The next witness is named George Meister..
MR. LeCHER: Mr. Meister, would be sworn in, please, by Miss Goudeau?
GEORGE MEISTER, a witness herein, havinq first been duly sworn by a Clerk for the City of Clearwater, was examined and testified as follows:
MR. LeCHER: Mr. Meister, I must ask you the same set of five questions I ask every witness.
Are you appearing today to testify under oath vo'Luntarily?
MR. MEISTER: Yes.
MR. LeCHER: Have you been paid by anyone for your testimony, other than the expenses to come to Clearwater?
MR. MEISTER: No, sir.
MR. LeCHER.: Do you have a lawsuit against the Church of Scientology?
MR. MEISTER: No.
MR. LeCHER: Does the Scientology the Church of
Scientology have a lawsuit against you?
MR. MEISTER: No.
MR. LeCHER: Has anyone suggested to you that you should state anything but the truth or has anyone suggested that-you change your testimony for any reason?
MR. MEISTER: No.
MR. LeCHER: Thank you.
MR. MEISTER: My name is George Meister. I'm here, not because I've ever been a member of the Church of Scientology or ever will be, but I'm here in behalf of my daughter, Susan. And I'd like to have the camera get a shot of this picture, possibly. This is a picture of my daughter, and that's all I have.
Susan died aboard the ship, Apollo, June 25th, 1971, with a bullet in the middle of her forehead. Well, I. first received news of this death -- and we live in Greeley, Colorado, and my business took me over a fourstate area. I was in Salt Lake City at the time. I received a telephone call from my daughter, the youngest daughter; I had two daughters. My youngest daughter, Robin, called me and said that "Dad, Susan's dead." I said, "What?" She said, "Yeah, Susan's dead."
She said, "Reverend Maren is here, and he's going to wait until you come home to acquaint you with the facts of her death." I said, "Who is Reverend Maren?" She said, "He's a minis-ter from the Church of Scientology.' So, I don't know, everything became a blur; I couldn't think very straight, and I was in shock.
Well, I have a cousin in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, who
was a practicing attorney down there. I called him and I said, "I need help. I'm going to fly into Denver and, when I get into Denver, I'd like to have you meet me there because they have this man from the Church of Scientology there who's going to tell us about Susan's death." And he said, "Susan's what?" I said, "My daughter's dead." He said '"I'll be there." So, he was.
So, we went to Greeley and discussed the thing with my wife and my daughter, then, proceeded to meet with Reverend Maren. He informed us that Susan had died aboard the yacht, Apollo, by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He said, "We have a report here that the ship put out," and it was worded that Susan had committed suicide.
But we talked with the Reverend Maren quite some time and, of course, my cousin, being an attorney, was had some inquiring questions, like: "Were there any witnesses to this?" He couldn't come up with any witnesses or anyone who had seen this happen. "What were the circumstances?" "Well, Susan died aboard the ship in the harbor of Safi, in Morocco, North Africa."
so, on the fact sheet that they put out that he gave me, it said: "Miss Susan Meister was found dead from a gunshot wound in her forehead at approximately seven
thirty-five p.m., on Friday, June 25th, 1971. The door was locked and admittance to the cabin was only gained after the key had been obtained from the berthing steward. She was lying fully clothed on a bunk in the cabin; there was no pulse.
"The police authorities were immediately notified and the body was taken ashore to the police mortuary for an autopsy as required in such circumstances. On the floor of the cabin, the police found a suicide note whic they took as evidence.
"The captain had all persons restricted to the vessel, except for senior officers assisting the police in their investigation, until such time as the autopsy was completed and the police investigation completed.
"The gun used was a .22 caliber target revolver belonging to another person on board. Susan knew that he had such a gun, as she had watched him clean, reassemble, and replace it in a drawer in his cabin. The gun was found clasped in her hands.
"On the day of her death, Susan was seen on board by many people and, particularly.' up until two-thirty p.m. She appeared to be quite happy and not in the least distressed or disturbed.
"As her job entailed the delivery of communication
to all parts of the vessel, this explains why so many saw her in the time period mentioned. However, in the afternoon, she was found missing at her work as clerical assistant and a crew member looked for her and found her alone in the cabin where she later committed suicide. This was three p.m. and he asked her to come back to work, which she did. She was seen by her senior at four pm. However, she didn't make her usual communication deliveries at five p.m., nor did she appear for dinner at six P.M.
"Susan arrived on board February 19th, 1971 and, although the police took the suicide note as evidence, one of the ship's officers was asked to read it to them. He stated that in it that Susan mentioned that she wanted her possessions to be sent to her parents, especially, her books and she was sorry for any mess caused anyone."
Well, basically this is what happened. And as soon as possible, taking the time that it took to get passports and so forth, I made up my mind that I was going to Morocco to find out what happened.
Morocco wasn't a new place to me. I landed there in 1942 with the U.S. Army; I was a combat engineer. And I knew what a hole that country was.
But -- oh, it was about two weeks later, maybe a
little longer,' that I was able to leave. And I stopped off in Washington, D.C. because I had a feeling that going over there tothat country - and with what little I could learn about these people - that I wanted all the protection that I could get. I stopped at the office of Gordon Allen, who was the United States Senator from Colorado in Washington, D.C., and Gordon Allen was extremely helpful. Peter Domenic was also another one of our U.S. Senators, and he was helpful.
So, between the two of them, they provided me with letters and they provided me with the infor-mation that I needed on who to see when I got there to Morocco.
