This is Photojournalist Fred G. Haseney with his eye on scientology. Today, I’ve conducted a very special visit to the Pacific Area Command Base (“PAC Base” or “Big Blue”), the so-called “church” of scientology’s West Coast headquarters. I did so upon the invitation of former scientologist (and former Sea Org member) Cece Marie Gangle Smith. Another former scientologist, Lynn Fountain Campbell, joined us after getting an invite from Cece. Today’s blog is part of the “Reconnecting the Disconnected and Declared” series.
Photo Caption: Cece received approval from Phil and Willie Jones to create a likeness of their billboard (“To my loved one in scientology… call me.”) on a metallic sign that can be easily affixed to a car door. In this photo, Cece applies one of those signs to the passenger door of Lynn’s car as Lynn admires her handiwork. Lynn holds a sign that will be affixed to her driver’s door. On the back of Cece’s shirt is OT III material; on the front it reads: “scientology kills.”
Photo Caption: Cece ensures that any uneven or creased areas of the sign are smoothed out.
Photo Caption: Perfect!
Photo Caption: The signs have been affixed to Cece’s car; we’re ready to rock and roll!
Photo Caption: As Lynn and I followed Cece, we drove by the International Association of Scientologists (“IAS”) offices on Fountain Ave., between New Hampshire Ave., and L. Ron Hubbard Way. As our two cars waited for a light to change, three Sea Org members stood completely still, their eyes fixated on the sign. Lynn and I couldn’t believe it! The sign acts like honey and drew the Sea Org members to it like flies! Shortly after, the light changed and we proceeded to the corner of Fountain Ave. and Catalina St., where Lynn dropped me off. Lynn proceeded, following Cece. The plan involved both cars circling PAC Base three or four times, and driving as slowly as they could. In this photo, I’m on Catalina St., facing east, looking at a Sea Org Security Guard (“SG”) on his trusty bicycle calling in, most likely reporting our proximity. Behind him is L. Ron Hubbard Way (“LRH Way”); to the right is Los Angeles Organization (“LA Org”), 4810 W Sunset Blvd.
Photo Caption: This is Cece’s car, followed by Lynn’s car. They are driving very slowly south along LRH Way, between Sunset Blvd. (to the left) and Fountain Ave (to the right). They’ve just rolled by LA Org, American Saint Hill Organization (“ASHO”); I’m standing outside Pacifica Cafe. AOLA is off-camera and to my right. Cece said, “Smile, Fred, because I’m taking a picture of you!” The cute dog, incidentally, is “Simi,” named after a friend of mine, an ex-scientologist who I shared ASHO Day’s Specialist Course room with in the mid-1980’s, Simi Valley. (Hi, Simi!)
Photo Caption: Here I’ve zoomed in on the last photo; please see the numbered arrows: Item #1: Cece snaps a shot of Yours Truly. Item #2: The guy, most likely a SO member, stands staring at the sign affixed to the side of Cece’s car. Item #3: a SO member descends a set of steps. (I shot this along LRH Way; Cece is heading south toward Fountain Ave. Scientology apparently owns property on LRH Way that hasn’t yet painted blue; this location may be one of those properties.)
Photo Caption: Okay. Cece’s car has driven by, and along comes Lynn. The well-dressed Sea Org member who I captured descending a set of steps in the last photo has, by this picture, reached the sidewalk. By this time, he’s noticed the signs and is staring at the side of Lynn’s car.
Photo Caption: For this picture, I’ve zoomed in on the last photo, amazed at how Phil and Willie’s sign draws attention. This SO member sees only Phil and Willie’s command: “call me,” and maybe, just maybe, he’s suddenly reminded of the fact that he has a mom and a dad who he cut all ties with over a decade ago so he could “clear the planet.”
Photo Caption: A picture is worth a thousand words, isn’t it? For this photo, I aimed at people passing by and those enjoying a snack or a cup of coffee outside Pacifica Cafe. I’m facing south; ASHO is to my right. Just check out the attention that Phil and Willie’s signs have gotten from all of the people in this picture. As Cece and Lynn drove by to my left along LRH Way, I watched two guys, probably public scientologists, stare at the signs. Along with them are two Sea Org members: the woman in the background between the two guys, and to their right, sitting down, is another Sea Org member (the one wearing a mustache). In fact, that guy is a coach on the Survival Rundown (“SR”) and his twin, most likely a public scientologist, is sitting next to him off-camera. Behind the woman SO member, further down the street and near Fountain Ave., is a SG watching the proceedings. More SGs are about to appear on the scene, because a crack has formed in scientology’s “bubble world.”
Photo Caption: This is a close-up of that last photo. Just imagine what scientologists, public and Sea Org members alike, are thinking right about now, up and down LRH Way, PAC Base, and even “up lines.”
Photo Caption: The guy on the right smiles, understanding full well that I’ve captured them viewing Cece and Lynn as their cars drove by. It’s not lost on either one of them what I’ve been doing. Meanwhile, in the background, SGs hold an impromptu pow-wow.
Photo Caption: In this photo, we watch Cece, followed by Lynn, turn from LRH Way, west onto Fountain Ave. Simi stares at a SG calling in for what, backup?
Photo Caption: For this photo, I’ve zoomed in on the last photo. The red arrow points out the brown-haired SG; not only does he wear his outfit well, he’s gotten quite serious about today’s extracurricular activities. If looks could kill, I’d be dead now because his blond-haired buddy (standing to his right; you’ll see more of him in the next photo) gave me the evil eye, at least once, if not thrice.
Photo Caption: A few moments later, blondie (see Item #2) makes an appearance (no, this isn’t the evil eye; I didn’t catch that on camera, afraid that my lens might crack). Brown-haired (Item #1) still models the latest in SG fashion and is talking up a storm to… Otto “Odo” Huber, perhaps? (Drumroll, please, because Odo is about to make an appearance.)
Photo Caption: Brown-haired puts his radio away and stares as Lynn turns the corner onto Fountain Ave. Just between you and me, I don’t think brown-haired has ever seen anything like this. I don’t think he’s ever envisioned anything like this either. There’s no formal protest, no signs, no pickets, no masks, no shouting or intimidation from either side.
Photo Caption: Brown-haired and blondie compare notes as Lynn turns on Fountain Ave. A SG, most likely Roy Rodriquez, stands to blondie’s right, straddling a bicycle.
Photo Caption: By this time I shot this photo, I’ve lost count as to the number of times that Cece and Lynn have circled PAC Base. Life along LRH Way seems to have settled down. A SO member walks north along LRH Way. To my right are the two people on the SR I spoke about earlier. Notice the gentlemen (most likely a SO member) sitting alone on the bench, head-in-hand. For nearly the entire time we were there, this heavy-hearted soul didn’t seem to move an inch.
Photo Caption: “Flunk!” is what the SR coach should be saying to his twin, because I’ve captured the guy looking at me instead of following the coach’s commands.
Photo Caption: All isn’t well along LRH Way as brown-haired struts through Pacifica Cafe and into the Main Bldg. SG backup is about to arrive as he’s called in the cavalry.
Photo Caption: Brown-haired and blondie descend a few steps as they enter the Main Bldg. Nice haircuts!
Photo Caption: To my right is the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles (“AOLA”), 1306 LRH Way. Up ahead, Cece approaches with Lynn following her. A SG straddles a bicycle and chats with another scientologist, most likely a SO member; they both watch the cars approach.
Photo Caption: SGs hate having their photo taken and rarely look my way; in this photo, it didn’t seem to matter that I captured the other guy on film. A few moments later, I said (rather casually and in my usually quiet voice) to this guy and the SG that history is being made here, whether they know it or not.
Photo Caption: By this time, Cece and Lynn have circled PAC Base what? Three times?
Photo Caption: Cece does a Pacifica Cafe drive-by.
Photo Caption: During Lynn’s drive-by, we see brown-haired and blondie. They’ve got a game plan, and have just exited the Main Blvd. Destination: AOLA. The prison warden is about to make an appearance!
Photo Caption: Here we see Cece and Lynn applying the brakes, hoping that everyone can soak up the moment(s).
Photo Caption: Earlier, when Lynn and I drove by these brand-spankin’ new SO members in blue (they’re on the Estates Project Force, or “EPF”) as they performed hard labor along Fountain Ave., I tapped on the passenger window, hoping to get their attention. I tapped again. And again (my apologies to Lynn). None of them moved. No one budged. Later, SG Roy tried to block me from taking their pictures. He also tried to surreptitiously get the attention of an EPFer walking my way along the sidewalk. “You know, Roy,” I said, “you’re going to have to learn how to do that much more quietly.” As I approached the crew, the EPFers calmly, but with certain speed, prepared to evacuate the area (it’s got to be a drill they know by heart), I declared, “Ah, the future of scientology!” I added that I, too, had been an EPFer in 1977.
Photo Caption: Just how did Phil and Willi’s billboard sign get plastered on the Main Bldg? The EPFers in that last photo were working diligently in front of this structure. Incidentally, I added the sign, courtesy Tony Ortega’s The Underground Bunker.
Photo Caption: Odo! The cavalry has arrived outside the front door to AOLA on LRH Way. Blondie stands to his left. A SO member gazes at Odo expectantly, as if to say, “What now, brown cow?”(You would have thought that Martians had just landed on L. Ron Hubbard Way. We come in peace!)
Photo Caption: Last one in is a rotten egg! Blondie prepares to lockdown AOLA.
Photo Caption: Lock…
Photo Caption: … down. I actually watched blondie turn a SO member away, preventing that person from getting into AOLA. Odo most likely stood on the other side of the door, presumably preventing anyone from getting out.
Photo Caption: To Cece, Lynn, Simi and our support: Very Well Done!
All images (unless noted otherwise) © 2015—2016 Fred G. Haseney. All rights reserved.