The Secret to a Happy, Successful Life of Paranoia: Tyrone Hayes and Syngenta (and… Ukraine)

“The secret to a happy, successful life of paranoia,” Tyrone Hayes liked to say, “is to keep careful track of your persecutors.”

Hayes is a scientist who had discovered that a popular herbicide impedes the sexual development of frogs, and probably people as well — particularly those of African or Hispanic descent.

The manufacturer was not so happy about this discovery, and spent the last 15 years trying to discredit him and keep his research from affecting their bottom line. The result is a sort of private-sector take on ‘zersetzung’ tactics, stuff that will be familiar to anyone who remembers the HBGary Federal “here’s how to discredit Glenn Greenwald” amateur-hour stuff.

For example, in one list — “have his work audited by 3rd party,” “ask journals to retract,” “set trap to entice him to sue,” “investigate funding,” “investigate wife.”

Most interesting to me is the item, “set trap to entice him to sue.” This illustrates nicely a worthwhile point — even if they really are out to get you, going on the offensive is something you should only do if you’re really damn sure it’s in your best interests.

(And those who do go on the offensive try very hard to pretend they aren’t. We’re seeing something similar in Ukraine’s Crimea right now, with the Russians putting up pretense after pretense to pretend they’re not invading:

– the use of partially-civilian “we’re not Russians, nope” forces for the initial phases

– having the presumably Russian-controlled local Prime Minister ask Putin for “protection”

…and more in the “information warfare” front. According to the vaguely Russia-friendly CCC-linked — *cough* Karl Koch *cough* — hacker blog Fefe, it’s all because the Maidan movement “opened up to discussion” the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s lease in Sevastopol. Never mind I’ve been unable to confirm this anywhere.

My conclusion therefore is that this is bullshit. What the Russians seem to actually want is to nab Ukraine’s economically strong areas in order to cripple the country, already close to defaulting, in a sort of quasi-psychopathic “if you won’t join me, than you can DIE, Meester Bond” routine.

Which is ‘ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid,’ the Ukrainians have every reason to stay on friendly terms with the Kremlin, yet the Russians have now given them every excuse to terminate the preciousss Sevastopol lease if the Russian effort fails.

Anyway, my opinion is that the main difference between the Russian and American governments is the Russians don’t give a fuck and flaunt their semi-civilized psychopathy openly, while the Americans try to hide it as pretending not to be that way is better for business. Yet both still fly the “red white and blue”…

Will be interesting to see what happens since the UK and US (+Russia) all agreed to defend Ukraine’s borders in exchange for Ukraine giving up nukes. Or maybe the Ukrainians will handle it and we’ll all be better off.)

Where was I?

Oh, yeah, the atrazine guy. Here’s a quote to finish up the writeup:

“It’s one thing if you go after me because you have a philosophical disagreement with my science or if you think I’m raising alarm where there shouldn’t be any,” he said. “But they didn’t even have their own opinions. Someone was paying them to take a position.”

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