Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology Subject: my comments on sentencing report (prelim) From: Kristi Wachter <firstname.lastname@example.org> Organization: http://www.scientology-lies.com
This is a VERY early start; I hope to turn it into a web page in the next few days.
I would appreciate comments and corrections, and Keith, I hope you'll do one of these, too - you know way more about the situation than I do. <grin>
Below is the sentencing memorandum in the Keith Henson trial. This document was withheld from Keith's attorney, Jim Harr, until Harr arrived in court on the day sentencing was scheduled, May 16, 2001.
This document contains numerous falsehoods and extremely prejudicial omissions. My comments (in blue) are an attempt to balance the information and misinformation in this government document.
I hope Keith will provide commentary of his own.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE OFFENSE:
Source: Reports of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, #DR00201037.
On July 19, 2000, at approximately 4:22 p.m., a deputy responded to Golden Era Productions, located at 19626 Highway 79, San Jacinto, regarding threats being made over the Internet.
The comments that Scientology chose to interpret as threats were, of course, not being made at that time, as Keith was on the highway picketing. The comments had been made weeks before. It was the constitutionally-protected protest that prompted the call.
Upon arrival, contact was made with Ken Hoden, General Manager of Golden Era Productions (Church of Scientology).
Ken Hoden works in OSA, the Office of Special Affairs. This is the department of Scientology that handles PR. It's also the branch that attempts to neutralize anything it sees as a threat. OSA was previously known as the GO - the Guardian's Office. During the 70s, Guardian's Office executives were conducting massive infiltration and espionage programs in government offices around the world. There is enormous evidence that the GO's illegal acts and dirty tricks have continued to the present day.
Mr. Hoden advised that Keith Henson, the defendant, has been outside their church, protesting since May 26, 2000.
Not continuously, of course.
On July 15, 2000, Mr. Hoden advised he noticed some threats being made against the church on the Internet news group alt. Religion. scientology.
There is evidence that designated OSA staffers monitor the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup DAILY. It is highly improbable that Hoden had only recently become aware of Henson's newsgroup posts.
Mr. Holden had his "Internet expert", Gavina Idda explain to the deputy how the news group operates.
A former Scientologist, Tory Bezazian, has recently identified Gavina Idda as a major player in Scientology's massive denial-of-service attack on alt.religion.scientology. During that attack, the newsgroup was flooded with hundreds of thousands of messages, making the newsgroup effectively unreadable. In addition, thousands of racist messages were forged in the names of a.r.s. posters.
Gavina advised the news group site is a site where people talk about their disbelief in the Church of Scientology.
That's a very misleading description of a.r.s. People also talk about their belief in Scientology and their personal gains from it; Scientology's criminal history; free speech; freedom of religion; Robert Heinlein; Scientology's favorite bugaboo, psychiatry; effective use of newsreader software; and a wide range of other topics, most touching in some way on Scientology.
Gavina showed the deputy numerous documents that he printed from the Internet site, where he believes the defendant is making threats against the church. In the documents, it shows the defendant discussing how an ICMB (Inter Continental Ballistic Missile) could be accurate enough to hit the Church of Scientology. Gavina also showed documents that have pictures of the church in San Jacinto, with satellite coordinates, so that a missile could be accurately launched at the church. The documents also show the defendant discussing how one would have to watch for weather for more accurate missile shots.
When considering the credibility of threatening speech, context is essential. Under the California laws at issue in this case, both the speaker's intent and his/her ability to carry out an apparent threat are considerations. Context makes it clear that Keith was joking. Common sense makes it clear that there was no genuine threat to the safety and well-being of any Scientologist; despite Keith's explosives expertise, discussed in great length below, it would be so difficult for Keith to obtain and launch an ICBM as to be virtually impossible.
An excerpt from another document printed from the site, shows the defendant stating that, "Killing the organization off entirely is the best way to change the future of Scientology". (This quote was taken from a document written by the defendant in April 1997, on the same Internet news group).
