What Happened to the Sea Org, Chapter Six
Interviewer: Welcome back to our interview with Nomad, an actual former Sea Org member who held ranks at the top of Scientology's management structure, or international management, all the way down to positions in a service level organization or Church over a 35 year period. How are you today?
Nomad: Good - thanks.
Interviewer: Today the topic is Human Trafficking in the Church of Scientology. Correct?
Interviewer: Isn't that a rather heavy term to use in reference to a Church?
Nomad: It is. Unfortunately - it is the truth.
Interviewer: In our last interview we left off around 1989. Is this where we pick up your story from?
Nomad: Yes. In and around that time, and I am keeping the dates somewhat ambiguous right now... I was assigned to the RPF - Rehabilitation Project Force. The RPF - was an idea that Mr Hubbard had to provide a rapid lube and clean - you know - quick pit stop - catch your breath as a Sea Org member, do a quick sec check or two and then dive back into the fray again as a Sea Org member. In the early 80s, I did a stint on the RPF. It took me a total of about five weeks to finish the program - start to finish. Compare that to later in the 1980s when David Miscavige and his people gives it a whole new spin, and it is taking an average (no less in most cases) of two years, and for many many people - it takes 4, 5 and more years. Realize, in that time period you are separated from your family and kids - COMPLETELY. You do not live with your spouse. You have no rights to walk down a street, go to a store, make a phone call freely. You are under a supervised group, working in the lower realms of the property. At that time we worked in the lowest corridors of what used to be a hospital. A complex of tunnels, with pipes and cages where they used to keep the cadavers and such. It is a gross place. Yet we worked there, studied, mustered and spent much of our time in this hole. I personally spent a close to two years there - but I knew people who were there 4 to 6 years.
Interviewer: And this was where?
Nomad: Los Angeles - right in Hollywood. Happening right under the noses of our government and agencies who are supposed to make sure that human trafficking isn't happening. But that's the sick part of this story and I say this with no hyperbole. While the Church will show you all manner of documents and waivers that Sea Org members sign before doing this program - you must realize that one is under serious mental and traumatic pressure when this is done. Normally, an RPF assignment follows a period of extrication and humiliation from within the group. One is pronounced guilty of crimes, whether true or not (and often these claims are so untrue that it is laughable), and then once one's name is dragged through the proverbial mud - one is told he or she has been assigned to do the RPF. That alone is shocking because most people know this means captivity, seclusion, privation, for years. Naturally - Church authorities will tell you that the program doesn't take years... but the truth is that it does.
Interviewer: You say privation - can you specify that a bit more.
Nomad: Consider this. You have a job, you have a wife, two kids, and you go home at night. In the normal world outside of the Sea Org, you also have money, vacations, weekends off and the right to move or go where you want to. Sea Org life is already marginalized by the regimented and communal life style that Sea Org members engage. Imagine one day you are told that you have committed gross crimes and negligence, and by order of some authority (and it can come from different directions - believe me), you are under investigation. They call it a Committee of Evidence - but in truth - I have witnessed so few of these that are actually done the way they are supposed to be engaged. A Comm Ev is, like any court of law, supposed to establish TRUTH and guilt based on facts which are beyond reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, Committee's of Evidence are called or ordered by the very authorities that also direct or mandate your daily work. So in fact, you are never given pure justice because the people demanding the Committee of Evidence, are also the people who are over you. It is like having the Judge in a Court as your boss and your executioner at the same time. So naturally - justice goes out the window and in a state of shock, people are presented with the results, which usually sends them further down the chute, and then they are marched over to the RPF. Those waivers are signed under that kind of stress, trauma and duress - and one also knows, as in my case, that if you do not accept the RPF - you are automatically given the alternate route which is to leave the Sea Org. It is one or the other - period. If you have a spouse or children - as I did - you are FORCED into a state of slavish indignity - you are incarcerated - watched. You have no right to communite directly to ANYONE - not even family - and can only usually send letters (which are read and censored first) or allowed to make calls if necessary and if approved - but only with someone else standing by. You make about $11 a week in pay which allows you to buy practically nothing. You have no luxuries. You cannot go buy a coffee. You cannot walk down the street alone. You are confined to a space that is separate from all other Sea Org members and engage the most menial tasks possible. Is this clear? We are talking about human trafficking - forced labor - slavish conditions - denial - degradation.
Interviewer: But you said that in the early 1980s the program used to take weeks to do? What happened?
Nomad: Someone in the David Miscavige camp decided to "standardize it" or "make it better". Not sure what the exact PR story was - but the truth is that ANY sane person would never compel people to do that program, and no sane person would want to do it themselves. So that leads one to the obvious conclusion that the person who changed the RPF to a program that would take years to do, in reality, was in fact insane - and that is correct. It is oppressive, dehumanizing and a violation of EVERY human right that can be found to exist.
Interviewer: And this exists at all Sea Org bases?
Nomad: Yes. Conditions may vary slightly - location to location - but the basic regimen is the same. The conditions ARE essentially the same.
Interviewer: So you finally completed this program?
Nomad: (smiles). Well ... I consider it more like I finished my sentence or term of confinement, and I said all the right words... smiled a lot... and eventually I literally hammered my way out of there because I couldn't handle another day in the place. It's literally impossible to really complete it because the conditions of graduation are ridiculous - total "reformation" - whatever that is supposed to mean. All of one's evil intentions vanquished - all of one's wrong doings and sins gone - and a whole new persona that is without a taint that could commit wrong again. I mean honestly - the criteria is ridiculous. I'd like to say that people graduate, but I think it's a mind job because it isn't what L Ron Hubbard said so the concept of the RPF has changed from a quick lube and wax to a full-scale shakedown of a person - which I guess really comes down to a sort of brain wash.
Interviewer: What happens to others who do not get out?
Nomad: Sadly, I knew very good people back then who had been on the RPF for upwards of six years. It was horrible. I personally set out on a campaign to get them off the RPF, one way or another, as I viewed it as a violation of their rights. It was sick. If you don't get yourself off the RPF, either out the back door or successfully graduate it, then you can sit there for years. If you have family - you will not live with your wife or watch your kids grow up for those years. It's a very pathetic scene.
Interviewer: How is this justifiable in the eyes of Church leaders?
Nomad: Sea Org members are very dedicated people, very good people - and I mean that in the fullest sense. They believe in what they are doing and their commitment to expanding Scientology is ultimate - a billion year contract as you know. Throw into that mix a dictator like Miscavige, who props himself up on a stage and makes himself a god-figure in the eyes of all Sea Org members, and then make sure that those below him execute his mandates, and you have a compelled, driven, intimidated group of people who WANT to believe it's right - even when the atrocities are severe. You have a lot on the line as a Sea Org member when you are told that you are now assigned to the RPF. If you resist, you have one choice, to leave. If you have friends and family, spouses and kids - you throw it all away. You are treated like scum- and as every Sea Org member knows - ANYONE who leaves the Sea Org "is a degraded being", a propaganda line that is used viciously to remind one and all that the best place to stay is inside the camp because if you go out there, then you're "degraded" and all hell will fall on you. It's goofy. It's so anti-religious, so anti-Scientology that by it's very nature it degrades the subject. Can you imagine calling your non-Scientology family and explaining to them that you are living in a degraded encampment, that you won't be seeing your wife and child for a couple years, won't be able to call them regularly or come out for Christmas - and that you're running around wearing blue overalls and calling every man and woman outside the RPF "Sir" - because you don't rate being a normal human being? Imagine if that word got out?
Interviewer: I am shocked.
Nomad: You should be. This is going on in America. It's going on in Australia, Europe, the UK and South Africa and possibly other locations where Sea Org bases exist.
Interviewer: What should be done about this matter?
Nomad: The current Church hierarchy, as it exists under David Miscavige, will NEVER change this. He believes that he is above the law. He thinks that he can PR his way around everything, cover up, and tricky-dicky his way past the legal hoo-hah. They will, because of the PR and legal hassles that this label of human trafficking brings with it, try to cover it up. They might even sugar up the whole show with the RPF, take everyone off of it for now and give it a whole face lift. Believe me - if David Miscavige thinks that this one issue could call down the thunder on him and his camp - he'd take every RPFer off and wipe the hallways clean until the searchlights disappeared. But that would be temporary and only so that if there were ever a raid into the RPF - authorities could never document the truth. It is my contention that on this particular count, that authorities should present documentation about the inhumane conditions of the RPF(of which many can endorse) to Church authorities and demand that these points be handled - on the simple basis that NO church is above the law or above human rights. Failing that, and if the Church management tries to make nothing of it or to hide under a mantle of religiousity, which it often does, then I believe then that authorities are justified in marching into the Sea Org bases and demanding to see and interview RPF members. People who have not been tampered with or coached on what to say. They should photograph the conditions, they should get testimonials. They shouldn't listen to the Church authorities. They will lie and distort and diffuse the truth as much as necessary to "protect" the Church. Unless we hold that administration ACCOUNTABLE for the human rights they are SUPPOSED to enforce, unless David Miscavige is called to accountability for HIS orders and the orders of HIS people - then human rights violations will continue to be the order of the day in the name of "Scientology" which is the biggest bastardization you can imagine - as the RPF - as we see it in the last 20 years is NOT the Church of Scientology or Scientology. It is the perversion of a handful of people being forced on the many.
Interviewer: Are you suggesting a raid on Scientology as a Church?
Nomad: No - I am suggesting a focused, laser-price crack down on human trafficking, the RPF - one which will force the Church management to be accountable for treating Sea Org members like slaves and animals, one that will FORCE them to reverse their insane and inhumane policies that have morphed a simple correctional program by LRH, into something that is quite monstrous and quite damaging. This is not about Scientology, it is not about religion - those aspects are outside the jurisdiction of any government and NO government agency can or should be allowed to attack a church. But in the matter of these human rights violations - we are talking about the LAW. And NO group, no government and NO religion is above the law. David Miscavige included. But for christ sake, even the Pope had to make his people accountable, within their own ranks, for ethical misbehavior of a few who sexually violated people under their trust. The Catholic church was forced to accountability and they did it with some grace and humility and regained back the trust of the people. The same has to happen here. Otherwise it is a matter of time before this explodes within the Church itself and meanwhile, good people's lives are being ruined. I believe it is our responsibility, those of us that have lived it and know about it, to help those who are not in a position to fight back.
Interviewer: Will people in the RPF speak up or will they be afraid to tell the truth?
Nomad: If authorities asked them for testimony - MOST of them would lie, out of sheer fear or terror that if they told the truth - they would be expelled from Scientology, cut off from their friends, family and Church. Possibly a handful would speak the truth. But the point here is that such an act would bring the walls down. It would bury the RPF as we know it today. Church management would have to reverse their perverse policies and regimens and hopefully, start to regard Sea Org members with respect and due regard for their rights as people and as human beings. I for one, am NOT trying to break Scientology. I think Scientology is valuable and as a philosophical science and it's religious spin, it is absolutely invaluable. But the RPF, as it is now, and as it has been administered since the late 1980s, is a destructive tool of oppression. It needs to be abolished as such and restored to what LRH intended, or if it cannot be administered sanely, it should be removed as a Jurassic system which is out-dated and stands in violation of basic human rights. The Sea Org has plenty of technology and tools at hand with which to correct its staff members - and if they cannot fall back on an oppressive slave force - then their leaders will either have to start to learn how to lead, or step off the throne and let people take the helm who can lead men and women without having to destroy them at the same time.
Interviewer: Thank you Nomad. Let's hope that this matter does see the light of day.
Nomad: Indeed - and you're welcome.
Written by Outside the Box