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The origin of Scientology’s notorious prison program: Hana Whitfield’s eyewitness account

Last week, Louise Shekter gave us a piece about the origin of Scientology’s notorious prison program, the Rehabilitation Project Force. Technically, the order creating the RPF had been written by Ken Urquhart, but Louise wanted readers to know that it was really Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s idea to segregate Sea Org members for punishment. Another person on the ship at the time was Hana Eltringham (Hana Whitfield), who sent in her own version of that event, an excerpt from a book she’s working on.

It was January 1, 1974. I was in charge of the Authority and Verification Unit (AVU) on the Apollo, with Ken Urquhart, LRH’s Personal Communicator (LRH Pers Com), as my direct boss. Sue Pomeroy, Suzette Hubbard, Marion Witcher, Hugh Harrison, Judi Light, and Kiki Swift were my great AVU team.

Hubbard had established AVU fifteen months earlier. The Unit ensured all management orders from Flag to Scientology, and Sea Org organizations, units, and ships complied with his established policy, technical bulletins, executive directives, books, and taped lectures. The order could be as simple as one line to an executive director to appoint herself a communicator/secretary within the week. It could also be a complex fifty-order program to help an organization with down-trending production statistics. AVU’s job was to verify that the submission was 100 percent compliant with Hubbard’s policies and, if it was, to authorize it for publication and distribution.


By January 1, 1974, Hubbard had returned to the Apollo from the US, injured himself on a bike ride, and wailed in pain in his cabin.

And that morning, Ken, LRH Pers Com, walked quickly into AVU. Ken was uncharacteristically anxious and white-faced. Ken handed me a proposed Flag Order and spoke in an urgent, quiet voice, clearly meant for me, not my AVU staff working at their desks nearby. Ken said he had written the Flag Order based on notes he had received from LRH and quietly asked me to authorize it for immediate printing and distribution and that he would wait while I read the proposal.

I took the proposed Flag Order and the stack of LRH notes. I was perplexed; I’d never had Ken wait next to me as a submission was authorized.

“Can I read the FO? And LRH’s notes?” I asked Ken, wondering if he had expected me to sign the proposed Flag Order without doing so.

“Yes,” Ken said quickly. I’d never seen Ken as anxious or agitated before.

Hubbard’s hand-scribbled notes, on several small sheets of paper, contained the purpose, formation, and complete function of the RPF. I had to read those notes several times to get the complete sense of what Hubbard wanted and their shocking import; Hubbard was setting up a penal colony on the Apollo!

I looked up at Ken. “This is awful!” I whispered. I was afraid of the consequences of the Flag Order. “Does LRH really want this?”

Ken nodded rapidly, his face white, bleak. “Yes. He wants it published immediately,” he said again. I believed Ken.

I slowly read through the proposed Flag Order. I verified that it complied in full with LRH’s notes.

LRH was establishing a ghetto on board the Apollo for Sea Org crew who had ever rock slammed on the e-meter.

A rock slam, a term devised and defined by Hubbard, occurs when an individual holding E-meter cans reportedly has an evil thought about Hubbard, LRH, Mary Sue, Scientology, Dianetics, key Scientologists, Scientology organizations, ad infinitum. The E-meter needle shows that specific destructive emotion by moving and slashing erratically over the meter dial too rapidly for the eye to follow. Hubbard claimed the needle movement meant the person was untrustworthy and a grave threat to Hubbard and Scientology.

LRH’s notes and the Flag Order laid out RPF members’ rights: They were to work, eat, and sleep as a group under 24-hour supervision, work only on menial deck work, cleaning, and chipping projects, and co-audit until they had cured their evil intentions, at which time they would be considered for reintegration into the ship’s crew. They had no recourse.

I shuddered. Hubbard was telling those of his loyal crew who had rock slammed publicly — the worst way possible — that they had rock-slammed, had evil intentions, he did not trust them, and he was the only one who could cure them.

Despite the Flag Order complying with LRH’s notes, I hesitated to add my signature. Because, for a few startling moments, I believed that Hubbard was violating his policies and technical issues. By establishing the Dianetic and Scientology Bridge, the sequence of specific processes LRH’s followers had to receive to advance in Scientology, Hubbard had assumed the role of case supervisor for all Scientologists. And by ordering how auditors were to run auditing sessions, he had taken on the auditor role for everyone. Yet Hubbard had also established inviolate standards for case supervisors and auditors, which stated:


“I promise not to invalidate the preclear’s case or gains in or out of session.”

“I promise never to use the secrets of a preclear divulged in session for punishment or personal gain.”

And further:

“… evaluation consists of telling the pc what to think about his case. This is something an auditor should never do. It is directly contrary to Scientology practice, and enormously inhibits a pc’s gains.”

I hesitated and looked up to Ken. I was about to voice my concern when Ken said again, in his quiet voice, that the Old Man had a very urgent reason for getting the Flag Order published immediately.

As Ken said his words, my belief that LRH was violating his auditing and case supervising codes turned 180 degrees to believing LRH knew far more about what was going on than I did, that he was implementing the greatest good for the greatest number, though I did not understand how, and my job was to continue to trust Hubbard and back him up all the way. And without another word, I signed the proposed Flag Order, authorizing it for publication.

With the distribution of the FO, a heavy, almost palpable pall descended over the Apollo. As we know, Hubbard’s FO 3434 — because it was in truth Hubbard’s Flag Order — wreaked hell on the entire Sea Org, changing us all forever without our knowledge or approval.

It also changed Hubbard forever, though I do not think he was ever aware he had done so.

I am sharing this now because I believe it is important to voice that Hubbard’s cruelty in this instant came from Hubbard, not Ken.

We were all with Hubbard at the time and insanely loyal to him. Not having been schooled in the destructive nature of narcissistic manipulation and coercion, we were all codependent with Hubbard (shameful as it is to admit), culpable of encouraging and furthering his madness and abuse and our own and avoiding our responsibilities in the situation.

— Hana Whitfield


Bonus items from our tipsters


Meanwhile, on Scientology Facebook…

…they take PayPal now?


Fresh off being named Patrons Laureate ($10 million) of the IAS, Steve and Peggy Fabos fork over even more for the Long Island Ideal Org.



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Source Code

“We are processing as close to definitions as possible. This has always been true in the Advanced Course — in these Clinical Courses. We process as close to definitions as possible. And when we’re right on the button with definitions, we see that space is a viewpoint of dimension, we of course have the basic of any universe. Of any actually created universe, the basic is that there must be somebody there to be the central viewpoint of it. Well, whose postulates would hold in that universe? Of course, the person whose viewpoint it was. That person’s viewpoint would hold. Therefore, we have the god concept. Now, the other things that are manifest here that aren’t mentioned on this data sheet — down here we see the Know to Sex Scale is something that you could use for diagnosis and hasn’t been gone into here very thoroughly. Now, here we have know, look, emote, effort, think, symbols, eating and sex.” — L. Ron Hubbard, April 13, 1954


Avast, Ye Mateys

“GOOD NEWS: Indications are that we will have won the war with Smersh in a year or two. They have lost further ‘prominent leaders.’ We have directly traced and documented their origin to East Germany and have found the crimes they sought to hide. Lesser lights in their ranks are turning to us for guidance. Their network is collapsing under the various stresses to which they have been subjected. They may fight more skirmishes through men they control in govts but it is obvious we will win the war.” — The Commodore, April 13, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Scientology is booby-trapped to the point where Scientologists are sometimes unable to confront and handle reverse Scientology in PT. False bridges are confronted and resolved as an integral component of life on earth and the dynamics beyond the 8th. That includes the 2 primary BTs plus the primary and secondary assumption of beingness for the current eternity. The person is neither and BTs are a lower level harmonic of relative states of beingness, encountered within this universe as BTs which reduce to functions of awareness.”


Past is Prologue

1996: The Tampa Tribune published an article concerning a drive by Scientology to seal Clearwater Police records of child abuse and neglect. “The agreement would require a judge’s order to see certain files. Public files are usually required to be open under the state Government in the Sunshine Law. The article quotes the city mayor saying they believe the agreement to be legal and not to erode the public’s right to open government. The suit apparently began when the city sued the church after Scientologists protested release of police files to the media. The church counterclaimed and removed the case to federal court. The file boxes date back to 1979 and include allegations of child abuse and neglect at the church as well as identities and personal financial information of church members, according to Church lawyer Paul Johnson.”



Random Howdy

“Have you ever destroyed a planet with a jim-dandy whizzer?”


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. Additional charges also referred to grand jury after January 5 assault while in jail.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference May 20 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: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

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’s motion for reconsideration denied on March 15.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Next hearing scheduled for June 29.
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] Scientology chiro Jay Spina sentenced to 9 years for case that made judge’s ‘blood boil’
[TWO years ago] Scientology really reaching in latest attempt to keep Philly lawyers out of Masterson lawsuit
[THREE years ago] Scientology and evolution: The otherwordly experience of reading ‘A History of Man’
[FOUR years ago] Returning to Clearwater with a Miscavige cutout and memories of the Lisa McPherson Trust
[FIVE years ago] Scientology’s celebrities to the rescue! John Travolta shills while Jenna Elfman melts down
[SIX years ago] Class action lawsuit against Scientology’s drug rehabs refiled with new plaintiffs
[SEVEN years ago] If you want the IRS to re-examine Scientology’s tax exempt status, it’s time to get real
[EIGHT years ago] Sunday Funnies: The Writers of the Future and more success stories!
[NINE years ago] The Saga of David Mayo: Scientology’s Banished Tech Wizard
[TEN years ago] Scientology Admits Connection to Slimy Anonymous Attack Websites


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 2,633 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,138 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,658 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,678 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,569 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,876 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,744 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,518 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,849 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,322 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,638 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,204 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,123 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,291 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,871 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,133 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,169 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,884 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,409 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 764 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,939 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,490 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,639 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,959 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,814 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,933 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,289 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,592 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,698 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,096 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,972 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,555 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,050 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,304 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,413 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 13, 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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