Dark Side of Scientology
Bunker dubbed a new English soundtrack
for this German language show.
DARK SIDE OF SCIENTOLOGY
a film from the German television magazine, "Gesucht
wird ...", broadcast in the first program
by ARD on April 2, 1997, filmed by Botros and
Koch, TV reporters from Bremen:
note: Egmont Koch sounds like Jacques Costeau.
Whenever you see these brackets, read in a slow,
deliberate voice with a French accent.)(in italics--Sue)
1997, Los Angeles. We have called the police for
assistance. Our chief witness, Garry Scarff, former
Scientology agent, is suffering a nervous breakdown.
Scarff: They're going to kill me and they know
where my parents live.
days earlier, Clearwater, Florida. Shooting some
scenes in front of the Fort Harrison Hotel, the
spiritual headquarters of Scientology. We are
immediately photographed by one of the organization's
security men. Garry Scarff knows the game. Until
1992, Scarff was on the other side, a Scientology
agent. Then he defected and became an embittered
opponent. Weeks before he had told us of penal
camps, mysterious deaths, and even of, in 1991,
a planned murder. We wished to pursue these serious
accusations against the organization. Scarff,
shown here on the right, wanted to help us. We
are also accompanied by Martin Ottman from Stuttgart,
on the left. He worked until 1992 as a member
of the paramilitary Sea Org, the elite unit of
Scientology here in Florida.
presence of Scarff and Ottman makes the Scientology
staff members very nervous. Never before have
former members of the sect who possess such an
intimate knowledge appeared on television with
such serious accusations.
#1: How much are you getting paid for this?
Scientologist #2: What's happening here is a joke.
Scarff: I was on staff of the Office of Special
Affairs, OSA. That is like the intelligence service
of Scientology. That is where the nerve center,
the "war room" is, in the headquarters
in Los Angeles. The organization has a special
computer and communications network which they
use to collect and evaluate information on the
activities of Scientology critics worldwide around
has given extensive testimony under oath as to
his activities for the Office of Special Affairs.
Did you participate in any criminal activities?
Scarff: One time there was an assignment to which
I was supposed to later testify under oath. At
the time I claimed my right to remain silent,
and will do so again today. Otherwise I would
go to prison for a very long time. The take [loot]
from that assignment went directly to the OSA
to plan the footage for the next day. We want
to try to track down alleged inmates of the organization.
The so-called "Rehabilitation Project"
(RPF) is, in reality, a labor camp of the Sea
Org, says Garry, for members who have failed in
their assigned duties on post. Also somebody who
has not brought in enough income must go into
the labor camp. Martin Ottman has regularly observed
black-clothed inmates in a Scientology living
quarters, the so-called 'hacienda.'
the next morning on the way to the "hacienda."
Once again we recall the directives of the organization
for the so-called 'Rehabilitation Project':
restrictions and punishments: may only speak when
sleeps and eats in an area separate from others,
has no liberty.)
Scarff: There is a inmate. They are having a meeting.
They are sitting in a circle together. There he
is, there he is. He is making a security check.
He is running. Look, he's running.
Ottman says that the prisoners must always be
in motion. Occasionally, as punishment, they must
run around a tree for days at a time.
What is hidden behind the concept of "Rehabilitation
It is a type of punishment camp, about the same
way I would picture a gulag from Stalinistic Russia
How could a lay person envision a labor camp such
First of all you receive black clothes which you
have to wear everyday. You have to work at least
16 hours a day. You have to explain your own case
for five hours a day. And you have no contact
of any sort with the outside world.
But the people don't leave. They can leave but
they don't do it.
Yes, but they are dependent upon it. They have
been made dependent and they have made themselves
dependent upon Scientology. From their perspective,
their lives depend completely upon Scientology
and they would rather be humiliated that way than
turn away from Scientology.
