Copyright 1997 Shelley Thomson; all rights reserved.
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[ All Issues of Biased Journalism | Main Scientology Page ]Biased Journalism Volume 3, issue 3 May 23, 1997
Early in the morning I was opped for the first time this year by two hang up calls to my room at 5:30. Never did get back to sleep. About 7:30 I went down to join Grady. He had already sampled the available breakfast stuff. I smeared something which might have been cream cheese on something which might have been a bagel, picked up a little apple and we checked out.
Not knowing what to expect after the various confused rumors of the previous evening, Grady and I headed for the Palm Springs airport. We were supposed to meet at the main entrance per the last real communication, i.e., the email from Helena and Tom late Sunday. We encountered no delays. After parking the car we arrived at the entrance about 8:10. Grady took his suitcase with him as he was expecting to leave and we sat there watching the informally dressed, but well to do citizen of Palm Springs come and go.
About 8:40 Mike Rinder and an older cult zombie showed up. Rinder handed us the following court order:
2 ORIGINAL 3 FILED 4 MAY 19, 1997 RICHARD w. WIEKING 5 CLERK U.S. DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF 6 CALIFORNIA SAN JOSE 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 SAN JOSE DIVISION 11 RELIGIOUS TECHNOLOGY CENTER, 12 NO. C 96-20271 RMW EAI Plaintiff, 13 ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF RTC'S EX Parte APPLICATION FOR 14 PROTECTIVE ORDER RE: MISCAVIGE DEPOSITION 15 H. KEITH HENSON, 16 Defendant. 17 18
On May 19, 1997, at approximately 4:20 p.m., counsel for Plaintiff RTC made an emergency ex parte application by telephone for a protective order respecting the deposition of David Miscavige, scheduled to commence May 20, 1997 at 9:00 a.m. By previous order of the court, parties in the following three actions are permitted to participate in the deposition: RTC v. Erlich, C95-20091 RMW ~M), RTCv.Ward, C96-20207 RMW ~AI), and RTC v. Henson 23 C96-20271 RMW Dennis Erlich in RTC v. Erlich, proceed with the deposition tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. However, RTC further requested that Defendants Ward and Henson be excluded from the portion of the deposition conducted by Defendant Erlich's counsel due to concerns regarding the safety of Mr. Miscavige. RTC requested that the deposition resume on May 21, 1997, for separate deposition by Defendants Ward and Henson. RTC's concern for the safety of Mr. Miscavige arises from certain recent internet postings by Defendant Henson perceived by RTC as threats against Mr. Miscavige, and alleged conversations between Defendants Henson and Ward overheard by an employee of Southwest Airlines at the San Jose Airport at approximately 1:00 p.m. today.
Good cause appearing, RTC's motion is GRANTED. The portion of the deposition of David Miscavige conducted by Henson and Ward shall be deferred until 9:00 a.m. on May 21, 1997. However, RTC shall promptly reimburse Defendants Ward and Henson for reasonable costs and expenses incurred by them due to the delay in the deposition. In addition, RTC shall bear the cost of an expedited transcript of the portion of the deposition conducted by Defendant Erlich's counsel, and shall provide (1) copies of non-confidential portions of the transcript to Defendants Ward and Henson, and (2) access to confidential portions of the transcript to Defendants Ward and Henson in accordance with the protective orders in place in the respective actions.
This order applies to both the above-captioned case, and RTC v. Ward, C96-20207 RMW~AI).
15 IT IS SO ORDERED. 16 EDWARD A. INFANTE 17 DATED: May 19,1997 ___________________________ 18 EDWARD A. INFANTE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 19[The netizens were startled and displeased. Henson could not recall any conversation which could have sounded like a bomb threat. And, although Henson did not know it, a second order which Judge Infante apparently granted at the same time was withheld from him until the following day. This second order barred the publisher of Biased Journalism from attending the deposition and allowed Henson to have a lawyer present. This order was presented to Henson approximately one minute before the beginning of the deposition on Wednesday.]
What I did not get was an order filed on the same day which permitted me to have one lawyer at the deposition. More about this petty trick in the part on the deposition.
The only thing this order did was to exclude us from hearing the MoFo lawyers question DM. Otherwise the order makes no sense. If I were a security concern on Tuesday, am I less of one by Wednesday? Were they frantically knitting fearless leader a bulletproof suit?
Mike Rinder (watch this guy David, he still has active brain cells and even a little sense of humor) realizes how lame this excuse is. He is quite apologetic, and offers to reserve us a hotel. This was a good idea on the cult's part, because the order made the cult pay expenses and costs for delaying the deposition. He mentions Embassy Suites ($100/night), which while not nearly as opulent as the Marriot Desert Springs ($350/night) where the deposition was originally set, was a cut above previous night's Comfort Inn ($50/night). We figured the cult had bugged the rooms, but who cares? As it turned out the next day, picking this particular hotel might have been the worse mistake he made all day.
The Embassy Suites is in Palm Desert, roughly 10 miles down Hwy 111 from the airport. This no doubt made DM feel better, though the official telepathic enturbulation range of an SP (according to Hubbard) is nearly the diameter of the earth. So, we start down that direction, get slightly lost, and loop around. There is a car following, so for fun I make a quick turn into an unoccupied business complex, and the guy goes by. Back on the road behind him, he does a 180, and I wave at him as he goes by, but he may not have recognized me and goes tearing down the road in the reverse of our direction and vanishes. We stop and wait, but he does not show again. We don't really have anything else to do, so we drive on down to Palm Desert to check in, figuring they can pick up the tail there if they care.
When we get to the Embassy Suites it turns out the woman who checked me in was a Brit from near St. Hill. She knew a lot about the cult, none of it favorable. She informed the rest of the staff, and they were all put on alert to watch for cult tricks.
The rooms we were assigned went all the way through from the courtyard to an outside wall. Besides the usual stuff, fridge, couch, TV, wet bar, there is a nice table/set of chairs in the "suite", and free coffee in the room as well.
Before Rinder met us with the delaying order, we had been expecting our part of the deposition to be canceled. Grady was planning a quick return to Arcada to get ready for the McShane deposition. I figured I might get a quick picket in at Gold Base on the way back to the airport. Now I had a whole day on my hands. After we settled in (at the expense of the cult) Grady decided to study the material he had with him, and I decided that picketing the cult on their own money was just too good a hack to pass up. So, off to obtain supplies, I hop in the car and buzz out of the hotel entrance.
The older cult zombie who was with Rinder is posted out there next to the hotel driveway, in the hot sun, waiting for me. He takes off in a heavy jog over to the lot next door where they must have parked some chase cars. I pull out on 111, and realizing that there is this Lucky store next to the hotel where I can get part of what I need. I turn in figuring I can play games with them or at least I get a good look at the cars and people assigned to tail us.
I missed them! Near as I could tell, they all went out on 111 and down the road. I suppose it was possible I missed one who stayed in the Lucky's lot, but I think they passed me going out as I was unexpectedly going in. It is a lot harder for a single person to keep track of a bunch of cars and people while driving than I thought. But it could be that they all missed me with the assumption I would not go get a look at them. Or perhaps they all went off to throw a wall of bodies around DM. Anyway, they vanished, and I seem to have vanished to them.
So, I pick up a 27 shot disposable camera (I need to get that film developed!) and some water and granola bars for lunch and wonder back to the hotel to tell Grady about this amusing development. We figured they must have a spotter around, so the next time I leave, Grady goes out to watch. No such luck this time, and from what happened later I think they entirely lost us. (The rental car was a light blue--and it is amazing how many light blue cars there were on the road, including the two they used the next day.) I take off back the way we came on 111 looking for an office supplies place to buy picket materials. (At the cult's expense? Ah, under "entertainment.")
After asking at a lock shop (and leaving some misleading information for them there) I found a discount office supplies place a few miles away. They had the poster board I was looking for, but nothing which would really do for a stick. Next door was a sporting goods shop so I went in looking for something stick-like. A short pool cue makes the most comfortable stick for a picket sign I have ever held.
I went back to the hotel and made up a sign. One side said "Miscavige Fears Wogs" and in smaller letters, "Wogs at Cause." The other side said "Cockroach Cult (ask Lisa McPherson about it.)" Toss the sign in the car, check a map and take off. The one thing I was missing was a hat, but just before the freeway there was a giant hardware store, so I picked up a paper painters hat. (Good ol' Home Depo.)
Then out on I 10 and off toward the west. At Beaumont, just before where California 60 splits off, I take a very nice new four lane highway (79) south. I was watching all this time for a tail, but no tail, the one possible pickup truck turns the other way when I exit onto the road which runs through Gilman Hot Springs, also known as Gold Base. With the boss being grilled by MoFo over in Palm Springs it was a quiet day at Gold--but not for long.
I drove through the half mile or so the cult owns on both sides of the road and parked outside of their property on the end toward Hemet. There are cult buildings and trees all along both sides of the road in the section I am going to picket. On the side toward the (dry) San Jacinto river is Golden Era, several old dark painted buses and a lot of uncompleted new construction plus a few buildings of unknown purpose. On the side toward the hill is the rigging for a sailing ship and the apartments for publics such as Tom Cruise. The RPF (?) keeps every scrap of trash picked up.
I took out my sign with the pool cue handle, sprayed on a layer of sun block, made sure the cell phone was in one pocket and my camera in the other and started walking back toward the Golden Era gate. It was about 2:45.
I was not even 20 feet from the car before a guard in the sheriff looking uniform (likely the one Grady and I had seen the previous day) came roaring up on the dirt bike. I figured he would stop to talk, but no, he took one look at me, figured out what was going to go down, turned around and blasted off full throttle back toward the Golden Era gate to report, and perhaps start getting their people where they could not see the picket person or signs.
It was a quarter to half a mile from where I parked to the place where the curbs and most of the buildings started. Two of them (in uniforms, one a dark haired guy who had been on the bike) met me on foot while I was walking against the traffic direction about where the curbs started.
The one who had originally been on the dirt bike had a camera-- which was about as effective on a Wog at Cause as making the sign of the cross would be to an atheist vampire. All in all, they must have shot four full rolls of film. Typical cult behavior. If taking 30 pictures of a critic does not run them off, take another hundred. The other one had a video camera which he kept sticking right in my face, less than a foot (0.3 meters) from me. They were some seriously enturbulated clams, and it was a hot day, at least 90 F.
After a few words, where I asked them to tell me if I was starting to step in cult property, they indicated they were unwilling to talk to me, though, in response to a question of why they were not asking who I was, the first one said grimly that they already knew. Ah, how many of us rate instant recognition! Not only do they have to study Hubbard dreck, but they must spend considerable time leafing through an ever growing "Book of Potential Picketers."
They were both late teens or early 20s and neither of them were carrying guns.
Their uniforms, radio pouches, patches and six pointed badges would do a fair job of misleading people into thinking at first they were sheriff deputies, but there was something unsubstantial about them which would make people look twice at the patches and badge. I don't think Andre Tabayoyon (who trained their predecessors) would be pleased.
The few words we did speak made it clear to them that I was a person with access to a great deal of knowledge about the cult, "tech" wise and criminal. When the guy with the camera was about to shoot a picture, I would stop and give him a nice smile, then turn the sign so he could get the other side on a second shot. We did this a lot. Only one other person, a woman of obvious high status in the cult, perhaps in her thirties (and possibly a public) stopped to talk to me. She got out of her nicely maintained car and asked if I didn't have something better to do. I told her that their fearless leader had delayed a deposition that morning and as a result, no, I didn't have anything better to do. She left somewhat flustered.
The picket amounted to two slow walks against traffic to the end of the curb section (about half a mile) crossing over the road and walking back. It took about 20 minutes per circuit. I asked, but these were less cooperative clams than my local ones, and they wouldn't take a picture with my camera of me and my sign with the background of the Golden Era sign. The Golden Era sign/entrance is about in the middle of the section of the section with curbs.
I don't know how many people should have been outside that time of the day, but I saw only four or five, one of which might have been an RPF gardener. There seemed to be considerable effort to keep the people inside away from the fence. (They really should consider something less tacky to keep them in than the tangle of razor wire on one section of the fence.)
The two who stayed with me on the first pass both had the spiffy imitation sheriff uniforms. They were relieved on the second pass by a slightly older pair with much less impressive khaki uniforms (but probably higher rank). I was worried about the first guy with the camcorder and offered him some sunscreen (he refused). By half way around he was showing that bright pink color that people of northern european background get just before they collapse from too much sun. If he had not been replaced, I would have called it off after the first pass because I was getting worried about him. I think the intense pink flush shows in some of the pictures I took.
I lived 25 years in Tucson, Arizona, so I know how to deal with hot sun. My sign shaded me some. I had a hat, none of them did. I was not walking backwards and trying to burn through several rolls of film or holding a camcorder. The guy who took over the camera on the second pass was doing a serious job of sweating by the time we reached the starting point, but if his stat was number of pictures shot of a picketing wog, he was very upstat this week.
The curb did not run as far as the cult's property. Beyond that point (on the western end, river side of the road) you can see new construction which is where they are building some more studios with (likely) RPF labor. Walls and roofs are up so they had made considerable progress since the last time I saw it a year and a half ago, but any regular contractor would have had it finished long ago. There was little activity. I wondered if the Internet activities have cut into the cash flow so badly that they can't afford materials.
On my last pass by the Golden Era gate, an expensive car pulled up and made the left turn. Even though the windows were tinted, I could see the older guy in the passenger's seat give me the finger. Ah, the wonders of the reactive mind! It night have been the older zombie with Rinder driving, but I don't actually know.
Where the curbs began, the two I had with me broke off and headed back to the gate (I had only promised two passes). I considered making one more pass, but decided against it, since they seems a bit short on guards and the prospect of young pinkface being put back on video tape duty was not good.
I walked back to my car (quite a ways) enturbulating or amusing the folks who drove along the road. When I was most of the way back, I could hear helicopters, but I never saw any of them. Are invisible helicopters better than black ones? It was about 3:40 when I got back to the car. I tossed the sign into the boot (as the Brits would say) and drove back through Gold Base snapping a few last pictures. Strangely, nobody followed. I went out to the freeway and north to I 10.
The trip back was without interest and I was back at the hotel around 5:30. Grady had his computer plugged in, and had reported what I was up to about 4:30, to the considerable amusement of chatters worldwide. I signed on and gave a thumbnail sketch on the irc channel. Grady decided to eat in his room, so I joined him for a excellent filet minion dinner, salad, and a baked potato. Grady had scallops, pasta, and a salad (all paid for by the cult). After letting dinner settle I went for a swim in the pool, then spent some time working on the material for the morning.
About ten or ten thirty (Sergeant?) William Rahn called from the Hemet station of the Riverside Sheriff's department. The Gold Base clams were whining to them about me, and he was interested in my side of the story. Ah, the joys of dealing with people who have no problems searching for "Lisa McPherson" with a web browser or checking with the Clearwater police.
After getting my story, Deputy Rahn and I had an extended chat. He mentioned that over the years the cult property has accumulated quite a reputation for people being reported wildly running about on the roadway, or off into the desert by motorists passing through Gold Base. By the time they could get out there to check, nobody would be found, and no one would admit to knowing anything about such an incident. He mentioned that he was aware of the reports of people being confined there without me even asking. It was a constructive and useful conversation, and he passed along some solid advice which I will share with anyone who wants to picket Gold Base.
Two cult operatives (PIs possibly) came by that night about eleven and said they were looking for me. The desk clerk called my room without giving the room number, and when I answered the phone, the guy was silent, telling the desk clerk I was out. I called the desk clerk right back, and the hotel people tried to see who they were, but no luck, they had scurried away into the night. I told the desk to shut off the phone till morning and sacked out.
[The story of the deposition fits between this one and the story of shaking the PI tail. Sorry for the out of sequence chunking, but you can save it or wait for the compilation issue.]
Newman moved to <rnewman@the CIA.net>. The sheriff is not amused. Here is the story:
Cybercom was a small company, until recently run out of the founder's house. It benefitted from the surge in net membership, acquired an office and a staff. Perhaps it wasn't quite ready for the big time.
On Friday, May 9 at around 4 pm EDT Cybercom dropped off the net without warning or explanation. The telephone mailbox was quickly filled. Frustrated subscribers followed traceroute to MCI. The MCI trouble desk was deluged with calls; they had no idea what the problem was.
Ron Newman stopped by the office on Sunday but found no one in. He made a plaintive post on ne.internet.services:
"Does anyone know why cybercom.net has disappeared from the Internet? It hasn't been connected to MCI since some time Friday afternoon.
If anyone lives in the Porter Square area, could you try visiting them tomorrow at 2000 Mass. Ave. #4 in Cambridge, and see what's going on? Please post a report to this newsgroup."
Cybercom remained disconnected from the net until Wednesday, afternoon (May 14), when a slow and spotty service resumed through harvard.net. The mailbox was still full. Uncomplimentary threads developed at ne.internet.services.
One user remarked:
"Subject: Re: Martians have landed at cybercom.net
"I feel like I've returned from the ISP of the Dead... or some strange parallel universe. I could now actually see (for example) ziplink's web page from my Cybercom dial-up, but it was extremely slow, and the connection still wouldn't support a telnet session (outside of cybercom.net).
"To add to the strangeness, the shell kept freezing for extended periods (several minutes at a time), and the system clock seems to be 38 minutes off." [Art, from The Agitation Station, May 19]
Dale Smoak <email@example.com> had his own horror story: when he was a Cybercom customer a few years ago,
"I was already thinking that perhaps I was better off paying a bit more money to a metered provider whose service worked and who answered support mail, when Cybercom did something that convinced me they were simply too stupid to run an ISP: they installed a Web hits counting program on their system that installed files in my home directory and overwrote my home page! In other words, they installed something that overwrote my index.html page...
"Overwriting a user's files with a software installation...to me, that's remarkable evidence that you just don't know what the hell you are doing."
On Thursday morning, May 15 Newman attempted to log on. He discovered that his user name and password no longer worked. The mailbox was still full, so Newman went to the office but found it unoccupied. He stuffed a note under the door.
There was no response, so Newman paid another visit to the office the next day. To his dismay he discovered that the isp had deliberately removed his files. In a post to ne.internet.services on Saturday (May 17) Newman told the story:
"I visited Cybercom again yesterday morning (Friday, May 16), around 10:30 am.
"I asked what happened to my account and to my files. One of the people there, let's call him "A", told me that Cybercom had deleted them deliberately. He said that this happened because Cybercom did not appreciate my earlier message to ne.internet.services suggesting that people visit the office in person to enquire about last weekend's service outage. "A" said that Cybercom would not under any circumstances restore my files or account.
"I told "A" that I would not leave the office until my account and my files were restored. "A" threatened to call the police if I didn't leave, a threat which I ignored.
"Fortunately, the other person in the office, "S", was much more helpful, and had no idea that "A" had removed my account. She's a really nice person, and none of Cybercom's problems should be blamed on her. She quickly re-created my account, and got on the phone with the owner of cybercom who promised to restore my files from backup, so that I could download them to a safe place, preferably on my home computer.
"A few hours later, "S" told me that my files had been restored into a .tar.gz file, and that I should get it as soon as possible. I telnetted in (painfully, since cybercom.net is now hanging off the Internet by a few ISDN lines rather than a T1), and verified that the file was there."
But by the time Newman was ready to download the files, they were gone again, this time apparently for good. The missing files included some perl scripts, a patch to trn, the Good Net-Keeping Seal, unread email and other items for which the only backup was at cybercom.
On Friday, May 23 Ron Newman filed suit against cybercom. He wants his files back and his email forwarded, his web pages replaced by links to his new location, and compensation for his costs.
A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, May 27.
[For those curious about the mechanics as well as the politics, the reason Cybercom dropped off the net was that it lost its MCI T1 connection. It acquired a single ISDN line from HarvardNet as a temporary measure until the T1 connection it ordered from HarvardNet is installed. This normally takes three to four weeks. No one knows why Cybercom dropped MCI, or why the MCI T1 was disconnected before the HarvardNet T1 was in place.]
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