Note that this statement had been made THREE YEARS before the complaint was filed. During that time, Keith had, as stated in this report, picketed Scientology frequently; Keith made no threats and committed no incidents of violence. It is inconceivable that Scientology executives at Golden Era were unaware of the 1997 post before June 2000. Why were they bringing it up now? As for the his comment about "killing the organization off entirely", he is clearly referring to the end of the organization, not to physical harm to any (much less all) individual Scientologists. Scientology has become so corrupt that some active Scientologists are also coming to believe that the destruction of the Scientology corporation is the best hope for the continuation of those parts of Scientology that they find beneficial.
Mr. Hoden informed that his students, and his employees are afraid of the defendant because he has also made threats in the past toward Church of Scientology.
That is simply false. To the extent that students and employees at Golden Era are afraid of Keith, it is because Scientology teaches them to be afraid of all critics of Scientology. The vast majority of Golden Era residents have no access to the internet and so would not have seen Keith's posts unless executives intentionally showed them to them. Because Scientology teaches Scientologists that critics are dangerous, individual Scientologists rarely talk to protestors (with the exception of OSA staffers, who "handle" protestors as part of their jobs). It is unlikely that students and employees would have had any idea who the protestor was unless their seniors told them.
He showed the deputy a copy of a deposition that the defendant was to attend with the church leader, David Miscavige, in May 1997. That document states an employee of Southwest Airlines, overhead threatening conversations between the defendant and another person. As a result, the deposition was deferred for Miscavige's safety, by a San Jose judge.
Once again, this is false. Under federal law, the Southwest employee would have been obligated to report Keith to airport authorities. No report was made - because the conversation mentioned here never took place. This is outrageous.
Another document shows another person on the Internet site, saying that GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) will not be needed as long as the defendant is standing on the hill providing IR (Infared) illumination for the missiles. Another document shows the defendant saying Miscavige has to "Watch for cruise missiles as well as eagles".
These are clearly jokes. The "cruise" missiles comment is a play on words, referring to celebrity Scientologist Tom Cruise. The notion of using attack eagles is simply ludicrous. A reasonable person (the usual standard by which threatening language is judged), reading these statements in context, would not construe them as threats.
As a result of the past contacts Mr. Hoden and his church have had with the defendant, he told the deputy they are all afraid of the defendant, because of his knowledge of missiles and explosives.
Again, this is false. Scientology executives either are afraid or pretend to be afraid of ALL critics. Scientology has tried to use the courts to stop numerous critics from picketing during the past five years; none of those critics had ever made any comments that could even be misconstrued as threats. Furthermore, numerous San Francisco Bay Area OSA staffers have had even more "contact" with Keith, since he pickets regularly in the Bay Area. He picketed in San Francisco less than two weeks before his sentencing date. Scientologists - at least half of whom knew who Keith was - walked with Keith and talked with him during his picket. They exhibited NO fear of Keith at all.
Mr. Hoden said that he, his employees, and students, have had to alter their day-to-day activities at the church, as a result of their fear.
While this may be true, it is not a reasonable fear and thus not one that Keith should bear the consequences of. As I've noted, Scientology teaches fear of ALL critics. Other critics have picketed at Golden Era without Keith; the Scientologists showed the same behavior, fleeing the picket signs. In particular, Bruce Pettycrew saw Scientologists retreat from an outdoor project at the appearance of his picket signs, leaving a wheelbarrow full of concrete to harden in the sun. Scientology has tried to stop Bruce from picketing in Mesa (near Phoenix), AZ, claiming he was shouting and disrupting them. Bruce does not shout when he pickets; traffic's too loud and fast in Mesa for that to make any sense. Scientology's attempt to use the courts to stop Bruce's pickets (based on alleged disruption, not alleged fear of Bruce) failed. Nevertheless, when Bruce appeared at Golden Era to peacefully picket, Scientologists fled. It has nothing to do with threats and everything to do with Scientology's deliberate creation of fear.
They are afraid to walk around the church when the defendant is outside protesting, because they fear he might be armed with some kind of explosive weapon.
To repeat: as demonstrated by their past behavior, they are afraid to walk around the church when ANYONE is outside protesting, because they are taught to be afraid.
Comments? Corrections? Suggestions?
My thoughts are with you, Keith (and you, Arel!) (and all the good folks up in Canada!).