the way to Cape Corell. Martin has recommended
that we speak with Hanna Whitfield. We read again
what she has stated under oath: "Sea Org
members were often locked up in a dark, dirty
and smelly hole in which rats lived." Garry
and Hanna Whitfield were members of the elite
unit, the Sea Org, for years. Hanna even made
it to Deputy Commodore, representative of Scientology's
Whitfield: These pictures were taken in the early
1970's. That's me in the middle. That is Diana,
the oldest daughter of Ron Hubbard and his third
wife, Mary Sue. Here I am again. That is Hubbard's
daughter and his son, Quentin. My loyalty to Scientology
knew no bounds, nevertheless I was accused of
having bad thoughts about Hubbard. That was my
alleged crime. I was dragged by two powerful men
to an area in Fort Harrison which was next to
the garage. The punishment camp was on the second
and third levels. I was locked for two days in
a room without windows, all by myself. I didn't
have a bed, nothing at all. Just a mattress on
the floor. The lights were sometimes on, sometimes
off. We had to perform a lot of repair work. We
did the dirty work. Cleaned the bathrooms and
the rest rooms. And when they did construction
work in Fort Harrison, we had to carry away the
refuse in buckets from the highest floors, then
carry mortar back up. We were not allowed to use
is the three level garage at Fort Harrison, and
a black-clothed Scientologist, apparently an inmate.
A co-inmate of Hanna's was even chained in the
Whitfield: She worked for the Guardian's Office.
Today it is called the Office of Special Affairs,
OSA, and it's like the CIA of Scientology. The
undercover espionage department of the organization.
Linn had the assignment of conducting certain
inquiries in Washington. She found irregularities
and wanted to have the case investigated. Her
employer had decided against that, however, and
wanted to cover up everything. As a result, Linn
was sent to the punishment camp at Fort Harrison.
They chained her to a pipe there. She was locked
in the basement for 2-3 weeks. She slept down
there. She ate down there. She was forced to clean
the pipes. Sometimes I thought of calling the
police for assistance. As soon as I'd think of
doing that, it would occur to me that that would
be the greatest crime against Hubbard and the
organization. I could not have done that in any
made an appointment to speak with Sergeant Greg
Tita, the Sheriff of Pinellas Country, where the
Scientology enclave of Clearwater is located.
We have learned that there is even a penal camp
for children in the organization. An internal
report talks about cadets who tried to flee [from
I've had run-away cadets here that must have gone
into the children's prison camp. Pinellas County
has also had experiences with Scientology children.
In a visit to the cadet school, my colleagues
have determined that there were signs of child
neglect and abuse. They wrote up a report and
the case was forwarded to the juvenile office.
However, Scientology lodged a complaint against
the publication of the report in the press and
won. It is still sealed today. I don't think that
it has to do with a dispute over the investigation,
they just wanted to make sure no information got
to the public.
Jackson can assess what happens with Scientology
children. She was forced to separate from three
of her four children.
Jackson: At the time they were two, four and six
years old. Scientology put them in a children's
establishment, later they made cadets out of them.
That was 10 years ago.
she had only sporadic contact with them. Since
Ariane has left Scientology, she may no longer
see her children.
Can you still remember leaving them?
Jackson: I hate to think about it. They climbed
into a special bus. An older man from the Sea
Org tore me away and pushed me into the car. I
could still wave to them and then we drove to
Does it often happen that children are separated
from their parents?
Do you know of other cases?
Jackson: Yes, if the partners separate in a divorce
and one of them is in the Sea Org, then that is
the better person. The children are awarded by
the organization. Then what could be better for
their children than Scientology training, Scientology
schools, just Scientology everything.
Clearwater police station is within line-of-sight
distance of the Fort Harrison Hotel, the headquarters
of Scientology in Florida. We again meet Ariane
Jackson there the next day. Martin Ottmann has
talked her into giving testimony in an investigation
which the police are in the process of investigating.
It has to do with the mysterious death of a young
Scientologist who was last seen alive in Fort
Harrison. Garry Scarff also wants to support the
investigation, and has offered his assistance
to the investigating officials.
McPherson, shown here with her mother, died in
December, 1995 under mysterious circumstances
a short time after she had successfully graduated
a Scientology course. Lisa had wanted to leave
the sect, said the family's attorney. After a
nervous breakdown, 17 days before her death, the
organization completely isolated her inside Fort
G. Dandar (attorney): Our research has determined
that she was unconscious. She received no nourishment,
no water. She was extremely dehydrated. Before
she lost consciousness, she was beating against
How do you know that?
The Scientologists themselves have admitted that
she beat against the walls.
to the autopsy report, Lisa must have received
strong medication before her death.
In order to sedate her?
