Saturday, 23 February 2013

More Scientology News

Critics in Germany accuse the Scientology sect of denying fundamental human rights. The organization insists that it's a religion. While it is not banned, Germany's domestic intelligence monitors the group.

Ursula Caberta has given up. The former Commissioner of the Scientology Task Force for the city of Hamburg is Germany's best known Scientology critic and is a highly regarded expert far beyond Hamburg.

The fact that she has recently resigned from her post shows just how difficult the fight against the sect and its structures is.

For almost two decades, Caberta was in charge of dealing with Scientology for the Hamburg Senate. Her aim was not simply to inform about the organization but also to help people that wanted to leave and get out. For her, Scientology is not just the problem of individual victims, but a threat to the national security of Germany. "I realized that Scientology is not a religion, but a totalitarian organization with a leadership cult and master race ideology." Caberta called for a ban – but never got the political support she would have needed.

Read more here:

Fatal Attraction

Tony Ortega talks to Jon Atack, and Lisa Marie Presley is selling T-Shirts

On this day;

The following column appeared in the St. Petersburg Times, Sunday,
February 23.  That issue of the paper has not been placed online
( due to technical difficulties, so here it is.  Mary Jo
Melone is a rather outspoken columnist who consistently shows a
willingness to take on controversial issues, despite the inevitable flood
of hate mail that she receives.  She rules.

A quiet paranoia settles in Clearwater
- Mary Jo Melone
St. Petersburg Times
The Bank of Clearwater used to be just that, a bank.  But the
Scientologists own the bank like they own so much else in downtown
Clearwater.  A small sign by the big green doors announces the place is
open to the public.

So I entered the lovingly restored lobby Friday and just as I began to
inspect the photographs of founder L. Ron Hubbard and various monuments to
him around the globe, a female voice rose brightly from behind.  "Do you
know what this place is?" she asked.  She said quickly that "my church",
as she called it, is glad to let any civic group use the room we were in
for their meetings.  She mentioned the Girl Scouts.

I started to ask if the Scouts had taken the Scientologists up on their
offer, but first I said I was from the newspaper.  Her face froze.  I was
supposed to speak to somebody else, she said.  She mentioned a man's name
and began quickly punching the buttons on her phone.  Since the
Scientologists have a weird reputation when it comes to the kind of help
they offer people - think of Lisa McPherson, the woman who died while in
their alleged care in December 1995 - I figured it would be smarter to
leave under my own power.  As I walked out, the woman was still punching
away at her phone.

Perhaps I'm paranoid.  Paranoia is an occupational hazard for anybody on
these sunny streets overlooking the bay who doesn't subscribe to this
sci-fi fundamentalism.  It is Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker cross-pollinated
by Star Trek.  It is also instructive of the weakest parts of human

Only some Scientologists are obvious in Clearwater.  One shop owner called
them The Red People and The Blue People, for the plain uniforms they wear
to signify they work for the church.  They telegraphed a remarkable
fixedness as they passed, alone or in groups, on Friday.  They looked
straight ahead.  Their faces were expressionless.  They did not
acknowledge one another.  They walked briskly.  When they approach on
foot, one downtown office worker said, you tend to think you'd better get
out of the way.

And you'd better be careful what you say.  Not every believer is in
uniform.  If you express skepticism of the church within earshot of the
wrong people, as I did, you can find yourself the target of some mighty
frosty looks.

"They eat vitamins, whole wheat toast and smoke a whole pack of cigarettes
in an hour," said Denise Lambert, a waitress in a downtown restaurant.
She asked me not to name it.  The restaurant feeds a lot of
Scientologists.  Saying anything bad about them might hurt the business.

Here we are, back to paranoia.

At the Downtown Newsstand, owner Linda Franklin said so many
Scientologists are crowding Clearwater, her customers can rarely find a
parking place.  Her partner complained about this to the mayor.  When
church officials heard of the complaint, Franklin said, "they told their
people not to come in here anymore."

"We lost hundreds of customers," she said.
So throngs of strangers who think they are kin to spacemen are controlling
the atmosphere of this old downtown.  Forget about good-looking movie
actors putting a happy face on this stuff.  On these sunny streets, the
unease is real.

True believers from around the world - I was told it's the Italians' turn
right now - come to Clearwater to "get to clear," as they say in
church-speak.  This means they have mastered their feelings, that they
will never be troubled by them again.  All I can think is, what right do
they have to believe they aren't like the rest of us?

Cindy Henry, the owner of a pawnshop, remembered a day when a young woman
in the church came in and announced her mother had died.  Mrs. Henry did
what anybody would do.  She said she was sorry.  "It's nothing," the young
Scientologist said.

Because feeling is part of living - even when the feeling is grief over
great loss - Henry couldn't get over what she'd heard.

"I want to feel my feelings," she said.  "I don't want to get to clear.  I
want to feel my pain."
--- END QUOTE ---

Ya gotta love the SP Times...!msg/fl.general/zYQhaE_ZiNg/edj9moBfwYwJ

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