Church of Scientology

Criminality and the Church of Scientology


James Kirchick’s recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times asks, “In the world of religious tax exemptions, does Scientology measure up?”

Kirchick incisively cuts right to the bone:

Today, America’s recognition of Scientology as a religion stands as an anomaly in the Western world, the result not of impartial jurisprudence but of harassment. Four years ago, France’s highest court upheld a fraud conviction against the church, ruling that, “Far from being a violation of freedom of religion, as this American organization contends, this decision lifts the veil on the illegal and highly detrimental practices.”

Kirchick is quite correct in taking the matter of Scientology directly to the matter of criminality. Since it’s inception in 1954, the Church of Scientology has at all times operated as a criminal organization. A straightforward historical reading of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology’s machinations, plans, and designs will bear this out. Fair Game. The Guardian’s Office. Conspiracy. Domestic espionage. Tax evasion. Infiltration. Theft. Spying. Blackmail. Coercion. Money laundering. OSA. Phony front groups. Private investigators. Forced interrogations. Beatings. Agents provocateurs. Hacking computers. It’s all there. Scientology is a classic criminal organization.

The FBI raid of July 8, 1977 on Scientology was massive; over 150 agents participated. The raid was the direct result of L. Ron Hubbard’s Program Snow White. A demonstration of Scientology’s criminality writ large, Program Snow White brought Mary Sue Hubbard to ruination:

Russia

June 2017: The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) conduct a raid on Scientology’s Moscow Headquarters.

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has raided Scientology Orgs numerous times. From the Moscow Times of June 7, 2017:

The headquarters of the Church of Scientology in St. Petersburg has been raided by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) on June 6 according to the MediaZona news site. The security services accused the Church of extremism, inciting hatred, and operating an illegal business.

Hungary

Hungarian Police during the raid of Scientology’s Budapest Headquarters.

On October 22,2017 — a scant three weeks ago — The Daily Mail reported on the massive raid of Scientology made by Hungarian police:

Hungarian police carried out a search at a Church of Scientology centre in Budapest amid a probe into suspected misuse of personal information and ‘other crimes’.

More than 50 officers surrounded the church’s Budapest headquarters on one of the Hungarian capital’s busiest roads early on Wednesday.

Detectives from the National Investigation Bureau have listed the target as ‘unknown persons’ – a common designation when a specific suspect has not been identified.

In terms of comparison, 156 FBI agents participated in the raid of Scientology’s Los Angeles complex, such was the sheer volume of documents Scientology had stolen from the US government. For Hungary to send in more than 50 police officers to raid Scientology offices there indicates the seriousness and scope of the criminal investigation.

Cover Ups of Rapes and Child Sexual Abuse

The criminality of Scientology extends to the cover ups of rape and child sexual abuse. At this writing, Scientologist Danny Masterson is alleged to have committed four rapes that were covered up by the Church.

Danny Masterson and Netflix co-star Ashton Kutcher at the 2017 CMT Music Awards in June. Photo by Jason Davis/WireImage.

The Los Angeles Police Department & The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office

Scientology’s hideous reputation has tainted the Los Angeles Police Department as well as the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. People are asking why the case against Danny Masterson is not moving forward despite “overwhelming evidence” as reported by the Huffington Post. Netflix has even come in for criticism as it has not stopped production of its series The Ranch in which Masterson stars. As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

A woman who previously accused actor Danny Masterson of rape — an allegation he has denied — has gone on the record to criticize Netflix for continuing with his show “The Ranch” even as it has severed ties with Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. after allegations of sexual misconduct.

“For me, what Netflix has done feels like a continuation of how the Church of Scientology made me feel when I reported my rape to them, as well as how Danny Masterson made me feel when I would beg him for an apology, an explanation, anything,” Chrissie Carnell Bixler told the Daily Beast. “I was made to feel unimportant. I was made to feel like I didn’t matter.”

