Last month, former AAEC President Jim Berry
found himself exchanging
e-mail with a man named "Ray Randolph." Here's a copy of their correspondence,
as provided by Jim:
Greetings! I'm a long-term reader of yours, and a critic of the church of scientology.
In going through some recently uncovered documents about scientology, I discovered
some documents concerning yourself.
In 1977, you did a cartoon captioned, "I was into EST, Primal Therapy,
Yoga, Scientology, Hare Krishna, Transcendental Meditation — Now
I'm into money!"
In response to this cartoon, L. Ron Hubbard ordered his followers within the
church of scientology to harass you in an attempt to cost you your syndication.
Some of the text of that original order:
INFORMATION: Jim Berry has 1.1ed [sic] Scientology in attached cartoon:
It is desired that this fellow no longer has a sindicated [sic] publication.
MAJOR TARGET: To cause Jim Berry to lose his sindicated publication so that
he can no longer SP Scientology.
PRIMARY TARGETS: All US B1 Secs are on Post Operating.
The worthwhile purpose of this action is to remove JB from his position
of power, so that he cannot attack the C of S.
The "operation" of getting you removed from your syndication was
called "Operation Funny Bone." The church of scientology then implemented
investigations into your background, into your employers, political leanings,
finances, and much more. The operation was uncovered during FBI raids of scientology
offices in the very late 1970s, although no charges were ever brought for this
The documents that were discovered during those FBI raids were recently posted
to the internet by an individual calling himself "RonIsXenu" at the
alt.religion.scientology USENET Newsgroup, which is populated almost entirely
by scientology critics. The entirety of the documents posted at that time, including
an old, old photocopy of the original Cartoon can be seen at this address: http://www.ezlink.com/~rayr/doc/
My question is this: Would you Please consider writing something up about that
period of time during which you were harassed? Any feedback at all. Were you aware
of this? Did the FBI notify you when THEY found these files or did you have any
idea at all that any of this had happened?
Can you relate any specific incidences of harassment from that period of time?
Thank you very much for your time.
Dear Mr. Randolph:
Thanks for your message. The subject of Scientology brought back upsetting
Years ago a reader sent me an article about Scientology that appeared in a
northern Florida newspaper (Talahassee?). It was about how the "church"
operated with respect to dealing with the people on their "enemies list."
It seems I did one or two cartoons that they didn't like. In the piece there was
reference to "Operation 'Berry's World,'" or some such title. It told
about the leader of the church of Scientology urging all of its members to write
and call newspapers across the country and complain about my feature telling editors
and publishers to drop "Berry's World." This was an organized effort
to kill my career and I had no idea that it was happening. It's a wonder my feature
survived the onslaught.
I decline to write anything further about this subject.
Thanks so much for your reply!
You might be pleased to know that the tables have turned somewhat on Scientology.
In 1995, in response to a few vocal critics on the internet, scientology attempted
to silence discussions critical of itself that were taking place. The "internet
culture," as it were, is extremely sensitive to censorship, and the church's
actions managed to literally create tens of thousands of new "critics"
of this church.
I, myself, am a computer nerd for Hewlett Packard who was introduced to scientology
through their heavy-handed censorship attempts on the net. This "war with
scientology" on the net has grown to become the group's worst nightmare.
Many, like me, have taken on this cause and have become experts in the field of
understanding and exposing Scientology.
Unfortunately, the harassment you received was not the exception, it was "the
rule." Scientology holds that people who speak negatively about it are "Suppressive
persons," out to destroy the future of mankind. Hence, scientology wasn't
merely attacking you for saying bad things — in the mind of L. Ron Hubbard,
you were destroying humanity! The Mayor of Clearwater Florida, a journalist named
Paulette Cooper, an author named Jon Attack and countless other individuals have
been harassed in similar ways as yourself.
For the first time since the 1950s, an entity has taken on the church of scientology
than cannot be "harassed into silence." Thank god for the internet.
Check out some pages regarding scientology on the net: http://members.aol.com/blackpr/,
and http://www.ezlink.com/~rayr/scieno.htm (my main page)
Thanks again for your reply, and I shall certainly respect your wishes to remain
silent on the subject.
Could I have permission to place your initial e-mail reply to me re: "Berry's
World/Scientology" on my web page?
About putting my comments on your web site — let me think about it!
Response to my not wanting to appear on the Randolph Web Site
I've been thinking over the idea of your posting my message to you on your
web site. I prefer that you do not do it. One of the reasons is that Scientologists
undoubtedly check out your site on a very regular basis.
[They do, in fact, do this. — RR]
The inclusion of my name and feature might be like waving a red flag in front
of a bull. As you may know, my approach to cartoons is one of subtle humor. I
am not what you would call an "attack-type" editorial cartoonist. If
the Scientologists decided to organize another drop "Berry's World"
campaign, it might be devastating to my career.
[I will respect this, although the days of those sorts of attacks on people
are over for the scientologists. Their hands are full with so many active, aggressive
critics, lawsuits, etc., and their resources so taxed now, that I doubt they could
do something if they wanted to.
They simply aren't the monolithic organization that they were in the 1970s.
On the other hand, I think that such tactics used to destroy a cartoonist or
writer should be aired.
[We have to wonder how many others have been "shuddered into silence"
without any memorial at all? It's pure luck that the pages with your name on them
surfaced in the first place. — RR]
Accordingly, I have sent a copy of our e-mail messages to the Association of
American Editorial Cartoonists for consideration for publication in the organization's
newsletter, the Notebook. I hope that's all right with you. if it is not, please
let me know, and I shall withdraw the submission.
[Definitely all right! Although it should be mentioned that these documents
have been recently posted on the net and on discussion groups. Discussions regarding
your harassment have taken place in forums known to be monitored by scientology.
As far as any harassment as a result of this coming out — In my professional
opinion, you simply needn't worry about it. They've got ten thousand much larger
fish to fry these days, and Hubbard is dead — which managed to rob them
of some small amount of their criminal fanaticism.
Even so — the proper response to any harassment is to be extremely
noisy about it. So do let me know should anything come up, you will find that
you have more support than you know what to do with. The internet, and the freedom
fighters who live here are an amazing bunch of people.
It must be exceptionally creepy to see yourself discussed in these documents.
The "Operation Funnybone" documents are unique in that they specifically
implicate L. Ron Hubbard in crimes that were claimed by the cult to have been
done by "rogue agents" working within the church. For that reason, they
are exceptionally valuable to us critics in exposing the true nature of this organization.
Are there any questions I can answer for you? Or any information I can provide
you in relation to all of this?]
Dr. Michael Ray Randolph (email@example.com) — SP4 w/Clam Cluster
Unemployed German Psychiatrist, Prozac abuser, and rogue agent aiding in the suppression
of silly cults. Member: Cult of the Anti-Cult $cientology KILLS T-shirts http://www.ezlink.com/~rayr/t-shirt/
— Fall 1997 AAEC Notebook pp 30, 31