Bob Minton and I just spent ten days in Europe. We went to Cologne, Hamburg and Paris. This was the first time representatives of the Lisa McPherson Trust have had a chance to meet our counterparts in other countries. We discussed how we are dealing with the Church of Scientology and how we can coordinate our actions. We discovered that we are all very much in agreement with how the situation must be approached. Bob and I were both disturbed at reports from both Germany and France about actions that have been taken by the United States against those countries for their position on Scientology. We could only conclude from these reports that the Clinton administration has been manipulated into forwarding Scientology's global agenda. Clearly Scientology's strategic plan is to position themselves as the victims of "religious discrimination" wherever they are having trouble and then get the United States to condemn the country involved. Although our visits to Germany and France were brief, it gave us a chance to broaden our perspective beyond the United States and see how our country is being used.
First we had a brief stay in Cologne during which Bob participated in a live television program. The host of the show was Hans Meiser, a well-known television personality in Northern Germany. The others on the show were Dr. Norbert Blum, former minister of labor and a long-term critic of Scientology, and Tanya Neujahr, a former Sea Org member at St. Hill who, at the age of 17, was put in charge of security for several isolation watches (known as "baby watches" in England). Tanya's boss for these isolation watches was a thirteen-year-old girl. Later Tanya tried to escape from St. Hill and was dragged, kicking and screaming, into a room where she was locked up and kept in isolation herself for several days, until she agreed to write up her overts and withholds (O/Ws) and remain at St. Hill.
Also on the show were Sabine Weber, head of OSA in Munich, and two other German Scientologists. Bob had to speak through a translator so he was able to answer Hans Meiser's question about harassment, but he wasn't able to participate in the heated argument that took up most of the show. Dr. Blum was very good at responding to the Scientologists' attempts to portray themselves as victims of religious discrimination. He made it clear that religion has nothing to do with the concerns the German government has about Scientology.
After the television program was over, we took a train with Tanya to Hamburg, where we were met at the station by Ursula Caberta, head of the Scientology task force for the state of Hamburg. It was the first time either of us had met her and it was truly a pleasure. She is a delightful, charming person, extremely perceptive and well-educated about Scientology, and she was a gracious hostess for the duration of our visit to Hamburg. She arranged a press conference so that the German media could have a chance to hear a U.S. perspective on Scientology. Ursula, Bob and I all spoke to a room filled with German media. Several newspaper articles resulted, as well as television spots on the major stations.
The next day we attended a court hearing with Mrs. Caberta, the purpose of which was to determine if Scientology had the right to sue Mrs. Caberta for responding to a number of businesses that had asked her to provide them with a method of protecting themselves from being used by Scientology as a recruitment pool. There are WISE groups in Germany that operate the same way Sterling Management, Hollander Consultants and other so-called business consulting groups do in the United States. They pretend to be offering business consulting to companies - such as dentists, veterinarians or chiropractors - when in fact they are nothing more than front groups for the Church of Scientology to get people to buy Scientology auditing and courses. Mrs. Caberta's task force provided a form for business consulting firms to fill out which discloses to the prospective company whether or not the consulting firm plans to introduce the business technology of L. Ron Hubbard to the prospective company.
Scientology wanted the case dismissed and argued at length about religious discrimination, repeatedly comparing the Scientologists to the Jews under Hitler. However the judge ruled that their suit against Mrs. Caberta should be dismissed because there was no evidence of religious discrimination. A number of newspaper articles were published about this ruling.
After several extremely informative days in Hamburg, we flew to Paris for a meeting arranged by Roger Gonnet with Denis Barthelemy, secretary general of the Mission Interministerielle de Lutte Contre les Sectes, or (forgive my rough translation, Roger!) the interministerial task force against cults. Our meeting with Monsieur Barthelemy went very well and was also extremely informative. Roger also arranged many media interviews for us in Paris. It was a pleasure to have a chance to spend time with Roger, and he was a wonderful host to us while we were in Paris.
Perhaps the most important thing I want to communicate to everyone on a.r.s. is how exciting it is to find out that our counterparts in Germany and France share our perspective about the dangers of Scientology and about what needs to be done about it. We discussed with Ursula Caberta and Denis Barthelemy the importance of separating the belief system from the practices of Scientology. We found that they are in complete agreement that Scientologists are perfectly free to believe in the efficacy of the tech and any other aspect of Scientology they wish to embrace. But they feel strongly, as we do, that no one, including a Scientologist, has the right to violate anyone's civil or human rights or to abuse or deceive anyone for the sake of achieving their own agenda. I think it is also accurate to say that we are all in accord that Scientology is a political movement, and that its current strategy of parading itself as a victim of religious discrimination is nothing more than a transparent ploy. The fact that the United States government is currently forwarding this particular strategy -- whether wittingly or unwittingly -- does not make it true.
The United States government has harshly criticized both the German and the French governments, and it became obvious during our discussions that the criticisms have been extremely unfair. One can only assume that the erroneous information upon which these criticisms have been based has come from either Scientologists or Scientology-paid lobbyists, attorneys or private investigators. Whoever the particular source, it seems clear that the U.S. government is being manipulated and used by Scientology. Bob and I both left Europe with a determination to educate our own government officials about the nature of the cult that is manipulating them. Scientology has no more respect for the U.S. government than they do for any other "wog" government in the world. The only difference is that U.S. government is allowing Scientology to manipulate them while the German and French governments, among others, are not. What our U.S. officials, from President Clinton to the State Department to the legislature, do not realize is that they are nothing but fools as far as David Miscavige and his puppets are concerned. They are only useful to the degree that they are willing to further the Scientology agenda of world domination.
Although Scientology is crying "religious discrimination" in both Germany and France -- just as they are doing in both the criminal and civil cases concerning Lisa McPherson's death in the U.S. -- neither Germany nor France are in any way targeting Scientology for its belief system, any more than the state of Florida is doing so in the criminal case or Lisa's family is doing in the civil case. This cry of "religious discrimination" is simply Scientology's strategy for manipulating the governments and the courts of all three countries.
But "religious discrimination" has nothing to do with what is happening. It is Scientology's abuse and deception, its criminal conduct, harassment and intimidation of its own members and of its critics that is of concern to the German government and the French government, just as these are the concerns of the state of Florida, Lisa McPherson's family, and the Lisa McPherson Trust. What is most disturbing of all is that the U.S. government is not only not doing anything to stop these practices; it is actually protecting Scientology and allowing it to continue its abuse and deception with the government's blessing.
We arrived back in the United States with a determination to change our government's perspective about Scientology, not only for the sake of our own country but also for the sake of the rest of the world. It is imperative that an education campaign be launched to inform all three branches of our government about the true nature of Scientology. We must also educate the United Nations. We must find other organizations whose concerns for civil and human rights will cause them to be interested in learning the truth about Scientology's actual agenda.
We at the Lisa McPherson Trust have been profoundly disturbed at the degree to which Scientology -- through intimidation, threats, harassment and other forms of pressure -- have been able to gain such a large amount of control over the government, police force, the local businesses, and the citizens of Clearwater. This is indeed a frightening level of political corruption in what we are proud to call a free country.
The LMT is determined to halt the acquisition of further corrupt political power by this dangerously abusive and deceptive organization.