One Man Britain Can Do Without
BEHIND the elegant walls of a country mansion in Sussex, a nasty enterprise is being directed by the head of a strange American cult.
It is an evil plan which will offend every fair-minded citizen in this country.
The man is Lafayette Ron Hubbard, an American, and head of a pseudo-psychological movement called Scientology, which he brought to Britain 15 years ago.
And his latest scheme is the setting of an investigation team to spy on people and compile dossiers on their activities.
It is a project loaded with venom.
Anyone who dares to express doubts about Mr. Hubbard's organisation runs the risk of having his private life investigated - presumably in the hope that some unsavoury details may be revealed.
Towards this end, Mr. Hubbard has recruited a team of three investigators to carry out his spy work.
They are paid up to £35 a week and they are given the use of a car.
Mr. Hubbard is prepared to spend £300 a week on his team of spies, who have been given the James Bond-style code name of Div. 1 Section 5.
Hubbard got his investigators by advertising in the "Daily Telegraph."
The first man to answer the advertisement was Mr. Vic Filson, an experienced private investigator.
He went to the headquarters of the movement, Saint Hill Manor, near East Grinstead, and there met Mr. Anthony Phillips, an official of the organisation.
Mr. Filson had a shock when he was invited to take an "E-meter" test.
It is an electronic device, working on the lie detector principle, used in the scientology movement to assess the subject's emotional state.
Mr. Filson held two "tins," one in each hand, and a series of questions were fired at him. A girl took readings from a meter to record his reactions. Mr. Filson, who left the organisation after a week, said:
"There was one 'shock' question they kept asking me - 'Who sent you here to spy on us?'
"I insisted I had seen the advertisement in the 'Daily Telegraph', and that was the only reason for my presence.
"I seemed to have passed all right, and I was taken back to Phillips."
Mr. Filson was offered a post as an adviser for the setting up of the investigation squad.
Mr. Filson went on: "Phillips told me dossiers were to be built up on special subjects. But the truth didn't really dawn until I got a memorandum from Hubbard himself.
"It was horrifying. It was a set of instructions to investigate the activities of psychiatrists in Britain and to prepare a dossier on each.
"And I was told that the first victim who was to be investigated was to be Lord Balniel, chairman of the National Association of Mental Health."
How had Lord Balniel, M.P. for Hertford, offended?
Last month he asked Mr. Kenneth Robinson, Minister of Health, to investigate scientology.
"There is a determined effort to smear Lord Balniel through this new investigation bureau," said Mr. Filson.
In my file at the "People" office, I have the instructions Hubbard has issued to "Div. 1, Section 5."
This particular document singles out psychiatrists as the first object of investigation, because psychiatrists have frequently expressed doubts about scientology.
It reads: "A psychiatrist today has the power to take a fancy to a woman, drug or shock her into temporary insanity, use her sexually, sterilise her to prevent conception, kill her by a brain operation to prevent disclosure.
"We want at least one bad mark on every psychiatrist in England, a murder, an assault, or a rape or more than one.
"This is Project Psychiatry. We will remove them."
Violent words. Dangerous words. But, on the orders of the man who wrote them, eminent doctors and men like Lord Balniel - men of the highest probity - will have Mr. Hubbard's spies put on to them.
Lord Balniel told me: "I know quite a bit about what is going on in Mr. Hubbard's organisation. But I do not intend to take any action until after the Election."
My hopes of tackling Mr. Hubbard on his activities were dashed when I visited the headquarters. I was told he was in the Canary Islands.
Instead I saw Mr. Reg Sharpe, Mr. Hubbard's personal assistant. He said: "We can investigate whom we like. There is no law against it."
He became extremely angry when I told him I had the confidential instructions issued by Mr. Hubbard.
As I left, he shouted: "We will defeat all our enemies. Scientology is the truth."
Well, Mr. Sharpe is entitled to his opinion. Men who oppose scientology are similarly entitled to express their views - without becoming victims of a vicious smear campaign.
Mr. Hubbard would do this country a favour if he decided never to come back here again. He is one man we can afford to do without.