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Scientology Critic Arrested After 6 Years 1046

destinyland writes "Friday police arrested 64-year-old Keith Henson. In 2000 after picketing a Scientology complex, he was arrested as a threat because of a joke Usenet post about "Tom Cruise Missiles." He fled to Canada after being found guilty of "interfering" with a religion, and spent the next 6 years living as a fugitive. Besides being a digital encryption and free speech advocate, he's one of the original Burr-Brown/Texas Instruments researchers and a co-founder of the Space Colony movement."
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Scientology Critic Arrested After 6 Years

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  • Previous Discussion (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lev13than ( 581686 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @12:43PM (#17890836) Homepage
    Here's a vintage /. discussion from 2001 [slashdot.org] that discusses Hanson's escape to Canada.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @12:45PM (#17890860)

    Up to date information on thecult of Scientology [rickross.com] or its offshoot cult The Landmark Forum [rickross.com]

  • Hail Xenu!!! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:02PM (#17891134)

    So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing [sic] our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!
    -- Trey Parker and Matt Stone (creators of SouthPark)
  • Re:Scary (Score:3, Informative)

    by Reality Master 101 ( 179095 ) <RealityMaster101 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:02PM (#17891150) Homepage Journal

    Have we in the Western world become so enamored by political correctness that we cannot even take a joke for what it is?

    He wasn't sent to jail for the joke. If you look at the original conviction article [wired.com], he was engaging in a lot of physical stalking behavior. I have to say, if someone was following me around -- physically -- and making "jokes" about violence on the Internet, and was a known hater of my religion, I'd want his ass to be in jail, too.

    Just because they're wacky scientologists doesn't mean they open game for stalkers with axes to grind (so to speak).

  • by Intron ( 870560 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:03PM (#17891164)
    California hate crime [la.ca.us] law from the DA's office. ... threatening to use force to injure, intimidate, or interfere with another person who is exercising his or her constitutional rights.
  • Re:All we need now (Score:1, Informative)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:05PM (#17891180) Homepage Journal

    s/we are all born atheists/we are all born agnostics/
    Fixed it for you

    That's wrong. No child wonders about a god or gods unless the parents indoctrinate them into a cult in the first place.

    But your first point was right - atheism is a religion :)

    Funny you mention that. See my sig.
  • Re:Scary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:08PM (#17891248) Homepage Journal
    I've read about his case, and from that I'd say the 'stalking' material would be his picketing their compound. Complete with big-ass sign.

    Going by the standards that it takes to get abortion protestors arrested, there's something fishy about the case.
  • by operagost ( 62405 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:12PM (#17891326) Homepage Journal

    Think about it, christianity says you must to X, Y and Z to get into heaven.
    Actually, no. Just "X", which is John 14:6.
  • by bad_fx ( 493443 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:18PM (#17891442) Journal
    Here's all the info you need on Scientology [xenu.net]
  • by AndroidCat ( 229562 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:20PM (#17891466) Homepage

    They're pretty big of illegally attacking critics too. Check Operation Freakout [wikipedia.org] where they fabricated evidence that "Paulette Cooper was guilty of issuing bomb threats against the Church, Henry Kissinger, Arab nations, and a laundromat. The seized documents were used to prosecute and convict Scientology officials in 1979."

    Fabricated bomb threats... Sounds kind of familiar...
  • by Zephyros ( 966835 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:21PM (#17891484)
    I know you're posting with tongue firmly in cheek, but there is at least one. I can't remember where I first saw it, but here's their website: The Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn. [osogd.org]
  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:23PM (#17891508) Homepage Journal
    What I would like to know is how this discussion [google.com] violates that law. I don't see anything remotely threatening, just a few people having fun talking about a non-existant 'Agent 99' and their fictitious (and humorous!) exploits.

    If you can arrested for this, it makes me wonder how many /.ers have been arrested?
  • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:32PM (#17891680)
    If you look at the original Slashdot article from the time of his conviction (linked in one of the comments here), reportedly he was not allowed to use the context of his quotes in his defense. So all the jury saw were a couple of snippets the Scientologists picked out. He probably ruined his case by going on the run, as I can't believe that a higher court would not have overturned the decision on appeal.
  • Re:I don't get it? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:46PM (#17891968)
    If that so-called "mosque" was allegedly responsible for the deaths of several of their members [whyaretheydead.net], then yes, I would say you were justified in picketing.

