**Biased Journalism** : a net magazine designed to compensate for the shortcomings of the professional news media.

Copyright 1995 Shelley Thomson; all rights reserved.

Mail, articles and comment may be directed to <sthomson@netcom.com>. Netiquette will be observed with all communication, except for the following: harassing or threatening mail will be posted to the net immediately.

**Biased Journalism**

Volume I, issue 6: December 16, 1995.


  1. Settlement talks in Lerma Case;
  2. Revelations from Rogue Agent;
  3. Gerry Armstrong, Round Two;
  4. The Line in the Sand;
  5. Minnesota Annexes the Internet;
  6. Rodent Report;
  7. A Word from Carnegie Mellon
  8. .sig of the week.

Read at your own risk. This is **Biased Journalism**!

Settlement Talks in the Lerma Case

We were informed by a reliable source that secret negotiations are under way between RTC (Religious Technology Corporation, an arm of the Church of Scientology) and the Factnet Three (Arnie Lerma, Lawrence Wollersheim and Bob Penny). The church initiated the settlement talks. While our source cautioned us that a settlement is not certain, and the talks are currently stalled, our impression is that both sides are seriously interested in a settlement. The pace of negotiation is likely to pick up closer to trial date, now set for late January. The terms of a settlement are unclear and likely to prove controversial.


The Factnet Three stand to gain money, relief from the legal process and some favorable precedents in federal court. The settlement would include their legal fees. An anonymous poster to ars valued the settlement at $35 million. We have no way of knowing how he or she obtained that figure.

The church, in the person of RTC, wishes to prevent Factnet from creating a body of legal evidence that could be used in other lawsuits. The church presumably also wishes to lock up the evidence already collected by the Factnet defendants; or failing that, make it difficult for other litigants to access.

Lerma, Penny and Wollersheim may be asked to sign agreements not to join in any lawsuits evolving from actions of the church or its agencies. The consequences here range all the way from agreeing not to countersue (a common provision, affecting only the defendants) to refusing to assist in potential class action suits for harassment and invasion of privacy (a much more controversial measure involving other people).

We wondered about loopholes. Suppose Lerma & co. agree not to help their friends sue the church: can they be subpoenaed to testify against other critics? Can they be forced to withhold evidence that could help other critics' lawsuits?

Will Lerma get his hard drive back?

As we see it, there is no doubt that a settlement would be a win for the church. They are facing a spectacular show trial which they will almost surely lose, the possibility of sanctions for misconduct, and an avalanche of lawsuits generated by the information revealed in the trial filings. It would be difficult for their senior officers to avoid making statements that could have an adverse impact on their tax status, or the validity of their copyright claims, or both. Many accidents could befall the church on this road.

Precedents could be set, affecting not only the church but all of cyberspace. What if the Judge ruled that the First and Fourth Amendments applied in cyberspace?

As a last recourse the church might drop the suit. In that case they would be held for costs and attorneys' fees, and probably visited with sanctions as well. Lerma and his cohorts could countersue with impunity.

Settlement is a tricky path for Lerma, Penny and Wollersheim. Their credibility will depend upon how the settlement is viewed by netizens and what the church does afterward. If the settlement removes Factnet as a visible force on the net, and if the church steps up its attack on other critics, public response is likely to be unfavorable. Rightfully or not, Lerma et al. will be held answerable for the subsequent behavior of the church.

Inasmuch as a settlement agreement would ultimately be enforced by court order, we assume that the past refusal of the church to obey court orders will be taken into account.

We wonder how the privacy issues will fare. A large quantity of private email was seized on Lerma's computer and read in spite of Judge Brinkema's instructions. Invasion of privacy is an issue not merely for Lerma but for all of his correspondents. We believe the church does not wish this matter litigated. If Lerma, Wollersheim and Penny sign away their rights to pursue this action, we wonder where it will leave the other correspondents.

We were informed that the Factnet defense has cost between $500,000 and $800,000, so far. We wonder if any of the remaining critics on ars could raise this much money for a legal action. It is difficult for us to foresee anyone carrying an action to a conclusion if Factnet does not.

We predict that the church will move to seal the agreement and any documents filed in the case. We assume that this move will be opposed by the Factnet defendants, who have taken positions of principle against secret agreements.


How will a settlement be received on the net? First indications are not encouraging. As we mentioned earlier, someone commented publicly upon the settlement. The anonymous poster (to ars from anon.penet.fi) said:

Date: Tue,  5 Dec 1995 18:44:38 UTC
Subject: If I offered you $35 Mil

Suppose I were to offer you $35 Million dollars to
sell out the Internet and all people who now and
in the future will use it world-wide, the
country's First and Fourth Amendment rights for
all Americans ... would you do it?

You'd also be agreeing to allow a criminal
organization attack people just like they attacked
you, at their whim, and then when things went
poorly for them, the criminal organization would
just buy Justice all over again just like they
bought you.  The criminal organization has
billions of ill-gotten gains by enslaving people
and ruining their lives, countless money scams and
crimes upon humanity, using religious "trade

You'd be selling you honor.  You'd be considered a
despicable whore by millions of people world-wide
... but would you do it? 

The question is:  What's more important, your
honor, your soul, your fellow man ... or your

What would you do?

Larry?  Arnie?  Dennis?  Tom?

These words signal a potential division in the ars community which will not be overlooked by the church. If the Factnet defenders are thought to give up too much in a settlement, they will be criticized. It is generally recognized that the issues at stake in these lawsuits go well beyond the church of scientology.

We rather think that a settlement, if it occurs, might be sweetened by suggestions that the church has embarked upon a conciliatory and reformist path.

Current events on ars indicate otherwise. In early December the church flag carrier, Andrew Milne, achieved a nadir of sorts. Milne wrote: [begin fair use quote]


      Godan Jelisic, currently held at the International War
Crimes Tribunal at the Hague on charges of killing 14 Muslims
and running a concentration camps where hundreds of other
died, has a baby-face.  Who would believe that behind the 
schoolboy facade may lurk a murderer?

      Joseph Wesbecker, who went on a rampage in Louisville,
Kentucky in 1989, killing eight workers and wounding twelve
others, looked like a harmless store clerk.

      Youth and innocence pervaded the face of John Hinckley,
who gunned down President Reagan in 1981 and permanently
disabled Reagan's press secretary.

      Killers often do not "look" like killers.  The same
applies to other criminals, who may appear well-educated and
persuasive.  Because people to some degree judge others on
the way they look, "innocent-looking" criminals can be the
most dangerous.

      Take Steve Fishman.

      Fishman is not a killer, although according to a fellow
prison inmate he once claimed that he could get away with
murdering his wife...

For the reader new to the scene, this style of discourse is called "dead agenting" and is a common church tactic on alt.religion.scientology. (Steven Fishman is a former church member who has given testimony in lawsuits against the church.)

In the recent past two frequent posters have been the target of private investigators hired by the church. Although they are critics, neither henri nor Rogue Agent posted any disputed materials, and neither one has ever been a member of the church of scientology. It appears that the church is branching out in its attack on the net.

As in ancient times, it is difficult to interpret the omens. Either a) the church is stepping up the pressure merely to compel Factnet to settle; or b) the church is preparing for a major escalation as soon as Factnet is out of the picture; or c) the church has elected to drop the law courts in favor of extralegal actions and will wage war henceforth using private investigators.

Our choice? We like Babylon 5. ("A storm is coming, a black and terrible storm...")


Rogue Agent, intrepid ars personality, met with misfortune last week. He had been posting from a Northeastern University account. The church of scientology tracked it down and launched a campaign of faxes, letters and telephone calls to try to extract Rogue's True Name from the university. Rogue's posts were proffered in evidence; university personnel read them, and found nothing objectionable. The church had hired private investigators to surveil and photograph computer center personnel. A photograph was offered with the sheaf of posts, but it was not Rogue's.

Alas, the church had raised a technicality. Under University rules a True Name must be attached to every account. Rogue had been able to avoid this because he had a guest account through the computer center. His debugging skills were prized at the center, and he was given the account to induce him to keep helping out.

The University decided to insist that The Rules be enforced. Rogue had hoped to be allowed to explain why he needed to keep his identity secret, but he was not given an opportunity.

When the story initially broke, Rogue received a large number of encouraging messages including numerous offers of anonymous accounts. He has taken advantage of these offers and may currently be found at <agent@newhackcity.net> .

Rogue is loyal to the University, although disappointed at its decision, and pleaded with us not to sic the wild dogs of the Internet upon it. And although it seemed to us that the university submitted to the church with indecent speed, deprived a netcitizen of access and itself of free expert computer services, and failed to support the First Amendment, we reluctantly agreed. Instead we suggest that any alumni reading this account consider donating to the EFF instead of Northeastern University this year.

Now, in Rogue's own words, here is what happened:

I've seen the complaint (no copy of my own yet) and can comment on some surprising things in it.

I didn't get to copy down things like the name of the person writing the complaint, so that'll have to be filled in later. But I do remember it was the legal affairs person or legal representative of CoS Boston.

The complaint itself has three parts, basically.

It starts out with a set of characterizations about me, saying I've been harassing local Scientologists for 6 months or so (I have engaged several Scientologists in conversation, but they've never once complained to me that I was harassing them, nor looked any more than mildly annoyed at me), that I was instrumental in planning the local picket (they're at least honest enough to admit that the picket was legal), a suggestion that my account is hacked (untrue), stuff like that. They say they've filed a complaint with the Mass. Attorney General, as what I've done could be considered a hate crime.

They also have a go at identifying me. Unfortunately they botch the job completely. They give three possible names for me, "David Blank-Edelman", "Mark Huber" and "Mark Herrill". The first name is a member of the Systems group, the people who administer the computers for the College. He's also not me. Last I heard CoS was still trying to decide if he's me or not; they called his house and extracted some information on where he could be found from his wife. They haven't started to actually harass him yet.

There's also a story behind the third name. About a month ago I was in the lab late in the evening when a man in his 30's came in, looking confused. He wandered around the lab looking at the machines, quite out of place. He started to talk with the proctor, asking about the University and the College, and what sort of computer classes they offer. It seems he was thinking of taking a course to get a better job. He turns to me and asks what I think. I give him my opinion, and we discuss the possibilities for a minute.

Out of the blue he changes tacks and asks if I know anything about the Web. I admit I do, and he asks if he could hire me to design a page for him. I tell him it could be arranged. He asks how he can get in touch with me, and I say email is the best route. He says he has an AOL account so that's fine by him. I give him my CCS address and we exchange names. The name I give him is - you guessed it - Mark Herrill.

A few days later I get this email -

From: RP747@aol.com
Date: Fri, 3 Nov 1995 15:47:56 -0500
Message-ID: <951103154745_11992075@emout04.mail.aol.com>
To: ROGUE@ccs.neu.edu
Subject: HTML
Status: RO



It's certainly a tantalizing offer. But he being somewhat odd and suspicious, and me being somewhat paranoid, I decide to pass on it. I reply and tell him I'm too busy to get too involved right now, but I'd be glad to pass on the names of some friends who could do the job for him. I never got a reply.

Since I made up the name on the spot and never gave it to anyone else, I can only conclude that "Richard Poler" is working for CoS.

The second part is a truly bizarre claim that is either simply fabricated or pinned on me by some staffer who made a practical joke that backfired. They claim that I sent a message saying "rich is a butthead" to a local Org printer. At least I think that's the accusation; the language is very confusing. I also possibly infected the computer with a virus that sent the message "the disk is full, butthead" to the screen. No evidence for any of this is provided. I can only scratch my head and wonder. I have no idea how this could have happened, but I was certainly not involved.

The third part is a claim that I've been harassing their top executives in email, and 6 posts to a.r.s that (I guess) are intended to document this.

I don't remember them all, but there's a couple that stand out. The first was written a year ago, in reply to a post by Ken Long (who was still arguing for the church then) that said something colorful about about how us a.r.s'ers are doomed. I replied by turning the exact same comments on CoS, then Chris Shafmeister asked what the hell we were talking about. I explained what I meant less colorfully and more rationally (well, I did call Hubbard "Hubbie").

The other post I remember is quite recent, when I called on the journalists of the Net to call Leisa or Helena to get the name of the publisher that Milne deleted from a press release.

None of the other posts was anything remarkable, or anything I'd hesitate to say again.

Nothing has changed on the final status of the account; I have to comply with University regulations and attach my name to the account or lose it. So I will lose it. I don't fault the University for what they're doing, and don't want anybody to complain on my behalf.

The Univeristy counsel, the Dean of the College, the Provost all agree that nothing I said is actionable or objectionable. If I gave my name I could get the account back and start posting with no restrictions. It's a moral victory, but a practical loss.


San Rafael, December 1, 1995.

It was a mild, overcast day. We arrived at the lavishly appointed Marin County Courthouse just in time. Judge Thomas's imposing courtroom was perhaps half full. We found a front row center seat next to Gerry Armstrong. Looking around for the lawyers (Ford Greene for Armstrong, Laurie Bartilson and Andrew Wilson for the Church of Scientology) we discovered all three of them sitting together in the jury box, eyeing us suspiciously.

We tried to look harmless. Judge Thomas was going through his cases quickly today. Much of the matter was technical. We could not really tell who was doing what to whom. A lawyer was sanctioned for non-appearance. We wondered what the sanction was, and why the lawyer had failed to show up for court. [An image came to us, but we quickly suppressed it. If we had more coffee we wouldn't think of these things.]

In the previous issue we commented on the strikingly clean, orderly environment in which justice is done in Marin. The natives are predominantly white and well dressed. No one curses, twitches or has to wait too long in line. Dress is sober; body language is restrained. This is in contrast to other parts of the San Francisco Bay area (to natives, the "Bayarea," which rhymes with contraria).

We compared the vibe of the day to the previous hearing. It was less intense: the good people of Bolinas were not in attendance. Oddly, the paranoia factor seemed much larger. There was an edgy quality to the atmosphere. We wondered about this impression.

Then the judge called an individual, apparently representing himself. He was an interesting individual: a lean, fit older man with an air of not belonging to the scene. He had brought with him a large amount of documents, financial spreadsheets and oddiments; in defiance of unstated courtroom etiquette, he had arrayed these belongings on the broad wooden rail in front of the spectator seats. When we took our seat we noticed that among the items on the rail were some books on prophecy, a sailor's cap upturned, and a peeled orange sitting in the cap.

The case was complex, concerning an estate, a bankruptcy, a lien and a ship. We found it hard to follow, but gathered that the ship was destroyed and the individual, now arguing his case in a determined but deferential way before Judge Thomas, wanted to prevent a $40,000 lien on the ship from being pressed against the estate. In this effort he seemed to be working contrary to the trustees.

The opposing attorneys represented (we think) the trustees of an estate comprising the ship and some other properties. Judge Thomas did not let them interrupt each other. He gave each party a brief but fair interval to argue.

The court contained one bailiff, which we guessed was standard procedure. The bailiff this morning was a short, pretty woman with dark curly hair and pert features. When the ship case was called, she unobtrusively drifted to a position that was between the plaintiff and the judge. She watched the plaintiff intently but politely, not interfering with his argument, but being right "in his face," as they say in the nether parts of the Bayarea. She had a pleasant smile and a composed expression, but there was a solid ursine quality to her stance that said 'black belt in at least two martial arts.' We felt that this bailiff was a squad in herself.

Service of notices became an issue in the discussion. The trustees (we think) argued that the plaintiff was simply delaying matters by asking for repeated postponements without filing any papers. The plaintiff (we think) argued that he had not been properly served. Issues of fact were disputed. "I charge you with perjury for that statement," the plaintiff said to the oppposing attorney. [The fundamental clash between believers in the destiny of ships and bean-counting land-lubbers is as old as civilization. Intense passions are aroused, in the one party for freedom and in the other for money. Sailors want as much money as necessary to pursue freedom, and bankers want as much freedom as necessary to pursue money. In one form or another, we haven't heard the last of this controversy.]

The end of the ship hearing was calmly announced by Judge Thomas. "You've had your time." The man with the sailor cap gathered up his papers and his orange and left. The bailiff quietly stood between him and Judge Thomas, watching his every move, and she followed him out of the courtroom.

After about ten minutes she was back, looking cheerful. Tension left the room.

The ship was followed by case in which an employee had sued the Department of Corrections for injuries sustained on the job. The Judge was asked to reconsider his tentative ruling in which he allowed the Department of Corrections to obtain the plaintiff's medical records but did not permit it to acquire the records of payments made to him. The plaintiff is willing to turn over the medical records, but argues that financial information is an invasion of privacy; further, it is intended to harass plaintiff and run up the costs of litigation. [The DC lawyers suddenly looked like weasels to us. We concluded that it was true.] The D of C backpedaled, admitting that the initial subpoena "was perhaps too broad," going back as it did to 1977. However, if the DC loses the case they will want to know what money the plaintiff already received, in order to subtract it from the jury award. The Judge is not persuaded. He confirms the tentative ruling, in which retirement applications and medical records are discoverable and the rest is not. He denies sanctions. The plaintiff goes away satisfied.

The next litigant is a man in a motorized wheelchair. He wants the Judge to reconsider a tentative ruling. He has some difficulty expressing himself, and we are impressed with the willingness of the Judge to help him formulate his statements. However, at the end the Judge says that he has reconsidered his tentative ruling, and it is the final ruling.

A dispute between two auto body shops is quickly moved along. The defendant wants pretrial discloslure limited, claiming that the plaintiff is a competitor. The plaintiff rejects this idea (one party is in Santa Rosa and the other is in San Rafael). $5000 in sanctions have been asked for; the Judge awards $900 as a lubricant to the legal process.

Next we find Silveira, a farmer, versus the sanitary district. The sanitary district is gifted with an attorney with urbane charm and a sense of humor. He explains that the district wants to condemn some adjoining property to be used as a buffer zone; his client has no plans to build on it, and if it did environmental concerns would obtain. The district tried to buy an easement and the owner wouldn't sell. The easement would have allowed farming to continue, but would have permitted the discharge of odors, fumes and gases by the district. We are not sure where the word "toxics" first cropped up, but it had done so and the land owner was incensed. The sanitary district had no intention of discharging toxics on the property. Gases, certainly: sanitary plants smell bad. You wouldn't want a housing district next to the plant, would you? This is why we wanted a buffer zone, Your Honor. They had also promised that birds would not be molested on the property. The Sierra Club had written a letter supporting the purchase. The Marin County Audobon Society supported it. (--Is this true? the Judge asked, evidently surprised. It was.) The only one opposed to this harmless buffer zone is this landowner, Your Honor.

The farmer's attorney was given his chance, and politely scoffed at his suave opponent's arguments. He cannot imagine anyone asking the court to make a decision on the basis of what the Sierra Club did _not_ do. If you think it's so pure, let's get an Environmental Impact Report. The sanitary district has not complied with this requirement. And of course Mr. Silveira is objecting: he is right next door, Your Honor. And the question is not whether the EIR is warranted: it is _required_.

The Judge, to no one's surprise, confirms his tentative ruling. The Sanitary District will have to get an EIR.

Next we heard Bingham vs. the Golden Gate Bridge. We could not make head or tail of the matter, but it was plainly combative. The trial had been continued due to illness; the Judge had ruled that discovery was to remain open until one month before the trial. Now one of the parties wanted to amend the complaint, and the other wanted to limit discovery. A cross complaint was involved. The Judge remarked that appellate courts had lately given the instruction that "motions to amend complaints are to be treated with liberality." To do otherwise might be considered an abuse of discretion. In deference to the appellate courts, and (we gathered) against his personal preference, the judge allowed the amendment. "And you're going to have to put up with discovery until one month before trial."

The next case was a very technical discussion about a local rule and the delay of a hearing. "It's Christmas," the Judge said, rendering his decision. "Ho, ho ho" the lawyers chorused.

The California State Flag hung limp as a wet sheet from its pole. We were beginning to feel the same, when the Judge called the case we had come to hear: the Church of Scientology International versus Gerry Armstrong.

[In a previous episode, Gerry Armstrong, a former member of the church of scientology, signed a settlement agreement with the church. He received a sum of money and agreed to never mention the church again unless legally compelled. The church argues that he has broken his word, and has sought a permanent injunction from Judge Thomas enforcing the contract. Armstrong's counsel, Ford Greene, argued that the agreement violated Armstrong's First Amendment rights, and should be considered to have a mutual obligation of silence. The Judge rejected both these arguments.]

Andrew Wilson and Laurie Bartilson, for the Church, quickly went to stand at the curved table directly before the Judge. Ford Greene sat down at the next table and made his arguments from a seated position. [We thought this was a good move. Greene is a tall, athletic man who likes to gesture when he speaks. Seated, he offered a less aggressive image; his gestures seemed fluid and communicative. Wilson and Bartilson look tense. They won the last encounter and do not want to lose ground now.]

Ford Greene states that he has sent the Judge a letter explaining his concerns that the Judge may be prejudiced against Armstrong because of Armstrong's devout religous views. "Nothing could be further from the truth," the Judge said simply. "Now, who asked for the hearing?" Us, Bartilson said, and Ford Greene added that he would like to raise a couple of things.

There is a brief exchange about filing documents under seal. Ford Greene filed the documents; the Judge wants to know why, and Wilson and Bartilson look challenged and offended. Greene explains that he filed the documents under seal in deference to the Plaintiff's well-known sensitivity on the subject. He receives no thanks, but the subject is quickly dropped and events move on.

Laurie Bartilson says that she wants to close out the case as much as posible while Mr. Armstrong is in bankruptcy. She would like the judge to take another look at the summary adjudication motion. It is a general policy not to relitigate things that were already litigated at the time of the settlement. She wants the Judge to kill off Gerry Armstrong's cross complaint because it refers to matters already litigated. The Judge helps her out with a citation. She argues that there is no controversy, so Gerry Armstrong is not entitled to a declaration that it is against public policy. [We think this refers to enforcing the agreement Armstrong signed, which Greene is attempting to challenge.]

So far the fraudulent conveyance has been severed and the Judge has awarded judgment and fees to the Church. [The fraudulent conveyance action is in progress in bankruptcy court. The Church claims that Armstrong's gift of a house to his former attorney was done in a deliberate effort to keep it out of bankruptcy proceedings. The settlement agreement which is the subject of this litigation before Judge Thomas provides cash penalties for violation of any of the terms of the agreement. The Church believes that Armstrong gave the house away in an effort to keep it out of their hands.]

Bartilson wants Armstrong's cross complaint thrown out. Very calmly Ford Greene says that Scientology would like to dispose of the litigation but the Plaintiff has not made an adequate showing.

The Judge takes charge. These matters have been addressed. The Plaintiff hasn't met its burden [re. the cross complaint]; he confirms his judgment regarding fees. He sees no reason to change his judgment.

Ford Greene has four points on which he wants clarification. Would the judge prefer they do it in the courtroom here, or in a motion? The judge instructs him to talk to the Plaintiffs and see if everyone can come to an agreement.

Laurie Bartilson wants a status conference. "Yes, I think a nice status conference would be good," the Judge says. It is set for March 11, 1996.


We spent a little time perusing the court records. For the curious, Andrew Wilson's time is valued at $245 per hour and Laurie Bartilson's at $200 per hour.

We obtained access to the court order which was the subject of this hearing. Plaintiff Church of Scientology International asks for a permanent injunction, citing a long list of public contacts by Armstrong, including

"...7. Between 1992 and the present, Armstrong breached paragraph 7(D) of the Agreement by preparing and distributing at least three manuscripts concerning his claimed experiences in and with Scientology, including a treatment for a screenplay which he intends to turn into a film {Sep.St.Nos. 70-71]."

"...8. Between 1992 and the present, Armstrong further breached paragraph 7(D) of the agreement by disclosing his claimed experiences in or with Scientology to each of the following persons or groups, not previously identified: Robert Lobsinger {Sep.St.No. 72]'; the New York Times [Sep.St.No. 73]; Toby Plevin, Stuart Culter, Anthony Laing, Kent Burtner, and Margaret Singer {Sep.St.No. 74]; Priscilla Coates [Sep.St. No. 75]; Vaughn and Stacy Young [Sep.St.No. 77]; a Stanford University Psychology class {Sep St.No. 78]..."

[now the part with the teeth]

"...Accordingly, the Court finds that entry of a permanent injunction in this action is necessary in this action because pecuniary compensation could not afford the Church adequate relief, and the restraint is necesary in order to prevent a multiplicity of actions for breach of contract. Civil Code | 3422(1),(3). A ORDER of injunction is therefore entered as follows:

"1. Voluntarily assisting any person (not a governmental organ or entity) intending to make, intending to press, intending to arbitrate, or intending to litigate a claim, regarding such claim or regarding pressing, arbitrating, or litigating it, against any of the following persons or entities:

* the Church of Scientology International, its officers, directors, agents, representatives, employees, volunteers, successors, assigns and legal counsel;

* the Church of Scientology of California, its officers, directors, agents, representatives, employees, volunteers, successors, assigns and legal counsel;

* Religious Technology Center, its officers, directors, agents, representatives, employees, volunteers, successors, assigns and legal counsel;

* the Church of Spiritual Technology, its officers, directors, agents, representatives, employees, volunteers, successors, assigns and legal counsel'

* All Scientology and Scientology affiliated Churches, organizations and entities, and their officers, directors, agents, representatives, employees, volunteers, successors, assigns and legal counsel;

* Author Services, Inc., its officers, directors, agents, representatives, employees, volunteers, successors, assigns and legal counsel;

* The Estate of L. Ron Hubbard, its executor, beneficiaries, heirs, representatives,, and legal counsel; and/or

* Mary Sue Hubbard;

(Hereinafter referred to collectively as "the Beneficiaries");

"2. Voluntarily assisting any person (not a governmental organ or entity) defending a claim, intending to defend a claim, intending to defend an arbitration, or intending to defend any claim being pressed, made, arbitrated or litigated by any of the Beneficiaries, regarding such claim or regarding defending, arbitrating, or litigating against it;

"3. Voluntarily assisting any person (not a governmental organ or entity) arbitrating or litigating adversely to any of the Beneficiaries;

"4. Facilitating in any manner the creation, publication, broadcast, writing, filming audio recording, video recording, electronic recording or reproduction of any kind of any book, article, film, television program, radio program, treatment, declaration, screenplay or other literary, artistic or documentary work of any kind which discusses, refers to or mentions Scientology, the Church, and/or any of the Beneficiaries;

"5. Discussing with anyone, not a member of Armstrong's immediate family or his attorney, Scientology, the Church, and/or any of the Beneficiaries;

In addition, it is ORDERED that, within 20 days of the issuance of this Order, Armstrong shall:

1. Return to the Church any documents which he now has in his possession, custody or control which discuss or concern Scientology, the Church and/or any person or entity referred to in paragraph 1 of the "Mutual Release of All Claims and Settlement Agreement" of December, 1986, other than documents which have been filed in this litigation.

It is further ORDERED that during the pendency of this litigation, documents which have been filed in this litigation may be retained by Armstrong's counsel. Those documents are to remain sealed, in the possession of Mr. Greene or any successor counsel, and may not be distributed to third parties. At the conclusion of the instant litigation, it is ORDERED that all documents from this case in counsel's possession which do not comprise counsel's work product will be delivered to counsel for plaintiff. Counsel's work product may be retained by Armstrong's counsel.

DATED: Oct 17, 1995


This is, to our eye, an elegantly written piece of work. It is remarkably comprehensive. We noted that Armstrong is forbidden to voluntarily assist, etc. certain persons and agencies (etc.) without any evident limitation as to context. Hypothetically, Armstrong could not bring suit against a vendor of unsafe hot dogs if said vendor were a volunteer for the Church of Scientology of California (etc.), nor could he work as a paralegal for an attorney who was suing said hot dog vendor. He could not describe an automobile accident to the press if one of the drivers happened to be an employee of one of the Beneficiaries. He cannot mention his past employment with the Church on a job application form.

Item 4 gave us pause. Gerry Armstrong may have no media contacts whatever in which scientology, or Scientology, is mentioned. If he had given us an interview [which he did not], our article might have sent him to jail. This was a disturbing thought. People go to jail _for crimes_. We cannot understand why talking with our correspondent should send a man to jail. Why should one man's words be news and another man's recollections be the occasion for a prison term? The notion of crime has evolved somehow, and we are not comfortable with it.

Our copy of the Order was obtained from the court clerk's office by traditional and legal means, e.g. the payment of money. We trust it would not have been delivered to us if its distribution to the public were unlawful. Our understanding of the Order is that it applies only to Gerry Armstrong and his counsel, Ford Greene.

We could not quite put our finger on it, but there seemed to be a subtle flavor of lawyer gamesmanship. The Order disempowers Armstrong completely, requiring him to turn over "all documents." This presumably includes personal letters and writings. Likewise, Armstrong's attorney is required to turn all documents except his own work product over to plaintiff's counsel. To us, as a non-lawyer, having to hand over the contents of one's briefcase to the opposing attorney seems like a personal assault. We have no idea how Ford Greene feels, but if it happened to us we would not forget it.

We assume that the Judge's decision was not a surprise, and that it will be appealed.


A few minutes after the hearing we unexpectedly encountered Church lawyers Wilson and Bartilson. They had repaired to a distant telephone to tell their clients the good news.

Andrew Wilson was in a jovial mood and agreed to talk to us.

AW: We won the case. We asked the court to voluntarily dismiss some of our claims because we have won on enough of them to prevail in the action. There are two provision in the contract that were not actually specifically addressed in the various motions. They were two fairly general contract provisions, one of which said that the parties were settling litigation, and one of which said that the parties weren't going to do anything to defeat the contract. Those are technically still alive. I think we can defeat those in another motion.

bj: What would it mean by not doing anything to defeat the contract? Isn't that what lawsuits are about?

AW: Well, every contract in this state has what is called the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. That means that neither party does anything to defeat the other party's contractual rights. This contract contained an express provision to that effect.

bj: I gathered that you wanted to kill off his cross complaint. What is his cross complaint?

AW: His cross complaint basically was that the contract be declared invalid. He had made those arguments in response to motions we had made earlier. Those motions had already been granted, so that the court had ruled with respect to certain specific arguments that he had made with respect to certain specific provisions that we had enforced. [Those provisions] had been ruled to be valid. The two provisions we discussed today had never been addressed because they were the general type. Nobody has ever tried to enforce them or said Gerry Armstrong violated either of those two provisions. Gerry Armstrong has never said he violated either of those two provisions. They hadn't been argued. The judge said today, well, you haven't really addressed those provisions. They hadn't been argued. He hadn't ruled on those. So we are left with only those two provisions, which we will address and he will make a ruling on.

bj: Is that what happens on March 11?

AW: March 11 is a status conference. So if we have our motion before then and if the motion is granted there won't be a status conference. If any part of the case is still alive on March 11, there will be a status conference. You saw some of those today.

We intend to make what is called a motion for judgment on the pleadings, which essentially will be that those two provisions are valid. The judge will make a ruling and we'll see what happens. I'm confident that he will rule that they're valid.

bj: Now someone mentioned the term fraudulent conveyance. What do they mean by that?

AW: There is an action that was filed which contended that Mr. Armstrong's conveyance of his house to his lawyer in 1990 right before he began breaching the agreement and his "gifts" of approximately a couple hundred thousand dollars to various friends at the same time were fraudulent conveyances, mainly he did that to render himself judgment proof because he knew he was going to breach the contract with the Church of Scientology. That action was brought a couple years ago.

Mr. Armstrong filed bankruptcy. Because Mr. Armstrong filed bankruptcy, that fraudulent conveyance issue is in the bankruptcy court, is not in this court. So that action is stayed--put on hold--in limbo land until the bankruptcy is resolved. Then, if the bankruptcy isn't resolved--I don't want to get into the technical discussion--but when the bankruptcy court's finished, either the fraudulent conveyance action will have something left to be decided in it or it won't. If it doesn't it'll be dismissed. If it does we'll decide what to do with it afterward.

bj: What about that letter that Ford Greene wrote to the Judge? Have you seen it?

AW: Yes, I have seen it. He sent a letter to Judge Thomas in which he said that he thought Judge Thomas had prejudged his client's credibility. Mr. Armstrong made certain arguments about religious freedom, and his letter said that because the Judge disagreed with those arguments he felt that he was doing so because he was in a sense anti-religious. And the Judge said that's not the case.

I don't know if Mr. Greene has sent you those letters, but I am sure he will. He loves to send people letters.

bj: I'll ask him. So, the issue of the paper filed under seal: I gather that Greene filed some papers under seal and the Judge decided they'll stay sealed, but it sounds like he didn't order them stricken.

AW: That's right.

bj: And something got severed.

AW: That was the fraudulent conveyance action, which had already been severed.

bj: Because that went to bankruptcy court.

[Having graciously taken time to explain the issues to us, which we appreciated, Wilson now wanted to discuss something we had said in the previous issue (**Biased Journalism #5) We had snailed him a copy. He complimented us on our factual reporting. However-- ]

AW: I do not believe Mr. Armstrong is a simple, honest, uncomplicated person. I do not sympathize with Mr. Armstrong. I think Mr. Armstrong got a lot of money, made his bargain, you can call it a faustian bargain, but he made his bargain and he decided not to keep it.

I am not secretly harboring sympathy for Mr. Armstrong. I secretly harbor no ill will toward Mr. Armstrong, but I am not sympathetic with somebody who gets paid $500,000 [$800,000 less legal fees], gives it all away and decides 'I really can't keep this bargain anymore.'

bj: Duly noted.


It amused and baffled us that the only part of our earlier article that this lawyer objected to was the suggestion that somewhere in his soul there might be a tiny spark of human compassion.


Most readers will be familiar with the commotion in cyberspace attending the Communications Decency Act, a bill to censor speech on the net. The standard adopted is extremely vague and could lead to stringent limitations on what can be communicated. The same standard ("indencency") applied to libraries would strip their shelves bare.

There is some communication which is genuinely objectionable and vile. We believe that such communication is universally rejected. In a world when everyone can reach for the Delete key there is no need for outside censorship.

We take a moment to appreciate the miracle of cyberspace, the free communication of disembodied minds. We exist; _therefore_ we have rights. Our rights are not granted by government. They are intrinsic and inalienable.

We exist: _therefore_ we communicate.

It follows that free communication must not be infringed upon.

Persons who cannot cope with words on a screen should avail themselves of the "off" switch. Parents who wish to limit what their children see or read on the net should take the initiative to do so. The wish to limit what others may read, what others may see, and what others may say is pernicious, and incompatible with the fundamental nature of cyberspace.

We hope that Americans will not sit quietly in their chairs while our freedoms are methodically stripped away. We are heartened by the massive public rejection of censorship efforts.

Free speech on the net is a necessity. It is the cornerstone of all our rights.

with a clarification by Richard Horning

This account originally appeared in Computer underground Digest Volume 7, Issue 77 dated Wednesday September 27, 1995. It was authored by Robert A. Hayden <hayden@krypton.mankato.msus.edu> and is reprinted with the author's permission.

**begin excerpt [our remarks are in brackets]**




The following discussion sets out the legal basis for this conclusion.

Minnesota's general criminal jurisdiction statute provides as follows:

A person may be convicted and sentenced under the law of this State if the person:

(1) Commits an offense in whole or in part within this state; or

(2) Being without the state, causes, aids or abets another to commit a crime within the state; or

(3) Being without the state, intentionally causes a result within the state prohibited by the criminal laws of this state.

It is not a defense that the defendant's conduct is also a criminal offense under the laws of another state or of the United States or of another country.

Minnesota Statute Section 609.025 (1994).

This statute has been interpreted by the Minnesota Supreme Court. In State v. Rossbach, 288 N.W.2d 714 (Minn. 1980), the defendant appealed his conviction for aggravated assault. The defendant, standing inside the border of an Indian Reservation, had fired a rifle across the boundary line at a person outside the border. The defendant claimed that Minnesota courts did not have jurisdiction because his act took place off of Minnesota lands. Applying Minnesota Statute { 609.025 and the common law, the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed the conviction, holding that the intentional impact within Minnesota land created jurisdiction. Id. at 715-16.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals reached a similar result in State v. Brown, 486 N.W.2d 816 (Minn. Ct. App. 1992). In Brown, the court implicitly found that Minnesota courts had criminal jurisdiction over individuals in Iowa who mailed unlicensed gambling equipment to Minnesota residents. Id. at 817-18.

Minnesota courts have applied similar jurisdictional principles in civil cases. In State v. Red Lake DFL Committee, 303 N.W.2d 54 (Minn. 1981), the Minnesota Supreme Court held that state courts had jurisdiction over a committee of the Red Lake Indian Tribe which had purchased space for political advertisements in a newspaper circulated in the state. At issue was whether the committee had to register under state ethical practices laws.

The committee argued that it had done nothing outside of the reservation, since the transaction with the newspaper took place inside the reservation, and the committee did not assist in the circulation of the newspaper. In holding that the committee was required to register under state ethical practices law, the Supreme Court responded to this argument as follows:

Defendants say nothing they did occurred outside the reservation, but they choose to ignore that what they did caused something to occur beyond the reservation boundaries, namely, the dissemination of a political message, which is the activity here sought to be regulated.

Id. at 56 (emphasis added).

The above principles of Minnesota law apply equally to activities on the Internet. Individuals and organizations outside of Minnesota who disseminate information in Minnesota via the Internet and thereby cause a result to occur in Minnesota are subject to state criminal and civil laws.

An Example Of Illegal Activity On The Internet - Gambling

Gambling appears to be an especially prominent aspect of criminal activity on the Internet. There are a number of services outside of Minnesota that offer Minnesota residents the opportunity to place bets on sporting events, purchase lottery tickets, and participate in simulated casino games. These services are illegal in Minnesota.


A lottery is defined as "a plan which provides for the distribution of money, property or other reward or benefit to persons selected by chance from among participants some or all of whom have given a consideration for the chance of being selected." Minnesota Statute Section 609.75, Subdivision 1(a) (1994).

Generally, it is unlawful in Minnesota to sell or transfer a chance to participate in a lottery. Minnesota Statute Section 609.755(2) (1994). It is also unlawful to disseminate information in Minnesota about a lottery, except a lottery conducted by an adjoining state, with intent to encourage participation therein. Minnesota Statute Section 609.755(3). Acts in Minnesota in furtherance of a lottery conducted outside of Minnesota are included, notwithstanding its validity where conducted. Minnesota Statute Section 609.75, Subdivision 1(c) (1994). Violation of these provisions is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail, or a fine of up to $700, or both. Minnesota Statute Section 609.755 (1994); 609.02, Subdivision 3 (1994). It is a gross misdemeanor under Minnesota law to conduct a lottery. Minnesota Statute Section 609.76, Subdivision 1(3) (1994). A gross misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail, or a $3,000 fine, or both. Minnesota Statute Section 609.02, Subdivision 4 (1994).

Sports Bookmaking

Sports bookmaking is defined as "the activity of intentionally receiving, recording or forwarding within any 30-day period more than five bets, or offers to bet, that total more than $2,500 on any one or more sporting events." Minnesota Statute Section 609.75, Subdivision 7 (1994). Engaging in sports bookmaking is a felony, which is punishable by more than one year imprisonment. Minnesota Statutes Sections 609.76, Subdivision 2 (1994); 609.02, Subdivision 2 (1994). Intentionally receiving, recording, or forwarding bets or offers to bet in lesser amounts is a gross misdemeanor. Minnesota Statute Section 609.76, Subdivision 1(7) (1994).

Accomplice Liability

Minnesota's accomplice statute provides that one who intentionally aids, advises, counsels, or conspires with another to commit a crime is equally liable for that crime. Minnesota Statute Section 609.05, Subdivision 1 (1994). Therefore, persons or organizations who knowingly assist Internet gambling organizations in any unlawful activity may themselves be held liable for that unlawful activity. Thus, for example, Internet access providers and credit card companies that continue to provide services to gambling organizations after notice that the activities of the organizations are illegal would be subject to accomplice liability.

In addition to being illegal under Minnesota law, the Internet gambling organizations appear to violate several provisions of the federal law. All of the services appear to violate 18 United States Code Section 1084, which prohibits the foreign or interstate transmission of bets or wagers or information on bets or wagers by use of a wire communication. In as much as the Internet gambling organizations involve lotteries, they would also appear to violate 18 United States Code Section 1301 (prohibiting the "importing or transporting" of lottery tickets; 18 United States Code Section 1302 (prohibiting the mailing of lottery tickets); and 18 United States Code Section 1304 (prohibiting the "broadcasting" of lottery information). Sections 1084 and 1301 provide for felony-level penalties, while Sections 1302 and 1304 provide for misdemeanor penalties.

Placing A Bet Through Internet Gambling Organizations

Minnesota residents should be aware that it is unlawful to make a bet through Internet gambling organizations. Minnesota law makes it a misdemeanor to place a bet unless done pursuant to an exempted, state-regulated activity, such as licensed charitable gambling or the state lottery. [<--] Minnesota Statute Sections 609.75, Subdivisions 2 - 3; 609.755(1) (1994). The Internet gambling organizations are not exempted. Therefore, any person in Minnesota who places a bet through one of these organizations is committing a crime.

Minnesota residents should also be aware of forfeiture provisions related to unlawful gambling activity. Minnesota Statute Section 609.762, Subdivision 1 (1994) provides that the following items are subject to forfeiture:

[you guessed it. Yes, the State of Minnesota has joined the Church of Scientology in the line of agencies eager to kick down your door and seize your computer.]

(a) Devices used or intended for use, including those defined in section 349.30, subdivision 2, as a gambling device, except as authorized in sections 349.11 to 349.23 and 349.40;

(b) All moneys, materials, and other property used or intended for use as payment to participate in gambling or a prize or receipt for gambling; and

(c) Books, records, and research products and materials, including formulas, microfilm, tapes, and data used or intended for use in gambling.

A "gambling device" is defined as "a contrivance which for a consideration affords the player an opportunity to obtain something of value, other than free plays, automatically from the machine or otherwise, the award of which is determined principally by chance." Minnesota Statute Section 609.75, Subdivision 4 (1994).

Under this definition of "gambling device", a computer that is used to play a game of chance for something of value would be subject to forfeiture.

Gambling is just one example of illegal activity on the Internet. However, the same jurisdictional principles apply with equal force to any illegal activity.

Please direct any inquiries regarding this notice, or report violations of Minnesota law to the Law Enforcement Section, Minnesota Attorney General's Office, Suite 1400,8 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, Minnesota 55101-2131, telephone (612) 296-7575..

***end excerpt**

What if (residents of Minnesota stop reading now) **BJ** printed the facetious order "Go naked and jaywalk!" Would this make our computer subject to seizure? Will the first naked jaywalker of summer bring the jackbooted thugs of Minnesota to our door?

Are the citizens of cyberspace now under the control of the State of Minnesota? And what about the other states? Disturbed, we emailed noted cyberspace attorney Richard Horning: "they are joking, aren't they?"

He replied:

  You will be asked to report to MN voluntarily, or face a month 
  in August by one of the mosquito breeding lakes in an open air 
  prison after extradition.


  Richard Allan Horning     :  Direct Dial  (415) 249-0972
  Horning, Janin & Harvey   :  Office Dial: (415) 434-1081
  Suite 720                 :  Office Fax:  (415) 982-8931
  555 Montgomery Street     :  Direct Fax:  (415) 252-4872
  San Francisco, CA  94111  :  horningr@hooked.net


[a gossip column by Arlene Fortiori. Send your hot tips to Arlene at our email address]

Here Come The Judge

A rat with a legal beat in Marin County confided to us that Judge Gary Thomas has a county-wide reputation for *extremely* conservative decisions. The decisions invariably favor government and moneyed interests over individual rights. As a result many of the local attorneys will not argue a case before him. An attorney has the right to refuse a specific judge; the rat wondered why Ford Greene didn't ask for another judge. In the judicial lottery, Gerry Armstrong had the worst possible luck. "He (Thomas) is a dangerous man," the rat warned. "An outright fascist."

There is more to this story. Twenty-five years ago Gary Thomas was a vigorous, ambitious man and an aggressive prosecutor. He was at work in Marin on August 7, 1970 when a group of San Quentin inmates made a desperate and doomed effort to escape. Assistant District Attorney Gary Thomas, Judge Harold Haley and three female jurors were taken hostage. A shotgun was taped under Judge Haley's chin. The prisoners demanded a van and an airplane. A van was furnished; the hostages and their captors got into it. Meanwhile police from every department in the county converged on the courthouse. Officers and prison guards lined the roads with their guns drawn. Someone fired. Instantly the van was riddled with police bullets.

Gary Thomas later testified: "...Jackson brought his hand back inside. There was blood on it and blood on the revolver. The sawed-off shotgun was being held under Judge Haley's chin by Magee. The shotgun went off. It was as if it was in slow motion--all outward features of his face moving away.

"I turned to my right and took the gun from Jackson's hand that was lying over the engine housing-the hump in the middle of the van.

"I fired a shot at Jackson, maybe once or twice. McClain was moving toward the left side toward the front and I shot him in the back. I turned and fired a shot in the area of Christmas and then I shot Magee in the chest. I shot him once and he was moving and I tried to shoot again but the gun clicked. He stopped moving.

"I yelled out of the van, 'Stop firing! Please stop firing!' And right then, at the same time, I felt pain in my back." Gary Thomas was paralyzed. A police bullet had passed through his spine.

The jury women and a badly wounded Ruchell Magee survived the shootout. Magee is still in prison. Black activist and university professor Angela Davis was tried for complicity, and acquitted. (For more details see the Marin County Journal, August 7, 1995, articles by Paul Peterzell and Paul Liberatore.) Gary Thomas was appointed to the bench by Governor Ronald Reagan.

This is the judge that Gerry Armstrong faced. Judge Thomas is a harsh man, but his sincerity is beyond question.

Note from Hemet

The deer mouse who provided the information in **BJ** #5 was not talking, but we managed to learn that having the missing gold receive mention on the net was considered a grave breach of security. Top management at Hemet were given a serious dressing down and assigned bad ethics conditions. Meanwhile efforts were made to find out where the gold had gone. The assumption by all concerned is that it is no longer in the USA.

"All is not dead that can eternal lie and with strange eons even Death can die" --H.P. Lovecraft

Just when we thought that EST was safely extinct, we were informed that a new offspring of EST is now engaged in clearing people. They do not use e-meters or the term "thetan," but their practices are otherwise quite similar to scientology. Our source said that this was not surprising because Werner Erhard, EST founder, was a close companion of L. Ron Hubbard years ago.

The new version of EST is called LifeSpring. We understand that the program is expensive, and the charges increase the higher up in the system one gets. "They all live together communally and work for nothing," a mole told us. We inferred that labor can be exchanged for clearing services, just as in scientology. The mole described an all-day drill that bore a remarkable resemblance to the scientology Book and Bottle exercise. "It's mind control," the mole said.

In late news from The Netherlands, the Church of Scientology/RTC dropped all of its lawsuits. A vole informed us that David Miscavige's notarization of Hubbard's signature at the time Miscavige was acting as Chairman of the Board of RTC made the document invalid. The church promptly dropped the lawsuits. OSA Spokesperson Leisa Goodman was not very happy seeing the OT Levels projected on the walls of the ampitheater where the Dutch Protest was held on Monday, December 11. She was seen biting her nails.

--A. Fortiori


An anonymous correspondent shared the following typo with us: (quote) It was made by one of my biology teachers, a very serious, nonprofane guy.

Under the section on Means of Host Infection on a paper on viruses, an H was replaced with a K.

"3) The Genital tract. [blah blah blah] Suck infections are classified as venereal diseases."


+-- Chris Rijk --------------------------------------- cpr1@doc.ic.ac.uk --+
| Dictionary of Alternative Meanings: cult                                 |
| A religion with no political power.                                      |

[A mailing list is being assembled for **Biased Journalism**. If you would like to be on it, let us know at sthomson@netcom.com.]

The End