by Gail Armstong
The year was 1968. Scientologists had been probing deaths, abuses and fraud in certain of Englands psychiatric asylums, and the response was volatile. The Minister of Health used the full weight of his ministry to instigate arbitrary and baseless governmental actions and political tirades against the Church of Scientology, and through colleagues who published two of Londons largest dailies, waged a vicious campaign to oppress a voice of human rights.
The newspaper sheets were called Freedom. As the single-page journal rolled off the press, copies were distributed by hand from the Churchs then headquarters in East Grinstead, West Sussex to the bustling squares of London.
Three decades and hundreds of editions later, Freedom with its flagship magazine in the United States and 18 more editions worldwidecelebrated its 30th anniversary at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. in the fall of 1998.
n a rural village of West Sussex, England, two men moved swiftly through the overcast morning streets, posting newspaper sheets on lampposts as they went.
The day-long series of commemorative events included two panel discussions with noted human rights activists and journalists who broke new ground in addressing the issues of child drugging and the medias treatment of human rights issues.
The anniversary celebration culminated in an evening event honoring the work of human rights leaders in the fields of social justice, religious liberty, civil rights and international human rights. (See In Support of Human Rights.) With actress Anne Archer as Mistress of Ceremonies, the program included speeches by Freedoms editor in chief and the president of the Church of Scientology International. An extraordinary performance by Oscar-winning rhythm and blues composer Isaac Hayes and nine-time Grammy winner and jazz great Chick Corea highlighted the event.
Freedoms coverage over the years has focused on societal and government corruption, investigating to determine sources and causes, and bringing their findingsand solutionsto the public.
Some of the issues on which Freedom has taken the lead include the use of chemical and biological warfare agents on unwitting citizens and the notorious behavioral experiments conducted by military and intelligence agencies; domestic intelligence operations against law-abiding U.S. citizens for the purpose of political advantageincluding the infamous enemy lists of the IRS and the counter-intelligence program of the FBI; Nazi involvement with the international criminal police organization Interpol; the oppression of religious liberties; true stories behind Jonestown and Waco; abuses, deaths and insurance fraud in the mental health system.