On Sundays here at the Bunker, we like to bring you the latest Scientology mailers and fliers that our tipsters have forwarded to us. We call it Sunday Funnies, and we have another set of items that we think you’ll find interesting.
But first, we wanted to bring a little context to the explosion of stories we’ve been posting about Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon.
As is becoming crystal clear, there’s strong evidence that just about every step in Narconon’s business practice involves a level of deceit. From generic websites that pretend to be impartial but actually push potential clients to Narconon for hefty bounties, to the way Narconon hides its connection to Scientology and its lack of medical oversight.
But it’s also important to note that Narconon’s controversies are not limited to its Oklahoma flagship or its Atlanta facility, which are each caught up in government probes and civil lawsuits.
As we pointed out recently, the network of Narconon centers in Southern California were caught using scripts to convince callers that they were being given impartial advice about rehab choices. In Florida, meanwhile, Narconon businessman Kurt Feshbach was recently dealt a setback in court.
And then there’s Per Wickstrom.
Wickstrom is a longtime Narconon operative who has mostly worked out of Michigan. Like the others, Narconon centers in Michigan have been the subject of lawsuits. In particular, there’s a distressing case of a Narconon patient, Richard Teague, who was severely burned when he caught fire with an aerosol can and a lighter. We don’t know yet whether a court will find that was his own fault or Narconon’s. (A Michigan freelance journalist recently started a blog that is stirring up info about the Teague case and other Michigan Narconon controversies.)
What really sets Wickstrom apart is that, unlike other people behind the Narconon network who tend to stay out of the public eye, Wickstrom seems to seek out the limelight. (He’s also in the vanguard of getting away from the tarnished “Narconon” name, redubbing his rehabs with names like A Forever Recovery — but they’re still Scientology.)
We have a feeling you’ll be reading more about Wickstrom here in coming days, as whistle blower Eric Tenorio brings out more documents about his experience working in Michigan.
But for now, we thought you’d enjoy this video of Wickstrom gladhanding NFL legend Jim Brown at a charity event. Get to know that face, folks.
That’s Per, all about helping the “youths.”
Anne Archer’s Scientology Front Group Snags a Kennedy
The Church of Scientology’s various front groups never seem to have been busier. And why not? The church itself is mired in some of the worst publicity in its history. So it’s all hands on deck for the various “good works” groups that Scientologists run, including Artists for Human Rights, a clubby little organization run by high-level Scientologists Anne Archer and her husband Terry Jastrow.
We reported previously about their celebration of a filmmaker, but this time they’ve really landed a big fish. According to a flier forwarded to us, Archer’s cabal has roped in human rights activist Kerry Kennedy, seventh child of Robert F. and Ethel Kennedy, and former wife to New York governor Andrew Cuomo.
Take a look…
Kennedy has a solid history fighting for human rights, so it’s especially galling that she’s fallen for Scientology’s recent and cynical embracing of that cause. Scientology’s “human rights” efforts are purely for show, but worse than that, is there anything more depressing than an organization pretending to be about rights when so many people who have left the church in recent years recount tales of being held against their will, forced to have abortions, extorted with the threat of losing contact with loved ones?
You can bet Kerry Kennedy won’t hear about that at Anne’s house. The question is, why didn’t she do her homework before accepting this invitation?
And now, on to our regular Sunday Funnies. Let’s start in Taiwan, where L. Ron Hubbard is going like gangbusters.
We are sorely disappointed that we missed this great opportunity to see Nancy Cartwright and happy shiny Dave Petit.
This eye-searing flier is encouraging Scientologists to take long bus rides (or flights) to Clearwater, Florida to learn about an “idea org” (oops) “alliance.” We saw a similar idea being floated in Northern California, and we think it can’t be good news. You only try to combine forces when those forces are dwindling, right?
Oh boy, what do you do if no one wants to be trapped on your barge for days of courses and lectures and money-grubbing while the world goes by outside? You lower prices, that’s what you do.
Once again, we want to thank our great tipsters for helping us out. Keep those mailers and fliers coming, campers!
Posted by Tony Ortega on April 7, 2013 at 07:00