Last month, we told you that Scientology leader David Miscavige was in the process of detonating and rebirthing his drug rehab network, Narconon. He’s opening new centers around the world, and the existing centers are being given an ultimatum: Get with the new program and be more tightly managed by Scientology itself, or get out.
One sign of that, we said, was that the Northern California network of Narconon centers had quietly changed the names of its clinics while leaving the Scientology fold. One of our expert sources had noticed that change at the website for the network (which is now calling itself Elevate Addiction Services), and he told us it was strong proof that the Northern California clinics had flown the coop.
Now, we have more confirmation of that, but also a really interesting view of what was happening behind the scenes.
Carnegie Mellon University professor Dave Touretzky recently sent us a copy of an email he received from California attorney John P. Hannon II.
We had previously learned that Hannon was handling several lawsuits against Narconon in California, and we had wanted to talk to him about it, but our efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.
But Hannon gave Touretzky permission to share the email he sent to the professor explaining what had happened in Northern California: His lawsuits over Narconon’s deceptive practices probably caused the group of clinics to give up on Scientology entirely.
Here’s what he sent Touretzky…
We finished up our arbitration with Narconon of Northern California on Thursday. Here are some things that you may find interesting.
1. Narconon of Northern California renamed the corporation as Halcyon Horizons and then renamed their dba.
2. Halcyon Horizons has not renewed their license agreements with Narconon or ABLE. (No more 10 percent of the gross or about $1.2 million going to the Church of Scientology)
3. They have stopped teaching the Narconon/Church of Scientology programs.
4. No more saunas or toxic vitamin bombs.
These changes were done about two months prior to the start of the arbitration. Without blowing my horn too much, I have to think that the changes were due to the fact that someone finally spent the time and energy to actually go after the factual misrepresentations in the Narconon advertising.
It was very clear at the arbitration that the factual representations made by Narconon regarding their success rate and the sauna reducing drug cravings were completely unsupported by any competent factual background. Their own expert and hired shill doctor, Dr. Stephen Stein, (on retainer for $13,500.00 per month) admitted that there is no evidence that sauna treatment reduces drug cravings.
As regards to the vitamins, the testimony was evasive as to when and how much vitamins are given. However, there was no evidence that the vitamins have any effect on drug cravings. Further, the evidence was clear that vitamins given in the amounts prescribed are toxic both in the short and long term.
If any other responsible attorneys would like to talk with me about their own brand of Narconon, please feel free to give them my contact information.
JOHN P. HANNON II
Attorney at Law
We think this also tends to support what Mike Rinder has been saying about Miscavige’s changes to the Narconon system. Miscavige is giving up on larger clinics, replacing them with boutique centers to cater to celebrities and others who might be less inclined to sue. The vaunted new rehab center opened in the old Larry Hagman estate in Ojai, California, for example, only has six beds for patients. The new clinic Scientology wants to put in Maryland and not far from Washington DC will only have 20 beds. Compare that to Narconon Arrowhead in Oklahoma, the system’s former flagship facility, which was designed to treat more than 200 patients at a time. After three patient deaths and dozens of lawsuits, Arrowhead is down to just a handful of patients, we hear. And now, Northern California has broken away. Will Southern California, the “Narconon Fresh Start” system, be far behind?
Scientology’s 2015 in review: The stories of August
Another day closer to 2016, we’re continuing to look back at the stories that mattered the most to us this year here in the Underground Bunker. In this post, we’re remembering the stories of August.
As the month began, we were in London on our book tour, hanging out with John Sweeney. While we were there we heard from a loyal reader of the Bunker who also happened to work in the British government. He offered to give us a special look-see around the Parliament building, which allowed us to get a view of the Clock Tower that even the locals don’t normally get…
We also got to hoist a pint with Sweeney in a hidden pub deep in the Parliament building. Wow, we felt special. And we felt that way again giving a talk, with Sweeney and our publisher, Humfrey Hunter, in front of a full audience at Conway Hall. The drinks afterward were special too, with a motley crew gathered by Bunker regular i-Betty.
On August 6, we felt compelled, again, to address a tabloid story that was full of holes. No, Will Smith did not get a “refund” from the broke-ass, shuttered Scientology school he had financed in Southern California. Sheesh. The truth was spelled out quite plainly in public records, and was pretty much the opposite from the story being promoted by the tabs.
A few days later, Tiziano Lugli supplied us with an exclusive. You’re no doubt familiar with photographs of Tom Cruise and Scientology leader David Miscavige joyously opening the new Madrid Ideal Org building in September, 2004. But now, we had video of the speech that Tom gave on that occasion — in Spanish! Yes, to please the locals he gave a little inspirational pep talk about Scientology en español, and it’s something to behold.
It was in August that Scientology threw its latest curveball at Laura DeCrescenzo and her forced-abortion lawsuit against the church. We were on hand when she overcame, in dramatic fashion, the church’s motion for summary judgment in 2013. A trial in her lawsuit, first filed in 2009, was finally set for Dec 7, 2015 after she got past that hurdle. But then, this summer, Scientology filed yet another motion for summary judgment, and it’s caused everything to be moved back. This time, Scientology says it can treat its workers however it wants, and any attempt to examine that by a civil court is a violation of its First Amendment religious rights. Laura answered the motion and a hearing was schedule for December 15. But Judge Rolf Treu punted, asking both sides to submit new filings, and moved the hearing back to March.
On August 19, we had one of the more surprising stories of the year. Scientology watchers from way back know how important the “Fishman Papers” were to the battles of the 1990s as Scientology tried to fight back against the early Internet’s ability to spread its deepest secrets. If many of us had read the Fishman Declaration back in the day, what had happened to Fishman himself? Thanks to a document one of our researchers managed to track down, we learned why Steve Fishman is today serving a 21-year prison sentence for a fraud completely separate from his Scientology days. As much as we love breaking news about what’s happening to Scientology today, there’s nothing that gets us quite as interested as filling in unanswered questions from Scientology’s past.
A week later, we put another nail in the coffin of those tabloid rumors about Tom Cruise leaving Scientology. Our correspondent in Bogotá sent us news that Tom Cruise had visited the new Ideal Org there, and even sent us a photo of Tom inside the new Scientology church to prove it. That Tom, always doing his bud Dave a solid.
On August 28, we had a little legal bombshell go off. A San Francisco judge called for a trial to determine whether Scientology drug rehab centers are getting patients high before admitting them, so they can then charge their insurance companies for withdrawal services. Wow. Although this trial won’t happen for a year or more, we can’t wait to see it unfold.
Finally, the month closed out with a really amazing new chapter in the life of Paulette Cooper. In London she met Peter de Hoo, whose father, Sijbren de Hoo, had been one of the people responsible for saving Paulette from being shipped to the Auschwitz death camp in 1943. Also, while she was in London, she got together with Bunker regulars at the Old Nick, the same pub where we’d repaired after our Conway Hall appearance. London loves Miss Lovely!
A LOOK BACK AT AUGUST 2014: We remembered Denise Brennan on the occasion of her passing. Mary Sue Hubbard’s house finally went up for sale, as we had predicted. And Kim Poff and Michael DeLong filed lawsuits over the troubling behavior of Oklahoma state officials who were too afraid to take on Scientology.
A LOOK BACK AT AUGUST 2013: Leah Remini filed a missing-person report on Shelly Miscavige, PZ Myers read A History of Man with us, Gerry Armstrong helped us tell his tale, and Monique Rathbun filed her harassment lawsuit.
BEST OF 2015: Our personal picks for stories we’re most glad we got to write this year:
January: Being on the scene to write about the Going Clear Sundance premiere
February: A shocking tale of Scientology mistreatment of the mentally ill in Tennessee and Arkansas
March: Sylvia DeWall is declared and faces the loss of her family, and we get to hear it on audio
April: We dig up the true story of Tom Cruise and Mimi Rogers
May: Paulette Cooper appears in Hollywood two blocks from Big Blue
June: Scientology illegally hacks Mike Rinder and your proprietor with a PI who takes the fall
July: Scientology’s little day care of horrors
August: Why Steve Fishman — of the notorious Fishman papers — is today serving 21 years in prison
Bonus photos from our tipsters
Hey, girl. This Brummie wants to traipse with you through a dictionary.
Signs of expansion! Well, in the Ukraine and the Nation of Islam, at least. Great strategy, Dave.
We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.
Our book tour is concluded for now. (But you can re-experience it through this nifty interactive map!) We’ll let you know about future appearances. Previous events: Santa Barbara (5/16), Hollywood (5/17), Orange County (5/17), San Diego (5/20), San Francisco (5/22), New York (6/11), Chicago (6/20), Toronto (6/22), Clearwater (6/28), Washington DC (7/12), Hartford (7/14), Denver (7/17), Dallas (7/20), Houston (7/22), San Antonio (7/24), Austin (7/25), Paris (7/29), London (8/4), Boston (8/24), Phoenix (9/15), Cleveland (9/23), Minneapolis (9/24), Portland (9/27), Seattle (9/28), Vancouver BC (9/29), Sydney (10/23), Melbourne (10/25), Adelaide (10/28), Perth (10/30)
Posted by Tony Ortega on December 28, 2015 at 07:00
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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
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
PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
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
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield