September 22, 2022
Four dead in Ohio
Once again in America, multiple people have been killed in an incident about which some of the news reports mention “gang-stalking,” “targeted individuals,” and “mind control.” The mass shooting in Ohio on August 5th is noteworthy even in a country with more than its share of violence. It might be the most serious incident of this nature since a case in 2016, which involved the assassination of three police officers in Baton Rouge.
Online searches, posts, chat rooms, and news reports with references to “gang-stalking” apparently began appearing about 2005 – several years into the post-9/11 expansion of America’s domestic surveillance state. Explanations vary about the claimed emergence, ex nihilo, of an online “community” of conspiracy theorists – more about which below.
Here are the core facts of the killings last month, as reported by Dayton Daily News:
“Stephen Marlow, 39, of Butler Twp [Township], is facing more than 20 charges in the deaths of Clyde W. Knox, 82, his wife, Eva “Sally” Knox, 78, Sarah J. Anderson, 41, and her daughter, Kayla E. Anderson, 15, on Aug. 5. He was arrested in Lawrence, Kansas on Aug. 6.”
A day after the killings, NBC News reported this:
“Police have not said whether there was any connection between Marlow and the victims, and they have not released any information about a motive.”
However, the report also notes this:
“Porter said Saturday that police were aware of a video of Marlow that had surfaced that referred to “startling” ideas and language. He said investigators confirmed that the video was published after the shootings.”
WDTN – a Dayton, Ohio TV news station affiliated with NBC – published a detailed report on the killings on August 25th which included this:
“…a manifesto was found on a computer believed to be Marlow’s.
The manifesto was typed out, and in it, Marlow states his name, address and life story. He spoke of conspiracy theories and believing that his neighbors were terrorists engaged in the mind control of others. He said that he believed it to be one of the greatest crimes against humanity in history. In addition, crews found “bomb-making” criteria in his Internet search history.”
So the public has been told of a video and a “manifesto” – and of the characterizations of those two things by law enforcement agencies, but few people in the public have seen those items at this point. While it’s possible that these killings – and whatever Marlow wrote – have their origins purely in mental illness, there could be much more to it. I would not try to guess the full story based exclusively upon selective leaks by law enforcement officials and their friends in the media. Temporary suppression of a manifesto connected to a mass shooting might have a legitimate purpose, but it will be impossible to know what happened in this case without eventually seeing that document, the video, and other evidence.
Among the most interesting news reports about this mass shooting so far is an article published by The Daily Beast the day after Marlow’s arrest. That account also mentions the video reported by NBC:
Stephen Marlow recorded a TikTok video in which he claimed he was being tortured through “ventriloquism.”
The reporter, Tracy Connor, who is editor of The Daily Beast, conveyed what Butler Police Chief John Porter said about the video:
…he was aware of a TikTok video in which Marlow appeared to provide his explanation of the slayings, identifying himself as a “targeted individual” and claiming he was a victim of mind control.
Connor then drops the following piece of information – or piece of whatever – on her readers:
“Targeted individuals” is the phrase used by a community of people connected over the internet who suffer from paranoid delusions of mind control and gang-stalking. They may believe that nefarious forces are using implanted chip or sonic waves to torture them.
The Daily Beast’s editor does not share with us the source of her definition of “targeted individuals.” (The FBI? Wikipedia?) In any case, she states it as confidently as one might cite one of the laws of thermodynamics, so it’s probably legitimate.
Note the “mind control” reference. Unmentioned is the non-disputed history of US spy agency folks actually doing that mind control experiment stuff to Americans in a secret program (MKUltra), and then – by their own admission – destroying most of the evidence, and then not being held accountable in any way. Of course, such a history doesn’t mean that Marlow’s particular claims – whatever exactly those might be – are not delusional, but it seems like a significant omission, given the subject.
Note also the reference to a “community” of folks who mistakenly believe themselves to be targets of intense harassment by security state goons. While I don’t recommend it, if you explore those internet rabbit holes – past and present – (websites, discussion threads, videos, etc.), you’ll find that the “community” appears instead to be mostly vague and stupid disinformation posts created by spy agency cogs, and a relative handful of apparently-serious comments. Most of it seems “Astro-turf” rather than “grass roots” in origin.
Published articles about “gang-stalking” are rarely, if ever, written by journalists with a history of investigative reporting on intelligence agencies. When The New York Times published an article on gang-stalking in 2016, for example, they assigned it to a reporter whose most recent previous article for the Times was a feature on the pop music band ABBA. Arguably, the general silence on this topic by journalists who report critically on spy agencies is a sort of non-barking dog. Not even dismissive comments come from that quarter. Some of that can be attributed to the infrequency of the most violent incidents, such as this one, but it’s also possible that real journalists have reservations about publicly embracing the confident assertions on this topic by The Daily Beast.
It’s worth a glance at the editorial lineage and reporting history of that media source – The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, which was formed in a merger in 2011 between Newsweek and The Daily Beast. Conveniently for us, some of that interesting history was examined recently by journalist Max Blumenthal. Here is an excerpt:
On Oct. 14, 2016, The Daily Beast published a surprisingly candid retrospective on the CIA’s historic recruitment of media assets. At the time, the editor-in-chief and managing director of The Daily Beast was John Phillips Avlon. John Avlon, Sr. was chairman of a New York real estate company and a trustee of the George S. Patton Museum Foundation. Born in 1973, young John attended Milton Academy prep school in Massachusetts before earning his B.A. from Yale and an MBA from Columbia.
Curiously, both Avlon’s Wikipedia page and that of his best friend, the aristocratic spook Matthew Pottinger, note that the two are childhood best friends and Milton schoolmates, as if this lifelong partnership is an essential fact in evaluating both men’s lives.
Writing for the New York Sun in 2005, Avlon describes Pottinger — one of America’s top spies — as “like a brother to me.” Pottinger made his bones as a journalist — and, probably, as an espionage operative and propagandist — while working as a lead reporter for Reuters and the Wall Street Journal in China before serving as a U.S. Marines intelligence officer in Iraq and Afghanistan.
…When Avlon joined The Daily Beast a month after its inception in 2008, he was simultaneously a senior fellow at the right-wing intelligence agency-linked think tank Manhattan Institute which advocates for interventionist foreign policies to achieve U.S. global hegemony. By the way, Ronald Reagan’s CIA director, William Casey, founded the Manhattan Institute in 1977 — three years before he began orchestrating the CIA’s “War on the Poor” in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala.
The Manhattan Institute received funding primarily from conservative foundations and major corporations — including Pfizer, Philip Morris and the Koch brothers — to advocate for deregulation of multinational corporations, and expanded power for intelligence agencies and the national security state.
So the notion that “gang-stalking” is a lunatic conspiracy theory, rather than another illegal domestic spying program, is being promoted most emphatically by a news site with a CIA connection.
All that said, Newsweek has, at times, published important news about domestic spying by federal agencies – news which is important regardless of whether Newsweek was doing journalism or serving as a conduit for leaks by spy agencies (leaks to remind the public that they’re being watched by Big Brother). In June 2004, for example – the year before “gang-stalking” emerged as an online search term, Newsweek reported that the Pentagon was quietly re-entering the business of domestic spying:
I don’t have an active link, but this is a quote from the article, as published in truthout.org:
“Without any public hearing or debate, NEWSWEEK has learned, Defense officials recently slipped a provision into a bill before Congress that could vastly expand the Pentagon’s ability to gather intelligence inside the United States, including recruiting citizens as informants.”
truthout link (now inactive): http://www.truth-out.org/archive/item/48419:the-pentagon-spying-in-america
Similarly, in May 2021 Newsweek reported on a secret network of domestic spies. Here are some excerpts from William M. Arkin’s article, “Inside the Military’s Secret Undercover Army:”
The largest undercover force the world has ever known is the one created by the Pentagon over the past decade. Some 60,000 people now belong to this secret army, many working under masked identities and in low profile, all part of a broad program called “signature reduction.” The force, more than ten times the size of the clandestine elements of the CIA, carries out domestic and foreign assignments, both in military uniforms and under civilian cover, in real life and online, sometimes hiding in private businesses and consultancies, some of them household name companies.
…a little-known sector of the American military, but also a completely unregulated practice. No one knows the program’s total size, and the explosion of signature reduction has never been examined for its impact on military policies and culture. Congress has never held a hearing on the subject.
…The signature reduction effort engages some 130 private companies to administer the new clandestine world. Dozens of little known and secret government organizations support the program, doling out classified contracts and overseeing publicly unacknowledged operations.
Federal spy agencies are using Americans to spy on their fellow citizens – the same approach to governance famously employed by communist East Germany. No doubt, social harmony and trust in the US government will both be greatly enhanced.
Returning to this recent mass shooting in Ohio – a WKEF news report on August 10th revealed that the FBI knew about this guy Marlow before the killings. I know – I was shocked as well.
According to an affidavit, law enforcement found Marlow’s written manifesto after executing a search warrant at his home. Today, law enforcement wouldn’t speculate on the manifesto, or the evidence collected in Marlow’s home. But, the affidavit said Marlow wrote of conspiracy theories, believed his neighbors were sleeping cell terrorists, and says he heard voices in his head.
“We have sources telling us that Marlow sent letters to your agency. Is this true and was he on your radar?” asked reporter, Bryn Caswell.
“We are aware that was documented in some paperwork,” said Rick Ruggieri, Assistant Special Agent in Charge FBI Cincinnati. “We’re still looking into that where it may have gone to what field offices and how that might’ve been sent to us so we are still looking into that.”
The FBI’s website contains an archive of FOIA documents about matters of public inquiry. It’s an extensive list. Bigfoot gets an entry, for example. (A hair sample was studied and found to be of deer origin.) No FOIA documents – or other references – appear, however, for the terms “gang-stalking” or “targeted individuals.”
December 6, 2018
Politico’s account of a “private spy ring”
Zach Dorfman’s article this week at Politico recounts an example of a private spy network in which local and federal law enforcement officials were feeding information to a private, right-wing political organization. Dorfman provides some historical context:
“Private spy rings can be traced back all the way to the 1920s,” says Darren Mulloy, a professor of history at Wilfrid Laurier University and an expert on radical political and social movements, “or even back to [Allan] Pinkerton’s detective agency at the end of the 19th century.” The tradition picked up during the 1950s, Mulloy says, reportedly with the likes of anticommunist groups like the American Security Council and the John Birch Society.
Such groups “perpetuated conspiracies by gathering so-called intelligence in an effort to discredit people to try and link them to grand and dastardly schemes,” Seth Rosenfeld, author of Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power, told me. “So, whether it was a communist conspiracy then, or a ‘deep state’ plot now, these are attempts to undermine people who are dissenting from the powers of the moment.”
In 1979, a congressman, Larry McDonald, established an organization called Western Goals, as “his own private intelligence agency.”
…McDonald was a militant cold warrior and talented zealot who built his own mini-deep state—a foundation that worked with government and law enforcement officials to collect and disseminate information about supposed subversives.
… According to contemporary news reports, individuals working for local or federal law enforcement would provide Western Goals with derogatory—and potentially illegally acquired—intelligence information about perceived radicals or groups.
Apparently, the spying continued after it was exposed and banned:
In January 1983, the Los Angeles Times reported that a veteran officer with the LAPD’s intelligence-gathering arm named Jay Paul was found to be illegally storing 180 boxes of LAPD materials running 500,000 pages in length, including confidential files, in a garage behind his wife’s law office in Long Beach. The files—political dossiers about individuals and groups such as civil rights organizations—weren’t supposed to exist anymore; a 1975 city law had required the destruction of six tons of these types of records.
Note to journalists: If you’re hoping to get at the truth about America’s illegal domestic spying and stalking, don’t assume you can get there from your laptop. You can’t submit a FOIA request to learn what’s stored in the garage of a friend of a member of a law enforcement intelligence unit.
Dorfman’s piece is an interesting read; however, it doesn’t address an essential question – namely, what is the current scope of such spying – legal and illegal – by corrupt local and federal law enforcement personnel, the 17 federal intelligence agencies, and the numerous private security-intelligence firms?
December 7, 2018
State-run media coverage of Bush’s death
News accounts of the death of George H.W. Bush last week showed the chasm of difference between reporting on CIA-related matters by the establishment news media – almost unanimously worshipful of Bush – and accounts by independent, real journalists. In the latter group is Russ Baker, whose 2008 book Family of Secrets explores, among other things, Bush’s history as an apparent CIA asset years before he was chosen to head that agency. Baker is a widely published journalist – The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, etc. – and he was a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review; however, the corporate press mostly avoids discussing his book. Here is the author’s recent comment on that:
Journalist Barrett Brown’s tweet on Sunday, about Russ Baker’s book:
In addition to ignoring Baker’s well-researched and well-written book, most of the major news media coverage following Bush’s death gave minimal attention to the former CIA director’s central role in the Iran-Contra operations – and the subsequent cover-up. Similarly, “Operation Condor” was not a big topic of discussion for talking heads as they lamented the passing of our great leader. An example of what the establishment press avoids worrying the common folk about was published today at The Intercept:
Bush was at the CIA during the height of Operation Condor, an international “kidnap-torture-murder apparatus” run by six Latin American dictatorships and coordinated by Washington. In an Operation Condor plot carried out in October 1976, Chilean secret police assassinated former Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and American Ronni Moffitt with a car bomb in Washington, D.C. Bush misled an FBI investigation about Chile’s responsibility.
August 22, 2018
Watching the watchers
Concerns about America’s “deep state” are on the rise. Monday’s broadcast of Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News is worth noting, as an example. Beginning at 13:05 are three segments about current threats to American democracy – threats of domestic origin.
I would describe the main points this way:
(1) US intelligence agencies essentially have no real oversight or accountability.
(2) Major corporate news outlets, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, sometimes lie on behalf of the spy agencies – such as the DOJ. Often the deception takes forms such as deliberate mischaracterizations and lies of omission.
(3) Increasingly-aggressive censorship on internet platforms, and unseen changes to search algorithms, by technology corporations pose an obvious threat to free speech – for both the left and the right – in the modern version of the public square.
Note: If the above YouTube video link becomes inactive, the show can also be viewed at the Fox News site.
April 30, 2020 – The segment touching upon point #3 above concerns Alex Jones’s banishment from YouTube for peddling nonsense. Although some of the expressed concerns about the spread of false information by charlatans like Jones are legitimate, the bigger concern for establishment media owners is the one mentioned today by journalist Matt Taibbi; it relates to point #2 above.
August 21, 2018
Chris Hedges on the collapse of empire
Evaluating the plausibility of claims and concerns about illegal spying and harassment by government and private security-intelligence industry goons requires considering the nature of the larger political ecosystem in which the activities are allegedly occurring. One such critique of American power was offered on Saturday, when consumer advocate and progressive activist Ralph Nader interviewed journalist Chris Hedges, on Nader’s weekly public radio show. Both men share the increasingly widespread view that America is essentially a corporate oligarchy and a militaristic empire, and that the nation is showing the signs of decay which such corrupt power structures engender: social pathologies, infrastructure neglect, extreme inequality, illegal domestic spying, the militarization of policing, etc.
One of the theorists who has influenced Hedges’ views on the corrupt nature of America’s politics is Sheldon Wolin (1922—2015), a writer and a politics professor at Princeton University. Here is Hedges, in a 2015 article at truthdig:
…Wolin lays bare the realities of our bankrupt democracy, the causes behind the decline of American empire and the rise of a new and terrifying configuration of corporate power he calls “inverted totalitarianism.”
…Inverted totalitarianism is different from classical forms of totalitarianism. It does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader but in the faceless anonymity of the corporate state. Our inverted totalitarianism pays outward fealty to the facade of electoral politics, the Constitution, civil liberties, freedom of the press, the independence of the judiciary, and the iconography, traditions and language of American patriotism, but it has effectively seized all of the mechanisms of power to render the citizen impotent.
As a war correspondent, Hedges – a Pulitzer prize winner and recipient of an Amnesty International award for humanitarian journalism – has witnessed state violence around the world, and, by his own acknowledgement, has been radicalized by what he has seen. He was also, essentially, forced to resign from The New York Times, for speaking honestly, in public, about the moral and strategic idiocy of the Iraq War.
Similarly – and Hedges alludes to this briefly in the interview, Ralph Nader got on the bad side of America’s corporate power structure, and was treated accordingly. The segment starting at 15:16 describes the backlash against activists, including, for example, the blacklisting of Noam Chomsky by The New York Times. The “Powell Memo” mentioned is this part refers to a confidential memorandum written in 1971 by Lewis Powell, two months before he was nominated as a US Supreme Court Justice. Some Wikipedia excerpts:
“The memo called for corporate America to become more aggressive in molding society’s thinking about business, government, politics and law in the US.”
“It was based in part on Powell’s reaction to the work of activist Ralph Nader, whose 1965 exposé on General Motors, Unsafe at Any Speed, put a focus on the auto industry putting profit ahead of safety, which triggered the American consumer movement. Powell saw it as an undermining of Americans’ faith in enterprise and another step in the slippery slope of socialism.”
“The Powell Memorandum…became the blueprint of the rise of the American conservative movement and the formation of a network of influential right-wing think tanks and lobbying organizations, such as The Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)…”
Another response to Ralph Nader’s efforts took a form more familiar to some readers of this website. Here is a description from Legal Affairs (November-December 2005):
“GM hired a detective to investigate Nader, tapping his phones and even hiring prostitutes in an attempt to trap him in a compromising situation. Nader sued for invasion of privacy, and an opinion by the New York Court of Appeals extended the reach of tort law to cover “overzealous surveillance.” GM eventually settled, and Nader said he used the proceeds, some $290,000, to start the pro-consumer Center for Study of Responsive Law.”
Chris Hedges’ strategic advice for Americans includes supporting an independent political party. As he sees it, the Democratic Party is hopelessly corrupted by its ties to corporate and deep state interests, as evidenced, for example, by its rigging of the presidential primary to favor Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Hedges also suggests, plausibly, that Sanders is incapable of leading serious reform anyway, because the senator fails to acknowledge that democratic socialism is incompatible with the agenda of the national security state.
Hedges also advises that effective political resistance requires making face-to-face personal contacts – not just digital contacts – to build local power bases. Readers of Hedges will know that he also advocates non-violent civil disobedience, as was used effectively during the civil rights movement.
Although Hedges, as usual, paints a dark picture, he observes that a “collapse” isn’t necessarily bad; it might even be essential.
“I don’t think the collapse of empire is necessarily a negative. At this point, empire has become a deeply destructive force not only for our own country but globally. We see with endless warfare – seventeen years of warfare now in the Middle East – the inability of the corporate state to deal in a rational way with climate change or restrict or control the financial institutions that have become completely predatory and have already reconfigured the United States into an oligarchy, where it becomes impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or Citibank or Raytheon or any of these other large corporations.”
Update – For anyone interested in Chris Hedges’ critique of neoliberalism, I recommend all three of these recent videos:
Hedges’ speech at Seattle University – Oct. 8, 2018
Jimmy Dore’s interview of Hedges – Oct. 15, 2018
August 20, 2018
TSA’s spying on Americans is “potentially illegal”
As Jana Winter at The Boston Globe reported on July 28th, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents are spying on some remarkably non-threatening Americans. Perhaps America’s bloated security-intelligence industry faces a relative shortage of actual criminals and terrorists, so regular Americans are having to fill the gap. In any case, some of the spying on airline passengers might be more than just creepy; it might be against the law.
“Experts on civil liberties called the Quiet Skies program worrisome and potentially illegal.”
Senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, Hugh Handeyside, was quoted in the article:
“These revelations raise profound concerns about whether TSA is conducting pervasive surveillance of travelers without any suspicion of actual wrongdoing,”
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley was also quoted:
“If this was about foreign citizens, the government would have considerable power. But if it’s US citizens — US citizens don’t lose their rights simply because they are in an airplane at 30,000 feet,” Turley said. “There may be indeed constitutional issues here depending on how restrictive or intrusive these measures are.”
Some excerpts from a July 31st interview at Democracy Now! with the reporter who broke the story:
Jana Winter: “We know that since March, thousands of ordinary Americans, who are not under any investigation or on any watchlist, have been followed by teams of armed air marshals from the moment they get to the airport, through the flight and up until they record the license plate number of the vehicle that picks them up in their arrival city. And they write down minute-by-minute details of everything they do—if they go to the bathroom, if they change clothes, if they, as you said, touch their face, and anyone they interact with, and details about what kind of phone they have. Were they on the phone? Were they having a conversation? Were they texting? What were they reading? Are you on a computer? What type of computer? And also, is that an iPhone? What color is the case? It’s a huge amount of information, and there are still a lot of questions.”
Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman asked whether the TSA bumps people from their flight reservations, so its agents can sit close to their surveillance targets:
Goodman: What happens if the plane is fully booked? Do the air marshals knock people off out of their seats to sit next to their suspect?
Winter: Oh, absolutely…Once I found out the details of this, I of course thought, “Oh, wow! Is this why we get bumped from planes all the time, even if we’ve booked well in advance?” And the answer to that is not a hundred percent, I certainly wouldn’t say, but, yes, they bump people from flights every single day to sit near the person who they are targeting, who in this case is someone who has no reason to be followed.
As reported in The Boston Globe article, even some of the air marshals are “worried that they’re being ordered to carry out a program that may not be legal.”
July 31, 2018
Is the founder of McAfee being “gang-stalked” by the feds?
John McAfee, the wealthy computer programmer and founder of the famous anti-virus software which bears his name (although the firm was later acquired by Intel), reportedly claims that he is the target of intense surveillance and harassment by federal agents. One source of this assertion is a May 15th article by Simon Golstein, at Finance Magnates – a website about financial trading news and research. Describing an account conveyed to him by a technical advisor of McAfee, Rob Loggia, Golstein wrote that McAfee says he is being “gang-stalked.”
“According to a man called Rob Loggia, curator of website Loggia on Fire, McAfee’s house is being gang-stalked. Cars have been entering the cul-de-sac in which it is situated before turning around and leaving without making a stop – this is happening on an “almost daily” basis. The McAfee security team has, of course, run the licence plates and found that the identities to whom they are registered are fake.”
In the context of the Finance Magnates article, it’s unclear whether the term “gang-stalked” is a quote, or a paraphrasing of what Loggia said. Either way, it’s interesting to see another appearance of the phrase in the media. Presumably, such reports should be of interest to people concerned about corruption, abuses of power, and lack of oversight in America’s massive and secretive security industry. For some reason, that slang term for what people in the security-intelligence business sometimes call “disruption” operations has entered the public discourse, even if it’s mostly at the margins of the press. Whatever the facts associated with McAfee’s particular claim, Americans – given their nation’s history with such issues – ought to be curious about the scope of illegal spying and harassment by local Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs), federal intelligence agencies, and private security agents.
The article doesn’t cite any publicly available evidence to support the allegations about overt surveillance; however, disruption operations by security professionals don’t generate a lot of easily-captured forensic proof. Conceivably, as McAfee apparently asserts, his activities – as both an investor and activist – related to cryptocurrency have drawn negative attention from the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), and the feds have decided to send him a message.
Cryptocurrency resides in a legal grey area, because it inherently poses potential challenges for governments wishing to closely monitor – for taxation and surveillance purposes – the flow of money. Its opaque nature means that cryptocurrency can be exploited by criminals, but also by activists resisting corrupt, powerful governments and corporations, anywhere in the world. For both reasons, cryptocurrency is of great interest to intelligence and law enforcement agencies – regardless of whether those agencies are mostly legitimate, mostly corrupt, or somewhere in between, as in the U.S.
July 6, 2018
The curious case of the Fentanyl flyers
When high-profile organizations and individuals call attention to unethical and illegal activities in the security and intelligence industry, it creates public relations problems for that industry. A good example is the campaign described in the June 13th posting below. Another is the support by professional athletes of the Black Lives Matter movement. Sometimes the damage is countered by apologist politicians and a friendly corporate press. Social media corporations also help by purging messages which are deemed excessively radical.
Some types of unwanted exposure get handled differently, though. Among the simplest and most effective ways to mitigate the damage from revelations, claims, and criticisms about corruption in the surveillance and policing business is to spread disinformation to discredit and marginalize those criticisms and allegations. Especially helpful, from the perspective of a subset of employees in the security industry, are efforts to associate all discussion of “disruption” operations (extreme harassment by public and/or private security thugs) with being stupid, paranoid, and dangerous.
In reality, no one who is familiar with the clandestine activities of the security-intelligence business, and who is being honest with you, would deny that some government agents and private security operatives sometimes engage in long-term, undercover surveillance that’s combined with relentless, but mostly-inconspicuous, harassment. Links posted on this site feature several non-disputed, published news reports and official communications which refer to such matters. Call the practice what you want; differences of opinion and speculation among informed professionals on this subject would involve the structure and scope of such operations, not whether they exist.
Occasionally, as with the FBI’s COINTELPRO scandal, systematic crimes perpetrated by law enforcement agents and their private associates get exposed. The COINTELPRO revelations, though, required some exceptionally brave and clever citizens breaking into an FBI office and stealing secret files. In between such rare events – the Pentagon Papers was another – the public is mostly in the dark. But sometimes, things start to appear on the fringe of the media – curious references to “organized stalking” and such. And you have to wonder.
Some observations about leaflets: Because of their physical (non-digital) nature, (a) leaflets get noticed by the recipients, and (b) their distribution is difficult to interfere with inconspicuously. Further, because of First Amendment protections traditionally associated with leafleting, suppression of that form of speech can also be legally difficult. Consequently, paper and ink, even in the modern digital world, can be a perfect means to convey information about corruption. Although the scale of distribution – and the cost – is small, it’s highly disruptive.
Judge for yourself whether such motives and concerns were the source of what happened – or was staged – last week in Houston, Texas. Keep in mind that the website you’re now reading – like the website in this story – includes flyers intended to be printed and distributed to discourage, through public exposure, criminal harassment by corrupt cops and corrupt private security investigators.
Even without the benefit of social media promotion or commercial support, the website you’re now reading has been visited more than half a million times. Perhaps some people would be happy to see this site – and its tactical advice, such as advocacy of spreading flyers – discredited by associating it with a ridiculous disinformation website.
