Those who spread hatred via the internet, upon investigation, are often found to have two qualities in common: criminal backgrounds and a tendency to display signs of mental or emotional instability.
Robert W. Clark, of York, Pennsylvania, has a considerable history of instigating hatred on the Internet. On February 19th, 1995, writing under the pseudonym of “Henry,” (or “Henri”) Clark posted a message urging an individual to firebomb his local Church of Scientology.
“Firebomb it, demolish it with a rented crane and ball, firebomb it again and then salt the ground so that nothing will ever grow there again. And then if you’re up for it, firebomb it again.”
On April 12, 1995, Clark posted a similar message to an anti-religious newsgroup suggesting they also blow up Churches of Scientology.
In a newsgroup posting of February 20, 1995, Clark admits to a history of destructive behavior.
“…I realized that I was surrounded by enemies in kindergarten, that I could read and they couldn’t, etc. I was surrounded by Visigoths, Barbarians, the worst of all things, idiots, ordinary people. How did I respond? Severely enough that they sent me to shrinks for years afterward.”
Clark’s claim of early psychiatric treatment appears to have done him little good. In later years his destructive behavior resulted in criminal charges and arrests.
In 1990, Clark and his roommate were arrested for hacking into Carnegie-Mellon University computers. The Computer Emergency Response Team at Carnegie-Mellon, in cooperation with law enforcement, investigated this illegal computer usage when it was discovered that unknown individuals were illegally accessing university computer accounts and using those accounts to unlawfully access other computer systems. Clark was caught in the act of destroying a file on a system he had illegally accessed.
It was also discovered that Clark had illegally accessed computer systems at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He was charged with multiple counts of unlawful computer usage and theft of service. He was made to pay $750 in reparations to the university and was placed in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program for two years.
Clark’s life appears to have continued on a downhill slide. In the mid-1990’s, he became increasingly involved with anti-religious extremists, posting to their internet newsgroup, and participating in hate marches designed to intimidate and harass Church parishioners and staff. Postings indicate that circa 1995 he became unemployed and homeless, moving from place to place, relying on the charity of like-minded people he had met over the Internet.
On September 20, 1996, Clark was again arrested in Pennsylvania, this time for speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol. Although Clark denied he had been drinking, a blood test revealed he had lied; his blood alcohol level was well above the legal limit.
On a newsgroup frequented by individuals who discuss their emotional problems, Clark revealed insights into his behaviour that could lead him to be characterized as mentally disturbed.
On February 20th, 1995, one day after Clark issued his first firebomb terrorist threat against the church, he wrote:
“The moment anyone even approaches criticism of me, I immediately leap for the jugular. I have those reflexes. I accept criticism as immediately valid and true and go on to slamming whoever slammed me. … Not by defending myself, but by attacking, a habit which the net encourages. Some people immediately start defending themselves. This is a bad move. This lets them know _where_ they hurt you. You f***ers do not know where to hurt me. You know enough to call me a ‘faggot’ but I’d just laugh at that. You could call me a ‘whiny ex-junkie’ but I’d laugh at that, too. And regardless of where you hit me I’d respond in the same way–full frontal assault. So you wouldn’t be able to tell. … you’d know that I get _real_ nasty and real smart and real vicious, enough to make you look like an utter fool in front of everyone and on usenet that’s the supreme punishment.”
As his acts of hatred against Scientologists increased, apparently so did his self-loathing. In one posting of March 20, 1995, he stated:
“Yeah, sometimes I’m so disgusted with myself and everything else that the only sensible thing seems to be to take a razor blade and slash the shit out of myself until the sight of blood satisfies me. And sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes I heat up the razor blade over a Bic and burn myself with the f***er, just to drown out the rest of the world in blinding pain.”
In a second posting of the same date, Clark wrote:
“I’m such an absolute [vulgarity deleted] nothing, a total [vulgarity deleted] fraud. … I destroy everything I touch with my lies, I’ve murdered every one of my friends, I’ve killed everything I hate myself.
“…I ought to just go into work and shoot everyone there. Even the people I like. Hell, I’d be doing them a favor. I can even leave a note, something so insane and confused it’d make the news everywhere.”
And on September 7th, 1995, Clark wrote:
“I just want to go away where nobody knows me and where nobody can reach me and where I don’t have to hurt anybody else and oh, god, yes. Life is a process of either being f***d over or f***g over other people, and I sure did a hell of a job of f***g over the only person I ever did care about in a real way, not long ago.
“Maybe you’ll hear some day what a f***g phony I am, and the incredible shitheel thing I did, but not from me. Life is vile. And so am I. I only ought to hang out with people who are indestructible untouchable cynical bastards.
“My own capacity to hurt people sometimes terrifies me.”
Clark became, and continues to be, a strong supporter of Keith Henson’s hate campaign against Scientology and its parishioners. Henson, a convicted hate criminal who fled to Canada to avoid imprisonment in California, has committed acts described in a opinion by Canada’s Department of Justice as acts of terrorism.
“Now now now … just because the DA is a criminally insane idiot who ought to be in prison and brutally sodomized by a gang of Nazi Lowriders doesn’t mean there’s any call for talk like that.”
The above posting demonstrates not only Clark’s disrespect for law enforcement, but also his willful disregard for the law.
Recent newsgroup postings show his continuing attitude toward law enforcement.
29 Jan 2002 – His comments about the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force:
“Remember, if you disagree with their definition of ‘terrorist,’ that means YOU, too, are ALSO a ‘terrorist.’ ‘Terrorist’ is just a word these jackbooted Nazi thugs use that means ‘people who disagree with us.’”
31 Jan 2002 – His comments regarding U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft:
“Ashcroft is a Nazi who belongs in a prison. It should be against the law to be so f***ing stupid.”
“Remember that Ashcroft was only available to be put in a Cabinet position because he had lost an election to a corpse.”
On September 9, 1995, while participating in a newsgroup discussion about “debate” tactics on the internet, Clark clearly, and perhaps foolishly, laid out the strategy he uses to whip up hatred: feeding slanderous lies to gullible people on the internet. Here, in his own words, are the tactics Clark has been using for years against the Church of Scientology, law enforcement officials, and, for that matter, anyone he dislikes or hates:
“There are all kinds of rhetorical kicks-in-the-groin that you can get away when people agree with you.
“Poisoning the well is another good one. Predict their future actions and describe them in the most negative terms you can muster. Then when they do it, say you predicted it and point out again how sleazy it was.
“Don’t quit harping on them until they blow up and give you more embarrassing quotes and then harp on them, too. It’s possible to be a real pain in the ass with this one. An entire newsgroup can be ruined by doing this to excess.
“If you can’t but are continuing the argument just out of sheer orneriness, just continually slur them and make fun of everything you can think of. If you find out they volunteer at an orphanage, suggest they have an unwholesome interest in children. And then keep insulting them until they get sick of it then proclaim victory.
“If you must compare them to someone, drag out some fairly obscure and non-cliche murder or criminal and point out some similarity between them.
“Claim that they post too much, at least a dozen times a day. Say that you’d respond to their points if you had the time, but you have much more important things to do. Then post twenty articles attacking them on the same day.
“Make an offensive pun on their name and repeat it over and over again until it catches on and other people start using it.
“Attack the company they work for and say that their products suck and have lousy documentation. … Accuse them of sucking up to the idiot president of the company. All presidents of companies are idiots.”
Whether he is “Henry” or “Henri” or “ptsc” or some other pseudonym Clark is out there continuing to use such methods to spread hatred via the Internet on a daily basis.