The book, researched, edited and published by the U.S. Ministerial Conference of Scientology Ministers, is entitled: The American Inquisition -- U.S. Government Agency Harassment, Religious Persecution and Abuse of Power.
And this is the introduction:
"Since the inception of the Scientology religious movement more than a quarter of a century ago, government agencies together with vested interest pressure groups have attempted through both overt and covert means to suppress the Church's spiritual practice and expansion.
"The Church's extensive efforts in the areas of governmental and social reform have met with government retaliation and attempts to cover up political corruption and dirty tricks. In 1940, the government was excited by the possibility of monopolizing L. Ron Hubbard's work and sought to force him into classified government service to work on projects which would pervert the positive goals and purposes of his work. When Mr. Hubbard declined, the government threatened him -- and the war between Scientology and the government was on. Since that time, various factions within the government have attempted to commit genocide and eliminate the religious technology over which they sought to gain a monopoly.
"During these past three decades, government agencies have spied, harassed, taped phones, falsely arrested, intercepted mail, denied religious and civil rights and conducted themselves with utter disregard of the Constitution. As history tells us, new religions have always engendered opposition from government and vested interests. From the origins of Christianity to Mormonism and Christian Science, freedom of worship has been a right hard won by diligence and faith. In this tradition, Scientology has continued to win all major battles against the repression and harassment of U.S. government agencies."
The book was published by the Church of Scientology before nine of its members, including some of its highest ranking officials, were convicted and sentenced for actions that included the bugging of government offices and the theft of government documents.
But the introduction is a concise summary of Scientology's rationalization for the formation of the Guardian Office, which the nine members served and which operated a widespread, intercontinental espionage system.
It might be summarized even more concisely: an eye for an eye.
The day the nine Scientologists were found guilty, Rev. Kenneth Whitman, president of the Church of Scientology of California -- the central church -- issued this statement:
"There are four key issues which I wish to address:
"1. It has always been official Church policy to uphold the laws of the land. The Church did not and does not condone violations of this policy.
"2. Neither does the Church condone the flagrant lawlessness of corrupt government officials whose unprosecuted crimes range from chemical murder in the form of CIA and Army human experiments to the millions of tax dollars wasted by federal agents who launch disruption campaigns against ordinary citizens, religious leaders like Martin Luther King, writers and movie stars like Jean Seberg who express views which some J. Edgar Hoover type dislikes.
"3. For three decades, the Church has worked to obtain honesty in government by exposing such crimes as a planned assassination of a foreign leader by the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS dirty tricks against taxpayers and the CIA's bizarre mind control programs. Our successful reward campaign for government whistle-blowers, our stand against discrimination and our international efforts to close the doors on deplorable biological and chemical experiments have gained us a reputation as leaders in social reform. We are continuing vigorously to fight on behalf of the constitutional rights of all Americans.
"4. The Church cannot speak for the defendants. We assume that they will comment at the appropriate time on advice of their attorneys. This case involves nine individuals who have all been part of the arm of the Church dealing with government affairs. It is one of the 21 departments within the overall structure of the Church of Scientology. The main body of church activity deals with ministerial training and counselling. While we strengthen our social activism, the bulk of our efforts continue to go toward meeting the needs of our rapidly-increasing numbers of new parishioners and ministers. In the last two years, we have experienced the most intensive growth in our three-decade history and today our worldwide membership is estimated at five million with 298 churches and missions on five continents."
When documents which formed the foundation for indictments of Scientologists, documents which were seized in FBI raids on church offices, were made public, Rev. Whitman again stressed that the espionage was isolated from most of the church.
"The release of further documents from the defendants or members of the Information Bureau of the Guardian Office will tell nothing about the actual workings of the Church of Scientology or of the crimes of government agencies which the Church has been fighting for over 25 years," he said.
Denis McKenna, a public relations spokesman, told a Times reporter that while the church does not condone law breaking, it should be understood that the nine defendants were frustrated because of the long-standing vendetta against the church by the government.
McKenna offered another Scientology booklet, The Dossier Disease, to explain this frustration.
The booklet states that during the 1960s, the church "initiated a program to trace the difficulties it had had with various agencies not only in the United States but in other countries as well." It used the Freedom of Information Act, enacted in 1967, to obtain copies of thousands of pages of documents about Scientology from government agencies.
"To locate and handle the source of false reports on the Church of Scientology that had spread in the preceding two decades, the Guardian's Office initiated a False Report Correction program," the booklet said.
The goal of the program, it said, was to locate false reports about Scientology in government files and get them corrected.
Rev. Hugh Wilhere, another church spokesman, said that in the course of carrying out this program, the Guardian's Office found that false reports about Scientology were being spread by intelligence agencies, particularly Interpol.
As a result, he said, it undertook a massive investigation of Interpol which revealed that the international crime exchange agency "had lied to Congress about its Nazi past and, in fact, up until 1972, Interpol's president was a former Nazi SS official (Paul Dickopf, SS 337259); Interpol is a private organization under no government control yet has access to U.S. law enforcement files; that Interpol exchanges information with Communist countries thus jeopardizing the security of U.S. law enforcement information."
Wilhere also said that much of the information obtained by illegal means clearly showed wrongdoing by government officials and harassment of Scientology and other groups and individuals. He cited a half-dozen cases.
That is substantially the church's explanation for the actions of the Guardian's Office that led to the convictions of nine Scientologists.
There are problems with it. To cite a few:
-- The explanation changed substantially as more and more was revealed. In May 1978, church spokesman Arthur J. Maren said the church had been engaged in "reform action ... a legitimate and traditional function of the church." Published reports that seized documents would show that, for example, a fake hit-and-run accident was staged in Washington in an effort to compromise the mayor of Clearwater, were denied. Maren also denied that the church regards anyone as enemies. "As a church which believes that man is basically good and devotes itself to helping others, we have no enemies," he said. Church documents released as a result of the court case have shown otherwise.
-- The explanation is that the illegal actions were carried out by a small group of individuals in one isolated division of the church. However, the illegality goes right to the top of the church organization. One of those indicted and convicted was Mary Sue Hubbard, wife of founder L. Ron Hubbard. The church documents show a close working relationship between the Guardian's Office and the church's legal department. And most damning of all is the fact that the Guardian's Office operated on the basis of precepts and policies written by founder Hubbard and set forth in church publications. Hubbard, in fact, was listed by the grand jury as an unindicted co-conspirator.
-- The church's interpretation of the meaning of some government documents illegally obtained by the Guardians is also open to question. Consider the Defeo Report, "in which," according to the church, "members of the Drug Enforcement Administration plotted the assassination of foreign leaders in Panama." Actually the report was issued on an investigation of allegations of fraud and misconduct in the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The document alleged by the church to be the Defeo Report does not state that an assassination plot was made, but only that "it was alleged that a discussion concerning assassination" of a Panamanian official took place and that DEA officials were involved in the discussion.
In the end, the problem with the church's explanation is L. Ron Hubbard's definition of truth: "Truth is what is true for you."