All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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I just got back from a trip to Hamburg and Berlin in Germany (September 2007) visiting Ursula Caberta for four days. I wanted to see what she was really like, what she was really doing about scientology there, why she was doing it and is it something I would care to support.
The website for the governmental group she runs in Hamburg that purports to fight abuses from organized scientology is: http://fhh.hamburg.de/stadt/Aktuell/behoerden/inneres/arbeitsgruppe-scientology/start.html
There are also many posts about her, pro and con, on this and other sites regarding her dealings with organized scientology. Then of course there is the organized scientology website re religious "freedom" watch that paints her as a hateful person and that claims that the German government attacks the rights of religious minorities and recently had to be "admonished" by the US Department of State.
So what is the truth? I went to Germany to try to find out for myself.
What I am listing below is part of what I found out. Much of it is fact and some of it is simply my honest opinion. It is what I consider to be that which can be publicly reported now. So, here goes:
In summery, my first two days were spent mostly with Ursula in Hamburg, much of it in the office occupied by Ursula and several other government people in her department. Early the third day I went with Ursula to Berlin and attended quite an event there about scientology at which she spoke along with Professor Thomas Gandow and Wilfried Handl. On the fourth day, again in Berlin, there was another event with the three of them that lasted all day. I spoke briefly at that one.
Here are the main things I found out and the main occurrences:
In the two days I spent in her office, there were visits and calls from press wanting to know about scientology. This included newspapers as well as major national and international magazines. Quite a major newspaper article was published by a major newspaper in Berlin while I was there about abandoned children in scientology. I believe Ursula's office helped with providing at least some of the information for that article.
Another reporter showed up while I was there and interviewed two ex scientologists from Germany who also showed up to tell their stories of abuse on the part of organized scientology. It was interesting speaking with all of them.
Ursula was constantly fielding calls from either press who wanted information or ex scientologists who wanted help.
One especially sad case where someone came to Ursula for help while I was there was a young woman with a small child who was abandoned by her husband because she was a "declared SP" by organized scientology. Her husband, who was on staff, refused to support her and organized scientology would not help as well. The young lady was frightened and could not properly care for her baby.
Unlike organized scientology who "threw her away", Ursula cancelled appointments to see her and then to help her and her child financially and otherwise.
I saw and spoke with another ex scientologist while there for a few hours. He had recently fled staff and Ursula was helping him get onto his feet and protect him from organized scientology who was after him.
What I found was that Ursula and her department was constantly helping people who had been abused by organized scientology and in some cases possibly saving their very lives as many were desperate. Many of the people coming to her were terrified of organized scientology or were otherwise destitute or broken by organized scientology. I heard one story after another from Ursula and others there telling examples of who is helped by her department every week. This includes people who were financially ruined by scientology's high pressure sales tactics or by scams in WISE groups. Ursula and her department helped them get their money back or otherwise worked to help force organized scientology to right a wrong carried out against those people.
Ursula took a lot of time out of her schedule to speak with me, we had dinners together and stayed up until almost one in the morning one night in my hotel's bar/restaurant talking about scientology. One night there she pointed to the table where we were sitting and the one next to it and told me the story of how years ago she was sitting there with the likes of Hanna and her husband, Jesse, Vaughn and Stacy and others.
She told me many stories of those times and it was obvious that she deeply cared about them all, especially Vaughn. We swapped "Vaughn Young stories" and she would smile when she talked about what a decent and kind man he was.
In fact I found Ursula to be a very kind person who laughs easily, has a great sense of humor and is very sharp. I also find that she holds no hate for scientologists whatsoever. Instead she has a deep caring and compassion for those hurt by organized scientology. It amazes me to a degree that she is not a bitter person given that she has been so often attacked by organized scientology and for years has had to help people who have been to one degree or another destroyed and "thrown away" as no longer useful by organized scientology.
She told me that she is happy that when her department helps someone that organized scientology does not attack them but instead attacks her. She's very protective of them, almost motherly and will not tolerate those people being attacked once she is involved with them.
She told me great and funny stories of how OSA has tried to get at her by trying to set her up with a boyfriend who was an undercover OSA spy, offering to hook her up with a celebrity, etc. She laughs readily about such things and how obvious they have been. Although the stories made me laugh as well, I found myself amazed that OSA just cannot seem to get it that there are people who truly care about others and will not be bribed.
