**Biased Journalism** : a net magazine designed to compensate for the shortcomings of the professional news media.
Copyright 1996 Shelley Thomson; all rights reserved.
Mail, articles and comment may be directed to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Netiquette will be observed with all communication, except for the following: harassing or threatening mail will be posted to the net immediately.
Read at your own risk. This is **Biased Journalism**!
To the stunned surprise of Lerma attorneys, Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled today in favor of the Religious Technology Corporation, an arm of the church of scientology. She declared that copyright violations had taken place with reference to the OT2 and OT3 materials and granted a summary judgment against RTC. Attorneys' fees and damages per statutory law will be assessed against Lerma.
To watchers familiar with the Judge's previous rulings, today's decision was a striking change of direction. Earlier the Judge had scolded the plaintiffs for exceeding the scope of the writ of seizure and coming to court "with unclean hands." On the basis of new evidence which had come to light during discovery, Lerma's team made a motion on January 5 requesting a summary judgment and/or dismissal on the basis of infractions which included trespasses on Lerma's First and Fourth Amendment rights. (see **Biased Journalism** V2 No. 1 for more details.)
Lerma's Motion for Summary Judgment received short shrift from the Judge. "I don't want to go through all this again," she stated. It appeared that this Judge, who had previously expressed such strong concern for Constitutional rights, had not even bothered to read it.
The RTC brought in a new legal team for this hearing. Attorneys Cooley and Kobrin were not even present. The case for RTC was argued by Mr. Sinclair and Mr. Hart. After making some remarks that were critical of their predecessor Earle Cooley, the RTC attorneys proceeded to make the same type of vague general argument that annoyed Judge Brinkema in the previous hearing.
This time Judge Brinkema was not impatient. With a face completely devoid of expression, she found in favor of the church.
The ruling denies Lerma a trial, in which he had planned to challenge the copyrights and RTC's standing to sue to enforce them. Lerma can appeal, and the appeals court can order the case to be sent back for trial.
The Judge will issue a written judgment, expected within a week to two months.
Outside, a violent thunderstorm raged. "The sky turned black," a witness said.
The ruling is startling to observers. In the past when one side in a lawsuit was found to have performed illegal and unethical acts to gain an advantage, the traditional remedy was to throw out his suit or rule against him. As a principle of law, the malefactor was not allowed to benefit from the fruits of his crime. The willingness of judges to punish litigants for unethical and unlawful conduct is the only effective constraint on this conduct.
*Now there is no constraint.* We wonder what will come from this. The church now has no incentive to return Lerma's C drive and his files. If Brinkema assess a fine, so what? They can easily afford to pay it.
The disintegration of the rule of law proceeds apace in our society. We had always thought of anarchy as proceeding from the bottom up, but we now see that this is not true. It begins with judges in whose scales dollars weigh more than the First and Fourth Amendments.
Ron Newman, Sheriff of ars, was disconcerted to find that there was immediate public interest in joining the ARSCC cartel (to bid for church documents at auction, as described in our previous RR). "People are trying to send me money," he complained. He requests that participants hold their bids until matters have jelled. The Rodent Report will carry updates on the auction.
Word is that scientologist superstar John Travolta is pushing Miramax Productions to do Revolt in The Stars, a story directly based on OTIII. Miramax HATES the script. And thinks the movie will DIE on the vine, so to speak. Travolta is pushing Miramax to do the movie as part of his contract re-negotiations, so it is difficult for them to say no.
We asked a Wise Mouse in Washington what it thought about the Lerma decision. After a long silence it said "Everyone has a secret." It grabbed its briefcase. "You didn't talk to me," it said, and hurried away to be lost in the crowd.
As most denizens of alt.religion.scientology know, net citizen henri made a sport of annoying the church of scientology with his witty and vulgar posts. The church eventually tracked him back to his lair. A post was forged in his name. Eugene Ingram, a private investigator working for the church, paid a call on the local police. The police paid a visit to his employer. henri was immediately fired, although he had done nothing contrary to company rules and was not charged with any crime. What follows is henri's first hand account of what went down. The supporting documents, including the forged post and henri's termination letter, are at
henri gave us permission to use his True Name. However, as far as we are concerned, he is henri, net citizen. This is his story.
bj: Today is Saturday October 28. You've had a distressing experience and I want to talk to you about it. h: Ok. bj: Could you tell me what you do for a living and how long you've worked for this company? h: Yes. a system operator of a ---- cluster. [he can't be more specific because he doesn't want to reveal his company's proprietary information] bj: How can you look for another job if the agreement is this restrictive? h: Well, they have a non-competition agreement. In other words you're not allowed to work for any competing places within I believe it's a year or perhaps two years of having worked for them. But since they're in the weather business that would refer only to working for another meteorological place. So it would have nothing to do with me being able to get a job as a system operator. bj: Could you say what it was a system of, if you applied for the job? h: Yeah. well, I have experience with Unix, vax/vms, ms-dos, Macintosh, all of the major systems in use and a lot of minor ones. Mainly I learned that sort of thing just messing around with computers when I was a kid. bj: And how long had you worked for them before you were terminated? h: Slightly over a year. bj: How long had you worked for the last company that you worked for? h: Well, only a couple of months. I had been doing a lot of temp jobs before then. bj: So. you started working for them and you started posting to a.r.s.. I hope you're going to send me some of your more colorful posts. h: (embarrassed) well, uh. I don't think I have any of those myself. I'm sure if you posted something asking for them, people have them. I don't have any archives of my own stuff. I don't know. I just never did. bj: Well you like to do it in the spirit of the moment as I recall. h: Yes. There's not really much point in reading over old news posts, you know. bj: Were you the one who made the remarks about the head of L.Ron Hubbard? h: Which? bj: (embarrassed) I can't repeat it, if that identifies it. h: Oh, well, yeah, that would probably be me. bj: *you* were that person? h: yes. bj: the truly unmentionable Hubbard's head stuff? h: yes. bj: Ok. So you were doing these things. When was the first time, there was any hassle of any kind with your company about your employment? h: I think that would have been about not checking my voice mail. bj: Is it an offense to not check your voice mail? h: Well, we had just installed a voice mail system and everyone was going nuts, sending voice mail to everyone. And for the first week I got not a single voice mail message that was actually relevant to me. So I slipped into a nice apathy about it and didn't check it for a month straight. And somehow I believe the telecommunications manager noticed, because they do a monthly report of these things. bj: Was the voice mail system by any chance a new one installed at substantial expense? h: Yes. well, actually my local telephone company does a much better job of handling voice mail. This was a very complicated, byzantine system that takes a good deal more messing around. I tried to tell people just to send me email. Because I'd always read my email. bj: Does your company have an email address? h: Well, actually I'm not sure I should tell their address. [henri struggled with his conscience and decided not to give his company's email address. He worried that they might be harassed. Someone else posted it to the net later.] bj: (voicemail) So who was it who noticed this, or who brought it to your attention? h: Barry Myers, my boss, called me in for a conference and dressed me down for that. bj: What did he say? h: He said, "look. Check your voice mail. It's something you're supposed to do." So I agreed. And from then on I checked my voice mail. bj: And did you still receive a large proportion of inappropriate messages? h: Not inappropriate as much as mass mailbox sendings, so they send something to everyone in the department. bj: Spamming the company h: Yes, as it were. It was mostly appropriate to most of the people who got it, but it mostly referred to things that didn't affect me all that much. But occasionally I got personal messages, and that's why they wanted me to check it. I can understand that. I still just prefer to have it in writing. bj: All right; but he didn't threaten to fire you, or did he? h: Not in those words, no. But I believe the phrase used in the letter is actually what he said. He said that the incident "could not recur." bj: That does sound dire. well, what happened next? h: I don't recall anything else happening for which he ever warned me of anything. bj: You went on happily doing your job and posting your unforgettable messages, and then what? h: Now we're referring to the actual incident? bj: Was that the next thing that happened? h: Well, I had received on or around the date of April 12, wait, I believe the message which started this incident was purported to have been sent out on April 11. It was ten days later that I received an email message from Helena Kobrin to my sysadmin. Which stated that I had threatened to blow up, well, not even that I had threatened; the actual eight words would be "blow up your local church of scientology today!" which I say is a forgery. And I definitely say that there was enough discussion after that, because I posted the whole exchange. bj: There was quite a bit of discussion. h: There was quite a bit of discussion after that. in which it was fairly clearly established that it wasn't any kind of threat and was very possibly a forgery. And they [c of s] were quite well aware of this because the messages were sent directly to Helena Kobrin. --though there's considerable discussion as to whether the person at email@example.com is really Helena Kobrin. So I'd want to phrase that more carefully too. To avoid a possible libel suit. Or something. Instead of Helena Kobrin, a person representing themselves as Helena Kobrin. bj: I have three questions. a) who's your sysadmin; b) how does your sysadmin relate to your company; c) what did your sysadmin do when informed that you had uttered the infamous eight words? h: This [forged post] was actually six months ago. And they [the company] weren't informed. My sysadmin was Andrew Burt, at nyx.cs.du.edu. bj: nix? h: nyx. Like the spirit of the night. bj: And what did Burt do? h: Told them to take a hike, basically. She [Kobrin?] tried to get them to disclose my identity and they claimed to have contacted legal authorities. bj: Who is they? h: Helena Kobrin, or whomever [at the Netcom address] bj: Contacted legal authorities? of whom or what? h: They never specified when asked. bj: Yes, but would they mean nyx's legal authorities, or their own? Kobrin _is_ a legal authority. supposedly. h: I believe the phrase was "appropriate authorities". bj: Then Burt at nyx has no interaction with your company, your employer. h: No, not at all. bj: This was an interaction that went on between Burt and Kobrin or whomever, and you, and a.r.s. h: Exactly. bj: Then what happened at work, if anything? h: For the six months after that, nothing happened. I didn't send any messages that could be seen to emanate from the internet address of my employer. bj: But you had before that? h: No. they don't have usenet. bj: Have you ever sent a message that appeared to emanate from your employer? h: No. nor did I ever mention the name of my employer. nor did I ever have any signature or any information in my headers which would indicate Accuweather. bj: Then, just hypothetically, if your employers claim that you somehow exposed them to liability, [it] has no basis in evidence. True? h: Well, this is where it gets rather complicated. because they tracked me down to my place of employment because I was logging in to nyx from the internet address of my employer. Everything I did on the net was actually done on another machine. bj: Was it a machine owned by your employer? h: Which? bj: The one you posted from. h: No. One of the machines is Netcom and the other is Nyx. bj: We seem to have an ambiguity here. One of the machines is owned by Netcom, but your terminal at various times might have been owned by your employer. Is this true? h: Precisely. In such a way that by hacking you could figure it out. bj: Anyway, these events transpired between you and Nyx and Kobrin or whomever, and a.r.s. Were there any ripples at work? h: Nobody at work knew anything about it at that point because I don't think anyone there reads the newsgroup. bj: Did you tell anyone? h: No. bj: Conceivably it got mentioned informally but wasn't a subject of common gossip-- h: No. I mentioned things about the net but I never mentioned this particular thing. bj: Never ever? h: No. bj: And you didn't mention this bomb threat accusation and whatnot. h: No. I mentioned it to a few people I knew but not at work. bj: Are you sure you never mentioned it at work, like said something in a coffee room or something? h: Completely. bj: That's good, because many employers, as you probably know, bug their employees' recreation areas. Not to mention their offices. So casual gossip can be overheard. h: I don't know. I think it [Accuweather] would be the kind of company that would think about doing that, but it would be the kind of company that wouldn't actually spend money on doing it. bj: Well, there have been some surprising revelations in the last couple of years. A fast food joint that bugged its whole premises. And then they used to listen to the conversations of their customers at the tables. h: Yes, I did hear about that. There was something of an outrage as I recall. Wasn't that [name deleted]? bj: Yes. In any case, no one knows what the future ramifications of all this will be, and you might give some thought to what you might have said in conditions where you might have been-- h: No, I never said the word "scientology" aloud. bj: All right. Did you ever say "I was accused of a bomb threat on the net?" h: Nope. I didn't really have much concern with it, and thought it was just the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard of. Not only didn't I say it, but it's in no legal way a threat of any kind. For a terroristic threat, as the statute is worded, by the way there's a url for all the statutes and related statutes, I looked them up too. And it's the same beginning part of the url, except the last part is threat. Instead of forgery, threat. bj: Yes. but you engaged in what, well hopefully the officers- h: First, you have to present a credible threat to the person you're presumably threatening. And the burden of proof is quite heavy. In other words, it has to represent an attempt to terrorize, or to empty a public place. [This caught our eye. Is alt.religion.scientology a public place? We of course regard it as a domain in cyberspace, the equivalent of a city.] bj: Well, look, let's not get into the lgeal stuff. That's what lawyers are for. So there was no commotion. And nothing that you said at work could have started any of these ripples. h: I know what started the ripples. bj: Well, tell me. h: At some point they [c of s] figured out where I worked. And what their internet address was. However I'm not certain when this happened. But it would've had to have happened for a certain person from the church of scientology to come into town to file a criminal complaint against me. bj: Did Eugene Ingram do that? h: Eugene Martin Ingram did that. bj: In person? h: In person. He walked into a police station. And he's a wanted felon. bj: Do you have a copy of the complaint. h: No. In fact I'm not even certain there's any written complaint as of now. h: But I have all of Gene Ingram's case numbers. In case you're interested in those. bj: I've got those. h: I know it seems pretty odd that I'd have all of his but not mine. bj: If no complaint was filed, and there was no case number, the appearance of the police on your employer's premises certainly should raise eyebrows. h: However I'm certain that this has been done by the book. I'm fairly certain that if I went down there I would get a copy of it. bj: So six months went by [after forged email message with purported bomb threat] and nothing happened at work at all. And then? h: And then, as if out of nowhere, appears Gene Ingram. On Monday October 4 I worked my last day at work. bj: Did you know it was going to be your last day? h: No. bj: Go on. h: On Tuesday [October 3] a private investigator working for the church of scientology came to my home town and filed a criminal complaint against me with an officer of the college police department. On october 6 1995 I was called into work prior to actually going into work and told that it was imperative that I come in immediately. My boss is in his office (this would be Barry) and he hands me a sheaf of posts that I had made to alt.religion.scientology and to alt.angst. bj: Alt.angst? h: Yes. bj: What did he say? h: Well, he asked me if I had written them. And I looked through them and I said, "yes, I wrote this, I wrote that, and I wrote that." And then I came to the, uh, posting which has been represented as a threat. And I said "I did not write this." "This is a forgery." And I said, "How did you get this?" And he said that a police officer had come to his office and handed him this sheaf of materials. And my immediate response was, "Who is this police officer? I want to talk to him *now*." And Barry immediately called him in. He was waiting in the wings somewhere. And there he was. And after a little bit of talking, because I was kind of figuring out what was going on at this point- bj: Wait. tell me about the officer. what did he look like, what was his attitude, and what did he say? h: He looked fairly coplike? bj: Fat? Thin? Old? Young? Hispanic? Black? White? h: Middle aged. Tall. An older man. Fairly steely eyed. bj: What color eyes? h: I believe brown. bj: Did he look like he'd been a cop for awhile? h: Yes. he had the look of a veteran cop, a professional. bj: Was he armed? h: I assume so, but I'm not certain. bj: Did he have the sense that you might go crazy and he might have to violently restrain you, or was he just in a talking mode? h: No. He was quite watchful but didn't betray any emotion. And the first thing that I asked him was immediately, I demanded to see identification that he was a police officer. Because, having dealt with these people [the church] and read of their exploits, in fact the felony that Gene Ingram is wanted for is impersonating a police officer. So in any case I immediately asked for a badge. And I've seen them around here before. It had the right look to it. So I accepted it as valid. This guy's a cop. And he acted like one. bj: How'd he carry the badge? Was it in his wallet, or what? h: I think it was in an individual folding