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Hubbard's Travels

Susan Meister's death had no effect upon the Sea Org's relationship with Morocco. The Apollo crew established a land base, called the Tours Reception Center, in Morocco in 1971. They were trying to get into the king's favor, and started training government officials, including Moroccan Intelligence agents, in Scientology techniques. Officials were put on the E-meter and Security-Checked by French-speaking Sea Org members. The Hubbards moved ashore. 1

From his villa in Morocco, in March 1972, the Commodore explained his twelve point "Governing Policy" for finance. Points A and J were the same: "MAKE MONEY." Point K was "MAKE MORE MONEY." And the last point, L, was "MAKE OTHER PEOPLE PRODUCE SO AS TO MAKE MONEY." At last, an honest admission of this major plank of Hubbard's philosophy. 2

Hubbard also introduced the "Primary Rundown," where a student would "word-clear" ten Hubbard lectures about study. That meant going through the definition of every word in the lectures in a non "dinky" dictionary (to use Hubbard's expression), and using the word in every defined context until it was thoroughly understood. It was a gargantuan task. The word "of," for instance, has fifteen definitions in the World Book Dictionary, favored by Hubbard at the time. At the end of this arduous procedure, the student allegedly became "superliterate."

The South African Commission of Enquiry submitted its report on Scientology in June 1972. It recommended that a Register for psychotherapists be established, as had the Foster Report in Britain. It also recommended that the practices of Disconnection, "public investigation" (i.e. noisy investigation), security checking, and the dissemination of "inaccurate, untruthful and harmful information in regard to psychiatry," should be legislated against. The report added: "No positive purpose will be served by the banning of Scientology as such." Neither this nor any other legislative action was actually taken. 3

The Apollo sailed from Morocco to Portugal in October, for repairs. Hubbard and a contingent of Sea Org members stayed behind. Morocco was as close as Hubbard ever came to having the ear of a government, but relations broke down. In the Scientology world, there is a rumor that the upset had something to do with Moroccan Intelligence, which does lend a certain mystique. A secret Guardian's Office investigation revealed a more prosaic error, however. In 1971, Hubbard had reintroduced Heavy Ethics, and Scientologists continued to use the Ethics Conditions. For being persistently late for their Scientology courses, members of the Moroccan Post Office were assigned a condition of "Treason." To the Moroccans, "Treason," no matter how much it was word-cleared, meant only one thing: execution. The Post Office officials set themselves against the Scientologists, and won. 4 As a grim footnote, the Moroccan official who had negotiated with the Scientologists was later executed for treason. The contacts with Intelligence had actually been with a faction which was to fail in an attempted coup d'etat.

The panic, starting from Hubbard's typically exaggerated use of a simple word, ended with an order for the Scientologists to quit Morocco, in December 1972. Hubbard himself was given only twenty-four hours. He flew to Lisbon, and then secretly on to New York. The French had instituted proceedings against him for fraud, so he had to duck out of sight. He was being labeled undesirable by more and more governments.

Meanwhile, in Spain, eight Scientologists had been arrested for possession of chocolates laced with LSD. They were held in filthy cells for four days, and interviewed by a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent. As it turned out the chocolates did not contain LSD. 6

Two Sea Org members accompanied Hubbard to New York. The three stayed in hiding for nine months. Hubbard was in poor health. Photographs taken at the time show an overweight, dishevelled man with a large growth on his forehead. Despite his supposed resignation from management in 1966, Hubbard had continued to control the affairs of his Church, usually on a daily basis. Now he had only a single telex machine. His prolific Scientological output ground almost to a halt. What little he wrote shows a preoccupation with his poor physical condition. In July, he published an exhaustive summary of approaches to ill health. He also initiated the "Snow White Program," directing his Guardian's Office to remove negative reports about Scientology from government files, and track down their source. He was convinced of the conspiracy against him, and had no qualms about breaking the law to achieve the "greatest good for the greatest number," meaning the greatest good for L. Ron Hubbard. 7

While Hubbard was in New York, the Australian states began the process which eventually led to the repeal of their Scientology Prohibition Acts. The State of Victoria, which had started the Australian crackdown, even gave the Church of the New Faith (aka Scientology) tax-exemption.

In the U.S. the Food and Drug Administration was ordered to return all the materials seized eight years earlier, although the E-meters were still adjudged to be mislabelled, which had been the real issue at stake.

Another secret bank account was opened for Hubbard under the name United States Church of Scientology Trust. Hubbard was the sole trustee of this Swiss account, and it received large donations from Scientology organizations throughout the world. 8

In one of the few Bulletins issued during his stay in New York, Hubbard wrote:

The actual barrier in the society is the failure to practice truth .... Scientology is the road to truth and he who would follow it must take true steps.

Hubbard's hypocrisy knew no bounds. In an issue originally called "What Your Fees Buy" ("Fees" later became "Donations"), Hubbard continued to insist that he did not benefit financially from Scientology, and had donated $13½ million above and beyond the cost of his own research. He claimed that he had not been paid for his lectures and had not even collected author's royalties on his books. Scientologists could take Hubbard's word for it that none of the money they paid to the Church went to him.

In August 1973, yet another new corporation was formed, once again with the sole purpose of siphoning funds to Hubbard. Hubbard was to prove yet again that in matters of taxation, the man with the "most imagination" wins, and Hubbard had a very vivid imagination. The Religious Research Foundation was incorporated in Liberia. Non-U.S. students paid the RRF for their courses on the Flagship, so the corporation which ran the ship was not being paid, and the money was going straight into an account controlled by Hubbard. The Scientology Church was again billed retroactively for earlier services rendered. This was the second time the Church had paid Hubbard for these services: retroactive billing was the function of the "LRH Good Will Account" in the late 1960s. The Church paid for the third time in 1982. Millions of dollars paid in good faith by Scientologists for the further dissemination of their beliefs went straight into Hubbard's personal accounts, and were used to keep him in luxury, with a million dollar camera collection, silk shirts tailored in Saville Row, and a large personal retinue at his beck and call. 9

Hubbard rejoined the Apollo at Lisbon in September 1973. He had complained about the dust aboard the flagship, so the crew spent three months crawling through the ventilation shafts of the ship cleaning them with toothbrushes, while the Apollo sailed between Portuguese and Spanish ports. 10

In November, the Apollo was in Tenerife. Hubbard went for a joyride into the hills on one of his motorbikes. The bike skidded on a hairpin bend, hurling the Commodore onto the gravel. He was badly hurt, but somehow managed to walk back to the ship. He refused a doctor, and his medical orderly, Jim Dincalci, was surprised at his demands for painkillers. Hubbard turned on him, and said "You're trying to kill me." Kima Douglas took Dincalci's place. She thinks Hubbard had broken an arm and three ribs, but could not get close enough to find out. With Hubbard strapped into his chair, the Apollo put to sea, encountering a Force 5 gale. The Commodore screamed in agony, and the screaming did not stop for six weeks. 11

In Douglas' words: "He was revolting to be with - a sick, crotchety, pissed-off old man, extremely antagonistic to everything and everyone. His wife was often in tears and he'd scream at her at the top of his lungs, 'Get out of here!' Nothing was right. He'd throw his food across the room with his good arm; I'd often see plates splat against the bulkhead .... He absolutely refused to see another doctor. He said they were all fools and would only make him worse. The truth was that he was terrified of doctors and that's why everyone had to be put through such hell."

While on the mend, Hubbard introduced his latest innovation in Ethics Technology: the "Rehabilitation Project Force." This became Scientology's equivalent to imprisonment, with more than a tinge of the Chinese Ideological Re-education Center. In theory the RPF deals with Sea Org members who consistently fail to make good. They are put on "MEST work," which is to say physical labor, and spend several hours each day confessing their overts (transgressions), and revealing their Evil Purposes.

Life in the Sea Org was already fairly gruelling, but the Rehabilitation Project Force went several steps further. Gerry Armstrong, who spent over two years on the RPF, has given this description:

It was essentially a prison to which crew who were considered nonproducers, security risks, or just wanted to leave the Sea Org, were assigned. Hubbard's RPF policies established the conditions. RPF members were segregated and not allowed to communicate to anyone else. They had their own spaces and were not allowed in normal crew areas of the ship. They ate after normal crew had eaten, and only whatever was left over from the crew meal. Their berthing was the worst on board, in a roach-infested, filthy and unventilated cargo hold. They wore black boilersuits, even in the hottest weather. They were required to run everywhere. Discipline was harsh and bizarre, with running laps of the ship assigned for the slightest infraction like failing to address a senior with "Sir." Work was hard and the schedule rigid with seven hours sleep time from lights out to lights on, short meal breaks, no liberties and no free time...

When one young woman ordered into the RPF took the assignment too lightly, Hubbard created the RPF's RPF and assigned her to it, an even more degrading experience, cut off even from the RPF, kept under guard, forced to clean the ship's bilges, and allowed even less sleep. 12

Others verify Armstrong's account. The RPF rapidly swelled to include anyone who had incurred Hubbard's disfavor. Soon about 150 people, almost a third of the Apollo's complement, were being rehabilitated. This careful imitation of techniques long-used by the military to obtain unquestioning obedience and immediate compliance to orders, or more simply to break men's spirits, was all part of a ritual of humiliation for the Sea Org member.

Hubbard's railing against the "enemies of freedom" (i.e., the critics of Scientology) continued in a confidential issue: "It is my intention that by the use of professional PR tactics any opposition be not only dulled but permanently eradicated... If there will be a long-term threat, you are to immediately evaluate and originate a black PR campaign to destroy the person's repute and to discredit them so thoroughly that they will be ostracized." 13

Elsewhere Hubbard had defined black PR as "spreading lies by hidden sources," and added "it inevitably results in injustices being done." 14 Most Scientologists remain ignorant of the confidential PR issue.

Despite Hubbard's research into the subject, public relations had not improved. In 1974, the Apollo was banned from several Spanish ports. In October, while she was moored in Funchal, Madeira, the ship's musicians, the "Apollo All Stars," held a rock festival. Something went terribly wrong, and the day ended with an angry crowd bombarding the Apollo with stones: a "rock" festival (the pun stuck and is generally used by those who were there). It started with a taxi arriving on the dock, from the trunk of which a small group of Madeirans unloaded stones. Bill Robertson, the Apollo's captain at the time, ordered the fire hoses to be turned on this small group, and soon the dock was milling with jeering Madeirans. The rioters tried to set the Apollo adrift. They pitched motorcycles and cars belonging to the Scientologists off the dock. A Scientology story that a Portuguese army contingent stood by and watched is not confirmed by witnesses. They also failed to mention the response of the Apollo crew, some of whom returned the barrage of stones and bottles. The Commodore marched up and down in his battle fatigues yelling orders, and finally the Apollo moved away from the dock to anchor off shore. Ironically, the Madeirans seem to have thought the Apollo was a CIA spy ship. Scientologists attribute this to CIA black PR. Other observers attribute it to the intensely secretive behaviour of the Apollo, and the ongoing "shore stories" (lies) about her real function and activities. 15

The Mediterranean had been effectively closed to the Apollo through Hubbard's paranoid secrecy and his inability to maintain friendly relations. Now the Spanish and Portuguese were set against her. Hubbard decided to head for the Americas, and it was announced that the Apollo was sailing for Buenos Aries. More subterfuge, as she was actually set for Charleston, South Carolina, by way of Bermuda.

The Scientologists have it that a spy aboard the Apollo alerted the U.S. government of her true destination. They do not mention the advance mission of the Apollo All Stars, who usually preceded the ship to create a friendly atmosphere with music and song. After their reception in Madeira, the All Stars should have realized it was time to change their image. Instead they went ahead to Charleston. According to the Scientologists, the welcoming party waiting there included agents from the Immigration Office, the Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Customs, and the Coast Guard, along with several U.S. Marshals who were to arrest Hubbard, and deliver a subpoena for him to appear in an Internal Revenue Service case. 16

Just beyond the territorial limit, the Apollo caught wind of this reception committee, and, radioing that she was sailing for Nova Scotia, changed course for the West Indies. The Apollo then cruised the Caribbean. Initially relations were good, but soon, despite all the efforts of the Apollo All Stars, and Ron's new guise as a professional photographer (trailing his "photo-shoot org" behind him), the welcome wore thin. 17

In Curaçao, in the summer of 1975, Hubbard had a heart attack. Despite his protests, Kima Douglas, his medical orderly, rushed him to hospital. While in the ambulance Hubbard suffered a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the artery to his lungs). He spent two days in intensive care, and three weeks in a private hospital. While there his food was carried ten miles from the ship. Three Messengers sat outside his room twenty-four hours a day (they had to make do with the hospital food). He did not return to the Apollo for another three months. 18

While the Commodore was incapacitated, several of his U.S. churches recouped their tax-exempt status, and the Attorney General of Australia lifted the ridiculous ban on the word Scientology. An Appeal Court in Rhodesia also lifted a ban on the import of Scientology materials.


Additional sources: "Debrief of Jim Dincalci on NY Trip with LRH"; What Is Scientology?, pp. 154-8 & 184

1. Sea Org Orders of the Day ("OODs"), 7 June 1971; GA 15, pp.2482-4 & 17, pp. 2847-9

2. Hubbard, The Management Series 1970-1974, p.384

3. Wallis, p.198

4. Interview with witness

5. Vol. 9 of transcript of Church of Scientology of California vs. Gerald Armstrong, Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles, case no. C 420153, p.1436; Playing Dirty, p.80

6. Playing Dirty, p.82

7. Armstrong vol. 17, p.2675f; Schomer in GA 25, p.4480; Technical Volumes vol.  8, p. 189; Guardian Order 732, "Snow White Program," 28 April 1073.

8. CSC vs. IRS, 24 September 1984, p.66

9. Kima Douglas in Armstrong vol. 25, pp.4444ff; Laurel Sullivan in Armstrong vol. 19A, pp.3007, 3018 & 3020; Mary Sue Hubbard in Armstrong vol. 17, p.2776

10. Armstrong vol. 9, p. 1436; Urquhart interview

11. Miller interview with Kima Douglas, Oakland, California, September 1986.

12. Gerald Armstrong affidavit, March 1986, pp.53ff

13. BPL "Confidential - PR Series 24 - Handling Hostile Contacts / Dead Agenting," 30 May 1974 (not in Organization Executive Course)

14. Hubbard, Modern Management Technology Defined, definition 3

15. Playing Dirty, p.82; Interview Urquhart; Miller interview with Kima Douglas

16. Playing Dirty, p. 84

17. Armstrong vol. 9, p.1431; Sullivan in Armstrong vol. 19A, p.3190

18. Miller interview with Kima Douglas

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