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Scientology Crime Syndicate

20 Aug 2000

racer@imladris.npsis.com (Kristi Wachter)

Date: Saturday, August 5, 2000
Start and End Times: 12:00 - 2:15 pm and 3:20 - 4:30 pm
Location: San Francisco
Picketers: Murdoch, Adam, Aaron, Ryan, Peaches, Phr, Kristi Wachter
Handlers: Jeff Quiros (barely)
Weather: sunny, warm, breezy
Number of Handouts given away: 292 (way upstat!) - all picketers combined
Comments: very uneventful

flier stats:

3 Xenu fliers
15 Lisa fliers
1 Rodney Rimando
3 breaking the law
25 costs a mint/breaking the law
3 picket advisory
6 to my neighbors/questions for Scientologists
236 illegal tax exemption

292 total

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Familiar faces seen:

Jeff Quiros
Josh
Ms. A

Familiar faces not present during this picket:

Lucretia
Mr. Get-Your-Facts-Straight
Burly Guy
Craig
El Greco
Mr. Tall Thin Sea Org
Mr. Lady-I-Work-Here
Movie Star
Miss Pixie

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Note: Quotes may not be exact, since I didn't listen to my tape recording at all. Also, I occasionally rearrange the chronology slightly to enhance the narrative flow.

Photos will be posted at
http://www.scientology-lies.com/picketphotos.000805.html within a week or so.

Seven of us - Murdoch, Adam, Aaron, Ryan, Peaches, Phr, and I - picketed the San Francisco org on Saturday, August 5. We handed out LOTS of fliers. Response from the org was fairly mild. Jeff Quiros came out and took pictures, but there was no shouting match or name calling like there was last month. The intrepid Murdoch engaged several Scientologists in calm discussion, very little of which I overheard.

Response from the public was very good - even better than usual, probably due to having more than two picketers. (We also had nice weather and a big rally going on a block away, which both helped.)

DON'T SPEAK

As is my wont, I telephoned the police before leaving for the picket. I mentioned our upcoming protest and gave my usual "we aren't expecting any trouble but we like to let you know" spiel. The officer pointed out that there was going to be a big rally just a few blocks away at the Civic Center. I had been completely unaware of the other protest. I told the officer we probably wouldn't need to put any further strain on their limited resources on such a busy day and thanked him for the information.

While I had him on the phone, though, I asked him a question about picketing protocol.

During our July picket, Murdoch and Adam were picketing by themselves for a while, and they engaged some Scientologists at the Stress Test table in conversation. From what we were told later that afternoon, Jeff Quiros had felt that they were interfering with Scientology's regular activities and called the police. While waiting for the police that day, we had continued to picket a bit and had a nice long chat with Jeff (this is the one where he ranted about me being insane and then later calmed down and admitted that, God help him, he actually liked me). When the officer arrived, she informed us that we're allowed to talk with Scientologists, but if they tell us not to talk to them, we have to stop, and we're not allowed to interfere with their normal activities. (Of course, we had no intention of interfering with their activities; we have a long history of assiduously avoiding any blocking of their doorways or regular traffic patterns - both to stay legal and to be courteous - and I think this was simply a matter of Murdoch and Adam's relative inexperience and great enthusiasm to discuss their concerns with the Scientologists.)

In any case, this incident had set me to thinking. We're not allowed to talk to the Scientologists if they tell us to stop. Does that work both ways? What if we tell a Scientologist to stop talking to us? After all, Peaches had made it clear to (no longer!) Nasty Mark on several occasions that she didn't want to talk to him, but he continued to badger her. Was that okay from the police perspective, or not?

Well, I posed the question to the officer: if one of us asks a Scientologist to stop talking to us, do they have to comply? He kind of laughed at the odd question, and said, "Well, yeah, that would be the polite thing to do." I said, "Well, historically that hasn't been what's happened - so if that happens again, that we ask a Scientologist to stop talking to us while we're picketing, should we get in touch with the police station?" He said yes. I reiterated that I didn't anticipate that that would happen today (we haven't had that kind of stubborn shadow handling in quite a while), but I was very pleased to know that we had a similar right to be left alone upon request.

So, if you picket Scientology and have experienced (or think you might experience) this kind of behavior, I strongly recommend that you contact the police before your next picket and inquire about the local regulations. Know your rights!

THE PRE-PICKET PICKET

Peaches had kindly agreed to drive me to the org (I'm still nursing my ankle - it's much better, but best not to aggravate it). Unfortunately, the infamous Bay Area traffic delayed her. No problem, though - I spent the waiting time picketing on the corner near my home. Although there's not a lot of pedestrian traffic in my neighborhood (making it difficult for my revenge picketers to give out many DA fliers), city busses pass by frequently, so I got a lot of face time with local bus riders, plus occasional flier requests and honks of support.

I had also forgotten to bring my supply of inflatable aliens, so I was glad Peaches was delayed - it gave me time to go get them before she arrived.

START THE PARTY

When Peaches and I arrived at the org, about 15 minutes past noon, we were greeted by the sign (and signs!) of FOUR picketers who had arrived before us! Murdoch and Adam, our two newcomers from last month, had invited a couple of their friends, Ryan and Aaron.

Peaches and I introduced ourselves and joined the picket-already-in-progress. I gave Ryan and Aaron picket advisories (while reminding them that I'm not in charge - they are responsible for themselves, and they can respect or ignore my suggestions as they choose).

In addition to a camcorder, at least one of the young men had a cell phone. Between their gadgets and my cheapo tape recorder, we were well equipped to record any notable moments during the protest.

