“Scientology Fugitive” Arrested

Keith Henson

On Friday, Arizona police arrested a 64-year-old man — a fugitive since 2001 in a bizarre war that mixes free speech, copyright law, and the Church of Scientology.

Keith Henson's journey began seven years ago while innocuously watching another critic mock the group on an internet newsgroup. In a gonzo discussion about procuring a "Tom Cruise missile," they'd joked about working with "Secret Agent 99, wearing a stunning black leather biker outfit." Other posters joined in the internet discussion, asking whether Tom Cruise missiles are affected by wind."No way," Keith joked. "Modern weapons are accurate to a matter of a few tens of yards."

The police were informed of his "threatening" posts, and Henson was arrested.



The police tipsters were the Scientologists themselves, who had already been the targets of an annoying picketing campaign by Henson over the death of a woman near their complex. Besides Henson's inability to acquire long-range missiles, his wife notes bitterly that it would be impossible for any church members in the complex to feel threatened by the internet posts, since they aren't even allowed to access the internet. Scientology officials have also claimed Henson followed their employees home — though Henson counters that "the same people who claimed to have been 'terrorized' by the picketers offered to take them to lunch on June 25, 2000, evidently to distract them from the death scene being cleaned up."

Though Henson was found innocent of long-range missile terrorism, for his activities he was convicted of interfering with a church — a California hate crime for which he received a six-month misdemeanor prison sentence. But Henson said he feared his life would be in danger from Scientologists if he were imprisoned - and he fled to Canada in 2001.

He was already bankrupt from an earlier ruling that he'd infringed on Scientology copyrights. But Henson continued picketing Scientologists in Toronto, and they apparently retaliated by informing Canadian police of his presence. (Henson believes the Scientologists told police he was a terrorist and bomb maker.) L.A. Weekly reported two unmarked vans pulled up and "a handful of emergency-services task-force officers — Canada's version of a police SWAT team — spilled out, wearing body armor and carrying submachine guns." Describing the event, the EFF reported Henson was "arrested in a shopping mall parking lot, by a heavily armed paramilitary unit."

EFF Executive Director Shari Steele argued that Free speech was at stake in his case: "This trial seems intended to punish Mr. Henson for his opposition to a powerful organization using the barest thread of legal justification to do so."

His wife added in an interview with a Canadian newsweekly that "It's horrifying to me and to his friends how they've managed to twist his words."

Henson was ultimately released from a Canadian jail after filing an application for political asylum — reportedly the first ever accepted for review by the Canadian government, and for the next three years he lived as an expatriate in Canada, awaiting their decision.

When asked to describe life in Canada, he replied "colder." As the years rolled by, Henson explained his picketing strategy evolved out of a desire to have a real impact. In a 2005 interview he argued that heavy-handed legal tactics intimidated police from acting against the organization, and "Starving Scientology of new members is perhaps the best we can do."

But when Canadian officials reached a decision in 2005, Henson was suddenly filled with concern. The hearing could result in his deportation back to the prison where he feared for his life. He reportedly said, "I'm not going to be shoved across the border into the hands of Scientologists," Henson slipped out of Canada, returning to fugitive status, and joked that he was hiding in the Mortmain Mountains — the treachorous range in Lemony Snicket books.

For 17 months he lived on the lam. Yesterday, in the small town of Prescott, Arizona — the law finally caught up with him. Henson had been driving his wife's car, and when stopped by police, was soon informed of the outstanding warrant for his arrest. He was taken into custody, and faces extradition back to the California prison he's feared for the last six years. Saturday morning Henson's wife, identifying herself as a "soon to be widow," issued a plea asking the public for legal help, publicity — "anything but the usual Scientology private eyes who have harassed her for years."



Henson has a long history of activity within tech culture. He was one of the founders and leaders of the L5 Space Colony movement in the 1970s. (California's new Attorney General, Jerry Brown, was also in the L5 orbit when he was Governor of that state.) He was a close associate of K. Eric Drexler while Drexler was conceiving nanotechnology. He has also been active in the digital encryption movement, and has been associated with the Transhumanist movement — particularly Extropy Institute.

Former Extropy Institute members and other well wishers have already created a legal defense fund. There is also now a "Free Keith Henson" blog where people can keep track of new developments. Henson has many friends and late Friday night one supporter even called the jail, according to a Usenet post, and spoke to a prison staffer.

"I asked if he'd tell Keith that Tory sent her love. And I asked him to please watch after Keith."

See also:
Interview with Keith Henson
California Cults
Adopt an African Hottie's Clitoris
Crooks of the World Hurt Free Speech
Keith Henson Back in Jail — Space Elevator Will Have To Wait

83 thoughts on ““Scientology Fugitive” Arrested

  1. One thing that I’m always surprised never gets brought up in discussion of Keith Henson is that if you actually, TRULY believe that Keith Henson’s comments about “Tom Cruise missiles” should be taken as a serious threat — then you really are forced to the logical conclusion that L. Ron Hubbard himself, the founder of Scientology and the supposed “Friend of Mankind”, should have been arrested and imprisoned for soliciting murder.

    You see, if you ask Scientologists what “R2-45″ is, the answer is that it was ONLY A JOKE. YES, “R2-45″ does in fact literally mean “someone being killed and leaving the body” thanks to a .45 caliber bullet through the head — but, they insist, it was only a JOKE about shooting someone through the head with a .45 caliber bullet. Yes, even when L. Ron Hubbard, in the middle of the completely serious “Rackets Exposed” memo of March 6, 1968, ordered in regards to twelve people that he denounced as “enemies of mankind, the planet and all life” and ordered that “Any Sea Org member contacting any of them is to use Auditing Process R2-45″ — even then, Scientologists say, Hubbard was obviously ONLY JOKING.

    The only problem is, there is no way you can reconcile those two. If you assert that L. Ron Hubbard was really just ‘cracking a joke’ — in the middle of an Ethics Order, for crying out loud — when he made a statement whose literal meaning was “Shoot these twelve people in the brain to kill them”, then you cannot reasonably insist that Keith Henson’s comment about “Tom Cruise missiles” must have been more than the obvious cheesy pun. If you insist on the other hand that Keith Henson is OBVIOUSLY a SCARY SCARY TERRORIST who OBVIOUSLY made NON-JOKE THREATS of using CRUISE MISSILES —

    Then you must face the facts that L. Ron Hubbard —

    — the founder of the supposedly “most ethical group on the planet” —

    — the man who claimed his “technology” could bring about “a world without crime” —

    — cold-bloodedly ordered the premeditated murders of twelve people.

  2. I’ve picketed with Keith Henson.
    Rather than read some self-promotional book by and about Scientology, try picketing.

    If you want to see the TRUE face of this “church,” see how exercising your right to free speech goes, once the cult finds out who you are and where you live.

    Big Fun in the New World! The Scientologists who post here, like old “Live and Grow” here, don’t know anything beyond what the cult determines they should know.
    Check out http://www.religiousfreedomwatch.org

    THAT’S the true face of this lying-ass cult masquerading as a “religion!’

  3. Keith has been a friend for many years and is an outstanding free speech advocate. Scientologists have not been lied about. The facts of hundreds of cases of their rampant abuse and illegal activities are clear and decisive and are posted across the internet and easily verified by independent sources.

    Their insane religion was created on a bet by a sci-fi hack who couldn’t write himself out of a paper bag. Their brand sort of brainwashing, goo-goo eyed, mindless hogwash is the epitome of stupidity.

    HEY SCIENTOLOGISTS LOOK! I’m interfering in your religion now too!!!! My nonthreatening free speech is interfering in your ability to brainwash more people into becoming Thetan clams. Yeah, I’ve read your stupid books and went to your lame seminars.

    Free Keith Henson, Defender of Freedom!

  4. Ivan Jimenez is apparently one of those brainwashed scientologist idiots. I want you to ask yourself one questions Ivan; do you relly believe your alien souls came to this planet on ships shaped like DC-9’s? Why don’t you do some research on space travel and rocket technology before believing a religion some whack-job made up to extort money from the rich. There are so many holes in this moronic religion it makes me sick. You deserve to be with Tom Cruise and John Travolta in a DC-9 headed back to your home planet. I hope Christianity turns out to be the correct religion so God can tell you what he thinks of you using your free thinking abilities to believe something like this. Remember-you’re not an animal, you have the right and ability to believe what you will. I hope you didn’t willingly make the choice to believe this crap. Apparently your people can’t think of a better way to waste your money than by persecuting a non threatening man who is excercising his RIGHTS AS AN AMERICAN to free speech. Get a clue, Geez.

  5. Scientology is a government mind control program cleverly masquerading as a “religion” or “church.” It’s the ultimate capitalist religion: pay for self-improvement and spiritual advancement.

    Puzzle pieces:

    Google CIA+Mind Control+Scientology
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&q=CIA+%22mind+control%22+scientology

    The timeline of CIA mind control research, interrogation techniques, hypnosis, and forced hallucinogens and opiates begand with Project BLUEBIRD in 1951-1953. Project ARTICHOKE arose from Project BLUEBIRD in 1951. Project MKUltra began in 1953. Dianetics was published in 1952 by L. Ron Hubbard. Though Wikipedia has some decent writeups on each, the declassified documents confirm the existence of these sick projects.

    Google Scientology+ MKUltra; Scientology+Project Artichoke; Scientology+Project Bluebird
    http://www.google.com/search?as_q=scientology+MKUltra&hl=en&num=100
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&q=Scientology+%22project+artichoke%22
    http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&q=Scientology+%22project+bluebird%22

    A PBS documentary links Cheney and Rumsfeld to Project Artichoke via the death of a CIA MKUltra research scientist:

    http://www.google.com/search?as_q=cheney+rumsfeld&hl=en&num=100&as_epq=project+artichoke

    Save the above www pages, as they have a nasty habit of disappearing from the web and from Google’s cache.

    An interesting side note: there is a Scientology “Bunker” in Petrolia, CA, home of the (usually) hard-hitting Counterpunch.org.

    http://www.lermanet2.com/scientologynews/cst-petrolia-vault.htm
    http://weblogs.elearning.ubc.ca/leftcoastleaner/archives/2006/07/scientology_bun.html
    http://www.holysmoke.org/cos/petrolia.htm
    http://www.topix.net/forum/city/petrolia-ca/TGVO07L075LIU294M
    http://lermanet.com/idacamburn/chapter4.htm

    There are several other Scientology “bunkers” as well.

    Strangely enough, Alexander Cockburn one of its two main editors, has been very defensive of Scientology, and equally critical of people who correctly suspect US government foreknowledge and complicity in the 9-11 attacks. Why does Cockburn go so far to dismiss the overwhelming evidence of US government complicity in the 911 attacks?

    http://www.google.com/search?as_q=Counterpunch%2BScientology&hl=en&num=100&&as_epq=Alexander+Cockburn

    So, is Cockburn a Scientologist, is he simply under CIA mind control, or does he take $$$ from the “Church” of Scientology nearby, thus biasing his reporting?

    http://www.counterpunch.org/henderson08262006.html

    “Steal This Post” -Abbie Hoffman

  6. Bush is forever saying that democracies do not invade other countries and start wars. Well, he did just that. He invaded Iraq, started a war, and killed people. What do you think? Why has bush turned our country from a country of hope and prosperity to a country of belligerence and fear.
    Our country is in debt until forever, we don’t have jobs, and we live in fear. We have invaded a country and been responsible for thousands of deaths.
    We have lost friends and influenced no one. No wonder most of the world thinks we suck. Thanks to what george bush has done to our country during the past three years, we do!

  7. Wait a minute… He was convicted because of joking on the net? Ahaahahaha. That’s just….lame. Thank god I live in Europe where Scientologist’s are just thought as stupid. I mean Hubbard wrote sci-fi books!!!!!

    I gotta go to the States and start my own religion. I’ll just act insane, I should get a couple of believers… And no need to keep quiet about it being a scam, since apparently it doesn’t matter. As long as were part of something.

    Ignorance is truly bliss!

  8. Dear Denizens of the Net,

    It is amazing what can now happen in the United States simply because people no longer know each other, and are no longer allowed to speak clearly. What has happened to Keith Henson should be criminal. There should be safe-guards against it. It goes far beyond the loss of free speech to loss of liberty and borders on loss of life. Each and every one of you had better pray nothing like this happens to you, because, if you use the internet, there is really nothing much different between your circumstances and Keith’s circumstances.

    I had the pleasure of working with Keith for a few years a couple of years before the Scientologists began making threats on his life. Keith is a gifted engineer. You would be likely to find him at home sitting around the coffee table shooting the shit about any kind of technology subject, and graciously volunteering his expertise to help any technological endeavor or good hack succeed.

    Keith is one of us. He is an everyday kind of guy. I know him well. I cannot believe that such an absurd and dangerous and UNAMERICAN thing has happened to him. What terrible luck he must have!!!

    What is not clear in this thread is that Keith was picketing in a tiny California town called Hemit (I think). One of the few local industries to support the economy and population there is a large razor-wire surrounded compound owned and operated by Scientology. Not surprisingly, the Scientologists contribute heavily toward and mostly control the local 1-horse town AND ITS TINY COURTHOUSE AND JAIL.

    The Scientologists brag that they have both maimed and killed people who have been jailed there before. They threatened Keith directly, telling him that they would kill him after they had him imprisoned there.

    The actions of that court up to this time are truly criminal. It is shameful that no one higher in the legal food-chain has looked into what kind of nonsense has been passed off as legal proceedings. Not only was Keith not allowed to face his accusers, he was not even allowed to speak or present a defense.

    The crime of which he is accused is not only based on a misunderstanding, it is truly funny — if it weren’t destroying the lives of Keith, his family, and acquaintances. Keith is charged with saying something in a thread which was actually someone else’s response. Perhaps the judge was too stupid to understand that, or perhaps he is so crooked and controlled by Scientology that he simply pretends to be that ignorant. Who knows???

    But, truly, how many of you, if faced with the threat of death, would trust in such a corrupt system to protect you and provide justice??? Get real!!! It is a shame that the United States’ legal system is so broken!!!

    The greatest loss here is that such a talented and experienced technologist as Keith is f0rced to waste his time trying to keep from being killed, rather than using is great talents to build more advanced technology!

    Read about Keith in “Great Mambo Chicken and the Trans-Human Condition”. It’s still a great book, and a large portion of it is about Keith.

    Keith should be celebrated as one of the great creative minds of the United States, not be forced to flee and hide himself from a tiny town’s corrupt legal system in order to stay alive!!! This is already one of the greatest miscarriages of the injustice system. For all our sakes, I pray it does not get worse!!!

  9. I see that the Clam Patrol is out in full force. Any person who is foolish enough to believe that some evil alien overlord froze and then transported alien beings across the galaxy to cast them into volcanoes, only to then capture their ‘souls’ and unleash them on early mankind is a few orange trees short of a grove.

    Scientologists are capable of anything.

    http://www.scientology-kills.org/

    +Lord Xenu+

  10. I don’t think the CoS people are supposed to read the actual posts, but only write some standard one they probably cooked up. That’s why you’ll never see replies from them.

  11. Geeeez, maybe his defense attorney should call in Andy Savas , now living in New Jersey, from New York Guardians office for the Church of Scientology and explain how he was ordered by the Church to throw bombs through people’s windows in the 1970’s? Geeeez, wasn’t even a threat, it was an actual event! The Church has really gone onto a motivator flow huh? Well, let’s put all the cards on the table why not? The Church certainly wants the truth to be known, and to take responsibility for the entire scene no doubt!

  12. Hey, the Church has lost it’s altitude to “put a head on a pike” in the public arena. I feel sorry for the people in OSA and the attorneys put out to handle these scene’s only to be set up for loss after loss against the backdrop of David Miscavidges sabatoge. The PR for the Church is so rotten right now that the power is all but illusion. The Church has lost it’s ethic’s presense. It’s too bad the internet was not figured into all the abuse and crimes that were meant to be witnessed by a fly on the wall. The Int execs lie now on national television and media. The dead bodies you walked over rise up and grab at your ankles. You who thought every crime was justifiable against your fellow man have to face the fact that dead men do tell tales.

  13. Geeeeze, I remember when Andy Savas with the New York G.O. of the Church of Scientology was sent to throw bombs through windows in New York. Wasn’t even a threat, it was a reality! Now the Church is on a motivator flow or what? Hope the defense attorney will call Andy in to testify about terrorist activities of the Church’s!.

  14. Hey, thetruthwillsetyoufree, Andy Savas left staff many years ago. In 1989 or so I met him when he worked as an investment advisor for Prudential Securities in NJ. I didn’t know he was in the G. O. but it certainly makes sense based upon a brief time I had in dealing with him to correct some ‘mistakes’ he made on another’s account that benefited his pocket only. I cornered him into paying back the commissions to make up for the ‘bad investment’ telling him I would report him if he didn’t. Amazing how quickly he responded to being confronted.

  15. Hey 10zenmonkeys, it looks like Tom ‘Missle’ Cruise has some sway with Gov. Schwarzenegger aka “Mr. Hollywood” because Keith Henson is now in custody in Arizona. :(

    He had an appearance for an Extradition Hearing today May 9 at 9:00 am withThe Honorable Thomas B. Lindberg , State of Arizona Superior Court, Yavapai County Yavapai County Courthouse in Prescott, AZ . I pray the outcome is a good one but it seems as if enough information was kept from Keith’s attorney to prevent them from stopping the arrest.
    Here’s what happened yesterday:
    Criminal Docket: 2007020065J, HOWARD KEITH HENSON
    5/08/07
    APPEARANCES: Defendant present with counsel. Defendant’s true and correct name verified and reflected herein. Defendant verifies that the address specified in this docket is his/her correct current address.
    PROCEEDING: Hearing for: Extradition. This being the date and time set for Extradition Hearing, let the record reflect the presence of the Judge, Clerk, Prosecutor, Defense Counsel and Defendant in the courtroom. Defense Counsel requests a Motion to Continue. IT IS ORDERED that the Defendant be taken into custody immediately on the Governor’s Warrant and to be held on No Bond Hold. This matter will be set for Wednesday, May 9, 2007 at the hour of 9:00 a.m. for an Initial Appearance in the Superior Court. http://tinyurl.com/ynwrw9

    Of course, keith’s arrest and planned extradiction for today was timed to coincide with the annual celebration event for the May 9th anniversary of the pseudoscience fiction piece of trash known as ” Dianetics” which the cult of Scientology just loves to use to take whatever money it can from it’s members ti ‘fight such causes’ as Henson.
    Press can contact his wife Arel Lucas for details: 928-445-7560

    To find out more about Scientology Fair Game and Keith Henson, visit:

    http://www.lermanet.com/missive.htm
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Game_(Scientology)
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Henson
    http://www.operatingthetan.com/

  16. strange, i’ve seen a few posts with the exact same text bad mouthing this guy… something tells me some scientologists arent too happy with this story :-)

    the guy who posted right below me for example, whew what a nut.

  17. Keith should not be afraid. He is safe in the prison cell now and might be for a loooong time. I hope that some of you sicko hate-crime lovers join him there soon.

  18. Please pass the word around:

    Howard Keith Henson is now appealing his sentence. According to his site:

    “Recent News – What’s Happening to Keith Henson NOW?
    18 Jun 2007: Henson has been languishing in jail since he was taken into custody on May 8. For the crimes of picketing on a public highway, and responding to a joke in a usenet newsgroup, Henson has already spent more time behind bars than Paris Hilton will spend in total for driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol content of 0.08%, driving with a suspended license, driving 70 MPH in a 35 MPH zone, and driving without headlights after dark. “

    “Henson filed Notice of Appeal today. Please consider a donation to Henson’s defense. You can donate directly with the PayPal link at the top of this page, or by connecting to PayPal and using the Send Money tab to send a donation to [email protected]. If you have a major credit card, you do not need to be a PayPal member to send money via PayPal.”

    One can donate directly to Henson’s defense via his web site
    http://www.operatingthetan.com/

    I encourage all to chip in. Every penny counts. Contact Keith’s wife Arel at [email protected] for further information. Thanks!

  19. “Keith Henson is obviously psychotic, being irrationally afraid of the group he was attacking. The only thing Keith Henson has to be afraid is his own psychotic mind. Terrorist treats are serious and if the court found him guilty there had to be a powerful reason behind it. He could have been the next Timothy McVeigh. Good thing he was stooped.”

    Clearly you’re a Scientology stooge or a moron! I guess you believe that launching a “Tom cruise missile” is a serious threat then you need to go back to grade school and find out what the word “Missle ” actually means! FUCK OFF SCIENTOLOGY CUNT!

  20. “Keith should not be afraid. He is safe in the prison cell now and might be for a loooong time. I hope that some of you sicko hate-crime lovers join him there soon.”

    Wow, what Grade a fucking creeps you Scientology low life’s are! I hope hell is fun! BURN SOON!

  21. That law needs to be struck down. “Interfering with a church”?! And the word hate crime is misleading. Just because you criticize a church doesn’t mean you hate them. This is unconstitutional at face value and shows the slippery slope of hate speech laws. Hate crime law might have some merit but applying hate crime law to things that would not be crimes at all if they weren’t motivated by hate can’t possibly be constitutional.

  22. Well, Henderson managed to avoid a 6 month jail term for 7 years. An interesting game to play, but now he’s 7 years older. Now what, after 7 years and 6 months, what new target will appear on Henderson’s horizon?

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