February 11, 1999
1. If I, STEPHEN A. KENT, Professor of Sociology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2H4, were to be called as a witness, then I would testify as follows:
2. My professional specialization is in the area of alternative religions. I have worked specifically in this area at the University of Alberta for the past 11 years. Scientology is among the groups that I have studied. I have been a Full Professor of Sociology since July 1997. Prior to that time I held various positions as Assistant and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology. I maintain Adjunct Professor status in the Department of Comparative Literature, Religion, and Film/Media Studies, which means that I can co-supervise graduate students and have some of my sociology courses cross-listed for students in religious studies. I teach classes on the sociology of religion at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In addition to these normal academic studies, I oversee a restricted-access collection of primary and secondary material on alternative religions owned by the University of Alberta Library, which includes Scientology material.
3. I began formal studies of Scientology (along with at least five other groups) in 1986, when I received a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to study “cults and new religions” in the country.
4. One of my articles on Scientology has appeared in a peer reviewed journal (“Scientology’s Relationship with Eastern Religious Traditions,” Journal of Contemporary Religion, 11 No.1  21-36). I refer often to the organization in other articles that I have published on related “sociology of religion” topics. These additional articles include: 1) “Deviance Labelling and Normative Strategies in the Canadian ‘New Religions/Countercult’ Debate,” Canadian Journal of Sociology 15 No. 4 (1990): 393-416; 2) “New Religious Movements” in The Sociology of Religion: A Canadian Focus, New York: Butterworths, 1993: 83-106; 3) “Social Control in Alternative Religions: A Familial Approach,” Sociological Analysis 53 No.4 (1992), pp. 355-357 (in which I am second author with Robert Cartwright); 4) “Crimes,” in Encyclopedia of Religion and Society, Edited by William H. Swatos, Jr. London: AltaMira Press, 1998, pp. 121-122; 5) “Deviance,” in Encyclopedia of Religion and Society, Edited by William H. Swatos, Jr. London: AltaMira Press, 1998, p. 138; and 6) “When Scholars Sin: Alternative Religions and Their Academic Supporters,” [co-author with Theresa Krebs] in Skeptic 6 No. 3 (1998), pp. 36, 39, 40, 41, 42, and 43. I continue to research and write about Scientology and other groups.
5. I have given invited talks on Scientology to audiences in Germany, and a Germany parliamentary committee invited me to present information to it about Scientology in September, 1997. In that presentation I spoke about my concerns around Scientology’s operation of forced labour and re-indoctrination programs called the Rehabilitation Project Force or “RPF,” and its ever harsher and more punitive Rehabilitation Project Force’s Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF’s RPF). These are programs that elite Sea Organization members enter after internal ‘trials’ or high-ranking leaders find them guilty of crimes against Scientology.
6. By 1993, media reporters began calling me in order to receive my opinions on topics about which they were working. Since then, newspapers in Canada, the United States, Switzerland, and Germany have quoted me about the organization. Similarly, I have spoken about Scientology on radio and television shows in Canada, the United States, Germany, and Australia.
7. In light of both my professional work and my knowledge of Scientology doctrines and practices, I am qualified to speak about Scientology’s use of the legal system against opponents as a means of harassment.
8. A crucial document for understanding Scientology’s harassing legal strategy is the Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter [HCOPL] (23 December, 1965), “Suppressive Acts[,] Suppression of Scientology and Scientologists[,] The Fair Game Law.” This document can be found on pp. 552-557 of L. Ron Hubbard, The Organization Executive Course, HCO Division 1, Copenhagen: Scientology Publications Organization, 1970. This book was part of an 8 volume (plus index) series known as the “old OEC volumes” or the “old green volumes” because of the colour of their covers and the fact that a new OEC series came out in 1991. Many Scientologists owned the entire “old” series, and all Scientology organizations had copies because members had to refer to it often in order to identify proper organizational procedure.
9. Some time during 1991, the new OEC volumes (“the new green volumes”) appeared. The HCOPL of 23 December 1965RB appears in this new volume, but it had been revised on 8 January, 1991. The revised version contains much of the wording from the original, but it is reorganized in places, and it has deleted reference to “Fair Game.” I will return to the debate over the role that the old “fair game” doctrine plays in Scientology after 1991. I will argue that its continued place in Scientology legal strategy increases the likelihood that the organization would use the threat of litigation against perceived opponents.
10. This specific Policy Letter concerns the identification of and response to persons, organizations, or actions that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard identified as hindering or damaging Scientology’s activities and practices. Hubbard labelled the most serious opponents “suppressive persons.”
11. According to Scientology policy, Mr. Erlich is a “suppressive person.” The definition given in a Scientology Policy Letter of this term is: “A SUPPRESSIVE PERSON or GROUP is one that actively seeks to suppress or damage Scientology or a Scientologist by Suppressive Acts” (old OEC 1: p. 552; new OEC 1: p. 873).
12. “SUPPRESSIVE ACTS are acts calculated to impede or destroy Scientology or a Scientologist and which are listed at length in this policy letter” (old OEC 1: p. 552; new OEC 1: p. 873).
13. Several of the acts that Hubbard specified were such that Scientology leaders would see Mr. Erlich as a suppressive person committing suppressive acts. Suppressive Acts include:
14. “reporting or threatening to report Scientology or Scientologists to civil authorities in an effort to suppress Scientology or Scientologists from practising standard Scientology” (old OEC 1:p. 553; new OEC 1: p. 876); and
15. “engaging in malicious rumour-mongering to destroy the authority or repute of higher officers or the leading names of Scientology…” (old OEC 1: p. 553; new OEC 1: 876); and
16. “delivering up the person of a Scientologist without defense or protest to the demands of civil or criminal law” (old OEC 1: p. 553; new OEC 1: p. 876).
17. Mr. Erlich’s public statements to the media about Scientology’s abuses, his previous publication of a newsletter against Scientology’s abuses, and his litigation against the Scientology conglomerate make Mr. Erlich a suppressive person according to Scientology policy. The old version of the policy specifically states, “[a] Suppressive Person or Group becomes ‘fair game'” (old OEC 1: p. 552).
18. The very next HCOPL in Volume 1 of the old Organizational Executive Course (dated 17 March 1965) discusses the “Fair Game Law.” In this context, the Policy says:
19. “[s]o, in Scientology, anyone who rejects Scientology also rejects, knowingly or unknowingly, the protection and benefits of Scientology and the companionship of Scientologists. If the person never was a member of the group or if the person had been a member of it, the result is the same” (old OEC 1: p. 558).
20. Mr. Erlich, of course, had been a Scientologist, so he is covered in this Policy Letter.
21. Also in the old OEC 1 volume is a definition of “High Crimes.” They “consist of publicly departing Scientology or committing Suppressive Acts. Cancellation of Certificates, Classifications and Awards and becoming fair game are amongst the penalties which can leveled for this type of offense…” (HCOPL of 7 March 1965, “Offenses & Penalties,” in old OEC 1: p. 551).
22. Consequently, Mr. Erlich is a “Suppressive Person” and therefore also is a “fair game” target.
23. In an HCOPL of 18 October 1967, Hubbard identified what was to happen to a person in either Scientology organizations or its elite “Sea Organization” whom Scientology declared to be an “enemy.” An enemy inside Scientology would receive an “SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.”
24. Hubbard’s HCOPL of 21 October, 1968 entitled, “Cancellation of Fair Game,” also appeared in the old OEC Volume 1 (p. 489). The four sentence statement, however, reveals that Hubbard ordered Scientologists to stop using the term, “fair game,” because it brought the organization bad public relations. The actual behaviours, however, toward supposedly “Suppressive Persons” were not to change. The Policy read: “[T]he practice of declaring people FAIR GAME will cease. FAIR GAME may not appear on any Ethics Order. It causes bad public relations. This P/L [Policy Letter] does not cancel any policy on the treatment or handling of an SP [Suppressive Person]” (p. 489).
25. It is true that the new OEC volumes appear to have purged the “fair game” term. Evidence strongly indicates, however, that the organization has never purged the aggressive behaviours that went along with the term regarding “the treatment or handling of an “SP” such as Mr. Erlich.
26. Evidence that the aggressive behaviours continued after Scientology published the new volumes in 1991 comes from an examination of the confidential Scientology publication “Department of Special Affairs[,] Investigations Officer[,] Full Hat Checksheet,” dated 1991.
27. On p. 5, the person is required to do a demo[nstration] of the statement, “Why the only way to defend anything is to attack.” This attitude bodes ill for critics such as Mr. Erlich, regardless of the accuracy of their comments.
28. In the 1991 “Department of Special Affairs[,] Investigations Officer[,] Full Hat Checksheet,” a person on this course was required (on p. 26 #25) to read “HCO Exec Ltr [Hubbard Communications Office Executive Letter] 27 Sept[ember] 65, “Amprinistics.” This Executive Letter discusses a number of people and “splinter groups” that supposedly took Dianetics and Scientology material. On the first line of p. 3 of that document, it says, “Treatment: They are fair game, can be sued or harassed.” I realize that the Church of Scientology International reissued a revised version of this Executive Letter on 24 September, 1983, and that the revised version omits mention of “fair game” and accompanying suits and harassment. The “Full Hat Checksheet,” however, did not list this revision (as it did with other items) when identifying the required reading, but instead listed the earlier version containing the “fair game” statement.
29. An L. Ron Hubbard article entitled, “The Scientologist[:] A Manual on the Dissemination of Material,” appears on pp. 151-171 of L. Ron Hubbard, The Technical Bulletins of Dianetics and Scientology, Volume 2 (1954-1956), Copenhagen and Los Angeles: Scientology Publications, 1976. It first appeared around mid-March, 1955 in Scientology’s Ability Major 1 magazine. This book is part of a twelve-part series now known as the (old) Tech volumes or the old “red volumes” because of the colour of their covers. Serious Scientologists owned the entire set, and all Scientology organizations had copies because members had to refer to the books often in order to identify proper auditing (which is a form of counselling) procedures. Indeed, this item is required reading in the 1991 “Department of Special Affairs[,] Investigations Officer[,] Full Hat” course, as indicated by its inclusion on p. 4 of the “Full Hat Checksheet” under Section D: Department 20.” This department is the Department of Special Affairs, which replaced (and in some policies and personnel, continued) the old Guardian’s Office, which was notorious for its use of lawsuits in attempts to silence critics.
30. The paragraph instructing Scientologists to defend only by attacking, even in a court of law, outlines the behaviour that I believe explains the current and future fate of Mr. Erlich. It states:
31. The DEFENSE of anything is UNTENABLE. The only way to defend anything is to ATTACK, and if you ever forget that, then you will lose every battle you are ever engaged in, whether it is in terms of personal conversation, public debate, or a court of law. NEVER BE INTERESTED IN CHARGES. DO, yourself, much MORE CHARGING, and you will WIN. Don’t ever let them have any other thought than that Scientology takes all of its objectives (p. 157).
32. Moreover, the second-last paragraph on that same page contains two key sentences for understanding Scientology’s attitude toward lawsuits:
33. 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 be generally sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, ruin him utterly (p. 157).
34. I note that on p. 5 of the Executive Directive Office of Special Affairs International (1991), Investigations Officers were instructed to study the Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter from August 15, 1960 entitled, “Department of Government Affairs.” That Policy Letter instructed Scientologists:
35. [i]f attacked on some vulnerable point by anyone or anything or any organization, always find or manufacture enough threat against them to cause them to sue for peace. Peace is bought with an exchange of advantage, so make the advantage and then settle. Don’t ever defend. Always attack. Don’t ever do nothing. Unexpected attacks in the rear of the enemy’s front ranks work best (p. 484 in old OEC 7).
Under penalty of perjury and under the laws of the United States, I declare that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed this 11th day of February, 1999, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Stephen A. Kent (PhD)