Tony Ortega on the future of Narconon

Discussion in 'Narconon' started by The Wrong Guy, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

  2. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology Anti-Drug Program: Fabricated Court Orders Suggest Attempt to Silence Critics

    Someone appears to be trying to scrub warnings about the church's controversial Narconon program from the internet.

    By Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, August 9, 2017


    Nearly a decade after Scientology prompted a high-profile internet protest movement — sparked when the church attempted to remove a damaging YouTube video of member Tom Cruise speaking about the religion — comes the discovery of a new covert campaign to subvert online criticism of the organization's social work. A series of forged court orders were submitted to Google (and possibly to Yahoo and Bing as well) in 2016 in an attempt to convince the search giant to expunge links to written objections to Scientology's controversial anti-drug program Narconon. The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment when asked whether it is investigating the issue, which involves the bogus signatures of judges from multiple states.

    Collectively, the material seeks to mend the standing of unbranded Narconon facilities in Michigan and their owner, a prominent Scientologist named Per Wickstrom, whose reputations have been battered by statements on a number of dedicated websites and message boards critical of the church and the program, including and, as well as the general consumer watchdog service (Neither Wickstrom, reached through his Serenity Point facility near Grand Rapids, Michigan, nor the Church of Scientology returned requests for comment.)

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    Four fabricated orders, dated May and August 2016, ostensibly grant injunctions against the tech companies, preventing them from linking to material that, the documents assert, the courts found defamatory in Hamilton County, Ohio; Fulton County, Georgia; and Philadelphia. Some of the orders appear to be templated on an authentic Hamilton County court order from March 2015, which also was submitted to Google on behalf of a small San Francisco production company called Wild Strawberry Entertainment.

    It's unclear who's responsible for forging the orders. However, THR reviewed another sham Hamilton County document involving a request to remove links from search engines, a process known as de-indexing. THR obtained a business contract connected to this other filing, indicating that an entity called Web Savvy had charged a fee of $3,750 for the successful elimination of each "negative" link. Web Savvy and a related company,, are based in Torrance, just south of Los Angeles, and both are run by a marketing consultant named John Rooney, who describes himself on LinkedIn as an expert in "removing negative content from the web and promoting client's positive image," citing at the top of a list of sites he focuses on.

    Corresponding by email, Rooney denied that his firm had any connection to Narconon. When pressed to explain the documentation, he stopped responding to emails and phone calls.

    Neither the judges nor the lawyers impersonated in the materials would comment. The search firms also declined to address the matter.

    The affected websites themselves, however, were both candid and unsurprised. "We've been dealing with shenanigans like this for a while," explained Mary McConnell, the pseudonym of an activist volunteer with two of them, and "To go so far as using the name of real judges is what's eye-opening." Adds a weary Ed Magedson, owner of, with a more general observation: "It has become far more prevalent in the last year or so to attempt to de-index us with Google, since that's how users find content anyway, and Google appears to almost automatically rubber-stamp [requests], so some people try to take advantage." had previously alerted its readership community that in February 2016 a "Larry Brennan" requested that Google remove, due to an alleged copyright violation, a document published on Carnegie Mellon's website detailing the state of Oklahoma mental health board's 1991 denial of a Narconon application for certification. Brennan, a former high-ranking Scientologist turned critic — who was transgender and transitioned in 2012 to Denise — died in 2014.

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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology anti-drug program: Fabricated court orders suggest attempt to silence critics’

    By Eugene Volokh, The Washington Post, August 10, 2017


    Gary Baum (Hollywood Reporter), who has written a lot about Scientology, has the story:


    For more on the Internet libel takedown system — other forgeries, other forms of misconduct and still other matters — see these posts.


    This post has also been added to the thread about the Scientology and the Aftermath TV series:
  4. Actor Mark Ruffalo has tweeted the story. He has 3.33 million followers. His tweet has been retweeted 115 times.

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