Tony Ortega: Is Scientology’s Rehabilitation Project Force a thing of the past?

Discussion in 'Media' started by The Wrong Guy, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    Is Scientology’s notorious prison detail — the ‘RPF’ — a thing of the past?

    By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker, October 4, 2017


    There are so many horror stories about what Scientology’s “Sea Org” members have experienced while serving in the “Rehabilitation Project Force,” the organization’s prison detail.

    Among the first that come to mind are both Nora Crest and Laura DeCrescenzo separately attempting suicide by gulping down bleach, so desperate were they to get out of the RPF’s degrading conditions. Originally, the RPF had lasted weeks or months, but by the 1990s it took years to complete its cycle — we’ve talked to people who spent up to 12 years as prisoners on the RPF.

    Chuck Beatty was on it for seven years. He’s told us about sitting outside in the dark at the Happy Valley RPF desert compound on the night of December 31, 1999, knowing that around the world, human beings would be celebrating the coming of the year 2000. But after being in the RPF for years, he had no connection with them. No connection with the outside world at all. He sat and looked at the stars, and wondered what he was missing.

    Anyway, we’re thinking about that story again because after a few days of checking with some of our best sources and debriefing two of the most recent defectors from Scientology’s Sea Org facilities, we’ve come to a startling conclusion.

    The RPF is over.

    If our sources are correct, Scientology leader David Miscavige gradually disbanded RPF details at bases around the world, and killed it off for good at the end of 2014.

    Here’s how we came to that conclusion. A few weeks ago, a Hungarian man named Peter Nyiri described on Facebook his escape from the Sea Org, which had taken place just a few months before. Nyiri had worked at both Scientology’s “Flag Land Base” in Clearwater, Florida, and on its private cruise ship, the Freewinds. Previously, we posted his account of his run for freedom (2nd item) and the lengths that Scientology went to as it tried to bring him back, and failed (2nd item).

    Since then we’ve been talking to him occasionally, hoping to get debriefed on the latest news from inside Scientology’s “spiritual mecca.” Nyiri confirmed what we had reported earlier, that Scientology’s worldwide membership is down to only about 20,000 people, and he added the detail that he had access to Flag’s all-time roster, which had only 70,000 names on it. That’s everyone who has ever enrolled at the expensive center since it opened in 1975.

    But even if those numbers are much smaller than Scientology would like people to believe, Nyiri confirmed that Flag continues to be the most lucrative facility in the Scientology world, and that even today, he estimates its weekly income at between two and four million dollars. (He says they accomplish this by starving the outer orgs, and by pushing to have Scientologists come to Flag for courses that they could get back at home.)

    But he told us something else that really stopped us in our tracks. Here was his statement, in all of its Scientology jargon:

    “When I was at Clearwater at the end of 2014, people weren’t being sent to the RPF any more. The RPF I/C [the person ‘in charge’ of the RPF] was put on a different post and the Snr Qual Sec was holding the post from above. Several Fitness Boards were issued to offload long-term RPF members (I printed the issues myself). Then I went to the ship and I returned in September 2016. I met an old friend of mine, Micheal Zwers, who was on the RPF previously. He was holding a post in Department One and he told me that the people who had some worth for the Sea Org had been returned to the org and the rest had been offloaded. This is the data I have.”

    What Peter is saying is that Clearwater’s RPF was dismantled, and the “prisoners” on it were either kicked out of the Sea Org, or positions were found for them.

    We asked Peter what was being done in Clearwater for punishment if there was no RPF.

    “The alternative was either offload if very serious offense, like 2D, otherwise being put on a galley or Renos-type post,” he said. Translating that, he’s saying that for people who were on the RPF for a serious reason — such as a sexual offense (“2D,” the second dynamic, referring to sex) they were kicked out of the organization or, if it was a less serious offense, prisoners were assigned to low-level jobs such as laboring in a renovation project.

    This seemed pretty stunning. The RPF began in 1974, when L. Ron Hubbard replaced some earlier forms of discipline on the yacht Apollo. From the beginning, the idea was that a Sea Org member assigned to it had to go through certain steps to “redeem” themselves in the eyes of the larger group. The RPF had elaborate policies for governing this, including an “RPF’s RPF” for those who violated the rules and were put into a degrading kind of solitary confinement.

    But now, Peter Nyiri was telling us that the storied RPF was a thing of the past in Clearwater. Did that apply to other locations as well?

    We contacted one of our best sources, who was intimately aware of recent conditions at Int Base near Hemet, California, and also at the Pacific Area Command — the PAC base in Los Angeles.

    “It was some time in the early 2000s that the idea of an RPF at Int Base was gotten rid of,” our source told us. “And two years ago the PAC RPF got dissolved. So yes, no Flag, no Int, and no PAC RPF.”

    Still seeking more confirmation, we contacted Paul Burkhart, one of the most recent high-ranking Sea Org officials to defect, in August 2013. He had worked at Int Base at one time, but was working at the Hollywood Guaranty Building on Hollywood Boulevard when he left. We previously wrote a two-part series about Burkhart [Part 1, Part 2], whom we found to be a knowledgeable and careful source.

    Here’s what he told us:

    Continued with open comments here:
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  2. Quentinanon Member

    So, in the early 2000's, Miscavige began disbanding the RPF beginning at the Int Base. He did so because he perceived it as a public relations and legal liability.
    It did become a liability after information about it was widely available on the internet. I don't think any single ex or journalist can take credit for the cessation of the RPF.
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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    Talking about Scientology's RPF with Aaron Smith Levin | Chris Shelton

    Aaron Smith-Levin and I discuss current events in the world of Scientology, focusing on the news published a few days ago about the Sea Org's Rehabilitation Project Force no longer being in use.

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