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Is Narconon controlled by Scientology?

The high degree of similarity between the practices of Scientology and Narconon has frequently attracted the attention of observers. The 1974 "Tennant Report" on Narconon commented on how Narconon was thoroughly permeated by Scientologists and Scientology doctrine, though it did not demonstrate a direct link between the two organisations:

"The organizational structure of the program, including program rules and procedures, criteria and training for staff, work assignments, educational course content, staff structure, organizational structure, and program philosophy are derived directly from a seven volume series entitled "The Organization Executive Course" by L. Ron Hubbard and published by the Church of Scientology ...

[W]e must point out that any connection between Narconon and Scientology other than coincidental was usually vehemently denied. The interview data and our observations support a rehabilitation conception perhaps best termed a "corrective educational experience." Occuring in a stepwise fashion from rigidly simple rote exercises through the more complex "auditing" process and (for those who can afford it) a multiplicity of "clear" and "Post-Clear" states promising total personal and environmental control. Theoretically it is a patchwork of Freudian, Gestalt, Pavlovian, science fiction and Eastern (reincarnation) ideas unequivocably sutured together with L. Ron Hubbard's terminology. Indeed, the initial exercises require in addition to a standard English dictionary, a special Narconon dictionary enabling the "student" to understand the Narconon/Scientology terminology ...

The [Narconon] terminology is strikingly similar and presumably parallels, if not merging, the Scientology hierarchy. The latter presumption was underscored by a lengthy conversation with "members" - "employees" at the Scientology/ Westwood office where it was stated that Narconon was simply the application of Scientology "technology" to the problem of drug addiction. Additionally two patients interviewed on a local methadone program reported that their unsuccessful treatment for heroin use at Narconon was by the application of Scientology techniques and was essentially directed at eventually attaining a "clear" state. Again, any connection with Scientology other than coincidental was vigorously denied by Dr. Gibson and his principal assistants ...

[T]here is little doubt that the religion of Scientology is advocated, openly discussed, and encouraged within Narconon. Since the Church of Scientology is a religion it appears that State money is being directly used to support a church. There appears to be little difference between Narconon and the Church of Scientology. For example, there was one book entitled "The Problem of Work" by L. Ron Hubbard and on the inside cover of the book was a statement "For religious use only." The evaluation team was also given a demonstration of the use of the E-meter.

All of the literature and books are directly derived from Scientology and most staff are already or are becoming Scientologists. It would appear that Narconon is receiving state funds for treating "addicts" and is using primarily methods or "technology" of the Church of Scientology."

[Outline for recovery, House Evaluation ("Tennant Report") - by Forrest S. Tennant, Jr., M.D., Dr.P.H., Jane Thomas, R.N., Mike Reilly, and Joseph Shannon, M.D., M.P.H. Submitted to Don Z. Miller, Deputy Director, Health Treatment System, State Department of Health, Sacramento, CA, on 31 Oct 1974.]

Behind the scenes at Narconon

Lt Col Mark Jones was Narconon's first Director, serving in that position through the 1970s until the organisation was restructured around 1983. In 1995 he submitted an extraordinary sworn declaration, supported by documentation, that (at least until the early 1980s) Narconon was wholly controlled by the Church of Scientology. He states:

In or about 1971 I was approached by Arthur Maren who was the Assistant Guardian for Public Relations in the United States branch of the Guardian's Office of the Church of Scientology. Maren asked if I was willing to set up a Narconon office and establish programs under the direction of the Guardian Office ...

Throughout my period as director of Narconon, I reported to the Guardian's Office. Meetings were held at regular intervals at which the executives of the Guardian's Office determined the affairs of Narconon. All Narconon activities including the disposition of Narconon finances were approved by the Church of Scientology Assistant Guardian for Public Relations and the Assistant Guardian for Finance, Henning Heldt. From the time I became involved until I ultimately resigned, the Guardian Office controlled all directorships of Narconon, although Narconon was held out to be independent of the Church of Scientology.

Although it was publicly admitted that Narconon used the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, and was sponsored by the Church of Scientology, it's true relationship - i.e. that it was wholly controlled by the Church of Scientology, was never publicly admitted.

(Declaration of Lt Col Mark Jones, USMC (Rtd), 10 February 1995)

Arthur Maren's involvement with Narconon is corroborated by a Scientology disciplinary report on him, WISE INT Ethics Order 1501 of 6 December 1989. In mitigation for a long list of "crimes", "high crimes" and "misdemenors", it states: "The Committee found that Arte [Arthur] has made major contributions to the expansion of the Church and Narconon during his 26 years as a Scientologist."

