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Unread January 20th, 2005, 12:33 PM
Wyatt Ehrenfels Wyatt Ehrenfels is offline
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 5
Default Cyberstalking Ring on Sci.Psychology.Psychotherapy

Look Who's Stalking Now:

Anatomy of Aggressive Efforts by Psychologists to Manage Flow of Information Favorable to their Opinions in Unmoderated Sci.Psychology.Psychotherapy "News Group": 15 Tactics


As a play on the self-moniker ("Internet Underground") of the world's largest decentralized user network, some people are calling Usenet a "sewer," but Wyatt Ehrenfels contends that where abuse is chronically active, one news group stands alone. Imagine my surprise (har har) upon discovering that this forum, which appeals to juveniles of all ages, was a psychology news group.

I do not usually devote attention to illicit activities among psychologists (e.g. the occasional report citing sex with a client), because I generally believe there are rotten apples in every barrel. Moreover, drawing attention to the rotten apples may bolster support for this ever-widening nucleus of arbitrary...superfluous...fiercely professional policies and procedures...standards intended to limit the number of rotten apples in Psychology's barrel, but at an insufferable price. As blunt instruments, the standards act as a finely meshed soup strainer, limiting all unconventional tendencies, including original thinking and anything that reeks of single-source contemplation and reflection. Consequently, the 'best and brightest' are weeded out along with the 'bad.' I'm willing to wager as author of this report that you (the reader) need not have had to lose a beloved pet to a 'bug bomb' to appreciate such a tragedy. In a nutshell, we sacrifice much to sanitize our field. So how can we defend these sacrifices in the face of our share of rotten apples?

Synopsis of Cyberstalking Activities

They refer to themselves as the CABAL. In the middle of some menacing melee in which Usenet stalwarts in sci.psychology.psychotherapy come together to disrupt, defame, and frighten an individual, you will often read the phrase "Long live the CABAL." Webster's Unabridged Revised Dictionary (1996, 1998) defines a CABAL as "number of persons united in some close design, usually to promote their private views and interests in church or state by intrigue; a secret association composed of a few designing persons; a junto." The term efficiently captures the soul of a group that invites comparisons to the masked extras in the film Eyes Wide Shut. With forged headers and anonymizers the group of stalkers achieve a technological anonymity to erase all traces of individual contributions to this socially facilitated form of group stalking. While science fiction director Stanley Kubrick invited you to suspend disbelief in the premise that prominent members of society can anonymously participate in a secret sexual society, I, social psychologist Wyatt Ehrenfels will open your eyes to a Usenet cyberstalking ring consisting of a small nucleus of academics and professionals aided by a much larger group of non-degree holding supplicants and belligerents with criminal and psychiatric histories.

It is not until the end of this lengthy but entertaining report that I take up, one by one, the strategies and tactics used by the cyberstalkers to control public opinion through libel, distraction, and intimidation. But in the event time does not permit you to reach that point in this report, I would like you to come away with a 'skeleton list' of the most egregious tactics:

Entering the Hive

The [INSERT YOUR NAME HERE] FAQ. This call-to-arms against a target (just imagine for a moment that it is you) masquerades as a 'frequently asked questions' document. Your residential (and possibly work) address, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses (and in some cases supported with a link to a satellite photo) are the opening (and only accurate) lines of a report in an otherwise falsifying and inflammatory document designed to solicit aggression and mobilize hostilities against you. This practice is known as larting.

Filing false reports alleging violations of federal law, terms of service, or net etiquette to your web hosting company, internet service providers, and in rare cases, law enforcement.

Defamation. Manufacturing lies designed to discourage others from reading your posts or web site. The lies often masquerade as truth-squading (dredging), as the stalkers feign access to a private font of knowledge about you when, in actuality, the fabrications are so severe, that they cannot pass for such benign categories of falsehood as 'educated speculation' or 'motivated misunderstanding.' The truth is utterly beside the point. The perception of you these Internet fantasists seek to manage is nothing other than what they want others to believe about you in their ideal world.

Disruption. These stalkers follow you around the news groups. If you decide to leave sci.psychology.psychotherapy to post elsewhere, a search on your name will quickly identify your whereabouts, and they will visit their smear campaign in the new forum in an attempt to deny you an audience there. They will also use intimidation, adopting as enemies and subjecting to similar harassment, individuals who engage you in dialogue in spite of their warnings.

Off-roading. The stalkers may even seek to disrupt your real-life activities by sending CDs of defamatory information to prospective regional employers, calling you at home, hacking your e-mail accounts, placing spyware on your PC, and sending threatening e-mails to your spouse and photos of your property to your postal mailing address. After a number of strangers appeared at his door, one victim was surprised to learn his house was listed as being for sale. Not that this doesn't pose enough of an inconvenience, but I cannot help but wonder whether any of the stalkers used the 'for sale' status to 'get an inside look' at the victim, his home, and his family. A few months later the victim's wife received a phone call from a bank following up on her 'mortgage application.'

Why I Decided to Write This Report

In the month following the widespread circulation of this report, I fielded questions and concerns from many readers wondering why I would give people of the sort described in this report, paragons of petulance and immaturity, a home on my web site. Don't get me wrong. I would have been happy to avoid them. And I stopped posting to Usenet's news groups (masquerading as Google Groups) for months, depriving them of responses in accordance with the belief that that these individuals would not be able to sustain their motivation for the attacks if I do not provide them with the ammunition. In other words, they cannot stand in the batter's box and take any swings without me on the mound throwing them some softballs. But having identified me as a 'dangerous kook' in that I have a web site and public life independent of Usenet, they pulled out all the stops to sustain the stalking in the absence of my participation. And to make it appear as if they were responding to me, they would comb through my web site daily, hijack an excerpt from one of my reports, and respond to it as if I myself had posted it in Usenet. By creating a cardboard replica of me in Usenet and using the second person ("you") in their unctious "replies", they were able to justify their semi-daily campaign and elude the perception of stalking.

So after 8 months of this unprovoked belligerence, I decided to compose this report to offer a rebuttal for the benefit of my web site's own audience. There was a time when Usenet posters toiled in virtual anonymity, but with the proliferation of these swarthy news readers (e.g., that create web records of the posts, I now have to contend with the fact this defamatory and malicious information about me has found its way into high-ranking results of a Google search on my name. Since the news reader services boast heavy traffic, the search formulas of behemoths like Google give high ranks to these trashy posts. These posts rank consistently higher in the search results than blurbs about me on reputable web sites and sporadically higher than even pages from my own web site.

Last but not least, I quite frankly find myself a bit seduced by the steady stream of incriminating evidence in anti-Ehrenfels posts on sci.psychology.psychotherapy. I have been providing a high-minded sociological critique of Psychology's policies and procedures, but seldom do individuals purporting to represent or defend the field of Psychology lavish me with real-time statements demonstrating all the prejudices I claim. Nothing could be more vindicating, and it's beginning to pay dividends in sympathy and support within the general public, as I discover that this report has helped me appeal to a younger and more popular segment of the population. What is offered by the denizens of SPPs unmoderated and unfortunately-named "news group" is perfect for a feature essay such as this one which presents the lighter side of my campaign while illustrating the risks posed by many psychologists (too many for comfort) to freedom, beauty, equality, and yes, even safety in the pursuit of truth about the human condition.

For more of the report, see the link above:
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