Rod Keller gives a very insightful report on the opening of a National HQ in the Underground Bunker. It is clear that Scientology for whatever reason sees Ireland as important in its global strategy.
Why has Scientology decided to place a National HQ in a country with a Mission where one of its senior members Zabrina Collins lost a court case for defamation and a few years ago tried to deceive the public with a sham anti drug campaign? We will await further analysis from the Bunker or go digging ourselves.
[Tom Cruise with Irish opera singer Amanda Neri]
Rod Keller keeps an eye on Scientology social media for us, and on Sundays he dives into the latest happenings with the organization’s many front groups. This time, he’s taking us to Ireland, where a new strategy is unfolding. Take it away, Rod…
The Church of Scientology is preparing to open a National Affairs Office at 4 Merrion Square in Dublin, Ireland. The opening is currently scheduled for October 15.
The green door in the photo above has been painted white during renovations. Photographer Killian Raynor has noticed “Masses of furniture have been moved into it for the past few months,” and posted the photos below to the blog Broadstreet.com.
Merrion Square is bounded on three sides by Georgian red brick residences, and on the fourth by Leinster House, the seat of the Irish Parliament. All of the houses on the square are handsome and No. 4 is no exception, but it’s not really the house Scientology wanted.
The house below with the black door is No. 69 Merrion Square, and Scientology’s first choice. In 1956, L. Ron Hubbard established offices there, promoting it as the H.A.S.U.K. Atomic Energy Healing Division Emergency Station. It was intended to provide a base for Scientology should the U.K. – and the main Scientology location at 37 Fitzroy Street in London – come under nuclear attack.
The idea of protecting Scientology during a nuclear war would later lead to the construction of underground vaults at locations in California and New Mexico, where Hubbard’s writings are preserved on steel plates, sealed in titanium containers that are filled with inert gas. In 1956 there was only the above-ground No. 69 Merrion Square, a fall-back position in case of nuclear war rather than a bunker.
The building is revered by Scientologists as the site where Hubbard developed the Personal Efficiency course. From Bare-Faced Messiah, by Russell Miller…
At the end of March 1956, Ray Kemp accompanied Hubbard on a trip to Dublin. “He wanted to see if there was something he could do for Ireland,” Kemp explained. “He felt that Ireland’s troubles were based on the fact that it was a bit like a Third World nation and had never been able to apply the skills of its people. We were there for two or three days and he spent the whole time talking to people. We’d be walking down the street and all of a sudden he wasn’t there. I’d look back and see him deep in conversation with someone, asking them if they had a job, what their skills were, things like that. Believe it or not, he’d actually run a little process on them there and then and they’d feel better and he’d walk away. His idea was to open a Personal Efficiency Foundation in Dublin to teach people how to apply whatever skills they had got, but I don’t think anything ever came of it.”
The Personal Efficiency Course is still delivered in Scientology orgs and missions as an introductory course, covering the ARC Triangle, the eight Dynamics, and other core Scientology principles. But the new course was not enough to save the Merrion Square office, as former Scientologist Anthony Phillips recalls:
One day Jack Parkhouse, the executive director asked me into his office, at the basement at the foot of the stairs. Would I take the job of Director of The American College of Personal Efficiency in Dublin, Ireland. I was flabbergasted, and far below making a self determined decision. If Jack Parkhouse thought I could do it, who was I to say no?
I went to Dublin, and for me it was six months of hell, where when I sent my weekly report to Jack and Ron Hubbard, I pleaded every time for someone to relieve me. I understood there was 25 percent unemployment in Dublin, we were in debt to the newspapers that carried adverts for us. Twice Jack sent an auditor out for a week to audit me, and generally sort the affair out. After 6 months I was relieved (in two senses of the word).
There was one highlight to this period; the running of the Personal Efficiency Course.
No. 69 Merrion Square closed in 1958. But a plan to re-open at the same location was hatched by Scientology leader David Miscavige more than 50 years later. No. 69 was not available for purchase, but for a sale price of 400,000 Euros, No. 4 was the next best thing, as announced by Orange, California-based Scientologist Mary McCrink and Dublin mission Executive Director Ger Collins.
A National Affairs Office is unusual in Scientology. There is only one similar facility – in Washington, DC.
The Frasier Mansion was purchased in 1994 to serve as the Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, D.C.. But the 1890 structure was too small for the Ideal Org program announced in 2004, under which all orgs should have at least 50,000 sq. ft. of space, and Scientology purchased the former American Trucking Association building on 16th St. NW as their new home. Rather than sell the Frasier Mansion, it was repurposed to be the first National Affairs Office.
Photo credit: Ben Schumin
The National Affairs Office is different from other Scientology orgs and missions, which all share the seven-division, 21 department “org board.” The National Affairs Office has only one department – the Office of Special Affairs, or Department 20, and only one of the main three functions of OSA – public relations. The purpose is to promote Scientology’s “fourth dynamic”, or “4D” campaigns which purport to help mankind through drug education and promoting human rights, but have a secret purpose to recruit opinion leaders in the community as allies to help protect Scientology from attack, a policy known as “safepointing.”
The office hosts politicians, diplomats, activists, religious leaders and other opinion leaders, such as this 2013 event with Scientologist and actress Jenna Elfman, OSA staff member Beth Akiyama and U.S. Congresswoman Corrine Brown.
At this 2012 event held at the office OSA staff member Jesse Morrow hosted local religious leaders for a drug education seminar for the group Foundation for a Drug-Free World.
While the Dublin mission has fallen on hard times and struggles to stay afloat, Scientology has been preparing the city for the opening of their own National Affairs Office by involving Irish officials in Fourth Dynamic events. The honorary mayor of Galway, Ireland, Noel Larkin, participated in this event for the Foundation for a Drug-Free World along with Clearwater-area Scientologists and the Scientology swing band The Jive Aces.
The Mayor of Limerick Kieran O’Hanlon.
Waterford Mayor John Hearne.
The Deputy Mayor of Cork in Ireland, Ken O’Flynn visited Clearwater and the anti-Psychiatry group CCHR (Citizens Commission on Human Rights).
Opera singer Amanda Neri is seen as an opinion leader, and has expressed interest in OSA and the National Affairs Office.
Tuairisc.ie reported in August, 2016 that Scientology is translating materials into Irish. These are materials for the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, one of the front groups that will be promoted by the National Affairs Office. The “Truth About Drugs” pamphlets mix accurate medical information about drugs with false information, such as this claim that all drugs are poisons, and the dosage determines if it is a stimulant or depressant.
The L. Ron Hubbard booklet The Way to Happiness and materials for the Scientology drug rehab system Narconon are also being translated into Irish.
We can expect Irish versions of literature from Youth for Human Rights, Criminon, and Scientology Volunteer Ministers to be produced as well. They are all parts of OSA, and will be run out of the National Affairs Office.
The larger question about the new National Affairs Office is whether this represents a new series of buildings – offices in the capital cities of other countries. Scientology has a tendency towards balance, attempting to place an Ideal Org in each city, an Ideal Advanced Org, a Continental Liaison Office, and a Continental Narconon in each continent. Perhaps we will see new National Affairs Offices in Mexico City, Ottawa, Paris, Moscow, Johannesburg, Canberra, and Tokyo in the years to come.
— Rod Keller