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Scientology’s spies: L. Ron Hubbard’s twisted legacy that proved his sickness

jon_atack4Jon 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 three years he’s been 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.

L. Ron Hubbard’s list of characteristics for the “antisocial personality” seem to derive largely from Hervey Cleckley’s earlier work, published as The Mask of Sanity. Cleckley laid the foundation for the contemporary understanding of the personality disorder, known elsewhere as psychopathy, sociopathy, and narcissism in its variants.

It is interesting to look at the characteristics in light of Hubbard’s directives to the Guardian’s Office – rebranded as the Office of Special Affairs, after Mary Sue Hubbard and ten others were convicted of burglary, breaking and entering, false imprisonment, kidnapping and theft (Thirty-eight others, including Hubbard and Scientology’s lead attorney, Kendrick Moxon, were named as “unindicted co-conspirators” and there were also successful prosecutions in Canada and France stemming from similar conduct.)

The Guardian’s Office – and most specifically the Information Bureau – was a Suppressive Organization in Hubbard’s own terms. It was designed to destroy critics and silence criticism. I investigated the harassment policy of Scientology in some detail in Let’s sell these people A Piece of Blue Sky several decades ago, and revisited the subject in my primer for the uninitiated, Scientology: the Cult of Greed.

Hubbard said, “If anyone is getting industrious trying to enturbulate [upset] or stop Scientology or its activities, I can make Captain Bligh look like a Sunday school teacher. There is probably no limit on what I would do to safeguard man’s only road to freedom…” Captain Bligh made something of a name for himself in a navy well-known for its barbarous punishments. But, Hubbard would be willing to make flogging with a cat of nine tails look like Sunday School? Harsh!


The first characteristic of the supposed Suppressive is description in “broad generalities,” a trait of Hubbard’s when talking about his perceived opponents – such as psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychotherapists – who he grouped together as “psychs,” claiming that they were a universal conspiracy (can’t get much broader than that!). Members of this group – with the exception of the late Thomas Szasz – are keeping us all brainwashed with rose perfume, according to Hubbard’s secret teachings. The GO were tasked to harass “psychs” and they were true to that aim.

Margaret Singer told me about the dreadful harassment she received – from coming home finding dead rats nailed to her access staircase, to being strip-searched by Customs and Excise when she visited the UK, after a tip off that she was a drug dealer.

The second characteristic is gossip or bad news: The GO ran rumor campaigns against all perceived opponents. The odious private investigator Eugene Ingram traveled the world, only to find that all the gossip he’d gathered about me was unsubstantiated. That didn’t stop “entheta” campaigns accusing me of rape, attempted murder, heroin addiction, and child molesting. Tony Ortega’s superb The Unbreakable Miss Lovely gives chapter and verse of the attack on the amazingly courageous Paulette Cooper, which was directed by Hubbard himself.

The third characteristic is a continuation of the second – degrading information. See the preceding paragraph: every allegation against me was untrue. As Hubbard said “find or manufacture enough threat to make them sue for peace.” (Department of Government Affairs)

The key word here is “manufacture.” At four we have the failure to respond to any kind of therapy (i.e. Scientology, as no other form is acceptable to Hubbard). So, if you complain that you hadn’t achieved supernatural powers after completing the Bridge, you are an SP. Which makes all Scientologists SPs by the time they finish OT VIII.

At five we find out that the SP is surrounded by “cowed and ill associates,” yet the purpose of the GO was to do precisely this: To cow critics into submission and silence (“if possible, ruin him utterly”). At six, the SP “habitually selects the wrong target.” Well, the GO should have targeted Hubbard if they really wanted to clear the planet of suppression, given the points already made. As it is, they were ineffective for the most part, precisely because their activities gave Scientology a foul public odor. While some editors, politicians, and public officials were indeed cowed into submission, the GO did far more harm than good.

At seven, the SP cannot finish a cycle of action. Hubbard is a remarkable example of this point: He continued to claim – year in, year out – that he had created superhumans, but not one has been able to claim Randi’s million dollars with a single demonstration of an “OT” feat. There are no Clears and no Releases (Scientologists evidently cannot “communicate freely on any subject,” because they can’t talk about the Tech, about their “case,” about the content of the OT levels, or to anyone declared out of bounds by the Org). And, by the way, Hubbard appears to have misunderstood the meaning of the word “cycle”: a series of events that are regularly repeated in the same order, rather than a single set of events.

At eight, we are told that SPs have no shame – they will confess to alarming crimes without guilt. I have interviewed many GO and OSA operatives over the years. Only one ever apologized to me for the 16 years of unremitting harassment I suffered. When Tony interviewed former agents, several felt that they had been justified in trying to destroy Paulette Cooper, even though her account of Scientology is generally accurate (and she is a good-hearted person – I’ve known her for over 20 years, so I know whereof I speak).

At nine, the SP supports only “destructive groups” – such as the Information Bureau and Scientology and its many fronts. The evidence is overwhelming that thousands of people have been harmed by Scientology and its harassment policies. So those who support Scientology are, indeed, classifiable as Suppressive Persons.

Ten extends nine – SPs only approve of “destructive actions.” A quick skim of the Information Full Hat shows that GO operatives were extensively trained in such actions – including “Training Routine Lying.” OSA inherited the training pack without changes – save to the front cover, where “OSA” replaces “GO.” Eight hundred pages of pure malice.

At eleven, “Helping others is an activity which drives the anti-social personality nearly berserk. Activities, however, which destroy in the name of help are closely supported.” I took part wholeheartedly in the campaign against Electro-Convulsive Therapy and “psychic surgery” and I remain deeply concerned by the activities of the likes of Dr Ewen Cameron, but to extend that concern to all psychiatrists (except for Thomas Szasz), psychologists and psychotherapists is, well, a “broad generality,” and unjustified. I’ve met many good-hearted “psychs” and heard testimony from many people whose lives improved after psychotherapy. The Information Bureau was not in the business of helping and attacked those who used anything other than Scientology to help others.

And, finally, at twelve we have the belief that no one owns anything. Given the enormous amount of material stolen by the GO – at Hubbard’s direction, we must question the Source’s sincerity.

Hubbard’s navy records also show that he never paid for anything if he could get away with it (and was convicted of check fraud – which is how the San Luis Obispo coroner was able to identify him – from his arrest record fingerprints. San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office, no.C1396, arrest date 8 August 1948).

So, I conclude that the Guardian’s Office of Special Affairs was and is an antisocial organization and its Founder an antisocial personality.

The characterization of an antisocial personality by Hubbard misses significant characteristics – boasting, for instance, and risk-taking – that he suffered from. A far better account of the personality is DSM-5. There are many good books about the psychopathic disorder, I’d recommend The Empathy Trap as a starting point. The authors explain how psychopaths recruit others to work their wicked ways, just as Hubbard recruited us. Some of my own opinions on the subject can be found in Opening Minds and at our new Open Minds website. I’m working on a longer article on antisocial personality disorder and narcissism, which will be published at the website soon.

— Jon Atack


Bomb threat at Scientology’s L.A. studios

One of our tipsters who lives near the Scientology Media Productions complex on Sunset Boulevard tells us the entire area was evacuated last night for a bomb scare.

Local residents were told by LAPD only that there was a “suspicious package” at the studio compound, and they were forced from their homes as it was being checked out.

We assume that it was a false alarm, and we hope the Scientologists were soon able to go back to work.

UPDATE: The “package” turned out to be an empty rifle case that was left outside the studios, perhaps as a prank of some sort.


Victoria Britton has an update for us

We heard from Victoria Britton yesterday, who let us know that the headstone for her son Kyle Brennan has been completed and is now en route to Virginia, where she plans for there to be a small ceremony for its placement.

She wanted us to thank the readers of the Underground Bunker, who were so generous in helping her raise the funds for the headstone. “It means more to me than can ever be expressed in words,” she told us.

Kyle died in 2007 in Clearwater, Florida of a gunshot to the head. He was 20 years old. Police ruled it a suicide, but questions about Kyle’s final days when he was with his Scientologist father, and the way the Clearwater Police investigated the death, inspired a lawsuit (later dismissed) and lingering suspicions. A headstone doesn’t answer those questions, but they will at least help a mother commemorate her son.


Countdown to Denver!


HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25. Go here to start making your plans.


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,707 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,810 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,304 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,344 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,056 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 523 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,671 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,811 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,131 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,106 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 462 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,764 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 871 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,273 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,146 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 727 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,232 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,476 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,585 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on April 1, 2017 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. 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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | 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 | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | 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


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