Official Raid Report – Gold Base, October 26, 2008
(The five protesters involved in this incident are identified as AnonOrange (AO), I'mGlib (Glib or Glibby), Benny's Friend (report narrator), Sock Puppy (SP), and XenuBarb (XB). The following eyewitness report is given by Benny's Friend. Please understand that the weird chordal sound in the background of the videos presented is emanating from a set of massive speakers located on the grounds of the secret base, designed to prevent the inhabitants of the base from hearing the freedom chants of the protesters.)
We arrived at the base at approximately 11:30 AM in a rented van. The plan was to drop two protesters at the front gate to film the security guards scramble into their base lockdown mode. The remainder of us then proceeded further down the road to the usual parking place in the open area in front of the creepy castle.
(Pictured left to right, I'mGlib, Sock Puppy, and Benny's Friend.)
Because our vehicle is always tampered with by the guards, we set up a little surprise for them this time. AnonOrange stayed behind in the van, hidden by the balloons we had brought as a gift to the gate guards, while Glib and I headed up the hill to the protest area. It was only a matter of minutes before the black security Pathfinder pulled up next to the van. AO, filming the entire time, jumped up and startled the guard, who immediately shifted into reverse and sped backwards up the semi-circular dirt road. AO chased after the vehicle, still filming and narrating the action. We watched the event from our position at the guard shack, which is approximately a quarter mile from the parking area.
We had called the police the moment we arrived to let them know of our presence, and it was approximately 11:50 AM when a Riverside Sheriff’s cruiser arrived. He parked in the middle of the street and did not get out of his vehicle. It was blazing hot (as usual) so I asked him if he wanted to come over and park in the shade near the protesters. He said, “No thanks. I’m not going to be here long.” He eventually parked his cruiser and approached Sock Puppy and me. Paraphrasing, he told SP that if he was going to wear a mask he needed to take down his name. SP balked immediately but I don’t know how that conversation ended because I headed down to the van to help AO carry his things up.
The protest proceeded much like the prior protests with only a couple of exceptions. We had brought along a SLR with a 500mm zoom lens to get some shots deeper into the base. The camera was extremely useful in capturing several visits to the van from the Pathfinder driving guard. Sometimes he got out and moved about the van. On one occasion he appeared to be trifling with the back door of the van. We had also brought a video camera to leave recording inside the van. The camera was positioned on the dashboard to capture the guard snooping for the VIN# and to record any attempts they might make to enter or mechanically trifle with the vehicle.
Another exception was that we brought a megaphone. We suspected the gold tone would be running (it was) so we compensated. In fact, the gold tone started within minutes of our arrival, however it was not as loud as the first time it was introduced at the CreepOut raid. Plus, the speaker tower at the guard shack had been removed making it considerably easier for us to communicate with each other (and considerably less miserable!) The megaphone was extremely useful in delivering our message down into the base, and especially to those inside the guard shack.
(XenuBarb and Sock Puppy:)
We could see through the blinds of the guard shack that there were four or five guards in there observing us throughout the day. We have a normal list of things we shout through the window at them. This time we added a couple of things. We let them know that Anonymous had effectively protested their big IAS event in Saint Hill the previous day. Glibby shouted all the names of the known inhabitants of the 40 incarcerated Scientology leaders directly toward the building identified as the "SP Hall". We told the the guards that the orgs were emptying out all over the world because of Anonymous. We heavily encouraged them to blow while they had a chance because they shouldn’t have to take the fall for Miscaviges’ misdeeds. We said, “Jeff Hawkins is protesting and telling the world what’s going on inside there!” We flashed signs that said, “Marc Headley wrote a book and named names…too bad for you Danny Dunagan!”
The cops were back at 12:55 PM; this time it was two sheriffs and a CHP. The officer from earlier had returned, so I said, "Hello, you’re back!" He replied, “Last time it was for you. This time it’s for them.” I laughed and asked what we had been called on. He just shrugged and continued toward the guard shack. The three cops chatted in front of the guard shack for a few minutes, then Danny Dunagan, the base's "Security Watch A In-Charge," came out and joined them. The CHP turned to leave. I snagged him and asked what the call was about. He didn’t specify but responded in a way that made me think he thought it was lame. He said he was glad he didn’t have to be a part of it and could leave. I asked him if he would like to join our protest. He laughed and said, "It doesn’t work that way." I offered to let him wear one of our masks…no one would have to know. He laughed again and went on his way.
After a moment, Danny and the two remaining sheriffs turned and walked through the open gate leading into the base. I don’t know where they went, but they were not headed toward the back of the guard shack where the entrance door is. They went the other direction. They were in there about 10 minutes.
I believe I initiated the conversation with Sheriff #1 (the cop who had been there earlier) when they returned, asking what we had done wrong. He never said, but he attempted to get us to move our protest down to the open area in front of the castle. Of course we politely declined his offer. He pressed the issue asking why we needed to be “up here”, why not just go “down there”? I said it’s not effective to protest down there. He asked what I meant by “effective.” I said, “protesting Scientology only works up here!” He said, “How would you like it if someone protested you in front of your private residence?” I said, “They do all the time! See that guy right there? (pointing to AO) They did a protest right in front of his home!” Sheriff #1 was visibly annoyed that we weren’t cooperating with him. He said he was concerned that we might cause an accident. I finally said, “We are peaceful protesters here to exercise our constitution rights and we’re not going down there.” He said, "Ok, but I’m just letting you know that if there is an accident here because of this that you will be named [I can’t remember specifically the term he used here, something like 'a party to the accident']". He then stood by his cruiser and glared at us for several minutes before leaving.
At one point we noticed that a flare had been set behind the van. We captured a sequence through the SLR camera of the guard returning to the flare and fooling around with it. When it was first placed, the flame was pointed inward toward the base. The Scientology guard then returned to reposition the flare so the flame was pointed toward the street.
The Pathfinder guard trifling with the vehicle was a big source of concern for us throughout the day. We had valuable possessions inside, plus we had a real fear of the car being mechanically tampered with. It's happened before. The Pathfinder made several runs on the van, each time coming south down the semi-circle dirt road, which borders a clump of trees. The young blond guard (Matt Butler) would often get out of the Pathfinder and move about the exterior of the van. Each time we saw the Pathfinder by the van, one of the male protesters would take off down the hill toward it. Each time, Butler would wait until the protester was fairly close, then he would reverse the Pathfinder back up the dirt road and tuck in behind the tree line. It was exasperating for the guys to keep running down there to protect the van, only to have the Pathfinder zip away and then return to trifling with the van as soon as they got back up to the protest area.
At around 2:15 PM, just after the two Riverside Sheriffs had left, the guards deployed "sprinkler tech" to discourage AO from taking his long lens shots through the fences. AO had complained to the cops about the Pathfinder guard trifling with the van. When the sheriffs left heading down the hill toward the van, we assumed they would have a word with the guard, who was there at the van that very minute. However, both sheriffs drove past the van without stopping.
This video by I’mGlib shows our arrival and some clips from throughout the day. You see the Pathfinder at the van and Sock Puppy immediately react by running down the hill. (Note: The weird organ sound heard throughout the video is the “gold tone,” a chord pumped at high decibels through several 6-7 foot tall speakers positioned throughout the base. One clever Anon recently turned the chord into a rap song which can be heard during the second half of the vid.)
There was a point around 2:45 PM when I noticed that Glib and I were the only protesters left in the protest area. Two Anons had gone down to the van for water and AO was nowhere in sight. I was directly in front of the guard shack doing my usual thing and Glib was 50-60 feet down the hill bullhorning and taking photos through the fence. The gate opened and a little grey sedan came zooming out. The window was rolled down and I saw Danny Dunagan driving and Kenny Seabold in the passenger seat. I yelled, “Hey, where are you going? What’s the hurry? Why are you so grouchy?” (They really did look grouchy.) They zoomed left down the hill toward the van. I watched the vehicle drive past the van, then continue around the curve out of sight. A minute later I noticed that a small green sedan with two Hispanic looking men had pulled into the shaded area where the sheriff’s cars had been earlier. I started to walk toward them, then decided I should get Glib’s attention before doing something on my own. I turned to yell for her to come up to where I was but she couldn’t hear me. I started to walk toward her, then saw the green car flip around and take off in the other direction.
A few minutes later Glib and I decided that since we had told the police we would only be there until about 3 PM that we should call it a day. We collected everything and headed down the hill. One thing to note is that every time one of us walked past the speakers they would crank up the volume. It was excruciating.
As we started loading the van Glib said, “Where’s AO?” I spotted him walking toward us on the shoulder of the road, just beyond the point where the back half of the semi-circle dirt road meets the highway (from the direction opposite the guard shack). We decided to take our official group photo as soon as AO arrived back at the van.
I was busy loading the van so I don’t know exactly how Sock Puppy ended up where AO was being attacked. My first clue that something was happening was when SP stepped out into the dirt road waving his arms at us and motioning us to come down there. Because we couldn’t see his face or hear anything through the mask and above the gold tone, the three of us (me, Glib, and XenuBarb) thought AO was pulling a joke on us or something. We kept loading the van. Moments later SP ran out again waving and yelling, this time he got close enough that we could hear him shouting, “They’re dog piling AO!!! Call the police!!!!!” XenuBarb took off toward the scene at a dead run while Glib and I searched for a cell phone. Glib made the call and gave the proximate location of where we were. I headed toward the scene but stayed toward the road so I could flag the police down when they arrived.
When I got to the scene I saw the guards on top of AO trying to apply the wrist restraints. I started shouting at them to get off of him. I did a lot of colorful shouting at them, which I now realize probably had little effect, but I was so shocked at what I was seeing that I just couldn’t shut up. I saw them trifling with AO’s camera, then the attack on XB when she tried to retrieve the camera from them.
(There are no still shots of these events, but there is video.)
Shortly thereafter, when I looked up the hill to see if the police were coming yet, I saw an ambulance pulled to the side of the road facing the scene. I waved my arms and shouted to them, “Over here! Over here! They’re hurting him!” The ambulance slowly crept toward me, then went past me and did a slow u-turn. It pulled up next to me (I’m still yelling, “Hurry, get down there! They’re hurting him!”), the window was rolled down and there were two young guys with dark hair inside. The one in the passenger seat said, “Don’t worry. It’s ok. It’s just the security guards.” I yelled, “I don’t care! Get down there! It’s your job!” They drove away with me calling them one of my little pet names of the day. Assholes.
Back at the scene Glib had arrived and I heard them order her, SP, and XB (who had narrowly escaped their clutches) away. They joined me on the shoulder of the highway. The four of us carped our lungs out at those guys, trying to get them to see the error of their ways. Finally the police/fire department/CHP/ambulance arrived and we were actually a bit disappointed to see that Sheriff #1 was among them. He was looking mighty smug.
XB complained of back pain after being slammed against the Pathfinder and tussled pretty aggressively. And she broke a nail. Dunagan appeared to have an injury on his hand. Someone said XB had bit him but that is not true.
This vimeo tells more of the story:
Surprisingly to us, AO was not immediately released from the wrist restraints by the cops. In fact, he was kept in those restraints until they replaced them with handcuffs. Statements were taken from several of us. They did not let us talk to AO or approach the scene at all. Glib and I did finally manage to get some water over to him and this is when he asked us to call Graham Berry (which we did).
Eventually all of the police presence left with the exception of the two Riverside Sheriffs. Sheriff #1 clearly had jurisdiction. I approached him and asked where he would be taking AO. He sarcastically replied that he would be taking him to a detention facility. I asked if he could give me directions to the facility. I forgot his exact words but it was something to the effect of it wasn’t his job to be my tour director. I asked if we could follow him in our car. He said it wasn’t his responsibility to escort us around. He left with AO before we were able to finish loading the van. We had no idea where AO was being taken.
We had promised to visit Ida Camburn so the decision was made to go to her place and start making calls to find AO. Ida was a delight to visit with and I think she kinda liked all the excitement, being a 30-year champion protester herself. Glib found out that AO was being processed, but they didn’t say where. They did say it would take several hours, so we continued with our plans to have dinner with Ida. Afterward, we learned in another call that AO would possibly be released around 3 AM. We would have stayed in Hemet until then, but we didn’t know that he actually was in Hemet. At one point we were told he was in Riverside and at another, Murietta. We had no choice but to head home and wait for his call. (Turns out he was in Murietta.)
(Our beloved Ida Camburn:)
Addendum to the report:
The prior narrative was my eyewitness account. The following is a description of the events surrounding the attack collected from those personally involved.
Starting during the time period between 2:45 and 3 PM, AnonOrange had apparently met up with Sock Puppy at or near the van. They spotted the grey sedan (that had just flown by me up at the guard shack) parked on the shoulder of the road a few hundred feet away facing them. They did not know that security guards Danny Dunagan and Kenny Seabold were in the vehicle. AO decided to check the car out and began to walk toward it, filming as he went.
As AO moved toward the car, it began to slowly reverse away from him. He realized at this point they were Scientologists. When the car reached a slight curve in the road, it suddenly moved forward into a u-turn and took off down the road away from AO.
AO turned around and headed back toward the van. When he got to the north entrance of the semi-circular dirt road he saw the Pathfinder parked there and decided to have a word with the security guard about tampering with the van.
(This photo is given for perspective on where he entered the dirt road and where the Bronco was parked.)
During his brusque exchange with the Scientology guard Matt Butler (which was filmed), the grey car pulled up very rapidly to the right side and forward of the Bronco. Dunagan emerged excitedly from the driver’s seat and ran toward AO shouting, “Trespassing! You’re under arrest! Trespassing! You’re under arrest!” Dunagan tackled AO at a full run, knocking him to the ground. Seabold next joined the attack, then Butler, the three of them exerting extreme force to restrain him. AO fought back for several minutes attempting to escape their hold. He was eventually overpowered and forcibly held face down, Seabold’s left knee pinning his head down, while zip ties were applied to his wrists. A fourth guard arrived on the scene on a motorcycle and the four Scientology security guards then physically restrained AO for several more minutes until the sheriffs arrived.
It bears repeating how the Riverside Sheriff’s Department reacted to seeing a citizen brutally assaulted and forcibly restrained -- for potentially trespassing on potentially private property, a misdemeanor in the State of California
AO was eventually arrested for trespassing and battery (he bit one of the guards while attempting to defend himself and escape).