On June 20, 1977 Michael Meisner, a Scientologist, contacted the FBI. He claimed that he had escaped from being held against his will by fellow Scientologists and had evidence of criminal activity.
Meisner had been hiding out from an FBI warrant, but decided the FBI was a better bet than Scientology. Meisner was telling the truth. In court papers later from his case:
On May 1, at approximately 6 p.m., Brian Andrus, Peeter Alvet, Information Bureau official Chuck Reese and two bodyguards visited Mr. Meisner and told him that he was to be moved to another apartment.Mr. Meisner refused to leave, threatening to cause a commotion if forced to do so.
The two guards handcuffed him behind his back, gagged him and dragged him out of the building.
Outside, they forced him onto the back floor of a waiting car. In the car one of the guards held Mr. Meisner down with his feet.
Mr. Meisner was taken to an apartment which he later learned was located at 3219 Descanso Drive, in Los Angeles, California.
After Messrs. Andrus and Alvet left, three guards remained in the apartment with Mr. Meisner.
On July 8, 1977, based on information from Meisner, the FBI raided Church of Scientology properties in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. alleging that Scientology officials from 1974 through 1976 conspired to steal documents belonging to the Federal Government and conspired to obstruct justice by covering up these crimes during a grand jury investigation for a burglary of the office of an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S.Courthouse in Washington, D.C.About 90,000 pages of documents, burglary tools and eavesdropping equipment were seized in the raid. Scientologists dressed in clerical garb stood around during the raid to be included in press photos in an attempt to portray themselves as a persecuted religion.
The documents seized in this raid exposed an incredible array of cloak and dagger operations undertaken by Scientology’s Guardian’s Office, including bugging the Justice Department, stealing documents from the IRS, setting up author Paulette Cooper on bomb threat charges, and attempting to destroy the reputation of Clearwater Florida’s mayor, Gabe Cazares.
An overarching program called Operation Snow White controlled the clandestine operations, and thus this case became known as the Snow White case. The goal of Operation Snow White was to clean out governmental records detrimental to Scientology and to L. Ron Hubbard through overt and covert means.
Eleven Scientologists, including the founder L. Ron Hubbard’s wife Mary Sue, went to federal prison for their part in these actions. L. Ron himself was in hiding but was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator.The Snow White Program was begun April 18, 1973 by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. He wrote in Guardian’s Order 732 WW that some countries were preventing some of Scientology’s activities, based, according to Hubbard, on false reports about Scientology.
Several countries were denying port access to Hubbard’s ship the Apollo, where he was headquartered. The Snow White strategy was to:
Bring legal pressure by litigation in every possible country (where there has been a false report or offence) against England and the US as well as in England and the US so that the sum total will be to place these countries in a villainous light, not to be trusted as to data, and to cancel out all tendencies to false report as well as amend old ones. And then tackle them through the two International Commissions.
As the sentencing memorandum indicates, these actions were widespread and illegal:
The crimes committed by these defendants is of a breadth and scope previously unheard of. No building, office, desk, or file was safe from their snooping and prying. No individual or organization was free from their despicable conspiratorial minds.
The tools of their trade were miniature transmitters, lock picks, secret codes, forged credentials, and any other device they found necessary to carry out their conspiratorial schemes.
It is interesting to note that the founder of their organization, unindicted co-conspirator L. Ron Hubbard, wrote in his dictionary entitled Modern Management Technology Defined … that ‘truth is what is true for you.’ Thus, with the founder’s blessings they could wantonly commit perjury as long as it was in the interest of Scientology.
The defendants rewarded criminal activities that ended in success and sternly rebuked those that failed. The standards of human conduct embodied in such practices represent no less than the absolute perversion of any known ethical value system.
In view of this, it defies the imagination that these defendants have the unmitigated audacity to seek to defend their actions in the name of ‘religion.’
That these defendants now attempt to hide behind the sacred principles of freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the right to privacy — which principles they repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to violate with impunity — adds insult to the injuries which they have inflicted on every element of society.”
[Sentencing Memorandum of United States v. Mary Sue Hubbard et al, criminal case # 78-401 in October, 1978 — US District Court, Washington DC.]
“… it brings into focus more than anything else the refusal by the defendants to live by the law — their apparently intractable conviction that they are somehow above the law.
This is illustrated by Mrs. Hubbard’s statement on the witness stand that she and her codefendants, including these two defendants, felt they could do to others whatever they perceived, however erroneously, others were doing to them.”
[Sentencing Memorandum in ; US v. Kember and Budlong Criminal No. 78-401(2)&(3)]
Mary Sue Hubbard, Cindy Raymond, Gerald Bennett Wolfe, Henning Heldt, Duke Snider, Gregory Willardson, Richard Weigand, Mitchell Herman, Sharon Thomas, Jane Kember, and Mo Budlong were convicted and sent to prison in the Snow White case.
All were ranking Scientologists, some appointed by L. Ron Hubbard himself.
Although Scientology claimed to have cleaned house since the Snow White convictions, kicking out all these perpetrators, in fact that is not the case.
Kendrick Moxon worked in Scientology’s legal office at that time and was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator for providing false handwriting samples to the FBI. Today Moxon is Scientology’s lead in-house attorney.
Mary Sue Hubbard, head of the Guardian’s Office at the time of the raid, is still listed as a Patron of Scientology (a member who has donated a large amount of funds).
Henning Heldt, Deputy Guardian for the United States (DG US), is listed in Scientology publications as a major contributor and having taken courses.
Duke Snider is listed as having taken Scientology courses in the 1990s.
Dick Weigand, Deputy Guardian for Information in the United States (DG I US), was working for Scientology in Columbia in the 1990s to spread the gospel there.
The Snow White program was never officially closed by Scientology. The paranoia has not left Scientology. The Guardian’s Office was replaced with the Office of Special Affairs. The policies by Hubbard to attack and destroy perceived enemies are still in force.