Halloween in Lost Angeles: the triple picket, by H. Keith Henson
[Note: the following three articles are written by H. Keith Henson with some help from the noble and long-suffering Editorial Staff.(Biased Journalism) Photos are indexed here: http://www.marcab.com/henson/
It's Halloween, Friday, Oct. 31. A light drizzle is falling from a thin cloud layer. At 7:05 am (few minutes late) Southwest Airlines flight 847 taxies on to the runway at San Jose International. The plane is less than half full, so normal takeoff power really mashes the passengers into the seats. A few thousand feet down the runway the 737 lifts off at a high angle of attack.
Less than half a minute into the flight we break out of the cloud layer, execute a sweeping turn and line up on Southern California.
My eyes itch, a consequence of three hours of sleep the previous
night. The briefcase at my feet is full of legal papers. My
picket signs are stored overhead.
I had been trolling the Net about picketing the IAS meeting in Los Angeles Nov. 1 for some days. Actually I had decided not to bother (scientology is only one of my hobbies). I even had tickets for the Stanford-UCLA game (Stanford is practically in my backyard).
Scientology, however changed my plans. On Wednesday evening about 7:40 a process server named Mark Steve Stevens snuck up on me in the dark as I parked my car. "Are you Keith Henson?" "Why do you ask?" I say. He thrust some papers into my hand, sneered "You're served!" and scuttled off into the night.
I went inside to see what I had. [See the .tif files which appear with the Nov1 photos at marcab.com.]
It was a summons (dated October 16, almost two weeks earlier) naming scientologist Glenn Barton as plaintiff and ordering me to appear in court at 9:45 a.m. in Los Angeles on Fri. Oct. 31. Fate had spoken. I *must* go to LA on the 31st. The church had pulled in a picket after all.
Barton was seeking a court order which would have prevented me from peacefully picketing scientology in Los Angeles, supposedly because he fears my knowledge of things explosive. The judge who issued the order to appear had stamped all the places where they had asked for a TRO as "Denied pending hearing."
At first I had no idea who Glenn Barton might be. Reading his declaration, I deduced that he must have been the scientology "chaplain" who accompanied and orchestrated the counter picket against me at Cedars back on Sept. 13. He is the individual on the right side of this picture.
I take judicial orders seriously so I quickly reformatted my weekend, and spent most of Thursday evening into early Friday composing a response. Barton's declaration and my response to it was posted to the news group alt.religion.scientology in the early hours Friday.
That night I assembled my picket signs (I wanted them to show to the judge, since Barton had mentioned them in his declaration, and of course I needed them to picket with afterward); multiple copies of my legal response, and my trusty camcorder. Way too early in the morning I was off to the airport.
I looked hopefully in the rearview mirror. Either scientology is using better PIs or they did not bother to put any on me.
Pity, I enjoy losing them.
As soon as we were pointed toward Burbank I flattened out across empty seats and took a nap.
The landing at Burbank was harder than usual. Picket signs (somewhat bent) will go into the overhead bins, so I collected them (getting odd stares from the other passengers). By the time I had rented a car and collected my bag I had less than two hours to get to the hearing. LA traffic down 101 was awful as usual, and what with finding the right building and a place to park ($14), it was almost 9:30 when I found the court room.
The buildings in that part of LA are the giant granite skinned kind which simply reek GOVERNMENT. The address on Hill St. is right in the middle of the complex.
Just to the east is the pointy Los Angeles City Hall, made famous by old Dragnet episodes.
On the Second floor and down a wide marble corridor I found room 235, Dept. C. It was tiny, 18 seats, of which two were filled by scientologists, Glenn Barton, and a staffer whose name I never did get, although I talked extensively with him the next night. Just for a tag I will call him "Hugh." With them were two lawyers, Elliot Abelson, just back from the Berlin demonstration and David Chodos. Chodos immediately handed me a paper saying that he was filling in for Jeanne M. Gavigan, the lawyer named on the summons.
Judge (Commissioner actually) Anthony Jones was hearing a custody case when I came in, and went on to another before recessing the court and turning the court over to another commissioners (they seem to be hot bunking the commissioner's court rooms). A different commissioner was set to hear my case. I handed David Chodos a copy of my response to Barton's declaration and he presented me with a paper to sign consenting to allow a commissioner to hear the case.
Now, my initial reply to Glenn Barton's declaration included a just-issued Illinois Supreme Court ruling on CAN which named Barton as a defendant who was abusing the legal system. I felt that that level of legal scholarship would better be presented to a judge instead of a commissioner who mostly hears domestic violence complaints. So I refused to sign the paper.
Chodos and Abelson showed no surprise at my refusal.
This meant that the hearing had to be reassigned to a real judge by the clerks in Division 2. At ten or ten fifteen the unformed sheriff officer who served as clerk sent us down the hall to an enormous court room with about 275 seats. There we waited while Judge Gutman listened to a few lawyers arguing procedural motions before him and then recessed court.
The Scienos and Scieno lawyers, seated across an isle, were avidly studying my response to Barton's declaration. Being a nice guy, I gave them another copy so they would not have to share. Elliot talked to me about the Lisa McPherson case while we waited for the judge. He confidently predicted that nobody in scientology will be prosecuted.
The latest theory (according to Elliot) is that the investigation will show that Lisa died of delayed effects of the car accident, exacerbated by a staph infection and that they have fifteen experts who will back them up. Elliot says off-handedly "Nobody will bring down CoS, it is too strong." I guess the same thing might have been said about his previous client.
[Who was Ableson's previous client & what became of him/her?- ed.]
[Elliot was a lawyer for the mob, everybody in the ars readership knows about this, it was a major thread for a considerable time. General consensus is that he took a major step down in taking on cos for a client.-hkh]
A while later they all move 7-8 rows back, but I can still hear them talking. Elliot tells them about the Berlin demo crowd having to push through a wall of Nazis as they started the march.
[Did he really say "Nazis?" -ed.]
We wait in the big court room from a little after ten am to about 11:20; then the clerk calls us together to say the case has been assigned to Judge James Bascue in Dept. 52. We all trudge down the hall and up the escalator.
Glenn Barton forgets to pretend that he is afraid of me, and gets on the escalator only a step ahead. I bunch up the picket signs carefully, not wanting to clout anybody by accident.
Judge Bascue has a medium-sized court room on the fifth floor, nice wood paneling which seats about 45. We filed in, me with my signs. Elliot was clearly in charge. He pointedly told Chodos that he was not going to sit at the plaintiff's table because it looked bad to have a pro se up against two lawyers.
The first thing I did was to hand the court clerk a copy of my response. It vanished into the Judge's chambers.
Judge Bascue took quite a while to come out. He apparently read a good deal of my point by point (Usenet style) reply, though he commented that the unfamiliar format had confused him at first and at first he thought this might be plaintiff papers.
The judge stated that he was not about to issue any orders which would have the effect of violating my Constitutional right to picket (although as it later turned out they had this effect).
He stated that was not impressed with their arguments, and since it was near noon, over lunch they should consider what sort of limited order might stay out of constitutional problems, and to come back at two pm.
Mr. Chodos was not happy about any of this. He had business and family obligations, and was severely annoyed at getting sucked into the snakepit of scientology litigation that day.
And at that we were ushered out and the courtroom locked. I took one of my signs with me.
I had a lot more time during lunch break than I needed to eat a sandwich so I spent the time looking through the computerized court records. It was a rich lode, but to keep this tale at reasonable length, I will not go into it except to say not to bother with the Dorothy Barton v. Celebrity Center case. It is a slip and fall suit, but it took three trips to the underground records storage building across the street to determine this.
(Talk about an odd place, several stories of raw concrete paper warehouse building under a park with only a tiny above ground extension where the elevators and stairs come out. LA's court records will be safe even if the place is nuked. This is also one of the few building which are likely to come through a major earthquake without damage.)
After lunch there was more argument before Judge Bascue. I said I did not mind staying a distance from Glenn Barton, but that I expected him to use (as he did) this order to chase me away from picketing Cedars and the Celebrity Center. There is quite a bit on the record about this topic, and Judge Bascue made it clear that he would not stand for an order which had the effect or was used to violate my right to peacefully picket scientology.
Judge Bascue had to leave early, but he authorized his clerk to stamp an order which would keep me at 25 yards from Barton when he was entering or leaving Cedars or the CC.
This is the form Chodos wrote out.
A) 1) On Nov. 1, 1997 only, from 4pm to Midnight defendant shall not enter the Shrine Auditorium Property or the adjacent parking lots and shall stay more than 25 yards from Plaintiff while Plaintiff is present in that area in connection with the event and, 2) Defendant shall remain 25 yards away from plaintiff while plaintiff is working at locations 2, 3, and 5, listed in paragraph 8 of form CH 140 order. B) At all times Defendant shall stay out of all Scientology buildings including locations 2, 3, and 5, shall not block the entrance to said buildings and shall remain 25 yards from Plaintiff as plaintiff enters and leaves said buildings.(I did not realize until after I had been arrested the second time that "said" could be interpreted to referred to any scientology building and not just the enumerated ones, but it is limited to "while entering or leaving." Barton was not supposed to abuse this although I stated my concerns that he would at the hearing and the Judge stated that the order would not apply if he did.)
Judge Bascue left about 3:30. We finished up the paperwork, made copies and left about 4:00.
By the time I finished looking up records across the street it was just about 5 pm. Traffic was awful. I went a few miles north, ate at a McDonalds, and made a few calls reporting what had happened. Learned that Deana Holmes was on her way down, and that I should expect her about 10 am at Cedars.
I won't say where I stayed that night.
Next morning I resurfaced the previously painted side of my sign with the same message about Lisa McPherson as the previous picket,
Did "Standard Tech" Kill Lisa McPherson? smaller letters: And why were scientologists writing checks on her bank account after she died? (The other side had Heaven's Gate--Scientology--Both UFO Cults!) and made up a new one: Wollersheim Wins! Judge: RTC and CSI Must Jointly Pay C332027 10/29/97 Other side: Does the "Bridge" Really Cost $360,000? See http://www.entheta.net In smaller letters: And what the heck is the 5th invader force? Wogs at Cause KoX
[The Nov. 1 photos are confusing. I scanned them 4 up and did not
renumber the text. Further, I think they came out:
In the store I picked up two cameras (on sale) and some bottled water. Headed over to Cedars, made the turn down L. Ron Hubbard Way. Deserted! There was not a person in sight except for Tom Martiniano (identified from photographs-- he introduced himself as "Fred" to Deana later in the day) who was obviously waiting for the show.
Tom Martiniano waved at me from the main entrance of the complex when I waved at him. He can be seen on the left side of picture 7 from the last picket and there are good shots of him in 29 and 34 of this set. I needed to find out where the Celebrity Center was anyway, so I looped the building and headed north to Franklin (which parallels Sunset and Hollywood) and west about ten blocks. I had no idea where it was, but fortunately the scientologists had provided the address on the legal papers.
The Celebrity Center (Photo 3) is an old sort of refurbished hotel occupying most of a block in a district which has gone to seed.
I parked on the North side of Fountain and strolled around the Center, camera in hand.
Photo 4 is looking inside a gate from the middle of the north side. Photo 5 is of the only west side entrance. Nice cars, relatively new and clean, unlike what you see at any of the ordinary orgs where people drive ratty old cars and are regged too hard to have any extra money.
As soon as I passed the west entrance I picked up a security guard with a radio.
He was most upset and insistent that I leave the area, not take pictures etc. You can see his hand or arm in 6 and 7. Six is (I think) from the south side or maybe the south east corner. Seven is from the east side looking north. I told him I was going back to my car to get my picket signs and would be right back. However, on the way across the street, I realized that I would have to head back to Cedars to be there for Deana.
Drove back to Cedars, there were no signs of tailing PIs. Parked on Sunset, fed the parking meter and started to picket. I walked down the west side of Cedars; photo 8 shows the cracked sidewalk on that side. When I was about as far as the driveway you can see in 8, here came Tom across the parking lot (photo 9). He walked with me, warning me that Glenn Barton might step out of any doorway at any time and that I had better watch out. Sure enough, Glenn was waiting at the first door out of the west side of Cedars. As soon as I saw him, I went back to the car and dug out my camcorder.
There is a gap in the photos to when the camera battery ran down, can't do both.
All the tape shows is about an hour of me trying to picket with 4-5 clams blocking my signs with balloons and IAS meeting signs while I cautiously walked along Sunset and down LRH Way not so far as the corner of the Cedars building. I was careful not to go as far as the corner of the Cedars building because Glenn Barton jumped out every time I came close.
One amusing thing is near the beginning of the tape, where Tom lays out this warning that I can't use anything from the tape on the Internet, or he will sue me, but neglects to mention photos. You can get an idea of what I faced from photos 10 and 11.
When the camera battery ran out it was close to 11 a.m.
Deana Holmes arrived just as I was considering moving over to the Celebrity Center. You can see the start of her picketing in 12, 13 and 14. (Deana's times on her affidavit were on Utah time, one hour later.)
With Deana in the picture, the church sent for reinforcements. They were forced to divide their picket defense forces because I could not walk down the east side of Cedars due to Glenn hopping out and crossing the street any time I came near. But Deana was under no such constraints and made a few passes down the east side of Cedars. You can see Deana headed down LRH way in 15 and 16.
Glenn played cat and mouse, jumping out of the northeast door anytime I came close, crossing the street and talking to neighbors close enough to the street that I would get within 25 yards of him if I tried to picket down LRH Way. You can see him crossing back, as Deana was returning in 22. 23-26 show Deana coming back up the street under continual harassment from the scientologists. I must say she was really pumped up by the time she got back. [grin]
It was a very hot day, well into the 90's (F). After a few passes we headed out for the 7-11 for more water.
We dropped our balloon and sign carrying escort at the NW corner of Cedars. On the way back, I was cautions about a homeless dude who was about Glenn's size although scruffier. I considered it possible they would dress up Glenn in a bum's outfit, but that is likely giving them too much credit for imagination.
We went back to picketing which you can see in the 28-36. The guy with the camcorder was often holding it within a foot of my face.
At one point I started to do a blinkless TR with Tom, but broke it off since I wanted someone to get a picture of it, and Deana was down LRH Way again. We mostly picketed the north (Sunset) and East side but once (37) went down the west side where I got a photo of one of the bike riding security guards.
It was hot enough to worry me, so about 12:30 we called it a day and got in our cars and headed over toward the Celebrity Center. 38 is Tom waving goodby.
The reasonable way to go north to the CC from where we were is a right turn down LRH Way south along the east side of Cedars, and a right onto Fountain, then a few blocks to the west and pick up a street with a light to cross Sunset. I didn't see him when I started down LRH way, but Glenn Barton was walking toward the parking lot (no doubt to chase us over to the Celebrity Center). He gave me a friendly wave which I caught on 39.
Getting this close was an accident.
Deana followed me, and thought Glenn, Tom and Co. were following us in a van. I think this might have been true, but since we were going to CC they had to go as well, so it might have been unintentional.
Celebrity Center Picket
On the corner to the northwest of CC there is a Grocery store. Deana and I parked and headed inside, grateful for the air conditioning.
We picked up more water, GatorAde(tm) (contact the ARSCC to place your ad here) and two more cameras. I was hoping the store had a lunch counter but no luck, so we went across the street to the west (waving to Tom and his counter picket crew patiently waiting for us on the northwest corner of Celebrity Center) and had lunch in a nice deli/restaurant.
After we had ordered, I went out to check out the situation. There were four suits on the corner. I went over, asked if they were scientologists and when they said yes, I introduced myself as their worst nightmare and pointed to the pile of counter picket signs stacked up on the far corner.
One of them noticed the Lisa flyers in my pocket, and asked for one. I gave each of them a flyer and went back to eat. Tom crossed the street to talk to them and quickly became one unhappy clam. We finished lunch by about 2:30 and reparked on a side street. Deana had a *brilliant* idea to make them look like fools if they continued to block her sign. She made one which said "Why are Scientologists Blocking this Sign?" and "www.entheta.net." About that time Tom came up and saw what Deana had done. He hotfooted it back, and the counter picket signs had vanished by the time we reached the corner.
Of course, it made Deana look a little silly when they did not block but what the heck? This sign is one to keep in mind for Clearwater.
When we got back to the CC, Glenn was in evidence out there on the NW corner with a tape measure measuring the *sign* on the Northwest corner of the block. It will be *most* interesting to hear him explain to Judge Bascue why he spent 20 minutes doing this.
Since Barton was using the order to prevent me from approaching the CC, I stayed across the street on Franklin. The north side of Franklin at the light is actually a *great* place to picket. Many thumbs up and honks. The traffic is slow and the light gives people plenty of time to read a sign about UFO cults.
Deana started picketing by walking around the cross walks with the light. A very effective way to picket without all that much walking, since you can hardly be expected to walk out into traffic while the light is red.
After a while, Deana crossed Franklin to be in the shade of the trees along the north side of CC. Glenn disappeared, so I went over as well. It was much too hot to do this for long, so, we took a break in one of the cafes on the north side of Franklin.
When we came out we picketed a bit more down the east side of CC, across the north side and down the west a little, all the time playing hide and seek with Glenn Barton. He was too far away to see much of his expression, but from the way he jogged back and forth trying to pop out, he was plenty annoyed. I don't think they thought out how much trouble even two picketers could be with only one order.
Deana and I picketed CC till about 4:30. At one point I was taping and holding my sign across the street from the northwest corner of the Celebrity Center.
Five or six local teenagers became curious about me and stopped to chat. They were very interested in the Xenu story, and were not the least sympathetic to scientology. One of them told a story about how his mother had been sucked in by the cult and wound up giving them money that she really could not afford.
Finally Deana and I decided this was enough since we still had the Shrine to do that night. Went back to the cars, tossed in the signs and headed west on Franklin.
There were no signs of tailing PIs this time. I have no idea if this is a permanent change or just a one time lapse.
We stopped at a big Chevron station at the corner of Western and Franklin. After Deana filled up, we decided to split up being paranoid about PIs--and meet at the Shrine about 6:30. I took off north on Western, which leads right into Griffith park. No sign of PIs pursuit.
I drove into the park, found a stopping place and checked under the car for locator bugs.
A passerby asked me what I was looking for, which gave me a chance to give out another Lisa leaflet.
It was still some time before dark, so I headed back to Cedars, arriving there about 5:15. Ah, there was a line of buses, and no sign of Glenn Barton. I parked on Sunset again, and with my sign and a camera wondered down the east side of LRH Way. There were not enough people out there yet to be worth picketing.
I decided to get some dinner and come back about the time the buses would be pulling out--guessing about the transit time to Shrine.
I went around the building again, back out on Sunset and West clear back to (I think) Western where there was a Mcdonalds. After a leisurely dinner (and watching the comedy induced by a stuck lock on a the toilet) I drove back to Cedars just as it was getting dark. There were plenty of streetlights, though not really enough light for pictures. By the time I got back, three or four of the 8-9 buses had left. I parked on Fountain, south of Cedars, pulled out my trusty picket sign and walked back up to where I would be in view of the buses when they pulled out.
There were a considerable number of worker ant scientologists moving heavy construction materials out of a garage on the south side of Fountain across the street and into a truck. It made me cringe to see small-boned women laboring to carry thick chunks of wallboard. Caryatids. Soon to be offloaded for ruptured disks.
The building I was in front of on the far side of Fountain would be called a "residence hotel." I.e., the sort of place you live in when you are one or two steps above being homeless. This made the night life around it interesting. I was accosted by one rather drunk black female who was curious about what I could be looking for with a large sign. (Not exactly a usual way to look for action in that kind of neighborhood.) After some effort she managed to read my sign and realized that I was not one of the ubiquitous neighborhood culties.
She blessed me for what I was doing, after indicating that she considered the cult to *lower* the class of the neighborhood, and then staggered off. After this I was joined by a scientology security guard on a bicycle. He who knew who I was, but was nice about it. We had a long reasonable conversation. I asked (among other things) if there was any fallout from the last time I came by, in which the guards did not spot me.
He didn't know much about what had happened at that time, being new on the job. Makes me wonder if the lot of them *were* RPFed as I speculated in my last picket report.
I stayed there figuring that I could make better time than the buses, most of which were still there. Only one bus pulled out after about 40 minutes--and I realized that it was nearly *empty.* At that point, I dismissed the buses and proceeded to the Shrine.
I should have started earlier. I had looked at a map of how to get there, but didn't have it with me, so I overshot by perhaps a mile or two, getting stuck in slow traffic which was passing a VW bug on the side of the Harbor Freeway about half engulfed in fire. I got off the freeway and came back on surface streets, since the fire and emergency vehicles had about closed that freeway both directions. Finally found it, and remembering the order not to park in the Shrine parking lots, I found a place to park on the major north-south road (Figueroa) to the east of the Shrine Auditorium and just south of Jefferson which goes by the south side. I was late and worried about missing Deana.
I pulled out my camcorder. It was a bit dark to get much in the way of video, but I figured I could get audio and there might be enough light in places. Just as I had closed the trunk (boot for the Brits) on the car, I dropped the car keys and they skidded into a storm drain.
Xenu smiled on me, the keys stopped where they could still be reached. Camera on shoulder, I walked the half block back to Jefferson and Figueroa.
I suspect that the Yahoo map is not accurate in that the short street with Shrine in the name may be misplaced a block north, or not shown because it cuts through in front of the Shrine auditorium. Or perhaps the road is considered private property. This should be looked into before the next picket there.
I started to picket, with a 8-10 scientologists surrounding me, mostly male, lots of cameras. They were impressively nasty and I got it on tape. The hecklers included Tom and Hugh, but I did not see either Cal or Joe from the previous picket back in Sept. Later I really wondered about them.
I walked to the west (mostly west, the streets are not quite aligned in that part of LA) on the sidewalk along the south edge of the Shrine property. I had intended to picket on the sidewalk all along that area, but when I got to up to the southwest corner of the building, I saw that Glenn Barton was out there using his body and the court order to keep me from picketing on the public sidewalk to the west of the Shrine.
I got a few frames of video which show him, and turned back down the side of the building. It was not a pleasant situation, at one point I had no fewer than about 15 very hostile scientologist about me, though they did not have balloons or counter picket signs. The tape is quite interesting to watch. It is clear that a picket of an "event" as opposed to a picket at an arbitrary time will excite a much stronger response.
Some of the time I stayed near a motorcycle cop who was assigned to this event and parked in the middle of the block. He was implored by the scientologists to take me in, claiming I had come closer than 25 yards to Glenn Barton. (If this in fact happened, it was before I looked around the corner and saw him.)
The cop asked me to leave the area, but he made it clear that this was only a suggestion when I mentioned Constitutional rights. After about 20-30 minutes (though it seemed a lot longer) Deana came striding in from the west. She had been having a glorious time enturbulating right and left in front of the Shrine, as you can tell by her affidavit. We talked briefly and she suggested I cross the street and come in from the west. I was not too keen on this but getting out of the middle of a large number of hostiles seemed like a good idea.
I went back to the light at Figueroa, losing all my clams except Hugh. He stuck with me, and we had a pleasant conversation while taking a long way around the shrine property. As I often do when I find someone who indicates an interest, I went into professor mode talking about much of the incredible research which has been going on for the last 40 years and is making such progress in understanding what makes us, and life in general, tick. My guess is that we will not see him in scientology again.
By this time there were not too many stragglers, but given the late hour (near starting time for the IAS event) that was not too surprising. I had an interesting conversation with a person who seems genuinely interested in wide ranging subjects as we walked east on the north side of the Shrine and back to the south on Figueroa. By this time it was close to 8 pm and I was ready to call it a night. Near the corner of Jefferson and Figueroa Tom joined us, asking (for a scientologist) fairly sensible questions about what we had been talking about. (The main topic was spirits, and my question to them was where does the spirit of the operating system go when you turn off the power on your computer.)
I should have just crossed the street to my car and headed for home. But I stayed just a few minutes too long.
An LAPD car came ripping up the wrong side of the street (something Deana saw but did not connect with me) and pulled in where we were standing.
The petite lady cop of the two seemed excessively wired on macho that evening. She jumped out, grabbed my camera and picket sign, and slapped me in handcuffs.
You can see this in the fine photographs the Scientologists took and supplied as part of their response to my motion to delay the copyright trial in San Jose along with a picture of me in the cop car. (photos on p12) The cops made proforma noises about not taking pictures to the crowd of Scientologists which quickly grew to 50 or more.
Interestingly I was never told I was under arrest, nor was I read any Miranda rights--though I was "field interrogated." At the time, I figured the arrest process had been changed and my knowledge of the subject was out of date, but it turned out that I had been subjected to a "citizens arrest" by Glenn Barton--though, of course, he had not spoken to me, and had been no closer than 25 yards (to the best of my knowledge). I have not yet found out if Glenn being an "LAPD Chaplain" puts the City of Los Angeles at risk for liability for false arrest. While I understand that this is a volunteer position, there is the precedent for CAN being held liable for actions of a volunteer.
I denied to the cops that I had violated the court order, and stated that I was just peacefully picketing.
This had no effect. They had decided to take me in before they showed up.
For those of you who have never had serious contact with the law, being arrested is an interesting experience. It was the very first time for me, and I can't say I recommend it. On the other hand, it may just be one of the costs you have to pay if you are serious about defending Constitutional rights.
I must know dozens of people (mostly a little younger than I) who were arrested in the Vietnam war protests, some of whom were seriously injured in the process. I was thinking about them last year when Robert MacNamara, the principal person who promoted that war, came out with a book which said it had all been a mistake, and sorry about that.
Since a lot of transports in cop cars are of people who are bleeding or throwing up, the back seat is solid plastic. Very uncomfortable with your hands cuffed behind your back, but much of the point of this purposeful degradation is to convince people that they don't want to be arrested again.
The station they took me to was a few miles to the west of Shrine. We got there, I was shaken down, and everything but my wallet taken. They make you remove shoestrings (which I did not have) and your belt. The holding cell they put me in was a study in featurelessness, metal up to about 5 feet, a thick plastic window, and a bench with plenty of chains. Even the sheet metal screws had the heads covered with epoxy. Being a quiet night (so far) I did not have any "roomates." Before they put me in I asked if I could use the bathroom. They took me to one, cuffed me by one hand to a really solid rail and watched.
I was in the cell for about four hours. The cell's plastic window looked out on a hallway were many cops came and went. Apparently the sight of an older white guy in this cell was so unusual (at least for this part of LA which is mostly black) that a fair fraction of the cops who came by asked why "grandpa" was in the cell. There were a few air holes in the plastic sheet on the door, and I must have told a dozen or more through the holes that I had been arrested picketing scientology, to their universal negative to *highly* negative comments about the cult. Typical comment: "That ripoff outfit?"
After a few hours of this, I was given a choice. If I promised not to go back and picket, I would be released. If I was going back for anything but picking up my car, I would be transported to the main jail and stay there till Monday. I told them I had only intended to picket till the event started, and that since it was about over, there wasn't any point in picketing. Giving up my Constitutional right to peacefully protest seemed to make them happy, so I was fingerprinted, photographed, and released after signing a promise to appear on Nov. 26.
This was the first chance I had to get at a phone, I called a cab and reported to Grady that I was out, and had him post it.
If anyone were to go back and dig out my old postings to rec.pyrotechnics or alt.engineering.explosives they would find that I was always one of the "voices of caution." In spite of my experiences of that night, I was not convinced that peaceful protest is a lost cause.
I mentioned to the black cabby who took me back to the Shrine why I had been in police custody. Turned out *he* was into Scientology, but low level. Gave him the Xenu and Lisa flyers, told him what LRH had said about blacks and pointed him to the net. Cost them one, I bet.
The cabby did not understand that I wanted to be dropped off on the street away from the Shrine, so I inadvertently violated the order to stay off the Shrine property when he drove down the street right in front of it. I ducked, had him circle through and drop me at my car.
Having *long* missed my flight back to San Jose, I drove up to Burbank. I found a motel where I could get few hours of sleep. I woke up just before the wakeup call, drove over to the airport and dropped my rental car about seven in the morning. Being Saturday, it was a long wait in the airport (much of it dawdling over a toast and orange juice breakfast) till the first flight back to San Jose. There were a few scientologists also going back to northern California who saw my sign as I was waiting. I got some vicious negative comments, but one person (who I presume was a scientologist who had been to the Shrine) indicated that he knew what was going on, and was *not* happy with them any more.
Even though there must have been some scientologists on the flight back, and I was carrying my signs, I heard no comments. I spent much of the time talking to a woman about limits to and defense of the odd metameme of (limited) tolerance.
On the operational level, we seem to be *really* hurting them with pickets. As many formers have stated, the scientology mental state is fragile, and easy to snap out of. They hate to put new people in contact with picketers, and yet at least two of them from last time, Cal Cole and Joe Neal, did not show up this time. Joe Neal is one of Rinder's aides who coordinated ops on Garry Scarff and the ARD German film crew. He was one who filmed the last picket in Clearwater, and I think I remember him in a mask hanging out in a van at the motel.
Maybe they were just busy with the IAS shindig, but it will be most interesting to see whether they reappear. If Neal *has* blown, his close ties to Mike Rinder and David Miscavige would make him among the most interesting people for the FBI to interview.
Scientology surely pulled in this picket and the bad PR, and it is not over, I have to be back on the 26th of November for a hearing in municipal court.
2. Battle of the Grandpas - H. K. Henson
Early in the afternoon on the 25th, I set out once again for LA. This time driving since there was no way to get a ticket that close to Thanksgiving.
The drive to LA down I5 was its usual--unspeakably boring. Miles and miles of farms or scrub, interrupted by feedlots.
Again I will not say where I stayed that night.
Next morning I was up bright and early. The weather was ominous, a heavy storm system was sweeping over the coast from the Northwest. According to news reports cars were being convoyed over the Grapevine (I5-mountains N of LA) in small groups by the highway patrol after a series of accidents in hard rain. Since the storm was still 40 miles to the north, LA traffic was not badly affected, and I made it to the municipal court in good time.
The court building is a massive structure, huge waffles of concrete with a parking garage in the bottom level, fences and locked doors. I park and look with interest at the massive building and lack of diagonal bracing, thinking of earthquakes.
If one happened right now it would definitely spoil my day.
A line forms in the twenty feet of space between the stairs out of the garage section and the core of the building, for when the doors will open. I strike up a conversation with a lawyer. We swap stories, he is there for an out of state slumlord, I tell him about picketing scientology. The "clientele" is mostly of color, most of them in working clothes. There is little talk. They tend to look beaten down or hung over or both.
Eventually the doors open, and the guards let in a few people at a time to be run through a metal detector (the security is much tighter here--much like the Federal Courts instead of the relaxed open nature of the Superior court in LA.)
I take the elevator up one floor, exit into a large hall. This is 60s bare concrete taken seriously. There are a few windows where you can look out into the gathering storm. I watch as wind eddies swirl trash in tight circles.
Dept 81 was right down a wide hall, with another court room to the left and the clerk's office between. There was a listing of cases on the wall next to the clerks office. I am not on the list. I stand in line quite a while to check with the clerk--who takes it away for a while and then stamps my paper that nothing was filed; I will be notified by mail sometime in the next year--if they decide to file something. It seems this is more often than not the end result of being arrested.
I was more than a little annoyed, two days wasted off work. I went back down, retrieved my pocket tape recorder which the guard were holding and stepped out into the parking garage. Deluge! The front had come through and outside the parking garage it was raining so hard you could hardly see across the street. I waited for a while, watching the rain bounce off the pavement and sheets of runoff make the streets run several inches deep.
After a while it slacked off slightly and I left. I passed the original LA train station and not long after that was back was on 101 going north. Later a scientology person mentions they were watching me in court that morning. Were they there? Did they follow? Not sure.
It was still raining, though not so hard when I reached the Hollywood Boulevard exit. One of my LA contacts said there were scientology orgs located along Hollywood Blvd. to the west of 101. I exited and headed that way--away from Cedars, CC, and (hopefully) Barton. Not very far along (at Ivar) I spotted the LRH museum, circled it and parked.
By this time it was raining intermittently.
I parked on the east side of the block on which the LRH museum is located, armed myself with sign, video camera, and a few Lisa flyers and walked around the corner. It is an interesting block. Vf (for video frame) 2 is a picture of the Live Nude Show about in the middle of the block. Vf 3 is the sign over the vacant store front next to the LRH museum. What a _charming_ district.
I have already suggested the ARSCC rent this place and put an entheta projector inside. Vf 6 is the store front next to the vacant place. A while ago someone mentioned that scientology places are in the kinds of neighborhoods where you would go to get a tattoo. Well, they weren't kidding, here is the place.
After maybe 10-15 minutes of picketing, but little apparent reaction from the scientologists, I decided it was just too wet and headed back to my car. Got in, started it, drove half a block to Hollywood and discovered that the scientologists had taken notice of me after all. About 8 of them, split evenly between men and women and mostly in Sea Org regalia, came down to the corner at Hollywood to yell at me. Several had flash cameras.
My mood lifted. The day had something going for it after all. Encouraged, I returned to continue my picket.
I parked again on Hollywood just beyond the nudie place and went back to picketing them--without my camera at first. Then Elliot Abelson showed up, tan suit under an umbrella. In the interest of a full report, I went back to get the camera. You can see Elliot's gloomy visage in vf 7. (While writing this, I figured out they might have been trying to get me to stay while Barton was rounded up and sent over.)
[There are a number of frames showing unknown persons. Can you can put a name on any of these individuals?]
Vf 4 is high level Scieno, shoulder tabs and all. Vf 5 is first view of the alleged private investigator (middle, blue/gray sweater). A netizen read part of the Andersen letter to the Chief of Police in Clearwater (FL) to me over the phone. The letter refers to this guy as a scientologist, so he may not really be a private investigator--or of course he could be both. [I *really* need his name and background for legal reasons. Please contact me if you have any information.]
