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JANE KEMBER DIES: Led Scientology’s 1970s worldwide spy corps in ‘Snow White Program’

A close family friend to Jane Kember informed us yesterday that the former Scientology spymaster died on Wednesday. She was 85.

Kember was a major figure in Scientology history, given a lifetime appointment as “Guardian” by founder L. Ron Hubbard and charged with overseeing the Guardian’s Office, a worldwide intelligence operation that infiltrated government offices in several nations, resulting in a 1977 FBI raid in Los Angeles and Washington DC that led to 11 top Scientologists going to prison.

Two of those Scientology officials, including Kember, were extradited from England to stand trial in the US. Kember was charged with running an elaborate government infiltration scheme, dubbed the “Snow White Program” by Hubbard. (It became known as “Operation Snow White” by the press at the time.)

The Snow White Program involved hundreds of Scientology operatives infiltrating government agencies, including break-ins, in order to obtain documentation of what those agencies had on Hubbard.


Kember oversaw it all, the top spymaster working for Hubbard and his wife, Mary Sue Hubbard.

Mary Sue and Kember were both convicted in the Snow White prosecution, but L. Ron Hubbard himself was only named an unindicted co-conspirator and was not charged. After her conviction in November 1980, Kember was sentenced to two to six years in prison, and in 1982 Scientology assured reporters that it had “deposed” both Kember and Mary Sue Hubbard so that they were no longer in positions of influence.

Years later, we learned that Kember was still a Scientologist and was taking courses at Saint Hill Manor, Scientology’s UK headquarters. She might no longer be in a position of authority, but she remained a loyal member of Scientology to the very end.

In 1964, Jane and her husband Kevin Kember had twin boys, Peter and Charles “Chaz” Kember. When we were researching the Snow White Program for The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, our book about Paulette Cooper and the elaborate operations run by Kember and the Guardian’s Office that were intended to destroy her, we managed to find some information about Jane and her children.

We learned that Chaz remained in Scientology in Los Angeles (and still is) but that Peter had by then left the church. In fact, at the time our book came out in 2015, Peter Kember was working as an IT consultant for Scotland Yard which, given his mother’s felonious past, we found intriguing.

Doing that research, we read numerous accounts about what the Guardian’s Office was like under Kember, and the picture that emerged was of a woman who ran a worldwide espionage network through an intimidating presence. The men who worked for Jane Kember were clearly terrified of her. But she never spoke publicly of her years as Scientology’s Guardian, which ended as a new contingent of Scientology executives, including a very young David Miscavige, displaced the Guardian’s Office in the early 1980s.

The close family friend told us that just recently, Jane Kember had told her that what was keeping her going in her 80s was her son Peter’s energy. He was not only considered a wizard in IT, but he was something of a polymath and enjoyed a large circle of friends and admirers.


[Jane Kember and her son Peter in 2018]

He was also, the friend told us, active at the ESMB message boards, using a handle and discussing his conflicted views about his involvement in Scientology.

The friend, who is also a former Scientologist, told us that although Peter was no longer a member of the church, he had absorbed many of L. Ron Hubbard’s views, including his disdain for the medical profession.

“In the church we weren’t supposed to take drugs. Peter still believed firmly in all of that and felt he could heal his own body, but he had incredibly high blood pressure and refused to take his medicine. He told me not too long ago that his doctor told him he was amazed that Peter was still alive.”

That refusal to take medicine apparently caught up with Peter Kember. He died of a heart attack on November 21. He was only 58 years old. His funeral is scheduled for Monday.

His mother didn’t live to see it. She died in her sleep at a hospital on Wednesday.


Jennifer Catherine Neilsen-Wood — known as Jenny to her family — was born in 1937 in Nairobi, Kenya. She was a British citizen and was married to Henry Kevin Kember when she became Mary Sue Hubbard’s lieutenant as Jane Kember.

In his 1990 book about Scientology history, A Piece of Blue Sky, Jon Atack called Kember a fanatical Scientologist, and he quoted a 1966 success story written by her:

Before Scientology I couldn’t have a baby, having miscarriage after miscarriage. I have recently had twin boys, after training and processing in Scientology. Before Scientology I had kidney trouble. I have no kidney trouble now. Before Scientology I had skin trouble, chronic indigestion, was very nervous, very unhappy, highly critical of all around me, felt inferior, inadequate and unable to cope with life. Now the skin troubles have gone and the chronic indigestion. I am no longer nervous, feel happy, have lost my inferiority complex and feel no need to criticize others.

