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Scientology admits to spying

Berlin's sect commissioner was followed and photographed, on account of which he gave his sermon under police protection

Der Tagesspiegel
January 25, 2003

The Scientology Church has admitted to having put Thomas Gandow, sect commissioner of the Berlin-Brandenburg Evangelical Church, under surveillance. One of its members was said to have been working for an attorney to investigate the American ex-Scientologist, Gerald Armstrong, who was wanted in court. There have been various orders issued on Armstrong in US courts, said Sabine Weber of Scientology Germany. A person would want to carry out these orders against Armstrong in Germany in accordance with international law. It was also intended to take legal action against him here in Germany to prohibit him from claiming that the Scientology was out to get him.

Last Sunday Gandow and Armstrong were tailed by at least two cars, said Gandow, to a church service in the Luisen Church in Charlottenburg. His vehicle was closely approached by one of them on the way from Brandenburg to Berlin. The driver swerved erratically while photographing Gandow and Armstrong.

The situation got tense enough to where he finally called the highway patrol at Brandenburg for assistance. The police gave him a cautionary fine for unregulated use of a cell phone from a vehicle. The police escorted Gandow's vehicle to the city limits, where he received protection from Berlin police.

They also guarded the Luisen Church during the church service while Armstrong talked about his experiences with Scientology. Gandow says he observed a second vehicle on the autobahn with at least three occupants who were following and photographing the same time the first was. The clergyman is certain that those men also had something to do with Scientology.

The Scientology Church Germany said the incident with its member was apparently exaggerated into a "James Bond fantasy." The man was said to have be "held accountable according the the church's internal disciplinary system." The church service in the Luisen church was simply visited by a Berlin member of Scientology, and the woman was in charge of "local public affairs work and legal interests." Gandow was reported to have said that the woman had something to do with the management of Scientology's OSA " intelligence service." The woman was said to have taken down every word at the church service.

The Scientologists accused Gandow and Armstrong of forcing their way into the local "Scientology Mission" in Yekaterinburg while they were visiting Russia last December and stealing papers. Gandow said that was not what had happened, and that they had been invited in by the local Scientology board members and had not taken any papers with them.




Vielen dank to Joe Cisar for the translation

This article in original German



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