Sunday, March 21, 2010

Narconon exposed in Quebec

Le Soleil has published a devastating report about the fraud and abuses taking place at Narconon Trois-Rivières.

This is a translation of the report. The original French version can be found here and here.

Intoxicated by Scientology

by Marc Allard
Le Soleil

(Quebec City) Since he's been out of Narconon, David Edgar Love hardly gets any sleep. He has flashbacks about the traumatic experiences he says he experienced in the Scientology detox centre in Trois-Rivières, and sometimes he becomes so anxious that he loses his breath.

In November, a doctor at the Cité de la Santé hospital in Laval diagnosed him with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Mr. Love now consults a psychiatrist in a Montreal hospital who was recommended by Mike Kropveld, the director of Info-Cult, and he tries not to appear too drowsy at his new job.

Sitting in a small restaurant in a glum corner of Montreal's Lachine district, where he found a small apartment, Mr. Love, 57, recounts his experience with Narconon, where he was a client from December 2008 to May 2009 and an employee until the end of October.

Revealed for the first time today in Le Soleil, his testimony about the Quebec detoxification centre connected with the Church of Scientology adds to a series of disclosures that have shaken this religious organization in various places throughout the world in recent months.

At his side, David Love has a briefcase full of documents to support a complaint he filed with Quebec's Human Rights Commission and a separate complaint filed with Quebec's Labour Standards Commission, which are investigating his allegations.

During the 11 months he spent at Narconon, Mr. Love says he was the victim of harassment, threats and many other violations of his rights. He also says he did not receive a large portion of his salary.

In a letter dated December 21, 2009, the law firm representing Narconon, Heenan Blaikie, offered David Love $2,550.29 on condition that he not share his story with the media. Mr. Love declined the offer.

"They will not silence me," he says. "I have rights and I intend to have my rights respected."

By telephone, Le Soleil reached the director of Narconon Trois-Rivières, Marc Bernard, who declined to give his version of the facts. "I have nothing to say, I have no comment," he said. "No comment."


A resident of British Columbia, David Love arrived at Narconon shortly before Christmas in 2008. He was addicted to methadone and cocaine and had decided to follow the rehab program at the detox centre in Trois-Rivières, where he knew an employee.

During the first weeks of his treatment, Mr Love says he was surprised by the omertà that reigned at Narconon about Scientology. He remembers hearing an employee interrupt a discussion among a group of clients he was in, by issuing an order: "You are not allowed to speak about Scientology when you are at Narconon»

The employee later explained to him that Narconon wanted to avoid the subject so as not to scare clients, their parents, or the "sponsors", who pay more than $20,000 for the treatment, a majority of whose clients are English speakers from the United states and English Canada.

On its Quebec website, Narconon presents itself as a "non-profit program of rehabilitation and detoxification" and boasts of having 50 centres in 21 countries. There is no mention anywhere that Narconon is part of the Church of Scientology.

For Paul Schofield, who was a member of the Church of Scientology for more than 20 years before becoming "case supervisor" at the Sydney and Melbourne Narconon centres and then director of Narconon for all of Australia, there is no doubt that Narconon is a satellite of the Church of Scientology.

"Aside from the withdrawal phase, all the courses you take at Narconon are almost identical to those you take at the Church," he says, "Except that when you take them at the church, they only cost you about a quarter or a third of the price."

While he was a client at Narconon, David Love says he was forced to memorize passages from books by L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction author who founded the Church of Scientology and wrote the 8 books on which the Narconon program is based.

"Any book that might interfere with the mind-altering and brainwashing process is prohibited and confiscated," says David Love.

In addition to reading books by Hubbard, David Love also had to practice regularly the "training routines" prescribed by Scientology's grand master.

He remembers one routine that consisted of sitting for long hours while staring at another client without saying a word and without moving. There was another similar routine in which he was told not to react while his partner bombarded him with insults.

Extreme Purification

The 57-year-old man also remembers the training routine involving an ashtray. "I had to yell at an ashtray, 'Stand up!' then 'Sit down!' until it obeyed by itself," he said. "But since I was unable to find the right tone, I had to lift the ashtray by myself over and over." "After all these training routines," says Love, "I'm lucky not to be insane."

To help addicts overcome their dependence, Narconon also requires that they strictly follow an intense vitamin and sauna treatment which Scientologists call the "Purification Rundown" and which is also provided by the Church of Scientology of Quebec City at a cost of $2,000.

For two weeks, David Love said he had to spend almost four hours a day in a sauna and swallow large amounts of vitamins and minerals each day. He recalls having had, among other things, to take a lot of niacin, a vitamin (B3) used to reduce a person's cholesterol level.

In a July 17, 2004 interview with the Journal de Trois-Rivières posted on the detoxification centre's website, the director of Narconon Trois-Rivières, Marc Bernard, described the virtues of niacin for expelling drugs from fat cells.

"The toxins remain trapped in fatty tissues for several years," Mr. Bernard explained. "When they are released, this is what addicts call flashbacks."

Asked about this practice, Dr. Lise Archibald, of the Ubald-Villeneuve Rehabilitation Centre in Quebec City, told Le Soleil that she has never read anything about the benefits of niacin for drug addicts.

A toxicology specialist at Quebec's National Institute of Public Health (INSPQ), pharmacist Lyse Lefebvre, also has never heard of niacin as an aid to combat drug addiction. However, she warns that consuming too much vitamin B3 may cause digestive problems, aggravate asthma, lead to a certain form of arthritis attack, and cause redness and itching.

Health Canada recommends a maximum of 500 mg of niacin per day. Clients of Narconon and Scientologists who follow the "Purification Rundown" ingest up to 5,000 mg per day," says David Love.

"The vitamin and sauna treatment was far from pleasant for the clients of Narconon," recalls Mr. Love. "It was horrible. People were sick. They vomited and had diarrhea."

Like a military base

During his rehabilitation, Mr. Love wanted to leave the Trois-Rivières detox centre to return to his family in British Columbia. But he says that Narconon refused to give him his wallet and his identity papers, even though he requested them more than once.

Except in special cases, Quebec law prohibits forcing drug addicts to continue treatment, which is to be followed on a voluntary basis.

Mr. Love recalls that, instead of giving him his papers, he was sent to the "ethics officer", who argued that he should stay longer.

"Many students want to leave and try," he says. "Some even manage to leave and set out on foot along along the road, but the ethics officer is called and a car is sent to recover them and bring them back to the Narconon buildings."

David Love said he never witnessed a client being forced to get into a car. Instead, he points out, Narconon calls a student's parents or sponsor and convinces them not to pay the bus or air fare for the student.

Every day, adds Mr. Love, Narconon's staff closely monitors the comings and goings of their customers. "It's like a military base," he says. "There is security, they have radios. They check on you every 20 minutes to know where you are."

Clients turned into employees

Mr. Love is not the only client to have worked at Narconon. About 40% of clients subsequently become employees, according to a statement made in May 2002 by Devinder Luthra, then president of Narconon Canada, at a session of the Special Committee on Non-Medical Use of Drugs in the House of Commons.

While he was an employee, David Love was responsible for contacting former clients of Narconon to compile statistics on the success or failure of the program. He says he received emails from many "exes" who had relapsed and still need help. What he was hearing did not appear to match the 70% success rate which Narconon boasts about on its website.

Mr. Love says he tried repeatedly to warn his superiors at Narconon Trois-Rivières, but they refused to change their practices.

It was at this point that David Love says he realized Narconon was a "hoax" at the service of the Church of Scientology. "Once I understood and believed it was true," he wrote on a message board operated by Anonymous, an anti-Scientology movement that originated on the Internet, "My eyes were opened to the reality of the lies that I had swallowed."

From the day he resigned, November 3, Mr. Love says he received threats from Sue Chubbs, Narconon's director of production.

With documents to prove it, David Love shows that, among other things, she posted on his FaceBook page the words "Enemy" and "Fair Game". This means, in Scientology jargon, he "may be deprived of property or injured by any means and by any Scientologist."

The church of Scientology, another hard hit

(Québec)Forced abortions, violence, imprisonment, torture, sexual abuses, embezzlement, blackmail: The church of scientology has been accused of commiting all these crimes in the last months, as denunciations from ex-scientologists multiplied in the world.

In Australia, senator Nick Xenophon requested, last november, a public investigation about the Church of Scientology, after receiving numerous letters from ex-employees and high ranking members of the religious organisations, amongst them, Paul Schofield, who spoke with ''Le Soleil''

«From my point of view, it's an organisation with 2 faces», said Nick Xenophon in the australian Senate. «There is the public face of an organisation that pretends to offer to offer support and counsel to it's members, and there is the private face of an organisation that mistreat it's members, targets viciously it's critics and that seems to be fueled by paranoia.»

Beating Staff Members

In the United States, the St. Petersburg Times revealed for the first time in june, accounts from four ex high ranking members of the organisation, that accuse the head of the Church, David Miscavige, of beating frequently his employees.

At the start of the month, the New York Times was publishing an investigation on the difficulty that scientologists encounter when trying to distance themselves from the organisation. To quit the Church of Scientology, the couple in the article affirmed having to sign false confessions about their life and their work, to give the Church thousands of dollars and having to cut any communication with their friends and family that stayed in the Church.

In france, following complaints from 2 ex-members of scientology that said they were defrauded of tens of thousands of euros, the correctional Tribunal of Paris condemned in last october the Church of scientology for ''Organized group fraud''.

In every country, the Church of Scientology accused the ex-members of lying.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Anonymous Montreal November 2009 raid: a resounding success!

On November 7, thirteen of us—including seven newcomers!—braved the chilly weather and held our monthly demonstration against Scientology fraud, crime, and human rights abuses. Here's a video recap of the event.

Our next monthly raid will take place on Saturday, December 5. As usual, we'll be meeting at Rachel and Papineau (the northeast corner of Parc Lafontaine) beginning at 11 am, and proceeding to the Scientology org (Mont-Royal and Papineau) at noon. If you, too, are outraged by Scientology's increasingly desperate attempts to excuse its illegal and unethical activities as being somehow protected by freedom of religion, we invite you to join us. Don't forget your mask!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"What you believe does not mean you are not accountable for how you behave."

When confronted with overwhelming evidence of its abuses and crimes, the tiresome response of Scientology is usually to claim religious persecution. Scientology hides behind aggrandized and, frankly, delusional conceptions of what religious freedom actually means in order to continue its litany of fraud, deception, and crime. On trial in France for organized fraud and unlicensed practice of pharmacy, the Scientology refrain was that they were the victims of a modern-day inquisition.

Any and all claims of religious persecution made by Scientology when its more dubious operations and methods come under scrutiny are red herrings—nothing more nor less.

Such claims are deliberate attempts to derail legitimate inquiry through intentionally disingenuous distraction. Furthermore, likening investigation and prosecution of Scientology crimes to the Holocaust is more than a validation of Godwin's Law. It is sickening, inappropriate, and disrespectful to the victims of the Holocaust and their surviving families. Scientologists are not being herded up and exterminated. What is happening in one country after another is that the corrupt Scientology organization is being exposed, investigated, and being subjected to laws that every organization—religious or otherwise—must follow.

When the Catholic Church was forced to answer for child sexual abuse among its clergy, was this a case of religious persecution? Are priests permitted to systematically break the law, leaving a trail of victims in their wake, and claim immunity from prosecution because they are members of a religious order?

Does outrage at Sharia Law "honour" killings constitute anti-Islam bigotry? Is the fact that such killings are prosecutable crimes in non-Muslim countries mean that Muslims in those countries are being persecuted?

The answer to these questions is a resounding NO. And the same moral and legal principles apply to Scientology. This is irrefutable and immutable.

Scientology variously refers to Anonymous as a hate group, religious bigots, anti-religious extremists, and cyber-terrorists. Such accusations are also red herrings. The goal of Anonymous is to expose the ongoing abuses and crimes within Scientology. We use the Internet as it was intended: to disseminate information to every corner of the world. (And we happen to be very good at this.) It is the unmitigated force of incontrovertible truth, through the unrestrained spread of information, that continues to force Scientology to answer for its crimes.

Do not call us religious bigots, because we are not. Nor are we a hate group, because we do not hate you; rather, what we hate are your crimes and human rights abuses.

Do not cry religious persecution where there is none. We do not care what you believe. We are not protesting your secret (not to mention expensive) "scriptures" that tell the story of how humans became infested with the souls of space aliens who were blown up in volcanoes 75 million years ago by the evil galactic overlord Xenu.

But most importantly, do not assume that your past successes in hiding behind an undeserved cloak of religious freedom will in any way guarantee that you can continue to do so with impunity. It's just not going to work anymore.

On November 17, Australian Senator Nick Xenophon made a speech (PDF here) calling for an investigation of illegal activities of the Church of Scientology in that country. Probably his most succinct assertion, and the title of this blog entry, was that "[w]hat you believe does not mean you are not accountable for how you behave."

This is the case not only for Scientology but any organization and any individual with a modicum of moral fibre. If Scientologists were truly "the most ethical people on the planet," as they claim, then they would understand this moral imperative. It appears they don't, and this will be their downfall.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Remember, remember the Fifth—make that the Seventh—of November

Anonymous Montréal will be celebrating Guy Fawkes Night a couple of days late, but without a bonfire... and during the day, actually.

We'll be having our monthly protest against Scientology's crimes, organized fraud (for which they have recently been convicted several times over in France), and human rights abuses on Saturday, November 7.

We'll be meeting at the corner of Rachel and Papineau (the northeast corner of Parc Lafontaine) at 11 am, after which we'll walk to the Scientology headquarters (Papineau and Mont-Royal) at noon.

We highly suggest that you arrive at the meeting place with your mask already on.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Anonymous Montréal October 2009 raid: a recap

On October 17, Anonymous Montréal held its monthly protest against Scientology fraud (for which—among other offenses—they have been convicted in France) and human rights abuses. Here's a video of some of the day's highlights.

Our next protest will take place on Saturday, November 7. As usual, we'll be meeting at the corner of Rachel and Papineau (the northeast corner of Parc Lafontaine) at 11 am, after which we'll walk to the Scientology headquarters (Papineau and Mont-Royal) at noon.

If you're new to Anonymous and would like to know more about us and the truth about Scientology's ongoing crimes and human rights abuses, we encourage you to visit the following websites:

The Anonymous Montréal discussion forum is located at:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Anonymous Montreal: next protest Saturday, October 17!

Ready for another demonstration against Scientology fraud and abuses?

Our October monthly raid will take place Saturday, October 17. We'll be meeting at the corner of Rachel and Papineau (the northeast corner of Parc Lafontaine) at 11 am, after which we'll walk to the Scientology headquarters (Papineau and Mont-Royal) at noon.

Don't forget your mask!