Now that we’re into a new month and our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, is taking us on tours around the country (and soon across the pond), we’re going to begin posting material here that supplements our story about Paulette Cooper.
Miss Lovely is a book that looks at Paulette’s entire life, from her survival of the Holocaust as a small child to her more recent years as an author in Florida. But she’s most well known, of course, for her 1971 book, The Scandal of Scientology, which resulted in the most legendary campaign of retaliation and ruination in the history of Scientology’s spy wing, the Guardian’s Office. That campaign even included a plot to frame Paulette for a felony which resulted in her being indicted in 1973 and facing 15 years in federal prison.
In 1977 the FBI raided Scientology looking for evidence of the church’s infiltration and burglarizing of federal agencies, but the FBI also discovered evidence of the many plots against Paulette. Initially, the FBI had to remain quiet about what it found in the raid. But then, news that Paulette Cooper had been framed on orders from top Scientology officials finally became public after a pair of Washington Post stories by Ron Shaffer appeared on April 28 and 29, 1978, followed by many other reports in the press.
One person who took notice of those stories was an unlikely observer in South America.
Late in our book project, one of our researcher friends discovered that in a large collection of materials at San Diego State University, a really unique and disturbing audio recording exists. Collected by the Jonestown Institute at SDSU, it’s a recording of Peoples Temple leader Jim Jones, one of 971 tapes recovered by the FBI which preserve the cult leader giving his frequent addresses to his followers at the Jonestown compound in Guyana.
And on June 10, 1978, Jim Jones talked about Paulette Cooper.
Jones included it in his “mid-afternoon news” address, and he can be heard reading from a version of Shaffer’s April 29 story. Descriptions of Paulette’s harassment are provided to Shaffer by attorneys Paul Rheingold — who represented her in a 1972 harassment suit against the New York org — and Virgil Roberts — who had wrapped up a settlement in 1976 to end several of Scientology’s lawsuits against The Scandal of Scientology (see Chapter 13 in Miss Lovely).
What’s really interesting though is the way Jones interrupts his reading of the press account to provide his own running commentary — he’s sure that Scientology is getting the raw deal, and that Paulette was being unjustifiably exonerated.
At the beginning of the recording, you’ll hear Jones place the Peoples Temple in context to other groups — Synanon, the Black Panthers, and Scientology — that he apparently felt some kinship to, at least in the sense of a persecuted and misunderstood group. And why was Scientology being persecuted, according to Jim Jones?
“The reason for this, according to US UPI source that prefers to remain anonymous, is because Scientology has revealed how high the Nazi influence goes in the police work of USA, USA Customs, Treasury Department, and the police of the entire world. So the new attack. I’ll give you some detail of it,” he says.
So the revelations of the framing of Paulette Cooper are “the new attack” on Scientology, which Jones seems to feel is akin to an attack on the Peoples Temple, which is fascinating.
You’ll then hear him read from the newspaper article, making sarcastic asides about how he doubts the government’s “sources” — which were actually based on Scientology documents that would be released to the public a couple of years later.
It’s also fascinating to hear Jones express admiration for Scientology’s litigious attacks against Paulette and others.
“The Church of Scientology sued her in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, England, Scotland, Australia, Ontario, and British Columbia, each time charging that her book had defrauded– uh, had defamed the church. There’s something to be said for suits. I wish we could think about that. Our lawyers here feel the same. Sometimes lawyers in USA don’t want to be caught taking on the outrageous liars of publishers and press.”
Listen for yourself, and hear how Jones sarcastically describes Paulette: “She looks — her long blonde hair straggling down clear to her navel — she looks like a poor, mistreated dear little thing.”
Five months after this recording was made, on November 18, 1978, US Congressman Leo Ryan and members of his entourage were murdered as they were attempting to return to the US after visiting the Peoples Temple Guyana compound. Jones then ordered suicides of his followers, and 909 men, women, and children, including Jones, died, most from poisoning, but a few from gunshot wounds.
We expect that a question which occasionally comes up will show up frequently in today’s discussion: Could Scientology ever experience a “Jonestown”? We think it’s unlikely for a number of reasons, but we’re curious to see what former church members have to say.
We do feel confident about one conclusion we came to after hearing this tape. Jim Jones was one creepy dude, but we imagine that the Guardian’s Office discussions about Paulette were even more disturbing. If only a recording of such a thing existed.
Check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour.
We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, so we’re posting them at the Underground Bunker. We’ve created a dedicated page for them, and we hope you go through them all, then come back here and tell us your thoughts!
June 11: New York City (with Paulette Cooper) 5:30 to 7 pm. We’re keeping the venue on the down-low at this point. If you’re interested in coming to this unique event — Paulette in New York talking about Scientology where her story began — drop us a line so we get an idea how many are coming.
June 20: Chicago (with Christian Stolte) The Annoyance Theater, 5pm: This event is SOLD OUT.
June 22: Toronto (with Paulette Cooper) Toronto Public Library, 40 Orchard View Blvd, 7:30 pm, sponsored by the Centre for Inquiry-Canada
June 23: Toronto (with Paulette Cooper) The “Getting Clear” conference
June 28: Clearwater, Florida (with Paulette Cooper) Clearwater Public Library, 2 pm
July 12: Washington DC, Center for Inquiry (with Paulette Cooper)
Late July/Early August: ENGLAND
Posted by Tony Ortega on June 1, 2015 at 07:00
E-mail your tips and story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.
Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield