The Ramana Dienes-Browning story.
While big-name star Tom Cruise partied and danced with wild abandon in one of the lounges aboard the Scientology ship Freewinds, below decks there was other activity going on. Activities that are not at all party related. Besides catering to the whims of super-stars and Scientologists who came aboard for upper level courses there was the mundane running of the ship; there were rooms to clean, food to prepare, laundry to wash, engines to keep running and bilges to clean. This was more intense than on any ordinary cruise ship; being Scientologists they had to deal with punishments for “ethics” violations; not to mention the many upsets from unhappy members that needed to be dealt with or maybe even sort out somebody’s “disconnection.” There could also be unpleasant “flaps” for financial reasons; not everyone gets thrilled at the idea of coming into port owing ten’s of thousands of dollars to Scientology for books or services they didn’t know they needed. The friction caused by getting a sizeable number of Scientologists together in one place; worse yet because they were on a ship and couldn’t duck out a back door, was enormous. The stress produced from high-pressure sales is something nobody in their right mind would want; anger and tears must have been frequent results of this treatment.
Age is no bar to hard work and responsibly and the frequent punishments in Scientology. It is a scandal on shore the way Scientologists treat their children; at sea without any fear of laws Scientology can have its way with their followers with virtual impunity. Mere teenagers are worked and treated like slaves.
Here is what the “Village Voice Blog” had to say, excerpts are taken from this story:
Scientology Cruise Ship as Hellhole: The
Ramana Dienes-Browning Story
I asked Ramana what EPF training was like. “It’s like training for the Army, but you don’t get to use guns. You run everywhere. You do heavy labor — I remember breaking through walls with sledgehammers, and the person who runs it is like an Army sergeant,” she says.
“It took me about three months to do the EPF. I was pretty homesick, but I was caught up in the excitement of the adventure I was on. Just before I turned 16, I completed it and was flown to the ship,” Ramana says.
She was assigned to the Commodore’s Messengers Organization (CMO) because it was the division that had recruited her. The CMO had been created when Hubbard was plying the Mediterranean in 1969 and assembled a group of young sailors to carry his dispatches and generally run errands for him. Decades later, it was now one of the more powerful Sea Org divisions, and oversaw services on the ship, making sure church members paying those high prices were pleased with their experience. . .
Ramana says that her husband was the ship’s “LRH Host,” a member of the CMO who made sure the highest level of services were being delivered to guests of the ship. His “statistics” declined at some point, and she says it could have been from a number of different causes — perhaps fewer church members had decided to fork out for the expensive ship packages and attendance was lower. She can’t really be sure. But for whatever reason, her husband’s statistics were down, and that meant he had to be interrogated by ethics officers.
During such interrogations, questioners assume that a church member is hiding dark, sinister problems from Scientology, and so the interview subject is put on the spot about his or her most personal experiences. As many ex-Scientologists have told me, ethics officers seemed most interested in their sexual practices, and, while they were being monitored on the e-meter, they were asked to confess to sexual aberrations.
When her husband was interrogated, Ramana says, he admitted that he’d been masturbating.
“It’s hard to talk about it, but it’s important for me to tell this because it happens in the Sea Org,” Raman told me as she explained what happened next.
“He was masturbating because I wasn’t satisfying him. So I was hauled in before six or seven Sea Org members and humiliated because I wasn’t satisfying him,” she said.
“When your stats are down, nothing is private. The subject of sexual aberrations is very fascinating to Scientology auditors, when you’re not producing as much as you’re supposed to be. So when you get investigated you get put on the meter and any kind of sexual activity will be brought up.”
Ramana says when she was brought into the room with half a dozen Sea Org members, the first thing said to her was by her superior, the Commanding Officer of the CMO, a woman named Pilar:
“She said, ‘You little fucking bitch.’ She proceeded to tell me that he was found to be masturbating, and that he was touching me but I wasn’t touching him back, and that I was forcing him to masturbate because I wasn’t doing it for him. That I was evil, and how could I do that to him.”
Her husband was also in the room, she says. “He was just numb. We didn’t talk about it between ourselves. Pilar assigned me to Lower Conditions, and she sent me on my way. I can’t remember if I was sent to the engine room, but I think I was.”
Ramana believes that she was assigned the ethical condition of “Treason,” which is below “Enemy” but above “Confusion” on Hubbard’s scale.
Soon afterwards, her husband was sent away from the ship for training. “We probably didn’t see each other for a year. Later on, our relationship broke down and we got divorced,” she says. They were married at the end of 1995, and split up at the end of 1998, she remembers. . .
The Rehabilitation Project Force is Scientology’s punitive detail for members who have fallen out of favor. (The church insists that the RPF is voluntary and members go there for spiritual rejuvenation. Every ex-Scientologist I’ve talked to describes the RPF as anything but voluntary, a hellish sentence of hard labor and humiliation.) Two women had been assigned to the RPF on the ship before she arrived, Ramana remembers, and a third woman was added later. “They were there almost the whole time I was on the ship — five years,” she says. After a suicide attempt, the third woman was moved to a more standard RPF facility in either Los Angeles or Clearwater, Ramana recalls.
“They were heavily guarded. It was completely confidential that there was an RPF on the ship. I didn’t have any conversations with these women — you aren’t supposed to talk to people on the RPF — but I can’t imagine that they were happy to be on the ship,” she says. . .
[After a failed attempt at leaving she was thrown into the engine room in an attempt to break her down for good.] “It was intensely arduous work, cleaning inside the engines. You’d get covered in engine oil, which you’d have to clean off with diesel, and then you’d get that off with a special soap. So you’d stink of diesel all the time. Anyone who stunk of diesel, you’d know they’d been in trouble. So it was kind of a stigma of stinking like diesel,” Ramana says.
“A lot of the work I did was in very small, confined spaces. It was quite scary. There was a fear of getting stuck under the deck plates or in the piping. So I struggled with that. And I worked by myself most of the time. I found that quite depressing. You’re working in really hard conditions, you’re confined in claustrophobic conditions, and you didn’t know when it would end. It was an open-ended punishment, and the only way it would end was if you were reformed. That’s why I say these were mind-control techniques.”
I asked her if she wore special clothing or equipment in that kind of environment.
“We just wore normal cotton shorts and overalls,” she says. “I was working one time in a very small pipe, having to clean the rust out from the inside. It was pitch black and I had a small lamp. I could hardly move. I got industrial paint chips in my eyes, and had to move incrementally to get out” before she could wash out her eyes.
Eventually she got off the ship and out of Scientology, thank God. For the rest of the story go here:
For the related story of Valeska Guider Paris go here: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/11/valeska_paris_scientology_freewinds.php
Or here for the Daily Mail version of the above story. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2068284/Valeska-Paris-claims-Church-Scientology-imprisoned-cruise-ship-12-years.html
For another related story of Don Jason, a top-ranked Scientologist who used a home made roller pin to help him escape from the Freewinds, https://androvillans.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/ex-scientologist-story-238-don-jason-jumps-ship/
Scientology were fools for buying this ship in the first place as naval architect Lawrence Woodcraft tells. The ship was filled with blue asbestos, the most lethal variety. Woodcraft suggested sinking it in deep water, but Bitty Miscavige and the tech of L. Ron Hubbard thought otherwise. The ship should be renamed as the “Mesothelioma.” For this story go here: https://androvillans.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/ex-scientologist-story-139-asbestos-death-ship-ots-not-to-worry/