I've known Janela Webster since she came into Scientology at Austin in 1983. Right away, Janela joined staff and became the Public Exec Sec for the night and weekend organization. In 1985, Janela joined the Sea Org and became the Flag Rep in Austin. In 1990, she was transferred to the Int base as the newest member of AVC Int RTC -- the Church's top Authority, Verifications and Corrections unit (a division of RTC). She was there when all of Int Management was forced to toil in the septic pond by order of David Miscavige without respirators or health protection because one staff member "took too long to edit a book." She was also there when David Miscavige suddenly and without provocation punched Norman Starkey, setting off Norman's hearing aids. You see, Normal Starky was already an elderly gentleman in his 60s, while Miscavige was 20 years younger and fit from daily workouts with his personal trainer. Janela was also there when Miscavige ordered all of Int management -- some 80 people of all ages and sketchy health -- to be woken up in the middle of night, brought to the Int base, forced to jump in a pool, then marched directly to the CMOI conference room in their sopping wet clothes and made to work around the clock for days. She was also there when staff were instructed on exactly what they were to say should a visiting Tom Cruise ask, "Where's Marty Rathbun?" Marty had left Int for good... everyone knew it, but Miscavige didn't want his wealthy tool, Tom Cruise, to know. Janela was also there when Jenny De Vocht the "Commanding Officer CMO Int" was forced to stay up for non-stop seven days... until her eyes were dark and hollow sockets. Even the CIA classifies shorter bouts of sleep deprivation as "torture." When Jenny finally crawled into a bed, Miscavige had her hauled back to the CMOI conference room ("the Hole" a.k.a. "SP Hall"). Meanwhile, Miscavige also had a bed brought in and placed in the middle of the room. After humiliating and degrading Jenny as a "weakling who couldn’t go without sleep," he ordered her to go to sleep in the bed while all CMO staff watched. After a week of no sleep, Jenny dozed for the next two days in a conference room full of people who were themselves not allowed to leave until she got out of bed. In 2006 Janela left the Int base for good. The decision to tell her story did not come easy. It is something she has agonized over at length. Janela was even contacted recently by Marion Pouw -- David Miscavige's Chief Obstructor of Justice. Perhaps Marion should have remembered the old rule, "Don't Mess with Texas." Finally, Janela knew the time had come and she was ready. She discussed the idea with her daughter and decided to come forward. As a result, Janela's name appeared on the "Indie 500" list last week. - Thoughtful
I am writing this to make it known my own personal experience with the physical and emotional abuse I either witnessed or experienced from David Miscavige, including his forcing me to disconnect from my daughter when she was 14 years old.
I also want to make it known that, being staff on the Int Base and in RTC for the better part of 15 years, I have differentiated between Scientology and truth from downright arrogance, coercion, physical abuse and any other scare tactics that were used to control us.
What was and is happening on that base is not Scientology; the destructive activities that are occurring and that so many others have spoken about were never the reasons I became a Scientologist or joined staff in 1983. My purposes were to use Scientology for the greatest good, not only for myself, but for others, which, for me, being a staff member was the ideal scene.
Over the years, life at Int degenerated until finally it had nothing to do with Scientology anymore. It became all about David Miscavige and how he was the only one that could do anything right at that base and “everybody else” was just suppressive and didn’t deserve a life. We were the targets of his continual wrath and black propaganda -- the complete reverse of what Scientology teaches.
Accordingly, toward the end of my tenure, I convinced those I worked with that I was incompetent and my only worth was to do staff laundry. Ha ha – the joke was on them. I did staff laundry because it was more productive than sitting at a desk gritting my teeth and mulling through my head how the hell I was ever going to get anything done in that mad house! I’m fully trained in LRH’s administrative policy, but I sure LOVED doing laundry in those last days of my life there. Although fellow staff members would only glare at me and made sure I understood what an irresponsible bum I was, I could not believe their blind devotion to this tyrannical monster, a devotion that seemed to grow stronger with each passing day. I knew who the real idiots were.
LRH said that some people were so degraded, so indoctrinated into being kicked about and beaten down they slavishly can only follow a suppressive person. They are people who’s minds are enslaved.
For those sheep still condoning abuse from David Miscavige, lying for him and covering up his crimes like Tommy Davis, I can only say “Shame on you.” They have lost any and all sense of dignity or truth and in no way exemplify what Scientology is.
Norman Starkey: how could you stand up and lie about David Miscavige not laying a hand on you? I was standing right there in the office when he just walked up to you and boxed you in the ears with no concern whatsoever. And you, a senior citizen in your ‘60s? Why is it that he has such a hold on you?
And since when is it that someone can tell me that I’m not a Scientologist if I’m not affiliated with that organization? You can’t tell me what I am or am not. No one, not David Miscavige nor any organization has totalitarian control over truth – you can’t rob my identity because I refuse to allow it. And you will never ever control me with the idea that my eternity lies in your hands ever AGAIN. Sorry, it lies in mine. When I saw this for myself I broke from your hold and found freedom.
While I have my own personal experiences of being thrown in the lake; sleep deprivation; being incarcerated on the Int base and forced to sleep on a cot in my office for 7 months; starved on a diet of rice and beans for weeks; the most destructive and painful of all was the forced disconnection from my daughter in 2001. My experience is one that rings of violation of parental rights, human trafficking, and labor code violations.
My daughter moved with me to the Int base in 1990 when she was 3 years old. She lived on the Int Ranch (called Happy Valley) and, while I did not see it in the earlier years, the lack of any time to be a parent or to spend time with my daughter severed my relationship with her. The only time available to see my child was on Sunday mornings, yet that was also the time scheduled to wash clothes and clean berthing. So, I was lucky if I even got to see her at all, since I frequently had to work on a night schedule and sometimes ended up working during that little “free time” we had in the week. In addition to this, I later discovered that my daughter was being told by staffers at “Happy Valley” not to “talk to me” when she had problems as she would distract me from my job. What parent does not want their child to come to them when they have problems? That’s what parents are for!
In other words, it was the perfect recipe for destroying or preventing any trusting and loving relationship; the exact reverse of what LRH intended and spent his whole life teaching.
In 1999, David Miscavige went to the Int Ranch to do an inspection. I don’t recall the specifics of what he found, but the result of this inspection was orders to ship all children off to either Florida or Los Angeles, forcing them to take jobs on staff. Was I ever consulted as a parent? No. Did I have any say in the matter? No. Parental rights did not exist and the idea of asserting them was “out-ethics.” Instead, I was told that Christina, my 12 year old daughter, was being shipped off and routed into the Sea Org in LA.
I had grave concerns for my daughter leaving the base and further away from me. She was having problems at the Ranch and probably needed more care and handling than what one receives then they join the Sea Org. Sure enough, after being in LA for approximately 6 months, she started to hang out with the “wrong crowd” and took unauthorized leaves from her staff job to roam the streets of Hollywood.
In the summer of 2001, my daughter originated wanting to leave the Sea Org. I was at a complete loss. My daughter, who, at that time was 14 years old, wanted to leave and I had no control on what was happening with her. The idea of allowing me, as her mother, to see her, be a terminal, participate or have any decision on handling her ever was not even considered a possibility. I originated going to see her, but no, in the Sea Org, everybody is a thetan in a body and there is no recognition of the impact a mother or father have with their children and making decisions about their lives. She was “out-ethics” and acting “suppressively” and others were expected to handle it so that it was “not on my plate” as an RTC staff member.
September brought disaster. One of the security guards who worked for David Miscavige during the Maiden Voyage was sent back from the ship early due to some failure on his part to live up to David’s expectations. As part of his “ethics handling,” the RTC Representative in Los Angeles assigned him to watch my daughter full time. When David found out about that, he came into my office (AVC Int RTC) and confronted me with the matter. He looked at me straight in the eye and said, “and do you know what one of my personal security guards is doing?”
When I replied, “No”, he told me how his security guard was watching “my” daughter. Of course, the entire room went silent and I was speechless. That David Miscavige even “mentions” my daughter as a distraction to him brought on an entire host of additional meaning to the situation and suddenly, Christina was a flap that RTC had to terminatedly handle.
The next day I was confronted by one of David’s direct juniors, Greg Wilhere, on the idea that my 14-year-old daughter was suppressive. I was coerced to write a disconnection letter and disconnect. It was a robotic, cold and squirrel handling. Never would the handling be for me to talk to her myself, be a terminal for her, be a loving mother and find out what was going on. No, it was sec checks, ethics, disconnection. The concepts of mother, child, daughter, family do not exist.
One would think that as a staff member in RTC who is responsible for ensuring that the trademarks of Dianetics and Scientology were used standardly and not perverted, that we would be applying standard tech 100% on ALL dynamics. Yet I received no standard handling – only coercion to disconnect, and the whole debacle resulted in a severance of the remaining threads of relationship I had with my daughter. Had I been stabbed in the heart, it would have hurt less.
Christina was shipped off to Coldfoot, Alaska. I didn’t talk to her again until January 2003 when her father died. At that time I was informed, more than a year later, that “it was never meant for me to be totally disconnected -- the disconnection was just a ‘disciplinary’ action on Christina.” Oh yeah, and then I, her mother, am not told this until a year later?
The years following were very rough for Christina. She moved from Alaska to Tennessee, turned 18, couldn’t hold a job, had no money and eventually walked out of my life altogether. I did not know where she was or how to contact her. Every day I was desparing and the only “handling” I was allowed to do was to work with ethics staff. Yet these staff usually didn’t know what to do either and were too busy handling the “out ethics particles” on David’s plate.
I got to the point that I didn’t know what to do anymore. My hands were tied at that base so I resolved that the only way out, was to take matters in my own hands and somehow get free. I already knew that I would never be allowed to just walk out of there – I have seen too many times what others have gone through to leave.
Toward the end, Christina attempted to contact me, but her communication was intercepted and blocked. To fill up empty chairs in the audience Int base staff were ordered to attend a New Year’s event where David Miscavige was to speak. There, a security guard spotted Christina and found out that she was looking for me. I was immediately grabbed and shoved into an early bus back to the Int base (which is near Hemet, California -- about 90 miles due west from LA) so there would be no contact. Yet this was my daughter, in trouble, living on the streets and reaching out for help.
Around this same time period, my mother (who I hadn’t seen in 14 years) had a stroke. For me, this also represented the chance to escape. I gave no one any reason to suspect anything on my “leave” to see my mother. Once I was sitting on the plane and in the air I knew I was free. My mother needed help and I’ve spent nearly every day with her in the three years since I left. But not 24 hours had passed before I received a phone call from RTC ordering me back to the base within 24 hours. Well, you can guess what my answer was to that.
While providing care to my mother, it still took me another year to find out where my daughter was. Finally, she contacted me. The relief I felt that day when she called! She had been living in Long Beach and working at the Aquarium.
Since that day, while still caring full time for my mother and going to school, I have worked to somehow make amends with Christina and take responsibility for the great wrong done to her. We continue to make progress.
And I want everyone to know who is reading this that, to this day I still can’t believe that I, at one time, would have done anything to support David Miscavige, including the abandonment of my own daughter. But, at that time, I believed that following David Miscavige was for the protection and expansion of Scientology. But it was destructive and I never live a day without thinking about it. And I know so many others have had similar pain, for he ordered the divorces of dozens of people, and is responsible for disconnections affecting thousands of people all over the world.
At the Int base, through constant repetition, it was continually drummed in to me that I had a PTS situation with my mother and daughter. I had Greg Wilhere yelling 2 inches from my face on how my mother is suppressive. Yet, my mother is a sweet lady, wouldn't hurt a fly and has appreciated me more in the past 4 years I have been back than I ever was in the 15 years I worked in RTC. Well, the perverted application of the disconnection policy is what created that situation for me. And it would never resolve because PTS tech was never standardly applied.
My experience at that base was not a happy or successful one. You would think that staff, particularly those working directly under David Miscavige, would have abundant and successful lives on ALL dynamics. Not one of living literally like a slaves, stripped of all dynamics and acting like meek bums that aren’t worth anything.
And while I am now working on rebuilding my life, I still have scars, as I am sure other numerous children, parents, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters do as a result of squirrelled disconnections. Christina was but one victim. There are thousands more.
What David Miscavige has done is NOT Scientology.
It is human trafficking.
Written by Janela Webster