The following is a draft chapter from Jon Atack's forthcoming book Scientology: The Hubbard Intelligence Agency. The author seeks correction and additional information prior to publication. This chapter is copyrighted to Jonathan Caven-Atack, all rights are reserved. Permission is granted to the Dialog Centre International to display this chapter as a library document via computer.
Since 1972, the U.S. intelligence community has spent millions of dollars training psychic spies. This is not a wild conspiracy theory cobbled together by cranks. Admiral Stansfield Turner, head of the CIA from 1977 to 1981, has admitted as much to camera. His testimony is supported by many of the project's participants.
This psychic spying is called "remote viewing" by its purported practitioners. Psychic spies claim to have directed the Libyan bombing. They also claim to have given targets for SCUD missiles in the Gulf War.
In 1972, physicist Hal Puthoff was working at the Stanford Research Institute in California. SRI is well known as a centre for government funded projects. Puthoff's expertise was in lasers, but in his spare time he dabbled with parapsychology. Puthoff wanted to demonstrate the existence of paranormal phenomena. He undertook simple experiments in remote viewing. Coloured designs were sealed in envelopes or objects put in boxes. The remote viewer was to describe these contents. Convinced by his experiments, Puthoff privately circulated his results.
For some time, the CIA had been concerned at reports that the Soviets were funding psychic projects. Expertise in telepathy was being claimed. The Soviets were even allegedly employing psychics to hex opponents by telepathy, even to the point of killing their targets. Puthoff was approached soon after his material was circulated. The intelligence community paid $50,000 for a year long project into psychic phenomena. Puthoff chose to use the money to continue his research into remote viewing.
Puthoff recruited Pat Price and Ingo Swann and put together a team which also included Uri Geller and the author of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, Richard Bach. Puthoff's brief was to find a way of adapting remote viewing for espionage purposes.
After only a few days, Swann was bored with envelopes and boxes, and suggested that he be given map coordinates instead. He offered to report the terrain at the given coordinates. His accuracy was allegedly so high that smaller and smaller targets were selected. From mountain ranges down to single buildings. Puthoff wanted to eliminate the possibility that Swann had somehow memorised the whole globe.
Advised of this progress, the CIA offered a target to test the claims. The target was an agent's holiday home which did not appear on any map. But the coordinates were slightly wrong. Swann told his "monitor" that he could see nothing but trees. He was encouraged to find the nearest interesting feature. Swann described buildings which he said were a secret military complex.
Pat Price homed in on the same target and added detail. The CIA were staggered that such a base actually did exist close to the wrong coordinates. Science writer Jim Schnabel, who debunked the British crop circle phenomena, claims that when he checked the coordinates he discovered a secret satellite tracking station.
Despite Swann's protests, Puthoff had maintained his work with the envelopes and boxes. He was also working with his psychic team on telepathy and the ability to guess randomly generated numbers. Some of this work with Swann, Price and Geller was published in the book Mind-Reach. Co-written with psychologist Russell Targ, this book was a best seller in 1976. John Wilhelm in his book The Search for Superman, alleged that the experiments were paid for by the Naval Electronics Systems Command, and was critical of the alleged results.
Geller may not have been involved in the work undertaken for the intelligence community, but he was later involved in a company formed to find mineral deposits and oil by remote viewing.
Puthoff, Price, Swann and several others in the SRI team shared the same explanation for "remote viewing". They were convinced that remote viewers were leaving their bodies and travelling to the locations they were describing. They held in common a jargon phrase for this - "exteriorization with full perception". The phrase was originated by a man whom most of the team referred to as the "Source", the "Founder" or even the "Commodore". But the Commodore was not a member of the U.S. Navy. He had given himself the title when he formed his own paramilitary "Sea Organization" in 1967. The Commodore was none other than the creator of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard.
Leading skeptic Martin Gardner attacked the experimental design given in Puthoff and Targ's Mind Reach. In an article later published in Science Good, Bad and Bogus, Gardner commented that 14 Scientologists were involved in the project.
Most of the SRI team, including project director Puthoff, and the CIA's star psychic spies, Price and Swann, were members of the Church of Scientology. Indeed, all three were graduates of Scientology's own prolonged and expensive supposed psychic training. Pat Price died in an accident in 1975, but Puthoff and Swann were to control an enormous and highly secret U.S. government intelligence project for many years.
Scientology has attained religious status in a few countries, subsequently losing it in several. It is unusual among religions having housed the world's largest private intelligence agency. At peak, the Guardian's Office of the Church of Scientology had a permanent staff of 1,100, assisted by many "field" Scientologists.
In many ways the Church of Scientology is closer to an intelligence agency than a conventional church. In the 1980s, the copyright lapsed in one of Scientology's most secret texts, the Manual of Justice. Here Hubbard said "Intelligence is mostly the collection of data ... It is done all the time about everything and everybody." In 1984, former members were scandalised to learn of a directive written in 1969 by Hubbard's wife ordering that supposedly confidential confessional folders should be "culled" for discreditable information.