TV news reports on June 26th (KPRC Houston, Channel 2 and KRIS Corpus Christi, Channel 6), indicated – initially – that someone (or several people) had apparently distributed some flyers laced with Fentanyl – a drug far more powerful than morphine, and associated with numerous overdose deaths. The toxic flyers had been placed on approximately a dozen vehicles parked on the street, outside a Harris County sheriff’s station at 601 Lockwood Drive.
According to the apparently-official version of what happened, the notion that the flyers were laced with Fentanyl arose when a sergeant at the scene reported that she was feeling “light-headed.” She was taken to a hospital to get checked out. The initial reports were vague on how sheriff’s officials determined the toxic nature of the flyers, and about the medical treatment.
Aaron Barker and Jacob Rascon at KPRC Houston:
“The sergeant removed one of the flyers from her windshield and later began feeling light-headed, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. She started driving herself to a hospital, but pulled over when she started feeling sick. A lieutenant met her and drove her to the Houston Northwest Medical Center.”
A website called “Targeted Justice” is the apparent origin of the flyers (the flyers can be printed from that website). This is their Twitter page. The document seems to feature diagrams of mind-control ray guns or something. If you’re interested, you can probably download it from them (whoever they are). The official photo of the flyers (below) was provided to the press, and posted on KPRC’s website with this caption: “Deputies released these images of flyers that they said were placed on some vehicles at a Harris County Sheriff’s Office facility June 26, 2018, in Houston.”
My initial reaction to this photo was this: Given America’s massive post-9/11 security spending binge, why do Harris County detectives have to take their evidence photos using a cell phone made in 2002? Maybe we should we hold a bake sale to raise money, so they can better equip themselves. On second thought, though, I decided that the image is appropriately obscure, given the whole nature of this incident.
A second observation about this story: A street in front of a sheriff’s office is a remarkably bold choice of location to anonymously place strange leaflets. The Google Maps street view of the address seems to confirm the unlikeliness of the area as a venue for radical pamphleteers. Also, the flyers were reportedly distributed in the middle of the day (approximately 1 pm, according to a June 29th update from KHOU Houston, Channel 11). If someone other than a cop had been there, milling about in very close proximity to the government vehicles parked there, that person would have appeared suspicious even if he or she were not distributing flyers about ray guns and such.
Another thought I had upon seeing this news: Since, in effect, we were being invited to believe that someone – or several people – apparently attempted to poison American law enforcement personnel – in an attack which also involved the distribution of strange flyers, presumably, the FBI is all over this – you know, because of that whole “terrorism” thing. Although the reporting made no mention of any federal agencies, I presumed we would hear something soon.
In the meantime, as reported on June 28th by KTRK Houston, Channel 13, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office responded promptly to the grave new threat posed by the Fentanyl-laced flyers. They tweeted the above photo of the flyer, on the day of the incident, with the following message:
KTRK reporter Marla Carter – past whom nothing gets – also recognized the severity of the danger:
The tough part for investigators is that it could have been anyone who printed and passed out these flyers. The only clues on the flyers themselves may be fingerprints. “Someone could have died. The fact it is now being used against officers is a game-changer,” said Harris Co. Pct. 1 Constable Alan Rosen.
Several other local law enforcement agencies are trying to stay on top of the game by arming officers with Narcan, an emergency treatment used for opioid overdoses.
The encounter with Fentanyl can be deadly even if found on a flyer and absorbed through the skin.
The same news report noted that “Targeted Justice” (whatever that actually is) acknowledged authoring the flyer, but denied any involvement in the leafleting in Houston:
The organization listed on the flyers, Targeted Justice, says it had nothing to do with incident. They believe that the flyers were printed off of their website.
So that might have ruled out a few possible suspects, but the dangerous pamphleteer remained unknown. Don’t worry though, because – surprise! – it turned out that the Fentanyl was fictional. A news update from KTRK Houston, Channel 13, on Friday, June 29th:
“After warning the public about flyers potentially tainted with the opioid Fentanyl, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office now confirms lab tests showed no signs of the drug.
“The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences tested 13 flyers and found all of them came back negative.”
“…In addition to testing the 13 flyers, the lab also tested clothing items, and blood and urine samples collected from the sergeant. Those tests also were negative for the drug.”
Here’s some additional good news: If you live in Houston, don’t worry about the technical skills of your law enforcement officers. The KTRK article helpfully explains that the mistake didn’t arise from professional incompetence (or the fact that the whole matter appears to have been staged), but rather, from “an abundance of caution.” I find it difficult to read that phrase without hearing it in George Carlin’s sarcastic voice.
The odd phenomenon of countless vague, paranoia websites, of which “Targeted Justice” is an example, is chronicled in detail in several places on the site you’re now reading. The trend ought to seem curious, by the way. Apparently, these websites sort of sprang up out of nowhere, and have proliferated like mushrooms, despite never being interesting – let alone credible. Did something get into the water supply?
Here’s a tip-off that someone is trying very hard to appear crazy. The image below is from the “Who to follow” section of Targeted Justice’s Twitter page. The glowing brain image is essentially an icon for “I’m a nut!”
Alternatively, an actually-crazy person is still at large, wandering around Houston and maybe distributing more flyers. Remember: this is also someone who can approach a sheriff’s station, for example, distribute pamphlets (or whatever), and depart unseen, in the middle of the day, like some kind of ninja. From the June 29 KTRK report:
“The sheriff’s office has not questioned any persons of interest in the case, and no criminal charges have been filed.”
For private citizens in America, the lesson of this story is that some security-intelligence officials appear to have concerns about the potentially disruptive effects of flyers which call attention to illegal surveillance and harassment.
July 6, 2018
The Pursuance Project
Most readers of this website are already familiar with the journalist and activist, Barrett Brown, who has done valuable reporting on the lying, crimes, and abuses of power in America’s public and private policing, spying, and incarceration agencies. Brown’s accounts of his interactions with the FBI, the Justice Department, and the Bureau of Prisons are both entertaining and informative.
Currently, Brown is part of a team of people developing open source encrypted software – called Pursuance – to enable individuals to form networks for sharing information and collaborating to “pursue” common goals. The system is being designed, from the ground up, as a platform which would be well-suited for activists and journalists who expect government and corporate operatives to attempt to infiltrate and subvert their projects. This four-minute video explains the basic concept of Pursuance.
Very possibly, Pursuance – or something like it at some point – could help to partly level the playing field between citizens and corrupt enforcement personnel. First, though, the project needs funding. Brown’s Kickstarter campaign to launch his Pursuance Project has just one week remaining to reach its goal. If you can afford to help, please make a donation.
Update (July 16, 2018)
Shockingly, the fund drive for Pursuance did not receive a lot of corporate news media attention; nevertheless, on Saturday (one day before the deadline), Pursuance reached its Kickstarter goal. In fact, donations exceeded the goal by $5,000. Barrett Brown’s response on Twitter was cautiously optimistic: “Soon the globe shall be wreathed in chaos.”
Some news sources have been more helpful, and more accurate. Last month, for example, Tim Kushing at Techdirt briefly described the structure and objectives of the Pursuance approach to crowdsourcing the exposure of corruption and the organizing of political activism, as conceived by Barrett Brown. Kushing’s conclusion:
“This sounds very much like Brown wants to get back to the work he was doing before the federal government interrupted his life with trumped-up charges. More journalism, more collaborations, and a suite of tools to keep those who view investigative journalism as threatening locked out of the process.”
June 13, 2018
UK’s police spies get some unwanted publicity
photo in The Guardian, June 13, 2018
Some associates of the UK’s security-intelligence profession take a dim view of people calling attention to the nature of their undercover activities. Maybe it’s because some of the practices – such as the infiltration of citizens’ personal lives – are the sort of creepy, police state tactics that were used by the Stasi. A cosmetics chain, Lush, started a poster and social media campaign on June 1st which was critical of the UK’s police spies. Then its stores were visited by some folks who probably didn’t look like their usual customers. Rob Evans at The Guardian today: “Lush…said its shop staff had been intimidated by former police officers.”
Evans notes that “critics” of Lush’s campaign “have been accused of going into stores and intimidating staff to make them take down the posters.”
And Lush did suspend their campaign after the first week, explaining that they had safety concerns for their staff, as reported on Monday by Ian Griggs at PR Week.
“Lush announced on Friday that it had suspended its window campaign, which aims to highlight the issue of undercover police overstepping the mark to infiltrate the lives of activists – the subject of a Home Office-backed inquiry – citing the safety of its staff.”
Political pressure was also being directed at Lush:
“The campaign was suspended after a week of criticism – from police forces, senior politicians and members of the public – that it was anti-police.”
To their credit, the folks at Lush resumed their protest campaign today. Again, Rob Evans, at The Guardian:
The cosmetics chain Lush has resumed its poster campaign highlighting the misconduct of undercover police officers who infiltrated political groups.
Lush removed an initial version of its campaign poster from displays at its 104 stores last Thursday after it said its shop staff had been intimidated by former police officers. The campaign was criticised by the home secretary, Sajid Javid, and others as being anti-police and insulting to police officers.
On Wednesday, a new poster was installed in shop windows. Without a photograph, the text draws attention to how undercover police spied on more than 1,000 political groups while “infiltrating lives, homes and beds of citizens for 50 years”.
As explained in the PR Week article, Lush has conducted its campaign in partnership with a group called “Police Spies Out Of Lives (PSOOL).”
[PSOOL] claimed police forces, including the Met [London’s metropolitan police force], had previously acknowledged that people’s human rights had been violated during the course of its work.
The spokesperson said: “The only people who thought the Lush campaign was controversial are police and their friends. In the face of well-deserved criticism, the police have closed ranks rather than admit there was a problem.”
November 21, 2017
Harvey Weinstein’s goon squad
Ronan Farrow’s recent article in The New Yorker (November 6, 2017) reports on some clandestine operations by enforcers in the private security-intelligence business. Movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who stands accused of multiple incidents involving sexual harassment or assault, apparently employed – via his lawyers – an Israeli private investigations firm, Black Cube, which is run by former Mossad agents, to do his dirty work – namely, silencing his sex abuse victims through spying and intimidation.
Services offered by Black Cube include several forms of professional lying:
…“Avatar Operators” specifically hired to create fake identities on social media, as well as “operations experts with extensive experience in social engineering.”
(“Social engineering” refers to the psychological manipulation tactics used by undercover agents.)
More serious, though, is the psychological terrorism experienced by the victims, such as the three women Farrow refers to here:
Since the allegations against Weinstein became public, Lubell hasn’t slept well. She told me that, although she knew that Weinstein “was a bully and a cheater,” she “never thought he was a predator.” Lubell has wondered if she should have known more, sooner.
After a year of concerted effort, Weinstein’s campaign to track and silence his accusers crumbled. Several of the women targeted, however, said that Weinstein’s use of private security agencies deepened the challenge of speaking out. “It scared me,” Sciorra said, “because I knew what it meant to be threatened by Harvey. I was in fear of him finding me.” McGowan said that the agencies and law firms enabled Weinstein’s behavior. As she was targeted, she felt a growing sense of paranoia. “It was like the movie ‘Gaslight,’ ” she told me. “Everyone lied to me all the time.” For the past year, she said, “I’ve lived inside a mirrored fun house.”
Among the important points illustrated by Harvey Weinstein’s case is the one expressed in the tweet below, by Emily Nussbaum. Claims and suspicions about illegal spying – even when they are legitimate – tend to be viewed skeptically by people unfamiliar with the security-intelligence business.
October 7, 2017
Criminality and deniability at the CIA
Author Douglas Valentine had some interesting things to say about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in an interview published last month at CounterPunch. Valentine has written three books about the spy agency. The publisher’s webpage for the latest of these books – The CIA as Organized Crime – features this quote from former CIA officer and whistle-blower, John Kiriakou:
“Doug Valentine courageously takes us inside some of the CIA’s most shameful extralegal operations, exposing everything that is wrong with an intelligence service gone rogue. He is a sentinel of the public interest, and his book is a public service. I, for one, wouldn’t want to live in a country that didn’t have patriots like Doug Valentine.”
Some excerpts from the CounterPunch interview:
The CIA sets up proprietary arms, shipping, and banking companies to facilitate the criminal drug trafficking organizations that do its dirty work. Mafia money gets mixed up in offshore banks with CIA money, until the two are indistinguishable.
…The CIA doesn’t do anything it can’t deny. Tom Donohue, a retired senior CIA officer, told me about this.
Let me tell you a bit about my source. In 1984, former CIA Director William Colby agreed to help me write my book, The Phoenix Program. Colby introduced me to Donohue in 1985. Donohue had managed the CIA’s “covert action” branch in Vietnam from 1964-1966, and many of the programs he developed were incorporated in Phoenix. Because Colby had vouched for me, Donohue was very forthcoming and explained a lot about how the CIA works.
…Donohue said the CIA doesn’t do anything unless it meets two criteria. The first criterion is “intelligence potential.” The program must benefit the CIA; maybe it tells them how to overthrow a government, or how to blackmail an official, or where a report is hidden, or how to get an agent across a border. The term “intelligence potential” means it has some use for the CIA. The second criterion is that it can be denied. If they can’t find a way to structure the program or operation so they can deny it, they won’t do it.
…Everything the CIA does is deniable. It’s part of its Congressional mandate. Congress doesn’t want to be held accountable for the criminal things the CIA does.
…Most people have no idea what cops really do. They think cops give you a speeding ticket. They don’t see the cops associating with professional criminals and making money in the process. They believe that when a guy puts on a uniform, he or she becomes virtuous. But people who go into law enforcement do so for the trill [sic] of wielding power over other people, and in this sense, they relate more to the crooks they associate with than the citizens they’re supposed to protect and serve. They’re looking to bully someone and they’re corrupt. That’s law enforcement.
The CIA is populated with the same kind of people, but without any of the constraints. The CIA officer who created the Phoenix program, Nelson Brickham, told me this about his colleagues: “I have described the intelligence service as a socially acceptable way of expressing criminal tendencies. A guy who has strong criminal tendencies but is too much of a coward to be one, would wind up in a place like the CIA if he had the education.” Brickham described CIA officers as wannabe mercenaries “who found a socially acceptable way of doing these things and, I might add, getting very well paid for it.”
…The CIA dedicates a huge portion of its budget figuring how to select, control, and manage its own work force. It begins with instilling blind obedience. Most CIA officers consider themselves to be soldiers. The CIA is set up as a military organization with a sacred chain of command that cannot be violated. Somebody tells you what to do, and you salute and do it. Or you’re out.
…In exchange for signing away their legal rights, they benefit from reward systems – most importantly, CIA officers are immune from prosecution for their crimes. They consider themselves the Protected Few and, if they wholeheartedly embrace the culture of dominance and exploitation, they can look to cushy jobs in the private sector when they retire.
The CIA’s executive management staff compartments the various divisions and branches so that individual CIA officers can remain detached. Highly indoctrinated, they blindly obey on a “need to know” basis. This institutionalized system of self-imposed ignorance and self-deceit sustains, in their warped minds, the illusion of American righteousness, upon which their motivation to commit all manner of crimes in the name of national security depends. That and the fact that most are sociopaths. [Emphasis added.]
When asked whether he considers the CIA to be “an enemy of the American people,” Valentine said this:
Yes. It’s an instrument of the rich political elite, it does their dirty business.
August 28, 2017
In his column yesterday at truthdig, journalist Chris Hedges made this point about the recent violence between “Antifa” and “alt-right” protesters:
“Street clashes do not distress the ruling elites. These clashes divide the underclass. They divert activists from threatening the actual structures of power. They give the corporate state the ammunition to impose harsher forms of control and expand the powers of internal security.”
August 20, 2017
CIA whistle-blower John Kiriakou on torture settlement
JOHN KIRIAKOU: I know the ACLU is very happy. I know that one of the victims said he was very happy and that he felt that justice was served, but I actually am disappointed in this settlement for a number of reasons. First of all, the decision is sealed, so we really don’t know if justice has been served. We don’t know what the terms of the agreement are. We don’t know if there is any kind of deterrent that has been written into the decision. The fact that it’s not public, it seems to me at least in part defeats the purpose. Second, Mitchell and Jessen, the two CIA contractor psychologists who were the defendants in this case, were indemnified by the CIA in 2001. Even though they were sued, the CIA paid for their attorneys. The CIA is paying for their settlement. The CIA is paying for everything.
When I say the CIA is paying for it, I mean that you and I are paying for it. The American taxpayers are paying for it, so there’s no actual hurt to Mitchell and Jessen. And third, this trial, had it gone to trial, would have exposed CIA documents related to the torture program that we otherwise will never have access to. We’re going to lose that now. Whatever didn’t come out with the Senate torture report and could have come out with this case will not come out. We’ll just never know what the truth is behind this case.
August 20, 2017
Presidential politics and the deep state
Whatever your views of our current president – or his opponent in last year’s election, for that matter – if you are concerned about illegal spying and harassment by government and corporate security-intelligence agencies, you should welcome the increased attention given in America’s news media, to the “deep state” concept. More public awareness of the actual nature of America’s power structure could make it more difficult to abuse surveillance and policing powers.
For anyone unfamiliar with the topic, the core point of the deep state analysis is made, for example, in this October 2014 article in The Boston Globe, which described the views of Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon:
Though it’s a bedrock American principle that citizens can steer their own government by electing new officials, Glennon suggests that in practice, much of our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked.
Here are a few notable examples of attention given to the deep state this year:
Richard Engel appears about two minutes into this five-minute video clip, and gives a serious assessment of the presidential intelligence briefings which were apparently held to undermine Trump’s presidency at the outset, in response to Trump’s rhetorical transgressions against the deep state. My take on what Engel says is this: Essentially, the US intelligence chiefs paid a visit to Trump’s shop, and said to him: “Lovely administration you’ve got here. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it.”
“Richard Engel, NBC News chief foreign correspondent, talks with Rachel Maddow about a report that Donald Trump and President Obama were briefed on unverified claims that Russia has compromised Trump with a cache of incriminating or scandalous material. Duration: 5:10”
January 11, 2017 – Matt Drudge, Twitter
A tweet by Matt Drudge explicitly raised the basic question – namely, whether the US intelligence agencies are “corrupt.”
Hersh also questioned the timing of the U.S. intelligence briefing of Trump on the Russia hack findings. “They’re taking it to a guy that’s going to be president in a couple of days, they’re giving him this kind of stuff, and they think this is somehow going to make the world better? It’s going to make him go nuts — would make me go nuts. Maybe it isn’t that hard to make him go nuts.” Hersh said if he had been covering the story, “I would have made [John] Brennan into a buffoon. A yapping buffoon in the last few days. Instead, everything is reported seriously.”
Few journalists in the world know more about the CIA and U.S. dark ops than Hersh. The legendary journalist broke the story of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, the Abu Ghraib torture, and secret details of the Bush-Cheney assassination program.
…Hersh also said he is concerned about Trump and his administration assuming power over the vast surveillance resources of the U.S. government. “I can tell you, my friends on the inside have already told me there’s going to be a major increase in surveillance, a dramatic increase in domestic surveillance,” he said. He recommended that anyone concerned about privacy use encrypted apps and other protective means. “If you don’t have Signal, you better get Signal.” [Emphasis added.]
Hirthler’s core allegation:
“The enveloping of the president in a cacophony of innuendo is likely a collaborative effort between the Justice Department, the National Intelligence Agency, the CIA, and crucially, the mainstream press.”
“Either he can acquiesce to or fight against a Deep State of intelligence officials who have a myriad of ways to spy on politicians (and other citizens) and thus amass derogatory material that can be easily transformed into blackmail.
“…The reality is that EVERYONE, including the President, is surveilled. The technology enabling bulk collection would have made the late demented FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s mouth water.
“Allegations about the intelligence community’s abuse of its powers also did not begin with Snowden. For instance, several years earlier, former NSA worker and whistleblower Russell Tice warned about these “special access programs,” citing first-hand knowledge, but his claims were brushed aside as coming from a disgruntled employee with psychological problems. His disclosures were soon forgotten.”
Robert Parry – an investigative journalist who has written for Associated Press, Newsweek, etc. – makes the case that much of the investigating, leaking, and news reporting involving the Trump administration is essentially a “soft coup” by the deep state.
…most of the nation’s top news executives and much of its political elite share the opinion that Trump’s presidency must be ended and a more traditional chief executive installed.
But no one in authority wants to acknowledge that a “soft coup” is in the works because that would make America look like a banana republic to the world. It also could infuriate Trump’s 63 million voters who might take exception to this sort of “deep state” veto of a duly certified election.
So, what that means is that the planned removal of Trump will be a deliberate process cloaked in high-minded legal principles and much talk about the rule of law.
Greenwald explains that deep state activities are plainly involved in our current presidential politics. I recommend reading the entire article.
“FROM THE START of Trump’s presidency, it was clear that the permanent national security power structure in Washington was deeply hostile to his presidency and would do what it could to undermine it. Shortly before Trump was inaugurated, I wrote an article noting that many of the most damaging anti-Trump leaks were emanating from anonymous CIA and other Deep State operatives who despised Trump because the policies he vowed to enact — the ones American voters ratified — were so contrary to their agenda and belief system. Indeed, they were even anonymously boasting that they were withholding secrets from Trump’s briefings because they decided the elected president should not have access to them.
“…No matter how much of a threat one regards Trump as being, there really are other major threats to U.S. democracy and important political values. It’s hard, for instance, to imagine any group that has done more harm, and ushered in more evil, than the Bush-era neocons with whom Democrats are now openly aligning. And who has brought more death, and suffering, and tyranny to the world over the last six decades than the U.S. national security state?”
August 5, 2017 – Glenn Greenwald, Twitter
Greenwald responds to a skeptic:
July 12, 2017
ACLU sues U.S. Justice Dept. to expose spying policies
A lawsuit filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) seeks to force the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to reveal some of the federal government’s policies on secret surveillance. Specifically, the ACLU wants to know how the government views its constitutional obligations regarding (a) the use of evidence obtained through secret surveillance, and (b) notifying individuals whose communications have become the target of government surveillance.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit after the DOJ declined to provide that information when the ACLU asked for it by means of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Here is the origin of the lawsuit, as described in the complaint:
“On February 6, 2017, Plaintiffs submitted a Freedom of Information Act request (the “Request”) to DOJ seeking records related to the government’s official policy on the use of evidence obtained through secret surveillance and its duty to notify individuals whose private communications the government has seized and searched.
“…DOJ’s failure to release responsive records is of particular public concern because the Request pertains to the expanding use of secret electronic searches—including surveillance of Americans’ phone calls and emails under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) and the Wiretap Act (“Title III”). In total, the government conducts hundreds of thousands of secret wiretaps and other searches under FISA and Title III each year. Many of these searches are conducted without warrants or individualized court approval, but are instead conducted under Section 702 of FISA, a highly controversial surveillance law that is currently the subject of intense legislative and public debate.
“The government’s searches under FISA and Title III are generally invisible to the individuals whose privacy they impact. Unlike traditional searches of a person’s home, electronic searches rarely leave any sign, and thus individuals whose privacy has been invaded are entirely dependent on the government’s provision of notice. For this reason, the government’s policies concerning when it must disclose surveillance implicate the privacy interests of numerous Americans, who are often unable to challenge the lawfulness of government searches without proper notice.
“As described below, DOJ has a track record of failing to inform individuals about the surveillance of their communications even when notice is expressly required by law. Accordingly, the public interest in the release of the DOJ policy documents at issue is Substantia.” [Emphasis added.]
“How would you know if the federal government had been electronically spying on you? Short answer: You probably wouldn’t.
“Today, the ACLU sued the Justice Department to find out more about the circumstances under which the government thinks it can spy on Americans without telling them. This challenge seeks important information about a spying statute whose renewal is currently up for debate in Congress.
“The answer to the question above should be simple: When the government invades your privacy — whether by searching your home, your car, your emails, or anything else — it should give you notice of that intrusion unless it has a compelling reason for delay. You see it on television all the time: When the police search a house, they show a warrant or leave one behind at the scene. The individual whose privacy is at stake knows there was a search and what was taken. This isn’t just to amp up drama — it’s a constitutional requirement.
“… It’s worth noting, however, that the federal government has a long history of abusing its surveillance powers. And as the amount of digital data has expanded, the amount of surveillance has exploded, too. So has the secrecy and the absence of accountability surrounding electronic searches. These searches are conducted under various laws, but they have one thing in common: Individuals rarely find out that their private emails, internet chats, or documents stored in the cloud have been searched.
“The vast majority of Americans surveilled under Section 702 will never be criminally prosecuted, so they will never know that the government has been secretly watching them. And without definitive proof that the government spied on them, individuals have an incredibly difficult time challenging the government’s spying in court.” [Emphasis added.]
Full credit to the ACLU for pursuing this issue. Filing a professionally-drafted FOIA request, followed by a credible lawsuit when the US intelligence agency involved – in this case, the DOJ – predictably tries to dodge the request, is an unrealistic option for most victims of illegal spying. Americans could use a lot more such advocacy in defense of their rights these days – especially on issues involving secret activities by public and private agencies in the security-intelligence business.
Arguably, such advocacy – and investigative journalism – is needed even more for uncovering criminality and abuses of power among private security-intelligence firms and local police department Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs), since those entities are not (directly) reachable by FOIA requests. Moreover, private contractors and local agencies – to say nothing of informal networks that include current and former enforcement and intelligence personnel – might be far less likely to be internally compromised by whistle-blowers.
Also deserving of notice is a reminder in Anna Diakun’s ACLU blog posting: Searches – of a car or a residence, for example – require a warrant. One implication of this is that if you are the victim of what journalists and investigators often call “black bag jobs” (break-ins perpetrated to gain information or to terrorize the victim, or both – rather than for simple burglary), and you did not receive a search warrant, then what was done to you was probably very illegal, regardless of who the perpetrators and their accomplices were.
This also has serious implications for any “civilian” who participates – for whatever motives – in illegal spying and harassment orchestrated by corrupt public or private security operatives. Breaking and entering, for example, is – at a minimum – illegal trespassing. And in many cases, it’s a more serious crime. Furthermore, if such actions are part of an organized set of unauthorized spying and harassment activities, they also constitute stalking – which is expressly forbidden by the criminal codes of every state in America.
July 4, 2017
Keeping America safe by killing journalists
One of the drawbacks to publicly calling for the assassination of journalists and whistle-blowers is that the targets of the threats are the kind of people who will tell others about what you have said. And, outside of the political class, not everyone is impressed by efforts to shield governments and corporations from public scrutiny. A lobbyist and Democratic party operative in Florida, Evan Ross, is learning this, after tweeting the following comment about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange:
“[Assange] and his buddy Edward Snowden both deserve to meet their maker. I’d be happy to pull the trigger on both of those too [sic].”
Assange responded to Ross’s brave display of patriotism by quoting Ross’s comment, and tagging it #tolerantliberal. The tweets there also include calls for Assange’s head from other establishment apologists. An article by Jerry Iannelli published today by the Miami New Times provides a good summary of the twitter exchange and its political implications.
“The spat exposes the divide between centrist, hawkish liberals who support the security state and military-industrial complex, and those to Ross’ left, who point out that Snowden is a whistleblower no different from Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to news outlets in the 1970s. Ross’ comments are sure to upset populists within the local party, who maintain that mainstream Democrats have moved too far right in the past few decades.”
June 7, 2017
Barrett Brown’s Q & A on reddit
Yesterday, journalist Barrett Brown (see preceding posts) participated in an “AMA” (Ask Me Anything) exchange on reddit. Here are some excerpts.
On the future of journalism…
In one of your recent D Magazine articles you noted “But most of all, I realized that journalism will not be enough to save this country.” – can you elaborate on that Barrett? and also what does this mean about the future of your journalism? Thanks!
Journalism is still necessary, but in a nation like the U.S. where the bulk of the citizenry is either fascist or unwilling to do their part to oversee the vast machinery of state that we support through our taxes and which inflicts vast harm at home and abroad, we’re going to need a class of people who make up for the failures of the rest of the country. You can get a sense of what I mean by this by looking through the pursuance presentation [explained below]; this is a framework that is intended to expand into a new and viable force by which to challenge systems from without.
Something along those lines, drawing upon the new ability of humans to collaborate in ways never before possible, is going to happen at some point anyway. We think this is the time to try it.
On the prosecutorial enthusiasm that was directed at him…
What’s your theory as to why the book was thrown at you in particular? Specifically, who do you figure made that decision and why?
That’s best demonstrated by the original search warrants, in which a grand jury was presented with spurious info to justify ongoing surveillance of my activities. Those are still sealed, but the eventual search warrant for the raid, which Michael Hastings posted on Buzzfeed, shows they were concerned with our investigations into the DOJ and FBI’s criminal allies, such as HBGary Federal, and the site on which we compiled our research, echelon2.org (now moved). Here’s that warrant. [The link is to an article by the late Michael Hastings.]
Basically, as explained in several of the better articles, such as those by Glenn Greenwald, Christian Stork, and the like back in 2013 or so, the DOJ and FBI wanted me away from the internet for as long as possible, and pursued over a dozen charges they later had to drop in order to try to do that.
FBI officials get high-paying jobs with these sorts of companies when they leave public “service;” DOJ had been embarrassed by its connection to the companies we’d kept digging into; and they know full well that they can do most anything without real consequences.
On the entities to which he owes court-ordered restitution…
How much do you still owe in restitution? Any chance of getting that reversed? It really pisses me off that you owe money to an entity I consider evil.
I owe something like $870,000 to several corrupt organizations, including Stratfor, which spied on Bhopal activists on behalf of Union Carbide and cooperates with the FBI and Coca-Cola against lawful U.S. activists, among other things. No, the judge has already ruled and we can’t appeal.
On recommended reading about the deep state…
What books about COIN and political repression (past and present) and about useful countermeasures and “security culture” would you recommend, if any?
The Burglary and The Devil’s Chessboard. Most of all, read anything by Peter Dale Scott, the former diplomat and Berkley professor who carefully documented a great deal of the amorphous security culture from the early ’60s to recent years, mostly in regards to JFK and Southeast Asian drug running by CIA affiliates.
On the Anonymous movement…
What do you think of Anonymous these days?
I’m not sure that it even really exists in any measurable form anymore, at least as compared to 2011, when the NSA chief felt the need to drum up paranoia about its capabilities and it was a driving force behind opposition to the intelligence community’s expanding, unchecked powers. As you can see from the pursuance project, I’m more interested now in using process-based frameworks, where roles and duties can be clearly defined and agreed upon (and also less visible to intelligence contractors and other members of the state-corporate criminal class). There were a number of problems with how Anonymous operated, even aside from the FBI infiltration, and it’s best at this point to think more in terms of moving the ball forward rather than trying to restore the past.
More on the Anonymous movement…
Do you think Anonymous still has any political/social relevance in 2017, and if not what would it take (if anything) for it to become relevant again?
I don’t, frankly. That could change, but as I told someone else, what’s needed now is something that can expand and serve as a serious counter against the powerful without burning out in a flash of chaos and disagreement. The pursuance system [see below] will be a mechanism for conducting civic affairs in such a way that everyone has the same clearly-defined rights to operate, to invent, to rise according to their talents and dedication; although Anonymous was allegedly something along those lines, the reality is that some people controlled the mediums, such as IRC servers, where much of the important work was conducted. That’s just one of several fatal flaws Anonymous had – the conflict between its stated nature and its actual nature, and a lack of a mechanism for settling disagreements.
On Brown’s crowd-sourced journalism projects…
[In 2009, Barrett Brown organized an online crowd-sourced analysis of hacked emails from private security firms; it was called “Project PM.” Currently, he’s working with others to develop a comprehensive system, “Pursuance,” to enable activists and journalists to more easily, effectively, and securely organize and manage group projects, such as those seeking to expose crimes by corporate and government security-intelligence personnel.]
are you going to revive project PM?
Not as such, but we’ll be running a “pursuance,” as entities under the pursuance system are known, that will continue much of the same work of documenting the intelligence sector, private and public.
May 23, 2017
Assange on the information war
Binoy Kampmark, in a piece at CounterPunch this week, describes the status of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange:
The continuing struggle, one between the guerrilla warriors of the information and transparency movement pitted against the abuses of the Deep State, will continue. As will the barnacle determination of Assange in occupying that little bit of Ecuador in Knightsbridge. “The proper war,” promised Assange, “is just commencing.”
May 22, 2017
More notices about stalking in Guilford, Connecticut
A recent police blotter, in Guilford, CT, lists some incidents which suggest that someone there wants to call attention to the issue of illegal spying and harassment. Apparently, someone has been sending “gang stalking (harassment) letters” to multiple addresses in Guilford. This is not the first time such activity has been reported there. In June 2014, for example, the distribution of flyers about “gang stalking” (disruption operations) in Guilford was reported by the Hartford Courant newspaper. For news links about similar leafleting incidents reported across the nation, see the end of the June 10th, 2016 posting, on this website.
Apart from noting the time and place of the events, the recent incident reports – quoted below – lack any details, but their existence suggests that the issue of disruption operations is a serious concern for the person sending the flyers/letters, and for some of the recipients.
Thursday, April 27
- Complaints about a [sic] gang stalking (harassment) letters were investigated at 95 North Street at 4:39 p.m., 46 Dover Court at 5:18 p.m., and 103 Golden Hill Drive at 6:36 p.m.
Friday, April 28
- Complaints about gang stalking (harassment) letters were investigated at 88 Half Mile Road at 6:24 p.m. and 62 Half Mile Road at 7:06 p.m.
Monday, May 1
- A complaint about a gang stalking (harassment) letter was investigated at 425 North River Street at 10:03 a.m.
Last year’s police blotter in Guilford also included a few incidents worth noting:
Sunday, November 13
- Harassment via “gang stalking” was investigated at 274 Church Street at 6:16 p.m.
Sunday, November 20
- Harassment via a “gang stalking” letter placed in a mailbox was investigated at 35 George Street at 9:57 a.m.
Regarding the final entry: Anyone distributing flyers and letters should remember that only US postal carriers can place items in mailboxes. (Mailing anonymous letters, however, is completely legal.)
May 12, 2017
A glimpse of America’s corrupt spying and enforcement industry
Journalists Barrett Brown and Glenn Greenwald appeared on Democracy Now! today to discuss Brown’s recent harassment by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (see the post below), and its implications for journalism and democracy. Anyone with an interest in secret abuses of power by the federal government and its corporate clients – and how such abuses are covered (or not covered) by the mainstream press – should watch this 25-minute segment.
No serious analysis of the reporting on “disruption operations” – intense harassment and stalking crimes by private and government security-intelligence thugs in the U.S. – can begin without an understanding of “the highly secretive world of private intelligence and military contractors” (Democracy Now! host, Amy Goodman), and “this incredibly opaque and powerful faction [of government agencies and corporations]” (Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Glenn Greenwald).
Barrett Brown’s case – including the contents of the hacked emails at the center of the case – provides a rare glimpse behind the curtain of America’s security-intelligence business. It ought to make Americans curious about what else is happening there.
May 5, 2017
The feds are not through with Barrett Brown
Barrett Brown – the journalist whose full story is the subject of the preceding post – was rearrested last week, and detained for four days, before his lawyer pressured the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to release him. Initially, the BOP asserted that Brown’s media appearances – such as the interviews he had scheduled with VICE and PBS – violated the terms of his early release from prison, but the agency backed off when Brown challenged them by means of a good lawyer.
On the face of it, the arrest had no legitimate legal basis, and the BOP knew it. Brown’s inclination to expose criminality and abuses of power by U.S. intelligence agencies and private intelligence-security firms – as well as his reporting on misconduct by the Bureau of Prisons itself – presumably is viewed unfavorably by some members of the spying and enforcement industry; it’s easy to imagine that this might have played a role in the decision to rearrest the journalist – for doing journalism. As Brown puts it, what took place was an example of the “de facto extra-legal power” wielded by America’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
Since, by releasing Brown, the BOP implicitly acknowledged that they were in the wrong when they rearrested him, not all the details of the matter will be of great interest to some readers. Several parts of Brown’s account, however – posted on Tuesday at D Magazine – deserve consideration. Here, for example, is Brown on the problem of reporters who are too stupid, too lazy, or too cowardly (or some combination of those traits) to recognize and expose criminality by intelligence and law enforcement personnel:
“The BOP, like all U.S. “law enforcement” and intelligence agencies, depends for its continued de facto extra-legal powers on a press corps that is largely incapable of sorting through facts, that is easily distracted, and that cannot even be depended upon to defend its own rights, nor the rights of individual journalists.”
December 18, 2016
Journalist Barrett Brown released from prison
Barrett Brown, an award-winning journalist (a National Magazine Award winner in the “Columns and Commentary” category, and a New York Press Club journalism award winner), humorist, and former unofficial spokesman for the Anonymous movement, was released from federal prison last month, after four years in detention for acts related to his role in the exposure of emails hacked from the private security-intelligence firms, HBGary and Stratfor, in 2011. The emails exposed the use of counterintelligence schemes by private contractors.
Jeremy Hammond, the activist hacker who stole the Stratfor emails and gave them to WikiLeaks, remains in prison, serving a ten-year sentence. In a 2013 interview with the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, Chris Hedges, Hammond gave this explanation of the motive behind the hacking:
“I targeted information security firms because they work in secret to protect government and corporate interests at the expense of individual rights, undermining and discrediting activists, journalists and other truth seekers, and spreading disinformation.”
Hedges wrote this of Hammond’s punishment:
“The [ten year] sentence was one of the longest in U.S. history for hacking and the maximum the judge could impose under a plea agreement in the case. It was wildly disproportionate to the crime—an act of nonviolent civil disobedience that championed the public good by exposing abuses of power by the government and a security firm. But the excessive sentence was the point. The corporate state, rapidly losing credibility and legitimacy, is lashing out like a wounded animal. It is frightened. It feels the heat from a rising flame of revolt. It is especially afraid of those such as Hammond who have the technical skills to break down electronic walls and expose the corrupt workings of power.”
Unfortunately for America’s intelligence-security organizations (public and private), Barrett Brown is as talented with words as Jeremy Hammond is with computers, and – unlike most of the people Brown exposes – he has a sharp sense of humor. While incarcerated, he wrote a dozen or so very funny essays for D Magazine, (“D” for Dallas, Texas – where Brown was born), such as this one, from June of last year. He has since been hired by the The Intercept, for which he has written another nine articles so far, all of which can be seen here. A good example of his writing is this account of prison life. Although it is not the main point here, Brown’s commentary should be of interest to anyone who is curious about the nature of incarceration in America, a country which imprisons its citizens at a higher rate than any other nation.
Although Brown served much less time than Hammond will, he initially faced a potential prison sentence of 105 years, partly because the charges originally brought against him by the FBI, but later dropped, included identity theft and fraud – based upon the fact that the hacked emails to which Brown had posted a link contained credit card information. He was eventually sentenced to five years and three months (prosecutors had argued for eight-and-a-half years), but was granted an early release for good behavior. Brown has also been ordered to pay $890,000 in restitution.
Brown acknowledged responding foolishly when the feds were investigating him for his indirect association with the hacked emails. Seeking Brown’s sources, the FBI obtained a search warrant for his laptop computer, which was at Brown’s mother’s house, and – apparently to put pressure on Brown – they charged his mother with obstruction of justice. Brown responded by uploading a YouTube video in which he angrily threatened one of the FBI agents. Brown was charged with making the threat, interfering with the search warrant, and being “an accessory after the fact in the unauthorized access to a protected computer.”
Whatever one’s judgments of the actions of Brown and Hammond (or, for that matter, the handling of the cases by the FBI and federal prosecutors, and the sentences imposed upon the two men), the Stratfor and HBGary emails revealed interesting things about the practices of America’s shadowy and well-connected private security-intelligence industry. This article by Kit O’Connell, published last year, describes some of the issues – such as collusion between America’s corporate spies and government agents:
“The emails revealed that Stratfor gathers intelligence on behalf of private corporations while also sharing sensitive information with local and federal law enforcement. For example, the company spied on The Yes Men for Dow Chemical, after the activists publicly humiliated Dow on behalf of survivors of the 1984 Bhopal, India, disaster that killed thousands. At the same time, Stratfor collaborated with the Texas State Troopers to infiltrate Occupy Austin during the first months after the group’s formation in October 2011.”
“…[The emails] exposed a portion of the American surveillance state that’s normally both invisible and entirely immune to accountability.” [Emphasis added.]
Indeed, the emails provided a glimpse of a slimy ecosystem of mercenary spooks who perform counterintelligence dirty work for powerful corporate clients, such as Bank of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Not surprisingly, the matter received relatively little attention from mainstream corporate news media outlets – despite critical implications about free speech issues (Brown initially faced serious charges associated with merely posting a link to material that had already been leaked).
Some alternative media sources recognized that the case involved important issues though, and they published interesting articles on the case. A September 2013 piece in Rolling Stone, for example, provided an excellent overview of Barrett Brown’s life, career, personality, and the main facts of the case which sent him to prison.
Among other things, the article highlights the important role of journalists who understand that scandalous behavior in America’s security industry is not easily uncovered, and that independent journalists such as Brown – in addition to whistle-blowers, and anarchist computer hackers, such as Hammond – play an important role in exposing the moral and legal transgressions. Brown, for example, organized an effort – Project PM – to sort, analyze, and share the huge amount of information that was leaked (he was not involved in the email hacking itself).
Alexander Zaitchik, at Rolling Stone:
Once the hackers who broke into HBGary’s servers discovered that Barr [HBGary’s CEO] was basically a clown, they abandoned pursuit. “There were tens of thousands of e-mails and no one wanted to go through them,” says an Anonymous associate who observed the HBGary hack. “Everyone was like, ‘We’re not even going to dump these, because there’s no point.’”
Brown disagreed. When the hackers posted the e-mails on a BitTorrent site, he used Project PM to organize the painstaking work of collating and connecting the dots to see what picture emerged.
“Nobody was reading more than a couple of the e-mails before getting bored,” says the Anonymous associate. “But Barrett has this strangely addictive and journalistic kind of mind, so he could stare at those e-mails for 10 hours. He’d be sitting alone in the HBGary channel, yelling at everyone, ‘You’ve got to pay attention! Look at the crap I found!’” Brown quickly drew in some 100 volunteers to help him trawl through and make sense of the e-mails.
The HBGary cache offered one of the fullest looks ever at how corporate-state partnerships were targeting groups they considered subversive or inimical to the interests of corporate America.
…Brown’s case is a bellwether for press freedoms in the new century, where hacks and leaks provide some of our only glimpses into the technologies and policies of an increasingly privatized national security-and-surveillance state. What Brown did through his organization Project PM was attempt to expand these peepholes. He did this by leading group investigations into the world of private intelligence and cybersecurity contracting, a $56 billion industry that consumes 70 percent of the U.S. intelligence budget. [Emphasis added.]
One of the best accounts of the whole affair was published three months earlier. A June 2013 article in The Nation, by Peter Ludlow, examined the critical facts about the corporate spies, the activists who exposed them, and the disturbing implications for Americans’ legal rights posed by the numerous private security-intelligence agencies which operate with no real oversight.
Some essential points are quoted below, but Ludlow’s excellent article deserves to be read in its entirety by anyone interested in reports of organized stalking (also called “disruption operations”). Although the article doesn’t mention the issue of stalking, it provides a well-written and useful context for understanding the nature of the spying business in the U.S., which – in turn – is critical to assessing the plausibility of claims about stalking crimes by federal and state government intelligence agencies, law enforcement intelligence units (intelligence-gathering units within police departments), and private security-intelligence contractors.
Among the implications of the scandals exposed by Hammond and Brown is this: private security-intelligence firms in the U.S. (which are largely staffed by former government agents) apparently feel safe launching counterintelligence plots – even against high-profile journalists and high-profile organizations, such as Glenn Greenwald and WikiLeaks (spreading lies to discredit them, as explained below), so you can imagine how little they might worry about harassing – on behalf of their rich corporate clients – low-level targets who lack the connections, resources, and tactical skills to easily resist, identify, and expose the perpetrators.
Also revealed in the hacked emails were disinformation schemes – systematic lying. As everyone who follows national politics in America knows, that subject has been much-discussed recently – both by those who genuinely oppose “fake news,” and by those who disseminate it. Several good examples of the former, incidentally, have been published recently by CounterPunch, such as this one – which helpfully reminds readers that some major establishment news entities, such as The Washington Post have a history of getting caught serving as disinformation conduits for the CIA.
As I argue elsewhere in this website, lying of the sort exposed in the HBGary emails is, apparently, a core element of organized stalking crimes. Specifically, the emails revealed plots to exploit online “personas” (sometimes called “sock puppets”) to spread lies. Again, this is consistent with most of the online information (disinformation, actually) in “organized stalking” websites, comments, and videos. (Most discussions of this topic on the Web are suspiciously similar in the particular ways that they seem to be intentionally non-credible.)
Also worth noting is that at least one of the private counterintelligence operations exposed by Jeremy Hammond and Barrett Brown had connections with one of the U.S. government’s 17 intelligence agencies – namely, The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). When Bank of America expressed concerns about WikiLeaks’ claim of possessing a large cache of the bank’s documents, the DOJ advised the bank to contact the powerful law firm of Hunton and Williams, and specifically, an attorney there who represented the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Apparently, a plan was hatched to undermine the reputation of WikiLeaks by discrediting the most prominent journalist who defended that news outlet, Glenn Greenwald.
Peter Ludlow, in his article for The Nation, described some of what followed:
In November 2010, Hunton and Williams organized a number of private intelligence, technology development and security contractors—HBGary, plus Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and, according to Brown, a secretive corporation with the ominous name Endgame Systems—to form “Team Themis”—‘themis’ being a Greek word meaning “divine law.” Its main objective was to discredit critics of the Chamber of Commerce, like Chamber Watch, using such tactics as creating a “false document, perhaps highlighting periodical financial information,” giving it to a progressive group opposing the Chamber, and then subsequently exposing the document as a fake to “prove that US Chamber Watch cannot be trusted with information and/or tell the truth.” In addition, the group proposed creating a “fake insider persona” to infiltrate Chamber Watch. They would “create two fake insider personas, using one as leverage to discredit the other while confirming the legitimacy of the second.” The leaked e-mails showed that similar disinformation campaigns were being planned against WikiLeaks and Glenn Greenwald.
Among the groups occasionally associated with reports of organized stalking and other illegal domestic counterintelligence activities in America are the counterintelligence agencies of the three branches of the U.S. military. The book CHAMELEO by Robert Guffey (OR Books, 2015), for example, documents a stalking operation by agents of the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Such activities are consistent with the history of such agencies. During the Vietnam War, for example, U.S. Army counterintelligence agents – in addition to the FBI – were caught spying on American protesters. Some of the HBGary emails suggest that these agencies also engage in spreading disinformation online. Presumably, the prospective client for the following proposal was the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI).
Separate from the plan to target Greenwald and WikiLeaks, HBGary was part of a consortia that submitted a proposal to develop a “persona management” system for the United States Air Force, that would allow one user to control multiple online identities for commenting in social media spaces, thus giving the appearance of grassroots support or opposition to certain policies.
As noted in the Rolling Stone article, when Barrett Brown realized that the documents hacked from HBGary were too numerous for him to analyze by himself, he organized a group of volunteers to help. Ludlow described the effort this way:
“Under Brown’s leadership, the initiative began to slowly untangle a web of connections between the US government, corporations, lobbyists and a shadowy group of private military and information security consultants.”
Even now, more than five years after the computer hacks, the secret, unethical – and possibly illegal – activities discussed in the huge trove of stolen emails has not received the wide attention it deserves. For that matter, although it’s probably unlikely, there might even be some important information in the stolen emails that has not yet been uncovered: The HB Gary hack yielded tens of thousands of emails, and the Stratfor hack reportedly involved several million emails. Just to state the obvious, though: Presumably, much of the communication associated with the most serious crimes perpetrated (officially and unofficially) by current and former security agents (public and private) are not being documented in ways that are likely to be exposed by hacking, subpoenas, Freedom of Information Act requests, and the like.
In any case, Barrett Brown might be able to shed some more light on these matters, now that he has been released from prison. Brown’s reports from behind bars – several of which credibly documented violations of federal policies by employees and managers in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) – apparently generated retribution against him, including violations of his rights to communicate, and the illegitimate imposition of solitary confinement. As journalist Kevin Gosztola noted, the treatment Brown received from the BOP was similar to the special treatment of John Kiriakou – the former CIA analyst and whistle-blower. Last year, Tim Rogers, editor of D Magazine, posted Barrett Brown’s statement about that.
Although most of Brown’s writings as a prisoner revolved around his experiences as an inmate, the final dispatch he wrote before his release – published in October by The Intercept, included details of the scandals whose exposure led to his incarceration. Brown explicitly – and without fear of contradiction – referred to the private spying he helped reveal, as a “conspiracy.” Not surprisingly, he discovered that some intelligence-security firms, really don’t want to have their activities exposed to the public:
I did get to indirectly gum up the works at Endgame Systems, which, though one of the four firms involved in Themis’s proposed operations against journalists and activists, managed to avoid being mentioned in most of the press coverage that followed the original exposure of the plot. You see, Endgame’s execs had insisted in one particular email thread that its name never appear in any Themis operational materials, explaining that the nature of the firm’s central activities was such that any public scrutiny would lead to disaster, and that this was a particular concern of their partners. Other emails ended up working against it, though, as I was able to pique the interest of Bloomberg Businessweek by forwarding this hilariously sinister “NO ONE MUST EVER KNOW” exchange to a contact I had there. A few months later, the magazine ran a long feature on Endgame revealing its ability to seize control of computers across the world and that it was offering this service to unknown customers outside of the U.S. government. This in turn prompted sufficient discomfort that the firm had to stop doing this, or at least claim to have stopped. Perhaps that’s why Endgame Systems was listed on my search warrant — and never mentioned again in a single other filing by the government in my case.
Anyone who wades through public news reports and attempts to sort out – even partially – the various government and private security-intelligence organizations which sometimes engage in counterintelligence activities – and “disruption” operations methods (i.e., “organized stalking”) in particular – will discover that the surveillance and harassment tactics are apparently associated with a variety of players in America’s huge web of security entities. In addition, it becomes apparent that those entities are often connected – both formally and informally – with each other. In the emails obtained by Jeremy Hammond and reported upon by Barrett Brown, those intersections between federal intelligence agencies, private security-intelligence contractors, and the wealthy corporate clients whose interests are served by both are clear.
… the chief enemy I’d made was apparently the Department of Justice — because when Team Themis was exposed, the emails revealed that the whole indefensible conspiracy had been set in motion by the DOJ itself, which had made the necessary introductions when Bank of America came to the agency looking for advice on how to go after WikiLeaks. There were no known consequences for anyone at the DOJ; a congressman’s calls for an official inquiry were shot down by Lamar Smith, the relevant committee chair, who proclaimed that the DOJ itself should handle any investigation. Whether the DOJ took Smith’s advice and investigated itself for secretly arranging a corporate black ops partnership is unknown. Rather, it was my head that was to roll, in retaliation for my efforts to keep the story alive in articles I continued to write for The Guardian as well as for my occasional successes in causing difficulties to Themis participants like Endgame and the intelligence contracting industry as a whole, which regularly hires ex-government officials at high salaries and thus has a working relationship with most federal agencies.
WikiLeaks – which is presumably the news outlet most despised by those who believe that the actions of powerful governments and corporations should be concealed from the public – has posted the emails exposed by Hammond and Brown online. This press release about those emails was published by WikiLeaks on November 29th – the day Brown was released from prison.
Much of the harassment associated with organized stalking is clearly illegal (breaking and entering, wiretapping, slander, threats, and such). Some of it, though – such as certain acts of “overt surveillance” might be legal – or at least reside in a grey area of legality, despite the fact that stalking, in general, is prohibited by the criminal codes of all fifty states. In the same way, some of the activities of private security-intelligence firms exposed by Jeremy Hammond and Barrett Brown probably involve varying degrees of criminality and unethical behavior. In any case, the operatives and their clients are, to some extent, above the law, as a practical matter, since (a) they generally operate in secrecy, (b) by contracting and subcontracting, corporations and government agencies can delegate their dirty work, (c) private companies cannot be investigated by Freedom of Information Act requests, and (d) the clients sometimes have connections to the U.S. Justice Department.
Peter Ludlow, in his article in The Nation, precisely identified the core point:
“Some journalists are now understandably afraid to go near the Stratfor files. The broader implications of this go beyond Brown; one might think that what we are looking at is Cointelpro 2.0—an outsourced surveillance state—but in fact it’s worse.”
“…While the media and much of the world have been understandably outraged by the revelation of the NSA’s spying programs, Barrett Brown’s work was pointing to a much deeper problem. It isn’t the sort of problem that can be fixed by trying to tweak a few laws or by removing a few prosecutors. The problem is not with bad laws or bad prosecutors. What the case of Barrett Brown has exposed is that we are confronting a different problem altogether. It is a systemic problem. It is the failure of the rule of law.”
October 22, 2016
TV news report about the organized stalking of a San Diego doctor
A TV news broadcast last week on ABC affiliate, Channel 10 (KGTV), in San Diego, California, featured a woman, Facika Tafara, who reported that she is being stalked by perpetrators who are using the sort of counterintelligence disruption operation tactics described in this website. Evidently, the stalkers have been conducting a variant of “gaslighting” operations (break-ins intended to terrorize the victim).
Although the segment is brief (less than two minutes), it is noteworthy because of the credibility of the victim. Although the news report does not mention it, apparently, Ms. Tafara is the Medical Director and Laboratory Co-Director at Family Health Centers of San Diego.
Also worth noting about this news report is that it features both the negative and positive aspects of local journalism about such stalking crimes. On the one hand, the segment is brief; it does not delve into the national pattern of similar reports, for example. Nor does the report address the question of whether the victim is aware of having crossed someone with connections to law enforcement or intelligence personnel. On the other hand, the decision to air the report shows a willingness to cover certain topics which national news corporations usually avoid, such as criminal activities perpetrated by federal intelligence agencies, Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs), and private security personnel.
ABC 10 News posted the link to the video of the TV broadcast on YouTube – along with the text version of the news report, which appears below, in its entirety:
Published on Oct 13, 2016
Story by Brian Shlonsky
A San Diego mother said she was being targeted for weeks, with people she doesn’t know coming in her house when she’s not there.
Facika Tafara thinks she may be the victim of a bizarre practice called gang stalking or community stalking.
“It’s like an alternate reality, really,” Tafara said. “It’s spooky, and it’s my understanding that if this is actually what it is, it can go on for years.”
Community or gang stalking is an eerie practice that takes aim at your psyche to make you almost feel like you’re going crazy.
In Tafara’s case, she said she would notice strange things out of place in her house when she would get home from work, such as her windows being opened, dresser drawers opened, and she said she even found a camera inside the bedroom of her 11-year-old son.
“It’s so creepy, I had a bolt put on the door and I’m having my son sleep in here with me,” she said.
Tafara said she contacted police, and detectives visited her University Heights home, but there isn’t a lot that they can do.
“And they kind of said, well, it’s kind of like, if it happens again call us, but there’s not much we can do because we don’t know who it is, you don’t have a face,” Tafara said.
She told 10News that she plans to beef up security at her home and has even looked into hiring a private investigator.
September 29, 2016
Associated Press reports illegal spying and stalking by police
A report released yesterday by the Associated Press (AP) reveals nationwide misuse of confidential law enforcement databases by police officers. Public records requests were submitted by the AP to every state, and to dozens of large police departments. Among the findings of the AP’s investigation is that illegal snooping in databases is sometimes done to facilitate stalking and harassment of individuals with whom law enforcement officers have personal conflicts:
“In the most egregious cases, officers have used information to stalk or harass, or have tampered with or sold records they obtained.”
“…Officers have sought information for purely personal purposes, including criminal records checks of co-workers at private businesses. A Phoenix officer ran searches on a neighbor during the course of a longstanding dispute.”
Although the AP’s investigation found official records of hundreds of cases of illicit use of the databases in recent years, the full scope of the spying could not be determined:
“The number of violations was surely far higher since records provided were spotty at best, and many cases go unnoticed.”
So, even the AP recognizes that its investigation found only the tip of an iceberg. The full seriousness of the threat to the public, however, was not even hinted at. Although the practice is kept mostly in the shadows, stalking is part of the professional culture of a subset of America’s policing, intelligence, and private security business. Admittedly, this is a large claim, but it is supported by relevant published news reports, archived at this website, when they are considered in the aggregate.
Sometimes this stalking culture takes the form of personal vendettas and obsessions by a single perpetrator (the classic conception of “stalking”), and this was the focus of the AP’s investigation. For example, a woman in Ohio, who was stalked by a former police officer (he pleaded guilty to the stalking last year), is quoted in the AP article:
“…when they use [a confidential database] for ill purposes to commit crimes against you — to stalk you, to follow you, to harass you … it just becomes so dangerous.”
If, as some people – including this writer – allege, illegal stalking is apparently being widely perpetrated by law enforcement agents, intelligence agents, and private investigators in America, it is likely a result of the impunity associated with policing and spying in the U.S. The AP’s findings are consistent with that view. Even when officers are caught using databases for illicit purposes, there are usually no serious consequences:
“Officers are only occasionally prosecuted, and rarely at the federal level.”
Transgressions by individual officers are the primary focus of the AP’s article, but the report also mentions spying motivated by political vendettas:
“Deb Roschen, a former county commissioner in Minnesota, alleged in a 2013 lawsuit that law enforcement and government employees inappropriately ran repeated queries on her and other politicians over 10 years. The searches were in retaliation for questioning county spending and sheriff’s programs, she contended.
“She filed an open-records request that revealed her husband and daughter were also researched, sometimes at odd hours. But an appeals court rejected her suit and several similar cases this month, saying the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate the searches were unpermitted.”
Arguably, such spying is just as disturbing as the sort perpetrated by individual cops who stalk victims for personal reasons, because it reflects an institutional culture of being “above the law.”
Several media sources immediately called attention to the AP’s investigation. Among them was Reason magazine, the libertarian opinion journal which regularly covers civil rights violations. Although that website’s account of the investigation is essentially just a re-statement of what the AP reported, the headline made clear that the story’s importance was not lost on Reason’s editors:
“Think Government Surveillance Is No Big Deal? Talk to These Victims of Police Stalking.”
Essential reading for anyone with an interest in this issue is the analysis of the AP’s investigation by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). EFF is a non-profit civil liberties defense organization which closely follows issues such as illegal electronic surveillance by the U.S. government, online censorship, and encryption. Their work includes fighting legal battles for individual rights, and reporting on corruption and abuses of power by government agencies. Much of EFF’s reporting and advocacy is based upon information obtained via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
EFF has been investigating this issue (corrupt cops snooping in confidential law enforcement databases) even before the Associated Press investigation began. As with America’s local and federal agencies, personnel in state agencies also perpetrate these abuses:
“The AP investigation builds off more than a year’s worth of research by EFF into the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS). EFF previously found that the oversight body charged with combating misuse had been systematically giving law enforcement agencies a pass by either failing to make sure agencies filed required misuse data or to hold hearings to get to the bottom of persistent problems with misuse. As EFF reported, confirmed misuse cases have more than doubled in California between 2010 and 2015.
“Other news organizations have shown the problem isn’t limited to California. In 2013, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported on a state audit that found more than half of the state’s 11,000 officers had misused driver data. In August of this year, the Tampa Bay Times found that over just 18 months, police had misused the Driver and Vehicle Information Database (DAVID) 432 times. But the AP’s report demonstrates that this is a pervasive issue throughout the entire country.”
“…It’s a problem that spans all levels of law enforcement and intelligence.”
Although the AP’s investigation – like EFF’s investigation, which preceded it – is a helpful contribution to public awareness about the abuses of confidential databases, a far deeper look into the issue of spying and stalking by America’s law enforcement personnel is needed. Public records requests, which formed the basis of the AP’s reporting, cannot even begin to get at some of the most serious stalking crimes by people in law enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies, and the private security business – because most such crimes are, presumably, not documented in official records.
Anyone who doubts that a huge gap often exists between reality and what appears in official police records should give some thought to the hard evidence which keeps emerging on that point. Some of that occurs in the form of videos that are sparking protests across the nation over police shootings – and the firing of police chiefs for trying to conceal the criminality revealed in such videos. For another clear, more recent example, see the post which precedes this one.
Above all, stalking victims – and anyone else wishing to understand this issue – should keep this in mind: The kind of stalking which exploits Zersetzung tactics – explained in detail, on the What is “Gang Stalking”? page of this website – will (a) be difficult to capture on video, in a manner that is convincing to others, and (b) will not be documented in the kind of easily-obtained official records which provided the basis of the AP’s reporting. Victims of this form of crime must use disruptive tactics – also explained on this website – if they want to expose this form of crime.
September 28, 2016
How some of America’s cops behave when they think no one is watching
Americans who are not personally familiar with illegal conduct by members of the law enforcement, intelligence, and private security industry are understandably skeptical about allegations of stalking and other crimes attributed to members of those professions. A systematic review of published news reports on the subject – such as the one offered by this website – gives a different perspective, but very few people see those reports presented together. Even progressives and libertarians, who often follow news about civil rights abuses by spy agencies and police departments, almost never encounter investigative journalism which specifically – and seriously – delves into the issue of organized stalking.
A primary reason for this is that such stalking crimes (which communist East Germany’s Stasi – its secret police force – referred to as Zersetzung) exploit methods which generate a minimum of forensic evidence. In contrast, for example, unjustified shootings by law enforcement personnel are now difficult to suppress, because of videos, which can be spread via social media. Consequently, it’s important to highlight irrefutable proof of behind-the-scenes police corruption, because such evidence illustrates the polluted ethical culture which would, plausibly, include the sanctioning of stalking crimes.
A perfect example of such a glimpse behind the curtain was reported a few days ago by Jay Stanley, a policy analyst at the ACLU. The case involves retaliation by the police against an American who dared to question the legitimacy of a police state activity (DUI checkpoints). Jay Stanley’s article is a must-read for people who – because of their socioeconomic background and mainstream political views – have few personal experiences with abuses of power. As the article notes, the incident involved serious violations of multiple basic rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
“The ACLU of Connecticut is suing state police for fabricating retaliatory criminal charges against a protester after troopers were recorded discussing how to trump up charges against him. In what seems like an unlikely stroke of cosmic karma, the recording came about after a camera belonging to the protester, Michael Picard, was illegally seized by a trooper who didn’t know that it was recording and carried it back to his patrol car, where it then captured the troopers’ plotting.”
For perspective, keep in mind that DUI checkpoints, which are staffed by regular patrol officers, are enforcement operations which take place in public. Imagine the corruption which can exist – without scrutiny by the ACLU or the press – among Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs). Such entities operate mostly in the shadows (as a quasi-governmental organization, for example, the national association of “Red Squads,” LEIU, is not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests); however, they have been associated with anecdotal and published news reports – discussed in this website – with counterintelligence crimes, which include “disruption operations” (also called “organized stalking”).
Also consider, for perspective, that America has a huge number of private investigators, corporate security personnel, and intelligence contractors – many of whom are former agents and cops. Often, those people operate with even less public oversight than police agencies, and they have the same skill sets, connections, and contempt for legal and moral standards.
September 18, 2016
Collateral damage from stalking?
President Obama’s doctor and Vice President Biden’s doctor have both reportedly been consulted regarding the medical care for Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy, Nick Tullier, who was critically injured on July 17th. Tullier was shot in the head and stomach by Gavin Long, a man who was apparently the target of a long-term, secret, illegal, stalking campaign by intelligence and law enforcement personnel (see preceding posts here for details). Three other officers were killed in the shooting, and two officers sustained non-critical wounds. Long was also killed in the exchange of gunfire. Since the shooting, Tullier has been on life-support, and has been mostly non-responsive. Stalking has consequences, and sometimes those consequences are beyond the control of the stalkers.
“President Barack Obama met with the family of injured Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Tullier during his trip to Baton Rouge on Tuesday [August 23rd].”
According to Tullier’s father – who maintains a Facebook page about his son’s status, Tullier is still in an intensive care unit. Apparently, if he survives, he will be transferred to a rehabilitation facility recommended by the doctors who care for America’s president and vice president.
“Some by now have seen the announcement that Nick will be going to TIRR in Houston. I did talk to the three Doctors I wanted to get advice from; President Obama’s physician, VP Biden’s physician & the top Neurosurgeon. All three agreed with our thoughts and reasons for deciding to go to TIRR. That solidified our decision and helped us feel we’re going to the best rehab facility for Nick.”
Nicholas Tullier (currently on life support)
Montrell Jackson, 32, Brad Garafola, 45, Matthew Gerald, 41
Published news accounts of the shooting revealed that Gavin Long, 29, believed that he was the target of stalking and harassment by government agents, and that his ambush of the police officers was intended to bring pressure upon honest law enforcement personnel in America to expose and resist corruption among their ranks. In the context of recent events and Long’s online statements, it was clear that the corruption which concerned Long included unjustified shootings of blacks by police; however, it also presumably included the kind of stalking to which Long was apparently subjected – and which, very likely, contributed enormously to his radicalization.
An interesting question about all of this is the following: What, if anything, do the president and vice president know about the government stalking aspect of the Baton Rouge shootings? At a minimum, the Obama administration has political concerns about the public’s perceptions of recent shootings by and of police. The Baton Rouge shootings closely followed the nationally-reported shootings of cops in Dallas, Texas (see the July 17th post below) – which, in turn, closely followed several controversial shootings by police, which generated protests. On the other hand, news reports about Gavin Long did not inquire deeply into the issue of the stalking which he reported experiencing, so it’s difficult to guess what information about that might have reached the nation’s most senior executives.
Counterintelligence crimes are sometimes authorized at high levels: the wiretapping of Martin Luther King, Jr. to facilitate blackmail efforts by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI goons, for example, was approved by the U.S. Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy. Generally, though, people in positions of power do not like to get their hands dirty. Most of the sanctioning of criminality by government and private intelligence and security personnel probably consists in politicians simply looking the other way.
America’s public and private agencies that are involved in covert operations generally function with impunity. Even when the spying industry gets caught engaging in illegal activities, such as the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance of Americans, exposed by Edward Snowden, the political class normally circles the wagons to protect the perpetrators. An example of that happened just a few days ago, when the House Intelligence Committee unanimously urged President Obama not to pardon Snowden for his revelations. Ostensibly, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees provide oversight of the spying industry, but as a practical matter, they mostly create political cover for abuses of power. For perspective, consider the previous chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers. A Republican congressman and former FBI agent, Rogers supported the NSA’s mass surveillance program, and publicly held the view that “You can’t have your privacy violated if you don’t know your privacy is violated.” Following his career in Congress, Rogers became a national security correspondent for CNN. Not much effort is required to understand why polls show that most Americans trust neither their government nor the corporate news media.
Incidentally, a new editorial provides a good example of how some owners of major media corporations cannot be trusted on matters related to spying. The Washington Post – a newspaper which received a Pulitzer Prize for conveying information about illegal mass surveillance by the NSA, editorialized in favor of prosecuting Edward Snowden, the source of their information. Glenn Greenwald’s critique of the editorial deserves a look.
It’s doubtful that many of the bureaucrats and contractors in America’s federal intelligence agencies – or the politicians and media puppets who function as their apologists – care much about Americans’ Constitutional rights – or even about a few cops whose deaths resulted from a counterintelligence “disruption” operation. Some of the administrators in the spying industry, however, might be concerned when incidents such as the one in Baton Rouge, spill into the news. Even the tiny website you’re now reading – which has a budget of nothing – had more than 12,000 visits per month, during both July and August. Apparently, a few people are curious about “organized stalking,” despite the fact – or maybe because of the fact – that the issue has never been seriously probed by a major news agency.
Many published news reports – most of which are archived on this website – do explore aspects of this subject, such as, methods used by communist East Germany’s Stasi, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, Russian intelligence agents, etc., but no American news entity has funded a serious investigation of the many allegations about the ongoing use of Zersetzung tactics in the U.S. by Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs), federal spy agencies, and private security contractors – or the corresponding allegation made here, that the vast majority of websites, comments, and YouTube videos which address this issue are examples of disinformation.
Some of the online comments about this subject, however, can be assumed to be authentic (even if you disagree with them). No other plausible explanation exists, for example, for comments which echo the views expressed by Gavin Long. Presumably, no one who is paid – directly or indirectly – by the feds, to post disinformation online, would advocate killing police officers. Consequently, such comments are interesting to consider.
An article at Heavy, to take one example, posted shortly after the Baton Rouge shootings, attracted several comments in support of Long’s actions. A comment by “John” – which I mentioned in my August 14th post – generated a couple of replies in the discussion thread from like-minded readers. Here is part of what “John” had stated:
July 25, 2016 at 12:58 pm
“From what I know about organized, coordinated, criminal-gang stalking beyond any possible doubt, his claims of having been stalked may be valid and legitimate. If police are involved in carrying out the stalking events I do know about, Gavin Long was right. Police should be attacked…”
Here are portions of two comments posted in reply:
August 9, 2016 at 1:00 am
“I agree with you… I think he is a hero and freedom fighter…”
August 20, 2016 at 12:04 pm
“…they don’t just “gangstalk” blacks, they have [their] fun-and-games with everyone. Their lawlessness has no bounds, these scumbag cops that perpetrate these “stalking” crimes are worse than child molesters and should be dealt with accordingly.
“When police break the law, then there is no law, just a fight for survival.”
People who haven’t personally experienced “disruption” operation crimes (long-term, intense stalking) might wonder exactly what would inspire such harsh views. Perhaps curiosity about that will eventually lead to some investigative journalism on this subject. Another possible breakthrough, though, could happen if some of the honest people in America’s law enforcement profession finally decide to expose a practice which contributes to the public’s suspicions about corruption and abuses of power – and which, in some cases, get innocent people killed.
In the meantime, victims of this form of crime need to decide whether to wait for such developments, or to use the power of disruption to make the stalking issue impossible to ignore.
August 14, 2016
Calls appear for more police officers to be killed to expose stalking
Last month’s shooting of cops in Baton Rouge, Louisiana – by an apparent victim of a “disruption” operation – has raised interest in the subject of counterintelligence stalking. This website was visited more than 12,000 times last month, for example.
For full details of the shooting (with source links), see the post which precedes this one. The basic facts are these: Gavin Long, a man who was apparently the target of a long-term, secret, unconstitutional stalking and harassment campaign by some government security goons, shot six police officers in an ambush. Two of the six police officers who were shot by Long sustained non-critical wounds; three others died, and the sixth was in critical condition. As of last week, the critically-wounded officer remained on life support.
Long’s intent, by all accounts (including his manifesto), was to call attention to police corruption in America. Clearly, he was motivated, in part, by recent killings of blacks by police, although it is unimaginable that he was not further radicalized by the systematic covert harassment which was apparently being directed at him. Long had posted comments online about the stalking, and had desperately reached-out to a government front group, FFCHS, which portrays itself as an organization that supports stalking victims. (Possibly, he later realized that FFCHS was suspicious, because he reportedly severed ties with the group.)
As an effort to increase national attention to the issue of corrupt policing, Gavin Long’s act of violence was objectively successful – at least in the short-term. Even President Obama was forced to make a public statement about the incident. Predictably, the president’s comments were an unreserved celebration of the sheer wonderfulness of everyone in the enforcement industry; no mention was made of racial tensions or controversial shootings by police – let alone anything about the shooter’s claims regarding counterintelligence operations. Still, the mere fact that President Obama felt compelled to discuss the shootings on national television proved that the incident was impossible to ignore.
Among the implications of the high-profile nature of what happened in Baton Rouge is that the whole matter must be getting close analysis by various public and private security professionals – much closer (and better-informed) analysis than it has received, so far, by the press. Also, whatever one thinks about Gavin Long’s beliefs, claims, motives, and actions, his assassination of multiple police officers was, objectively, an act of terrorism. As such, it would necessarily be the subject of consideration by intelligence analysts. Presumably, some of the inquiries by such people account for a few of the thousands of recent visits to this website. Not all of those professionals would be comfortable with the notion that three or four dead cops are an acceptable level of collateral damage for a counterintelligence harassment operation which targeted an American citizen who was not – prior to being intensely and illegally stalked for a long period – a dangerous radical.
Cowardice and careerism will probably discourage most of those professional security observers from making any serious efforts to expose this form of state-sanctioned criminality, but at some point, a whistle-blower might emerge. The shootings in Baton Rouge might yet prove to be the mass-shooting which inspires a serious look at this issue. Disruption operations – which are, apparently, variously perpetrated by federal agents, contractors with security clearances, Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs), and corrupt private investigators (most of whom are former agents or former cops) – are all fun-and-games until some people in the enforcement business get shot to death.
Of course, the American public also looks to news agencies – not just to whistle-blowers – to expose government and corporate corruption; revelations about organized stalking might emerge from that quarter. Unfortunately, though, serious journalism which seeks to investigate and expose counterintelligence crimes in the U.S. has always been in short supply. Even the biggest scandal in that category – the FBI’s illegal COINTELPRO operations – was only revealed when activists stole secret documents about the government’s crimes and handed them over to the press. Reporting, so far, about the shootings in Baton Rouge has mostly been superficial.
Even worse, some of the reporting, as happens in counterintelligence matters, resides in a grey area in which it is difficult to ascertain whether an article is disinformation or simply incompetent journalism. A case in point is a July 22 article at Motherboard, a website owned by Vice Media. “The Nightmarish Online World of ‘Gang-Stalking,’” by Roisin Kiberd, purports to examine the phenomenon of websites such as the one you are now reading. In essence, Mr. Kiberd’s conclusion is that all online references to the kinds of activities associated with counterintelligence disruption operations are the product of paranoia. Significantly, though, he completely avoids terms such as “counterintelligence” and “disruption operations.”
As to whether Kiberd is knowingly participating in a disinformation effort, or is just a useful idiot, your guess is probably as good as mine. I won’t bother with a complete exegesis of his article, because it’s rubbish either way. For detailed analyses of articles of this type, please see my April 6th and June 12th posts, about two very similar articles in The New York Times. Concerning the Vice/Motherboard piece, I just want to make a few general observations, and one specific one.
This sort of article about counterintelligence stalking appears from time to time in the news media, and seems to follow a predictable template: the piece is usually assigned to a second or third-rate reporter (rather than to a respected investigative journalist), and the unstated assumption implied in the article is that all online claims about counterintelligence harassment crimes are, by definition, examples of paranoia and stupidity.
Terms such as “counterintelligence,” “disruption operations,” “COINTELPRO,” “disinformation,” “gas-lighting,” and “Zersetzung” appear infrequently in these articles – because such terms are associated with well-documented, historical examples of the kinds of things which are portrayed in the articles as imaginary. Similarly, these articles almost never mention the non-disputed fact that private investigators are sometimes hired to perpetrate various forms of illegal spying, harassment, and intimidation.
Another thing which is conspicuously absent in these articles is any reference to U.S. intelligence agency scandals. Even if a reporter believed that the numerous online references that have been appearing over the past decade or so regarding illegal spying and harassment were delusional, he or she might at least allow that such paranoia could have been spurred by the fact that torture and illegal mass surveillance by agencies such as the CIA and NSA have been all over the news media in recent years.
Another feature of these articles is that they never address the possibility that the vast majority of websites about organized stalking could be disinformation sites – which, as I assert throughout this website, is the most obvious explanation for the fact that those websites are suspiciously vague, and almost never mention the relevant local, national, and international published news reports that are archived here. The most charitable explanation for why a reporter might appear to assume that all of the countless websites about “gang stalking” and “targeted individuals,” etc., are sincere expressions of delusions, rather than pieces of disinformation, is that the latter explanation has simply never occurred to him or her. In a few instances, this might actually be the case. If an intelligence agency plants false information, and the audience – including, in some cases, a credulous reporter – never suspects at the outset that it might be false, because the possibility simply hasn’t occurred to him or her, then the rest of the deception which follows will be as easy as performing a magic trick for a toddler.
One problem, however, if we want to grant the benefit of the doubt to the various reporters and news agencies which convey the notion that counterintelligence stalking is always imaginary, is this: a reporter could not help but stumble upon the website you are now reading if he or she performed even the most superficial investigation. This site appears at or near the top of the lists of results in search engine queries about organized stalking. That doesn’t mean that such reporters would necessarily be persuaded by the evidence and arguments presented here; it just means that they would presumably at least mention this site – if only to make their articles more interesting and accurate, given this website’s relative prominence, and its extensive archive of links to relevant news reports.
This is especially a problem for anyone wishing to defend someone like Roisin Kiberd, at Vice/Motherboard. His body of work at that website is a collection of pieces about online phenomena, such as Internet forums. Presumably, therefore, he knows how to use Google. Consequently, he would have stumbled upon this website while researching his article. The omission is all the more striking when you consider that the central claim of his article is that “gang-stalking” is purely an imaginary online phenomenon – in which delusional individuals share their delusions with each other on websites. If a reporter – one who specializes in writing about online phenomena – actually believed that, wouldn’t he want to mention the most frequently-visited website that addresses the subject (even if only to dismiss it)? It would be as if someone wrote an article about news aggregation websites, but failed to mention either Drudge Report or The Huffington Post. It doesn’t add up.
On his blog, Robert Guffey, the author of CHAMELEO – one of the very few published books on counterintelligence stalking in America, has also discussed the Vice/Motherboard article – as well as a New York Times piece on the Baton Rouge shootings. I would encourage anyone with an interest in this issue to read his commentary about this. Incidentally, I have finally added an entry about CHAMELEO to the Recommended Books page of this website.
So, the people who are publicly discussing disruption operations are on opposite sides: those who are knowingly spreading lies (or are just clueless), and those who understand exactly what is happening, and wish to call attention to the criminality in America’s counterintelligence and private investigations industries.
Some of the people in the second group – such as Gavin Long – have radical views about how to fight such corruption. His shootings in Baton Rouge might encourage others to take similar actions. Already, despite widespread public awareness of the U.S. government’s aggressive – and sometimes illegal – mass surveillance of online communications, some citizens are posting comments which call for more violent resistance to illegal stalking by security thugs (and violent resistance to unjustified shootings by racist cops). A prime example appeared in the comments section below this article. Obviously, Gavin Long’s case is complicated by the overlapping issue of race, and it’s anyone’s guess how many of the hundreds of comments posted below the article which express a pro-police view are the work of paid disinformation minions – as opposed to authoritarians and others who are legitimately outraged by the killing of police officers, but “John” is definitely not on the government’s payroll. His comment appears to be sincere, and, I’m guessing, he is not alone in his views.
“From what I know about organized, coordinated, criminal-gang stalking beyond any possible doubt, his claims of having been stalked may be valid and legitimate. If police are involved in carrying out the stalking events I do know about, Gavin Long was right. Police should be attacked. Government should be attacked. He was also right about being one out of a million who would actually do it. As for you people in the “government can do no wrong club,” you needed a taste of your own medicine, and he gave it to you. Gavin Long might in fact be a martyr. That is up to the black people of America to decide. He was fit. Do not let the lying media propagandists say he was a mental case. They always say that. It is an effort to preclude serious questions and discussions about why what he did was necessary to get the message across. I was on a forum he was on. I posted several times, the only language these bastards understand is the language of violence and body counts. Gavin Long—Thank you for your service.”
A final observation: although Gavin Long’s actions were far more radical than those of most Americans, his views about the illegal abuses of power by the nation’s public and private security personnel are not as unusual as some people might want you to think. CounterPunch magazine, because it is not on the government’s leash, published an essay on July 22nd by Peter Lee, which expressed a decidedly different view of Long’s mental status than the one portrayed by more subservient news sources. Regarding Long’s manifesto, Lee said this:
“In it Long appears self-aware, stable, emotionally controlled, analytical, and morally and politically engaged…
“His manifesto doesn’t provide a lot of leverage for shoehorning him into the “panty-stealing PTSD-addled deranged shooter” frame that Micah Johnson got for his attack on policemen in Dallas…
“Long had a plausible if extremely alarming thesis: that indiscriminate killing good and bad cops would compel good cops to police the bad cops to improve their behavior.”
For perspective, consider this: a (deservedly) well-respected journalist who specializes in covering policing issues, Radley Balko, writing for an establishment newspaper, The Washington Post, had this to say last week about a Justice Department report on abuses by the Baltimore Police Department – which is apparently drunk with power:
“I suppose it’s obligatory to add here that I’m not endorsing violence or rioting. It’s just that after reading that report, I’m surprised that it isn’t more common.”
July 24, 2016
Victim of organized stalking assassinates 3 cops in Baton Rouge
Here are the primary facts about the shooting in Baton Rouge, which took place one week ago (July 17th), as reported by The Washington Post:
A lone gunman killed three law enforcement officers and wounded three others in Baton Rouge on Sunday morning, less than two weeks after the death of an African American man at the hands of Baton Rouge police.
The shootings occurred when police responded to a 911 call that a man dressed in black and armed with what appeared to be an assault-style rifle was walking near a shopping plaza about a mile from police headquarters.
Two city police officers and one sheriff’s deputy were fatally wounded, and another sheriff’s deputy was critically injured, Col. Michael Edmonson, the superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, said at a news conference.
The gunman, who was shot and killed during the exchange of gunfire, was later identified as Gavin Long, an African American resident of Kansas City, Mo., who turned 29 on Sunday…
Quickly it became apparent that the killings were not spontaneous; they had been planned.
“Col. Mike Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police said the officers were targeted and assassinated.”
Similarly, it was immediately apparent – based on Gavin Long’s online communications – that he had reported being intensely harassed and spied on by counterintelligence operatives.
“[Long was] a man who claim[ed] that he was being stalked by the U.S. government…”
Long complained last year to likeminded message board users that he was a long-term victim of “gang-stalking,” a supposedly intense form of government and corporate surveillance covering every aspect of a subject’s life.
As noted in the Daily Beast article linked above, and in other sources, Gavin Long’s social media posts show that he held some odd views, for example, about race. In addition, obviously, his rhetoric and actions showed that he was a radical. It is not at all clear, however, based upon what has been reported so far, that he was delusional or paranoid. News reports containing speculation – but no supporting evidence – that Long was mentally unstable should be viewed skeptically. An example of that sort of sloppy journalism – which is common among news reports about counterintelligence disruption operations – is the Guardian article linked above, in which the reporter expresses a psychological diagnosis, presumably based upon the unstated assumption that it was not possible that Long was actually under surveillance by members of America’s massive, secretive, post-9/11 counterintelligence infrastructure.
“[Gavin Long’s social media posts] pointed to apparent paranoia and mental instability.”
Unlike the omniscient reporter at The Guardian, the members of the U.S. Marine Corps, who had direct personal contact with Long for five years, did not perceive that he was paranoid and mentally unstable. As reported in the Kansas City Star article linked above, the Marines promoted Long, a data network specialist, to the rank of sergeant.
Apparently, other people who had direct contact with Gavin Long also had perceptions of his sanity which are at odds with the diagnosis by the keyboard operator at The Guardian. A second article published by The Daily Beast quotes one of Long’s friends:
“I’ve known a lot of guys who might be crazy enough to do what he did but Gavin was never that type of person…”
Anyone who is familiar with the news reports published in recent years about organized stalking will have already recognized that the case of Gavin Long contains some familiar elements. The aforementioned article in The Kansas City Star acknowledges that in its headline: “The latest on Gavin Long: Shooter is at least third ‘targeted individual’ to commit mass shooting.”
The two previous nationally-reported cases of this nature are those of Aaron Alexis and Myron May. A detailed analysis – with links to all of the relevant news reports – about Alexis can be found in the “Mobbing and Workplace Violence” section of the What is “Gang Stalking”? page of this website. Here is an ABC News report about Myron May, a 31-year-old lawyer and Florida State University (FSU) alumnus who shot three people at the FSU library in 2014, leaving one of the victims (who might or might not have been a stalking perpetrator) paralyzed from the waist down.
A common factor between Alexis and Long which deserves attention is the issue of their mental status. Aaron Alexis killed a dozen people, and wounded eight others, at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard in 2013 – apparently as revenge for the spying and harassment he endured. As with Gavin Long, some of the reporting on Alexis simply assumed that he was delusional, based on his claims that he was being intensely and covertly harassed. Also, as with Gavin Long, that speculation is difficult to square with assessments by people who actually had direct contact with Alexis. The Associated Press reported that Aaron Alexis’s medical records revealed that the Veterans Affairs doctors who examined him weeks before the shooting determined that he did not appear to have any mental health issues. Alexis, who held a security clearance, was an information technology employee at a defense-related computer company.
A question which suggests itself when such cases are considered, even superficially, is this: Assuming that the individuals were, in fact, being intensely spied on and harassed, as they claimed, to what extent were they targeted for such treatment because they were perceived as being radicals, and to what extent were they only truly radicalized – to the point of acting violently – by the harassment itself? Concerns about how the American public might view the latter possibility, in the event that disruption operations become widely exposed, would go a long way toward explaining the conspicuous silence of the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI about this subject. Very possibly, Gavin Long’s extreme views put him on the government’s radar, and he was then stalked by a Joint Terrorism Task Force, or some other domestic spying program.
Serious consideration of such questions rarely appears in topical news reports. Such analyses have been published, however, in various periodicals. A perfect example is a fascinating article by Alston Chase in the June 2000 issue of the Atlantic, which explored the question of whether the terrorist bombings by Theodore Kaczynski (“the Unabomber”) were rooted in the psychological torture he received at the hands of the CIA, during that agency’s infamous MKUltra experiments. This was the journalist’s conclusion:
“When, soon after, Kaczynski began to worry about the possibility of mind control, he was not giving vent to paranoid delusions. In view of Murray’s experiment, he was not only rational but right. The university and the psychiatric establishment had been willing accomplices in an experiment that had treated human beings as unwitting guinea pigs, and had treated them brutally.”
“Kaczynski felt that justice demanded that he take revenge on society.”
As always, the FBI’s response to inquiries from the press about the shootings in Baton Rouge, is “We are unable to comment on any ongoing investigations.” This is a legitimate response during an active investigation; however, the agency will not be any more forthcoming after the investigation is concluded. Neither the Justice Department nor the FBI ever comments publicly about organized stalking – not even to dismiss any of the claims as unfounded. This is so, notwithstanding that the issue is sometimes associated with violence. Unmentioned in the Kansas City Star article is that news reports have documented violent responses to disruption stalking other than the three mass shootings. For example, a man – presumably a stalking perpetrator – was stabbed in Canada, and a man who was apparently involved in a gang stalking operation in the state of Washington was beaten to death with a baseball bat. It is more than a little bit revealing that neither federal or local law enforcement agencies will publicly discuss this subject. Unfortunately, no one in the press – including the reporters covering the recent shootings in Baton Rouge – has expressed any curiosity about that.
Government officials and reporters are not the only people who avoid discussing the most obvious questions surrounding organized stalking; private intelligence firms also dance around the issue. Among the more interesting news reports about the assassinations of the three police officers in Baton Rouge was an article in the right-wing newspaper, The Washington Times. That piece quotes a report by a private intelligence contractor, Symbol Intelligence Group:
“Gavin Long believed that he was a long-term victim of ‘gang stalking,’ an alleged form of overt and covert govt sanctioned community based, systematic, illegal electronic harassment and intimidation of targeted individuals and their families,” the report, labeled “law enforcement sensitive,” states.
Note that the security analyst who wrote this executive summary dodged the obvious question about claims regarding government-sanctioned stalking crimes: “an alleged form of…” Even private security analysts are unwilling to commit – in print at least – to a position about whether or not “gang stalking” is fictional, as opposed to being a form of government criminality.
The same intelligence report mentions an organization called Freedom From Covert Harassment and Surveillance (FFCHS). Although the report mentions FFCHS as one of several “anti-government groups” with which Gavin Long had contact, it is actually, by all indications, a government-funded front group, whose main purpose is to spread disinformation about the issue of counterintelligence disruption operations. I devote an entire webpage of this site to that analysis.
My view is that anyone who examines the website you are now reading, and then compares it with the website maintained by FFCHS would have serious doubts about the latter. Despite being suspiciously vague and stupid (almost none of the published news reports you see here are mentioned by FFCHS, for example), the website attracts some victims of illegal counterintelligence harassment who are desperate for support. Consequently, references to FFCHS have appeared in news reports about all three of the “gang stalking” cases which ended in nationally-reported mass shootings. A typical example is this article by CNN:
“Long followed several conspiracy groups devoted to government surveillance and monitoring. An email address linked to him showed that he was a member of a support group in an organization called Freedom from Covert Harassment and Surveillance.”
Ask yourself this: if an organization has appeared in news reports about multiple nationally-reported acts of domestic terrorism, shouldn’t the federal government show some interest in that group? Even if you believe that all claims about organized stalking in America are delusional, you should wonder why the government expresses no concerns about an organization which is possibly encouraging people in their delusional “anti-government” thinking, and thereby leading people to acts of violence. In short, it doesn’t add up.
Implications of the assassinations in Baton Rouge
The vast majority of killings in America never receive national attention (in 2012, for example, 14,827 people were murdered in the U.S.). Killings of multiple law enforcement officers to make a political point are another matter. And when two such incidents occur in one month (see the most recent post below regarding the shootings in Dallas), people definitely take note of it. When multiple published articles about one of these acts of domestic terrorism indicate that the person responsible reported that he was a target of counterintelligence stalking, the story is even harder to ignore.
News reports about the shootings in Baton Rouge have generated an exceptional number of visits to this website over the past week, because they revealed that the shooter, Gavin Long, had complained online about illegal spying and harassment directed at him by government operatives. Although Long’s communications made clear that his shootings of the police officers were partly driven by outrage over recent high-profile killings of blacks by police, it would be impossible to imagine that his actions were not also kindled by the intense, long-term, illegal, counterintelligence harassment he publicly claimed he was experiencing.
Once again, it appears that a person who was the target of a “disruption” operation responded with violence. In this case, the fatal violence was directed at law enforcement personnel, rather than the expendable pawns who are often used to perpetrate some of the harassment, such as criminal informants and clueless civilians. Anyone familiar with the published news reports archived on this website about state-sanctioned stalking could have predicted that such an event would eventually happen somewhere. Also predictable is that similar incidents will continue to occur, until this form of crime – which is orchestrated by current and former intelligence and law enforcement personnel – is widely exposed.
Unquestionably, the killings were intended to call attention to corrupt policing (of which, organized stalking is an example); Long made that clear in a manifesto posted in the BuzzFeed article linked above. In that document, he said, in essence, that the nature of America’s law enforcement culture is such that reducing criminality within the policing business requires creating pressure upon good cops to clean up their profession. Long apparently believed that the only way, realistically, to create such pressure was by making honest police officers fear that they might become victims of violent retribution for the actions of their corrupt brethren.
No one can deny that violence is sometimes an effective means of calling attention to corruption, although I would advocate legal, non-violent alternatives, such as whistle-blower disclosures and investigative journalism. Most victims of systematic harassment by government and private security goons, though, are not in a position to get serious help from the news media or the judicial system – let alone the political establishment. Consequently, it should surprise no one that such victims sometimes respond to long-term harassment by resorting to violence.
Regardless of whether it is ever defensible for intelligence and law enforcement agencies and private security firms to secretly perpetrate stalking crimes against Americans – or whether the victims of such crimes are ever justified in responding with their own crimes, as happened in Baton Rouge, this recent shooting could mark a turning point.
Public exposure of illegal disruption operations has been hindered by two main factors: the use of harassment methods which are inherently difficult to prove, and the spreading of disinformation – a standard counterintelligence method – which seeks to undermine legitimate accounts of stalking crimes by creating numerous false online accounts of organized stalking which are clearly implausible, and drafted so as to give the impression of paranoia and stupidity. Those two challenges will remain, but organized stalking is now associated with the murder of three police officers, a fact which could make it much harder to keep the whole business under the radar. Even people who believe – or pretend to believe – that this form of harassment is non-existent cannot deny that the killing of those cops was very real. The potential for similar violent acts in the future might lead people to take a closer and more serious look at the subject. So far, there has never been a well-funded investigation of this issue by a major news agency.
As is often the case for police officers, the cops who were killed and injured in Baton Rouge last week knew, while they were responding to the emergency call, that they were facing real danger – including the possibility that they might be killed. In contrast, perpetrators of “disruption” operations stalking are cowards and bullies (as well as being criminals – although they are often criminals-with-badges). Stalking perpetrators know that in most cases, the legal and physical risks to them are minimal when they are harassing isolated individuals on behalf of government and corporate clients. They also do not, apparently, mind that their game endangers the lives of others who are uninvolved in their operations, even including police officers and civilians.
Relatives, friends, and colleagues of the police officers who were killed in Baton Rouge might have a very different view about that. Many cops – unlike most news reporters – know that organized stalking is real. They must now decide whether to remain silent about it.
Anyone who has documents which might help expose the kind of illegal spying and harassment which apparently led to last week’s killings of police officers should consider submitting them here:
July 17, 2016
Blowback in Dallas
Anyone concerned about the growth of illegal spying and harassment in America by police agencies, intelligence agencies, and private investigators, should consider the implications for that issue raised by the police-related violence earlier this month. Victims – as well as the perpetrators – of extreme abuses of power by the enforcement industry should note that such criminality cannot always be kept in the shadows, and when it is exposed, the consequences can be serious.
Shootings by and of police officers this month – and the related protests, at which hundreds of people were arrested, forced the nation to consider, among other things, the extreme lawlessness of some of America’s security personnel. Also made clear was the reality that some people will respond to such lawlessness in kind.
The current round of violence and protests began on Tuesday, July 5th, when police in Louisiana shot to death a 37-year-old black man, Alton Sterling, while he was selling CDs outside a convenience store. The next day, police in Minnesota fatally shot a 32-year-old black man, Philando Castile, after stopping him for a broken tail light. Both killings were captured on videos which received nationwide attention on social media, and generated large protests. At one of those protests, in Dallas, Texas, on the evening of Thursday, July 7th, five police officers were killed, and seven other officers were wounded (along with two civilians) by a sniper – apparently to avenge unjustified killings of blacks by police.
Like the shootings which precipitated it, the violence in Dallas was a tragedy; it was also an example of blowback. Some of the recent shootings by police appear to be indefensible acts of murder. An unintended consequence of such killings by criminals-with-badges – was that innocent police officers were killed and injured in Dallas. Some reporting indicates that the Dallas Police Department was actually an example of a law enforcement agency which has worked seriously to reduce racial tensions and the excessive use of force in recent years.
A primary aspect of the protests and shootings – racial tensions – does not seem to be a factor in the type of crime documented by this website (counterintelligence stalking by current and former corrupt agents and cops). On the other hand, criminality within the public and private sectors of America’s security industry – is definitely a common factor. Perpetrators of “disruption” operations are all associated – directly or indirectly – with intelligence, law enforcement, and private security entities (even though particular acts of harassment are often, apparently, delegated to others, for the purposes of deniability). Another factor common to unjustified shootings by police and illegal stalking by police (and private investigators) is that the victims are mostly people without the connections and resources to fight back. Stalking victims should learn from the tactics used by those who expose murders by cops.
Predictably, many politicians and commentators have sought to exploit the shootings of the cops in Dallas to score cheap political points by associating themselves with (selectively-imposed) law-and-order. Also predictable is that such events will be cited to justify increasingly-oppressive policing measures, such as greater militarization, secrecy, and spying by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. On the plus side though, disruptive protests by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement show that not everyone plans to submissively consent to allowing enforcement personnel to perpetrate – often in secret – serious crimes against their fellow citizens. Not everyone wants America to be a police state.
At the extreme end of the resistance spectrum, again, predictably, some people will respond to criminality by cops with their own violence. Comedian Bill Maher, on Thursday, said “I’m surprised it actually didn’t happen before.” In fact, the shooting in Dallas was very far from being the first, or last, such incident. In just the past few years there have been other examples, such as the killing of two randomly-selected police officers sitting in a patrol car in Brooklyn, two years ago.
The basic moral point is beyond debate: Of course, cops should not be murdering civilians (or spying on them and harassing them, for that matter), and civilians should not be murdering cops. Similarly, threats against law enforcement officers are out of bounds, morally, as is the kind of thuggish behavior by some cops toward civilians who are deemed inconvenient – such as the treatment of a witness to the killing of Alton Sterling.
Just like the BLM organization, this website does not advocate disruption by retributive violence. I also would not, however, allow the perpetrators of stalking crimes (which are sometimes sanctioned – at least passively – by people in the government) to dodge their responsibility for creating situations which sometimes lead to violence. Published news reports archived on this website suggest that in some cases, people have been seriously injured – and even killed – as a result of this form of illegal harassment. In August of last year, for example, a man in the state of Washington was beaten to death with a baseball bat for allegedly participating in an organized stalking campaign (food for thought if you are a neighbor of someone being terrorized by corrupt former cops and their friends). Very possibly, innocent civilians – in addition to the perpetrators and targets of the stalking – have been injured or killed because of this illegal game, just as innocent cops in Dallas were killed because of crimes committed by other police officers.
Among the implications of all of this is that honest law enforcement and intelligence agents should expose their corrupt brethren on issues such as unjustified shootings and organized stalking. So far, despite frequent declarations by politicians about the bravery and integrity of America’s law enforcement agents, that has generally not happened. Notable exceptions have emerged over the years – in police departments, counterintelligence agencies, spy agencies, and the military – but those individuals have usually met with the sort of repercussions that discourage others from following their examples.
Whistle-blowers – particularly when they reveal official documents – are especially persuasive, but they are not the only people who can expose crimes by America’s security personnel. In the recent police shootings protested by BLM, national awareness was raised by average citizens, not whistle-blowers or journalists; video evidence of the crimes was spread virally on social media platforms. This highlights both the central challenge and the central opportunity for victims of Zersetzung (organized stalking) tactics. Methods involved in this form of harassment are chosen precisely because they tend not to reveal – even when captured on video – what is happening, except to the victims. (For a detailed explanation, see the “Investigation, Surveillance, & Harassment Tactics” section of this website – on the What is “Gang Stalking?” page.)
Stalking – especially when perpetrated by people with intelligence and law enforcement backgrounds and connections, does not usually generate much hard, forensic evidence of the sort which can be shared via social media. Victims need to tailor their efforts to cause exposure and disruption accordingly. As noted here before, the ancient tactic of posting, mailing, and distributing flyers is a particularly effective way to get the public’s attention. Leaflets which inform residents and business owners that corrupt private investigators and others are stalking people in their neighborhood are a powerful means of disruption. Such notices can elevate illegal spying and harassment from a moral issue (about which, most members of America’s political class could not care less) to an actual concern, because such flyers – especially in large numbers – will generate questions from homeowners, business owners, local officials, and journalists.
To its credit, the BLM movement understands the value of disruption. Last year, after Chicago’s police department concealed a video of one of its shootings for more than a year, BLM staged its protests precisely to disrupt Christmas shopping. Ultimately, such protests led to the police chief being fired. Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, the former Chief of Staff for President Obama, has managed to cling to power there; however his legacy has been permanently tarnished.
Just as Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s illegal mass surveillance and the U.S. Senate’s report about the CIA’s use of torture raised Americans’ awareness of corruption in U.S. intelligence agencies, videos of police shootings in recent years have helped expose the criminality in the nation’s police departments. This is a prime time, therefore, to expose organized stalking crimes (Zersetzung harassment) which are perpetrated by current and former members of both groups (intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies), as well as by private security operatives.
Apparently, no legitimate organization comparable to BLM yet exists whose primary purpose is to expose organized stalking crimes. Coalitions formed to oppose the more general problem of spying by urban police agencies do exist, however. One such group, in Los Angeles, is the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition; another, in New York City, is Stop NYPD Spying. Those entities are more concerned, however, with issues such as the official – if sometimes unconstitutional – infiltration of political groups, rather than the issue of psychological terrorism against individuals.
Currently, Americans who want to fight back against illegal counterintelligence “disruption” operations (sometimes called “gang stalking”), need to help themselves. Eventually, an organized campaign might emerge from such individual efforts, though, as the issue gains exposure.
For now, stalking victims should take inspiration from what is being achieved by BLM. The Black Lives Matter movement – like the Anonymous movement – has kicked-open a door which America’s political establishment, its enforcers, and its apologists in the news media would prefer be kept shut. Inevitably, because it is more of a movement than an organization, BLM will sometimes be associated with indefensible actions and rhetoric. To its credit though, BLM has forced America’s officials to reckon with its legitimate outrage.
Normally, gaining the attention of America’s political leaders requires bribery – in the form of political campaign financing, corporate job offers, and lucrative speaking fees. BLM, however, has leveraged its demands by disruption. Victims of stalking crimes by corrupt cops should take note of that strategy.
July 5, 2016
The Guardian on Russia’s use of Zersetzung tactics
A reader of this website helpfully reminds me of some earlier reporting about the use of disruption operations (a process also variously referred to as “harassment,” “organized stalking,” “Zersetzung,” “gang stalking,” etc.) against Western diplomats by Russian counterintelligence agents – the subject of the most recent post below. About five years ago, The Guardian featured an article on this topic, based upon a book that had just been published by a former Moscow correspondent for that newspaper, Luke Harding. The allegations mirror those recently reported by The Washington Post, and the kinds of tactics described were identical to those increasingly being reported by victims of counterintelligence crimes within the U.S.
Some excerpts from The Guardian’s article:
Russia’s spy agency is waging a massive undercover campaign of harassment against British and American diplomats, as well as other targets, using deniable “psychological” techniques developed by the KGB, a new book reveals.
The federal security service (FSB) operation involves breaking into the private homes of western diplomats – a method the US state department describes as “home intrusions.” Typically the agents move around personal items, open windows and set alarms in an attempt to demoralise and intimidate their targets.
The FSB operation includes the bugging of private apartments, widespread phone tapping, physical surveillance, and email interception. Its victims include local Russian staff working for western embassies, opposition activists, human rights workers and journalists.
Harding, and his employer, The Guardian, are not without their critics in the journalism world, it should be noted. This scathing critique written last year by WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, is an example. (Incidentally, one of the sources for The Guardian’s article was a U.S. diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks.) Assange’s piece is worth reading; it illuminates some important issues about the press coverage of Edward Snowden’s exposure of the National Security Agency’s secret illegal mass-surveillance of Americans. Such criticisms, however, mainly concern matters that are unrelated to the reporting about the use of organized stalking tactics by the FSB.
In any case, mainstream news reports about Zersetzung appear infrequently, so no one who is serious about trying to understand this form of crime should exclude any potential sources from consideration. At a minimum, articles such as this one by The Guardian tend to confirm that counterintelligence agencies (and presumably, private security firms – which are often staffed by former counterintelligence agents) are using the same universal playbook of dirty tricks.
According to The Guardian article, the apparent aim of Russia’s harassment of diplomats is to hasten their departure from their assignments:
The intrusions are designed to “short-tour” diplomats so they leave their posts early.
Although Americans are largely unaware of the history of this type of state-sanctioned stalking, it is well-known in Germany; the agency which most thoroughly refined and exploited this form of psychological terrorism (even more than the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover) was communist East Germany’s notorious secret police agency, the Stasi.
…it was the Stasi, East Germany’s sinister secret police, that perfected these psychological techniques and used them extensively against dissidents in the 1970s and 1980s. These operations were given a name, Zersetzung – literally corrosion or undermining.
According to former Stasi officers the aim was to “switch off” regime opponents by disrupting their private or family lives. Tactics included removing pictures from walls, replacing one variety of tea with another, and even sending a vibrator to a target’s wife. Usually victims had no idea the Stasi were responsible. Many thought they were going mad; some suffered breakdowns; a few killed themselves.
Such tactics were used by the Stasi because it was easier and safer, politically, to terrorize and undermine individuals through secret, deniable, psychological operations (overt stalking, black bag jobs, gaslighting, slander, electronic surveillance, threats, etc.) than to imprison or kill them.
It was Erich Honecker, East Germany’s communist leader, who patented these methods after concluding that “soft” methods of torture were preferable to open forms of persecution. The advantage of psychological operations was their deniability – important for a regime that wanted to maintain its international respectability.
Although the article doesn’t mention it, the same logic would make the tactics very appealing for domestic counterintelligence and law enforcement agencies in the U.S., and for America’s private security firms. For people with security industry connections, organized stalking provides a way to destroy someone without a significant risk of physical, legal, or political consequences.
June 30, 2016
Russia uses disruption operations against US. diplomats
On Monday, The Washington Post published an interesting piece by foreign policy and national security columnist Josh Rogin about allegations of “a campaign of harassment and intimidation” of U.S. diplomats in Europe by Russian intelligence operatives. Rogin quoted, among others, a former U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic, Norm Eisen:
“Since the return of Putin, Russia has been engaged in an increasingly aggressive gray war across Europe…in retaliation for Western sanctions because of Ukraine. The widely reported harassment is another front in the gray war…They are hitting American diplomats literally where they live.”
Descriptions of the harassment strategies mirror the (credible) accounts by victims of organized stalking perpetrated within the U.S. by rogue federal intelligence agencies, security contractors, law enforcement intelligence units (LEIUs), and corrupt private investigators. Such enforcers are conducting, in some cases, their own “gray war” against their fellow citizens. That war takes place mostly under the radar of the news media; however, exceptions are cited throughout this website (with source links). Apparently, the nature of such crimes in the U.S. is similar to what is occurring in Europe, at the hands of Russian operatives:
“At a recent meeting of U.S. ambassadors from Russia and Europe in Washington, U.S. ambassadors to several European countries complained that Russian intelligence officials were constantly perpetrating acts of harassment against their diplomatic staff that ranged from the weird to the downright scary.”
Here are some of the harassment tactics described in the article:
(1) Overt stalking
“…[Russian agents were] following diplomats or their family members, showing up at their social events uninvited.”
“…the Russian intelligence services wanted his family to know they were being watched.”
“…paying reporters to write negative stories about them…”
(3) “Black Bag Jobs”
“…diplomats reported that Russian intruders had broken into their homes late at night, only to rearrange the furniture or turn on all the lights and televisions, and then leave. One diplomat reported that an intruder had defecated on his living room carpet.”
(4) Violent attacks upon victims’ pets
“Russian intelligence personnel broke into the house of the U.S. defense attaché in Moscow and killed his dog.”
(5) Using street-level law enforcement officers to perpetrate some of the harassment
“…harassment and surveillance of U.S. diplomatic staff in Moscow by security personnel and traffic police have increased significantly.”
Feel free to make up a reason why it was legitimate for The Washington Post to completely omit from its article the fact that such tactics are also known to have been illegally perpetrated by U.S. domestic intelligence agencies, such as the FBI, against American citizens. (Google “COINTELPRO” for a long list of examples.)
In any case, current American victims of vigilantism by thugs with law enforcement and intelligence agency connections might be struck by how differently their accounts of such crimes are usually treated (dismissively, when addressed at all) by the national mainstream corporate press (see the June 12th post below, for example), as compared with these new reports, anonymously leaked to The Washington Post by well-connected U.S. government officials.
Rogin’s description of his sources:
“…a series of secret memos sent back to Washington, described to me by several current and former U.S. officials who have written or read them…”
Rogin’s description of the response by the U.S. government:
“[Reports of such harassment] prompted Secretary of State John F. Kerry to ask [Russian President] Vladimir Putin to put a stop to it.”
“…Kerry raised the issue directly with Putin during his visit to Moscow in March.”
Not surprisingly, the response by U.S. authorities – and the news media – to reports of counterintelligence crimes perpetrated by foreign governments against members of America’s political class is completely unlike the response to reports of such crimes by average American citizens. Claims of illegal spying and harassment within the U.S. are generally dismissed as paranoia; whereas, such reports by diplomats generate complaints by the Secretary of State, and serious attention by national newspapers.
Readers should note the absence of two things from the Washington Post article. First, no reference is made to the history of disruption operations being used by domestic agencies, such as the FBI. Unfortunately, some readers of the Post might get the impression that such organized stalking campaigns are only used by foreign governments. Secondly – and this might be why the Post ran this as an “opinion” piece, rather than as a news article – no evidence of the harassment, such as videos, is included, to substantiate the claims. Presumably, few people doubt the allegations that Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) engages in hard-core harassment tactics; however, the absence of evidence possibly reflects the extreme difficulty in capturing proof of these crimes when they are perpetrated by operatives with professional skills – such as current or former agents of the FSB (or the FBI, CIA, etc.). If that’s true in cases where the targets are U.S. diplomats, it is far more applicable when the targets are average citizens – who lack the counter-surveillance resources of the world’s most powerful government.
Current and former corrupt members of law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the U.S. understand how difficult it is for most people to document and expose this form of criminality. Consequently, they are quite willing to perpetrate such crimes – especially when they can easily delegate most of the harassment to lower-level operatives (“criminal informants” and others who are, essentially, “disposable” because they have no direct connections to the government agencies or private security corporations involved).
Probably, most American counterintelligence operatives and private security goons would wet their pants in fear at the prospect of engaging Russian operatives on foreign soil. Those same people have no anxiety at all, however, regarding games played on their home turf, when the target is an isolated individual with minimal resources, and the perpetrators are part of a team of enforcers protected by (a) a morally-corrupt political establishment, and (b) enforcement agencies with “code of silence” values that discourage whistle-blowing, and (c) cowardly news editors who won’t use the media to speak out about what is happening.
Most of the harassment directed at U.S. diplomats by the FSB is a children’s game – both for the perpetrators and the victims – compared with domestic organized stalking in America. Crimes in the latter category force victims to cope with the harassment mainly in silence and isolation, and with no official defense of their legal rights.
Another point worth noting about the Washington Post article is this:
Online discussions about disruption operations (also called “organized stalking,” “gang stalking,” etc.) in the U.S. are filled with speculative comments. Most of that chatter, in my view, is disinformation which is orchestrated – or at least passively sanctioned – by the U.S. government, but regardless of how you might perceive it, the following is an objective fact: One of the primary establishment news sources in the U.S. – the Post – has just published an article which suggests that the governments of both Russia and the U.S. sometimes engage in this form of criminality.
To be clear: This is not the first example – or even the only recent example – of such reporting. The “Published News Reports” section of this website contains links to similar reports about the use of these tactics by intelligence agencies in Canada, the U.K., and the U.S. An article published in February by The Intercept, for example, explained that the FBI had adopted a system of measuring its counterterrorism achievements by counting the number of “disruptions” of terrorism threats the agency has supposedly achieved. As usual with matters involving the federal government’s primary secret police agency, when journalists inquired about the exact meaning of this statistical category, the FBI refused to discuss it.
Based upon the new article by The Washington Post, Russia is more transparent than America about its government’s use of stalking crimes to terrorize people:
“A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Washington sent me a long statement…tacitly admitting to the harassment…”
This was the description of the (leaked) information from Washington:
“There was a debate inside the Obama administration about how to respond, and ultimately President Obama made the decision not to respond with similar measures…”
An obvious implication of the second quote is that some people within the Obama administration did advocate perpetrating such crimes against Russian diplomats. Regardless of whether you think such measures would be justifiable under the circumstances, in the context of the article, that option could means things like stalking and terrorizing family members of Russian diplomats who had nothing to do with the original harassment, killing their pets, etc.
When you consider that some high-level U.S. officials advocate using such weapons in the U.S. spy industry’s arsenal – even when those crimes could further escalate tensions with one of the most powerful nations in the world, you can well image how casually such crimes might be perpetrated against average Americans who have little or no ability to fight back – especially when those victims are targets of private security contractors who are subjected to virtually no official oversight.
Targets of this form of illegal harassment understand this disparity of resources between the perpetrators and their victims; it is the primary reason for the increase, in recent years, of the use of the asymmetric warfare tactic of distributing flyers to expose the crimes, as documented in news reports recently highlighted below.
Americans’ civil rights would be well-served if the Post would publish an article about these forms of harassment that are occurring here in the U.S.
June 26, 2016
“Organized Stalking” flyers posted in Milwaukee
Americans who are being terrorized by current and former corrupt cops are no longer waiting for someone in the news media to become curious about what is happening and start reporting on it. Instead, targets of stalking are – fortunately – taking matters into their own hands, and delivering information directly to the public. This process, in turn, is generating news coverage.
A TV news report on Thursday by Fox6 News in Milwaukee, WI, announced that flyers are being posted in that city which warn of “organized stalking” perpetrated by local police – and by some accomplices of the police, working as first-responders and technicians. According to the report, the flyers are also being distributed by email.
As is typical of local TV news reports on most matters, the segment is essentially a collection of brief comments, without much investigation or analysis, but it is still of interest, as it is part of a national trend of such news bulletins in recent years. The report from Milwaukee about organized stalking flyers is at least the seventh such news report in the U.S. (See the June 10th post below for a list – including links – of similar news articles and TV broadcasts, dating back to 2009.) Had the reporter included that statistic in his report, it would have been much more interesting and informative for his viewers. Still, the distribution of flyers, and the reporting about them – however imperfect – helps expose this form of corrupt policing to the public.
A common feature of these news stories is that the reporter seeks a comment from the local police department. In this case, here is the description of what was learned:
“Police are investigating, as the number of city employees receiving the flier is growing.”
Here’s a tip for the police who are “investigating” this matter:
Check with the folks at the Intelligence Fusion Center for the Milwaukee Urban Area Security Initiative Region. Ask them whether they think the flyers in Milwaukee might be connected to the numerous published news reports (archived on this website) about unconstitutional “disruption” operations perpetrated by federal agencies, local law enforcement intelligence agencies (LEIUs), and corrupt private investigators who are former agents of intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
Here’s a prediction about the distribution of organized stalking flyers:
Distributing flyers is generally protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Consequently, it will be very difficult for the public and private (and quasi-governmental) goon squads who perpetrate stalking crimes to suppress it. Yet flyers about stalking are very disruptive, so those flyers will probably generate some kind of national response by the stalking perpetrators. It is very likely that the bureaucrats who create the countless disinformation websites about stalking (for a partial list of such sites, see the “Recommended Websites” page) will eventually be told by the bureaucrats above them in the pig trough to apply their same disinformation tactic to the realm of flyers.
If that happens, flyers will be created to convey the impression that everyone warning about counterintelligence “disruption” operations is just paranoid. Such disinformation flyers would have the same characteristics as the disinformation websites. For example, they probably will not contain references to this website, because the last thing that participants in a sort of modern version of COINTELPRO want the public to see is a comprehensive archive of published news reports related to their criminality.
Here’s a tip for victims of the various police state parasites who stalk American citizens:
Distribute flyers which contain a reference to this website, so anyone seeing the flyers will know where to go for a full explanation.
Beyond the information in the Fox6 News report, I have no knowledge about the flyers in Milwaukee; however, it does not appear that those flyers make any reference to this website. In this instance though, I am not asserting that the flyers are not legitimate; my point in this case is simply that the flyers would be even more effective if they pointed readers to a source of additional information.
Unlike the recent article about disruption operations (“gang stalking”) in The New York Times (see the June 12 post below), the Milwaukee TV news report does not appear to have been “planted.” The differences, incidentally, raise an important point about local-versus-national news media. On the one hand, the shortcomings of local news media are obvious. For example, the reporters’ positions are less prestigious than those in the national media, so the jobs are less likely to attract journalists with the highest levels of experience, talent, and accomplishment. Also, the resources (budgets, contacts, etc.) of local news outlets are generally more limited than those of national news entities. On the other hand, members of the political class – including officials in federal intelligence agencies – are less likely to have the local reporters and editors on a leash, so to speak, because those officials are not routinely exchanging access for favorable coverage from such reporters. Local newspaper articles and TV broadcasts sometimes jump into topics that would be approached – if at all – with reticence, by reporters in the national press, just as children sometimes raise the sharpest observations, because they haven’t been conditioned to avoid discussion of the emperor’s new clothes.
Several details suggest that the flyers in Milwaukee are probably authentic, rather than examples of disinformation. For example, as described by the reporter, when local residents were asked to comment upon the flyers, “the reactions varied.” One of those reactions, although it was from an ambulance paramedic who denied complicity in local law enforcement intelligence operations – or any knowledge of such activities, is noteworthy:
“Strange is the best word – but you start to think what would motivate someone to do this or to start this?”
Irrespective of how the comment was intended, it raises an important rhetorical question – namely, why would someone bother to distribute such flyers and emails, unless the underlying claims of harassment were true? The question is even more arresting when you consider that at least a half-dozen similar incidents – across the nation – have occurred on such a large scale that they also generated published news reports.
The inclusion of such a comment in the news report is striking when the report, and others like it, are compared to the two articles published by The New York Times on this issue – both of which seemed to go well out of their way to avoid raising – let alone trying to answer – such questions. The (unstated) positions of those who dismiss the legitimacy of all recent accounts of activities which the FBI, the CIA, and local law enforcement intelligence agencies have been caught perpetrating in the past are these: (1) Since there hasn’t been a major recent scandal about such activities (excluding the NSA’s illegal mass-surveillance scandal and the CIA’s torture scandal), that means they’re no longer occurring – despite virtually no one having been punished for such crimes even following the exposure of COINTELPRO and MKUltra, and (2) it is purely a coincidence that a lot of people across America in the post-9/11 era of domestic spying-on-steroids have been stricken by a particular form of paranoia in which the afflicted individuals perceive the forms of harassment historically associated with counterintelligence agencies.
Another detail about the Milwaukee news report which distinguishes it from the sort of rubbish published by the Times on this topic is that it mentions that a very disruptive action is happening – namely, that a “growing” number of city employees were being contacted about the stalking allegations – in addition to the public notifications via posted flyers. In contrast, the two articles quietly buried in the Health section of The New York Times would have you believe that discussion of counterintelligence disruption operations takes place exclusively on websites created by and for paranoid individuals.
Even if you accept the analysis by the Times’ psychiatrists (no intelligence or law enforcement experts were interviewed for the articles), you should ask yourself why the editors at The New York Times felt it was so important to exclude from their articles any references to the increasingly-common distribution of flyers – most of which make reference to the website you are now reading.
June 23, 2016
A “gang stalking” reference in the Australian news media
Even for employees in the intelligence, law enforcement, and private investigation industry, it would be difficult – or impossible – to know how widespread is the use of “disruption” (organized stalking) tactics. Presumably, most of the methods have been honed by national counterintelligence agencies; however, unofficial uses of such practices – for example, by former agents and cops working as private investigators or vigilantes – would be difficult to monitor, even in an age of mass surveillance. Also, it would not generally be in the interests of an agency (public or private) which perpetrates such crimes to call attention to the same kind of abuses by another agency.
For that matter, units within intelligence agencies and police agencies keep many of their activities secret from others within the same agencies (a standard restriction of information-sharing on a “need to know” basis).
In addition to institutional secrecy, knowledge of the scope of counterintelligence crimes is limited by serious gaps in news media coverage. In America, for example, local Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs) apparently operate with virtually no public oversight. Even independent news outlets such as The Intercept and WikiLeaks have generally failed, so far, to report much about LEIUs (also called “red squads”), despite the long, and well-documented history of abuses of power by those entities. Similarly, domestic counterintelligence “Surveillance Role Players” (SRPs), employed by U.S. military contractor firms, are almost never mentioned in the news media – even though you can easily find job postings for such positions online (multiple examples are included in this website).
Without the help of whistle-blowers, the only hope of even getting a rough idea of the scale of “disruption” practices by current and former corrupt law enforcement personnel is to make inferences from published news reports of such activities. One of the purposes of this website is to enable such analysis by gathering those news reports in one place.
One example, earlier this year, was a news report from France (see the February 18, 2016 post for full details). The French-based TV news channel, Euronews, documented the experiences of three whistle-blowers, and included a quote containing two English language terms often used for the intense, systematic harassment of persons who incur the wrath of corporate and government criminals: “mobbing” and “gang stalking.”
Another such news report – not previously mentioned here – was published in Australia, last November, by the Sydney Morning Herald. Please forgive the half-year delay in posting the article; I try to share relevant news here whenever it reaches my attention (often from readers of this website), and when I have time to analyze it.
An important aspect of the article from Australia (more about which follows) – and the news report from France – is that the people being harassed and spied on are credible. As detailed in the post about the French news report – which contains the relevant links – one of the victims had her claims vindicated in rulings by a court and a labor tribunal.
Other published accounts of “disruption” operations have also featured credible victims – for example, a 2006 book, whose author, Gloria Naylor, was a National Book Award winner, no less. Apparently, Ms. Naylor pissed-off a neighbor whose brother worked for the National Security Agency (NSA), and she was subsequently made the target of the form of intense spying and harassment that is the subject of this website.
In my most recent post below, I cited three examples (of many) relevant published news reports about counterintelligence “disruption” stalking. One of those reports revealed a leaked, classified U.S. government document. In addition to those reports (and others archived on this website), countless non-disputed historical examples of organized stalking exist which involved communist East Germany’s Stasi and J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI – two of the agencies known to have employed many of the tactics on a large scale.
The various well-documented reports of stalking by corrupt police (a 2011 case in Stockton, California, is a perfect example) stand in sharp contrast to those of the individuals recently chosen by The New York Times (see the post immediately below this one) to represent self-proclaimed victims of illegal spying and harassment.
This “new” (November 2015) news report from Australia about possible organized stalking deserves inclusion in this website’s archive, in part, simply because it is yet another example – in what is becoming a long list – of such accounts appearing in the press. Secondly, the case merits notice because the apparent victim, Michael Page, is a credible professional – in this case, a technology entrepreneur. (Page is the founder and director of a software development firm called “Netventures,” based in Sydney.) Finally, the news report specifically includes the term “gang stalking” – which Mr. Page suggested as a possible explanation for what the article describes as “a series of suspicious incidents that led him to contacting a lawyer.”
As explained in the introductory comments for this website, the term “gang stalking” is – at best – an unfortunate term, and more likely than not, a term coined as a deliberate piece of disinformation (to avoid attracting attention to what counterintelligence industry insiders and corrupt private investigators actually refer to as “disruption” or “harassment” operations); nevertheless, the term has gained some traction in public discourse, and its recurrence in the news suggests a small, but growing, public recognition of the use of a set of illegal tactics to systematically harass and terrorize targets of public and private enforcement agencies.
Based on the article, the exact nature and origin of his harassment was unclear to Michael Page, although it apparently included some bizarre incidents. For example, his office address and phone number appeared in the primary Google search result for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) – which is comparable to America’s FBI. The article also notes that Page reported that he had a “falling out” with a former employee, and that the employee had said that “he had done some training with ASIO.”
During the two months or so prior to the publication of the article about Mr. Page’s apparent harassment, he reportedly received disturbing communications, including the following:
“[He received] text messages urging him [to] check if his mobile is working, callers saying he’s being investigated for fraud. One caller told him his private car registration details. Another claimed to be a debt collector.”
As is apparently common in cases of organized stalking by corrupt law enforcement personnel and private investigators, Mr. Page also began encountering overt breaches of security at his residence:
“At home, his key stopped opening his front door; the lock was broken. His power started going out.”
The harassment tactics also apparently included a traditional counterintelligence method known as “gaslighting” – in which the target is subjected to psychological manipulation involving acts intended to cause the target to question his or her own memory and sanity (and to give the impression of mental instability to others if the target describes the experiences).
“I came home and there was a bowl of sugar in the middle of the kitchen floor,” [Mr. Page] said.
As nations such as America and Australia expand their domestic spying – in the name of “national security,” of course – members of a growing pool of current and former intelligence agents and law enforcement agents are apparently exploiting their tactical skills, connections, and technologies to enrich themselves by illegally terrorizing people on behalf of corporate and government clients. Fortunately, more people are beginning to learn about these crimes, and recognize them when they are perpetrated. Although the harassment tactics are – by design – inherently difficult to prove legally, the impunity of the government and corporate goon squads which use the tactics will become more limited as information about them continues to leak out to the public. The news report about Michael Page is a case in point:
“[Mr. Page is] now considering the possibility he’s a victim of ‘gang stalking’ – where an individual is relentlessly targeted and harassed…”
June 12, 2016
The New York Times revisits “gang stalking”
Fight Gang Stalking has received an extraordinarily large number of visits during the past couple of days, following an article published Friday by The New York Times. The article concerns a process which intelligence and law enforcement agents refer to as “disruption” operations (the subject of this website). Ostensibly, though, the piece is a report about how such operations are supposedly imaginary. In their editorial wisdom, the Times’ editors decided to imply that view, rather than explicitly stating it though. Also worth noting is that the Times editors (a) placed the article in its “Health” (as in “mental health”) section – instead of, for example, its “U.S.” section, and (b) they assigned the piece to a reporter who is, let’s say, not likely to be compared with Seymour Hersh. (Mike McPhate’s most recent article for the Times, before this one, was about the pop music group, ABBA).
Whether it was because of the reporter’s apparent complete ignorance of the counterintelligence business, or because the angle of the article was built into the assignment before it was given to him, McPhate wrote a piece which characterizes all online discussion about this topic as “paranoia,” and which completely excludes references and links to the dozens of relevant published news reports – from various local and national sources – archived on this website. Beginning with the title of the article, “United States of Paranoia: They See Gangs of Stalkers,” the Times’ editors make clear that, even if “disruption” operations are real (a fact which is challenged by no one in the intelligence industry), no one at the Times will touch upon whether such activities might be connected with the phenomenon of online accounts of organized stalking.
“Disruption” operations often involve tactics which are illegal, but difficult to prove. These tactics include – but are not limited to – overt surveillance (stalking), slander, blacklisting, “mobbing” (intense, organized harassment in the workplace), “black bag jobs,” abusive phone calls, computer hacking, framing, threats, blackmail, vandalism, “street theater” (staged physical and verbal interactions with minions of the people who orchestrate the stalking), harassment by noises, and other forms of bullying. Many of these tactics were used by the FBI during its illegal COINTELPRO operations, as documented by stolen official documents and subsequent Congressional investigations.
Although the general public is mostly unfamiliar with the practice, references to “disruption” operations – described as such – do occasionally appear in the news media, even though that fact would apparently be news to the editors of The New York Times. In May 2006, for example, an article in The Globe and Mail, a Canadian national newspaper, reported that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) used “Diffuse and Disrupt” tactics against suspects for whom they lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute. A criminal defense attorney stated that many of her clients complained of harassment by authorities, although they were never arrested.
In November 2010, a classified U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks documented a discussion between a U.S. State Department official and the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), in which the CSIS director said the agency was “vigorously harassing” members of Hezbollah – an apparent reference to disruption crimes.
An article published by The Intercept in February 2016 explained that the FBI had adopted a system of measuring its counterterrorism achievements by counting the number of “disruptions” of terrorism threats the agency has supposedly achieved. As usual with matters involving the federal government’s primary secret police agency, when journalists inquired about the exact meaning of this statistical category, the FBI refused to discuss it.
Readers familiar with published reporting on disruption operations will know that Friday’s article in the Times is the second one in which the counterintelligence tactics sometimes called “gang stalking” have been covered by America’s newspaper of record during the past decade. The New York Times’ previous piece on this subject was published in November 2008 – an article I analyzed at length here (see the April 6, 2016 post below), after the death of its author, Sarah Kershaw. I encourage all visitors to this website to read that post; virtually everything in it applies equally to the new article. I won’t try to re-state the essential points here – with one exception: as with Ms. Kershaw’s article, the piece by Mr. McPhate is either (a) an example of disinformation, in which the reporter was knowingly complicit, or (b) an example of a credulous reporter failing to recognize that he was conveying disinformation. Either analysis is plausible.
In any case, whatever you make of the countless online accounts of domestic spying and harassment which have appeared in the past decade or so (some of which are very credible, but most of which are extremely – even suspiciously – non-credible), the articles by Kershaw and McPhate clearly follow the same template: no one with a background in counterintelligence and law enforcement matters is asked about “disruption” operations, and only the least-credible analysts and self-proclaimed victims were interviewed.
A skeptical American familiar with “disruption” crimes might suspect that the low-profile placement and assignments of the two articles was intended to create a face-saving avenue for the newspaper’s executives to somewhat-plausibly claim – should subsequent revelations make it necessary – that they were simply unaware that some of their lower-level corporate drones had failed to grasp that the subject being written about was actually U.S. government disinformation and criminality, rather than an obscure online sub-culture rooted in American citizens’ alleged paranoia.
If that is the strategy, one problem for the Times might be that many people will recall the shameful role played by the paper’s editors in other intelligence scandals. Anyone who wants a quick reminder of how far The New York Times is willing to go in conveying U.S. government propaganda and disinformation should view this interview by Jon Stewart of the Times reporter, Judith Miller, regarding the newspaper’s role as a cheerleader during the build-up to the Iraq War. Similarly, it is worth remembering that in 2004, the Times’ editors delayed, for over a year, exposing the U.S. government’s secret warrantless domestic spying program.
Laziness on the part of reporters is not unusual; however, the Times’ coverage of the “organized stalking” issue seems to go beyond mere laziness and journalistic incompetence, and into the realm of feigned ignorance. Some readers would label the reporting as “disinformation,” although such persons would obviously risk being accused of paranoia. However you view the reporting, the Times had more than seven years since its first take on the subject to do some research. It should also be remembered that during those years, official documents made public by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden exposed that the U.S. government engages in illegal domestic mass surveillance, and lies about it. Also, news reports and a U.S. Senate report during that period revealed that the CIA tortures people and lies about it (and spies on Congress while it’s investigating the CIA’s use of torture). Similarly, the past decade has been an era of news reports about the militarization and abuses of power (including spying) by local police agencies. Arguably, such revelations add plausibility to reports by self-proclaimed victims of organized stalking.
A final point: The website you are now reading is the most frequently-visited site about organized stalking crimes. On Friday, for example, when the Times’ article was published, this website had more than a thousand visitors. Consequently, it appears at – or near – the top of search engine queries about this subject. Yet the Times somehow apparently failed to stumble upon this website while researching their article – an article which contains 27 links. No one from the Times contacted me via the email address on this site, and no reference to this website appears in the article. That is so, notwithstanding that (a) Fight Gang Stalking contains – as far as I know – the most comprehensive archive of links to local, national, and international published news reports about this topic, and (b) based on some of those published news reports (see the June 10, 2016 post immediately below), this is the only website that is being promoted across America by victims distributing flyers to call attention to this form of corrupt policing. The omission of this website from the Times’ article, therefore, is sort of…curious.
Perhaps The New York Times’ editors should ask one of their interns to show them how to use Google.
June 10, 2016
“Gang Stalking” flyers appear in East Hampton, New York
Increasingly, flyers are being distributed across America to call attention to illegal stalking by corrupt law enforcement personnel. Among the most recent examples is one from East Hampton, New York (population 21,457 – as of the 2010 census). On May 19th, the police blotter published by The East Hampton Star newspaper included the following item – quoted here in its entirety – about an incident in the village of Sag Harbor:
Joseph Pintauro of John Street was disturbed to find a flyer headed “Stop Gang Stalking” left on his porch Monday morning. Police checked the neighborhood, found a number of other such flyers, and located the person who had left them. He was advised to stop, and said he would.
Newspaper police blotter entries are often perfunctory, so it is not surprising that the staff writer did not elaborate on why the individual was “advised to stop” his distribution of the flyers – let alone whether such “advice” might have been an unlawful suppression of free speech (more about which follows).
A warning for readers – in East Hampton, New York, and elsewhere – who were directed here by flyers they received:
If you are hearing for the first time about this form of intense harassment and spying, you should be aware that this is a serious matter. Some news reports about organized stalking crimes include facts suggesting that participants in such harassment have been seriously injured or killed. No one should confuse “disruption” operations (also called “gang stalking”) with officially-sanctioned and transparent measures to deter crime, such as “neighborhood watch” programs. Organized stalking is an illegal practice – hence the extreme secrecy which surrounds it. Its aim is to terrorize individuals who have been chosen as targets by current and former corrupt law enforcement personnel, including private investigators, and by rogue intelligence agency employees and their contractors. Such operations also serve corporate clients who have connections to those entities, as explained elsewhere in this website.
Advice about distributing flyers
Victims of illegal harassment involving “disruption” tactics – sometimes called “gang stalking” – should exploit the powerful tactic of leafleting. Directly exposing illegal spying and stalking by private investigators, vigilantes, and corrupt law enforcement personnel is extremely “disruptive” for the perpetrators of “disruption” crimes. More than a few Americans do not wish to have their country infested with corporate and government goons and spies – and their various minions and snitches. Delivering – or mailing – flyers, directly to your fellow citizens, makes it difficult to keep this issue in the shadows (as evidenced by news reports linked in this website).
Here are some of the main issues of law and strategy regarding flyers:
The big picture
Distributing leaflets is a tradition with deep historical roots, and – like most forms of speech – is generally protected by the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions.
Local ordinances do sometimes impose restrictions on the distribution of flyers, although those restrictions must be consistent with constitutional guarantees of free speech. Even the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), for example, is apparently permitted to distribute its leaflets on the doorsteps of residences. Similarly, placing flyers on windshields is also permitted in many cities, even when the views expressed in the flyers are extremely provocative.
Avoid the one form of flyer distribution which is expressly prohibited throughout the U.S. – namely, placing flyers inside mailboxes (or even touching mailboxes).
The Butterfly Effect
Distribute flyers to residences. This can easily be done on foot, or on a bicycle, during the day, or in the evening. In an age of mostly digital communication, a unique paper document – delivered directly to a residence – will get attention. A flyer will get even more attention if it concerns criminal activity, such as stalking. At a minimum, the flyers will generate discussion between the recipients and their friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers. The ultimate effect of that kind of exposure can be significant, because of “the butterfly effect.” Flyers can generate inquiries to local authorities, which can lead to published news reports – such as those linked below – and to investigations by the news media and the government. Hearings about “disruption” harassment by private and public enforcers can expose the various felony crimes involved. Based upon my own experience, and the various news reports cited in this website, there is, apparently, little or no oversight of this form of domestic terrorism.
If you are distributing leaflets to residences – or posting them on any private property, and you are asked to leave, you should do so immediately – to avoid being accused of trespassing. On the other hand, keep in mind that such activities are no different than the outreach campaigns by, for example, religious missionaries – who routinely approach residences (and distribute flyers). Such people are never prosecuted for such activities; it is commonly understood to be legal.
Always remember that mailing flyers is completely legal in America – including mailing flyers without including any return address. The postage cost is the only drawback to this approach. Anyone who is being terrorized by current and former corrupt cops, agents, and security contractors – and their various minions – should consider a combination of dropping off flyers on doorsteps and delivering them via mail, based upon which is most convenient for reaching various residences, businesses, churches, schools, etc. Use either approach, depending upon which you are comfortable with, or – even better – both.
The Streisand Effect
Victims of corrupt law enforcement agencies and corrupt private investigators should exploit the “Streisand effect.” Quasi-governmental “Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs),” parasitic security contractors, such as “Surveillance Role Players (SRPs),” and vigilantes associated with corrupt cops do not want to risk calling attention to their crimes by publicly challenging individuals who distribute flyers. Criminals – even criminals with government connections – want to keep a low profile.
Burning the perps
Sometimes victims know the identity of one of the persons or businesses involved in the illegal harassment campaign being waged against them. In such cases, victims should consider “burning” the perpetrator (i.e., exposing his or her identity) in the flyers. Although it’s difficult to know exactly which private and government agencies are primarily responsible for enabling “disruption” operations, you can create trouble for stalkers by publicly identifying any businesses, neighbors, co-workers, or others recruited to participate in the harassment. This tactic can be extremely powerful. A lot of people can be deceived, manipulated, or bribed into taking part in vigilante harassment of someone who appears to be a soft target, but none of those cowards, thugs, and traitors will want to have their names – or their businesses – publicly associated with stalking.
You do have to consider the theoretical risk of being accused of libel by a person or business named in your flyers, because the nature of the harassment and spying tactics involved in disruption operations generally make it difficult to prove the complicity of the perpetrators. On the other hand, the stalkers – especially those higher-up in the food chain, will probably not want to see a public fight about allegations of organized stalking (see the “Streisand Effect” above). In any case, victims of “gang stalking” have to understand that – as underdogs – they must exploit strategies of asymmetric warfare, which sometimes include taking small risks.
At least two of the flyer distributions documented in the published news reports below (the first two listed) featured specific references to alleged perpetrators.
News reports of flyers which expose stalking
Because the recent East Hampton, New York, police blotter entry contains few details, it is not clear whether the flyers mentioned the website you are now reading; however, this site has been referenced in multiple flyers described in newspaper reports, magazine articles, and TV news broadcasts in recent years, including some of those linked below (the first two articles were published before this website existed).
Stalking victims realize the value of directing their fellow citizens to a comprehensive archive of relevant published news reports on this subject. Among other things, this approach enables targets of stalking by corrupt cops to speak with one voice. Eventually, the quantity and geographic spread of these news reports will cause even the laziest, stupidest, cowardly, incurious news reporters to wonder what is happening.
New Jersey (March 2009)
California (September 2013)
Connecticut (July 2014)
North Dakota (October 2015)
Massachusetts (March 2016)
New York (May 2016) (The incident described in this post)
Exposing fascists with flyers – the White Rose movement
Government and private contractor security employees (agents, investigators, and others) who participate in “disruption” (i.e., harassment) operations are essentially “cogs in the machine.” Their participation is cheaply bought with financial incentives – and by exploiting the desire such people have to be associated with something that involves secrecy and power.
In the U.S., “disruption” (i.e., harassment) operations are – apparently – used by three major types of entities: federal intelligence agencies (such as the FBI, CIA, and DHS), private investigators, and the quasi-governmental entity called the Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIU). In some cases, the membership and activities of these three groups overlap. For example, most private investigators are former agents or former cops. Similarly, the LEIU’s membership consists of both current and former law enforcement personnel. Identifying precisely which entity perpetrates various secret abuses of power is made difficult by the multiplicity of components of America’s security industry – a fact which obviously serves the interests of everyone in the industry who engages in such illegal practices.
In general, all such groups engage, in varying degrees, in two types of activities. The first is performing legitimate security-related work; the second is serving as enforcers – “goon squads” – for corporations, the political establishment, and for other members of the security industry. Often, these activities are done for purely mercenary reasons, although there can also be other motivations, such as the desire to be associated with something – anything – which involves secrecy and illicit power. No doubt, some of the perpetrators are also “true believer” vigilante types, who believe that they should be above the law because of the self-perceived righteousness of their views.
In any case, “disruption” operations (organized stalking operations) are done, broadly speaking, in support of right-wing power structures. I suggest, therefore, that victims of stalking crimes by public and private security personnel should take note of how others have fought back against fascists.
In Nazi Germany, when most people aligned themselves with those in power, a few brave individuals chose a different course; their inspirational stories of resistance – which included pamphleteering – have been documented in books and films. Americans wishing to know what it looks like when citizens choose to become dissidents, instead of sheep, should consider the White Rose movement.
The White Rose (German: die Weiße Rose) was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany led by a group of students and a professor at the University of Munich. The group conducted an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign which called for active opposition against the Nazi regime. Their activities started in Munich in June 1942, and ended with the arrest of the core group by the Gestapo in February 1943. They, as well as other members and supporters of the group who carried on distributing the pamphlets, faced unjust trials by the Nazi People’s Court (Volksgerichtshof), and many were sentenced to death or imprisonment.
The group wrote, printed and initially distributed their pamphlets in the greater Munich region. Later on, secret carriers brought copies to other cities, mostly in the southern parts of Germany. In total, the White Rose authored six leaflets, which were multiplied and spread, in a total of about 15,000 copies. They branded the Nazi regime’s crimes and oppression, and called for resistance. In their second leaflet, they openly denounced the persecution and mass murder of the Jews. By the time of their arrest, members of the White Rose were just about to establish contacts with other German resistance groups like the Kreisau Circle or the Schulze-Boysen/Harnack group of the Red Orchestra. Today, the White Rose is well-known within Germany and worldwide.
Here are two critically-acclaimed works that capture the essence of the White Rose:
Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (film – 2005)
“The Final Days is the true story of Germany’s most famous anti-Nazi heroine brought to life. Sophie Scholl is the fearless activist of the underground student resistance group, The White Rose. Using historical records of her incarceration, the film re-creates the last six days of Sophie Scholl’s life: a journey from arrest to interrogation, trial and sentence in 1943 Munich. Unwavering in her convictions and loyalty to her comrades, her cross-examination by the Gestapo quickly escalates into a searing test of wills as Scholl delivers a passionate call to freedom and personal responsibility that is both haunting and timeless.”
– from a review on IMDb
Sophie Scholl and The White Rose (book – 2007)
“From its inception to its end, the captivating story of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose is an uplifting and enlightening account of German resistance to the Third Reich. With detailed chronicles of Scholl’s arrest and trial before Hitler’s Hanging Judge, Roland Freisler, as well as appendices containing all of the leaflets the White Rose wrote and circulated exhorting Germans to stand up and fight back, this volume is an invaluable addition to World War II literature and a fascinating window into human resilience in the face of dictatorship.”
– from a review on Amazon
“The animated narrative reads like a suspense novel.”
– The New York Times
May 19, 2016
WIRED reports on computer hacking by the FBI
Anyone who is the target of “disruption” operations – by government agencies or by private investigators – will have his or her computer hacked. Gaining access to someone’s computer provides information, as well as opportunities for various forms of harassment. Although hacking has legitimate counterintelligence applications (when authorized by a properly-obtained search warrant), much of it is probably of questionable constitutional legitimacy, or just purely illegal – for example, when done by private investigators or rogue agents.
On Sunday, WIRED published an article about hacking by America’s primary secret police agency, the FBI. As with most of the bureau’s activities, not much is known about its use of computer hacking. A law professor quoted in the article says that such spying is subjected to “very little oversight.”
An excerpt from the article:
“…the government now has greater authority to hack your computers, in and outside the US. Changes to federal criminal court procedures known as Rule 41 are to blame; they vastly expand how and whom the FBI can legally hack. But just like the NSA’s hacking operations, FBI hacking isn’t new. In fact, the bureau has a long history of surreptitiously hacking us, going back two decades.
“That history is almost impossible to document, however, because the hacking happens mostly in secret. Search warrants granting permission to hack get issued using vague, obtuse language that hides what’s really happening, and defense attorneys rarely challenge the hacking tools and techniques in court. There’s also no public accounting of how often the government hacks people. Although federal and state judges have to submit a report to Congress tracking the number and nature of wiretap requests they process each year, no similar requirement exists for hacking tools. As a result, little is known about the invasive tools the bureau, and other law enforcement agencies, use or how they use them.”
May 11, 2016
The Washington Post’s Radley Balko on a “poisonous police culture”
Illegal stalking and harassment by current and former corrupt law enforcement personnel would not be occurring if there were a culture
of accountability and transparency in America’s policing industry. Incidents such as the following one illustrate the real nature of the enforcement culture, and give the lie to efforts by politicians and other apologists to dismiss reported abuses of power as the actions of “a few bad apples.” People in America’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies know that illegal stalking using counterintelligence “disruption” tactics is being perpetrated by some of their associates (and former officers), but they look the other way. As this case shows, “looking the other way” is sometimes done systematically when the criminals are cops – even in cases of homicide.
To its credit, The Washington Post regularly features reporting and commentary by Radley Balko, such as this piece, which was published Friday. Balko often exposes criminality in America’s law enforcement industry. In this case, he reviews an incident in which a woman who was at home alone, was shot to death by three officers – who then, apparently, lied to investigators about what happened. The facts of the case were so incriminating that the county settled with the woman’s estate for $2 million.
Among the most disturbing aspects of the case is how the matter was handled by investigators for South Carolina’s Law Enforcement Division (SLED) – an agency which Balko describes as “commonly seen as the state’s version of the FBI.” As the article makes clear, the SLED agents who reviewed the shooting ignored obvious evidence that the cops were lying about what happened. Moreover, that sort of conspiring to conceal criminality by law enforcement personnel is apparently not uncommon (although the article notes that some jurisdictions are better on this than others).
Professional-caliber lying – just like professional-caliber acting or musical performances – requires rehearsal. Cops understand this, and their policies for internal investigations are apparently constructed accordingly:
Though SLED investigators showed up at the scene of the shooting within hours, the three officers were then permitted to sit in a room together unmonitored before a SLED investigator interviewed them and took their statements. That already is problematic. “You just don’t do that,” says law professor Stoughton. “It’s investigation 101, whether you’re investigating police officers, suspects, or witnesses. You separate them to be sure you get independent statements.”
But a recent investigation by a team of reporters at the (Charleston) Post and Courier found that SLED routinely lets officers collaborate, talk to their attorneys and take a night or two to “sleep on it” before they’re asked to give a statement or sit for an interview. One officer was allowed to wait 28 days before giving a statement. Others gave statements via email.
One aspect of the killing in Kershaw County which has implications for organized stalking crimes by corrupt cops is the informal ties – the “good old boy” network – among various law enforcement and intelligence agencies. In some cases, these connections can essentially allow agents and cops to engage in illegal operations with total impunity:
Phillips [the attorney who represented Ellis’s estate] was so troubled by Ellis’s death that he brought it to the attention of South Carolina U.S. Attorney William Nettles. “He seemed disturbed by it, and said he’d look into it,” Phillips says. A couple months later, Phillips received a curt voice mail from the FBI agent assigned to investigate the case, telling him he had found no evidence that the deputies had violated Ellis’s civil rights. Phillips later discovered that prior to joining the FBI, the same agent had been a deputy with the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Department.
Another thing which ought to disturb anyone who reads about this case is that the punishment of the officers – and the investigators – involved in this outrageous incident was as non-existent as the high-powered rifle which Ms. Ellis allegedly used to shoot at the officers:
In the end, despite the $2 million settlement, neither Gregg Lowery, William Sowell or Tyrell Coleman [the three officers who participated in the raid] was ever disciplined or reprimanded for the death of Lori Jean Ellis.
“It’s bad here,” Phillips says. “There’s a culture of not just brutality, but invincibility. There’s no oversight. You see blatant lying, not just from individual officers, but from entire agencies. They think they can get away with anything. And they usually do.”
April 30, 2016
Illegal surveillance by an Oregon “fusion center” intelligence officer
A report issued earlier this month contains the findings of an independent investigation ordered by Oregon’s Attorney General regarding surveillance conducted by a data “fusion center.” That report has been posted on the indispensable Privacy SOS website, run by the ACLU of Massachusetts. The target of the illegal surveillance was Erious Johnson, Jr., Director of the Civil Rights Division of Oregon’s Department of Justice. He had posted some commentary on Twitter which was sympathetic to the Black Lives Matter movement. Apparently, that was enough to put him on the radar of a special agent at a “fusion center” in Salem, Oregon.
The agent – whose name is redacted in the report – began reviewing Johnson’s social media posts, and then wrote a memo – which is also posted at Privacy SOS – warning his bosses that Johnson’s commentary was found during the agent’s searches for “threats towards law enforcement.”
As the article at Privacy SOS notes, this kind of illegal spying is probably common in post-9/11 America; this case is only rare in the sense that it was investigated and exposed.
“The public rarely gets a glimpse into the inner workings of fusion centers or other police intelligence operations. Anyone who has ever participated in organizing or activism has a good idea that the police are watching, but it’s hard to catch them in the act. Every day across the United States, similarly situated agents, analysts, and officers are probably conducting similar searches and compiling similar memos for their superiors. It was probably the unusual facts of this case that prompted the Attorney General to take action, suspending the agent in question and commissioning an independent investigation.”
In most cases of this sort, the spying targets are low-profile citizens – unlike Erious Johnson, Jr. – whose rights are unlikely to be defended by state or federal departments of justice. More typically, spying targets become security industry roadkill – victims of what the Privacy SOS article describes as “the shadowy local surveillance infrastructure established in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.”
Also worth noting about this case is that the agent who determined that Johnson’s social media posts – expressions of opinion protected by the First Amendment – should be scrutinized by the agent’s bosses, was using a free trial version of a software program called “Digital Stakeout.” The case is a perfect example of the people and companies feeding at America’s enormous national security pig trough: An ambitious bureaucrat, seeking to impress his security industry bosses, was using a surveillance tool created by a greedy corporation seeking to win a government contract.
April 24, 2016
Pennsylvania man blacklisted because he searched for his lost dog
As cowardly bureaucrats and citizens in America conform to the “snitch culture” preached by some members of the political class and some in the news media, the following incident is the kind of thing you can expect to see more frequently.
Last fall, a man who was driving his van around Susquehanna University looking for his lost dog was mistaken for a predator.
Now he can’t even attend his own son’s preschool graduation, because the ceremony takes place at SU.
The man put up “lost dog” signs and even had his wife and teenage nephew with him when he went looking for the dog (who was sadly found dead). But he was still somehow taken for a predator—female students complained that they didn’t like the way he was talking to them—and prohibited from setting foot on campus.
An update to the article notes that the man has now been granted permission to attend his son’s ceremony, but will otherwise remain prohibited from venturing onto the campus.
Incidentally, a reader has brought to my attention some recent online commentary which suggests that Susquehanna’s heavy-handed security practices also target the university’s students. Here is an excerpt from a facebook post about a petition regarding the school’s aggressive security force:
Students have complained throughout the year of intimidation from the school’s security guards. The petition cites examples including security guards peeking in windows, using fire safety checks to gain unannounced access, stalking students, and even barricading students in their dorms. Bush writes “students at Susquehanna University are being terrorized and harassed” by campus security and that “their authority and blatant disregard for the rules leaves the SU student community with limited options, and fearful that they will be targeted if they do speak up.”
April 19, 2016
Cops taunted a paralyzed veteran for five days as he died
News stories such as this one ought to remove any doubts that
some current and former members of America’s law enforcement, surveillance, and private investigations industries are so morally-challenged that they would happily use illegal counterintelligence “disruption” tactics (organized stalking) to terrorize individuals for profit or vengeance.
An article posted today at The Daily Beast reviews the disturbing facts of a civil lawsuit – which is expected to go to trial soon – against the County of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Staff members of that county’s jail imposed their own special form of justice on “the Army vet, who had a history of mental illness…[and whose] only alleged crime was misdemeanor obstruction.”
While in custody of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, Elliott Williams, age 37, sustained a critical spinal injury. Although he pleaded for help, the guards not only failed to provide any medical treatment, they allegedly taunted him and threw food at him. Surveillance video shows officers dragging Williams’ motionless, naked body across the floor into a video-monitored cell, after he had begged for help for three days. After five days in custody, Williams died from complications associated with his spinal injuries.
The Daily Beast:
Elliott Williams spent the last five days of his life in a Tulsa County jail, paralyzed and lying on the cold concrete floor.
…At one point, jailers dumped Williams’s limp body into a shower and left him there for an hour. The dying inmate “would not stand up but we did give him a shower anyway,” a captain later testified, according to a sheriff’s office internal report.
Another officer saw Williams face down in the shower, screaming, “Help me!” according to the internal report.
In the days that followed, Williams’s father tried in vain to contact his son. He was denied visitation “because of Elliott’s condition.”
April 6, 2016
New York Times reporter who wrote “gang stalking” article is dead
Among the few articles on organized stalking published, so far, by high-profile national media sources was a piece which appeared in The New York Times on November 13, 2008. Viewed in the context of all of the news reports on this subject that have been published before and since, it seems clear that the article, “Sharing Their Demons on the Web,” by Sarah Kershaw, was either (a) an example of disinformation, in which the reporter was knowingly complicit, or (b) an example of a credulous reporter failing to recognize that she was conveying disinformation. Either analysis is plausible. No explanation was provided within the article itself about how The New York Times or Ms. Kershaw first became aware of online reports about organized stalking, and we cannot ask the author how the subject came to her attention, because she died – either by murder or suicide – on February 22nd of this year.
Although there is no apparent reason to think that the reporter’s death was related in any way to the article she wrote about “gang stalking,” this is as good a time as any to re-visit the unfortunate piece she wrote.
To be precise, Kershaw’s article was not so much a report about organized stalking, as it was a piece about some of the websites which purport to examine the subject. Although the article did not explicitly acknowledge it, there was no indication in the piece that anyone at the Times even considered investigating whether the stalking was actually taking place. Most importantly, the article makes no reference to the known use of organized stalking by intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and private security firms, which sometimes refer to the practice as “disruption” – counterintelligence-speak for long-term, intense surveillance (covert and overt surveillance) and harassment.
Sarah Kershaw and her editors limited their “research” for the article to interviewing four mental health professionals (psychiatrists and psychologists) about delusions and mental illness; Kershaw did not, apparently, consult any security experts, such as current or former federal agents, police officers, or private investigators – let alone any whistle-blowers or journalists who have exposed criminality and abuses of power by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
In her article, Ms. Kershaw quoted only one (named) self-proclaimed victim of organized stalking, Derrick Robinson, who was “the president” of a group called “Freedom from Covert Harassment and Surveillance” (FFCHS). Although it did not, apparently, arouse Ms. Kershaw’s curiosity, that group’s website and newsletters – inexplicably – have never shown any interest in the identity of the perpetrators of organized stalking, nor any interest in the published news reports about the subject. The group has also never advocated that targets of such stalking should engage in activities that might attract attention to the group or to the issue of counterintelligence stalking. FFCHS does, however, post information that appears to be precisely intended to convey the impression that its members are stupid and mentally unstable – including an item that was posted on the home page of the website, which literally advocated eating dirt. (You can see a screen shot of that item, since removed, on the page of this website devoted to FFCHS.)
Another interesting aspect of FFCHS which failed to interest the Times reporter was that the organization, which purports to be run by, and for, desperate individuals who are being stalked, harassed, slandered, and blacklisted, is somehow blessed with the resources to afford billboards and a toll-free phone number, and staff members who are not shy about posting their names and email addresses. This remarkable group, which is able to organize telephone chat rooms for stalking victims to speak with staff members, and which publishes a newsletter (sent to victims), never posts links on its website to news reports about “gang stalking” – one of the things which can actually help expose what is happening.
Incidentally, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), one of America’s 17 federal intelligence agencies, refuses to publicly discuss FFCHS – even when asked about the group via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. News reports, such as this one, about a mass shooting at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard in September 2013 noted that the shooter – an information technology employee with a security clearance, who believed himself to be a victim of organized stalking, and who committed the killings as revenge – had sent three emails to FFCHS. A FOIA request about the shooter’s communications with FFCHS was rejected.
Apparently, current technical problems at Muckrock, a website which supports and tracks FOIA requests, have temporarily rendered some of the FOIA responses unavailable, as of this writing; however, here is a link to a web cache which displays the initial request, and its denial (which was appealed).
Among the sentences in “Sharing Their Demons…” which should not go unnoticed is this quote – from another disinformation website – about the nature of “gang stalking.” The description is from someone who, in the context of the article, is presumed to be delusional anyway, but note the word choice:
“The target is followed around and placed under surveillance by Civilian Spies/Snitches 24/7.”
Regardless of whether the quote was included by the reporter as intentional disinformation, the use of the word “civilian” is ideal from the perspective of the actual perpetrators of organized stalking, and typical of disinformation about this form of crime. The idea is to obscure the fact that organized stalking crimes are orchestrated by current and former corrupt cops and federal agents. You will not find any references in the article to the most likely perpetrators of gang stalking, such as “surveillance role players” (contractors who have government security clearances and counterintelligence experience), local Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIUs), or Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs). Also absent from the article is any mention of the extensive use of many of the same tactics by the FBI during its illegal COINTELPRO operations – and by communist East Germany’s secret police, the Stasi.
Although it misstates the identity of the people who orchestrate the stalking, describing counterintelligence disruption as “surveillance by civilians,” or “community stalking” probably resonates with some victims. Such stalking does make use of people outside of law enforcement and intelligence agencies – such as neighbors and co-workers of the target. Anyone who doubts the plausibility of a scheme in which such people are recruited to function as pawns should read about the Stasi. The scope of East Germany’s snitching program was not clear until after the collapse of the government, when it was learned that regular Stasi informers possibly numbered a half-million or so citizens, and even included thousands of children. Most people are easily manipulated by anyone who appears to be an authority figure, as Stanley Milgram’s famous, disturbing experiment proved. A clear demonstration of that can also be seen in this classic video.
An article whose take on Internet discussions about organized stalking was the same as that published by the Times was produced by ABC News, one month after the Times article appeared. The ABC article – about conspiracy theory websites – included (by coincidence or not) an interview with one of the same psychiatrists interviewed by the Times, Ken Duckworth. Here is the article’s dismissive description of everyone who claims – reasonably – that America’s massive, secretive, post-9/11 spying industry might be currently using some of the same dirty tactics historically associated with American and foreign counterintelligence agencies and local law enforcement intelligence units:
“…[V]ictims of gang stalking [are] a subculture of people who think their friends and neighbors are all secret government spies ready to turn them over to the authorities. The movement has recently spawned gang stalking support groups, forums and advice Web sites.”
Since the publication of The New York Times article, disinformation websites similar to FFCHS have been springing up like mushrooms. A list of just a few of them appears on the “Recommended Websites” page of this website. They all have the same suspicious characteristics. During that same period though, local, national, and international news reports have emerged which tend – especially in the aggregate – to support claims about a sophisticated form of stalking that is, essentially, a program of psychological terrorism.
Also during that period, official documents made public by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden exposed that the U.S. government engages in illegal domestic mass surveillance, and lies about it. In addition, news reports and a U.S. Senate report revealed that the CIA tortures people and lies about it. Such revelations only add plausibility to reports by self-proclaimed victims of organized stalking.
The possibility that the creators of the websites described by the Times might be intentionally lying to discredit legitimate reports by victims of surveillance crimes was not mentioned in the article. At some point, events might force the Times to revisit this subject. If that happens, “Sharing Their Demons on the Web” will reflect very badly on its now-deceased author and her editors.
March 31, 2016
Exposure of organized stalking increases
News reports and emails to this website (see the March 10th and 15th posts, for example), indicate a large increase recently in the posting and distribution of flyers – across the nation – calling attention to organized stalking crimes being perpetrated by corrupt law enforcement personnel. Sometimes the flyers generate news stories on local TV stations and in newspapers. This site now contains links to published reports about “gang stalking” flyers from New Jersey, Connecticut, North Dakota, and Massachusetts.
In addition to such news reports, this website increasingly receives emails from property managers, business owners, and others who have seen the flyers – or who have been told about them by local residents and customers. This morning I received such an email from the property manager of an apartment complex in Spartanburg, South Carolina (2479 Country Club Road, to be exact). She informed me that several of the residents there had received such flyers.
A warning to readers of this website who have been directed here by flyers which they received:
If you are hearing for the first time about this form of intense harassment and spying, you should be aware that this is a very serious matter. Some news reports about organized stalking crimes include facts suggesting that participants in such harassment have been seriously injured or killed. No one should confuse “gang stalking” with officially-sanctioned and transparent measures to deter crime, such as “neighborhood watch” programs. Organized stalking is an illegal practice – hence the secrecy which surrounds it. Its aim is to terrorize an individual who has been chosen as a target by current and former corrupt law enforcement personnel.
March 23, 2016
Glimpses of the CIA’s torture practices
According to a U.S. Senate report completed in 2014, the torture of detainees by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was worse than previously disclosed, and the agency repeatedly lied about the matter.
U.S. government lawyers are still fighting to block the release of that report (only an executive summary has been made public). In the meantime, some journalists are trying to obtain and expose information about the CIA’s crimes. Last week, The Financial Times (FT) featured some photographs, documents, and analysis which offer a partial view of what is being concealed.
As FT explained, the CIA’s program involved multiple secret detention centers.
“…a secret network of “black sites”, set up in half a dozen countries to house undisclosed prisoners out of reach of lawyers, the Red Cross or other branches of the US government.”
“…In unveiling the form and structure of the network, journalists and investigators pieced together elements in many countries. Police identified names of rendition crews from phone and hotel records. We compiled dossiers with material accumulated from plane movements, government archives, NGO and media investigations, contractual paperwork and invoices. A summary of a 6,000-page report by the US Senate Intelligence Committee, partially and belatedly released in 2014, confirmed much that had by then already become public, but held a fig leaf over the names of participating countries.”
March 23, 2016
Swedish disinformation agent exposed
Corporate news reporters sometimes propagandize for intelligence agencies – for example, hosts of the CBS show 60 Minutes occasionally play that role. In many cases, career interests are a sufficient motivation for the reporter to be a reliable puppet, so it isn’t necessary to secretly put him or her on the government’s payroll – as was done in the days of Operation Mockingbird. Direct purchasing of useful media coverage still occurs though, and an example of it has emerged in Sweden.
U.S. authorities – and their allies in the U.K., Sweden, and other nations, take a dim view of efforts by Julian Assange – founder of WikiLeaks – to expose their war crimes and lying. Consequently, Assange has been the target of an aggressive international smear campaign. Andrew Kreig at the Justice Integrity Project, describes it this way:
“Authorities have targeted Assange… for what appears to be a trumped up sex scandal probe that has extended for nearly six years, apparently in reprisal for massive and ongoing disclosures by WikiLeaks of Western governments’ dark secrets.”
One of the many recruits in the campaign to discredit Assange is a reporter in Sweden who, apparently, has been getting paid to express his fake outrage. Kreig takes note of the recent revelations here:
“A prize-winning Swedish journalist noted for his left-wing, pro-NATO and anti-WikiLeaks commentary was revealed this month to have been a paid agent of Säpo, his nation’s security service.”
Anyone who has spent any time searching online for information about the kind of domestic counterintelligence operations (and vigilante operations by corrupt cops and former cops) described in this website, has seen a lot of disinformation – even if it was not recognized as such. The vast majority of websites purporting to be efforts to expose “organized stalking,” “gang stalking,” “targeted individuals,” etc., are in fact, government websites intended to give the impression that all claims about such stalking are delusional. Among the most obvious clues to the true nature of such websites is that they are extremely vague, and they never include links to relevant published news reports.
Systematically lying to their fellow citizens is a routine job function for counterintelligence agents. It’s essentially the opposite of what Julian Assange does as a journalist.
March 19, 2016
Priorities of the political class do not include your rights
America’s political establishment rarely tries seriously to root out abuses of power by enforcers, such as the cops, federal agents, and private security contractors who participate in secretive – often illegal – spying and harassment practices. We have, in essence, two right-wing political parties, and the leaders of both – such as the current presidential primary front-runners – are the kind of people who almost always represent the interests of people with power.
Yesterday’s essay by Rob Urie at CounterPunch makes clear how absurd it is to expect the current top presidential candidates to be concerned about the problems of ordinary Americans.
A question for the erstwhile feminists who support Hillary Clinton is: which slice of the social ontology is the relevant consideration: class, gender or race? Through her pre-campaign support for the TPP and her husband’s passage of NAFTA, Mrs. Clinton is a dedicated imperialist. From her willingness to destroy entire nations on a whim, Mrs. Clinton is a dedicated militarist. From her campaign funds and personal fortune Mrs. Clinton is a very good friend of Wall Street. From her carceral policies Mrs. Clinton is a racial opportunist who used the lives of millions of Black and Brown people as so much detritus—as a political stepping stone, to benefit her own ‘career.’ A quick guess is that around half of Mrs. Clinton’s victims have been women.
Donald Trump is as frightening as his opinions are poorly considered. His life has been lived around people whose livelihoods depend on not telling him to shut the fuck up. His nominal constituency by-and-large has no context for this— what to them appears as ‘speaking truth to power’ is in fact a privileged bully enamored with the sound of his own voice. Mr. Trump was born into the class that establishment Democrats and Republicans have spent the last four decades making so wealthy that it separates them from the consequences of their socially destructive actions. Donald Trump is an inheritance-baby insider who plays an outsider on television. It is hardly an accident then that Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton have been friends for over twenty years.
March 15, 2016
Another flyer, another small leak in the pig trough
A news report yesterday by MassLive (one of the largest news websites in Massachusetts) informed readers that flyers which warn about “gang stalking” have been appearing recently in Amherst, “tacked up on store windows, parking kiosks and other places around town…”
Stalking victims across the country who are fed up with illegal spying and harassment by America’s version of communist East Germany’s Stasi are calling attention to what is happening, and they’re doing so in a legal – but disruptive – way that is difficult for the news media to ignore.
March 10, 2016
Signs of resistance
I received the above photograph last week from someone who identified herself as a student at the University of Colorado – Boulder. She reported that she saw the sign – which refers to this website – while walking through the CU-Boulder campus. Although I have no information about the person who posted the sign, he or she is presumably a victim of the form of extreme harassment and spying documented by the news reports on this website.
I advocate posting and distributing such flyers (the more, the better) to call attention to the crimes being perpetrated by U.S. counterintelligence agents, security contractors, local law enforcement intelligence units, and other goons who feed at the giant national security pig trough by stalking and terrorizing Americans. Already, several published reports in newspapers and television broadcasts from across the country (linked in this website) have featured such efforts to expose COINTELPRO-type secret-police crimes.
Victims of organized stalking should exploit the fact that mainstream institutions are beginning to take seriously the creeping expansion of secret spying programs. Journalists and civil rights activists are now more receptive to reports of abuses of power by federal and local law enforcement agencies, and private security thugs. An example of this was featured in an article this week at Salon:
“More than 60 legal, civil rights and activist groups sent a letter to the chairs of the Senate and House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, asking them to launch an investigation into the FBI’s and Department of Homeland Security’s surveillance and repression of political protests and social movements…”
“The groups released their letter on [the] 45th anniversary of the break-in that exposed COINTELPRO, the secret program in which the FBI was spying on and infiltrating dissident groups, and even assassinating activist leaders like Chicago Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton. COINTELPRO infamously blackmailed civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and tried to pressure to him to kill himself.”
The time is ripe for more victims of state-sanctioned stalking to speak out in ways that are disruptive. Follow the example of patriots like the anonymous individual at CU-Boulder.
March 6, 2016
Presidential politics and the surveillance state
Neither major political party offers much hope for anyone wishing to see Americans’ civil rights become a priority in Washington. Bernie Sanders seems to be a decent person, but he trails Hillary Clinton by a significant margin in delegates. Rand Paul, the Republicans’ only candidate who displayed any libertarian values, dropped out of the race a month ago. Based on current numbers, the most likely scenario – a general election match-up between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton – would essentially force voters to choose an authoritarian leader.
From the ocean of commentary about the presidential race, I would call attention to the following two recent pieces for anyone wishing to understand the broad implications this has for America’s security business (spy agencies, the military, police, security contractors), and its targets.
Mike Lofgren has a new essay at Truthout on how the current presidential race reflects the U.S. political establishment’s efforts to keep Americans scared and ignorant about national security. I was already a fan of Lofgren for his insights about “the deep state;” this piece only deepens my respect for his analysis.
Terrorism in the United States is statistically a negligible cause of mortality: One is about as likely to die from being crushed by a flat-screen TV, and more likely to die falling in the bathtub than from terrorism. Imagine if we had spent $4 trillion to cure cancer or heart disease. Nevertheless, nearly every word US government officials have uttered about the matter during the last 15 years has been designed to instill dread of terrorism in the population. And it has worked.
Voters in the Republican primary in South Carolina declared terrorism to be their foremost concern, eclipsing a stagnant, low-wage economy; deteriorating living standards leading to an actual increase in the death rate of GOP voters’ core demographic; and the most expensive and least available health care in the “developed” world. The operatives of the national security state must have been rubbing their hands with glee: Through relentless conditioning, their agenda is now the creed of a numerically significant and highly motivated segment of the electorate.
But there was a flaw in their calculation. Those voters who felt most strongly about terrorism chose Donald Trump, who comfortably won the primary. The national security state, which is a subset of the corporate state, doesn’t want Trump. They prefer to maintain the present corporate oligarchy that offers a façade of democratic process by putting forward safe, obedient, pre-programmed candidates. Since the “war of terror” began, this charade has worked rather efficiently: Bush or Kerry, Obama or McCain, Obama or Romney. And this year it was to be Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton. Or, in a pinch, a second-stringer like Marco Rubio.
Our rulers may have overplayed their hand.
Despite his disdain for the corrupt people who dominate the political class, Lofgren is not taking pleasure in their dismay over the rise of Trump; rather, he is warning that we potentially face a degree of militarism and authoritarianism that is even worse than what we have recently experienced.
What we now have, it appears, is not the public finally wising up en masse and realizing they’d been played for chumps by the corporate oligarchy and their political marionettes. No, a sizable chunk of them have lurched headlong in the opposite direction; they are sick of the charade of managed democracy, so why not try a little fascism, straight-up and without all those boring impediments like a bill of rights or checks and balances? This flight from reason is both a symptom of, and a reaction to, the underlying pathologies of the last decade and a half.
The slick operators at the CIA, Wall Street and the Kennedy School of Government did their job a little too well.
A second essay on the presidential race which touches on some of the same issues, and which also deserves to be widely read is this new piece by Glenn Greenwald, at The Intercept. Like Lofgren, Greenwald is very far from being a fan of Donald Trump, but he is tired of the phony hand-wringing over some of Trump’s militant proposals by establishment figures in the government and the news media who have no problems with the same kinds of policies – including war crimes, such as killing civilians and torturing prisoners – when they are being perpetrated and defended by their fellow establishment neocons.
What establishment mavens most resent is not what Trump is, does, or says, but what he reflects: the unmistakable, undeniable signs of late-stage imperial collapse, along with the resentments and hatreds they have long deliberately and self-servingly stoked but which are now raging out of their control.
March 5, 2016
The FBI’s new high school snitching program
An article published this week by AlterNet staff writer Sarah Lazare (also posted at truthdig) explains the FBI’s new guidelines for “Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools.” Probably the only good thing that can be said of this new thought-policing program by the feds is this: at least the guidelines are not being implemented secretly.
Some excerpts from Lazare’s article:
“Under new guidelines, the FBI is instructing high schools across the country to report students who criticize government policies and ‘western corruption’ as potential future terrorists…”
“This overwhelming threat is…used to justify a massive surveillance apparatus, wherein educators and pupils function as extensions of the FBI by watching and informing on each other.”
“…the agency identifies risk factors that are so broad and vague that virtually any young person could be deemed dangerous and worthy of surveillance…”
“…the FBI is diving head-first into community spying.”
February 18, 2016
A “gang stalking” reference in the European news media
A report featured three weeks ago on the French-based TV news channel, Euronews, documented the experiences of three whistle-blowers, and included a quote which contains two of the English language terms now often used for intense, systematic harassment: “mobbing” and “gang stalking.” All of the women featured in the report were apparently the targets of extreme harassment by the multinational corporations which employed them – companies in the banking, health care, and food industries.
The harassment of one of the women, Stephanie Gibaud, is particularly well-documented; her claims have been the subject of litigation – and a book she wrote, which was published in 2014. Gibaud’s troubles began in 2008, when she refused a request from her boss at the Swiss bank, UBS, to destroy files during an investigation of the bank’s tax evasion crimes.
“…I threw myself into the lion’s den. I went to see the legal affairs manager, the general manager, the president, the head of human resources. In fact, from the moment I refused the orders, everything was organised to go against me.” [emphasis added]
UBS filed a complaint against Gibaud in 2010 for libel, but the court ruled in her favor. After several years of harassment, she was fired in 2012. In March 2015, as reported by Reuters, a Paris labor tribunal ruled that UBS had, in fact, systematically bullied Gibaud:
“UBS France bullied a former worker who said she had refused to destroy documents that might have been of interest to tax evasion investigators, a Paris labour tribunal ruled on [March 5, 2015].
“…The labour tribunal, which has no connection to ongoing investigations into UBS over whether it helped tax dodgers, said however that the ‘alleged psychological bullying has been established’.” [emphasis added]
Stephanie Gibaud described the harassment this way (as quoted in the Euronews article):
“That’s what I call ‘organised mobbing, gang stalking.’ It’s meant to make you crack. That’s what they expect. Because you’re just a crumb in front of this super-powerful multinational firm. And it shows the impunity of those companies whose only rule is money,” [emphasis added]
As made clear by other published news reports in this website’s archive, intense, systematic workplace harassment of an individual – “mobbing” – is sometimes only one element of an even larger campaign to terrorize the victim. Corporate psychopaths and white collar criminals also sometimes employ private security personnel (typically former law enforcement or intelligence agency thugs) to expand the harassment beyond the workplace – into the personal life of the victim.
U.S. intelligence agencies and local law enforcement intelligence units (LEIUs) also apparently conduct illegal stalking operations against American citizens which involve both workplace “mobbing” and extreme bullying and spying outside of the workplace. A good example of that was the harassment which led to the federal lawsuit filed in December 2013 by U.S. government contractor, Jeffrey Kantor. He sued multiple federal agencies for orchestrating what the complaint described as “group stalking attacks (aka gang-stalking) against him.” (For links to the related news reports about that case, see the “Published News Reports” section of the “What is ‘Gang Stalking’?” page of this website.) For more information about workplace “mobbing,” see the “Mobbing and Workplace Violence” section of that same page.
February 14, 2016
Even conservatives are disturbed by police gangs
Because the culture of America’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies often sanctions – unofficially – secret abuses of power, such agencies always face the risk of overreach. Current and former cops and agents who routinely violate the rights of poor people – without consequences, are tempted, on occasion, to also use their lawless thug tactics against persons who have the means to fight back – or at least the means to expose the crimes to the public. One example of that was the Stockton, California case in August 2011 (see the “Published News Reports” section of this website), in which local cops “gang-stalked” the city manager because he would not agree to their salary and benefits demands. Although the police who participated in the stalking were not criminally charged, their gang-like efforts at intimidation and retaliation were reported by the local news media.
A more recent example of this phenomenon occurred in Ventura County, California, and was discussed last week on the nationally-syndicated radio program of conservative political pundit, Hugh Hewitt.
In the original incident which led to the issue, three firefighters were injured responding to a fire at a hazardous waste disposal plant in November 2014 near Santa Paula, California. Eight months later, seven executives and employees from the plant were arrested for allegedly conspiring to conceal dangerous conditions at the plant. Last month, two of the defendants who were arrested filed a $27 million civil rights lawsuit against Ventura County, for alleged abuses by the Sheriff’s office and the District Attorney’s office. As the Ventura County Star reported, the claimants “also called for a federal investigation into what they described as harassment and abuses targeting employees of [the waste plant].”
The lawsuit centers on the nature of the raids conducted against the executives.
The Ventura County Star:
The complaint alleged Wirsing’s wife and 6-year-old daughter were awakened about 6 a.m. Dec. 17, 2014, by two dozen personnel, some armed and wearing protective tactical gear. The family members were ordered out of the house and into the cold in their pajamas, held under armed guard for five hours and the girl was detained in a vehicle, allegedly to calm her down, according to the complaint.
In his program last week, Hugh Hewitt and his guest, University of California, Irvine law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, discussed the raids and arrests, which were apparently done to terrorize the defendants for daring to suggest that the firefighters might have been at least partly to blame for the injuries they sustained, because they mishandled the response to the fire.
The interview deserves to be read in its entirety, but here are some excerpts:
Hugh Hewitt: I asked Dean Chemerinsky to comment given his long history of expertise in police abuse investigations. I’m about as pro-police as anyone on the air, but this kind of stuff shocks the conscience.
…Over the weekend, I was in Iowa. I came back, and I was talking to my law partner, former federal judge Stephen Larson, and he told me a story which I could not believe…
Erwin Chemerinksy: Well, there was a fire at a place called Santa Clara Waste Water Company, and the official of that company made comments that perhaps it was because of improper training within the fire department that three firefighters got hurt. And once the person said this, apparently there was an immediate response saying that they were going to get this person, that…and they sure did. Once this man was overheard making the comments, two dozen personnel with the DA’s office and a SWAT team, including eight in full tactical gear with guns and riot shields drawn, executed a search warrant. Now this wasn’t a case where there was any suspicion of drugs. It wasn’t a case where there was any suspicion of terrorist activity. 20 police and DA vehicles descended on his house at 6AM. 30 personnel were involved in the raid of the home. His wife and his six year old daughter were hauled out of the house in their pajamas. And the six year old was literally taken out of the house with guns drawn, and she was detained in a SWAT vehicle. On July 31st, the DA’s office and the SWAT team, including officers in full tactical gear, and this was with assault rifles, guns drawn, riot shields and a battering ram, executed another early morning search at another person’s house. This official of the company and his wife who was recovering from cancer treatment, his kids, a guest, were all hauled out of the house, forced to wait outside in their underwear for two hours in front of onlooking neighbors. There’s been no charges filed.
…as best I can tell as an outsider, this person angered the law enforcement establishment in Ventura County, and they really came down hard on him.
Hewitt, Chemerinsky, and a prosecutor mentioned by Hewitt, were all apparently shocked at the extent to which these militarized police units now function without any civilian oversight:
Hugh Hewitt: Now I had a…Now I had a prosecutor here yesterday, a guy from Riverside County who’s a friend of mine, and I’m very pro-prosecutor. He couldn’t believe this, either, but evidently, the Daily Journal, which is a legal newspaper, published a story in January that several district attorney offices in California have SWAT-like units labeled Special Response teams. So they’re not even police departments.
Erwin Chemerinsky: And to me, that’s really troubling. As you mentioned, I was involved on an oversight commission with regard to the Los Angeles Police Department. I chaired the charter commission for the City of Los Angeles looking at the police. And I think it’s so important that when you have police or sheriffs, that there be civilian oversight. The idea that the DA’s offices on their own have these investigative teams to do this, who’s overseeing them? And of course, often in these instances, the usual structures that exist with regard to police or sheriff’s departments don’t exist.
To appreciate the extent to which cops in America are drunk with power, you need to read this next bit very carefully. If America’s police-Nazi tribes are attempting to intimidate prosecutors and federal judges, what do you think they would do to citizens without powerful connections?
Hugh Hewitt: Now Stephen Larson, my partner, is a former head of organized crime in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and was a federal judge for a long time. He’s stared down a lot of bad guys. They attempted to intimidate him when he was announcing the filing of this suit by showing up in tactical gear, and he’s not the guy, he’s like David Carter in Orange County. This is not the kind of guy you try and intimidate. But how often do you think this happens across the United States?
Erwin Chemerinsky: Obviously, none of us know. I follow pretty closely the excess of force cases that are reported in other places. There is a problem with excess of force. The idea that now it’s coming from units within district attorney offices, that, to me, is unprecedented. And you know, I had not known the story you just told of they’re trying to intimidate Stephen Larson, but you and I both know he was my student at USC Law School. This is somebody who is a longtime federal prosecutor, a magistrate judge, a federal district court judge. That they think they could intimidate him into not doing what he thinks is right is really laughable.
This next point is also critical: American law enforcement and intelligence agencies rarely suffer any consequences for perpetrating crimes against American citizens. It is unusual for civil lawsuits against police departments – such as the one in this case – to be successful, let alone for the individual corrupt cops to be criminally prosecuted for terrorizing civilians:
Erwin Chemerinsky: It’s very difficult to successfully sue the police. The reality is that it’s expensive to bring suits like this. And often, people don’t have the resources or can’t find the lawyers to do them. It’s also the reality that juries, understandably, give every benefit of the doubt to the police. And so such suits are hard to win. And if they’re hard to win, then it’s harder for them to have this kind of a deterrent effect. I’ll be very interested to see how the Ventura County DA’s office responds to this, and how they defend what they’re doing. I wouldn’t be surprised that these facts are even remotely close to the truth, and I have every reason to believe they are true, that this is the kind of case that would settle.
Translation: The taxpayers of Ventura County will be forced to pay for the vigilantism of its corrupt cops and District Attorney. None of the perps-with-badges will be punished on a personal level.
It gets worse. As Hewitt and Chemerinsky discuss, the harassment chosen for the targets in this case included “body cavity searches.”
Hugh Hewitt: …I’m shocked by one thing in particular, which always gives me the willies, which is when body cavity searches are conducted, they’re bad enough when bad guys are involved. But Erwin, can you understand the need for such a thing when it’s a civil matter involving document production?
Erwin Chemerinsky: Of course, not. Now let’s be clear. The Supreme Court has said that if a person is taken into physical custody, jail or prison, then body cavity searches are permissible to make sure that somebody is not smuggling in a weapon or contraband. But apart from that, body cavity searches are virtually never permissible. In fact, there was a Supreme Court case in 2009 that involved a strip search without a body cavity search of a girl in an elementary school, and the Supreme Court, 8-1, said that that’s unconstitutional. You can’t do strip searches, let along body cavity searches, without there really being an extraordinary justification. And the idea that here in a civil case, in the context of document production there’s a body cavity search, that’s the kind of thing that leads, and should lead to punitive damages against the officers, assuming it’s true.
Hugh Hewitt: And in addition to that, is there any requirement that they be done in private, because Judge Larson tells me one of the allegations is that they were done communally.
Erwin Chemerinsky: Yes, they have to be done in private, even in the context of a jail. The Supreme Court has made it clear that the body cavity search should be done in the way that’s least likely to be degrading, though it’s inherently degrading, and be done in a way that’s least likely to be embarrassing. You can’t do a communal body cavity search. And again, assuming this is to be true, it’s outrageous. It’s, to use the phrase that law sometimes applies, it shocks the conscience.
Organized stalking is another crime which shocks the conscience, but it is far more difficult to prove – even for the presumably few victims who have the financial resources to bring a lawsuit. If you’re a victim of stalking crimes perpetrated by current and former members of America’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies (and security firms), but – unlike the executives in this case – you lack the money and connections to hire a former federal judge to litigate on your behalf, you should expose the stalking directly to the public by distributing flyers (as explained on the “Tactics for Fighting Back” page of this website).
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!
January 31, 2016
Files of America’s largest police union hacked
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.
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.
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…
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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
January 23, 2016
Former cop arrested for stalking his neighbors
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.
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.
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.
A review of organized stalking references
in the media during 2015…
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
- 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
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.
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.”
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.
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].
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
This is the image which accompanies the article. (Click to enlarge.)
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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).
Comments about The Devil’s Chessboard:
“…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.”
Robert Scheer, editor of truthdig, interviews the author, David Talbot, on “the origins of America’s secret government.”
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.
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.
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.