Thursday, June 6, 2019

What Is Their Goal?

I'm in my eleventh day in Europe.  I taught a wonderful science communication workshop, enjoyed time with many students and postdocs.  I mentored early-career faculty and reviewed the work and provided guidance to shape the future of a rising-star of an institution.  I was honored to speak at Brain Bar, a wonderful conference about the future. 

All of this came on my departure from social media, particularly Twitter. I've been watching and reading.  I also took down the majority of this blog.  I need to get my head down.  My mental health is taking a hit and the personal and professional inconvenience of being doxed and harassed is getting extreme. Here's what is happening now. 

Bank Accounts, Retirement Doxxed.

Somehow a former journalist turned hate-monger named Michael Balter obtained my personal records.  It is not hard to do.  Paul Thacker and University of California San Francisco posted my social security number a few months ago.  Once you have that, you find my birthday and mom's maiden name and you can pretty much have access to my private everything. Couple this to FOIA laws and you have access to my life. Every single word. 

I had to change my bank account number two days before going to Europe, meaning no debit card or access to cash. All autopay had to be reset, and of course is screwed up and bills are late.  Just a pain. 

Now he has posted my personal financial information concerning my retirement holdings. 

I don't come from money.  My father is still working at 72.  I had student debt until I was 40-something.  I also worked in public science, starting with a Ph.D. plus 5 years of experience at a wage made by a good librarian. 

I don't have a pension. My retirement is self-financed, and it is on the horizon.  My wife is not a Wall Street banker.  She's a fruit and vegetable farmer that sells at farmers markets. We are comfortable, but not wealthy.  We live in a double-wide mobile home in the country (town of 1000) and our costs and expectations are modest.  We buy a lot of plants and go out to dinner on Saturday night.   We have about 40 fruit trees. 

Early on I learned to invest in myself.  I started investing in my retirement at the age of 16 when I spent part of my summer work money on the company that marketed Jolt Cola.  A brilliant move it would turn out.  That company is now part of InterBev the international giant. 

Over the years I sacrificed many things to plan for the day I would not work.  I invested in diverse interests, all with high dividends and low risk.  I saved a large part of my income.  Years later I would lose half of what I invested in a divorce, which severely affected my plan. So it goes. 

Now Michael Balter is distributing my personal financial information on the web, and it is being further distributed by the anti-GMO world, nice folks like GM Watch. 

They note that I own shares of Bayer.  Damn right I do.  I bought them right after their price tanked when the glyphosate decisions came down.   I still have faith in science and reason, and believe that this reaction is temporary and a company's true value will ultimately be realized. Plus a great dividend.  I'd recommend it! 

But this brings us to two important questions-

1.   Why do they feel that my family's retirement is their business?

2.   Why do they think it is appropriate to distribute it on the internet? 

It is a profound sense of violation.  It disgusts me that people hate me so much, and want to stop me so much, that they use this kind of tactic to intimidate me.  That's what this is.  They can't stop me with lies, distortions, or threats.  They manufactured newspaper articles based on lies and spread their filth in social media. 

But hacking your family's retirement information and making it public?   It is purely to intimidate, to remind me  that I have no privacy and will never have privacy until I resign from science and hide somewhere.  This is their goal. 

At this point I am unsure what to do.  I need help.  The rage I feel is immense and I have to fight every impulse to strike back.  I'm not a religious guy, but I think of the lessons from when I was a kid, and find them very poignant right now.  

Forgive them, for they know not what they do. 

Then the words my therapist gave me, "Time will be kind."


 MAMyths and Kavin Senapathy

These folks hate me so much and I'm not sure why.   Allegedly science-friendly types are using the same tactics used by the science hate groups.  Last night I read on Twitter that MAMyths was organizing a page about me.  I saw it in a tweet and clicked the link. 

I could not believe what I was seeing.  It was a page dedicated to me, all hateful news, allegations, and everything they could find that was negative.  And Kavin was fishing for more dirt.  They since took down the page, but luckily I grabbed screenshots. Unbelievable. 


I saw this link and clicked it-- a hateful page dedicated to me.  What is wrong with these people?  What do they want?  Science Justice? 