wallet of some sort that included his badge and his ID. Those badges are quite heavy actually. They have a heavy feel in your hand. I don't know, it somehow gives it a more official look. bj: You held it in your hand and it seemed heavy. You were convinced. and then? h: So I was starting to talk to him. He also asked me if I had posted these things, and I said that I had posted all of them except the famous eight words. I asked him how he came by these things. And he said that a private investigator based out of Los Angeles had contacted him. I said "Gene Ingram." and he said "yes. How did you know that?" He showed evident surprise that I did recognize the name of this guy. And I said "representing the church of scientology." and he said yes. And at this point we started discussing further stuff. just basically, did you or did you not post it. And he was stating -the usual situation where people insist that you tell them the truth, repeatedly. bj: What did he really say to you? h: Well, I can't recall at that point. I recalled the early parts of the conversation, but the rest, it's a more general-- bj: [suggests he was rattled] h: Yes, but I realized what was going on. So I wasn't quite as nervous as I might have been. bj: So he kept insisting that you tell the truth, really? h: Yes. actually before that we went further into the Gene Ingram issue. And I said "He's a wanted felon, you know." And the cop said "Really?" So I offered to get him the case number and the arrest warrant number, and the case number for the case where he's wanted for criminal impersonation. I'm not sure if wanted is the legal term here, but there's a criminal complaint filed against him in Tacoma, Washington by Grady Ward for criminal impersonation in a case where Ingram represented himself as an old friend of Grady Ward to his mother to acquire a photograph of him. bj: Yes, and there was that business in Florida which created the warrant which keeps appearing and disappearing on the NCIC net. h: Which is another curious matter. bj: Anyway, you informed the cop of these particulars, and what did he say? h: He took me down to the police station at this point. bj: Do you remember at all what the cop said and what your boss said? Did your boss just stand by while this was going on? h: At that point, yes. He had earlier stated "I'm sorry but this is going to cost you your job." bj: Your boss said. h: Yes. bj: Now what did he mean by "this?" What had been said at that point? What had happened at that point? h: I had admitted to posting numerous of these articles. And I hadn't looked over all of them, but they all looked legit enough, and I said, I'm not going to guarantee it but these mostly look like things I wrote. bj: And your boss then said that. Was the cop standing there then? h: (thinks) No. bj: Was that before the cop? h: I guess he fired me before the cop came in. bj: What I'm asking about is this. Do you have the impression that the fact the cop had come there and presumably provided these posts to your boss h: -was the proximate cause of my firing? Yes. I don't believe there was any question of firing me before then. bj: Is there a company rule against anything that you did, that you know of? h: No. bj: No specific rule against sending email while at work, or sending objectionable email while at work? h: No, there isn't. bj: And nobody had ever sat down with you and said "don't you ever send another email from this company,"? h: No. And I fully believe that the cause of my firing was not any of the stated reason, but the eight words. bj: The specific cause of your firing: could that have had something to do with the cop coming over and visiting your boss? h: Almost certainly. bj: Do you think your boss would have [cared] otherwise? h: [unclear] bj: Do you think he would have known otherwise? h: No. I don't think he would have had cause to complain of my doing my duty. bj: Do you have any idea, did your boss say anything about what the cop had said to him? h: No. At that point he was busy getting information from me. And keeping the discourse to that level. Asking me if I had posted this or that. bj: Did anyone tape record this event? h: No. bj: Did anyone do that with your permission? h: No one asked for my permission. If such happened. which I do not believe to have been the case. Unless the police officer himself was. At least this cop seemed, he knew there would be no use to recording my conversation without my permission because it would never be admissible evidence. bj: ok. There you are in the office, your boss's office, there's this cop. And ultimately what happened, what quickly happened, was that without saying a word your boss let you get hauled down to the police station by the cop. h: No, not hauled down. I was asked to come down to the police station. The police officer, well actually I'm not certain if I offered to or if he asked me. let me see. he said "can you come to the police station with me?" bj: And you said? h: I said "certainly." bj: And then what happened? h: And then we made our farewells with my boss. I said, well there's no need to be having this discussion here. and I got into the front seat of the police car with the policeman. bj: What was your boss's expression? when you left, his last expression? h: At this point I was beyond paying attention to him. I was paying full attention to the police officer. bj: Ok. So you got in the front seat of the police car. And then? h: We drove to the police station. bj: How long was the drive? h: No longer than five minutes. And we discussed Gene Ingram and Scientology on the drive. bj: Had the cop ever heard of any of these things? h: I believe that he had heard of it, but only in the way that most people have heard of scientology. bj: Can you remember what he said about it? h: I asked him if he had ever heard of scientology. and he said "isn't it one of those religions?" or something like that. And at that point I said "It's a criminal cult." I mentioned Operation Snow White. And he asked me if there were any books about scientology. I recommended A Piece of Blue Sky by Jon Atack. I recommended Barefaced Messiah, by Russell Miller. bj: And then? h: And then we arrived at the police station. bj: ok. now please tell me everything that happened at the police station. h: We went into an interview room. which is a bare white room which also had a post on the floor with a set of handcuffs on it. bj: ! h: I had also asked before we left whether I was under arrest. He said no. bj: When you asked that, was anyone else present? h: Yes. Barry was present. bj: [asks for a description of the interview room. henri reveals there were some chairs but no table] bj: All right. So there are these chairs and this post with handcuffs. I take it they did not handcuff you to the post. h: No. That would be quite unusual police procedure. bj: How tall is the post? h: Approximately three feet tall. bj: So if someone were handcuffed to the post, his hands would be approximately at waist level. So that person would just stand there, like a steer hitched to a post. Unless they provided a chair. h: Yes. Which they might not do under certain circumstances. I was pretty much getting kid glove treatment at this point. bj: Was there a drain in the floor? h: No. Or I didn't think to look. No, I would have noticed that and made the inference. bj: Was there a carpet on the floor? Or was it bare cement? do you remember? h: I believe it was some sort of tile. There might have been some carpet under the chair. bj: So you sat down in the chair. h: Yes. bj: And the cop sat down. And then what? h: He asked me again if I had written this post. and said something on the order of "I don't think you're a bad person but I've read these other posts and I think you did it." And at that point I denied it again. Affirmed again that I had written everything in that sheaf of papers, after going through it, and the only thing I hadn't said were those eight words. And he asked me something like "Do you expect me to believe this?" bj: And you said? h: I said "Yes." And he said, he expressed disbelief at the idea that a news message could be forged. And I offered to demonstrate the process for him at his convenience. He asked me if I would take a polygraph. And I said yes. And at this point I think we ended the interview. And I said that I would be in touch with me very soon, and to call me if he had anything he needed to discuss. bj: What was his name? h: John Gardner. bj: And what outfit is he with, specifically? h: The State College Borough Police. Their non-emergency number is (814) 234-7150. Partly my reason for going down to the state college police department was to make sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that this person was actually a cop. [going to the police station] was the one genuine way I could be sure about that. [misc discussion in which h says he doesn't expect any police shenanigans.] h: [re. his current priorities] i'm just really concerned about getting food. bj: You posted an address. Is it still good? h: Yes. bj: Aren't they going to give you any severance pay or anything? h: Well, I got comp time and vacation pay, which meant that I got one last paycheck that was almost as big. Actually it was rather less than a usual paycheck. at the time of month when bills come in. And I have been paying bills, like, as money comes in. bj: So you left the police station. How'd you get home? h: I walked home. bj: What time was it when you got home? h: I guess I got home at around six. bj: Six in the evening? h: Yes. bj: How long did you spend in the police station? h: I guess the whole affair took about an hour and a half. bj: That's pretty long. h: No, not in the police station. the whole affair. from work to the police station to me leaving. bj: You didn't go in on the previous day, right? That would have been on your weekend. h: Yes. bj: So you got back at six and then what happened? h: Well, actually before I went home I posted a couple of things. I posted a sort of account of what had happened and a request for information on Gene Ingram. Then I went home. Later I went back to town to use Netscape, with a printer. And did screen dumps from a lot of the web pages and in particular the scientology p.i.'s web page. Because I wanted a nice picture of Gene with his arrest warrant and case numbers, to be able to hand it in. bj: To the police? h: Yes. With a phone number of all the police that are known to be associated with him. including Jay Pruner. The FBI. The numbers of a few other people. bj: And you thought if the police knew this information that they'd deduce you'd been set up and instead go after Ingram? h: Yeah, partly. bj: What was the rest of it? How would you express your motives? h: I figured that the more he knew about Ingram's actual character and his criminal history the less credence he would give what he said. That it was quite obvious this man has been involved in this sort of thing in the past. Also on the church of scientology itself, and its history vis a vis the net. bj: And then? h: The Scarff Affidavit. The documents siezed by the FBI in the Operation Snow White raid that also incidentally included the plot to frame up Paulette Cooper. bj: So you downloaded all this material with the attention of giving it to the police? h: Yes. And printed it out. I guess some of the other stuff was the CNN web page on scientology. A sample of some stuff from lexis/nexis about scientology. A few newspaper articles from the St. Petersburg Times, and I think the Miami Herald, about the police looking for scientology's private eye, Gene Ingram. And the Time article, "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power." And the original [forged] post itself and the thread discussing it. Including Andrew Burt's response, my response, everyone else's. And I believe that's it. bj: Did anything else happen after that? [The decision on whether henri will be prosecuted apparently rests with Tony DeBoothe, the Deputy Prosecutor. To date no effort has been made to press charges.] h: It's hard to get a lawyer when you can't get a hot dog. bj: Your issue doesn't have to do with the bad things the church has done, in my opinion, but with the fact that you're being harassed over something you allegedly did on the net. It's forged, but the agencies that are harassing you don't understand this. Further, they can be pretty confident your average jury is not going to understand either. And they can present you as filling the shoes of Kevin Mitnick and the World Trade Center bomber. h: It matters whether they can win the case. And this is a dog of a case that they can't possibly win. I gave them all the information they need to make a reasonable decision. If they choose not to do so it will reflect on them. bj: Let's get back to the chronology. You printed off all that stuff, and then what happened? h: Then it was delivered to the police station. bj: Did you deliver it personally? h: There is a use for the passive voice. Then I went down again to talk with them. The day after. Just to make sure that he had looked up on all this stuff. And [Gardner] admitted that he had spent most of the day on the telephone talking with police in various jurisdictions about Gene Ingram. bj: Gardner said that. h: And had spoken with Gene Ingram about that. bj: What else did he say? h: That scientology's computer experts had stated that it was practically impossible to forge a message on the internet. bj: Did you ever ask this cop whether he had a computer and had ever been on the internet? h: No. My assumption is he hasn't been. Or at most aol. bj: Well, anyway he said that to you. And what did you say? h: I said that it was bollocks. That it was quite possible, in fact quite easy [to forge messages]. bj: What happened after that? h: I just let it lie. bj: Was this face to face, or over the phone? h: Face to face, very briefly. bj: Every time that you assure the police that it's possible to forge messages on the net- h: And quite easy. bj: --and quite easy, the officer might be writing in his little notebook, 'suspect bragged about his ability to hack on the net and forge messages from anywhere.' h: I suppose it was probably imprudent. bj: What happened next in the scenario? You left the police station. Again they didn't arrest you. So far nobody has arrested you, right? h: Yes. bj: Have you been read your rights at any point? h: I have not. bj: Have you been asked if you want to make a voluntary statement? h: Not in those words. bj: [after you told them it was bollocks] you left? h: Yes. bj: Did you say goodbye to the officer? h: Yes. bj: Did you shake hands? h: No. bj: Did you ever shake hands with this cop? h: I do not believe so. bj: So you said goodbye and just strolled out. Then what happened? Have you been followed or surveilled that you know of? h: Not in any obvious way. scientologists are usually quite obvious about their surveillance and investigations. They like to call them noisy investigations. bj You don't have a computer at home? h: No. bj: [question about leaving work] h: I was escorted out. bj: Describe that to me please. h: I was taken by another person [someone he didn't know]. I went and picked up a few things that I had at the office. bj: When did you do that? h: When we were saying that we were going to leave. bj: Who was going to leave? h: John Gardner and me. Another person accompanied me to my drawer so I could get a couple personal effects out. And then I left. bj: And you have had no other interaction with police--no surveillance, nothing? h: No. bj: And none from your employer? h: I demanded a written explanation and I got it. And that's the last formal contact. bj: Do you expect them to contest your claim for unemployment? h: Yes. bj: You're just waiting to find out what's going to occur? h: Yep. I'm Schroedinger's cat at this point. I have no clue. bj: You know, before the net they could do this stuff to individual people and they could crush them. h: Keep them separate. And crush them with impunity. No longer can they do that. bj: Because we have the net. h: The net responds with equal force to any attack on it. bj: yes it does. bj: [queasily] you did those hubbard head posts. The ones that ended "squick, squick, squick". h: I'm not sure I ever ended one that way. But the word "squick" turned up once in awhile. [happily] It sure enturbulated them something fierce. bj: Well, in enturbulates people who grew up in small towns, too. Still I feel that the net is someplace where you should be able to say whatever you feel like saying. h: Well, there's no need to protect speech that doesn't offend anyone. Because nobody's going to try to stop it. bj: Right. It is truly offensive speech that is the test of whether we have freedom or not. It was truly offensive speech, henri. There's no doubt about that. [re name] bj: As far as I'm concerned you're a net citizen and your name is henri. h: But feel free to mention that I'm Rob Clark. I certainly don't want them to feel that they've achieved any great victory by revealing my name. h: I'm proud of what I posted and I stand behind it. And you can quote Arnie Lerma's signoff line, too. bj: "I'd rather die speaking my mind than live fearing to speake." bj: Want to say anything about your boss? What he looks like, what he wears? h: He's a portly jovial fellow. He usually dresses fairly well. And he's a lawyer. bj: He is? Does he wear glasses? h: Yes. bj: What kind? h: Wait, no he doesn't wear glasses. At the meeting he wasn't. bj: What kind of car does he drive? h: I'm not sure. But I'm sure it's something nice. bj: Does he smoke? h: Definitely not. Nor does he approve of it. bj: Do you smoke? h: Yes. bj: Cigarettes? h: Yes. bj: Have you ever been in the church? h: The cult? bj: The cult. h: No. bj: Is there a company policy about smoking? h: No. Except that you can't do it in the place. bj: So you had to go outside to smoke. h: Exactly. bj: Any other local color or little details about people? Did the cop have a class ring or anything like that? h: My boss did seem somewhat regretful about the incident. I don't think he was happy with the decision he made. That's what it seemed like to me. bj: Did he say he was regretful? h: Even in writing. It's in the letter. bj: What do you wear at work, typically? h: Well, let's see. I can't really capture the clothes I wear because I wear everything from jeans with holes in them to, occasionally I'll dress nice. A sport jacket and slacks with suspenders. Let's see. I had real long hair at the time. bj: How long is real long? h: A few inches. bj: Below your ears? h: Yes. Below my shoulders. bj: What color is your hair? h: Brown. bj: You had it cut since. h: Yes. And I had a goatee. bj: Right now what do you have? h: Now I'm relatively clean faced and relatively short haired. Compared to what it was, it's definitely fairly short. bj: Are you married? h: Nope. Nor have I ever been. bj: Did I ask you what your boss was wearing? h: Three piece suit. bj: What color? h: Blue, I believe. bj: Does he always wear those? h: yes, usually. bj: He's a three-piece suit kind of guy. The cop was in uniform? h: No. He was in plain clothes. Maybe he's some kind of intel officer. I'm not sure whether we have an intelligence department. bj: You know, I don't think the church even knows that on the net it's called "Operation Foot Bullet." h: I don't even think they know how doomed they are. And they're not even doomed because of ars. If they weren't doing all of this nobody would pay any attention to them.
Purely for research purposes, we made a trip to alt.angst.
The newsgroup contains a variety of messages and some startling individual posts. It is not for the fastidious traveler. Nevertheless we found ourselves disappointed. Alt.religion.scientology has substance; it has spies, conspiracies, a secret doctrine and a sinister priesthood; heroes, villains, saints, martyrs, supernatural powers, corrupt sheriffs, seductresses and virgin sacrifices. Jesters, witches, whores, trolls, a werewolf and a Librarian. A god (several claims), a devil (several claims) and pitched battles including some in which the combatants change sides without warning. The war between Good and Evil is waged on its ground; the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance.
Alt.angst wilts by comparison. It is scattered; it lacks a theme. Its natives suffer to no higher purpose. They expect no enlightenment from life and receive none. It is a choir without a song, a patternless tapestry, a tale told by an idiot, a universe made at random.
Which is the true face of reality? Perhaps the reader must choose.