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Scientology & Apatheid in South Africa

From: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it (Chris Owen)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology,soc.culture.south-africa
Subject: Scientology lies about dirty past in South Africa (Re: Interesting article in South Africa)
Date: 20 Jan 1996 04:44:45 GMT

In article <4dk5mu$ This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it >, Andrew Milne < This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it > wrote:

I and other Scientologists have pointed out before that Scientologists have a history of defending human rights, often at great cost or risk to themselves. An article in the South African "Financial Mail" this week examines the courageous expose in the 1970s by the Church's Freedom magazine of psychiatric slave camps for black patients run by the apartheid government in liaison with the for-profit Smith Mitchell company.

Perhaps, Andy, you can tell us why Hubbard consistently expressed support for the implementation of apartheid during the 1960s?

In HCO Executive Letter of 16 August 1966, Hubbard circulated a report from John McMaster (a white South African who was supposedly the "first clear") re progress in South Africa. It praises the activities of one Mr. Du Plessis on behalf of Scientology, referring to alleged interviews by Du Plessis with Dr. H.F. Verwoerd (then Prime Minister) and also the Admiral of the South African Navy. It concludes:

"You asked for strong Orgs in South Africa. You will get them and there will be a friendly reciprocity of flow with the Government." [HCO Executive Letter, 16 August 1966]
A few years earlier, in November 1960, Hubbard wrote a letter to Verwoerd praising the implementation of forced resettlement:
"Having viewed slum clearance projects in most major cities of the world may I state that you have conceived and created in the Johannesburg townships what is probably the most impressive and adequate resettlement activity in existence." [dated 7th November 1960, Jo'burg]
He goes on to lambast those who denounced the policy of forced resettlement:
"Any criticism of it could only be engaged upon by scoundrels or madmen and I know now your enemies to be both." [same letter]
This was not the first time he had expressed his active support for Verwoerd and the policies of "grand apartheid". Three weeks previously, he wrote the following to Verwoerd:
"Those who understand are never swayed by vicious writings in the English press. [The English-language press was frequently anti-apartheid; think of Donald Woods in "Cry Freedom", for instance.] To cope with those who could be swayed we work ceaselessly to secure communication lines to create an image closer to the fact.

We are doing everything we can to change the complexion of the English language press and in a very few months we hope to have the means of completely altering this public image. Peace with strength can yet save, with your undaunted leadership, South Africa. Meanwhile we sincerely hope that vileness such as that in last week's Sunday Times does nothing to dismay your dedication. I apologise that we were not yet able to prevent such a travesty, but can promise a better future in such things." [dated 17th October 1960, Jo'burg]

In other words, the CoS would endeavour to take over or otherwise influence the press so that it could no longer criticise Verwoerd or his policies. What a wonderful advertisement for the democratic ideals of Scientology!

Hubbard was not the only Scientologist to write to the South African Government. When it was announced in 1960 that Liberia and Ethiopia were to take legal action against South Africa to bring the Government to book for its implementation of apartheid, a Mr. S.J. Parkhouse wrote as follows to Dr. Verwoerd:

"On bringing to Dr. [sic] Hubbard's attention the fact that Liberia and Ethiopia intend to insitute an action against the Union [of South Africa] in the World Court Dr. Hubbard suggested that the Union itself would be well within its rights in bringing suit against any and all countries seeking to promote internal trouble in the Union through the use of boycotts etcetera. Consequent to our discussion Dr. Hubbard prepared a form of suit which could be used by the Union in the World Court. I enclose a copy for your perusal. Apart from the blow that this would strike for the Union on the International front it would appear that such an action would establish the World Court as a place where civil matters between Nations could be settled without warfare and thus would be of service to humanity as a whole. In closing I would assure you of our continued willing assistance at all times." [dated 7th November 1960, Jo'burg]
This makes it clear that the CoS was willing, and attempting, to take an active role in the South African Government's struggle against the growing anti-apartheid movement. Of course, the CoS was not the only foreign organisation to oppose boycotts and sanctions against South Africa - in the 1980s the British government was prominent in its refusal to sanction South Africa. However, the basis for that stance was that boycotts and sanctions would hurt the black population far more than it would help them - a mistaken opinion, as subsequent events have shown, but an honest one. As the above letter makes clear, the CoS was opposed to boycotts and sanctions because it *supported* the policy of the South African government. The letter shows that the CoS sought to actively defend apartheid.

The support for the South African Government expressed in the previous extracts was not simply a matter of supporting a *government*, as distinct from a political party. Take the following letter from L. Ron Hubbard:

"I wish to extend my appreciation to South African Scientologists for their splendid activities and alertness. And I wish to thank the South African Government for its forbearance and ex-Minister of Health Herzog for his sense of justice and fair play in his 1968 pro-Scientology decision [not to appoint a Commission of Enquiry into Scientology] ... Note, please, that the press in Southern Africa call Dr. Radford and Dr. Fischer when it wants adverse comments on Scientology. Those two are United Party members. The United Party supports psychiatry in South Africa. Therefore, unwittingly the Government is led to pay for opposition and subversion." [HCO Information letter, 16th February 1969]
This letter clearly reveals Hubbard's determination to enter the South African political arena. His support is not only for the Government, it is for the ruling Nationalist party, which he perceives as being friendly to Scientology and hostile to psychiatry. It's apparent that he regarded supporting apartheid as being worthwhile if it meant that Scientology was helped and psychiatry damaged. At the very least, Hubbard was neutral towards offical South African racism; the balance of evidence (including the extracts below) show that he was prepared to actively support apartheid if it meant that the CoS got "wins" in South Africa.

It is also clear that Hubbard wished to have Scientology adopted as an official tool against the anti-apartheid movement. What, for instance, is the purpose of Hubbard's assertion made at this time that during auditing

"In South Africa, a Bantu's withholds read not on the needle alone but on the Tone Arm as well" [L. Ron Hubbard, "E-Meter Essentials", page 23]
if it is not an attempt to emphasize and validate the supposed fundamental racial differences which underlay apartheid? I have not come across any references in Scientology literature regarding racial differences encountered anywhere other than in South Africa during auditing. And why the reference to "in South Africa" in particular? Are black South Africans physically different from other black Africans? (That's the implicit message).

It is significant that in these papers, the CoS consistently refers to black South Africans as "Bantus". That, if I remember rightly, was the standard term used by the apartheid governments; the Bantus are just one of the many tribes in South Africa. Nelson Mandela, for instance, is a Xhosa, and Mangesotho Buthelezi is a Zulu.

A little further on, one comes to the rather incredible claim that

"In South Africa terrorism and its attendant dangers can be fought more effectively by E-Meters than by guns, since only Scientologists with meters could detect subversives." [L. Ron Hubbard, "E-Meters Replace Guns", HCO information letter, 16 Oct 1968]
It's just as well for the ANC (and for the emancipation of black South Africans) that Scientology's efforts to ingratiate itself with the Government were unsuccessful! Those infalliable E-Meters would have made short work of any ANC supporters and that notorious terrorist Nelson Mandela would still be in jail...

Also, since subversive activities in South Africa included expressing support for black civil rights, the Communist party and the ANC - and the penalty could be imprisonment, execution or simple murder - the danger of what Hubbard proposed is obvious. It is also interesting that he appears in the above extract to be proposing to violate the supposed confidentiality of the auditing session, as the damning information would presumably be extracted during auditing and then handed over to the authorities. This runs directly counter to the so-called "Code of Reform" which was enacted only a few months previously. Its main statements declare that no records would be kept during auditing, no information which could be used for blackmail would be retained, and anything revealed during auditing was strictly confidential. It looks like *that* didn't last very long.

South African figures from the apartheid years, such as the former defence minister Magnus Malan, are now being arrested for their role in the apartheid governments. Any attempt by the CoS to relaunch itself in South Africa should be met with similar demands that it account for its behaviour in the apartheid years, and it should explain precisely why L. Ron Hubbard deliberately drove a cart and horses through his own supposedly "non-political" aims.