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Scientology and the law - Peter Jensen, Church of Scientology

In lieu of recent UP-DATE articles on the subject of the Church of Scientology it has become relevant to comment upon these. It is obvious that the Church of Scientology has become a target for the U.S. Intelligence Community. Recent events, reported in UP-DATE, and also an article in this issue, would indicate, that this is of recent origin. There has in fact been a campaign going on against Scientology for 29 years, and the only new development, is the international aspect, where the American Intelligence Community has activated "puppets" to mouth the criticism against the Church overseas.

It was in 1977, from information gained through the United States Freedom of Information Act, that the Church of Scientology in the United States filed a 750 Million Dollar suit against United States government agencies for damages caused by the spread of false information, infiltration, bugging, harassment and conspiracy against the Church.

A major aspect of the US intelligence campaign against Scientology was the use of the media. Just as the FBI used derogatory information spread to journalists to smear Dr. Ring, it enlisted the aid of governmental agencies such as the US Internal Revenue Service (Tax Office), and non-governmental agencies such as the American Medical Association, as well as "friendly" journalists, to spread false and damaging reports against the Church of Scientology.

In the words of the former CIA-liaison officer for the United States Department of Defence, L. Fletcher Prouty: "The dissemination of such information seems to have as its end the production of indigenous agitators who are fed the derogatory information and then become a rallying point for the rest of the campaign in that particular area. This tactic can be very effective It is of interest to note, that in widely separated areas, some of the people most influenced by these agitators against the church are connected to the police, newspapers, medical associations, writers and other media."

The response of the Scientologists over the years to this campaign, was perhaps remarkable. Rather than respond with like violence, the scientologists went to the courts, becoming some of the most active users of the Freedom of Information Act in the United States, and pushing forward their suit against the agencies who were the source of the campaign. Their exposes of CIA Mind Control, psyciatric abuse, and abuse of the elderly continued, as well as their support of social help programmes. True, there were times of stress during the 70'es when individual scientologists may have felt forced to defend their rights, in ways that were far from their Creed. It has however always been Church policy, for Scientologists to uphold and abide by the laws of the land they are residing in. The actions carried out by individual Scientologists, when not in accordance with the Creed and established Church policy, are done on their own responsibility, and in 1979 the Church re-affirmed its policy, to detect and prevent even such abuses as did occur, from ever happening again.

About five months after the Church had filed their suit against the government, on July 8, in what one FBI agent described as "the most brutal raid in which I have ever participated," 134 FBI agents descended upon three Church premises in Washington DC and Los Angeles in California, and with sledgehammers, chain saws and battering rams broke into the Church's files of organization administration and carried away over a ton of documents for use in attempting to silence Church criticism of governmental abuses.

The result was a charging of nine scientologists in the United states with conspiracy to illegally obtain US Government files on the Church. The Washington DC raid has been ruled illegal in a major precedential decision by Judge William Bryant, but similar ruling on the Los Angeles raids were delayed until completion of the case against the scientology Nine. Rather than contest the charges, the nine US scientologists agreed, in a non-unusual US legal procedure, to agree to be found guilty (without admitting the actual guilt - which was also described in last issue of UP-DATE) on one charge each, in order to contest the legality of the Los Ange1es raids, on appeal. The scientologists are currently free on bail, awaiting this appeal.

However, the activities of the US Department of Justice is not restricted to the legal arena. The tactics of media manipulation and disinformation are still in full swing, and perhaps are shown nowhere as well as in the case of Ms. Paulette Cooper, an american freelance writer.

From an obscure writer in a US "swinging singles" magazine, Ms. Cooper suddenly found her way into an international campaign, in her words, "helping government agencies expose Scientology" Her writing on the Church of Scientology was as inaccurate as it was fanatical, and within a few years, the Church had won sums for libel in three countries. In the settlement regarding one hook alone, Ms. Cooper admitted to no less than 27 falsehoods.

It should not be thought that Ms. Cooper activities were confined to journalism; Ms. Cooper was indicted for a bomb threat against the Church of Scientology in New York, after an investigation by the FBI (not as Ms. Cooper has later claimed, as a result of accusations by the Church there), including two failed lie-detector tests. The indictment was mysteriously dropped in 1975 after a change of government attorneys on the case. She has also admitted to infiltration and stealing materials from the Church, and according to sworn testimony, in 1973 took out a "contract" with a member of the New York Mafia to have two members of the New York Church murdered.

What is still not clear is the motive for Ms. Coopers incredible devotion to helping the governments campaign against the Church. Conversely, Ms. Coopers usefulness to the government is too obvious, especially while the Scientology case is still in the courts.

Ms. Cooper has claimed the Church had "harassed" her from the day the Church had filed its first successful libel suit against her. In 1978, among the documents which were still sealed by court order, taken in the FBI raids on the Church, the FBI found documents which they felt might help Cooper with her campaign. In April 1978, the documents were illegally leaked, and found their way through Cooper, and with her own unsubstantiated claims, to the Washington Post. Ms. Cooper openly admitted to a friend, that she was working with the FBI and the Washington Post to "smear" Scientology in a smear campaign "to end all smear campaigns."

Recently, the rest of the documents from the US raid has been put on open file in Washington, and it has been a chance for Mr. Raymond Banoun, an attorney in charge of the trial, to ensure visiting foreign media are "assisted" in their inqueries. Whether it was Mr. Banoun who was directly responsible for the illegal leaking of documents to Ms. cooper in 1978, just before an important hearing in the case, may never be known, but it is certain that he has been pushing Ms. Coopers accusations whereever he feels he can create media against the Church.

The creation of "indigenous agitators", as Mr. Prouty styles it, has proceeded, apparently under Mr. Banouns guidance, in England where the documents were passed on to a major anti-religious figure. Four highly-slanted articles plantet in a British daily paper followed, one of them featuring a blatant forgery, just before an important UK legal hearing concerning the US case. Nearly identical articles have appeared in Toronto in Canada and St. Petersburgh in Florida.

Now in Denmark, Johannes Aagaard has returned from the United States with virtually identical documents to those covered in other countries. The documents might well pop up in even other countries. This only helps to paint the picture even clearer; we are looking at an international campaign. Apparantly the US intelligence community is taking the law in their own hands, and aiming at getting the Scientologists tried in the press, before they get tried in court.