Scientology Critical Information Directory

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Silencing criticism

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." — Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
«The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly» — L. Ron Hubbard, "The Scientologist - A Manual on the Dissemination of Material", 1955; also "The Technical Bulletins of Dianetics and Scientology", 1976
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Radar (March 17, 2008): "Cult Friction" by John Cook
[...] As recently as February, according to Miscavige's estranged niece, a reporter for a British tabloid received a vaguely threatening phone call after interviewing her. The reporter had contacted the Church's press office seeking a response to Hill's claims that the religion tears families apart. Shortly thereafter, he received a call from a stranger asking if his mother knew that he was working on a story about Hill. The caller then recited the writer's mother's home address. Soon after, the story was killed. [...]
Robert W. Welkos (1991): "Shudder into silence: The Church of Scientology doesn't take kindly to negative coverage"
At various times, we were investigated by as many as three separate teams of private investigators hired by Scientology's attorneys. Up to the week of publication, the newspaper continued to receive letters from church lawyers threatening suits. I was sued by a church paralegal for false imprisonment after he served me with a subpoena inside the newspaper and I told him to wait in an editor's office until security arrived and determined how he entered the building.

The Independent (Apr. 2006): "The secrets of Scientology" by Sara Lawrence

The cult has attempted to intimidate news organisations who expose it. Last year, it threatened court action against Google, which had to remove websites that criticised the group. After a day witnessing what goes on on the inside, I realise it's little wonder the "church" needs to resort to such tactics.

Lermanet: "Scientology Gag Agreements - A Conspiracy for Silence"

Damien Von Markif, in Australia, sent me this GAG AGREEMENT.

Dave Touretzky has compiled new disturbing information (and more gag / release "consent" forms,)about the new efforts to "legalize forced incarceration" in the wake of the Lisa McPherson case.

Does this sound like this is a "church" engaged in "charitable activity" or totalitarian dictator silencing his critics? Or a Spiritual ponzi game engaged in a conspiracy to intimidate witnesses into silence by extortionate conduct?

Or consider the 1996 intimidation of a local Arlington County Virginia shopkeeper who consented to display "Free Diskettes" containing copies of public court records showing Scientology's true nature.

Former Scientologist told to pay $500,000 for criticizing church

A former Scientologist has been ordered to pay $500,000 for speaking out against his old church in violation of an 18-year-old legal settlement.

CNet News: "Net archive silences Scientology critic" by Lisa Bowman

Buckling under pressure from the Church of Scientology, the Internet Archive has removed a church critic's Web site from its system.

Affidavit of Jesse Prince (20 August 1999)

The truth is that these "confessions" are kept to blackmail and extort members should they dare to speak out against Scientology. Members are also coerced to sign documents that are self-damaging in order to protect Scientology in case they dare to leave its control and speak the damaging truth.  I know all this to be true, because I watched this done to others; I did it to others; and it was done to me.

Affidavit of Jesse Prince (27 July 1998)

18. On July 26, 1998, one of the cult's attorneys sent a long fax to Dan Leipold that is their first not-so-veiled threat to me, warning me to be silent. The attorney included the document they prepared for me and that I signed under the conditions I just described. I am attaching his letter and the documents I was forced to sign under duress as my first evidence of what this criminal cult does to silence anyone speaking out. (Exhibit 1). It does not surprise me, as it is a standard tactic, to force a person to create or sign a self-damaging document to use when ready.

The Library Journal (Nov. 1974): "Books Scared Them"

Having won out of court settlements and apologies from publishers of four recent books exposing the "inside story" on the "religion" of Scientology and its founder, Ron Hubbard, defenders of Scientology have vowed to take to court any Canadian library or bookstore that refuses to get rid of these "libelous' books. The Scientologists have conducted similar suits in England, Australia, and the U.S. The books in question are The Mind Benders by Cyril Vosper (reported once a high official at Scientology world headquarters): Scientology: The Now Religion by George Malko; Inside Scientology by Robert Kaufman; and Scandal of Scientology by Paulette Cooper.

Syracuse Herald-Journal (1997): "Scientology's Unholy War: Lawsuit, privates eyes hound Scientology's legion of critics"

In 1992, Judge Ronald Swearinger of Los Angeles County Superior Court told The American Lawyer magazine that he believed Scientologists had slashed his car tires and drowned his collie while he was presiding over a suit against the church. The church denied the accusations.

Scientology's tactics in court have also drawn judicial rebukes. Last year, the California Court of Appeal accused Scientology of using "the litigation process to bludgeon the opponent into submission." The Federal Court of Appeals in San Francisco said last year that Scientology had played "fast and loose with the judicial system" and levied $2.9 million in sanctions against the church.

By aggressively pursuing its opponents in court, the church seems to heed the preaching of L. Ron Hubbard, its founder, who once wrote: "The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than win. ... If possible, of course, rum him utterly."

Globe and Mail (Jan 1980): "The Scientology Papers: Cult order sought to end scientists' criticism" by John Marshall

A 1977 order from the top level of the Church of Scientology sought to silence criticism of the cult by a New York-based organization dedicated to investigating UFOs and claims of psychic wonders.

The Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal was the subject of a six-page order among many thousands of documents released by a Washington court that recently convicted nine U. S. Scientology leaders of playing a part in a conspiracy to steal confidential government documents.

Dated March 24, 1977, the order was signed by Herman Brandel, an aide to Mary Sue Hubbard, wife of Scientology's founder and one of the nine sent to prison.

It was titled: Program: Humanist Humiliation. (The CSICOP, an international group whose members include biochemist-author Isaac Asimov, grew out of the American Humanist Association.) And it began: Major Target — To handle terminatedly the Humanist publication Zetetic (now The Skeptical Inquirer) and the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal so that they never attack Scientology or Dianetics again. [...]

Globe and Mail (May 1978): "Church kept 'enemies list'" by John Picton

According to a Government affidavit, the reports said, top Scientology officials were aware of and participated in a campaign to silence critics of Scientology.

Among them was the head of the church's Guardian Office, which was said to be responsible for conducting covert operations to acquire Government documents and to discredit and remove from positions of power all persons whom the church considers to be its enemies. [...]

Ron Newman (1995): "Scientology harassment of non-Internet critics"

Internet users are finding out something that writers and journalists have known for years: the Church of Scientology doesn't take kindly to people who write negative things about it. They've sued and harassed numerous writers of books, such as biographer Russell Miller, who described his courtroom experience in a Punch magazine article in February 1988. In 1994, they picketed and distributed defamatory leaflets about writer Jon Atack, whose story is told in a 1994 Evening Argus article. In mid-August, 1995, they did the same thing to Seattle resident Robert Vaughn Young, the Church's former public relations officer; that story appeared in the Seattle Times on August 26. Los Angeles Times writer Robert Welkos was followed by private investigators and received unsolicited hand-delivered ads from funeral homes; you can read a first-person account in his Quill magazine article.

St. Petersburg Times (Sep. 1987): "Scientology lawyer threatens lawsuit"

[...] Corydon's book is so scandalous, full of lies and unprofessional that no major publication has touched it. If you forward one of his lies you will find yourself in court facing not only libel and slander charges, but also charges for conspiracy to violate civil rights. If you publish anything at all on it, you may still find yourself defending charges in court in light of what we know about your intentions. We know a whole lot more about your institution and motives than you think. [...]

Las Vegas Review Journal (Jul. 1980): "Scientology Church official quits"

[...] Last week, another source said, worried church officials came to Las Vegas and attempted to negotiate a censoring pact with Garrity's local attorney which provided that she would promptly get all the money she still had on account at the church in return for her silence.

Garrity turned down the offer. [...]

The Australian (July 12, 2007): "Inside a mad-made religion" by Hedley Thomas

"There is an interview I have where they ask Ron Hubbard, 'Are yea mad?', and he says: 'Yes, l am,'" says Raphael Aron, director of Australia's Cult Counselling Centre. "He saw his madness as a quality and as thinking outside the square."

In 1999, when Aron wrote Cults: Too Good To Be True, he was persuaded to delete what he regarded at the time as the best chapters: those that explored Scientology in Australia and its seeds 50 years ago in the US.

The risk of litigation was deemed to great. Even now Aron chooses his words carefully; the coffers of Scientology are deep, thanks to slick marketing and the remarkable dedication of members relentless in taking on critics. [...]

David Touretzky: "The Profit: The Movie Scientology Won't Let You See"

The Church of Scientology, has obtained an injunction against the showing of the independent film The Profit. (Internet Movie Database entry here.) Scientology is currently facing a lawsuit for the abuse and wrongful death of one of its members, Lisa McPherson, who died while being held against her will at the cult's headquarters in Clearwater, Florida. The supposed purpose of the injunction is to prevent influencing the jury pool in that upcoming trial.

However, Senior Circuit Judge Robert E. Beach did not stop there. He crossed out the proposed language limiting the scope of the injunction to the geographical jurisdiction of his court. The injunction he issued in April 2002 applied worldwide, and continues to this day! It has completely prevented release of the film. This type of denial of First Amendment rights is unprecedented in the history of US cinema. [...]

Gerry Armstrong: "Scientology vs. Jim Berry"

Back in December last year, I wrote about Scientology’s “Operation Funny Bone,” which executed Hubbard’s 1977 order to “disenfranchise” cartoonist Jim Berry for an innocuous cartoon in which Berry merely mentioned Scientology. Dozens if not hundreds of Scientologists – organization executives, staff members and non-staff covert operatives – were marshaled for this intelligence and black propaganda conspiracy and operation to ruin Berry’s career.

Santa Barbara Independent (Jan. 1993): "Church of Scientology Big Loser in S.B. Case"

Last Friday was a dark day for the embattled Church of Scientology. A special judge in Los Angeles attacked the church in the most blistering terms possible, charging it with gross abuse of the judicial process in its unsuccessful lawsuit against the now-defunct Church of the New Civilization, the Scientology splinter group that operated 'The Advanced Abilities Center" in Montecito between 1983 and 1986.

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P------ ---- (Mar. 1995): "Scientology: My Story"

Finally... into the inner sanctum of the ethics officer. The guy was a little runt who wore glasses, squinted and chain smoked. He told me that I had to stop asking questions, stop investigating, stop challenging people's claims of abilities, and so on. He wanted me to sign some forms. I refused. He produced some paperwork, and said that he'd process me for "declaration". I said I didn't care. He then told me that he'd "take care of me" if I kept asking questions. I asked him what that meant. He said that he would certainly hurt me, maybe kill me "with his OT powers" if I did not comply with his demands.

The Melbourne Age (Apr. 1991): "Church out to even the score" by Jo Chandler and Jacqui MacDonald

It is a disturbing document first issued by the church's late founder, L. Ron Hubbard, in 1959 and reissued in Australia in 1981. [...]

It advises that the church threaten litigation, then "use the data you got from the detective . . . to write the author of the article a very tantalising letter . . . Just tell him we know something very interesting about him and wouldn't he like to come in and talk about it . . . He'll sure shudder into silence." [...]

City of Clearwater Commission Hearing: The Church of Scientology - Day 4, Paulette Cooper

So, it began to bother me that, you know, was this so-called respectable Church perhaps harassing people? And in that one weekend, I had noted that they had lied about certain things, and I wondered about a church lying to people. And I decided to look in the library and see if I could get any information, any book. And I discovered that all the stories had been clipped out of every single magazine pertaining to Scientology, and I wondered whether this Church was, perhaps, possibly stealing things.

The Buffalo Beast: "Cult Classic - Pseudoscience and Psychedelics in the Church of Scientology"

After some prodding, she explained that the negative press concerning Scientology was the work of “anti-social” personalities, and that ex-Scientologists rarely speak out because the church “knows all their secrets.”
Thanks to this current scientologist for candidly admitting the Church of Scientology's practice of blackmail using members' auditing files. Sadly, she could end up in the RPF for this blunder though.

Winnipeg Free Press (Jun. 1974): "Libraries Face Libel Threat"

The Church of Scientology of Canada has advised some libraries that they may be cited as party defendants in a libel suit unless they remove certain books from their shelves, Steven Horn, council member of the Canadian Library Association said Wednesday. [...]

Mr. Horn said the church has told members of the association that actions for libel have been begun by the church against the authors, publishers and distributors of three books before the Supreme Court of Ontario.

The libraries were advised that if they did not remove the works from circulation until the courts had settled the actions, they could be cited as party defendants and be liable for damages.

The books are: Scientology: the now religion, by George Malko; Inside Scientology by Robert Kaufman and The Mind Benders by Cyril Vosper. [...]

Reader's Digest (Oct. 1981): "Scientology: The Sickness Spreads"

In BRESCIA, ITALY, radio station owner Rodolfo Zucca receives repeated personal threats. His car is vandalized. Twice, the wires from his broadcasting studio are cut, forcing him off the air.

In Paris, university professor Yves Lecerf learns — that all the neighbors in his apartment building have been telephoned by someone posing as a health-ministry official. The bogus official has told them that Professor Lecerf is a danger to his neighbors' children. [...]

Globe and Mail (Dec. 2, 1987): "Lawyer says biography in breach of copyright" by Thomas Claridge

A bid to block Canadian publication of an unauthorized biography of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, was portrayed yesterday by a lawyer for the would-be publisher as "an attempt to circumvent the rule that the dead cannot sue for libel." David Potts also told Mr. Justice Bud Cullen of the Federal Court of Canada that the bid for a temporary injunction was a masquerade and an abuse of process. [...]

St. Petersburg Times (1980): "St. Petersburg Times topped 'enemies' list" by Charles Stafford (PDF, 17 MiB)

The Guardian Office struck quickly with its standard plan for silencing — or attempting to silence — newspapers that write about it. On Feb. 4, Clearwater attorney Jack F. White Jr., representing the Church of Scientology of California, sent a letter to The Times and Mrs. Orsini.

"Gentlemen," it began, "This is your notice under Chapter 770.01, Florida Statutes, that our clients intend to institute action against you for libel, including disparagement of title to real property and possibly for invasion of privacy, for the following publication, which we consider libelous." It cited two paragraphs of a story by Mrs. Orsini in which she described the workings of an E-meter, a device used by the church in auditing.

The letter was a threat of suit; no suit was filed.

Documents released by the federal court in Washington show that on Feb. 11 — one week after that threat was made — Duke Snider, deputy deputy guardian U.S., wrote Henning Heldt, deputy guardian U.S., that he had come up with an excellent defence should anyone accuse the church of trying to silence The Times. [...]

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