After that, I left the States and went to Morocco, landing in Casablanca. It was real foggy there, I remember that. Coming in on Pan Am's - one of those old Boeing 707s -we had to make three passes at the airport before we could find a hole through the fog and get down and-find the field. Well, this is three o'clock in the morning.
So, anyway, I went over to the terminal with the rest of the passengers. I was looking around for the vice counsel that I was told was going to meet me. Instead of that, my name came over the loudspeaker in the airport. I walked up to this desk and there was a man an
a woman standing there to meet me. The man's name was Peter Warren, and he introduced himself, and he introduce the woman as Joanie from the-ship, Apollo; they were from the Church of Scientology. And they were to escort me.
I said, "Well, where is the vice counsel? Where's this government official that I wanted to meet?" He said, "Oh, he had a previous engagement and he asked if we'd look after you." Okay.
So, it was some twenty miles into Casablanca. We
went into the Mar Harbor Hotel and I was given a room in
the -- in this hotel. I was tired, so i went to.sleep.
And about ten o'clock the next morning, I got a call from
this from the vice counsel. And he came over to the
hotel room and then we started going over the facts of
Susan's death-, that it was by gunshot wound and so forth.
And he became alarmed. The man had had some
previous intelligence experience. He said, "I don't
like this at all." And we were to go to Safi, which was
about a hundred miles south of there.
So, these people, the Scientologists, Warren and Joanie, were always there. I could never move without them being right by my side. The following day, the four of us took a car and drove to Safi, and I had a
camera with me and I had some thirty-five rolls of film. I thought that what I'd like to do, I'd like to photograph everything and get as much as I could on film.
So, we went down -- drove down to Safi. And when we got there -- Jack Galbraith was the vice counsel's name , and he suggested we go to the -- first, we go to the local police department to see what we could find ou about it. We went to the police department and the man who was in charge of the police was very helpful. The first thing he had done was show me a photograph of Susar lying on the bunk with this hole in her head and blood running out the corners of her mouth. It wasn't a very pleasant sight. And all the reports that they showed of this death were all written in French. Of course, I couldn't under -- I couldn't read French and neither did Jack Galbraith. So, it was -- that wasn't too effective.
Well, I asked -- then, they showed us the box. I wanted to see the gun that she supposedly shot herself with, and they showed us a box. It was just a box, which didn't tell me much of anything.
But in this picture where Susan lay dead, they said, "This is the way we found her; her body was undisturbed by anybody until the French police came or the Moroccan police and took charge." She was lying there
with a bullet hole in her head. Her arms were crossed on her chest, and in the middle of her breasts on her arms -or underneath her arms was this'.22 caliber, long-barrelled revolver. How could anybody shoot themselves in the head and then put the gun on their breast, being between two clasped hands -- how do you do that? How can you shoot yourself in the middle of the head with a long-barrelled revolver, holding it out like this? I think you'd have to use two hands and then you might miss.
But the other thing is, in all the suicides that I know anything about, I find it very rare that a woman commits suicide by gunshell.. It could be pills or something of that nature, but hardly ever a gun.
But then, we went next to a so-called hospital where this autopsy was performed and we ran into the same situation over there.
I asked the police, before I left, for these reports. They said, "No, you can't have it." "Well, what about the picture?" "No, can't have it." "How about a copy of the picture?" "No, can't have it."
Well, after going over to the -- to this morgue going over to this hospital -- and it was extremely dirty. of course, I don't know -- you know, most people
feel like things in foreign countries are going to be the same as they are in this country. They're not. A p lace like Morocco is -- it's a monarchy. And of course, the King of Morocco - as it is today - he runs that country totally, and whatever he says is the law. It carries all the way down from the top to the lowest citizen. If he wants somebody dead, they're dead; it's that simple.
And of course, anyone who's a citizen of this country -- when you get into a problem in any of those foreign countries, even though they are like Morocco, you're subject to the laws of that country. You're -because of the fact that you're a United States citizen doesn't have anything to do with it.
But then, the next place we went to was the hospital, and the-doctor in charge was wearing something that looked like a long, white gown that was dirty and blood stained. It looked like he'd worn it for maybe a week. And he had patients there.
He showed us into this operating room and, honestly I've seen butcher shops that look better. This is where the autopsy was done. I had a man with me from the Church of Scientology, Peter Warren, and he said, "We ordered the autopsy." He said, "We had her brain
removed; we had all of her intestines removed." I said, "Why?" He said, "We were looking for drugs. We suspected her of using drugs."
Well, I said, "Where's her body? I was told, before I came over, by you people that her body would be in a refrigerated morgue and that I would be able to identify her." That's why I went there. I went there to identify my daughter's body because I didn't believe she was dead. I wanted to see her body. And he said, "It isn't here." This is the doctor at the hospital. He said, "I don't know where it is."
So, we went to another place, this records house.
And we couldn't. -- didn't find out anything there. And
we finally wound up in the office of the Pasha. Well,
he Pasha is the same as a mayor of a city. Well, the
Pasha was a very small, well-dressed individual, with a
little moustache, very arrogant little guy. He took in
he whole case -- I'm not no reflection, your Honor.
But anyway, he wound up kind of -- in view of every thing that had happened, he said that "All these records are going to be transferred to Marrakech," which was the provincial capital some hundred and fifty miles away. He said, "if you want to pursue this matter any farther, you'll have to ongage a Morrocan attorney, you'll have to
wait for a court date, and you'll have to be here." "How long is that going to take?" "Well," he said, "it could be a month, it could be six months." Well, I knew there was nothing -- you know, there wasn't anything further to do.
