MUSICAL CHAIRS - INT BASE STYLE
It was just another day in hell.
We had been “restricted” to the CMO Int/WDC conference room for 2 months now. The basic R-factor (Reality Factor) was that until all org boards and postings for the Int Base, FB and Class V orgs were done, we were not allowed to leave. We had to sleep under our desks each night and food was brought in. We were allowed to go down to the Gold Estates Building for showers if we went down real early. We were not allowed to be around while other base staff were around.
We were allowed to go to different areas of the Base, if it was regarding a specific COB order that had been issued. If we were to have been found to cross order COB in any way while we were in any areas, it was an immediate RPF assignment.
For the most part there was nothing we could do. Anyone who had an external facing post was not allowed to send any traffic out. All telex lines and orders from the base were cut by COB. As all of the traffic coming from the base was cross ordering HIS strategies, he ordered no traffic be passed on by AVC to ANY orgs or management units. All of the internal facing posts were involved in the org boards and postings.
The org boards and postings had been going on since the year 2000. Actually the New Years 2000 Event sealed the deal on these and was the flap of the century if you want to call that.
Because the event had been ordered worked on since January of 1999, and nobody did anything on it until the end of September, it was a complete fiasco. Dave almost got speared to death by a college kid welding a 12 foot flag, his speech was written by him over night and he had no sleep before the event. All of the visuals that accompanied his speech were not ready and when he was reading his speech, pictures that had nothing to do with what he was saying were being projected on the screens behind him.
The entire Event had to be re-done digitally after it was held live at the Sports Arena. This took 2 months to do over at least. The entire time this was being done, the continued statement of why the entire event had been a disaster was that NO ONE HAD A POST AND NO ONE AT THE INT BASE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING. That was in 2000
It is now 2005 and we are locked up in the conference room. This is the latest in a series of “too grusesomes” meant to make people crack under the pressure and do something that COB has asked for.
COB RTC (Dave Miscavige) asked for a lot of things in a day. If one someone were to keep track of everything things he asked for and typed them up, it would take them – Oh wait he has a staff of eight people that do this as their sole function!! They are:
COB Sec for Correspondence
COB Sec for Compliance
COB Sec for Incoming Traffic
COB Sec for Outgoing Traffic
The record everything he says throughout the day and then turn those tapes into streams and streams of orders that get sent out in triplicate to anybody and everybody that has anything to do with any of them. These people then have to Method 9 word clear his orders before they can even do anything on them.
There are over 2000 pages of transcripts that deal solely with the subject of getting the Int Base org boards and postings done!
There are lists and lists of every single different possible personnel scenario that could be put into place at the Int Base. Does CMO Gold stay its own org? Does it get put in the Exec structure of Gold? Does it move into CMO Int? Does Annie Tidman stay the CO? If it goes to Gold then she can’t still be the head as her and Lisa Schroer don’t get along that well. Does it get moved across the property, does it stay in the 400’s buildings. All of these are taken into account for each org and all of the postings that are being done.
For at least the last seven years, the org boards and posting have gone like this:
All of the postings get worked out by a committee of whoever thinks they are the current exec structure in charge. They order the EstoS to draw up all of the charts and pictures of everybody so it can be seen who is where. Personnel files and experience data is rarely if ever used, this is a “who would I like to do what” drill that gets done by a few people. If the persons doing this drill don’t like you, it is likely you will end up on a post that sucks. Okay, so this takes at least a few weeks and the list is almost done. There are however a few WDC and higher exec posts like Gold Div heads that are still vacant. As nobody wants to do those posts as they know that they have a very high turnover rate, the whole thing stalls out and cannot be finished. Dave Miscavige calls a meeting and then all of these people that are doing the org boards and posting get hauled up to Building 50 or the WDC conference room for 9 hours to hear what people Dave thinks should be on what posts and which people he DOES NOT want on certain posts.
After this meeting, they start over on the list and have to somehow put all of the pieces back they way Dave wants them and still be able to come up with a lists that makes sense. Add into this that they had to offload 5 people and 4 people blew since the last list was made. So now they have to someone get rid of some posts or name some people that are not even at the base to take these posts once they get to Int.
Oh yeah, no new people can come to the Int base until the org boards and postings are done so no new personnel arrivals have gone to Int for nearly seven years. There have been over 500 offloads though. You can leave out the backdoor, but no one can come in the front. (Cue all of the LRH references that talk about what it means when personnel lines are shut down.)
Oh yeah, and for the rest of the things that are not allowed until all of the Int Base Org boards and postings are done. These apply ALL INT BASE STAFF unless otherwise noted:
Meal breaks longer than 30 minutes
Having rank (all Int Base staff were demoted to a rank of “Swamper” since the year 2000)
Sea Org Day
Birthdays (except COB’s) bring on the gifts!
Going home to berthing (if you are directly related to getting the postings or boards done)
Okay, so now back to the main story here! We are locked up in the conference room and Dave is going to come down and meet with the key execs on the music studio. It has just been redone for the fourth time and Dave wants to go over what he found when walking through the Studio that afternoon.
When one of these meetings happens, you have about 20 people who just go into a room and do not come out for hours on end. You will see COB come and goes as he pleases, but the people in the room do not leave, for nothing, no bathroom breaks, no snacks nothing. When Dave leaves or is going to be gone for a bit, sometimes they can duck into a nearby room, grab a protein bar, take a bathroom break and go right back into the room for fear that he will return while they are gone.
No one is allowed to come into a meeting once Dave has entered the room. Once he is in the room, it is locked down so to speak. No one comes or goes unless he directs it.
Today’s meeting will be at 3PM in the CIC conference room in CMO Int. This room holds about 20 people max and that is with about 10 sitting on one side of the table and the rest standing behind them or sitting in chairs in the room behind the ones sitting at the table. The other side of the table is for Dave. He usually sits at the table and has a set variety of things that have been placed there by his stewards before the meeting:
Water (specific brand that only he drinks) No one would dare drink that same brand water!
Pack of Camel non-filter cigarettes
Tape recorder (unless room is hardwired for recording which all Int Base conference rooms are)
The attendants of this meeting are the CST guys, Russ Bellin and his staff that are running projects at the Base, CMO Int execs, and Gold Execs. Annie Tidman is there as she is directly running the Music Studio re-re-re-re-renovation and up-up-grade that is currently being done.
COB comes in and immediately asks who has been into the studio lately. Of course only one or two people have and even they are probably lying, so he tells everybody to go and look at the main control room. The music studio is right next to CMO INT so it is a 30 second trip over there. The musicians are in there and they have a look of horror on their faces, obviously COB has been by there recently. They say he came in, asked some questions and left.
We return to the CIC conference room. After a bunch of back and forth questions and guesses from us on what is wrong, we are told by Dave that the mix board was crooked and we all get sent back to the studio control room to see what he is talking about.
Okay, back in the conference room he give us a lecture on mixing and how it’s done blah, blah, blah. He then asks for a copy of the “Queen’s Greatest Hits” CD to be brought down to the conference room. After it is brought down he plays the CD for us and tells us to listen. You have got to picture this. You have 20 people who probably don’t give a crap about Queen, have not eaten, are tired and exhausted do not care about mixing or at least are certainly not going to take away a whole lot in terms of learning about it today, but yet we listen…
While Dave is playing the CD for us, I think during “Keep Yourself Alive” he suddenly becomes very happy and jumps up from the table. “I just had a great idea!” he says. He is the happiest any of us have seen him in months, almost in glee about this new idea that has popped into his head. He says that we should get something to eat, then get all of CMO Int rounded up and into the WDC conference room for a meeting in about an hour. He says to remove the table from the middle of the room and make sure that there are enough chairs for EVERY SINGLE PERSON to sit down. He is very clear to make sure we understand this part.
