FBI Investigation of Scientology: Already Over Before We Even Heard of It

Categories: Scientology

FBILogo.png
In February 2011, the New Yorker published Lawrence Wright's superb 24,000-word piece about director Paul Haggis and the Church of Scientology, "The Apostate."

One of the most interesting things in the story was a revelation that made news all on its own: Wright reported that the FBI was investigating Scientology for human trafficking abuses.

More than a year later, the Voice has learned stunning new details about the FBI's investigation -- that by around June, 2010, the agency was preparing to raid Scientology's California international headquarters using high resolution footage shot from drone aircraft, and had also recorded the tail numbers on airplanes owned by Tom Cruise in case Scientology leader David Miscavige should try to abscond from the scene.

But the most surprising thing we've learned: by the time the New Yorker revealed the existence of the FBI probe in February 2011, the investigation itself had been dead for some four months.

Last week, I was in Clearwater, Florida for a couple of days interviewing Mike Rinder, who until 2007 was the top spokesman in the church and also was the executive director of Scientology's intelligence wing, the Office of Special Affairs.

Over those two days, Rinder and I talked about a lot of subjects for several future stories. Near the end of those sessions, I asked Rinder what many of our readers have asked over the past year -- what happened with the FBI?

What he said inspired me to call up several other former high-ranking Scientologists who had all been interviewed by the FBI in 2009 and 2010. Piecing together what they told me, I've been able to come up with an outline which describes how seriously the US government considered raiding the International Base -- and how long ago the FBI suddenly changed its mind.


Sworn to Secrecy

"I saw them in November 2009. I had to give them a history lesson. They had no clue," Marty Rathbun tells me, describing his first meeting with FBI agents. "I told them they were no match for the Church of Scientology."

Until 2004, Rathbun was the second-highest ranking official in the church, answering only to Miscavige in his role as Inspector General-Ethics of the Religious Technology Center, Scientology's controlling entity. After he left, Rathbun laid low for several years until, in 2009, he started up a blog and began harshly criticizing Miscavige and the way the church is being run. And it was also that year that he began talking to the FBI, whose investigation was being led by Tricia Whitehill and later Valerie Venegas, agents who each specialize in human trafficking cases, which can include allegations of slave labor.

MartyRathbun3.JPG
Mark "Marty" Rathbun
"I told them everything. Everything I've said publicly and then some," he tells me. But Rathbun, who helped oversee Scientology's "fair game" campaigns against enemies that used complex methods of surveillance and control, was disappointed by how little the federal agents seemed to know of that history.

"They were goodhearted, but so unsophisticated," he says. "They told me the church didn't know about the investigation. Are you kidding me? I said. I already know all of the people you've talked to. You think the church doesn't know that too?"

I asked Rathbun what the agents seemed to be interested in, and what he told them over days of talks.

"How Miscavige lords over Scientology from the minute he gets up in the morning and until he goes to bed at night. That his number one priority is, 'Who's blown?' And he had his inspector general -- that was me -- on it. It's his number one priority. He micromanages every security measure. And every unlawful measure to track people and get them back to the reservation and keep them quiet," he says, using Scientology jargon -- "blown" -- for escape. "I went through it chapter and verse, and had it corroborated by Mike Rinder and other people."

More than a dozen ex-Scientologists participated in the investigation; each was given a confidential informant number and a code name. They were told that under no circumstances could they tell anyone that they were cooperating with the agents. For months, Whitehill and Venegas gathered information, and learned the ropes of Scientology's complex ways.

By June 22, 2010, when Tiziano Lugli met with them at the federal building in Los Angeles, the agents seemed to have learned a great deal.

"They knew Miscavige, Int Base, auditing, all the lingo. They were at the same level as Larry Wright or Janet Reitman, someone who had really done their homework," says Lugli, an Italian musician and music producer who was excommunicated -- declared a "suppressive person" -- by Scientology two years ago.

"I had to drop my PIs before I went there," he says, laughing about how at the time, up to ten private investigators hired by the church were trailing him, and he had to shake them before meeting with the FBI.

"I was there for three hours. They couldn't tell me anything about what would happen, but they said trust us, justice will be done," he says.

BrousseauP51.JPG
John Brousseau works on the model of a P51 Mustang, a gift for Tom Cruise. At the time, Brousseau was a Sea Org member making pennies an hour.
By that time, June 2010, the investigation seemed to have benefited from a key break. Rathbun and Rinder and others had given detailed information about church executives being held against their will at the Int Base, which is about 90 miles east of Los Angeles, near the town of Hemet. The executives were held in a place Miscavige called "the Hole" -- an office-prison made up of two double-wide trailers where fallen officials were kept day and night, sleeping on the floor and being forced to take part in mass confessions. But there was a problem -- it had been two or more years since Rathbun and Rinder had left the base. Without fresher information, it would be difficult for the FBI to act, they were told. But then, in April 2010, a worker named John Brousseau escaped from the base, and he managed to bring with him damning evidence of Sea Org members toiling for the benefit of Miscavige and Tom Cruise.

With Brousseau's fresh information, the FBI seemed to have what it needed, and the investigation reached a fever pitch.

"They were excited because I was newly out. I told them everything I could think of," Brousseau tells me.

After talking with more than half a dozen of the people who gave information to the FBI, we gleaned these details of the FBI's plans about raiding the base to free the executives held against their will in the "The Hole" as the summer of 2010 began:

-- The FBI had gathered high resolution images of the base using drone aircraft that were so detailed, informants were able to identify individuals in the images for the agency.

-- Expecting David Miscavige to flee the base once he, in all probability, got tipped to the raid, his various avenues of escape were evaluated, including the possibility that he'd make for Tom Cruise's private hangar in Burbank. The tail numbers on Cruise's aircraft were even gathered, one informant says.

-- At least three informants were asked if they'd be willing to go along on a raid of the base in a black, unmarked van, from which they could relay instructions to agents as they apprehended people.

-- Another informant was asked if he'd be willing to pretend to recant his defection from the church, and then go back to work at the base as an undercover plant.

-- One informant says raids were planned not only for the International Base, but also for each of the Church of Spiritual Technology locations, the vaults where Hubbard's works are being archived that we wrote about last month.

CruiseHangar1.JPG
A photo John Brousseau took inside Tom Cruise's private Burbank airplane hangar, which was decorated by Sea Org members.
Then, something happened. We've heard a few different stories from informants about incidents on the local level which may have motivated FBI officials in Washington to kill the investigation, but Rathbun and Rinder both tell me they believe those local incidents were merely excuses for what both of them had expected would happen.

Some time before October 6, 2010, word came from Washington that the the probe was finished.

Here's how we know that.

On October 6, a young man named Daniel Montalvo was arrested by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Office. We wrote at the time about Montalvo, a worker in Scientology's Bridge Publications who had grown up in the church but decided to escape the Sea Org, the elite corps of workers who sign billion-year contracts. On his way out, he had taken with him some hard drives, and although he almost immediately returned these, the church had him arrested for theft.

TizianoLugli.JPG
Tiziano Lugli
Lugli, who had been helping Montalvo, tells me that the young man tried to call him from jail with a collect call, but Lugli wasn't sure who it was trying to reach him. On a hunch, he phoned FBI agent Valerie Venegas, who confirmed that Montalvo had been taken into custody.

It had been four months since his meeting with Venegas at the federal building, when the investigation had been at a high pitch. Now, Lugli says, Venegas seemed to have a very different demeanor. He asked her what was happening with the case.

"She said something about pressure from Washington, and the investigation getting spiked," he tells me. "I asked her if they had been infiltrated from the top, and if the hold had come from Washington, and she confirmed it for me. She said she didn't care what Washington says, that she was still in the middle of the case."

Lugli says she didn't sound very convincing about that. More importantly, he says, she definitely confirmed that word had come from Washington that the probe was done. "I asked her if it had been spiked from the top, and she said yes."

About a week later, Lugli says he called Venegas again, this time suggesting that she might want to talk to Jason Beghe, the actor who had left Scientology and criticized the church harshly in a 2008 YouTube video.

Lugli says she declined to speak directly to Beghe, and she complained that there was now a leak of information -- she had received a phone call from a reporter asking about the probe. Lugli realizes now that she was referring to New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright.

"She was very upset," Lugli says. "At this point, the thing was a fucking joke. I don't think I've talked to her since then."

Other informants tell me that Venegas began blaming the spiking of the investigation on Larry Wright and his phone calls. But Lugli insists that Venegas had already told him Washington had put the kibosh on the probe before she mentioned being called by the press.


Resurrection?

Four months after Lugli was told that the probe was dead, in February 2011 news of the investigation finally broke in Wright's epic story about Haggis in the New Yorker.

The St. Petersburg Times reacted quickly with its own detailed story about the probe, talking to many of the informants, including Amy Scobee, who made it plain that she was already frustrated with how things were going...

Asked why she decided to talk about the investigation now, despite the FBI's request that she remain quiet, Scobee said: "I didn't hear anything for a year and I got fed up. They're either going to do something or they're not."

There was one other hint in the story that the probe had already stalled, from Rinder...

Toward the end of 2010, [Rinder] said he had the sense the FBI's investigation had lost momentum or, perhaps, had been shelved. But he added that Whitehill told him more than once, "Oh, we're still going.''

Now we know that the other informants had already heard from Lugli by late 2010 that the investigation had been stopped, but they say they kept quiet about it, hoping that it would be resurrected. (Mike Rinder says he got further confirmation that the probe was over this past November, when he received official word that he was no longer considered an FBI informant. John Brousseau says he received a similar notice.)

"It's extremely frustrating. I can't just let go of it, because I still have family in Scientology," Scobee tells me today.

Rathbun, meanwhile, sounds bitter when he talks about the experience. "I warned them it would happen, over and over again," he says.

Rathbun says he was able to predict that a probe would be killed at the highest levels because, in his former role as Scientology's second-highest ranking official, he'd made sure that happened in the past.

He described to me investigations into Scientology in past years, when he would mobilize for Miscavige to have them shut down. They never bothered with agents or supervisors, he says, but would go immediately to top officials and look for ways to influence them.

"We would do a deep, deep study of the lines of command, all the way to the Attorney General in the US or the equivalent in foreign countries. And we'd research any communication leads for that person -- their history, their friends. And then hire the rainmakers and pay them whatever you needed to pay them," he says. A former executive in the office might be an effective tool, for example, or someone who went to school with the targeted official.

Rathbun's words do carry weight: in 1991, he and David Miscavige did something very like this when they met personally with then-IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg and, after a single conversation, convinced Goldberg to end a decades-long all-out litigation war between Scientology and the IRS. After that meeting, Goldberg started in motion a two-year process that would result in the church finally getting what it coveted the most: tax-exempt status. (I've asked Rathbun what he said in that meeting, and he tells me that Goldberg and the IRS were simply exhausted by years of hellacious legal skirmishing from literally thousands of lawsuits filed by individual Scientologists. According to Rathbun, he and Miscavige explained to Goldberg that all of the harassment could end overnight if the IRS just gave in, and Goldberg seemed visibly moved. Soon after, the IRS caved.)

MikeRinderVid1.JPG
Mike Rinder
Mike Rinder says something along the same lines happened to the FBI investigation. "What they say to them is, 'Do you really want to devote your career to this? You don't want to get yourself involved in that. It'll go nowhere. It's not worth the heartache.' That's how that shit goes," says Rinder, who oversaw similar operations as the executive director of Scientology's intelligence wing, the Office of Special Affairs.

Now that they're fairly certain that the FBI has given up the idea of raiding the International Base, several of the informants tell me they didn't think it was a great idea to begin with.

"I told them they'd make idiots of themselves," Rinder says. "Everyone there would say they were happy to be there and that Miscavige was the greatest guy in the world."

"I wasn't in agreement with their idea to raid the Int Base. I told them, you're going to turn Miscavige into a martyr," Brousseau says.

"They were too slow and too stupid before they got shut down. If they had been fast and effective, they would have had a case that was unassailiable before the church had time to use its influence," Rinder says, adding that he urged the agents to build an obstruction of justice case rather than raid the base. "If they had announced they were doing an investigation and then pulled people in for questioning, they would have gotten a lot of people [from the base] who would have testified that they were being told to lie."

Rinder is clearly angry, having spent years trying to convince the FBI to do something with really nothing to show for it. But I asked him, didn't he think telling me this now would only assure that what little hope there is for resurrecting the case gets buried forever?

"The only way that it will come back to life now is if there's serious outside pressure on them. If the Washington Post picked up your story, or the New York Times decided to do something, that may motivate them," Rinder answered.

AmyScobee2.JPG
Amy Scobee
"There's only two things that motivate those agencies. Someone high up in the agency gets a motivation on their own to do something. And secondly, if they get a lot of outside, public relations pressure, either from the media or from Congress. They ultimately act only on what they think is politically expedient to do," he says.

Amy Scobee was one of the first to go to the FBI, and she says she still isn't ready to give up on it. "I hope that there's a single person in the FBI who cares about this. I worked in the Sea Org with these people for 20 years and I can't believe there's not anyone who cares what's happening to them," she says. "I don't know what else to do. I've gone to the FBI. I've gone to the police...I've been out for seven years and it still puts me over the top. Just because Scientology calls itself a religion the FBI isn't going to do anything? I mean, come on."

"With all of the criminal allegations being made about the church, for this to continue to be ignored is astonishing," Rinder says.

I asked him: If it isn't enough for the FBI that for six years about 60 to 100 church executives were imprisoned in filthy conditions, fed slop, and forced to do confessions daily, never leaving "The Hole" except for a morning shower, could some stories emerging recently about very young kids signing billion-year contracts in the Sea Org motivate law enforcement to act?

"I think that it's something a lot of people should be concerned about," he says. "I mean, you see the reaction of your readers. They see all of the new stories of abuse, and they ask, why is no one doing anything about this?"


**********
Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at tortega@villagevoice.com, and if you ask nicely he'll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories, which tend to come out each and every morning at 8 am, but can suddenly appear at any time of the day. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, a Tumblr, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.

New readers might want to check out our primer, "What is Scientology?" Another good overview is our series from last summer, "Top 25 People Crippling Scientology." At the top of every story, you'll see the "Scientology" category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories. As for our regular features, on Thursdays we do a roundup of world press, on Fridays we visit L. Ron Hubbard on the yacht Apollo circa 1969-1971, on Saturdays we celebrate the week's best comments, and on Sundays we publish Scientology's wacky and tacky advertising mailers that people send us.

As for hot subjects we've covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and is now being sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology's "Mecca," whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.

Other stories have looked at Scientology's policy of "disconnection" that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We've also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there's plenty more coming.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
356 comments
wnelsonroof
wnelsonroof

I read about half and just became psychotic towards that little saint named David something...I just wanna make that little monster do things he doesn't wanna do! If you know how to read between the bull shit, the little monster just bribed or spent the week end naked  with the FBI flunkies that should be able to jail him for smelling like a whore house.But whatever, I don't even give a shit anyway. I need my money now!!

WiDa
WiDa

If the Church of Scientology does have a lot of money in the bank (and if not going broke), and certainly appears to have valuable real estate holdings, then the government would not want to waste that loss on a little (expected) raid that would make scientologists into martyrs. The government would go after the whole "win." Perhaps right now Scientology is being infiltrated and studied. Perhaps drugs will be involved--or any great crimes that will allow the government to obtain the assets of the cult.  The ways of the cult will be the death of the cult.  All the government has to do is continue to let the bad publicity do its work--and for public opinion to start screaming for something to be done. The house of cards will fall quickly from the inside out.  It's already trembling.  Miscavige appears to have Hitler's personality--and when the messeger is punished--the truth is hard to come by--because people only tell him what he wants to hear.  Nazi Germany fell hard--and was occupied--as will Scientology.

Also, Miscavige will not live a very long life. He does not have a positive aura--and sickness is just around the corner for him.

We only need to continue to protest--and observe.

 

Clam On A Halfshell
Clam On A Halfshell

And because Sea Org does not reproduce, Sea Org does not make new Sea Org members anymore. More footbullets.

Clam On A Halfshell
Clam On A Halfshell

It strongly resembles The People's Republic of China. ...The People's Republic of Hemet?

Clam On A Halfshell
Clam On A Halfshell

Tweedle-dee-dee-dee-dee-tweet-tweet-tweet-tweet, tweet tweet! Up in a treetop, all the day long, all the little birdies gonna sing that song... ;)

Clam On A Halfshell
Clam On A Halfshell

They just changed the names. Guardian's Office became OSA. Different wacko dude at the top, same dirty tricks.

John P.
John P.

In a normal religious institution, say the Catholic church, your argument is valid.  Nobody in the Catholic church audits your financial information, nobody in the Catholic church comes to your house to tell you that you need to donate more money for the cause du jour.  You get to decide how much you donate and when.  But in the cult of Scientology, the registrars typically have extremely detailed financial information on their targets, including credit card balances, etc. They are voracious, and they're not going to wait until you die to get their hands on your dough.  They want it all and they want it now and they're not gonna take "no" for an answer.  My suspicion is that most committed Scientologists who have substantial income have net worth well below the national average for their income brackets, because they're sending it in to David Miscavige as soon as they earn it.   Some high-end Scientologists (Sky Dayton, Tom Cruise, others) may be exempted from heavy "regging" because of their prominence, and may die with large estates because they have so much that $10 million for Patronius Gluteus Maximus status in the IAS is not a significant fraction of their net worth.  But the single-digit millionaire crowd are an endangered species, plucked over and over and over again.  Look at Richie Acunto of "Survival Insurance" for an example of this phenomenon.  He cut costs in the business too far in order to make his $10 million status level sooner than he would have, and drove his business into the ground as a result. 

Guest
Guest

Your age and financial thesis has a serious flaw in it.  If it is an elder population that will be dying off, these kooks will likely be donating thei entire estates to Scientology and these figures are likely substantial. 

Scottishguy
Scottishguy

sadly I think Rinder is right - they will only do what is politically convenient for them

Robert
Robert

what about the patriot act? with the cult's ruthless use of p.i.s on exmembers and critics the fbi could label them like al queada and bin laden. then bust the fence down snag slappy and moxon and the whole legal team take them to a hanger at area 51 and let the hostages just mellow out and come out of the haze. then after the vail is off their faces indict slappy and the legal team.

Cherkas009
Cherkas009

They should have listened to Rinder and have an obstruction of justice case rather than a raid as those brainwashed dupes would not cooperate with freeing themselves.  

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

Marty, who wrote in 2009 on ESMB how he'd never go to the FBI, and how much he hates them because they investigated him for years, said the FBI would do nothing and 'low and behold' he was right. So why did he bother talking to them anyway?

Anon!
Anon!

Tony, et al, in this astute and well read/ educated group, I would like to give a heads up (ahem) Ladies and Gentlemen, a few days ago, the most recent issue of "Wired" magazine was delivered to my humble abode and has on its front cover the following quote,          "Deep in the Utah desert, the National Security Agency is building the country's biggest spy center. It's the final piece of a secret surveillance network that will intercept and store your phone calls, emails, Google searches... (Watch what you say.)"  If you wish to find this online, enter "Wired magazine 20.04" in your favorite search engine.  NOTE: I have read the cover story and find it almost as bone chilling as Fair Game.

That being said, it seems to me that our government might be "fair gaming" all of us, especially in regards to one's freedom of speech. Yuck, moving on...

The behavior of our government and the relative levels of tolerance shown to Co$, terrorists and others does not lend toward continued faith in the "puppets" in D.C. or does it? The answer to this question lies in the thoughts/ minds of each of us, particularly where it comes to the capacity and use of... wait for it... critical thinking! Yes, good people I give you critical thinking an attribute sentient beings that seems to close to endangered, like common sense; although, in this group, I believe that we are not among the lemmings.

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

Thanks for the Article Tony, a couple of points if I may, in no special order;

The REAL QUESTION is WHO Killed the Investigation.

Read Fred T Goldberg's incredibly short profile on Wiki... this is a guy who is CONNECTED.

When I was in DC for the first time... paid for by the Rockefeller's by the way... I was at the bar of my very nice hotel, just a few short minutes from the White House.. there was a particular scent in the air.. a kind of silky velvet... Oh... yes.. that is the scent of money... DC is larded with it.. Trillions of it... that is our so called Democracy. By the way, I did happen to visit Hubbards then Home ... a fairly decent place, his writing office on the first floor had a super large desk crammed into a small room right up to the edge of a working fireplace and french doors directly behind his desk opening onto a small brick walled courtyard.

Marty's version of the How & Why Goldberg 'caved' and made the deal with the church just does not work for me.  Those "thousands" of scientologist filed cases were "cookie cutters" they were basically all identical and even the language and types of suits were more or less dictated by the church... as they went from org to org telling members to file lawsuits against the IRS telling everyone that "We" will overwhelm them with paperwork and slow their machine to a 'Dead Stop'.

All the IRS had to do was defeat one case in the right court and the rest would fall.

So again, look at Fred T Goldberg's 'Actual' profession... He is a Lawyer... with the top firms in the world.... this is not a guy who would so likely cave over the burden of lawsuits... that was exactly his 'Stock and Trade'.... he was Not a Bean Counter.

Also, make a note that Goldberg started his practice with Latham Watkins in Los Angeles and was an Associate in that Firm when it was Legal Counsel for the Church of Scientology in the Reed Slatkin Ponzi Scheme case.... this guy was not only fully aware of who and what the COS is he was also once part of the office that represented the COS in a major legal action.... he was not a novice.

The Church was facing a 'One Billion Dollar' Tax Bill.... if they lost.

The Church had already made damn sure that all of their Liquid Assets were Offshore well before any final date of 'Confrontation' with the IRS.

The IRS has an 'Operating Budget' today of 'Ten Billion Dollars' and roughly One Hundred Thousand employees.... scaled back to the date in question and they were hardly in a position of 'Hardship or Duress' from Scientology.

Inquiry Hearings have been held as to WHY Goldberg granted Scientology tax exempt status, the result of those hearings was that the standard process of granting such an exemption was substantially obviated and no explicable reason was provided... also the final question of Who and Why was never fully answered.

That the FBI was engaged in a 'Military Response' with concern to the INT Base is highly indicative of how ignorant and ill informed they were about who they were dealing with... come on... Hubbards FBI file alone, must be a mile long.

Why there is not a Ranking Senator or Congressman of Influence to begin making Scientology a broader issue in the States is simple.... What Is the Upside?

The Times and the Post are not going to commit their considerable resources to Scientology Crimes for more or less the same reason.... Why?.... What is the Upside?

If someone could build an ironclad story on Who and How Scientology has unlawfully influenced Top Government Officials to evade the Wheels of Justice... they may pick that up.

Frankly, I still say the Achilles Heel of the COS is their Tax Exempt status as granted secretly by Goldberg... a Clinton Appointee, while Commissioner of the IRS.

How many CULTS has the IRS granted Tax Exempt Status ?

Here also is where the Independents will side with Miscavige and protect the declaration by the US Government that Scientology is a Bona Fide Religion.

Joe_Lynn
Joe_Lynn

I see a couple of difficulties with some of your points;

First, Scientology *has no mechanism* for choosing a 'leader'.  Nor for replacing him.

Second, if David Miscavige were prosecuted on *criminal* charges, there would be no end to the number of charges and no way to limit the prosecution to David Miscavige.  Scientology is *organized* criminality and, by himself, David Miscavige does nothing.  It's *always* part of a criminal conspiracy.

And that in itself presents one of the major stumbling blocks to prosecution, since it's well known that any charges will be opening a can of worms that would threaten to bust *any* budget and monopolize attention for years.  I suspect it's more a case of the FBI/Justice Dept. being very aware of Scientology's criminal nature but being loathe to 'lift the tail of the skunk'.

Third; prosecuting Scientology has nothing to do with 'eliminating' the religion/practice.  It's the organization that's criminal (although the dogma itself reads like a criminal instruction manual) but, the organization isn't even necessary to the practice, unless the practice is 'Keeping Scientology Working' or 'Clearing the Planet'.  Everything else can be pursued by individuals or small groups on their own and has been.

As for the '77 raids and prosecution; the only shame is that they didn't go far enough; didn't examine the totality of the organization and follow deeply enough.  And, that should be a warning to anyone who thinks they can cherry pick some single crime or perp.

(this was meant as a reply to James Beverley, but doesn't seem to have landed there)

scilonschools
scilonschools

"They never bothered with agents or supervisors, he says, but would go immediately to top officials and look for ways to influence them."

High level control and low level overwhelm as LRH preached!

Public opinion or more importantly fear of public opinion against an elected official will be the only way to force the issue.Making an official who fails to act named and shamed is the best route me thinks. 

zenda
zenda

Why dont the FBI just hack the computers to find out in formation, especially if they suspect criminal activity?

Derfty
Derfty

I just remembered a very important detail. Tricia Whitehill contacted me in Dec 2011. Before she called, the LAPD task force told me they were meeting with the FBI concerning this investigation and Tricia would call me after that meeting. So this is proof that they are planning something. I still have Tricia's message to me on my voice mail if you want proof that we spoke, Tony.

Derfty
Derfty

This is a very good article, Tony. I was wondering what it would cost to buy space in a popular magazine and place this article. I've seen other people and organizations do it. We could take up a collection (from Mike Laws and other rich people who made this cult the monster that it is). I will even chip in.

Right now, the media is plastering the headline " FBI and US Justice Dept to Probe Death of Teenager Shot and Killed by Neighborhood Watchman". Really? I thought the FBI didn't comment on investigations.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Tony, did you read the article in REALPOLITIK? Sounds like another Jan Eastgate situation. Plus,I think it's a good example of why the FBI should continue monitoring scientology. The interview with a former Mexico scientologist, Rafael Gómez blew me away. Here's a snippet from that interview:

The woman said that she would not come on post as Executive Director until the issue surrounding Ofelia Benijes was settled, but that if I were to settle it, she would take the post immediately. Ofelia Benijes is the mother of a member of the Sea Organization. As a good, trained Sea Org, you don't just listen, you always look further. So while investigating Ofelia, I came across her confessions in the association's Ethics Department, and she herself recounts how she sexually fondled a teenage girl from the Scientology Mission in Santa Fe on at least one or two occasions. Such behavior is called "ephebophilia" and the teenage girl reported it, but the matter was never brought to the attention of the judicial authorities. Ofelia Benijes was placing the organization at risk and I made the decision to inform two Sea Organization members who were on post with me at that time, and we decided to expel her.

Anyone interested in reading this long, very shocking interview can view it at "Divided By Zero" website, that's where I found it translated into English.

Elizabethan
Elizabethan

Fantastic idea! Believe it would work.Count me in.

guest
guest

Haha...now I'm getting thirsty. ;)

Jimmy Kowski
Jimmy Kowski

I think the biggest bang for your buck you'll get trying to bring down this awful cult is to attack the the most visible snakehead.... who's the person who's supposedly done more to bring scientology to the world than any other person in human history.... Tom Cruise, hell he even has a dinner plate sized medal 'proving' this! 

In my opinion totally destroying his credibility would do far more damage than DM doing the perp walk.  Many would say that it's already been destroyed but MI4 proves that the studios are still willing to work with him. He has to be made so toxic that no one would want to be associated with him ever again.

Now, how to do this....hmmm?

My simple(ish) solution is to create a web donation page with the simple aim of getting enough funds to post Tony's open letter to Tom Cruise in Variety Magazine in a full page ad.... hell, throw in Hollywood Reporter, too.  I'm not sure how much it would cost, few thousand no doubt, but I reckon there would be quite a few ex scions with a few bucks more than happy to pay the lion's share.

There would be no chance of a "didn't see it" response after this and watching Cruise trying to defend "his religion" would be just super-mega-awesome lulz overload. 

The beauty of this would be that the world's media would love it and any defence Tommy Girl offers could easily be refuted on the internet. Refusal to respond would probably get even more people to find out what the church is trying to hide.  A win-win situation either way.

Conversely, I think a public statement supporting John Travolta and a promise of love and affection if he was to renounce his religion would be a good idea - no matter if he was to 'come-out' or not. Unlike Cruise he really strikes me as a decent man who's genuinely trapped and worries what the church would do if he was to blow.

just my 2 cents

PS - I've often seen reports on the internet about how scientology had secret cameras installed in all the celeb/vip auditing rooms and that copies were sent to Miscavige for his amusement. 

Any ex's here able to confirm that?

Elizabethan
Elizabethan

I could comment about the changes brought after the Mary Sue incident but will say, only worse changes and better cover up.About DM, of course he couldn't help but become the devil in disguise?

Elizabethan
Elizabethan

Absolutely right Guest.  Wish I would have said that!Important to do something, take responsibility and do whatever we can do.Then we can enjoy that cold drink!  :-)

AlexM
AlexM

Make sure it's an adult beverage, and cold.

Elizabethan
Elizabethan

Looks like Marcotai's pissed and blown!

Elizabethan
Elizabethan

You got something there! Like your synopsis, Too Much!

James Beverley
James Beverley

In the sea of this long thread, let me suggest one fact that I would bet millions on.  Regardless of what the FBI does (or not), regardless of whether The New York Times or The Washington Post pick up this story, regardless of whether the twitter universe explodes with fury about DM,Scientology is not going to be wiped out. 

The reasons are simple and clear and should be noted so that bloggers stop wasting time on speculating about the total collapse of Scientology.  That will not happen.  This is different from reasonable discussion about this or that person being arrested or the stopping of criminal behavior in any church or organization. My point is actually about injecting a bit more realism about talk about the total ending of Scientology.

I would make the same point in reverse to any Scientologist who predicted that LRH tech was going to win over everyone. No, not going to happen...too many Anonymous, too many ex-members who will never go back, too much suspicion about the movement, etc. 

The reasons for my view:

1.  Scientology is too big to collapse.  There are too many members to imagine everyone blowing.  The idea that all of those who have given years to the Sea Org or to Flag or to Saint Hill or to a Scientology outpost in Africa are going to stop believing is crazy. The FBI raid in 77 did not spell death to the movement and that involved the wife of the founder! 

2.  Further, religious people often (though not always) have a remarkable ability to flow with negativity.  Consider if DM was arrested and found guilty. If the official church accepted he was guilty, then, a new leader would be chosen and the church would continue. If the church did not accept he was guilty, then DM would be treated as a martyr and the church would continue. The latter scenario happened to Rev. Moon: his conviction on income tax evasion in the US galvanized the movement into supporting him as a victim of injustice. Despite a big prison sentence, Tony Alamo still has his followers. 

3.  In general, it is very, very difficult for a religious group to go totally extinct. Think of the FBI raid in Waco. Most Branch Davidians died in the fire (and chose to do so, given that they stayed in the buildings for hours while the fire spread). However, believe it or not, David Koresh still has followers.  I met some of them at the Davidian church building in 2006.

Granted, once in a long while, a religious group goes totally extinct, so I'm not saying my view is absolute. However, when groups totally die, it takes a long slow death, decades of dwindling membership and total collapse of will and energy.

For the record, I'm not a Scientologist and nothing I have said is meant here to further the cause of Scientology. I am a believing Christian so have no interest in spreading the gospel of LRH. As well, my points above are not meant to dispute proper critique and working against the dark side of Scientology (or any other religion). Rather, my posting is meant to simply raise objection to any notion that Scientology will totally disappear sometime soon.

James A. Beverley, Ph.D.Professor of Christian Thought and EthicsTyndale Seminary, Toronto

Elizabethan
Elizabethan

Good always overcomes evil somewhere along the line and justice will prevail. Whatever you call it. Take a look at history!I appreciate your story, thanks, and glad you are here, also like your attitude. "So just sit back, grab a drink, and enjoy the show". You are with friends.

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

Right.

So to outflank that, the solution is for Linda Hamel, Kirsten Caetano, Kathy O'Gorman, Warren McShane, that caliber of person has to call the FBI covertly, and cooperate, BEFORE the evidence is destroyed or hiden.

Someone needs to help while still being there on staff in OSA.    Some high well placed OSA Int person or RTC person like Warren McShane needs to bring Miscavige down, by calling the FBI.

That's likely how up to speed that any ongoing FBI personnel who are seriously wishing to  get the goods that will be worthy of a slam dunk case, which is their bar for evidence needed.

The FBI who is ongoing looking at how to nail Scientology, have to KNOW the  OSA Int people, inside out and backwards, so that when they get that phone call from Linda Hamel or Warren McShane, they go into hyper fast action getting their court orders to raid.

And the FBI has to get up to speed on what kinds of evidence will be in those laptops that Warren and Linda are using, and if there even is any other place where the most damaging evidence is even still kept!    (I used to think that the Archives Building at Int had incriminating material, but likely that is not the case.   Likely all those OSA Int files being kept at the Int Base Archives Bldg are just discreditable but not evidence of illegal activities).  

A defector leaving Scientology with computer info is not new.

A person took some pretty extensive computer files unauthorized off the premises in INCOMM's history, and it was a lower level person who did this.   

It's a mindset hurdle.   To leave with evidence.

Maybe it's better to trigger some high up OSA people to just CALL the FBI, and cooperate to help "hat" the FBI where the evidence will be that the FBI needs!   And help grease the raid.   And then be a witness against themselves and against DM.   

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

Michael Meisner I think is his name.   

years ago I was hoping and posting that ex GO go public and talk details, just to fill in all the history.

But that doesn't do today's justice against what RTC's and OSA's done and as micromanaged by Miscavige.

The most important focus of Miscavige, is "who's blown" on an hourly basis.

I think to help the FBI give US prosecutors the needed air tight case today, that OSA Int staffers like Linda Hamel, Kirsten Caetano, Neil O'Reilly, and then Warren McShane at RTC at Int, THOSE people, and maybe throw in Kathy O'Gorman, since Kathy's the one in charge of all the data gathered, if Kathy talked to the Feds without letting OSA know she's talking, then she could help the Feds raid Scientology and GET the evidence before it's hid or destroyed!

But likely, it's on laptops, so that means Warren and Linda, either of them, could likely sink Miscavige.   

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

As far as "protesters" inside, I remember on the LA RPF, there were about 6-7 RPF members who were OSA Int staffers who were sent to the RPF.

As a group, the OSA Int RPF members violated routinely the RPF rules, they were acting "above the law" sort of thing, on the point of visits with their spouses.

It was an agreed-upon group violation, and I noticed the OSA Int staff being the most bold culprits.

when the top prisoners are engaged in breaking the rules, then all the lower level prisoners know it is okay to also fudge those rules.

But, because OSA Int staff are 2-3 tiers down from the top levels of staffs, namely RTC, CMO Int and Gold staff all are "higher" in the pecking order of how DM looks at things, the OSA Int staff who are jiggling the rules on the RPF, got all straightened up so they had to stop breaking the spousal visit rules.

anyways, this is the tamest example of a moment showing that the people who SHOULD stand up and protest (namely OSA Int staff on the RPF, because being on the RPF one has a really HIGH possibility of being unjustly sent to the RPF, the OSA Int RPF members, whoever is on the RPF, is a good candidate for defecting, but it also is the case that of the OSA Int RPF members, only one guy, Miles Mellor, looked to me like someone who was "mad as hell and not going to take it anymore", Miles got routed out.

When the other OSA Int RPFers like Ken Long, Neil O'Reilly, Carol Oakes, Jim Morrow, even Peter Stumpke and Becky Hay, all graduated or were reprieved from the LA RPF, of these people, I'd have hoped Jim Morrow and Ken Long would "blow", but just not something they were the types to do.

What's needed for an internal meltdown, is for respected people inside to lead the protest.

Once the respected insders are relegated to the RPF, they lose their power base, other than to threaten to go to the police or media or go run out of the Sea Org and get a lawyer and sue.

The Mission Holders "mutiny" of the early 1980s, was the closest to a protest movement that caused a lot of defections from the official movement, but it even was not enough to crash Scientology.

I think the only thing to really crash Scientology, will be when someone like Linda Hamel or Warren McShane, those level insiders, pick up the phone and call the FBI, while still being on post in their positions, and they help the FBI plan a raid that will get the evidence to nail Scientology solidly.

What's different today from 1977, when the FBI raided, is that official Scientology today's files might just NOT have the incriminating evidence needed in them, to slam dunk the FBI's need for evidence.

Which is why maybe in this internet age, when the most sensitive info can be on just a handful of standalone laptops, used by the "need to know" clique at Scientology's OSA and RTC top people, like Linda Hamel and Warren McShane and a few others' THAT is what the FBI will need.

They'll need Warren or Linda to help the FBI do a raid that gets the goods!   And they'd need Warren or Linda to be witnesses against themselves and their boss, David Miscavige.

Maybe Mike Sutter's ready to defect, but likely Mike's not in the know at the moment.

Guest
Guest

A lot of people are talking about actionable info.

For those of you who would go "on record"

Who has actionable info?   

Bobb999
Bobb999

Justice is typically personified as a woman with a blindfold over her eyes, holding a pair of weigh scales, suggesting justice is "blind", i.e. unbiased, non-discriminatory, fair to all.Isn't it wonderful? We're all equal under the law!  Yeah, right.

Reality is those with sufficient money & influence can successfully bend the legal system to favour them, & to go easy on them. David Miscavige seems to be in the same company as senior executives of major Wall Street investment firms: teflon men with enough money & influence to flout criminal laws with relative impunity. The little fish get netted, while the sharks are far more likely to get away with their crimes. Even when the FBI  was less shy about going after CoS, back in the "Operation Snow White" days when Hubbard's own wife & other church members went to jail, the biggest fish, L.Ron, deemed an "unindicted co-conspirator" by the FBI, wasn't even charged.

Jgg
Jgg

  To people reading this, especially those planning to complain to govt. officials: remember that the Church of Scientology is tax-exempt, so we US taxpayers are paying for these Sea Org abuses (and we are not happy about it).

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

I could see how a raid on Int Base would blowback on the FBI, either through cries of police brutality or something worse. Really, the best case would be to get DM away from his protection, arrest him, then try him for something. Without him around, the cult would fragment and possibly collapse. Or that would blow up in the government's face somehow; Scientology seems to be the John Gotti of cults.

DavidMiscavige
DavidMiscavige

The FBI will never do anything. Unlike the TV portrayals of brilliant investigators who will not be stopped, the reality is that the FBI is filled with morons who could only get jobs in a government agency. They like their little badges that appear to give them authority - just like the nutjob Scientology Sea Org members with their fake sailor outfits, stripes, and badges. Scientology relies on these people to be incompetent humanoids that can be easily manipulated ... and that is exactly what happens every time. 

L. Ron Hubbard wrote about how to deal with these people:

L. Ron Hubbard, Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter, 25 February 1966

"This is the correct procedure: Spot who is attacking us. Start investigating them promptly for felonies or worse using our own professionals, not outside agencies. Double curve our reply by saying we welcome an investigation of them. Start feeding lurid, blood sex crime actual evidence on the attackers to the press. Don’t ever tamely submit to an investigation of us. Make it rough, rough on attackers all the way."

MassMom
MassMom

I think we have to accept the fact that our FBI and the US govt are more focused on national security and democracy in unstable nations around the globe. I have to be honest, I agree with that. Stack ranking priorities, I think Syrian rebels are suffering more, Iran and North Korea are worrisome, we have to keep Israle from wagin all out war in the region, our soldiers live every day like it will be their last, our economy is suffering in large part due to the restrictions of trade and security, etc. As much as I think David Miscaviage is a despot living on our own shores, he's not armed with nuclear weapons, he is only abusing a group of people who have misguidedly signed up as volunteers for a billion years (the idea anyone would willingly agree to that makes the victim factor plummet), taken money and misused it, lied, etc. He's probably regarded as a white collar criminal with a spiteful nature lording over a bunch of clueless devotees. If he bilks someone important enough he might get the Bernie Madoff treatment but that's hoping for too much.

Not to mention the US govt would have to own up to the fact that they (even after a break in at the Internal Revenue Service and let's not forget the space aliens scripture) granted Scientology tax-exemption. That status enabled Scientology to go unchecked and amass a war chest against detractors and anyone who questions their methods/motives. The US govt does not want to have to explain THAT with all the other issues they have to deal with. My guess is they are hoping all the bad press from Tony O and others will deter, and eventually shut down DM. Tony is our Scientology historian and he'll keep the story straight if and when the government decides to engage. Until then, it's all about prevention. Preventing others from being abused. That's my theory on why the FBI "blew".

BTW - just a thought but you know how John travolta flew his private jet to Haiti, and Tom Cruise was there at Ground Zero, and Scientology is there at disasters that have a lot of visibility. Just wondering if you have any stats on what they have done for our troops. Any stories forthcoming there. This war has taken a toll on troops and their families. Has Scientology been spending their dollars on helping those families? What about Kony 2012 and all these other grassroots orgs trrying to make a difference. HAs Scientology latched on to any of these causes. Holla back Tony.

Brad Halsey
Brad Halsey

One way to make this a more politically relevant item of interest is by signing a petition I posted at CHANGE.ORG a few weeks ago. Please sign it and send it to everyone you know who has a passing interest on this topic.

http://www.change.org/petition...

OTVIIIisGrrr8!
OTVIIIisGrrr8!

We in RTC must once again order our high-priced, yet incompetent, wog lawyers into court to ask for another sanction against John P. for Malicious Internet Barratry. Once we establish a pattern, we can have John P. declared a vexatious internet litigant. We will have him permanently  disbarred from plying his trade on this insidious Psychiatric-Anarcho-Hater blog.

To the point of Tony Ortega's article: Of course we in RTC had the FBI investigation crushed. That is what we do. We crush all legal investigations because we can. While our money may pale next to that of, say, Global Capitalism HQ, the fact is that our money is green and spends very well at all of the top law firms we employ/

We in RTC laugh as greedy wog lawyers like George Spencer Jr. gobble up our checks to do our dirty work while philosophizing about justice at local Rotary clubs. In Los Angeles we have David J. Schindler doing our dirty work while he does some pro bono legal work for the poor as a sop. David makes sure he gets awards from local groups to assure himself that he is not the morally compromised depraved lout he is actually is.

LOL :-).

Work  for RTC and the stain never goes away as Meade Emory learned! Of course Meade Emory did not care to have his memory refreshed of his work with Scientology; what lawyer would?

We in RTC can always call on lawyers like Gerry Feffer, the husband of COB's personal attorney Monique Yingling, to handle the FBI. Gerry can stroll the corridors of the DoJ and chat with his old chums about certain things the FBI are investigating would embarrass the US Government and the FBI in court. As a trained Scientology asset, Gerry can press buttons as well as anyone in OSA. Of course, the way he prattles on about Monique at parties in D.C. is another matter. Imagine having to actually live in the same house as Monique! Jesus God! Gerry should get a medal of valor for living with that Ice Queen.

We in RTC chortle when we think of FBI drones were circling Int Base. We laugh. The FBI acted like the Keystone Cops. We thank ourselves that we have the exact technology needed to handle the futile attacks on Mankind's only hope of salvation. 

David J Mudkips
David J Mudkips

So, the Feds can spend time tracking down a bunch of script-kiddies, but are useless when it comes to investigating actual, major criminality?

Wow.

In other news, the Pope's a Catholic, and bears shit in the woods.

Now Trending

New York Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...