Suspicious tales following Gandow?
American Gerry Armstrong has settled down in Berlin and is trying to market stories as an ex-Scientologist.
At a gathering on December 7, 2002, Berlin cult priest Thomas Gandow presented Armstrong as a special guest and as a sort of refugee. The fact is that Armstrong left his homeland years ago because he continued to deliberately flout court orders and was facing arrest. Armstrong is in fact extremely duplicitous, and an outright hustler and lawbreaker. "I am a writer, artist and philosopher. Theologically speaking I am a prophet...", is what Armstrong stated in a written statement on January 26, 1997. And in fact he has more than once engaged himself as a prophet whose visions of the future, however, do not apply in his own country.
For instance he had his picture taken in November 1992 for an American newspaper, the "Marin Independent Journal", sitting in the lotus position and "dressed" with an earth globe. Back then he called himself founder of the "Organization of United Renunciants". Armstrong's vision: a society that got along completely without money. For that he expected a following of " somewhere between 1 and 11 percent." He himself had already pronounced his "renunciation" he asserted, for which reason he said he gave up his earthly possessions. Actually, Gerald Armstrong had simply transferred a large part of his fortune to a "Gerald Armstrong Corporation." Possibly this was to become indigent for the purpose of escaping future financial obligations for breach of contract, as emerged in a July 23, 1993 legal complaint.
Message to Saddam Hussein
Armstrong revealed his philosophical and political vein on November 1, 1990. He rose to the occasion as statesman to present Iraqi President Saddam Hussein with a 10-point plan. Beside proposals about verified disarmament and involvement by the United Nations, "statesman" Armstrong officially apologized for all the "stupid things our leader has said about you." In the four-page text - accompanied with Armstrong's signature and a copyright notice by "The Gerald Armstrong Corporation - Armstrong introduced himself to the Iraqi despot as a "celebrity," even though Armstrong commented "He would be the most unrenowned philosopher in America," Armstrong offered himself to Hussein as a hostage. Several years prior he had made a similar offer to the hostage-takers in Lebanon, Armstrong wrote. Hussein was to be permitted to torture and execute Armstrong "if our side did not live up to its side of the agreement." "I have numerous attorneys to work out the details. ... This is a matter of some urgency for all of us," Armstrong lectured Dictator Hussein.
Since he didn't get any feedback from Hussein, the United Nations or anywhere else in the political world, on January 10, 1991 Armstrong appealed in writing "to the American people." "Let's give the Armstrong Proposal a chance, " he informed the American folk. Then Armstrong complained that not even The Oakland Tribune, the Los Angeles Time or the San Francisco Examiner had cared to hear anything about his statesman abilities.
This is the gauge by which the credibility of Armstrong's presentation is to be assessed when he left the Scientology Church in 1981 - that means 20 years ago. Until 1981, Armstrong was employed as an archivist for the Scientology Church. When he, in violation of church directives, misappropriated about 10,000 private church documents, he was expelled from the Scientology Church in 1982. Armstrong let on that he had diverted the documents for his "defense." After that it turned out that Armstrong had provably been involved in criminal conspiracy. Armstrong ended up revealing his plan to produce counterfeit church directives and smuggle them in, where they would be "discovered" and confiscated by the tax authorities.
At a secret meeting, this information of Armstrong's was documented on a video made with police approval, and the transcript was submitted as evidence in court. A settlement was reached with Armstrong on December 6, 1986 to end all legal disputes to obtain the return of the stolen documents. In that settlement, Armstrong agreed to not libel the Scientology Church. In case he breached the agreement, a penalty was set. Based on previous experience with Armstrong, the signing was recorded on video. In it Armstrong declared, in the presence of his attorney, that he was familiar with the papers and that he was signing the agreement of his own free will.
Naturally Armstrong did not keep his word for long, but constantly made up new, even wilder stories about the Scientology Church. Because of his violations of this agreement - there were 13 separate incidents between September 2 and November 1997 alone - various court orders were issued against Armstrong, which he ignored. Finally the Superior Court of the Marin district in California issued a warrant for Armstrong's arrest on May 15, 1998, with possible fine and incarceration for criminal disregard of the court. This resulted in Armstrong's moving out of the country to evade punishment and escape the law.
In 1997, while Armstrong was living in Canada, he tried to instigate legal proceedings against the Scientology Church in Nevada. The court that had jurisdiction in Nevada dismissed Armstrong's complaint September 3, 1998, because he had made an untrue statement about his place of residence. And finally, Judge Vernon F. Smith, Judge of the "Superior Court of the State California for the County of Marin" found in a comprehensive 5-point order on July 12, 2001, that Armstrong had repeatedly, voluntarily and deliberately violated court orders. The judge found Armstrong guilty of contempt of court.
Even before then Armstrong was cooperating with Gandow and Ursula Caberta, director of the "Task Force Scientology" in the Hamburg Interior Agency. Two years ago Gandow gathered money at a church collection for an American "Trust" and has just recently sent it - according to his own statements - to an American convicted in court. The state attorney's office investigated Caberta for almost two years for suspicion of corruption because she accepted from a Scientology opponent a "private loan" in the amount of 75,000 euro. The proceedings were suspended upon a court- ordered payment of 7,500 euro.
Whoever cooperates with this kind of con artist, who has been exposed in an American court as untrustworthy and a rights violator, disqualifies himself.
Responsible: Ute Erhardt, Church of Scientology Berlin, non-profit organization, Sponholzstrasse 51-52, 12159 Berlin