Inside the Church of Scientology’s secret (and aborted) mission to bring several Balkan countries under its dominion
When it comes to the Church of Scientology, no fiction could ever trump reality in terms of sheer bizarreness. Perhaps nowhere is this fact more evident than in the revelation that the church had a completely delusional plan to unite the countries of Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, and the entire former Yugoslavia into a single, Scientology-controlled megastate.
Like the voice booming from Ezekiel 37:22-24 (“I will unite them into one land on the mountains of Israel. They will have one King to rule over them, and they will no longer be divided into nations or split into Kingdoms”), the followers of Dianetics and Scientology leader David Miscavige sought a Holy Land of their own. No Hollywood screenplay writer could ever imagine the totalitarian nightmare of a Hollywood Holy Land, even if that screenplay writer was a Scientologist (and we all know there are plenty of those). Let’s take a look back at the terrifying, Xenu-fearing dystopia that never was, and breathe a collective sigh of relief that the only terrain Scientology controls today is Hollywood.
The Bulgravia project was introduced in the early 1990s, when the Church of Scientology and other opportunists of all kinds recognized that the economic and political situation in the Balkan region was extremely fragile, and thus ripe for infiltration and control. But the Bulgravia idea was first mentioned several decades earlier, by charismatic con man and pathological liar, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. In his policy letter “The Responsibilities of Leaders” dated 1967, Hubbard writes about power: How to wield it, and how to transfer it to a successor. On the latter point, Hubbard believed it was desirable if a departing leader had somewhere to run, preferably somewhere where the authorities are easily bought. As Hubbard instructed:
When you move off a point of power, pay all your obligations on the nail, empower all your friends completely and move off with your pockets full of artillery, potential blackmail on every erstwhile rival, unlimited funds in your private account and the addresses of experienced assassins and go live in Bulgravia and bribe the police.
Nepotism, weapons, blackmail, political rivalries, assassins, and bundles of cash funnelled into personal bank accounts in the Mediterranean: to his credit, LRH was actually pretty accurate in his foretelling of the real life 1990s in “Bulgravia”. Perhaps his successors recognized this, and decided it was time to make the ramblings of their sci-fi messiah an earthly reality.
The top secret Bulgravia plot was uncovered in Greece in 1995. For more than a decade, the church had been operating out of the Athens offices of KEPHE (the Center of Applied Philosophy of Greece), a Church of Scientology front registered as a non-profit organization that emphatically denied any links to the church. But the center eventually began drawing some suspicions. Several parents noticed that their children were coming home with “glazed stares” and brainwashed minds.
One day, several angry parents stormed the organization’s offices, TV film crew in tow. The television station aired the footage, prompting an investigation by Greek authorities. In the three raids on KEPHE’s offices in 1995, Greek officials collected thousands of pages worth of classified information, as well as computers and 55 floppy disks. Among these documents were several pages, along with a very explicit map, describing Project Bulgravia. The raids basically spelled the end for Scientology in Greece. In 1997, following a lengthy inquiry, the government ordered that FEHSE be “liquidated and dissolved”. The verdict stated that the church was “an organization with totalitarian structures and trends, which essentially despises man”.
The Bulgravia documents revealed that the actual infiltration plan was already partially underway. The name Bulgravia or BUL_GR_A_VIA, was a portmanteau of Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, and Yugoslavia. It had apparently been decided that because Albania was probably the least developed state in the region, and the one emerging from the most oppressive dictatorship, it would be Scientology’s best target for the initial infiltration phase. Hence, Project A.
“Project A for Albania” was initiated by W.I.S.E., or the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises, a “non-profit religious organization that seeks to promote and foster the religious teachings of L. Ron Hubbard to businesses”. Gerhard Haag, a prominent German member of W.I.S.E., led the Scientologists’ charge into the most impoverished country in Europe. In an internal letter sent to other members of W.I.S.E. in 1992, Haag introduced Project A:
Albania… is a land with a newly-established democratic government, which opens up new horizons for us. We will have a noteworthy advantage in making investments and establishing production.
In reality, this was Scientology-speak for the total control of every aspect of society. Haag elaborated on the first stage of the plan by describing his company’s intention to construct a very visible “commercial center with hotel complex right in the middle of downtown Tirana”. W.I.S.E. allegedly established contacts with several Albanian ministers, who indicated that they were keen on collaboration. With the help of these unnamed officials, W.I.S.E. was able to set up a course at the University of Tirana instructing students in the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. And according to one internal Project A memo, the Scientologists had also managed to infiltrate public TV: “It has been promised on Albanian national television that the land will be led to new heights with the help of LRH Admin Tech. Now this must be delivered.”
Haag’s new construction and commerce firm, Albania Building and Trade, would “arrange the most needed buildings for various purposes: residence, commercial and production as well as others”. The internal memo ends with a very complete and almost comically sinister list of areas targeted for a Scientology takeover, including the banking and financial sector, government ministries, media, agricultural production, manufacturing exports, telecommunications and transportation:
“The new Albania Building and Trade Company will erect new buildings and engage in commerce in the area of construction material and will also start production units for construction material, i.e. in areas of marble, pipe, steel beams, metal fittings, concrete, lime and plaster.
It is possible to establish the first private bank of Albania. The only requirement consists of having a certain knowledge of banking, a license from the Bank of Albania (easily obtainable for WISE members), and 2 qualified bank officials for the bank’s board of officers.
Newspaper industry. At the moment, any number of small new newspapers are being published and it is further possible to build up either a large newspaper or magazine.
There are many possibilities in the area of agriculture. The country has an excellent climate. All sorts of vegetables, olives, grapes, nuts, oranges and tobacco grow there. There is also a high quality of milk production. The land has excellent sources of mineral water…
Extensive possibilities exist in the tourist industry. There are beautiful beaches, mountains and lakes. At the moment there are only a small number of hotels, most of which are sub-standard. It is an area which finds itself almost completely in Non-Existence.
The area of transportation is under-developed. In the entire land, one sees predominantly old cars, and of those only a small number. There is a major need for trucks, delivery vans, cars, helicopters and ships. For your information: Italy is only 70 kilometers away. It is also possible to start a pilot’s association.
Large investment will be necessary in the area of telecommunications. The country has only about 4,000 telephones. And an order will be extended at the start of 1993, probably for a mobile telephone net, such as D2.
The country has large reserves of potable water, but no extensive distribution system. Large investments will be made in this area in the next few years.
In the ministries we have seen Intel style 286 computers. In any case this is an area for the introduction of higher technology and corresponding software.
In the area of mining, many valuable resources exist: oil, gas, iron ore, chrome, nickel and cobalt, as well as coal.
We found many other possible areas of possible urgent activity. These areas are:
Furniture. One has beautiful wood, as well as the specialists which are necessary to do the work.
Factories are in existence for the manufacture of plastics, leather, textiles and crafts, as well as for carpet manufacture and articles out of brass and copper which could be exported.”
Thankfully, Project A withered after Haag destroyed the whole thing by attempting to involve prominent German officials in a failed attempt to lend the Scientologists’ infiltration of Albania a veneer of legitimacy. Haag ultimately had to flee Germany because of the various legal troubles he’d gotten himself into there, including hiring illegal workers from abroad and stalking former employees who wanted to leave the church.
But Project A really tanked for good during Albania’s descent into total chaos in 1997, following the collapse of several pyramid schemes in which Albanians lost around $1.2 billion. Scientology, ironically, was probably the biggest pyramid scheme of them all: one, big religious pyramid scheme designed to make you pay for each new level of enlightenment. Eventually you’d find out you’d been cheated, and that the entire religion was organized around an entity called Xenu, an intergalactic tyrant who nuked our human souls inside a Hawaiian volcano 95,000,000 years ago. Incidentally, it can cost up to $300,000 to attain this level of awareness, which is that of an Operating Thetan III (“OT III”), so you’re welcome.
These days, instead of Scientology-controlled states in Eastern Europe, Haag builds parking garages under his new name, Royce Savoy Monteverdi. Mr. Monteverdi’s most recent project was the construction of the largest parking garage in the world, a parking garage said to make “even the act of parking luxurious”. Those interested in innovative parking solutions can visit the garage in Dubai.
Meanwhile, in Yugoslavia, Scientologists saw a multitude of ways to get Project Bulgravia afloat as the country fell apart. A document from January 1994 confiscated during one of the Greek raids details the church’s efforts in this area, along with some editorializing about how totally stoked everybody in wartime Yugoslavia apparently was about Scientology:
“WE WERE INVITED TO A RELIGIOUS CEREMONY OF 5OO BOSNIAN MOSLEMS IN HAMBURG. WE TRANSLATED OUR FLIER IN BOSNIAN NOW AND PRINTED IT OFF FOR THEM. THEY ARE FLIPPED OUT…
A WHOLE GROUP OF BOSNIANS THEN CAME IN THAT HAD JUST GOTTEN OUT OF THE COUNTRY. THEY WERE AROUND 20 YEARS OLD AND TOOK EVERYTHING AND WILL START DISTRIBUTING TO THEIR FRIENDS AS WELL AS COME BY EVERY DAY AND HELP. ALSO WE GOT THE LINES IN NOW TO THE CAMPS IN HAMBURG WHERE THE RAPE VICTIMS OF THE BOSNIAN WOMEN ARE LIVING.
THE ”MUFTI” FOR CROATIA, BOSNIA, HERZEGOVINA AND SLOVANIA WAS MET WITH. ”MUFTI’ IS ABOVE ” IMMAM” AND YOU COULD SAY HE IS SOMEWHAT LIKE AN ARCHBISHOP. HE WAS FULLY CLOSED ON OUR ACTIONS AND PROVIDED US WITH ALL HIS COMM LINES IN THE AREA AND ARRANGED FOR FURTHER MEETINGS. HE SAID OUR SOLUTION IS THE ONLY (UNDERLINED) SOLUTION: ALL PEOPLE, ALL RACES AND ALL RELIGIONS UNITE TO END.
HE ALSO ARRANGED THAT WE COULD FILM IN THE ACTUAL REFUGEE CAMPS. NOTE NO TV CREW HAS HAD THE PERMISSION TO DO THIS; HE GAVE IT ONLY TO US. PICTURES WERE TAKEN, AND FILM, AND MANY SURVIVORS WERE INTERVIEWED IN THE REFUGEE CAMPS. IT IS SHOCKING WE NOW HAVE DETAILED STORIES AS WELL AS PICTURES.
DR. MARKO VESELICA, PRESIDENT OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF CROATIA AND SLOVANIA VESELICA WAS BRIEFED AND COMPLETELY GOT IT ON THE PSYCHS. HAD A MAJOR COGNITION ON HOW THIS TIES TOGETHER AND GRABBED OUR FLIER. HE HAD IT IMMEDIATELY TRANSFERRED TO THE PRESIDENT OF BOSNIA IN SARAJEVO. HE HAS MANY DATA AND WE ARE GETTING DOCUMENTS FROM HIM ON WHAT DRUGS THE SERBISH SOLDIERS ARE ON…
…THE MUFTI ALSO ARRANGED FOR A MEETING WITH THE AMBASSADOR FOR BOSNIA IN CROATIA. SHE IS IN TOTAL OVERWHELM. SHE HAD A HEART ATTACK IN THE EMBASSY WHILE OUR TEAM WAS THERE…
THE EX-MINISTERIAL PRESIDENT OF CROATIA, MR. SESELICA WHO HAD BEEN TAKEN OUT BY THE SERBS WAS CONTACTED. HE NOW WORKS FOR THE U.N. HE IS A PROFESSOR AND RUNS THE VICTIMOLOGY UNIT IN THE UNITED NATIONS THAT HAS THE STORIES OF ALL THE VICTIMS. HE KNEW TONS OF DATA ON THE PSYCH ATROCITIES BUT HAD NOT CONNECTED IT UP TO ALL THE NAZI-PSYCHIATRY AND PSYCHS BEING THE CAUSE. HE GOT IT NOW.”
Two facts emerge from this garbage: 1) As in Albania, the Scientologists wanted to get every leader, whether political or religious, on board with their plan: Unification of all Balkan Earthlings under Scientology (many have pointed out that the church explicitly goes after “influencers” or successful persons to exploit the value of “social proof”); 2) The Scientologists think psychiatry (or “Nazi-psychiatry”) was the cause of the wars that broke up Yugoslavia. Did you miss that bit? Let’s consult a 1993 issue of Scientology’s esteemed Freedom Magazine, which does “investigative reporting in the public interest”.
The issue’s cover story is titled “Psychiatric Genocide: How the barbarities of ethnic cleansing were spawned by psychiatry”, and basically goes on to explain that the wars in Bosnia and Croatia happened because two individuals involved were psychiatrists by profession, namely Radovan Karadzic and Jovan Raskovic. According to the article, these men “whipped the Serbs into a frenzy” with their psychiatric mindfuckery, which made everybody want to go to war with each other. Anyone the least bit familiar with the Church of Scientology knows that they despise “psychiatry”, a term they employ quite loosely.
In the end, the unrest in Albania and the ongoing violence in Yugoslavia hindered the germination of the Bulgravia project. Or, as was more likely the case, it was just far too insane an idea to succeed, ever. But what might have been different today, if Xenu and psychiatry hadn’t convened to prevent the creation of the state of Bulgravia? Would it have been so bad, swapping the post-Hoxha Albanian communist party for cultists? Both have what the Greek government called “totalitarian tendencies”: secret police, mass propaganda, gulags, disconnection from escaped family members. The answer is, Scientology should never, ever be permitted to exert control over any strip of land. Bulgravia would have been a terrible place, where the church’s mainstays of mind control and servitude would have merged with a dangerous level of political power. And Scientology doesn’t even need a territory to control, it’s already a gulag for the mind.
Áron Birtalan (http://aronbirtalan.tumblr.com/), an artist based in Budapest, created both the Bulgravian flag shown above and the following video: