German government official Ursula Caberta made a visit to Clearwater, Florida in July of 2000. This was her first trip to Scientology’s Mecca and she was in for a shock. From her arrival at the airport to her hasty departure, Scientology made her life difficult.
It started when she landed at the Tampa airport. I went along with Bob Minton, Stacy Brooks and our attorney John Merritt to greet Ursula and bring her back to her hotel. When we arrived at the airport, we discovered that Scientology’s PR man, Al Buttnor, had assembled a team of Scientologists to be there when Ursula arrived. They were grouped together, getting briefed by Buttnor when we arrived but scattered when they saw us appear.
We knew there was going to be some action on Scientology’s part. Stacy talked to the airport police to warn them that things might get wacky. In my video, you can see Buttnor stepping in to assure the police that there would be no problem. However, when the plane landed, the Scientologists leaped into action and started shouting slurs at Ursula. The police escorted us out of the airport safely although some of the Scientologists trailed us all along the way.
How did Scientology know when Ursula was arriving? They have Scientologists working at the airlines and can call and find out our every move. They also knew where Ursula was staying. I drove Ursula to the hotel that night because Bob and Stacy needed to get back and be with Tory Christman who had just left Scientology days before and had turned to the LMT for help. So they went back to Tory and I drove Ursula to the hotel on Clearwater Beach.
We arrived at the hotel to discover Scientology had called the hotel and canceled her room. The place was sold out and there was no other room to be had. Ursula had just flown in from Germany, it was after midnight and suddenly she had no place to stay. Needless to say, she understandably wasn’t very happy. I called Bob and Stacy and they found her a room at another hotel in town and we eventually got her settled in for her stay.
But it wasn’t over. Scientology took the opportunity to sue Ursula and drag her into deposition. She was forced to answer questions about her work overseeing Scientology in Hamburg. This, along with all the insanity that was going on on the streets of Clearwater cut her stay short. She did a press conference at the LMT, did some media and then returned home. The German press covered her trip pretty extensively as you can see below.
A vacation to Florida turns into a horror trip for a Scientology critic
“Nazi go home”, shout Scientologists
By Hugo Stamm
August 11, 2000
Ursula Caberta, Director of the Hamburg Agencies’ Work Group on Scientology, did not believe her eyes and ears when she arrived at the airport in Tampa, Florida. About 50 Scientologists were shouting “Nazi go home” at her, as proved by video tape recordings. The Hubbard adherents were also holding up signs in the air which said the same thing. “How the Scientologists learned of my arrival in Florida is a mystery to me.” Florida is the location of an international Scientology headquarters.
The psycho-terrorism continued at her hotel. “They followed every move I made,” said Caberta of the Hamburg SPD administration, who is involved with Scientology as a result of her office. Nevertheless she still met with American Scientology critics. The Scientologists’ attorneys took their revenge with an operation of a curious kind. They shoved a court summons under her hotel door. The attorneys had managed to motivate a judge to order an immediate deposition. “It was a five-hour hearing like the Stasi used to have,” stated Caberta. A German Scientology attorney had traveled from Munich for the occasion.
Lawsuit for Damages
The operation was rounded out with a lawsuit for damages from a Scientology-affiliated businessman who demanded 75,000 dollars. The businessman claimed Caberta ruined a major contract for him with her information work. “It has become painfully clear to me why the Scientologists are able to operate unhindered in the USA,” said Caberta, “They can take care of any critic they want by using these court and legal proceedings.”
The German Consul General urged Caberta to depart ahead of schedule because he was concerned about further actions from the Scientologists. Caberta didn’t have to think it over long: “Unbelievable what they can do in the USA with tourists,” she said. “And of all countries, this is the one which regularly accuses Germany of violating human rights because we dare to talk about Scientologists.” She lost her faith in the American legal system.
Juerg Stettler, spokesman from Scientology, defended Scientology’s action by saying that Caberta held a press conference and wanted to organize a demonstration in front of the Scientology buildings. He said that Caberta had provoked the reaction, the more so since various Scientologists had taken refuge from her in the USA. Those people, he said, were allergic to Caberta and would consider her now becoming active there as impudence.
US – Scientologists with Caberta – Hatred and Insults
One week in Clearwater (Florida) – Ursula Caberta, head of the Scientology Task Force of the Ministry of the Interior, will not forget it soon.
The reason is obvious: Clearwater is one of the headquarters of this controversial Psychosect, and Caberta visited there to support opponents of the organization and to inform about her work in Germany. Resistance was to be expected. But that it would turn out so bad, was not even expected by this trouble-seasoned lady from Hamburg.
Her arrival at the airport of Tampa in Florida was already impressive. Around 50 Scientologists expected Caberta screaming “Go back to Germany” and “Nazi go home.” A German-speaking Scientologist shouted “You are a Murderer!” Only under the protection of police escort and through a back door could Caberta leave the airport.
Even the former Scientologist Stacy Brooks and US businessman Bob Minton, who had invited Caberta, declared not to have yet witnessed such outbreak of hatred. Both are used to a variety of threats and pressures from the so-called Scientology Secret Service OSA which has its central headquarters in Clearwater.
Millionaire Minton not only supports the family of the ex-scientologist Lisa McPherson in their investigations on her mysterious death, his Lisa-McPherson-Trust already represents a sort of “institutionalized opposition” which to-date has been unknown in the United States.
Caberta also was unexpectedly confronted with an incredible interrogation by three Scientology-lawyers to which she was called by means of legal documents shoved under her hotel room door. Although she could not contribute anything to the McPherson case, she was interrogated for five hours. While keeping details confidential, she regards this as a “demonstration of power to put her down.”
Only the former Mayor of Clearwater, Mr. Gabriel Cazares, had embraced her and symbolically handed her the golden keys of the city of Clearwater with the words: “Most people are glad you are here.” Then he apologized for the molestations.
Following the advice of the German Consul, Caberta left Clearwater one day earlier than planned: you might not know what else could happen…
Horror Trip to Florida
August 7, 2000
Ursula Caberta, Director of the Work Group on Scientology in the Hamburg Interior Agency, had to leave the USA in a hurry. Caberta had wanted to spend a one-week vacation in Florida during which time she met with Scientology opponents Stacy Brooks and Bob Minton and took part in a press conference on the practices of the psycho-concern. Then she unexpectedly left the country one day earlier than planned.
The journey to the Sunshine State had turned out to be a horror trip: Caberta had no sooner landed at the airport in Tampa than she was received by Scientologists screaming “Nazi go home”; she was subsequently followed at every turn.
Then German software businessman Hubert Heller, who lives in the USA, sued Caberta for 75,000 dollars in damages. Allegedly a major contract from German company POS Partner Gmbh had slipped through his fingers after the company had presented him with a so-called “sect filter” – a “security statement” (Caberta) in which the signer asserts that he does not operate according to the “technology” of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
The German consul general in Florida urged that she leave: Caberta had had a summons to a deposition by Scientology attorneys shoved under her hotel room door. It said she would have to sit through a five-hour hearing in the business’s center in Clearwater.
It had to do with the case of Lisa McPherson, who died under unexplained circumstances in the USA, to which Caberta said she could not make a statement. She left the country in secret “before anything worse happened.” Caberta lost her belief in the American legal system. She had never experienced anything like that before. “One hears about that only in dictatorships.”
VIDEOTAPED November 11, 2000
Jamie Kennedy (not the actor) is a slam poet who also is the great-grandson of Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard. In 2000, Jamie Kennedy traveled to Clearwater, Florida to host a benefit concert for a group which was helping people who were defrauded or abused by Scientology. Jamie’s grandfather was L. Ron Hubbard Jr. who worked alongside his dad during the formative years of Scientology. Hubbard Jr. later testified in court against his dad.
Years later I interviewed Jamie for my movie Knowledge Report.
Taped on January 6, 2001
The Lisa McPherson Trust opened in Clearwater Florida in 2000. We set up shop in the heart of Scientology’s “mecca” to help those abused and defrauded by Scientology. Unfortunately the LMT closed within two years after undergoing countless court battles with Scientology.
This video was taped on our one year anniversary. Unfortunately, we never made it to a second.
The Alternative Charlemagne Award Ceremony
VIDEOTAPED June 3, 2000
Ursula Caberta and Reverend Thomas Gandow present the First Alternative Charlemagne Award to Bob Minton.
November 30, 1999
A few days before the Lisa McPherson Memorial Picket, Scientology once again showed the lengths to which they will go to stop the voices of those who would criticize them.
Scientology spent tens of thousands of tax free parishioner’s money to stop a small band of people from speaking out.
Patricia Greenway took these pictures as she escourted me around their properties.
This is the rear of the Ft. Harrison. Not only had the sidewalk been torn out but barricades prevent walking on the grass.
Heavy equipment was in use as we approached the Ft. Harrison.
This man was interviewed on camera by Patricia. His firm was hired to tear up the sidewalk. Another company has been hired to lay a new sidewalk. No timetable is known. However, Scientology insisted that the sidewalks were to be torn out by the time of the picket.
Scattered around the Ft. Harrison were these ominous signs.
This warning sign was placed right outside Lisa McPherson’s room.
The spot where critics would normally lay a wreath in Lisa’s honor became the location of a Freedom magazine rack.
The front of the Ft. Harrison was completely engulfed in a massive structure of metal and green mesh.
A view down the side of the building
Getting some video footage of the Scientologists working on the scaffolding in front of the Ft. Harrison. They told us they are working for Brian Anderson.
Two blocks away from the Ft. Harrison is the headquarters for Boy Scout troop 313.
On the main street downtown we encountered young Scientology children posted in front of all the the church’s properties. They were manning booths with christmas displays, selling food, pushing the Drug Free Marshalls and practicing singing on a makeshift stage. Other children were seen working as they decorated the downtown area.
The two young girls singing had very nice voices and were clearly having fun. The other children were far more glum. The children ranged from 8-12 years of age and looked very pale and sickly. One older girl was in charge of them. She sold several ice creme cones to Patricia, which Patricia offered to the children working the booths. Only two accepted the cones.
We will not put their pictures on the site to protect their privacy but it was one of the saddest sights we’ve seen.
The Scientologist children were not just being used as workers but also as small human shields whom the church hoped will prevent critics from picketing.
It is clear that Scientology hoped to make their critics look like villians as they picketed Christmas and spoiled young children’s fun.
We spotted an RPF worker in his black boilersuit as we visited the downtown area. He was, of course, unable to talk with us.
To lighten our spirits, I sat in Santa’s chair which is being used to block the front door to OSA’s headquarters.
By Jeff Jacobsen (Written in 2000)
The Church of Scientology owns $40 million of property in Clearwater, much of it downtown. Church properties have security measures much more similar to prisons than what a reasonable person would consider church property would have. Below are photos of security cameras trained on Clearwater public areas taken in 2000. This does NOT include other cameras on Scientology properties that do not point at public areas. The question is, why is Scientology so concerned about Clearwater citizens going past their properties on the public areas? And why are there so many Scientology security people walking around with cell phones, walkie talkies and video cameras? Read more
ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: February 9, 2000
I was included in an injunction put in place by Judge Penick for Scientology. The injunction still exists years after the LMT left the city.
ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: February 4th, 2000
The city put lines down on a small street shared by Scientology and the LMT but few people knew exactly how the instant laws were to be enforced.
VIDEOTAPED: November 30, 2000
Scientology sends a process server to serve injunction notices to critics of Scientology at during a gethering in memory of Lisa McPherson.
Scientology Training Routines (TRs in Scientology-speak) are an important element to the group. They shape the way Scientologists speak and think and are among the first steps in the gradual shifting of reality for Scientology members.
In 2000, I produced a demonstration video with Stacy Brooks and Jesse Prince, former high ranking members of Scientology, and at the time of the taping, my co-workers at the Lisa McPherson Trust. This video was shown once to an audience in Germany and never seen on the web…until now.