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Hey, Colombia: Here’s the video of Scientology’s David Miscavige you’ve been looking for

 
Wow, we are so fortunate that one of our tipsters was able to dig this up for us. It’s key footage of Scientology leader David Miscavige boasting about the inroads he was making into Colombia’s military and national police — exactly what the media in Colombia has been looking for these last few weeks.

Scientology’s relationship with Colombia’s military burst into a national scandal about three weeks ago, after the press there started asking questions about something we’ve watched unfold for a number of years: Miscavige using Colombian officials as props while making ludicrous claims about L. Ron Hubbard booklets reducing crime in that country. The capper came on June 23, when Miscavige had a retired national police general, Carlos Ramiro Mena, pin a medal on him at a ceremony climaxing the annual “Maiden Voyage” event in Barbados.

Since the scandal broke, the Colombian media has been digging up photos and videos of Scientology’s yearslong infiltration of Colombian government, and we reported last week that the Colombian senate has demanded an investigation from the country’s defense minister and attorney general.

Well, they’re going to want to see this footage. It took place in March 2009, at the annual L. Ron Hubbard Birthday Event at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida. Hubbard was born on March 13, 1911, and that date is the holiest on the Scientology calendar. Every year around March 13, Miscavige throws a three-hour event that features him going on and on about all of Scientology’s initiatives.

In 2008, several months before Miscavige made this speech, Scientology had first made its big play for Colombia’s military when Guillermo Smythe, Scientology’s public relations man on the cruise ship Freewinds, hooked up with Col. Ricardo Prado of the Colombian national police, who would go on to win a Scientology “Freedom Medal” for all of the work he did getting Hubbard’s “The Way to Happiness” booklets passed out by the millions. (Scientology had been in Colombia since the 1950s — see below — and comedian Andrés López was spreading The Way to Happiness there since at least 2004, but it was 2008 when the big effort there with the military really started.)

Only dedicated Scientologists win the Freedom Medal. Prado is now retired, and we reported last week that he’s in Clearwater, with his fellow Scientologists. But in 2008, he and Smythe were working hard to get Scientology’s front groups access to Colombia’s police and armed forces.

Watch as Miscavige announces to his flock just how deep Scientology had its hooks into Colombia, and with no doubt that the entire point of this exercise was to overwhelm the country with L. Ron Hubbard “technology” and make it a place where the church could expand — and make money.

Please, tell us which of the boasts that Miscavige makes are going to be most interesting to Colombia’s reporters and government investigators…

 

 
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Augustine has dug up more interesting information about the history of Scientology in Colombia.

He found Colombia mentioned in Issue 29-G of the 1954 Scientology newsletter. Federico Echavarria of Medellin, Colombia is seen in a photo at the Scientology Advanced Clinical Course that L. Ron Hubbard was conducting in Phoenix…

 

 
The scion of a wealthy Colombian family, Echavarria owned Organizacion Corona, a company that had started business in 1881 and quickly grew into the largest ceramics firm in South America. The family business spread into other industries including electrical utilities and HomeCenter, a chain of stores that are like the American Home Depot stores. The family’s wealth translated into serious political influence in Colombia. A few members of the Echavarria family became involved in Scientology through Federico’s influence.

A 1958 edition of Ability magazine mentions that a Fernando Estrada traveled from the US to Colombia to deliver auditing for a few weeks. Aside from scattered mentions of Colombia in Scientology publications in the ensuing decades not much is known of Scientology’s history in Colombia through 1995. The Scientology Org in Colombia was located in an upscale home in Bogotá in the 1990s.

Jeffrey recently interviewed Adrian Vanegas about his time on staff at the Bogotá org. In 1994, after finishing his staff contract, Adrian went to work for a WISE business consulting firm in Colombia. This company was run by the American Scientologist Mike Edwards, who died in 2009. Also involved was a fellow Scientologist named Carlo Di Lorenzo. Federico Echavarria’s nephew Enrique Garcés used his influence to open doors for Edwards and Di Lorenzo to disseminate Scientology into the Colombian schools, military, and police for his fellow Scientologists. Enrique Garcés was somewhat of a celebrity in the small Scientology community in Colombia as his uncle Federico had been personally taught and audited by L. Ron Hubbard.

“During this period, Scientologist Richard ‘Dick’ Weigand of Snow White infamy headed down to Colombia,” Jeffrey says. “Having been one of the ‘Old GO Crims’ who had been convicted and sentenced to prison for the Snow White Program, Weigand was permanently banned from serving on staff in any Scientology organization. So he headed south to Colombia. In what became a famous leak in 1995, a memo Richard Weigand posted on the old Theta News Exchange was posted on ARS. In this message, Weigand acknowledged the help of the Echavarria family in Colombia while greatly exaggerating the impact of Scientology on Colombia…”

This ground work plus our connection to the Echavarria family has opened the door for us. Our purpose is to fill that vacuum created, claiming as much ground as quickly as possible through the introduction of LRH technology to the government, military, police, education and business personnel.

Because Scientology offered its Basic Study Manual at no charge, Edwards, Weigand, and Di Lorenzo were allowed to do presentations in Colombian schools. This gave Scientology some PR photos and stories. However, the Church of Scientology’s 1990s efforts in Colombia tapered off and seemed to come to naught, until the organization’s big recent push.

 

[The Bogota Org in 2009. Photo by Jose Alberto Mojica, circa 2009]

 
“An additional factor in Scientology’s influence in Colombia over the decades occurred as a few wealthy and influential Colombians joined the organization,” Jeffrey says. “Energy company owner Enrique Jaimes of the firm J.E. Jaimes Ingenieros S.A. is a Scientologist. Photos from his company’s brochure show Mr. Jaimes at his headquarters admiring a photo of L. Ron Hubbard…

 

 
“The best employees at Mr. Jaimes’ firm are rewarded by being sent for training aboard The Freewinds…

 

 
“Enrique Jaimes makes a cameo appearance at the end of his fellow Scientologist’s Andrés López video on Scientology TV…”

 

 
Thank you, Jeffrey, for that great additional information about Scientology in Colombia over the years. We hope all of this information is helpful to our media counterparts in South America.

 
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Karen de la Carriere and Peter Nyiri, part 5

Peter Nyiri continues his story of how he escaped from Scientology’s Sea Org.

 

 
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MEANWHILE, AT FACEBOOK…

 

 
Please join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,219 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,822 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 365 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 253 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,428 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,202 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,976 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,322 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,888 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,556 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,816 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,856 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,568 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,094 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,183 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,323 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,643 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,499 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,618 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 974 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,276 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,382 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,785 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,656 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,239 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,744 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,988 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,097 days.

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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on August 27, 2018 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news

 

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