I’m about to discuss a report which contains something I’m said to have stated in 1983 that I, out of my memory, dispute. Since my position is that I didn’t say those words, I can claim that they’re wrongly attributed to me to support bias against LRH and Scientology. In short, to use old terminology, the guy’s dubbing-in and hoping to get away with it. The essence of dub-in is that one is unaware one is doing it, so I’m not trying to accuse anyone of deliberate, knowing falsehood; I can’t deny the possibility that some dub-in here might be my own while I do my best to avoid untruth. The words in question were supposedly said some 36 years ago. Given that currently I can’t always remember why I just brought myself into a particular room, I don’t assert and insist that my recall of what I said or couldn’t have said at any time is undeniably correct and reliable.
The words occur in the following passage which was referenced to me by a friend. It appeared on “facebook”, a world whose fringes I sometimes explore but never live in. For reasons I’ll lay out shortly, the passage took me by surprise. Here it is, an excerpt from a piece by Jon Atack [author of A Piece of Blue Sky, a Hubbard ‘expose’]:
In 1986, I [Jon Atack] spent eleven hours interviewing Brian Rubinek. He was Michael Meisner’s superior, and claimed to have instigated the Washington break-ins that led to FBI raids in 1977. Rubinek had been Hubbard’s personal security man, aboard the Apollo – the only GO [Guardian’s Office] member, except for Mary Sue who was allowed on board.
Rubinek’s script focused on a single idea: Hubbard didn’t know about the activities of B-1 [N.B. “B-1” refers to the part of the GO that gathered information about C of S perceived enemies in order to defeat them]. I took careful notes and asked many questions. At the end of the third evening, when he had told me everything he wanted to say, it came time for me to reveal the interview I’d taped with Ken Urquhart, a month or so earlier.
Ken was Hubbard’s direct deputy from 1970-78 [not accurate, and not taken up here], as I remember, a charming and intelligent man (and, like Rubinek, a believer in the ‘Technology’ of Scientology). When Rubinek confirmed in his death bed deposition that he had been working for Miscavige, I realized that he had zoned out when I told him what Ken told me: One night he overheard Hubbard ask his wife, “How are the Washington break-ins going?”
Let’s take the first paragraph, about Brian Rubinek. To be truthful, I’m not sure which one he was of two Guardian Office [GO] men that worked on the ship together. At any rate, I remember the two men. I wouldn’t know if the man named Brian Rubinek [BR] had anything to do with Michael Meisner or not, and I’ll leave that alone, except for one opinion: My general impression of the two GO men on the ship that I recall was that they were superior middle-management types, neither of them seemingly heavyweight enough to conceive of and push through on their own the extraordinary burglary campaign against some of the most secure offices in the federal government.
That this BR (not to be confused with Bill Robertson) was the only GO person other than MSH allowed on the ship is incorrect. Long before BR and the other fellow he brings to mind were on the ship, an Assistant Guardian in the form of a dark-haired woman in her forties, whose name I don’t remember [Anne Something (perhaps it’s coming back to me)], came on board. She worked out of an office on the A deck. In due course, she and Wally Burgess, a crew member, married. Later, they divorced and she married a fellow GO-member, a diminutive and always cheery ginger-blond fellow whose name may come to me in a moment. Yes…Jimmy Mulligan. Jimmy was also on the ship.
It may be that BR was on board before the dark-haired woman and therefore the only GO person on board other than MSH, but it seems to me that she was on the ship on her own, as it were, working under MSH but with no GO people alongside her or junior to her. One noticed that her work attitude – very focused – seemed to say that she had a lot of important work to handle on her own, more than she could manage in the day. [Not that she was the only example on that ship.]
I’m pretty sure that Anne was the first GO person imported into the ship’s complement. She gave the impression of being highly conscious of the effect her work would have on MSH and her (MSH’s) standing on the ship and with LRH, and on LRH and the rest of the crew. The GO generally had a reputation for competence and efficiency. Anne evidently took seriously the need for her to at least not goof up. I’m not saying the men were any different in their attitude but they were noticeably less uptight
The two GO men of whom BR was one came later than Anne, I’m thinking. Jimmy Mulligan was one of the last new GO people on the ship; he came closer to the time we all left the ship and settled in Clearwater, Florida. I have the idea that he was brought on board to help with the general debarking from the ship. He remained with the ship until she was disposed of altogether, then coming to Clearwater.
In addition, MSH had taken on Fred Hare as a personal assistant. Fred was a long-serving SO Officer. Nobody said anything to me about his status, but I’d doubt he became MSH’s assistant without becoming a GO member too. I believe he was appointed her assistant before other GO people came.
To say that BR was the only GO member allowed on the ship is nonsensical. Not only that, the statement implies that there were GO people who clamoured to get on to the ship but were being held off for some reason. This is not how MSH and the GO operated. LRH and MSH between them would have decided that she needed GO support on board. At once, she and her senior GO staff would have carefully considered who in the GO might qualify and would have approached those individuals confidentially, arranging everything quietly. The idea that MSH had to erect barriers of some kind to ward off GO would-be invaders is beyond silly; it assumes that MSH and the GO lacked maturity. One would have to suspect the out-of-touch assumption is based on observation of everyday mankind at work – along with blindness to the possibility that other and higher standards might be possible. Maybe.
It’s conceivable that BR’s role or roles on the ship included a security function on behalf of LRH, but from what I remember of his movements and actions, any such roles would have been part of functions within the structure of the ship-board GO, and not as a direct personal assignment as Jon seems to imply here, distinct from both the GO and the Personal Office.
Had BR been LRH’s personal security man, the two of them would have worked closely together; they would have conferred frequently together in LRH’s office or perhaps on the Prom Deck outside it. I would have been quite aware of these contacts – had they happened. My office was within feet of LRH’s office door. I saw who went in. Not many did, and never without the order from LRH to enter it; had someone had really urgent business with LRH, he or she would have come to me first and I would have handled it at my discretion. [Only once, as I recall, did a ship’s officer come to me with bad news that he (rightly) felt LRH should have without any delay; I had the Messenger on Duty ask the Commodore if I could speak to him urgently. This alerted him to the fact that bad news might be coming, and he could compose himself in readiness. As it happened, that officer was Wally Burgess, and his business had to do with the death of Susan Meister.]
I do believe there were a few conferences held by LRH in his office on the Prom Deck with GO personnel [he had them more frequently with MSH alone]. I am blank on seeing BR go into LRH’s office alone or the two men confer on the deck, ever. I accept that I might be not-remembering things that suit my biases in LRH’s and Scientology’s favour and require me to make Jon Atack wrong because of his perceived biases contrary to mine. However, my feelings and my recalls are clear as far as they go – clear to me.
Anyone could argue that of course LRH would have kept secret the fact that he had a ‘security man’ and who that man might be. I’d say to rebut this that LRH would have had his personal ‘security man’ operating very close to him on LRH’s own organizational chart, be that chart public or not. When LRH’s personal interests were in play, he did not tolerate organizational distance between himself and his operatives. I saw no sign of such closeness; I saw plenty of closeness with, for example, Vicki Polimeni, whom LRH put on as ‘LRH Accts’, a new position, soon after his return to the ship from New York. Vicki’s work would have been about as important to LRH as his personal security. As he did with MSH, LRH had Vicki work with him not through me, so I was not privy to what money went through his hands or what he did with it.
Furthermore, had LRH been depending on a ‘security man’ he would have briefed me, perhaps not fully, but to set me up to cooperate with the person and to keep out of the way if that relationship got urgently active. He did not brief me at all on BR. LRH was nothing if not thorough about keeping his communication and action lines free and clear. You could say that the security man would have related with LRH through MSH, thus bypassing me. That could be correct, but the man would have been frequently physically close to LRH, and it would have been characteristic of LRH to advise me that the man was to have access to his office unquestioned by me. He didn’t.
Although I was almost always present when LRH had conferences with staff in his office, taking notes and so on, I was never present when MSH was with him. LRH kept GO matters strictly off my plate. If I didn’t need to know I wasn’t made aware. Thus, if I were to be interrogated or cross-examined, I could always honestly say that I didn’t know.
