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Expose suppression of dissent
When attacks are made on dissenters and their work, the best response is to expose the attacks and use them to gain wider attention on the original work. Detailed documentation should be kept of all attacks, and a careful, conservative, and absolutely accurate account prepared and used to reveal the tactics of the other side. However, it is a mistake to become preoccupied by the injustice of attacks, for example by suing. Rather, the focus should always be returned to the work in question and the need for a fair evaluation.
Dissenters need to be prepared for anything. In the course of harassment, reprimands, transfers, dismissals and other such actions, there can be unscrupulous behavior, including spreading of lies, destruction of documents, blackmail of potential supporters, and frame-ups. Most people can scarcely believe what happens to whistle blowers, and indeed can scarcely believe it when it happens to them! It is salutary to read some whistle blower stories (Dempster, 1997; Glazer & Glazer, 1989; Martin, 1997; Martin et al., 1986; Nader, Petkas, & Blackwell, 1972) and study advice from people who have dealt with whistle blower cases (Stewart, De vine, & Ras or, 1989).
Build a social movement
If vested interests are stopping the expression or acceptance of certain ideas, ultimately the only thing that will change this is a change in society, including decision making and attitudes. One way to help bring this about is through a social movement, which can be thought of as a loose alliance of individuals and groups pushing for a change in the way people do things. Conventional examples are the environmental, feminist, peace, and anti-abortion movements. Social movements normally challenge established interests; a successful movement can become a vested interest, as in the case of neo-liberalism. Some movements are not so obvious. For example, computers did not appear by themselves: there was a strong push to introduce them, which can be called a "computerization movement" (Kling & Iacono 1988). Science was certainly a social movement in its early years, challenging the religious establishment.
Isolated dissenters can be suppressed easily; that is the fate of most whistle blowers. A movement, in contrast, has a better chance of gaining a hearing since it combines the skills and resources of many like-minded people who are committed to a cause and who can support each other. It is worthwhile for dissenters to contact activist organizations that are related to their area. Many activists have great skills in analyzing local power structures, mobilizing support, and building campaigns (Co over et al., 198 1; Shaw, 1996). Building a social movement is not a quick road to success but in the long run it may offer the best prospect for challenging vested interests.
The social system of science has forged enormously strong links to governments and corporations and as well has developed vested interests in education systems, career structures, and organizational arrangements. Indeed, science itself can be seen as a social problem (Restive 1988). Many aspects of the practice of science do not live up to the high ideals of "science" as a dispassionate search for truth. If there is any hope of reform, dissenters have a crucial role to play. To be effective, they need to understand that science is a system of power as well as knowledge, and that consequently they need to be prepared for a power struggle as well as a struggle over ideas.
Conventional examples are the environmental, feminist, peace, and anti-abortion movements. Social movements normally challenge established interests; a successful movement can become a vested interest, as in the case of neo-liberalism.
Suppression by the US Government
There is also ample evidence that some agencies of the U.S. government have tried to suppress parapsychological research by deliberately misrepresenting the results of that research. The reason for this is to diminish the likelihood that international competitors will develop psychic techniques that could threaten the U.S.
Ingo Swann in "Remote Viewing - The Real Story" ( www.biomindsuperpowers.com... ) explains that the intelligence community in the U.S. became interested in parapsychological research when it became clear that the Soviets were heavily engaged in such research. Another factor that upset the defense department was that computers belonging to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which were working on military projects at SRI, went haywire when Uri Geller was being tested on the floor below. If someone could psychically affect electronic circuits, they could interfere with any modern weapons system that used electronics.
The DARPA Debunking of Uri Geller (1972)
In late 1972, after DARPA computers seemed to have been affected by Uri Geller's psychic powers, DARPA sent the prominent skeptic Ray Hyman to debunk Geller.
Hyman reported that Geller was doing what magicians could do. However, Hyman did not test Geller under controlled conditions that would enable him to distinguish between stage magic and paranormal abilities. In his book "Uri", Andrija Puharich, a scientist who validated Uri Geller's psychic abilities, names two individuals from DARPA who started rumors that Geller's abilities were not genuine. This was exposed as a disinformation campaign when Targ and Puthoff at SRI obtained positive results with Geller under tightly controlled conditions and their research was published in the Nature article: "Information Transmission Under Conditions Of Sensory Shielding" by Harold E. Puthoff, Ph.D., and Russell Targ, Nature, VOL 252, No. 5476, Oct. 18, 1974, pp. 602-607.