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Louisiana congressman posts Narconon pic, then yanks it after we point out Scientology link


Scientology and its front groups work very hard to ensnare unsuspecting local officials for photo opportunities. We see a lot of local law enforcement officers, city council members, and even some state representatives get corralled for Scientology PR. But it’s really something when Scientology manages to snag a state attorney general or a member of the US Congress for some gladhanding.

Last year, we shared with you a flier which showed that Florida’s attorney general, Pam Bondi, was going to be the guest of honor at a fundraiser in Clearwater, Florida held by some of Scientology’s biggest “whales” — major donors. Also invited to that shindig was the local congressman, David Jolly. Jolly is now running for US senate, and he’s once again going to be feted by Scientology when the church hosts a 100th anniversary musical tribute for the city of Clearwater on Saturday at the Fort Harrison Hotel.

Then, another nice snag for Scientology: In Louisiana, Congressman Garret Graves, who represents the state’s 6th district, posted the photo you see above on his Facebook page. (Graves is in the middle.) Scientology’s drug rehab system, Narconon, has a facility in Denham Springs in the 6th district, which it calls “New Life Retreat.”

We know about New Life Retreat, because back in January, we told you that Ryan Hamilton had filed a lawsuit against the place, the 27th he had filed against Narconons across the country. The allegations were the same as they always are against Scientology’s rehabs — that they hide their connection to Scientology, talk about sky-high success rates and individualized drug counseling, but then deliver Scientology training and no evidence of those success rates.


We called up Congressman Graves’s office in Washington Thursday and spoke to Kevin Roig, his communications director. He told us that Graves had been invited to visit the facility.

“We’re really impressed by the results they get,” he told us.

Oh really? We asked Roig if he was aware that Narconon has been exposed for its deceitfulness, and that it’s being sued across the country for promising one thing and delivering another, and for several patient deaths.

He said he wasn’t aware of it. We asked him if Narconon was asking the congressman for anything.

“They didn’t ask the congressman for anything. It was just a visit. It was real quick,” he said.

We mentioned to him that he could get a lot of information about Narconon’s controversies on line, and thanked him for his help.

Minutes after that conversation, the photo was removed from the congressman’s Facebook page.

When will public officials learn to use the Google?


Bonus photos from our tipsters

Taiwanese volunteer ministers showing off what they do. After you’ve been subjected to a ridiculous “touch assist” or “nerve assist,” how do you not walk away laughing?


Actual caption: “United for Human Rights Florida provides school tours to educate youth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Call us at (727) 467-6960 to set up your tour!”


If Grant Cardone is the ham hock of Scientology, what does that make John Mappin in England?


Scenes from the show put on by Scientology’s Youth for Human Rights at the UN over the last couple of days…


Miss New York 2013, Amanda Mason, joined in on the fun…




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.

Tony Ortega’s upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

Sept 15: Phoenix, Barrett the Honors College, Arizona State University, ASU in Downtown Phoenix campus, Walter Cronkite Theater, 5:30 pm

Sept 23: Cleveland, Parma Heights Library, 7pm sponsored by Center for Inquiry – Northeast Ohio

Sept 24: Minneapolis, sponsored by Minnesota Atheists — venue TBD

Sept 27: Portland, Friendly House, 1737 NW 26th Ave, 12:45 pm, sponsored by Humanists of Portland

Sept 28: Seattle, Razzi’s Pizzeria, 7 pm, with Seattle Skeptics and Seattle Atheists

Sept 29: Vancouver, BC, Seven Dining Lounge, 7 pm

Oct 23: Sydney, Giant Dwarf Theatre (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 25: Melbourne, venue secured (announcement coming later)

Oct 28: Adelaide (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 30: Perth

Past dates: 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)


Posted by Tony Ortega on August 29, 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


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