[Later, when I was auditing at Flag in Clearwater, I was called over to Los Angeles suddenly. After I’d arrived, I was called in for a meeting with LRH’s attorney, Earl Cooley. He asked me two questions which I answered briefly but cogently. He swung on his heel and marched out of the room, muttering “We do NOT want YOU in the witness box.” But this had to do with certain corporate structure changes and banking arrangements connected to them in which LRH made use of ship officers and resources, not the GO; written instructions and responses between him and them came through me.]
It shocked me a bit to read in Jon’s account that BR sounded as though he was exaggerating his role and importance and value on this ship. He did have his role, importance, and value but if he was claiming what Jon reports, he was bigging up all three.
On reflection, I could add that BR’s role with regard to LRH’s security might have expanded greatly while LRH was living in Dunedin, near Clearwater, after we all came ashore from the ship. LRH and MSH with their personal staffs were at Dunedin while the rest of the organizations that came off the ship set up in Clearwater. It was from Dunedin that LRH departed hurriedly because the local press had got wind of his presence there [due, reportedly, to his, LRH’s, own big mouth].
In Clearwater, there was a great deal of noise going on because the Mayor of Clearwater took objection to the mysterious outfit that had taken over the big hotel in the town (and its bar). He got a bit wound up over some of the things LRH had directed, notably (as I recall), having armed guards patrolling the building and the grounds. “Why would a religious organization need armed guards?” he grumbled, pushing the point publicly. One might think it a reasonable question, but it wound LRH up and he began a campaign to thoroughly discredit the mayor through dirty tricks he had the GO play. Since local feelings ran high over this public dispute it might well have been given to our BR to take full responsibility for LRH’s personal security in the neighbourhood. However, if this was the case, he did his job mostly out of the Clearwater premises and not out of Dunedin – if he was regularly in Dunedin and in close touch with LRH there, it was well hidden from me.
In conclusion, I am doubtful of the claim that he was LRH’s “personal security man” at any time.
I can accept that BR maintained that LRH knew nothing of GO B-1 activities. He could have been speaking out of loyalty to LRH and to the GO, and, I should think, a similar desire to mine to not get LRH into deeper trouble gratuitously; however, Jon states that BR confessed later (on his deathbed) that at the time of their interview he, BR, was working for Miscavige. This is the nub of Jon’s story: that he put BR into shock with the claim that I had stated that LRH had asked about the break-ins. The nub of my response is: I don’t see how I could have stated this.
[It’s puzzling to think that BR found out in that interview that I had said such a thing; he would have reported it to Miscavige and his minions (since it contradicted the C of S story that LRH knew nothing about Snow White). Had he reported it, why didn’t the C of S do something to confirm that I said it and was talking about it to LRH-exposers? Nobody has ever questioned me on the matter. Nor has the C of S made any attempt that I know of to invalidate me as a source of fact.]
Although I wasn’t present when LRH and MSH spoke together privately and saw no written material between them (except at their discretion), it was obvious always that they were operating closely together. Regularly, he spoke to her quietly in her office, it so small that he was in the passage leaning in over her; I didn’t listen for any words but I could hear the tone of voice. LRH had a particular way of pitching his voice when he was deeply engaged with another on business of great interest to him. I heard that pitch often enough to know that what MSH and the GO were doing was of vital interest to him, regardless of other signs. The two of them could not have hidden this closeness; it was part of their relationship as married couple in charge of the organization for decades, and it was clearly evident in the policy directives that set up the GO in the first place, in 1966.
[The two of them often spoke together as they passed each other, and spoke out normally when they were talking about general business they didn’t need to keep confidential. Many times, LRH would have an impromptu “meeting” outside his office, when he was in conversation with an Aide; as they spoke, the other Aides would gather around, and he would start holding forth about this or that. In these encounters, he was always cheerful and friendly, he doing most of the talking, and everybody enjoying it all. MSH would nearly always join in; if she could have some fun (not at anybody’s great expense) she would, and we would all laugh with her.]
I don’t recall when I became aware that GO people had infiltrated U.S. government offices, and since no GO person on the ship would ever have talked to me about it, I take it that I picked it up from what I’d overheard or from quiet snippets that LRH would have shared with me, as he often did. At any rate, even had I known nothing whatever about Snow White and the break-ins, I would have known that whatever the GO was doing that was of high priority, LRH was at all times completely on top of it.
