03 May 2002
We got two Narconon-related visits at the office.

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

03 May 2002

jpilkonis1@aol.com (JPilkonis1)

Well, guys, this afternoon, we got two Narconon-related visits at the office. The first was a man who was the father of one of the program's "success" stories, who related the tale of how her daughter, a drug addict since junior high, was "saved" through the program.

It was really hard being aggressive towards someone who's kid was doing better, but after an extensive conversation, a few things stood out in my mind. The first was the fact that his daughter was one of the people calling our office that week "Demanding" faxes of my Narconon-related work and that she was one of the people going door to door in Bowdon, soliciting "endorsements" from the locals.

But the aspect about the vistit which didn't ring true at all came when I asked him whether he had a close relationship with Mary Reiser, the Administrative Director of Narconon in Atlanta. His answer was, "I've met her, but I don't really know her..."

As the conversation wore on, however, he kept slipping, saying "Well, the other day, I was telling Mary..." and "Yeah, Mary said a few weeks ago that..." Finally, I asked him if Mary had mentioned The Carroll Star News to him, and he said that she had, and expressed concerns that our reporting was biased and unfair.

The overall feeling I got in the end was that it had been "suggested" that he come out and talk to me.

Later this afternoon, however, we got the big show. A reporter friend of mine from the rival paper in town called to warn me that the Narconons had stopped by her office and dropped off a few pounds of literature...and that they might be heading for our office. Turned out to be true, as they arrived a few minutes later.

Two of them, one of them a big lug who had been Mary Reiser's "bodyguard" at the zoning meeting. It was he who got up in my face in the parking lot that night when I asked Mary her religious affiliations. The other was Tony Mariani, Deputy Dirctor of Narconon in Atlanta.

The meeting was actually far from confrontational, really. They just spouted rhetoric as a "favor" to us, so that we could better "report the truth accurately". In the course of this, they started slipping, getting caught in lies and doing their damnest to wriggle out from under our collective thumbs. (They had requested talking to me alone in my office; We'd already planned to take them on as a team in the front office.)

Sue Horn, our editor, asked whether they were hourly or salaried employees. After visibly hesitating, one said, "I'm a volunteer..." and the other, picking up on what he was "supposed" to say, eventually said the same thing.

I asked what body Thetans were, as per Rev. Crackpot's advice. They both played dumb. (They weren't really good at it.)

Bart Cater, a member of the Board of Education who just happened to be hanging around the office, took them to task about their claims (at the zoning meeting) of having a working relationship with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in Bowdon. Not only had the Scouts denied such a relationship, they had mentioned that Bart was not the first person to pose such a question. When confronted with this, once more, our visitors played dumb, and promised to "look into it" for us.

But the coup de grace came from our publisher, the fearless Bill Chappell. Towards the end of the meeting, Bill said, "We've heard a lot of rumors about you. I don't know which are true and which are not. But remember that if you come after JP, you're coming after me, too, and if you're coming after me...well, welcome to Carroll County, boys...." Reverse intimidation to say the least.

Bill cut the meeting short because Thursday is our deadline day, but invited them back next Tuesday. I wonder whether they'll be back at all.

Sorry this is so long, but I figured you guys would appreciate a detailed report. And by the way, we got copies of the official paperwork that says they'll be presenting a new re-zoning application not at the May meeting but in June. They also bring their case before the county commission in July. (The commission has a reputation for overturning zoning board recommendations, so it's a wild card for them.)

I'll keep you guys posted as further developments happen.

J. Pilkonis

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