Fair Game: The Incredible Untold Story of Scientology in Australia by Steve Cannane

Discussion in 'Media' started by The Wrong Guy, Jul 10, 2016.

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  1. TorontosRoot Member

    Pressure that judge. Maybe he was harassed way before the ruling?
  2. The Wrong Guy Member

    When L. Ron Hubbard briefly let down his guard and admitted Scientology was all a con

    By Tony Ortega, September 30, 2016


    We’re very happy to see that Steve Cannane’s book, Fair Game: The Incredible Untold Story of Scientology in Australia has been getting a lot of press since it was released on September 19. Naturally, media reports have tended to focus on celebrity hijinks in the book, as well as recent stories of abuse in Scientology that Steve uncovered.

    But one of the things we enjoyed most about Steve’s book — and frankly, didn’t expect from a book with a focus on Australia — was the tough new look it takes at Scientology’s founder, Nebraska-born L. Ron Hubbard.

    Cannane takes a brutal look at Hubbard’s background, and he seems astonished that given Hubbard’s personal history anyone took him seriously at all. In 1948 Hubbard was brought so low, he was prosecuted in San Gabriel Township Court in Southern California for writing bad checks. Steve writes, “Following his visit to the San Gabriel Township Justice Court, Hubbard could have been classified as a petty thief, a con artist, a bigamist, a wife-beater, a dead-beat dad, a valour thief, a malingerer and a liar. Yet his next scheme was to convince others that he had found a way to solve any and all of their life problems. Hubbard was working on a book he would ultimately describe as a ‘milestone for Man comparable to his discovery of fire and superior to his inventions of the wheel and arch.'”

    It does seem astonishing, when you think about it.

    After that book, Dianetics, came out in 1950, Hubbard’s life radically changed. By 1968, Hubbard had given himself the title of “Commodore” of his own private navy as he ran his worldwide Scientology organization from the helm of the ship the Royal Scotman (later renamed the Apollo). And it was there on the ship that one of the most remarkable episodes recounted in Cannane’s book takes place — when Hubbard, at least for a short while, leveled with a journalist about how Scientology was all a con job.

    Cannane has generously given the Underground Bunker permission to run an excerpt from Fair Game that recounts the 1968 encounter between Hubbard and Charlie Nairn, who filmed Granada Television’s World in Action documentary, The Shrinking World of L. Ron Hubbard. As Cannane explains, Nairn tracked down Hubbard aboard the Royal Scotman in Tunisia, and approached him late one night, finding Hubbard alone on the ship’s deck. The conversation that Nairn then had with Hubbard, as described by Nairn, is pretty astonishing.

    “This is one of my favorite revelations in Fair Game,” Cannane tells us. “Charlie Nairn is a highly credible award winning documentary maker. The conversation he recounted to me gives a fascinating insight into Hubbard’s motivations. The image of him comparing Scientology to fly-fishing – of luring people in – and getting a thrill out of the art of deception completely makes sense when you look at how Hubbard treated his followers.”

    Here’s the excerpt from Fair Game recounting Nairn’s encounter with Hubbard. We hope it motivates you to buy your own copy of the book, which is chock-full of similar revelations about Hubbard and Scientology.

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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology has been running a 'penal colony' in Sydney, book alleges | Hack

    A young Venezuelan signs a billion-year contract with a notoriously secretive religion, goes to work on a 'floating church' cruise ship, falls in love, and is punished at a Western Sydney 'penal colony'.


    This is a story told by former Hack host Steve Cannane in a new book on Scientology, called Fair Game.

    He says Jose Navarro finally escaped from the punishment camp after years of hard labour and rotten food, and then hid in the Sydney Botanic Gardens.

    "It's designed like a penal colony as far away as possible," said Cannane.

    "Jose's transgression was falling in love with someone he was not allowed to have a relationship with by the Scientology hierarchy."

    "They do labour, wear all black or dark blue, to signify what they call a lower condition, and eat the slops and leftovers from the Flemington Markets."

    Why is everyone investigating Scientology? Cannane's book follows other recent documentaries, including Going Clear (2015) and Louis Theroux's My Scientology Movie, which is currently in Australian cinemas. According to Cannane, all this interest in shedding light on the religion is part of a trend that began way back in the 1990s, and led up to secret documents being published on sites like Wikileaks. The internet is forcing Scientology out into the open, he says.

    Continued here:
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  4. Incredulicide Member

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  5. Incredulicide Member

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  6. Quentinanon Member

    And the scientology crime syndicate runs a penal colony in Los Angeles and Clearwater.
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  7. TorontosRoot Member

    When will it be surveyed by the pilot of the drone?
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  8. The Wrong Guy Member

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  9. Incredulicide Member

    Scientology protected by Oz politicians

    by Alex Mitchell on September 29, 2016
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  10. RightOn Member

  11. Quentinanon Member

    "We finally have a royal commission to stop priests and other god followers from kiddy-fiddling and raping schoolgirls and schoolboys. Yet we are unable to take action against Scientologists who break up families, ruin careers and behave like a private Stasi on steroids. I can take a swipe at Cardinal George Pell, Rev Fred Nile, the Chief Rabbi, the Dalai Lama and the Grand Mufti – but I can’t make a criticism of Scientology without going onto its “enemy” list and being threatened.
    I don’t believe Hubbard’s business venture should be closed down: I simply want it taken off the Commonwealth’s tax exemption list. I want it treated as a private corporation and obliged to pay company tax, sales tax, income tax and cough up for superannuation, health insurance and holiday allowances etc to all its employees. If cultists want to give money in support of an inter-galactic after-life beyond the Wall of Fire, it’s their business. However, I resent giving them tax exemption to bludge off the good people, like myself, who pay our tax.
    When Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison say Australia is facing an economic crisis of generational proportions, I fail to see why the cash-rich Scientologists – who have just opened a palatial and opulent building at Chatswood on Sydney’s North Shore – aren’t paying their way."

    Except the scientology cult will not comply to pay such taxes and benefits. They think they are special and above "mere WOG law". You cannot separate the science fiction from the fiction science from Hubbard's policies. They will not do it and if you try to force them, they will pretend to comply but will cheat every and any way they can. Decades of observation have proven this to be the case. The only solution is to disband them.
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  12. Incredulicide Member

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  13. Mike Rinder Reviews Fair Game: The incredible untold story of Scientology in Australia, by Steve Cannane

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    I have just finished reading Australian national journalist Steve Cannane’s book Fair Game.

    I highly recommend it as a very well written and researched account of scientology’s history and a revealing expose of newly disclosed and little known information. Steve had earlier commented that I had prompted him to embark on this exercise when I had mentioned the important role Australia had played in the history of scientology — from the first government inquiry and ban to the Australian High Court decision defining religion and the precedent setting role of Australian media unintimidated by scientology’s threats. And the personalities who had had pivotal roles, from Yvonne Jentzsch and family to Jan Eastgate and Senator Nick Xenophon to James Packer and Rupert Murdoch and sons.

    His book is oriented around the history of scientology in Australia — but don’t let that fool you into thinking it does not have much greater relevance in the overall narrative about scientology and its place in the world.

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
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  14. DeathHamster Member

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  15. AUDIO: Scientology in Australia

    ABC News Australia: Scientology in Australia

    Audio at link.

    * * * * * BEGIN INTRODUCTION * * * * *

    Download (16.80 MB)

    How important has Australia been in the history of scientology worldwide. What was its appeal for Australian celebrities like James Packer and Nicole Kidman -and what was it like for those Australians in Scientology families? Here’s Trevor Chappell with Steve Cannane, author of ‘Fair Game - The Incredible Untold Story of Scientology in Australia’ Steve is also the ABC’s Europe Correspondent

    Duration: 36min 42sec
    Broadcast: Mon 21 Nov 2016, 2:00am
    Published: Mon 21 Nov 2016, 6:13pm

    * * * * * END INTRODUCTION * * * * *
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  16. After Steve Cannane’s big year writing about Scientology, we hit him up for a look back
    Tony Ortega on December 28, 2016

    Earlier this year, London-based Australian journalist Steve Cannane published a terrific new book on Scientology titled Fair Game. We asked him for a year-end message and he sent us this…

    Tony has asked me to write about my experience of having a book come out in 2016, but I’m ignoring the editor, and instead of focusing on myself, I want to pay tribute to the people who allow journalists to report on Scientology – the whistleblowers.
    The cult of Scientology relies on secrets to maintain its control. Every time a former member speaks out or an insider leaks information it’s a hammer blow to the organization. Scientology relies on a combination of deception and ignorance to hoodwink newcomers. Each time an ex-member speaks out they help inoculate the next generation from being recruited into Scientology.
    It takes incredible courage for ex-members to speak out about Scientology. Firstly, it takes great courage to leave, to risk disconnection, to walk away from what has been drummed into you is the key to your immortality. To then speak out is a further leap into the unknown. Many ex-Sea Org members suffer from post-traumatic stress and to speak out is to relive those traumatic events. Others feel shame for not leaving earlier or for what they might have done inside. Then there is the risk that you are making yourself a target by telling your story. As we all know those risks can be real.

