St. Hill

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.

How Scientology’s 1970s infiltration scandal led to the creation of its IAS slush fund

(Authored by Jeffrey Augustine, this essay was originally published by Tony Ortega at the Underground Bunker and is reprinted here for archival purposes)

July 8, 1977: The FBI conducts a massive raid on the Church of Scientology to find evidence relating to its “Snow White Program.” The raid eventually leads to eleven top Scientology leaders being criminally charged and convicted for their role in the conspiracy to burglarize federal offices.

SEFThese Scientology defendants, including Mary Sue Hubbard, wife of Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, needed a great deal of money for legal defense. So in 1978 Scientology’s notorious Guardian’s Office created the “Safe Environment Fund” (SEF) to pay for the significant legal expenses of the GO members who had been indicted. Essentially, the SEF was a GO legal slush fund that generated a significant amount of unrestricted donations.

The GO could spend the money on almost anything broadly related to the defense of the Guardian’s Office members. This included funding private investigators to engage in spying and dirty tricks. Even as the GO became the precursor of OSA, the SEF became the precursor of the IAS.

One of the more notorious church operations likely funded by the SEF involved the private investigator Richard Bast, who was hired to find dirt on Judge Charles R. Richey.

After the Snow White Program was busted up, nine top Scientologists, including Mary Sue, were indicted and faced trial. (Two more, Jane Kember and Mo Budlong, first needed to be extradited from England.) Two judges recused themselves from the case before Richey took it, and then, in the summer of 1979, he traveled to Los Angeles to hold trial. After the defendants stipulated to evidence submitted by the FBI in return for the dropping of all but one charge against them, Richey found them guilty and prepared to sentence them. Bast, meanwhile, swung into action. He found a US marshal who had traveled with Richey to LA who told Bast that the judge had paid for prostitutes. Bast fed the information to columnist Jack Anderson, and Richey recused himself — but not before he’d sentenced Mary Sue and other initial eight defendants to prison sentences, most of about two to four years.

Bast was paid $321,000 and $84,000 in expenses for his work, which, adjusted for inflation, would be about $1.2 million today. In his book The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, Tony Ortega describes Bast’s operation not only against Judge Richey, but also against Paulette Cooper, who was duped into being hired by Bast under the pretense that the private eye was working for a Swiss millionaire who wanted to expose Scientology.

And Bast orchestrated one other nefarious caper designed to destroy an additional judge. Vicki Aznaran, the former President of the Religious Technology Center (Scientology’s nominally controlling entity), revealed this particular Bast caper in her declaration of August 9, 1998:

Dick Bast secured a yacht and attempted to get the judge on board for the purpose of filming him under compromising circumstances. The judge declined to go yachting and the operation was unsuccessful. Approximately $250,000 was spent on the operation.

While the US Government and the media took serious note of Scientology’s hardball tactics and willingness to spend vast sums of cash to smear a US Judge, so did a ruthless twenty-year-old Sea Org member named David Miscavige. While Miscavige was not a part of the Guardian’s Office, he was at this point handling some of L. Ron Hubbard’s more urgent problems.

When it became apparent that the GO defendants were going down in flames, the Church decided it was best to avoid a messy public trial in which Mary Sue Hubbard and the other defendants would be cross-examined at length on the record, and that’s why they signed the stipulation of evidence mentioned earlier.

Mary Sue appealed her prison sentence using SEF money while she remained in control of the Guardian’s Office. Meanwhile, L. Ron Hubbard went into hiding in February 1980 and remained in hiding until his death on January 24, 1986. Mary Sue never saw or heard from her husband after he went into hiding.

Although the Snow White Program had become a colossal train wreck, L. Ron Hubbard’s goal to eliminate, by all means possible, the legal threats against himself remained unchanged. In 1981, Hubbard effectively transferred the goals of the Snow White Program from the Guardian’s Office to a newly created entity called the “All Clear Unit.” David Miscavige was a prominent figure in this unit. During this period, Miscavige was able to force Mary Sue to resign as Controller of the Guardian’s Office and force her into exile and house arrest.

In the power vacuum created by the collapse of the Guardian’s Office and Mary Sue’s fall from grace, the Office of Special Affairs was created in 1982. The GO’s intelligence and Fair Game functions, and many of its personnel, were transferred into OSA. The Snow White Program’s “Programs Op” Linda Hamel was among the GO personnel relocated into OSA. Linda Hamel is now the Commanding Officer of OSA International.

By April 1982, Mary Sue Hubbard had exhausted her legal appeals. On January 7, 1983 Mary Sue was sentenced to four years in prison (she actually served only a year):
MSHSentence

With the final Snow White Program defendant behind bars in 1983, the Guardian’s Office-tainted SEF had served its purpose. As with all people and things in the Church that have outlived their usefulness or have become a PR liability, Mary Sue Hubbard, the GO, and the SEF were, in L, Ron Hubbard’s words, “disposed of quietly and without sorrow.” Mary Sue’s name was even purged from the 1978 edition of What Is Scientology?

The Snow White Program and the SEF had taught the Church a very valuable lesson: Having a large slush fund that was legally autonomous from the Church was a very important resource to possess — particularly given Scientology’s penchant for vicious Fair Game tactics that were either on the edge of law or crossed over into illegality.

This lesson was particularly relevant to David Miscavige. Indeed, about one year after Mary Sue’s incarceration in a federal penitentiary, Miscavige learned that both he and Founder Hubbard were the subject of an investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (IRS CID). Miscavige needed to move fast to kill this looming IRS CID investigation. Therefore, just as the Church had dismantled the Guardian’s Office on paper and resurrected it as the Office of Special Affairs, the SEF was also resurrected as the International Association of Scientologists (IAS). As the old French proverb states, “The more things change the more they remain the same.”

With its usual sense of overblown grandiosity, the Church evoked the signing of the US Declaration of Independence when it created the IAS in October 1985, or “AD 35” in the “After Dianetics” Scientology calendar created by Hubbard. Held at Saint Hill, the event included a ceremony that featured “delegates” using a quill pen to sign a “Pledge to Mankind” printed on parchment.

After having been unceremoniously kicked out of Saint Hill at thirteen years of age for having slugged his female preclear during an auditing session, David Miscavige made a triumphal return to “Ron’s home” in 1985 as a signatory on the IAS Pledge to Mankind. Pictured below, Miscavige is seen front row center in his red tie:
SaintHillMiscavige

True to form, Miscavige rolled out the IAS by stating that the previous membership organization, the “International Membership” program that was sold to Scientologists between 1977-1984, was illegal and off-source. See underlined text in this excerpt from Scientology Policy Directive 104R of 31 October 1985:
IASRulesScientologists were told to cheer for the on-source IAS as it was a “war chest” beyond the reach of the evil IRS.

Just how beyond the reach of the IRS was the IAS?

Shares of the IAS were held in trust by two individual Scientologists: Carl Heldt and Maureen Brigatti. These shares, in turn, were held in trust by the shadowy Curaçao Trust Management on Curaçao. President of the IAS Janet Light owned 1 percent of the shares and these were ultimately held in trust by the murky Theta Management Ltd. on Cyprus:
IASOwnership If you cannot follow the chain of IAS ownership it is because no one is supposed to be able to follow it. Theta Management LTD. was dissolved in 1993 and its functions transferred to the IASA. Presumably, the shares held in trust by Theta Management were transferred to the IAS to be held in trust. Curaçao Trust Management (CTM) still plays an unknown role in the IAS. For many years, the IAS was purportedly based aboard the M.V. Freewinds and was thus considered a “non-situs” trust, meaning it had no fixed location.

As previously covered, the IAS domesticated in 2007 and became a Delaware corporation. This may have been due to two events. First, new and stricter US laws went into effect for American companies and individuals holding offshore assets. The US Government was cracking down on money laundering and money that could be used to fund terrorism. Second, it seems that Curaçao Trust Management was becoming increasingly involved in managing online gaming monies. The IAS perhaps may have wanted to distance itself somewhat from CTM and its owner the Dutch tax lawyer and Curaçao national Englemindus George Praag. One of the most shadowy figures in the “shadow side” of Scientology, George Praag goes back decades with the Church.

The Snow White Program was clearly a case of Scientology turning lemons into lemonade, or in this case felonies into a billion dollar slush fund. As mentioned in our previous article on the IAS, CO OSA Linda Hamel is a trustee of the US IAS Members Trust. Thus, Scientology’s spy boss has access to a pile of money to, say, pay lawyers to pay private investigators to pay other private investigators to hack the email accounts of Scientology critics and ex-members.

Documents filed in the Garcia vs. IAS et. al. lawsuit yielded an intriguing item. Buried in the back pages of one filing provided by the Church was a bad photocopy of CO OSA Linda Hamel’s driver’s license. At last, a photo of Linda Hamel:
Linda_Hamel