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Protest at Scientology Anti-Psychiatry Exhibit, Vancouver, B.C., August 14, 2004

Gerry Armstrong is a wogI was in Vancouver on Friday the 13th to see a writer about a story, and the way things worked out I had a bunch of time to do something else. I scoped out buying a ticket for Manchurian Candidate and then watching Collateral, at a Granville Street cineplex, but thought better of it, and walked instead to the Vancouver Public Library, where the action is nonstop and free, and disappointment virtually impossible.

I approached the library from the Homer and Robson Streets corner of Library Square, where a street level granite brick plaza leads to a wide set of formed granite steps that rise up to the library building entrance. Low and behold, there occupying pretty well the whole plaza, was a Scientology anti-psychiatry display. The cult had a set of display modules with panels about seven feet high and ten feet wide of gruesome, sensational black PR against the mental health field. As far as I can tell, they’re the same modules and panels that the cult has been using on its “Traveling Exhibit: “Psychiatry Exposed.””

I spotted a Scientologist I’d seen at the Vancouver org during pickets over the last few years, and I knew from other contacts that he was active in the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, an entity the cult created and uses in its hate and eradication campaign against mental health professionals. I knew he’d almost certainly recognize me if I hung around, so I just accepted the CCHR propaganda the cultists were handing out at a table in the display, and ambled on through toward the library. On the way, I asked one of the Scientologists working on the display how long they’d be there, and he said that they’d be back the next day, Saturday the 14th, between noon and 6:00 P.M.

It was a great photo op, but drat, I didn’t have my camera, and it was a perfect protest opportunity, but I had no handouts or other picket paraphernalia. So I continued into the library and began the process of officially complaining about the rental of the plaza to the anti-intellectual, anti-human rights Scientology cult for this inflammatory, black PR hate exhibition. I will include the steps I’ve taken in the process, along with the results, in a separate report. After taking my complaint as far as was reasonable at the time, I did the bit of research I’d come to the library to do, then moved on to my next appointment, and then back to the Wack.

Over the next several hours and overnight I gave serious thought to returning to Vancouver avec camera to record the display, and to in some way, if possible, be a supportive voice for the mental health field professionals. These mental health practitioners are, after all, a very specific and vital subset of the persecuted and terrorized “Suppressive Person” class. But my sweetheart and fellow concert actor Caroline simply could not go because of other commitments, and it would be a violation of the number one rule for protesters, demonstrators and picketers against Scientology: Don’t go alone! Plus, the $35 it was going to cost just in bus fare even for me to go by myself we couldn’t afford.

All rules, it seems, however, as I keep finding myself saying, are qualified by safety, courtesy and wisdom, so, in willful breach of the protestors’ primary principle plus a couple of the standard qualifiers too, I suited up Saturday morning, backpacked some picketing essentials, and took a bus back into Vancouver. Serendipity-doodaing into Scientology’s CCHR traveling hate show at the Central Library on the one day I was in the city since our June 3 picket of the cult to celebrate the launch Caroline’s web site, and the one time in way over two years since I’d even been near the library, Lord love a duck, it had to be a sign.

My plan was to first photograph the display and pick up whatever additional materials the Scientologists were giving away, if possible without alarming or alerting them, and then to move to the sidewalk adjacent to the library plaza where I’d distribute my own handouts. I reasoned that although I could be prohibited from handing out flyers or otherwise protesting on library property, since the Scientology cult had rented the plaza – for $500 per day, the library complainee had said -- I could not be prohibited from a little peaceful activism on the sidewalk, which the cult had not rented, and over which the library had no authority or control.

With no time to prepare something specific to Scientology’s anti-psychiatry insanity, I brought a hundred or so old Xenu flyers, which seemed kind of fitting given the Xenuphobic Scientologists’ outer-space mental health claims. My flyers were so old they referred people with questions or concerns about Scientology to the Lisa McPherson Trust, so on the bus ride to Vancouver I blacked out the LMT contact information on all the copies and wrote my own info in.

I hid my Wog hat® in my backpack and wore my Audi cap disguise for the first couple of operating targets on the project. I brought Erika with me, because I’m gunning for as many xenu.net T-shirts as I can garner,
and because she would never have let me hear the end of it if I’d left her home. It was hot, so she stripped down to her white picketing T-shirt and her khaki pants, same as me. We looked awesome together, but I couldn’t take a chance that some Scientologist would read the message on her shirt, or spot her Xenu pendant, at least until the photo shoot was over, so I put her in the bottom of the backpack to pad it against my spine and told her to keep quiet. I packed up a couple of sets of batteries, some writing stuff, a liter of Chilliwack water, my ID, and a few lawyers’ numbers in case I got framed with a fracas.

I arrived at Library Square around 2:30 P.M., and thankfully the Scientologists were there and their anti-psych display set up on the library plaza as it had been on Friday. I immediately got to work photographing the panels, and my Audi hat disguise worked about as well as expected because the Scientologists immediately got to work photographing me. We’ve webbed a gallery of images from Saturday afternoon including a number of the display panels and some of the Scientologists videotaping or photographing me photographing them photographing me. Here’s a panorama we stitched together from pics I took from the library steps showing much of the plaza, the three modules, the Scientologists’ desk area under the patio umbrella, and an OSA babe videotaping me.

The OSA/CCHRers all seemed hatted on video tech, as they passed off the video cameras between themselves, and they were obviously prepared for photographic subjects just like me because they had at least two video cameras and a still camera trained on me at various times. As I moved among the modules photographing the panels, and getting close-ups of text that might be useful for future activities, the Scientologists followed me, and after a few minutes began heckling me. I mentioned to someone that the Scientology cult is behind the exhibit, and one Scientologist asked me who was behind me. I said, “God Himself,” which of course is the simple gospel truth, and this brought on a wave of Scientological anti-religious hooting.

I took what I thought was a reasonable set of pics, maintained friendly relations with the Scientologists, and moved to the desk they were manning to get whatever materials they were giving away that I didn’t already have. The Scientologists, after all, are largely deceived and deluded in their participation in their cult’s hatred of mental health professionals, and just as deluded in their acceptance and participation in Scientology’s “Suppressive Person” doctrine. And I’m basically friendly, and always happy to have expressions of opposition to the cultists’ pernicious policies and practices proceed peacefully for everyone. As the Scientologists watched and videotaped, I picked up a copy of seven of the cult’s standard anti-psychiatry hate booklets, all copyright © CCHR, and three of their anti-psychiatry pamphlets, and then began my move to the sidewalk to start my project’s protest phase.

During this time, the Scientologist that I had recognized Friday as a CCHR functionary, who had participated in videotaping me as I photographed the display panels, and who was the most violent of the Scientologists throughout the afternoon, came up very close to me and snarled, “Why don’t you get your stinking piece of shit body out of here!” I was so struck by this statement that I immediately stopped, took out of my pocket a pen and paper that I carried for the purpose of recording something quickly, like just this sort of astonishing sound bite, knelt down, and wrote down what he said, which was still replaying in my consciousness, exactly as this fellow said it. The Scientologists crowded around me to see what I was writing, and a Scientology videographer or two took some footage of what I wrote, and I repeated it out loud for the audio track and added what an amazing statement it was.

I had to take off my backpack to tuck away the CCHR booklets and pamphlets, and since it was off, pulled out the little bunch of “Who is Xenu?” flyers. With no warning, the guy who’d called my body a stinking piece of shit leapt at me, grabbed at the flyers and tried to rip them away from me. When I held on tight, and protested vociferously against their theft and what he was doing, he grabbed my arm, and yanked it to free up the flyers. I pulled myself free, and kept walking away from him, then he jumped at me again, and another bigger guy joined him, and they both grabbed at the flyers and my arms, and I again had to wrestle my flyers and myself free.

By this time I was well onto the sidewalk outside the library plaza, and a group of the male Scientologists formed a semi-circle close around me. They all were belligerent and menacing, and initially the stinking piece guy who’d grabbed me twice and tried to rip away my flyers did most of the talking and shouting. Other Scientologists videoed me as I interacted with the group. A couple of the flyers on the top of my little stack had been torn and crumpled, but I still held onto all of them.

I had been perfectly courteous and only taken one copy of Scientology’s booklets and pamphlets, and these guys had been anything but courteous, trying to steal all of mine. It’s just that sort of criminal level exchange, and the “thinking” that underlies it, that makes reasonable people oppose the totalitarian system of criminal exchange and unreason that Scientology seeks to impose on the world, and oppose the Scientologists doing the imposing.

I was more than happy to give each of the Scientologists a flyer, and throughout the afternoon I offered one to every Scientologist who got within voice range. I was simply not happy to give one Scientologist all of the flyers. It struck me as very weird then, when, after assaulting me twice to steal my flyers, the assaulters refused the flyers I offered them. If they couldn’t steal flyers they weren’t taking any, even if the flyers were as free as stealing.

One of the Vancouver OSA babes, with whom I’ve had some interaction at the org, who knows me by name certainly, and has never tried to grab or jump me, did come up and take a flyer. She seemed to immediately recognize that it was the standard, globally disseminated and available “Who is Xenu?” flyer, which made the assaults to steal them, I’m sure she knew, even more embarrassing for Scientology. This same OSA babe lady came up to me later in the afternoon and stuck her tongue out at me, and I indulged her clear desire and took her photo. A couple of the Scientologists asked if they could expect to see the photos I was taking on my web site, and I assured them that I would try my best, which I have done.

The stinking piece guy kept ordering me to get out of there, to leave, and there was an effort by the whole group by words and by threatening motion to move me right off the sidewalk surrounding the library. I wouldn’t move, and protested that I had every right to be there on the sidewalk, and that neither the Scientologists nor the library controlled the sidewalk. I said that I was peaceful, unlike the Scientologists who assaulted me, and that I had a right to peacefully be there, to peacefully talk to people, and to peacefully hand out my flyers. I said that the Scientologists had no right to assault me, that I was not causing any disturbance of any kind, and that they had no right to try to steal my flyers.

The guy went on a rant about “copyright materials,” which I’ve heard from other Scientologists, is just nuts, and is reflective of the nutty, hateful way the cult’s leaders indoctrinate them about copyrights. The guy said that my flyers were “copyright materials,” that I wasn’t allowed to have “copyright materials,” that I knew I wasn’t allowed to have these “copyright materials, and that the Scientologists were justified in grabbing the flyers because they were “copyright materials.” I explained that this was total hogwash, that I have the right to possess and own copyrighted materials, and that so does everyone else. The guy flared up like one of Xenu’s volcanoes about to blow its top.

I pointed to the library building and said that it is full of copyrighted materials, which anyone can possess and even copy. I said that Vancouver is full of bookstores that are full of copyrighted materials that anyone can buy and own. The copyright to the flyer is owned, as far as I know, by Roland Rashleigh-Berry, and he cares about enforcing his copyright so much that he’s made a printable version available on the Internet and urges people to copy and distribute it copiously. It’s kind of funny to think of the Scientologists protecting Roland’s copyright by assaulting people and stealing his Xenu flyers.

One of the Scientologists, this big younger guy, maybe six five, kept loudly insisting that everything in my flyer is lies, even before I’d given any copy to anyone. He’s in the photo of the OSA babe doing tongue tech ®, and in this photo with the still camera. I asked him how he could possibly know what was in my flyer if he hadn’t read it, and offered him a copy. But he declined, and said he didn’t have to read it, because he already knew what was in it, which, of course was only lies.

He was right in a sense because the Xenu flyer is stuffed with Scientology inventor L. Ron Hubbard’s lies, or his delusions. But not reading the flyer for that reason would be like a Scientologist not reading the OT III materials because he knew everything in them is lies. It was pretty clear this Scientologist meant that no matter what I was handing out everything in it was lies. I think the Xenu flyer is terribly truthful, accurate and literarily worthy, and has stood the test of time. Everything else is lies.

During this time, when the Scientologists were trying to 8-C me from my chosen spot on the sidewalk, I was asserting my right to be there and not being moved, and this somewhat volcanic conversation was occurring, someone was dispatched to go get security. It was pretty tense because the Scientologists outnumbered me by about ten to one and outweighed me about fifteen to one, and I couldn’t know whether they had the library security personnel in their pocket, like they do the odd police force. Pretty soon a guy in a security uniform showed up, I was pointed out to him, and he motioned me to walk with him away from the Scientologists. He looked Filipino, and I don’t think I ever learned if he could speak at all. Being with him for a minute or two I took the opportunity to present my case, but I was left with the idea that what was happening was beyond his job description.

Fortunately a guy obviously further up the library security chain of command, and who definitely could speak, arrived and my communication cycle shifted over to him. He said the Scientologists had told him that I was causing a disturbance. I denied this and asked him what disturbance. He said, they say you are and there’s one of you and a whole bunch of them. I said that the only disturbance was the Scientologists assaulting me and trying to steal my property. He said he wasn’t interested in whether they had assaulted me, that it was a police matter. I said that it sure didn’t sound right to me that library security wasn’t interested in assaults on or beside library property. He asked if I wanted to press charges, and said that he’d call the police right then if I wanted.

We got on to discussing my right to be on the sidewalk and to give out my flyers and talk to people on the sidewalk, so I didn’t answer him definitively about pressing charges against the assaulters. He ended up agreeing with me completely that the Scientologists had only rented the library plaza, that the sidewalk was not part of the plaza, and that I had the right that every citizen had to be there and peacefully protest. When we got back to his offer to call the police to file assault charges I declined. The drain of court appearances, with the attendant reality that there really were ten or twelve Scientologists who would testify like Scientologists, against one victim, with no one other than Scientologists as witnesses, was prohibitive.

Plus, I had already won. I could peacefully and lawfully walk up and down that sidewalk, hand out flyers, and talk to anyone who wanted to listen or not. The Scientologists’ effort to stop me, all their cursing, shouting, assaulting, grabbing, postulating, ordering and threatening, all were for nothing. Scientologists had assaulted me at other peaceful protests, and the assaults were even observed by the police – Daniel Bryenton in Toronto, Ontario in 1999, and Mary DeMoss and Dennis Clark in Clearwater, Florida in 2001 – and in those instances too it made strategic and economic sense to not press charges. And that afternoon in Vancouver I still had some hours of serious demonstrating ahead of me. So I put on my Wog hat®, put away my Audi hat, took a swig of Canada’s finest water, and got back to work.

What I found produced good results at the CCHR display at the Vancouver Library was to make contact with people -- the wogs® -- who walked by or between the modules, and simply tell them that the Scientology cult was behind the operation. This alone was enough for a number of people to register understanding, be warned, and turn skeptical. After my initial warning that the display was a Scientology operation, and part of the cult’s campaign to eradicate the mental health field, install their own system, and grab government mental health appropriations, just like the Scientologists tried to grab my flyers, some people engaged me in further discussions toward a deeper understanding of the cult, its system and its opportunistic hatred for mental health professionals.

I also continued to interact with the Scientologists throughout the afternoon as was sensible. After a while, the man that the cult had counting bodies and marking stats on a notepad on both days I was at the display became probably the most civil toward me, which won’t get him any brownie shirt points with his cult bosses, but was at least nicer for me. He said his name was Hancock, but he could have been nominally pulling my leg. He said he was from Vancouver and had been in Los Angeles in Scientology in 1969, which was the same year I got into the cult in Vancouver. He smoked a lot and I asked him about it, and he admitted that nicotine is a drug and addictive.

Towards the end of my protest, “Hancock” came up to me and, rather sotto voce, asked me if I’d audited what was in my flyer, which by then, in order to ask this question, he must have read. I said I had indeed audited OT III, that my conclusion was that it didn’t work and was complete quackery, and, most importantly, that the auditing not working made me a “Suppressive Person.” Declaring OT III to not work didn’t win any brownie shirt points with him, of course, and he muttered something about my being an SP explaining everything, then he wandered away for good.

At one point another Scientologist, who acted like he was OSA Vancouver’s solution to the Gerry Armstrong problem, showed up and began to engage me. One of his targets, it seemed obvious, was to pull me into talking with him and “handling” him instead of engaging and warning the wog visitors to the library and the display. I didn’t fall for his efforts at engaging conversation, however, but maintained a comm line with him as feasible, as I also continued my successful action engaging the wogs that the cultists were luring in to their anti-mental health display. I didn’t get a really good photo of the guy, and he avoided having a really good photo taken, but these pics may be helpful for identification purposes.

He complained to me at one point that he found my calling Scientologists “clams” was insulting. I said that it’s in response to Scientology calling us wogs “wogs,” and that I use “clams” as a simple step in a campaign to get Scientologists to stop their crusade of hatred, bigotry and attacks against wogs. I said that when Scientology strips from its “scriptures” all mentions of wogs and all hatred of wogs, then it would be appropriate for wogs to cease calling clams clams. He asked if I knew where the term “wogs” came from, and I said I did. He said that “wog” is an insult, and that he never uses the term because it is insulting. Having a number of times before heard this risible claim, which is itself insulting, that a Scientologist never used the term “wog” because it’s insulting, I laughed and carried on protesting.

The guy said at one point that I appeared to be very knowledgeable about Scientology, and that my use of Scientology terms showed that I still used Scientology. I explained that his evaluation was wrong, and the same black PR of Scientology’s opponents that the cult’s ops and dupes run on the Internet. I explained that Scientologese is simply another language, and that it’s very helpful to know multiple languages, and to use the language of the subject, such as Scientology, that a person is criticizing or opposing. I am fluent in both English and Scientologese, which is a tremendous asset in opposing the war of attrition that Scientology wages upon good people. The fact that a person knows German or the terms of Nazism and uses this language and argot in his opposition to German Nazism does not mean that the person is in a Nazi “mindset.” It takes a stupendous pile of pretended stupidity, for the purpose of generating a “basis” to attack the person, to insist he is in such a “mindset.”

I razzed the guy a bit about his patent pretended stupidity on a number of topics in which he tried to engage me, and he protested that he wasn’t pretending. I also objected to his attempts to patronize me, and to some ridiculous questions he asked to try to get some “win” against me. He wanted to know if since I objected to Scientology’s anti-psychiatry display, was I therefore in favor of forced drugging, electro-shocking and brain surgery on people. I said that there is no doubt that there are problems and abuses in the wog mental health field, but I objected to his cult’s blowing these problems and abuses out of proportion, and even inventing them, to divert attention from and prevent the addressing and correction of the problems, abuses and crimes in Scientology.

What this guy was attempting to do with me, and what Scientology and Scientologists are doing with CCHR and their mad vilification and eradication campaign against legitimate mental health field practitioners, is in compliance with Hubbard’s directives that Scientologists fight their war on their victims’ territory.

Experience has shown that defense is only effective when one sorties or attacks.
When we did not give a lot of time and energy and funds to knocking out real enemies we came close to losing the lot.
The errors we have made have been:
[...]
2. Defending on Scn ground.

http://www.suppressiveperson.org/hate/pubs/pl-1969-02-16-reiss-87-targets-defense-txt.html

 

It is bad warfare to fight battles on your own terrain, in your own subject area. It is not good to fight in the territory of allies. Fight battles wherever possible only on enemy terrain, in and about his subject and his people, not ours. You can gauge your relative success by this. When all your battles are fought on his terrain, you are winning.

http://www.suppressiveperson.org/hate/pubs/pl-1969-02-16-battle-tactics-reiss.html

Legitimate opposition to Scientology fraud, abuses and criminality fights the war on the cult’s terrain, and actions that attack the legitimate opposition serve Scientology’s purposes by shifting the battlefield to the terrain of the cult’s enemies, its victims.

During our conversation, and in response to my criticisms of Scientology abuses and criminality, the guy asked which I considered most dangerous, psychiatry or the cult. I appreciated the opening, and replied that in the past twenty-two years, Scientology personnel or agents have assaulted me multiple times, terrorized me on the highway, sued me several times to destroy my civil rights, tried to have me prosecuted and jailed on manufactured evidence and charges, run covert ops on me, run into me with a car, spied on me, harassed my friends and family, threatened my life, and published black propaganda on me around the world. On the other hand, not one psychiatrist in all that time has assaulted me, or black PRed me, or threatened me, or sued me, or done anything to me. There is no doubt, as my irrefutable experience shows, that Scientology and Scientologists are more dishonest, violent and destructive of human rights than the psychiatrists they vilify and attack. The guy had no response.

He asked if I thought there was any value in drugs or electro-shock treatment for people, and I said that there very well might be. I asked him if he thought there was any value in drugs or other mental health treatments, and he said that there was none. I asked him, then what about Lisa McPherson, who went psychotic, and the Scientologists locked up, restrained, force drugged, denied medical help, and killed. The guy avoided answering, pretending ignorance of her story. Lisa McPherson is the one publicly documented instance of the application of Scientology’s “technology” for “treating” psychosis, and the Scientologists killed her -- a one hundred percent failure rate for the cult’s “tech.”

Throughout the afternoon, when anyone asked what my grievances were with Scientology’s campaign to eradicate the mental health field, in addition to the cult’s transparent effort to fight its war of total attrition on the “enemy’s” turf so as to evade doing anything about its own abuses and criminality, I also pointed out Scientology’s policy of blaming psychiatry and medicine for the cult’s own failures. Hubbard writes in a confidential policy letter of June 29, 1971:

Policy is that we assign any case or upset in Scientology to past damage and interference with the person by medicine or psychiatry.
[…]
Use it often. Make it known to the enemy that this is our policy as a restraint on their fetid imaginations: "Every time you attack us we will disclose more records of your failures".

http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50grand/writings/ars/ars-2003-07-09.html

I also expressed some indignation at Scientology’s cruel hypocrisy in refusing to accept into its “churches” for “treatment” the very people whose mental health care the cult was trying to prevent and destroy. Many of the people that psychiatrists are given to treat and care for are the most vulnerable in society, and some of them are the most dangerous. While attacking wog mental health as “junk science,” Scientology proclaims and advertises that its “mental technology” is completely scientific and can cure all these mentally ill people and all mental illness. The Scientology cultists refuse, however, to submit their “mental science” to scientific testing and verification, and also refuse to “treat” the mentally ill people that the Scientologists claim their “tech” alone can heal. Worse, the Scientologists canvass among mentally ill patients for vulnerable people they can use, manipulate, fund and bring to “a frenzy of hate” against their caregivers, the cult’s mental health practitioner “enemies.”

My last operating target for the protest was to take a photo of Erika in front of Scientology’s anti-mental health display for the www.xenu.net T-shirt contest. So I fished her out of my backpack, where she had been holding her breath for a good three hours, and held her at arms length and snapped a pic. What a trouper she was, bearing with all these indignities, grinning broadly and looking positively pulchritudinous. And finally, I asked a young man who was passing by on my sidewalk to take a photo of Erika and me together.

I considered the afternoon a smashing success. I talked to dozens of people, immunized several, gave out maybe half my Xenu flyers, survived two assaults and lots of insults, made a photographic record, and earned a T-shirt. I’d say that the Scientologists’ chronic tone was covert hostility, although my cheerful presence brought a number of them up to overt hostility for a good several minutes. On the bus ride back from Vancouver, the excitement and adrenalin began to wear off, and I noticed that my left arm where the most aggressive Scientologist had grabbed me had a nasty abrasion, probably from his finger nails, and my left wrist was quite painful, most likely from preventing myself from falling to the ground when they jumped at me. The abrasion got even nastier looking for a few days, however is healing well now, without a contact assist, but just with Chilliwack’s miracle water, and I don’t think the wound will impact my picketing schedule through the rest of the summer.

Photo Gallery

Armstrong comments re: Brian Beaumont 03-08-2005

 
   

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