"The arts of power and its minions are the
same in all countries and in all ages. It marks
its victim; denounces it; and excites
the public odium and the public hatred,
to conceal its abuses and encroachments."
ON June 1, 1950, Dr. Austin Smith, then editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, sent a number of letters to doctors and medical societies throughout the U.S., asking their help.
just a few weeks previously, a new book entitled Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health had appeared out of nowhere to become a runaway best seller almost overnight. In language the layman could understand, the author - one L. Ron Hubbard - offered fresh insight into psychosomatic illness, and made new explorations of the human mind, "that vast and hitherto unknown realm an inch back of our
foreheads." The book was exciting, original and full of bold new ideas, some of which challenged the text-book dogma of psychiatry at that time.
Dr. Smith, a medical syndicalist who had his nose to the wind, perceived in the immense popularity of the book a threat to orthodox medicine's claim to be the sole discoverer and practitioner of new therapies, physical or mental.
In his letters to the profession, he solicited authoritative statements that would convince the layman that Dianetics was a new and dangerous form of quackery.
Dr. Smith also sent a memorandum to Oliver Field, director of the AMA's Bureau of Investigation, urging covert action against both Dianetics and its discoverer, L. Ron Hubbard.
Another colleague whose help Dr. Smith requested was organized medicine's man in government, Dr. Erwin E. Nelson, then director of the Food and Drug Administration.
In a very short time, the AMA had a full-scale propaganda offensive in operation. In keeping with established policy, the medical organization remained in the background, using other groups and agencies for the dissemination of false information aimed at discrediting the Dianetics movement.
As in other campaigns of the kind, the AMA's chief ally was the various media, covering the full spectrum of reader interest, from the Southern California Clergyman to the Wall Street Journal.
The modus operandi was to plant "background" material with news reporters and magazine writers and to commission stories by the in-house hacks who wrote for medical publications. Reprints of these derogatory, and sometimes libelous, articles were then distributed to a wider audience than that represented by the respective periodicals themselves.
The psychiatric fraternity was especially active in the attack on Hubbard and his movement, owing to the fact that he was articulate in opposing some of the more brutalizing practices of that discipline - in particular, electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), lobotomy, and conditioned response, the latter indistinguishable from the Pavlovian concept.
Hubbard also exposed the secret political objectives of the mental health confederates. This brought him into conflict with the World Federation of Mental Health and its national affiliates in various countries around the world. Hubbard argued that the WFMH had as its real purpose not the treatment of mental illness, but worldwide control of peoples by establishment of the therapeutic state. The real power and policy-making decisions of the organization, he said, were in the hands of a small group of men whose personal backgrounds reveal sinister political aims and radical views. "They are as red as paint. They reach into international finance, health ministries, schools, the press. They even control immigration in many lands."
By the time the Dianetics movement had fully recovered its spiritual roots and incorporated as the Founding Church of Scientology (September 23, 1954), its enemies had mounted a well-orchestrated, global crusade aimed at its annihilation.
In the United States, various agencies of the U.S. Government had joined the conspiracy and had initiated what was to be a 25-year programme of spying upon and harrassing the church. Documented evidence indicates that as early as May 15, 1951, the FBI had begun building its file on Hubbard and his adherents. On that date the Special Agent in charge of the Bureau's Kansas City office sent a memorandum to J. Edgar Hoover, reporting what the memo itself indentifies as "general gossip" - the contents of an anonymous hate letter which accused the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation (forerunner of Scientology) of operating a "vicious sexual racket." The FBI report admitted that the Foundation had broken no law, but suggested that the scurrilous information be put on file because "numerous inquiries are expected both at the seat of government and at the Kansas City office."
Another FBI report, dated February 3, 1953, reveals that the Bureau files now included a newspaper story quoting Hub
bard's ex-wife during divorce litigation as saying L. Ron Hubbard was "hopelessly insane" (an opinion not uncommon among American wives concerning their spouses, especially when their relationship is approaching a stormy finale). This spiteful slander, made in anger and later recanted in a sworn statement by the woman who had originated it, was thereafter cited by the FBI in countless memoranda throughout the world. Twenty-three years later, an FBI memorandum dated February 22, 1974, contains the same calumny, still being maliciously circulated by the Bureau.
The machination against Scientology did not get into high gear until some time in 1958, when the U.S. Department of Justice took over its coordination. Late that year, Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Troxell met in his office with Capt. Ernest Jefferson of the D.C. Police Department's Narcotics and Vice Squad; and representatives from the Post Office Department, the FDA, the HEW, and U.S. Army Intelligence.
The attendees at this preliminary coven drafted a master plan for the illegal monitoring, entrapment, and ultimate destruction of the church. The various schemes for "getting something on the Scientologists," discussed at the meeting included placing mail covers on all the church mail; planting an AMA physician spy in the church; setting up a phony correspondence course; an inspection (actually, a warrantless search) of church premises by the FDA; and a programme of surveillance, including electronic intrusion. Capt. Jefferson told his co-intrigants that an investigator for the Army Loyalty Board had arranged for an Army electrical engineer to interview L. Ron Hubbard "with recording devices installed."
In passing, it should be noted that such Army involvement in the scheme is a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S. C. 91385). Nevertheless, FOIA documents reveal a continuing participation by the Army in the campaign against the church. The Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operation, after extensive hearings, reported that the Army routinely violated this law.
The U.S. Air Force also contributed to the building of a
massive dossier composed of lies and spiteful rumors concerning Scientology. The earliest document disclosing the Air Force's interest in Hubbard and his group is dated April 5, 1954. It is a report by Col. Leroy Barnard of a special investigation undertaken at the request of an Air Force base commander in Colorado, "predicated upon information received" to the effect that a Dianetics Society in Colorado Springs was "composed of homosexuals, Communists, or both."
Col. Barnard admits in his report that there was "no positive information developed to date through other sources to substantiate allegations." Even so, the unsubstantiated (and as an experienced investigator he knew, false) charges were fed into the service file, in case it might be "required for use in court martial proceedings or board action."
Col. Barnard included with his report a list of alleged members of the Dianetics group, provided him by the Colorado Springs chief of police. The chief conceded that there was no record of arrest of any member of the list, but voiced the opinion that members were "abnormal." This psychiatric evaluation by a cop was seen as justification for violation of the First Amendment, which is supposed to secure all citizens' rights to peaceful assembly and free exercise of their religious beliefs.
In the no-holds barred police action against the Church of Scientology, one of the investigative techniques employed was to plant informants and undercover agents in the church with instructions to "get something" on the Scientologists.
One of the infiltrators was FDA Inspector Taylor Quinn. Quinn enrolled in church classes under an assumed name, and thereafter filed detailed reports of his observations, as well as information regarding church teachings, with his agency.
AUSA Troxell closely monitored this clandestine activity by the FDA infiltrator, who was unable to produce any kind of evidence against the church that would stand up in court. Troxell wrote the agency that the Justice Department would not be able to proceed against the Scientologists unless the
FDA could send decoys into the church to entrap the members by pretending that they had symptoms of illness, and asking to be cured.
Perhaps the most odious example of the government's attempts to ensnare Scientology officials was a scheme concocted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Troxell in concert with Capt. Jefferson of the Washington Police Department. Jefferson induced his own daughter, Sandra Jo Lewis, to act as a secret agent and to infiltrate the church, where pretending to be pregnant, she sought help of a church official to procure an abortion. Her efforts failed.
In transmitting the report to AUSA Troxell, Jefferson wrote:
"This attached report from my daughter, Sandra Jo Lewis, was listened to over a Schmidt device by Det. Sgt. Seymour Raboy and the undersigned."
Capt. Jefferson, a narcotics and morals officer with the D.C. Police Department, shared the twin obsessions that seem to afflict most investigative agents in American law enforcement: sex and drugs. He worried these matters as a dog does a bone. With nothing more substantial than a hate letter and suspicion as evidence, for more than five years, he dedicated himself relentlessly, but unsuccessfully, to the task of "nailing" the Scientologists on drug or prostitution charges.
