Marc Headley speech at That is Scientology! Reports from the USA
Hello, my name is Marc Headley
Hello, my name is Marc Headley and I would like to thank you for coming today and for listening to what we have to say. I'm here today to give you a glimpse of what I experienced while working at the International headquarters of Scientology.
My mother got involved in Scientology in the early 1980's and I became involved in and around Scientology at the age of 6. From the ages of 12-16 I was enrolled in a Scientology school; and at the age of 16 I was recruited into the paramilitary branch of Scientology called the Sea Organization. I've basically been involved in Scientology for most of my life and I've seen all aspects of Scientology – from a staff member selling introductory books on the street, to dealing with the leader of Scientology David Miscavige. I was a staff member at the International headquarters of Scientology from 1990 until 2005; when I left.
I started out as an electronics technician there, checking the quality of cassette tapes that were being made at the manufacturing facility there, and then I moved on to overseeing the films that were being shot. We shot a lot of informational films for internal use in Scientology organizations around the world. I later became the film producer over all of the videos and films and audio products that were produced at Golden Era Productions. During my 15 years of working at the Scientology headquarters I witnessed and was exposed to many things that I'll never ever be able to erase from my mind. Just to give you some examples: For the entire 15 years that I worked there I averaged at least 100 hours a week – work hours. We would literally - any waking hour was spent working, and that's pretty much the hours that every single person there worked. We did very little else besides that. Children as young as 14 were also employed there and were keeping those exact same hours. This is at the International Headquarters in California, United States.
When I left in 2005 I was averaging 3-4 hours sleep a night and some weeks I was putting in over 130 hours a week working. Sometimes we'd stay up for 3 or 4 nights in a row to get a project done; and this would be anywhere from 20 to 50 to 100 people that had to stay through the night; night after night after night after night in order to get a production deadline met for David Miscavige, that he was demanding. This is not some deep, dark secret, where you know, there's a few people off in a corner in Scientology keeping these kind of hours. It's a way of life there. Everyone there is working those many hours, and it is not allowed; when you work at the facility at the International Headquarters, you can't just say “I'm tired, I wanna go home.” That's it. You're there until we're done; and if that means we have to stay all night, then that means you have to stay all night. You don't have any choice in the matter whatsoever.
In addition to lack of sleep there's also a lack of proper nutrition; the meals that are being prepared there and the facilities to support the staff that work there are very very mediocre. At one time while working at the Church, I, at 5'10' would weigh just over 100 lbs, and my ribs were clearly – the outline of my ribs were clearly showing through, as I'd lost over 60 lbs during a 6 month period of like, very heavy production demand with little food and lack of sleep, and working very very long hours. The medical care for staff is very rare as well, and one of the things you're told when you sign up for the Sea Organization is that all medical expenses will be paid for by the Sea Organization. It's just simply not the case. If you need contacts, if you need glasses, you get put on a list of 300 people and when the list gets down to you, then you might be able to get some contacts or get some glasses. If you feel sick or you have some kind of illness, you're actually viewed as a – what they call a “Potential Trouble Source” - which means, somebody that you're related to, or somebody that you're working with is “suppressing you” and is a “Suppressive Person”; and once you identify and handle that then possibly your illness will be cured. So it's not look at as it's actually a medical situation or it's an ailment that you need – you might need some medicine for; it's actually a mental or psychological problem that you need to deal with.
In a lot of times, staff that have symptoms or have things that might be diagnosed as a terminal illness are not diagnosed for that, until it gets so bad that they are forced to visit a professional physician or go to a hospital – go to the emergency room and only to find out that they have some sort of cancer, or some sort of sickness that they've had for a year or 2 years or 8 years, that's gone unchecked and untreated because they haven't handled it psychologically or haven't identified a person who has been suppressing them.
Daily physical , verbal abuse, emotional abuse, is just rampant throughout the International Headquarters of Scientology. People yelling at people, people punching people. I myself, on at least 10 different occasions have witnessed David Miscavige actually physically strike other staff members to the ground, strike staff members so many times or damage them physically, that they actually needed medical attention, or that a medical officer from the facility would have to come and bandage them or treat them. In one instance, I myself, was punched several times by David Miscavige in the face, for basically arguing or talking back to him during a discussion that we were having.
After hearing all that, many people say “Well, why did you stay there for 15 years?” you know? I was there while all this was happening. “Why didn't you just leave?” A lot of people get asked that once they come out, and they tell of all these things that happened to them, and all these different abuses that they witnessed, and it's like “well why did you stick around?” Well, staff are not allowed to come and go as they please. When you work at the International Headquarters of Scientology; you work there, you live there, you never leave. You're always there on the property. If you do need to leave for some reason, or you need to go into the town which is 20 minutes away, you actually have to get a formal submission approved through like 3 or 4 of your senior staff members saying that you're allowed to go; and only then are you allowed to go, if you have another person go with you, so that you can't leave the Organization without authorization and never come back. The entire property is surrounded by large, high fences with razor barbed wire atop every single fence; with security cameras, high powered floodlights, motion detectors every 10 feet on the fence. So, even if you said “Okay, I'm leaving! I'm just gonna jump over the fence.” Within 20 seconds there would be a security guard on a motorcycle pulling up to the fence where you're attempting to climb over; because they're watching every move of every person on the property so that nobody could get out.
All incoming mail and outgoing mail is read by security personnel
All incoming mail and outgoing mail is read by security personnel. So if my mother were to write me a letter, it would be read by at least 1 security personnel before I would even get to it. If I wrote a letter to my mother, it would be read. I would have to – any mail – any staff member there mails out has to be sent unsealed, so that it can be read by security; and once they've read it, and deemed it proper and no sensitive information is being leaked through the letter or, I'm not saying what's happening with me, or that I'm unhappy or any non-optimum situation is written in the letter. If that's all okay, then the security guard themselves will seal it and then mail it. That's all communication from all staff members.
All staff are required to surrender their passports and visas once signing up and starting work at the International Headquarters. So if I am a European citizen and I'm working there and I decide to leave, even if I do leave; I can't go anywhere 'cause I don't have my passport, or I don't have my visa. I don't have any of my papers; and there's no way to get them. They're locked up in a safe. I have no access to them whatsoever. Most Sea Org members that are there don't even have passports or even driver's licenses. So, even if they wanted to flee the country they wouldn't be able to. Even if they had access to them they wouldn't be able to. As well – all Sea Org members internationally are forbidden to have children. It is against the codes of Sea Org to have children. If a female staff member for some reason was married, and got pregnant, then she's basically forced or convinced to have an abortion. If she refuses to have an abortion, then she will be offloaded from the Sea Organization and in most cases, declared; and she will not be able to speak to any of her family or friends that are Scientologists.
During the 15 years that I worked for the Church of Scientology, my income averaged out to be 36 cents an hour. That's what I got paid for working there for 15 years. 36 cents an hour. Some years I got $1,000 for the entire year That was my pay for working over 100 hours a week. I was paid $1,000 a year. When you get paid $1,000 a year and you want to leave, it's very hard, because you don't have any money. If you had no money and you left, then you basically have to tell yourself “If I leave, I'm gonna be a bum on the street; cause I have no family, I have no friends, I have no money, I have nothing. I have no possessions.” So, leaving in that situation; it makes it a very very hard proposition for somebody there in that situation to deal with.
Like I was saying earlier, most people that are working there, they don't have a car, so there's not really any reason to have a driver's license You don't have any money, so there's not any real reason to have a bank account or a credit card or a credit history. I don't know how it works here in EU, but when I left in 2005 and they found out that here's this 33 year old guy and he doesn't even have credit card; doesn't even have any credit history. Where have you been for 33 years? You don't even exist. You don't even have bad credit. You don't exist; you're nobody. It makes it very hard to start a life, get a job, get an apartment; you know, buy a car.
Staff that do manage to escape; after everything that I've just told you – staff that do manage to escape are hunted down like animals, and recovered. If you leave and they find out out you leave; every every morning at breakfast, every noon, every dinnertime; and at the end of the night there's a roll call of all staff members. They account for every single person. If, at any one of those intervals, someone is not accounted for, they call a drill – basically a task force that gets sent out to check all bus stations, all airports, all hotels; any means of transport or escape are all checked and gone through to find any of these people that – a person who might have left. Scientology even has access to – they have staff that are licensed representatives of the airlines. Not just a travel agent, but like a licensed representative of the airline. So, if you were to leave and make it to the airport, they can literally search the records of the airplane – all the flights that are leaving the local airport and find out what seat you have, and exactly when you're going, so they have have somebody meet you at the other end, or they can have somebody intercept you at - when you're going to the airport.
Once they do locate a person that's left, they usually find somebody who that person is very good friends with and they basically get that person to convince you that you need to come back; or they get your spouse – your wife, or your mother or your father or whoever is there. There's a lot of people that work there, that their children also now work there. Or their best friend for the last 20 years is at work there; and they get that person to convince you that you should come back, and that you shouldn't leave, and “I'm never gonna see you again” and “We're never gonna be able to talk” and “You're never gonna talk to your family”.
If a person leaves and refuses to come back, and they can't convince them to come back, then they basically give you one final option and they tell you “if you leave, you will be declared a 'Suppressive Person'”. One of the rules that L Ron Hubbard wrote about the International Headquarters of Scientology is that no matter what happens; if you leave and no longer work there, you will be declared a Suppressive Person. Period. Mainly due to the sensitive and very compromising information that people learn while they're working there. If they were to leave for any reason, and they were to speak with other Scientologist's about what happens there, and the going's on's there, then they would lose members of the organization because people would, you know, obviously go “that can't be right. That's just major violations of human rights. It can't be possible”; and they would have people leave Scientology. So basically, if you do leave you are declared a Suppressive Person. Once you're declared a Suppressive Person, you can no longer speak with any of your family if they are involved in Scientology whatsoever.
You cannot speak to any friends
You cannot speak to any friends. You cannot speak to any business acquaintances. Anybody involved in Scientology, you have no further communication with. Period. Ever again. Ever. When I left Scientology in 2005, my family members that were still in Scientology were all contacted before I could contact them,, and told never to communicate with me ever again. When I left in 2005, my mother was told never to speak to me again; and I hadn't even been able to tell her why I left, or to even speak to her for one last time and say goodbye. She was taken from me by Scientology and I have not spoken to her since; and I probably will never speak to her ever again. My sister was moved to Canada and they changed her name so that I would not be able to locate her; and I have not spoken to her since 2005. Sorry. In 2006, a friend of mine that also worked for Scientology and had left, and was also a declared Suppressive Person, and had not talked to his mom in several years, was contacted by Scientology. At this time I was starting to speak out against Scientology and I was becoming a major problem for them in the United States. They contacted him and said: “If you go and find Mark Headley and meet up with him and get any sort of blackmail material on him, we'll let you talk to your mother again; and we'll undeclare you as a Suppressive Person.” This person, knowing me very well, knew that I wouldn't have anything that he could blackmail me with in the first place, but that also, he was my good friend. He wouldn't do that to me. So he had no other choice but to meet with me and tell me what had happened.
In case you think my experiences are isolated only to the United States, they're not. L Ron Hubbard wrote one set of policies they're applied – they're to be applied to every single Scientology Organization in the world. There's no exceptions. There's not a version for Germany. There's not a version for Australia or for Canada. There's one version; and that version is the sacred text that is supposed to be applied to all Scientology organizations throughout the entirety of the world. I've been to many Scientology organizations around the world as well. I've been to, I'd say, at least 100 different Scientology organizations in my 15 years of working for Scientology; and I can tell you that I've witnessed the abuses that I have mentioned above in every single one of these organizations.
Because we're in Germany, I want to give you a little small story that may or may not shed some light on how Scientology executives view this country. It was 2 Scientology executives at the International Headquarters and, we'll call one "The Boss” and one “The Worker.” The Worker had just purchased a brand new BMW. It was an awesome car; it was – you know – brand new. The Scientology boss found out that this guy had bought a BMW, and he had him called to his office. The Worker showed up at his office and he's like: “Yes sir, what do you need?” and he's like: “I heard you just bought a BMW” and he goes “that's right it's the best car I've ever owned. It's great handling, it's fast. It's an awesome car I love it. I can't believe – you know – it's just an awesome car.” The Scientology boss said “You have to sell it. You have to sell it right away.” The worker was like “why? I bought it yesterday. I just got it.” and he said: “There's no way that anyone working for Scientology can buy a car that was made in Germany; the most suppressive country in the world.” The worker sold the car; and he hasn't bought a car since, that I know of. The reason why the Scientology boss called Germany the most Suppressive country in the world was because “Germany has questioned the activities of Scientology.” The boss in this story is David Miscavige. The worker was the Executive Director International of Scientology. That's how Germany is viewed by Scientology. When I worked in the film crew, we built a brand new studio at Golden Era Productions. We had to buy lights; cine lights – lights to light movie sets. The manufacturer that makes the best lights in the world is a company called ARRI; it's a German company. We were not allowed to buy ARRI lights because they were made in Germany. We had to buy sub-par American lights – because we couldn't support the country of Germany from Scientology.
You guys – you can decide what I've said today and how that applies to you and I know there's people here from other countries. I know that a lot of things happened while I was there. These are my opinions on what I experienced from my 15 years working there. If I – what I say today makes it so that one person doesn't get involved with Scientology, it would be well worth it. If what I said today makes to so no one else gets involved in Scientology, it would be priceless.
Thank you very much.