Whether she fell into the coma because of the
sedative, or whether she had a psychological breakdown
that led to the coma, in any case they were very
late in deciding to bring her to the clinic. And
instead of driving her to the nearest hospital
which was only a few blocks away, she was brought
20 miles away to the Columbia New Port Ritchie
Hospital. A Scientology doctor worked there. They
had called him up in advance. He said, yes, bring
her to me.
Lisa already dead when she arrived at the hospital?
According to the Scientology doctor in the clinic,
Lisa died in the emergency room as a result of
a bacterial infection. Was the report falsified?
In any case, it contains a false birth date. Besides
that, the pathologist who performed the autopsy
on Lisa McPherson said that no sign of an infection
was found. It was much more likely that she had
died from severe dehydration. Scientology has
complained before a court in Clearwater about
the release of test results from the autopsy.
The case has raised considerable apprehension.
Did Lisa McPherson die because she was locked
up and because she was denied any medical care?
This was the question Sergeant Wayne Andrews was
trying to answer as he led the police investigation
in the McPherson case. He was not ready to appear
in an interview. However, he let us research other
cases in the police archives. We came across a
series of peculiar deaths among the Fort Harrison
guests in the past 20 years. These also included
of Clearwater. This is where Sergeant Greg Tita,
who was working for the harbor patrol at the time,
found a man's corpse in the water. It was later
determined to be that of Andreas O., a 38 year
old German, Chief of the Stuttgart Scientology
Mission. He had apparently been in Florida for
months. Scientology was unhappy with him and his
sales. They had prescribed special courses for
him. Despite the no-swimming zone and although
a storm was fast approaching, the German had gone
into the water two days prior. He believed, we
later learned, that as a Scientologist he had
supernatural powers. According to the police report,
the Scientologists had given a false name for
the missing German before the body was found.
In order to mislead the police? Tita found that
are still other unexplained deaths among the guests
of the Fort Harrison Scientology Hotel on record:
1980 Suicide: The woman suffered from depression,
but was not permitted to take any medication for
1980 A puzzling death in a bathtub full of boiling
hot water. Probable drowning.
1988 Death by drowning. Unexplained circumstances,
accident, murder or suicide.
1989 Death in the basement near the boilers, carbon
1988 Death in room 758. The victim: a 31 year
old German man.
to investigation documents, Heribert P. died the
night of August 28, 1988 while suffering a severe
epileptic seizure, during which time he hit his
head on the nightstand. Until early 1988, he had
been treated by Dr. Klaus Ballin, a doctor from
Munich. He, also a Scientology adherent, was coincidentally
also in Fort Harrison at the time. A swimming
pool is in the rear of the hotel, so that people
can relax between their expensive courses. Heribert
P., son of a well-to-do construction contractor,
also apparently enjoyed his life in the Scientology
refuge up until his death.
in Germany, in Friedrichshafen am Bodensee. Here
is where the German lived. We wanted to look into
the case because the police report has made us
curious. It said that despite regular seizures,
the Scientology doctor had prescribed vitamins
for his patient instead of medication which would
prevented the seizures. Those would not have been
discovered in his blood at the autopsy. His mother
said that the Scientologists had promised to cure
her son without medication by giving him expensive
courses in Florida. Immediately following his
marriage, at the recommendation of his wife, Heribert
was treated by Ballin, the Scientologist doctor.
The mother is still very upset.
A human life is not a factor for this organization.
You don't just cavalierly make promises that you
Do you believe that the death of your son, Heribert,
could have been prevented if he would have been
taking his medication?
mother thinks that Heribert had wanted to give
huge amounts of money to Scientology.
It wasn't until after his death that we learned
that he had called from a bank in Florida requesting
a loan of a half million. The reason he gave was
that he would like to procure real estate in Florida.
And what do you think the money was really for?
It would have gone straight to Scientology.
We tried to set up a meeting with Dr. Klaus Ballin.
How would he reply when asked about taking his
epileptic patient off medication? Ballin did not
want to go on camera. He preferred to make a written
the time, he prescribed vitamins and Scientology
concentration exercises as an alternative treatment.
