Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and on Saturdays he’s helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet.
This week, Jon is taking on an interesting point that we want to set up a little. In recent years, one of the biggest crises Scientology has faced has been an exodus of longtime, loyal members fed up with leader David Miscavige and his focus on fundraising and internal security. These members have been leaving, even though they still admire Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and they plan to continue doing the processes of Scientology itself. Some of these ‘independent Scientologists’ — even some who have not been particularly outspoken — have found themselves to be targets of the church’s legendary retaliation schemes. But Jon wanted to put that harassment in some larger context.
JON: Recently I received an inquiry from a Free Zoner as to when the harassment of the Independents began. He probably found my response a little intemperate, because I still cannot fathom the way that Independents compartmentalize the Tech and the Policy, as if Hubbard were good in daylight and only evil at night. Dr Jekyll in red ink and Mr Hyde in green, as it were. For me, the Tech and the Policy are inextricably bound by their creator.
The first act of harassment against a non-tithing faction known to me was the theft of the Wichita Foundation’s mailing list, back in 1952. The list was stolen by one James Elliot, and about 30 letters were sent out to it by Hubbard, proving that he received the stolen list. In these letters, Hubbard attacked Don Purcell, who had saved Dianetics from bankruptcy just months before. He had also shelled out a considerable sum of money to Hubbard, none of which was ever repaid.
Hubbard early on established the attitude towards independent practictioners. They were “squirrels,” because, according to Hubbard, no one apart from himself was capable of understanding the Tech, so non-tithing practitioners spun as if they were in a squirrel-cage — which is also known as a hamster-wheel. Hubbard knew enough about history to know that the Nazis branded the Jews a form of vermin, too. A deeper reading of history shows that this is the commonplace of every genocidal hatred: enemies are dehumanized. The Nazis called the Jews either fleas or rats.
Activity against “squirrels” is clearly outlined in The Scientologist: a Manual on the Dissemination of Material, of 1955, where Hubbard orders his followers to use the law to “harass” anyone who is not licensed by him. His exact words are “The law can be used very easily to harass.” He adds, “If possible, of course, ruin him utterly.” This is an essential scriptural practice of Scientology, which any Standard Tech practitioner must follow. Otherwise, by a strange quirk, the individual who eschews such directions is a “squirrel” or an “anti-social personality” and should expect to be “fair-gamed” by orthodox followers.
Harassment of defectors took another turn with the introduction of Security Checking, to quell a mutiny in the Johannesburg Org. If you were wondering why contemporaries are still asked about smuggling diamonds and baby-farming, it is because this was a reaction to a particular stimulus on Hubbard’s part. Security Checking, very obviously an interrogation for the sake of the Org, simply changed names, so that it could be exacted upon the rank and file, to keep them in check. So was born Confessional Auditing or Integrity Processing, which has been raised to a fanatical pitch under the usurper David Miscavige.
The next significant Independent group — and there had already been perhaps a hundred before it — was Amprinistics. Several leading members defected, in complaint at the new “heavy ethics” policies. Most especially, they were worried at Hubbard’s obsession with “Merchants of Chaos,” who were restyled “Anti-Social Personalities.” In response to this defection, Hubbard initiated the “Fair Game Law,” which, once again, advocated the destruction of anyone who did not toe the line. (and, yes, he did say “destroy” in the policy letter, and, no, it has never been cancelled, only the use of the term “fair game,” because it caused “bad public relations”).
One of the expressions of this doctrine was the front page of The Auditor, in 1968, which ordered Scientologists to use “Process R2-45” on a list of defectors. R2-45 is a euphemism for murder.
Soon afterwards, Hubbard wrote his four distinct policies “Attacks on Scientology,” which make his trickery clear to any who dare read them. The general public were told that when attacked, Scientology would only “advocate total freedom.” This was for the general non-Scientology public, but the three issues beneath it have a different tenor, the most restricted ordering harassment of opponents, once again: “Start feeding lurid, blood, sex, crime actual evidence on the attackers to the press.” Hubbard then issued What is Greatness, where he assured us that we must resist all opportunities to hate. In the same month, he initiated the Guardian’s Office, which, when it started out, had an Intelligence Bureau (renamed “Information”) that contained a department of “covert data collection,” Branch One, which would harass anyone who criticized Scientology, or made an unauthorized profit from it. This harassment was under Hubbard’s direction, as documents included in the new edition of Let’s sell these people A Piece of Blue Sky clearly demonstrate. Hubbard controlled all of Scientology, and that included the Guardian Office.
Let me exemplify this last point. In 1986, I interviewed Brian Roubinek for eleven hours. He told me that he had directed the Washington break-ins, which led to eleven executives, including Mary Sue Hubbard pleading guilty and accepting prison terms. There were also 34 cited “co-conspirators,” including Hubbard and Scientology’s lawyer, Kendrick Moxon. Roubinek later admitted under oath that he had been working for Miscavige’s new management, and while most of what he had told me was true, he had tried to divert me from the most important truth. Roubinek spent eleven hours trying to convince me that Hubbard knew nothing about the break-ins. When he was done, I explained that I had interviewed Ken Urquhart a few months earlier (and, yes, I still have the tape), and he had told me that he had heard Hubbard saying to Mary Sue, “How are the Washington break-ins going?”
Hubbard wrote or approved many significant harassment Guardian Orders. His knowledge of such activity was not hidden. After counseling followers to ignore attacks, in Ron’s Journal 1967, comparing Scientology to a fire engine and critics to dogs yapping at the wheels, ten minutes later he told the world that Mary Sue Hubbard had hired “professional intelligence agents” to pry into the private lives of the then UK Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, and press baron Cecil King.
