Ex-Scientologist story #195, Staffers live in “condition of poverty.” Witness to abuse.

From the St. Petersburg Times article, “SP Profiles” by Robert Farley, June, 25, 2006.

Karen Pressley of Atlanta and her then-husband Peter Schless – a musician and composer who wrote the hit song On the Wings of Love – became Scientologists and later joined staff. Pressley mostly worked for the church’s international organization in Los Angeles, but she spent six months in Clearwater. She said she designed the new uniforms still worn by staffers today.

Pressley left Scientology in 1998 and refused to come back for sec checks. She has publicly denounced “substandard” child care at church facilities around the world and criticized the church for the “condition of poverty” that staffers lived in. After she left the church, her husband “faithfully applied the rule (of disconnection),” she said.

She calls the suppressive person declare “a form of psychological terrorism. It obliterates families. … People who leave are afraid to talk about Scientology.”

To read the full story go here: http://www.sptimes.com/2006/06/25/Tampabay/SP_profiles.shtml

Another story, this one from the Christian Index, August 4, 2005.

. . .  At the time the organization was growing so rapidly that it could not house all employees at the compound so it purchased a nearby apartment complex. That’s where they housed overflow staff, and that is where they would transport us to work in the morning and back at night. Security fences were erected around the property and 24-hour guards patrolled the grounds – to protect us from intruders we were told, but it was really to prevent us from leaving.”

There was never any privacy. Staff had to assemble for muster, military style, in the morning to be sure everyone was present. All telephone calls were monitored and no one left the compound without a security escort.

Then occurred what she refers to as her Damascus Road experience. In July 1998 she came to “a place of complete brokenness” in her life and knew she could not continue in the cult – even if it meant losing her husband, which was the only reason she returned on those two previous escapes.

. . . People don’t understand how controlling Scientology is,” she says. “About 800 people work in the international headquarters and they give their entire life to the organization. We would work from 8 a.m. to midnight and were forbidden from having children because it would distract from our mission. Only customers, such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta and others who were paying for the instruction, were allowed to have children.

“But that’s part of the attraction of joining as a staff – you could receive your instruction for free, and that is very attractive. But once when I considered leaving I discovered they would charge me $225,000 for the services (meals, housing, instruction) I had been provided in four years as a fulltime staff member. There was no way I could erase that debt.”

In the end she found what she was looking for and it didn’t involve L. Ron Hubbard or the little evil empire he founded.

Here she tells Mark Bunker about the pressure she was under to get high-profile actors into Scientology:

Karen also saw some savage behavior by David Miscavige:  “I’ve seen [David Miscavige] slam people against a wall, by the neck, by the shoulders. … Ray Mithoff, who was the Snr C/S International (his office was across from mine when I was the International Public Relations Officer; we were in the Del Sol Building) … was constantly under the gun with David Miscavige.  And I was present once when he threw Ray Mithoff against the wall, and took his shirt and threw him up like this [gestures upward], and told him he was an SP and a piece of shit. And made him get on his hands and knees and just humiliated him.  And right after that, Ray Mithoff was sleeping in a tent on a hillside and having to pee outdoors with no toilet facilities.  And cleaning floors with toothbrushes. … Miscavige used every psychological tactic, physical abuse, verbal abuse, to dehumanize him.”

To here this interview go here:  http://vimeo.com/13073239

Published in: on June 22, 2011 at 6:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ex-Scientologist story #194, Birgitta Dagnell, DSA Europe fights pidgeons for breakfast.

The Commodore of his own bathtub navy.

Birgitta Harrington nee Dagnell became a Scientologist in 1971, she joined staff in 1979 and was then promoted to the Guardians Office in Sweden.  She became aware of their secret ops including the infamous, “Snow White,” caper.  Despite being a loyal member who dedicated her life to Scientology she was swept up in the mass hysteria that shook Scientology in 1982.  Her loyalty counted for nothing.

 In February I was called to come over to Flag Operations Liaison Officer in Denmark for a briefing. I went over and met with the person in charge, Allan Hubbert from Special Unit in Los Angeles. He smiled and told me nicely that I had to do a little “spring cleaning programme” called DPF (Deck Project Force). I had never heard about it, but he showed me a Flag Order written by Lafayette Ron Hubbard (LRH). I was told that all remaining staff from the GO’s in Europe should show up on the DPF. The reason was that we were the cause of why the churches didn’t expand and that we were enemies of the Church. The GO’s were to be closed down and be replaced by “Department of Special Affairs”. Only very clean, especially chosen, non-Guardian staff should be appointed to this Department. We, the enemies and traitors would be put onto the DPF as rehabilitation..

I found that I had to start on the DPF right away. There was no time to go back home to change clothes, bring more clothes or even to make a phone call to my husband and children. In order to make phone calls one had to write a dispatch, asking for permission and telling the purpose of the call and so on. It took me around one month to get permission for my first call home. So there I was in my black long trousers, black jumper and my mink coat. I learned to use my mink coat as my pillow as well. I had to wear those clothes for more than one month. I was one of the first in the place, of the 82 of us who soon were collected from all over Europe. 

. . . The “rehabilitation” consisted of lots of work, mainly cleaning, and started at 8 AM with roll-call. We had to say “Ay Sir” when called upon or spoken to. We were not permitted to talk to people outside the DPF and later on not to DPF members from other countries. In that way we became isolated. The first night we were only 2 people in a normal 2-bed room. The next night and the following, there were 18 people in it. We happened to get breakfast sometimes, but that was not usual. I remember one morning when the 82 of us got 16 slices of bread to share and one man took 6 of them. It was near civil war that got started. The meals were eaten in a cellar where we shared the space with lots of pigeons. It was very dirty, filled with bird shit. On one occasion I had to fight with the pigeons to get my meal.
. . . One of us was assigned to paint the reception area at FOLO and 3 others of us did the preparatory work. The girl who did the painting thought she did quite a nice job and it looked nice and clean when she had finished painting. But after 5 days the paint hadn’t dried and we found out that the paint had been mixed without the drying agent in it. The girl had to scrape the whole reception of this wet paint, for which she was publicly declared an SP, and after that she left Scientology. . .
This is the wonderful world of Scientology.  To read the rest of the story, which makes interesting, if grim, reading go here:

Published in: on June 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm  Comments (2)  

Ex-Scientologist story #193, Censorship on the ship.

The degree of control that Hubbard exercised over his followers was as close to total as he could make it, even letters were examined.  Yet Scientologists talk about “Freedom.”  And of course, “think for yourself.”  This is from the Clearwater Hearings.

Affidavit of Stan Herron

I, Stan Herron, reside with my wife, Annette Herron, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

1.  I was involved with the Church of Scientology from the summer of 1972 through 1978.

2.  During the time I was a member of the Church in Las Vegas, Nevada and on board L. Ron Hubbard’s the leader of Scientology, ship the “Apollo”, I paid more than $13,000 to Scientology.

3.  I paid this money to L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology after being told by Church members, and reading in L. Ron Hubbard’s books, representations concerning L. Ron Hubbard’s background and the benefits of Scientology.  Some of the benefits I was promised in Scientology included a higher I.Q., faster reaction time, total recall, complete physical health and perfect thinking.

4.  I was told L. Ron Hubbard researched, discovered and developed miracle cures for illnesses using the technology of Scientology.  I was told L. Ron Hubbard was a nuclear physicist and had graduated from the finest institutions in the United States, Princeton University and George Washington University.  I was also told that L. Ron Hubbard was one of the most decorated heroes of World War II, was a world traveler and discoverer of far off cultures, and was able to heal himself after being “crippled and blinded” from wounds received in battle in World War II.

5.  While in Scientology, I joined a force known as the “Sea Org”.  The Sea Org worked and carried out Hubbard’s orders from aboard the ship Apollo.  While on board Hubbard’s ship, the Apollo, I was trained as a finance banking officer for the organization.  As the finance banking officer I was familiar with the gross income of the Scientology Orgs.  Orgs were required to file weekly reports to Church Headquarters and L. Ron Hubbard.  At one point I was responsible for insuring at least 10% of funds from a particular Scientology Or was sent Hubbard.

6.  One primary task I had while on board the Apollo, concerned accompanying George Beasley, the head “Flag” finance banking officer as a courier for L. Ron Hubbard, of huge sums of cash in bank wrapped bundles and carried in a brief case to the ship from banks on shore.  George Beasley told me that Hubbard had accounts in Switzerland and Africa.  He told me the money was from funds sent to the Operation Transport Corporation and then subsequently transferred to numbered accounts in Switzerland and Africa.

7.  Conditions on board the ship were extremely harsh.  Sleeping quarters were dark, damp and crowded.  Only 30 second showers were allowed.  Worst of all, if any person disobeyed any of Hubbard’s orders he was placed in the “RPF” (Rehabilitation Project Force).  The Rehabilitation Project Force was Hubbard’s internal prison for those Scientologists who disobeyed his orders.

8.  All mail to and from the ship was censored for, I was told, “ship security.”  During this time I received, only a couple of the letters my wife sent to me.  She received only one of about six I sent her.  Hubbard ordered the censoring to prevent Scientologists from writing and exposing facts about L. Ron Hubbard’s broken arm, colds, sicknesses, etc. is what I believe.

Signed under the pains and penalties of perjury this 27th day of April 1982.

[Signed] Stan Herron

This can be found at: http://www.american-buddha.com/cia.testimonyrondewolfclearwater.exh5.htm

Published in: on June 22, 2011 at 10:54 am  Comments (1)  

Ex-Scientologist story #192, Free hepatitis with courses.

The following is a statement entered in as evidence during the 1982 Clearwater Hearings.  It mentions one of the few things that anyone has ever gotten from Scientology, in this case it was diseases.

Affidavit of Steven Garritano

1.  My introduction to Scientology was in January of 1977 when the following representations were made to me concerning the benefits of “auditing” and Scientology.  These representations were that auditing was scientifically guaranteed to confer the following benefits:

a.  raise my I.Q.;

b.  cure diseases and mental illness;

c.  solve drug problems and other personal problems;

d.  stabilize and promote familial harmony and unity;

3.  improve study habits and college grades;

f.  improve and perfect my piano skills; and

g.  improve my chess skills.

2.  Many false representations were made concerning the cult’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, including the following:

a.  Hubbard was a war hero and had cured himself of war wounds and blindness;

b.  Hubbard was a nuclear physicist and a graduate of George Washington University;

c.  Hubbard was a philosopher.

3.  Based on the above representations I joined the Church of Scientology.  After 2-1/2 year experience as a Scientology I eventually discovered that the above representations were false and made for the single purpose of enticing people to purchase auditing and courses, and/or join staff.

4.  In early 1979 I was at Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida.  I contracted an illness which was later diagnoses to be hepatitis.  I received an injection (hypodermic needle) from a Scientologist dressed in a white uniform, which I was told was a “hepatitis vaccine”.  To my knowledge, this individual was not a medical doctor.

5.  I was later diagnosed by my father, Dr. Garritano and the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston to have suffered from hepatitis, mononucleosis and strept throat.

6.  While in Clearwater I observed the living conditions of staff members to be unsanitary.  On one occasion I entered a small room which was constructed to facilitate one occupant, inhabited by a minimum of eight people.  These individuals slept in 2 triple bunks and 2 single beds.

7.  The conditions for those individuals imprisoned in the Rehabilitation Project Force (R.P.F.) were unhealthy and unsanitary.  These individuals were forced to live and sleep in the garage.

8.  Many of the buildings and living quarters I observed were bug infested, and unsuitable for living.”

Signed under the pains and penalties of perjury,

[Signed 5/5/82]

Steven Garritano

Published in: on June 22, 2011 at 10:34 am  Leave a Comment