Two lawyers walking through the woods spotted a vicious looking grizzly bear. The first lawyer immediately opened his briefcase and pulled out a pair of sneakers.
"You're crazy! You'll never be able to outrun that bear," the second lawyer said.
"I don't have to," the first lawyer replied. "I only have to outrun you."
From: Thomas Gandow
Subject: Desertion, Denunciation, Scientology
Datum:2003-06-23 05:20:07 PST
"We'd rather have you dead than incapable" *
Thoughts and quotes about DESERTION, DENUNCIATION, and SCIENTOLOGY
*(from HCOP 7.2.65 (27.8.80): Keeping Scientology Working, OEC Band O S. 39 Mitte: "We'd rather have you dead than incapable", auch abgedruckt in OEC 4:44, 5:43).
Freedom of religion and opinion: that includes the right to leave a group, whether it's religious or not. (See http://www.leipziger-preis.de/englisch/grundsatztext.htm
"Freedom for members of an organization, church or cult, religious or not, to leave that organization, without being detained, threatened or persecuted."
All serious religious groups respect dissidents; all Christian churches have means of leaving.
Only cults and fanatics, like bad armies, give top priority to fighting "deserters", which means dissidents and people who merely leave. They denounce them as they are able and brand them as "apostates" or "traitors."
Those Scientology critics who expect loyalty to the point of disregard for self from their comrades-in-arms, who accuse leavers - with or without proof - of backstabbing, and who defend their actions by saying the leavers are without rights or honor and can be treated accordingly, are to a degree supporting Scientology's Fair Game Policy.
After the Second World War, a new assessment was made of military desertion. Since then many monuments have been erected to deserters. The context of desertion is being researched in the scientific world in an effort to fight it.
In doing this it's been found in a number of cases that brutal measures against deserters serve the purpose of intimidation and demoralization:
The fear of punishment among soldiers was to be so great that any action breaching regulations would be ruled out in advance for fear of consequences. This effect, and here the judges were unanimous, could only have been obtained by one means: by the threat and use of the death penalty. That Hitler was also of this view is demonstrated by the following resounding words written in "Mein Kampf" for the purpose of condemning deserters:
"If one is to hold young men on post, in spite of weakness, vacillation or
even cowardice, then there is only one way to do that: The deserter must know
that his desertion will bring upon him exactly that which he wishes to flee. On
the Front one can die; upon desertion one must die. It is only through such a
draconian threat that any thought of desertion can have a frightening effect not
only on the individual, but also for the community on the whole."
(Hitler, Adolf, Mein Kampf. Zweiter Band: Die nationalsozialistische Bewegung (München 1934).
Many soldiers used these sentences as an excuse to justify numerous instances of denunciation. The denunciants, both in the field and in the "homeland," were more numerous than one would care to imagine. More than one million members of the armed forces were brought before military courts, and quite a few of them were there as a result of denunciation.
from: Nina Horowitz: Wehrmachtsdeserteure
Totalitarian cults like Scientology also demonize leaving and desertion:
"High crime. This consists of one publicly departing Scientology or
committing suppressive actions. (...) Suppressive actions are defined as
commission or omissions that are undertaken to knowingly suppress, restrict or
impede Scientology or Scientologists. Such suppressive actions include:
It is a high crime, to publicly depart Scientology.
From the German: L. Ron Hubbard, Einführung in die Ethik der Scientology, Kopenhagen 1989, S. 208 ff
When someone signs up for a course, then regard him as a member for the duration
of this universe - never permit an "open" mind. If someone wants to
go, let him go quickly. If someone has signed up, then he's on board, and if he
is on board, then he is here under the same conditions as all of us - win or die
trying. Never let him be a half-hearted Scientologist. The best organizations
in history were hard, devoted organizations. No bunch of panty-waist
dilettantes has ever accomplished anything. It is a hard universe. The social
veneer makes it look mild. But only the tigers survive - and even they have it
tough. We will survive because we are tough and dedicated. If we really train
someone right, he becomes more and more of a tiger. When we train halfheartedly,
are afraid of annoying people or afraid of implementing something, then we will
not make students into good Scientologists - and that let's everyone down. When
Mrs. Airhead comes to us to be trained, turn any wavering doubt in her eyes into
a hard, determined glare, and you will win. Accommodate her and we all die a
little. The right idea for training is "You are here, so you're a
Scientologist. Now we will make you into an expert auditor, whatever happens.
We'd rather have you dead than incapable. [...]"
From the German: Hubbard Communications Office, Policy Letter vom 7. Februar 1965, korrigiert und wiederherausgegeben am 12. Oktober 1985, "Die Funktionsfähigkeit der Scientology erhalten
FAIR GAME 1734
In Zedlers Universal-Lexikon of 1734 the word "deserter" has a comprehensive entry:
"Deserteur, Rendu, Üeberläuffer, are what a soldier is called who secretly leaves his company without permission and breaks the oath of fealty to his lord; thus is he subject as a perjurer to punishment, as can be read about deserters in the Articles of War.... All those who abscond in the face of the enemy or flee the field of battle may accordingly expect to be declared Fair Game, may be hunted by anyone, may be stabbed, beaten or hit, and if in doing so he's killed, those doing so shall be forfeit nothing, but merit only praise and promotion ...."
June 11, 2003
On March 7, 2002, Bob Minton wrote a check for a quarter million dollars intended to help the Lisa McPherson wrongful death case against Scientology. About three weeks later, on March 30, 2002, Minton told the lawyer in charge of the case "Give me the money back."* Then Minton testified for Scientology against the lawyer. Lawyers testify everyday on behalf of people they don't like, who don't totally control them, and whose ideology they don't share. Robert Minton's money and generosity, however, had made him fair game.
Minton didn't get his money back. The lawyer he sent the money to, Ken Dandar, admitted having received the money, but he had only received it "anonymously". Therefore he said he didn't know if it was from Minton at all. The clincher: Dandar is the one who told Bob to send the money anonymously. The reason for anonymity, supposedly, was so that Scientology couldn't trace it. Minton had had doubts about this sort of secrecy, but played along up until the point in time he realized the extent of the legal entanglements he was getting involved in. He subsequently demanded his money back. Too late. What he got, instead, was the following April 7 post on news group alt.religion.scientology
"Five years ago, Bob Minton set out to destroy Scientology by funding the Lisa McPherson case.
Today he has made a pact with Scientology to destroy the Lisa McPherson case just to save his own skin, and maybe that of his beloved mistress. [...]
Stay tuned for the transcripts of that glorious deposition where Minton sings the song of a desperate lying man."
At that time, the news group Minton had formerly frequented was not aware that any money that had changed hands or had been demanded back. The only reason we know now is that someone, again anonymously, posted transcripts of the hearings referred to above as they were in progress. The initial reaction, however, was that this was just another attempt at Scientology's "Black PR". Nevertheless, the accusations persisted:
On April 14, 2002, the following posts appeared on news group alt.religion.scientology:
"Minton warning: I think I should (though I have already given all the details I CAN for now) state that it is my considered opinion that all critics who have had dealings with Bob Minton should consider their communications and dealings to be compromised and act as if that is the case."
Minton ended up giving unsubstantiated testimony for Scientology against attorney Dandar. Were things really that bad for Dandar, though, or had the money well just run dry? The topic of discussion is Scientology, an organization that operates in a sectarian manner, specializing in politicians, civil servants, judges and lawyers. Therefore a brief discussion of Scientology-style sectarianism is given.
There is a popular myth that lawyers seek truth and justice when pursuing legal matters. This is not true. Good lawyers are 110% prejudiced and biased in favor of who or whatever they represent. They are therefore not fair. The thing that makes them fair is the system in which the matador-lawyers operate. When two sides are properly represented without trampling on the rights of others, then fairly judged, that is a quick-and-dirty method of getting to the truth of a matter. It is hoped that the two opposing prejudices will sort of cancel each other out. If one really wanted to get to the truth of a matter, though, prejudice would be weeded out as much as possible before judging. While the justice system is not perfect by any means, it's the best we can do in cases of open contention. In a manner of speaking, it is publicly approved sectarianism, one side against the other.
