Church of Scientology

Scientologist Grant Cardone Showers in the Nude with His Nine Year Old Daughter Days Before His “10X Growth Conference 3” with Spanx CEO Sarah Blakely and Others

On the eve of his 10X Growth Conference that features Spanx CEO Sarah Blakely, Steve Harvey, and other notables, Scientologists Grant and Elena Cardone posted this video on social media which shows Cardone showering in the nude with his nine year old daughter. @Seekandfind reposted it and we repost it here.

Would the speakers at Grant Cardone’s upcoming 10X Growth Conference 3 approve of Cardone showering in the nude with his nine year old daughter?

The 60 year Grant Cardone showering naked with his equally nude nine year old daughter and then posting it on social media is a matter of serious concern as it raises many troubling questions. Elena Cardone filmed the video and asked Grant to “cover up” with a towel when she panned over to film her husband and their daughter showering together.

As CEO of Cardone Capital, Grant Cardone has $800 million under management. Given his responsibilities and obligations to his investors — and his duty to protect the reputation of Cardone Capital — his posting this video is completely inappropriate and irresponsible in our view. A publicly traded company would likely fire a CEO for posting such a video. Were we a Board member, we would vote to fire a CEO who did this sort of thing. CEO’s have been fired for less. Decorum and propriety are expected of a CEO.

Investors should question the soundness of Cardone’s judgment as well as his character: Why would a CEO who is trying to build his work into a billion dollar brand post a video online of himself showering in the nude with his daughter? What does this have to do with building wealth, reputation, or shareholder value? The video is weird and disturbing and reinforces the perception of Grant and Elena Cardone’s often erratic behavior on social media. People see Grant and Elena as nouveau riche and crass, which is perfectly excusable so long as Cardone is paying distributions, but the shower video goes far beyond crassness and is actually quite disturbing.

Some people who see this video will ask very ugly questions. Most of Cardone’s investors are parents and grandparents and even great grandparents. It is natural, therefore, for them to have these valid questions and concerns.

Scientologist David Gentile, Founder and CEO of GPB Capital Holdings: Company Under SEC & FINRA Investigation

Increasingly, as Tony Ortega has shown with reports about ‘whales,’ Scientology and David Miscavige are relying not on growing membership but extracting as much money as possible from Scientology’s wealthiest donors. So, we like to keep an eye on those rich church members, which has been getting more and more interesting lately.

In particular, we’ve been looking at a wealthy Scientologist named David Gentile (pronounced “gen-TILLY”). In 2013, Gentile founded GPB Capital Holdings, an investment company headquartered in New York. The company’s website shows that its managing director is another Scientologist, Manuel Vianna, someone we’d noticed was working with fellow Scientologist Matthew Feshbach at Feshbach’s Okyanos Heart Institute in the Bahamas.

Matt Feshbach and Manuel Vianna. Feshbach owes the IRS $3.8 million in back taxes. The US
Appeals Court refused to allow him to discharge this debt in bankruptcy.
See Feshbach v. Dept of Treasury

Our research into Okyanos in the Panama Papers and press releases of the period revealed that Scientologist Ali Shawkat invested $14 million in Okyanos. Ali Shawkat’s father is Mudhar Shawkat who was a member of the Iraqi Parliament in the last decade and was, at one time, considered to become the next Prime Minister of Iraq. The Shawkat father-son team sold a telecom they owned in Iraq and moved $140 million out of the country when they immigrated to Canada. Shawkat also came to our attention when he appeared in Scientology’s IAS Impact magazine as a $5 million donor to the IAS.

Ali and Noor Shawkat receiving their IAS trophy for donating $5,000,000

It’s not surprising that rich Scientologists are investing in each other’s companies, but it’s something we like to keep an eye on.

Feshbach sold Okyanos in 2017 for an undisclosed sum. As reported here at Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker, Feshbach owes the IRS $3.8 million in back taxes; his appeal to discharge this debt in bankruptcy was denied in 2018. And as we recently reported on the Scientology Money Project, Matt Feshbach has re-entered the stem cell business in Plano, Texas under the name of Ambrose Cell Therapy.

But getting back to Gentile and his New York investment company, GPB’s website says that the firm is “focusing on acquiring income-producing private companies.” GPB Capital has a collection of at least 63 broker-dealers who raise money from private investors. This money is then pooled and invested in companies that may not have access to mainstream sources of capital — companies that banks may be reluctant to loan money to because they’re start ups, or they have heavy debts, or they’re in bankruptcy protection and need capital to restructure. GPB’s acquisitions have focused on car dealerships, waste management firms, healthcare, biotech, and the purchase of debt. GPB’s website claims to have raised $1.5 billion in private capital and used that money to invest in the 160 companies in its portfolio.

Gentile’s broker-dealers make a commission of 7.9 percent on private capital raised for GPB. Others in the loop, for example those who refer investors to GPB’s brokers, make a percentage as well. The total commissions on money invested in GPB is about 12 percent. Thus, a private investment of $100,000 in GPB is reduced at the outset to $88,000. The world of private placement money is characterized by these high fees. Additionally, GPB pays itself fees incurred in advising and managing the companies it either purchases or takes an equity position in.

GPB raises money from private investors under what is called Regulation D (informally called “Reg D”) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Reg D investments are considered high risk. From Investopedia:

Regulation D is a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulation governing private placement exemptions. Reg D allows usually smaller companies to raise capital through the sale of equity or debt securities without having to register their securities with the SEC. Reg D offerings are advantageous to any private company or entrepreneur because they allow an entity to obtain funding faster and to avoid the costs associated with a public offering. Within the regulation are directives that, based on which rules are applied, may allow offerings to be openly solicited to prospective investors in their network.

The SEC is more blunt in its characterization of Reg D investments, which are also known as “private placements” as the money moves between private investors and private companies such as GPB Capital:

Generally speaking, private placements are not subject to some of the laws and regulations that are designed to protect investors, such as the comprehensive disclosure requirements that apply to registered offerings. Private and public companies engage in private placements to raise funds from investors. Hedge funds and other private funds also engage in private placements.