And then, it was getting pretty well along in the day, so we decided, "Well, we better stay in Safi that night because going back to Casablanca was about a hundred miles." And the roads over there are full of wandering people. They have no home; they just wander. wherever they happen to be, that's where they stay. You know, the country's warm; usually, the weather's not too bad. So, we said, "Well, better not to hit one of those guys or get into any kind of trouble." If you're driving on the road and you happen to run into one of those Morrocan you know, wanderers -- I suppose, if the Pasha ran over one of them, nothing would be said; it would be okay. But if I ran over one of them, I think I'd be in jail forever. So, we decided against that.
There's a hotel in-Safi called the Metropole Hotel, so we decided we'd stay there that night. We went o ver there -and you don't do anything in Morroco without a passport. You have to have a passport to register in a hotel, to get a train, to do anything you want to.
And we went over and registered in the hotel, using our passports. And Jack Galbraith said, "Well, I told my wife in Casablanca," he said, "that I was going to be back tonight." He said, "In this country, you make sure you tell people where you're at."
So, he couldn't get through to his wife. They don' have much of a telephone system there. It runs and then it doesn't run. So, he tried to call his wife and he couldn't get through to her. So, he finally called this -- the office of the counsel and he got through there, and he asked if: they wouldn't mind telling his wife that he was going to stay over and where he was. She got the message right away. And it was about an hour later - I guess it must have been about ten o'clock at night - this hotel -- she called down there to the hotel and wanted to..talk to him and find out where he was and how long he was going to be gone. And the desk clerk that answered the call said, "We never even heard of that man. we never heard of George Meister." We were registered there.
We later found out that Lafayette Ronald Hubbard had the top floor at that hotel. This was a practice that he -- quite -oh, it was usual with him at all these places where -- this ship, Apollo, was a rather
small ship. I remember the thing I saw when I was overseas, the troop transport. And when I was over in North Africa in the early forties during.World War II, they were using that thing for a troop transport., It was what we considered a small ship.
But what Hubbard would do is he'd be on board that
ship when it was under way and then, when they'd get into
these towns, he'd take over, maybe, the top floor of the
hotel and he'd stay there with all his messengers, you
know, his girls that -- with the ashtrays and so forth
that Mrs. Hartwell described to you. That really did
happen. So -- and the people on board the ship would
be it was a very confining thing, very, very confining
Yeah, I think I better start -- how did Susan get into Scientology, okay? This happened when she was -Susan was twenty-two years old and she had gone to school for quite some time. And she decided that she was going to San Francisco from Colorado. So, she said she wanted to go out there and work. Fine. So, she and another -about four of them went but there.
She got a job. She had a couple of jobs, as a matter of fact. And one job that she had was with Grolier Publishing Company, selling magazine subscription by telephone. And that's where she met a couple of
people. They were very interesting and they were, you know, learning to sell by telephone, and these people were Scientologists. They were apparently learning Grolier Publishing Company's techniques on how to sell by telephone.
But she went over to this Scientology org., I suppose is what it was, on Mason Street in San Francisco, and she was very impressed at her reception. At the reception', everyone was very neat, and the girl that was on the desk was very orderly. And she was treated very well. Scientology was really presented to he~r -`JLrst class. She was impressed; she was really impressed with this. So, she just kept going back.
And she would -- she got this free personality test. She liked that. We got a letter from her and -stating that-she was in this Scientology and she thought it was something that was real good, and she was interested in it. So, this was in the fall of 1970.
And then, she wanted to go to Los Angeles. She said, "In order to pursue this further, in order to become more advanced in this thing, it's necessary that I go to Los Angeles."
She came home for Christmas in 1970. Then, she went back to San Prancisco and -- let's see, she left
there in the latter part of January; she went to San Francisco. That was the last time I ever saw her alive. She went to San Francisco -- or to Los Angeles.
Then, we found out later that she went from Los Angeles -- she didn't stay there very long. But she wen from there to New York to Lisbon, Portugal, and from Portugal she went to Casablanca. And that's where she caught the ship.
MR. FLYNN: I'd like to put a couple of letters on the overhead projector.
And for the record, the ship was then the Flag Land Base.- And the Flag Land Base for the Church of Scientology now is Clearwater
MR. LeCHER: Florida.
MR. FLYNN: -- Florida.
MRS. G3-ARVEY: Flag Base not Flag Land Base.
MR. LeCHER: So, then, we would have to assume that
same mentality that ran the ship is running this ship here.
MR. FLYNN: They're they're -- with regard to
the organizational policy that concerns the Commissioner
as concerns the Church of Scientology, is one of the
reasons for this testimony. We will -- after we create
he factual record, from a legal perspective that will
be arrived at.
The policies that run the Church of' Scientology, as I believe the evidence will eventually show and is beginning to show, are uniform throughout the world, and those policies are followed everywhere.
MR. CALDERBANK: Counsel, I hate to ask this but: Does Mr. Meister know about the specific policy, R 245?
MR. MEISTER: Yeah, I'll get to that.
MR. FLYNN: I believe he is aware of R 245.
The next exhibit is a letter, dated 8/5/71 -from Flag, and it's addressed
to Susan's mother in Greeley, Colorado. And it reads: "Do you recall talking to me about World War II?
MR. GREENE: Three.
MR. FLYNN: -- or "World War III and where it would
start if it were to start? Father and most everyone
else maintained that it would start in either China or
Russia versus U.S. And you said, 'Oh, no, it would
originate in Germany, that the Nazis hadn't given up
"Well, babe, you were right. There is a new Nazi resurgence
taking place in Germany. So, now it's a race between the
good guys-in the white hats, Scientologists, and the
Leipzig death camps," parentheses, "(Nazis), the
bad guys in the black hats. We'll win, of course, but the game is exciting. Truth is stranger than fiction. As Alice in Wonderland says, 'Things get curiouser and curiouser.1 Get into Scientology now. It's fantastic.
