Almost eleven years after being expelled from Greece by the Military Dictatorship together with their floating World Headquarters anchored on a permanent basis in Corfu harbour, the Church of Scientology has issued the most remarkable and astonishing writ in the 'Church's' long and sordid history of litigation.

The Indictment

The suit brought against persons whom the 'Church' allege were responsible for their wrongful expulsion from Greece was due to be heard before the Court of the First Instance in Athens on 16 March, 1980.

The first pages of the indictment are taken up with an eulogy of scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, styled for the first time in a new role as 'war hero'. (Previous descriptions have included such pseudonyms as 'Doctor', 'Professor' and 'Commodore').

As a sop to the Greek Courts, who adopt stern measures to discourage drugs, the indictment emphasises that one of the main activities of scientology is the suppression of the evils of narcotics! To flatter Greek susceptibilities, the indictment praises "the eternal and indestructible principles of the ancient Greek philosophers," and refers to the decision to rename the scientologists ships "Apollo" and "Athena" (though failing to mention the preference to place the ships under the Panamanian flag!).

The most remarkable quote of the indictment reads as follows: "Owing to the nature of our activities, we, not only enjoy, but exclusively and solely rely on our excellent world-wide good name." This is probably the most grotesque boast the 'Church' has ever made with the possible exception of Hubbard's claim to have visited Heaven, the Moon and various Planets.

The Claim for Damages

The 'Church' has claimed damages for the equivalent of some £350,000 and those indicted include the Greek State and the author, who is accused of abusing his position of British Vice-Consul, misleading his superiors, injuring the prestige of his country, and using his social position to impede the establishment of the Church of Scientology on Corfu.

On the day fixed for the trial, still licking its wounds from worldwide adverse publicity resulting from the nefarious crimes against the U.S. State recently exposed by the F.B.I. and the consequent prison sentences, the 'Church' withdrew from the writ to fight again another day under more favourable conditions.

The propitious climate was provided by Home Secretary William Whitelaw in July 1980 when he administered the cult the shot in the arm it so desperately needed.

Having been declared respectable by Mr. Whitelaw (despite the outcry by the British public at the lifting of the ban* on scientologists entering Britain and widespread dismay throughout the world wherever this evil sect is deplored), the 'Church' decided to renew the litigation in the Athens Court.

The litigation looks set to last for a number of years in one form or another; meanwhile it seems both meet and right to divulge the full story before these remarkable historical events and incidents become lost to posterity.

Since that decision, Courts of Justice in Europe and the U.S.A. and other sources have made it crystal clear beyond any shadow of doubt that scientology has become far more objectionable.

It might therefore be considered surprising that the Home Secretary, instead of taking more drastic steps to curb its growth, should have decided on a complete U-turn, announcing in the House of Commons (Hansard 16th July 1980) measures which would both encourage and promote the growth of scientology, cf. the "shot in the arm" given by Mr. Whitelaw to IRA criminals in the Maze Prison whilst Secretary of State for Northern Ireland granting them special privileges.

* As reported in Hansard, the Government imposed this ban because it felt that scientology was "so objectionable that it would be right to take all steps within their power to curb its growth". (sic).

Last updated 11 January 1997
Chris Owen (