[by Lia Kea – edited by Scott Gordon – editor commentary in [brackets]
“No! I infiltrated the Sea Org on my own and no one sent me or paid me or threatened me!” I said very firmly. – Lia V. Kea
I followed Snr HCO Brizna to her recruitment office and got a weird feeling – that something bad was about to happen. Brizna led me into the room which was now full of strangers. As soon as I stepped inside, most everybody left at once, leaving me with only three other people in the room.
[Snr HCO = Senior Hubbard Communications Officer]
“I guess you know why we bought you here,” the lady with long honey-ginger hair and a strict face finally broke the silence.
“No…” I said, nervously looking around. “Who are you… guys?”
“Well, this is our attorney, this is our private investigator that we hired, and I’m OSA.”
[OSA = Office of Special Affairs – Security, Intelligence and Legal Affairs for the Church of Scientology]
[In this account, “OSA” is Kirsten (Caetano) Pedersen, the OSA International Security Chief]
Not realizing yet how much trouble I’m in, and thinking that it’s all again about videotaping the speech of the Chairman of the Board, I had a convincing story I’d prepared in case something like this happened; the story I already had told to a Sec Checker, about my friend in good standing who really wanted to see the event, but could not make it and asked me for the favor of videotaping the event. Yes, I knew I should not have done it, and I’m really sorry and ready to suffer lower conditions, but I did not mean to hurt anybody, I just did not realize it was such a big deal.
[Sec Checker – “Security Checker” – trained operator of the Scientology E-meter (electronic meter) supposed to screen personnel through Confessional techniques.]
[Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Corporation = David Miscavige]
(A few days before, I had passed a security check, and then even, another one after I got caught having a cellphone that I was not authorized to have, and of course Doughney, the I&R took it away from me. I gave her one of my cheap cellphones, and I had plenty more where it came from. So far, Doughney had taken from me two cellphones already, and I was in lower conditions, but still on staff. When I got busted videotaping DM’s speech, I told Christine, the Sec Checker, that I was not videotaping the event – I was texting to my daughter, and she bought that story.)
[I&R = Inspections and Reports – division of Hubbard Communications Office]
“Just another Sec Check,” I thought, “Not a big deal.”
“We have you on video leaving a bag in the upholstery shop, and one of our enemies picking it up. We went through your senior computer and found all the documents you had downloaded,” the OSA lady went right to business, “Now we want to know, what was in the bag?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I said. “I never gave anyone any bag in any store.”
“Why would you go there in the first place?” OSA asked, ”What could you possibly need in an upholstery shop?”
I could not think of even one thing that a Sea Org member would need from that store.
[Sea Org – Sea Organization members are the total-full-time, multi-lifetime staff of Scientology Management]
“Come on, we have you on video!” OSA exclaimed.
“Let me see the video,” I demanded.
OSA asked one of the security personnel to bring the video. He brought me a laptop and placed it in front of me.
“Look,” the PI said, “this is you!” I saw myself, really clear, walking toward the shop with a black bag. “Look, here is you walking, with a bag,” he said. “And here is Aida Thomas. Here she walks to you, then stops, then you guys are having a short conversation.” He paused the video, and skipped to the part where Aida was leaving the store.” Here is Aida coming out with your bag. And here, a few minutes later, you are coming out without the bag. And here she is getting in her car and driving away with your bag.” He gave me a “Now what?” look.
[PI = Private Investigator – it is common for OSA to deploy Private Investigators to do any dangerous or invasive work that requires distancing their activity from the “church”]
“She is the worst spy, ever,” I mumbled, being angry at Aida for picking this particular store, right under their nose (and why did not I think it through? Why did I listen to her and not stick with my original plan? If I only had more time, I would have planned it better – I would have bought two identical bags, we would exchange them at the store, and then they would not be able to prove anything).
Everybody stared at me and, trying to suppress an impulsive urge to run, I crossed my arms, “I want my lawyer!”
“Sure, absolutely,” said the Church’s lawyer. “We don’t mind if your lawyer joins this conversation. Do you have one? Who is your lawyer? What’s his name?”
I paused because I did not have a lawyer, I could not think of one and I did not even know I should be the one making those kinds of arrangements.
“I want a deal.” I turned to the OSA lady… (that always worked in the movies).
“There is no deal! We already know everything we need to know. We have all the evidence we need. All we want to know is, what was in that bag?! Was the video of David Miscavage at the recent Portland event in that bag? What have you done with that video? What else was there? It was a large bag!”
