Subject: Scientology's history of harassing writers of books (edition 1.1)
The following is a short and incomplete history of Scientology's
attempts to harass writers of books and suppress their work, by legal and
illegal means. To keep this from being even longer than it now is,
I've confined it to authors of books only, leaving aside writers and
publishers of newspaper and magazine articles, as well as broadcasters.
This is edition 1.1.6 of this file. Changes since 1.1:
- added material on Stewart Lamont's _Religion Inc_
- added material on Maurice Burrell's _Scientology_
- added material on John A. Lee's _Sectarian Healers and Hypnotherapy_
Changes since 1.0:
- added material on Paulette Cooper from Stewart Lamont's _Religion Inc._
- added excerpt from Russell Miller's article in _Punch_
- added material about harassment of Jon Atack, from
_Evening Argus_ (Sussex, UK newspaper)
- added short paragraph on Cyril Vosper's _The Mind Benders_,
from Robert Kaufman's _Inside Scientology_
- added a paragraph on John Symonds' _The Great Beast_,
from Stewart Lamont's _Religion Inc._
You can always get the latest edition of this file from
from Jon Atack's _A Piece of Blue Sky_
part 8, chapter 1, "Scientology at Law", page 327:
"In the 1970s, the Church fought to prevent the sale of books critical
of Scientology. They failed in this attempt, but caused authors George
Malko, Paulette Cooper, Cyril Vosper, and Robert Kaufman considerable
difficulty (not only from the law suits: Roy Wallis, in his
_Salvation and Protest_, described the harassment he received after
writing about Scientology). In 1982, Paulette Cooper, author of
_The Scandal of Scientology_, testified that the Church had brought
_eighteen_ suits against her. More recently Russell Miller has defended
against attempts to prevent distribution of his _Bare-Faced Messiah_
in England, Canada, Australia, and the United States."
------------- Jon Atack's A PIECE OF BLUE SKY --------
from Jon Atack's _A Piece of Blue Sky_:
Epilogue, page 397:
"At the end of May 1989, Scientology's New Era Publications filed suit
against the publishers of this book, alleging infringement of copyright. Even
the Scientologists could find no precedent in U.S. law for their demand to see
the manuscript prior to publication. As Mel Wulf, the defending attorney,
expressed the situation, "Such an order would...have the inevitable effect of
casting a chill upon freedom of speech and of the press." His argument was in
vain; in an opinion issued at the end of July, Judge Louis L. Stanton ordered
delivery of the final manuscript to the Scientologists."
"In January 1990, Judge Stanton prohibited publication of _A Piece of Blue
Sky_ on grounds of copyright violation. However, the appeal was successful,
and the three judges ruled unanimously that the book could retain all 121
passages complained of by New Era."
In March of 1994, Jon Atack had to put up with placard-waving
demonstrators outside his home, as well as leaflets sent to neighbors
accusing him of an "unprosecuted history of drug dealing". In
addition, a private detective has been snooping on his family and that
of his wife. [Source: Evening Argus of Sussex, England, April 12, 1994.]
----------- Russell Miller's BARE-FACED MESSIAH ---------
from Bent Corydon's _L Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman?_ (2nd edition)
part 1, chapter 26, pages 266-267:
"Russell Miller is no stranger to Scientology harassment. His
biography of Hubbard entitled, _The Bare-Faced Messiah_ was initially
published in England several months after the release of _Messiah or Madman?_
in America. It had to contend with a number of harassive lawsuits;
however Scientology was unsuccessful in stopping the book, and it was
released throughout the British Commonwealth."
The book goes on to describe an attempt to frame Miller for the murder
of a South London private detective, reported by the Sunday Times of
London. In November 1979, a detective hired by the Church shot
at a Sunday Times reporter.
"[Scientology] challenged Miller's biography in the United States on
a legal technicality and won a much disputed court decision. As a result
_Bare Faced Messiah_ is available in Great Britain, and throughout the
United Kingdom, but difficult to find in the USA."
