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Paulette Cooper - The Other Story

Biased Journalism


"Biased Journalism" was the regular rubric Shelley Thomson held on ARS on various topics. During the Cooper thread, Shelly Thomson dedicated one of the issue in an attempt to defend Paulette Cooper. She interviewed Cooper and wrote the introduction - all without consulting Diane Richardson or Keith Spurgeon. At the time, Diane didn't bother to correct Shelly's inaccuracies because Diane had said most of what she had to say and wanted to let the topic cool down. Shelly Thomson's article, however, is the only trace of the Cooper thread critics would web, and after it has repeatedly on ARS or IRC in an attempt to discredit Diane, she finally decided to make a line by line refutation of it.

Diane Richardson corrects the inaccuracies and blatant lies of the Biased Journalism article.

Usenet post from the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology.

Source:  Diane Richardson's History with attacking people on ARS (was Monica Lies Again (was: See, Monica, Other

Diane Richardson referen@bway.net

Sun, 07 May 2000 08:14:35 GMT


On 6 May 2000 22:58:43 -0700, Elizabeth Ann Cox --
elizanncox@chesapeake.net wrote:

>Arnie, I am delighted you posted this as a reminder to all. 

The only thing it reminds anyone of is the mass of errors and outright fabrications some people here are capable of, Bunnyann. There is next to no truth related in this piece of fiction Shelly Thomson manufactured and Arnie posted (and you've managed  to repost *twice* to the same thread!).

>It is amazing that someone like Paulette is so vehemently attacked by such questionable individuals.

There is nothing at all "questionable" about me, Bunnyann.  There are, however, a number of outright lies perpetrated here by the Queen of Black Helicopters, Shelly Thomson.   

>And some people wonder why they are accused of being on the cult's payroll.

Who might those people be, Bunnyann?  Or are you so timid you only suggest things you might wish were true, but have absolutely no factual basis.

>Elizabeth Ann Cox
>aka, Bunnyann

>In article <8f2ech$2gl5@edrn.newsguy.com>, Arnie says...

>>In article <3914b3b1.51077989@enews.newsguy.com>, referen@bway.net says...

 >>[drivel snipped]

>> from http://wpxx02.toxi.uni-wuerzburg.de/~krasel/CoS/biased/biased.2.21.html#1

>> III Vendetta The Richardson-Cooper feud is popularly traced to a dispute between Cooper and Judith Bradford which started in an AOL scientology chat room. A little checking showed us that that was not the case. Paulette Cooper's troubles began months earlier.

I'm not quite sure what Shelly Thomson is referring to here, when she speak of "Paulette Cooper's troubles."

>>On July 26, 1995, her birthday, Paulette Cooper came out of retirement with a post to alt.religion.scientology.

>>Soon after the post Cooper received email from Keith Spurgeon, a long-time friend of Diane Richardson.

This is an outright lie.  Shelly Thomson fabricated this "fact," which is not true.  Keith and I did not, in fact, meet until long after he made the acquaintance of Paulette Cooper.

Why let the truth get in the way of a good conspiracy yarn, however?

>>Spurgeon and Cooper became friends; as Cooper perceived it, they were close friends.

Cooper may have "perceived it" that way, but that certainly wasn't how Keith saw it.  Perhaps Cooper has lower standards for determining "closeness" and "friendship" than others do.

>>Cooper had a pent-up need to talk about her experiences with scientology and Spurgeon was a very good listener.

This is, indeed, true.  Keith is a very good listener, and Paulette is *quite* a talker.

>>Cooper told Spurgeon about her traumatic experiences of the 1980's and her devastating betrayal at the hands of Richard Bast. More than anything, she dreaded having the Bast tapes become public.

Paulette Cooper NEVER mentioned the Bast tapes to Keith.  Again, though, why let the truth interfere with a good conspiracy yarn?

>>By late January or early February Paulette had signed onto an AOL scientology chat and had a tiff with Judith Bradford, an associate of Spurgeon's;

Actually, Judith was not an "associate" of Keith's; again, Shelly Thomson fabricates "facts" to fit what she'd like people to think. Although they lived in the same city, Keith met Judith online through me, and only *after* Paulette Cooper arranged to have her weekly chats there.

As to the "tiff," it was a great deal more than that.  Paulette Cooper deliberately violated netiquette by circulating Judith's e-mail to a number of people.  Additionally, Cooper misrepresented Judith's comments, by selectively editing what Judith had written to her in confidence.  Rather than apologize for the gaff, Cooper began whining to others in email about how Judith was picking on her. At that point, I stopped replying to correspondence sent to me by Cooper and I stopped attending the weekly AOL chats Paulette had arranged.  I wasn't angry with anyone, just somewhat astounded at the cluelessness and rudeness displayed by Cooper.

>>Paulette remembers apologizing to Bradford in email on February 17, 1996.

That's an outright lie.  Cooper *never* apologized to Judith Bradford.

>>Bradford refused to accept the apology and continued to lambaste Cooper.

Judith did no such thing.  Another fabrication by Shelly Thomson.

>>Meanwhile, Spurgeon obtained a copy of the Hubbard affidavit.

There is no such thing as the "Hubbard affidavit."  I'm not sure how Shelly got so confused about this very important item.

Keith and I had begun compiling a database of all newspaper articles and newswire stories archived on Lexis-Nexis that made any mention of Scientology.  Several others are aware of this project; Tilman Hausherr, among others, asked for and received a complete copy of the collection we compiled.

While downloading and sorting the articles, Keith noted a strange PR Newswire story and asked me about it.  It was released by the Church of Scientology, but the affidavit was written and signed by Paulette Cooper, *after* she had signed her final settlement  agreement with the CoS.

Because neither of us could understand why Paulette Cooper would voluntarily cooperate with the Church of Scientology, I posted the affidavit to a.r.s., asking Cooper to comment on the history surrounding her signing of such an affidavit.

Rather than address the question, Paulette Cooper began a frantic series of emails to her online friends.  One of them, which was forwarded to me, consisted of the following text: "What can I do to stop that woman from destroying me?"

I certainly had no intention of "destroying" Cooper.  In fact, it's a physical impossibility to "destroy" someone by posting an affidavit to a Usenet newsgroup.  There were several of us quite curious about how Cooper ended up supporting the CoS with an affidavit written and used against other critics in their lawsuits against the CoS.

>>He discussed it with other people without saying anything to Paulette.

>>The affidavit states in part:

>>"In pursuit of this strategy of winning by seeking default judgments, my attorney filed in my lawsuits sworn statements alleging that Mr. Hubbard was in control of Scientology's activities, and that he directed a campaign against me. However, I never had any real evidence or reason (other than the word of my lawyers) to believe that Mr. Hubbard was in control of the activities of the Church of Scientology, and my attorneys never presented me with any evidence that such was the case. It is clear to me, on the basis of my conversation with Mr. Flynn on this subject, that the allegations concerning Mr. Hubbard's control over day-to-day Scientology activities had no basis in fact, but were being made solely for strategic reasons in pursuit of a default judgment."
>>Paulette Cooper

>>Sworn to before me this 4th day of March, 1985.
>>Alda N. Boyrie, Notary Public

The statements made by Cooper in this affidavit, I later learned, directly contradicted earlier statements she made under oath in deposition

>>The affidavit was soon posted to alt.religion.scientology and Cooper was bitterly attacked. Diane Richardson accused Cooper of "selling out" for money and damaging other litigants' cases against the church.

I actually checked with others to find out if Cooper's sworn statement had been used against them in their Scientology litigation, and received assurances that it had indeed been used against them, adversely affecting their cases.

>>Cooper was shocked. ("I never had an argument with Diane on chat," she said. "I thought we were friends.")

Cooper is correct on one point; we had never argued. Once again, however, it appears Cooper's standards for whom she considers a "friend" is considerably lower than those held by others.  I never considered Cooper a friend; she was merely another online acquaintance.

>>Cooper, who had signed a settlement agreement which included a gag order, could say nothing in her own defense.

Cooper stated more than once that she did NOT sign a gag order; in fact, if she had done so she would not have been able to post to a.r.s. without violating such an order.

According to Cooper (at that time, at least) she was not permitted to disclose the terms of her settlement agreement, but was under no restrictions about discussing her experiences battling the CoS.  It's obvious, from her own actions, that she was under no such restriction, and that is indeed what she said at the time.

>>An examination of the dates shows that the Hubbard affidavit was signed only four days after the settlement agreement. We believe that signing the affidavit was part of the settlement.

I'm assuming Shelly Thomson is utilizing the "royal we" here, as I know of no one else who held such a belief at the time.

>>There is no evidence that the affidavit harmed any other critics' cases.

Perhaps Shelly Thomson has seen no such evidence; I, however, have.

>>Cooper cannot say whether she received any money in the settlement. [After looking at the record, our private view is that whatever she received, it probably wasn't enough.]

No one (except, perhaps, sthomson), has asked Cooper to reveal the terms of her settlement with the CoS.  This is nothing but a strawman.

>>Richardson, Spurgeon et al. argued that taking money from the church is a vile crime.

Once again, this is an outright lie by Shelly Thomson, which is not supported by any facts.

>>We imagine that the church feels that way too.

Again, it appears Shelly Thomson is indulging her pretensions by using the "royal we."  I have no idea *what* the "church" feels about this; apparently sthomson has better inside sources than others.

>>Early in their acquaintance Cooper remembers telling Spurgeon how much she cherishes her unusually happy marriage.

Keith does not recollect Paulette Cooper making any statement to him about the happiness of her marriage.  He does state, however, that Cooper and her husband appeared to be quite happy together, and  that her husband is "a nice guy."

>>When we asked how the subject came up, Cooper said she might have volunteered the information.

If she did "volunteer" such information, Keith does not remember hearing it.

>>She indignantly dismissed the idea that Spurgeon may have been fishing for information about her vulnerabilities from the very beginning.

As well she should, since Keith had no interest in Cooper's "vulnerabilities."  This entire paragraph is a complete paranoid fabrication hatched in the mind of Shelly Thomson.

>>She stated that she could not have been opped. She would have known. And besides, he was such a nice man.

Paulette is right; Keith is a very nice man.  :-)

>>Cooper's worst fears came true. Spurgeon posted item after item from the 1980's.

Keith posted materials collected in our search of the Lexis-Nexis databases.  They dealt with a number of CoS-related topics; not all of them (by any means) pertained to Cooper or her litigation.

>>Richardson and Bradford launched vitriolic personal attacks.

Again, a complete misrepresentation of the facts by Shelly Thomson.

>>Cooper and her friends pleaded for copies of the documents but were rebuffed.

Another misrepresentation.  Cooper demanded I provide her with copies of the court documents I had obtained from publicly available file of her litigation against the CoS.  I agreed to do so, but only if Cooper was willing to pay the charges associated with making copies of literally hundreds of pages of documents.  Cooper demanded copies be made for her free of charge.

I suggested Cooper could obtain copies of the documents from the same source I used -- the National Archives Regional Branch at Waltham, Massachusetts -- if she was unwilling to reimburse me for the cost of making photocopies.

>>After torturing Cooper for several months and baiting public interest with innuendo, Richardson posted the Bast transcripts.

I tortured no one.  Shelly Thomson engaged in a style of journalism she called "Biased Journalism."  At least she was honest about her non-objective "reporting," if one could call it that.

Additionally, I by NO means posted transcripts of all the Bast tapes. I withheld quite a lot of information that I did not believe should be made public.

>>The flamewar took the regulars aback. The posted information showed Paulette Cooper to be the victim of a cruel deception: why should this be touted as evidence that _Cooper_ was the liar?

The posted information showed that not only had Paulette Cooper lied under oath on several occasions, she actually *bragged* about her ability to lie. 

>>And if some fifteen years ago Cooper did not pay for all her photocopies, so what?

Paulette Cooper also ended her friendship with Nan McLean when Nan McLean refused to lie under oath to support Paulette Cooper's perjured statements.  Nan McLean's deposition specifies quite precisely just how willing Cooper was to lie, and how she demanded others perjure themselves to support those lies.  The deposition also shows what a principled and honest person Nan is -- a genuinely remarkable person.

>>We could think of much worse behavior, some of which we had just seen on the newsgroup.

I don't think Shelly Thomson's lies and fabrications which she posted under the title of "Biased Journalism" reach the same level of dishonesty as Cooper's perjured testimony.

>>Secondarily, we began to wonder about the sequence of things. The common assumption is that Cooper told Spurgeon about the Bast tapes

I repeat, Cooper never mentioned the name Bast to Keith.  Never. Not once.

>>and Spurgeon told Richardson, who made a trip to Boston and obtained the court records.

Keith and I traveled to the Federal Records Center together.  I fail to see why anyone could consider going to the primary documents to obtain accurate information a crime.  I still believe it was the appropriate action to take.

>>[Richardson taunted Coooper with this claim in private email.]

I stopped all correspondence with Paulette Cooper the previous year, after Cooper's display of rudeness to Judith Bradford on AOL.

>>Nevertheless, the material posted represents a sizable investment of time and  money. The court records occupy five file boxes.

What Shelly Thomson fails to realize is that we by no means copied all the documents contained in the court record.  Many of them were pro forma filings and the like, devoid of any substantive information. Others were documents which were filed repeatedly as attachments.

>>At $.50 per page, this represents a substantial sum.

Again, Shelly Thomson assumes that we had photocopies made of all the documents.  This is incorrect.  We took along a portable scanner and scanned the lengthy deposition transcripts and similar documents ourselves, without cost.

>>Copies of the tapes are available, but expensive.

We took our own recording equipment and made our own copies free of charge.

>>The time required to obtain these things from the court clerk must also be considered.

I'm not sure why Shelly Thomson thinks anyone should waste any time mulling over this at all.  We obtained copies of all the materials we wished in a 3-day visit.

>>Did Spurgeon and Richardson really obtain all their documents from the court?

That is exactly where we obtained those documents.  Cooper is well aware of this fact, since she spoke by telephone to Records Center personnel about it.

>>Where are the receipts?

I wasn't aware that we were required to provide receipts of our expenses to Shelly Thomson.

>>How many hours did they spend in the courtroom?

We spent no time at all in any courtroom.  Shelly Thomson obviously isn't knowledgeable about the disposition of federal court records. Perhaps her story might have been more helpful if she'd spent more time checking facts and less time in flights of fancy.

>>How many days, and on which days?

We spent a total of three days at the National Archives Federal Records Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, with time to take in the local sights and scenery (and a great seafood restaurant, too).

>>When were the tape copies made, and where is the evidence that they were made by the court?

The copies were made by us, at the National Archives Federal Records Center, in the presence of the Center's director.

>>We would like to see this cleared up because there was, after all, another possible source for those documents.

Another of Shelly's flights of fancy.  Keith and I have been very upfront and direct about how we obtained these documents.  I have provided all necessary information above.  It was later made known to us that Cooper called the Records Center after our visit, so she is also quite aware of the source of these documents.

>>Supposing that Richardson and Spurgeon can prove that they acquired their tapes and documents from the court, we must then ask why they went to the trouble.

We went to the trouble because we wanted to know what really happened in the lawsuit Cooper filed against the CoS.  Once again, I fail to understand why going to the source of information might be considered a bad thing.  No researcher around would consider any other option than going to the primary sources.  That's what we did.

>>There are few items of current interest in the posted documents.

Actually, there are a *number* of very relevant matters brought to light in these documents. They were all discussed at the time they were posted.

>>There are no great crimes or acts of deception (except by the church).

No one suggested otherwise.

>>Paulette Cooper is revealed as a victim on a scale most people can scarcely imagine. Why did Richardson and Spurgeon pick Cooper as a target?

Shelly Thomson jumps to the false conclusion that we targeted anyone. We asked a question in complete innocence and were puzzled by the vehement reaction it engendered from Cooper.  We were curious to find out why such an innocuous question would have such an impact, so we determined to find out for ourselves.

>>Taking another look at the timeline:

>>Cooper's troubles started right after her ars post.

I'm still at a loss to understand what Shelly Thomson means by "Cooper's troubles."  This is not explained and is utterly nonsensical.

>>No sparrow falls on usenet without coming to the attention of OSA, the church's intelligence arm, but the church did nothing to respond.

I'm not sure I understand what OSA would have to respond to. Cooper loudly announced she no longer had any interest in the CoS and had no intention of discussing it.  Her posts dealt mostly with her current life, travels, and the books she'd written.

>>Instead Cooper was contacted by Spurgeon.

Cooper was contacted by *many* a.r.s. participants at that time.One of them, along with many others, was Keith.

>>She told him all about her life and her deepest fears--particularly, that the humiliating and painful Bast episode would be dragged out on the net.

Once again, I note this is a COMPLETE fabrication.  Neither Keith nor I heard the name Bast until we came across the tapes in the court files.

>>Spurgeon secretly fed the information to Richardson,

He did no such thing.  Keith and I were working on a project, which a number of people knew about at the time.  I was posting documents obtained from our Lexis-Nexis searches to the newsgroup regularly.

>>who used it to stage a public attack. They were joined by Judith Bradford, who picked a fight with Cooper after Spurgeon had made contact.

This is entirely untrue.  Judith did not "pick a fight" with Cooper, and Judith did not even know Keith at the time of the AOL incident.

>>The trio launched a campaign against Cooper, making plentiful use of innuendo and accusations unsuppored by fact.

The only "accusations unsupported by fact" are the lies and fabrications made in this "Biased Journalism" by Shelly Thomson.

>>--In other words, critic Cooper surfaced on the net, immediately ran into a covert op of the type the church is famous for, and became the target of a no-holds-barred character assassination.

This is a complete fabrication on the part of Shelly Thomson.  There's not an iota of truth in it.

>>This was not a surprise to anyone who has followed the netwar. (It was a devastating shock to Paulette Cooper, who still does not believe that she could have been set up twice.)

That's because Cooper was NOT set up twice.  The only op perpetrated against Cooper is the only manufactured in the warped brain of Shelly Thomson.

>>Neverthelesss, we would like to leave room for the possibility that this episode was merely a coincidence.

>>We feel that this would be a good time for Spurgeon, Richardson and Bradford to stop their attack on Cooper;

Efforts were started by Dean Benjamin to negotiate a truce.  Because of Paulette Cooper's refusal to negotiate in good faith, Dean finally gave up his efforts in disgust and frustration.

>>to apologize for their accusations, which went far beyond any basis in fact;

I have nothing to apologize for.  The accusations were based on documents in the public record.  Anyone who cares to check the factual basis of my statements can easily check the court record for themselves -- they are open to all.

>>and to provide objective evidence that they obtained all of their documents and tapes in the way they said they did.

Cooper herself called the Records Center and talked with staff there.  She herself can provide corroboration that we did indeed obtain the documents from the National Archives Federal Records Center.

>>Coincidence or OSA? We are waiting to see.

Neither coincidence or OSA; rather, a wild fiction hatched in the warped brain of a rather disturbed individual.

Diane Richardson


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