The Empire of Evil

Source: Der Spiegel
Date: September 25, 1995

Robert Vaughn Young on Scientology's fight against Germany

Six months ago I was invited to Hamburg in order to explain Scientology to government officials. I spent almost 21 years in the sect, primarily as a staff member and later as a member of the inner circle. I know the secret language of the sect, its internal structure, its greed, its strengths and weaknesses. I know of the punishment camps, the beatings, of dubious sources of money and mysterious deaths.

Above all, though, I know why the sect has waged such a violent battle with Germany.

For most people, Scientology's attacks against the Germans began in September of last year, when the cult began placing nearly every week full-page advertisements in the New York Times and the Washington Post, libeling the Federal Republic of Germany as a neo-Nazi state. For example, the ads showed large photos of Nazi events like the book burning or Jewish extermination. In the text, the cult compared its German members to Jews under Hitler. Other ads showed young Germans with their hands raised in the Hitler salute and chanting slogans against foreigners and Jews.

The ads and also brochures give the impression that Germany stands on the brink of another Holocaust - only that Scientologists - like the Jews under Hitler - are portrayed as the victims. Readers were called upon to protest to government authorities against "the Hatred in Germany."

The media have reported for several months about the campaign, noting that Scientology's marketing methods and its invasion into the German real estate markets should be seen as the background to the campaign. This is not true. It goes much deeper. I know, because I was there when it began.

Germany is one of the most important goals of a program developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard in 1973. He assigned it the name "Snow White." Only a handful of selected people got a glance at the scope and the goals of this program because Hubbard feared damaging the image of Scientology.

From outside, the cult must seem like a benevolent, but misunderstood movement. Its stated goal: "A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war."

Behind this is hidden the cult's true face. The organization is a totalitarian system that knows only one goal: Control over the planet. Only Hubbard's ideas are true, all others are forbidden. Every criticism is stamped as "criminal," critics are declared as "fair game."

Members of the leadership - the so-called Sea Organization - end up in the punishment camps for only the smallest transgression. I experienced this special treatment myself: 1987, in a power struggle over the succession to L. Ron Hubbard, which David Miscavige, the current leader of the organization, finally won, I ended up on the losing side and was detailed to a work camp.

I spent 14 months in the cult's gulag, not far from Los Angeles. For 12 hours a day in a black uniform, I was required to do strenuous manual labor, build houses, dig ditches. Finally, at 6 o'clock we were required to study Hubbard's texts for five hours.

Twice I tried to flee, twice they brought me back and I went with them, because I was convinced I was doing something wrong, convinced that I needed help.

The fear of camp occupants was great, they feared they would be labeled "Fair Game," "Suppressives," as Hubbard named them. His directive for such outlaws: "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."

I've experienced what Hubbard's directive means myself. During my secret mission in Hamburg, selected journalists already had a dossier in which Scientology defamed me as a liar and a sexual pervert.

The story of Scientology began in 1950 with the publication of Hubbard's book, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. Until that point, Hubbard was known only as the author of science fiction stories. Dianetics was intended to be a mental therapy. The idea was that every person has a "reactive mind," not unlike Freud's subconscious. Unnoticed, it records painful experiences ("engrams") which unconsciously determine our fears and our behavior and which can trigger every known sickness, including cancer.

This "reactive mind" can only be reached through Hubbard's special therapy, in which the patient generally in so-called auditing lies on a couch with closed eyes and recalls the "engrams" so that the problem can be treated.

Criticism by the experts was withering: Physics Nobel Prize Winner Isidor Isaac Rabi had something to say about Dianetics: It contains "more promises and less evidence per page than has any publication since the invention of printing."

Hubbard's Dianetics groups became involved in legal battles. He needed a new organizational form and so, in 1954, Scientology was founded - Scientology, the religion.

Every member who was to meet with journalists or government leaders was trained to present Scientology as a religious movement. Only in such a way could Hubbard's organization build a new image and be freed in many countries of taxes.

At the time workers were taught to form groups that did not belong to the Church of Scientology, in order to secretly infiltrate schools, companies and governments.

In 1971, I joined the cult's secret service, the Guardian's Office, in the San Francisco organization. At that time the office had above all four important duties: The cult's secret service took care of dossiers on members and critics and assembled information through its own spy network. The legal division handled suits and legal hearings, the finance division administered the cult's income, and the public relations division, in which I worked, worked on PR. We concerned ourselves with the media and government authorities primarily to gain tax-free status.

