Expert: sauna decreases intelligence
October 9, 2001
In the opinion of an expert, sweating in the sauna decreases intelligence. Even after plenty to drink, the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) does not go back up to its usual level within 24 hours, said medical psychologist Siegfried Lehrl of the University of Erlangen-Nuernberg's psychiatric clinic in a meeting with the dpa. He also said that intelligence has decreased up to 10 points, "not inconsiderably," if there is insufficient light, too few carbohydrates in the diet, or lack of motion.
"Everyday we have to fight to keep our intelligence," believes Lehrl. Because of this he advocates "breaking your routine every now and then." For instance, short, simple exercises, such as picking out certain words on the page of a newspaper can increase motivation. Especially important in doing this is movement, which stimulates the brain, thereby freeing the way for better performance. According to Lehrl, studies have shown that mental activity training done everyday can raise IQ up to 15 points. The maximum increase has been reached after about four weeks, he said.
But a balanced breakfast with whole grain bread or muesli and little snacks throughout the day at intervals of one and a half hours also keep the IQ stable, said Lehrl. Fatty foods and thirst, on the contrary, were said to decrease intelligence. Even clothing allegedly affects IQ: for instance there was said to be a British study whereby men with tighter shirt collars had lower intelligence, because that restricted the blood flow, thereby decreasing oxygen to the brain, reported Lehrl.
In his opinion, motion is especially important, for instance, sedentary activities should not go on uninterrupted for a long time. He also said it was more advantageous to talk on the telephone moving rather than sitting. That requires a "more precise" listening skill. Those who cannot stand while on the telephone should protect themselves from drowsiness by scribbling on a piece of paper. Otherwise the body goes into a rest state in which IQ decreases. In order to be able to think clearly about something, Lehrl recommends a jaunt through the forest. He says that makes thinking easier, and that many have the feeling they can solve their problems faster that way.
The jumbled patchwork of political Islam contains a brief mention of Scientology
In Germany, the most diverse groups from the radical spectrum of Islam strive for influence among the Muslims.
September 18, 2001
TAZ report Claudia Dantschke / Eberhard Seidel
by Claudia Dantschke and Eberhard Seidel
The Islamic community - Milli Goerues (IGMG) is the largest organization of political Islam in Germany. It is the European subsidiary of the Turkish Islamist leader necmettin Erbakan. Milli Goerues propagate an anti-secular, anti-zionist and anti-semitic worldview. The IGMG maintains good relations with representatives of the CDU and puts the attainment of cultural hegemony at the top of the their list of political goals. They are financially supported by Islamic "Holdings." According to their own statements, the IGMG has over 82,137 members across Europe, and is organized in 511 youth, university and women's groups and Mosque associations. Functionaries of the IGMG maintain relations with the multi-national Muslim fraternity, the Palestinian Hamas, to Scientology and to Libyan revolutionary leader Khaddafi.
The Association of Islamic Associations and Communities (ICCB) is a radical Islamic association of Turkish Sunnites which currently has about 1,100 members. It was founded in 1983 by Cemaleddin Kaplan ("Khomeini from Cologne") as a radical splinter group of the Milli Goerues. Kaplan (deceased 1995) called for a holy war against the Turks. In the battle of succession, his son, Metin Kaplan, pronounced a death-Fatah against Berlin doctor Halil Ibrahim Sofu. In 1997, Sofu was murdered execution style. Last year, Kaplan was sentenced to four years in prison. In October 1998, for the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey, about 30 Kaplan adherents had planned a suicide mission with an aircraft on the Ataturk Mausoleum in Ankara.
The Islami Haraket (Islamic Movement) split off from the ICCB in 1989. It is regarded as the German branch of the Turkish-Sunnite Hizbullah terrorist organization, which is responsible for numerous murders in Southeast Anatolia. In Germany, the organization has about 300 members. It agitates against the "capitalistic and Zionist devil" and glorifies martyrdom.
The Association of Islamist Culture Centers (VIKZ), headquartered in Cologne, has about 20,000 association members. The VIKZ runs 315 mosque associations in Germany. After many years of keeping separate from German society, the VIKZ started opening up more between 1993 and 2000. On order from the current leader, Ahmet Arif Denizoglu, a former representative of the Turkish Refah Party, the dialogue was broken off one year ago. In August 2000, the VIKZ left the Central Council of Muslims.
The adherents of Fethullah Guelen in Germany are estimated to be 20,000 people. Guelen is a charismatic leader of the so-called Nurculuk movement (students of Divine Light). The movement goes back to Said Nursi (1876-1960), an outspoken opponent of Turkish laicism. Guelen, who has long been regarded as a representative of a moderate Islam, has developed into a strategist for Islamic infiltration of the Turkish state. In order to avoid arrest, he left for the USA in March 1999. Guelen controls over 200 foundations in 54 countries, about 200 private schools and 500 student homes, and finds his adherents primarily among intellectuals.
About 400 members of the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and the Salafistic Group for Prophecy and Combat (GSPC), which was founded in Algeria in 1996, live in Germany. They maintain connections to the Mujaheddin movement of Ossama Bin Laden. In December 2000 and early 2001, adherents of the GSPC were arrested in Frankfurt am Main. They were accused of having planned an attack in Strassburg. The Jihad Islami (Islamic Holy War) is an Egyptian terrorist organization. Members and functionaries use Germany as a place to retreat to and relax.
The Islamic Alliance of Palestine (IFB) was founded in Munich in 1981 and runs an Islamic cultural and education center in Berlin as a central meeting point. The IFB is the Palestinian branch of the Sunnite Muslim fraternity and is regarded as a collection point for Hamas adherents in Germany. Its approximately 250 members call anti-Israeli demonstrations and collect money. The donation association for the Hamas is the Al-Aqsa Inc. in Aachen. There are connections between the Hamas and Turkish Islamists, mainly the Milli Goerues.
The Shiite Hizb Allah (Party of God) was founded in Lebanon in 1982 as a radical Islamic movement. Its goal is an Islamic state in accordance with the Iranian model. In its fight against Zionism, it propagates suicide operations as the most important weapon. In Germany, it limits itself to education in its ideology and to anti-Israeli demonstrations.
The Arabic Pan-Islamists of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) propagates the fight of the Muslm World community (Ummah) mainly against Israel and the USA. In Germany, the Hizb-ut-Tahrir is active primarily in universities.
The Pasban-e Kahtm-e nabuwwat (PKN) is a radical Islamist current from Pakistan. The PKN has also been active in Baden-Wuerttemberg since 1998. There it terrorizes mainly members of the Pakistani Ahmaddiya group, which has allegedly "deviated from true belief." The association headquarters is in Heilbronn in the "Vorposten der Khatme Nabuwwat" assocation. Should the association be dissolved, the assets will go to the Milli Goerues.
Office ruins - housing for addicts
Building on Steindamm empty for years - puzzling prostitute murder
June 12, 2001
The trash piles high and used needles lie on the floor. Food remnants root. Excrement spreads a bestial stink.
Here, in the giant office building ruins on Steindamm, was found the body of the 22 year old prostitute Melanie Rottmann on Friday. The drug addicted woman had been strangled. She is the second victim from the prostitute scene of St. Georg in a week. On the Sunday before in an hourly hotel on Steindamm the 20 year old Maria Kuenstler had been strangled by a customer.
The criminal police cannot rule out a serial murder. Investigations in both cases are extremely difficult. In the first case the police know only that the last customer, and presumably the perpetrator, was an African.
There were no witnesses of use.
"You can't assume anything. Most of the addicts who are there don't know what they did the day before," said an investigator. The case of Melanie Rottmann had been the first in years. It had brought attention to the giant DAK building which had been built in the 1960s. The 18,000 square meter building complex, in which there are about 700 offices, has been empty since 1993.
Addicts and homeless have been using the ruins, in which there is no electricity and no water, as housing. Ten years ago the building was sold from the DAK to an international construction agency.
In 1993 the last employee was on sick leave.
There had been big plans, but nothing ever came of them. As late as 1998 it was announced in a big way that construction would begin on the plans of architectural professor Dieter Patschan. 70 million marks were to be invested in an 18-story tower and an eight-story structure. It was hoped to enhance that part of the city and to transform Steindamm into a downtown boulevard. No construction happened. There are no new plans.
In the downtown district office nothing has been heard for over a year from the owners, who are said to have their offices in the USA. Supposedly over 100 people live in the ruins today. The building across the street which used to belong to Scientology is also being used by addicts and borderline cases.
Porno-western with extraterrestrials
A night of Popular Stage for William S. Burroughs
March 29, 2001
Berliner Zeitung Kultur
The text which author and translator Carl Weissner read on Wednesday evening on the People's Stage was not his own. But the words never would have existed without him. Without Weissner's translations, it is possible that William S. Burroughs would have always been known as an author of third-class porno books - and not as the author of canonical classics like "Naked Lunch," "Junkie," or "The Wild Boys."
None of those were on the program this time; Weissner read unpublished fragments of a Western begun in the middle of the 1960s, but never completed. Nevertheless the public was not disappointed: even when Burroughs wrote a Western, he did not long content himself with Indians and prairie dogs, but philosophized over preferred calibers and gay sex and peppered his story with armies of crafty "rednecks." Otherwise, so Weissner stated, "it is clear that a Western by Burroughs doesn't need all of one and a half pages before the first extraterrestrial appears."
At the time it was written, this text was pretty strong stuff. When the romantically inclined Jack Kerouac once started to type a hand-written Burroughs text, he ran away repulsed. "We can't all live in trash cans," raged "Die Zeit" magazine on the occasion of the first German translation - which back then had not come from Weissner; it was not until the end of the 1970s that his humorous and ambivalent references painted unimagined images from Burroughs' novels and short stories.
At that time Weissner, as he revealed in an interview, had met his poet for the first time back in 1964. Burroughs, who back then was using the psychological control system of the Scientology sect, first tested out his new acquaintance with an "e-meter," (a kind of primitive lie detector which the sect sells its members for horrendous amounts of money). It was not until he determined that Weissner remained emotionally calm when hearing the key word "fatherland" that he would trust the young German man.
Much has happened since then. In any case, the reaction of the Public Stage audience opened up to an unreserved understanding of the Weissner translation. If the last reading which Burroughs gave personally in Berlin in 1986 had been overshadowed by the lesser tumult of the post-Punk generation, his text would now have been decoded as the predecessor of a new era of shrill social criticism: in retrospect Burroughs seems to us a predecessor of the Simpsons.
Cologne, Germany March 13, 2001 20 Minuten Vermischtes
The names are from the original text, but this is an annotated version to explain who some of the people are.
Joseph II, (17411790), Kaiser, Holy Roman Empire, became Kaiser in 1765 and co-regent of his mother Maria Theresa, sole ruler from 1780 on, acquired Galicia for Austria in 1772 and Bucovina in 1775. As a radical reformer Joseph did away with (involuntary) agricultural servitude (serfdom) and vouchsafed religious freedom.
Karl Friedrich Schinkel, German master builder (17811841), classical structures in Berlin: the New Guard (1816 to 1818), the playhouse on Gendarmenmarket (1818 to 1821), the Old Museum (1822 to 1830), Friedrich-Werdersche Church (1824 to 1830) and the Nikolas Church in Potsdam (1830 to 1837).
Gebhard Seelos, German diplomat (19011984)
Josef Afritsch, Austrian SPÖ politician (19011964)
L. Ron Hubbard, American author and Scientology founder (19111986)
Herbert Gienow, German industry manager (1926)
Hans Boesch, Swiss author and traffic planner (1926)
Raúl Alfonsin, Argentinian jurist and politician, former president of state (1926)
Wolfgang Kohlhaase, German author and script writer (1931)
Josef Kompalla, German ice hockey referee (1936)
Adam Clayton, Irish rock musician (U2) (1960) <...>
Rich in Miami:
Boris Becker's ex-wife Barbara is getting advice from a shady entrepreneur who is being tracked by German investigators:
Daniel Deubelbeiss attracts professionally naive investors.
It is not easy to grasp why anyone would trust this gentleman with anything. Much less money.
February 11, 2001
A 1997 video shows how the gentleman operates: Daniel Deubelbeiss, heralded by his introductory speaker as "our president, our visionary, our friend and our director and leader and thinker," comes in wearing violet colored glasses, a grungy little beard, braided hair hanging down past his shoulder blades, with a body circumference as if he had actually "eaten 200 of Al Gore's votes," as Harald Schmidt has said about him.
Then he preaches: about Galileo Galilei who centuries ago was misunderstood much as he unfortunately is today, about "100 percent commitment" and about "faith." Soon he lets drop all the words used by any cult: "dreams," "motivation," "network" and "team spirit."
In essence, up to Monday of last week Deubelbeiss, 36, was acquainted with a couple of thousand people who lost a lot of money at the end of the 1990s. Then he told three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker in a SPIEGEL interview (SPIEGEL 06/2001) that a "certain Daniel" was Barbara his ex-wife's "psychological road guide." She indeed had stated that the gentleman was "a friend whom I can depend on" - but Deubelbeiss has a rather shady past.
The Munich state attorney has been investigating the entrepreneur who since has moved to Miami and is living as a wealthy man. On suspicion of fraud. In the mid-1990s Deubelbeiss was running a project by the name of "Treasure Facts" in a sort of Ponzi scheme. The investigators have found that he invested the money he took in without having informed the investors.
But the coup was yet to come: on St. Nicholas day in 1995, Deubelbeiss founded a psycho-business by the name of "Vanilla." Since he left filthy rich in 1999, many people who handed over their money have been in mourning their lost savings.
Vanilla was supposed to have been "the movement of the new millennium." The ideologist borrowed a little bit from Scientology and a little from a basic philosophy course. "We worry about ourselves first so that we can worry about the others afterward," announced Deubelbeiss. Businesswise it consisted of not much more than the idea of doing e-commerce in pants and shirts. But there was a "Vanilla Community," a virtual "Vanilla City" and the "Dream Factory" for social relationships. The "Vanillists" who Deubelbeiss said had "immortal bodies" were also the chosen few, "Us against the Rest of the world."
"Me against you" would probably have been more honest. Vanilla promised the founding of a Vanilla Bank and flew 200 people who were interested to Thailand. The trips cost 2,500 marks apiece which was to be recompensed when participants bought stock in the bank for 20,000 marks. That is what many did, but to date no bank exists.
Nasdaq waiting on Vanilla
Vanilla also promised action on Nasdaq, the American technology stock exchange. Beautiful certificates with fat seals were issued - but Nasdaq would have to wait on Vanilla, too.
"Gold Accumulation" was the name of the third source of money, and it worked like the chain letters of the 1980s: people were told they could acquire gold coins without payments - if they got 14 new customers. "Am I satisfied with my own performance for this week?", was on the accompanying letter.
Vanilla was said to have had 45,000 customers and believers, many of them in Poland and Slovenia. Deubelbeiss now describes his activities as a "fling" that had not gone especially successfully. "I took over a job as CEO for a stock exchange, that was all," he said in an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE. He said he never had anything to do with the finances. Others who were there say that Vanilla was Deubelbeiss.
"I was always a showman"
Daniel Christian Deubelbeiss comes from the little Swiss village of Sempach. He half-way grew up in a boarding school, afterwards he got training in the hotel business. Later the Swiss man moved to London. "I was always a showman" said Deubelbeiss. "He talks like he's seen everything already," said Becker. The Beckers got to know the sports fan at basketball games and have been guests in his loge.
In Vanilla he called himself a "thinker and philosopher." "That was a marketing stunt, a pitch for the customers," he admits today. The Vanilla story came to an end in 1999. Hardly anybody else wanted gold, so Deubelbeiss sold the corporation to Dutch investors, one of whom was Lambers, who now says he has suffered financial loss. The investments never paid off - and Deubelbeiss wants "nothing more to do with the firm."
Now he describes himself as a media consultant and manages a company called Vincenti and Lampert on Miami's San Remo Avenue. And in Munich he holds office as business manager in companies like TV Company's "Verwaltungs- und Beteiligungs-GmbH" and "Eldan-Lavi Holding GmbH." Boris Becker said that in America Deubelbeiss wanted to "found a firm with me which featured celebrities as high-profile lobbyists for a fee." Nothing more came of that.
Of course it could be that Deubelbeiss is just being a friend for Barbara Becker. But it could also be that many millions are again at stake. Would her attorney Heinz Stolzki be of assistance in case of emergency? Stolzki from Munich was already worked for Deubelbeiss and was a director in Vanilla - he is also being investigated by the Munich state attorney's office on suspicion of fraud.
Klaus Brinkbaeumer, Matthias Gebauer, Conny Neumann
(C) SPIEGEL ONLINE - 11. Februar 2001, 13:49
The German-language article is accessible on the internet at URL
A state without throne
The Karlsruhe Religion decision on the Jehovah's Witnesses
December 23, 2000
The latest decision from Karlsruhe - it had to do with the Jehovah's Witnesses - was handled more from the throne than from the altar, if one recalls the long forgotten "Alliance of Throne and Altar." That means it was treated more from the state's understanding of self than from the behavior of the sect. And therefore the victory is that of the liberal state, which would be the case opponent, not the not-at-all-liberal complainant.
Now step by step - and without any of the confounded details of "corporation of public rights": the Jehovah's Witnesses wanted something from the state and even managed to get it until they went before the Federal Administrative Court. The Federal Administrative Court, not lazy at all - or, much more precisely: rather lazy - put all really decisive questions on hold. The issue did not depend on them at all because the Jehovah's Witnesses were said not to be "loyal to the state": how could one demand something from the state, for instance, acknowledgment as a ... - but we did not want to talk about that in detail.
So, how could one demand something from the state if one did not want to play along with the state, but would rather, for example, urgently advise against participating in a democratic election? (That sounds a little bit like the old argument: go back where you came from if you don't like it here ...)
But there are still judges in Karlsruhe who say that what needs to be reviewed is whether the Jehovah's Witnesses respect the fundamental rights of citizens (which would mainly include its adherents' children). What it mainly depends on is whether their membership as a group is constructed on the principle of free will: free to join, free to leave. Any assumed loyalty to the state as such would not be required.
By doing that the priorities are properly sorted out from a liberal perspective: first the state has to be loyal to its citizens and not vice versa; so the state has to see that the citizens respect each other's rights. For the state is there by the will of the people - the people are not there by the will of the state.
Now one can ask how the state should protect these rights if someone does not intend to protect the state? But this response cannot equalize the fundamental asymmetry either: the state is the tool, not the citizen. Therefore it's enough for the citizen to respect what the state has to respect, too: other citizens' rights.
So it may be that the Jehovah's Witnesses have argued completely illogically - but still not lose their rights to the state. And another factor could enter the picture, that the Jehovah's Witnesses lose in the next hearing even though they were ready to cooperate in the elections, "loyal to the state" - but continue to disregard the rights of their own members. On which account they may have as good as lost this hearing, which is only a non-binding procedure.
But the state has already won this procedure in Karlsruhe: through intelligent self-restriction! That's the way it is in a liberal state - without a throne: We free citizens, unlike a bound state, are not required to be logical (that means logical for the state), we are "only" required to be faithful to rights. Logical.
"The decision promotes religious pluralism"
Nadeem Elyas of the Central Council of Muslims (ZMD) welcomes the ruling from Karlsruhe
[* ZMD: Central Council of Moslems in Germany
Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland
Corporation of Public Rights
Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts (KdöR) ]
December 20, 2000
TAZ Nr. 6327
taz: Mr. Elyas, the Constitutional Court judgment on the Jehovah's Witnesses gives the Central Council (ZMD) a good chance of being recognized as a "corporation of public rights." When are you putting in your application?
Nadeem Elyas: We decided years ago we would not even put in an application. Basic law has given us all the rights we want to make use of. Besides that we want to make sure of our inner structures before we submit an application of that sort.
Wouldn't you take in a little money if you were to become a KdöR?
We don't anticipate any large amounts. Besides that our apparatus has not yet grown to the point that these financial injections would be necessary. And as long as our structures are as weak as there are, internal disputes over money are not likely to happen.
The judgment said that a KdöR would have to keep Basic Law - is that the case in your organization?
In every case. All of our associations and mosques keep the Basic Law and heed the liberal democratic basic system [the democratic system by which Germany operates].
The court requires that people always be able to leave the community when they want - how are you with that?
That is a given. All Muslims are free to leave. So far one association has left the ZMD. In addition we also excluded only one association because we had reason to believe that it maintained contact with Scientology.
But what about raising children such as is the discussion with the Jehovah's Witnesses: does Islamic law, the Scharia, also permit a violent upbringing?
In exceptional cases there are families which use such methods. But the Scharia itself recognizes no form of upbringing which is violent. It's more the case that Islam supports raising children through conviction, love and mercy.
Is there a risk now that Islamic groups will be acknowledged as KdöRs and be promoted because people are not that familiar with them?
Among others the Islamic Milli Goerues and the Islamrat have put in applications. The Millie Goerues have been under surveillance by Constitutional Security for years, but have never been charged before a court of counter-constitutional activities. This missing consequence drives all Muslim associations into the vacuum of uncertainty.
Could Islamic groups now be more easily alienated?
We are aware of the prejudice against Muslims and that disturbs us. But it does not become more true through repetition. Only one percent of the Muslims in Germany are engaged against the state, and only several hundred of them are actively engaged - that is little in comparison to the three million Muslims in Germany. Muslims should not be alienated, otherwise parallel societies could form which provide room for the Fundamentalists.
Would the state now be giving a sort of seal of approval by awarding KdöR status?
The decision is wise in that it does not judge the belief of the people, but their conduct. Through the ruling of the Constitutional Court religious pluralism in Germany will be advanced without the major churches being disadvantaged by the action. Also those who think that women should be suppressed and that the legal system in the Islamic world be reorganized according to the Scharia will not be condemned as long as they do not behave in this sense.
Interview: Philipp Gessler
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Karlsruhe deciding on Jehovah's Witnesses
Must a religious community be "loyal to the state" to enjoy the privileges of the major churches? Today the Constitutional Court decides
December 19, 2000
Karlsruhe/Berlin. For ten years the Jehovah's Witnesses have been struggling with German officials and in German courts to receive the same privileges as other major religious communities in the Federal Republic. To no avail: first the Berlin Senate refused the Jehovah's Witnesses, and in 1997, so did the Federal Administrative Court.
[ ... snip ... ]
In their constitutional complaint to the Federal Constitutional Court to become a "corporation of public rights", the Jehovah's Witnesses will argue that the 1997 decision violates their religious freedom and breaks the principle of equality. Outside of the two major churches, 30 smaller religious denominations enjoy the privileges which the Jehovah's Witnesses have been denied thus far.
Scientology has been waiting
There has already been one hearing in Karlsruhe in September. The Jehovah's Witnesses found a prominent attorney: Hermann Weber, law professor and publisher of the "Neuen Juristischen" weekly. He criticizes that the criterium of "state loyalty" is being misapplied to the Jehovah's Witnesses in an impermissible way: "Because there is no obligation to vote in Germany, refusal to vote is completely legal."
If the Second Senate should share that view, there may be consequences for other groups: Scientology and Islamic organizations are also interested in the privileges of a "corporation of public rights."
The original German was edited for the web by Astrid Geisler
Terrorism for immortality
Psychologist Robert Jay Lifton on dangerous cults, doomsday gurus and neo-Nazi killers in the USA
December 13, 2000
At several locations in the Tokyo subway, several thousand people gasped for air in the early morning hours of March 20, 1995. Their eyes watered and their heads hurt. Many vomited and were wracked with cramps. Blood dripped from their noses. Several frothed at the mouth before collapsing several minutes later, dead. They were victims of a terrorist attack with Sarin nerve gas.
As it later turned out, adherents of Japanese guru Shoko Asahara had smuggled the poison onto the subway. Members of his Aum Shinrikyo (highest truth) sect then used the tips of their umbrellas to poke holes in the plastic bags which were wrapped in newspaper and which contained the odorless gas. By doing so, they wished to bring on the Third World War and the Apocalypse. Twelve people had to pay with their lives and almost 5,000 were injured for this mixture of religious fanaticism and criminal energy. A nightmare had become reality.
For centuries there have been people who are ready to give up their own lives or kill others for their beliefs. The attack in the Japanese capitol, however, had a completely new dimension, according to American psychologist Robert Jay Lifton. The dangers resulting from cult terrorism were revealed for the first time in this murderous attack. "Shoko Asahara and his disciples had access to modern technology and weapons of mass destruction. And they were ready to use this lethal means. With the goal of destroying the world to save it," said the New York professor in an interview with the Tagesspiegel.
