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Scientology’s Sneaky Infiltration of New York City Schools

City Councilman Dan Halloran, flanked by Bernard and Meghan Fialkoff

City Councilman Dan Halloran, flanked by Bernard and Meghan Fialkoff

For several years, New York City public schools have been targeted by Scientology front groups that put on drug abuse education and “human rights” seminars without revealing their ties to the church.

A Bayside dentist behind the effort was recently honored by New York’s City Council for his efforts, which have involved disseminating literature produced by the Church of Scientology at hundreds of city schools.

And now, we’ve obtained a church document which shows that the “Truth About Drugs” and human rights campaigns — although they take pains to hide their connections to the church — are, in fact, part of a concerted effort by Scientology to spread its influence.

Bayside dentist Bernard Fialkoff and his daughter Meghan have received considerable attention in small New York-area publications for their visits to city public schools to spread their no-on-drugs and human rights messages. It’s the kind of thing that community newspapers eat up. For example, on January 14 a publication called Harlem World wrote about the Fialkoffs being celebrated by New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran…

In 2012, Dr. Fialkoff’s office presented more than 100 free drug education events to NYC schools, after-school programs and community centers. In 2006, Meghan Fialkoff, Community Affairs Director at Dr. Fialkoff’s office, founded the New York Chapter of Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Together, they have presented more than 300 free drug education events, pledging in more than 30,000 students as Drug Free Marshals in the past six years. Councilman Halloran’s presentation acknowledged their work and the significance of professionals taking part in vital programs like these.

Besides Foundation for a Drug-Free World, Meghan Fialkoff also runs the local chapter of Youth for Human Rights, an organization that on February 26 got some nice publicity from the Queens Times-Ledger

Under the guidance of Director Meghan Fialkoff, the Youth for Human Rights New York chapter hosted six human rights events for students at Marie Curie Middle School 158 in Bayside and Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74 in Oakland Gardens to inspire borough students with tolerance and peace. The group reached more than 1,800 city kids with lessons on human rights and respect.

TimesLedger

 
What none of the community papers extolling the virtues of the “Foundation for a Drug-Free World” or “Youth for Human Rights” mention is that both groups are Scientology front groups.

Bernard Fialkoff is a longtime Scientologist who, Scientology’s own publications show, has reached its upper “Operating Thetan” levels of achievement.

Fialkoff and his daughter are listed as principal figures at the Foundation for a Drug-Free World New York chapter’s website. The Foundation’s New York address — 227 West 46th Street — is the same address as Scientology’s “org” near Times Square.

The chapter’s website also features numerous photographs of Meghan Fialkoff holding events in NYC schools, and often in the photographs can be seen the “Truth About Drugs” materials that the Church of Scientology produces…

MeghanFialkoffEvent

 
Here’s a closeup of the booklet that is usually handed out at these seminars…

TTADrugsBooklet

 
And here’s a screengrab from Scientology’s own website, scientology.org, which explains “SCIENTOLOGY IN SOCIETY — WHAT IS THE FOUNDATION FOR A DRUG-FREE WORLD?”

ScientologyDrugFreeWorld

And just recently, we were forwarded an e-mail from one of our sources inside the church which showed how explicitly the church explains to its members that all of these “feel good” efforts — the Truth About Drugs and United for Human Rights booklets — are part of an attempt by the church to influence “opinion leaders” about “LRH” — Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard…

IASOpinionLeaders

 
Last week, we e-mailed Bernard Fialkoff at his Bayside dental office to ask if he ever reveals to city schools he visits that his chapter of Foundation for a Drug-Free World actually works out of the Church of Scientology building near Times Square, or that the literature he disseminates is published by the church. We also called his office yesterday and left a detailed message. We have received no reply.

Also last week, we left a detailed message for city councilman Halloran asking if he understood the connection between the Fialkoffs and Scientology when he honored them in January. We called again yesterday and e-mailed Halloran’s spokesman, Kevin Ryan.

Ryan got back to us and asked for more information about the Fialkoffs and Scientology. “That is very interesting. I will pass this onto him immediately. I did not know any if this,” Ryan told us after we pointed out the connection between the Foundation for a Drug-Free World and the Church of Scientology.

Halloran himself has a fascinating background. In 2009 when he ran for the Queens seat, it was revealed that he had a chance to become the first “heathen” elected to office in the United States. Although he’d been raised a Catholic, he had later embraced Norse gods and became the prince, or “First Atheling” of the local “Theodish” tribe, New Normandy, which worshipped gods like Odin and Tyr and Freya, and performed animal sacrifices.

Halloran, overseeing a Theodish ritual before he ran for City Council

Halloran, overseeing a Theodish ritual before he ran for City Council

Pagans and heathens around the country were excited that one of their own was running for office, but after publicity about his alternative religious beliefs threatened to derail his campaign, Halloran quickly downplayed his principality, to the disappointment of pagans everywhere. In his first years of office, he became more well known for his reaction to a major blizzard that shut down much of the city — he accused city workers of prolonging the misery.

With Halloran’s own colorful religious past, would it make him more or less apt to praise Scientologists for bringing their campaign to boost L. Ron Hubbard? We’d like to know, but so far his office hasn’t got back to us about whether he had any idea that the Fialkoffs were promoting Scientology front groups.

(Our gut tells us Halloran had no idea, and was just gladhanding, happy to pat someone on the back for an anti-drug message.)

We asked Carnegie Mellon University professor Dave Touretzky about the Foundation for a Drug-Free World and its booklets. Touretzky has spent years identifying and publicizing the connections between Scientology and its front groups, particularly its drug rehab network, Narconon.

“It’s always the same interest,” Touretzky told us about the aim behind the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. “The Scientology term for it is ‘safepointing.’ In civilian terminology that means two things:
building a good working relationship with the locals that can be exploited later, and establishing L. Ron Hubbard as a benevolent authority figure in the mind of the public.”

Touretzky is also concerned about the nature of drug education that is being promoted by the Foundation.

“I read through the marijuana section of the website. It’s full of alarmist stuff about impaired cognition, deformed sperm cells, etc., all of which may be true of chronic, heavy users, but that’s like saying you should never have a beer because you’ll become an alcoholic and destroy your liver. It’s really over the top. The danger of this sensationlist approach is that kids will recognize this and discount everything you
say,” he says.

We’ll let you know if we hear back from Fialkoff or from Halloran’s office.

 
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SMERSH Madness: Sowing the Seeds of World Domination!

As we announced on March 1, we’re joining bracket fever with a tournament like no other. It’s up to you to decide who should be named the new SMERSH, the traditional nemesis of Scientology. Cast your vote for who’s doing more to propel the church down its long slide into oblivion!

Continuing with the Sweet Sixteen! We have another tough match.

PaulVsWWP

Paul Haggis, Oscar-winning director and screenwriter, is easily the most famous person to leave Scientology and speak openly about it. But more than his fame, it was his obvious credibility and self-deprecating style that made him such a devastating witness against the church on NBC’s Rock Center. The church has tried multiple times to smear him, but it’s only backfired. (Previously: Haggis defeated Jason Beghe in the first round.)

WhyWeProtest.net is an online forum for the Anonymous anti-Scientology program, Project Chanology. Wild and woolly, the site became less about the worldwide protests that started in 2008 and more about the research being done by scores of vigilant Internet sleuths. Like any forum, its cast of characters is always changing, but document releases seem to have been particularly good in recent months. (Previously: WWP defeated Anderson Cooper in the first round.)

 
Go to our March 1 post for the latest tournament results.

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on March 22, 2013 at 07:00

 

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