Church of Scientology sends Freewinds AIDS patient to chiropractor for treatment.
Freewinds: Off purpose, off course
Freewinds: Off purpose, off course
Freewinds: off purpose, off course
Sunday, 21 August 2011 10:48
I first met Bill Straass in 1984 when I joined staff at the FSO. Bill helped run the largest NOTs HGCs on the planet. I ran the Solo - OT III line, so I saw a lot of Bill and he was a great friend. In 1989, Bill joined Freewinds Crew to become the Mechanics Chief. Bill was in the ship org and was in charge of all things mechanical and kept the Engine Room running and the Freewinds afloat. - Thoughtful
Bill Straass, Steve Davis, Scott Campbell and K.G. Beall in 1991 on board the Freewinds following a promotion ceremony.
Freewinds: Off purpose, off course
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 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.
My Fitness Board originally reflected that exact sentiment. It stated that I was granted an extended leave of absence and was to return to duty “as soon as possible next lifetime.” I was told this by the person who wrote the issue. However, someone — probably IJC — removed the “next lifetime” part. In other words they were okay with me dying as long as I agreed to come back later. It was the easiest LOA I received in the SO.
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.
I called him but the receptionist on the Ship had orders not to connect me with anyone aboard except the Chief Officer who never gave me any data, saying it had nothing to do with him. The worst thing about it is that these actions are being committed in the name of LRH who was totally against such actions. This is as cynical as the sign at the gates of the death camp at Aushwitz, which read “And work will set you free.”
Bill Straass and Scott Campbell wrangling a 2-ton crank shaft into the Freewind.
I received a brief review at AOLA at my own expense but they didn’t really want to hear the truth. The MAA made my wife and myself sign agreements that we would not say anything negative about the Sea Org, AOLA or the Freewinds or we would be slapped with a non-enturbulation order.
I was under no ethics action, yet I was told that I could not go to the HGC but would have to wait to be called for session in Dept 3.
I had to push through my own Fitness Board as — why waste the effort on a corpse? During this time I went to talk to IJC in LA as my wife was still being held against her will on the ship.
When the Findings were written they stated that I was ineligible for SO membership "solely for medical reasons" ( I had already spent over half of this lifetime in the SO; a little late to decide that I didn't qualify, and my stats were up for many years.
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 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.
My last auditor on the ship was Joan Heller. In the last session she got a read on PTP and steered me to the statement that I was dying.
After I was so weak I could not stand up or put my clothes on and was hallucinating (I told my wife that K.G. Beall (a junior of mine on the ship. We called him K.G. Beall because before the fall of the USSR, KGB agents accompanied the Russian ships which were being worked on in the Curacao dry dock and one of the machinists in the dry dock told us that Mr Beall watched them even more closely than the Russians) had brought me an airplane engine to overhaul and I needed to get working on it. My wife told me that she was afraid to go to the store for fear that I would be gone (dead) when she got back. She asked me to give her a little warning before I went so she could be there when I died. I told her that it would be over in about 3 weeks. This was not the answer she was hoping to hear. However in 3 weeks I no longer recognized her. I woke up one morning in horror because I didn't know who this woman was that was in bed with me. I still remembered the SO, and that one would be shot for “out 2D.” I nervously asked her if she was my wife and she said yes.
She called her sister, who is a doctor in San Francisco and she told her to take me to the Emergency Room at UCSD hospital. I finally received the (lethal according to the chiropractor that the ship had sent me to) treatment for HIV and recovered quickly. I have been fine since.
For 10 years I sometimes joked to my shipmates that the only way off the ship was “in a box.”
My personal view is that one would be better off dead than to ask to leave. The few staff who did successfully "route out" from the Freewinds went through hell. One took two years to get off of the ship. He was threatened with SP declare, etc.
It must be quite an embarrassment to the Captain Mike Napier of the Freewinds to admit that he told my wife that I was going to die and used that to justify holding her there against her will while I was dying. My wife told me that the Captain’s main complaint was that she "split his EC,” meaning that half of his Executive Council said that she should be allowed to go and half said that she should be held there at all cost.
Napier gave it his best shot and failed. So there is nothing else they can do to me.
He actually was right about some things. He knew that I would die before I allowed any harm to come to the ship or Scn. My father could not understand why a loving wife would stay on the ship and leave her husband to die and stated that she must be being held against her will in which case he would call the FBI. Knowing that I would be declared and my wife would get into much trouble if he did so, I lied, telling him that she she was free to leave but wanted to stay and turn over her post. It was only when I repeated this in session that OSA managed to get her off the ship. Had they not done so when they did I would not be writing this post as I would certainly have been dead.
Joan Heller (my last auditor on the Freewinds) now audits for AOLA. One day I happened to run into her in the elevator at AOLA . She walked in and seeing me did a double take… like she’d seen a ghost. I said, “I guess you didn’t expect to see me again.”
“No, I really didn’t,” was her reply.
Former Mechanics Chief Freewindss