As a prototype of a guru prone to violence, more or less, in Lifton's research (appearing in book form under the title "Terror fuer die Unsterblichkeit" from Hanser-Verlag) is Shoko Asahara. Repeatedly enlightened by "visions," the almost blind Aum chief, born in 1955, formed his world bound for destruction from elements of various religions, cults and doomsday theories (Yoga, Buddhism, New Age, Nostradamus, millennium hysteria). And he found adherents ready to follow him and his deluded teachings without condition. Lifton conducted many interviews with former Aum members between 1995 and 1997. What most surprised him was that while those he interviewed did condemn the Tokyo attack, they still missed the giant Asahara as "leader."
Now, he said, the rest of the world can calmly record the poison gas attack by Aum disciples as the evil delusions of a remote, foreign culture, all the more so since the murderous guru and his deputies have been caught and have had to answer in court. Yet Lifton warned of premature conclusions. "Ideas which resemble that of the Shoko Asahara's doomsday scenario exist in almost all countries and their spiritual traditions," said the 74-year-old man. In addition, he said, national borders no longer play a big role for doomsday fanatics: weapons of mass destruction were relatively easily accessible and their dreadful effect is not restricted to certain locations. Therefore Lifton spoke out in favor of reducing existing weapons arsenals and making access to them more difficult.
Besides the crises smoldering in the Near East beset by fundamentalism on all sides, Lifton also sees a great danger in the American sect presence. Of most concern, he said, were the activities of rightwing white radical racists. Charles Manson thought of himself as Jesus Christ and was going to save the world. Together with several followers, he committed several murders. Their most prominent victim was the pregnant Sharon Tate, wife of Roman Polanski. They wanted to destroy the "civil world" and bring on Armageddon.
Timothy McVeigh's rightwing extremist ideology had even more devastating consequences. Crazy about weapons, in April 1995 he blew up a Federal building in Oklahoma City. It was the worst act of terrorism in American history. 168 people died because McVeigh damned the state and saw himself as a "revolutionary" for a new world order.
The former special forces soldier cannot be categorized in any certain sect. Nevertheless Lifton is convinced that violence-prone rightwing extremists in the USA agree in several ways. As Timothy McVeigh had so made many of the so-called Turner diaries into his gospel, a new-Nazi, racist vision of a project of world destruction. At the centerpoint was a white "hero" who runs a suicide mission on the Pentagon with an atomic bomb. The American rightwing have not yet had a guru like Shoko Asahara, but they have a role model: Adolf Hitler.
Critical analysis of the "Davis Method"
December 7, 2000
Hochtaunus newspaper (not sure of source
For several years there has been advertising in Germany for Legastheny, the allegedly helpful methods of American Ronald D. Davis.
A former teacher also employs this concept in Wetterau County. It is controversial for two reasons: for one thing scientists and Legastheny associations have accused Davis of using methods of treatment that have not been verified or scientifically founded. For another Davis was formerly a Scientologist. He graduated the highest courses there; his methods of operation have significant similarities in some places to Scientology which were published over 15 years ago.
The state school office for Hochtaunus and Wetterau counties spoke out against the Davis method last Fall. Neither is the training for "Davis consultants" cheap: a one-week intensive course of 30 hours costs DM 3,000. The advertised claim that children are exempt from going to school for this period of instruction may be technically false, at least for our school district. In addition, the youth office in our county is not prepared to financially reimburse parents for that expense.
Michaela Treinen-Fuerst, graduate psychologist and Legastheny diagnostician, and Thomas Fuerst, teacher at Weidig School and familiar with the problems of new religious movements for more than 20 years, have worked out an eight-page comprehensive criticism of the Davis Method.; the Davis Method itself is presented in brief and subjected to extensive criticism. In the second part Davis' connection to Scientology is presented with his biography, then other quotes from his Legastheny book are compared to quotes from older Scientology literature. The text can be ordered through Weidig School for a distribution fee. [Fue]
"Lesen kann ich auch unten" S.Krikaljow (z.Z. ISS)
For anonymity's sake ....
November 22, 2000
Der Spiegel, 47/2000
by Christiane Schulzki-Haddouti
"I'm in," simple as that. Now here I go. Just click on the search engine. Click on news. Click on book dealers. Click on my private home page. Those who think these clicks are not being monitored are deceiving themselves.
Cookies record clicks and know which internet addresses are finally accessed. They record the IP number from which the user has dialed into the network.
Anyone who wants to know exactly what on-line providers are doing with their personal data used to have to agonize laboriously over fine print, often in a foreign language [i.e., English]. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has therefore worked out a new standard which enables more transparency in matters of data security: the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P).
Over 30 corporations, including not only Microsoft, AOL and AT&T, but also European data security delegates, have cooperated. Using P3P, web surfers will be able to select their personal preferences in their browsers. As of today, cookies can be blocked out via a browser option.
Using P3P entire web sites will be able to be evaluated as far as their data security policy goes; that is because under XML-based policy, the instructions for handling customer data is programmed into the pages. Users may quickly find out whether their data is being handled according to European data security law. Then they can decide whether they want to trust their data on that web site. However the software does not check to see if the company actually does what it says. That would require legislative measures.
Providers currently are mercilessly exploiting user data to their heart's content. For example Microsoft collects GUID numbers in all "Word" and "Excel" files. The "Globally Unique Identifier" (GUID) is the serial number which can be read from your computer's network card. The music player Realjukbox even covertly transmits the GUID with much other information, such as the number and formats of the music titles stored on the computer.
The leading internet marketing company "Double-Click" exchanges information about users with other on-line agencies. The goal of the advertising network is to present each individual user with the appropriate ad banner. Search engines Altavista and Yahoo cooperate with the ad companies - now you need not wonder why a related ad banner shows up in your browser after making a search entry.
Additional information is provided by little web beetles, invisible pictures in the size of 1x1 pixels. They send IP addresses, the internet address of the web site visited, browser type and cookie information to the marketing companies' servers. Not before they see to it that information about various remote sites can be correlated.
US American data security advocate Richard Smith has found out that not only things like e-mail addresses, names, snail mail addresses and telephone numbers are transmitted, but also transaction data and search terms. Data banks process this information and produce individual user profiles.
Many users are not pleased that these data are being covertly collected. Only a few providers, Firefly web service for instance, obtain the express permission of the user. Other web services, like "Free" from the Canadian company "Zero Knowledge Systems" enable users to remain anonymous by using diverse anonymized and encrypted servers, called "mixers."
Unlike an anonymizer, "Free" does not transmit all the files through a central computer. The operator cannot be forced to reveal the identity of a pseudonym by a court, such as what happened with the pseudonymous e-mail service anon.penet.fi and the Scientology sect.
Nevertheless surfing anonymously reaches its limits when anonymity no longer serves a purpose. For instance a shipping address has to be typed in to buy something on-line. It is primarily for those cases that companies are currently developing tools based on P3P.
A sort of identity manager is supposed to note down which information has been given out under which conditions. After all, who can remember who he has told what to after a year? And what passwords he had to set up to do it? That type of software could also be used for purposes of identification. Additionally, such a manager could administer different pseudonyms which are used by a user.
Data security experts Mark Koehntopp of the Independent State Center for Data Security in Schleswig-Holstein and Andreas Pfitzmann of the Technical University of Dresden have even proposed that the identity manager use interfaces to all possible applications. A new type of chip or a new device would not then be needed for every application. Ultimately that would enable the intelligent ID manager to be integrated not only in PCs, but also in intelligent digital telephones or hand-held computers.
German book suggestion: Helmut Bäumler (Hrsg.): E-Privacy, Vieweg 2000.
On the internet see
- Richard Smith
- Platform for Privacy
How the Falun Gong cult gently manipulates the media
Master Li and the media counter-campaign
November 21, 2000
The voice sounded conspirative. "It's about the group whose members have been arrested on the big square in Peking," said the man on the other end of the telephone line. He said he was a Sinology student from Frankfurt just back from a trip to China and he would like to have a conversation "about the reporting by German newspapers."
The young German who introduced himself as Peter Recknagel said he had good reason to be careful. The "group" which he mentioned on the telephone was the Falun Gong movement, which is banned in China. Thousands of Falun Gong adherents had been taken into custody and the state media resound with a propaganda war against the alleged "devil's cult" ("xiejiao").
So what does Peter Recknagel have to do with that? It wasn't long before the small, wiry man got to the point. The German media did report on the persecution of the Falun Gong movement in China, said Recknagel and looked quite concerned, "but they write that we are a cult."
Journalist in Peking are familiar with the arguments which the young man brought forward. When the Chinese banned the movement in June 1999, adherents from overseas launched a media counter-campaign. Journalists who described them as a "cult" or "sect" received letters, e-mails or telephone calls from disciples of the Falun Gong. The movement, founded by "Master" Li Hongzhi, living in exile, is said to be neither a religion nor a cult or a sect, they say. "We are a harmless meditation movement," stated Peter Recknagel.
But the Falun Gong is probably not that harmless. The movement, which says it has gained several dozen million adherents worldwide since 1992, has elements of Qi-Gong, Buddhism and Taoism, and it fixates upon its founder Li Hongzhi in a bizarre personality cult. Indeed his meditation exercises basically aim for a "moral improvement" of the practitioners. But racist and discriminatory elements also surface in his teachings. The Master describes half-breeds as "defective persons." As far as he is concerned, homosexuality is as bad as murder or using narcotics. "Falun Gong can be described as a sect - it is a community with common beliefs, rituals and assemblies," says Sebastian Heilmann, professor of Sinology at the Trier University. But it is not to be regarded as a "Chinese Scientology." The adherents are subjected to neither financial nor to emotional pressure.
A string of evidence points to there being a powerful organization which directs the Falun Gong disciples in the background. The center of the movement, which makes considerable income through book rights and videos, is in New York, the place of exile for Li Hongzhis. Apparently it is from New York that the demonstrations of Falun Gong disciples on the Square of Heavenly Peace are coordinated.
There also appears to be some calculation behind the media work by the Falun Gong disciples. The cult is presented solely as a victim in the constant operations and provoked arrests. Background on Master Li, the organizational structure or the psychic results of the teachings of salvation upon the disciples can barely be found in the media. Peter Recknagel, chief of the Frankfurt section of the Falung Gong association, also keeps that to himself. He either cannot or will not report on how the Master in New York manages his worldwide community.
[The "e-meter" has been said to be a crude lie detector.]
It is of no use in clearing away suspicion of sexual abuse, and it could not exonerate field athlete Dieter Baumann of possible "doping": The so-called "lie detector test." It is also "completely unsuited" for use as evidence in criminal legal procedures, according to a decision by the Supreme court. In police interrogations and for preliminary review of a person's "word of honor," though, it provides completely practical possibilities.
"The logic of the investigative method using the so-called lie detector is basically alright," said Dr. Klaus-Peter Dahle from the work group led by FU psychologist Prof. Dr. Max Steller, on whose opinion the decision of December 1998 by the Supreme court is based and who received the "German Psychology Award" on September 24, 2000. "But there are large areas in which the results obtained can be wrongly interpreted." In any one test, the polygraph, or lie detector, can miss not only depth and frequency of breathing, but blood pressure and skin conductivity which increases with a "nervous sweat", and documentation of how strongly the person reacted to a control stimulus, e.g., an embarrassing question. But this test gives no "typical" reaction of a liar: one person might not be easily unsettled while another may react extremely nervously. The lie detector can only be used to compare one person's reactions to various questions as a whole. Thus the art to it is to draw conclusions as to guilt or innocence from comparison of an individual's reactions.
There are two test methods for that: in the control question test, questions relevant to the fact are asked, as are "control questions," which all are part of the same general subject - sex, for example. However the control questions have to be of more significance to the non-doer than the relevant questions. Those who react more strongly to the control questions are deemed in the lie detector test to be innocent. But whether the control questions obtained the desired outcome depends mainly upon the skill of the person who asks the questions. That person's competence, and thereby the success of this method, is not monitored, but must be provided for in the evaluation of the results. - Reason enough for the rejection of this method of testing by the Supreme Court.
For the second method, the factual knowledge test, the probability of the result has to be statistically reviewed: this test is based on the assumption that a guilty party will be more familiar with certain details of the commission of a deed, and will therefore react more strongly if asked a question about time or place of the deed, weapon used, etc. "It happens as good as never that an innocent person gives the maximum reactions to the details of the deed at the appropriate spots," Dahle assures us. This lie detector method, however, is also unsuited for court trials: by the time he gets to the hearing, an innocent suspect has already been questioned so many times that he gets familiar, anyway, with the details of the deed.
Application areas for the factual knowledge test would be police interrogations, criminal diagnoses and improved monitoring of sex offenders out on parole, Klaus-Peter Dahle believes. He, together with his students, tested a highly specialized alternative for application: clearing up affairs on party donations [this was a big scandal in Germany recently]. They wanted to try to find out from a group of ten subjects which of them had participated in a "conspirative" meet which involved handing over a leather suitcase. The results? Klaus-Peter Dahle: "It worked wonderfully. We caught each one who did it."
When horror has a happy ending
Chuck Russell filmed "Die Prophezeiung"
[American title: "Bless the Child"] with Kim Basinger
October 26, 2000
Chuck Russel began his career as producer with the horror shock film "Nightmare on Elm Street III." That was followed by the comedy "Die Maske" with Jim Carrey and "Eraser" with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Russel came to Berlin for the first time for the action-thriller "Die Prophezeiung" (starting November 9th in theaters). On Tuesday evening at the Hyatt Hotel he introduced his suspenseful mystery thriller in which Kim Basinger plays the lead role. She plays the aunt of a six-year old girl who is blessed with supernatural powers and falls into the clutches of a sect guru. Katharina Dockhorn spoke with Chuck Russell.
DIE WELT: What attracted you to "Die Prophezeiung"?
Chuck Russell: I like horror shows, especially when supernatural phenomena are involved and the audience is struck not only with fear, but with questions about the struggle between good and evil. In other films, the good often comes up too short for me.
DIE WELT: You have also voiced criticism about sects like Scientology ...
Russell: I didn't have a special institution in mind because there are so many shady operators who assimilate the lives and spirits of people to defraud them of their hopes and goods. Everyday we should ask to whom we belong and who comes between individual people and God.
DIE WELT: Why do you offer the Catholic Church as a solution?
Russell: I don't intend to defend the political misuse of power by the Catholic Church or apologize for the Pope. But basically there exists in Christian ethics the morals necessary for getting along with people and which can influence people's lives in a positive manner. The movie illustrates what we all learned in Sunday school: not only is there a supernatural evil, there is also a supernatural good which we can all arouse in ourselves. It does not take a beautiful angel to do that, in the form of a ballerina as we have seen in Christmas cards, but a strong will.
DIE WELT: Has there ever been a situation for you which made you feel very close to God?
Russell: In one clip of my first film I had to give instructions to the stunt men. I slipped and had to hold on to bare stone with my fingers to keep myself from falling. In that situation I pled my Creator for help from his angels. Just as I have often cursed the power of the devil who brought me into that kind of situation.
Two men for the Uncouth
How the International Olympic Committee has its image polished by a doubtful PR agency
September 15, 2000
Sydney, September 14. The two gentlemen moved back into the second to last row. Peter Clark and Michael Kontos, the two special agents of the Hill & Knowlton PR agency, closely observed their clients' appearance on the podium down below. Up front, the management crew of the International Olympic Committee are lined up, in the rear of the Sydney press auditorium, Clark and Kontos have a view of the event. Clark, the elder of the two, rests deeply in his plastic chair. Kontos stands up and slowly walks up and down the row of chairs. Again and again he glances at those assembled. Hardly one word, hardly one movement, escapes the two IOC agents.
IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch has traditionally given a press conference one day before the Olympic games begin. His strategists contrived a gag for this occasion. But it fizzled after the first three words by the 80-year old Spaniard. "I have decided," began the President, "I have decided that Dawn Fraser may accompany me as the Olympic First Lady to the opening celebration." Samaranch paused briefly and glanced around expectantly. Wasn't that a fine idea? This Friday he would sit with the four-time Australian Olympic winner in the VIP loge of the Australia Stadium - and not with his wife, who is ill and could not go to Australia. And then this beautiful title "Olympic First Lady," wasn't that original? But outside of several claquers, hardly anyone laughed.
In risk groups
Michael Kontos does not make a comment on the appearance by Samaranch. "Generally speaking, I don't talk about clients," is all he says. During such media goings-on like on Thursday, Kontos reacts in a completely professional manner. The 30-year-old American knows which journalists will ask the critical questions. At the beginning of his operation, he categorized them all into various risk groups.
Kontos has been working for the bedraggled Olympic agency since January 1999. He moved into an office at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, and saw to it that the IOC communications director, Franklin Servan-Schreiber, made no important decisions without feedback from him. His colleague, Clark, works in Sydney. Clark and Kontos are two of the most important of about 60 staff at Hill & Knowlton. The agency is supposed to create a better image for the IOC.
The strategists of Hill & Knowlton, however, do not enjoy the best of reputations. The company for the uncouth has worked for the Scientology Church, for a radical anti-abortion association, the Chinese government, nuclear power plant operators and for Haiti's bloodthirsty dictator, Baby Doc Duvalier. The IOC is part of this illustrious clientele. Hill & Knowlton made world headlines once as Kuwait's representative in trying to get the world to agree on an estimated eight million dollars for the American attack on Iraq - for which several perfidious tricks were used.
At the high point of the scandal concerning Salt Lake City's successful campaigning to be an Olympic site, Hill & Knowlton were contacted by IOC General Director Francois Carrard and Vice President Richard Point. It was not until a month later, at a board meeting in Lausanne, that Samaranch learned of the contract and that 1.5 million dollars had already been expended (since then it is said to have been five million). The President was beside himself with rage, as documented by an internal IOC record. One and a half years later, though, all important IOC members have conceded that the work done by Hill & Knowlton was helpful. "Take responsibility without admitting to guilt," read the first strategy paper. That is how the "negative business and legal effects" of the bribery affair were to be minimized. Michael Kontos and his white-washers coordinated appointments and interviews, went to Samaranch's hearing before the U.S. Senate in Washington, and have flooded the world with expensive advertising videos and reports of success. From their view, the plan was a total success: in May of this year, Richard Hyde, the boss at Hill & Knowlton, was awarded "PR Allstar" in the category of crisis management.
Like the Communist Part of the Soviet Union
"Without them, we could not have made it through this crisis," said IOC marketing chief Michael Payne. "Without the millions in expenditures for Hill & Knowlton, the journalists would have seen to it that our sponsors ran off in droves," said Servan-Schreiber. Thanks to Hill & Knowlton, the IOC is now able to sell itself as a transparent organization. Anyone who was able to observe Samaranch's media reception on Thursday, however, would have believed they had been beamed through a time machine back to a Soviet Union Communist Party convention. That was chiefly due to Australian Vice President Kevan Gosper, who solely decided as chief of the IOC media commission who could ask questions of Samaranch and his colleagues. "Identify yourself by name and organization," Gosper yelled at the journalists, "make it short, never mind a self-presentation and think about it, you only get one question."
Amy Shipley of the Washington Post, who illuminated all the crevices of the IOC scandal, was one of the first to gain Gosper's attention. "Mr. Samaranch, the past week has brought a new round scandals and stories of corruption in the IOC. What has to happen during the games in Sydney so that these stories are forgotten?", asked Shipley. "I don't know of what you are speaking, you would have to tell me more about that. I don't know what kind of problems those could have been."
But Miss Shipley did not get a chance to remind the forgetful Samaranch. Kevan Gosper was up front, "One question only. Now the next one, yes, you back there, right in front of the cameras." What it would have been necessary to remind him of was that, in that past week, letters had been published by the Sydney Morning Herald and the Wall Street Journal which Samaranch had written to Australia's Prime Minister John Howard and to Indonesia's State President Abdurrahman Wahid. In both of them, he interceded on behalf of a high sports functionary who was highly suspected of corruption. The Usbeki Gafour Rachimov, according to FBI statements a leading Mafioso, was refused entry into the country, as Howard stated, "for reasons of national security." Indonesian IOC member Bob Hasan could not even board the plane to Sydney because he was sitting in a holding cell and was going to trial in the next few days.
In the meantime, it has become one of the rules of Samaranch's court that master of ceremonies Gosper allows only one question from the English journalist Andrew Jennings, a man who has performed the most valuable expose work about the IOC. This time, Jennings asked about which personal characteristics had predestined Bob Hasan for membership in the IOC; Hasan was said to have contributed to corruption in the amount of millions of dollars and was also one of the largest participants in the deforestation of the rain forests. Samaranch, who has declared environmental protection to be the third column of the Olympics, did not pursue that question this time, either. Instead, he counted off Bob Hasan's sports functions in a singsong monotone. That did not make any sense, but that's not what he was trying to do.
Michael Kontos did not get excited during any of this. A few months prior he had met with Albert Knechtel, a documentary film interviewer, and calmly said, "I once had a job of selling coffee to the Chinese. That was more difficult than this assignment for the IOC."
But no matter how cool and collected Kontos appeared, in reality he is not. He just got wrapped around the axle with a reporter just recently. He gave the journalist, Albert Knechtel, access to the innermost circles of the IOC over a period of months - Kontos thought that Knechtel would put a brave face on the IOC functionaries. Then Knechtel mercilessly exploited that for a critical documentary called, "The Game Maker" and ridiculed people like Gosper with his own statements. Short version of the film have already been sold to a dozen broadcaster in Europe. By the time the IOC found out that Knechtel had been working with Andrew Jennings, there was nothing left to save.
Kontos had no comment on that catastrophe. He just stared rather pointedly. Then he said what a PR man in that situation has to say, "After these games, nobody will be talking about the IOC crisis any more." He didn't sound convincing. But who would be interested in that.
When the Missionaries are at your front door
A discussion with two church representatives at the front door:
What are Mormons, really?
August 28, 2000
Berliner Morgenpost 2000
by Stephan Lahl (17)
Who hasn't seen them, the mostly American young men in their black suits? On their jackets they have a little label with their names, the words "Elder" and "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." The Mormon Church thinks highly of these missionaries. Many come from the USA - the main offices of the church are in Salt Lake City. They wander from door to door, under the pretext of introducing their "Bible," the Book of Mormon, to find people who want to get involved in a lengthy conversation.
That's the way it happened with me, too. My first impression, naturally, was "just to blow them off, they were only another cult." But after a few minutes I could not really imagine that the two were really members of a controversial congregation. Besides that, I had never really listened to what they had to say before. So I put them off and told them to come back in a week.
First I wanted to find out what there was to know about Mormons. "Don't trust anybody who wants to sell you something unless you have read the consumer information on them," I thought to myself, and found an informative internet page (www.mormonen.de) from a student and ex-Mormon from Leipzig.
I read through a text about the origins of the Mormon Church: in the early 19th century, a man by the name of Joseph Smith thought that God had left him a message for all faithful people. The foundation of the Mormon belief is "The Book of Mormon." Members donate ten percent of their income to the Church. On the "seventh day" (Sunday) they spend the entire day with the church community. If the faithful do what they are commanded, then God will give them a secret password to get into heaven during a ritual ceremony. After their death then, they finally turn into a God themselves.
And that was about what the missionaries told me, too, when I saw them, - naturally a bit more smoothly and nicer. During their narratives, the missionaries continually referred to their Book of Mormon, until I interrupted and asked them why the Book would tell a story which could not be scientifically proved.
The one missionary, who had not been moving up to that time, except to play with his ball-point pen, suddenly let it drop. The other sat up with a start. When I asked, on top of that, why the Church had done away with several of its controversial commandments when things got too hot, like polygamy or forbidding blacks to become priests, then the one began to feverishly leaf through his papers. The other very, very slowly leaned over to pick up his pen. They looked at each other and finally said that they would come back another time with a member of the Church who could answer my questions. But I replied that I would not be interested in a church which did not even keep its own missionaries in the light about things.
After that I got into contact with two ex-Mormons through the web site. Both thought it not worthwhile getting involved with this church any further. They said everything the church had to offer sounded very enlightening, but it was not until people started asking questions and looking around that they noticed the holes in the reasoning. Therefore the Church prohibited its members from answering questions. The two ex-Mormons told me that one could get so involved with faith "that a person would no longer see the forest because of the loud trees." And exactly that, they said, was why it was dangerous.
Banning the Bible
Families Ministry sued
August 24, 2000
In a dispute to classify the Bible as literature which poses a risk to young people, two attorneys from Marktheidenfeld have now made their appeal in the halls of justice. Dr. Christian Sailer revealed that they intend to force the involvement of federal review board for young people's literature by filing suit yesterday in the Berlin Administrative Court.
In early August the Federal Families Ministry had rejected classification of the Bible as literature which poses a risk to young people as a "misplaced request." Among other things, the Bible serves in research and teachings, and is therefore protected from being rated by the government, a Ministry spokesman stated.
In the 70-page lawsuit, the lawyer, who is well-known as the attorney for the Universal Life (UL) congregation, is representing two families in the Lower Franconia area in the matter about the narratives which include a "gruesome massacre," "hate and violence against strangers," and the stoning of homosexuals, adulterers and disobedient children. There is a reason that churches are always coming out with new "children's Bibles" in which the bloodthirsty parts of the Bible are understated, Sailer thinks.
"Heil Hitler" - grounds for dismissal
Berlin operations announce disciplinary measures against radical rightwing staff: employees risk dismissal without notice for "disturbing the peace at work." Unions support the process and offer tolerance seminars.
August 10, 2000
by Richard Rother
Fewer and fewer Berlin operations intend to tolerate rightwing radicals among their staff. Employees who bring attention to themselves in this way risk disciplinary measures - up to and including dismissal.
"We do not accept radical, rightwing endeavors in our business," said one "Bewag" spokesman. That, he said, could harm the company's image. As a result, "Bewag" takes action against staff in that regard - according to the severity of the offence. "Which could include termination without notice." But before that come verbal and written warnings. "We want dismissals to endure labor court."
"Schering" does not tolerate rightwingers, either. "We are an international corporation; naturally we are tolerant," a spokeswoman stressed. Those who verbally harass staff are disrupting the operating climate and have to reckon with consequences up to and including dismissal. That does not concern only rightwing extremists, but also leftwing radicals and Scientology adherents.
People in civil service also highly value this perspective. "Anyone who lets rightwing or leftwing radicalism interfere with his service has to count on there being consequences," said to a spokesman from the Interior Administration. Unlike open business, civil service already offered this option.
Nothing funny is going on behind the scenes at the Berlin Water Plant (BWB) or at Siemens, either. "Tolerance is important," said a BWB spokesman.
Same thing at the city sanitation plant (BSR). "We take affirmative action on that," said a BSR spokesman. The BSR let an apprentice go back in 1997. He had put a sign on a co-worker's locker that said "Work makes you free, Turkey, a beautiful country." The case went all the way up to the Federal Labor Court, which confirmed the dismissal. Since then there has been a mandatory tolerance program at the BSR for apprentices. In their first year of apprenticeship they have an academic field trip to the former Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
There have also been dire consequences in other operations: Coca-Cola fired a doorman who entered the canteen and gave the Hitler salute. BMW let an employee go for making anti-Semitic statements.
The DGB (German union federation) welcomes the businesses' processes against employees. "We should all express ourselves against the rightwing," said DGB state vice president Bernd Rissmann. In labor law, it is possible to terminate someone for "disturbing the peace at work." The company boards would also approve of the termination. "The person involved in this kind of case would hardly stand a chance in court." The DGB currently requires in writing of all company boards that they take affirmative action against rightwing radicals in their companies.
But the DGB will not leave it at words alone. Since May the union stewards have been conducting training seminars for young members. The topic: Tolerance and Rightwing Extremism. About 1,000 young people will have attended the seminar by year's end. The DGB has trained over 20 people to give the seminar.
What now, Waldorf?
The Dialogue begins
5 letters to the editor
in response to "Intimidation, Waldorf style
of August 4, 2000
August 10, 2000
"Private intelligence service" verified
re: "Intimidation Waldorf style," taz of August 4, 2000
Letters to the editor and advertisements should not be confused with editorial articles, even if they both have the name of the newspaper at the top of the page. In like manner, one should not confuse the content of one home page with links to other pages, even though the url line sometimes does not change with "frames."
On his company's home page, http://www.fmp-entertainments.de/aktion, Raphael Fellmer, student of the Berlin Rudolf Steiner School in Berlin, has been calling for a protest against the "Report" broadcast at the end of February for several months. In a spontaneous action, the students got together and, among other things, produced this page on their own. On this page, which the student had under his own personal copyright, there was only one link to www.waldorf.net, on which exists another link to www.waldorfschule.de. Neither the alliance nor waldorf.net called for a protest, counter to the contention by Arno Frank in the "taz" newspaper.
In the meantime, I can verify the existence of a "private intelligence service." I immediately created a dossier on Arno Frank in that I clipped and filed his article. Also, yesterday I conducted a conspiratorial telephone conversation with other comrades in the "Anthro-scene" and would not rule out that in the past 20 years I have quoted from its articles for the purpose of discrediting it as unprofessional. Aren't they awful, those people who think differently?
Educational Political Spokesman of the Waldorf Schools in Berlin
Journalists are a sub-culture unto themselves. They criticize other people, but then scream when the people they write about send faxes. Newspapers and rubberneckers may say anything they want to, but when the people they are looking at want to defend themselves, as anybody who has tried to submit a counter-presentation knows, they are stonewalled. And what is so terrible about an organization asking its members to defend themselves? Would the "taz" like to do away with legitimate, democratic means?
My children went to the Ludwigsburg Waldorf School. Of course there were things there to be critical of, but there was really no trace of racism. [. . .]
Hartmut Bernecker, Bietigheim-Bissingen
[. . .] I see two aspects in Steiner's ideology which would really have to make racism impossible for Anthroposophists. First, all human souls go through all races in the course of their incarnations. Secondly, just as racial differences once came about and previously did not exist, so they will disappear some time in the future. Both aspects can be regarded identically for differences in gender. [. . .] And the decisive factor: the Anthroposophical movement "prepares at the spiritual level what will later happen on the physical plane: the re-unification of the sexes." (Steiner quote). The same thing should also apply to the issue of race (unfortunately I don't have the quote for that at hand).
It is worth one's while to differentiate between teachings and representatives: Anthroposophy has many ideas and suggestions concerning survival of race and sex discrimination, but some "Anthroposophists" don't understand them at all. For example, these ideas abound in the Anthroposophical healing methodology: there all people are equally seen as handicapped, as "lacking in spiritual care." In other areas of life, such an attitude would obviously still have to be developed.
Perhaps it is exactly for these reasons that Anthroposophists cannot tolerate criticism: Anthroposophy is such a strong super-ego that many talk themselves into believing that they are already so good and pure as they have to be or would like to be. People who have a concept like that always have to defend themselves. But one can use high ideals as well as sources of power: only the courage to dream gives the power to fight - not against the rest of the world, but for a better world! [. . .]
Christoph Kranich, Hamburg
Because I really don't have any negative opinion about Anthroposophists from my personal experiences, I am amazed at how these people and the Waldorf Schools deal with the accusations of racism from "Report." Factually dealing with Steiner's statements would be more honest. Unfortunately I was disappointed to read how the Waldorf experts react to criticism, how journalists defame Anthroposophist Stefan Leber, and what kind of spiritual similarity there is to Scientology and other totalitarian organizations.
Freedom of the press be praised, also the "taz" newspaper be praised, but technically difficult themes like this need free journalism.
Horst Grzywaczewski, Iserlohn
Do the Waldorf Schools really have room to operate legally? Can it be that a book written in 1936 and which was published again and again is only today classified as "for adults only" based on the "Report" broadcast? [. . .] Meanwhile anybody who wants to know can find out: The Waldorf Schools are based on the ideology of a single man. This ideology is, to a wide extent, racist and culturally imperialistic.
Anybody who brings that up is overwhelmed with lawsuits. The otherwise chronically financially weak Waldorf Schools immediately have any amount of money when it comes to intimidating troublesome critics into silence. That means the public coffers are financing this type of school so that the Waldorf's can pick and choose as they like. [. . .] Reinhard Karst, Bruchsal
The editors reserve the right to print letters in whole or in part. The letters from readers do not necessarily reflect the opinion of "taz" newspaper.
Intimidation of the Waldorf kind
by Arno Frank
August 4, 2000
taz Nr. 6210
He who throws a stone into the water may at least expect some ripples. In its broadcasts of February 28 and July 10, 2000, "Report" politics magazine from Mainz (ARD) threw two stones - the result was a wave of lawsuits and a flood of protest.
The first broadcast was about very extensive anti-Semitic incidents at the Waldorf schools, the second was about racism in the book, "Atlantis und das Raetsel der Eiszeitkunst" - a little volume authored by Ernst Uehli, the first Waldorf teacher, which is on a list of literature which is put at the disposal of Waldorf teachers as preparation for history instruction - in the meantime the Waldorf schools have distanced themselves from the book after the Federal Families Ministry filed an application for classification. The book contains a racist ("Today's Negro is childish and has remained an imitative being") and esoteric mixture ("The seed of genius has already been placed for the Aryan race in their cradle of Atlantis"). The "Report" broadcast ended with the unusual comment, "We will not let ourselves be intimidated."
The nature of this "intimidation" was revealed by Fritz Frey, chief editor at "Report": "After an earlier broadcast in February, the Alliance of Free Waldorf Schools flooded us with a number of lawsuits, demands for counter-presentations and demands to cease and desist. They used every means at their disposal to put their own interests into action, like several hundred faxes and letters to the editors."
Now lawsuits and notes of protest are legitimate means of defense - but the content of many of these letters are not, as Eric Friedler reports. Letters and telephone calls which the editor of the controversial broadcast received allegedly certified that he was the "reincarnated anti-Christ" and that he belonged "behind bars." Even the friendlier instructions sounded gruesome: "If you go along with Steiner's ideology of repeated life on earth, then the souls of the Atlantans are still among us," said one, and another, "As far as the Negroes, name one who has founded a university." The mother of one student was surprising with her fatal logic, "We are not racists, that is all Jewish propaganda!" Apart from the quality of many reactions, the quantity was also surprising. Frey sensed a concerted action behind the stereotypes and identical reactions, even down to word selection: "There are indications that the schools sounded the cry to harass us."
Actually, on the home page of the Alliance of Free Waldorf Schools (www.waldorf-schule.de) no protest is being called for, but the defeat in the legal dispute with "Report's" SWR is being sold as a victory. Counter-presentations and demands to cease and desist were completely rejected by the Frankfurt State Court and Stuttgart Superior State court. Only the statement that Jewish parents "increasingly" took their children out of the school may not be repeated, as per temporary restraining order - SWR has filed appeal.
SWR may be well-provisioned for a cost intensive legal dispute. But not independent investigative journalists like the Austrian, Angelika Walser, who had published a critical article in the Christian conservative weekly paper "Die Furche": "There was a storm of protest such as "Die Furche" had never before experienced. I was threatened with lawsuits and accused of having falsified much of my information." The affair was then "amicably resolved," as they say so wonderfully in Austria: a preliminary hearing occurred with the Graz Waldorf school, as Walser reported, and her bosses. The journalist gave up the theme out of necessity: "If you investigate them you need broad shoulders."
Austrian television producer and journalist Petrus van der Let had broad shoulders. In a five-part series on the roots of National Socialism, in the "Savior" sequel, he got involved with the role of Rudolf Steiner and the esoteric, occult promises of salvation of Anthroposophy. In a subsequent live discussion, the theme was "energetically and controversially" disputed; soon afterwards the usual officious letters hailed down on van der Let's employer. A board member of the group association of Waldorf schools, Raoul Kneucker, had described the film as a "successful, post-modern collage" during the discussion - but four weeks afterwards in December 1996, before the General Secretary of the Council of Europe he raised an "objection against the promotion of the film project," not only that, but he said that was because of "crass violation of the fundamentals of objectivity."
"Private Intelligence Agency"
Psychologist and publisher Colin Goldner had similar experiences. He had to undergo a concentrated protest letter campaign, letters which threatened him with legal action, restraining orders, along with verbal abuse and defamation because he pointed out the racist passages in Rudolf Steiner's work in a "Spiegel" magazine article. In order to discredit Goldner professionally, "texts were dug out which I had written 20 years ago." That suggested to Goldner that, within Anthroposophy there were apparently maintained "dossiers on disagreeing journalists": "The Anthroposophists have a very good network and quite obviously have a sort of private intelligence service at their disposal for the observation of critics. It is exactly this dealing with those who think differently that creates a parallel in Anthroposophy to totalitarian cults."
Arnold Seul, today employed as an MDR television editor, investigated "unusual disciplinary measures" at a Waldorf School for "Fakt" magazine (of 9-9-96: "Mythos Waldorfpaedagogik"). "Even before airing," he said, "committees like the Broadcast Council were involved, there were letters to television directors from Westdeutschen to Saarlaendishen Broadcasting. I continued with the filming, but got no more voiceovers from Anthroposophists. Instead of that, dozens of letters and complaints."
At a presentation which was supposed to have calmed things down, he found himself "confronted by a tribunal of from 30 to 40 people" who all put pressure on him. "I don't do yellow journalism," Seul reassured the excited Anthroposophists - only to find that sentence repeated later as a confession to parents in a newsletter, but "don't" was deleted.
"Normally one experiences something like that only when one is dealing with Scientology," said Seul - but had two possible explanations for the remarkably thin skin of the Anthroposophists. For one, he thinks the real financial interests of the Alliance of Free Waldorf Schools may be at risk: "After the turn in the GDR, they marched right in as free supporters of schools and were welcomed with open arms. Now one deals with high figures in figuring out what kind of money is involved." Associated with concerns about subsidies, however, is a "persecution complex befitting that of a cult-like association." Seul: "Part of it is they are too alienated from the world to know how to appropriately react to criticism. They have no kind of experience with the culture of the media.
Anthroposophist Stefan Leber, in contrast, not only has experience, but a very flexible picture of what a journalist does - they remind him of "dogs, sniffing from scent mark to scent mark, leaving their own scent behind. They follow a trail, they smell urine and droppings; they have no interest in smelling roses or violets. There is an internal connection between their sniffing and their own excrement," according to Leber, as can be read in the Flensburg volume (63/IV/98) - he is a board member of the Alliance of Free Waldorf Schools and docent for Waldorf academics at the free high school of Stuttgart.
Ten dollars for a horror story in church
August 4, 2000
junge Welt, Feuilleton
Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven - this shortened variant of the Bible quotation is still valid in Bryan's Texas church congregation. Pastor Rich Sebastian drives through the little city every Sunday morning in a bus through the poorest district and offers everybody he meets on the street ten dollars if they come to his meeting for one and a half hours. He who has, gives, and he who needs, takes - because the green dollars in the hand are better than beautiful dreams of the future, or perhaps a rich heaven; in the meantime, every fifth person makes use of this pecuniary mission offer. "For someone who has nothing, that is an attraction," faithful marketing specialist Sebastian is sure.
The investment pays off. After a half hour, the mutual reserve of the churchgoers has been overcome and the approximately 80 members of the Bryan congregation - overwhelmingly middle-class white - and the paid poor sing the hallelujahs devoutly together and praise God, enthusiastically reports "Religion Today" information service about the unusual membership recruitment in the USA's South.
At the same time, the German new revelation sect, "Universal Life" (UL) in Bavaria, is trying to get the Holy Scriptures put on a restricted list. UL attorneys, with connection to Scientology, Christian Sailer and Gert-Joachim Hetzel from Marktheidenfeld near Wuerzburg, based their application to have the Bible restricted, according to the news agency, on its bloodthirsty and cynical text which could therefore harm young people's souls.
The Holy Scriptures the same as a horror story or a porno movie? If Pastor Sebastian's potential flock would have known that, he probably could have saved himself the ten dollars, they would have gone to see a Sunday thriller.
August 3, 2000
Frankfurter Neue Presse
Berlin. The Korean Moon sect uses strange methods to have young people remain chaste before marriage and to infiltrate Christian groups which have a similar goal. As the Berlin-Brandenburg Church commissioner for issues of sects and weltanschauung, Reverend Thomas Gandow, has stated in Berlin, the so-called "Pure Love Alliance" is, in reality, part of the Unification Church of Korean Sung Myung Moon.
Moon, who says he has about two million adherents worldwide, claims that Jesus failed as Messiah because he did not start a family. Moon said he was called to fulfill this mission. With his wife he carries out mass marriages on his adherents. The Moons also have the adherents honor the Moons as their true parents.
In the gatherings of the Moon sect, the participants are supposed to take various vows which, from Moon's point of view, allow them to enter into the true family, that means the Moon sect. In doing this, candy is sometimes distributed which has been processed with so-called "holy wine." According to Gandow, former sect members report, though, that the candy contains a disgusting fluid which consists of the diluted blood and sperm of the sect founder. (idea)
Moon sect intends to infiltrate youth organizations
Berlin-Brandenburg sect commissioner warns about "Pure Love Alliance"
August 2, 2000
idea (Basis edition 93/2000)
Berlin (idea) - Apparently the Moon sect plans to systematically infiltrate evangelical youth organizations with a campaign of pre-marital chastity. That was said to the staff at "idea" by the Evangelical Church's commissioner for issues of sects and weltanschauung in Berlin-Brandenburg, Reverend Thomas Gandow of Berlin. The so-called Pure Love Alliance, which provides sexual information for teenagers in the USA, is in reality part of the "Unification Church" of Korean Sung Myung Mun. In its gatherings, the participants are to take vows which, from Moon's perspective, will let them enter the "true family," the Moon sect. Also, candy is distributed which is treated with so-called "Holy Wine" - which former members, according to Gandow, say consists of "diluted blood and sperm of the sect founder." "When they eat this candy they become a member of the Moon Family, since, from Moon's perspective, a physical exchange of blood takes place," Gandow cited the sect's internal documents.
New Mission Objective: Germany
While the "Unification Church" is banned from some schools in the USA, such as in Chicago, the Moon missionaries are now directing their attention to other countries, such as Great Britain, France and Germany. Gandow is concerned that any Christian group can be infiltrated which has as a goal the promotion of sexual abstinence before marriage. In the meantime, the Moon sect has already gotten a toehold in certain evangelical circles in the USA. For instance, conservative preacher Jerry Falwell openly cooperates with Moon organizations.
Gandow: serious chastity campaigns at risk
"It's good there are groups which support chastity before marriage," Gandow told "idea." "But all these serious campaigns are currently at special risk of being infiltrated by the Pure Love Alliance." Gandow continued, "I can't imagine that any evangelical Christian could reconcile with their beliefs the idea of their own children at a gathering focusing on sexual abstinence where they become members of the Moon sect, whose leader has declared that genitals are the center point of the universe." For that purpose he has written a letter to warn the organizers of the Christian campaign "True Love waits" ["Wahre Liebe wartet'] and of the CVJM, "neither of which are suspected of any cooperation with the sect" of the Moon campaign.
Discussion of homosexual marriage favors the mission of the Moon sect
Gandow indicated that according to credible information, about 300 American Moon adherents were coming to Germany from the USA in early August to support the only several hundred German members for the upcoming operation. The plan will take advantage of the current debate on the "marriage" of homosexuals. Gandow said, "This discussion causes a certain anxiety among people of piety - this darker setting is extremely suited for Moon to propagate his ideology under cover of 'pure love and absolute sex'." Moon, who says he has about two million adherents, asserts that Jesus failed as Messiah because he did not start a family. Moon says that he was called to complete Jesus' mission. With his wife he conducts mass marriages of adherents from his religious congregation; they honor the Moons as "true parents." (93/2000/6)
[The short version]
No sex before marriage - Moon sect intends to infiltrate Christian youth groups
Berlin (idea) - The Moon sect plans to infiltrate Christian youth groups with a campaign of chastity before marriage. That was told to the evangelical news agency, "idea," by the Berlin-Brandenburg's Church commissioner for issues of sects and weltanschauung, Reverend Thomas Gandow from Berlin. The so-called Pure Love Alliance, which provides sexual information for teenagers in the USA, was said to be, in reality, part of the "Unification Church" of Korean Sung Myung Mun. In their gatherings, participants are supposed to take vows which, from Moon's perspective, would let them enter the "true family," the Moon sect. Also, candy is distributed which is treated with so-called "Holy Wine" - which former members, according to Gandow, say consists of "diluted blood and sperm of the sect founder." "When they eat this candy they become a member of the Moon Family, since, from Moon's perspective, a physical exchange of blood takes place," Gandow cited the sect's internal documents.
Warning to "True Love waits" ["Wahre Liebe wartet"]
Gandow is concerned that any Christian group can be infiltrated which has as a goal the promotion of sexual abstinence before marriage. "It's good there are groups which support chastity before marriage," Gandow told "idea." "But all these serious campaigns are currently at special risk of being infiltrated by the Pure Love Alliance." He said he had already warned "True Love waits" ["Wahre Liebe wartet'] . Moon, who says he has about two million adherents worldwide, asserts that Jesus failed as Messiah because he did not start a family. Moon says that he was called to complete Jesus' mission. With his wife he conducts mass marriages of adherents from his religious congregation; they honor the Moons as "true parents."
Don't read this page!
The Truth fails the sect test
Shocking results of a daunting test
July 22, 2000
We have often voiced our disrespectful opinion on these pages about Christian and other types of sects, and in doing that, have not always run into enthusiastic applause from the people we were talking about. As proof that we do not think that we are immune ourselves, we ordered a "sect check list" from the Professional Association of German Psychologists, Inc. in order to investigate The Truth for characteristics of a "destructive cult."
Sect check: Monopoly on Truth: the group has the only valid system of explaining the world.
The Truth: Bingo! At most, we share the sole claim to truth with the Pope.
Expansive claim to power: "We have to save the world" is the pitch.
That's exactly the way it is! Just a smile a day can save the world.
Leader, guru, master, personality cult: He is venerated as God, saint or a "channel" (channel of God), is all-powerful, clairvoyant or has miraculous abilities.
Being master, God, even a channel, that goes without saying for a Truth editor!
Saint-like veneration and idealistic stories are propagated.
Always! We are famous for our stories.
Elite. Members of the group monitor, supervise and punish each other with threats of fire and brimstone. Internally, there is a special jargon.
Yes, our middle names are "fire and brimstone." Besides that we like to mutually discipline ourselves, for example with out special jargon: Ygat grumpf thpthzzzt.
Elite consciousness. Group members feel like the Avant Garde of world salvation.
Is there anything else in the world besides The Truth? What's wrong with that?
Exploitation: Group members (more or less voluntarily) let themselves be exploited as a cheap form of labor.
Of course those who work for the Truth are exploited, they do it to themselves.
Subversive activities: The group believes it is above the law and urges members to perform illegal activities.
Law, what's that? Any more of those lies and we'll send our boys around.
Control of consciousness. De-personalization: total acceptance is demanded, the group and the common goal are more important than the individual.
That is the only way it works!
Material dependency: The group member has no private property and/or money.
What is money? A Truth editor doesn't need money!
Breaking with one's own personal past: relations to family of origin, to spouses and friends are broken off. Schools, studies and careers are given up.
For Truth you just have to make small sacrifices.
Techniques for personality alteration. Techniques are used to mobilize emotions, create a euphoric effect and alter consciousness.
Joking and degrading, ribald tales and comments - all techniques to make even the toughest nuts giggle.
Contact to the outside. The group practices manipulative methods of recruitment in which people are lured in with unrealistic promises.
Why else would the Truth Club have been founded?
Bunker mentality: The group shuts itself off from the outside ("Heaven inside, Hell outside"). Conspiracy theories and persecution complexes are the rule.
That is an untrue claim by our enemies. We are not persecuted by anybody, even though the readers are eavesdropping on us with directional microphones and want to destroy us with death-rays from outer space. The bunker of Truth will prevail!
The disturbing result of the open, self-critical weltanschauung check: The Truth is clearly a dangerous cult. Therefore, don't read this page!
The Return of Miss Amerika
Denglisch (Deutsch - English) Deluxe: after an operation, her 40th birthday and tenth anniversary on stage, entertainer Gayle Tufts is again presenting her show in the "Bar jeder Vernunft."
