Scientology's Concentration Camps
When one researches Scientology
it is not long before an interesting but disturbing pattern is observed.
Hubbard's policies on critics and their "slanderous attacks" focus around
a belief that if one is accusing that church of something, that person
is himself "reeking with crime," usually doing the very thing of which
he is accusing Scientology.
Ironically, this is somewhat consistently reflected in
Scientology's own modus operandi. Their own rationale can be turned
right back around on them. For example, if they attempt to discredit a
critic for having some sordid past or crime, then the question should be
asked of the Scientologist, "Are you saying if a person, leader or organization
has a history of criminal and abusive behavior, they shouldn't be listened
to or followed?" A "Yes" answer would completely invalidate Scientology.
One attack image Scientology uses most frequently is a
comparison of its critics with Nazism and its persecution of the Jews.
Whenever this analogy is used, as it has been in Scientology's attacks
on the German government's refusal to recognize it as a bona fide
religion, Jewish leaders have consistently and vociferously responded to
this comparison with disgust.
Scientology would do well not to make parallels to Nazism
an issue (e.g. see <www.factnet.org>
for lists of comparisons between Scientology and Nazism). One of the most
disturbing parallels is Scientology's own maintenance of a concentration-camp-like
operation which they call Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF). In describing
this horrific aspect, the monumental Los Angeles Times investigative
report on Scientology related that many former members gave very similar
accounts of how their lives were wrecked as staff members of Scientology.
"In interviews and public records, former staffers have
said they were alienated from society, stripped of familiar beliefs, punished
for aberrant behavior, rewarded for conformity, and worked beyond exhaustion
to meet ever escalating productivity quotas" (June
26, 1990, p. A16). If a member's productivity began
to decline or especially if they are suspected of doing anything that would
undermine Scientology, they could be subjected to time in RPF.
"RPF'ers as they are called, are separated from their
family and friends for days, weeks, months or even longer. They cannot
speak unless spoken to, they run wherever they go and they wear armbands
to denote their lowly condition." They are expected to do very menial jobs
and hard labor or whatever the management "deem necessary for redemption"
Respected sociologist, Stephen Kent, professor at the
University of Alberta, recently presented a paper on the RPF at the academic
Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.
In it he details and documents the creation, purpose and
abuses of Scientology's RPF. Using internal Scientology documents such
as "Sea Organization Flag Order 343B. 30 May, 1977," and others, Kent writes,
"In considerable detail the RPF document laid out the framework of forcible
confinement, physical and social maltreatment, intensive reindoctrination,
and forced confessions that were (and are) central to the program's operation"
(Brainwashing in Scientology's Rehabilitation Project
Force, November 7, 1997).
There is even an RPF's RPF - a kind of second level RPF
for people already in RPF thought to be deserving still greater punishment
or "rehabilitation" than provided in the regular RPF. There are several
testimonials recorded of people being chained or locked in a wire cage
in one of RPF's RPF locations in Clearwater's Fort Harrison Hotel headquarters
For others, a stay at the Fort Harrison headquarters has
resulted in something far worse than physical and mental abuse. The ongoing
civil case and possible criminal case against Scientology in the tragic
death of Lisa McPherson was described in The Watchman Expositor,
Vol. 14, No. 5. This has also been exposed and investigated on numerous
television magazine programs, most recently CBS's Public Eye with
Bryan Gumbel, January 7, 1998.
Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Lucy Morgan
has recently written an extensive story of how "seven other Scientologists
in apparently sound health died suddenly after coming to Clearwater for
training and counseling" (St. Petersburg Times,
December 7, 1997, pp. 1, 8A). Several of these Scientologists
died after using Scientology's regimen of vitamins and minerals in lieu
of prescribed medicine. Another man was found dead in a bathtub "with water
so hot that it burned his skin off" (Ibid).
Scientology officials have tried to escape the awful specter
of this type of treatment at the RPF by comparing it, incredibly, to life
in a monastery, or boot camp in the Marines, a time and place for complete
concentration on implementing Scientology into one's life. But for any
objective observer, the question must be raised: "How can an organization
wanting to promote itself as a church in a civilized society, and receive
government protection as such, be allowed to do so while it operates something
akin to a forced labor or concentration-camp in that same country?"