Saturday, March 24, 2012

Baby Watching

When some Scientologist get up into the upper levels of auditing and find
that it was all a science fiction story, they kind of go a little nuts. After
all, they have spent an extraordinary amount of time and money to get there.
There are also some staff members who break under the pressure and abuse.
So they have a process called the Introspection Rundown to handle the
person until they can get them back in and fixed up (read re-brainwashed).
Part of this rundown is the Baby Watch. The following article describes how
this is done.

The Independent

Monday 31 January 1994

The Scientologists call it "baby-watching", but it has nothing to do with
looking after infants. TIM KELSEY and MIKE RICKS investigate the potentially
dangerous, and possibly illegal, secret treatment that the world's largest
cult uses to deal with difficult members.

The middle-aged German student started screaming. He seemed to have lost
control. He was a Scientologist, a member of the world's largest cult, on a
course of study that, he had been promised, would bring him closer to the
secrets of the universe and, eventually, give him the key to eternal life.

According to eyewitnesses, the man, whose name is known to the "Independent",
was taken to an isolated room in a communal building not far from Saint Hill,
a 17th-century manor house in East Grinstead, West Sussex, and the UK
headquarters of the cult.

For two weeks, the room was locked. The German had been placed on an "isolation
watch" - or what Scientologists more informally refer to as a "baby watch". It
is a treatment that was prescribed by the founder of the cult, L. Ron Hubbard,
a science fiction writer, for members showing signs of psychosis or mental ill-
health -- people who are, literally, plagued by evil spirits. It is the last
resort for dealing with difficult Scientologists. It is a treatment that the
organization has so far kept secret.

This indicates treatment for a medical condition - practicing medicine
without a license.

The subject of the watch is observed at all times, and not allowed to talk to
anybody. He or she is, in the language of the cult, "muzzled". Our witnesses, who
have asked to remain anonymous, remember that the German was sometimes incontinent
and that they had to wash him down at the sink in the otherwise bare room. The
five people who guarded him were only allowed to communicate with him in writing.
Eventually he was allowed to return to Germany.

Scientology stand accused of many things: of warping people's minds, of financial
corruption, of preying on the vulnerable. Thirty years ago, a group of Members of
Parliament tried to have it banned in the United Kingdom after a girl with a
history of mental illness was found wandering around East Grinstead, having a
nervous breakdown. Finally, the Government banned all foreign nationals coming to
the UK to work or study in Scientology, until 1980.

Hubbard regarded the law as a tool to be used to the advantage of the cult (he once
said: "The law can be used very easily to harass"), and the cult has become notorious
for issuing injunctions and taking out libel actions - none of which it has so far
won. But the tide seems to be turning: there are a series of legal actions pending
from former members seeking damages for a variety of reasons, including false

The "baby-watching" incident with the German student occurred in 1991. But the
technique has been used more recently, according to confidential church documents
dating from September 1993, which have been leaked to the "Independent". These show
that the Scientologists mounted an internal investigation after a baby watch conducted
on another German, again at Saint Hill, last year. The investigation was instigated
because the woman put in isolation was already suffering from an acute mental disorder
- in the terminology used by the investigating officer, she was Type III, which
translates as "insane" . She went insane, according to the document, while she was
working for the organization in Europe. In early 1993, she arrived in Saint Hill and
was put on a baby watch because she was thought to be a "security risk". Her boyfriend
was put in charge of the watch. But something went badly wrong, and the watch was
"very extended" because of incompetence by local officials, reports the document. It
is not clear whether she was locked in a room throughout or allowed, as is sometimes
the case, to walk around during the watch. There seems to be some dispute about whether
the local staff were adequately trained to deal with such a case, and permission for
her "treatment" finally had to come directly from the American leadership of the cult.

Several of the most senior officers of the British arm of the cult were blamed for
allowing this woman to remain a member of the cult -- according to the internal memo,
she apparently had a history of drug abuse. These senior members were ordered to attend
an internal tribunal. If found guilty of failing to ensure the "security" of the member,
they will be demoted and sentenced to a period of "rehabilitation" through hard labor.
According to the report, it seems that the woman escaped from Saint Hill, was arrested
by police and then returned to Germany.

One former senior cult official who worked in the Californian section of the
organisation was involved in several baby watches. On one occasion, a woman staff
member was put in isolation after she started throwing furniture out of the window of
her flat, which overlooked Hollywood Boulevard. She was then locked in her room. "We
had to take all the furniture out of the room, strip it completely and leave her in
there on her own for more than a week," the official said. "She was just crazy, talking
to herself and screaming." This woman had been engaged in one of the most demanding of
the Scientology courses, during which students are taught that 75 million years ago the
earth was part of a galactic confederation ruled by an evil prince called Xenu. He
shipped the inhabitants of 76 planets to earth. The spirits (or thetans) of these extra
-terrestrials inhabit the souls of contemporary human beings and have to be exorcised.

Dr Betty Tylden , a retired consultant psychiatrist who is regularly called as an expert
court witness on cults, has treated Scientologists recovering from the effects of baby
watches -- both the victims and the guards. She has seen several in the past six months
alone. "People are terribly frightened of it," she said. "They come out of it suffering
from something very similar to Post- traumatic Stress Disorder, the "prisoner" syndrome.
There is hyper- arousal, flashbacks, fear and obsessions. It is very nasty, and even if
it doesn't break a law, it is a gross curtailment of an individual's liberty."

It is not just baby-watching that is causing concern. One Zimbabwean man, Noel
Matarandirotya , who has now left the organization and has been advised by his legal
counsel that he may have grounds to seek compensation from the Scientologists for, among
other things, false imprisonment , claims that he collapsed as a result of intensive
interrogation. He came to Saint Hill in 1991, on a ticket paid for by the cult, but the
following year he was suspected of subverting the interests of the organization. He
alleges that he was interrogated for two or three hours every day often with a lie
detector connected by electrodes to his hands.

His concerns about the cult started before this, while he participated in a Scientology
course called a "purification rundown" -- during which members spend long periods in a
sauna and take large quantities of vitamin pills. According to Dr Tylden, the massive
quantity of pills, combined with the physical stress of spending long periods at high
temperatures, could be fatal. "I found it very difficult," said Mr Matarandirotya. "There
were some children doing the course when I did it. I saw at least two, the youngest
around 10, and they were taking the vitamins, too."

He is prepared to speak out. Most are not. Scientology has a reputation for hunting down
its critics. One man has taken to wearing an armored vest because of alleged threats
against his life. One American former cult member claims that he was ordered to kill two
opponents of the organization.

Those claims will shortly be tested in court. If they prove true, they could mark the
beginning of the end for one of this century's most bizarre, powerful and secretive
social phenomena.

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