The Church of Scientology Forged a Bomb Threat to Smear a Journalist
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If you ever start feeling sorry for those poor Scientologists because everyone picks on them, just remember the time they had a journalist indicted on fake terrorism charges because she wrote a book that painted them in a bad light. If you think we're being unfair, well, let's run through the details.
Starting in 1969, journalist Paulette Cooper published a number of damning exposes on the church and its founder, sci-fi writer turned messiah L. Ron Hubbard, including a book called The Scandal of Scientology, which detailed the psychological methods used to keep the church's followers (and, more importantly, their money) in line. The church tried to sue Cooper to shut her up several times, but none of the lawsuits took off, mainly because they couldn't prove that she had just pulled her book out of her ass like they claimed.
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"What? Isn't that the usual method of writing?" -L. Ron Hubbard
So, they moved to the next step: "Operation Freakout," an organized campaign to have Cooper "incarcerated in a mental institution or jail, or at least to hit her so hard that she drops her attacks" (that's a direct quote from a real church document). Besides writing her phone number on bathroom walls and sending anonymous smear letters to her family members and neighbors, the Scientologists actually infiltrated Cooper's life by having agents pose as friends -- one supposed friend reported that Cooper was close to suicide after all the harassment, adding, "Wouldn't that be great for Scientology?"
Presumably this quote was taken while the person saying it was twirling his mustache
and tying a litter of puppies to railroad tracks.
But the lowest moment came when church members mailed themselves bomb threats and told the police that Cooper had sent them. Cooper agreed to have her fingerprints taken by the cops, not too worried by the laughably transparent attempt to have her arrested ... only to find out that her prints were actually on the threatening letters, and that the stationery had come from her house (courtesy of the infiltrators). This resulted in some very real federal charges for conspiracy to commit terrorism, which turned Cooper's life into a living hell until the charges were finally dismissed two years later.