How Renate Hartwig helped Ursula Caberta, again and again

Joe Cisar

March 11, 2004

Two years ago, an American translation called "Bob Minton, the man who fell over," of an article authored by Frank Nordhausen in Berlin, Germany, appeared on the Internet. It stated that American Bob Minton had changed sides, and was now aligned with Scientology. This was not a total surprise to those who had been following the newly arisen situation.

Back in 1995, American Scientologist Lisa McPherson died in a Scientology hotel in Clearwater, Florida. In 1997, Minton started giving the lawyer handling the case against Scientology money for expenses. By 2002, Minton apparently decided this lawyer was more interested in collecting his money (more than 1 or 2 million dollars, depending on who you believe) than he was in concluding the case. It was suspected that the lawyer could make more money losing the McPherson case than winning it. Minton is widely cited as calling the lawyer was a "liar and a thief," in a court of law, no less. In this regard, it certainly appeared that Minton and Scientology were in full agreement.

Nevertheless, there were some inconsistencies about this viewpoint of Minton and Scientology being of a single mind, not least of which included court documents anonymously leaked to the Internet (see webbed, anonymously posted, affidavits of Bob Minton and Stacy Brooks, for instance) before the case was concluded, without the judge's knowledge or consent. While leaking documents is not necessarily illegal, it is the gray zone traditionally reserved in the critic world for Scientology founder Hubbard's Black PR practitioners. Moreover, in 2004, two years after the event, it does not appear that Minton has adhered to the policies of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. For instance, Minton did not write "Die Schattenspieler" with renowned author Renate Hartwig, which condemns the German OPC agency for mishandling the case of Scientology. Neither did Minton go to Belgium with German scholar Gerhard Besier to praise the Scientologists for their efforts in the area of human rights. Minton did not trump up charges to wage a war the Internet, nor did he leak court documents meant to create bias against them. In other words, while Minton and Scientology were in full agreement at one point, that was an isolated case.

The first paragraph of "The Man who Fell Over" provides a clue. Mr. Minton gave 10 million dollars of his own money and years of his own time to tell his story. Here is a related story about Renate Hartwig, who also received more than just a little push from the anti-cult nest.

"The Woman who Fell Over."

Over three years before Bob Minton announced to lawyer Ken Dandar that he was offering Scientology a settlement, Renate Hartwig published her "Robin Direkt Report extra" magazine, entitled "Das Kartell der Experten, Goetter der Aufklaerung?", ("The Cartel of Experts, Gods of Information?"). Renate Hartwig is quite a character, who is also a talented author. The cover of this particular 1999 "Robin Direkt extra" magazine, for instance, refers to the "Augean stables." According to classical mythology, those are the stables in which King Augeas kept 3,000 oxen, and which had not been cleaned out in 30 years. Hercules managed to clean the stables by diverting the river Alpheus through them. The quote on the magazine cover is by Heinrich Heine, and goes something like this, "The world is a giant stable that cannot be cleaned as easily as the Augean stables, because while it is being cleaned up, the oxen remain inside and are continually producing more dung."

In some respects, Mrs. Hartwig's gift is also sort of a drawback when it comes to certain areas, such as passing on her information in a generic fashion. Therefore, this account of her narrative presents the information in the above-mentioned magazine in a much less gifted and less detailed way than Mrs. Hartwig would. Reasons for doing this include smoother reading and to better fit in with the ongoing presentation. For instance, "The Man who Fell Over" is actually a mistranslation with regards to the German word "umfallen," which means "to fall flat" in the literal sense. That means physically going from the vertical to the horizontal position. "Umfallen" in the figurative sense, as it is used in the title of the article, is perjorative slang. An English equivalent would be to call a person a "rat." It is an insulting term in German, and it was not publicized in this manner in the German media before it was used on the American, Bob Minton. Therefore, for the sake of the majority who have no need for specialized information, literary fine points such as these will be trimmed.

"The Cartel of Experts, Gods of Information?"


On her introductory page, Mrs. Hartwig states that she is presenting a summary of internal and external methods of procedure used by critics of Scientology. This would not be a surprise to her readers, as prior to this Mrs. Hartwig had been complaining about the ineffectiveness of the critics for years. "Robin Direkt" was founded around 1990, and in January 1992, at a meeting with the Justice Ministry in Stuttgart, though, Hartwig was still apparently under the impression that "The government, together with the people who had been dealing on this [cult] theme for years, would soon get the situation in hand." When she wrote the article in 1999, however, she saw how far off the mark they were back in those days. According to Hartwig, the high point of the fight against Scientology occurred back in the 1980s, with the most important element being that Scientology had not been able to silence critics with its legal attacks. One such culmination of this was in 1991, when, in a court case, Dr. Keltsch, formerly the Munich State Attorney, documented the operational methods, mechanizations and the considerable "criminal energy" the Scientology organization expended in efforts to silence its critics.

With such a court case on the books, many were optimistic that Scientology would soon be taking its last few gasps of air in the Federal Republic of Germany. This sense of impending doom for Scientology happens regularly in the USA, too, such as with the federal convictions back in the 1980s, along with the Wollersheim lawsuit, the broadcast of OT3 over the Internet in the 1990s, and the still pending wrongful death case against Scientology in the 2000s.

In any case, Hartwig wrote that by 1993 it was clear to her that Scientology's demise was not imminent. The government had done what it was required to do and was content to maintain the status quo. She was faced with the same problem everyone else was: Scientology on the one hand, and the government bureaucracy on the other. Nevertheless, she was convinced that Scientology could be stopped only with state measures. Of course, the state was only as good as the people who ran it, and that, according to Hartwig, was key to the issue. Those in charge of the situation must have the public good in mind, which is how they are justified in spending tax money. They also must possess a certain moral fiber and character. It appears with this issue of the magazine, Hartwig intended to make a connection between the continued existence of Scientology in Germany and a deficiency in the moral fiber of state personnel.

Theory and Practice section

In this section, Hartwig says she observed in 1994, after the publication of her first book, "Scientology - ich klage an," a good-ole-boys network within the critic community that looked like it used the similar structures and mechanisms to the ones it was supposedly fighting against. She tried to ignore this, but in her ongoing discussion with lawyers, doctors, etc., she eventually came to realize that her pre-conceived ideas about the "Scientology expert scene" were entriely off-track. It occured to her that there were many other people in her country who retained the same pre-conceived notions she once had about how their hard-earned tax-dollars were being spent.

The way Hartwig posed the problem, taxpayers' money should be spent when there is a certain need, for instance, when problems arise as a result of a family member being a member of a sect. So what were the supposed experts doing with taxpayers' money? This is the path Hartwig was to pursue. Meanwhile, because of her book and her agency, she continued to receive letters from the German public seeking advice on cult problems. One complaint about the state agency's handing of Scientology was that they were prohibitted from naming names. That means there was no Scientology black list being distributed by the government, nevertheless, that is what people were concerned about. Therefore they had to turn to non-State agencies, such as Hartwig's, for which a fee is expected in certain situations. So even though people had already paid once in taxes, they had to pay again in private to find out if they were dealing with Scientologists or not. If the state agencies were not helping out the public, what could they be doing? In this magazine, Hartwig offers us a look behind the scenes.

A Look Behind the Scenes

According to Hartwig, there is a lot going on behind the scenes that does not have to do with informing the public about the danger of cult activity. The first priority, Hartwig found, was to present as untarnished image of self as possible to the public, then throw in a few useless tidbits about cults to justify the expense. Again according to Hartwig, eradication of cults would be a self-defeating measure in this department. Rather the experts are busy continually reinventing the rules for their own little group, and this struggle for power creates a hierarchy. Rather than discussion, this nurtured an environment of sameness. Everybody in this area allegedly strove to be on the same side and have the same objectives. Nevertheless the individual components of this group, according to Hartwig, had neither a common goal, a common strategy, nor even a desire to perform productive work through cooperation, of the sort that was required for the regular flow of informational work.

Instead of productive work, constant war was being waged. People were being marginalized, defamed, censored and so forth. Hartwig noted that this was in contradiction to the purported purpose of the group, which was to notify the public of the dangers of this sort of activity, of the sort that is normally associated with cults.

According to Hartwig, those who refuse to submit to this form of empty legitimacy were themselves excluded from the group and subjected to the same mechanisms the group was supposedly warning the public about. The goal of this was no different from that of cults in that it included total control of information and the eradication of dissenters. The instructions of L. Ron Hubbard with regard to critics could be easily applied to the situation, with regard to "find or manufacture enough incriminating material so that they must sue for peace ..." Hartwig wrote that the Scientology definition of ethics, in so far as "removing counter-intentions from the environment" is concerned, was applied not only by Scientology, but by its critics as well.

Take a Position

In this article, Renate Hartwig notes that she has taken far too long to publish the facts and the proof of the assertions she is making in this magazine. Anyone who reads her material is, of course, free to make up their own minds about it. She is not going to keep it quiet any longer and opts for public discussion. This was necessary, she believed, because the public were without any protection whatsoever from manipulative organizations, and they had a right to know about the deceptive methods being employed in this manipulation. This was especially the case if these destructive methods were being employed by their own state agencies.

Personal experience with the Applied Religious Philosophy of surveillance

Back in August 1991, life changed for Renate Hartwig and her entire family, when they were put under surveillance by Scientology. She reported that she personally experienced the effects of Hubbard's applied religious philosophy. There were also unusual misdeeds that happened in her vicinity that were never solved. This included injuries inflicted upon her pets. Hartwig noted that some time after these incidents, her accounts of animal cruelty were used to ridicule her. Ironically, this was not done only by the Scientologists.

Hartwig is aware that Scientology was collecting information on her during that timeframe. She collected information on her observors as well. She named two Scientologists from Stuttgart, one of which she said had previously worked for the Stuttgart LKA (FBI) for 15 years.

Eventually the stakes were upped and the Hartwig children were affected. There is no evidence that the Scientologists had a causal relationship with some legal difficulty her 14-year-old boy was involved with. In any case, the charge of defacing a statue of Jesus was dropped.

The Scientologists nevertheless got access to the legal files of a minor, however, because in 1995 a flyer appeared which contained the fact that the Hartwig boy was charged. Naturally, as Hartwig noted, they forget to mention that the charge was dropped. Instead, from then on her son was repeatedly referred to as the "Jesus-statue defacer."

Hartwig also reported that the Scientologists hired outside help to go after her. She mentioned a private detective who contacted her on the pretext that he had moral objections to what she was doing. As a matter of fact, he even had a little dossier that contained all sorts of interesting information, not only about her, but about her friends and relatives. This included people that lived in different parts of the country than she did. A "noisy investigation" on her was being carried out. That means libelous information about her was being spread under the pretext of solving a crime, such as "We are investigating the Renate Hartwig case. Her former husband died in a car accident, and she's been implicated in his murder. Can you give me any sort of information about their marital relations?" The way Hartwig found this out was from the friends that were contacted. Hartwig was reminded of the former East German Stasi.

The Dossier

Hartwig reported that in 1993, a man named Walter Scheele delivered a 23-page dossier on her to the "Bild" newspaper. The "Bild" wouldn't touch it, but gave it to her. Hartwig was appalled at what she read and took it to court to have a restraining order put on the contents of the dossier. She won the case against Mr. Scheele that year, but, as it turned out, Mr. Scheele had disappeared. Nevertheless, the court's decision was legally in effect. Hartwig cleaned up a few loose and, and was relieved that the matter was taken care of. At least it was settled for five years. In 1998 Hartwig was consulted by the editors of the German "Suedwestpresse" news agency. They had received an article about her, and wanted to ask her about it before they published. It turned out it contained libelous information from the dossier. The information came from an attorney named Fuellmich. Mr. Fuellmich said he got the information from the director of the "Arbeitskreis Scientology" in Hamburg. It was already too late, Hartwig noted, as the information had been released in e-mail lists, including those of the "experts" in the anti-Scientology department.

Hartwig observed that the source of the attacks being made upon her shifted - from Scientology to Scientology critics. This wasn't something she noticed immediately, so she was taken by surprise. The reason for this was that the methods of attack were so similar as to be impossible to tell from one another. The instant explanation for this attack was that it was caused by the jealousy of two high-strung females -- Renate Hartwig and Ursula Caberta. Certainly, Hartwig noted, that negative association had never been discouraged by Scientology in the previous five years. As a matter of fact, Hartwig leaned more toward active participation of Scientology in launching the spread of the libelous information about her.

In Retrospect

Once again, we travel back in time to 1993 in Germany. Mrs. Hartwig points out that due, in part, to her efforts to increase the public awareness with regard to the potential danger of Scientology, the Hamburg government created an office inside its Interior Department called the "Arbeitskreis Scientology." In the USA, the Interior Department is the branch of government responsible for taking care of parks. In Germany, however, the government is arranged differently. There the Interior Departments are domestic state intelligence agencies, similar to parts of the FBI or Homeland Security. In any case, the person who became the temporary head of the newly created "Arbeitskreis Scientology" was a German woman named Ursula Caberta.

Ursula Caberta apparently invited private citizens like Hartwig up to Hamburg, and Hartwig says she brought boxes full of documentation she had collected on Scientology up with her. In other words, she provided material assistance to Caberta and Arbeitskreis Scientology. In addition, Hartwig also brought her contacts with her and shared them with Caberta. This included dissatisfied ex-Scientologists and members of their families, whose stories Caberta could use for her office's PR campaign. Public relations is an overt product of an intelligence agency.

Hartwig stated there were some people to whom Caberta supposedly made promises in return for their testimony, who felt as though Caberta had not kept up her part of the bargain. In other words, in telling their stories, they identified themselves in the press or on television, but did not feel afterwards that the risk they took was justified. In the meantime, Caberta could claim she was making headway in fighting Scientology. However, things were still nice and open and people could talk out their problems in this area. All this changed, according to Hartwig, once Caberta's position went from temporary to permanent.

Hartwig stated that the retention of Caberta's position the Hamburg Interior Department was so important, that she put personal differences aside for that reason. Hartwig did not see the clergy, as good of a job as they had done in the past, as having the resources to deal with Scientology. Therefore Hartwig supported Caberta and her job.

Nevertheless, unrest in Hartig's "Robin Direkt" agency grew, due in part, according to Hartwig, to increasing aggressiveness on her agency's government counterpart, the Arbeitskreis Scientology. According to Hartwig, Caberta was not having much luck and was taking it out on her former supporter, Renate Hartwig.

Things brightened up for Hartwig, though, with the release of her first book, "Scientology - Ich klage an," in July 1994. Naturally, it was an expose of Scientology. More importantly, it became an instant bestseller. This was PR coup for Hartwig, and she reveled in the calm before the storm. Scientology was not the only target of her book, however. She also implicated the state in not doing all it could to settle the problem. While she was at it, she also said some things the Catholic Church did not particularly approve of. In this way, Hartwig herself became a target from all sides.

Hartwig could not understand the fuss. With her book, she had informed hundreds of thousands of German-language readers about the harmful practices of Scientology. In one fell swoop, from her point of view, she had done what no church or state agency had every done before. It was incomprehensible to her that any right-thinking individual would not agree with this. Problems people had with her book led to her having to change publishers, but it was still available, as of 1999.

The problems people had with Hartwig's book, however, did not really harm distribution. On the contrary, now the public had additional incentive to buy the "book Scientology doesn't want you to read." In this magazine, Hartwig even published a German version of a letter from Scientology Church President Heber Jentzsch, demanding an apology and so forth. Jentzsch even wrote a letter of protest to His Eminence, Cardinal Francis Arinze in the Vatican. His Eminence reportedly advised President Jentzsch to try his luck with the German Bishops Conference. As a result of this and other similar actions, Hartwig's work became more popular than anything ever written before about Scientology. It turned out, though, that Scientology was not the only group to complain about Hartwig.

By April 1998, the Catholic Diocese of Bamberg issued a letter of warning about Renate Hartwig and her books. Hartwig also noticed resistance to her and her efforts to fight Scientology coming from Ursula Caberta and the German Evangelical Church. Partly because Scientology re-issued warnings about her written by these sources, Hartwig lumped all these critics of her together. Thus, from Hartwig's point of view, the Scientologists and whoever they supported against her were one and the same.

Along with this difficulty, Hartwig was clearly under the impression that ill-gotten and libelous information about her was being distributed throughout the country in October 1998. Hartwig specifies a 1993 bank account statement belonging to her grown child and 1993 bookkeeping and tax documents from her Robin Direkt agency being e-mailed anonymously about the country. This information was allegedly forwarded by sect experts whose job it was to protect the public from the dangerous practices of Scientology. Hartwig was particularly upset that these were the same people who, for the sake of protecting the privacy of the Scientologists, could not give out names of Scientologists to the German public. The point of this was that Scientologists were safe, while her privacy, and the privacy of those close to her, were being infringed upon.

Apparently the German courts were also under the impression that ill-gotten and libelous information about Hartwig was being distributed throughout the country. This had something to do with a German attorney named Dr. Reiner Fuellmich, who was mentioned briefly above.

The only background Hartwig could provide between attorney Fuelmich and herself dated from the early 1990s. Hartwig said she had reported that she had cleared up a rumor about a certain company being Scientologists. That was the Innovatio company, and was the first company in the Federal Republic of Germany to use the "Security declaration" she had helped develop. Apparently attorney Fuellmich showed up and wrote about 500 banks to suggest that perhaps certain named members of company staff were Scientologists. From that point on, said Hartwig, she was fair game as far as attorney Fuellmich was concerned.

In addition to this was the above-mentioned Fuellmich episode. Hartwig said she obtained two court restraining orders against Ursula Caberta in this regard, one against attorney Fuellmich, and another against an ex-Scientologist. At this point, she was without any shadow of a doubt engaged in a full-scale war against critics of Scientology as well as against Scientology.

Brief conclusion

Renate Hartwig was the second person, after American Bob Minton, of whom it was said in the German media that she "fell over." Mrs. Hartwig, however, has consistently appeared against the critics of Scientology for much longer than three years. Despite this, she was not the topic of a 1,500 word article in a prestigious Berlin newspaper, but rated only a private web page. This is despite the fact that so much more information is available to the German media about Mrs. Hartwig than about any American. With this essay, perhaps Americans will no longer be at such a disadvantage in that regard.