Although he says he has separated himself from
the organization since then, he dismisses any
complicity on his part in the death of Heribert
P., the epileptic.
show the documents on the case to Professor Gunther
Schwendemann. He leads the neurology section in
the East Bremen Hospital. Schwendemann says that
vitamins are completely ineffective in treating
It is against the fundamentals of therapy to take
a patient who is having seizures every night off
medication, rather than find a medication which
is suited for him. Furthermore, vitamins and minerals
are not effective against seizures. Therefore,
one could say that the patient would very likely
still be alive today if he had received adequate
Angeles airport: We see Garry Scarff again. He
was not surprised when we told him of the case
of the epileptic from Friedrichshafen. Garry had
stated that he was ready to help us in the search
for the abortion clinic, as well as the labor
camps and children's camp of which we had heard
from former members. He'll be traveling back to
his old workplace, and can count on running into
his ex-bosses there.
next morning. Sight-seeing tour of the Scientology
Here in the middle building is where they locked
up prisoners when I was here.
weeks before, we had actually observed Scientology
inmates at work at this location.
the offices of the Office of Special Affairs,
up there, Scarff said that a plot to commit murder
was hatched in 1991. That is what led him to leave,
I was supposed to have done the worst thing that
can be demanded of a person, namely, take the
life of another human being. It was horrible to
see that much of an enemy in a sect opponent,
so that something like that would be ordered of
me. It was an order, not a request. I was put
under pressure to carry out this murder. The plan
was that she should lose control of her vehicle
after I had cut the brake line. In case that didn't
work, I was supposed to ram her car from behind
in order to cause an accident. I was supposed
to do everything to make sure she was dead. In
case she should have survived the accident, my
assignment was to suffocate her with a pillow.
has also testified under oath to these horrible
accusations, which have been contested by Scientology
As we were talking about the murder of the sect
opponent, the mood was very casual. People were
laughing a lot. The whole thing looked like a
big joke. It was a feeling of power. Power that
we had over this individual. And then we talked
about what would be done in case the investigating
authorities should react so swiftly that I would
not be able to flee. In this case, I was supposed
to make a TKO. A TKO is "Total Knock Out"
- suicide. Somebody showed me exactly how I was
supposed to do that. He took his finger, as if
it were a revolver, and pressed it into his mouth.
It had to point upwards, so that the bullet would
penetrate the brain stem. Then he said to me,
that in case I didn't die immediately, then at
least my brain would be destroyed and I wouldn't
be able to talk and would just be a lifeless shell.
also contests this.
little later, in the middle of Los Angeles. High
ranking people from Garry's former department
suddenly fell upon us with cameras. They must
have been following us.
What's going on?
We're making a film about your film.
Abelson is a legal counsel for Scientology International.
Mike Rinder is the Chief of the Secret Service.
Lisa Goodman is an official spokesperson on his
staff. Then came the confrontation between Garry
Scarff and Mike Rinder. They mutually revile each
other as liars.
Garry, you are a liar!
No, Mike you are the liar!
No, you are, Garry, Garry!
accused Garry of publicly lying years before when
he was a member of an anti-sect organization.
Yes, everything I did on assignment from OSA was
the offices of Graham Barry, attorney in Los Angeles.
Garry shows us photographs from his time in Scientology.
The court transcription of his "sworn testimony"
is contained in a 1,000 page document.
Berry has represented a number of Scientology
opponents. In the course of a proceeding he had
Garry participate in a so-called "deposition,"
which is an examination under oath. That is how
the former Scientology agent became a leading
witness for the alleged criminal machinations
of the organization.
Berry: Scarff's examination lasted a very long
time. There were numerous attempts on the part
of the Scientology attorney to prevent him from
testifying. They constantly asserted that Scarff
was not credible, that the evidence was not relevant,
that we only wanted to annoy the church, etc.
In spite of all these objections the presiding
judge ordered that the witness's testimony should
was a cross examination with Graham Berry on one
side and the Scientology attorneys on the other
side. The examination lasted 17 days.
was recorded, in its entirety, by court stenographers
on video. Garry Scarff had demanded the highest
security measures from the attorneys. He was afraid
for his life. And he gave the reason for his fears
in his examination. After his departure, he said
an attempt was made to kidnap him.
Scarff: I saw a hand on the side door of a step
van. And a face was looking in my direction. I
said that I was going to call the police right
away, and heard, at the same moment, the step
van tear away. I saw then that a second vehicle
was following it.
