This is Photojournalist Fred G. Haseney with his eye on scientology. Today, I’m reporting from Hubbardsville, New York, far, far away from the Pacific Area Command Base (“PAC Base” or “Big Blue”), the so-called “church” of scientology’s West Coast headquarters. As you may know, I had been reporting for about a year-and-a-half from PAC Base. I photojournalled my way right into court, however, when one of scientology’s dedicated staff members, Beatriz Castro Macias, became my accuser, and filed a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) against me (with the help of scientology super lawyer, Kendrick Moxon), claiming that I had been stalking her. Scientology caved (thank you, Tony Ortega); their lawyer and mine (Graham E. Berry Esq) settled out of court and engineered the TRO’s dismissal. On Friday, July 15, 2016, I didn’t have to go to court. By the next day, I had in hand a copy of the dismissal so that I could protest at “Maiden Voyage 4,” scientology’s fourth event for the Freewinds Maiden Voyage XXVIII Anniversary . Everything looked rosy until I “developed” the film, so-to-speak, from that evening’s event.
There’s one thing that scientology, the Office of Special Affairs (“OSA”), the church’s vice-president, Janet Weiland, and Beatriz Castro Macias don’t know: my eyesight is not very good. In order to stalk someone, it would be behoove a near-sighted stalker to wear corrective lenses in order to see the person to be stalked. While I do own a pair of glasses, the prescription is not current; I also never wear them when taking photos because the glasses get in the way of the camera’s lens. While photojournalling, I get a sense of items to shoot photographs of. Only after I get home and actually view a picture up close do I fully understand the nature of the photograph. Zooming in on the picture assists photojournalling; seeing people in the background as well as determining their actions is what helps write the blog. That’s why I take a lot of pictures; if I do manage to capture something unique, then I can use that series of photos in order to flesh out the story.
On Saturday, July 15, 2016, I arrived at PAC Base about an hour early, and met with a police officer at the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Catalina St., in order to know what sidewalks I had access to. After that conversation, I proceeded south along Catalina St., taking photographs of the parking lot behind the Los Angeles Organization (“LA Org”). That parking lot had been festively setup with tables and chairs. Through the camera’s lens, that’s all I saw. When I got home, however, I saw something that gave me a sinking feeling.
Photo Caption: I posted this picture on July 17, 2016, as a result of a protest I attended the day before (“Maiden Voyage 4”). I’ve posted it here newly. Notice that I’ve added a red arrow, which points to a person off-camera (who will remain unidentified). All we see is that person’s hand. Because of this person’s presence, in the company of people associated with OSA (I believe), I knew with certainty that the TRO’s dismissal meant nothing, and that the powers-that-be in scientology would still be plotting against me. To have accidentally taken a picture of the three OSA members seated at the table as pictured is one thing; to have discovered the unidentified person actually sitting in on their conversation is what cinched it for me.
On Sunday, July 17, 2016, I accepted an invitation from ex-scientologist Steven Mango to attend a “Call Me” protest at PAC Base. We showed up at 5:00 PM, and for about the next two hours, I followed Steven around PAC Base. I recorded the protest on a mini-camcorder pinned to my shirt; I also shot over 300 photographs. It’s important to note that I attended Steven’s protest. Steven’s the one who carried the “Call Me” sign. Steven did not accept my invitation for a protest that I had planned. Rather, I followed him around. Steven decided when and where to go (except once or twice when I thought circling PAC Base might be a good idea).
At 50 minutes into the video, I faced the parking lot behind the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles (“AOLA”), where a number of staff were crossing, apparently going to dinner. PAC Security Guard, Jason True, stood to my left (recording the proceedings on “Everio,” his trusty JVC camcorder), while Steven stood to my right. A moment later, Steven turned toward the American Saint Hill Organization (“ASHO”), and offered the “Call Me” sign to passerbys. At 51 minutes into the video, with Steven still leading the protest, Beatriz Castro Macias suddenly appeared, walking past us as she went by ASHO toward the direction of the Pacific Grill & Barbecue (“PGB”). Beatriz told me:
“Why are you following me? Go away.”
With that, Steven turned around to look at her. “May I introduce Beatriz Castro Macias,” I told Steven, who even commented on the absurd notion that I had been following her when Beatriz had just exited the building. (It’s interesting to note that this is the first time she’s ever said anything to me. I don’t recall ever saying anything to her, except for an occasional “hello,” something I’ve extended often to Body Routers, Sea Org staff members and scientologists.)
Photo Caption: This is a screen grab from the video I shot, using a mini-camcorder, of Steven Mango’s “Call Me” protest at PAC Base on July 17, 2016. The red arrow indicates Beatriz Castro Macias as she walked by me (I’ve edited her out of the photo).
After the protests conducted July 16-17, 2016, I knew, without a doubt, that scientology would pursue ruining me, either civilly or criminally. The so-called “church” of scientology has dirty tricks up their sleeves, and would stop at nothing to get me away from PAC Base. They are an extremely dangerous cult, are on their way out, and I have chosen not to be sucked into that vortex (or drain). I knew, without a doubt, that my days as a photojournalist in, at and around PAC Base were numbered. The decision that I had to make became quite clear. I could either stay and fight or leave, just walk away. They’re bigger than I am, I realized, and, unlike David, I’ve lost the slingshot needed to topple that giant. They have many more resources than I do, of course; I play clean, they play dirty.
I suppose you could say that I escaped Los Angeles. I also escaped with my sanity intact. Upon its dismissal, that TRO became history, but with every minute I protested in Los Angeles, time drew me closer to the next TRO… or worse.
Now, I report in, at and around Hubbardsville, New York, a hamlet north of East Hamilton village. A “hamlet” is a community within a town not incorporated as a village. While a hamlet has no governing authority of its own, I’ve found traces of scientology’s seven division organizing board (I haven’t yet found any Body Routers here, but I’m still looking). Additionally, it’s rumored that the International Association of Scientologists (“IAS”) may have set up a field office above one of the stores.
Photo Caption: The IAS may have set up a field office in one of the hamlet’s stores in Hubbardsville. What does this mean? Could the IAS be gearing up to plunder their residents for an Ideal Org?
Photo Caption: I’ve searched the local feed and saw mill in Hubbardsville, but have not yet found an IAS field office.
One final word is a warning from a source very high-up in scientology who will remain unidentified for the purpose of this blog. I received this after my escape from Los Angeles and it only firmed up my decision to cease photojournalling at and around PAC Base:
“A word to the wise: Haseney cannot justify his campaign asserting he is ‘reconnecting’ anyone by going around taking pictures of people and violating their privacy and their civil rights in doing so. He should move on and let Scientologists practice their religion in peace.”
“Reconnecting” is part of a blog series I began earlier this year (“Reconnecting the Disconnected and Declared—March 4, 2016—Part 1“), shortly before Phil and Willie Jones dedicated their “Call Me” billboard in the Echo Park district of Los Angeles.
All images (unless noted otherwise) © 2015—2016 Fred G. Haseney. All rights reserved.