All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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|Internal documents from the Church of
Scientology, the parent organisation of the
Citizens Commission on Human Rights, indicate that
behind the church's public battle to expose abuses of
psychiatric patients lies a hidden plan of retribution.
The documents contain evidence that some Australian Scientologists apparently have remained committed to a 30-year-old doctrine of revenge and intimidation against people the church describes as enemies.
And while church members in Australia have been speaking out against psychiatric abuse, courts in the United States have condemned Scientology for itself using damaging psychiatric techniques.
The Citizens Committee for Human Rights was a protagonist for the Royal Commission on the use of deep-sleep therapy at Chelmsford Private Hospital in Sydney, which later reported 24 deaths as a result of the discredited treatment, and another 24 suicides by patients after they had left the hospital.
The committee, a Scientology group founded by the church in Australia in 1972, has also been credited with helping to start the present health commissioner's probe into deep-sleep therapy in Victoria.
In pushing for the Victorian probe, the committee aimed at a leading psychiatrist and deep-sleep advocate, the late Dr Alex Sinclair. In 1989, a Coroner's Court inquiry finding concluded that Dr Sinclair had contributed to the death of a patient in 1987.
Dr Sinclair has been investigated by the church's so-called "intelligence" arm because he was — according to a 1987 report by a former Citizens Committee for Human Rights member — "an enemy witness . . . involved in the suppression of (Scientology) in Victoria".
In March 1987, a report to an arm of the church — the Office of Special Affairs — said Dr Sinclair had been an active player behind the scenes in a 1965 Victorian inquiry into the cult. That inquiry reported to Parliament: "Scientology is evil; its techniques evil; its practice a serious threat to the community medically, morally and socially; and its adherents sadly deluded and often mentally ill."
Another report, to a senior member of the Scientology hierarchy in Los Angeles from the Melbourne investigations office, dated 20 May 1989, lists six psychiatrists, including Dr Sinclair, as "attackers who were instrumental in acting as witnesses for the Melb. inquiry or worked behind the scenes of the inquiry".
It added: "If we do find LSD experiment connections that can be documented to Sinclair (and two other psychiatrists), then this can be easily run in the media . . .". The Citizens Committee for Human Rights has for several years collected information about the use of the hallucinogenic drug LSD by some psychiatrists, and then distributed the material to authorities and the media.
The report also said the material could then be used to discredit the doctors as part of a campaign code-named "SWOT 19", which apparently was connected to a project believed to have been aimed at "enemy witnesses" against Scientology.
In a further report, after the start of the Victorian health commissioner's inquiry into deep-sleep therapy (DST) use, the Citizens Committee for Human Rights congratulated itself for its role in forcing the inquiry, saying it would particularly focus on Dr Sinclair, "a big fish as regards enemy action".
"We are utilizing (sic) the (Sydney) Chelmsford thrust to carry it on to Melbourne on an attack on DST and Sinclair and associates in Melbourne," it said.
The report details Dr Sinclair's military and professional history, his defence of deep-sleep therapy by one of the Chelmsford doctors in a trial in 1980 and his actions in helping to "suppress" Scientology.
The national president of the Citizens Committee for Human Rights, Ms Jan Eastgate, said last week she had no knowledge of the reports cited above, and that the group was interested in Dr Sinclair because it believed he had introduced deep-sleep therapy to Australia, and because he had given evidence to a NSW court in support of the method at a time when people were dying from its use.
"There's no hidden agenda or motive behind that," Ms Eastgate said.
"When I first came into Citizens Committee for Human Rights there wasn't any discussion about mental health, or mental illness or violations. People were just languishing away in psychiatric hospitals . . .
"The state of reform in this country at the moment is indicative of the work that we have done," she said. The Citizens Committee for Human Rights had helped bring about important reforms ensuring that "you can't just go around arbitrarily locking people up and giving them potentially harmful treatment without their consent. What's wrong with that?"
The reports all include notations indicating that they were circulated in Australia and overseas. Some of the reports finish with instructions to cross-file copies of the documents with a long list of other files kept on individuals, including psychiatrists.
Insight has established that the church has used surveillance against church "enemies", ranging from doctors to journalists in Australia. This has continued despite the jailing of cult leaders in the United States more than a decade ago that prompted church efforts to distance itself from such activities.
