ABLE

Why Did the Church of Scientology Give $65,000 to a Hospital in England?

By Dr. Jeff Wasel

The BBC News published an article this week about a wholly uncharacteristic act of Scientology generosity. Written by John Sweeney, the article discussed Scientology UK’s £50,000 donation to The East Grinstead National Health Service Trust, specifically to the Queen Victoria Hospital. This donation is about $65,650 USD at current rates.

There article described the debate about the propriety of a National Health Service (NHS) Trust accepting a donation from the controversial Church of Scientology:

Mr Lamb said his “particular concern” was about the impact of the [Scientology] church’s “activities on people’s mental health”.

“Their secrecy and their refusal to be challenged or questioned is deeply disturbing.

“I hope that the Secretary of State and Simon Stevens as chief executive of NHS England make clear straight away that it is not appropriate to accept donations.

“It’s a sign of the intense pressure that the NHS is under that this trust decided to reverse its policy of not accepting donations.”

Scientology’s generous donation piqued my curiosity. National Health Service (NHS) Trusts are the primary health care management scheme used to regionalize all facets of healthcare delivery in the United Kingdom. It is thought that the regionalization of delivery allows for a more uniform quality of care and consistent outcomes while providing for better economies of scale in the cost, delivery, and maintenance of patient care in a particular locale.

NHS Trusts are the frontline of healthcare management and delivery in the UK; their importance cannot be understated. Working with General Practitioners, or what are called family doctors or “GP’s” in the US, NHS Trusts allocate treatment, purchase localized healthcare services, and manage palliative care including all forms of therapy, diagnostics, substance abuse treatment, in-home care, pre and post-natal care, and ambulance services to name but a few. Within this context, Scientology’s donation becomes even more of interest and raises significant questions. For example, certain Trusts specialize in specific types of care and therapies. In this particular case, Queen Victoria Hospital is renowned for its reconstructive surgery and burn care. Why did Scientology chose a hospital with these particular specialties?

With Scientology’s doctrine of exchange in mind, wherein your are required to receive “like for like” as it were, what’s the quid pro quo here? This donation had to have been authorized by David Miscavige, which then raises questions of a strategic and ongoing operational nature. Then we have the specifics of the treatment competencies of the Queen Victoria Hospital to consider, as well as how these competencies may or may not conform to Scientology’s modus operandi on the whole.

The immediate quid pro quo suggests the classic Scientology PR gambit called safepointing in which Scientology’s PR is enhanced by virtue of what, on the surface at least, appears to be a generous charitable donation to an NHS Trust hospital.

However, the UK National Health Service Trust also oversees the delivery of counseling, psychiatric services and psychotropic drugs; indeed drugs of all sorts that L. Ron Hubbard deemed antithetical to the very nature and purpose of Scientology. This begs the question: How could Scientology, which is dedicated to the complete annihilation of psychiatry and the prescribing of psychiatric medications, give $65,000 USD to a medical trust that actively delivers psychiatric services and medications to its patients?

Given this incongruity, an argument can be made that Scientology’s donation is a cynical means of buying Scientology access to the NHS Trust’s mid to high-level administrators — and they are legion in top-heavy bureaucracy of the NHS. This would be no different than Scientology in Los Angeles donating heavily to the LAPD in order to safepoint the Church. Indeed, Scientology’s long and suspect relationship with LAPD has caused many to ask if this is why the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has “slow rolled” the sexual assault investigation into actor and Scientologist Danny Masterson.

Queen Victoria Hospital could be viewed as a gateway into the overall NHS technology procurement system, providing Scientology operatives further access to the administrators who manage and operate the entire healthcare portfolio of the NHS on a UK national basis. Using this access would allow Scientology to pitch it’s WISE & ABLE businesses and services to the national UK healthcare system.

Specifically, the East Grinstead NHS Trust certainly does not enjoy the cash reserves that, for instance, the Guys and St Thomas NHS Trusts in London do. Additional service offerings provided by Scientology’s secular groups such could be construed as useful and therefore of potential interest to the East Grinstead NHS Trust.

Then there’s the tax ramifications of the donation for Scientology as well, given that Scientology does not enjoy charitable status in the UK. If Scientology’s income is as depressed in St. Hill as it is elsewhere in the church, the donation to Queen Victoria Hospital would prove significant in mitigating St. Hill’s 2017 HMRC tax obligations. These are the simplest explanations for the church’s otherwise inexplicable and sudden generosity. Yet there may be more afoot.

Leah Remini’s A&E show Scientology and the Aftermath has reached a significant new audience across many demographics. In doing so, Leah’s show has made millions of people fully aware of the Scientology’s history of egregious conduct in the United States.

If Scientology is to survive, then, it must seek new markets outside of the US and revitalize its non-US Orgs that are currently on life-support. With the opening of the new Dublin and Birmingham Scientology Orgs, it’s clear the church still considers the UK & Ireland viable sources of new members.

However, is the Church of Scientology truly seeking new members, or does this large cash donation indicate that an alternative initiative is underway? This would be an initiative aimed at alliance-building for the many business interests of Scientology’s high net-worth members who now provide a disproportionate amount of donations, and thus much-needed operating income for the Church.

Among critics, journalists, and other interested parties that scrutinize the Church of Scientology, a variety of “end-state” scenarios are beginning to emerge, one of which has the Church primarily existing for the benefit of its high net worth individuals colloquially referred to as “the whales.”

If one considers Scientology’s $1.5 billion cash fund known as the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) as a sort of internal hedge fund for both Scientology management and the whales, such a possibility may indeed prove to be the case.

So how does Scientology’s donation to an NHS trust fit into this emerging scenario?

A recent article on the Scientology Money Project, highlighted what appears to be a curious series of transactions in which Scientologist Matt Feshbach’s stem cell medical venture in the Bahamas was sold and resold in a very short period of time to three sequential entities without explanation. As originally conceived, Feshbach’s company Okyanos was focused upon the use of adult stem cells extracted from adipose tissue to repair cardiovascular decay.

Queen Victoria Hospital specializes in burn treatments and reconstructive surgery, a significant component of which involves the use of a variety of cell regeneration technologies, using stem cells and other organic matter, that could potentially be obtained using techniques similar to those touted by Fesbach’s Okyanos venture.

While this may be coincidental, I would argue this may be the first example of a new Miscavige strategy, whereby St. Hill, or other large orgs, are used as a localized business development vehicle for various whale enterprises, or even the church’s own for-profit companies.

In this scenario, the donation to Queen Victoria Hospital can be reconceptualized as an initial tranche of cash that represents a seed investment. In this example, the Scientology cash opens a door into the many procurement vehicles within the NHS Trust system.

The proximity of Queen Victoria Hospital to Scientology’s St. Hill base allows for an appropriate Miscavige-level of micro-management for the duration of this exercise in covert investment under the guise of a donation.

It would stand to reason we may see similar efforts in Taiwan, Russia, and other Scientology beachheads, that also harbor untapped entrepreneurial opportunities. It’s important to remember, that both Dublin and Birmingham are located in areas already receptive to emerging technology and subsidized investment, and possess a highly educated, technology savvy workforce.

At a macro level, such a strategy is in keeping with Scientology’s demonstrated tactic of infiltration on multiple fronts, in this case, using WISE or ABLE-centric businesses as the means of dissemination, rather than the usual, increasingly counter-productive, org-centric, one-on-one recruitment model. Rather than this labor-intensive and often times, less-than successful effort, cash donations provide a deliberate, highly targeted, highly visible means of obtaining a desired outcome.

Aside from what this donation may imply, specifically, a novel means for David Miscavige to court opportunities for his cartel of whales, it also represents yet another significant deviance from long-held doctrinal and practical operational tenants, resembling the unprecedented attempt to silence Leah Remini’s Emmy award-winning Aftermath show via an Internet-sourced petition.

Furthermore, in deliberately ignoring these and other core tenets, such as lambasting all things psychiatric, or asserting that the mainstream mental health establishment is intrinsically devoted to destroying Scientology, the Church of Scientology may indeed be demonstrating a deliberate acquiescence to a new reality: The need to evolve in a post-“Aftermath” age or die.

Significantly, we may be witnessing the first indication of a newly emerging, two-tier church operational model, with the IAS and it’s whales as the church’s preferred public face; and the other, a faceless one, wherein the remaining staff and Sea Org toil on in further obscurity, slowly withering on the vine, becoming nothing more than custodians for an empire of dormant real estate. This new development may well be the first harbinger of Scientology’s end game, so stay tuned.

New Scientology financial disclosures reflect the dire state of its chief drug rehab

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(Note: This article was originally published at Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker and is reposted here for informational and archival purposes)

Contributor Jeffrey Augustine keeps a close eye on Scientology’s financial documents. And he has some new information today that backs up what we’ve been told anecdotally by our other sources — that Scientology’s flagship drug rehab center in Oklahoma, Narconon Arrowhead, is in serious trouble. Take it away, Jeffrey…

Here in the US, religious groups do not have to file tax returns. The only exception is if they have “unrelated business income.” If they do, thanks to a 2006 law change, religious groups must file an IRS form “990-T.” And even then, we don’t have much interest in the “unrelated” income that they report. The Church of Scientology, for example, owns a nine hole golf course at Gold Base that it rents out to local civic groups. The Flag Land Base in Clearwater and Celebrity Centre International in Hollywood each have ballrooms that they rent out. These tend to be trivial amounts and don’t tell us much about the real money they’re taking in for courses and donations.

However, the real value of the 990-T form is that it contains one really interesting question: It requires that the filer estimate the total “book value” of the organization. In other words, Scientology entities that submit these forms have to admit how much they’re worth.

And that’s forced several Scientology entities to admit to being worth a total of about $1.7 billion in assets. (And that’s only for the entities that report unrelated business income. Some of Scientology’s entities don’t submit 990-T forms, so we can only guess at their book value. But it would certainly mean that Scientology as a whole is worth billions more.)

Meanwhile, Scientology’s entities that can’t claim to be religious in nature — like the secular front groups, including the drug rehab companies under the Narconon umbrella — do submit annual tax returns (990 forms) if they have gross receipts of more than $200,000 or assets of $500,000 or more. There is typically a two year lag in getting 990s and 990-Ts. The forms Scientology submitted for the tax year 2014 are just now beginning to become available.

David Miscavige has always held out Narconon Arrowhead as the “flagship” of the drug rehab network. Located in Canadian, Oklahoma the facility has been rocked by a series of scandals and lawsuits – as have Narconon Georgia, Narconon in Canada, and several other Narconon centers.

The Underground Bunker has broken these stories to its international audience, and readers here have followed what seems to be the implosion of Narconon. Now, we can report that Narconon Arrowhead lost money in 2014 and has experienced a serious “stat crash.”

Narconon Arrowhead’s most recent 990 tax return, for 2014 (see below), paints a grim story.

Gross receipts that year were $4,117,845, a combination of gifts ($2,034,017) and sales of services ($2,044,407).

How did Narconon Arrowhead come up with $2 million in gifts? The answer is on another 990 tax form, the one submitted by Narconon’s Scientology umbrella organization, the Association for Better Living & Education (ABLE). In 2014, ABLE gave Arrowhead a “grant” of $1,879,286 for “general support.” Arrowhead’s remaining gift amount presumably came from other Scientology organizations. We can say that with some confidence based on precedent. In 2008, Scientology’s Social Betterment Properties International (SBPI) donated $180,000 to Narconon Arrowhead. Apparently, and for public relations reasons, David Miscavige cannot allow Narconon Arrowhead to become insolvent — it is, after all, the flagship of Narconon.

Arrowhead’s losses (revenues less expenses) for the year were $310,714. But that’s misleading. The real number, once you take away what was “gifted” to Arrowhead by ABLE to keep it afloat, is a real annual loss of at least $2,190,000. In other words, Scientology’s other groups had to prop up Narconon Arrowhead with $2 million in gifts so it would only show an annual loss of $310,714 in 2014. Of course, it is possible to work the numbers in different ways, but I am using very basic accounting. I welcome comments and analysis from the real numbers people here at the Bunker.

Even with Arrowhead’s lousy 2014 numbers, its losses in 2013 were even worse — a total of $3,713,907 in losses after subtracting operating costs from revenue. That might explain why Scientology found a couple of million to “gift” Arrowhead in 2014, which it didn’t do in 2013.

Meanwhile, ABLE wasn’t only propping up Arrowhead. It “gifted” plenty more to other Narconon entities that are struggling: Narconon International ($541,053), Narconon Fresh Start ($866,739), Narconon Pacific Coast ($15,561), Narconon Freedom Center ($34,047), International Academy of Detox Specialists ($30,762), and Narconon Georgia ($33,620).

For decades, Narconon was a reliable moneymaker for ABLE and the Church of Scientology. Now, after Narconon became a nightmare of lawsuits and scandals, Scientology is having to fork out serious money to keep it from collapsing.

Narconon Arrowhead’s financial decline is particularly stark. After its income rose to a peak of $12 million in 2012, it fell off a cliff after, that year, three patients died in a nine-month period:

2010: $8,793,476
2011: $11,091,425
2012: $12,333,912
2013: $4,332,483
2014: $2,044,407

As Tony Ortega reported recently, he’s heard from his sources that Arrowhead, which was designed to house more than 200 patients, is reportedly now down to ten staff and only three patients. If Miscavige is going to continue to prop up his flagship drug rehab, he’s going to have to keep giving it “gifts” in the millions.

Narconon IRS Form 990 for 2014

https://www.scribd.com/document/321652476/Narconon-Arrowhead-2014-IRS-990

What Scientology “Social Betterment” Groups are Really All About

At Scientology.org, the Church’s “social betterment & humanitarian” programs, the so-called “secular programs” are listed:

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These eight secular groups are:
1. The Way to Happiness
2. Applied Scholastics
3. Criminon
4. Narconon
5. The Truth About Drugs Education Campaign
6. United for Human Rights
7. Citizens Commission for Human Rights (CCHR)
8. Freedom Magazine

In this article we briefly examine each of these groups and show what they are actually about. The first thing to know is that the Church’s so-called secular social betterment groups is that they are all licensed by the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE). The Church says of ABLE and its relationship to the social betterment groups:

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Where is ABLE in the Church of Scientology International (CSI) food chain? According to a diagram the Church gave the IRS, ABLE is one of the ten core “sectors” of CSI. I have placed a red star next to ABLE in the CSI sector diagram:

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To digress, we note that the legally nonexistent Sea Org is also shown as one the core sectors of Scientology. We leave this discrepancy for another time and place. The point is that ABLE is a core sector of CSI whose purpose is to license and manage Scientology’s secular social betterment groups.

The ostensible purpose of the secular social betterment groups is to put LRH technology into the world. In actual practice, these groups have five main purposes:

• To serve as additional Church profit centers charged with selling Scientology products and services into nonreligious markets.

• To make highly irresponsible and grossly exaggerated claims of the efficacy of Scientology’s technology.

• To recruit new members into the Church of Scientology.

• To generate PSA’s, photo ops, and PR value for the Church.

• To sell incredibly overpriced booklets, DVD’s, and courses.

The social betterment groups are nonprofit licensees of ABLE, and, ABLE is licensed by CSI. Thus, whatever monies these groups collect is tax-free and a percentage is paid each week uplines to CSI, RTC, and CST.

