Now note this date: Dec. 17, 1975.
That was a full month before the Church of Scientology announced it had purchased that old Clearwater landmark, the Fort Harrison Hotel. Citizens of the city were still being fed nonsense about some ecumenical group called United Churches of Florida occupying the building.
But the Guardians of Scientology had already moved into Clearwater and were looking for places where they could insinuate themselves into the community fabric to establish listening posts for gathering information.
On that Dec. 17, Jimmy Mulligan, an assistant to Commodore Staff Guardian Mary Sue Hubbard, wrote Dick Weigand, deputy guardian for information U.S., about a visit he had made to the Clearwater Police Department.
In the letter -- one of the thousands of church documents recently made public by a federal court in Washington -- Mulligan said he had learned the Clearwater department planned to combine its communications with those of police departments in Dunedin and Largo.
"The way this will work," he said, "is that all calls to the police of any of these towns will come into the Clearwater Police communications center, and the various police cars of the various police departments will be dispatched from there.
"The main point is that at that time -- April 1976 -- the communications center is going 'all civilian.' In other words they are going to relieve the uniformed policemen of those clerical duties so that they can get onto production posts, and staff the communications center with all civilians. At present, it's about half and half. The civilians by my observation are all lovely young ladies -- 100 percent foxes.
"I think this is an excellent opportunity for us and I would like to see us represented in that communications center."
Information was the lifeblood of the Guardians' covert operations against those whom they perceived to be enemies of Scientology, information they could use to defame and discredit the enemies.
The St. Petersburg Police Department became an enemy about mid-February of 1976.
Church officials in Clearwater had filed requests with virtually every state, county and local agency in the Tampa Bay area for copies of everything in their files about Scientology. They made their requests to federal agencies under the Freedom of Information Act and to state and local agencies under Florida's public documents disclosure law.
The St. Petersburg Police Department reported it had no files on the church. But the Guardian learned from an informant that the department's intelligence division had two Scientology files, Numbers 251 and 164.
Henning Heldt, deputy guardian for the United States, decided that an example should be made of the St. Petersburg police. He ordered an operation against them.
"The idea here is to get the police and other agencies involved in the illegal evasion to lie and thus box themselves in, then expose the lie (possibly through State Ethics Committee action) with maximum PR (public relations) and legal exposure of government overts re FOI evasion," he said. "A Watergate set up."
Having made a national splash, he said, the church could then target other police departments, such as that in the District of Columbia, for similar operations.
For some reason, the operation wasn't carried out. But the Guardians learned from one of their agents what the police files contained. This was reported in an analysis dated July 13.
State Atty. James Russell became a nonfriend of Scientology as a result of the guns case, which began in early August and stretched on into 1977.
For a time in '76, the church occupied one building of the King Arthur's Court Condominiums in Dunedin. It appears from the court-released documents that founder L. Ron Hubbard lived there for a time.
The problem was reported by Joe Lisa, assistant guardian for information for Flag, in his daily report of Aug. 5:
"Situation: The missing guns belonging to the Boss have shown up in the custody of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), and ATF knows that some of these guns belong to the boss.
"Why: The investigation to find the guns omitted a thorough search of King Arthur's Court...
"Handled: Got the story of what occurred from two ATF agents from the Tampa ATF office: Several days ago the guns were discovered in Apt. No. 1 at King Arthur's Court by cleaners; the cleaners informed the owners of KAC, a local bank; the bank reported the guns to the Dunedin Police Department, who in turn reported it to ATF Tampa. Due to an inventory list packed with the guns, and an engraving on one of the guns, they know the Boss owns some of the guns.
"Legal got a description of the guns from ATF as well as what is needed by ATF in order to claim the guns. A fast handling will be done."
But it wasn't fast. One of the guns was a German-manufactured Mauser machine pistol. The law requires registration of this type of weapon. The church attorneys argued however, that it was an antique rather than a serviceable weapon. Not until late in the year did ATF drop its investigation, and even then the case wasn't closed.