Vf 8 is an older woman,vf9 is the older woman and a younger one. 10 is a good shot of the security guard and a woman behind him. 11 is Ableson talking to a bunch of scientologists, 12 and 13 are pictures of a woman who broke into a run passing me as she was coming back from the direction of the nudie movies. This was as I was leaving for the second time. [If anyone can put names on any of the folks visible, please either post or send them to me by email, or send them to a trusted third party who will strip your name and send it on to me if you worry about scientology knowing who identified someone.]
After leaving the LRH museum, I drove on to the west some 10-15 blocks, and what did I see but another giant scientology/dianetics sign. The org looked dead, the heavy rain had soaked everything, and there was not much foot traffic that early (about 10am). But in the interest of thoroughness--picketing as many places as I could to get out the word of scientology abuses--I stopped, parked my car on a side street where I could watch it at the end of a picket pass, gathered my sign and camera and started picketing. The view in vf14 is from beyond the building a little to the west. They have a parking lot there that they use for a Christmas/Santa display. (One has to wonder what an *honest* sign would say, perhaps Hubbard's famous "There was no Christ" quote.) It looked soggy and abandoned.
Some of the scientologist from the museum had followed me. Across the street in vf16 you can see sweater guy and vcam guy. The two men in vf15 are not scientologists, but some kind of monitors who work in an official capacity to gently roust the street people in the Hollywood area. (They get them up and moving before too many tourist take to the streets) As I mentioned, the rain had come down hard that morning. But it was nice and dry next to the door under the deep porch. An awing way out over the sidewalk at the scientology building kept the high wind from driving rain in that far. The dry spot had been taken by a street person. (Sad case: walks in great pain due to motor cycle wreck damage to his foot.)
In vf19 you can see the street person's sleeping bag, in 17 you can see him being rousted and waking up. He hobbled off down the wet sidewalk, hugging his sleeping bag.
VF 22 is a good view of the vcam guy, 23 is the vcam guy up close. 24 is not very good, but there is profile of this guy in 26.
25 is a picture of the guy who was sweeping the trash out of the front area the storm had blown in. 27 shows sweater guy who had moved across the street. 29 give you a feeling for how "in your face" these guys get. I said hi to David Miscavige. Vcam guy was intensely pumping me for information about the "German connection" and Bob Minton.
My picketing and their harassment went on for perhaps 20-30 minutes before Barton snuck up on me. (I could time it from the camera which ran all that time.) He was dressed up like a penguin, dark suit, under an umbrella, though by this time the rain had about stopped. Vf30 frame is hard to make out, but that is Glenn Barton under the umbrella. He is standing right in front of a gate but as far as I know he did not pass through it.
At that point he had managed to get within about 20 feet of me. I turned away and walked to the east, expecting him to enter the gate he was standing next to and play cat and mouse jumping in and out like he did at the Celebrity Center Nov. 1.
I reached the east end of my picket cycle and turned back. Glenn was gone, but he had not gone through the gate. He walked west--something you can see only with difficulty in the video. I walked west to the end of the awning saw him again and turned and started away again. Figuring that I had put in about enough picket time anyway (you get double credit for rain) and not wishing to play cat and mouse, I went to the end of my picket cycle to the east and continued into the street heading back to my car.
I was accosted several feet out in the street by sweater guy in vf34--who told me in a commanding tone that I had to leave because Glenn was there. Glenn had walked behind me, *passed* the entry way into the org and was now on the corner which you can see in vf35. He started making noises about how sweater guy should arrest me. I don't know if the video picked up the overlapping voices.
This whole sequence has been made into an AVI file for those of you who can play it (320k mpeg). Things went very fast beyond this point, but vf36 is interesting. It has sweater guy's hand in it. Can anyone tell what was in his hand?
Sweater guy/PI states he is putting me under arrest. (Even though he seems to actually be doing it for Barton as Barton's agent--can a person do a citizen's arrest as an agent for someone else? Barton's name is on the arrest paperwork, not his.)
(Arrest for violating the order is ridiculous. Judge Bascue was specific that Barton could not use his order to chase me away from picketing, and he was *not* going in or out at the time. He was deliberately using the order and his body me to prevent me from picketing.)
I turn toward my car which is across the narrow street. The PI sticks his arm around my head from the back, I think under the camera on my right shoulder. He was trying for a choke hold and bashed my nose enough to cause it to bleed. Sweater guy for all his gray hair is somewhat younger than I am, a little taller and in better shape. I had a slight edge on him in weight and traction but was seriously encumbered and very surprised at the escalation in violence. I really did not expect them to lay hands on me.
With my sign in one hand and a vhs format camera on the opposite shoulder, I can't do much. Sweater guy pulls his arm back into my mouth, and I bite down on his sleeve to keep him from blocking my nose. I think I might have got some flesh as well. I only get about ten feet toward my car when the forces get so high that I lose the camera and sign.
They hit the ground in front of my car. That oversized Samsung camera is one tough customer because it still works.
Vf 38 is a picture the camera got of my sign while both flying through the air, you can see the last three letters of "checks" from the line "And why were scientologist writing checks" (on her account after she was dead?) and 37 of buildings and sky is nearly the last frame the camera recorded before it hit the pavement and the battery was knocked out.
Sweater guy winds up on the ground as well. (Details are kind of spotty. I remember deciding not to stomp on his throat, and getting in the car, trying to start it while he got an arm around my head and choked me again. Some black passer-by tried to pry the PI off of me yelling that the PI was going to kill me, sweater guy telling the black dude he is not really choking me and has been trained to hold people this way (while I am starting to black out from pressure on the carotid), several scientologists peeling the black guy off the PI, and one of them getting into my car and grabbing my keys. All this had about the grace you would expect from a fourth grade playground brawl. (If the black guy in the yellow raincoat every happens to read this, I very much appreciate what you tried to do. Takes real nerve to go up against about 8 guys that way.)
Once they had my keys sweater guy quit choking me. The photo of bruises on my neck and collar bone were taken a week later (and posted the same day to the net--there is an 800k version of the photo as neckhres.jpg). I got out of the car and tried to get my keys back, but they were tossing them from one of the scientologist to another. I staggered over to a phone and called 911 with my back to a wall.
Several *long* minutes later the cops showed up. Abelson (former mob lawyer) was there, using his authority as an officer of the court to convince a supervisor who showed up after the first pair responded that I should be arrested for violating the court order. The cops kept me back far enough that I could not hear Abelson, but he, Barton and sweater guy talked earnestly to the police.
(And perhaps Barton was using his connections within the police department as well.) The beat cops don't want to do it, but I get put in cuffs. Abelson asks me how I am doing, and I croak that my throat is damaged (on Dec. 16th, the left side of my neck still hurts). Abelson expresses unctuous concern that I should see a doctor.
I asked the police that battery charges be filed against the PI (who may not be a PI) and told my side of the fracas to the cops, including them stealing my car keys. Sweater guy denies having my keys, and at the same time pulls them out of his pocket and gives them to one of the cops.
Compared to getting jumped from behind by a scientologist (or PI?) being arrested is a piece of cake--cops are much less scary than scientologists who will do about anything to keep from being picketed.
It was the day before the Thanksgiving holiday, the cops tell me it will be Monday before I could see a magistrate. The female of the pair was nice enough to lock my sign up in my car. The camera and I go into the hard plastic back of a patrol car and make the trip to the station. I spend maybe two hours cuffed to a bench there, near zero conversation. They start to book me, and find that I take blood pressure medicine. The local lockup can't deal with such complicated problem so it is off to the main downtown jail. On the way, I fill the cops in on scientology's fight with the net and such gems as Hubbard's statement that 2.5% of the population be deleted "without sorrow."
When we get to the main jail, there is a considerable wait to see the doctor. I wind up with quite an audience to which I expound on memetics, the whole Xenu story, Lisa McPherson, the Introspection Rundown, Gene Ingram--the usual a.r.s topics. The cops, several with different prisoners, are appalled as are the minority of their prisoners who speak English. I am ready to do this all Thanksgiving weekend to the rest of the prisoners (grin). (And being an older educated white guy makes me a very unusual prisoner.) Suddenly the male cop realized that I have enough money in my wallet to post bond and they could go back to doing more useful things. I mention that if they cut me loose, I would have to go back to get my car, and that Barton could (by their interpretation of the order) camp out there all day and keep me away from my car or arrest me again. They say call 911 and get an officer to watch you pick up your car, and they turn me over to the office where you bail yourself out.
After I got through the fingerprinting, mug shot, and bailout it was well into the afternoon. I caught a cab back to Hollywood, called 911 from across the street and waited. There were several people in the stores who recognized me from that morning and wanted the details on why one old guy looked like he was trying to kill another old guy with a choke hold. I filled them in slightly, handing out my last Lisa flyers. A cop car showed up and they watched as I crossed the street and jumped in my car. My car has a wet $30 parking ticket on the window, but was otherwise undisturbed. No Barton or other scientologists were in view, and nothing was being done on the Christmas project either.
I considered picketing another location, but I figured they might not know I had bailed myself out, might not have seen me pick up my car; and I wanted to see what they might say on the net about this story.
3. Courtroom scenes -- December 17 and 18 -- H.K.Henson
I was required to return to Lost Angeles for a hearing on December 17. This was the arraignment for the picket/arrest on November 26.
This time I flew down in early morning. The court in this case is just off the 101 freeway on Hollywood, within a few blocks of the LRH museum.
Heavy security! Medium sized 60 seat courtroom, no frills, institutional grade, tiles missing in the ceiling. Judge (not commissioner) Chalft presiding (not sure I got his name right)
Hearings go by one after another, most of them quickly.
In one, a black woman three little kids is a few hours short on some community service she was sentenced to perform. She pleads serious problems with child care while she was trying to complete the service. Tears. The judge gives her another two weeks and tells her she will go to jail if she does not get it done. I couldn't work as a judge on such cases. There were ten to twenty people weeping at her presentation. The Judge was unmoved, though he did cut her a little slack.
My case is called.
I ask the judge to continue the arraignment so I can locate a lawyer. He does, to Jan. 5, since I have to be in the city on January 6 for *another* arraignment (for the Nov. 1 picket/arrest). But I get stuck with a 100 yards from Barton order. So much for my First Amendment rights to peacefully protest.
Abelson is there as well as a dude with a gray forelock, whom I later find out (from Graham Berry) is none other than Ken Long. Sweater guy turns up as well. I can't resist. I go over and ask him if he is a scientologist. Friendly demeanor, seems to bear me no ill will. No he says, Roman Catholic. I snicker and tell him that Brian Anderson misidentified him as a scientologist in a letter to the Chief of Police in Clearwater. At this, he acknowledges that he is both a Roman Catholic (raised that way) and a scientologist. I asked him how he could be since Hubbard said there was no man on the cross? No reply. I happen to get a last name for him, Richardson.
I verbally notice Abelson that I am going for an Exparte motion the next day to vacate the order based on Barton abusing it--the motion I posted to the net. About an hour later, Abelson decides that he does not represent Barton after all, and says that I will have to contact someone else. After I leave court, I try to call the original lawyer. Her phone number is forwarded. The person I reach, Marcello Dimuro, knows Jeanne M. Gavigan, but has not seen her for some time because she no longer works there. Weird. I then get a number for David Chodos and leave a message with his secretary, Glenda.
The rest of the day was spent in ways which I have to keep under wraps for a while. They could find out if they went through enough reception books.
Next morning I show up at Judge Bascue's court.
There are six of them. Barton, Chodos, Abelson, Barton, Ken Long, and Richardson, the PI guy. (Six to one, I assign myself a condition of power today.) Chodos is fuming that I did not give proper notice. I noted that there sure were a lot of them there for not having enough notice. I register the motion with the clerk and we wait, Chodos reading my motion. About 45 minutes after we got there Graham Berry (who has other business in the court that morning) comes in and greets Abelson and Chodos. They try to hide it but they are not pleased.
Graham says he was just passing through from another case and stopped
Without looking it up, I would estimate Judge Bascue to be about 45,
he shows no grey and has a full head of hair. Distinguished might be
the best description. He is fully aware of the sensitive First
Amendment nature of this case, and seems quite intelligent.
I feel like warning him about the scams scientology pulls on judges,
but decide that I should leave that to someone else. (Perhaps
someone might send him a copy of that American Lawyer article?) His
courtroom is nicely paneled in light wood. His is a medium sized
court, about 30 by 40 feet. There are clerk desks and a clutter of
computer stuff to his right inside the bar. The Judge or one of his
staff likes plants; he has a healthy looking potted fern to his right,
and a pair of variegated philodendrons below the bench.
In chambers, Chodos was ready to argue indignantly that he did not get
adequate notice. He did not get a chance. The Judge takes a look at
the motion, reads into it a ways, and suggests that it really should be
done as a regular motion rather than exparte and that he will accept
it as such, consider them noticed and have his clerk give us a date.
With a few plesant words we are ushered out.
I add to the motion (which includes a copy of the picket tape) a draft
of the first part of this article, and the two video frames which show
Barton. [Henson asked to have the order set aside. He also requested,
if it were in the power of Bascue's court, to have his two arrest
cases dismissed and expunged from his record. The motion will be
argued on February 2. Meanwhile, Henson has asked Judge Whyte for a
delay in his civil trial. -ed.]
During the wait for the clerk to assign us a date (Feb. 2 it turns
out) Graham discusses with Abelson the new alignment of lawyers
(criminal defense lawyers) which David Miscavige is assembling.
Abelson says one of them has decided to switch to civil litigation.
Right. I ask Abelson if he gets auditing. Abelson make like he does
not understand what this is. I point blank ask him if he is a
scientologist and he will not answer. In my mind this goes a long way
to explain the odd letter he wrote to Minton. Only a cult brainwashed
lawyer would let such a thing be dictated to him and sent out over his name.
Abelson remarks that I will be down in LA (but unable to picket) many
times in the next few months. He is right. Will this be a win for the cult?
Wait and see.
At first I thought the effort and *serious* risk they have put into
preventing me from picketing was just insane (I now have a hell of a
tort case which I could file against them, even in federal court,
maybe even in *Judge Whyte's* court). But further consideration led
me to the possibility that their overreaction may be economically
rational--if picketing really does as much damage as I suspect.
What's a rice & beans slave worth? What is a well-to-do public
member worth? (I can answer that in one case that I know of, $20k a
year.) How many do they lose per picket? A few picketers may be
costing the church *a great deal of money*. As a solo picket Ted
Mayett nearly shut the Las Vegas Orgs. Dennis actually made his
decision to leave the church after seeing a picket. The real
Scientology is so much at odds with the promises they make that it
doesn't take much to get people to blow. The picketing hurts them
this way, and it causes severe problems getting new people to join.
To date I have mostly refrained from asking the net people for
support, after all, this has been a *hobby* and other people needed
it more (though I *really* appreciate what I have been sent). But
scientology seems bound and determined to pull the disaster I
represent into close contact with them. This last sequence started
when they made me miss the Stanford/UCLA game. I have yet to make a
trip to LA for the sole purpose of picketing scientology--*their*
decisions "pulled in" three of the last four (Hemet, the Triple picket
and this one). (The Sept. 13 picket was a side trip when I was in LA
building UFOs for a TV show.)
Since they took to filing court actions against me in LA, the cost
(mostly in terms of lost work time) has started to exceed my
recreation budget. I need to spend $300-400 dollars for a court
transcript of the hearing before Judge Bascue Oct. 31, (which should
be interesting to the net almost on the scale of my funny deposition
almost two years ago). There are several other projects which need
serious funding, not to mention travel to LA and expenses there.
I may have a line on some serious money from sources not currently
involved, but until/unless that comes through, my ability to provide
laughs for the net and Foot Bullet opportunities for the church
would be greatly improved by some contributions.
At least I now have an excellent arrangement where I can do frame
grabbing and scan photographs, so perhaps that part will not be such a holdup.
Given recent legal maneuvers by scientology, including attempts
to depose Bob Minton to find out whether he has contributed to Grady
Ward's defense, I cannot guarantee that your name would not be
revealed if you sent money in a form which can be tracked. If you
feel the need to preserve your anonymity please use money orders. If
you want, I will post a signal number (such as off your favorite
dollar bill) to a.r.s, so you will know that I received your contribution.
P.O. Box 60012
Palo Alto, CA 94306
Without looking it up, I would estimate Judge Bascue to be about 45, he shows no grey and has a full head of hair. Distinguished might be the best description. He is fully aware of the sensitive First Amendment nature of this case, and seems quite intelligent.
I feel like warning him about the scams scientology pulls on judges, but decide that I should leave that to someone else. (Perhaps someone might send him a copy of that American Lawyer article?) His courtroom is nicely paneled in light wood. His is a medium sized court, about 30 by 40 feet. There are clerk desks and a clutter of computer stuff to his right inside the bar. The Judge or one of his staff likes plants; he has a healthy looking potted fern to his right, and a pair of variegated philodendrons below the bench.
In chambers, Chodos was ready to argue indignantly that he did not get adequate notice. He did not get a chance. The Judge takes a look at the motion, reads into it a ways, and suggests that it really should be done as a regular motion rather than exparte and that he will accept it as such, consider them noticed and have his clerk give us a date. With a few plesant words we are ushered out.
I add to the motion (which includes a copy of the picket tape) a draft of the first part of this article, and the two video frames which show Barton. [Henson asked to have the order set aside. He also requested, if it were in the power of Bascue's court, to have his two arrest cases dismissed and expunged from his record. The motion will be argued on February 2. Meanwhile, Henson has asked Judge Whyte for a delay in his civil trial. -ed.]
During the wait for the clerk to assign us a date (Feb. 2 it turns out) Graham discusses with Abelson the new alignment of lawyers (criminal defense lawyers) which David Miscavige is assembling. Abelson says one of them has decided to switch to civil litigation. Right. I ask Abelson if he gets auditing. Abelson make like he does not understand what this is. I point blank ask him if he is a scientologist and he will not answer. In my mind this goes a long way to explain the odd letter he wrote to Minton. Only a cult brainwashed lawyer would let such a thing be dictated to him and sent out over his name.
Abelson remarks that I will be down in LA (but unable to picket) many times in the next few months. He is right. Will this be a win for the cult?
Wait and see.
At first I thought the effort and *serious* risk they have put into preventing me from picketing was just insane (I now have a hell of a tort case which I could file against them, even in federal court, maybe even in *Judge Whyte's* court). But further consideration led me to the possibility that their overreaction may be economically rational--if picketing really does as much damage as I suspect. What's a rice & beans slave worth? What is a well-to-do public member worth? (I can answer that in one case that I know of, $20k a year.) How many do they lose per picket? A few picketers may be costing the church *a great deal of money*. As a solo picket Ted Mayett nearly shut the Las Vegas Orgs. Dennis actually made his decision to leave the church after seeing a picket. The real Scientology is so much at odds with the promises they make that it doesn't take much to get people to blow. The picketing hurts them this way, and it causes severe problems getting new people to join.
To date I have mostly refrained from asking the net people for support, after all, this has been a *hobby* and other people needed it more (though I *really* appreciate what I have been sent). But scientology seems bound and determined to pull the disaster I represent into close contact with them. This last sequence started when they made me miss the Stanford/UCLA game. I have yet to make a trip to LA for the sole purpose of picketing scientology--*their* decisions "pulled in" three of the last four (Hemet, the Triple picket and this one). (The Sept. 13 picket was a side trip when I was in LA building UFOs for a TV show.)
Since they took to filing court actions against me in LA, the cost (mostly in terms of lost work time) has started to exceed my recreation budget. I need to spend $300-400 dollars for a court transcript of the hearing before Judge Bascue Oct. 31, (which should be interesting to the net almost on the scale of my funny deposition almost two years ago). There are several other projects which need serious funding, not to mention travel to LA and expenses there.
I may have a line on some serious money from sources not currently involved, but until/unless that comes through, my ability to provide laughs for the net and Foot Bullet opportunities for the church would be greatly improved by some contributions.
At least I now have an excellent arrangement where I can do frame grabbing and scan photographs, so perhaps that part will not be such a holdup.
Given recent legal maneuvers by scientology, including attempts to depose Bob Minton to find out whether he has contributed to Grady Ward's defense, I cannot guarantee that your name would not be revealed if you sent money in a form which can be tracked. If you feel the need to preserve your anonymity please use money orders. If you want, I will post a signal number (such as off your favorite dollar bill) to a.r.s, so you will know that I received your contribution.