortega’s Intro video now works.
I will be adding links to the post as they become available. -Mosey