Jackie Lacey

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.