Operation Snow White

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
Grand Jury Charges, Introduction, "United States of America v. Mary Sue Hubbard", United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 1979.

Operation Snow White was the Church of Scientology's name for a project during the 1970s to purge unfavorable records about Scientology 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, carried out by Church members, in more than 30 countries;[1] the single largest infiltration of the United States government in history[2] with up to 5,000 covert agents.[3] This was also the operation that exposed 'Operation Freakout', due to the fact that this was the case that brought the government into investigation on the Church.[3]

Under this program, 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 Church executives, including Mary Sue Hubbard (wife of founder L. Ron Hubbard and second-in-command of the organisation), pled 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 vs. Mary Sue Hubbard et al., 493 F. Supp. 209 (D.D.C. 1979).[4][5][6][7]


[edit] Background

The "Snow White Program" was written by L. Ron Hubbard [8] as an attempt to reduce or eliminate unfavorable reports on Scientology, the Church of Scientology, and Hubbard himself, especially those held by government agencies such as the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and organizations such as Interpol. Hubbard himself was named by federal prosecutors as an "unindicted co-conspirator" for his part in the operation; extensive records of his involvement exist, though many Scientologists claim his directives were misinterpreted by his followers. [9][10]

Scientology documents known as "Snow White Operating Targets" describe the agencies to be targeted. 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".[citation needed] One of the sentencing memoranda in the case also noted that, contrary to what the defendants claimed, the programs planned by the Guardian's Office were not restricted 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 agency 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 GO by LRH."[11]

[edit] Results of the investigation

FBI raids on Scientology properties in 1977 not only turned up documentation of the group's illegal activities against the United States government,[12] but also illegal activities carried out against other perceived enemies of Scientology. These included "Operation Freakout", a conspiracy to frame author Paulette Cooper on false bomb-threat charges, and conspiracies to frame Gabe Cazares, mayor of Clearwater, Florida, on false hit-and-run charges.[13][14] The papers also revealed that Sir John Foster (author of the official UK Government inquiry into Scientology) and Lord Balniel (who had requested the report) were targets, along with the National Association for Mental Health (NAMH) and World Federation for Mental Health.[15]

[edit] Involved parties

Mary Sue Hubbard, Cindy Raymond, Gerald Bennett Wolfe, Henning Heldt, Duke Snider (not to be confused with Duke Snider, a baseball player of the same name), Gregory Willardson, Richard Weigand, Mitchell Herman, Sharon Thomas, Jane Kember, and Mo Budlong, all high-ranking Scientologists, were convicted and sent to prison for five years. Kendrick Moxon was listed as an "unindicted co-conspirator" for providing false handwriting samples to the FBI.[2] Moxon continued to act as an attorney for the Church of Scientology until at least 2000, representing the Church in the Lisa McPherson case.[16][17] L. Ron Hubbard was named by federal prosecutors as an "unindicted co-conspirator."[10]

[edit] Effect of the scandal

The Church has been notably reluctant to discuss the operation's details; typical statements by members and operatives are often vague comments saying that the Guardian's Office (GO) had been "infiltrated" and "set up" to fail in its mission to protect the Church, that those involved were "purged" from the Church, without detailing what actually happened (although it has been suggested many of those involved and "purged" remained in important positions of power within the church).[18] Church spokespersons on the Internet and elsewhere have been known to claim that the operatives "had done nothing more serious than steal photocopier paper."[19]

[edit] Effects in Canada

As a result of documents stolen from public and private agencies in Canada and information on other covert activities found as evidence collected in the Operation Snow White case[20][21], investigations into the Church of Scientology in Ontario were started. This eventually resulted in a large police raid of the Church of Scientology in Toronto, 3 March to 4 March 1983. The R. v. Church of Scientology of Toronto case began 1991-04-23[22], resulting in seven members being convicted of operations against organisations including the Ontario Provincial Police, the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and two convictions of criminal Breach of the Public Trust against the church itself, for infiltration of the offices of the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. The Church of Scientology was ordered to pay a $250,000 fine.[23][24][25]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Labaton, Stephen (1993-10-14). "Scientologists Granted Tax Exemption by the U.S.". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE6D81638F937A25753C1A965958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved on 2008-05-25. 
  2. ^ a b Ortega, Tony (1999-12-23). "Double Crossed". Phoenix New Times (New Times Media). http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/1999-12-23/news/double-crossed/. Retrieved on 2006-06-12. 
  3. ^ a b "Mystery of the Vanished Ruler". TIME. 1983-01-31. http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,951938,00.html. Retrieved on 2007-08-10. 
  4. ^ United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia against Mary Sue Hubbard, Henning Heldt, Jane Kember et al
  5. ^ Mary Sue Hubbard et al Sentencing Memorandum - corrected
  6. ^ Timeline of Scientology versus the IRS
  7. ^ wikisource:U.S. v. Hubbard 650 F.2d 293 (1981)
  8. ^ Miller, Russell (1987). Bare-faced Messiah, The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard. Henry Holt & Co. pp. 317-318. ISBN 0-8050-0654-0A. 
  9. ^ Marshall, John (1980-01-24). "Hubbard still gave orders, records show". The Globe and Mail. 
  10. ^ a b Robert W. Welkos; Joel Sappell (1990-06-24). "Burglaries and Lies Paved a Path to Prison". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-scientologysidec062490,0,7034344.story. Retrieved on 2006-05-22. 
  11. ^ Sentencing Memorandum in Criminal No. 78-401(2)&(3): UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. JANE KEMBER; MORRIS BUDLONG a/k/a MO BUDLONG
  12. ^ "Scientology: Parry and Thrust". TIME Magazine. 1977-07-25. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,919130,00.html. Retrieved on 2008-12-07. 
  13. ^ Charles L. Stafford; Bette Orsini (1980-01-09). "Scientology: An in-depth profile of a new force in Clearwater" (PDF, 905K). St. Petersburg Times. http://www.antisectes.net/sp-times-scientology-special-report-pulitzer-price.pdf.  Original (18M)
  14. ^ Beresford, David (1980-02-09). "Sect framed journalist over "bomb threats"". The Guardian. 
  15. ^ Beresford, David (1980-02-07). "Snow White's dirty tricks". The Guardian. 
  16. ^ Tobin, Thomas C. (March 9, 2000). "Scientologists decry toll of criminal case". St. Petersburg Times. http://www.sptimes.com/News/030900/TampaBay/Scientologists_decry_.shtml. Retrieved on 2009-02-17. 
  17. ^ Morgan, Lucy (January 28. 1998). "Hardball: When Scientology goes to court, it likes to play rough -- very rough.". St. Petersburg Times. http://www.sptimes.com/News/32899/TampaBay/Hardball.html. Retrieved on 2009-02-17. 
  18. ^ The President answers your questions: What is the Guardian’s Office and does it still exist?
  19. ^ Ortega, Tony (Sept. 9, 2001). "Sympathy for the Devil". New Times Los Angeles.
  20. ^ John Marshall, Secret Ontario documents found in U.S. cult's files, The Globe and Mail, January 22, 1980
  21. ^ John Marshall, Cult harassment, spying in Canada documented, The Globe and Mail, January 23, 1980
  22. ^ Reynolds, W. Richard (1991-04-23). "Scientology church on trial in Canada". St. Petersburg Times. p. 8.A. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/sptimes/access/50624765.html?dids=50624765:50624765&FMT=FT. Retrieved on 2006-09-05. 
  23. ^ Full text of the 1996 appeal decision from CanLII 1996 CanLII 1650 (ON C.A.)
  24. ^ Morgan, Lucy (1999-03-29). "Abroad: Critics public and private keep pressure on Scientology". St. Petersburg Times. http://www.sptimes.com/News/32999/Worldandnation/Abroad__Critics_publi.html. Retrieved on 2007-09-07. "Canada's highest court in 1997 upheld the criminal conviction of the Church of Scientology of Toronto and one of its officers for a breach of trust stemming from covert operations in Canadian government offices during the 1970s and 1980s." 
  25. ^ Claridge, Thomas (1992-09-12). "Church of Scientology fined $250,000 for espionage". Globe and Mail. 

[edit] Further reading

[edit] External links

Personal tools