Some former Scientologists in Australia and overseas have told Insight that the intelligence operations are conducted through the church's Office of Special Affairs. The address of the Melbourne branch of the Office of Special Affairs is listed as the Scientology headquarters in Russell Street, and is behind the same doors as the offices of the Citizens Committee for Human Rights.
Some people who have resigned or been expelled from the cult in Australia, and others regarded as "threats", claim that they have been harassed and intimidated by church members or people who some believe were hired "heavies".
"Simon", who left the Church after more than 20 years involvement, said that the last time he spoke publicly about the church, he had been followed for days at a time. At the same time, his house was burgled and his vehicle was tampered with, although he has no evidence to say by whom.
He said a young man claiming to be a salesman came to his door and recited intimate details of his life, which he said would be available only from confidential personal files kept by the church of "auditing" sessions — confessional-style counselling in which an individual is attached to a primitive lie detector called the E Meter.
A Perth based anti-cult activist and Christian minister, Mr Adrian Van Leen, claims a private investigator was sent to intimidate him after he criticised the church in 1988.
Mr Vosper, who now lives in Melbourne, said that at various times he has been under long-term surveillance — his movements apparently filmed and photographed — by people making no attempt to hide their interest in him. "They want you to know you are being watched, that itself is intimidating," he said.
Rumors about him were widely circulated to friends and associates, together with material he said would have been found in his personal "auditing" files.
Mr Vosper and "Simon" were given letters by the church branding them as "suppressive persons" and "degraded beings", and are subject to the vicious Hubbard "fair game" policy which has been central to legal action in the United States. Under the "fair game" policy, they can be "tricked, sued, lied to or destroyed".
This "fair game" policy has been under close scrutiny in the United States, where another declared "suppressive", Mr Larry Wollersheim, has been fighting a court battle against the Church of Scientology of California. He has won a separate case against the church for intentional infliction of emotional distress, although the amount of damages is still subject to appeal.
On 21 July 1989, the California Court of Appeal found that Mr Wollersheim had suffered psychological injury as a result of Scientology practices conducted in a coercive atmosphere.
The court said the church's conduct was "manifestly outrageous", forcing him to continue the church practice of "auditing", to leave his wife and family, and forbidding him to seek professional help when he became so disturbed that he planned suicide.
The court found that Mr Wollersheim was an incipient manic-depressive for most of his life, and that the church leaders were aware of his disorder. "What (the church) did to him during and after his years in Scientology aggravated Wollersheim's mental condition, driving him into deep depressive episodes and causing him severe mental anguish," the court found.
Mr Wollersheim's expert witnesses testified that Scientology's practices constituted "brain washing" and "thought reform" akin to what the Chinese and North Koreans practised on American prisoners of war.
The court established Scientology as an organisation with near-paranoid attitudes; that the church's sanctions "unquestionably constituted reckless disregard for the likelihood of causing emotional distress"; that the church engaged in a practice of retribution and threatened retribution — "fair game" — against members who left or otherwise posed a threat to the organisation.
The court went on to compare some aspects of church practice with the Christian Inquisition of the Middle Ages, concentrating on "heretics" who threatened the dogma and institutional integrity of the mother church.
In a 1984 case in which the Church of Scientology California sued a former Scientologist, a Superior Court Judge found against the church, writing that former Scientologists were "still bound by the knowledge that the church has in its possession his or her most inner thoughts and confessions . . . and that the church or its minions is fully capable of intimidation or other physical or psychological abuse if it suits their ends".
"The record is replete with evidence of such abuse," the judge found.
"In addition to violating and abusing its own members' civil rights, the organisation over the years with its 'fair game' doctrine has harassed and abused those persons not in the church whom it perceives as enemies.
"The organisation clearly is schizophrenic and paranoid, and this bizarre combination seems to be a reflection of its founder (L. Ron Hubbard)."
A Citizens Committee for Human Rights official in Melbourne, Mr Chris Campbell, said the findings of a variety of official inquiries demonstrated that abuse of psychiatric patients was not a figment of Scientologists' imaginations.
He said there had been many anomalies in United States court cases against the church. "I can play that game . . . I can find the anomalies and make your newspaper look stupid . . . but it's a regressive step."
• Additional research, David Wilson.