COINTELPRO News (2016)

“When you talked to people outside the [anti-Vietnam War]
movement about what the FBI was doing, nobody wanted
 to believe it.”

– Keith Forsyth, one of the activists who exposed
the original version of COINTELPRO

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“COINTELPRO is alive and well.”

– Tom McNamara, CounterPunch magazine,
January 21, 2013

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“Gang Stalking” is, very likely, a disinformation term created by
U.S. intelligence agencies. It refers to the intense, long-term, unconstitutional surveillance and harassment of a person who has been designated as a target by someone associated with America’s security industry.

Such operations have nothing to do with criminal gangs. Official domestic counterintelligence operations of this type are – apparently – perpetrated by federal agents and contractors, sometimes with the support of state and local law enforcement personnel. The goal of such operations – in the parlance of counterintelligence agents – is to “subvert” or “neutralize” an individual deemed to be an enemy (or potential enemy) of clients or members of the security state. Arguably, the most accurate term for this form of harassment would be “counterintelligence stalking.” Published news reports and other evidence cited on this website seem to suggest that much – but not all – of this stalking is done as part of a national program. News reports indicate that such stalking is also sometimes used unofficially for personal and corporate vendettas by current and former employees of law enforcement and intelligence agencies, including private investigators.

Since counterintelligence stalking goes far beyond surveillance – into the realm of psychological terrorism, it is essentially a form of extrajudicial punishment. As such, the harassment is illegal – even when done by the government. It clearly violates the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, for example – which guarantees the right to a trial. Such operations also violate similar fundamental rights defined by state constitutions, which people on the right of America’s political spectrum claim to respect. Stalking is also specifically prohibited by the criminal codes of every state in America.

Crimes against Americans at the hands of corrupt government agents and private security thugs have a long history in the U.S. The FBI’s COINTELPRO (“Counterintelligence Program”) scandal in the 1970s was the most notorious high-profile example, but similar abuses of power by “Red Squads” (state and local Law Enforcement Intelligence Units) and private detectives date back to the 19th century.

You can read a full explanation of counterintelligence stalking on the What is “Gang Stalking?” page of this site.

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February 4, 2016

Kochs hired former police chief and agent to slander a reporter

Although the subject is usually ignored by most of America’s mainstream press, wealthy individuals and corporations sometimes hire private security firms – which are often staffed by former cops and former federal agents – to perform their dirty work. The extent to which corrupt private investigators engage in stalking – to terrorize individuals designated by the investigators’ clients as enemies – is impossible to know, but reports such as this one give a sense of the type of games played by America’s security industry goons. For people with deep pockets (the Koch brothers are the fifth and sixth richest people in the world), a large pool of former police officers and former federal agents is available for mercenary work – most of which never receives any public scrutiny.

Incidentally, the security budgets of American corporate executives are often enormous. The money spent on the security of chief executives, for example, provides some perspective. Apparently, members of the one percent do not cut corners when building moats around their castles:

“Top companies spend a lot of money to keep their CEOs safe. Apple spent almost $700,000 on security for CEO Tim Cook last year. Amazon and Oracle each spent roughly $1.5 million to protect Jeff Bezos and Larry Ellison, respectively, while Disney spent nearly $600,000 to safeguard Bob Iger.”  THE WEEK, August 21, 2015

Last month, reporter Jane Mayer was interviewed by Democracy Now! about efforts by the Koch brothers to have private investigators discredit her reporting about them, following an exposé published in 2010 by The New Yorker. Mayer explains what happened in her new book about the Koch brothers, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.

AMY GOODMAN: What happened to you, Jane, after your big exposé in 2010 in The New Yorker magazine?

JANE MAYER: This was something that had never happened to me before, but—even though I’ve covered all kinds of things, from wars to the CIA. But I suddenly found myself about to be attacked in the press, the right-wing press, on charges that were drummed up by a private eye that had been digging into me. That private eye was, it turned out—and I report about this in the book—was working with top Koch operatives, who I name in the book. It’s all been checked. The Kochs have had their chance to say it’s not so. They have never denied it, and neither has the detective. And they tried to plant misinformation about me in the press. Luckily, it was so false, nobody ran with it.

As explained in the interview – and in this post on the climate change blog, DeSmog, the private security firm hired by the Kochs was Vigilant Resources International, which is run by former New York city police commissioner, Howard Safir, and his daughter – former FBI special agent, Jennifer Safir. Vigilant tried to create a story that Mayer was a plagiarist. From Steve Horn’s piece at DeSmogBlog:

With or without real evidence, the point of the covert campaign was not to find genuine evidence of plagiarism, but rather a classic case of attacking the messenger.

“Their aim, according to a well-informed source, was to counteract The New Yorker’s story on the Koch brothers by undermining me,” wrote Mayer. “’Dirt, dirt, dirt’ is what the source later told me they were digging for in my life. ‘If they couldn’t find it, they’d create it.’”

This news report from 2010 provides a glimpse of the moral character of the rent-a-Nazi types who perpetrate special operations on behalf of America’s rich criminals (and the possibly special treatment they receive from active duty law enforcement agents). Apparently, Howard Safir has an interesting history as a motorist:

Howard Safir, a New York City police commissioner during the Giuliani administration, backed his sport utility vehicle into a pregnant woman on the Upper East Side on Friday afternoon and then drove away, the police said.

Anyone wishing to understand the nature and scope of organized stalking in the U.S. should consider this: when a security firm’s clients are less famous than the Koch brothers, and the target is someone with a lower profile than a reporter for The New Yorker, private security thugs can generally perpetrate their crimes (slander, stalking, etc.) without concerns about public exposure – even from alternative news media outlets, such as Democracy Now!

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January 31, 2016

Files of America’s largest police union hacked

Anonymous Movement

Presumably, because of lessons learned by America’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies when the FBI’s illegal COINTELPRO operations were exposed, the most serious “gang stalking” crimes perpetrated by this nation’s various public and private security industry thugs are unlikely to be documented and stored in databases which are susceptible to computer hacking (or Freedom of Information Act requests). Also, information about law enforcement intelligence unit operations would presumably not be kept in a union database. On the other hand, information leaks can sometimes indirectly lead to exposure of other scandals, and the following leak could at least yield some interesting information about the culture of America’s policing business.

From an article published Thursday by The Guardian:

Private files belonging to America’s biggest police union, including the names and addresses of officers, forum posts critical of Barack Obama, and controversial contracts made with city authorities, were posted online on Thursday after a hacker breached its website.

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which says it represents about 330,000 law enforcement officers across the US, said the FBI was investigating after 2.5GB of data taken from its servers was dumped online and swiftly shared on social media. The union’s national site, fop.net, remained offline on Thursday evening.

From an article published Friday by RT:

The anonymous hacker shared the data as a 2.5 GB torrent file on a blog called Cthulhu on Thursday, and it was subsequently circulated via social media. A total of 18 terabytes (TB) of data was stolen, the hacker claims, but only a small fraction has been released so far because of the “classified or sensitive” nature of much of the information.

Even the partial information dump has sparked interest in what might be exposed, as The Guardian piece noted:

Hundreds of contracts between regional authorities and local fraternal order of police lodges across the country were posted online as part of the hack. Some such deals have been sharply criticised as shielding police officers from prosecution or disciplinary action following the excessive use of force.

Alex Vitale, an associate professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College, said the leaked contracts could shed light on agreements frequently struck behind closed doors.

“Police associations, they’re certainly not very transparent,” said Vitale. “No one really knows what is going on inside police unions. The most troubling thing is that they have been able to work out disciplinary procedures that shield them from oversight, as in what steps that the employer has to go to discipline or terminate someone.”

Given the evidence that spying, criminality, and cover-ups are widespread in America’s law enforcement industry, it is hardly surprising that most of the readers’ comments posted online about the hacking do not express sympathy for the union whose privacy has been breached. One example:

Let ’em squirm. It’s time someone pulled the lid off of this rotten sewer of a union. If people got a good look at the culture on the other side of that blue line they’d throw up. These guys learned the jock lesson. Look innocent and serious and you can get away with murder. This union circulates a script and coaches its’ members on exactly how to “get out of jail free”. And if you think union enforcers in the construction unions are harsh you won’t believe how vindictive these guys are. Buck the “system” and you are toast.

The anonymous person – apparently, a citizen of the U.K. – who received the leaked information from another source, and posted it online, has stated his views about the revelations on this website:

Today I released some files from the Fraternal Order of Police, allegedly the largest union-type body in the US representing sworn-in police officers. Since then, many groups have shared it over social media and other means, for which I thank all who have donated their bandwidth to seed the files over the torrent.

I have been asked a lot of questions about the data dump, and so I will try to answer a few of them for you below or provide a response to the most common questions…

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January 30, 2016

More thoughts on the death of Fresno resident, John Lang

As described in the previous post here, Fresno, California resident John Lang’s body was found – with multiple stab wounds to his abdomen and upper back – inside his burning home, on January 20th. During the week before his death, he expressed fears that local police officers would murder him. Apart from Lang’s social media posts, not much information about his death is available. One person with whom Lang communicated was local TV news reporter Corin Hoggard, who has expressed – on his Facebook page – skepticism that Lang’s death was a murder:

“I’ve talked to witnesses (people who were in the area at the time.) I’ve looked through divorce records, asked for police reports, viewed his videos multiple times, and made public records requests.

“I’m not letting it go on the 1% chance it wasn’t a suicide.”

Notwithstanding Lang’s stab wounds – which, conceivably, could have been self-inflicted, as Hoggard implies – I concur that Lang’s death might have been a suicide. It is not clear, for example, why Lang feared that his death was imminent. For months, prior to his death, Lang claimed – and offered video evidence – that he was being stalked by law enforcement agents. Those claims seem plausible to me; however, his recent communications did not, as far as I know, include an explanation of why he believed the spying and harassment directed at him was about to suddenly escalate to murder. In addition, it seems unlikely that the perpetrators of his apparent stalking would switch from terrorizing Lang by the psychological torture of stalking to the far more legally dangerous act of murder. One possibility is that Lang took his own life because of the pressure associated with the stalking, and staged his death to appear as a murder.

Unfortunately, the comments by reporter, Corin Hoggard, on his Facebook page do not mention one of the most obvious questions: Is it likely that the videos posted by John Lang are evidence that Lang was not only under surveillance by police, but that he was being overtly stalked by police to terrorize and intimidate him – and that the stalking led to Lang’s apparent suicide? If Hoggard believes that Lang’s videos – such as this one from April 2015, have another explanation, he hasn’t said so. Note the very large and elaborate camera being used by the man in the van – presumably, to be as obvious as possible about the surveillance.

  Screenshot from the April 15, 2015 video posted by John Lang

John Lang video

Even if Lang might have been the target of legitimate surveillance by police, that possibility would seem to be the sort of thing that should interest a local journalist, in light of Lang’s death. On the other hand, Hoggard might have practical concerns about digging into the question of whether Fresno’s law enforcement officers engage in extrajudicial punishment of the sort described throughout this website.

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January 29, 2016

Did Fresno cops stalk and murder one of their critics?

Last week, the body of John Lang, 51, was found – with multiple stab wounds to his abdomen and upper back – inside his burning home, in Fresno, California. Lang was a frequent critic of Fresno’s law enforcement officers, whom Lang claimed had been stalking, harassing, and threatening him for seven years. Some of the activities that were alleged by Lang are common elements of what is sometimes called “gang stalking” – such as, overt surveillance, threats, slander, and coordinated harassment by people in nearby residences. During the week prior to his death, Lang repeatedly expressed his fears that he was about to be killed by local cops.

Six days before his death, Lang posted a comment on Facebook, which included this:

“If anything happens to me in the next day or two it will be the result of Fresno PD, my neighbor, and an employee at my job Payless Brakes and Tires on blackstone.”

The next day, Lang sent this message to a local TV news reporter, Corin Hoggard at ABC30 Action News:

“Corrupt Fresno Cops are going to try and kill me this weekend, possibly tonight. This is no joke. Please follow up on my story regardless of what happens or what version the cops and the fresnobee come up with.”

The following day, Lang posted a video on YouTube showing some people he suspected were a threat to him.

The day after that – three days before his death – Lang wrote an open letter to the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI, stating that he believed that local cops were attempting to frame him, and that he feared for his life.

Lang’s death on January 20th was noted in a brief article five days later in the local newspaper, The Fresno Bee. None of the above information about Lang’s fears and claims regarding local law enforcement was included in that article – a fact which would seem to support Lang’s assessment of the newspaper. A lot of online comments posted about this incident express a similar view – namely, that The Fresno Bee is spineless in its reporting on local law enforcement matters. Compare, for example, that article to the reporting of the same story in the British newspaper, The Sun.

The most complete coverage of the events in this case so far, is probably this article posted on the alternative news media website, Fresno People’s Media.

Some of the other folks who – unlike the editors of The Fresno Bee – think that John Lang’s death deserves a closer look, have been posting their comments on this reddit discussion thread. More than 1,600 comments have been posted there so far.

One of the things that becomes clear from reading online comments related to this incident is that more than a few people share the view which John Lang held about the Fresno Police Department and the Fresno Sheriff’s Office: They’re drunk with power, and they behave like criminal gangs.

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January 29, 2016

Congress reviews federal spying programs

When a committee of your congressional representatives begins evaluating a pair of federal spying programs next week, your role – as Congress sees it – should be to shut up and do as you’re told. As The Intercept reports, the hearings will be conducted in secret:

The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing next week on two of the NSA spying programs revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden that vacuum up domestic content despite being ostensibly targeted at foreigners: PRISM and Upstream.

But, to the great consternation of 26 government accountability groups who wrote an angry letter to committee leaders on Wednesday, the public is not invited. The entire hearing is classified, and closed.

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January 29, 2016

Anaheim Police Department’s “massive spy program”

For years, cops in Anaheim, California, have been using “military-grade” spying equipment to monitor phone calls and text messages – sometimes even encrypted communications, according to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.

As The Huffington Post notes, you can be subjected to this type of spying even if you don’t live in a city whose residents want to be spied on this way:

The documents further reveal that Anaheim has loaned its surveillance equipment to officials in neighboring cities, which Cagle says has “subjected people all over Orange County to surveillance decisions made by unelected leaders from other communities.”

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January 29, 2016

COINTELPRO documentary, “1971,” is posted on YouTube

If you missed it when it was broadcast last year on PBS, I encourage you to watch the excellent documentary, 1971, about the daring burglary at the FBI office which exposed that agency’s illegal counterintelligence program. Currently, you can watch it here.

This is the description from the PBS website:

“The FBI was unaccountable and untouchable until 1971, when a group of citizens uncovered its illegal domestic spying programs. On March 8, 1971, The Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI, as they called themselves, broke into a small FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, took every file, and shared them with the American public.

These actions exposed COINTELPRO, the FBI’s illegal surveillance program that involved the intimidation of law-abiding Americans and helped lead to the country’s first Congressional investigation of U.S. intelligence agencies.

Never caught, 43 years later, these previously anonymous Americans – parents, teachers and citizens – publicly reveal themselves for the first time and share their story in the documentary 1971.”

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January 23, 2016

Former cop arrested for stalking his neighbors

Richard Ringer

Richard Ringer

A reader of this website tipped me to some news reports from three months ago, about a former police officer and his wife, who were charged with stalking their neighbors. Although it is not the sort of “organized stalking” with which this website is mainly concerned, it is an example of how America’s policing and security industry sometimes attracts stalkers. Presumably, the couple charged in this case are the kind of folks who would be easily recruited to participate in the illegal spying and harassment sometimes called “gang stalking.”

Excerpts from an October 22, 2015 news report by WTSP, a CBS-affiliated TV station in Florida:

A former police officer and his wife have been charged with stalking their neighbors for more than a year.

…Joy and Richard Ringer took photos and videos of Scot and Marion Ellis, and the friends and family who visited the Ellis’ home. They even reportedly put the Ellises on notice that they were recording their every move.

…The Ringers also engaged in verbally abusive remarks toward the Ellis family, used security lights aimed directly into the windows of the Ellis’ home, made threats on the Ellis’ lives and that of their family pet, and repeatedly made unfounded complaints to various agencies regarding the Ellis family — all of which were closed.

[Richard Ringer] also lied under oath about how many times he contacted various agencies about the Ellises.

…In September 2015, Richard Ringer destroyed a wooden fence — valued at over $1,000 — built between the two homes, but on the Ellis property, over a two-week period and threw the pieces onto the Ellis’ property.

That was the final straw.

Joy Ringer, 52, has been charged with aggravated stalking and Richard Ringer, 55, has been charged with criminal mischief over $1,000, and aggravated stalking.

From an October 26, 2015 article at The Daily Beast:

Authorities claim the Ringers also targeted Scot Ellis’s mother and father, as well as the Ellises’ physically-impaired daughter. The Ringers also made a “credible threat” on the Ellises’ lives and on Rider, their chocolate Labrador retriever, police say.

“During our very first introduction, Richard Ringer said he was going to kill my dog—that was the first time we ever met,” Ellis told The Daily Beast. “I don’t know if he’s a retired policeman and he’s used to having his way.” [emphasis added]

Anyone wishing to understand the phenomenon of organized stalking in America must consider the connections between public and private security industry jobs. The stalkers in this case are an example; the husband is a former cop (he had worked for the Hillsborough County, Florida Sheriff’s office), and the couple formed a private investigations business.

Private Investigator Listing

For people and corporations with connections and money, America offers a deep supply of current and former law enforcement and intelligence agents who will perpetrate stalking crimes (spying and harassment). In some instances – such as this case in Florida, the crimes are personal vendettas; in other cases (detailed elsewhere in this website), the stalking is apparently done on behalf of corporations and wealthy individuals, as a mercenary activity – sort of a “rent-a-Nazi” service. In other cases, the operations are conducted by government agencies, the most prominent historical example being the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO operations.

As with all crimes, stalking by current and former law enforcement professionals presumably appears on the public’s radar in a “tip of the iceberg” way; it’s anyone’s guess how many instances of extreme harassment occur in America which never result in criminal investigations, lawsuits, or news reports.

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January 9, 2016

Happy “National Stalking Awareness Month”

According to a proclamation by President Obama, this is National Stalking Awareness Month.

“Every person deserves to live freely and without the fear of being followed or harassed. Stalking is a violation of our fundamental freedoms, and it insults our most basic values as a Nation.”

Evidently, no one in the White House shared this news with the U.S. Department of Justice, which remains silent, year after year, about published news reports of organized stalking by corrupt law enforcement personnel, private investigators, and intelligence agencies.

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A review of organized stalking news in 2015…

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Organized stalking by private investigators

Going Clear, an HBO documentary which aired in March 2015, explored the Church of Scientology’s intense harassment and intimidation of its former members. Although the film is about a particular religious cult, many of the crimes it exposed are directly relevant to the subject of organized stalking in the U.S.

Apparently, private investigators and church members were used as stalkers by the organization’s officials in an effort to silence individuals who might expose the church leaders’ misconduct. Tactics reportedly used by those stalkers included many of the methods associated with current and former corrupt law enforcement personnel in the U.S. (and America’s intelligence agencies).

Such methods are sometimes collectively referred to as “gang stalking” – or “zersetzung,” the term that was used by communist East Germany’s Stasi (although the documentary does not use those terms). For example, one of the intimidation and revenge tactics used was blackmail. This Buzzfeed article discusses the documentary’s allegations that blackmail is used by the church to control its members.

HBO’s film was based on a 2013 book with the same title, by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright. In a radio interview on April 1, 2015, the documentary’s Academy Award-winning filmmaker, Alex Gibney, discussed some of the tactics used by the church’s goon squad.

Incidentally, Gibney won his Academy Award for a documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side, about someone who fell into the U.S. government’s meat-grinder – a man who was beaten to death by American soldiers while being held in extrajudicial detention in Afghanistan. The Afghan taxi driver was a victim of the CIA’s policy – which violates the Geneva Convention – of torturing prisoners.

The relevant portion of Gibney’s April 2015 interview about Going Clear begins 13 minutes and 50 seconds into the audio. He explains that one of the strategies is “disconnection” – isolating the victim from his or her friends and relatives. He also states that “other tactics are harassment, and, kind of brutal harassment at that.” A former high-level official of the church who openly criticized Scientology became the target of overt stalking by multiple perpetrators. Gibney’s reference to the “disconnection” strategy and his following description of the harassment are essentially textbook accounts of what happens in a “gang stalking” operation:

“There were “people constantly in his face, constantly trying to provoke him to explode. They rented a house next to his house, and they were surveilling him 24/7…”

Gibney said that the man was “harassed and followed by private investigators.” Unfortunately, the documentary does not explore the interesting question of how private investigators in the U.S. learn covert psychological operations tactics – or why such stalking in America is rarely discussed, investigated, or prosecuted by government authorities. Part of the explanation, presumably, is that government agencies do not wish to call attention to the same sort of illegal covert operations perpetrated by agencies or contractors of the government itself. Another factor, very likely, is that stalking operations not officially sanctioned by the government are sometimes funded by the U.S. government’s main clients: corporations. A high-profile example of this involved the famous consumer activist, Ralph Nader. General Motors tried to illegally spy on Nader and blackmail him for exposing that corporation’s negligence.

A final reason why private security firms in the U.S. can conduct unlawful operations without attracting scrutiny involves connections. Most private investigators in America have backgrounds in law enforcement, the military, or intelligence, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

An update on the use of gang stalking tactics by the Church of Scientology appeared in November 2015 in an article in Texas Lawyer. An appellate court in Texas ruled that the Church of Scientology doesn’t have a constitutional right to harass a woman by stalking her.” The ruling concerned a lawsuit filed by Monique Rathbun, the wife of Mark Rathbun – a former executive of the church who was featured in Going Clear. Some excerpts from the article:

Rathbun alleges that the church relentlessly harassed her and her husband for three years, forcing them to move to a wooded lot outside of San Antonio. And after the Rathbuns moved, in 2013 she found a high-tech surveillance camera mounted to a tree aimed at their new property.

Rathbun filed a lawsuit against the church in a Comal County district court, alleging invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

…[The judge stated that] “the specific conduct Rathbun complains of…includes [Scientology operatives] following her while she went to and from work, shopping, out to dinner with friends, and walking her dog…”

…Elliott Cappuccio, who represents Rathbun before the trial court, said that her case is the third one that his firm has handled against the church.

“When you talk about bizarre, you have no idea,” Cappuccio said.

“They had suffered 300 days of the church renting homes next to theirs,” Cappuccio said of the Rathbuns. “They would watch and see when her husband left town and bother her. Imagine they do that so long that you have to move. And then you move to another property, and there are surveillance cameras pointing your way. Imagine thinking you’re never going to get away from these people.”

Although Going Clear is a two-hour documentary – all of which is fascinating, the sections which relate specifically to “gang stalking” tactics take up only about seven minutes. The two important segments are these: minutes 51 to 53, and 1:51:10 to 1:54:26. The first bit deals with the Church of Scientology’s concept of “Fair Game” – the notion that anyone who criticizes the church should be attacked using whatever methods are effective. The second bit deals with confronting and harassing targeted individuals at their residences.

As the documentary makes clear, the church has apparently adopted most of the tactics associated with “gang stalking” (again though, the documentary does not use that term). Most of the tactics are illegal, and all of them are unethical. They include the following:

  • Breaking into offices and homes
  • Framing victims
  • Poisoning victims’ pets
  • Hiring private investigators to harass the victims
  • “Years of harassment” and “stalking”
  • Acts of vandalism, such as slashing tires
  • Following victims around (overt stalking)
  • Secretly recording victims on video
  • Blackmail
  • Wiretapping phones of victims and their relatives
  • Extreme secrecy and lying by the perpetrators
  • Systematic isolation of the victim (the Church of Scientology refers to this as its “disconnect” policy)
  • “Creating anonymous websites” to spread disinformation
  • Confronting victims, including at their residences
  • Provoking victims and then capturing their responses on video
  • Renting or buying a nearby residence and using it as a base of operations for surveillance and harassment


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Organized stalking by U.S. military counterintelligence agents

Among the most important events in 2015 for the exposure of organized stalking was the publication of Robert Guffey’s book CHAMELEO, a credible, well-written book about the intense stalking and terrorizing of a man in California by counterintelligence operatives from one of this nation’s 17 federal intelligence agencies, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). For more information about the book, see my September and October 2015 “COINTELPRO News” posts.

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Organized stalking by the Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIU)

Robert Guffey – a writing instructor at California State University–Long Beach – made several additional contributions in 2015 to the public information about organized stalking. One of these was his recorded comments – in an appearance at a Los Angeles bookstore – about the apparent involvement in gang stalking of local police and a quasi-governmental organization called the Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIU).

At 22:20, Guffey describes being contacted by individuals who reported being victims of illegal spying and harassment. One of those people was a lawyer who apparently became a target after he represented a woman in a successful police brutality lawsuit against a police department in Minnesota.

At 28:30, Guffey relates an account from “a very well-known constitutional lawyer” that protestors against a nuclear power plant in New England reported that they were – in Guffey’s words – “gang stalked.” The protestors belonged to a non-profit anti-nuclear power group called the Clamshell Alliance. That organization filed a lawsuit against the power company for the harassment. Although the lawsuit was unsuccessful, the attorney who represented the power company reportedly later confided to the plaintiff’s attorney that the stalking was perpetrated by vigilante goons from the LEIU. A section of this website (on the “What is Gang Stalking?” page) explains the history and structure of the LEIU.

Incidentally, illegal spying on the Clamshell Alliance – and other groups and individuals who dare to challenge America’s security industry and its corporate clients – is not new. A 1979 report by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) describes the surveillance (on page 106, for example):

“In early June [of 1978], several New England newspapers reported on claims that Operations Systems, Inc., a private security firm hired by the utility owning the Seabrook nuclear facility site was wiretapping the Clamshell Alliance, a group opposing construction of the plant; that the right-wing militant Continental Line (a group which includes, allegedly, a substantial number of law-enforcement officers) boasted of infiltrating the Clamshell…”

The conclusion of that report (which also includes a reference to “black bag jobs” perpetrated by private security thugs) is just as relevant today as when the report was published. Here is an excerpt:

“We conclude that police surveillance and record-keeping for political reasons exist on a large scale. Local, state and federal agencies, joined by private and quasi-private groups, coordinate
their surveillance and share information, misinformation, and opinions. This “intelligence” activity remains largely uncontrolled, and poses a grave threat to constitutional rights of freedom of expression, due process, and privacy.”

Here is the full report: “The Police Threat to Political Liberty.”

AFSC Report – 1979

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Organized stalking by associates of a Texas state legislator

In his blog, Robert Guffey also helpfully called attention to a published news report in May from Oklahoma about stalking allegations. The case involves the complete set of familiar elements: (1) apparently, the harassment was being done on behalf of someone with connections – in this case, a state legislator, (2) the victim was someone who lacked the connections and resources to fight back, (3) the harassment included overt stalking – that is, stalking intended to intimidate and terrorize, rather than merely performing surveillance, (4) the allegations included computer hacking, “interference with jobs and relationships,” tampering with the victim’s car and phone, and possible placement of cameras inside the victim’s residence, and (5) the apparent perpetrator attempted to discredit the victim as delusional.

The story was initially reported by The Oklahoman, and subsequently by Salon. Here are some excerpts from the Salon article:

An Oklahoma woman who works as a dancer at a “gentlemen’s club” has filed a protective order against Texas State Sen. Charles Perry, the anti-gay Republican who likened America’s “spiritual battle” to the Holocaust when he was sworn in. 

…The woman, Cynthia Lynn Ortiz, filed a handwritten request for the protective order in Creek County, Oklahoma, where she claims she moved after Perry began stalking her in 2010. Ortiz says she met the lawmaker at a Lubbock, Texas Republican Women’s event in 2009, but later relocated to Denton, Texas, and then to Oklahoma, when he would not leave her alone. According to the protective order request — of which Ortiz posted a photo on Twitter — Perry recruited acquaintances to help him keep tabs on the woman.

“I could not go outside without one coming to watch especially if I was on the phone,” Ortiz’s request states. “A man in a brown truck would follow me everywhere I went.”

Ortiz also claims the lawmaker hacked her computer, interfered with her relationships and her work, vandalized her car and installed surveillance cameras in her home, according to the Oklahoman. Perry’s office has denied each of her claims and taken to attacking Ortiz’s character, in addition to requesting that a judge dismiss the protective order.

“She simply needs real help and treatment,” a Perry spokesperson said of Ortiz, calling her claims “completely false.”

Ortiz has called Perry’s response to her claims “textbook” and insists that she asked the senator to leave her alone before taking official steps to keep him at a distance. According to Ortiz’s Twitter, Perry has taken retaliatory action against her and threatened an investigation by the Lubbock district attorney, with whom Ortiz claims the lawmaker is friends. The woman also claims she has attempted to take legal action against Perry in the past, but that law enforcement officers in Lubbock, Denton and at the Texas Department of Public Safety refused to help her:

Here are some excerpts from The Oklahoman article:

In Lubbock, Ortiz owned a political consulting company called Macdaddy Campaign Network Inc. She alleges he continued to stalk her after she moved first to Denton, Texas, and later to Oklahoma to get away from him.

She claims he has hacked her computer, interfered with her jobs and relationships, done things to her car, messed with her phone, read her emails and may have put cameras in her house — again.

She claims Perry recruited her neighbors at the apartment complex in Denton to spy on her. “I could not go outside without one coming to watch especially if I was on the phone,” she told the judge in her written request [emphasis added]. 

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Stalking of activists who protest against police misconduct

To its credit, in August, Salon also published a piece by columnist Heather Digby Parton (“Digby”) about “the dirty work of stalking.” The article describes how private spying firms and government agencies coordinate with each other to stalk people who are deemed to be politically inconvenient to the surveillance state.

We know that much of our national security surveillance work has been outsourced to private companies. But that’s Eisenhower’s military industrial complex doing what it’s been doing for 50 years. Perhaps the domestic police agencies have come up with a more modern “public/private partnership” where the private corporation does the dirty work of stalking peaceful protesters and then “confidentially informs” the police agencies who, as part of a “Joint Task Force” will keep the federal agencies in the loop. 

Digby was commenting on an incident which was also reported that week by Mother Jones. A cybersecurity firm, ZeroFox, began monitoring the social media accounts and geographical locations of organizers of the “Black Lives Matter” protests in Baltimore. Apparently, based purely on the organizers’ lawful involvement in protests against police misconduct, they were labeled by the security firm as “high-severity physical threats.” ZeroFox then communicated its information and opinions about the protestors to local and federal law enforcement officials, and military intelligence agents – communications which were only made public because of a public records request by journalists.

In emails exchanged in April, ZeroFox’s CEO, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlins-Blake’s chief of staff, and the president of the Maryland chapter of an FBI intelligence partnership program discussed ZeroFox’s potential surveillance “help” for Baltimore. These emails were released to the Baltimore Sun last week following a public records request. The emails also indicate that ZeroFox “briefed our classified partners” at the Fort Meade Army base in Maryland on “intelligence” it had collected during the Gray protests. Other emails from the Baltimore Police Department indicate the department had collected “intelligence regarding potentially violent agitators.”

Police officers reportedly made comments to the individuals named by the security firm to make them aware that they were being watched. Prior to the document release, claims by the protest organizers that they were being spied on were met with skepticism.

[DeRay] McKesson says that during last year’s protests in Ferguson, he and other prominent organizers became suspicious that they were being monitored by local police officials there as well. On numerous occasions, he says, they interacted with police officers that knew their names and Twitter accounts. “The police officers in St. Louis knew us. They knew many of us by Twitter handle. It was clear they read our Twitter feed. It was clear they watched the live streams [of protests],” he says. But the ZeroFox documents mark the first time he has seen written evidence that his activity was being tracked.

[Johnetta] Elzie, too, says she already knew she was being watched. “I never needed a paper confirmation. But I guess it made it real for other people who just didn’t think that it was possible.”

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Murder of an alleged “gang stalking” perpetrator in Washington

A man who was apparently a “gang stalking” perpetrator was beaten to death with a baseball bat in August 2015 in the town of Battle Ground, Washington. The man who admitted that he did the killing stated that he had been “stalked and harassed for the last six years.” According to court documents, a woman who knew both men, and who was present at the murder scene just prior to the killing, said that she and the two men had been discussing – among other things – “gang stalking.”

The alleged killer, Stephen M. Reichow, 33, was charged with first-degree murder, for killing Brandon Maulding, 36, on the night of August 1, 2015. Both men were residents of Battle Ground (population 17,571, according to the 2010 census).

Apparently, the first report about the killing was published on August 2nd by The Columbian, a local newspaper based in Vancouver, WA. That publication’s courts reporter, Jessica Prokop, noted that Reichow’s affidavit contained a reference to a comment about “gang stalking,” which Prokop described this way: “Gang stalking can include being harassed by an organized group of people.”  

This news report about the killing appeared on August 11th in The Reflector, another local newspaper. Based on the article, some of the facts of the case might have been in dispute, despite Reichow’s confession. Reichow reportedly told the police that Maulding and the woman who knew both of the men (Anne Tanninen), said that he – Reichow – was one of the stalkers, rather than a stalking victim. The article also notes that “According to documents…Tanninen…told Reichow and Maulding that she was being gang stalked.” The article is vague about whether that statement came from Reichow or Tanninen, although, presumably, the court documents are clear on that point.

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Cops in Washington state were sued for stalking

In November 2015, the Seattle, Washington, daily online newspaper, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, reported that a woman filed a federal lawsuit against a former Lake Stevens police officer “for cyberstalking her and using his buddies on the force to intimidate and keep tabs on her [emphasis added].” The city of Lake Stevens (population 28,069 according to the 2010 census) is approximately 33 miles northeast of Seattle. In addition to the former police officer, the lawsuit named as defendants, among others, the chief of the police department, and the city of Lake Stevens.

The allegations were first made public almost a year earlier, in a news report in The Herald of Everett, Washington. Although, no criminal charges were filed against the police officer, he resigned after being put on leave, pending an investigation.

[The police officer, Andrew Thor,] was accused of using confidential police resources, including state Department of Licensing records, “for personal purposes.”

As in several previously reported cases of stalking by corrupt cops (see, for example, the December 2012 entry in the “Published News Reports” archive of this website), law enforcement resources were also used to spy on the victim’s family. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

“Thor reportedly used police resources to investigate Brunner and her family, according to the lawsuit.”

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TV news report of “gang stalking” flyers in Fargo, North Dakota

In October 2015, a news report by KVLY-TV – an NBC and CBS affiliate in Fargo, North Dakota – revealed that flyers printed from this website (Fight Gang Stalking) were posted in an apartment complex in southwest Fargo.

“People in the area are scratching their heads after learning from the sign that gang stalking, in short, involves illegal surveillance of individuals by people who threaten, verbally abuse, or commit crimes against said person.

“Emily Paiva with Skaff Apartments said tenants in a building they manage alerted them to the signs earlier in the week. Paiva said she and other employees took the signs down and handed them over to Fargo Police.”

The news report notes that, although the flyers were taken down, photos of the flyers had been appearing in social media. That fact – like the news broadcast itself – is a testament to the potential impact of flyers for exposing this type of crime.

Here is the text version of the news report.

This is the image which accompanies the article. (Click to enlarge.)

KVLY-TV Image

Published news reports archived on this website now include multiple similar incidents in which stalking victims have distributed flyers to expose the crimes perpetrated against them by corrupt private investigators and corrupt law enforcement personnel. Below are some examples. Links to the original sources are included in the “Published News Reports” section of this website’s “What is Gang Stalking?” page.

In 2009, Frank L. Raffaele, a resident of Verona, New Jersey (now deceased) was apparently targeted by gang stalkers, and he responded by distributing flyers about the harassment to neighbors and businesses. The flyers generated enough discussion and inquiries that the local police were forced to address the issue, and it became the subject of an article in the local newspaper.

In September 2013, Fortean Times – a magazine published in the U.K and the U.S. – ran an article about “[U.S.] state sponsored gangstalking.” The piece included a scanned image of a flyer about gang stalking which the author had seen in his own neighborhood in Long Beach, California.

In July 2014, a victim of organized stalking in Guilford, Connecticut, distributed flyers about gang stalking (which referred to this website). The flyers were the subject of TV news reports on two local stations, and articles in two Connecticut newspapers.
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Other surveillance state news from 2015…

Some recent news stories and opinion pieces which deserve notice, but which were not posted here because of time limitations, include the following:

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Spying Bill Sneaked In

As The Intercept reported last month, Congress quietly expanded the federal government’s spying powers over American citizens:

The night before Congress passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, a broad expansion of surveillance power in America, legislators attended a party with the chief lobbyists for the bill.

Last Thursday, Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., along with a number of other lawmakers, went to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s famously lavish Christmas party.

The next morning, on December 18, the senators voted to pass the omnibus spending bill that included a version of CISA that guts privacy protections and creates new channels for both government agencies and private businesses to share information with the National Security Agency and law enforcement.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents dozens of Fortune 500 companies and serves as the biggest lobby group in Washington, acted as the chief private sector advocate for CISA. 

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Spying on thee, but not on me

Glenn Greenwald continues to be among the most important voices on the deep corruption and hypocrisy of America’s political class on surveillance issues. As he notes here, when it directly affects them, even the political whores who rubber-stamp the abuses of power by America’s spy agencies are dismayed by what’s going on.

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The CIA protects its psychopaths and fuck-ups

As your TV will tell you, if you rely on it for news, torture is bad (it even violates the Geneva Conventions), but it’s good when it’s done by the U.S. government and referred to as “enhanced interrogation.” Similarly, incompetence is generally a bad thing, but it should not prevent someone from being promoted, if he or she works at the CIA. At least one case involved both issues: An innocent German citizen was kidnapped and tortured by the CIA in 2003 at a secret prison, and the CIA analyst in charge was subsequently promoted.

Fortunately, as The Washington Post recently reported, the CIA is making sure that Congress does not tamper with its organizational culture:

U.S. intelligence agencies recently fought off a move by Congress to require the CIA and other spy services to disclose more details about high-ranking employees who have been promoted or fired, despite pledges to be more open and accountable.

The disputed measure was designed to increase scrutiny of cases­ in which senior officers ascend to high-level positions despite problems ranging from abusive treatment of subordinates to involvement in botched operations overseas.

The same article noted that a report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee in late 2014 indicated that some CIA interrogations are performed by personnel with interesting backgrounds:

The report concluded that “numerous CIA officers had serious documented personal and professional problems — including histories of violence and records of abusive treatment of others — that should have called into question their suitability to participate in the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.”

You can well imagine the sort of work such people might be engaged in when they leave the government for private security and intelligence jobs that involve even less scrutiny.

Torturer of the Month

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Leaked documents about U.S. spy gear published

This information, posted last month by The Intercept, gives a sense of the array of expensive gadgets that the U.S. government, its greedy contractors, local police, and private investigators, now use to spy on everyone.

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“The Devil’s Chessboard”

The Devil's Chessboard

Every serious person in America must wonder, at some point, about the scope of the lawlessness in U.S. intelligence agencies (and their private contractors). A book published in October by David Talbot, founding editor of the website, Salon, is an important contribution to the publicly available information on that issue. Fortunately, “The Devil’s Chessboard” is receiving a lot of attention (the November 8, 2015 New York Times Bestseller list for hardcover non-fiction listed it at #20). Among the commentary about the book which deserves a look are the following items:

A review at Consortium News

“…this is a worthy addition and a much-needed perspective that elucidates how we came to have two governments: the elected one and the one that doesn’t answer to the elected one.

“…Talbot makes a compelling argument that a lot of the abuses of the intelligence apparatus that we are dealing with now had their genesis under Allen Dulles’s version of the CIA.”

An interview at truthdig

Robert Scheer, editor of truthdig, interviews the author, David Talbot, on “the origins of America’s secret government.”

A review at The Intercept

In the end, whatever the reality of Talbot’s most sensational claims, he unquestionably makes the case that — unless you believe we’re governed by shape-shifting space lizards — your darkest suspicions about how the world operates are likely an underestimate. Yes, there is an amorphous group of unelected corporate lawyers, bankers, and intelligence and military officials who form an American “deep state,” setting real limits on the rare politicians who ever try to get out of line. They do collaborate with and nurture their deep state counterparts in other countries, to whom they feel far more loyalty than their fellow citizens. The minions of the deep state hate and fear even the mildest moves towards democracy, and fight against it by any means available to them. They’re not all-powerful and don’t get exactly what they want, but on the issues that matter most they almost always win in the end. And while all this is mostly right there in the open, discernible by anyone who’s curious and has a library card, if you don’t go looking you will never hear a single word about it.

A review at CounterPunch

The longest running director of the CIA (1952-1961), Dulles helped coordinate extremely bloody coups throughout the world. Not surprisingly, he comes off as a nasty piece of work. He and his brother John Foster Dulles both worked with the prestigious Wall Street firm Sullivan and Cromwell, which made a fortune representing cartels that were part of the Nazi war machine (John Foster Dulles went on to become Eisenhower’s Secretary of State). The Dulles brothers were quite cozy with Nazi higher ups in the ’30s and remained staunch apologists for Hitler well into the the ’40s.

For more about the structure of “The Deep State,” I also recommend this recent (November 2015) column by John Whitehead, and this December 2014 interview with UC Berkeley Professor Peter Dale Scott, author of The American Deep State (2014).

Additional information on the topic is posted on the “What is Gang Stalking?” page of this website.
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If you can help expose illegal spying and harassment of Americans by intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies, and private security contractors, please do so. America needs more patriots like Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, Jeremy Hammond, Barrett Brown, Russell Tice, William Binney, Ray McGovern, Thomas Drake, Frank Serpico, Thomas Tamm, Hugh Thompson, Jr., William C. Davidon, John Raines, Bonnie Raines, Keith Forsyth, Judi Feingold, and Bob Williamson.

Anti Nazi image

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