What do you think they had in mind?
Scarff: I know what they had in mind. They wanted
to kidnap me. I think they would have brought
me to Hemet.
What is Hemet?
Scarff: Hemet, Gilman Hot Springs, that's where
the prisoners go. And I think that I would never
have gotten away from there. My life would have
the visit with the attorney. The camera man from
Scientology was waiting outside. Secret service
chief Rinder and Abelson, the attorney, also hurry
to their vehicles. Two, then three cars begin
the pursuit. A huge show is made of following
us. It appears to be put on for the benefit of
our fellow traveler, Garry Scarff. We call the
Los Angeles police, as Garry has requested. He
appears worse and worse off.
A television team accompanied by a man who is
threatened by Scientology. And those are the ones
who are following us.
police, however, showed little interest. We tried,
unsuccessfully, to shake off our pursuers on the
highway. We are on the way to the center in which
the women of the Sea Org have their abortions,
which they are compelled to do, as stated in sworn
testimony. The more the woman wants to have her
baby, the greater the pressure put on her to have
I was induced to have an abortion. Women who get
pregnant are driven to a clinic in Riverside to
get abortions as a matter of course.
our pursuers know what our destination is? Are
they already putting the pressure on the management
at the abortion center over their cellular phones?
the Planned Parenthood Center. The director on
duty is already expecting us. In a nearby parking
place, one of our Scientology pursuers provokes
an accident. It is apparently an attempt to prevent
our planned interview, but it doesn't work.
Honn-Alex: We thought that it was really very
peculiar that all the women were making the same
decision. Independent of the individual woman's
condition, all of them had made the decision to
have an abortion. It made no difference how old
they were or how many children they had already
had. We thought that was very strange. And as
we took the trouble to look into individual cases
more precisely, because the whole thing was beginning
to look suspicious, they stopped coming to us
police arrived outside and started taking statements
about the accident. In the meantime, we told Janet
about Scientology instruction Nbr. 3905: In the
event that a married Sea Org member has a child,
they are transferred out of the Sea Org.
Wouldn't that be the same thing as having to leave
your family? An extreme pressure?
Honn-Alex: I didn't know anything about that.
And we had asked the women if they could have
a child and still remain in Scientology. They
always said yes. I think that is alarming, that
there is a rule which says that women should be
excluded from a group if they would like to have
a child. I think that's terrible!
the interview, on the way back to our hotel. We
have picked up 4 Scientology vehicles which are
following us. One of them is a green van, which,
we later learn, is possibly outfitted with electronic
Scarff: Even as we speak, four vehicles are parked
outside our hotel. They will watch us all night,
in case we get the idea of taking off. They will
maintain their readiness round the clock. Naturally,
those people are not just sitting around in their
cars. All of them are in constant contact with
the secret service headquarters in Los Angeles.
The attorneys, the OSA people, everybody who is
assigned to your surveillance is at work at this
next morning - Hollywood, Los Angeles:
night before we hired body guards who are supposed
to see to Garry's safety while we speak with Scientology.
We have before us an interview with Mike Rinder,
the Chief of the OSA secret service, and Elliot
Abelson, attorney. Garry does not want anything
more to do with these people. The entrance of
one of the private detectives we have hired to
come along as a witness is barred at the door
by Abelson and Rinder. The interview takes place
in the Celebrity Center, which serves Scientology's
Rinder: Scientology is not dangerous. There are
eight million Scientologists worldwide. They find
it totally good. You have three, four, five or
six people, a small handful that say something
about it is not right. We have even heard and
read that we are supposed to have gulags. That
claim is outrageous. It is particularly outrageous
because it is being made by somebody from Germany.
If any country should be especially sensitive
when it comes to the rights of religious minorities,
that is Germany.
Abelson (Scientology Attorney): You are agents
of the German government. You are not concerned
with reality, but with confirming your prejudice.
the scolding, we steer the discussion to Lisa
McPherson, the Scientologist who lost her life
under peculiar circumstances in Clearwater, Florida.
Question about this are apparently unwelcome.
Had Scientology given her all the medical assistance
Rinder: If you claim in your broadcast that someone
has done something to murder her, then I will
haunt you until the end of time. That is an insolent
Rinder and Abelson unintentionally gave themselves
away. They admitted that Lisa was already dead
when she arrived at the clinic. Then Rinder conceded
that she had died in a hotel room.
