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How Much Proof Do Reporters Need that Narconon is a Scientology Front Group?

Here’s some classic 1992 Nightline footage of Scientology leader David Miscavige defending his drug rehab program, Narconon, to Ted Koppel in the last television interview he would give.

These days, Miscavige talks up Narconon at the large annual Scientology events he emcees, and there’s no question that the drug program is a big part of the church’s public relations efforts.

Meanwhile, plenty of official documents show how Narconon is controlled by executives in Scientology’s “Sea Org,” is licensed through Scientology’s “social betterment” arm, and consists of Scientology training rather than drug counseling.

Which leads us to ask: why do journalists still talk about Narconon “ties” to Scientology like the drug program isn’t a decades-old front group that wouldn’t exist without the church?


Narconon is in serious trouble in Oklahoma and Georgia, where patient deaths have led to lawsuits and government investigations.

But we can’t help but marvel at the way the media sometimes seems confused about the connection between Scientology and its drug treatment non-profits.

At least in Atlanta, two reporters really seem to get it. WSB radio reporter Pete Combs is all over the story of the 2008 Patrick Desmond death and the lawsuit filed against Narconon Georgia by his family. In one part of his excellent series, he carefully lays out the many connections between Narconon and Scientology, which licenses the drug treatment centers through its non-profit social betterment arm, the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE). ABLE is staffed only with Sea Org members, the hardcore elite members of Scientology who sign billion-year contracts with the church. WSB-TV’s Jodie Fleischer also seems to understand the strong connection between the two. Both of them have featured former Narconon Arrowhead president Lucas Catton, who told us back in August that Narconon is really just “watered-down Scientology.” (Also in August, we laid out the history of Narconon as an arm of Scientology.)

Atlanta’s daily newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, seems a bit less sure.

“The treatment is informed by the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, who founded Scientology, though [Narconon Georgia executive director Mary] Rieser says Narconon has no affiliation with the church,” the AJC is reporting this week under the barn-burner headline “Norcross drug facility under new scrutiny.” (That headline is almost in “Study reveals lack of funds” territory. Yikes.)

Well, if the AJC is sounding more cautious, there’s no doubt that Combs and Fleischer are understandably energized by a story that has fascinating evidence spelled out in court documents.

Combs points out, for example, that after the death of Patrick Desmond, Rieser almost immediately notified the church’s Office of Special Affairs — Scientology’s intelligence-gathering, legal affairs, and covert operations wing.

It will be interesting to see how the AJC continues to cover this story as WSB’s radio and television reporters continue to go after this like a dog after a bone.

Scientology on the High Seas!

In November we obtained hundreds of copies of L. Ron Hubbard’s previously unpublished “Orders of the Day,” which he gave to crew members as he sailed the Atlantic and the Mediterranean on the yacht Apollo. Our documents cover the period from late 1968 through 1971, and this time we’re looking at what was happening the week of September 30 – October 6 during those years.

This week, the Commodore ends the word-clearing fest with a bang.


October 6


Items which bring in nice comments and congratulations lately have been Expanded Lower Grades and the Data Series.

Numerous pleased comments came in on Expanded Lower Grades with no adverse ones.

The Data Series gets good comment and is well liked. It has run into only a couple of adverse were the Out-points restimed some out-points but by auditing them straight it came out great.

Hymn of Asia is also very popular.

The C/S Series, Personnel Series and some others just got heavily used at once and no one ever says a word.



October 1


With only a third of the crew done Festival Stats have fallen.

Immediate Emergency action was taken.

WHY: We are having to straighten out many Crew cases. People with Int Rundowns to repair have to go to Review which is where auditors who can repair Int work. So a new fast Interiorization RD Repair List was ordered by me to be done yesterday and should be in use today. That will make the Review line swift.

The peak day was accompanied by a threat about mud boxes according to the C/Ses. There is no threat now in existence. A new threat is required according to the C/Ses. We have referred this to the Threat Department and they ran it through their computers and came up with FESTIVAL AUDITOR COMMENDATION WILL BE BASED ON THE LAST FIVE DAYS OF THE FESTIVAL. The Well done Hours rolled up in the next five days by a Festival Auditor gives him his Commendation. The three Highest Hours get a SPECIAL BONUS. The three with the Lowest Hours have to push a peanut with their nose the whole circle of the prom deck on Grand Ball Night and the one who loses the peanut race can only wear a sheet for the next 24 hours. Review Auditors are included.


John Stevens and Geoff Barnes will be given a chance to make a comeback. To better prepare for the Grand Ball, Stevens is appointed Bob Young’s Deputy F/MA FESTIVAL. Geoff Barnes is appointed Deputy D of P FESTIVAL. New pages must be found this morning and grooved in by Barnes and Stevens and page hats turned over without slowing flow. This is the chance for Barnes and Stevens to get back their status as they will take over FMA and D of P toward Festival end. We do want a good Grand Ball and Young and Light are on the Committee.

ROB SANDERSON is returned as Examiner until Festival ends. Bill Blundell is assigned to Tech Page.

So FIVE DAYS OF F*E*S*T*I*V*A*L remain.

Only five days.

Here’s your chance to be a Word Clear!

Here’s your chance to redouble your ability, to think thanks of incredible magnitude utterly unimpeded by Misunderstood Words!



October 2


This evening there will be a cocktail party aboard and ±100 top VIPs are expected as well as one very, very VIP person.

The cocktail will be held in the main dining room and will as usual extend into B Deck Foyer. Therefore body traffic into this area is to be kept to an absolute minimum.

Persons aboard who need to get to B deck fwd between 2000 hrs and ±0100 hours must go down the Stb A deck passageway and down the aft stairs. DO NOT WANDER THROUGH B DECK FOYER.

The bookstore will be closed during the cocktail period. The Advance Courses room will be open for service but through the entrance door — not windows. Access to the door is via Stb A deck as above.

Male & Female occupants of B deck cabins are asked NOT to wander up the passageways and into toilets clad only in a towel during cocktail time. Remember that the VIPs will be using these heads.

There will be 2 gangways in use. The present one from the Aft Well Deck for crew — an additional one only for VIPs. MOTORCYCLE OWNERS ARE ASKED TO POSITION THEIR BIKES ON THE PIER, NOT WHERE THEY ARE NOW.

LAST REQUEST: Please try not to hang around the aft quarter deck or Prom decks during the cocktail – many of the guests will be taking a tour to the bridge at some time during the evening.

As these requirements have been made publically known in the OODay, there will be no excuse for offenders, and I will take very strong action on any I find. Remember we are TOP EXECS of an INT BUSINESS MANAGEMENT CORP. VFP = Safe Ports.

Lt. N. F. Starkey

More 1970s Awesomeness!

After L. Ron Hubbard had moved HQ from the yacht Apollo to the Florida coast, Advance! magazine was thrilling Scientologists with tales of “OT Phenomena.” Those church members who had reached the higher levels of spiritual training shared their stories of superhuman powers with fellow dupes — er, enthusiasts. This excerpt is from Issue 52, May/June 1978.

My life has changed totally since OT III Expanded. My knowingness has come to a point where without any effort at all I just know.

I was driving home from the AO a day or so after finishing OT III Expanded. I suddenly had an urge to go to the store and get cigarettes. Now, I don’t smoke, but I got some for my husband. When I walked in the door I just handed him the cigarettes and he said “thanks” and then walked off. He stopped a couple of feet away and said, “How did you know?” My only reply was a smile. This is a wonderful level to operate from! — Carolyn Burgres

In the five years years since I did OT I, my OT experiences have gone further and further beyond the realms of ordinary experience. It began, mildly enough, with conversing with thetans I knew that were recently out-of-body. Then I developed an ability to perceive things at a distance and to stretch or compress time to my advantage.

Lately, I’ve been reading minds with a fair amount of accuracy, which is great fun. Recently the driver of the cab I was in in New York started uptown when I’d asked him to go downtown, then made a U-turn.

“That’s understandable,” I joked, “You’ve only lived in New York 34 years.” He laughed. “But you’re forgiven,” I continued, “since you have only been driving a cab for a week. It takes a while to learn the streets.”

He practically stopped the car and said, “How did you know that stuff?” My turn to laugh. — Lucy Bergstrom

More amazing tales of theta power. Just the other day, we were wondering what our cab driver was thinking. If we were only OT!

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