In April 1977, a report on a Guardian investigation to find out why it was continuing said: "On the local level the State US Atty., James Russell, has been investigating the base (church headquarters in Clearwater) since it started, and has connections to almost all the major SPs (suppressive persons) in the area. It was found that Russell had been in on the investigation re the guns scene from the beginning. He started taking an active role at the point the BAT&F investigation failed. This looks like BAT&F were ready to drop the cycle, but Russell with his vested interest stepped in and kept the area hot. Documentation of this is needed, as our data does not contain this ...
"It looks like Russell is going for a big win like he had on the Dare- To-Be-Great group prosecution he did a few years back, and considers Scientology just such a group; so I don't think he will fade into the woodwork without some planning on our part."
Documents do not indicate whether the Guardians ever took any action against Russell.
But, in another case, the Guardians managed to take a microphone away from Bob Snyder, a talk show host for radio station WDCL, with their standard strategy for handling media people who make their enemies' list. But he kept on talking.
In early February 1976, Snyder was fired by WDCL. He said the station was threatened with a $5-million suit if it did not stop him from criticizing the church.
WDCL's general manager, Ross Charles, said the station attorney advised that Snyder be fired because of litigation expenses that "a little station in Dunedin" could not survive.
Snyder was rehired a month later with the understanding that he would not discuss Scientology on his program.
However, he began writing a newsletter and organized several public forums in which he criticized the church. In June, Fred Ulan, an assistant public relations official for the church, reported to public relations director Artie Maren that not enough was being done to silence Snyder. To make up for this shortcoming, he said, FREEDOM, a Scientology publication, was preparing an article "tying Snyder in with Interpol as he has stated he supports them, and using the one-world rule button which Snyder hits us with saying Snyder now supports Interpol which supports one world rule by its very nature."
Joe Lisa reported to Duke Snider in a March 31 daily report that Snyder had been in communication "with Paulette Cooper and that Cooper plans to be in this area in two weeks for the next Snyder event."
It so happened that the very next day the Guardians drew up a new operation to handle their old nemesis Paulette Cooper, author of The Scandal of Scientology, a book highly critical of the 'religion.' They called it "Freakout."
Its goal was "to get P.C. incarcerated in a mental institution or jail, or at least hit her so hard that she drops her attacks."
Recently, the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia described this plan in the "Sentencing Memorandum" drawn up following conviction of nine Scientologists in a case involving the theft of government documents and efforts to cover it up. The government said six of the defendants were involved in the scheme against Miss Cooper: Henning Heldt, Duke Snider, Dick Weigand, Greg Willardson, Mitchell Hermann and Cindy Raymond.
The memorandum said: "In its initial form Operation Freakout had three different plans. The first required a woman to imitate Paulette Cooper's voice and make telephone threats to Arab Consulates in New York. The second scheme involved mailing a threatening letter to an Arab Consulate in such a fashion that it would appear to have been done by Paulette Cooper. Finally, a Scientology field staff member was to impersonate Paulette Cooper at a laundry and threaten the President and then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. A second Scientologist would thereafter advise the FBI of the threat ...
"Two additional plans to Operation Freakout were added on April 13, 1976 ... The fourth plan called for Scientology field staff members who had ingratiated themselves with Cooper to gather information from Cooper so Scientology could assess the success of the first three plans. The fifth plan was for a Scientologist to warn an Arab Consulate by telephone that Paulette Cooper had been talking about bombing them.
"The sixth and final part of Operation Freakout ... (was) to obtain Paulette Cooper's fingerprints on a blank piece of paper, type a threatening letter to Kissinger on that paper, and mail it."
Once before, the Guardians had gotten Ms. Cooper indicted -- the charge was later dropped -- with a fabricated threat to bomb a Church of Scientology office. But this time the plan was not carried out.
Time ran out for the Guardians.