Biased Journalism Vol. 2, issue 23

Biased Journalism: a net magazine designed to compensate for the shortcomings of the professional news media. We cover issues of interest to the citizens of cyberspace. This is a community newspaper of the net.

Copyright 1996 Shelley Thomson; all rights reserved.

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Table of Contents for Biased Journalism.

Biased Journalism Volume 2, issue 23 December 18, 1996.


  1. Bulletin: Standoff in Stockholm: Big Win for the Net
Read at your own risk. This is Biased Journalism!


Zenon, intrepid Swede and bane of the church of scientology, is a familiar figure to natives of ars. After serious legal jousting which culminated in Zenon's delivery of the NOTs to Parliament, the church lawyers convinced a Swedish court to order a raid for copyright infringement.

Under civilized Swedish law, Zenon was provided advance notice of the raid. He announced in an ars post that he would have coffee waiting, and that his printer would continue to print NOTs for the duration of the raid.

The raid was scheduled to take place at 0800 GMT on December 17. Anxious netizens gathered on irc channel #scientology to wait for news. It was determined that 0800 GMT was equivalent to 12 midnight in California.

Midnight in California is 3 a.m. in Virginia. Arnie Lerma struggled to hold out, but folded at a few minutes after midnight. Fate willed that the first reports from Zenon's raid came in about 15 minutes later.

At 12:35 am Zenon appeared on #scientology and said: "this is [netizen] at Zenon's machine. The bailiff is here in the kitchen reading Zenon's latest submission." Several net.citizens who had come to support Zenon took turns at the computer to describe the action.

"Sorry for the delay in connecting up to irc, but we were a little busy. [questions] There are 2 people I believe from the bailiff's office. Two people from tv4 are filming the events."

The netizen continued, "Zenon wrote a brief in the night and handed it in in order to cause some problems for them. The essence of the brief is that there was an earlier decision where he had to hand over certain material to them. According to his interpretation there is no material here that is infringing. Therefore they must make a new decision if they want to take anything from his apartment."

"They arrived at 8:45. TV4 brought their (huge, $100,000) camera and have just been filming me writing this!"

"At the moment the bailiff is still in the kitchen drinking coffee and reading Zenon's latest submission, where he states that the old ruling from the court is not relevant to what they attempted to do here, so that they must creat a new decision in order to do any seizures."

[Another netizen is filming the proceedings. At that point there are about 10 people in Zenon's small apartment. The raiding party comprises a woman chief bailiff and her assistant and another person from a Swedish agency concerned with seizures. No scientologists are present.]

We asked what Zenon ate for breakfast. "Coffee and cigarettes," the netizen guessed.

While the bailiffs read the brief, Zenon discussed the case with the people from TV4.

Then the bailiffs came out of the kitchen. They announced that they were leaving. Execution of the [raid] order was terminated. TV4 filmed the scene, including the moment when the visibly unhappy chief bailiff refused to shake hands with Zenon. The bailiff agreed to an interview but declined to do it in the presence of Zenon and his fans, so the bailiffs and TV4 went outside. [We expect video to be posted on web pages soon. See alt.religion.scientology for details.]

During the raid Zenon's computer had been operated by various netizens giving accounts of the action. As soon as the bailiffs departed Zenon signed on and proclaimed a partial victory. He was congratulated by the assembled netizens--a substantial crowd, considering that it was then in the small hours of the morning for many people.

While Zenon described the raid as a partial victory, it looked much better to the netizens. For the first time a cyber citizen had been able to fend off a raid. Perhaps it had started a trend.

Virtual champagne was shared out all around.

--this is just a bulletin. There will be more to this story. Zenon thinks the church probably filed several pounds of motions. As we left, he was calling the courthouse to see what had happened. Stay tuned--

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