I, Richard N. Aznaran, hereby declare and state:
1. I am over 18 years of age and a resident of the State of Texas. I have personal knowledge of the facts set forth herein and, if called as a witness, I could and would competently testify thereto.
A. The first point is that I do not believe these are the papers which we signed when we left the cult in 1987. We were forced to sign quite a few different papers before being allowed to leave. At the time, we had asked for copies of all of the papers we had signed but were not allowed to have copies of the releases.
B. One of the conditions of being allowed to leave without being declared “fair game”1 was that we report to Mark Rathbun
1When the cult declares a person a Suppressive Person he automatically becomes Fair Game. Per the cult’s founder and existing policy when a person is Fair Game he may be lied to, cheated, stolen from and destroyed with no protection from the cults ethics codes. If the person is considered a threat in the eyes of the cult, then scientologists and their agents are encouraged or even paid to do so. This has been documented on many occasions and I am personally familiar with it.
on a regular basis. We did do this for a while and repeatedly asked for copies of these releases. We were put off with various excuses on each occasion. We never did obtain a copy of the releases. It is clear to my now that this was so that the cult’s “dirty tricks unit” could change the releases to fit their claims and then supply them as “evidence” if and when they felt they needed them. They didn’t dare supply us with doctored copies which we did not sign as they knew that this alienate us and they didn’t want to supply us with actual copies as this would preclude them from making changes later.
3. At the time that these releases were signed both my wife and myself had been receiving intensive “security checking”. This “security checking” was conducted by Ray Mithoff. Ray Mithoff was at that time (and still is to the best of my knowledge) the highest trained and most senior security checker in all of scientology. He is so senior in fact that normally all he ever does is oversee others doing it. There were two reasons why he was used. The first was obviously because of the intimidation factor he would have and the second is not so obvious.
A. Part of our security checking was so that we could be interrogated on how much we knew and so that the potential
threat of our leaving could be analyzed by David Miscavige. Miscavige trusts few people and lives in constant fear that his crimes will become public and land him in jail as it has the cult’s earlier leaders. Mithoff is the only security checker Miscavige was willing to trust. This was the second reason Mithoff was used. 2
B. In retrospect, it is easy to see that this security checking was done to soften us up and remind us of what powers the cult could bring to bear on us should we refuse to cooperate fully. Their tactics obviously worked because at the time, we were in terrible fear that we would not be allowed to leave.
4. We were not allowed to seek legal counsel at the time that we signed these releases. Two of the cults’ attorneys were brought out to further intimidate us. We were told that we could ask them questions if we had any. It was made clear that
2 Mithoff was normally used in such cases as he is trusted and considered a loyal minion by David Miscavige. David Miscavige is the senior most of the founders “messengers” and took control upon Hubbard’s demise. It was Mithoff under the alias of “George Jones” who personally oversaw Michael Meisner’s security checking after the cult had kidnapped him. Meisner was the cult’s agent who had infiltrated various government agencies and stolen documents under the direct control of Hubbard, Hubbard’s wife and the rest of the cult’s management. It was Meisner (having again escaped from the cult and sought protection from the Justice Department) whose evidence lead to the 1977 raids on the cults Los Angeles and D.C. offices by the FBI. I know of Mithoff’s involvement because he spoke to me personally about it displaying great pride in his activities.
we could definitely not seek other counsel.
5. It had been my understanding through earlier contacts with scientology’s dirty tricks unit known as the Guardian’s Office and later the Office of Special Affairs that these releases had no legal binding whatsoever. In my early years as a staff member I had seen the various policies issued by the Guardian’s Office concerning releases. Releases were to be signed by every public person and staff before and after every single service they received. The idea being that the person was to be convinced that he had no recourse for lousy service and false promises. Guardian’s Office personnel had told me repeatedly that they did not hold water and were merely a deterrent. This was later confirmed by cult attorney John Peterson.
6. To me the intention behind the releases themselves appeared unlawful. Although not trained in law, it was obvious to me that the intent included the obstruction of justice. Part of our security checking was to ensure that we had no plans to go to any government agencies to give them evidence of crimes being committed by cultists or their agents. It was stressed at the time of the signing of the releases that if we spoke to government agents about any “confidential information” we had concerning the cult that we would be in violation of our agreements and that we would be sued. Additionally we were to
withhold information and avoid testimony in any civil litigation where the truth may be harmful to the cult or aid someone else seeking justice. With the purpose of the releases including the withholding of information from lawful authorities I certainly did not feel that they could possibly be legal or binding.
7. The conditions surrounding the sale of our horse and the loan from the cult need to be made perfectly clear. Defense attorneys constantly try to twist this into some evidence of philanthropy on the cult’s part. This just isn’t the case at all.
A. David Miscavige came to visit us in our motel room a few days before we were allowed to leave. Miscavige asked us what our plans were. We told Miscavige that we didn’t have any specific plans but that since I knew some people in the area (southern California) I would probably work something out. Miscavige made it clear that he did not want us to stay in southern California but wanted us to go to Texas. He did not want us connecting up with any of our friends in southern California be they current or former scientologists. We told him that we had limited funds and would have to stay in California long enough to sell our horse and make a little money so that we could travel. Miscavige reiterated his objection to us staying in California and stated that we would have to work it out to go back to Texas.
B. The next day Mark Rathbun suggested that the cult buy the horse from us and that they loan us some money so that we could leave right away and go to Texas. Rathbun stated that this had been Miscavige’s idea.
C. This loan and purchase of the horse had nothing to do with the releases.
8. There had been a fire at one of the ranches I had worked at and all of the belongings of four people had been destroyed in the fire. I was one of them. A claim was being negotiated with the insurance company. Rather than have me wait for the insurance claim to settle I was given $1,040.90 which was the value of the goods destroyed in the fire. This is money which I understood was going to be later reimbursed by the insurance company.
9. I received the pay due to me according to their rules but this was just for the previous pay period. I never received any compensation or wages for many hundreds of hours of work I had performed and been forbidden to include on my time card during the previous thirteen months or so while I worked for the Norman Starkey, Trustee of the Estate of L. Ron Hubbard. This was not religious work and the estate was not a non-profit entity. I was supposed to be receiving minimum wage.
10. The cult purports that my wife Vicki had overall responsibility for RTC’s legal matters and litigation and such. This is only partly true. David Miscavige, the Chairman of the Board at Author’s Services, Inc.3 had final say over what did or did not occur and constantly issued streams of orders concerning everything from personnel transfers to finances. Miscavige either directly or indirectly oversaw all major decisions and even minor ones if it were his whim.
11. While it is true that Vicki (and even myself on occasion) did assign others to the Rehabilitation Project Force, it is not mentioned that there is a basic tenet in scientology’s ethics policies which state that if you fail to assign someone to the RPF and your boss feels you should have then you can be assigned to the RPF with them. In other words it is enforced from the top down. Miscavige as the senior person often assigned people for no other reason that whim. I saw him do this to others and he threatened me on several occasions. He considered such activities his “management style”.
3Author Services, Inc (ASI) was a corporation set up by Miscavige, Starkey and Lyman Spurlock. It’s purpose was to manage Hubbard’s money and oversee the cults’s finances and ensure that Hubbard was getting his “cut”. I was briefed on this by Miscavige himself when ASI was first being set up.
12. It is stated that after Vicki escaped from the desert camp where she was being held that she was able to travel freely on her own. This is not true. We were under constant surveillance by the cults’ security personnel and all of our belongings were being held to ensure our cooperation. We feigned cooperation to prevent being declared suppressive persons and opening ourselves up to “fair game”.
13. It is stated that the cult paid three hundred dollars more for our horse than I had paid for it. This is false and in fact they paid three hundred dollars less than I had paid for it.
14. While I am not a psychologist nor am I a psychiatrist, it is clear to me now that both Vicki and I had previously been brainwashed by the scientology cult. This process began in 1972, continued through 1973 when we were forced to give all of our worldly possessions to the cult leaders and has only recently ended since we were able to escape their influence. At the time we left in 1987 we were heavily under their influence and even to this day my wife has nightmares where she is still being held captive by the cult.
A. It was only once we started to become “unbrainwashed” that we began to realize the extent of suffering, misery, fear and intimidation that we were put through.
15. Claims are being made to the effect that due to the cult’s philanthropic efforts on our behalf we left as happy little cultists. Nothing could be farther from the truth. At the time of my wife’s escape from Happy Valley I was called in by Miscavige and Mithoff and interrogated until four o’clock in the morning in an attempt to get me to break up with her. When this failed I was called upon to try to get her back. I pretended to do this and even went so far as to encourage Jesse Prince and David Bush (the two men who escaped with Vicki) to go back. But during this whole time we planned to go along with whatever the cultists wanted in order to be allowed to leave without being declared “fair game”. We lived in constant apprehension and fear, not daring to believe that we could pull it off but praying against hope that we could. By the time we had successfully made it through our security interrogations we would have signed anything to be allowed to leave.
16. Scientology purports itself to be a religion. In the early 1970’s when I first became involved with scientology, the cultists were quite open about the fact that they called themselves a religion only for tax purposes. It was only later, in the mid 70’s that the Guardians Office forced the “churches” and franchises to conform to “religious image programs”. These programs covered everything from hanging up crosses to having staff “ordained” and having get togethers on Sundays and calling
them Sunday services. It would never stay in though because it was obviously bogus. Finally the threats became great enough to force it in. Hubbard himself, in earlier unedited versions of his taped lecture called “The Road to Truth” stated that there was no god but not to let the “wogs” (non-scientologists) know or they would never join. When scientology was being set up in Mexico it was decided not to make the claims of being a religion due to the fact that it would effect their ability to make money. The same thing goes for a couple of other countries. When the decision was whether to be a religion or make money, make money won out. I know of all of these points from my own personal experience.
17. I have been informed by my former attorney that although we have made discovery requests, Defendants have failed and refused to comply with even the simplest requests. During this time they have barraged us with burdensome and costly demands exceeding all reason. Additional evidence is currently in the hands of Defendants but withheld from Plaintiffs. This evidence is favorable to Plaintiffs’ opposition to Defendants Motion for Summary Judgement.
I declare under the penalties of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed this 15th day of January 1989, at Dallas, TX.
Richard N. Aznaran