The book's US edition went out of print after just one month due to
litigation. [Source: phone conversation with sales and publicity
staff at Henry Holt Publishing in New York City]
from "See You In Court", a first-person article by Russell Miller
in _Punch_ magazine, 19 Feb. 1988, page 46:
"Indeed, I had barely started researching the bizarre life
and times of L. Ron Hubbard before the first of many lawyer's letters
arrived, advising me to desist and threatening dire consequences if I
"Attorneys acting for Mr. Hubbard's estate even took the trouble to
inform my publishers in New York and London that I was a liar. So
"Strange things happened. I was followed for several days in Los
Angeles. I was told my house was under constant surveillance, my mail
was being intercepted, and my telephone was tapped. I became aware
that teams of private detectives were trawling my friends and
associates in both Europe and the United States, apparently in the
hope of proving that I was an agent for the CIA, or the KGB, or MI5,
or a duplicitous combination of all three. It seems they believed I
took a mini-break from the book to bump off an American in East
------------ Bent Corydon's L. RON HUBBARD: MESSIAH OR MADMAN? -------
from Corydon's book,
preface, pages 11-12:
"In 1986, after the `Church' discovered that the book you are
reading was being written, a roughly 6'4" 250 lb man in a black leather
jacket and gloves arrived at my workplace asking for me.
"Failing to locate me, he told one of my assistants, `Since Corydon's
not here, you'll do.' He then yelled, `You are standing in the way of
Ron's bridge!' and proceeded to punch him in the face, and knock him around.
[Footnote: This person's name is Dennis Clarke. He has since been
promoted to the position of `Director' of The Citizen's Commission on
Human Rights, one of Scientology's `front groups'. He now wears a
suit and tie, and eye-glasses.]"
from Corydon's book,
chapter 25, "Scientology's War on Your Right to Know", pages 261-4
"It became painfully obvious, during the early stages of the
writing of _L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman?_ that publishing houses
were AFRAID of Scientology. Scientology's army of `secret agents', goons
in leather jackets, and well paid lawyers diligently carrying out
Hubbard's policy of harassment through frivolous litigation, DO have
"There were many efforts made to stop _Messiah or Madman?_ from
reaching publication. (These included a bizarre attempt to have
Publisher Lyle Stuart jailed for refusing to provide a pre-publication
copy of the book, and an unsuccessful attempt by a private investigator
to bribe the printer into providing an advance copy. An attempt for
which he was later arrested by the New Jersey Police.)"
Corydon goes on to discuss a number of physical threats and
groundless slander and libel suits that Scientology threw at him,
during his 1987 book tour, including three in a single week
(See footnote, page 422.).
The church sent a letter to the _St. Petersburg Times_ (in Florida)
stating the following:
"It has come to our attention that...[you] are considering
publication of a review of _L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman?_ by
Bent Corydon....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...We know
a whole lot me about your institution and motives than you think." (The
newspaper didn't give in, and went on to win a Columbia Journalism Review
---------- Paulette Cooper's THE SCANDAL OF SCIENTOLOGY ----------
from Roy Wallis's _The Road to Total Freedom_, page 218-19:
"Forged letters and documents have proved a source of embarrassment
to others who have criticized or commented on Scientology. Paulette
Cooper, author of a work hostile to Scientology, was the subject of a
totally defamatory circular, allegedly written by `a concerned neighbor',
which sought to mobilize the tenants of her apartment block to secure her
`removal from our residence, and if possible, have her put under appropriate
psychiatric care.' (Representations by the Church of Scientology make it
incumbent upon me to indicate that Miss Cooper's writings on Scientology
have been the subject of much litigation. Sums in settlement and
apologies from the publishers concerned, have been received by the Church
of Scientology in respect of an article in _Queen_ magazine, and the
book _The Scandal of Scientology_."
That was written in 1977. Much more became known later:
from Bent Corydon's _L Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman?_
preface, page 11:
"In 1970 Paulette Cooper wrote, and had published, a book called
_The Scandal of Scientology_ containing some biographical matter on
Hubbard. She was hounded by Church of Scientology agents for a decade,
and at one point was almost convicted on Federal felony charges, having been
framed by Church agents.
"Documents obtained by the FBI in 1977 revealed an elaborate plan
to have her incarcerated, or have her driven to suicide. She finally
received a large cash settlement from the Church, with the understanding
that she would not press criminal charges against Scientology, and also
would stop the publication of her new book on the subject."
from Jon Atack's _A Piece of Blue Sky_:
part 5, chapter 1, "The Guardian Unguarded", pages 223-224:
"After the publication of her book _The Scandal of Scientology_, in 1971,
Paulette Cooper became a major target for harassment. Distribution of her
book was severely restricted through a series of court actions in different
states, and even different countries. Cooper simply did not have the
legal or financial resources to defend against all of these actions. As
a result of a GO [Scientology Guardian's Office] Op she was indicted for
making a bomb threat against the Church of Scientology. The GO wanted
to finish her off for good. Operation Freakout was intended to put
Cooper either into prison or into a mental hospital.
"A U.S. Court Sentencing Memorandum gave this description of Operation
In its initial form Operation Freakout had three different plans.
The first required a woman to imitate Paulette Cooper's voice and
make telephone threats to Arab Consulates in New York. The second
scheme involved mailing a threatening letter to an Arab Consulate
in such a fashion that it would appear to have been done by
Paulette Cooper. Finally, a Scientology field staff member was
to impersonate Paulette Cooper at a laundry and threaten the
President and the then Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.
A second Scientologist would thereafter advise the FBI of the threat.
"Two additional plans to Operation Freakout were added on April 13, 1976.
The fourth plan called for Scientology field staff members who had ingratiated
themselves with Cooper to gather information from Cooper, so that Scientology
could assess the success of the first three plans. The fifth plan was for
a Scientologist to warn an Arab Consulate by telephone that Paulette
Cooper had been talking about bombing them.
The sixth and final part of Operation Freakout called for Scientologists
to obtain Paulette Cooper's fingerprints on a blank piece of paper,
type a threatening letter to Kissinger on that paper, and mail it."
[Atack cites as his source "Sentencing memorandum in U.S.A. vs. Jane
Kember, District Court, DC, criminal case #78-401, page 23. Jane Kember
ran the Church of Scientology's Guardian's Office from 1969 to 1981.
She was sentenced to 2-6 years for "burglary, aiding and abetting."]
In addition, Atack's book contains (part 6, chapter 4, "The Clearwater
Hearings", pages 278-280) a long account of writer Paulette Cooper's
testimony before the City Commissioners of Clearwater, Florida, in May 1982.
Cooper describes the Church's campaign of harassment against her, which
anonymous phone calls to her and her family
anonymous leaflets sent to neighbors accusing her of being
a prostitute and child molester
a phony "flower delivery man" who pointed a gun at her cousin Joy,
then tried to choke Joy
false reports to the Attorney General's office, IRS, and other agencies
sending detectives to harass her and her mother
false charges that Cooper had sent bomb threats, causing her to
be indicted (eventually, the charges were dropped)
stealing her medical records
breaking into her lawyer's office
Quoting from Atack, page 280:
"It took over two years for the bomb threat charges against Cooper
to be dropped. She was completely exonerated after the FBI found the
GO [Scientology Guardian's Office] Orders for the Ops against her. By
that time her book, _The Scandal of Scientology_, had long been out
of print. The Guardian's Office had even imported small quantities into
foreign countries, so they could obtain injunctions against its distribution.
Copies were stolen from libraries and bought up from used book shops,
Another account of Cooper's testimony can be found in Bent Corydon's
_L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman?_, in part 1, chapter 14: "Freaking Out
Paulette: A Six Year Operation to Drive a Journalist Insane", pages
from Stewart Lamont's _Religion, Inc._, pages 71-72:
"Books about Scientology have a greater permanency than newspaper articles
and therefor it should not come as a surprise that vigorous smear-campaigns
have been conducted against the authors of such investigations. The first
book to run foul of the church was _The Scandal of Scientology_ by
journalist Paulette Cooper, which was written in 1971. To try to silence
her, the Church of Scientology cooked up a scheme to steal some of her
stationery and make it appear that she had sent them two bomb threats.
One of the forgeries read:
'James, this is the last time I'm warning you. I don't know why
I'm doing this but you're all out to get me and
I'll give you one week before Scientology is an exploding volcano.
I'll knock you out if my friends won't.'
"The Scientologists themselves then called in the police and as a result
Paulette Cooper was arrested and indicted on three counts, facing up to
fifteen years in jail if convicted. She told the _60 Minutes_ television
programme in April 1980:
'The whole ordeal fighting these charges took eight months.
It cost me $19,000 in legal fees. I went into such a depression.
I couldn't eat. I couldn't slee. I couldn't write.
I went down to 83 pounds. Finally I took and passed a sodium
pentothal -- or truth serum -- test and the Government dropped
the charges against me in 1975.'
"Further tactics were to write her phone number and obscene graffiti
on walls in New York City where she lives, and put her name on
pornographic mailing lists.
"When the Clearwater scandal broke and she was booked to appear in
Florida at broadcaster [Bob] Snyder's invitation, the church
decided to 'handle' its old nemesis in a new operation entitled
'Freakout'. Its goal was 'to get P.C. incarcerated in a mental
institution or jail or at least hit her so hard that she drops
"Phase one involved telephone threats to Arab consulates by a voice
impersonator (Ms Cooper is Jewish). Phase two, sending a threatening
letter along the old bomb-hoax lines to such a consulate. Phase three,
an impersonator would publicly threaten the President and Henry
Kissinger while another Scientologist would tip off the authorities.
Phase four, agents who had ingratiated themselves with Cooper (she at
one time apparently had a relationship with a Church of Scientology man
who was working as an undercover agent) would help assess the success
of the plan and if necessary notepaper bearing her fingerprints would
be typed over with a bomb threat to Kissinger.
"'Operation Freakout', however, didn't get off the ground. Although
she appeared in the television programme in 1980 and at the Clearwater
hearing instigated by attorney Michael Flynn, Cooper eventually signed
a truce with Scientology and was offered a settlement (see pages 142-3).
For some of the campaigners, the hassle, the wounds, the possibility
that justice may not be done, makes them back off."
from _Religion Inc._, pages 142-3:
"PAULETTE COOPER, as we saw in Chapter 4, was up there among the chief
enemies of Scientology and was high in the damages stakes with a suit
for $55 million when [Boston attorney Michael] Flynn became her
attorney. In 1982 she participated as one of his star witnesses in
the Clearwater hearings (at which the Church of Scientology declined
to testify since it could only put its case at the conclusion).
Flynn, she now says, persuaded her that she should name Hubbard
in her suit since he would not appear and therefore she would win
by default or because the Church of Scientology would pay up
rather than produce Hubbard.
"But in a dramatic reconciliation with its old enemy in 1985 the Church
of Scientology proudly announced that it had settled all cases for an
against Ms Cooper and brandished an affidavit in which she says
Flynn misled her into thinking Hubbard was still in charge of the
Church of Scientology and had used her in a strategic campaign. In the
elaborate game of bluff and counter-bluff, accusation and recusal,
perhaps nothing should surprise the observer of Scientology. It would
be nice to think this was a story of reconciliation, a truly religious
story with a happy ending, but judging by the tactics adopted by
the Church of Scientology to discredit Ms. Cooper, I am inclined to think
it is more likely the case of a psychologically battered woman
throwing her towel into the ring."