It is quite likely that the bizarre quotations in The Story of a Squirrel — David Mayo really do come from Hubbard, who was by then on the brink of the dementia that would claim his last years. It seems very likely that the horrific programme ordered against David Mayo was among Hubbard’s last fits of paranoia towards devoted followers, who he now perceived as enemies.
Which brings us back to the point. How could Scientology, a supposedly beneficial technology, live alongside its evil twin for so many years? As I told the Free Zone enquirer, Scientology is a system of hypnotic enslavement. It creates dependence that is hard to reason away, as with any other addiction. The processes do not lead to any of the claimed benefits — whether the alleviation of asthma, leukemia and cancer; the creation of super high intelligence; immunity from the common cold; or the promised super powers, which Scientologists have so signally failed to demonstrate for sixty years now. On this last point, surely someone would have pocketed James Randi’s offer of a million dollars for the simplest proof of a supernatural feat, if it were true? Hubbard’s excuse that we must not shock the world with such abilities wears rather thin (belief in miracles hasn’t upset too many Christians, Muslims or Hindus, after all). Imagine how quickly Scientology would have spread, if it actually worked! But, apart from bringing on euphoria, and the usual temporary miracle cures of every other hypnotic method and of faith healers the globe over, Scientology has nothing much to offer, apart from the slavery of the Sea Org or the financial impoverishment and family breakdown visited on the majority of members.
Hubbard harassed anyone who disagreed with him from a fairly early age. He conned Jack Parsons out of his fortune, in 1946; passed a fake check in San Luis Obispo in 1948; left his baby daughter Alexis unattended in a parked car, in 1950; and abducted her to silence her mother’s divorce complaint, a few months later. He abandoned his first wife and their children. He disowned his second wife and their child. He largely ignored the four children of his third marriage and abandoned his third wife, even though she took the rap for him. He was a multiple drug abuser, by his own admission; a chain smoker who could not quit; and most of the time had something badly wrong physically (including the asthma, bursitis and short sightedness that Dianetics supposedly cured). He was a bad man who harmed all around him. Probably time to take his advice and learn about hypnosis. After all, he said you can’t be a good “auditor” unless you do: “The next thing an auditor should know well is the effect of hypnotism and drugs, and he should have observed this actually.” (Research and Discovery, volume 1, p.307).
The Free Zoner brushed my comments aside, and simply pointed out that he meant harassment after David Mayo had left. It can be hard reasoning with the victims of auditing.
After a couple of schedule changes, one the result of a large winter storm, it appeared that Scientology had settled on a couple of dates for the re-dedication of some buildings they’ve been renovating in Los Angeles. Two facilities at the “Big Blue” complex on Fountain Avenue (“ASHO” and “AOLA”) were slated to open at noon tomorrow, and as far as we know that’s still the case.
However, the grand re-opening of the Hollywood Test Center set for Monday evening has now been put off indefinitely. The reason? Invitees are being told that some last-minute construction requires a new Certificate of Occupancy, so the opening can’t happen yet.
MORNING UPDATE: We just got a communication from one of our tipsters that now the ASHO/AOLA opening has also been postponed, until next weekend, on March 8. Supposedly because of the dreadful weather in Los Angeles. We only have that one report, so treat it with caution. It would be astounding for the church to postpone Sunday’s event, given how much work has been done to prepare for it.
You can get some sense of that prep work in this video, which Karen de la Carriere sent to us overnight…
UPDATE 2: And now Mike Rinder indicates that he’s heard the same thing, and the big celebration is delayed at least a week for ASHO/AOLA (March 8), and who knows when the Hollywood Test Center will open up.
Mike Rinder on the insanity of Scientology’s response to Leah Remini
Although the media treated it as a “tell-all,” Leah Remini’s interview with Buzzfeed was surprisingly circumspect about Scientology, and we weren’t the only ones who said something about it. Yesterday, at his blog, former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder also pointed out that Leah was not as forthcoming as the rest of the media seemed to believe…
A number of people who know some of the real story wondered why she was soft-peddling her comments and assumed it was simply that she is moving on with her life and has little interest in even talking about the subject, though reporters want to make it the focus of any interview.
But if Leah was trying to tamp down her feud with the church, you can always count on David Miscavige to react in exactly the worst possible way. If Leah was trying to sound less confrontational about the church, Miscavige, through spokeswoman Karin Pouw, blasted her in ludicrous terms.
“Miscavige just doesn’t learn. He once again comes across looking like a nasty little man who can never let go of a grudge,” Rinder says.
Here’s Scientology’s public statement almost perfectly designed to bewilder the public…
It comes as no surprise that someone as self-absorbed as Leah Remini with an insatiable craving for attention would exploit her former faith as a publicity stunt by rewriting her history with it, including omitting that she was participating in a program to remain a Scientologist by her own choice, as she was on the verge of being expelled for her ethical lapses.
Ms. Remini was not attending church services for years. In fact, she was upset because no one in the church was calling her or her family, going so far as to drag her daughter (Sofia, now 9) into the church to insist upon being given special treatment. Sadly, this is the accurate, flip side of the events she now is spinning, which are absurd, insulting and motivated entirely by a desire to grab attention.
We are saddened that Ms. Remini now feels compelled to attack her former faith as if there is something wrong with a good work ethic, encouragement to live a drug free life, a happy childhood and strong family — all values she and countless others experience from the strong religious community in the church.
Posted by Tony Ortega on March 1, 2014 at 07:00
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