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Gabe Cazares

«Gabe Cazares (1920-2006) was the former mayor of Clearwater, Florida, a civil rights advocate, and a critic of the Church of Scientology. He died September 29, 2006 in Clearwater at the age of 86.» — Wikipedia

St. Petersburg Times (Sep. 30, 2006 ): "For the disadvantaged and against Scientology" by Mike Donila and Robert Farley
Former Clearwater Mayor Gabe Cazares, a civil rights advocate, champion of the disadvantaged and archenemy of the Church of Scientology, died Friday (Sept. 29, 2006). He was 86.

As a politician, Mr. Cazares led the local Democratic Party and won public office at a time when few Hispanics even lived in Pinellas County.

As a community activist, he worked to help the poor and build bridges across racial lines in Clearwater during the early years of integration.

But after the Church of Scientology came to town in late 1975, Mr. Cazares became an outspoken critic. That led Scientologists to hatch plans to smear him with sex allegations and a phony hit-and-run accident.

Mr. Cazares questioned the church's motives, its quiet purchases of downtown property and the way its security guards carried billy clubs and Mace.

"I am unable to understand why this degree of security is required by a religious organization, and my concerns are shared by many other citizens," Mr. Cazares said in January 1976.

Within months, Clearwater was enveloped in a hostile, polarized environment marked by spying, sharp rhetoric, protests and smear tactics - some of them targeting Mr. Cazares.

Federal investigators later found Scientology internal memos outlining plans by church leaders to control public opinion in Clearwater, concoct a sex smear campaign against Mr. Cazares and infiltrate the local media and other institutions.

Scientology documents also revealed that church members had staged a phony hit-and-run accident with Mr. Cazares in an attempt to discredit him. [...]

Gabe Cazares (Feb. 2004): "Scientologists Expand US and International Operations"
Those who know Scientology agree that this cult represents a clear and present danger to citizens, regardless of race or nationality.  If one single fact about Scientology proves the cult's danger to America it is its indictment in 1975 by a Federal grand jury.  The 25 count indictment charged them with conspiring to steal government documents, theft of government documents, and conspiring to obstruct justice.  Those who support or profit from Scientology should be aware of their tacit support and approval of Scientology's contempt for religion, government, and individuals.

Margery Wakefield in "Understand Scientology" (1991): "Chapter 13: Not So Clear in Clearwater — Scientology Takes Over a Town"

An uneasy suspicion was beginning to grow regarding the new tenants of the Ft. Harrison Hotel. Clearwater Mayor Gabe Cazares voiced the perplexity felt by many when he stated, "I am discomfited by the increasing visibility of security personnel, armed with billy clubs and mace, employed by the United Churches of Florida. I am unable to understand why this degree of security is required by a religious organization." (1)

Meanwhile, two reporters, Bette Orsini of the St. Petersburg Times and Mark Sableman of the Clearwater Sun were beginning to discover that "Southern Land Development" and "United Churches of Florida" didn't seem to exist. Nowhere was there a record of either organization.

Bette Orsini of the St. Petersburg Times was the first to make the connection to Scientology. But just as the paper was about to print the truth, a Scientology spokesman from Los Angeles, Arthur Maren, arrived in Clearwater and announced to the press that it was the controversial Church of Scientology which had purchased the buildings.

At first he denied that the hotel would become a Scientology center; he said that the hotel would be open to all churches for conferences and retreats. However, the next day he said that if Scientology failed to bring religious harmony to all religions, then the hotel would become a center for Scientologists. And a few days later he admitted that the center was to be used exclusively for Scientology training.

After telling the people of Clearwater that Scientologists were nice, friendly people who wanted to fit in with the community, Scientology launched lawsuits against Gabe Cazares and the St. Pete Times, both of whom responded with countersuits of their own against the "church." [...]

Meet Gabe Cazares

This secret project was designed to “remove him from public office and discredit him as an opinion leader.” This included forming letter-writing campaigns against Cazares, working for any political opponent of his, asking him embarrassing questions at his political rallies, registering all Scientologists to vote against him, filing suit against him, placing an operative in the Cazares campaign, and many other such actions.

