Australian Critics of Scientology
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Picket Report : Brisbane, Fri 6 Dec

Neil Muspratt, Fri 06 Dec 1996


From: neil@fit.qut.edu.au (Neil Muspratt)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Picket Report : Brisbane, Fri 6 Dec
Date: 6 Dec 1996 11:55:10 GMT
Message-ID: <5891iu$jtd@dove.qut.edu.au>

Greetings from Brisbane, Australia.

Another picket. So much suppressiveness, so little harassment.

:-)

There were two of us this time. Maybe that's why there was so
little harassment? Take it from me, picketing by yourself is the
pits, nowhere near as much fun compared to doing it with a friend
or two, or three, or . . .

It was back to the old word processor last night. I prepared a
leaflet based on the one David Gerard uses in Melbourne (OK, so
I'm lazy) and headed off down to the org about 16:15 this
afternoon to find Stuart Riley [1] already set up in picketing
mode.

We caught them napping big time. It seemed like ages before they
got anyone out on the street to deal with us. Eventually they
mustered some staff and publics for the counter offensive. There
were five of them out on the footpath at one stage, and three
faces I'd not seen before. A big surprise was the lack of the
video camera that has made an appearance at the last two pickets.
Maybe it blew?

Stuart and I handed out leaflets, oblivious to the stares and
entheta beams. One bloke seemed to be trying particularly hard,
so hard in fact that he was forgetting to hand out leaflets. We
just ignored him. Later, he seemed to get instructions from one
of the senior staffers on how to hand out leaflets so that people
would take them. From then on, every time I handed out one of
mine, he would move somewhat menacingly towards the startled
pedestrian and quickly say "And please take one of these too."
Way to go. You'll be an expert by tomorrow.

We were there for only 1.75 hours, from about 16:15 to 18:00 but
I estimate we handed out something like 150 - 200 leaflets to
passers by. Of course, this time on a Friday is the afternoon
rush hour. There were bulk people around, unlike the weekends,
with many people heading off to the pubs and clubs with their
work mates for a drink.

Stuart had a chat to one of the attendants at the parking lot
next door to the building. Apparently he's worked there for a
couple of years and has seen quite a few people being given the
opportunity to take the OCA test. He reckons they don't get many
of the them inside.

I went in to a couple of the neighbouring shops and told the
folks what we were up to, leaving a few flyers with them. One
girl in the Subway franchise across the road was particularly
interested and said she'd definitely have a look at the Internet
sites.

The only leaflet they handed out this time was the "CultAware
Serpent of Hate" propaganda which seems to be their standard
response now to protests here in Australia. Gosh it's ugly.
Typical of the cult though. What was that L Rong said about only
agreeing to an investigation of the attackers? Deflect attention
away from Scientology, that's how it's done.

One consistent occurrence during the picket was the tendency for
pedestrians to assume that we were actually part of Scientology
and the whole thing was pro-Co$. Time and again people didn't
take leaflets or said that they weren't interested, but when
Stuart or I said, "*We're against Scientology*", they came back
and took one. Obviously Scientology has a good PR image here in
Brisbane. People avoid it like the plague.

Placards tend to be somewhat of a hindrance too if the first word
is "SCIENTOLOGY". People see it, think "Ugghhh", and don't bother
to read the rest or take a flyer. I'll have some new ones ready
for tomorrow. No doubt they will as well. I can't wait to see
what they come up with.

Quite a few people gave us the thumbs up and mentioned their own
thoughts and feelings about Scientology. "Scam, load of bullshit,
good on ya, good to see", were several of the comments passed to
me. Another BIG WIN(tm), and so uplifting for this SP out in the
field.

A first for Brisbane - they had their own signs this time! Well,
they looked a bit like they had been concocted pretty quickly,
but there they were nevertheless. Was that why they took so long
to come out and play? Garishly they proclaimed (in blue Nikko on
orange or green cardboard):

   SCIENTOLOGY
    BRIDGE TO
  TOTAL FREEDOM

   SCIENTOLOGY
FIGHTING CRIMINALS
 ON THE INTERNET

and one more about copyright violation I can't remember. Never
mind, no doubt I'll see it again tomorrow.

Without doubt, this was the most enjoyable and effective picket
I've been to. We got a lot of exposure and handed out lots of
leaflets. Based on the reactions of a not too insignificant
number of the general population, I'd say there are heaps of
people out there that would only touch Scientology with a ten
metre cattle prod.

And guys, when are you going to get my name right? You're giving
OSA a bad name.

-----

[1] One of Stuart's sons got involved with Scientology. Stuart's
efforts to get him out resulted in a story which ran in the local
newspaper here a couple of years ago. I remember reading it at
the time and being particularly touched by the letter he wrote.
You can read it at <http://suburbia.net/~fun/scn/pers/>

--
 _.-_|\     Neil Muspratt (SP2)              Tel : + 61 7 3864 2146
/      QUT Technical Services Section        Fax : + 61 7 3864 1959
\_.--,_/  Faculty of Information Technology  Net : neil@fit.qut.edu.au
      v  GPO Box 2434 Brisbane Qld 4001      PGP : 2.6.3i (send email)

Greatness in life consists not so much in doing so-called great
things, but in doing small things greatly.

- Dwight D Eisenhower

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