If sectarianism is used outside of a justice system, however, it can quickly turn into just another bullfight. Us against them: the matadors are right -- the bulls are wrong, with "us" being the matadors. In jousts of this sort of sectarian nature, truth is not determined by evidence, but by who wins. That is a big difference from determining truth from information.
Knowing the truth becomes a matter of distinguishing information from entertainment, modern justice from medieval jousts. Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard took these two conflicting procedures and crossed them into something he labelled "Scientology", which he said meant "knowing how to know." In this respect, "Scientology" is only the red cape of a matador, and the audience determines the truth not by fairly judging evidence, but by the flourish with which the matador twirls his cape, by the anguished screams of the bull, and by the roars of approval and awe from the crowd. Naturally the audience is disappointed if the unthinkable happens and the matador loses.
When the two systems are crossed, things get confused. Due in part to the myth that lawyers pursue justice, we blindly trust them to unconfuse things. Who better, though, than a lawyer to muddy a situation even further? Bob Minton gave a quarter million dollars to a lawyer to pursue truth. At the lawyer's suggestion, he transferred the money in a manner so it could not be traced. Minton found truth without the lawyer and wanted his money back. How muddy can truth be?
One of the people Bob Minton was no longer giving his money to was Jesse Prince. Prince presented his speculation in court that Minton had been blackmailed, but offered no evidence for his statements. The Scientologists, we were supposed to believe, had once again cleverly covered up their tracks. The lawyer who anonymously received the quarter million also offered a similar tale, also with no evidence. Those devious Scientologists had once again cleverly left no trace.
In a similar but more intriguing vein, lawyer Graham Berry was interviewed by a Berlin journalist to whom he clearly gave the impression that Bob had "changed sides." Berry was officially in Europe at the invitation of the German government, as represented by Ursula Caberta, head of an anti-Scientology government agency in Hamburg. A year later, the news group entity who posted the "Minton warning" above stated that he had "anonymously" received an e-mail that "purported" to be a translation of a Hamburg court decision concerning Caberta. Graham Berry, of all people, helped to explain exactly what to make out of this muddy situation.
Several years ago, Ursula Caberta received $75,000 from Bob Minton. Ursula Caberta is an employee of the German government and Bob Minton was one of her official business contacts. If Caberta would have been an American, she might now be engaged in a different profession. This money-taking happened in Hamburg, Germany, though, so she was legal. Perhaps because of this, Caberta was also confident that what she had done was moral and right, or at least -- not corrupt.
Caberta was so confident that she had nothing to hide that when she went on vacation to the USA, where she was inevitably subpoenaed by Scientology lawyers, she freely admitted that she had taken money from Bob Minton. Even if she had been wrong to take the money, there was no need to worry, the German woman thought, because the Scientology lawyers had told her all this was confidential.
Caberta was in for an unpleasant surprise. Information that is confidential in America can be published in Germany. Her testimony in the USA was used to press charges of corruption against her in Hamburg. The $75,000 she received from the anti-Scientology businessman could be expected to wrongfully influence her official judgment against Scientology, the Scientology lawyers alleged.
Fortunately for Caberta, an opportune moment occurred in the person of the lawyer whose trip to Germany she helped pay. Graham Berry was so depressed about Bob Minton "changing sides" that he had to go to Berlin journalist Frank Nordhausen and tell him all about it. The Berlin journalist accepted Berry's emotional testimony at face value, but, being a good journalist, he found evidence to corroborate what the lawyer presented. Here's part of what he found:
"Minton is not an easy person to deal with. His employees say of him that he is like a little king. Apparently he likes to pull strings. Intimate friends have seen him out of control."
Horror was too weak a word for this, Berry contributed. It was a shock, a disaster. By now Minton's former news group had turned into a cornucopia of evidence, all against him.
"Mister Dandar is a lying thief", Minton shouted, thumping his fist on the table. "I am now convinced that he is only sitting here for the money."
The above was presented to show that Minton was "out of control."
In exchange for providing Graham Berry a trip to Europe, Caberta got the above news article, which she then submitted as evidence in Scientology's $75,000 case against her for corruption. Now the statement that Bob Minton had "changed sides" was official evidence in a court of law. This was the news Berry bragged about on the Internet. His mockery of Minton had helped to unsully Caberta's reputation and career. Now she could continue the fight against Scientology without officially being suspected of corruptness. The icing on the cake was that the Scientologists could not refute his statements damning Minton. What conclusion would a rational person draw?
According to the American Heritage dictionary, "corrupt" means guilty of dishonest practices; without integrity; crooked. As a verb, it can mean to cause to be disloyal. What I care about in all this confusion is who is being dishonest and disloyal to me. The first point I'll bring up, speaking from experience, is that Hubbard's Scientology policies are even more dishonest and corrupt than German politicians or American lawyers. Having gotten that out of the way, a few items need to be taken into consideration.
The picadors, Berry and Nordhausen, did their job on the bull. Screams of pain and anguish, presumably from the bull, are filling the arena. The matador, Ursula Caberta, is waiting for roars of encouragement from the audience. Failing that, she will take the silence as a sign to administer the coup de grace. Wait a minute. Does she really have the right bull? Is a blow to Minton the same as a blow to Scientology?
Bob Minton, as of 1 June 2003:
Robert Minton is no longer supporting the sectarian battle against Scientology. This helps clear the air for a serious look at the situation of dealing with totalitarian cults. He's also looking out after his own interests. It's in everybody's interest to see to it that both the media and the law are used effectively and reliably.
The criminal case again Scientology for the death of Lisa McPherson was dropped because the county coroner changed her testimony. She was no longer a reliable witness.
One of the purposes of law is to decrease wrongful conduct. When the law just drives corruption and crime deeper underground, it's no longer effective, no matter whose side the bull is on.
* from anonymous post to alt.religion.scientology 3 June 2002 of testimony of Robert S. Minton in the circuit court of Pinellas County, Florida case no. 00-5682-CI-11 on 22 May 2002
** this information from http://www.leipzig-award.org/englisch/faq.htm
Other relevant data occuring since the above was written:
Thomas Gandow points out that the prejudicial article is not filling a usual public demand.
From: Thomas Gandow
Subject: Re: A quarter million reasons Bob Minton is not on the "other" side
Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2003 00:31:48 +0200
I asked Nordhausen, why he would do this article so eagerly.
- Nordhausen *never* wrote about Bob Minton in the Berliner Zeitung before. So no one of his readers knew about the "good" Bob - why tell them about the "bad".
- Nordhausen did not write about the then ongoing Minton lawsuit against Scientology Berlin - which Minton won just in these days.
- Nordhausen never wrote about Lisa McPherson in the Berliner Zeitung - so no one of his readers new about the whole story.
- Nordhausen did never write about the Leipzig Award - so no one of his readers knew about why Graham was in germany.
- The only thing he told me was, that Martin Ottmann had phoned him and that this must be a big story.
Martin Ottman admitted under prompting that he had indeed helped getting the article published.. This is particularly significant in regards to the timeframe, i.e., Berry's interview was early May 2002. That means Ottman was attacking Minton before then, a fact he chose not to reveal until he was he was caught.
Note: As I recall, Ottman's testimony has previously been ruled unreliable in German courts.
Here's the reference: Verwaltungsgericht Stuttgart 16 K 3182/98 Urteil vom 17.11.99 Seite 7
"An der Glaubhaftigkeit der Zeugenaussage bestehen bereits ernstliche Zweifel." "Serious doubts already exists as to the credibility of the state witness (referring to Ottmann)"
Like a few loud, biased critics, he's appeared against Scientology, but has not been effective in accomplishing anything signficant.
Neither are his news group postings, which include false confessions done in ridicule, particularly credible. The information that he contacted Nordhausen, though, is verified by Thomas Gandow's post above. The information that Nordhausen was the only one contacted is neither verified nor reliable.
