By Seana Sperling
In the film, Ralph Nader: An Unreasonable Man, we learn the history of Ralph Nader’s battle with Corporate America. Nader was a Consumer Protection Activist in the 1970s and exposed General Motor’s negligence in the manufacture of some of their vehicles. In retaliation, General Motors began using Cointelpro tactics to defame Nader such as having strangers follow him around everywhere (so when he told supporters of the tracking, they would think Nader was delusional). In the film, Nader also speaks of set-ups in which very beautiful women would try to befriend him. Currently, average citizens, armed with the latest technology, are engaging in the same Cointelpro tactics to harass and set up other average citizens in the twilight of our Democracy.
In 2010 there were news reports on KIRO and KOMO TV about public service organizations, ACORN and Planned Parenthood being set-up by Neo-conservatives posing as pimps and prostitutes? The Neo-cons would manipulate the ACORN worker or Planned Parenthood worker into saying something that would reflect badly on the organization. All the while the Neo-cons would be secretly filming and later air it to discredit the organization. This is called Cyber-baiting.
Norton Family Online Services describes Cyber-baiting as one or more persons deliberately harassing someone to get a reaction, which they capture on their cellphones and post on the Internet. I have dealt with set-ups for years. Almost daily, complete strangers in my neighborhood go out of their way to try to get me to react, by either calling me a lewd name, or blocking my way when I’m walking on the sidewalk or entering a building. On occasion some of the abuse has been physical such as people deliberately bumping into me, blocking my way, opening doors on me and I have been spit on twice. You might wonder why strangers would target me. Aside from the vengeance stalking that I have had to deal with for many years, you can’t be a Peace Activist during a time of war and not have some enemies. Many Educators, Writers and even some school children are experiencing the same abuse.
Bullies like cliques and if you enrage even one bully, they can recruit all of their Social Network friends to harass, defame and ridicule you. In the article, Student’s Organize Day of Bullying, www.upi.com, students created a FaceBook page called, “Annoy (Student’s name) Day,” to harass one of their fellow students. In another case, Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old in Massachusetts was constantly tracked and harassed through her school hallways and neighborhood until she took her life in March 2010. An alarming component of Cyber-baiting is surveillance/tracking the victim via cellphone. These teens were using Cointelpro tactics.
The following articles reveal authorized Cointelpro tracking/surveillance of average citizens: From the A.C.L.U., Stop the Government From Turning Neighbor Against Neighbor and from The Register, NSA Setting up Perfect Citizen Spy System and Amerisnitch from Peace Corps Online. If you are seen as a troublemaker, whistleblower, etc. you may be placed on a Watch list. Law Enforcement in your community may alert the neighborhood that you are “under investigation” or “a person of interest” for being (choose any) a terrorist, prostitute, pedophile, dangerously insane, racist, thief or drug dealer. If someone in authority accuses you, the neighborhood bullies go on patrol. (It’s a possibility that if the Neighborhood Watch asks Law Enforcement why they don’t just arrest you, Law Enforcement may say they don’t have strong evidence with a wink to the community that maybe they can “help” get proof. The Cyber-baiting begins with cell phones in hand.)
Another disturbing component of Cyberbullying and baiting is E-personation (posing as someone else online). In 2007 my name was linked to online articles that I had not written. One was about the Iraq War and the F-word was used liberally. Another was titled, “Everyone Loves an Abortion.” In 2006, online articles that I had written were linked to porn and gambling sites. In 2007, I found multiple blog postings stating I was a child molester, prostitute, thief, racist, crazy, etc. on www.rottenneighbor.com and more slander in 2008 on www.thestrangernewspaper.com‘s SLOG. While none of this is true, a gullible community might not question something that is in print. If it is from a popular source, some may join in to be part of the popular crowd.
We have an abundance of technology at our disposal, but as a nation our Emotional Quotient (E.Q.) lags far behind our I.Q. If people can do harm without actually seeing the blood they’ve drawn (such as from the safety of their computer or cellphone) they gleefully follow the bullies. We must recognize the signs of decline from history. The same bullying, self-righteous attitudes that appeared during Hitler’s rise to power and other Fascist takeovers are cresting in our society.