Village Voice on the Freewinds prison

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Village Voice on Valeska and the Freewinds prison

A really excellent article from Tony Ortega, here is just a snippet. Click the above link for the full story.

But every June, the ship would fill up for the annual "Maiden Voyage," a celebration of the vessel's actual first voyage. Executives would travel to the ship and would stay for weeks, into July and even August. And one July, in 2004, was especially significant.

"We were all pulled down to the cinema," Valeska says, remembering the special announcement when they were told that Tom Cruise was coming to the ship for his birthday, which is July 3. "We were all told we can't ask for his autograph, or we'd get a comm ev." (A "committee of evidence" is a sort of Scientology disciplinary trial.) "We can't tell anyone that he's coming to the ship or that he'd been to the ship, or again, a comm ev. And we had to call him 'sir.' It was like he was David Miscavige's deputy or something."

As the date for the party neared, however, Valeska committed a grave error.

She got a cold sore.

"David Miscavige saw that I had a cold sore, and I was assigned to lower conditions and I was put in isolation for 4 days," she says. She explains that she was assigned the "condition" of "Treason," which is below "Enemy" but above "Confusion."

"I was in Treason. So I wasn't allowed to go to Tom Cruise's birthday." [Note: I misunderstood what Valeska told me last night about the particular condition she was assigned, and have corrected it. -- T.O.]

By the time Cruise arrived, her cold sore had gone away, but she was still in the doghouse. She remembers that before he arrived, Miscavige was eating a meal and addressed her and a few other workers.

"He said, 'Tom Cruise is coming and I need really good service, so who's going to serve him?' A woman spoke up. 'No, no, it can't be a woman, because he's so good looking, any woman would fall for him.' So a guy had to take the job," she says.

The first morning after Cruise arrived however, the male worker assigned to serve Cruise and his guest, Penelope Cruz, slept in, and Valeska ended up doing the job.

Cruise and Cruz were staying in the best cabin on the ship, which Valeska says was actually a violation of Freewinds rules -- unmarried "publics" (non-Sea Org Scientologists) were never allowed to sleep in the same cabin. But the rule was bent for the famous actor.

"They had a yacht specifically for him," she says, referring to a smaller boat that Miscavige and Cruise used for diving. "Everything was free. They'd go diving and on motorbikes in Bonaire. When they went on the yacht, they had the best service, the best food. Tom was on a special diet. A chef, maybe from New York, a Chinese chef, was flown in to cook for him," she remembers.

Meanwhile, back on the ship, preparations for the big birthday were in full swing. "There were posters for every single movie he'd been in except for the one he made with Nicole Kidman [1999's Eyes Wide Shut, directed by Stanley Kubrick], because she's a big old SP."

Still in lower conditions for her now-vanished cold sore, Valeska was unable to attend the party, but she heard plenty about it. "The band did all the songs from his movies, except the one he did with Nicole." And she says three young women from the IASA -- the administration of the International Association of Scientologists -- were disciplined after the party. "They were trying to get Tom's attention. So they were put in the engine room."

The party itself was all about lavishing Miscavige's attention on his buddy Tom. "It was all set up by David Miscavige. All done by the church. And all about Tom Cruise. It was really weird. I mean, who wants to have posters of that stuff everywhere? And music playing from his movies."
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Don't forget to read the Comments section at the bottom of the page linked above.

I also thought about Jaycee Lee Dugard when I first read Valeska's story.

Can you imagine if Tom Cruise was best friends with Phillip Garrido (Jaycee's jailor) and had gone round to their house for a meal and been served by Jaycee? It would be headline news around the globe.

So, here we have a girl taken away from her mother aged 17 at the specific direction of David Miscavige and held captive aboard a ship for 12 years. After 8 years, she is required to serve Tom Cruise who visits the ship at the invitation of his best friend Miscavige to celebrate his birthday.

And this is not front-page news because......?

It should be impossible for Tom Cruise to give promotional interviews to journalists without the journalist wanting to know how Cruise feels about being served by an illegally trafficked young woman being held against her will for 12 years by his best-man.

TheGuestt 3 hours ago in reply to Shawn
As Anon A mentioned about, the religious card is played to shield and protect criminals and the insane. I'm looking forward to victory in Australia towards making life just a little more civilized and humane if Xenophon has anything to say about it. Maybe it will take root in the U.S., but only because of the financial aspects (tax exemptions, grants, taxpayers paying the aftermath costs of the crimes and frauds).

Miscavige is just carrying out the example Hubbard left him. Sleep deprivation, strange experimentations, torture, kidnapping, tearing up families, traumatizing childen, manipulating and using children of wealthy families ... all the Hip Hip Hubbard way, and in fact, Hubbard's victims included his own family.

Just google Rick Ross and Sara Northrup Hubbard.
Diana Hubbard and her daughter, Roxanne, are the only immediately family that we know are still in, but they're "in" that other difficult to escape hellhole, Int Base in Hemet, Riverside, California. I hate to think what their physical and mental condition is at this point, but hey, Torture and Enslavement is OK in the U.S. if it's done by and to "religious" "volunteers". Boggles the mind, chills the heart.

Arthur Dent

Silver Meritorious Patron
"It should be impossible for Tom Cruise to give promotional interviews to journalists without the journalist wanting to know how Cruise feels about being served by an illegally trafficked young woman being held against her will for 12 years by his best-man."

Yes, this! The press should drive Cruise into a hole or out into the open. If he is cornered enough he may, just may, take the blinders off.

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Scientology Sinking Like a Cruise Ship: Time for Thursday Stats!
Each Thursday at 2 pm, Scientology workers madly dash to finish up their work before turning in their weekly statistics.

We like to do the same thing here at the Voice, and on Thursday afternoons add up the wins and losses for the church around the world.

We took last week off in order to highlight our special Thanksgiving tribute to Paulette Cooper and the 40th anniversary of her book, The Scandal of Scientology.

This week is also unusual. Instead of a variety of stories from around the globe, Scientology watching this week, across several continents, was rocked by a single blast.

Its name was Valeska.

Monday morning at 5 am, I heard from our good friend Steve Cannane, a journalist at Australia's ABC network, that he was breaking a big story -- that for 12 years, Valeska Paris had been held against her will on the Scientology cruise ship, Freewinds.

Born in Switzerland to Scientologist parents, she joined the Sea Org in the UK at only 14 years of age. At the age of 17, the church demanded that she disconnect from her mother, who had changed her mind about Scientology and had denounced it on French television. In order to keep her disconnected from her mother, Valeska says, church leader David Miscavige then moved her to the Freewinds in 1996 when she was 18 years old. She was stuck there until 2007, when she was put in the RPF, Scientology's prison detail, in Australia. There she met her husband, former Australian rugby star Chris Guider, and they now have a boy, Declan, and another child on the way. They have both left Scientology and have both appeared on television with Steve Cannane.

A few hours after Steve's e-mail arrived, we posted our first story about Valeska, with Steve's video report. I added a postscript -- if Valeska was on the Freewinds until 2007, that means she must have been on the ship for the notorious Tom Cruise birthday party in 2004.

Steve's story started getting picked up by numerous Australian news organizations throughout the day. And that night, a nice piece by Australia's A Current Affair showed up, and it too made the connection between Valeska, the Freewinds, and the infamous Cruise party.

Late that night, Valeska and I connected through Skype, and we talked for about an hour and a half. There were so many questions I had for her, and she patiently explained things, including arcane Sea Org terms. I posted the lengthy story the next morning, with her memories of Tom Cruise's visit, her family background, and what it was like to be forced to separate from her family.

Meanwhile, the story jumped another ocean. Tuesday evening, the Swiss newspaper Le Matin wrote about the Genevan-born young woman who had been held on Scientology's ship. And since then, additional stories have showed up in Ireland and the UK.

Then, yesterday, Eric Pfeiffer at Yahoo News wrote about Valeska for its news blog The Sideshow. I notified Eric that we had done a lengthy interview with Valeska, and he kindly added a link to our story. (Oh, how I love when that happens. Journalistic cooperation!)

This morning, we added even more to the story with an interview with Valeska's sister, Melissa Paris, who had her own story of family separation and escape from Scientology. And we expect that the Paris family saga will continue to be picked up by more news organizations.

Thursday's Stats: Upstat or Downstat? As Synthia Fagen remarked to me, this one feels like a tsunami. This is some of the worst Downstat publicity that Scientology has had since, oh, last week when it was being ridiculed for its attempts at hip hop. Or the week before, for its greed. Or the week before that for its hapless X Factor contestant who wouldn't talk about her connection to the church...

Well, you get the idea. It's been a rough month for Scientology. But this story about the Freewinds? That barge has sprung a serious leak. And something tells me it's going to be taking on water for some time.

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Crikey, Tony Ortega has been working overtime!

Scientology Celebrities Who Partied on the Freewinds While Valeska Paris Was Held on the Ship Against Her Will
By Tony Ortega Thu., Dec. 1 2011 at 2:42 PM
​We've been reporting all week on the stunning story of Valeska Paris, the Swiss-born woman who now lives in Australia and who says that from 1996 to 2007, beginning when she was only 18 years old, she was held on Scientology's private cruise ship, the Freewinds, as a virtual prisoner.

Valeska alleges that church leader David Miscavige put her on the ship to keep her away from her mother, who had sued Scientology. Her passport was taken, and she says she had no way of getting away from the ship.

As we noted earlier, it was the Freewinds -- and with Valeska aboard -- that was turned into one big Tom Cruise tribute when the actor was flown to the ship for a birthday celebration in 2004. But Valeska was on the ship for a long time. Which other Scientology celebrities enjoyed the ship while Valeska was being held on board?

The sharp-eyed researchers over at Operation Clambake and dug through Kristi Wachter's helpful database that brings together lists of Scientologists who are named in church publications. One of those publications, Freewinds, specifically lists members who have completed courses on the ship. And among the many names can be found quite a few very familiar ones.

So sit back and enjoy the show as we bring you the happy Scientology celebrities who sailed the high seas while Valeska labored, and we'll tell you a little about what they learned on their voyages...
Click through for the next 13 pages....