    More here -
  17. The Wrong Guy Member

    How Australia's defamation laws reignited the Chelmsford Deep Sleep scandal

    By Michael Bachelard, The Sydney Morning Herald, December 2, 2018


    The Federal Court is requiring a journalist and a publisher to prove allegations of manslaughter and medical malpractice that were first made 50 years ago and investigated thoroughly in a royal commission in 1990.

    Federal Court justice Jayne Jagot acknowledged in a preliminary judgment last month that the two doctors from the notorious Chelmsford Private Hospital, who claim they were defamed in a recent book, were slammed at the royal commission, and many of the witnesses are now likely dead.

    However, she found the defamation case brought by Dr John Gill and John Herron was "triable" – that is the full arguments should be heard at a likely cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Defamation specialist and president of the Victorian bar, Dr Matthew Collins said Justice Jagot's decision was "correct as a matter of analysis of Australian law", but that it "highlights the urgent need for reform" of the law.

    The Chelmsford hospital and its "deep sleep" therapy became a byword for medical arrogance and malpractice in the 1980s. Twenty-four deaths were attributed to the treatment of psychiatric patients at the Sydney private hospital between 1963 and 1979, where people were put into deep sleep using drugs and were treated with electro-convulsive therapy.

    In the royal commission's 1990 report, Justice John Slattery referred the hospital's three surviving doctors, including Dr Herron and Dr Gill, for professional and possibly criminal prosecution.

    All this was published widely at the time, tried and tested in a royal commission. But Justice Jagot's October 5 ruling suggests that, under Australia's defamation law, history is never really settled, and things thought to be facts must be proved afresh.

    The book that is subject to the defamation action, Fair Game: The Incredible Untold Story of Scientology in Australia, by ABC journalist Steve Cannane, included a chapter about Chelmsford, because Scientologists had played a central role in exposing the scandal.

    The defamatory imputations – the reputation-damaging conclusions the former doctors claim a reasonable audience would have taken from the book – were that the doctors had nearly killed and had falsely imprisoned one patient; they had continued to use deep sleep on patients despite "the number of deaths it caused"; they falsified death certificates; lied to patients' families; caused one patient brain damage and other patients to die; were guilty of medical malpractice and had defrauded patients' health funds.

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  18. The Wrong Guy Member

    Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman: Spied on by Scientology until it ripped them apart

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, December 15, 2018


    We have a real treat for you this week in our ‘Scientology Lit’ series, an excerpt from the excellent book Fair Game: The Incredible Untold Story of Scientology in Australia by Steve Cannane. One of the best researched and written books about Scientology in any era, Steve covered a vast amount of territory. We’ve chosen portions of a later chapter, ‘Cruise and Kidman,’ with Steve’s blessing. Published in 2016, this book contains the last extensive interviews Marty Rathbun gave before he went pear-shaped.

    Continued at
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  19. TorontosRoot Member

    Spill the cement truck and let it spread to the light!
  20. Incredulicide Member


