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The Brainwashing manual (also "Brain-washing")

«We can brainwash faster than the Russians (20 secs to total amnesia against three years to slightly confused loyalty).» — L. Ron Hubbard, HCO Technical Bulletin of 22 July 1956


Picture of the front cover   "Brain-washing - A Synthesis of the Russian Textbook on Psychopolitics"
Picture of the back cover   "Published as a public service by the Church of Scientology"
    (hosted on Mark Plummer's web site)

Timeline of evidences.

The Brainwashing Manual (html) (Mark Plummer's transcription)
The Brainwashing Manual (html) (Martin Hunt's transcription)
The Brainwashing Manual (pdf)

PSYCHOPOLITICS - the art and science of asserting and maintaining dominion over the thoughts and loyalties of individuals, officers, bureaus, and masses, and the effecting of the conquest of enemy nations through "mental healing."

State of Victoria, Australia (1965): "The Anderson Report - Chapter 12: The Teaching of Scientology"

The astonishing feature of scientology is that its techniques and propagation resemble very closely those set out in a book entitled Brain-washing, advertised and sold by the HASI. This book purports to be "A synthesis of the Communist Textbook on Psychopolitics," "Psychopolitics" being defined as "the art and science of asserting and maintaining dominion over the thoughts and loyalties of individuals, officers, bureaus and masses, and effecting the conquest of enemy nations through 'mental healing'." (One edition of Brainwashing is described as "A synthesis of the Russian Text-book on Psychopolitics".)

The Board heard astonishing evidence about the Brain-washing Manual, as this book was usually called. Though purporting to be a synthesis of the communist text-book, with an introduction which purports to be the text of a lecture said to have been delivered by "Beria", to American students at the Lenin University, the English version of the manual bears a startling resemblance to Hubbard's own literary style. Whether he is the author, as was suggested by a witness hostile to scientology, is probably immaterial. What is of some significance is that his organization assiduously sold and distributed this manual. The Board heard evidence to the effect that Hubbard or his American organization, desiring to draw the attention of the "authorities" to the contents of the manual and to expose the craftiness of the Russian psychopoliticians, posted from America to the Melbourne HASI an envelope containing a copy of the manual, and a similar envelope but with no copy of the manual in it. When the two envelopes arrived at their destination, the Melbourne HASI then complained to the "authorities" that the contents of one envelope were missing, the suggestion being that the manual had been removed en route by communists, and the other envelope containing the manual was produced to the "authorities," so that they could see the nature of the material involved, and in this way the manual was brought to the notice of the "authorities."

It was a fanciful story, but it was consistent with Hubbard's policies of deceit and may very well be true. Certainly, a great part of the manual is almost a blue print for the propagation of scientology. One remarkable exhibit tendered to the Board was a series of extracts from the Brain-washing Manual, with, however, the substitution of a number of words with a scientology connotation for certain words with a communist connotation. With these substitutions effected, the extracts were in the main startlingly applicable to scientology as operating in Victoria. This exhibit, with the substitutions made, is Appendix 16. [scan available on Arnie Lerma's web site]

Dr. Stephen A. Kent (2000): "Brainwashing in Scientology's Rehabilitation Force (RPF)"

Obsessed with issues of controlling and subduing people and nations, the "brainwashing" manual is an extraordinary work. Most probably, key ideas that Hubbard (presumably) wrote about in the brainwashing manual became policies and procedures in the RPF nearly twenty years later. The manual's own definition of psychopolitics, for example, indicated that it was "the art and science of asserting and maintaining dominion over the thoughts and loyalties of individuals, officers, bureaux, and masses, and the effecting of the conquest of enemy nations through 'mental healing'" (Hubbard [probable author], 1955: 6). Later the text presented a strategy for subversives to use in destroying individuals' opposition to the state, and this strategy involved the destruction of any forms of individuality that might foster doubts against the imposing ideology. [...]

Los Angeles Times (August 29, 1978): "Church Claims U.S. Campaign of Harassment" by Robert Gillette and Robert Rawitch

[...] On at least one occasion, one of Scientology's own public relations campaigns appears to have backfired on it, leading to what it now decries as false information in government files.

The alleged falsehood, which crops up in a variety of government documents in the 1960s, is that Scientology involves the study of a "Russian textbook on brainwashing."

One such memo, written by the security chief of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, in 1961, indicates that a Scientologist's security clearance had been denied partly on this ground.

The church acknowledges circulating what it called a "Russian textbook of psychopolitics," in 1955 but insists that it did so as a "public service" and did not subscribe to its contents.

This message appears to not have been universally understood, however, for the pamphlet's distribution evoked a number of letters from the public and from at least one U.S. senator (Strom Thurmond, a South Carolina Republican) to the FBI asking whether Hubbard, Scientology or his Dianetics Research Foundation had Communist ties.

The FBI, according to internal bureau memos released recently under the Freedom of Information Act, looked the psychopolitics pamphlet over, declared it to be of "doubtful authenticity," and said it was "apparently a thinly veiled attack upon mental health programs along the line that such programs are part of the worldwide Communist conspiracy."

The notion that communism and the mental health professions were somehow related appears to have coincided closely with Hubbard's own views, although he has not acknowledged writing the pamphlet. [...]

Caroline Letkeman: "Ron the Brainwasher"

Hubbard says he knows processes which can wipe out people's memory in twenty seconds. Discusses the ease of brainwashing people. Says any brainwashing and any therapy will work on 22 percent of the people. [...]

Wikipedia: Brain-Washing (book)

Brain-Washing (subtitle: A Synthesis of the Russian Textbook on Psychopolitics), sometimes referred to as "The Brainwashing Manual", is a book published by the Church of Scientology in 1955.

It purports to be a transcript of a speech on the use of psychiatry as a means of social control, given by Lavrenty Beria in the Soviet Union in 1950. However L. Ron Hubbard, Jr., son of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, stated:

"Dad wrote every word of it. Barbara Bryan and my wife typed the manuscript off his dictation." [1]

Hubbard's former editor, John Sanborn, confirmed Hubbard Jr.'s testimony. [...]

The Independent (UK, Jan. 1994): "The Prisoners of Saint Hill" by Tim Kelsey and Mike Ricks

In November, in a landmark ruling, the Californian Court of Appeal agreed that the the techniques of Scientology constitute "brain-washing" and "thought- reform" similar to that practised by the Chinese and North Koreans against American prisoners of war.

The Oregonian (Jul. 1979): "Witness describes Scientology drills" by John Painter Jr.

Scientology courses are designed to make students dependent on their instructors so it is "easier to brainwash them," a disaffected Church of Scientology communications supervisor testified Tuesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court. [...]

She added: "The more you learn about your student, the easier it was to brainwash them." [...]


Jeff Hawkins’s comment

RJ, I’m assuming you know that your second reference, the famous Brainwashing Manual, was written by LRH under a pen name. My old friend John Sanborn was with him when he wrote it and it was common knowledge around the old 1960’s Pubs Org that it was really an LRH book, although that was never publicly stated to be so. It was stocked and sold like the rest.

Brian Ambry (2001): "Brainwashing Manual Parallels in Scientology" (PDF, 715KiB)

A review of the out-of-print Textbook on Psychopolitics, a.k.a. the Brainwashing Manual, reveals dozens of key parallels with contemporary Scientology.

The Brainwashing Manual defines “Psychopolitics” as:

“The art and science of asserting and maintaining dominion over the thoughts and loyalties of individuals, officers, bureaus, and masses, and the effecting of the conquest of enemy nations through ‘mental healing.’”

Questions arise: Why, if Scientology has as its primary objective the mental health, enlightenment and freedom of others, does it seek to covertly impose the ideas and methods of the Brainwashing Manual upon them? When L. Ron Hubbard distributed copies of the Brainwashing Manual in 1955, did he inadvertently reveal the basic guidelines for what would later become Scientology in its completed form?

(Much of the material quoted herein became available for public scrutiny as a result of Federal Criminal Court case no. 78-401, Washington, DC. This includes material from L. Ron Hubbard’s confidential covert Intelligence and Propaganda course, the Information Full Hat, which, as an item of evidence, is listed as exhibit 236.)

Hopefully those who have been touched by Scientology will find this information helpful. [...]

Chris Owen (Oct. 2000): "The Brainwashing Manual - the hard facts"

There's no doubt that Hubbard at the very least edited or modified it [The Brainwashing Manual], though it now appears that he may not have written the bulk of it. The booklet uses several of Hubbard's neologisms and actually mentions Dianetics, his "science of the mind" which he launched in June 1950. The giveaway is the use of the word "thinkingness", a neologism which Hubbard coined in 1954. This means that the purported authorship by Beria is certainly false; he was arrested and imprisoned immediately after Stalin's death in July 1953 and shot on 24 December 1953.

Hubbard publicised the booklet in late 1955 as the first stage in a 40-year war against psychiatry which the Church of Scientology continues today. Hubbard had been convinced for some years that communists and psychiatrists were separately conspiring against him to do him and Dianetics/Scientology down and sent a lengthy series of letters to the FBI denouncing various of his associates, including his wife, as communist agents provocateur. In August 1955 a Scientologist named Edd Cark was arrested in Phoenix, AZ for practising medicine without a license (perhaps as a result of a complaint from local medical authorities). Hubbard was livid and for the first time denounced psychiatrists as working for communist — specifically Soviet — interests. The two separate prongs of attack, he claimed, were in fact a covert alliance with psychiatrists deeply implicated: [...]

Bent Corydon (1987): "Messiah or Madman? - The Brainwashing Manual"

After hearing Elena's story, I began searching through Hubbard's writings and other Church (and Church-sponsored) publications with the purpose of gaining a greater understanding of what he was really doing on the flagship (and, to a slightly lesser extent, in his land based organizations). I came across a little known but very revealing text: "The Brainwashing Manual." A little research brought to light that it had first appeared in 1955. The propaganda line on it (originating from Hubbard) was that it was found on the doorstep. Some concerned somebody had "slipped it under the door of a Scientology org." It consisted, according to the manual's foreword, of a transcribed lecture by the dreaded Beria, head of Stalin's Secret Police, given to students of psychopolitics at Leningrad University around 1950. Thereafter it was used as a textbook on how to wage psychological warfare on Western democracies. This psychological assault was to be followed by an eventual takeover of the West. This takeover would be achieved by first taking over the psychiatric professions, and the psychiatric and mental health organizations. Supposedly, this step was already well under way. The message was that psychiatry is solely a commie operation. Hubbard had long wanted control of the field of "mental health," and anything he could do to spoil the image of a competitor (in this case psychiatry) was a worthwhile action. (The manual was later actually being distributed by such groups as the John Birch Society — who believed wrongly that it was indeed a transcribed lecture by Beria.)

'Veda' (Mar. 2007): "Re: Brainwashing Manual-Hubbard? Beria? Ideas for Scientology?"

Here are a few other "historical" comments on the origin of the 'Brainwashing Manual'.

Fairly recently, Dr. Stephen Kent of the University of Alberta, Canada, wrote, in 'Brainwashing in Scientology's Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF)':

"The entire text is fraudulent (Kominsky, 1970), and in any case, all indicators point directly to Hubbard as the author."

In the latter 1950s, when the 'Brainwashing Manual' was brought to the attention of the United States Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, and the House (of Representatives) Committee on Un-American Activities, the prevailing opinion was that the "Russian Manual" was not authentic.

Asked to investigate, the Senior Specialist for Russian Affairs of the Library of Congress, Dr. Sergius Yakobson, found no evidence of its existence.

Edward Hunter, author of the 1952 book, 'Brain-Washing in Red China', wrote of the "Russian Brainwashing Manual":

"The book is a hoax, and what it has mostly achieved is to fool people who think they are getting my 'Brain-Washing in Red China' which was based on first hand sources, and put the word into the language."

Another interesting historical tidbit on the time-line of the "Russian Manual" can be found in the late 1956 version, printed by the Victorian League of Rights of Melbourne, Australia. Appearing after the "Charles Stickley" version of 1955, and after the Kenneth Goff version of 1956, it features a new Introduction by Eric Butler. The new Introduction mentions both "Stickley" and Goff:

"The material on psychopolitics was first published in America last year [1955] by a Charles Stickley, who said that he could not reveal the sources of his material without endangering individuals who had assisted him. Early this year [1956] Kenneth Goff, former American Communist, also issued the material in booklet form."

Kenneth Goff, and his supporters, have always insisted that the "Russian Textbook" dates back as far as the 1930s, yet no version can be found - including Goff's own version - that is not replete with Hubbard's distinct phrasings ("on the broad field," etc., etc.), and Dianetic and Scientology lingo.

Efforts to locate the (mythical) pre-Hubbard "Russian Textbook" have been to no avail.

Other comments on The Brainwashing Manual: who wrote it?

The book appears some time in the 1930s, and is used by (if not written by) Kenneth Goff to speak against Communism and for Pentecostal Christianity. Later he adds an afterward on atomic bombs, to update the red menace. When L. Ron Hubbard had need of the book in the 1950s, he reads it into a transcription machine as if he 'wrote' it. Initially he removes references to Pentecostal Christianity and faith healing and does not speak entirely unkindly of Freud; later on he demonizes psychiatry more than Communism. The John Birch Society uses the book for their ends, as do the Vampire Killers. Hubbard did indeed "write" "Brain-Washing" — but so did Kenneth Goff, the John Birch Society, the authors of Vampire Killers 2000 and probably many others.

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