In 1955 the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International claimed it had obtained a secret Soviet brainwashing manual, and then published it. Based on that text, and other information he claimed to have received on Communist mind-control techniques, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard mentioned brainwashing in several lectures. In this article, I discuss the contested authorship of this manual and conclude that it probably was written by Hubbard, although other hypotheses cannot be entirely dismissed. I also distinguish between the Communist brainwashing Hubbard described within a Cold War context, and anticultists’ claims that brainwashing is practiced by “cults,” including Scientology.

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