GOOD TIME CHARLIE'S GOT THE BLUES

While conversing with a passerby, I noticed a gentleman I'd seen at previous pickets. At one point, he joined the conversation, revealing his familiarity with Scientology's history and with some of the critical literature.

As the day progressed, I learned that he called himself Charlie.

Much of the time, he stood and watched us picket, but occasionally he joined in conversation with us.

TWIST IT UP

Two solid hours of hurried conversations with interested but rushed passersby can easily scramble your words. (This is one reason I now use Arnie's "It's worse than you think!" most of the time instead of my old "I think Scientology's hurting people and breaking the law" - not only is Arnie's phrase shorter, it's harder to mix up.)

At one point, Murdoch said something to a passerby about the Sea Org's "billion-dollar contract." I mentioned the little glitch to him (as the gentle reader undoubtedly knows, it's a billion-YEAR contract), then assumed a mock-handler valence and started berating him: "See? You TWIST the truth! You're always TWISTING the truth!"

We all had a quick chuckle, then Charlie said, "Hey, give me a flier - I'll show you twisting the truth." So I handed him one, and he posed for me, the flier all a-twist. (See the photo page for the picture.)

Next time, I'll have to bring more "costs a mint" fliers, and if Charlie stops by, he can do a peppermint twist. <grin

SOUND OF THE STREETS

From time to time, we heard sounds drifting over from Market Street (half a block away). It turned out to be a rally protesting the US embargo against Iraq.

Since we had plenty of people covering the sidewalk in front of the org, I decided to pop over to the rally, hang about at the back of the crowd, and see if anyone might be interested in our little protest. I invited Charlie to join me.

We strolled around slowly and unobtrusively, and although I mostly just held out fliers to people as I passed, I had several interested takers. A few people stopped and engaged in lengthy conversations with us, including a trio of young ladies visiting San Francisco on vacation. One of them lived in Georgia. She said she'd never heard of Scientology before. I told her about the Atlanta pickets and said if she wanted to e-mail me, I could try to put her in touch with the Atlanta picketers.

After quite a lot of talking, I started to get a little hoarse, so Charlie and I headed back to the org and I rejoined the regularly scheduled picket.

TWO FINE PEOPLE

As usual, we had lots of interest from assorted passersby. I had chats with an older couple and a younger couple; both couples were well aware of Scientology's history of abuses, and asked for fliers and offered their encouragement.

We also had visits from some of our regulars: the gentleman who told me about Charles Manson's involvement came by again, and the lady who asks me for Lisa fliers practically every month stopped by and asked for two more.

YOU SAY GOODBYE AND I SAY HELLO

As Peaches reported, Adam and Murdoch were invited into the org by one of the Scientologists they had met during their initial exploratory visits to the org. As it turned out, though, when they tried to accept that offer, they were told they were not, in fact, welcome in the org.

During last month's picket, Jeff Quiros had said that, if they wanted to come back and learn more about Scientology from the org staff, they would have to go through him first. Perhaps Jeff can discuss the situation with the staffer who invited Adam and Murdoch inside and see if something can be worked out.

SCENES FROM A COFFEE HOUSE

Although the scheduled picket only runs from noon until 2 pm, I wanted to keep going until 2:15, since I'd been late. Promptly at 2:16, we headed over to our usual cafe for coffee, juice, and snack items.

We had a lovely chat, discussing all kinds of entheta. I handed out some of my spare aliens, and much fun was had playing with them.

I also gave everyone a copy of the flier I distributed when the revenge picketers were coming by more frequently. On one side, it explains to my neighbors what's going on and why I protest Scientology's abuses; on the other, it lists questions they might want to ask a Scientologist if they encounter one engaged in a revenge picket. I'm hoping Scientology won't run their usual op on our new picketers, tracking down their addresses and subjecting them to revenge pickets - I hope they'll forego it both because I think it's just generally a bad thing to do and because at least some of our newcomers are minors. However, if they do try their usual tactic, at least the neighbors will be forewarned.

(The "Questions" flier can be found here: http://www.scientology-lies.com/fliers/questions.html )

A LITTLE BIT MORE

Several folks wanted to head back to the org for more, so we gathered up our accoutrements (okay, I have more accoutrements to gather than most) and went back for another hour. This second pass was rather uneventful, but thoroughly enjoyable.

Alas, now that two weeks have gone by since the picket, I'm sure I've forgotten lots of interesting episodes. Oh well - anyone seeking a greater sense of one of our San Francisco pickets is cordially invited to come by and see one in person.

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY (THEY JUST CAN'T STOP IT)

As I posted Thursday, I heard from a neighbor that Craig came by my home for a revenge picket during the weekend of 8/12. I didn't see him or see any of the standard libellous fliers, so I don't know what day or how long he visited.

He's said that he wants me to stop my protests, and I wish he understood that he could picket my home until the 12th of Never, and it wouldn't make me stop picketing. He's certainly welcome to exercise his right to free speech and to protest my actions, but harassment and libel are just not going to change my mind about picketing.

All in all, it was a SPLENDID picket. I was delighted to see Murdoch and Adam again and most pleased to meet their two friends, Ryan and Aaron. It was a huge pleasure to see Peaches and Phr again and very nice to see Jeff Quiros and Josh.

I can hardly wait until the next picket - which takes place, of course, on the first Saturday of the month: September 2, from noon to 2, rain or shine.

See you then!

Kristi

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Kristi Wachter
the activist formerly known as "Jour" (before $cientology outed me)

I think $cientology is hurting people and breaking the law, and I want them to stop it. See http://www.scientology-lies.com for more. Can you say "Xenu?" ... I knew that you could.

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