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 for more than a year on Saturdays he helped 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. He was kind enough to send us a new post.
Jon sent us a response he’s written to one of the main concepts in Merrell Vannier’s new book. We’ll let him explain.
JON: Amazon has refused to post my review of Arrows in the Dark, recent memoir by Scientologist spy Merrell Vannier, so here it is, exclusively for Bunker readers.
Vannier was an agent of Branch One, the covert operations department of the Guardian’s Office, established by Ron Hubbard in 1966. Eleven officials of Branch One (commonly known as ‘B-1’) were imprisoned in the US for their participation in kidnapping, false imprisonment, breaking and entering, forgery of government credentials, and theft of government documents. There were similar prosecutions in Canada and France. B-1 agents had also infiltrated the UK government Home Office, and there have been investigations in Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain related to Scientology espionage.
Vannier ran dirty tricks on critics of Scientology. He describes some of these in his book, but his main objective is to defend Hubbard and Scientology. He seeks to give the impression that he and his fellow agents – who numbered in the hundreds – were part of a rogue operation that operated without Hubbard’s knowledge: This is simply untrue.
Over the past three decades, I’ve interviewed many former B-1 agents and read thousands of pages of Guardian Orders and Hubbard directives. There is absolutely no doubt that Hubbard was aware of the activities of the organization he created and directed.
In 1986, I spent eleven hours interviewing Brian Rubinek. He was Michael Meisner’s superior in the US Branch One, and claimed to have instigated the Washington break-ins that led to FBI raids, in 1977. Rubinek had been Hubbard’s personal security man, aboard the Apollo – the only GO member, except for Mary Sue who was allowed on board.
Rubinek’s script focused on a single idea: Hubbard didn’t know about the activities of B-1. I took careful notes and asked many questions. At the end of the third evening, when he had told me everything he wanted to say, it came time for me to reveal the interview I’d taped with Ken Urquhart, a month or so earlier.
Ken was Hubbard’s direct deputy from 1970-78, as I remember, a charming and intelligent man (and, like Rubinek, a believer in the ‘Technology’ of Scientology). When Rubinek confirmed in his death bed deposition that he had been working for Miscavige, I realized that he had zoned out when I told him what Ken told me: One night he overheard Hubbard ask his wife, “How are the Washington break-ins going?”
Many of the most significant Guardian Orders emanated from Hubbard. You can see them, because the FBI grabbed a bunch of them. For instance, the order to destroy the career of a cartoonist who had made an insignificant remark about Scientology – Operation Funny Bone.
Hubbard was well aware of B-1. I interviewed one of his telex clerks, who said that more traffic concerning B-1 passed to Hubbard than from any other part of the organization. There was B-1 traffic every day.
Look at the United Churches scam in Clearwater, when Hubbard was right there, directing events. Read Gabe Cazares’ testimony and compare it with the Guardian Orders, issued by Hubbard. And then read the Information Full Hat, which was reissued in 1990 with only a change to the title from ‘GO’ to ‘OSA.’ The remaining 800 pages explain breaking and entering, TR-lying, love and hate buttons, and most of the material is Hubbard’s – for instance, his Conference for the Investigators.
But even on the very public Ron’s Journal ’67, you can hear Hubbard saying that Mary Sue has hired ‘professional intelligence agents’ to investigate a press baron and the British Prime Minister. ‘intelligence agents’ – not private detectives.
Mary Sue signed a stipulation of evidence that is over 200 pages long, in the attempt to protect her husband. She went to prison, so that he wouldn’t have to. Hubbard, the expert on marriage, refused to ever even see her again, and had her letters to him censored.
If Hubbard didn’t know that hundreds of GO agents were performing the largest case of domestic espionage in US history (and something similar in every other country it had moved into) – if Hubbard didn’t know this, then he was no ‘OT.’ He would have to have been blind as a bat! As the Germans say: a fish stinks from the head down. The immoral behavior of Scientology is pervasive. Just read the liability formula again, and see how ‘enemies’ are to be treated.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at Hubbard’s clear directions to harass people – ‘if possible, ruin him utterly’ – which run throughout the ‘tech.’ Scientology was developed so that Hubbard would be remembered, as he said in his 1938 letter to his wife, ‘my only goal is to smash my name into history’.
I can only urge the believers to read my book, Let’s sell these people A Piece of Blue Sky, and Tony Ortega’s brilliantly researched The Unbreakable Miss Lovely. Hubbard was a hypnotist, as he often boasted – from the age of 16, he claimed. Twenty years later, he still listed hypnosis as his major hobby on the dustsheet of his novel Triton. He founded Dianetics less than two years later. See his own statements about hypnosis in my paper Never Believe a Hypnotist; every one is carefully referenced, so you can check it.
And watch Mike McLaughry’s interview, which shows how the Information Full Hat is used in graphic detail, and explains that there can be no doubt that B-1 was Hubbard’s agency:
I’m happy to see more former agents speak out, but not with some great justification of Hubbard’s invidious ‘technology’, which was meant to enslave people and works amazingly well.
Just think it through – only Ron could discover Tech, so he would always be that little more free than anyone else – the ‘Source’, demiurge or God of the Universe (as OT VIII seems to indicate, along with the old Power processes). And ‘self-determinism’ moves to a promise to ‘uphold command intention’ by Sea Org members, who are so slow at their job that it will take a billion years to Clear this sector of the galaxy. Mind, at this rate, despite so many fantastic years of expansion, it will take a billion years to Clear this planet. And has anyone ever see a Clear? Let alone an OT? It is a total freedom trap, and nothing more.
