The war that this cult has generated has gone mainstream.
Chris Owen (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote:
: In the absence of hard facts, one can only speculate as to who leaked
: to the Wall Street Journal the secret tax-exemption agreement between
: the Church of Scientology and the IRS. But here's a suggestion as to
: what might have happened.
: In 1993, only six weeks after the secret agreement was signed, the
: consumer group Tax Analysts made a Freedom of Information Act request
: (dated November 10, 1993) to obtain the text of the agreement,
: contending that it was part of the administrative record and therefore
: subject to disclosure. The IRS refused. Tax Analysts sued the IRS and
: won a court judgement in 1995 that the agreement should be made public.
: The IRS continued to withhold the agreement, despite a court order and
: taxation law requiring disclosure.
: There's a fair amount of evidence suggesting that arguably improper
: pressure was brought by Scientology against the IRS (over 2,500 lawsuits
: brought against the IRS and individual officials, private detectives
: investigating the sex lives of senior officials, etc). It's been
: suggested that the IRS senior management has refused disclosure because
: of potential political or personal embarrassment.
: Whatever the truth may be, it seems likely that the leak did come from
: the IRS itself (the announcement of a leak enquiry suggests as much).
: Leaking certainly wouldn't have been in the interests of Scientology or
: individual Scientologists. Leak enquiries are, however, usually
: cosmetic and I doubt that the culprit will be publicly revealed.
: I suggest that the most likely scenario is that the leak was in fact
: sanctioned, at least unofficially, by the IRS. Why? The details of the
: secret agreement show that the IRS was in a difficult bind: if it
: complied with the court's order of disclosure, the agreement would have
: been broken and a fine of $50 million (yes, really) would have been
: payable by the IRS. The agreement's non-disclosure clause is absolute
: and appears to allow no room for ordered disclosure.
: However, it would be possible to get around this by leaking the
: agreement and then disclaiming responsibility for the leak. The IRS can
: now release the document officially, citing the fact that it has now
: entered the public domain, without risking the financial penalty of the
: non-disclosure clause. I can't see any court enforcing a non-disclosure
: clause on a document which has already been distributed all over the
: world via print and the Internet by a US national newspaper.
: This way, the IRS could manage to satisfy the court order without being
: subject to the penalties of breaking the agreement.
: IANAL, of course... does this sound plausible?
I concur. See my other post regarding how many in the IRS must have felt
when the 501(c)3 was given to the cult in complete disregard of the court
ruling the IRS had obtained. The only question that remains is, why now?
Why would someone wait this long to release it?
My view is based on my experience. I have about 21 years in the cult, 20
of it as staff in then in Dept 20 or senior to it, mostly in the PR
Take a look at the media situation. A few years ago, the media wouldn't
touch a Scientology story. Then three things basically happened: the cult
began to publicly attack Germany with their full-page ads campaign. They
wanted media attention an they began to get it. Then there was the Net and
their assault against ARS and the raids. The Net, in turn, brought the
Lisa McPherson death to the surface and now that has garnered national
media attention, not to mention international. Look at the results, from
"60 Minutes" to the front page of the NYTimes to Newsweek magazine. Some
media are climbing all over each other to find the next story.
The point is that the climate has changed dramatically. Had someone tried
to leak this agreement a few years ago, it would have fallen on deaf ears
and blind eyes. Now it is front page of the NYTimes. Plus the Net.
The cult is going to have a tough time arguing that this was an improper
release because there are some who would LOVE to debate that point in
court. There are some professinals (who have nothing to do with fighting
the cult per se) who are outraged at the agreement, that it was made and
how it was sealed and they want this procedure torched. The cult will view
this as an assault on them, thereby makaing more enemies, just as Melton
described it. But the issue of whether or not the IRS could even make such
an agreement and seal it in this manner, that is an issue some WANT to
debate and that is what the release will force because the cult will force
I've made this analogy that the Net is to the cult what Viet Nam was to
the US and let me extend it a bit here. There was a point when the war
protest went "mainstream." It started as a bunch of long-haired hippi
freaks, as the Establishment liked to callthem. But there came a time when
three-piece suits were in the marches, when the protest went mainstream.
It may have even happened with the Pentagon Papers case, when the protest
embodied greater principles. I propose that is what has happened here. The
war that this cult has generated has gone mainstream. And I think the
outcome will be the same.
Robert Vaughn Young * The most potent weapon of the oppressor is *
email@example.com * the mind of the oppressed. - Steve Biko *