The room has been cleared out. Now the WDC Conference room is much bigger than any other conference rooms on the base. It is basically two trailers put together with no walls or post to block Dave’s view of anyone on the meeting. That is why he likes meeting in this room, he can be close enough to the large amount of people in the meeting to read their reactions. Well, with the table cleared out, there is a lot of people now in the room. All CMO Int except for two Gold Execs. No one had a clue why we are there. We know that Dave was happy about some idea that he had come up while listening to a Queen album and other than that the meeting purpose is unknown. It is around 5:30PM.
Dave shows up and talks about the org boards and postings, He also talks about how there have been over 500 people that have been musical chaired off post over the last 5 years. (He leaves out the part about most of them being as a result of his orders) He then asks a few people what musical chairs means. About 3 people answer with the Scientology definition of musical chairs, no one seems to know that it means something else. One guy from Programs says that it is a game. Dave has him explain the game to everybody.
“Good. So you guys understand the game?” Dave asks. “Okay, well today we are all going to find out how the entirety of Scientology feels about you guys playing musical chairs with the posts of international Scientology orgs and the Int Base. We are going to play the game musical chairs, but with a twist. You are all going to walk around these chairs here, while the music plays, a chair will be removed, and whoever does not get a chair when the music stops, well, that person will be offloaded from the Int Base.”
“Those are the rules and that is the game. Oh and the person who is left standing when all but one chair is pulled out will stay here and help me repost the base and get Scientology expanded. This is not a joke and I am not kidding. You guys have fucked with me for the last time. I am going to find out right now and right here, who is the most determined to stay here.”
You can imagine the horror on the faces in the room. There were about 70 people in the room and everybody knew that this was going to be a very cutthroat ordeal.
And what did “offloaded” mean? There were so many definitions for this word at the Int Base that this was not so clear. To most this would mean that they were going to be given $500 put on a bus to the middle of nowhere and told to never come back. Some had the hope that it meant to a lower org maybe. To some it meant going to the RPF in ANZO, CANADA or AFRICA where no external trouble could be caused.
There was a lot of fumbling around to get the chairs into a giant circle. Dave had the Cine Sec Gold (Federico Tisi) bring up a video camera so they whole thing could be videoed. This was going to be a major production!
Dave played a few CDs. The Queen one did not work for what he was trying to do. “We are the Champions” was not the right message for this. “Mozart's Requiem Mass” was what I think he ended up using. How appropriate!
Anyway, the first people to go were the usual suspects, the older, more reserved bunch. As people would leave the game, Dave had them lined up in one area of the room. He would jab comments at them and apologize for it having to end up like this. If the person was married or had a spouse in Gold, he would ask them why they had not thought about this before. “Is it real to you now?” he would ask.
One guy, John Oldfield, was leaving the game. He was married to Megan Oldfield in Gold. She was a video editor and they had been married at least few years. John had tears running down his face. Dave asked him why he was crying. John said that he was going to miss Megan and that he did not want to have to leave like this. Dave said, “Well you never cried for me!”
To prove that he was not kidding, Dave had one of his staff go off and come back with actual airline tickets printed up with the people’s names on them. They were handed out to people that had been kicked from the game so far.
As the amount of people was getting thinner, Dave started to let the music play longer. This went on for hours.
When it got down to around 20 people, it started to get VERY physical. Mark Ingber and Mike Sutter actually destroyed a chair by pulling it from each other and fighting and punching each other to let go of it. Mark Ingber actually ripped the seat of the chair from the frame and sat down on it on the floor! That counted and Mike left the game!
As the final people were weeding out, people were being thrown to the ground, pushed against walls and otherwise totally fighting for a chair. If you could imagine what it would be like if pro athletes played a game of musical chairs, that was what it was like for the last 15 or so people.
It was very sad to watch. People, who were best friends for years, were throwing their best friend to the ground for a chance to get a seat in a chair. Most of the people who had lost were just made to stand there and wait. Wait and do nothing except wonder where you would end up, what would you do, who would you ever see again?
Most of these people knew nothing else except for the Int Base. They had very little or no family, or at least they had not seen their family in so long, they did not even know if they could go to them.
No one had credit cards, bank accounts, any more than 50 dollars to their name. Very few staff had driver’s licenses and fewer had vehicles. And even if they did have a vehicle, it either did not run or had been years since they had registered or insured it. How would they live, how would they even eat? What would their spouses think of them? Would they be told that they were an SP and never hear from their family or partner again?
There were now around 70 people standing off in this big group. These people were now being referred to as the “Offload Group” by Dave. 50% had either been crying or were crying at this point. The other half might have even been happy to get the hell out of there or did not care enough either way to cry.
The last 4 people were Greg Wilhere, Sue Wilhere, Mark Ingber and Lisa Schroer. Mark was literally thrown aside by Greg Wilhere. Lisa beat out Greg for a seat.
Sue Wilhere and Lisa Schroer walked around a single chair for what seemed to be an eternity while Mozart rang out. Then the music stopped.
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The music stops and both of them fight for the single seat.
As fate would have it, Lisa Schroer got the seat and Sue was sent to the side.
“A deal is a deal,” Dave Miscavige says to Lisa, “you can stand next to me.”
“The rest of you are not done yet. We still have to figure out where you will all end up going.”
At this point Dave tells everybody to split up into groups of 7 and that no couples can be in any groups. So if both you and your spouse were in the room, you would have to go to different groups so that even once offloaded, you could not be together!
The groups were split into seven separate groups. 10 people in seven groups of ten.
Dave asked the first group where the thought that they should go. Of course none of them could agree on one place as there were 10 different people from 10 completely different places in the world. “Okay, I know how to solve this” Dave has Marj Habshied brought into the room from here office. Marj was working in ESI as the SO#1 I/C. People would right in to ED INT from orgs all over the planet and she would answer them for him. Most of the time he would not even see the responses or even care to read them. This went on for years. Anyway, Marj was fresh on DM’s mind from this flap that had recently come up, so she would decide the fate of ten people today.
DM was also careful to make sure that everyone in the room knew that no one could tip Marj off to what was going on in the room. Everybody needed to put on a happy face and not say ONE SINGLE WORD to Marj when she came in.
Marj walks into the room. Dave asked her if she knows a lot about the different Conts around the world and the state of the Scientology orgs in each. She said that she was very knowledgeable about this as she gets letters from all areas and knows which ones complain about what in each area. Dave asked her to tell him which one that she felt was the worst of all. She hemmed and hawed a bit, but eventually came up with Canada.
Dave had someone sent off to fetch the Org photos binders for Canada that exist in the Landlord office. These photos were weekly updated binders of all orgs and Sea Org units in Canada.
Marj was asked to wait by Dave until the photos arrived. Little did Marj know that she was actually deciding where ten people would end up going after being offloaded tonight.
The photos arrive and sure enough there are pictures of black toilets crusted in filth, 15 beds in a single room at the CLO berthing, Showers with green mold on the tiles, etc. The photos were horrid. In the binder it had said that the CLO had been broken into just a week prior and that the CLO was behind on rent and the crew had not been paid in many weeks. The CLO was not making enough money to purchase food for the crew and some had been working on missions in the orgs so that they could get food and berthing money to support at least themselves.
Dave asked Marj if she was sure that this is the Cont that she considered the worst of all. She agreed and was dismissed. As soon as she left the room and was out of earshot, Dave said that the first group would be going to Canada.
Dave then asked the next group who they thought the most out ethics person on the base was, This person was brought up to the room and then their Cont was picked out.
This went on for at least an hour, Dave reading out things about the Cont, showing the pictures around the room, making sure that everybody could see that any place they went was going to suck and that no matter what, the INT Base was a resort compared to any of these places.
Now all Conts were picked.
5. EAST US
7. CC INT
The CC Int team was given their Cont by Dave. He had asked that he get to decide one Cont. CC Int did not seem like that bad an area compared to the rest. There had to be a catch. The team assigned to CC INT would be a cleaning team specifically and that is all that they could do. They were a cleaning team that was assigned to ONLY PUBLIC areas and Celeb areas. Dave said that if they were going to get to go to CC they should be able to get to see celebrities and that that he would make sure that they did. “Ashtrays, toilets, trash cans and Celebrities will be your life.“
Just when everybody thought that the torture was over, Dave says “Well, you have got to have uniforms too”
Dave then asked the CC INT team if they could think of someone who they thought was hip or cool. Becket Wells was brought up as a person that was up on the latest fashions and styles. “Good” Dave says, “get him up here.”
Dave makes sure everyone knows that the same rules apply; NO ONE tells Becket what is happening or says anything to him at all. ONLY Dave is allowed to talk to him.
Becket walks in and Dave tell him that we are all doing an exercise and that Dave wants him to pick out some uniform parts for some crew to wear. He asks Becket to describe the most hideous outfit that anyone would ever want to wear.
The outfit would end up being:
1. Pink running shoes
2. White socks that went past the knee
3. A huge Cowboy belt buckle
4. Bright green short shorts
5. A pirate shirt with 4 inch black buttons on the chest
6. Fluorescent yellow waist pack
7. Red Riding hood - hood
“That is Hideous” Dave said and then thanked Becket for his help.
As Becket left the room, Dave Miscavige turned to the CC Int team and said that that would be their uniform and that they had to wear it whenever they were in ANY public areas. He also specifically added that they could not EVER pick trash up with any sort of tool. It always hand to be handled with the hands, same with ashtrays, they were to dig the butts out with their bare hands and no tools could ever be used except in the case of toilets or urinals - they could use a sponge or greenies, but no gloves or extended brushes.
Just when we thought it all was over and we could at least get off to out Conts. Dave asked that each group pick one person amongst themselves that everybody could agree was the worst of the pack. The most out ethics, most disliked whatever. The least liked person from each group was singled out. By this time, how could it get any worse?
Dave said that each of these most disliked people would be writing the issue assigning one OTHER group to the Cont they were being sent to! And it would be signed COMMANDER.
So Mark Ingber who was going to Canada, was writing the issue for the PAC group and it was going to be coming from COMMANDER MARK INGBER. This was being done for all the groups and everybody had an issue that was being written by someone who was also being offloaded, but just not to the same area!
Each group had their issues written up by hand. Each group was then charged with getting the issues proofread, typed and copied and ready for distribution.
Once all this was done. Dave gave everybody a final pep talk. He asked if anyone had anything to say. NO one did. He said that the buses would be ready to leave at 6AM. It was now 1AM. Each person would need to be ready to go and NO items would be going with them except for the clothes on their backs.
Of course, anyone with spouses had already secured for the night, anyone who had friends, family, co-workers or people that they wanted to talk to before leaving were unable to be contacted. The buses would be long gone BEFORE any of these people would be coming in for post.
All of the phones were ripped out of the room so that no calls could be made to other parts of the base where staff might be working late. All communication lines were cut. About 30 minutes after the meeting had ended, there were a few people saying how this was the “last chance people would have to make things right in their S.O. careers” and that “if they made the Conts expand, they probably would be able to come back to the Int Base one day far, far in the future.”
An hour later, all the different groups had found their way back to their little space under a desk or in a chair and most people had gone to sleep for the night. Sobs and faint crying could be heard for hours throughout the room. If you were not crying yourself to sleep that night, someone else was doing the crying for you.
THE MORNING AFTER:
The crew were rounded up and mustered. Change of plans. NO ONE IS GOING ANYWHERE! Turns out it is going to cost a fortune to fly all of these people all over the place and the logistics were not finalized on how everybody would be shipped off to the different Conts. Dave had called down late during the night and said that he was not willing to waste one money single cent of Church money dealing with the Int Base SPs
Some people might end up going later in the day, and some might end up going that night providing everything was properly worked out.
The day went by painfully slow. No one knew who was doing the logistics workouts and no one was leaving the “SP room”. It was just more torture, everyone waiting, but nothing they could do.
Days would go by and nothing ever happened. Dave Miscavige actually ended up leaving the base and going off somewhere for a Legal Case and the whole thing sort of faded away. Everybody just assumed that whenever the logistics got worked out, they would get shipped off to their Cont and until then they would make the best of it.
Later we would all find out that NO ONE HAD EVER WORKED OUT ANY FLIGHTS, COSTS, OR ANYTHING. It was all just one big pile of shit. Dave Miscavige never intended for anyone to leave, be offloaded to ANY Conts or wear ridiculous outfits while scrubbing urinals by hand. But he wanted us to all think that we were!
More than TWO YEARS LATER, the SP ROOM, SP HALL or whatever you want to call it is filled with pretty much the same people that played Musical Chairs that one night. Those who could blow, did. Those who played it smart DID actually get offloaded to some Conts then blew from there. But there are still many left:
1. Arbuckle, Mary – ex Typesetter I/T R Comps
2. Bellin, Russ – ex CO CST
3. Biggs (Knapmeyer), Alison – ex R Comps Programs Ops
4. Blankenship, Angie – ex COB Project Ops, Local Programs Ops
5. Bloomberg, Dave – ex MEI, ED ASI
6. Bolstad, Pam – ex CO’s Comm CST
7. Buglewicz, Pat Lawrence – ex Incomm Rep Int
8. Cruzen, Richard Gilman – All–around man (has been Audio Prod Sec, Manufacturing Sec, R Comps Sec, CMU Sec,
AVEI, RAV, etc.) most successful as Audio Mixer
9. Greilich, Russ Lyle – ex LRH Lecture Mix I/C, Audio Prod Sec
10. Hughes, Gregory Kenneth Snr. – ex Int Finance Dir, GIEI, WDC WISE
11. Ingber, Liz – ex Admin Compiler, CO CMO Gold
12. Ingber, Mark Allen – ex Admin Comps I/C R Comps, CO CMOI, WDC Pubs
13. Jaramillo (Yager), Michelle Lynette – ex Book Editor RComps, Proofreading I/C, Port Captain CMOI, Snr
14. Jentzsch, Heber – ex President CoS
15. Koon, Susan Jane – ex Compilations Dir RComps (RTRC Dir)
16. Lemmer, Kathy – ex CO Incomm, CO Gold
17. Lemoine, Robert – ex Dir Maintenance & Policing Incomm Int
18. Leserve, Guillaume – ex ED Int
19. Light, Janet – ex President IASA
20. Linson (DeVocht), Jenny – ex CO CMOI, CO CMO CW
21. Mason, Aron – ex IMPR Scriptwriter, IMPR, Dir PR OSA I, Freedom Mag Editor OSA I
22. Mithoff, Raymond H. – ex IG Tech, Snr C/S Int, Tech Compiler RComps
23. Moresi, Bruno – ex Int Project 4th CST
24. Reynolds, Wendell A. – ex Berthing Construction I/C, Int Finance Dir, CO Gold
25. Rinder, Catherine Albertina – ex R Comps Tape Editor, Compiler, D/CO Prod CMOI
26. Schless, Peter Harrison – ex Music Dir Gold, Freedom Medal Winner
27. Schwartzgruber, Rita – ex ED Int, CO CMO IXU?
28. Spurlock, Lyman Doyle jr. – ex Int Finance Dir, Building 36 Sanitation Engineer, RTC Legal man without a post title
29. Starkey, Norman F – ex MCI Cleaner, AVC Aide, Trustee ASI
30. Swartz, Fredric Samuel – ex Shrinkwrap Operator Dissem, GIEI
31. Tisi (Feshback, Charbonneau), Katherine – ex Qual Sec Gold
32. Trussell, Bert – ex Int Project 3rd CST
33. Weiland, Kurt – ex CO OSA Int, CO CMOI
34. Weinberg, Rena – ex ED ABLE Int, Freedom Medal Winner
35. Wheelis, Michele – ex O/O CST
36. Wilhere, Sue – ex Compilations Dir R Comps
37. Willis, Tom – ex Dir R&D CST
38. Vorm, Tom – ex D/CO Prod CST
39. Yager, Marc A. – ex IMPR Events Execution Off,CO CMOI, D/CO Prod CMOI, IG Admin, Snr Messenger
In my next post, I will tell exactly how to get a family member or friend out of the Int Base. How could I know? I have done it with three people so far and it works every time.
Until next time…