Here is a letter the RPF "Insider" recently sent to the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, concerning the welfare of foreign persons trapped in Scientology's RPF, some of whom entered the country on a "religious worker" visa.
Secretary Of State Mr. Colin L. Powell U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520
Scientology Abuse of Foreign Citizens in the USA; an official plea for investigation.
Dear Mr. Powell,
Attached please find a list of citizens from many countries who are currently or were recently held in gulags (prison camps) in the United States of America by the "church" of Scientology. This is happening right now in "Rehabilitation Project Force" (RPF) centers run by this "church" where members who disagree with scientology management are sent for punishment and re-indoctrination. Average internment is 2 to 10 years. Many of these citizens from many Nations were granted visas as "religious workers" or "students" of Scientology.
Once in the US, members are heavily recruited to join the Sea Organization. The Sea Organization is a secret insider order of scientology, where all members are required to sign a "billion year contract" to help scientology "clear the planet". Any person who joins the Sea Organization and then later disagrees with its practices will soon find him or her self confined in the scientology gulag known as the "RPF" (Rehabilitation Project Force). The conditions these people live in are inhumane and violate many US laws, as well as prisoner of war standards as agreed by the United Nations and the Geneva Convention. The issue here is not scientologists' right to freedom of religion. The issue is scientology's violations of basic Human Rights. These two rights should not be mutually exclusive; both are guaranteed by the US Constitution.
This "church" does not care for or take responsibility for their members as promised and required when they were allowed to come into the United States as "Religious Workers". It is doubtful that Scientologists should be granted religious worker status, as the "church" is in violation of many State Department rules. Many Countries do not recognize scientology as a religion at all. In the US, it was granted religious tax exemption in 1993 under unusual conditions which are now being disputed in court.
Compensation: Sea Org members are required to work for 10.5 hours a day, 7 days a week and they receive only a small stipend, usually 50 US dollars/week, of which FICA and tax is withheld and the standard net payment is $46 and some cents. The actual work time is disguised by the statement that there are 8 hours of work time and 2.5 hours of "study". The study activities are mainly indoctrination to learn how to perform your work duties and how to comply with the many rules and policies of the organization. There's no "study" of anything other than scientology, and many times this is canceled in order to meet production quotas, called "statistics". If the "stats" are down, members are frequently required to work even more hours. Many weeks this minimal pay is cut down further, due to other "financial planning priorities". I would like to bring to your attention that the United States Government has laid out the federal poverty guidelines for religious workers which is about $12,000 per year per person. The annual pay per the current Scientology system only gives a Sea Org member $2,390 annually. No medical or other benefits are provided. Additionally, members of the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF) are only granted =C2=BC of full pay, i.e. $11 and some cents/week. Even this is many times cut down to half of that, i.e. 1/8 of full pay or about $5 and some cents. This is annually around $300 to $600. This system is built on the assumption that a Sea Org member is doing his work "voluntarily" and this way of reasoning is justified with the fact that he is given food, berthing and a uniform.
Housing: The value of the housing, uniform and food is questionable, and in the case of housing especially, violates many fire, housing and safety codes, as up to 50 people are packed into bunks stacked to the ceilings in rooms meant for 2 to 4 people. Hundreds are forced to use a single shower room, and bathrooms are shared by approximately 25 full time residents each. Further information about the RPF living conditions can be found at:
http://www.xenu.net/ http://www.lermanet.com/rpf-insider/ http://www.lermanet.com/scientology/gulags/2CreationofRPF.htm?FACTNet http://freedomofmind.com/resourcecenter/groups/s/scientology/RVYmodel.htm
as well as in hundreds of other affidavits, court documents and stories available on the internet.
Labor Abuse: Scientology is investing millions of tax free dollars into buying new buildings to entice new members, and make a profit from the tax free dollars they collect from their deluded adherents (who believe the money donated is going to better mankind). They get the buildings renovated and upgraded by using the "free" or "slave" labor of Sea Org members, especially the RPF members. Per the US Dept of State, workers on religious visas may NOT work as "=A6 janitors, maintenance workers, clerks, fundraisers or persons involved solely the solicitations of donations."
Lack of Benefits: "To qualify for the visa, the applicant must show that he or she will not become a public charge, that is, rely on assistance from the government." Scientology does not have any kind of insurance for most of its members and most medical expenses are born by US taxpayers. If a member should require medical or dental attention, they are required to fill out state aid forms identifying themselves as "indigent." They are also encouraged to abuse other social programs such as SSI, MediCal and Medicare. Scientology uses many methods to persuade Sea Org members to give up all responsibilities to their families and children, and they are encouraged to abandon family responsibilities to welfare and ADC (Aid to Dependent Children.) http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi_waivers.html (see section (4) (a) and (b).
