Tuesday, July 10, 2012
With Scientology is the news recently once again courtesy of John Travolta’s male sex scandals and the divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, it seemed a good time to visit the shocking details about the cult’s infiltration of the U.S. government, several foreign embassies and numerous private organizations.
A massive Wikileaks file contains the shocking details.
Operation Snow White was Scientology’s name for a conspiracy during the 1970s to purge unfavorable records about the cult and its founder L. Ron Hubbard. This project included a series of infiltrations and thefts from 136 government agencies, foreign embassies and consulates, as well as private organizations critical of Scientology. It was carried out by cult members, in more than 30 countries; the single largest infiltration of the United States government in history with up to 5,000 covert agents.
Under Operation Snow White, Scientology operatives committed infiltration, wiretapping, and theft of documents in government offices, most notably those of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Eleven highly-placed Scientology executives, including Mary Sue Hubbard (wife of founder L. Ron Hubbard and the second-in-command of the organization), pleaded guilty or were convicted in federal court of obstructing justice, burglary of government offices, and theft of documents and government property. The case was United States v. Mary Sue Hubbard et al.
As early as 1960, L. Ron Hubbard had proposed that Scientologists should infiltrate government departments by taking secretarial, bodyguard or other jobs. In the early 1970s, Scientology was increasingly scrutinized by U.S. federal agencies, having already been raided by the Food and Drug Administration in 1963. The IRS claimed it owed millions of dollars in back taxes and the FBI dispatched agents into the organization. Scientology’s response included a publicity campaign and extensive litigation against the IRS and a program of infiltration of agency offices.
The specific branch of Scientology responsible for Operation Snow White was the Guardian’s Office. Created in 1966 by L. Ron Hubbard himself. The Guardian’s Office’s purpose was to protect the interests of Scientology. At the time as Operation Snow White, the Guardian’s Office was headquartered at Saint Hill Manor in England. The U.S. headquarters was in Los Angeles. A smaller office also existed in Washington, D.C. (Guardian’s Office DC) and other cities throughout the United States. Each of the Guardian Offices had five bureaus including the Information Bureau which oversaw the infiltration of the government. L. Ron Hubbard oversaw the Guardian’s Office, though it was Mary Sue Hubbard, his wife, who held the title Commodore Staff Guardian.
Several years later, in 1973, the Guardian’s Office began a massive infiltration of governments around the world, though the primary target of the operation was the United States. Worried about Scientology’s long term reputation, the Guardian’s Office decided to infiltrate Interpol in order to obtain documents relating to Scientology, as well as those connecting L. Ron Hubbard to criminal activity. This duty was handed by Jane Kember to Henning Heldt and his staff.
Around this time L. Ron Hubbard himself wrote Guardian Order 732, which called for the removal and correction of “erroneous” Scientology files. It is here that Operation Snow White had its origins. Though the order originally called for this to be achieved by legal means, this would quickly change.Hubbard himself would later be named by federal prosecutors as an “unindicted co-conspirator” for his part in the operation. Though extensive records of his involvement exist, many Scientologists claim his directives were misinterpreted by his followers.
Operation Snow White would be further refined by Guardian Order 1361. Addressed from Jane Kember to Heldt, Duke Snider, and Richard Weigand, GO 1361 called for, amongst other things, an infiltration of the Los Angeles and London offices of the IRS, and the Department of Justice.
While the order was specific to the IRS, the Guardian’s Office was soon recruiting their own field agents to infiltrate other U.S. governmental offices, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard intelligence service, and the National Institute of Mental Health, among others, as well as the American Medical Association. The program called for rewards to be given for successful missions carried out by Scientologists.
Other planned elements of the operation included petitioning governments and the United Nations to charge government critics of Scientology with genocide, on the theory that official criticism of the group constituted “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction”. One of the sentencing memorandum in the case noted that, contrary to what the defendants claimed, the programs planned by the Guardian’s Office were not limited to trying to remove “false reports” but included plans to plant false information—for instance, planting false records about “a cat with a pedigree name” into US security agencies computers so that later “the creature holds a press conference and photographic story results.” The purpose of this plan was “to hold up the American security to ridicule, as outlined in the Guardian Office by L. Ron Hubbard.
All of which begs the question? Just why did the IRS grant Scientology tax exempt status?