As an individual investor, you may be offered an opportunity to invest in an unregistered offering. You may be told that you are being given an exclusive opportunity. The opportunity may come from a broker, acquaintance, friend or relative. You may have seen an advertisement regarding the opportunity. The securities involved may be, among other things, common or preferred stock, limited partnerships interests, a membership interest in a limited liability company, or an investment product such as a note or bond. Keep in mind that private placements can be very risky and any investment may be difficult, if not virtually impossible to sell.

GPB’s troubles with US regulators began last year when the firm missed an April 30 filing deadline with the SEC. The firm said it needed more time in order to restate its 2015 and 2016 financials for these funds:

GPB Automotive Portfolio: $622.1 million

GPB Holdings II: $645.8 million

A company that has to restate financials from previous years raises red flags. A firm with proper internal accounting and compliance controls is able to produce accurate financial statements to required SEC deadlines. However, Gentile seemed unfazed by this missed SEC deadline. Indeed, an article in Business Observer in July 2018 informed readers that GPB Capital would invest in a 53 story condo project in Tampa. Called Riverwalk, the project belongs to Feldman Equities, a firm owned by long-time Scientologist Larry Feldman. The Business Observer article quotes Feldman on GPB’s major commitment to the Riverwalk project:

Feldman says GPB Capital could provide all of the necessary equity to launch the project, which would amount to between $70 million and $105 million, based on traditional commercial real estate lending standards. It’s expected that Feldman, Two Roads, Tower Realty Partners and others may contribute equity to Riverwalk Place, as well.

The Riverwalk computer renderings are as good as Scientology Ideal Org renderings. This is no surprise as Gensler, Scientology’s go to designer for Ideal Orgs, is also the designer on Riverwalk:

On the heels of Feldman’s statement in July 2018 that GPB was making a huge investment in Riverwalk, Gentile announced in August 2018 that GPB Capital would temporarily stop raising money. As Bruce Kelly of Investment News reported:

A leading seller of high-risk, high-commission private placements, GPB Capital Holdings, with $1.8 billion in investor money, will take a break from raising new money to focus on straightening out the accounting and financial statements of its two large funds.

Kelly then cited a letter from Gentile to GPB investors:

“While growth has led to many successes, it has also come with challenges,” according to the letter, which was signed by GPB Capital CEO David Gentile. “There is much work to be done with respect to integrating the high volume of recent acquisitions into their respective platforms in order to execute on our performance objectives.”

As an update to this story, Business Observer just reported that Larry Feldman and his partners in the Riverwalk Place condo tower in downtown Tampa have secured $24.5 million in construction financing from Mosaic Real Estate Credit LLC. This is worth noting as Feldman was quoted as saying that GPB was good for $70-$105 million in Riverwalk Place. This does not appear to be the case.

In September 2018, The Massachusetts Securities Division began an investigation into GPB Capital Holdings’ network of 63 broker dealers in Massachusetts. Boston is a powerhouse financial center in the US and so the investigation raised serious concerns. GPB issued a statement through a spokesman:

“GPB Capital Holdings, LLC is aware that certain broker-dealers have received requests for information from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. GPB Capital is not in a position to comment on that matter. As we have previously disclosed to investors, GPB Capital is in the process of completing the audits of the financial statements for certain of its funds and is currently not accepting new capital from investors until that process is complete,” said a spokesperson on behalf of GPB Capital.

How long can it take GPB Capital Holdings to do financial statements? Gentile is himself a CPA. The law firm of Gana Weinstein raised this point in September 2018 when it began reaching out online to GPB investors who may have suffered losses. Gana Weinstein’s comments also speak to the brokers being investigated:

Investors should be concerned at this point as it is highly unusual for funds of this size to cease raising funds unless there are serious concerns. Moreover, delays in reporting financials and the need to release new reports concerning financial statements made three years ago are highly troubling. This suggests potentially multiple years of false information or a size and nature that is currently unknown.

Brokerage firms have been all too willing to subject their clients to the risks of investing in GPB due to the hefty fees the company pays to firms. When GPB Capital’s automotive portfolio raised a total of $369.2 million from more than 3,800 investors it paid out $43.4 million, or 11.75 percent, in commissions. Seven percent of that amount goes directly to the recommending broker’s pocket. There are as many as 60 brokerage firms that sold these funds and among the largest of those firms are Royal Alliance Associates Inc., Sagepoint Financial Inc., FSC Securities Corp. and Woodbury Financial Services Inc.

Despite the sharks beginning to circle, the financial statements still were not forthcoming. Then the big news came in November 2018: GPB’s outside auditing firm resigned. As reported by Investor Lawyers, another law firm that is also reaching out online to GPB investors:

On November 9, 2018, GPB Capital Holdings, LLC (“GPB”) notified certain broker-dealers who had been selling investments in its various funds that GPB’s auditor, Crowe LLP, elected to resign. As reported, GPB’s CEO, David Gentile, stated that the resignation purportedly came about “[d]ue to perceived risks that Crowe determined fell outside of their internal risk tolerance parameters.” GPB has since engaged EisnerAmper LLP to provide it with audit services moving forward.

In December, Bruce Kelly of Investment News reported that FINRA and the SEC had opened new investigations:

In the wake of a state investigation into broker-dealers selling private placements by GPB Capital Holdings, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission have launched their own investigations, according to sources.

As GPB’s apparent problems develop, we’ll continue to keep an eye on it.

At this point, however, GPB sure looks like it has a lot in common with Scientology itself: excessive secrecy, a lack of financial transparency, and one-sided contracts in which GPB has all the power and the investors have virtually no power and no say in how their money is spent. Unlike Scientology, however, GPB Capital Holdings cannot claim religious status as a defense against governmental investigations.

Scientology Singer Stephen Ridley: Music, Cryptocurrency and Grant Cardone

Tony Ortega today did a piece on singer Stephen Ridley coming out publicly as a Scientologist.

Just exactly who is Stephen Ridley?

A quick check shows he worked as a junior investment banker at USB but left banking to pursue his passion for music. The Financial Times reported earlier this year that Ridley has  launched his own cryptofund:

Stephen Ridley is also a shameless fanboy of his fellow Scientologist Grant Cardone:

Grant Cardone emphasizes the need to have multiple streams of income. This is hardly original to Cardone. Accordingly, Grant Cardone became a private equity fund manager in 2017 when he opened Cardone Equity Fund LLC. His SEC filing (see below) showed he was looking to raise $40,000,000. This fund is another income stream for Cardone.

We recently reported on Grant Cardone opening a non-accredited investment fund. Elena tweeted about it and mangled the details, i.e. she confused the FCC with the SEC:

Why are the Cardone’s looking for non-accredited investors given Cardone’s claim to have $540+ million in real estate? A half-billion dollar real estate portfolio should attract accredited investors. The obvious answer is that Cardone wants as many streams of income as he can create.

Stephen Ridley and his money guru Grant Cardone show the emphasis on money, self-promotion, and the Art of the Hustle amongst many Scientologists. Part of this is because what we call the Scientology Money Club is an extremely expensive club to join.

Scientology fancies itself a religion, but in our view it is really just a money club at the top. In our opinion, it takes a $5,000,000 IAS donation to buy one’s way into this club. In return comes the glorified IAS bowling trophy and access into the club. We have written about our Scientology Money Club hypothesis and documented financial relationships among Scientologists we discovered in the Panama Papers. These relationships include billionaire Bob Duggan.

We can plot Grant Cardone’s rise in Scientology on a seemingly date-coincident basis with he and Elena’s first major IAS trophy:

Predictively, Stephen Ridley will donate his first $1,000,000 towards joining the Scientology Money Club very soon. After all, access to the top is everything in Scientology — and access takes big money; completing all three L’s; OT status; and publicly promoting Scientology.

Stephen Ridley studies investment systems. Here is a video in which he promotes the HVF System (Francis Hunt’s Volatility Funnel Trading Method):

Grant Cardone’s SEC filing. Note: Please hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the page frame:

Cardone SEC FORM D

The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society: $1.45 Billion in Assets

Leah Remini and Mike Rinder interviewed Jehovah’s Witnesses on a very powerful and anguishing episode of Scientology and the Aftermath. The heartbreaking stories of shunning, sexual abuse, and suicide drove us to tears. The courage of Leah’s guests in speaking out proved that they cannot be silenced by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

Like the Church of Scientology, the Jehovah’s Witnesses practice the emotional blackmail of shunning and demand that their members place the organization above family and everything else in their lives. Having grown up in the Pentecostal Church, we know what it feels like when the church demands that one surrender all to God lest they face the pain of everlasting Hell and Perdition.

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society listed the book value of its assets as $1,451,217,000 on its 2015 IRS Form 990-T. This places the Jehovah’s Witnesses into the same “billion dollar plus” cult status as the Church of Scientology. Click here to see $1.7 billion in Scientology assets.

In its 2013 990-T, the The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society listed its book value assets as $675,419,000:

The massive increase of $776,095,300 in Watchtower wealth between 2013 and 2015 is accounted for by the sales of extremely valuable Watchtower real estate in New York. The sprawling Watchtower facility located at 25-30 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn sold for a whopping $340 million in cash in 2016.

The Watchtower sold its six building facility in DUMBO for $375 million. The 2017 sale of the Watchtower’s eleven story building located at 107 Columbia Heights fetched $87.5 million dollars.

Other blockbuster Watchtower real estate sales:

    • 21 Clark Street sold for $200 million
    • 97 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights sold for $58 million
    • 117-125 Columbia Heights sold for $18 million
    • 69 Adams Street in Dumbo sold for $65 million

It is worth noting that on Line H of these 990-T’s the Watchtower Tower Bible and Tract Society lists its primary unrelated business activity as “Investment Activities.” So while the rank and file Witnesses are striving to please Jehovah, the big boys at the top have sold over $700 million in prime real estate and plowed that cash into undisclosed investment activities.

The $1.45 billion listed on the Watchtower’s 2015 990-T is only the money we know about. Who knows how much the Watchtower has hidden away since it began doing business in 1884? If you have additional information on Watchtower money please contact me, Jeffrey Augustine, at scienowriter@gmail.com. I am located in Los Angeles if you want a private meeting.

And what does this great wealth do? The same thing as it does it the Church of Scientology: It protects the people at the top from the consequences of their own actions in covering up sexual abuse and protecting sexual predators. It pays for lawyers who work to cover up sexual abuses and human rights abuses. The money also paid for a $28 million court judgment that would never have happened if the “two witness” rule was not in place to protect child molesters.

Predictably, the Church of Scientology attacked Mike and Leah for exposing the evil in the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. The attacks by Scientology only serve to reaffirm the fact that criminals will watch each other backs when they both have a lot to lose.

Below is the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society 2015 990-T. This is the most current year available as 990-T’s have a lag factor of 2-3 years. Please hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the page frame:

JW.990.2015

Jews are Termites: Scientologist Louis Farrakhan’s Anti-Semitism Rages on Unchecked by David Miscavige

Scientologist and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan compared Jews to termites. This is Holocaust language — but this is exactly what we’ve come to expect from Louis Farrakhan.

The CSI Board of Directors granted a license to the Nation of Islam to use Dianetics and Scientology. CSI’s license to the Nation of Islam has not been suspended or revoked due to Mr. Farrakhan’s conduct.

Neither COB RTC Mr. David Miscavige nor the CSI Board of Directors have taken any disciplinary action against Scientologist Louis Farrakhan.

The conclusion here is that the Church of Scientology International and David Miscavige, by their silence and inaction, have acquised to — and therefore entered into agreement with — the anti-Semitism of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.

 

The Nation of Islam: Updates on Money, Sexual Abuse, Jesus, and L. Ron Hubbard

This video of Mr. Farrakhan opens with his indignant declaration that he “didn’t get a dime from Dianetics or Scientology.” In fact, he recalls, the Nation of Islam had to spend a lot of money to buy the books for Dianetics.

Mr. Farrakhan then goes on to defend Dianetics by arguing that it will help members of the Nation of Islam overcome the trauma of sexual abuse. However, what Mr. Farrakhan ignores is that the Church of Scientology covers up rape, sexual abuse, and even pedophilia.

This begs the question: Why is Mr. Farrakhan looking for help with sexual abuse from a group that covers up sexual abuse? Mr. Farrakhan should demand that the Church of Scientology first cleanse its own house and expel all known rapists, child molesters, and those who have committed spousal abuse or domestic battery. The Minister should demand that Scientology stop covering up these crimes and sheltering the criminals simply because they are Scientologists.

Where Mr. Farrakhan is to be commended is that he, unlike the Church of Scientology and the Catholic Church, acknowledges that sexual molestation exists as a problem. Pope Francis, to his disgrace, has gone the way of John Paul II in attempting to cover up and protect pedophile priests. The recently published paper entitled The Testimony by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has served to intensify the pressure on Pope Francis by calling for him to resign. Archbishop Viganò claims that Pope Francis knew about and covered up the sexual crimes that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick perpetrated upon his subordinates and seminarians.

By contrast, Mr. Farrakhan has acknowledged that spousal abuse and sexual abuse exist. Accordingly, he incorporated both into the pledge that Black Men signed at his now legendary 1995 Million Man March. This section of the pledge reads:

I pledge from this day forward I will never abuse my wife by striking her, disrespecting her, for she is the mother of my children and the producer of my future.

I pledge that from this day forward I will never engage in the abuse of children, little boys or little girls for sexual gratification. For I will let them grow in peace to be strong men and women for the future of our people.

Again, we ask the question: Given the Nation of Islam’s decades-long willingness to forthrightly acknowledge the problem of sexual abuse, why does Mr. Farrakhan turn for help to a group that will neither acknowledge the problem nor punish the perpetrators?


WHITE JESUS

Even as Mr. Farrakhan warns the Nation of Islam that they were given a white Jesus to keep them enslaved, he leads the Nation to uncritically embrace and accept a white Savior named L. Ron Hubbard. NOI Western Regional Representative Tony Muhammad has called Hubbard, “an angelic messenger sent from God.”

Scientology leads to slavery. That is how the system is designed. L. Ron Hubbard wrote in his Admissions:

All men shall be my slaves.
All women shall submit to my charms.
All mankind shall grovel at my feet.

— Scroll down to the bottom of this page to read the Admissions of L. Ron Hubbard–

The Nation of Islam is focused on the 400 years of slavery, brutality, and injustice Black people in North America have suffered at the hands of the White man. And yet it seems Mr. Farrakhan is taking the Nation back into the bondage of Egypt when he submits the Nation to L. Ron Hubbard, the white man whose stated Magickal goal was to make all men his slaves.

We wonder if Mr. Farrakhan is cognizant of the Master Race ideology at the heart of Scientology  or if he is simply dazzled by the auditing experience? Many public Scientologists such as Mr. Farrakhan are so dazzled by auditing and the wins they get from auditing that they just do not care to know what Scientology actually is at its core. Most Scientologists are not aware of the deliberately calculated and methodical ways in which the Church of Scientology traps them legally, psychologically, and spiritually.

Mr. Farrakhan publicly stated that any member of the Nation of Islam who refused to do Dianetics would never have a place of leadership in the Nation. Instead, he said, “they will be thanked for their labors and asked to step aside.” This is called an “enforced reality” in Scientology and that is what Mr. Farrakhan is doing: He is enforcing his reality upon others. In doing so, he is taking away their self-determinism. To take away the self-determinism of another unless they comply with your demands made under threat or duress is itself a form of slavery.

In the video, Mr. Farrakhan repeats his long-standing rationale that because Scientology is useful and can help the Nation of Islam, all criticisms of Scientology should be ignored. Farrakhan says, “They’ve beaten the hell out of Scientology now so everybody wanna run away. Farrakhan not that kind of man.” Farrakhan’s comment that “everybody wanna run away” is quite revealing. What group of persons is the everybody who wants to run away because of Scientology’s reputation? It appears there are cracks in the Nation of Islam over Scientology.

The Church of Scientology has been exposed and called to account due to its inhumanity; greed; lies; Fair Game attacks on former members, journalists, and critics; breaking up families by Disconnection; and its cynical exploitation of Sea Org members — and this includes the use of child labor in the Sea Org. If Mr. Farrakhan willingly chooses to ignore the evil, malice, abuses, greed, and lies at the heart of Scientology then that’s all on him. Farrakhan can “not is it” all he wants, but his not-isness doesn’t change reality.

“Not-isness” is a Scientology word for denial. To “not is” something is to pretend it doesn’t exist or deny its existence because you can’t confront it. Our critique of Mr. Farrakhan is that he wants the best of what Scientology has to offer and will “not is” the rest.

Many Scientologists have used this approach and it typically ends in failure when Scientology’s brutality suddenly and utterly destroys one’s ability to remain in a state of denial. It is an overwhelming experience that shatters all hopes and dreams. There is usually a triggering event in which all of the years or decades of repressed and pent up frustration, anger, and pretending break the dam and it all floods into full awareness. This necessary crisis is one way out. The easy way is to just leave Scientology.


TO WHOM DOES THE MONEY TRAIL LEAD?

Mr. Farrakhan specifically rebuts the oft-heard claim that he personally makes money from Dianetics and Scientology. The basis of his denial refers to the fact that the Church of Scientology pays a 10% commission to its salespeople — who are called Field Staff Ministers (FSM’s) or registrars — whenever they sell Scientology goods and services to others.

This raises the obvious question: Given the fact that the Church of Scientology is a business based solely upon the payment of money in exchange for overpriced goods and services, who then is paid commissions on the monies generated by sales to the Nation of Islam? While we welcome any information,  here is our short list of three obvious candidates:

  • Tony Muhammad — Nation of Islam
  • Jim Mathers — Scientologist
  • Alfreddie Johnson — Scientologist

                    L-R: Tony Muhammad, Jim Mathers, Alfreddie Johnson

Jim Mathers is a white Scientologist who is seemingly omnipresent at Nation of Islam events related to Scientology. Mathers’ presence at NOI events since the beginning of the Nation’s involvement with the Church of Scientology has been left completely unexplained. Aside from Jim Mathers, white Scientologists are seldom ever seen at NOI events.

Mathers is frequently photographed in the company of Tony Muhammad and Alfreddie Johnson. Does Jim Mathers make money as an FSM to the Nation of Islam? Or does he serve another purpose?

Do Tony Muhammad and Alfreddie Johnson make money as FSM’s to the Nation of Islam? Nation of Islam members have never been told who gets the 10% Scientology commissions. This lack of financial transparency naturally creates questions.

Mathers recently donned the garb of a clergyman to appear at the Ebony Awakening event held in the ballroom of Scientology’s Fort Harrison Hotel located at Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida. The available literature gives no explanation for his appearance at the event which was largely attended by members of the Nation of Islam who are also Scientologists.


WE KNOW WHERE SOME OF THE MONEY DIDN’T GO

When Scientologist Alfreddie Johnson brought Nation of Islam Western Representative Tony Muhammad into Scientology, there was one problem: Tony Muhammad didn’t have the money to begin his Bridge.

Word went out to the Celebrity Centre that money was urgently needed to get Minister Tony Muhammad onto the Bridge. Leah Remini, who was then still in the Church, stepped up and loaned Minister Tony a good amount of money to begin his Bridge.

Tony Muhammad has never paid Leah back, this despite the strict Islamic teaching that a Muslim may not enter Paradise until all of his or her debts are paid:

Muhammad ibn Jahsh said: ‘We were sitting with the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) when he raised his head towards the sky, then he put his palm on his forehead and said: “Subhaan-Allaah! What a strict issue has been revealed to me!” We remained silent and were afraid. The following morning I asked him,

“O Messenger of Allaah, what is this strict issue that has been revealed?” He said, “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if a man were killed in battle for the sake of Allaah, then brought back to life, then killed and brought back to life again, then killed, and he owed a debt, he would not enter Paradise until his debt was paid off.” (Hasan-al-Nasaa’i).

When will Minister Tony Muhammad correct the stain upon his honor as a Muslim by repaying this debt? Or has Minister Tony embraced Scientology to the extent that debts to SP’s do not have to be repaid? This is how the Church of Scientology actually views the matter.

Leah publicly chided Minister Tony about his unpaid debt as these two tweets show:


THE TRUE HISTORY OF JESUS BY THE HONORABLE ELIJAH MUHAMMAD

Mr. Farrakhan is quite correct in stating that Jesus was not white. One widely-held opinion is that Jesus was most likely an olive-skinned, black-haired, Jewish Palestinian. Nevertheless, Jesus is rendered in white Christian art as a white man. The Mormons, for example, depict a clearly out-of-place white Jesus preaching in Mesoamerica:

In his 1959 sermon The True History of Jesus, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that Jesus was a black man. The question of Jesus’ color has therefore been long established in the Nation of Islam:

Below is a PDF transcript version of The True History of Jesus as Taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Please hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the page frame.

The True History of Jesus as Taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad

The Affirmations of L. Ron Hubbard are next. Again, please hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the page frame:

LRH.Admissions

 

All Scientologists Must Show Their IAS Card At Events!

As the IAS letter (scroll down for the full text) makes clear, only card-carrying IAS members will now be allowed into Scientology events. David Miscavige, it seems, has become increasingly paranoid that spies, critics, or even journalists will get into Scientology events.

For new Scientology watchers, here are specific details about Scientology’s unregulated slush fund aka the IAS.

Here is the PDF. Note: Please hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the page frame.

IAS membership 2018_Redacted

Why Colombia’s military was fertile territory for Scientology — and one general’s stunning role

Retired Colombian Police General Carlos Ramiro Mena Bravo presented an unauthorized medal to David Miscavige. Outraged has ensued in Colombia over giving an American cult leader an undeserved and unauthorized medal. An investigation of this insult to Colombia in underway by the authorities.


(Note: This piece was first published on Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker on August 23, 2018. It is republished here for archival purposes. We add additional research notes to our article after the text of the Underground Bunker piece. Scroll down for the additional research notes.)


While things have been exploding over Scientology in Colombia, our man in Los Angeles, Jeffrey Augustine, has been looking into the relationship between David Miscavige’s organization and that South American country, looking for clues to how things got to their present mess. We think he’s turned up some fascinating stuff…

Over the last three weeks, the Colombian press has been diving into Scientology’s archives and finding volumes of evidence about Scientology’s activities there. The press has focused on comedian Andrés López, who has been promoting Scientology in Colombia since at least 2004. And in 2008, Scientology’s Guillermo Smythe, who works PR on the ship Freewinds, apparently first made contact with Colombian national police Colonel Ricardo Prado, who would go on to become such a promoter of Scientology front groups he would be awarded Scientology’s highest honor, the “Freedom Medal.”

But what we’re hearing less about than Scientology’s activities are the conditions in Colombia that made it such fertile ground for Scientology and its “human rights” front groups. In 2011, the Colombian government was rocked by revelations of extrajudicial killings conducted by the Army during the period 2002-2010. These killings occurred during the Army’s war against FARC guerillas, and they consisted of civilians being murdered by the Army and then falsely identified as guerillas in order to increase body counts. The victims were typically poor, unemployed, handicapped, or otherwise disadvantaged young men in remote villages. These people were killed and then dressed in guerilla combat fatigues and identified as terrorists. The nightmarish military euphemism “False Positives” was later used to minimize the atrocities. A recent study by Omar Rojas Bolaños and Fabian Leonardo Benavides argues that as many as 10,000 civilians were the victims of extrajudicial killings. The Colombian military has resisted efforts to bring the generals and political leaders responsible for the extrajudicial killings to justice. Several military officers who attempted to expose the killings were murdered. A 2015 article in the Los Angeles Times noted…

Ramiro Orjuela, a Bogota-based human rights attorney who helped research the HRW report, said the slow pace of prosecutions of army leadership is because of a “lack of political will. … This is a very precise demonstration of how the attorney general’s office remains fearful of the army leadership, who are extremely powerful. Potential witnesses in these cases have been threatened and even killed.”

With that kind of shocking human rights record in Colombia, Scientology may have seen an opportunity — similar to the way Scientology sees opportunities for public relations operations and recruitment at the scene of natural disasters in other parts of the world.

Sandra and Felipe Poveda are a brother and sister team and IAS Freedom Medal recipients. Sandra founded Youth for Human Rights in Colombia and her brother is its president. In a Scientology-produced video, the Povedas claim to have used Scientology’s Human Rights program to intervene in the serious matter of extrajudicial killings of civilians by the Colombian Army. As a result of their program, the Povedas say that civilian complaints against the Army dropped 96 percent.

In this series of screenshots from Scientology TV, viewers are asked to believe that Colombian soldiers were so morally deranged that they did not know that murdering civilians or wounded guerillas was wrong:





I see in this absurd Scientology narrative a cynical attempt to shift the blame for extrajudicial killings onto common soldiers who did not know right from wrong. For its part, Scientology got access to compliant soldiers for its public relations purposes. The military, meanwhile, had evidence that it was doing something about human rights in the wake of the extrajudicial killings.

Back in the US, Scientologists were led to believe that the campaign was making a difference across the entire nation of Colombia and were thereby induced to make further donations.

This same pattern has been used by Scientology with the Los Angeles Police Department and other police agencies in the US. These agencies distribute Scientology’s free anti-drug booklets and videos. In return, Scientology receives PR photos of smiling cops holding Scientology booklets. The police officers are generally photographed with local Scientologists officials. (We covered this in a previous story at the Bunker.) Just as we see photos of smiling LAPD senior command officers with Scientologists we see the same in Colombia.


For years, Scientology used Colombia as a prop until things unraveled after David Miscavige had retired General Carlos Ramiro Mena pin a medal on him at the end of this year’s “Maiden Voyage” celebration on June 23 in Barbados. Mena may have violated rules by being in uniform, and for taking the medal to Barbados. Scientology has argued that the decoration was already approved by the director of the National Police, General Jorge Nieto, and that it took place in Barbados because Miscavige couldn’t pick it up in Colombia.

But we’ve learned something new about Mena that puts his participation in a new light.

Mena was a powerful official in Colombia, and according to a listing of National Police personnel, he was the Director of Criminal Investigations for Interpol in Colombia. In other words, he had access to global Interpol databases while he was associated with the Church of Scientology.

General Mena personally signed extradition orders for Colombian citizens to be sent to the United States. Here, for example, is an extradition order he signed, handing over a suspect to the DEA…


Longtime Scientology watchers will no doubt understand why this grabbed our attention. Scientology has long been obsessed with Interpol. L. Ron Hubbard was consumed with paranoia about what Interpol was saying to law enforcement agencies around the world about him. His Guardian’s Office made Interpol a key target during its “Snow White Program” in the 1970s, and Scientology commissioned writer Omar Garrison to pen a 1976 book attacking the agency, The Secret World of Interpol.

It’s fascinating to think that Miscavige had influence with a Colombian general who had access to Interpol’s files — and enough influence that the general would risk his retirement to pin a medal on Miscavige.

Yesterday, we learned from the Bunker’s correspondent in Bogotá that Colombia’s senate is showing a united front to have Scientology seriously investigated. We can only hope they go down many different avenues, including the things Gen. Mena might have been doing for Miscavige that we don’t know about. Yet.

— Jeffrey Augustine


Additional Research Notes:

1. As the Inspector General of the Colombian National Police, General Mena also participated in both US military and NATO training events. This screenshot is from a webpage on the Colombian National Army’s official website:

2. General Mena has significant connections in the Colombian government, Interpol, NATO, and the US military. For Scientology to have such a powerful connection raises many disturbing questions.

3. We did a guest piece on the Underground Bunker which showed that the Dianetics Center in Medellin was located right next door to the home where Pablo Escobar was shot and killed by Colombia’s elite Search Bloc troops in 1993.  We linked to a tourist video on YouTube which showed the Mission. We note that shortly after our story was published the entire YouTube channel where the video was located was taken down for violating terms of service. This was strange as it was an old account with little traffic. Perhaps it was inconvenient for David Miscavige to have the Colombian public reminded that he had a Dianetics Center next to the Pablo Escobar death house in Medellin even as he was receiving a dubious and unauthorized medal from the retired Colombian National Police General Mena.

The Dianetics Center in Medellin located in Medellin

The Pablo Escobar Death House. The Dianetics volcano banner can be seen next door to the right

4. I have been following the story of the extrajudicial killings in Colombia for many years. What I see in the Scientology component of the killings is essentially a form of collusion between the Colombian military leaders and the Church of Scientology to shift the blame for extrajudicial killings onto common soldiers, i.e. an attempt to say that no one in particular really did the killings.

The Poveda’s scripted narrative in their Scientology TV video is so insulting as to be beyond contempt. Their video is what led me to my thesis that the Poveda’s are playing ball with the Army on behalf of Scientology. Three screenshots of Felipe Poveda show him to have a ghoulish glee as he describes the killings. His smile is strange:

The Colombian military has painted a picture of a pervasive lack of training in which inexperienced soldiers, literally raw young recruits with AR-15’s, were fighting hardened FARC guerillas. So naturally there was going to be some False Positives. However, the military protests, there were no organized death squads, no guerra sucia as happened in Argentina. These are not “disappeared ones” they are simply False Positives — and this due to a lack of training combined with the extreme problems of positive visual identification in jungle warfare.

Add the fog of war to a lack of Human Rights training and there were bound to be problems: Shoot first and ask questions later. This simplistic narrative allows the Scientology component of Human Rights education to prove that the Army is bringing in an outside religious group to teach the soldiers respect for human life.

Over against this, there in an intense pushback from the Army on any prosecutions. IMO, this is a long game for the Colombian Army in which it has to distance itself by a least a decade from the killings which ended in 2010. One way to shift the narrative from “what happened” to “what we’re doing about it” is to shift the focus onto Human Rights education provided by Scientology. Yet this begs the question: Why doesn’t the Colombian Army or Police bring in Colombian experts and teachers on Human Rights? Why do they need an American Cult to do this work?

While the current focus in Colombia is one of whether or not tax dollars were spent on Scientology, I would like Senator Cepeda look at the false narrative Scientology helped the military and the police create.

A W Radio piece published yesterday shows General Alberto Sepúlveda praising Sandra Poveda. Here is a link to the article: http://www.wradio.com.co/no…

Here is a translation:

…General Alberto Sepúlveda was at the main table of this event and even had a conference in which he said that Sandra Poveda, Scientologist and director of the NGO to which the agreement in Colombia was terminated, is the “guardian angel” of the Army in the field of human rights.

“I want to confess that with Dr. Sandra Poveda here present, who is our guardian angel in Colombia on these human rights issues, human rights matter in the National Army (…) We have a series of documents, directives, clues so that our Soldiers learn to do what human rights are(…) and it has been in the hands of “partners” as Young People for Human Rights that we have managed to grow on this issue deeply. Well, you see some of the training for our soldiers there. We have trained them with thousands of soldiers, officers and non-commissioned officers in our jungles, “said General Sepúlveda.

The praise of the leaders of Scientology towards General Sepulveda did not remain there, Fabio Amicarelli, director of humanitarian programs of the Church of Scientology, congratulated General Alberto Sepúlveda for the success of the Army and Scientology, working together.

By training thousands of soldiers, there is a dilution of the killings and a re-contextualization of the killings as a lack of training spread across many years.

That an Army official ascribes “guardian angel” status to Scientologist Sandra Poveda is ridiculous. Again, is there no one in the Colombian military that can do this work? Or are certain officers in the Colombian military in the pocket of Scientology? General Sepulveda is absurd. He seems to be reciting a script written for him by Scientology. IMO, such ridiculously effusive praise betrays a hidden agenda.

*****
Scientology made it very easy to do. What Scientology offered the Colombian military and police was a “plug and play” curriculum of free and readily available booklets and videos on Human Rights. All the military and police needed to do was hand them out and take PR photos to show they were doing something about human rights in response to the extrajudicial killings. This was of course window dressing given the fact that no high-ranking Colombian officers or political leaders have ever been convicted in the killings. In exchange for its literature and videos, Scientology received a great deal of PR which it then used for internal fundraising.

5. Real human rights groups such as Amnesty International would never have gotten involved in this on terms dictated by the Colombian Army. In fact, just last month on July 9, 2018 Amnesty International denounced Colombia’s human rights violations and the continuing murders of human rights activists:

This gives us another avenue of investigation: Ask Amnesty International what it thinks of Scientology’s cooperation with the Colombia military and police. We intend to pursue this matter.

This Amnesty International headline would seem to put the lie to Scientology’s claim to be Human Rights champions in Colombia. If anything, it makes Scientology look like the Army’s PR unit.

6. The “peace settlement” between the Colombian government and FARC was constructed in such a way that required the Colombian Congress to approve a highly controversial law in which the top people on both sides would held harmless from prosecution:

On 28 December, Congress approved a law to provide amnesties or pardons
to FARC combatants and the waiving of criminal prosecutions for security force personnel not under investigation for or convicted of crimes under international law. Those who had served at least five years in prison for crimes under international law will, under certain circumstances, be conditionally released. Ambiguities in the law could result in many human rights abusers evading justice.

ref: http://www.refworld.org/doc…

The war between Colombia and FARC was bankrupting the nation. One figure showed that the Colombian government had to spend $3.9 million USD per day. The costs over two decades was around $12 billion USD. Another part of the damage was the reputation of the Army and the Police for the extrajudicial killings.

The missing links I’m exploring are those between the Colombian Army, the Police, and Scientology. The Colombian military and police needed a solution, they needed an outside party who would cooperate in what is, imo, obviously a false PR narrative. I say this because, as noted, Amnesty International and other real Human Rights groups would not participate in this Colombian Army-Police PR show.

General Bravo is one of the Shadowmen. He was, after all, the third highest ranking police official in Colombia. He has ties to NATO and the US Army as well.

I have a feeling that this is a big and deep rabbit hole which has been located and this story is just beginning. We need a Robert Mueller here in America to investigate Scientology and Columbia. It may be that Scientology is violating US State Department rules by working with a foreign power in the manner that it is.

 

Scientology Money in a Mormon Bank: More of the Secret Relationship Exposed

Tony Ortega today posted a most interesting article on Efrem Logreira, the 75 year old man whom the Church of Scientology clipped for $75,000 in a credit card scheme. Scientology wants to return the $75,000 to Logreira as this scam has blown up in its face. However, Mr. Logreira has been paying crippling amounts of monthly interest on the balance on the cards and therefore demands to recover interest in order to be made whole on the entire amount. Scientology does not appear interested in making Logreira whole and wants to pay only the balance on the credit cards less interest.

As we learn in Ortega’s story, Scientology’s long-time attorney Mr. Moxon presented Mr. Logreira’s counsel Graham Berry with the check shown above. This is where the Scientology Money Project is extremely interested as the check posted by Tony Ortega shows the Church of Scientology of Los Angeles Claims Verification Board to have its account with the California Bank & Trust Los Angeles Metro Branch.

California Bank & Trust Los Angeles Metro Branch is a subsidiary of Zions Bancorporation, one of America’s largest banks. Founded in 1873 by Mormon leader Brigham Young, the Mormon church once owned a majority interest in Zions Bank. Even after selling its interest, CEO Harris Henry Simmons is a Mormon as are many of Zions’ employees. Several Zions employees also hold political office in Utah.

Zions is a powerful bank with deep connections to the LDS Church and, now it appears, financial ties to the Church of Scientology. The Church of Scientology has long had a not-so-secret backchannel relationship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and now we see one more element of the relationship. In a second check Ortega posted today, we see a check from Scientology’s Continental Liaison Office (CLO).  The account is held in same Los Angeles Metro branch of California Bank & Trust. 


A MORMON OFFICIAL DEFENDS SCIENTOLOGY

Jean Huysmans, Public Affairs Committee of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, publicly spoke on behalf of Scientology in a video produced by the Church of Scientology. In this video, praises L. Ron Hubbard and attacks psychiatric drugs. The presumption here is that Huysmans was fully authorized to do this video by the First Presidency in Salt Lake City.


SCANDALS

Zions Bancorporation is not without its scandals. In 2011, the bank was fined $8 million dollars for violating US laws related to anti-money laundering and bank secrecy laws. FinCen cited 132 suspicious offshore wire transfers into Zions offshore entities totaling $12.3 billion. Zions was fined $8 million. As we read in the Assessment of Civil Money Penalty issued by the US Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network:

FinCEN has determined that Zions violated the BSA requirements: to establish and
implement an effective anti-money laundering (“AML”) program with respect to its casas de cambio (“CDC”) and foreign correspondent customers’ account relationships; timely file Suspicious Activity Reports (“SARs”); and comply with the foreign correspondent account regulation(s).

Zions’ foreign correspondent business was initially handled by its Financial Institutions Group (“FIG”), and focused on Mexico and countries within Latin America. In January 2007, the Bank restructured its correspondent banking from FIG to an International Correspondent Banking Group (“ICB”). At its height, the Bank had 54 foreign correspondent relationships that included 19 CDC accounts, 4 casas de bolsa (securities firms), 15 foreign banks-primarily from Latin America-and 3 foreign corporation customers. The services provided by the Bank to these customers included wire transfers, Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) transactions, cash letter activity processed through remote deposit capture (“RDC”) technology, and deposits.
The Bank provided wire transfers, ACH transactions, deposits, RDC services and imaging for processing cash letter instruments to its foreign correspondent customers. The Bank launched its RDC product in January 2005 and realized a significant increase in activity involving its correspondent accounts in 2006 and 2007. In 2005, the volume of transactions using RDC exceeded hundreds of millions of dollars, and continued to increase into the billions of dollars in 2007.

Zions failed to implement an effective AML program for its foreign correspondent business reasonably designed to identify and timely report transactions that exhibited indicia of money laundering or other suspicious activity, considering the types of products and services offered by the Bank, the volume and scope of its business, and the nature of its customers. Zions failed to implement a program tailored to the risks inherent within its foreign correspondent business lines and geographical reach. As a result, Zions failed to timely file SARs representing billions of dollars in suspicious transactions, thus greatly diminishing the potential utility of such reports to both law
enforcement and regulatory agencies…

Internal Policies, Procedures, and Controls

Zions failed to implement an effective system of internal controls reasonably
designed to ensure compliance with the BSA and manage the risks of money laundering, in its CDC and foreign correspondent customers’ accounts. Zions lacked adequate written policies, procedures and controls reasonably designed to assess the risks of money laundering and ensure the detection and reporting of suspicious transactions with respect to its CDC and foreign correspondent customers’ accounts.


Zions Bancorporation — Assessment of Civil Money Penalty

Note: Hover your cursor over the document to invoke the page up/page down controls at the bottom of the document.

ZionsAssessment

Tom Cruise and David Miscavige Have Brunch & L. Ron Hubbard Was Supposed to “Make Himself Visible” by 1999

The Church of Scientology sent this now widely-circulated photo of Tom Cruise and David Miscavige to the Los Angeles Times for its feature article on Scientology. Published December 5, 2004 both the photo and the Times caption are unintentionally hilarious:

A STAR AND HIS LEADER: Tom Cruise and David Miscavige after a brunch at Scientology’s Celebrity Centre in Hollywood about a year ago.

Tom Cruise and David Miscavige send mixed signals in the photo. They want to present a sinister image of themselves as planetary-clearing, Psych-busting, bad-ass, leather-wearing Scientologists on their matching Ducati’s. However, bad-ass bikers don’t do brunch. The photo looks like a sultry urban bromance more than anything else.

In the L.A. Times article of 2004 we learn several interesting facts:

1. David Miscavige had molds made of his feet so that he could order custom made shoes:

2. Scientology acquired the old Gilman Hot Springs resort for $2.78 million in 1978. The resort became the home to Scientology’s Gold Base where the infamous “musical chairs” event occurred. This event was first reported on by Marc Headley at xenu.net. This was when Marc was writing under the screen name Blownforgood. Marc’s book Blown For Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology is a true classic.

3. The Church used the names “Scottish Highland Quietude Society” and “Western States Scientific Assn.” to purchase the Gilman Hot Springs resort. Scientology did not want anyone to know who the real buyer was. This was the same dishonest method whereby Scientology acquired its first properties in Clearwater.

4. Scientology spent “at least $45 million” on improvements Gold Base in the period 1978-2004. The LA Times article does not mention Scientology’s sniper nest and lookout station at Gold Base that was named the Eagle’s Nest. Details are in my 2014 podcast with Jackson Morehead, the former Security Chief at the Base. In this podcast Jackson covers the big fire that was caused by toilet paper being set afire, the razor wire fences, and the sniper rifles at the Base:

5. Scientology was planning on a television station as early as 2004. Scientology TV was launched March 12, 2018 — a glacial fourteen years later. The “speed of particle flow” was slow on this project.

6. Scientology spent $9.4 million to build a mansion on its Gold Base for the deceased L. Ron Hubbard. The article informs us that Ron’s mansion is named Bonnie View and has a lap pool and a movie theater. Looks like Ron wants to do laps in his pool and watch movies when he returns from Target 2.

7. David Miscavige told Sea Org members that the Bonnie View mansion needed to built quickly as L. Ron Hubbard was returning and would make himself visible within thirteen years of his 1986 death. Former Sea Org member Karen Schless Pressley, author of Escaping Scientology: An Insider’s True Story, was quoted in the LA Times 2004 on Hubbard’s mansion and David Miscavige’s claim that Hubbard would soon appear:

A teenage L. Ron Hubbard never made himself visible by 1999 as promised by Scientology leader David Miscavige.

This is hardly surprising as David Miscavige’s prophetic track record has been abysmal:

* The Ideal Orgs have not boomed Scientology or even moved the needle

* Scientology TV was dead on arrival. Scientology’s “uncorrupted communication line to the billions” is an infomercial of incredible boredom and repetition.

* The new Flag Building in Clearwater did not boom Scientology.

* Scientology did not destroy Psychiatry by the year 2000 as Miscavige predicted

Finally, Miscavige got these predictions incredibly wrong when he made them in 1992 during the 25th Anniversary of the Sea Org: