Scientology Critical Information Directory

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Keith Henson

Long time critic, fair gamed.

The Church of Scientology and its followers want you to believe that Keith Henson stated he would "have them bombed and the buildings exploded": This is utter fabrication, Keith Henson never expressed such threat. He merely corrected someone who answered to a post in which someone else was joking about a "Tom Cruise Missile."

Keith Henson was picketing and trying to bring awareness to what he calls "depraved indifference" in the death of two young women in and around the Scientology compound. He was trying to bring awareness because he cared. This is directly from the doctrine of the Church of Scientology: "[People critical of Scientology] may be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed," from L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. This is the precise doctrine they followed to try and silence Keith Henson.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige included, have been promoting the murdering of other human beings. This is beyond irony that it is now Keith Henson in jail, just because he cared enough, while David Miscavige is free to go despite his graphical depictions of deadly violence against psychiatrists — with thundering applauses from followers... (ref.: Evening Standard (London, Oct. 2006): "Tom's aliens target City's 'planetary rulers'" by David Cohen, Michael Leonard Tilse: "False Purpose Rundown")

Barbara Graham wrote an excellent article summarizing Keith Henson's case.

Image source:
«Scientologists promised to kill me in a Riverside California jail» — Keith Henson, "Man critical of Scientology, who fled Brantford in 2005, is arrested in United States", Brantford Expositor

Brantford Expositor (March 2008): "Scientology critic free after serving four months; Former Brantford resident ordered to avoid negative contact with group" by Susan Gamble
[...] As a condition of his probation, he is forbidden to do anything that bothers a Scientologist.

"If I say anything that annoys a Scientologist I go back to jail."

In fact, his three-year probation, available through the Riverside, Calif., court web pages, orders him to avoid any negative contact with any Scientologist, not to come within 1,000 feet of a Scientologist and not to annoy or harass any member of the group.

Henson is living quietly in his Arizona home. If he goes outside, it's behind a six-foot fence.

"I still fear for my life. My problem is that I haven't been paranoid enough in the past." [...]

    San Jose Mercury News (July 7, 2007): "Scientology critic seeks pardon - Jailed after lenghty battle with Scientologists" by Mike Zapler
[...] "It's amazing the trouble you get into for trying to warn the public about health hazards," Henson told the Mercury News after the verdict. "This was just a loss of a battle in a larger war."

Indeed it was. The fine forced Henson into bankruptcy, but he wasn't ready to let go. Henson (who, after more than a decade living in Silicon Valley, moved to Southern California) picketed Scientology organizations around Los Angeles. According to his wife, he was roughed up more than once and was a frequent target of death threats.

The Church of Scientology did not return calls requesting comment. [...]

Barbara Graham, follow-up comment for the article "Scientology critic seeks pardon" in the San Jose Mercury News:

Keith's crime, trying to draw attention to the fact that two young women died there in as many months, joking about a 'Tom Cruise missile', and picketing on public property. I was there. I saw operatives hired by the cult try to shove him out into highway 79. I was on his witness list, and underwent Scientology harassment until I complained to ADA Schwarz. This whole thing is garbage, a prime example of the kind of corrupting influence this cult has on communities where it has a considerable presence.

CNet (Feb. 2007): "'Tom Cruise' missile jokester arrested" by Declan McCullagh (the same article appeared in the New York Times)
A Silicon Valley figure who fled the country after being convicted in part because of a Usenet joke about Tom Cruise and Scientology has been arrested in Arizona.

Keith Henson, an engineer, writer and futurist, was arrested Friday in Prescott, Ariz., where he has been living for the past few years, and now faces extradition to California. Henson originally fled to Canada after the 2001 conviction.

The misdemeanor conviction in California stems from a post that Henson made in the alt.religion.scientology Usenet newsgroup that joked about aiming a nuclear "Tom Cruise" missile at Scientologists, and Henson's picketing of the group's Golden Era Productions in Riverside, Calif.

Michael Kielsky, Henson's defense attorney, said Monday that his client will likely be released on Monday evening and is required to appear in court for a March 5 hearing. [...]

This CNet article is great, although it contains a few factual errors/omissions which I want to clarify:
  • Keith Henson's conviction was for 'interfering with a religion,' a misdemeanor: he was picketing an heavily armed Scientology compound following the death of Ashlee Shaner and Stacy Moxon.
  • Keith Henson didn't joke about 'Tom Cruise missiles.' He only commented on someone else's post.
  • Keith Henson didn't post the story of Xenu in the copyright case that he lost to the Church of Scientology, but mainly NOTS 34, titled The Sequence for Handling a Physical Condition, which calls for using Scientology auditing to treat medical problems. Note that NOTS 34 is only a small part of the whole NOTS, and as such, many are of the opinion that Keith Henson's posting is protected by the 'fair use' provision of copyright regulations.

In short:

  • Keith Henson pointed out that the Church of Scientology seems to mislead its adherents by telling them they can cure illnesses through auditing: a judge slapped Keith Henson with copyright violations.
  • Keith Henson pickets Scientology compound to raise public awareness following the death of two women on and around the compound: a judge slapped Keith Henson with a conviction of 'interfering with a religion,' a misdemeanor.

When democratic values are trampled on, we can't claim that we live in a democratic society.

— Raymond Hill, 7 February 2007

Wikipedia (as of December 2007): "Keith Henson"
Howard Keith Henson (born 1942) is an American electrical engineer and writer on life extension, cryonics, memetics and evolutionary psychology. In 1975 he and his then-wife Carolyn Meinel founded the L5 Society, which promoted space colonization and which was eventually folded into the National Space Society. More recently, Henson's outspoken criticism of the Church of Scientology and subsequent criminal proceedings have gained him headlines. [...] "Who is Keith Henson? And why is Scientology after him?"
On 26 Apr 2001, Keith Henson was convicted of "interfering with a religion", a misdemeanor under California law, for picketing outside Scientology's heavily-armed, razor-wire enclosed base outside Hemet, CA.

At trial, the judge threw out all Henson's witnesses, disallowed any testimony about his reasons for picketing the cult, and allowed the prosecution to present excerpts from Henson's Internet postings out of context; the Scientology witnesses also committed perjury which Henson was unable to rebut.

Barbara Graham (May 2007): "Keith Henson, Dire Straits"
Awaiting extradition to California from the Prescott, Arizona jail, Keith Henson is being denied visitation rights, contact with his lawyer, and medication he needs to control heart and blood pressure problems.

Scientology is the ugly worm at the core of this situation. [...]

Barbara Graham (Feb. 2007): "Keith Henson and the Great Miscarriage of Justice"
Last Friday, Scientology critic, engineer and writer Keith Henson was arrested in Prescott Arizona, after fleeing California following a one year sentence for picketing Scientology's secret armed compound north of Hemet, California.

The sentence wasn't just, it wasn't fair, and the court wasn't honest.

Now, it appears he will be extradited back to corrupt Riverside County, where a jail sentence might well be a death sentence for him, if threats made to him by Scientologists are genuine. [...]

10 Zen Monkeys (Feb. 2007): "'Scientology Fugitive' Arrested"
On Friday, Arizona police arrested a 64-year-old man — a fugitive since 2001 in a bizarre war that mixes free speech, copyright law, and the Church of Scientology.

Keith Henson’s journey began seven years ago while innocuously watching another critic mock the group on an internet newsgroup. In a gonzo discussion about procuring a “Tom Cruise missile,” they’d joked about working with “Secret Agent 99, wearing a stunning black leather biker outfit.” Other posters joined in the internet discussion, asking whether Tom Cruise missiles are affected by wind.”No way,” Keith joked. “Modern weapons are accurate to a matter of a few tens of yards.”

The police were informed of his “threatening” posts, and Henson was arrested. [...] "Scientology® Vs. Keith Henson"
The sinister Scientology® business claimed it attacked Keith Henson because of "copyright violations." In reality, the reason is because Mr. Henson spoke the truth about Scientology Inc.'s crimes and human rights abuses. The business attacked Henson as a "warning" to others who would be so bold as to tell the truth about Scientology. This is called the "Monkey on a Stick" deterrent: one or two "monkeys" are selected from the crowd of critics, and harassed in front of them--- this is to cause the other critics to cease objecting to Scientology Inc.'s crimes and gross human rights abuses.
Operation Clambake: "The Henson Case"
Having read the New Era Dianetics for Operating Thetans (NOTs) levels, Keith Henson believes that Scientology is practicing medicine without a license. He was sued for posting the relevant sections - NOTS 34 - that describe these practices.
Ron Newman: "The Church of Scientology vs. Keith Henson"
A letter Keith Henson sent to Judge Whyte on March 26, in the Grady Ward case. Four days later, after Judge Whyte's clerk assured Keith that he was not subject to Grady Ward's temporary restraining order, Keith also posted a copy of this letter to alt.religion.scientology and several other newsgroups. The original version of Keith's letter (which I've expurgated) contained a complete copy of a CoS document known as "NOTS 34" or "HCO BULLETIN OF 14 NOVEMBER 1978". Henson claims that "NOTS 34" is evidence that CoS is violating US laws against practicing medicine without a license, and thus the public interest demands that the document be disclosed.
Keith Henson: "Ms. Blood story again, thanks to Bill Yaude (Parker)"
What bothers me is that people in US government law enforcement had detailed knowledge in 1995 about scientology's attempt to frame Tom Klemesrud for murder just like scientology had successfully framed Paulette Cooper for bomb threats back in the 70s. I get a shrug when I express amazement at this. Maybe it is not a Federal crime.

Scientology did get Tom falsely arrested and later manipulated (or outright corrupted) a small claims court to provide Ms Blood with a cover justification and manipulated a Federal court (Judge Whyte's) so scientology's operation against Tom was not exposed.

Ida's View of Keith Henson Trial 2001
Keith came to picket to bring attention to the tragic death of the young woman, Ashley Shaner. She was killed instantly when her car came in contact with a dimly lit tractor trailer being driven across Gilman Springs Road. The accident date was May l7, 2000. Keith came to my home later in the month and I asked him to stay at my place while he continued to picket. Several other critics of the cult's abusive practices came through the summer to exercise their constitutional rights.
Graham E. Berry: "An Introduction To Scientology's Corruption of the United States Government and Its Legal System"
Henson had been picketing the church's heavily armed and guarded base near Hemet. The church had Henson arrested and jailed. It claimed that his solitary picketing was terrorizing the church and interfering with the practice of a religion. The local California police refused to prosecute but Scientology sent lawyers from New York and Washington to "persuade" the District Attorney to ignore the police and to prosecute Henson. The District Attorney was running for re-election and agreed to prosecute Henson with the assistance of Scientology lawyers from New York and Los Angeles. The trial judge was manipulated and misled, Henson was denied an effective defense; he was convicted and sentenced to year in prison. Henson then learned that Scientology agents were spreading rumors in prison that Henson was coming to prison and that he was a child molester. Child molesters are despicable people and they are often assaulted and even killed in prison in the United States. To avoid being imprisoned under these circumstances, Henson fled to Canada. Henson is a smallish 60-year-old grandfather who has no other convictions and no record of violence. Scientology told the Toronto police that Henson was an armed and dangerous terrorist. The Toronto SWAT team, all prepared for a machine gun shoot out, took Henson and his Canadian host down with an awesome display of firepower. Henson spent a week in a Toronto jail. He was denied his blood pressure medication. Eventually, Henson was released on bail and he applied for political asylum in Canada. Predictably, Scientology is now providing the language for the Canadian immigration minister's decisions and Henson now looks to Europe for human rights and protection from Scientology's corruption of the North American courts and governments.
    Brantford Expositor (Feb. 2007): "Man critical of Scientology, who fled Brantford in 2005, is arrested in United States" by Susan Gamble
Keith Henson, the anti-Scientology engineer who fled Brantford in 2005 after losing a fight to avoid deportation, was arrested in Arizona last week.

Henson was ordered to be deported two years ago through a transfer at the Canada-U.S. border. But, afraid of being tracked by Scientologists who he said have been harassing him for years, he opted to leave Brantford early. Henson was convicted in California of interfering with a religion and Scientologists were keen to see him returned there for punishment. [...]

Brantford Expositor (July 2005): "Scientology foe seeks refugee status here" by Susan Gamble
He's accused of being a convicted hate criminal, a child molester, an Internet terrorist, a self-proclaimed bomb expert and a fugitive from justice.

Well, that last part is true, says Keith Henson, a mild-mannered 63 year-old with a boisterous laugh and thinning hair.

The fugitive living in Brantford doesn't exactly fit the part written for him on the Internet by the Church of Scientology as a hate filled terrorist bomber, but he is somewhat peeved that his quiet life in Brantford has been disturbed. [...]

LA Weekly (June 2001): "Unfair Game" by Gale Holland
When the May 29 takedown was over, Henson, a Palo Alto computer consultant, was in custody at the "super-maximum-security" Metro West Detention Centre on a Canadian immigration warrant. The warrant was based on Henson's April 26 criminal conviction in Hemet, California. And what was the Internet activist's crime? Espionage, perhaps? Terrorism? Henson was found guilty of a single misdemeanor count of interfering with a religion. To those familiar with a ferocious five-year war between the church and its Internet critics, it comes as no surprise that the religion was Scientology.
Hour Magazine (May 2001): "'Destroy him utterly'" by M-J Milloy
"Keith Henson, American activist on the run in Canada, thinks the controversial Church of Scientology has made him fair game for dirty tricks Looking back, maybe the joke about the "Tom Cruise Missile" wasn't such a good idea.

That online jest, made last year by Keith Henson, a peaceful if persistent critic of the controversial Church of Scientology, has led to his being found guilty of "intimidating a religion," and now on the run from the U.S., hiding out in plain sight in Oakville, a Toronto suburb, where he plans on claiming political-refugee status.

His case has shone a light on Scientology, a vaguely well-known organization founded by a middling science-fiction writer that maintains humans are tainted with the spirits of space aliens and that critics claim is simply a global scam to separate the needy from their money.

Like Waco and Jonestown, this case raises issues of how far freedom of religion goes and just how far a so-called religion can go to protect itself and its members from its dissidents.

"It's not that I care one way or the other about their beliefs," said Henson this week just after news of his flight hit the net. "If they want to believe in space cooties, galactic overlords or virgin birth, that's their problem. The problem is when they viciously violate my right to free speech." Keith Henson arrived at the place he calls Gold Base almost by accident."

Wired (Apr. 2001): "Scientology Critic Convicted" by Declan McCullagh
"A dodgy District Attorney, with cult lawyers sitting at the prosecutor's table, set him up for absurd charges of threatening the cult with cruise missiles," says Dave Bird, another Scientology critic. "Virtually all the defense evidence was excluded.... Even when Henson quoted L. Ron Hubbard's violent words, it was presented as his own speech without quotation marks."
EFF (Jun. 2001): "Conviction of Scientology Critic Raises Free Speech Issue - Electronic Frontier Foundation Concerned US Court Violated Free Speech Rights"
[...] On April 26, 2001, Henson was convicted of threatening to interfere with the CoS members' freedom to enjoy their constitutional right to the free exercise of religion. Although official trial documents are not yet available, the verdict seems based on Henson's activities while picketing the CoS desert compound and postings on the Internet alt.religion.scientology newsgroup. It appears that the postings admitted into evidence included only fragments of longer postings or threads taken out of context. For example, the defense was apparently prohibited from showing that a comment about "cruise missiles" was made in response to a joke about actor Tom Cruise. The trial judge also allegedly forbid Henson from explaining why he was protesting Scientology. [...]
Wall Street Journal (Jul. 21, 1998): "Internet Czar?"
Judge Whyte, in short, has turned copyright law on its head. The purpose of the law is to encourage free speech, giving authors and artists comfort in knowing that others cannot misappropriate their works for their own profit. The essence of the matter before him, as anyone not blinded by a Pecksniffian literalness can see, is that the plaintiffs are using the law to muzzle their critics. In addition, the judge is in the process of morphing an already dubious tort case into a criminal matter through the contempt power--a threat to freedom of speech well recognized in the First Amendment community.
The Press-Enterprise (Feb. 1998): "Judge OKs picketing of church" by Susan Thurston
A judge ruled Friday that a frequent protester of the Church of Scientology cannot be blocked from going near its Golden Era film studios in Gilman Hot Springs or its studio manager.

Golden Era Manager Ken Hoden received a temporary restraining order against Keith Henson last month after Henson picketed outside the church's complex along Highway 79. Hoden argued Henson harassed and threatened him with a pool cue attached to a sign.

Judge Stephen D. Cunnison of Riverside Superior Court on Friday refused Hoden's request to make the restraining order permanent. Henson, who has picketed Scientology sites across the country, was exercising his rights to free speech and did not single out Hoden, he said. [...]

Metroactive (1997): "High-tech Heretics - Netizens put Scientology on the stand" by Will Harper
Neither of the two men gave Scientology much thought until they heard a report about the church censoring a chat group on the Internet two years ago. "They came and pissed in my sandbox," Henson snarls. Now, annoying Scientologists has become their favorite pastime.

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