[Portland event – 2013 Grand Opening of the Portland Ideal Organization]
I did not answer.
“Did you know that Aida Thomas is a lawyer?” the Church’s lawyer asked. “We can disbar her if we want to, just for helping you – and then she will never able to practice law again!”
(‘Aida is not a lawyer. She never passed a bar exam,’ I almost blurted out, but then decided to keep my mouth shut, for her own good.) “I really don’t know anything,” I said.
“You need to stop lying!” yelled OSA from the top of her lungs – so loud that the walls trembled. ”I don’t care who you are: Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Scientologist… You have to stop lying! You are helping a group of haters who day and night attack MY religion!” she yelled, making a strong accent on ‘MY religion.’
I thought for a second. Am I really a part of the haters group? The way she made it sound almost made me feel bad, but then I reminded myself everything I know and why I was really here, and my guilt suddenly vanished.
“Let me talk to her” interrupted their PI guy with a big gold wedding ring, too shiny to be real, “First, let me introduce myself. Let’s be honest with each other from the beginning. I’m not a Scientologist, I work for a company that investigates matters like this. Here is my card. I should not give it to you but since we decided be honest with each other, you deserve to know.” He made a mysterious face and handed me a business card, and I put it in my pocket, briefly glancing at it, and not making any attempt to memorize his name. I was sure he was a Scientologist and the card was fake.
“Let me tell you what I think, and you correct me if I’m wrong,” he said very softly. “I think, you did what you did because you believed you were doing the right thing. You believed in the cause. I’m a Catholic. Before yesterday, I had no idea what was going on with the Scientology religion. But while I was getting briefed on this matter, I watched many YouTube videos, and I saw some crazy people protesting and yelling about abuse in the church – and I’m not saying they are all crazy, I think they do that because they believe there is abuse going on – and that’s why you are here, to see it for yourself, am I right?”
“Yesterday, when the church hired me to investigate this matter, I did some research on you. I know all about your children, about your husband and your daughter, and your ex-husband, and I know that your older kids are in foster care. I know that there is a court hearing coming up soon, at the end of the month, and I really want to help you.”
“Are you guys doing that good cop-bad cop thingy?” I asked, trying to sound as innocent as I could.
OSA and PI paused and looked at each other, thinking the same thing. PI smiled. OSA got up from her chair, “We are trying to avoid getting police involved in this delicate matter, but if you don’t cooperate, we will have no choice,” she said. “We have you on video, we saw your text messages, we know everything, so start talking before I call law enforcement!”
“Well…” I paused, trying to gather my thoughts and come up with something believable (since I was a teenager, I’ve learned that not answering a question won’t get you anywhere, because they will ask you the same question over and over again until they get an answer. Lying could be a good strategy, but my story must have at least a grain of truth in it, in order to sound real).
“There is so much stuff on the internet, good and bad about Scientology,” I began plotting my story. “Many people told their stories and wrote books. But one thing is to read it, and another is to see it. I wanted to see for myself what’s really going on. And not just to see, but to show others. Some people who left the church, are under a radar now, they pretend on being on a good standing, to avoid disconnection, they come to events, donate some money once in a while – and others left the church but still are thinking and wishing to go back someday, after DM gets replaced, because they don’t want to support out-ethics. There are lots of horror stories published all over the internet about abuse and some people are not sure if it’s all true. I was just trying to make a documentary video! My goal was to let people know what was really going on: If I would see any abuse, I would record it and show it to others, but if there is no abuse, I would most definitely let public know that too!”
“I’m sure you would,” PI said, “You seem like a decent person. So, did you find any abuse?”
“Well… not yet,” I said. “But taking into consideration that I only was in Sea Org for 2 months, not really much time, I can’t say for sure there is no abuse, and since you guys busted me, I will never find out.”
“What were you recording?” OSA asked.
I shrugged my shoulders. “Pretty much everything, from the time I was on EPF, until yesterday. I recorded everything that EPFers do, where they work and sleep, and everything that staff members do. I would every morning turn my camera on, let it run till my card was full, then replace the card and keep recording.” I explained.
“And all those videos are in the bag you gave to Aida Thomas?”
I shook my head. “No, of course not! I only had a few cards when I came here. Each time the card would ran out of memory, I would go to the bathroom and upload all the videos to my ‘netload.in’ account, so I could reuse that card. Before I came here I gave my password to over 100 people, and I encouraged those people to give that password to their friends, and friends of friends,” I said.
