|CNN AC360||A History of Lies|
|A Freedom Special Report|
Sympathy for the Devil
“This is astonishing. He is a liar to the core.”
—Former wife of Jeff Hawkins to Anderson Cooper after learning that Hawkins was appearing on AC360
Also for the record: Hawkins holds the dubious distinction of not only lying to his wife and colleagues, he also lied point-blank to Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard... Which, when he finally copped to it, is how he came to lose his job as a Church copywriter.
Whereupon, he pretty much wrote himself out of the Church entirely and scurried away in 2005. It was also at this juncture he wrote himself out of his marriage with a (dirty) laundry list of moral transgressions.
Such is the back-story to a backroom drama that played out at CNN headquarters when word got around that Hawkins was about to serve as one of Rathbun’s corroborators.
In protest, all the spirits of Hawkins’ sorry past stepped forth: his former senior, his ultimate senior and the senior officer of the Church Organization where he served approached Cooper.
Moreover, all bore sworn affidavits and all requested airtime on AC360. In predictable reply, Cooper ignored them and, in fact, even left the most senior amongst them languishing in a Green Room waiting for a chance in front of the camera that never came. (That Hawkins’ former wife managed a place on the show can be chalked up to sheer tenacity; the woman simply forced Cooper into letting her speak.)
As for his own performance, Hawkins portrays himself as a lonely Scientologist abandoned and forsaken after leaving the Church.
It is not entirely true. For within no time at all he had joined a small cadre of kindred souls who call themselves Anonymous.
Cooper himself makes passing mention of it, and “innocently” describes them as an “anti-Scientology” protest group—which, in a sense, is correct.
Although for “protest” read: bomb threats leveled at Churches of Scientology, death threats leveled at prominent Scientologists, threats of anthrax attacks leveled at the congregation in general and cyberattacks leveled at Scientology computer networks. Accordingly, Anonymous is presently under United States federal investigation for hate crimes against the Church while two members were recently convicted and sentenced. (See CooperSpeak: How Terrorists Become “Protesters.”)
So, no, Hawkins was not exactly forsaken after leaving the Church.
But good gracious! What sort of sympathy could he possibly elicit were we to know he was running with an honest to goodness terrorist organization?
While as for Cooper (and our sympathies are with you, Anderson), one can hardly blame him for failing to mention those pesky particulars concerning Hawkins and Anonymous.
After all, the whole premise of his show was that one couldn’t possibly know who was lying and who was not and viewers had to decide for themselves.
But of course now how could anyone decide for themselves given the likes of this?
Cooper: You didn’t want to leave Scientology?
Hawkins: I didn’t want to leave Scientology.
I didn’t want to leave my wife.
So I wasn’t ready to cut the cord at that point?
Translation: Hawkins pretended on-air he was still a Scientologist—despite his status as a placard-carrying member of Anonymous.
So it just wouldn’t have been cricket if Cooper spoiled the game by revealing the real Jeff Hawkins. (If nothing else, what on earth would his former wife think?)
There is, however, one niggling little anomaly to the Hawkins story even Cooper couldn’t ignore.
It seems that immediately after the broadcast, it was only too obvious that Rathbun was ever so peeved at poor Hawkins.
Why? One might ask. Hadn’t Hawkins dutifully corroborated every lie in Rathbun’s quiver?
Of course he had.
But it just so happens that from Rathbun’s perspective, Hawkins is an anti-Scientologist whereas he and Rinder still delusively think of themselves as squirrel Scientologists. (They were just trying to “get even” with the Church’s leader for kicking them out and for applying the Founder’s policy mandating their ouster.)
Oh, the complexities of betraying one’s family, friends and religion!
And, oh, the sacrifices one must make in the name of getting even!
But to cozy up with a Hawkins—someone who not only left his Church, but fully (not just partially) renounced both the religion and its Founder!
It’s enough to make a poor boy like Rathbun begin to think he’s just like Jeff Hawkins.