By Seana Sperling
In the 1950s McCarthyism destroyed innocent lives. Anyone could be accused of being anti-American and have their careers destroyed because of the Watch Lists. In the New Millennium, an innocent person can be placed on the myriad of new watch lists. You could be placed on a terrorist watch list, a sex offender watch list, DEA watch-list, etc. The Community Action groups are called in, which could be VIPS, InfraGard, Neighborhood Watch, Freedom Corps, Sororities, etc. to monitor your every move as well as harass you everywhere you go.
Being under surveillance and the slander that accompanies these lists, can wreak havoc with your career and your life as I have found out. If you apply for a job, the watch team will contact the prospective employer claiming you are under investigation for something, and you will not hear back. If the prospective employer does an Internet search of your name and finds a false Police Report or false Police Record they will not call back. If you go for an eye exam, go for a haircut, the snitch groups will call them up, thus you will be treated badly.
I found a false Police Record under my name on www.instantcheckmate.com. This website claims to have “Real Records,” but is a con. I have no record and I am not a criminal, terrorist, pervert or whatever. I clicked on my name and at the top of the page that opened read: “CAUTION: This background report is very graphic. We do not censor our reports. We trust you to use this information responsibly. Please do not abuse this tool, or we could be forced to take it offline. The content of the report might shock you, so please prepare for the unexpected.” I paid the $9.95 to see what I was being accused of this time. There was no record. I contacted the site and threatened litigation and they took the slander down the next day. I called City Hall Records and said I was finding things online about some sort of Police Record and they confirmed that they had nothing negative about me.
Award winning Author, Gloria Naylor writes about this type of vilification and organized bullying in her fictionalized memoir 1996. What begins with a simple dispute with a neighbor escalates into a DEA investigation and gullible citizens are manipulated into stalking and harassing Naylor everywhere she goes. She writes of how friends turned on her and were actually aiding the bullies. She also writes of how the National Security Agency, the NSA, was using experimental surveillance equipment on her. (This technology is too terrible to think about, yet it is a reality. Her well-researched proof of the existence of this technology is listed in the Addendum of the book.)
The Neo-conservative Rightwing put the seed for much of this into place in the late 1980s. However, when the G.W. Bush Administration came to power in 2001 and after 911, they pushed through The Patriot Act and unveiled their already active Freedom Corps (citizen snitch groups). John Ashcroft then popularized this use of ordinary citizens to be the “eyes and the ears,” of the government.
The groups do more than just watch. When a person is targeted as anti-American (or whatever), the group may start a rumor campaign, which can be entirely manufactured. If the person looks white, they may tell all the people of color in the community, that the person is a White Supremacist. They may tell the ADL that the person is an Anti-Semite. They may tell the shops that the person is a thief or con artist. They may tell poor people that the person is a NIMBY and hates the homeless. The community watch group may also call in anonymous accusations to Law Enforcement claiming that the person is a criminal or crazy. They may tell Child Protective Services that the person is a known pedophile or sex offender. The bullies can accuse innocent people anonymously via the Internet or by a simple text to TIPS and then the self-righteous come out of the woodwork to stalk and punish.
The goal of the bullies is to isolate the target from any type of support. If everyone in the community hates him/her, then the Fascists have control. It is also a conditioning of the community: They unify a gullible community to hate the target and do the dirty work. This also has the bonus of chilling dissent within that community. Members of the community realize that if they do not go along with the bullies, they could become targeted as well.
The harassment directed at me may not be just politically motivated. It may also be racially/ethnically motivated by some of the primaries as my last name is Jewish and I am very likely part Roma. (The latter I was not aware of until 2000.) Unfortunately there are still hate groups in the U.S. that stalk and harass people of color, Jewish people, Roma people, LGBT, etc. In fact, recently, on Portland Indymedia, I found a list of Jewish last names that some Fascist had posted. Among these names were Spelling, Sperling and many more. It was a little shocking to see these names posted and for what, so other Fascists could hunt people with those names down? Globally Roma people are being tracked, horribly vilified, monitored and harassed by Fascists. That is overt discrimination.
What if, in the U.S., there is a more covert tracking and harassment of non-WASP people? There has certainly been a rise of shootings and false arrests of people of color throughout the U.S. recently and many are vilified by the mainstream news. Throughout history there have been instances when groups are turned against each other, manipulated by the wealthy elite. It’s the old “divide and conquer,” routine.
Remember that if you hear that a person is this or that: first, consider the source. Second, tell the accused about the accusation and the accuser. This is a constitutional right. Don’t be manipulated by some Fascist on the Internet. Remember that anyone can be anyone online or over the phone. What these groups are doing is criminal and un-Constitutional.
In the German film, The Lives of Others, a couple’s life is destroyed because the Stasi put them on a watch-list. They were monitored daily. A friend of theirs who was a writer had been completely blacklisted, so he could no longer find work and friends were fearful to associate with him. Social Isolation through watch lists and defamation of character was the weapon the Stasi used to chill dissent and to destroy lives. The Editor of The Progressive Magazine is calling what is currently happening in the United States, the New McCarthyism. I call it the rise of Fascism.