Scientology Crime Syndicate

Clearwater '99 Picket Report
08 Dec 1999

Mad Cow's Clearwater '99 picket report

OK, here's my version of the events surrounding the Clearwater picket for '99. It's a big report, so hang in there and I'll meet you on the other side.

Dec. 2

I arrived at the Holiday Inn in Clearwater around 4:30 PM, after driving for almost 10 hours. Just in case you don't already know it, Tampa traffic sucks. I checked in, dropped my stuff off in the room, then went looking for my fellow suppressives. As I walked around the hotel, my imagination was working overtime, telling me that OSA lurked around every corner. But I didn't see any.

The first critics I met were Bevery, who I got a really big hug from, and Gerry Armstrong. After talking with them for a moment, I continued around the hotel. I noticed through a window two fellows in their room, pecking away feverishly at laptop computers. After knocking on the door and introducing myself, I found they were Grady Ward, and another critic who's name I can't quite remember. They told me to meet everyone in the hotel lounge just before 7 PM for dinner.

In the lounge I met all the big name critics I'd hope to meet. Jeff Jacobson, Rod Keller, Bob Minton, Keith Henson, Stacy, Gregg Haglund, Warrior, Mark Bunker, Kim Baker ("We're not worthy!"), Kid, and others were there. Good grief, almost everyone was there and was watching the local news for any stories on the pickets. I also found out that the Cult/Minton TRO was settled, where Bob must stay ten feet away from scieno property, and Howd was to stay 20 feet away from Uncle Minty.

After the news, everyone trailed over to Tias, a local Tex-Mex cafe. Then back to the hotel for more socializing. Great group of folks.

Dec. 3

This morning was the 9 AM press conference, which I helped set up for and was doorman for. Even though the start time had been announced, some media types didn't show until 11AM. So the press conference itself only had 6 media reps in attendance, with others arriving throughout the morning. Jeff Jacobson and others accomodated all of them with press packs and interviews.

At 11AM I joined a bunch of picketers at Fort Harrison. We parked in the Court House parking lot, then walked over to picket. Kid, Bev, Roger Gonnet, and myself walked behind Scn Mecca, noticing the sidewalks removed in an attempt to keep the picketers at bay. Funny, but there was a perfectly fine sidewalk 20 feet across the street with lots of room to picket on.

We walked around to the north side of FH, noticing an open fence gate. As we approached the gate was closed and stayed that way as long as picketers stood across from it. We moved around to the front of FH to see the scaffolding in place, barring us from picketing directly in front of the building. It also barred one very elderly lady from using the same sidewalk, so she walked in the street into oncoming traffic. One police officer sprinted over to escort her the rest of the way. Thanks cult, you're stupidity almost killed someone else. Inside the scaffolding you could hear people working on the FH facade. I believe this was the RPF at work, because once I heard someone yell "Let's go, RPF!"

All the picketers spread out along Fort Harrison Ave., from Cleveland street south for 5 blocks. In effect, the scaffolding dispersed the picketers over a wider area. More visibility. Lots of honking, thumps up, waving, cheers. Occasionally, a scieno would drive by and make an obscene gesture followed by some physically impossible suggestion. No doubt an example of "making the able more able". I would usually cheer at this rather than return the insult.

Now, let's talk about them flag busses. They were everywhere. Sea Org/Staff/OSA/publics seemed to ride these busses and vans everywhere, even if only for one block. However, they were avoiding the picketers as if it hurt their eyes to see the truth. Kid noticed busses dropping off passengers at a building around the corner and down the block from FH. So we strolled down to see what this was. We found the "Promotions and Marketing" building for Scn, on the corner of So. Garden and Franklin streets. As we would approach, some dude with a radio that usually stood outside the front door of the building would duck inside and stay there until we left. During the day we would visit frequently, commenting on how nice their sidewalks were, which apparently they didn't think were worth tearing up. Again, the busses wouldn't stop to unload passengers if picketers were there.

The media was (were?) everywhere, filming and interviewing picketers, and examining some orange dots that seemed to mark a 10 foot boundary around all scieno property. These dots were for Uncle Minty, reminding him to stay back the agreed distance. The CW police considered this graffiti, and Scn was forced that night to remove those dots from all the sidewalks.

Also, Scn was supposed to have removed some barracades from in front of FH and from the grass verge between the street and the covered walkway across from FH. Eventually the Department of Transportation came and removed the barriers themselves. Then the police placed their own barracades in front of the covered walkway. Don't ask me why.

The infamous CROC from the XenuTV videos of July 9th, 10th, and 11th was there with video camera in hand. He didn't say anything, but did follow us around some.

Don_NOTS was on one corner, using his continental accent to proclaim "Scientology KILLS! Ask them about XENU! Ask them about the Space COOOOTEES!!!". Come on Don, ya know I had to report that. It was too cute not too :)

BlitzK introduced himself, showing the scanner he was listening to OSA on as they tried to keep tabs on every picketer. They called us mosquitoes :)

Wynot and Ethercat strolled up and down Ft. Harrison Ave. with the Xenu Babies, two adorable little aliens dressed in their finest royal purple robes, being pushed about in a stroller. Occasionally a scieno would comment on them, so they no doubt knew about Xenu.