Scientologists undertake hundreds of hours of "processing", a mixture of supposed counselling and psychic training. They are subjected to exhaustive lists of questions concerning their personal lives. Every embarassing detail is written down and retained by the organization. While being questioned, Scientologists are connected via hand held electrodes to a psychogalvonometer or "E-meter". Although denying it elsewhere, Hubbard admitted in at least two texts that his E-meter was actually a lie detector. Whenever a Scientologist admits to behaviour considered "unethical" by Scientology, a separate note of this is sent to the "ethics section". Such behaviour would include criminal acts, anything blackmailable, and any thoughts or deeds counter to Hubbard or his Church. It would also include any connection to an intelligence agency.
Scientologists are also expected to write "knowledge reports" on one another and on any matter which might affect Scientology. Failure to do so leaves the Scientologist open to the same penalty as the dissenter or critic they failed to report.
In 1978, the intelligence community was so pleased with the results of the SRI team that funding was massively extended. A multimillion dollar project called "Grill Flame" was brought into being under the auspices of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Navy. The projects at SRI continued, but were greatly augmented at Fort George Meade in Maryland. The US Army Intelligence and Security agency became involved in the project and in 1983 expanded recruitment for psychics to be trained by Ingo Swann. Many military personnel were recruited, including Sergeant Mel Riley and Major Ed Dames who both claim to have become highly successful remote viewers.
US Army General Stubblebine came to head the project. He broadened the remit of the project, involving his military staff in spoonbending, and hiring tarot readers and channelers (or spirit mediums). The timing mirrors the involvement of many breakaway Scientologists in channeling groups. In 1984, General Stubblebine left under a cloud of controversy. By this time Puthoff and Swann had departed the Church of Scientology and become involved with a breakaway movement. With General Stubblebine's withdrawal, the Defense Intelligence Agency took over control of project "Grill Flame".
In Scientology, Puthoff and Swann had both navigated through the many levels of "processing" and indoctrination leading to the secret courses which supposedly convey supernatural powers on adherents. Hubbard promised that graduates of these courses would be able to leave their bodies at will and perceive remote events. Through the secret levels, Scientologists would be able to use willpower to control events and the minds of other people. The nearest comparison must be to magical systems which utilise initiations and rituals in the same attempt at elevating the power of the will. Hubbard's mentor, black magician Aleister Crowley, called this power "thelema".
Both Puthoff and Swann have attested completion of the secret level called Operating Thetan section three written by Hubbard. On this course, Scientologists are told that they are infested with spirits which were "clustered" together 75 million years ago under the order of Xenu, the ruler of the Galactic Confederation. Faced with massive overpopulation - Hubbard says an average of 178 billion on each of the 76 planets of his empire - Xenu transported the vast majority to Earth, then called Teegeeack. On Teegeack, these spirits were blown up with hydrogen bombs in volcanoes and gathered on electronic ribbons. They were then clustered and hypnotically "implanted" for thirty-six days with images of the future. Everything from the life of Jesus to the design of the DC-8 aircraft was supposedly implanted at that time. It is not known whether this material formed a part of the training of U.S. intelligence agents.
For at least ten years, Puthoff and Swann owed allegiance to both the U.S. intelligence community and to Scientology. How much these organizations shared knowledge of their activities is unknown. However, Scientology's Guardian's Office was certainly aware of the approach to Puthoff and Swann. It would be entirely out of character for the Guardian's Office not to have subjected all the Scientologists involved in the project to interrogation.
In a sworn declaration, Scientology leader David Miscavige has said that at the time he closed the Guardian's Office down, in 1983, its members held the directorships of all Churches of Scientology. The Guardian's Office had controlled this international "religious" movement since its inception in 1966. Other evidence demonstrates that the Guardian's Office itself was under the direct control of L. Ron Hubbard.
Curiously, although Scientology claims to be a system for achieving supernatural powers, its controlling agency, the Guardian's Office, did not house a remote viewing section. The Guardian's Office used more tangible means of surveillance and operational technique. A massive network of "Field Staff Members" and "Guardian Assistant Scientologists" was created beyond the 1,100 permanent staff.
In 1982, ten years after U.S. intelligence agencies first employed Scientology psychic spies, Hubbard ranted about an attempted take-over of Scientology by one of the agencies information was being supplied to by Puthoff and Swanns' team. Hubbard was not alone in asserting that the FBI was trying to take-over his organization. He was supported by Scientology defector Bill Robertson, who had worked closely with Hubbard and held high positions in Scientology. However, Robertson also believed that our world had been invaded by hundreds of thousands of extraterrestials from the Markab system. By this time, maybe the CIA believed it too.
A peculiar passage in the 1992 book What is Scientology? shifts the blame from the FBI to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. A year later, the IRS granted Scientology tax-exemption, despite having won every one of its major court battles against Scientology since 1958. In turn, Scientology seems to have closed down its IRS Whistleblowers campaign and withdrawn 71 suits against the IRS.
