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What the Dutch Coast Guard really thinks about Scientology and its ship the Freewinds

[Is this Freewinds Capt Mike Napier “training” Dutch Coast Guard members?]

In 2019, Scientology issued one of its typically boastful press releases, this time about its private cruise ship, the Freewinds. In it, the church claimed about its floating cathedral, “Such is her reputation, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) appointed the Freewinds as a training platform to train crew members Caribbean-wide on maritime standards — a distinction it has held since 2007.”

Accustomed to Scientology’s boasts being untrue, blogger Stefani Hutchison made an inquiry with the IMO itself to ask about this claim. The next day, she received this response from its spokeswoman…

Hi Stefani,

IMO has not appointed the Freewinds to carry out training.

IMO runs hundreds of training courses and workshops under its integrated technical cooperation programme, to build capacity in developing countries.


Under this programme, host countries may provide training facilities, such as classrooms and ships. When training courses are held, a host country may offer a ship’s facilities for onboard training.

Despite that debunking, Scientology continues to make the claim that the Freewinds is an IMO-appointed training ship, because that’s what Scientology does. It lies.

In fact, it created a new video for the Scientology TV channel not only once again claiming that the IMO had anointed the Freewinds, but also that under that IMO endorsement it had held training sessions for members of the Dutch Coast Guard, and included footage of Freewinds Captain Mike Napier addressing some Coast Guard members, as you can see above. (The ship typically spends most of its time sailing between Dutch islands in the Caribbean.)

Once again, Stefani reached out, this time to the Dutch Coast Guard to ask about the footage of its members apparently receiving training from Captain Napier.

She heard back from the Coast Guard’s Cynthia A. Devere, head of the Department of Law Enforcement & Liaison.

“Ms. Devere responded that Napier was not training the members of the Coast Guard but only providing them with information on how Freewinds operates. Devere pointed out that Freewinds is often used as a location for many types of entertainment and events,” Stefani wrote.

Devere later wrote again to make it even more explicit: The Freewinds had been used by a third party for the training of the Dutch Coast Guard members, and it was not Captain Napier or the Freewinds who had conducted the training.

Then, something even more interesting happened.

Devere and an even higher-ranking member of the Dutch Coast Guard communicated with each other about Stefani’s emails, and expressed their concerns about the Freewinds, about Scientology, and about what a blogger might write about them.

And in that exchange, they accidentally hit “reply all.”

Stefani ended up with the messages from Devere and her superior, Eugene Middelhof, Deputy Director for the Coast Guard of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Stefani then forwarded those messages to us.

The messages were in Dutch, and we ran them through a translation program and consulted a Dutch speaker before reaching out to Devere and Middelhof.

Here’s what we sent them:


Ms. Devere’s message in Dutch apparently reiterates what she had written to Stefani in English, that a photo depicting Freewinds Captain Napier instructing Dutch Coast Guard members was actually just a discussion of the vessel’s safety policies, and not a training.

Mr. Middelhof’s message, meanwhile, pointed out that Scientology is a controversial organization that the Dutch Coast Guard would want to hold at arm’s length.

This is a Google translation of Mr. Middelhof’s message:

“We need to keep an eye on this. Scientology is highly controversial and we should keep an appropriate distance from this organization (including Freewinds). As stated by Cynthia, that’s enough for now, she indicates that the training wasn’t foreshadowing anything ‘big.’ We don’t know what the blogger is going to publish about us, but if it gets the necessary publicity and it bothers us, it should be trivialized.”

Having reported on Scientology for more than a quarter of a century, I can certainly appreciate the sentiments you express in this message. Scientology is highly controversial, and I have long wondered what the Dutch government thinks about the Freewinds sailing so frequently to your islands.

I would be very interested in hearing more about your concerns about Scientology, and whether the Dutch Coast Guard intends to look more closely at its practices, and at the untruths it puts out in its advertising, as Ms. Hutchison has demonstrated.


Tony Ortega

Four days later, we received this response from a Coast Guard spokesperson:

The message Mr. Middelhof wrote in Dutch regarding this topic was meant for our staff and we apologize we exchanged the message to Ms. Stefani. It’s a pity Ms. Stefani forwarded the Dutch message from Mr. Middelhof to you, as he requested her to disregard his message. The Dutch e-mail was a personal expression he gave about the topic. My colleague, Mrs. Devere already gave an answer to Ms. Stefani about the photo and the two training we received on board. Besides this training we do not have a business relationship with the vessel.

We thanked them for that response.

And once again, we have proof, as we’ve demonstrated time and time again, that governments are well aware of Scientology’s controversies and abuses. But rather than do something about it, they worry more about their public exposure and “trivializing” the situation.

We want to thank Stefani for sharing these messages with us, and for debunking Scientology’s lies.



Derek Lambert and Karen de la Carriere



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Source Code

“The gross divisional statistic of HCO is letters out and letters in. Why? Because the Existence of an org is real to the public mainly by writing in and getting answered. The volume of letters out and letters in is wholly in the ability of HCO to control. After all, it is the HUBBARD COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE. When letters don’t go out in volume, the public and field don’t know the org is there. When letters come in and aren’t answered then the public jolly well knows the org isn’t there and gets ARC Broke about it as well! You can advertise. You must send out mags and these also say the org is there. But that personal communication to Joe, Joe’s reply and answering Joe is vital vital vital for Joe now knows you’re there.” — L. Ron Hubbard, February 24, 1966



Avast, Ye Mateys

“ANCHOR: We will be at anchor until we leave Thursday evening. We will cut short our stay in the next port, arriving there the 26th and departing the 1st of March, giving us only 4 days there. This lets us take part in some celebrations in the port after next. Webspread will be very pleased — if he ever comes back.” — The Commodore, February 24, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“The last time I saw Jack Parsons he was now this lifetime an OT 5 and still living in Pasadena, and he did recall an explosion.”


Past is Prologue

1998: Mike Gormez, Karin Spaink and Zenon Panoussis picketed the Amsterdam org this week. “The local org had organized an ‘open workshop’ for Sunday (the ‘see a film, meet people, get answers to all your questions’ drill) and had printed flyers for it. Lots of people were leaving the org at that time, with energetic looks on their faces and bags (of flyers?) in their hands. We spent a total of five hours between the org and different cafes. We had a good time despite the lousy weather, laughed a lot and, hopefully, got blamed for ruining the ‘open workshop’ that would hardly have been a success of any kind anyway. We came up with the following text: In memory of the Greek Org, 1994 – 1997 And may you soon follow suit. Zenon bought 50 white tulips, a vase and a condolence card. We had a small ceremony. We placed the vase in front of the org – in full view of the guy sitting at the reception desk. After a few minutes I proposed that we would withdraw. There’s was a niche twenty meters away; we could hide there and see what would happen. Within a few minutes some other guy came outside. He stared at the flowers. Suddenly he saw the card and knelt down in order to read it. You could almost hear him think. ‘The Greek Org? What the fuck happened to the Greek Org? Is this a threat?’ We saw him doing it. We saw him ponder his various questions.”


Random Howdy

“I seem to recall that a fear of heights is an engram caused by the thetan-occupied clam remembering being dropped by a seagull.”



Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next pretrial conference May 31. Trial scheduled for August 29.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Last hearing was on January 18, referred to grand jury.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference March 25 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for April 8.
Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Hearing held on February 15, awaiting ruling.

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Eleventh Circuit affirmed ruling granting Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Garcias considering next move.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Valerie asks for March 15 hearing on motion for reconsideration.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Scientology has said it will file an anti-SLAPP motion.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for June 28.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, Cannane victorious, awarded court costs. Appeal hearing held Aug 23-27. Awaiting a ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society. Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in a weekly series. How many have you read?


[ONE year ago] Florida legislator Chris Latvala goes after Tampa Bay Times for its Scientology reporting
[TWO years ago] DRONE FLYOVER: Saturday’s Scientology ‘Ideal Org’ opening in Ventura, California
[THREE years ago] In Scientology, every dollar you own is under constant attack
[FOUR years ago] Scientology fires back at the Garcias, but reveals absolutely bonkers ‘arbitration’ instructions
[FIVE years ago] Whale watching, 2017 edition: Who’s keeping Scientology from sinking?
[SIX years ago] Monique Rathbun is on the clock at the Texas Supreme Court, and more in our legal roundup
[SEVEN years ago] New government release contains a surprise: L. Ron Hubbard flunked out of high school, too!
[EIGHT years ago] Monique Rathbun files motion for contempt against Scientology defendants
[NINE years ago] Marisol Nichols prepares for her greatest role: Scientology space cadet!
[TEN years ago] Scientology on the High Seas: Hubbard Welcomes the New Meat!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,585 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,090 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,610 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,630 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,521 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,828 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,696 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,470 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,801 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,274 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,590 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,156 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,075 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,243 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,824 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,085 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,121 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,836 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,361 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 716 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,891 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,442 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,591 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,911 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,766 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,885 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,241 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,544 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,650 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,048 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,924 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,507 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,002 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,256 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,365 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on February 24, 2022 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists | GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice | SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts | Shelly Miscavige, 15 years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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