In a hotel room?
Lisa McPherson died in the care of the Scientologists.
golf course at "Gold." That is the largest
Scientology base, the real center of power. Mike
Rinder drove out with us. Here, especially, he
wants to keep our filming under control. Right
on the golf course, asserted Andre Tabayoyon,
the former security chief of "Gold",
after his departure [from Scientology], there
was an apartment for Tom Cruise, the Hollywood
Tom Cruise profited from slave labor of Scientology
Rinder: That is another one of Andre Tabayoyon's
That's not right?
Rinder: Absolutely not. No, he doesn't come here.
You wanted to come here and take a few pictures,
not ask me any questions. We've already had the
gave us aerial photographs of the area which were
not free from technical defects. Nothing suspicious
was in view; Rinder had seen to that. Tabayoyon's
sworn testimony also stated that the Scientology
base is defended with firearms. There are semi-automatic
machine guns, pistols, all unregistered. "I
trained the security force in the use of these
weapons, and I trained them in various methods
of killing people."
evening we plan out the next day with Garry. We
wanted to rent a helicopter and fly over the alleged
children's camp. It lies several miles from "Gold"
next morning. Rinder called up and said that Garry
had told him our plans.
Scarff: I didn't call up last night. I think I
know what is really wrong here. I have a suggestion:
I'll fly back home. You continue, but don't say
anything more to me. These people are running
an operation against you and against me.
Did Garry call them up, or did the Scientologists
eavesdrop on our discussion of the night before
from one of their vehicles? We drive back to Los
Angeles. We are unsure.
situation comes to a head in a parking place in
Los Angeles. We called the police and our bodyguards
for assistance. Garry is suffering a nervous breakdown.
The Scientology pursuers observed the event from
Did you call Rinder last night and tell him what
we had in mind?
Scarff (weeping): Yes! They don't say anything
for fun. If they say that they are going to kill
somebody, then they do it. You can't play around
with Mr. Rinder. He doesn't joke around. I will
give them what they want, so that they will leave
me alone. These people have told me that I should
not come to Los Angeles, or else there'd be trouble.
And I didn't listen to them. They are angry because
I called them murderers in front of the camera.
But that was the truth.
Scarff: They are going to kill me. And they know
where my parents live.
he ends the discussion.]
private detective, Roger Johnson, advises that
we call off our filming.
Johnson: They know that you want to take pictures
out there, and they have a helicopter on call.
That much I know.
What could they do?
Johnson: They will cut you off in the air. Two
helicopters could look pretty exciting, but it
would be dangerous. They will do anything to disrupt
accompany Garry to the airport. We stay with him
until the engines start. And we decide to stop
weeks later. Clearwater, Florida. Scientology-opponents
demonstrate in front of Fort Harrison. They blame
the organization for the death of Lisa McPherson.
Garry is also here. We have stayed in close contact
with him ever since we shot in Los Angeles. He
hopes that public appearances such as this can
protect him from further psychological terrorism
or even acts of revenge.
Elliot Abelson has organized a counter-demonstration
by Scientology adherents. Mike Rinder, chief of
the OSA Scientology secret service, has also flown
out from Los Angeles. He wants to personally observe
the appearance of the Scientology opponents.
back in California... Preparations for a helicopter
fly-by. Our goal is difficult to find. It lies
on the edge of an Indian reservation. The organization's
children's camp (the Scientologists call it a
cadet school) lies in an inaccessible region of
the San Bernadino Mountains.
of the Scientology directives says that Sea Org
members may only sporadically see their children.
In any case, one hour per day is too much. And
we read, once again, the internal directive on
the so-called children's "Rehabilitation
Project." We had heard about a boy named
Gavin. He had cut both his arms up with a razor
blade. He was a problem. He had to go into the
children's camp. The barracks appear deserted;
the work areas are abandoned. Not a soul is in
gives us the impression that the children were
sent into the buildings at the first sound of
the approaching helicopter. This region is known
as "Happy Valley" to the Scientologists.
Anybody who has read the internal directives of
the organization - anybody who has read the reports
on neglected Scientology cadets would have a hard
time imagining that happy children live here.