I was so sure by the later 70’s that LRH was intimately involved with all that the GO was doing, including the government break-ins, that when I, still in Clearwater, received an order from him (in his western hiding-place) – in 1977, I think, shortly after MSH and the others were indicted for the offenses – to cover his ass, it seriously disturbed me. He ordered that I send him a package of all mimeo’d issues he had written that forbade the kind of behaviour MSH and the others were accused of. By that time, I was deeply dissatisfied with the direction in which LRH was leading the organization, and although I wasn’t looking then for any excuses to leave, this mean and disloyal act on his behalf moved me farther away from him. I realized that he had to protect himself from being hauled into court, given the position he had adopted as head of a religious organization in hostile relations with government. Nonetheless, it was unprincipled of him to be so nakedly willing to waste his wife. We might respect him more as leader of that group if he’d had the courage to acknowledge, no matter how much later, that he was as guilty as she.
I can add a further personal note to this passage: LRH’s self-protection from the consequences of his actions in pushing the break-ins, and of hanging his wife out to dry for them, lead to my own assignment to the RPF. Another order that LRH issued at the same time was to his Personal PRO, also working at Clearwater. The order came through me. It ordered her that under no circumstances was there to be any statement to the press from his office about the break-ins and the indictments against MSH and the other GO people involved. This order was a shock to me personally in its indication of the ever-deepening rift with his wife. He was refusing to say that he had any regard for her or to express any personal support. Again, I understood his need to protect himself; nonetheless, I found his action so painful to me personally I forced the LRH Pers PR against her will to write up a statement expressing his (LRH’s) regard and support for MSH, his wife. I had no intention that it would ever be issued. I just wanted it in the file for my own comfort. By remaining on my post, I was obliging myself to continue to appear to support this man or at least not publicly expose my lack of respect; having that piece of paper in the file, in some silly fashion, salved my conscience. [It took me years to separate myself out from whatever bonds held me to the later LRH and the discreditable mob he had made of all of us.]
At any rate, by some fateful means, that PR statement actually made its way to LRH! He was so furious (naturally) that his order had been directly countered (and to his perceived endangerment) that the LRH Pers PR was assigned to the RPF almost at once [to my intense and eternal regret], and I was ordered to a sec-check followed by the RPF assignment.
Now we come to the last paragraph of Jon’s account. This statement of what Jon says I said in our interview in 1983 shook me. For three reasons:
- As I said already, I was not looking to incriminate LRH at all, with anybody. Here I was with Jon Atack, an avowed anti-Scientologist (who had asked to speak with me when I was in East Grinstead after I’d left the SO; I was there to visit the local independent auditor in East Grinstead). If I wasn’t looking to testify against Hubbard formally, would I have given Jon ammunition he might have made use of to harm LRH? The claim that I spoke these words about the break-ins just does not ring true.
When I read the passage that I’m quoting from Jon’s facebook report, I emailed Jon to ask if he had a transcript of the tape of our interview; he replied (in friendly fashion – we are not enemies) that he didn’t. He offered to get a copy of the tape to send me but I’m not interested in going that far. Jon did say that what he told BR that I’d said, he’d recounted from memory.
It’s my contention here that Jon’s memory suited his bias; his memory of what I said was shaped by what he had wanted to hear, not by what I said.
If indeed the tape shows that I said those words then I’m extremely wrong. But my other, following, reasons bear weight with me.
- When LRH was talking serious GO business with MSH, he took very good care to make sure I was NOT a witness. Aside from very few occasions when he might talk to her about such things at their breakfast, or perhaps in speaking together outside their respective offices, both LRH and MSH were constantly careful that I not know what they were doing or discussing. [On the very few occasions he mentioned something to me about GO business, he did so in a very low voice, leaving me free to say I didn’t hear what he’d said]. I don’t recall ever seeing any written orders or guidance on GO business to MSH from him; strikingly, he was scrupulous about putting his orders in writing to the officers and crews on the ship. Most of what passed between LRH and MSH about GO business was in complete privacy – in his office with the door shut or in their personal quarters, and I guess sometimes at the dinner table, where they would have been careful about what they said in front of the stewarding staff, or about what the Messengers on Duty might overhear.
To say that LRH asked MSH in front of me, “How are the Washington break-ins going” jars so strongly with all that I do recall for sure (admitting that my certainty of recall might exist to serve my own biases) that I have to feel the claim is fabricated. I don’t charge Jon with deliberate falsification; I am aware that we can think ourselves into remembering this or that to suit our own purposes rather than the truth. We, as humans, do it all the time, and I do it too.
3. I had worked rather closely with LRH for some years before the Snow White thing started (and it began before I got wind of it, and that was long before I had any inkling of what it was about). I was accustomed, then, to how he went about supervising work that was of serious importance to him. Obviously, we know that Snow White was extremely significant to him in that he badly wanted to know what the U.S. government had in its files about him and Scientology, and because both the possible advantage and the risk in undertaking the break-ins were enormous.
To tell me, then, that a query of MSH about progress on the highly secret Snow White project took the form of a “How’s it going?” question, again jars profoundly. LRH did not take that kind of approach in finding out what was happening with really serious business. He would start out with a precise, extremely searching question (based on the last exchange he’d had with the person, all details clearly remembered), and he drilled down from there, and as relentlessly as he felt needful, and always rapidly. In this mode, he was not, usually, bullying, just extremely direct and intent on getting all the necessary facts. He did not mess around with sloppy conversational openings unless he was in a good mood, wanting to establish friendly feelings first, and was also relaxed about the subject matter he wanted to broach. It’s what we all expected of him, and we were always as ready for the punchy attitude as we could manage – and we knew that if we could not answer his punchy questions, it was by far better to say so and to undertake to find answers for him quickly, and by far the worse for us to try to fudge. And we never thought of lying to him.
The world has no idea of the type of person LRH was in terms of intellect, stature, energy, purpose (and self-discipline when it suited his purposes) or of sheer size of being. We can’t blame the world for this, or for the fact that the world constantly seeks to see him and describe him in the only world context they know: the regular 20th century macho/weirdo of some character and energy, a guy also assumed to be a liar, cheat, and despot. His work tried to get mankind to expand its consciousness into a context of greater liveliness and happier energy. But mankind would, nor will, have any of it.
I think I have made clear that although I disagree profoundly with what Jon has reported in the passage quoted above –particularly about LRH’s ‘how’s it going’ question – after all these years, I can only state an opinion as to what is right and wrong in his report. Nonetheless, it’s a strongly held opinion. In the absence of proof otherwise, I hold to my version.
* * * *
This is not the first example I have come across in which words have been attributed to me falsely – or, falsely to my mind. In one earlier example, the account was pitifully unconnected with reality. I had never met or heard of the person who reported a conversation between him and me, and never been in the place he said we spoke in. He had me saying things I could never have said or thought of. Yet the report was given value.
Anyone who wants to know truth about LRH and Scientology history needs to be alert to the reality that words can be attributed to me that I never spoke or which I seriously question when I know about them. I have no idea what else I’m supposed to have said that’s available to researchers, and I hope they remember to check their sources. If it happens to me, it can happen to the many others who knew LRH, whether they have put anything into the public domain or not.
That we live in a world of fake “news”, is not fake news. It’s not funny, either.
Sad to say, any accurate description of the breadth and depth of LRH in his best times doing his best work, is far from what can be generally conceived by those who don’t know the best of him. Only the negative (true or not) is believable, being closer to the general tone level. The Church of Scientology doesn’t help with its blatantly false positives, which are easier for the lower-toned to contemplate and ridicule. What is factually positive about LRH and his work is ignored as unreal or denied as impossible. His Tone Scale remains accurate.
[In speaking of LRH in the 1970’s after his stay in New York in 1972-73, it’s inevitable that I should describe behaviour on his part that I couldn’t support. We must note, though, that although he had always been capable of some misbehaviour, his earlier tendency was always to be cheerful, friendly, and supportive in his leadership actions as well as in his personal relationships. The later tendency to what I see as misbehaviour increased gradually and, although it increased, there were always regular and frequent moments of the earlier, higher-toned attitudes. I can say this from my personal experience with him up until we left the ship in 1975. There are various reports from others of pleasant times with him up until his last years.]
How and why he changed in this way can only be a matter for speculation. I have some opinions on the subject and may express them at some other time.]
© Kenneth G. Urquhart 2019