-----------Cyril Vosper's THE MIND BENDERS ---------
from Robert Kaufman's _Inside Scientology_, page 263:
"A recent British publication which the Scientologists tried
to ban, _The Mind Benders_ by Cyril Vosper (Neville Spearman),
covers some of Malko's ground in greater detail; Vosper was
a Scientologist for fourteen years."
from Roy Wallis's _The Road to Total Freedom_, page 205:
"Books critical of Scientology have often been the subject of
extensive litigation. At one stage in the litigation connected with Cyril
Vosper's _The Mind Benders_, a High Court judge was reported as saying of
applications by the Church of Scientology that its author and a newspaper
editor be committed to prison for contempt of court, that these actions
were deliberately taken `to try and stifle any criticism or inquiry into
their [the Church of Scientology's] affairs." [Footnote: _Daily Telegraph_,
4 March 1972.]
from Wallis, page 219:
"Cyril Vosper alleges that a copy of his manuscript disappeared from
his lodgings, and, while on holiday in Spain, he was questioned by
the police when they opened a parcel addressed to the place in which he
was staying, containing obscene caricatures of General Franco."
-----------Robert Kaufman's INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY ---------
from Roy Wallis's _The Road to Total Freedom_, page 219-220:
"Olympia Press, the publishers of Robert Kaufman's _Inside Scientology_,
were also attacked by means of forged documents. These documents,
circulated to newsagents and booksellers, were written on headed Olympia
notepaper. They suggested that in the light of litigation in which Olympia
was involved, all stocks of the firm's books should be returned for
cash refunds. A further forged letter purportedly emanating from Olympia's
accountants, claimed that Olympia was going into liquidation. The officers
of Olympia have also alleged that illegal entry was made to their
premises, that galley proofs of Kaufman's book were stolen from the
printers, and that their files were tampered with." [Footnote:
_The Observer_ (London newspaper), 29 July 1973]
"Kaufman, who is also a musician, found that his booking for a
concert hall was cancelled mysteriously prior to a performance. While
he was appearing on a `phone-in' radio programme, a man telephoned,
alleging that he had been a male nurse in a psychiatric hospital in which
Kaufman had been a patient. He claimed to have seen Kaufman's psychiatric
records and alleged that Kaufman had been diagnosed as a `paranoid
schizophrenic with castration fears and homosexual tendencies.'
---------- George Malko's SCIENTOLOGY: THE NOW RELIGION -----------
from Paulette Cooper's _The Scandal of Scientology_, pages 70-71:
"On September 30, 1970, it was reported in the _New York Post_ that
the Scientologists were suing Delacourt Publishers and author George
Malko for a book they did on Scientology."
from Roy Wallis's _The Road to Total Freedom_:
page 7 footnote: (following a list of books he consulted)
"It should be noted that of these works, that by [Maurice] Burrell was
withdrawn shortly after it appeared, and the publishers of the works
by Cooper and Malko have undertaken not to reprint them."
page 22 footnote: "Malko's book has been withdrawn by its publishers who
also paid a legal settlement."
--------- Roy Wallis, author of THE ROAD TO TOTAL FREEDOM ---------
Wallis, page 219:
"Following the distribution of an article by the present writer [Wallis],
commenting on Scientology, a young man, later discovered to have been
a Scientology staff member, visited the author at a university at which
he was employed. He used a false name and sought to win the author's
confidence. He was later found to have made personal inquiries of students
and others concerning the author. Shortly following this visit, forged
letters bearing official letter headings were received by various
individuals, designed to be a source of inconvenience and embarassment
to the author. The young man who visited the university later appeared
in Scientology publications as a graduate of a Saint Hill course."
[Footnote: This and similar cases are discussed in Roy Wallis,
`Religious sects and the fear of publicity', New Society (7 June 1973),
---------- John Symonds' THE GREAT BEAST ---------
from Stewart Lamont's _Religion, Inc._, page 20:
The Church of Scientology was successful in obtaining a retraction by
_The Sunday Times_ [of London] in 1969 and in winning an action in
1971 against the author John Symonds and publishers of _The Great Beast_,
a biography of [Aleister] Crowley, which alleged that Hubbard's new religion
was derived from black magic.
--------- John A. Lee's SECTARIAN HEALERS AND HYPNOTHERAPY -------
In 1967, the Committee for the Healing Arts of the Province of Ontario
commissioned John A. Lee to study non-medical healing practices in
that province. The study included Christian Science, Unity,
Spiritualism, Christian faith healing, New Thought, Concept-Therapy, a
few self-described "hypnotists" who advertised in the Toronto Yellow
Pages, and various other unlicensed and unconventional healers.
Lee finished his report in December, 1967, and the Committee published
it with The Queen's Printer in 1970 as the book _Sectarian Healers and
Hypnotherapy_, by John A. Lee. Lee reported that he received excellent
cooperation from most of the groups and individuals he studied. But
when he got to Scientology....
The "Church" used the same techniques for dealing with us as it
instructs its members to use against any alleged opponent or apostate,
the so-called "Suppressive Persons" techniques...In our case
this involved scurrilous press releases accusing at least one member
of the Committee on the Healing Arts of personal "crimes" and impugning
the motives of the whole Committee. After lengthy consideration the
Committee concluded that further use of its powers of investigation
would not add substantially to information already available
(the general drift of which was amply confirmed by the "Church's"
tactics) and would merely delay a final report on the matter.
The above quote is from a footnote on page 73.
----- Stewart Lamont's RELIGION INC. -----
John Penycate, a reporter for the BBC's _Panorama_ TV show, reported in
the 30 April 1987 edition of the BBC's magazine _The Listener_ (page 14):
"Last year, though, Stewart Lamont a freelance broadcaster
in Scotland, wrote a book on Scientology called _Religion Inc._ Legal
action forestalled both a paperback and an American edition, and people
purporting to represent the Midland Bank visited his neighbors in
Glasgow, inquiring about his private life. A hired private detective
contacted his ex-wife seeking damaging information about him."
----- Maurice Burrell's SCIENTOLOGY: WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT DOES ---
The 19 November 1987 issue of the BBC's magazine _The Listener_ contains,
on page 34, a review of "Bare-Faced Messiah", written by one Martin Fagg.
The review opens:
"The disciples of Lafayette Ron Hubbard are nothing if not litigious.
In 1970, I reviewed, for another weekly, _Scientology_ by Maurice C.
The review appeared--but the book did not, the `Church of Scientology'
having meanwhile obtained an injunction inhibiting, or at least delaying,
its publication. Shortly thereafter, the editor of the paper received,
under a thunderous letterheading, a protest from the movement's
`D/Guardian Legal WW' at its East Grinstead HQ, denouncing the review
as `extremely defamatory'. The letter was printed in the paper's
correspondence columns, but no apology was proffered or retractation [sic]
---------- BIBLIOGRAPHY ---------
Jon Atack, A Piece of Blue Sky. Carol Publishing, NYC, 1990.
Maurice Burrell, Scientology: What It Is And What It Does.
Lakeland, London, 1970.
Paulette Cooper, The Scandal of Scientology. Tower Publications, NYC, 1971
Bent Corydon, L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman? 2nd edition,
Barricade Books, Fort Lee, NJ, 1992.
Robert Kaufman, Inside Scientology. Olympia Press, London & NYC, 1972.
Stewart Lamont, Religion Inc. Harrap, London, 1986.
John A. Lee, Sectarian Healers and Hypnotherapy. The Queen's Printer,
George Malko, Scientology: The Now Religion. Delacourte Press, NYC, 1970
Russell Miller, Bare-Faced Messiah. Michael Joseph, London, 1987.
John Symonds, The Great Beast: The Life of Aleister Crowley.
Many editions published, 1956-1973.
Cyril Vosper, The Mind Benders. Neville Spearman, London, 1971.
Roy Wallis, The Road to Total Freedom. Columbia University Press, NYC, 1977.