"Scientology house: Architect brings charges
Hamburg Old Town: Von Berger built house for controversial organization. Apparently he never received any money.
The Hamburg-based architect, engineer and publicly appointed expert, Georg-Leo von Berger (70) has been kept waiting for over two years. And now he has had enough: 'I'm a victim of Scientology, even though I have never joined this organization,' said von Berger (70). Waterfront GmbH, the company that owns the building on Domstrasse where the Hamburg branch of Scientology is located, apparently still owes him around 100,000 euros. According to von Berger, he has been trying to get his money since 2002. But Waterfront is simply impossible to get hold of. According to the findings of the Hamburg Working Group Scientology, Waterfront is a letter-box company within the network of the Scientology Organization. All attempts to obtain the details of an addressee for his invoices have, according to the architect, been rebuffed.
In 1999 Berger had converted the building purchased by Waterfront in just three months of intensive work. On October 25 that year, half way through the construction phase, the head of Waterfront at the time, Robert Roseman, invited him to his suite at the Vier Jahreszeiten Hotel and informed him that Scientology would be moving into the house -- immediately. During that period Waterfront had an address in the city center -- Baumwall 7. But apparently not even state agencies that tried to enforce penalty payments at that address were successful in their endeavor. Waterfront's address subsequently changed to Domstrasse 9 -- the Scientology house extensively converted by von Berger.
Letters to that address, as von Berger alleges, never reached the right recipient: 'Although the Scientology president was friendly and assured me that she would help me, I have still not been paid. I will now have a notice to pay served on them officially and consult a lawyer so that I can get my money.' Ursula Caberta, head of the Working Group Scientology commented: 'Disguise and deception is typical business conduct for Scientology. The Waterfront corporation is registered in the business index, but there have not been any recent business activities.'
Von Berger, the architect, said: 'I'm ruining my health. I'm forced to carry on working to compensate for the outstanding debts.' When asked about this yesterday, Frank Busch, spokesman for Scientology Hamburg, replied that Scientology Hamburg was merely a tenant and could not make any statement regarding the dispute between Waterfront and von Berger. An accountant in Horb-Altheim (German state of Baden-Wurttemberg) who apparently works for Waterfront, was not available to talk to the Abendblatt yesterday."
Private schools face shutdown, by Laurits Nansen and Sigrid Rasmussen,
January 21, 2005
"There was uncertainty about the quality of the education in four different private schools (2 of them "inspired" by L. Ron Hubbard). It was doubtful if they had the same level of quality as the public schools and whether the students learned democratic values. They are now under supervision, and risk losing goverment funding."
"Kildeskolen in Næstved and Øresunds Internationale Skole by Amager."
Gonnet also reported that the "CAP COORDIAP" association more or less replaced the "Ethique et Liberté" (Freedom) magazine as Scientology spokesystem in France. In this case, Scientology appeared to be disregarding school diplomas to compete with psychiatry for the field of psychotherapy.
"In Indonesia, some groups mix relief, religion
Mukhlis, a shy, lanky man in a blue shirt with a butterfly collar, did not know whether the Scientologists were doctors or ministers when they invited him to lie on a cot for a two-fingered massage in a basement room of the mosque where he camps out. 'I didn't have any thought about them," he said. 'They asked people who don't feel very healthy to go to their place. After I got that [massage], it soothed my mind so that I could be a little bit more relaxed about what happened, that I lost my family and my home.'
Over the past few decades, the Church of Scientology has shown up after earthquakes and disasters around the world, including the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, where the group largely operated under a different name, and in Beslan, during the hostage crisis at a school in the Russian city. In Beslan, the local government swiftly asked law enforcement to shut down the group's operation, arguing that its psychological tactics could be harmful for hostage survivors, according to Russian news reports.
But in Banda Aceh, the Church of Scientology is so unknown and trauma from the tsunami so widespread that it has made swift inroads, giving massages to the Indonesian military and training university students and large groups of volunteers. Scientology's major foothold in Indonesia seems to be a company called Criminon, which teaches Hubbard's texts to juveniles in Indonesian prisons.
Under a banner that reads 'Penanganan,' which means trauma center in the local language, the Scientologists have set up tents with cots where they administer nerve assists and an exercise they call a 'locational,' during which a volunteer minister points to an object and asks a tsunami survivor to look closely at it. The last stage of the counseling, Bromwell said, is called 'the technology,' where survivors close their eyes and run through details of the disaster over and over again.
After the demonstration, Dr. Mohammad Taufik, a 41-year-old Indonesian gynecologist, said he thought the exercise might be useful to relieve stress. He himself was stressed, faced with trying to reopen Banda Aceh's only mental hospital in a matter of days, with only one psychiatrist, a few clean consultation rooms, and nearly an entire population traumatized. He held a short, handwritten list of people and organizations that might help the hospital get back on its feet. High on the list was Criminon.
'They are welcome to come,' he said of the Scientologists, although he acknowledged that he knew nothing about them. 'We still have to confirm with the head of the mental hospital. We are still learning about them,' he said, but added, 'we have to work with whatever we have.'"
Borderland, El Paso Times
January 15, 2005
"Five members of the Church of Scientology Mission of El Paso will leave for Sri Lanka next week to help with the relief efforts after the deadly tsunamis that last month killed about 157,000 people in 11 countries.
The five people -- all volunteering their time and taking leaves of absence from work or school -- will travel to Asia on Wednesday and remain there for up to two months.
Their work in Sri Lanka, where about 31,000 people were killed, will consist mainly of providing mental relief for victims, although they will also give first aid services and help in early reconstruction efforts."
"SANTA CLARITA -- The city has declined a request from a group linked to the Church of Scientology that is seeking donations to assist orphans in nations struck by the Indian Ocean tsunami. The Santa Clarita City Council was considering a $10,000 donation to Los Angeles-based International Foundation for Human Rights and Tolerance and ordered the city staff to conduct standard background checks, after foundation President Michelle Seward pleaded for cash before the panel Tuesday.
But City Manager Ken Pulskamp, on advice from the city attorney, decided against the donation when staffers found possible ties between the foundation and Scientology during the vetting process.
City spokeswoman Gail Ortiz said the First Amendment forbids government from making direct donations to religious groups, and that there will be no further discussion of the request by the City Council.
'It was not abundantly clear whether or not they were members of the Church of Scientology, but there were enough indications that gave us pause,' she said Friday. 'Our status as a government entity precludes us from donating money to any religious organization, so we're erring on the side of caution.' [...]"
Scientology PR backfires
Corriere della Sera
[Translated from Italian]
"Galle (Sri Lanka) - 'I couldn't believe my own ears: that italian woman, who said to be of Scientology - organization that I don't know - asserted in front of the mayor of Galle that the tent camp lodging the evacuated was their work. What?! Actually it was the result of the efforts of the Italian Civil Protection… I pointed that out with the chief of the cingalese opposition, Ranil, with whom I was doing the round of the devastaded areas'".
The "problems start when on Sunday 16th, in a meeting in the City Hall with the local reporters and in the presence of the chief of the opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe, of a number of foreign Scientology adepts, of the two self-styled Civil Protection workers and of Mrs. Franca, the Scientology representative implies that the blue tents camp is the work of her church.
'To us it was like a slap in the face' smiles bitterly Roberto Fedeli, MD. 'What? We arrived here a few hours after the catastrophe to bring help with the money Italian people donated, and then an unknown woman arrives and tries to take merits that are not hers.'
Yesterday there was a consultation at our Embassy. Nobody wants to go to war with Scientology, to avoid giving it much importance. On its website the church declares to "have helped pitching tents donated by the Italian government'. A claim denied by the Civil Protection. In the evening they decide to write a letter to the mayor of Galle. The heading is the Presidency of the Ministry Board [i.e. office of the Prime Minister], it is signed by Agostino Miozzo and reads:
Dear Mr. Ariff, I inform you that the Civil Protection Team of the Italian government working in the district of Galle is represented by Roberto Fedeli and Marco Agnoloni. To avoid unpleasant misunderstandings, I inform you that we do not acknoledge any other person who's cooperating with you, and declares to be part of the Italian Civil Protection'.
[Andreas Heldal-Lund] "grants anonymity to an ally but questions anonymity in a foe."
Friend and foe alike are invited to post information about Scientology to alt.religion.scientology, anonymously or otherwise. Translators, include url for verification for added credibility.
Usenet experts, R. Keller used to regularly post a.r.s. week-in-review to de.soc.weltanschauung.scientology. Anyone care to continue the tradition?
A.r.s. Week in Review is put together for your benefit.
This collection is organised for WWW by Andreas Heldal-Lund.
Only edits done by me is replacing word encapsuled in * or _ with bold and underscore, and made links into HTML.