December 5, 2005
David H. Wilkins
United States Ambassador to Canada
The Embassy of the United States of America
490 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 1G8
Consul General of the United States of America
1095 W. Pender St.
Vancouver, B.C. V6E 2M6
Dear Mr. Wilkins and Mr. Lukens:
I am writing to ask the United States Embassy in Ottawa and the Consulate in Vancouver to assist my wife Caroline Letkeman and me against religious persecution we are experiencing here in Canada. I am requesting that you assist us in accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act and your responsibilities under that Act.
Canadian Government officials have not responded to our requests to address this persecution or offer us any reasonable defense against it. It is government-tolerated, and there is evidence of government officials supporting the persecutors.
There will be a record of this matter in the Consulate and the Embassy because I have communicated to both offices previously. A quantity of documentation of the persecution has been webbed on my site www.gerryarmstrong.org, Caroline’s site www.carolineletkeman.org and on www.suppressiveperson.org. The latter site explains the “Suppressive Person” doctrine that underlies the religious persecution to which we are subjected.
Both of us are “Suppressive Persons” or “SPs,” declared by the Scientology religion. Scientology is headquartered in California and operated internationally from there with agents in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada. I got into Scientology in Vancouver in 1969 and Caroline joined in 1975. Both of us left when we discovered that the organization is incorrigibly dishonest and dangerous. We met in 2001 and married in 2004.
I won’t list what Scientology and its agents have done to us over the years to psychoterrorize, financially crush and silence us. Scientology fair game, black PR and legal abuse are well known within the U.S. Government. For the organization’s campaign against us personally, see, e.g.,
Through its litigation machinations Scientology has obtained court orders in California jailing and fining me and financially crushing me, all for expressing my religious experiences and religious beliefs about a religion. Virtually all of these expressions, moreover, were expressed in defense of a persecuted religious minority, the SPs. I suggest that my recent petition for review in the California Supreme Court is a good place to start to understand how this extraordinary case of religious persecution in Canada and around the world has grown into what it is, and what the lawful remedy by the U.S. and other governments might be.
Shockingly, Scientology got a court judgment against me in California in 2004 for $500,000 for ten expressions of my religious beliefs made in Canada and Europe, which the organization characterizes as “liquidated damages.” Scientology can now register this unconscionable judgment against me in B.C. and then hound Caroline and me with collection agents and actions and continue to judicially, reputationally and psychologically harass and crush us. Scientology is practically compelled to harass and destroy us in Canada in order to make the unlawful and immoral religious persecution it has already subjected us to appear lawful and moral.
Scientology did the same thing in 1995, obtaining a judgment against me, without a trial or fair hearing, for $300,000 for six expressions between 1992 and 1994. Scientology forced me into bankruptcy in California at that time, and even in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court the organization sought to legally and financially ruin me by adversary proceeding. In 1997, because of continuing organization threats and fair game attacks, most alarmingly a number of pages of black PR on me to the IRS to get Scientology’s tax exemption, I left California and returned to Canada.
My being outside California and the U.S. has not, however, ended Scientology’s judicial and extra-judicial efforts to silence me, and, since I’ve been together with Caroline, to silence her. The organization obtained a series of court orders, couched as “contempt of court,” to have me jailed and fined for my religious expressions, almost all of which were expressed outside the U.S. The organization continued its black PR campaign against us around the world and spied on us and ran covert operations against us in Canada.
Because of threats from Scientology while we were in B.C., Caroline and I went to Germany in 2002, and stayed there until early 2004. In Germany, as I’m sure you know, Scientology is viewed by the government not as a religion but a commercial enterprise with anti-democracy goals, and is kept under official observation by the intelligence service. Despite this sinister status, even in Germany Scientology continued stalking, threatening and black PRing us.
Scientology sued me again while we were in Germany, seeking over $10,000,000 in “liquidated damages” for a few more than 200 religious expressions I had expressed after 1998. Scientology’s position is that every time I express my religious experiences or beliefs about the religion, or any Scientology related entity, and any of their directors, officers, employees, agents, lawyers or volunteers I must pay $50,000, because each such expression “damages” the religion and its corporations and people in that amount. This letter to you, Scientology claims, has a value of $50,000, times the number of recipients, which I believe will be nine, or $450,000.
The IRFA defines the term “violations of religious freedom” as:
violations of the internationally recognized right to freedom of religion and religious belief and practice, as set forth in the international instruments referred to in section 6401 (a)(2) of this title and as described in section 6401 (a)(3) of this title, including violations such as—
(A) arbitrary prohibitions on, restrictions of, or punishment for—
(i) assembling for peaceful religious activities such as worship, preaching, and prayer, including arbitrary registration requirements;
(ii) speaking freely about one’s religious beliefs;
(iii) changing one’s religious beliefs and affiliation;
(iv) possession and distribution of religious literature, including Bibles; or
(v) raising one’s children in the religious teachings and practices of one’s choice; or
(B) any of the following acts if committed on account of an individual’s religious belief or practice: detention, interrogation, imposition of an onerous financial penalty, forced labor, forced mass resettlement, imprisonment, forced religious conversion, beating, torture, mutilation, rape, enslavement, murder, and execution.
22 U.S.C. § 6402 (13)
The financial penalty Scientology is imposing on me, with the abetment of the U.S. Courts, and which the organization can now impose in Canada because of that abetment, is clearly onerous. This unconscionable $50,000 penalty per recipient of what cannot but be my religious expressions about religion in exercise of my religious freedom cannot but be on account of my religious beliefs and practices.
Obviously too, Scientology’s efforts to have me punished with jailing and fines for my speaking freely about my religious beliefs about the Scientology religion also constitute violations of religious freedom. I am at this moment facing twenty-eight days in jail for fourteen expressions of my religious beliefs expressed over seven years ago. Since, however, I have expressed tens or hundreds of thousands of expressions of my religious beliefs even more recently, I am actually threatened with imprisonment for the rest of my life for these expressions.
The first of my expressions, for which Scientology obtained a jail sentence against me of two days and a thousand dollar fine, reported a threat to me after I was served with a subpoena for production of documents in a U.S. District Court case. Scientology’s persecution is not limited to the suppression or deprivation of my religious freedom but uses many channels, suppresses a wide set of my basic human rights including speech, self-defense, due process, association, and punishes my free exercise of those rights.
As diabolical as it sounds, Scientology is indeed seeking to prevent me from associating with people in my own religious group and assembling for peaceful religious activities with people who share my religious beliefs about the religion. Scientology has threatened several Suppressive Persons with prosecution or harassment for “acting in concert” with me, including SPs outside the U.S. See, e.g., Scientology’s threat letter to University of Alberta Professor Stephen A. Kent, and Dr. Kent’s declaration in response to the threat.
What Scientology is doing and attempting to do to me confirms that it is organized for an unlawful purpose, specifically the deprivation of rights in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 241 inside the U.S., and in violation of the international human rights charters identified in the IRFA at 22 U.S.C. § 6401(a)(2) outside the U.S. Not only did Scientology make false statements about me in order to obtain its 1993 IRS tax exemption, constituting fraud, but also, as everything in my case after that date demonstrates, Scientology is engaged in an organization-wide, indeed religion-wide, activity not permitted for tax exempt organizations by U.S. laws.
As long as the U.S. tolerates Scientology’s persecution of citizens in execution of the organization’s Suppressive Person doctrine, other nations such as Canada will tolerate this persecution. Clearly this is what has happened.
In this litigation age, where money buys religious persecution, an individual without millions of dollars to hire lawyers and protection has no chance or defense against an extremely wealthy religious conglomerate, especially one like Scientology, in which using the secular legal system to harass and destroy its apostates and victims is a religious practice mandated by religious scripture. Scientology’s apostates and victims, of course, comprise the religious class of Suppressive Persons, who are also determined by religious scripture and identified for obliteration by religious fatwa. Scientology’s religious victims need professional help from professionals in the U.S. Government, which is the entity that controls the system in which the religious persecution is occurring.
The help Caroline and I request, which it is the policy of the U.S. to give as directed by the IRFA, is:
1. Condemn Scientology’s campaign to violate our religious freedom;
2. Assist the Canadian Government to promote SPs’ fundamental right to freedom of religion;
3. Stand for liberty and stand with the persecuted SPs;
4. Use and implement appropriate tools in the U.S. foreign policy apparatus, including diplomatic, political, commercial, charitable, educational, and cultural channels, to promote respect for religious freedom for SPs by all governments and peoples;
5. Include the global persecution of SPs and measures the U.S. is taking to oppose that persecution in the annual International Religious Freedom Report.
We would like a meeting as soon as possible with yourselves or other responsible people in your Government to discuss our situation and these requests. We also ask that you do whatever you can to facilitate our direct dialogue with Canadian Government officials.
Please feel free to communicate with us at any time.
#1-45950 Alexander Avenue
Chilliwack, B.C. V2P 1L5
cc by E-mail and Canada Post:
Department of Justice Canada
Department of Foreign Affairs Canada
U.S. Department of State, IRF Office
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
Internal Revenue Service
Stephen A. Kent, PhD