(A copy of a letter, dated 8/5/71 was marked as Exhibit No. 41, as of this date.)
MR. BERFIELD: Counsel, can her father identify that as being her writing?
MR. MEISTER: Definitely.
MR. BERFIELD: That is-her
MR. MEISTER: There's no doubt about it.
MR. FLYNN: -Was that Exhibit 41?
THE CLERK: Yes.
MR. MEISTER: I might add one thing. Susan's
penmanship she wrote -- that was her style
of writing. But usually, her lettering was spaced very well.
If you notice the letter here, the writing is big and small; it runs
together. And this is an indication to me that something just wasn't right with her.
MR. FLYNN: Okay.
And the next exhibit is a letter, dated 12/8/71,' from Flag, and it's addressed to "Dear Family" in Greeley
Colorado. You will note, I believe, the last letter was dated in August, some four or five months before that.
And it says: "Dear Family, I just had a session, an auditing session. I feel great, great, great and my life is expanding, expanding and is all Scientology. Hurry up, hurry, hurry. Be a friend to yourselves, get into this stuff now.
"It's more precious than gold. It's the best thing that's ever, ever, ever, ever come along.
(A copy of a letter, dated 12,15/71, from Susan Meister was marked as Exhibit No.. 42, as of this date.)
MRS. GARVEY: She was found dead, when?
MR. CA-LDERBANK: June 25th, 1971.
MR. LeCHER: June 25th.
MR. CALDERBANK: One of the letters I saw had a 12/5/71 date on it. Could that be, instead, 5/12/71, June 12th, 1971, a few days before she was -
MR. MEISTER: What she was doing then was going into a military-type date. Her first letter, before she got in onto this ship and so forth -- things suddenly started to take on a military character, like, it would be 15 June '71
MR. CALDERBANK: So, in other words, that letter
that you saw on the screen was two weeks before her reported death day?
MR. MEISTER: This last one?
MR. CALDERBANK: Yes.
MR. MEISTER: No. This last one here was dated
that's April -- no. The one in which she's really not
coherent, in my judgment, was May the 12th, 1971. She
has it "12/5/71," which, actually, would be May the 12th
MR. FLYNN: I think I read 12/8.
MR. MEISTER: Yeah.
But everything starts to take on the military character.
So, then she comes -- okay, then, what happens, when the Maren -- the Reverend Maren came to our home in Greeley, they left so many unanswered questions the only thing he left with us was his address in Los Angeles; that's the headquarters of the Church of Scientology.
And shortly after that, I received a letter, signed by a Reverend Thomas from the Church of Scientology, and they were -- he says here, "First, may I express my sincere condolences for your bereavement in what must be a shocking and tragic loss."
I had expressed to Arthur Maren my desire that my
daughter's body be returned to the United States. Under no condition would I allow my daughter to be buried on foreign soil and, especially, in Morocco.
So, this being a real demand of mine -- then, I get this letter, when he gets back, this is the 7th of July 1971: "May I first express my deep and sincere condolences for your bereavement in what must be a shocking and tragic loss. For myself as well as the Church,-may I express the hope that the spirit of your daughter may yet f-ind the tranquility that it has so restlessly sought.
"The purpose of Reverend Maren's visit was an expression of the solicitude that any Church might feel on the loss of a parishioner. Reverend Maren acted as an emissary for the Church and, at the request of Captain Starkey, was_entrusted with easing the distress of you and your family of what might otherwise have been a belated and, perhaps, abruptly impersonal notification by officialdom.
"As your request to Reverend Maren for additional information, I fully understand your concern. Official details relative to the tragedy,, I'm sure, will be contained in the duly recorded testimonies supplied in the inquest, as well as the coroner's report, and the death
certificate, which I am informed is presently en route to you. These documents will undoubtedly contain the detailed information which you, as a relative of the deceased, should expect to receive regarding the circumstances of the death.
"I'm sure that you understand that the ship's company, an independent Panamanian agency, is under no obligation to the Church of Scientology of California to provide information that it finds deemed to go beyond the scope of a reasonable inquiry by bereaved parents.
"In addition to the details Reverend Maren has already communicated to you, further details as to the Church activity and doctrine can be found in the literature in the Book of Ceremonies, which is included." They sent me a copy of the Book of Ceremonies.
"As to--the shipping of the remains, the ship's captain has indicated that should you wish a local, Christian burial with monument, such will be arranged at a Christian cemetary in Morocco at company expense. Now, if the remains are to be shipped to the United States, which I understand is your desire, the company regrettably is not in a position to bear the considerable costs involved. And please call me further should you have any need for the service of the good office of the
Church." And this is signed by Reverend Robert Thomas.
MR. LeCHER.: Did you'ever get the body back?
MR. MEISTER: Yes, I did, your Honor. And how I did -- going to Morocco and after this battle is then when the real war started. It was a tug of war between me and the Church of Scientology.
Then, several little harrassing things started to happen, like, letters coming, oh
MR. LeCHER: Was a regular autopsy ever performed on your daughter that you could trust?
MR. MEISTER: No, -sir, it wasn't.
The reason it --
MR. LeCHER: Did it remain in Morocco under orders to do the autopsy?
MR. MEISTER: Yeah, that was the autopsy. Yes. But there waa-s-,never --
MR. LeCHER: Official
MR. MEISTER: -- an official order signed by a doctor or a pathologist or anything like that, nothing.
MR. LeCHER: Is that standard procedure in Morocco?-
MR. MEISTER: There is no procedure in Morocco.
And the Death-Certificate this is it, which is
actually a worthless document. It shows no sign -- no
cause of death.
And what you have to do is just go on their word. But really, what happened -_ the only thing that we coul go by of any explanation came in the letters from the Church of Scientology; we never did receive anything fro the Moroccan government.
I was told, again, that if I intended to pursue it I would have to engage a Moroccan attorney and go to Marrakech and get the facts, which, nothing would have happened.
But anyway, what happened is this tug of war between me and the Church of Scientology and the Moroccan government in getting Susan's body back was really quite a runaround for the Christian burial that I thought it deserved.
And then, I was -- I didn't have any idea what
happened to her body. But I later learned that she had
been buried in a Moroccan cemetary in Casablanca in a
burlap sack. I became so insistent on this, they finally
dug up her body and a local mortician in Casablanca -
they what they have to do is -- the procedure they.
have to do in shipping bodies out of Morocco and into
the United States - I think those procedures are more of
an advantage by the United States government - they have to
put -- place the body in an airtight container. In this case it was a tin container and it was soldered shutr and then they put it in a wooden coffin after that. And in that condition it was transported to the United States.
Okay. Ten days prior to this, we knew that Susan' body was coming. There comes a letter to the Well Count Health Department, Greeley, Colorado: "Sirs, Recently this reporter had disclosed to him some rather alarming news. I once had to cover a story in a small town such as Greeley, which had a rather primitive but nevertheles adequate health facilities. They chose to ignore a cholera warning from the World Health organization and, believe me, the results are not pleasant.
"There has been a cholera epidemic in Morocco, and everyone leaving the country is required to have a cholera shot before leaving, and there is a public health campaign to get all citizens vaccinated. However, there is a shortage of vaccine. There have been a recorded two to three hundred deaths. And it's been brought to my attention that the daughter of one, George Meister, died in Morocco, either by accident or from cholera, probably the latter. Meister either already has or is in the process of bringing back the body to Greeley, and
an epi" I don't knowhow topronounce that word.
MR. CALDERBANK: Epidemiologist.
MR. MEISTER: Okay.
-- "an epidemiologist that I have talked to concerning this said that this was pure insanity and that
he knew of one exact such case that caused an outbreak
of cholera. And I urge you to handle this health threat
to all Greeley citizens. Everybody can be affected by
this, and we cannot be.complacent with such a danger.
"My informant believes the funeral home where the
body is shipped is The Masons in Greeley. Please act
quickly as lives could very well hang in the balance.
I'm sending copies of this letter to most health official
in the entire State of Colorado. My attorney has advise
me not to reveal my name due to possible legal hazards,
but if necessary I will do so to the press for my chil
dren live here and I have seen a cholera epidemic.
"Very sincerely, a citizen."
MR. LeCHER: Who was that letter sent to?
MR. MEISTER: I beg your pardon?
MR. LeCHER: Who was that letter sent to?
MR. MEISTER: Well County Health Department.
MR. LeCHER: The county health department.
Was it also sent to the press?
MR. MEISTER: No, it wasn't.
The woman in the county health department knew of Susan's death. And actually, Susan had worked -- this is in conjunction with Well County General Hospital. And she had known Susan before Susan got involved in Scientology. And she knew the fact that Susan's body was coming to Greeley, and she called me and said, "Here's a letter," she said, "that makes me sick."
MR. SHOEMAKER: Mr. Meister MRS. GARVEY: Did you
MR. SHOEMAKER: -- what is the date on that 'Letter?
,XR. MEISTER: This letter is dated August the 19th, 1971.
MR. CALDERBANK: Where did it originate from?
MR. MEISTER: Nobody knows.
I have--- I've received all kinds of anonymous letters like this.
MR,. CALDERBANK: Is.there a postmark on the
MR. MEISTER: It was postmarked Greeley. It was mailed in Greeley.
MR. FLYNN: In fact, it's going to be marked as an exhibit, there is a policy of the Church called Third Partying, which will be brought up at a later time.
And I believe that's all the letter from Mr.
Thomas, dated 7 July.1971, will be the next exhibit. And that letter, dated August 19th, 1971, will be the exhibit after that.
And I believe that that's all the direct testimony of Mr. Meister.
(A copy of a letter, dated July 7, 1971, to George Meister, was marked as Exhibit No. 43, as of this date
A copy of a letter, dated August 1 1971, to Well County Health Department, was marked as Exhibit No. 44 as of this date.)
MR. MEISTER: There's just thing I wanted to add. This has been very hard for me to do and -- well, ten years ago I couldn't have done this. I couldn't work; I couldn't function for a year. But it's -- I'm hopeful that this is going to help somebody.
What I wanted to say is when we did go to Morocco, Jack Galbraith and I were there and we went on board the ship. I took thirty rolls of film. And coming back in the car -- we got back to Casablanca and my camera was there but the film was gone; the film was stolen.
They -- when I went on board the ship, I went over there with the express idea of seeing Lafayette Ronald Hubbard. I knew nothing about the Church of Scientology I knew nothing about what their doctrine was; I didn't
know anything about how they operated. I did know that my daughter was dead, and I wanted to talk to.Lafayette Ronald Hubbard as one father to another because he has a daughter, Diana, who was approximately the same age as my daughter. And I thought that, under any circumstance like that, one father would be glad to talk to the other. He refused to see me.
MR. LeCHER: He refused to see you? Did he know -
MR. MEISTER: Yes. He was on the ship.
We were -- when I went on the ship to look around,
they said, "This is where Susan slept." And then they
said, "This is where she died." And it was a little
cabin, you know, where -- it appeared it was near the
pilot house, and it appeared, like, this would be a place
where somebody who was on watch, you know, might catch
a few winks prior to going on watch again or something.
But this is the cabin where they supposedly found the
Now, the way Susan is dressed here, this is exactly the dress she had
on when she was laying there in death. And this dress was a dress that
her mother made for her before she left.
And in effect, in my judgment, this is a Class A uniform.
In the United States Army when the General
Court Martial convenes, you must wear a Class A uniform with all your ribbons. And the sentence of the Court Martial is carried out and they either shoot your or hang you or take your ribbons off. I found her, in my judgment, in a Class A uniform.
You can draw your own conclusions. I know what I 'think.
MR. LeCHER: I better say, for the record -- well, first of all, I want to thank you for telling this very, very tragic story.
of course, it is not the function of this Commission to determine the facts of your daughter's death; however, we accept this evidence as helpful as shedding some light on the history of the Flag organization.
I -- the stories are getting more bizarre and more bizarre as each witness comes before us.
I really don't have any questions for you, either, at this point. I, frankly, don't know what to ask you. I just know that they certainly don't seem to -- I don't know of any organization -- I don't know how they could .act that way. They're acting -- frankly, from what you tell me, they're acting more like animals than human beings. And the way they disregarded your daughter's body is just tragic.
MR. BERFIELD: I asked the Hartwells what they could tell Clearwater because they were some older people, and I was thinking about the older people. But, Mr. Meister, I have a daughter, too, and I don't think you have to tell the people of Clearwater anything.
MR. MEISTER: Well, you know, in the case of everyone who's been here at this microphone and have spoken, they've been in some way connected with the Church of Scientology. I haven't; I never will; and I hope to God-that no one else will.
MR. LeCHER: Mrs. Garvey. I'm sorry, are you through, Mr.
MR. BERFIELD: Yes.
MR. LeCHER: Mrs. Garvey, do you have any questions?
MRS. GARVEY: Mr. Meister, on your outline, on page . three, there's some comment in here about flying out of Morocco: "Scientologists urgently contacted Meister and tried to settle by offering cash. At the airport he was approached by a large man who told Mr. Meister, 'We are watching you.'" Okay. In the letter, dated November llth, from the Assistant Secretary of State, "the Apollo's port captain threatened in the
presence of the American Vice Counsel from Casablanca, William Galbraith, that he had enough material, including illicit photographs of Miss Meister, to smear Miss Meister."
Do you want to comment on that section of that?
MR. MEISTER: Sure.
Well, what happened was on this -- let's see, on
the first part of this, my flight was scheduled to go back
to New York from Casablanca on Sunday. Pan Am was only
running one flight a week. And everything that we could
do I arrived there on Sunday. And everything that
we could do had been done. I mean, in my judgment, from
the experience we had in Safi, it was such total frustra
tion. I was getting nowhere.
And the longer I stayed in Moro.cco, the less comfortable I was. And I was very uneasy. And I was -well, having been in Morocco before and knowing what went on, human life doesn't mean anything in that part of the world. I really didn't expect to come back when I went over there.
So, I was-going down the elevator of this Mar Harbor Hotel, and I happened to see a man there that looked American. And I spoke to him and asked him if he was from the States, and he said, "Yeah." He said, "I'm
the manager of Pan Am." I said, "Good. Is there a flight" -- this is Wednesday. I said, "Have you got a flight out of here?" He said, "No. we don't have anything until Sunday that's going to New York." I said, "No, but is any other airline going?" He said, "Yeah, Lufthansals got a flight tomorrow morning that goes to Frankfort, Germany." I said, "Can you get me on it?" He said, "Sure." I said, "That's fine."
So, after -- he went over to his office, and I went by a roundabout way and got over there because I was followed and watched all the time that I was there. I went over and had mv ticket reworked for Frankfort.
And the following morning, about seven o'clock in the morning, I was paying my bill. The Scientologists told me they would take care of all my expenses. They never took care of anything. My hotel bill was, like, seven hundred dollars for four days, and I was told by the hotel that "You'll have to pay it." So, I knew that they meant exactly what they said or I'd have wound up in some Moroccan jail. So, luckily, they-took an American Express card, and I Paid the bill.
But as I was getting ready to leave, Peter Warren, who was usually late to any kind of a function we had, here he came. And this man was very upset. He said, "I have
to talk to you." I said, "Okay, what do you want?" I said, "I can give you five minutes, I'm leaving." So, he said, "Come over here," and we went over to the far corner of the lobby. He said, "We want to make a settlement with you." I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "We want to make a cash settlement."
He did mention a sum of money. And I thought to myself, "If this was a suicide, if all these facts -- why the settlement? Why is this necessary now?" So, I told him, I said, "You know the address of my cousin in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. He's my lawyer. If you want to make any settlements, talk to him; don't talk to me." So, I left.
Then, when I got to the airport, we had to take cholera shots before we got out of Morocco. I think SOME thing was going on at that time. And about the time I got through these cholera shots and I was getting ready to board this flight, this guy -- he was a large man, very immaculately dressed, with a blue pinstripe suit, carrying a' briefcase. He set the briefcase down and he grabbed me and he spun me around like a top. And he
Said, "We're watching you." And he said, "When you get back to the States, we want you to know this." It scared the hell out of me.