John R. Panetta, one of the police undercover agents assigned to spy on the church, observes in his notes:
"Capt. feels the whole organization reeks with prostitution and sex perversion, he could recognize the type of person."
In other words, Jefferson based his prolonged and malicious investigation chiefly upon bias. He didn't like the looks of the Scientologists.
When the dedicated efforts of DCPD detectives proved fruitless after five years of fanatical zeal and even the employment of a private intelligence agency called Crawford Research Company, Capt. Jefferson turned over the police files to the FDA.
The conspirators hit upon the idea of having the Food and Drug inspectors stage a massive raid on the church under the
pretext of seizing a confessional artifact known as the E-meter, used by the church in pastoral counseling. The instrument measures the amount of resistance offered by a body to very weak electric current passing between two electrodes. A a parishoner responds to questions or reacts to mental stimulus, the minister or auditor (pastoral counselor) observes the action of the needle on an ohm meter dial. Scientologists say this reading aids in locating areas of spiritual travail.
By charging (falsely) that the church was using the E-meter to diagnose and treat a long list of illnesses, including arthritis, stomach ulcers, cancer, and burns from nuclear radiation, the FDA could file a "libel of information" with the U.S District Court and obtain a warrant authorizing seizure of the instruments.
While the FDA was "working up" this case against the church, the agency began seizing the E-meters on its own initiative, without any kind of due process, other than the police powers it arrogated to itself under the broad mandate purportedly given it by the Congress.
During the next five years, the cooperating agencies, wit the complicity of the Postal Service, the District of Columbia Medical Society and U.S. Army Intelligence relentlessly pursued their covert offensive against the church. The reprehensible tactics employed included mail overs on church correspondence; infiltration of the church by undercover agent seeking to entrap the Scientologists; the illegal use of bugging devices; and theft of documents from the confidential files of the Montgomery County Police archives.
In the private sector, the major allies of the official conspirators were the Better Business Bureau; disaffected Scientologists with a grudge against the church; hack journalists in the hire of the AMA and of psychiatric associations; and close relatives of church members who attributed domestic trouble to the influence of Scientology.
Typical of the latter class of collaborators was an ex-Marine Sergeant-Major named Kermit Miller of Hollywood, Florida.
According to an internal memorandum filed with his superior by FDA Inspector Turner 0. Hailey of the Atlanta District, Miller divorced his wife because of her affiliation with Scientology. The court awarded custody of the couple's three children to the wife.
Several months after his interview with the FDA agent, Miller wrote a letter to Matthew J. Culligan, president of The Curtis Publishing Company, publishers of The Saturday Evening Post, in which he declared:
"The United States Government has officially requested me to assist in building a criminal case against Hubbard and the cult, through Inspector Haley [sic], Chief Miami Division of Food & Drug. I have agreed to assist, with the proviso that, if I can secure a sponsor to finance the complete project privately, evidence and competent witnesses will, be delivered to Food & Drug to support the charge of practicing medicine without a license.
"Mr. Field [Director of AMA's Socio-Economic Division] recommended a basic strategy of removing my three children from the demoralizing influence of this idiot, lunatic fringe cult. Court actions will include practicing medicine without a license, perjury, criminal contempt of court and a three million damage action to compensate the children, if legally practicable and others as the investigation develops."
None of the elaborate machinations and baited traps devised by the federal plotters and their collaborators during that period produced anything but a growing number of agency files filled with malicious gossip, unsubstantiated charges and outright lies concerning the church. These slanderous documents were widely disseminated to other government agencies, to the media, to individuals and even to authorities in foreign countries. The false information contained in them remains uncorrected to this day, despite all efforts of the church to have them purged.
By early 1963, U.S. Attorney General Oliver Gasch and his allies in the FDA and Washington's Metropolitan Police Department were ready for their more drastic course of action.
On January 4, 1963, under the guise of executing a warrant authorizing the seizure of E-meters, a raiding party of U.S. Marshals, joined by FDA agents and three narcotics officers from the D.C. Police Department, swooped down on the church. In Gestapo fashion, they ransacked desks and filing cabinets and, in addition to E-meters, carted away a truckload of creedal literature. Hoping to find some evidence of drugs (for which they had not the slightest authority to search) the officers invaded residential quarters occupied by the church staff. There they rifled closets, bureau drawers, and even lifted bedcovers.
In his accomplishment report of the raid, FDA Inspector Michael F. Karpers said:
"I obtained the names and addresses of several individuals to whom packages of books were addressed." He then listed the people, thereby flagrantly violating their Constitutional rights.
Another FDA Inspector, Ray K. Epling wrote in a memorandum to his superiors:
"I ... left the building to obtain a camera. I went to 1907 S. Street, N.W., and obtained the camera from Inspector Karpers. I then returned to 1810 19th Street [the church] and proceeded to take photographs of the bulletin boards in the basement of 1810 for Capt Jefferson. [of the D.C. Police Department]"
Oscar H. Brinkman, the church attorney, later told a Senate hearing that when he arrived at the scene, he spoke to the assistant chief marshal and asked by what authority the church was being raided.
"He produced what he called a warrant or libel, which contained a complaint by the Food & Drug Administration and said that the seizure was being made under that warrant or libel.
"I examined the warrant or libel, and I found that it hadn't
been sworn to, it had no affidavit, no oath. It was merely the statement of the U.S. Attorney and two of his assistants, and contained nothing - nothing that really verified the charges in the warrant. It contained no evidence.
"I found that it did not even name the church in the warrant
... Furthermore, the warrant authorized a search of premises not even occupied or rented by the church.
"The marshals tramped through the building beating on doors, grabbing books out of the arms and hands of students They pounded on doors where their religious confessionals were being conducted."
The lawyer felt very strongly about the lawless acts of the Government myrmidons and said so:
"It was the most outrageous violation of personal and constitutional rights that I have ever seen in all my life and as I said before, it couldn't have occurred any place in my estimation except in Russia.
"I am sorry I cannot control my feeling about the matter a little better, but in all my practice as a lawyer, and I am over 70 years old - over 45 years of practice - I have never seen anything so violative of the Constitution of the United States."
Attorney Brinkman said the church had never been asked to discontinue use of the E-meter. It had never been faced with any allegations that they were in any way being used unlawfully. Never had agents of the FDA or anyone else said to the church, "You are using these illegally." Never had the demand been made that their use be discontinued.
"Let me point out, too," the church's legal counsel added, "that if the Government had wanted the use of these E-meters discontinued, it need not have conducted a raid of this kind. It could have resorted to the injunction provisions of the law, which would provide that it could go into court and ask for an injunction. It could have done that. It could have written a letter to the church and asked them to discontinue the use of the machines. It did nothing of the kind."
The reason that the federal officials preferred an illegal
sneak attack on the church to a simple cease and desist order was that the unseemly purpose of the raid was more sinister and far-reaching than merely halting the use of an allegedly misbranded device.
For one thing, by staging a large-scale foray, they could, and did, invite press reporters and photographers to witness the event. They correctly surmised that the resulting accounts in the media would be inaccurate, one-sided, and derogatory of Scientology. Typically, newspaper accounts made no mention of the fact that a religious organization had been the victim of the raid. Instead, they referred to the Church of Scientology as "a pseudo-scientific cult."
Nor did the avowedly liberal newshawks mention one word concerning the odious invasion of privacy and abuse of power by the agents, to which they were eyewitnesses.
Another objective of the incursion was to gather at random whatever evidence could be found to be used in building a criminal case against the church. That was the true motivation for rummaging through the church's files and private papers; for photographing the premises, and so on.
Finally, in seizing and carrying away every E-meter they could lay hands on, whether the property of the church or those forcibly taken from the handbags and briefcases of individuals, the FDA functionaries hoped to deprive the church of one of its important artifacts, thus crippling the practice of Scientology.
"These actions," wrote George W. Sody of FDA's Baltimore District, "have effectively shut off their stock of E-meters, which they desperately need to attract new members of the cult."
In other words, the real purpose of the FDA-cum-Justice Department raid was not to protect the public health against some vast threat inherent in a harmless little galvanometer. It was, rather, the vicious effort of a despotic government to destroy a new religious sect through the misapplication of a consumer statute.
The duplicity was so bare-faced and legally so indefensible,
even in this day of nomothetic hocus-pocus, that the U.S. Attorneys involved in the plot felt the need for a firmer legal ground to justify the seizure.
To that end, for the next six years following the raid, and while the case was being litigated, the government continued its efforts to link the church to narcotics. Secret agents employed various ruses to gain entry into the homes of church members to look for "indications" of drug use. Of course, none were found.
In the report of one such covert investigation, Edmund K. MacKinnon, DCPD narcotics officer wrote:
"Miss Warren [a Scientology student] was asked what she knew of narcotics and also if she had ever had any. She stated that she had never used any dope and further that if she did she would be dropped from the school. (There was no indication of any use of narcotics)."
The FDA continued its entrapment programme, infiltrating the church with five undercover agents, who spied upon all the sect's activities and tried to induce sympathetic members to treat them for various illnesses, by complaining of physical distress.
One of the agents - Taylor Quinn - who had first enrolled in the church as a clandestine informer in 1959, was able - by means as yet undetermined - to obtain internal church memoranda, which he transmitted to his superiors in the FDA.
Documented evidence also reveals that the FDA sent undercover agents to eavesdrop on discussions of the legal strategy the church planned to use against the agency in court. Inspector Robert J. Rice, Jr., in a memo to the Director of FDA's Baltimore district, laid it down cold:
"On February 16, 1963, I visited the Academy of Scientology for the purpose of attending a meeting to determine what was being said regarding the position of Scientology and FDA. I was working undercover."
That was not all. Van W. Smart, an FDA Bureau of Enforcement official, directed an exhaustive investigation of L.
Ron Hubbard's personal background, snooping into matters not remotely related to the alleged misuse of the E-meter. The Kansas City office was ordered to obtain Hubbard's birth certificate. The Veterans Administration was asked for, and provided, verification that Hubbard "is drawing a 30% disability for claims of arthritis incurred while serving in the U.S. Navy."
Hubbard's service record and Naval serial number were provided by an unknown person in charge of officer records for the Navy. He was "very cooperative and stated that he would immediately telephone for the records of this individual."
The FDA inspectors were sent to interview the headmaster of the Woodford School For Boys, a preparatory school from which Hubbard received his diploma as far back as 1930. His grades, conduct ("no record of disciplinary action"), courses of study, and financial status ("he had paid his tuition in full) were all reviewed and a report of them put on file.
FDA enforcer Smart also directed his agents to "visit the Helena [Montana] High School to determine what information is available there as to the individual's high school record and personality."
During the same fine-tooth combining of Hubbard's past life, the FDA hawkshaws delved into his domestic affairs, obtaining divorce records, together with information concerning "other individuals who were named in the action ... including police checks."
In the course of their investigation, the FDA discovered that one of their own officers was the stepson of Hubbard's former wife. Enforcement Director Smart issued an order to interview the ex-wife "to determine what she knows of Scientology generally and also to determine the address of Katherine [Hubbard's daughter by that marriage] with a view toward interviewing Katherine concerning the Scientology organization."
The federal probers contacted and interviewed the IRS Intelligence officer, New York District; the New York Police
Department; and the Consolidated Edison Company. They requested and received background information from the Better Business Bureau; the Chamber of Commerce, the Treasury Department, and the American Psychiatric Association. They solicited derogatory information from the FBI. They sifted through old telephone directories for the names and addresses of Hubbard's former associates. They obtained certified copies of corporation papers, tax liens, and other legal documents. They made police checks of Hubbard's close friends and associates. They induced a private physician to violate the professional code of ethics by disclosing the medical records of a church member whom he had treated.
In yet another show of contempt for the First Amendment, Director Smart instructed his agents to pry into the religious beliefs of the church's members. In a directive issued on January 24, 1963, he wrote:
"In all contacts with individuals involved in the Scientology organization, please determine among other facts this individual's understanding of the requirement of Scientology as to whether the preclear (student, subject or patient) must have a faith and / or be interested in the particular tenet of Scientology as a religion in order to improve as expected."
In carrying out this order, the undercover agents catechised church members on all aspects of their religious beliefs, and secretly reported their responses.
The media were all carefully monitored, and when it was learned that the Church of Scientology, its founder, or its members were to be the subject of an interview or story, or participants in a panel show, the FDA would sometimes offer "background information" of a derogatory nature, or ask the radio or TV stations involved for transcripts of the programmes. On one occasion, when the Saturday Evening Post was planning a story on Scientology, the agency provided that magazine with defamatory material concerning the church, and offered this suggestion:
"You may also have someone get in touch with the police at Seattle, Washington, since we understand from the public
press that a minister from the Church of Scientology at Seattle was murdered on September 10 by a man whose wife was a member of the organization."
FDA Inspector Michael P. McDermott, who, quite by chance, tuned his car radio to an all-night talk show in New York, discovered that the topic being discussed was the Founding Church of Scientology. Although not assigned to do so, he made an intense effort to memorize what was said, and
"When I arrived home, I made some rough notes of what I had heard while I had been driving, and I also turned on my home radio and continued listening and making notes, until 3:30 a.m."
At that point, the hard-working inspector decided to call it a day "because I felt there would be no difficulty in obtaining a tape-recording of the program and also because it was extremely difficult to keep up with the Scientology jargon. . ."
He later requested the show's host to provide a transcript of the all-night discussion. Upon learning that the tape had already been erased, he telephoned Radio Reports, a firm which monitors all radio broadcasts in the New York area. He was informed that only the first two hours of the programme had been recorded upon a disc for a written transcription.
The persevering functionary then rang the station management, which agreed to supply him with a tape recording of the programme.
In another maneuver which clearly revealed the dishonesty of the drug agency's "protect the American Consumer" pretense, FDA obtained 10-year-old files that were filled with false allegations of brainwashing, hypnosis, drug abuse, homosexuality and Communism in the church, and sent them to officials in Australia, who were then engaged in a governmental enquiry concerning Scientology.
Later, when the Victorian government issued the Anderson report containing this defamatory material, the FDA, in widely circulated correspondence, cited the Australian publication as a reliable source of information about the Church of
Scientology. In this way, the agency could disclaim responsibility for launching the vicious canard.
In reviewing all these reprehensible, and at times illegal, acts of the Food and Drug Administration, it is important to bear in mind that they were unrelated to the statutory responsibilities of that federal apparatus. Consider them for a moment alongside the statement of George P. Larrick, then FDA Commissioner, concerning the avowed purpose of the anti-Scientology investigative extravaganza:
"Our investigation was directed basically at misrepresentations made concerning the E-meter and the extent to which the meter would perform as represented."
It is fair to ask: how could the alleged false labeling of a few dozen E-meters justify perhaps the most intrusive, longlasting, and expensive investigation in the history of the drug agency? What possible connection could the birth-date, school records, divorce proceedings, Navy service records, disability payments, and family relationships of L. Ron Hubbard have with "adequate and proper instructions" for the safe and effective use of a galvanometer? What provision in the Food and Drug Act gave the FDA the right to make police checks of Mr. Hubbard's friends, acquaintances and business associates? What law empowered FDA officials to plant spies within the Church of Scientology; to bug and monitor their services; to use entrapment techniques against the church ministers and staff; to inquire into the religious beliefs and personal affairs of church members; and to urge other federal agencies and police department to do likewise? What legal grounds did a regulatory bureaucracy have to disseminate falsified and unfounded allegations against the church in a copious outpouring of poison-pen letters - to foreign governments, professional societies, law enforcement agencies,
private individuals, editors and journalists, Selective Service System, educational institutions, and all branches of the armed services?
The short - and ominous - answer to all these questions is that the FDA had no authority to act as they did - only the arrogance of office. Their absurd pleading of consumer protection was patently a pretext, and a hopelessly false one, for insolent and overt violations of the Constitution, carried out in concert with the U.S. Department of Justice.
It should be kept in mind that while the FDA was thus expending many thousands of dollars and countless manhours in a campaign of persecution against a minor religious sect, they were failing dismally in the discharge of their one and only responsibility - insuring the nation safe medication and pure food.
The staggering amounts of chemical additives in processed foods consumed by Americans had reached crisis proportions.
Coincidental with that wholesale ingestion of chemicals (and almost certainly related to it), the national incidence of cancer, heart attacks and degenerative diseases continued to rise.
The universal use of pesticides, some of them containing carcinogenes (cancer-triggering agents) was posing an unknown but serious threat to the national health; yet of 2,500,000 interstate shipments of fruits and vegetables each year, FDA was sampling only an incredible 1 %. That meant that 99% of them were reaching the market untested.
FDA Commissioner George P. Larrick, who helped direct the extensive operation against the Church of Scientology, told a Congressional committee that of 88,500 food establishments subject to FDA inspection, only about one fourth were actually inspected each year.
During the same period, official data revealed that in a single year, 360,000 shipments of food, drugs and cosmetics (worth more than $6 billion) were imported from abroad. A considerable part of that stupendous quantity originated in
countries where unsanitary conditions are common and where little or no government supervision is exercised over growers, packers, and manufacturers.
The traffic in black market drugs - many of them substandard, adulterated and filthy - continued to flourish, constituting a real menace to the unsuspecting patient.
When brought before Congressional committees and rebuked for their failure to do their job adequately, FDA officials pleaded lack of manpower and a heavy work load.
The repeated scoldings they have received from time to time from overseers in the Congress have not inspired reform.
The chairman of a Senate subcommittee on administrative practice and procedure, after an exhaustive ivestigation of the FDA, summed up the situation in these words:
"The Food and Drug Administration is charged by Congress with an onerous responsibility - that of protecting the nation's health. Instead of shouldering this heavy responsibility, we find the agency engaged in bizarre and juvenile games of cops and robbers. Instead of a guardian of the national health, we find an agency which is police -oriented, chiefly concerned with prosecutions and convictions, totally indifferent to individuals' rights, and bent on using snooping gear to pry and to invade the citizen's right of privacy."
After six long years of costly litigation, an appeals court in 1969 ruled that the Church of Scientology had made a prima facie showing that it was indeed a bona fide religion, protected by the FirstAmendment. As a consequence:
"We must conclude that the literature setting forth the theory of auditing, including the claims for curative efficacy contained therein, is religious doctrine of Scientology, and hence as a matter of law is not 'labeling' for the purpose of the Act. "
The E-meters and three tons of creedal literature illegally seized by the FDA were ordered to be returned to the church.
It was the longest case ever fought by the Food and Drug Administration.
For the Scientologists, however, it was legally a Pyrrhic
victory. The looted E-meters, 5000 volumes and 20,000 booklets were not returned until October 24, 1973. When a count was taken, it was found that 25 of the E-meters were missing. They were never accounted for.
Moreover, the Scientologists had to pay the bill the FDA had run up for 10 years' storage of the materials the agency had improperly confiscated from the church. Their First Amendment "rights" had been upheld by the court; but the all-agency conspiracy against the sect continued on all fronts.
In their darker moments, reflecting upon the harm done to their movement by the Government in its quarter century of covert harrassment, some Scientologists were a little cynical about Constitutional protection of their right to a free exercise of religion. One church official put it this way:
"Rights? Why speak of rights when it is power that determines privilege in America today?"
He was too young to know that it was ever thus.