While the CIA increased its funding to Scientology's psychic spies, the FBI launched the biggest raid in its history on Scientology's earthbound intelligence agency, the Guardian's Office. The 1977 raids, in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., exposed massive thefts of government material by Scientology spies. The raids resulted in the conviction and imprisonment of eleven Scientology officials, including the "Controller" of Scientology, Hubbard's wife and immediate deputy, Mary Sue Hubbard. The Founder himself was one of the almost 40 named unindicted co-conspirators. The conspiracy charges included breaking and entering, burglary, bugging, theft of tens of thousands of pages of government documents, false imprisonment, forging government credentials, forging evidence, destroying evidence, coaching a witness to lie under oath and kidnapping.
Most of the Scientologists, including Mary Sue Hubbard, signed a 200 page confession, an "uncontested stipulation of evidence", and entered a guilty plea. They admitted that Scientology was planning to place 135 spies in U.S. government agencies. Only those in the Internal Revenue Service and the Coast Guard were flushed out. But Guardian's Office spies had also infiltrated the Better Business Bureau, several newspapers and law firms, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and a number of counter-cult groups. The Guardian's Office was also involved in an abortive attempt to take over the British National Association of Mental Health. Scientology agents were not passive. Branch Two (B-2) of the Guardian's Office made "overt data collections", gathering any material about cited targets in the public record. Branch One (B-1) used "covert" or illegal data collection and performed illegal "covert operations" against perceived enemies of the cult.
Such operations included the staging of a hit and run accident in an attempt to discredit the mayor of Clearwater, Florida, because he opposed Scientology's invasion of that town. Author Paulette Cooper was framed for a bomb threat, and indicted by a Grand Jury. She was the target of relentless harassment, some of it described in a Scientology document seized by the FBI entitled "Operation Freakout". This operation had as its stated purpose "To get Paulette Cooper incarcerated in a mental institution or jail, or at least hit her so hard she drops her attacks". Cooper's crime was telling the truth about Hubbard and Scientology. By the time she made a secret out of court settlement with Scientology, Cooper had been on the receiving end of some 18 law suits. These are two examples among hundreds.
In the war against its critics, Scientology had not only infiltrated counter-cult organizations, but also seems to have created its own. This organization called for all cult members to be rounded up and put in concentration camps. It also published the infamous Deprogramming Manual, written under Mary Sue Hubbard's direction at the Guardian's Office's international headquarters in England. This tactic proved successful in stigmatizing opponents. Several newspapers and a number of academics accepted it as a genuine treatise on "deprogramming" cult members.
The few Scientology spies who were caught proved to have been highly effective. Gerald Wolfe, Michael Meisner and Don Alverzo stole tens of thousands of documents from the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department. Scientology had brought suit against the IRS, forcing the collection of all files concerning Scientology by its Washington office. The files were indexed by the IRS and the index then stolen by a Scientology spy. All Scientology had to do was check documents against the index as they were stolen to complete its collection. Scientology also monitored the investigation into Hubbard's tax status and stole IRS lawyers' planning documents relating to Scientology suits.
As a coverup, so that stolen documents could be used, Scientology stole and leaked many other documents. IRS files for mayor Sam Yorty and actor John Wayne were leaked. A confidential government report on the Drug Enforcement Administration was leaked to the Village Voice. Thousands of documents were stolen from the IRS Interpol liaison office, including files on terrorism.
Although the evidence shows that Scientology spies were at work in countries throughout the world, the only other prosecution was in Canada. In 1992, a Scientology church and three Scientology spies were convicted. They had stolen enough material to fill 40 filing cabinets. The material was stolen from various police departments and the Ontario state goverment.
In fact, the Guardian's Office gained such easy access to high security documents that it lost track. The quantity was so great that probably half of the stolen material was never analysed. However, despite admissions that the IRS in London had been infiltrated and allegations that the British Home Office had been penetrated, the international Headquarters of the Guardian's Office in England has never been raided. It is not known whether copies of high security documents remained in the possession of Scientology.
Guardian's Office cells in Boston, Las Vegas and Clearwater were never prosecuted, despite the affidavits and testimony of their former spies from these cities.
One former Guardian's Office agent has claimed that an armed squad burgled Interpol in Paris. Their mission was to steal material on heads of state for blackmail purposes. In 1992, allegations surfaced that an Enquiry into the suicide of a Scientology industrialist in Lyon was dropped after negotiations between Scientology's Office of Special Affairs Investigation department (which succeeded the Guardian's Office Information Bureau) and an aide to President Mitterand. The journalist who made the allegations supported them with copies of Scientology telexes.
Does the involvement of the U.S. intelligence community explain the failure of governments throughout the world to act to protect their citizens from Scientology? If so, the world's mightiest superpower fared badly in the bargain with its strange bedfellow. The psychic spies failed to direct the bombers to Gadaffi in the Libyan attack. At least one hospital was hit instead. The direction of SCUD missiles targeted by psychic spies devastated Iraq. Thousands of innocents died, but the tyrant Sadam Hussein was untouched.
In 1983, I offended the Guardian's Office by sending out a questionnaire to a few friends and hosting the first public meeting of British Scientology dissidents. My house was immediately put under surveillance. Since then, my life has not been my own. I have been subjected to Scientology's infamous Fair Game law, in which the spiritual leader of Scientology wrote that opponents "May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed".