Report with images at: http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50grand/media/our/picket-2003-11-08-karlsruhe.html
Caroline and I learned that the Karlsruhe Scientology franchise was going to have a table in the Marktplatz on Saturday November 8 to advertise Dianetics and the cult's other "products," so we decided to picket. http://www.ka-news.de/webcams/marktplatz.php4 Saturday also marked the first day of Operation Clambake's eighth year, and the first day of a new picket season, so Erik the Bear insisted on tagging along for his first protest. Erik is an excellent picketer, by the way, always calm, always smiling, and a delight in handling children and grownups alike. http://www.xenu.net/archive/picket/
It was a beautiful fall day, cool, but not cold, and there were thousands of people in the Marktplatz enjoying the last couple of days of indischer Sommer. Caroline and I hooked up with a group of perhaps twenty other people, part of whom were from the Junge Union, the youth section of the Christlich Demokratische Union, the CDU political party. http://www.junge-union.de/ http://www.cdu.de/
Part of our protest group were from Ausstieg, or "Exit," a network of former Jehovah's Witnesses and others devoted to helping people who leave the JW cult and to educating the public about its dangers. http://www.infolink-net.de/ On this Saturday, they turned their attention and joyful spirits to the good work of informing the public about the dangers of the Scientology cult.
The Junge Union and the Ausstieg folks had a table with a number of handouts right beside the Scientology table that was covered with promo, plus magazines and books the Scientologists were "selling" for a donation. Among the protesters' handouts were photocopies of an article about my history with Scientology that had appeared in May this year in the Badische Neueste Nachrichten, Karlsruhe's main newspaper. Original German: http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50grand/media/bad-neueste-nachrichten-2003-05-25.html English: http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50grand/media/bad-neueste-nachrichten-2003-05-25-en.html
During most of the time Caroline and I were there, only three Scientologists manned the cult table. One of them, a woman, was not identified to us. We were told that the other two were brothers Nico and Danilo Carucci, but we have not been able to confirm this yet. Initially they were friendly, and Caroline was able to obtain their handouts, but their friendliness disappeared when they realized that we were with the protesters and were identified to them. OSA personnel, of course, were also on hand, but only observed from a distance.
We took with us Hubbard's Bulletin of 24 April 1969RA, revised 20 September 1978, entitled "Dianetic Use," which is very useful for demonstrating some of the fraudulent claims the cult makes for Dianetics. This issue is still published by Scientology in the bound "Technical Bulletins" so the cult cannot legally argue that they don't make these claims anymore. Included in them is the always risible, but nevertheless criminal, claim that Dianetic auditing raises IQ about a point per hour. These are the excerpts we used to show that Dianetics, which the Scientologists were promoting, is practicing medicine and a fraud:
[Quote] The basic use of Dianetics is to make a well body and to augment physicaltreatment. Any injurious experience can be erased by Dianetics. It is very easy to use and if one wants people well and happy it should be used at every occasion. ... Recovery from disease under treatment is speeded by Dianetic auditing. Where the incident of the break is, with any chain, run out, a broken limb will heal (by x-ray evidence) in two instead of six weeks. ... Chronic, which is to say, long-term illnesses cease when audited by Dianetics and then medical treatment which was earlier ineffective. Whole classes of "mentally retarded" children have been made more normal by teachers in London County Council schools using relatively unskilled Dianetics. Tiredness, unwanted sensations, bizarre pains and aches, bad hearing or sight also routinely respond to Dianetic processing. The sickness and death rate of persons who are part of Dianetic groups is only a small fraction of that of other groups. Pilots audited with Dianetics, by a test involving a whole squadron, went without a single even minor accident for the following year. Scientists audited with Dianetics have greatly improved intelligence. Dianetics raises IQ as a side product to usual auditing, at a rate of about one point of IQ per hour of processing. Withered limbs, skin blotches and rashes and even blindness and deafness have all responded to Dianetics. Possibly the point which counted most against Dianetics in the early attacks on it was that it did a vast array of things. The truth was, it actually did them. When you have the answer to the human mind as in Dianetics, of course anything caused by the mind can be remedied.
Both Caroline and I had done the Hubbard Standard Dianetics Course (HSDC) in Vancouver, Canada, so were familiar with the Dianetics IQ claim before we went off to join the Sea Org. Both of us also had hundreds of hours of Dianetic processing during our Scientologist years, and anyone can tell by how absolutely "average and common too" we are that our IQs sure didn't go up hundreds of points. Duh!
A newspaper reporter came by our picket, spoke to us and made some notes. We just heard that an article appeared in the Badische Neueste Nachrichten, but we haven't seen it yet. A television reporter and cameraman from the local TV station also covered the protest, but we haven't heard yet what was aired.
I tried to engage one of the "Caruccis" about what he was doing defrauding people by promoting Dianetics. I pointed out that the claim that Dianetics auditing raises IQ a point per hour is provably false, and so are the other claims that it can cure illness, blindness and deafness. I asked him how he could continue to sell this "science of mental health" that simply doesn't work. At first he ignored me, and walked away when I approached him to try to communicate. But then he came back to me and spoke to me, as if confidentially, and said that he does it for the money. He moved away again, saying, sotto voce, "money, money, money." He came back to me, and I asked if he realized that what he was promoting was a fraud. He looked thoughtful for a second, then said that I was right, but that it didn't matter.
It was a most unusual conversation. I have encountered that kind of cynicism mouthed by people near the top of the organization (Mike Rinder comes to mind) but I don't think I ever encountered it articulated before in public by a lower level Scientologist.
Caroline and I spoke to many people, made some good contacts, took a few photos, had a Brezel with our new friends, and enjoyed the day thoroughly. Erik also had a fine time, didn't wander off to hibernate, but stayed focused, and his clear message reached everyone. He can picket with us any time he wants.
© Gerry Armstrong http://www.gerryarmstrong.org