My work was successful enough so that in 1973 I was promoted to the U.S. headquarters of the Guardian's Office in Los Angeles. Hubbard had just then completed writing his Operation Snow White, which would set us on the collision course with Germany.

Hubbard believed himself to be hunted by communists, psychiatrists and government officials. He was openly under the delusion that psychiatrists and psychologists wanted to murder him because he had exposed their profession as a scam. Finally he came up with the idea that the core of the anti-Hubbard conspiracy was located in Germany, it was the root of National Socialism and had brought Hitler to power.

Hubbard became a German hater. Psychology, he claimed, traced back to "Professor Wundt, who in 1879 was pressed by Bismarck to develop a philosophy which could persuade soldiers to kill people."

"Therefore," said Hubbard, "we can define modern psychology as a German military system that was used to program people for war." It was not Hitler who later commissioned the extermination of the Jews, but rather a secret group of German psychiatrists had. "They built the death camps, and they, not Hitler, ordered the extermination of the Jews."

This conspiracy of psychiatrists survived the Second World War. A small clique of psychiatrists and old Nazis now control the world drug market; all pharmaceutical firms of the world are either "German or connected to Germany," said Hubbard. These groups have strong influence on the international financial system. Hubbard said: "Germany today owns the largest part of the world's gold reserves or at least a lot of it."

With Hubbard's wife Mary Sue at the helm, the U.S. Guardian's Office began to collect more and more information against Germany. Soon Hubbard had enough material for a further crazy theory: The organized German Nazi conspiracy used the information resources of Interpol to fight Scientology worldwide.

I discovered unknown material on the history of Interpol, in the form of both documents and photos, on how the international police organization was in fact dominated by SS leaders like Reinhard Heydrich and Ernst Kaltenbrunner during the Third Reich and was used to hunt down Jews and political opponents. Interpol Head Paul Dickopf, who held office until 1972, was himself in the SS, I discovered.

Hubbard ordered that the conspiracy against him be destroyed worldwide. The operation was given the name "Snow White."

"Snow White" contained terms out of the fairy tale as names for the countries in which Scientology was active. Germany, the evil empire, took the name of the grim dwarf Grumpy out of the Walt Disney production of Snow White. Other countries included in the Nazi conspiracy were Sneezy (Holland), Doc (Sweden) and Happy (Denmark). The U.S. section of Scientology was named Hunter.

I was appointed U.S. head of the propaganda division of the Snow White Operation through which I had access to all the important papers of the campaign.

In Germany, the Austrian Kurt Weiland took over this job. His duty was, according to the secret plan, firstly to "get materials related to all ongoing lawsuits" in which Scientology was involved. Then he was supposed to obtain "police and Interpol files" to support Operation Snow White.

Weiland's office was supposed to find the source of all attacks against Hubbard. At the same time it was supposed to damage Interpol through lawsuits and scandals and to find areas of attack for our legal and PR divisions. The legal division was supposed make an effort to file one suit after another in order to obtain the files of Scientology opponents, which could then go into the Guardian's Office.

In the U.S. the operation went well. I succeeded in appearing before the Congressional subcommittee to reveal Interpol's Nazi past. I appeared on nationwide television shows and on the radio and our Interpol story was received around the world.

But in Germany, Snow White did not function as planned. No one was particularly interested in our Nazi story. On the 17th of January I was sent to Munich, Bonn and Wiesbaden, disguised as a member of an organization which we named the "National Commission for Law Enforcement and Social Justice."

Weiland and I attempted anew in this way to spread the Snow White campaign in the German media. We spoke with many journalists, some from Die Welt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Sueddeutsche Zeitung, and gave them material on the Nazi involvement in the police and in Interpol.

All without success. No reporter was interested, hardly any trusted Weiland or me.

Several months later, in July 1977, the FBI got onto us in the U.S. Several members of the Guardian's Office had stolen Scientology documents from government offices.

Dozens of FBI agents searched through the cult's headquarters in Los Angeles and Washington. There they came upon part of Operation Snow White. Eleven high- ranking colleagues of Hubbard's, among them his wife Mary Sue, went to jail.

With that our reputation was ruined. The new strategy therefore said: What has happened is in the past. Scientology is reformed, the criminals are behind bars. Snow White went into the safe, but not in the shredder.

