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Scientology's bizarre manual of dirty tricks

by David Beresford, The Guardian, 8 February 1980
Transcribed by Raymond Hill

In the second of a series on the Church of Scientology, David Beresford describes the 'dirty tricks' used by the sect against its declared enemies.

ONE OF the most bizarre sets of papers among files seized from the Church of Scientology by American police is an undated 12-page document carrying the classification number 8592.

The document is one of several thousand from Scientology's United States headquarters in Los Angeles which were used as a basis for the prosecution of several leading members of the sect in America last October.

Some 23,000 of the documents have now been placed on public record in Washington. The Guardian yesterday published aspects of this documentation pertaining to the cults operations in Britain, showing how the church's internal intelligence service ran "dirty tricks" operations under the direction of senior executives at the organisation's headquarters in East Grinstead, Sussex.

Document 8592 in the Washington files on Scientology is set out in the format of a combined questionnaire and training manual. It includes a series of exercises in which hypothetical problems are put and a choice of four alternative answers postulated.

One such problem is how to deal with a "local Catholic bishop" considered responsible for attacks on the Church of Scientology. The four possible solutions offered are:

1. "Send several FSMs (field staff members — covert Scientology agents) over to the Catholic church to swear at him in confessionals."

2. "Connect him up to abortion and/or pornographic activities."

3. "Write to Pope an anonymous letter stating that the bishop is really a rabbi under cover."

4. "Spread a rumour around town that he's against air pollution."

Another hypothetical problem is how to deal with "a newspaper executive, Clyde McDonald," who is believed to be responsible for attacks on Scientology. Answers offered are:

1. "Poison him while he's asleep so he'll never start another attack."

2. "Make known to the paper's owner that McDonald is responsible for the paper's decreasing advertising revenues."

3. "Spread a rumour around to the paper's employees that McDonald is a Communist,"

4. "Put itching powder in McDonald's clothes so he'll scratch himself all day, thus preventing him from writing a story."

Other "drills" set in the document include exercises in "spreading rumours" (trainees are "flunked" if they are spotted as "a source of falsity or troublemaking, etc.") and "creating incidents which reflect on others" ("flunk for being spotted as the creator").

In an exercise on "creating effects" instructions are given to "get into the guise of a nurse or doctor in a hospital or medical facility to the point where you give an order or direction to someone inside the facility and they comply fully, believing your identity."

The ruthless attitude of the Church of Scientology in dealing with its critics is confirmed and detailed by other Washington documents.

A memorandum dated March 9, 1970, addressed to the "Guardian World Wide," Jane Kember — the cult's senior administrative executive, who is based at East Grinstead — gives a "list" of "the successful and unsuccessful actions used by (Scientology) intelligence."

Successful actions include:

1. The use of false letterheads to gather information.

2. "Using 2D [a Scientology term meaning sex] on someone high in the government to seduce them over to our side. This particular action was not started as an Int action, but was more personal."

3. "Infiltrating an enemy group with the end to getting documents. These can either be about their own plans, or what they have on us."

4. "Anonymous third partying. Particularly the internal revenue service appears to follow up every tip-off they get."

5. "Direct theft of documents."

6. "Impersonating a reporter over the phone to get information."

Unsuccessful actions listed include "bugging and the use of any electronic devices" which, the memo says, "have on the whole produced nothing."

The memo also lists as unsuccessful "spending on 2D (sex) specifically as a means of getting info." The author adds: "Note I mentioned 2D earlier as a successful method. I feel that this is because the girl concerned had actually fallen for the government person and did not go into the affair with the intention of getting information."

Further evidence of dirty tricks used by Scientology is contained in a document dated March 9, 1975, explaining how files belonging in the sect's private intelligence service, B1, should be cleared of "legally actionable evidence against the GO (Guardian's Office) and its personnel."

The memo says all references in the cult's files "that would indicate something illegal was happening, already did happen or was being planned" should be cut out with a razor blade and shredded.

Items which the memo says should be vetted include:

1. "Mentions or the ordering of a B & E" (breaking and entering).

2. "Evidence that anything was stolen by one of our guys."

3. "Implications of posing as a government agent."

4. "Evidence of tapping phone lines or illegal taping of conversations."

5. "Mentions of harassment of an individual."

6. "Any evidence of bribery."

7. "Any mentions of entrapment setting up someone to commit a crime either directly or indirectly."

Scientology ran its intelligence and dirty tricks operations on a points system explained in a circular issued on March 23, 1977, by a senior executive at the headquarters in England, Mr Mo Budlong — the DGI WW (Deputy Guardian Intelligence, World Wide). The circular explains that points are granted for activities including:

1. The collection of covert information on a target group or subject (10 points).

2. An agent in place (five points per week).

3. Files "obtained covertly or clandestinely" (two points per document).

4. "A survey of seniors of an enemy obtaining the likes and dislikes." (10 points).

5. "Financial, reputational, public opinion, legal or governmental loss to the enemy as a result of the programme or B1 activities" (30 points).

The Budlong document also sets out a minus-points system whereby if "an agent's cover is blown and traced to the Church of Scientology," 50 points are discounted, and a further 200 points discounted if "an agent's cover is blown in such a way that it causes a legal threat to the Church of Scientology."

A typical dirty tricks operation by the Scientologists, which is well detailed in the Washington documentation, was a project aimed at damaging or destroying an organisation investigating claims of the paranormal which had incurred the sect's displeasure.

The attack on the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal was ordered shortly after its publication, Zetetic, had carried an article by a British sociologist, Dr Roy Wallis, on dianetics — the pseudo-scientific philosophy which was the forerunner to Scientology.

A lengthy document headed Programme Humanist Humiliation sets out Scientology's planned attack on the committee on a 23-point basis. The "major target" is described as: "To handle terminatedly the Humanist publication Zetetic and the Committee (or Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal so that they never attack Scientology or Dianetics again."

The attack plan includes proposals to spread rumours that the committee was a front group for the Central Intelligence Agency set up "to discredit any and all psychic phenomena in order to keep this subject under CIA control and in order to squash paranormal research outside the CIA."

To do this a memo was forged on CIA stationery to be circulated among journalists with a reputation for exposing CIA secrets. Letters were then to be sent to known anti-Scientologists on the committee, aimed at soliciting replies "that are anti-religious and state that the committee might also look into Christian claims. etc." These replies were to be leaked to the "press, Catholic and Protestant religious leaders, and religious newspapers."

The attack plan goes on "Keep pushing the rumour to keep our enemies involved in a conflict with conventional religion. Get religious leaders steamed up by ringing them as concerned members of the their religious communities, or as reporters, or whatever."

Officials lose extradition plea

THE administrative head of the Church of Scientology, Mrs Jane Kember, and a deputy, Mr Morrison Budlong, were yesterday refused leave to appeal to the House of Lords against extradition to the United States.

The two Scientology officials, based at the sect's international headquarters in East Grinstead, Sussex, face burglary charges in the US. They are accused instructing Scientologists in America to break into government offices.

It was argued before a House of Lords appeal committee yesterday that the offence was "political" and, therefore, not subject to extradition. But the committee refused leave appeal against a Queen's Bench Divisional Court ruling upholding extradition orders made against Mrs Kember and Mr Budlong by a metropolitan magistrate. A spokesman for the sect said afterwards that an appeal would be made to the Home Secretary.

This telephone-tapping equipment was used as an exhibit in a recent court case against nine leading members of the Church of Scientology in America

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