Two former members tell their story
"We escaped the psycho-sect"
May 2, 2001
"We can go by there afterwards once. Then I'll show you the building," Alexander S. offered the reporter. Annette L. looked surprised and upset at the same time, "Honest? You really want to go there?" She did not immediately get an answer. Alexander played nervously with his fingers. All of a sudden his doubts disappeared and he smiled and spoke, "Oh well, I can just pull a stocking hat over my head."
The building the two were talking about is the seat of a psycho-sect (this newspaper reported) and is situated in downtown Hamburg. For years Annette and Alexander have avoided going past it. Too many memories are associated with the building for them. The fear is too great that they could run into Marianne A. (name changed).
Back in the 1960s this woman, a psychotherapist, was one of the most docile students of Friedrich L., the founder of a psycho-sect which expanded throughout Germany from Switzerland. In the early 1970s Marianne A. first founded a "Discussion Circle", then an "Institute" in Hamburg. There, as verified by Gabriele Lademann-Priemer, the sect commissioner of the North Elbe Church, people are made into mental cripples in the name of a "humanity experiment."
Annette and Alexander are the first people who have left who have found the courage to open their mouths: in 1990 he approached the Institute with his marriage problems, said Alexander: Marianne A. had talked him into thinking that she alone had the key to his soul. "In the first months I heard again and again, 'You're not getting involved enough ..., you're not getting involved enough.'" All his doubts were regularly "therapied away": "I ended up being really convinced that I could really only engage in life through her."
Those who gave themselves over to the care of Marianne A. soon talked themselves out of all their friends. The world around them, so she told her clients, was bad. "At the same time she gave us the feeling," said Alexander, "that we already were much better than those on the outside, but that we still had a long way to enlightenment. So we constantly had to attend new discussion circles - and pay, of course."
Besides money, power seemed to be what drove Marianne A. She, who liked to be described as the "world's best therapist," knew what tricks she needed to know to lay her claim to domination. She would sporadically accept a person into her "inner circle," then expel him again, as she saw fit," said Annette. Everyone groveled to her. "Everyone wanted to be invited to her birthday party. That was the mark: those who received an invitation were in favor."
Similar absurd things happened at the seminars which took place regularly on a souther island. "Shortly after she arrived one time she found out that her room was the worst," said Annette. "Seething with rage she asked who had arranged the rooms so that she could say that person had attempted to take over her power."
That was what broke the camel's back for Annette. She dared, and nobody normally did, to contradict her. "No, nobody was trying to take over the power in the group," I said. "In the next round of discussions Marianne A. told the assembled team that I was engaged in a coup. My husband, who was also one of the clients, separated from me upon hearing that."
Taking off and turning away - those are the biggest crimes. Every client had it figuratively beat into him that without the group he would become sick, he could be successful only with the group. Those who found the courage to turn their backs to Marianne A. found themselves in the same situation as did Bjoern U., another former client: suddenly one day the tax investigators showed up because a caller claimed he was employing illegal workers. Another time leaflets were strewn about which said that Bjoern was training neo-Nazis and that would be no surprise as his father - a Nazi war criminal!
"We couldn't keep quiet about it any more," said Alexander S. We had to warn people." He had hardly finished his sentence when he threw his jacket over his shoulder and told the reporter, "Come on, let's go! I'll show you the building now." "Are you sure?" Annette called after him. Alexander: "Yes, quite sure."
Coverage by Olaf Wunder
As a reminder: Friedrich L. is Friedrich Liebling, grandfather of the Zurich School and of the VPM. They're talking about the Steinbrech Institute in Hamburg. See articles in "Die Zeit Nr. 16" and "Seelenfolter im Gesprächskreis", Hamburger Morgenpost of 30.4.01.
Summary - In Denmark Scientology charges Hamburg resident Caberta
January 17, 2001
Copenhagen/Hamburg (dpa/lno) - The Copenhagen Center of Scientology has filed charges of libel with the Danish authorities against Ursula Caberta, the Director of the Hamburg Interior Agency's Scientology Task Force. The woman from Hamburg, who has for years been making a name for herself as a critic of the organization, had discussed measures with the local officials and verbally attacked Scientology's Copenhagen camp for re-education of apostate and critical members as attempted brainwashing.
Caberta had no initial response. A Scientology spokeswoman in the Wednesday "Jyllands-Posten" newspaper referred to comments made by the Hamburg resident in the previous Sunday's edition. The Danish Scientology spokeswoman, Anette Tefstrup, commented on the charge that "Ursula Caberta spread insulting and irrelevant propaganda so that the Danish authorities will take stringent measures against us like the Germans." The Scandinavian country, because its liberal legal provisions, is home to Scientology's European Central.
Denmark's Church Minister Johannes Lebech said immediately after Caberta's statements that the authorities would only step in if there were a definite charge. The Minister stated in the "Jyllands-Posten", "In Denmark we generally have a very high tolerance level. If possible I do not want to seem to be a defender of Scientology. Bet we also have to respect the right of each individual to freely decide for a movement such as Scientology." Caberta included in her report that German children were being sent to a private Scientology school in Denmark which alleged was a "training camp for the Scientology movement."
The organization was founded in 1954 by American science fiction author Lafayette Ronald Hubbard. The organization is said to have more than 20 million members worldwide. In Germany its number is estimated at between 20 and 70 thousand.
Mister X: financial massacre for stock investors
Trouble on New Market
How small investor's capital is devastated
December 4, 2000
The bubble has burst - many stocks on the New Market have lost 50 to 90 percent of their value since March. The risk of the stock market has turned into a financial massacre for small investors. Stock investors of Gigabell have suffered a total loss. The founder of Infomatec is in jail on suspicion of fraud. The example of Intertainment shows that even well-informed small investors can turn out to be dunces in the end with the gigantic devastation of funds in the so-called growth market.
The stock investors of the Munich film distributing company, Intertainment, are cursing the day on which company chief Ruediger Baeres (40) came up with the idea to co-finance the Hollywood movie "Battlefield Earth." The science fiction flick based on an idea by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard turned into a mega-flop in the USA (New York Times: "Worst movie of the century") despite having John Travolta as a lead actor. Even a million monkeys could not have produced such nonsense in a million years, according to the Washington Post.
Since then Intertainment stockholders have been asking themselves in what was Baere's judgment ability placed. His business idea: he buys, based on a model by Leo Kirch, rights to Hollywood films, then markets these movies through movie theaters, videos and TV. He intended to make 270 million marks with an 84 million mark profit. The company, regarded by analysts as a highly profitable "outperformer," nevertheless plunged after the Travolta debacle from a former 137 Euro to less than 60 Euro in September. At 41 Euro the "Financial Times Deutschland" declared Intertainment to be a good buy. "There are and have been no negative reports from the company," wrote Daniela Pickl, responsible for PR, to shareholders who in the beginning of November had asked with concern whether there was bad news from the corporation.
That was shortly before the financial massacre: On November 16 an insignificant announcement stopped the stock investors. One day before the business figures were to be released for the third quarter, Merrill-Lynch analysts Bernhard Tubeilah and Stepha Seip downgraded Intertainment to "hold." They said the movie franchise business had not developed as expected. Small investors who did not immediately learn of that through the internet had already lost before they heard the news. In the course of one afternoon the stock plummeted from 29 to 20 Euro. One day after the downgrading, the official statistics stated that there were 140 million marks less sales than planned, 24 million marks less profit before taxes. Upon that the stock dropped to 14 Euro. Those who only read the Sunday paper learned they had already lost 50 percent.
"The big fry knew what was happening ahead of us. That is fraud," frothed a small investor on "wallstreet-online." Other hobby-stock followers say they saw stock being dumped in large packets, 10,000 at a time. They suspected that funds companies were leaving in a timely manner while the business neglected giving an ad hoc report about data relevant to profit and sales - which it must do according to securities laws.
But how did the funds managers know about the problem? "We had planned a Roadshow for analysts in Frankfurt on November 16th, but they declined. The new figures for the third quarter were set on the same day of the board meeting. Nothing leaked out of this company," Achim Gerlach, financial chairman of the board, asserted to MoPo [this newspaper]. He assumes that their problems had become known in the industry with the sale of the TV rights. They "could have been overrated."
In fact Intertainment sent copies for the movie "Get Carter" (with Silvester Stallone) back to the USA because of material errors. Also "The Pledge" (with Jack Nicholson) can be settled in 2001. Gerlach believes the 2001 projections are still in place - although experts have mentioned a regular "buyer's strike" is on for the TV broadcaster.
And in the chat rooms the stock investors stubbornly hold onto the suspicion that banks, including funds, regularly sell out some stock components in order to buy them back at a cheaper price later out. In the case of Intertainment, the last word has still not yet been spoken. "We have a complaint against the company for suspicion of insider trading," a spokeswoman of the Federal Oversight Office for Securities Trade verified the MoPo's inquiry. Markus Straub of the protection association for small investors advised those who had been affected to hope for legal consequences: "Experience shows that it pays in every case to sell when corporations have misused the trust of small investors ..."
