Scientology Financial Crime Part Three: Miscavige’s 20th Century Mob

 In Part Three, the penultimate segment in our examination of the third era in Scientology’s criminal evolution, we’ll look at how David Miscavige’s assumption of power reflected a continuation of Hubbard’s obsession with Scientology’s ruthless utilitarianism, as well as how Miscavige’s own violent, thuggish temperament reflected a Gotti-like use of fear as his primary mechanism of control. We’ll also examine how Scientology’s use of the legal system shifted from the harassment-focused days of Hubbard to a more nuanced strategic approach, as well as how several key incidents that occurred under Miscavige redefined how Scientology’s La Cosa Nostra (“This thing of ours” or “Our thing”) -like mindset operates to this day. Continue reading “Scientology Financial Crime Part Three: Miscavige’s 20th Century Mob”

Scientology Financial Crime, Part 2: From Tax Evader to Mob Boss

This week, we continue our examination of Scientology’s evolution from that of a self-help process, the origins of which were rooted in founder L. Ron Hubbard’s pseudo-scientific epistle Dianetics, to that of a mafia-like Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO), essentially a criminal conglomerate couched as a “religion.” In understanding Hubbard’s motivations for wealth accumulation, it was clear from last week’s examples that Hubbard’s obsession with money was as much about funding the furtherance of his legacy as it was furthering Scientology. In continuing with our use of behavior within a given era to examine the evolution of Scientology’s financial criminality, we now go from the era of Hubbard as tax evader, on to the transitional era of Hubbard as an established crime boss-like figure. Contemporary to Hubbard’s transitional era is the seemingly inevitable rise of David Miscavige, from that of indispensable lieutenant to consigliere and in our final era, his eventual role as capo de tutti capi of Scientology.   Continue reading “Scientology Financial Crime, Part 2: From Tax Evader to Mob Boss”

Scientology Organized Crime, Part 1: The Beginnings

As my introductory post mentioned, my goal in this series is to provide a historical perspective on money in the church in roughly three eras: the first era will address Hubbard’s financial behavior up until the time of his final days; the second, David Miscavige’s assumption of power and the 1982 Mission Holder’s shakedown, and third, money in the church under Miscavige following the Mission Holder shakedown up to the present day.

This historical arc provides a convenient means of analyzing the church’s transition from its roots in providing Dianetics-based therapy into a pseudo-religious conglomerate with all the trappings of a cartel, or more so, demonstrating many of the characteristics reflective of a Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO) of significant proportions. Key to understanding any crime are the factors of means, motive, and opportunity. While the past certainly provides valuable context in understanding both L. Ron Hubbard’s role and Scientology’s means, motives, and opportunities for accumulating wealth, understanding the doctrine, ideology, and psychological profile of the church is also crucial. Thus the rigid adherence to Hubbard as “Source” for all of Scientology’s teachings, doctrine and operational foundation, and the resultant cult of personality that compels its malevolent zealotry, are the nexus for its criminality.   Continue reading “Scientology Organized Crime, Part 1: The Beginnings”

Scientology Financial Crime through the Years: an introduction to a new series

I was first drawn to the Scientology critic movement as a result of my background in anti-money laundering, countering the financing of terrorism and the forensic analysis of financial crime. Having come across several Interpol reports that mentioned L. Ron Hubbard’s money movements from his days on the Apollo, my interest was piqued as to the why and how of his intentions. The further I delved into the financial affairs of Scientology, the more I became convinced I was potentially dealing with a Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO) of significant proportions. While I’ve enjoyed investigating a variety of topics within Scientology, over the next few weeks I’ll be returning to this premise.

I’ll be looking at the historical perspective of money in the church in roughly three eras: the first era will address Hubbard’s financial behavior up until the time of his final days; the second, David Miscavige’s assumption of power and the 1982 Mission Holder’s shakedown, and third, money in the church under Miscavige following the Mission Holder shakedown up to the present day. Over the last several months, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with several key figures in Scientology history who are intimately familiar with money management over the three eras I’ve mentioned. Further to these firsthand experiences, in recent weeks we’ve undertaken several investigations into some of the foundational writings of Scientology, as well as the link between conspiracy theory, Scientology and cults in general. Continue reading “Scientology Financial Crime through the Years: an introduction to a new series”

The Responsibilities of Leaders, Part II: Power, Mary Sue, and Where’s Shelly?

In last week’s post, I provided an overview of The Responsibilities of Leaders, one of Hubbard’s more iconic writings, along with some observations from former Scientologists Brian Lambert and Jefferson Hawkins on the importance of this policy in understanding Scientology’s zeitgeist. Both gentlemen frame their observations of this policy as being perhaps a sort of “command legacy” from Hubbard to David Miscavige given that it’s Miscavige’s favorite LRH essay, which he uses to illustrate what he literally expects from his subordinates in terms of loyalty, ruthlessness, and Keeping Scientology Working. This week I begin by contrasting Hubbard’s power-as-leadership model against more traditional concepts of leadership, and then examine the connection between Mary Sue Hubbard and The Four Seasons of Manuela, and lastly, how The Responsibilities of Leaders may account for David Miscavige’s behavior and its subsequent impact on his relationship with wife Shelly Miscavige. Continue reading “The Responsibilities of Leaders, Part II: Power, Mary Sue, and Where’s Shelly?”

Reappraising Hubbard’s “The Responsibilities of Leaders”

Certain Scientology policies written by L. Ron Hubbard have assumed almost mythic proportions. Keeping Scientology Working is perhaps the penultimate example but there have been others. These policies provide an inside look at the mind of Hubbard and are very helpful for those seeking an understanding of his motivations and thought processes. To some extent, these policies also illustrate not only Scientology’s group-think on expanding their reach, but also how Hubbard expected Scientologists themselves to think and act. Continue reading “Reappraising Hubbard’s “The Responsibilities of Leaders””

Hubbard Cozies up to Ronald Reagan With Sage Economic Advice

Recently, Chris Shelton located a previously unknown letter from Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to Ronald Reagan, who had been elected to President a few weeks earlier.  The letter offers Reagan laughably bad advice on how to fix the US economy, which at the time of the vote in late 1980, had been wracked with soaring inflation and even higher interest rates for over a decade.

According to Chris, the letter was circulated among Sea Org members in the late 1980s as part of efforts to keep key people in the organization motivated to keep up the war against the IRS.  So this letter was clearly intended for internal consumption, to burnish Hubbard’s reputation for brilliance, and to support the IRS campaign.

Dr. Jeff Wasel and John P. appeared as a guest on Chris Shelton’s podcast discussing the letter (also published today) and we’re presenting our analysis of the letter here.  We’re writing after the podcast was recorded so our commentary here contains analysis and discussion that doesn’t appear in the podcast.   Continue reading “Hubbard Cozies up to Ronald Reagan With Sage Economic Advice”

The Data Series as Revisionist History

A part of another project we’re working on here at JohnPCapitalist.com, I’ve been taking a dive into one of the more esoteric bits of Scientology “tech”: the “Data Series” in the Management Series, Volume 1.  Volume One also contains the Organizing Series and the Personnel Series. The Management Series or “Green Volumes” are an extensive set of works that cover every permutation within the organizational domain of Scientology management.

Written over several years starting in 1970, the Data Series is defined as “a series of policy letters written by L. Ron Hubbard which deal with logic, illogic, proper evaluation of data and how to detect and handle the causes of good and bad situations within groups and organizations.” Hubbard felt that Scientology management was failing in certain areas of understanding and leadership, and in writing the Data Series, he created a highly prescriptive set of policies, procedures and instructions in dealing with every conceivable challenge those in management might face on a daily basis. Starting with “The Anatomy of Thought” (HCO PL 26 April 1970R), Hubbard pontificates on “Logic,” “Breakthroughs,” “Data and Situational Analyzing’” and “Information Collection” among other topics, all in his uniquely bloviating and paradoxical fashion. However, what struck me most while reading through this “guidance,” was not only his convoluted, typically tortured syntax, but more so, the abundance of nonsensical historical analogies and examples he alludes to throughout as a means of “illustrating” his points.  Continue reading “The Data Series as Revisionist History”

But the FBI Said Good Things About Scientology’s “Intelligence Operations!”

“In my opinion· the church has one of the most effective intelligence operations in the U.S., rivaling even that of the FBI,” says Ted Gunderson, a former head of the FBI’s Los Angeles office.

“Scientology: The Cult of Greed”
Time Magazine, May 6, 1991

The head of the FBI’s LA Field Office said this about Scientology a quarter century ago, not long after a major investigation of the cult stalled. The article also claims that FBI agents were tiptoeing around the church, because of fears that it would retaliate personally against them. So was Gunderson’s observation correct? More so, given my observations in my previous articles regarding GO/OSA competence, is there even a valid comparison between the bureau’s intelligence efforts during that  era and those of Scientology’s Guardian’s Office? Continue reading “But the FBI Said Good Things About Scientology’s “Intelligence Operations!””

Asymmetric Activism 3: Occultism Drove Scientology to Be An Asymmetric Totalitarian Target

In this post, I’ll further examine how Scientology morphed from a radical, insurgent mindset, to one of totalitarian monolith, ironically becoming the target of asymmetric tactics, rather than a practitioner. It starts with Hubbard’s embrace of the occult in pursuit of methods of control over an individual or situation. However, the natural progression never stops at one; it invariably leads to an obsession with subjugation and power over an ever-increasing group, rather than simply individuals. Motivation is key in determining the intent of a foe, more so if there’s asymmetry or incoherence in their strategy, especially if their motivations appear highly ideological-based. While financial gain and ideological dominance were part of Hubbard’s motivations, occultism was a founding ethos in Scientology, indeed a vital pillar underpinning Scientology’s abhorrent world view. Continue reading “Asymmetric Activism 3: Occultism Drove Scientology to Be An Asymmetric Totalitarian Target”