From: Martin Ottmann
Subject: Re: A quarter million reasons Bob Minton is not on the "other" side
Date: 15 Jun 2003 02:24:10 -0700
Joe's Garage wrote in message news:Pine.LNX.3.96.1030614062150.115Aemail@example.com...
> If Martin told one journalist that this was going to be a big story,
> chances are that he told 50.
Sorry to disappoint you, preacher. But I've talked to only one (1) journalist (Nordhausen) about it.
Here is Berry's post informing the news group of the good works he's done in whitewashing Caberta's good name by incriminating Minton
From: Graham Berry
Subject: Re: Scientology's German Appeal Loss
Date: 6 Jun 2003 00:22:57 -0700
[...] The best possible source has assured me that the document is an accurate English translation of the original German language decision of the Hamburg Appellate Court.
Scientology has made much of the first part of the decision but they have ignored the second part. In the second part of the appellate opinion, the court rejects the Church of Scientology's allegations that Ursula Caberta is now compromised because of money she privately received from Bob Minton.
Furthermore, the court noted from my interview with Frank Nordhausen ("The Man Who Fell Over"), that Bob Minton has changed sides and is now in cahoots with Scientology. The court says this is further evidence of Scientology's Minton improper influence allegation being baseless, mooted and legally irrelevant. In addition, the court commented that Ursula Caberta was merely doing her job as Head of the Government's Working Group on Scientology and that her work must go on.
The Hamburg Appellate Court also denied Scientology permission to take another appeal and so the decision is now final. However, the Church of Scientology has a lot of cases pending in the Hamburg law courts. These Scientology lawsuits are part of the Church's political lobbying, and other activities being directed by the Church's Office of Special Affairs, to have Ursula Caberta's employment terminated and her office closed down. The 'Minton improper influence' allegation is central to many of these cases. The Appellate Court's opinion is expected to have an adverse impact upon Scientology's prospects in those cases. And Caberta can still say "Scientology means hard work for children!"
Meanwhile, the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Heller v. Caberta is awaited. In this Tampa, Fl. case Kendrick L. Moxon, Esq. had sued Caberta for actions taken against scientologists in Germany and the use of the 'Hubbard Technology' questionnaire. The acts alleged by Heller/Moxon were protected under the Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity, as I would have told Mr. Moxon had he consulted me first! When the appropriate affirmative defenses were asserted in the Caberta answer, Mr. Moxon unsuccessfully tried to change the facts of his sworn pleading to fit several internationally recognized exceptions to the doctrine of sovereign immunity.
The U.S. District Court in Tampa issued a summary judgment order dismissing Moxon's lawsuit filed on behalf of fellow scientologist Herr Heller and awarded costs in favor of Ursula Caberta. Moxon and Heller have appealed and the Appellate Court's decision is awaited.
It may just be the intoxicatingly clean air here 'down under' but it seems to me that the cult is very nervous at present. They have good reason to be nervous. And it is going to keep getting a whole lot worse. Good always defeats evil and, in my opinion, this is one of the world's most evil organizations.
The translation referred to was of Hamburgisches Oberverwaltungsgericht, 1. Senat, 6 VG 4953/2002, of 15 April 2003, with names visible.
by Joe Cisar
December 18, 2003
Baden-Wurttemberg is a German state of over 10 million people, a third of which live in the capitol vicinity of Stuttgart. Baden-Wurttemberg is bordered by France, Switzerland, Austria, Bavaria, and other important German states. Baden-Wurttemberg has one of the highest concentrations of Scientologists in Germany, along with Hamburg and Munich. It has also lost almost every PR contest with Scientology for the past ten years. This has apparently not been accomplished by any spectacular feats of excellence on Scientology's part, but is rather due more to efforts by Scientology opponents to beat Scientology at the PR game. One of the exceptions to this pattern is the ABI consumer protection organization, which has been successfully informing the public about Scientology and other consumer hazards for many years. At one time, Ingo Heinemann, another successful German consumer protection advocate, also had close connections to the ABI. His 1979 book, "Scientology and its Cover Companies," (http://cisar.org/books/trn1040.htm contains a wealth of historical information, much of which is still applicable today.
While Stuttgart and the state of Baden-Wurttemberg have suffered quite a few setback with Scientology, a 16-year-old girl was able to win one of the more widely broadcast victories in 2000. It started when the school girl popped a balloon. This particular balloon was being used for advertising by a Scientology street recruiter. The recruiter, a middle-aged man, slapped the girl a few times in retaliation. She charged him in accordance with the law, and he lost. There was some discussion during this time about whether Scientology would be able to advertise on the streets any more. The discussion was dropped, however, and Scientology Church Stuttgart wrote a nice letter to the newspaper, expressing appreciation to the mayor and the codes office for their consideration in this matter.
Typical of the state's dealing with Scientology are the areas of civil service and state leasing of advertising space. In the area of civil service, Scientology has managed through the years to get the names of its organizations placed in Stuttgart employment agency files. On occasion, the state employment agency has actually referred unsuspecting job-seekers to these Scientology organizations. When this happens, sometimes the job-seekers are annoyed enough to go to the press. As a result, a story is usually printed to let others know to keep an eye out for who the state is referring them to. This sort of publicity backfire has also happened when the state inadvertently leases advertising space for Scientology products. The public complains in self-defense and the state ends up losing twice.
First a reminder, then an example. The idea of jujitsu is to defend oneself without using weapons by using an adversary's own strength and weight against him. This is a speciality, figuratively speaking, of Scientology in the field of Public Relations (PR). As a matter of fact, Scientology initiated one of the first modern bouts of PR jujitsu against Germany in Baden-Wurttemberg back in the 1990s with jazz musician Chick Corea. It started when the state of Baden-Wurttemberg wouldn't subsidize a concert Corea was playing. Corea is a celebrity Scientologist, and the state did not want to give the appearance of subsidizing Scientology. There was an initial reflex reaction, but the real response didn't come until several years after this incident. Corea apparently told a U.S. congressmen that his license to play music in Germany had been revoked. This was done because of German bias against Scientologists, he said. Thus not only did Scientology use German non-support of a Scientologist to deal a blow to Germany in the area of international religious freedom, but it gave the additional impression that Germany was a totalitarian state of the sort where musicians needed licenses to play.
Back in Germany, Scientology was put under surveillance by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (OPC). Germany is different from the USA in the matter of surveillance. The OPC doesn't make arrests; it gathers information as assigned and forwards it, where appropriate, to enforcement authorities. In addition, covert surveillance in Germany apparently includes an extra step. In advance of the "covert" surveillance, the OPC broadcasts in advance throughout the entire country and the world who and what it plans to "covertly" surveil. As could be expected, that means potential criminals are warned in advance of being observed. The Germans are aware that, by doing this, they are making it harder on themselves as far as catching people who commit criminal acts. They justify this practice by saying that it has a deterrent effect on criminal activity, and that they have bad experiences in the past giving domestic spies too much power.
When Scientology was put under surveillance in 1997, a German religious sociologist, Guenter Kehrer, made some relevant comments, which were recorded in the press under the heading of "Don't Panic." Mr. Kehrer said it was likely that the observation of Scientology would yield more information about the proponents of surveillance than it would about Scientology. The surveillance, he predicted, would prove how ignorant politicians are. Mr. Kehrer was incorrect. It wasn't the surveillance that proved how ignorant politicians are. It was one PR failure after another, or what is here called "fujitsu."
Meanwhile, the purpose of surveillance is to gather information so that more intelligent actions can be taken. Back in 1997 it was safe to say that one of the major problems Baden-Wurttemberg had was that not enough good information was available to make effective decisions. This is still the case today. Therefore more observation, not less, is advisable. Not only did lack of information hinder effective decisions, but this lack created a vacuum that could be filled by other, less desirable alternatives to information, such as bias, confusion and excessive enthusiasm.
In any case, Mr. Kehrer's move clouded the issue by saying the search for facts would only prove the seekers were ignorant to begin with. In responses to his article in the paper, nobody, not even the ABI, pointed out the obvious fact that surveillance was needed for information. Instead they followed Kehrer's lead. They took the convenient cloud of suspicion and cast it right back at him, suggesting that perhaps he was a Scientologist, which muddied even more waters. A few months later, though, an isolated incident happened which contextually made it look like Kehrer might be right.
