How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper
by Tony Ortega
Silvertail Books, 2015In 1971
L. Ron Hubbard was at the height of his power. As “Commodore” of his small fleet of Scientology ships that flitted about the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic he was safe from any laws and beyond the reach of nosey reporters, process servers and IRS agents. He was the sole owner of a multimillion dollar empire with bank accounts in Switzerland and Luxembourg that were reckoned in the tens of millions of dollars. How much more was stored in safes and safety deposit boxes no one can say. He ruled like some monarch from another era; he demanded long hours of hard work and paid his followers a mere pittance. People aboard ship who asked too many of the wrong sort of questions were either put into special punishment units where they suffered greatly from overwork, lack of sleep and little food or, if they were lucky, they were simply dumped off at the next port of call without a cent to their name. To the public Scientology tried to show an image of exciting progress in the never ending quest for increased mental ability. But beneath this heady veneer of fresh discoveries and new learning lurked a predator with teeth, sharp teeth. To date few had challenged Hubbard’s methods and the Scientology course rooms were full to overflowing. Those who were in a position to speak out about the many abuses that existed in Scientology were not eager to engage Hubbard in any sort of conflict. Any attack on Hubbard would be real war, not just a war of words. Hubbard made no secret of what he would do, and had already done, to enemies. His “fair game” tactics would over time become truly infamous. Here are just a couple of the many extant references of what Hubbard had in mind.
PENALTIES FOR LOWER CONDITIONS”, HCO Policy Letter of 18 October 196 — L. Ron Hubbard, “[Suppressive Person] Order. Fair game. 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..
HCO PL  Mar 65 “Suppressive Acts, Suppression of Scientology and Scientologists, The Fair Game Law” says:“By FAIR GAME is meant, without rights for self, possession or position, and no Scientologist may be brought for a Committee of Evidence* or punished for any action taken against a Suppressive Person or Group during the period that person or group is ‘fair game’.” LRH
Yet in 1971 two people stepped forward to shine some light on the hidden empire of Scientology. Both were subjected to Hubbard’s “fair game” policy. One was a upper level auditor who studied at Saint Hill Manor, a Scientology center in East Grinstead, Sussex, England. His name was Cyril Vosper (1935-2004), his book, The Mind Benders might not have been a best seller but it certainly put a burr under Hubbard’s saddle. Scientology struck back but that is a separate story and, probably because Vosper had a good idea of what steps Scientology would take, he was able to defeat most of their efforts against him.
The other person who attacked Scientology that year was a writer by the name of Paulette Cooper. Her book, The Scandal of Scientology , was enough to make the Commodore’s blood boil. Unlike Vosper she probably had little idea of just how much she had angered Hubbard and his minions. To make matters worse it came out as a trade paperback, not a hardcover like Vosper’s book. By the way, if you have on of these first printings they are now worth about a hundred bucks.
Scientology launched Operation Freakout against Cooper which involved all sorts of shenanigans culminating in their attempt to get her jailed. Scientology managed to obtain a blank piece of paper with Cooper’s fingerprints on it and then typed themselves a bomb threat which they mailed to a Scientology “church.” This, along with the other dirty tricks almost pusher her into a mental collapse. Eventually though the FBI figured out what was going on and dropped the matter.
These are the bare facts of the case which are known to most Scientology watchers. However, in Ortega’s book we now learn that the attack from Scientology was much more extensive than is generally known and went on for a long period of time. There are lots of good stuff here including base betrayals, double agents, confused agents and the general muddle that Scientology gets into when they attempt complicated stratagems. The title gives a hint to what the story is about, a woman who was able to withstand an attack by a ferocious and wealthy cult and walk away from it with her mind intact. I found it a fascinating book, well written and with lots of new material. This is not all just ancient history, Scientology still operates its “fair game” policy.