A Traveling Salesman Looking for God
"Zorn. Nacht der Fliege" / ["Zorn. Night of the Fly"]
Premiere in Thalia Theater on Gauss Street
December 4, 2000
by Klaus Witzeling
Hamburg - God does not need prophets. People do. Down through the ages the doomsday-sayers and self-searchers have raised their voices "in the name of God," pretending to know what others do not: as cult priests or street preachers, on television and now even on the internet.
Rich Zorn is one of them. Steffen Kopetzky has written a monologue, which ironically unmasks the mission of the traveling salesmen in the business of God. "Zorn. Night of the Fly" could be seen in its first showing at the Expo. Now Hartmut Wickert is presenting the second showing as a new premiere in the Thalia on Gauss Street.
In essence, Zorn is a silly megalomaniac. What makes him dangerous is the self-confidence he has in his mission and with which he seeks to turn a profit and convince his opponents. The fired soap opera script writer has discovered a new mission for himself and is now writing his own script: Inspired by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard and the 200 year old Lorber, the God-seeker from Graz, whose ineffable verses he forcefully recites, he creates a buzzing network by which he obtains a fly-like following.
In the mask of homeliness, Hannes Hellmann slumps in the hotel easy chair. Between speech practice and justifications of the smallest delays in always the same hotel rooms (under whose identical furnishings Marina Hellmann rearranges the same carpet fragments of the stage to produce copies of a copy), Zorn uncovers his miserable life to which he is trying to give meaning by arranging for others to have a meaning in life according to his own.
Hellmann plays superbly on the planes of Kopetzky's hodgepodge text, he gives it transparency and treats it like a composition: with a subtle sense of rhythm, pause and climax. By means of light production, Wickert leads the fascinating monologist through the room: as a traveler on the look-out for God. The words Kopetzky construed to have an effect are turned into living flesh by Hannes Hellmann: to a tragi-comedic study of a dogmatist - out of confusion over his inner silence and void.
Woe to those who scorn vitamins
Doctor Matthias Rath sells controversial preparations /
He accuses his opponents of things like genocide
by Klaus Koch
August 3, 2000
Really the stocks have been done away with a long time ago. But the internet is breathing new life into this invention of the Middle Ages. Almost a dozen researchers, politicians, industry bosses and journalists are to be found on the web pages of Dr. Matthias Rath (www.drrath.de); there they are accused in a series of "charges" of serious crimes under the heading of "Most Wanted," among them "genocide, murder and bodily harm." Electronic vigilantism shows the other face of a man who currently looks down from red posters upon the residents of most major German cities. On these posters can be read "Millions of people say, 'Thanks, Dr. Rath!'." The reason is that he has hindered plans of a pharmacy cartel from "banning vitamin therapy and other natural healing procedures worldwide."
What the 45-year-old doctor has actually done, more than anything else, is to make things so that he can no longer be ignored. Several courts, state attorney's offices and the Federal Health Ministry are concerned with the boss of a "health network" which distributes a dozen different high-concentration vitamin preparations from Almelo in the Netherlands, 19 miles from the German border. The self-praise via poster campaign is an extension of an unprecedented advertising campaign in Germany for vitamins: Rath believes he has earned "thanks" for his influence upon a U.N. Commission's conference in Berlin. At the conference, which was held by the Federal Institute for Consumer Protection in Health (BgVV) in June, the discussion of value limits for independently sold vitamins came up. Germany would have favored a relatively low value limit for vitamins if it had not been for Rath's business. Many of his products, in the estimation of the Federal Institute for Medication in Berlin, contain such a high dose that the agency has classified them as "medication requiring permission," so that he may not sell them freely. In order to receive permission, Rath would have to submit studies which show the effectiveness of his preparations and the absence of risk.
Because the vitamin doctor has not done that, the Berlin State Court used a temporary restraining order to prohibit him from distributing ten preparations; another three court proceedings are still active. Rath is currently getting around these decisions by selling his vitamins over the internet and through a separate consulting network.
At the same time he is leading an active battle against German regulation. The value limits, says Rath, are only an invention of the pharmaceutical industry to protect their own "ineffective" or even dangerous medications which they sell out of desire for profit. "We see ourselves in health information like Greenpeace is to environmental protection," said his spokesman. Apparently the medical practitioner's theories have not fallen upon deaf ears in Germany. According to what his spokesman says, Rath has 150,000 customers in Germany.
While retrospective scientists would, of course, have been happy to have received some evidence that natural material could postpone heart attacks or cancer by one or two years, Rath is ascribing practically magical results to his products: his "medical breakthrough" has already "saved the lives of thousands of patients," he claims, and, "Heart attacks will be practically unknown to future generations."
Studies which give evidence of such results do not exist. Rolf Grossklaus, Director of the BgVV who has been charged by Rath, therefore believes that the doctor's promises of healing are thoroughly risky: "If people with unhealthy hearts believe they no longer need their medication based on Doctor Rath's promises, that belief could backfire on them."
SPD - A lone crusader against Scholz' campaign for state chief
Ursula Caberta wants to have her say at the party assembly
April 14, 2000
Hamburg Social Democrats want to elect a new state chairman this evening. Joerg Kuhbier, lead man since 1994, is to be relieved by Olaf Scholz. The election of the federal representative and attorney from Altona is regarded as a sure thing. Scholz has no opposing candidates.
It is therefore obvious that the election itself is a mere formality, but it does not have to be that way. Namely, at least one party member is determined to raise a critical voice before the 350 party delegates: Ursula Caberta.
The woman from Altona, who is not known for her silence, has been a member of the SPD since 1977, was in the citizens [committee] from 1986 to 1992, and has since then directed the Work Group on Scientology in the Interior Agency. The gist of her opposing speech: despite all indications that more transparency is needed, a chairman without the basics is once again being shoed into the slot.
In Olaf Scholz, she sees a man who, besides holding down the office of state chairman, also still has the job of federal representative. Caberta believes that is not only a monstrous work load, but there is also the danger of conflict of interest: "What happens if he has to vote against the interests of Hamburg in Berlin?" She says she is not the only one to see this problem, but is apparently "the only one to speak up about it."
Caberta does not say that without reason. She says that within the Altona SPD in the early 90s, it was decided that holding the seat of representative was not compatible with holding the office of party chairman. And it was Olaf Scholz who found nothing wrong with acting simultaneously as SPD party chief in Altona and as federal representative in Berlin. Caberta had words of praise in this regard for citizens representative Walter Zuckerer. Specifically, when he took his seat in the assembly building in 1993, he resigned his district chairmanship in Altona to Scholz' advantage.
Caberta bemoaned the fact: "and to think that nothing about that was even once discussed in the SPD." On top of that, she said, shortly after taking office in summer 1994, Kuhbier had supported reform using slogans which included openness of the party, as well as transparency and democracy internal to the party, with preliminary elections, for example.
Discussion which used to broaden horizons today are recalled negatively in retrospect as dogfights, and have given way to a peace, joy and cupcake mentality, said Caberta. Presumably, that is the way things will be this evening in the Wilhelmsburg citizens building, too. Not only that, Caberta does not have delegate status, and therefore is not really permitted to speak. Will someone else find the courage? (scho)
Mass suicide of sect adherents
November 18, 1978
November 18, 1999
Hamburg (dpa) - On November 18, 1978, in the "Jonestown" settlement in the jungle of Guyana (South America), 923 members of the American People's Temple sect committed probably the biggest mass suicide in history. They had followed Jim Jones, their sect leader, who had promised them heaven on earth, into the depths of the primitive forest. Then he took away their passports and money.
Trigger of the suicides was the visit of a U.S. American congressional representative, who was following up a suspicion of mistreatment in the settlement. In doing so he was shot to death by fanatical adherents. Several of the visiting group were able to flee in the aircraft to alert the authorities.
Government soldiers later presented a picture of cruelty: Jones, who was apparently suffering from a persecution complex, had ordered his adherents to drink lemonade laced with cyanide. People who were rescued reported of death squads who shot anyone who disobeyed the order. Less than 100 of the more than 1,000 camp inhabitants survived the massacre.
Also on this day:
1302 - In the "Unam Sanctam" papal bull, Pope Bonifatius VIII decreed the precedence of spiritual over worldly power.
1626 - St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome was dedicated by Pope Urban VIII.
1786 - German composer Carl Maria von Weber was born
1919 - Field Marshall General Paul von Hindenburg formulated the "Dagger Stab Legend" as the reason for losing the war.
1928 - The voice of Mickey Mouse was heard for the first time in New York in the cartoon film "Steamboat Willie" by Walt Disney
1991 - After an 87 day siege, the Serbs conquered the eastern Croatian city of Vukovar
["Apostates" have been disparaged by some academics for being prejudiced against sects.]
November 3, 1999
Colonia Dignidad: a Hamburg man hunts sect founder Schaefer
Wolfgang Kneese met with tortured children's Chilean attorney in Hamburg.
by Jens Meyer-Wellmann
For almost 40 years, Wolfgang Kneese's life has been revolving around the same focal point. It turns around what the 54 year old calls "simple evil." This evil wears a human face and has a Germanic name: Paul Schaefer. For nine years as a child, Kneese was struck, tortured and sexually abused by the sect leader - four of those years in the "Colonia Dignidad" in the mountains of southern Chile. That is where Schaefer brought him and other German children in 1961. When Schaefer was sought in Germany for abuse, he, with 200 Germans, built a colony in Chile - and refined his perversions.
Wolfgang Kneese has been hunting his tormenter since he was able to escape from the colony in 1966. Probably nobody else in the world has assembled as much material on the colony of horrors and "Schaefer, the devil in a human body" as Kneese has. In 1997, he founded "Wingbeat. Against abuse of children by sects" in Hamburg. The association mainly pursues one goal: to run down Paul Schaefer. That is because he, of this Kneese is sure, is still in the "Colonia Dignidad" evading the grip of the police - and, despite an international arrest warrant and his 78 years, continues to rape children, according to witnesses. Chilean attorney Hernan Fernandez also believes that Schaeffer hid in tunnels during a police raid. The lawyer is representing twelve children in Chilean court who are said to have been abused by Schaefer in past years.
Fernandez is currently in Hamburg to view the material collected by Kneese. Both will meet with representatives of the Foreign Office and the Federal Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights. They will urge an energetic showing by German officials in Chile. "Something like the Colonia Dignidad is an unimaginable horror, hell itself," said Fernandez. "Normally, child abusers operate in secret. But there someone has built up his own state on 17,000 hectares to abuse children daily - afternoons, evenings and nights. And although the world has known about it for thirty years, Schaefer is still going his merry way." To external appearances, Schaefer and his people sell themselves as diligent German immigrants who cultivate the country and have blessed the region with schools and a hospital.
The German pederast paradise has been popular for a long time in the CSU. "Franz-Josef Strauss spent the night in the Colony," said Kneese. The "Colony of Dignity" served as torture grounds for the Chilean secret service during the Pinochet dictatorship. Today they still send out prospectuses for their work and the good education which children are said to obtain there. Schaefer quite openly continues to obtain offspring from the poor peasants in the vicinity. "The mothers are promised a good education for their children," said attorney Fernandez, "and the boys are taken into the colony."
Schaefer has committed about 10,000 child rapes altogether, Wolfgang Kneese estimates. He believes that the reason the sect chief has never been apprehended lies in the fact that he has important friends. He was not to be found during the raid two weeks ago. "The state police have to drive 40 kilometers," said Fernandez. "And the whole way is watched by the colony: with motion detectors, cameras and computer technology." He said the only ones who can arrest Schaefer are the criminal police - because they have helicopters. "But they would not want to get him at all." Hunting Paul Schaefer is a type of therapy for Wolfgang Kneese; it helps him through depression and thoughts of suicide. "But this is no longer just a matter of my own suffering," said Kneese. "This fight is against evil itself."
In the Psycho - Supermarket
Source: trade paper "Junge Karriere", 5th edition
Vera Birkenbihl sells the recipe for becoming: rich, beautiful, happy and free. The success trainer has now drummed up 12,000 fans in the Cologne Arena.
After just five minutes he has them. Joerg Loehr, one-time national handball player, inspirational trainer and motivator, presses the right buttons. He packed the 12,000 people into the hall helter-skelter and won them over to his side. A short series of raw jokes, ("Is there a lady here who has children, please raise your hand? My Lord! You are no lady!"), and the men are won over. He adds, "If men would have to give birth, they would become extinct," and the women belong to him, too. Now each person may evaluate the person sitting next to him, "OK, look him over! On an energy scale of one to ten, which is he? Help him get from his shabby two up to at least a seven!" He forms his words succinctly and hurls them out into the arena, as if he wants them to sink into the heads of each individual.
The show has begun, the supermarket has opened. Independent professionals, agents, business people and managers sit in the Cologne Arena, Europe's largest hall. Hello, welcome to the "Success Forum" of the Birkenbihl Business Group - in which personality trainers Vera F. Birkenbihl and her men give those wanting success "a jolt and kindle ideas for solutions and and personal initiatives." Business manager Wolfgang Lang "is well aware that we cannot bring about a long-lasting behavioral change in a one-day mass event." Therefore a "psychological supermarket" is offered - anyone who finds a theme or a thought interesting can reach for it and expand upon it in seminars, the rest you just leave on the shelf. The arrival of the matador on stage is always accompanied with an especially moving excerpt from "Something happened on the way to heaven" by Phil Collins.
Alexander Christiani is next up. The man is impressive. With no "ers" or "uhms" he improvises for three quarters of an hour, and in doing so he manages to limit himself to "get involved in what you want" and "stress is productive, you only have to relax between times." Germany - and Christiani lets a measured portion of pathos trickle into his voice - needs people "who take responsibility. People like you. Us. Every single one." Poof. The euphoric crowd can hardly contain their exaltation.
Bodo Schaefer was greeted with the applause of a pop star. The self-made millionaire ("Being rich is just better") has a detailed message: everybody can get rich by saving. Not with the "typical German" savings book, but with stocks, "you don't have to worry about anything." When he reported on his little private financial speculations, gasps of admiration were heard around the auditorium. And this guiding principle: "At some time it becomes clear that the lost money is not at all gone. It's just that someone else has it." He promotes school subjects like communications, ethics and morals, training in successful work, and, of course, money. Standing ovations. The book and cassette courses and seminar announcements are waiting in the foyer.
Nicole Dornhoefer has already taken regular seminars with Schaefer ("an absolute wild man") and she took her parents with her. She altered her concept of money with Schaefer. She is no longer ashamed to have it. The 22-year-old business student from Mainz is "enthused" today. Her friend Thomas Dierberger thinks everything is consistently "interesting," a "jolt." As far as the contextual content goes, said Nicole Dornhoefer, it comes to you if you think about it a little bit.
Enter Dr. Ulrich Strunz. The specialist and nuclear physicist mutated at age 45 into an athlete who travels from one ultra-triathalon to the next, and who mastered a foreign language within two weeks. He says he now has what he calls the "awake brain." That is what he says you get when you produce more ACTH hormone and endorphins: "The body's own cocaine, without side-effects." By doing that, he says, you become an eagle, you have oversight, work faster, develop creativity and a feeling of well-being and "leave the ants with their 16 hour work days" behind. All the real greats are eagles: Hera Lind, Margarethe Schreinemakers and even Strunz himself. And how do they do that? After a good half hour he reveals: just jog.
For Kathrin Anton, self-employed hair stylist from Berlin, the manner in which the speakers are venerated as gurus has a "light sect touch." She and her husband, Steffen, take the forum as an "uplifter." They bought tickets for the "normal price" of 399 marks. VIPs pay 849 marks, for which, however, they receive a midday meal, free books and front row seats which are cordoned off from the rest.
Wolfgang Lang was introducing an "extreme expert." His praises rang in a pantomime and body-language teacher, Professor Samy Molcho, an accomplished smiler whom people like. He shows them how customers sit, stand or gesticulate when they don't want to sign the contract yet dare not say so. Professor Molcho arranges exclusive seminars at Birkenbihl's: the maestro of silence will take 3,480 marks per person plus luxury tax from, at most, 30 participants at a time.
"Guest stars" appear throughout - Miguel Serra's staff find them to be a random factor. Oh well, Henry Maske, retired boxer, who was there to answer the question of how he should deal with big challenges, managed to say, "I, too, am just a person. I've already had my younger years." To that adds retired politician Hans-Dietrich Genscher, who cites Gorbachev, talks about earlier times, jumps without transition from social science to reform of legal writing and calls out, "You really have to be convinced of your own thing," then clenches his fists and observes the applause and jubilation motionlessly as he assumes the Thinker pose with his chin in his hand.
Vera F. Birkenbihl's appearance is the high point of the forum. Five feet and 1/4 inch tall, in baggy pants, wearing a yellow work vest with all the pockets stuffed full - dressed like that she wanders restlessly back and forth between two overhead projectors, a pack of felt-tip pens in her fist, now and then scratching an arrow or a circle on the transparencies. She talks about feelings of self-worth and personality development (the person lives in an ego-island, we are then polluted with training), cleanly presents her theories citing her sources, and illustrates "totally refined experiments with rats and mammals" in which you can learn to reprogram helplessness. Then the matadors stride upon stage for the finale. There was something for each taste in the supermarket. The books in the foyer are almost sold out already.
The 11th World Psychiatry Congress began -
10,000 experts in CCH [Hamburg Convention Center]
With new ways and new medicines
Appeal to the governments:
Do more for the treatment of the ill
August 7, 1999
"For the vast majority of psychic illnesses today, there are effective methods of treatment," mentioned Prof. Norman Sartorius, President of the 11th World Psychiatric Congress, which began in Hamburg on Friday. Up until August 11, 10,000 participants from 140 countries will discuss new alternatives of therapy for mental illness, one of the main points of the largest psychiatric congress in the world.
Progress has been made, for example, in the treatment of schizophrenia, which was long though of as incurable. Today there are new medications. The so-called atypical neuroleptica have essentially fewer side effects than other medications previously available, reported Prof. Michael Krausz, speaker of the Congress and representative medical director of the Clinic for Psychiatry at the Eppendorf University Hospital.
And for people who suffer from alcohol and drug addiction, there have appeared various alternatives for treatment, stated Prof. Krausz. For instance, new medications have been developed which decrease the yearning for drugs.
With these new choices of therapy though, "governments are faced with the challenge of doing more for the treatment of the psychically ill," said Congress President Prof. Sartorius.
The participants of the Congress will also discuss the consequences of violence and war, called "post traumatic stress." At the Congress studies from many countries, including Ruanda, will be presented.
Special interest has been shown for the first results of the worldwide campaign against the discrimination against the psychically ill. The Anti-Stigma Campaign was brought to life in 1996 by the World Psychiatric Association. Germany has been taking part in this program since 1999. Its goal is to do away with prejudice and discrimination in all countries. For that, special information programs have been developed.
Unrest was experienced on the opening day of the Congress by a counter event by the "Bundesverband Psychiatrie Erfahrener," and the "Israeli Association against Psychiatric Assault." These associations represent the opinion that the World Psychiatric Congress should not have taken place in Germany until the shameful role of psychiatry during the Nazi era was completely cleared up. At least 120,000 patients during that era were killed by their doctors. "The Congress is no absolution of the past," said Prof. Wolfgang Gaebel, Chairman of the Organization Committee. He indicated, however, that internationally the reconstruction of the past had been accepted.
Parallel to the Congress was an exhibition of the German Society for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neural Healing (DGPPN) in memory of the victims of the National Socialist euthanasia program in Audimax at the Hamburg University. That also opened on Friday.
Justifiable attacks against slander or censorship?
Anthroposophists make life difficult for publisher
August 5, 1999
Anthroposophists repeatedly sue Aschaffenburger Alibra Publishers, but deny an intentional attack
"The Anthroposophist are trying to sue my little publishing company out of business," Gunnar has become convinced. The reason for the Aschaffenburg publisher's concern is that fact that, for the third time within six months, adherent Rudolf Steiners has taken legal action against Alibri publishers and is trying to keep from the market books which critically discuss Steiners' world picture. "No special attack against Alibri publishers," counters Birgit Ruland, Anthroposophist from Johannesberg, "but we don't like slanderous and factually false publications. If the Alibri publishers tinkle on our leg, then we are going to make them pay for it."
The trigger of the dispute, which the Munich state court has been involved with for several months were the books published by Alibri ("Forum for Utopia and Skepticism") entitled "Waldorf Connection: Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy," and "Savior, Fantacizer, Seducer and Executioner." Journalists Guido and Michael Grant subject Anthroposophy and Waldorf academics to extensive criticism and mentioned a "racist" world picture of Steiners, which they proved with original quotes. The book, "Savior" mentioned National Socialism, Scientology, but also the Unification Church - "teachings of salvation," according to the Grandt brothers, "which promise the simple path to salvation from the evils of the world, where everything functions according to the same basic model."
Several weeks after the books appeared, Alibri publishers received an enjoining order issued by the Munich state court, which took full effect in February 1999. The civil suit by the Austrian theologian, psycho-analyst and journalist Josef Dvorak was directed against several passages, some of them quotes, according to Schedel, which have "appeared long ago in books and magazines which continue to be sold uncontested." These contain false "factual assertions," according to the court, and may not be further distributed. The result is that the Alibri publisher released a second, corrected edition in March entitled "Waldorf Connection."
Targeting Secondary Literature
"What upset me," says Gunnar Schedel, "is the fact that the complainant had already known about all the quotes in the passages, but he did not do anything before the enjoining order." This necessitated a stop to the distribution of "Waldorf Connection" in March, while one of the sources cited in it could be bought over the counter at bookstores
"Grotesque," said Schedel; in his experience critical publications are being successfully sued in increasing measure. The founder of the leftist Alibri publishers see two types of risk for authors and publishers, and he mentioned, in connection with this, "censorship": the attorney and court costs are significantly higher, as a rule, in civil cases than they are in criminal proceedings, and the public interest in "private feuds" is significantly less.
That, however, did not put the matter to rest: in April the Alliance of Independent Waldorf Schools sued the Alibri publisher because books from the first edition were still available in bookstores after the book had been enjoined. Upon that the Munich state court fined Gunnar Schedel 5,000 marks at the end of June. Reason: the enjoining had not been understood to be retroactive. Dvorak's attorney had demanded payment of 40,000 marks. Schedel's attorneys filed a complaint against the decision.
Another Alibri book and video by the same name of "Human Race - Every Person is a Half-Breed" by Petrus van der Let and Christian Schueller is currently the object of legal proceedings. The court, however, did not issue a temporary restraining order and will not issue one without verbal negotiation: "The counter-argument (of Alibri publishing) appears very convincing," according to the court.
The worth of the dispute of the process was also reduced from 80,000 to 35,000 marks by the judiciary office. "The complainant can probably not get anything this time," hopes Gunmar Schedel in the "Human Race" case.
Birgit Ruland, who has known Schedel now for over 20 years ("We used to fight together against the radical act") and who disputes that this is an intentional attack against the publisher in order to drive him out of business, said "What gives us a problem are the Grandt brothers who work unethically as journalists, quote falsely and continue to spread research results which have long been disproved." The publisher, according to Ruland, has to critically look over the content of his work. Unfortunately, however, Steiner has been deceased for too long to be able to defend his honor against slander.
Geared for Conflict
"The Grandts are fighting Waldorf; their motivation is not comprehensible to us. From that, naturally, a conflict is geared up for Alibri publishing," said academician and Anthroposophic therapist Birgit Ruland. In response to accusations of racism she admits that several of Steiners' statements could be condemned by today's standards. A Dutch commission had already looked at them extensively and annotated those passages. This by itself should not be grounds to form a front against Waldorf academic institutions and refuse them state support, as the Grandt brothers are demanding, said Ruland.
approx. February 20, 1999
The USA is in bad company: it is primarily dictator states that execute lawbreakers - Afghanistan, Iran and, in record numbers, the Peoples Republic of China.
Death is cheaper than a bowl of noodles. 1.25 Wuan, almost 25 cents, is the cost of the bullet with which convicted wrongdoers are executed in China - by a shot to the back of the head, fired by a white-gloved policeman. However, the cost of the bullet is not born by the state executioner: the bill is presented, with the greatest possible humiliation, to the relatives of the delinquent.
For 1997, Amnesty International recorded 1,876 executions, and 3,152 death sentences were handed down; the actual numbers may be far higher. "In the 1990's more people were executed in China than all the rest of the world put together," noted the prisoners aid organization.
The spectacle is often done in public; the punishment is supposed to serve as a deterrent: factory workers, students and recruits line up in the sports stadium. Frequently, more than 10,000 people observe the gruesome event. Snack booths, marching music and political slogans complete the horror. First the convicted party is driven through town wearing a sign around his neck with his name crossed out. Before the howling masses his head is pushed down towards his chest in penitence, then the sentence is read - first comes the accusation, then the execution.
Not only murderers, slavers and drugs barons are affected; automobile and cattle thieves are also executed if the Communist Party orders it: since the 1980's the number of deeds punishable by death has tripled, and is now at 60. And there continue to be exceptions. In the "Hit'm Hard" campaign alone, inside four months in 1996, over 1,200 [death] sentences were carried out - in curiously fast proceedings and often because a career-oriented cadre was pressing for results.
The delinquent parties are often used as organ donors. Right after the execution, the dead man is brought to the government medical offices to be disemboweled. Commerce with hearts, kidneys and corneas is a lucrative business. The harvests of the execution industry are transferred to transplant stations for well-to-do patients or travel - via party middlemen - overseas.
The less China heeds outside criticism, the less the other, mostly dictator ruled, states are influenced; they use the death penalty in greater and greater numbers: North Korea and Nigeria; Byelorussia and Burundi; Afghanistan (where adulterers are stoned to death), Iraq and Iran - it is not a society of which the Americans can be proud.
Many other nations have made do without executions in the meantime. Over 20 countries have abolished the death penalty since 1989; the last western European country, the Kingdom of Belgium, held out until 1996. Also, many of the states which still officially have the sentence, such as the Philippines or Japan, carry out executions only on rare occasion.
In Iran the times of the unrestricted reign of terror has been over for years. In the initial phase of the Khomeini Republic, the hanging judge Chalchali was sentencing dozens to death monthly because of "un-Islamic dealings." However, Iran is not a democratic Constitutional state by western standards by far. The Islamic judges still do not hesitate to employ politically motivated death sentences. After a Berlin judge accused members of the Iranian leadership of conspiracy to commit murder during the Mykonos proceedings, the Hamburg businessman, Helmut Hofer, was sentenced to death in January 1998 - for "senaje mohsene," prohibited sex with a Moslem woman. Hofer disputes the intimate relationship. He feels he is being used by the Teheran hardliners in the disagreement with Germany, in the ideological struggle of the Fundamentalists against the moderates. However, his prospects of amnesty are not poor.
It is painful for Washington that assistance in matters of death is now coming from a man, whom, of all people, the USA has been treating like a leper for almost 40 years now: in January, Fidel Castro spoke of the wide use of the death penalty for Cuba. The communist Commandant wants to have drug dealers executed - he sees them as the fifth column of American capitalism.
[This article is in reference to 990220a.htm.]
Secret Agencies advertise on the Internet
Undercover agencies publicly pose and
polish their image on the Datanet
From: "Badische Zeitung"
February 18, 1999
Hamburg (gms). The alarm sirens wailed in Moscow: in a Russian TV broadcast not long ago Moscow politicians warned of the "dangers of the internet" and demanded that the 75,000 men of the KGB successor organization, FSB, take more action against virtual espionage.
