portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

human & civil rights | labor | resistance & tactics

Backstabbed: The History of a Photograph

Do not hang out with neo-cons. They're not called "cons" for nothing.

Backstabbed: The History of a Photograph

Author: Stephen DeVoy

The lack of ethics in the American workplace never ceases to amaze me. In a society with a proper level of class consciousness, one would find members of the rank-and-file of corporations unified in their struggle to maintain justice within the workforce. The American workplace, however, has much more in common with the serfdoms of more primitive times. American workers, by and large, are programmed to be nothing more than petty children within a Kindergarten. They compete with each other to gain the grace of their Kindergarten instructor, the one individual holding all power over their destiny. They are not merely subjects, they are robbed of their adulthood and relegated to the role of petty backstabber. There is little difference between the mentality of a hostage and the American worker. American workers, on the whole, suffer from the Stockholm Syndrome.

Being an anarchist in the American work environment has certainly been a disadvantage. My loyalty has always been to my fellow workers, not my boss or upper management. When the chance to become a manager fell upon me, I took it not because I wanted power over others, but because I wanted to transform the work environment into one where workers were treated as adults and where they could play a direct role in governing their workplace. I tried, as best I could under the constraints imposed upon me by the ogres above, to accomplish this goal. What I never expected was that those who reported to me would fail to appreciate my subversive goals and would, instead, turn against me to gain personal power and favor from my bosses, all at the expense of their fellow workers. What I discovered was that my reports were selfish and narrow minded, they had sold their souls to the master/slave paradigm and sought not to liberate the slaves but to become masters themselves.

The company for which I worked had a tradition of assigning "deputies" to managers. I was the department director and I was expected to have deputies. I liked this idea because it implied a diffusion of power rather than a centralization of power, but now I suspect that the president of the company arranged for this kind of diffusion in order to subvert any manager he wished by manipulating the deputies directly. I started with one deputy. The best friend within the company of the former department director came to me and asked if she could be a deputy. I was reluctant to take Cyndy into my fold as a deputy because of her close connections with a previous director of the programming department, an intolerant man named Robert who had openly harassed me for being an anarchist. Nevertheless, I liked Cyndy and decided to give her the opportunity.

Cyndy, though in possession of a master's degree in computer science, had been working as a systems administrator. The president of the company did not feel that she was sufficiently talented to be a programmer and thus, assigned her to that position. She obtained her job at the company through the influence of her parents, two friends of the president of the company. Additionally, her mother arranged for a significant investment in the company in the form of paid internships and a client relationship. All of this was paid for by the employer of Cyndy's mother, a major pharmaceutical company. Cyndy, therefore, was not at the company due to her talents or abilities, but instead due to her connections.

Cyndy would question me frequently about my management philosophy, so I lent her a book about applying the principles of complex adaptive systems to management. I saw my role as facilitating the natural self organization of intelligent adults towards a common goal. Cyndy did not approve of my anarchist approach. In fact, she often told me that my political philosophy was a danger to her way of life (something I found absurd). I am a tolerant person and I have always been willing to work with those with whom I disagree, so I did not take her misgivings about my beliefs seriously. I expected that she would return to me the tolerance I practiced with her. This was not to be.

Soon Cyndy came to my office on behalf of another worker: Josiah. Josiah was very good at math but, in my opinion, a poor programmer. He had been working for almost two years on something that should have required only about six months. Cyndy told me that Josiah was discouraged and would love to see an improvement in his position. She asked me if I could make him a deputy too. I was reluctant to take Josiah on, but I am compassionate, so I agreed. In my heart, I wanted to appoint Zelal, a Turkish woman with great talent whom I believed to have been sidelined for reasons I did not understand. When I started at the company, Josiah and Zelal were officemates and did not get along. Zelal, feeling that she was being sidelined, moved over to the other side of the company, the side pursuing a commercial application. With her current position, I really couldn't make her a deputy. Zelal was the only person in the company from a predominantly Muslim country.

Most companies tend to expect employees to go through the "chain of command" in order to communicate with higher level managers. I did not believe this to be correct. In my philosophy, all individuals are equal and I see no reason to control their access to others. After all, my goal was to create an organic department, not a static department. Josiah came to me and asked me if I had a problem with him communicating his ideas directly to upper management. I told him I had no problem with it. Soon he was spending a lot of time upstairs with the director of human resources, Mary, wife of the president of the company.

Josiah began to undermine my every management move. He did this while pretending to be a friend. He'd bring in maps of Mars, one of my interests, for my enjoyment. He would tell me that I was the best manager he ever had. He tried very hard to brownnose me. What I did not know was that he was backstabbing me.

I am an outspoken person. After the events of 9/11, I expressed, from time to time, my dissatisfaction with the relationship between the United States and Israel. I did so based on what I see as the abuse of Palestinians by the Israeli government. I also disagree with the process by which the modern state of Israel was created. However, I also disagree with the process by which Europeans stole land from native Americans to form the United States of America. That is, my criticism of the formation of the modern state of Israel has nothing to do with Judaism, it has to do with imperialism and I apply my reservations about imperialist conquest equally to all, regardless of the ethnic or religious background of the imperialists.

If you view my choices as a manager, I was promoting two Jewish workers by making them my deputies. It never entered my mind to care one way or the other about their ethnic or religious background. I am an atheist. I am an anti-racist. My wife is of a race different than myself and my daughter is bi-racial. I never gave a second thought to the racial background or religious background of my workers unless I believed that someone in the company was attempting to thwart their progress on the motivation of bigotry. I saw it as my job to make sure women were treated as equals to men and that any worker was not thwarted by bigotry. My lack of interest, beyond that function, in the ethnicity or religion of my fellow workers is the reason why I was not shy to express my political views. I am not a tribalist. I do not think like a tribalist and I was shocked to learn, later, that many of my coworkers were tribalists.

Despite my disagreement with the way in which Israel was formed, I have always maintained that as an existing society, the history of how Israel was formed comes second to the right of an existing society to continue to exist. That is, I support the right of Israel to continue existing, now that it does exist, just as I support the right of Americans to continue existing by reason of giving priority to the living over the historical. I also support Israel's right to defend itself against invasion and against terrorism. At the same time, I believe that Israel should withdraw to the borders designated by the U.N. and permit the Palestinians to form their own state. Conversely, I support the Palestinian's right to self defense, through ethical means only, against state terrorism. I consider all terrorism to be unethical under all circumstances.

I have been involved in politics for a very long time. My views with regard to imperialism have bee consistent and I have applied them equally across all past conflicts. Therefore, I never anticipated that after so many years defending the right of those subjugated by others, that an equal application of these principles to the case of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict would result in a vicious hate campaign against me.

Cyndy and Josiah were part of the same clique at my former employer. Another member of that clique was John. John, upon hearing of my criticism of Israel, retorted by blaming all Arabs for Israeli suffering. He would refer to Arabs as "They" or "Them" and attribute to all Arabs the actions of a handful of terrorists. I have learned, over the years, that when people speak of a group as "They" or "Them", the motivation is bigotry. Individual human being do not share the responsibility for the actions of others who share their genetic material. Anyone who thinks they do is a bigot. This bigotry was also expressed by Josiah.

Having been unable to elevate Zelal as my deputy and believing that she was highly talented and undervalued, I sought to place her on an advisory board over programming policies which would also review new projects. Josiah became indignant at the idea. He made up stories about Zelal. Cyndy also backed him up. Zelal was being thwarted and I began to suspect it was because she was from an Islamic society. This is the point that strange things began to happen to me at my former employer.

Josiah came into my office one day with a copy of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." He spewed various statements about how "those Jews ruled the world and owned the media." I told him that I believed the Protocols to be bogus and that Jews did not rule the world. I also added that there were good and bad amongst all peoples and that, in this, there was nothing special about Jews. I have always been an individualist. I judge people by their individual qualities, not by their genetics or belief systems.

I now believe that this was an attempt by Josiah to find evidence of anti-Semitism on my part. Another attempt would follow, this time by Mary. I was sent a huge stack of resumes and asked to sort through them before they were thrown away. I was to choose the best for retention. The stack was huge so I farmed it out to two other people, keeping one third of it for my own review. Mary was very stressed about this (for seemingly no logical reason) and demanded that I made it clear who had reviewed which individual resumes.

As I went through my stack, there was one resume that I found very strange. I had repeatedly expressed my anger at the IDF for their human rights abuses. One resume was from some individual, whom I believe to be bogus, that was a former member of the IDF and ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE. The IDF part I could dismiss because, once again, not all individuals within any group are responsible for the actions of all the others. However, I could not, in good conscience, retain the resume of a member of a foreign intelligence service for a position in a U.S. defense contractor working on software spying on Americans. I decided that giving a job to such an individual would be a conflict of interest in ethical terms. I also believe that had we hired the individual (if he really did exist), the Defense Intelligence Agency would object. I decided, on those grounds, to discount his resume. In my opinion, being a member of a foreign intelligence service barred him from consideration. I would have made the same decision if he had been a member of German Intelligence, Canadian Intelligence, Russian Intelligence or any other non-American intelligence agency.

If we assume that this was yet another attempt to paint me as an anti-Semite, we would probably be correct in making the assumption. This was an absurd way to evaluate resumes. If Mary had really wanted to put me through such a test, she would have NOT chosen an individual in a foreign intelligence agency OR she would have provided a resume within the stack from another individual who was a member of the intelligence agency of another country to see if I would discount both. She did not do this. She entered a variable into the test that overrode all other variables. It was an invalid test. I would do the same again.

That Mary would do this proves that she was waging a smear campaign. Nearly everyone I worked with, appointed to high positions and spent my time with in the company were Jewish. Over my life I've had two Jewish girlfriends, a Jewish uncle and my grandmother might have been part Jewish. If anything, I should have been accused of just the opposite.

Cyndy's mother came to the company to take a course on using the company's product. Cyndy "just had to introduce me" to her mother. Cyndy's mother questioned me on my political beliefs. She told me that I was very convincing and that someone should stop me. I found this absurd and took it as a joke. Cyndy's mother went on to tell me how relatives had died in concentration camps in Europe. I expressed my sorrow over those experiences of her family and I meant it.

Soon thereafter, Cyndy walked into my office without knocking, asked me to turn around and took my picture with a digital camera. I asked her why she had done that and she told me that she had received the camera for free and was trying it out. That picture would later link the harassment campaign known as "KOBE" to Cycorp.

I had, at that time, one website called "Mars Anarchy." It was the intersection of two of my interests, the future colonization of Mars and a philosophical (not political) basis for anarchism. It was a thought experiment and an exercise in science fiction. Science fiction is a perfect genre for exploring philosophical issues because it permits the construction of hypothetical worlds different from our own. In attempting to discover universal principles we often need multiple perspectives. Life on Earth often limits us to one. For example, in the field of Philosophy of Mind, one of my areas of specialization, we consider not just the human mind, but the minds of dolphins, bats and even hypothetical extra-terrestrials with embodiments different from our own. The goal is to find the essence of what is a mind and what is consciousness, not what is the human mind in particular and human consciousness in particular. The same can be said for a political philosophy. When reviewing the history of anarchism, one finds a philosophy that arises in opposition to an existing philosophy and a struggle to change systems. This struggle causes anarchism to emphasize concepts such as conflict against the state at the expense of examining the philosophical basis of anarchism itself - its essence. By conducting a thought experiment, anarchist society on a future Mars colony, I was able to explore starting with anarchism rather than achieving anarchism. Taking away the need for revolution allowed me to concentrate on what anarchism would be like and how it would find its philosophical basis rather than on how it would achieved. The idea was to consider anarchism arising in a world where there already was no government.

This website began to be attacked by some other party. Josiah had asked to be part of the project. I gave him a logon with an email account. I believe he later abused this access to destroy the website. Within months it was offline, its URL directed to point at a porn website.

Meanwhile, I found three of my online forums under attack. One was called "Your Soap Box." Another was "The Middle East Form," dealing with the conflict between Israel and Palestine. A third was "Big Brother is Watching," a means to expose government surveillance of Americans in the wake of 9/11.

Josiah brought to the office an Internet appliance. The Internet appliance was connected to the Internet via telephone and the ISP was WebTV. I asked Josiah what he was doing with an Internet appliance at work. He told me has was "trying it out" and that Mary had given him permission to do so. I did not investigate further.

I mentioned to Josiah, thinking that he was a friend, that some group of individuals claiming to be the JDL were harassing me online. He asked me where I was posting and what my online handle was. I told him. Soon, someone using a WebTV IP was harassing my websites, posting vile porn on the forums in violation of the host's TOS. The attacks would intensify whenever I left the office. They would continue into the night.

At the same time, Josiah began working odd hours. He came in during the afternoon and would leave in the wee hours of the morning. This was in violation of company policy. During a management meeting I was asked by the president of the company about uncooperative workers and I mentioned that Josiah was no longer working his normal hours and that this was disruptive. He was working late at night rather than during the day. The president of the company said to me, "Leave Josiah alone. He is working on a project that is personally very important to me." He did not explain what the project was.

The harassment increased. I received repeated demands that I take down my website and forums. Warnings that I would be removed from my employment were posted on the forums. I received numerous death threats and threats against my wife and daughter. The harasser started posting libel and defamation against my wife, racist comments about my wife and claims that my daughter was not my own (which is bullshit). It was very personal and very offensive.

Soon, the president of the company would block out his office window by pasting newspapers and articles on the windows, thereby preventing anyone from seeing what he was doing with his computer. Another harasser entered the picture.

I received warnings that I had been reported to the FBI for being a terrorist, that I was under investigation and other such nonsense. Two officers of the Defense Intelligence Agency visited the office. They asked me "if I liked my job." Then they went to meet with the president of the company and Mary. A couple of days later I was demoted.

The president of the company told me I could choose any project that I wanted, but he wanted me to transition my work to another worker. I stalled on this because I suspected that this was just a way to get me to cooperate until they fired me. I began to work for Cyndy. When I was demoted, she was promoted.

My old machine was given to a different individual. I believe it was mined for passwords. The online threats increased and then I was fired.

After leaving my job, the harassment did not stop. The harasser began posting hints as to his identity and all of those hints pointed to Josiah. I telephoned the system administrator of the company, Lee, and expressed with her my concerns and belief that Josiah was involved. She checked the logs and said she found no evidence of Josiah's involvement. I told her that Josiah was using an Internet appliance from the office and that would circumvent her ability to monitor him. She was unconcerned. I would later find Lee harassing me on IndyMedia in Houston.

As the harassment increased and the death threats became more specific, I became more concerned. Eventually, I went to the FBI's field office in Austin to report the online terrorism I was experiencing. They did not help me but they collected information about me. Some of that information, the information that I gave them, would be repeated online by the harassers.

Fearing for the safety of my wife and daughter, we moved to the Boston area. As soon as we arrived, the harassment increased dramatically. A website named KOBEHQ went up. Several individuals posted on my forum that they were Cycorp employees laughing about my removal from the office. Information from my personnel file was placed online. Much disinformation and libel was placed online as well.

KOBEHQ transformed into a bully website recruiting others to harass me. The person claiming to be the owner, KOBE SBM, sent me emails telling me I would be disappointed if I knew "his" identity and that "he" had been recruited to harass me. He indicated that "he" was being paid to harass me. He also indicated that law enforcement and Homeland Security were involved.

Over time, information flow proved that the harassers were based at Cycorp. I have written much about this and do not intend to rehash all of it here. What I do want to do is get back to the picture that Cyndy took. That picture ended up online, in doctored form, during the RNC in New York. It was part of a defamatory article. As you look at the picture and read the article that was posted within it on NYC IndyMedia, I'd like you to think deeply about the psychological state and ethical values of the person who posted it. This person is a manager at my former employer's office:

I found love at the protests this weekend
by Stephen Dee
(No verified email address) 30 Aug 2004
Modified: 03:42:25 AM
Hot man love in the Starbucks restroom
It was hot and I was tired. It had been a long bus ride from Boston and I was tiring in the march. I needed a pickme up. I spotted a Starbucks so I opted out of the march for a few minutes and an iced coffee latte.

I entered Starbucks, the line was long. A couple minutes later it happened. A most godly alpha male came and stood behind me in line. He had a muscle shirt on, he was muscular and tan. I could feel his hot breath on the back of my neck and I became aroused. I turned to look at him and he smiled at me. It was the most miraculous thing, he said to me would you like to meet me in the mens room. I almost fainted and it was all I could do to push the "Yes!" out of my dry lips. We entered the mens room and I went to the sink to splashed cold water on myself. My loveer entered a stall and pulled his hot purple silk shorts down. Oh such a delight. I entered the stall and turned around and mounted him. He reached and turned my head and we exchanged a passionate kiss, his tounge probing the inside of my mouth. Oh the passion. I heaved and sighed and then raised slightly as my man entered my rectum. He was so large and it hurt badly, but it was a good hurt. A deep penetrating warmth came over me as I thurst up and down on my unknown lovers cock. Five minutes passed and we were still engaging in rythmatic anal sex. Finally he gasped and I felt his love spurt inside of me. We kissed again and I pulled up my pants and left, forgetting my latte. I was now recharged and ready to finish the march. I was more at peace with myself and I marched on all the while feeling the hot man gravy that my abonymous lover had just deposited in my anal cavity. I've never felt so alive


Doctored Photo Taken by Cyndy

The graphic behind the photo is named "heswearacooliehat.jpg". This name was chosen by a racist. Note also, the Arabic scarf has been added to my waste, the Vietnamese hat has been added to my head and the anti-Bush graphic has been added to my shirt. I do not wear swastikas. My legs have been edited out to make it look like I am leaning from a standing position and not sitting in my office chair.


Look at the notes on this graphic (click to enlarge) to see how they doctored it.

This is but one of dozens of images the harassers have placed online attempting to defame me. They have posted images depicting me as a Nazi, urging me to commit suicide and other defamatory materials. This is not the work of a normal employer. It is the work of a criminal organizations pretending to be an employer.

In addition to harassing me, they have harassed dozens of Muslim and Arab forums, forcing them to shut down. I have evidence linking them to the Defense Intelligence Agency, the FBI and local police departments. KOBEHQ is just one small project that is part of a larger corporatist/governmental COINTELPRO project.

I've learned many things from this experience. However, the one thing I would like the reader to gain from my experience is to drop your assumptions about the ethics of right wingers in your life. Before 9/11, there was room for leftists and rightists to coexist as friends and to trust one another. Now that the right has become fascist, there is no room for trust. If you are a political activist, begin to create distance between yourself and those who hold extremist rightwing views. If you are working for a corporation with rightwing connections, I suggest that you seek other employment. We now live in a world much like that of the Germans under Hitler. Your coworker "friends" might just be sleaze-ball informers. Mine were.

add a comment on this article

dammmm 08.Jan.2005 11:22

dik clark

dammmmm slick. get over it , you should be happy to no longer have to choose you loyalities. look for the real reason , such as you obviously do not bathe often and are truly an uggly muthafuka. love , me (And no, i'm not any of the above mentioned - you sad , sad little man.)