SCIENTOLOGY: POLICY OF HARASSMENT CONTINUING?
"There are men dead because they attacked us...There are men
bankrupt because they attacked us, " wrote L. Ron Hubbard, the late
founder of the Church of Scientology in his Manual of Justice. And
concerning those who write critical articles on Scientology, the
Hubbard Communications Office instructed: "Hire a private detective of
a national-type firm to investigate the writer, not the magazine, and
get any criminal or Communist background the man has...Have your
lawyers or solicitors write the magazine threatening a suit."
Acting on those words, the Church of Scientology has harassed many
writers over the years who have written negative stories about the
church. Some of the writers, such as Paulette Cooper, a New York
journalist who wrote a book titled The Scandal of Scientology in 1971,
were apparently deemed "Suppressive Persons" under a church policy
rule called "Fair Game." Mandated by Hubbard on Oct. 18, 1967, the
rule stated that a Suppressive Person "may be deprived of property or
injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of
the Scientologists." To Silence Cooper the sect framed her, stealing
some of her stationary and making it appear as though she had sent them
two bomb threats. As a result she was indicted on three counts and had
to spend about $19, 000 in legal fees, and about five years defending
herself from all types of harassment, including death threats. She
finally was cleared of all criminal charges, and the FBI, after seizing
church documents, found numerous documents detailing an elaborate plan
to "freak-out" Cooper.
During the 1960s and 1970s Scientology sued and threatened many
individuals and groups perceived to be threats, especially government
agencies. But after Boston attorney Michael Flynn began filing
multiple lawsuits against the sect in behalf of former members
claiming abuse, Scientology began to settle some of the suits in what
leaders in 1986 called a quest for peace with its critics. (Hubbard
had previously rescinded part of his "Fair Game" doctrine due to the
bad publicity it was causing.)
But has Scientology really been trying to achieve peace with its
enemies since 1986? The evidence suggest that it has not. Instead,
litigation appears to be on the increase.
In March, at the Eastern Regional Cult Awareness Network (CAN)
conference in Washington, D.C., former Clearwater Florida mayor Gabe
Cazares was publicly served with a lawsuit just after he gave an anti-
Scientology presentation. The suit is the latest in a series of legal
actions Cazares has faced since he rallied Clearwater community leaders
against Scientology after the sect bought a local hotel in the 1970s
under the name "United Churches of Florida" and moved into town.
Scientology's previous suit against Cazares for libel was dismissed
in 1977, and two other suits against him were dropped when Cazares
filed a countersuit against the sect, forcing the sides to an
out-of-court agreement. Cazares said the new suit alleges that he
failed to live up to his previous agreement not to speak out against
Scientology. But Cazares said his involvement with CAN does not fall
under the agreement's terms.
Attempts to silence writers also continue. Last year, trying to
block publication of the book Bare Faced Messiah: The True Story of L.
Ron Hubbard, the church sued former London Times reporter Russell
Miller. Concurrent with the suit, police questioned him as a suspect in
the murder of a South London private detective. Miller, who was
cleared of any wrong doing in the case, said police received an
anonymous tip from someone who used an extensive knowledge of his work
and private life to frame him. While the Church of Scientology has not
been linked to the alleged frame-up by police, Miller suspects that's
After Miller won the case allowing publication of the book, private
investigators showed up in England attempting to link him to the death
of Dean Reed, a former American pop singer who defected to the
Communist bloc. Miller was again cleared of all wrong doing in the
case. The church has denied sending private investigators to
In the U.S. an intriguing battle continues in the wake of last
year's publication of L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman? by Brent
Corydon and Hubbard's estranged son, L. Ron Hubbard, Jr.. According to
the St. Petersburg Times, "Scientologists have been so determined to
stop publication...that they filed four lawsuits against the author"
and his publisher. One of the suits sought to remove the name of L.
Ron Hubbard, Jr., who now goes by the name of Ronald DeWolf, as
co-author of the book.
Corydon has countered that he began the project as a ghost writer to
DeWolf before the sect paid the late founder's son money not to
continue the project. DeWold sued Corydon, but so far the
lawsuit has not been successful.
To this date, Scientology has won only one of the suits. This
pertained to the book's cover on which publisher Lyle Stuart had
planned to print a volcano with Hubbard's head coming out of the
top. It was meant as a parody of the volcano on the front of Hubbard's
Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, which serves as primary
reading for the sect.
Not wanting the sect to block publication of the book, the company
rushed it into print without an index. Its front cover contains a most
unusual message to the buyer: "This is not the jacket we planned for
this book. We have been forced to use this makeshift design in order
to safeguard our tight to ship MESSIAH OR MADMAN? to the public. We
consider it our duty to make this important book available to you as
soon as possible - despite the ongoing legal harassment we are
suffering. The contents of [this book] justify the enormous legal and
personal problems that we have gone through. We are convinced that
this book must not be supressed at any cost."
- William M. Alnor
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