the Feds chicken out


NarCONon is Scientology! Forward: For a systematic, detailed, professional exposure of Scientology's "Narconon" front group, visit the Narconon Exposed web site.

thomasjbest@hotmail.com (Thomas J Best)
QUACKERY PROSECUTED - Not - the Feds chicken out
21 Jul 2002

Yet another weaselly reply from a mid-level bureaucrat, which I've been sitting on for a while, and now I've been sent a copy of the CEO's response to my MP's lobbying. There are a couple of interesting little glitches between the two, which I'll keep to myself for the present. Anyway, here's my draft response (it's Sunday evening here in Oz) if anybody wants to comment, critic the prose, feel free, please.

Ms Michaela Watson                                      n/n xxxxxxxxx Street
Assistant Director					RANDWICK 2031
ACCC							20 July 2002
GPO Box 3648

Ref: S2002/1/273638

Dear Ms Watson,

I have your letter of 11 June. I will not thank you for it, since it represents in my opinion a shocking dereliction of duty by the Commission and it's officers.

I have taken some time to respond for two reasons. The first was that I took some time to review the provisions and application of the Act. The second, that I was awainting a response from the Hon. Peter King MP who, I knew, was pursuing this matter on my behalf with the Commissioner.

It is quite apparent from your letter that the Commission has conducted no research into the matters I raised, and your Chief Executive Officer's claim, in his letter of 7 June to Peter King, of "careful consideration" is quite disingenuous.

If the matter had been given 'careful consideration' you would have learned that not only does Hubbard, the author of the quack 'remedy' under discussion, make ridiculous claims about it's 'efficacy' in 'treating' the 'effects of drugs', he also claims that it is efficacious in 'treating' cancer.

"....I have seen a full-blown case of skin cancer turn on and run out on niacin dosages. So it appears that a person can turn on skin cancer with this, and if that should happen, the handling, by observable fact, has been to continue the niacin untl the skin cancer has run out completely." Hubbard 'Clear Body Clear Mind' Bridge Publications Inc 1990 p.103

Given your pointing to the Commission's action against another quack cancer remedy, I would have thought that your 'careful consideration' might have alerted you to the nature of this particular fraud. I was obviously wrong.

You repeat the claim that the 'Purification Rundown' is a 'service' and not a 'good' under the Act, and so may not be subject to withdrawal directions by the Minister. You, again, did not address my contention that the provision of the vitamin preparations is the provision of a 'good' as a component part of the 'service' and that in the context, is 'dangerous' within the meaning of the Act.

You assert that the falsity of the cult's claim that "...research has demonstrated that the single most destructive element present in our culture is drugs...." results in "...no significant public detriment." I assert quite the contrary.

The cult has been peddling this dangerous quackery for decades. It is difficult to ascertain precisely how many persons have been subjected to this 'treatment', but my research indicates about 100-150 per annum, at a minimum, have been defrauded. How many of those suffered damage to their health in the process is, as yet, unknown. Who knows how many became a burden on public health programs as a result? I hope to be able to bring figures to your attention in the near future that will demonstrate 'significant public detriment.'

You assert that the cult's claims about the unique value of the 'Purification Rundown' "...even if regarded as something more than mere puffery are not likely to be representations that will be relied on without further inquiry...".

Quite to the contrary, such representations are just what will be relied upon by the kind of gullible individuals, impressed by the pseudo-scientific gobbledygook, whom the cult habitually targets.

Again, the absolute numbers involved are not the issue. The issue is the ruthless and calculated exploitation of people's fears and ignorance. The fact that the Commission undertook no research, gave no 'careful consideration' to these matters is glaring in this regard on a number of counts.

Firstly, the actual intent of the 'Purification Rundown' is not to do anything about any individual's 'drug problems' or 'spiritual condition'. It is simply to lure 'raw meat' (Scientology's own term) into Scientology, or, as their own 'scripture' has it, to "...get bodies into the shop."

That should have been obvious from the evidence I provided from the secret cult doctrine known as 'HCOB 29 Jan 1980 The OT Drug Rundown'. That's as glaring a breach of Section 53(g) of the Act as could be imagined. I note that neither you, nor your Chief Executive Officer, chose to address that evidence.

Secondly, whether or not the claims are regarded as mere 'puffery' is germane to the issue - I direct your attention to the commentary by J B Heydon in 'Trade Practices Law: Restrictive Trade Practices, Deceptive Conduct and Consumer Protection.' Law Book Co 2001

"Puffs are less likely to escape liability where, though vague, they exploit human anxiety and fear.... it is obviously deceptive to suggest a product cures diseases it cannot cure... Non-disclosure is particularly likely to be held deceptive where serious harm may flow... Conduct may mislead because it suggests that a product provides solution to non-existent problems while in fact it provides no solution to real problems."

You claim in your letter that the breaches I brought to your attention, even if actionable, "...do not meet the priority criteria for enforcement action." The Commission has not, in any of it's correspondence, detailed what these 'criteria' may be. I repeat my previous questions:

Are you seriously telling me that it's in order for the cult to defraud and endanger people in Australia so long as they do it to only up to 25 people per annum? Or would the limit be set at some higher figure? How, and by whom, would such a limit be set?

Finally, you mention that the Commission's supine stance does not impinge upon my "...right to pursue the matter privately."

Again, you demonstrate that no research has been undertaken by the Commission, else you would have been aware that no individual can possibly undertake an action against this wealthy and unscrupulous organisation, renowned internationally for it's ruthless and relentless abuse of the law and legal processes in pursuit of the goal of silencing it's perceived enemies.

Since the Commission is unwilling, or unable, to fulfill the provisions of the Act which it exists to administer, you leave me no choice in the matter.

My research, and copies of this correspondence, will be placed in the hands of the national media. That the Commission and it's officers might thereby be exposed as ineffectual, at best, derelict, at least, or intimidated, at worst, is no concern of mine.

Yours faithfully

Thomas J Best


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