No empty accusations
A film on the "reformatories"
of the Scientologists
From: "Frankfurter Rundschau"
February 25, 1999
by Gitta Dueperthal
"Missing in Happy Valley?", Suedwest television, 10.16 p.m.
"Like in prison. Get up, everybody get up, wash, get dressed, all in ten minutes. Then you're standing outside and shivering all over. Early morning it is ice cold. Everyone in a row. They count off like in jail to make sure nobody has taken off. They tell you what your work is today. 20 minutes to eat and then off in the bus to work in the headquarters."
One might think that this would be the description of the daily routine in a prison camp. Not at all, much more of the same conditions of a so-called Scientology rehabilitation center are described by Jesse Prince, former second man in the Scientology management. The camp with the pleasant sounding name (Happy Valley) is found on the edge of the desert in the USA, two hours drive out of Los Angeles. Gerry Armstrong, former coordinator of the Scientology secret service as well as confidante, at the time, of organization founder L. Ron Hubbard, also had lasting experiences with the Rehabilitation Project (RPF): "I was the first prisoner here in Clearwater. The very first. The people there are genuine prisoners." Even if Scientology asserts that the people are there voluntarily. "A program of reconciliation" is offered there for people who have committed mistakes. That is the view of Marlene Getanes, Scientology spokesperson in Europe.
Authors Ina Brockman and Peter Reichelt worked for fourteen months and assiduously researched their explosive documentary. Their film goes to the core of the matter; their topic is the "reformatories" of the Scientologists. They show revealing pictures of the repressive methods of the organization. They succeeded, for the first time, in photographing a group of people at work in such an "establishment." "Even old women are exploited for this work in temperatures of 110 degrees in the shade - their daily wage, $1.50," it states in the film. He waited for days in order to get these pictures of the renovation of the Fort Harrison Scientology hotel, according to Peter Reichelt. "Because as soon as public are sighted there - a whistle sounds and the people disappear." The Scientologists are not exactly bashful with journalists, either, as can be clearly seen in the film.
ABC, the US broadcaster, has already made this into a 60 minute special. What's special about this film is that in spite of the adventurous and dangerous conditions of the research, the film is not just one empty accusation after another. Every assertion is proved with documents. The authors asked uncomfortable questions and carried out thoughtful discussion with relatives. There was something about the case of Wiebke Hansen, one of the most successful Scientology managers worldwide, who disappeared overnight in 1995 from Hamburg. After a missing persons complaint was filed by her brother, she reported in to the police; with that the case was formally closed, because she could no longer be counted as missing. Hansen's brother had to finally accept that it had been her own decision to subject herself to this "reactionary, authoritative mechanism." The film does not goad emotions and does not use cheap effects, rather, it discusses its theme seriously, in an indifferent manner.
From: "Frankfurter Neue Presse", Lokales
August 21, 1998
Letter to the Editor
In response to: "Sect Demonstration for 'Religious Freedom' in Germany." SPD Representative Michael Paris was quoted as saying that it was a scandal that such a gathering could take place in front of the Old Opera. We were there, and we were appalled:
It had to do with the children who had wanted to take part in the vacation plays at the Old Opera being seriously hindered by the noise and the broadcast of Scientology announcements. One of the plays had to be cancelled. A demonstration for "religious freedom" at the expense of other's freedom contradicts itself.
Unthinkable for anybody else: the management of the Scientology demonstration unabashedly indulged themselves by blocking the fire lanes at the Old Opera!
C.K. P.S., Frankfurt
(c) Frankfurter Neue Presse 1998
From: "Frankfurter Neue Presse"
August 11, 1998
Religious freedom is one of the most valuable commodities of humanity. Every form of suppression always begins with the censorship of belief.
Yesterday in Frankfurt, several thousand persons demonstrated for "religious freedom." They were adherents of the Scientology church, the organization whose dangerous influence, as sect commissioners warn, has already begun to extend into politics, associations and businesses. Brainwashing, psychological terrorism, defamation, spying on citizens and commercial exploitation are trademarks of the fanatic salvation ideology of the psycho-sect. It mostly appears wearing silent soled shoes. Yesterday it marched boldly under the protective cover of the martyr of the Old Opera house in order to demand the right to "religious freedom" for itself.
They had taken the freedom to demonstrate - including the a rally in front of the opera house. How is it possible that a legally notorious organization which is under surveillance by domestic intelligence, which according to the Federal Labor Court is not a church, but a commercial enterprise, may claim this right for themselves?
Thousands of people have moved to Frankfurt involuntarily - people who left their country because of persecution for their beliefs. They left goods and possessions behind, and have suffered in body and spirit. To them, the Scientology demonstration is a cynical insult.
copyright Frankfurter Neue Presse 1998
May 21, 1999
Frankfurter Rundschau Politik
What's certain is that the Constitutional Security agency knows how to make its money on the theme of Scientology
by Reinhard Voss
It wasn't that long ago that leading politicians were trying to outdo each other in warning the public about the Scientology sect. They gave the impression that a criminal syndicate was just about to take over power in the republic. The public response was enormous: there was hardly a talk show which did not devote a show to this theme. And how many forms were filled out - until finally the Interior Ministers of nation and states, with the exception of Schleswig-Holstein, agreed in 1997 to have the sect looked into by Constitutional Security.
And now this result: the allegedly billion dollar empire which was supposed to have been on the verge of poisoning the hearts and brains of people right here at home, did not have, as claimed, 30,000, but "only" a measly 5,000 members. Many of them must have been terrific PR people. Nevertheless, the secret agents from Constitutional Security found out surprisingly quickly that the discrepancy between claim and reality was "especially noticeable." And that their commercial power was "worse than supposed," Constitutional Security reassured us, without, however, naming real figures.
Does this mean the end of hysteria? Duesseldorf Interior Minister Fritz Behrens made the best out of the findings and smartly asserted that first the intensive discussion about the sect's allegedly unstoppable rise would have to die down. That may be. But one thing is sure, Constitutional Security knows how to make its money in this line of work.