Bonn (ots) - On the occasion of the presentation of the International Charlemagne Award by the City of Aachen to U.S. President Bill Clinton, Karen Bagge, USA expert from Amnesty International stated:

"The presentation of the Charlemagne Award to Bill Clinton for his merits in Europe has a bitter aftertaste. The Charlemagne Award and the death penalty do not go together. The United States of America, with its death penalty politics, would have no chance of being accepted into the European Union or into the Council of Europe.

Amnesty International expects that the German politicians will make their negative attitude towards the death penalty clear in their meetings with the U.S. President and demand that Clinton act to bring about the repeal of the death penalty.

There are currently more than 3,600 people on death row in the USA. Last year 98 people were executed. That is the highest number since 1951. This year there have already been 38 executions.

At the same time, social acceptance of the death penalty in the USA is declining, since the Governor of Illinois, after numerous mistakes by the justice department, called for a moratorium on executions. There is also serious debate about the death penalty in other states."

Doomsday mood with sects

with upcoming 2000 millennium change

Bonn, Germany
December 16, 1999

by Klaus Holetschek, MP
Sect commissioner of CDU/CSU Parliamentary faction

The 2000 year change can elicit a feeling of doomsday for a few sects and lead to completely irrational behavior. Relatives who have had the suspicion that someone close to them could be a member of a sect are advised to be particularly attentive in the next few weeks and, as the case may be, get in touch with a sect counselling center to get more detailed information about specific groups.

One can recognize sects by their ideas of the world, their group structure and their external relations. The world ideas of a sect are frequently marked by exclusivity, i.e., a closed worldview which permits no questioning, and by simplification, i.e., living life according to a clear friend-enemy schema.

Most sects exhibit quite a definite group structure which includes the following characteristics: the group is closed; there are clear borders between "insiders" and outsiders. A strong pressure to conform exists which makes leaving the group difficult. A strong degree of authority exists inside of the group; at its top is a "superperson" (guru) who is idealized by the membership. Characteristics of the external relations of a sectarian group are a strong awareness of the mission of the group, deliberate disinformation from the group on its goals and methods, also sometimes opportunistic recruitment methods.

If a sect membership is suspected, relatives and friends should stay calm, not break off contact with the sect victim and seek assistance from a sect counselling center.

Mass Murder in Jonestown

On November 18, 1978, 912 people were murdered in Jonestown, Guyana, 276 children among them.

Today it is still being called mass suicide.

Bonn, Germany
November 16, 1999
"AGPF - Aktion für Geistige und Psychische Freiheit e.V., Bonn"
Campaign for Intellectual and Psychic Freedom, Inc., Bonn
Address of original German page: last updated: 16.11.99

The world was shocked in 1978. So much, that there was hardly any mention of it in the regular media. Obviously, most of the journalists could not conceptualize that over 900 people - most of them Americans - had been murdered.

Therefore the mass murder was re-defined into a mass suicide.

By doing that, the victims were declared to be perpetrators.
No mention was made of the children.

The first time I read a number for the murdered children was 1991. The daughter of the murdered congressional Representative Leo Ryan quoted the number in a letter to the editor which was printed in USA Today, a daily paper, on July 2, 1991. It also said: "The victim is guilty": blaming the sect victims.

On American cable television (A&E, Arts and Entertainment), a show was announced in an "Investigative Reports" about sects for November 9, 1999, "Jonestown - Murder or suicide?"

From: AGPF bulletin 9/98 : 20 years ago: Mass Murder in Jonestown. AGPF gives reason for mass murder in Jonestown

"On November 18, 1978, 912 people were murdered in Jonestown, Guyana, 276 children among them.

In the People's Temple sect settlement, children were often regarded as slaves, separated from their parents, who they had to spy and inform on for reward. Children over six years old had to perform hard physical labor for 11 hours a day, at temperatures up to 96 degrees. As punishment, children were thrown into a dark pit after they had been told that snakes were down there. They were locked in wooden boxes measuring 5 x 3 x 3.5 feet. They had their teeth knocked out in public beatings. Sect founder Jim Jones looked on as this occurred. Children had electrodes fastened to their arms and had electric currents put through them. Two six year olds who had attempted to run away had balls and chains welded to their ankles. Children were sexually abused, even by Jim Jones himself.

*Margaret Singer described this. She has been employed with the University of Berkeley in the USA for 30 years on the topic of sects as a professor of psychology. She described her visit to the cemetery in Oakland, where 406 of the victims were buried. She described a memorial service in which Stephan Jones, the son of Jim Jones, and Patrician Ryan, the daughter of U.S. Congressman Leo J. Ryan, one of the first people murdered in Jonestown, had participated. He had taken part in an investigation of the Moon sect which had been closed the same year. The report on it, the Fraser Report, was published several days before his murder. Based on what he had learned, Ryan took the complaints of sect members' relatives seriously. Ryan was visiting the sect settlement; several of the occupants had wanted to travel with him back to the USA; for Jim Jones that was cause to carry out his long planned mass murder and to use the cyanide which had been obtained a long time before.

Patricia Ryan later became the chairperson of CAN, the most important assistance organization for those harmed by sects. Since then, CAN has been sued into bankruptcy. In the bankruptcy proceedings, Scientology adherents bought the name and now run "Sect Counselling" (see AGPF bulletin 8/96 and 7/97)

*Thaler Singer und Lalich:
Cults in our midst.
Forward: Robert Jay Lifton. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1996, c1995, ISBN 0-7879-0266-7 (paperback), 0-7879-0051-6 (hardcover)

Of course, I am aware that some of the victims knew of the planned deed. The degree to which this plan was taken seriously is not known. That fact is:

The victims had no other choice than to swallow the poison or be shot.
Very few people survived the massacre by escaping.

Ingo Heinemann
[contact info given on original German page]

Many seminars do not deliver what they promise

Bonn, Germany
October 18, 1999
Die Welt

Bonn - Hans Eicher is a little bit frustrated. He collects prospectuses and promotional letters from providers of continuing education. Over 3,000 of them have been sent to him over a period of six years. His statement: "I am disappointed by the quality of many trainers and instructers," said Eicher, personnel developer at Porsche Austria.

Eicher believes that at least every other one has insufficient training or too few qualifications: "Anybody can open up a business tomorrow as a personnel trainer." And: "There are too many subjects offered which are of no use." Eicher has few good words left over for what he calls "guru methods." "If someone gets up the courage in one of these training sessions to let a black widow spider run across his naked body, then that no longer has anything to do with manager motivation. That is sheer contempt of humanity." Running through hot coals or shards of glass without feeling any pain is meant to put the participants of these exercises into a euphoria. But Eicher disputes their practical use in the workaday world.

How does it happen, then, that the gurus and the providers which Eicher classifies as unprofessional are, nevertheless, doing business? Because these offers continue to be scheduled by employers who do not take their work seriously, and who indiscriminately purchase continuation courses and training, personnel developer Eicher criticizes his colleagues. "Often what is bought is what the board of directors likes, or whatever is in the newspaper or whatever sounds good." "Development manager, not training boy - that is the role of understanding for a successful employee," wrote Eicher in the album of continuing education managers. All things are measured according to the goal of providing the company with suitable resources for the creation of value. According to this, the success of training should be gauged according to these questions: Will more be sold? Have costs gone down? Has customer satisfaction increased? Has throughput time decreased? Could sick time be lessened? Is the rate of innovation going up? Has productivity improved? A continuing education measure which has not had a better effect here is not suited for the purpose of a business. This is also how continuing education control can be understood. Quality control has the mission of measuring training in regard to the obtainment of a goal.

The fact that this many people have sit in this many seminar chairs for such a length of time is not, by itself, a measure of performance for the continuing education department," Eicher stated. He discounts the counting of participant-days just as much as he does the widely used method of measuring the success of a seminar by passing out surveys after the seminar which ask questions about the degree of participants' satisfaction. Any halfway gifted trainer is in the position to steer his presentation in such a way that he receives the desired applause at its finish. The decisive factor, though, is not the loudness of the applause, but the degree to which knowledge had grown and the change in behavior after the training. axg.

Sects do not flinch from children

CDU/CSU Press Release

For World Children's Day on September 20, 1999

Bonn, Germany

September 17, 1999 CDU/CSU

by Klaus Holetschek

Initiated in 1954 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, World Children's Day is on September 20, 1999. For the occasion, the CDU/CSU Federal Assembly faction for "So-called Sects and Psychogroups," Klaus Holetschek, MP:

In the Federal Republic of Germany, from 100,000 to 200,000 children and youth grow up in so-called sects or psychogroups. These children are dependent upon their parents for education, and have been placed, without their consent, under the various influences of these communities.

The problems which arise for children in sects and psychogroups are very diverse. Often they have their roots in the specific socialization of the children. For instance, by sounding the alert as to the end of the world or as to demons, somel sects produce fear which often follows the children their whole lives. In some groups there are training concepts which thwart the development of criticism or the ability to handle conflict, and even which do not flinch at the use of physical violence. Others deliberately keep children from democratic behavior, since they reject democratic structures. In several groups, children and young adults live without family bonds. There are also sects in which children are abused. For instance, one woman who left a sect reported that her two year old child had to "meditate" from ten to twelve hours a day with blindfolded eyes. The traumatic experiences of the child necessitated therapy after the mother departed the sect.

Many sects are closed systems with absolute claims in which any form of "cross-thinking" is regarded as unhealthy. Natural development of children is not permitted. Children are the weakest members of our society, and therefore have claim to special protection. Unfortunately, we still know altogether too little about the situations of children and young adults in sects. In order to make up for this deficiency, more research and advancement in research is necessary in this area, as is a problem-specific continuing education of trainers and teachers.

Parliament should keep its eye on sects

Bonn, Germany
July 13, 1999
taz Nr. 5884

Bonn (epd) - The sect experts would like the German Parliament to renew their discussion of new religious communities and world view groups. Twelve experts from the areas of science, church and society say that the final report of the Enquete Commission's "Sects and Psychogroups" which was presented in May 1998 should once again be introduced into parliamentary discussion. The letter's signers, who were all members of the "Sects Enquete," expressed their regret that the Commission's report, outside of one session, had not been taken into consideration. Even though it was said that there is no danger in general from sects and psychogroups, individual groups have exhibited a high potential for conflict.

Sect Commission accuses politicians of being unwilling to act

Bonn, Germany
July 13, 1999
Frankfurter Rundschau

Bonn/Berlin (kna). Sect experts are afraid that all the work of Parliament's Sects Enquete Commission will be thrown in the wastepaper basket. One year after the presentation of the final report, the recommendations of the Commission have not been widely discussed by the politicians responsible, criticized the Commission's experts on Monday. They asked German Parliament President Wolfgang Thierse and the party chiefs to take up the proposals.

In the final report the Commission had recommended a federal-states-foundation on the theme of sects as well as a law for commercial life management assistance.

Bonn, Germany
June 30, 1999


From herbal cough medicine to leech therapy: the effective of alternative medicine remains controversial, and Fischer wants medicine rated according to "therapeutical use"

by Andrea Hentschel

Bonn, June 30 (AFP) - Whether it's herbal cough drops or leech therapy: alternative methods of treatment are finding more followers. According to a statement by the National Professional Association of Pharmaceutical Producers in Bonn, more than four billion marks exchanged hands last year on the prescription-free market just for herbal remedies alone. Federal Health Minister Andrea Fischer (Green Party) now wants the alternative medicines rated in a health reform move by putting them on a positive rating list - provided that therapeutical use has been adequately proved. The coffers of health care would then have to be used to offset the costs. The effects of Baldrian and Saint-John's-Wort have long been known, however there is dispute over the effectiveness of many other natural medicaments. Critics primarily point out the lack of scientific proof.

Unconventional therapies are mainly offered for chronic complaints like migraines, allergies, or conditionally psychic illnesses, but also as accompanying treatment for cancer. Even if the actual effectiveness is unclear in many cases - many patients regard their own positive experience as proof enough of success. "The demand for alternative medical treatment has increased enormously," affirmed Bernd Schmidt of the Community Interest of Medical Practitioners. The number of experts who may practice alternative methods has doubled in the past ten years to 20,000. "Patients wish to have natural means without side-effects," Schmidt believes.

Homeopathic, herbal and anthroposophical medicines are permitted in Germany as "remedies of special schools of therapy." In contrast to traditional medicine, besides scientific findings on effectiveness, many years of experience are taken into consideration in their review. According to the National Institute for Medical Remedies and Products, there are presently about 6,000 herbal remedies in use. For instance, traditional healing plants like thyme and coltsfoot are supposed to alleviate coughs, caraway [or is it cumin: "Kuemmel"] is supposed to fight infections and goosefoot is supposed to stabilize hormone levels. The industry uses about 400 plants in the production of so-called phytopharmaceuticals. However, most of the herbal remedies have hardly been tested for toxic effects, reports the Foundation for the Testing of Goods. In long-term use, several could even have considerable side-effects.

There is also dispute about homeopathic and anthroposophical medicinal cures. Anthroposophists want to use their method of healing to level out the imbalances in the body to set free the power of self to cure. The most well-known remedy of this school of therapy is mistletoe, which is also used for cancer. According to studies, though, it is hardly likely that heavily diluted extract of mistletoe restricts the growth of tumors.

Medical practitioners assume that many homeopathic remedies have a placebo effect, and they are used on chronic illnesses and immune deficiencies. Homeopaths continue to treat about seven million people a year. The concept that homeopathic substances are essentially so strongly diluted so as to cause no harm is false, in the experts' opinion. For instance, substances such as arsenic and quicksilver could poison the body over a long period of time.

Critics also point out the lack of proof in leech therapy ["creek-blood therapy"], which has many adherents. Extracting blood is said to help people in times of psychic crisis and difficult life situations. Just in Hamburg alone there are about 900 therapists registered. Proponents of alternative methods of treatment do not attach any significance to scientific proof. "More more important for the treatment is the centuries of practical knowledge," is how healing practitioner Schmidt puts it.