Scientology Tax Exemption — Muffins Strikes Back (February 5, 2018)

Posted by Mike Rinder1
February 5, 2018

Clearly, David Miscavige is feeling the mounting pressure on his most cherished treasure: tax exempt status bestowed on scientology by the IRS in 1993.

It takes considerable effort to get a letter published about a relatively obscure subject in a major paper like the LA Times. It is apparently a response to an op-ed piece that ran last November. 3 months of work to get this miserable piece of misleading propaganda to run…

Monique “Muffins” Yingling makes a rare appearance to argue on behalf of Miscavige.  She has been as out of sight as the COB himself since her fateful appearance on 20/20 bearing a basket of slave labor baked muffins while appearing to be trying to send morse code “Help Me” messages with her constant blinking. For some years she was the most prominent spokesperson for scientology, after Miscavige got rid of any actual scientologist to speak on behalf of his organization (can you imagine a non-Catholic being the public spokesperson for the Catholic church?). She was the only one he trusted other than himself, and he has made clear it is beneath him to trifle with the lowlife “Chaos Merchants.” So he sent his non-scientologist consigliere instead to defend the faith and practices of scientology — of which she has no personal experience.

But now, like all other scientology “spokes”people, she makes no public appearances but delivers exclusively written missives. No more “blinky.” No more off-the-cuff boo-boos.

To be fair, she WAS intimately involved in the ultimately successful effort to get the IRS to reverse itself and the Supreme Court and grant religious tax exempt status to scientology. So at least she knows something about the subject (as opposed to her claiming disconnection is a “personal choice” and “Fair Game was canceled.”) Then again, I was also intimately involved. Though scientology likes to pretend I held no senior positions and know nothing, I attended numerous meetings at the IRS during the exemption process and I oversaw the collection and preparation of all the documents presented to the IRS. So, I have a few opinions I would like to express in response to Muffins.

Here is her op-ed in its entirety:

In a Nov. 16 Los Angeles Times op-ed article, Daily Beast correspondent James Kirchick asks, “In the world of religious tax exemptions, does Scientology measure up?” The answer to that question is a resounding yes.

I was the Church of Scientology’s primary tax counsel in its successful efforts to obtain federal tax exemption, a status it fully and fairly earned and continues to merit. Unlike Kirchick, I know exactly whereof I speak.

The Church of Scientology is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as tax exempt because it established to the agency’s satisfaction that it is organized and operates as a charitable religious organization. The church did not engage in a “ruthless battle to win a religious tax exemption”; rather, it simply worked continuously to demonstrate that it should be treated the same as other religious denominations.

The examination process resulting in exemption in 1993 was fully documented through an extensive administrative record that was then and is still available for the public to review; at 14 feet tall if the papers are stacked, the IRS’ record on the church is the largest in the history of exempt organizations. The IRS determined that the church’s operations fully qualified as tax exempt then, and its operations continue to warrant that determination today.

Scientology’s acceptance as a world religion has come quickly by historical measures.

Kirchick’s claim that “America’s recognition of Scientology as a religion stands as an anomaly in the Western world” is not true. There are judicial decisions from the highest courts in Australia, the United Kingdom and Italy, in addition to numerous decisions from lower courts in dozens of other countries, including Spain, France and Germany, all holding that Scientology is a religion. Indeed, many of these decisions have provided the modern definition of religion in their respective jurisdictions.

The Australian High Court’s unanimous decision in 1983 stands as the leading precedent throughout the British Commonwealth for the definition of religion and charity status. In another unanimous decision, the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court in 2013 not only recognized Scientology as a religion but also replaced that country’s Victorian-era definition of religion with a modern one that fully embraces Scientology. In 1997, the Supreme Court of Italy not only recognized the religiosity of Scientology, but also found the church’s fundraising practices to be fairer than those of the Roman Catholic Church. Scientology has been recognized as a religion by courts and governments across the globe, including most recently in Colombia last May and Mexico in November.

Kirchick did get one thing right in observing that Mormonism “was long considered a cult (its adherents the targets of episodic violence) but is now increasingly accepted by mainstream society as just another branch of Christianity.” This experience, however, is not unique to Mormons: History shows that virtually every new religious faith has been defamed, persecuted and suppressed by the society from which it emerged.

Before Constantine, the Roman Empire considered Christianity an obscure Jewish sect and a dangerous one at that. Genuine religions weather these storms and emerge even stronger because their adherents find sufficient value in the religious teachings to endure the attacks of religious bigots and the prejudice and discrimination they produce. This has proven true of Christianity and Mormonism and is continuing to prove true of Scientology.

Indeed, Scientology’s acceptance as a world religion has come quickly by historical measures. The church increasingly enjoys cooperative relations with numerous governments worldwide as well as with like-minded religious, social and humanitarian institutions in the communities it serves. Lost in a tabloid obsessed, click-bait culture is the real story of Scientology.

Monique Yingling is the Church of Scientology’s tax counsel.

Now, let’s consider a few of her statements and some of the glaring omissions.

The unaddressed elephant in the room and the big thing missing from the IRS review: no mention of the enormous amount of money spent by scientology to spy on and try to destroy whistleblowers and critics.

The money is disguised and difficult to trace because it is paid through law firms and scientology spends a LOT of money on lawyers. Hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars a month. This is NOT a valid use of tax exempt funds (if it was just an isolated and occasional incident that is part of a lawsuit it might be acceptable but not a repeating, consistent pattern). It IS enough for the exempt status of scientology to be terminated.

The IRS did ask in general terms about scientology’s violations of “public policy” and the allegations of abusing critics — it was all sloughed off as “that was just the renegade activities of the Guardian’s Office which we disbanded.” There was no mention of the fact that the policy written by Hubbard has not changed and remains in force and followed today. The IRS did not review the policy. They did not delve into the activities or how much money was thrown at PI’s and covert operations.

Second thing the IRS did NOT know is how scientology is accumulating empty buildings. The basic concept of tax exemption is that the money you bring in is spent on things which benefit society. You cannot start up a tax exempt entity and simply accumulate billions of dollars. One valid expense is providing facilities for the membership and the community at large. Normally a religious organization (or any organization for that matter), acquires or builds facilities that it needs. The IRS doesn’t contemplate that if an organization is opening facilities “to serve its congregation” that these are not needed and that the tax exempt entity has simply converted itself into a real estate holding company.

In fact, the accumulation of empty buildings, if they are NOT used, is really no different than accumulating money in a bank account.

Scientology would prefer to buy buildings than spend money on normal “charitable” activities because they money STAYS on their balance sheet. The IRS is blind to this scam — there is an inherent fear within government agencies of being accused of intrusion into religious affairs in violation of the First Amendment. So they tend to ignore this.

But let’s look a bit broader. The entire basis of Muffins piece is this: Where bad arguments against scientology’s tax exemption go to die: courts of law

Yet nobody has challenged scientology’s exemption in a US Court. The US SUPREME court determined that payments to scientology should NOT be tax deductible because they are a quid pro quo transaction and not a donation (See Hernandez v. Commissioner). With this as the law of the land it would be interesting to see how a court would rule on a challenge to the IRS determination that such donations ARE deductible and scientology entities are tax exempt. I suspect the bad arguments of scientology would go to die in a US court, just as they did in the Hernandez case.

Ms. Yingling conflates two things that she KNOWS are not the same. Determination that scientology is or is not a religion is NOT the same as a determination whether it qualifies for tax exempt status under the religious exemption contained in the Internal Revenue Code. Muffins proclaims “it should be treated the same as other religious denominations” — not so fast Muffy. You can be a religion and NOT qualify for tax exempt status. All religions are NOT the same. Your religion might well be recognized by scholars, but if your activities are violating public policy (for example, ingesting cocaine as a religious sacrament while claiming God is manifested in the leaf of the coca plant) then you are NOT entitled to tax exempt status. Let’s not forget, Scientology is NOT like other religions — they don’t have written policies to destroy critics, harass them with PI’s and operate a dirty tricks department.

The examination process resulting in exemption in 1993 was fully documented through an extensive administrative record that was then and is still available for the public to review; and you will find no mention of how much money is spent on harassing/intimidating/threatening whistleblowers or critics. Nor copies of the Hubbard writings about this. Nor information on how much money is spent annually on these activities. The “largest record in the history of the IRS” is missing some extremely important information. Scientology overwhelmed the IRS with information — they lost sight of important factors in the deluge of paper.

The IRS determined that the church’s operations fully qualified as tax exempt then, and its operations continue to warrant that determination today. How about the lies that were told the IRS in the course of the proceedings? Even beyond the omissions. Like this one:

It has been a long-standing policy of the Church that if someone is dissatisfied with their Scientology services and asks to have their contributions returned within a three month period, these amounts will be returned. Likewise, if the person asks for return of contributions for which no services were received (i.e. an advance payment), there is no three month limitation period. Anyone newly enrolling in services at a Church of Scientology is informed of the policies and signs an agreement to abide by them. As a further condition of receiving a refund or repayment, the person understands that they may not again receive services from the Church.

Within the Church, there are two separate terms: A “refund” refers to a return of contributions to a parishioner within 90 days of participating in religious services while a “repayment” refers to a return of a parishioner’s advance payment before he or she has participated in religious services. For simplicity, the following discussion will use the term “refund” to describe both types of transactions, because both involve a return of parishioner contributions.

