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Inside Scientology: "Attack the Attacker"

Title: Inside Scientology: "Attack the Attacker"
Date: Wednesday, 7 July 1982
Publisher: News-Herald (Santa Rosa, California)
Author: Dennis Wheeler
Main source: link (456 KiB)

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Several former policies of the Church of Scientology, founded by L. Ron Hubbard, have persistently tainted its public image.

Scientologists say these policies were either "jokes" from the very beginning, or were misunderstood by the public — and in any case they have all been canceled.

Most of these policies involve ways the Church deals with people it has labeled "Potential Trouble Sources" and "Suppressive Persons." The latter are "those who are destructively antisocial" or those who "actively seek to suppress or damage Scientology or a Scientologist by suppressive acts." A Potential Trouble source is simply a "person connected to a Suppressive Person." Both these terms are still used by the Church.

Controversial policies were adopted and subsequently canceled in the late 1960s, when the Church's "Guardian's Office" was formed to deal with the increasing deluge of negative publicity about the organization. Others were never specific, written policies, but according to Scientology critics may still be practiced by the Church.

The policies include the following:

Security checks: For years, the "E-Meter" or "Hubbard Electrometer" has been a controversial part of Scientology. Church officials insist the machine is simply a religious artifact used in pastoral counseling — that with the E-Meter a Scientology minister can help a parishioner locate and overcome areas of spiritual travail.

Critics of the Church say the E-Meter is a crude galvanometer or lie detector mechanism, used at times by the Church for "integrity processing" and "security checks" (or "sec checks").

Critics claim the sec checks can unmask anyone who has infiltrated Scientology, and that the information gained from members undergoing sec checks is recorded for possible blackmailing purposes in the future.

According to a recent 196-page report on Scientology written by Boston attorney Michael Flynn and six other lawyers, "Numerous Scientology defectors have chillingly described a '1984' type setting in which a person is told to 'pick up the cans' for a 'sec check,' in order to determine if the person has any negative Scientology thoughts, as well as having engaged in any anti-Scientology activities."

But Scientology officials claim it's impossible to use the E-Meter as a "lie detector" — that the standard lie detector or polygraph consists of a blood pressure meter, a respiration recorder, and a galvanometer, whereas the E-Meter only measures "mental resistance."

Freeloader's Debts: Critics of Scientology say converts lured into the organization by free personality tests, pay a small fee to take a "Communications Course," and then are pressed to pay large amounts for "auditing" and various Scientology courses — sometimes spending thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. If they eventually run out of money or lose their jobs, they're then induced to become staff members with paid salaries.

And if staff members later decide to leave the Church, critics say they may be threatened with a Freeloader's Debt for services rendered them while on staff. The Freeloader's Debt allegedly is designed to keep people within the organization, to prevent potential lawsuits, and to prevent exposure of illegal or unethical Scientology practices.

Disconnection: Established in a Hubbard Command Office (HCO) policy letter of December 23, 1965, this policy required Potential Trouble Sources to cut off all ties to Suppressive Persons, even if the latter were spouses or dose relatives.

Critics of Scientology say Disconnection severed people from friends or relatives who might have enlightened them about the true nature of Scientology. Also, critics claim, in many instances husbands or wives disconnected themselves from non-Scientology spouses, sued for divorce, and in the divorce proceedings obtained as much money as possible to turn over to Scientology.

Current Church literature, however, states that "Disconnection was the action of helping persons to become exterior from circumstances or people that suppress them. . .It was not fully understood that disconnection was usually a temporary handling, to give the person a 'breathing space' from a problem, while they found the true source of it." Disconnection, according to Scientology, has been replaced since 1968 by "ethics counseling."

Attack the Attacker: This policy, allegedly was used to keep disaffected staff members in line, and to keep non-Scientologists from writing articles critical of Scientology. It's outlined in the HCO policy letter of December 25, 1966, and states as follows:

This is the correct procedure:

(1) Spot who is attacking us.

(2) Start investigating them promptly for felonies or worse, using our own professionals, not outside agencies.

(3) Double curve our reply by saying we welcome an investigation of them.

(4) Start feeding lurid, blood, sex, crime, actual evidence on the attackers to the press.

Don't ever tamely submit to an investigation of us. Make it rough, rough on attackers all the way.

Fair Game: Any Suppressive Person who's labeled Fair Game "may be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed."

The wording of this policy, say Scientology critics, is very clear, and the policy is still being used against enemies of the Church, critics claim.

Scientologists, on the other hand, say the Fair Game policy was canceled in a policy letter of October 21, 1968. While not quoting the actual wording of the original policy, a Scientology rebuttal of, criticism of the Fair Game policy says, "The term, 'Fair Game,' even when it was in use, did not have the meaning attached to it by critics of Scientology. 'Fair Game' meant that the individual so designated was no longer protected by the codes and disciplines of Scientology or the rights of a Scientologist." They quote the Creed of the Church of Scientology, which contradicts the Fair Game policy: "We of the Church believe that the laws of God forbid Man: To destroy his own kind. To destroy the sanity of another. To destroy or enslave another's soul. To destroy or reduce the survival of one's companions or one's group."

Hubbard says in an affidavit dated March 22, 1976: "There was never any attempt or intent on my part by the writing of these policies (or any other for that fact) to authorize illegal or harassment type acts against anyone. . .As soon as it became apparent to me that the concept of 'Fair Game' as described above was being misinterpreted by the uninformed. . .these policies were cancelled."

R2-45: In Hubbard's book, The Creation of Human Ability — a Handbook of Scientology, R2-45 is defined as "an enormously effective process for exteriorization, but its use is frowned upon by this society at this time." And in an internal 1968 memo titled "Racket Exposed," Hubbard said of a number of individuals who had been labeled Fair Game: "Any Sea Organization member contacting any of them is to use auditing process R2-45. (The Sea Organization is a fraternal organization of top members of Scientology.)

Exteriorization in this usage means death, and R2-45 refers to shooting a person in the head, twice, with a .45 caliber pistol. Hubbard's oldest son, L. Ron Hubbard, Jr., says that at a 1954 Scientology meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, Hubbard demonstrated the auditing process by firing a shot into the floor.

There's no evidence, however, that R2-45 has ever been used on anyone, and Scientologists say Hubbard was only joking about it. In a rebuttal to criticism of the policy, Scientology again cites its Creed, and says that the Suppressive Persons referred to in the 1968 memo always had the opportunity to restore themselves to good standing in the Church. "Thus," says the rebuttal, "there is not only a complete absence of evidence to support allegations of malicious intent connected to R2-45, but there is also substantial evidence which refutes the allegation."

The above policies, say Scientology critics and defectors, clearly reveal unethical or illegal aspects of the Church. Although the policies themselves were canceled in the late '60s, illegal activities involving Scientology occurred in the '70s, and it wasn't until the '80s that nine top Scientology officials — including Hubbard's third wife, Mary Sue Hubbard — were convicted of charges of conspiracy, burglary, or theft of secret documents from U.S. government offices in Washington, D.C.

Church critics say that whenever something of this nature occurs, Scientology officials claim it was the work of only a few members, unsanctioned by the Church.

But a "new era" has dawned for the organization, according to a Scientology press release received by the News-Herald last October. Several individual executives of the Church, the release says, "had gotten themselves involved in a fight with the government. . .this was done by a handful of individuals, and was not the Church."

The release quotes Reverend Kenneth Whitman, President of the Church of Scientology of California: "We have started a new era for Scientology. We have a new executive body and a clean slate. It is time our emphasis comes off the past and into the future, and we take our rightful place in assisting society in handling the many social evils that plague the nation and the world."