“What’s ‘netload.in’?” OSA asked.
“File-sharing site,” the lawyer sighed. “So, by now, hundreds of people could have access to your account?”
“At this time I don’t even know how many people watched those videos. Maybe only ten, or maybe a thousand,” I said, “I have no control over it anymore and don’t know what all those people did with all those pictures and videos. I asked them not to post them anywhere till I’m out, but I’m sure if they don’t hear from me for a long time, they will link them!”
Lawyer gave me an angry look. I made an innocent face, “I just was following the tech! I did not want to squirrel!”
“What tech is she talking about?” the lawyer cried out – almost in desperation.
“Okay, I need a Mission School pack, so I can show you exactly what tech I was following,” I said, and OSA asked Brizna to bring a course pack from the staff college.
[Mission School – Sea Org members are trained to exert authority over local Scientology organizations with “Mission Tech”]
“Just for the record, I’d like to say, Aida did not know what exactly was in the bag,” I added, “I just asked her to hold it for me and did not tell what was inside.”
Soon Brizna came back with a course pack and I began searching for a particular quote that would give me a green light to use the cameras.
“I was not supposed to get caught,” I said, still looking through pages for that quote. ”My plan was to get closer to DM, but I got busted too soon. Dang it, I can’t find this quote. I’m sure it was here somewhere… I’m looking for the one where it says, ‘It’s not enough for any missionary to find out for himself. The essence of the mission is to record so somebody else can know’.” …It’s missing. The whole page is missing.. Dang it.. Anyway… My plan was to get to Gold first, through CC Int, then keep moving up from there, but before the EPF, because of my high test scores, I was going to be sent to Flag (where many people would recognize me), so after EPF I re-took the tests and messed them up on purpose, so I would not go to Flag. I stayed at PAC and ended up in Div6 at ASHOF, where nothing unusual happens, and then I was told if I could recruit somebody in my place and get high production stats on my post, I could go to Gold and work for the Translation Unit (and then work my way up and eventually get closer to DM).”
[EPF= Estates Project Force – the entry “boot camp” a Sea Org member must get through to become a permanent member of the Sea Org]
[Div6= Division 6 – Public Contact Division of Scientology organizations]
[ASHOF= American Saint Hill Organization Foundation (evening-weekend service schedule staff)]
I imagined myself sending tweets such as “Today I spent another day with DM and I can assure you, that once again, he did not hit anybody – I was with him the whole time,” and smiled, because I realized how ridiculous it would sound.
“But why did you not?” PI asked, “Why did not you stay here for a long time, get all the way to the top and accomplish your goals? You were doing so well – finished EPF in ten days, did your product one in a month… What happened? You were successful, fooled a lot of people, made all those videos, downloaded privileged documents. All that in two and a half months! Impressive! Then, …I think something happened, that made you very aggressive and not careful. And you eventually got caught. Am I right?”
“Yes,” I candidly admitted.
He was right. That something was a Facebook message from a “Shari Williams,” saying “You don’t know me but I know they are spying on you spying on them. I will explain it when you get out.” That made me sloppy. A conversation with Eugene, a few days before that, discussing the dream he had where I got I got caught, added more anxiety. Plus lack of sleep – waking up extra early to get to the computer before breakfast, meals I had to miss to make phone calls, all that had a negative effect on me.
“I’ve read your story,” PI said, the one you wrote on ESMB, that is called ‘How I Got Kicked Out of the Sea Org, Twice.’ Is that why you infiltrated the church?”
[ESMB = Ex-Scientologist Message Board – forum.exscn.net – check it out…]
“No, that has nothing to do with this infiltration!” I said.
“You expect us to believe that nobody sent you? You just came here on your own?” Lawyer asked
“Did somebody threaten you or your family if you don’t do it? Did somebody tell you they would do something bad to you or to your kids if you wouldn’t steal the documents?” Kirstin asked.
“No! I infiltrated the Sea Org on my own and no one sent me or paid me or threatened me!” I said very firmly.
PI shook his head, “I don’t understand this. Why all of a sudden you decided to infiltrate the church? Just out of the blue! Why nobody else volunteered. Why YOU?”
“Because I have nothing left to lose!” I cried out and felt that for the first time I’d told the truth, and it felt good. Tears were running down my face but I could not help it. After years of training I was surprised that I just lost my TRs in front of those people. So stupid – just like that – but I kept on sobbing. Suddenly I realized that it was the real reason I came here. Looking for abuse in the church was just an excuse.
[TRs = Training Routines – communication drills for controlling communication – “lost TRs” = lost control of one’s communication]
(After I lost custody of my kids, I quit my job, stopped paying rent and spent days in front of the TV watching home videos of my kids. I got a job but I could not keep it. I just had to get out of town where everything – from the parks to playgrounds, reminded me of my kids – and where everybody, from Librarians to Crossing Guards, knew me and kept asking everyday how the kids are doing and why they are not with me. So I left.)
OSA handed me a box of tissues.
“I feel sorry for you” PI suddenly said. I frowned and quickly wiped my face.
“Why would you feel sorry for me?” I asked, trying to sound angry.
“Your church should have helped you. They should give you a good lawyer. They should help you to get your kids,” PI explained.
I gave him my “What the hell you are talking about?” face.
“You know, I have some connections. I could hook you up with some good family lawyers, who can help you to get your kids back. What do you think? You seem like a good mom. I would hate to see you losing your kids.”
I shook my head, “No, thanks.”
“Well, let me know if you change your mind. I also would like to record our conversation – would you mind if we do that? Right now I’m not recording you. Are you recording me?”
“No,” I said, “I wish!”
“Well, can we record you?”
“Okay,” I said, then added, “But I want a copy of this conversation.”
“After we are done here, we will set you up with a terminal who will mail you a copy of this interview,” OSA said.
“But just to make it clear, I’m not authorizing you to post it or use it anywhere or make it public in any form,” PI added,”Do you understand?”
“Let’s start now,” he said turning the audio recorder on “Today is…May the 30th, 2013. We are here with Lia Kea, and for the record I would like to note that she agreed to be audio-recorded. The tape recorder is right here in front of her, where she can clearly see it. She is here on her own determination, she is not being held against her will, the door is open and she can leave any time she wants.”
“Really?” I asked and immediately decided to put it to the test, “Okay – bye then!” I got up from my chair and slowly walked to the door, looking back at OSA who immediately went after me and with good TRs got me back in the chair (based on my experience, since I was a teenager, I learned never to argue with a TRs-trained person. They will repeat the command over and over till you comply and do as you’re told, and fighting it is just a waste of time).
They turned the recorder on, “Lets start again. Today is the 30th of May 2013…” and he repeated everything he’d said before.
“You said, I’m free to go,” I reminded him, getting up again.
“That’s it! I’ve had it! I’m calling the law enforcement!” OSA yelled, picking up the phone. “We gave you a chance to co-operate with us and you did not take it! It’s too late now! I will just let police deal with that!”
She determinedly walked out of the room. I waited a few seconds.
“Okay – fine,” I said.
PI turned the tape recorder on again.
“Well…” I said, “Many Scientologists are in doubts. Some of them are in a good standing, but under a radar – they can’t leave the church because of fear of losing their families, so they show up at events once a year, make small donations here and there, take some services once in a while, just to stay on good standing. Some Scientologists left the church but they have doubts if they should come back to the church. They don’t know what’s going on, and that’s where I come. I decided to make a documentary – not just to videotape bad things, but good things too, so they can see it for themselves, and make their own decisions whether they should join the Sea Org or support the church. My goal was not only to videotape bad things, but good things, too.”
“Why do you care about good things?” Lawyer asked.
“I don’t. Personally, I think the church is so corrupted that replacement of DM won’t do much. But there are lots of people out there who really can’t wait for him to get replaced so they can come back. They don’t like the independent field, because some of the independents fight with each other over pcs and messing it up for everybody, and the people who left have lots of doubts. So I just wanted to help them with their Doubt formula and videotape the whole scene, ‘as is.’ I thought it’s unfair to videotape only bad things. And I’ve seen improvements. No cursing drills is one of the good improvements – it’s not good when little kids curse like sailors. Food is another improvement. Now there is a salad bar, and good choice of meals for vegetarians and vegans, not just rice and beans. There are less of labor violations – EPF wear gloves while they work. But lots of things got much worse – for example, new rules about not hanging out with wogs, not going in wogs’ houses. Also, before there was a rule to walk around in couples, and now it was changed to walking around in the group of three. It s beginning to look more and more like a cult. Sometimes Sea Org members (when stats of the org are low) don’t get paid at all. And also, living conditions are very bad – worse than a homeless shelter – lots of violations.”
[DM = David Miscavige – “head” of the Sea Org, but who actually has long-since officially resigned as a Sea Org member, and benefits from the labor of Sea Org members living a lavish lifestyle, completely unchecked by any other power]
“Oh, come on!” Lawyer interrupted, “What is the big deal about living conditions?”
“Well, there are only two bathrooms on the third floor: One for girls, and one for boys – and each has only two showers. People have to stay in the long line just to take a shower, and on another floor, there is only one bathroom with a toilet and a sink and no showers at all. There are eight triple bunk beds in each room – no air conditioners, and only one dresser per room and each person get to have only half of a drawer.”
“Where? On the EPF? So, what?!” Lawyer exclaimed, “EPF is just for a few months – then you graduate, and then you get to have a whole draw and there are four showers for Sea Org members! EPF is just a test! Just to see if you really want to be in Sea Org! People don’t join the Sea Org to have nice MEST, they join the Sea Org because they believe in an idea and they don’t care about living conditions! If they can’t take a little inconvenience for the greatest good, they should not be in the Sea Org in the first place! If it would be some other religion, it would be okay, but here it is suddenly a violation – an abuse! If some other church would put ten monks sleeping in one room, on the hard floor, nobody would care!”
[MEST=Matter, Energy, Space, Time – a term used for one’s personal possessions or building premises, furnishings and equipment]
I was racking my brains to find a way to defend my point against such a logical explanation.
“Other religions don’t make that much of money,” I finally said, “Look where DM lives and how much he is making. If he would only spent some of his money to buy some clean sheets for Sea Org members – some pillows, more blankets, ladders for the bunk beds, or better food…”
“Wait – you said, ‘food was good’,” the lawyer reminded me.
“I said it improved – did not say it was good,” I said.
The lawyer shook his head at me. He was clearly on the edge.
“Are you a Scientologist?” I asked him.
“No, I represent the church but I’m not a Scientologist,” he said, trying to sound very irritated.
[SG note – this was/is a lie – Kendrick Moxon was part of the old Guardian’s Office that was “disbanded” by David Miscavige when he led a hostile takeover of Scientology in 1981-1982. Moxon became one of their leading attorneys and in any case, has been a life-long Scientologist.]
During our conversation PI’s phone was ringing all the time. He talked to somebody – apologized and promised to be home soon. I was pretty sure it was somebody from HCO, trying to impersonate his wife to make me feel bad for making them stay up so late…
“You know, all this confession you are recording… it’s all under duress!” I said. “Besides, you guys hacked my phone and changed my password, so this evidence does not even count.”
PI laughed. “Under duress? Look who is under duress – it’s almost midnight, and we are here, with you, away from our families because you stole the documents! Do you think we want to be here?”
“I did not steal the documents,” I said. “I just shared them with the world. It’s just like mental pictures – when you share your memories because you want others to see them – it’s not illegal.”
“True,” OSA agreed, “But in the ‘real world,’ stolen property cost is determined by how much it is worth to an owner, and docs that were stolen were very important to us, and now we have to determine how to handle this.”
“Are you going to arrest me?” I asked.
“We don’t know yet,” OSA said. “We are trying to figure out what to do with you. Would you like some sandwiches?”
Securities brought me some sandwiches. I took all meat out of them, leaving only cheese.
‘Are you a vegetarian too?” PI asked, smiling.
“I just don’t eat mammals,” I said.
“You did a shi++y thing,” said the lawyer, and for a second I felt remorse. “So many people trusted you – even paid for your ticket to come here, took you in, trusted you with privileged information, and you betrayed them all!” I put my head down, not feeling bad for infiltration, but that everyone in the Sea Org must be hating me by now.
“Yea, I know…” I said, starting to feel remorse. Faces of everybody who in some way let me in the Sea Org, were burned in my memory and there is nothing I could do to change that.
“You should just forget about Scientology and find another game. Get yourself to a different space that has nothing to do with Scientology and create a game that you are successful at and stay away from the church,” the lawyer advised me, and I thought, for claiming to be “not – a -Scientologist,” he sure speaks ‘scientologese’ pretty well!
“And change your name back to Keaton, or somebody will think you are the car company owner!” he added just before he went to “make some phone calls.”
We sat in silence for a while. I stared at PI. He was handsome.
“Do you have kids?” I asked him.
“Yes, I do.”
“Do they know what you do for a living?”
“Well,they are too young to understand it, but they know I help people.”
“How do you sleep at night?” I asked.
“Well, I sleep well because I don’t steal documents from the church!”