The Church’s refund policy is exceedingly fair. If someone isn’t happy with Scientology — which is a very small minority of people — he simply has to make a proper request for his donations back, agree to forego further services and his donations will be returned. For the Church, in addition to the fact that this policy aligns with Scientology principles of exchange, it also serves the purpose of allowing our churches and the parishioners who are very happy with Scientology, to carry on without the unhappy few in their midst.

Clearly, this is NOT what scientology actually does. There are plenty of other things the IRS was NOT aware of and didn’t ask about like the relationship of the IAS to participation in scientology. Another key issue the IRS was hoodwinked about.

There are judicial decisions from the highest courts in Australia, the United Kingdom and Italy, in addition to numerous decisions from lower courts in dozens of other countries, including Spain, France and Germany, all holding that Scientology is a religion. Indeed, many of these decisions have provided the modern definition of religion in their respective jurisdictions. Here she goes again, conflating two things that are NOT the same, pretending they are (and of course NOT mentioning the highest court in the United States).

Scientology is specifically NOT exempt from taxation in the UK and other countries, even though for other purposes it may be recognized as a religion. Why? Because tax exempt status does not automatically flow from religious status. In fact, there is a public benefit test to qualify for tax exemption conducted by the “Charity Commission” in the UK. If you cannot demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Charity Commission that your religious organization benefits society beyond whatever claimed benefit it provides its members, you are not exempt. This is the fundamental theory of tax exemption. Governments do not tax activities that are providing a public benefit because were they NOT being provided by that entity, the government would have to provide those services. Such a test is not part of the law in the US — though it should be. The principle is similar and some of the rules are similar in the US — as in you cannot be engaged in activities that are in violation of “public policy” and you cannot accumulate too much money instead of using it for the public good — there is no public benefit test.

The Australian High Court’s unanimous decision in 1983 stands as the leading precedent throughout the British Commonwealth for the definition of religion and charity status. More of the straw man argument. This decision does NOT bestow tax exempt (charitable) status on scientology organizations in the vast majority of the British Commonwealth, including the seat of the Commonwealth in the United Kingdom.

Genuine religions weather these storms and emerge even stronger because their adherents find sufficient value in the religious teachings to endure the attacks of religious bigots and the prejudice and discrimination they produce. This has proven true of Christianity and Mormonism and is continuing to prove true of Scientology. Well, no it is not. Scientology is smaller today than it was 10 years ago, and 10 years ago it was smaller than it was 20 years ago. Scientology has been shrinking since the 1980’s. It is not emerging stronger. It is fading away. While accumulating more and more money.

The church increasingly enjoys cooperative relations with numerous governments worldwide as well as with like-minded religious, social and humanitarian institutions in the communities it serves. And once again, this has NOTHING to do with whether it should or should not have tax exempt status. As an aside, it also not true.

For 25 years, scientology has rested its legitimacy (and a lot of its income) on its tax exempts status. Clearly, this is a huge vulnerability — lose it and the pretense of being legitimate dies. And it will happen — eventually scientology’s Fair Game chickens are coming home to roost. Miscavige knows his house of cards is built on quicksand and it’s toppling and he is desperate to avoid this at all costs. Watch the madness and lies escalate as the inevitable draws closer.

The only question is what will be the final catalyst: a lawsuit? A criminal investigation? Congressional action? Or the IRS awakening from its quarter century slumber?

Notes

LA Times Opinion: Where bad arguments against Scientology’s tax exemption go to die: courts of law (February 8, 2018)

By Monique Yingling
Posted 8 February 20181

In a Nov. 16 Los Angeles Times op-ed article, Daily Beast correspondent James Kirchick asks, “In the world of religious tax exemptions, does Scientology measure up?” The answer to that question is a resounding yes.

I was the Church of Scientology’s primary tax counsel in its successful efforts to obtain federal tax exemption, a status it fully and fairly earned and continues to merit. Unlike Kirchick, I know exactly whereof I speak.

The Church of Scientology is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as tax exempt because it established to the agency’s satisfaction that it is organized and operates as a charitable religious organization. The church did not engage in a “ruthless battle to win a religious tax exemption”; rather, it simply worked continuously to demonstrate that it should be treated the same as other religious denominations.

The examination process resulting in exemption in 1993 was fully documented through an extensive administrative record that was then and is still available for the public to review; at 14 feet tall if the papers are stacked, the IRS’ record on the church is the largest in the history of exempt organizations. The IRS determined that the church’s operations fully qualified as tax exempt then, and its operations continue to warrant that determination today.

Kirchick’s claim that “America’s recognition of Scientology as a religion stands as an anomaly in the Western world” is not true. There are judicial decisions from the highest courts in Australia, the United Kingdom and Italy, in addition to numerous decisions from lower courts in dozens of other countries, including Spain, France and Germany, all holding that Scientology is a religion. Indeed, many of these decisions have provided the modern definition of religion in their respective jurisdictions.

The Australian High Court’s unanimous decision in 1983 stands as the leading precedent throughout the British Commonwealth for the definition of religion and charity status. In another unanimous decision, the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court in 2013 not only recognized Scientology as a religion but also replaced that country’s Victorian-era definition of religion with a modern one that fully embraces Scientology. In 1997, the Supreme Court of Italy not only recognized the religiosity of Scientology, but also found the church’s fundraising practices to be fairer than those of the Roman Catholic Church. Scientology has been recognized as a religion by courts and governments across the globe, including most recently in Colombia last May and Mexico in November.

Kirchick did get one thing right in observing that Mormonism “was long considered a cult (its adherents the targets of episodic violence) but is now increasingly accepted by mainstream society as just another branch of Christianity.” This experience, however, is not unique to Mormons: History shows that virtually every new religious faith has been defamed, persecuted and suppressed by the society from which it emerged.

Before Constantine, the Roman Empire considered Christianity an obscure Jewish sect and a dangerous one at that. Genuine religions weather these storms and emerge even stronger because their adherents find sufficient value in the religious teachings to endure the attacks of religious bigots and the prejudice and discrimination they produce. This has proven true of Christianity and Mormonism and is continuing to prove true of Scientology.

Indeed, Scientology’s acceptance as a world religion has come quickly by historical measures. The church increasingly enjoys cooperative relations with numerous governments worldwide as well as with like-minded religious, social and humanitarian institutions in the communities it serves. Lost in a tabloid obsessed, click-bait culture is the real story of Scientology.

Monique Yingling is the Church of Scientology’s tax counsel.

Notes

Deposition of Michael J. Rinder (January 6, 2015)

Videotaped Deposition of Michael J. Rinder 1

 

Notes

  1. This document in PDF format.

Deposition of Mark C. Rathbun (December 22, 2014)

This document in PDF format. Exhibit 6 to Rathbun’s deposition is his August 13, 1991 Declaration in Armstrong.

See also GA’s 2009 letter to Mark Rathbun re Rathbun’s 1991 declaration.

Affidavit of Michael Rinder (October 15, 2014)

Affidavit of Michael Rinder1

STATE OF FLORIDA
COUNTY OF PINELLAS

1. I was a member of the Board of Directors of the Church of Scientology International from 1983 until 2007, when I terminated my relationship with the Church of Scientology and all related entities.

2. I was raised as a Scientologist from the age of 6 and, as such, am well versed on the policies and procedures of the Church of Scientology.

3. During the course of my employment with the Church, I was responsible for creating the Enrollment Agreement and “arbitration” clause, and I would have been responsible for providing the rules for “arbitration.” No such rules were ever created for the “arbitration” process beyond selection of the arbitral panel, nor were, or have they ever been delineated. It simply was not the intent of the Church that the “arbitration” process amount to anything beyond a statement on paper.

4. During the course of my employment as head of the Church’s worldwide legal matters for more than 20 years, I became aware of attempts made by persons to get their money back from the Church. Every such attempt was reported to me on a weekly basis.

5. Since the inclusion of the “arbitration” clause in the Enrollment Agreement, I am not aware of a single instance where anyone has participated in “arbitration”.

6. I have read the Declaration of Mike Ellis filed in an attempt to comply with the Court’s Order dated September 24, 2014 and can state of my own knowledge, that the procedure described for the Committee of Evidence has absolutely nothing to do with “arbitration” nor was it ever intended that that procedure apply to “arbitration”. I note that the Affidavit of Mike Ellis fails to respond to the Court’s Order of September 24, 2014 which states as follows:

“Within ten (10) days, Defendants shall also provide evidentiary support for the following statements made in their Response to Court Order Regarding Arbitration Procedures: “The Church of Scientology International Justice Chief (“IJC”) has ruled that the procedures and rules governing a Committee of Evidence apply in arbitration proceedings” (Dkt. 91 at 2). Plaintiffs may rebut any such evidence within ten (10) days. (Emphasis supplied).

The Affidavit of Mike Ellis offers no evidence that there has been a ruling that the Committee of Evidence Rules apply to arbitration other than to intimate that that was the intent in 1963 (when the original “policy letter” was written which is now partly incorporated into the book Introduction to Scientology Ethics), which was long before arbitration ever existed in any enrollment agreement. In fact, no such ruling of the International Justice Chief ever took place. To the contrary, the Committee of Evidence Procedure could not possibly be used in arbitration as is shown by the cites provided by the church to The Introduction to Scientology Ethics book which contains the procedures and rules governing the Committee of Evidence. The purpose and function of the Committee of Evidence is completely incompatible with the limited procedure set forth in the Enrollment Agreement for choosing arbitrators. That is because the purpose, function and procedural substance applicable to the Committee of Evidence was not, and is not, intended to apply to arbitration.

(a) A Committee of Evidence is convened when it is suspected or alleged that a given person has committed a wrong (a “Crime” or “High Crime” in Scientology parlance) as opposed to a refund of contributions or allegations of fraud against the Church. “Crimes are punished by convening Committees of Evidence and may not be handled by direct discipline.”  (Introduction to Scientology Ethics [all cites are to the 2007 edition of Introduction to Scientology Ethics Bridge Publications Inc, hereafter referred to as ITSEJ p. 307). “A Committee of Evidence is convened on the subject of a known Crime or High Crime, as it has come to be looked on (and is) a trial by jury, there being a charge. (ITSE p. 349)

(b) A Committee of Evidence functions as a fact-finding jury and is in no way similar to an arbitration panel. ” (It is] a fact-finding body composed of impartial persons properly convened by a Convening Authority which hears evidence from persons it calls before it, arrives at a finding and makes a full report and recommendation to its Convening Authority for his or her action.” (ITSE p. 338) The highest “Convening Authority” in Scientology is the International Justice Chief.

(c) A Committee of Evidence consists of appointed members, rather than party-selected arbitrators. “The Chairman is appointed at the discretion of the Convening Authority appointing the Committee.” “The Secretary is appointed specifically by the Convening Authority.” (ITSE p. 338) “Members of the Committee are specifically named by the Convening Authority. In addition to the Chairman and Secretary they may not number less than two or more than five.” (ITSE p. 339)

(d) A Committee of Evidence is not authorized to preside over matters relating to return of funds. “The org or any part of it may not be sued for financial damages or refund.” (ITSE p. 355)

(e) As written into the Enrollment Agreement, the guise of “arbitration” was intended to apply after a person exhausted the review by the International Justice Chief, who is the highest authority in Scientology. The Enrollment Agreements state: “Any dispute, claim or controversy which still remains unresolved after review by the IJC shall be submitted to binding religious arbitration in accordance with the arbitration procedures of Church of Scientology International … ”

(f) Unlike the procedure established for naming arbitrators, the Committee of Evidence is “composed of Chairman, Secretary, and two to five Committee members appointed by the Convening Authority” (ITSE p. 346), not three scientologists in good-standing chosen by the parties as is the case in arbitration.

(g) The Committee of Evidence findings can be altered or nullified by the convening authority, who “approves, mitigates or disproves the Findings and Recommendations of the Committee of Evidence he or she appoints” (ITSE p. 338) and he ” … may disband a Committee of Evidence he or she convenes if it fails to be active in the prosecution of its business, and may convene another Committee in its place” (ITSE p. 338)

7. Committees of Evidence are specifically not to deal with matters of “refunds.” Mr. Ellis has been intentionally disingenuous in para 2 of his declaration where he references the original 1963 “Policy Letter” on Committees of Evidence as referring to “refunds”. But this reference was subsequently changed, and refunds are no longer mentioned with regard to Committees of Evidence in current church policy. This is why he did not cite to Introduction to Scientology Ethics, because the word “refund” no longer appears in the discussion of Committees of Evidence. Yet at para 5 he avers that this book is the policy of the church that is “understood by members of the religion” not an obscure 1963 edition of a “policy letter” that is generally unavailable to the public.

8. Even so, the 1963 “policy letter” Mr. Ellis cites and the entire Introduction to Scientology Ethics, do not include the word arbitration anywhere.

9. On the other hand, the Enrollment Agreements make no mention of Committee of Evidence rules – the only specification concerning arbitration procedure is directly contradictory to the procedures described in Introduction to Scientology Ethics.

10. On page 2 of the Declaration of Mike Ellis, he states “since 2002, over 5,000 of these proceedings (Committee on Evidence) have been conducted”. Yet, he has not denied that there has never been an arbitration hearing in the entire history of The Church apart from an unnamed and untimed “recent” request for arbitration which presumably postdates all Enrollment Agreements and the motions in this Court.

11. The Committee of Evidence chapter appears on page 337 of Introduction to Scientology Ethics. On page 309 of the same book it states “Suppressive Persons or Groups relinquish their rights as Scientologists by their very actions and may not receive the benefits of the Codes of the Church.” It is without question that the Plaintiffs in this case have been declared suppressive persons by The Church so that even if some strained interpretation were to apply the Committee of Evidence Rules to the arbitration process, they would not apply to these Plaintiffs who by Church decree are not entitled to participate in any benefits of the Codes of The Church. The International Justice Chief has sent letters to those requesting refunds, denying them access to any Scientology “justice,” even denying them the right to a Committee of Evidence, let alone arbitration, on the basis that this is a “High Crime” in Scientology
“Demanding the return of any and all donations made for standard training and processing actually received or received in part and still available but undelivered but only because of departure of the person demanding (the donations must be refunded but this policy applies)” (ITSE p. 312) and thus they are not entitled to the “benefit” of any Scientology justice procedures.

I hereby declare under the penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed this 15th day of October, 2014, in Palm Harbor, FL.

Michael Rinder

Notes

  1. This document in PDF format.

GA Letter to Clayton C. Ruby (1) (February 17, 2014)

February 17, 2014

Clayton C. Ruby, Esquire
Ruby Shiller Chan Hasan
11 Prince Arthur Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5R 1B2
By: Canada Post
Fax 416-964-8305
Email ruby@rubyshiller.com
Dear Mr. Ruby:

There is another point concerning the Scientologists’ unlawful covert operation against me that you refer to in your letter to Ms. Yingling1, and your perverse defamation of me.

You wrote that an October 1984 entry in Sergeant Ciampini’s diary stated that Michael Flynn called Ciampini and said that he has 30 – 35 people inside the cult who are going to take physical control and turn over all documents to IRS CID for their investigation.

The people inside the Scientology cult were not Flynn’s. They were your people. They were your clients. To lay your covert agents on Flynn is conscienceless beyond belief.

Here’s what I wrote about your covert agents in a 1994 declaration:

4. During the 1984 trial of the organization’s case against me, Church of Scientology of California and Mary Sue Hubbard v. Gerald Armstrong, Los Angeles Superior Court no. C420153 (“Armstrong I“), Sherman told me that one of these friends, whom he called “Joey,” had told him that there was an actual group inside the organization who were dedicated to reforming it because management had become suppressive. They called themselves the “Loyalists,” claiming to be “loyal” to the preservation of the ideals of Scientology, “what worked.” They also recognized that its leaders were criminal, crazy, dangerous, and not dedicated to those ideals but were acting to destroy them. The “Loyalists” wanted to take control in a well-planned, effective and peaceful action before some tragedy happened. They claimed to know of criminal activities and a key part of their plan was the documenting of these activities.

5. Sherman said they were 35 in number, or at least there were 35 who knew they were “Loyalists,” all smart, reasonable and not fanatics. Some of them were his old friends from B-1. Such persons tended to be smart, reasonable and often were not fanatics. The people whom I knew to be, including Hubbard, the organization leaders, prided themselves on their recognition of unreasonableness as a virtue, and maintained an abiding fanaticism to justify their abuses and keep their positions of power. Sherman was smart and gave every appearance of being reasonable and unfanatical. He said the Loyalists knew he was in communication with me and wanted to talk with me but were afraid for their lives. This was not surprising to me because I knew from my own experiences that the organization had a brutal side and its leaders were dangerous, armed and desperate. Thus the first communications with the Loyalists were a few messages relayed by Sherman. They said that I had a proven record against the organization, that my integrity had been unshakable and they wanted my help.2

They were not Flynn’s 35 people, or my 35 people. They were your 35 people, your criminal client’s people. You lied for the Scientologists, and to the detriment of the Scientologists victims around the world, and everyone else around the world. You lied and hurt people unlawfully for money. And people are still being hurt by you.

Please fix it now.

Yours importunately,

Gerry Armstrong

Notes

GA Letter to Clayton C. Ruby (2) (February 17, 2004)

February 17, 2014

Clayton C. Ruby, Esquire
Ruby Shiller Chan Hasan

11 Prince Arthur Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5R 1B2
By: Canada Post

Fax 416-964-8305
Email ruby@rubyshiller.com

Dear Mr. Ruby:

In April 1985, during the trial of Julie Christofferson v. Scientology in Portland, Oregon, cult attorney John Peterson stated to the court that you, Mr. Ruby, were responsible for the unlawful video recording you dishonestly call “a police authorized video” in your 1992 letter to Ms. Yingling.1

If a corrupt police officer signed an unlawful note authorizing you to murder someone you hated – like me for example – would you call that a police authorized murder?

Peterson said that you hired Eugene Ingram, the Scientologists’ most notorious private investigator, and you ordered the unlawful video recording, not Peterson and not the Scientology cultists. Your PI Ingram threatened to assassinate me, threatened to put a bullet between my eyes, as I’m sure you know.

At first I thought Peterson was lying in the Portland court, hiding his own and the Scientologists’ complicity in the unlawful Armstrong operation, and using the fact that you were in Canada and outside subpoena range for the Christofferson trial. Because of my discovery yesterday of your letter to Ms. Yingling, however, I have had to reconsider your involvement. I now believe that you conspired with Peterson and the Scientologists.

If attorney Peterson is to be believed at all, then you paid the corrupt LAPD officer for the unlawful “authorizations” to eaves drop on, wiretap and record my attorney Michael Flynn and me.2

Peterson also stated that you alone as of April 1985 possessed the unlawful video recordings. So I have to conclude that you are responsible for the dishonest editing of the videos, for the dishonest transcripts, and for the black propaganda the videos have been used for all these years.

I do not believe that your one letter to Ms. Yingling is your only communication about your video recordings, or your only communication lying about and black PRing me or Flynn. I think your one letter that surfaced is but the tip of a monstrous criminal black propaganda berg.

I believe that as willing as you have been to do what you have done in service of the Scientology cult, there is almost no limit to what you would do to a person you want to victimize like me. You are a criminal defense attorney with many connections into the criminal underworld, and into criminals like Ingram to do your dirty work. The Scientology cult has long had associations with dangerous criminals, and has a practice of hiring psychopaths. I believe I am in more danger from you and your clients and cohorts than ever.

Your Scientologist clients have physically assaulted me on multiple occasions, terrorized me on the freeway, broken into my car and stolen valuable property, framed me and tried to have me prosecuted on false criminal charges, obtained unlawful jail sentences against me, forced me into bankruptcy, black PRed me around the world up to the top of governments, run covert ops on me, forged my signature over racist Internet postings, and even hired prominent people like you to destroy me. You are the enemy of good people, and the world should know it for everyone’s safety.

I understand that even the most criminal even murderous people deserve legal representation. I have no problem with that concept. I have a serious problem, however, with the lawyers who lie for their criminal clients.

You also can correct all this. But you can’t correct it with more lies, or hiring more thugs. You have to tell the truth and remedy the lies and black PR you’ve spread about me, Flynn and your Scientologist clients’ other enemies or victims.

Yours genuinely,

Gerry Armstrong

Notes

  1. For videos, transcripts and related documents: http://armstrong-op.gerryarmstrong.ca/the-illegal-videos
  2. See Peterson’s trial testimony in Christofferson.

Declaration of Michael Rinder (January 1, 2014)

Declaration of Michael Rinder 1

My name is Michael Rinder. I am over the age of eighteen (18) years, of sound mind, and capable of making this declaration. The facts stated in this declaration are within my personal knowledge and are true and correct.

1. “In or about February 2007, while I was employed by church of Scientology International I was assigned by Captain David Miscavige to work with Tommy Davis – who was serving as church of Scientology International, s spokesperson at that time – to attempt to discourage the BBC and its correspondent John Sweeney from completing a documentary on Mr. Miscavige and Scientology. Over the several weeks of our project, Mr. Davis and I received almost daily micro-managing direction from Mr. Miscavige – in person when we were in Clearwater and then by phone, text messages and encrypted emails when in other locations. At the insistence of Miscavige, we arranged the engagement of several agents to surveil Mr.
Sweeney and his team all day, every day for several months during the project. We reported the movements of Sweeney and team to Miscavige almost daily, and sometimes several times per day. We did not retain nor consult with counsel in either the retention of agents nor in carrying
out our orders from Miscavige.

2. In late March 2007 I was sent to London England by David Miscavige. My assignment was to prevent the airing of the BBC Panorama  documentary on Mr. Miscavige and Scientology. Once the documentary was aired on 14 May 2007, Mr. Miscavige ordered me to make a formal complaint against the BBC to Ofcom (the UK regulator of media) and to produce a documentary smearing the BBC and its correspondent John Sweeney. I reported daily in writing to Mr. Miscavige on my activities for the entire time I was in England beginning at the end of March and until I finally walked away in early June. David Miscavige sent me daily, detailed written orders concerning the assignment by encrypted email as well as routine phone calls.

3. I received several corporeal punishments while in the United Kingdom on Miscavige’s orders including being punched by a Sea Org member. Miscavige’s written communications became progressively more abusive. When I was ordered by Miscavige to return to Scientology United Kingdom headquarters (where I had been staying) 50 miles south of London for more punishment I decided that I had had enough. I put a toothbrush and change of underwear in the only other possession I had at the time, a briefcase, and walked away from the Sea Org on the streets of London.

4. Several months later I noticed that a Blackberry communication device I had used during the BBC project was still in the briefcase. I took out the memory card, connected it to my computer and discovered that some of the text messages between myself and Mr. Miscavige noted above were on the screen. I printed a complete copy of the text.

5. Attached at exhibit 1 is a true and correct copy of the print out that I made of the contents of the memory card from the Blackberry device I used during the handling of the BBC. “Mike” and “Mike R” refers to me, Mike Rinder. “Tommy” and “TD” refer to Tommy Davis, Scientology’s spokesperson during that time period. Because Mr. Davis and I were both addressed in messages from Miscavige sent to my Blackberry phone, (and I was similarly addressed in messages sent to his blackberry and sometimes to both at the same time) the headings of many messages to and from Tommy read “Mike” in the heading. Many messages are repeated as new messages are added to the thread. Sometimes the headings note “cc: Tommy” , which indicates Tommy was supposed to be informed of that message. All messages from Tommy and me (noted in the heading as “Mike”) are to and from “Lou.”

6. “Lou” refers to Laurisse Henley-Smith Stuckenbrock. Lou held the post of COB Communicator. Her job was to shadow Miscavige everywhere he went, filter all communications to and from him and to relay Miscavige’s instructions as if they were her own on matters where Miscavige did not want to leave a paper trail of his involvement. The handling of the BBC was such a matter. The BBC was pressing to interview Mr. Miscavige. Tommy Davis and I were instructed to give the BBC the impression that Mr. Miscavige was far too important and busy to be concerned with the BBC. Yet, virtually every utterance we made to the BBC was dictated by Miscavige. Laurisse attempted to keep the messages in her voice, so as to protect the record from direct Miscavige involvement. But, because of the tremendous velocity and volume and franticness with which the micro management was occurring, she sometimes slipped and referred to Miscavige in the first person singular (“I”) and plural (“we”), as I shall note below.

7. Lou also carried Miscavige’s personal phones. She commonly had 3 phones with her at all times. Her “Nextel” for direct-connect walkie-talkie communications to anyone in the US with another “Nextel” phone, her “Blackberry” and Miscavige’s Blackberry. Miscavige used his blackberry to speak to Tom Cruise and other “important people” not in the Sea Org. He used Lou’s phones to speak with Sea Org members like me and Tommy Davis. When we called Miscavige, we called the “Lou Nextel” or the “Lou blackberry” and she would answer and then hand the phone to Miscavige.

8. Because the text messages are heavily laden with Scientology terminology and Miscavige invented acronyms, they are not easy to follow. I have chosen a number of sections relevant to the instant case and have highlighted them in the attached transcript. I will translate some of the nomenclature. The 39 pages of texts begins with page 39 and runs in reverse order. That is because, like email, the sequence of text message threads goes from the bottom-up. Notations concerning the highlighted portions of transcript:

9. a. Page 37, message from Mike to Lou, indicating that COB (Miscavige) was on the phone with me on the matter at hand the day before.

b. Page 34-35, message from Lou to Mike. This is clearly Miscavige dictation, putting him into third person by Laurisse. Laurisse does not have this level of authority, nor knowledge to deliver such a message as her own. This message is typical of Miscavige, wherein he jumps between addressing the recipient (in this case me) and addressing the subject of the communication (John Sweeney of the BBC). On two occasions in this communication alone Lou slips into the first person plural “we”, which refer to no one other than David Miscavige. Acronyms used in this passage:

Mecca: church of Scientology Flag Service Organization in Clearwater, Florida.
Gold: Golden Era Productions, located at the International Scientology headquarters compound in Riverside County.
JT: John Travolta
UK: United Kingdom
CW: Clearwater, short for church of Scientology Flag Service Organization.
Narconon HQ: the headquarters of a drug rehabilitation network Scientology operates called Narconon
APS: A Scientology front group for infiltrating Scientology into public schools
FH: Fort Harrison hotel, the main building at the church of Scientology Flag Service Organization

c. Page 33, Lou to Mike R. This is in response to a report I made below in the thread giving the location of the BBC reporter at that very moment. Miscavige is ordering that “security is in” on a number of buildings, meaning all doors locked and guards on call vigilant to prevent any inside filming. Miscavige specifically mentions the RPF. That stands for Rehabilitation Project Force. It is a Sea Org operated prison designed for reeducation of doubting members.

d. Page 32, Lou to Mike R. This is another lengthy rant by Miscavige about how to deal with BBC reporter Sweeney. The first highlighted segment shows Lou slipping and putting Miscavige into the first person “I.” The second highlighted segment is a rant that is repeated throughout the messages – and throughout any given day – by Miscavige bemoaning how he micro-manages “everything” in the church. “Single hand” is a Scientology term which means for an executive to bypass the junior staff normally responsible for something and handle it directly himself.

e. Page 21-22, Lou to Mike R. Detailed orders and admonishments for dealing the BBC reporter.

f. Page 20, exchange between Lou and Tommy. We are being pressured to answer a lengthy text message while driving. Lou relays Miscavige’s  instruction to have Tommy tell me that I am a “CICS”. That is a Miscavige created acronym for “counter intentioned cock sucker.”

g. Page 19. Miscavige gives the “derivation” of the term CICS, and Tommy reports compliance that I have been told that and understand it.

h. Page 18, Lou to Mike R. Lou acknowledges that Tommy and I had just had a phone call with Miscavige, I am criticized for having “sucked him into every” OSA situation to handle himself for the past twenty years. Re-asserts the CICS label.

i. Pages 16-17. “Lou” acknowledges Miscavige orders by referring to “He told you…” then details specific orders on how to express allegations in an email to the BBC reporter. Repeatedly writes “YS”, which is a Miscavige created acronym for “you suck.”

j. Page 16. Lou to Mike Rinder and Tommy Davis. Relays that because of our lack of aggressive compliance, Miscavige threatens to hire an attorney to represent him to the BBC and will disown both me and Tommy.

k. Page 10. Lou to Mike R. “We are in LA now, are there any areas we should avoid? And is this guy’s body now many new (torn worn to wall) assholes?” “We” refers to Miscavige and Lou (who as Communicator is with him at all waking hours). Miscavige wants to know where the BBC team is precisely, knowing that we have teams of agents following them 24/7, so that Miscavige can avoid being spotted by the BBC. “Tearing new assholes” is a Miscavige coined, and oft used, phrase meaning a person is attacked so ruthlessly, that his flesh is torn (i.e. a new asshole). Miscavige wants to know whether we attacked Sweeney from the BBC in that fashion.

l. Page 9. Lou to Mike R. Once we report compliance that we did rip John Sweeney many “new assholes,” Miscavige wants to know whether we recorded the event, in keeping with his previous orders that we video tape all encounters with Sweeney. “CSMF” is a Miscavige coined, and oft used, acronym for “cock sucking mother fucker.”

m. Page 7. Lou to Mike R. Miscavige, knowing we know every movement of the BBC crew, wants to make sure we don’t blow our agents” cover by having Tommy go on the same flight to SFO (San Francisco) that Sweeney is on.

n. Page 6, Lou to Mike R. “Boss” refers to Miscavige. Message acknowledges that Miscavige is micro-managing the show – and has been doing the same for twenty years.

o. Page 3, This is Tommy’s “debrief to Miscavige that he is sharing with me by text as we were in two separate locations at that time. Highlighted portions demonstrates it is reported directly to Miscavige that the BBC is being kept “under surveillance”,  and we are reporting their movements.

10. In 2010 I was contacted by the FBI concerning an investigation they were conducting into David Miscavige and the church of Scientology centered on human trafficking. At their request, I turned over everything I had concerning my communications with Miscavige. I kept a copy for myself. I subsequently made another copy and gave to John Sweeney at the BBC.”

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed in Pinellas County, State of Florida, on the 1st day of January 2014.

Michael Rinder

Notes

  1. This document in PDF format.

Declaration of Michael Rinder (December 3, 2013)

DECLARATION OF MICHAEL RINDER1

My name is Michael Rinder, I am over the age of 21, and I have personal knowledge of the facts stated herein, which I declare are true and correct subject to the penalty for perjury.

1.  I was raised in a Scientology family from the age of six. I joined church staff in April 1973 at the age of eighteen and remained a full time employee until June 2007.

2.  For most of the time between 1982 and 2007 I was a senior official in the Church of Scientology International (CSI), the so-called mother church of Scientology.  I was on the Board of Directors of CSI from its inception in 1982 until I left in 2007.

3.  During the majority of the time between 1982 and 2007 I was the most senior official within CSI responsible for “external affairs”, meaning government and media relations, investigations and intelligence operations, as well as all litigation and contract matters. This function is performed by the Office of Special Affairs (“OSA”) and I was the head of OSA for most of this time.

4.  I have read Defendant Church of Scientology International’s “Anti-SLAPP Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s First Amended Petition” and attached affidavits of Allan Cartwright, David Lubow, John Allender, Richard Hirst, Monty Drake and Steven Sloat and I have also read Defendants Miscavige and RTC Special Appearances and requests for dismissal alleging this court does not have jurisdiction. I have relevant information concerning both of these efforts to dismiss this case. Miscavige and RTC Special Appearances and requests for dismissal alleging this court does not have jurisdiction. I have relevant information concerning both of these efforts to dismiss this case.

Miscavige and Me

5.  Though a CSI employee, I answered directly to David Miscavige (the self-titled Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center or “COB RTC” or nowadays simply “COB”) and Religious Technology Center, either directly to Miscavige or through his representatives, primarily Mark (“Marty”) Rathbun and to a lesser extent Warren McShane and Mike Sutter. Even when there was someone who was administratively senior to me in CSI, they were senior in title only. RTC still directed my activities and I reported to one of the four named individuals above.

6.  I have more than two decades of personal experience working for David Miscavige dealing with the most pressing “external affairs” matters — from negotiations with the IRS to dealing with “attackers” and responding to media and numerous lawsuits. Miscavige has always maintained personal and direct control over situations he felt threatened his position of authority and power within the church or would harm his image. To facilitate this without subjecting himself to liability, an elaborate corporate structure was put in place to shield his involvement in direct actions, particularly those that are unsavory or could generate damaging PR or could drag him into litigation.

7.  I was selected by David Miscavige and brought to Los Angeles from Florida in April 1981 to participate in the purge of the “Guardian’s Office” which had been the arm of the church that had been responsible for “external affairs” but had been caught and prosecuted by the US Government for illegal acts. This in turn had engendered civil litigation which at the time was moving towards judgments against the church and threatened to drag Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard into civil and potentially criminal liability. Marty Rathbun was also part of this small group of people hand selected by Miscavige. OSA is heir to the role of the Guardian’s Office.

8.  At Miscavige’s direction, extensive and elaborate methods were employed to shield Hubbard from liability. After Hubbard died in 1986 and Miscavige took over, similar methods were employed by Miscavige to shield himself from liability.

9.  Miscavige is acutely aware of personal liability and carefully uses subterfuge to make it appear he has no connection to unsavory or potentially tortious or criminal activities. He talks on the phone or in person with no record to his trusted “lieutenants” about “sensitive matters” (such as anything relating to the “handling” of “attackers”, defined as anyone who threatens his position or the church through exposure in the media, on the internet or in. the legal arena). If written communication is required it is not signed by him and gives no indication who it was written by. At times Miscavige even writes about himself in the third person (e.g. “this would impact COB” rather than “this would impact me.”) This is a pattern developed by Hubbard. Other times Miscavige instructs his lieutenants to issue orders in their name. This happened hundreds if not thousands of times where I would relay Miscavige orders to underlings in various Churches of Scientology around the world in my name.

10.  Miscavige compartmentalizes information — those who did not “need to know” were excluded from conversations or written orders. The majority of the time 1. worked under Miscavige, “sensitive” subjects, which included matters related to litigation, ongoing investigations or high level defectors were discussed ONLY with his most trusted juniors. On numerous occasions that meant only Marty Rathbun and me. He would tell others to leave the room, or he would step outside with us before discussing these matters. This was particularly the case when he wanted to discuss ongoing “investigations.”

11.  The “Case Officers” (usually Neal O’Riley, Ben Shaw and Linda Hamel, all former Guardian Office members) who directed Pi’s and other operatives reported only to me, and I forwarded it to Miscavige, Rathbun, McShane and Sutter. The information they collected and activities they directed were kept segregated from even others in OSA. This is pursuant to the written policy of the church on how to conduct covert investigations and operations. (Some operations were so sensitive that Rathbun or McShane went directly to the Case Officers and I was not informed about what they were doing)

12.  Miscavige received a daily report concerning every legal case, every media action and every investigation ongoing in the world. I prepared this briefing each day, entitled the “OSA DR” (Office of Special Affairs Daily Report) and it was sent to Marty Rathbun and David Miscavige via an encrypted email program. The report had no indication on it who it was written by or who it was addressed to. There was a separate “Investigations Report” that I compiled with very limited distribution including David Miscavige and Marty Rathbun. The “Invest Report” contained specifics of all ongoing activities of Private Investigators and intelligence operations working for the church against “attackers”. This was delivered in an unmarked, sealed envelope with no indication who it was from or who it was to and is labeled “Secret — Eyes Only.” On hundreds of occasions David Miscavige specifically commented upon, issued orders concerning, and even micro-managed the format of the OSA Daily Reports. When I was in a different location from Miscavige, he would call me on the phone every single day first thing to direct what was to be done about matters raised in the OSA Daily Report (it was the first thing he looked at before even getting dressed when he woke up in the morning) and he would call me again at the end of the day to ask if there was any other “significant news”. Some days, if there was an investigation or legal case or media matter that he was especially interested in, he would call me several times during the day. All staff in OSA knew that phone calls “from COB” were highest priority and any meetings or other matters were to be interrupted to take a “call from COB.” Staff in OSA Int saw me receive literally thousands of phone calls from “COB.” When we were in the same location, I would be summoned to his office several times each day.

13.  Each and every OSA Daily Report and Intel or Invest Daily Report that was produced daily from 1981 to the present is filed both in electronic and hard copy form at OSA. It is long-standing, firm, unalterable Scientology policy that every report generated by OSA is faithfully and securely kept on file for eternity. The files are considered to be the mind of the organization.

Corporate Lines of Control — The Sea Organization

14.  In addition to the compartmented information and sensitive matters not being put in writing, an elaborate corporate structure is in place on paper intended to insulate Miscavige and RTC from any civil or criminal liability. I helped establish this structure starting in 1981, creating the different corporations of Scientology including CST and RTC. This structure served three purposes: making a legally defensible structure that the IRS could ultimately grant tax exempt status to, creating an impenetrable corporate shield to limit liability to Hubbard (and subsequently Miscavige) and protecting assets from judgments by litigants by locating them in different corporate entities than those that were in direct contact with the public.

15.  In fact, there is no corporate separation in the Scientology hierarchy because the entire structure of Scientology corporations is completely subservient to the Sea Organization (“Sea Org” or “SO”). And that is under the unquestioned authority of its supreme commander, Captain David Miscavige.

16.  The Sea Org is a fraternity of the most dedicated members of Scientology. They pledge themselves to eternal service, signing a billion year “contract.” Sea Org members live in church facilities and have no life outside the church. The name derives from the late 1960’s when L. Ron Hubbard took his most dedicated and trusted followers to sea on a fleet of ships. Hubbard assumed the naval rank of Commodore and the naval traditions of rank and command structures became part and parcel of the leadership of Scientology.

17.  Everyone in CSI and RTC and all other senior organizations of Scientology are members of the Sea Organization. I was a member of the Sea Organization from 1973 until 2007 and as all Sea Org members are required to do, I signed a billion year “contract”, committing myself to an eternity in service of Scientology and dedicating myself without question to the Sea Org strict and unquestioned code of conduct.

18.  The real control of Scientology lays within the Sea Organization hierarachy. Every person in any position of authority in the international structure of Scientology is a Sea Org member. Every one of them is answerable to Miscavige. He uses a contrived title that makes him sound like a Board Chairman of a normal corporation. This is a deliberate ruse. He is really the most senior official of the Sea Org and as such has complete and unquestioned authority over every Sea Org member regardless of their “corporate position.”

19.  When Hubbard died in 1986 and Miscavige took over to “follow in his footsteps” — Hubbard’s rank of Commodore was retired. Miscavige assumed the most senior rank of “Captain.” This bestows upon him ultimate “seniority of command” and authority over everyone else in the Sea Org (meaning every person in any position of authority in Scientology no matter their corporate position). Internally in Scientology, even members who are not in the Sea Org refer to him as “Captain Miscavige” and he is identified in church publications accordingly.

20.  When this true “line of command and control” was brought up in litigation in the 1990’s by former Sea Org members, Miscavige went to extraordinary lengths to camouflage his control by appointing a number of other people to the rank of “Captain (brevet).” “Brevet” means “temporary.” In that way he was able to submit a declaration to the court claiming that because there were “other Captains” he was not in fact able to exercise sole control of the Sea Organization. That conclusion was false, though his assertion that there were “other Captains” was literally true but the other “Captains” were temporary and each understood Miscavige could take away their “rank” as quickly as he had bestowed it. And. he did so. After that declaration was filed he subsequently demoted every person he mentioned, not a single one of them retained the rank of Captain (brevet).

21.  In Scientology, Corporate Boards are window-dressing. The members of the Board of CSI had no idea what their duties and responsibilities were. As the head of OSA and thus responsible for maintaining “corporate regularity” I would direct board minutes he put together and sent to the various board members of CSI and many different corporations for the “Directors” to sign. Many did not even read them. They understood they were merely a formality required for maintaining “corporate regularity” but it had nothing to do with their actual operations. Every member of every corporate board and all officers (including CSI and RTC) had signed undated resignations that could be activated by Miscavige at any time. So too have many of the corporate directors (myself included) signed false declarations asserting these corporations are real because as dedicated Sea Org members it is considered far more important to protect L. Ron Hubbard or David Miscavige than comply with “wog” (the Scientology term for non-Scientologists) laws which are considered worthy only of contempt.

22.  I was directed by Miscavige personally on many, many different situations from lawsuits that he felt were important, to meeting with key media, to visiting with government officials, to directly running private investigators and intelligence operations. In each instance the level of micromanaging Miscavige engaged in is hard to believe.

Miscavige Connection to Texas

23.  Out of literally dozens, if not hundreds of examples, I recount what happened with the Aznarans in 1994, primarily because they were Texas residents and the events took place in Dallas. Vicki Aznaran, like Mark Rathbun, was previously the “Inspector General” of Religious Technology Center. She was ousted by Miscavige and left the church and she and her husband filed suit against a number of church entities in 1988. Miscavige considered her a threat due to her knowledge of the power struggle he had been engaged in after the death of L. Ron Hubbard in 1986. Aznaran had taken sides against Miscavige and therefore she and her husband had become “enemies.”

24.  In 1994 the Aznaran’s called the church and said they wanted to engage in settlement discussions to resolve their lawsuit.

25.  Miscavige called me, told me in detail what he wanted done and sent me to meet with Richard Aznaran at Dallas-Fort Worth airport. I was instructed by Miscavige to secretly record the entire meeting so Miscavige could hear every word that was said. I covertly recorded my meeting with Mr. Aznaran as Miscavige had ordered.

26.  When I returned to Los Angeles, Miscavige listened to the recording and then directed that I set up a settlement meeting with the Aznarans in Dallas. He gave me very explicit instructions. I was sent back to Dallas with Miscavige lieutenant, and RTC staff member, Mike Sutter and met with Richard and Vicki Aznaran in a suite in the Adolphus hotel in Dallas. Richard and Vicki were “represented” by Vicki’s sister as they were dissatisfied with the lawyer who had been representing them (Barry Van Sickle) and they wanted to be paid directly without Van Sickle getting anything.

27.  I negotiated a settlement with the Aznaran’s over two days in Dallas. T was called by Miscavige at least every hour and bad to give detailed descriptions of everything that had transpired and then receive more detailed. direction from him on what was to be done. As has now become standard practice in all Scientology settlements, we were required to get the Aznarans to sign declarations that could be used to counter statements they had earlier made in the course of their lawsuit.

28.  Sutter and I returned to Los Angeles. We worked in Miscavige’s office on the 11th floor of the Hollywood Guarantee Building (HGB) 1710 Ivar Ave. (which also carries the CSI address of 6331 Hollywood Blvd) in Hollywood putting declarations — favorable to Miscavige himself that Miscavige had dictated — into final form. We typed them up and submitted them to Miscavige for his approval. Miscavige then despatched me and Sutter back to Dallas to get these signed and to tell the Aznarans that if they wouldn’t shut them there was no deal and they would get no money.

28 [1].  The Aznaran’s balked at signing the documents. Some modifications were made to things the Aznarans considered were too blatantly and provably false. Every change required approval from Miscavige via telephone. If he disagreed with the wording they wanted Miscavige dictated a different version to go back to them.

29.  Miscavige was also directly and personally involved in other matters I am aware of related to Texas. Private Investigator Monty Drake was used to gather information on Dell Liebriech in Dallas Texas. Dell Liebriech was the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit filed in Florida on behalf of Lisa McPherson who had died under church care. Miscavige had been personally involved in the administration of Scientology counseling (auditing) to Ms. McPherson and was extremely concerned that he would be implicated in the case. He, Marty Rathbun and I essentially relocated to Florida from 1998 through 2002 to work almost exclusively on the case. Miscavige controlled every single aspect of it, primarily through Rathbun and me — from meeting with lawyers and experts to responding to protestors and making statements to the press. Not a single thing relating to the McPherson case was done that was not ordered by him. Not a single thing happened relating to that case that he was not immediately apprised of. Not a single utterance was made to the hundreds of media who repeatedly inquired of the church about the case without Miscavige either dictating the words to be spoken or authorizing them. All intelligence operations against the McPherson family and their lawyers were conducted only at the direction of or with prior approval of Miscavige.

“The Hole”

30.  From January 2004 off and on through 2007, I was incarcerated by direct order of David Miscavige in what he called “The Hole.” This was formerly the building on the church “international headquarters” property in Hemet known as the “Int Trailer” as it consisted of two double-wide trailers connected by a conference room. Myself and in excess of one hundred other Sea Org members were confined to this building for months on end by order of Miscavige. This included all the other former “Captains” of the Sea Org, including those from CST and IAS, entities the church alleges are NOT under the control of Miscavige and RTC but ARE manned by Sea Org members and thus do in fact answer to his ultimate authority.

31.  We slept on the floor and ate all our meals within that building. It was literally turned into a prison, with. bars on the doors and windows and a 24 hour-a-day security officer guarding the only entrance. Warren McShane was assigned by Miscavige as the “Warden” of the “The Hole” and he reported directly to Miscavige about the personnel and activities in The Hole. The only person anyone incarcerated in the Hole could communicate with outside the Hole was “Mr. McShane.”

32.  Virtually the only thing that happened in The Hole was efforts to extract “confessions” from people about their misdeeds and “evil intentions” towards Miscavige. This was done by “group pressure” — dozens of people screaming at you for hours on end, sometimes physical assaults, even torture, lack of sleep and food. I think everyone who was in the Hole eventually wrote self-incriminating “confessions” in an effort to prove to Miscavige that they no longer needed to be held prisoner. If the “confession” was not sufficiently contrite or dramatic, it would be rejected and the mental and physical torture would resume.

33.  During some periods between 2004 and early 2006 The Hole and its occupants were temporarily reprieved for no apparent reason. But after a while, Miscavige changed his mind again and The Hole would be put back into operation. In early 2006 it became a permanent operation until I left it in March 2007.

34.  Select people that Miscavige needed would be allowed OUT of The Hole to conduct specific activities for Captain Miscavige. On, a number of occasions I was released from The Hole to deal with the media. Angie Blankenship and Laurance Stumbke were allowed out of The Hole to work on specific building purchase and design matters for Miscavige. Once several people in The Hole were despatched to retrieve (a virtual kidnapping) Clark Morton who had escaped and fled to Las Vegas. Another time I and several others were temporarily reprieved by Miscavige and sent by him personally to “pick up” the IAS (International Association of Scientologists) executives including “Captain” Janet McLaughlin, and bring them to “The Hole.” Though Miscavige and the church claim the IAS is a completely separate and independent organization, it is manned exclusively by Sea Org members, all of whom must answer to Miscavige.

35.  My last reprieve from The Hole was in late 2006 when I was personally ordered by Miscavige to assist Tommy Davis. Davis had been taken out of Celebrity Centre International (a church in Los Angeles) to work directly and only for Miscavige. He had become one of the “Miscavige henchmen” he always maintained to carry out his express wishes. No mind was paid to their corporate positions or functions, they all knew they were answerable to Miscavige and did his bidding. For many years, I had been in that position. Because Miscavige had put me and the President of CSI, Heber Jentzsch in The Hole, he had turned to Tommy Davis to deal with inquiries by BBC Panorama in pursuit of a story. But Tommy Davis was inexperienced with the media. Miscavige told me I was to work for Tommy as his “servant” and that I was to “lick his asshole.” But soon Miscavige was calling and texting me to report on what Tommy was doing. It was a standard pattern of Miscavige: for every “go-to guy” he had as part of his personal team of henchmen there was someone else who would report on the person directly to Miscavige. In earlier times I had done this with Mark Rathbun and he had done so with me.

36.  Davis reported to Miscavige hourly, and sometimes more often, concerning the BBC. If it was not a phone call it was Blackberry text messages. Many times the messages from Miscavige were in the name of his “Communicator” (Laurisse “Lou” Stuckenbrock nee Henley-Smith his personal secretary who was with him every waking minute) — she would even speak to Davis and me on the phone saying the words that Miscavige was telling her to say (he could be heard saying it to her and then she would relay it).

My Escape and Subsequent Harassment

37.  After finally having enough of Miscavige’s physical and mental abuse, and participating in the lies he was perpetrating on the world, I escaped in June 2007. As a result of this all my family was ordered to disown me and “disconnect” from me. My wife divorced me, my children, brother, sister and mother (my father is deceased) all shunned me and do so to this day.

38.  After I spoke to the media in 2009 to confirm information they had been told by Marty Rathbun, I was stalked and surveiled by private investigators and representatives sent to my then-home town of Denver, Colorado. Miscavige’s personal attorney Monique Yingling and another attorney (Bill Walsh) from Washington DC, along with Tommy Davis and Jessica Feshbach were sent by Miscavige to attempt to ‘settle’ with me so that I would withdraw the corroboration I had provided for Mr. Rathbun’s interview with the St. Petersburg Times. They attempted to use the threat of me never seeing or hearing again front my mother, wife, siblings, and children to force me to cooperate with their demands not to talk to the media. When I refused to be intimidated or paid for silence about crimes I had myself witnessed, I became a public enemy of Miscavige and the church of Scientology in the same fashion as Marty Rathbun. I have been mentioned by defendants in this case on a number of occasions, usually characterized as Mark Rathbun’s associate or co-conspirator. My wife (Christie Collbran) and I have been subjected to a similar campaign of harassment to the Rathbuns as detailed below. Neither me nor my wife have ever sought to counsel anyone since leaving the church.

39.  What I have done is respond to requests for information from the media, starting with speaking to reporters from the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times). I felt it was my obligation to make the truth about what goes on inside the church known. I have also been a witness for the FBI and other law enforcement officers who reached out to me and asked for my assistance in their investigations. As a result, the church has conducted a campaign of intimidation, spying, stalking and harassment against me and my wife and those I have worked with very similar to that conducted against the Rathbun. Clearly its purpose has only been to attempt to intimidate me into silence as David Miscavige and his church did not like what I disclosed about their methods and activities. Unlike Mr. Rathbun, I never attempted to nor purported to counsel former members or apply Scientology to them in any fashion since my departure. What Mr. Rathbun and I hold in common is that we spoke out about what we witnessed. As a result, the same tactics applied against Mr. Rathbun have been applied against me and my wife by RTC and CSI following their longstanding practice of attempting to silence and destroy “critics.”

40.  Since 2009 me (and my wife) have been:

• Repeatedly followed and filmed by Private Investigators (including David Lubow),
• Harassed by “Squirrelbusters” (including Ed Bryan who was arrested while engaged in one of his efforts to harass me on a business trip to Miami),
• Had my garbage taken by church Pi’s,
• Had surveillance cameras trained on my house from neighboring homes and from a specially constructed “bird house” in a neighboring property,
• Had friends, people I have worked with and for and neighbors “noisily investigated,” by Private Investigators working for the church,
• Spies have been sent to try and inveigle themselves into our lives,
• A house within sight of our home became the headquarters for Private Investigators watching us 24 hours a day
• I have been “tailed” by up to 6 vehicles at a time driven by Private Investigators wearing masks when I was in Los Angeles to see the FBI,
• I was followed by at least 2 cars the entire trip when I drove from Tampa. Florida to Houston Texas,
• We have been met and hassled at airports after the church illegally accessed my travel plans,
• I have been followed to other cities by PI’s filming me including to Australia, England and Ireland as well as across the United States, My phone records have been illegally accessed resulting a letter from T-Mobile that they were conducting an internal investigation,
• Had phony postings about “Estate Sales” at my home put on Craigslist resulting in dozens of people knocking on my door starting at 6am on Saturday,
• My car was “keyed,”
• My wife and children have been followed to the supermarket, to the doctor and to the park,
• Numerous websites and publications containing false and defamatory statements about me and my wife have been distributed by the church.

41.  This is all in accordance with the pattern and practice of the Church of Scientology. Attached hereto are two of the key issues that are the “operations manual” of the church and David Miscavige in dealing with anyone perceived as an “attacker.” The most important sections are excerpted from each but the complete writings are revelatory and are ironbound and unbending policy of the church. The first details the operating principle of finding out what the person is seeking to protect and threatening that in order to “restrain” the “attacker.” This is often, as noted, the person’s job, but also includes family, particularly immediate family that the person feels a need to protect. The second gives some examples about how one can create scenarios that will cost someone their job by manufacturing false evidence against them.

1. These persons can always lose their jobs. These jobs, permitting them power to destroy, are valuable to them. This is A POINT OF VULNERABILITY.

2 if the person’s job is also not valuable to him or if he cannot be made to cost his job, something can be found which he is seeking to protect and it can be threatened.

A. COUNTER ATTACK TO OBTAIN THE REMOVAL OF THE PERSON with a product of DISMISSED ATTACKER.

B. If on test, A is not feasible, SURVEY TO FIND WHAT THE PERSON CONSIDERS VALUABLE AND USE IT FOR RESTRAINT

Exhibit A 28 March 1972 COUNTER ATTACK TACTICS

Example: Gosh Porge is located as an antagonistic source in the Bureau of Mines.Study Bu of Mines. They frown on corrupt and bankrupt employees, it is carefully worked out by survey. Gosh Forge receives a check for 250 pounds from the Aluminium Company of America at his office for ‘Yip off and patents sent” and “his wife” runs up fur coat bills at Harrods who sue and “a man in Soho” wants his 1800 pounds gambling debt and “a mistress” calls his boss and demands the return of her diamonds “Gosh borrowed” and as it keeps up, even Gosh Porge’s best denials won’t prevent his being sacked.

And “Legal areas” like lawyers are a point of hit also.

Without consulting Legal Bu Bish Srnish is suing C of S for truckloads. Survey his attorneys covertly. One finds they detest “people from the City”, very prejudiced against money clauses. So City blokes start appearing on their lines for Bish Smish – will he win the suit? Broker wants to know can Bish Smish cover his margins? City bowler hat beats up lawyer with an umbrella because Bish Smish said he was going to get the lawyer to sue him over the “blocks of stock” Bish Smish swindled. Keep it up.
Soon he wont have any lawyer!

Exhibit B 28 March 1972 INTELLIGENCE PRINCIPLES

Miscavige “Enemy” Handlings

42.  Anything that happens relating to “major attacks” on Scientology is micro-managed by Miscavige. Nobody else has the authority to call any shots on anything that could threaten his position. Thus, for example, in 2005 when the Los Angeles Times planned to do a story on Scientology, Miscavige directed every action, cleared all written correspondence (and wrote much of it even though it was sent out in my name), listened to recordings of the meetings I conducted with the reporters and spoke to me on the phone immediately before any meeting I had with them, dining the meeting and immediately after. I would routinely excuse myself from meetings with the media to debrief to Miscavige. Between 1997 and 2004 often if I was recording a media interview Marty Rathbun would be sent along so he could be on the phone reporting in to Miscavige while I was being interviewed. This happened dozens of times. The last thing I did in the church in 2007 was deal with BBC Panorama and Miscavige literally micro-managed minute-by-minute with text messages, phone calls and numerous encrypted emails.

43.  The same pattern occurred with investigations into what were labeled “anti-Scientologists” like Bob Minton — who for a time was the single biggest thorn in Miscavige’s side. Minton is perhaps the closest recent example of someone Miscavige considered a similar sort of threat to his position and reputation as Marty Rathbun, though Minton was not of the same stature as he had never been an “inside?’ who worked directly with Miscavige for years. In. fact, he had never met Miscavige.

44.  Nevertheless, because Minton publicly asserted Miscavige was involved in Lisa McPherson’s death and that he had physically abused his underlings, Miscavige micro-managed the activities of the church to put an end to Minton’s efforts. At various times Miscavige called me numerous times a day for updates on Minton. Otherwise it was daily for several years. For someone like Minton, or now Rathbun, Miscavige required detailed proposals from his underlings (myself, Rathbun, McShane or Sutter back then — whoever is filling our roles today) on the handlings to be taken. He in turn issued detailed orders and responses. All of this correspondence is maintained in a special department that maintains a complete, exact record, both electronically and hard copy of everything that is sent to or emanated from “COB.” These are considered to be the most important documents in the church and they are painstakingly filed and maintained. When I last saw them in 2007 there were literally hundreds or perhaps thousands of 3″ ring binders filled with “COB (written) Orders” and transcripts of his verbal orders, briefings, conferences, discussions and phone calls.

45.  In 1999, Miscavige dispatched Marty Rathbun and me to both Boston and Los Angeles to meet with Minton. On both occasions he gave us special surreptitious recording devices so we could record the entire meeting and forward it to him.

46.  When Minton began picketing the Church in Clearwater over the death of Lisa McPherson, Miscavige ordered pickets to be sent to his home in New Hampshire and also outside businesses he was engaged in. He also ordered pickets outside of Minton’s “Lisa McPherson Trust” office in Clearwater and at the homes of Minton associates including Mark Bunker. In my experience, the exclusive source of this sort of confrontation has been Miscavige. He ordered me personally to arrange a picket and march around the Clearwater Police Department and the St Petersburg Times in 1997 and was on the phone with me the entire two hours of the picket.

47.  The “Squirrelbusters” attack that has been used to harass the Rathbuns in Texas was conceived and instituted by Miscavige in 1984 when be ordered “confrontations” by the original “Squirrelbusters” at David Mayo’s facility in Santa Barbara. This was the beginning of the hostile “confrontations” that continue to this day.

48.  I was charged with the responsibility of locating people who would be willing to carry out such confrontations and harassment and brought in a man named Dennis Clark from Hawaii and a local Scientologist Jim Jackson, They in turn recruited others to join them. h reported on their activities daily, in person, to Vicki Aznaran in RTC who relayed the information to Miscavige. Clark and Jackson were instructed that if they were approached and questioned by anyone concerning their activities, including media or law enforcement officials, they were to claim that they were merely “parishioners” of Scientology who had “decid<xl on their own initiative” to protest Mr. Mayo’s activities.

49.  In addition to the “confrontations” Miscavige personally ordered a full time investigation of Minton that would “find his buttons” and get him to stop complaining about Miscavige’s abuses and “stirring up trouble.” The investigator I assigned to this was David Lubow. I met with Lubow in Clearwater and briefed him (relaying specifically what Miscavige told me the investigator was to do). This included extensive surveillance of Minton and his family, investigating all neighbors and business contacts and being “in his face” at all times. Lubow’s  reports were relayed by me to Miscavige as “Eyes Only” reports or when I was in the same location as him I verbally relayed them to his face.

2010 Texas Experience

50.  In April 2010 I flew to Corpus Christi, Texas where I was met inside the terminal by 5 individuals dispatched by Captain Miscavige to attempt to intimidate me and prevent me from meeting an old friend, John Brousseau (“JB”). JB had recently escaped Miscavige’s guarded compound near Hemet, California and made his way to Mark and Monique Rathbun’s home near Corpus Christi. Like Rathbun,18 was an extremely high priority problem for Miscavige as he had worked closely with Miscavige and Tom Cruise. Miscavige spared no expense to try to prevent JB from connecting with Rathbun and me.

51.  I had traveled to Corpus Christi with the express approval of the FBI (who paid my airfare) to determine whether JB was legitimate and to ask him to speak with the FBI.

52.  I soon learned that there were many more than those 5 people despatched by private jet to Corpus Christi that day. In addition to those 5 Church spokesman Tommy Davis and three other church executives who at the time worked exclusively for Miscavige (Angie Blankenship, Laurance Stumbke and Bob Wright), Tom Cruise’s former assistant Michael Doven, Scientology actors Michael Roberts and Michael Duff, as well as several others from Miscavige’s personal entourage at the Hemet church high security base where he lives.

53.  Nobody other than Miscavige has authority to order staff from different churches as well as public Scientologists, to get on a private plane and fly to Corpus Christi to try and prevent JB from meeting with Marty Rathbun and me. The Corpus Christi Airport Police and local FBI agents ultimately arrived on the scene to ensure I had safe passage to leave to meet with Marty Rathbun and JP, and subsequently accompany JB to meet with the FBI in San Antonio 3 days later.

54.  Over the course of more than 20 years I knew the level of situation that Miscavige insisted he call the shots on: Any international media. Any legal case that might directly implicate or involve him. Any significant negotiations with major governments (US, UK, Spain) concerning tax exemption. Potential criminal prosecution in the United States. Anyone exposing his dirty laundry and threatening his PR or position. Marty Rathbun fits into virtually all of these categories. He has been interviewed by major international media. He has been a witness for legal cases and provided declarations. He was one of the key witnesses/informants for the FBI investigation. And he has more direct personal knowledge of the activities of David Miscavige than perhaps anyone else on earth. Thus, there is not a chance that any action would be taken concerning Marty Rathbun (or his wife) that was not either ordered by David Miscavige or sanctioned by him in response to a detailed proposal of action requested by him. Of that there is no doubt.

My name is Michael John Rinder. My date of birth is April 10th, 1955. My address is 808 Bentwood Ct, Palm Harbor, Florida.

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed in Pinellas County, State of Florida, on the 3rd day of December 2013.

Michael Rinder

Notes

  1. Document in PDF format.

Declaration of Michael Rinder (November 7, 2013)

Declaration of Michael Rinder1

Pursuant to 28 U.S. C. § 1746, MICHAEL RINDER deposes and states:

1. I was a member of the Board of Directors of the Church of Scientology International from 1983 until 2007, when I terminated my relationship with the Church of Scientology and all related entities.

2. I was raised as a Scientologist from the age of 6 and, as such, am well versed on the policies and procedures of the Church of Scientology.

3. I have read the Defendants’ Response to Court Order Regarding Arbitration Proceedings which alleges to describe Scientology “arbitration procedures.” It constitutes a fraudulent misrepresentation of non-existent “arbitration” procedures

4. During the course of my employment as head of Church’s worldwide legal matters for more than 20 years, I became aware of attempts made by persons to get their money back from the Church. Every such attempt was reported to me on a weekly basis.

5. During the course of my employment with the Church, I was responsible for creating the Enrollment Agreement and “arbitration” clause, and I was also responsible for providing the rules for “arbitration.” No procedures describing the “arbitration” process, beyond selection of the arbitral panel, were or have ever been delineated. Names and duties, such as chairman and secretary, were never assigned or contemplated. It simply was not the intent of the Church that the “arbitration” process amount to anything beyond a statement on paper.

6. Since the inclusion of the “arbitration” clause in the Enrollment Agreement, I am not aware of a single instance where anyone has participated in “arbitration” in connection with a return of their money.

7. Defendants have intentionally comingled the Committee of Evidence and the “arbitration” process, and have understandably failed to attach to their Response, the relevant pages of the book they refer to as their authority, Introduction to Scientology Ethics, which contains the procedures and rules governing a Committee of Evidence. To have done so would have resulted in the blatant exposure of the selective quotations, provided by the Defendants, which have been used to paint a VERY misleading and fraudulent picture of the non-existent “arbitration” proceeding.

8. The purpose, function and procedural substance applicable to the Committee of Evidence, were not and are not, intended to apply to “arbitration.”

a. It is Church doctrine and practice that a Committee of Evidence is convened when it is suspected or alleged that a given person has committed a wrong (a “Crime” or ”High Crime” in Scientology parlance).

b. It is Church doctrine and practice that a Committee of Evidence functions as a fact-finding jury, in no way similar to an arbitration panel.

c. It is Church doctrine and practice that a Committee of Evidence consists of appointed members, rather than party-selected arbiters.

d. It is Church doctrine and practice that a Committee of Evidence is not authorized to preside over matters relating to return of funds.

e. Declarant Mansell noted acq1rately the separation between the Committee of Evidence and the “arbitration” process.

f. As written into the Enrollment Agreement, the guise of
“arbitration” was intended to apply after a person exhausted the review by the IJC.

9. I am familiar with the pages of the Introduction to Scientology Ethics as attached hereto. Its contents are accurate and constitute true and complete copies of the applicable pages of the book.

I declare under the penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed this 6th day of November, 2013 in Palm Harbor, Florida.

Michael Rinder

Notes

  1. This document in PDF format.