While the internet is seen as a threat in Russia, the Americans use it as a public image device. Even the CIA is represented on the net. The curious netsurfer, in logging on to "http://www.odci.gov/cia/", can listen to Morse code. So that the surfer will know that the CIA is serious, there is a security warning, "You have entered an official computer system of the US government. Unauthorized use may subject you to criminal prosecution." This is a warning to hackers who have already broken into sensitive US sites many times. As the most secret American intelligence agency, the National Security Agency's (NSA) existence on the internet is now guaranteed at "http://www.nsa.com." They track the spy satellites. The other eleven secret agencies of the USA are shown on the homepage of the "Intelligence Community" at "http://www.odci.gove/ic/". One of them is the US Security Service (USSS), whose responsibilities include protection of the American presidents.
For those thirsting for knowledge, a visit may pay off to the internet platform of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) at "http://www.fas/org/nwp", an association whose members include 55 Nobel Prize winners. The roots of the FAS are in a group of researchers who produced the first atomic bomb in 1945. The home page offers details of terrorist organizations and drug cartels. No trace of James Bond, though, when one sets one's sights on the home page of the British intelligence agency. The Security Service, called MI5, has a fact-oriented presence at "http://www.mi5.gov.uk/". Those with secrets may rid themselves of them here anonymously.
And Germany? The Federal Intelligence Service (BND) still needs to put a homepage together is the word out of Pullach. The only federal Office for Constitutional Security in Cologne is represented in cyberspace; netsurfers are greeted by President Peter Frisch at "http://www.verfassungsschutz.de/". Information is always being added there, for example, about Scientology.
The Constitutional Protection agency was recently embarrassed when an 18 year old student from Sachsen broke into its homepage and altered it. When even the German undercover agencies are not safe from infiltration - perhaps the Russians are right, after all, in having anxieties about being watched.
The other opinion
Yearning for Danger
More & More youth cults
Prone to Violence
July 4, 1995
Professor Peter Struck is a professor of education at Hamburg University
20 years ago there was still a relatively uniform group of youth in the western world; their manner of speech was relatively uniform, dressed in blue jeans, with key chains, with Beatle haircuts, they loved rock and pop music and were connected with the flower-power hippies, and they even showed solidarity in their political views, international, pacifist, and leaning toward socialistic. Sports associations, shooting clubs and youth fire prevention took up their free time in the country.
Today things are entirely different. Even though there are still 145,000 boys and girls in youth fire prevention in Germany, fire extinguishment and salvage, rescue and camaraderie do not offer young people the necessary "kick" any more - the dose of adventurous excitement is too small for them, even sports and gun clubs complain of dwindling memberships.
About 200 youth cults have been currently identified in Germany. They vary widely, some have a long life span, others are "in" only for a while. There are hooligans, skinheads, neo-nazis, and a cemetery culture called "Goths," ["Grufties" in German] who dress in black, whiten their faces, prefer the English rock group "The Cure," sleep in coffins and decorate their rooms with gravestones.
However there are also occultist and Satanic groups, numerous youth sects and many categories of political party youth, up to and including right radical paintball [Wehrsport] groups. There are the hiphopppers with their graffiti, rap and breakdancing. There are the subway surfers, Crashkids, wheelchair surfers, cruisers, skaters, auto and bus surfers, city gangs and the newest phenomenon of airbagging. That is where one has two luxury sedans crash head on and rely on the airbags. But there are yet more extreme manifestations of "tests of courage", such as, for example, electro-smogging. This looks like someone climbing up a high-tension wire tower and lighting a cigarette on the electrical line.
Besides all that there is still the Boy Scouts and those who prefer extreme types of sports such as mountain biking, free climbing, wildwater rafting, extreme mountain climbing, crossing the Antarctic, parachute jumping, bungee jumping, house running or ["Gleitschirm and Drachenfliegen" not sure about these, could be hang-gliding] because only those appear to be big enough to satisfy the thrill and the the yearning for risk.
The drive for danger is something auto-aggressive; one's own body and will power are to be tested up to their limits so that success raises self-satisfaction and strengthens the weak ego.
Many of these youth cults are aggressive or auto-aggressive, so that violence against others or against self within a set pattern is used to gain acknowledgment and acceptance. The test of courage is mostly part of the acceptance ritual, and the readiness to do violence towards others, or in the form of courage and asceticism for oneself has the significance of the initiation rites of the nature folk. Nothing is perverse enough to create a new sub-cultural niche. The newest phenomenon is "branding," the self-infliction of burn wounds:
"A short hiss, at least one month of pain, the wound breaks open, suppurated infection, and finally, at least a one and one-half centimeter high scar," was what the style-conscious 19 year old Peter from London wished for. He already has tatoos and his penis is decorated with a ring - what else is there if he wants to be different from others? Now that completely normal super models are running around with pierced lips, nipples and eyebrows, the trendsetter knows that "pierced body parts are out, only brand marks will help make an indelible impression."
< As different as the many cliques may be in content, they still have much in common; the cliques gain the function of the ego, so that the ideology, religion or sub-cultural standard associated with it becomes secondary.
- The clique must be small enough to be managed;
- it offers orientation in regards to who to dress, taste in music, free time activities and formation of friendship;
- it simplifies the identification of like-minded people by using specific speech patterns;
- it has a function which replaces that of the family which creates security;
- it provides a picture of an enemy which not only increases the awareness of "us," but also contributes to assignments, meaning in life and free time activities. In this is included, for example, actions such as beating up the fans of the opposition, outwitting the police or foreigner bashing ["klatschen"];
- Success and gaining recognition are possible by using an enemy picture; one finds his identity, the value of his position in the order of rank which the group assigns, and the small clique offers a better chance for going up the ranks than the complicated workings of society on the outside.
Proneness to frequent and brutal acts of violence in some groups such as the Skinheads promises a high degree of recognition, so that a predisposition to aggression turns into a highly acceptable standard which cannot be refused for its own sake. A higher worth is assigned to belonging to the group than to the personal rejection of violence, so that "howling with the wolves" is different than howling alone. In this way group pressure can be used to turn individuals who appear easily managed at home and cooperative in the police stations into violent beasts.
The function of replacing the family is the most important one of youth cults. One can make a direct connection between substitution for family and drifting off into youth groups; the less functioning one's own family is, the bigger the vacuum is which pulls one into the group. The measuring stick is how the young person himself rates his family, and not the amount of material and non-material care which the parents provide as justification for when something goes totally wrong, as typified in the sentence, "But we always meant well."
We are paying our dues for all the youth cults shooting up out of our post-war society like mushrooms. All too frequently the adults have indulged in what for them are the leading values of materialism and consumerism. This is not enough for many young people any more: working and making money, building a house and driving a car, the vacation on Mallorca or in the Caribbean and buying the latest clothes - all that does not give meaning to life; an ideological or religious structure is missing.
The importance of the Christian religion has strongly diminished, but the need for religion is still there; it's just being satisfied in different ways. After the effect of the standards of the two main popular churches in Germany has decreased, a strong gap in values has arisen for many young people, which they are now seeking to fill in their own way in falling for offers from not only youth sects, Scientologists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Zen Buddhists, but also from occultist or Satanist categories.
About two thirds of all German students are already familiar with occult practices such as crystal gazing, tarot cards or the pendant which answers question about their future or about their being. In some cliques - primarily in the new German states - "black masses" are being celebrated in which blood and animals are sacrificed and in which rape and other sexual rituals are cultivated.
It is children and youth who are enchanted by the inexplicable; they are ready to be taken up by gurus because they feel they are fascinated with their alternative worlds. Sure enough everything is new at the beginning with the unaccustomed access to a universal explanation, which leads to intense fascination, often associated with the not insignificant charisma of the person doing the recruiting.
In occultism, more and more young people seek orientation, help, escape and a sense of fulfillment, and even the chance of doing all this without taking responsibility for their own fate. They do not believe that they need to solve their problems themselves, because these are to be decided extraterritorially.
Peking - The Chinese government has decisively rejected US criticism about human rights violations in China. At the same time Peking made accusations against the USA, saying that the US engages in abuse of the justice system, as well as racial and sexual discrimination. Moreover, the chasm between poor and rich was said to getting ever wider in the United States.
It was stated that the USA is constantly interfering in the human rights affairs of other countries instead of being concerned with its own human rights situation.
October 27, 2000
Peking dpa - 200 adherents were taken into custody yesterday at new protests by the Falun Gong sect at the Square of Heavenly Peace in Peking. A large police contingent, according to statements from eye witnesses, proceeded "extremely brutally" against the cult adherents before shipping them out in busses. The sect adherents complained in leaflets about the persecution of their movement. They accused state and party chief Jiang Zemin of violating the Constitution by his ban on the Falun Gong. It also said that because there were no other channels whereby people could normally protest, there was nothing else for them to do but to "risk their lives" to get a hearing on the square. The protest occurred exactly one year after China's communist party leadership had decided to take action against what they branded a "malicious cult" with more stringent laws and a ban in July 1999.
June 29, 2000
Peking (dpa) - A first lieutenant of the Chinese People's Liberation Army has been put into a Peking mental institution because of his membership in the banned Falun Gong sect.
The supply unit officer had taken part in a demonstration of the religious cult movement on the Square of Heavenly Peace, reported an Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, which is based in Hong Kong.
He was involuntarily committed to the clinic on May 29, and has been treated daily since them with medication which damages nerves. He is in a very weakened condition. There are at least five other officers in the hospital who belong to the Falun Gong. Throughout China, over 400 judges, security officials and army members who adhere to the sect have been put into psychiatric institutions. According to statements by the Hong Kong media, over 1,200 cult members were taken into custody last week alone.
Hong Kong, June 26. (afp) The Chinese police, according to statements by a human rights group, took at least 1,200 members of the banned Falun Gong movement into custody last week. 100 people had been apprehended on Sunday just on Tiananmen Square in Peking. As the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said on Monday in Hong Kong, the arrests followed multiple state-wide protests between June 18 - 25. The Information Center continued that a 32-year-old docent of the Peking University had been crippled after having been tortured by police. The woman had been taken into custody the week before last when she was performing Falun Gong meditation exercises in a park in Peking.
"There will be no loose strings"
January 25, 2000
China is planning a new campaign against Falun Gong -
Sect leader's favored member performs self-immolation
by Johnny Erling
Peking - Chang Zhichen, a woman and a former teacher, saw no other way out. In the morning, reported journalist Li Xingang, she put her baby to her breast until it had had its fill. Then she changed her girl's diapers. Mother and daughter left their apartment in the city of Weinan in the north Chinese province of Shanxi. The 32 year old woman was carrying a container of gasoline with her. On a square in the suburbs of the city she doused herself and her daughter with gasoline and ignited herself on November 11.
It was the first self-immolation by an adherent of the Falun Gong sect, which Peking is persecuting nationwide. It was said that Zhang had the illegitimate child of Li Hongzhi, the sect leader who is living in exile in New York. "That event did not happen," responded a staff member of the Party's anti-Falun committee in Weinan over the telephone. However he did not accuse either the "Xian Workers Newspaper," which published the story, nor the "Shanghai Rights Paper," which re-published the story last week, of lying.
Professor Zhang had led an inconspicuous life. She married in 1995, but did not have a child. When her husband left Weinan two years later to go make money in the coastal province of Quangdong, a neighbor lady of the lonely woman invited her to Falun meditation. She joined the sect, and soon had dreams about leader Li Hongzhi. Her sacrifices got her to the nationwide Falun center. In August 1998, she was called to Peking, where she met Li. He was said to have favored her acceptance and had her attend a private meditation that same evening. She was of sexual service to him repeatedly after that, before she went back to Weinan.
There she rose to be the local Falun director; her pregnancy did not dim her outlook. When her husband came home and wanted to divorce her, Falun adherents forced him to keep quiet. Zhang's daughter came into the world in early July, six weeks before Peking's Party had Falun banned as an outlaw sect. Zhang wanted to go with the Falun adherents to Peking to protest there, but nobody wanted her to go along. She prepared for her deed in deeper confusion and isolation.
China's leadership fears nothing more than a spectacular suicide in reaction to their campaign against Falun, which officially is said to have 2.1 million adherents. The Hong Kong Information Center for Human Rights reported of several believers who voluntarily sought death after arrest or persecution. All public locations where Peking fears public protest by Falun adherents are under watch by security officials night and day in order to immediately circumvent protest actions of any sort.
The Hong Kong Information Center has reported of 300 Falun leaders who have been arrested, convicted or detained for trial and of 5,000 in re-education camps, and reports new trials every week. The fight against Falun adherents is part of the Party's daily routine in China. After the spring festival, they will combat all sect activities with a new campaign. Propaganda officials from Peking have put the Falun brochures at the top of the list of banned publications for their campaign in 2000. "There may be no loose strings or white spots remaining," the "Peking Daily Paper" quoted the decision.
Peking takes further action against Falun Gong
Chinese ex-general sentenced to 17 years incarceration
January 15, 2000
Peking (dpa) A former Chinese general was sentenced in a secret military trial to 17 years incarceration for cooperating with the Falun Gong cult movement. A member of the Air Force Command Academy, where the 74 year old Yu Changxin instructed as a professor, verified the sentence. Other members of the Academy were convicted with the renowned general. The judgment, one of the harshest against a leading sect member, was even criticized among the military as "overdone," reported the Information Center for Democracy and Human Rights in China from Hong Kong. It was revealed for the first time that those arrested included an officer of the paramilitary armed police (Wujing), because he demonstrated on the Square of Heavenly Peace along with the cult despite the ban against it.
The general was accused in the Air Force military court in Peking of "using a cult to bring about the infiltration of the law." He was also accused of "illegal business activities," reported the Center. He is suspected of being behind the demonstration of over 10,000 cult adherents in April in front of the governmental seat. However he had nothing to do with that. The court also made him responsible for the death of cult members. The sect believes that medication is made superfluous by breathing exercises and mediation. As a result there have been a number of deaths, including suicide.
Since September over 5,000 cult adherents are said to have been shipped off without court process for retraining in work camps. There are still 300 sect members who are due for trial.
Over 100 members of Christian sects arrested in China
December 10, 1999
AP - Pipeline
Peking - AP. The Chinese authorities have apprehended 103 members of several Christian sects which are not officially licit, the human rights group Human Rights Watch reported today.
The authorities have been taking action against ten Christian groups, which have about three million adherents, since October. The organization with its seat in Hong Kong has made no statement as to whether the Christians are still in custody. China has been taking intensive action in past months against the Falun Gong cult movement. Since the group was officially banned in July, according to Human Rights Watch, the authorities took 36,000 members into custody just in the period from July to October.
China passes an anti-sect law
October 30, 1999
Peking - After days of protests by the illegal Falun Gong sect in Peking, the directing organ of the Chinese Parliament has banned sects by law. In addition, justice department and police officials were instructed to vigorously destroy sects in accordance with the law. This was announced by the official Chinese news agency. The law differentiates between leaders and adherents. The authorities are to educate persons who have been led astray, but punish the small number of leaders and criminals.
Since Monday there have already been daily demonstrations against the official ban, effective since July, against the Falun Gong community.
October 30, 1999
New Law in China demands destruction of all sects
Peking October 30 (AFP) - Sects and other cult movements will be battled more mercilessly in China than they have been before. On Saturday the Parliament passed a new law which, according to a statement by the Xinhua news agency, is supposed to "ruthlessly destroy" cult movements. The law is directed mainly against the Falun Gong movement, which has been banned since July, and which is said to have 80 million members in China alone. The law, which was passed by the standing committee of the National People's Congress, instructs all criminal investigative agencies to carefully observe and subsequently punish sect activity. As has been occurring for days now, the police took action against hundreds of Falun Gong members who had been peacefully protesting the measures in front of the Parliament building.
Chinese messiah executed
October 14, 1999
Frankfurter Neue Presse
Peking. The leader of a cult movement who had proclaimed himself savior has been executed in China. 44 year old Liu Jiaguo had been sentenced to death in June for the rape of 13 young women and girls, along with disturbing the public order. The sentence was carried out on Tuesday in Xiangtan in the southern Chinese province of Hunan.
In the middle 1990s, Liu Jiaguo proclaimed himself to be savior and resurrected god after having seen how quickly other sect leaders were recruiting adherents. According to unverified reports, his cult of the "Supreme Divinity" had up to 10,000 adherents in 1997. With the donations of his followers who had wanted to buy salvation for themselves, Liu lived a luxurious life and lured young women into service for himself.
As the newspaper reported, the 44 year old was alleged to have raped eleven young women and two small girls. Liu Jiaguo was apprehended with 26 of his assistants in June 1998. The execution took place with the campaign in mind against the Falun Gong, a cult movement which was banned in July. Sects have gained a strong hold in China because of new freedoms, the low level of education and the spiritual vacuum left by the recession of the communist ideology.
Breathing Exercises as the Whiff of Revolution
What can Chinese people still believe in today?
The Failure and internal contradiction of the Communists have been made clear by the Falun Gong
August 2, 1999
taz Nr. 5902 vom 3.8.1999 Seite 10
"He who has no fear of being quartered will not be afraid to pull the Emperor from his horse." One does not have to explain the meaning of this quote out of classical Chinese literature to China's communists. They repeated that sentence often enough during the cultural revolution and they know that their end is also at hand if the people lose their fear.
That has already happened twice this year. In this country, in which dissidents are punished extremely harshly, 10,000 Falun Gong adherents appeared suddenly at the end of April and demonstrated silently, but not inaudibly. Just two weeks ago, 30,000 adherents of the sect again took to the streets in 30 cities in China. They demanded the release of imprisoned leaders.
The very latest is that the Buddhist-Taoist sect, which would like to present itself as a harmless fitness and meditation movement, is a threat to the government. Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi asserts that he plants a revolving prayer wheel ("Falun") in the lower abdomen of his adherents which grants them cosmic energy. Whatever one may think of this esoteric sorcery: apparently the Falun Gong exercises, which are based on Qigong breathing techniques, have helped some people get enough power to where they no longer fear the government. Breathing exercises have become the breath of revolution.