Narconon is the big moneymaker in the social betterment groups. While some disagree with my figures, my estimate of Narconon’s gross income is $100,000,000 based upon 2012 numbers. Of course, it is easy to project this figure to decrease significantly based upon lawsuits and increasing public exposure of the direct connection between Scientology and Narconon. For instance, Dr. Hanan Islam’s American Health and Education Clinics LLC of Compton, California operated under license from Narconon and we can now see how this worked out for the good doctor.

The Foundation for a Drug Free World is a Scientology nonprofit that gives out free educational kits to educators. However there is a catch: Educators must agree to allow the Church of Scientology to use their classrooms and students for PR purposes. Educators must also track statistics and report them to the Foundation for a Drug Free World.

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Critics have said that the Foundation for a Drug Free World is a crypto-Narconon recruiting vehicle. This allegation arises because the Foundation’s materials present Hubbard’s theories that drugs are stored in fat cells. I agree with these criticisms because the Foundation for a Drug Free World is operated by Scientologists whose task is to target educators in public schools who teach to children eleven years of age and older. The goal of the Foundation is to get into public schools and make presentations to teachers and students. Once these Scientologists are close to at risk youth they can easily target kids and troubled parents with the message of Narconon and its astounding success rate.

Narconon is well-known and well documented. The remaining entities in the social betterment groups are not. Nevertheless, once one examines the respective websites of each of these lesser known social betterment groups it readily becomes clear that their sole purpose is to sell booklets and DVD’s that have a gigantic profit margin.

We begin with Youth for Human Rights (YHRI). This group was founded in 2001 by Scientologist Mary Shuttleworth in coordination with the CSI’s so-called Human Rights Office. In 2008, YHRI was subsumed into a parent group called United for Human Rights (UHR). The purpose of UHR, YHRI, and their dozen or so spin-offs are to promote public awareness of the UN’s 1947 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The extraordinary hypocrisy of a Scientology group promoting human rights aside, UHR is a non-statistically significant factor in Scientology given its 2013 gross receipts of $84,345.00. The headquarters of United for Human Rights/Youth for Human Rights is a post office box in a shipping and postage retail store in Los Feliz, California.

Let us assume a hypothetical Youth for Human Rights event where 2,000 booklets and 200 DVD’s are distributed. What would that cost us? The shopping cart informs us of the prices:

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The Way to Happiness has the same pricing structure:

• Sell booklets for $1.50 each
• Sell DVD’s for $15.00 each

Keep in mind that Scientology is a commission-based sales organization so many people are taking a cut of the action when social betterment booklets and DVD’s are sold. Seen from this perspective, Scientology is just Amway with engrams.

The Way to Happiness sells its booklets – which likely cost less than fifteen cents each to produce – in bundles of twelve for $18.00. Let us suppose you were an OT in a lower ethics condition. OSA might suggest that you donate for 1,000 bundles for a total of 12,000 booklets plus 200 DVD’s. In this scenario, you would be looking at a wallet-destroying bill for $15,700:

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Applied Scholastics International sells Hubbard-based learning materials that emphasize phonics and the use of dictionaries. This is how I learned to read in Los Angeles public schools way back in the Mesozoic era. Indeed, Noah Webster published his first dictionary to help people “word clear” in 1828. But let us allow Applied Scholastics its conceit that we are all hopelessly stupid and cannot “learn how to learn” without its help. Based upon this premise, it is going to cost money to learn how to learn. Applied Scholastics is associated with Scientology-based private schools, or “academies” as the Church fancies them. Gross receipts were about four million dollars for Applied Scholastics in 2013.

Just for the sake of talking, let us suppose you were a Scientology-friendly movie star who opened a Scientology “academy” and needed to buy 100 copies each of eight of the many books offered by Applied Scholastics. This would be a $42,285.00 bite:

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In addition to the shopping list above, your academy would need to shell out more money to ABLE to pay for licensing fees, teacher training, and far more books and dictionaries than shown in the shopping list above. And the parents of the students have to pay tuition. It is easy to see how you, as a movie star, would pull the plug on your money-losing academy after your kids became fully and mystically self-actualized and no longer needed, say, a conventional wog college education.

