Scientology Critical Information Directory

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Scientology's "Fair Game" doctrine

"Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." — Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

"No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property." — Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

«[Suppressive Person] Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.» — L. Ron Hubbard, "PENALTIES FOR LOWER CONDITIONS", HCO Policy Letter of 18 October 1967.
«If 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.» — L. Ron Hubbard, "Dept of Govt Affairs", HCO Policy Letter of 15 August 1960.
«In USA v Jame Kember and Morris Budlong, in 1980, Scientology lawyers admitted that despite public representations Fair Game has never truly been "abrogated" (sentencing memorandum, District Court, Washington, D.C. criminal no. 78.401 (2) & (3), p. 16, footnote). The Policy Letter which did eventually cancel it, off 22 July 1980, was itself withdrawn on 8 September 1983. Unknown to MOST of its adherents, Fair game is still a scripture, and according to Hubbard's Standard Tech principle binding upon Scientologists.» — Jon Atack, "Hubbard and the Occult".

The Fair Game policy: the true spirit of Scientology
ENEMY: SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.

— HCO Policy Letter of 18 October 1967, Issue IV, L. RON HUBBARD (See scan of original at SPDL)

ABC (US, 1982): "20/20 - Scientology" @ XenuTV

Voice over: Documents the FBI found in the church’s Los Angeles office suggested other ways to harass an enemy.

pictures of church documents

Stossel (reading from documents): "Order hundred of dollars of liquor in his name and have it delivered to his home to cause him trouble. Wake him up every night by calling him on the phone and threatening him. Poison him while he’s asleep so he’ll never start another attack.

Stacy Brooks Young (1998): "A classic example of the fair game policy at work"

So DM called me in and ordered me to edit the transcripts of the videotapes to make it look like Gerry was admitting to being a paid informant, even though he never had admitted any such thing. I was to edit out Rinder’s and Kluge’s leading questions so it looked like Gerry was volunteering information, when in fact all he was really doing was answering a hypothetical question that had been posed to him.

I went through the transcripts and pulled the "best" parts I could find, doing my best to comply with DM’s orders to make Gerry look like a paid informant. Privately I thought it was obvious, even after the editing, that Gerry was being set up, but I dutifully turned in my doctored transcript to DM, who then turned it over to Ted Horner, a Gold staff member in charge of film editing, to use my edited transcript to do the final edit on the videotapes.

Affidavit of Robert Vaughn Young (9 March 1994)

CSI has a Fair Game Doctrine where any "enemy" can be "destroyed." This doctrine is practiced against apostates, critics, the press and has even been used against courts. It has been practiced against Dr. Geertz (starting with this lawsuit that put him into bankruptcy) and his counsel in this case (ranging from an investigation that this court ordered stopped to vandalism of Mr. Graham Berry's property.

I will show how the Fair Game Doctrine started. how it has continued to this day and how this court has been exposed to these end-justifies-the-means methods. I will present this using the writings (now called "scriptures") of Hubbard. These are the iron-clad policies of Scientology.

Affidavit of William Franks (3 April 1985)

6. In 1980 and 1981, I have personal knowledge of many orders issued by L. Ron Hubbard concerning attacks against Michael Flynn. Hubbard considered Flynn to be a "whore" and Hubbard ordered him to be totally ruined. We were ordered to do a complete investigation of Flynn, find or "manufacture" crimes he had committed, expose his "crimes" to his clients and to law enforcement officials, ruin his law practice, have him disbarred and file numerous law suits or bar complaints against him without regard to whether the complaints were meritorious or not. L. Ron Hubbard personally ordered all these activities and I saw many of the orders.

Chris Owen (1997): Scientology's attitude to criticism: Fair Game

"A Suppressive Person or Group becomes 'Fair Game'. By Fair Game is meant, without right for self, possessions or position, and no Scientologist may be brought before a Committee of Evidence or punished for any action taken against a Suppressive Person or Group during the period that person or group is 'fair game'."

—[Hubbard, Introduction to Scientology Ethics (1967)]

Jon Atack (1996): The cancellation of Fair Game

78. In the same case (Church of Scientology of California v. Armstrong) (JCA-7), Judge Paul Breckenridge criticised the continued use of Fair Game, showing that the policy had remained in force beyond the supposed cancellation in 1980. Judge Breckenridge said: "In addition to violating and abusing its own members' civil rights, the [Scientology] organization over the years with its 'Fair Game' doctrine has harassed and abused those persons not in the Church whom it perceives as its enemies." Judge Breckenridge added, "After the within suit was filed ... Defendant Armstrong was the subject of harassment, including being followed and surveilled by individuals who admitted employment by Plaintiff; being assaulted by one of these individuals; being struck bodily by a car driven by one of these individuals; having two attempts made by said individuals apparently to involve Defendant Armstrong in a freeway automobile accident; having said individuals come onto Defendant Armstrong's property, spy in his windows, create disturbances, and upset his neighbors".

Fair Game: Scientology's written HCO Policy starting 18/Oct/67

Here you will find:
  • A detailed description of the once-secret "Fair Game" and "Purpose of a Lawsuit" internal documents including the text of the actual documents as seized by Federal agents. Additionally the once-secret internal document called "Primary Governing Policy" will be provided in fair use extract to describe what the Scientology organization considers to be its reason for existing.
  • News reports and news commentary covering people being "Fair Gamed" by the Scientology organization.
  • Court documentation (both criminal and civil) covering people who have been Fair Gamed by Scientology.
  • Eye-witness testimony, affidavits, declarations, deposition transcripts, and personal descriptions from people who have been Fair Gamed by Scientology.

Affidavit of Dennis Erlich (16 November 1995)

33. My next postings, attached as Exhibits H and I, and for which I am being sued, are fuller portions of the "fair game" policy. For example, Exhibit H explains how a Suppressive Person ("SP") becomes "fair game." According to Hubbard, an SP: "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." As Mr. McShane testified, Scientology has officially declared that I am an SP.

Declaration of Jonathan Caven-Atack (9 April 1995)

71. Elsewhere, Hubbard carefully explained the provisions of Fair Game: A Suppressive Person "May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed." [JCA-141].

72. In 1968, Hubbard ordered that the words "Fair Game" "may not appear on any Ethics Order. It causes bad public relations." However, the practice of Fair Game was not cancelled "This ... does not cancel any policy on the treatment or handling of an SP [Suppressive Person]." [JCA-142].

Affidavit of Andre Tabayoyon (5 March 1994)

44.  I observed, participated in and was victimized by the use of thought reform on RPF as a means to impose the "Fair Game" law on dissident Scientologists.  Despite claims to the contrary Fair Game has never been, and will never be, cancelled.  The words Fair Game used in any issue is cancelled.  However, the actions of handling suppressives with trickery, lies, deceit and even destruction have not been cancelled and are still being used today.

Affidavit of Nan McLean (23 November 1978)

7. I have copies in my possession in which ex-Scientologists were declared "suppressive persons" and made subject to the "fair game law" and a copy of Auditor #37 placing 4 persons under auditing process R2-45. In the context of such Ethics Orders auditing process R2-45 cannot be considered humorous or a joke, but a serious order. The document attached hereto and marked Appendix "D", is a true copy of an original copy of the Auditor. The reference to Auditing Process R2-45, found in paragraph 7, under heading "Racket Exposed", was known by me as a staff member of the Church of Scientology to mean to kill someone with a Colt 45 automatic Pistol.

Toronto Globe and Mail (Jan. 1980): "Secret Ontario documents found in U.S. cult's files" by John Marshall

The fears, justified or not, led to the planting of agents to get at files, and to electronic bugging, theft, blackmail, poison-pen letters and to the manufacturing of sex scandals against opponents.

Clearwater Sun (May 1982): "Witnesses Tell of Break-ins, Conspiracy" by Steven Girardi

Although she had been told the sect eliminated its "Fair Game" policy, a plan to deal with enemies by any possible means, "I found out it was not true," she said. "The words weren't used. It was not canceled"

City of Clearwater Commission Hearing: The Church of Scientology (1982) - Day 4, Janie Peterson

Well, basically, on the Fair Game Policy, I was always told that the Fair Game Policy was cancelled, and I believed this to be true until I went to the Guardian's Office. And upon entering the Guardian's Office, I found that, indeed, it was not cancelled. The actual words "fair game" were not — to my knowledge, not spoken, at least when I was around, however, the practices were: inasmuch as there was a man, Mr. Walters, who had been in Scientology for some time and he was under suspect from the Guardian's Office.

Keith Henson: "Ms Blood story again, thanks to Bill Yaude (Parker)"

"Scientology's OSA department had one or two of its 'agents' work on a DA package including the incident even before Ms. Bloodybutt tried to frame Tom Klemesrud. That DA package was to included the claim that Tom Klemesrud was being questioned by the police about murdering a woman. (An anonymous telephone call to the police by a woman screaming for help was probably planned, but the woman was too drunk to perform the call or remember to call.) The plan was to make Tom Klemesrud appear that he had murdered someone and then successfully hide / dispose of the body, and to have him incarcerated for a crime that had not even been committed."

Affidavit of Stephen A. Kent (27 April 2001)

35. Another professional has reached the conclusion that Mr. Padgett has been the subject of serious harassment. Practicing Arbitrator G. Preston Doom stated (on March 24, 2001), "[o]ne cannot ignore in reviewing prolific documentation of Mr. Padgett's life since 1992, that he has been engulfed in vexatious litigation being protracted by his ex-wife which has advanced into criminal charges. Having a felony label placed on Mr. Padgett would completely dash any hopes of him resuming any decent paying job." Vexatious litigation and the imposition of a felony label are actions in accordance with Scientology's 'fair game' practices.

Affidavit of LaVenda Van Schaick (1982)

6. The purpose of sending the PC folders to the Guardian's Office where a person had been designated SP or Fair Game was to use the contents of the folders to attack, threaten, blackmail and control the person and thereby prevent the person from seeking to collect refunds of moneys paid to the Church or to prevent the person from exposing the Church activities. The Church regularly and as part of its policy uses the material in these folders to blackmail and control its members in this way. I personally observed this done on numerous occasions contrary to the promises made to Church members. In one case, the Church declared a person named David Sandweiss an SP and threatened to expose auditing information revealed to his auditor by him if he sued for a refund or sought in any way to expose the Church problems. He thereafter committed suicide.

L. Ron Hubbard (1976): "The Technical Bulletin of Dianetics and Scientology"

The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather to win.

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 generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him  utterly.

Los Angeles Times (Jun. 1974): "Sect ordered to pay $300,000 to victim"

A Superior Court jury Friday awarded $300,000 to L. Gene Allard, 33, a Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., artist, who claimed the Church of Scientology made him a victim of its "fair game" policy.

Allard, the church's former bookkeeper in Los Angeles, sued for malicious prosecution after the Scientologists had him arrested in 1969 for allegedly stealing $27,713.90 in Swiss franc notes and its records.

The criminal charges against Allard were dismissed Dec. 29, 1969, for lack of evidence. He denied ever taking any money. [...]

The Daily Mail (May 19, 2007): "'Tom Cruise's Church of hate tried to destroy me'"
[...] Those who undermine the mores and beliefs of Scientology - including journalists - must be ruthlessly dealt with. Hubbard said they were "Fair Game" and could be "tricked, sued or lied to, or destroyed".

That policy, the cult claims, no longer exists. The following account reveals a different story.

A woman, who we shall call Sarah, claims she and her husband, who briefly joined the "church" a few years ago, received death threats after he was wrongly suspected of stealing Scientology documents from Saint Hill.

"One day two well-built men in dark suits from Saint Hill arrived at my door," she said.

"I told them my husband wasn't in but they forced their way in and started riffling through the bookshelves. When my husband returned they bundled him into the car. [...]

Cornelius Krasel: The story of Paulette Cooper

In 1970, Paulette Cooper published a book called "The Scandal of Scientology". This resulted in a legal, long-winded battle lasting until 1986, when Cooper settled with the Church of Scientology (for the second time; the first settlement had been in 1976). Among other measures, the Church used forged bomb threats against itself in an attempt to shut Cooper up. Consequently, she was indicted and arrested. If these measures had failed, the Church had planned to forge a bomb threat against Henry Kissinger in Cooper's name. This plan has become known as "Operation Freakout".

Excerpt of ABC (1998): "20/20 - Scientology" @ XenuTV

TOM JARRIEL: [...] L. Ron Hubbard left Scientology not only his religious writings, but a series of controversial directives that appear to advocate threats, intimidation, and even attacks against those he regarded as enemies.

VO: Some of Hubbard's writings: "Don't ever defend. Always attack." "The purpose of the lawsuit is to harass and discourage rather than win." A church enemy "may be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed."

FRANK OLIVER: They can send private investigators out to your home or to your place of work, talk to your neighbors. They will illicitly try and obtain copies of your phone bills or credit rating. They will try and create problems for you at your place of employment.They will try and sue you. They'll do everything they can try and do to stop you or to silence you.

TOM JARRIEL: How do you know?

FRANK OLIVER: I know because that's what I used to do.

VO: Frank Oliver runs a digital graphics firm in Miami, but for four years, he says, he was a member of the church's internal security apparatus.

FRANK OLIVER (voice of and on camera): I remember having to make the phone calls to all the phone numbers on someone's phone bill to find out where they had called. These were enemies of the church. You shut them down. You find out what you can about them. You find their weak spot and you expose it. You make it so that they cannot survive or exist. You literally destroy them.

Affidavit of Hana Eltringham Whitfield (8 March 1994)

8. Hubbard once spoke about his strategies for "handling" his enemies. The best way was to, literally, drive them crazy, to use all one's resources to find their weaknesses and hit them hardest where it hurt the most. He said there were few men in history who mastered the techniques to do so successfully. He intimated he was one.

Affidavit of Vicki Aznaran (7 March 1994)

23. This practice or policy is sometimes referred to as the policy of "fair game." In the jargon of Scientology, a person who is declared is understood to be a suppressive person ("SP"). This means that the person is "fair game." The fair game policy was issued in the 1960s. It was never canceled. A document was issued for public relations reasons that purportedly canceled "fair game"; however, that document stated that it did not change the manner of handling persons declared "SP." In reality, the purported cancellation of fair game is at most a matter of semantics. Enemies of Scientology are treated as fair game.

Affidavit of Vicki Aznaran (29 June 1993)

4. MFTC and the WOLLY unit each had about 8-10 staff, and engaged in whatever dirty tricks were necessary to attack people and entities which were considered to be "enemies" of Scientology. The dirty tricks they used included destruction of evidence, theft of documents, illegal surveillance or bugging, blackmail, bribery, physical assault and other intimidation, securing perjured testimony. MFTC's mssion was to find or manufacture crimes for "enemies" of Scientology.

5. Before and during the trial in Wollersheim v Church of Scientology of California, MFTC and WOLLY ran a number of operations directed against Wollersheim, his counsel, and the Court. One of these operations was an attempt to put pressure on Bill Swearinger, the son of the trial judge in the Wollersheim case, based on his alleged homosexuality. The idea was to dig up, or manufacture (perhaps by setting the son up in a compromising sexual position with a minor boy), dirt on the son which could be used to pressure the Judge to rule favorably for Scientology, or else to get the Judge disqualified.

The Melbourne Age (Apr. 1991): "Scientology's war of retribution on deep-sleep therapy" by Jo Chandler and Jacqui MacDonald

The documents contain evidence that some Australian Scientologists apparently have remained committed to a 30-year-old doctrine of revenge and intimidation against people the church describes as enemies.

And while church members in Australia have been speaking out against psychiatric abuse, courts in the United States have condemned Scientology for itself using damaging psychiatric techniques. [...]

Affidavit of Janie Peterson (25 May 1982)

11. I also saw auditing information from the auditing folder of Tonja Burden that was sent to Carol Garrity, a Guardian Office staff member, from the United States Guardian Office in California and Florida and Carol had an order from her senior in the "USGO" to get said auditing information published in the news media. Miss Burden was at that time engaged in litigation against Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard and she was considered a top enemy of Scientology.

12. This practice of using auditing information for other purposes than were stated at the time the person received his/her auditing was standard and done routinely during all my years in Scientology.

Michael J. Flynn vs Lafayette Ron Hubbard (7 September 1983)

11. Some of these policies were written and copyrighted by Hubbard and his agents and used by his agents of overall policy directives to carry out his orders. Some of the written policies that were specifically implemented against the plaintiff as hereinafter described are set forth below:

a. "Enemy: Fair Game - May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued, or lied to or destroyed." (hereinafter "Fair Game Policy")

b. "Don't ever defend. Always attack. Find or manufacture enough threat against them to sue for peace. Originate a black PR campaign to destroy the person's repute and to discredit them so thoroughly they will be ostracized."

c. "The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win.

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 generally be sufficient to cause his professional decrease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly."

d. "This is correct procedure:

1. Spot who is attacking us. 2. Start investigating them promptly for FELONIES or worse using our own professionals, not outside agencies. 3. Double curve our reply by saying we welcome an investigation of them. 4. Start feeding lurid, blood, sex crime, actual evidence on the attackers to the press. Don't ever submit to an investigation of us. Make it rough, rough on attackers all the way."

e. "The following is a list of the successful . . . actions used by [our] intelligence [bureau]".

- Using . . . [sex] on someone high in the government to seduce them over to our side . . . - Infiltrating an enemy group with an end to getting documents . . . - Covert third partying with forged or phony signatures. - Anonymous third partying. Particularly the Internal Revenue Service . . . - Direct theft of documents. - Impersonating a reporter over the phone to get information . . ."

f. "The following are possibilities for collecting data:

1. Infiltration 2. Bribery 3. Buying information 4. Robbery 5. Blackmail

Details of these activities are set forth below.

Gerry Armstrong, Scientology's Salman Rushdie

Pursuant to its Fair Game doctrine, Scientology or its agents have:
  • assaulted me on multiple occasions;
  • terrorized me on the freeway;
  • stolen photographs from me;
  • broke into my car and stolen documents, a manuscript and original artwork;
  • spied on me;
  • threatened to assassinate me;
  • threatened my family;
  • harassed my neighbors;
  • paid a corrupt police officer for a fake authorization to eavesdrop on me and my attorney and tap our telephones;
  • illegally videotaped me;
  • attempted numerous times to have me prosecuted on false criminal charges, including with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation;
  • sued me six times;
  • driven me into bankruptcy;
  • carried out covert intelligence operations against me; and
  • defamed me with hundreds of Black PR publications.

Willamette Week (May 1985): "Scientology on trial"

SPs are considered "enemies" or "fair game," and, according to a Hubbard policy Letter, "may be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist[s]. May be tricked, sued, lied to or destroyed."

Although Scientology attorneys claimed that the so-called fair game policy had been rescinded in the late '60s, and that the security and intelligence unit known as the Guardian's Office had been disbanded in 1981, testimony of the former members, as well as other Scientology documents, raised questions about those claims.

Extensive operations directed at Titchbourne by Scientology illustrated that policies and/or organizational names might have changed but that actions had not. Since filing her original suit, Titchbourne has been sued two times by Scientology or its agents. The first suit, according to Samuels' testimony, came after he received orders from the Guardian's Office to file a suit against her within 24 hours. That suit, like the other, was eventually dismissed.

According to Samuels, after Titchbourne's victory in the original trial in 1979, the general feeling among Scientology leaders was that "we were defending and not attacking."

A Guardian's Office Programme Order that was admitted as evidence in the retrial shows that the strategy soon changed to one of attack. Entitled "CHRISTO [Titchbourne's maiden name was Christofferson] FINAL HANDLING EVAL," the document reads in part, "Bulletin must be reviewed by the Founder personally. But the advices are to get JAIL sentences before the appeal." [...]

Another exhibit at the trial, entitled "JULIE'S BACKGROUND," said, "MAJOR TARGET: The criminal background, drug history, record of arrests, former employment, perversions of Julie, fully known and documented, as needed."

Gerry Armstrong: "Scientology Fair Games Michael Flynn"

A solid archive of documents showing how Michael Flynn became a victim of the "fair game" policy of the Church of Scientology.