Scientology Anti-Drug Program: Fabricated Court Orders Suggest Attempt to Silence Critics - 2017-08-09
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 WhyWeProtest.net and Exscn.net, as well as the general consumer watchdog service RipoffReport.com. (Neither Wickstrom, reached through his Serenity Point facility near Grand Rapids, Michigan, nor the Church of Scientology returned requests for comment.)
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.