June 20, 2000
Berliner Morgenpost 2000
by Ute Buesing
She has become the American in the flesh, speech and song in Berlin. Because of her comical inter-cultural messages in the pigeon language of Denglisch and her funny songs, the entertainer Gayle Tufts has become a public favorite. "I am a girl from Brockton, Massachusetts. I say what I see, and even Frau Schmidt in Gaggenau accepts that," rejoices Gayle.
The Big Girl with the Big Voice had climbed another rung higher on the scale of popularity when a slipped disk abruptly ended the sold-out presentation of her fifth show, "Miss Amerika." Gayle Tufts had to get an operation and rest for half a year. Now she is back on stage in the "Bar jeder Vernunft." In one short monologue, Tufts went over "the glamorous time in the Gruenheide Recovery Clinic." But other events have more impact on the "always positive-thinking optimist": her 40th birthday and 10 year anniversary in Berlin.
"Becoming 40 is soooo stressful! There is this huge pressure to grow up between today and tomorrow, to get a car, house and children." In talking about that, she was fascinated with transitional periods in which nothing is sure." In one such "messy time" in 1990, Gayle Tufts came to Berlin because the Dance Factory had engaged her to perform in Valeska Gert's expressional piece "Der Riss." Her first Berlin experience, though, had occurred five years previously, as a singer in Max Goldts Band Foyer Des Arts. But it was not until the Dance Factory that she got the "official police report." Now Gayle Tufts enjoys "how Berlin is growing" in that she no longer has to travel to New York to get her "Decaf fat-free Machcino."
Mrs. Tufts also relies upon her growing "harmonic, supportive environment" in "Miss Amerika." Composer and pianist Rainer Bielfeldt, who, for five years, has been writing "soul-filled tunes for every Gelegenheit" from melancholy ballads to hits, indulged her with the song "My congenial escort." Both tease about the "other existence" - Tufts in the form of her American origins and characteristic portliness; Bielfeldt in that he makes allusions to being gay. Slapstick comedy club promoter Thomas Hermanns, after "The Big Show," also put "Miss America" on stage, for which Larent Daniels created a fittingly pompous Art Deco. Finally, it includes an ironic home-sickness, as well as "Big in Berlin," the birth hour of "Germany's first Denglisch Allround Entertainer in the Diaspora.
"There are two worlds here in my heart," announced Gayle Tufts, and contrasted her precise everyday observations in Berlin with the import of unfavored U.S. American products like Burger King, crack and Scientology - if those would not have also included Miles Davis, Hemingway and Faulkner. Which land is her land, Gayle Tufts, her art living in transition, will not and cannot say for a fact. The paradoxical fence-walking stays: under the star-spangled flag she reveals a dirndl: "Help, I've turned German!" Starting today, Gayle Tufts and her "congenial escort" are again in the "Bar."
June 7, 2000
Redaktionsschluss: 17:00 Uhr(151)
1. Federal expenses not to exceed 485 billion DM in 2001
2. Persecution of Falun-Gong practitioners in China condemned
Committee for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid
Persecution of Falun-Gong practitioners in China condemned
Berlin: (hib/BOB-mr) On Wednesday afternoon, the Committee for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid condemned the persecution and arrest of thousands of Falun-Gong practitioners in the Peoples Republic of China. The committee determined in this connection, that China, by signing the Treaty on civil and political rights, as well as the Treaty on commercial, social and cultural rights, is obligated to not discriminate against or pressure anybody based on his political view, his belief or his weltanschauung. The right to peacefully assemble should also be recognized. The human rights committee spoke out in favor of asking the federal government to include this position in their meetings in the scope of legal state dialogues. The representatives made their decision on the basis of a petition of Falun-Gong practitioners in Germany. The petition committee had asked for an official opinion.
Outside of that, the human rights committee refused an application from the F.D.P. (14/2915). That was to have asked the federal government to back a China resolution of the human rights commission of the United Nations. The decision was made with votes from SPD and Buendnis 90/The Greens while CDU/CSU and the PDS abstained. In its basis, the committee majority pointed out that the submissions by the opposition faction had already been done. In addition, the committee had already taken an application on the situation on human rights in China on May 17. The plenum of the German Parliament will be discussing the problem on Thursday (tomorrow).
"The European Model is superior to the American in the long-term"
June 2, 2000
Before the meeting with Bill Clinton and 15 heads of state from all over the world, a Federal Chancellor, who did not think much of the American way, presented himself to the "Berliner Zeitung." Europe's goal must be to come to the "same eye level" with the USA, said Gerhard Schroeder.
Mr. Chancellor, you have issued invitations to a conference on "Modern Governing" after Berlin. What could such a mammoth meeting with 15 heads of state achieve?
At the gathering we will continue the discussion that we began last year in Florence. Now with basically more participants, that is true. But the attractiveness of the theme was so great that quite a few people expressed an interest. What it boiled down to was the question of how does one align the necessity of modernizing societies and, at the same time, maintain social balance? What political implications does globalization have on the economy?
Along with Bill Clinton comes a beaming patron of world economy. Does he provide us with a model of modern governing?
The causes of the long sustained economic boom in American are manifold. Besides that which has been done for research and development, one reason is certain, that the labor market in the USA is more flexible. But, as Europeans, we have to ask ourselves, do we want this flexibility in that form? I would put a big question mark after that question. I think that the European model which makes an attempt to tie economic stability to societal security, which is greater here than it is in the USA, is superior in the middle and long term.
So learning from America does not mean learning to win?
Those who are preaching to us should consider what would happen in western European society if one were to adapt the American model on a one-to-one basis. That measure of mobility which the American labor force has, for example, fails here in Europe because of cultural traditions which I do not want to simply throw in the hamper. Besides that, it fails here for things as simple as language.
What can American learn from Europe, then?
It can learn that security of and cooperation within society are also economical assets in the long term. Naturally, not all the new jobs in the USA are for cheap labor. Nevertheless, one cannot seriously dispute that the degree of personal security, including the predictability of one's own life, is less in the USA than it is here. Or take the fact that our educational system gives people a chance who cannot afford the 25,000 dollars a year for a place to study.
Germans can hardly put themselves down as a measure of things - with the unemployment, the national debt and the educational woes.
And nobody is doing that. But on the other hand, we have a completely uncalled for tendency not to let others see what we can do. We had a 3.3 percent rate of growth for this year's first quarter. Not too bad, if you ask me.
And the reward for security in European society is high unemployment?
Try working for McDonald's once. That cannot go on, that people who earn 10,000 marks and up [a month] and who have, as a rule, little flexibility on their own call for flexibility when it comes to others. That doesn't work if one want to organize cohesiveness in a society.
That sounds more traditionalist than it does modernist.
I'm just asking you to understand that - with all the need to change this country - it is also my job to do it in such a way that those who do not have economic alternatives at their disposal get the chance to keep up.
It comes down to globalization in both the Anglo-American and the European answer?
Yes, that is so. That is part of a certain competitive relationship with each other that is an expression of different traditions. This competition is productive and so a conference, as we are having one now, will have its effect in the long term. The other point of my invitation after Berlin is that this type of confrontation, organized in and by Germany, is a giant opportunity. Namely, we have to make up for a central deficiency which has been developing with us in the past 15 years, the terrible deficiency in internationality.
Name an example.
That is determined by the individual theme, such as the Green Card. If we don't create the political superstructure so that it can keep pace with the dramatic changes in the economy, then we'll fall behind again.
But the Green Card is also only a half measure. What would really be necessary would be an immigration law.
But that is typical of how debate happens in Germany. We take a step which really helps in an area and which is flexible because we control it with an ordinance but do not initiate a long-term legislative procedure. And right off the bat one says, yes, this is all too little and we wanted an immigration law. That, for various reasons, is the make-or-break point in the debate. That consists of the idea of overcoming the question of immigration for the first time. People who are not involved with politics every day think, Aha! Immigration can help us, too! For the first time one can present the theme in a positive light. Moreover that was one of the reasons for the ordinance, outside of the objective need.
So you don't intend to leave it at this one-time ordinance?
I don't know that. I want to try it first. If it turns out that we need internationality in other areas, too, then that needs to be discussed. And just as pragmatically as we regulated the issue and with the same flexible instrument. The opposing faction now wants an immigration law, but they want to tie it in with the asylum law. All according to the motto, "if you want an intelligent control in one area, then we demand more control in another area which is neither clever, nor particularly human." I won't go along with that.
Europe is trying to form a counter-power to the USA.
I wouldn't say "counter-power." Europe is trying to form itself into a united Europe which represents a power. But that power is not directed toward anybody in particular. If you want to develop self-awareness, then you do that for yourself and not against others.
Would you talk of a relationship on the same eye level?
That has to be the the goal. Presently that is neither a political nor an economic reality. But Europe is in the process of developing this self-awareness in both depth and breadth. If that turns out, then a commercial space will result which will be bigger than the United States. That can definitely lead to an equal eye level in the future.
The American national missile defense project visibly upsets European circles.
Nobody can deny the Americans the right to construct what they feel is necessary for their national defense. On the other hand, we are partners in a common alliance. It is important to attain a politic of disarmament and to clear the way for further steps to nuclear disarmament. We really do not need a new round of arms competition, either politically or economically. Thirdly, the world, and especially Europe, needs to keep its relationship to Russia and other important countries intact. These three viewpoints must be kept under consideration.
Will you speak about that with Clinton in plain language?
It is the Europeans' mission to make clear in fair and open discussion that these aspects are important for them. That will happen. The sovereignty of the USA to decide what it thinks is politically necessary for defense must be reconciled with the interests of partners in its alliance. I am optimistic of that happening, too.
Do you at all share the USA's analysis about the danger of missile attacks from states like Libya and Iraq?
In an alliance, one certainly would not have to talk about whether a presumed threat has a realistic background. But even if people in Europe came to the conclusion that it did not have a realistic background, then that would surely still not mean that that would not be seen differently in America based on different assessments or even emotions. In that regard it makes little sense to talk about the appropriateness of threat analysis.
Disputes about child custody, Scientology and the death penalty - the cultural differences between Germany and American are turning more into a topic of discussion. Why is that?
We can afford to have that type of discussion. It used to be they were dominated - and probably overshadowed, too - by the creation of common security against a commonly perceived threat. Because that threat today no longer exists and because our partnership is based on common convictions, everyday conflicts retain meaning and guide the discussion. That can't be a surprise. That used to be produced by the self-understanding of our partnership.
The interview was conducted by Werner Kolhoff, Rainer Poertner and Martin E. Suesskind.
The political elite seek dialogue with the Milli Goerues, but critical journalists are being intimidated by the Islamic association.
Flirting with the Islamists
May 5, 2000
by Eberhard Seidel
The professor bowed deeply to his former opponents. Three years ago, Udo Steinbach, Director of the German Oriental Institute in Hamburg was warning of the dangers emanating from the Islamist groups in Germany. Now his motto is, "There is a new openness in dialogue. And the anti-Semitic duct in many publications has been deactivated.
It was a conciliatory start to the meeting of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation entitled, "Fellow citizens of the Moslem Faith: the neglected minority," which took place on Thursday in Berlin. Steinbach even made a good witness for the Milli Goerues, the most influential organization of political Islam in Germany. He appears to have forgotten that the Milli Goerues systematically lied to the German public for years - about their organizational structure, their ideology, their sources of finance, their connections to Scientology and their dependency upon Turkish Islamic leader Necmettin Erbakan.
"What is wrong with Steinbach?" puzzled Hasan Oezdogan during the coffee break. The Chairman of the Islamic Council of Germany, which is an umbrella organization dominated by the Milli Goerues, was not expecting an answer. He knows that it is no longer the Milli Goerues, but their critics, who are running against the wind.
During the meeting on Thursday, the moderator tried to play down criticism by Cologne journalist Ahmet Senyurt for the Milli Goerues as an irrelevant private discussion. Senyurt's "private war": he revealed the years of cooperation between the Milli Guerues and Scientology, reported on the money transfers for the Moslem rebels in the Chechnian war, and, in recent times, has been devoting himself to the billion dollar financial and commercial empire which the Islamists have been building up in Germany and Turkey.
Hasan Oezdogan had the upper hand. During the podium discussion, he denounced Senyurt as a "bad journalist" who "reported falsely" and "slandered" the Milli Goerues. A superfluous attack. Because the critical public had lost interest in information of that sort. Instead of that it flirts with high-ranking Milli Goerues functionaries. All at the head of the Heinrich-Boell Foundation, which is aligned with the Greens.
False Pluralism labeling
Since the beginning of the year, the foundation has been advertising with a series of events for more tolerance for the Moslem minority. In doing that, organizer Thomas Hartmann also increasingly supports the Milli Goerues. The speakers, however, are announced as representatives of the Islam College of Berlin, the Islamic Basic School of Berlin, the Center for Islamic Women's Research and Promotion of Cologne or the Institute for International Academics and Didactics of Cologne. The apparent pluralism is false labeling. They are all organizations of Milli Goerues, which are centrally directed from their Cologne headquarters.
Politician also seek proximity to the Milli Guerues. Berlin Foreign Commissioner Barbara John (CDU), for example. When she presented the booklet on "Mosques and Islamic Life in Berlin" last year, there was a lively discussion. Reason: the role of political Islam in Berlin was said to have been de-emphasized. No big surprise. The sponsor of the work was Muesiad, a business association dominated by Islamists who the Milli Goerues would like to assimilate. John's justification, "We would be getting into a disastrous discussion if the attempt were made to declare them to be lepers."
The new openness is astonishing. Because neither the liberal Christian Democrat John, the Heinrich-Boell Foundation nor the Evangelical Academy in Loccum bothers to carry out a dialogue with the Deutschen Volksunion (DVU). The DVU and Milli Goerues have much in common - they do not call for the use of violence, but they split society with ideologies of inequality, have a conspirative and undemocratic management and organizational structure and non-transparent sources of finance. They also share a virulent Anti-semitism. There are, however, two differences: the Milli Goerues are more successful. And the DVU has met with determined resistance from civilian society.
Also the foreign political spokesman for the CDU parliamentary faction, Karl Lamers, no longer finds anything to reproach the Milli Goerues about. In 1999 he participated in their annual gathering at the Muengersdorfer Stadium in Cologne. Lamers criticized the image which German agencies have of the Milli Goerues, "It is strongly influenced by the picture which the Kemalist forces in Turkey have of the Milli Goerues. One will not progress with that."
How should one regard the Milli Goerues? They were founded by Necmettin Erbakan in 1976 in Germany. Today he still determines the politics of the organization. He wants to replace the system in Turkey with one based on the Koran and Sharia. This is not demanded in Germany as long as they are in the minority.
Who determines the rules of play
The politics of the Milli Goerues are being implemented in Europe by means of hundreds of mosque, women's, youth and student associations. Many of these associations belie their dependency upon Milli Goerues. The Islamic Federation in Berlin, for example, which recently has been acknowledged as a religious community. That federation has credibly assured the officials, at least, that it has nothing to do with Milli Goerues. In one of the internal Milli Goerues documents which is available to taz [this newspaper] it says, in contrast, that the "Islamic Federation," which is in nearly all German states, belongs to the Milli Guerues.
What does an organization which lies so consistently have to hide? The German public has lost any interest in getting an answer. In the meantime, the Milli Goerues determine the rules of play. One example: on September 30, 1999, the Islamic Council, dominated by the Milli Goerues, arranged a podium discussion in the Willy-Brandt building, the SPD center in Berlin. Those invited included Theo Sommer, co-publisher of "Zeit," Edzard Reuter, Peter Scholl-Latour and Michel Friedman from the Central Council of the Jews. Two Berlin journalists, Claudia Dantschke and Ali Yildirim, were denied entrance to the meeting by Milli Goerues ushers. The reason: they had published material from a person who had left the Milli Goerues which proved that the Milli Goerues and their cover companies deceive the public and which showed the tricks by which Milli Goerues intend to infiltrate the CDU district group in Berlin-Kreuzberg. Hasan Oezdogan told the taz: "These two journalists are regarded as instigators, slanderers and active opponents of Islam who practice yellow journalism." Oezdogan described correspondent Yildirim as a "former communist and a radical, apostate Alevite with a great desire to exact revenge upon Moslems." Communist, opponent of Islam, apostate Alevite - translated from the language of the Islamists, that means that any means is permitted in taking action against this man. Nobody took the side of the two journalists. Michel Friedman (CDU) praised the event as an "attempt at the conversational principle of respect."
Where does the sudden favoritism for Milli Goerues come from? The answer is clear to Ahmet Senyurt, "the Milli Guerues have influence in the ghetto. And whoever has this influence can win the politicians over." Many politicians are aware of the explosive situation which lies in portions of the city like Berlin-Kreuzberg, where more than thirty percent of the immigrants are unemployed. Milli Goerues offer help. "We bring the young people away from drugs and violence," goes their offer. "If it weren't for us, it would be much less peaceful in Berlin-Kreuzberg and Cologne-Nippes," Mehmet Sabri Erbakan, Germany's chief of the Milli Goerues, gives food for thought.
But things do not have to stay that way. Hasan Oezdogan ominously added on Thursday that if the German public were to force the Milli Goerues into a corner, that there would not be any integration.
April 11, 2000
taz Nr. 6116 Seite 14
Collective sense production: At job assistance training in the labor office anyone may tell his story.
ARMY WITHOUT UNIFORMS
Labor Office job assistance training. We sit next to each other in a training room, average age 50 years, the instructor is not there yet. One participant apparently already has gone through several such episodes, "Hopefully we will not have to introduce ourselves," she said, since she thought that was nobody's business. But that is what we had to do when the instructor came in and asked us.
By "we" I mean a hotel manager with a degree, a female financial purchaser, a degreed communications designer, a building fitter ["Bauschlosser"], a camp worker with a a photography studio in California and a degree in business management which was not recognized in Germany; I am a writer, then there is still a salesman, a software installer from the DDR, a woman doctor and a student in social academics who had stopped going to classes.
The passwords and user names for computers and internet were written by the instructor on the blackboard. Coffee, however, is not permitted at our work stations, she said, because the network administrator got upset when it spilt onto the computers. Then she stated that it was now mandatory for employment agencies to write integration plans, IPs: BWB, BKZ, AIS, SchlZ, D 400. "So that everyone can tell his story to the labor office," she said, "of that we are certain."
During our breakfast snack break, the degreed communications designer said that the labor office had reduced his money, his market value had decreased with increased age, as he had been told. In other places, he said, recruitment training began with meditation and went to twelve o'clock at night.
After break a degreed psychologist came and said that he had a taxi license and a taxi business: "Get the taxi license, but don't tell the labor office, otherwise you'll never be unemployed again!" Besides that, the degreed psychologist is also a management consultant and an internal auditor for the labor office. Again everybody had to introduce themselves and state their strengths. I said, "I'll write any kind of garbage for money!"
The degreed psychologist used a projector to put a list on the wall, the top 14 tips from America. Number 10 was "Always improve your own work ethic!", number 11, "Always improve your own work experience!" That reminded me of real-life, existential socialism: constant, multi-sided development in accordance with the plan of the politics of the main mission. Easternization of the West marches on.
Whatever anybody said, the instructor responded, "Exactly!", "Right!" or "You've said it." The gestures and the body language of this employment psychologist compared to those of salespeople for arthritic bandages, members of the hustlers' congress or those of Scientology speakers. Each movement is rehearsed - even showing up late was planned in advance - and crying for sympathy. His coffee cup, his hands, all aspects of his presentation. These same facial expressions, rhetorical pauses, body movements and sentence constructs are recommended by managers the world over. A huge international army that is geared up in suits and ties instead of uniforms. And to fit in, like here, they will also wear jeans and a t-shirt.
Lunch break in the cafeteria. Most, so I learn, are here voluntarily and are convinced of the sense of the job training. The former social studies student said that she had smelled beer at the employment agent's offices. She mentioned something about it and was told, "I can't smell anything, my nosed is clogged up."
After break, an instructor announced that no role call would be taken. Then she stated the basics of how to send an e-mail. Nobody paid attention to me as I went backward, one step at a time, through the door and down the stairs.
by Susanne Stiefel
[Article on Heilbronn]
The Hesserbaeck [name of a beer bar near the cemetery] tells the story behind the latest episode of the current ongoing Heilbronn romance novel. It is the story of the woman gardener up on the corner who took care of the cemetery and left her husband, emptying all savings accounts to throw the money down the gullets of the Scientologists.
What's in the brown bags
Michael Mittermeier with "Back to Life"
in the Berlin Bar jeder Vernunft
["Bar for all reasons"]
March 29, 2000
by Uta Falck
The Bar jeder Vernunft has always had faith in Michael Mittermeier, even back when he was putting on his performance for rather smaller crowds: since then, the 33-year-old Bavarian man has become a favorite, and not just in Berlin. "Back to life," the motto of his second program, is performed in front of a background of a futuristic looking portal out of six gray partitions with accurately distributed lights along with a saucer-shaped moon which is just as gray. A fog approaches him and he immediately snatches his audience up and carried them off into a dangerous world: in the pedestrian zones, the entertainer warned us, comical mimes lie in wait for us, and along with them are Peruvian pan-pipe players who are always surrounded by unmusical teenagers. Mittermeier privately wished the musicians and their groupies out to a llama pasture: "a wrong note, and they are spluttering."
Mittermeier explained about the contents of his inconspicuous brown plastic bags (these held the preferred "Beate Uhse" purchases) and said that after eight years of Catholic boarding school, he felt he was competent enough to make a constructive suggestion for peaceful competition among religions: the Jehovah's Witnesses could excel in the watch tower high jump, the Scientologists in distance-throwing for credit cards and the Moslems in "Voelkerball" / ["people ball" as opposed to foot ball].
It was a perfect one-man-show, which flew along with economically placed effects and competent pantomime from joke to joke. Mittermeier continued to include his carefully developed characters - the Jehovah's Witnesses or the Jamaican soccer player - in his act: his gags were interwoven with each other and executed flawlessly. And even after the closing bows, when Michael Mittermeier improvised in a question and answer session, the audience did not have to do without pointed comedy. A ready wit who sought out his own kind.
Until April 1, Tues-Sun, 8:30 p.m.
ZDF historian Guido Knopp teaches journalism as an ultra-right college
by Thomas Schuler
March 29, 2000
Guido Knopp will enjoy himself at the great television festival in Cannes in April. That is where the ZDF will be presenting his new series "Hitler's Children" to program purchasers from all over the world, and Knopp believes that he has an ace in the hole. He presumes, in any case, that "Hitler's Children" - and the introductory program - will be running in the USA, England, France, Australia and in 50 other countries. Specifically, his films are said to be the first German productions on the theme of Hitler that have been generally distributed out of country, said the director of the ZDF historical department.
In Germany, the 51 year old academically degreed historian can look for places to broadcast and he can broadcast from Arte and on ZDF any time on prime time. His success lies in the fact that each of his films will be seen by from four to seven million people. The millions of copies of his accompanying books will advance him to the most-sold German language technical book author.
To lay people, his work may appear credible solely by virtue of his title as professor [There are high requirements for the title of "Professor" in Germany. - trans.] The presumed seal of technical professionalism, however, does not apply to the historical research work, but to the job of teaching, which appears respectable only at first glance. Since 1994, Guido Knopp has regularly been driving to the Gustav Siewerth Academy, to Weilheim in the Black Forest, to tell students there how one "familiarizes a large TV public with historical aspects."
For a historian who presumes to deal critically with the National Socialist (NS) past and with the Vatican though, the Academy is a questionable setting. A majority of the leading senate, to which Knopp belongs, consists of ultra-right members who support secret organizations like Opus Dei (Work of God), Engelswerk [Angel's Work] and the VPM psycho-sect ("Verein zur Foerderung der psychologischen Menschenkenntnis" / [Association for the Advancement of Psychological Understanding]).
The senior class of the small college is led by Hans Filbinger, who had to resign from his office as Baden-Wuerttemberg Minister President in 1978. It was revealed at that time, that during the NS era, he, as a Navy judge, had handed down a death sentence on a soldier who had wanted to desert, and had personally supervised the execution. Since his resignation, Filbinger has been gathering German nationally inclined comrades together in the Weikersheim Study Center, not far from Weilheim. In the late hours, former business manager Albrecht Jebens has called to his guests, "Now we'll sing the German National Anthem, this time all three verses."
The Academy was founded in the mid-1950s by Heidegger student Gustav Siewerth as a conservative answer to the Frankfurt School - in his own words, to lay the foundation for the conquest of neo-Marxism and Darwinism, and to deal critically with the '68 student revolution. Knopp's senate colleagues are conspicuous by their sympathies for secretive organizations: two of the eight members of the senate support the Opus Dei, three support the VPM psychosect and have appeared at their congresses - among them the Wuerzburg Professor Lothar Bossle, who thinks Hitler was "a leftist" and who sees Filbinger as a victim of a campaign of slander. Dogmatist Leo Scheffczyk has honored the Opus Dei. The Rector, Graf von Brandenstein-Zeppelin, supports Engelswerk. Deacon Alma von Stockhausen has publicly supported the VPM, which campaigns against information on AIDS ("pornographic propaganda") and the "new Left."
Critics accuse the fundamentalist Opus Dei of brainwashing and psychic and physical exploitation, Scientology style. Books by Luther, Lessing, Kant, Hegel, Pasternak and Brecht are to be ignored by Opus Dei members as "trash," says one of its publications. The organization works extensively undercover, on which account it is described in its Spanish homeland and the "Holy Mafia." The founder of the secret society, Escriva de Balaguer, has demonstrated much understanding for fascism, and is said to have succeeded in Franco's takeover of power with Hitler's help, whereby Christianity was said to have been saved from communism.
When asked about the sentiments of his colleagues, Knopp play down his involvement at the Black Forest university. Certainly he has heard of the connections, he said, "but I have no contact with others who lecture there." He said he was only there twice a year for block seminars. Besides that he has only a guest professorship. In one remarks sheet of his subject area of journalism it says that its goal is "the communication of the insights gained from dealing with philosophy and sociology to the public." Therefore Knopp intends to support the distribution of his colleague's teachings.
Class schedules show that he teaches more often than "only twice" a year; documents show that he belongs to the Academy's Circle of Friends, and that he has appeared as moderator at event discussions. He went past the lecture description that he is director of one of only four subject areas and that he sits on the senate, and spoke instead of the "freedom of science" and that he does not accept any money for his teaching activities - as if the business connection alone were a problem. "Everything is very pluralistic there," said Knopp. "That is shown in the bandwidth and in my teaching there."
One could just as well ask whether some glossing over had not been meant in Knopp's TV broadcasts: was it really coincidence that, in his Vatican documentary, he had disposed of the inner church conflicts surrounding Opus Dei and the controversial, singularly rapid beatification of its founder with a few flourishes? Knopp made only brief mention that the reigning Pope had withdrawn fundamentalist groups from the legal church grip of critical local bishops and had helped them to great power in the Vatican. In his 370 page book on "The Power of the Pope," he dedicated only two paragraphs to Opus Dei.
Knopp, the sole liberal social scientist among hard-liners? The Academy continues to advertise itself as "Germany's smallest Uni" in which there is a docent for every student. In such a small university, can one have nothing to do with the others? Especially when the Academy possesses a high sense of broadcast-consciousness and Knopp's subject area, according to a brochure, is to "enable the placement of the endangered human dignity at the center of attention by using the alternatives of modern mass media."
Loyalty, Honor, Faith
The Academy propagates an understanding of journalism by which journalists do not describe reality or seek the truth, but are supposed to report on a prepared opinion. They are "urgently" offered an "ethic which ensues from an absolute truth and which presents a clear philosophical position of eternal value in opposition to a valueless indifference," says a brochure. This position is said to be "catholic in the original sense," and to "determinedly take up the dispute with dialectical philosophies, 'enlightened reason,' and the resultant scientific blind alleys."
Why is Guido Knopp teaching in this counter-enlightenment environment? Because of the title of an honorary professor? It was suggested in an interview by the conservative Catholic magazine, "Pur," that his involvement on site could also be rated as one of an ardent sympathizer. Actually he is said to be at a loss at ZDF when the question of why is brought up. Knopp said that he had always viewed the exchange of journalism "as a second leg" to scientifically reflect his own standpoint. "Good journalism is also stamped with morals which are constructed upon values. Values which have fallen into discredit - they include morals, loyalty, honesty and faith - I personally want to create more regard for them. Properly understood journalistic work cannot be produced without these virtues." He said he always gives "good, young journalism students the chance to work in television themselves."
It is surprising that Knopp portends to have nothing to do with the Academy's spiritual alignment; he stressed to "Pur," while he said he was creating more regard for virtue, that "my intentions coincide with those of the Academy." He said he "teaches here because the humanistic image science has for humanity is modelled in everyday life at the school." The rector, Graf von Brandenstein-Zeppelin, puts it more succinctly: whoever teaches here without pay "has a fire burning in his heart."
"I have no contact with others that lecture there."
The return of the one who forgets his gym bag
Bar for all Reasons: Mittermeier's new comedy solo "Back to Life"
March 23, 2000
Berliner Morgenpost 2000
by Uwe Sauerwein
Really it was a little silly: first the visitors were asked at the start of the show to extinguish their table candles; seconds later the fog machine caused a mass outbreak of coughing and completely blinded the audience. Michael Mittermeier's new comedy solo was obviously conceived with a larger locality in mind than the completely sold-out Bar for all Reasons ["Bar jeder Vernunft"]. The man from Munich, who landed the most successful comedy show of the 1990s with his previous program, "Zapped," appeared on stage like a rock star - and was applauded in like manner. Mittermeier has the gift in common with his colleagues from the rock and roll business to exert untiring power for two and a half hours. Long enough so that not only the performer, but also the audience, are exhausted.
"Get to know yourself," appears to the secret of the smartly dressed 36-year-old's success. Mittermeier sets himself to the task of differentiating his learned values with those of his fans. In "Zapped," that was the TV series which his generation grew up with. His new program, "Back to Life," is based on the same principle, only that the television screen must yield to the wholly normal, brutal existence of daily life. "Get to know yourself," in this case, also means "Get to know the image of your enemies," and Mittermeier first finds those in the pedestrian zone.
Within those zones are found street pantomimes, Incan musicians, Scientology adherents, Jehovah's Witnesses ("Where do they really get those ugly eastern clothes?") and pigeons being sliced in frying pans, whose portrayal are destitute of any political correctness. Yet Mittermeier's tastelessness is not really causing anybody embarrassment. When an Ingo Appelt grins unabashedly at the parquet after every mischievousness, the Bavarian comic acts as naive as a school boy who was caught playing a prank. Not only did the audience forgive him, but it showed by its applause and laughter that it secretly thought exactly the same way.
The "Been there, done that" syndrome went into effect when dealing with secret aggressiveness. That was because people, or men, never want to be among the losers. Among those who forget their gym bags, who are left behind at an early age. Or to suffer a fate as brutal as being the second person of all time who landed on the moon.
A theme completely suited for a comedy show, especially when one considers that the Zeitgeist, see Big Brother or chain link fence ["Maschendrahtzaun"],is used mercilessly against mediocrity. However, Mittermeier does without a programmatic focal point. In the staccato of speech bubbles he swung his way from joke to joke. A habit which puts him dangerously close to a Tom Gerhardt. Only that a Mittermeier, naturally, is essentially sympathetic.
Boris Becker is allegedly on the internet - but where?
A search among car dealers and mega-breasts.
March 18, 2000
by Peter Dausend
WELT Cyber Reporter. The era of painfulness is finally past. First we had no cellular phone, then no mutual funds and, finally, not even an e-mail address. In the information society, on the new markets and by the outrageously chic we were the socially despised, modernization resisters, renouncers of designer glasses, the ones who couldn't play because we forgot their gym bags in the modern age. We, who could no more do without our record players, our Doors LPs or our favorite red jeans shirt than we could without our conviction that the Gladbacher Fohlenelfs could still overturn the Munich Millionaries. But now that's all gone. Thanks to Boris Becker. With his "Am I already in or what" commercial, Bobele the Leimener, has convinced us to use Wagni's internet. Now we want to be modern, too, to belong, to chat globally and act locally. The only things we really miss are that we can find nobody at parties who confuses "Leatherstocking" Hellmut Lange with designer Helmut Lang or who thinks of the big waves in Hawaii when they hear the word "surfing." Terribly outdated. So let's go "on line." To our beautiful new world - we're in.
Now, as could be expected, there are problems getting off the ground. First we couldn't get into the network, then the computer broke down, and finally, when we were looking for the Gunda Roestel home page, we landed in the Dolly Buster Porno-pages. What could be more fitting than we ask Boris, our internet seducer, for a few tips. At last we sent our tennis hero "in there" an e-mail, just as we have telephoned him "out there." Once again he was not home - just like the time he won at Wimbledon, while we lost at Eppelborn, when he made his first million and we were jobbing at bars, when he was noshing on Benedictine, Karen and Straps Babs and we . . . but we are getting away from the topic.
So how did we find Boris Becker's e-mail address? Quite simple: we searched his home page and just clicked on it. In Yahoo - whose stocks we have never drawn - when you enter "Boris Becker," you get a score of 1,260, or better said, "hits." You get a surprise on the very first link: The home page of car salesman Boris Becker Inc & Co, the Mercedes-Benz representative in Stralsund, Ribnitz-Damgarten and Greifswald slowly materializes. Our hero, the full-bearded, short-haired track-suit variant, climbs into a silver Mercedes of the S-class and electronically promises "an experience for every visitor." The virtual guest learns that he is the 5,947th person to click on the page and stares in amazement at a little note hung on the right edge of the picture. "Last update 21 December 1999." And they always say that the internet is the most up-to-date medium of the world.
All this was helping us in our search for Boris, so we clicked on one page after the next, took a look, used a link, went back again, looked for a new path and gradually did what Descartes of the new age would have had to have defined "I surf, therefore I am." In rummaging through the data banks, besides a near godly veneration of every conceivable kind ("Boris Becker Shrine)," there is much outdated and superficial data to be sorted through. For example, there was a report from June 27, 1997, according to which Scientology was advertising with Boris, a report from August 27, 1998 about the "Part-time professional Becker" who tore himself away from the "Syndosmoseband" (had that already been invented then?), or even the sensational revelation that Taifour Diane, center offensive of Alemania Aachen, would have liked to have met Michael Jordan and Boris Becker. Isn't there any trash pick-up on the internet, nobody who cleans up once in a while? How is anybody supposed to find anything? Quite coincidentally - and without any help from Boris - we learned our first lesson of the internet: if you are in it, you need time. Perhaps surfing the internet would have caused Sten Nadolny to make the "Discovery of Slowness." We don't know. What we do know, though, is that we didn't get very far. 1,260 Boris links are 1,259 too many. There's got to be a way to make things go faster. Boris, we have since learned, has a sense of humor. Perhaps he has disguised his home page. So we enter "http://www.binichschondrin.de" ["binichschondrin" = "Iamalreadyin"] and look there to see what is happening. But it wasn't what we had expected. "Power Web: web presence provider" offered its services to us. There is where customers could "host," "upload" and "provide" [3 English words] their web pages. And why not? If it makes you happy! Has anyone started an initiative yet to save German language on the internet?
But the trail is not bad. So now we enter - after all, Boris is already on-line - "http://www.ichbinschondrin.de" - and land on "Mega-breasts - the page for lovers. Ages 20-60: housewives are waiting for you to call." We get out of there quickly.
A last try. For two hours we have been surfing through the net despairingly in our search for contact with Boris. Only now do we get an idea which should have occurred to us before. We type on the address line "Http://www.boris-becker.de". "You see here an open home page. It does not yet have any content." But Becker was not only a German, he was a world star. Ok, "boris-becker.com." There it would appear, the three-day bearded, short-haired, black-polo shirted, marriage ring-in-front-of-his-chin variant of Boris. But what do we get? A green stripe with shrill yellow letters: "Foot odor?" - a double-click later, we get animation, "anti-bacterial, natural shoe in-soles." Those who are interested can learn more at "http://www.unwohlsein.de/index.htm" about how one can successfully combat the cultural phenomenon of sweaty feet.
But back to Boris. The home page we found, unfortunately, was only a fake. When you click on the picture of Boris, you are again informed that the page has no content. For that they have the e-mail address "email@example.com". We quickly type out a couple of lines with the request for on-line help and send the message off. Boris, please answer - or we will be out quicker than we were in.
CDU complains about Senate's lack of information
March 8, 2000
by Insa gall
It has been annoying the CDU opposition: when they want to make use of their Constitutional right to get a peek at the administration's cards with the aid of minor or major inquiries, the Senate often turns pronouncedly taciturn. "Yes," "No," "The Senate is not yet involved with the facts of this matter" or "this question could not be answered in the limited time available" are often heard by the Parliamentarians in the their extensive, detailed inquiries. For several months, the opposition has been accumulating rather crass examples of the Senate's reticence. Measures will be taken depending on the circumstances.
After the Scientology Organization's move, Representative Antje Blumenthal asked, concernedly, whether Constitutional Security was informed as to their intentions. Answer: "Constitutional Security's method of operation can only be presented to the presiding Parliamentary controlling committee." As to whether the Senate, in view of the massive support for the Scientologists from the USA, would want to increase public information? Answer: "Measures taken so far to inform the public need no intensification." From the CDU view, a "null answer."
To four actual questions and numerous sub-questions by Representative Klaus-Peter Hess about states' negotiations on rapid transit, the Senate answered the opposition in three short, brusque sentences, Hamburg took part in the meetings, there are no concrete results yet and further meetings are planned. And that was it.
CDU Parliamentarian Bernd Reinert even caught the Senate giving out erroneous information. He had wanted to know how many new signs with warnings of street damage had been erected in Hamburg. Statistics for that, said the answer, had not been taken. But when the newspaper printed the statistics and Reinert followed up on his question again, the Senate gave him the presentation he was looking for - even by district. The presentation even included costs involved.
The planning authorities also expressed doubt as to the record: they needed almost a year to get a question by a district representative answered about status of plans on rebuilding at AlsterKrugschaussee. And they got only three empty sentences: there were not actual plans, only general plan considerations. And that was all.
"The Senate's answers are often elusive, sometimes we feel we are regularly nettled," criticized faction spokesman Gert Boysen. He commented that some CDU Parliamentarians - mainly newcomers to town - do not always formulate their questions cleverly enough. "One must always ask himself whether one's wording gives the Senate the opportunity to sidestep a suitable answer," Boysen complained. "If one gives them a little loophole, chances are it will be mercilessly exploited."
"Get off the horse"
January 1, 2000
Der Spiegel 1/2000
by Angela Gatterburg
Losers and failures have themselves to blame; the answer is called mental fitness: because more and more people think that way, personality coaches have more and more clients. The work on Self is becoming an ongoing theme of life - and not just for managers.
One day Bernd Riehl, age 39, felt himself a stranger. At the time, he worked as a pharmacist for product management in the chemical industry, and suddenly he began suffering from feelings of fear. His panic attacks came on inexplicably, sometimes at day and sometimes at night; he was oppressed by them. Someone told him it was probably a fear neurosis, but having a name for the mischievous attacks did not make things any better.
He decided to take autogenic training to at least alleviate his suffering. Riehl did not just lose his fear neurosis, but experienced a dramatic alteration in his personality and life "absolutely for the positive," as he said - not so much, however, as a result of the autogenic training. Riehl found a coach in Rosemarie Dypka, age 58, a Hamburg counsellor. As a result of the personality training: he became self-employed, visits about 70 pharmacies nationwide to give them advanced job training, and still sees Dypka 6-8 times a year to speak with her "about models of personal leadership, company philosophy and visions." Riehl: "I reward myself with that like others do with an ocean cruise."
"Coaching," a term originating in sports, has adapted itself to social life. There are tennis, financial and social coaches, advisors for beauty, trainers for success, self-awareness, proper body language, mood modulations and - above all - for professional appearances on television.
The market for "mental fitness," as the general concept is called, has expanded enormously in the last few years; the Germans spend about ten billion marks annually for motivation courses, personality seminars, career counseling and books. In the meantime there is "Junior Career Coaching" for graduates (1,700 marks for five hours) as well as coaching for student and teacher candidates. Large companies like Daimler/Chrysler, HypoVereins Bank and VW have founded subordinate companies and departments which are responsible for personnel training. The Cologne Institute of German Commerce estimates that businesses spend about 34 billion marks annually for continuing education.
The slogan is "A personal program of advancement for everyone"; the work on oneself has turned into an on-going theme of life. The latest is laughing-Yoga from India, seminars in which one practices benevolent, ringing and rhythmic laughter.
The prices are extravagant: many pay the prominent pantomime, Samy Molcho, 2,500 marks without a whimper for his two-day demonstration by the name of "Successful with Body Language - the intensive seminar for dealing, sales and management." Juergen Hoeller, who describes himself as Germany's number one motivational trainer," brings in up to 30,000 marks a day for a couple of precarious stamina slogans and sayings like "Get off the horse when it's dead."
Some success trainers, such as the American Anthony Robbins (seminar price: 1,900 marks) fill up halls with 5,000 or even 15,000 people. Robbins puts on a collective lesson in happiness for his audience. American doctor and author Deepak Chopra, whose adherents are said to include Madonna, Demi Moore and Donna Karan, brings in about $15 million a year and assures his clients, "Anything is possible."
There are extremely curious and simple methods: Vera Birkenbihl, who drives around in a mobile home and regularly appears on television, recommends going into the bathroom and smiling for 60 seconds, even if nothing funny at all comes to mind. And her favorite tip to the forces of management: "Once a day say: I don't know that. I have made a mess of that." Dutch motivation guru Emile Ratelband, who once posed with a snake on stage, has his people yell "Tsjakkaa!" Thousands joyfully join in the battle cry.
The crowd of trainers grows yearly at an estimate rate of ten percent. "Manager" magazine has determined that the offers are gigantic, that the numbers are confusing and has asked the critical question, "Which of these are charlatanry? Money-skimming? Professional continuing education?"
The answer does not come easy. It is certain that the coaches are often taking the place of priests, telephone counselors or even psychoanalysts. Coaching in its manifold manifestations - most are a mix of methods because there is not a clearly defined path of education - give the effect of being modern, pragmatic and up-to-date: one may promote itself as a type of emergency road assistance for the soul, others address more complicated issues for the long-term application to a troubled life. Long-term does not have to last a long time: Dypka claims that just four to ten sessions may be helpful; she offers coaching not just for individuals in her Hamburg practice, but also for couples and groups.
Neither does Hamburg trainer Alfred Kaune, who set up a help line for managers two years ago and whose clients include boxers and soccer players, often work longer than nine months with his clients. Coaching can take a long time because people trying to change receive little support or encouragement from other places, believes Dypka, who also regularly works with companies.
Many people, observes Rupert Lay, philosophy professor and Jesuit priest, organize their lives exclusively according to the categories of experience and subject matter, then notice that these are not enough. "They are missing the knowledge of how you can lead a human life on this earth."
Well, how? In reality, life in the global world is over-challenging to many: people speed, hype and hurry around, suffer from a lack of time and pressure to succeed, also suffer from always having to be good - one of the many bothersome demands of the entertainment society. The world of advertising also has set unmistakable standards: don't be old, don't be fat, don't be poor, hurry up and get a career, be and stay successful, meanwhile always flexible and look good, goal-oriented, team worker with strong performance, be competent, and all that, please, without interruptions from crises in life or marriage or from illness.
It used to be a necessity, or even an obligation, to criticize ugly capitalism with its structures of work and exploitation; today those who complain are regarded with suspicion - even if they are right in their observations. Criticism is frequently individualized and personalized: He who does not get along with his boss has himself to blame, even if nobody else gets along well with the boss.
Now it is the boss himself who urgently needs counselling. Almost half of the German management forces work more than 60 hours per week, according to a "Forsa" study. 80 percent of those surveyed figure on a significant increase in the pressure to perform in the coming years and more than 20 percent fear for their jobs.
Company advisor Lay sums it up: "I know of no poorer person before God than the manager," and justifies his statement completely rationally. As a direct result of their untiring involvement, managers experience serious, disorienting crises and ask themselves, "If you close your eyes this one time, then you will have earned your company 10 or 20 or 50 million marks - but is that what you live for? How can a person be poorer than someone who staggers through this life without meaning? Who will only live from challenges from outside?"
Business consultant Roland Berge described his daily management routine for years "as a constant struggle for survival in worldwide murderous competition." Conditions have been getting worse in the past few years: many managers, thanks to cellular phones, laptop computers and e-mail, can also be reached when they are on vacation, "IT victims," victims of Information Technology, as these poor wretches are laughingly called in the USA.
The few important employees also suffer: for one thing, they are less important, for another there is a bad operating climate, "mobbing" and disloyalty. In addition, even normal, intelligent citizens can hardly perceive or understand what is happening around them, much less be qualified enough to talk about it.
Germany's most garrulous sociologist, Ulrich Beck, says, "Digital thought, computer games and an internet connection have not yet produced a world citizen. The opposite is probable: everybody is building up their home in a snail shell - in the hope that it will protect them from the typhoon of globalization, and only the foundations and certainties upon which the neighbor's shell is built will be sent spinning through the air."
In direct proportion to which the world is dominated by invisible, growing market forces and a lust for profit, the yearning for personal integrity grows; uncertainty and anxiety produce a strong desire for orientation, leadership and membership. Coaching, as a type of local analysis, could be completely sensible.
Most of the abstract concepts sound completely rational: self-esteem and optimism have to be reconstructed during crises; the past need not have a crippling effect upon the future, says Kaune. Dypka makes a clear delineation between her work and psychotherapy, which, for the most part, is based on a diagnosis of illness. Her treatment is supposed to strengthen the emotions of her clientele. Many people persevere in a passivity which does not promote success; they do not know how to act and live uninterrupted in the reality of their problem, thereby making them worse.
Dypka uses methods like hypnosis, role-playing, psychodrama and behavior therapy. The supreme commandment: "Get away from fixing the problem to being solution-oriented, away from feeling of inadequacy, away from the role of the victim."
Coaching mostly has to do with management of feeling, the increase or development of "emotional intelligence," a term which is also used by Munich business consultant Dorothee Echter, age 50. She works exclusively with people from top management in individual sessions. On the average, four to six meetings take place - three hours at a time at intervals of one week; besides that there are various "homework" exercises which need to be done. Cost: 2,500 marks per session. An amount which Echter deems appropriate; her work is just as valuable as that of a tennis coach for a professional player; she helps top people refine their techniques and potential, and reach their subjectively set goals.
Echter works with BASF, Volkswagen and Siemens. Often the company makes the contract and pays, while the client sets the theme of the program. Echter is discrete and does not reveal names. There continue to be many: the pressure in companies since the beginning of the 1990s has escalated exponentially, not that much for money anymore, but more for recognition and job satisfaction. Powerful bosses, according to Echter, often have no more chance to learn that: all their staff are jumping and bowed around them, laughing at their jokes.
Echter: "Not infrequently the chief produces and honors the opportunistic behavior under which he suffers diffusely, and, by doing that, initiates careers to accommodate him from the bottom up." Such people, she said, were not infrequently rewarded with a post which required personal authority and maturity, the exact characteristics which the "accommodaters" were lacking in. A good coach is also corrective and may not hold back unpleasantries. "I recognize competence and potential, but also people's limits," explained Echter. And sometimes she tells a client, "I am sorry, little can be accomplished here with coaching, I believe you have too much of a challenge in your new position."
Riehl, the successful product of coaching, has a cordial attitude towards his customers, feels satisfied with his work, and can, as he says, deal with failures more casually than before. He gives a wonderful description by dramatist Oedoen von Horvath which applied to him before, but no longer fits, "Really I am completely different, only I realize it so seldom."
Glamour on stage
November 1, 1999
Gayle Tufts as "Miss Amerika" in the Berlin Bar for all Reasons
Gayle Tufts never claimed that she was the one to invent "Dinglish" ("It's basically what most Americans speak for the first zehn to fuenfzehn years that we live hier in Deutschland"), but she has mastered the Deutsch-English mixture and turned it into a stage language which has become almost a part of her. She has been the American woman in Berlin" for several years. Out of that comes her new program, "Miss Amerika," which she is now presenting with Rainer Bielfeldt in the "Bar for all Reasons."
