The Scientology Money Project

The Colombian Police General Who Awarded David Miscavige a Medal Has Been Criminally Charged

Carlos Ramiro Mena Bravo, the retired Colombian Police General who gave David Miscavige an unauthorized medal in an equally unauthorized ceremony in Barbados in 2018, presently finds himself criminally charged in Colombia.


General Carlos Ramiro Mena Bravo received severe criticism in the Colombian media and from senior government officials for giving an unauthorized medal to David Miscavige. Colombia Reports quoted Colombia’s National Chief of Police Jorge Hernando Nieto who declared that Miscavige’s unauthorized medal was presented at a pompous ceremony:

The chief of the National Police, however, said in a press release that the institution never decorated the controversial Scientology leader and knew nothing about the pompous ceremony in Barbados in which retired General Carlos Mena took part.

According to newspaper El Espectador, National Police chief Jorge Hernando Nieto said he knew nothing of Mena’s trip to Barbados and was not authorized to represent the police or give away medals without institutional permission.

In his proclamation, General Mena Bravo awarded Miscavige the medal for, “saving humanity from violence, evil, terrorism, drug dealings, and all the negative factors that threaten it.”

This language is absurd on its face. General Mena Bravo, a career police officer who fought with Colombian drug cartels and FARC guerillas, knows it is nonsense. Nevertheless, he had motives for participating in the farce to award an unearned medal to David Miscavige.

Receiving the medal constituted stolen valor on Miscavige’s part. And now General Mena Bravo’s legal problems serve to further tarnish Miscavige’s fake Colombian medal.

General Mena Bravo disappeared off the radar after he pinned the fake medal on Miscavige’s chest in Barbados. However, the general’s name surfaced in October 2020 when he was charged with a “serious fraud” for violating the duties of his office when he was still on active duty. Note: The statement below is a Google translation. Essentially, Mena Bravo was charged with obstruction of justice:

Bogotá, October 22, 2020 . The Office of the Attorney General of the Nation issued a statement of charges to Major General (r) Carlos Ramiro Mena Bravo, in his capacity as Inspector General of the National Police (2015-2018), for alleged omission of his duties.

The Public Ministry reproached the investigated person for having issued a first-instance conviction at a hearing on June 13, 2017, within the GRUTE-2017-1 process, followed by a mayor of the institution, when apparently he was aware that the PGN had exercised preferential power in this case.

Likewise, it pointed out that Mena Bravo could have departed from the fulfillment of his duties by allegedly not verifying that among the information provided by the defense attorney was the official letter of the office of the Vice Attorney General of the Nation, dated June 8, 2017, in the one who assumed the disciplinary process.

For the control entity, the inspector general could have compromised his disciplinary responsibility, affected due process and probably violated the right to defense and the principles of impartiality and proportionality.

The alleged offense was provisionally classified as serious as fraud.

The charges were filed in October 2020. As this is a pending investigation, no updated information is presently available. We are monitoring developments in the case.

So important was General Mena Bravo to Scientology’s bogus PR efforts in Colombia that Scientology arranged for its key operative Tom Cruise to meet the General:

David Miscavige only deploys Tom Cruise for big assignments. For example, in 2003 Cruise met with US Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby and Deputy US Secretary of State Richard Armitage when President Bush was in office. Nikki Finke reported on the meeting in Deadline:

I hear that Tom Cruise’s name, and that of his then girlfriend Penelope Cruz, have surfaced during testimony in the recently begun Scooter Libby trial. A CIA official who appeared as a witness recalled a June 14th, 2003, intelligence briefing with Libby where the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney bragged about just having had a sitdown with Tom and Penelope. Libby told Craig Schmall, who was responsible for putting together the material for the daily morning briefings from the Agency for Libby, how excited he was that he had just met the actors, according to the briefing notations.

The subject of the tête-à-tête was Cruise’s concern about Germany’s treatment of Scientology. Meanwhile, it was revealed last August that former State Department No. 2 Richard Armitage had a private afternoon appointment with Cruise the day before the sitdown with Libby in 2003.

Why did David Miscavige bring in his #2 man to meet a Colombian Police General?

We think the answer is twofold. First, Police General Mena Bravo was the Director of Criminal Investigations for Interpol in Colombia. This gave the General access to Interpol’s global database.

Mena Bravo’s access to the Interpol database came at a crucial time when Scientology was embroiled in legal cases in Europe and particularly in Germany. Scientology’s strategy seems obvious. This is the scenario we posit:

1. Use Tom Cruise to get Vice President Cheney and the US State Department to pressure Germany to take the heat off Scientology. Cruise’s meeting only became known during the Valerie Plame affair in America when, for reasons of political retaliation, journalist Robert Novak publicly exposed Valerie Plame as a CIA agent in 2003. This scandal led to an investigation in which subpoenaed documents revealed Cruise’s meeting with Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Scooter Libby was later convicted on four felony counts for his role in the Plame affair. President George W. Bush commuted his 30 month prison sentence.

2. Use Scientology’s connections to the Colombian Police and the Army to get Interpol information on its investigation into Scientology in Europe. This would require General Mena Bravo, or more likely someone on his staff so that he had plausible deniability, to access the Interpol data and give it to Scientology.

This is not at all implausible as corruption and bribery are rife in Colombia. Colombia Reports wrote a shocking December 2020 article detailing the violence and corruption in which the Colombian government, Army, and Police are engaged:

Massacres more than tripled in Colombia this year as corruption is corroding the government’s capacity to govern.

Conflict monitor Indepaz said Monday it has registered 83 mass killings of more than three people this year, compared to 25 last year.

At least 349 people were massacred in a new wave of violence that adds to ongoing terror caused by the mass killing of human rights defenders and community leaders…

Government corroded by corruption

“That damn drug trafficking!” exclaimed Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo in response to the latest massacre, conveniently forgetting he oversaw the massacre of 13 by police in Bogota in September.

Trujillo, whose father was a Medellin Cartel associate, has become the personification of an administration that is being consumed by its own corruption and increasingly unable to govern.

Far-right President Ivan Duque‘s control over the prosecution has allowed him to suppress investigations into the president’s Democratic Center party that conspired with a drug trafficking organization to rig the 2018 elections…

The escalation of violence is not just due to drug trafficking as the defense minister would like to believe, but political and ethnic violence, and a surge of drug-funded guerrilla and paramilitary groups.

Additionally, corruption within the security forces is causing major tensions within both the police and the national army.

In some cases, police and army units have been accused of working together with drug traffickers, paramilitaries and even dissident FARC guerrillas….

The charges against General Mena Bravo are serious and are related to accusations against his engaging in obstruction of justice. In a larger context, General Mena Bravo is part of the pervasive corruption in Colombia. That he was charged three years after his retirement is noteworthy inasmuch as prosecutors are reaching back in time to charge Mena Bravo. There is pressure to bring Mena Bravo to justice.

Scientology’s version of its connection to the Colombian Police and Military began in 2008 when the Freewinds was taken into drydock in Cartagena for the 2010 SOLAS mandated refit of all ships.

Scientology has claimed that Freewinds PR Officer Guillermo Smythe initiated a relationship with Colonel Ricardo Prado of the Colombian National Police during this time. Colonel Prado’s boss was General Mena Bravo who was then the Police Chief of Cartagena, Bolívar, and La Guajira.

As we reported on in the past, the Colombian Army and Police during this 2008 time frame were subjected to intense domestic and international pressure for extrajudicial killings. Essentially, the Police and the Army lured poor young Colombian men into the jungle, usually with the promise of work, and murdered them. The victims were then dressed to appear as FARC guerillas. This allowed the Army and the Police to claim inflated body counts in its fight against FARC. The knowledge of the  extrajudicial killings sent shockwaves across Colombia and the world.

Scientology has claimed that Guillermo Smythe and Colonel Ricardo Prado began to distribute copies of Scientology’s booklet The Way to Happiness across troubled areas in Colombia and that this pacified criminal gangs and reduced overall violence.

Scientology further claimed that the materials produced by its human rights front groups were used to educate the Colombian Army and the Police to respect human rights and end the extrajudicial killings and human rights abuses. This claim is so bizarre that is serves as a damning indictment of Scientology’s willingness to tell incredibly big and demonstrable lies for internal PR purposes.

What this phony story misses is that Colonel Prado, with the full support of his boss General Mena Bravo, was able to order the officers under his command to comply with the distribution of Scientology booklets or face serious disciplinary action. Indeed, this Scientology PR photo offers us proof that Colonel Prado ordered his officers to distribute Scientology literature when they should have been performing their duties as sworn law enforcement officers:

Scientology, Colonel Prado, and General Mena Bravo took matters a step further and claimed that Scientology was educating the Colombian National Police and the Army in human rights.
Photos of Colombian Police studying Scientology materials were splashed across Scientology’s PR magazines:

Colonel Prado went to absurd lengths in his PR work for Scientology. For example, in February 2009 during Colombia’s annual Carnaval de Barranquilla, Prado’s officers tossed out a few copies of The Way to Happiness before resuming their duties of crowd control:

Passing of The Way to Happiness on the concert

Scientology used this photo of Carnaval de Barranquilla in its magazines and online website to “prove” that Scientology’s booklet The Way to Happiness was pacifying the violence Colombia which was then considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

The reality of Scientology’s efforts in Colombia were practically nonexistent. When Colonel Prado was outlandishly claiming he was the Scientology hero and architect of the Colombian Miracle, the reality in Colombia was that Scientology could only get small groups of people to hold banners. In this photo there are 14 people, most of them teenagers, holding a banner on a street in Bogata:

The Church of Scientology outrageously  claimed a 96% reduction in “reported human rights abuses” by the Colombian Police and Military as a result of Scientology training:

The Colombian Scientologist brother and sister team of Sandra and Felipe Poveda were the PR faces of Scientology in Colombia. Both Sandra and Felipe are IAS Freedom Medal recipients.

The photo of David Miscavige receiving a Colombian medal in Barbados proved an embarrassment to the Colombian Police and the Colombian government. Tony Ortega reported on David Miscavige and his Colombian lawyers pushing back against the huge scandal that Miscavige’s phony medal had become in Colombia at the time:

A month ago, the Colombian media began a feeding frenzy over what it considered a juicy scandal: On June 23 in Barbados, to cap this year’s “Maiden Voyage” celebration of Scientology’s private cruise ship the Freewinds, Miscavige had himself pinned with a medal by a retired Colombian national police general, Carlos Ramiro Mena. For years, we’ve watched and rolled our eyes as Miscavige has used the Colombian police forces and military as props in his public relations schemes to impress wealthy donors. But having himself pinned with a medal was so over the top, Miscavige’s dockside display became an obsession for the Colombian media.

For weeks they’ve asked why some of Colombia’s top military men were bowing and scraping to Miscavige, and why they were passing out Scientology propaganda booklets by the millions to soldiers and civilians alike.

Those questions were taken up by two federal senators, Iván Cepeda of the left wing Alternative Democratic Pole party and Antonio Sanguino of the more centrist Green Party. They and several other senators (from all parts of the political spectrum) grilled Defense Minister Guillermo Botero on August 21 about Scientology’s influence in the Colombian military, and they demanded a full investigation.

And how has Miscavige responded? With both barrels, just as you’d expect.

A Conflict of Interest: In 2015 Colonel Prado came to the US to work as an IAS fundraiser. He earned a 10% commision on all monies he raised. Moreover, Colonel Prado wore his military uniform and IAS Medal of Freedom during the IAS fundraising tour:

August 2018: Following his retirement, and while hell was breaking loose in Colombia over Miscavige’s fake medal, Scientologist Ricardo Prado showed up at Scientology Flag Land Base in Clearwater. The retired Colonel may have been in search of some more lucrative Scientology IAS commissions. Prado showed up at Flag wearing his Scientology Medal of Freedom.

David Miscavige’s other favorite long-time top cop  was Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca. The bromance between Miscavige and Baca, however, came to a sudden and abrupt end when Baca was  criminally charged by the US Department of Justice for interfering with a Federal probe into police brutality in Baca’s jails (the LA Sheriffs Dept manages and staffs all LA jails). Baca was convicted and sent to prison.

Left: Sheriff Lee Baca in the good old days with his best friends David Miscavige and Congressperson Karen Bass. Right: Baca taken into custody on his way to prison. 

There seems to be a Scientology Curse at work for top cops that take David Miscavige’s blood money. This curse extends to other top officials and elected leaders. After Joe Biden’s 2019 nomination as the Democrats candidate for the US Presidency, Congressperson Karen Bass was on Biden’s short list as a VP pick. When word got out that Bass had spoken at a Los Angeles Scientology event in 2010 with David Miscavige, she too fell victim to the Scientology Curse. Bass’ name was removed from the short list to the “definitely never in a million years” list.

Colombian Army Lt. Colonel Anstrongh Polanía Ducuara was part of Scientology’s extensive mid-2010’s efforts along with General Mena Bravo and Colonel Prado. Lt. Colonel Polanía Ducuara spoke at Scientology events and appeared in Scientology publications:

Colombia’s El Tiempo reported on allegations that Polanía Ducuara had engaged in influence peddling and a cover up regarding an investigation into extrajudicial killings. Colombia’s OR website reported additional information on the matter:

In that same year, the José Alvear Restrepo group of lawyers received anonymous information about an alleged influence peddling and misuse of information by the then Lieutenant Colonel Anstrongh Polanía Ducuara, Army liaison in the Human Rights Unit of the Prosecutor’s Office .

In a letter addressed to Luis Fernando Navarro Jiménez (who served as director of the Center for Military Education), and dated February 4, 2013, which reached the lawyer Alirio Uribe, establishes the urgency of transferring soldier Julio César Mahecha Prieto to another unit, since the military man could uncover a scandal and thus jeopardize “the aid that the United States gave to the School of Human Rights.”

Anstrongh Polanía Ducuara, whose function was to facilitate the location of the soldiers who were being investigated, reported to General Navarro:

“The case of the soldier Mahecha has a special treatment. It was evidenced that he is part of the ESDIH (Army Human Rights School) (…) ”. “It endangers the certification of the School by the United States, since this was going to appear in the media, since it is about the cases of the so-called ‘false positives’«.

The Prosecutor’s Office said that Colonel Polonia should not have access to those processes, since these are only the responsibility of the Human Rights prosecutors. The Lieutenant Colonel’s role was a different one.

We will wait and see if the Scientology Curse follows the recently retired LAPD Captain Corey Palka. Palka is another Scientology top cop best friend. Captain Palka appeared regularly at the Celebrity Centre to take fat checks from the Cult.

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