David Gaiman

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David Gaiman
Occupation Owner, G&G Foods, East Grinstead
Public Relations Director, Church of Scientology (ret.)
Spouse(s) Sheila
Children Neil Gaiman, Claire Edwards, Lizzy Calcioli

David Bernard Gaiman (1933 – 7 March 2009[1]) was head of the UK branch of Church of Scientology. He and his wife Sheila joined Scientology in the early 1960s and Gaiman served as public relations director and was commonly in the media during the British controversies over Scientology in the 1960s and 1970s.

Family and public career[edit]

Gaiman's family is of Polish Jewish origins; after emigrating from the Netherlands in 1916, his father eventually settled in the Hampshire city of Portsmouth on the south coast of England and established a chain of grocery stores. Born in 1933, Gaiman was educated at The Portsmouth Grammar School, though he did not excel academically. He subsequently joined the British Army where he rose to the rank of sergeant. He returned to Portsmouth on leaving the army to work for his father in the grocery stores, though he detested this job.[2]

He married Sheila on March 1, 1959.[3] He eventually decided to go into business for himself, much to his father's displeasure,[2] and the family moved away from their home in Portchester in 1962.[4]

When the Gaimans discovered Scientology they moved to East Grinstead, West Sussex in 1965.[2] David Gaiman joined the staff of the Church of Scientology at nearby Saint Hill Manor, eventually becoming the Church's chief UK media spokesman.

Guardian's Office[edit]

He joined the Guardian's Office (GO), the Church's public relations bureau/intelligence agency. In 1969, Gaiman was involved in an attempt by the Church to take over the National Association for Mental Health (now Mind), a British mental health charity. Some 300 Scientologists joined the group and nominated Gaiman, among others, for high office. Gaiman was nominated for the Chairmanship. Eventually, the Scientologists were asked to resign but contested that request in court. Scientologists also held demonstrations for, according to Gaiman, "humane treatment and a bill of rights for mental patients and the protection of their bodies and their well-being. We want an independent inquiry into conditions in mental hospitals. We want no more whitewashing from certain mental health organisations like the one across the road. Our stand is not on being asked to resign but for humane psychiatry."[5]

In the 1970s he became Deputy Guardian for Public Relations[6] World Wide and Minister of Public Affairs for the Churches of Scientology Worldwide, as well as serving as public spokesman.[7][8]

According to documents in the US vs Kember and Budlong case, Gaiman issued an order in 1975 for an operation to put false information in U.S. security agency computers using planted agents. It was known as 'Operation Cat'. Kember also credited Gaiman with the strategy to claim that CoS plants inside the American Medical Association were reporters for Freedom magazine.[9]

He rose to become the head of GO Public Relations and was a member of the powerful Watchdog Committee. In 1981 he was promoted to the position of Guardian (i.e. head of the Guardian's Office), replacing Jane Kember following her criminal conviction for conspiracy against the US Government (she had been part of Scientology's Operation Snow White).[10]

Vitamin Shop and later life[edit]

In 1965, David and Sheila Gaiman co-founded a vitamin shop, G&G Vitamins. In 1986 the company had become a major supplier of vitamins, with 9 employees and an annual turnover of over £263,000. The Gaimans were prominent figures in the local community and well known for their sponsorship of the local arts scene.[2] Gaiman was also a trustee of Greenfield's School from its formation in the 1980s.[11] Gaiman had three children, a son and two daughters:[2] Neil Gaiman, the well-known fantasy author,[12][13] Claire Edwards, head of Scientology Missions International,[14] and Lizzy Calcioli.[11]

Gaiman took part in the inaugural London Marathon, in 1981, and came joint last.[15]

Gaiman, aged 75,[16] died peacefully in his sleep on 9 March 2009 at his home in Forest Row.[17] A memorial service, attended by hundreds, was held for him at Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead,[11] and, on March 12, 2009, his Jewish funeral service was held in Brighton.[3][11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Prominent East Grinstead figure mourned". East Grinstead Courier and Observer (www.thisissussex.co.uk). March 11, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Lancaster, James (2005-10-11). "Everyone has the potential to be great". The Argus (Brighton). pp. 10–11. 
  3. ^ a b Long Weekend (Neil Gaiman, blog, 15 March 2009)
  4. ^ Neil Gaiman's Journal, April 6, 2004
  5. ^ C.H. Rolph, Believe What You Like
    Meanwhile, all members of the NAMH (or most of them) received a letter from Mr David Gaiman, the spokesman of Scientology, to whom their names and addresses had been perforce supplied by the NAMH.
  6. ^ Paulette Cooper, The Scandal of Scientology, Appendix, [1]
    In January, 1971, I wrote to David Gaiman, Public Relations Director of Scientology in England, with whom I had had some earlier correspondence, informing him that this book was to be published and offering him a chance to give the Scientologists' side of the story in brief. I also requested information on some of Scientology's rehabilitation programs - their Human Rights Commission and Narconon, their program in India - so that some of this could also be included.
  7. ^ Van Wert Times Bulletin, September 7, 1968.
  8. ^ Bucks County Courier Times, March 13, 1969.
  9. ^ US vs Kember and Budlong was part of the fallout of the 1978 United States v. Hubbard case, which charged many CoS members with conspiracy and other crimes related to Operation Snow White.

    The Sentencing Memorandum for US v Kember and Budlong is available at wikisource, Here, or also the original PDF is available Here (accessed 2010 1 27). The full title is 'UNITED STATES OF AMERICA : v. : Criminal No. 78-401(2)&(3) JANE KEMBER : MORRIS BUDLONG a/k/a MO BUDLONG : SENTENCING MEMORANDUM OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA', filed in the US District Court, District of Columbia, 1980

    Also see the List of Guardian's Office operations. 'Operation Cat' is Exhibit 5 in the sentencing memorandum for US vs Kember / Budlong. Here is a PDF of the Exhibit: Gaiman, David (September 16, 1975). "Operation CAT". Retrieved July 7, 2009. 
  10. ^ Atack, Jon (1990). A Piece of Blue Sky. New York, NY: Carol Publishing Group. p. 268. ISBN 0-8184-0499-X. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Hundreds attend memorial service for East Grinstead businessman". East Grinstead Courier and Observer. 2009-03-18.  Quote: "David will be most remembered for his incredible sense of humour and the feeling of well being he gave to everyone with whom he came into contact."
  12. ^ Lancaster, James (2005-10-11). "Everyone has the potential to be great". The Argus (Brighton). pp. 10–11.  David Gaiman quote: "It's not me you should be interviewing. It's my son. Neil Gaiman. He's in the New York Times Bestsellers list. Fantasy. He's flavour of the month, very famous."
  13. ^ "Head Bars Son Of Cult Man.", The Times, London, England, 13 August 1968, p.2 col. c. Alternate.
    A headmaster has refused the son of a Scientologist entry to a preparatory school until, he says, the cult "clears its name". The boy, Neil Gaiman, aged 7,Mr. David Gaiman, the father, aged 35, former South Coast businessman, has become in recent weeks a prominent spokesman in Britain for Scientology, which has its headquarters at East Grinstead.
  14. ^ "Making the difference". Freedom Magazine (6): 4. 2002. 
  15. ^ "bbc.co.uk, 1981: Triumph at first London Marathon". BBC News. 1981-03-29. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  16. ^ "Tributes to East Grinstead businessman". The Argus (Brighton). 2009-03-23. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  17. ^ Another day (Neil Gaiman, blog post, Sunday 8 March 2009)