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Snow White's dirty tricks

DAVID BERESFORD investigates the activities of Scientology's secret intelligence unit whose director is based in Britain

IT WAS a familiar beginning to an American public scandal: soon after 7 pm on the night of June 11, 1976, two burglars were caught in the US Court House in Washington DC.

In the Watergate tradition frantic attempts were made to localise responsibility. But the cover-up finally cracked and disclosures followed which were to lead, not to the top of the Republican Party, but to the leadership of the world's fastest growing cult, the Church of Scientology.

As a result of the June 1976 burglary and the attempted cover-up, the FBI conducted a raid on Scientology's US headquarters in Los Angeles in July, 1977, seizing van-loads of internal documents.

The documents were used as the basis for a case which resulted in nine leading members of the cult receiving gaol sentences last October for conspiracy to steal US Government documents. The case is still under appeal, but after a series of legal manoeuvres by the Scientologists, the judge in the original trial has ordered that the documents be made a public record. As a result about 23,000 of these documents are now on display in Washington.

They tell an extraordinary story of international intrigue involving the UK. They disclose that:

The Church of Scientology ran a private intelligence service which used "dirty tricks" techniques. The intelligence unit was under the direction and ultimate control of the "Guardian World Wide," the cult's senior administrative executive who is based in England.

The head of the cult, Ronald L. Hubbard, developed an obsession about two UK-based medical organisations which he believed were conducting a secret war against Scientology.

In an attempt to rehabilitate its reputation the Scientologists launched an international programme, code-named "Snow White," aimed at neutralising all "secret" government files derogatory to Scientology. Part of the programme, "Project Witch," involved attempts to get a Scotland Yard document on Scientology and to sue the Metropolitan Commissioner over it.

Scientology's secret intelligence unit, codenamed (at different times) B1 or B4, was involved in the activities which resulted, last October, in the nine leading members of the cult — including Mr Hubbard's wife, Mary Sue — receiving heavy gaol sentences in the US for conspiracy.

According to evidence in the case and to the Washington documents subsequently released, Scientology's intelligence agents broke into a variety of government offices; penetrated the US security services; bugged a meeting of the country's Internal Revenue service; smeared politicians with forged documents; placed judges under surveillance; planted agents in newspaper offices; and attempted to frame purported enemies of the cult.

The Washington documents show that B1/B4 fell under the control of the office of Scientology's Guardian World Wide — a post held for life by Mrs Jane Kember, who is based at the cult's headquarters at Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, Sussex. A number of the seized documents indicate that directions on B1/B4 intelligence operations in the US were issued from East Grinstead, and that reports-back on the success of missions were regularly made to the Guardian World Wide.

One operation conducted by B1/B4 intelligence agents involved the attempted investigation into the private life of Sir John Foster, the former MP who conducted Britain's government inquiry into Scientology between 1969 and 1971. References to Sir John in the Washington documentation appear in a "time chart" — a daily log — of a surveillance-and-harassment operation conducted against an American free-lance writer, Paulette Cooper, author of a book criticising Scientology.

An entry for June 9, 1972, reads: "D/G Int. US (Deputy Guardian Intelligence, United States) orders B4 US team to check possibility of Cooper ever having been a guest or resident at Sir John Foster's New York apartment, in that reports tell of young women often guests there; also to obtain laws concerning photos as evidence in court for New York, and to check if a formal complaint was made by Cooper that her phone was tapped."

The time-track entry for June 11 says: "B4 US agent goes to Sir John Foster's apartment to interview Ruth Gordon who has noticed girls going into Foster's; she wasn't at home; phone number unlisted."

The cult also apparently contemplated hiring a private detective to investigate Lord Balniel. A circular issued by Mr Hubbard on February 9, 1966, says: "Some lord is going to ask a question in the House as to why the health minister here does not conduct an inquiry Into Scientology. . . ." It goes on to say that if any more is heard about such an inquiry, "get a detective on that lord's past to unearth the tit-bits."

A subsequent memo from Mr Hubbard, dated March 11, 1966, says it was "Balniel" who "put the recent question in Parliament about an inquiry into Scientology."

Scientology's interest in the UK appears to stem from the continued use of Saint Hill Manor as international headquarters and Mr Hubbard's bitterness at the way both he and his organisation had been treated by the British authorities.

Mr Hubbard was also convinced that the UK played a role in a mysterious "central agency "—dubbed the "Tenyaka Memorial"—which he believed was behind various misfortunes suffered by Scientology. A number of papers in the Washington documentation deals with Mr Hubbard's hunt for the Tenyaka Memorial. One, a memorandum marked "secret" and dated May 6, 1971, announced that the UK-based World Federation on Mental Health (WFMH) and the National Association of Mental Health (NAMH) were responsible.

The "central handler," claimed Mr Hubbard, was the secretary of the NAMH, Mary Appleby. "It is she who writes and phones her contacts to start attacks on Scientology." Mr Hubbard goes on to offer the hypothesis that the attacks on Scientology were the work of a Nazi network operating through drug companies, banks and the psychiatric profession, and aimed at conquering the world.

An indication that Mr Hubbard's obsession with the NAMH and WFMH led to B1/B4 intelligence operations against them, is given by a log-book of instructions from Scientologists in Britain to counterparts in the US. An entry for March 27, 1974, marked "Re: WFMH," reads: ". . .however, now the Secretariat is in Jamaica and I would like a mission sent to finish off the files and make quite sure we have cleared them out. As it is closest to your area, could you please select missionaries with a decent cover etc. so we can finish them off. What I am after is any files on Scn (Scientology), Dn (Dianetics, the pseudo-scientific theory which was the forerunner of Scientology), LRH (Hubbard) etc, that the WFMH has."

As well as its intelligence unit, Scientology made heavy use of a public relations department and a legal department in dealing with "enemies." The organisation's attitude to litigation is spelled out in a memorandum put out by the Guardian World Wide, Miss Kember, on October 7, 1971.

Headed: "Re : Books and Entheta (criticism of Scientology)" written by SPs (Suppressive Persons—a term denoting enemies of Scientology), the document says: "Legal UK seldom, if ever, assesses its chances of winning before commencing action. Its ability lies in getting the action into court fast, without a Q & A on the chances of winning . . . .

"Legal UK has been in courts more often in the past three years than the rest of the Scientology world combined. They have won more cases and lost more cases than anywhere else. . . . The losses did not hurt us, and the successes established an iron-clad ethics presence which has probably prevented more Entheta than we will ever know about (B4 feedback lines confirm this).

"Do not worry about whether you will win or lose, but direct all effort and concentration on the legal technicalities required to achieve legal confrontation.

"It is always technically possible — though sometimes difficult to get into court. The most difficult part is in forcing your legal team, especially outside lawyers, to get this done, in spite of their terror of losing."

One target of Scientology's legal department and intelligence service was Scotland Yard — as part of the " Snowhite " programme aimed at cleaning up Scientology's international image. The organisation decided that many of the attacks on Scientology were based on secret reports held by various government agencies in specified countries around the world.

"Witch" was a Snow White project in the UK. Its targets, according to a 1973 document, were "the Aliens Office, Immigration, UK Interpol, the Royal Navy and the health and securities ministries." The memo — marked "confidential," headed "Project Witch," dated May 28 and issued by Jane Kember — says a report from the American Embassy in London showed that US police data on Scientologists had been passed to Scotland Yard.

The memo says that a copy of a Yard CID report on the organisation had been obtained, and Miss Kember instructs the Scientology intelligence service in the US to track down any copies of the report held by American agencies. When this has been done, says Miss Kember, "another legal case against Scotland Yard can be mocked up."

The only British government restrictions on Scientology is an immigration ban imposed in 1969 which is being reconsidered by MPs and the Home Office. Whether the ban is effective is questionable in view of one Washington document dealing with a Scientologist. Steve Clamage, who was apparently considered a security risk by the Scientologists.

The document, a 1976 memo to a "deputy Guardian," says: "I have ensured that Steve Clamage would give no data to government officials." The memo says Mr Clamage had been "bonded" (i.e., he had given a financial guarantee he would not compromise the organisation).

Attached to the memo is part of a "debrief" in which Mr Clamage says, in part: "I know the real names of some B1 WW (World Wide intelligence) staff who use other names. I know how some WW staff falsify data to Immigration so they can stay in England."

The debrief concludes with the assurance by Mr Clamage: "I would never disclose any of the above to anyone. . . . I never do anything to jeopardise the church."

Papers reveal sect's 'dirty tricks'

THE Church of Scientology ran international "dirty tricks" operations under the direction of church executives at their headquarters in Sussex, according to new evidence which has emerged in the United States.

The Scientologists tapped telephones, smeared critics, burgled offices and spied on the private lives of public figures.

One British public figure who was a target of their private "intelligence" operations was the eminent British QC, Sir John Foster. A former MP, Sir John headed Britain's Commission of Inquiry into Scientology, which was set up in 1969 and reported in December 1971.

Internal Scientology documents released in the US show that in July 1972 agents working for the sect's internal intelligence service tried to find out details about "young women" who purportedly stayed at Sir John's apartment in New York.

The documents also show that the head of the Scientology cult, Mr L. Ron Hubbard, issued provisional instructions to have a private detective investigate the life of Lord Balniel.

The instruction was given in 1966 after Lord Balniel, now the Earl of Crawford, had pressed the Government to set up an inquiry into Scientology.

The Scientologists also developed a complicated plan — involving covert agents — to sue Scotland Yard, according to the documents.

The investigation into Sir John Foster's affairs was apparently an attempt to establish a link between him and an attractive New York author and freelance journalist, Miss Paulette Cooper, who is a well-known critic of Scientology in America.

Miss Cooper has been the target of a long-running Scientology campaign of vilification and harassment. At one stage, the church succeeded in having her indicted by a Federal Grand Jury on false charges of making bomb threats, and of perjury.

The Washington documents show that Miss Cooper was the victim of the Scientologists' intelligence service, which is controlled by the organisation's so-called "Guardian's Office," at East Grinstead, Sussex.

These latest disclosures about the Church of Scientology coincide with a growing political controversy over a long-standing Government ban on Scientologists entering the UK.

Last July an all party motion was tabled in the Commons by Mr Peter Ross, a Conservative MP, which said: "This House is concerned at the infringement of the usual principle of British justice in the case of the Church of Scientology where evidence said to have been held by the Department of Health and Social Security since 1968 has never been revealed; and calls upon the Secretary of State to publish it in full, or otherwise ask the Home Secretary to lift the ban on overseas members of the Church who wish to enter the UK to study or work at Scientology establishments."

The motion, headed "Justice for Scientologists," has so far been signed by 67 MPs.

An amendment was tabled last week by another Conservative MP, Mr John Hunt, which said: "This house is concerned at the documented evidence from the USA indicating that members of the Church of Scientology have been involved in criminal activities including a conspiracy to infiltrate federal agencies and steal Government documents; and strongly urges the Secretary of State for the Home Department to maintain his ban in the entry of known Scientologists into the UK."

Mr Hunt said he appreciated that the immigration ban on Scientologists was unique.

He said that if any similar evidence was forthcoming an other cults or groups he would favour extending the ban.