The Reverend Doctor Alfreddie Johnson’s now defunct World Literacy Crusade operated under license to Applied Scholastics and we can also now see how this worked out for him.

Oddly enough, Galaxy Press – which sells Hubbard’s fictional works – has its own literacy campaign and offers a literacy book for $1.00. In a future story I will reveal how a prominent WISE group also sponsors a literacy campaign, inveigles its members into donating funds for this program, and the uses this program for disingenuous, misleading, and self-serving PR. It is all very cynical and Alfreddie Johnson is in the mix.

We next enter Crazy Town aka the viciously anti-psychiatry Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights. CCHR basically produces and sells DVD’s that expose the menace of psychiatry and Big Pharma. In my next hypothetical example, I am a high-minded Scientology whale who wants my staff to do a mass-mailer to 1,200 opinion leaders in in Congress, the arts, education, and private industry. I order 1,200 copies of the my three favorite CCHR DVD’s and write a check for $113,940.00:

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Criminon, a Scientology group that appears to be on the wane and receives virtually no coverage even with the Church, sells $85.00 courses to inmates. If one were to donate 100 courses it would be $8500:

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Referring back to an earlier point, the social betterment programs also make highly irresponsible and grossly exaggerated claims of the efficacy of Scientology’s technology. A collage of such claims:

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Clockwise from top left: The Way to Happiness, Narconon Fresh Start, World Literacy Crusade, Applied Scholastics, Applied Scholastics

The irony of these claims is that if any of them were true then no one would actually need Scientology auditing because the much less expensive social betterment programs could handle the major problems of drugs, crime, violence, and illiteracy by simply having people read booklets or watch DVD’s. There would be no need for the $360,000 per person Church cure.

If, as World Literacy Crusade claimed, 87% of participants gave up gangs and drugs after learning how to read, then the world’s answer to street crime would be to have courts order gang members and drug users into the World Literacy Crusade franchises after they were arrested. There, they would read books, clear up misunderstood words, and then give up their lives of drugs and gang-banging. This is patently absurd to the point of derision. Likewise, The Way to Happiness’ claim that it reduced crime in Colombia by 50% is an outright lie.

Scientology’s social betterment programs often simplistic and Scientology-centered solutions to complex problems – and they do so in order to make obscene profit margins from booklets, DVD’s, and courses. As with everything in the Church of Scientology system, it is all deceptive and misleading.

The actual “End Phenomenon” of Scientology’s social betterment programs is simply a series of online shopping carts where one purchases incredibly overpriced products that have little or no efficacy.

ABLE: Association for Better Living & Educational Int’l 990’s – 2001-2012

ABLE Gross Receipts 2012: $3,767,910 – Net Assets: $13,727,150

ABLE Gross Receipts 2011: $4,410,025 – Net Assets: $14,711,161

ABLE Gross Receipts 2010: $4,617,760 – Net Assets: $13,636,977

ABLE Gross Receipts 2009: $3,133,957 – Net Assets: $12,722,467

ABLE Gross Receipts 2008: $3,464,350 – Net Assets: $10,205,944

ABLE Gross Receipts 2007: $4,012,923 – Net Assets: $11,298,285

ABLE Gross Receipts 2006: $4,063,897 –  Net Assets $9,916,092

ABLE Gross Receipts 2005: $4,317,502 –  Net Assets $9,130,805

ABLE Gross Receipts 2004: $3,601,464 –   Net Assets $8,049,536

ABLE Gross Receipts 2003: $14,539,840 – Net Assets $7,679,938

ABLE Gross Receipts 2002: $8,608,387 –   Net Assets $22,630,672

ABLE Gross Receipts 2001: $10,386,082 – Net Assets: $20,617,408