UPDATE: Here’s more info about the conference, Getting Clear, that is being hosted in Toronto by Jon Atack and Professor James Beverley at the Holiday Inn Toronto International Airport, from 22-26 June.
There will be morning, afternoon and evening sessions over the five days of the seminar. The evening sessions, unless otherwise indicated, will be panel discussions, open to questions from the audience. This is an outline of the programme that we hope to present, certain details may be modified.
Morning sessions: Why Me? Jon Atack’s path from raw recruit to trained auditor and OT V, his departure from Scientology and his work since.
Hubbard’s biography – Jon with Gerry Armstrong and a video from Hubbard’s biographer Russell Miller. We will examine Hubbard’s significant claims: that he was a ‘bloodbrother’ of the Pikune people; that he broke broncos as an infant; his alleged study with gurus in Tibet, India, China and Mongolia; the Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition; his frequent claims to be a ‘nuclear physicist’ and to have made the first mineralogical survey of Puerto Rico; the Alaskan Radio Experimental Expedition; Hubbard’s claims to have been a wounded and decorated war hero and to have worked in Navy Intelligence; Hubbard’s involvement with Aleister Crowley’s Sex Magick; Hubbard’s claims to virtuosity as a hypnotist.
Afternoon session: the history of the cult – Jon Atack on the origins of the cult – Whatever happened to the first 280 Clears, the research pool upon which Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental Health was based? The withdrawal of Hubbard’s original supporters: publisher Art Ceppos, editor John Campbell, and Dr Joseph Winter; the Shrine Auditorium Clear fiasco; Hubbard’s kidnap of his baby daughter, Alexis, and flight to Cuba; the Wichita Foundation; Hubbard’s loss of Dianetics and creation of ‘Scientology’ (largely based on Aleister Crowley’s ideas); St Hill; Government Inquiries; Heavy Ethics and the Sea Project – hopefully, with Hana Whitfield, a founder member of the Sea Project; the Mission into Time – with Hana (who will also talk about Hubbard’s temperament); the Sea Org in the Mediterranean, overboarding, the death of Susan Meister; the Rock Festival and the flight to the US; Hubbard in hiding; the Sea Org in the 70s, with Nancy Many; the CMO take over with Jesse Prince; Professor Jim Beverley on DM’s violence.
Morning: the Guardian’s Office of Special Affairs – Jon Atack introduction – the first criminal activity (James Elliot, in Wichita, in 1952); The Scientologist: a Manual on the Dissemination of Material 1955; the creation of the Guardian’s Office and What is Greatness?; Tony Ortega on The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, with Miss Lovely herself, Paulette Cooper; Tory Christman on the role of the public Scientologist in supporting GOSA; ‘dead-agenting’ and ‘fair game’: the tactics used to ruin critics. The 800-page Information Full Hat, used by the Guardian’s Office and re-issued in 1990, without a single deletion.
Afternoon: celebrities – Jon Atack introduction, including celebrities who left, such as Aldous Huxley, Gloria Swanson, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison and Nicole Kidman; policy on celebrities; Nora Crest, former staffer at Celebrity Center LA, Carmen Llewelyn, Jason Lee’s former partner, about her experience at CC. The religion angle – how Scientology was transformed from a ‘science of mental health’ into a religion. With contributions from cult expert Christian Szurko, sociologist David Barrett, PhD, Professor Martin Poulter and Professor James Beverley.
Morning: Jon Atack with Steven Hassan – the hypnotic and social influence techniques of Scientology deconstructed. Demonstrations of training and auditing: Book One, TRs, Objectives, NED, Grades, Clearing Course/OT II; OT III; OT IV-VII; OT VIII ‘Antichrist’ – with Jesse Prince, senior ‘technical terminal’ when OT VIII was released.
Afternoon: second generation – Nora Crest; former Hamburg State Minister, Ursula Caberta, video on child abuse in Scientology. Jon Atack on problems particular to second generation members.
Scientology attitudes towards medical treatment – Tory Christman, who was ordered to stop taking epilepsy medication; Lawrence Wollersheim video on Scientology’s attack upon his mental health.
Evening: Gerry Armstrong presentation
Morning: the international scene – Professor Alexander Dvorkin on eastern Europe; Pete Griffiths on Ireland and the UK; Andreas Heldal-Lund on Scandinavia; Steve Cannane, author of a new book on the history of the cult in Australia.
Afternoon: front groups, including Narconon and the health dangers of the Purification Rundown.
Evening: we hope to have video reports from Karin Spaink, in Holland; Marta Gorna, in Poland; Simonetta Po, in Italy; criminologist Arnaud Palison, who worked with the French courts; and a video from Lawrence Wollersheim about his successful litigation
Morning: recruiting and hard sell with a contribution from former Scientology Missions International executive, John Duignan; the dissemination drill; the registrar sales course and Big League Sales.
Afternoon: recovery with Chris Shelton, Nan McLean and Nancy Many; Jon Atack’s recommendation that members question the tenets in open discussion. Cult information and the internet – David Pike, director of FACTNet, and Brian Collinge, message board moderator.
We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, so we’re posting them at the Underground Bunker. We’ve created a dedicated page for them, and we hope you go through them all, then come back here and tell us your thoughts!
June 11: New York City (with Paulette Cooper) We’re keeping the venue on the down-low at this point. If you’re interested in coming to this unique event — Paulette in New York talking about Scientology where her story began — drop us a line so we get an idea how many are coming.
June 22 and 23: Toronto (with Paulette Cooper)
June 27/28: Florida (with Paulette Cooper)
July 12: Washington DC, Center for Inquiry
Posted by Tony Ortega on May 23, 2015 at 07:00
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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield