By Seana Sperling
In the United States, Land of the Free, online groups are being manipulated to stalk, defame and harass Peace Activists, Whistleblowers, Writers and Educators because of supposed, un-American activities. Mike German of the ACLU has spoken about Military personnel hacking Activist’s websites and accounts and manipulating content to discredit them. It’s not just the Military however. In the age of, “If you see something, say something,” regular citizens are being empowered to surveil and report on their neighbors. Some are calling this Cointelpro Two and the Editor of The Progressive Magazine is calling it The New McCarthyism.
The vilification of Activists and Whistleblowers, accompanied by mainstream media Gaslighting the public about the wars can manipulate some people into doing terrible things to others in the name of Patriotism. The general public are hand-fed propaganda from a profit-driven media and therefore anyone can be vilified. We have only to look at the high profile cases of Julian Assange and Bradley Manning for examples of Whistleblowers being demonized by mainstream media. For non-public figures, the community can be recruited to vilify the victim on something as simple as a message board or blog. Then the Netizens take to the streets to punish their target.
The cycle of history continues and we stubbornly refuse to evolve. In the 1960s the KKK used to stalk and harass Civil Rights Leaders and Activists everywhere they went. Some victims in Nazi Germany dealt with the same things some of us are experiencing today: defamation of character, stalking/surveillance, being verbally and physically harassed by members of the community and vandalism of property. www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/timeline/knacht.htm
The Eastern German film, The Lives of Others, shows the heavy surveillance and harassment the Stasi used against dissenters. Dissidents were vilified and blacklisted, resulting in complete decimation of their lives and isolation from their peers. Decomposition is the term for the Stasi’s destruction of a life incrementally. The U.S. counterpart to this is called Cointelpro Two.
Cointelpro Two: The authorities start a rumor campaign to recruit others to ostracize, harass and surveil/stalk the victim, sometimes even to death (Bullycide). Sex Offender or Terrorist are the memes of the Vilification Industry and innocent people are being labeled.
E-Personation can be employed to set the person up to appear as some kind of pervert or a danger to the community. Craigslisting the Person: Creating a fake and defamatory advertisement in their name. A man in Connecticut created an advertisement with his neighbors name and address, inviting men to come have sex with her. Men started showing up as she was leaving for work. Was it Cointelpro Two or just a vengeful neighbor? http://www.dailybreeze.com/latestnews/ci_14936500
The bullies also employ gaslighting to destabilize the person. Gaslighting defined: “…false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity. …denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting
Gloria Naylor’s fictionalized memoir 1996 shows in grim detail how a life can be destroyed incrementally with slander, gaslighting and constant surveillance/tracking. The technology of today, enables the bullies to persecute incrementally and covertly. Cyberstalking and Cyberbaiting are the new tools used by the zealots to punish people that disagree with their Neo-Conservative agenda.
Mainstream media should be reporting about these abuses, but they are reticent. Advertising dollars trump real journalism and if the news is unpopular, then it is suppressed. Only independent news sources even mention Cointelpro Two and The New McCarthyism.
In Nazi Germany, censorship and propaganda was used frequently and enabled the Nazis to recruit. Propaganda was also used to pacify the rest of the public. Collaborators like Filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl created propaganda films showing the public a very different reality than what the Roma, Jews, Dissidents, LGBT and other victims of The Holocaust were really experiencing in the camps. Her films showed happy people exercising, working or just going about their day.
On our local News in Seattle there is more and more Soft News, but also a focus on local crime. The Soft News ranges from Fun Runs to interviews with Sports fans. Peace marches or non-violent acts of Civil Disobedience are often over-looked. Abuses against activists seem to be completely ignored. In Kurt Vonnegut’s, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Eliot Rosewater comes home after work and as usual his parents are watching the “Happy News.” When this book was written, there was far less Soft News aired, so imagine Vonnegut’s satirical statement on the news, if it were written today.
There are other media distractions and manipulations however. Naomi Wolf’s The Guardian UK article: Cheaters and the Sinister Normalisation of our Surveillance Society, raises a timely warning about modern media popularizing punishment, stalking and surveillance with shows like the Reality series, Cheaters. The Show’s description: “Syndicated series featuring detectives with hidden cameras staking out the wayward and amorous.” Reality shows like Big Brother also diminish the importance of privacy and popularizes bullying and backbiting. Undercover Boss is another show that appears to be making surveillance of citizens mainstream and it is also an attack on workers by deifying management and punishing the worker.
This is how some Americans spend their leisure time, by either watching or participating in the surveillance of citizen’s private lives. It’s a gross abuse of the Fourth Amendment and this departure from the ideals of Democracy shows the decline of our common sense, ethics and personal responsibility to others. The people of the world look to the United States as a symbol of Democracy, a symbol of freedom. Is it just a façade?
Mike German Youtube