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Monday, 23 December 2013

Fair game?


Have the leaders of the PBCC ever practised a 'Fair Game' policy in their dealings with there critics? Is there any evidence that Garth Christie and/or other senior elders in the UK Exclusive Brethren (Hales branch) have ever harassed a critic of their system? In 1984, in a London Scientology custody case judgement, Judge Mr. Justice Latey deplored how this had happened to a professional critic of Scientology.

Click below for full article (see section 7 fair game)

3 comments:

  1. It would be a very grave matter indeed if the PBCC or its officers had ever used 'Fair Game' tactics to intimidate or harass anyone.

    I'm aware that lawyers' letters have been sent to individuals on behalf of the Hales group of Exclusive Brethren, so I was interested to read in the Court judgement referred to above that L Ron Hubbard had once written, "The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorised, will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly."

    The more I think about all this in the context of the PBCC, the more worrying it is.

    Not so long ago I was warned that this group of Exclusive Brethren takes legal action against anyone who criticises them or their leaders. I was astonished to be told this because I knew that in 2008 Daniel Hales, brother of Bruce D Hales, had said in an interview in Australia that the Brethren didn't mind being criticised. Since then I've heard Garth Christie assuring the Public Administration Committee of the Westminster UK Parliament that the Brethren welcome scrutiny.

    In my opinion, the English Charity Commission should be informed if the PBCC has ever targeted a person to rubbish their professional competence in the obnoxious ways described in the 'Fair Game Policy' paragraphs of the 1984 court judgement quoted above.

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    Replies
    1. The Charity Commission are fully informed Joan and will continue to be kept informed.

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  2. I have never heard of Brethren using the term “fair game” but I have often thought some of the actions of their leaders towards their critics, their potential critics and some of their escapees has been unscrupulous and unprincipled for many years. They may not have used the term “fair game” but I have been told of several times when prominent Brethren in conversation have talked about “ruining” people by vexatious litigation, and they have initiated several lawsuits that looked exactly like attempts to do just that: lawsuits that could never win on legal merit, but could only be intended to harass and impoverish the defendant. They have also sent out many lawyers’ letters threatening to sue critics, but have taken it no further when their threats were ignored. I could give a long list, but I would need to ask the permission of my informants first.

    Recently I suspect the EB leadership have changed their tactics a little. The lawsuits of the past sometimes earned them far more public criticism than they prevented, and were extremely expensive. The same mistake was made by the Church of Scientology and they suffered very badly from it. Ever since most people got Internet access, bad publicity has mattered much more, and Jim Taylor’s slogan, “Sue the bastards!” has proved to be bad advice. I suspect in the last year the EB have discovered that bribing critics is much cheaper and quicker than suing them, and can be done inconspicuously without the attendant bad publicity.

    There is, however, a legal risk associated with silencing a critic with a bribe. If the critic is a potential witness in court then putting pressure on him by either bribes or threats (or promises to let him see his family) could be a criminal offence. There is also another legal risk. If the critic signs a gagging order promising not to criticise the Brethren, then the order cannot legally be used to prevent him from giving evidence in court. The gagging agreement might be worth a lot less than the paper it is written on. The bribe may yield less than nothing. It can be money lost to the EB, but at least it would go to a good cause.

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