[ExI] keith in the news again

David C. Harris dharris234 at mindspring.com
Fri Jul 13 04:53:35 UTC 2007

The long version of the story:

  San Jose Mercury News (CA)


July 7, 2007
Section: Local
Edition: Morning Final
Page: 1B
   MIKE ZAPLER, MediaNews Sacramento Bureau
*Illustration:* Photo

*Caption:* PHOTO: Henson
64-year-old longtime computer consultant is a former Silicon Valley 

Former Palo Alto engineer *Keith Henson*'s decade-long battle with the 
Church of Scientology forced him into bankruptcy, sent him on the lam to 
Canada to seek political asylum, and recently landed him in a solitary 
jail cell in Riverside County.

Friday, he asked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to set him free.

His crusade ultimately led to a misdemeanor conviction and six-month 
jail sentence -- of which he has served about two months -- for 
interfering with the rights of others to practice their religion. 
Friday, his wife and daughter arrived in Sacramento after a two-day 
drive that started in Arizona, and delivered a petition to 
Schwarzenegger's office seeking a pardon, or short of that, a reduced 
sentence. ''People react in different ways to things,'' Henson's wife, 
Arel Lucas, said. ''Some people get angry, other people feel like 
walking away. He got angry.'' Since May, Henson -- described by his wife 
as a compassionate man with a boisterous laugh who ''likes to talk and 
project his thoughts about the future'' -- has sat in a solitary jail 
cell in Riverside County. Lucas said her husband's troubles are 
undeserved. He was only trying to protect people, she said, from what 
he's convinced is a corrupt organization. A 64-year-old longtime 
computer consultant, Henson has pursued many causes during his life, 
many outside the mainstream but all of them, family members say, with 
the intensity of a scientist on the brink of a big breakthrough. In the 
mid-'70s he helped found the L5 society that was dedicated to creating a 
space colony where Henson hoped to live someday. He has advocated 
cryonics, the practice of freezing people with diseases in the hopes of 
reviving them once a cure is found. Then Henson set his sights on 
Scientology. Scanning Internet news groups in the mid-1990s, he was 
drawn to a page critical of Scientology and quickly became convinced. 
With typical zeal, Henson set out to expose the religion, which some 
critics charge operates more like a cult, and things quickly escalated 
into a nasty, protracted battle. A Schwarzenegger spokesman declined to 
comment, other than to say the governor would give the petition the same 
careful consideration he does other such requests. Henson's troubles 
began when he posted on the Internet Scientology documents about its 
approach to medical treatment. The church, which closely guards its 
teachings, sued him for copyright infringement. In 1998, after a 
four-day trial before U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte, Henson was 
ordered to pay $75,000 to the Religious Technology Center, a wing of the 
Scientology organization. ''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. According to 
court documents, starting in May 2000 Henson staged daily protests for 
nearly two months straight outside Golden Era Productions, a Scientology 
facility in Riverside County that produces promotional materials. Police 
arrested him July 19 of that year, and prosecutors later alleged that he 
had threatened to bomb the building. He was charged with three 
misdemeanors, two for allegedly making or attempting to make terrorist 
threats, and one for allegedly interfering with another's right to 
exercise civil rights, namely to practice religion. According to his 
wife, Henson worked for an explosives company in the 1970s and has 
experience with pyrotechnics. And he once jokingly suggested online 
launching a ''Cruise missile'' at a Scientology building -- a reference 
to actor Tom Cruise, an active church member. But that's a far cry, she 
said, from being a terrorist. ''He never had access to weapons of mass 
destruction or had the ability to launch them,'' she said. ''He's not 
some kind of bomb-throwing, threatening person. He never threatened 
anyone.'' The jury hung on the two terrorist charges but convicted 
Henson of interfering with religion, a misdemeanor. But shortly before 
his sentencing date in 2001, when he was expecting to be sent to jail 
for six months, Henson bolted for Canada. According to his wife, he 
feared that Scientologists would harm him in jail, and so he accepted an 
invitation from a Canadian friend. Barely a month later, shopping at a 
suburban Toronto mall, Henson was surrounded by a police SWAT team and 
arrested, his wife said, for failing to disclose his criminal status 
when he crossed the border. After five days in a high-security jail, he 
was released. The reason: Henson had applied for political asylum, 
claiming that if forced to return to the United States, he faced injury 
or even death at the hands of Scientologists. Henson's petition for 
refugee status languished in the Canadian court system for more than 
four years -- a period he spent working for several computer firms and 
continuing to picket Scientology facilities -- before being denied in 
mid-2005. Knowing he would soon be deported, he slipped quietly back 
into the United States and stayed with friends for a year before winding 
up in Prescott, Ariz., in September. Henson spent the next five months 
writing, researching, working on his house and -- perhaps not 
surprisingly -- posting critiques of Scientology on the Web. He made his 
writings look as if they were coming from a computer in Canada. But 
Henson wouldn't manage to sidestep the law much longer. In February, he 
was arrested by undercover officers in Prescott -- he believes 
Scientologists hired investigators to track him down -- and later was 
deported to California to begin the jail sentence he had avoided for so 
long. Will Henson continue the fight after his jail term? Moments after 
leaving the state Capitol on Friday, clutching letters from supporters 
in her hand, Lucas said she doubts her husband's crusade will resume 
anytime soon. ''His lawyer thinks he's going to have to cool it.''

A brief description of the Church of Scientology. A religious group 
founded by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard and based on his book 
''Dianetics,'' published in 1950. Scientologists believe that the 
individual is first and foremost a spirit, or thetan, and that thetans 
can be cleared of negative energy through a process called auditing. The 
spiritual counselors who provide this service are called auditors. In 
part because members are charged fees to receive auditing, Scientology's 
tenets have been challenged and its practices investigated by 
governmental agencies around the world. The Church of Scientology's 
non-profit status in the United States was the subject of legal 
wrangling for many years, but currently the Internal Revenue Service 
accepts the church's tax-exempt status. Source: Religionlink

spike wrote:
> This is a shortened version, perhaps 20% of the text that was in Saturday's
> dead trees version of the Merc.  I don't know where to find a full text
> online version of that article.  I didn't get today's (Sunday's) paper.
> Lets see if the governator will terminate Keith's sentence or grant a
> paaahdon.
> spike
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-
>> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Joseph Bloch
>> Sent: Sunday, July 08, 2007 6:25 PM
>> To: 'ExI chat list'
>> Subject: Re: [ExI] keith in the news again
>> There's a relatively brief story from the Saturday paper here:
>> http://www.mercurynews.com/search/ci_6322465
>> (I'm guessing the longer article from the Sunday paper will be available
>> on
>> the web tomorrow.)
>> Joseph
>> http://www.josephbloch.com
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-
>>> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of spike
>>> Sent: Sunday, July 08, 2007 2:28 AM
>>> To: 'ExI chat list'
>>> Subject: [ExI] keith in the news again
>>> There is a long article about Keith in today's San Jose Merky News.
>> Unlike
>>> his Palo Alto treatment, this one is relatively fair and balanced.  It
>> is
>>> about his efforts to get a pardon from Aaaahnold.  Lets hope for the
>> best
>> on
>>> that.
>>> spike

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20070712/1a11a448/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list