**Biased Journalism** : a net magazine designed to compensate for
the shortcomings of the professional news media.
Copyright 1996 Shelley Thomson; all rights reserved.
Mail, articles and comment may be directed to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Netiquette will be observed with all communication, except for the
following: harassing or threatening mail will be posted to the
**Biased Journalism** Volume 2, issue 10 May 14, 1996.
Contents: NOTS Bombshell; Henson Deposition; Mike Godwin (EFF)
interview; Georgia Chops Anonymous Posters; Rodent Report (a
gossip column); Flame of the Week.
Read at your own risk. This is **Biased Journalism**!
1. Bad Day at Cult Rock
Readers of alt.religion.scientology were astonished to notice a
large collection of alleged secret, copyrighted and trade
secret protected documents of the church of scientology posted
anonymously over the weekend of May 5 . An expert source
known to **Biased Journalism** verified the documents as
The posts were quickly expunged by forged cancellations, only
to be posted again by different means. The anonymous remailer
originally used, hactic.nl.net, has closed. Netizens are
currently being treated to the spectacle of the cancelbunny
pursuing NOTS all over the net.
At a cursory inspection, the documents are unexciting. They
appear to consist largely of lists of auditing errors and
instructions for repair. They involve statements of the type
"hit an implant that said [reader's choice of improbable
statement]" or "a BT or a cluster tried to blow but hit
[reader's choice of solid object]." There are some mildly
interesting digressions, but by and large the only reason these
documents have received any public notice is the bizarre
behavior of the church.
The publication of NOTS on the net would seem to threaten, if
not expunge, their claim to trade secret status. We understand
that the question of whether publication on the net constitutes
publication, as in a public revelation of hithterto secret
information, will be argued before Judge Whyte in May.
Meanwhile Grady Ward has already asked that his Temporary
Restraining Order be vacated, on the grounds that the
publication of NOTS renders the order moot. Keith Henson is
widely expected to follow suit.
2. The Perilous Seat: Henson Deposition
The full transcript of the May 8 deposition is a very long
file. The following is a commented and condensed version. We
ask forgiveness for any errors which may occur. We hope the
following will convey the flavor of the proceedings. The full
transcript can be seen at
Keith Henson's deposition was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in
the eleventh floor office of Thomas Hogan, in San Jose. Our
observer arrived to find netizen Grady Ward already installed
in a small conference room with a glass wall. Eric Lieberman,
counsel for the 'Religious' 'Technology' Center, was there too.
We introduced ourselves and Mr. Lieberman promptly informed us
that no journalists would be allowed in the deposition. Ward
remarked diffidently that Magistrate Judge Infante could be
asked to make the decision; we asked for his telephone number
and to our surprise the RTC attorneys refused to give it to us.
Then Keith Henson arrived, wearing a bright yellow t shirt with
"SAVE a.r.s." on the front and a large red "SP" on the back. He
declared that we were his person of choice--- his witness as
explicitly permitted by Judge Whyte--- and unless we were allowed
to attend he would not proceed with the deposition.
The RTC lawyers fixed us with the Death Stare and scurried off
to confer. Warren McShane [president of RTC] went with them.
The huddle didn't take long at all. The attorneys decided to
proceed. Tom Hogan introduced himself, shook our hand, and
found us a comfortable chair. (Hogan wore the same gray
pinstripe suit that reminded us in a previous hearing of a
passage from Alice in Wonderland. This time he had a bright tie
with a floral motif that would not have looked out of place in
Alice. It had a faintly psychedelic air: 'I'm a lawyer,' it
seemed to say,'but I like to do wild, crazy things away from
The deposition room was small, perhaps 12' x 15'. It housed a
rectangular conference table in dark oak sparingly inlaid with
light oak and a number of chairs. The table was designed to
seat eight. At one end there was a large black video camera on
a studio swivel mount and a technician from the taping company.
At the other end was a red plush armchair. Keith Henson sat
down in it, folding his hands over a copy of Playboy Magazine.
RTC attorneys Hogan, Lieberman and Kobrin arranged themselves
along the left side of the table; the right side was occupied
by the court reporter, Grady Ward and the observer.
There was a reason for this arrangement. Henson had announced
his intention to have Grady Ward present at the deposition. On
Tuesday afternoon he received notice that the plaintiffs were
opposed. Henson spent Tuesday afternoon arguing the matter with
Judge Infante, and received permission for Ward to be present
as long as Ward and Henson did not confer during the
deposition. [This requirement was scrupulously observed.] Ward
brought his laptop and sound recording equipment. He planned to
convert the Henson deposition into an audio file so that it
could be posted to the net.
A bodyguard watched the conference room alertly. He was
aapparently attached to Warren McShane, and followed McShane
around throughout the day. He wore black pants and a white
shirt, no jacket. By his feet there was piece of luggage the
size of an airport carry- on. [The observer wondered what was
in it. A change of clothes for McShane? A cellular telephone?
The deposition was conducted by Eric Lieberman, a big, blocky
man with glasses. We compared it with the previous deposition
of Grady Ward by Tom Hogan. Lieberman's style was relaxed. He
made no obvious attempt to intimidate or overawe Henson.
Earlier in the day he had taken great pains to make sure that
the microphone clip would not crush his blue paisley silk tie.
Looking at his beautifully tailored dark navy suit, we wondered
whether Lieberman was the kind of man who bought $200 ties and
wore them *once*.
Henson upstaged Lieberman at the outset by insisting that
Warren McShane, seated in a back corner, be identified for the
record. Then Lieberman began by asking whether Henson had been
deposed before (he had) and reviewing the procedure.
I understand that I can ask myself questions and introduce
exhibits, Henson stated. Lieberman remarks that he has only
seen this in comedies. "Well, that's a good desription of what
we're doing--- " Henson begins, and Lieberman quickly cuts him
off. "Mr. Henson, one thing you're going to have to do is wait
until I finish. You should understand that right now. If there
are statements you wish to make at the end of my questioning,
you may make them provided that they are pertinent to the
proceedings. I then get the opportunity to further
cross-examine you about those. Okay."
Consulting a binder and a stack of prepared notes, Lieberman
grills Henson about his educational background and work
history. Henson admits to an engineering degree, employment in
hardware and software consulting, a divorce, four children and
"Are you a regular participant in newsgroups on the Internet?"
Yes. "For how long?" Maybe eight years. "Which newsgroups?"
Henson reels off a list of groups: space, libertarian, EFF,
cypherpunks, nanotech, cryonics... (he goes on for a bit)
Lieberman: alt.religion scientology?
Lieberman asks if Henson spends a fair amount of time each week
on the Internet. "Far less time there than most people spend
watching television," Henson retorts. He estimates he invests
perhaps 45 minutes per day; less in recent times. [he has had
to devote time to the lawsuit]
When did Henson first post to ars? Henson tries to remember and
guesses his first post as around January 10-11, 1995. Full
archives are maintained by several people: if you really care
about this you can probably find out just by posting this as a
question on the newsgroup.
Lieberman is not looking for helpful suggestions about how he
can do his job. He presses on, and it is established that what
got Henson involved in alt.religion.scientology was the rmgroup
Much could be said about this message, and was, later on; but
Lieberman switches directions, asking Henson if he had been
involved in lawsuits before. It transpires that Henson had once
sued the FBI, and had also participated in the ECPA case
against the County of Riverside.
"Were you pro per in the FBI lawsuit?" Lieberman wants to know.
Yes, Henson says. "And in Riverside?" No, in that case Henson
was represented by Chris Ashworth. Lieberman remarks that the
FBI suit was dismissed. Henson replies, yes, but the responses
were extremely helpful in the ECPA case. [Apparently the FBI
was sued to extract information needed for the ECPA suit
[We surmised that Lieberman was collecting information related
to Henson's experience as a litigant. Perhaps the church will
later argue that Judge Whyte should not be forgiving of any
procedural errors committed by Henson.]
Next, Lieberman asks Henson whether he had any prior knowledge
of the church of scientology. Henson replies that he only knew
what anyone might know from casual reading; he had never been a
member of the church of scientology or participated in
services. Under questioning, Henson admits that he might have
read some science fiction by L. Ron Hubbard, and still owns a
vintage Hubbard novel dating from the 1940's or 50's.
Dissatisfied, Lieberman wants to know if Henson read anything
by Hubbard about scientology (before getting involved in ars).
No, Henson says cheerfully.
[Helena Kobrin leans over to whisper in Lieberman's ear. She is
wearing a red jacket, charcoal gray blouse and checkered skirt.
She looks sad, and studiously avoids eye contact with the
netizens. In this deposition she is apparently acting merely as
Lieberman shuffles papers for a moment, consults his binder,
and hands Henson a document. [Plaintiff's Exhibit #1.]
Lieberman: Just take a look at that. I'm just going to ask you
to identify it if you can.
"This looks like something that I produced," Henson affirms.
"Is this a copy of the complaint that you filed against the
FBI?" Lieberman inquires. Henson says that it seems to be. He
is asked whether he drafted the complaint himself, and he says
that he did.
Henson is then asked to identify Thomas Donaldson and Roger
Gregory; the question apparently relates to the FBI lawsuit.
Henson describes Donaldson as a mathematician and Gregory as
the author of a hypertext program. Lieberman asks whether they
were also involved in the ECPA v. Riverside suit [it is obvious
that he already knows this answer]. Henson says he believes
Lieberman returns to a previous question. Can't Henson recall
exactly when he first started posting to a.r.s.? Again Henson
says he cannot. He thinks it was in mid-January of 1995.
Lieberman produces a document. [Exhibit no. 2] Tilting his head
as though he has a little trouble reading the print (a
mannerism that says "I'm harmless"), he announces that it is a
post to a.r.s. from hkhenson with a subject line: Writ of
Seizure Against Erlich; dated 21 Feb 1995. He hands Henson a
copy; Henson examines it doubtfully.
Lieberman: Do you recognize this posting, sir?
(Henson frowns thoughtfully at the document.)
Henson: "It looks like something that I probably put out, but I
certainly couldn't tell you for sure.
Lieberman (being very reasonable): It does have your name on
Henson: Yes, it does have my name on it, but that's no problem.
I can put anybody's name on something.
Lieberman: There's nothing on the face of this document that
suggests that it's anything other than something that -- copy
of something you posted, is it?
Henson: I can't tell. I posted thousands -- about 1,200 of
these things. I can't tell whether this is something I posted
or not. [He remebers it is consistent with some things he
recalls doing at the time.] This is is a list of stuff that
was found in the paperwork that was filed in the Erlich case,
and I will definitely admit to having gone down to the
courthouse, copied a bunch of that paperwork and typed some of
it in. Whether this is the one that I did or not is anybody's
Lieberman: Well, it does have your name on it and it was posted
to a.r.s.; is that right?
Henson: That's what it says on the face of it, but whether it
means that or not, there's no way I could tell.
Lieberman: You have no memory whatsoever of whether or not you
posted this; is that your -- is that your statement?
Henson: I don't know whether this is the actual thing that I
posted or not.
Lieberman: When I first showed this to you you said, "Oh, yes,"
did you not?
Henson: Oh, I was referring to the date on it as to that, and
it's consistent with the dates that would have been involved.
Lieberman : When you said, "Oh, yes," did that suggest some
recognition of you that you'd seen this document before, sir?
Henson: This particular one?
Henson: I don't know.
Lieberman: Why did you say, "Oh, yes"?
Henson: Because I was referring to the date on it. Because we'd
just been talking about when it was that I first posted to
Lieberman reads a choice statement from the post: "I sort of
got the impression that the judge was in over his head." He
spends a few minutes trying to make Henson identify with these
words and/or claim authorship of the post. Henson settles into
a groove: if it actually is his post he might have had similar
thoughts at the time; he has no way to tell whether the
document in his hands is actually his post.