The business went on: private businesses under the roof of WISE [World Institute of Scientology Enterprises], including real estate companies, business consultants, and software companies, refilled the war chest of the International Association of Scientologists.

Germany, Hubbard's number one enemy, took on, after his death in 1986, a new, more important role after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In Eastern Europe a new, until then closed, market for the cult opened up and Germany lay immediately at the door. It was supposed to be the launching point for the conquest of the East.

Success was considerable. In Russia alone Scientology now possesses a total of three missions and churches as well as four WISE subsidiaries. Further centers were founded in Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, where the cult had attempted to recommend its Dianetics Course to a grade school.

If Scientology, however, was in the long run categorized not as a religion but as a profit-oriented company, these neighboring countries in the East could be strongly influenced because they had until this time barely any experience with cults and they looked to Germany for answers to many questions. Therefore Germany is now even more important for Scientology's world domination plan. Snow White had to be awakened again.

Current events in reunified Germany appear to confirm the theory of Snow White: There are neo-Nazis, attacks on Turks and asylum seekers as well as government attacks on the sect, tenant protests against Scientology property speculators, and work prohibitions against some members announced by Federal Minister of Labor Norbert Bluem.

Bluem and his psychiatric cronies are trying to "solve the cult question," according to the newest Scientology propaganda. Even worse, the war in Bosnia itself with its horrors has been ignited by "criminal psychiatrists."

Snow White contains the recipe for opposing the states and the government, which Scientology has carried on forcefully. "Represent them as villains, which one can't trust." And so it is happening. "Norbert Bluem and his government have planned," says the cult, "to make Scientologists and other minorities in Germany into a second class." Bluem's true face: "An arsonist in a firefighter's uniform."

At Hamburg airport I was picked up in February of this year by Ursula Caberta, the Scientology expert of the Hamburg Senate, under strict security measures. Three policemen were assigned to my protection.

Almost daily I met with high-ranking officials from Hamburg and other cities, and with the head of the Hamburg Constitutional Protection Group, Ernst Uhrlau, with the state prosecutor and officials from various ministries and state criminal bureaus. For hours I answered questions and explained Scientology documents.

In order to be able to effectively deal with Scientology, I offered the following tips:

  1. Structurally, the organization is not what it seems. No one should be taken in by their tricks. The worldwide headquarters in Los Angeles is not the true center of power. Power is centered much more in a former resort near the small city of Hemet, a good hundred kilometers east of Los Angeles. Therefore anyone who wants to investigate the organization should work with someone who knows the true structure and leadership.
  2. Scientology is an organization in which the means serve the ends. Its goal is the complete control of the press, companies, and governments.
  3. Government officials and judges should be particularly cautious, because they are the favorite target of smear campaigns and lawsuits.
  4. One should not forbid Scientology or make it illegal. This was attempted in Australia in the 1960s. The organization simply changed its name and continued on.
  5. Scientology should be classified as a profit-making business and should be taxed.
  6. Scientology should be required to account for members who have possibly disappeared in the cult's United States prison camps, like the former Hamburg Scientology leader Wiebke Hansen, whose location even today is unknown. German embassy and consulate officials should inquire about her to ensure that she is not in danger.
  7. Private firms, above all real estate firms, which operate under Scientology's license should be required to disclose how much money they give to Scientology.
  8. Moreover, they should be required to make known to all customers their ties to Scientology. Before this, Scientology must be stripped of its status as a religion by court ruling.

Since my visit to Hamburg six months ago the organization has opened up another front. They are attempting to fight Germany not only internally. Pressure, according to their plan, must come from the entire world.

The propaganda magazine Freedom is already translated into several languages. An American translation issued a few weeks ago has as its goal to win adherents and people with money for the attacks against Germany.

In the middle of July more than a thousand cult members met at a celebration in Pasadena, near Los Angeles. The motto of the evening: "Clear the earth of Psychiatry."

To the "rousing applause of the crowd," remembers one participant, Scientology reported on the latest attacks against the psychiatric conspiracy, distributed the American version of Freedom and the group swore itself to a new, old Hubbard tactic: Finding the victims of psychiatry. Help them to sue psychiatrists. Sue also universities and schools which have educated and continue to educate psychiatrists.

Nearby members circulated their collection plates - in the end, Scientology needs money for its international fight for survival.

One can only imagine how much money, should the campaign against Germany continue forward. As Thomas G. Whittle - the editor in charge of Freedom - writes: "Germany is far more than a German problem. It is a problem for the world."