So, I called Jack Galbraith. There was one of these phony pink telephones in the airport that took a slug about the size of a silver dollar. It was a brass token, and the thing worked, luckily, and I got a hold of him and told him what happened. He said, "They were trying to scare vou." I said, "They did." So, I jumped on the flight and left.
Now, you mentioned another point. What was that?
MRS. GARVEY: It then went on to the fact that the
Vice Counsel from Casablanca had enough well, was
threatened -- "the Apollo's port captain threatened in
the presence of the American Vice Counsel from Casablanca that he had enough material, including illicit photographs of Miss Meister, to smear Meister."
MR. MEISTER: Yes.
On one occasion I received an anonymous letter from somebody named -- it was signed Jack Donahuef General Delivery, San Francisco, California, stating that -Mr. Donahue says that "I've been contacted by certain, persons about the purchase of certain films of interest to you. I was offered a thousand dollars. Perhaps, you might like to purchase these at a slightly increased price? If so, please write me-in care of General Delivery, San Francisco. Sincerely, Jack Donahue.."
I turned these over to the United States Postal Inspector, and they set up an elaborate trap at the post office in San Francisco. And they had done surveillance on this, like, for a month. Nobody ever picked up anything.
MR. LeCHER: Was this before your daughter's death or after?
MR. MEISTER: After.
MR. LeCHER: What -
MR. MEISTER: Then the other thing was in Jack Galbraith's case, he was Vice Counsel. He was called by the Church of Scientology, the ship, Apollo, to come down to Safi; they wanted to talk to him after I left. See, my sudden departure was -- I was scheduled and they were scheduled to leave Sunday, but I thought I better get out of there fast. And I got out of there, and I was on that Lufthansa flight and I was in Frankfort, Germany relaxing before they were aware that I was gone, I guess.
This letter -- Jack went down there anyway. And
when he went down there, they accused him of putting
Coca Cola in their engines to ruin them. And they said,
hat "We can make things plenty hot for a nosy Vice
Counsel coming around here." And they -- this is a letter
that I got from his wife. And it, in part, says, "Jack is still working to fulfill your request and get some information but: has had little success so far. The crew of the famous ship tried to make things very difficult for Jack with various government authorities, including the Senate and the White House. However, apparently, there was no permanent damage done, except, perhaps, to the ship itself, which had to go to such drastic lengths to cover up something. But be careful."
MR. LeCHER: Any other questions, Mrs. Garvey?
MRS. GARVEY: I think someone mentioned about R 245. Are you aware of that?
MR. CALDERBANK: Yeah, I
MRS. GARVEY: Is that after you -- after your daughter died you became aware of that or -
MR. MEISTER: Oh, this? I didn't know anything about this cult until after that, after my daughter's death.
MRS. GARVEY: -So, everything that you now know about Scientology, you've learned since she has died and the
MR. MEISTER: Sure.
MRS. GARVEY: -- investigation. Okay.
MR. MEISTER: Sure.. As more things come out, I think this is a very
beneficial thing that you people are doing here. I have a feeling, in my own mind, that you're going to save SOME lives.
MRS. GARVEY: We hope so.
MR. LeCHER: All along we've felt the people have a right to know, and that's why we're holding these hearings.
MR. MEISTER: That's the reason I gave up my business and came here.
MR. LeCHER: We appreciate it.
MR. HATCHETT: Mr. Meister, thank you, and I will search for the truth. I don't care to question you. .
MR. MEISTER: Well, you can go ahead because I'll be glad to answer.
MR. SaOZMAKER: Mr. Meister, I had a -- you had indicated that you've been having -- that you had a lot of trouble with the Church of Scientology.
Those letters that you read, such as that anonymous letter to the health officials and so forth -- have other things continued to happen to you?
MR. MEISTER: My telephone's been tapped.
MR. CALDERBANK: How do you know?
MR. MEISTER: It was tapped at the telephone
MR. SHOEMAKER: It was found
MR. MEISTER: Yes.
MR. SHOEMAKER: -- a tap?
MR. MEISTER: Yes.
MR. HATCHETT: At the telephone
MR. MEISTER: Oh, yeah, yeah. They do that.
They've infiltrated government offices. They went into Washington, D.C. They went into the FBI offices and
MR. HATCHETT: Oh, we know that.
MR. MEISTER: Oh, yeah. Well, infiltrating the telephone company is child's play compared to that.
MR. HATCHETT: I'm sorry for that outburst. I wasn't going to ask you a question.
MR. MEISTER: Yeah, they do -
MR. HATCHETT: Do you mean, in your mind, the telephone company in Greeley in that office, your telephone was
MR. MEISTER: Yes. Your telephone could be tapped right here in Clearwater in the telephone office.
MR. HATCHETT: I have devices on mine -
MR. SHOEMAKER: Do you have -- are there other types of examples, Mr. Meister? I mean, have they
continued to send you such letters?
MR. MEISTER: Oh, I've received death threats on the telephone.
MR. SHOEMAKER: You have?
MR. MEISTER: Sure. Somebody was going to blast ME like they blasted my daughter. Well, they didn't say identify themselves, but I've been told that "You're going to get the same thing your daughter got."
MR. SHOEMAKER: Has this type of harrassment continued recently?
MR. MEISTER: No, no. It continued up until the time the FBI made that raid. And after the time the FBI made-that raid, of course, they were exposed to the publicity nationally that they were. It -- that's been the end of that.
MR. Le-CHER: Mr. Calderbank.
MR. CALDERBANK: Just one.
Mr. Meister, did you know at that time that the Apollo, the ship, was the Flag Base, the quote, unquote "Flag"?
MR. MEISTER: Not before I went there, no. I didn' t even know of its existence.
MR. CALDERBANK: The reason we question you, as the Mayor so -- put it so well previously is now we have
Flag here, and we are trying to discover whether or not the same policies that have existed throughout
MR. MEISTER: I don't know.
MR. CALDERBANK: -- are still here in Clearwater.
MR. MEISTER: I don't know.
But I know, from the way this thing was put together, it was -- it was quite ingenious. This thing this ship was purchased in England; it was a war surplus item, and they put it to sea. But it was under Panamania registry; it was making -- in foreign ports. Hubbard was the Commodore on board and, of course, legally, under admiralty law, on the high seas and in foreign ports, he' the law.
MR. CALDERBANK: Did you -- did you verify by dental records or whatever that the body that -
MR. MEISTER: Yes, I did. It was an unpleasant experience.
We opened this box and -- myself, and our family dentist confirmed that it was, in fact, Susan's body. Because at that point in time, I wasn't ready to accept anything. And yes, it is. She's -- my daughter is buried in that grave and in that casket.
MR. CALDERBANK: Counsel in Morocco, were they -or did they try to obtain other -- especially, the photo,
MR. MEISTER: No. Everything in -- it seemed to me like the Scientologists were in total control.
MR. CALDERBANK: Thank you.
MR. LeCHER: I'm just curious: When you went to Mr. Hubbard was on,the ship and you went to him as a father speaking to a father, he wouldn't even talk to you?
MR. MEISTER: He refused to see me.
MR. LeCHER: Even after the tragedy and why you came that great distance, he just -- any reason why he wouldn't see you?
MR. MEISTER: He didn't give a reason. We sent one of his people to ask him, because we knew he was aboard the ship. But the reply came back, "No."
MR. LeCHER: I have no further questions.
I thank you, Mr. Meister.
MR. FLYNN: Mayor, I think that's all that I would put in today.
I would just note that for the record, that there
have been two documents which I submitted -- to date, of
the Church of Scientology and, if need be, we Can put
into the record pertaining to those documents.
MR. LeCHER: Mr. Flynn, we have, probably, one more
day, unless we extend these hearings. About how many more witnesses do you have? How much time will you - much more time will you need?
MRS. GARVEY: We can't do it on Sunday; that's Mother's Day.
MR. FLYNN: I have seven more. What I'm going to have to do tonight is try to -- try to restrict their testimony to specific areas; there'll be a lot left out. But in view of the time constraints that we're suffering ~rom, and -- along the documents that are going to go into evidence, I will mark them and-leave them for your perusal. Some documents pertaining to use of auditing information on a persistent basis by the Church of Scientology, tomorrow I will put on the overhead projector.
I would hope that I could get most of the testimony of those seven witnesses in tomorrow.
MR. LeCHER: We've been averaging about two and-ahalf witnesses a day. And so -
MR. SHOEMAKER: Commissioners, it might be that, you know, depending on how it goes, obviously - we want to determine it as quickly as we could - but we might consider going a little longer tomorrow night, if that's -
MRS. GARVEY: Oh, sure, even lunch hour.
MR. HATCHETT: Let's take a shorter lunch hour.
MR. CALDERBANK: How about the pleasure of the
Commission? Is there a person, Mr. Flynn, here that
you're -- would you like to hear another witness? It 's
about five-thirty; we don't have a City Commission meet
ing. If we could get one more witness in, I think we'd
come closer to the deadline.
MR. LeCHER: No. I would rather -
MRS. GARVEY: Is Vision Cable running out of time?
MR. LeCHER: -- have a -- 'Vision is running out of tape.
I would rather meet -- take a shorter lunch hour and .possibly, work longer tomorrow night, if we have to.
MR. CALDERBANK: Or extend
MR. LeCHER: Do you have any well, that's another option.
Do you-have any indication, Mr. Flynn, that we will have a meeting Monday with the Scientologists?
I . MR. FLYNN: I have no idea. I haven't heard anything from them.
As I said in my opening, I would hope that they would respond, and I hope that this Commission would have the opportunity to question them.
MR. LeCHER: At this point
MR. FLYNN: I don't know.
MR. LeCHER: -- we have no indication that Scientology will respond by Monday.
MR. CALDERBANK: I'd just like to throw this out: There is one person that I've -- I've seen his name throughout these testimonies.
Does anyone know, the witnesses or counsel, perhaps, if Artie Maren is still a member of the organization? I would
that is one person -- I see his name
continually through the testimony, and I think that would be one person that I feel the Church of.Scientology would want to have come before us. And I would gladly like to see Mr. Maren testify here.
MR. FLYNN: Since Mr. Maren was in the -- a member of the Guardian's Office-, Public Relations Division, at a very high level, I think that would be a very appropriate suggestion.
MR. LeCHER: If you're out there, we'd like to talk to you Monday
The meeting is adjourned.
(Whereupon, the hearing was adjourned until Saturday, May 8, 1982, at 9:00 a.m.)
C E R T I F I C A T 1 0 N
I, Karen E. Rizman, a certified court reporterand Notary Public, do hereby certify that the foregoing hearing transcript of the City of Clearwater Commission Hearings Re: The Church of Scientology, pages 4 through 345, is a true and accurate transcription of my dictated tape recordings of-the proceedings taken at the Clearwater City Hall, Clearwater Florida, on Friday, May 7, 1982.
Karen E. Rizman