[harassment has become so commonplace that it is no longer newsworthy]
The Skeptical Inquirer, Mar. 1, 2001
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(...) Just because not much has been written lately about the ongoing war on the
part of Scientology against its critics does not mean that they have suddenly
reverted to civilized norms (see this column, September/October 1995). If
anything, it means that such harassment has become so commonplace that it is no
longer newsworthy. In Clearwater, Florida, the location of one of Scientology's
major headquarters, an ongoing battle rages against anti-Scientology protesters
and pickets, most of whom are from the Lisa McPherson Trust (named for a young
woman who died of neglect and/or mistreatment while in ''isolation'' in a
Scientology ''prison'' for persons who have broken the rules-see
www.xenu.net/archive/events/lisa_mcpherson/the_trust). This frequently involves
shoving and other physical interference against critics that somehow the
Clearwater police are unable to ''see.'' Many of the Clearwater police officers
during their off-duty hours are paid $21 per hour by Scientology to serve as a
private security force, and critics charge that this makes it impossible for the
police to be fair and neutral in the \ongoing battle of ideologies.
Critics have filmed Scientologist strong-arm agents physically interfering with
protesters and sticking gum on their camera lenses, but Clearwater police are
singularly uninterested in the indisputable video evidence of these crimes.
Engineer Keith Henson of Palo Alto, California, a free speech advocate and one
of Scientology's most persistent critics, has been driven into personal
bankruptcy by the group. He posted on the Internet a letter he wrote to a judge,
containing an excerpt from one of Scientology's secret scriptures about how the
group's ''E-meters'' (crude devices that are nothing more than simple
galvanometers) could be used to diagnose and treat diseases. Henson argued that
Scientology was practicing medicine without a license as well as promoting
dangerous and unproven medical practices, and hence his revelation and
discussion of this act constituted protected free speech on a subject of public
interest. But after a series of bizarre rulings against Henson by the judge,
Scientology obtained a judgment of $75,000 against him for ''copyright
infringement.'' The amount of money that the organization has spent to crush
Henson using top-- dollar legal talent dwarfs the amount they could ever hope to
collect from him by at least a factor of ten, and probably much more that that.
Such persecution is clearly intended not to protect Scientology's legitimate
interests but to serve as a warning to other would-be activists of the fate
awaiting them should they follow Henson's example.
Now the Scientologists are attempting to have Henson put in jail for allegedly
threatening to attack their main headquarters with nuclear cruise missiles (see
www.xenu.net/archive/WIR/wir5-25.html). According to the police report on the
incident, ''some threats [were] being made against the Church on the Internet
newsgroup, alt.Religion.scientology. In the documents, it shows Keith discussing
how an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missiles) could be accurate enough to
hit the Church of Scientology. [G] also showed me documents that have pictures
of the Church in San Jacinto, with satellite coordinates, so that a missile
could be accurately launched at the Church.'' As far as is known, Henson
possesses no nuclear weapons, nor any cruise missiles to deliver them.
Nonetheless the case is going to trial in Riverside County, California, charging
Henson with making ''misdemeanor terrorist threats.''
Scientology's growing record of hate and harassment: http://www.apologeticsindex.org/s04f.html Anton (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
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