Leah Remini’s Emmy award winning A&E show Scientology and the Aftermath has given courage to many of Scientology’s victims who were in the shadows. Terrified of incurring Scientology’s vengeance for speaking out, these people are no longer afraid. Even as the mask is being ripped off the sexual abuse and culture of cover-ups in Hollywood and Washington D.C., the same is happening to Scientology. The predators are being named and called out.

Revoke Scientology’s Tax Exemption Now

The Church of Scientology is able to ply its evil trade only because its ill-gotten 1993 IRS tax exemption. According to Doug Frantz’s seminal 1997 article in the New York Times
Scientology’s Puzzling Journey From Tax Rebel to Tax Exempt it appears that then IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg unfairly rigged the examination in favor of Scientology. As Frantz noted in his article:

Scientology entities were required to submit new applications for exemption, which were to be evaluated by the agency’s exempt organizations division. But something unusual occurred there, too.

Mr. Schoenfeld, the negotiations chairman, ordered the two tax analysts assigned to the review not to consider any substantive matters, according to I.R.S. memorandums and records in the Tax Analysts case. Those issues, Mr. Schoenfeld informed them, had been resolved…

Both analysts, Donna Moore and Terrell M. Berkovsky, wrote memorandums specifying that they had been instructed not to address issues like whether the church was engaged in too much commercial activity or whether its activities provided undue private benefit to its leaders.

IRS tax analysts were forbidden from considering substantive matters. Why did Commissioner Goldberg give such an order? This seems to be a serious violation of IRS rules. Did Commissioner Goldberg violate the US Constitution he was sworn to uphold?

As the 9th Circuit Court noted in Sklar v. Commissioner, the IRS expressed an unconstitutional denominational preference for Scientology by granting it tax exemption:

The Supreme Court has developed a framework for determining whether a statute grants an unconstitutional denominational preference. Under that test, articulated in Larson v. Valente, 456 U.S. 228, 246-47, 102 S.Ct. 1673, 72 L.Ed.2d 33 (1982), the first inquiry is whether or not the law facially discriminates amongst religions. The second inquiry, should it be found that the law does so discriminate, is whether or not, applying strict scrutiny, that discrimination is justified by a compelling governmental interest. Applying this test to the policy of the IRS towards the Church of Scientology, the initial inquiry must be whether the policy facially discriminates amongst religions. Clearly it does, as this tax deduction is available only to members of the Church of Scientology…

Because the facial preference for the Church of Scientology embodied in the IRS’s policy regarding its members cannot be justified by a compelling governmental interest, we would, if required to decide the case on the ground urged by the Sklars, first determine that the IRS policy constitutes an unconstitutional denominational preference under Larson, 456 U.S. at 230, 102 S.Ct. 1673.

It is time for acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin to jointly call for an investigation into Scientology’s tax exemption. Scientology engaged in fraud and misrepresented material facts to the IRS to gain its tax exemption. The 9th Circuit opined in Sklar that the IRS granting Scientology tax exemption constituted an unconstitutional denominational preference.

Since gaining tax exemption Scientology has continued to engage in violations of public policy, bad faith, lies, and psycho-terrorism all funded by tax exempt dollars. This is an outrage. The illegality doctrine clearly applies in the case of the Church of Scientology:

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.

HuffPost: Trump Thinks Scientology Should Have Tax Exemption Revoked, Longtime Aide Says

HuffPost: Trump Thinks Scientology Should Have Tax Exemption Revoked, Longtime Aide Says

Quite an article today in the Huffington Post in which Leah Remini figures prominently:

President Donald Trump believes the Church of Scientology should have its tax exemption revoked, a longtime family aide and current top official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development told an actress and producer in May.

In an unsolicited Twitter message, Lynne Patton, who has worked for the Trump family since 2009, told actress Leah Remini of Trump’s position and said she would interface with the IRS directly to seek more information in an effort to initiate revocation. Remini sent HuffPost copies of Patton’s messages and has declined to comment further…

Leah won an Emmy for her A&E show Scientology and the Aftermath. Leah has influence in Washington DC. All “VGI’s” (Very Good Indicators) as they say in Scientology.

Examining Scientology’s Claims of Victimhood

A Lavish Banquet at Scientology’s Celebrity Centre in Hollywood. This doesn’t look like persecution.

In a previous article we reported on journalist Alexandra Bruell’s exceedingly sloppy work in her Wall Street Journal article on Scientology. Essentially, Bruell uncritically repeated Scientology’s undocumented claims of persecution arising from Leah Remini’s Emmy-winning show Scientology and the Aftermath. As we noted in our previous article:

Without bothering to substantiate even one of Scientology’s claims, WSJ columnist Alexandra Bruell uncritically quoted this bit of Scientology hysteria:

“Leah Remini’s hate campaign of religious bigotry in its first season alone generated more than 400 incidents of harassment, threats of violence and vandalism against our churches and members,” reads one letter from STAND, dated from August and addressed to Geico’s assistant vice president of marketing Bill Brower. “The threat level has again risen, precisely coincident with A&E’s promotion and airing of the second season of this show, now spawning even more threats—bombings, murder and acts of physical violence.”

Alexandra Bruell apparently couldn’t be bothered to ask for even one shred of hard evidence from Scientology in the form of police reports, threatening e-mails, or any other substantiating proof. Instead, Bruell simply repeated Scientology’s claim. This sort of lazy journalism is highly offensive to the victims of Scientology and serves only to tarnish the reputation of the Wall Street Journal. I actually wondered how this unvetted story got by WSJ editors.

What are the real facts about violence against Scientology?

For a more in-depth analysis of Scientology’s suspect claims, we turn to Dr. Jeff Wasel.

Dr. Wasel holds Masters and Ph.D degrees from the London School of Economics (LSE), and is an expert in financial crime and related criminal behaviors, risk, and compliance. As a researcher with the LSE’s Information Systems Innovation Group, he was one of the earliest, post-9/11 investigators to examine the use of behavioral profiling, data mining and data analytics, in uncovering, understanding, and disrupting the use of money laundering, hawala, and other terrorism-related financial networks, as well as those of trans-national criminal organizations (TCOs). Additionally, Dr. Wasel and his LSE colleagues contributed to an EU-sponsored, multi-year, multi-disciplinary, profiling, data privacy and data protection research initiative, the Future of Identity in the Information Society, (FIDIS). Outcomes from the FIDIS initiative, made a significant contribution to the enactment of the robust, EU-wide data protection statutes now in place, and recently used so effectively by Hungarian authorities against Scientology in Hungary.

Using a variety of perspectives, methods, and tools, Dr. Wasel has been investigating the financial irregularities of the Church of Scientology for over ten years. While Scientology has been the subject of studies by several noted New Religious Movement (NRMs) scholars, Dr. Wasel’s ongoing work differs significantly in this regard; rather than researching Scientology from a theologian’s historical, and/or subjective, philosophical perspective, his research emphasizes a quantitative, forensically-grounded, multi-disciplinary approach, drawn from the fields of accounting, psychology, criminology, statistics, and data science, among other fields.

With this unique approach, Dr. Wasel has identified patterns of behavior that may indicate violations such as inurement, entanglement of funds, corporate governance irregularities, and tax avoidance/under-reporting; financial crimes such as fraud, structuring, and money laundering; and immigration crimes such as visa fraud, and human trafficking among other, ongoing egregious activities; such patterns are in addition to the Church of Scientology’s already extensive list of widely-documented and verified cases of criminal and anti-social behavior. I asked Dr. Wasel for his analysis of Scientology’s claims of having been the target of “increased violence” due to Leah Remini’s show. His analysis is as follows:

It is clear from her recent article, that WSJ reporter Alexandra Bruell failed to properly source or validate any of Scientology’s claims of “violence”, wherein Scientology asserted increased threat levels against both it’s members and property, as a means to legitimize its call for a boycott against those companies sponsoring Leah Remini’s “Aftermath” show on the A&E network. In addition to these perceived threats of physical violence, Scientology has also called for a boycott in response to alleged “religious bigotry”, above and beyond the alleged “hate crimes and violence” against its members. However, as the following analysis will demonstrate, there is no substance to the Church of Scientology’s allegations; moreover, given the seriousness of these allegations, both the Church of Scientology and Ms. Bruell, have failed to produce any independently substantiated evidence for the Church’s sensationalistic claims.

A basic Google search uncovers easily verifiable evidence that Scientology’s claims have no basis in fact. As an example, a recent report (2016/2017) conducted by the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, a research institution located within California State San Bernardino, and entitled “Final U.S. Status Report: Hate Crime Analysis & Forecast For 2016/2017,” provides a wealth of data refuting the Church’s spurious claims, all in a concise, well-articulated, and visually compelling format; an earnest skimming of the charts and graphs alone, would have invalidated the church’s position, let alone a thorough reading of this detailed investigation. The detail in the report is reflected in both the breadth and depth of it’s data sources: for instance, the authors note that it is a “compilation of official, vetted police data from over 40 U.S. cities, counties and states.” Subsequently, given the depth of analysis therein, as well as my own efforts in analyzing this report, it’s not surprising that I can find no evidence of any hate crime or hate-related violence, directed specifically towards the Church of Scientology or any of its members or properties. Indeed, no mention of Scientology appears anywhere in the report. (A PDF of this report appears at the bottom of this article). If such violence against Scientologists occurred as alleged, it was never reported in a way that would reflect among the widely available criminal justice and policy-related statistical data sources included in this report.

Tellingly, law enforcement agencies for both Los Angeles, which has the highest concentration of Scientologists anywhere in the world, and Clearwater, Florida, home to the second largest concentration of Scientologists world-wide, (as well as both cities having provided significant data sources for this report), reported no acts of criminal violence against Scientologists or their property. Perhaps more revealing, is the fact that the Church hasn’t produced any rebuttal, nor supporting data, for either the media or the public to review, in substantiating not only their most recent claims, but historical evidence of any concerted “pattern of violence” against church property or it’s individual members.

This lack of data stands in stark contrast to the expensive study the Church of Scientology funded to show its positive financial impact on the City of Clearwater. In that study, released in 2014 and conducted by the Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis at Florida State University, the Church spared no effort in offering a wealth of detailed information on its beneficial financial contribution to Clearwater.

However, what the report doesn’t say reveals more about the church’s motivations: the “contribution” the church touts, is the result of hotel taxes and property taxes it pays as a result of it’s significant real estate holdings in the Clearwater area; no where does the report mention any ecclesiastical, social, or cultural benefits resulting from Scientology’s presence. That’s not surprising, given Scientology contractually shields itself in this regard, by stating that by practicing it’s “religion”, it promises no spiritual outcomes whatsoever, nor does it’s “dissemination,” Scientology’s version of proselytizing, involve anything less than a hard sell cash grab.

This begs the question: Why then, has the Church of Scientology not funded an equally extensive study, supporting its claims of increased violence against it’s members and property, as a result of Ms. Remini’s show? The answer is simple: The evidence for Scientology’s claims is statistically nonexistent; moreover, any efforts towards inferring even the slightest connection between the two, however tangentially, have been half-hearted or uncoordinated at best. Aside from an isolated incident of a young man, the son of former Sea Org members, throwing a hammer through the window of a Scientology church — a crime for which he was arrested and convicted for — Scientology has produced no hard evidence to sustain its claim that Ms. Remini’s show resulted in “more than 400 incidents of harassment, threats of violence and vandalism against our churches and members.”

Not only does Scientology fail to produce any evidence, of what would be a statistically significant representation, (it’s alleged “400 incidents”), it also fails to prove any causal relationship between Ms. Remini’s show and any claimed acts of violence, let alone a statistically significant, Federally-monitored “hate crime”. Rather, Scientology typically relies upon worn-out, demographically or culturally suspect tropes, red herrings, or vague, academically tenuous or discredited “studies”; for instance, in regards to causal factors of “violence”, they reference the statistically tenuous links between violent, first person shooter video games, and varying indicators of supposed increased levels of violence among particular “categories” of “young” people. It’s clear that analyzing, or more so, the accurate parsing of data, is incompatible with the generalities and situational veracity that comprise any Scientology narrative or behavioral rationalization; though when all else fails, the default defense or “reasoned response” is one of misdirection, ad hominem, slander, or gross generalization.

While the report shows that there has been a significant rise in hate-related crimes across the country, such crimes are predominantly racially-based. Religious-specific hate crimes comprise 19.7% of the aggregate, with anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish crimes predominating. As I indicated, Scientology is not mentioned anywhere in the span of this report, nor in any reliable reporting for 2017 that I was able to source otherwise. More revealing, is that the vast majority of crimes are against people, not places, further exposing Scientology’s lie as to violence directed against Scientology-owned properties. One can further extrapolate from this distinction, that in addition to the dearth of property crime, any concerted efforts directed at individual members is also exaggerated, given Scientology’s hysterical pronouncements regarding any perceived slight, let alone physical assault.

In assessing the context of the report, I would offer a few considerations to the reader. Although America’s post-election social domain has certainly been turbulent, the author(s) appear to have omitted a competent contextual discussion, in situating a comparison between the current state of anti-Muslim bias/violence, as it relates to, for instance, the last 10 years, or the role of media bias. Furthermore, they fail to include any baseline longitudinal (time) stipulations or controls in this regard, given that anti-Muslim behavior has risen steadily since 9/11, potentially skewing the mean; it could well be considered a constant in this regard.

Additionally, political/terror actions by jihadists, or conversely, by Jews, both here or in the Middle East, can induce random situational spikes, and I see no mention of having longitudinally rationalized these spikes in the data. The contextual significance evolves from factors such as the editorial coverage of ISIS’ and other terror group activity in 2016, along with repressive Israeli military activity, and increased pro-Palestinian activism, specifically the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement across the academic and SJW world. That said, in all fairness, responsibility for my concerns rests on both those compiling the data sourced by the authors, as well as the authors themselves.

Lastly, the use of unqualified data from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is problematic in my view; in recent years, much of SPLC’s analysis and research has become verifiably politicized, and no longer enjoys it’s previous reputation for objectivity and methodological rigor. Having used earlier examples of Mr. Dees and Co.’s data on extremism in America, it pains me to make such an observation. Aside from subjectivity of it’s advocacy efforts, it’s worrying that the SPLC is not unique these days, in having the objectivity of its research and policy data subverted through a variety of questionable means. It’s an unfortunate reflection of contemporary norms within the “wonk world,” in that the sourcing and delivering of objective research, has become more incumbent on sponsor dollars, rather than scholarship, intellectual rigor, and personal integrity.

In closing, I would encourage readers to study the report; stylistically, it’s well-written and refreshingly free of multi-syllabic academic drudgery, and significantly, is disturbingly informative. To that, this report certainly refutes the Church of Scientology’s victimization narrative, and all of it’s hypocritical, hyperbolic venting regarding “bigotry and hate”, while simply reiterating that STAND, (STTAD? STOOD? Whatever the hell), has no leg to “STAND” on… Surprise, surprise.

Final Hate Crime 17 Status Report pdf

Note: Hover over PDF with your mouse to pull up page up/page down controls

US Bankruptcy Court Ruling: Scientologists Matt and Kathy Feshbach Cannot Discharge $3.8 Million in Income Taxes

Fessbachs

An excellent article in Forbes by Jay D. Adkisson concerns Scientologists Matt and Kathy Feshbach. Adkisson’s article was the feature subject of a recent column Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker. The community commentary was fascinating.

Essentially, the US Bankruptcy Court refused to allow the Fessbach’s to discharge $3.8 million in their Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

In her 40 page ruling, US Bankruptcy Judge Catherine McEwen cited both the Fessbach’s refusal to curb their lavish spending and large donations to their church (Scientology) as among the reasons for refusing to discharge their substantial tax debt via bankruptcy.

In September 2008, the Fessbach’s made an Offer in Compromise (OIC) to the IRS to settle their 2001 tax debt of $3.6 million for $120,000, this to be made in payments over 48 months. The IRS declined the Fessbach’s unreasonable offer to settle for pennies on the dollar of the amount owed.

Judge McEwen wrote:

Feshbach.1
The Fessbach’s made “in excess of $21 million in income” and yet sought to discharge $3.8 million in taxes owed. The court remarked that the Feshbach’s clearly had the money to pay their tax debt but did not do so. The Feshbach’s tried to claim their lucrative income as “phantom income” that they never really had. The court rejected their line of argument in its ruling:

US-v-Feshbach-Memo-on-Dischargeability

Note: Hover over the document with your pointer to get the control panel to appear.

The Bankruptcy Court’s ruling stands in stark contrast to the Feshbach’s 2011 declaration in which they represented themselves as veritable paupers:

Feshbach-Declaration.2011

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Keeping Up with Matt Feshbach.

Even during his Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Matt Feshbach was still promoting his “World Famous” Finance Seminar to his fellow Scientologists:


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In her 2017 ruling against the Feshbach’s, US Bankruptcy Court Judge Catherine Peek McEwen noted:

“…how does any portion of the Feshbachs’ half-million dollars-plus in charitable contributions aid them to repay their tax debt? If there’s an explanation, it wasn’t offered at trial. As a rule, it’s hard to imagine how giving money away would bolster an individual’s future income potential. And this case is no exception to that rule. The overwhelming majority of the Feshbachs’ charitable giving benefitted a church that happened to be one to which Mrs. Feshbach’s personal interests were directly tied. In fact, Mrs. Feshbach owned and operated her own mission, with the main purpose of “introduc[ing] people to what [her church’s religion] is.”Thus, it’s quite clear that there was no link at all between the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the Feshbachs donated to the church and Mr. Feshbach’s earnings, but rather, there was a direct link between the charitable spending and Mrs. Feshbach’s religious pursuits. The Court does not admonish the Feshbachs (or any other debtors) for supporting worthy charitable causes. However, “[i]f individuals choose to donate part of their income to charity, whether religious or secular, they must adjust their expenditures accordingly to live within the confines of their available income.”

Judge McEwen continued:

More to the point, the Feshbachs could have immediately reduced their tax debt by more than $1 million by simply canceling their personal vacations and giving up the rented house in Aspen. They could have saved a similar amount by dramatically reducing their unreasonable clothing allowance and foregoing charitable giving altogether. These are just a few of the available examples that prove the superficiality of their claimed inability to pay.

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Like Richie Acunto before them, Matt and Kathy Feshbach become bankrupt Scientologists. Richie Acunto’s $10 million dollar IAS trophy ignominiously wound up for sale on eBay. That money could have helped Acunto rescue his company Survival Insurance. See Tony Ortega’s excellent article The Scientologist who wouldn’t fly: The rise and fall of insurance mogul Richie Acunto. Likewise, the millions the Feshbach’s gave Scientology over the decades could have paid their income tax liability.

Matt Feshbach, the one time master of the trading world with his brothers and their “shorting against the box” strategy was ultimately financially ruined because he simply did not pay his income taxes when he had the money to do so. Feshbach claimed changes in the tax code were responsible but the court established that despite these changes Feshbach had the income to pay his tax bill.

The US Bankruptcy Court noted that the Feshbach’s could have paid their entire tax debt had they simply curbed their excessive and lavish spending on a luxury lifestyle. The Feshbach’s thought they could ultimately beat the IRS by going bankrupt. However, they lost that bet when the court found that the couple had, “willfully attempted to evade their tax debt within the meaning of 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(1)(C).

Judge Catherine Peek McEwen will enter a separate final judgment in favor of the United States in this proceeding. Matt and Kathy Feshbach will have to pay the $3.8 million in back taxes they owe the IRS.

In the conclusion to her ruling, Judge Catherine Peek McEwen said something that both the Feshbach’s and the Church of Scientology itself should take heed of but never will:

Sometimes, as with the facts in this proceeding, it is tragically foolish to hold firm to a spend-money-to-make-money conviction. The Feshbachs made poor spending decisions, continually leading a life of excess in the face of serious, known financial obstacles. At all times, their primary concern should have been reducing their substantial tax debt. But as their immoderate spending choices show, they were far more focused on living in the lap of luxury. They would have been wise to heed the proverb which cautions that enough is better than too much. As it is, however, the Feshbachs’ misjudgment ultimately cost them complete relief. Having concluded that the Feshbachs willfully attempted to evade their tax debt within the meaning of 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(1)(C), the Court rules that such debt is nondischargeable. Accordingly, the Court will enter a separate final judgment in favor of the United States in this proceeding.

“Enough is better than too much” is a lesson that the rapacious Church of Scientology will never learn. Wanting too much of everything — money, breaking up families, punishing people, using child labor and so many other things — is one of the main reasons why Scientology is collapsing.

Narconon: Dumping Penniless Drugs Addicts at Bus Stations


The shocking letter below was posted by RMYcroft at Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker. The letter details a complaint investigation conducted by the State of Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Essentially, a Narconon Center called Serenity Point Recovery dumped one of its “patients” at a bus station. This person had no money, no identification, and no means to get back home. The intake contract addicts sign at Serenity Point Recovery allows this Narconon-licensed “recovery” center to dump addicts at bus stations or homeless shelters under certain circumstances. Yet, drug addicts are not, by definition, mentally competent to either understand or sign contracts. Drug addicts need treatment because they are not thinking rationally and are making self-destructive life choices. Nevertheless, Serenity Point Recovery makes drugs addicts sign this reprehensible contract.

The letter below shows, once again, how the Church of Scientology and its related front groups use contracts to strip people of their rights. In this particular case, Serenity Point Recovery uses a contract to relieve itself of any legal or moral obligation to ensure the safe return home of any drug addict it expels from treatment.

This contract allows Serenity Point to literally dump a drug addict, a person who is not in a mentally competent condition, penniless into the street — and this after the addict’s family or an insurance company already has paid $30,000 – $40,000 for treatment. The question that needs to be asked of government regulators: Why doesn’t Serenity Point Recovery have a minimum legal obligation to set aside $500 for food and a bus ticket back home for an addict? That would be the humane thing to do to ensure a safe way for the addict to return home.

NarcononSerenity.Point

Note: Hover over the page to get the control functions to appear.

19,000 Scientologists?

SCNS.SF

Marauding Scientologists in San Francisco take to the streets with their pseudoscientific literature on drugs. Scientology’s cure for drugs? $360,000 in Scientology auditing and courses.

A frequently asked question: How many members does the Church of Scientology have?

I suggest that the better question is this: How many Scientologists are left in the Church after what has been a continuing mass exodus since 2005?

In 2014, Scientology Public Affairs Director Ms. Pat Harney was quoted in a Scientology-commissioned study in which she gave a figure of 19,000 Scientologists:

In 2013 over 9,000 parishioners visited the Church from around the world for Scientology religious services, many more than once, and for an average 36 days per visit. Additionally, about 10,000 Scientology parishioners currently reside in the Tampa Bay area. It is expected that those current numbers will increase given the recent opening of the Flag Building (providing additional specialized religious training and counseling services)

I am always skeptical of Scientology’s numbers because the Church has routinely lied about numbers since it began. For example, Scientology has variously claimed 12,000,000 members, 8,000,000 million members, and millions of members. None of these claims have ever been substantiated by something as simple as an independent third party audit of Scientology’s actual IAS list of active members in good standing with the Church. That’s what it would take to find the real number because Scientology has zero transparency on anything.

Nevertheless, as Pat Harney offered her 2014 numbers to the Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis at Florida State University, let us give them credibility. I say this because one would certainly expect the study’s authors Julie Harrington, Ph.D., Martijn Niekus, Drs., and David Glassner to have verified Harney’s numbers against internal Church of Scientology records.

Pat Harney’s number is buttressed by Scientology’s number given on its webpage about the 2013 grand opening of the Flag Building in Clearwater:

10,273 Scientologists.

One perfectly poised ribbon.

One ceremonial stage.

Welcome to the crowning accomplishment at the top of our Bridge.

Using Pat Harney’s number of 19,000 Scientologists gives us a year 2013 baseline of the approximate total members remaining in the Church: 10,000 in the Tampa Bay area of Florida and 9,000 elsewhere. We can safely assume that the vast majority of the 10,000 Scientologists in Tampa Bay attended the grand opening of the Flag Building as this was a mandatory event at which Scientology leader David Miscavige spoke.

Much to the consternation of Mr. Miscavige the event was memorably overflown by the Messrs. Rinder and Bennitt in a helicopter:

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Harney opined that Scientology’s membership would increase with the opening of the Flag Building. Harney, however, has not offered a current statement of Scientology’s membership based on 2013-2017 numbers. Thus, Harney’s 2013 expectation of increased membership remains purely speculative.

It has long been maintained that Los Angeles has the highest concentration of Scientologists in the world but the Church of Scientology is itself contradictory on this matter. In 2010, David Miscavige opened the “Ideal Church of Scientology Los Angeles” which was actually the same old Church of Scientology Los Angeles that it has always been. At Scientology’s own website we are informed of the following:

The fully renovated Church of Scientology of Los Angeles was rededicated April 24, 2010 in ceremonies attended by 6,000 Scientologists and their guests.

While speaking at this 2010 rededication David Miscavige himself stated:

In describing the significance of the city of Los Angeles to Scientologists, Mr. Miscavige said: “It’s the city where the Church of Scientology was first incorporated in 1954. While even more than that, it’s the city with the largest concentration of Scientologists on Earth.”

Pat Harney claimed that 10,000 Scientologists lived in the Clearwater area in 2013 and 9,000 lived elsewhere. Harney’s statement falsifies David Miscavige’s assertion that Los Angeles is, “the city with the largest concentration of Scientologists on Earth.”

Events at which David Miscavige speaks are considered mandatory events and all Scientologists are expected to attend. Indeed, there is a huge effort made weeks before a Miscavige event to get everyone to attend. Sea Org are ordered to attend and to dress in civilian clothing, their so-called “Uniform K.”

Assuming, therefore, that the 2010 Los Angeles Miscavige event had maximal attendance, the numbers indicate that the location with the largest concentration of Scientologists on Earth is, in fact, the Tampa Bay area of Florida. According to Harney’s 2014 numbers, Tampa Bay has 4,000 more Scientologists residing there than in Los Angeles.

As for the Los Angeles numbers: The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles seats 6,300 people and Scientology rents the Shrine for events. Thus, the 6,000 in attendance at the rededication of the Church of Scientology of Los Angeles and the 6,300 seat capacity at the Shrine give us a reasonable basis to conclude that there are about 6,000 Scientologists in the Los Angeles area.

If the Tampa Bay area has 10,000 Scientologists and Los Angeles 6,000, then the remaining 3,000 Scientologists would most likely be concentrated in England, Italy, Germany, Taiwan, and Russia. Given the uncompromising determination of the Russian Federal Police to protect Russians from fraud by continually raiding Scientology’s Orgs in that country, Russia may well be outlawed there soon. The same goes for Hungary.

Please do comment. I would like as much data as possible on how many Scientologists you think remain in the Church. Leaks are always welcome.