Mike Rinder (MR): This is not an easy, it’s not an easy program to do. It, it’s quite emotionally draining. It’s ah very time consuming. You know I have to, like last year I lived six months in Los Angeles, away from my family in order to be putting this show together. It’s not um, easy. People worry, there is a lot of stress. There is a lot of pressure on the production company. Scientology goes out of its way to make it as difficult as possible to do anything. The contributors start getting all sorts of problems and threats. It’s like, it’s a very stressful thing.
On the other hand, it’s, it’s astonishingly satisfying when the results are seen, you, we hear from the people who have actually been affected by the program.
Lloyd Evans (LE): I can imagine that being not just people whose lives are touched by Scientology. But you’ve already mentioned, you know, Jehovah’s Witnesses or ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses have been contacting you. People in other groups. I can imagine it touching on so many people.
And I actually wanted to come to my own sort of feedback from watching the Aftermath series.
LE: And quite honestly, um, I found it difficult, honestly, to watch. I find that if I’m going to watch it, I need to sit down and kind of binge-watch three or four episodes back to back.
LE: But then what happens is it presses so many buttons when I do that…
LE: …that it makes it difficult for me to watch it again. So I have to kind of summon the courage. Because there are so many similarities. And there’s SO much emotion in those episodes.
Informal transcript of Tampa Bay Times Interview with Mark Rathbun
Chapter “From renovation to IRS Rathbun rises through the ranks.”1
Rathbun: And then after that, in 1981, I went on to what was called the Special Project, which was a small group headed by David Miscavige. He was actually called “The Operator,” so he… You know, everybody from the unit answered to him and there was four other people in it. And our job was to find out ah, really investigate and get to the bottom of ah, why there was so many lawsuits naming L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, and um, come up with a solution as to how to get rid of those lawsuits cuz he was getting on in years and um, he… the idea was he wanted to come back to um, what is now called the International Headquarters or the Int Base in… just outside of San Jacinto, California, um, where films…dissemination and um, educational are made.
And he wanted to get those, those films done, and get them done. So our job was to try to, the… get rid of all these lawsuits that were outstanding against him so that he could come back there, ah, harassment-free and live out his days working on what he wanted to work on.
Reporter: Okay. Okay, and how long were you in this position?
Rathbun: Well, I guess I was on it for the rest of my career in, in a way. I mean there was different permutations of it. It was first called the Special Project, and then it was called the Special Unit, and then it was called… then we, we established the Office of Special Affairs to, to, um, replace the Guardian’s Office. And then I was at Author Services which was L. Ron Hubbard’s ah, personal literary agency, that handled all his personal business. And I was the legal executive there.
But again I was, I was still working on clearing away anything that might embroil L. Ron Hubbard in legal matters or external-facing matters. All the way up… that’s all the way up through ’86 now, so this is a, you know, five year, five year period through there.
Reporter: Okay. And when you first started this post, this is when you first encountered David Miscavige?
Rathbun: 1981. June of 1981…Well I actually knew him earlier, casually, but not…First time I ever worked with him.
Reporter: I see. Okay. All right, ah, and so thereafter you– Tell us about… there’s some highlights of your career, ah, that we’ve talked about, ah, ah, where you did some major things for Scientology. Can you talk about that? Ah, I guess the early 1990’s, ah, when there were problems with the IRS?
Rathbun: Well, yes. The IRS, was um, really an extension of this “All Clear” concept of getting rid of all the legal matters or external-facing matters that are hindering Scientology. It was tied in with the lit-, with ah, about a couple of dozen lawsuits that were brought around the country naming L. Ron Hubbard. Um, some ground… grand juries that were outstanding from the old Guardian’s Office activity that were… there was one in Tampa, one in D.C., and I believe one in New York that were still trying to get indictments against ah, Mr. Hubbard. You know, even after the Guardian’s Office people had been indicted and convicted in Washington.
So all these things sort of tied together with one another. And um, it was always perceived that the IRS was the most important thing to handle because if you have tax exemption you have ah, religious… religious recognition, you’re treated differently in courts, you know, there’s, there’s a, you know, some, some level of almost immunity, First Amendment immunity, to a lot of the type of allegations that were being made.
So, the IRS was the big thing to handle. I mean, when, when I was involved in that in the late ’80s, we had calculated that they, the IRS, considered that the churches had upward of a billion dollars in liability.
And the total reserves of the church were a f… were a fraction of that. Maybe in the 200 million range. So, literally, they could have wiped Scientology out five times through.
So um, between having got rid of a lot of the civil suits in the mid ’80’s and ’93, when we ultimately got exemption, I mean the number one mission was to obtain ah, tax exemption from the IRS and…
Rathbun: ..you know, that was the bulk of what my attention was on and what I worked on.
Reporter: And you were right at the center of that IRS effort, right? Ah, you, ah, worked with Mr. Miscavige. Can you tell us about that, with the IRS people?
Rathbun: Yeah, okay. Well, um, in the late ‘9… late ’80s, ah, and going into the early ’90s, ah, you know, I was tasked with the, with, with, um, implementing um, strategies to try to overwhelm the IRS like they were attempting to overwhelm us. [chuckles] And it was sort of like a “fight fire with fire” situation.
Um, we brought FY… Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, um, in numerous different jurisdictions. We had legal, ah, litigation strategies to um, counteract their strategies to deny certain churches exemption and that sort of thing. But it, it was, it was a huge battlefield. It was nation-wide. It was literally twenty-seven hundred suits at one point.
And I was very much involved in coordinating and coming up with strategies and then executing a lot of that between the late ’80s and the early ’90s.
And then in ah, late ’91, ah Dave Miscavige and myself were in Washington. And Miscavige kept bringing it up with the attorneys, you know, “Why don’t we just sit down with the Commissioner and get this thing straightened out?” because there’s so much, you know, there’s so, there’s so much insanity that goes on when you have this kind of institutional fight going on for so long. And you know you’re fighting over issues that are anachronistic in a lot of cases. They’re just, they’re, they’re not, they’re not even–. You know we’re, we’re fighting over– For example we were fighting over the years ’70 through ’72. That’s as far as the litigation had reached, and here we are twenty years later in ’90, ’91.
So he kept pressing that you know, “Why don’t we just go straight to the top and talk to the Commissioner.”
And we had a lot of expensive attorneys from D.C. and Washington who were, you know, attempting at different levels to start negotiations. And that went in fits and starts and one day we were in Washington, and finally ah, Dave said to one of the attorneys there, he said, you know, “We’re going to go…just go straight down there and go see Fred.” And he… and of course the attorney was laughing. And he turned to me and he said, “Right?” And I said, “Yeah!” And then you know…they all thought it was a joke. And we ah, right afterwards, we just got up from lunch, got in a cab and went straight down there and opened the door. You know, opened the door to, to, to get negotiations going. We didn’t get in a meeting, ah, as has been reported. We didn’t just walk in to the Commissioner’s office. We walked in and said, “We’d like to bury the hatchet.” Couple of assistants, assistants of the Commissioner came down and saw us, took all our information, said he would get…said they’d get back to us. And they did, I think it was even later that day, to set up a meeting with the Commissioner for the following week.
Reporter: This was Fred Goldberg?
Rathbun: Yeah, Fred Goldberg.
Reporter: Uh-hmm, okay. And that began a process, ah, after that?
Rathbun: That began a process. I mean, all Fred Goldberg did was open up the door to creating a f, a forum where we could make a case for exemption. Um, and what he did that was, that was ah, was so positive and unique was is he tried to bring somebody in who was fresh, who, who knew exempt organizations but didn’t have a long history with Scientology.
Rathbun: Ah, cuz there was some real haters, some real Scientology haters within, that you know, had an attitude of, no matter what you said, they were going to, you know, they were going to deny the exemption.
And um, so all he did was put, give us the ability to, to, to meet with a team that didn’t really have a, a long track record on this, yet knew exempt organizations, knew what the requirements were. And said, “Okay, prove you’re exempt.”
And then that process went on for at least two years. I mean we were literally commuting to Washington D.C. almost every week. It was Monday, or Sunday out to D.C., see the IRS, present the answers to their, their set of questions, get another set of questions, go back to L.A., get the information together, get the, you know, some would entail audits of certain units, or this sort of thing, you know, you have to account for different things, [Scratching left ear] in, in operations, in finances, and that sort of thing. Boom! Next Sunday, back on a plane, back to D.C., another meeting with– That went on for two years.
Reporter: And this process is, is it, is it you and Mr. Miscavige primarily?
Rathbun: Primarily. Um, at one point attorneys came in, started coming with us. We were really starting to get into more technical audit issues. Ah, Mike Rinder ah, attended several of the meetings. Heber Jentzsch attended several of the meetings. And then we would sometimes bring in experts on different fields. Like Rick Moxon came in to one on FOIA.
Um, Bill Walsh was another FOIA attorney who came in and attended one or two meetings. But primarily, ah, the two constants through the, from the beginning to the end were ah, Dave and myself.
- Original video: http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2009/reports/project/rathbun.shtml ↩
Source: International Scientology News Issue 21 (2002)
VICTORIES AGAINST SUPPRESSION – PLANETWIDE
As we celebrate the victories of the TAS,” said Mr. Mike Rinder. our impact and influence continue to grow, and we are reasserting the
civilizing influence of religion in society. We follow the OT formula of cause: when confronted with suppression, we extend our reach and responsibility. Armed with LRH tech and backed by IAS support, we are eradicating suppressive influences and injecting the tech on many fronts.’1
RELIGION OF ALL RELIGIONS
“The best example of our continuing influence,” he continued, “is in the field of religion. And I don’t mean just ours. Rather, I am speaking of Scientology’s responsibility on the fourth dynamic as the ‘religion of all religions.'”
He pointed out that with certain world religions in crisis, we must take responsibility to get them on the rails for the good of the whole civilization.
“In May of this year,” Mr. Rinder said, “we took the first decisive step, bringing together representatives of the world’s major faiths at Saint Hill to define for them how churches can reclaim their moral leadership and why they must do so.”
Two dozen different religious traditions were represented, from across Europe, America, and as far away as Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
Mr. Rinder told the story of how, over three days, we got them in communication and educated them on LRH solutions — so much so that at conference end, they all adopted a conference statement to take back to their churches and governments — based on LRH tech.
Further, illustrating the essence of the conference is this: a Pentecostal minister was overhead disseminating Dianetics … to a Muslim!
RESTORING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN HOLLAND
“Our work in restoring religious freedom for our churches extends across Europe,” Mr. Rinder said. Illustrating this point, he described a recent win in the Netherlands.
While Dutch law allows for tax deductions for donations to churches, the government disallowed these to members of some faiths, clearly a violation of human rights. As he explained, we filed suit to force the government’s hand. “And what was our evidence? The evidence that a three-judge panel reviewed? Our books, our materials — our beliefs and practices.
“And on January 25th, the court handed down a unanimous decision, granting full rights of tax exemption for donations to the Church and a total victory for Scientology in Holland!”
But this victory was far more encompassing because, as Mr. Rinder explained, the Netherlands ‘is part of the European Union and the decision therefore influences all the member nations.
THE FRENCH DISCONNECTION
“Some need to be positively influenced on religious freedom issues more than others,” Mr. Rinder said, “which brings us to our biggest focus of attention in Europe — France.”
He noted that in France, if you aren’t Catholic, you’re a heretic: the country is notorious for religious intolerance.
Mr. Rinder described a catalog of actions we’ve taken to put pressure on the French government to change their ways, including a publication hatting French citizens on their human rights, complaints to the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights and the Council of Europe, briefings to the US government, and much more.
But, as he reminded the audience, those who attack religion have crimes. And so it is that, upon looking for corruption in the French government, we find the head of an “anti-sect”
group in the office of the Prime Minister, one Alain Vivien.
First, an IAS-funded publication exposed Vivien, starting intense media interest across France. Then documents were uncovered showing that the country’s two most active anti-religious hate groups — both supposedly “private” groups — survived on millions of francs in government subsidies. The president of one of these groups happens to be Vivien’s wife. And between she and Vivien, they received over 10 million francs in government funds — which he spent on things like all expense paid trips to Haiti, Cypress and Greece, and an armor-plated limousine.
But, Mr. Rinder continued, there was something more ugly — a large chunk of this money goes to finance legal assaults against minority religions. In other words, the government front groups file cases pretending to be private “citizens groups.”
It’s a big sham, for SP’s in the government use taxpayers’ money to destroy freedoms, while pretending to be “neutral.”
However, this didn’t stay hidden, for all of it was exposed in a steady stream of French editions of Freedom magazine.
“And what are the results of all our exposés and the pressure we have brought to bear?” said Mr. Rinder. “Well, SPs are good at dishing it out, but they are, at heart, cowards. When the spotlight is turned in their direction, they run for cover.
“So here’s the final update. That most prominent of French SPs, Alain Vivien, just held a press conference. But this one was different than his previous rantings. It was summed up in two words: ‘I resign.’
“And to that we say, ‘Bon Voyage!'”
OPPRESSIVE MOSCOW LAW OVERTURNED — PAVING THE WAY FOR UNLIMITED EXPANSION
The biggest victory of all was then announced — and it had to do with Scientology in Moscow. While this is the fastest expanding area on the planet, there was still one major barrier to overcome in order to achieve unlimited growth: an oppressive law which established special requirements for the registration of churches.
This law, as Mr. Rinder noted, was pushed through by the Russian Orthodox Church, and was rigged so that “virtually no religion, except the Russian Orthodox Church, could meet its
requirements. Because, the only churches that qualified were ones who had ‘registered’ during the communist reign. Of course during that time, no religions were allowed to enter the country!
“Worse still,” he continued, “the penalties for any church that had not registered during that communist reign was liquidation.'”
He spoke of how the Moscow Mission filed an application for registration after that law took effect — and tried eight times, each time being turned down.
So, we sued the government and won. The government failed to appeal on time; however, since this is Russia, the government obtained permission to appeal anyway. The red tape continued, and “in October of 2001, we faced the prospect of liquidation for having ‘failed’ to register,” said Mr. Rinder.
“Of course,” he continued, “we were not alone. According to the Russian Federal Ministry of Justice, as of last October, more than two thousand religious organizations had similarly
‘failed’ to register.
“Some went into apathy.
“We went into battle —on behalf of all of them.”
He detailed how we briefed the US Congress, the State Department and Council of Europe — and how we brought 40 other religious leaders on board, then together “urged US President Bush to take the matter up directly — with Russian President Putin.
“All of it resulted in a flood of international pressure against Russia’s 1997 religion law.”
The pressure kept building, and it resulted in a landmark decision from the Constitutional Court.
“On April 30, the Moscow court handed down its decision and we set a new precedent.
“The court declared the government’s suppressive order against the Moscow Mission totally illegal, canceled the threat of liquidation and opened this country for unlimited expansion!”
WISE: Injecting LRH Admin Tech to create prosperity
Mr. Mike Rinder next spoke of the far-reaching results brought about by the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises and WISE members in the year 2000.
While the numbers show economic catastrophe — 1.4 million bankruptcies this past year in the United States alone; 38 million unemployed, and climbing, in Latin America; and 3 billion people internationally living on less than two dollars a day — WISE members are providing the LRH tech to reverse this decline and gain freedom from economic suppression.
Mr. Rinder cited many examples of this:
“There’s the California restaurant owner who blew away company conflicts with the Third Party Law,” he said, “and increased his business by 30 times.
“Then, at the next level, there is the small fine art instruction school that put in the basics of org boards and hats—and then grew to the largest in the world.
“Finally, and, at major corporate level, there is the Coca Cola Sales Division in Mexico that held workshops on the Tone Scale, ARC and communication. The result? Productivity increased by nearly 300 percent. `And all of those stories are best summed up by the manager of that Coca Cola plant in a plaque to LRH, and here’s what it says:
“To: L Ronald Hubbard
“For the legacy of the technology that effectively impels the survival of Man, groups and business.'”
Mr. Rinder also told two incredible stories of the application of LRH Admin Tech by graduates of the Hubbard College of Administration International.
The first was from China, where a graduate of the Hubbard College was invited to give a seminar on Admin Tech in Shanghai, with far-reaching results in disseminating LRH’s Admin Tech in that country.
The other was the story of a businessman in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, who took responsibility for not only his 1,000 employees, but also a local hospital — transforming it from a low morale, low producing area to an example of a high level of patient care. When Mr. Rinder described what happened next, and what effects this had across the region, it brought the audience to their feet in a standing ovation.
When you take all of these examples into consideration and look at the big picture of the year’s accomplishments, you get an idea of what kind of impact WISE members are creating:
• Nine new Hubbard Colleges of Administration opened, now making a total of 25 around the globe.
• The number of students enrolled for the first time at the Hubbard College International increased by 60%, and the total number trained on LRH Admin Tech at Hubbard Colleges around the world jumped to more than 12,000 in the last year alone.
• WISE members have brought LRH Admin Tech to a total of 111,000 companies and enterprises in 70 nations worldwide.
• Translated LRH Admin Tech materials are now available in French, Italian, Danish, Finnish, Spanish, Swedish, Hungarian, Czech, Russian, Japanese and Traditional Chinese.