Lieberman: do you remember posting a list of seized items to
Henson: yes, and this might be that post, but I couldn't swear
[A little color has come into Lieberman's face. In a subtle way
he exudes anger. The issue being debated is important. Our
observer is informed, and on that basis believes, that Internet
postings do not qualify as evidence under federal rules. They
must be authenticated by an author before they can be used as
evidence. Henson has just refused to claim authorship of a post
merely because it bears his name. This cuts RTC off at the
The next series of questions concerns Dennis Erlich. Henson
admits meeting Erlich and having some communication with him.
Lieberman wants to know what was said. "Did you ever discuss
either you or he posting additional materials to the Internet?"
"No, I never discussed that with Mr. Erlich," Henson says
A new exhibit [#3] is produced. Henson laughs, reading it.
"Well again I can't be sure it's what I posted, but it's
certainly characteristic. Nettled, Lieberman wants to know why.
"It has a sense of humor in it," Henson says.
Lieberman references a subject line: The Right To Be Evil. The
author of the post is email@example.com. The origin is
the portal system. What is that?
It is the name of an isp, Henson says. One of the ones that I
Lieberman: You made a number of postings critical or taunting
of the 'church.' How many? [He plainly expects another indefinite
Lieberman blinks in surprise. [That's a *lot* of posts. And
where did Henson get this number?] "But all of them weren't of
this nature?" No, Henson replies. It [the number] comes from a
Lieberman turns to the attack. No one sued you for those (over
1220) postings to a.r.s., did they? [You made] critical and
derogatory posts, and you were never sued.
I was threatened once, Henson says. By Helena.
Lieberman: but she never sent you a letter threatening you for
making fun of the church of scientology, did she?
Henson responds that he thinks the six lines [apparently the
occasion for Ms. Kobrin's letter] were fair use. He refers to
threats by Milne, Vera Wallace and several others.
An argument ensues. Were you threatened by Helena Kobrin or
RTC? Lieberman demands. Henson: I was threatened more than once
by representatives of the church of scientology: Andrew Milne,
Vera Wallace, Chris Miller. Lieberman proceeds to hassle
Henson, insisting that he recount the threats word for word and
state who sent them.
Henson: I don't remember. God sakes, do you remember crap that
you read a year ago?
Lieberman: Well, if somebody threatened me with a lawsuit, I
might remember it, sir. If you don't remember being threatened
with a lawsuit, say so. If you do, then tell me who threatened
you and what they said. Who authored them and when.
Henson says he can't remember, but will get the details and
send them to Lieberman.
Now Lieberman proceeds to the next exhibit. [It occurs to our
observer that this sequence was staged. Lieberman wanted to get
some things into the record, namely, his client's claim that
Henson was only bothered in connection with his posting of the
alleged copyrighted sacred scriptures. He also wanted to make
Henson say "I don't know" a lot of times, in response to
questions about the precise date and wording of the threats.]
Henson wants to introduce something [into evidence] while
Lieberman is fishing in his various papers, but this is not
allowed. He is told he can do this afterward. Warren McShane
takes notes on a notepad. He is left handed, the observer
notices. A shopping list? Letter to his girl friend? No way to
A new exhibit [#4] is brought out, and the dance resumes about
whether Henson will claim it as his post. Lieberman is
noticeably less cordial, but Henson is immovable. He won't
acknowledge the post as his, but "assuming it's my posting,
it's a good posting."
Lieberman: but you did make numerous posts of this type.
Lieberman: your view is that under the First Amendment you have
the right to make such comments about the Church of Scientology
or people involved with it; is that right?
Henson: I have the right to make comments like this about
Lieberman: Right. And people have the right to make insulting
comments about you back, right?
Henson: It depends on how far they go in the threats.
Lieberman: How about how far you go, sir? Does that depend on
Henson: I don't believe I've ever stepped over the line. It's a
fairly well understood usenet culture phenomena as to how far
you can go without getting in trouble.
Lieberman: Now, did you make this posting, sir?
Henson: This one?
Henson: I can't swear to it.
Liebrman: Does it seem familiar to you?
Henson: Not particularly.
Henson: I do, however, recognize Standup.
Lieberman: There's no question pending about Standup, sir.
[There is more to this exchange, but the observer is distracted
with the thought that Henson has won a point here. The linkage
between RTC and the Church has received a boost.]
It is time for another document. Lieberman produces a post
dated March 14, 1995: subject: Just The Facts Ma'am. He peers
at the paper as if he is having trouble making out the letters.
'I'm the new kid on the block,' this seems to say. 'Please help
me out.' [quoting post] "David, I don't expect you to believe
it, but Grady Ward is a respected person over a considerable
stretch of the net."
Henson identifies with the subject matter but once again
declines to authenticate the post.
Lieberman (frustrated): is there anything on the face of this
document that suggests [it isn't yours]?
Henson (reasonably): I can't say one way or the other.
Henson goes on to say that for a while there were a couple of
scientologists on the net who actually had some respect. Ken
Long and Elisabeth McCoy. They soon left [leaving Milne and his
ilk to represent the church].
Lieberman wants to change the subject. "Don't the rules of most
service providers include rules against copyright infringement?"
Henson declines to make general statements about the rules of
service providers. The discussion is really about what can be
posted and what cannot be; Lieberman tries to talk about the
terms of service of an isp, and Henson explains the difference
between rules and customs. "Now, understand that there's a
difference between legalized rules and customs. I mean, for
example, there's no law against pissing in the potted plant out
in the lobby, but it's definitely against custom."
Lieberman has no luck in getting Henson to discuss the terms of
service of his service providers. Henson doesn't remember even
seeing the rules. If he did it was years ago, anyway. "It
wasn't something you were interested in finding out?" Lieberman
says in disbelief. Henson shrugs the question off. [This lawyer
thinks that people read the manuals?] He takes up several
expensive minutes explaining netiquette to the attorneys.
Lieberman: So according to the custom of netiquette, if you're
sufficiently motivated --
Henson: No, if there is sufficiently good reason --
Lieberman: You can violate somebody's copyrights?
Henson: Happens every day.
Lieberman: And is the same thing true with misappropriating
their trade secrets? If you have a sufficient motivation, then
it's okay to do that.
Henson: Not motivation. If there is sufficient -- like public
interest and so forth.
Lieberman: And who determines this?
Henson: You take the risk yourself.
Lieberman: Okay. And if you're wrong, you get sued, right?
Henson: It looks that way.
Lieberman: If the Court thinks you're wrong, you're found
liable; isn't that right?
Henson: That may well be.
Lieberman: But you think that under the rules of netiquette
it's up to each individual to make that determination for
themselves in the first instance; is that right?
Lieberman: And that's what you've done, isn't it?
[Phweet! Foul! Henson spots it. He has really been asked a
series of nested questions. A single yes answer might be
applied to all of them regardless of his intention.]
Henson: Repeat that.
Lieberman: 'And that's what you've done; isn't it?'
Henson: I don't exactly understand why you're asking -- or even
what the question is exactly here.
Lieberman: You made the determination that there's sufficient
reason to infringe on RTC's copyrights by posting its materials
on the net, haven't you?
Lieberman: You haven't made that determination.
Henson: No. I don't consider that infringement on their
copyrights at all.
[So much for that idea. Lieberman proceeds to the question of
whom Henson consulted before he posted the six lines and NOTS.]
Lieberman (with an aha! gotcha! air): whom did you consult with
before posting NOTS?
Henson: Judge Whyte. Or at least I tried to.
Lieberman: he doesn't consider that you consulted with him. Did
you talk to Dennis Erlich? Grady Ward?
Henson says no to Ward and Erlich. He may have consulted with
other people; he isn't sure. In a brief exchange, Henson
maintains that the document he posted is instruction in a
criminal activity; Lieberman retorts that Henson came to this
interpretation on his own, didn't he? Yes, Henson says.
Lieberman complains that Henson posted the document twice, or
it showed up twice. Henson replies that they cancelled it once.
Lieberman: well, that means it showed up. Henson: I went
looking for it next day and it wasn't there, so I put it back.
Lieberman: what is the basis for asserting that the church of
scientology cancelled it?
Henson: that's a good point. I need to investigate.
Lieberman: you have no basis.
Henson: it is an assumption based on long standing patterns of
behavior by the church.
[Helena Kobrin, who has been silent in the background, handing
documents to Lieberman and acting as his self-effacing
assistant, whispers in his ear.]
Lieberman: do you have any facts?
Henson: that I have personal knowledge of? No.
Lieberman: that's the question.
Henson: But I'll go to the trouble to get it.
Now they take up the copyright question again. Lieberman
produces a new document. "When you posted NOTS 34 you knew it
was copyrighted? "By someone, yes. Stuff is born copyrighted,"
Henson says. He looks stubborn.
Lieberman: You knew that RTC claimed the copyright to NOTs 34,
didn't you? Yes or no.
Henson: Try that again.
Lieberman: You knew that the Church of Scientology through RTC
claimed the copyright, asserted a copyright, in NOTs 34. Yes or
Henson: It was on the list of material that was in the TRO that
was issued against Grady Ward. That's the best I can do. I
don't know what they assert on it or how well it would hold up
Lieberman: But you knew that it was asserted, right? In fact,
you also knew that it was part of the Erlich case, didn't you?
Lieberman: Didn't you go and obtain a whole list of materials
that were at issue in the Erlich case and didn't you post those
to the internet?
Henson: You think that I could remember that list of numbers?
"You didn't bother to check whether it was part of the
injunction in the Erlich case?" Lieberman asks incredulously.
[He seems to be working hard to link Henson to the Erlich and
Ward cases, for reasons unclear to the observer.] Henson
affirms that he did not check.
Henson: I knew it was part of the injunction in the -- in the
Ward case because that's how I found it. In fact, would you
like a description of how I found it?
Lieberman: No, I'll get to that. But you didn't bother to check
whether it was part of the injunction in the Erlich case; is
that your testimony?
Henson: That's my testimony. Was it?
[Lieberman and Kobrin confer in whispers.]
Lieberman: have you ever used anonymous remailers?
Lieberman: do you know if Mr. Ward has? Henson says he has no
idea. Lieberman asks what motive anyone would have for using an
"To avoid the kind of trouble I'm in," Henson replies
Lieberman: did you ever advise people how to use anonymous
Henson: not that I recall. He goes on to explain that he is not
an expert in the field. If asked, he would just tell people
where to look for the information. Lieberman wants more
details. In response to questions, Henson says that if you are
going to use anonymous remailers, you should never use the same
one twice as the final link. If the final remailer is
compromised the information might be trapped, he explains. The
general rule is that if you are going to send stuff you should
never use less than three or four remailers. If you are going
to do that kind of thing, you want to do a good job.
Lieberman wants to know where he could get a list of all the
remailers. [Aha, the observer thought, he really does plan to
issue subpoenas.] Henson tells him about cypherpunks. He has to
explain the concept to Lieberman.
Henson says that he had wanted to bring one of the cypherpunks
to the deposition.
A little dance ensues. Henson says that the cypherpunks have a
list. Lieberman could get the information (about remailers)
from the list.
Lieberman: who maintains the list?
Lieberman: majordomo is an individual?
Henson: he's a bot.
Lieberman: what's a bot?
Henson: a robot.
Lieberman: well, where it is kept?
Henson: hoptoad. What you do is, send a message that says
"subscribe cypherpunks" to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lieberman: well, who is involved in cypherpunks?
Henson references an article in Wired magazine and tries to
remember the date.
Lieberman then wants to know whom Henson talked to on the
cypherpunk list. [During this discussion Henson mentioned that
he had invited the cypherpunks to the deposition. Apparently he
sent a blanket invititation to the list, but got few replies.]
Lieberman is insistent, demanding names from Henson, who
finally says he might have talked to someone named doughboy,
but isn't sure.
Lieberman: you knew the identity of the person you wanted to
bring [to the deposition]. [This person declined to come when
it was made clear that RTC would insist on having his name.]
Lieberman insists on the name, and Henson becomes mutinously
stubborn. He says he does not believe he is required to answer
the question with regard to hypothetical people he might have
brought with him.
Lieberman says he is going to insist, and the matter is shelved
pending a discussion with Judge Infante in the afternoon. [This
discussion apparently never took place.] Now he wants Henson to
name everyone he knows on cypherpunks.
Henson names some people. Phil Zimmerman. Eric Hughes. There
are some people from the east coast who post from panix. (He
spells this for the reporter.) Henson is not on the list now:
it's too big. There are 700 to 1000 people.
Lieberman: But the people who you are refusing to identify are
identified or connected with Cypherpunks?
Henson: They're on the list of somewhere between 700 and a
Lieberman: You understand the reason I am asking you for the
identity is not because they would or would not come to this
deposition, but because they are connected with Cypherpunks.
That's the reason for the question. [It was not the reason for
the question a few minutes ago, the observer notes.]
Henson: If you want a list of Cypherpunks, just ask for it. [he
means, from the list]
Lieberman: I'm asking, do you still refuse to identify the
names of those people, given what I just stated to you?
Henson: I had some people in mind that I would have asked, but
on the basis of having to be identified I know none of them
would be interested in coming.
Lieberman: Okay. And you're refusing to state who they are?
Henson: Well, you can get the whole list if you want.
Lieberman: That's not my question.
Henson: Yeah, I refuse to state it. I mean, this is highly
hypothetical, but, I mean, the Cypherpunks people would
obviously be interested in this kind of thing. It's sort of
like an arms manufacturer being interested in reports from the
Lieberman: you still refuse to identify people whom you were
considering bringing along?
Henson: yes. I refuse.
Lieberman brings out a new document. [#6] This (he says) is a
post to a.r.s. from hkhenson dated 5th of April 1995, regarding
a message Gerald Armstrong sent to a.r.s.. Do you recall this?
Henson says he thinks he does.
Lieberman: did you try to make it to a court hearing for
Henson: I thought about it.
Lieberman: have you ever been to a court hearing for Gerald
Henson: no. As they say, I have a life.
Lieberman: (dryly) glad to hear it.
Once again Henson won't claim the post as his. There is not
enough content to identify the (original) post, he says. And
once again Lieberman says, but your name is on it. I can type
one with anyone's name in it, Henson replies; do you want me to
generate one with your name in it? [The smiles of both men look
a lot like bared teeth, the observer notes.]
Lieberman next tries to get Henson to characterize Grady Ward's
posts. Henson won't do it. He remarks with indignation that he
barely knows Grady and met him for the first time at the picket
of the San Francisco org.
Now Lieberman asks Henson whether he has ever discussed with
Grady Ward posting materials on the internet, by phone or
email. And whether he has ever discussed with Grady Ward the
identity of SCAMIZDAT. To these questions Henson replies "no, I
Lieberman: are you SCAMIZDAT?
Lieberman: do you know who is?
Henson: no. He offers to speculate, but the attorney cuts
LIeberman: and you quite definitely are not [SCAMIZDAT]?
Henson, being very reasonable, explains that the assumption is
that SCAMIZDAT has access to hard copy. He, Henson, has never
seen any hard copy of OT materials or NOTS.
Lieberman: do you know who Patrick J. Volk is?
Henson: to the best of my knowledge I've never heard of this
Lieberman explains that Volk is apparently communicating from
some educational institution in Pittsburgh. Henson still
doesn't recognize the name. Lieberman hands Henson a document.
Henson: (cracks up) this is a great troll.
Lieberman: (acidly) you find this amusing?
Henson: yes. It's an 'in joke.'
Lieberman quotes from the Volk post: "screw the courts" and
also says that he has an ftp site for all the OT materials.
"Mr. Henson is laughing hysterically about this posting for
reasons that I suppose he understands--" Henson offers to
Lieberman: What's an ftp site?
Henson explains that ftp means file transfer protocol. You can
use almost any machine on the Internet to access a file on
almost any other machine, that has been placed in an ftp
directory, he says with relish. [He goes on at length about how
this is done.]
Lieberman: Okay. "So when he said 'I have an ftp site for all
the OT materials,' he is saying he has all the OT materials on
a site which people can access." Was Henson aware of Patrick
Volk's ftp site? Does this refresh your recollection? he
Henson: well, you see right after the colon, it says
Henson: that's a loopback address.
Lieberman wants to pursue the question of the site with the OT
materials. Was Henson aware of Patrick Volk's ftp site?
Henson: (patiently) It's at 127.0.0.1. This is a loop back
address. This is a troll.
Lieberman: what's a troll?
Henson: it comes from the fishing where you troll a bait along
in the water and a fish will jump and bite the thing, and the
idea of it is that the internet is a very humorous place and
it's especially good to troll people who don't have any sense
of humor at all, and this is a troll because an ftp site of
127.0.0.1 doesn't go anywhere. It loops right back around into
your own machine.
Lieberman [not getting it]: So the idea here was to make the
church think that this person had an ftp site and to take
action against him and, in fact, he didn't have it; is that
Henson: Oh, it's really humorous, and I picked up on it and
instantly added something to extend the troll. Extending the
trolls like this is an art form of the highest order.
Lieberman (acidly): I see. So this is part of your art
form where you say, "don't you expect the 'ho to blow a gasket?"
Lieberman (starting to lose his temper): so you do remember
this posting apparently?
Henson (helpfully): I can't remember for certain that I did
this one, and certainly I could not swear to any of the
material on here being letter perfect on it (but he goes on to
say that it is such a good one that he would be happy to take
credit for it).
Lieberman: You find this whole thing kind of amusing, don't
Henson: Oh, this is screamingly funny.
Lieberman (no more Mr. Nice Guy): You find it amusing to make
Helena Kobrin and the church go after you or other people for
this sort of thing, whether you have the materials or not; is
Henson: It's a great game.
Lieberman: It is a great game. You really find it amusing,
Henson: It's an extremely amusing thing.
Lieberman: All right. You find it amusing when you receive
these letters from Ms. Kobrin, the cease and desist letters?
It's part of the game; isn't it? [This goes on for awhile as
Lieberman hammers at the point. Henson reiterates that he is
amused, and wants to talk about the 'SP levels.']
Lieberman: You find it an amusing part of the game when you
receive these cease and desist letters, right?
Henson: No, no. It's not amusing, it's a major increment in
Lieberman: I see. You feel this increases your status, right?
On the internet, on a.r.s. (To which Henson says yes,
Lieberman: All right. And it's all part of this game,
Lieberman: It's all part of the troll, right?
Henson (waving exhibit): This is a great troll. I mean, anybody
in the computer business instantly would have spotted this,
ftp:127. In fact, it even says trolls in here (indicating). In
fact, this was cross-posted from --
Lieberman has heard more than enough about trolls. "There is no
question pending. You can hold your comments.
Lieberman (with an air of getting into the bizarre nature of
the situation): why did you think this would cause Ms. Kobrin
to blow a gasket?
Henson: this wasn't addressed to Helena. He goes on to explain
that the message is a loop back. If it worked at all it would
be a loopback to your own machine. If you tried it you'd
discover it's a troll. The 127 is the loopback address! It's a
joke, but the lawyer isn't getting it.
[The observer notices that the RTC lawyer has connected "the
'ho" with Ms. Kobrin. Evidently the nickname has made transit
to the solid world. Ms. Kobrin is stuck with it for life.]
Lieberman: Ed Sobocinski. Do you know who he is? Henson: No.
Lieberman: April 7, 1995. Re: good stuff from one that's been
This initiates an interesting discussion in which Henson states
that it is within the bounds of Internet etiquette to post
obscene or threatening mail immediately to the net. Lieberman
is very intent on getting this into the record. Henson
obligingly affirms the practice. Henson had asked Sobocinski to
post the obscene and threatening mail he said he got from
anti-scientologists. Sobocinski did not post anything, however.
It is now 10:54. The deposition has been going on for about two
hours. Lieberman asks for a short break. [To empty his spleen?
the observer wondered unfairly.]
During the break Lieberman takes Henson into a separate room,
where they have an animated discussion. Lieberman is louder
than Henson; we can hear some of his half. "That's why we
brought this suit," he says plaintively. He wants Henson to do
something. Henson comes out looking ruffled and obstinate. Ward
and the observer chat with the court reporter, a friendly woman
in a long flowered dress.
At 11:08 it begins again.
Liebermann inquires about a.r.s. archives. Henson replies that
at least one person tries to download everything that is posted
on a.r.s.. In addition to the Church of Scientology, of course.
He just posts a message asking who's got them. He thinks it's a
woman, might be a lawyer.
[Helena Kobrin whispers to Lieberman]
Lieberman: Deana Holmes?
Lieberman establishes that this person, Deana Holmes or anyone
else, has an archive, but Henson says that it may not be
complete. There are some things that nobody kept. Now how do
you determine the number of posts? Lieberman asks.
Henson: the counter in tin. [They natter briefly about this.]
Lieberman: do you know who Homer is?
Henson: the creator of alt.clearing.technology. A place
where freezoners hang out.
Lieberman wants to know if they [freezoners] exchange things
like NOTS and the OT levels. Henson replies that he doesn't
know, but Ken Long argued that BTs have mass.
Lieberman: is Ken Long a freezoner?
Henson: I don't know.
Lieberman is fascinated with the freezoners. Do they believe in
the tech? Yes, but they squirrel it, Henson replies. A lot of
thir posts are loony. He has a lot of them in his killfile. A
killfile, Henson explains, deletes all specified authors and
Lieberman: is Homer in your killfile?
Henson: I'm not sure whether he is killfiled in [both] portal
Lieberman: have you ever met with Aron Mason?
Henson: yes. very early [e.g. some time ago], right after the
CPF conference. There was an EFF meeting after the conference.
Mason and Jeff Quiros both showed up there.
Lieberman: your impressions?
Henson (emphatically): *wierd people.* It was one of my first
experiences with TR-L, people who've been trained in lying.
(Henson explains that prior to this conference he had just read
the Tabayoyon declaration.) He says he was very impressed with
the straignt-faced deadpan lying. Tabayoyon a backhoe driver?
They [Quiros and Mason] did a good job. Well trained.
Lieberman brings out exhibit #9.
Henson: is this my account of that meeting?
Lieberman: take a look.
Henson again refuses to verify that this is actually what he
The document is a post containing a dialogue with Rick Sherwood
and an account of the meeting with Quiros and Mason. "Down at
the bottom of that page, you see where you say, "Do you have
any idea of how wide our circle of friends is"? Who did you
Henson: the Internet. 30 million people. I'm known by probably
10,000 people. Ron Newman, Grady Ward, Jeff Jacobsen are people
with huge net presences.
Lieberman: "do you have the slightest idea of who you are
threatening?" What threat are you referring to in this
particular dialogue or trialogue or whatever it is?
Henson: Probably "The Scientologists fight back. I know you
don't like this. But they persist,", which was Woody's
Lieberman: Okay. So that's what you meant by a threat.
Henson: Yeah, in the context of the previous sentence, which is
"Henson, be careful, here. Others don't have your bias and you
might lose some credibility if you try to make" out -- "make it
out for what it was not." And I -- my comment on that was "I"
can't "figure out which part of my posting" you're "referring
to," and then went on down, "If" you're "referring to the Ms.
Bloody/Tom K./ -AB- extended episode, I clearly stated that it"
made "no sense to me." I went on to say, "It is just about the
weirdest story" I've "ever heard, and if you or anyone else in
or out of CoS can explain it, I'd be nothing short of
delighted. If you are referring to my reporting of the EFF
meeting, my bias in these matters is fully on the record."
Lieberman: what is your bias?
Henson: in favor of freedom of expression and I'm, of course,
opposed to the kind of brainwashing and other sorts of abuse
that the Church of Scientology is well-known for doing.
Lieberman: Approximately when did you post the 6-7 lines of OT
VII? Henson can't remember. Lieberman wants to know where he
got the material. "I was responding to someone else's posting,"
Henson says. He explains how followups work.
Lieberman: asks if Henson ever obtained electronic or disk
copies of the item. Did you download it?
Lieberman: was it in any computer memory?
Henson: yes. The video ram of my terminal emulator and the
machine on either portal or Netcom. He helps Lieberman count
the >s on the post. There are six of them. Nettled, Lieberman
quotes the information: to a.r.s. July 21, 1995. Subject:
Kobrin threatens yet another lawsuit. At the bottom, a posting
of several lines of OT 7, blocked out for deposition record.
Response to a post by Tom Betz. Do you know who he is?
Lieberman: quoting Hillel quoting you? He has to have followups
explained again. "Can you remember who posted before you?" He
sounds frustrated. Henson cannot remember. [Lieberman clearly
does not understand followups. It is an unforseen glitch in his
Henson: Some machines -- mine uses colons. In fact, you can
tell that, but I apparently cut this out of some other posting
and stuck it there.
Lieberman: So --
Henson (recovers the fumble): If this was my posting.
Lieberman: But you did post these six or seven lines of OT VII,
we already established that, right?
Henson: Six lines.
Lieberman: Yeah. Okay.
Henson (making sure): Well, presumptively I did, but I don't
know that this is the posting where I did it.
Lieberman: But you did. Okay. Now --
Henson: I --
Lieberman: Did you --
Henson: I can't even tell you that it's OT VII, to be
truthful about it. I've never seen the originals.
Lieberman: Did -- did you receive a cease and desist letter
from Helena Kobrin as a result of this?
Henson (pleasantly): As a result of something.
Lieberman: As a result of posting six lines of OT VII?
Henson: As a result of something. Of posting probably
the six lines. I don't know what actually caused it.
Lieberman: Well, what did the letter say caused it?
Henson: I don't remember. I gave you guys a copy of it.
Whatever's in the letter.
Lieberman: But you don't remember what the letter said?
Henson: No. Heaven's sakes, it was three pages or
When you received this letter, did this increase
Henson: Oh, yes.
[The exchange peters out, no score, and Lieberman is back to
[There is a brief break to load a new tape. Hogan and Lieberman
go out, followed by McShane and Kobrin. Henson spends the
interval cheerily chatting with the court reporter. He explains
how to spell the acronyms.]
Lieberman returns to exhibit #11, subject: Helena Kobrin
threatens yet another lawsuit. He quotes Dave Barron quoting
Zeltar wondering why the six lines were so upsetting to the
church: "Dave, I'm going to be really pissed if you get a
letter from ms. magenta lips and I don't."
Henson refuses to affirm the post as his. Lieberman again wants
to know whether Henson enjoys getting cease and desist letters.
Henson agrees that letters are status symbols. Lieberman wants
to know if "ms. magenta lips" refers to Ms. Kobrin? Henson says
"maybe." He politely thanks Kobrin for the letter, and says he
posted it to the cork board at work. People were laughing all
Finally, Henson explains, Kobrin gave up on sending letters to
everyone who posted the six lines. People started using them in
their .sig lines.
Lieberman: what's a sig line? Henson explains. Does this mean
the six lines are in a computer's memory? Lieberman inquires,
and Henson says that it does.
Lieberman produces the next document, [#12] and Henson recoils.
"This isn't mine." (Apparently it is a letter from Helena
Kobrin.) Lieberman wants Henson to state whether it is the one
he received or not; Henson can't be sure. "I think the one I
got was longer. I'm not sure this was it." (They do another
little dance in which he declines to authenticate the letter.)
Lieberman then wants to know if Henson got any communication
from his sysop with respect to copyright infringement. Henson
says he can't recall seeing anything at all, from either Netcom
Lieberman: did you post the cease and desist letter from Helena
Kobrin to ars? Henson can't remember.
Finally Lieberman consents to talk about the SP levels. Henson
explains that he wanted to be helpful and had brought it with
him: RFD: SP levels; Organization: ARSCC . RFD means request
for discussion, he explains.
Lieberman: what is ARSCC?
Henson: alt.religion.scientology central committee or
Lieberman (suspiciously): who's on it?
Henson: I don't know. It's mythical.
Lieberman: somebody must be responsible.
Henson: it's a troll.
Lieberman: who [has been trolling]?
Henson: lots of people. Oh, I've trolled on it. Especially when
somebody makes some kind of a statement about the thing, I'll
make some minor correction, you know, like I'll say I looked it
up in this book and cite some seven digit policy letter number.
Lieberman: what is a troll?
Henson explains. A troll is a joke, a put-on.
Lieberman: this posting purports to be the ARSCC SP levels
FAQ. What's a FAQ?
Henson: a FAQ is a list of frequently asked questions. This FAQ
(he said helpfully) is kept at a site called
[A brief silence falls while the netizens in the room hope
that the lawyer will ask what RTFM means.] ["Read The Fucking
Manual" --- ShyDavid]
Lieberman: so the SP levels refer to action against the
Henson: mostly to actions by the church against them.
Lieberman (reading): well, you clearly qualify as SP1. SP2,
receiving an acknowledgment of your message. You qualify. SP3,
message cancelled by-- you suspect but don't know you qualify
there. SP 4, receiving a legal threat from the church. This is
something you aspired to achieve? [The forgeoing is a summary.
Lieberman and Henson have gone through some efficient Q & A as
the lawyer determines Henson's SP level.]
[SP level verified by a church lawyer? The observer thinks this
is clearly better than SP5.]
Lieberman (switching subject): have you met Arnie Lerma? Henson
says no. "Have you spoken to him on the phone?" Henson says he
has talked to Lerma only once, just after the search and
seizure at his house. Henson found out about it on the net and
called to offer support and find out what was going on.
Lieberman wants to know what they talked about. Henson says
that Lerma was "very distraught." As anybody would be who had
just had his house torn up by a bunch of people under color of
law. He can't recall the substance of the conversation. Did you
discuss any plans to post material yourself? Lieberman asks.
No, Henson replies. Did you discuss SCAMIZDAT? No. Henson says
he was surprised when Lerma posted the scientology materials.
Now Lieberman wants to know if Henson has information on
whether Lerma sent or mailed any materials to Grady Ward.
Henson says he has no information.
Lieberman: have you had any direct communication with
Arnie Lerma since then?
Henson: yes. He sent me his letter to Brinkema so I could give
it to Judge Whyte. Lerma believes that an agent of the church
placed LSD on his toothbrush during the raid. The letter
describes this incident. [http://holusmoke.org/mm/mm07.htm]
Lieberman: did you discuss the incident?
Henson: yes. It was discussed [first] on IRC [at a session
Henson did not attend]. He launches into a description of the
toothbrush incident. The description is interlaced with
comments by Lieberman, in a stylistically interesting exchange:
Lieberman: Did you ever inquire of Arnie Lerma why he used the
toothbrush if he thought it was laced with LSD?
Henson: Well, he didn't know it until after he used it.
Lieberman: Did you read his letter?
Lieberman: And he says in the letter that he suspected it
before he used it.
Henson: No, he doesn't. At least, I don't remember having read
that. Maybe he does. He certainly suspected it afterwards. He
says it was only because he ran it under hot water for a
considerable time that he got a relatively small dose of it.
Lieberman: Why did he run it under water for a long time?
Henson: Because he was too cheap to buy a new toothbrush. Or
actually too poor.
Lieberman: But why was he running it under hot water to
Henson: To loosen it up so that the mechanism would work. It's
an electric toothbrush.
Lieberman: I see. Didn't he say he was running it under
hot water to get rid of the LSD?
Henson: No, he ran it under hot water so that it would loosen
it up and run it and that just happens to have washed off most
of the LSD. This isn't the first time that people have accused
the Church of Scientology of doing this trick.
Helena Kobrin cuts him off in a cold, clear voice. It is the
first time she has spoken in this deposition. Kobrin: There's
no question pending, Mr. Henson.
Henson: I notice where they're sensitive.
Lieberman pulls out another exhibit. It is dated April 8, 1995;
subject: LSD. What does LSD have to do with this posting?
Henson: Haven't got a clue. That's what's called topic drift,
and what often happens is that people will make a cascade of
things replying to other people's messages without changing the
subject line on it, and eventually the subject line has nothing
whatsoever to do with whatever's in the posting.
Lieberman: I see.
Henson (apologetically): Happens all the time. Sorry.
[For the first time Lieberman has omitted the ritual of asking
Henson to authenticate the post.]
The next document [#14] is a post dated August 13, 1995 [date
of Lerma raid] subject: international noose is loosening fast
on scn. This is a milne post with a reply from hkhenson.
And you state here (Lieberman says to Henson) "I have never
signed any silly billion year contracts, or agreed to keep the
OT tripe secret." You were aware that people who had been in
the church would sign confidentiality agreements, were you not?
Henson (thinking): Well, again, I can't swear to this being a
posting of mine, but --
Lieberman: Putting that aside you were aware of that? Yes or no.
Henson: Putting that aside, I have -- I have no direct
knowledge of that, but it is -- I suppose it would be
considered to be general knowledge that people in the church
sign all sorts of strange stuff.
Lieberman: Well, you're aware that Erlich signed a
confidentiality agreement, aren't you?
Lieberman: Weren't you aware that Lerma signed a
Henson: I haven't the slightest notion. That's well outside my
knowledge of this.
Lieberman: You didn't follow those cases very closely?
Henson: There's -- you're dealing with stuff that's the size of
several phone books thick. I don't know what they did, and
besides that, it's stuff that happened, you know, decades ago.
Lieberman: are you not aware that scientologists who
participate are required to sign confidentiality agreements?
Henson: it is alleged.
[Now Lieberman tries to extract the admission he needs by main
force, and a duel ensues.]
Lieberman: I'm just asking you whether you followed those cases
very closely or not.
Henson: It is alleged, anyway -- at least I think I have heard
that it was alleged that they signed confidentiality
agreements, but as to whether this is actually true or not, I
haven't the foggiest notion.
Lieberman: But you've made a point on several occasions that
you haven't signed a confidentiality agreement in clear
distinction to others; haven't you?
Henson: I don't know clear distinction to others, but I
certainly have never signed anything with the Church of
Lieberman: Right. And you've indicated that you've emphasized
that point in distinguishing yourself from others, haven't you
Henson: I don't know that it distinguishes me from others, but
it certainly is true.
Lieberman: In fact, you've made that distinction in this very
case, haven't you?
Henson: I don't think it's a distinction, it's just a statement
Lieberman: have you read the Vien decision?
Lieberman: are you aware that a court entered an injunction
against Enid Vien?
Henson: yes, but I have no idea what it was.
Lieberman: are you aware that the court ordered damages against
[At this point a one hour lunch recess was declared. Everybody
[After lunch everyone looks refreshed. Tom Hogan seems more
alert and has color in his face. McShane and his bodyguard are
Another exhibit (#15) is produced. This is a posting to a.r.s.,
subject: flash: Arnie Lerma raided. In the body of the message
it says "just got word. Clams are inside Arnie's house with
another federal seizure warrant."
Henson once again can't state that it is all his, but it seems
truthful. He can't remember how he learned of the raid. He
works in the remark that Helena was participating in the raid
at the same time she was posting from her account at Netcom.
Lieberman: did you communicate with Mr. Wollersheim or Penny
Henson: I don't remember ever doing so.
Lieberman: You've never met them. Who have you met?
Henson: Grady Ward. Dennis Erlich.
Lieberman: at the time of the search and seizure at Lerma's
house were you aware that anyone besides Lerma had posted OT
material to the net? No, Henson said. Lieberman: were you aware
that Grady Ward had?
Lieberman: Did you believe he had?
Henson: I couldn't even form an opinion on that. I don't think
Lieberman: Right. Did you think that Grady Ward might be the
subject of a similar search and seizure as Mr. Lerma had been?
Henson: Because of his outspokenness against the -- against the
Church of Scientology, I would rather imagine. I would imagine
that that was speculated on, and I don't know whether I did any
of the speculating or not.
[Now Lieberman must take time to repair the record. He cannot
let the suggestion stand, that the church raids people for
Lieberman: But the only people who had been subjected to a
search and seizure were people who actually had posted, right?
Posted materials, not people who had merely criticized; isn't
Henson (unhelpfully): That's asking me for speculation that I
don't really know.
Lieberman: Okay. Well, you knew the only people who had been
subjected to a search and seizure at the time had been Mr.
Erlich and Mr. Lerma, right?
Henson: I don't really know. I don't remember how the FactNet
-- what timing the FactNet raid hit. I don't remember whether
that was before or after Arnie Lerma.
Lieberman: It was after. It was several weeks after.
Henson: Well, you have more of a handle on the time line than I
[No Sale, the observer notes. Once again Lieberman has wasted
Lieberman returns to Grady Ward. When Ward posted his messages
taunting the church [about SCAMIZDAT], "you assumed it was a
Henson: Seemed awful likely to me.
Lieberman: Why would that be?
Henson: Well, because the people who really are doing that kind
of thing aren't going to be twitting them that hard.
Lieberman: Mr. Lerma did.
Henson: Lerma was pretty silly. But then so was I.
Lieberman: Ultimately so was Mr. Ward, wasn't he?
Henson: Oh, I don't know. I think this is -- this is
being enjoyed by all parties.
Lieberman: oh, really. you are enjoying it.
Henson: well it comes off the recreation budget. [He is making
fun of this expensive lawyer, and it's getting Lieberman's
goat.] This is training for the big action, Henson says.
Lieberman takes the bait: What's that? Henson: when some major
government finally decides to really sit down hard on free
speech on the net.
Lieberman spends a few minutes in a halfhearted attempt to get
Henson to say something seditious, but gives up quickly.
Perhaps it occurs to him that he is being trolled.
Lieberman: so you welcome this [lawsuit] as a training exercise?
Henson: I didn't expect it to happen, but when it did I decided
I'd enjoy it.
Next Lieberman asks another question about Henson's past
litigation experience. In the suit involving the Moon treaty,
did he have an attorney?
Henson: Dickstein, Shapiro (et al.). Mr. Leigh Ratiner.
The name Ratiner seems to bring a slight chill into the room.
Lieberman quickly moves on. He has another exhibit, a post to
ars dated 19 September 1995; subject: scientology is dumb. This
is a response to Richard Smol. Do you know him?
Lieberman: you took the position that the top people in the
church believe in scientology.
Henson: they are true believers in the sense described by Eric
Lieberman: do you believe in it?
Henson: no. I don't believe in the Easter Bunny either.
Lieberman: do you believe in the Resurrection?
Henson: no, I'm sorry, I don't.
[The observer is startled by Lieberman's question. What is the
Resurrection doing in a scientology case? Is this, perhaps, one
of Lieberman's collection of no-win questions to ask in front
of trial juries? If yes, the witness is a fundamentalist wacko.
If no, he is an atheist & communist. If he hesitates, he's a
Henson brings up memetics, a discipline in which he is very
interested. [A meme is a self-replicating body of information
that passes itself from host to host. Henson frequents the
newsgroup alt.memetics and has written articles on the subject.
He regards scientology as a meme.] He states that when the case
comes to trial he will call himself as an expert witness in the
Lieberman (bares teeth): I'm glad we have advance notice of
Henson (grinning): try to find another.
Lieberman brings out the next document. [#17] This is a
response to an Erlich post, re: Whyte has ruled and vacated
writ of seizure. "Way to go, Dennis. Hot dog. I presume we can
see all these when they are scanned in. I live in San Jose and
have access to a scanner." Did you do that [get Erlich's
documents, scan and post them]?
Henson: no. I didn't scan anything until Grady got raided.
He says he typed in some of the Erlich documents.
Lieberman asks about upper level materials. Henson says he
has never seen any upper level materials in hard copy.
Lieberman: Whyte's ruling: did you ever look at it?
Henson: I think someone else scanned it in.
Lieberman: did you ever use the scanner to scan in any of RTC's
proprietary materials? NOTS 34? OT VII?
Lieberman starts to spell NOTS for the court reporter. "I
already told her," Henson says.
Lieberman: you stated you posted NOTS 34 twice to the net.
Henson: what purported on the face to be NOTS 34.
Lieberman: where did you get it?
Henson: Netcom. File user/spool/news/alt/religion/scientology.
Lieberman: you downloaded it, didn't you?
Henson: no. It's on Netcom. He explains that when he made
the copies he copied directly from the disk. He didn't download.
Lieberman (concerned about access to the file): no one else
can get in?
Henson: any of 50 or 100 people at Netcom with root privileges.
He reflects on how he created the letter to Judge Whyte. He ran
a program called grep and he edited and downloaded the file.
Lieberman: following the post [of the letter to Whyte] did
you receive email from Ms. Kobrin? Yes, says Henson; he posted it.
Lieberman (acidly): did you consider this would increase your
Henson: no. It isn't enough. [everybody has been getting
these letters. and furthermore-] He disuptes the notification. The
Kobrin account has been in use when Ms. Kobrin was elsewhere.
Lieberman wants to know if Henson has ever had hard copy.
Only the letter to Judge Whyte, Henson replies. Lieberman then
reads part of a post in which (purportedly) Henson solicits copies
of NOTS showing criminal activities. Did Henson receive any?
Henson replies that he did not; but over the previous weekend
[May 3-4] someone posted all of the remaining NOTS to the net.
Henson received a message naming three of the NOTS as discussing
the illegal practice of medicine without a license. NOTS 26 and
two others. Lieberman wants to know who sent the message,
and Henson says he cannot recall. Does Henson still have the
Henson: On the other hand, it is private e-mail, so it
falls under the ECPA, but I tell you what, I will tell you what
numbers they were if you want to look them up.
Lieberman: No, I want to know the name of the person who
sent you that notice.
Henson: I'm not going to give it to you, not unless you
get a court order to do it because it's electronic communications
Lieberman: Electronic communications are no more private
than postal communications and you're still required to identify in
the lawsuit who you received commun --relevant communications from.
Henson (coolly): I don't believe that that's the case.
Besides that, why is this relevant?
Lieberman (nastily): Because it may indicate who is working to
illegally post this material, and perhaps it may indicate who's
working with you.
Henson's polite expression does not change, but he radiates
a subtle kind of gamester satisfaction. He has enturbulated
Lieberman: until we can get a court order, I'm asking
you not to destroy that communication or any identification of who
sent it with you.
[So much for the theory that the ECPA protects only institutional
mail, and not private mail on private machines.]
Lieberman produces a new document. [#18] After initial
fencing, he says with a trace of sarcasm, "This appears to be
pretty much what you've recently posted on ars. Is that right?"
Henson: for purposes of discussion, I would tentatively
allow you to consider it if you want to discuss parts of it.
Lieberman: Good. Thank you.
Henson (deadpan): subject, of course, to verification
that it matches Judge Whyte's copy.
Lieberman cuts to the chase. He reads "It is my position
that the public interest in this matter should override all
commercial copyright concerns" and gets Henson to agree to this
view. Then "you go on to say, 'the entire corpus of material
the Church of Scientology is trying to keep from public view
is so at odds with what cult victims are told then whey are
suckered into it as to constitute fraud thinly disguised as
religion.'" Lieberman wants to know if Henson means that
he considers the entire corpus of RTC materials fraudulent
and subject to posting.
Henson replies that he can see how Lieberman read it
that way but that wasn't his intention. He considers much of
the RTC material boring rather than criminal.
Well, you go beyond criminal. You also talk about
fraudulent, Lieberman complains. He proceeds to insist that
Henson offer an opinion about whether the material as a
whole is fraudulent. Henson demurs in favor of Judge Whyte,
but Lieberman insists on an answer. Henson finally says that,
taken as a whole, he thinks so.
Lieberman: By the way, do you think the Bible
Henson: is that a relevant sort of a question?
Lieberman: Yes. Now you can answer it. I think it's
relevant. (He wants a yes or no, but Henson digresses at
length: when the Bible was assembled they picked and chose
among the stuff largely on literary merit. Religious mimesets
are things which evolve, and the Bible has had a lot of the
rough edges filed off of it in the passage of time.)
Lieberman: You consider Scientology also to be a
religious mimeset, don't you?
Henson: yes. Among other things.
The discussion moves on to Henson's posting of the letter
from Helena Kobrin to the Internet. Henson again notes that he
cannot verify that Lieberman's copy is what he posted. But
you treated the letter as having come from Ms. Kobrin, didn't
you? Lieberman says.
Henson: well, I knew it came from somebody at hkk.
[This little discussion may serve a minor useful purpose, but
by now the observer is used to Lieberman's style. He invariably
leads his major attacks with misdirection.]
Lieberman: At the end of that posting where you responded
paragraph by paragraph to Helena Kobrin, you once again
solicited NOTs materials, legal -- legally or illegally
obtained, for the same purposes you previously had solicited
them, did you not?
Henson: Right, for the exposure of criminal activity.
Lieberman: Well, it went further than that didn't it? It also
said, "or to show the fraudulent bait and switch nature of
Scientology," didn't it?
Henson: I don't know. You've got it in front of you.
[The train has been derailed. We surmise that Lieberman had
intended to lead Henson step by step down a carefully planned
path, at the end of which he would have to agree that he,
Henson, intended to post any RTC materials that came into his
Lieberman: No, I'm asking you what your memory of something you
posted just a few weeks ago is. Do you remember saying that?
Henson: Could have been.
Henson: Again, it shouldn't be something which is subject to
any real argument because I gave Judge Whyte a copy of it.
Lieberman: I'm not asking you for an argument, I'm just asking
you to identify what you said.
Henson: Well, anything that's been out of my hands and isn't
PGP signed or something similar, I am not going to count on
without a character by character comparison.
Lieberman drops it and proceeds to exhibit #19. Without
vouching for a character by character analysis, does this
appear to be the document we were just discussing?
Henson: it might be.
Lieberman: does it appear to you to be?
Henson (graciously): it probably even is.
Lieberman (reading from exhibit): "Well, Helena, I'm going to
put it a little nicer than Grady would, but you can take your
demand, fold it until it is all corners, and put it somewhere
the sun don't shine." [This passage fascinates the church.
Apparently Lieberman wants to put it in the record one more
time. During this reading Helena Kobrin studiously avoids eye
contact with anyone. She is the picture of offended dignity.]
The post solicits documents which describe criminal acts,
consist of criminal instruction manuals or "describe fraudulent
bait and switch tactics." Nevertheless Lieberman dwells on the
language. In a followup, a poster modified the subject line to
"You find it amusing?" Lieberman demands.
Henson (unrepentant): I nearly died laughing.
Lieberman (abruptly): who's Mike Godwin?
Henson: chief counsel for EFF.
Lieberman: did you have any discussions with him?
Lieberman: about Grady Ward's case?
Lieberman: about what?
Henson says he sent email to Mike Godwin and Shari Steele; he
sent them a "heads up" that the cos might be going after the
Lieberman: think hard. You said (referring to a post) that you
quoted AT [Advanced Technology] materials in email to
Henson explains that he might have sent mail discussing the AT
materials, but to the best of his knowledge he has never quoted
any AT materials in private email to any individual.
Lieberman takes out the List and proceeds to ask Henson about
each person on it. [The List is the list of people whose
AT-related communication with Henson was demanded in the
discovery request for documents and things.]
The first few names are passed over quickly. Alex DeJoode? no;
Dennis Erlich, already discussed; Steven Fishman, some email
but they have never discussed the AT materials.
The famous anonymous remailer anon.penet.fi is of special
interest to Lieberman. He is very intent as he asks whether
Henson has ever had any communication with Johan Helsingius.
Henson: Johan runs the anonymous remailer in Finland which was
attacked and broken into by the Scientologists in the very
earliest days of this thing.
Lieberman: Okay, but they didn't break into his offices or
anything, did they?
Henson: Oh, yeah. They came to the door with the police --
who later admitted they had been scammed entirely.
Lieberman: I don't know who they admitted it to, sir.
Henson: They posted it on the net. I can get you the
postings for it.
Lieberman wants to move on. Has Henson ever had any
communication with Helsingius? What was it?
Henson: I don't believe that I've had any communications with
Johan since my involvement with Scientology started. I may
have. It's been a very long time ago when the -AB- / Ms. Bloody
Butt affair was going on, was being analyzed on the net.
Lieberman (suppressively): that has noting to do with this
Henson: yes it does. It's all scientology.
Henson says he has not met Klemesrud, but they have exchanged
email. The Tom Klemesrud / Linda Woolard incident will make a
Lieberman: Is that a troll?
Henson: No. Hemorrhoid blood five feet up on a wall has
just got to be a case to go on television.
Lieberman (recoils): Is that another troll?
Lieberman (disconcerted): Mr. Klemesrud -- have you had any --
excuse me, any communication with Mr. Klemesrud about the
advanced technology materials, about the contents of them or
the posting of them?
Henson: As far as I can remember, no. (He goes on to say that
he has no information about whether Mr. Klemesrud may have
posted any of the materials.)
They pass quickly through Lerma, Mante (Henson doesn't know who
he is), Ron Newman. [Kobrin and Lieberman whisper awhile over
Newman.] Henson says he has never met him, but they have talked
Lieberman: what's that?
Henson describes IRC as realtime email communication. Lieberman
does not understand what this means. Henson explains how IRC
differs from email, but the observer intuits that Lieberman's
buffer is full. He isn't listening.
Lieberman: all on the list except Ms. Thomson?
Henson: Robert Penny, I know who he is. I've never met him,
never exchanged an e-mail. I've read a few of his postings.
Felipe Rodriquez, I believe, is from the Netherlands, but I'm
not sure. I've exchanged e-mail with Karin Spaink, mostly about
her legal case against the Church of Scientology in the
Netherlands. Shelley [Thomson], of course -- I've talked with
Shelley since she's a reporter on this kind of thing. David
Touretzky, I think he's on -- somewhere on the East Coast, and
I believe he at one point had -- had the Fishman declaration on
his machine, but I may have the wrong person there. And Larry
Wollersheim -- well, he's the famous guy who's been trying to
collect his money for 15 years or whatever it is from
Scientology. Ron "Neuman" is wrong, is misspelled, it's
Lieberman: Okay. Put that aside.
[So much for the List.]
[The reporter changed paper. Everyone got to breathe freely for
a few minutes. The deposition resumed at 2:39 p.m.]
Lieberman: have you ever donated money to FactNet and received
from FactNet in exchange any CD roms?
[McShane has returned.]
Lieberman produces a new document dated 16th April 1996, [#21]
subject: following Vaclav Havel." In the middle paragraph it
says "This may change but to date the actions of the c of s
against me have afforded me nothing but amusement." That's your
language, isn't it?
Henson: Given the usual disclaimers on this, it certainly looks
Lieberman: Yeah, and I think you've already indicated that
that, in fact, is precisely your attitude, right?
Henson: Oh, yeah.
Next, on April 17, "I've got mine." [presumably referring to a
letter from Helena Kobrin]
Lieberman: Who is Steve A.?
Henson: I'm not sure. Author of the ars SP levels?
Lieberman: Uh-huh. And it begins by discussing whether or not
your motion to recuse should have been called a motion to
recuse or a motion to dismiss. You recall that? [Again he
prefaces a point by a false start in another direction.]
Henson proceeds to discuss the reason he titled his motion as
he did. He had doubts, but decided to use the form specified in
Benders Federal Forms. "The Complaint here was about what he
referred to as a cheap shot, but I wasn't upset."
Lieberman: You didn't think it was a cheap shot, did you?
Henson: Well, no, I thought it was a cheap shot, but I
wasn't upset about it. I mean, lawyers are good for cheap shots.
[So much for the diversion. Lieberman is tempted to make
something out of the remark, but decides to move on.]
Lieberman: Anyway, the point -- what I wanted to direct your
attention to was down at the bottom where you say, "Defending
Constitutional right may be a high moral purpose, but it is
also a lot of fun. Compared to my other past and present
hobbies, it fits right in." This is your language, too, isn't
Henson: Along with my usual disclaimers on the thing, it
sounds like it.
Lieberman: And it's consistent with your view that -- that this
litigation a lot of fun for you?
Henson: Well, isn't it to you? Or do you hate your work?
Lieberman: Answer yes or no, please.
Henson: Well, so far I've had a lot of fun.
[Henson and Lieberman grin at each other with teeth bared in a
feral display. The observer sneaks a look at McShane. He looks
haunted. Hogan merely looks bored. Grady Ward looks amused.
Helena Kobrin, eyes focused on her papers, looks furious.]
The tape is changed, and discussion proceeds to Henson's
objections. Helena Kobrin frowns expressively over the
document.[#23] This is Henson's objections and responses to
request for the production of documents, filed April 29, 1996.
On page 2 Henson admits that prior to the TRO he may have given
out a few hard copies of his March 26 letter [containing NOTS
34] or the post that contained that letter, but does not recall
doing so. Lieberman goes over that again, and asks if he would
have distributed copies by hand or in the mail. By hand, Henson
On page 3, Henson says he found that he has what might be a
compressed copy of some of the SCAMIZDAT postings, which he
downloaded from a scientology- associated site, theta.com, to
his ftp site in October 1995.
Lieberman wants to know what theta.com is.
Henson: I don't really know except that it's a Scientology-
associated site. To a further question, he says: It's got all
sorts of L. Ron Hubbard works on it. Before they put up their
own site, it was the only place on the net that had any
Scientology stuff that seemed to be, if not official, at least
Under further questioning, Henson admits he doesn't have proof
that theta.com is an official church site. He has merely
assumed. Henson says he will have to find out who runs
theta.com and depose them.
Lieberman demands to know why the church would maintain
SCAMIZDAT on a site it sponsors. Henson says he doesn't know.
Well, what SCAMZIDAT postings did Henson download? Henson says
he has no idea. He never looked at them.]
Lieberman: Why did you download them?
Henson: I thought it was really funny to do it from a church
Lieberman, plainly not amused, wants to know who else would
have enjoyed the joke. Who else knew about this? -- All of
a.r.s., Henson replies. He had posted extensively about his
find, and twitted the church about it, but the church never
responded. He offers to find the posts and show them to
Lieberman: And you have no idea what was in there [the
Henson: No. I never decompressed them. Did you guys get them
apart? I mean, you've had them for better part of a week.
Lieberman (frostily): Well, I'm not the deponent.
Henson: Well -- sorry, I was just curious. I have no idea what
they actually were. I should ask at this point though, can I
Lieberman: We'll get back to you on that.
There is further discussion about SCAMIZDAT, which exists in
two pieces in Henson's home directory at Netcom. Lieberman
wants to know if Henson will maintain his objection to RTC
getting a copy of Henson's customer service agreements with
Netcom and Portal. Henson says that he will maintain it.
Lieberman patiently tries to argue him into changing his mind:
it's a public document, why do you care? We only want it to see
if it says anything about copyright infringement. Henson
replies that since it is a public document why don't they just
phone the company and ask for one? Well, if it's a public
document, why don't you drop your objection? Henson refuses to
Lieberman asks if Henson ever heard anything from Netcom about
copyright violations. Henson says no. Did Henson receive any
documents in response to his solicitation? No.
Lieberman: Did you anticipate that you would be sued as a
result of this trolling?
Henson: I figured there was a fair probability of it.
Lieberman: And you considered that it was okay to do that
and to -- to induce the church into --
Henson: I actually didn't figure that they would find a
judge who would be willing to do it.
Lieberman moves on to Number 12, which says "Any and all
documents relating to postings made by you," et cetera, putting
aside any documents relating to postings having nothing to do
Henson replies that he doesn't keep posts. He provided a
pointer to his articles on mimetics.
Lieberman: Look at number 19. I know you have deposited an
objection to producing these documents. What I want to know is
whether any exist with respect to each of these individuals.
[Apparently he is talking about the List.] Henson replies that
he has saved nothing from any of these people, prior to being
sued. Afterward? Lieberman asks.
Henson reminds Lieberman that he will have to get a court order
to see any email, and that he would object to it.
Lieberman: I understand that. I want to know if we have to do
that, what the scope of -- of the objection is, which I'm
entitled to have. When you make an objection on the basis of
privilege, such as this, you're entitled to maintain that
objection until the court rules on it, but you're also required
to delineate what documents were -- are at issue.
Henson replies that he doesn't think he has saved any email
from these people. Lieberman wants him to check on it, and he
Discussion now proceeds to Henson's Counterclaim. Lieberman
almost gives Henson their only copy, but the mistake is
discovered and a short break is called so that more copies can
Henson and Ward help the court reporter catch up on her
spelling. What about OT7? Helena Kobrin leans over the table.
"Capital O Capital T space Roman seven." She gives the netizens
a dirty look. "You're a better explainer than I am," Henson
says cordially. "I noticed," Kobrin replies.
Back on the record, Lieberman refers to Henson's answer and
counterclaims. [#24] Did he draft it himself? Henson says he
used Grady Ward's document as a pattern.
Lieberman: on page 2 line 13, you say "avers that plaintiff's
e-mail complaint was intended to intimidate lawful criticism."
What e-mail complaint are you referring to? Henson answers that
it is the cease and desist letter from Ms. Kobrin.
Lieberman: you say, "This answering defendant is informed and
believes." The word informed suggests that you have been
informed of this by somebody; is that correct?
Henson replies that he means self-informed. Should he change
the document to say that? Lieberman says no.
Lieberman: Page 6, I probably shouldn't do this, but I'm going
to ask you what Extropian magazine is.
Henson explains about the Extropians, "people who are into
nanotechnology, uploading themselves into computers or robot
bushes, into the study of many aspects of highly transhuman
metamorphosis." In response to questioning, he states that the
magazine is published regularly, on a quarterly basis; it is a
slick magazine. He is not paid but his name appears on the
masthead. He does not get paid for articles he writes for this
magazine, but does for others.
Lieberman: Okay. By the way, a little while ago you said that
you had affixed to the bulletin board at work the latest cease
and desist letter you received. (Henson corrects him. It is the
one he received in July.)
Lieberman: Oh, okay. Where -- what work site did you do this in?
Hensen: One of my consulting jobs.
[Lieberman does not ask the name of the company.] He goes on to
ask about XOC. Hensen has described himself as the president
XOC is Xanadu Operating Company, one of the originators of
hypertext, Henson replies. A week ago there was a front page
article about it on the Wall Street Journal. Lieberman asks if
it is presently operating, and Henson says yes, barely. They
discuss a few more details about the company. Lieberman wants
to know if Henson is getting paid and if the stock is worth
much. Henson says he is in the process of swapping 10 percent
of it for $900,000 worth of someone else's work.
Lieberman takes a quick pass through Alcor Life Extension
Foundation, where Henson is on the board. This is the cryonics
foundation. Apparently it was through his activities with ALCOR
that Hensen became knowledgeable about the ECPA. Yes, Henson
Lieberman immediately proceeds to the rmgroup message. Now,
paragraph 9, you say, "Keith Henson has been informed and on
that basis believes that on January 11th, 1995, attorney for
the plaintiff, Helena Kobrin, executed or caused to be executed
a special computer command called a RMGROUP to automatically
destroy the internet discussion group designated
After a little discussion in which Henson states that it was
this event the caused him to take an interest in a.r.s.,
Lieberman decides to split hairs: But I thought you said that,
in fact, the event that triggered your becoming interested in
it was when you learned of this alleged act; isn't that right?
Henson: I'm actually not certain whether it was that one or
something which occurred very close to that time, which was the
raid on the pin net server. I honestly can't answer you on
that. However, somebody managed to get a letter that Helena
wrote, if I remember correctly, and posted it to the internet,
and, of course, this particular event was a major event. It was
discussed all over the net.
Lieberman: Now, how does this command -- how is this command
supposed to automatically destroy a discussion group?
Henson explains. All of the postings of a newsgroup go into a
multilevel directory, and the effect of RMGROUP causes the
operating system of the news server to delete all the contents
of that directory and then to remove the entire directory
Lieberman: So is all anybody in the world needs to do to
destroy a discussion group is just put RM on some header and
send it out and the news group will just be destroyed?
Lieberman: But it didn't happen, did it?
Henson: Well, it didn't happen because people immediately
They discuss this point for a bit. Are you saying that it was
destroyed and then it was reinstated? Lieberman asks, and
Henson says yes, but it was destroyed on thousands of sites.
Lieberman: Isn't it true, sir, that almost all access providers
do not have their system set up so that somebody can
automatically remove a group from it, that it has to go through
human control and discretion?
Henson disagrees. By the numbers, many more people have it
turned on than turned off. The larger providers have it go
through a human editing stage, but most of the smaller
providers don't. He doesn't know how in how many places the
alt.religion.scientology files were deleted, but it was a
Lieberman: And why would any place set up their system so that
anybody in the world could just destroy a news group on it?
Henson: It used to be that people were more trusted in this
Having dealt with the mechanics, Lieberman now asks if Henson
has any proof that Ms. Kobrin sent the rmgroup message.
Henson replies that he does not, but he has seen the rmgroup
Lieberman: in the Comment field, it said, "Please remove this
news group," didn't it?
Henson: It wasn't please remove, it was directed to bots,
electronic automated machinery all over the net that destroyed
Lieberman: And didn't the message say, "We request that you
remove the a.r.s. news group from your site. Please confirm
that you have done so." You don't recall seeing that?
Henson says that it sounds very similar to what he remembers
Lieberman: So that's a request, isn't it, sir?
Henson: Well, for some sites, yeah, some sites where people
actually read it, but I know that as a control message, it
doesn't necessarily go through human hands. Like I say, if they
had the news --- the system which loads news into the
directories, if it's set up the default way, it just deletes
Lieberman: That's up to the individuals who run those systems,
isn't it, as to how they want to set up their system? As you
said, many systems are set up -- the major systems are set up
so that there is somebody who reviews such requests, isn't
there? Isn't that right?
Henson: That's -- that may be -- that is to the best of my
knowledge true. It may or may not -- I don't know whether it's
true in all of the major systems, and I don't know at what size
you cut off major systems.
Lieberman: A system can choose to set itself up so that there
is human control over that; isn't that correct?
Henson: That is true.
Lieberman: Now, do you have any evidence as to the actual
destruction of sites? What evidence do you have of that?
Henson: Oh, there were people complaining about it for weeks.
Lieberman wants to know if Henson has any hard evidence that
anything actually happened. Henson says no, but he'll get it.
The next order of business is the telephone call by an
investigator to Henson's ex-wife. Under questioning, Henson
says he was notified of the event by email. He does not have a
copy because he deletes all email. She might have a copy.
Lieberman asks for the email (Henson offers to get an
affidavit, but Lieberman declines).
Did she identify the person? No. Did she say what the person
had said to her? Henson cannot remember exactly what was said.
Lieberman: So is all she said is he tried to obtain information
which might be damaging to you, but she wouldn't say what
information that was?
[Phweet! Phweet! The observer calls a foul.]
Lieberman: Did you call her to find out?
[This goes on for awhile.] Henson sent his ex-wife an email in
which he warned that there might be other attempts to contact
her, and that tape from a telephone conversation can be
This is followed by more meticulous cross-examination by
Lieberman. Did she say anything about her reaction? When did
you last communicate with her? Does Henson have children? Was
it a hostile divorce?
Finally they come to Eugene Ingram (paragraph 19 of Henson's
countersuit). Lieberman addresses the Florida felony warrant.
"Did it have anything to do with you?" No, Henson replies.
You then go on to say, "It would not be a surprise to find
blackmail of state officials was involved." Which state
officials do you think were blackmailed?
Henson: Jay Pruner.
Lieberman: Do you have any evidence of that?
Henson: An extreme change of heart over a period of a few days.
Lieberman: That's it?
Henson: Yes, that's it.
Lieberman then moves on to allegations of intimidation through
defamation. Henson names Vera Wallace as a typical example.
Lieberman asks him what she said; Henson cannot repeat it word
for word. Okay, but sitting here today, you can't tell me what
the defamation was? Henson says he can't, but will dig it up
Lieberman: Threats of barratry -- what's barratry by the way?
Henson: It's what Helena got fined for last year. [All the RTC
attorneys flinch. Kobrin stiffens in outrage.]
Lieberman: What barratry has been -- threats of barratry and
barratry have been engaged in against you?
Henson: This case.
Lieberman: This case in which a preliminary injunction has been
issued against you is barratry; that's your testimony?
Henson: That's my opinion.
Lieberman: Okay. So that's what this is based -- this
allegation is based upon this very case?
Henson: and others
Lieberman: So you're suing for damages for cases that were
filed against other people or just against you?
Henson: Good thought. I ought to make it a class action.
They go over this issue a few more times. Henson's allegation
of barratry refers to other people as well as himself. He says
he will take Lieberman's advice and reword the complaint.
[Kobrin whispers urgently to Lieberman]
Lieberman: By threats of barratry, you mean threats of
lawsuits; is that your concept?
Henson: Threats of unjustified lawsuits. Barratry is an
unjustified lawsuit, among other things.
Lieberman: And you believe this lawsuit is unjustified?
Henson: Yes, I do.
Lieberman returns to defamation. Once again he requires Henson
to admit he cannot repeat the posts by Vera Wallace which he
believes are defamatory. Henson takes the time to compare
scientology with the LaRouchians, whom he does not take
Lieberman (quickly): So you didn't take it very seriously?
Henson: Well, the truth of it is you really can't take
defamation from Scientologists very seriously. I could have
sued the LaRouchians, on that matter, except that nobody would
have believed anything they said. I've been defamed by people
Leiberman reminds him that this did not stop him from
participating in ars, or having fun. He was having fun, right?
Henson retorts that this doesn't mean he can't claim defamation.
[Kobrin and Lieberman whisper together, and a short recess is
called. The lawyers go out for a huddle.]
Lieberman now gets to the exhibits Henson filed with his reply
to the second declaration of Warren McShane. Exhibit A is a
document authored by Margery Wakefield. Exhibit B is a
collection of documents; it is this that Lieberman wants to
discuss. Exhibit B is duly marked as plaintiff's exhibit #25.
Exhibit B consists of a collection of reprints of HCO
bulletins. In response to questions Henson says that someone
emailed them to him.
Henson: Is this part of AT? [Advanced Technology]
Lieberman: I don't think we're claiming that it is.
In answer to followup question, Henson says that he does not
remember who sent him the material. It arrived a few days
before he filed the document; he stripped the headers, and out
pieces as needed for his exhibits. He paid no attention to who
sent the email and cannot remember that now.
Lieberman specifically asks if he got it from Lawrence
Wollersheim or Bob Penny. Henson says no: he would have
remembered those names.
Lieberman: Are you aware that these documents are also
Henson (economically): Fair use. Lieberman: Your idea of fair
use is it's okay to republish them in their entirety?
Henson replies that he has not published the documents in their
entirety. He has filed an abbreviated version.
Lieberman: Are you aware that they've been copyrighted?
Henson: Oh, everything's copyrighted. Stuff is born
copyrighted. Everything that you guys have duplicated here of
my material is copyrighted.
Lieberman then says he is finished, reserving the right to ask
for further questioning in case facts requiring it develop
Now it is Henson's turn to introduce exhibits, if he wants to.
All eyes go to the Playboy Magazine. Is he serious? He is. This
is Playboy for June 1996.
Lieberman: You're not really going to introduce a Playboy into
Henson: Why not? It's applicable. One of the arguments is that
this material has been very carefully maintained, and I can
show in the 2 million people who've seen this piece of the
thing, Travolta -- short paragraph, [Dave Touretzsky's letter,
which Henson reads with relish] "Travolta credits Scientology
for his mental stability. As a graduate of some of the most
advanced levels of Scientology training, Travolta is required
to believe that he is possessed by the spirits of murdered
space aliens. Does this sound like mental stability to you?"
Lieberman does not object to Playboy.
Henson's next exhibit is a news article on the Vosper case.
[A copy break is called. Henson spends the time entertaining
Lieberman with his adventures against Lyndon Larouche. At the
time Henson was involved in L5 (a society devoted to space
exploration) LaRouche operatives infiltrated L5, charging that
the society provided "psychosexual gratification" to members.
When business resumes, Lieberman objects to the Vosper exhibit
because there is no identification of where it came from. He
remarks that it is also irrelevant, but he will reserve
Henson's next exhibit is an article by Wayne Whitney that was
posted to the net. Lieberman objects to this: no foundation, no
Henson next introduces an opinion from the Ninth Circuit Court
of Appeals, the Religious Technology Center versus Robin Scott,
et al. And this is where I believe that my contention of
estoppel with respect to trade secrets has been established by
the Ninth Circuit.
Lieberman: Objection on a variety of grounds. Ninth Circuit
opinion is not for publication, which means it can't be used in
any other case.
Henson's next exhibit produces interesting consequences. Before
it can be introduced Lieberman states that he objects because
it contains identification of upper level processes, the very
titles of which in some instances are trade secrets. Henson may
choose not to introduce it [the observer feels that Lieberman
favors this option] or may introduce it sealed.
Henson: Well, I tell you what, rather than submit it here today
kind of thing, I'll just let you have all the copies and you
guys can shred them and if I decide to introduce it, I'll seal
it and give it to the court directly.
[From the dismay of the RTC attorneys, the observer infers that
the mystery exhibit has something to do with the recently
Henson : However, I should go ahead and tell you where that
Lieberman: Yes, because I was going to ask you.
Henson: Well, I have no problem telling you where it came from.
It was spammed all over the net Sunday night, I believe, and
was on altavista and dejanews, and it's still on Netcom in an
Lieberman: And you downloaded it?
Henson: I downloaded the index. Just as -- to establish that
whatever trade secrets these things had, they -- if exposing
stuff ruins a trade secret status of the thing, it's -- it's
Lieberman: Are you through? I have just one or two questions.
Do you know -- have any information as to who posted this?
Henson: The stuff is signed Valar or Volar or something like
Lieberman: Do you know who Volar is?
[Whereupon the deposition ended. It was 4:24 p.m.]
A major factor in the deposition was Henson's refusal to
authenticate the plaintiff's posts. He was willing to say, at
most, that a post resembled something he might have written or
seemed familiar. This conservative stance frustrated Lieberman
and slammed the door on any number of future strategies by the
Every important question was asked at least twice. Plaintiff
repeatedly asked if Henson had acquired or downloaded NOTS or
other AT materials. Henson was asked if he was SCAMIZDAT. He
was asked whether he had discussed publishing AT materials with
a lengthy list of individuals. All of these questions went to
possession of material and transfer of material.
Henson's answers were uniformly negative. The apparent purpose
behind these questions was an effort to discover *who is
conspiring against the church.* Lieberman came up empty handed.
What will the church make of Henson's answers? We surmise that
RTC will ask to have Henson's countersuit thrown out, on the
grounds that he is merely having fun at the court's expense.
Further discovery efforts will be undertaken: subpoenas against
remailers, archivists and, perhaps, the cypherpunks.
There is no doubt that the rmgroup message, in hindsight, was a
mistake. It was tactically ineffective and created a long-term
legal liability. Lieberman spent quite a bit of time laying the
groundwork to dispute his client's connection with the message.
Lieberman committed 2 fouls, noted in the commentary. Readers
are invited to submit additional claims. Henson was a good
witness and adhered to his strategy with remarkable
consistency. Lieberman is a skilled attorney with excellent
trial instincts and the ability to make anyone look bad
(temporarily) in front of a jury. Helena Kobrin was
incongruously cast as a handmaid during this deposition; the
observer felt that she would have preferred a more influential
role. H. Keith Henson had his SP level confirmed by a church
attorney, a rare privilege, and will probably receive some
extra recognition from the ARSCC.
3. Interview with Mike Godwin of the EFF: (week of April 22)
bj: How do you feel about finding your name on the enemies list?
[note: H. Keith Henson was sued by RTC, an arm of the church of
scientology. He was ordered to produce correspondence with a
list of persons; this list included several prominent posters
to alt.religion.scientology, and was quickly dubbed the Enemies
List. Mike Godwin, chief attorney for the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, was on the list.
MG: Godwin does not want to call Keith Henson's document demand
list the "enemies list." This said, the EFF attorney said he
found it "disconcerting to think that Helena Kobrin thinks
anything I might have said to Keith Henson is of interest to
her church." He was surprised and a little annoyed.
bj: is this typical of lawsuits?
MG: Well, it seems to be a fishing expedition. I can't imagine
that anything I or Keith Henson have ever said publicly could
give a reasonable basis for thinking we have ever discussed
anything that would be relevant to the concerns of the church
[Godwin, in a pleasant fluent style, makes these laywerly
I have been critical of the church at times, but I have never
violated their copyrights, or crossed the line separating
criticism from infringement of their intellectual-property
bj: do you think it is likely you will be subpoenaed?
MG: I have no reason to think that will happen. If it did I
would have to review my files to see what fell within the
attorney- client privilege. Not that Keith Henson has ever been
a client, but other people have sometimes contacted me for
legal advice and I have given it to them. This is privileged
bj: The offices of the EFF are in the [San Francisco] Bay Area,
bj: How do you feel about the possibility that the church might
get a search and seizure order against the EFF?
Godwin immediately discounted the possibility. "I think that's
very unlikely," he said. So far the church has only gotten the
search and seizure orders on the basis of copyright
infringement. [With regard to the Eff] there is no probable
bj: would a seizure order have to go through Judge Whyte?
MG: I don't know. It would have to go through some court.
[by now he has had a minute to think about it] If they did that
[the seizure] they would be awfully surprised at how nasty
things would get. No organization is as cognizant of their
rights regarding computers and electronic media as the EFF. We
helped to define some of the law in this area.
But it is not a serious risk. He goes on to say that the church
has applied its most heavy handed tactics to former members.
The expansion of the conflict to non-members Grady Ward and
Keith Henson is discussed.
MG: I have talked on the phone with the church attorneys. Even
though we have had disagreements it has never escalated to more
than statements of disagreement. I have no reason to believe
that this [his name on the list] signals an escalation.
bj: how high does the church of scientology rank in the
concerns of EFF?
MG: not very high.
bj: what is EFF's major concern?
MG: that service providers not be held responsible for the
actions of their users--not have to play a policing role. He
goes on to explain that service providers want limits on
liability, rather than common carrier status. Common carriers
are regulated by the PUC and must carry whatever traffic they
are given. Service providers need some editorial control; for
example, if someone wants to run a Disney channel with no
offcolor language, he should be able to do that. The only
reason we ever came into opposition with the church was the
church's efforts to use the courts to impose editorial duties
on service providers.
He has a few remarks about the idea of requiring isps to remove
any post when notified that it is a copyright violation. "You
could shut anyone up this way." The isp has no means of making
the judgment. If the posts were removed simply on the basis of
notification, anyone could be silenced. Further, the practice
might spread, and might become used by persons with no
copyright interests at stake. [there is a momentary pause
while BJ and Godwin both contemplate the ensuing chaos]
bj: what about searching people's homes and taking their
computers and files?
MG: well, the law was designed for commercial copyright
infringement. Its use against individuals who were not making
commercial uses [of copyrighted material] is an inappropriate
use of the legal remedies involved.
bj: do you know where the church will go next?
MG: I have no idea. But then I didn't expect them to come after
bj: what do you think of the possibility of a RICO suit?
MG: against whom?
bj: all the critics.
Godwin quickly discounts the idea. I doubt that will happen, he
4. Rodent Report
"Ron Newman has found romance," a field mouse confided. The
sheriff of ars apparently hides a warm heart beneath his stern
facade. The sheriff was spotted consorting with a certain high-
spirited lady from ars. After a passionate courtship in email,
rnewman persuaded the lady to make a visit IRL. Some data
should be uploaded in person. Neither party is talking, but we
are reliably informed that the lady had an enjoyable weekend
and would be willing to continue the acquaintance. This speaks
well for the sheriff, who blushed and refused to discuss the
"The church would never raid the EFF," a rat said recently in
our hearing. "They wouldn't dare." Perhaps the rat is right; on
the other hand, each time the church has lost a round in the
netwar it has raised the ante. The rat's words evoked an
unsettling sense of deja vu.
The deepest fears of the church of scientology, of a top level
defection, may soon be realized according to a church mouse.
"Scientologists believe that someone who fails to carry out an
order is a traitor," the mouse explained. A top exec. was made
a scapegoat for some bad decisions by superiors. He is being
denied auditing, ostracized and humiliated. The publication of
NOTS was the last straw. "They'll ratchet up the pressure until
he bails," the mouse prophesied. "It's not if but when."
5. GEORGIA: Say What?
GUILLOTINE PROPOSED AS MEANS OF EXECUTION IN GEORGIA
Georgia lawmaker Doug Teper (Democrat) has proposed a bill to replace
the state's electric chair with the guillotine. Teper's reasoning? It
would allow for death-row inmates as organ donors, he says, since the
"Blade makes a clean cut and leaves vital organs intact."
In 1995, a move to replace the electric chair with lethal injection
(poisoning) failed in Georgia's assembly because legislators feared
that prisoners could argue for a new sentencing hearing if the state
changed the law.
The Guillotine, invented by the French Dr. Guillotine, was mainly used
in the 18th and 19th century and chops off a person's head. It hasn't
been used for decades in any country in the world.
[From: Bob Witanek <email@example.com>
Posted firstname.lastname@example.org Mon Mar 4 05:33:09 1996]
We are not aware of the fate of the Teper proposal. We assume that
it, or something similar, will soon pass. If the state were serious
about organ donation, the organs would be removed before death.
Apparently the real motivation for this law is a desire for better
public entertainment. Perhaps the executions will be syndicated for
television as a followup to the popular police action shows.
Meanwhile, in another effort to be in the forefront of modern
legislative action, the Georgia legislature passed a bill
prohibiting a vast number of usernames and links on the internet.
(The bill is called HB 1630 and concerns transmitting
misleading data over a computer or telephone network.)
An exception was thoughtfully included allowing the members of
the General Assembly to use the Georgia State Seal on their own
posts. The bill was quickly signed into law and will take effect
on July 1.
The Georgia bill says:
> (a) It shall be unlawful for any person, any organization,
> or any representative of any organization knowingly to
> transmit any data through a computer network or over the
> transmission facilities or through the network facilities
> of a local telephone network for the purpose of setting
> up, maintaining, operating, or exchanging data with an
> electronic mailbox, home page, or any other electronic
> information storage bank or point of access to electronic
> information if such data uses any individual name, trade
> name, registered trademark, logo, legal or official seal,
> or copyrighted symbol to falsely identify the person,
> organization, or representative transmitting such data
> which would falsely state or imply that such person,
> organization, or representative has permission or is
> legally authorized to use such trade name, registered
> trademark, logo, legal or official seal, or copyrighted
> symbol for such purpose when such permission or
> authorization has not been obtained; provided, however,
> that no telecommunications company or Internet access
> provider shall violate this Code section solely as a
> result of carrying or transmitting such data for its
We are not a lawyer, but the wording troubled us. The bill was rightfully criticized on the net for its threat to the links which connect web sites with one another. We do not know whether the Georgia legislators intended to saw the state out of the web, but this may be the practical effect. Now does this bill say that false or misleading usernames are criminal in themselves? We had difficulty keeping track of the "ors." The bill appears to say that individual names which falsely identify the user are prohibited, and that even true names which happen to be trademarked or copyrighted by some other party are forbidden. This interpretation rests upon a specific "or," which we have placed on a separate line for the reader's convenience. Does the Georgia legislature have jurisdiction over the internet? An observant netizen remarked that this attempt to regulate interstate (international?) commerce invades a domain currently occupied by the federal government. A similar bill is pending in California. Can states regulate the sign-on names of users? If the answer is yes, wonderful frontiers of speech control and revenue enhancement beckon to hungry legislators. Both Georgia and California bills prohibit the use of any sign-on or domain name which is currently in use as a trademark, or is copyrighted. We can't help feeling sorry for persons named McDonald, Ford, Crocker, Hoover, Johnson, Smith, Alice [preempted by the city of Alice, Texas], and (of course) Georgia. The irony of a legislature enacting a law forbidding the dissemination of misleading data left us nonplussed. We can only wish that the law would be applied to their own pre-election promises and campaign finance statements. --------- 6. Flame of the Week The previous issue of **Biased Journalism** evoked some warmly appreciated supporting posts and a small number of hostile messages. We considered reprinting the best effort in this category, which said something to the effect of "the church will get you real soon!" However, the following message made our day: > On Sun, 21 Apr 1996, [name deleted] wrote:
> > Thought I would never find you, huh? Your hacking days are over
> > f****r, you're dead s*** now. You thought you were a tough guy
> > screwing with our systems at Networks On-Line. I personally
> > caught you red handed digging into our customer's CREDIT CARD
> > records. I have your entire session logged and I even traced
> > it back to your dialin terminal.
> > You don't f*** around with me, pussy. I'm a Texan man, and you
> > don't f*** with Texas. I'm contacting your administrators voice
> > tomorrow morning. Wait until the s*** hits the fan. The police
> > will probably be involved.
> > Have fun. You will regret ever f***ing with NOL.NET.
We immediately wrote to the sysop whose name was signed to this message, thanking him for his contribution to **Biased Journalism** and wanting to know what he said to Netcom and how long he was kept on hold before he delivered his message. How, exactly, did he discover us? Our hopes for more funny messages were squelched, alas. We received a quick reply. The letter was a hoax, perpetrated by a disgruntled user. *Many* people received these letters. **Biased Journalism** an abode of demonic hackers? We felt better already. The End [**Biased Journalism** is composing a mailing list. If you would like to be on it, let us know. Checks and hot tips should go to our solid mail address: c/o S. Thomson, 236 Stanford S/C, Suite 142, Palo Alto, California 94304.]