    A rare win for journalists and publishers, after a case that lasted three years and cost millions of dollars:
    Chelmsford doctors lose bid to ‘rewrite history’ in defamation case
    - The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 November, 2020
    Yes, ABC News journalist Steve Cannane won hands down in the Federal Court last week, with the judge awarding costs against deep sleep therapists John Gill and John Herron.
    And a relieved Cannane told Media Watch:
    STEVE CANNANE: When we found out it was a great feeling. This was such an important case, we knew it meant a lot to not just us but to a lot of other people as well — the victims of Chelmsford, journalists, publishers. It was real victory for truth, for a great publisher standing up for itself and for its author as well, but also the victims of Chelmsford. And also a great victory against people who are trying to rewrite history.
    - Video interview, 27 November, 2020
    So what was the case all about?
    Well, in his 2016 book Fair Game, Cannane re-examined one of the darkest chapters in Australia’s psychiatric history, the Chelmsford deep sleep scandal, which was exposed by 60 Minutes and then in 1990 by a royal commission — reported on here by ABC News:
    TREVOR BORMANN: This building in the northern suburb of Pennant Hills was once Chelmsford Hospital, a place where hundreds of psychiatric patients, with often only minor problems, were plied with barbiturates and sent into a deep sleep for weeks at a time. The royal commission found that in the 13 years until 1977 the therapy led to the deaths of 24 patients and another 24 killed themselves within a year after treatment.
    - ABC News, 20 December, 1990
    The royal commission laid much of the blame on the hospital’s chief psychiatrist, Dr Harry Bailey, who took his own life while under investigation.
    But it also found two other doctors to be culpable:
    TREVOR BORMANN: The judge described Bailey’s assistant, Dr John Herron, as ‘a man who knew much but revealed little’ ...
    And Dr John Gill, he said, ‘must bear a large part of the responsibility’.
    - ABC News, 20 December, 1990
    And it was those two doctors who sued Cannane for defamation.
    So, were they the focus of his book? Answer, not at all. Gill was mentioned once, in one chapter, Herron 13 times:
    STEVE CANNANE: The focus of my book was the Church of Scientology. There was one chapter that referred to Chelmsford, but essentially that chapter was about an undercover operation where the Scientologists put a nurse into Chelmsford Hospital, who stole medical records and exposed what went on there. So my book, and even this chapter, really wasn't about Chelmsford. But in writing that chapter, I had to refer to what happened there. And to write that I refer to the royal commission findings. And so what this defamation case was about was them trying to overturn established facts and findings from that royal commission.
    - Video interview, 27 November, 2020
    Last week, after a seven-week trial, Cannane and HarperCollins emerged victorious, with Justice Jayne Jagot delivering a damning assessment of Herron and Gill’s case, finding that they were:
    … fixated on a single objective - to have the findings in this proceeding rewrite history and vindicate their conduct despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary and the lack of any cogent evidence to support them.
    - Judgment, Herron v HarperCollins, 25 November, 2020
    And amazingly, Justice Jagot then found:
    … I would have accepted ... that in the relevant sector of his reputation, as a medical practitioner, Mr Herron has no residual reputation to be protected.

    … it must be accepted that Dr Gill was held in very low estimation by the relevant sector of society before the publication of the matter complained of.
    - Judgment, Herron v HarperCollins, 25 November, 2020
    So, if that was the case, why on earth did the court have to go through the whole painful process?
    And why was Cannane forced to prove in court at great length that the royal commission’s findings were true?
    STEVE CANNANE: These are established facts, these are established findings from 30 years ago. I thought I could rely upon them in my book and that I wouldn't have to defend them. And what we had to do, in essence, was relitigate a royal commission with people — many of them were dead. And it was a very difficult thing to do.
    PAUL BARRY: And were you surprised that the court didn’t throw it out?
    STEVE CANNANE: I was surprised the court didn't throw it out, but I understand Jagot’s judgment and why she didn't throw it out. She was essentially saying they had a right to have a day in court. But what I don't understand is you get to the end of this process that takes over three years that cost millions of dollars and you find out that they have no real reputation that could be harmed. So why can't we find that out at the beginning of the process and not have to go through a three-year court case that costs millions of dollars?
    - Video interview, 27 November, 2020
    Victory is sweet, but it came at a great cost to all parties, including the plaintiffs — one of whom put his house on the line. And of course to the victims, the author and the publisher, owned by News Corp, who were also put through the mill.
    But Cannane believes it was absolutely worth fighting for, and not just for him:
    STEVE CANNANE: Sometimes media organisations and publishers hang out their journalists to dry when they have told the truth and they make a simple commercial decision to do that. This was a great case where the publisher backed the author and said there are massive principles at stake here about the truth, about justice and about the rewriting of history. So I think this is important for both the push to reform defamation laws, but I think it's also important that publishers stand up for their authors and their journalist.
    - Video interview, 27 November, 2020
    In that respect, Cannane was fortunate. And with luck others may not have to go through his ordeal.
    Because, as we highlighted in August, changes to defamation laws are on the way in all states. And Dr Matt Collins QC is pretty confident they will protect responsible investigative journalism.
    He told Media Watch:
    The reforms will introduce a new defence for publications concerning an issue of public interest where the defendant reasonably believed that the publication of the matter was in the public interest. ... The combination of the new defence, and Cannane’s success in this case (and the catastrophic and no doubt very expensive loss for the plaintiffs), would surely make cases like this less likely in future.
    - Email, Dr Matt Collins QC, 26 November, 2020
    And that has to be good news for the media.
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