Recently, he came to the United States, and has made a series of videos with former church member Karen de la Carriere. In the first video, he reveals that he was brought in to educate top Scientology officials about the Internet, and learned that they had met personally with Google’s Sergey Brin, asking him if it were possible for the search giant to filter results so that only positive information about the church would be returned on the word “Scientology.”
You can imagine how that went over…
Isene also says that he begged the church’s officials to give him a full day to explain the Internet to them before they met with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which had regularly criticized the church for its stands against Internet freedom.
Isene says that the time he spent with them was crucial, because they were “clueless” about Internet culture. That primer helped the church “bury the hatchet” with the EFF, he says.
Apparently, the church is missing Isene’s counsel, because just a few days ago, the EFF put the Church of Scientology into its “Takedown Hall of Shame.”
Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon, is reeling from patient deaths, lawsuits, and government investigations in several US states. But it’s also running into problems in other countries — in Canada, for example, health officials shut down a Narconon facility in Quebec.
And now, health officials in the Netherlands have responded to complaints by taking a hard look at a facility there.
That news reached the US yesterday in somewhat garbled form. So we asked our good friend in Europe, journalist Jonny Jacobsen, to look into things and help us understand what’s going on. Naturally, he came through.
Jacobsen lives in Paris and writes at his excellent blog, Infinite Complacency. And here’s what he sent us…
Dutch health officials have put Narconon’s operations there under six months of enhanced supervision because of concerns about patient safety.
The Heath Care Inspectorate (IGZ) announced its decision in a statement posted on its website Monday, after a series of spot checks on Narconon’s operation raised the alarm.
Two unannounced visits early this year by the officers from the Health Care Inspectorate (IGZ) turned up deficiences that a subsequent inspection in May revealed had not been corrected.
So the IGZ has imposed the following restrictions:
— Six months of supervision, which may be extended;
— a ban on admitting patients using addictive drugs;
— all new admissions must first be examined by a doctor (and Narconon has to provide documentation to that effect)
The one-month delay in making this decision public was because Narconon had tried to block its publication, as the letter itself makes clear.
The supervision decision and the restrictions that go with it were made after surprise inspections in February and March of this year, at the Narconon centre in Zütphen, about 30 kilometres (20 miles) northeast of Arnhem.
These inspections had themselves been prompted by anonymous complaints about Narconon which the Inspectorate had received the previous year.
After those visits, the IGZ drew up a list of changes it wanted made and met Narconon officials in April to deliver its report. The changes involved appear to have included restrictions on the kind of work Narconon was permitted to do.
The IGZ carried out a third surprise inspection on May 16 to see if Narconon was respecting the terms of the previous month’s report: it concluded that it was not.
Narconon had tried to defend its position in a response sent on May 21.
Narconon’s understanding of the restrictions placed on them in the April report had been that they could not treat patients suffering from physical withdrawal symptoms.
There had apparently been some difference of opinion over a patient admitted on May 15 suffering from a cocaine addiction.
Narconon did not think that someone who had recently been taking the drug qualified as the kind of patient they were not allowed to treat because — according to them — cocaine addiction did not involve physical withdrawal symptoms.
Perhaps most importantly, the letter also seems to suggest that Narconon has been ordered to hand in its WTZi certification: its authorisation to function as a care institution offering services covered by Dutch health insurance. Narconon had not been quick enough in complying, said the IGZ letter.
So that rather sounds as if Narconon has lost a major part of its cash flow: with its accreditation pulled, it can no longer receive health insurances payments for the services it offers.
The IGZ said that it was imposing the six-month period of enhanced surveillance in part because of the results of the May 16 inspection and Narconon’s failure to respect the restrictions imposed earlier.
As the IGZ press release put it, they had doubts about the “willingness and ability” of Narconon to comply with the terms it had set out.
The more intense supervision, again using spot checks rather than preplanned visits, is to ensure that this time, Narconon does as it is told.
And under Dutch law, the decision to impose this supervision is not subject to appeal. So there.
As always, we’re glad whenever we can think of an excuse to get Jonny involved in The Underground Bunker.
In Utah, Scientology Answers Accusations About a Ponzi Scheme
Last month, we wrote about an unusual bankruptcy in Utah which had sprouted a lawsuit with accusations that investors had been swindled in a Ponzi scheme run by members in — and for the benefit of — the local churches of Scientology.
We now notice that the churches have answered those allegations, and with a response that calls the allegations of a plot to defraud investors a story that “strains the outer limits of logic.”
In essence, the churches argue that just because some of the defendants in the lawsuit are Scientologists, that doesn’t mean the church was involved in what transpired. We have the response, and we look forward to your thoughts on it.
Posted by Tony Ortega on June 26, 2013 at 06:00
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