Note: Some of the individuals who took part of organized harassment groups now operate outside the Church of Scientology to manipulate various crowds into viscious attacks.
Related: The Story That Almost Killed me
by Paulette Cooper, 1982
Subject: Paulette: (2) What I’ve finally decided to do
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Paulettec)
Last year, when I found myself in a similar situation on a.r.s. to what is happening now – that is, incorrect information and guess work about the past being circulated and archived – I met with one of my former lawyers to see if he still had any documents from those years that would refresh my own memory, and clarify many of the issues being discussed.
Until he found it, I had totally forgotten that around 1982, one of my lawyers had asked me to write down all the harassment of me I could remember from the previous 12 years. Sort of a harassment diary.
I e-mailed it to Marina, who read it and urged me to post it, and I also told a few other close a.r.s. friends about it who thought the same. But I was — and still am — hesitant, to do it. Nonetheless, I sent the document on to Keith Henson, who was kind enough to scan it (and kind enough to tell me he thought it would make fascinating reading even if it had nothing to do with Scientology).
I have finally decided to post it – probably beginning Tuesday – because it discusses several things that have come up on a.r.s. about the first frame-up (1972-3), what Scientology seemed to have done to try to successfulily frame me a second time (technically called “Operation Freakout”) the mysterious attack on Joy, the anonymous smears letters sent by Scientology about me, other harassment, plus the role of various people you’ve heard of (e.g., L Ron Hubbard Jr.)
I will try to post portions of it once or twice a week. If anyone wishes to put it together cumulatively as I go along and add it to their web site, they’re welcome to. I will not add anything to the actual material but I may explain a few items, and edit out some (with dots so you can tell where) which I think are irrelevant, too personal, or confusing. Don’t make too much of minor discrepancies in this material with other things you’ve read, and don’t consider it important if something isn’t here or isn’t dwelled on. I vaguely recall that I had to do it all in one draft, since it was very difficult emotionally for me to write, forcing me to relive those horrible events.
(Partially for that reason, I don’t plan to engage in an online dialogue about the diary — indeed I’m unlikely to even read any of the follow-up posts — so please don’t post questions for me or expect me to further clarify any material at this time. Thanks.)
Table of Contents:
- My background
- Why I Got Involved
- The Gun Incident
- Horrible Smear Letter Arrives
- My First Grand Jury
- The Bomb Threat Letters
- Frame-up: The Big Grand Jury
- Telling My Parents
- Falling Apart
- Breaking Down
- The Greenes; L. Ron Hubbard Jr.
- Suspicions about L. Ron Hubbard Jr.
- L. Ron Hubbard Jr.’s Letters
- Hypnosis, truth serum, etc.
- Betrayal by Jerry, etc.
My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]]. * (asterisks) indicate a comment made in 1997. The footnotes were all part of this diary.
There is no date on this “diary” – technically a memoir since it was written after the facts – but I am guessing at 1982 or possibly 1981 because at the end it says that Scientology had just instituted their 15-16-17th suits against me, and they sued me 19 times, and I also say at the end that I plan to quit smoking soon and I did that in 1982.
Part 1: My Background
The following, for my lawyers, attempts to put a number of disparate probably relevant events in chronological sequence. An attempt has been made to focus on the emotions and feelings that the different crises caused.
I was born in Auschwitz…. around the same time that my parents died there. I was sent to various orphanages in Belgium, along with my older sister Susy. She was adopted by a Belgian Aunt and Uncle when I was 4-1/2, and I was adopted by the Coopers. I came to America at 6 (I became a U.S. citizen at 8), weighing only 36 pounds. (1)
In the summer of 1959, I returned to Belgium and saw my sister again for the first time since childhood. This was extremely upsetting to me, especially since she was living under such horrible conditions. I was also extremely upset after being shown a photograph of my dead parents. In addition, I was also distressed to see that the members of my family who had survived the concentration camps (17 out of 22 had been killed), were living in abject poverty, and some didn’t seem to be mentally all there after their concentration camp experiences. On top of it, they all kept trying to convince me to return to live in Belgium. And it also didn’t help that my sister told me that I was responsible for my mother’s death. It seems that because she was pregnant with me, she was unable to get away and was thus taken by the Germans. This whole visit precipitated some guilts and depressions that ultimately lead me into therapy in 1962 with Dr. Stanley Cath of Belmont, Massachusetts. (2)
I went to Brandeis and graduated in 3 years (not counting 6 months out for an appendectomy) with Honors in Psychology. (3) I started off to get a Ph.D in psychology at Columbia University, but hated it there and ultimately got a Masters Degree in Psychology on a part-time basis.
Simultaneously, I joined the real world, got a job psychoanalyzing television commercials, followed by two jobs writing them for ad agencies.*** While in advertising I sold my first three articles — to Cosmopolitan, TV tuide, and The Washington Post — and left advertising to become a full-time freelance writer in 1968.
Footnotes on document
(1) Although my parents were dead, the people in the orphanage never told me this. They foolishly told me they were away and would come and get me one day. This left me wondering what I had done that was so awful that they would desert me, a problem compounded by the fact that my family only visited me once in 6 years, while the other kids all had family, and in some cases even parents, who had put them in the home because they were too poor or disturbed as a result of the war to care for them.
(2) It didn’t help that I was quite lost and did poorly in college my first year (although from the second on, I was always Dean’s List.) In addition, my parents had been very-overprotective and controlling, giving me no freedom, and I didn’t know what to do with freedom when I had it. In addition, I developed a huge crush on a really nasty s-o-b who liked to shower me with affection and then distance himself immediately afterwards.
I was also constantly being contacted by my Belgian family and sister who wanted me to live there. My mother recently also told me that I told her at the time that I wanted to go into therapy because I was getting very anxious and depressed and having bad dreams because living in the college dormitory reminded me of living in the orphanages During this period…I also resaw my sister again in 1962 which was disasterous.
(3) Most of my 2 years of therapy with Dr. Stanley Cath of Belmont Massachusetts centered on trying to alleviate the guilt, depression etc., of the earlier years and their more recent effect on me (mostly by making me fear desertion to such a degree that I’m afraid to get close to people), trying to show me that my relationships with men (such as the one mentioned above) were very superficial and ultimately self-destructive, trying to handle strongly ambivalent feelings toward my over-protective parents, and helping me to [[NOTE: Line fell too low and can’t be read. Probably something to do with gaining a sense of self or whatever.]]
My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]] and asterisks.
Part 2: Why I Got Involved
In the summer of 1968, an early boyfriend who had become a Scientologist after I dated him tried to get me to join. I took a weekend course, and decided to investigate it further. I had already established myself as a gutsy writer around this time by successfully stowing away for a week on an ocean liner. But I had no idea what I was about to take on. Most people were scared to talk to me, some told me about death threats, harassment, etc., and written material had completely disappeared from libraries. I finally found some information in court cases and a Government tribunal[[*]], and published my first article on Scientology in December of 1969 in England. I also received my first death threat that same month.
While I was writing “The Scandal of Scientology” in 1969-1970, I knew I’d have problems with them later. (1) Scientology also offered to give me another book to write which would make a lot of money if I would back off of this one, i.e., tried to buy me off. But I knew that everything I said in the book was accurate — and it still is — and that they were in bad need of exposure. I also felt that they were a Nazi-like organization, and kept thinking that if more people in Germany had spoken out in the ’30’s, my parents and millions of others would have lived. But despite this outward show of courage, I was already becoming afraid and anxious in 1970 and 1971 since there was already some harassment (following, phone calls, Scientology spies, libelous state- ments, 4 frivolous lawsuits etc. When in 1972 I found the remains of a phone tap, I sued them in New York — foolishly thinking that that would make them leave me alone.
I probably would have gone on to other things after my book came out (especially since all 4 of the books published under my name care out within a year or two of that period), but I began getting phone calls and letters from people who badly needed help, and who had been totally destroyed by this cult, as former members, their families or critics. I tried to help them — there was no one else to except Nan McClean in Canada who was to become my close friend and confidente, but she didn’t speak out publiclv until 1973. I also tried to work with the press and various agencies to help them get information on Scientology.
It was in the summer of 1972 — a few months after I had sued them — that they first decided to frame me. (This I learned years later from their own documents which were seized by the FBI in 1977 and will hereafter he known a the Washington documents) Their object was to destroy my credibility by trying to get me institutionalized (which they hoped to do by either driving me insane, or, later in 1976, by having someone pose as me and act insane publicly), or get me incarcerated, which would also obviously destroy my credibility and curtail my activities.
In the summer of 1972, I had an operation for fibroid tumors and was seriously ill. I recuperated that summer at my parent’s home, although I was constantly complaining about the pain from the operation. I was kept partially distracted that summer by the arrival of L. Ron Hubbard Jr, known as Nibs, the son of the founder of Scientology. Nibs had turned against his father, testified at court case against Scientology, and I ghostwrote a 50 page expose for him (called “1 1/10 of 1%.)[[**]]
(1) I expected perhaps a rough year, but nothing unbearable and nothing longer than that. Little did I realize what I was dealing with — or they with me!
[[*]] This was the Australian Inquiry or Anderson Report. I obtained the first copy of it in the United States.
[[**]] Unfortunately, Nibs never paid me my half, which was the start of my lifelong love for him :-). I believe this article I ghostwrote was translated into German and appeared in the introduction to the German version of Bob Kaufman’s book “Inside Scientology.” Most or all of it appeared later under various articles Nibs wrote about his earlier years with his father.
My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]].
Part 3: The Gun Incident
The really horrible harassment started around October of that year, when I received the most incredibly vile anonymous smear letter based on lies of the type typically made by Scientology of their enemies (prostitute, thief, sexual pervert), and some gross distortions of information known to the former boyfriend who had tried to get me into Scientology in 1968.
From around October to December 15th (when I was later to move), there was also a tremendous amount of personal harassment. I was getting a number of obscene calls (only when I saw the Washington documents years later did I learn that the Scientologists had put my name and phone number on walls, graffiti style), nuisance calls (one day as many as 11, which obviously made it hard to write, people visiting my apartment late at night trying to get in, etc. I was starting to get quite frightened.
My distant cousin Joy slept at her boyfriend’s apartment a couple of blocks away, but kept her things at my apartment and dropped by after work each day. On December 6th, a mysterious girl named Margie Shepherd came by with a petition for me to sign supporting the United Farm Workers. I gave her a small check. She stayed about a half hour. (Joy and her boyfriend were there part of the time) and asked me for a drink of water. She wasn’t alone very long, and I didn’t realize the significance of the following until more than a year later. But when Joy came over to my place after work, she would write her mother in California on airmail stationery. I never looked at the blank stationery itself, but was always annoyed that she would keep it on the coffee table. So after she left each day, I would toss her coffee table items on her couch. Margie was sitting next to that table.
Anyway, I had begn [[SIC]] to realize that because of the Scientology harassment I needed to move to a safer place. I lived on the ground floor of a brown-stone in a building without a doorman. Although I really couldn’t afford to do it yet, I decided to extend myself and move to the building which had always been my dream apartment building (where I still live to this day.)
By this time, I was already starting to go into a bad time emotionally because of the smear letter, the harassing calls, the inexplicable attempts by people to get into my apartment, etc. My relationship with my boyfriend of the past few years, Bob…. was also getting rocky. Although it had been serious until around October, Bob did not like the harassment that was going on, and especially the fact that I was letting it get to me.
On December 19th, 4 days after I secretly moved here, and Joy took over the old apartment (but hadn’t put her name on the door yet), a young black man came to my door (then Joy’s but he wouldn’t have known that and Joy, like me then, was a slender short-haired mostly brunette). He rang the bell as if checking if someone was home. A black man in that neighborhood was highly unusual, but Joy was still not suspicious when a second black man came by, about 15 minutes later, and rang “my” bell holding flowers. When Joy opened the door, he unwrapped the “flowers”–which were just a few twigs on top to hide a gun.
He put the gun at her head, cocked the trigger, and the gun was either empty or misfired. He then began choking her, but she managed to break away and start screaming so he fled. The attack was reported to the police (who commented on its mysteriousness). When I heard about it later, I was almost as frightened about it as Joy was (although incredibly, Bob didn’t understand why I should be upset over it.)
My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]].
Part 4: Horrible Smear Letter Arrives
It was soon after Joy’s attack that I received a visit from two FBI agents, although this didn’t upset me at that time. They told me that James Meisler (Public Relations Scientologist in New York whose job it was to handle me) had received bomb threats. Did I have any idea who might have done it? Since the FBI told me Meisler named me as a suspect, I figured he was behind it. After all, Scientology had enough sincere enemies that had he really received threats, he would have been worried and named some likely possibilities. I felt his motivation might be that he had come off looking bad in a couple of interviews in which I was quoted along with him. I felt he was therefore trying to obtain sympathy to make up for the points he lost with incompetence. At that visit, I also agreed to be fingerprinted when the FBI asked me.
Things were generally quiet for about a month after that, probably because Scientology didn’t know I had moved. However, I was a little worried when I got a second visit from the same FBI agents and learned that they had gone to Bob [[…]] [[my boyfriend]] and Joy’s boyfriend asking if I was the type to send bomb threats.
On February 4th or 9th of 1973, a horrible anonymous letter was sent to about half the residents of my new building (or about 300 people) urging them to get me kicked out, saying I had venereal disease, had sexually molested a 2 year old baby girl, etc. The only thing they got right about me was my age — which was the last thing I wanted known — and there was also an incorrect reference to my having a “swollen tongue.” I had a cracked tongue when I was a young child, which doctors believed came from vitamin deficienciency in the orphanage. (1)
Obviously, I was terribly upset by that letter. I had dreamed for years of moving into this building, and was petrified that I would be kicked out. Furthermore, I was horribly embarrassed, especially when I heard people talking in the elevator about the new girl with VD!
On that same day, I also received a second brief visit from Margie Shepherd again, before she disappeared permanently from my life allegedly to go to Boston. With her that day was a very sweet girl named Paula Tyler, who told me a sad story about coming from California and being raped while hitch-hiking. Could I help her get an apartment in this building from some absent tenant at a reduced rate? I did, and later, her so called platonic friend, a very friendly asexual type boy named Jerry Levin moved in upstairs with her.
Jerry and Paul dropped by to visit each day, and along with my girlfriend in the building (a writer named Barbara), we all became quite friendly.
(1) I knew it was Scientology for a few reasons. First, only they would make up something as horrible as VD. Secondly, the “sexually molested 2 year old baby girl” was a reference to one of their own male “ministers” who had done that–and they were the only ones who knew that I knew the age of that girl since I had left that out of my book. Third, the letter said I had just returned from the Europe, but in fact had returned from the Caribbean. But they had wrongly told some people I was in Europe at that time.
My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]].
Part 5: My First Grand Jury
In the middle of February I was subpoenaed to appear before a Grand Jury. I was excited, and flattered, thinking that the government was gathering evidence on Meisler’s reporting false bomb threats, and wanted to know some thing about the crazy group he belonged to, or the origins of our “feud”. Thus I figured I was being called as an expert witness or something and didn’t even show up with an attorney.
Bob S [[boyfriend]] was a criminal lawyer, however, and he advised me not to open my mouth without a lawyer until I was sure that I was not the “target” of the investigation. At that Grand Jury, to my amazement, Gordon said that I was the target of the investigation. And I almost dropped dead when he told me that if I was convicted, I could get 15 years! I think it was at that moment that my nightmare really started. (John Gordon was the Assistant U.S. Attourney.)
Petrified, I started looking for lawyers — none of whom wanted less than a $5,000 retainer! They would call Gordon and hear that the government had some “very serious evidence” against me — but no one would tell us what the evidence was. They wouldn’t even tell us when the two supposed bomb threats allegedly received by Meisler were mailed, and I had traveled enough as a travel writer that I might have been able to immediately prove I couldn’t have sent them. I was very upset over having to hire an expensive lawyer to defend myself on something I knew nothing about. And then each lawyer started throwing out terms like “indicted” (based on letters I hadn’t seen, mailed on dates I didn’t know, based on evidence the Government wouldn’t tell me), and I don’t know which was greater: my rage at the injustice, or my panic at the possible consequences.
I retained a prestigious criminal form of former AUSAs, Morrison, Paul, Stillman & Bailey (the last no relation), paid I believe 1/2 of the $5,000 retainer (the rest was loaned to me by my parents) and worked primarily with a sanguinary sonofabitch named Jay. Even before the next Grand Jury, Jay suggested I take a lie detector test, and being so naive in those days as to think lie detectors worked, I agreed. They chose one of the most prestigious firms in the country, Richard Arthur. But the test came out inconclusive and the examiner felt that because of my sensitivity to the shades of meanings of different words (as a writer), that I fell into the category of people who cannot and should not be tested on lie detectors. (1)
(1) I didn’t successfully pass the control test first, which was to look at a pink piece of paper that had a blue border and say “yes” that it was pink. I still noted the blue, and so registered lying when I said “yes” it was pink
My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]].
Part 6: The Bomb Threat Letters
The night before the main Grand Jury, which was around April, I finally saw the two letters for the first time. They were actually a relief, because they were so foolish and grossly ungrammatical that it was obviously not my style. The first letter was also a very unsubtle attempt to look like me, so that it became immediately obvious that someone was trying to implicate me, either to get me, or send Scientology bomb threats on their own without any risk to themselves by trying to make it look like my doing. (1)
The first letter started “these damned books they are closing in on me” immediately establishing that the person who wrote that was either someone writing books, or someone with wall-to-wall bookcases in their apartment, which was also true about me. It also said “I hurt — my operation” and this planted the first seeds of suspicion — later to become an obsession — about Nibs (L. Ron Hubbard Jr.) And again there was that wrong reference to me that had appeared in the smear letter to the building “my tongue is swollen.”
The second letter, allegedly received Dec. 13th (although it mysteriously never went through the mails, and suspiciously the only fingerprints on the envelope were Meisler’s we were later to learn) planted the first seeds of suspicion about my close friend Bob Kaufman, who had also written an anti- scientology book My lawyers were later to become highly suspicious of him, especially because he had had a nervous breakdown after being in scientology and had been institutionalized. The letter sounded like him (2) but this one sounded “more like Meisler, because it said that “Hitler – Hubbard – Meisler must be destroyed.” (I felt that the only person foolish enough to put ‘Meisler in with Hitler, or with his counterpart, Hubbard, had to be Meisler himself.
(1) Gordon [[the U.S. Prosecutor against me on this case]] paid me the dubious compliment of saying he thought I did it because the letters were so stupid that they must have been written by an intelligent person, and he didn’t think Meisler was too bright. Gordon also had some other things to say to my lawyers that added to my sense of frustration and rage over what was going on. When my lawyers pointed out that I had no motive to send bomb threats since I was then doing extremely well against Meisler and Sci in my NY suit, [[line missing which I think said “Gordon said that people who send bomb threats are crazy so they”]] don’t need any motive. When we pointed out that I would hardly write a letter to a building I had just moved into to try to get myself kicked out, and because of the “swollen tongue” the two seemed to be written by the same person Gordon told my lawyers that people who send bomb threats are disturbed and therefore might do anything. When we later pointed out that I would never send anonymous letter to my parents to hurt them, especially one that said I wasn’t a good writer when they were supporting me, we got the same argument.
The government also thought they were brilliant in concluding that the writer of the letters was Jewish. But they kept ignoring my lawyers when they pointed out that so was Meisler — and if it was a frameup of me, it would be made to look like a Jewish person.
(2) The letter sounded like Kaufman because it started off “James” and Bob was the only one to call Jim Meisler “James.” It also referred to “a exploding volcano” which is an important image in Scientology, and was discussed in Bob Kaufman’s book. But I didn’t think Bob would say “a exploding,” and anyway, he’s very bright and surely knew that volcanos erupt and not explode.
[[Prosecutors often go after cases they think will bring them publicity, even if they have evidence that the person is innocent. After the FBI raided Scientology and found the documents about me, and the story of the frame-up appeared in the newspapers, a friend of mine, Dr. Stephen Barrett, who is very active in anti-quack areas – indeed, he has an interesting web site up in this area now – sent the prosecutor, John Gordon the newsstories about the frame-up, and wrote him the following:
Dear Mr. Gordon:
Our records indicate you were the prosecuting attorney in the criminal case against Paulette Cooper, one of the few people in America who had the courage to speak out against Scientology.
We assume you will be hearing more about this matter as it unfolds. Meanwhile, you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.
Stephen Barrett, M.D.]]
Sorry, this was not formatted. The following all refers to the second Grand Jury; I went to the first one without a lawyer, thinking I was being called as an expert witness on Scientology, and not realizing that I had been framed and was in serious trouble.
Anything written in [[ ]] was added in 1997. The rest was written around 1982. I’ve added paragraphs now to make it easier to read.
Excerpt, provided by Dean Benjamin (email@example.com), from
Stephen Barrett, MD, and William Jarvis, PhD (editors)
“The Health Robbers”
Prometheus Books, Buffalo NY (1993)
Chapter 23, “The Gadgeteers”
by Wallace Janssen
Scientology and Its E-Meter
Twenty years after the Spectrochrome trial, the FDA became involved with Scientology, another group that used a supposed healing device in its ntuals The device, a form of galvanometer, is called the Hubbard Electropsychometer (or “E-Meter”). Its inventor, and the founder of Scientology, was a science fiction writer named Lafayette Ronald Hubbard. Hubbard has reportedly said “If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way would be to stad his own religion.”
An article by Hubbard in the May 1950 issue of “Astounding Science Fiction” was such a hit that he dashed off a book-length version — “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Healing.” Dianetics quickly became popular, and a Dianetic Research Foundation was established at Elizabeth, New Jersey. Practitioners trained by the Foundation set up offfices in Hollywood, on New York City’s Park Avenue, and on Chicago’s “Gold Coast.” The practitioners were called “auditors” and patients were interviewed while they reclined on couches. After a few years, dianetics declined in popularity, but the invention of the E-Meter and the incorporation of Scientology as a church, revived it. Disarmingly simple, the early version of the E-Meter used small soup cans for its hand-held electrodes.
FDA’s involvement with Scientology began in 1958 when it learned that the Distribution Center of the organization was selling a drug called “Dianazine.” This product was promoted for “radiation sickness,” a condition widely feared at that time as apotential consequence of “fallout” from atomic weapons testing. Dianazine, a vitamin mixture in tablet form, was seized and condemned by the court as misbranded.
A follow-up inspection led to an investigation of the E-Meter. Action against the device began when more than one hundred E-Meters were seized by U.S. marshals at the headquarters of the “Founding Church of Scientology” in Washington, D.C. The court papers charged that the devices were misbranded by false claims that they effectively treated some 70 percent of all physical and mental illness. It was also charged that the devices did not bear adequate directions for treating the conditions for which they were recommended in Scientology literature.
A jury trial resulted in a verdict that the E-Meter was misbranded by the Scientology literature — hence both the device and its “labeling” were subject to condemnation. The court rejected as irrelevant in this case the defense that the literature was exempt from legal action because it was issued by a “religious” organization. The Court of Appeals, however, reversed the verdict on the basis that the government had done nothing to rebut Scientology’s claim that it was a religion. A new trial was ordered, at the close of which Judge Gerhardt A. Gesell issued a fourteen-page opinion. Regarding the practice of auditing, the judge stated:
Hubbard and his fellow Scientologists developed the notion of using an E-Meter to aid auditing. Substantial fees were charged for the meter and for auditing sessions using the meter. They repeatedly and explicitly represented that such auditing effectuated cures of many physical and mental illnesses. An individual processed with the aid of the E-Meter was said to reach the intended goal of ‘clear’ and was led to believe that there was reliable scientific proof that once cleared many, indeed most, illnesses would successfully be cured. Auditing was guaranteed to be successful. All this was and is false.
Upholding FDA’s charges that the E-Meter was misbranded, Judge Gesell ordered that use of the E-Meter be confined to “bona fide religious counseling” and that the device be prominently labeled with the warning notice:
The E-Meter is not medically or scientifically useful for the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease. It is not medically or scientifically capable of improving the health or bodily functions of anyone.
After eight years of litigation, with two complete trials and three rulings of the Court of Appeals, the E-Meters and literature were returned to the Scientology headquarters. Was anything accomplished? Most definitely. The courts saw the necessity to uphold the food and drug law even in a situation that involved the First Amendment. The court upheld the right of believers to believe even in science fiction — provided that they do not violate the laws that protect the public health.
Part 7: Frame-up: The Big Grand Jury
Not surprisingly, I was petrified when I went off to the Grand Jury. My lawyers and I still had no idea what the evidence was, although we pretty much thought it had been my typewriter that had been used. [[for the bomb threats the Scientology PR director in New York claimed to have received]]
That whole afternoon, [[at the Grand Jury]] I tried desperately hard to answer every question as truthfully as I could, foolishly believing that if I did that, any idiot could see that I was innocent. (I also foolishly believed I couldn’t be indicted for perjury if I told the truth).
It was the first time I saw the actual letters themselves (the previous evening had been a photocopy) and had never seen that type of airmail stationery before (and wondered also why air mail stationery had been used to mail a letter from one place in New York to another) (1)
I kept being asked if I had seen the stationery (no), touched it (no) typed it (no) had any idea who wrote it (Meisler), etc. I answered all questions truthfully for hours and never took the 5th. But I knew I was in trouble nonetheless when Gordon [[the Assistant U.S. Prosecutor on this case]] asked later for my social security number, whether I was on drugs, whether I understood what was going on, etc.
Then he leaned forward and asked something like “well then, could you explain how your fingerprint got on the second letter?” I almost collapsed. I felt like a grand piano collapsed on my head and the room actually turned upside down (I sort of fainted sitting up).
Still, I kept my external composure but was so totally unprepared for this, that I really had no explanation. (Although I wished later that I had said that a fingerprint on a piece of paper is not like a fingerprint on a piano at the scene of a crime. A piece of paper can be moved around, and fingerprints obtained before someone writes something on it.)
Instead, I began to express my suspicions about Nibs [[L Ron Hubbard, Jr., with whom I had spent a month working on some writing about six months earlier]] and explained how he had access to my apartment.
That evening, I was greatly relieved, despite the disaster of the day, convinced that since I so obviously told the truth, all would be OK. Thus, I was horrified and petrified the next day when Gordon told Jay [[my main lawyer]] that he thought I was lying and I was going to be indicted for perjury as well as for sending the two bomb threats.
Gordon also offered to drop the whole case however if I would go back in to the Grand Jury and change my testimony, and he promised that everything would be sealed and secret forever. (2)
[[ Footnotes: ]]
(1) After the Grand Jury, I asked Joy* on the phone if she had “red and blue bordered air mail stationery” and she said no. But I described it wrong. It wasn’t bordered totally–just on one side which is why she got confused-
[[I don’t know if I explained this earlier. Joy, a distant cousin, (the one who was also attacked in what appeared to be an attack aimed at me), had moved to New York from California a few months earlier and was spending the nights with her boyfriend (Bob U…, a lawyer) a few blocks away.
In order to keep her mother from finding out that she was sleeping over with a man –remember that this was 1972 when such things were frowned on — she kept some of her things at my house, and would come to my place from work each day, talk with me, call her mother, and write some friends in California (phone calls were expensive and there was no internet). Then she’d leave to spend the rest of the night at her boyfriend Bob’s.
(2) I was against it for moral reasons (I honestly believed at the time that I physically could not lie under oath before a Grand Jury), and also out of anger (why in hell should I lie under oath and admit to a crime I didn’t committ so the government could save face for having made a mistake.)
Bob [[S…, my boyfriend at the time, who was an attorney]] was against it for very practical reasons. He pointed out that if I said I sent bomb threats, even under seal, every time there was a bomb threat in New York, I would have the FBI at my door. As it was, once I was indicted for it I worried about this from the time of my indictment until 1977 anyway.
My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]]. I added paragraphs today for easier reading (but it may mess up the formatting).
Part 8: Telling My Parents
I called my [[adoptive]] parents and sadly told my father what had happened [[that I was going to be indicted unless I admitted to sending bomb threats I hadn’t sent]] and what the government wanted me to do. [[Say I sent them i.e., cop a plea.]]
Dad assured me that any financial or emotional support he would give me was completely independent of whether or not I had done it. “But just out of curiosity,” he asked, “did you do it?”
I said, “Dad, I’ve lied to you about a few things in the past, like what time I really came home some nights. But this is important so I wouldn’t lie to you about it. I didn’t do it.”
Dad then said, “Mom and I wouldn’t want you to perjure yourself before a Grand Jury and admit to a crime you didn’t do to save us money. And if we have to sell the house to defend you, we’ll do it.” I started to cry, Dad was holding back tears, and Paula Tyler who was there by the phone cried also.
To digress for a moment, shortly thereafter I came across a picture in a Scientology publication of a girl who looked very much like Paula [[Tyler, a “friend” who turned out to be a Scientologist, who introduced me to Jerry Levin, who also turned out to be a Scientologist]].
When I confronted her with it, however, she was extremely convincing and composed, angry that any Scientologist might look like her. A few weeks later, she received a telegram that her parents had been in a car crash in Europe, and she disappeared forever.[[*]]
[[Four years later, when I was working with the FBI on this frameup/Operation Freakout/Snow White investigation, I was shown a surreptitiously taken photo of Paula taken at a recent Scientology gathering.]]
[[Three paragraphs from the 1982 diary cut. Incidentally, at a later date I plan to post the whole diary without any cuts.]]
[[*]] This is confusing so let me go over it again. In December, a woman calling herself Margie Shepherd, came to my apartment and asked me to sign a petition.
She introduced me to her friend Paula Tyler, (who turned out to be a Scientologist), and after I became friendly with Paula, she introduced me to Jerry Levin, who became my roommate, who also turned out to be a Scientologist.
It was always my opinion that my stationery was stolen by Margie Shepherd, not Jerry, although the FBI later insisted that their inside information from several sources made it clear it was Jerry.
Perhaps Jerry was outside my apartment and Margie brought him the stationery after I’d touched it. Or Jerry broke in (Margie may have unlatched the door for him) and took the stationery. The question of exactly how they got my fingerprint still haunts me, and if anyone has some information about this, or any of these three people, I’d like to know for my own peace of mind.]]
My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]].
Part 9: Arrest
On May 9, 1973, I was indicted on three felony counts, two of sending two bomb threats through the mail, and one for perjury for denying doing it (and stating that I thought Meisler [[the NY Scientologist in charge of PR and me!]] had sent them to himself). Each count carried a possible 5 years (15 years in all) and a $5,000 fine ($15,000)
I will never forget the terrible humiliation of my arraignment on May 19th (when I pleaded not guilty), and of standing in that big courtroom with all those criminals, and then being marched downstairs past prisoners to be mug shotted, fingerprinted and arrested. (But the arrest was still better than I feared, because for the entire two previous months, I had been petrified every time I went down to my lobby that I might be arrested there in front of other tenants — which would be especially humiliating after that embarrassing smear letter.)
I will also never forget how sick I felt when I opened up the envelope containing my indictment: “The United States of America vs. Paulette Marcia Cooper.” My thought was “200 million people against me?” And I was sick when I thought of how hard I had worked when young to become an American citizen,[[*]] and how much it had always meant to me, only to have my government turn against an innocent person.
[[*]] I became an American citizen — I originally came from Belgium — two years after I arrived in America as part of an adoption/citizenship “package.” I had studied hard to learn English (I only spoke French until I came to America) so I could answer questions about the USA in English at the hearing.
My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]].
Part 10: Falling apart
It was also around that time that I became extremely afraid of going to prison and began having the recurring prison dreams which I am still plagued with to this day. Jay [[my lawyer]], who would always predict the worst happening, said that with a fingerprint (1) [[…]], I had a 95% chance of conviction. He also felt that I had a small chance of a short prison sentence (“hopefully,” he added) and I became frightened of physical and sexual dangers that would be harder to fight because of my small frame.
My biggest fear, though, and the one that caused me the most anxiety was that the story of my indictment and arrest would leak out in the press, especially since the public doesn’t generally know the difference between someone who’s indicted and someone who’s guilty. I was petrified for my career, which had been going along so beautifully. But certainly no editor would ever give an assignment to someone indicted for sending bomb threats to people she had exposed. And if I was forced to leave freelance writing, which I had worked so hard to succeed in [[I already had four books out by the time I was 30]] and was one of the few people to do so, I doubted whether it would be easy for me to get a job again with that kind of background if it was publicized.
These problems hounded me for years, as did acute anxiety about possible public humiliation — and the fact that it was all so bizarre made it likely to get extensive press coverage — to me and my parents. I hardly wanted every detail of my life coming out in the newspapers while looking like a criminal and I felt even worse for my poor [[adoptive]] parents. Everything I had ever done in my life had been to make them proud of me, and not feel that they were wrong in adopting me. And now we were all about to be hurt and embarrassed publicly.
Footnotes: [[paragraphing added today]]
(1) The fingerprint was also weird, because it was just one quarter of my third finger on one side of the page. This was not consistent with my holding a single piece of paper (in which case, it would have been a fingerprint on the other side as well) as the government contended.
I was to realize much later, however, that it was consistent with my taking a pile of stationery and tossing them to Joy’s side, as I frequently did with her stationery which cluttered up my section of the apartment.
In addition, I was later to wonder whether Margie Shepherd [[the mysterious woman who visited my apartment right before the bomb threats were sent]] hadn’t placed that paper under the clipboard which held the petition I signed (which also would have [[line undecipherable but it probably said “also would have explained the fingerprint being only 1/4 of a finger on one side only).”]]
Part 11: Breaking down My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]]. Paragraphs added now.
Part 11: Breaking down
By the summer [[that I was under indictment as a result of the frame-up of me by Scientology ]], the anxiety, fear, despair etc., became constant and uncontrollable.
I would wake up suddenly in the middle of the night from a bad dream (if I hadn’t drank enough to knock myself out for the evening), in a sweat, often dreaming about prisons, concentration camps and orphanages.
I was so frightened and anxious thinking about what was happening [[that no one believed I was innocent, that I was about to face a major trial for what I didn’t do, that the trial would be followed closely in the newspapers, and that everything I had ever said or done could come out in the trial and then the newspapers]] that I would often stay up (smoking) (and sometimes drinking more) the entire night, doze off around 6 A.M., and then awake to acute nausea (which was chronic for the whole period) and an acute anxiety attack around 9 when I knew Jay [[my lawyer]] was likely to call with more bad legal news. (Sometimes I had to wait as long as 2 weeks to learn anything, dreading a ringing phone all the time.)
I was constantly nauseous. From about May until October I only could force myself to eat one or two eggs in the morning, and about 16 ounces of clamato juice each night. I was smoking about 4 packs of cigarettes a day, sometimes more.
By June or so, I no longer just drank at night to help me get a few hours of badly needed sleep. I started drinking whenever I felt anxious, which was from the moment I woke up.
And since vodka (even a half a bottle a day) didn’t cut the anxiety, I combined it with contraband valium. And I was also saving whatever valium I could for use right before the trial if I felt I simply couldn’t withstand such a humiliating ordeal.
My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]]. Some paragraphing added currently.
Part 12: Suicidal
I had become increasingly suicidal as time went on. I was in a rage over the sense of injustice over what was happen [[being accused of a crime I didn’t commit and having to stand trial for it]] and things just kept getting worse and worse.
There seemed to be nothing left except the agony of a public trial to prove my innocence, with high publicity, and great embarrassment to me and my parents. Even if cleared, I knew my life and career were ruined. And the alternatives were even worse.
The night of my 30th birthday, [[…]] I was at my lowest, most suicidal point. A number of other serious things had also gone wrong that day. (1) I decided not to wait until the trial [[I had been thinking of killing myself the night before]], but to save myself and my parents any further agony.
I got riproaring drunk and started to write a suicide letter to my parents, trying to explain to them that I simply could not take the psychological pain any more. Fortunately, an old and close friend, Lucy, called me to wish me a happy birthday while I was writing the letter. And although I didn’t tell her I was planning suicide, she recognized that I was in a very bad state. She kept me on the phone for hours, and finally calmed me down. I passed out from exhaustion, alcohol, and valium.
I was aware that I was having a nervous breakdown. But I was afraid to go to a psychiatrist because I knew that it could be brought out at trial. (The government’s contention was the people who send bomb threats are insane might be reinforced by seeing a psychiatrist.)
I also would have benefited greatly if I could have gotten away, but I couldn’t. I had no money left, didn’t think it fair to ask my parents for more money in view of what they were spending in legal fees, [[*]] couldn’t ask for a free trip and write about it (as I had been doing in the early ’70’s and am starting to do again) because writing had become too difficult. [[I couldn’t concentrate to write all that year.]]
But mainly, I was on some kind of parole or probation before trial and was not allowed to leave the state without the court’s permission. The notion of having to ask the government to even go to New Jersey was so humiliating that I meekly stayed home.
(1) First of all, Bob [[my boyfriend]] was supposed to see me on my birthday, but had backed off. I knew he didn’t want to be with me in my state, and I was too far gone to be able to pretend to be happy, which is what he always wanted me to do.
Secondly, my fourth book, “The Medical Detectives” which was later to get rave reviews and win a special award, [[it received a Special Award from the Mystery Writers of America which offers the Edgar Allen Poe award for the best fact crime book]] had the first review come out that day — the only one of two bad reviews out of hundreds. I thought that augured poorly.
I also turned 30 and was single which before women’s lib [[…]] ** augured poorly.
[[*]] I believe the legal fees were ultimately $19,000 just to the main lawyers — which would be like aound $40,000 today — and that the total for all lawyers, tests, etc., was $28,000 — in 1973 dollars.
And then my main lawyers sued my father and me to try to get more money out of us! Bastards. (Indeed, one of my two main lawyers, Charles, went on to defend Reverend Moon several years later.)]]
[[** A few of you may have figured out by now that I have consistently excised any year in the diary that has my age on the same line. Sure, anyone can figure out my age from this diary — although those who’ve seen me assure me that I don’t look it at all <g> — but since this diary is being archived, and I am conducting writing business on the net with editors etc., who look me up, I would rather not have my age be the first thing that they see.]]
My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]]. Some paragraphing added currently.
Part 13: Deterioration
By the summer [[of my indictment for the bomb threats actually sent by Scientology to frame me]], with the trial scheduled for the fall, this [[namely the fact that I was not permitted by the court to travel out of the state]] was no longer a problem anyway, because for the first time in my life I became increasingly agorophobic and unable to leave my house.
In fact, one of my closest friends died during this period (which certainly didn’t help my state of mind, to say the least) and as distraught as I was, I couldn’t make it out of my apartment that day for his funeral.
I was terrified to be around people. I remember one friend coming over to try to make me walk around the block, but I was too anxious to take more than a few steps and started crying, begging him to let me return home.
In addition to my psychological deterioration, I was also looking pretty awful. Partially it was from tension, total lack of sleep, the fact that I cared so little about myself, or life in general, that I stopped taking care of my hair, makeup, clothes or anything.
Most days it was too much for me to even straighten up the apartment (nonetheless clean it or do the dishes), and I stopped playing with my little dog to whom I had been very attached.
I was also physically ill. My stomach pains returned, [[I had had surgery for fibroid tumors a year earlier]] along with some female problems, and this added to my fears because the doctor had indicated a year earlier that I would need further surgery [[that the fibroids were likely to return]], and I hardly wanted to go through that ordeal again. (1)
Not surprisingly, my relationship with Bob [[my boyfriend of several years]] became increasingly strained, posited mostly on the events which made me, as he put it “no fun anymore.” He simply could not understand why I couldn’t ignore what was going on.
I lost all sexual interest (I also developed a new problem then and that was that I didn’t want anybody to touch me, sexually or otherwise), and by mutual agreement he started seeing another girl “for sexual purposes.” I knew she was working on getting him for more than that, and it added to my problems when I realized I was losing him to her.
Jerry [[the secret Scientologist]] and Barbara [[my best friend]] were the only people I saw each day. Around May or so, Jerry had convinced me that he should move into my apartment.
Indeed, Bob thought it was a good idea, since he knew I was highly unlikely to be “unfaithful” to him, especially with an asexual immature child. Jerry paid half the rent, which I badly needed, and I was fearful and liked having a man around for protection. In addition, when I became extremely agorophobic, he went out and did the shopping and the little things I couldn’t leave the house to do.
(1) [[personal female problem cut]]
My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]]. Also, I have added some paragraph breaks.
Part 14: The Greenes; L. Ron Hubbard Jr.
To defend myself, I spent most of my time ruminating about the case, wondering how my fingerprint could have gotten on letters I never saw or touched, (1) analyzing the letters, and comparing type faces with letters from all the suspects (Meisler [[the Scientology PR man who filed the complaint]], Nibs [[L. Ron Hubbard Jr.]], R. Kaufman [[Bob Kaufman, author of “Inside Scientology” and one of my very closest friends for many years]], and the Greenes, who I’ll discuss in a minute.)
But first I have to backtrack and explain that around March of that year (although I didn’t find out about it until May), my parents had received an anonymous letter saying that I couldn’t write, that I had practiced sexual perversions with their rabbi, and that it was a couple named the Greenes who were in back of my harassment, not Scientology.[[*]]
At that time, Bernard and Barbara Greene[[**]] were in court against Scientology and were represented by someone who became a good friend of mine, John Seffern. So I initially gave no credence to the accusations against them, for that letter was consistent with a Scientology smear.[[Third partying]] But the document analyst we hired [[to examine the bomb threats]] found that the typing on the letter to my parents appeared to match a letter I had obtained from the Greenes — and more important, that it was all probably on the same typewriter as the bomb threats!
It was then that I began to wonder whether the Greenes had sent the bomb threats, especially when they refused to allow us to test their typewriter and began to move it to different places. They also had a motive, since they hated Scientology, and also had no great love for me, since I debunked Scientology theory, which they very much believed in, although they hated the organization.
Had I touched a piece of stationery that evening at their house? Or had they gotten me to touch some paper then, or later through an intermediary such as their friend and my friend, Bob Kaufman? Were they trying to get Scientology without implicating themselves by implicating me? [[I was wrong, but the next theory in the following paragraph was probably right.]]
The situation was further complicated by the fact that they were good friends with L. Ron Hubbard Jr., whom they said visited their home during the time the letters were typed. (This also added to my suspicion about Nibs, because what was this Californian doing secretly in New York in December?)[[***]]
Had L. Ron Hubbard Jr. tried to frame all of us so he could become the chief anti-Scientologist, which is what he wanted? Or was he working for them all along? [[As you will see in the next entry, he appears to have been turned by Scientology around then for the first time, and then again years later.]]
Did he visit with Meisler, whom he knew, when he was in New York? Or had the Greenes and Nibs decided to play a little joke on Scientology one night, and Nibs took my stationery or got me to touch a piece of paper (through Kaufman) and the Greenes typed up the bomb threats. And when the joke later turned out to be a federal crime, had they all started covering up? [[forget it]]
(1) I even considered the possibility that I had done it, [[…]] But I knew I could never be so drunk as to type up two letters,
look up a zip code I didn’t know, mail two letters on 2 separate occasions, and then not remember a single thing about it afterwards.
[[*]] This anonymous smear letter — one of 5 Scientology sent about me over the years — was particularly painful to me because it was so hurtful to my parents. This was one of several things the Scientologists did to harass them — Scientology realized they were my buttons — and since they were religious people, sending them an anonymous letter saying I was practicing perversions with their rabbi hurt them and therefore me.
[[**]] Bernie & Barbara were former Scientologists who owned a major New York franchise which the Scientologists took away from them — as Scientology had a habit of doing whenever a franchise became successful. The Greenes then sued Scientology.
[[***]] Nibs’s being in New York (he lived in Whittier California) at that time without calling me was very suspicious because we were good friends so why didn’t he tell me he was in town? We knew each other well because I had spent a month with him the previous summer ghostwriting the Scientology article.
My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]]. Also, I have added some paragraph breaks.
Part 15: Suspicions about L. Ron Hubbard Jr.
[[Note: this entry and the next one are important historically because they show that Nibs (L. Ron Hubbard Jr.) appeared to have been involved in the frame-up of me, for which he received a house and/or money.
[[It is also important after he told Roy Wallis — author of “The Road to Total Freedom” — about some of his involvement, and Roy threatened to testify at my trial about Nibs’s statements and letters, (which he photocopied), the government began to realize I might have been framed and started to back down from trying the case against me.
[[The minute I saw the bomb threat letters for the first time I knew that Nibs was involved in the frame-up because he was the only one who knew I said something, and there was no way Scientology could have known it except through him. The incriminating phrases in the letter were something like: “I hurt. My operation.”
[[Remember, that I said earlier in this “diary” that I had spent about a month (after major abdominal surgery) working with Nibs on a forward to Bob Kaufman’s book. I had just gotten out of the hospital and it was too early for me to be working and I was still in a lot of pain.
[[I was recuperating at my parents’ home and my mother would frequently come over to where we were working and ask me how I was feeling or how my stomach was and I’d usually say: “I hurt” or “It hurts.”]]
My suspicion that Nibs was also involved was strengthened greatly, when, in obtaining letters of all possible suspects for document analysis that summer, I discovered that in his handwritten letters, the same type of errors that appeared in the bomb threats (writing things like “lll”, “cant”, “a exploding” etc.) appeared repeatedly in his unedited letters (his wife later retyped them for him).
I had assumed that someone was feigning illiteracy but Nibs really was uneducated. Furthermore, that letter to my parents could have been written by Nibs also, especially since he kept seeming to try to reach out to them.(1)
My suspicions about Nibs [[L. Ron Hubbard Jr.]] turned into an obsession that he was involved [[in my frame-up]] in August when he was interviewed by a mutual friend of ours, Dr. Roy Wallis [[author of “The Road To Total Freedom”]].
He seemed to be very honest with Roy, said he was angry at me, but that he didn’t like Scientology either. Yet they had pressured him (he told someone else they had blackmailed him) into leaving the anti-Scientology scene, although he insisted that he had never rejoined them.
(1) Oddly enough, in November of 1972, right before the bomb threats were mailed, Nibs wrote my parents a letter stating that I should keep my eyes open and implying that bad things might happen to me. Was he in fact trying to ensure that my parents wouldn’t think he was behind what he was about to get behind?
My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]]. Also, I have added some paragraph breaks.
Part 16: L. Ron Hubbard Jr.’s Letters
[[In the previous segment, I explained why I thought L Ron Hubbard Jr., was involved in Scientology’s frame-up of me.
[[To continue: while I was under indictment, and in a very bad state physically and emotionally, Roy Wallis, who lived in Scotland, came to New York to interview me and others for his book.
[[After talking to me, and hearing what had happened, he interviewed Nibs (L Ron Hubbard Jr.), a braggart, who began hinting of his involvement in the frame-up and what he got for it from Scientology and or his father.]]
He [[L. Ron Hubbard Jr., aka Nibs]] showed Roy [[Wallis, author of “The Road to Total Freedom”]] two letters which made it appear that Scientology had rejected a scheme to frame me, and that he had then gone to his father and offered to do anything to get back in his good graces.
He told Roy that he hadn’t mailed the letter to his father but Nibs may have gone off on his own, since he also told Roy that he had received a house, a business and cash — in late May, which was when I was indicted and arrested.(1)
Roy went to the government with the letters and an affidavit and the government began to back down from the case.(2)
(1) The first letter was from DG [[Deputy Guardian]] Bob Thomas, then head of dirty tricks in California for Scientology, and, incidentally, the boss of Terry Milner (who’s [[sic]] name appears in the Washington documents about framing me).
In this letter, dated November 3rd or about a month before the first bomb threat, Bob Thomas rejected Nibs’ apparent offer to “pursu[e] the course of double agent entrapment or harassment you propose with regard to certain individuals you have named in your prior communication, vis: Paulette Cooper….”
“Entrap”, incidentally is the word Scientology uses for “frame”, I learned from their Washington documents about me. Thus, it seemed to me that the Church of Scientology itself specifically did not want me to be framed. [[Or maybe they were just covering their a– on paper.]]
But the next letter Roy Wallis obtained from Nibs was dated six days later and written to his father, L. Ron Hubbard and Mary Sue. In it, he said he had always been working for them, and that seemed to me to be a good indication that he wasn’t, for if he had been, he wouldn’t be telling his father that 3 years later.
He did write, however, that “I have a vast fund of information, ability and skill plus a large variety of plans, activities and options which will bring the enemies of the church to their knees once and for all.” There was no doubt that the first person to go after would be me. So it looked like he had gone ahead with these plans in order to get in his father’s good graces.
(2) We let Gordon know that we were going to call Roy Wallis (an Oxford scholar) and Nibs to the trial, and Nibs is a pretty poor witness since when Scientology either dissuaded or blackmailed him into stopping his attacks, he signed a sworn affidavit recanting his sworn testimony at a 1968 anti-Scientology trial.
My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]]. Some paragraphs have been added now.
Part 17: hypnosis, truth serum, etc.
However they [[the government]] still wouldn’t drop it [[the case]] until I could give them some proof of innocence. (1) (Funny, I always thought in our system of justice one was innocent until proven guilty.)
I tried hypnosis twice, but couldn’t relax enough. Sodium pentathol or “truth serum” was suggested that summer, but doctors thought it was highly dangerous in my poor physical condition, especially since by then I only weighed 83 pounds. (I spoke to Dr. Cath [[earlier psychiatrist I went to, the one whose office the Scientologists broke into looking for my records]] by phone on at least two occasions concerning this, and it was his memos on those two conversations that were later mailed anonymously to me by the Scientologists.)
(1) I tried another lie detector firm but they said my responses showed too much stress to be conclusive. While they said that that type of heavy stress is often manifested by guilty people, it could also reflect the stress of an innocent person going through such an ordeal.
We also called in Dr. Fred Barnett, the lie detector expert at F. Lee Bailey’s firm…. [[Note: F Lee Bailey’s firm, realizing this trial would get a lot of publicity, wanted this case and offered to try it very cheaply. My parents refused, preferring to go with far more expensive lawyers, because they felt that the imge of F Lee Bailey was that he defended rich guilty people.]]
Barnett [[the lie detector expert at Bailey’s firm]] felt that not only my unusual background, but also the way my (Jewish) parents and grandmother were always trying to make me feel guilty, would lead me to be a “guilt reactor” who would fail any lie detector test if accused of anything, regardless of whether or not they did it. He wanted me to be retested by a Chicago specialist who had devised a test for people like me. I was all for it, but my lawyers wanted the sodium pentathol. [[truth serum]]
Summary: I could not figure out why the government was taking the two obviously ridiculous letters and going after me despite the increasing amount of evidence that I was innocent and the Scientologists were the guilty party.
I did learn from the Washington documents years later about the very cozy relationship the government had with the Scientologists during the Vietnam War, in which it appeared that Scientology turned over to the FBI the names of people who joined Scientology in order to get out of the war. So the FBI probably thought they were good guys, and may have wanted to stay on their good side by going after their enemies.
In addition, I may have been on a bad guy list for the government, partially because I was one of the first people to write something questioning several aspects of the autopsy report on the Kennedy assassination. (This was in my book “The Medical Detectives,” which came out that year.)
Plus, I had written (innocuous) stories for papers the government despised, and in the Nixon retribution era, may have been on a list of people the government wanted to get.
Part 18: Paranoia?
To digress for a moment, although I still suspected Nibs [[L. Ron Hubbard Jr.,]] the most, and Meisler [[the Scientology PR guy who claimed to have received the bomb threat and named me as a suspect]] second, a new suspect developed during this period.
This was the summer of Watergate, and, in fact, the only thing that had any interest for me that summer were the Watergate hearings. I was delighted with the negative revelations about the government — which I had turned very strongly against as a result of what had happened to me. (And it also gave me no small satisfaction when L. Patrick Gray was indicted, since he had been in charge [[of the FBI]] when that happened to me!.)
But there were many loose ends in the case that kept bothering me. Why were they [[the government]] taking those letters so seriously, especially since they were not bomb threats at all? (One said “I’ll bomb you’ but that was a reference to a person [[Meisler]] and you can’t bomb a person.)
Why had the FBI agent [[Bruce Brotman, who was the “genius” agent who originally concluded that I had done it and not Scientology, and he also testified against me at the Grand Jury]] received a special commendation for his work on the case?[[*]]
Why had John Gordon [[the prosecutor after me]] been promoted after leaving the case? How in hell in the first place could my fingerprint end up on a piece of paper I never saw or touched?
Or was it my fingerprint? Maybe the government was just saying that. And, after all, the FBI certainly had access to my fingerprints since I gave it to them (and fingerprints can be transferred).
There were many other implausible things that were beyond anyone’s comprehension. (I have outlined a few of these things in the footnotes.)
There was also the fact that the second letter, the one with my fingerprint on it, hadn’t even gone through the mail, and yet I was being charged with sending bomb threats through the mail. And that letter wasn’t even the bomb threat — it was the first one — and yet I was being prosecuted for the content of the second one, even though document analysts said there were two typists. [[The document examiner we hired, a top one, said that two different people had typed the two different letters.]]
I felt that the government was after me, and from there it was only one small (paranoid) step to begin to wonder whether in fact they had framed me in the first place. And there were two reasons why it would be plausible to.
First, I had written a chapter in my book “The Medical Detectives” (and that chapter had also been serialized earlier in a magazine), quoting people who were criticizing the Government and the FBI and accusing them of a cover up in the JFK assassination.
In 1973 not that many people were publicly doing that, and those who had tried, like Jim Garrison (who, incidentally, was defended by this same Dr. Barnett I mentioned in the footnote on the previous page) had been framed by the Government (as Barnett explained to me at the time).
Secondly, it came out during Watergate that the government had an enemy list of newspapers, and I had written 8 articles for three of the newspapers mentioned (The New York Times, The Washington Post, The St. Louis Post Dispatch).
Although my articles were hardly subversive or anti-government, I suspected that the government may very well have kept lists of all bylines that appeared in those papers, especially considering the hysterical paranoia of the Nixon administration. So for years I wondered if it was the government (most likely through the FBI) which had sent those bomb threats to frame me.(1) [[**]]
(1) Interestingly enough, the Washington documents showed that Scientology and the FBI had a very cozy relationship in those days, and Scientology was routinely turning in draft resisters to the FBI, either to hurt a recalcitrant member or to gain points with the government.
[[*]] In one of those bizarre twists, the FBI agent on this case, Bruce Brotman, got together during this time with his old college roommate, Jeffrey Klein, and began boasting about his great work on this case (sure), and he gave enough details of the case that Jeffrey realized it was me. And Jeff knew it was me because Jeff’s my second cousin.
I was furious — I certainly didn’t want my family knowing I had been indicted and arrested — since FBI agents aren’t supposed to discuss their cases outside of the bureau. A few years later, incidentally, the newspapers showed a picture of Brotman carrying children out of Jonestown, as if he was some great compassionate anti-cultist. Yeah, sure.
[[**]] My name was not on the officially released list, but given the paranoia of the times, I’m sure there were lists of everyone who wrote for the anti-government newspapers at the time.
Part 19: Betrayal by Jerry, etc.
In late September, when the ordeal of a trial seemed inevitable (it was scheduled for October 31st, 1973), something made me look up my cancelled checks of the previous year. When I first saw that check I thought nothing of it, but as my eye caught the date, I froze.
I had written out a check to the United Farm Workers and given it to Margie Shepherd on December 6th the night before the first bomb threat was mailed.
I had totally forgotten about that whole visit–and now I remembered something else about her. She had never removed her coat or gloves in the half hour she sat in my sweltering apartment. And Joy remembered that also when I called then to ask if she remembered Margery. ****
My lawyers were very excited when I called them with the discovery and told me to immediately go through lists of Scientologists, because it would be most helpful (to say the least) if we could prove that someone who might know the complainant (Meisler) [[the Scientology PR man who had claimed to have received the bomb threats and named me as a likely suspect]] had been in my apartment the night before the first bomb threat was mailed.
I was going through John Seffern’ s[[*]] lists with no luck on Margie when I almost fell over. There, among a list of high ranking Scientologists was the name ‘”Jerry Levin” — the same man who had been living in my apartment for at least six months.
I simply did not want to believe it. Barbara [[my best friend, a writer who lived in the building]] and I confronted Jerry with it, but he rightly pointed out that it was a common name, especially in New York, and he turned on me. After all he had done for me, how could I accuse him of being a Scientologist?
He almost completely convinced me that I had gone so crazy that I was now suspicious of everyone. I ended up feeling guilty for doubting and accusing him, even more so when he left shortly thereafter.
This strong suspicion of betrayal [[**]] added to my bad mental state, as did the fact that once he left I was alone. If I was wrong, then I had self-destructively driven away someone I could have leaned on during the trial. (Indeed, Jerry had offered to be a character witness for me at the trial, and I cringe now when I think of the scenario if that had happened!)
Almost everyone was gone. Bob [[my boyfriend]] had left me completely around August, after he had come over one evening and I had been too depressed to even fix myself up or clean the place before his arrival. Paula [[***]] was gone. Jerry was gone. Most of my friends avoided me because I was hardly a cheerful companion. (1)
(1) As one of my previously close friends explained, he simply could not talk to me about what was happening because it was so horrible that he was depressed every time for days after seeing me.
[[* John Seffern was an attorney who had fought a case against Scientology. He and his former wife had once been Scientologists and he was on their mailing list for over 20 years, receiving Freedoms, etc. He kept them for me so we could periodically go through the names looking for Scientologists.]]
[[** note the word “suspicion.” I simply refused to believe that Jerry was a Scientologist until I saw the Washington documents about 8 years later.]]
[[*** Paula Tyler, unbeknownst to me, was also a Scientologist, and she was introduced to me by Margie Shepherd and Paula in turn introduced me to Jerry. So that’s how I was set up: from Margie to Paula to Jerry.]]
[[**** I may have mentioned in an earlier entry that I now believe Margie may have had stationery taped to the back of the clipboard (holding the petition I signed for the United Farm Workers) and that’s how they got my fingerprint..
Or more likely, she grabbed a piece of stationery when I went into get her a drink, and the stationery was Joy’s which I had touched and that’s how they got my fingerprint. Or she unlocked the little latch for the door so someone else could come into the apartment later and get my stationery.
According to the FBI, Jerry was the one who actually obtained the stationery, so she either gave it to him, or he entered the apartment when I wasn’t there and grabbed some paper.]]