On April 14 I wrote to Simon & Schuster President and Publisher Jonathan Karp 1 about a false statement about me in Mike Rinder’s A Billion Years book. Rinder’s falsehood is a black PR meme on me that the Miscavigeite Scientologists have been disseminating, and getting others, e.g., now Simon & Schuster, to disseminate around the world for forty plus years. I copied my letter to Michael J. Flynn, my attorney, to Hazel-Ann Mayers, Simon & Schuster General Counsel, and to Rinder, Scientology cult head David Miscavige’s long longtime silencer and destroyer. Relevantly, for this post, I wrote:
I am the person Mr. Rinder most victimized during his years in the Sea Org, and his victim he most ignored or smeared since leaving. His Billion book is a whitewash of his actions against his cult’s external enemies, notably Mr. Flynn and me. Mr. Rinder lied about us both in the cult’s submissions to the IRS on which the Scientologists’ infamous and undeserved tax exemption and their escape from a billion-dollar tax liability are based. In what he submitted to the IRS, he included the same lie he tells in his book, that before I left his cult I swiped Hubbard’s documents and delivered them to my attorney. (Bold mine)
Rinder has stated publicly that he 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.” He stated that he “attended numerous meetings at the IRS during the exemption process and [he] oversaw the collection and preparation of all the documents presented to the IRS.” 2
It is true that Mark Rathbun, one of Rinder’s close coconspirators in the Miscavigeites’ conspiracy to defraud the IRS, the US, every other country, every Scientologist and every wog, and in this corrupt process to further victimize Flynn and me and so many others, has stated that Rinder is lying about his claimed responsibilities in the “successful effort” to get the utterly undeserved “religious tax exempt status,” and that he, Rathbun, did the things in this stupendous “win” that Rinder claimed to have done.
Rathbun wrote in his 2013 book Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior, 3 which Rinder edited:
We took our aggressive, offensive tactics to new heights in combatting the IRS over tax exemption. Seven years after Ron’s passing, the IRS capitulated and granted religious, tax-exempt status to all churches of Scientology.
I have communicated many times to Rinder, as well as Miscavige and Rathbun about their lies they had been telling about me, and specifically the chain of possession of the subject documents in their books and other publications, and in their submissions to the IRS. 4
It is also true that the Miscavigeites’ ringleader David Miscavige has asserted that he was the person responsible for bringing the IRS to capitulate and grant all the entities he controls their completely unmerited religious tax-exempt status, he was responsible for the aggressive, offensive tactics, the lies, the corruptions and the conspiracy that accomplished that star-high criminal goal.
No matter who ordered and did all the lying and who ordered and carried out all the other aggressive, offensive tactics – Miscavige, Rathbun, Rinder, or all of them, and their juniors and agents – the conspirators’ tactics and product were unlawful and are still unlawful.
I’ve excerpted here some at least of the Miscavigeite Scientologists’ statements presented to the IRS that contain their lie, and global black PR line, that before I departed from their cult and their control I stole a pile of L. Ron Hubbard’s documents or the cult’s documents and delivered them to my attorney. The Miscavigeites’ submissions to the IRS are riddled with other foul and felonious lies. The sticking point is that relevant officials in the IRS, Justice Department, and other elements of the US Intelligence Community knew that they were lies, and encouraged or required them. The following excerpts are just to show the coincidence between the referenced lie in Rinder’s book and his and his coconspirators’ lies to the IRS, which I’ve bolded.
The decision in Gerry Armstrong’s case is one of those described in detail in response to Question 10.e.ii. Armstrong’s fanatical hatred of Scientology ingratiated him with the LA CID and earned him the status of IRS operative in an unlawful scheme to infiltrate and destroy the Church through, among other things, the seeding of Church files with forged or manufactured documents. Armstrong was a link between the CID and Michael Flynn, whose multi-jurisdictional litigation campaign against Scientology was encouraged and assisted by the CID. (See pages 10-8 to 10-16 of our response to Question 10 of your second series of questions). The allegations, first manufactured by Armstrong and Flynn, have been adopted and parroted by many of the other tort litigants whose cases are described in the response to Question 10.e(i). In exchange, Gerry Armstrong has been insulated from liability for his theft of Church documents and encouraged to continue and to expand his nefarious efforts.
Church of Scientology v. Gerald Armstrong:
We have included some background information here and an epilogue to the decision in question. That is because the Service has continuously thrust the Armstrong case at us, demanding an explanation. The Armstrong case decision was so inflammatory and intemperate that it was used to stigmatize the Church in the legal arena and make other outrageous decisions possible. As we shall demonstrate below, all this decision ever involved was Armstrong’s state of mind, which subsequently obtained evidence proved conclusively to be one sordid, sado-masochistic nightmare. Furthermore, Armstrong’s state of mind horror stories have fallen on deaf ears in recent litigation. Relying on Armstrong or the Armstrong decision is wholly unjustified.
During the later years of his tenure as an employee of the Church, Gerald Armstrong was placed in charge of a huge quantity of documents that belonged to Mr. Hubbard that contained private and personal information regarding Mr. Hubbard. Part of his duties included research to support the work of an author who had been retained to write an authorized biography of Mr. Hubbard.
In late 1981 after the initial clean out of the higher levels of the Guardian’s Office, and when investigations were turning toward identifying those in alliance or sympathy with the GO, Armstrong suddenly vacated Church premises and left its employ, taking with him huge numbers of confidential documents that belonged to Mr. Hubbard or his wife which the Church was holding as bailee. It was no coincidence that Armstrong left at that time because he had repeatedly expressed his ambition to join the GO and work in Bureau 1 (Information Bureau), the same area of GO that had been responsible for the criminal acts of the 70’s. Armstrong also had been a long-time friend and confidant of Laurel Sullivan. Just prior to the take over the GO taking place, Sullivan had made a proposal to place convicted GO members into corporate positions of control throughout the top of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. She was also found to be spying on the CMO for the GO during the early days of the CMO’s investigation into the GO. Armstrong assisted and supported Sullivan in her efforts.
In the summer of 1982 the Church received evidence that Armstrong had stolen thousands of documents from archives when he left the Church. Church counsel wrote to Armstrong, demanding that he return them. Armstrong denied the theft.
Once the demand for return of documents was made, Armstrong turned the stolen documents over to Michael Flynn, with whom Armstrong decided he could make a lot of money.
In August 1982, the Church sued Armstrong for conversion, breach of fiduciary duty and confidence, and invasion of privacy based on Armstrong’s theft of extensive amounts of private papers owned by the Church or the Hubbards. The Church sought return of the papers and the imposition of a constructive trust over them, and any proceeds derived from them, as well as preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against dissemination or disclosure of the private documents.
In September 1982, Armstrong, represented by Flynn, answered the complaint and raised the defense that he was justified in stealing the documents entrusted to him as a fiduciary because he wished to make public information about Mr. Hubbard and the Church out of fear for his safety and well-being. His defense was stricken on four different occasions by three different judges.
In April 1984, the case was assigned for trial before Judge Paul Breckenridge, Jr. At that time, the Church presented motions in limine to prevent Armstrong from introducing the stolen, confidential documents since their introduction into evidence would vitiate the very rights of privacy the action sought to protect. The Court not only allowed Armstrong to introduce the confidential documents, but also allowed him to raise his four-times stricken defense with a new perverted twist. He would not have to prove there was anything to fear from the Church, but only his state of mind when he stole the documents. The Church was completely ambushed in the trial by these documents, as in most cases Armstrong had stolen the only copy that existed. Then, after he and Flynn had ample time to prepare their case from them, the documents were placed under seal in the Court. Although the inflammatory allegations that Armstrong made and purported to support with these docments could have been shown to be false or grossly distorted by other evidence, the Church had no chance to prepare and put on that evidence before being hit with the documents in court.
During the trial, Armstrong presented testimony from numerous witnesses who testified for the purpose of establishing Armstrong’s supposed “state of mind” with regard to his alleged justification for stealing the documents. Each of the witnesses was hostile to the Church and, in fact, was a plaintiff against or taking a position adverse to the Church in other litigation in which Flynn was the counsel. Each witness gave general testimony about his or her own viewpoint on relationships with the Church in an effort to bolster Armstrong’s state of mind justification defense.
The Court did not allow the Church to put on evidence to rebut the testimony of those witnesses. The Court also declined to allow the Church to put on evidence explaining the confidential documents and precluded the Church’s proffered rebuttal evidence on the ground that the adverse testimony was admitted only for the purpose of establishing Armstrong’s state of mind and not for the truth or falsity of the matter testified about.
On July 20, 1984, Judge Breckenridge issued a Statement of Intended Decision which became final a month later, which held that the Church had “made out a prima facie case of conversion…, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of confidence” (as the former employer who provided confidential materials to its then employee for certain specific purposes, which the employee later used for other purposes to employer’s detriment). Judgment, however, was entered in favor of Armstrong. The Statement of Decision adopted as the facts of the case the allegations which Armstrong had made in his trial brief. These allegations included the statements on which Armstrong premised his justification defense; i.e., that defendant “… became terrified and feared that his life and the life of his wife were in danger, and he also feared he would be the target of costly and harassing lawsuits.” The judge went on to pontificate on the psychological mind-set of not only Mr. Hubbard, but Scientology at large. The only lawsuit that there was to fear was the one that was ultimately filed for return of the stolen documents. It never would have been brought had Armstrong voluntarily returned the documents when asked, despite the theft.
The IRS was the recipient of attorney-client privileged audio-taped conferences that were stolen by Armstrong. The IRS pleaded at one point during the US v. Zolin proceedings (see more about this below) that they had received a copy of the tapes from a “confidential informant” whom they refused to identify. This revelation shows the CID had a very strong vested interest in Armstrong being found justified, after they were in receipt of stolen property. This is evidence of motive for tampering with the outcome of the Armstrong case. It also explains their conduct in illegally and secretly obtaining a “legitimate” copy of the tapes from the Superior Court after the Breckenridge decision had been rendered.
Among the fall-out from the Armstrong case has been litigation for most of the past decade over the IRS’s use of some of the fruits of Armstrong’s theft. In addition to Mr. Hubbard’s private and personal papers, Armstrong stole a tape made of a GO attorney conference in 1980. This conference was attended by Laurel Sullivan (later an IRS informant) who headed a project called Mission Corporate Category Sort Out (MCCS). The purpose of MCCS was to align the Church’s corporate structure with its expanding ecclesiastical hierarchy. MCCS was disbanded in early 1981, coincident with the overthrow and disbandment of the GO, when it was learned that Sullivan was attempting to place some of the indicted GO criminals in high corporate positions and also in control over the trade and service marks of Dianetics and Scientology.
The IRS gained illegal possession of these tapes through a secret summons served on clerk the Superior Court (Frank Zolin) without notice to the Church. A Federal Court later ruled the IRS must return the tapes back to their sealed position in the Superior Court. In defiance of the court order, the IRS made a copy of the tapes, transcribed them, and sent the transcripts to IRS agents around the country. Several CID and EO agents working on Church cases fully reviewed the transcripts, while the Church itself never had access to them.
The IRS has used the existence of the stolen tapes against the Church both in court and in the exemption proceedings. Knowing full well that the Church did not have access to them or knowledge of their contents, the IRS has demanded the Church provide copies of them in virtually every 1023 proceeding.
This ploy was taken to its most outrageous extreme in the CST declaratory judgement case before the Court of Claims in Washington DC. The Department of Justice attorney representing the IRS in this litigation vehemently asserted the bald face lie that CST failed to establish its entitlement to exemption by not providing copies of the MCCS tapes during its exemption proceedings. He used that as the stepping stone for the rest of his argument in which he speculated that nefarious purposes for the establishment of CST were evident in the MCCS tapes, and that these inferences had to be accepted since CST failed to produce them. Not only were the tapes unavailable to the Church, contrary to DOJ assertions, but the IRS had possession of them and knew they didn’t contain the inferences put forth to the court. The big lie was pressed so insistently and forcefully that the judge bought and premised his entire ruling on it.
These tapes are still the subject of ongoing litigation. The most recent decision was rendered by the United States Supreme Court on November 16, 1992 in U.S. v. Zolin 5 which acknowledged that the IRS had access to the tapes in 1984 and had access in 1991 up through present time. In fact, the IRS argued unsuccessfully that because they had the tapes, the Church’s appeal of the ruling granting the IRS access was moot. 6 (November 23, 1992) ]
- Armstrong’s April 14 2023 letter to Simon & Schuster ↩
- See my post: Mike Rinder: Keeping the IRS Tax Exemption Working ↩
- Rathbun and his editor Rinder tell the same lie, which they know is a lie, in their Scientology Warrior book:
“Armstrong became increasingly paranoid under pressure and finally got spooked enough to go to Flynn for help. Armstrong also brought with him several boxes of biography archives he had lifted from the church; documents that demonstrated to him that Hubbard’s personal biography, promoted by the church, was full of holes.
I did not connect the dots until years later, but Miscavige had essentially chased Armstrong right into the enemy camp. In September, 1982, all I knew was that Shervell had evidence of Armstrong lifting the documents, and I had direct, urgent orders from Miscavige to sue Armstrong back to the stone ages.” ↩
- See, e.g., this February 2018 letter to Rinder regarding the subject falsehood in Rathbun’s book. ↩
- In the US Supreme Court’s decision in US v. Zolin, 491 U.S. 554 (1989), the Supreme Court mentioned the chain of possession of the subject audio tapes:
“The District Court and the Court of Appeals found that the tapes at issue in this case recorded attorney-client communications, and that the privilege had not been waived when the tapes were inadvertently given to Armstrong. 809 F.2d at 1417 (noting that Armstrong had acquired the tapes from L. Ron Hubbard’s personal secretary, who was under the mistaken impression that the tapes were blank). These findings are not at issue here. Thus, the remaining obstacle to respondents’ successful assertion of the privilege is the Government’s contention that the recorded attorney-client communications were made in furtherance of a future crime or fraud.” ↩
- See CSI 1023 Submission: Response to Question 10 [Civil litigation involving the Church ↩