Der Spiegel

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."