“No wonder,” Atack wrote, “Kember later ran the Guardian’s Office with steely and unswerving devotion.”

On March 1, 1966, Hubbard created the office of Guardian, giving it this definition: “To help LRH enforce and issue policy, to safeguard Scientology orgs, Scientologists and Scientology and to engage in long term promotion.”

Hubbard named his wife Mary Sue as the original Guardian, but then in January 1969 the title was passed to Kember, who held it for the next 13 years, working directly under Mary Sue, who was named “Controller.”

In 1967, Hubbard took to sea after things had become uncomfortable for him in both the US and UK. For the next eight years he ran Scientology from a ship, initially called Royal Scotman, but later changed to Apollo, and sailed the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and finally the Caribbean.

In 1973, Hubbard spent most of the year away from the ship and holed up in Queens, New York, as he considered what to do about the shrinking number of ports that would accept him. He blamed the US and UK for what they were saying about him to foreign governments, and he became determined to do something about it.

That April, he wrote up plans for what he called the Snow White Program, to find out what was said about him in documents held by numerous governments. The plot finally got going in earnest in 1974 when Mary Sue Hubbard and Jane Kember began urging Guardian’s Office operatives to infiltrate government agencies.

Department of Justice filings explained that Kember would direct Scientology’s lawyers to file Freedom of Information Act requests for documents about Hubbard and then, once an agency had gathered them in one place in an attempt to assess which records to release, GO operatives would break into the offices and make copies of them all, whether they were entitled to them or not.

Kember’s signature on documents signing off on burglary plans or issuing commendations after they were accomplished made her guilt undeniable.

She and another GO official in England, an American named Mo Budlong, were extradited and tried in the US, where nine other executives, including Mary Sue Hubbard, were also convicted.

In a sentencing memo, the government made its case for why Kember and Budlong should go to prison…

The evidence which led the jury to return these guilty verdicts revealed that during the years 1973 to 1976 the defendants ordered the commission of brazen, systematic and persistent burglaries of United States Government offices. Their purpose was to ransack these offices of all documents of interest to the organization which they led — the Guardian’s Office of the Church of Scientology — in order to secure total exemption from taxation and to protect Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard. In the process, from their headquarters in East Grinstead, England, they challenged and attempted to undermine the judicial and governmental structure of the United States.


…These crimes included: The infiltration and theft of documents from a number of prominent private, national, and world organizations, law firms, newspapers, and private citizens; the execution of smear campaigns and baseless law suits for the sole purpose of destroying private individuals who had attempted to exercise their First Amendment rights to freedom of expression; the framing of private citizens who had been critical of Scientology, including the forging of documents which led to the indictment of at least one innocent person; and violation of the civil rights of prominent private citizens and public officials. These are but a few of the criminal acts of these two defendants which, we submit, give the Court a glimpse of the heinous and vicious nature of their crimes.

After receiving sentences of two to six years in prison, Kember and Budlong appealed, and remained out on bail while they waited for a court ruling. Atack describes how Mary Sue Hubbard and Kember tried in 1981, despite their criminal convictions, to keep control of things as a new crew of executives had arrived, led by Bill Franks and with L. Ron Hubbard’s approval, to begin dismantling the Guardian’s Office:

Upon hearing of Franks’ moves, Mary Sue Hubbard reappointed herself Controller…Franks and his team were physically ejected from GO headquarters in Los Angeles. The locks were changed. Mary Sue appointed Jane Kember Temporary Controller.

Franks, as Executive Director International, maintained his occupation of the Controller’s office itself, and Kember visited him there with a group of GO heavies…

For three days the screaming match continued, with David Miscavige and other high-ranking Messengers joining in. They played on Kember’s fear of a schism in the Church. Eventually, she was shown an undated Hubbard dispatch which suggested that the GO should be put under the [Messengers] when its senior executives went to prison. Jane Kember and Mary Sue Hubbard admitted defeat.

Mary Sue ended up serving only a year in prison of the four she was sentenced to. Kember’s actual prison stay was probably also relatively brief. But after the dismantling of the Guardian’s Office, neither of them held positions of influence in Scientology.

By the time they came out of prison, L. Ron Hubbard had gone into permanent hiding. He never saw his wife Mary Sue again before he died in seclusion in 1986. Mary Sue herself spent her final years in a kind of house arrest, as Bruce Hines described for us recently, and she died of breast cancer in 2002.

Jane Kember remained loyal to Scientology despite never again holding high office in it, and she remained associated with Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, England.

We told Paulette Cooper last night that Kember, the woman who had directed so many elaborate operations to destroy her, had died.

“I just wish she had talked,” Paulette said.

We also asked for a statement from Mike Rinder, who recently published a major new history of Scientology and his role in it, A Billion Years: My Escape From a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology.

“The best word I can think of to describe Jane Kember is imperious,” he said. “She ruled the Guardian’s Office like an Amazonian queen, overseeing its most notorious crimes. Like Mary Sue, her loyalty to Hubbard and Scientology wasn’t reciprocated. She was despised by Hubbard, David Miscavige, and all of us who had to ‘clean up her mess.’ She remained a pariah, though eventually was allowed back onto org lines to ‘retrain from the bottom up’ in order to keep her from disaffecting. Sadly, she remained a loyal Scientologist to the end — she would have had quite a story to tell had she chosen to do so.”



Your proprietor on the Intertubes

Had a fun conversation with Aaron McNally at his podcast, Curiosophy Now, and thought you might find it interesting.



Technology Cocktail

“Scientology has opened the gates to a better world. It is not a psychotherapy, nor a religion. It is a body of knowledge which, when properly used, gives freedom and truth to the individual.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1954



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links as Danny faces a potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison. NOW WITH TRIAL INDEX.



THE PODCAST: How many have you heard?

— The Underground Bunker Podcast

[1] Marc Headley [2] Claire Headley [3] Jeffrey Augustine [4] Bruce Hines [5] Sunny Pereira [6] Pete Griffiths [7] Geoff Levin [8] Patty Moher [9] Marc Headley [10] Jefferson Hawkins [11] Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan [12] Paulette Cooper [13] Jesse Prince [14] Mark Bunker [15] Jon Atack [16] Mirriam Francis [17] Bruce Hines on MSH

— SPECIAL: The best TV show on Scientology you never got to see

[1] Phil Jones [2] Derek Bloch [3] Carol Nyburg [4] Katrina Reyes [5] Jamie DeWolf

— SPECIAL: Your Proprietor’s updates on the Danny Masterson trial

[1] Sep 21 [2] Sep 28 [3] Oct 4 [4] Oct 10 [5] Oct 11: Day One [6] Oct 12: Day Two [7] Oct 13: Day Three [8] Oct 17: Day Four [9] Oct 18: Day Five [10] Oct 19: Day Six [11] Special interview with Chris Shelton, Oct 19 [12] Oct 20: Day Seven [13] Oct 21: Day Eight [14] First week in review, with Jeffrey Augustine [15] Oct 24: Day Nine [16] Oct 25: Day Ten [17] Oct 27: Day Eleven [18] Oct 28: Day Twelve [19] Second week in review, with Jeffrey Augustine [20] Halloween special [21] Nov 2: Day Thirteen [22] Nov 3: Day Fourteen [23] Nov 4: Day Fifteen [24] Third week in review [25] Nov 5, Saturday special [26] Nov 6, Sunday special [27] Nov 7, Day Sixteen [28] Lisa Marie Presley breaking news [29] Nov 8, Day Seventeen [30] Nov 9, Day Eighteen [31] Nov 10, Day Nineteen


Source Code

“I have a book which proves absolutely the presence of demons and demon exorcism and proves completely a priori — oh, the most fascinating reasoning is the bulk of this book. You just feel your brains go creak as you read this thing…They go on and prove absolutely that the word of the church is law. And then they prove the fact there was a demon present. Just as I say, you, just, brains go kind of creak. It’s got one of these things in practically every column, two columns to the page, quarto-size volume, for about three or four hundred pages. It’s a very old book and was printed way way back when. Fascinating volume. Well, I want to prove pan-determinism to you on this line now. Now, a thetan can see what he can be; he can be what he can see. Now, have any of you ever seen God? Well, come on, come on, have any of you ever seen God? All right. You’ve never seen God, huh? OK. If you have never seen God, this proves conclusively that God is the Supreme Being at the eighth dynamic. Isn’t that right? Oh, yes it does! Because you’ve never seen God and you’re being self-determined, which is the first dynamic. So this merely demonstrates to you that individuals are not pan-determinism. You follow this?” — L. Ron Hubbard, December 16, 1954



Avast, Ye Mateys

“Lt. Cmmdr. Irene Dunleavy is reprimanded for rudeness and violation of F.O. 38 to a senior officer. The next occurrance will result in something more than a reprimand. She is to re-check out on this F.O. within one week.” — MarySue Hubbard, Captain, December 16, 1968


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I’m going to disconnect from a bunch of so called Scientologists from this zoo they call ‘freezone.’ They are in my view just poor people with a lot of bypassed charge from their association with the cult called the Church of Scientology and are now dramatizing their own case. I am going to stay in contact and thrive with all the free-spirited, sincere people who actually want to do Scientology. I am interested in growth, in enlightenment, in living a better life with good people. We don’t need cults.”


Past is Prologue

1998: Dave Touretzky reported he was the subject of a revenge picket at his employer, Carnegie Mellon University. “I missed my own picket. There were six of them, reportedly well dressed and well-behaved, basically normal looking. My secretary went down and talked to them for a while, but when she asked them what Scientologists believe in, they wouldn’t give her a straight answer. The FRL’s signs reportedly said ‘Dave Touretzky is a Religious Bigot’ and ‘Your Neighbor Dave Touretzky Protects Pornography’. Also something about a list of aliases I supposedly use, but nobody bothered to write those down. Some of our grad students, bored and looking for amusement, decided to have fun with the picketers. They made up picket signs of their own and joined in. Several candidate slogans were discussed, including ‘Unix is not Xenu’, but in the end they went with: Mom Send Money, Open Source Tibet, Xenu, Warrior Princess, A=A, Yankee Go Home, Legalize maple leaf Canada. The university had a police officer standing by to make sure that everyone played nicely together. Picketers are allowed on campus, and the Scientologists could even go in the building to use the bathroom, but they weren’t allowed anywhere near my office. There were no flyers handed out. Some folks asked the Scientologists to explain why they were doing this, and got answers like ‘he keeps going into our churches’; the Scns also claimed that I was misinforming the public about their beliefs — though they didn’t state it quite that coherently.”


Random Howdy

“If communication is the universal solvent, why is it that in Scientology you can’t communicate with other Scientologists or non-Scientologists about how the tech works and what it’s done for you? Is it because it will make their heads explode like the guy in Scanners? Why are there no theologians in Scientology? Why can’t you ask a course supervisor what they think Hubbard really meant by a certain passage? Why is it that Scientologists are only able to respond to non-Scientolgists with rote responses?”



Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Mistrial declared November 30. Status conference scheduled January 10, retrial scheduled March 27.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Plea deadline scheduled for December 16.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff scheduled to time served with three years supervised release, restitution of $9.7 million.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for March 1 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial hearing December 9.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court, Scientology moving to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs filed amended complaint on August 2. Hearing November 17 to argue the arbitration motions, awaiting ruling.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: February 2, 2023.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place at least through February 7.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Case settled ahead of scheduled Dec 6 trial.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society. Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in a weekly series. How many have you read?


[ONE year ago] Scientology claims its UK headquarters made 873 ‘OTs’ in 2021
[TWO years ago] Was it something they said? The Scientology ‘arbitration’ hearing Judge Kleifield nuked
[THREE years ago] Scientology celebrated New Year’s Eve on Saturday, and once again we had someone there
[FOUR years ago] Where in the U.S. the next set of Scientology ‘Ideal Orgs’ will be popping up next
[FIVE years ago] L. Ron Hubbard’s son was troubled, but don’t discount him entirely: few knew his father better
[SIX years ago] Some churches take care of the old — Scientology instead works them to death
[SEVEN years ago] Australian media outs Scientologist behind ‘super city’ plans near Melbourne
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology attorneys ask Garcia judge — Keep Mike Rinder away from us!
[NINE years ago] EXCLUSIVE: Roslyn Cohn’s one-woman show skewering Scientology — complete!
[TEN years ago] Sunday Funnies: Scientology Sets Its Worldwide New Year’s Party!
[ELEVEN years ago] Writing OT VIII, a Pot Bust, and More From L. Ron Hubbard: Sailing the Apollo Dec 11 – 17


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,880 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,385 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,935 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,925 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,816 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,121 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,991 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,096 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,569 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,885 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,451 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,370 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,538 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,118 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,380 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,416 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,131 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,696 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 1,011 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,186 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,737 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,868 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,206 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 9,061 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,180 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,536 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,839 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,945 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,343 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,219 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,802 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,297 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,551 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,660 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 16, 2022 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post 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 new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, 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, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | Shelly Miscavige, 15 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

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

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 | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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