Scientology's Love-Hate Relationship
with the "SPOTLIGHT," Willis Carto & the "Institute for Historical Review"

Updates (last: 11/2005)

For the rest of the world, L. Ron Hubbard was more of a storyteller, salesman and stage magician than he was a religious icon. To Willis Carto, Hubbard was the leader of a popular fringe group called Scientology. Both Carto and Hubbard were heavily involved in trying to reform the Establishment's way of doing business. Both had been persecuted by the Establishment for their unique views of society, and both had carried out effective lobbying and PR campaigns in response.

Along with similarities, there were differences. Willis Carto is a decorated veteran of The Second World War. Hubbard, spent most of World War II training for missions he was never to fulfill. In 1979, Scientology was struggling both against the press and the government in a battle that was to end with 11 leading Scientologists going to prison. On the other hand, Carto's Institute for Historical Review had just held its first international revisionist conference, at which it posted a $50,000 reward for proof that Jews had been gassed at Auschwitz. This offer was made in light of the fact that standards of proof for murder at the Nuremberg military tribunals do not meet non-wartime standards. The IHR basically wanted proof that would pass review in a peacetime criminal court of law. Although those who challenged the IHR won legal successes, the IHR won the moral victory*. For this its founder, Willis Carto, was and continues to be vilified by fanatics. Tactics of revenge have included arson attacks, vexatious litigation, and the same sort of wartime propaganda Carto had been protesting.

Back when the "Church of Scientology" was in the minority, its representatives viewed Carto's organizations as useful media for gaining popularity and respectability. Carto, with his critical view of "establishment" press, had reached a large segment of the population. Scientologists flocked to the IHR and subscribed to Carto's publications. Many Scientologists, including Church of Scientology International Public Affairs Officer Alex Jones, subsequently praised Carto and "The Spotlight" as "a defender of individual liberties." A Scientologist was even the director of Carto's Institute for Historical Review (IHR).

In 1993, the tables were turned. Scientology sold its soul to the Establishment in return for tax exemption. Besides that, in gaining tax exemption Hubbard's organization was forced to reveal the fact that it was really a huge corporation with dozens of member companies and assets in the hundreds of millions of dollars. That is a lot of money for a group that supposedly had the interests of the People at heart.

For Carto and the IHR, that was only half the story. The same day Scientology was granted tax exemption, Carto was ousted from the IHR. The one behind the coup was the hitherto non-public Scientologist director of the IHR. As it turned out Carto was the target of an ethics enforcement system installed both inside and outside the group he founded. The Scientology system does not rely upon the more traditional Establishment threat of force or of deprivation of liberty. It relies upon deprivation of that delicate thread of personal faith, called credibility, that we take for granted for doing business on the personal, social and professional levels.

Thus, the IHR came to be publicly referred to as "the spine of the international Holocaust denial movement." Of course, a steadfast deprivation of trust on multiple fronts can predictably result in loss of status, money, privileges and liberties previously enjoyed. Although Carto's integrity as a journalist kept him basically intact, he and the many people (including Scientologists) who benefited from his speciality news over the years lost a source of inspiration.

* alternatively, more than just a moral victory. See "BEST WITNESS The Mel Mermelstein Affair and the Triumph of Historical Revisionism" by Michael Collins Piper.

Part 1 How did two groups whose purposes were as closely aligned as the SPOTLIGHT's and Scientology's square off with each other? See part 1 for one aspect of that story.

Fight against the IRS What gave the SPOTLIGHT the idea that Scientology would be a credible, effective ally in the fight against the IRS?

Texts of two letters from the "Church of Scientology International."
Background image is from the Scientology "Great Lies" PR campaign.
If evidence was seized from the accused by a third party,
"the accused cannot challenge the constitutionality of the seizure
and the materials seized can be used against him."

Part 2 Meanwhile, Scientology public affairs officer Jones needed help in educating the SPOTLIGHT, and in the event that failed, to "get its ethics in." Specifically, he wanted "people to write and call The Spotlight to complain ..." Those who had never even read the SPOTLIGHT could re-write what Jones wrote -- in their own words, of course -- sign their names, and send the result to the SPOTLIGHT. A word of caution when reading this material: accusations of criminal wrongdoing, i.e., embezzlement, in the absence of a specific criminal (as opposed to civil) court conviction for that particular crime are libelous in nature.

Part 3 Willis Carto was not the first person that practitioners of Hubbard's Black PR technology ever ran dirty operations on. Back on January 15, 1980, "Freedom" magazine, which is published by the Church of Scientology, sent the SPOTLIGHT a letter about Scientology's relationship with Paulette Cooper. "Freedom" staff were sure that Cooper would find the documents the FBI seized from the Church of Scientology in the 1977 raids "an unending source of pleasure." As a matter of fact, the Paulette Cooper case was to turn out to be an unending source of information about Scientology for the media and general public.

Part 4 All the Scientologists who subscribed to or read the SPOTLIGHT were not necessarily loyal to the authoritative corporations that now control Scientology. This is one person's account of Hubbard back in the old days

Part 5 Some transcripts of readers' correspondence with the SPOTLIGHT editor.

Part 6 "The SPOTLIGHT" articles and correspondence on Scientology

Part 7 Somehow, some of Alexander Jones' correspondence to the SPOTLIGHT in Washington, D.C. ended up in a Church of Scientology in Missouri, of all places. At some central location, Jones' correspondence had been collated with newspaper articles about Carto from Los Angeles and Orange County, in southern California. The Missouri Church of Scientology then delivered this compiled information to at least one person who most likely was not even a Scientologist. Carto found out about this when he received an envelope with Jones' correspondence, newspaper articles, and a cover letter briefly explaining the situation. From the various newspaper articles, the time line appears to be::
1985, Jean Edison Farrell bequeaths the IHR millions of dollars;
1991, Willis Carto goes to Switzerland to collect the cash;
October 1, 1993, Scientology gets tax exemption, and Tom Marcellus "sent a letter to Willis Carto advising the IHR founder that his (Carto's) relationship with the IHR had been 'terminated'...";
February, 1995, Tom Marcellus delivers information incriminating Carto of embezzlement in 1991 to the local police;
June 1995, the police raid Carto's house, upsetting his wife and threatening his dog;
June 1995, the embezzlement charges fizzle when the prosecutor realizes that the evidence seized, even the autographed picture of Hitler, is not enough to support a charge of embezzlement. Carto sues, but fails to convince a court the search was unconstitutional. Ever since then, Scientology has been celebrating this as a big victory. One reason Carto may have sued is that he had some expert legal testimony on the subject, including this 1979 legal memorandum on how Scientology had its privacy violated during the FBI raids in 1977. Former Scientologists may appreciate the legal concept that states if evidence was seized from the accused by a third party, "the accused cannot challenge the constitutionality of the seizure and the materials seized can be used against him."

Part 10 What do lawyers, leaflets and libel have in common? SPOTLIGHT gives a twofold answer: Scientology and the IRS.

In summary,

Although the SPOTLIGHT seems bold at times, it printed corrections when it was too bold. No correction needed to be printed, though, when The SPOTLIGHT scooped the mainstream media on Scientology's tax exemption. The SPOTLIGHT was not only on top of the story, it had more than adequate proof of its assertions. For instance, one ADL-Scientology connection is Lawrence Heller. See Part 6 for much more. In addition, even though this is not well-known, the Jews did collaborate* with the Scientologists to gain tax exemption. As reported in "The Jewish News" of July 24, 1992 in the article, "Scientology, Synagogues: A court case challenges religious tax deductions," Jews repeatedly testified in court on Scientology's behalf for tax exemption. In a recent turn of events, however, now that the Scientologists have received their tax exemption, part of the Jewish community is wondering if it can benefit from this, too, as related by a 2004 article by the New York Sun about the Sklar case. A relevant question has been raised by SPOTLIGHT staff -- did members of the Jewish community spontaneously approach the Scientologists on their own in 1992, or were they invited to do so by representatives of the Scientologist community? Specifically, if the Jewish community helped out the Scientologists 12 years ago, wouldn't it be appropriate for the charitable and freedom-loving Scientologists to promote the interest of fair exchange by testifying on behalf of the Sklars?

Epilogue: Suppressive Person / Fair Game Doctrine: Not only does Scientology get tax exemptions other religions do not, these pages you are now reading give a clear example that with this tax exemption, the US government advocates and condones the practice of institutionalized prejudice under a policy whose name changed for PR purposes, from the "Fair Game" to the "Suppressive Person" doctrine.

*The Jews are not the only one who have willingly collaborated with Scientology for their own benefit. For example, mainstream churches see laws that cut bureaucratic red tape for "religious" organizations as a boon. It is possible there was also collaboration, or at least cooperation, between the Scientologists and the Disney company in getting new copyright legislation passed in Congress.

The Critic's Proverb: This writer chooses to remain anonymous, but only wishes to express appreciation to Willis Carto for having provided a new viewpoint on Scientology, and to Arnaldo Lerma for publicly accomodating that viewpoint.

These pages are complete as of December 31, 2004. Happy New Year.


November 2005: Escape from Scientology

April 2005: Scientology's Holohoax

March 2005: Scientology's Love-Hate Relationship with its Critics.

February 2005 - Duplicity and understanding.
- Exchange of letters between the SPOTLIGHT and the Church of Scientology concerning an offer to respond to a critical article before publication, a Scientology press release on Reader's Digest, and more ...

January 2005: dedicated to two often forgotten categories of Holocaust victim, the 1) dissident intellectual and 2) anti-social person.
- The RV Young interview, the Scientology Holohoax challenge, and more ...