    He was picketing because of the death of Lisa McPherson [lisamcpherson.org]. But you know that and now so do those who choose to read the links.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:47PM (#17891976) Homepage

    "religions that are clearly made up. ..." the same cannot be said of any other religion from Christianity to Taoism to neo-paganism."

    Most, if not all, religions are "made up". In some cases, we know when and by whom. Christian Science was made up by Mary Baker Eddy in 1866. Mormonism was made up by Joseph Smith in 1830. Islam was made up by Mohammed around 610. Christianity was more of a group project; most modern doctrine comes from a committee meeting [wikipedia.org] in 325. In 431, there was a another meeting for a feature upgrade [wikipedia.org], and the Virgin Mary was added.

  • by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Monday February 05, 2007 @02:00PM (#17892224) Journal
    You do not know or understand the history of Christianity. There were a series of meetings, known as the Ecumenical Councils [wikipedia.org], that defined what Christianity is, what it believs and professes, and what it considers heretical. The important ones occuring between 325AD and 1123AD and resolved such questions as whether Jesus was entirely Divine, entirely human, human and divine parts seperated, or human and divine parts united.

    Allmost all Western Christian denominations, as well as Eastern Orthodox accept the decisions of councils 1-7. Catholics, protestants, all of them. That is the Christian party line. Oriental Orthodox churches only accept 1-3; Assyrian Christianity accepts 1-2; Mormonism, Jehova's Witnesses, Unitarians and a few other fringe groups don't accept any of the council's decisions.
  • by paitre ( 32242 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @02:00PM (#17892230) Journal
    Actually, he's pretty much correct, sad to say.

    How many Christian sects -don't- believe in the Nicean Trinity? Think long and hard about that, because I understand that there's only -1-, they're routinely vilified along with the average 'Christian' declaring that they can't possibly be Christian because of it.

    So yes, adherence to the Nicean Creed IS, in fact, pretty much used as a 'definition' to determine who is, and is not, a "real" Christian, whether you like it or not.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @02:02PM (#17892266)
    thats what good lawyers are for. any good lawyer could have brought the context in on direct. something like : so what did you mean when you wrote xxx ?
    See United States v. Sutton, 801 F.2d 1346, 1369 (D.C. Cir. 1986) (court has discretion to require counsel seeking admission of evidence under Rule 106 "to point to specific passages of the transcript that ought to have been admitted to avert the distorting effect of the portions already introduced by the government").

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @02:06PM (#17892332) Homepage
    The Nicene Council [wikipedia.org] is what you are referring to, and they defined what it is to be a Catholic [wikipedia.org] (which meant "universal" about 1.5 to 2 thousand years ago) and it is based solely on the Old and New Testaments. Even more to the point, it defined the old and new testaments. Today, the Nicene Council's decisions are no longer considered universal, and most Christians do not call themselves "Catholics."

    John 3:16 is far more universal than the Nicene Creed, or the concept of the Holy Trinity.
  • As far as the Romans were concerned, there was no difference between the regular Jews and the followers of Jesus, who were all Jewish. Christianity was also orginally recognized as a sect of Judaism, it wasn't until sometime after the fact that Christians actually started being refered to as Christians.

  • by Jaxoreth ( 208176 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @02:09PM (#17892400)

    Landmark is part of Scientology?!?
    Quite the contrary -- Werner Erhard (whose employees founded Landmark) is on Scientology's 'suppressive person' shitlist.

  • Re:Scary (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hubbell ( 850646 ) <brianhubbellii@l ... m minus math_god> on Monday February 05, 2007 @02:11PM (#17892432)
    The pope was QUOTING a bynzantine emperor from back in the day while talking about the need to strengthen relations with muslims.
  • Flamebait? Apparently the mods have never actually lived in the bible belt.

    Unfortunately, the parent poster isn't kidding. These are the same people that scream that because the teachers in a public school aren't allowed to force students to pray that the students aren't allowed to pray (which isn't true. They can pray all they like. They just can't be forced to do it) and go "la la la I can't hear you" when they are told what I just put in parentheses.

    They're also the same people that scream that, if everyone in the community isn't Christain, that it's just plain wrong and unholy. They act like the beliefs that someone else holds affects *them* on a personal level and that nobody should be able to believe differently than they do.

    Sounds crazy, I know, but there are people out there like that. For some reason, a lot of them have a persecution complex because they aren't allowed to force their beliefs on everyone else. Trust me on that one - as someone who is "not a member of the fold" (I'm Taoist), I've often been on the receiving end of tirades that I am what is wrong with the world.

    Some portions of them may be in the minority insofar that they think others should be exactly like them, but it's a really *really* vocal minority.
  • How they recruit (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @02:36PM (#17892860)
    One of scientology's primary recruiting tricks involves
    the use of a fairly old hyponosis trick called regression.
    (They call it 'auditing'). See Franz Anton Mesmer

    People with very serious emotional issues will often get enough relief
    to be convinced that scientology is some kind of miracle and
    out comes the checkbook.

    Many religions, emotional 'technologies', etc, use these tricks
    and very often claim they are new or groundbreaking. Nah. Same
    shit different bag.

    Anyone can learn to do this themselves and should avoid those who
    wrap it in other packages (and there are many out there).

  • by KenSeymour ( 81018 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @02:39PM (#17892902)
    I read in TFM that he was tried and convicted based on his picketing activities outside a Scientology film studio. Since then, I have not been able to get to TFM.

    You can read about it here [wikipedia.org].

    So he was not arrested for that usenet discussion. He has been sued in civil court
    for publishing Scientology documents. He defended himself and lost, to the tune
    of $75,000. He then declared bankruptcy. At that time, he started repeatedly picketing
    a Scientology film studio.

    When he was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail (for the picketing),
    he chose to flee to Canada because he believed that Scientologists would have him
    killed in prison.

    He applied for political asylum in Canada. After three years, Canada asked him
    to appear in person to hear what the decision was. Fearing deportation, he packed up
    and left Canada the night before.

    So no, usenet posting, in this case, did not get him arrested.
  • by a_karbon_devel_005 ( 733886 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @02:42PM (#17892976)
    This is the most telling part of the article I think:

    Last week, Henson unsuccessfully asked the judge to dismiss the prosecutor's case because the government showed bias by not investigating the deaths of Ashlee Shaner and Stacy Meyer. Both women died at the Golden Era Productions location.

    Two women DIE in a Scientology facility and it's not even INVESTIGATED, while the man who is trying to get prosecutors to look at the case winds up convicted.

    Odd? No, it's Scientology's usual MO. If you don't think so you've NEVER done any real research on the group.
  • Re:hm (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @03:01PM (#17893316)
    Man, If you think that the Roman Catolic Church does not influence goverments, is because you don't live in Latin America. Here in Chile they influence the goverment as much as they can (they influence the conservative sectors), For example, in Chile even the therapeutic abortion (when the mother's integrity is at risk) is illegal, and we owe it to the influence of the catolic church in some political forces. They have also tried (but failed) to impede emergency contraceptives and divorce [sorry about my english]
  • Typo (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @03:09PM (#17893426)
    He fled to Canada after being found guilty of "interfering" with a religion...

    Should read:
    He fled to Canada after being found guilty of interfering with a "religion"...
  • by Skreems ( 598317 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @03:12PM (#17893460) Homepage

    he chose to flee to Canada because he believed that Scientologists would have him killed in prison.
    Given some of their other exploits [wikipedia.org], I can't say that's completely unfounded...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @03:38PM (#17893848)
    whats sad is that the 'eternal torment of hell' doctrine is man made, and not of the bible. yet another evidence of satan at work, continually substituting his personality for that of the the Lords.

    if you actually study the word, its clear that 'hell' is the grave. death. the lack of life. its translated (in the OT) from Sheol (which literally means 'the grave'). it is translated 30 times as 'hell' and 31 times as 'the grave', because thats what it is. those that turn their backs on the giver of life will recieve death eternal, never to live again.

    being dead is quite a ways away from being tortured for eternity.

    psalms 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

    ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

    isnt it funny? the athiests have been telling the "christians" this all along.

    the 'immortal soul' doctrine is straight from satan himself. he wants you to believe when you die, you go someplace else. that makes it easy for him to masquerade as a deceased love one to promise you that you can continue doing evil and still have a joyous afterlife. (he posed as a snake in the garden, as the king of tyre in Ezekiel 28, and as an angel of light while temping Christ in the wilderness, and he still, to this day, assumes different forms (hebrews 13:2)

    if you look at 1 corinthians 15:51-52, its clear that at the last day, the dead (some of them, at least-Thessalonians 4:16) will be resurrected-- but wait-- if the dead are already in heaven or hell, why do they climb back INTO their graves to be resurrected at the last day?

    those who go around preaching hell fire are unwittingly satans tools in deception, they have been deceived, and are deceiving others to fall into a trap with them. destroyed for their lack of knowledge. let him who seeks eternal life seek it to the fullest of his heart, and the way will be shown to him.

    next time someone comes preaching hellfire to your door, get them to read 1 john 2:3,4.

    until they realize the blatant fact in those two verses, they are those spoken of by the Lord in Matthew 7:1-5
  • Re:Scary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @03:44PM (#17893952) Homepage Journal
    As others have stated, there's numerous questions about what just went on, the judge squashing the defense, for example, not allowing the rest of the transcript of the conversation involving the missile to be presented.

    Imagine an organization that has no problems lying to authorities, as a group, rehearsing their stories, etc...

    I use abortion protestors as an example because they're frequently the worst behaved protestors out there and have been known to descend into violence.

    In order to match them he'd have to do more than some yelling and handing out pamphlets. Even if he did follow some members home, it's still not to the level that abortion protestors will go to. Heck include PETA in that list of out of control protestors that don't get anything near this level of punishment. They've been known to set up in front of people's houses.
  • by GuyverDH ( 232921 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @04:38PM (#17894698)
    Never has been, never will be.

    I still have the original print of the book, where L. Ron Hubbard himself clearly states that he did not consider it to be a religion, nor did he intend to allow it to become a religion. Gee, did he actually die of normal causes? Or was there some other more sinister event?
  • Re:Friday police (Score:2, Informative)

    by tsstahl ( 812393 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @04:46PM (#17894836)
    Completely unrelated, but anyway...In a previous life, the "Friday Police" was a term applied to part time officers who were called in for carnivals, traffic, , and the like. Most could not carry firearms for lack of proper training and certification.
  • by Blappo ( 976408 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @04:49PM (#17894886) Journal
    As such, accepting Jesus as your personal savior is not enough for the Christian party line. You have to believe that he is three in one, that he is both fully human and fully divine, or else you're a heretic, and you're going to hell.

    Or you could be a Protestant, in which case everything you said there is wrong.

    Please refrain from discussing something when you have no fucking idea what you're talking about, you'll avoid saying something stupid and wrong like you did there.
  • Re:Scary (Score:4, Informative)

    by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @04:49PM (#17894890) Homepage

    In the seventh conversation... the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion" ... Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness that we find unacceptable, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."
    The Pope's a professor at heart. He's talking to a bunch of students at a university. He's giving a lecture on Christian-Muslim relations. Historical context is exceedingly relevant, and this brings us to the heart of the matter. And the Pope criticizes the emperor's statement in the very sentence that he quotes it and he still gets flack. Hey, I'll take a rational criticism of the Catholic Church any day of the week, but this is just Pope-hating mixed with spin mixed with the ill-informed.
  • Re:Scary (Score:3, Informative)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <.moc.cam. .ta. .rcj.> on Monday February 05, 2007 @06:15PM (#17896248) Journal
    So, what's his defense for stalking?

    Gee, when did you stop beating your wife?

    Keith wasn't stalking anyone. He was picketing outside the Scientology compound in Hemet, California. The clams pulled out all the stops to shut him up, including lying in court. Keith wasn't allowed to even mention that the clams are trained in how to lie convincingly. Read and learn. [operatingthetan.com]


  • by Durandal64 ( 658649 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @06:33PM (#17896584)

    True, but it should be exactly the opposite. The state should take no particular position on the issue as long as all parties are consenting adults. One man, one woman. Two men. Three of one and two of the other. Whatever. You don't have to like it, I don't have to like it, but as long as they are all happy with it, it ain't none of my business. Or yours. Or the state's. And I don't expect any particular church to condone it.
    It's not that simple. Two men getting married isn't anything I'm concerned about. But legal polygamy opens up a whole slew of tax issues. Some guy marrying 3 women could get a disproportionate amount of tax breaks, especially if some of his wives don't work. It's a system just begging to be abused unless, for tax purposes, you are only allowed to declare one spouse. And really, a polygamy system would invariably require the specification of "primaries" for the purposes of inheritance and legal rights over whether to pull the plug if one person is in a vegetable, etc ... So if you're going to specify a primary for that, why not for your taxes too?

    Quite simply, the conjoining of incomes for tax purposes and the assignment of benefits should be an automatic, simple, and painless event. It is not the state's place to say "Ewww", or "But God says...". It is the state's place to serve its citizens.
    I don't disagree. But the government would have to have a very strict set of checks in place to make sure polygamy isn't abused.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 05, 2007 @06:39PM (#17896670)
    What Keith did first was mock Scientology by showing copies of their hidden religious texts. The Church of Scientology then bankrupted him by suing him for copyright infringement. Keith then took to picketing CoS buildings, and I believe this picketing is what got him arrested for 'interfering with a religion'. Usenet posts were used as 'evidence' that he planned violence against the church.

    The Church of Scientology does have a long history of brutal lawsuits against individuals defaming it, and repeatedly uses copyright law to persecute people who make their religious texts publicly available. I find this baffling- any other religious group wants as many people as possible reading their books. You probably know more about your religion than I do, but I encourage you to find out more about your Church through (non-offical) sources. Look up some of the controversy about Scientology on Wikipedia.
  • Buddhism and War (Score:4, Informative)

    by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:25PM (#17897426)
    Offhand the only major religion that doesn't condemn anyone or anything is Buddism.

    Actually, militant Zen Buddhism [racematters.org] was a unifying force in WWII Japan. Much like promises of eternal reward after death helps assuage fears for believers in Judeo-Christian teachings, the beliefs in impermanence and reincarnation assuage the fears of death for Buddhists. Soto Zen has also been criticized for racial discrimination [thezensite.com] [PDF] in the treatment of the former Japanese lower caste members. You can read a long list of essays about Buddhism going wrong (particularly Japanese Buddhism) here. [thezensite.com]

    Then, of course, there was the White Lotus Revolution which overthrew the Mongol Yuan dynasty and established the Ming dynasty. That was basically a Buddhist nationalist secret society. The ethnic struggles in Sri Lanka are between the Buddhist Sinhalese and the Hindu Tamils, so Buddhists aren't all innocent either.

    The problem is not the religion -- it's the people that practice it.
  • Christian Left (Score:3, Informative)

    by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @07:48PM (#17897734)
    Years ago, the Christian Right had to go through pretty extreme lengths to enforce their will (for example, in the 1920s the prohibition of alchohol needed to explicity constitutional amendment to be enacted), since the role of the federal government was so limited.

    That was the Christian Left -- the same radical religious movement that gave birth to unions, trust-busting, and women's lib in America. It was the Secular Right that fought against it mostly. The Temperance movement was very closely tied into the women's rights movement (as drunkenness was blamed for domestic abuse). It's no coincidence that the 18th & 19th Amendments were passed so closely together. It was a major part of the Progressive movement. [wikipedia.org]

    It was mostly secular conservatives that opposed Prohibition in its early days. Progressivism and its related policies were very strongly tied to religious fundamentalism back in the day. The tie between fundamentalism and right-wing politics is a function of the latter half of the 21st century and fear of communism.
  • by PerlDiver ( 17534 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @08:25PM (#17898228) Homepage
    Donations to assist Keith's defense can be made here [extropy.org].

    Please mod this up to make it more visible (or better yet, can it be edited into the main article, Hemos? Thanks)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @12:30AM (#17900310)
    Re the "tax-free status." Do a little home work on HOW Scientology got its tax exempt status. (This article doesn't mention if the then President and John Travolta spent time together.)

    You are in for a surprise.

    http://www.lisamcpherson.org/irs/jeff-irs.htm [lisamcpherson.org]

    And while you're at it, acquaint yourself with Lisa McPherson.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @12:34AM (#17900332)
    No, the punch line was "straight shooter", which means that he is truthful. That has nothing to do with sexual orientation.
  • Re:Scary (Score:3, Informative)

    by powerlinekid ( 442532 ) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @01:12AM (#17900600)
    Actually, Fishkill is the town a few minutes down the road from where I live. The name is actually dutch and means "Fish Creek". In this area we also have Wallkill and Catskill (most people have heard of this one). A lot of us laughed when they pulled that crap about the name. I can assure you the town and its co-town East Fishkill (where IBM makes its chips such as the Cell or the old Apple power PCs) have not changed.

Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous