Victims Who Are `Fair Game'
For a week last month Jon Atack and his family were subjected to scenes like this outside their home in Cranston Road, East Grinstead.
The placard-carrying demonstrators are Scientologists, and they do not like Mr. Atack because he is an outspoken critic of the cult.
The police were twice called to disperse the protesters. But they kept coming back, and on Sunday they were there again.
Asked to explain, Peter Mansell, public affairs officer at Saint Hill, said: "One Scientologist recently found out Jon Atack persuaded his family to pay 6,000 UK pounds for him to counsel their son in order to get him to denounce his religion."
"The young man and his friends have been demonstrating to demand an end to the socially obnoxious practice of faith-breaking for money."
In 1984, High Court judge Mr Justice Latey used the same words to describe Scientology.
And last month, we revealed how the cult took 22,000 UK pounds off one young man in a month. He got his money back a year later - with the help of a barrister.
Responding to Mr. Mansell's comments, Mr. Atack said: "It's a bald- faced lie. I've never charged anybody £6,000 for counselling. That's ridiculous."
The New Testament says: "Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other cheek to him also."
You will not find such a quotation in the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard.
Instead, the man who founded Scientology had this to say about "suppressive" people:
"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."
He called the doctrine Fair Game.
But Mr. Mansell said: "The policy no longer exists, and in fact never did exist in the way it is disgustingly depicted by a few persons antipathetic to the Church.
"All the policy ever meant was that persons who were expelled would not be forwarded protection of Church ethical policies."
That was not the view of an American judge who ruled:
"In addition to violating and abusing its own members' civil rights, the organisation over the years, with its `Fair Game' doctrine, had harassed and abused those persons not in the Church whom it perceives as its enemies."
Mr. Atack, who helps ex-cult members, is in that category.
A leaflet called "the truth about Jon Atack" has been distributed to his neighbours.
It accuses him, among other things, of having an "unprosecuted history of drug dealing" (in other words, no convictions).
Mr. Mansell said: "Jon Atack has promoted the most scurrilous leafleting campaigns against the Church, pretending to tell the truth about Scientology.
"Our leaflets do not attack him, but they do tell the truth about him."
Mr Atack doesn't see it that way. Nor does his lawyer. He is suing.
THE PRIVATE EYE
Friends and relatives of Mr. Atack have also had a house call from American private eye Eugene Ingram, who works for the law firm which represents the cult in the U.S.
He flew to Britain following the "theft" of documents from Saint Hill.
The incident is not being investigated by East Grinstead police, but Mr. Ingram has been busy nonetheless.
He has called on Jon Atack's 77-year old mother in Nottingham; his parents former home in Staffordshire, and his wife's family from the same town.
Sussex clergymen who know both Mr. Atack and Bonnie Woods, another anti-cult campaigner, have also received a knock at the door.
They tell a similar story.
Canon Roger Brown of St. Swithin's Church, East Grinstead, said: "He said he wanted to tell me the truth about Jon Atack, and began waiving papers which appeared to be letters in Jon's handwriting.
"I felt it was a campaign against Jon Atack and I was not going to get involved."
The Vicar of Felbridge, the Rev Steven Bowen, got a visit on Easter Sunday.
He said: "He suggested he had things he could tell me about Bonnie Woods and I told him I didn't want to listen."
Asked to satisfy the inquiry, Mr. Mansell said: "When investigating a theft both police and private investigators usually question anyone who may be able to provide evidence."
Perhaps he should tell that to Mr. Atack's elderly mother.
She had just collected her husband from hospital on the day Mr. Ingram arrived on her doorstep. Mr Atack said: "She was upset and shaken."
Chichester solicitor Beverley Ryall also had a knock at the door - at midnight. This time the director of the cult's Bournemouth mission and another man were outside.
They were accompanied by a woman police officer who had been told Mrs Ryall was holding stolen documents.
Mrs Ryall, who is helping a number of former Scientologists take legal action against the Church, said: "Obviously, I am frightened of what they might do next."
She has filed her own complaint with the police.
The cult recently brought a libel action against former member Steven Fishman in a Californian court.
One of the defence witnesses was Garry Scarff. He used to work in the Office of Special Affairs at the world headquarters of Scientology in Los Angeles.
Mr Scarff testified under oath in pre-trial proceedings which began last year.
The cult withdrew from the case in February and on April 4 there was a hearing to decide costs.
The Evening Argus has copies of his testimony.
Defence-lawyer Graham Berry asked him: "Why have you requested that security arrangements be in place in this building?"
Mr Scarff replied: "Because of the Church of Scientology's Fair Game doctrine, which has been unlawfully used in many ways to intimidate, harass and injure people.
"It has been used by Scientology members to threaten to murder me and members of my family if I say or do anything whatsoever critical of the Church of Scientology in any legal proceeding."
In another part of his testimony, he claimed the cult "not only targets people, they target attorneys, they also go after judges and try to discredit judges who they do not consider to be positive or unbiased.
"And unbiased in their definition is anyone that would rule against them in any court proceedings.
"I mean, we are talking about really sick stuff here. And to them it's just routine."
Mr Mansell said: "The allegations were made in a deposition, a pre- trial giving of evidence.
"A deposition is not done under the supervision of a judge and is done by lawyers who are often more interested in complicating the case and running up a large bill."
The cult should know.
Lawyers acting for the cult in another recent case in America filed 1,737 motions in pre-trial proceedings.
They were, according to the judge, "almost all puffery" and resulted in massively increasing the costs.
Asked why the Church pulled out of the case, Mr Mansell said: "The Church withdrew because of the completely harassive legal tactics being used by Fishman's lawyers."
Perhaps Mr Mansell should read what L. Ron Hubbard had to say about that very topic:
"The Law can be used very easily to harass and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease.
"If possible, of course, ruin him utterly."
Or how about this passage:
"If attacked on some vulnerable point by anyone or anything or any organisation, always find or manufacture enough threat against them to cause them to sue for peace.
"Don't ever defend. Always attack."
"We do not want Scientology to be reported in the press, anywhere else than on the religious pages of newspapers. Therefore, we should be very alert to sue for slander at the slightest chance as to discourage the public presses from mentioning Scientology."
We are sorry to disappoint him.