Again, I don't care about Kavin, Stephan or Karl or any of those folks.  They can do their thing, I'll do mine.  But why do they feel that they need to harm my ability to do good work, especially when it helps others understand science? 

Fake Troll Accounts
Look at the Twitter accounts @RailaerAouy (you are a liar backwards) and @EvelynGreenburg.  Both are relatively recent accounts, the people behind them are using FOIA to harass me, and the Twitter feeds are dedicated to my harassment. 

These folks should get a life.  I'm not that important. 



Conclusion. 

I was very torn about writing this.  I don't want to give them the attention they crave.  But I feel that there is no other recourse other than exhibiting their disgusting behavior.   Are these the folks that represent you?   Your ideas?   People you find represent your values and superb ethics? 

I've had to do a lot of soul searching and frankly don't want to do this anymore.  But that's what they want.  Their goal is to harass and intimidate me out of teaching, research, outreach, social media, or all of the above.  

The way forward will be decided soon.  I just hate what an important discussion about food security, farming, and technology has become.  I never thought it could get any worse, and indeed it has.  

14 comments:

Jane said...

Kevin, the first thing I would say is hacking your financial accounts is, of course, illegal. I hope you have a good attorney to bring charges and also file cease and desist orders against those individuals and organizations that are both hacking your account and harassing you by posting your personal information. I wonder if your CPA might have some recommendations on how to set up an LLC or other entity which would be immune from this type of financial hack… protecting your assets is the first thing you need to do.
Second, as one who does follow Kavin S. and MAMyths for their science articles, I cannot fathom the reasons for their hostility. It is untenable and obviously very hurtful; they should be colleagues and not antagonizers
Finally, I suppose it is small consolation to know you have many solid supporters, during those dark days, but please realize that it is so. Please let those of us who support you know what we can do to assist you. Kudos to you for reaching out to your support community and for not dealing with this alone.

Jenny said...

Dr. Folta, like your other fans, I am appalled by what is happening to you. The time has come for the University to put resources into protecting and defending you and pursue all legal remedies against those who have harassed you.

Edward Hyde Jr said...

Why don't we do the exact same to the organic lobby? It's all nice to say that we're not like them, but all this hate of GMO scientists comes from them. That's how they sell their shit! I'm sure fishing with FOAI requests would give us enough infos to out them as frauds.

The Michele said...

They are terrorists and have perpetrated mental and emotional rape. I hope they die slow, painful deathd.

Delaine said...

I don’t know what to say. I wish I could come up with some insightful recommendation or suggestion. The only thing that comes to mind is shame on them. To attack a scientist is to attack the only hope we have for the future. Please don’t despair. You have many many supporters who know the truth.

Jackie Janes said...

Wow! They remind me of anti-abortion activists. So hell-bent on being heaven bound that they're no earthly good. Perhaps proudly making your life an open book so they have nothing to share about you would remove their firepower. Displaying your financial holdings as well as contracts on a weekly basis would make this old news.
Sorry Kevin, I'm sure it's crappy advice, but that's all I've got.
Smart people will consider the source. The others will wallow in stupidity. Best wishes to you and yours.

Anke said...

You could try talking to a lawyer about (aggravated) cyberstalking and see if it applies in your case.
I wish you a lot of strength, but please remember to put your (mental) health first. Taking some time for yourself is not a win for the antis, but common sense to make sure you can continue to do what you love.

Out of place, Out of time said...

I am so sorry this is happening to you, Kevin. I hope you find a way to find peace and still help, but, if you don't, if you must retreat, for a while or for good, that's okay, you do what you need to do for your own well being.

Thomas Hughson said...

Hello Dr. Folta

Whatever you decide, you are a hero. Thanks for the sacrafices you made by making sure people like me didn't fall down the rabit hole by the ensuring the best(accurate) information is out there on "gmos".

colleenmcmichael said...

" So hell-bent on being heaven bound that they're no earthly good" I'm going to have to use this!

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You're in the wrong place, spammer. Please go away, nobody here is interested in what you have to sell.

Dr. Folta, I support you and all of your hard work. Cheers!

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