To give you an idea of how protective she can be even in a very small case, I found out after I got there that she had German Secret Service watching over me as soon as I arrived into Germany at the airport. I had no idea they were there but they were ready to intercede if I was accosted by representatives of organized scientology while there. I did not feel this was necessary at all but it is an example of how they take their jobs seriously and how much of a danger they really feel organized scientology is to people and their country.
Ursula stated that she was willing to help anyone who was in scientology and was now needing help. While her department especially wants to help other Germans, she will help people of any nationality. An example of her view was what she said after someone asked how badly she might like to prosecute Mike Rinder if he could be caught. Ursula said that Mike was a human being and deserved help if he got out of organized scientology and was trying to reform and was being harassed by organized scientology. She said that she would work to give Mike a safe place to stay if needed, even political asylum if needed. She would do whatever she could to help him, just like she would and has been doing for anyone else who approaches her for help.
It amazed me and made me very happy to see a truly caring woman here for ex scientologists pretty much no matter what they had done in the past. It appeared to me that the only one she could not reconcile helping was David Miscavige due to the years of brutality he has carried out over so many and still does to this day.
Ursula told me that I could publish her email fhh...@t-online.de and tell anyone who wants help from abuses by organized scientology, even if not German, that they can email her and she will help if she can. She said that she would even work to give American ex scientologists political asylum in Germany if they needed it for their protection.
Later I told Ursula of my walks outside Hamburg and Berlin orgs and seeing the various people at Berlin org (Hamburg org was totally dead). I told Ursula that most people there were neither bad nor abusive people but instead are mislead. I told her that in my opinion most of them had no idea of the lies embedded in Hubbard's writings, how paranoid he was, how horribly abusive it is near the top of organized scientology. Most of them have no clue that their "fearless leader" Miscavige has no real love or compassion in his own heart nor the understanding of wrong that comes from being a loving or compassionate person. They have no clue how he spits on, beats and destroys people constantly. Ursula fully agreed and it was completely obvious to me that she had no hatred whatsoever for those people.
I enjoyed working with Ursula and helping on some questions and issues where I was able to help clarify a few things. I found her to be very knowledgeable on these issues as we talked about the real legal controls in scientology and what information may be needed by the likes of prosecutors in Belgium, those in Germany and in other countries to help expose the lies, frauds, perjuries and other crimes in organized scientology. I can say that in my opinion she is very knowledgeable both legally and factually that if one ever is going to stop abuses by organized scientology in Germany that one will need to deal with those from outside Germany that are really in control of all the actions resulting in abuses being carried out.
I asked Ursula that other than what some people can testify to that may help her, the Belgium government, etc. what could ex scientologists from like the United States do to help. Ursula asked me to ask ex scientologists in the USA to write to their federal senators, congressional reps and governors and tell them their stories with organized scientology. They should be short letters (one to two pages) of the honest facts of how they have been abused or witnessed abuse by those in organized scientology. She feels that this is the most important thing the average American ex scientologist could do, even if it's just one letter.
She holds no resentment at all towards Americans or the American government even though organized scientology has managed to get the US State Department to criticize the Germans for attacking the rights of minority religions. Ursula knows well that she and her government are doing no such thing, that instead they are constantly having to help those abused by organized scientology. She is highly aware and concerned about the "church" policies of taking over and she is impressively well versed in how organized scientology has lied their way into being considered a benevolent, "religious" organization by some others in the USA. She's very aware of how they lied their way to tax exempt status with the IRS as well as other important legal- related matters. I found that she could quickly and easily understand anything I pointed out in this area including lies by Miscavige in courts, to the IRS, etc and why they were lies and how they hid things.
All that said, Ursula asked again for Americans to write to their representatives as above. She told me stories of dealings with the US State Department and how they almost never have the type of information that almost any of us know about abuses in organized scientology. I say we do this, it cannot hurt and could only help start a groundswell of truth into areas of the US government that could in fact help ensure actions are taken to help stop abuses.
Ursula told me something else which made me think. She said that those in Germany have been through the horrors of an insane, abusive and criminal government (Hitler and the Nazis). They have seen the insanity of it taking over the country and the horrors that followed because of it. They see the same sort of controlling, paranoid and manipulative doctrine in organized scientology and the same type of early actions taken by organized scientology as were taken early by those who became the Nazis. They've seen the same kind of "put downs" of others by the Nazis as organized scientology does to "wogs" and especially "SPs" who can be "fair gamed". They refuse to let this happen again. It is NOT hatred of minority religions at work in Germany. Rather it is more the hard and horribly learned lessons of the past there helping them see what is coming should organized scientology really spread there. While in no way putting down Americans or others, Ursula feels that they do not see this coming as they have not had to live though it in their own country. My feeling is that she may very well be right for many people. I found this view very, very interesting.
On my third day there Ursula and I took the speed train from Hamburg to Berlin where she and Thomas Gandow and Wilfried Handl spoke to a sold out theater audience (200-300 people) about scientology. I spoke with many people before and after that event and sat through the event itself even though I do not speak German. I know a lot of what was being covered by being briefed and understanding parts of what was being read.
The three of them each spoke repeatedly while another woman read different things when asked such as Hubbard writings about children and enemies, sec checks, sec check for children etc. It was amazing hearing the audience laughing at the insanity of some of the sec check questions and then gasping in horror at some of the others and some of the things Hubbard wrote.
Present in the audience were people from varied walks of life including press. It was a very interesting action taken by using the combined efforts of the government and the private sector to educate people on the dangers of organized scientology there. What I especially liked was that they were using actual Hubbard writings and writings of others in organized scientology in their educational efforts. Ursula also read from some of her recent best selling book "Schwarzbuch Scientology" which I think translates to something like the black book of scientology.
I got interviewed by a number of press before and after that event and met some other very interesting and nice people including one of ars's vets and his lovely wife. I guessed who he was when I saw him walk in with a "XENU" baseball-style hat and then put on a "scientology kills" T shirt. lol
A few other interesting things relating to this event were as follows:
1) I'm told that there are only maybe 200 active scientologists in Berlin. That meant that more people were at that event than there are active scientologists in Berlin;
2) The event was held at a local small theater that is on the same block as the Berlin "model org". Really, it's like a 15 second walk to the org. To show you how utterly horrible the PRO area control is with the Berlin org, here is the text of a printed sign located on the front door of that theater building (in English and German). "Employees of the "church" of Scientology are barred from the Tribuene. The Management". I am told by management there that they did resent in the past scientologists coming into the theater trying to get people to leave the theater and go to the org. Thus they did not want scientology staff in there;
3) Local DSA/OSA folks went immediately into "foot bullet mode" surrounding this event. They handed out very poor copies of their "freedom" magazine (looked like a really bad photo copy job) and included an insert attacking at least two of the three speakers (Ursula and Wilfred Handl). They even had a photo copy of both the front and back of a check from over seven years ago from Bob Minton to Ursula. The net result was that the attendees were even more interested in the event and thought even more how crazy organized scientology was;
4) On the heels of that foot bullet was another foot bullet by some scientologist in the event who started shouting during the event to try to stop it. He stood there speaking and resisting the attempts by theater owners to escort him out of the building. Finally a strong looking man from the audience (who I believe might have been a policeman) just shook his head in disgust, walked over to the scientologist and threw him out personally while others cheered. That action reinforced what the speakers were trying to cover in the event;
5) The audience was obviously majorly impacted by the event, were very supportive of the speakers and many spoke with their questions and stories.
Of note is that I went to the Berlin "model org" a number of times over the two days, even having a soda in a restaurant across the street watching the front of the building. Also walking up and down the front area looking in. Not only was the org pretty much dead of traffic but the foot traffic in front of the org is horrible! There are tons of cars driving by constantly but no real volume of foot traffic. (EG: two walk by, 45 seconds latter another walks by, a minute later another walks by, etc.). I have no idea why they picked a lousy foot traffic area for their "model org". (I did note security cameras on the side of the org building though which seems kind of typical to me as I saw the same on orgs in Los Angeles and Clearwater in the past year and just got a picture of Ottawa org where it is the only building on the block with a security camera on it).
On the fourth day I attended an all day event where the same speakers were speaking. This time they were speaking to a couple of hundred Lutheran teachers. I was asked to speak briefly (with someone translating) and answered questions about such things as fair game in scientology. It surprised me that I was just visiting and here I was speaking with more teachers than there are active scientologists in Berlin and that they will go out to tell what they have learned to thousands of others (their students, etc.). Many of them spoke to me later privately. All were very interested in what organized scientology was doing, all were horrified at such things as their abuses and lies. I also got interviewed by another reporter for several hours that day.
Wow. This is really long so I am going to end here by stressing again what Ursula asked was needed the most from Americans. And that was simply and briefly telling your story of abuses by organized scientology to even one of your governmental representatives in the senate or congress.
I hope this in some way helps.
Larry Brennan - SME