Church spokesmen maintain that Hubbard rescinded the policy three years after it was written because its meaning had been twisted. What Hubbard actually meant, according to the spokesmen, was that Scientology will not protect ex-members from people in the outside world who try to trick, sue or destroy them.
For example, a Los Angeles jury in 1986 said that Scientologists had employed fair game tactics against disaffected member Larry Wollersheim, driving him to the brink of financial and mental collapse. He was awarded $30 million. In July, the state Court of Appeal reduced the amount to $2.5 million but refused to overturn the case.
Wrote Justice Earl Johnson Jr.: "Scientology leaders made the deliberate decision to ruin Wollersheim economically and possibly psychologically. . . . Such conduct is too outrageous to be protected under the Constitution and too unworthy to be privileged under the law of torts."
In a recent lawsuit, former Scientology attorney Joseph Yanny alleged that the church and its agents had implemented or plotted a broad array of fair-game measures against him and other critics, including intensive surveillance and dirty tricks.
Earlier this year, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded Yanny $154,000 in legal fees that he said the church had refused to pay.
Among other things, Yanny said in his lawsuit that he attended a 1987 meeting at which top church officials and three private detectives discussed blackmailing Los Angeles attorney Charles O'Reilly, who won the multimillion-dollar jury award for Wollersheim.
According to Yanny, the plan was to steal O'Reilly's medical records from the Betty Ford Clinic near Palm Springs, then exchange them for a promise from O'Reilly that he would "ease off" during the appeal process.
Yanny, who later had a bitter break with Scientology, said he objected and the idea was dropped. The church denies such a discussion ever took place.
"There is not a scintilla of independent evidence that Yanny's counsel was ever sought for any illegal or fraudulent purpose," church attorneys argued in court papers.
Numerous other church detractors have said in court documents and interviews that they, too, were victims of fair game tactics even after the policy supposedly was abandoned.
John G. Clark, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said he once criticized the church during testimony before the Vermont legislature. Scientology "agents" retaliated, Clark alleged in a 1985 lawsuit, by trying to destroy his reputation and career.
He said in the lawsuit that they filed groundless complaints against him with government agencies, posed as clients to infiltrate his office, dug through his trash, implied that he slept with female patients and offered a $25,000 reward for information that would put him in jail.
"My sin," Clark said in an interview, "was publicly saying this is a dangerous and harmful cult. They did a good job of showing I'm right."
Scientologists, for their part, have described Clark as a "professional deprogrammer," who in court cases has diagnosed members of religious sects as mentally ill without conducting direct examinations of them. They have branded his professional work as fraudulent and his psychiatric theories as "childish and nonsensical."
In the words of one Scientology spokesman: "It's a crime that he's walking on the street right now."
In 1988, the church paid Clark an undisclosed sum to drop his lawsuit. In exchange for the money, Clark agreed never again to publicly criticize Scientology.
On the opposite coast, psychiatrist Louis (Jolly) West, who formerly directed UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute, said he also has felt the wrath of Scientology.
West, an expert on thought control techniques, said his problems began in 1980 after he published a psychiatric textbook that called Scientology a cult.