Narconon intimidates critics into silence
(Segment from Swedish TV4 News, 7 April 1998)
The Scientology daughter organization Narconon continues with its treatment program for drug addicts in spite of criticism of its treatment methods. Now, the News can reveal that the organization has intimidated highly placed civil servants into silence.
"This is a fascistoid organization which takes advantage of weak persons in society. It pretends that it is an idealistic movement," says "Anders", a highly placed manager within the Social Administration. He wants to be anonymous. (On TV, his voice was distorted)
The News has, in previous programs, reported about Narconon's criticised treatments for drug addicts where, amongst other things, long sauna baths and high doses of vitamins are said to force out everything from drugs to radiation from the body. Few critics have been willing to come forward, and the News can now reveal that highly placed civil servants who investigate Narconon have been intimidated into silence.
"It is part of their methods, to create discomfort, and intimidate civil servants. It is slander, nasty telephone calls, questioning professional skills, newspaper articles, leaflets that are spread, where they for example have told about me as a person. That's why I do not want to tell you who I am," says "Anders", a highly placed manager within the Social Administration.
Narconon denies this.
A critical report ordered by the Social Board was finished in December 1996. It said that the methods of Narconon shouldn't be used in Swedish health care. At that time, officials from the Scientology movement tried to get into the office of the doctor responsible. Today, he dare not speak out.
"I can't understand at all what he means by that. It cannot have been anyone from Narconon," says Thomas Lillhannus, information secretary at Narconon.
The News visited the Social Board which had ordered the report, and which gives directives to communes and the county administrations. It was revealed that even the acting (responsible) medical advisor Per Swartling had been visited and watched by people from the Scientology movement.
"Yes, I'm on their list," says Per Swartling.
Within the Scientology movement, there is a so-called Justice Manual. [the "HCO Manual of Justice"]. A handbook which, in detail, describes step by step how to control administrative officers and critics and, if so needed, also threaten them into silence.
"Administrative officers must be able to feel that they are free to tell how it really is, without being scared of threats," says Barbro Westerholm, Member of Parliament.
Barbro Westerholm, who is on Parliament's social committee, has herself been subjected to Scientology campaigns and she says that the social board must act now.
"One ought to evaluate the treatment activity of Narconon, and decide whether or not the organization should be allowed to continue with its methods with taxpayers money. It is the authorities' responsibility to take that decision," says Barbro Westerholm.
But the social board does not understand the criticism.
"We have acted on our own initiative in this matter. But in the last few years our interests have been focused on other issues of higher priority than Narconon's activities. We have been forced to prioritize other issues," says director general Claes Írtendahl, defending the actions of the social board.
But Barbro Westerholm is very critical:
"This is a serious threat to our democracy," she says.
And she gets support from the civil servant within the social administration, who has himself been subjected to harassment by Narconon and Scientology.
"I think that these people are more dangerous than the motorcycle gangs. They are more of a threat, since they look so respectable in their suits," says "Anders", a highly placed manager within the social administration.