Tom Cruise, Scientology and Me

05/25/2011 11:45 am ET

Tom Cruise may consider himself educated about the negative aspects of psychiatry, but I suspect he doesn't know good old Jack Shit about the dark side of Scientology, the source of that education.

In 1971, I announced in an ad the features that would be included in the 13th anniversary issue of The Realist. Among them was "The Rise of Sirhan Sirhan in the Scientology Hierarchy."

The Church of Scientology proceeded to sue me for libel -- they wanted $750,000 for those nine words -- for the title of an article that I had not yet written.

What's relevant here is the paranoid mindset of Scientology as revealed in this excerpt from their complaint:

"...Defendants have conspired between themselves and with other established religions, medical and political organizations and persons presently unknown to plaintiff. By subtle covert and pernicious techniques involving unscrupulous manipulation of all public communcation media, defendants and their co-conspirators have conspired to deny plaintiff its right to exercise religious beliefs on an equal basis with the established religious organizations of this country."

I published their complaint in The Realist and told my attorney, James Wolpman (now an OSHA judge), that I wanted to fight the lawsuit in court on a 1st Amendment basis.

But when Scientology learned that (a) The Realist had no assets, and (b) I was in the habit of publishing satirical articles, they offered to settle for $5,000. I turned it down. Then they offered to drop the suit altogether if I would publish an article by Chick Corea, a jazz pianist and member of Scientology. I explained that this was not how I made my editorial decisions, and again I refused to settle. They dropped the suit anyway.

I cultivated a source inside Scientology (Deep E-Meter) and I found out that their records showed that under the heading "Operation Dynamite" -- their jargon for a frame-up -- a memo read: "Got CSW from SFO not to do this on Krassner. I disagree and will pass my comments on to DG I US as to why this should be done. SFO has the idea that Krassner is totally handled and will not attack us again. My feelings are that in PT, he has not got enough financial backing to get out The Realist and other publications and when that occurs, will attack again, maybe more covertly but attack, nonetheless."

I finally finished writing "The Rise of Sirhan Sirhan in the Scientology Hierarchy" in 2003, and it will be included in my upcoming collection, "One Hand Jerking: Reports From an Investigative Satirist." Hey, maybe Tom Cruise could play me in the movie version.