A Silent Atheist Inside Scientology VII

The 5th column

As any cult-religion Scientology depends more on conversion-rates than birth-rates for replenishing its ranks. This requires them to make a choice: either lure in followers with a charismatic Bible-like story. Or: go after followers actively by increasing the number of opportunities to (preferably in an atmosphere of confidence) pitch the ‘Scientology-Benefits’ to them. Since Scientology’s story is both obscured and not very charismatic they must take the latter option. This is the story of how they go about that.

 The entrance to the European Scientology Headquarters in Brussels.
The entrance to the European Scientology Headquarters in Brussels.

“And by the way, be very suspicious of somebody who doesn’t think you ought to indulge in this new science. Auditors are always running into situations where they have a son or a daughter in good condition and well on the road to recovery when the parents step in and, with every argument in the book, with every “good intention,” knock the poor preclear into limbo again. Such people want the preclear under control and instinctively realize that the preclear is getting very independent. The preclear who argues back simply gets himself snarled up again. Best to be calm and do your work in private. Then, when you are nine feet tall, do your arguing.
L. Ron Hubbard. From the “Handbook for Preclears”

In the 70’s Mary Sue Hubbard, first wife of L. Ron, pleaded guilty as one of several high ranking Scientology officials, to what amounted to the infiltration of 136 government agencies, foreign embassies and consulates in more than 30 countries, using around 5000 Scientology members. In the court-files L. Ron was mentioned as a ‘non-indicted co-conspirator’ but lacking the testimony of even one Scientologist ‘The Man’ remained out of reach. This is part of public record!

It would be naïve to think any organisation could pull such an operation off without many years of prior experience. It would be even more naïve to think that such an organisation would stop using these practices when they got away with this success at the cost of only one of Hubbard’s wives.

In order to infiltrate other organisations Scientology has an even greater range of options than the ‘run-in-the-mill’ intelligence agency has. Intelligence agents do not number in the thousands and usually are not already integrated into society. Scientology, however can have a member hired at the right company or agency or it can scan the existing personnel for ‘easy meat’. Simple seduction through money, of which they have plenty, can be enough to get their bidding. Alternatively there also are plenty of attractive female Scientologists. If seduction through money or sex doesn’t do it, good old-fashioned blackmail will go a long way. Many people in administrative functions have access to private information of people whom are essentially unknown strangers to them. For them the information is useless. For Scientology it can be a way ‘in’ with those people. Somebody could be on anti-HIV drugs. Someone else could be shuffling money back and forth between personal and business accounts. Someone has paid for a Hotel in a place he shouldn’t have been. Someone else’s pictures are on a cloud hosted by that firm.

The more civilians Scientology recruits the easier it becomes to get leverage on others. Once Scientology ‘has’ someone, it can ask or pressure them to have things done onto those it deems ‘Suppressive to Scientology’. The more media attention a suppressive person can muster the more ‘strange’ things start happening all around him.

There is only one challenge for Scientology, to perform its targeted recruitments and infiltrations. In order to make these things happen Scientology needs at least knowledge about ‘who works at what place’. Conceivably this is also why they routinely inquire those coming in for a personality test about someone’s position in life even when that question doesn’t really make sense.

“While I waited to be presented with the 200-question test, the Scientologist asked me what I was doing. I answered I was a student but he proceeded to enquire about what job I had, which I found a little bit unusual.” Put to the test.

Scientology can’t simply go to an organisation, public or private and demand a list of employees it employs. It therefore has set up other ways of getting basic information on who works where: ‘WISE’ or the ‘World Institute of Scientology Enterprises’, basically comprises of all enterprises set up either privately by Scientology members or directly founded and funded by the Church. Probably this is more of a grey distinction than a hard one. What is interesting is the way WISE enterprises are statistically significantly more likely to be a consulting firm than any other type of organisation. Generally what these firms do is tout the effectiveness and scientific backing of the ‘methods of L. Ron Hubbard’ (which they aren’t and haven’t) in function of business training. Without exception these trainings involve ‘personality’ aspects, ignoring the otherwise very popular and necessary ‘project training’ and ‘process training’ which suit themselves less well for the purpose of singling out individuals.

The Scientology Headquarters in the 'Rue de la Loi' in Brussels
The Scientology Headquarters in the ‘Rue de la Loi’ in Brussels

Ref:“Dated from 1999, this internal guide for the cult numbered 2,427 Scientology-related businesses presently operating in all areas of business: management, marketing, communications, hospitality, education, music, administrative services, media … One half of them are domiciled in the United States, which is not surprising for a movement which began there and which receives considerable political support and financial advantages because of being recognized by the American authorities as a religion. But as well, more surprisingly, the document reveals that Scientology-related businesses are active in the majority of European countries. And this even in nations that have openly denounced the cult-like character of Scientology, for example, Germany.”

“Although it cannot be proven that Scientology businesses engage in this practice constantly, the risk cannot be discounted, as evidenced by certain internal writings. For example, this passage taken from the “Member’s Guide”, specifies that members of WISE “direct their clients towards the services of Scientology, which in turn will change their way of life spectacularly by saving their marriage, resolving their personal ethical difficulties and by using the ethical technologies of L.R.H. to resolve insoluble disputes among businessmen.”

In Belgium these infiltration practices (dutch) from Scientology first surfaced after it was discovered that government personnel received training at UMAN which openly declared its allegiance to L. Ron on its site. Today the company is said to participate in the Moscow WISE convention under the name ‘Performia’. In Belgium the company certainly still remains active under its UMAN brand and touts a quality seal from the Flemish Government on its website (WTF!). This seal is to encourage small businesses to employ the services of UMAN. Meanwhile the connection to LRH – education has vanished from UMAN’s site and it APPEARS completely legit. It is thus by utter coincidence that ‘Malin’, another major Belgian city where UMAN has its biggest offices, is one of the only Belgian cities where Scientology both openly recruits on the street and by putting leaflets into people’s letterboxes.

Another example, Hollander consulting links back to Hubbard ‘college’. Consultancy Effective Business Tools promotes the LHR methodology on its website as well. In 2001 ‘The Register’ broke online the report from the French national newspaper L’Express stating that Mikel Urizarbarrena, the founder of Panda Security, a Spanish software company whose anti-virus is listed in fourth place according to its (manifestly self-produced Wikipedia page) was a scientologist who donated both to the church and to WISE itself. This by itself is not indicative of anything nefarious. However in the context of being tied to the church of Scientology I find it disturbing that Panda Anti-Virus (according to the wiki-‘publicity’) works like this:

“These antivirus products only include the information about malware samples that cause most infections at any given moment, while the rest of the information is stored in Panda’s knowledge base. The antivirus connects to this knowledge base whenever necessary. This system is designed to offer real-time protection against thousands of new malware samples, use the community knowledge base to offer further protection and not to consume computer resources.”

Without more detailed knowledge we can only conclude that Panda differs significantly from the top three anti-virus companies by dialling in to the mother-ship; which seems a strange way to gain performance when you think about what virus-scanners do, but would hypothetically be a fundamental requirement for spy-ware to report on you. The French newspaper reported that, with me, French corporations feared the anti-virus was basically just cleverly designed spyware. In 2007 Mikel Urizarbarrena sold his majority stake in the firm and left it. To be clear: No evidence was ever found of Panda anti-virus software doing anything it hadn’t listed.

Site of the CBAA
Site of the CBAA so concerned with education that their only activity is the distribution of ‘The Way To Happiness’ in classrooms.

Other WISE organisations focus their attention more on the education system. The ‘Concerned Businessmen’s Association of America’ are so ‘concerned’ about the state of the American Education system, that they spam it with ‘The Way To Happiness’ -booklets.

Scientology Headquarters in Brussels inplanted near European Commission
Scientology Headquarters in Brussels implanted near European Commission

Another focus of Scientology are elected officials. In 2003 Scientology opened its European headquarter at number 91 of the ‘Rue de la Loi’ in Brussels. To situate this, the nearest big building of the European Commission is located in the same street on number 41! Smaller European Commission offices are found directly in front of the Scientology headquarters and all up and down the street. To put this in perspective, people working for the European Commission are employed by the executive branch of the European Union or, in U.S. terms, they work at the White House! Other ‘conveniently’ situated buildings are the Belgian Parliament (500m!), the Royal Palace and Prime Minister’s cabinet offices, both between 500-800 meters away. In case anyone was wondering: the Brussels European quarter is arguably the most expensive piece of real-estate in Europe and it makes no sense at all to pay these prices unless it serves a clear business purpose. It also makes no sense to have it so far removed from the actual Scientology Church since this ads daily commuting costs and time waste for your staff employed at both sites.

Scientology Headquarters proximity to major Belgian institutions
Scientology Headquarters proximity to major Belgian institutions

  • Blue: European Quarter
  • 1:Belgian Parliament
  • 2:Royal Palace
  • 3:Prime Minister’s Cabinet Offices(the government basically)
  • Red-below: The actual Scientology Church

This proximity was first noticed by the press when a report from the Belgian Secret Service was leaked. The Belgian Secret Service, quite different than its U.S. counterpart, had a mandate to track the influence of ‘Dangerous Cults’. That Scientology was implicated as such was confirmed by a 1999 parliamentary commission that dubbed the organisation a ‘Dangerous and subversive cult’. The leaked report from the Secret Service detailed about several key Belgian politicians being followed to meetings at the Scientology headquarters. While the main controversy centred on the fact that elected officials were being followed, the Scientology connection remained very much unscrutinised. The current political climate says this mandate of the Secret Service is about to be syndicated under the strain of anti-terrorism missions following the Zaventem -Maalbeek attacks. Ironically enough the latter happened almost directly beneath the Scientology Headquarters.

Entrance to the European Commission
Entrance to the European Commission

While none of these links between “private” organisations and Scientology amount to a crime or form proof of misconduct it is evident that Scientology goes to tremendous efforts and costs to close the gap with corporations, education-institutions and government. If the end-motivation for this access is not ‘influence’ I defy anyone to align the known facts with an explanation that is as simple. This would also have to explain why other religions don’t do this or are at least more open about it when they do.

In the next (next to last) post in this series The Silent Atheist actually goes Inside Scientology seeking to disprove the image of Scientology build so far. If the post doesn’t appear, he didn’t make it out!

Live Long and Prosper


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