Scientology Task Force of the Hamburg Interior Authority

Scientology Task Force of the Hamburg Interior Authority

Infobox Organization
name = Scientology Task Force of the Hamburg Interior Authority


image_border =
size = 100px
caption = Logo of the Scientology Task Force of the Hamburg Interior Authority


msize =
mcaption =
motto =
formation = 1992
extinction =
type = German government organization
headquarters =
location = Hamburg, GER
membership =
language = German, English
leader_title = Commissioner
leader_name = Ursula Caberta
key_people =
num_staff =
budget =
website = [http://www.hamburg.de/ag-scientology/ Home page]
The Scientology Task Force for the Hamburg Interior Authority ( _de. Behörde für Inneres – Arbeitsgruppe Scientology) was founded in 1992 to monitor the activities and publications of Scientology, raise public awareness about the organization, and serve as a resource to Scientology members who may wish to exit the group. [ cite web | url = http://www.hamburg.de/ag-scientology/wir-ueber-uns/ | title = Hamburg Scientology Task Force Home Page > About de icon] The Hamburg government made the decision to form the task force in 1991, after claiming in public statements that the Church of Scientology's aims included world domination and the destruction of society [cite news
last = Staff, Los Angeles Times
first =
coauthors =
title = Who is the tyrant? German politicians call Scientology members 'a cancer' on its society.
work = The Kansas City Star
pages = Page A2
language =
publisher =
date = 1997-02-13
url =
accessdate =
] . Other German politicians stated that Scientology planned to infiltrate businesses and the governmentcite news
last = Demick
first = Barbara
coauthors =
title = Scientology throws Germany into panic
work = Knight-Ridder Newspapers
pages =
language =
publisher = Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
date = August 28, 1996
url =
accessdate =
] .

The task force is led by Commissioner Ursula Caberta, a Hamburg government official widely cited in the German press as an expert on sects and Scientology [cite book
last = Richardson
first = James T.
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Regulating Religion
publisher = Springer
date = 2004
location =
pages = 89, 100, 228
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 0306478870
] . Caberta has served as an expert on behalf of the task force, for the "Enquete-Kommission" [cite book
last = Arweck
first = Elizabeth
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Researching New Religious Movements
publisher = Routledge
date = 2006
location =
pages = 172, 200, 201
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 041527754X
] . The task force was set up with the fulltime mission of monitoring Scientology activities in Germany. The task force was reported to have successfully denied Scientology access to the real estate market in Hamburgcite news
last = Montgomery
first = Lori
coauthors =
title = Church of Scientology fighting against German government
work = Knight-Ridder Newspapers
pages =
language =
publisher = Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
date = October 25, 1997
url =
accessdate =
] . Caberta also helped the task force convince local banks to deny loans to Scientology organizations and Scientologists. In the mid 1990s the task force invented and distributed a form that was used for a job or association membership applicant to sign that s/he does not use the technology of L. Ron Hubbard. From 2000 on the form got Germany on the watch list of the US Trade Representative. Its distribution by the task force was prohibited by the Federal Administrative Court (highest instance) in December 2005 for violation of Freedom of Religion. [ [http://www.ustr.gov/assets/Trade_Sectors/Government_Procurement/Title_VII/asset_upload_file712_4119.pdf US trade Representative Statement] ] [ [http://www.menschenrechtsbuero.de/pdf/bvgpressr.pdf] [http://www.menschenrechtsbuero.de/pdf/bvg.pdf] Federal Administrative Court Press release and Judgment, 15 December 2005, File Nr. BVerwG 7 C 20.04] ]

Publications

The task force has published a number of reports, some in English, including "Brainwashing in Scientology's Rehabilitation Project Force" by Prof. Stephen A. Kent. [ cite web | url = http://www.hamburg.de/servlet/contentblob/109286/brainwashing-pdf/data.pdf | title = Brainwashing in Scientology's Rehabilitation Project Force | author = Stephen A. Kent| date = 2000-09-13 | accessdate = 2007-05-16|format=PDF]

The report examines the confinement programs and camps which the task force states that Scientology operates as 'rehabilitative facilities for deviant members of its elite Sea Organization.' According to the report, these programs, known collectively as the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), put coerced participants through regimes of harsh physical punishment, forced self-confessions, social isolation, hard labor, and intense doctrinal study, all as part of leadership-designed efforts to regain members’ ideological commitment. The report continued by asserting that confinement that participants experience, combined with forms of physical maltreatment, intensive ideological study, and forced confessions, are considered by social scientists a ”brainwashing” program.

The task force posted comments on the city's website, in English, containing its assessment of the European Court of Human Rights decision against Russia's attempt to not register Scientology as a religious organization. cite web | url = http://fhh.hamburg.de/stadt/Aktuell/behoerden/inneres/arbeitsgruppe-scientology/2007-04-12-anmerkungen-engl-pdf,property=source.pdf | title = Comments on the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights of 5th April 2007 – Case of Church of Scientology Moscow v. Russia | accessdate = 2007-05-16 | date = 2007-04-12|format=PDF]

In the opinion of the Task Force, "The ECHR itself did not consider whether the Scientology organisation as such meets the characteristics of a religion (or religious community) within the meaning of article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights in terms of its structure and beliefs... without positively according the Scientology organization as a whole the status of a religious community." The task force then goes on to conclude that the Russian authorities are "perfectly entitled to refuse such registration once again for other, sound reasons". The full article on the case is in a separate article here: "Church of Scientology Moscow versus Russia"

References

External links

* [http://www.hamburg.de/ag-scientology/wir-ueber-uns/ Official Website] de icon
* [http://www.religio.de/publik/deufaq.html FAQ (1996): scientology in Germany]

See also


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