Illegal Detention: RPF members in the Sea Org are not allowed to leave the premises, not even for medical treatment unless accompanied by "security" personnel to ensure their adherence to the "shore story" (party line). Should someone manage to escape, scientology security will guard every means of exit, such as airports, bus stations, subways, etc. Also they will spend weeks investigating the escapee's family and friends and use Private Investigators to track them down, even picketing people's homes and harassing their friends, family, neighbors and employers. People assigned to Scientology's RPF have their passports, visa, IDs, credit cards and other documents confiscated and locked up so that full control can be enforced on the member, in an attempt to prevent him from leaving without permission. Permission to leave is only granted after an extensive "routing out" procedure has been completed, which includes intensive re-indoctrination, "security checks" on the e-meter (a scientology lie-detector) and many pages of other forms and gag agreements. Completing these requirements takes months and sometimes years, all the while those wishing to leave are held in virtual isolation under 24 hour guard. RPF members are considered to be security risks, especially if they have been to or worked at the =E2=80"top secret" international base and headquarters at Hemet California, where Golden Era Productions and Mr. Miscaviage are also located. This is done in an attempt to scare ex-members from speaking out or taking any legal action against the church or management once they are finally allowed to leave.
Isolation: People assigned to scientology's RPF are forced to work at hard labor for an average of 2 to 10 years for approximately 11 dollars per week in pay. They are not allowed access to their own mail, nor to newspapers, TV, any music, radio, books or the Internet. It is forbidden for any sea org member to touch the internet and they are told "it contains harmful, confidential data, detrimental to your well-being" in an attempt to hide the true facts about scientology and the lies and crimes of scientology management, including Mr. Miscavige. Also, all mail to all sea org members is opened and scanned into a security computer system. Personal mail containing any criticism of scientology is sent to the "ethics department" and withheld from the addressee. RPF members are essentially cut off from reality for years. They are further not allowed to contact their own families or children unless there is a "PR" (public relations) issue, in which case a staff member might be allowed a phone conversation or letter that is scripted and observed by scientology security and designed to reassure those concerned that there is "nothing to worry about." (" Good Roads, fair weather" per a scientology policy.) Social gatherings such as weddings, anniversaries, family reunions are forbidden and in rare cases a funeral attendance can be granted, but the member will be accompanied by scientology security.
Harassment: Millions of tax free dollars are spent by scientology every year to file lawsuits against their perceived enemies. (Which are legion, see the 1993 enemy list at http://www.xenu.net/archive/enemy_names/ , I am sure there are thousands more since then.) Millions more are spent on other activities such as lawyers, PI investigations and "Black PR" campaigns in an attempt to eradicate and silence critics. Should an escapee or ex-member dare to speak out, this cult will often harass them for years with frivolous lawsuits and various other intimidation tactics. The behavior of this cult has been well documented by many sources, including TIME magazine, a 60 Minutes TV documentary, many books, newspapers, court cases and government inquiries, just to name a few.
Blackmail: This cult uses "lie detectors" (e-meters) to force confessions of embarrassing personal and family secrets which they then use to blackmail people to keep silent. Part of the indoctrination into scientology is the belief that any disagreement with scientology and its management, and anything bad that happens (such as illness, accidents or death) is all your own fault and due to "out ethics". Sea Org and RPF members are frequently put on the e-meter (lie detector) and are forced to confess to the slightest bad thought. Members are also held accountable if they suspect "out-ethics" in other members and are required to write "knowledge reports" on each other or suffer severe consequences.
Disconnection: Many married members have been forced to divorce if one of the spouses dares to defy scientology management. All scientologists are forced to adhere to a policy called "disconnection", whereby they are forced to have no contact with any friends or family members (including their own minor children) who express disagreement with scientology.
Retirement: "Retirement" in this cult occurs when a member becomes too old or sick to work. There are members of the Sea Organization at the location of 1308 L.Ron Hubbard Way, Hollywood, CA who are over 80 years old and still working. Members who are too ill to work are kept in isolation and abide by the same rules of no family contact, no TV, Books, etc. as the rest of the RPF. The routine to offload "useless' members from the RPF program is called a "Fitness Board Turndown" and many are put out on the street with only $500 in "severance pay" after many years of labor (in many cases 20 or more years), with no retirement funds and no useable work history or skills. They end up dependent upon Social Security, or the mercy of family they haven't seen in years. Occasionally, Scientology Security will prevail on Public Scientologists to create a job for these unfortunate people. When so released from duty, they are forced to sign 15 or so pages of "nondisclosure" agreements wherein they are required to promise to never reveal the truth of what it is like to be a Sea Org member, especially one assigned to the RPF.
Child Abuse and Neglect: Child Welfare authorities in California and Florida are well acquainted with Scientology. Members are now discouraged from having children due to the many legal "flaps" over the years. Children are considered to be "off purpose" as they take time away from "production" and "getting the stats up". Many members have been coerced into having abortions. Children who are raised in scientology are separated from their parents, live in squalid conditions with minimal supervision, and are "trained" in scientology schools using "scientology tech". Many do not graduate High School. When they rebel, they are sent to the RPF (where many spend years) or are offloaded and declared "SP" (Suppressive Persons) and forced to disconnect from their parents and other family still in scientology. See: http://www.factnet.org/Scientology/children.htm?FACTNet
This is all taking place daily right here in the US, while the Chairman of the Board of Scientology, David Miscavige, and his celebrity friends are known to frequent casinos in Las Vegas and the Caribbean. Mr. Miscavige is living in luxury quarters at the Hemet Base and in Hollywood, California where he has 2 additional luxury suites that were built and are maintained by Sea Org members at no charge to him or to the church. There are many court cases and affidavits available on line testifying to the conditions under which sea org members and their families live. The "RPF" in which all of the below mentioned persons are or were held recently is located at 1308 L.Ron Hubbard Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027. There are other "RPF" facilities located at scientology continental bases in Clearwater, Florida, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Hemet, California, also in the UK at East Grinstead, Sussex, England (AOSHUK) and in Australia at the ANZO base in Sydney. Following are some of the US State Department rules and policies regarding Religious worker visas, which in many cases are being TOTALLY VIOLATED by the "church" of Scientology. Following this document is a list of some 230 current or recent RPF members, listed out by country. Copies of this letter, along with supporting documents are being sent to the Consulates, Immigration authorities and State Departments involved, as well as being posted on the internet. It is our sincere hope that these charges will be thoroughly investigated, and that until such investigation is completed no new Religious visas will be approved for the "church" of Scientology.
The RPF "Insider"
US department of State religious visa page: (see section (m))
1. Who can apply for a religious worker visa?
Religious worker visas are available to people coming to work for a religious organization in the United States as a minister, in a religious professional capacity, or in a religious vocation or occupation. "Ministers" are individuals authorized by a recognized religious denomination to conduct religious worship and perform other duties normally performed by the clergy.
"Professional capacity" means that the position the individual will be working in requires at least a bachelor's degree.
A "religious occupation" is any activity which relates to a traditional religious function. Persons in a religious occupation include liturgical workers, religious instructors, missionaries, religious counselors, workers in religious hospitals or health facilities, cantors, catechists, or religious broadcasters, but not janitors, clerks, or persons involved solely in the solicitation of donations.
A "religious vocation" is a calling to religious life evidenced by the demonstration of a commitment practiced in the religious denomination, such as the taking of vows.
4. How much do I need to be paid?
There is no set answer to this question. To qualify for the visa, the applicant must show that he or she will not become a public charge, that is, rely on assistance from the government. That means that the sponsoring organization must offer to cover all the applicant's expenses (as in a religious order, for example) or to compensate the applicant sufficiently.
Although there is no stated minimum salary for religious workers, my office generally recommends individuals receive compensation worth 125% of the federal poverty guidelines, or about $12,000 for one person.
5. Can I work in a second job in addition to my religious occupation?
R-1 status only allows you to work for the sponsoring organization; outside employment is not permitted. However, it is possible to have two or more organizations of the same denomination sponsor you for part-time work with each organization.
Once you obtain permanent residence, you can work outside of the sponsoring organization.
8. What is the process for obtaining the visa?
R-1 nonimmigrant status. If you are outside of the United States, you do not need to file a petition ahead of time. You simply take the supporting documents to a US consulate to apply for the visa.
If you are already in the United States on a different nonimmigrant visa, the sponsoring organization files a petition to change your status to R-1 religious worker and extend your stay.
Permanent residence. Whether you are in the United States or abroad, the sponsoring organization begins the process by filing the immigrant visa petition with a CIS service center. Once the petition is approved, you file an application for permanent residence with CIS, if in the United States, or, if abroad, apply for an immigrant visa with a US consulate. You become a permanent resident once you enter the United States with the immigrant visa.
10. What if I am out of status?
If you are out of status (i.e., you have overstayed your visa or you entered without one), in most cases you cannot change status to R-1 religious worker or adjust status to permanent resident. You may be successful by returning to your country to apply for the religious worker visa, but there are serious penalties for staying in the United States illegally. It's recommended to speak to a lawyer before choosing this course of action.
If you were the beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition (I-130 or I-140) or labor certification before April 30, 2001, you may be able to adjust status to permanent residence under section 245(i).
List of recent RPF Members in Los Angeles by Country and their Embassies
Australia or New Zealand Allen, Elaine Allsop, Cameron Anderson, Terri Codd, Clyde Eves, Cherie Eves, Mike Eves, Paul Frazer, Bernice Furness, Wayne McClintock, Malcolm Pearse, Kylea-Rose (possibly born in US) Pouw, Anthony Tweedy, Prudence Wallace, Liz Watson, Jane Wills, Steve
Australian embassy in Washington D.C. http://www.austemb.org/ E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
US embassy in Melbourne: http://usembassy-australia.state.gov/sydney/
New Zealand embassy in US: http://www.nzembassy.com/home.cfm?CFID=117052&CFTOKEN=15163500&c=31&l=86 E-mail: email@example.com
US embassy in New Zealand http://usembassy.org.nz/
Canada Anderson, Paul Anderson, Phil Baxter, Arthur -- (Canada or US) DeRudder, Isabelle. Dubreuil, Joelle Homier, Claude Maday, Martin Piche, Gilles Robitaille, Phillipe
Canada embassy in US: http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/world/embassies/cra-en.asp E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
US embassy in Ottawa: http://www.usembassycanada.gov/content/index.asp
Denmark Heldt, Birthe Wheelis, Majbritt
Danish embassy in US http://www.denmarkemb.org/ E-mail: email@example.com
US embassy in Copenhagen http://www.usembassy.dk/
France Besnard, Jean Yves Gouessan, Alain Heinzel, Marie-Alice Homier, Dominique Lefevre, Vincent Soendker, Patricia
French embassy in US: http://www.info-france-usa.org/ E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
US embassy in Paris: http://www.amb-usa.fr/
Germany Alexander, Tanya Dossenbach, Rico Gutensberger, Irene Mottl, Berndt Mueller, Jurgen Peschken, Sabine Stuckenbrock, Sasha -- born US? Stuckenbrock, Uwe
German embassy in US: http://www.germany-info.org/relaunch/info/missions/consulates/losangeles/losan geles.html E-mail: email@example.com
US embassy in Hamburg: http://hamburg.usconsulate.gov/
Greece Nossis, Kettie
Greece embassy in Washington D.C: http://www.asinah.net/greeceembassies.html E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
US embassy in Athens: http://athens.usembassy.gov/
Italy Bertinato, Emilio Cornu, Patrizia Corrias, Nicola Di Ieva, Marco Frau, Francesco Galbiati, Matteo Landini, Giovanna Lesevre (Sechi), Vanella Scudellari, Gigi Startari, Stefania
Italian embassy in Washington D.C. http://www.italyemb.org/ E-mail: email@example.com
US embassy in Rome: http://www.usembassy.it/
Mexico Aristi, Alfonso Contreras, Griselda -- Mexico (or other South American country) Avila, Felipe -- Mexico (or other South American country.) Bervera, Ismael Cabral, Miriam Diaz, Dora Luz Diaz, Luz Ester Gomez, Alejandro Ibarra, Dharma Macias, Marianna Marmolejo, Ricardo Ramirez, Isi Santos, Florencia Torres Carlos
Mexican embassy in US: http://www.embassyofmexico.org/ E-mail: through web site page above
US embassy in Mexico: http://mexico.usembassy.gov/emenu.html
Portugal Freire, Rui
Portuguese embassy in Washington D.C. http://www.traveldocs.com/pt/embassy.htm Consulates: D.C: Telephone: 1- (202) 328-8610 Fax: 1- (202) 462-3726 Los Angeles: 1- (310) 277-1491 San Francisco: 1- (415) 346-3400 New York: 1- (212) 246-4580 US embassy in Lisbon: http://www.american-embassy.pt/
Russia Dolgov, Vadim
Russian embassy in US: http://www.russianembassy.biz/usa-san-francisco.htm E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
US embassy in Moscow: http://moscow.usembassy.gov/
South Africa Hogarth, Sheldon Murton, Candy Smith, Stan Southworth, Gailynn Southworth, Kashanka
South African embassy in US: http://www.link2southafrica.com/Consulate.html E-mail: email@example.com
US embassy in Pretoria:
Sweden Asplund, Lars Karlsson, Lennart Konneus, Leif Lindstein - Billy Lindstein, Mariette
Swedish embassy in US: http://www.swedenabroad.com/pages/start____7928.asp E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
US embassy in Stockholm: http://stockholm.usembassy.gov/
Switzerland Bersier, Jean Phillipe Bieg, Patrik Fallegger, Maria Gahwiler, Matthis Huber, Noldi Sanz Polo Francisco Sporri, Caroline Sporri, Urs Stark, Marco Welch, Simone
Swiss consulate in US: http://www.eda.admin.ch/washington_emb/e/home.html E-mail: email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org
US embassy in Bern: http://www.usembassy.ch/
United Kingdom Aczel, John Biggs, Petal Cusworth, Derek Didcoate, Jamie Didcoate, Kathy Didcoate, Richard Donohue, Rachel Jansen, Jan McQuade, Brenda Mellor Miles Mousell, Sheldon Mustard, Caroline Parkin, Edward Stumbke, Peter Welch Richard Whittaker, Hodl
UK embassy in Los Angeles: http://www.fco.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1007029395231&a=KOverseasMission&aid=1013618505412 E-mail: email@example.com
US embassy in London: http://www.usembassy.org.uk/
Venezuela Alvarez, Hender Morillo, Elvia -- (or Mexico)
Venezuela embassy in US: http://www.embavenez-us.org/ E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
US embassy in Caracas: http://embajadausa.org.ve/
For a full list of all the US Embassies and Consulates, see: http://usembassy.state.gov/
United States (For the record, the following are current or recent RPF members from the US)
Akiyama, Roger Anderson, Brian Arneson, Torren Ashworth, Pat Atwood, Ben Beatty, Chuck Belcastro, Ivan Bennick Jason Bennick Susy Bersier, Kathy Berther, Mark -- aka "Brodie" Boykin, Steve Brandis, Tom Brefka, Skylar Brefka, Wendy Briggs Sarah Bush, Diane Caldwell Reggie Caneen, Joe Castle, Stefan Cook, Peter Copelan, Laurel Champagne, Eileen Christiansen, Tia Croteau, Yvette Crowther, Gigi Danilovich, Micho Davies, Kenny Davies, Leelan Decrescenzo, Laura Deichman, Chip Dezotell, Paul Dhoi, Dennis Dippel, Karen Dynes, Alexis Dynes, Nathan Edwards, James Ellison, Bill Emenau, Mark. Epstein, Jonno Epstein, Leslie Faulkner, Jon-Paul Fiandica, Doug Gambino, Jenny Garth, Colwell Gibson, Margaret Gilbert Josh Graham, Jill -- (deceased) Greve, Ryan Griffin, John Herzer, Cheryl Hoden, Ken Hoden, Lisa Hooper, Mark Howson, David Hubbert, Pam Juss, Brian Karbowski, Ted Kimoto, Shannon Knight, Cat Lane, Andrea Lerner (Thompson) Sue Lev, Nir Lewis, Lisa Lizer, Mark Llewellyn Gil Long, Ken Magnusson, Birdie Magnusson, Jesse Mallen, Mike McKinstrey, Mark Miller, Gary Morrisette, Chris Mottl, Rena Muller, Doug Muller, Zerrin Musselman, Scott Nunnellee, Richard Oakes, Carole Ondreika, Kathy Ondreika, Tom Ortman, Mark Osborne, Theron Parodi, Micha Parz, Callie Percy, Kali Perrin Steve Price, Bill Przybylski, Dan Redmon, Rebecca Reiss, Jesse Rosenstein Marco Rowe, Lallah Runyon Diana Seagal, Ron Searing, Tony Selle, Erin Sereda, Linda Shapiro, Ken Shay, Gary Sheer, Ted Shermerhorn, Tom Sims, Patty Sinclair, Fred Smith, Eric Smith, Julia Stein, Barry. Stilo, Donna Stracener, Colby Sumner, Cindy Supak Tom Szoke, Marlana Szombathy, Imre Tinat, Justin Townsend, Sheri Trent, Vincent Updegrove, Charlie Updegrove, Patty Vandersall, Mel Walimaa, Tyler Weber, Jeff Weibert, Kari Weiland, Janet Weissman, Pam Welte, Dieter Wheelis, Alec Whitta, Denise Wilbur, Sarah Willett Lee Williams, Russ Woodcraft, Matt Woodruff, Henry Young Joanne Zerbini, Linda