Gayle Tufts, along with a powerful voice, has a refreshing, self-ironic style and a critical, but open-hearted look at the characteristics of the Germans - and the Americans. In "I'm really sorry Germany," she apologizes for Barbie Dolls, microwave food, bombs and Scientology, but also recalls some good things: Sinatra, Hemingway and Hollywood, Martin Luther King, Beebop and basketball. Tufts is a powerful singer, a perky and sentimental lyricist, the comedienne and chatterbox of the duo; Bielfeldt, the pianist and duet partner, is the composer of mostly suggestive material - he writes in a funny and sure style that a large audience often likes to hear. Both offer a rare selection of good American entertainment; both take glamor as seriously as is due. The standing ovations they have received is unusual in the Bar for all Reasons, even from a public which is known for its enthusiasm.
Help, I've turned German!
October 28, 1999
Life crises as a parade of triumph: Gayle Tufts as "Miss Amerika" in the "Bar for all Reasons"
She used to be afraid of having a baby. "Today I'm afraid that I won't have a baby." Where preventive measures have an effect as depressing as an Ingmar Bergman film, where the sales lady in the beauty shop looks like a cross between Catherine Deneuve and Saddam Hussein - reaping the comical side from this desolate phase of life - that is Gayle Tufts' great talent. Now the woman entertainer has moved in like a whirlwind in "Back in the Hauptstadt," back where her unique career started five years ago. With her pianist and composer, Rainer Bielfeldt, who has already helped Tim Fischer to fame, she was developing her first show back then in "Dinglish," a mixture of Deutsch and English which has since become legendary - "that everyone kann verstehen."
Her return now as "Miss Amerika," the seventh program of the grand series, is similar to a march of triumph. In any case, the "beauty queen, although not klein or thin," brought the house down on opening night in the Bar for All Reasons.
When Gayle Tufts hides her Bavarian dirndle under a "Star Spangled Banner," this disguise has a symbolic function. The country girl from Massachusetts, who learned her showcraft in New York, sings and chatters again about her life between the cultures. Her personal hurdles include: on the one hand she has to apologize for the U.S. American "tagalongs," like Burger King, crack and Scientology. On the other hand, going to "Starbucks," the New York coffee house chain, has turned into a trip of horrors. Her fatal finding: "Help, I've turned German!"
Her stage presence, though, is American, through and through. Gayle Tufts has made the tradition of "storytelling" and "songwriting" into a highly gifted art in covering personal perceptions of the elementary things in life. In all her comedy, all her self-irony - talking about her wide hips or the gay presence in Bielfeldt - the evening went far, far beyond mere jokes. Gayle Tufts can also sing quite seriously about life crises with so much feeling that she takes the listeners' breath away. That is not just due to the phenomenal songs which have all the character of hits. The pianist is, in fact, not just a simple accompanist, but an indispensable counterpart. For instance, the word "congenial" was being tossed about so much, that the two of them improvised a song about it. The two magnificent gospel singers, Ingrid Arthur and Ardell Johnson, made for additional color in the truest sense of the word. Everyone at the show, presented by Thomas Herman, enjoyed it and showed their appreciation with a standing ovation. It's just that the comedienne will not be able to bask in the applause of the fans forever - she has a baby to take care of.
Where it all began
Symbol of Resistance: The Environmental Library in the Berlin Zion Community
October 15, 1999
DEUTSCHES ALLGEMEINES SONNTAGSBLATT
by Peter Gaertner
The little environmental library in the basement of the Berlin Zion Community Church was the center of the East German DDR opposition.
Carlo Jordan still has to smile a little bit today. For after barely a decade of freedom of opinion and freedom of assembly in the former East German DDR, it is still barely imaginable to many that the little environmental library in East Berlin was the center of the opposition to the East German DDR. When almost two dozen young people got together in September 1986 in order to find a hiding place for rare and forbidden publications from the East and West, nobody could conceive that, within a few years, it would turn into the core cell of the civil rights movement.
"We wanted to have public rooms independent from the state," recalled Jordan. During the regime of the SED security ministry, that was possible only under the roof of a church, specifically, in the cellar space under the service residence of the Zion Church minister in the central district. There were a couple of hundred books and magazine piled high there, sometimes also daily newspapers from the West. One could read things there that the DDR media wouldn't print, three times a week from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. In practice, the term "environment" was never restricted to just ecology, related Jordan, today 48, "but it stood for everything that was around us, in particularly also for the social environment."
In the "UB" [Environmental Library] were also "environmental newsletters," duplicated in DIN A4 format, the newsletter of the peace and environment group of the Zion Community Church, and the illegal "Border Case," which was published by the oldest opposition group, "Peace and Human Rights Initiative." These first pamphlets by the regime opponents often had less than a thousand copies in an edition, some of it even handwritten, and gave rise to the first attack on a church since the 1950s. In the night of November 25, 1987, the Stasi secret security agents stormed the library, arrested seven opposition members and confiscated the duplicating equipment.
However, the "Trap Operation" turned into the first big defeat for the SED state. That same night, the DDR correspondent of the Associated Press (AP) was informed. The next day, the DDR citizenry learned about the Stasi raid over the western ARD and ZDF broadcast stations - a report which caused outrage nationwide. Vigils were organized in many large cities: for the first time the pictures of young people carrying lit candles went around the world; two years later they were to be the symbol for the entire country.
In any case, representatives of the most important Berlin opposition groups assembled in Baerbel Bohley's place the night of the raid. The activists on the scene disagreed on some issues, but they were united, at least temporarily, in being very concerned about the Stasi operation on their meeting place.
Overnight, the UB Environmental Library became a word which was often mentioned in distributed publications. On October 2, 1989, UB staff, along with other opposition groups, began to organize vigils against the East German leadership in front of Gethsemane Church Prenzlauer Berg district, in which up to 3,000 people at a time participated.
The common unity ended when, a little later, the SED leadership broke up the common enemy image. The opposition divided itself into various parties and groups. Carlo Jordan represented the Greens at the central round table in the DDR capitol city, and later sat, as a follow-up representative until 1994, for the Buendnis/Greens in the representative house. Jordan was also one of the founders of the Environmental Library Association, which lost its protective cover of the church after the DDR era and went searching for a new role on Schliemann Street. There, as the "UB," it tried its hand at regional social work, counseling conscientious objectors and distributing information on sects and neo-Nazis. Financing, however, became more and more difficult. What the Stasi had not been able to do was finally done by the revenue office: the members did not want to be arrested for incurring further debt. On December 31, 1998, the symbol of the resistance against the SED closed its doors.
Criticism of the economic embargo against Iraq
According to Caritas, over one million children have died since 1991
October 8, 1999
According to estimates by Caritas, more than one million children have died in Iraq since 1991 as a result of the UN economic embargo was imposed. The embargo, by which the West hoped to destroy Saddam Hussein, has turned into a disaster for the people, said Rudolph Bidawid, Patriarch of the Chaldean Church in Iraq, on Friday in Berlin. On his world mission journey, he is appealing to western politicians "to reconsider their decision."
More than half of the 22 million Iraqis are unemployed. The country's infrastructure is in a shambles. Only a few children can still go to school, the others' parents lack money for books, paper and pencils. Hunger and disease are driving the people into the arms of dubious sects and prostitution and corruption are the the daily routine, stated the Patriarch, who is presently inviting attention to the need in his country from representatives of the Islamic and the Christian churches worldwide.
There has not yet been any official help for Iraq from the western world, stated Wolfgang Fritz, project manager of Caritas International. Aid programs are offered mainly by Caritas, which has been under the presidency of the Partiarch in Iraq since 1992. However, this help is only a drop in the bucket: with funds of about 850,000 marks, the organization can only provide means of nourishment for only about 230,000 people
Our Society is Banal - that says something in favor of it
September 2, 1999
by Alan Posener
Therefore Hannah Arendt could make history with her "Banality of Evil" ["Banalitaet des Boesen"] because she has grasped a reality which has upset the civilized world, most recently with the Nuernberg trials. This reality was apparent back in those days, and was just as hard to recognize back then as it is now: that the personality of a criminal like Eichmann is simply not commensurate with the degree of his crime. Eichmann was not a "perverse sadist," as his accusers in Jerusalem sought to prove; he was not even a Iago, Macbeth or Richard III, as Arendt found, whereby it is significant that she had to rely for her characterizations of genuinely evil beings on the literary inventions of Shakespeare. "The upsetting thing about the personality of Eichmann was that he was exactly as many others and that these many others were ... horribly and frighteningly normal."
Eichmann maintained that almost any German would have behaved, in his place, as he did. Cultural pessimist Arendt, however, did not convey the message of the Banality of Evil primarily as understanding of the past, but as a warning of future "administrative massacres" which could serve similarly banal bureaucratic souls like Eichmann: "It is very conceivable that in the foreseeable future of automated business, people will be subjected to the temptation to exterminate anything that lies beneath their intelligence quotient or below a certain level." The decisive word here is "temptation." Just in the 19th and 20th centuries, "this or that evil" has been targeted in order to withdraw from the subject of responsibility: the socialists assigned the cause of evil to inhuman social relationships, the National Socialists assigned the cause of evil to the suppressive will of international Jewry, the psychoanalysts assign it to the excessive suggestions of the Id, the evolutionary psychologists blame it on the progress of the egotistical gene.
As Hannah Arendt wrote her Eichmann report, she saw both problems and solutions arise as a result of the "shocking coincidence" of the population explosion, automation and the domination of nuclear energy which could make "Hitler's gas chambers look like the pathetic attempts of a juvenile delinquent." She spoke, though, of temptation, the age old role of the snake in the time of Eve. The Evil is not given as something objective, but it appears as a subjective choice, as a seductive idea: in the era of the masses as a political ideology. Marx was aware, "When an idea grips the masses, it turns into material force." The major crime of modern times is the accumulated result of such ideas which have turned into force. And the major ideologies are not at all banal: forging the unity of a nation, a people, a religious congregation; creation of a classless society through the dictatorship of the proletariat; salvation and higher development of humanity through the victory of the Aryan race ... When such an idea has taken effect, even a banal, subaltern bureaucrat can become a major criminal.
One could comment that Eichmann in Jerusalem - as were the overwhelming majority of Germans after the war - was not at all a convinced adherent of the National Socialist ideology. What would have been his - and others' - convictions, though, if Germany had won? One could also comment that Eichmann was also completely typical in that he had entered the NSDAP and SS more by personal relationships than he did by clear ideological convictions. That is covered by new results from religious sociologist Rodney Stark: in his research in rapidly expanding sects he has determined that most converts are won on the basis of personal relationships and do not completely identify the religious content of their new religions until after their enrollment or conversion. Pope Pius XI was right when, in 1937, he condemned the "heathen cults of race and people, state and forms of government" in the encyclical "With burning apprehension." As a heathen cult will sacrifice living individuals to the cult image of the dead, a characteristic of the evil in political ideology is the preparedness to sacrifice individual people to the image of people as they should be.
In contrast to that, to maintain Kant's categorical imperative, each individual person has a purpose, never just the means to see a purpose. That is meant in the first sentence of the Basic Law, "The dignity of man is inviolable." A banal reality perhaps, but one which can not be repeated often enough. In civil society major criminals are not, for the most part, banal, one thinks of Charles Manson or the RAF (Red Army Faction); it is our society which is more banal. That says something in favor of it.
Alan Posener is a publisher and lives in Berlin
The most exclusive club of upper nobility
July 18, 1999
900 years ago in conquered Jerusalem, the Order of the Knights of Malta was founded. It is the oldest knighthood order in the world - and dedicated to the future
by Andreas Englisch
Lined up in the cases are daggers, parade sabers and swords for close order combat. In the endless corridors of the palace in Rome, the visitors stroll by the armament and pistol boxes. While tourists shop at Gucci's and Prada outside on the Via dei Condotti, the noblest shopping district in southeastern Europe, time seems to stand still inside the palace of the oldest knighthood order in the world, the Order of the Knights of Malta.
On the walls hang city maps of Jerusalem as they have not been for a long time, and suddenly one can imagine where the order was founded in this hot valley near Jerusalem exactly 900 years ago.
At that time the Maltese knights already there, among them 1,300 of the mounted nobility, were only slightly less tattered than the 12,000 foot soldiers who had survived the march from France and Germany to Jerusalem. They were there when the fanatical Order of the Tafurs and the followers of Peter the Hermit made an unsuccessful attack on Arab occupied Jerusalem on June 12. They saw the horror of the Arabs who feared the pilgrims, who trusted that God would protect them and who were armed with clubs, more than the knights because they [the Pilgrims] would dismember the Moslems who were still alive after the fight and eat them.
The Maltese Knights helped work on the siege towers when the four ships from Genoa and the two ships from England finally landed in Jaffa and brought nails, hammers and new weapons. On their torn garments they carried their emblem, and with the large red cross and the [help of the] other knights they hoped that by God's will they would break through the walls of Jerusalem. One week later, after the decisive battle, they stood at the broken walls of Jerusalem near Gottfried von Bouillon, the first knight who reached Jerusalem.
They then moved through the crashed Herod's Gate into Jerusalem to establish the Hospital of St. John for Pilgrims and wounded soldiers right next to the ruins of the old temple - of course it was only for Christian soldiers. The few Jews and Arabs who survived the Crusaders' butchery died of their wounds in the days following the conquest. On this day in July 900 years ago more than 40,000 people perished: in the name of the Lord.
The Arab world has never forgotten the butchery in the Moslem's Holy Cliffs in Jerusalem where the Crusaders massacred 10,000 helpless people.
At that time the Sovereign Knighthood Order of the Hospital of St. John was only one of many orders of knights in Jerusalem. However, while the Orders of the Templar and the Tankred disappeared in the Middle Ages, the Knighthood Order of the Hospital of Saint John survived, first on Rhodes, and after they were driven out in 1529, on Malta.
There they acquired the hate of the old enemy: the Maltese knights had to fight their most difficult battle after the battle in Jerusalem in the summer of 1565, when, with 600 knights, they carried out a week-long campaign against 20,000 Turks and won.
Napoleon finally drove the Maltese knights from their island; the knights went to Rome, moved into a palace on the Aventine Hill and set up their headquarters in the former Maltese embassy to the Vatican on the Via dei Condotti. (The German branch became Evangelical during the Reformation. From that came the Maltese Hilfsdienst. ["Hilfsdienst": auxiliary air-raid precaution service])
The leading official of the Order, Conte Don Carlo Marullo di Condojanni, Grand Chancellor of the Maltese Knights, received representatives from the "Berliner Morgenpost" [this newspaper], 900 years after the battle of Jerusalem in the smallest state in the world. A unique charter guarantees the Maltese Knights this state. The area of the state is restricted to the governmental seat, which is two palaces in Rome.
They have all the rights of a nation; they issue passports which are recognized by 83 countries of the world. The Maltese continue to mint their own coin, the Scudo. They do not want to convert to the Euro-dollar. They distribute their own postage stamps. Currently the order has over 11,000 members. The knighthood order continues to be what it has been for 900 years: a melting pot for the nobility of Europe. As it used to be in Jerusalem, acceptance into the order, with few exceptions, is open only to nobility. There are several classes. The highest class consists only of men who have taken the three fraternal vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. There are about 50 of these; they are addressed as "Fra" (brother).
The Maltese want to remain the most exclusive club of the upper nobility. Condojanni stated, "Nobility is fundamental to the Order. But we would also want to increase the interest of the townspeople. We have hopes that these candidates, if they conduct themselves correctly and determinedly, will all achieve a nobility of the soul which, over the course of time and in the connection with good works, will be the equivalent of the historical noble. But the Knights of Malta will not give up this basis upon which upper nobility has been historically built."
The Maltese order no longer conducts war; for years they have been working all over the world in the service of the sick and wounded. 80,000 volunteer assistants in the world work for the Maltese order; they operate rescue centers and hospitals, they are most strongly represented in Germany. After the Second World War the Maltese helpers established medical care centers in Germany. Conte Condojanni stated, "Germany is very important for us. We have a strong presence there. We are very thankful to the German government. After the War, Germany immediately gave the order the opportunity to provide assistance. Since our relationship is obviously functioning well, the nations see no reason to alter that. We provide assistance where the state does not want to get involved directly."
The Order has made peace with the Moslems a long time ago. Condojanni stated, "It makes no difference to us which denomination a patient whom we help belongs to. We are not interested in whether he is a Buddhist or a Moslem. In Kosovo we have helped many Moslems. On numerous occasions we have constructed aid camps in countries which are not Catholic: in Iraq and in Macedonia and in Albania."
They wish to once again fight for the Pope, to whom the Maltese Knights have pledged their allegiance since the call of Pope Urban in 1095 to the Crusades, but against different opponents now. Condojanni: "We dedicate ourselves on the spiritual plane to the fight against religious sects. That is a great tragedy. The threat is very high and bears a risk for all of humanity. We want to support families so that they do not fall prey to sects."
Although the island of Malta has invited the knighthood order to return, the Maltese order would want to stay in Rome in order to coordinate their work in the entire world from there. The knights no longer want to construct a regular nation with subjects. Condojanni: "The recollections of the Order with its own country and its own people is a historical fact, but it is a thing of the past."
June 19, 1999
Der Spiegel 25/99
Leftover psychic stress
New studies have uncovered health consequences from the SED terrorism. Many who were once harassed by the Stasi still suffer today from depression, persecution complex and fear of death. Very few therapists are ready to accept the victims.
A couple of heavy steps would do it, or loud music from the apartment above her. For a moment Burga Hofmann would stare into space. In the middle of a sentence she would stop speaking. She would jump up and run out into the street. That would help.
Naturally she knows that the opponents from whom she flees are still only phantoms. She also knows that here in Charlottenburg nobody has to be afraid anymore. Knowing this does not make things easier for her.
Ten years have gone since Hofmann, the singer, lived in the eastern section of the city and saw her residence surrounded by enemies: "when I came home they'd knock against the wall with broomsticks and turn the water off. And in the children's wagon they put 'stinkdrops'."
Persecution complex? Practical jokes? Hofmann no longer asks herself these kind of questions, she has worried about it long enough. The fact is that State Security had assigned a total of 43 unofficial staff to wear down the insubordinate woman. That much is from their files.
The Stasi called this type of operation "disintegration." An operating instruction from the Mielke Ministry stated the goal: "the crippling of negative/enemy forces." The objective: "to intrude into the innermost emotions of the enemy and influence his psyche." The method: "cause consternation and panic."
Many of the former targets of "disintegration" can still not work today. Others are afraid to leave their house because they think they're being followed, or they cannot establish meaningful relationships because they mistrust one and all.
Nobody knows how many have been targeted by this psychological warfare - disintegration was part of everyday life; it was used on Burga Hofmann the same as it was used on the Stasi prison inmates.
Karl-Heinz Hartmann knows almost all there is to know about it. First he was put in the Potsdam Linden Hotel, one of the most notorious Stasi prisons, then they put him on the Grotewohl Express, which went back and forth across the DDR. That was a truck with tiny cells in it disguised as a delivery wagon which went from prison to prison. Hartmann is still struck by panic today when he enters an elevator.
He was released 14 years ago, but the same faces still followed him; when he would sit on the subway, the man across from him would look like his interrogator at the Linden Hotel or one of the wardens there. After such confrontations, because he was afraid that that someone might push him in front of the train, he would not ride the subway for weeks at a time.
"We will follow you as long as you live," one of the interrogators had told him at the Linden Hotel.
More than a quarter million people were locked up in the detention cells of the Stasi during the reign of socialism. "None of them escaped unscathed," said Ferdinand Haenel, Berlin doctor of social medicine.
Physically, many of those persecuted by the Stasi are plagued by infirmities such as heart ailments, a result of high blood pressure from long-term fear - only now is the extent of the destruction becoming visible which the Stasi had directed at the bodies and minds of persecuted citizens in the DDR. "The terrorism of the SED regime," said Haenel, "has left a legacy of serious health problems in the new German states."
Leftover psychic stress was uncovered in a new study by the Free University of Berlin: more than half of former inmates still suffer today from sleep problems or constant fear, three quarters from irritation and unsociableness. Barely a tenth have suicidal thoughts.
"Post-traumatic stress disorder" is what doctors call these traces of fear in the heads of people who have experienced shock to their sphere of emotion, have had to live through mortal fear or complete isolation and have not gotten over it. Similar symptoms of depression, unfounded apparent anger and confusion often show up in victims of rape, plane hijackings, or catastrophe survivors. This ailment has only recently been recognized as an illness.
Any harmless upset summons the old fears back into being - in survivors of the National Socialist concentration camps, the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder were observed even after decades. Many that had apparently gotten over their experiences were thrown off track again, sometimes with age, retirement, or with the death of a spouse.
In the meantime it has even been observed that terrorism and mortal fear can wreak physical devastation upon the brains of the victims. As American scientists recently peered through the skulls of Viet Nam veterans and rape victims they saw that the hippocampus, a major brain component which is responsible for memory and learning, was greatly reduced in size. The cause is apparently a stress hormone by the name of glucocorticoid, which is emitted in increasing quantities after traumatic experiences and which destroys brain cells. In memory tests, war veterans and rape victims alike scored almost 40% worse than did a comparison group.
Whoever recognizes these findings will understand why Karl-Heinz Hartmann, the former inmate, has endless trouble in deciphering a book. Even the taxi's telephone number from the phone book costs him enormous effort. His glance flits back and forth, he always uses his finger to guide him.
It is hard to believe that this man once possessed mental and physical power: Hartmann pulls out photographs which show him demonstrating at the church's peace movement, with his little daughter on his shoulders. As many others in his group, he took being spied upon and having his house searched as part of the deal. His old colleagues describe Hartmann, the computer technician, as a man of great humor.
On October 4, 1984 at about six o'clock in the morning that life ended. Hartmann was on his way to work when a figure in a black leather coat suddenly appeared next to him, grabbed the handlebars of his bicycle and told him to dismount. He was pushed into a truck. The reason for his arrest was given as "illegal contact with West Berlin."
There were no windows to let you see outside the Potsdam Stasi prison. Hartmann did not even know where he was. What he saw was the eight cubic meters of his solitary cell, into which some light shone through glass blocks.
The keepers saw to it that he never confronted a person in the halls. The halls had stop lights. As soon as they turned red because another inmate was approaching, Hartmann's guard would press Hartmann's face to the wall.
For exercise he was led to an enclosure in the courtyard, the "tiger cage," which was barred in, even from above. From down there, Hartmann could only see the legs of the guards who were patrolling, who would sometimes call him names and spit down at him.
Even if he didn't see anybody for weeks at a time - Hartmann himself felt that he was being constantly watched, even when he slept. As did all Stasi inmates he had to sleep face up and with his hands on top of the blanket. Every ten minutes the guard would turn on the light and peer through the observation port in the door.
After a couple of weeks, Hartmann cannot be more exact, the interrogations began, often at night. Finally he came face to face with a person: the interrogator who was selected for him and who was busy for weeks asking him about his contacts with like-minded people in the West.
Without wanting to, Hartmann began to trust. The interrogator was a jazz fan - same as he was. For entire afternoons they talked about music. With a special perfidy, this lieutenant treated his victim paternally, almost humanly. One time he shook Hartmann's hand - Hartmann was so moved that he cried.
"That is how I began to doubt my own awareness," said Hartmann. When, two months later, his wife sat across from him for a little while, he spoke angrily to her for wanting to interrogate him and betray him.
Hartmann had fled into a world of delusion in which he thought of himself as one chosen by State Security, and later even believed that he was a savior of humanity. For him, the real person of Karl-Heinz Hartmann had been removed.
It was actually a different person who was let free one and a half years later and came to Berlin with his wife and daughter. However, Hartmann had quickly found work in a computer company, but as soon as he entered his work place, fear took over. He saw himself surrounded by spies; in the DDR most computers were under the supervision of the Stasi.
Because he continued to be afraid that the silence of the cell could return, he whistled continuously, but without melody. For hours he would sit on the side of the street and read the automobile license plates, in which he presumed there were secret messages. Mostly, however, he just stared straight ahead for hours.
His wife looked like Satan to him. More and more frequently she had to flee him by going to friends and she separated from him.
Then it occurred to Hartmann for the first time that he should see a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist, however, sought the reasons for Hartmann's confusion in his childhood, and didn't want to hear anything about Stasi prison.
There are only about a dozen Berlin psychiatrists and psychotherapists who have experience with the spiritual devastation which the DDR left behind. The situation in the new German states is even worse; there are often no therapists at all who would like to get involved with the suffering of those who had been persecuted by the Stasi.
Because of this, Stefan Trobisch often carries on long telephone conversations all over the country. Trobisch is a psychologist and for just about a year he has been operating a counselling center for Stasi victims. Hartmann is also getting treatment from him. "Often," said Trobisch, "people first call when they start getting suicidal."
For years, including decades of silence, fear has simmered in the minds of the victims. In the DDR era, the people persecuted by the Stasi were not permitted to talk; afterwards they were not able to talk because the fear of ever-present spies had long since become a part of them.
Because the Stasi still seems to exist in the East for many, Trobisch set up his counseling center in West Berlin. Trobisch is a West German, as are all his colleagues, and therefore above suspicion: many Stasi victims are especially mistrustful of therapists and doctors.
"Doctors from the IM followed up even the most intimate details about me," said the singer, Hofmann. Her story shows how far the Molochian fear had eaten into the day-to-day life of the DDR - one did not have to be locked up to suffer severe harm in the SED state.
At heart she was a communist, related Hofman. She was also a party member; in 1978 she was even the sector director for music in Karl Marx City. All she wanted was more fantasy than could be found in the worker-and-peasant state.
Quite innocently - "because I still firmly believed in socialism," - she organized a series of events in which artists who were not in favor could also appear. She had never thought that she could be held accountable for that. "Naivete," she smiled bitterly, "is something quite beautiful."
The state agency could not really construe a reason for arrest from the activities of the faithful female comrade - they had to think of a different way. There was material enough for that in the reports which her acquaintances wrote about her. Hofmann's folders contained 1,000 pages, including every doctor's visit.
When she was pregnant for the first time in 1981, a doctor told her that she had syphilis. After that she suffered a miscarriage. "His diagnosis was contrived," she knows today.
But she didn't know that until she saw her files - the Stasi wanted to keep the singer in the hospital for a while so that they could install eavesdropping devices in her apartment: "About that, section XX/1, written up by the district doctor, a thorough medical examination followed in order to guarantee sufficient engagement time."
When she got pregnant again soon after that, before the delivery she was sent to the hospital again, this time with the diagnosis of cancer of the uterus. She was not allowed to speak with anybody and could not have any visitors. After six weeks the doctors told her that she was healthy. She gave birth without problems; but she didn't get to see her child for three days.
At home the young mother determined that her apartment had been broken into. Besides that she had been fired without notice, and in her mailbox was a summons to a party expulsion proceeding. She had gotten "an indescribable fear": "Apparently they were everywhere."
Wherever she applied for work, she was turned down with similar words. What her comrades offered her was a job at the VEB sewage plant ["Fäkalienwirtschaft"]. Hofman preferred resettling to Berlin, where a minister had the courage to take her in. For seven years she washed the church floor. Gradually she lost heart.
"When the Wall fell, I thought that I would get my abilities back," said Hofman. But that fell through. As soon as things settled down in the reunited country and the battle over citizen rights became a thing of the past, she found herself once again in poverty. She began to ponder: her revolt had been in vain; the suffering which her child had had to go through because of it had been senseless.
Today she is unemployed. She has 216 marks a month compensation at her disposal from the SED injustice reconciliation law ["Unrechtsbereinigungsgesetz"]. Living with her daughter keeps getting more difficult. The fears which she cannot explain plague her as much now as they did before, and her arms and legs continue to feel like lead to her, "A great vacuum has spread in my body."
"Those persecuted by the Stasi have to stop thinking of themselves as victims," says psychologist Trobisch. They have to realize that they were set upon by the state agencies because they were braver than many others. Then they'll get better, for the most part.
Hofmann is in treatment at the Berlin Center for victims of torture. As soon as she gets her abilities back, she would like to start up "a new cultural project, maybe in the province." And she has already stood on the stage singing her political song.
Hartmann, the ex-prisoner, goes once a week to psychologist Trobisch's counseling center, who is trying to get him to see that his delusion is not such a peculiar solution to the circumstances of imprisonment. "Now for the first time," said Hartmann, "I am beginning to understand what is happening."
In the meantime he has recovered so far as to be able to open the door when somebody knocks. He now can bear having a computer, which previously was a symbol of the Stasi for him, in his apartment; he is taking courses in order to prepare himself for a new job.
However the Stasi Hydra, which had its way so powerfully with him, continues to seem to be a danger to Hofmann. As do many others in his situation he does not trust any official from eastern Berlin even today; "The old comrades are still sitting around there."
His counselling center reacts to the political situation in eastern Germany "like a highly sensitive seismograph," states Trobisch. "Before every election our patients do miserably. The congestion here gets too much to handle."
Every time another wall guard comes to trial, many patients lose sleep for weeks: out of fear of recall - and because each acquittal of a perpetrator, as Trobisch expresses it, "comes to them like a slap in the face."
The victims' anger, believe some experts, is the most dangerous psychic burden left by the DDR. Wolfgang Kitzig, who works as a member of the Berlin State Commission for the Stasi Files on People Formerly Persecuted, can understand his clients to a certain extent. Confused anger arises from great humiliation. "And this increases to the degree that they wish to forget the terror of the DDR and also whenever there is talk of amnesty for the perpetrators," said Klitzig [sic]. "We are surprised that there has not yet been anybody who has run amok."
Hartman is one of those who are free of anger. "I have never felt anything like that," he said. "Sometimes I wish I did." What permeates him is the fear of the apparatus which tried to destroy him.
Because of that, he is plagued with the idea that his tormentors could once again come to power in the eastern German state governments.
"Perhaps then," ponders Hartmann, "it will start all over again."
Rightwing violence increases in Berlin
State senator presents annual report
focuses on eastern section of city
Berlin , Germany
April 28, 1999
Berliner Zeitung Lokales
by Christine Richter
Rightwing violence in Berlin, stated State Senator Eckart Werthebach (CDU), has risen again. In the past year the number of politically, and mostly anti-foreign motivated crimes have risen in comparison to the previous year from 30 to 82, said Werthebach on Tuesday at the presentation of the annual report of Berlin's Constitutional Security. This runs counter to the nationwide trend: in 1998 the number of rightwing extremist acts of violence, such as bodily injury, sank by over 10 percent to 708.
"The focus of the rightwing violence lies in the eastern districts," said Werthebach. The number of other rightwing crimes, in contrast, has receded. The state criminal investigative office recorded 510 cases, which is 42 fewer than in 1997. The rightwing extremist outlook has taken a sharp rise over the past year, and has grown by over 300 persons to the current 2,695. The Berlin neo-Nazis grew by 330 people. "I view this increase by a third with great concern," said the state senator. In contrast, the number of neo-Nazis nationwide has been on the decline for the past year.
The NPD, according to Werthebach, is attempting to assemble the violently inclined rightwingers under one roof. Meanwhile, there are 15 so-called fellowships with 135 members in Berlin, related Eduard Vermander, the Director of the State Office for Constitutional Security. The NPD is said to be attempting "to gather these people together, too."
6,405 people are registered in the area of foreign extremism. The number of politically motivated crimes committed by foreigners declined from the past year by 7.6 percent; the number of violent crimes, at 64, remained constant compared to the previous year. Werthebach said that the most dangerous organization in the area of foreign extremism was the Turkish Workers Party, PKK. In Berlin the PKK has about a thousand functionaries and members which are extraordinarily prone to violence. For the past year, however, the PKK members have heeded their leadership's call for non-violence.
Besides the PKK, the Turkish "Milli Gorus Islamic Community," with about 3,000 adherents who are working towards a divine Islamic nation, is worthy of note. The Palestinian Hamas movement operates out of Berlin against Israel, said Werthebach.
About 1,200 autonomous
In the area of leftwing extremism this past year, Berlin Constitutional Security counted 2,580, same as 1997. That gives Berlin "the greatest share" in the nationwide comparison," said the state senator. In 1998 leftwing extremists committed almost three times as many violent acts as did the rightwing. The number of crimes motivated by the leftwing ran to 794, a decrease of 30.7 percent compared to the previous year. "Leftwing extremism still has the potential to do serious damage," said Werthebach. The autonomous scene, from the Constitutional Security agent's view, has had only "limited campaign capability" in the past year. That area was calculated to have about 1,200 people - exactly as many as it had in 1997. Werthebach stated, "Because of the Nato missions in Kosovo, the autonomous scene now has found another reason to mobilize." It has to be carefully observed whether this will increase the tendency toward violence in the leftwing spectrum.
As reported, the State Office for Constitutional Security also observes the PDS, along with six other categories. The Scientology Organization (SO), which has more than 200 members in Berlin, is also under surveillance. Beyond that, the state senator warned of foreign intelligence, which was focusing increasingly on commercial espionage. "Berlin is a central point for this type of activity," said the senator.
The Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell in construction
Sundays * 12:00
March 8, 1999
"I believe in the inviolability and the dignity of each individual person. I believe that all human beings have been given the same right to freedom by God. I promise to resist tyranny and any attack on freedom, wherever they may appear."
Sunday after Sunday, exactly at 12 noon, the Liberty Oath can be heard together with the sounding of the Schoeneberg Council Building's Liberty Bell over Deutschland Radio Berlin. For the RIAS listeners, this tradition goes back to October 24, 1950. On that day, on the Day of United Nations, the Liberty Bell was dedicated in a solemn ceremony, and since then they have been listening in daily at 6 p.m. and also every Sunday at noon to the Berlin broadcaster's program, which is introduced with the above cited quote.
Until his death on August 10, 1961, Walter Franck, one of the renowned character actors of the Berlin Schiller Theater, spoke the words of the text to the chiming of the bell. After that the voice of Wilhelm Borcherts, another well-known actor at the Schiller Theater, was heard every Sunday until October 1993. In October 1993, we heard the voice of Thomas Hollaender, first in the RIAS Berlin program, and since January 1994, on the Berlin program of the then newly founded DeutschlandRadio.
At the beginning of this long radio tradition stood Lucius D. Clay, the former American military governor of Germany. After the end of the Berlin blockade (April 26, 1948 to July 29, 1949) and the decisive air lift which he coordinated, he initiated the "Crusade for the Freedom of the Committee for a Free Europe" for the financing of the bell. The bell, cast in England, went on a journey through 26 states in the USA. On that journey, the donors, 17 million Americans, signed the "Liberty Oath." Today the list of signers is still kept in the tower of the Schoeneberg council building. In composing the test for the Liberty Oath, the "Free Europe Committee" made use of concepts from the American Declaration of Independence of 1776, which addresses the belief that all people were given certain rights by their Creator which included "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." In the formulation of their text, however, the "Free Europe Committee" included a self-imposed obligation from the right of the people to do away with a form of government which "proves itself detrimental to these goals and to take a stand against tyranny and attacks on freedom.
The Berlin Liberty Bell is a copy of the famous Philadelphia Liberty Bell. That bell has been hanging since 1753 in the local State House, and in 1776 its ringing announced American independence. The Berlin Bell contains an inscription which is different from its model:
"That this world under God shall have a new birth of freedom." - "Möge diese Welt mit Gottes Hilfe eine Wiedergeburt der Freiheit erleben." - Words which relate the meaning spoken by Abraham Lincoln in his speech on the Gettysburg battlefield in 1863 at the turning point of the American Civil War, which was waged, not least of all, for the abolition of slavery.
Liberty Oath and the Liberty Bell: a symbol of liberty that has any amount of history behind it, not just radio history, and which brings back memories: the memory that after the Second World War it was the Americans who helped in the founding of the "Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor" / "Radio broadcast in the American Sector" (RIAS) to again make liberal journalism and free information possible. And when we recall that the Berlin Liberty Bell rang in German unity on October 3, 1990, then the circle is complete in the programming mission of Deutschland Radio to promote "solidarity in a united Germany" in keeping thoughts of liberty alive.
When Dollars arrive, Morals leave
The IOC is deep in a crisis of its own making, says the British author, Andrew Jennings. The growing corruption in the placement of the games may verify his feeling.
One of the last dictatorships is seeing its foundations stagger. It may not survive into the next century if it does not agree to a massive transfusion of democracy and transparency. However, that is the one medicine which will kill it.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) promises that, in the coming weeks, the scoundrels in its own ranks will be named and fired - and with that, the great panic about the ethical abyss will be forgotten. However, the IOC has not spoken on its own determination for some time. It is in so much danger that it is having the crisis managers from the PR agency Hill & Knowlton make the presentation on their behalf. The image saviors [of the firm] have experience in dealing with unpopular customers: their clients include the dictator of Haiti, "Baby Doc" Francois Duvalier, and Scientology.
IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, who is long overdue for retirement, had hoped that his cautious, discrete investigation into the corrupt behavior of his people in Salt Lake City would be enough to appease the sponsors of the IOC. With some luck, Samaranch may have thought, the public would overlook the bitter accusations of the city which was to host the recruitment for Olympia. Or hoped that the decibel-strength media bombardment of accusations of corrupt IOC members would simply yield to the PR experts of Hill & Knowlton.
He never had a chance: the sponsors would not let themselves be deceived so easily. They know the tricks. Coca Cola is not the only sponsor who is reconsidering its relations to the IOC. If the people from IOC do not thoroughly clean up, "or if a new scandal comes to light, then the Olympic rings will not only be smeared, they will be shattered," predicted David D'Alessandron, Chief of John Hancock, the American insurance company. The insurance company is one of the top sponsors of the Olympics. "What we sponsors could not afford is exposure by the press or by the judicial officials of similar proceedings in Atlanta, Nagano or Sydney," D'Alessandro also said.
His words carry weight. If the IOC loses a sponsor who invests $40 million in the Olympic enterprise, it will not make the trip to Sydney for the year 2000 summer games.
Things went downhill after Horst Dassler passed away. The businessman, who turned Adidas into a household word, was also the inventor of sports marketing as we know it today. He transformed the leading international sports associations into businesses with incomes of millions. Dassler's marketing agency in Lucerne received the lucrative contract of selling sports to sponsors. Under Dassler's direction, the Olympic games were re-invented anew - as a profit machine for the IOC. Dassler was like King Midas: anything he touched turned to gold. He uncovered the market for sports - and he delivered sports to the market.
"Nobody else had the same political knack as Horst Dassler did when it came to dealing with sports. The time came when almost all sports organizations were contractually associated with him," recalls former Adidas representative Christian Janette. "He privately coordinated business. Whenever political sports decisions were being made, the people from Adidas were there."
The businessman installed his trusted associates in Dassler central in Alsatian Landersheim. Janette, a former runner on the British Olympic team, a Pakistani boxing functionary and a mediator from the Maghreb region were the core of his team for international relations. Insiders called them "the team for dirty tricks."
They succeeded, by means of diplomacy and the money necessary for bribery, in placing Samaranch at the top of the IOC, Primo Nebilo in track and field events, and the Brazilian Jono Havelange for almost a quarter century in soccer.
That is how dollars arrived by the million at the Olympics - and morals left. The IOC members lived from then on in the belief that their position entitled them to a life of luxury. The arrogance of the functionaries exceeded all bounds. If a city wanted to host the Olympic games, then they would have to pay - to the order of the IOC members.
The bribery culture had reached its sad zenith when Samaranch's home town of Barcelona applied for the Olympic games in 1992. At the time, bribery was still known by the friendly name of "gifts," but the press got the scent [pun not intended]: how was it that these old men were suddenly so taken up with the ardent Catalonian?
Now these old men are in need. They have turned the Olympic games into a shabby, soulless business, but they do not have enough business sense to maintain control over it.
Dassler would have known what to do: put the habitual offenders on a short leash. However, he passed away in Spring, 1987. And Samaranch, his protege, was too busy trying to use his Olympic wealth to obtain the Nobel peace prize. He never received it. Because he lacked the will to put the scoundrels under control.
© DIE WELT, 19.1.1999
The Monopoly Continues
From: "TAZ-BERLIN Nr. 5717"
December 22, 1998
TAZ Report by Uwe Rada
In Friedrichshain six buildings were sold without the renters being asked. The Housing Builders Association [Wohnungsbaugesellschaft] (WBF) of Friedrichshain has entered the competition with its mother company.
The selling of former state-owned apartments is not ending. As the Bundnis/Green housing politician, Barbara Oesterheld, said yesterday, the Housing Builders Association of Friedrichshain (WBF) has sold six buildings on Dirschauer Street. At the time of the sale WBF staff member and SPD Representative Rudolf Kujath did not just omit writing renter protection clauses. With the aid of specific power of attorney, said Oesterheld, Kujath even gave the new owners the option of vacating the present renters from the buildings. The WBF itself was not in the position to make a statement on the issue as of yesterday.
The new owner of the buildings on 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 Dirschauer Street is, according to "TAZ" information, the MC Bauservice company. Per "delivery under occupancy of witnesses" the company had, several days ago, announced a modernization and asked for consent. This is how, it was said, in a small apartment, after the conclusion of the renovation work, the rent was raised from 220 to 620 marks. Refusing to consent, according to the letter, would have no weight in court. The renters would have to pay considerable attorney and court costs. Renters who did not want to sign the requests despite this would then be shown the WBM power of attorney. Green Representative Oesterheld commented, "The methodology is reminiscent of Scientology."
With the sales on Dirschauer Street, the WBF continues its practice of privatization. So far, mainly around Boxhagener Place, about 30 building have been sold with the "funds investor value concept." According to statements made by representative of the renters affected, the renters have not been asked whether they would want to exercise their legally prescribed first option to buy. "Even the Senate policy directed primarily at the renters does not interest the WBM," said Heike Weingarten of the "Renter Store" on Kreutziger Street.
As a daughter company of "Wohnungsbaugesellschaft Mitte" (WBM), the WBF is in good privatization hands. The WBM has been at the pinnacle of apartment sales for a long time. The stated goal of the association is to sell 15% of all non-modernized buildings [Altbauhaeuser] to private owners. The latest example of privatization zeal by the WBM was the "Woehlertgarten" on Pflug Street in Mitte. WBM sold 130 apartment to the IBC company there even the renters had expressed an interest in buying.
TAZ-BERLIN Nr. 5717 vom 22.12.1998 Seite 18 Berlin Aktuell
© Contrapress media GmbH
(Compare this to the Scientology meeting one week from now.)
191,000 Jehovas Witnesses in Bible Conference in five Cities
Berlin (dpa) - According to a statement by the organizers, approximately 191,000 Jehova's Witnesses met on Friday in five German cities for a three day Bible Conference. The largest gathering was in the Olympia stadium in Berlin where about 48,000 people gathered in song and prayer. Following the theme of "God's Way of Life", there were other simultaneous conferences in Dortmund, Munich, Nurnberg and Stuttgart, each with participants numbering in the tens of thousands.
The Jehovah's Witnesses will lead Bible discussions and presentations up through Sunday. The highlight, announced for Saturday, will be the Baptisms in Berlin and Munich of 500 and 300 faithful, respectively.
According to their own figures, Jehovah's Witnesses have 5.6 members worldwide, of those, 170,000 are active in Germany as of 1997. According to the organizers, about 46,000 Jehovah's Witnesses assembled at the Franken Stadium in Nurnberg, 30,000 in the Olympia Stadium in Munich, 32,000 in Dortmund and 35,000 in Stuttgart
In Berlin, a specially installed stage will accommodate visitors from the eastern European countries, who will be able to listen to the prayers and sermons in their own language. Almost 7,800 Russian Jehovah's Witnesses as well as another 4,700 from Poland answered the summons to the conference, said the organizers. In eastern Europe, Jehovah's Witnesses have had a much larger growth than, for example, in western Europe.
The religious community was summoned to life in 1881 by the American merchant, Charles Taze Russel. They are known through "The Watchtower" publication, and through "door to door missions." The Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted under the Nazi regime. In the former East Germany, they were banned. The Jehovah's Witnesses described their main objective as the spreading of the Bible as guidance for the collective way of life. Jehovah's Witnesses have been congregating in Berlin as so-called Bible researchers starting over a hundred years ago.
In the past year, the highest German Administrative Court in Berlin denied the Jehovah's Witnesses the recognition as a corporate body with public rights, which would have place them on an equal footing with the large churches. One of the reasons given was that Jehova's Witnesses refuse to participate in governmental elections. The group has appealed that judgment to the highest Constitutional Court.
312137 Jul 98
Association for the Advancement of Human Psychological Understanding
[Verein zur Foerderung Psychologischer Menschenkenntnis], VPM
Excerpt from MAJA 1/1995, pp. 38 - 42
The VPM was founded in 1986 with the goal of putting the ideas of Friedrich Liebling into effect. In the early 1960's, his pursuit of psycho-therapeutic ideas and socio-political questions brought him a small following. National and religious critical themes were the subject of this forum. A therapy group emerged from this, which, in 1967, Liebling named the "Zurich School."
Liebling's idea was to improve the world through the allocation of psychological understanding, and to form a new type of human being. This new type of human would have the ability to withstand the psychic deformities which are bequeathed upon us at birth by country, religion and education. Along with that the real good inside of a person is to be brought to life with the assistance of the therapist community.
Liebling believed that this goal could be reached by anybody through intensive therapy and counseling. He had no academic psychological training; he attained his knowledge autodidactically.
In 1974, Liebling founded the "Psychological Teaching and Counselling Center," which used methods of group therapy strongly disputed by experts. The therapy discussion and the individual problems were accessible to the whole group. There was no separation between the community's philosophical outlook and therapy. Going back to a self-determined life outside of the group was apparently not part of the picture.
After Liebling's death in 1982, there was a power struggle inside of the group which favored his utopia and opposed an opening of the "Zurich School" for scientific development and the acquisition of recognized agreements. After that, the VPM was founded in Zurich under the direction of Annemarie Buchholz-Kaiser, who later rose to be a central figure.
With the takeover of power by Mrs. Buchholz-Kaiser, a fundamental alteration of leadership style started to occur. Even though Liebling criticized neither religion nor capitalism, he developed anarchistic ideas critical of society; however, the VPM voiced itself in favor of the preservation of civil law and order - a reversal [of Liebling's ideas].
The Association wants to promote psychological knowledge in selected psychological theories, primarily in the individual psychology of A. Adler. Neo-psychology's theories and "development psychology's" conclusions also play an important role, along with Liebling's own observations. Wrong feelings and habits attained during childhood, called "training deficiencies," are discovered and removed during discussions led by an experienced group leader.
Higher levels come with a development of community feeling. Community, experience in discussion, and the investigation of the right life style form the cornerstones of the association's conventions. As it was in Liebling's time, VPM also widely publicizes its "discussion therapy." There are records of almost every session.
VPM members may not count on a confidential treatment of their life's story. The "psychological director" is not bound by a code of silence. A former member who was interviewed in a radio broadcast learned this the hard way. Shortly after the radio show, the station received a letter from the VPM which detailed the problems of the woman and her psychopathology 
It cannot be ruled out that fictitious data is also used for the purpose of defamation of opponents. One can deduce that information is given to other members. Hemminger, a sect expert, discussed "a well organized social control in VPM." 
Since the VPM does not always rely on science for its work, statements from two works of psychology are provided: "The national board of the DGIP (Deutsche Gesellscahft fuer Individualpsychologie e.V., German Society for Individual Psychology) does not practice the same activities and psychological concepts as the VPM. Even though both DGIP and VPM are based on the 'individual psychology' of Alfred Adler, the sect-like claim of the VPM and of its organizations to a kind of definition monopoly are in stark contrast to the scientific orientation of Individual Psychology." 
The Professional Association of German Psychologists also explicitly separate their outlook from that of the VPM: "The Professional Association of German Psychologists (BDP, "Berufsverband Deutscher Psychologen") hereby states that the VPM misuses its philosophy as well as their psychological statements and (teaching) opinions in regards to certain topics, which they represent and distribute. They advance concepts which are neither founded in nor can be justified by the science of psychology. This goes for the same way and the measure for the activities of the VPM under the designation of psycho- therapy.
... The so-called psychotherapeutic activities of the VPM have no basis in fact; the practice of them are compatible with neither the professional rules for psychologists nor with the generally applicable laws. For example, when taped extracts of group sessions in which members reveal their innermost secrets are misused to discipline those who do not conform, to silence them or even to blackmail them, then that is an unmistakable violation of the legally sanctioned obligation of confidentiality and it is also evidence that the VPM has an disdaining regard for people." 
The absolute claim of the "Zurich School" as the sole guarantor of humanity and progress continues to be cultivated.
The regional groups of the VPM bear various names, and each comprise their own association. The ones that are known include the Society for the Advancement of Psychological Understanding in Berlin and Hannover, the Institute for the Advancement of Psychological Understanding in Vienna and the European Association for the Advancement of Psychological Understanding. There are about 4,000 members who have been recruited from doctors, psychologists, teachers and other professions with functional factors. The VPM forms "pedagogical educational weeks," vacation times and children's care, tutoring, youth groups and congresses.
Communal living is advocated for members. The VPM has centers to answer questions of aids and drug prevention. Groups of this type which are known include Aids Information Switzerland (AAS), the Work Group of Drug-free Schools in Bavaria and Erlangen as well as the Work Group of Qualified Study. These try to gain access to professional and university committees.
They have increasingly differentiated themselves from others in the past few years. The VPM are quick to use legal proceedings when it comes to silencing critics with the help of court restraints. Neither does the group hesitate to develop an enemy picture which includes the defamation of those who think differently, whom they frequently refer to as "left fascists."
The EVPM of Cologne distributed a false press release which was caught by Hemminger, a VPM critic and member of the Evangelical center for sect question. The swindle was exposed.
Monika Schippmann, Berlin Senate's sect commissioner, was accused, without proof, of being an RAF [Red Army Faction] sympathizer because she expressed herself in a manner which was critical of VPM activities. This list could be continued.
Because of its conservative outlook and attitudes with regards to drugs and aids politics, one can count on support from the conservative camps of politics and society for the VPM. The Christian Publisher's Work Group regularly publishes articles which support the VPM.
Because of their previous methods of proceeding in other states, it can be assumed that members will try to get key positions in the school collective so that they can distribute their views to teachers, students and parents. Universities and upper schools, which are getting more and more overcrowded, will also be an ideal breeding ground for various categories which offer a goal to those disoriented students who are looking for a foothold.
Directing positions in the realm of teacher's education are especially lucrative, because a rather large number of factors of the training area can be reached this way.
In May of 1992 the assembly representatives from Sachsen received invitations to a meeting of the VPM in Erfurt. In the same year a mailbox contact campaign followed which targeted representatives of the CDU and FPD state assembly factions in Sachsen and the Catholic bishopric of Dresden-Meissen.
In March 1993 advertisement started for the congress "Courage to Take A Stand," which was held in September of the same year in Bregenz. The organizers included the European Doctor's Process of ULM (EAA) and the Workgroup of Christian Publishers (ACP).
On August 4, 1993, the Ten Point Program "Golden Rules for Drug Prevention" appeared in the Chemnitz Free Press, which was rated very positively. It was assumed that numerous politicians and school officials received invitations to various [VPM] meetings, and that a new discussion partner was being sought in the ministry of culture.
 (This is an Evangelical youth group] Materialdienst Jugendarbeit MAJA) 1/1995 Arbeitshilfen und -materialien fuer haupt- und ehrenamtliche Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter der Jugendarbeit, sowie fuer Schulen, Jugendaemter und alle Interessenten. Hrsg. v. Evangelische Jugend Sachsens, Landesjugendpfarramt. Dresden, 1995
 "Input" - Broadcase by von Radio DRS 3 of March 19, 1989 with ex-VPM "R."
 Hansjoerg Hemminger: VPM und die "Zuericher Schule", in: "Sekten, religioese Sondergemeinschaften, Weltanschauungen" - Teil der Werkmappe Nr. 61/1990, Wien, S. 26
 Statement by the DGIP e. V., in "Psychologie heute", (Psychology Today) May 1994
 Excerpt from "Information of German Psychologists of June 16, 1992
Soul Strip Tease
April 2, 1998
The advertisements sound tempting, what personality trainers promise. For example, "more success in profession and studies." Caution is advised: the psychological market has its share of charlatans.
The trilling whistle brings the sixteen men and women out of their deep sleep with a start. The night was short. Work had gone until the early morning hours. The order is to show up in athletic gear and double-time up and down the mountain. Every morning the same ritual. This is followed on the schedule everyday by the soul strip tease. In group sessions, for hours on end, the participants talk about their weaknesses and expose their innermost fears. The dams burst and tears flow. The goal of the five-day psychological drill is the heightening of self-awareness.
Personality training is part of the trend. Whoever is looking for a job today or wants to professionally advance himself needs, above anything else, a personality. He is supposed to be capable of handling conflicts, flexible yet decisive, socially competent and emotionally intelligent. Some seminar providers make tempting promises: they talk of breakthroughs to success, of more energy and joy of life, and of overcoming individual obstacles. All that in just a few days: psycho-training as a miracle weapon.
The offers range from a self-awareness course on a sailboat and fire drills for power training to bizarre psychological exercises. However, caution is advised. This field employs many who have co-trained and whom have been trained by people ranging from management trainers and self-declared soul healers to dangerous psychological gurus.
Before one agrees to psychological training, a few points need to be checked out. Does the trainer consider each person individually, or are all participants sold the same recipe? In a seminar, each person must be able to decide for himself whether he wants to participate, or if he would rather leave. What education does the person who is giving the seminar have? (Basic therapist training lasts several years.) If these questions are cut short or answered only unwillingly, one should look around for a different provider.
Otherwise, psychological training can quickly turn into a nightmare of the sort experienced by Martin Lell. Frustrated by his studies and a poor job outlook, the physics student took a three-day seminar from Landmark Education. Afterwards he was enthused: "I felt limitlessly free, all restrictions were gone. The world belonged to me, and everything was possible." Then came his psychological collapse. "I suddenly noticed how absurd it all was." "Brainwashing is an insidious process of destabilization and modification by manipulating social and psychological factors of influence," wrote acknowledged sect expert and psychology professor Margaret Singer. Nobody can defend themselves against the application of subtle methods of manipulation. "It was a type of hypnosis from which you could not escape," verified Martin Lell. The tricks of the process are known. They include strict rules, long work hours, food and sleep deprivation, bans on communication, physical exercise, cumbersome emotional exercises and a clever application of group pressure. It is the combination of these individual factors which makes even the strong give in. Only those who submit will advance personally, promise the providers. The choreography of the seminar has been worked out perfectly. The euphoria at the end is a hard and fast component of psycho-training.
The accomplishment, however, is not usually an individually tailored, voluntary modification, but a coerced tractability. In many psycho-courses, this subordination is part of the system. "The participants are supposed to learn to accept indisputableness in order to be able to live with it," stated Hans-Christian Doering, business manager of Block Training, a rigid psycho-drill which is supposed to have already taken in several thousand participants. That does not differentiate Block from other controversial providers. They consistently promise total control to the same people whom are then subjected to total control. A good example to read up on in regards to this is Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
"We finally have to get away from the concept of "sects," Juergen Keltsch, member of the Enquete Commission "Sects and Psycho-groups" has demanded. "The decisive factors are the methods which are used." American journalist Paul Keegan stated how people are affected by behavioral psychology after a visit to the U.S. psycho-cult, Lifespring: "We gave up control of our lives and we felt liberated. We said that we felt fantastic because that was how we were conditioned to feel."
How does one recognize dubious psychological providers? Author Baerbel Schwertfeger ("Der Griff nach der Psyche") has researched for years. A selection of providers on her list of those not recommended:
- Block Training. Founded 1981 by political economist Walter Kauffmann. Alleged to have more than 8,000 participants, among them numerous board members and top managers. Four and a half days psycho-drills [psychological exercises], sold as "Cognitive Problem-solving" training. Kaufmann was inspired by Randy Revell, the co-founder of the American psycho-cult, Lifespring. Cost: about 3,000 marks.
- UPT. Hans Schuster & Partner structured five day psycho-training. The participants have to undergo dangerous breathing exercises (Rebirthing) and fill out sex questionnaires. Founded 1985 by merchant banker Hans Schuster. The company seat, since 1996, has been on Sedlbrunn manor near Augsburg. Cost: about 4,000 marks.
- Institute for Individual Psychology for career advancement (IIP). Founded 1981 by Karlheinz Wolfgang in Neuss. Made headlines in 1993 when its psycho-course resulted in considerable unrest in a corporation. In its main seminar, the former IBM manager cleverly ferrets about in the psyche of the participants, using pseudo-scientific statements to influence. Cost for the eight and a half day basic course: about 4,000 marks.
Landmark Education. Worldwide active "training company." Successor to the controversial Erhard Seminar Training (EST), a mixture of positive thinking, hypnosis, Buddhism and Scientology. Claims 65,000 participants per year worldwide. Offices in Munich and Frankfurt. Cooperates with large corporations in the USA and Australia. The core offering is the three-day "Forum," a mammoth gathering of up to 200 participants. Cost: about 850 marks.
- Hoffman Quadrinity Process. Abstruse seven-day psycho-course. Hypothesis: The cause of all problems lies in the negative programming which one has received as a child from the parents. The participants write hate mail to their parents, mourn their loss at the cemetery, then celebrate with a children's birthday party. Cost: 4,490 marks.
- Infinity Training & Methods at the Ayura Center and Breakthrough is the newest cover name used by psychoguru Hannes Scholl. The ex-model gets his inspiration from controversial psycho-concerns including EST/Landmark, Lifespring and Osho.
For your info, five question which you should ask before psychological training: What is the duration of the training? What conditions have to be met? Are individual problems looked at? What is the theoretical background? What education does the seminar leader have?
Big Brother is everywhere
March 19, 1998
Stern I Ausgabe: 13, page: 164
Autor: Peter Becker
Data protection advocates warn of computer controls. Computers turn surveillance of the work place into child's play.
A good reason to be worried. A study by the American Management Association states that over a third of the companies in the United States regularly have the electronic mail of their employees monitored or gain access to their private e-mail folders. It also stated that telephone conversations and voicemail are monitored and that these companies use software to bypass the employee's password on his PC, or to concurrently read what is being displayed on his screen.
There are also some employers who have their employees spied upon in Germany. In the annual report by the Berlin Data Security commissioner, it was phrased, "Recording of data in the work place is gaining acceptance."
The main reason for the snooping: in companies with access to the information highway, it is not only business that takes place over the worldwide computer networks. Instead of displaying dreary charts or business letters on their computer monitors, employees would rather look at bare skin instead of bare facts, or pursue their hobbies over the network at company cost.
A secret test in a mid-sized corporation which did not want to be named yielded results which showed that 65 percent of internet usage fell into the category of sex. "I never would have that that my people were looking at this kind of shit," raged the company boss. When he announced a special monitoring program would be installed, internet misuse promptly declined. Also, increasing the operation's network capacity was no longer required. Over 30,000 marks in costs were saved.
Monitoring without informing the computer user is impermissible according to the EU projected workplace ordinance. A legal application can follow in Germany only with the agreement of the operations board. Besides that, many chiefs are worried that their staff's productivity could suffer if they knew that Big Brother was watching them, complained Markus Haut of Prisma Express. The Hamburg corporation runs the "Internet Manager" of the Israeli arms specialists "Elron Software", nationwide. Once it has been installed on the company's mainframe, the program records all internet activity. It monitors when individual users are on the World Wide Web, what they are looking for and everything they look at.
The software also contains a look-up table in which entries such as sex, sports or Scientology can be entered. As soon as these words are typed into a computer or appear on internet pages which have been called up, the system sounds the alarm. Besides that, the program permits the selective blocking-out of specific internet offerings and the concurrent monitoring of any individual's display screen.
Berlin's Data Security Commissioner has found in his annual report that "A whole new class of data protection problems are developing." The "Tele-Work" enforced by the federal administration especially enables the surveillance of employees in personal areas.
Companies do not need to buy an expensive program for simple monitoring. Even the free internet browser programs "Netscape" and "Internet Explorere" contain functions which reveal every movement of the user on the data net at the push of a button.
For instance, anybody who types in the commands "about:cache" or "about:global" in the spot where the internet addresses (http://...) are normally typed will be amazed at what kind of information the computer can instantly spit out about the user's activity.
In the USA, the boss even has the right to listen in on employee's telephone conversations. In Germany that is prohibited, however many telephone systems which are sold in this country have these monitoring features built into them. Olaf Erber of the Federal Office for Security in information technology, "technically, those are quite simple to turn on or off."
Become a Guru!
by Burkhard Strassmann
January 23, 1998
It would probably sound cynical to summon up the four and a half million unemployed in Germany: What are you waiting for? There are thousands of openings! The streets are paved with money!
Yet it is nothing if not the truth.
Whoever does not suffer from moral constraints and is ready to move to a sunny island if need be, whoever can smile and look like he's happy for several hours at a time should take his destiny into his own hands and try his luck as a free-lance guru.
First a glance at the market: in the interest of making sales, the classic clientele of the free-lance gurus is clearly the well-to-do, the academics, and the intellectuals. Millions of such individuals are waiting in Germany alone to be addressed by a guru. In all probability though, the ordinary small-time guru will only be able to get from thirty to fifty "adherents."
Especially interested in the career picture of the gurus, the churches' sect commissioners estimate there to be about 300 such small-time gurus in Germany. That means that there could be, at most, 15,000 well-to-do people in Germany who are being consoled by these gurus. Even if the big-time and super-gurus like L. R. Hubbard (Scientology) or Gabriele Wittek (Universal Life) are figured in, there still has to be a shortage of eclectic gurus. In other words: there is a niche in the market.
Not only that: for about ten years the interest in gurus has increased disproportionately. The background for this is the worldwide discussion about the end of the world, which is generally expected to happen on December 31, 1999.
How am I to properly prepare myself for this upcoming event? What will happen afterwards? How can I be saved? When and where are the UFO's going to get me? It is exactly these topics of discussion which are the special areas of the gurus. The demand for free-lance gurus will increase strongly over the next two years. Under these conditions, the market chances have to be described as promising. It should not go unmentioned that women, especially those who are re-entering the work force, have a first-class opportunity - as demonstrated by shining example.
What education would be best recommended? One of the most successful female gurus is Heide Fittkau-Garthe, who maintains a real presence in the media on account of a failed attempt to have herself and her clients picked up by extraterrestrials on the island of Teneriffa. The Hamburg resident is a trained psychologist; that can be an advantage for a practicing guru, but it is not a hard and fast requisite.
Her grand colleague, Gabriele Wittek ("the Mouthpiece of God") comes from simple beginnings and maintains contact with a UFO commander by the name of Mairadi even though she has no college education. And the high school drop-out David Koresh ("Messiah from Waco"), who took his own life in 1993 in Texas along with his 85 "Davidians", advanced without education up to the "Seventh Angel of the Apocalypse."
Certificates, courses, and volunteer work can come in handy but are not obligatory. The activity of a free-lance guru is well-suited for sidelines and collateral careers. A little communications training, meditation and group dynamics in the vita cannot harm a thing. Visits to India and California have a tendency to build up confidence.
The appropriate terminology - energy, atma energy, astral world, inner healer or consoler - can be gotten from the internet in the course of an evening. A small degree of familiarity with computers would therefore be advised. The aspiring guru should also be in the position to produce a simple yearly surplus. He should at least have a rudimentary idea of tax laws.
Now to the basics. There is much experimentation among gurus, even concerning the symbolic power of colors. Bhagwan alias Osho has tested rose red; Mrs. Wittek prefers pastel shades. However the modern guru wears white garb, not cut too tightly, and lives in white buildings. Before he can move into the well-deserved sun villa or "Ashram" on the Canary Islands or in Florida, the young guru seeks the proximity of his clientele and rents, for instance, a villa in the better part of the city in his home town.
Every guru career starts off with seminars entitled "Shamanistic Music Therapy," "Living with Angels," "Reincarnation," or "Spiritual Healing," as appropriate. Inexpensive advertising can be achieved by flyers left in Bio- or Esoterica shops and at so-called esoterica masses.
Also something you can't get around today: the internet. An example of a successful home page is the one by Guru Meher Baba ("Avatar of the Age") who was picked up by UFO's a long time ago and has continued to smile and preach ever since. Meher Baba tends to the seekers with solutions of the day, downloadable video clips and his favorite song which can also be downloaded, "Begin the Beguin" by Cole Porter.
Later, when the young guru has gotten past the worst, his business activities may be considerably enhanced with advertising media like the "Cosmic Wave" (regularly scheduled radio broadcast of Universal Life), hotlines which give "Spiritual Help for the Day" or the Download-Bible rewritten by the new god on the internet.
Now the central issue: what sort of sales turnaround may be expected? The sales of a young guru depends wholly upon the net income of his adherents, but can be as high as 50,000 marks a month. Income can be rapidly increased by the sales of elixirs, books and diet programs. Real estate business (with the real estate of the adherents) follows, then companies are founded. The American scene guru, Deepak Chopra, has gotten annual sales of 15 million marks after being in business for twenty years.
There is one question which needs to be answered which is always asked by those newly starting their careers: how do I get hypercritical and intelligent well-to-do people to believe that they were Hitler in a previous life, that they can prevent war and bankruptcy through "yogic flying," and that they have to eat poison pudding shortly before the end of the world in order to move to Sirius, a star which is 8.8 light years away?
The answer, of course, is that the more abstruse his suggestions are, the more convincing the guru gets. If his rituals are dramatized true-to-life then the reason which is being sacrificed on the altar of the guru will glow. This thrills the understanding person to no end. He calls this shock an "awakening experience" and interprets it as divine emotion. (The shock can be reliably duplicated upon handing the greater part of his wealth over to the guru.) The summons of the guru Monika Azura Jadzinski from Luebbecke by Minden to her disciples to "increase the light in their cells," and "create blueprints for the rejuvenation of the body," are highly welcome reasons to mentally mortify themselves.
A final word to the wise: there is always the danger that the guru will turn into a victim of his own suggestions and fantasies of world collapse. That is unprofessional and counter-productive to the spirit of the business idea.
A counter-example worth imitating: the Jehovah's Witnesses. They have been postponing the end of the world for as long as anyone can remember and release a new product each time.
Actual bid: end of the world 2000. Til next time.
Unification Church (Moon movement)
A great leader is the one who recognizes circumstances and guides them to a certain purpose. San Myung Mun(1)
The son of a North Korean farmer's family, born 1920 and converted to Christianity in 1930, San Myung Mun (original name Yong-Myung Mun), reported in his authorized biography of a visionary broadcast mission from Jesus in 1936 which commanded that his mission on earth be continued. At last in 1954 in Seoul, he founded the "Association of the Holy Spirit for the Unification of World Christianity," known by the abbreviated designation of "Unification Church," for which he has proselytized in countries outside of Korea since 1958. The German branch was registered in Frankfurt in 1964 as the "Association for the Unification of World Christianity.
Besides religious activities, the Moon movement has also developed political, social, cultural, scientific and commercial activities. A practically boundless number of organizations, sub-organizations and corporations are founded in this connection (2). The Unification Church represents only the religious branch, and is arranged in economically self-sufficient national associations with national directors. Germany is divided into "regions"; the smallest cells form the local centers.
Other especially well-known organizations include CAUSA ("Confederation of Associations for the Unity of the Societies of the Americas"), CARP ("Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles"), the Women's Federation for World Peace and the Families Federation for World Peace.
The most important foundations of theory are contained in the "Divine Principles" (1996 modified new English translation: "Exposition of the Divine Principle"), which is regarded as divine revelation, and in speeches by San Myung Mun.
San Myung Mun's theology links with Old and New Testaments citations. He turns the Old Testament image of Cain, as being far from God, and of Abel, as fearing God, into a "good" and "evil" in all people, ideologies and political systems. As far as he is concerned, Jesus' spiritual work was not completed because his crucifixion prevented him from marrying and producing children. It is said that San Myung Mun, through the marriage of his second wife Hak-Ja Han in 1960, which is designated as "Marriage of the Lamb", has become "Lord of the Return" and the new Messiah. They are the "True Parents" of a faultless humanity (3). A Wine Ceremony results in a "joining" of the adherents to the family line of San Myung Mun and his wife, thereby simultaneously "adopting" them as "True Parents." The publicly well-known "mass marriages" simultaneous via satellite in large stadiums in many cities of the world are now understood as a blessing ceremony which spiritually binds the couple with their new family line. In recent years, the blessing ceremony has been separated from membership in the Unification Church; it is also open for non-adherents who have understood the "Divine Principles" and have obligated themselves to a God-centered marriage without separation (4).
By saying "yes" to the vows in the blessing celebration, the couple promise to implement the marital blessing with God and each other: "Do you intend to vow to obey the divine law as original husband and original wife, and, should you fail, do you vow to take the responsibility for that?
Do you intend, as an ideal husband and as an ideal wife, to vow to establish a perpetual family with which God can be happy?
Do you intend to inherit the divine tradition and raise your children as eternal parents of good, and to be models of this standard for your family and the world?
Do you intend to vow, on the foundation of the ideal family, to be the center of love for society, the nation and the universe?" (5)
Many marriages of Moon adherents are "arranged": based on photographs, Sun Myung Mun selects partners for each other who often come from different cultural groups and sometimes have not seen each other before the marriage. Selection of partners by San Myung Mun is regarded by many adherents, from what they say, as an honor. Sometimes only one partner is present at the ceremony; the one present then holds a photograph of the other partner in hand.
Entrance into the Unification Church comes about through the recognition of the "Divine Principle" and speeches of the "Family Vows," re-written in 1995. The new version of the vows does not include vows of "I intend ... on courageously attacking the enemy's camp" or "I will fight at the risk of my life" and now reads as follows:
"We, as family founded on true love, vow to find our true homeland and to establish the original ideal of creation and the kingdom of God on earth and in heaven.
We, as family founded on true love, vow to God and to the true parents a reciprocation of heart in order to represent a true family to the universe and to be its center point. We vow to fulfill our mission as true sons and daughters in the family, as patriots of our country, as saints in the world and as true sons and daughters of heaven and earth.
We, as family founded on true love, vow to bring about the Four Great Areas of Heart, as well as the Sovereignty of the Three Generations and the Tradition of the True Royal Family. We, as family founded on true love, vow to create God's ideal creation, the universal family, and to bring about the world of freedom, of peace, of unification and of happiness.
We, as family founded on true love, vow to constantly herald the process of unification of divine love as subject with the earthly world as object.
We, as family founded on true love, as representatives of God and of the True Parents, vow to be a family which brings about the favor of heaven and forwards the divine blessing.
We, as family founded on true love, vow to bring about the world of culture of the heart, which is bound to the original family line" (6).
The Moon movement attained a doubtful image in the past because of significant, apparent potential for conflict in recruitment and membership. Specifically, new adherents were recruited by street missions, brought into centers and subjected to so-called "love bombing" by members: the people who had expressed interest were supposed to get the impression they were in a new circle of friends. In 2 or 3, 7 and 21 day seminars in one of the centers, the recruits were singled out and led into membership. Relatives and former members report of things including: breaking off social contacts, intensive work for the movement in fund-raising and proselytizing, sometimes work overseas, life in movement communes, breaking off previous educational programs and career activity. Because of this, the movement was subjected to heavy criticism by the public.
In recent years, there appears to have been a significant transformation process underway: besides contextual adaptations in the program, there has been increasing distance from the street recruiting, which is being replaced by the recruitment concept of a "Home Church." There members perform social aid in their current environment, thereby trying to win new members by living and advertising their beliefs in this way. By programmatic shifting of the aspect of "family," the membership has come to be mostly families with children. Also, the opening of the blessing ceremony for non-members potentially has some significance to recruitment.
Heaviest areas of concentration of the Unification movement are Japan, the USA and Latin America. In Germany, the number of members is given at 800 - 1,000.
The German business office of the Unification Church, Inc. is located in Hesse. Back in the 1970s, two centers were acquired in Taunus and in Mittelfranken. The Berlin office is located in the Zehlendorf district.
Bibliography1 Vereinigungskirche e. V.: Ein Prophet spricht, Die Worte des Rev. San Myung Mun, 1976, S. 41 2 weiterführende Information u. a. in Gasper/Müller/Valentin (Hrsg.): Lexikon der Sekten, Sondergruppen und Weltanschauungen, Herder Spektrum, Freiburg 1994, S. 705 f. 3 Reinhart Hummel: Vereinigungskirche und Munbewegung, in: Materialdienst der EZW 12/92, S. 349 4 Reinhart Hummel: Vereinigungskirche im Wandel, in: Materialdienst der EZW, 7/97, S. 207 5 Vereinigungskirche e. V.: Segen der Liebe, Kando-Verlag GmbH, 1995, S. 28 f. 6 Vereinigungskirche e. V.: Familiengelöbnis, zitiert nach Reinhart Hummel: Vereinigungskirche im Wandel, in: Materialdienst der EZW, 7/97, S. 205 f.