Arnie Lerma had made a cardboard megaphone, and used it to announce "NO OTs THERE! NO, NOT ONE!". I'm sure some RPFer's heard that phrase in their sleep that night. Eventually Scn brought out a jackhammer and started tearing up more sidewalk under the scaffolding in an attempt to drown out Arnie.

I notice a guy wearing a "Jesus" hat, attempting to talk to another guy in a black jumpsuit. The jumpsuit guy never spoke, but he would occasionally nod. As we passed I mentioned this guy in black must be RPF, at which point he briskly strode across the street away from us. We called out "When you are ready to leave Scientology, there are people ready to help!" but he continued on his way.

Kid and myself called it quits at 5:35 PM. We drove back to the hotel, and joined some of the others at Joe's Crab Shack, where I had some great Mahi Mahi. Later we all collected in the lounge to watch the news again, after which I utilized the hotel whirlpool to soothe my aching back and tired tootsies.

I understand some folks went back to FH to watch the RPF remove all those orange dots from the sidewalk.

Dec. 4

This morning I was feelings the after-effects of the previous day's activity. I was VERY hoarse, conjested, and stiff. I stayed in bed most of the morning, missing my doorman post for the cult workshop. Luckily, I was not assigned the condition of Liability for my absence.

I went over to a nearby mall to eat an early lunch and to buy a xenu-head magnetic earstud for today's picketing.

I arrived to picket at 11PM, again in the back of FH. OSA was kind enough to take my picture, then proceeded to hide in the breezeway on the second floor. Whenever he stuck his head out to peek at me, I would yell BOO! Again, no busses while I was there.

Not much new happened today as far as picketing went. Picketed all up and down Ft. Harrison Ave. Same honks/waves/etc. from the public. Saw CROC again but he didn't follow us around as much today.

A young man casually wanted up to me on one corner and mentioned something about scienos leaving their empty dope bags around town and how tired he was of that. I suspected an OSA op in progress, so I said "I don't know anything about that...", and instead told him about how scn's brainwashing, courses hard sell, and how OSA sometimes sends out people to stir things up (hint hint). He didn't have much to say after that.

Later in the afternoon, I noticed busses making frequent stops at the marketing building, so I decided to pay them an extended visit. I planted myself in the corner of So. Garden and Franklin, staying there at least an hour and fifteen minutes. During this time the vans and busses past by at least 30 times without stopping. I understand from those that have heard the radio traffic at the time, I was creating a "code red" situation :) While I stood on that corner only 3 girls were able to sneak into the building. One man got off the van, saw me, got back on the van. I always waved at each van as it drove by.

On a couple of side notes, the orange dots around this building had not been removed very well by the RPF. More like the paint had been smeared around some. Sandblasting would have worked better. Also, an earring laden guy in a leather jacket stopped as he walked by, asking if I had any Xenu souvenirs. I gave him my magnetic Xenu earstud. He thanked me profusely and went his way.

I left at 5 PM and returned to the hotel to clean up and don my kilt for the Lisa McPherson candlelight vigil. Everyone liked my kilt, and wanted to know what I had on under it. Tilman tried to take a peek but didn't see anything. Later Patricia tried to peek too. I don't know if she saw anything, but she would have had more success if she had bought me a drink first :)

I drove Mirele and myself to the vigil, which was attended by 105 people. I saw at least 6 video cameras there.

Just before the vigil began, Frank and Bruce drove up and shined a light on the side of the FH, in which were the words "we will never forget you, Lisa". They did this at least three times, much to the irritation of PK, Scn Security Chief. Despite his protests, the police said no law was being broken.

During the vigil, it was quite windy, and was difficult keeping the candles lit. The event began on the church corner next to FH. Gregg Hagglund used a bullhorn to read some selected scripture, then Gypsyblue took the wreath and led the procession down around the corner to where Lisa McPherson had been held against her will. A bagpiper also led, playing along the way. Behind the FH courtyard wall, you could hear music loudly being played, I would suspect in an attempt to drown out the bagpiper.

In back of FH across the street, the wreath was placed and a moment of silence was observed by all. Then everyone passed by the wreath, blowing out their candle in turn. The bagpiper played again (very nicely done).

After the vigil, most of the group strode over to Ottavio's cafe. We practically filled the cafe, where I had the best tenderloin I've ever tasted. Don-NOTS presented Patricia with a plaque for being very SP-6. Apparently there were some scieno in the cafe at the time, and got very pissed off.

Afterwards I walked outside to see if OSA was lurking about. Behind the cafe I noticed a flag bus in the dark, taking on passengers from a van parked right behind it. People were walking very briskly from the van to the bus. It was a VERY odd sight.

We returned to the hotel, where I said my goodbyes to everyone and getting another big hug from Mirele that made my day.

Dec. 5

Again I woke up hoarse and conjested. I checked out and drove home a different route north on 19 for 25 miles, then east on 52 for another 21 miles. This way I avoided the Tampa traffic. Saved me 10 miles and almost an hour's driving.

So there it is. Took forever to tell the tale, but that was my experience in Clearwater this year. I hope to do it again next year.

That is, IF the Fort Harrison is still there :)


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