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.