Author Topic: Narconon in the UK  (Read 3827 times)

Offline scicrit

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Narconon in the UK
« on: November 26, 2014, 11:35 »
A person who commented on my blog http://scicrit.wordpress.com/ (which is critical of Scientology) suggested that I post my research into Narconon's operation in the UK here - I hope it is of interest.

I have made three relevant posts so far:

http://scicrit.wordpress.com/2014/08/20/narconon-in-the-uk-part-one/

This examines Narconon UK, which concentrates on 'anti-Drug' presentations in schools. Their material is full of scientific nonsense - for example the 'drugs are stored in fatty tissues' line. This is potentially dangerous, because of the fear it may cause in young people who experimented with recreational drugs, but did not go on to use them.

Incredibly, this organisation is a registered charity, exempt from tax. Of course, this concession enables them to pay more money 'up-lines' to Narconon International and (eventually) the Church of Scientology - which has been refused charitable status in the UK and is unlikely ever to be granted it.

There are more details in the post, including links to the published accounts of Narconon UK via the Charity Commissioners (who oversea charities in the UK)

http://scicrit.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/scientology-in-the-uk-part-two/

While researching the first post, I came across Narconon Scotland, and was astonished to find that they were promoting a "Get off drugs at home" programme. This is the 'purification rundown' sans sauna. They were selling 'vitamin packs' online at £150 "for a weeks supply" online. The only support offered was by 'phone and email and the promised materials included 'courses' to teach friends and relative to provide 'touch assists' (Scientology's version of 'healing hands').

Once again, Narconon Scotland is registered as a charity in Scotland, and consequently passes tax-free money to the Church of Scientology.

There is more in the post, including online documents shows the HQ of Narconon Scotland to be a modest house on a Scottish estate.

http://scicrit.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/narconon-in-the-uk-part-three-the-advertising-standards-authority-takes-an-interest-in-narconon-scotland/

I could not let Narconon Scotland lie - the idea of people undergoing this potentially lethal programme, putting money in the pocket of the Church of Scientology and failing in deal with their drug problem was galling - especially when a highly-professional medical detox is available for nothing from the UKs National Health Service (NHS).

Consequently,I made a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, which regulates advertising practice in the UK (and had recently been given powers to regulate UK-registered websites.

In the post, I document the particular ASA rules that I quoted, and the examples I offered of the Narconon Scotland breaking those rules. Also their response which stated:

Having reviewed the website in question, our conclusion is that the claims are likely to be clear breaches of our Code, as they relate to the treatment of substance addiction.  I have therefore asked our Compliance team to commence new action against this advertiser, to ensure that their advertising is in line with our established guidance in this area

Some time later the site http://www.getoffdrugs.org.uk/ went into what appears to be permanent 'maintenance mode'. I am hoping that the site was shut down to prevent ASA action and that maintaining 'maintenance mode' is a face-saving exercise on the part of Narconon Scotland.

I suggest that the ASA provides a means of neutralising many of Narconon's efforts in the UK - whenever they make claims in UK publications which are contrary to present scientific understanding, or raise unwarranted fears, or make medical claims (among other things) the ASA will take action.

Please feel free to comment on my blog contact me through the feedback page http://scicrit.wordpress.com/contact-us or raise any questions/issues here.

Thank you for your attention.

Offline Mary_McConnell

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2014, 13:43 »
Thank you!!  ( That was me asking. Really enjoy your site! )
Welcome and thank you for joining!
I am a volunteer advocate for victims of the Narconon scam. I am a former scientologist. I post anonymously. Mary McConnell is my long time nom de plume. Feel free to contact me for assistance in righting the wrongs.

Offline mefree

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2014, 17:46 »
Thanks for making this forum aware of your site, scicrit.

I thought this post was particularly good in highlighting Narconon's role in available studies of the program scam:
Two Scientific Evaluations of the Claims of Narconon – a Scientology Front Group

The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
-Dalai Lama

Offline scicrit

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2014, 10:15 »
I was going to include that link, but... well... forgot.

I have also just made a new post about Narconon in Germany. You are all probably aware of it - but I thought it worthwhile anyway because this version has English subtitles, and I have included a download link so that you can keep you own copy (and re-upload it, should it be removed from YouTube).

http://scicrit.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/how-narconon-fronts-for-scientology-in-germany-and-exploits-addicts/

Offline ethercat

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2014, 11:06 »
Welcome to Tipping Point, scicrit!

