Setback in the battle against the Scientology organization
State possibly violated tax privacy law
State Attorney's Office is reviewing the matter
March 3, 2001
Stuttgart - The state administration apparently committed a faux paux, which could have consequences, in its latest sect report.
by Rainer Wehaus
The Stuttgart state attorney's office is currently checking into whether the coverage given on the controversial Scientology Organization would have violated its tax privacy. It was a matter of only one sentence about the Scientology Mission in Heilbronn. This would have been better left unpublished, "After the revenue office communicated that new unpaid taxes existed in significant amount, the state counsel office is currently checking to see if new proceedings to deny commercial operation should be introduced," is what the original version of the report said, as published in the middle of January by the State Assembly. Indeed the sentence, at Scientology's urging, was removed from the report one month later (also because the tax debt had in the meantime been settled), yet the original printed reports have long since been distributed. A ready-made feeding frenzy for the Scientology Organization. It is notorious for dealing harshly with critics. And the "church" has been waiting a long time for the state administration, which has had Scientology under surveillance for years, to make a mistake.
Based on a formal complaint from Scientology, the Stuttgart state attorney's office is currently reviewing whether a founded, initial suspicion exists of violating the tax privacy law and whether it will have to initiate an investigative procedure. It's very possible that things will come to that. Little confidence is found in the legal circles around the state administration. Tax debts are not allowed to be made public, so they say. That means not with Scientology, either. "Tax privacy goes very far and applies alike to both good and bad tax payers," is how one official described the difference between rights and morals. Neither does Hans-Werner Carlhoff (53), who as chairman of the inter-ministerial work group was responsible for the sect report, has much to say on his own behalf. How the sentence got into the report is currently being reviewed, said an official for the Culture Ministry. Surely the government has not deliberately committed a crime. Judicially though, that may hardly be of interest in the eyes of the law. Carlhoff and the Business Ministry, from where the problematic sentence apparently originated, will have to think up a better argument to tell the state attorney's office.
Scientology is everywhere
Spokesman, "The hysteria is gone"
April 11, 2000
Exhibitions about the organization and its founder, information stands, billboard bus and people wearing sandwich boards downtown - the Scientologists currently appear to be everywhere. Is this aggressive presence part of an advertising offensive? Is Stuttgart under increased mission pressure?
by Ludwig Laibacher
The folding partitions, books and brochures from the "What is Scientology?" wandering exhibition have only just been packed in the containers to send to their next stop, and another Scientology exhibition is opening up its doors in the former furniture sales house on Friedrich Street: life and work of the sect founder will be presented until Sunday under the title "L. Ron Hubbard." Hubbard's German publishing house, headquartered in Maschen near Hamburg, is responsible for the show, said Reinhard Egy, spokesman for the organization in Stuttgart. He said everybody can form an image of Hubbard from his science fiction novels or from his articles about flying and ship navigation.
From two to four teams of people acting as walking billboards are underway downtown to give directions to the event. Besides that, members have been giving out information about Hubbard's works since yesterday on Kronprinz Street. It was all completely legal, and the abundance of exhibitions was only a coincidence, said Egy. The information stand downtown is licensed with the Public Codes Office, Stefan Braun, member of Codes Mayor Juergen Beck's staff, confirmed. But only to give directions to the Hubbard exhibition in process. Advertisement for the organization was said to be prohibited in general in the city. It was also said that sandwich men were permitted to walk through pedestrian zones without special permission, as long as they did not talk to or disturb anybody. The Codes Office and the police would keep a close eye on the advertisers' operations, Braun assured. Violations were punishable by fines.
"Unfortunately" things calmed down again after the end of the exhibition, said Egy. "I would have preferred that the second exhibition, which was hosted at the book fairs in London and Leipzig, would have first come to Stuttgart in September." Because of organizational reasons, he said, that had not been possible.
So no big offensive from the Scientologists? Something like that was not at all necessary, the speaker believed. As reported, the Administrative Presidium had failed, for the first time last fall, in its attempt to revoke the organization's association rights. After that wild blow and more "disgrace from Constitutional Security," which Egy said had nothing solid on Scientology, people had found a new self-consciousness. He said that since Constitutional Security repeatedly had to make concessions and that nothing came of many of their accusations, they were really working for the Scientologists: "So many more people notice that the fears being spread are unjustified." He said the demand for auditing courses had doubled within one year. "The big hysteria is gone," said Egy.
Professionals vs. Scientology
September 10, 1999
by Helmut Pusch
Is Scientology just a hollow, greatly over-estimated bogey man? That is what Fritz-Achim Baumann, at least, believes; he is the just retired chief of the State Office for Constitutional Security in Nordrhein-Westfalen.
He now advises against further waste of state undercover resources for the surveillance of Scientologists. Scientology is now said to number just 5,000 in Germany. Even though the organization is said to have undemocratic goals, they are allegedly not being realized. Even though it has allegedly infiltrated business, it was said not to be to a great extent. Ergo, Scientology would not be a case for Constitutional Security, but for sect commissioners, believes Baumann, who thereby runs into a misunderstanding with Helmut Rannacher, his Baden-Wuerttemberg colleague. His office will be releasing a brochure in the next few days which alerts people to Scientology.
The Stuttgart man [Rannacher] has already documented in his 1998 Constitutional Security report that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard not only complained bitterly about democracy, but also that the organization maintains precise instruction which are meant to establish a Scientology state. Scientology even utilizes a secret intelligence service, OSA. OSA's predecessor was dissolved after it became known that its agents had burglarized U.S. agencies in order to manipulate records. Besides that they attempted to incriminate a critic for a crime which she had not committed. Experts believe that OSA continues to operate using the same instructions.
A few days ago in Marseille, 3.5 tons of court files for a case against Scientologists wandered into the shredder. "I do not believe for one second that it was an oversight," said the presiding President of the French National Assembly, Raymond Forni. Moreover, records from a Scientology case had also disappeared in Paris.
How ex-Constitutional Security agent Baumann comes up with a membership number of 5,000 will remain his secret. There are no official membership lists. Besides that the number of members is irrelevant. According to internal strategy documents, the Scientologists have brought the bulk of their activities underground. Business and political power is to be obtained primarily through cover organizations.
For that purpose Scientology has founded its own association: the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (WISE). Their members have the stated mission of increasing the influence of the organization in society. If Baumann asserts that is not happening on a wide scale, that would be evidence of incompetence. Almost all major corporations appear in reference lists of the WISE companies. Only they do not talk about the problems which they have with Scientology. If they did that, they would have to count on having problems with the "Global Players" in the USA. The Scientologists' influence is so great there that neither companies nor the U.S. government object to the Hubbard disciples.
Therefore Scientology pursues goals which are hostile to the Constitution, and employs undercover intelligence methods for that purpose. Keeping it under surveillance is not a job for the sect commissioners of the state churches; it is a case for professionals. Good to know that the Baden-Wuerttemberg officials are keeping a watchful eye on Scientology.
July 9, 1999
With beautiful regularity warnings are distributed, suits are filed or threatened: The Aktion Bildungsinformation apparently does not get along well together with several institutions. But who is helped by that?
The ABI, founded in 1967 as a citizens' initiative of students, hangs out its banner of consumer protection on issues of education. In regards to the ever more popular high school exchange programs to the USA the charitable association has performed important work. It is hard to read between the lines of the contracts, and whoever sends their child to America for ten months should demand the closest possible scrutiny.
However, the review of sheer arbitrariness appears to have weakened in the meantime. A market survey in which several of the largest institutions are missing, is inadequate. And laying the blame to the institutions who did not take part in the incomplete survey is wide-eyed innocence.
It is not so easy to silence critics. The ABI had already made headlines in 1987 by preparing a "pretty good" opinion. Now the accusation appears to quite intentionally paint a "pretty bad" picture of some unfavored companies. These were alleged to have only one purpose, that is to make money.
The goal of Aktion Bildungsinformation was, according to his own deposition is "to inform all citizens about types of schools and methods of education." By this "more gifted children from workers' and farmers' families" were to be helped. Exchange programs have long been the business of competing institutions. Parents who have to fork out almost 10,000 marks for a trip to the USA are not served by sheer idealism. The call for state control is pointing towards a self-realization: the market is getting away from the guardians of education.
Unfortunately the ABI is also carrying on a peculiar kind of consumer protection in another, yet more spectacular theme: it is conducting a crusade against the Scientology Church which, in many specific cases, is the equivalent of creating sheer panic and which has little to do with information. The Scientologists can thank their adversaries at the ABI for publicity which they have not at all earned. And some asserted scandals of which the shady Hubbard fan club have been accused have turned out to have no substance. Making a business out of other people's stupidity - that is the recipe for success of this dianetic improver of the decadent world - is only rarely criminal. And with demonization, the patent recipe of the ABI, the Scientologists are more likely served than harmed. See above: the consumer has little use for this.
by Daniela Mack
From: "Stuttgarter Zeitung"
November 12, 1998
BONN (epd). The Greens have appealed to the Ministry of Interior of states and country not to continue the surveillance of the controversial Scientology organization indefinitely, as planned. Last year the Minister decided to put Scientology under surveillance for one year's duration. The conference of Interior Ministers will decide as to whether the term of the surveillance will be extended this coming week. Further surveillance would be "superfluous, expensive and potentially scandalous," stated Green Representatives Hans-Christian Ströbele and Angelika Köster-Lossack yesterday. The assumption that Scientology puts state order at risk has not been confirmed, said the Greens. The membership was clearly overstated. The consequences were said to be that tax money would be saved and additional embarrassment would be avoided.