This is Photojournalist Fred G. Haseney with his eye on scientology. For today’s blog, I conducted a visit on May, 1 (“May Day”), 2016, to the Pacific Area Command Base (“PAC Base” or “Big Blue”), the so-called “church” of scientology’s West Coast headquarters. That day, scientology freaked out when they saw me, my camera, and the “call me” signs on Cece’s car as we arrived for another drive-by. Security at PAC Base, realizing they were in “trouble,” sent a distress call (“Mayday mayday mayday”) to the Los Angeles Police Department. Me? I became their “suspect.”
Photo Caption: This is the Center for Inquiry—Los Angeles, located at 4773 Hollywood Blvd., in Los Angeles. For this photo, I’m about a block away from PAC Base, standing at the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and N. Berendo St.(the original name of L. Ron Hubbard Way, or”LRH Way”). The sign says, in part, “Hubbard rela…”; the complete sign read: “The Scourge of Scientology: Perspectives by a Hubbard Relative and a Former Scientologist.” I’m facing east, toward Vermont Ave., two blocks away from the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Vermont, famous for scientology’s Body Routers (“BR”).
BRs are, by the way, specially trained to trick you into going to the Los Angeles Organization (“LA Org”), located at 4810 W Sunset Blvd. The church of scientology is nothing but a con. Don’t fall for it. Never go to any scientology organization. Never give them your name, phone number or address, and never, ever give them any money (and that includes cash, debit card, or check). If scientology tries to sweet talk you into their hearts by putting on an “Open House,” where they have a petting zoo, free food and entertainment (such as the did the day I shot these photos), don’t fall for it. Scientology is to Earth as Kryptonite is to Superman. Beware also Scientology “front groups,” such as Narconon and Applied Scholastics (there are many dozens more such front groups).
I enjoyed meeting the two stars of the event at the Center for Inquiry: Jamie DeWolf (writer, entertainer and the great grandson of L. Ron Hubbard; never in scientology, by the way) and ex-scientologist, ex-Sea Org (“SO”) member Chris Shelton, the “Critical Thinker at Large.”
What I liked the most about the presentation by Jamie and Chris: Jamie has incredible stage presence, awesome delivery, and commands the audience with every story he shares. Chris made me feel completely okay with all the wins I had in scientology. Through Chris, I learned that it’s not the “technology” of scientology that allows one to have any success on course or in auditing (that is, spiritual counseling), but, rather, there are people who bring to scientology a winning spirit that welcomes such success.
Photo Caption: Mr. Jamie DeWolf in action at the Center for Inquiry.
Photo Caption: Mr. Chris Shelton delivers his presentation at the Center for Inquiry.
Photo Caption: This is ex-scientologist Doug Kramer, a new friend of mine, and his vehicle, in the parking lot at the Center for Inquiry after the event. Notice the magnetic sign affixed to the side of his vehicle, courtesy Phil and Willie Jones (and their billboard, “to my loved on in scientology… call me). Cece Marie Gangle Smith provided the signs for our recent drive-bys.
During the event, when Chris Shelton asked ex-scientologists in the audience to raise their hand, almost half the room raised their hands. I couldn’t help but notice, however, that most of the ex-scientologists sat together in the front of the room, while other ex-scientologists, such as Cece and myself, sat here and there. I couldn’t help but think that ex-scientologists in such a crowd might sit, not huddled together, but spread throughout the crowd so as to mingle. Mingle I did, speaking to a couple of never ins after the event (we actually stood for a while comparing notes). Later, I met Jamie and Chris, who signed a copy of his book that I found myself fortunate enough to purchase (Jamie’s CD is on my list of things to buy). I waved, shook hands, and/or exchanged pleasantries with people such as Jeffrey Augustine and Spanky Taylor (who helped arrange the event). I also shared a few moments with Cece and Lynn. As the crowd thinned out, I made a concerted effort to mingle more, to meet ex-scientologists (maybe, I thought, they would like to meet the man behind JennyAtLAX). I’m so glad I reached out to strangers, because I made four new friends and had an extraordinary time. Later, I joined them for lunch at L.A. Rose (after the police left), then we did more “drive-bys,” and even “walk-bys” at PAC Base (among other things)!
Photo Caption: This is Lynn Fountain Campbell’s car and sign. Lynn is in the front seat (I think she’s waiting for me), and I shot this in the Center for Inquiry’s parking lot as we prepared to head toward PAC Base.
Photo Caption: This year, Lynn Fountain Campbell ran for a seat on the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council (“EHNC”). Voting ended May 1, 2016. I had every intention to vote, and as Lynn and I drove to PAC Base after the event at the Center for Inquiry, I mentioned that to her. Lynn looked at the clock and realized that I had only twenty minutes before the polls closed! We made a detour to Kenmore Ave., jut a couple of blocks away from the “Big Blue” where I voted at a poll in the Armenian Youth Center. In this picture, I’ve drawn a red square (as indicated by the red arrow). That square is where PAC Base is (notice the street, “L. Ron Hubbard Way”).
Photo Caption: After voting, I retraced my steps back to the front door of the Armenian Youth Center, intent on just taking a picture of the front of the facility. Little did I know that scientologists would enter the building just before I snapped this photo.
Photo Caption: This is a close-up of the last photo. I’ll lay odds that the white-haired lady is a SO member (she’s wearing the colors of a SO member and has that air about her). The guy in the middle, in the yellow shirt, is a scientology volunteer minister. All Hail Xenu!
Photo Caption: Lynn Fountain Campbell waves as I take a picture of her and the parking lot at the Armenian Youth Center in Hollywood. To the left of me is a food truck. Everyone who voted receive delicious, free tacos, guacamole and chips. An advertisement for EHNC’s Election Day read, in part, “Frustrated about neighborhood conditions?” and “Improve the quality of life in East Hollywood.” Ex-scientologists are damned frustrated about the conditions in and around PAC Base. Lynn ran for “Arts and Culture Representative.”
Photo Caption: For today’s drive-by, it’ll be Cece, Simi the Poodle and their support circling PAC Base twice. I will, however, only capture one drive-by on film due to a certain distraction courtesy PAC Base Security. In this photo, I’m facing east on Fountain Ave., looking at the corner of Fountain and LRH Way. The Advanced Organization of Los Angeles (“AOLA”), is off-camera and to the left. As noted by the red arrows, we have scientology security. Nearly everyone else in this photo is a public scientologist or a SO member. The guy straddling the bicycle is Roy Rodriguez, an SO Security Guard (“SG”). The guy on the left may or may not be a scientologist; he seems to have been brought in for that day’s special event along LRH Way (you’ll see more about that in upcoming photos). Notice that each security guard has their fingers on a communication device, ready to call in to their office or headquarters at a moment’s notice. Roy, in fact, may have just spoken to his senior (something a SG can do by simply pressing a button on the device). I have a funny feeling that scientology’s security personnel have already developed tactics to be used if and when I should show up, alone or with drive-bys (probably especially with drive-bys). The SGs are protecting scientology’s bubble world. For God’s Sake, don’t let it crack!
Photo Caption: I just realized, in earlier blogs, that I’ve been reporting on activities around the “Pacifica Cafe”; that restaurant’s sign actually states, “The Pacific Grill & Barbecue (‘Live Music Every Day at Dinner’).” Maybe I read their sign wrong, because here’s the Pacific Grill, the stage and “live music,” yet they dismantled everything (including the stage), shortly after lunch.
Photo Caption: What’s this? Tents, tables and chairs up and down the west side of LRH Way, from Sunset (to the north) and the Pacific Grill to the south. I spotted ice cream and popcorn carts; I think I also saw a hot dog cart. It looked like scientology gave away food free to an unsuspecting public. A small fenced-in petting zoo sat just this side of the American Saint Hill Organization (“ASHO”). There were a lot of people lingering up and down LRH Way, outside of AOLA, the Pacific Grill, ASHO, and the Los Angeles Organization (“LA Org”), more people in one area of PAC Base than I’ve seen at any one time. In fact, it looked as if they had been asked or told to plant themselves so that potential new public (with children; kids that enjoy ice cream and little animals) can see how “busy” and “happy” scientologists are.
Photo Caption: A-ha! Just as I suspected: a special event. “Celebration! Weekend” scientology declares. “Open House—All are welcome.” I don’t think so, because a Sea Org scientologist Security Guard will soon be calling the Los Angeles Police Department on little ol’ me! This sign sits, by the way, at the northwest corner of Sunset and LRH Way.
Photo Caption: This is the front of a flier for scientology’s “Celebration Weekend,” held April 30 and May 1, 2016, a flier I found, discarded as trash along Vermont Ave. (complete with dirty footprints). The sign reads “Open house for the community! Church of scientology of Los Angeles. Community activities and seminars. Learn how to handle the homeless problem, drug problems, family disputes and more! Join us!” Don’t!
I can’t help but point out the fact that scientology gives diddly-squat about the homeless. In 2012, after 35-years in scientology, I faced homelessness. I consulted with the Chaplain at both LA Org Day and Foundation Orgs (as recent as 2012, LA Org had two Orgs, one that operated during the day; the other operated during the night and on weekends) because I needed help and advice. When I shared my situation with the Chaplains, each one, basically, patted my back, ushered me to the door and, as they closed the door behind me, wished me “Good luck!” I received no help or advice; I really expected a little bit more from my church. I’ve seen BRs attempt to lure an unsuspecting homeless couple to LA Org with a “free” Personality Test or a “free” Dianetics Film ticket (afterward, when the homeless people politely refused their offer, I approached those same individuals and gave them information that they could use: a Bible-based transitional home in the community and a local church that serves breakfast and dinner five days a week. They were hungry and needed to find a place to live, not to take a Personality Test or watch a Dianetics film).
Photo Caption: In addition to ice cream and popcorn, the weekend event at PAC Base offered cotton candy, too. For the kiddies, they also had pony rides, a water slide, a bouncy house (an “Ideal Bouncy House,” perhaps), face painting, games, and something called “Balloon Man.”
Photo Caption: For this photo, I’m standing on LRH Way, facing north toward Sunset Blvd. Behind me and to my left is the Pacific Grill; to my left and further up the street is ASHO; AOLA is off-camera and to my right. Coming down the street in the blue car is Cece, Simi the Poodle, and their support. Notice the sign on the side of their car; their car had such a sign on both sides, if I’m not mistaken.
Photo Caption: For this photo, I’ve turned around, capturing the gaze of a Sea Org member as she reads the sign on Cece’s car (the SO member, while wearing a festive, non-traditional SO shirt, wears the traditional SO belt and emblem). Notice Simi, who has her attention on two male Sea Org members who just crossed the street. Cece, in fact, may have had to maneuver her way through and around them as she begins to hug the curb and do a drive-by so very slowly past the Pacific Grill. To my immediate left is SG Roy, who tried, now and then, to get between my camera lens and its object. Roy, incidentally, is about to be replaced by another SG, one who will later talk to the police before they leave the location.
Photo Caption: In this photo, Cece has hugged the curb and is driving slowly by the Pacific Grill, where a number of patrons, scientologists and Sea Org members alike, can’t help but be drawn into the ingenious sign designed with love by ex-scientologists Phil and Willie Jones, parents whose only crime is that they love their son and daughter.
Photo Caption: Cece, Simi and the sign continue to draw attention from people (people planted there on purpose, no doubt) enjoying a meal or snack at the Pacific Grill.
Photo Caption: As two male Sea Org members crossed LRH Way, coming from AOLA and heading toward ASHO, one said to the other one, “Did you see the sign on that car?” Phil and Willie Jones are creating quite an effect at PAC Base with a sweet message to their adult children (“call me,” they ask).
Photo Caption: As Cece’s car turns the corner from LRH Way onto Fountain Ave., I’m blown away by the attention that their sign is getting from public scientologists everywhere (as noted by the arrows). The SG isn’t interested at all because he’s waiting for the police to arrive; he’ll be meeting them at the other end of LRH Way. In fact, he seems to be awaiting a sign for him to relocate to the north end of the street.
Photo Caption: In the parking lot adjacent to LA Org (at the northwest corner of Sunset and LRH Way), scientology pulled out all the stops so as to entertain the neighborhood. Here we see empty “Stress Test” tables as well as an empty display where non-existent event attendees could find out about “The Truth About Drugs,” from a scientology Front Group, Foundation for a Drug-Free World. The yellow tents are Volunteer Minister (“VM”) tents where VMs seemed to be giving nerve assists to each other. By this time, a Sea Org Security Guard on foot has been trailing me. We walked side-by-side up LRH Way; you’ll see who I’m talking about in the next photo.
Photo Caption: Okay, I’m going to call this SG “Legs.” I’ve had the displeasure of being “escorted” by Legs before (the last time on bicycle). Legs doesn’t like me very much. I am very much the “enemy,” in his mind. In fact, when the police left, I asked him why. Legs said, “All you do is come around and take pictures. That’s creepy!” From what I understand, Legs was born into scientology; this is all he knows. He makes a great Security Guard and yes, to someone who has never lived on this planet as a “homo sapiens” (for all scientologists proclaim themselves to be super beings called “homo novis,” while referring to the rest of us as, basically, pond scum), “creepy” would be an appropriate word for what I do. Legs has a super ability, too; “super powers,” if you will, because he’s quite adept at poking and prodding to see what I might do or say. Legs, his boss, their boss, and/or the Office of Special Affairs (“OSA”) have also been combing through my Pre-Clear (“PC”) and/or Ethics files because he made a slight comment about something that I’ve shared with only an auditor and/or an Ethics Officer. Shame on you, scientology!
Photo Caption: The so-called “church” of scientology has, by now, called the Los Angeles Police Department on me, “concerned” that I’ve been taking pictures up and down the north end of LRH Way, where there are children, too. Hey, scientology, you don’t give a rat’s behind about children; you use them as tools to lure unsuspecting victims into your dangerous organization. In this photo, a SG greets the police along the northwest corner of LRH Way. In a moment, that innocent-looking young man on a bicycle will point at me, their “suspect.” To the left and among the palm trees is a pony ride being conducted up and down the sidewalk.
Photo Caption: The police and SG travel south along LRH Way, past ASHO, toward me while I continue taking photos, rather proud to be an ex-scientologist living in the United States. God Bless America!
Photo Caption: The SG heads over to the east side of LRH Way, eagerly observing the police as they stop their car in order to talk to me. There are, incidentally, two police officers in the vehicle. As I continue my approach to their vehicle, I take out my driver’s license and willingly hand it to one of the officers, who says that they don’t need to see it. I state that I’m an ex-scientologist; that I was in scientology for thirty-seven-years; that I even lived in “Big Blue” for two years as a staff member; that all I do is take pictures around PAC Base and report on scientology’s activities on-line. An officer said that it’s been reported that there are children up and down the north end of the street; that someone showed concern about me taking pictures that might include them. While it’s true that I had been taking pictures along the street, I had not be aiming my camera specifically at young folk, and if they did end up in a photo, that photo wouldn’t be used. As the police officers left, I said that I would be posting their pictures online, too. I think I even asked one of the officers to call up the person who reported me and to let that person know that I really got that. He asked me for my last name, and left.
Photo Caption: Legs and a police office exchange words as the police prepare to leave (without me and without having issued a ticket, something they never even mentioned. Thanks be to God).
Photo Caption: Here’s a pretty good shot of Legs as the police prepare to depart. In this rare photograph, I capture Leg’s face as he smiles, although quite hesitantly and unwillingly, for my camera. If the police weren’t there, he wouldn’t have cracked a smile and would have turned away from me.
Photo Caption: Being Declared a “Suppressive Person” by a church I called my home for nearly four decades, to have my PC/Ethics folders picked apart by OSA (or whoever) as vultures would a carcass, to have scientologists consider me a “suspect” and call the police, is all rather disconcerting, disheartening and, truth be told, dishonest. After witnessing scientology’s drama, I joined Lynn and my new-found ex-scientology friends at the L.A. Rose Cafe, located at 4749 Fountain Ave., a block east of PAC Base.
At L.A. Rose Cafe, we met Lem (who appears to be the establishment’s proprietor). He shared horror stories of excommunicated Sea Org staff members, people he knew as customers (I believe), people shunned by scientology, suddenly homeless and completely lost, kicked out of the SO, trapped on the streets with no one or family to turn to. Lem even told us a sad story about the Henderson family, a family that I know all too well because Melanie (Decrescenzo Lekas) Henderson used to be my boss at Atlas Natural Foods, in Atwater, California (a small town between between Los Angeles and Glendale along the L.A. River). Melanie and her sister, Chel, used to be executives at LA Org before the Sea Org kicked everyone out and took that org over. Chel, incidentally, is married to Randy Stith (her second husband, I believe). Randy, if you’ll recall, is one of two people who ambushed Marty Rathbun and Louis Theroux (see Tony Ortega’s blog, The Underground Bunker, “More about the goons Scientology sent to intimidate Marty Rathbun and Louis Theroux,” December 15, 2014). L.A. Rose’s Lem told us of the heartbreak he felt when scientology excommunicated Matt Henderson, brother of Melanie and Chel (as well as Missy). I know their mother Diane because she visited the health food store I worked at often; Atlas Natural Foods had a Purification center where we delivered the Purification Rundown. I gave Lem business cards and contact information for shelters and food kitchens in the neighborhood for the next “excommunicated” Sea Org staff member he sees roaming the streets of East Hollywood, homeless and hungry.
Photo Caption: Here they are, scientology, a whole pile of the “call me” metallic signs, perfect for drive-bys (photo courtesy Cece Marie Gangle Smith).
All images (unless noted otherwise) © 2015—2016 Fred G. Haseney. All rights reserved.
Titanic Photo Courtesy WUWT—Watts Up with That?
Grateful acknowledgement to a friend for editorial and proofreading chores.