Thank you for your work in the UK, and for your blog.   It's very helpful to have someone following - and working against - the activities of Narconon outside the US.  I also enjoyed the newest article about the German documentary from 1996 (which I haven't watched yet, but will because your description was so good).

It's astounding to me the way they get slapped down again and again, and then arrogantly bounce right back up without any changes to their operations.  It really goes to show that they aren't in it to help people, but just to get the money.  Anyone with the desire to actually do good would take into account the opinions and advice of experts and modify their program so it would be safer and more effective.  Oh, well, I guess when you're the "authorities" and everyone else in the world is wrong...

 M|mmm#-
   Narconon Reviews
   Independent Reviews of the Narconon Drug Rehab Programs
   Answers to Frequently Asked But Seldom Answered Questions

Offline 10oriocookies

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2014, 21:43 »
Forgot about this email:

Despite me being so out-ethics and incompetent as a staff member and after threatening legal action to get them to pay me back the money I lent them, they offered me a CS position in the UK.  Something does not add up.

 





Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2010 10:11:22 -0700
> From: production@narconon.org
> To: ejtbmf@hotmail.com
> Subject: Hi !
>
> Hi Eric!,
>
> Phil forwarded me your last email. I see we are all good now! Pheeewww!
>
> Hey, I don't want to sound abrupt but I have already a Project on my
> lines. It would be a C/S Project for NN Hastings in the UK.
>
> This C/S Project would be good for you or Miriam. What is needed is a
> C/S there for two-three weeks.
>
> Let me know what you guys think about this.
>
> ML
> Yarko M.



ET went home.

Offline scicrit

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2014, 10:14 »
Sounds to me as if they are so desperate for competent people that they are working through their mailing list - including disaffected ex-members - and fervently hoping that someone (anyone) has changed their mind in the meantime.

It's evidence of desperation. Also, while they are wasting their time doing this, they are doing nothing worse.

BTW, I have published a series of three posts about L Ron Hubbard's mad baby formula (based on Barley water). This includes (complete and downloadable)  medical case studies of infants who have suffered scurvy and malnutrition as a direct result of being fed with it (it is deficient in vitamins C, A and in Iron). Incredibly this concoction is still recommended today by official Church of Scientology websites.

Here's a link to part one - links to the other two are at the bottom of the post
http://scicrit.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/the-l-ron-hubbard-baby-formula-pt-1-dangerous-medical-advice-from-scientology/

While this seems off topic, I think it demonstrates that Narconon is by no means the only dangerous pseudo-medical practice that Hubbard established. Hubbard's 'drug rehabilitation' ideas are better known - but only because the 'church' today  can put their traditional hard sell tactics behind Narconon, and make money from it. There is more medical madness from Hubbard, which must, surely undermine his credibility.

Offline mefree

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2014, 13:34 »
Quote
BTW, I have published a series of three posts about L Ron Hubbard's mad baby formula (based on Barley water). This includes (complete and downloadable)  medical case studies of infants who have suffered scurvy and malnutrition as a direct result of being fed with it (it is deficient in vitamins C, A and in Iron). Incredibly this concoction is still recommended today by official Church of Scientology websites.

Here's a link to part one - links to the other two are at the bottom of the post
http://scicrit.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/the-l-ron-hubbard-baby-formula-pt-1-dangerous-medical-advice-from-scientology/

While this seems off topic, I think it demonstrates that Narconon is by no means the only dangerous pseudo-medical practice that Hubbard established. Hubbard's 'drug rehabilitation' ideas are better known - but only because the 'church' today  can put their traditional hard sell tactics behind Narconon, and make money from it. There is more medical madness from Hubbard, which must, surely undermine his credibility.

Nice series!
 
I wish people would talk to a pediatrician, or do even a tiny bit of research on the safety of the barley formula before feeding it to defenseless babies. Those case studies leave me infuriated and sad.   :(
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
-Dalai Lama

Offline scicrit

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2014, 16:11 »
The truly perplexing example is that of a six-week-old baby boy who developed malnutrition (not to mention projectile bilious vomiting and 12-hour-long bout of diarrhoea.

It took nine days to stabilise him. Two days later he was back - his parents had resumed Hubbard's formula as soon as was home. This time it took 13 days of treatment before he recovered.

What could possibly have motivated them to do this?

http://scicrit.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/the-l-ron-hubbard-baby-formula-pt-3-and-five-cases-of-infantile-malnutrition/

Offline mefree

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2014, 17:02 »
The truly perplexing example is that of a six-week-old baby boy who developed malnutrition (not to mention projectile bilious vomiting and 12-hour-long bout of diarrhoea.

It took nine days to stabilise him. Two days later he was back - his parents had resumed Hubbard's formula as soon as was home. This time it took 13 days of treatment before he recovered.

What could possibly have motivated them to do this?

http://scicrit.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/the-l-ron-hubbard-baby-formula-pt-3-and-five-cases-of-infantile-malnutrition/

The only explanation that I can think of....... @u@ooo
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
-Dalai Lama

Online BigBeard

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2014, 17:47 »
Aside from everything else, the gluten in the barley water is a major problem if the baby has inherited celiac disease from a parent.
BigBeard

Offline scicrit

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2014, 07:32 »
Indeed - if you performed a mad, unethical experiment and gave kids fed on this formula Vitamin A, C and iron supplements other medical problems would soon arise.

Both theory and practice amply demonstrate that Hubbard's advice is not fit for purpose. This is true of his baby formula, of Narconon... of just about everything he wrote. The puzzle is, why do people still take it seriously?

My conclusion is the doctrine of Scientology is window dressing, only important insofar as it supports the system of social-psychological manipulation that is the 'Church of Scientology'.

Offline scicrit

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2014, 04:15 »
Regarding Narconon Scotland - the Scientology organisation which offered a dangerous 'home detox' plan consisting of vitamin overdoses (at £150 a week) 'touch assists' from friends/relative 'trained' via booklets and 3 weeks of support via 'phone or email. I saved their mad website to the Wayback machine (an Internet archive) and it can be viewed here http://web.archive.org/web/20140516205915/http://getoffdrugs.org.uk/

I described my complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority here http://scicrit.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/narconon-in-the-uk-part-three-the-advertising-standards-authority-takes-an-interest-in-narconon-scotland/  and they seem to have done the trick.

On the 25th of November 2014 their website went into permanent 'maintenance mode' (as I have mentioned earlier). Luckily I  saved it to The Wayback Machine (an Internet Archive) and it can be viewed here. Today, the 11th of December 2014, "The Requested URL cannot be found.This suggest that they have allowed their web address to lapse (or deleted the site content). Either way, the site seems to have been permanently closed.

I think this shows that the ASA is an effective weapon not just against Narconon in the UK, but also against other pseudo-medical claims made on Scientology websites. If anyone would like a few pointers in how to do this, you are welcome to contact me here.

Offline mefree

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2014, 06:41 »
How unusual that the vitamin dosages were clearly listed on the website with the frequency of FOUR TIMES A DAY.
http://web.archive.org/web/20140629102000/http://getoffdrugs.org.uk/nutrition-3/

Thanks for your successful efforts and sharing them here.
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
-Dalai Lama

Offline scicrit

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2014, 09:11 »
Although Narconon Scotland is a limited liability company, registered as a charity, the company registration details show it to be situated in a modest terraced house in another part of Scotland https://www.companiesintheuk.co.uk/ltd/narconon-scotland

My impression is that the people involved were not the sharpest knives in the drawer. They had acquired Narconon literature, and thought they had an original way of promoting it - they did not know that what they doing was liable to be subject to official sanction.

They do not even seem to be have been bright enough to understand that publishing the details of the programme (i.e. the vitamin dosages and frequency of ingestion) could have be used in court to amply demonstrate that they were promoting dangerous quack medicine, should any 'patient' have complained.

Why they were doing this is difficult to assess. Were they committed Scientologists, where they attracted by the prospect of selling cheap vitamin packs for £150 for weeks supply - or both? I'm just glad they're off-line now - I dread to think what could have happened to someone with a real problem who undertook their potentially lethal 'treatment'.

The charitable status of Narconon franchises needs to be re-assessed, too. Scientology does not have charitable status in the UK, and the activities of Narconon are plainly a work-around. A substantial amount of the (tax-free) money Narconon Scotland made would have been paid to Narconon International which is, of course, wholly owned by the Church of Scientology.

Finally, now that Scientology itself has become a toxic brand (a situation that is only likely to become worse, with the 2015 release of 'that' HBO documentary) they are probably going to use their front groups to conceal their identity far more in future.


Offline mefree

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2014, 09:53 »
My impression is that the people involved were not the sharpest knives in the drawer. They had acquired Narconon literature, and thought they had an original way of promoting it - they did not know that what they doing was liable to be subject to official sanction.

They do not even seem to be have been bright enough to understand that publishing the details of the programme (i.e. the vitamin dosages and frequency of ingestion) could have be used in court to amply demonstrate that they were promoting dangerous quack medicine, should any 'patient' have complained.

Why they were doing this is difficult to assess. Were they committed Scientologists, where they attracted by the prospect of selling cheap vitamin packs for £150 for weeks supply - or both? I'm just glad they're off-line now - I dread to think what could have happened to someone with a real problem who undertook their potentially lethal 'treatment'.

This is puzzling. Is this behavior a matter of intelligence or of leading an insular life? When people are afraid to look outside of their organization, can they truly be in touch with reality or how they may be perceived? Does following Hubbard's dogma leave room for critical self evaluation, à la "If it's true for you, it's true?"

I'm reminded of Mary Reiser's deposition testimony in the Desmond case against Narconon of Georgia and her performance in media interviews. There were times when I felt she had no idea how poorly she came off or that she  believed her own stories. Although, it was painfully obvious she was lying. In fact, Judge Hydrick stated that she did not find her credible.

Lastly, when the ethos of your organization is the survival of scientology, does everything else get thrown out the window  - common sense, truth, research, etc?

Quote
The charitable status of Narconon franchises needs to be re-assessed, too. Scientology does not have charitable status in the UK, and the activities of Narconon are plainly a work-around. A substantial amount of the (tax-free) money Narconon Scotland made would have been paid to Narconon International which is, of course, wholly owned by the Church of Scientology.

Finally, now that Scientology itself has become a toxic brand (a situation that is only likely to become worse, with the 2015 release of 'that' HBO documentary) they are probably going to use their front groups to conceal their identity far more in future.

I'm in agreement on both counts. I shudder to think what new front groups will emerge.
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
-Dalai Lama

Offline scicrit

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2014, 12:30 »
Quote
This is puzzling. Is this behavior a matter of intelligence or of leading an insular life?

My friend once nearly signed up for a pyramid scheme. A single mother, she was desperate for money. Desperation, wishful thinking and the false promise of an ongoing income (if only you got in on the ground floor) was enough to almost overcome her critical faculties. This can happen to any of us.

From the point of view of the people who set up Narconon Scotland, this may have seemed to be not only a way to make money, but also to get into the good graces of the Church of Scientology. Perhaps it was the only way they could raise the money to advance 'up the bridge'. Once again desperation, wishful thinking and false promises may have conspired to lead them to a bad judgement.

I don't know about their intelligence - but there does seem to be an element of (wilful?) ignorance here. Anyone who bothers to look up drug withdrawal on Wikipedia will seen that their 'Home Detox' was potentially lethal, and totally ineffective.

I think legal testimony like Mary Reiser's deposition occurs when people who cannot acknowledge that they have been wrong desperately try to justify themselves. The Scientology mindset regarding 'acceptable truth' can't help in this sort of situation.

I hope Narconon Scotland's 'home detox' project is dead. I think that the potential clients may not have been the only people who cold have been exploited here. The people who organised it, were also in a dangerous position. They would have been congratulated only as long as the money was coming in - but as soon as there was an injury of death associated with their 'treatment', they would have been disowned. Their failure may have been bad for their income, but was surely good for their conscience. 

Offline mefree

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Re: Narconon in the UK
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2014, 19:18 »
Margaret Heffernen talks about willful blindness in this TED talk.

Desperation and vulnerability surely play a part. Any of us might be more vulnerable or desperate depending on life circumstances.

Quote
I hope Narconon Scotland's 'home detox' project is dead. I think that the potential clients may not have been the only people who cold have been exploited here. The people who organised it, were also in a dangerous position. They would have been congratulated only as long as the money was coming in - but as soon as there was an injury of death associated with their 'treatment', they would have been disowned. Their failure may have been bad for their income, but was surely good for their conscience.

Let's hope. Home detox isn't safe for many people under the best of circumstances and could be lethal in other cases.
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
-Dalai Lama