But what advantage would Scientology gain from covertly running a drug rehabilitation agency? A possible answer appears to lie in a briefing document issued by the Guardian's Office on 15 February 1982. It states:

"Part of the original [Overwhelming Public Popularity Campaign] idea was to really move out into society with the Purification Rundown and use it to bridge masses of people into Scientology ...

Now the Guardian's Office has its target of $50 million Purif sales to be made by 1 July ... we are looking at expanding our purpose and areas of operation so that we really are taking over the handling of the field of mental health.

It is the job of PRs to make the Purif the thing to do - to create a craze greater than jogging."

(Internal GO briefing document, "Briefing - Purification Campaign - The Vital Role of PR", 15 February 1982)

This relates directly to L. Ron Hubbard's campaign against psychiatry and psychology, which continues to be waged by the Church of Scientology. In a confidential minute which he wrote in 1969 and which related experience suggests may still be in force, he laid down the following goal for Scientology:

"Our war has been forced to become 'To take over absolutely the field of mental healing on this planet in all forms' ...

Our total victory will come when we run [the enemy's] organizations, perform his functions and obtain his financing and appropriations."

(L. Ron Hubbard, "Intelligence Actions - Covert Intelligence - Data Collection", 2 December 1969. See also the "Scientology's Secret Service" pages for more on Scientology's covert war against the mental health profession and governments worldwide.)

In the light of this statement, it is possible to interpret Narconon as representing an attempt to wrest control of health care funding from the "psychs" whom Hubbard so reviled.

The Church of Scientology went to extraordinary lengths to hide its control over Narconon. In 1977, the FBI raided the Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles headquarters of Scientology, seizing over 33,000 documents. The documents showed that Narconon and other supposedly independent bodies such as Applied Scholastics and the Citizens Commission on Human Rights were run through the Guardian's Office's Bureau 6, also known as "B6" or "Social Coordination". One document in particular, itemised by the FBI as item 104 in Box C16, orders the use of codes to obscure Scientology's control of "B6 groups":

"SC [Social Coordination] headings for data needing coding ...

4. Anything that gives specific and actual evidence that Scientology is in legal control of B6 type groups. These are groups that are separate legal entities to the C of S."

(Undated document seized by the FBI in July 1977)

On the next page, the document lists a number of "B6 type groups" to whom corporate links are to be concealed; Narconon is second on the list.

Despite its outward denial of corporate links to Narconon, Scientology made no secret of those links to those on the inside. On 18 August 1982, the Church of Scientology of California's United States Guardian Office (USGO) issued a commendation to Jones for his Narconon work. The citation states:





(Commendation issued by Church of Scientology of California, 18 August 1982)

Similarly, Jones' Narconon work was rewarded by the Church of Scientology by awards of Scientology training levels. An Executive Directive from L. Ron Hubbard, dated 2 June 1972 and annotated by David Gaiman, then a leading member of the UK Guardian's Office, states:

"Mark Jones is awarded his next training level, Class IX, for the excellent work he has done on the Narconon Programme."

(LRH ED 8 Int, 2 June 1972)

Class IX, "Hubbard Advanced Technical Specialist", is defined in the Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary (Bridge Publications, 1974) as being "taught at Saint Hill organizations and contains data concerning advanced procedures and developments since Class VIII". This is clearly full-blown Scientology, rather than the supposedly separate and secular Narconon "technology".

Is Narconon still controlled by Scientology?

There are no known "smoking guns" along the lines of Lt Col Jones' testimony and supporting documentation, or the documents seized by the FBI in 1977, to corroborate the continued corporate control of Narconon by the Church of Scientology. However, there are two interesting pieces of evidence which suggest close links at the very least.

The first comes from the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization's Flag FSM Newsletter, distributed to Scientology "Field Staff Members" (Scientologists who act as salemen, disseminating Scientology in return for a 10% cut of the recruit's fees - by which means considerable sums can be earned for the FSM). In Volume XIX, number XVII of the newsletter (published 1992), a list of "International Top Ten FSMs" appears. This is subdivided into "Individuals" and "Orgs, Missions and Groups". Narconon Los Molinos appears in the latter category as having raised $2661 for Scientology (see below). Why is Narconon in this list if it is independent of Scientology?

The other piece of evidence is an 8-page Executive Directive from Narconon International, entitled "Narconon UK Non-Existence Program" and dated 23 May 1995. It states:


While Narconon has been incorporated in UK for several years, it has in fact been forming up over the last few months, getting new premises and getting its drug and alcohol rehabilitation license which however allows for only three students.

This program is designed to assist Narconon U.K. to successfully get out of Non Existence and to put in the basics it needs so it can expand.

Drug education services will also be delivered to immediately expand Narconon UK's reach.



(Narconon International Executive Directive of 23 May 1995, "Narconon UK Non-Existence Program")

The "Non-Existence Formula" is taken from L. Ron Hubbard's "management technology"; essentially, a person or organisation in a state of "Non Existence" is someone who is not known to anyone in the vicinity and has made no impact, hence is not existing. This is certainly a fair summation of Narconon UK, which cannot be said to have made much of a splash; although it is recognised as a charity (the only Scientology-related entity in the United Kingdom to enjoy this status, in fact), it has been quiescent for many years.

The document goes on to list a series of "Major Targets", "Primary Targets" "Vital Targets" and "Operating Targets" in the usual quasi-military style dictated by "management technology". A number of these targets are of considerable interest. Primary Target 4 instructs the Executive Director of Narconon UK to "report on the program to ED NN [Narconon] Int[ernational], info ED ABLE UK." ABLE, the Association for Better Living and Education, is an umbrella organisation which licenses the use of L. Ron Hubbard's educational and social works (adapted chiefly from Scientology versions). In April 1990, ABLE announced that it was giving $200,000 to Narconon's Chilocco centre in recognition of the latter's "remarkable success in treating addicts". It did not mention any corporate links with Narconon, but it subsequently emerged that Narconon was a subsidiary of ABLE. The "Narconon UK Non-Existence Program" recognises this relationship in Operating Target 8: "Alert ABLE UK that you are now ready for a new inspection to a pass and ask that the inspection be done." Clearly, ABLE sets a stringent set of criteria for endorsement of Narconon organisations. In a very real sense, it appears that ABLE controls the establishment and possibly the operation of the organisations to whom it licenses Hubbard materials.

The chain of control demonstrably leads back to the Religious Technology Center, the body which owns Hubbard's copyrights and sits at the top of Scientology's convoluted corporate structure. Only bodies "in good standing" with the RTC can make use of Hubbard's works, albeit for a generous fee; the RTC reserves the right to withdraw licenses without notice. As the Californian courts have ruled, this enables the RTC to exercise de facto control of supposedly independent entities such as Narconon. The RTC itself acknowledged this control in the agreement which it reached with the US Internal Revenue Service on 1 October 1993. In section VIII.C.4, Narconon International is described as a "Scientology-related entity". Its unpaid tax dues, along with those of the Church of Scientology and various other related entities, were covered by a single payment of $12.5 million made by the Church of Scientology International.

More interesting targets appear further on in the "Narconon UK Non-Existence Program". Operating Targets 27, 37, 47 and 48 are highly significant in that they appear to show a direct link to the Church of Scientology. The targets state:

"27. On OK, get the contracts for the house verified and approved by OSA.

37. Brief ED ABLE UK, PR OSA UK and LRH PPRO UK on creating a Science and Advisory Board for Narconon UK, with respected high level professionals who can use their expertise to communicate the value of the Narconon tech in the country.

47. Get the filing verified by OSA.

48. On OSA's OK, get the extension to your license filed."

(Narconon International Executive Directive of 23 May 1995, "Narconon UK Non-Existence Program")

The significance of this is that OSA - the Office of Special Affairs - is the department of the Church of Scientology responsible for legal, public relations and intelligence matters: it is a combination of press agency, legal consultancy and secret intelligence service. It is also the direct successor to the old Guardian's Office, which - as already discussed - apparently exercised strong behind-the-scenes control over Narconon. The reference to "LRH PPRO UK" is also significant. The purpose of the "L. Ron Hubbard Personal Public Relations Officer" is defined as follows:

"The post purpose is to get LRH's technologies utilized by the external publics internationally. Ron's external publics are those publics outside of Scientology - governments, media, social reform, education, the arts, business, specialist activities are all included in Ron's external publics."

(Modern Management Technology Defined, Bridge Publications, 1982)

If Narconon is indeed independent of the Church of Scientology, then why is its UK Executive Director liaising so closely with departments of the Church dedicated to the promotion of Scientology?


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Last updated 31 August 1998
by Chris Owen (