One opened, more to come! Operation Clambake present:

Stacy Young thanks Bob Minton

Stacy Young here. I 'm sitting here in my office with several of the cats whose lives were saved by Bob Minton.

(image quality bad because they are from a poor copy of the 60 Minute show on Scientology 1997)

There is Rachel, the black kitten with white feet who jumped onto my desk on 60 Minutes and was the real star of the show. Someone found her when she was less than a month old, sitting alone in the middle of a park, close to death from an upper respiratory infection. She's healthy now and very happy.

And there is Charlotte, who looks like one of the cows on the side of the Ben and Jerry's ice cream truck. She and her sister Allison were thrown out of a crack dealer's cadillac into the street when they were three weeks old. Someone saw it happen and scooped them up before the oncoming traffic ran over them. You'll never meet more affectionate cats than Charlotte and Allison.

And Mufasa, a beautiful orange long-haired cat who was rescued from another shelter when she was a kitten. She's Bob's favorite. She loves to put her front paws around his neck and give him kisses all over his face.

There are a lot more cats who are safe and happy here at our beautiful sanctuary thanks to the miraculous generosity and compassion of Bob Minton. I will be forever grateful to this kind-hearted man who took pity on the plight of these animals and saved their lives.

I am sickened (although not surprised) to see the lengths to which Scientology is willing to go to try to destroy Bob Minton. I cannot stop them from spreading their lies about him and his family. I wish I could, but as long as they can hide behind their false cloak of religion no one will be able to stop their terrorism. All I can really do to help him is to stand up to Scientology's bully tactics myself, expose what they're doing to us, and offer my help to other people who are being harmed by this criminal organization.

I have spoken publicly in other arenas but never before on ars. Now it's time.

Many of you know about Scientology's harassment of my husband Vaughn and me from Vaughn's posts and others. But I want to tell my version. We have been the target of their campaign of harassment and character assassination since we began speaking out in 1993, and it has been horrifying to discover firsthand what this terrorist organization masquerading as a "religion" is willing to do to silence its critics. Vaughn and I both held high positions when we were inside, but even in our positions neither of us realized how utterly corrupt and vicious this group really is. I have been face to face with their dark side now, and I know that I have seen the face of pure, psychotic Evil.

The harassment of us increased dramatically this fall. Three things happened that were probably what caused DM to order us taken out: 60 Minutes interviewed us, the German government asked Vaughn to testify about Scientology, and we started helping Ken Dandar on the Lisa McPherson case. Until then, the harassment had always been directed at slandering and libeling us, breaking us financially, or threatening us in various other ways but it was always an attack on us personally. But suddenly, this fall, the target shifted to our sanctuary animals.

All of our neighbors in West Seattle had been very supportive of the rescue work we were doing. They would bring stray cats and dogs to us and ask us to help find homes for them, and we always did. Some of them even adopted kittens from us. But this fall a man moved into an apartment right down the street from us and immediately began complaining to our landlord about our rescue work. Then our landlord's assistant began receiving calls from someone who said he lived in our neighborhood but who would never give his address and whose phone number was bogus. He falsely claimed that he had been in our house and that it was filthy and the cats were all sick. The landlord's assistant knew this was not true because she had been in our house. She defended us to this man and let us know these calls were coming in and that she was sure the man was a Scientologist.

Our neighbors and our landlord had weathered earlier onslaughts from Scientology -- the whole neighborhood had been leafleted with a 15-page smear about us, Eugene Ingram had gone door to door spreading lies about us, and all the neighbors had stood by us when we were picketed.

Then an anonymous letter was left on all of our neighbors' doorsteps asking them to complain to Animal Control about our rescue operation. Our neighbors knew it was from Scientology and it only reconfirmed what they already thought: that Scientology is a hateful organization. But we also received an anonymous letter on our own doorstep, and ours contained a direct threat against our rescued animals. At that point we began to be very concerned for their safety.

When the anonymous letter campaign failed to influence our neighbors, Scientology increased the pressure, and it soon became apparent that their plan was to get us arrested for felony animal abuse and to get all of our animals confiscated and killed. Our veterinarian was visited several times by David Lee and told that we were under investigation for animal abuse, that our animals were being kept in filthy conditions, etc, etc. Fortunately our vet had been to our house a number of times to treat the animals and knew Lee was lying. The vet thought there was no question that Lee was trying to make a felony case against us to get us arrested. David Lee visited many other people related to our animal work and tried to spread the same lies, but no one believed him because they all know how much we care about the animals and the degree of care we give them.

So Scientology increased the pressure even more. Animal Control, the Department of Construction and Land Use, and Seattle City Council all became the targets of a phone campaign against our sanctuary. They were constantly being phoned about us, and even though Animal Control made repeated visits to our sanctuary and repeatedly found that the reports they were receiving were false, the phone campaign was successful in bringing pressure to bear on the city so that they finally ordered us to get rid of the cats.

This was disastrous for me. Getting rid of these cats would mean taking them to the pound, where many of them would surely have been killed. We are a sanctuary. This means that we take in many cats that would be killed outright if they were taken to the pound. They are sick or injured, and most shelters aren't set up to provide long-term care for a sick or injured animal. I had nursed some of these cats for months. There was no way I was going to risk having them killed.

Our only other option was to move, but where could we go? And what landlord would rent to someone with a cat sanctuary? We searched high and low for a place in an area that was zoned for what we were doing, but we couldn't find anything.

I was exhausted from the stress of their constant harassment and frantic with worry about what would happen to the cats. Then one night two women showed up at our front door at about eight o'clock. I stepped outside to see what they wanted and they both looked me up and down in a very peculiar way.

"Are you Stacy Young?" the plump one asked in the tone of voice one uses with a child. She handed me a business card that identified her as being from the Department of Mental Health Services, Commitment Section.

"We've received some calls saying that you've lost quite a bit of weight recently and that you've been -- well, uh -- collecting cats," the plump woman told me, very gently, and instantly I realized what was happening. Scientology was trying to have me committed.

I called Vaughn outside and told him what they had said. We looked at each other in disbelief and then I turned to the women, who clearly were not witnessing what they had expected to see.

"Do I look too skinny to you?" I asked them, holding my arms out. I am definitely not underweight by any means. The women shook their heads, frowning.

"And as for 'collecting cats,' let me take you inside and show you our cat sanctuary," I said, and ushered them into the house. It was spotless, and several very healthy cats lounged on a cat tree in the living room. The two women muttered to each other that it certainly was clean, and the cats looked just fine.

I told them all about our rescue work and the sanctuary, about finding good homes for the cats once they were ready to be adopted, and then I explained about Scientology's harassment campaign against us. The two women were horrified, and extremely embarrassed about having come to our house. They explained that the calls had been anonymous and the people had clearly lied, saying I was crazy, that my house was filthy, that all the cats were sick -- the same old story. They admitted that they had come out to determine if I should be committed, and that they were ready to begin the process even though they had received nothing but anonymous calls.

They ended up apologizing to me as they left, but the incident left me badly shaken. What frightened me was that Scientology could so easily manipulate the mental health bureaucracy that these women had actually been ready to commit me.

It was the last straw for me. The next day we had another surprise inspection from Animal Control and another notice from the city. Then we got a notice from our landlord, delivered apologetically by his assistant who explained that he was now being sent notices by the city. The letter said we had until the end of the month to get rid of all the cats. The end of the month was two weeks away.

That night was when Vaughn posted his briefing to the net about what had been going on. Scientology had finally found our vulnerability. We were willing to put ourselves at risk but we couldn't risk the lives of the animals. We were literally at the end of the line. We had no idea what we were going to do. All I knew was that I was not going to surrender these animals. I had made a commitment to save their lives and somehow I was going to live up to that commitment.

And then a miracle happened. Bob Minton called. He called a few days after Vaughn posted his briefing. Neither Vaughn nor I had ever met him or ever even heard of him before. All he said was that he didn't feel Scientology should be allowed to terrorize people the way they were doing to us and he wanted to help us. What could he do to help, he wanted to know.

From time to time in my life things have been so bad that they couldn't go anywhere but up, and this was one of those times. I told him the truth.

"What we need is a sanctuary for our animals," I said.

And Bob Minton replied, "Well, I can help you with that."

I had never met this guy before and knew nothing about him. But I knew that I had nowhere else to go, and no one else to turn to, and no choice but to believe this stranger who was offering to help us.

He never asked any questions, never questioned our motives, never asked for any proof of who we were or what we were doing, never made any demands of us at all. He just believed in us. He helped us find sanctuary for our animals and put them out of the reach of the Scientologists.

He came to visit us after we moved to Vashon Island and we met him for the first time. After a few days we had become great friends, and I am sure we will be friends for a long time. Bob is a kind-hearted, generous, down-to-earth person who is profoundly concerned about the harm Scientology is doing to people. There is really nothing more to it than that. Now Scientology is trying to destroy him because he has helped people like Vaughn and me, and others who won't let Scientology's terror tactics silence them. But he isn't going to stop trying to help people, and I want to do the same thing.

I want to offer help to others the way Bob Minton offered help to us when we desperately needed it. So I have this announcement to make to all Scientology staff members, and especially to Sea Org members:

I know what it is like to be in there and to feel you have nowhere else to go. I know how terrifying it is to think of what will happen to you if you leave. But I want you to know this: I can offer you a safe place where you can catch up on your sleep and you can talk to people who will understand what you've been through and can help you get your life started again in the real world. We will help you recover from this nightmare called Scientology. Please call us, or contact us in whatever way you can.

Our phone number is 206-463-6809. Our address is 19731 Vashon Highway, Vashon, WA 98070. My e-mail address is sby@eskimo.com. Vaughn's e-mail address is writer@eskimo.com.

Stacy Young




Brought to you by:
Operation Clambake