The disaster began in April 1998, when an OPC agent from Stuttgart sat down at a table in a restaurant to learn about connections between German and Swiss Scientologists. In his zeal, this particular OPC agent overlooked the fact that he was an agent of Germany, and the table at which he was operating in the performance of his official duties was in Switzerland.
Switzerland has also existed for a long time and has its own traditions, and laws as well. One of those laws prohibits spying by foreign agents. The OPC agent realized that he was spying, and realized that he was breaking the law, but he figured that his boss could go back over the matter in retrospect and make everything OK. At least that is what happened according to the Swiss politician at the table who did not look kindly upon foreigners who came into her country for the purpose of spying. She did her civic duty and reported the matter to Swiss authorities. It turned into a federal case and an international incident, which started with Germany apologizing to Switzerland, and ended with the OPC agent being tried and convicted in Swiss court.
From the viewpoint of some articles published in the Stuttgart media, however, the situation was spun around in an attempt to take advantage of a bad situation. The matter of a German breaking Swiss law was not as relevant in this spin, as was the perceived failure on the part of the Swiss government to have Scientology under surveillance to begin with. At least this is what the Stuttgart media reported. One of the initial media speculations was that if the Swiss were as diligent in observing the Scientologists as the Germans were, perhaps the situation could have been avoided.
When that didn't work, things started heating up. Within a few days the Stuttgart press was reporting that its OPC agent had been "caught in a trap" in Switzerland. The Swiss politician who helped catch the OPC spy, Susanne Haller, became a scapegoat for the Germans. In this scenario, the press felt obliged to paint Haller as the failure, not the German agent. She was said to be taking out her own frustrations, possibly with her own political career, on an innocent German agent who was just doing his job. Like Kehrer, Haller was not spared the Scientology suspicion connection, either.
The Stuttgart PR fujitsu eventually turned into mudslinging. The Germans complained that the cell in which their OPC agent had been held was dirty. The Stuttgart newspaper explained this dirt by saying the cell was not cleaned on purpose -- as a deterrent to future potential wrong-doers. "A heroin dealer would not have been treated worse." The fact that the Swiss wanted 25,000 franks bail and an apology was perceived as nothing short of rubbing salt into a wound. Haller was found guilty in the Stuttgart media, over and over. Swiss justice was turned around and portrayed as an act of injustice for the German OPC agent.
Operational error aside, the PR failures were a gold mine for Scientology. Scientologists were able to hold public rallies to demonstrate against their "illegal surveillance," as though the episode in Switzerland typified the surveillance of Scientology that was only getting started all over Germany. After all, the Scientologists sanctimoniously asked, who wants the intimate details of their private lives being gathered through illegal surveillance? This was the sort of information that could be used to exercise undue influence over the decisions and determination of others. for instance. After these rallies, things quieted down in the media in Stuttgart when it came to reporting on Scientology.
One little ominous exception occurred in May 1998. A Stuttgart administrative agency called the Regierungspraesidium (RP) confidently announced to the press that it would continue a court battle against Scientology. Its previous battle had run into a dead end because the burden of proof had been on the state to show that Scientology's "New Bridge" association was "commercially active." PR jujitsu was correctly applied, but again by Scientology. While the details of the dispute were being argued from court to court, Scientology just shifted operations from "New Bridge" to a new Dianetics association. Thus "New Bridge" became inactive, and a court eventually decided there was no point in arguing whether an inactive association was "commercially active." That solved that problem, but Scientology did lose a decision in late 1998, regarding the distribution on the street of its personality test.
A year later, November 17, 1999, the RP's announcement hit the news again. Things were not boding well for Scientology, according to the media. Dianetics Stuttgart was going to lose its charitable association status, as had been announced May of the previous year. To the media's credit, the Scientology lawyer was quoted as saying that the state didn't have enough material to prosecute its case the first time, and it still wouldn't have enough this time. The day afterwards, the press reported it looked as though the Scientology lawyer was right. During the hearing, the state argued that auditing was a commercial activity. Scientology argued that commercial activity alone did not mean an association was not charitable, and gave soccer clubs as an example. The final decision was not released until November 19. Scientology was right; the state lost its case. The publicity the PR had created turned into a failure, and this seemed worse by the fact that the City of Munich had succeeded in revoking Scientology's association status the previous June.
In January and February 2000, a number of articles again came out on this same topic, announcing a big win for the state. The RP justified this break in reality by saying it was convinced that it had been right, and was going to file an appeal to the court's decision. Also in 2000, the court decision of 17 November 1999 was published on the Internet. It is called the Verwaltungsgericht Stuttgart 16 K 3182/98 decision of 17 November 1999. It was revealed in this decision that the state had only ever had one witness. That was the first difficulty. The second problem was that the testimony of the witness was worthless because the witness also demonstrated enough elements of bias ("Parteilichkeit") to have the entire case thrown out. Nonetheless, the witness, Martin Ottmann, desired to have his name published in connection with the state's defeat, which for unknown reasons the press was still calling a state victory at the time.
Here is an English version of a Scientology letter of October 14, 2000 to the editor of the Stuttgarter Nachrichten newspaper:
regarding "Defeat for Scientology" of September 20:
Since 1994, the Stuttgart "Regierungspraesidium" (RP) [Executive Presidium] has been trying to justify a decision which, in our opinion, and also, according to the latest decision of the Administrative Court, is not licit. After the RP lost in the last hearing, the appeal was permitted. Labeling that a victory can only be explained by the confusion of the government officials. The request for an appeal is a admission that you have lost the last hearing but would like to be right anyway and are making yet another try. We view the matter calmly because the fact is the Scientology Church is an idealistic association and a religious community - and it will be that way for the appeal process, too. The RP has already had six years to prove it is right.
Scientology Church Stuttgart
In the most recent outburst of enthusiasm by the state in the fight against Scientology, Stuttgart headlines had "Scientology on trial" on December 8, 2003. The Stuttgart RP reportedly found a new basis for withdrawing the cherished association status from "the sue-happy sect" in Stuttgart. The RP had been trying to do this since 1994, and had now come up with an innovation that was to serve as an example for Munich and other German cities. Sadly, these new-found hopes were very short-lived. On December 12, 2003, the press announced that the court had once again validated Scientology's case for religion by dismissing the state's application, leaving the German state with another PR fujitsu.
Zwickau: Looks like Phil was right
by Joe Cisar
November 25, 2003
A couple of days ago, a regular contributor to the alt.religion.news group, Phil Scott, posted a complete account of an episode I had only seen bits and pieces of before some years ago. Reading the whole thing altogether in retrospect enabled me to make sense of the chain of events. Phil also used to comment about Zwickau, but that too registered only on the periphery of my consciousness. The story of the Godfather of Zwickau, however, deserves to be told all at one time.
In February 1996, the German-language Stern magazine published an article by Liane v. Billerbeck and Frank Nordhausen. These German corespondents reported that German Scientologist Kurt Fliegerbauer was nervous. The reason for the Scientologist's nervousness, given by the authors, was a combination of his questionable taste in art, a possible bad conscience for fleecing people, and the high demands undoubtedly put upon him by the cult of Scientology. It was very likely, according to these authors, that Kurt Fliegerbauer was on the verge of fleeing Zwickau in all-out desperation.
Kurt Fliegerbauer had reportedly been a Scientology "Operating Thetan" as far back as 1986. By 1989, he had given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Scientology to become a "master over space, time, matter and energy." He appeared in Zwickau in the summer of 1992. There he paid four million marks for a run-down 13th century castle. By the way, this particular castle was famous because Karl May, a German author who wrote pulp fiction about the American West, had been imprisoned there.
When the people who took his money for this famous castle later found out Fliegerbauer was a member of a dangerous cult, they explained their actions. The main reasons they had consummated the sale, according to the authors, were that they had been caught up in an ingenuously spun web of alleged good will. Besides that, Fliegerbauer had them wrapped around his little finger, as a local editor reported. In 1994, the bulldozers showed up and demolished most of the main building of the historic landmark. In December 1994, Fliegerbauer sold the remains to a company, which then experienced financial problems and wanted to tear down the west wing of the castle, too. The city agreed only with a heavy heart, as the article reported.
Fliegerbauer made out just fine, though. He had plenty of money and credit, and in spite of everything, everybody trusted him. The time was ripe for Fliegerbauer to begin buying historical buildings. Most of them cost about 300,000 marks, but were often worth over one million after renovation. By the end of 1994, Fliegerbauer's company, named after the famous but wrecked Osterstein castle, already owned thirty renovation properties. By winter of 1995 it had about 120 buildings, employing 500 at construction sites.
At the same time, people got suspicious. A city civil servant whose assigned duties dealt with real estate had quit his job and joined Fliegerbauer's company. Subsequent to this, it seemed that Fliegerbauer could get information about real estate faster than any of his competitors. Some of the people who worked in Fliegerbauer's company also noted a strange new language was being used, and sometimes people had to work overtime without pay. An Org Board was posted on the wall, which contained sentences like "Communication delivered quickly and accepted without condition." Naturally, there were statistics meetings, too, as there are in all good Scientology companies. Fliegerbauer was once approached on that subject, but replied, cryptically, that those who were involved in that sort of thing were subject to constant criticism. Apparently the subject was then prudently dropped.
Zwickau was only one part of the Scientology operation in the new German states. As early as September 9, 1990, a Scientology association held an international conference in Duesseldorf, where 100 of the most important German Scientologists from corporate boards and management met. That could be where the future real estate tycoons of Scientology split up their pickings. A number of Scientology companies went into and out of the real estate business after that, but Fliegerbauer made out fine. He even offered to establish a "Museum of Modern Art" for Zwickau in 1995. It turns out that Fliegerbauer was an acquaintance of famous Scientologist painter Gottfried Helnwein, a shock artist who drew a Sting cover. This is the sort of poor taste referred to in the article. Helnwein supposedly shot through one of Fliegerbauer's paintings with a pistol, a shock effect which Fliegerbauer loved.
In March 1996, another Billerbeck / Nordhausen article appeared in Stern magazine. Scientology companies were acquiring German land with money from non-Scientology partners. It was estimated that Scientologists had about 30 percent of the conversion market, and that even the apartment buyers are being recruited by the sect. Numbers like 300 million marks in volume were cited, and Leipzig and Dresden, which are near Zwickau in Germany, were named.
This article reports that Kurt Fliegerbauer appeared in Sachsen in 1991. Sachsen is the name of the German state where Zwickau, Leipzig and Dresden are located. Dresden is also the location of the Hannah Arendt Institute, now headed by Gerhard Besier, but that's a different story. In the small city of Oelsnitz near Plauen, Fliegerbauer offered to renovate the dilapidated Voightsberg castle and build Spanish style villas on its land. When he did not pull it off, he went to Zwickau. There, in late 1993, he acquired the above-mentioned crumbling Osterstein castle for four million marks, financed by the Dresden Bank. But instead of building it up, Fliegerbauer had the cellblock which once held Karl May torn down - and disposed of the historic ensemble one year later.
When research by the "Stern" magazine brought the Scientology connection to light, Fliegerbauer told the local press that there was "no connection" between his company and the sect. Yet it could be proved that he used Hubbard technology in his operation. Zwickau's city administration reacted with shock to Fliegerbauer's Scientology connections. No more municipal property was to be sold to him from then on.
In March 1998, Fliegerbauer apparently gave up. He admitted in a public meeting on psycho-sects, "I am a Scientologist." But he had still managed to acquire three new city properties, even though he was blacklisted from buying any more municipal property in Zwickau two years before. That didn't bother him too much, though, because he had become one of Zwickau's largest private investors. Besides a booming business, he also had his network firmly established. Local people admitted to knowing there was a Scientology connection, but said they had been under the impression that Fliegerbauer had "only taken a few courses." Others thought that where the old castle had been torn down, a new one, symbolized by Scientology, was slowly replacing it in the public consciousness. A Zwickau councilman had had enough and demanded, "Kurt Fliegerbauer has to leave this town."
When the CDU party learned that Fliegerbauer was a Scientologist, they demanded an investigation of the matter. Apparently the investigation consisted of demanding that politicians, especially those in the city council, officially state that they were not involved in anything Hubbard-like. The apparent purpose of these statements was to prevent them from being under the influence of Hubbard's cult.
Later that year, in September 1998, Fliegerbauer was interested in buying two buildings next to city hall. He already had two buildings next to the municipal building, but he wanted two more. They were run-down and the mayor had wanted to get rid of them, but the town council vetoed the idea.
In a story of a different vein, in October 1999 a citizens committee to renovate the remains of Osterstein Castle met and proposed that Fliegerbauer be made an honorary citizen of Zwickau. He had renovated over 250 buildings in the city and had done a lot to renovate Zwickau as well. They didn't mind that he was in Scientology, but a number of others did, as was reported.
By December 1999, Fliegerbauer had submitted his name as possible director of the Scientology Information Office proposed by the city. He said that since he was a Scientologist, he would know more about Scientology than any non-Scientologist, and was therefore most qualified for the job. Zwickau city council considered his offer to be an insult.
By January 2000, Fliegerbauer had also upset the mayor of Zwickau by erecting a figure of Donald Duck on one of the buildings he renovated on a major city street. This was not at all appropriate, and the city's monument office was notified to take the steps needed to remove the Disney figure from the historic building. For this occasion, the mayor, almost hidden behind the numerous microphones, spoke of unrest and upsets. He reminded the audience that the city had sold only two buildings and three small parts of buildings to the construction magnate or his firm, the Osterstein Castle Management, Inc., and that he had already been in contact with German Homeland Security about Scientology. From what Mayor Eichhorn said, he had turned down the offer from Fliegerbauer to assume the costs of painting the outside of the drapers' hall. The mayor left open the question of whether he would have preferred that the construction businessman not have shown up in Zwickau in the first place. In the meantime Fliegerbauer caused another stir. "I have nothing for which to blame myself. I have a clean conscience," he wrote this week in a letter to members of city council. "It is unbelievable how the city council lets itself be led around by fanatics and instigators (...), from its own ranks in particular, who want to restrict my civil rights and are always trying to discriminate against me." Frank Seidel, the CDU faction chairman, was described by Fliegerbauer as the "Julius Streicher of Zwickau" and scolded as an "irresponsible demagogue and fascist." Fliegerbauer's point of view: "This city has much to thank me for. One day I will actually be an honorary citizen. There is always justice in the end."
That same month, the mayor and the town council wanted to show once and for all that they were against Scientology. Apparently this was a consequence of letters the city received, not only from the president of the German state of Sachsen, but from German Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. It turned out that Kurt Fliegerbauer had made a total of 15,600 marks in donations to the city from 1995 to 1998. The city proposed that these donations be returned to him. Also, the mayor was accused of being sympathetic to Scientology, in reply to which he sued for libel. Ursula Caberta, Scientology Commissioner of the Hamburg Senate, demanded that the mayor resign.
Soon thereafter, in February 2000, it turned out that some of Fliegerbauer's best customers were German politicians from the state of Hesse. Not only did Fliegerbauer's customers include members of the CDU party, they included Hesse's chief of the justice department and the head of homeland security. That is the department that has responsibility for keeping Scientology under surveillance in Germany. When asked by the newspaper why he was doing business with a Scientology company, the top security official replied that he had bought his villa in the north of Zwickau long before Fliegerbauer ever admitted to being a Scientologist. Not only that, but he had signed a contract, and there was no way he could get out of it.
That must have done the trick for Fliegerbauer. In 1996, Stern magazine had reported that the Scientologist, from sheer pressure, was on the verge of leaving. In 1998, a Zwickau councilman had told him to get out of town. By 2000 he apparently had enough. A few days after the top German politicians admitted their Fliegerbauer-Scientology connections, Fliegerbauer called a press conference. There he announced that he was finally leaving Zwickau for good. Under his guidance, over 500 people had invested about 500 million marks in renovating about 250 buildings for the city. It was "with a tearful eye" that he was making his departure. He was liquidating all his interests in Zwickau. Even as he spoke, his company's nameplates were being dismounted around the city. City management, including the mayor who was at home ill, breathed a collective sigh of relief.
And they all lived happily ever after. Well, not really. All Fliegerbauer did was just shift assets around. The reason for the re-organization was that the financial incentives the German government had initially offered to induce investment in the former East Germany had run out. Therefore Fliegerbauer once again made out like a bandit.
Back in 2000, though, nobody, possibly not even Fliegerbauer, knew for sure what was happening. They thought Fliegerbauer was leaving, and it appeared the 1996 prediction by Billerbeck/Nordhausen was finally coming true. The newspapers duly reported that his company or companies were going bankrupt, and implied that this was the reason Fliegerbauer was leaving. A Zwickau representative even rejoiced, "This is a good day for Zwickau." Kurt Fliegerbauer played right along and said that he had "no future in Zwickau." The press eulogized "King Kurt" in the following manner:
"Kurt Fliegerbauer is regarded as the greatest private investor in Zwickau. He has renovated about 250 of the city's original buildings with the 'Osterstein Castle' company and sold them to 518 capital investors. At the same time he laid a fine network of dependencies. He made his way in and out of the council building, made donations to theaters and museum, hosted banquettes and had himself photographed with business giants. 'King Kurt' brought a little bit of glamour to Zwickau. And the city appreciated it. In June 1997, Chief Mayor Rainer Eichhorn, CDU, honored the 'potent investor' with the city's architectural award."
One of the anecdotes fondly told about the good old days when Fliegerbauer had put the Donald Duck figure on his building. Apparently, the mayor had a hard time getting the duck taken down. Within a few days people were calling for the mayor's resignation. Who else should come to the rescue by nominating himself for future mayor in a letter to the city council but Fliegerbauer himself.
The next day it was reported Fliegerbauer was leaving. The day after that it was reported that Fliegerbauer was putting on "one last act" before his "complete withdrawal." His last act consisted of making it clear to the public that he was leaving, once and for all. In a gesture of utter defeat, he even cut off a journalist who was asking him about Scientology by saying that they needn't worry about that, because there were no Scientologists in Zwickau anymore.
Then someone thought to check out Fliegerbauer's detailed plans he had given about his departure. It was a big ruse. He had control of as much real estate as he ever did. He was referred to as the secret ruler of the real estate market. He still had eight buildings downtown he was going to renovate. Fliegerbauer's numerous statements such as, "Nothing more is holding me here. Believe me when I say that," were recalled in disbelief. One newspaper speculated that Fliegerbauer had opted to publicly call it quits when his supposed pal, the city mayor, was pulled into the debate. "The city aided him de facto," Ursula Caberta, Scientology Commissioner of the Hamburg Senate, was quoted as saying. In November 2000, a newspaper revealed that Fliegerbauer had, in fact, written a two-page letter to the Zwickau mayor. Quotes were given from this document, and for some reason it was again stated that Fliegerbauer was moving to Munich.
Fliegerbauer was still making news in Zwickau in April 2001, when it was reported that he wanted an additional 10,000 marks apiece for right-of-way for the tenants of one of his buildings. The next month, the press reported that the city was planning on making a deal with Fliegerbauer in this regard.
In October 2001, it was reported that Fliegerbauer was in potential dire financial straits. The evidence for this was that he had to pay some sort of construction codes fine. Fliegerbauer said he was just writing it off as a business expense. The next month the city announced it was taking Fliegerbauer to court. Apparently sometimes, when construction was underway, Fliegerbauer did not wait for the proper permits before proceeding. By the end of November, the case was over and Fliegerbauer had been fined 50,000 marks. The state had sought three quarters of a million. The headline announced that "Fliegerbauer walks smiling from court," and opened with, "It was one humiliation after another for Zwickau city management."
Due to lack of funds, there never was a Scientology Information Office in Zwickau, but Scientologist real estate tycoon Kurt Fliegerbauer still occasionally makes the news.
Here's the latest from "Freie Presse Chemnitz" of November 26, 2003:
Zwickau: 13 Main St. retailers start Christmas operation
How can more customers be attracted to Main St.? This was the question asked by 13 retailers. Their answer: with invitation cards. Until December 6, anyone who visits one of the participating stores gets a Christmas surprise. The shops are paying for the operation, and they're also having invitations handed out, by Santa and Mrs. Claus, who are walking through the city and giving people cards with the names of the shops on them. Arndt Liebig, who runs a craft shop, is happy the Main St. retailers have taken this intiative, so that people are working together a little more closely. Mayor Vettermann (CDU) has announced that a new lighting theme for Main St. will be introduced soon. Vettermann also confirmed that Kurt Fliegerbauer's suggestion to turn part of the street into a living "Chinatown" would be taken under consideration.
Merry Christmas, Zwickau!
Merry Christmas, Mr. Fleigerbauer!
by Joe Cisar
September 20, 2003
In early September 2003, Swiss politician Susanne Haller brought before the Basel city council a query about Scientologists setting up recruitment tents in downtown Basel. Ms. Haller was instrumental several years ago in passing a law that forbid importunate advertising on public land. The Swiss politician has previously come under fire for showing that she does not want people to break the law, no matter what side they are on.
The episode started with the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (OPC), which is the agency that has Scientology under observation in Germany. The OPC does not have the authority to make arrests, it only surveils. As has been noted in the Washington Post, "Spies tend to be expert liars who create an air of omnipotence and invincibility as survival tools. Exposing them as mortals who waffle, change their minds and make mistaken judgments can threaten their very existence." [The Washington Post, "007 on Trial", Jim Hoagland, September 7, 2003]
On April 6, 1998 a German OPC agent was arrested Basel, Switzerland, while investigating Scientology. In Switzerland, German OPC agent Peter Gobel carried identification papers that said he was Peter Goller. He met with two Swiss informants in a hotel restaurant in Basel. One of those informants was Susane Haller.
On April 9, 1998, Haller said on Swiss television, "I knew it from the first second that I would turn him in. And I wanted to turn him in. And I wanted him to be arrested. It is illegal for another country's Office of Constitutional Protection to come into Switzerland and search for data on Swiss women and men."
Haller told the German agent during the meeting that his inquiries were illegal in Switzerland. He reportedly replied that his boss would straighten the matter out with Bern to make the meeting retroactively legal. The woman who had invited Haller, Zurich resident Odette Jaccard, had prepared a list of 2,000 names for the German agent. From his side, Gobel/Goller handed over information on Scientology operations in Switzerland that had been collected anonymously, presumably for the sake of protecting his sources. This included a report on Swiss Scientology spokesman Jurg Stettler. The German agent also requested license plate numbers of visitors to the Scientology center. Haller's unsuspecting partner, Jaccard, agreed. Before Jaccard could hand over her list however, Haller ended the meeting and told the German to leave.
Prior to these events, Haller had visited the Basel district attorney's office to tell them where she was going and what she would be doing. One week later the district attorney's office attested that Susanne Haller had handled everything legally and properly. Despite that, the Scientology critic would later find herself being accused, mainly from the German side of the border, of having betrayed Peter Gobel and Odette Jaccard.
The German OPC agent was arrested as he was getting into his car. As the press reported, several federal police overpowered him, put a bag over his head, and drove him to the police station, where he was strip searched. The German agent was detained in a holding cell for several days. It had become a federal case. He was suspected of having engaged in illicit activity on behalf of a foreign political intelligence service. It was considered political intelligence because Scientology had been in the political spotlight for years, as a Swiss spokesman later explained.
Both of the Swiss women were brought in by the federal police and questioned. Odette Jaccard still did not know that they had been turned in by the politician. The housewife used her visit to the federal attorney to talk about the ineffectiveness of the Swiss police in matters of Scientology. She was released feeling optimistic about her situation.
The next day she found several police officers from the federal attorney's office with a search warrant at her front door. They seized her computer and a number of diskettes. She still did not fully grasp that she might be facing charges of aiding a foreign political intelligence service.
By this time, Germany was already apologizing to Switzerland. A German government official from the city of Stuttgart, in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg, apologized to an official in Bern, Switzerland. In addition, in protest against the transgression of Swiss sovereignty, the Swiss State Department requested the presence of the German ambassador. The German Ambassador expressed his sincere regret over the incident. That, however, was still not good enough. The authorities in Stuttgart had to post 25,000 Swiss franks bail and guarantee that their man would be available in the likely event that any court proceedings ensued. The OPC agent was finally released after three days, in time for Easter. He was charged with spying and carrying false identification.
He had been following a lead from Stuttgart about Scientology connections between Germany and Switzerland. He contacted Odette Jaccard, who contacted Haller the politician. The problem was the meeting had been held in Switzerland. If the German agent would have met with his two informants back in Germany, an international incident would not have occurred. Perhaps he felt reassured because he maintained a second residence in Switzerland himself.
In any case, the first one to go to trial in the press was the politician, Susanne Haller. In this respect, Swiss Scientologist Jurg Stettler was relatively informative and helpful.
Upon being contacted by the German press, Mr. Stettler appeared frank and sincere. He revealed that Susanne Haller had been in touch with him as far back as March. The reason for the contact, he said, was to arrange for a public discussion attended by himself, Mrs. Haller, and Mrs. Haller's good friend Ursula Caberta, the sect commissioner from Hamburg, Germany. Mrs. Haller made the suggestion, but a meeting never took place.
Stettler also revealed that Susanne Haller contacted him after the German agent was arrested. According to Stettler, first Haller said she had known nothing about the incident, but later on she said she had orchestrated the whole thing. The Swiss Scientologist reportedly stated, "In less than 24 hours, Susanne Haller completely changed her story."
Stettler said that although he had problems with how Mrs. Haller viewed Scientology, she would still say on occasion that she wanted to "protect Scientologists." Finally, the spokesman declared that Scientology had absolutely nothing to do with the German agent's arrest, but confessed, "If we had been a part of the operation, I would have even been a little bit proud of it."
Besides suspicions associated with the contact between Haller and the Scientologist, there was a misunderstanding between Haller and Odette Jaccard, her fellow Swiss anti-Scientologist, which was repeatedly mentioned in the media. That was the question of why Haller had not simply warned Jaccard instead of helping to arrest the German. Haller stated she was aware beforehand of potentially illegal activity by a foreign agent, but she was not aware of potentially illegal actitivity by her comrade until it was too late. In addition, even if Haller suggested the meeting place, she still did not suggest any criminal activity to those who were later charged. She had merely been a good citizen and reported her suspicions to the police. As she emphasized, she had even stopped Jaccard from physically handing over papers to the German agent, thus thwarting a potentially criminal act. She did what she had to do.
Odette Jaccard, a housewife, was annoyed, first of all for being arrested and investigated, and secondly, she thought Haller's priorities were misplaced. To make things worse, Jaccard's attorney vainly alleged that Haller had been the one to turn the meeting into a criminal operation, and that she had planned to use the matter as a PR stunt to further her own career. The judge could dismiss the baseless charges, but by that time suspicions had already been vented, thus serving as fodder for vindicative speculation from those who disapproved of Haller's actions.
In May 1998, Haller defended herself in the press. She stated that the suspicions leveled against her had received tacit approval from the press. She also pointed out the public accusations of treasonous wrongdoing on her part was merely playing into Scientology's hands. She had done what she was required to do, not only as a citizen, but as a politician, as a model for others. She expressed sadness at what she called a campaign of instigation against her, and specifically mentioned the southern German press. (Stuttgart and Baden-Wurttemberg are in southwest Germany.) As she stated, "Scientology is a classic example of how people can be made dependent. Because of that, it must be addressed - legally. I will not consider using other methods."
Local officials recognized not only the situation between Haller and Jaccard, but that Scientology opponents in general had suffered a sense of loss in the area of public trust. The sentiment was expressed as "we will keep our distance from those obsessed with sect witch hunts."
On May 27 the Basel press reported that the federal government had concluded its investigation against the German OPC agent. The press also reported that the source of the rumor about Haller luring the German agent into Switzerland may have been the Germans who were trying to justify their OPC agent operating out of his jurisdiction.
The trial was set for July 1. The Scientologists had helped to add a charge against Odette Jaccard for violating the data security law. In June 1999 the trial was postponed. Jaccard was indisposed due to illness.
About a year after the incident, a bilateral police agreement between the Germans and the Swiss was signed in Bern. This was an important step in establishing legal cooperation between EU states and non-EU Switzerland. Part of the agreement included a temporary, limited assignment of undercover investigators in the two countries. This measure, as was noted, could have avoided the furor and the diplomatic incident of the previous year.
Finally the trial was held November 30, 1999. The government's principal witness was Susanne Haller. In their defense, the Germans from Baden-Wurttemberg said Haller had lured the OPC agent into a trap, that she was the one who urged that the meeting, which lasted two hours, occur in Basel. The reason for the Basel location came out in court as follows: The German had wanted to pick the women up in Basel and drive them to Germany, but the politician did not have the time. Even though Haller had influenced the meeting place, she had not instigated the criminal conduct. The accused were found guilty. The German OPC agent got 30 days suspended and Odette Jaccard 10 days suspended. Although Susanne Haller was not officially accused of anything, the local press did not find her entirely innocent, and mockingly referred to her as "protector of the state". Apparently Jaccard and sympathizers, such as German author Renate Hartwig, had expected something different of the politician. Regardless, Haller still went on to introduce legislation to hamper the obtrusive recruitment methods of Scientology and similar organizations.
Odette Jaccard continued to confront Scientology with her informational work, but without the help of the Swiss general attorney's office. She had previously been sued by Scientology, but to no avail. She had started warning people of the psychic dependency cultivated by sects full time back in 1991. Actually it was only half her free time, as she responded once to a question of how did she avoided turning into a fanatic herself. She admitted, however, to being a computer freak, when she was not tending to her family. As a matter of fact, she obtained much of her information from the Internet. For her activity in this regard, she was nominated for the Prix Courage. On September 23, 2000 she accepted the award for her civil courage and her informational work. She accepted the honor in a wheelchair. Odette Jaccard passed away on September 26, 2000.
Susanne Haller's legislation to impede importunate recruitment on public land was passed and, of course, challenged by Scientology, as were similar laws passed in other Swiss cities. The legal concept went to the highest Swiss court, which ruled that Scientology may advertise and recruit, but not in a manner that puts any other commercial business at a disadvantage. For all intents and purposes, that decision categorized Scientology as a business, regardless of whether it said it was religion or not.
Councilwoman Haller received a response to her query about the Scientology tents in downtown Basel. The Scientologists were exercising their freedom to assemble, their freedom of speech, and had not engaged in code violations, according to the city official who had already made several unannounced visits to the site.
Mrs. Haller, thanks for asking.
September 19, 2003
(see www.leipzig-award.org for photo background)
Scientology has been under surveillance in most of Germany for over six years. In Berlin, five of those years have been plagued by leaks and intelligence failures tinged by uneasiness still lingering from the Cold War. On September 2, 2003 the Berlin Office for the Protection of the Constitution (OPC) announced it no longer had Scientology under observation as of August 14, 2003. The German Scientologists are pleased, but not satisfied.
In 1993, the IRS granted Scientology tax-exemption for its religious training and counseling in the US, but of course, not in Europe. The following year, Scientologists placed lurid full-page advertisements in national newspapers suggesting that they were the next victims of the Nazis who had not really lost in Germany. That was their way of putting Germany on notice that it was now dealing with a world-class religion.
The Germans scrutinized the organizational policies of Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard. By June 1997, the OPC, which acts as an "early warning system" against the Nazis of the future, had its sights set on Scientology. In Berlin, the Scientologists were better prepared than the Germans, but the disastrous sequence of events from 1998-2003 were sparked by bureaucratic disgruntlement and fed by those whose job it was to protect democracy and the Constitution in Germany.
