In this blog we have mentioned the Scientology ship, “Freewinds,’ a number of times. RPF members have been kept on it for years on end making it a slave ship. It is also a death ship due to the blue asbestos that was only removed only in the past few years. Exposure to asbestos, especially the blue asbestos, is the main cause of mesothelioma. This will come back to haunt former crew members at some point if it has not done so already. Was a competent and through job done in removing the deadly asbestos? I wouldn’t bet on it when it comes to Scientology and the Sea Org.
This ship is very important to Scientology as it is where the delivery of certain parts of the OT series takes place. In theory those who take the upper level courses have no fear of cancer; they are “at cause” over such trivial matters. In practice though OTs die all the time, sometimes young, from cancer.
Disease is part of this story for engineer Bill Straass was unfortunate enough to contract AIDS from a blood transfusion and as the symptoms became obvious he began to suffer. His wife was also on the ship with him. One would suppose that he would have been rushed to the nearest hospital for treatment. After all, he was in the Sea Org for over 20 years and was a competent hand in the engine room. If you think that well, you don’t know Scientology. Nope, they made this couple’s life a misery until they ran off. Then they came and got money from him!!! Bill says this:
I was in the SO for 23 years, first at FSO and then as the Mechanics Chief Freewinds. I received a bad blood transfusion in 1989 when the ship was in Curacao. This was not spotted until 13 years later in 2002, as the fatigue got worse and worse. By that point, I was more than half dead and was finally diagnosed with AIDS.
Although they knew what was happening, ship personnel did not inform me of the situation nor the reason behind my rapidly declining health. I was simply called up to the Medical Liaison office with the Captain and Chief Officer there, and told that I was going for further testing to see Dr Denk in LA. To make matters worse, Captain Napier told me not to tell my wife that I was going because “You know how women can be about things like this.” I thought WTF? I’m going to go to my cabin now and pack in front of her and then disappear in the morning without telling her? I objected and the Captain said “OK, tell her.”
So, in May, 2002 I arrived in LA to see Dr Gene Denk, “for further testing.” When I walked into his office he took one look at me and a shadow passed by his face. “They didn’t tell you, did they?” he asked.
“Tell me what?” was my reply.
Dr Denk told me I needed to go to the AIDS clinic in LA. However, the Freewinds sent me instead to a chiropractor in Sacramento who was not even a licensed medical doctor. The is the equivalent of being sentenced to death.This chiropractor advised me not to take the standard medical treatment as it was “worse than HIV.”
For the next 6 months, even while I was dying, my wife was held prisoner on the ship. She was told by Captain Mike Napier that I “would be dead soon” so she should just end cycle on me. She petitioned ED INT for a 1 year LOA to handle my situation, my thoughts being that we would both return when I was better. The petition was approved (She sent me a copy with ED INT’s signature on it.) The reply of the Chief Engineer to her was “I DON’T CARE IF YOU HAVE AN APPROVED PETITION FROM COB, THE CAPTAIN WILL NEVER LET YOU GO. I thought WTF? THe ship won’t take an order in writing from COB?
Thanks to their brutal opinion of staff members who had dedicated their lives to helping others, that statement became a self-fulfilling prophecy. She finally got off the ship when it was almost too late.
(Speaking of attitude, it was just part of the same suppressive attitude dramatized by the CO CMO Ship who ordered a shipmate of mine to “Get some thugs together and beat up staff members.” We always thought that was completely off the rails. But now it seems pretty clear where such ideas were coming from — directly from the top, as in David Miscavige.
Some readers may wonder why I didn’t follow Dr. Denk’s recommendations in the first place. The reason is simple, Sea Org members do not choose their own medical treatment. They have a billion-year contract so death is expected anyway and after 21 years Leave of Absence the idea is to return to duty. . .
The worst thing about it was not what happened to me. I was willing to die to clear the planet, as is everyone who signs a billion year contract. I lied to protect the church from it’s crimes. My wife called me daily, begging me to do something to get her out of there as she was taking abuse because she would not just let me die as ordered. I went to LA and talked to IJC several times and wrote reports. I even asked the Port Captain Ludwig Alpers if the plan was to hold her there until I was dead. He did not give me an answer but said that he would get back to me. I never heard back from him. . .
As an aside, I often did Quartermaster duty at the gangway as well as my own post. For several months around 1998 I was surprised to see that the QM desk had been turned around so the QM, instead of facing outward to observe external threats to the ship, now faced inward. Obviously, the real threats were now considered to be people on the ship who wanted to leave at any cost, not the anyone who wanted to sneak on board. It had been re-designed obviously to keep people from escaping from the ship.
Eventually the chief engineer got some solid medical treatment and returned to health, no thanks to his erstwhile shipmates. This story, as well as any that I have come across, shows what life is like when you live on board a ship full of raving fanatics. To read the full story go here: http://www.scientology-cult.com/freewinds-off-purpose-off-course.html
For more information about life on this slave ship read this: https://androvillans.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/ex-scientologist-story-381-valeska-guider-paris-12-years-before-the-mast-as-a-slave/
A naval architect warned that this ship was full of asbestos but his advice was ignored. Read this if you want to know how decisions are reached in Hubbard’s bathtub navy. https://androvillans.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/ex-scientologist-story-139-asbestos-death-ship-ots-not-to-worry/