The above photo is located on the US Department of Defense archive website. Link to Photo. Per the official caption, this 2010 photo is of then U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates meeting Colombian Minister of Defense Dr. Silva in Bogota in 2010. The significance of the photo is explained in this article.
In the “Meet a Scientologist” episode with Colombian Scientologist and comedian Andrés López, López makes the claim that widespread “word of mouth” enthusiasm resulted in the Colombian Ministry of Defense coming to know about a free show he was doing to entertain a brigade of Colombian troops.
Andrés López’s implication was that the entire Colombian Ministry of Defense was so excited about a comedian doing a free show that they dropped their concerns about guerilla rebels and narcotics traffickers and met in formal session to celebrate the Scientology comedian’s generosity. López paints a picture of soldiers so absolutely starved for any scrap of entertainment that they were wildly grateful for his unheard of gesture of a comedian entertaining troops. To hear López tell the story, this has never been done in the entire history of the world.
This is so typical of Scientology to make a big deal out of an utterly mundane matter. The self-important López has basically insulted every entertainer who has ever done a free show for any military. Many celebrities have gone into war zones to entertain troops.
A photo is then shown in the video at this juncture. The photo is supposed to be the Colombian Ministry of Defense enthusing about Scientologist López’s show. The video subtitle shown is López’s voiceover:
Here is the fact: Scientology TV has ripped off a US Department of Defense photo to depict the Colombian Ministry of Defense meeting to discuss the generoisty of the great Andrés López doing a free show for the troops.
Taken in 2010, the photo shows US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and US Ambassador to Colombia William R. Brownfield and their staff members seated on the left side of the table. On the right side of the table is a US Admiral seated next to Colombian Minister of Defense Dr. Gabriel Silva. The only Colombian in the photo is Dr. Silva. Everyone else shown are Americans. This is extremely sloppy work on the part of Scientology TV. No fact checking of the context of the photo was done. This garbage is what Scientology TV is producing. Of course, there could be something more sinister at work as we cover later in the article.
What we focus on here is that Scientology TV has used the images of former US Defense Secretary Gates, US Ambassador William R. Brownfield, and Colombian Minister of Defense Dr. Silva without their knowledge or permission. While the image is in the public domain, the use of it to suggest that American and Colombian officials endorse Scientology is misleading and dishonest. When I saw Robert Gates in the video I knew immediately who he was. I searched for the official photo on the DoD website and found it in a matter of minutes. Scientology TV is not honest nor does its staff appear to understand that details matter in a documentary.
ANDRES LOPEZ IS ALSO DISHONEST IN THE VIDEO
Scientologist Andrés López is also dishonest in the video. He claimed he was doing a “free show” for the military when in actuality his “free show” was a presentation of Scientology’s booklet The Way to Happiness:
Although then Colombian President Santos appears at the event, the Scientology TV video oddly glosses over President Santos’ appearance. Santos’ image quickly passes by in a few seconds. This is extraordinarily strange considering that Santos won the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending Colombia’s 52 year old violent and bloody war between FARC and the Government.
Why does Scientology TV skim over the appearance of an actual Nobel Prize laureate at its TWTH event? Why does Andrés López downplay it as well? The appearance of President Santos could be a separate video in its own right. Scientology has never had the President of a country or a Nobel Prize winner in any of its events or videos and yet when it finally has both in the esteemed President Santos it is a non-event.
This lack of emphasis on President Santos is extremely suspect as Scientology never wastes any PR and is, in fact, so desperate for PR that its videos often feature very minor third-rate officials with meaningless titles such as the Third Assistant Undersecretary for Agriculture in Aruba.
Here is one item we’re looking at: In November 2017 the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism published information from the Panama Papers showing that Santos was in control of two offshore companies in Barbados. This is the island where David Miscavige received his fake medal from General Mena. There may be absolutely nothing to this at all. However, the Scientology Money Project will investigate and continue to connect dots as we dig into the money trail between Scientology, Scientologists, and Colombian officials.
Bottom Line: Scientologist Andrés López entertains troops only promote Scientology.
In exchange for López doing a show, Colombian soldiers were required, at the orders of senior Colombian military officials, to wave copies Scientology’s booklet The Way to Happiness in the air. This is all done for Scientology PR:
Senator Cepeda is calling for an investigation of the links between Scientology and the Colombian police and military. One person of interest in any inquiry would be Andrés López. If the government seized his e-mails and phone records it could be most interesting.
The potential for a Colombian Congressional investigation leads me to conclude that I could be wrong about Scientology being sloppy by using a photo of senior US officials as a substitute for a photo of the actual members of the Colombian Defense Ministry. It could be the case that the actual Colombian officials involved with Scientology didn’t want their names or faces shown in any Scientology for a good reason: The story has a bad odor to it.
Wealthy Colombian Scientologist Enrique Jaimes of the firm J.E. Jaimes Ingenieros S.A. makes a cameo appearance at the end of the López video:
Where have we seen Mr. Jaimes before? Oh yes, he has a few IAS trophies:
To educate Scientology tinpot dictator David Miscavige on what a real Colombian award ceremony looks like here it is. This 2009 ceremony features Colombian President Uribe and Defense Minister Silva. The ceremony and the Order of Merit presented to US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead were legally authorized and performed publicly in Colombia:
Compare this to what a fake and unauthorized Scientology medal ceremony in Barbados looks like. This tawdry Miscavige Fake Medal Affair appears to be unraveling as the Colombian Parliament investigates. Adios Dave!
Categories: The Scientology Money Project
I would love to see this covered in Season 3 of “Scientology and the Aftermath”
The photo of a REAL Colombian military accolade ceremony is in such stark contrast that the cartoonish Barbados (non-) event exposes itself as a malevolent mockery.
What hubris! Scientology is attempting to use the police/military of an entire country as a PR pawn…and with some success, apparently.
Jeffrey—thank you for your extensive research and thoughtful exposition to expose the deceit. Whose head will roll for using the DOD photo? I hope that person will roll right out the door to freedom.