It started March 20, 1998, when copies of an anonymous letter, probably from a disgruntled employee, arrived at government agencies and a newspaper in Berlin. The anonymous writer stated that Berlin police commissioner Otto Dreksler had been in Scientology's management "cadre" for several years.
This accusation had a precedent. In 1994, a different Berlin police commissioner, who really was a Scientologist, was charged with passing official information on to his fellow Scientologists. He admitted to using Scientology software to enter official information into a Scientology computer. Other German agencies had cited this incident as an example of how Scientology infiltrated the government. That case was still in process.
The target of the current letter was scheduled to receive a promotion, but that was put on hold pending investigation. The letter had to be investigated because it mentioned a threat, which would have been a criminal act, if it proved to be true. The author had written of threats of retaliation from Dreksler.
One week later, the Berlin police requested assistance from Berlin's domestic surveillance agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (OPC). The OPC happened to have an agent in place at the Berlin Scientology center. He reportedly identified a photograph of police commissioner Dreksler as that of a person often encountered at Scientology meetings.
On March 31, the OPC had found a membership list that supposedly verified Dreksler's membership in Scientology. As a result, the unfortunate police commissioner was temporarily relieved of his regular duties. His office and home were searched, but no tangible evidence of a Scientology connection was uncovered.
In mid-April an OPC undercover agent made contact with a young Berlin Scientologist. More meetings followed. One month later the agent offered the Scientologist 5,000 marks for information about Dreksler. At this point, a quote from Scientology founder Hubbard is appropriate.
In 1969, Hubbard authored a policy letter for Scientologists on the topic of counter-espionage. In the event that any staff member was asked to attempt espionage, the staff was to "promptly seem to agree, should accept any money offered (which he may keep) and should quickly and quietly report the matter ..."
That is what happened in Berlin almost 30 years later. The Scientologist took the money, and Scientology exposed the fact that the OPC had used a spy. The Scientologist was prepared to testify to this in court. They even had a photograph of the OPC agent, according to reports.
Right about that time, the incident involving the other police commissioner who really was a Scientologist came to a close. On appeal, the Berlin Scientologist policeman had been acquitted of wrongdoing. He asserted that he had only forgotten to delete some data he had entered on a computer, and there was no evidence that the forgotten data had ever been delivered to a third party. Fines he had received earlier were vacated.
By mid-May, non-Scientologist Dreksler was telling the press he had been unjustly labeled a member of Scientology. He and his attorney also complained about the government's evidence, which was being kept confidential for reasons of protecting an official source. Dreksler filed a formal complaint against the OPC. Soon after that, Scientology also sued to have Berlin stop calling the police commissioner a Scientologist.
In early July serious doubts were raised about the validity of the membership list that had been used as verification of Dreksler's alleged standing in Scientology. Other people whose names were on the list turned out not to be Scientologists after all. "Undercover agents also make mistakes," said a domestic intelligence staff member, confidentially, of course.
Later that month the press noted several things had been out of place all along. The original anonymous letter had arrived just in time to keep Dreksler from being promoted. Instead of using Scientology's jargon to refer to Scientology entities, the anonymous writer used "cadre," for instance, an old communist term. Neither did the search of the police commissioner's quarters yield any Scientology printed matter, a circumstance unusual for an active member. Moreover, as a Bavarian intelligence expert pointed out, "The undercover agent is the weakest means of intelligence gathering because these people are often of questionable character."
On July 23, the investigation against police commissioner Dreksler was officially dropped. He was reinstated and promoted as planned. Personal suspicions, however, lingered.
Scientology used the occasion to complain bitterly that the German government was persecuting its "religious" community. The Scientology organization sued to stop the Berlin authorities from offering money to Scientologists for spying. Litigation also has a basis in Scientology founder Hubbard's writing. In this respect, the only winner in the situation appeared to be Scientology, as a contemporary commentator publicly noted.
The affair did not stop there. The Germans had to hold somebody responsible. Demands for political accountability occurred within the week.
On September 5, "Der Spiegel" magazine reported that the investigation had yielded some information which was rather controversial in that part of the world. The OPC had employed former Stasi agents as informants.
From the 1950s to the 1980s, Germany was divided into East and West. East German secret police were employed by the Ministry of State Security, which the Germans shortened to "Stasi."
Police commissioner Dreksler commented that it was inconceivable that the OPC's former Stasi man had been given more credibility than a long-term police officer of the City of Berlin. Nevertheless, the Berlin Senate stated that no former Stasi staff would be dismissed, because information was sometimes needed from their sector of society. By November, a re-organization of the Berlin OPC was announced.
A year later details of the story began to surface. A former Stasi agent who worked for the OPC as an undercover man finally went to the press. He had been dismissed by the OPC. The 76-year-old man said he had worked for East German State Security as an informant until 1974. In 1997 he applied for work at the Berlin OPC and was assigned to Scientology. He was the one who played a decisive role in the wrongly accused police commissioner. His current version of the story, however, differed from the one reported by the OPC the previous year. This time the old-timer stressed he had only seen the police commissioner once, and that was outside the Berlin Scientology center.
On May 27, 1999, a second anonymous letter, apparently written by an OPC whistleblower, made the rounds. This time though, the target of the letter was OPC management. The letter stated that a second ex-Stasi man had been used in the Dreksler investigation. The OPC's response was that priority would be given to the reorganization which had been announced the previous fall.
By September 4, 1999, a bureaucratic ruling was made concerning the 76-year-old ex-OPC ex-Stasi undercover agent. He was not allowed to testify on his part in the Dreksler case before the Berlin Senate investigative committee. This decision had been made for reasons of state security, even though he had already told his story repeatedly to the media. Within days, the German Green Party demanded early retirement for the OPC Chief.
Within a couple of weeks, the police commissioner's wife announced she was publicly leaving their family's political party because nobody from that organization had ever apologized. She was also outraged that the person who had incriminated her husband the prior year had not been identified.
On October 26, 1999, Dreksler's case against the OPC was heard in court. The unjustly accused man demanded 50,000 marks in damages, along with 16,000 marks in compensation. It was reported January 10, 2000 that he received 35,000 marks compensation from the State of Berlin.
On November 17, 1999, a report stated that the Berlin OPC would be consolidating and moving, and on January 7, 2000 the Berlin OPC chief announced his early retirement, at his own request and for personal reasons. His last public appearance was June 21, 2000, two years prior to his previously scheduled retirement.
By January 10, 2000 an unidentified OPC employee leaked the identity of the second ex-Stasi man in the Dreksler affair. The man was the son of a lieutenant-general in the former East German Ministry for State Security. Not only was he a much bigger wheel in the formerly communist regime than the septuagenarian had been, but he had been considered a high intelligence strategist who delivered outstanding results. This man, furthermore, had told the OPC there was no connection between Scientology and Dreksler. His information, however, had been discarded in favor of the dubious incriminations.
On March 30, 2000 a press release announced the Berlin OPC would be dissolved and managed as part of the Interior Administration. In December of that year the press reported that a woman data security officer and a state security chief would jointly take over management of Berlin's former OPC.
Finally, on December 15, 2001, the press reported Scientology won its case against the German city-state of Berlin. In Berlin, undercover agents would no longer be used in attempts to infiltrate Scientology. Scientology announced that similar endeavors would be initiated in other German states, even though most of them are not plagued with the difficulties experienced in Berlin.
Scientologists are not completely satisfied with the September 2003 announcement. It's true that they are no longer under surveillance in Berlin, but the organization would prefer a court judgment, one that can be used in future litigation.
Scientology and the Berlin OPC both came into existence in the early 1950s. While the Berlin OPC has enjoyed significant victories in its half century of existence, the agency has also had it share of problems. Its first chief disappeared in 1953 while traveling in the direction of East Berlin. One year later he returned unexpectedly, and was subsequently sentenced to four years in prison for state treason. He futilely asserted that he had been kidnapped, a story he kept to until his death in 1997, the year the surveillance of Scientology began.