China's governing members may recall with horror the numerous rebellions in the history of the central empire in which adherents of sects which practiced Qigong believed themselves to be invulnerable. They have brought dynasties to collapse or fearlessly threw themselves against technically superiorly armed foreign invasion troops during the Boxer Rebellion a hundred years ago. Even more threatening for the Communist Party leaders must be that numerous members of their party are also active adherents of Falun Gong. The April protest was said to have been organized by a deputy division chief of the agency oversight commission of the central government and a retired official from the railroad ministry.
Since then, Falun Gong has been forbidden in China, the reason given is that the movement is a "danger for the social stability." Probably the ban of Falun Gong is more dangerous to stability than the movement as such. Its adherents are mostly middle-aged or older and have nothing in common with the young, impetuous, mostly inexperienced students who formed the democracy movement ten years ago, and who personified, for conservative thinking people, the fear of chaos. In contrast to that, the adherents of Falun Gong represent traditional, conservative values and behave - even their behavior is oriented toward stability - extremely frugally and disciplined. Falun Gong promises a spiritual foothold in times of fast social change and social break-ups, which appear extremely threatening to many. What can people in China still believe in today? Surely not in the Communist Party. Their members have long ago betrayed their former ideals and would rather dedicate themselves to Deng Xiaoping's slogan: "Becoming rich is glorious." Earlier, in the times of civil war in the 1930s and 1940s, the Communist Party itself was a strong, moral power in comparison to the corrupt and increasingly degenerate reigning Kuo Min Tang.
Cadres of the Communist Party used to be regarded as models who lived up to their ideals and did not indulge in materialism. This role, today, is claimed by Falun Gong. At the same time Falun Gong, as do other religions and sects which are currently booming in China, fills the ideological vacuum left behind by the Communist Party, and offers seemingly simple solutions. As have other Qigong movements, Falun Gong, with its promises of bodily healing, is attractive in times in which many people are no longer able to pay doctors' costs because of growing unemployment and increasing privatization in the field of health care.
It is the absolute harmlessness in the external appearance of the adherents, the return to China's roots in practices, and the non-materialistic morals strongly embodied by Falun Gong which makes it so dangerous to the Communist Party. This is holding a mirror in front of the Communists: what plight must a government be in which forbids harmless, elderly people from performing spiritual breathing exercises which are based on traditional techniques and idealistic moral conceptions?
The ban of Falun Gong is a mistake by the Chinese government and is a clear sign of its weakness and great fear. The Falun Gong sect is not as harmless as it would like to present itself. Like a mantra, it repeats that it is non-political and is not rigidly organized. That may be true for the great majority of its members. But whoever manages to hold a demonstration at the center of power without having aroused the suspicion of the secret intelligence service, then mobilize ten thousands across the country, has not only demonstrated extraordinary organizational and political ability, but also has the will to make use of it.
Any religious group should have the right to stand up for its beliefs. But wanting to see this demonstration of power described only as a "clarification," and not as a political protest is either completely politically naive or it raises the suspicion of ulterior motives. Something else for consideration is the pressure which has already been used on individual correspondents who have been less than flattering in their reports about Falun Gong.
Besides the total ban, China's leaders have reacted with a propagandistic broadside and a return to the mothballed chest of the cultural revolution. Leading adherents are threatened with "re-education," party cadres must publicly leave Falun Gong and other religious groups are obligated to approve of the ban. The warrant for the arrest of New York resident Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi enables the Communist Party leadership to make a foreign country responsible for the problem. Since the USA, as anticipated, has refused to extradite the guru (for which there is no legal precedent), Peking could be tempted to present the sect, which originates from China, as an American conspiracy.
It remains to be seen whether a revolution will result from the cosmic hocus pocus associated with breathing exercises. However, between the movement which has been driven underground and the bruising and politicizing of numerous Qigong adherents, the potential opposition in China is becoming stronger - and with it the pressure to change.
Group banned in China -
Also has adherents in Germany -
The Master Li Hongzhi
Falun Gong: Sect or Cult Movement?
July 26, 1999
by Tatjana Flade, dpa
Mute mass gatherings in China, arrests and finally a ban have brought the "Falun Gong" movement into the headlines. Even though there are adherents of Falun Gong in Germany, experts have a difficult time assessing them: meditation movement, weltanschauung, religious congregation, cult movement or sect - the concepts vary. The "German Falun Dafa Association" in Frankfurt defends Falun Gong from being described as a sect or a religion. However, expert have detected sect-like characteristics.
Clearly the Falun Gong, which arose in China in 1992, is strongly fixated on the founder and master Li Hongzhi, who is now living in the USA. That is the observation of the speaker for non-Christian religions at the Evangelical central office for weltanschauung (Berlin), Ulrich Dehn. "Falun Gong can be described as a sect - it is a community with common faith, rituals and assemblies," augmented sinologist Sebastian Heilmann from the Institute for Asian studies in Hamburg. He regards the movement, which can be viewed as a progressive form of Chinese health systems like Tai Chi and Qi Gong, as rigidly organized, at least in China.
Falun Dafa Association Chairman Peter Recknagel from Oberursel talks about it as a "meditation movement" and rejects the use of the term "sect." "Nothing or no one is prayed to, nobody is worshipped, and there are no rituals," said the sinology student. Anyone can come and go at will.
Not a Chinese Scientology
Heilmann has not observed financial interests in Falun Gong as of yet. "There is no indication that this would be regarded as a Chinese Scientology." The movement mentions that everybody can have what they offer for free. Heilmann stated that in China, however, there have been irregularities with donations.
In Falun Gong, a mixture of Buddhist and Taoist elements are associated with traditional movement practices. Li Hongzhi took moral rules from Buddhism - like vegetarianism, avoiding smoking and alcohol, avoiding sex outside of marriage - and radicalized them. Translated, Falun Gong means "cultivation of the commandment wheel." By commandment wheel is meant the Buddhist commandments. The exercises are meant to release a positive, cosmic energy and lead to a mental and spiritual progressive development.
The movement has been known in Germany for two years and has organized several meetings in Frankfurt and vicinity. In Germany, Falun Gong is only one of many esoteric-religious groups, according to the experts. Adherents in Germany, estimates Dehn, probably number in the hundreds. The membership worldwide is difficult to assess. They are more than 100 million, claims the master Li Hongzhi, himself. Heilmann believes that is strongly exaggerated. There would be a couple of hundred thousand who seriously practice Falun Gong in China. "Most of them would do it for health reasons."
An internet page (http://www.falundafa.de) of the association already shows 20 points of contact in the country, several of them in the Frankfurt area and in southern Germany. Their internet pages also exist in other countries. The master is said to keep in contact with his adherents by e-mail.
The sinologist sees negative elements in an anti-modern establishment. Also, homosexuality is taboo. Religious speaker Dehn categorizes Falun Gong as a "rather harmless affair."
In China, however, Falun Gong has turned into a challenge for the Communist Party, even if it would refuse meddling with politics, said Heilmann. From the Party's view, Falun Gong is an organization which presents rivalry and opposition - because it is independent.
US Ally sees cult as threat to government.
Test of power between the Communist Party and the Falun Gong
Mass Arrests of Sectarians in China
July 22, 1999
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
In China the largest mass arrests in years are occurring in several cities where thousands of adherents of a salvation movement are trying to bring about the release of jailed sect leaders. The test of power between the Communist Party and the apparently large cult movement throws a rare light on the inner political conditions in the People's Republic.
Dateline Peking, July 21
Chinese agencies have begun taking drastic action against activities by a para-religious cult movement which is distributed throughout the entire country; from Tuesday to Wednesday this included the largest mass arrests since the defeat of the democracy movement in 1989. In Peking alone over a thousand adherents of the movement calling itself the Falun Gong (The "Way of the Wheel") have been arrested and are temporarily interned in two large sports stadiums. The people taken into custody are, for the most part, elderly women who traveled from outlying provinces in small groups to the capitol city with the intention of holding a sit-in in front of Zhongnanhai, the seat of the Chinese central government. The sit-in was meant to protest the arrest of leading proponents of the sect-like movement in the past days. According to agency reports, similar operations were being conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday in Shanghai, Guiangzhou, Weifang and numerous other cities in the land. It is reported that in the northeast harbor city of Dalian and in Taiyuan, the capitol of Shanxi Province, members of the salvation movement are being forcefully shipped to sports halls after the police broke up rioters in front of the local government complexes.
Competition for the Communist Party
The members of Falun Gong follow the teachings of a charismatic preacher of salvation by the name of Li Hongzhi and practice daily a special form of the special Chinese breathing control technique, Qigong, which they believe grants them supernatural powers. Li Hongzhi, who is convinced that he is a savior sent by a higher being to keep the world from being ruined by the influence of modern technology , has written several books about his path of salvation which are widely confusing to outsiders and which are honored by his adherents as Bible-like. Out of fear of persecution by the Communist Party, which does not tolerate sects or superstitious practices, the self-proclaimed messiah has been living in exile in America since 1994. Allegedly the number of the adherents of his salvation movement has grown to 100 million worldwide in the past couple of years, of which it is said that 70 million live in China. That would be 10 million more than are members of the Chinese Communist Party.
Falun Gong made themselves visible worldwide for the first time this past spring when, in the early hours of the morning on April 25, 15,000 cult adherents showed up unannounced to lay siege to the government headquarters in Peking in order to protest the "slander" of their sect by state media., thereby taking the totally unprepared Chinese security apparatus by surprise. The siege made it more crassly clear to the communist leadership than had any previous event that they, and all their campaigns for the development of a spiritual civilization, had failed and that Maoism, and later Deng Xiaoping's reforms, had created a spiritual vacuum which now is at risk of being filled by messianic sects.
Riot in numerous cities
After the "April Scare." rumors continued to grow in China that the Communist Party had classified the para-religious con game as a larger threat to its power than the shattered remains of the democratically minded dissident movement and would therefore try to smash the Falun Gong. The government tried to counter such rumors by issuing official statements that no one need fear persecution for the mere practice of Qigong or meditation. In the internal review of the April operation, however, the Chinese leadership came to the conclusion that the membership of the cult movement did not only include "naive elderly women," but also mid and high-level functionaries of the state apparatus, and even numerous members of the [Communist] Party.
As a result Chinese papers, especially the Peking Peoples' Newspaper, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, have been publishing, for the last two months, several pamphlets which disparage superstition and sects and which caution, primarily Party members, to remain loyal to "scientifically grounded" atheism. It was mentioned several times that membership in the Communist Party and in superstitious cult movements were mutually exclusive. In numerous provinces, newspapers with regional distribution have been publishing a series of articles which contain the names of Falun Gong members and which attack the sect movement.
That has brought the situation to a head in that the movement has reacted to these attacks with increasing protests. For instance, sect adherents, for two days in the beginning of July, besieged the government buildings in Nanchang, the capitol of the central Chinese Province of Jiangxi, until a representative of the provincial Party assured them that attacks made by publications against the Falun Gong would cease. Intelligence agencies and a human rights organization from Hong Kong which is observing the event report of similar actions in many cities in northeast, central and southern China. The largest of the the new "sect riots" happened on 15 and 16 July, as 5,000 adherents of the movement lay siege to a local government until they, also, obtained official assurances that they would not be criticized any more by officials.
Apparently the central leadership in Peking will no longer tolerate these local riots; in any case, according to a report at the beginning of the week from the Hong Kong human rights organization, internment operations are being carried out in which several dozen of the most well-known proponents of the Falun Gong have been imprisoned so far, among them a retired former leading functionary of the central Peking security apparatus. The apparently rigidly organized salvation movement has reacted by calling for a mass protest (by means including use of the internet) "to protect" the arrested leaders and to bring about their release. This appears to have brought about a true test of power between the Communist Party and the sect. It can hardly be doubted that the Party, when all is said and done, has the upper hand; their domination has not yet eroded as much as that of the last Dynasty, which was able to be brought down in the last century after a long civil war with the "Taiping Rebels," who were not that much different ideologically from the Falun Gong. Nevertheless, the affair must be having a sobering effect on the Party, which had intended to triumphantly celebrate the 50th anniversary of its rule this coming October 1.
April 26, 1999
China's state informants surprised by scurrilous cult protest
by Andreas Landwehr, dpa
Peking (dpa) - Several people from China's state security apparatus are now in difficulty. For years, citizens have been followed at great expense or put in jail for even attempting to organize. Despite state informants, suddenly and without warning a mass movement stood before the doors of Zhongnanhai, the Holy of Holies of communist power, where China's sovereigns reside behind high, stately red walls.
In the best style of a Chinese secret society the Falun Gong cult movement mobilized more than 10,000 adherents with a wave of the hand. Old and young, native Pekinese and visitors stood or squatted silently in long columns on the footpaths. Buddhist equanimity enveloped the faithful who felt they had been dealt with unjustly by the authorities and wanted to be recognized as good people.
The scurrilous and somewhat racist teachings of salvation have developed in China into a mass movement in just a few years. Where communist ideology and control have ebbed, superstition, sects and religions find ever more leeway. The army of the unemployed grows. The education level is low. Many Chinese feel that they have been abandoned by the system, are confused by the contradictions of society and are in search of meaning which charlatans provide cheaply.
By 1997 the government already kept a "white book" of "harmful organizations." "Several of the leaders of such pseudo-religions pervert religious doctrines, produce heresy, deceive the masses, reject state laws and regulations of obedience, and incite the people to destroy the government."
In an unusual gesture, Minister President Zhu Rongji received representatives of the movement who asserted that they were not members of a religious sect, but of teachings for the cultivation of body and mind. With similarities to the Qigong traditional Chinese breathing exercises for abdominal training they also give the appearance of a harmless health movement.
However, anybody who reads the teachings of their Master Li Hongzhi, who lives in New York, will come to a different conclusion. He helps himself freely to Buddhism and Taoism. He preaches that Jesus was also a Buddha. Li Hongzhi has bestowed upon his adherents a rotating "wheel of the law" (Falun) made out of supernatural energy which is supposed to be able to cure illnesses, among other things. Tuberculosis disappears; gray hair turns black anew. Medicine is only needed by he who does not properly believe, says the Master.
Li Hongzhi demands unconditional obedience. "In regards to your cultivation you need a master who protects you and cares about you." His adherents are supposed to read his "Book of Heaven" and buy his sound and video cassette records. Society in engaged in moral decay. Suffering is not accidental; it is kharma - fate determined by a previous life. Outbreaks of disease are said to be "a black wave, a dense mass of kharma which rolls hither and yon. Because of this, the spirit must be purified.
His teachings are openly racist. Each race is said to have its own "biosphere." Mixed-race offspring are said to be "defective persons" who appear in times of decay. Even heaven is said to be divided up according to skin color. "Anybody who does not belong to his race will not be cared for. I do not just say that. It is really true. I am revealing the secret of heaven to you," announced the Master.
dpa lw xx dv
261214 Apr 99
April 27, 1999
How Master Li channels cosmic energy
The spiritual Chinese leader Li Hongzhi wants to save humanity. The government in Peking is shocked.
by Kai Strittmatter, Peking
What kind of times are these? Morals are trod underfoot; people succumb to evil. "Nowadays," remarks the Master, "long-haired people who look like neither a man nor a woman and scream "Ah, Ah" loudly are made by TV into stars." That is what kind of times these are: "Humanity is in decline." However, Master Li Hongzhi brings enlightenment. He has given the world Falun Gong, a mixture of Buddhism and the practices of traditional Chinese Qigong, the art of healing by breathing.
One may visualize the shock of the Chinese communists. Li's movement is not yet seven years old and has already shown the regime its muscles. More than 15,000 people camped out on Sunday at the largest demonstration since the 1989 Tianenmen massacre at China's center of power, Zhongnanhai. They demanded an end to slander and persecution by China's press and police, and the official recognition of Falun Gong. The demonstrators were exceedingly well organized; they even had their own guides. Only Li Hongzhi was not there - he has been in the USA since 1994.
What little is known about the 47 year old Li stems from his childhood biography, which does not spare the legendry. According to it, Li, at four years old, came into the care of diverse Buddhist and Taoist masters in his homeland in northeast China, where he was trained in sword fighting and steeled by supernatural powers. One time, his adherents relate, Li left his school knapsack in a classroom which had been locked - he ran through glass in order to get it back.
Today, says Li, he knows the "truth of the cosmos" and the future of humanity. The future looks bleak except for those who purify themselves with Falun Gong (translated: "The cultivation of the dharma wheel") and who work to achieve a higher plane. In 1993 Li published the book "Das Dharmarad drehen" ["Turning the dharma wheel"], which became a bible to the rapidly growing group of adherents. The movement maintains that it has 100 million disciples today, 70 million of them in China. Li's success is an index for the spiritual vacuum which reigns in China since socialism has cleared the path for chaos, avarice and corruption.
The Falun Gong disciples insist that they are not running a religion, they are not superstitious, that they are only seeking "self-fulfillment." "Truth, goodness and long-suffering" are the most esteemed values; enlightenment and a higher existence in a different world are sought after. "I would like meaning in life," stated a female demonstrator on Sunday, "and health." Li Hongzhi maintains that he cures illnesses and plants a "dharma wheel" in the underbelly of his disciples which, without interruption, shovels cosmic energy into their bodies - the fast path to salvation. In the meantime, a "protective cape" protects the disciples from demons.
Master Li does not regard himself in any way as unique. "The master enchanter, David Copperfield," he wrote in his book, "is a great master of supernatural powers."
No, they do not want to see their names in the paper, said the 50 year old Chinese woman who brought the first Swiss Falun Gong circle into existence two and a half years ago. The teachings of Master Li follow three maxims: there is no cult with a guru and no hierarchy - that is why it is not worth mentioning their names - joining is not connected with any sort of obligation, and the instruction is basically free. At the most, collections are taken up to pay the rent of the local practice. In the meantime the Swiss Falun Gong association counts ten practicing groups and about 500 members. Li Hongzhi's work is available in French, and in German under the title of "Falun Gong - Der Weg zur Vollendung" ["Falun Gong - The Path to Perfection"]. Last September the Master visited today's congregation. He would not even let them pay for his expenses when he flew in to appear before 1,000 UNO functionaries in Geneva. That was told by the female Chinese doctor who studied traditional Chinese medicine at the University of Lausanne before she put herself at the service of Falun Gong. For free. Li's teachings were really nothing new for her, she said. Just a user friendly synthesis of old Buddhist and Taoist knowledge. (mak)