Los Angeles, March 13-15, 1998
Picket reports and pictures
Well, Ok, Maybe it wasn't a secret picket, but it deserves mentioning:
On Friday mar. 13th, While most of our group stayed at CC, Keith Henson, Brent Stone, and I took a leisurely walk down Hollywood Blvd to the Hubbard museum and the FOLO bldg. Hollywood Blvd had much more foot traffic than CC , so handing out the Lisa and Xenu fliers was a breeze. We received a warm response from both locals and visitors. We stopped and chatted with pedestrians who saw our signs and wanted to know more. There was even one guy who pulled his car over in order to chat with us.
When we arrived at the Hubbard museum, we were a bit surprised to find that there was a scaffolding on the sidewalk blocking most of the front of the building. (it was the type you find in construction areas that you have to walk under) Were they really doing construction or were they trying to block the sidewalk from picketers? You decide. On the side of the Museum bldg, there was a Smurfette who was diligently taking notes on our behavior. She was somewhat friendly, as she returned the hello we offered her. Unfortunately, she declined the xenu flier that Brent offered her. We continued on our way, handing out fliers to anyone who seemed literate.
Once we got down to the FOLO bldg, we noticed that, it too, had been closed up. The only difference was that this building had blue plastic covering the entire entrance. There was a sign that said closed for renovation on the inside, but there were no workers in sight. After a lunch break, we headed back to CC on the other side of the street. Here we spent the rest of our fliers. We also stopped in a costume shop where they had a wide selection of *Xenu* masks. They would have been fun to wear- too bad they started at around $60.
About the only negativity we experienced came when we passed by the Hubbard museum again. (this time we were on the other side of the street) Brent tried to offer some fliers to a smurf who was standing on the corner. His only response was a sole finger. (I bet you can guess which one). Once we returned to CC, the others were gone, but were surely not missed. There was a security guy who had the look of "NOT AGAIN," when he saw us coming and he immediately got on his radio. We only stayed a couple of minutes, then left. Jason
MY TRIP TO UNIVERSAL STUDIOS, MARCH 13, 1998
I dropped Martin off about 6:15pm or so, so he could go to the Hubbard Birthday Celebration, then I parked and went in myself to shop and wait for Martin. I hung out at the main entrance to the amphitheater but the gate was locked, so I looked and saw another entrance farther away near Sam Goody's where Sea Orgers and others were trickling in. I observed this from various locations, including a balcony. I went back to the main entrance to see whether I could see buses unloading, and saw one school bus that had "Church of Scientology Western US" on it. Those doors were opened now so I watched people trickle in. I noticed some security-looking guys observing me, but I hung out anyway and stood under an overhang as it was drizzling now. Two sheriff's deputies gradually walked up to me and stood on either side of me. One struck up a conversation which quickly got around to Scientology. He mentioned that Keith Henson had called asking about picketing there. We talked about the ramifications of the Pruneyard case, Scientology, Christian Science, and picketing in general. While we were talking, a steady mass of Scientologists were now going by. The other deputy said that the event was sold out (about 6200 seats) and Kirstie Alley would be there, but not John travolta. At about 7:30 (the time to start) the deputies left, and since the flow of Scientologists had almost stopped, I went to the other entrance and observed a trickle of people going in and out. I think it was there that I saw Elliott Abelson.
Martin and I agreed that he would call my cel phone number when he was done. I also said that I'd stand outside the magic shop every half hour so we could meet that way too in case he got bored and left early. That was sort of burdensome because I couldn't wander very far. As I was shopping I had noticed an FBI-looking guy in a trench coat and with an earpiece watching me. I assumed he was a church guy and he was. Also I noticed 2 young teenage types tailing me (and all I was doing, remember, was shopping and observing).
I stopped at the hot dog stand to get a dog and Coke at about 7:45pm. There were four young Sea Orgers there. I asked one what the chain on his uniform represented and he said it was for the Church of Scientology and showed what department he worked in. I then sat down and ate and they sat next to me at the only other empty table. I asked the girl why they weren't in their meeting and she said it was starting late. They then talked a bit about the "spy outside" and that he apparently was run off. then they talked about some company or such, and I bid them a good meeting and went back to watching entrances.
It was obvious now that the two young guys were watching me. So I went upstairs as I had been doing and watched. I saw that neither of them had followed me up the escalator, so I took the elevator down to the basement and came up sort of behind the guy watching me. I said "what do you think I'll do if you don't watch me?" He looked a little startled and said "Nothing." I asked if he was paid to watch me or was a Scientologist. He said Scientologist. I asked how long he had been in and he said 3 years. He basically stopped talking to me, but he did say he knew my name, Jacobsen, and smiled. I asked if he'd like me to explain why we were picketing and he said no. So I said "you can just go with me if you want. You don't have to follow far away." Then I walked away.
A bit later I went up to both of them and said "you can ask me any question you like and I'll answer" but they never did.
Basically from then until about 10pm I went shopping and back to the magic shop every 1/2 hour. They were always a distance away when I would leave a store.
I asked a deputy there after I noticed the FBI-type guy also watching me what the definition of "stalking" is in California. He didn't know, but we both figured it must include a fear of physical harm, so I said never mind.
Right after my 10pm stand at the magic shop, I was seriously bored, so I walked quickly around a corner and ran to my car, and drove off to the hotel. I didn't look to see whether I'd lost the guys. Not long after I got back to the hotel, Martin called, so I changed clothes and went back to get him. I didn't see anyone observing us then. Martin's story is better. :))
Meanwhile, Connie wasn't the only guru working Hollywood on Friday. Up at the Universal Amphitheatre, Scientologists celebrated L. Ron Hubbard's birthday, and Scientology official Mark Ingber announced "Scientologists Online", a plan to send Internet website templates to 116,000 CoS members. Seems the Church of Scientology is a bit "enturbulated" (one of their favorite words) by all the "suppressive people" (another fave phrase) who have created such anti-Scientology web sites as www.entheta.net and www.xenu.net, and Church officials hope that by creating many, many websites that link to Scientology's home page, Scientology can clog search engines and prevent information critical of the Church from reaching those interested in learning all about Scientology. The template kits include a click-through to the official Church of Scientology website, which offers members the chance to make the 10% commission on new members' "donations," a commission normally offered to CoS's sales staff.
On Saturday, meanwhile, picketers gathered at L. Ron Hubbard Way to protest with signs decrying the high cost of Scientology ($360,000 to cross "the Bridge," or in the case of Lisa McPherson, her life; she died under the "care" of fellow Scientologists in a locked hotel room in 1995). The plucky group of twenty-plus -- including anti-cult activists Pricilla Coates, Ted Mayet, Grady Ward, and former Scientologist Dennis Erlich -- peacefully strolled the sidewalks as Church members hastily dismantled picnic tables and body-routed the faithful through a back entrance so they wouldn't have contact with "criminals." And those Scientology Communications Courses don't seem to work too well: A departing Scientologist in a green VW van shouted "Suck me! Fuck you!" at the picketers as he peeled out of the Scientology parking lot....
Martin Ottmann, Stacy Young and Robert Minton went to Santa Monica Beach CA - they just returned the car [ Robert Minton's ] at approx. 11:45 AM PST 12 March 1998 to find that Mr. Minton's computer, A digital Camera and Stacy's purse and its contents had been removed from the trunk. There appear to be no visible marks. Waiting for police at this time at site.
Subject: LA picket incident report #02
Peter Reichelt and a companion flew with a helicopter over Hemet. When they drove back in their car, scientologists blocked their car with two cars and made a citizens arrest for trespassing. Reichelt and his companion then arrested four scientologists for illegal trespassing. This funny situation ended when the sheriff was called.
Subject: Follow up information regarding Gene Ingram's LA Picket Harassment
From: email@example.com (Neal Hamel)
Date: Mon, 16 Mar 1998
( to recap: Gene Ingram was trying some harassment through the motel manager of the Days Inn where the majority of picketers were staying. )
I just spoke with the motel manager and have clarified a few things.
About two weeks ago in the meeting with the manager and the motel owner, Ingram implied or told both of them that the picketers would be carrying a bomb. He also got a copy of one of my letters which had my name and phone number on it.
Ingram did not recontact the motel manager until this Friday apparently while were picketing. He started asking lots of questions and told the manager that he was a policeman. The manager was wary because his story did not fit.
Yesterday, a letter from Jeff Jacobson had sent to the manager giving details of Ingram's modus operandi finally arrived. The manager became concerned and called the local police and faxed the information that Jeff had sent over to the police. (Good going!)
Last night a person named Joanne who said she worked with Ingram, called several times after 10 pm asking for more information about motel guests. The manager refused to give any details of the guests.
When Ingram called today she confronted him with his claim that he was a policeman. Ingram told the manager to not tell police that he had claimed that he was a police officer or, in the words of the manager, "it would blow the whole thing up". He also told the manager that she would doing a good job for him. This last little bit unnerved her which is why the manager contacted me today.
However, despite Ingram's veiled threats, the manager did tell the police that Ingram had claimed he was a police officer and they told her that if he showed up again to call the fraud division immediately.
Jeff Jacobsen, who is still at the motel, was able to talk to the manager and tell her about Ingram before I got there this evening so she was not so unnerved. -Neal H.