Scientology's Intelligence Operations against Gabriel Cazares

In 1977, FBI agents raided Scientology properties (Fifield Manor and the Cedars Complex in Los Angeles, California) and seized a number of documents. Among these were several pertaining to Scientology's illegal covert operations against Clearwater mayor Gabriel Cazares, who opposed the church.
    Wikipedia (Feb. 2007): "Gabe Cazares"
Cazares became an outspoken critic of Scientology after the church decided in 1975 to move major operations into Clearwater. Cazares was suspicious of the group, who were purchasing property under the name "United Churches of Florida". The United Churches of Florida leaders told Cazares that they were an ecumenical group that planned to improve the ethics and morality in the Clearwater area, but Cazares wondered why church folks from a "den of iniquity" like Los Angeles, California would travel all the way to Florida to provide Clearwater with moral guidance. Cazares began to investigate the United Churches of Florida and soon discovered that the leaders of the group lied about their intentions. They told Cazares they were renting the historic Fort Harrison Hotel from a group called Southern Land Development Leasing Corporation. Cazares investigated both groups and discovered that both were wholly controlled by Scientologists. [...]

Jon Atack in "A Piece of Blue Sky" (1990):  "Chapter 6: The Flag Land Base"

In February 1976, the Guardian's Office in Clearwater was a hive of activity. The St. Petersburg Times was threatened with a libel suit. Cazares was more than threatened: A million dollar suit was filed against him for libel, slander and violation of civil rights. As Hubbard had said in the 1950s, "The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win .... The law can be used very easily to harass." 9 Scientologists went to Alpine, Texas, and pored over records concerning the Cazares family at the county clerk's office, the police department, the office of the Border Patrol, and the local Roman Catholic church. They talked with doctors, long-term residents, even the midwife who had delivered Gabe Cazares. The Cazares' headstones in the graveyard were checked. The GO decided that the Gabriel Cazares who had been born in Alpine, Texas, could not possibly be their man. Obviously the accounts did not accord with their image of a Suppressive enemy of Scientology.

St. Petersburg Times (Dec. 1988): "Scientology Faces New Charges Of Harassment" by Stephen Koff

The year was 1976, one year after the Church of Scientology had secretly moved its spiritual headquarters to Clearwater (Fla.), and Mayor Gabe Cazares was complaining too loudly for the church's comfort.

So, as documents seized by the FBI would later show, the church's Clearwater office devised a scheme to "ruin Mayor Gabriel Cazares' political career by spreading scandal about his sex life."

Church officials came up with ways to get Cazares' school records, birth records, anything - from checking with the Catholic Church to looking in graveyards for headstones with Cazares' name - that might discredit the mayor.

The Guardian (Feb. 1980): "Bigamy smear used to dent mayor's career" by David Beresford

Two specific operations against Mr Cazares, at the time a Democratic candidate for Congress, were attempts to smear him with false allegations of bigamy and to frame him on a hit-and-run charge.

The bigamy smear, codenamed operation Italian Fog, was detailed in a letter of March 23, 1976, which says: "The purpose of this op is to actually get real documentation into the files of Mexican license bureau or bureaux stating that the mayor got married in Mexico to some Mexican gal 25 years ago who is not his wife, so puts the mayor in a position of bigamy. This can be accomplished either by a bribe or a covert action. Once the docs are planted it is cleverly exposed that the mayor is promiscuous and a bigamist." [...]

St. Petersburg Times (1980): "Church played dirty tricks on Cazares" by Charles Stafford (PDF, 17 MiB)

In Clearwater in January 1976, Gabriel blew his horn.

No walls tumbled. But Mayor Gabriel Cazares' persistent questioning of the motives of a new religious group that had tiptoed into town helped put a crimp in plans of the Church of Scientology to quietly take control of the city.

His whistle-blowing moved him to a high place on the hit list maintained in the church's Guardian Office where officials spent their days operating an espionage system and concocting dirty tricks to discredit "enemies" of Scientology.

Schemes devised to handle Cazares were among the most vicious described in church documents recently released by a federal court in Washington. Scientology's spy operation was operating smoothly in the winter of '76, and Cazares was destined to become enmeshed in wheels turning in Washington. [...]

Clearwater Sun (Nov. 1978): "If Good Men Do Nothing"
Documents released in Washington show that Tom Reitze (husband of local Scientology leader Nancy Reitze) and two other cult members saw to it that false rumors were spread about Cazares in an attempt to discredit him.

When Cazares was defeated for the congressional post, a Scientology memo boasted of how the cult's actions had contributed to his loss. The memo exulted, "Yeah!!!!!"

Affidavit of Vicki Aznaran (7 March 1994)

32. In 1976 and 1977, the then Mayor of Clearwater, Florida, Gabe Cazares, was involved with litigation against Scientology. Arrangements were made to have an attorney by the name of Merrit Vanniere, a Scientologist, represent Mr. Cazares and sabotage his case. This plot was also exposed by documents obtained in an FBI raid of a Scientology facility. Also, in response to Mr. Cazares' litigation against Scientology, an attempt was made to implicate Mr. Cazares in a staged hit and run accident.

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